|Stargate Universe: Infinite Ultimatum
Author: sheesh1991 PM
3 years have passed, and Eli is no where to be found. The crew of the Destiny continue their epic journey through the new galaxy, searching for Eli, making new friends and enemies, and seeing strange sights. Ready to go on a new journey?Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Sci-Fi/Adventure - Eli W. & Dr. N. Rush - Chapters: 11 - Words: 125,172 - Reviews: 42 - Favs: 43 - Follows: 53 - Updated: 02-11-13 - Published: 10-06-11 - id: 7442644
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
10/22/12 Hey readers! I know I have a lot of apologizing to do by leaving you guys hanging with my SGU fan fic. But I hope you guys understand that I just eventually lost the spark of creativity to continue writing the fan fic. It just...kinda began to die on me, you know? I just wasn't sure if I wanted to keep going. But I wasn't going to leave it on chapter 7 and call it finished. No, I was intending to come back to the story at a later date when I got the spark to continue writing it. Well, fear not! Because last week I picked up that spark of creativity. And I finally completed Chapter 8 after it has been sitting on my harddrive half finished for a bit over 8 months now. Again, sorry to keep you guys hanging for so long. But hopefully this spark of creativity will last another year.
That being said, reason I picked up the story again was because I was working on the beginning to Chapter 9 of my IC continuation(which btw, has already displayed some scifi elements), and I kinda drew a blank on how I wanted the chapter to go. I mean, I knew where I wanted the chapter to go, but I...was just drawing a blank. So, in dire need to do some writing, I opened up the half finished Chapter 8, this chapter, and read it. That's when the creativity juices started flowing again, and work on Chapter 8 of my SGU fan fic was rekindled.
So, enjoy the read guys! And remember to do me the favor of LEAVING SOME FEEDBACK! If you don't then I won't know where to take this story without your input. SO PLEASE LEAVE ME SOME REVIEW!
Stargate Universe: Infinite Ultimatum
By: Filip Lesiczka
This story was written by and is copyrighted to Filip Lesiczka. Please do not reproduce or distribute without permission.
This story is no way affiliated with the Stargate franchise, SyFy, or anything else associated with Stargate and MGM. All characters and name's that appeared in the Stargate series belong to Stargate, I do not own them. This is a fan fiction. I do not own any copyright claims, no copyright infringement is intended. I own only those characters and name's whom I have added to the storyline. Again, all characters and name's that have appeared in the shows belong to the Stargate franchise, and all other affiliates.
Black and Hallow
Rush sighed. His frustration had grown higher than it had ever been before. He sat alone in the bridge. In his frustration, he threw his pen across the floor. Why is Destiny keeping him out of her systems? It had been two weeks since Terra had become a member of the crew, two weeks since the Viterosaurs had arrived from their universe. Never mind the activity that happened yesterday, he had to gain control of the ship once more. But Rush wasn't sure how much more of the frustration he could take before he snapped. There had been no attempt made to rewrite the master code, yet Destiny would not accept commands. The ship truly had developed a consciousness of its own, it was truly aware of itself…it seemed that it had become an organism in its own right.
Drawing a long breath, he stood up from the command chair and retrieved his pen. The little clip had broken off from the impact with the floor. Rush cursed under his breath and returned to the chair, picking up his notebook again.
As he sat down in the chair, Destiny dropped out of FTL. Rush half expected Young's voice to crackle over the radio, telling him that the gate was being activated. And Young's voice did crackle over the radio, "Rush, what's going on?"
Rush picked up the radio and replied, "I'm not sure, I-" He stopped when an alarm sounded from the screen in front of him on the console surrounding the chair. He leaned forward and inspected the data that was being shown to him.
Young's voice sounded suspicious as he spoke from the radio again, "What is it?"
Another voice joined the radio conversation; it was Chloe. "Col. Young, this is Chloe."
"Go ahead," Young's voice replied.
Static concealed Chloe's voice for a moment before it cleared up, "-want to come down to the observatory."
"I'm on my way," Young answered.
"I'm on my way as well," Rush spoke into the radio. The readings on the screen had stirred him. He had seen these readings before, but he hadn't seen them in quite some time. It couldn't be what he thought the readings were telling him. Was this really some sort of cookie-crumb trail left behind by some long extinct ancient race? Was it deliberately left behind? Was it intended for them to find this trail? Rush wasn't sure, but he was sure he wouldn't find an answer anytime soon.
He stood up from the chair, and quickly rushed out of the bridge, bringing his notebook with him.
"Tarvock, look!" Vitero-Eli exclaimed as he pointed a claw outside the window. The room had flooded with a brilliant purple light no sooner had Destiny dropped out of FTL.
