Combat Ghost Zalsciah

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Combat Ghost Zalsciah

Post by Kavik Ryx » Thu Jan 31, 2008 6:47 pm

This one is an original mech fiction, which I'll get to sooner or later. Till then I have some basic information on Sentou Seiriei Zalsciah.

Plot: It is the year 3107 of our common calendar, and today marks the 1000th anniversary of humankind’s abandonment of Earth and the founding of Helios Gaea. In this artificial habitat, the discovery of the mysterious graviton particle has been achieved, leading to centuries of prosperity and peace. On this monumental day, a scientific/archeological research team has for the first time in history, returns to our once home. However, this expedition encountered something quite unexpected, resulting in a crash landing. This is when the story falls into the hands of the of the team’s survivors Kail Haifa. This young man, an expert mechanic in revolutionary devices known as Ghost Fortresses, must utilize one for the purpose of rescuing the crew from the unforgiving planet surface, and as surprising as it seems, devices that not only appear to be fully functioning, but modern as well. This leads everyone to one conclusion. Humans did survive on Earth. However, they are nothing like what they use to be.
The only one to return to space, Kail has been drafted to investigate the nature of those who remained, as well as the intentions of the Earthbound. His orders are to protect the peace at any cost. Feeling suspicious, he personally takes it upon himself to discover exactly who these people are, and soon enough he stumbles over an age-old Gaean cover-up that had been the obsession of his late friend. Kail is soon to learn more than he is expected, and thus destroy an unholy balance that plagues humanity.

Main Characters:

Kail Haifa: A young ghost mechanic. At the age of 22, he was going to be the youngest person to step foot on earth in 1000 years. Granted extenuating circumstances make his adventure a curse more than anything. This along with his expertise in ghost fortresses force him to become a pilot for the VFF 7 Zalsciah. Kail has a way around people, befriending a pilot when he was a kid who died of unknown causes. This made him amusingly cynical as well as suspicious of the government.

Chaya Miriana: A medical student and Kail’s de facto, eventual girlfriend. Even while living in a technologically advanced age, she is no fan of modern medicine, and prefers to nutrients and surgery to drugs. She has been called frighteningly good as a surgeon with a creepy smile.

Haruna Suzumi: An enigmatic young woman who shares a sort of animosity with Kail. She remains quiet and stealthily, saying few words at any time. Like Kail, she is also highly knowledgeable when it comes to ghost fortresses, and becomes a Zalsciah pilot herself.

Title Mech

VFF 7 Zalsciah: A highly variable, new line ghost fighter. It can equip to and function pretty much any fortress and is capable of self-learning. Two early models are assigned to Kail Haifa and Haruna Suzumi. Several more are produced later on.

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Post by assault gundam » Sat Feb 02, 2008 10:25 am

this sounds like it is going to be a very interesting story. Very unique. Can't wait to see the story unfolled
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Post by Kavik Ryx » Sat Feb 02, 2008 6:10 pm

Thanks. To be honest, beyond a general premise, so far I don't know exactly where I'm ultimately going. Either way, chapter 1 complete.

Sentou Seirei Zalsciah
Chapter 1: A Shallow Grave Once Called Earth

“You do realize Mister Haifa that you are under oath?” The judge looked sternly at the young man in front of him.

“With all do respect you’re honor I am. Just like I said, when the team located the active weapons, I had to commandeer the Giylga. I would have not made it out myself if not…”

“Mister Haifa,” the judge yelled banging his gavel relentlessly. “You honestly expect me to expect this farfetched tale of yours?”

“Well it’s true.”

“Well if it is, start from the beginning, and this time, slow down.”

“Very well then.” Standing on trial, Kail Haifa toned down his voice to a more somber pitch and began regaling is story. “I guess it’s just like an old friend of mine said, ‘Whatever’s written in history, is probably a pile of bull.’ Considering what I saw on the planet’s surface, he’s probably right.”

“Ugh, I may have all day Mister Haifa, but that is no excuse to waste my time. Now, give me your story without the commentary.”

“Fair enough I guess. As you already know I had volunteered for the Terran Expedition as a Ghost mechanic.” As Kail started up his account once again, it started becoming all too clear in his head. So as he was speaking it, he realized that he would end up reliving it.

