The Stars Call

Author: Birdpaw
Rating: Explicit
Status: Complete
Preceding: N/A
Succeeding: The Black Falls

Some legends are told

Some turn to dust or to gold

But you'll remember me

For centuries


The world, and maybe even the universe itself has always been filled with wonder.

But that has changed in the recent years

Earth, once a green and blue planet full of life, a tiny marble in the vast space, is now nothing but a shell of what it used to be, it's many highways hiding things in the shadows.

The stars glittered above the decrepit planet, the trees on the once beautiful planet were now dead, it's leaves an odd black, it was quiet, even the space port on Luna, Earth's moon, was oddly silent. The silence broke from a weird zing sound, a massive passanger spaceship came into the solar system, and passed Earth.

A moldy green shield pulsed from the planet warningly, and the passenger ship changed it's course.

Some people pointed to the old planet, which now housed many undesirables now that it was a shell of it's former self, a quarintine.

To be honest, if you had told me I would be part of a group feared for our discreetness and merciless ways in space.

I would have called you crazy

The passenger ship was shadowed by another larger ship, the pasangers were either unaware of their shadow, or didn't care.

The ship shadowed them until they were away from Earth, where it stopped. A couple people in the passenger spaceship looked out the window out of mild curiousity.

Well, we do what we need to, space has become perilous due to the virus, we do what we can to survive

Even if we're considered the undesirable ones.

They have many names for us.

But mainly, we're mecenaries

And very good at what we do.

Chapter 1

As the universe falls into the abyss

We'll be there, lighting the way

The huge freighter ship floated through the solar system that housed Earth, deep inside, a lone person stood in the middle of what looked like a mini arena. Her sharp green eyes scanned the darkness, her hand clutching the weapon on her belt. She heard a noise behind her, and jumped backwards when a shape flew at her, weapons raised.

She ducked from another attack from the person, they raised an eyebrow when she stood up straight into them, causing them to tumble over. Another shape then flew out of the darkness, she jumped back, doing her best to block the new attacks. The other person got up, and continued their assault.

She rolled away, and disarmed her one attacker, who stopped, and made an, "Aw man..." sound, however, her first attacker wasn't as forgiving as the second.

They continued their attack, but she's known this person long enough to know their weakness, she flipped onto her back, and took out their legs from underneath them, they landed with an, "Oof." The lights turned on in the arena, with two spectators watching the three.

"Good job, you three," the first lieutenant clapped his hands, "I'm going to be honest, I thought you were going to fumble on that last bit, Nyra." He said excitedly.

Nyra only bowed modestly, then looked at the captain, who had his arms folded, "Right, good job, Nyra..." He grumbled in the always differentiating accent he had, then asked the other two, "Are you two all right?"

They both stood up and composed themselves, the first attacker took off his pilot goggles, and brought down his scarf, "Yeah, I'm all right, jeez Nyra," he eyed Nyra, who raised an eye-brow, "Couldn't you have gone a bit easier on us?" He asked curiously.

"Sorry, Keren, easy doesn't go very far in space." Nyra told her best friend gently, then looked back at the other attacker.

Enna blinked at her, "Well, at least you haven't gotten rusty," She pointed out, "I'm not one of you guys, I'm more of your relayer, fighting isn't really my thing anymore."

Nyra only bowed, and said nothing. Keren stretched, "Well, at least that's over," he pointed out, then looked around, "Where's Miss. Nuts and Bolts?" He asked curiously.

"Mara? Probably in the hanger, as usual." Nyra grumbled.

Enna mumbled dangerously, "You know better to bug her when she's in her element."

Keren rolled his eyes, which Nyra copied, they looked at the captain again, who laughed in an almost soft tone, which was odd for him. Enna twitched, and asked pointedly, "Something funny, James?"

Captain Raner blinked, and shook his head, "No, nothing, Enna. Nyra," he said, Nyra looked up, and he asked, "Can you go find Aelius? I need to ask him something."

Nyra stood at attention, then stalked off, she walked past several crew members through the halls of the spaceship, who paid her no mind, I know where I'm going to find mister sunshine. She thought with a smile.

She went to the infirmary, where a tall man sat behind a desk, writing on a piece of paper diligently. He looked up when Nyra walked in, and he narrowed his honey brown eyes, and asked curiously, "What's up?"

"Captain Raner sent me to find you, what are you doing?" Nyra asked pointedly.

Aelius sighed, "More reports of the virus, no matter how much we try to seclude the infected planets, it just keeps spreading, and I don't understand how... Is it predestined? Something in the code of the core?" He mumbled under his breath. He looked up at Nyra, who tipped her head in confusion, he laughed cheerily, "At any rate, I'll see what the captain wants, see you in the bridge, Nyra."

He walked out calmly, Nyra followed him out, but went to the hanger, instead of the bridge.

She saw Mara almost immediately, she was under one of the small scout ships, it was steaming from the engine. Nyra walked up to her, and waited patiently.

"I can't believe this..." Mara muttered dangerously, "This is the last time I'm repairing this thing because someone decided it'd be hilarious to take a joy ride through the belt, what a genius idea, next thing you know they're going to race around the sun, or try to get into Jupiter and wreak havoc there instead..."

Nyra kept her hands behind her back, Mara slid out from under the ship, and looked up; her gloves were covered with oil and other stuff that ran the ship, "Hey Nyra." She waved, her wavy brown hair bouncing as she moved.

"Hey, Mara...?" Nyra watched as she pulled a small rock fragment out of her pocket, "Meteor fragment, from this thing," She hit the ship with her wrench, "As much as I love a joy ride as much as the next person, it does get tiring when people come in with a wrecked ship, and are too scared too admit that they just wanted to fly through the belt." She commented.

Nyra stared up at the ship, and asked, "Who flew it through the belt?"

Mara blinked, then stood up fully, "To be honest, no idea, I was just minding my own business, tinkering you know," she said quickly, then continued, "First Lieutenent Marn came up to me... Now that I think about it, he seemed pretty sheepish," she turned back to the ship, "I wouldn't be surprised if he did it, he wouldn't give me an explanation, told me he had to supervise your training fight." She grumbled, then looked back at Nyra.

Nyra laughed, "Marn does seem the type, he's like the oppisite of Captain Raner."

"I have yet to see Captain Raner fly through the belt at top speed without getting a scratch," Mara muttered bitterly, then went back under the ship, "Actually, I have yet to see anyone do that." She added.

"I bet Keren can do it." Nyra snickered.

Mara came out from under the spaceship again, "You serious?" She asked, her eyes oddly wide, Nyra watched as she put her hand in one of her many pockets, "Where is it..."

Nyra's eyes widened when she brought out a couple gold coins, "This is what Captain Raner gave me from the last assignment. I bet you Keren absolutely destroys his ship." Mara said excitedly.

"Done!" Nyra laughed, Mara laughed too, and they both jumped when Keren came up to them.

"What are you two laughing about?" Keren asked curiously.

Nyra turned to him, and he smiled excitedly when she said quickly, "Me and Mara just made a bet that you wouldn't be able to race through the belt without getting a scratch."

Keren blinked, and he laughed, "Of course, I mean, I can certainly try, when?" He asked curiously, before Nyra could answer, a flashing red light began through the ship, and a blaring red alarm. Mara rolled her eyes, and returned to the bottom of the ship. Keren and Nyra looked at each-other curiously, and rushed to the bridge.

The bridge was a large dome, overlooking the endless darkness and stars ahead, Captain Raner was looking at the large holographic map of the galaxy in the middle of it, he was grumbling something under his breath. He looked up with narrowed eyes when Nyra and Keren walked in, "Aelius just got a distress signal from Earth," he eyed Keren, "Sounds like Gorgots." He explained.

Keren shivered, and Nyra took a step forward, "Gorgots? Are they... Attacking populated areas?" She asked quietly.

Captain Raner blinked, "They are definately where they shouldn't be." He said darkly.

Nyra eyed Keren, who's eyes were wide, she sighed, "I can do this alone, Captain Raner." She looked back at Captain Raner, who stared at her thoughtfully, Keren had an expression between annoyance and fear.

"Ny... It's fine-" He began, but Nyra stopped him with her hand, "Keren, ever since that one mission, you haven't been the same, I'd rather not have you go through that again, I need you to be able to finish them off, no matter what." She said flatly.

Keren blinked, and only bowed in submission, Captain Raner muttered, "You should at least have him see you to the place, and we'll pick him up once you're there... It's not just Gorgots down there, rebels are down there as well, Nyra, you should remember that."

"As long as I don't mess with them, they won't mess with me, I'm quite capable Captain, I'm not the young girl you rescued off Titan, I can take care of myself." Nyra growled.

Captain Raner blinked at her, and shook his head, "No... You're not the small girl I once knew, you've grown a lot, but I'd have an easier mind knowing one of my best fighters is going to come back." He replied in an almost soft tone, but his gaze was flat.

Nyra wasn't sure whether to feel flattered or scared, This is unlike Captain Raner, it must have been an odd distress signal. She thought darkly, then looked back at Keren, who stayed silent.

"All right, Keren, go get ready." Nyra grunted, he bowed once again, and retreated to the crew rooms. Nyra looked at Captain Raner, who seemed deep in thought, while Marn and Aelius were deep in conversation, with Marn pointing at something on the screen.

Nyra sighed, "I will be fine, Captain, if anything, I did learn from the best." She eyed him.

"I hope that is enough to help you survive." He growled, Nyra bowed, and went to catch up to Keren.

He was getting his uniform on, "I don't believe this, Gorgots?!" He asked loudly, then grabbed his two small weapons, he passed them to Nyra, who made sure they were working properly, they were fashioned sickles into guns, Mara's handiwork. Nyra passed them back, and she muttered, "You're not going to be the one dealing with them, relax."

She walked into her room, and got changed into her uniform, she grabbed her gauntlets, which helped her better use her weapon, and put them on, pushing a couple of buttons, which lit up to her touch. She adjusted the size, and saw Keren at the doorway, waiting patiently. She shook her head, he bowed, and walked away.

Nyra grabbed the remote, and pointed it at the wall by her bed, which was empty, she flicked through the remote, and finally stopped at one backround. It was a beautiful green forest with spanning lakes and rivers, with animals chittering and chirping, Nyra frowned inwardly, and walked out of her room hurriedly.

Keren sighed, "All right, this is going to be a chore." They walked back up to the hanger, where Marn was waiting, he was leaning against his ship, he passed them gas masks.

"You know the rules, you two, don't make spectacles of yourselves, and stay safe, I'm going to take you down." Marn said gently, and got into one of the larger scout ships, Keren and Nyra climbed into the back, and Nyra turned on her communicator.

Enna sqeaked in her ear, "You won't do anything stupid, right?" She asked.

Nyra laughed, "You know me, Enna, I like the quiet."

Enna went silent at that, and Nyra braced herself as Marn flew out of the hanger and into the darkness of space.

It was quiet, as always, some distant stars flickered in the distance, Keren was staring out the window, his expression unreadable. Marn was fidgeting with some of the controls, he said, "We're entering Earth's atmosphere, the shield is going to be down for less than a minute... Hold your breath." He finished.

Nyra and Keren put their gas masks on, Marn also put his mask on, and he looked back at them, "Ready?" He asked, moreso towards Keren.

They both nodded, and braced themselves as Marn entered Earth's atmosphere through one of the energy gates, the mossy green shield seperated to let them pass, and soon closed behind them.

They landed on top of a short building, Marn flicked a couple of the buttons upwards, and the doors opened with a hiss. Keren shivered again when the stale air hit them, Nyra reached her hand out and poked his gas mask, "You have this on, no worries." She murmured quietly, then jumped out of the rumbling ship, and looked at her surroundings, followed by Keren.

She watched as Marn took off, and soon disappeared into the vast expanse of the sky. Nyra saw the gigantic highway in the distance, where firelight lit up the shadows, Keren took out a strange device, which beeped a bit, before going silent. He looked at Nyra, and shrugged. She descended the building and walked through the forest towards the highway, Keren followed her nervously.

Nyra eyed her friend, "Remember, Keren, I will be dealing with the Gorgots, you'll just be escorting me there." She jumped when her communicator flipped on, and Enna's voice muttered, "Baron, this is Rega."

"Baron, speaking." Nyra muttered, and Enna continued, "The Gorgots seemed to have grown in number, you have to be careful, Baron."

Keren whispered, "I don't understand why we have to use these nicknames."

"Code, we don't want to be found out." Nyra answered quietly as Enna continued sarcastically, "I heard that, Sterling."

Nyra stifled a snicker, and they continued walking, Nyra halted Keren when they came up to the highway, Keren looked up, the giant stone pillars were starting to crumble, they walked under the bridge, with Keren casting nervous glances upwards. When they reached the open sky again, Keren sighed.

Nyra looked up when there was a weird hissing sound, she narrowed her eyes when a grey creature stepped out of a building, lumbering across the road with it's lurching gait, it's beady red eyes eyeing it's surroundings, with sharp red teeth, and a sharp muzzle, she felt Keren freeze up beside her, and she murmured, "A Gorgot..."

She eyed Keren warily, and she crouched in the shadows, dragging Keren with her, they observed the Gorgot. It soon lumbered away, and Keren muttered under his breath, "Where there is one, there is more."

Nyra blinked, then put her hand on Keren's shoulder, "Go back, call Marn, I can continue on my own." She whispered sadly.

Keren eyed her, "No, I'm seeing this through." He growled, and stood up, Nyra followed after him, and they continued walking down the road. There were fenced camps to keep the Gorgots and other creatures of the shadows out, with a couple of people in them, but they paid them no mind as they huddled close to a fire. Soon, they came across a rather large quarry, and Nyra narrowed her eyes at the horde of Gorgots, Keren shivered again.

"All right, Keren, time for you to go," Nyra said, and gently pushed him away from the quarry, "I vividly remember what happened last time, and I think you do too." She murmured when Keren tried to protest.

Keren stared at her sadly, then only bowed, "As you say, Nyra." He murmured, in an almost annoyed tone, then went to turn away. Nyra turned on her communicator, "Rega, have Behemoth pick Sterling up, I don't know how long I'll be, there's a lot of them." She said quickly as Keren huffed away.

"Righto, Baron!" Enna said cheerfully.

Nyra narrowed her eyes at the Gorgots, she jumped stealthily onto a rock, she settled down, then took out her weapon, she clicked one of the switches, and she held tight as it transformed into the high powered scope, which she used for long ranges.

"All right, you little nasties, how many of you are there...?" She mused to herself, as she looked into the quarry, they seemed to be huddled in groups, eating something, she didn't want to find out what.

Nyra saw an abandoned crane, she smiled eeriely, and loaded her weapon.

The night wind seemed to hush, she finally pulled the click, and aimed at the rope.

The sound was as silent as the wind, the bullet went through the rope, and the crane landed on most of the Gorgots, which only made them screech in annoyance.

She blinked, the Gorgots still hadn't noticed her, I need to trap them somehow... She thought quietly. Nyra put down her weapon, and thought to herself quietly as the Gorgots struggled to break free of the crane.

Nyra blinked when there was movement behind her, she turned to see a fast shadow bowl towards her, she gasped as she was forced to roll near the quarry, which caused most of the Gorgots to look up curiously as a couple of rocks fell into it.

The person grunted as she kicked them in the stomach, she saw her weapon still lying on the rock, she eyed the other person, and broke for it, as the Gorgots started to climb out of the quarry.

She grabbed her weapon, and clicked the second switch, she felt her gauntlets hum to life as the huge scythe transformed, and the shadow stopped, a glint of nervousy in their eyes.

"Who are you?" Nyra snarled.

They hissed, "That is none of your business, pirate."

"I'm a mercenary, not a pirate," Nyra hissed, then added dangerously, "Of course, unless the situation demands.'

The figure stopped, and looked back at the Gorgots, "You cannot kill what is already dead, your people should know this." They said as they eyed her.

"So why are you here? To kill me?" She laughed.

"I cannot kill you, I know better than that, but know this, pirate," they spat dangerously, "The galaxy is long dead, and your people will be well to leave the quarintined areas to die."

They both turned back to watch the Gorgots lumber towards them, and the person laughed airly, "Well, I hope your groups fame is true, expert fighters, dangerous strageists, see you later, pirate." Nyra blinked as they disappeared in a puff of smoke. She watched the Gorgots, who bared their red teeth in her direction.

"Oh, boy..." Nyra sighed as they hissed in excitement.

She jumped when a Gorgot leaped at her, she easily dispatched it, but there was more, she narrowed her eyes as two flanked her, but she jumped back, and they only lumbered into eachother, and fought each other instead.

Nyra knew she was going to be overwhelmed sooner or later, she narrowed her eyes, and rushed back towards the bridge, the Gorgots followed her hungrily. She stood by the crumbling pillar, and waited for them to catch up, she narrowed her eyes when most of them were under the bridge.

Nyra stuck her blade into the pillar, tugged, and the gauntlets seemed to whine. The pillar started to fall, taking the bridge with it.

She flipped back as the bridge collapsed, and watched as the dust settled, she brushed herself off, and sighed. She sat down on the ground, "I'm never doing that again..." She mumbled under her breath.

She choked when someone grabbed her from behind, she tried to fight back, but they yanked at her hair, which caused her to stop, "Well, look what we got here guys, a mercenary, and not just any mercenary, one of the VoT, as it looks." He hissed gleefully.

Nyra tried to keep herself calm, she sneakily flicked her communicator and whispered into the communicator, "Keren, I'm in trouble." 

"What are ya doin' here sweet little mercenary?" One of the shadows asked dangerously, and didn't seem to have heard her.

Nyra hissed back, "Wouldn't you like to know." She began to struggle once again, but her captor was stronger, but fighting Marn had taught her a lot. Nyra stepped on his toes, which caused him to flinch, and she rolled away from his grasp, they all jumped back as she grabbed her weapon, and pointed it at them.

"Well, the stories of the VoT is true then?" One of the shadow people asked, then laughed coldly, "That's okay, you're not the first to be taken down by us."

'Who's us?" Nyra asked, stepping away as they took steps forward.

One of them was about to answer, but there was a loud gunshot from behind them, and one of them fell, their eyes wide in shock, hit with a stunner. Nyra looked back, and saw Keren, who had ran towards Nyra, and attacked the group ferociously and unexpectedly. Nyra jumped in to help, and soon, they outmatched them, and tied the concious ones up.

Keren put away his sickles, and muttered, "You know, next time you call for help, Nyra, you might want to mention you're being attacked by insurgents."

They glared up at them incredulously, "You think helping the Galactic Sanctum will save you? That it will stop all you love from dying from this star disease?" The leader hissed dangerously, "It will not, mercenaries, you will be forced to watch all you love whither away."

Nyra put her blade up to him, and he flinched back, "Wrong, we're mercenaries for one reason, there is very little left we love, thus, we put our skills to use, whether said skills are needed by the GS or not." She hissed dangerously.

They all went silent, she heard Keren click his teeth, as the low hum of a ship filled their ears. Nyra saw Marn's scout ship, and it soon landed near them, Marn jumped out, followed by Aelius, Nyra watched as Aelius walked up to her, and asked quickly, "Are you okay?"

"I'm fine, none of the Gorgots got a good hit on me." Nyra said quickly, and brushed him off.

Aelius only narrowed his eyes, but said nothing, Keren and Marn were looking over Nyra's attackers curiously. Nyra looked up at the night sky, where many of the stars flickered ominously, Aelius muttered dangerously, "Captain Raner is going to have a fit, you know that, right?"

"I'm. Fine." Nyra hissed.

Aelius eyed her, and shrugged, "Right, you tell him that while you're explaining how you were attacked not by Gorgots, but by humans, who have a motive," he pointed out, and eyed the shadowed people, who cringed, "This doesn't often happen, and not focused on a sole person." He added.

Marn had managed to get Nyra's attackers on board the scout ship, and he murmured, "Time to go guys, we only have until Jupiter's first light to get out of here, if we don't, the shield won't let us out." Marn jumped into the cockpit, followed by Aelius.

Nyra nodded, and jumped on the scout ship, and buckled in, followed by Keren, who was oddly quiet. Nyra eyed him, and she said calmly, "I'm glad you heard me."

Keren looked up, then smiled as he patted his upper chest, and then looked out at the sky as Marn started the ship. Soon, they took off towards the gate, it shivered with energy, and they burst through into space. Nyra looked back at Earth sadly, then watched as Marn took them to the freighter, which with it's size almost eclipsed the earth.

They landed in the hanger, where Mara was fiddling with her wrench, Marn landed smoothly, and he jumped out and took a step back when Mara eyed him suspiciously.

Aelius followed, a smirk crawling on his face as he walked past Marn and Mara, Keren and Nyra jumped out as well, Nyra stared unflinchingly as Captain Raner stalked up, with the same gaze as Mara. Keren bowed his head, and closed his eyes, Nyra only rolled hers.

"Nyra." He grunted, and stopped in front of her, arms crossed.

She growled, "The Gorgots weren't a problem."

"I wasn't worried about the Gorgots." Captain Raner growled, as Marn dragged Nyra's attackers out none to gently.

Nyra blinked, and sighed, "All right, I hit a few snags, I was in no real trouble." She looked back up at Captain Raner, who made no move.

"Snags being you almost getting killed." Captain Raner pointed out icily.

Nyra stared at him in disbelief, then she brushed her hand through her short spiky hair, "I'm sorry, Captain, it won't happen again." She murmured, and bowed her head.

She heard Captain Raner sigh, "It will happen again, just try not to do anything rash when it does." He said quietly, then he and Marn left with their new prisoners.

"I thought he was going to scream at you." Keren grumbled, he finally looked back up, and watched Captain Raner leave. Nyra sighed, and looked up as well.

"I'm going to be honest, I wish he had," Nyra said quietly. Keren stared at her in disbelief, she blinked, "I apologize." She grunted.

Keren laughed, "Nothing to be sorry for Ny, you were always a bit more leapy then the next person, you're good at what you do, you learned from the best." He pointed out.

Nyra stared at her friend, his pilot goggles were askew a bit, and he had a goofy smile on his face. Nyra only shook her head, "Well, I'm beat, I'm going to go take a rest." She said, and waved, then started to walk away.

"Maybe you should see Aelius, just to be sure." Keren called after her, she nodded, and waved, then sighed, heading to Aelius's quarters, where he was examining a vial of clear liquid. He looked up curiously when Nyra walked in.

"I think Captain Raner and Keren were going to drag me in here anyways, so, let's get this over with." She growled.

Aelius laughed, "All right, it's just to make sure you're clear, take a bed." He waved at the infirmary, which was usually empty, she jumped and layed down on a bed, feeling her eyes droop instinctively.

Her eyes suddenly shot up when Aelius walked up to her with a needle, she sat up, and laughed nervously, "Ah, hell no, Aelius, you know what happened last time."

"Marn ended up with his head in a wall, I remember very clearly." Aelius murmured, and he smiled.

Nyra sighed, and layed back down, "Well, don't blame me if I end up punching you in the face due to adrenaline." She growled, trying not to think about the needle.

"I'm not particularly worried, I want you to think of the night sky, and of nothing else," Aelius murmured quietly, "Only thinking about it will make it worse."

Nyra stared at him in disbelief, he made no move, "I really don't want to distress you, Nyra, I just want to make sure you're healthy, that is my job." He whispered.

Nyra sighed, then looked up that ceiling, Aelius had decorated it with technology that really made it look like the endless night sky, she watched as the stars flickered, while comets and shooting stars slowly passed over head, she felt her eyes droop, and jumped when Aelius murmured, "Done."

She watched as he put the needle away, "See? No punching was required," He laughed, "You are getting a slight fever, probably due to stress, so no worries, get lots of rest, and see me if anything else comes up." He said quickly.

Nyra nodded, and made her way to the crew rooms, she saw Keren's door locked tight, Asleep, probably, he always had a knack for falling asleep. She thought quietly, then made her way to her room, she closed the door behind her, and saw the wall still on the green forest, she smiled, and layed down on her bed.

Soon, she had fallen asleep, with the stars above her, and the forest beside her.


Nyra woke up to a faint buzzing sound, she felt terrible, she walked up to her mirror, and fixed her hair, and blinked when her complexion was paler than usual. She touched the mirror nervously, her deep green eyes dilated. "Oh, great." She said faintly.

She walked out to the crew living room, Keren and Enna were talking avidly as they watched a T.V like broadcast from the Galactic Sanctum, they looked up when she walked out, and they waved, she waved back.

Keren seemed to notice something was up, "You okay?" He asked curiously, also going pale himself.

Nyra waved him off, "I'm fine-" She murmured, and jumped when Aelius walked in calmly, "Right, Captain Raner wanted me to tell you that-" He stopped when he saw Nyra.

She raised an eye-brow, and he continued hesitantly, "He wants to see you on the bridge."

They all nodded, and they all started to walk out, but Nyra stopped when she got an odd feeling rise in her stomach, she felt really hot, and she jumped when her gaze darkened.

Next thing she knew, she was waking up in the infirmary with everyone staring at her worriedly, she sat up, and she hissed, "Pass me a bucket, I'm going to be sick."

Keren did so, his eyes extremely wide as she was sick, Aelius looked confused, which did nothing to make her feel better, she grunted, "What happened?"

Keren looked at her, then looked at Aelius, "Well, your eyes went white, literally, and then you fainted." Aelius reported, Nyra blinked, and asked hurriedly, "Are my eyes white now?"

"No, they're the same green they were." Aelius said gently.

Nyra asked curiously, "What was that?"

"You're sick, probably something you caught on Earth, thankfully, it's nothing lethal, just a highly evolved flu virus, and definately not something I can't cure," Aelius said. Keren only blinked, "Now, Keren, she'll be fine, I need you to report to Captain Raner before he blows a gasket." He murmured, Keren bowed, and left quickly.

Nyra watched as Aelius put his hands together, she jumped up, "Wait, Aelius!" She snapped.

Aelius stopped, and tipped his head, "There is nothing else I've got that could at least bring it to a manageble level." He murmured, then brushed his hands together, Nyra flinched when a green glow started to emanate from his hands.

Aelius was one of the rare few who evolved from a dying Earth with a talent for healing, able to heal through contact, but at a price... And he's made it clear it's possible that he could heal an entire planet, but Captain Raner would never let him. She thought quickly as Aelius walked towards her calmly.

"I know what I'm doing Nyra, trust me." He murmured calmly.

Nyra sighed, and layed back down, she watched Aelius brought his hands forward, and she blinked, her vision seemed to blur, she felt her energy seem to rise, but Aelius looked strained and tired.

"Aelius... It's enough..." Nyra rasped in horror.

Aelius blinked, then lowered his hands, she watched him as he walked away from her, she sat up in the bed as he looked for something in his desk, she murmured, "That's a dangerous ability you have, you know that right?" 

He stopped what he was doing, and looked back, "Yes, Nyra, sometimes useful things are sometimes dangerous, but it is something I'm willing to use if it'll save others, that is my job." He pointed out gently.

"Not your job to give life from your own being though to do so." Nyra whispered as Aelius turned back to rummage through his desk, but if he heard her, he made no comment. He went to the medicine cuboard, and brought out a very cyan blue liquid.

He gave it to her "Ja'an, take it, it'll up your energy, and it'll speed up your immune system so you're up and moving again." He said quickly, and she drank it quickly. Aelius watched calmly.

Nyra nodded, "Thanks Aelius..." She got off the bed and started to head towards the doors, but when she looked back, Aelius was staring into space, "Aelius..." She said coolly.

He turned to look at her, and she murmured, "You're like an older brother to me, I remember what Captain Raner said," she hesitated, and then continued, "When you were ready to stop the virus before it began, by healing that planet, but I know what that would do to you, and he knew it too..." She watched as Aelius blinked.

Aelius smiled sadly, "I know, Nyra, but what sounds better, saving the life of one, or the lives of many?" He asked gently, "My life doesn't equate to infinity, and certainly isn't worth that much." He said calmly.

Nyra stared at him in shock, and when his smile didn't waver, she only bowed, and walked out. She thought sadly, You're wrong... Your life is worth more than that, there must be another way to stop this virus, because we don't want to lose you...


Nyra was excersizing in the arena, she looked up from what she was doing when Keren walked into the gym, he asked quietly, "How are you feeling?"

She blinked, and said calmly, "Oh, well, Aelius told me to keep my energy up, so here I am, getting back in shape."

"As if you weren't in pretty good shape to begin with?" Keren asked with a laugh, and eyed her weapon, which was leaning against a bench.

Nyra huffed, and said coolly, "I meant, getting this sickness out of me."

"Well, Captain Raner wanted to see you about something, so, I came down here to get you." Keren said in a cheerful tone. Nyra stood up, and bowed.

"Thanks, Keren, I'll go see him then." She walked out of the gym, grabbing her weapon as she went.

She walked into the bridge, where Captain Raner was in the pilot seat, he was clicking some buttons, while the expanse of space was quiet, Marn had massive headphone communicators on, with Enna beside him, fiddling with the dial on hers. Enna jumped when Marn started spinning in his chair, which lit up many different colours as it spun.

"I love these things!" Marn said gleefully. Enna only rolled her eyes, and continued fiddling with the dial, Captain Raner was ignoring Marn's antics, he looked up when Nyra walked in.

"Ah, Nyra, you're looking better," Captain Raner stood up from his seat, and walked up to the map, he clicked some buttons on it, and it showed the star system they were in now, "I'm just waiting for a transmission from the Galatic Sanctum." He muttered calmly, then eyed Marn, who was still spinning in his chair.

They both jumped when Enna hissed, "I don't believe this... Our transmissions are acting wonky again," she stood up, and muttered, "I'm going down to the hanger, maybe Mara can fix it." She left the bridge in a huff, Marn had stopped spinning, and frowned.

"Aelius has to go back down to Earth, he's assured me it isn't dangerous, however, I managed to convince him to take you with him, in case insurgents or Gorgots show up." Captain Raner growled, and sat back down in the pilot seat, and put on headphones.

"You're implying Aelius can't defend himself..." Nyra pointed out slowly.

Captain Raner turned to look at her, "I know he can defend himself, but there's someone targeting us, from what me and Marn learned from the rebels you guys fought, and if anyone is going to be targeted the most, it's going to be him." He said coldly, and turned away from her, Nyra only bowed, and walked out.

She walked down to the infirmary, where Aelius was looking in a small vial full of sickly purple liquid. Nyra knocked on the door softly, "Aelius, you told Captain Raner said you wanted to go down to Earth." She said calmly.

He looked up, and raised an eye-brow, "Yes, but I don't think it's needed for you to come, however, neither Marn or Captain Raner weren't hearing it." He muttered calmly, then turned away from her.

