tagSci-Fi & FantasyFaux Realm Ch. 14

Faux Realm Ch. 14


Liza bit her finger. She was busy punching, pushing and probing around her console.

Drained. Emotionally uneven since months of searching brought them from one wall to the other. She was worried about them all. Liza felt it all, but most of it she had to be strong. For all of them. A noise behind her drew her back to reality. She was aware that one other person was feeling more than she was. Liza's mind was focusing on the apparition sitting behind her; while she was absentmindedly pushing random buttons.

Months of searching left her in a dazed state; she was no longer interested in what the universe had to offer. A tear slowly dripped down on her hands.

The once vibrant captain in search of the adventure was no more. In her place sat a new figure. Disheveled apparition as it watched on; from her captain seat, angrily looking at the pad in front of her. Waiting for the answer.

Repeated pleas to her superiors went on deaf ears. Some did not bother answering, while others did not want to do with any wild goose chases.

Sixteen billion boteans in their territory had more pressing issues to deal with.

Her message sent to Al'Jafar also went unanswered. Why? As if a giant hand was making everyone shy away from helping her in any way.

A single tear streaked across its cheek. She felt abandoned. However, she felt these feelings before, she quickly sat in her chair, stoic and unmoving,

There was a soft chime. Ericha moved her arm like it weighted a ton. Eventually the button, after numerous seconds, was pressed. With a quivering voice she started speaking.

"One for All requesting clearance t dock." She was on auto pilot and her voice came out without her even knowing it.

She was surprised when the face behind her held Pad showed unusual amount of contempt. At first she was annoyed then slowly swallowed her surprise as eventually the face spoke.

"One For All, stand by."

"We still haven't docked!" Ericha Rrang shouted.

Her stress was skyrocketing with each passing second and day and the pain that she felt increased exponentially with every failure.

The face on screen grinned. "And you will, when I say it. Not sooner."

"This is Captain Ericha Rrang of the ..." She barked over the open channel.

"And you will stay put as instructed." The sneering man interrupted abruptly ending the Vid call.

Too emotionally drained to argue or to put up a decent fight. Unaware that she was standing she sat back on her chair.

She held her head in the defeat, "Where is Lindsay?" she asked through her hands.

"She is resting." Liza answered her question while all four of her arms worked to gently control the ship.

An orchestra of movement. With every sway of her fingers and wrists, lights on her console would chime in acknowledgment.

Liza hated to see or hear Ericha in any form of emotional stress, "We will find him."

She said with finality. Liza pressed last of the buttons and turned her ergonomic chair, making contact with now weeping Ericha.

"WHEN?" Ericha screamed.

"WHEN ARE WE GOING TO FIND HIM? Huh? 6 fucking months." Her voice was shaking.

Tears were now streaming across her face. She blamed herself, and Lucian for leaving, getting abducted, being there in the first place. Not being careful.

Liza's head bent down. All four of her antennae fell as well, in defeat, frustration and contemplation. Seeing her lover in such state, being unable to offer any advice as to what to do or where to go, just to find their missing man.

On the other end Ericha was crushed emotionally by her verbal outburst.

Ericha stood and dragged her tired body over to where the helms console was, she wrapped her arms in a loving embrace around one of the people that meant more than her life. The apparition was now even more vivid in the ships light. Her white face showed how stressed and drained she truly was.

"My love. I am so sorry." Her sad voice conveyed her true emotions.

"We will find him, right?" Now the question was asked by Liza.

"Of course baby, we will, we need to be stronger."

Ericha had no way of knowing. Will they ever find him?

The crackle across the room startled both women as if they were doing something improper or immoral.

"One For All. This is Commander Zed. Your permission to dock has been granted." The vid call abruptly ended not waiting for their validation.

Another station waiting for them, for their probing. As they went for the searching of their lover and husband, they noticed that the most efficient way of doing things was to sell ore in hopes to get the precious fuel they so badly needed.

No matter what, every space station gave them specific set of items and ores they required to even dock. They obediently went along and had to trade in some of the ore that they mined for their precious fuel they needed to traverse many systems in search of Lucian.