* * *

As Kail thought back he remembered being on cloud nine a few weeks back. Fresh out of college, a licensed Ghost mechanic, and hired to an expeditionary team that would guarantee his success in life; at the moment everything was perfect. But first, he needed to say a few goodbyes. “Chaya!” he yelled over to a med student across campus, “Over here, I got great news.”

The student ran over as fast as she could, and after hyperventilating for a few seconds blurted out, “You got accepted didn’t you? I knew it. Which one, the Gravius core? The Juno Operation? No wait, the Solar Observatory?”

“Even better. The Earth Expedition.”

“Oh my god,” she gasped jumping hand in hand with Kail. “That was the hardest one to get into, how did you manage to pull it off?”

“Well, a lot of begging mostly.”

“That’s uh, great. So, when do you disembark?”

“In five hours.”

“You’re leaving already!” Chaya shouted in distress. “You graduated six days ago, I have finals next week, and you’re going to be down in some barren wasteland hunting for algae!”

“Yep, pretty much.”

“Well doesn’t it seem a little soon?”

“You say it like we’re an item.”

“Hey, I just need some moral support, surgery is nothing like rewiring an engine.”

“Sorry Chaya, but this is a once in a lifetime opportunity. Imagine me, I’ll be recognized as onr the first men to step foot on Earth in 1000 years. That would be like if you created a living human with spare organs.”

“Fine so you want to make history. You know if we were dating I’d be pissed.”

“Yes but we’re not.”

“That aside have you said all you’re goodbyes?”

“Actually, I’ve only told you and my parents.”

With an angry look on her face and a pissed voiced, Chaya responded, “And you say we’re not a couple.”

“Well I intend that we’ll be one day.” As he was speaking, Kail looked over to notice another girl walk by, one who was staring enigmatically toward him. “Well that’s it,” he continued talking twice as fast, “See ya.” He then kissed Chaya on the cheek and ran like hell. If he had explained why he just ditched her she’d understand, though right now he was sure that his non-girlfriend was giving him the evil eye. However, he was okay with that as there is nothing he would have hated more than address the passing girl, let alone end up speaking to her. But that was a different story for a different time.

* * *

It was a little out of the ordinary for Kail to be such a glory seeker, but he couldn’t help it. As he looked around, he thought of what a feet for mankind it was when Helios Gaea was complete. Humanity had abandoned the Earth, and now it was time to go back, even if just once.

He wasn’t too far from his excavation team’s vessel to begin with, and it took very little time to get there. Kail had expected to be the first one there, but turned out to be the last. It appeared that everyone else was as enthusiastic as he was. The senior was all there: Captain Larry Truman, Navigator Janice Craig, COM technician Yani Putin, Geological Specialist Abeni Ba, and Microbiologist Johan Weiss. They were all renowned professionals with distinguished careers. Even the main crew of pilots, technicians, doctors, and oddly enough cameramen were reputable in their fields. As the “kid” onboard Kail stood in awe around his superiors. Now he had four and a half hours too kill and ended up forcing himself into reclusion. He didn’t want to make a fool of himself until after takeoff.

* * *

Skipping all formalities, Kail’s mind fast-forwarded a good two hour after takeoff. He didn’t much care for paying attention during the Phoenix’s liftoff ceremony. All that mattered was the Earth. Heck, he was fast asleep in the shuttle compartment during the launch ceremony, only to be woken up by a journalist as the ship neared geo-synchronous orbit. “Uh, what the?” he said still groggy. He looked over to see a man with a camera remote control. In the reporter’s frustration, he had shoved Kail.

“Damn! The picture is being taken outside, how am I getting such a bad image?”

“Did you adjust the lens focus and resolution to sync up with the ship’s frequency?

“I don’t follow, my camera works independently of the ship power supply.”

“Yes but your remote’s commands are being altered when they pass through the hull. You camera is perfectly okay it’s just receiving the wrong messages.” Kail grabbed the control out of the guy’s hand, and with a few tweaks to the settings a beautiful picture of the Earth appeared.

“Oh my, pass it back, pass it back, this is one for the books.”

“No problem,” Kail responded, “it’s my job.”

“So you’re a…”

“Yep, I’m a ghost mechanic.”