Nyra jumped when Marn appeared behind her, "Ready, Aelius?" He asked gruffly.

Aelius raised an eye-brow at his friend, "I guess, but you know it's not needed." He pointed out calmly.

"We don't want to take chances." Marn pointed out swiftly, and turned to leave, Nyra noticed a quick movement from where Aelius was, and gasped as she narrowly dodged a long sharp weapon, and it stuck itself into the wall where Marn was moments before. Marn turned back, and raised an eye-brow.

Aelius had a smirk on his face, and his own gauntlets were humming softly, "I haven't forgotten how to fight, Marn, best not to forget that I'm a mercenary just as much as you are." He pointed out gently.

Nyra stared at Aelius in shock, while Marn fully turned to him, Nyra took a step back when Aelius reached his hand out, and his weapon reacted almost instantly, and returned back into his hand. Marn's gaze grew sad, "I know you haven't, but, as I said, we don't want to take chances, I don't want a repeat of last time."

Something in Aelius's eyes flashed, and he only bowed as Marn left the infirmary. Nyra raised an eye-brow, and turned to Aelius, "What did he mean by that?" She asked curiously.

Aelius only closed his eyes, "That's a different tale for a different time..." He murmured, and walked out of the infirmary as well, Nyra followed him hesitantly. Marn was waiting for them in the hanger, Nyra jumped on, while Aelius climbed in beside her. Marn once again handed her a gas mask.

Nyra raised an eyebrow, and as they began to fly out of the hanger, and headed down towards Earth's atmosphere, she put the gas mask on, but as Aelius was born on Earth, he had no need for one. Nyra was a Titan colonist, and it took a bit for her to adjust to the new conditions, as Titan's atmosphere was fastly different from Earth, even with all the terraforming.

Once again, the green shield opened up for them, Nyra sighed, and soon they landed on a landing pad, Marn shook his head, and turned to eye Aelius, who acted oblivious to his friends glare as he jumped out of the spacecraft. Nyra followed after him, Marn stopped her though, and he muttered, "Do keep an eye on him, he may not look it, but he is a bit reckless."

Nyra nodded, and jumped out, Marn took off, and Nyra began to follow Aelius. He seemed to know where he was going, so she only followed quietly. They stopped at a gated off town, Nyra turned to look at him, "Now what?"

Aelius blinked when someone came out of the door, and raised an eye-brow at him, he bowed, and took out something from his pocket. They took it curiously, they smiled, and murmured, "We haven't seen her in a long time, not since the attack." The person looked up at him sadly, and his gaze turned uncharacteristically dark.

"Do you know if she survived?" Nyra blinked when there was an edge of desperation to his voice.

They frowned at him, and shook their head, "We don't know, we've looked everywhere, and with the Gorgots around, it's been hard to continue searching." They explained.

Aelius seemed to tense up, and they sighed, "Sorry, Aelius, if we knew where she was, we'd tell you, I'm sure she'd be very happy to see that you're very much alive." They only bowed back, and walked back into the town.

Nyra looked at Aelius curiously, and she jumped when his gaze was darkened and flat.

Aelius...? She thought in horror.

Chapter 2

You're a cherry blossom

You're about to bloom

You look so pretty but you're gone so soon...

Nyra followed Aelius nervously, who had said nothing since the visit of the town, "Wh-Who are you looking for?" Nyra asked nervously, I've never seen Aelius like this... She thought darkly.

Aelius stopped, and turned to her. His gaze had softened considerably since they left the town, and he answered calmly, "Just... An old friend of mine." He turned, and continued walking.

Nyra raised an eye-brow, Oh ho, Aelius had a girlfriend. She giggled inwardly, as his face was considerably brighter then it was, and his expression was unreadable, however, she frowned, But... She disappeared? And by the way the person worded it, they all thought Aelius was dead, and Marn had said 'I don't want a repeat of last time'... She thought curiously, Nyra decided to try her hand at finding out more.

"So... I've been thinking, about what Marn said, what happened last time you came here?" She asked quietly.

Aelius answered, "Well, it's not the last time I came here, it's the first time I left."

"Well, what happened?" She asked curiously.

"Well, seeing as I have a... Very special ability, many people wanted to use that ability, Captain Raner wasn't one of them." Aelius pointed out, "He came to me, as the Galactic Sanctum had asked him to find a way to halt the virus, I had a way, however it was a last resort, and to him, it was not an option at all."

They stopped by a tree, and Aelius sat down, then continued his story, "When I had first demonstrated the ability to him, he was intrigued, but when he saw the exchange that could take place, he wasn't having it." He said simply.

"Now, he wasn't the only one who knew of it, a couple of people did, particulary a group of insurgents," Aelius sighed, and added, "They launched an attack on our hospital, I don't remember much, but there weren't many survivors. I must have been knocked out or something, because one moment I just saw the building just explode, and the next moment I woke up on Captain Raner's ship, out of it," his eyes grew sad, "That was the last time I saw my old friend." He murmured.

Nyra stared at him for a long time, and she said quietly, "I'm sorry to hear that Aelius."

Aelius seemed to shrug, but his gaze was flat, however, he straightened up when there was a rustle in the bushes. Nyra gasped when he grabbed her and hid her behind the tree with him. Nyra didn't struggle, they listened to the rustling of the bushes, then it went silent in the clearing.

Nyra gasped when Aelius let go of her mouth, she turned to berate him, but she saw he had his finger to his mouth, then slowly stood up, his weapon in his hands. Nyra watched him walk around the clearing, Nyra blinked when there was a noise above her. She gasped and rolled towards Aelius when a black shape flew from above her, she accidently tripped Aelius, who made an oof sound.

Nyra stood up quickly, and helped up Aelius.

The dark figure brought out two dark black swords, it's red eyes flashing in hatred, Nyra thought darkly, That's no Gorgot I've ever seen.

Aelius seemed to be thinking along the same lines, Nyra gasped when the being threw one of his swords at her, and Aelius pulled her out of the way, it stuck itself into a tree behind her. Aelius readied his own weapon, and Nyra looked at him curiously, I've never seen Aelius fight before... She thought, and went to stand up to help him, however she oofed when he used the blunt end to push her back down.

"Stay down, this is no insurgent or Gorgot." He growled, "You can't fight this enemy, Captain Raner never taught you how."

The being seemed to hiss, and Nyra shivered, "Aelius, there's something up with that thing..."

She flinched when the thing leaped at Aelius with such speed she could barely see it, but Aelius was ready for it, he took the sharp end of his weapon, and threw it away to the side, where it hissed dangerously.

"A-Aelius...?" Nyra whispered.

Aelius stayed alert, as the thing made it's way back towards him. However, it was focused on Nyra. Aelius widened his eyes, and murmured, "Nyra, I'm going to step aside, and I must ask that you do not move." 

"What?! Are you crazy?!" Nyra snapped.

Aelius asked, "Do you trust me or not?"

Nyra stared at him for a bit, then nodded, and shivered when he stepped aside to reveal the creature, it then leaped with a screech, and Nyra looked away, but soon there was a loud thunk, she looked back, and realised that Aelius had shoved his weapon into the ground, effectively trapping the creature, where it wriggled to get free.

Nyra widened her eyes when Aelius brushed his hands together, causing a soft green light to emanate from them, and she gasped when he touched the creature, it started to hiss, then both Nyra and Aelius were thrown back when it disappeared in a whiff of black smoke. Nyra coughed as the black smoke spread through the clearing, "Aelius," she coughed again, "What in the hell was that?"

Aelius didn't move, he did answer though in a rasp, "I'd rather let Captain Raner explain that one."

Nyra sat up, and made her way towards him, she blinked when his honey brown eyes were a smokey black, she gasped, "Hey! Are you all right?"

Aelius waved her off, "I'll be fine, Nyra." He grunted, he blinked a couple times, and his eyes returned to it's honey brown colour. He then sat up slowly, "I'm getting too old for this..." He grumbled.

"You're only 23, what's the problem?" Nyra asked testily.

Aelius blinked, "Nothing," he turned on his communicator, then murmured, "Behemoth, we ran into a problem."

Nyra heard Marn ask icily, "What type of problem?"

"Fallen." Aelius said simply, then there was a moment of silence.

"What?!" Marn exclaimed, Aelius brought the communicator from his ear, and flinched, Aelius muttered, "Can you lower your voice, mine is sensitive for some reason."

"I'm flying down!" Marn continued to yell, Aelius rolled his eyes as his communicator beeped off, and he returned to lying down, extremely pale. Nyra, however, looked at the skies. Soon there was a loud hum from the ship, and it landed not so gracefully next to them, Marn jumped out, weapon in hand, and looked around quickly. Then he walked up to Aelius and started shaking him, "What were you thinking?! Why didn't you call me to come down and help you deal with it?!" He snapped.

Aelius grunted, "I had it under control."

"Oh yes, I'm sure you are all fine and dandy with a Fallen choosing to show it's ugly face." Marn snapped.

Aelius made a face, "They don't actually have faces..." He murmured.

"I don't care!" Marn snapped, and dragged the both of them onto the ship. Marn closed the door behind him, while Aelius shifted in his seat to regain his composure, and soon the ship once again hummed to life, and they were off back to the ship. Marn had an annoyed expression on his face, and was talking to niether of them.

Nyra huffed, and crossed her arms, then looked at Aelius, who seemed all right, he was no longer pale and his eyes were back to their honey brown colour.

Marn was mumbling something under his breath, and then they landed in the hanger of the giant space ship.

Marn jumped out, his arms crossed, "I can't believe you." He grumbled, and started to walk away.

Nyra and Aelius jumped out and followed him, with Aelius staggering behind. Nyra looked back to see him leaning against a wall, "Are you all right?" She asked.

"I'll be fine, just tired is all." Aelius waved, and caught up with her, Marn was not looking back. She continued on, then stopped when Aelius stopped.

Aelius didn't say anything, she walked up to him, and stared, "Aelius...?" She mused.

Marn had finally stopped and looked back, his gaze grew uncharacteristically nervous. Nyra reached her hand out when she noticed that his eyes were now back to a smokey black, Marn started towards them, a bit rushed, which Nyra couldn't understand, Marn hissed, "Nyra."

Moments before Marn reached him, Aelius murmured, "Kara..." Nyra tipped her head in confusion, and gasped when Aelius fell backwards, Marn was faster though, he managed to set Aelius down before he bashed his head off the ships hard floor from passing out, Marn hissed, "Get Captain Raner!"

Nyra nodded, and took out her communicator, and fiddled quickly with the dials, and she snapped, "Captain Raner!"

"Ow, why are you using the communicator on the ship?!" Captain Raner asked icily.

"It's Aelius! We ran into Fallen, whatever it is..." She added the last part in a whisper. She shivered when Captain Raner went eeriely quiet, then murmured flatly, "I'll be right there."

Nyra returned to Marn and Aelius, Marn was trying to rouse Aelius, to no avail, Marn had a worried look on his face, "Why now? The Fallen very rarely appear! Last time it was Captain Raner, now it's Aelius!" He mused as he looked down at his friend.

"Wait! Last time?!" Nyra snapped. Marn flinched.

She jumped when there were quick footsteps behind her, Captain Raner was running towards them, and he hissed, "I never thought I'd see the day one of those things would take him down of all people," he looked at Nyra, and whispered, "Tell me what happened, Marn, take Aelius too the infirmary, I'll meet you there."

Nyra followed Captain Raner quickly, unable to look at Aelius, she whispered, "What are the Fallen, Captain Raner?"

"They're like living nightmares, I don't know what Aelius did to get one stuck in his life force, but it was a reckless move just to dispose of it." Captain Raner hissed.

"Well, what do you mean, living nightmares, what happens if they get into you?" Nyra asked nervously.

Captain Raner sighed, then stopped, Nyra looked up at him, "They feed off our deepest fears, all our terrible memories, and if they get into us, makes us relive them, and horribly distorts our desires and dreams, everything we hold most dear and turns them into a nightmare, Aelius isn't sleeping, he's being attacked internally now, seeing all he loves turn to ash and fire." He grunted.

"You sound like you've experienced this." Nyra pointed out.

Captain Raner continued walking, "Because I have, Nyra," he murmured, "I guess it's a good thing it didn't effect me as much because I can accept the truth that sometimes your desires can become your worst fears, now, tell me what happened?"

"Well, the thing attacked us, except it was aiming for me, then Aelius got it stuck, then he did his healing power, and it disappeared...." She murmured.

Captain Raner stopped, and he murmured, "What were you thinking Aelius...?"

He walked away with a thoughtful look on his face, Nyra frowned, and walked back towards the hanger, unsure of what to do, the hanger was nearly empty, except for Mara, who was pretty much inside a rather large ships engine. Nyra, however, ignored her, and sat beside one of the scout ships, and looked down at the floor. Then she flinched when the Fallen kept crossing her mind, she narrowed her eyes, then looked up at the scout ship.

She sighed, then opened the door to it, Mara looked out from where she was with a curious look on her face, Nyra shook her head slowly, and Mara returned to what she was doing. Nyra closed the drivers side of the ships door, and put on a gas mask, her eyes narrowed dangerously. She turned it on, and soon flew out of the hanger, and headed towards Earth.

It was nearly night where she landed on Earth, she jumped out, and looked around, then started walking forwards. She noticed someone walking down the road calmly. Nyra followed them calmly. The person had stopped outside the same camp Aelius had stopped out of, they had let the person and Nyra in, confused, but willingly.

Nyra looked around the walled town, where people were trading goods, Nyra walked into a small tavern like place, where people were laughing and joking around.

A tender walked up to her, and they asked gently, "Anything you would like?"

Nyra looked up at the menu, and she whispered, "Just clear water, please."

The tender nodded, and walked behind the counter, a cloaked and masked person entered the building, and sat beside her, she looked up at them curiously, but they paid her no mind, she flinched when they finally eyed her with what reminded her of disapproval, but they turned back when the tender came back, with Nyra's clear water.

Nyra was about to take her money out, but the stranger stopped her, and brought out his own bag, and dropped a couple gold coins, the tender took them without question, and placed the water in front of Nyra, who took it in confusion, she muttered, "Thank you."

The stranger said nothing, and only looked around the building, something about the stranger was familiar, but she brushed it off, she took a drink of the clear water, and felt rejuvenated.

She jumped when there was a couple of explosions, everyone went quiet, and looked around nervously. Nyra looked back at the door, and someone murmured, "Insurgents?"

Nyra stood up silently, and looked back at the stranger, who made no move, and only watched. The explosions had stopped, and everyone soon returned to talking.

"Well that was bizarre..." Nyra murmured, and returned to her water. The stranger nodded, however they looked up when a couple people walked into the building, swords in their hands. She was about to jump up, but the stranger stopped her, and shook their head. Nyra watched as the people looked around.

They looked at everyone closely, and then made their way towards Nyra, Nyra gasped when the stranger pulled her back towards the counter, so she wasn't facing the people, she watched as they placed a hand on her shoulder, hiding the VoT insignia, and when they passed her, they paid her no mind.

She let out a deep breath as they left, and the stranger dropped their hand, she whispered, "Thanks."

The tender muttered dangerously, "That explosion would have attracted the Gorgots..."

"I could go take care of them." Nyra offered.

The tender stared at her in disbelief, "You're just a young women though..." she looked around at the bar, who were eeriely quiet, then she whispered, "If you can take care of them, we'll be grateful."

Nyra nodded, and jumped off the stool, and walked outside of the building, she looked back, the stranger that protected her had made no move, she then left the town entirely, then walked around the perimeter, she flinched when there was a huge group of Gorgots chewing on some of the wiring mesh of the fences.

She clicked her tongue, and they looked up quickly, and hissed unnaturally, she took out her weapon, and got ready, however, she blinked when she heard a rustle from the bushes that lined the perimeter's neighbouring forest, she blinked when a couple more Gorgots came stumbling out.

Nyra rolled her eyes, Just my luck...

She raised an eye-brow when the stranger from the building had come up to her, and indicated to the Gorgots. She blinked, and laughed, "Oh don't worry nothing I can't handle."

Nyra jumped from a lunging Gorgot, who fell facefirst into the ground clumsily, "They're not that bright, I had a teacher that taught me how to deal with everything..." She faltered, Except those... Fallen things.

She flinched when another Gorgot lunged at her, but the stranger brought out a huge double bladed scythe, and quickly took down the Gorgot, she stopped, "Wow," she mused, "You're good."

The stranger only nodded, then pointed, the Gorgots were making another attack, she focused on a couple, cornering them against the wall, but she jumped when there was a Gorgot screech behind her, she turned, and gasped when the stranger jumped in front of her, shoving his arm into the Gorgot's teeth, the Gorgot seemed more confused then triumphant, blood dripped from the stranger's clothing, and they narrowed their eyes.

They kicked the Gorgot away, but that came at a cost, they stumbled as they lost more blood, but the Gorgots began to back away, hissing, at the threat of the person's scythe, and soon, they retreated into the forest.

The stranger relaxed, and looked at their arm. Nyra gasped, "Oh, um! I'll fix it!"

The stranger looked at her, and watched calmly as she opened up her backpack, "Thankfully, Aelius always gets on my case if I forgot bandages or something silly like that... At least he's not making me pack needles." She muttered.

She thought she heard the stranger snort, but when she looked up, they were only sitting down calmly, she took out the bandages, "Here, hold out your arm." She said quickly.

They did as told, and Nyra flinched at the damage, their arm was near wrecked, but they didn't seem bothered by it, she began to wrap the wound, albeit clumsily due to her hands shaking, and then finished. "There, it should be enough until you get a healer."

Nyra looked up curiously, and blinked when the stranger seemed to be smiling. They brushed her off, then started to walk away, Nyra stood up though, "Wait! Who are you?!" She asked curiously.

The stranger stopped, and looked back, they patted their shoulder, then continued on, Nyra watched as they left, she sighed, and leaned against the wall.

She seemed to nod off, and woke up only when dawn was rising, she looked up at the sky curiously, and looked on sadly at the beauty of a dying planet, she stood up, and made her way back to the ship, it was silent, she jumped in, and made her way back home.

Nyra landed in the hanger, and she jumped out. She saw Marn and Mara arguing, and Captain Raner sitting by, with his arms crossed, Nyra raised an eye-brow when Captain Raner seemed to be keeping his arms hidden.

Nyra walked up to them, and both Marn and Mara snapped at the same time, "Where have you been?!"

She stopped, and looked at Captain Raner, who raised an eye-brow, she sighed, "I just... Needed to take a flight."

Captain Raner sighed, "No point in harrasing her, she's fine," he stood up, and Nyra's eyes widened when his sleeves moved a bit, his arm was bandaged.

Nyra pointed out, "Wait! What's that!?"

Captain Raner saw where she was looking at, and he smiled, "Oh, I had a... Little accident trying to help Mara fix a ship." He murmured cooly, and walked away.

Nyra raised an eye-brow, she looked at Mara, who shrugged, "He's a pilot, not a mechanic, only ship he can truly fix is his own," She said coolly. Nyra turned to Marn, and then asked quietly, "How is he?"

"No change..." Marn whispered back quietly, "Has a fever though..."

Nyra could only watch as Marn walked away as well, with a lost expression on his face.


Nyra walked the halls alone, and yawned, she stopped when she noticed Captain Raner in his seat inside his room, staring off at the wall, Nyra peeked in, and raised an eye-brow.

"Well, I definately know who taught you." Captain Raner sighed, and broke his gaze from the wall, "Your sneaking skills need some work, though, come in Nyra."

Nyra obeyed, and bowed her head quickly, "I was just... Wondering what you're doing up, Captain, you're usually asleep by now, I can tell because Marn is just pacing the bridge..." She murmured quietly.

Captain Raner blinked, then looked at his arm, Nyra noticed he seemed paler then usual, "Oh, just this injury bugging me, I probably should have known better then to try to help Mara with that ship, I know this ship through and through, but any others, no idea, and I'd have Aelius take a look at it, but seeing as he's indisposed at the moment..."

Nyra sat down on the edge of the bed, and murmured darkly, "That, or the bite of a Gorgot, which definitely would have Aelius freaking out."

Captain Raner stared at her in disbelief, and asked coolly, "Did you get bitten by a Gorgot?"

"I think you know I didn't." Nyra pointed out icily.

He only shook his head, and looked back at the wall, Nyra sighed, then murmured, "James."

Captain Raner looked up when his first name was called, "I'm not a child anymore, you taught me well, and it's not the fact you have no faith in me," Nyra whispered, "I think it's more you don't have faith in yourself, I do appreciate the lengths you're willing to go to to protect us, but," she looked down at his arm, "You will end up like Aelius." She pointed out calmly.

"I'm going to get some rest, Nyra, I suggest you do the same." Captain Raner said flatly.

Nyra only bowed, and turned to leave, but when she looked back, Captain Raner was once again staring at the wall with an unreadable expression, she frowned, and left.

She gasped when she ran into Enna, who looked up at her, "Oh, hey Nyra! Is James up?" She asked curiously.

"Uh, I guess? He's kind of having one of those moments." Nyra said simply, she saw Enna's eyes grow sad, then she walked past Nyra, and walked into Captain Raner's room without another word, Nyra sighed, then walked back to her room, Keren and Mara were staring intently at the satellite, Nyra looked on what was on, and only rolled her eyes when it was the Galactic Sanctum reporting more signs of the virus.

Keren muttered, "You'd think the Galaxy was affected at it's core."

Nyra only walked away, and sat down on her bed, With Aelius being attacked internally, and Captain Raner being out of it, what're we going to do? She thought grimly.

She soon fell asleep rather quickly, but it seemed she was only asleep for a couple minutes before Marn was banging on her door.

"I'm getting up, hold your horses..." She grumbled.

"Well, hurry it up." Marn grumbled back.

Nyra rolled her eyes, and got up, she got dressed rather quickly, and opened the door, she frowned when Marn looked like he didn't get a wink of sleep, "I was up all night, trying to figure out if there was a way to get that thing out of him... I only know what happens if they stay in there for too long." He muttered.

Nyra raised an eyebrow, "Are you telling me you figured out a way?" She asked curiously.

"Yeah, a machine." Marn said simply.

"A machine?" Nyra asked.

"Think of it as a key to a person's mind, someone could enter the person's mind and see what's up," Marn said quickly and excitedly, "I know Aelius has one somewhere in his office, he just never tells me where it is because he says it's dangerous to enter someone's mind, since this is a relatiely new invention, in a way, they're like dreamcatchers, except they literally work."

Nyra stared up at Marn, "You're a genius Marn, we just have to find it." Nyra said excitedly.

"I think I know where it is, if it's not in his office, it's in his room." Marn muttered.

Nyra walked out to the hallway, Marn muttered, "I had Keren and Mara report to Captain Raner, who's actually probably fallen fast asleep in his chair, Enna's watching communications, we've got to do this now."

Nyra nodded, and followed him down to the infirmiry, Aelius was unconcious on a healing bed, but they tried to pay him no mind, and turned his office inside out looking for this dreamcatching machine. Nyra sighed, looking in drawers, and only finding papers, "This is ridiculous, how can someone be so organized?" She sighed.

Marn sighed, "All right, let's try his room, even though it has a bunch of books in it..." He grumbled, and they entered his room, which was almost the size of Captain Raner's, except it was mostly compromised of books, and Aelius's bed, they started tearing the place apart, but Nyra couldn't help but peek through some medical journals. Marn only rolled his eyes, and continued searching.

Nyra finally put the book down, and looked around Aelius's bed, she finally got down on her knees, and looked under it, she raised an eyebrow when there was an old tome, two weird glowing headsets, and a picture frame. She grabbed all the items, and placed them on the bed, Marn asked flatly, "Really? He hid it under his bed?"

"Well, it's the last place anyone would look." Nyra pointed out, then looked at the picture, she tipped her head, it was a group picture, she recognized Aelius immediately, he looked even more younger, and they were all laughing, and behind them was some sort of Hospital.

Nyra looked at Marn, who looked at the picture sadly, "Before he became a mercanary, Aelius worked at that hospital, he was well respected." Marn said flatly.

Nyra put the picture down, and said, "Then they destroyed it...' 

Marn only closed his eyes, then grabbed the Animaus, Nyra blinked, and Marn murmured, "There might be an issue though, from what Aelius has told me, the only way to get into another's mind is if they are close to the person."

"So, you can do it." Nyra muttered, and stood up, Marn shook his head.

"I-I'd rather not..." Marn muttered.

Nyra raised an eye-brow, and sighed, "Fine, I'll try to do it, wuss," She grumbled, and walked towards the healing bed, she muttered, "By the way, once I'm out, I suggest putting me somewhere comfortable."

Marn nodded, and she put the thing on, Marn put it on Aelius, Nyra noticed his hands shaking, while Aelius was only still, she sat down on a bed, then flicked it on, she jumped when she felt like she was being shocked, and she widened her eyes when the bright light entered her vision, only to be met with darkness the next moment.

She sat up, and looked around, it reminded her of Earth, without the dying nature, the moon was high in the sky, but something was off, it made her nervous.

Nyra began to walk around, and soon entered a deep part of the forest.

There was a magnificient sycamore tree across a sparkling river, but the tree seemd to be suffering somehow, Nyra noticed the shadow like tendrils choking it, it looked like it was dying, attempting to breath by the looks of the green energy pulsing from it. Nyra began to wade across the river, and finally reached the bank.

Nyra walked up to the tree curiously, then reached her hand out, the energy seemed to shiver, and she gasped when she was thrown right back into the river, she got her head out of the water, and snapped, "That was rude!"

The trees energy seemed to shrink back, and Nyra realised that the shadows were trying to reach her, but couldn't, the tree was holding them back to it's own detirment. She stood up, and tried to drain out her clothes.

"Stop it! It's killing you!" Nyra cried out.

She took out her weapon, and looked up at the tree, the shadows grew longer around her.

"I won't let you hurt my friend!" She snapped, she waded back towards the bank, and steeled herself, as the tree seemed to be pushing her away.

She finally reached the trunk, and she reached her hand out, and touched the bark, Come on, Aelius, let me help you...

Nyra looked behind her to see the Fallen, it's red eyes narrowed dangerously, she whispered dangerously, "Aelius only got in your way... It's me you want." She growled, and turned to it.

She looked up when the tree's energy seemed to be wavering, Nyra readied her weapon, but she stopped when the Fallen hissed in Aelius's voice, but in a cold tone, which made her shiver, "Do you not understand what made us, little one?" It asked dangerously.

"I know you're living nightmares." Nyra hissed back.

The Fallen seemed to narrow it's eyes, "We are much more then that, we were born out of this virus, made by those who would seek to destroy the wonderous beauty, and we feed of that." It hissed.

"Why couldn't you talk when we first fought you, and why do you sound like my friend?" Nyra asked quietly.

The Fallen seemed to hesitate, and it hissed, "We can only take on a corparal form and being in the land of dreaming, once we have attached ourselves to a living being..." It seemed to take a step forward, and Nyra's eyes widened when it turned into Aelius, but instead of soft honey brown eyes, it was cold smokey black, "We can take on that appearence, deceiving them with those they love based on their memories."

Nyra narrowed her eyes, and leaped at the creature, it however seemed to have Aelius's skill, it stepped back, and took out his weapon, it hissed, "If you want to beat me, you're going to have to save the tree first." It whispered dangerously.

"Yeah, and I have to beat you so you stop choking it." Nyra hissed, and continued her attack.

She gasped when it threw her into the water, and she looked up at it again to see it change form, the weapon turned into a scythe, then it turned into her, "Can you fight yourself though, let alone your friend?" It asked in her voice, which made her feel weirded out.

Nyra looked up at the tree, the energy seemed to have finally wavered, and the tree was slowly dying, she stood up, and readied her weapon, and the Fallen copied her movement.

Nyra looked around quickly, then rolled towards the Fallen, but when it jumped back she only ran past it to the tree, the smoke tendrils were still suffocating it, but it could no longer fight back.

She took her weapon, and looked back at the Fallen, which had returned to a smokey black mass, she looked back at the tendrils, and was ready to swipe at them, however she gasped when the Fallen began to drag her away from the tree, she kicked it away though, and leaped back.

"You can't win this fight." It hissed.

"No, but I can try." Nyra hissed, and ran towards it, and trapped it between her blade and another tree, she blinked when it disappated, and she ran towards the tree again, the smoke tendrils now pulsing, and the tree's branches began to creak.

Nyra readied her weapon, and was ready to strike, she looked at the tendrils, then widened her eyes when she looked up at the tree, where many red eyes where staring down at her eerieely, she sighed, then sat down, "Come on Aelius... You'd know what to do..." She whispered.

She made a face, then stalked towards the tree, and sat down cross legged in front of it, she watched as the shadow like tendrils continued to suffocate the tree.

Nyra growled in frustration, and smacked the tree with her weapon, "Come! On! Don't be an idiot and fight back! The stuff," she smacked the tree again, "You're seeing. Isn't real!" She yelled.

She looked up when a harsh green light started to emanate from the tree, she flinched when she was thrown back once again, and she landed harshly on her back, the shadows seemed to screech and shy away from the light, and soon let go of the tree, the shadows snaked their way towards her, and she watched as a green shield raised around the tree, and the shadows shied away.

The shadows turned back to the tree, and she heard someone whisper behind her, "And what exactly are you doing in here?"

She looked up, and gasped when she saw Aelius, he looked tired, but all right, he smiled, "I guess Marn didn't tell you exactly how the machine worked?" He asked gently.

"Aelius! The tree!" Nyra pointed.

"I know, you were smacking it." Aelius pointed out.

Nyra sat up, and looked at him, "How did you know?" She grumbled.

"Well, in our dreams, well more technically, where our souls reside, and deep within them, is a soul tree." Aelius pointed out calmly.

Nyra looked back at the tree, the shadows seemed frozen in place, Aelius stood up, "I thank you Nyra, but you can't win against this foe when it has already latched itself onto something, only the person who's being drained can actually fight back, and rarely is that possible." He murmured quietly.

"What, so I stand by and let it slowly destroy you?" Nyra hissed dangerously.

Aelius blinked, "Nope." He sat down as well beside her, and watched calmly, as the tree began to emit stronger energy, and soon, the shadows dissipated from the light.

"I'm very lucky that you actually managed to hold it off though." Aelius said calmly.

Nyra looked around, the energy in the dream seemed to change, and the shadows had shrunk considerably, she murmured, "Is it gone?"

Aelius looked around as well, and nodded, "Yes, it's gone." He sighed.

