Biker mice were in the kitchen of the Last Chance Garage, late in the morning. Everything was peaceful. Vinnie was trying to figure out whether he can stuff two pancakes in his mouth at once. Throttle was busy, slowly scrubbing the syrup from his plate with a fork, deep in thought about something. Modo was just quietly eating. Charley was nowhere in sight.
"So... what is going to happen today?" asked Throttle, still submerged with his thoughts. His sub-conscience told him not to ask "So, what are we gonna do today?", because last time, Vinnie answered, "Same thing we do every day, try to take over the world!"
"Hm, thonno," answered Vinnie, with two pancakes still attempting to go down his throat. "Wthethe ith thathli?" he asked, mouth full.
"Whether what?" Throttle did not raise his head to see what was going on.
Vinnie swallowed. "I said, 'where is Charley?'"
"Hm... good question... anyone seen her today? Modo?"
"What?... no, haven't seen her," Modo answered and took a sip of coffee.
Suddenly, the door to Charley's slammed open. With her hair in a pony-tail, in a tight black body-suit, with spiked-heel black boots, and a careless face expression, Charley walked into the kitchen and straight to the table. She took a sip of Modo's coffee and poured the rest in a sink nearby.
"Coffee is bad for you," she said, as if she wasn't talking to him, to herself or anyone else in the world. She walked to Vinnie, and, as if aiming for the chair he was sitting on, put her foot on his knee. She carefully examined the top of her boot and, finding one tiny gray spot, brushed it off. As simply as before, she picked up her black purse and headed for the door.
"Hey, Charley!" Vinnie called and she stopped, not turning around.
"Where are you going?" asked Throttle, back from his dreamworld.
"Where am I going?" she asked, her back to them. "Oh, I'm getting out of this dump!" she said ending with a toxic voice. "And you are coming with me... no... actually, you're coming with THEM."
Vinnie looked around, wondering what she meant.
"Hm, well, BEFORE the sun burns out!" Charley said in a bitter-sweet voice. In seconds, the mice were on the floor, with some strange ninja-looking people holding them down. Charley sighed.
"Okay, I'm not working with these guys any longer," she said and turned to them. "Well, how nice of you to drop by! I was wondering where you were... we went over this. You missed your cue. Now what do you think you will be doing next?" he asked, as if she was talking to little children who were unable to think for themselves, only follow instructions.
"Um..." said one of the attackers.
"Take them away, maybe?" Charley asked in a frustrated voice.
"Oh, yeah, right, we n..."
"Shut up," said Charley.
The guys helped the mice up and pushed them towards a big hole in the wall. As they were about two yards away from the wall, they stopped, staring at it, in awe. The wall changed somehow. The hole had now rounder edges. With an alien to Earth, snake sound, the wall started to move. Worms, oversized and cement colored, grew from the edges of the hole, molding together, as they came across others. In seconds, the wall was completely flat again, only now there was no wallpaper covering what once was a hole and now had regenerated. Charley turned to the door and saw worms covering the last seen part of it. Windows were already gone. It was dark, now, and the sound of moving wall-worms was still present. As everyone's eyes grew more adapted to the darkness, they could see that the worms glowed in the dark, and walls, inch-by-inch became covered with smooth, yet veiny layer. The sounds stopped, as the worms fused together, forming the last veins that covered the last visible bits of walls, floor and furniture.
The black ninjas released the mice, as they stared at everything around them transform into an alien, inside-of-a-stomach looking setting.
Suddenly there was a bright flash of light, that blinded everyone.
On late Saturday morning, not one person wants to get up without need. And no one wants to face the harsh and bitter outside world. So not until harsh rumbling shook the ground, did anyone even attempt to look outside the window. And even those who did, did not pay much attention to what was happening.
However, once the rumbling started, people, unused to earthquakes and earth shaking, looked outside, noticing nothing. Only those, whose windows pointed directly at the Last Chance Garage, and there were some of those, saw what was really happened, even though explanations were still at large.
Katherine Roth was walking down the street, she has never walked before. She had taken a shortcut, someone told her about that morning, when she noticed that she had not enough time to get home from school. She stopped as she was walking by a one-story building that contrasted the taller buildings around it.
"Last Chance Garage... what tha..." she read out loud and stopped as she was knocked off her feet by a strange shaking in the ground. When she raised her head, she saw no one around her. She looked up at the building and saw it glow. She saw strange worm-like, but bigger, cement-colored things sliver and twist into their positions, molding together and creating something that looked like there were veins under the cement skin of a once-building-now-sphere. She thought she saw a flash, yet one blocked by the bio-cement walls, and so quick she was not sure whether it really happened or it was just her imagination.
Katherine looked around again, and when she looked back, the building was back to normal. She shook her head to make sure it were not her eyes deceiving her. They were not. She got back up on her feet and looked around again. People started appearing as the day progressed. Katherine sighed and turned back to the road that led to her house.
Throttle was the first one to come back to his senses. He looked at Vinnie and Modo, who were lying on the veiny floor next to where he was. The ninjas who wore black outfits were lying on the flood too, but a bit farther away. Charley was standing by the far wall, quiet as a mouse, staring into space, her face, stone. He looked at the other mice and saw that they were still out. As were the ninja's. He got up and walked to Charley.
"Charley?" he called. She didn't answer, didn't even move a muscle. He waved his hand in front of her trying to figure out whether she was awake or not. All he felt was pressure on his hand and wrist and the pain of cement veins slamming hard into his back.
Charley looked down at him, sighed and reached out her hand. Unsure what to do, he took at and she pulled him back up on his feet.
"Remember, when I'm not answering, I'm thinking, and when I am thinking, I act upon my instincts. And then, I fight whenever I feel threatened, without thinking about it, even if someone comes near me," she said.
"Okay, I'll... um... try to remember that..." Throttle sighed and rubbed his back.
"It hurts?" she asked.
"Yeah... why can't the floor be flat?"
"Because the house is on an alarm..."
"Um, nothing... I'm sorry, it hurts... here," she said and put her hand in his back. Amazingly, she put it exactly where it hurt and rubbed a little. The pain stopped.
"Thanks," he said, feeling better.
"Welcome," she smiled.
"Um... listen, Charley-gal... I didn't quite understand what happened... what did?"
"From the beginning," he said firmly.
"From the beginning... okay... well, first of all, my name is not Charley..."
"It's Cyrilla..." she was interrupted by Vinnie and Modo waking up. "I'll tell you later, okay?"
"Fine... you don't want them to know?"
Cyrilla didn't answer. She walked up to the far, stepping over Vinnie. Vinnie, being fully awake by that time, grabbed her foot and would have made her trip, but he somehow felt that that would not work, so he let go and grabbed her other ankle. Cyrilla went on the floor, did a somersault and got back up on her feet. Lighting fast, her fingers cut through the air and squeezed his throat. Throttle coughed and she looked up at him, for just a split of a second. She looked back at Vinnie and let go. Turning back on her way, she looked at one of the veins that were sticking out of the wall.
Walking close to it, she examined it with her fingers, and seeming to have found a weak spot, cut through the bio-wall right under the vein with her nails. Slowly and slowly, she pulled on the vein, and even slower did it some off the wall.
"Charley?" she heard a voice behind her, but did not turn.
"Yeah?" she answered.
"Why don't you just blow up the wall?" asked a familiar voice.
"Hm... because it will then consume the energy and use it to grow and destroy us," she answered.
Cyrilla got her fingers under the vein and pulled. She almost lost her balance when the vein suddenly gave in and ripped off the wall, pulling some of the other, connected ones with it.
Vinnie looked at her. Her agile fingers moved across the wall, ripping off more and more veins, until she cleared off a space about her size. She touched the wall behind the veins. It was soft and easily gave in under her hands, as they went through.
"Charley, where are you going?" asked Throttle. The ninja were waking up, but he ignored them.
"Through there... it's not gonna be long before you... we run out of air and before we make this... um... something mad. We have to get out of here and this is the only way I see: through the wall," she answered calmly. She pulled her hands back and they were covered with a light gray sticky substance.
Vinnie got sick of doing nothing. He picked up his gun, charged it so full power and shot and the wall opposite to the one, Cyrilla was by. The wall took up the damage as any other concrete wall, but soon, the rumbling started again, and the worms started appearing. Only this time, the worms did not just stop as the mice and ninjas cowered.
Looking back, Cyrilla said: "Come with me, it's your only chance."
