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Template:PostIn CatH Post 71 Clear and Ciel contemplate opening up the Command Deck after learning that there must be time-freezing beings inside that have locked the room into temporal stasis in CatH Post 70. The post flits between present and past. In the present Clear is stalking the darkened corridors of The Hopeful in silence as she hunts down the escaped creatures with her carbine. Ciel confirms that she should be able to dampen the effects of the time distortion and they open the room, releasing both the creatures and Captain Icer. Icer, however, is on fire and condemns them for opening the door. In the present Clear is almost killed by one of the creatures but is saved by Aellisin Koure.

Post

Space Monsters of Time

Clear stares down the corridor towards the door to the Command Deck of The Hopeful. The Command Deck has long been a realm of mystery and wonder to Clear throughout her life. Ever since she was a child she would look up at Icer through the portal window and wonder who this strong woman is and why she was set on fire. Now, older and wearier, Clear knows at least half of this story. Now she wonders what is in there with the Jupiterian.

She is sitting at the end of the corridor, her chair just shy of the infamous 'Death Trap' hole in the floor that most people would trip over if they didn't know it was there. The corridor to Icer's Room is a short one.

She just sits and watches for a long time before she hears shuffling feet and the rustling of long fabric against the metal floor. Clear doesn't look up.

She hears the scraping of chair legs and then Ciel sits beside her. Clear glances at Ciel from the corner of her eye. Being in such a huge swathe of robes Ciel looks like an overripe white fruit perched on the chair, still with no visible arms and legs and her head almost disappearing within the mass of cloth. Ciel doesn't seem to notice how ridiculous she looks.

The old woman just sits there in equal silence and the two women watch the door, like two patient cats watching a mouse-hole.

---

Atmospheric music - Angels of Darkness[Ext 1]

Clear pulls the trigger of her carbine and bullets screech down the corridor. Each shot bangs with a burst of light that brightens her face for an instant. Bullet after bullet slams into the wall, then the ceiling and then she stops, knowing it escaped.

She gasps and tries to wipe away the sweat from her forehead. With the oxygen filters down the air is becoming increasingly stifled. In a ship in prime condition the air would have remained clean and fresh for days - possibly even months - even with the filters destroyed. On The Hopeful, however, with the filtration down the grime of centuries is being wafted into the atmosphere, choking the oxygen out of it.

She winces and leans against a wall as blood seeps from the new wound on her arm. Bright blue and watery. Her skin will be stained for days. Instead of chasing it, this creature, she scurries to the medbay where she hastily sprays bacta onto the injury. She briefly glances at the woman lying on the bed, unconscious but resumes tending to her own injuries. She doesn't do a great job, but it will do. A quick bandage later and she's back into the fray.

---

Ciel eventually breathes in deeply before opening her mouth.

Ciel: "I have several theories to explain what is happening. But not a single one of them is good."

Clear doesn't reply.

Ciel: "Truth is... the best thing to do would be to forget about it."

Clear frowns, finding something to reply to.

Clear: "Yeah... because that's going to happen."

Ciel: "They've been in that room for... what? Centuries? You think they're going to just- PING! pop out now?"

Clear becomes silent again.

---

The lights are low. According to Mother's estimations, the creatures prefer lots of light to hunt by. Clear supposes that, with the ability to stop time, darkness is hardly necessary for stealth.

She reaches the corner of the corridor and peers around it. All clear. She grit her teeth. The tension is likely to kill her before the monster ever gets the chance. She slips into the corridor and quietly pads along it. She'd taken her boots off a while ago, finding the usual clang of her soles upon the metal floor to be something of a dead giveaway. Luckily the droids have been sweeping the floor of small debris - no LEGO bricks[Ext 2] to the foot. 

A monitor on the wall has Mother's face staring at her as she passes by. She gives the screen a thumbs up, the camera sensor in the monitor registers the movement and Mother, also in silence, nods. Clear keeps her carbine pointed forward, ready for the first sign of movement ahead of her. She tries to keep her breathing regulated.

She reaches a crack in the wall, one that's been there ever since Clear was born, and she peeks inside. The room's lights are completely out but Clear feels like she can sense something. Something in there. Then it happens. Time stops.

---

Clear: "Truth is... I want to open the door. I want to get inside and I want to kill whatever is in there. This is my home, Ciel. It's infested."

Ciel looks at the door, her wizened face contemplative.

Ciel: "It can be done."