Nyra looked down at the ground, and frowned, she then stood up, and walked up to the tree, which looked better. She heard Aelius walk towards her, "Although James never taught you how to fight an enemy that can rarely be hit, he did teach you a lot of things." He said calmly.

Nyra looked down at the ground once again, Aelius stopped, "Is something wrong?" He asked curiously.

Nyra brought her hands to her shoulders, and turned back, and didn't look at Aelius, she watched as he walked up to her, "It's fine, Nyra." He said calmly.

Nyra sighed, and let her arms fall limp to her sides, she looked up at Aelius, then hugged him and murmured, "Thank you."

Aelius blinked, and asked, "What for?"

She stared at him in disbelief, Aelius only smiled, Nyra looked at the sky, which seemed to shiver, then she gasped when light reentered her vision, and she sat up in the bed.

Aelius stirred, and Marn looked up suddenly, Aelius sat up as well, and smiled at his friend.

"You two are awake, finally." Marn murmured, "I... Uh, may have locked the door, Captain Raner threatened me to open it, but I think he walked away."

Aelius raised an eye-brow, and went to get up, however, both Nyra and Marn stopped him, "No, you're getting bed rest." They both snapped. Aelius put his hands up.

Marn and Nyra stood by the door, and nodded at eachother, Marn swiped a card across the door, and Nyra and Marn held their breaths. Nyra and Marn both gasped when Captain Raner opened the door with ferocity, they both fell back onto the floor, and looked up at Captain Raner, who stared down at them disapprovingly.

Marn stood up quickly, and bowed to Captain Raner. Nyra stood up more slowly, and stared up at her mentor, who stared down at her back.

Aelius coughed, "Well now that the reunion is over..." He muttered.

Marn stood by the door, and Captain Raner looked at Aelius, he asked flatly, "How are you feeling?"

Aelius smiled, "Better, it got destroyed." He said calmly, then looked back at Captain Raner, who only nodded, and walked out. Nyra looked at Marn and Aelius both, Aelius laid back down, and closed his eyes, Marn and Nyra walked out.

"What's up with Captain Raner?" Nyra asked.

Marn stopped, and Nyra watched as his gaze grew dark, "I've... Known James for a long time, I keep forgetting that you've only been with us for a short while." He muttered.

Marn indicated for her to follow him, he led her to the hanger, and he leaned against a scout ship, "Well, you know he's encountered the Fallen? As in... He was in Aelius's situation before," he hesitated, then added coldly, "The difference is... The Fallen never left him, how he woke up, I never understood..."

Nyra brought her hands to her mouth, Marn shook his head, "I wasn't sure what to do, I thought he was never going to wake up, but then one day he did, and me and Enna, the two that have known him longest, at least, I was glad he was alive, Enna seemed to notice something different..." He pointed out slowly.

He shrugged, and Nyra murmured, "I had no idea..."

"Yeah, well, I think he's managed to destroy the Fallen inside him on his own, but that's nearly torn his soul apart." Marn said coolly.

Nyra was about to say something, but they both jumped to attention when Captain Raner walked up to them, "Nyra, I want to see you in the arena in five, Marn, I need you to see what's up with our communications, they seem to be jammed again." He said curtly, Marn bowed, and left the two alone.

Nyra watched Captain Raner walk away, she stood there, and shuffled her feet, then she started making her way towards the arena.

She paced the arena slowly, and looked into the darkest corners of it, she jumped when the arena's main floor started moving in a circular motion. She looked back at the control panel, where Captain Raner was entering some settings. Nyra muttered, "You could at least inform me when you get in."

Nyra blinked when Captain Raner looked up with a curious look on his face, he then shrugged, Nyra asked, "What are we doing?"

She watched as he sighed, then finally clicked another button, Nyra shivered when a mist started to form in the arena, which reminded her of the Fallen's entrence, Captain Raner muttered, "I think you know."

Nyra stepped back when Captain Raner jumped on the moving platform, and took out his own weapon. Nyra felt woozy, but shook her head, and took out her own weapon. She gasped when Captain Raner moved fast, and then seemed to disappear into the smoke.

She blinked, and looked around quickly, she looked down at the mist, which soon filled up the whole arena, which made it hard to see.

Nyra gasped when Captain Raner tackled her to the ground, and quickly disappeared again, she stood up, and jumped away when the mist started to take shape.

This mist... It's weird... Like it's an illusion... Which means... Nyra turned around as Captain Raner made another attack, she gasped, and brought up her weapon, and blocked him. He jumped away into the mist and disappeared again.

Nyra got low to the ground, and looked around quickly, she heard footsteps, but wasn't sure where they were coming from.

She gasped when a shadow came over her, she looked up quickly, and gasped when Captain Raner stared down at her with shadowy black eyes, Nyra narrowed her eyes, and spun on her back, taking Captain Raner's legs out from underneath him, but she knew it wouldn't be that easy to take him down. I have yet to beat him in a duel.

He flipped back up, and she flipped back as well, Captain Raner took a step forward, and she gasped when he disappeared again. She narrowed her eyes though, and started to mess with the mist, she leaned forward, and waited carefully.

She finally narrowed her eyes when Captain Raner appeared once again, but then suddenly the whole ship shook, and she gasped, nearly falling off the platform, however, Captain Raner grabbed her arm, and pulled her away from the edge.

The mist seemed to disappate, the ship shook again, and she asked, "What's going on?"

The smokey grey colour of Captain Raner's eyes also disappated, just like the mist, he said, "I don't know, it can't be Marn ran into an asteroid." He stood up fully as the platform lowered.

Nyra muttered, "I wouldn't be surprised-" However she gasped when the alarm blared, and she covered her ears, Captain Raner however unsheathed his weapon, and looked around. Nyra looked around as well.

Captain Raner leaned back, "We're being boarded, stay quiet." He growled, and snuck his way towards the door.

Nyra narrowed her eyes, Captain Raner opened the door a bit, Nyra stood up slowly, and made her way towards him, however, she gasped when he grabbed her and pushed her against the wall, and continued to look out the door.

"What is it Captain?" Nyra asked curiously.

Captain Raner didn't answer, however, Nyra gasped when he held his head, and his eyes turned back to a smokey black, he slid against the wall, and she gasped, "Are you okay?"

Captain Raner nodded, "I'll be fine, Nyra." He said flatly.

He stood up rather shakily, and they both jumped when Marn ran in, "Captain, we might have a little problem..." He panted.

"What problem?" Captain Raner asked dangerously.

Marn shifted beside them, and murmured, "Uh, you know, just... A rival mercenary group, called the SA."

Captain Raner fell to the floor again, Nyra and Marn stared at him, he grunted, "You've got to be kidding me..."

Nyra looked at them both, and she asked, "What's the SA?"

Marn sighed, "Me and James used to be... Friends with their leader, back at school on Earth, but, things went wrong when James beat him in a duel, called him out for cheating, and..."

Captain Raner seemed to instinctively touch his chest, and murmured, "What does he want?"

"I don't know." Marn muttered dangerously.

Captain Raner stood up, and muttered, "Well, we shouldn't keep them waiting, let's go." He walked out of the room, and Marn and Nyra followed after him.

They met Mara and Enna in the hanger, who were both yelling at the top of their lungs at a relatively tall man, who seemed to not be impressed by them.

The man looked up when Marn, Captain Raner, and Nyra walked in, "Well look who it is, James Raner. It's been a long time." He hissed, Nyra shivered, Oh man, I don't like this guy...

Captain Raner wasn't fazed though, he asked coldly, "It has been a long time, Rayan, but I doubt you'd board our ship just for a little reunion, what are you doing here?"

Rayan looked at Captain Raner, and Nyra shivered when his gaze was full of hatred. Captain Raner still wasn't fazed though, he had his arms crossed, "Actually, I am here for a reason."

He brought up his hands, "The Fallen have grown in number, and I'm sure you've felt their power surge of all people..."

Enna and Mara looked at Captain Raner, and Nyra looked at him as well, she noticed his hands were balled up into fists, "What about the Fallen that is so interesting to you?" He asked darkly.

"Earth got plagued with them." Rayan shrugged.

Captain Raner huffed, "What does that have to do with me?" He grunted.

"A lot, the attack on your hometown, more specfically, that was carried out by insurgents leading the Fallen to it, there were supposed to be no survivors, but there was one." Rayan hissed.

Enna stepped in front of them, and snapped, "That's enough, Rayan, sometimes you don't know when to shut your mouth." 

Rayan looked down at her critically, Enna however, stared up at him back, Captain Raner brushed her away though, "It's fine, Enna." He growled.

Rayan and Captain Raner stared at eachother dangerously, Nyra looked at all of them, Rayan sighed, "They're hunting the Fallen down, the Galactic Sanctum has asked a lot of people to help." He walked to their boarding ship, followed by his team.

Captain Raner turned away from him, Enna watched him, while the boarding ship left into the darkness of space. Captain Raner sighed, "Training is over Nyra, I'm going to be at the bridge." He said to Marn, and walked away, and everyone watched him.

Nyra walked away also, and walked into the infirmary again, Aelius was at his desk once again, a bit pale, but looking better then he did, he was reading a heavy text book, while writing stuff on a seperate piece of paper.

She walked up to him, and asked, "Are you feeling better?"

Aelius looked up from his work, and nodded, "Thank you for asking." He said calmly.

Nyra looked down at the book, she narrowed her eyes at the text, trying to read it.

Aelius smiled, "I didn't know you were interested in the medical field." He pointed out.

Nyra looked back up at him, "When I first came on this ship, I stumbled into your library in your room... I read most of your medical journals, it was amazing, what someone could do to save someone..." She said quietly.

She watched as Aelius stood up, and walked into his room, Nyra watched him shuffle through the bookshelves, and grab a relatively small book, and got a distant look in his eyes, he blinked, and walked back towards Nyra. He passed her the book, she looked at the cover, which was hardcover, written in a bit larger text then what Aelius was reading. She looked at the contents, and Aelius muttered, "That's just your basics in medicine, maybe you'll find it interesting, and you'll learn a bit about the field."

Nyra bowed, "Thank you, Aelius." She said.

Aelius nodded, and sat back down, Nyra bowed, and headed out, and towards the bridge.

Captain Raner was sitting in the pilots seat, staring out into the space thoughtfully, Enna had her huge headphones on, clicking a couple dials, her gaze flatter than Captain Raner's.

Nyra sat on the seat staring at the giant holographic map, she stood up immediately though, and poked the shape that was Earth, it focused on the planet, and showed information about it.

"People are dying, James, if Rayan finds out that a Fallen attacked Aelius..." Enna muttered.

Captain Raner seemed to shrug her off though, "People die everyday, I'm more worried about this virus, if Rayan thinks the Fallen are even close to a threat, he's got another thing coming." He said calmly.

"They can become a threat though, they're not a forgiving creature, especially at this time, they can feed off it." Enna commented coldly, Nyra sat down calmly.

Nyra clicked the holographic map, and clicked on Jupiter's moon, her home planet, Titan. She looked at Captain Raner, who was lounging in his pilot's chair, flicking through some coordinates.

Nyra watched as Marn walked in, and took a seat beside Enna, spinning a bit.

Nyra could still remember the first time she had met Captain Raner and Marn, back on her home planet on Titan, Nyra murmured, "Does anyone know where the Fallen even comes from?" She asked.

Captain Raner and Enna looked up, and they both shook their heads.

"As far as anyone knows, they've been here for a long time, but they only became noticeable when the Virus came, I guess they fed off the negative energy." Captain Raner said coolly.

Nyra tapped the desk nervously, Enna narrowed her eyes, "Captain, you might want to hear this."

"Put it on the speaker." Captain Raner.

Enna nodded, and flicked a switch, Nyra got goosebumps as a loud scratching noise played on the interspeaker, Captain Raner narrowed his eyes.

"That's not good." Captain Raner muttered calmly, and flicked a couple switches near his seat, and turned, grabbing the wheel.

"What is it?" Nyra asked, and sat up.

Captain Raner didn't answer her immediately, "Turn the engines off, Marn." He muttered.

Marn nodded, and pulled down a lever, Nyra jumped when the ship groaned, and went eeriely silent. She watched as Captain Raner seemed to be getting ready, very slowly turning up switches, which hummed a very dark colour. Nyra clutched the table.

"On my signal Marn, we're going to do a light jump." Captain Raner muttered.

"That's not exactly safe, not if we do a hyper activation on the engines..." Marn pointed out. He stopped when Captain Raner gave him a hard look, and he bowed.

Captain Raner murmured, "Hold onto something."

They all nodded, and grabbed onto their desks, Captain Raner held his hand up, with another hand on the wheel, "Hold it..."

Nyra thought she saw something move in the space ahead, Captain Raner narrowed his eyes again, "Destroyer..." Enna murmured quietly.

"Now Marn." Captain Raner hissed, bringing both hands to the wheel.

Marn nodded determinedly, and pulled the lever down as Captain Raner pulled another lever, causing the ship to lurch, but in that instant, Nyra spotted it, a gigantic ship, but it seemed unnatural for a machine, it moved like an animal. But they were already going into hyperspace as the thing attacked, as the stars semeed to speed ahead of them, and soon they stopped somewhere near Jupiter. Nyra was thrown back as they stopped, and she felt woozy.

Captain Raner let go of the wheel, and asked, "Everyone okay?"

There was a chorus from yes's from the three of them. Nyra asked shakily, "What was that?!"

"A Destroyer, an alien ship, we're not sure what species of Alien though, but if you see one in your star system, it usually means bad things." Marn said quietly.

"Although, there's some folklore surrounding the destroyers, some people believe that the ship is the alien." Enna muttered quietly.

Nyra shivered, Captain Raner stayed in his seat, but Nyra noticed his eyes were back to their greyish tinge. He seemed to have a gigantic head-ache, he muttered, "I'm going to go lie down." He stood up, and walked away rather stiffly. 

Nyra returned to the holographic map, while Enna stared at her screen thoughtfully.

Aelius walked in as Captain Raner left, he watched Captain Raner retreat, and looked back, "So, what happened? Next moment I'm sitting in my desk, then I hear a screeching sound on the intercom, then we jump into hyperspace and I end up on the floor." He laughed.

Marn laughed as well, "Sorry about that, destroyer." He added the last part with a whisper.

Aelius blinked, "A destroyer?" He murmured.

Marn nodded, "Yeah, Enna picked it up on the speakers." He said calmly.

Aelius looked out into the space ahead, "Well, what was it doing near Earth?" He asked curiously.

"No idea." Enna muttered.

Nyra looked back where Captain Raner had left, Keren and Mara walked in, Mara was holding her head, and she complained, "I smashed my head on the ship's hood."

Keren looked like he just woke up, he yawned, "I thought we were supposed to get a warning when we do a hyper jump."

"We didn't get time to give you all a warning, we're sorry." Marn said with a laugh.

Nyra stood up, and yawned as well, but she stopped when she started getting a headache, and an annoying ringing in her ears, Aelius, who was checking Mara's head, noticed the movement, but made no move towards Nyra yet.

"Just a slight concussion, I wouldn't go doing anything crazy around ships for a while, you should go lie down." Aelius told Mara calmly, who nodded her thanks, and walked out, Keren sat where Marn usually did, and started to spin in the chair to wake up.

"Anyone else having issues?" Aelius asked, Marn shook his head, and Enna was distracted with the communications, but she murmured, "I think it's starting to act up again." She indicated to where Captain Raner had left.

Nyra brushed her hair, and she murmured, "I'll come talk to you after."

Aelius nodded, and walked out to follow Captain Raner.

Nyra closed her eyes, This is strange... What's going on with Captain Raner?

Chapter 3

I'm standing on the edge

of returning or falling.

Nyra walked through the halls and down to the bridge, she passed Keren and they both turned to eachother, and Keren whispered, "I was just at the bridge, Captain Raner's passed out in his chair again."

"I guess it's more comfortable then his bed." Nyra pointed out, and shrugged.

Keren nodded, then murmured, "You haven't been getting much sleep either."

"I know, I'm not going to Aelius just because I'm having trouble sleeping, how about you?" Nyra asked darkly.

Keren sighed, and looked around, "I've been doing fine, I'm a bit more worried for everyone else, and Mara's a bit more edgy than usual, but that's probably because she needs the rest due to the concussion." He said quickly.

"Yeah, look, let's talk later, maybe do that bet, Marn wants to see me in the bridge." Nyra said excitedly, and ran towards the bridge, while Keren made his way towards the hanger.

When she entered the bridge, the atmosphere was tense, Captain Raner was passed out in his chair, sleeping rather peacefully even with the tension. Enna was staring at the blank screen, while Marn had paced the bridge again.

Marn muttered as Nyra came in, "We might have an issue..." He murmured, and eyed Captain Raner when Nyra stared at him curiously.

"The Fallen is acting up, ever since Rayan came..." Marn growled, "But I can't get an Animaus on him to see the damage, he's an extremely light sleeper."

They both walked up to their Captain, who did not stir at their arrival, Enna commented from her seat, "The Fallen is draining him, I don't understand how, he had such an eerie amount of control over it."

Nyra murmured, "We've got to see the damage somehow."

Marn murmured, "Aelius has been trying to see what's been happening from the outside, hard to see something that only feeds from the inside."

Nyra thought hard, and paced around the holographic map, "Captain Raner told me something..."

Marn and Enna looked up at her, and she murmured, "He said the Fallen didn't effect him like it did Aelius because he could accept that even what he desired could turn on a heel and turn into a nightmare, I think that's why he woke up without help." Nyra shrugged.

Enna looked on thoughtfully, while Marn shifted in place, Nyra asked, "You said you tried getting an Animaus on him?"

Marn nodded, and pointed to the desk behind them, where two machines were placed. Nyra walked up to them, she narrowed her eyes, "I'm going in."

"I just said he was a light sleeper." Marn muttered.

"Right, so in case he wakes up, you need to knock him out." Nyra muttered calmly, and grabbed them.

Marn stared at her incredulously, "You want me to knock Captain Raner out?" He asked in horror.

Nyra froze, then nodded, "Yeah, I do." She walked up to Captain Raner, who still did not stir.

Marn groaned, and let her pass, she very carefully placed the animaus on Raner's head, who only shifted a bit, but didn't wake up, she flicked it on, and looked at Enna.

"All right, if Aelius comes in, tell him that I went in." Nyra growled.

She put the thing on her head, and felt the similiar shocking feeling, and the same bright light, and she woke up to Captain Raner's dream world.

Nyra sat up, and looked around, it was extremely foggy, and she could barely see the sky above, she got up and started to walk. She gasped when she stepped in water, but it felt thick, she looked through the fog, and saw the bank leading to the soul tree.

She stared up at the great willow tree, but realised with a pang that it was near death, or dormant.

Nyra sat by the tree, and reached her hand out, and touched it's bark.

Nyra looked up at the tree sadly, there was no darkness surrounding it, but it felt sad. She leaned against it hoping to feel warmth, but felt none, and looked down at the ground around it, which was near dead too.

"Captain... Why do you do this to yourself? Why keep something that only harms you inside?" Nyra asked softly.

She jumped when she spotted movement, she took out her scythe, but realised it was only a presentation of a memory, a little girl with short flowing hair.

"Hello?" Nyra asked, but the girl didn't answer.

Nyra huffed, and sat back down, the girl seemed to be looking for something, but what, she couldn't tell, the fog seemed to get thicker. Nyra hissed to herself, "I think I have company."

She stood up quickly, but gasped when a shadow flew into her, wielding a double bladed scythe, she gasped, "Jame-" but she had no time to call out, she had to dodge his attack.

"James! It's me!" Nyra screamed, and had to roll away, because instead of his calming grey eyes, his eyes were an angry black.

Nyra gasped when he tripped her, and she rolled down the bank and into the water, she narrowed her eyes, and jumped at him, he didn't seem to have been expecting this, because he was bowled over, she sat on him, and pointed her blade at him.

"Get a hold of yourself!" Nyra screeched.

He stopped, and seemed to realise what he was doing, he dropped his scythe, he stared up at Nyra, and rasped in a voice Nyra thought Captain Raner wasn't capable of, "What are you doing here?"

She looked down at him, and she thought in horror, He's... Sad and afraid... Deep inside, this is him...

He continued to look up at her, she whispered, "Captain, it's Nyra."

Captain Raner blinked, and seemed out of it, he asked quietly, "I know, how and why are you in here?"

Nyra looked down at him, then pointed at the tree, he looked from where he was being kept, and frowned. Nyra whispered, "Just because you have control over it Captain, doesn't mean it's going down easy..."

He sighed, and seemed tired and strained for the first time Nyra has met him, she got off him, but he didn't get up, Nyra was unnerved.

"C-Captain...?" Nyra whispered.

He sat up, she watched as he shakily got up, using his scythe to hold him up. Nyra looked at the tree, while he sat there.

"I don't think there's a way to save it, Aelius probably could but... That's not worth it." He murmured tiredly, and shook his head.

Nyra walked up to the tree, she looked around, and saw some newly growing grass, however small. She murmured, "Maybe not..."

Captain Raner seemed to have finally been able to stand up, even through the exhaustion, he limped up towards where she was, and looked down.

Nyra looked up at her teacher, and smiled, "Both you and the Fallen are losing control over it, it's going to heal on it's own, we just... Need to make sure nothing happens." Nyra said quickly.

Captain Raner nodded, and she realised the dream started to fade, she looked at Captain Raner, and she murmured, "Guess you're waking up..."

He nodded, his calm gaze back, and she felt darkness pile on.

She woke up, and felt her head pound, she looked at the pilots chair, where Captain Raner was still sleeping, except slightly stirring. Marn had already taken the gear off him, and put it down.

Nyra realised someone had put her in a more comfier place, she heard Aelius mutter from her head, "Take it easy, entering from someone else's dream is usually tiring."

She huffed, "Well, someone had to do it." Nyra muttered.

Aelius only shrugged, and shuffled through his bag calmly, Captain Raner had finally woken up fully.

Nyra looked at Aelius, who was concentrating, “I need to go back down to earth again,” He muttered calmly. Marn eyed him dangerously, Aelius smiled, “No, Marn, this time, I want you to come with me.”  He said calmly. 

Marn widened his eyes, and he jumped up, Aelius muttered, “Nyra, I need you too.” 

Nyra bowed, and stood up also, Captain Raner looked at them all, “All right, then hold on.” He muttered, and turned to the drivers wheel, he grabbed it with both hands, and started clicking, Nyra felt the familiar rumble of a light jump. 

She braced herself as Captain Raner made the jump, and they were soon by Earth again. “I’d like you all to be careful, Rayan might be looking for any reason to pick a fight.” Captain Raner turned to them. 

Aelius bowed, and they all went to the hanger, where Mara was fixing Keren’s weapons, which were sparking.

Both Keren and Mara looked frustrated. “I told you to only use that setting in dire situations!” Mara pointed with her wrench threateningly, Keren had his hands up. “I thought it was dire!” Keren snapped back. 

Aelius stepped between them, “Come on you two, no time for fighting, go see if James Raner needs anything from you two.” He murmured gently. 

They huffed away, and Aelius smiled, Marn opened the ship, “Let’s head out, I want to be back by the sun’s first pass.”

"Where are we going?" Nyra asked curiously, but the look Marn gave her said much, she shut up.

Aelius muttered, "I'll explain when we're there."

However, Enna came running up to them, "Wait!" She yelled, Marn opened the ship again, and raised an eye-brow.

"Captain Raner just got a galaxy wide transmission from the Galactic Sanctum! The-" She was interrupted when the ship shook, she continued, "The alien ship is back, and it's tearing apart distant planets."

Marn sighed, "We can't do anything about it."

"I know, just... Be careful, once you leave, Captain Raner is gonna go distract it, so we're going to be gone for a time, you'll be stuck on earth for a couple days." Enna whispered quietly, Aelius and Nyra stared at each-other nervously as Enna walked away, Marn closed the door again, and looked at the other two.

Aelius said gently, "Let's go."

Marn shifted with his gauntlets, and started the ship, he murmured, "Is this even worth it Aelius?"

"You could ask the same question if sacrificing one life for millions is worth it." Aelius pointed out with an unfamiliar edge to Nyra.

Marn went silent at that, and they flew out of the hanger, Nyra looked back out, only to see the freighter jump into hyperspace without them, they headed towards earth.

Nyra leaned forward on the seat, and looked at Marn and Aelius, she could almost feel the awkwardness.

They passed through Earth's gate with a rock, and they began their descent through the atmosphere, Marn clicked some dials, and sighed back into his seat.

Soon, they landed, Aelius jumped out without another word, Marn turned off the ship, and jumped out after him. Nyra followed, and asked, "So, uh, what are we doing?"

Aelius only walked forward, Marn dragged out a camping bag, and he said, "You'll see when we get there, think of it as a hunting trip."

"Hunting. For what?" Nyra asked cautiously as she followed Aelius with Marn. She never did get an answer, and it was night time by the time they reached a destination.

She raised an eyebrow when Aelius led them to large ruins, she could still smell smoke, but she knew it must have been while since this place was destroyed, Marn gave a huff, "Long time since either of us been here, huh, Aelius?" He asked airily.

Nyra blinked, and looked at them both, she whispered, "This is the hospital, isn't it?"

Aelius was already clampering into the ruins, and shifting through the rubble, Marn nodded, "Yep, insurgents destroyed this place." He said coldly.

Nyra watched as Aelius took out his spear, and he muttered, "I need help with this Marn."

Marn jumped into the rubble with him, and Nyra followed him, they lifted up a large piece of wood, to show a safe like door leading to an underground.

Aelius looked at Marn, who muttered, "You don't have to do this you know."

Aelius ignored him, and took out a keychain, he unlocked the door, and opened it, Nyra flinched when the stale air met the fresh air. Marn cringed, however, Aelius stayed steadfast. He jumped in, and Marn groaned, "This is going to end terribly." He followed after his friend, Nyra looked down into the hole, and followed cautiously.

Aelius turned the lights on, Marn and Nyra flinched when there was a couple skeletons, even Aelius seemed to lose his nerve, but didn't show it.

He walked past them, to the vault like door. He opened it with the same keychain, and Nyra flinched from the cold.

They all entered, but Aelius passed them gasmasks, Nyra put hers on questioningly, but said nothing, Aelius explained, "Before they destroyed the hospitol, I was running tests on the virus, most of it was inconclusive, it learned everytime I tried to crack it."

Nyra asked, "Why did they attack the hospitol. It was just full of innocent people..." 

Aelius looked back at the skeletons, his gaze hardening, "I'm not quite sure." He mumbled, and turned back to the many vials of the virus, Marn sighed.

"Lets just get out of here Aelius." Marn muttered, and looked around nervously, not that Nyra blamed him. Aelius brought his hands together, and started to grab papers scattered around, putting them in his pack, Nyra started to get a nervous feeling too.

Aelius returned to them, and looked back at the vials, "Now I'm starting to wonder if it was this they were after, it's not even worth it." He muttered, and brought out his spear. Marn and Nyra jumped back when he clicked a switch on his spear, and all the glasses shattered, he muttered when the vials spilled, "Let's get out of here, it'll be stuck in here." He muttered, he pushed Marn and Nyra out, and closed the door behind them, destroying the lock on the door with his spear, they began towards the exit.

When they climbed out into the night, they all sat down by the ruins, Nyra shifted uncomfortably at the thought of the scene she witnessed, that was unlike Aelius, who was now destoying the entrance's lock.

She looked at Marn, who seemed to be staring into space, and she asked, "What was the point of that?"

"I guess he thinks the insurgents were there for his findings but I guess he thought that that cost too many lives, so he destroyed all evidence except the papers he grabbed," Marn muttered, "There's no going back now, not for him, he may be a doctor, but he's a mercenary as well, and sometimes we have to do things that can seem pretty ugly, that's how we get results, sometimes you just can't play nice." He added darkly.

Nyra then realised why they were there, We're going to destroy the group that did this... And this wasn't even Captain Raner's plan, it was Aelius's... She thought in horror.

Marn seemed to sense what she was thinking, "Like I said, to get results, you can't play nice, our job is simple, do what is asked of us, do what we believe is right." He pointed out.

Aelius came back and pointed out darkly, "Many people died that day, now it's time to give it back."

Nyra looked at both of them, they both seemed withdrawn into themselves, she looked back at the ruin's of Aelius's hospital. I never thought Aelius held so much grief and hatred in his heart... He always seemed so calm and collected and together, more then all of us... She thought grimly as Marn and Aelius tried to think of a plan.

Marn asked, "Are they even still around?"

"Yes, holed up in a cave to the east of the highway apparently." Aelius said calmly.

Marn brought out a couple of papers, and started writing on them diligently, Nyra sat down in front of them, and murmured, "Are we really going to go face them?"

Aelius didn't answer, but Marn did, "They hurt a lot of people, we're just going to give them justice."

Nyra blinked, and only nodded, she stared up at the stars as they formed a plan to infiltrate the insurgents hideout, she asked, "Does Captain Raner know?"

Aelius nodded, his eyes were narrowed, Nyra fidgeted, and decided to look in her pack for essentials, she murmured, "Well, I got bandages, medicine, some weapons and ammo, and other stuff..." She looked up at the other two, and said, "We should at least take a night to rest, and begin our trek in the morning."

"Sounds good!" Marn said, "I'll take first watch, you two just set up camp."

As Nyra set up the tents, she watched Aelius carefully, he was starting the fire, his eyes darkened, she looked at the tent she was setting up, and frowned.

"Are we sure we're ready for this?" Nyra asked quietly, Aelius stopped what he was doing and looked at her.

He blinked, and he asked curiously, "Why, do you think you can't do this?"

Nyra shook her head and turned fully to him, she stared at his hands, the hands that have healed and saved so many lives, Is he even capable of hurting people? When it comes down to it, those aren't the hands of a killer, those are the hands of a healer, they were meant to give life. She looked up, and said softly, "I am, my question is, are you?"

Aelius stared at her for a long time, she eyed the spear holstered onto his back, he sighed, "Yes, Nyra."

Nyra only shook her head, and turned back to the tent Marn came back from scouting the perimeter, and he said, "All clear so far, how's camp?"

Aelius said nothing, and Nyra said calmly, "Good, tents are set up, fire is coming, uh..." She looked around quickly, and whispered, "Can I talk to you? Privately?"

Marn blinked, and nodded, they walked around the perimeter, and Nyra explained, "I don't think he can do this."

Marn asked, "Who? Aelius?"

Nyra nodded, she saw Marn tense up, and he sighed, "I don't know Nyra, I wouldn't underestimate him just yet, he might be capable of doing it."