The bio-android walked over beside Vitero-Eli and looked in the direction he had pointed. For a moment, he did say anything as his cat-like pupils narrowed and dilated slightly. Then he let out a soft gasp, "My…god, what in the Ancients' names is that? That can't be a star!"
Vitero-Eli joined him in looking through the window, "I thought the same thing. But look! There's a planet orbiting around it!
Addamo stirred, "What the hell's all the yelling for?" He sat upright in the bed and rubbed his right eye. He blinked when he saw that the room had taken on a very strange purple hue, "And why's the room all…purple?" No on answered him, so he swung his legs over the edge of the bed, and stood up. He walked over to where Vitero-Eli and Tarvock stood by the window, standing just behind Tarvock who looked over his left shoulder.
"A purple star," Tarvock said in awe. "I never thought it was possible for a star to have such a color."
"There's gotta be something more to this," Vitero-Eli said, joining in Tarvock's awe. "Of all the years that astronomers and scientists studied the stars, there's never been a report of a purple star!"
Addamo gazed in amazement at the sight outside the window, but maintained an air of indifference, "This isn't our universe, Eli. Who knows what's different and what's similar between our universes'. Maybe the physics of stars in this universe function differently than our universe."
Tarvock shook his head, "I don't think that's likely, Col. From what I'm seeing, that's a class G star." Tarvock turned an eye towards Addamo, who was giving him a blank look. "Class G meaning a normal sun-type star. It's burning just as brightly as Earth's sun, and it's H and K lines of calcium II are just as prominent as the Sun's H and K lines. Its hydrogen lines are just as weak, and it has just as much of an equal amount of neutral metals and ionized metals."
"And that means absolutely nothing to me," Addamo said as he looked back at the bright purple star.
"Basically, that star should be the same color as the sun you grew up under when you were still living on Earth," Tarvock replied. "It should be yellow, not purple."
"Hmmm," was all that Addamo said in response.
Rush slowed as he entered the observatory, which was flooded with a strange hue of brilliant purple. Young was leaning on the guardrail as he gazed out at the spectacle, as were Terra, Chloe, Eli, Greer, Dr. Park, McKay, three other scientists and four marines. It was quiet in the observatory; no one spoke a word, or even a whisper. Everyone was in absolute awe of the sight before them.
Rush slowly walked towards the group, and stood next to Young. He placed his hands on the guardrail and leaned forward. Young glanced over at Rush as he leaned forward. The brilliant purple glare from the star was reflected off of his glasses, obscuring his eye's from Young's view. "Incredible," said Rush.
"Is it…even real?" Chloe asked as she stared at the marvelous burning purple sphere floating in the darkness of space.
"Aye," answered Rush, "it's real. The scans say it's a class G star, a star very much like our own Sun."
"But why's it purple?" asked Eli. "Last time I checked, our sun was yellow. And from what I already know about class G stars, they are all pretty much yellow in color."
"But this one ain't," Greer said as he held Dr. Park close to him. She only stared blankly at the star.
"I thought it was only a myth," said Terra. "I did not for a moment believe that the tale was actually referring to an actual star."
Rush turned his head toward Terra, as did Eli. "There's a myth about a purple star?" asked Eli.
Terra nodded, "Yes. It was only mentioned for a brief time in logs from the first crew members of the Gerx'anj'ma."
"Gerx…what?" said Greer upon hearing the name.
"Forgive me," said Terra as she bowed her head towards Greer, "I keep forgetting that you do not know my people as well as your descendants do." She returned her deep blue gaze back towards the star, "The Gerx'anj'ma was an alien vessel, fairly similar to this one, that my people discovered a little under two million years ago."
"What?!" McKay exclaimed. "An Ancient vessel two million years ago?! How-"
"Dr. McKay, please," Rush said, frustrated by the interruption. "Let Terra tell her story."
McKay nodded and fell silent, but obviously was greatly disturbed by what Terra had just said. Terra continued, "After quite a few years of experimenting with the different controls, and after the discovery of a vast room filled with Stargates, my people began to plant the devices on many planets throughout the Rempta galaxy."
"A seed ship," Rush said quietly.
Terra heard him and nodded, "So it would seem. For the next hundred and fifteen years, the first crew of the Gerx'anj'ma traveled the galaxy, seeing sights that no Petrus'iri ever thought of seeing during that time. Only a month before the first crew was to retire and relinquish their positions to a new set of crew members, they happened upon…this star."
Terra shook her head, "There had been no order to stop at this star system, but the ship had ceased travel upon detecting this star. No one could understand how or why such a star could exist. No body understood the stars strange color. All indications said that this star, should not have existed."