"Wha?" asked Vinnie, but before he could continue, she pulled him to the wall and pushed him through it.
"Come!" she yelled to the ninjas who were on the other side. As they attempted to figure out what was going on, one of the worms caught one of them and pulled in, enveloping with loops, other worms helping, until the entire body of the poor ninja disappeared in the concrete. Others stared in horror, but Cyrilla interrupted that, by pulling one of them to her and pushing through the wall, just like she did to Vinnie.
"Be careful, there is a wire there," she said to Throttle and Modo, as they helped her get the ninjas through the wall. Finally, she gestured Modo and Throttle to go through. They did and she was about to go after them, but one of the worms caught her, and she was trying to escape, tangling even more.
Modo heard her scream, and returned, witnessing the cement-like almost alive, yet not worms fighting with an agile and slim girl in a black bodysuit. The were fighting because they were made for that purpose, and had little care about the outcome. She was fighting to survive, fighting for her life, desperate as never. Modo grabbed her arm and pulled her hard. Twisting and turning, working with Modo, her body slipped out of the worms' grasp. Modo pulled her through the wall, just before her spot was filled up with concrete.
Vinnie spit out the bits of the wall that got into his mouth and looked at Charley. He killed the giggle that was being born the moment he saw her all covered with the grayish-white substance. And, it being cement-like, it froze immediately, so now it looked like everyone was covered with a layer of stone. Vinnie attempted to clear it from himself, but couldn't, it was stuck.
"Here, lemme help ya with that," he heard a female voice. He turned around and saw one of the ninjas, totally clean of the substance. The ninja pulled off the mask and long shiny blond hair spilt from it to the shoulders and past. Vinnie looked at the face and saw a beautiful human female. The only thing that was strange about her was that she had a metal, cyborg-like, seven-peaked star on her cheek. She didn't seem to count it odd, so he looked into her eyes instead.
"Pardon?" he said, forgetting what it was she asked him.
"You want some help with that?" she asked.
"Help with what?"
"Getting that stuff off of you," she said and smiled.
"Here," she said and gave him something. He looked at the object. It was something between a knife and a piece or broken glass. It had a metal outline and the middle was clear, like crystal. As he looked closer, he saw that it was really empty. He tried to get his finger through it, but felt a warm, soft hand stopping him. He looked up and saw the gentle hand of the woman ninja take the knife from his hands.
"It's sharp on both sides," she said quietly and scraped a pretty big piece of cement off of Vinnie's shoulder. Vinnie Just stared as she continued working her way, clearing off the stone shell.
Throttle and two ninjas watched the mammal-cell-looking giant spherical object in front of them. It was all dark gray, except for one place. That place was about the size of a doorway, and lighter gray, with some movement through it, embedded in the now solid rock, like a rip. They watched as the sphere remained in its place for ten minutes, twenty, fifty, they watched, fascinated by something they knew nothing about nor did they know the existence of.
The sphere remained unmoved, yet so did they, pulled into watching it by an unknown force that seemed to control everything. Finally, Throttle broke the bond that held him and was about to turn around, when they heard the same rumbling again.
"What tha..." Throttle exclaimed as he saw more and more worms come out of the sphere-like object. They seemed to all hit the sandy soil of the desert at the same time and disappear through it. The entire sphere dissipated, leaving the little dunes between where the worms went in as the only evidence of its existence.
Throttle watched, amazed at what was happening right in front of his eyes. As his eye-sight followed the worms he looked down at his feet and what was below them. Sand... infinite it all its power. Not red, like Martian sand, not black, not white, not like the sand in the deserts of Earth. Similar, yet different. He looked up at the sky, unable to figure out exactly what the ground looked like.
The sky, too, was different from anything he had ever seen before, except posters. He remembered how once, when he came to some school, looking for a criminal, hiding there, he came across a science lab. He never figured out what science it was, but her remember a poster over the door. It represented the age of the dinosaurs, and with each dinosaur, a representative of its time, the sky was different. Like the rainbow, but in warm colors, that looked like it as very hot back then. The left side had bright crimson sky, while the right side had that of the modern times. Of course, Throttle remembered himself thinking, if the planet was not polluted that much, the sky would look like the right side of the poster.
This sky looked same and different from the one of the poster on the wall all that time ago. It looked like all the colors were in a pot and constantly mixed by something gigantic and invisible at the same time. Yet, they never became a solid color, and always remained in some sort of designs, created out of the bright colors.
Then, it hit him what the ground looked like. He looked down.
"Hair," he said, looking down from different angles, or at least attempting to look from various angles. It looked like it was originally a collection of thin layers of the same color with a tincy bit different shade to each layer, and then someone dug holes in it to make it all wavy. Pretty shades of brown to tan to sand-white.
Throttle looked around. Everything was the way it was under his feet. Glittering in the light, the sand reflected the sky and became even harder to look at. There were too many colors and too much light. Throttle's poor eyes could not stand that. He sat down on the warm sand and started examining his boots.
The light, coming from a source, unknown to any of the poor creatures thrown to this world by an unknown force, glittered off of Cyrilla's boots and played in her hair. She just sat there, on the sand, staring in front of her, her left hand holding her arm, right under her shoulder.
"Hey, you okay?" she heard a voice from above. Slowly she looked up; her face looked tired. Modo was standing next to her, looking down at her sitting form.
"Huh?" she asked, in a tired voice.
"Are you okay?"
"Yeah... fine... why shouldn't I be?" Se answered and looked back down at the sand. Modo stared at her for a while. She seemed to be falling asleep. As time went by, her hand slipped off her arm.
"What is that?" Modo asked.
"Huh? What is what?" she asked, waking up from her dream.
"That," he answered, pointing at her hand, which was back at her shoulder.
"Oh, um, it's nothing," she replied, but Modo was not satisfied. He reached out and pushed her hand off her shoulder. A bright scarlet spot was below the palm.
"You're bleeding!" he exclaimed.
"Oh, it's um, nothing... really..."
"Nothing? You are bleeding in an unknown environment! How do you know you aren't being infected with some sort of an interstellar virus, that kills carbon-based life-forms?"
"Because I would have been dead already if that was true," Cyrilla answered. Why does Charley sound like she couldn't care less? Thought Modo.
"Still, um... it would make me feel better if you disinfected that... or at least tied it up," he said.
"Hm, okay... with what?"
"Um... hm.. dunno..." he turned to the others, who were scattered all over the place, trying to stop the boredom. "Yo, guys! Anyone got anything Charley can tie her arm with? She got cut!"
"Um... I do..." said a female voice, coming from the general direction of where Vinnie was. They turned and saw a lady, one of the black ninjas. She walked up to them and gave Modo a white handkerchief-like strip of cloth. Modo smiled briefly, then turned back to "Charley" and tied the cloth right above the wound, to stop the blood-flow.
"Thank you, Modo," Cyrilla said and, briefly turning to the lady, said, "And thank you too, Era."
"You're welcome," Era said in a soft voice and started heading away.
"Um, Era!" Cyrilla called.
"Yeah?" she asked turning around.
"Assemble the others, we are leaving."
"What? Where?" asked Modo immediately.
"That-a-way," Cyrilla said, and pointed in ahead.
"Charley, this is a desert... we don't even know where we are!"
"When the night comes, we will," she replied calmly. "until then, we are staying here and collecting ourselves"
"Hm? What do you mean?" Asked Throttle, walking up to her.
"Okay, how much food do we have?"
"Um... none?" said Vinnie.
"Okay, search your pockets. I'm sure we can find something edible," Cyrilla said and started looking through her purse. Vinnie, Modo, Throttle, Era, and the others were watching her as she, in frustration, screamed and dumped everything out on the sand.
Looking through her stuff she found a mascara.
"Hm... how many people wanna make that their dinner?" she asked turning tot he others.
"Not me!" said Vinnie immediately.
"Okay, good... I wouldn't waste such good mascara on you anyway," Cyrilla said and giggled.
She kept searching through, and found a Jolly Rancher.
"Okay... we got one piece of candy... someone approximate the calorie value of this, please," she said looking back up at all the standing people around her.
Nobody answered, they just stared at her. Suddenly the sand gave in and everyone fell through it. Slipping through the sand, Throttle realized that they were not leaving holes in the sand, but creating the dunes around them, erasing any traces of civilized beings off the surface.
Era remained on the surface, staring in terror as the faces, she knew, disappear through the sand in seconds. It was only after the last head disappeared, that she realized her mistake and her face became stone. A stone not one person could read for emotions.
