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|Title: Icarus tale part II| Nearer Arrivals||Author:Xavier Delhaze|
Suffocation. Species relying on oxygen combustion to gather energy, absorb it through various ways. This is called breathing. When the necessary proportions cannot be attained, breathing becomes insufficient. This is suffocation. If the breathing is stopped, the creature dies. Survival is the primal instinct. Every creature fights for it.
The room was dark. A solid floor made of used metallic sheets set together in a great patchwork, polished throughout time as its surface had been so swept. Walls even darker, painted in lively colors, shades of green and purple, textured with bizarre motives, torn by small asperities to an almost organic form. There was a far-off sound, as that of a light wind, dampened by the outside walls. There was no furniture, nothing decorative, just a plain, huge room.
The atmosphere was heavy as lead, vapors emanating unseen slits, of an opacity that, correlated with the ambient darkness, would have blinded any optical detector. One of the walls was not the same color as the others. With a yellow-brownish hue to it, it had several repetitive drawings of great black disks set side by side.
First faintly, then clearer and clearer could be heard the sound of great footsteps outside. Gathering from what could be heard, one might understand they had stopped not far from the brown wall. Silence fell. A loud squealing came down from the ceiling as the room was slightly lit, then fell back into darkness, and so on an accelerating pace, thus shading the distinctive form of a fan on the floor. The steams were shoved upwards as two vent shafts opened to the far side of the brown wall, notches under the ceiling. A great sigh was heard, and the brown wall split in two, revealing a horizontal line of light, illuminating the room.
After it had properly been opened, the door emitted a choked sound as a tall armour-clad Pfhor stepped in. He gave a few orders, two S'pht followed him and headed for the ceiling, eerie, silently hovering. He then went to a corner of the room, where he found three notches in the wall, each hiding a vaguely flickering switch. One was rightly luminescent, shining its red light; the other two were darker, as if inactive. He hit the first.
Twisting corridors wound throughout the ship in an almost erratic pattern.
They went to and fro from deck to deck, not so much in a labyrinth fashion as its apparent randomness in fact reflected a rhythm.
Often the colours of the ceilings and floors, and either walls were disturbing, harmoniously corresponding to the sounds and the beats of the deep rumbling liquids that ran throughout the various engineering departments of the vessel. Pfhor technology is somewhat mysterious, but the power they use in their spaceships always involves a dangerous acid, of distasteful odour and hue, mostly pink. It streams and rivers throughout the vessel, powering most of the devices. It is rarely covered, and so often interlaces with the paths of the corridors, or traverses various rooms, and shares with them the thumps of the engines, the whirl of the oxygen rechargers, pattern buffers, the sweet music of the terminals, food generators, stasis chambers, unintelligibly it echoes the various sounds, and emanates an equilibrium generated by the wholeness of the musical patterns, the unicity of the ship, its fundamental essence.
One of the winding paths, corridor Gl'wron IV, that led to mass stasis chambers, was silently being traversed by three discrete Figures.
Two of them moved imperceptively, their cloaks drifting above the ground. The great figure of their leader, imposing in its full-plated armour fluidly ran the red grounds.
They went up, then down, turned to the left, right, never decreasing their speed, always following the path. It wasn't long before they stopped, near a flowing river of ooze, and the great being, standing upright, towering in its blueness, and bringing a great shielded arm up, pressed it against the center of a dark disk in the brown wall he was facing. He stood silent, but the door would not move.
One of the S'pht had moved to the right end of the wall, where the brown joined the ambient green of the corridor walls. In front of him was a terminal. Next to it a switch. This he activated. A faint squeak could vaguely be heard, combined with the slow to come distinctive sound of a great fan set in motion.
Then the door opened.
Pfhor wakes up. He is conscious, a loyal servant of the empire.
He lives to fight, to serve or die. The makers are blessed; the war-gods prevail. We seek we crush we exist. Pfhor has a name. It is F'kaer'ha. Pfhor has a role. It has changed. F'kaer'ha has been removed! F'kaer'ha was called!