"So, why's it a myth?" asked Eli. "Shouldn't the ship have stored the discovery of the star in its data logs?"
Terra nodded, "It should have. But no one could locate the data that was supposedly stored. The only information of this star was from the words of the crew members in their logs. So, no one ever believed their story, and thus it became a myth. And it has remained a myth for the last one and a half million years…until now."
"Until now," Rush repeated Terra's words. His eyes drifted from the brilliant purple star to the planet that orbited around it. "The star should not exist, and neither should the planet."
"That sounds too familiar," observed Greer.
"Aye, it does," Rush responded with a nod.
"You don't think this is another one of those planets, do you?" Young asked.
"I don't think it is, I know it is," was Rush's reply. "The scans of the planet match the scans of the previous planet. The odd thing is, the scans are identical. Same atmosphere composition, same mass, same size and gravity, same orbital trajectory and axis tilt. It is an exact copy of the previous planet we encountered."
"There is another planet such as this one?" Terra asked as she turned an eye towards Rush.
"Yes, and we believe that some advanced ancient race built these planets and stars," Rush said. "It's…almost like a cookie-crumb trail."
"I was just thinking the same thing," Greer stated. "This just can't be a coincidence."
"If the planet is identical to the last one we saw," said Eli, "then it'll probably be the same on the surface."
"Did your people explore the planet's surface?" Rush asked as he turned towards Terra, leaning against the guardrail on his left elbow.
Terra shook her head, "Unfortunately they did not. They feared that perhaps the emissions from the star would be harmful to them, so they did not visit it. Neither did they plant a Stargate on its surface."
"But why a purple star?" Eli asked. "It's just…weird!"
"Tav'ira Uni'ver'lu," said Terra after a moment.
"What?" Young said glancing at Terra.
"Roughly translated in your language," Terra replied, "it means Bizarre Star. It is also the name given to the myth."
"Looks like your people gave it a fitting name," said Young.
Silence fell among everyone in the observatory as they gazed at the strange beauty of the purple star before them. Eli pushed his hand into his pants pocket and withdrew his phone. He turned the boxy phone on its side and tapped the screen, taking a picture of perhaps the only purple star in existence.
The silence was broken when the radio in Rush's hand crackled, and Brody's voice spoke from it, "Dr. Rush, I just did a scan of the planet's surface…I'm seeing some fading life-signs on the planet."
Rush lifted the radio to his face, "Life-signs? Is there any signs of intelligence?"
There was a moment of silence before Brody responded, "I'm not exactly sure…there's not artificial radio signals, but there's some kind of artificial signatures emitting from the life-signs."
"The last planet didn't have any life forms on it," Eli stated. "So, why is there life on this one? You think the aliens made whatever's living on the surface?" Eli cast a glance at Rush.
Rush shrugged, "I'm not sure. We won't know until we go down there."
Silence again took over the observatory for a few minutes. Then Greer broke the silence, "So, when do we go down?"
The hours ticked by slowly. Vitero-Eli lay on his back on the bed, his tail drooping over the end of the bed and twitching side to side in frustration. Tarvock stood in the middle of the room with his arms crossed over his chest, his eyes following Addamo as he paced back and forth from the foot of the bed to the window.
"Tarvock," Addamo said as he paced back to the window to gaze in awe again at the purple star, "what if that's not a real star?"
The android Viterosaur cocked his head to one side as he thought about the question, "What do you mean 'not a real star'?"
"I mean what if it's not a natural star?" Addamo asked as he turned his neck and looked at Tarvock with his left eye, "What if it's artificial? What if it's a mechanical star?"
Tarvock crossed his left arm over his chest and rested his right elbow in his left hand and stroked the small tuft of fur on his chin. He was silent for a minute before he responded, "That would most likely explain why the color isn't natural." The android shook his head afterwards, "But I find it hard to believe that a massive piece of machinery like that would be able to withstand the tremendous heat and pressures it generates, nor how it would be able to create its own gravity. Not only that, but such a machine would require an infinite power source, and that power source would need to be many times more massive in size than this star is."
Addamo glanced back out the window, "Not necessarily."
Tarvock's eyes narrowed upon hearing Addamo's statement, "What do you mean, Col.?"
Addamo touched the large gem that was the star heart crystal, "What if the power source…is straight from the real thing?" He turned towards Tarvock and indicated the star heart crystal.
"It's possible," Tarvock replied with a slight nod, "but extracting the heart of a star is…a near impossible task in and of itself. I still can't understand how the Ancients managed to extract your star heart. Whatever race built these strange star systems would have needed technology far more advanced than the Ancients to extract the heart of the star without causing a catastrophic explosion."