"It might destroy who he is though." Nyra pointed out, "I grew up on Titan, remember? Some things... You just don't get over, if he goes through it Marn, just... He's a doctor, not a killer. Mercenary or not." Nyra said coldly.

Marn hesitated, "I get it... You think he won't be able to kill when it comes down to it? He's a doctor, that means he knows the human body better then you or me, he knows how to kill just as well as he knows how to heal it, and if you want my opinion, he might feel as if this is justified enough to go through with it."

Nyra stopped as well, "You got to stop him, Marn, don't let him do this." She heard her voice fill with desperation, and she looked up at Marn, who's eyes grew nervous.

"Who knows, maybe you're right, maybe he won't be able to go through with it, he's healed so many others, he might not have it in him to kill." Marn pointed out carefully.

Nyra shook her head, "And what if he can?" She asked, and for the first time in a while, afraid of the answer.

Marn stared at her, he bit his lower lip, "I-I don't know... I've known Aelius for a long time, if he can go through with this... I don't know what will happen, I've seen people, lots of people, do things they usually wouldn't, sometimes it made no change, but other times, it changed all." His voice wavered, and Nyra stared back in disbelief.

"Then you have to stop him." Nyra murmured.

Marn blinked, and said nothing, he walked back towards camp. Aelius was finally finished with the fire, Nyra only shook her head quickly, and sat down by them as they laid plans to infiltrate the insurgent stronghold.

She shivered, "I think... I'm going to go to bed." She walked into her tent, and shut the flap tightly, she held her arms around herself, and stared at the door in front of her, she laid down in her sleeping bag, and went into a restless sleep. She didn't dream, but when she woke up, she wished she was.

Nyra looked out, it was still in the dead of the night, and it looked like Aelius had taken the watch this time, he was shuffling his spear through the grass absentmindedly, she flinched, and receded back in, she sighed, and began reading the medical book, and flicked through it's pages, most of it was basic first aid and really basic human anatomy, simple enough.

Nyra blinked, and closed the book slowly, she looked up at the tent roof when there was a noise, like a blast far away, she stepped outside of the tent, and looked up at the sky, Aelius looked up from her movement, and she asked, "What was that?"

Aelius looked around, then looked up as well, "What was what?" He mused.

"That explosion, like something entering earth's atmosphere..." Nyra looked up at the sky, but saw nothing.

Marn murmured, "Someone's ship must be coming in a bit too hot-" He jumped back when a ship entered their vision, passing over them, and crashing over yonder. Nyra blinked when small parts of the ship flew down on them, they all stepped back from parts of the wreckage. Marn gave a nervous laugh, and said, "We should go make sure they're okay, the ship didn't crash that hard, it was just the entrence into the atmosphere." Marn picked up a piece of the ship, which he promptly dropped due to the heat.

Nyra picked up a piece, and looked at it closely, "Marn... This is one of our ships."

Aelius and Marn looked at her, "Woah! How can you tell?" Marn asked.

"This type of metal can travel through earth's atmosphere, the outside may get hot, but the inside keeps the pilot safe from the entering of the atmosphere, someone must have broken through the gate at the wrong time." Nyra continued examining the ship piece, she widened her eyes, and dropped the metal, running towards the crash, both Marn and Aelius jumped to follow her.

The ship was half buried in the dirt it scruffed up, steam coming from the engine, they all stared at the wreckage, Nyra shuffled nervously, and took a step towards the ship when the cockpit was opened, a masked person with pilot goggles clumsily jumped out. They sat there for a little while before standing up, Marn and Aelius tensed up, but Nyra sighed, and walked up to the person, she brushed their shoulder, "I thought you were a better pilot then that." She said calmly.

Marn and Aelius's gazes turned confused, and the person took off their mask, scarf, and goggles, Keren sighed, "Sorry about that guys, I must have timed that entrence wrong... Next thing I knew, I was falling right back down to Earth, couldn't pull out either, Mara is going to kill me." Nyra jumped when he stumbled a bit, and helped him sit down, Marn leaned towards him, "What are you doing here?"

"I had to come, Captain Raner sent me to tell you it's going to take longer then usual." Keren said.

Aelius and Marn sighed, but Nyra mumbled, "Idiot."

Keren eyed her, and gasped when she bonked him on the head, "What were you thinking going through the atmosphere, you couldn't wait until the gate opened?!" Nyra snapped.

Keren narrowed his eyes, "The gate wouldn't open, that's the problem, I tried everything, and then I decided to just burst through it okay? Okay, I'm an idiot." He mumbled tiredly.

Nyra was half tempted to cuff him over the head again, but stopped herself, Keren looked up at her, "That all you got? Man, I must look pretty bad if you stop beating the crap out of me for once." Keren laughed.

Nyra looked at Aelius, who tipped his head, Nyra sighed, "Here." She took out her pack, and brought out a temper bandage, "Did you sprain anything?"

Keren tipped his head, and shook his head, "I don't think so..." He said, moving his limbs a lot.

Nyra sighed, and put the bandage in the pack, "If you say so."

Keren looked at Aelius and Marn, "Anyways, I'm here to help you guys out." Keren laughed, Nyra just stared at them all.

Aelius asked, "You just crashed a ship into earth and you're already raring to go?"

Keren jumped up off the ground, "Ready and raring!" He gave Aelius two thumbs up. Aelius brushed his hair back, and shrugged at Marn and Nyra.

Nyra only shook her head, and looked at Keren curiously, "How was the distraction going when you left?" She asked.

Keren looked back at her, "He was having trouble getting it's attention at first, but as soon as he did, he had to bolt, I had to fly at top speed through the belt..." He said thoughtfully, and eyed Nyra.

Nyra checked her pockets, and brought out a couple gold coins, she shoved it into Keren's hands, "Okay okay, you're a master pilot." She gumbled, Keren smiled widely.

"Nice." He laughed, and followed Marn back to their camp, Aelius and Nyra followed after them.

"So you guys are going to infiltrate that insurgents hideout?" Keren asked, and brought out his pack, "I got a map." He said cheerily.

Nyra watched as he laid it down on the ground, flattening it out, "Now, there's a couple of entrences, I suggest this one." He pointed to a cave like entrence, "It's vined over, so people don't really see it, but I found it." He said calmly, and looked up at all of them.

Aelius looked throughtful, "I suppose sneaking in would be best, less hassle that way." He said coolly.

Keren nodded, "Yep, and less people need to be hurt, yeah?" He pointed out.

Marn and Nyra stared at Aelius warily, but he only nodded carefully. Keren paid no mind though, "Well, whenever you guys are ready, I can lead you to the entrence, it's not far from here." He said, and pointed out to the forest.

Nyra eyed Aelius nervously. while Marn's eyes returned to the map. "We ready?" Marn asked, and looked at them.

They all nodded, Keren packed up the map again, and led them deep into the forest after they dismantled their camp. Keren pointed up the ridge, "Up there." 

Keren led the way without hesitation, Marn kept an eye on their flanks, while Aelius took up the back, they finally climbed up the ridge, and Keren placed his hands over the rockface curiously,

Marn leaned his head forward, and he asked, "You're sure it's here right?"

"Yeah." Keren said thoughtfully.

Nyra leaned forward on a couple of vines, and gasped when she was thrown into the darkness, Marn, Aelius, and Keren looked in to see her in a heap, Keren waved, "Oh, you found it! Nice!" He laughed, and jumped in.

Nyra regained her composure, and brushed herself off, Marn and Aelius slid down towards them, and they looked around the rock room.

"Hand me a light or something," Nyra grumbled through the darkness, she felt someone push something metallic into her hands, and she muttered, "What is it, I can't see it..."

"It's a lighter." Marn said simply.

Nyra found the opening and flicked it, she looked around for a door, and saw one, "Through there." She pointed, and opened it slowly.

They looked around in the hallway, and saw no one, she looked at Keren, and asked, "Are you sure this is the right place?"

Keren nodded, albeit hesitantly, Nyra bit her lower lip, and jumped out of the room in a defensive stance, she held the lighter up higher to see more into the darkness, and still nothing.

Marn and Aelius followed her, "Huh, Aelius, are you sure they're still here?" Marn asked.

Aelius's eyes narrowed, "Yeah, they're here, just not where we're at, we should probably split up, see if we can map this area out." He looked at Marn, who brought out a mapping device, he tapped a couple buttons on it, and nodded, "You have one?" Marn asked Keren.

Keren checked his pockets, and brought out the same device, "Yeah, but mine is buggy sometimes, old model you know." He muttered, and shrugged.

Marn huffed, "Your settings are probably off, that's why, I'll see if I can get you a newer model or something." He looked at Aelius for more instructions.

"Okay, Keren and Nyra, go that way, see what you can scope, me and Marn will head this way, try not to get hurt." Aelius said calmly, him and Marn walked down the other way, leaving Nyra and Keren alone.

She held out her hand, "How about I map?" She asked.

Keren passed it to her without complaint, she fiddled with a couple of buttons, and held it out in front of her, as it scanned the area ahead, she got a chill down her spine, "Maybe we should hurry it up, Keren, something about this place is giving me the creeps." Nyra walked forwads, with Keren tailing behind.

"Think Marn and Aelius will be okay?" He asked curiously, Nyra nodded, and thought grimly, Although... I'm not sure they'll be all right for long... 

Nyra looked up when there was footsteps ahead of them, she looked around quickly, and dragged Keren into a room off to the side while the people passed by. Keren blinked, and whispered, "Was it the people Aelius and Marn are looking for...?"

Nyra listened carefully, even though it made it hard for her to see in the darkness, her ears worked well enough. "Something's up." She whispered back.

"They couldn't have been found already." Keren said exasperated, they trailed out of their hiding spot, and continued down the hall-way. Nyra looked at the mapping device as a huge room ahead was scanned.

"This should be interesting..." Nyra gasped when Keren gasped, and she tripped over him.

"Sorry, door," She heard Keren mumble underneath her. She got up, and helped him up, she tried opening the door, but it was locked. Keren snarled, "Where's the light here?!" She heard him start flailing with the walls, until there was a click, and the lights turned on.

The hallway was still empty, she looked at the door lock, "Key lock, how cute." Nyra sighed.

Keren asked, "You can get through it right?"

Nyra nodded, "Pass me your weapon." She said, and held her hands out, Keren passed her his sickle guns, and she leaned it towards the lock. She pulled the trigger, they both jumped back when the lock broke, she opened the door, and passed Keren's weapons back.

Keren flicked the light again, and Keren muttered, "Woah..."

Nyra's eyes widened, it was a hanger, filled with small ships, Keren jumped, "Oh no way! That's one of the best scout ships!" He ran towards it, jumping on it's wing with ease, "Let's see what you got beautiful." He said excitedly, and jumped inside.

"Be careful, Keren." Nyra called.

"I will!" He called back.

Nyra looked around, "I'm surprised there's no one here..." She mumbled, suspicious.

She looked up quickly when there were gunshots, she looked back, "Keren, time to go!" She yelled.

Keren jumped out of the ship quickly, and they left the room quickly, Nyra realised the gunshots were far away. "Come on, let's go see where the source is, but let's be careful, shall we?" She asked.

Keren looked back at the hanger, and nodded, "At least we have an escape route." He said, and they ran down the hallway.

Nyra laughed, "That we-" she stopped, Keren stopped as well as she looked around the hallway, at the numerous doors. Keren asked, "What's wrong?"

"This place is odd..." Nyra mumbled thoughtfully, "Wait. This is a prison... A prison underneath a mountain." She said quietly.

Keren stepped back from the walls, "Oh... Why would insurgents need a prison?" He asked carefully.

Nyra looked around again, and said, "I don't think I want to find out, let's keep going, if we run into anybody, knock them out, I don't want to hurt people."

Keren nodded, and followed her lead down the hallway, they turned the corner to see some unconcious masked insurgents, they stepped over tehm carefully, and continued.

There were more gunshots, still far away, Keren asked, "What do you think is going on?"

Nyra looked at her friend, his gaze was confused, Nyra said quietly, "Whatever is going on, it's making me nervous, I hope they didn't get into trouble." 

Keren laughed, "Marn and Aelius can handle themselves!"

Nyra walked forward, and whispered, "It's not them I'm worried about..." She noticed Keren's hesitation, but he followed noneoftheless. He asked, "What do you mean?"

"Think about it, Keren, have you ever seen Aelius willingly hurt someone?" She asked carefully.

Keren got a thoughtful look on his face, his hazel eyes were deep in concentration, "As a matter of fact... Nope." He murmured, "Maybe on accident, he nearly broke my wrist one time when we were all on this mission, I don't think you were there though..." Nyra let him continue rambling. They passed several rooms as Keren told his story, with the gunshots getting louder.

"And that is how I nearly fell down a rocky hill, proceeding to almost break my wrist, Aelius was mortified." Keren finished with a smile.

Nyra stopped, and whispered, "That's right... Aelius was mortified just by almost accidently hurting you... So imagine willingly hurting someone."

Keren blinked, "Aelius? Hurt someone willingly? I don't believe it." He scoffed.

Nyra turned to him, "Why do you think we're here, for a trip?" She asked sharply, Keren stopped, and she sighed, "Aelius is here to willingly hurt someone, everyone else may see this as an act of justice but..."

"It's an act of vengence, don't you think he derserves that choice?" Keren asked her.

Nyra said nothing, Keren continued, "I guess... Well, I see your point I mean, Aelius first and foremost is a doctor."

She blinked, "Yeah, but who knows what'll happen if he actually goes through with this." She pointed out carefully, while Keren looked thoughtful.

"What could happen?" He asked.

Nyra quoted, "He who fights against dragons too long becomes a dragon himself."

Keren rolled his eyes, and quoted back, "And if you gaze too long into the abyss, the abyss will gaze into you," He laughed, "I don't think Aelius will turn into an evil mastermind because of this Nyra."

She shook her head, "That's not the point, how long do you think Aelius was feeling this survivor guilt?" She asked.

Keren tipped his head, "Well, I don't know... Considering the hospital attack was long before we joined... Must be a while..." Keren mumbled.

Nyra looked upwards thoughtfully, "Well, how would you feel if we all just disappeared or worse, and you were the only one left?" She asked him quietly.

Keren stared at her, "Well... Sad, mostly." He said nervously.

Nyra nodded slowly, and tensed up when the gunshots stopped, she muttered, "Let's catch up this philosophical chat later, the gunshots have stopped, which means whatever fight was going on, it's ended, as far as I know, maybe they're fighting fisticuffs, who knows." Nyra led the way through another hallway, with a door at the end.

They stopped in front of it, and realised there was still a fight going on with all the ruckus, but it must have died down a bit, Nyra placed her hand on the doorknob, and Keren asked, "Why are you hesitating?"

"Do you really want to know what's going on the other side? Because I'm having second thoughts." Nyra said calmly.

Keren blinked, "Well, yeah, not like you to hesitate though." He pointed out.

Nyra eyed him dangerously, and sighed, "Whatever, here goes nothing."

She turned the knob, and the door swung open, as she braced herself for what horror she might see.

Chapter 4

So now you'll stand and answer for yourself

Prepare for a living hell.

Answer now, for your sins.

Nyra and Keren stood in the doorway, the insurgents were cowering under Aelius's shadow. Nyra stepped forward, but was stopped by Keren, Marn was braced to hold Aelius back, Aelius's normally soft and gentle brown eyes were oddly flat, they made Nyra shiver.

The insurgent leader asked carefully, "Who are you? Have I seen you before?"

Aelius looked at Marn dangerously, who held his gauntlets up, and slowly shook his head. Aelius turned back to the questioning man, and asked dangerously, "Do you remember attacking a hospital?"

The insurgent leader went silent, and narrowed his eyes, "The hospital? Why?" He asked.

Nyra saw his hand clench around the weapon, Nyra struggled against Keren's grip, but he was holding on tight, while Marn looked lost.

"Why did you attack it? What purpose did you have for killing innocent people?" Aelius's voice wasn't raised, it barely moved above a whisper, but Nyra felt the cold chill, Don't Aelius... Don't do this to yourself... She thought sadly as she watched her old friend fall apart. Aelius took a step towards the leader with his spear raised, the leader flinched.

"We heard the head doctor had those weird healing powers, and had information on the virus," the leader whispered, "We found the head doctor, but they got away a while ago."

Aelius stared down at him, sadness now flashing in his eyes, "That's... Impossible..."  He whispered.

The insurgent leader shook his head, "Nope, she gave herself up, but I don't know she did it, she escaped, and as far as we know, with the recent surge of gorgots, she's probably dead." He said calmly.

Nyra felt Keren let go of her as Aelius's eyes widened, he said dangerously, "She lied to you."

"Lied about what?" The leader asked cautiously.

"She wasn't the head doctor with the healing ability, she said that to protect them." Aelius said, his voice wavering in realisation, "She lied to protect the head doctor."

"So you were there, you know who the head doctor was?" The insurgent captain asked in confusion, and stared up at Aelius, fear growing in his eyes.

Aelius nodded, rather calmly, Nyra stared running towards them as he answered carefully, "The head doctor," his voice began to shake in anger, "She was protecting me!" He snapped, and lifted his spear as Nyra ran towards him, time felt like it slowed down, she felt her hand reach for her weapon, while Marn watched in horror.

Nyra reached the cowering insurgents just in time as Aelius lowered his spear, she raised her scythe in defense, and flinched when the sound wave from his spear busted out her ear, she shook slightly, but didn't waver, she stared up at Aelius with a slight headache.

"Will you be any better then them if you do this?" She asked softly, her hearing in her one ear gone.

Aelius stared down at her in shock, she shook her head, "You weren't meant to hurt people, Aelius." She whispered quietly.

The insurgents stared at their rescuer in shock, she shook her buzzing head, and continued to stare down Aelius, "If you want to kill them that bad, then prove you can hurt me enough not to stop you," She whispered dangerously, "Because I know you are quite capable of doing just that."

She blinked when Aelius's eyes flashed, she thought for a fearful moment he was, but he lowered his spear, and dropped it on the ground in horror. Nyra heard the clatter out her good ear, but didn't relax her stance, even though her head was aching from the sound wave.

The insurgents looked around you, and the captain said fearfully, "It's you?"

Aelius didn't say anything from shock, Nyra turned to them, her scythe raised as if to deal the killing blow herself, but she growled, "I shouldn't have stopped him, but he's too good a person to stoop down to your level, but don't think for a second I'm not unwilling to do so, but you should live with what you've done, you've destroyed so many innocent lives, and half those lives could have been saved."

Aelius seemed to flinch from what she said, but at this point she was ignoring him, "We're going to hand you over to the authorities." She said simply, and stepped back, Marn jumped in front of her to place them in a bind, Marn nodded appreciatevly at his handiwork.

Nyra turned to Aelius, and picked up his spear, "I think you busting out my eardrum for them was enough retribution, don't you think?" She asked jokingly.

She held out his spear, and he took it hesitantly, she smiled, "You were never ready to do this, and you never will be able too." She said pointedly.

Keren came up to her and Aelius, "Well, we need to get out of here, and I have just the ship-" They jumped when there was a grunt and an oof, one of the insurgents had cut loose, and jumped Marn, Aelius and Nyra both jumped, while Keren stared in surprise.

Marn punched the guy in the face as the other insurgents got out, he dragged all three of them out into the hallway, "You lead mister pilot!" He snapped.

Keren nodded, and led them down the spiraling hallways until they reached the hanger, Marn barred the door behind them as Keren once again took the scout ship, he opened all the doors, and then looked around, "Where the hell is the exit?" He snapped.

They all looked around, and realised the exit was the roof, but there was no time, the insurgents were working on busting down the door. Nyra realised there was a lever, "That must open the hatchway..." As Keren raised the ship. She gasped when Aelius jumped out, and she nearly fell out trying to stop him, "What the hell are you doing you idiot?!" She called after him, but he ignored her.

Aelius flipped the lever as Keren held the ship at a reasonable level, the hatch way began to open, Aelius ran back, but then the door got busted open, they all ducked when there was lazer pistols firing in their direction, one nearly hit Keren, and he snapped, "Holy hell, can you watch the ship at least?!" He yelled at them.

Nyra cuffed him over the head, "Just drive, stupid!" As Marn pulled Aelius back into the ship, Keren nodded, and pulled the clutch back, the ship raised quickly and through the narrowed hatch, which Nyra had to admit was impressive. They all leaned back in relief as Keren flew away from the prison.

As they drove speedily towards earth gates, Nyra realised with a pang that it was cautioned, meaning their ship wouldn't fly through without some trouble, she touched Keren's arm, "Keren... We're not going to make that." She whispered, her ear now killing her head.

She watched as Keren put one of his hands on the long lever, she wasn't sure what it did, but Marn did, he widened his eyes, "You're crazy." He scoffed.

"I like to call it thinking outside the box." Keren smiled cheekily.

Nyra sighed as they sped towards the gate at alarming speeds, she sighed, "Well, it was nice having you ear, Keren has decided to make you permanent." She braced herself as they neared the slowly closing gate, she felt someone poke her head as they burst through with turbulence that Keren almost lost control of the ship, but soon they were out into the space beyond.

They floated aimlessly, and Nyra snapped her fingers to her ears, "Well, I can hear." She laughed.

"You're welcome." A calm voice said beside her.

She looked to see Aelius lowering his hands, Keren was looking around into the space, "Where is the Captain?" He asked carefully.

Marn whispered, "Maybe he had trouble, hold on, I'll try contacting him." As he fiddled with his communicator, Aelius seemed oddly tense.

"Captain Raner, come in, we're out of the Earth's atmosphere..." He faltered, and narrowed his eyes into the space in front of them, Keren must have noticed too, because he lurched the ship downwards so fast it shocked her into grabbing his seat, she realised that the space was distorting, and Captain Raner's freighter came into scary view. Keren leveled the ship out beneath the freighter, which floated above them.

Nyra asked, "How'd you know that was going to happen?"

Keren answered, "You tend to notice things change in your airspace when you're a pilot. Gotta be on your toes."

Nyra put her head against his seat, "Next time warn me, I'm almost scared of flying now." She mumbled, her stomach churning.

She looked up when Keren tensed up, Nyra looked out the window, and realised the freighter was moving away from Earth, and Captain Raner was cutting out, "-Watch!- Thing-"

Marn stared at his holocommunicator in confusion, Nyra clutched Keren's arms, "Keren!" She snapped when the space started to distort.

Keren was faster though, she held on tight as he ducked under the beast, it's animalistic movements were hard to read, and it was focused on them, like a pest, Nyra double buckled herself in, and braced herself, hoping that Keren was good enough a master pilot to get out of this one.

The freighter seemed to slow when it realised the creature wasn't aiming for them, Nyra looked back, "Keren get us out of here!" She gasped.

Keren seemed to be trying, but she flinched when the creature seemed to whip it's mechanical tail straight at them, and then she decided to take matters into her own hands, she kicked her foot onto the speed lever, Keren flinched to accomodate, but at least the tail missed.

The freighter was shooting to get the attention off of them, Marn whispered, "Captain Raner is going to try and lead it away again..."

Keren nodded, but it was a second of unfocus they lost, Nyra felt the ship rock so much that she smashed her head into the back, her head rang.

"Keren, focus!" Nyra snapped, but realised Keren had hit his head too, into the much harder side of his door, he wasn't knocked unconcious, but he would be soon, Nyra realised the mistake that unfocus had cost them, But there's no way I'm letting my friends die! She thought darkly, she got Keren into her seat clumsily, where he was holding his head, his eyes glazed over.

Marn gasped, "Nyra! You don't know how to drive this thing!"

"Well, better hope I'm a fast learner then!" She snarled as the mechanical being went for another attack, she grabbed the clutch, looking back at all the times she watched Keren drive the blasted things. She drove the clutch down, and they went into a nosedive, Marn was practically gripping the edge of his seat.

She spun the clutch, which caused the ship to do a very clumsy roll to dodge another attack, it was almost not enough, the thing was fully intent on them, Marn said, "Look, Nyra, you're doing a good job, but it'd take somone like Captain Raner to evade this thing! Keren couldn't even do it!"

Nyra had her hand on the lever, the mechanical thing was on their tail, she felt her hands shake, and her stomach felt like it was crushing in on itself.

"No... But I can buy us time." She snarled, and turned to face the beast, Marn's eyes widened at the beast, Aelius tipped his head, "What the..."

"Okay, time to go!" Nyra pulled the lever back, and they sped underneath it towards the freighter, which continued to fire. Keren mumbled, "Ow."

Nyra rolled her eyes, but the beast was turning towards them, she only had a window of time.

"Tell Captain Raner to open the hanger." Nyra growled.

Marn raised his communicator, and asked, "And what exactly are you going to do?"

"If I'm going to make an emergency landing anywhere, it's going to be there." Nyra tightened her grip on the clutch, it was slightly wobbling, she didn't understand how Keren standed it.

Marn groaned, and leaned back, Aelius however seemed relieved, but Keren looked mortified, "Nyra! Maybe you should let me-"

"No you're hurt, I can at least do this." She snapped, and aimed straight for the freighter while Marn sent the hasty message to Raner, Nyra saw the familiar blue shield glow emanating from the hanger, she looked back to see the beast heading towards them.

"We don't have much time Nyra," Marn pointed out, and leaned forward in his seat, taking the co-pilot controls, "If we're going to do this, might as well make it graceful."

As the hanger came nearer, it was now fully opened, but the alien ship was closing in, her and Marn used both controls to skid into the hanger, bumping into other ships as they went, and they soon came to a stop, they hopped out of the ship rather shakily, with Keren almost falling on his face. Captain Raner spoke on the intercom, "Hang tight!"

Keren gave another thumbs up, staying on the floor, they all fell backwards when the ship jumped into hyperspace, when it stopped, Nyra reeled, and sat on a box to regain her balance.

Keren said from the floor, "You got potential with flying."

Nyra smiled nervously, "I'd rather not do that again." She said.

Marn looked out into the space, "We're not done yet, the thing followed us, I don't know how-" He went to the other end of the hanger, and sighed, "Oh, that's how."

Nyra followed him carefully, and raised an eye-brow, Captain Raner was heading straight for the belt, she looked around the huge hanger, "There's no way he's getting this out of that without a scratch." She pointed out.

Marn mumbled, "He probably knows that too."

The ship rocked slightly as they entered the belt, the alien ship on their tail. Nyra watched the hanger close, so she and Marn ran to the bridge, leaving Aelius and Keren in the hanger to recover.

Captain Raner's hands were practically white, his eyes narrowed as they passed through the belt, Nyra held onto the railing, "Captain, there is no way we're getting out of this!"

He hissed, "Try me."

They flew deeper into the belt, Enna was on the edge of her seat, while Marn took the seat beside her, and he smiled, "Let's do this." He said determinedly.

Nyra gasped when Captain Raner pulled the clutch towards him, they seemed to raise above some meteors, but in the process crashed into a couple more.

Nyra watched him click a couple buttons on his seat, "It's still on us." Enna called.

"Good, let's see if it can take this." Captain Raner mumbled, and pulled a lever, they sped through the belt, while the alien ship had trouble moving through the belt.

"We're going to aim for Jupiter, it'll get stuck in the belt." Captain Raner said calmly, as Nyra held onto the railing.

Keren finally arrived, and hopped into another seat, and put some headphones on, his hands on both sides, he smiled at Nyra, "You're not a flyer, Captain Raner's got this." He said.

Nyra felt her stomach clench as she sat down by the huge holographic map, they were still drifting through the belt, she couldn't tell if the beast was still on them.

They stopped by Jupiter, Captain Raner leaned back, and said, "We lost it."

Nyra sighed, and smiled. Marn leaned back in his seat, "Man, I thought we'd never get out of that one." He muttered.

Nyra laughed at Marn's comment, but thought quietly, But he has a point... That thing will return won't it? Why's it even here? We gotta do something before this solar system is destroyed.

"We'll cross that bridge when it comes, Keren." Captain Raner said calmly. Nyra looked up, I wasn't even aware Keren was talking. She thought quietly.

Keren looked doubtful, but Enna interrupted, "We've got a transmission from Titan, Captain." She took her headphones off, and looked at them all.

He asked, "What's the problem?"

Marn asked as well, "Is it Gorgots? Is the planet imploding?"

Enna stared at Marn, and shook her head, "No, insurgents, they're causing a ruckus, people are worried that there wil be a riot, or a full out rebellion." She reported.

Marn joked, "Right on the Sanctum's backdoor."

She nodded, "What should we do?" Enna asked Captain Raner.

Captain Raner leaned back into his seat, and stared into the distance thoughtfully, "I'll send Nyra down there, she knows Titan and it's people best, I want to reason before attacking first." He said calmly.

Nyra tensed up, and was about to argue, but thought better of it, "Then I'm going to go sleep before going." She growled, and bowed to them all, and huffed out, ignoring all attempts at conversation.

She walked down to the crew rooms, and opened her bedroom door. Nyra locked it behind her, and sat on her bed. 

She wasn't sure how long it had even been until there was a knock on her door. She expected Keren, but it wasn't.

It was Marn.

He had his gauntlets on, and was some adjusting some settings, he sat down at the edge of her bed, and said calmly, "That was some storm out."

Nyra crossed her arms, "Did the Captain send you?" She asked.

Marn shook his head, "No, I came here alone," He said calmly, "What's gotten you all worked up?" He finally asked, lowering his hands.

Nyra stared at him, "I don't really fancy returning to Titan, there's nothing for me to see there that I haven't seen already." She grumbled.

"I get it, you don't want to return there, bad memories?" He asked curiously.

She stared at him cautiously, "I suppose, you were the first person I met on there that didn't want anything particular from me, and offered to give me a home." She said precariously.

"Home and work," Marn pointed out, "Me and James were there on business anyways, besides, I saw you sizing me up, I thought you wanted to pick a fight with me." He laughed.

Nyra sighed, "I probably would have if you didn't notice me."

"You were hard to notice at first, you moved like James, it scared me." He said with a laugh.

She smiled, "I'll go to Titan, I just won't like it, nothing for me there." Nyra grumbled.

"Understandable," He shrugged, and stood back up, "Keren would have came, but Mara needed his help with something, the new ship he got has weird settings, so they're trying to figure it out." He said quickly.

"All right," Nyra murmured, and stood up as well, she followed him out.

Nyra paced behind Marn, she wasn't sure how she felt about all of this, but Marn seemed to understand more then he let on. She thought, I think I want him to come with me on the Titan trip.

Marn led her back to the bridge, Captain Raner was no longer there, but Marn signalled to Enna, who nodded, Nyra asked, "Hey, do you want to come with me?"

"Come with you?" He asked, and looked at Nyra curiously.