“Well that makes me feel a little more comfortable around you. For a second I thought you were some rich kid whose daddy pulled some strings.”

“I could be, but then again I don’t think there are any legacy kids out there by the name of Kail Haifa. And 22 really isn’t that young.”

“Even better. I’m Stephan Bjorik, 34 years young and photojournalist for the Antares Associated Sentinel.”

“AA huh, a friend of mine interned there, well a friend of a friend actually, but she worked on filming some of those stupid human interest stories I’m sorry, but they really are bad.”

“No, no, I hear you though. But they serve their purpose.”

“Which is?”

“Conservative middle age women and the elderly who won’t shut up about their precious grandchildren.” The two of them laughed after which Stephan changed the subject, “So you’re a ghost mechanic huh?”

“Yep, got hooked on them as a kid, and I haven’t looked back since.”
“Though, ghosts, who’s bright idea was to name them that?”

“It’s actually quite smart when you know the origin. It came from the concept of the ghost machine, in which we are souls, which inhabit human bodies. Granted I find the idea to be a pile of bull, but what happens with ghosts is that they are detachable machines, the soul per se, which link up to fortresses, a body. Due to movable frames and holo-technology, they are capable of changing form when they connect. Each fortress is built for a specific purpose, construction, police, and exploration to name a few. But the ghost fighter itself is equipped with its very own set of commands and capabilities, which can affect the functionality of a fortress. Does that make sense?”

“I’ll take your word for it. But let’s change the subject.” Kail remembered talking with him for another hour or so. It was nice to have someone on board he could call friend. Time passed by quickly, that is until approaching reentry.

* * *

This may have been the first atmospheric reentry to be performed in centuries, but this was also going to be the easiest. As long as the generator was on, there was nothing that could burn up the Phoenix. The expedition’s leaders, excluding the captain, were on the bridge to witness this momentous occasion. Mr. Truman stood before the other passengers for a typical soapbox speech. “If I may have you attention please. 1000 years ago, humanity reached a point of near extinction. The Earth was dying and we had done too much to undo the damage. But, with the determination of several brave men and women, Helios Gaea had been founded, allowing for a new home for us all. We have learned from our mistakes since and now the time has come for us to reclaim the legacy that is the planet below. You should all take pride in the fact that we are making history here today. Yes, today will be remembered indeed.”

* * *

From the nose of the ship, the thermosphere was nearing. In the olden days, most vessels would have burned up instantly. Instead, a green glow surrounded the Phoenix, with the hull temperature perfectly stable. Craig had nothing to worry about until the landing procedure, and everyone else had nothing to worry about whatsoever. Putin did notice some weird electromagnetic pulses. “We’re experiencing some odd fluctuations. Must be passing through an ion storm. Though how is it passing through us without first…” Just then, something exploded. An enormous blue ball stuck the Phoenix, burning everything out. Craig was attempting to get control of the navigational systems. But with even auxiliary power not responding, the ship was going down, that is if it didn’t burn up first.

Everything had gone awry, many people passed out due to turbulence and heat exhaustion, several of the outer shells plates burned right off, and the vessel had entered a tailspin. No one was in a position to attach a safety harness, causing many to crash into the walls multiple times. Kail vomited up blood and Stephan suffered from heat stroke. It would be an exaggeration to say that they had it the worst, but what they went through was excruciating enough. No one could stop it, no one could escape it, the Phoenix was going to crash It was going to in three, two, one!

* * *

In time, Kail woke up. He suffered from a broken leg, hairline fractures of the skull and tissue damage throughout. He wasn’t in too much pain, and in fact may have been the best off, not suffering from loss of appendages, organ death, paralysis, crippling pain, or worse. A one armed woman walked over to see Kail regaining consciousness. “He’s okay,” she yelled to the others.

“Wait a minute. What’s going on here? Where is everyone? What happened to your arm?” In agonizing pain he got off his back only to wish that he didn’t. There was a score of bodies scattered everywhere, all dead. Kail was one of only nine to have survived the crash. It was beyond sickening. These people didn’t just die; they were mutilated. Intense heat had warped their faces. Shrapnel had impaled the corpses in almost every way. One man even had a beam shot right up his spine and out his head. The odor of burnt flesh consumed the wreckage. If anything were to crush a man’s soul, this would be it. Kail was about to vomit, and it happened as a large man with a scratched out eye pulled him away from this hellish site.