Vinnie tried to scream as he was slipping farther and farther into the sandy layers. His mouth immediately filled with sand and he would be choking on it, if he was breathing. However, breathing was one luxury that someone under feet of sand could not afford. He tried to stop, or slow down at least, his quick fall, but the sand just gave in under his weight, unwilling to be sturdy enough to hold his body.
Terror enveloped him, as he realized that nothing could be done to slow down. As he felt nothing, dropping rapidly, with sand letting him down peacefully, and with no restrain. He heard nothing, as he was too far for the sand around him to allow any noises. He couldn't see for that same reason; no waves penetrated the sand.
Suddenly, he felt something push him, halting his drop and letting him fall the other way.
A powerful wave hit everyone and pushed them upward to the surface. It came from the bottom, from the sides, from the top, even, but it pushed up, sneaking its way around the half-dead bodies and defying gravity.
Cyrilla was the first to emerge from the waves of sand. She rose a bit higher than the ground level, levitated in mid-air for a second and carefully stepped on the sand. She folded her arms and waited for the others to come. Throttle came next, then two ninjas, then Modo, then Vinnie, then another ninja. Charley looked around.
"Where's M'Alice?" she asked.
"Um... dunno..." answered Vinnie. "Who's that?"
"Era?" Cyrilla said, ignoring him.
"Um.. I think still down there..."
"Well, get him out, then!"
Era froze for a moment, staring at the sand below, then blinked. In a what could have been an explosion, somebody wearing all black came out of the sand.
"All present and accounted for..." said Era. Cyrilla turned to her.
"Era of Time! What did you think you were doing?"
"I.. I'm sorry... I lost concentration..."
"I was thinking about something else..." Era cowered.
"You could have killed them!"
"Okay, it's behind us, now... just DON'T do it again," Cyrilla said and walked away.
"Charley!" Vinnie yelled and ran after her.
"Yes?" she asked, stopping, but not turning around.
"What did you mean?"
"When you yelled at her for loosing concentration..."
"Oh, um, Era, explain to him," Cyrilla said simply and continued on her way. She stopped, after Era didn't say anything. "Era?"
"Um, I'm sorry..."
"Kindergarten... okay, Era is a silicon-based life-form. Via communication and force she can control the activities of other silicon-based life-forms lesser than her in complexity. Look at the ground. What do you think it is made off?"
"Um..." said Vinnie. "Sand?"
"Almost. Little, tiny organisms that look like plankton, but are above ground and are not carbon-based. They are of less density than us. Until we fell, Era was controlling them, not allowing us to fall right through. She lost control and was thinking of something else, and off we went. Understand?"
"Good," said Cyrilla and walked off, sitting down and closing her eyes. Throttle walked to Vinnie.
"'Crystally'? Where did you get that from?"
"Um, dunno... I just picked a word that... um..."
Night fell and Cyrilla was still sitting where she was, not moving a single muscle. Throttle got up from the spot he was sleeping in till then and walked up to her. He sat down next to her, wondering whether to call her or not.
"Cyrilla?" he said quietly.
She opened her eyes.
"Um, are we gonna just stay here?"
"No... and call me Cyrri, please."
"Oh, okay, um, well... Cyrri... when are we leaving?"
"Once we learn of our location."
"How?! We could be ANYWHERE in the universe! Planets like this could be once every two systems for all we know!"
"Well... that's why we waited till nightfall.... to look at the stars and see where we are," she replied calmly.
"Uh-huh. And how do we know how the stars look on EVERY possible planet in the universe?"
"Professional secret," Cyrilla said and got up. She looked up at the sky. "We are on Preheera 4 beta," she said looking back at Throttle.
"H.. How did you find that out?" asked in amazement Vinnie who was standing by and overheard.
"Profe..." started Throttle, but he got interrupted by Cyrilla.
"Look at the stars," she said. Vinnie followed her gaze up to the black unknown with specks of white scattered over it. "Beautiful, isn't it?"
"Yeah... beautiful..." said Vinnie looking back at her. "Ahem, so?"
"See those three stars in a triangle?"
"Right there!" she pointed and laughed.
"Oh, yeah... what about them?"
"See how they are all the same brightness? Is there another one of the same brightness inside the triangle?"
"Exactly. That means that the fourth star of the Preheera system is the sun of this planet. Only the Preheera star system is like a three-sided pyramid. Preheera is the only star system that was artificially created. Long ago, it was set as to every of the four stars have ten planets that follow a pattern in variation and every planet has either one, two or three sattelites more than the one closer to the star or two less. The stars are each of the same size, relative brightness, consistency and temperature. All of the planets were either left looking like perfect spheres, covered with sand-plankton or populated by species from all over the universe."
"Wow, wow, wow, hit the breaks and hold the phone, young lady!" Exclaimed Throttle. "Do ya mean that someone actually took matter and created a star system? I find that hard to believe."
"Do you also find it hard to believe that species could have evolved without a home planet and in vacuum?"
"Yet it's true."
"Okay," said Modo, walking up to them. "What are we all talking about?"
"How Charley figured out where we are," replied Vinnie, simply, looking at him.
".. okay, fine! We know how you figured out the star system, but how did you find out the star and planet?"
"It's too complicated to explain, I'm afraid," Cyrilla answered.
"What? You afraid we won't understand?" asked Vinnie.
"No, I am afraid that I will be unable to explain," she answered and looked up at him as if asking for pity.
"Okay, where are we again?"
"Preheera beta 4," Cyrri stated.
"Hm, okay, how do we get outta here, then?"
"We can't. Preheera beta 4 is covered by sand-plankton. There is nothing here but it. No docking stations either. We have nowhere to go."
"Right. Um, how come you know so much about this, Charley?" asked Modo.
"Well... it IS a secret..." she paused as she noticed Vinnie's "Yeah, right... you expect us to believe that? What is your secret anyway?" glance. "I am truly sorry, but it is not my secret and I am not allowed to tell," she said shortly and abruptly, turning away.
"Oh yeah? Whose is it then?"
"No one you know... now, please, excuse me, but I would like to..." she interrupted herself by taking out a shiny metal disk. She held the piece of what the guys would have called metal that was slightly smaller than a CD. With a sad expression she sent it to its target.
Vinnie stared, frozen in fear as he saw a metallic flash fly at his neck.
Vinnie gulped as he could see the light mirror off of the metal. But, as much as he feared it would hurt, no pain was ever present. His curiosity was interrupted by Cyrilla, who walked up to him and he backed away. She raised her hands as a sign of peace and that she would not hurt him. Dubious of whether it would be right to trust her again, he stopped and let her come closer.
With a quick motion, she snatched the metal disk from Vinnie's throat. He watched the shiny disk, covered with something little, clear and jelly-like and thought of where his blood could have gone to. He felt his neck, where the disk entered the flesh, and to his amazement, there was no blood nor cut nor any indication of the fatal wound he was supposed to have. He looked up at Cyrilla in search of an explanation.
Cyrilla was too busy taking the jelly thing off the disk to notice everyone staring at her. When she finally got it off and looked up, her eyes met those of everyone else.
"What?" she asked, totally clueless.
"What just happened?" asked Throttle
"And why is Vinnie not bleeding to death?" asked Modo.
"And why did you try to kill me?" asked Vinnie in his turn.
"So.... which question would you like me to answer first?" Cyrilla asked, rolling the jelly between her first two fingers. She looked at the guy who all looked at Vinnie and then back at her. "Okay," she sighed. "So ya wanna know why, what, and what for I did that, eh?" she watched the guys nod. "This," she said, showing them the jelly. "This is a little creature, that cannot digest its own food and survives only by attaching itself to other, more developed life-forms and feeding off of their energy."
"Like a vampire?" asked Modo.
"So, you shot it, not Vinnie?" asked Throttle and saw her nod again. "Why? Can't you just walk up to him and take it off?"
"Because if I "just walked up to it and took it off", it would detect me and go under the skin. Because of its jelly-like body, no person slash instrument would be able to get it out completely. Therefore, I had to act quickly," she stated and continued looking at the jelly creature. Suddenly her face lighted up, as if she got an idea. She turned to Era and she nodded.
Cyrilla picked up a handful of "sand", put the jelly creature inside, rolled it and it became a sphere. She looked back at Era and let go of the sphere. To everyone's astonishment, instead of going down, the sphere started floating upwards, while accelerating.
