Thread: In Progress The Worldslayers
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Old 10-04-2018, 08:22 PM
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Default Re: The Worldslayers

Jackster 136: Thanks. :)

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Chapter 11 – Away


The room was dark, its cluster of ceiling lamps dimmed to a bare minimum glow. A low, distant thrumming was the only noise to be heard… until a loud, creaking yawn sounded from against one of the curved walls.

Jen stretched where he lay, his arms extending out in front of him while his tail unfurled and flexed down its length. His eyes opened, and for a very brief moment nothing seemed out of the ordinary. It had just been a nice nap, that was all.

A nap following an encounter with an enormous psychic stranger.

He jolted upright with a yell and coiled up tight, throwing wild looks about. Where was the creature? Where was he? What had happened?

Jen couldn’t even begin to answer the third question, but the others were somewhat more obliging. The huge pokémon wasn’t there, at least not at the moment. He remembered the last entrance they’d made, coming in right through the wall as if it were liquid, and he shivered. What if they were lurking just beyond his metallic gray surroundings even now?

As for where he was, all he could be sure of was that he was still in the place the tube had taken him, just not the room he’d been in last. This one was smaller, and unless he was mistaken, the floor was rather softer; he could feel it yielding slightly to his weight, shifting about as he moved.

And there, curled up on the opposite side of the room, was Babs. She was still alive; her body heat still formed a luminous aura around her, and she breathed slowly, calmly. As far as he could tell, she was merely sleeping, same as he had been up until a minute or so ago.

The greninja stirred as he approached her, mumbling something incoherent as her brain started itself up. She then startled awake, much as he had, relaxing somewhat once she was satisfied that they were alone for the time being.

“Urgh. Stupid damn deoxys…” she muttered as she sat back down, rubbing at her neck.

“What did they do to us?” Jen asked, moving to coil beside her. “I remember the… the deoxys making all that awful noise, and then…” He half-shrugged. “Then I woke up here. What happened?”

“What happened is that the big one took you over,” Babs answered, at which Jen’s eyes brightened and flickered in alarm. “Apparently that’s the only way they can talk to us—I’d have preferred it if they’d used me, but, well. Dark-type,” she said with a sigh, tapping her head.

“And the psychic power knocked me out,” Jen supposed aloud.

“Not right away. The deoxys was using their recovery powers to fix any damage they caused.” She shuddered. “It worked. At least while they were controlling you. Are you feeling okay now?”

“Yeah,” Jen said. He hoped that would continue to be the case. For all he knew, there was a blood vessel in his brain that was liable to burst at any moment.

That thought made him queasy. He swallowed thickly. “How’d we get here?” he asked, hoping to change the subject, if only slightly.

“Don’t know,” Babs answered. Her hand rose to massage the side of her neck again. “The big guy let you go, and I guess they put you under on the way out. They knocked me out the hard way.” Her eyes narrowed under a furrowed brow. “Everything was going… fine-ish until I brought up the plague. Then they freaked out and attacked us.” She looked Jen right in the eyes. “If that’s not suspicious, I don’t know what is.”

It was awfully suspicious, Jen thought. Why would these deoxys react so strongly, so violently to someone inquiring about the plague if they’d had nothing to do with it?

He curled in even tighter on himself, not liking what this might mean for himself and for Babs at all. No, he hadn’t wanted his father to be en route to the lair of humanity’s killers… but he hadn’t exactly wanted to face them himself, either.

That was assuming that he and Babs hadn’t been brought to exactly the place his father and company were headed. What if they were? What if “deoxys” was just another name for—

A bright red-and-green head with a blunt crest on either side suddenly popped out of the floor, interrupting Jen’s thoughts and making him cry out in surprise. The deoxys cocked their head at him as the rest of their body showed itself, emitting a quiet little burst of indecipherable noise.

“You!” Babs shouted as she sprung to her feet.

The deoxys shrunk in on themself in response. They changed shape in an instant, taking on that mostly-gray, long-crested form Jen had seen one take before.