"Yeah, to Titan, you've been there before, and you're better at words then I am." She said quickly.

Marn crossed his arms thoughtfully, and shrugged, "Sure, I don't see why not." She followed him down into the hanger, where Mara and Keren were examining the scout ship closely, fawning over anything interesting.

"Oo, it has a built in heat reducter." Mara poked at it, practically wiggling in excitement.

"Yeah! It also has easier handling when shifting from air to space!" Keren hopped up and down, they both stared at the scout ship, and Marn laughed, "I'll see if Captain Raner can't pick more up."

They stared at eachother excitedly, and Marn said, "Come on, better to get this over with."

They both hopped into a nearby scout ship, Nyra soon grew nervous as they headed towards her home planet, it wasn't exactly like Earth, Earth itself took some getting used to.

They landed on one of the many platforms of it's ship ports, Marn handed a guy some money, and Nyra looked up at the spiralling towers, she murmured, "Since we don't particularly have water here... We've had to trade with Earth itself, but... Since the virus, life has gotten harder, there's still much we don't know about Titan."

Marn walked past her, "Right, so where do you want to start?" He asked, putting his hands on his sides.

Nyra looked at him, "Well, I want to check this abandoned building before we start asking around." She said calmly.

"Right! Lead on!" He waved, and Nyra nodded, she led him through the streets, Titan hadn't changed one bit, people still eyed eachother suspiciously.

As they walked, Marn said, "Hey, that's the Galactic's Sanctum's HQ." He pointed up at the tallest building.

Nyra nodded, "The building isn't far from here, let's go." She said quickly, and started running, Marn followed as well.

The building was decrepit, but still standing, she looked around, and took the board off the doors with Marn's help. She opened the doors, which groaned from lack of use. As they entered, Marn coughed, "What is this place?"

Nyra walked, the wood cracking under her feet, "This is the orphanage I was sent too..." She murmured, and looked at Marn, who's eyes flashed.

"Oh, I see." Marn mumbled, his tone changed.

Nyra stared at him, but didn't pry, she looked at the end of the great hall, and saw the piano, she laughed, "Some kids would come up to this thing during lunch... Played their hearts out, really the only entertainment we had." She walked up to it, clicking a couple keys.

Marn's gaze was distant, he walked up to it as well, and examined it. Nyra left him there, and walked into a hallway, and upstairs, the buiding was mostly empty save some abandoned furniture. The wooden walls were slowly rotting, she frowned. 

She jumped when music began playing, she looked around as the piano music filled the air, it was slightly haunting, she murmured, "Marn?"

Nyra walked to the upper balcony's, and looked down to see the source of the music, it was Marn, who had a focused look on his face as he played, he didn't seem to notice her, she was just one of the many ghosts of this place to him. She watched curiously, while most of the kids back then played jolly melodies on the piano, this was more affecting, sad almost, she frowned.

She walked back downstairs, light on her feet, I never took Marn as the type to know the piano... She thought, and tipped her head as he continued playing.

Marn finally seemed to notice she was there, and stopped playing, he turned to look at her, and laughed nervously, "Sorry, I couldn't help myself."

"I liked it." She said stiffly, and stared at him in amazement.

Marn seemed shocked at the praise, and laughed, "Aelius taught me, well, his mom did, he just helped me when I got impatient, I was raised in an orphanage like you, I never... Really knew my parents, but then I met Aelius and his family, they took me in, Aelius is more then my best friend, he's very well my brother." He said, his voice odd, his eyes sad.

Nyra frowned, Me and Marn aren't that different... We both see Aelius as a big brother... Hell, maybe all of us do in some way. She thought. Nyra walked up to the piano, and sat on the elongated seat with him, she murmured, "I didn't know."

"Ah, it's okay," Marn turned back to the piano, and laughed, "I thought I had forgotten how to play after all those years."

Nyra was about to say something, but stopped, she heard a weird hissing noise, she looked around, and asked, "Did you hear that?"

Marn looked around also, and asked, "What did it sound like?" 

"Hissing, really weird hissing." Nyra reported, and continued to look around. 

Marn turned away from the piano, and tipped his head, Nyra leaned forward in her seat, her nails digging into the chair. She watched as Marn stood up, and stood in the Great Hall, "I don't see anything." He said calmly. 

Nyra noticed something, it was small and fleeting but it was enough. Something green, in the architecture of the building, not that the whole thing was green, but what was coming out of it's mouth was. She screamed, "Marn, above you!" 

The thing heard her, and finally jumped down towards Marn, but Marn was faster, he rolled away from the creature, she watched his gauntlets come to life, Nyra took out her scythe, but Marn was on top of her, he pushed her behind the piano as the thing screeched. 

Nyra looked over the piano, and the thing screeched again, and started lurching towards them. "That's a Gorgot!?" She exclaimed, and gasped when something green flew towards her, Marn pulled her down. They both watched the green sludge hit the building, which seemed to sizzle. 

"Acid." Marn gaped. Nyra took out her scythe again, her gaze hardening, "We need to get out of here." She snapped, and jumped over the piano, Marn went to stop her, but she was too fast. 

She dodged the creature's claws, she swiped at it's side, but stared when it seemed to do no damage. 

"What..." She tipped her head, but gasped when it pushed her back with it's tail like protrusion, she bowled into Marn, who flinched. She sat up, and looked up at the monster, she gasped when Marn dragged her away from it's jaws. 

"We got no time for this Nyra! I've never seen it's type!" He snapped, and faced the monster, which roared. She watched his gauntlets seem to click, and he shot at the monster, but that only seemed to piss it off. 

Nyra pushed him, "I don't think that's helping!" She pointed out. 

"I had to try." He shrugged. The thing seemed to lurch towards them, and it started to make it's weird hissing noise again.

Marn brought his hand to his face, as they were forced to back up to the piano. The things eyes flashed, but Nyra noticed Marn tense up, as it lurched forward, Nyra gasped as Marn grabbed the creatures jaw with a gloved hand, but that didn't stop the creature from biting down. That didn't deter Marn though, as he shot multiple rounds into the things mouth. "Why. Won't. You. Die?!" He snapped, he finally kicked the thing away.

He grabbed Nyra, who gasped, and he jumped onto the piano. Nyra noticed he was shaking a bit, he had covered his hand as much as he could, but the damage was done, they could only watch as the creature made one last attempt. 

She was about to bring out her weapon, but someone got there first, they came bursting through the doorway, grabbing the creatures attention, it roared, but the person was faster, they stuck their blade through the creatures skull. 

Marn and Nyra watched in shock as the thing fell forwards, and the person took off their hood, "You should be more careful, the Gorgots around here have gotten mutated." He murmured calmly, kicking the thing as he walked past it and up to them. 

"That is the weirdest thing I've ever seen," Marn muttered, and he bowed, "Thank you." 

The person smiled, "No problem! But... You were hit weren't you? You need to see a doctor, they're poisonous." He said quickly, "Oh, and by the way, my name is Aaron." He bowed as well. 

Marn and Nyra both relaxed, and followed the person out, he asked, "I heard the ruckus from outside, do you guys have a ship nearby?"  

Marn nodded, "Yeah, one of our scout ships, we're from a mercenary group." He said rather tensely. 

The person sighed, "Well, let's go, I assume you have a doctor on your main ship." He questioned.

Marn nodded, and he led the way back to the port, as Marn jumped into the scout ship, Nyra finally noticed his trouble with that hand, the person jumped in as well, and Nyra followed. As they reached the freighter, the blue shield from the hanger opened up, and they landed a bit shakily, due to Marn's hand, and they all jumped out.

Mara hopped up to check the ship. "Run into any trouble?" Mara asked, opening the ships engine, and practically dived into it. 

Marn didn't say anything, but Nyra said, "Gorgot, poisonous one." 

Mara took her head out of the ships engine, her gloves clinging onto her wrench nervously, "A what?" She asked. 

"Poisonous," Nyra repeated, "I'm going to get Marn to Aelius, see what he can do for Marn's bite." 

Mara said, "Aelius should be in his room, I'll come with," She jumped off the ship, and waved to the new person, "I'm Mara, I'm the mechanic around here." 

The person bowed as they reached the infirmary, Aelius was toying with some instrument, and he looked up when they walked in, "This is new, I don't usually get this many people here." He laughed, but stopped when he saw Aaron, "Who's this?" He asked. 

"Aaron, he saved us from a poisonous Gorgot..." Nyra faltered, and looked at Marn, and so did everyone else. Aelius raised an eye-brow at Marn, but his gaze went to something of disapproval when Marn lifted up his hand, which was bleeding rather profusely. 

"Hold on, poisonous Gorgot?" He asked. 

Marn seemed to pale at that, and asked in a rasp, "You can fix it, right?"  

Aelius nodded, "Yeah, I've just... Never seen one before," He murmured, he shook his head, "Come here, I'll take a look at it." He said calmly.

Mara leaned towards Nyra, "What did the thing look like?" She asked. 

"It was bigger, stronger, and poisonous to boot, also, apparently it can spit it's acid at you." Nyra said quietly back, as Aelius examined Marn's hand, he gained the same focus as when Marn played the piano.

Mara shivered, "Oh... What if one attacks our scout ships while we're on Titan? I mean... I can probably experiment... I need the poison though..." 

"Mara, next time I see one of those things, I'll get that poison for you, if I don't die first." She said calmly. 

Mara shook her head, "It's not worth it, but that'd be nice." She said quietly. 

They both looked up when Marn made a noise, he seemed to holding back the urge to yell out, Aelius didn't look impressed, he had dug one of the things teeth out, and he snapped, "Goddamnit Marn, I told you not to move!" 

"I'm sorry!" Marn rasped. 

"It's fine, it's just hard when you keep fidgeting." Aelius said in a gentler tone. 

Nyra and Mara giggled, and Nyra asked, "Hey Marn! Why don't I hold you down?"  

Marn stared at her incredulously, Aelius, however, seemed to smile, he poured something on Marn's hand, which caused him to flinch back, but Aelius was stronger then he looked, he finally wrapped Marn's hands expertly, and playfully pushed Marn away from him, "And next time there's a poisonous Gorgot, how about not shoving your hand down it's throat?" He asked. 

Marn nodded as if he wasn't paying attention, poking at his hand, Aelius pointed out, "Don't touch it," He stopped immediately, Aelius examined the Gorgot's tooth, and he laughed, "Captain Raner would be curious to see this." 

Mara whispered, "Keren would have a heart attack."  

Nyra only nodded, as Aelius paged Captain Raner, and they all waited anxiously. 

Captain Raner walked in, completely ignoring Aaron at first, he watched as Aelius showed him the Gorgot's tooth, he examined it closely, and then finally looked at Aaron. "Gorgots aren't usually poisonous, a nasty bite maybe." He pointed out calmly. 

"No, this one was mutated, something is mutating them on Titan." Aaron said rather oddly. 

Captain Raner seemed to consider him, then shrugged, "Odd..." He mumbled, and passed the tooth back to Aelius. 

Mara raised her hand, and everyone looked at her, "Uh... Can I have that, Aelius?" She asked. 

Aelius smiled, "Going to try extract the poison?" He asked. 

Mara nodded, and Nyra watched as Aelius passed it to her, "Just be careful with it." He said. 

"I will!" Mara bounced, already examining the tooth closely, the way she always examined a new ship or when she fixed their weapons or tinkered with odd bits around the ship. 

Marn sat down on a bed, he looked rather downtrodden,

Probably because of his injury... But he's not invincible, Aelius is right, what was he thinking grabbing it like that? She thought quietly. Captain Raner turned to Aaron, and asked, "Why don't you stick around a while, you seem to know what's going on around Titan." Aaron accepted the request, Aelius turned to Marn, "You don't have to stay in the infirmary, if it starts to hurt, or turn a weird colour, come back." 

Marn didn't seem to respond, he was only staring into the distance. Aelius flicked his fingers in front of Marn's face, "Marn." He said. 

He looked up at Aelius, and sighed, "All right, doc, you know best." He walked out. Mara, Nyra, and Aaron followed, they waved to Aelius, who waved back. 

Aaron smiled, "Nice guy." He said. 

Nyra nodded, "Come on, let's go to the bridge." She replied.

They all walked down to the bridge, Marn sat down in his seat, some of his energy coming back to him. Aaron asked, "What are you guys doing near Titan anyways?" 

"We were chased here, by this." Captain Raner clicked something on his seat, and Nyra watched as a gigantic picture of the Destroyer came in front of the drivers seat, almost blocking the window. 

Aaron's eyes widened, "What's that!?" He asked. 

"A Destroyer, know the old stories? This is it." Marn said. 

Aaron considered it for a moment, "Interesting, I've never faced one of these..." He murmured thoughtfully. 

Mara murmured, "It's a machine... It's got to be..." 

"Seems like, but it seems too animalistic to be a machine." Captain Raner pointed out. 

"Alien tech?" Aaron asked. 

Marn joked, "Alien is such a loose term nowadays, in any case, I've never seen technology like this, otherworldly or otherwise like this." He pointed out calmly. 

They all sat and stared at the picture, Aelius finally walked in, "It's strange." He murmured, and took another seat, his arms folded. 

Captain Raner didn't say anything for a while, "You all should get some rest, been a tough day." He said coolly. Marn nodded, and sat up, Nyra watched him leave, Aelius seemed to be considering Aaron though, as if he recognized him somehow, but couldn't place why. 

Mara looked at Nyra, "Come on, I want to show Keren this tooth." She said, Nyra nodded, and followed her to their rooms. 

Keren was sitting on the couch, crunching on a sandwich, he looked up when they walked in, and he waved excitedly. 

Mara sat down beside him, and said excitedly, "Do I have something to show you!" 

Keren swallowed, and asked, "What is it?" 

Nyra watched as Mara pulled the tooth out of her pocket, and his brow furrowed, "What's that?" He questioned. 

"It's a poisonous Gorgot tooth!" Mara laughed, Keren dropped his sandwich, his gaze widening. 

"You're nuts," He said rather flatly. Nyra giggled, and watched as Keren laughed rather airily, "Ha ha... Gorgots, poisonous, nice joke, Mara. That joke takes the joke cake." 

Marn walked in, "Better believe it, Keren." He mumbled, his bandaged hand balled up into a fist, other then that though, he seemed relaxed. Nyra watched as he walked down to his room, and closed the door behind him, and saw the red lock signal. 

Keren shuffled far away from Mara, and asked curiously, "What the hell happened down there, Nyra?" 

Nyra said, "We got attacked by it, then this random guy shows up, saves both of us, that's pretty much it, oh, and Marn pretty much shoved his hand in the Gorgot's mouth."  

Keren seemed to cringe, "Why would he do that?" He asked, his own hands trembling. 

She tried to think back, "I..."  she then stopped, a sudden realisation coming to her. 

"Me..." She whispered. Mara and Keren looked up at her, and she brought her hands to her mouth, "The thing was going for me, or at least, tried to, so he grabbed it's jaw." She murmured. 

Nyra walked rather stiffly down the hallway towards Marn's room, she stared at the door, while Keren and Mara watched from around the corner. She huffed, and started kicking his door. 

"Goddamnit Marn!" She snapped, and continued kicking. Marn opened the door, and she almost fell face first into his room, he asked, "What? What did I do?" 

She clenched her fists, and stared at him, Marn narrowed his eyes. "You're an idiot! That's what you are!" She snapped. 

Marn tipped his head, "Where is this coming from?" He asked, rather tiredly. 

Nyra huffed, "You idiot! Why'd you do that!? Why'd you stop it!?" She continued yelling. 

Marn stared down at her with a confused look, "You wanted it to bite your head off?" He asked quietly. 

Nyra stopped, and shook her head, "No! But I learned from James remember? It'd have to try harder if it wanted to, but you just went and grabbed it!" She snapped. 

Marn brushed his eyes, "Nyra, come on... I don't think you were ready to dodge it even if you were expecting it." He mumbled. 

Nyra still felt anger, Mara and Keren were still staring in shock, well, Keren was shocked, Mara had a huge smile on her face. 

Nyra snapped, "Well if you try and do that again I'll kick your ass before the Gorgot can get a chance!" 

Marn smiled, "I'll keep that in mind, Nyra," He laughed, "I'm going to get some rest, Aelius would kick my ass if I don't." His gaze softened, and he closed his door, Nyra looked back at Mara and Keren, Keren looked surprised, but Mara had a mischievous look. 

Nyra walked up to them, and sat on the couch, her arms crossed. Mara sat beside her, a big smile still on her face. 

"What are you smiling at?" Nyra asked mildly. 

Mara only giggled, "I've never seen you act like that towards somebody." She then burst out laughing, Keren started laughing as well. 

Nyra stared at them both as if they grew wings, "What do you mean?" She asked, confused. 

Mara was too busy laughing, Nyra leaned back, "He had it coming... Idiot..." She grumbled, but that only made Mara laugh harder. 

"That's not what I mean, Ny." Mara gasped, trying to breath. 

Nyra stared at her, Keren, who was more composed, said rather mildly, "Yeah, Nyra, I don't think you've ever acted that way towards me, even if I did something idiotic." 

"What are you two talking about?" Nyra asked flatly, she stared at the T.V, which was running a program. Mara seemed to trying to hold back more after, resulting to shoving her face in a side pillow.

"Ny, please." She breathed. 

Keren sat down on the other side of Nyra, and considered her, Nyra looked at them, and he seemed to be holding back laughter, with more success then Mara, "Listen to me, Nyra." He said, then let out a breath. 

"I'm listening." Nyra said, and stared at him. 

"I know you and Marn are good friends." Keren said as calmly as he could. 

"Nice observation." Nyra held back a laugh herself, but Keren pushed on.

"Yeah, but you two seem to be getting closer." He pointed out. 

Nyra stared at him, "What are you trying to say?" She asked, and looked at Mara, who still had her face in a pillow.  

She returned from it, and said, "Let me put it this way, you and Keren are pretty close like best friends, almost like siblings, right?" Nyra looked at Keren, and nodded. Mara returned her face to the pillow again, apparently taking a breath, and looked back at Nyra, "Well, you and Marn seem to be getting... Extra close." She sniffed, and smiled widely. 

"Extra close." Nyra said flatly, and narrowed her eyes. 

Keren nodded, and said, "Yes! Extra close!" 

Nyra stared back at the T.V, then blinked, "Wait!" She jumped up, and turned back to them, she felt her face going hot, and she asked, "Are... Are you two saying...?" 

Mara smiled even wider, and Keren finally let out a laugh. 

Nyra waved her hands in front of her, "He's just a good friend!" She said quickly. 

Mara smiled, "Yeah..." She said, and looked up at Nyra, "But you know, things can change." She pointed out. 

Nyra stared back at the T.V thinking quickly, but stopped when the T.V started to static. Mara looked at it too. "What's going on?" Keren asked, and stared at the T.V too. 

Mara examined the T.V set, and as soon as the static started, it returned to normal, Mara crossed her arms, "Seems like... Jamming... That's bizarre." She murmured. 

"Jamming?" Nyra looked down at Mara, who nodded. "Yeah, but to jam our communications and electronics? That can only be done on the inside..." Mara pointed out. 

Keren pointed out, "Could be Enna having trouble." 

"She's always had trouble, but not like this..." Mara's gaze turned thoughtful. 

Keren murmured, "I'm going to bed, I'll talk to you guys later." He waved them off, and went to his room. 

Mara and Nyra continued to stare at the T.V, Mara sat up, "I'm going to see Captain Raner about this, something on the inside is jamming us." She said, and walked out.

Nyra walked down to her room, and closed the door behind her, she laid down, her eyesight darkening as she fell asleep. She had a nightmare, the poisonous Gorgot haunted her dreams, and it stared at her hungrily, like the scene in the Great Hall kept replaying in her head, with Marn grabbing the beast, but it all seemed blurred together, and with a flash of red, she sat up suddenly. 

Nyra held her head, and sat up, she left her room rather zombielike, she noticed Marn and Keren's doors closed, but Mara must not have returned yet, as her room was wide open, with blueprints and models covering her room. Nyra continued out into the hallway, unsure of where she was going. 

She stopped outside the infirmary, and knocked weakly, Aelius answered, and looked down at her, "Nyra, you should be sleeping." He pointed out. 

"Nightmare." She murmured, and walked in.

Aelius stepped back, and he asked, "Want to talk about it?" 

She sat down on a bed, while Aelius looked in his medicine shelves, he was turning them to find something, and Nyra murmured, "It kept replaying in my head... When that Gorgot attacked us, everything was a lot more darker though." 

"Did anything change?" Aelius asked, finally grabbing a very soft reddish medicine, which Nyra guessed was sleep syrup, or some sort. 

"No... It was the same, Marn grabbed the thing..." Nyra stopped, getting a headache, "At least... I think he did, and if he did, I don't know what happens next." She murmured. 

Aelius sat beside her, giving her the medicine, he murmured, "Hm, probably from the shock, but Marn's fine, and so are you, that thing can't hurt you here, it's just a dream." He said thoughtfully. 

Nyra nodded, she watched as he stood up, and then she said, "Aelius." 

He looked back, and she murmured, "You did have a girlfriend, right?" 

Aelius blinked, and shook his head, "No, I just had a really good friend." He said. 

"That you liked?" Nyra mused. He nodded, and then she asked, "Did she like you back?"

He nodded again, and Nyra blinked, "Then why didn't you two..." She mused. 

"Because we were taking care of a whole lot of other people, it just didn't seem like the time, we couldn't be distracted with what we were dealing with, we didn't really have time to act that way." Aelius explained. 

Nyra only nodded, then finally asked, "How could you tell? That you liked her, I mean." 

Aelius seemed to look up at the ceiling, "You just sort of... Know, it's different, when it's just a friend, but if you like someone, it kind of has a different feel then if you were just friends." He murmured, then looked down, "Why?" He asked. 

Nyra shrugged, "I don't know, curious, thanks, Aelius." She said, and waved, bringing the medicine with her. She walked back to her room, and drank the medicine.

Soon she was met with blackness.

Chapter 5

I lived my life hiding in shadows

I'd give up my eyes

to see you one last time

Nyra woke up to a knock on her door, Mara peeked in, and asked, "Can I talk to you? I just noticed something weird."

Nyra jumped up, and nodded, "All right," She followed Mara down to the Hanger, she watched as Mara pointed to a spot at the ground, Nyra leaned closer, it was a very dark green substance, and she asked, "What's this?"

Mara shook her head, "I don't know, I found it yesterday... It's strange, the hanger was open too, I swore I closed it too." She indicated to the control room above them.

Nyra nodded, "I'll have Aelius take a look at it." She murmured, and walked to the infirmary again, Aelius looked up as Nyra and Mara walked in.

"Aelius, we have something you need to see." Nyra said, and left quickly, Aelius followed without hesitation. Mara pointed to the same spot, Aelius looked at it closely.

"Odd..." He murmured, "Where'd it come from?" He asked Mara.

Mara shrugged, "I don't know, I just noticed it when I came in," She said quietly, Nyra looked around as well. "It's strange, everything is jamming." Mara pointed out.

'I'll have James take a look at our communications, maybe there's some faulty wiring," Aelius said calmly, and stood up, "In any case, I'd avoid touching it." He added quickly.

They both nodded, and he walked out, Mara took out the tooth again, and looked at the puddle curiously, "I'll see you later Nyra... I got to test something." She mumbled in an intrigued tone, and walked to her workshop. Nyra walked past Aaron, who was still getting used to the freighter, Nyra waved, but he didn't seem to see her.

She shrugged, and walked to the bridge, where Marn was focused on the screen, she looked down, and then looked at James, who seemed to be fiddling with something. He looked up when Nyra walked in, but Marn threw his headphones at his screen, causing everyone to jump.

"This doesn't make sense!" He growled, and fiddled with some dials on the communications.

Aaron finally walked in, and he asked, "How about I take a look at it?"

Enna, who looked just as frustrated as Marn was, waved her hand. Aaron walked up, and looked at the set, he fiddled with some of the buttons and wires, and soon, they returned to normal, Enna looked shocked.

"You had some cross wiring that wasn't working out, that'll usually cause disruptions in communications." Aaron said calmly, Nyra tipped her head, but Enna seemed impressed.

Enna said excitedly, "It definately worked." She soon went straight to work, with Marn on her heels.

James nodded his thanks, and continued fiddling with what Nyra realised was a model of some kind. Nyra sat at the holographic map, and frowned.

"James, getting strange readings on the ship." Marn muttered.

James looked up, "Strange how?" He asked, putting the model down.

"Just..." Marn muttered, and looked up, "It's a life form... But it's not registering properly..."

James seemed to brush it off, "It's probably a glitch in the system," He murmured, "I need Mara to update the system at some point."

Marn nodded, and flicked the system off, he leaned back, "It's still bizarre though, it wasn't registering as human." He pointed out.

James sighed, "Where was it?" He turned to Marn, his gaze flat.

"It was by Aelius's office, around that area." Marn muttered. Keren laughed.

"I'll go take a look, Mara wants to see me about something anyways." Keren said, and stood up calmly, and he walked out. Marn raised an eye-brow, and flicked the machine back on.

Nyra decided to follow Keren, they walked down to Mara's workshop. Mara opened the door, and ushered them in, Nyra took a good look, I've never been in here before... She thought quietly.

There were blueprints littering the walls, and various instruments lined the shelves, model ships hung off the ceiling, while crumbled papers littered the floor, Mara growled, "Sorry, I have to reorganize this place, I'm not Aelius." She kicked her desk out of the way, and took out her wrench, toying with it thoughtfully.

Nyra bent down, and picked up a crumbled paper, she couldn't read Mara's writing, but apparently it had something to do with the poison and the resistance to certain types of metal.

"Captain has me working with Aelius about the poison," Mara explained, writing something on another piece of paper, "It's weird, definately, it doesn't seem to have that big of an effect on metal, but wiring? Completely destroys it." She reported.

Keren looked at a model ship with big eyes, Mara slapped it away from him, and she said calmly, "I'll show you later, be patient," She opened the door that was hidden behind shelves. Nyra watched as she opened it, where there were supplies, odds and ends piled up, Mara threw stuff out, and she finally took out a couple vials out from a somewhat buried shelf, and passed them to Keren, "I need you take this to Aelius, it's what I extracted from the poison, oh," she walked back into her office, and handed him some papers too, "These are it's properties."

Keren nodded, and ran out, nearly tripping on the doorframe. Mara facepalmed, and watched Nyra as she paced the office, "Nice place."

"I like being around my work, gives me focus, and ideas." Mara explained, Nyra noticed her toying with her wrench still, a second wrench was on her belt, along with her other tools.

Nyra laughed, "I bet." She brushed her hand down her own weapon, which Mara had made herself, Mara was nothing short of a genius with these types of things.

Mara nodded appreciatively, "Yeah, I'd love to make more stuff, but I've been stuck repairing things," she bounced up and down, "But I have something planned with the poison!" She said excitedly.

Nyra laughed again, "I wish you luck with that, Mara."

Mara laughed too, but they both stopped when the lights started flickering, and fully went out. Mara muttered, "Damn!" She toyed with the switch, but nothing responded, "Goddamnit! I'm going to check outside." She snapped, her and Nyra left her office, and she locked the door behind her.

Nyra looked around the dark hanger as Mara toyed with wiring around the place, with no success, Mara muttered, "Keren should have been back by now, the infirmary isn't far from here."

"What's going on?" Nyra whispered.

Mara sighed, and brought out a flashlight, "I'm going to see what's taking Keren so long, you go to the bridge, tell Captain Raner our engines are down, we're sitting ducks, he's going to kill somebody..." She grumbled, and ran up to the balcony of the hanger, and took a door leading deeper into the ship.

Nyra only nodded as she left, and took another door, she walked down the hallways, feeling like something was following her. She jumped when she bumped into someone.

"Who's that?" Marn asked.

"Me," Nyra answered, taking out her own flashlight, "What happened?"

Marn shrugged, "I don't know, James is livid though, this hasn't happened before, shouldn't be possible, he takes the upmost care with his ship." He muttered.

Nyra nodded, but she felt a shiver crawl down her back, she thought quietly, Something is wrong...

That's when they both heard the screech, they looked at each-other, and ran towards the direction of the noise.


As Keren walked down the darkened hallways, he felt his way along the passageway, he called, "Aelius!" Aelius didn't answer though, but something else did, he froze in his tracks, and looked around, "Who's there?!"

He was scared to take out his flashlight, that's when he saw it, the Gorgot, and it had brought a friend. They both slinked down the hallway, and stopped in front of him. He froze up, unable to reach for his weapons, they circled him curiously, he thought quickly, They can't see me, they sense movement...

One of them stood up on their hind legs, he saw the acid dripping out of it's mouth, it met him at eye level. Keren stared in horror, unable to look away from the Gorgot's rows of teeth. He tried his best not to move, but they could tell something was there, they continued looking around him.

He felt his hand clutch at the hilt of his sickle, but they didn't seem to notice the movement, but he heard someone running down the hall, and they heard it too, they looked back at him, and started to snarl and screech.

He realised that it was Mara, Marn and Nyra were coming from the other side, that seemed to cause the Gorgots confusion, he finally moved, and they sat up, hissing.


Nyra watched as Keren had finally moved away from the Gorgots, Marn growled, "How'd they get on the ship?"

She watched as the lights turned on suddenly, bathing all of them in light again. The Gorgots screeched, Mara jumped from the other side, Nyra watched in surprise as her wrench transformed into a blade, she poked at the Gorgot repeatedly, and it hissed in irritation, trying to look for it's attacker.

Mara called, "It's the most I can do to distract it!" The other Gorgot shook it's long head, and hissed at Nyra and Marn.

Nyra jumped when Aelius suddenly entered the fray, pinning the Gorgot to a wall, it screeched. Nyra watched Mara stick her blade repeatedly into the other Gorgot's head, but unlike the one in the old building on Titan, that just seemed to irritate it. Marn seemed to notice this as well, and jumped in to help.

Nyra helped Aelius pin the other Gorgot, but it was struggling hard, it swiped at Aelius, but Aelius leaned back. Nyra shot a round into the Gorgot, and it seemed to give up. But the other Gorgot was destroying Mara, Marn, and Keren, it snarled at them, Marn ducked as it swiped it's tail, but flinched back when it swiped at him with his claws.

Mara was forced to roll away from it's hind legs, which tried to trap her under them. Keren had frozen up, after shooting a couple rounds into the Gorgot.

Nyra looked back as more footsteps came, Aaron and Captain Raner ran towards them, Aaron took out his sword, Aelius stopped, and stared as he shoved it into the Gorgot's head, the Gorgot stopped completely, he came to the one that Aelius and Nyra had pinned, and did the same.