The survivors had taken shelter in the still intact backside of the Phoenix, which was still beaten up pretty bad. Aside from him, the remaining members of the team included Professor Ba, two scientists, a reporter, a pair of ghost pilots including the one who grabbed him, another mechanic, and the captain. Many of them were in dire pain and the loss of body parts was common. Captain Turner had even lost all of the feeling in his legs. Kail couldn’t believe his eyes. He just had to ask, “Wait, what happened to everyone? How did this happen?”

“Something disabled the engine,” the hefty man answered. “The aftershock caused the ship to lose control. At such high speeds, we didn’t stand a chance. The Phoenix went down two miles before falling apart. Everyone else is dead.

“But how could…”

“We don’t know!” interjected.

“Then that means…Wait! Are you sure? Have you checked everyone?”

“Everyone who hadn’t been vaporized. These are the facts, like it or leave.” This statement made Kail think about the worst part of it all, at least for him. Just hours ago he was conversing with Bjorik over everything; their jobs, their reasons for joining the expedition, he even brought up the tension between him and Chaya. And now a man he could call a friend was among corpses. In a way, he had hoped that he was vaporized.

* * *

Hours had gone by with tension going up. Most of the supplies had remained intact, which included substantial amounts of medicine and food. Even so, the team was stranded, mostly dead, and with no way of receiving aide. Anyone who could move had been ordered to rummage for parts. Professor Ba, who lost her arm when the hull ruptured, surveyed the deep pit for any useful materials or weakness in the earth. The rest were doing what they could to get the graviton emitter online. Once that happened, they could send out an SOS.

Kail was searching through the hold when it occurred to him that spare parts should have been abundant. After he slapped himself on the head, he started peeled his eyes for an access route to the second cargo bay. Sure it was wedged right into the ground below, but what was inside should have remained intact. When he found his way in, it turned out that his idea held true to a degree. Three of twelve excavation type fortresses and two or eight Giylga model ghosts were, for the most part, undamaged. If their generators were offline when the Phoenix was hit, hopefully they would have been unaffected.

While he had the technical know-how and an access key, the young engineer hadn’t much experience in actually piloting a ghost fortress. He had never really used one beyond a few test procedures. Besides, he could have reported to someone who could use them, let alone notify the Captain and Professor. However, right now he wasn’t thinking straight, most of his mental energy was being expended to ignore repress the fact that so many people had just died. If Kail had given himself time for rational thought, he would have broken down in the end. Transmitting an emergency signal was top priority. There would be enough time to mourn after they were rescued.

Getting the ghost on his mind, Kail jumped into one and linked up with a worker fortress. From inside the cargo bay, the composite machine moved around its joints and folded in to create a skeletal form. Since the transformation was a success, it was safe to assume that everything was fully functional. The graviton emitters could be activated. Light bended around the body, giving shape to the S0693 Giylga Excavator type. Kail’s next instinct was to drill his way through the hull.

The fortress was soundproof, but everyone else felt disturbed by the screeching and tremors caused by the hand held drill. When it stepped out, the one eyed pilot yelled out, “Hey, what are you doing in there.”

“I am a licensed mechanic you know. We should be able to use these to repair the Phoenix.”

“The Phoenix is gone. A ghost fortress can’t put it back together.”

“No, but we might be able to get the COM system back online. It’s not out of the ordinary to scrap one thing to salvage another.” In all honesty, the encampment was surprised by how calm Kail was acting considering how he had panicked earlier. Though mentally, the moment he would stop focusing on this would be the moment he’d break down.

* * *

Salvaging the Phoenix turned out to be the distraction that the mechanic had been hoping for. The second pilot, who was still recovering took out the second Giylga to assist in the dismantling of the ship. At this point, only Captain Turner and the other engineer were incapacitated. This didn’t slow down the job, but tending to them simultaneously was a pain for whoever’s shift it was to take care of them. Luckily for Kail, he was exempt from this as long as he was in the best shape. With him manning the operation, it only took four hours to scrap, repair, and assemble the COM transmitter. It had enough range and power to send a simple emergency call. Whether it was received or not would be a different matter.