When they understood what had happened, when they found that they were being followed by an unidentified ship. Finally getting through that first few weeks they were working on system after system around the place that Lucian disappeared. Visiting countless stations both good and incredibly evil. Variety of people that they met was astonishing.

All of them knew nothing about his whereabouts. But gave them plenty of wild goose chases.

They prepared their shipment of ore, and a special container of precious gems. They armed themselves every time they visited one of these outposts. To the teeth.

They also carried three duffle bags of their supplies that they used for trading.

In them were various more rare and exotic gems, which they managed to obtain from mining ores. They encountered them as they dug through several asteroid belts in a remote system. All of them were very lucky as they managed to maintain a tight hold on their secret stash of the treasure vein.

Ericha and Liza were going in without their backup. This time they were going in alone. The rest of the crew, minus Lindsay, were sent to another station with a similar assortment of goods. No matter what they, will find an answer.

As they prepared their haul, Ericha leaned and gently took Liza's lips. The kiss was long. Both parties were out of breath after they parted.

"Thank you. I needed that." Liza whispered.

She gently lowered her head and stared with a sad expression to her now blank wrist. Once there was a beautiful tattoo that showed the depths of ones love, now was empty and wilting. Absentmindedly she dragged her finger over the once vivid henna tattoo. Now only vivid memories remain of it.

The first few weeks, when it started fading she was confused and scared. Ericha needed all the help in the universe to prove her wrong, that Lucian was not dead. But waiting for them.

She took a long drawn breath and focused her thoughts on the mission in hand. Fishing for information. As they visited these remote and alien stations they met old and new species, some wanted to know them, others wanted to rape them. Some needed little convincing to let the matter go, but others needed more permanent methods of dissuasion.

Gently wiping her hand over her MK 22. Special issue tactical disposal handgun. Small enough not to seem too dangerous, but enough to dispose of most dangers out there.

Many were fooled by the small size of the gun. The real danger presented itself in its bullets. A magazine full of Nano-fiber bullets that could penetrate most armors that were worn by the coherent species around the galaxy.

Those capable of some sort of speech or thought.

Still some chitins and carapaces that some creatures wore naturally, this gun with its limited size, could not penetrate. Or blow up. However, when or if you met those creatures it was better if you had something bigger and more people to help you deal with them.

Snapping it out of her holster she grabbed a magazine. Slowly and gently she pushed the 20 bullet magazine inside the pistol. There was mix of Nano-fiber bullets and incendiary rounds.

Thought behind this was what Nano-fiber rounds could not destroy or kill the fire-starting would finish. One could only hope.

Checking her special little bag; making sure in it was everything she was going to need during any transaction. Inside was special assortment of precious gems that could be sold for a huge amounts of money.

The rest of their loot, almost 500 kilos of ore, was put on a gravity cart and waiting for the familiar chime that would indicate that it was ok to push them through the airlock. One second later they received the sign that they were expecting. Doors opened silently and Ericha stood behind the cart pushing them through. The world exploded in vibrant sounds and colors. She had to squint, partly due to the lightning change and another part was due to the smoke in the air. It could be cut with a knife.

A virtual Middle Eastern space bazaar appeared. What little people were on it gave them strange looks. Appraising them, making sure they could take them down, two women were defenseless.

"Set weapons to kill." Ericha silently said.

"Already did, boss." Liza said with a smile.

One, two steps and they were met by a creature.

"Grrrrrr." It pointed with clicks and gestures to a place further in the back of the station.

They managed to ignore him, running on instinct they knew what to avoid and where to go. Many, many desperate aliens tried to appropriate their hard earned loot for themselves.

Too many foiled attempts later they scouted and dug out any information they could before they would attempt any future sale.

With rattled nerves, both Ericha and Liza, after several minutes of walking through menagerie of different alien species, stood in front their destination.

Solid iron door.

"Remember our plan?" Ericha asked.

Liza looked at her lover, "Of course I do."

"Good." Ericha smiled.

Two women slowly approached them. Before their eyes a single scarlet rose blossomed from the iron door and as if judging them closed its petals.

"Fancy." Ericha said.

Liza rolled her eyes. "Not impressed."