"There are a lot of things about any universe that we don't understand, Tarvock," Addamo said. "Hell, the race that made these star systems could have made the universe for all we know."
Tarvock smiled, "It's an interesting theory, but unlikely. For a sentient race to 'create the universe,' there would have had to have been a previous universe from which they came from to create this one."
Addamo shrugged, "Hey, it's possible. I mean, look at where we are now. A…perpen-whatever universe that's three weeks behind our universe."
"So, you're really saying that this universe…isn't the first universe? That there was a universe before this one?" Vitero-Eli asked, joining the conversation from where he lay on his back on the bed.
"That's exactly what I'm saying," Addamo said with a nod.
"Like I said before," Tarvock stated, "an interesting theory, but unlikely. Even if it were true, I don't see how any being from the previous universe would have been able to survive the extinction of their universe. Much less, I don't see how they'd be able to even create the Big Bang if they had nothing to start with."
"And just like I said before, there's still a lot about the universes' we don't know about," Addamo responded.
Vitero-Eli sat up in the bed, "No offence Col., but that's the craziest idea I've ever heard."
Addamo nodded, "Yeah, I know. But at this point…even the craziest ideas seem to be turning into reality. I mean, hell, we're in a universe that's not even parallel to our own but similar in so many ways…and there's another version of you walking around on this ship."
Vitero-Eli nodded absentmindedly, "Yeah, you have a point." He paused for a moment, thinking about something that had just occurred to him, "You know, from what I can tell…this universe has had it easier than we did."
Tarvock turned his heard towards Vitero-Eli, "Why do you say that?"
Vitero-Eli shrugged, "Besides Terra's people actually surviving the Jovorda parasite plague in this universe; the descendants made it to this galaxy coincidentally, Destiny is stocked up on supplies thanks to them too, Dr. Park got her eyes fixed up, TJ has a cure for her ALS…and the crew is like one big family. Everyone trusts each other, and no one's keeping secrets from each other."
Tarvock averted his gaze down to the floor, "Indeed, you're right."
"True, it does seem that way," Addamo stated, "but look at how many things are different to our universe. First off, what's different is there's no Destiny Two here, which means there are no descendants tagging along to help maintain the second ship. Second, there's no Tarvock in this universe, which is likely to their disadvantage. Thirdly…" Addamo lowered his gaze as his long pointed ears drooped down slightly, "TJ's baby didn't survive from the looks of it."
Vitero-Eli nodded, "I guess you're right."
"Not to mention what's similar," Addamo continued. "The Lucian's still attacked the SGC in this universe, but for a different reason. Terra is a member of the crew now, so it seems. And it looks like this Destiny is also being haunted by some kind of killer ghost or something." He shuddered as he remembered his recent experience in the observatory.
"But something's different about the last part," Tarvock added when he noticed Addamo shudder.
"Yeah," Addamo replied, "it's…worse than in our universe."
"Worse? How can it be worse?" Vitero-Eli inquired.
Addamo met Tarvock's gaze, "I've never been so scared in my life, at least not since my first mission through the Stargate. Not only that…but it seems like whatever this thing is, it's real and stronger…unlike our killer ghost."
"You don't think it's a rogue VI like our entity was?" the android asked.
Addamo shook his head, "No. Unless VI's in this universe are capable of actually producing smells and actually physically killing someone, I don't think the ghost is a VI. I think they've got something far worse than what we had in our universe."
"If it's that bad," Vitero-Eli said
"Are you sure you'll be alright Col.?" TJ asked as she helped Sam off of the bed.
"Yeah," Sam replied as she hopped of the edge of the bed. "I just have to keep reminding myself of who I really am, and I should be okay."
"I still think you should stay here Col.," TJ insisted, "at least for a little while longer. I mean, you're practically two different people in the same body at this point, not to mention that it's not your own body."
Sam looked at TJ with her right eye, "I'll be fine, Lt. I've been in tougher situations than this. Besides, someone has to fix the stones."
TJ nodded, "Alright. Just…be careful Col., and don't overexert yourself. Having the memories of someone else will most likely be very taxing on your brain."
Sam nodded with a smile as she left TJ in the infirmary.
As she made her way through the confusing network of similar hallways and junctions, Sam couldn't help but glance over her shoulder every now and then. She couldn't shake the feeling of being watched. It wasn't just like the feeling of being watched from a distance, but more so like the feeling of being watched by something menacing. She kept her ears pointed slightly back, straining to hear if there were any footsteps to tell her that she was being followed. But she never heard anything, even with her acute hearing. The fur on the back of her shoulders began rising up to stand on end.