As it happened, the device could also pick up faint signals being based on the Phoenix’s communications system. “Hey Professor,” the burly pilot called out, “The receiver is picking up some odd channel from the cliff sides. I’m not sure if you were expecting that or not.”
Curious, Dr. Ba knelled over in order to read and interpret the message. However, it only took a few seconds to realize something. “Oh my!” she said in surprise.

“Yes?”

“This frequency is giving the same readings from before we were hit. It’s much weaker than before. But still.”

“Then this means that the anomaly that disabled the core is common?”

“Considering that they are subterranean in origin, I would say that they are being emitted, perhaps artificially. It’s only coming from one direction and it’s consistent. I cannot imagine any natural or random occurrence to act in such a uniform manner. Captain, may I request that we call of the rescue? The same thing may happen to…”

“The same thing may happen if it’s still functional,” interjected Kail. “If I can find it, maybe it can be shut down or something. What do you say?”
“You have two hours,” the captain replied. “After that, I will order a disengage message.”

“’Kay then, sounds fair enough. So professor, which way to the transmissions?”

“Turn 114 degrees. I suggest that you dig into the higher rock formations. They should be less tensile. You should be able to pinpoint the source if you set your sensors to 401.76 megahertz. Understood?”

“Understood.” In mind, he set his receiver to the appropriate frequency, turned around, climbed up the cliff walls, and drilled in. This was going to turn out just fine; another couple of hours for him to forget where he was and how he got there.

* * *

The tedium of drilling though a cliff went by rather quickly. After a while it appear that digging was unnecessary, and that’s when Kail lit up the night vision. What he saw was a conveniently carved out tunnel system, large enough for the Giylga to walk through while crouching. It became even timelier as the intensity of wave he was following got more intense has he followed the passageways. This made things a whole lot easier, but it was suspiciously easy. Whether it was common sense or paranoia, it occurred to Kail that this just doesn’t happen naturally.

This paranoia only got worse and worse. The cave became easier to travel and soon enough, the sound the fortress make while walking changed. The sound of stepping on rock was replaced by that of metal. Kail looked down at the floor and came to the conclusion that this was an old mine from the 21st century. Then again, that doesn’t explain the odd transmissions. He was now walking down a nice straight path. The corridors were still pitch black, and the whole idea of this journey just got creepier and creepier with every step. Forty minutes had passed, the air was thickening, and suddenly some object charged towards him. In reaction Kail lunged forwards and pierced right through whatever was about to hit him.

Out of curiosity, Kail looked back and down towards whatever that thing was. It appeared to have a diamond shape, at least before it had been serrated though. Its sides included several jets and the front had what remained of sensors and transceivers. It was a reconnaissance drone, and in pretty good condition at that. This sealed the deal. He wasn’t walking through an old mine. Heck, even if it were some ancient military facility, there is no way that its machinery could be so well maintained after all these years. But there was not time to reflect. Something was out there. He had no idea what it was or why it was here. But for whatever it was, it was approaching, fast. There was only enough time to duck as a massive blue orb flew by.

After reading the data that came through, it became clear that the source of the radiation, and by extension the Phoenix’s demise, was whatever shot that thing. He had to move carefully. There is no way he would have allowed the same thing to happen to him. Activating the drill once more, he dug straight into the wall to create a safe little alcove. With the next blast coming he jumped right into it and began digging forward. However, the third shot was aimed right towards him once again, forcing Kail to slide out of the way to the other side. This thing could target him, foiling his plan. Though it did open the door to another.

Once again the Giylga dug out the cavern and tucked himself nicely in there. With another blast on its way, he glided out, back, and forward to the opposite side. He would drill in once again and continue the process over and over. Staying one step ahead of his unknown enemy, he slithered his way forward with the grace of a speed skater. It was working out so far, but as the weapon and the fortress approached, a new plan was needed.

Soon enough, Kail located the enemy. It just stood there continuing to fire. If he was right, all he had been fighting against was nothing more than a sentry turret. So ducking once more, he drove himself forward cleating the gun. With his last moment possible, he then pushed up to pierce though it.