“Yeah, you. I don’t su—hey, no, do NOT go back in the floor!” Babs said sharply, for the deoxys had begun doing that exactly. “Up. Now.”

The deoxys complied, then shifted back into their previous form.

Once she was satisfied that they’d stopped moving, “I’m not going to hurt you,” she said. “Not unless you attack first. Got it?”

Again the deoxys spoke up, just as quietly as they had before. Jen wondered if one of the deoxys from the auditorium, or whatever it had been, had spread the word that their voices caused their guests discomfort. Or maybe this was one of the deoxys from the auditorium.

Jen sincerely hoped this wasn’t just that big one in another form.

“Okay,” Babs said. “I take it you can’t talk to us either, can you. Not without speaking through one of us.” She sighed, folding her arms. “Honestly, I’m not really sure why I’m even asking you. How the hell are you gonna answer me without going into puppeteer mode?”

Very tentatively, the deoxys glided closer to Jen. They unfurled a single tentacle in his direction, at which he recoiled automatically. But the deoxys refrained from actually touching him. They knew better, he reckoned, what with Babs staring them down. They stared back at her, face unreadable as ever, and tilted their head again.

She shook hers. “I’m not the one you should be asking. It’s his brain. His safety. His choice. You ask him… such as you can.”

The deoxys did nothing for a moment, seemingly unwilling to take their eyes off her. They managed it in the end, looking into Jen’s eyes instead and pointing a tentacle at his spiked chest.

Jen hesitated to respond. The thought of being psychically manipulated brought back that queasy feeling again, for more reasons than one. He knew it could hurt him. He knew that he’d be completely powerless while under the deoxys’s control. And he knew he wouldn’t remember a moment of it—and he’d already had his memory messed with much more than he would’ve ever wanted.

But ultimately… ultimately, he thought with dismay, what choice did he have? How else were they going to get any answers from these creatures? They needed to know more, if they could. They needed to find out anything they could about this place—it might help them escape. And they needed to know what, if anything, the deoxys had to do with the plague.

He pulled in a deep breath. He almost consented right then and there, but caught himself; the deoxys might have taken him over the instant he’d agreed to it, and there were a few things he wanted to say first.

“When you’re in there,” he said to the deoxys, “…don’t change anything, all right? Don’t take out any memories. Don’t put any in. And don’t make me hurt anyone.”

“Oh, I won’t let them do that,” Babs promised. She flicked the end of her tongue at nothing in particular, letting a few glowing droplets fly.

“And you,” Jen said, turning to face her. “You’ll let me know everything they say, right?”

“Absolutely.”

“Okay…” Jen said, steeling himself as best he could—and then his consciousness winked out in a flash.

Babs watched as, once again, the blue light surrounded Jen. The cryonide lifted his head, revealing the same burning blue eyes he’d sported last time. He uncoiled and slithered a little further away from Babs; the deoxys went with him. Under their psychic command, Jen gnashed his teeth a couple of times, clicking his fanged mandibles against them… and then giggled.

What the… Babs watched in bafflement for a moment as he kept on chattering and snapping, with the occasional, fleeting charge of dark-type energy flashing off his silver teeth. Then she realized what she was seeing.

“Okay, playtime’s over,” she told the deoxys. “He didn’t let you do this so you could experience the joy and wonder of having a mouth. He did this because I want to talk to you. You get it?”

Jen stopped biting the air and bowed his head. “I’m sorry,” he said. His voice was somewhat more inflected than it had been when the curator had puppeted him; he actually almost sounded sorry. “What did you want to talk about?”

“Well, first off: what was with the chokehold?” Babs demanded. “Why did you knock us out?”

“Because you needed to be decontaminated,” Jen answered. “It’s easier and faster to decontaminate people when they’re sleeping.”

“Decontaminate us…”

“Yes. You were carrying the Red Hand’s virus. We had to scrub it off of you and take samples.”