Sam's prey instincts were telling her to find someplace to hide, to make a quick dash to get away from whatever was watching her. But something in her gut told her to just ignore the feeling and to not show any fear. Her gut told her that it would go away soon enough, just like the time when she and Carter had become separated from Teal'c, Daniel, Jack and Tom on a goa'uld occupied-
"No!" Sam shook her head. She was Carter. She was Col. Samantha Carter of the SGC, former commanding officer of the Atlantis expedition. This was her universe, the one she was born in. She was a human being!
"Damnit," Sam thought to herself as she continued walking down a long corridor, "I'm not going to lose myself. Not now, not ever. I can handle this. I just need to concentrate on my memories."
Sam reached the communication stones room to find Brody and McKay looking over the laptop with the connection data readings.
McKay looked up at Sam, surprised to see that Riverstone was still wandering about the ship, "General Riverstone? Young didn't lock you up?"
Sam shook her head, "No Rodney, it's me."
Sam nodded her head as she walked around the table to stand on Brody's right side where he sat in the chair at the table.
Brody looked up at Sam, "You're probably wondering why you have all of the General's memories, right?"
Sam nodded, "Yeah, how'd you-?"
McKay answered her question before she could finish it, "I've got the same problem. Seems the stones had some kind of glitch. The robot said that we probably ended up being both in these bodies and our own bodies back on Earth at the same time."
"Tarvock?" Sam asked as she put her hands on the table and leaned forward to get a better look at the data readings.
"Yeah," Brody said. "He and I think that maybe there was some kind of reverse feedback that happened during the glitch, which would explain why you would have General Riverstone's memories. But it still doesn't explain why you and Dr. McKay are still here on the Destiny when the communications pedestal is turned off."
Sam noticed that the pedestal was switched off upon Brody mentioning it. "If it's off, we shouldn't be here," she stated.
"Which we know already," McKay added.
Sam pondered something as she studied the data readings. "The connections are severed…but this still says that the connections are reversed."
"Which would indicate that we're returning to our bodies," McKay said. "Yet we're not."
"I can see that Rodney," Sam said as she glanced up at him for a moment. McKay looked embarrassed as he looked back at the laptop screen. "The connection is both severed, yet the process of transferring our minds back to our bodies is still going on. Is there any record of the readings when the glitch happened?"
Brody nodded and pulled up the data recordings in a separate window.
That's when Sam instantly recognized something about the recordings. She'd seen something like this many years before, "It's not a glitch."
McKay looked up at Sam, "What? What do you mean 'it's not a glitch'?"
Sam pointed to a spot on the chart where the peaks and dips changed from subtle to erratic, "If this were a glitch with the stones, then there would have been a pause in these patterns, a flat reading before it changed. That, and all of the peaks would be the same size with an equal spacing between them." She shook her head, "But there's no flat reading here." Sam glanced up at McKay with her left eye, "The stones are being hacked into, Rodney. Someone or something is trying to take over our bodies."
"Come on Col.," Eli said insistently as he hurried after Young, who was walking back to the bridge with Rush, "you're misunderstanding them."
Young stopped abruptly and turned towards Eli, "I'm misunderstanding them? Eli, you've only been back for three days, and you're saying I'm misunderstanding them. Hell, we barely even known them."
"My point exactly, Col.," Eli said with confidence. He held a tablet in his right hand, which he shifted to his left, "We barely even know them, but I feel like I know…umm, me. Col., I'm just asking you to be a little more trusting." He glanced over Young's shoulder towards Rush, who had already reached the end of the corridor. He looked back at Young, "Especially now. I know there's all this crap going with pretty much the whole universes' attention on Destiny, but you gotta at least be a bit more trusting."
"And you trust the words of someone you don't know?" Young asked as he narrowed his eyes a bit.
Eli shrugged, "I wouldn't exactly say I trust Tarvock's words…but I believe him. I believed him when he said he'd never seen the Col. that afraid. And I think he was right to say to watch our backs."
"What do you mean?"
Eli held up the tablet, "Greer gave this to me. It's Dr. Park's." He pointed to a dark brown smear on a corner of the screen, "He said that Dr. Park said something about smelling sulfur when she saw Col. Addamo covered in blood. And Terra said that when she picked up the tablet, this stuff was fresh and smelled like sulfur."
"And?" Young said, unsure of where this was going. "What does a brown smear have to do with trusting people from another universe?"
"Col. Addamo said he smelled sulfur just before he found Cpl. Higgs on the ground." Young glanced down at the tablet in Eli's hand and Eli again pointed to the brown smear, "I think whatever or whoever attacked Dr. Park may have left us some evidence."
