Astral Projection (Pulse)

GEAR

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#21
Elhirut's swing worked just as planned - the glowing blade scythed out, and tore clean into the charging Lamalice, shearing it clearly in two as it erupted into a cloud of dark energy that swirled about the battlefield. The missiles hurtled forward into its brother, downing it as well in a storm of flame. More beams lanced out at the two - but Elhirut found their progress impeded, as the Meyven's Zeidram interposed itself between him and the monsters, intercepting the blasts with its arms wrapped around itself, peals of darkness leaving dark burns across its surface as he shielded the young man.

"Hold your fire. I'll handle these monsters!"

Even so, it hardly deterred him from dealing with the remainder. The twin-barreled plasma cannon's barrel lit up like a lantern - and a sustained blast of fiery death erupted forth, held tightly in both the machine's arms as it vented excess heat from its sides, swept from side to side. Every Lamalice that it caught was incinerated completely, screaming in futility as it was reduced to little more than piles of ash. At length, he lowered the superheated weapon, now glowing a bright red, Madin grimacing at the readout displayed in the cockpit... but, as the Zeydram turned its attention to the foe once more, Madin's words weren't concerning the state of his own machine.

"...Look. The rest, they've... Stopped."

Sure enough, the remaining Lamalice… Had halted. As if heeding some unheard call, they had instead turned towards the strange "growth."

Visible now, only to Elhurut, was the contagion that had been spreading across the battlefield... as it began to snake away from between his fingertips, around their machines, like water down a drain, as it was drawn into the surface of the tumor. Its foul surface rippled as it inhaled the dark mist, concentrating it, forming it into... something. Yet, the contents of these sacrifices alone must not have been enough.

The three Lamalice standing stock still barely even reacted when, with horrifying suddenness, a series of black tendrils burst from its surface. Craven, rubbery whips, they reached out, stabbing into the creatures - and snapped them forward, in a matter not unlike a frog's tongue, dragging them too into its surface, where they were quickly subsumed by the roiling mass.

"Great Cosmos...!"

In Elhirut's ears, a slow, heavy noise began to echo - unmistakable to any human being, yet at the same time wholly alien.

Ba-bump, ba-bump, ba-bump.

The surface of the growth - no, the egg - seemed to darken then, as it slowed its ceaseless movement, crumpling inward in preparation...

Then, just as the concentration of dark energy had reached its peak, it finally happened.

In a flash, a clawed, white hand erupted from the surface, the rupture fountaining ink-like blood. It stretched out into the void, before curling into a fist. A series of cuts - like those made by a razor - materialized across the lump's exterior - and in mere moments, it detonated as well, in a cloud of dark, gelatinous ooze. What remained, crouched amongst the ruins of its shell, as it raised its head to look at them...

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"..."
 

PULSEFIRE

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#22
"Th-they were..."

"Hatching something?" Elhirut sat back in the cockpit, instinctively pushing away from the twisted mockery of a newborn. This was no child; nothing created through such a abominable process could even be called such a thing. Children conjured up images of... how long ago had he been a child?

"No." Elhirut muttered, pushing the thought aside and turning his mind to more... pressing matters. Literally, to him; the entity emitted a pulsating, strange mix between drumbeat and gravitational traction, slowly sucking him into whatever horrific maw surely lay beneath it's exterior, while still repelling him with it's sheer grotesqueness. At least it wasn't nebulous any longer; the wrongness was right in front of him, and it was baring it's teeth.

The Org-Valu briefly bobbed with a burst of it's leg thrusters, before it shot backwards, away from the newfound...threat? No. There was no way this thing was remotely friendly. That same malice now flowed in it's veins, the same hunger. There was no way it was safe.

"S-sir. T-that thing... if was really formed from multiple... of those things..."

"Doesn't that mean it has the output of all of them?" The Org-Valu halted, swiveling barrels again to send another streaking pair of accelerated slugs through space, briefly infusing the greyish metal of it's barrels into a warmly luminescent glow. Overheating. Uh oh.
 

GEAR

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#23
Elhirut's railgun slugs lanced out - doubtlessly the better option than what the Meyven, who had been gawking in soundless terror, had pursued. As they closed in on the creature, however... It raised a hand, curling it into a closed fist with the index and forefingers extended out, straight as an arrow. Around its wrist, bands of light flickered into existence... magic circles, his programming would have informed him, a phenomenon only seen on Earth.

And then, the thing spoke.

"Magnetic Dogma: MAGNUS."

The two slugs seemed to reverberate as they closed in on the Zenadye… and then sling around it. It was almost as if they were trapped in orbit, unable to get closer, yet constantly accelerating, until they were a mere blur. It looked at the two newcomers, as if... amused. The voice didn't seem like what would come out of an alien. It was... smooth, cold, clinical...

Sinister.