Maybe the virus she and Jen had been carrying and the plague that had wiped out humanity were two different things. Babs had a nasty feeling that wasn’t the case, however… “This virus… how serious is it? Serious enough to kill off an entire species?”

Jen lowered his head again. “I’m afraid so. The Red Hand has eliminated many species this way.”

Babs felt a chill spread throughout her and form a deep, cold pit in her stomach. If they really had been carrying the virus all this time… had Ren been exposed? Would he succumb?

Had he already?

“…Okay.” It was hard to speak, with her mouth and throat having gone so dry. “In that case, what you need to do now is send us back where we came from.” Maybe it was too late to get to Ren. But if it wasn’t—if there was any chance he could be brought here and cleansed of the virus himself—then she needed to get to him.

If there wasn’t any chance he could be brought here and decontaminated… then she at least wanted a chance to see him one last time.

“I… I know you want to go home,” Jen said. “I’d want to go home, too, if someone took me away from here. But we can’t send you back yet. Our transporter needs to rest.”

“Rest? For how long?”

“Another two cycles, at least,” Jen replied.

Whatever that meant. Hours? Days? Babs almost demanded a clearer answer, but then suddenly remembered a couple things in particular that the curator had said: This vessel. Knowledge of our world.

“And we can’t just get out of here on our own,” Babs said, “can we.”

“No,” Jen said. “I know you probably don’t want to believe me, but… Here. Look.”

The deoxys moved out from behind Jen, though the blue glow signifying their control remained. They glided over to the nearest wall and let a pair of their tentacles sink in. The wall visibly rippled… then seemed to vanish, revealing a corridor beyond. Three other deoxys passed by with fleeting glances at the newly-formed window. A moment later, the opposite wall turned transparent, as well, followed by several more beyond it—and then Babs found herself looking at nothing at all. Just an endless, black void.

There was, she considered, a chance this could all be a trick of some sort. That the view to space was merely an illusion of some kind, meant to make her believe she was trapped when she actually wasn’t. But she recognized just as quickly that there was no real way to confirm it either way. If she shredded her way through those walls only to find that there really was nothing but a dark vacuum beyond, she’d be unable to help anyone at all anymore.

She cursed under her breath as the walls went opaque once more. No, she couldn’t get to Ren from here on her own. Not with a very real chance that there was an unknown but assuredly vast expanse of airless nothingness in the way.

“It won’t be long at all,” Jen tried to assure her. Babs looked his way once more. “We have the coordinates of your world from the beacon you sent,” he said. “We’re heading there now. By the time we get there, the transporter should be ready to send you back down.”

“You had better be right,” Babs muttered darkly. “Otherwise a mouth isn’t the only thing you’ll be missing.”

Jen quailed a little. For a moment, it looked as though he were crying… but no. No, that was blood, Babs realized, remembering the damage the curator had dealt to the cryonide. Jen’s kind had colorless blood.

“You’re hurting him,” she told the deoxys. “You need to be using your recover technique while you’re controlling him.”
“I… I know,” Jen said. Both he and the deoxys looked away, as if embarrassed. “I think I need to go now,” he said, closing his eyes. “I’m not sure I can keep healing him much longer. I’ve never done this before,” he admitted.

“…That’s fine,” Babs said, though she didn’t entirely mean it. She still had questions, and she wished she could have them answered without anyone’s health and safety on the line. It is what it is, she thought, but not happily.

The blue glow vanished. The deoxys slipped back through the floor, leaving Jen to sway on the spot.

“Nnnnn…” he groaned, raising a hand to his head as he worked to regain his balance. His eyes opened, shining yellow once more. “Is it over with?”

“Yeah. How’re you feeling?” Babs asked.

“Kind of dizzy,” Jen answered. “But otherwise I’m fine. What did they say?” he asked.

“Several things,” Babs said. She flopped back down into a sitting position with a sigh. “Some bad news… some potentially good news… and some unquestionably weird news.”

Last edited by Sike Saner; Today at 01:09 AM.
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