Young nodded, realizing that Eli may have found something of interest, "Alright. Get it down to TJ and have her run some tests on it, now. I want to know what the hell this thing is that's attacking my people, and how the hell we're going to kill it." Eli nodded and turned to run back down the corridor. Young called after him, "And Eli." Eli stopped and glanced back at Young, "I hope you're right about trusting them."
Terra sat in her quarters, resting on the bed with her back propped up against the wall. Her raptor-like feet pointed away from her, one leg crossed over the other. She held her tablet in one hand as she quickly skimmed the surface of the tablet with the knuckle of her other index finger.
She was uneasy by what Dr. Park had told her only a few hours before, when she finally found her voice again. "I hope it's not what I fear it to be," she thought to herself as she tapped the surface of the tablet twice and a white screen opened up with a loading symbol in the middle. A number of files appeared in the screen, and Terra scrolled down until she found what she was looking for.
"I thought it to only have been a legend," she thought as she waited for the file to open. "They disappeared over ten thousand years ago with their technology! This can't be possible." And then, Terra froze upon seeing what the words of her language on the screen were telling her.
It had only been encountered once within the ten thousand year gap between the Tojeq disappearing to the present day.
"No," Terra said, her fear mounting with every line she read on the encounter. The legend was no legend…it was fact. Her eyes darted between every line as she read.
Seventy-three hundred years ago, while her race was fighting the Jovorda plague, a small group of young scientists broke every law forbidding them from venturing to the home world of the Tojeq. They ventured to the planet in search of an explanation for the disappearance of the entire race of the Tojeq, and their technology. They only recovered one piece of possible technology; a micro-core of a data unit of a Tojeq supercomputer.
Upon activating the micro-core back on the Petrus'iri home world…hell was unleashed upon them. The micro-core had been part of a supercomputer that contained a threat far more dangerous than any Tojeq weapon of mass destruction.
An organic AI.
"Hezhok!" Terra shouted. The tales of demons weren't of evil entities of the supernatural…they were of the Tojeq organic AI.
Terra leaped off of the bed with the tablet in hand. She bounded to the door and slammed the button to open the door. As the door open, a surprised Eli, who had heard her shouting, was looking up at her from where he lay on his bed in his quarters on the opposite side of the junction.
"Eli, you must warn Dr. Rush that we-" Terra said as she turned left as she exited her quarters, but dropped her words mid-sentence upon seeing the most terrifying sight she'd ever seen at the opposite end of the corridor. Her blue eyes widened with fear upon the gruesome sight.
Eli sensed something was wrong and rolled off his bed. "You okay, Terra?" he asked as he approached her, with his radio in hand. He glanced down the corridor to see what Terra was staring at, and froze.
It was a gruesome sight indeed. The creature looked like a mix between a velociraptor and a praying mantis. Its triangular head was large, with its mandibles and mouth being the point, while two large plates made up the crude flat end of it crested head. Two large faceted and unblinking eyes watched Terra and Eli. Its mandibles shifted constantly, as if it were chewing or finishing the last bite of something it had just devoured. Several streams saliva ran from the creatures jaws and toothed mandibles like a sink faucet that had not been turned off properly.
Its raptor-like body was covered in plate-like structures, with large spines rising up along its back ridge. Its arms were very insect-like, with the classic exoskeleton structure and curled forearms like that of a praying mantis. It's raptor-like feet possessed the same killing claw that every nimble raptor on Earth had. A long thin tail twice as long as its body slowly curled from side to side as the monster watched them. Its tail reminded Eli of the alien from the movie Alien.
The monsters body appeared almost as if it were melting. A reddish-brown viscous mucus-like substance covered the monsters entire body. This viscous substance ran down the creature's body and appendages, dripping down onto the floor with sickening splats. Then, the caustic smell of sulfur reached Eli and Terra's noses.
"Oh shi-" Eli said but was interrupted by the monster as it parted its mandibles, tilted its head back so the dark void of its mouth was visible to him and Terra, and let out a shrill and guttural roar.
Greer looked up towards the mess hall door, as did everyone else within the large room.
"What the hell was that?" Varro asked as he stood up and walked over to the door.
Greer followed after him, "I dunno. But we're goin' to go and find out." He unbuttoned the flap on his pistol holster, removed the handgun and handed it to Varro.
Varro took the weapon without a word, and the two of them set off at a run out of the mess hall in the direction they'd heard the eerie noise come from.
Terra's right hand landed on Eli's left shoulder, turning him around to face the other direction as she pushed on him. "Run!" she shouted. But Eli was already one step ahead of her as he sprinted down the corridor. Terra was hot on his heels as well, her talons scratching against the hard floors surface.