"Once it is outside of the atmosphere, send it on a collision course with the closest star and let go," Cyrri said to Era, who nodded again. After a few minutes of looking upward to where the sand sphere went, Era looked back down at Cyrri. The bros also looked at her and watched her, as she, while staring at the sky, opened her mouth, and brushed quickly with her finger against her tongue.
A powerful, yet silent explosion's shock-wave knocked everyone off of their feet and blinded them for the next minute. Modo was the first to get up, shielding his eyes with his arms. He saw Vinnie and Throttle down on the ground, Era standing, looking down, as she usually was, and Cyrri looking up at the explosion. He looked beyond Era, where the rest of Cyrilla's people were. He saw them glow, all but one, glow brighter and brighter, until their light blended with the light coming from the explosion...
A second shock-wave hit and knocked him off his feet. As Modo fell, he saw the last ninja fall and Cyrilla collapse, barely holding her balance. The light disappeared as quietly and quickly as it appeared.
When Throttle woke up, a dark and barren landscape faced him. It took him a bit of time to realize where he was and to remember what had happened. He saw Cyrri, standing a few yards away from him, looking away, with her hair being blown away by the wind. How beautiful, he thought, but then his thoughts were interrupted by a sudden, Throttle, you have a girlfriend, whim. He turned away to see where the others were. To his surprise, he saw that Era was sleeping nearby, his bros were out cold and a guy in black was sitting, drawing in the sand. Behind them, he saw a sphere, made of some glittery metal. There was no one else there.
Someone tapped his shoulder, and Throttle turned abruptly, grabbing the person and throwing them on the ground.
"Hey, bro, take it easy!" he heard Vinnie's voice and realized it was him who just attacked.
"Sorry... you caught me unawares... I acted on my instinct..." Throttle mumbled in reply.
"Who did you think it could have been?" asked Vinnie.
"I don't know..."
"Throttle there is no one else on this pla..." Vinnie stopped in the middle of the word as he saw the sphere. "What is that?"
"That," said Cyrilla, walking up next to him. "Is your ticket out of here."
"It is a spaceship."
"Ahh... okay...." mumbled Throttle.
"And how are we going to get into that," Vinnie made quotation marks with his fingers. "Spaceship?"
"Yeah, I looked at that thing. It's a perfect sphere: no entrance, no exit, no windows," Throttle shared his observations.
"Well, then, I guess you weren't looking hard enough," said Cyrilla with an enigmatic smile. She walked to the sphere and, to everyone's astonishment, it started moving.
It started turning slowly, until it stopped half a minute later. No one, but Cyrilla knew how many turns it made, since it was all covered with little devices that all looked too similar to distinguish. Cyrri took out a remote control. In one look, the bros knew that that was the remote from Charley's living room, the one that was from the TV, but didn't work. Charley used a different one, but this one lay on top of the TV set since they remembered without ever being used. Cyrri pressed a button, which looked like the "power" button and looked up at the sphere.
The sphere didn't move immediately, but instead, all the little devices and lights began retracting into the sphere, first turning liquid and then melting into the sphere, until it became perfect. Once reaching perfection, it rose up and levitated a few inches above the surface.
A horizontal line appeared on the sphere in the center and grew thicker and thicker until it became a doorway. Blackness was beyond it. Cyrri looked back at the rest and walked in. White light went on inside, but nothing could be seen trough the doorway, but whiteness. Cyrri walked back out and invited everyone to get in.
The mice looked back at Era and the other guy, who gestured them to go in first. Sighing, and seeing that the pause was not going to stop, unless something was done, Throttle walked in. He saw that inside of the sphere was a cube and three walls had odd rectangular lines on them, half the size of the wall each, six in all. The ceiling was covered with electronic equipment and looked like the computers of 1930's. The floor contained two more rectangles. A small sphere levitated in the center. Throttle looked back and saw that the wall he walked through was the same as the ceiling, but there was a white opaque rectangle in the middle, evidently the door. He walked around to the other side of the cube, almost hitting his head on the little sphere and looked back, in visible fear that the white rectangle might disappear.
His fear became reality, as he watched the white rectangle turn black and the top and bottom coming in to meet in the middle, until there was no more black on the wall. The newly-found space was covered with the same stuff the entire wall was.
He was scared even more by a sudden move behind him, as he saw one of the rectangles move out of the wall. It split with a vertical cut and each side moved to its side, revealed the space the block just came out of.
"Go in," he heard a voice, turned around and Cyrilla was there.
"Wha? How did you get in?"
"The same way you did, now get in. This place will decompress soon and we need to get everyone into their places before the ship leaves," she stated and lightly pushed him towards the empty box. Throttle walked in and turned around. He saw her wave and he waved back. White belts emerged from the walls and crossed over his chest, locking in like a seatbelt. Another one covered his legs right above the boots.
"Good boy. Now, don't go anywhere," she said and walked into the opaque door, giving it hardly any time to open. Moments later, Modo appeared in the doorway.
"Okay, Era, your turn," Cyrri said to the woman, who was the only one left outside. The later nodded and walked into the door, Cyrri following.
Inside, four blocks have been moved out and Modo, Throttle, Vinnie, and a guy Cyrri called M'Alice were in the spaces, held by the belts. Era walked to the rectangle next to Throttle and turned to the door. She turned back and the block began moving out. Once it got out all the way, it split and started moving out.
It stopped a bit short of half way out. Era's expression changed from stone to disappointment, but she turned to the door and turned back again. The blocks moved a bit and froze again. She tried it again, but blocks remained where they were.
"It's broken," said Cyrri behind her. She looked at Era and walked to one of the computer walls. The sphere in the middle descended and moved towards her, until it was right by her legs. She sat on it like on a chair and looked at the wall. The lights disappeared from a square in front of her face the same way all the devices disappeared off of the sphere's external surface. A white screen lit up, and from Era's view, she could see that it looked exactly like a screen of a human computer of that time. Cyrri started pressing buttons that appeared on the surface and selecting various options at great speed.
The screen went out suddenly and Cyrri sighed. She turned to Era.
"The S-162 has to leave now. I would be able to fix the block if I had more time, but I do not. I'm sorry, Era, but you will have to stay," she sighed again.
"Okay..." said Era quietly.
"Wait, what will happen to her if she stayed?" asked Modo.
"She will have to wait with me for the next S-162 with space to spare to come by," Cyrri said.
"You are not coming?" asked Vinnie.
"There is no space for me."
"Did you know all along that you were not coming?"
"Yes, I can survive here for another day till the next possible transport out of here," she said.
"How long is a day?" questioned Throttle, afraid of the answer.
"About twenty Jupiter days," said Era
"How long is a day on Jupiter?"
"Ten-eleven hours," replied Modo.
After doing some mental calculations, Throttle decided it was about eight to nine days. He remembered hearing that a humanoid life-form cannot survive longer than two-three days without drinking. He knew there were no sources of water on the planet.
Era looked at Throttle with begging eyes. That was enough. Throttle made a notion to get out of the empty block and the belts retracted. He stepped out.
"Take my spot," he said. Everyone looked at him in surprise.
"Wha..." Era was about to ask, but she was interrupted by Cyrri.
"Are you sure you want to do this?" she asked.
"I have a higher chance of surviving till the next S-3-54..."
"S-1-62," corrected Cyrri
"Whatever... arrival," said Throttle.
"Era? Your decision," Cyrri turned to her.
"Thank you," she said with a shaking voice. In a sudden urge, she hugged Throttle and smiled. She stepped into the empty space and belts crossed over her.
Cyrilla pulled Throttle away and the four blocks with people in them began to close. The scene returned almost to that of the first time Throttle walked inside, except for the fifth, broken block that did not close. Cyrri walked to the computer screen and pressed a few buttons. The metal-looking block became liquid and merged with the floor, disappearing in it. the empty space remained.
"Come!" Cyrri called Throttle and he followed her through the doorway.
The sphere disappeared in the blackness of the sky, but Throttle was still staring at where it used to be.
"Why couldn't you and me get into two of those other spaces that never opened?" he asked not turning around. He didn't get any answer.
"Cyrilla? Cyrri?! Cyr..." he turned around and broke off in the middle of the word as he saw her walking away. He ran after her. Running was a bit harder in the sand, but he made it and tapped her shoulder.
"Yo, why did you leave without telling me?"
"I did tell you, and a few times too," Cyrri replied not stopping and not turning to him. "You were just too busy staring at the S-1-62 to hear me."