Clear almost feels like she expected Ciel could do it. She isn't sure why, she just had a feeling. A gut instinct.

Clear: "You can open the door?"

Ciel nods.

Ciel: "And I can probably help with this little... time problem."

She hops to her feet in a motion that is far too spritely for a an old woman.

---

It feels like Clear blinked and then she's back, only the growling of a hungry and angry beast is suddenly offending her ears. Clear kicks against the wall to throw her body backwards but she feels sluggish and slow. Her head is dulled, her brain is fogged. Only her sight and hearing seem in tact but to Clear's mind that's all she needs rights now. The creature's guttural growl increases in volume and she squeezes the trigger. Bullets blast from the carbine's nozzle but they seem slowed too - so much so that she thinks she glances them as they fly forth. They're fast enough, however. Bullets race into the dark where she hears them collide with walls and metal. The creature inside howls but not from pain... from frustration.

Somewhere on the ship Ciel sensed the sudden distortion of time and sought to correct it.

Clear pauses in her fire. She doesn't want to run out of bullets and leave herself open. The creature seems to think, however, that's exactly what happened as it suddenly thrusts itself from the crack in the wall. It's huge form takes up the whole corridor and it's leathery black skin slips out of the dark like a nightmare come reality. She opens fire again but the creature's time-affect is still in place - it may not be able to freeze Clear but everything is still slowed, Ciel's own power only dampening the affect rather than negating it entirely. The creature appears to be extremely fast to the salmitton's eye as it leaps, with uncanny agility, out of the path of bullet-induced-death. It's huge black wings slide across the walls as it moves and its jaws blare an aggressive scream of rage at her. Clear throws herself to the right, fighting against the slowing of time like she's treading water. Her rifle blasts again and again but the bullets miss the beast as it first climbs onto the wall and then scuttles onto the ceiling and around as it runs away.

When it's gone, Clear feels her body lurch back into real-time and almost falls over from the sudden surge of motion. She releases the clip of her rifle and pulls a new one from her arse-pocket. She is a centimetre from attaching it to the gun when her hand slows and her breath catches. With pained slowness her hand moves the clip towards the gun but her eyes are pinned forward as the creature rushes straight at her.

Clear: "Clever thing..."

---

Clear: "I'm ready for whatever dumb space monster is in there."

She slings her carbine onto her shoulder while Ciel is trying to see fast the frozen figure of Captain Icer.

Ciel: "I hope it's a dumb space monster..."

Clear: "Whatever it is, I'll cram a few bullets into its face if you keep it from stopping time."

Ciel: "You know..."

Clear feels she was going to point out somethings in the universe can't be killed by bullets alone but since the woman stopped Clear assumes Ciel doesn't see much sense in arguing the point any longer. Evidently Ciel wants to see these time-distorting monsters as much as Clear does.

Ciel stands in front of the door and sweeps her hand. The door pops, almost too casually for this momentous moment. Then the door flies open and Icer falls back into the room. She cries out with anguish as her body is on fire but before either Clear or Ciel could rush to assume they stop dead for an instant until Ciel's own dampening powers take effect. The creature blink into existence before the eyes of Clear, just in time for her to see them scuttle over her head and into the ship. Big, black, hulking beasts with claws as long as her forearm and wings that slap against the metal walls. Clear falls down with sudden horror before she manages to get her gun up and fires at one of them as it runs along the ceiling. Her bullets miss the thing as it moves too fast.

Icer: "What... have you... done?"

The Jupiterian captain faints.

Ciel: "I'll take her to the medical bay..."

---

The creature is slammed into the wall, violently. It writhes against the invisible force that has it pinned until that invisible power finally relents and the creature jumps from the wall to the other and hurries back down the corridor. Clear's clip slips into the gun at last and she stands staring at where she should have met her end.

Clear: "Wh-why did you save me?"

Aellisin Koure: "I need you to control this ship..."

He comes up beside her. He holds out his hand and from it bursts his flaming red soul that bursts brightly in the darkened corridor. So he has his powers back, at least in part, Clear muses with worry. Lucky he does but she can't help but be afraid of what he has planned for the future. For now he still needs her to operate the ship so she assumes her safety is guaranteed. Besides...

They have a mutual enemy.

Clear: "Let's go kill some space monsters."

References

External References

  1. audiomachine - Angels of Darkness video, YouTube.
  2. LEGO article, Wikipedia.
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