Then the door slowly opened.

Both watched in mock awe at the cinematic display that was happening before their eyes. Obviously it was to impress them. They were not.

As they stepped inside the dark interior. The lights were almost strategically placed for anyone that might enter. As the rest of the shop was hidden by its shadow, the area of their interest was brightly lit. White light was casted over a single man leaning on a chair. Beside him a woman in chains. While he was busy inspecting an ornate piece left without a doubt by another customer, he deviously watched their movement.

The man wore a black suit with a white tie. The color of his eyes were unbelievably white, and his hair was pointy and black. Beside him was assortment of unusual jars and trinkets. Alongside the walls of his shop were assortment of strange parts and plants. The assortment of items inside the shop was too varied and weird to pinpoint the true nature of this establishment.

The woman in chains wore black leather suit that encased her entire body except her face. Inside her mouth was red ball that muffled her screams and the chains were there to prevent her from moving. Or escaping.

Ericha almost sneered, but managed to keep her emotions in check. She was all too familiar with these types. Doing everything for a show.

"Welcome my friends to 'Freak Shop'." The man was positively vomiting hospitality, while Ericha remained indifferent towards his advances, Liza seemed to grasp at his every word.

"The name is Mouth." He continued.

"How strange. Why the name 'Mouth'?" Ericha asked.

"There is no reason to give. People in my line of work tend to lose their real names and acquire fake ones to better distinguish one from another." Mouth explained.

"For example the man just down the street is named 'The Bitch'. Does not mean he IS one, now does it?" Mouth finished with a gentle bow of his head.

"Now. How can I help you today ladies?" Mouth asked.

"We are looking for an information about a kidnaping. We heard from few reliable sources that you had some news about a man that was kidnapped." Ericha said.

Liza tried to look enamored.

"What sources are that?" Mouth probed.

"Person who offered us this clue wants to remain anonymous." Ericha answered.

"Ah. Figures." Mouth slowly licked his lips.

"Depends. What are you offering for that information?" The man looking at her face sneered.

His surgically enhanced eyes managed to scare most of his customers, these would probably react and fall for his trap. The glow affecting their nerves would make them afraid of negotiating any price that he would set. Not a magic act but just plain fear. His eyes emitted special light that affected anything he was looking at.

Slowly he begun to emit the special light that would affect the ladies before him. Soon both of them would be putty in his hands.

While Ericha was busy haggling with the man on the chair, Liza was busy gazing into the variety of jars which displayed assortment of ghastly artifacts. In each of them was an item that presumably belonged to someone, but in this case was displayed in a grim fashion.

Confused; Liza stared at few of them at first. Until she saw one that made her blood chill to the bones. One of them presented an arm that seemed so familiar.

The container was front and center to all of other jars and containers that had assortment of different things in liquid. Some branches some vines but mostly severed limbs. For sale.

At first she smiled and discarded the invading thoughts. Grim and dark. Every one of them made sure to vividly portrait her lover missing an arm. It did not help that the severed arm was the same as the one that Lucian had the henna tattoo. His left one.

Her gut was twisting and turning while, with her shaking hands, she picked up the container to make sure.

Ericha slowly picked up her container, "Here I have some precious gems and jewels. Also out there on a gravity cart are around 500 kilos of presdic ore."

"Name your price Mouth." Ericha slowly said.

"How about 20 kilos?" He slowly said wetting his lips.

"No." A silent but determined voice came thorough.

"What?" He barked.

For some strange reason both women were unresponsive. He tried again, making sure that the eyes were lit for longer, their bodies were exposed for a longer time; but still the women remained unaffected, even the alien girl that showed some appreciation. He tried again. Projecting even more energy. Nothing.

"Where did you get this?" Liza's whisper was soft but demanding.

In her hand was a jar. Both Ericha and Mouth watched at the invader. Seeing what she had in her hand, Mouth's smile slowly disappear from his face.

"H-h-hey, you break it you pay it." Ericha caught Mouth's weak attempt of disguising the truth.

"What is that?" Ericha watched sad Liza as she gently embraced the jar like it was a precious child of hers.