It was hard to believe that a machine like that had caused so much damage. But then again everything on this little adventure had been hard to believe. Studying the machine, it became apparent that it was not only technology that was unknown 1000 years ago, but was still impossible by today’s standards as well.

The amplitude of frequency 401.47mghtz had dropped significantly, but other traces of it were coming from all other directions, most prominently forward. That’s the direction Kail continued to walk while thinking to himself how unbelievable this all was. The Earth was in a state of hell back in the year 2107. Pollution had made air and water unacceptable and animals were going extinct. Even things like infrastructure and the economy were falling apart at an unbelievable rate. That year had also given rise to the first human space settlements, and one by one, every human left. The planet had fallen apart and only now was finally remotely inhabitable. No one could have built these machines, and there was nothing that could have maintained them. But this idea was being challenged as Kail’s next step forward led him to an immense, highly advance, and well lit chamber. Amazed at the magnitude of this expanse, he just had to tell himself that, “This definitely isn’t natural.”

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Post by assault gundam » Sun Feb 03, 2008 1:55 pm

this is very interesting. Very nice indeed. It is very early in the story but I can tell that this will be big. Keep up th egood work.
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Post by Kavik Ryx » Fri Feb 15, 2008 1:46 am

Chapter 2 up.

Sentou Seirei Zalcsiah
Chapter #2: Fire by Trial

Kail still was amazed at what he saw, and it showed. At the hearing, he was starting to shiver as he gave his account of the events on Earth. As he got farther into his story, the harder it became to tell it and the less believable it became. Realizing this, the judge intervened. “Okay, so you located the cause of the malfunction inside this subterranean complex if I understand?” He was trying to slow the witness down.

“Yes, it had to have gone down for miles. And that sentry, there were more and more, the farther I went down the more there was. The machines it wasn’t long till they figured out I was there. Things came from every direction. They were like something out of a nightmare. Even a flight type didn’t stand a chance against…”

“Wait one minute. First you were in an excavation fortress and now a jet unit. Is there something I’m missing right now?”

“Oh sorry, I must have jumped too far ahead. Well as I was saying…”

“You were saying nothing. I’m starting to have serious doubts about this all. You said it yourself how this whole scenario is not plausible by any stretch of the imagination. Also as a ghost mechanic, you should know what can short circuit a graviton source under said situation.”

“Nothing your honor.”

“Nothing at all. Do you suppose they could have given out under pressure or faced an incoming wave?”

“In either situation, the effects it would have had on the Phoenix would have been different. What we experienced was atmospheric reentry. Whatever caused it to burn out simply shut it down.”

“Then do you suggest that it was sabotage?”

“No not at all. It was something beyond my expertise. Besides, who would want to sabotage the mission anyway? Even if someone wanted to, it would have been impossible. The vessel was checked multiple times before embarking and the entire crew had received thorough background checks. This is all baseless and humiliating, unless, you believe that I was the saboteur.”

“Why I’m not implying that at all.”

“Listen, I can read people like books. And more importantly, I was the only one there. Now should I offer my testimony or not?”

“I will consider it. This session is in recess. We will reconvene in on hour. Do what you want until then.”

“Well it’s about time.” Kail was tiered. He needed time to decompress. More importantly, there were people he needed to talk to. After returning to Helios Gaea, he was sent to a hospital, followed by the police, then house arrest, and after three whole weeks this courtroom. It was a relief to be off the radar for even just a little while.

This had been the first time in a month that someone wasn’t looking over him. Or at least he hoped it was. He was a little better now; however, still was tense from all the goings on. Though finally given the chance, it was time to vent. Now where was Chaya? Unfortunately, there would be someone else he’d run into.

Before he could avoid her, Kail ran into the enigmatic young women whom he tried so hard to stay away from. He tried to sneak away before she noticed him. But alas, she engaged him first, saying in a quiet voice, “Haifa.”

He stopped, and in the same tone responded, “Suzumi?” The two of them looked away from each other, though neither made the attempt to run off.

“I see you’ve returned.”

“Yes.”

“You’re off to see her now are you not?”

“Yes, yes I am.” Every moment of this conversation was forced and painful. Unfortunately, it was also the kind that Kail just couldn’t walk away
from.

“So you choose her over him?”

“Exactly.”

“I expect that you remember what he told you. Do you?”