Behind her, Terra could hear the heavy footfalls of the Tojeq organic AI as it gave chase. With each step it took, Terra could hear its exoskeletal plates shifting and its talons carving deep gouges into the floor. It let loose another roar. Terra quickly glanced over her shoulder; the AI was gaining on them, and fast.
As Eli ran for his life, he pressed the button on his radio and shouted, "I need help! There's an alien on the ship! Somebody help!"
They ran down corridor after corridor, trying to elude the monstrosity. But despite their efforts to lose it, the creature kept pace with them.
As they both dashed down the corridor, Terra's mind raced. From what she'd seen, the AI would fall upon here in a few more seconds if she did not pick up her pace. But Terra's instinct as Global Bastion Operative told her to stay behind her crewmate, to keep herself between the defenseless Eli and the threat. She watched Eli, analyzing his pace carefully as her mind raced; he was slowing down, and soon the AI wouldn't be upon her, but it would be upon both of them. She glanced back; the monster was almost on top of her, its spiked forearms extended out towards her.
Eli's safety was her top priority at that moment, as well as the safety of the rest of the crew and the ship. But her thoughts also fell upon the safety of her unborn children. They were as helpless as Eli was, but she could do nothing to protect them except to run for her life. Her fear for the safety of her unborn children weighed heavily upon Terra's mind. Both her instincts as a mother and as a GBO were at conflict with one another. Her motherly instincts told her to flee, to save herself and her children; her instincts as a GBO told her to protect her crewmate, to stop and stand up against the threat currently chasing them.
And then in less than a fraction of a second, Terra's fear vanished and her decision was made. In that same short span of time, she firmly planted her right foot and pushed up off the floor. Her forward momentum was still carrying her forward as she pivoted her hips to the left, causing her body to turn in the air.
As she turned, she brought her left knee up to her chest, causing her to spin faster as she turned to fast the monstrosity. Just as the AI came into her line of sight, Terra swung her right foot out with all her might. The top of her foot met the hard side of the Tojeq AI's head with full force, knocking it to the side and into the wall. Upon her foot impacting the AI's head, some of the reddish-brown mucus-like substance splattered out in all directions.
Terra landed, and took up a defensive pose with her hands in front of her, her knees bent and her legs evenly parted.
Eli looked back when he heard the sound of the AI's exoskeletal plates crash and scrape against the wall. He came to a dead stop as he watched Terra confront the monster.
Terra barked over her shoulder at Eli, "What are you doing? Run to safety! Now!"
The organic AI put one forearm on the wall as it shook its head. Pushing away from the wall, it then turned its unblinking gaze upon Terra. Its mandibles parted again and it let out another shrill and guttural roar as it quickly advanced towards Terra.
It shot one spiked forearm towards her, but she easily blocked that with her left hand. She threw an upward kick, which contacted the organic AI below its mandibles. But the AI only seemed to grow angry about Terra's persistent resistance.
Behind him, Eli heard the sound of footsteps. Turning his head quickly, he saw that it was Greer and Varro.
"Holy-" Greer exclaimed upon seeing the Tojeq AI as he aimed his G36K down the corridor at the black and reddish-brown monstrosity.
"What is that?" Varro asked as he aimed the pistol in his hand at the AI as well.
"I don't know," Eli exclaimed, "but Terra's taking that thing one-on-one!"
The AI began throwing multiple strikes with its spiked forearms, which Terra blocked. However, it seemed that with every successful block she made, it became increasingly difficult to block the next attack.
The AI swung with its left forearm, and Terra ducked. She came up with a right uppercut to the underside of its mandibled jaws. She did not stop there. She quickly followed her uppercut with a powerful side swing with her left fist. Her fist struck the AI on the side of the head, stunning the monster for a few brief moments. Again, Terra swung her fist repeatedly for a few more short seconds, each throw a successful hit. She took advantage of the stunned beast and she tackled the monster. But the monster stayed on its feet as it took a few steps back.
Terra glanced back with he left eye towards Eli and saw that Greer and Varro had arrived. "What are you still doing here?!" she exclaimed. "Run and get to safety now!"
Suddenly, the Tojeq AI snapped the forward half of its forearms out and sank the spines adorning the inner sides of its forearms into Terra's back.
Terra gasped at the feeling of the spines sliding a few inches into her flesh. It felt like numerous small metallic daggers that had been heated red hot by flames and thrust into her back.
With its spines firmly sunk into Terra's back, the monster raised its head back and bellowed sharply. Then, it thrust its head downwards and bit down with its mandibled jaws on the right side of Terra's neck. With its jaws clamped down, the AI began rocking its large heavy head side to side, causing its mandibles to sink deeper into her flesh. Terra's eyes widened and her lip curled upwards in a silent snarl of pain to expose her upper teeth and gums.