Soft tears fell down her cheeks, choking on them she softly said, "It's his. I feel him."

Ericha did not need more than that. She turned her head and watched ever shrinking Mouth almost vanish.

"Give me that!" He lunged suddenly at Liza.

Quickly he was stopped by Ericha's hand. She grabbed one of his hands and with ease she pushed him backwards.

"Where are you going?" She gently asked.

"Y-y-you need to leave. NOW!" He shivered in fear.

The lady's chains behind him rattled. Everyone was focused either on the jar or the now whimpering man.

"Please. Leave now." Mouth was now vividly struggling to stay in one place.

"Tell us; what do you know about this man." Ericha ignored his repeated attempts and pulled a pad showing Lucian's face.

"I did not know who that was. I swear." Mouth's voice was breaking.

Repeatedly moving his head from one person to the other he was desperately trying to make them understand and believe what he was telling them.

"You know I had all of this thought up." She pointed her finger to her head.

"But I think we do not need that right now, do we? I do not need to tell you where he was or what he did. You will tell me what you know." Ericha slowly spoke.

"I do not need to tell you made up stories."

She had thought about the stuff she wanted to divulge. They were fibs or lies, but necessary to find Lucian. What came after did not matter.

When the man saw the picture his eyes winded in horror. That was all Ericha needed to get into action. Her soldier persona was slowly bubbling up to the surface.

"Tell us what you know. Everything will be alright." Ericha softly whispered.

"I am not saying anything." Mouth managed to spit out.

Ericha narrowed her eyes. The slap came unexpected. Liza and even the chained woman were startled by the action. Mouth was reeling in pain. Ericha's slap left a mark and a busted lip. Blood slowly started to trickle down his face.

"Now let's ask that again shall we. What do you know about this man?" Ericha once again showed the picture.

Mouth was now shaking. He managed to stand up and look her in the eye.

"Crazy bitch." He spat.

A hand, again came unexpectedly, and again Mouth was down on the floor whimpering in pain.

"Mouth, please this can only end in two ways." Ericha slowly said.

Mouth whimpered.

"What was that?" Ericha asked.

Mouth said something, now it was louder, "Three actually."

"Oh. And what is the third?" Ericha had a small smile on her lips.

The chains suddenly rattled, the woman behind them remained standing but her arms were now gently swaying down below her knees. The chains went slack!

Woman tilted her head on an unnatural angle. Scanning the area. Moving her face like she was scenting the air. Ericha watched. Her hand was on her gun the moment she felt something was up with Mouth.

She was prepared, but at the same time wondering if it was enough.

"Slave. Engage." Mouth said.

The air became still.

The woman started to rapidly breathe. Then she lunged at Ericha.

Few moments after it Ericha was chastising herself for hesitating, but it has happened. She was dodging her hand while maneuvering to a defensive position. A basic posture that would allow her to gather her bearings. However she did not get any time to rest. The woman followed her with trained movements.

"Chit." Erich cursed on her mother tongue.

The slave was quick, not waiting for Ericha to find her footing. Her opponent was not concerned about a fair fight. She jumped following Ericha and swung her leg in an attempt to land any hit. Her leg was quickly trying to find a chink in the armor,

Ericha managed to close the distance. With her guard up she approached the slave woman. A fast hit with her hand to her solar plexus managed to stop her for few milliseconds.

It was everything she needed. Series of fast palm strikes managed to daze the slave. Ericha needed nothing more than that get even closer and grab the woman in a clinch. Intertwining her fingers behind the slaves head for a better grip, Ericha drove her knee right into the slave girl's face.

Ericha let go of the woman and she unceremoniously dropped down to the floor. She turned and with a cold stare watched the unconscious woman.

Mouth could not believe it. A Type 1 cyborg was practically nullified by an ordinary botean. Ericha slowly turned her head in his direction. She saw that the man on the ground now had a wry smile on his face. Trying not to panic.

"You are unreal. What the fuck are you?!" The instant his slave went face first onto the floor Mouth's face was staring at Ericha in surprise and disgust.

"I am me, I came here to find answers. I demand answers." Ericha was walking confidently towards her new pray.

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