"I don't like these." ...It said at length, raising its curled hand. Its cycloptic eye glowed, ominously, as it focused in specifically on the Org-Valu.

"Take them back."

"ELHIRUT!"

He would have heard the Meyven cry out only briefly, as the apparition lowered its fingers in his direction. The orbiting slugs lashed out, their force and acceleration now multiplied by the thing's craven magicks, clearly intended to puncture his own heart - yet they found purchase a different venue entirely. The Zeidram, at the last moment, interposing itself between the two. The slugs smashed into it with a twin pair of explosions, smashing apart its chest and right arm entirely...

Leaving it adrift, and silent, visor now cracked and flickering.

Uncaring, the Zenadye raised its arm, revealing the black innards of a ragged cloak. It reached in with its remaining hand - into the blackness, impossible as it seemed, to grasp something, and pulled it free. A long, murderous looking scythe materialized out of the dark, a blinking eye flicking open and closed in the light along its blade as it twirled it expertly, angling the weapon in the young Psychodriver's direction in a challenge.

"Let us dance, then... here, on the edge of oblivion, under the light of distant, uncaring stars."
 

PULSEFIRE

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#24
Elhirut's eyes widened, a brief, yet infinite flash of horror, revulsion, fear and fury flashing across his gaze for all of one second, watching the slugs rocket back, mere milliseconds from finding purchase; and then, the Zeidram, rushing in to protect him only to be sundered apart.

One moment extended into a thousand, the alerts in his ears fading over what seemed to be the course of years as the stars and world spun and everything was turning and everything was wrong and that thing still stared at him with it's hateful eye

and that thing still

stared

"Y-you..."

"Y-you~!"

A strangled, half-broken cry escaped him, barely echoing through the cockpit. Fingers tightened around controls, until their knuckles were as ghostly and achromatic as the hand of that monstrosity.

De-

Dead?

"No!" Even as the first tears began to leak, blurring his sight, they were pushed down and away as the Org-Valu accelerated, moving upwards to reposition. An orange glow flared to life within the unit's lower torso, as the Giga Blaster charged up for it's second shot this time-cycle; bursting forwards in a silence-sundering blaze of melting light.
 

GEAR

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#25
Ah, yes. Aggression. Hopelessness. Despair. The negative energy peeled off Elhirut, and he drank it all in like the finest wine. For untold years, he had studied the dark... but, only from the outside. Now, however? Now... It was a part of him, and he a part of it. Abramelin Zahed made a mental note, then, to thank the one responsible for his... metamorphosis, after accomplishing what he had came out to do.

The Zenadye coiled, its warped body contracting like a spring - and launched itself up and over into the vacuum on a jet of dark energy. The Giga Blaster's radiant beam scorched underneath, slamming into the base of the massive claws that made up the excavation area. the concentrated plasma causing a riproaring explosion that lit up the battlefield. Overhead, one of the saw-lined claws, massive in length... began to lean towards the two, treacherously, as its support struts began to crumble.

This hardly seemed to bother his assailant, who had already begun to close ranks. The head of the Zenadye seemed to glimmer for a brief second - before a concentrated ray of darkness lanced out at him, scything across horizontally from his right to his left, as it attempt to dispatch the most immediately threatening weapons - the two deadly pillars resting on the Org Valu's shoulders.
 

PULSEFIRE

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#26
"Ghk~!"

Elhirut's chest pushed in on itself as the Org-Valu's back flared with a bluish burst of light at an angle, slamming him forwards into his own restraints. The machine slid backwards and down, a sudden inversion of it's initial course. The dark beam barely scoured the internal frame of it's leg, melting through a section of the Org's armor, before continuing onwards, exploding on some object above-

"Wait, wha-" Elhirut recovered, ignoring the alerts of damage. He shot a glance through his sensors towards above; only to witness the massive mechanical arm begin to break off from it's mountings.

His eyes widened, briefly frozen, before the controls moved once again, the navy blue machine boosting backwards, punctuated with a burst of six missiles.
 

GEAR

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#27
"...Your blood... reeks..."

With a spray of explosions, the massive claw overhead began to fall, sweeping between the two combatants as Elhiruts missiles smashed into the charging Zenadye, tearing chunks of cloth and... for lack of better term, material from its ragged form. From beneath a crater torn in its face, a cluster of eyeballs peered out at Elhurut as it closed the distance between them, persistently.

Behind the two, the situation was deteriorating rapidly as a series of lights were beginning to erupt across the mining rig... and, with sprays of sparks and a terrible, silent grinding, it began to break apart. Something - most likely the Zenadye's "birth", or the resulting fire visited upon it by the Circles weapons, had managed to destabilize its core, setting of a chain reaction that was growing in size and destructive potential.