With that statement, Kail had the need to turn around. But once he did, she was long gone. He was furious. That woman, if there was anyone in the universe, it was her, Haruna Suzumi, the one person he truly hated. It was deep animosity, one that wouldn’t go away, but now was not the time to fixate over someone who he expended great deals of energy just to ignore.

* * *

Being isolated from the outside for the past few weeks, Kail was still having problems re-associating himself with his surroundings. Common sense was also somewhat of an issue. He wasted the first 20 minutes searching everywhere Chaya might be before realizing that it may have been smarter to check her home first. Though even then, it didn’t occur to him to maybe speak with the super before ambling throughout the building, let alone remember the right address. He had knocked on the doors of two hallways worth of apartments before the landlord grabbed by the collar. “Hold it. I’m afraid we have strict policy against solicitors. Also, several people have already phoned in complaints; I’m going to have to ask you to leave.”

“Sorry about that Mr. Fergus,” Kail said while being chocked. “It’s me, Kail. I’m just having trouble finding Chaya’s apartment. Could you please let go?”

Fergus released his victim and with open arms exclaimed, “Kail, how ya doing? I haven’t seen you in months.”

“Well, let’s just say I’ve been busy. I can tell you about it later. But right now I really need to see Chaya.”

“It must have been a busy couple of months if you forgot where your significant other lives.” Kail blushed at this remark. “Well Ms. Miriana is up in number 233. And don’t worry, I won’t tell he you forgot. Have a nice reunion.”

“Thanks, I’ll catch up with you later.”

“I’m counting on it.”

* * *

At Chaya’s apartment, Kail had regaled her with the events thus far. She was ecstatic when he first got in, but with only a half hour, he needed to get everything off his chest. Kail told the story right up to what the judge had heard when Chaya interrupted. “Oh my,” she started pouring some tea. “And this is all…”

“Yep, every single word of it’s true.” He looked into her eyes and continued, “I understand if you don’t believe me. The judge felt exactly the same way.”

“No it’s no that I don’t trust your word or anything. But the picture you paint is so vivid, almost disturbing. To be honest it’s just hard to take in one sitting.” She sipped her tea and waited for a response.

“Sorry about that. It’s just that this is all so much for one person. I really apologize for putting the weight on to you.” Kail placed down his saucer, laid down is arms and sighed. “You know, everything about this is just so crazy. Everyone there is dead, the doctors think I’m crazy, and the judge is certain that I’m a total liar. I guess I needed someone to turn to, and you know, you’re a physician, so I thought that you would have some obligation or something.”

“Oh so you’re just seeking professional advice, is that it?”

“No not at all. It’s just that I know I can trust you and I’m sure you can help me.”

“Well, I’m flattered. But I’m a surgeon not a psychologist. I can only listen to you as a friend, not a practitioner. If all you need to do is tell someone about this, I’m all ears.”

“Thanks, but the hearing reconvenes in 15 minutes. If I tell you the rest of the story, I won’t have enough time to get back to the courthouse.”

“Then in that case,” Chaya started, getting out of her seat. “Tell me on the way over. It might make you feel more comfortable to tell me first.”

* * *

At first he was a little unsure, but looking back, Kail was certain that everything he said was in no way an exaggeration. The complex he found went appeared to be endless. Under any of his scopes, he couldn’t determine just how far down, across, or to the sides the expanse went. There were walls covering bits and pieces. But that was it. And even worse was that the eerie, metallic and chrome finish everything had looked worlds away.

He stood there, frozen, analyzing everything down to the last detail. In time he even noticed some of the walls moving. Most of these were subtle, but amazing nonetheless. It was most startling; however, when it appeared that a small portion of the structure opened up to reveal some sort of access way. From it came several drones identical to the one he encountered early on. Kail feared that they were going to weed him out. Though as luck would have it, they were more interested in some block. The machines were scanning the area around it, accurately, and thoroughly. They eventually settled on some microscopic protrusion. Form a distance Kail sensors detected a slight temperature increase in that specific area. But that really didn’t explain anything.