"No!" Eli shouted as he made to charge towards the AI, but was stopped by Varro as he grabbed Eli's right hand and pulled him back.
Terra was in utter shock, not just from the pain of the monsters bite but also from what she was experiencing. She could feel the AI's mind, she could sense what it was thinking. But there was not much to feel…for the organic AI's mind was nothing but black and hollow. It's only thoughts were to take over General Riverstone's body and to wreak havoc upon the crew of the Destiny, to destroy the pitiful life forms on board the ship and take over the Destiny.
The AI wrenched its jaws away from Terra's neck, ripping through her scales and tearing off a small chunk of her flesh. Terra's cat-like pupils narrowed to slits so small, they seemed to disappear in the deep blue of her irises. Then her eyes rolled up and her body went limp, her arms dropping at her sides and her head leaning to one side.
Blood dripped from the monsters mandibles as it swallowed the chunk of Terra's flesh. It snapped the forward half of its forearms out, releasing its death grip on Terra. The limp Petrus'iri fell to slightly slanted floor on her belly, and blood began to flow steadily from the tears and small hole in her neck and run down the minute slope of the floor.
The organic AI set its gaze upon the stunned humans before it and stepped over the limp form beneath its feet. Then, it charged towards Greer, Varro and Eli.
"Come on you bastard!" Greer bellowed as he pressed the trigger on his G36K, unleashing a spray of bullets.
The first two projectiles fired from Greer's weapon to strike the AI hit it square in the head above its eyes, causing the reddish-brown mucus-like substance to splatter out upon impact. The beast let out a shrill cry of pain as its head was thrown back slightly by the force of the bullets as they entered its head, and it took a step back.
Varro followed Greer's example and repeatedly fired the pistol as fast as he could press the trigger.
However, after the initial first two hits, the bullets seemed to phase right through the creature. Greer could see the areas where the bullets would have hit the creature opening around the flying projectiles, passing through its body and exiting out the other side, leaving the AI completely unharmed.
Suddenly, the monster propelled itself towards Greer and Varro, sending a cascade of the mucus-like substance covering its body falling to the floor.
Greer ceased firing and charged towards the Tojeq AI.
"Greer, no!" Eli shouted. Varro held him back with one arm as he too ceased firing, but kept his weapon trained on the AI.
As the gap between him and the AI swiftly narrowed, Greer pulled his combat knife from its sheath.
And then, the monster was upon him. It swung at him with its left mantis-like arm, intending to catch him on the spines lining its forearm.
But Greer had dropped down to the floor and slid on his knees. However, one of the spines grazed his left cheek as he turned his head towards to right to avoid the attack. That did not faze him, however, and as he slid across the floor underneath the monster, Greer thrust his combat knife upwards into the organic AI's belly as it passed over him.
The creatures momentum carried it forward and over Greer's combat knife, all the way to the base of its tail. The whole while the blade slid through its belly, the AI uttered a long drawn out cry of pain.
As the creatures tail flailed passed his head, Greer jumped to his feet and whirled around to confront the AI. But all he saw were Varro and Eli, staring back at him with shock. The Tojeq AI had completely vanished. The only evidence of it having been there was the smell of sulfur and the viscous substance that coated its body splattered all over the floor.
"Where'd it go?" Greer barked at Varro and Eli.
"It's like…" Eli began but couldn't finish his sentence.
Varro continued where Eli had left off, "It was like its entire body was pulled back into a single small point. Like its body just broke apart into small pieces and…sucked up by a black hole."
"What?" Greer asked as he warily shot a glance behind him. "How?"
"I have no idea," Varro answered.
"Forget about it," Eli said as he quickly ran forward and passed Greer, "we have to get Terra to the infirmary!"
Eli dropped to his knees as he reached Terra's side. He placed a hand on the Petrus'iri's back and peered down at her. Her right eye was shut tightly, but Eli could see that her eye was moving beneath her eyelid.
"Terra," Eli said as he gently shook her, "can you hear me? Terra!"
She could hear voices from somewhere above her, but they were very distant. She felt coldness all around her and her arms and legs were numb. It felt as if every nerve in her body were aflame. She couldn't move. What had the organic AI done to her?
Terra slowly opened her right eye, but her vision was very blurry. Although she could see three figures moving above her, Terra could not distinguish any features but she knew that Eli was among the three blurred figures.
"Eli," she uttered weakly as darkness began to engulf her vision. "My…my children…"
Then the world around Terra vanished and she fell into a dark, peaceful slumber.
End Chapter 8