The cruel scythe glittered with an unearthly light as the Zenadye swung at the Org's armor, bending and warping in an almost elastic fashion as it whipped across his machine's exposed chest, aiming to viciously tear the armor plating away, in a fashion not unlike the shelling of a lobster.

"...Of the ancient covenant..."
 

PULSEFIRE

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#28
In yet another heart-attack inducing burst of simultaneous clarity and fear, Elhirut realized his unit was still holding it's laser blade.

The scythe clashed against a sudden flare of green energy, it's rippling, bladed tip already digging into the Org's chest armor, peeling back an outer layer of blue plating to expose fragments of it's internal frame. The strike still had enough force behind it to rapidly redirect the machine's course, slamming Elhirut into the cockpit's wall with a brief crack.

"G-ah!" Elhirut winced as a set of pain signals tore up his arm, briefly sending him into a spasm.

The Org reached across, dragging it's other laser blade from it's unused slot, before also slamming it against the scythe, engines flaring in an attempt to push back the lethal weapon.

"Jus-just go back~!"

"To wherever the hell~!"

With a silent click, the Org-Valu's railguns slowly built up a crackling violet charge within their barrels, no longer overheated.
 

GEAR

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#29
The two figures grappled with one another, the unearthly scythe against the beam of light, framed against the detonating, shattering mining platform, their features lit by the flickering, crackling plasma as it heaved against ethereal, malevolent energies from the dark beyond. The Zenadye loomed over the Org, seeming to grow bigger and yet more accursed as the seconds ticked by, as it siphoned more and more power from its bleak source.

"That power..."

The red eye atop the machine flashed as it extended a hand, a craven, unblinking eye materializing in its palm, as it directed its yellow-hued gaze towards Elhirut. The figure gave a roar, equal parts triumph and lust, as the Zenadye now seemed to loom over him, impossibly vast, blocking out the very sun itself:

"Give it to me!"

Crackling strands of negative energy lashed out like thunder across the surface of the Org Valu. The previous attacks from the menace had been conventional, trying to break his machine - but this? This was an assault on his very soul, as if a dark claw were being plunged into the surface of his mind, reaching, reaching for something deep inside him, something... locked tightly away, for fear of what it might bring. It was even more severe than the Lamalice attack prior, like electricity was being forced through his veins...

This... thing...

Wanted a part of him.

And it would tear his soul clean from his flesh to take what it needed...
 

PULSEFIRE

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#30
Elhirut had spent an unknowable amount of time staring into the cold, faceless void of space, eyes closed. Drifting, floating, endlessly grasping for anything in his blind existence.

But he had seen.

And it had seen him.

And it had begun screaming.

He had wished he was alone. Deaf. Blind.

But it'd already seen, screamed, and heard.




Elhirut Nanden spent all of three seconds scrabbling in the dark, having already yanked together a primitive sense of existence from the scraps that floated in the oppressive black.

What was that feeling? It was there, all right, it existed - tugging at his fingers, his toes, all of it.

No, not tugging. Tearing. It was looking for something inside him, he realized, as the agony began fading in. It was oddly calming, to at least feel something in this strange existence, even as he looked up to see black, curling tendrils tearing him to shreds.

Well, not him per se, but it was close enough.

"You...should have... at least been~!"

"Nice enough to ask!"

He pushed outwards, a roiling wave of nonexistent force bursting from inside him, flowing outwards to strangle and stem the hostile force pushing into him.
 

GEAR

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#31
He was so close now, he could feel it.

Cupped in the palm of his warped, ethereal hand, was a small, tender sphere of warm light, that he pulled close to his robed form jealously.

He had found it at last.

It pulsed like the beating of a heart, and he could sense that with every flicker and wave of its surface, the entire cosmos rang - or perhaps, sang - with it.

Source of mana, of all energy, all life and death...

A gateway to the true infinite.

Its very essence... was breathtaking - Its radiance, blinding.

The light swept out and over his form,,, and in that moment, he was set aflame.

...

Who was it, he thought briefly, that burned as a consequence of flying too close to the sun? Ah, yes...


Icarus.


Elhirut could only have looked on, astounded, as the black tendrils that had been seeping into his being suddenly tensed... and then changed. Bright green power of power, the hallmark of the psychic warrior, seemed to grip the offending appendages... and in an instant, flowed back along them and into the Zenadye, causing its entire form to rumble.

Pure psychic power poured into the ghastly spectre, causing it to quake and tremble as rays of light began punching their way out of it, tearing its outsides piece by piece, causing to swell up like a balloon. As it did, he could hear the voice of its pilot once more-

"...The power of the great lost God..." He chuckled darkly, even as as the Zenadye was engulfed in light;

"There is... another...!!"

...His cryptic words would go no further, as the Zenadye exploded, vanishing into the light... as a soft, powerful gleaming fell upon the battlefield. This was not the wave of malevolence that had oozed from the Lamalize, no... It washed about Elhirut like a golden wind, flowing over the battlefield as it threaded its way back out into the stars. It ran over the sparking remains of the Zeidram… over Elhirut's speakers, he would have heard a low groan.