"Oh, sorry... so, why couldn't we travel in the blocks that never opened?"
"Because there were already people in there, compressed at different parameters. If we opened, they would die."
"Okay, then why couldn't we travel outside them, just in the "hall"?" Throttle asked, walking with her.
"Can you travel in vacuum and 9G and survive?"
"Well, that is what the inside of the sphere is like. Those are the best parameters for high-speed sub-space travel. Then, each of the blocks is configured independently," she explained.
"Um, so, what happens to a person..."
"Creature or life-form," she corrected him again.
"Right... what happens to a creature once the block closes?"
"It gets enveloped with a special substance that hibernates it and keeps it's own life-parameters."
"Uh-huh..." said Throttle and they continued walking. Why are we walking, he thought. "Um, how come we are not falling through the ground if no one is controlling it?" he asked another question.
"Because someone is controlling it," she stated and looked at him.
"You are?" he watched her nod. "Uh-huh... um, where are we going?"
"We are trying to find a good spot," she said and smiled.
"A good spot for what?"
"Jump?" he asked. "Jump to where? This place is a p... almost a perfect sphere!"
"You are absolutely correct."
"But if we cannot jump down, th..." he looked at her, his eyes the size of a plate each, in surprise. "But, Char.. Cyrri, we cannot g..." he interrupted himself as he saw her nod in agreement. He sighed and continued walking.
Cyrilla stopped and looked up. She turned to Throttle.
"See that?" she said and pointed at a bright star.
"Good. Watch it. Make sure it remains there and tell me if anything happens," she said and walked away.
"But, Cyrri!" he called her, thinking that it could be one of those 'watch the window and see if it's still day'-at-noon kind of remark.
"Uh-uh-uh! Watch it!" she said and pointed to it with an almost-angry expression.
"Okay..." he sighed and turned back to the star.
Cyrilla sat down on the ground and took some strange object off her belt. She started disassembling it, putting all the parts in front of her on the ground in a neatly order. When she was done and about two hundred pieces lay on the ground in front of her, she started putting them back together in a different configuration. She picked up a small cylinder with some greenish-blue liquid in it and placed it on top of a mass of other little components. No other piece did she put on as carefully as that little tube.
"Hey, Cyrilla, what's the circle suppos'd to do?" yelled Throttle.
"Grow a little bit bigger or a lot bigger?" Throttle said and said after a pause "Coz it looks like a Death Star now."
"What?" she said turning around. She looked up at the sky and saw a pretty big circle, about the size of the Moon from Earth. "That much bigger," she said. "Come here!" She collected all of her little pieces into a bag and grabbed her just-finished little device. Throttle walked up to her. She gave him the little device. He took it with a bit of distrust.
"Put this to your mouth," she said.
"What is this? A smoke detector?" he asked.
"Put it on," she stated in an even tone.
He looked at her, as if waiting for confirmation that she really wanted him to do that, saw her nod and followed. He was about to throw it away, but she held his hands that held the device firmly, as dozens of little metallic threads were dispersed in random directions, soon covering his whole mouth.
"That will help you breathe in vacuum," she answered to his silent question. "Now, hold tight. I'm not sure whether I'll be able to lift you that high," she said turning around and tapping her shoulders so he would put his hands there, which he did. His face hid tons of questions, which were all shattered by the strong wind that hit him as Cyrri pushed off with her feet and started cutting through the air at great speeds.
He closed his eyes. At first it felt like flying on his bike onto a building, but soon it got to a feeling of air diving, until soon, all feelings but extreme cold disappeared. He couldn't even shiver.
Everything happened too fast for him to realize, but soon, blackness enveloped everything but the surface below and an ever-growing circle above. The images around began to fade into darkness too. He could barely see Cyrilla, even though she was less than a foot away. The stars, the ground, the "Death Star" were gone a long time ago. He wanted to scream in panic and cold, but the metal mask and the vacuum around him held any sound from escaping. With great pain, he looked in front of him and there it was. Darkness, freezing darkness...
"Wake up," a soft voice called.
"Wake u-up," it called again, with a bit different intonation. This time it was more annoyed, as if it has been calling for quite a while.
He didn't want to wake up. It was too nice the way it was: warm, dark, safe. He didn't want to go back to the cold darkness and danger. But the voice called and he couldn't resist.
Throttle opened his eyes
He saw a familiar face in front of him, he saw the moving lips, but didn't hear any sound. The sound of the voice stopped the moment he opened his eyes.
"Throttle, WAKE UP!" she yelled. He heard it this time, loud and clear, she could see that from the way he suddenly twitched and almost jumped up.
"No need to yell, I'm up," he said and tried to stand up. The pain in every muscle forced him to sit down on the ground.
"It's the shades," Cyrri said. "Do you have to wear them 100 percent of the time?"
"Yes, I do," he answered holding his head. The pain existed there too.
"Um, here," she said and took something out of the little box on her belt. "Eat this. It is a painkiller."
"Oh. Thanks..." Throttle took the little flat triangle and put it in his mouth. It tasted sweet for a second, and then it stopped tasting at all, because it had already disintegrated.
In a minute he was ready to get up, which he did.
"Can you walk?" Cyrilla asked. He answered that by taking a stroll around her. "Okay..."A loud high pitched noise caught her attention. She grabbed his arm. "Come on! We have to get outta here!" She pulled him into a long narrow corridor with no ceiling.
"Come on!" she yelled again and ran down the corridor. The farther they ran the longer the corridor seemed. The noise was getting louder too.
"Why are we running?" Throttle asked.
"I'll tell you when we lose it," she said calmly. Even though they have been running for quite a while, she was not breathing any faster and did not seem to get hotter, while Throttle, with all his military training, was panting for the last what he estimated being half a mile.
The noise stopped as abruptly as it appeared. Cyrri stopped and Throttle sat on the ground, breathing heavily.
"D... did we lose it?" he asked, panting.
"Yeah," she said.
"So, now will you answer my question?"
"Because I'm not exactly very popular here," she said after a pause.
"Huh? Wadaya mean?"
"I once has to do some damage to this place. They count me as an enemy number one now. Well, at least number one amongst one-person or small group enemies."
"What did you do to get such honor?"
"I set off a transformation sequence."
"Okay," Cyrri sighed. "Remember I told you that this star system is four stars, a bunch of planets and satellites?"
"Well, yeah, you also said that it was created by some dead guys..."
"Right. And these "dead guys" have programmed the stars to make sure that every object in this star system is a sphere. If a non-spherical free-floating object enters this system for longer than it would take an impulse from the closest star to get to it, it gets transformed into a sphere," she looked at his confused expression. "Okay, suppose... um, give me a name of a spaceship."
"Um, the Enterprise..."
"Fine, suppose the Enterprise enters this system at warp-one and goes to Preheera Alpha one. It takes about thirty seconds for Preheera Alpha to send an impulse to Enterprise, which it does, because the ship cannot escape even at warp-9-point-9 in thirty seconds..."
"What about warp 10?" interrupted Throttle.
"Any travel at Warp 10 results in extreme DNA advancement. Or, de-advancement in this case. Picard and Number 1, and Troy and whoever else, except for Data will look like a cross between an aligator and Lochness. In real time, humanity would have evolved to that in, say, ten million years. Maybe more."
"What will we look like then?"
"You will be extinct. Your species, all but a few, will get killed in a collision of Mars and Charon, Pluto's satelite which will get free because Pluto will collide with an asteroid from the outter ring," Cyrilla said, watching Throttle's expression. "Now, should I continue with what will happen to Enterprise or not?"
"Thank you. Now, this impulse, which to us looks like a lightning-bolt with about the charge of a regular light-bulb. "Us" means, "our current technology". Do not confuse that with Earth technology or Martian technology, no. This is WAY more advanced, but to us it still looks like a burst of electricity. So, this impulse creates a spherical temporal force field around Picard's ship. The center of this force field starts collecting immense amount of energy. The crew dies when that first starts. The energy is released, making the ship rotate at high speed around the center, until gravity pulls it together into a perfect sphere. The force field protects everything outside of it from the pull of gravity equal to about ten Preheera-sized stars. After the spherization is complete, the force field pulls in until it touches the object and fixes that position for any future adjustments of the surface, then disappears."