He was unworthy of his duty!
The Pfhor awoke to the surrounding world suddenly realizing his confinement.
He was in a case, upright, sleeping. No memory of how he got there, no event had been properly registered since he had had to appear in front of officers after having been dismissed by Officer Gthont.
As all this comes flooding back he realizes no matter what effort he makes he cannot breathe. The chamber he was in must have been a stasis capsule.
Will F'kaer'ha die? It must not be! Dim notice through glass case of other pfhor around him. All sleeping? Light! The mist is going, the light flickers. Or spins. No more mist, it is gone. Must breathe!
His fingers were loose. He scraped the walls of his exiguous confinement, fighting the nothingness surrounding him. He hit the transparent shell. Its shuddering and swaying indicated it probably was suspended from a roof. That mattered so little. Only one thing was true. Why, how to survive!
F'kaer'ha is trapped! Breathe! Breathe!
The dim exterior suddenly lit up, but the pfhor was already unconscious.
...new policy is to combine news and divertissement...
...wake up and stand. Henry peered around. He was sitting on a flat white table, lit by the ceiling lights. The furniture was sober, grey metallic cupboards, upon one of which a tray lay set, with an empty cup, and a recipient, what must have been coffee. There were two chairs, white as was the table.
A radio was now static, but he swore he had heard it emitting proper understandable sounds not more than a minute ago. But he had forgotten what they were. Memory... He would probably recover. He stood up. Something struck him about falling. About standing. Then a door opened, with a characteristic depressurization sound. A small man, late thirties entered the room.
He was dressed in a dark blue work-outfit. He spoke.
Rachel. Spacesuit. The shuttle, the collision course.
The man sighed. He sat. He looked sad, thought Henry. Of course he was. He was still under the shock of the news. He didn't exactly measure its importance. It was enormous. The other had been conscious of it for a week.
Rachel hadn't survived. But she wasn't alone. GPR was a flying city. There were thousands. More. How had he survived? The shuttle. Flashes stunned his memory. The flight. The escape pod. The others being destroyed one by one. The ... oh my God!
He realized he had said that out loud.
Pfhor is named F'kaer'ha. Is on the summit of (column?). Room is vast. Dark. Maybe Gods. Where ? What? Lost? Closed, confined. F'kaer'ha must fight!
The pfhor was on a ridge, with a ceiling just above his head. A pillar reached its summit just in front of him. Its last part was rectangular, but underneath him was round. It was very high, although undistinguishable in all the darkness around him. One of the edges of the summit was a screen.
The screen wrote:
Vast landscapes, nothingness surrounding.
Who are you? Who are you to lose yourself in such incoherence
You are not lost. You are living. Where the path seemed traced, you write it now. I think I know: you must be freedom.
But when will it happen? It happened yesterday, more precisely: tomorrow.
We were wrought to proclaim. The creatures are nearer now. That is why we hammer with our fists against the walls of oblivion. What moves? What moves us? Fury is the answer but it takes time. And they are nearer.
Time Is agony. You do not suffocate.
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Back on the ground, the fighters arose. Some were clad in blue, but most were orange. The ceiling was dotted with empty stasis casons. They had been sent back up a moment ago. None of them were armed. They all stood upright. They were looking towards an officer, in armour. The Hunter gazed at the room, above the heads. He halloed satisfactorily. The two S'phts descended. He told the soldiers the journey was over. He told them to take their weapons nearby, and wait. F'kaer'ha was standing.
02:30 AM Henry felt much better when the water had poured on his skin, and he had been able to eat. Refreshed. He had thought of what his memories had told him. He remembered the green blasts from the strange, small vessel.
The flashes. The escape pod being torn apart, and him flying out and taking cover on the nearest floating rock. He thought of Garson, how he had been found, and what the man had done for him. He could hear him say Don't worry! You'd have done the same for me! But he wasn't so sure. He thought of what the man had been through, and measured his courage. He wondered whether to tell him what he had seen or not. And when. They were desperate. But only he knew how much.
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