"...Elhirut?"
 

PULSEFIRE

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#32
Elhirut coughed, suddenly realizing how utterly tired he felt; as if every fiber and inch of his being had been rotted, just a little. He didn't want to think. That power... He shook off the thoughts, forcing himself to move as the Meyven's voice crackled over his comms.

"S-sir? The enemy... is..."

He only barely managed to grab on to his controls, stabilizing himself before moving.

"Is...Are-are you..."

The Org-Valu gently drifted closer with a burst of it's thrusters, softly -well, as softly as it could- grasping the Zeidram.
 

GEAR

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#33
"Alive?" Said the Meyven, characteristic ego at least unharmed.

"Yes... Thanks to you. You did well."

The Zeidram raised its one remaining fist in solidarity, Madin giving a chuckle as it did so. The feed from his units camera was distorted, and his forehead oozed with dark blood... but the alien seemed otherwise well and conscious, giving him a thumbs up as the Zeidram's thrusters flared, testing its mobility uneasily. He had watched the battle play out, helpless - but, to his immense pride, the young man had managed to overcome the odds after all.

Pi... pi... pi...

Suddenly, the Org-Valu's sensors would have whistled a long awaited response. Nestled amongst the debris, it seemed... Was an escape pod, a floating, untouched oval that glimmered in the sunlight. According to the readout, it contained a living, breathing organism - perhaps the only survivor of the station.
 

PULSEFIRE

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#34
The Org turned towards the signal, the Zeidram, and back, as if Elhirut was to ask a question; then, without a word, the machine accelerated, moving to the drifting pod, the purple glow within the machine's twin barrels fading.

The blinking pod now lay gently within the Org-Valu's hand, as it's pilot turned it out, away from the remnants of the mining platform.

"Can you move?" The armored, grey hand of the Org, slightly blackened, reached out to the Zeidram's.

"I think we should... head back."
 

GEAR

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#35
"Not as well as I'd like. I'll leave you to it."

The Zeidram reached out, and closed its hand around the Org Valu's, the Meyven giving a grateful smile as the machine took one last look around at the devastation. He was grateful that they'd managed to escape with their lives... Perhaps next time, he thought, it would be wiser to rethink merely charging in at the first sign of trouble.

"Let's get the Hell out of here."



Approximately one Earth-hour later:

Meyven Madin, his wounds now appropriately patched, and his arm now in a sling, strode purposefully through the hangar. Ahead, the escape pod loomed, a set of multi-legged Circle automatons working away at its surface, shearing away at the locked door. He reached up and slicked back his hair, clearing his throat - this was, after all, a breakthrough moment... Where they would meet their first, real Terran.

At length, the twin points of light around the capsule's entryway met, and the door was heaved away, revealing only darkness inside. A small figure made its way to the entrance, standing just at the lip of the superheated metal. Madin gave a confident smile, and walked forward, up a set of raised steps, to extend his hand.

"No need to fear, Miss." He said assuringly, "You're safe now."

A small hand reached out, and took his daintily, closing about his fingers as she stepped down.

Her grip felt, he thought... A lot stronger than it should be.

"Miss...? Oh, thank you. And, please-"

Long blond tresses flicked out into the light, artificial gravity as she floated down. The spacesuit about her form was baggy and ruffled, yet it failed to detract from a grace so becoming it could have been described as... manufactured. Soft, flawless skin was accentuated by the presence of a black ribbon, tied in a fashion not unlike rabbit's ears, that adorned her head above a pair of long-lashed, bright red eyes that were rapt and intelligent... far from those of a scared child.

There was something unnatural about her. The way she carried herself as she landed was more akin to someone who had been waiting, patiently, as if knowing that they were coming.

The Terran survivor returned the Meyven's smile as he bowed, and spoke in a soft, yet... smug sounding voice that betrayed the presence of an uncanny degree of backbone:

"Call me... Decima."​
 

PULSEFIRE

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#36
Elhirut merely watched dispassionately from a distance, weary and currently adorned with medical patches across his left arm and side of his face. Lost deeply in his thoughts, he observed, but did not comment.

He saw every inch of that unnatural, precise movement. At once, some alien instinct sprung from within his breast, leapt to his brain, and he settled back, feeling the distinct pulse of faint alerts in his own mind, bouncing around his echoing skull.

It was too much for now. The strange individual, who had sprung from the void to attack him, and now this girl; to think first contact would be with someone named Decima, of all things. As if that name did not possess connotations in human culture... Elhirut pushed inside himself. He needed… some rest. This wouldn't be the end of everything.

Elhirut Nanden fell gently asleep, against the hangar wall, and that was the last of what he remembered, for now.