"Really?!!" Throttle could hardly believe her. What she had just said and what she said before, all went against everything he has been taught, or was more wild than his own imagination. Never in his lifetime, would he have thought that some creatures created a mathematically correct star system and made sure that everything remained mathematically correct centuries, milleniums or maybe even millions of years before human or Martian races even began to evolve. The whole grand idea was just under his comprehension level. He also wondered whether it was true what Cyrri said about the future of Mars and Earth or whether she was making it up to scare him. For the time being he decided she made it up.
"Yup," she said, smiling. Being part of the few people who found that star system and then founded a new era of space interaction, between their kind and the creatures from beyond that system, to which a detour to would take hundreds of years with their technology, and then telling about it to a representative of a relatively primitive race and seeing his face of fascination and envy was especially fun.
"Uh-hum...." Throttle was still trying to digest the newly acquired information.
"Oh, and on random occasions the system has a systems test of the perfection of the spheres. Then, the stars send an impulse that turns the force fields back on, chopping off everything that has been built on top of the spheres. It lasts a few hours," she answered his silent. "Last such event occurred a few hours away. When we were walking on the surface of the planet, we were actually walking on top of the force field."
"Cool!" he said and whistled.
"I know!" she said, thinking, yeah, cool that we got off the topic.
"Uh-huh.... okay... and what did you do?"
"D.. do when?"
"What did you do to this place that they hate you now?"
"I set off the transformation sequence," she said. Oh, lovely, guess not, she thought.
"Okay, this station, or as we call it, an isle, is a sphere, but it has the ability to transform into a form that better suits going through space at high warp. Warp, by the way is not just something out of Star Trek. It is a real force or speed, whichever you prefer. I set off the sequence that transforms this sphere to a more space-dynamic form."
"Oh, so basically, you attempted a mass murder," he stated with a bit of disbelief.
"Um, actually, I tried to keep them occupied while I escaped. The mass-murder part was a side effect."
"So, how come they are all still here?"
"Because they occupied themselves with terminating the sequence, while I escaped," she said with an almost visible smile.
"Okay, let me get this straight. You did something they didn't like, they chased you, you set off a lethal program, they started fixing it, you got away," he said, not really liking the idea that she was a criminal.
"You got it!"
"Oh, yeah? What did you do to make them mad and chase you in the first place?"
"I.... I stole something..." she said with a bit of shaking in her voice.
"What?" he asked calmly, as if he expected that.
"N.. nothing... it doesn't matter..." Cyrri turned away.
"It matters to me. What did you steal?"
"Why do you want to know?"
"Because I want to know how bad our situation would be if we got caught," he lied. "What did you steal?"
"Something important enough for the people who live here to rip our throats out..." she suddenly looked up. "I got an idea, come on!" she grabbed his arm and pulled him down the corridor and into the first door.
"About time..." was everything he could say before they ended up in front of a wall, similar to that inside the spherical spaceship, back on the planet. Cyrilla pushed him to the doorway through which they just came though.
"Watch the door and tell me if anyone comes," she said and turned to the computerized wall.
"What are you doing?"
"I am tapping into the system to find out where that S-1-62 went," she answered while pressing all sorts of buttons that appeared on the screen.
"So that we would know where Vinnie, Modo, Era and M'Alice went and go get them."
"How do you know they won't come and get us?" Throttle turned to her.
"Watch the door!" she said in a tone too serious to belong to a young girl like her.
"Alrite, alrite, I'm watching..." he turned back. "Heesh... so?"
"Because there is a higher chance of them ending up in a prison the first time they say my name, than them coming to rescue us," she smiled at his primitive thought patterns. She remembered a time, when she had to adapt to them and blend in. She saw how neither humans nor Martians could possibly comprehend the existence of the seventh sense or the 5th dimension, so she didn't even try to explain it. She saw the computer age evolution levels, but said nothing. Toys, she thought at every human invention. Space-faring races, yet so simple in themselves. Oh, why did I ever pick these guys to hide amongst? She asked herself for the nth time and always answered herself. Because they wouldn't think of looking for me in this hole.
But now, she got out of that hole only to get back to it. She sighed. Just my luck, she thought. She turned back and looked at the mouse. I cannot have witnesses, she thought and pointed her index finger at him. No, she thought with a sigh and got back to the computer, he trusts me too much.
"I'm in. They are at..." she said, reading through the vast ammount of information depicted in various forms. When she got to the version that was in some sort of language, not a map or a whole bunch of numbers, she sighed. "Let me recheck this," she said to the confused Throttle. She switched to a different display and watched the patterns of color bands run across the display. After the color sequence came to end, she turned back and looked at the Martian. "They are here," she said. "And evidently the news of my arrival to the system has already hit the front page..."
"Come here," she waved.
"I thought you told me to watch the door," he didn't like how she bossed him around before.
"Well, now I am telling you to come here," she saw his slight anger. "I'm sorry.." she sighed. "I'm wanted here... and I'm used to the crew following my command... I totally forgot that in the same environment there could be different people around, people who are not used to me being the boss..."
"It's okay..." he walked up to the computer and stood next to her.
"Okay, see this?" she pointed at three bands of red, blue and violet of the same length and then a bit longer yellow.
"Oh, I'm sorry... you can't read this..." she said and switched to an English display.
"Uh-huh.." Throttle said as he read the yellow words against a blue background. "They will WHAT?! Why?"
"Um, lets see here..." Cyrri scrolled through the text that seemed to pop out. A very loud version of the noise they heard earlier interrupted her search. Throttle turned around, but she remained looking through the database.
"Um, is it just me or are there two very ugly ocropus-like creatures with loaded guns in the doorway?" said Throttle.
"It's not just y..." She turned around too when something metallic slapped her wrist. When it grabbed her wrist, she tried to pull away, but she only tightened the grip of an oddly-shaped tentacle wrapped around her wrist when she pulled. She tried to kick the big blueish circle in the center of what resembled a head, but another tentacle successfully blocked it. "Hm, they decreased their respose time." She took out a knife and was about to slash the only tentacle that was holdin her, but saw another one wrapped around Throttle's neck. "How terrific..." she sighed at the sight of a gun pointed at her and put awy her knife. Throttle was already out cold and she never got to finishing her search.
"Hey, let us out!!" Vinnie yelled. He no longer tried to brake out of the force field, because he already found out the hard way that it gave pretty powerful shocks.
"No need to yell," said Era calmly. "They won't hear you anyway."
"Huh?" Vinnie turned to her.
"They are deaf," Era explained.
"Then... how do we tell them to let us out?"
"We can't. They will not listen. They are cybernetic... they are not even lifeforms. They are machines. You can't talk to them. You can't make them understand. They do not feel pain, sorrow, or any other feelings. They are droids, biots, you cannot communicate with them on a living level. They have two perposes. These ones at this moment. To make sure we don't run away and to make sure that we do not die."
"What do you mean, 'that we do not die'?" asked Modo
"Maintain sufficient energy flow."
"Yeah? Well, I'm hungry! How do we tell them to get us something to eat?" whined Vinnie.
"Um, hm..." Era closed her eyes. A stripe of skin about half a foot long and an inch high in the middle of her forehead turned black. Unlike Era's brown skin, this black was really black. A kaleidoscope of color ran across it from right to left and the stripe turned black again. Era stood up from her spot on the floor force field and walked to the barrier that kept them from escaping. One of the creatures turned to her immediatelly and rolled up. Sequences of various colors ran across Era's forehead. The creature rolled away the moment they stopped.
It came back a few minutes later with a bright orange sphere. It went through the force field easily and dropped on the floor. It bounced up a bit, cushioning its own fall. When fully on the ground and not bouncing anymore, it rolled to the middle of the room and rose up a yard. The sphere split up vertically into two perfect hemispheres that floated away from each other about the diameter of the whole sphere and tiny grey cones appeared around the perimeter of the flat surface in the middle, equal nomber on each hemisphere. The two hemispheres connected with a light orange lazer-like ray from each cone reaching to the corrisponding cone on the other hemisphere. The whole constructio turned to Era one of the round ends and everyone could see an indentation there for a seven-peaked star. At least, Vinnie and Modo could see. M'Alice was sitting on the floor staring into space. Era took her star off of her cheek and placed it into the space, that seemed to be specially designed for it on the sphere. She turned to Vinnie and Modo so they saw the scarlet filled outline of where the star used to be.
"What is that?" asked Vinnie.
"A food replicator, now, what do you want?" she asked Vinnie.
"Um, what's on the menu?" he asked staring at the bloody spot on her cheek.
"Most of the foods from this galaxy."