Everything had gone silent, Aelius released his weapon, and sheathed it again, Keren very shakily passed him the vials and papers, Aaron sighed, and Captain Raner asked, "How did they get here?"

"I don't know." Mara murmured, Nyra sheathed her weapon as well, and looked around. Everyone seemed to be impressed with Aaron's handiwork with his sword, Marn was nodding, while Mara was examining his sword in interest, Keren thanked him over and over, Aaron brushed off their praise.

Nyra watched as Aelius turned around, and looked thoughtful, Nyra asked, "What's up?"

"Did you see it?" Aelius asked carefully, and looked at her.

Nyra shook her head, "His sword glowed for a second, it was quick, but I caught it," Aelius murmured, "It's why Mara's attack didn't work, there's something on his blade that kills them."

They both looked back at Aaron, who seemed modest, and waved them all off. Aelius walked away as Aaron walked up to Nyra, "You're quite handy with that scythe of yours, I've never seen a woman with your skill." He said thoughtfully.

Nyra only bowed stiffly, she noticed Marn staring at them both, but his gaze was unreadable, he had turned back to Keren. Aaron patted Nyra on the shoulder, and walked away, followed by James. Aelius had come back, the vials and papers gone, he mumbled, "I don't get it."

"Don't get what?" Nyra asked, and looked at Aelius, who's gaze seemed darkened.

"I've never seen anything like it, Gorgot's are supposed to be very hard to kill anyways, these ones seem to not die, even when their head's are attacked..." Aelius explained.

Nyra watched as he looked around, "Nyra, mind helping me?" He asked.

Nyra nodded, "Sure, but with what?" She asked. Marn, Keren, and Mara had returned to the hanger, so it was just her and Aelius.

"There's something about Aaron that's off, and familiar," he said quietly, "I want to figure it out."

She followed him into the infirmary, "What I need is to see what it is that's on his sword, but first, I need you to go back to that building the Gorgot was in, maybe there will be something." He pointed out

"How is that supposed to tell you who he is?" Nyra asked.

Aelius shook his head, "It doesn't, but it'll give me something to go off of." He murmured.

Nyra blinked, and questioned, "Do you want me to go now?"

"No, no, not so soon after the Gorgot's getting on, help the others find out how they got on, and we'll go from there," Aelius said quickly, "I don't want Aaron noticing anything out of the ordinary."

Nyra nodded, "Got it, I'll go see if Captain Raner needs any help." She said, and bowed quickly, she ran out of the infirmary, Aelius had sat down, and looked thoughtful.

She ran down the hallway, the Gorgot's got cleaned up, the hallway was near spotless. Nyra finally entered the hanger, where Marn and Keren were talking to eachother, Mara was no where in sight. She ran up to them, and asked, "Did they ever find out how they got in?"

"Someone must have entered the Hanger, using a transport ship, and let them in." Keren answered, often casting suspicious glances at Marn, who was relaxed.

Nyra nodded, while Marn jumped off of the stairway, "I'm going to head out, see if there's any openings in the ship." He claimed, and jumped into his ship. Keren seemed to shake his head though.

"Come on, let's look around." Nyra said, and Keren followed her down to the engine room.

"I've never actually been down here, what are we even looking for?" Keren asked, while Nyra looked around,

She turned back, and said, "Something that could cause the engines to go down, they're on reserve supply right now, I can tell, the ship isn't running correctly." Nyra walked up to a boxed panel, and opened it, flinching from the sight.

There was green acid everywhere, but some of the lines were cut oddly, as if a blade had done it. She stared at it thoughtfully, carefully grabbing a couple wires, Keren sighed, "James is going to kill somebody."

Nyra sighed, "Yes, he doesn't take kindly to people who wreck his ship in any way," She pointed out, and closed the box panel again, "We better go tell him the damage, might as well get it over with."

He seemed to shiver at that, "Oh yeah..."

They walked back up, and Nyra asked, "What were you and Marn talking about anyways?"

"Oh! Uh... Y'know, just, bro stuff, manly stuff." Keren stammered.

Nyra stared at him, "Bro stuff," She repeated, and shook her head, "Forget I asked then." She brushed him off as they headed back up to the bridge, Keren seemed relieved. James turned around in his seat when they walked in.

"What's the damage?" He asked darkly, Keren brushed his hand through his hair, and looked at Nyra warily, Nyra sighed, and reported, "The wires are ruined, acid everywhere, but it seems like they were cut." 

James expression turned unreadable, and he turned back to the wheel, his face in his hands, Nyra shook her head, and Enna murmured, "Aelius wants to see you in the infirmary, Nyra, better go see what he wants."

Nyra nodded, and left, leaving Keren there to sit down, as she walked down to the infirmiry, the scene of the Gorgots kept replaying in her head.


Mara had her head in the engine as she worked, she took out some broken parts, and sighed, wiping her goggles. As she rummaged through her toolbelt, she saw Marn's ship fly into the hanger, and land gracefully. Mara already started scanning the ship for any broken parts or problems, but there was none.

She jumped down to meet Marn, he jumped out, a bag in his hands, and she raised an eye-brow.

"What's that?" Mara asked, trying to peek in. Marn however, pushed her away.

"It's a surprise." He said oddly, and walked away, Mara shook her head and returned to her workshop, her papers littered the floors, failed ideas and plans that she had no way of making them work, which disappointed her.

But with the poison I got.. I can finally experiment with something, I've been wanting to try this for a long time. Mara thought excitedly, and went straight to work.


Nyra was leaning against the wall as Aelius paced, his papers in his hands, "So... There's a substance that can kill these mutations... I thought it was weird, considering the Gorgot's thought centre had all but eroded away cause of the mutation, so in theory it'd be impossible to kill..." He muttered.

"English, Aelius." Nyra sighed.

Aelius stared at her, "It's brain got eroded because of it's own acidic properties, however, how it's still alive, I'm not sure." He replied, and Nyra shivered.

"Lovely." Nyra sighed,

Nyra jumped when Marn walked in, a bag in his hands, he said loudly, "None of you realise how long it took to hunt this stuff down, cost me all the money in my pocket too, you're welcome."

Aelius watched as he took a package and set it on Aelius's desk, Aelius stared down at it for a second, then his eyes widened, "Marn, is that what I think it is?!" He asked.

Nyra watched as Marn opened the package with a smile, and tipped her head when it was piles of stuff Nyra couldn't recognize, Aelius however got a childish delight in his eyes. Marn looked at Nyra, "You've never had chocolate before have you?" He asked curiously.

"No." Nyra murmured, examining the stuff curiously, she jumped when Marn passed her the biggest piece, Nyra stared down at it, she took a bite, and she blinked, Aelius and Marn stared at her.

"It's..." She murmured, "So good." She smiled, and took another bite. Aelius and Marn both smiled.

They all looked up when Mara and Keren walked in, Mara had her arms crossed, "I knew it." She said, and stared at the chocolate, Keren stared as well.

Marn laughed, "There's only so much to-" But he was interrupted when Mara pushed past him, grabbing a chocolate, "I had a feeling that's what you got, checking to see if there's any openings, yeah right." She laughed, and popped it in her mouth, and walked out.

Aelius looked down at the package in front of him, and he looked up when Captain Raner walked in, "Mara looked excited." He said, and saw the package as well, then looked at Marn.

Marn muttured, "Come on, even you have to admit you missed the stuff." He crossed his arms, and looked at the Captain expectantly, as if waiting for something.

Nyra watched James carefully, and widened her eyes when he walked up to Aelius's desk, he took a piece, and walked back, and patted Marn on the shoulder as he went, "Good job, Marn." He walked out of the office.

Keren walked up slowly, unsure, and then grabbed a piece, "Thanks Marn." He said.

Marn shrugged, "No problem, might as well, things are going to get busy, might as well enjoy ourselves while we can." He said calmly.

Aelius nodded, "He has a point, it's going to be stressful." He pointed out.

Marn looked at Aelius and Nyra, "Anyways, what were you two planning?" He asked.

Aelius leaned back, "Nyra was going to show me where you two found the mutated Gorgot, it's possible there might be some answers there." He said calmly, and stood up.

Marn said quickly, "I'll come with!"

Nyra looked at his hand, Aelius must have known what she was thinking, because he said, "We'll be fine, Marn, give your hand time to heal, don't want it opening and getting infected." He stared down his adoptive brother, while Marn looked at him in disbelief.

"What if another one shows up?" He asked.

"I'm quite capable of holding it off, even if I can't kill it." Aelius pointed out gently.

Marn didn't seem convinced, his hands balled into fists, but didn't argue, he only walked out of the room. Nyra frowned as he left, and looked back at Aelius. Aelius suddenly looked very tired, and he shook his head, "Come on, let's get this done." He murmured, and walked out of the infirmary as well, Nyra followed nervously.

Keren was waiting for them at a scout ship, he nodded, and murmured, "I'm not coming by the way, I have had my fill of Gorgots." 

Aelius nodded, they all hopped into the ship, and Keren launched into the space, adjusting his flight to Titan. Nyra clasped her hands together, and looked at Aelius, she murmured, "Marn told me he was raised in an orphanage."

He looked at her, confused, "Yeah, my parents adopted him." He murmured, and looked back to the front.

She frowned, and looked down at her seat, "No one ever came for me, so I ran away." She murmured.

Aelius frowned, and they sat in silence until they reached Titan, Keren landed smoothly on the spaceship sports, and sat back, he gave Nyra some money, "Give this to the guy that handles the spaceport." He murmured, and opened the door, Aelius and Nyra jumped out.

"Thanks, Keren." Nyra murmured, and the ship closed behind them, they walked up to an attendent, and Nyra passed him the money, and they walked fowards.

As they walked down the streets, Nyra asked, "Any luck with the virus?"

Aelius's eyes darkened, "No... I've tried everything." He murmured.

She led him past the Galactic Sanctum HQ, and to the same old building, she walked around, and pointed up to the cieling, Aelius followed her direction, and she said, "That's where it came from."

"Is there a hole in the roof?" He asked curiously.

She shrugged, "Maybe, or maybe it got in here some other way." Nyra pointed out, and put her hands in her pockets. Aelius looked around, as if he was looking for something specific.

Nyra looked at him when he froze up, "What's wrong?" She asked.

"Have you noticed how close the Galactic Sanctum is?" He murmured.

Nyra looked back at the front window, "Yeah, what about it?" She mused, and looked back at Aelius, who had sat down at the piano.

"The gorgots were mutated, this virus isn't natural," He murmured, staring down at the piano keys, he clicked a few as he said, "The virus is a biological weapon, the gorgots showed up when the virus did, along with other dark creatures..." He murmured thoughtfully.

"Wait?! The virus is a weapon?! Created by who?" Nyra asked.

"I'm not sure, but back when I still had the hospital, Marn said something that kind of put the pieces together. Weapons aren't supposed to be taken down easliy, especially a biological weapon." Aelius ended his piano playing on a very low note, and frowned.

Nyra looked back at the HQ, fear growing inside her, "You don't think... The Galactic Sanctum did it? Made the virus and mutated gorgots?" She asked nervously.

Aelius's eyes narrowed, "It's becoming more likely the more deeply I go into figuring out the virus." He said quietly. He stood up, and walked out of the builidng, Nyra followed once again, as they walked through the steets, there were some disgruntled people, some of them looked rather sickly, Aelius frowned, and looked at Nyra.

"It's been like this ever since I left." Nyra pointed out, and looked at the people around her, they stared at them in something that looked like jealousy, where her and Aelius were fit and healthy, they were not.

Aelius asked curiously, "Isn't there a hospital nearby?"

Nyra nodded, "Yeah, but, they're no more closer to you are to figuring out how to help these people." She murmured.

They stopped by a square, where a huge group of poeple were gathering, all yelling something Nyra couldn't really understand, Nyra looked up at the podium in the center, there was a couple people on there, Aelius paled at the sight of them.

"Aelius?" She asked, and looked back at the two people, she gasped when Aelius grabbed her arm, and dragged her away from the people, he hissed, "It's Rayan."

Nyra watched the square disappear, Aelius turned on his holocommunicator, "James, an old friend is here." He murmured darkly, while Nyra leaned against the wall.

James asked, "What type of old friend?"

"The kind you don't want to see, it's Rayan." Aelius said.

James sighed, "Do you know what he's doing there?" He asked.

Aelius looked back at the square, and muttered, "No idea, he seems to be rallying the people though for some reason." 

Nyra looked up at Titan's sky, it's smoggy orange colour always covered it, as the sun didn't often touch the planet like it did Earth. Aelius looked up as well, James commented, "I don't know what he's trying to do myself, if you want me to be honest, I thought he was working for the Galactic Sanctum as well."

Aelius murmured, "I guess not." He brushed his hand through his hair, and he hung up the communicator, he brought both hands to his face, and shook his head.

Nyra asked, "What's wrong?"

He sighed, and lowered his hands, "Nothing, just thinking, we should probably go, I've seen enough." He said mildly, and they walked back to the ship, where Keren was laying on one of the wings, toying with Mara's model, a concentrated look on his face, humming something under his breath.

Nyra knocked on the ship's wings, and it broke him out of his concentration, he looked down, "You guys finished?" He asked curiously.

Aelius nodded, Nyra watched as Keren hopped into the ship, and opened the doors, Aelius and Nyra climbed in. Keren clicked some buttons, and grabbed the clutch.

"Hold on tight." Keren joked, Nyra only rolled her eyes, but Aelius had a thoughtful look on his face. "I wonder..." He murmured.

"What is it?" Nyra asked curiously.

Aelius looked at her, and he mused, "You met Aaron at that place right?"

Nyra nodded, and was about to ask more, but stopped herself, "Now that you mention it, I guess his timing was weird, I just never thought about it until now." She said quietly.

She noticed Keren fidgeting on the wheel, and she asked, "What's wrong?"

"Sorry, just nervous I guess. I don't want to run into another gorgot any time soon," He said quickly, "I was watching Mara extract the poison, I don't know how she did it."

Nyra replied, "She just told me she wanted to test it."

"Ha. Nyra, I think she's making something with it." Keren laughed airily as they left Titan's atmosphere, and towards their ship.

Nyra looked at Aelius, who's gaze darkened, "It's possible she could be." He admitted.

Keren and Nyra looked at him, Keren narrowed his eyes, "Do you know something we don't?" He asked. Aelius only shrugged at the question. Nyra sat back, and looked out the window to the infinite space.

Keren only sighed, and sped up, "Mara's been in her workshop almost all the time these days, she never lets me in to take a look anymore." He said quietly.

Nyra laughed, "It's called trying to concentrate on your work, Keren, she'll let you look eventually."

"I work, I don't need to concentrate." Keren mumbled.

"You fly, like Captain Raner, have you tried flying his ship?" Nyra asked curiously.

Keren snorted, "You know Captain Raner, I've asked before, he just gave me this look." He looked at Nyra with a gaze that looked like she had just grew wings. They both started laughing, Aelius even laughed a little bit.

He pointed out calmly, "Well, James doesn't really trust anybody else with his ship, I don't think he meant it to say you were a bad flyer."

Keren smiled, and turned back, "Yeah, I guess I'd feel the same way if I had a ship like that, with how huge it is you got to compensate for a lot and you have to know what you're doing, no hesitating." He said.

Nyra laughed, "And that is why I don't fly."

Keren pointed out, "You have potential though."

Nyra shook her head, "I'm good." She laughed again. She noticed Aelius had gone quiet again, and looked like as if he was watching something far away. Nyra didn't pry though, soon they reached the hanger, and hopped out, however, Mara didn't hop on the ship, her workshop door was locked.

"Huh." Nyra mused, Aelius however was signalling to her. She walked up to him, and tipped her head.

"Aaron is staying in a guest room, at some point. I want you to go get his sword, or actually to get what's on it, once I've gotten the material to be able to get it off." Aelius said quickly.

Nyra nodded excitedly, "I got you!" She said, "Just let me know when, I'll get to the bottom of it!" She bowed quickly, and watched Aelius leave towards the infirmary.

Keren stood beside her, and he murmured, "Have you noticed something?"

She blinked, and looked at him as he took a breath, "As you know, I'm the master when it comes to sleeping." He said flatly, then smiled.

Nyra laughed, "Yeah, but what does that have to do with Aelius?"

Keren looked at her, "He hasn't been sleeping a lot." He pointed out gently.

Nyra looked at him confused, and asked, "How can you tell?"

He sighed, "It's just something I've picked up, I've had my own sleepless nights, nightmares right? But not as often as he apparently does, I can tell by the way he acts and walks, like he's going in slow motion, and often he's just not all there sometimes, you know?" He asked curiously.

Nyra crossed her arms, "Well, yeah, but he doesn't seem that bad." She murmured.

Keren shook his head, "No, something's bothering him." He said, and shrugged.

Nyra frowned, "Actually... When I couldn't sleep myself, I went to the infirmary, I thought Aelius would have been asleep, but he wasn't..." She mumbled thoughtfully.

Keren nodded, "What'd I tell you, I'm the master of sleeping." He laughed, trying to lighten the mood. Nyra only smiled, and watched Keren leave as well, hands behind his head.

Nyra walked to the crew rooms, Marn was eating what would consitute as dinner on Earth and Titan. He was intensely watching the T.V, and jumped when Nyra walked in.

"Woah, you're as quiet as James." He pointed out, and returned to eating, waving his fork sometimes at the T.V to draw attention to whatever was on it.

Nyra sat down as well, Marn asked, "Want some?"

"I'm not that hungry, thanks though." Nyra said, then turned to the T.V, where there was a cartoon showing. Marn blinked, but continued eating, albeit hesitantly.

She blinked when his fork clattered on his plate, and he asked, "What's on your mind?"

Nyra stared at him, she looked back at the T.V, she sighed, "It's Aelius."

Marn finally picked up his fork, and asked curiously, "What about him?"

"Keren thinks he's not getting any sleep." Nyra said as she watched him eat.

Marn didn't seem bothered, but he asked, "Why does he think that?"

Nyra only shrugged, "I don't know, he explained that Aelius acted like he was in slow motion sometimes, he wasn't very specific, if I'm honest." She explained.

Marn sat back, finally finished, "Slow motion huh...?" He mused. Nyra only nodded.

They looked up when Mara walked in, taking off oiled gloves.

"Keren just doesn't give up," She sighed, and looked at Nyra, "At least I'm done though, as much as I could at least." She brought a vial out of her pocket, where a strange cyan liquid wavered. Mara stood up to have a closer look, and Mara smiled, "No worries, it's sealed tight." She laughed.

Nyra smiled, "Nice job, Mara, but..." she hesitated, "What exactly is it?"

"That's a surprise, I just need to wait until Aelius gets whatever's on Aaron's sword, since you know, whatever's on there can kill the things." She laughed.

Nyra laughed, "Then my job is coming up, you'll get it. No worries."

Mara nodded, "I'm bushed though, so, I'm going to get some shut eye." She laughed, and walked into her room, the door closed behind her. Nyra and Marn both sat back down on the couch.

Marn asked mildly, "So, you're going to go into Aaron's room and try to snatch his sword?" Nyra nodded, her arms crossed as she watched the screen, Marn asked quietly, "You will be careful will you? It's not that I don't trust the guy, he seems nice, but we haven't known him long."

Nyra stared at Marn, who only stared evenly at her back, she nodded, "You know me, I'm pretty quick and discreet." She laughed, trying to ease the tension, Marn laughed as well.

"I know, you did learn from James of all people," Marn pointed out, and finally went to put the dishes away, he came back, and said, "I wouldn't worry too much about Aelius, he does get sleep."

"How much though?" Nyra asked.

Marn sighed, "It's hard on him, but he gets enough, a healthy amount, of course, I won't lie, there are days where he doesn't get much, and Keren is right on that point."

"Why does he have so much trouble sleeping?" Nyra asked.

Marn smiled sadly, "It's just... Something that happens to you, but, I hope it never happens to you, Keren, or Mara, you guys are still pure in that way, even if Keren is terrified of gorgots, there's worse things to be scared of. Aelius knows that better than anyone on this ship..." He whispered, and walked away down to his room. Nyra watched him leave, and thought, Does he mean what happened to the hospital? Is that what's going on with Aelius? I knew he had some sort of guilt, but for this long...?

She turned back to the T.V, and frowned, she only looked in her side vision when Keren walked in. He sat down, and asked, "What'd I miss?"

"I asked Marn about Aelius." Nyra said quietly.

"What'd he say?" He asked, leaning against the arm of the couch.

Nyra finally looked at him, "He just said not to worry about it." She said mildly.

Keren seemed to shake his head.

Nyra sighed, and stood up, "I have to go do something, Keren, I'll see you later."

She walked out of the main room, and walked down the hallways, her hand drifting over the cloth in her picket, soon, she reached the guest hallways, but Aaron's door was locked.

Nyra paced the hallways of the guest rooms, waiting for her chance. Aaron was currently in his room, and Nyra couldn't let him see her if this was going to go smoothly, she clutched the soft cloth in her pocket for reassurance. She gasped when he started to open his door, and she leaped around a corner

Nyra watched as he walked down the corridor, and she jumped into his room, and grabbed his sword quickly.

She brushed the cloth down the blade, and looked up, there was a odd acidic smell coming from the closet, she frowned.

Nyra slowly opened up the closet, and blinked when there was a small pool of acid, "What...?" She mused.

She took a step back, and narrowed her eyes, she put the cloth underneath the desk, and waited, she turned to the wall, and looked around quickly. Nyra tensed up when the door opened and closed, she turned around, Aaron was leaning against the door, and he asked, "What's up?"

Nyra narrowed her eyes, "You don't have to play coy with me, you're working for Rayan, aren't you?" She asked dangerously.

Aaron's eyes drifted towards the closet, "That's true, I'm working for Rayan." He mumbled.

"So it's you who let the Gorgot's on and nearly killed Keren?" Nyra whispered.

Aaron only nodded, "So who figured me out?" He asked curiously, "It wasn't you was it? Not at first anyways."

Nyra murmured, "It was Aelius, I believe he had you pegged as soon as he saw you."

"Rayan warned me he would be hard to fool next to James," Aaron said offhandedly, "I guess I shouldn't have underesimated him, considering i managed to fool James of all people."

Nyra asked, "So what now?"

"You've found me out on Aelius's orders, but I have you cornered," Aaron said, locking the door, "I guess I'm going to have to switch tactics a little."

"What do you mean, what do you even want?" Nyra asked, taking a step back.

"Rayan tasked me to get James to trust me, if not his whole crew, he wanted information, I got some, but not enough, so I'm very sorry it has come to this, but I have no other choice," Aaron said, no longer leaning against the door. Nyra went to jump back, but he only pulled out a small capsule, "Do you think they'd come for you? I'd like to see them try." He mused calmly, and dropped the capsule.

He murmured, "You're going to want to mind your head."

Nyra jumped back when smoke filled the room, and hear head hurt when there was an explosion, but she was thrown into darkness.

W-What?! What's going on?! Nyra thought in horror.

She heard Aaron murmur, "Sorry, but if they come for you, Rayan will be ready for them."

Nyra felt her hearing go, then everything else, and soon she was floating into the neverending blackness.

Chapter 6

You got no place to hide

Shadows are creeping

They're deeper than the truth

Aelius leaned in his chair, but nearly fell out of it when Marn bursted into the room, "Aelius! Where's Nyra?!" He asked loudly. Aelius leaned forwards again, and stared at his brother in confusion.

"I can't find her anywhere." Marn said quietly.

"She should be..." Aelius mused, "When was the last time you saw her?" He asked curiously.

Marn brushed his hand through his hair, "Last I saw her was in the crew rooms... Then Mara came in with the extracted acid, then Nyra talked about that job you had her do, that was the last time I saw her." He murmured.

Aelius stared at the wall, thinking quickly,There's no way she got caught... He turned back to Marn, and stood up, "Come with me." He grunted, and pushed past Marn, and into the hallway. Marn followed without complaint. Aelius reached the guest hall, and peeked around the corner. Aaron's door was closed, but not locked.

Marn asked, "Aelius? What's wrong?"

"Brace yourself." He growled, and walked to Aaron's room, and opened it using his card, he flinched back when black smokey residue sidled out into the hallway, and disappeared.

Aelius walked in, followed by Marn, "What...?" He mused, Aelius leaned against the wall, slightly bashing his head into the wall. 

Aelius whispered, "Aaron caught her..."

Marn stared at him in shock, then looked around the room, Aelius watched as he walked to the closet, "There's acidic residue here." He murmured, and leant towards it. Aelius finally removed himself from the wall, and stepped over broken pieces of glass. He noticed the small cloth underneath the desk.

He grabbed it, and clutched it angrily, he looked back at Marn, who seemed in shock, "Aaron was working for Rayan wasn't he, this whole time?" He whispered.

Aelius didn't look at Marn, Marn punched the wall, "Damnit..." He growled.

"This is my fault..." Aelius whispered, and stood up fully, Marn looked at him, Aelius murmured, "Don't worry, Marn, we're going to go get her." He walked out of the room, and towards the bridge, with Marn hot on his heels.

Aelius called, "James, we have a problem!"

James turned around in his chair, while Mara looked up, "Aelius! It's ready!" She called.

Aelius walked up to them both, he nodded to Mara, "Good, but that's going to have to wait," He explained, "Aaron was working for Rayan, just like you suspected, he's taken Nyra, cornered her in his room it looks like."

James turned back to the front of the ship, and he murmured, "Enna, check the camera's, I want to know where Rayan's main ship is."

Enna turned to her station, and started clicking buttons, "It seems he left a while ago, heading towards the belt," she murmured, "It's possible Rayan's ship is drifting with the belt." She looked back at them all.

Marn huffed, "I'll fly it."

Captain Raner looked down at his ship, and looked at Keren, who looked horrified, "Want to give this ship for a spin, Keren?" He asked in a calm voice.

Keren stared at him, and watched as James stood up, Aelius smiled when Keren sat down in the Captain's seat, while Marn stared at James, "Are you coming or something?" Marn asked.

"Rayan is going to be expecting us, it's better we three go, Mara." He turned to Mara, who finally passed him her experimental weapon, she explained, "It'll ruin the ship's navigation and technology, if she's trapped somewhere, shoot this at the controls, it'll open it."

Captain Raner went to go grab it, but Aelius leaped in, he murmured, "He'll think you'll be the one to go get her, we need to keep the element of surprise at least."

"Don't get yourself killed." Marn growled behind him.

Aelius turned, and smiled, "Don't worry." He said, and looked at Captain Raner, who nodded, "Come on, it's best we get going before Rayan gets too much time between us." James said quickly.

Aelius, Marn and James jumped into their fastest scout ship, Marn shifted towards the co-pilot controls, and he laughed, "Been a long time since the three of us did something together." 

James nodded, "Yeah." He growled, and flew out of the hanger, James's main ship turned slowly to face them, but didn't move forward, James clicked some controls, and sped towards the belt.

"You think Nyra is okay?" Marn asked quietly.

Aelius looked at his brother in confusion, but James murmured, "Nyra can handle herself, besides, I know Rayan, he wants to use her to get to us."

Marn finally put on his mask, while James did the same, James murmured, "It's better they can't see our faces, they won't know it's us until it's too late."

Aelius finally put on his own mask, and sighed, Marn turned to face him, "Hey, try not to let it get you down." He said mildly.

Aelius looked back up, and nodded, "I'm just hoping she's not hurt, like I said, this is kind of my fault." He pointed out quietly.

They finally spotted Rayan's ship, they drove towards the hanger, Marn asked, "How are we going to get in?"

"We shoot the outside shields, burst into it." James growled, and sped towards it at full speed. Marn clutched at his controls, and jumped when James shot at the little antenna, causing the blue shielding to go down, James growled, "Let's make this quick."

He landed in the hanger, and jumped out, "He'll be keeping anybody he doesn't want escaping deep in the ship, you going to be all right by yourself Aelius?" He asked, as Marn jumped out as well.

Aelius nodded, "I'll meet you back here." He said quickly, and headed towards a door.

No worries... He thought to himself, and sighed as he descended deeper into the unknown ship.


Nyra was curled up into a corner, the guard posted at her room/cell was paying her no mind, she frowned, and brought her legs and arms closer to her chest. I'm so stupid... I can't believe I got caught that easily... She thought, beating herself up mentally.

She looked up when the guard seemed to take a step back, there was a fast shadow running down the hallway. She gaped when the shadowed person leaped onto the guard with animalistic finesse, catching him in a headlock. The guard tried to fight back, but Nyra blinked when the person shoved them into the wall, knocking them out.

Nyra laughed nervously, to which the person turned to her, she watched as they brought out a gun, and shot the controls to the room/cell. The door opened, but she didn't move an inch, they walked in the room, and looked around, "Who are you...?" She whispered.

Nyra finally stood up with the masked person's help, she widened her eyes, "Captain?" She asked curiously.

The person didn't answer, she only followed them out, she whispered, "I... I'm sorry..."

They seemed to stop, and shook their head. Nyra followed them down the hallway, she murmured, "You should watch out for Aaron..." 

The person nodded, and they stopped at a bigger area. Nyra shook, trying to push down her fear, to no avail. She flinched when the lights turned on, the cloaked person held out their arm as if to shield her, their hand reaching to behind their cloak, but other than that, made no move.

Nyra took a step behind the person when Aaron stepped in, "Your people never cease to amaze me," He laughed, "Especially you of all people."

Nyra looked at the person shielding her, she gasped when they pushed her away when Aaron launched himself at the two, sword at the ready. Nyra flinched back, but gasped when the person grabbed the sword, Aaron tisked.

The person's hand was bleeding, but they only pushed Aaron away. Nyra rolled away from them, but held her side, she gasped when the cloaked person finally drew out a weapon, it was a pure white spear, and they twirled it expertly.

Aaron sighed, "I guess I'll have to take you out first."

Aaron jumped towards the cloaked person, but the person was ready for him, they leaped back using the momentem of the spear. Aaron jumped after them, barely missing their face. They retaliated by poking him away from them.

Nyra realised what that spear was, she whispered, "Aelius...?"

The cloaked person stopped, and finally took off their hood and mask, Aelius looked tired, but determined, "We came to bust you out." He explained, and glared at Aaron. Aaron only smiled though.

Aaron tried to hit Aelius, but Aelius was quicker. Nyra watched, fascinated by the way Aelius fought, where her and James had to stay steadfast, Aelius fought very differently.

Aaron finally made a mistake when he made a thrust, Aelius stepped to the side, and shoved his spear through his shoulder, Aaron flinched, but Aelius didn't move, "I should have known you'd know how to fight." He murmured.