The drones appeared to have finished their objective, and from the look of it, were communicating. This is when the passageway opened up again to reveal a pair of another type of drone. These ones approached the recon units, and seemed to shove them aside. A sort of filament shot out of one of the new machines into the wall. The block that was being scanned earlier shot out, revealing itself to be the end of a long column. This is when it occurred to Kail that these ones were laborers. The two of them played with several switches and outlets all along the shaft. He assumed that this was just some power conduit or something to that matter. However, with one last tweak to the structure, it in fact opened up, revealing some disturbing evidence.

What was revealed was some sort of soft, tan colored substance. It had a spongy, almost flesh like appearance, and it pulsated, much like a heart beat. It was revolting to the human eye. So repulsive to the point that Kail had the need to scan it with his spectrograph. He shot a laser at the mesh to determine its composition. The results were exactly what the mechanic was afraid of. It was made up of complex molecules, based around a carbon/nitrogen base. “Son of a bitch,” he told himself, “that shit’s living tissue.”

As he made the scan, it didn’t occur to him that the recon devices would have noticed something peculiar. And in fact they did. Turning around and detecting the Giylga, they went ecstatic. Immediately afterward, what had to have been hundreds of more access routes opened up, and what came out had to have been combat units.

Thousands came, charging towards Kail, firing countless rounds of plasma shots. The ghost’s gravitic shielding prevented any real damage; however, they realized that quickly and changed their weapon of choice to what shot down the Phoenix. Now it was certain, Kail had to get the hell out of there. He put the Giylga into full reverse before he could be mauled to death by a sward of angry robots. He trailed back to where the sentry cannon was and slid over to one of the forks before a massive blue beam engulfed the entire corridor. There was no use coming back the way he came. He would have to find another exit. This would be easier said than done with this complex’s security force on their way.

The passageway he was on this time entered a similar expanse, only this time he was on a bridge. Kail could hear the enemy making their way around the corner. He had to shake them off. Without any sort of projectile weapon, he could fight back and expect to survive. He was virtually unable to make a counterattack, but in a stroke of genius, he realized that he could create a decoy. His fortress had built up enough momentum that it could move for sometime without relying of the ghost for power. With this in mind, he ejected his fighter from the excavation type and flew under the walkway. The perusing drones took the bait, and obliterated the decoy almost instantly. In that time, the Giylga fighter made its escape back to the original caverns. With the enemy realizing that he made his run several moments later, Kail had one hell of a head start. Even better was that his small craft was fast, maneuverable, and a pain to target.

The slow moving battle pods stood no chance of catching up with a ghost, let alone shooting it. What took almost an hour in a fortress demanded mere minutes now, all the way up to the caves. Traversing them was no picnic; however, Kail was able to retrace his steps well enough there. Unfortunately, he was forced to slow down, making him far more vulnerable. Once again he would have to pull some miraculous plan out of his ass. If it weren’t for its gravitic core, the fighter would have been several times louder than an old style rocket engine. The solution was simple. He deactivated his back shielding, triggering painfully loud sonic booms. Everything behind him collapsed, right down to the cavern’s entrance as he passed it. Viewing the survivor’s camp below, Kail had an ominous shiver go down his spine. He barely had a taste of what was lurking below the planet’s surface, but it was enough to know that he, along with everyone else, was most definitely screwed.

* * *

Kail just finished accounting this portion of the story to the judge, who appeared to be skeptical now more than ever. “You know what? This is just getting a little too odd. While I’m not suggesting that everything you said is a falsehood, for all I know, I am hearing lie after lie.”

“Your honor, I assure that this is all true. Besides, you would be able to tell if I were lying.”

“Explain.”

“Well,” he paused for a moment, “I have this lisp when I lie. I think it has to do with some childhood memory.”

“Well then let’s test that. Were you adopted?”

“Why yeth I wath. See?”

“You could just be faking it. I’m not convinced. Say something else.”

“Like what?”

“I don’t know, anything. Give me your life story for all I care.”

“Eh, do I have to?”

“Yes you have to! Why wouldn’t you?”

“Becauth I’m Thiered. See? I did it again.”

“I’ll consider it after more testimony. For now, just continue this tale.”

“Wisth pleathure thure.” The judge looked angrily at Kail. “Okay I admit it. This is getting real annoying and remembering this all is a real pain.” Even so, Haifa had no choice but to continue recollecting the nightmare he suffered down on Earth.

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