"That's it?" Era looked at him in disbelief and saw him nod. "You have been hanging around humans for too long. The race that uses nuclear power to boil water. You know, this is like taking the intire Olympus Mons and everything that's attached to it and dropping it on a walnut to crack the shell open..." she sighed and pushed the star into the levitating construction.
"Translation," said Modo. "You can have any food in the world in any ammount and you ask for pizza."
"Well, I haven't had pizza in a while!"
"Right... so it was not you who ate the whole pizza while we three shared another one yest..." he turned to Era. "What's today?"
"A sunny day, I presume," she answered coldly, annoyed at the levitating construction, because it took too long.
"Well, somewhere it's probably sunny. I meant what date is it?"
"Earth time does not exist here," she explained.
"Well, can you calculate it?"
"There is no point to waste resourses."
"Fine..." he turned to Vinnie. "The day before we left Earth," he finished his sentence.
"Um..." Vinnie put the pieces of the sentence together to understand what was just said. "Nope," he said with an innocent expression.
"Uh-huh.... okay... guess it was a ghost, then," Modo crossed his arms.
"Um, could be... you know I just saw one no...." he never finished. Not tat there was a good reason for it, he just didn't want to. The smell and look of pizza and all the mozzarella and tomatoes and peperoni on it was enough to make him shut up so that he could lick his lips, endeavoring the sensation.
He grabbed a slice, consuming it in seconds. He finished the entire pizza in less than two minutes. He turned to Era.
"Sorry," she said and took her star out of the machine and placed it back in its spot on her face.
"Because of them," she said and looked at the bars. Vinnie looked there too and saw a new bunch of biots.
"What do they want?" asked Modo walking up to Era and Vinnie.
"They want to take us away," Era said.
"Tak.. take us where?"
"To..." Era was reading the color patterns on the head of one of the biots, evidently the leader, giving instructions to the others. "To a facility with higher security."
"Yeah, we can't even jump this place!" said Vinnie.
"They do not know," said Era.
"Um, are they going to knock us out like last time?" asked Modo.
"Probably. They usually do that."
"Only they usually have two, three max biots as an escort," answered M'Alice from the other end of the room.
"You think they will keep us conscious?" asked Era.
"Um, why so many biots if we're gonna be half dead?"
"Well, it seems we are about to find out," said Modo. Everyone turned to the 7 or 8 bars that opened like a door.
"Come with us and do not attempt to escape or you will be sorry," said a mechanical voice. It belonged to the leader biot.
"Era?" asked Vinnie as if asking permission.
"I think we should do what they say," said M'Alice. Era said nothing.
They were pulled out, one by one, brutally and pushed between two biots that were the escort of each. The leader biot checked that everyone behaved and rolled to the begining of everyone to lead the way. A biot was at the end, closing the procession.
They were taken to a dark hallway with rough walls and floor. The biots could see perfectly where they were going, so there was no need for light in a place that had no activity in it other than occasional passing prisoners for so long most forgot what color the walls were. Most of those who ever knew. The prisoners silently and blindly followed the corridor. The biots were silent too, for no colors lit up in the darkness.
They were brought out to the light and M'Alice, Modo and Vinnie had to shut their eyes. Era did nothing, but just followed the biots and it seemed she was only half-consious, not realizing her moves, but just blindly following. However, unlike the popular belief, she was fully aware of everything that happened in front of her, to the sides where the biots were, and behind her.
They were brought into a brightly lit room with a door that resembled a spaceship door that led to the cold vacuum of space. The garage-like door fell down in closing behind them and the lights went out. The spaceship hatch opened with no sound at all. There was no need for a sound. The cold wind that came from the space behind the hatch was enough for everyone to understand that the hatch was opened. The biots pushed them in the same way they took them from their cell: one by one, coldly and brutally. Era, because she was lighter than others, but recieved the same treatment, landed face down on the floor.
The wind stopped when the hatch was closed. Vinnie immediatelly jumped to it in the darkness and knocked on it as loud as he could. He learned immediatelly that this door was not electrified.
"Let us out!!!" he yelled.
"No need to yell, even if they could hear, they would not hear your screams through three feet of coronite," said a familiar voice.
"Who is there?" asked Modo.
"The one they created this place for," answered Era. "And someone else."
The lights went on. While everyone who had to was getting used to the brightness, the voice was silent. When Modo, who was the first to get used to the light, looked up, he saw a girl sitting on the floor on the other end of the room, which was about the size of the living room of the Last Chance Garage back on Earth. Her legs were wrapped tightly to the floor by the use of metal strips that looked like bandages. Her arms were behind her back, and were wrapped in the same metallic bandages, firmly attached to the wall behind her. There was a bandage on her neck and tw across her stomach. Her face was covered with a mask. Era walked up to her and tried to rip one of the bandages off.
"No, stay back," said the female. Her voice sounded very familiar.
"Okay," said Era and walked away. Everyone watched the bandages go from their silvery color to red and then white. The woman stood up, breaking the strips of the hardest metal in the universe like chalk.
"Oh, man!" she exclaimed looking at how the white metal was all over her black skin-tight bodysuit. She brushed it off and it came off easily. She ripped her mask off and breathed in the cool air. When she looked at everyone else, they saw the famaliar face of Charlene Davidson. Only now they knew that was not her name.
"Oh, I see you're happy to see me!" Cyrilla's face was full of sarcasm.
"We ARE!" said Vinnie.
"Where is the other mouse?" asked M'Alice.
"Turn around, maybe you'll see him," said Cyrri.
Everyone did. They saw Throttle, lying by the entrance, which from the inside didn't look much differet from a space hatch either. Modo and Vinnie wanted to walk up to their bro, but Era held them back.
"He's sleeping," she said and smiled.
"How do you know that he is not sick or something?" asked Vinnie.
"He is sick," said Cyrri. "That is why you have to let him sleep."
"What happened?" asked Modo.
"Yeah, how did you get here from the planet?" asked Vinnie.
"...And now we are here," Cyrri finished.
"Oh, um, okay, then why are we in here?"
"Because I am here and they decided to put you with me... No, don't sit there, it's hot!" she almost yelled to Vinnie who was about to sit by the wall. The pieces of metal that Cyrri broke had already melted into the floor, and now there was no trace of where she was sitting aside from the hot wall and floor. Vinnie moved to another spot and sat down there.
"Um, how come they don't come in and make more straps to put you in?" asked Modo.
"What, you kidding? Come here when I'm conscious and fully aware? Naah, they don't dare."
"They dared to take you in at the computer, though," said Vinnie.
"They were holding a gun to Throttle's face and a tentacle around his neck. They knew that if I went into all the trouble of getting him off the planet, he was worth something to me and I didn't want him dead. Also, back then, they did nothing to me. Now, they have constrained me. I am mad," she said smiling. "They do not want to mess with me now."
"So, when are we getting outta here?" asked Throttle coming up from his corner. He almost hit his head on the floating food replictor, that the biots had seemed to have brought with them.
"Good morning," said Era.
"Danks," Throttle said and sneezed. "Sorry."
"Salut," said Cyrri.
"W... what is that?" Modo asked, steeping away from the corner, where the floor began to rize oddly.
"That is the biggest example of that clear vampire species that we met back on Preheera beta 4," answered Cyrilla.
"It looks like a see-through terminator," said Vinnie when the clear mass began to take on a human form.
"Yeah, it also happens to be my sister," Cyrri sighed as the form gained color and became a female human.
"Really? Do you look like that clear stuff too?" Vinnie said and immediatelly caught her angry look.
"She looks a lot like you," noted Modo.
"Yeah," Cyrri answered as if sorry that was the case.
"She's pretty too," said Vinnie.
"True," said Cyrri, sounding even more sorry. "But don't look at her too much."
"Why? Jealous?" Vinnie asked grinning. Throttle rolled up his eyes and walked to the opposite corner, looking around the room and trying to figure a way out.
"Worried," Cyrri stated.
"About what?" Vinnie knew he was geting annoying but he didn't stop.
"She is like a wolf: carnivorous and allways hungry. I'd keep away from her if I were you."
"Oh, listen to ya, sis!" her sister said. "Making up all these lies about me just to keep him away," she smiled at Vinnie.