"I'd hope so too, I'm a mercenary after all," Aelius said mildly, and pulled the spear out, and knocked Aaron out with the blunt end, Aelius jumped back, and looked around as an alarm sounded, "We better hurry, James and Marn are waiting." He said quickly. He helped Nyra up, and they finally reached the hanger, where Rayan was staring down Marn and James.

"Oh, nice to see you, Aelius." He said in a calm voice, he turned to face Aelius and Nyra.

Aelius said nothing, Nyra looked around quickly. Rayan took a step towards them, "I'm guessing you took out Aaron?" He asked mildly. Captain Raner and Marn looked at Aelius.

Aelius looked at them both, and nodded, "Yeah, I think he underestimated me a bit too much." He pointed out.

"Don't think I'll make the same mistake with you." Rayan said with a smile, Nyra watched as he grabbed his hilt, and clicked a button, causing the sword to shoot out of the sheath. Rayan grabbed it in midair, and pointed it at them, taking an aggresive stance. Captain Raner took a step, but stopped when Nyra took out her weapon.

"I finally get to fight my old friend's prodigy." Rayan laughed, Nyra looked at Aelius, who frowned.

Nyra gasped when he ran forwards, but Aelius was ready for him, he jumped in front of Nyra, and threw his spear into the grip, causing Rayan to fumble, Nyra leaped to the side. Aelius followed her, Rayan made a noise, and turned back to them, Nyra whispered, "I can take this guy, Aelius."

Aelius nodded, and took a step back, Rayan laughed, "Then come on, if you think you can take me."

Nyra saw Marn narrow his eyes, she turned back to Rayan, and readied herself. Rayan once again made a dash for her, but she rolled towards him, and kicked him away from the three. Rayan's gaze turned cold, Nyra ran towards Aelius, Marn, and Captain Raner, who was already getting the ship ready.

Marn pulled Nyra into the ship, and they flew out of the hanger and into space. "James," Marn growled, James turned to him, and frowned when Marn said, "He's chasing after us."

"What purpose...?" James stopped though, and stared at the space in front of them, his eyes widening.

Marn groaned, "Oh no..."

Nyra looked out the window, and realised that the Destroyer was back, heading for James's ship. Nyra grabbed her holocommunicator, "Keren!" She yelled into it.

"Yo? What?" He asked.

James grabbed his own communicator, "Get the ship out of there! The destroyer-" They all gaped when Keren's communicator went dead. Marn clutched the co-pilot controls.

James flinched when the destroyer whipped it's tail in the ships side, causing it to be pushed forward a bit, Nyra's eyes widened, when the sheilds and power went down. Aelius growled, "James, we need to get there in a hurry, Rayan isn't on our tail anymore." Captain Raner nodded, and pulled down the long lever.

"Then brace yourselves." He growled, and sped forwards, Nyra clutched at her seat, Come on, Keren... She thought as the Destroyer kept attacking the stalled ship.

"That's unlike Keren..." Marn growled, "Why isn't the ship turning back on?"

James frowned, "The beast might have hit something critical, I just hope Mara, Keren, and Enna are safe." He whispered quietly.

Nyra closed her eyes as they neared the beast, they crashlanded into the hanger. They gasped when the ship lurched suddenly, Nyra fell forwards, only to be caught by the arm by Marn, "We need to hurry to the bridge." He growled.

They all looked up when Mara stumbled out of the entrance to the engine room, "Damn..." She growled, holding her head.

"Mara! Are you and Keren okay?" Nyra asked, and ran up to her.

"I'm fine, but I don't know about Keren, I was in contact with him until things went dark, he was in the bridge when that thing attacked." She whispered quietly.

Nyra looked at Captain Raner, who nodded, and ran towards the bridge, Nyra followed, along with Marn and Aelius.

Nyra gasped when the bridge was a mess, Enna was just getting up, but Keren was laying face first on the floor, his communicator a few feet away from him.

"Aelius, Nyra, go check on Keren, Enna? Are you okay?" Captain Raner asked quietly.

"I'm fine, Captain, Keren went to go check what was going on, he didn't get very far." Enna whispered in a worried tone.

Captain Raner nodded, "Marn, grab the co-pilot controls, get ready for hyper drive, I don't care where we go, as long as it's not here." He snapped, and jumped into his seat, Marn nodded.

Nyra followed Aelius, Nyra turned Keren over, Keren roused a bit, and he mumbled, "What happened...?"

Nyra looked at Aelius, then she murmured, "The Destroyer attacked the ship... You were knocked out."

"So I wasn't dreaming? Damn." Keren growled, struggling to stay concious. Nyra sighed, and looked at Captain Raner, who was getting ready for the hyperdrive, but the ship lurched again, Nyra watched as he shook his head.

Aelius murmured, "Get Keren in a chair or something."

Nyra nodded, and helped him into a chair, he waved his thanks. Nyra grabbed his communicator, and put it in front of him, but he seemed to have fallen back into unconciousness, the ship finally flew into lightspace, and they stopped by Mars.

They all sat down, "Well, that's going to take some parts to fix..." Marn mumbled from the seat beside Keren.

"Mara will know what we need, she's better off going to Luna for the parts." Captain Raner said, and leaned back in his seat.

Nyra watched Aelius work on Keren, he sighed, "Severe concussion, he's going to be bedridden for a while," He looked around, "Enna!" He called her.

Enna looked up from her seat, and he asked, "Were you thrown back as well?"

"Yes, but I was sitting anyways, most I got was thrown out of my chair," Enna reported. Aelius nodded, and she called, "Keren was standing up when Nyra talked to him, I think he was walking to go get Mara when that thing lurched the ship."

Nyra jumped when Keren roused again, "Really?" He mused, and looked weakly back at Enna, "I don't remember... I remember Nyra calling me, that's it." 

Aelius seemed to nod in confirmation, "Nyra, Marn, can you get him to his room? I just need to get some supplies from the infirmiry." He mused, Marn nodded, and stood up.

Nyra and Marn half dragged, half carried Keren to the crew rooms, they placed him on the bed, where he only narrowed his eyes in sleepy annoyance, Marn and Nyra watched as Aelius walked in carrying a bucket, Nyra raised an eye-brow when he placed it to the side of Keren's bed, and he murmured, "Trust me."

Aelius took a small bottle out of his pocket, Marn laughed, "Going old school, huh?"

Aelius smiled, and took out another instrument, it had a small light down the bottom, and he joked, "Almost, but not quite," He turned to Nyra, "Severe concussions are pretty nasty, I need someone to stay with him for 24 hours."

Nyra watched as he turned the weird intrument on, and he gently waved it over Keren's head, which caused Keren to recoil a bit. Aelius finally put it away, and he murmured, "I'll see the damage soon enough," He pointed at the instrument, and he put the bottle on the bedstand. "Nyra, can you get some ice wrapped in a cloth? There should be some ice in the fridge."

Nyra nodded and walked ot the fridge, she grabbed some ice, and went to the bathroom, and grabbed a washcloth. Aelius had adjusted the tempature in the room a bit. Keren was now fully concious, and Nyra passed the cloth to him, she watched as he placed the cloth behind his head, and he smiled, "Sorry." He laughed.

Nyra only shook her head, Aelius explained, "Take the medicine only if there's a lot of pain."

Keren and Marn looked at the bottle, and Marn laughed, "It's just tylenol, Keren."

"Oh, that's not so bad." Keren joked, but flinched a bit.

Aelius said, "You, Mara, and Marn are going to have to watch him for a bit, tell me immediately if his symptoms worsen."

Nyra and Marn nodded. Nyra asked, "He'll recover, right?"

Aelius laughed, "Yeah, as long as he gets a lot of bedrest, Mara herself had a mild one, he's going to be out for way longer. Give me some credit though, he'll be up and running and back to his old self." He waved at them both, and left the room.

Marn looked at Nyra, and Nyra nodded, Mara came running in, "Is he okay?" She asked.

"He's fine," Marn said, Mara sighed, and he explained, "We'll have to take turns watching his state though."

Nyra mused, "What was that instrument Aelius was carrying?"

Mara looked at her, then looked at Marn, "I don't know what it's called, but think of it like a portable x-ray, I guess." He explained once again.

Keren laughed, "It kind of hurt my eyes."

"Well, you got your brain rattled, it's going to do that." Nyra pointed out, and they all laughed.

Mara leaned forward, "We got to beat that thing somehow, it's causing mass panic with the people on the planets and moons." She pointed out. Keren looked at her, a look of confusion on his face.

"How do you suggest we do that?" Marn asked, and looked at Mara as well.

"If it's truly a machine, it'll have it's weak points, maybe if we can shoot that experimental technology I was working on into an opening, it's possible it'll implode, if what I think is true." Mara explained, and waved her arms in show. Nyra widened her eyes.

"You mean shoot it into it's mouth?" She asked quietly.

Keren laughed, "If it even has one," he then flinched, and said, "I guess we could just make one though, but that's risky enough as it is. The way it moves provides no oppurtunity to strike back."

Marn whispered, "Not unless you found the moment to strike, even if it's a small window of time to do so, one well placed blow will take out anything." He pointed out.

Mara nodded, "I'll get working on that then." She said, and stood up, Nyra watched her leave.

"You know what I don't get?" She asked. Marn turned to her, and frowned, "Rayan chased us, but stopped." Nyra whispered.

"Probably didn't want to get his butt kicked by the destroyer." Keren joked, his eyes half closed.

Marn leaned forward on his elbows, and murmured, "That's more than likely... Although, maybe he wasn't chasing us, just following us to see where our ship was," he pointed out. Nyra nodded at that, Marn laughed, "Rayan didn't even want to take on Aelius. Serves him right."

They all laughed again, but Nyra pointed out, "I didn't even realise Rayan knew Aelius."

"Who doesn't? You said yourself Nyra, he's one of the most well-known doctors on Earth, besides, a lot of people know about the attack on the hospital, Rayan is probably included in that." Keren explained.

Marn explained furthur, "Rayan met Aelius once. A few weeks before the hospital was destroyed, I'm not sure what he wanted though, as Aelius kicked us out of the room for the conversation, neither me or James knew what was shared between them, I know James didn't trust Rayan then." He shrugged at Nyra.

Keren laughed at that, "Was your pride hurt that day?"

"A bit." Marn admitted in a joking tone.

"Nyra," Keren called to her, Nyra looked up, "What did Aaron do to knock you out?" He asked curiously, at this, Marn turned to Nyra, his face flat.

Nyra leaned back, and sighed, "I'm... I'm not sure, I remember him taking out this capsule, it wasn't explosive, at least, I don't think it was, it was filled with black stuff..." She looked at Marn, who narrowed his eyes, "I had bad dreams after I got knocked out, I'm not sure what that stuff was." Nyra whispered.

"Yeah, when we went to go find you, the black smoke poured out of the room, and just... Evaporated." Marn explained, and shrugged.

Nyra blinked, "Really?" She mused, and looked up at the ceiling. Marn nodded, and looked up too. They both jumped when Marn brought his fist into his hand, and got a look of realisation on his face.

"I remember what that stuff was!" Marn exclaimed.

Nyra laughed, "What was it then?"

Marn sighed, "I don't know what it was called, but it has two states of matter. One of gas, and one of liquid, the gas is mostly used as a sedative of some sort, a morally ambiguous one actually. It's not as powerful as it's liquid form though." He explained.

Keren asked, "What about the liquid then? What's it used for?"

Marn shrugged, "That I'm not sure, I've never seen it for myself," He said thoughtfully, "I know the liquid isn't used to knock someone out, that's for sure."

Nyra mused, "Huh, odd," she looked at Marn, "Does Aelius know what it is?" Nyra asked.

Marn shook his head, "I don't even think he knows, that, or doesn't want to know, I guess you could ask when you see him." He mused quietly, then turned back to Nyra.

Nyra nodded, and Marn laughed, "You can go ask him now if you want, don't worry, I'll keep an eye on this idiot." He waved to Keren, who looked affronted, but laughed as well. He gave Nyra a thumbs up.

She smiled, and stood up, "Then I'll talk to you both later." Nyra walked out of the room, and into the living room, she walked out into the hallway, and looked around quickly. She made her way towards the infirmary, she passed Enna, who seemed focused on her papers. Nyra opened the infirmary door, where Aelius was dozing off in his seat.

"I had a feeling you don't get a lot of sleep." Nyra grumbled, Aelius seemed to blink, and looked up. He laughed, and sat up, trying to mask his exhaustion.

"Sleep schedules aside, Nyra, what is it?" Aelius asked.

"I was talking to Marn about the gas that knocked me out, he said you might have an idea on what it is." Nyra murmured, and thought with a twinge of fear, I don't want it happening again...

Aelius tipped his head, and sighed, "It was one of the experimental technologies during the first outbreak of the virus, it was thought to be a cure, but they were wrong. I refused to use it in the end, as it did more harm than good," Nyra watched as he looked down, "Actually, that's about all I know of it." He murmured, and looked back up.

She whispered, "Are you talking about the gas, or the liquid form?"

Aelius stared at her, and shook his head, "The gas form, the liquid form was outlawed long before." He answered quietly.

"Why?" Nyra asked.

Aelius frowned, "I'm... Not entirely sure, there were rumours that it wasn't used for medicine, other then that, I can't say." He said flatly.

Nyra murmured, "Why would Rayan give Aaron something like that?"

"People still use the gas in an attempt to quell the symptoms of the virus, but that has it's own repurcussions, I have no idea why Rayan would have some on hand other then to knock people out." Aelius pointed out, he shrugged, and looked up at the ceiling of the infirmary, Nyra saw the shadows under his eyes for the first time, she flinched.

Nyra blinked when he laughed, "Well, maybe that is why he has some on hand, Rayan always had ways to get information out of people. I can't really tell you much about it, I refused to use it back when I had the hospital," he turned back to her, and smiled, but Nyra frowned at that. She watched as Aelius said, "On that note, I am probably going to get some sleep, see you later, Nyra. Let me know if Keren changes." Nyra watched as he stood up, and walked into his room, closing and locking the door behind him.

She sighed, and left the infirmary, when she got back to Keren's room, she saw Marn and Keren playing a card game, to which Keren was understandably losing. He huffed when she walked in, and Marn laughed. Keren grunted, "I don't think this is fair considering I'm concussed."

"You're doing fine for a concussed person." Marn joked, Nyra sat down on the edge of Keren's bed.

Nyra mused, "What are you guys even playing?"

"War." Keren and Marn both said, and Marn asked, "Wanna play after this round?"

"I'm not really a cards person." Nyra laughed, and waved her hands

Keren snorted, "Yeah you're more of a chess person, aren't you?" He asked.

Nyra narrowed her eyes, "Just because I beat you once at chess doesn't make me a chess player. It's just about stradegy." She grumbled.

Keren shook his head, and said, "Marn, I look away from the board for one second, and she has me in checkmate when I turn back!" Keren waved his arms, "I just don't understand the concept of chess I guess."

"We could always go another round." Nyra joked, and Keren shook his head.

"I'd rather see you go toe to toe with Aelius or James with chess." Keren mumbled.

Marn laughed, and Nyra asked, "Do they even play chess?"

"Oh yeah, and they're both extremely brutal, trust me." Marn laughed.

Nyra started to laugh, but stopped, "Marn," she mused, Marn turned to her, his eyes widening, and she said, "I went to ask Aelius what that stuff was, and..." Nyra faltered, then continued, "He was dozing off."

"He was? So?" Marn asked curiously.

"Marn, he's your brother, he hasn't been getting sleep." Nyra said quickly, to which Keren sat up a bit. Marn leaned back, and frowned at Nyra.

"I've been worried about Aelius long before this, Nyra." He said gently.

"Why didn't you do anything?" Nyra asked.

"What could I do, Nyra? He's as stubborn as a wall!" Marn growled, and brought both hands to his head, "He won't ever talk about what keeps him awake at night, as if I need to ask." He pointed out, and looked up at the ceiling.

Keren frowned, "Well, if he won't talk about it, no wonder it's keeping him up at night," he murmured, Nyra and Marn looked up at him, "If something is bugging you and you keep it inside, it's like a ticking time bomb, all that internal energy just disrupts sleep." He said.

Marn laughed, "Wow, where'd you learn that?"

"I keep telling you, I'm the master of sleep!" Keren laughed, and yawned, "Speaking of which, I'm pretty tired myself, no worries, go see him." He said, and turned away from them, Marn sighed.

"I'll call Mara, tell her to keep an eye on you." Marn murmured, Nyra watched him leave the room to make the call.

Nyra asked Keren, "Do you honestly think that's Aelius's problem?"

Keren didn't look at her, but he nodded, "Well, obviously. I wonder though..." He mused, Nyra tipped her head, and widened her eyes when he murmured, "Something triggered this, figure out what triggered it, he'll have an easier time sleeping."

Nyra turned back when Marn came in, he murmured, "Mara's coming, let's go." Nyra stood up, and followed after him, they passed Mara as she sped walk down the hallway. Mara murmured as she past them, "We can destroy that thing."

Marn and Nyra stopped, and turned to her curiously, she twirled her wrench in her hands, and laughed, "Now all we need is to bait it."

"Keren won't be able to fly it though." Marn murmured, Nyra eyed him, and frowned. 

Mara narrowed her eyes, "You going to do it?" She asked.

"I've had more flying time then he has, I'm not foolish when it comes to flying," Marn growled defensively. Mara only shook her head, and Marn sighed, "That's going to have to wait anyways, I need to talk to Aelius."

"That's going to be hard considering he's not in the infirmary." Mara said coolly.

Nyra raised an eye-brow, and she asked, "He wasn't in his room?"

"No, his room was open, the infirmary was empty, he's probably at the bridge." Mara answered. Nyra saw Marn's expression change from defensiveness to disapproval. Nyra watched as Marn walked away from the two, and Nyra called, "Hey!"

Nyra chased after him, and watched as he threw open the infirmary door, Nyra walked in, and she murmured, "What if he's not at the bridge?"

"This ship is big, he's probably somewhere." Mara said calmly from behind them. Marn nodded rather nervously, but didn't look like he believed it. They all walked out of the infirmary, and to the bridge, Nyra watched Marn sit in his seat rather dejectedly. Nyra sat beside him, and murmured, "We'll find him, Marn."

Marn smiled, "I have no doubt, but, what if he's not on the ship?" He asked quietly.

James looked up, and asked, "Where else would he go? It's not like he knows how to fly."

Marn looked at Nyra, and frowned, Nyra murmured, "Captain Raner does have a point, he can't fly," Nyra's gaze softened when he sighed, and she murmured, "I'll help you find him."

He looked up at that, and said, "Thanks, Nyra, I really appreciate it, like I told you before, Aelius may not look it, he's a bit reckless."

"We need to take care of the Destroyer first, Aelius can wait." James growled. Marn stared at him in disbelief.

Nyra murmured, "If he's on the ship, he'll be fine. If James sends out the alarm, he'll know what's going on." She looked up at Marn, who looked back at her sadly, and he sighed, then nodded at James. James clicked a button on his seat, and said, "This is an alarm to everyone, we're going to be chasing down the Destroyer, and hopefully cripple it enough that it won't do any harm to the solar system, or destroy it entirely, brace yourselves."

He flicked the switch off, and turned back to the wheel, "Let's hope this weapon of yours works, Mara." James said coolly to Mara, who was sitting at the holographic map.

"If it doesn't destroy it, it'll cripple it to no end, we win either way." Mara retorted confidently.

Captain Raner only nodded, and then looked at Marn, "Are you sure you can do this? I don't need you stressing out and making a wrong move." He growled.

Nyra watched Marn stand up, and he murmured, "Give me a bit more credit, James."

Captain Raner sighed, "All right, go get ready then." He waved Marn off, who ran to the Hanger.

Mara grumbled, "He's going to get distracted at the wrong moment."

"I know he is," Captain Raner grumbled, and turned the huge ship, he checked something on a holograph, "It's still in the belt..."

Nyra said, "Neither Keren or Marn can do this, Captain," she looked at him, and asked, "Isn't there another way?"

"Sure, there's plenty of other ways, but this one is the safest way." Captain Raner replied, and smiled eeriely, which caused Nyra to shiver. She watched as Captain Raner moved towards the belt, however, she couldn't see the huge mechanical beast.

Mara mused, "Are you sure it's still there?"

"Yes." Captain Raner said flatly. Nyra and Mara looked at eachother, and frowned.

As they finally reached the belt, Nyra murmured, "Maybe it moved?"

Captain Raner leaned fowards, a look of confusion spreading across his face. "That doesn't make sense." He murmured.

Nyra gasped when Marn's scout ship sped overhead of them, and Mara flinched when the huge beast flew over from behind them, focused on Marn, Captain Raner kicked the lever underneath the wheel, and growled, "Let's finish this."

Captain Raner sruggled to keep up with the creature and Marn both, Nyra watched Marn's skillful flying, Mara raised an eye-brow when the beast suddenly shimmered, and faded away. Marn's ship finally slowed, and floated aimlessly.

"Looks like a cloak." Mara mused.

Captain Raner's eyes widened, and he jumped out of his seat. He grabbed his communicator as he ran out of the bridge, "Marn, get out of there!" He yelled, Nyra stared at Mara, then at the empty pilot's seat.

"What the hell is he doing?" Mara growled.

Nyra bit her lower lip, Marn's ship was flying around in confusion, she gasped when Captain Raner's scout ship sped towards him. The beast appeared behind Marn, getting ready to attack, Mara laughed, "Woah..." when it's entrence point opened wide, showing rows of machinary and sharp like protrusions.

Nyra looked back when Keren stumbled into the room, and landed in the pilot's seat. Nyra jumped up, "Keren, you're in no condition-" She began.

"Doesn't look like I have a choice, do I?" Keren laughed tiredly, and began to lower the ship away from the beast as Captain Raner reached Marn.

Nyra hung onto the edge of her seat, she watched Captain Raner flip and clip his wing onto Marn's and drag him downwards just as the machine lunged. She sat back, and breathed a sigh of relief. Keren murmured, "We're not done yet, Nyra, we still need an opening."

"They're going to get themselves killed." Mara murmured.

Keren brushed the wheel in an attempt to calm himself. Nyra frowned when the beast turned towards them, and began another attack, she felt her heart beat unnaturally fast, Mara finally showed a hint of nervousy. Keren held his head, but they all gasped when Marn and James shot at the creature, diverting it's attention.

Nyra gasped when the holocommunicator of the ship began beeping, Enna clicked it quietly, and Captain James said in an oddly calm voice, "When I tell you to shoot, do it, no matter what."

Nyra watched as the beast tailed Marn and James, who both used feinting tactics to confuse it. Nyra gaped when both men drove speedily towards the ship, with the creature opening it's mouth. Captain Raner's voice hissed, "Now."

Enna growled, "But we'll hit you too."

"That is the idea." Captain Raner said quietly, and the communicator shut off, Enna frowned, and looked at Keren, who stared at the descending beast. Nyra growled, and ran up to him, she smashed her hand on one of the buttons, hoping for any of them to be the right one. Keren gasped when there was a flash of light as a shot headed straight for the beast.

Nyra watched as Marn and Captain Raner nose dived their ships, and the shot went through the machine, causing it to writh a bit.

"James you fool..." Nyra heard Enna laugh quietly.

Mara looked horrified though, the beast finally evened out, it's entrence point blasted open, giving it a much more twisted appearence, Keren leaned against the wheel, and murmured, "Isn't that the stuff of nightmares."

Nyra gasped when it seemed to stare at them angrily, and finally it rushed towards them. Nyra stared it down, as it came closer.

"No!" Enna screamed.

Nyra blinked, and gasped when Marn and Captain Raner sped out from underneath them, and headed straight towards the creature, apparently with the intention of flying into it. Mara murmured, "They're actually going to get themselves killed..."

Nyra wasn't sure what to do, she looked at Keren, who seemed at a lost for words.

Chapter 7

The fear you feel now

Is to warn you of the danger ahead

Nyra exclaimed, "Keren, we need to do something!"

Keren groaned, "What do you want me to do?!"

Nyra looked back at Mara and Enna. Enna had her face in her hands, while Mara seemed to smirk. Nyra turned back to the Destroyer, and she growled, "If they can do it, so can we."

Keren stared up at her, and smiled, "Talk about thinking outside the box, Ny." He laughed, and drove the clutch forwards. They sped towards James and Marn, Mara laughed, "Better get another shot ready."

Keren nodded, and brushed his hand over the button Nyra had pressed, causing it to glow red in colour, he murmured, "It's all charged up."

Mara laughed, while Enna finally smiled, Nyra watched as the Destroyer finally unleashed it's attack, causing James and Marn to feint once again, Keren slammed his hand onto the button as the Destroyer latched onto them. They all lurched forward, and the Destroyer writhed once again. Mara ran up to the window, and said, "Woah, that's some machine..."

Nyra looked around the Destroyer, and she said calmly, "It's a weapon all right," she looked at Enna, "I doubt if it's an actual alien."

Enna sighed in relief, but Keren seemed to be struggling, and he grumbled, "Captain is going to kill me if I don't get us out of here."

Nyra watched the Destroyer crunch down on them hard, but their ship was made of strong stuff. They lurched a bit, Enna whispered, "Our communications are down, it must have hit our tower."

"Do we still have power?" Nyra asked quickly.

Enna nodded, "Yes, I don't know for how long though." She whispered.

Nyra looked at Keren, who seemed to be thinking, she murmured, "Get us into hyperdrive, Keren."

"Here?" Keren whispered, as the power began to go out.

"Yes! Here! Drag it with us if you have to, or do it backwards, we have no time to think about it!" Nyra snapped, clutching the railing. Mara and Enna stared at her, while Keren sighed, "Righto."

She watched as he spun a device by the wheel, causing the ship to groan, he murmured, "We won't get very far like this though."

"It doesn't need to be far, we just need to get out." Nyra growled. Keren looked up, and nodded, "Brace yourselves." He whispered.

He kicked his feet onto the bottom lever, and he murmured, "Better hope this idea works, Nyra, this could wreck the ship, then Captain Raner will have both our heads."

"I have faith in you," Nyra said flatly, which caused Keren to stare at the wheel nervously. The power started flickering, and Nyra pointed out, "Now would be nice, Keren."

Keren finally nodded, and drove the wheel forwards, causing the space ahead and the Destroyer to distort. They stopped a bit aways from the Destroyer, which now looked even more twisted, but wasn't out yet. It's moves became even more erractic, and Mara said, "You must have gotten something important, it's acting strange."

Nyra smiled, and Keren laughed, "That's what you wanted? You didn't want to get away, you wanted to drive it home. You're brutal, Nyra." Nyra looked up when the power finally went out, and she sighed.

"You bought Captain Raner and Marn time, Mara, go see if you can fix it before that thing decides to try again." Nyra said to Mara.

Mara jumped out from her seat, and ran down to try and patch things up, Enna murmured, "We didn't get a lot of damage, at least, not enough for James to have your heads." she laughed.

Keren laughed in relief, and leaned in the Captain's seat, he pumped up his hands, but immediately receeded. He held his head, "I'm still concussed..." He murmured.

Nyra smiled, "You did good, take it easy right now." She said calmly. Keren nodded thankfully, and relaxed in the chair, while Enna fought to bring the power back up. Mara called Nyra's holocommunicator, and reported, "There isn't a lot of damage, this shouldn't take me too long, get ready."

"Gotcha," Nyra replied, and turned off the communicator. She said, "We need to get in contact with Marn and Captain Raner somehow."

Enna nodded, "Leave it to me, I might be able to reroute the tower route, the radio waves might not be accurate, so our connection will be spotty at best." She explained, and turned a couple of dials on her station.

The backup power came on, and Enna spoke into a mic, "Captain? Can you hear me?"

He didn't answer, and Enna continued, Keren had dozed off in the seat, but Nyra left him there. Enna gasped, which caused Nyra to jump, Captain Raner's voice came through the speakers on Enna's station, and he asked, "Who's idea was that?"

Nyra walked up the microphone, and replied, "Mine, sir." She braced herself for a scolding, but she gaped when he started to laugh.

"That was a risky move to take, but damn it worked, now all we need is one last shot in the right place, and that thing won't be able to work anymore, and salvagers can come inspect it safely." Captain Raner reported, Enna smiled at Nyra.

Keren called, "Where is this 'right place' exactly?"

Captain Raner seemed to hesitate, then he said, "Deep inside it, if you can aim correctly in it's... Mouth, to it's core."

Keren bit his lip, and looked at the space ahead, "There's a chance we might not be able to even hit it." He said.

"A chance to destroy it is enough for me," Nyra murmured, "Keren, can you turn us towards the thing?" He nodded, and turned the wheel. They faced the monstrosity, which was currently trying to whip it's tail feebly at Marn and Captain Raner's continued feinting.

Enna pointed out, "It seems worn out enough, we got this."

Nyra nodded at Keren, who moved the ship towards the beast, Enna called, "James is going to see if he can get us an opening."

Keren waved his hand over the red button again, as Marn and Captain Raner attempted to force the beast to look at the ship, to no avail. Nyra clutched the railing, she whispered, "Come on..."

"It's charged, Keren, whenever you're ready." Enna reported.

Nyra gasped when both Marn and James forced the beast upwards with a couple shots, which gave it some fighting spirit, it whipped it's tail, nearly missing James, and clipped Marn's wing. Nyra watched as Marn evened out, and flew away from the beast.

The thing opened it's inner mouth in what resembled annoyance, Keren pressed the button, and they all watched as a white lazer sped towards the beast. The shot dug deep into the beast, and it started to break apart.

It finally stopped, suspended in space. Nyra sighed, and sat down on the floor. The full power finally returned. Captain Raner and Marn finally began towards the ship, Keren got out of the pilots seat, and sat down on the floor as well, lightly setting his head on the floor, he laughed, "That was easy."

Mara finally came back, wiping her head, "I wouldn't call it easy." She grumbled, and sat down.

Time seemed to pass when Captain Raner and Marn walked into the bridge, looking exhausted, Marn laughed airily, "If you hadn't done that, Cap'n, I would have been literal toast."

"I'm sure you'd make tasty toast to that thing." Mara snorted.

Captain Raner returned to his seat, only casting a glance at Keren on the floor, "It doesn't matter, I have to call it in, get some salvagers checking it out." He explained.

"You sure it's... Dead?" Nyra murmured, eyeing the suspended Destroyer. Captain Raner nodded, and finally turned the ship away. They moved away from the belt and headed towards Earth, Keren finally sat up, and took a seat.

"I'm going to go look for Aelius." Marn said coldly. Nyra went to follow him.