"Oh, fine... go ahead, look at her... then wait... preferably stay in one place... see what happens," exclaimed Cyrri, seeing that her words flew into one of those huge ears Vinnie had and flew out of the other ear. His eyes were fixed on her sister. The later gave the entire room a quick scan. She didn't even look at Era. She almost gave M'Alice the same treatment, but she knew that he knew what was on her mind. It looked like she had skipped the food replicator also, but that was just an illusion.
She casualy walked around the prison cell as she was scanning it and stopped, turning to the Vinnie, Modo and Cyrri. She immediatelly saw that Vinnie was staring at her, and Modo was looking at his two bros, thinking what Throttle was doing staring at the ceiling and whether Vinnie had totally lost the last traces of intelligence. It didn't take the pretty girl too long to figure out which was the easiest target.
"I don't think I'm a wolf," she said smiling the most innocent smile in the world. "I think I'm a cat!" She said the last sentence quickly and she grabbed the levitating replicator and threw it at the bros.
Cyrri was the first to see it, but totally ignored it. Modo saw it coming and jumped away from the flying matter. Throttle saw Modo move and only then saw the replicator, but was in no danger from it.
The one who was under any danger of getting hit by the advanced machine was Vinnie. Cyrri's sister felt he would be the easiest target both then and later. He was the closest and dead center. She also figured him to be the first to fall for a beautiful girl. It would have been so easy to just seduce him for her perpose, but her sister made her cross that option out temporarily.So, she just went on with the plain, old, proven-to-work, barbaric way.
The target was hit, knocked out and even knocked away a few feet.
"She shoots - she scores," said Cyrri's sister calmly even though an expert eye could see the glitter of victory in her brown eyes. She walked up to Vinnie's motionless body. With an evil grin, she took out a knife, similar to that Era used to clear the cement off. She clutched the knife in her hand. As the arm went up, Cyrri caught the glitter of the blade in the light. The sister's arm went down, along with her entire body to aid her. The knife stopped a few inches above Vinnie's neck and his assassin look up. Cyrilla was holding her sister's wrist too tight for the later to escape. The evil woman opened her hand, releasing the knife. However, to her own amazement the knife did not move a nanometer. Cyrri pushed her sister away and grabbed the levitating knife. She looked around and was the confussed faces of Modo and Throttle and the bared faces of Era and M'Alice: they were used to the scene. Cyrri was too, but never before did she have to save the victim. All the other times she couldn't care less who was killed. It's Earth, and the pathetic things that live there, she tried to explain it to herself.
"You became weaker, sister," she heard a voice. She found herself staring at the knife and looked up.
"I said you are weak now. Why?"
"Sher, there are things that happen that I cannot explain, you know," Cyrri answered.
"Liar! You know why you didn't let me kill him!" she looked sorry. "It's the humans, isn't it? The dumb things with their pathetic laws, rules and rights. Why did you ever hide there? And if you had to pick a technologically retarded system, why did you pick a country that has rules against everything? You can't even kill a cockroach in your own house without asking the local authorities first there! Let alone kill a person your own size! You were the worst, most evil, most ruthless person I knew and the person who made it all fun! I envied you! But, you developed feelings for the "innocent people" and couldn't blow up a ball of dirt that this place is! WHY?" she began to cry.
"Sher!" Cyrri embraced her sister and tried to make her stop crying. She didn't care that Throttle, Modo and the now awake Vinnie were staring at them, more confused than ever. "Sher, stop it," she said suddenly in a cold voice that immediatelly made her sister stop crying and look up. "Now, how do you ever expect to be like me if you keep crying every time you do something wrong, eh?" she continued in a cold voice.
"Okay," she said.
"Good, now forget about killing him. You can eat some hostage once we get out of here."
"Kill who?" asked Vinnie.
"Hm, okay," said Sher, totally ignoring him. "So, how do we get out of this dump?" she said with an adventurous smile.
"And no eating anyone else in this room," said Cyrri in her cold tone, when she caught Throttle's "what about us?" glance.
"Okay, okay..." answered her sister as if sorry. Throttle walked up to Cyrri.
"Does she actually eat anyone?" he asked.
"No... no one in the next five light years except for you eats anymore," she answered.
"We are technologically past that. And were for quite some time."
"Then why does she say she wants to eat Vincent?"
"We still use the word. It basically means that she wants to kill him and take his energy. The entire "eating" process looks like her putting her hand on his chest and checking for heart beat," she said simply.
"Hm... sorry for asking, but are you a vampire also?" he watched her sigh.
"In a way, we all are. We all suck energy out of others to survive. Only, our victims are little grey blocks, AKA food rations. She is a um... munant I guess... for some reason due to genetic variation, she consumes energy twice as fast as anyone else. That may seem like nothing major, but in reality, it is quite bad. That is why she is always hungry," Cyrri said, sitting down on the floor. She tried to open a panel, with a knife.
"What about the carnivorous part?" asked Throttle.
Cyrri's knife snapped and she picked up the broken piece from the floor and tried to place it back in. She cut herself and sweared. Throttle looked at the bubble of blood that was forming on two of her fingertips. She licked it off and tried to get something off her belt, but the blood kept comming. The cut was obviously pretty deep.
"Here," Throttle gave her a hankerchief.
"Thanks," she wrapped it around the bleeding fingertips so the napkin would absorb the blood. Quickly and easily now she pulled a square piece of metal out from her belt, took the napkin off her fingers and pressed them against the metal square. A second later, she had already placed it in the pocket on her belt and her finger were perfectly healed. The only thing that reminded of what happened was the blood in the hankerchief. "Sorry, I ruined it," she said, giving it back to him.
"That's okay..." he smiled at her.
"Okay, thanks," she said, put the knife together and it became whole again. She pried open the panel. "Sher!" she called.
"Yes?" her sister came. She took one look at the opened panel. "Oh, you found it! I was looking for it!"
"Oh, sure you were. Your turn. Open the door."
"Consider it done!" the girl replied and started messing up the posatronic wires that were in there.
"Just don't trigger an automatic lockdown or something," Cyrilla said and walked to the other end of the cell. Immediatelly, Vinnie walked up to her with a question.
"Tell me, is she your younger sister?" he asked.
"Older," she stated.
"Hm, she looks and acts younger, though..."
"No, she looks and acts younger to you."
"Huh?" he watched her leave.
"We age backwards," she said not even turning around.
"Charley!" everyone heard and turned to the voice of Shar.
"They know..." Cyrri said slowly.
"Oh," said Shar with a pause. "Um... Cyrri!! Come! I have a spark!"
"You have a what? Get away, I need to see!" she yelled at her sister, running up to the panel. It didn't take her longer than a glance to see everything. "Shit, you ruptured the plasmic channel...." She turned the her company; fear was in her eyes. "Okay, everyone, take cover!" she yelled.
"Where? We are in an empty room!" Vinnie yelled back.
"Um..." she said, looking around. She pointed to the two corners of the wall the panel was on. "There and there! Get as close to the corner as you can."
"Um, wouldn't it be wiser to be as far from the explosion as possible?" asked Throttle.
"Trust me, the explosion is going to go that-a-way!" she pointed in the general direction of the oppesite wall. "There it will cover more area, than here, where we are protected by the wall from the general blow!"
"Whatever..." sighed Shar, making a "whatever" sign with her hands. "You pathetic things stay here... bye!" she yelled, turned transparrent and melted into the floor.
"Hey, where are you going?" Throttle yelled.
"She is saving her tail, can't you see?" said Modo.
"But she is the one who got us into this mess!" growled Vinnie.
"Hm... are we going to accuse her or are we gonna save ourselves?" said Cyrri calmly.
Without any words, the poor creatures destributed themselves between the two corners.
"Okay, I'll leave now too, but I will be back, okay?" Cyrri said. After not getting any answer she melted into the floor in a fashion similar to that of her sister. "Good luck!" they heard her voice.
The spark, little at when they last saw it the first time was nothing more than a small part of a wire, lit up like a cigarette. It sparked a few times and went out.
"What is it gone?" asked Vinnie, taking a few steps away from the corner.
"Fool, get back to the wall!" said Era. "It's just a quiet moment before a storm!" she pulled Vinnie very close to herself just moments before everything was turned green in the light of the plasma explosion. Loud booming sound erupted from a tiny, almost-burnt-out spark on a plasmic channel...
To be continued...
So.... do you love it? Hate it? Totally hate it? Well, I would really like some sort of responce! Please reffer to the guestbook for that (that is if ya wanna) or you can email me if you're shy... There will be more (even though I dunno what'll happen yet ^-^) so tell me whether it will be worth writing!