Captain Raner murmured quietly, "If he's not on the ship, Marn. I'm not sure what to tell you, it's not likely he flew out."

Marn only nodded, and led Nyra towards the infirmary, Mara hot on their heels. Keren soon caught up with them, and called, "I'll help!"

"You should be lying down." Mara grunted.

"I'll lie down in the infirmary." Keren retorted, and waved her off. They entered the infirmary, Keren jumped into a healing bed, and closed his eyes.

Mara rolled her eyes, and asked, "Maybe he left something in his room? Like a note or something?" Nyra watched as she shuffled through Aelius's desk, Marn peeked into Aelius's room. Nyra followed suit.

Marn shuffled through the bookshelves, while Nyra took in the freakishly organized room, the room was only slightly smaller then Captain Raner's, and had a different feel to it. She got on her hands and knees, and peeked under the bed.

"What are you hoping to find under there?" Marn laughed.

"Anything really." Nyra said calmly, and reached her hand to feel for any objects.

She finally pulled out a hefty book, and a picture frame containing several people, all smiling and laughing, she raised the picture frame, a small necklace fell onto the floor. Nyra examined it curiously, but she blinked when Marn froze up when he saw it.

"Hold on, can I see that?" He asked as calmly as he could.

Nyra passed it to him, and examined the picture frame, she recognized Aelius immediately, but no one else. "Is this the hospital?" Nyra whispered, and looked back at Marn, who was examining the necklace.

"Yeah, Aelius looks tons better there doesn't he? The women beside him," Marn leaned fowards, and pointed, "That's Kara." He explained.

He returned to looking at the necklace, Kara seemed no older than Aelius, she had raven black hair, and green eyes, she looked very happy. Nyra put the picture frame on the bedstand, and looked at the tome.

"Nyra, this necklace is Kara's." Marn whispered, Nyra turned around.

"So?" Nyra asked, and flipped through the pages.

"Aelius would never leave it if he went to go somewhere. It's the last thing he has of her, there's no way he'd leave it behind." Marn whispered.

Nyra murmured, "Mara said there were no signs of a struggle though..."

"You're right," Marn murmured, and looked around the room, "There isn't."

Nyra put the book back under the bed, and looked back up at the picture. She murmured, "He couldn't have gotten far."

Marn only nodded, "See if... See if there is any signs of struggle..." He whispered.

Nyra looked upwards, and reached furthur under the bed, she gasped when a stinging sensation hit her hand. She brought out her hand, which was bleeding lightly. Marn blinked, "What?" He asked.

Nyra slowly reached her hand under the bed again, and pulled out a couple glass shards, she asked coolly, "Is there any reason Aelius would have broken glass under his bed?"

"No?" Marn asked, and took a step towards the bed. Marn went to the end of the bed, and pulled it away from the wall. Nyra flinched when a mirror sneakily leaning against the bedframe fell forwards, causing bits of shattered glass to fall.

Marn murmured, "I doubt he punched his own mirror."

"You doubt? You mean it's possible he might have?" Nyra asked icily.

"He has before," Marn said calmly. He blinked at Nyra's expression, and shrugged, "He gets upset too, but I don't think that's the case this time." He explained.

Nyra looked at the broken pieces of glass, she laughed airily, "That's seven years of bad luck..."

"Old supersitions? I think Aelius got bad luck as soon as he started researching the virus," Marn laughed airily as well, "Anyways, I gotta go tell James, see what else you can find."

Nyra followed him out of Aelius's room, Mara was sitting in Aelius's desk, and she asked, "What'd you guys..." Mara stopped as Marn stalked out of the infirmary, and continued, "Find?"

Nyra held out her hand, Mara and Keren leaned in to take a look, Keren murmured, "Glass?"

"His mirror was broken." Nyra whispered.

"Oh, that's bad luck." Mara laughed.

Nyra blinked when Keren frowned, and he asked, "You sure Aelius didn't do this himself?"

"Marn said he doubted it." Nyra answered, and looked back at the room. Mara and Keren walked into the room, and started tearing things off the shelves.

"Guys!" Nyra snapped.

Keren was staring down at a couple papers, rearranging them, while Mara examined the broken mirror, she reported, "It was shot at."

"What?" Nyra asked, Keren was still staring down at the papers.

"It was shot at, it's hard to notice. If there was a struggle, here's your proof." Mara explained. Nyra eyed the broken mirror, and Nyra asked, "Aelius tried to get out of a hard spot, but accidently shot the mirror? Wouldn't we have heard that?"

"Not unless this happened when we were all at the bridge, maybe he came back, and then whoever did this jumped him." Mara theorised, Nyra nodded, but looked back when Keren's face paled.

"What is it?" She asked.

Keren shuffled the papers at her question, and shoved them back into a book, "Nothing!" He snapped.

Mara laughed, "Woah, Keren, not like you to get snappy."

Nyra reached for the book, but gasped when Keren whacked her over the head with it, she watched as he shoved it deep into the bookcase, and he growled, "Just leave it Nyra."

Nyra stared at him, while Mara asked, "Jesus, what's got you all tense? What was in it?" She took a step forwards, but Keren didn't budge. Mara raised her hands, and said, "Whatever, Keren." Nyra watched as she walked out of the room, Nyra cast one last look at the defensive looking Keren, and followed Mara.

Keren finally followed, Marn had come back, "James gave me the all clear to see if Aelius had gone down to Earth, he has Enna checking the cameras, but nothing is coming up." He murmured.

Nyra watched Keren's expression change, and she whispered, "Keren, what was in that mess of a medical journal?"

Marn looked up curiously, Keren shook his head, "Not saying, I said leave it." He snapped. Nyra blinked, and looked at Marn.

"Come on, you guys wanted to help, Keren, go lie down." Marn ordered, Keren sighed, and left the infirmary. Mara asked, "What should I do?"

"Help Enna with the camera's, see if there's still anything left," Marn murmured, "Me and Nyra are going to go down to Earth."

"What if we don't find him?" Nyra whispered.

Marn went silent at that, then shook his head, "I don't know... If this was Rayan's doing, I'm going to kill him myself." He murmured.

Nyra only nodded, and followed Marn down to the hanger. She murmured, "Keren's been acting oddly ever since he made a mess of Aelius's bookshelves."

"Why, what'd he find?" Marn asked curiously as they entered the hanger, she shrugged.

"He wouldn't say." Nyra mused, she watched as Marn readied a scout ship, Marn sighed, and sat down on the wing.

He mused, "I guess we've all done things we're not proud of, Aelius is no exception, maybe Keren stumbled upon something that both him and Aelius agree is a bad thing." Marn shrugged, and leaped into the ship.

"Aelius has done things he's not proud of? What has he done that he thinks is so bad? Is it the hospital?" Nyra asked, jumping into the ship as well.

Marn clutched the wheel, "Let's leave that for way later, let's just find him." He growled much like Keren did. Nyra nodded, and stared forwards, she thought quietly, What did Aelius do...?

They sped towards Earth, and through the green gates, Marn landed in a grassy clearing, and sat back in his seat, his face in his hands. Nyra murmured, "Why are we just sitting here?"

"I need to think about where he might have gone." Marn answered immediately.

Nyra sat back as well, "Did you land near the hospital?" She asked.

"Yes, the town is a couple miles away." He mused, his eyes closed.

Nyra sighed, "You stay here, I'm going to check the ruins, maybe he went back there after all."

Marn sat up, "Maybe I should come with you." He said quickly, Nyra stopped him though.

"I'll be fine, Marn." She laughed.

Marn frowned, and whispered, "I just... I just don't want you to get caught by Rayan again if he did get Aelius."

She smiled, "I'll be right back, I'll come running if I feel like I'm in trouble, you just try and figure out other places he could have gone." She said calmly, and jumped out of the ship, Marn watched sadly. Nyra ran towards the ruins, and stopped, catching her breath.

Nyra looked around, and walked up the road towards the ruined hospital. She kicked a couple of leftover ruined pieces of the building, and looked around. She sighed, "I guess you're not here..."

"Who's not here?" A voice asked quietly behind her, she jmuped back, and took out her weapon when it was Rayan, who had his arms crossed.

"You!" She hissed.

Rayan raised an eye-brow, "Me what?"

"You took Aelius!?" She snapped.

Nyra watched carefully as he walked up to the hospital, "I did warn him this was going to happen." He murmured coldly.

Nyra didn't relax, and Rayan growled, "I didn't take your doctor, you can relax."

"No way, why are you here?" She snapped.

Rayan looked around, "Take a gander at your surroundings. Nyra, was it?" He mused, Nyra nodded slowly, then looked around at the dying planet.

"I'll give you the same warning that I gave him, do not trust the Galactic Sanctum, don't even help them, Aelius had to learn that the hard way when he was forced to watch his hospital burn to the ground." Rayan hissed, staring down at her.

Nyra growled, "Why do you care? You hate us! You hate James."

"True, James hasn't been my friend for a long time, but don't mistake my hatred for us to have to be enemies, our interests are actually aligned." Rayan grunted, and stared at the ruins.

Nyra pointed out, "You want to bring the Galactic Sanctum down."

"Correct," Rayan said calmly, "But am I really the villan for that? A lot of people have animosity towards the government, history tends to repeat itself like that." He mused in an odd tone.

"You abducted me." Nyra growled, finally relaxing a bit.

Rayan laughed, "If I knew James, he would have jumped at the chance to face me, he's no fool. He knows what the Galactic Sanctum has done. I thought he might be more willing to listen if I had something he cared about."

"What did they do?" Nyra asked quietly.

She blinked when Rayan walked away, and he called, "It's something you learn when you see the truth, much like me, James, and Aelius have." Rayan disappeared into the trees, Nyra stood there in confusion.

She headed back towards Marn's ship, he looked out when she came up, and he called, "Find him?"

"No..." Nyra whispered, and jumped onto the wing. Marn noticed her mood change, and he asked, "What's wrong?"

"It's... It's nothing." She finally affirmed.

Marn blinked, and shrugged, "All right, hold on." He mused. She watched as he fiddled with the communicator, and yelled into it, "Aelius!"

There was no answer, he sighed, and shook his head, he murmured, "Maybe he did punch his mirror."

"Mara says it was shot at." Nyra reported, but that didn't seem to make Marn feel better.

"Shot, punched, who knows." Marn grumbled, his arms crossed. Nyra sighed, and murmured, "We should be getting back, we'll check later."

Marn nodded, and turned on the ship again, Nyra pointed out carefully, "We'll find him, Marn, we'll keep looking, Enna might have an idea on how to track him, does Aelius have any other places he might go to that isn't near here?" She asked.

Marn sat back, and turned the ship off, "I... I guess it's possible he either visited our mother's grave, or... Our old house, but I doubt he'd want to go back there." He said quietly.

Nyra said reassuringly, "We could always see, you never know."

He sighed, then turned the ship on again, Nyra hung tight as he flew into the sky, she looked out the window to the dying planet below them, Marn was adjusting some dials, his face growing more nervous.

"Marn?" Nyra asked.

"It's been a long time since I've been in that house, I'm not exactly estactic to return after all this time." Marn explained.

Nyra watched the move across the horizon, soon they landed in a grassy field leading up to a house, which was surrounded by autumn trees, leaves of every colour littered the ground, it was rather big. She jumped out, and ran up to it curiously. Marn followed more slowly.

Nyra watched as he took out a keychain, and unlocked the door, she pointed out, "If you didn't want to return, why do you still have the key?"

"Just in case." Marn grunted flatly.

Nyra followed him inside the house, the living room was near empty, all but for a lone piano, Marn flinched when he saw it, and continued deeper into the house, Marn led her to two bedrooms, across from what looked like a recreational room.

"Mine is at the end of the hallway, this is Aelius's." He muttered, gently kicking a door in front of him.

Nyra looked around curiously, "Big house." She said.

"My adoptive parents were doctors, like Aelius is, which these days, good ones are hard to find." Marn pointed out.

Nyra opened the door to Aelius's room, Nyra snorted, "Clean, organized."

"Yeah, mine still looks like a tornado went through it." Marn laughed from across the hall.

Nyra turned around when arn walked in, holding a picture frame, "Hey!" He called her over. Nyra leaned in to look at the picture, there were two adults hugging two smiling kids, and she asked, "Is that...?"

"Me and Aelius, plus our parents." Marn said quietly.

Aelius didn't look different from when he was a kid, he looked a bit more lively, but Marn looked very different, he was smaller than Aelius, with messy hair like Keren's and wide eyes and face. Marn joked, "Aelius is a couple years older than me, I wouldn't stay small for long though."

Nyra watched as he took out another picture from his coat, and he laughed, "Can you guess who this is?"

She examined the picture, Marn looked older, while the boy beside him had a mischevious smile on his face, with sharp hazel grey eyes. Nyra gasped, "Is that Captain Raner?!"

"The one and only," Marn laughed, "He looks different doesn't he?"

"Yeah! He actually looks like he's having fun." Nyra murmured, and took the picture from Marn.

"That was before the Fallen latched onto him, he was always a bit snooty sometimes, but he's still a good guy, he rivalled Mara for mischevious ideas back then." Marn said wistfully.

Nyra pocketed the picture, and looked around Aelius's room again, it had a couple pictures, but no one in the pictures she recognized. Marn sighed, "I guess he's not here after all."

Marn looked down at the picture of his adoptive parents again, and Nyra joked, "Aelius gets his looks from your dad."

Marn's dad was a tall man with blackish hair, and deep green eyes, however, the women had a gentle posture, she had a rounded face, with deep brown eyes and shortened brown hair.

"Yet has the attitude of our mom. She was always a gentle person, I wouldn't get on her bad side though." Marn joked back.

Nyra smiled, "You look like her though, it's hard to believe you were adopted." She said quietly.

"I was, I was very lucky to be adopted by them, they treated us right," Marn said, Nyra blinked when Marn's eyes started watering, and he said quickly, "Come on, Aelius isn't here."

Nyra stifled a laugh when he stalked out of the room, she stopped by a picture. She examiend it, she recognized Aelius again, but something about him was off, he looked a lot like James, as if something was draining him emotinally and mentally, he had a stiff posture, and had the same look Captain Raner usually had.

She dropped the picture with a sickening crack, Marn came running in, and asked, "Are you okay?"

Nyra held her head, and she murmured, "I'm fine, the picture kind of freaked me out I guess..."

Marn took a closer look at the picture, a look of confusion spreading across his face, "Huh, never seen this one. Come on, you look tired."

Nyra nodded, and allowed herself to be led out of the house, Marn helped her into the ship, and jumped in himself.

"We'll see if Enna caught anything on the camera's, or any news of Aelius." Marn said as he flew upwards into the sky.


They reached the hanger, where Mara was waiting. Marn landed the ship, and turned it off, Mara jumped into the engine, and laughed, "It's all clear for once."

"Give me some more credit Mara." Marn joked.

"Anyways, we have trouble on the bridge, Rayan showed up." Mara said from the engine.

Marn rolled his eyes, "What does he want?" He asked darkly. Nyra shivered.

"No idea, better go see, I'm surprised Captain Raner didn't punch him." Mara mumbled, Nyra followed Marn to the bridge hurriedly.

Rayan and Captain Raner were arguing, while Enna was lightly banging her head on the station.

"I'm not asking you to trust me, I'm asking you if you want to find Doctor Matthey or not." Rayan growled, his arms crossed.

Captain Raner pointed out harshly, "That leads to having to trust you, you say you have something that'll uncorrupt our communications, but I find that hard to believe."

Nyra walked up to Captain Raner, but flinched when he pushed her away with his hand, she huffed, and Rayan brought out a small chip, he grumbled, "This will strengthen the communications, and find any corrupted data, you don't have a choice."

"Awfully convenient." Marn growled, and took a step forward.

Rayan eyed Marn, "Convenient or not, say I was involved in Doctor Matthey's disappearence," he looked back at Captain Raner, "I'm no fool, and neither are you. You don't trust the Galactic Sanctum no more than you trust me, there is a lot of people who feel animosty towards-" Rayan stopped when Captain Raner pushed him.

"Not here you fool!" Captain Raner snapped.

It went quiet, Nyra looked at Enna, who looked surprised at Captain Raner's outburst. Captain Raner sighed, and held out his hand, Rayan dropped the chip in his hand, and took something else out of his pocket.

Captain Raner hissed, "Why do you have that blasted liquid?"

Rayan murmured, "I may know something, I may not."

Nyra asked, "What's that?"

Rayan considered her, and went to pass her it, Captain Raner shielded her though, and he growled, "That'll hurt you, Nyra."

"I don't care, he's making it sound like it could help us find Aelius." Nyra said, stepping out of Captain Raner's shadow.

Rayan passed her it, and she looked into it, when nothing happened, she blinked.

"Be careful, Nyra." Enna whispered.

She took a sniff, and flinched when images filled her head, she went to drop it, but Rayan took it from her swiftly, Captain Raner rubbed his face, and glared at Rayan. "I only have the gas form of this... This thing, this terrible instrument of our galaxy." Rayan said icily.

"Where the hell did you get the liquid then?" Captain Raner asked.

"As you said, here is not the best place to talk about it." Rayan grumbled.

Captain Raner looked at them all, and sighed, "Fine, let's go to the infirmary, you guys stay here, don't follow, it's best you don't hear this."

Nyra watched them leave, and stared into space in shock. Enna asked quietly, "What happened?"

"I... For a second I thought I was dreaming again." Nyra whispered quietly, clutching her arms. Marn frowned.

He whispered, "We got to find Aelius."

"Captain Raner will get what Rayan knows, he has his ways too." Enna whispered darkly.

Nyra murmured, "I don't think he'll need to force it, Rayan sounded like he was willing to give the information.

Marn grunted, "Like I said, that's awfully convenient of him."

Enna looked up, "Not unless Rayan knew something and he knew it could cause more trouble than it was worth to keep a secret or be involved with himself," she murmured, "Or even something that crossed his own morals, little as they are." Enna pointed out.

Rayan's words played in Nyra's head over and over, Am I really the villan for that? She shook her head, and looked at them all. Captain Raner finally returned, and sat in the captain's seat. His face was shocked though. Enna asked, "What is it?"

"We'll worry about that later, Rayan couldn't give me much, but he gave me enough," Captain Raner grumbled, he took out the chip, and eyed it carefully, he finally laughed, "Rayan may not be a trustworthy character, but he knows how to choose his words."

He passed the chip to Enna, and said, "Tell me what coordinates show up."

Enna nodded, and placed it in the data drive, they all waited. Enna murmured, "They're from Earth, James..."

"Excellent, Nyra and Marn, you guys are going to go get Aelius," he stopped, and sighed, "Just don't ask too many questions once you reach that place, go in as deep as you can, and get him out, no matter what, this could be dangerous."

Marn asked, "Where exactly are we going?"

"The place of nightmares." Captain Raner said, Nyra wondered if he was kidding, but he didn't sound like he was. Marn laughed airly.

Captain Raner adjusted his route around Earth, and he growled, "Marn, I don't care how this place might make you feel in the end, you get Aelius out, no funny business."

Marn blinked, and looked at Nyra, who shrugged, Marn yawned, "Can we get some sleep then?"

Nyra noticed Captain's Raners hands clutch the wheel, and he nodded without saying a word. She watched Marn leave, and she asked, "What did Rayan say?"

"The same thing he usually does, don't trust the Galactic Sanctum." Captain Raner said calmly.

Enna laughed, "I feel like you're not sharing the whole thing."

Captain Raner seemed to smile, "This generation has gone to horrible lengths just to set themselves on the galactic stage, to bring peace," he whispered quietly. Enna frowned, and turned back, he said, "You better go get rest, Nyra, you're going to need it."

Nyra nodded, and walked out. Keren was laying down on the couch when she reached the crew rooms. He sat up quickly when she walked in, and he said, "Marn told me you guys were going to rescue Aelius."

"Yeah, what-" She gasped when he jumped up, and said in a nervous tone, "You'll be careful right? You can't let whatever you see get to you."

"Woah, Keren, are you all right?" Nyra asked.

"Apart from being concussed, yeah, I'm fine." Keren answered, and laid back down.

Nyra raised an eye-brow, and shook her head, "I'm going to go sleep, let me know if anything comes up." She murmured tiredly, and walked down to her room. Keren gave a thumbs up, and dozed off himself.

She fell asleep, and had a nightmare, shadowed people were leaning over a creature curiously, but the creature seemed to be in pain, one of the shadowed people sighed, and snapped to another shadow, "Stop! Stop it! It's enough!"

The shadowed person walked over to something, but the whole area was blurry, Nyra couldn't pick out anything. It was weird, she could see the shadowed people's eyes clear enough, the shadow that walked away had bright green eyes, That could be because everything is a shadow and this is a dream, Nyra thought with a laugh.

The shadow that had the outburst seemed to be breaking apart mentally, she wanted to reach out to them, but she couldn't move, she started getting anxious when the bright eyed shadow turned to her.

Nyra sat up with a gasp, and looked around her room hurriedly, and she mumbled, "What the hell is in that liquid...?"

She looked up when Mara walked in, and she asked, "You okay? I heard you panting from through the wall."

"Fine, a nightmare." Nyra sighed, and leaned back, Mara murmured, "It was that... That stuff wasn't it?"

"Nightmare inducing liquid..." Nyra murmured, and sat up again, "Is that even possible, Mara?"

Mara sat down on the edge of the bed thoughtfully, and murmured, "Well, humankind has come a long way in all sorts. I'm curious about the liquid, but at the same time, I wouldn't want to touch it with a ten foot pole."

"What is it in simplest terms?" Nyra asked curiously.

"A... A hallucinogen of some sorts you could say, I guess, plays on our subconcious fears, and our terrible memories, kind of like the Fallen, but a lot more acute and specific on what it wants to forcce to the surface." Mara murmured, and shrugged.

Nyra watched as Mara walked out of the room, her face thoughtful, Mara closed the door behind her, and Nyra stared up at the roof. She sighed, and rolled over to face the wall, soon falling asleep again.

She was woken up what felt like seconds later to Marn knocking on her door, he said quietly, "Come on, it's time to go."

Nyra sat up, and changed into better clothes, she grabbed her weapon, and walked out.

Marn was waiting by the door, and he murmured, "Something about this is already giving me the creeps, if it makes Captain Raner nervous, it scares me."

Nyra laughed, "Come on, scaredy cat, let's go save your brother in whatever mess he got himself in."

Marn nodded, and led the way back down to the hanger, where Captain Raner was waiting. Nyra asked, "Are you coming with us?"

"No." He said flatly, and stopped Nyra before she could enter the ship with Marn, "Do me a favour, Nyra, do not break, whatever you do, whatever you may see, don't crack to it, don't waver, and don't forget why you're there," he murmured, "Aelius is going to need you both to stay together."

Nyra nodded determinedly, and Captain Raner stepped aside as she jumped into the cockpit with Marn, Enna called, "Stay safe you two!"

Marn gave her a thumbs up, and flew out of the hanger, Nyra murmured, "Captain Raner told me not to break or waver when we go there."

"Odd..." Marn murmured as they sped back towards Earth.

Nyra clutched the edge of her seat, a feeling of dread growing in her stomach, and she whispered, "What has got Captain Raner so nervous?"

"No idea, Nyra," Marn sighed, they passed the yellowed gates, and when they passed them, they closed for the night. Marn landed, and sighed, "Give me a minute."

"For what? Readying yourself?" Nyra asked.

"Yeah." Marn mumbled.

Nyra readied herself too, she shuffled in her seat, brushing the edges of it for some sort of comfort. Marn finally nodded, "All right, ready?" He asked.

"I'm ready." Nyra whispered quietly, they both jumped out of the ship at the same time. She blinked when Marn brought out the chip, and he murmured, "Captain Raner said we're going to need this."

Nyra nodded, and followed him down a beaten road, deep into a dying forest. They finally reached an abandoned building, she murmured, "Wait, this place was in that picture of Aelius's."

"Yeah, odd..." Marn looked around curiously, and slowly knocked on the huge door, there was no answer, so he just pushed it with a nervous creak. It was very dark, they both took out flashlights, Marn murmured, "I'm going to see if there's a light."

Nyra watched him descend into the darkness, she looked around more, there was littered pieces of glass everywhere, and she asked, "How deep does this place go?"

"No idea!" Marn called, soon, the lights turned on, and Marn came running back.

It looked like some sort of labratory, Nyra frowned, but Marn didn't seem put off, "Bunch of these lab's around, a lot of doctors were involved with trying to figure out the virus like Aelius was, but the Galactic Sanctum put a stop to it, as far as I know, Aelius was the only one that ever really continued to do so after it was shut down..." Marn mused.

"Why would the chip lead us here though?" Nyra asked, poking a table with her weapon.

"Maybe Rayan thought it'd tell us where Aelius is." Marn murmured as he looked around. Nyra took a step back with how big the building must have been, and she murmured, "Come on, let's start looking, and stick together."

Marn nodded, and followed her lead, there were papers scattered around. Nyra picked a few up, and she murmured, "You were right, it does seem that this place was for researching the virus, except..."

She looked at the paper's more closely, and she murmured, "It kind of seems like they're written in code..."

Marn leaned forward, and he blinked, "That's Aelius's handwriting."

Nyra gasped, and looked back at the paper, she murmured, "It's like he's trying to put something else in the research, I can't figure out the code though, I'm not a doctor, I can't figure out all these terms, they're kind of used spastically, and some things don't even have anything to do with the virus..."

Marn took the paper from her, and shrugged, "No idea, not a doctor..." He laughed, and put the papers on the table, "Must be a while ago, maybe it isn't relevant anymore."

Nyra nodded, and followed Marn away from the scattered papers, as they walked down a hallway, Nyra murmured, "Looks like they all left in a hurry."

"The Galactic Sanctum doesn't mess around." Marn pointed out.

Nyra watched him walk into a room, and she examined the hallway. She sighed, but gasped when her feet fell from under her, and she rolled down into the darkness. She sat up suddenly, and looked upwards, but there was no point of exit.

She took out her flashlight, there was a hallway leading to a rather large room with another large door on the side, she walked down the hallway, trying all the doors, but they were all locked. Nyra growled, and kicked one, she gasped when it came off it's hinges, and she fell forwards into the room, a shadowed person jumped up, ready to fight.

"Woah! Woah! I'm friendly!" Nyra gasped, waving her hands spastically.

"Nyra? Is that you?" The person asked.

Nyra blinked, and took out her flashlight, she gaped when it was Aelius, who looked more terrible than when she last saw him, "Aelius?" She asked quietly, he flinched away from the light, the shadows under his eyes were more prominant than before, and he was visibly shaking, she laughed, "We found you!"

"How did you find me?" He asked in an odd tone, which caused Nyra to take a step back.

"Rayan gave Captain Raner a chip, said it'd help find you." Nyra answered.

Aelius narrowed his eyes, he murmured quietly, "Odd, Rayan was the one who helped put me in here in the first place."

"It's a trap?" Nyra asked, but Aelius shook his head.

"Traps aren't really Rayan's style, he meant to help, but I don't see why," Aelius grumbled, than looked around quickly, "You need to get out of here if that's the case."

Nyra gaped at Aelius, who stared at her as if she was a stranger, she growled, "Oh hell no, me and Marn have been looking everywhere for you! He's been worrying sick about you!"

"You both need to leave then, it's not safe here." Aelius growled.

Nyra groaned, "If I have to drag you out of here, I will!" She snapped, she watched as Aelius brought out his spear, and laid it across his lap.

"Try me, Nyra." Aelius growled, Nyra scoffed.

"Aelius, you don't exactly look like you have the strength right now," Nyra pointed out calmly, but gasped when Aelius stood up quickly, and pushed her out of the room harshly. She narrowed her eyes when he looked like he was about to pass out, but he didn't falter from his stance, Nyra whispered, "What... What did they do to you?"

Nyra pushed her way back into the room with ease, causing Aelius to take a few steps back towards the wall. He sat back down, and stared up at Nyra.

"Marn's your little brother, are you really going to do this to him?" Nyra hissed, bringing out her weapon.

"I'm doing this to protect you both, now you need to leave." He snapped.

Nyra narrowed her eyes, and said, "If I have to fight you to force you out, then I will," she readied her weapon the brace still on the blade, and she whispered, "Don't force my hand Aelius."

She flinched when Aelius pushed her down forcefully, the pictures Marn had her hold onto before they left spilled out onto the stone floor, some of the frames shattered, and Aelius stared down at them, Nyra snapped, "Honestly! You're worse than Marn!"

Nyra picked up the picture with Marn and Captain Raner, while Aelius sat down and picked up the family picture, he asked, "How'd you two get this? How...?"

"We went into your house looking for your sorry hide, Marn thought it was the last place you'd go, we had to check for you there," she snapped, Aelius pushed the picture back towards her, and Nyra snatched it up, pocketing it again, she growled, "Get a hold of yourself, Aelius, who did this? Was it the insurgents?"

"I don't think so, and if it was, they're just doing a job, like Rayan was apparently." Aelius said in a calm tone, he then repeated, "It doesn't matter who did this, you need to get Marn and leave, it's not safe, and I'm not letting you wait around to find out who these people are, you're putting yourself and Marn in danger."

Nyra snapped, "You're the only family Marn's ever had, and he's the only family you have left! Why are you doing this, he's your little brother! Do you want him to worry? Do you want him to feel like he's lost his whole family for the second time?!" She asked, her voice raising with each question.

"I'm trying to protect you both! But you're not listening! You both need to get out of here before you both get caught, the more you stay here the less chance you can leave!" Aelius retorted back, and began to stand up, but his strength failed him again, and he didn't move an inch forwards. Nyra felt a pang of sadness cross her, it hurt to see Aelius so broken and beaten.

Nyra readied her weapon again, and growled determinedly, "I told you that if I had to fight you to leave, then I will, don't think I won't." She looked closely at him for any hint of movement, but there was none.

Nyra murmured, "You lied about the liquid, didn't you?"

Aelius looked up at her, and mumbled, "Yes, and no. I don't know too much about it, I know it's used as a torture device, a very acute one. That's what happens when you delve too deep into medicine, you find things that were probably left unfound."

Nyra scoffed, "More reason to get you out of here, what if they use it on you?" She asked curiously.

Aelius eyes flashed, and Nyra felt a twinge of fear, there was anger in his eyes, which seemed unnatural for him, Nyra didn't back down though. He was still shaking, I'm starting to think it's not from anger... It kind of seems like it's from fear... But what is he afraid of? She thought quietly, she gasped when Aelius threw his spear past her, which caused her to jump out of the room, and into the hallway.

Aelius followed her out, and he growled, "Fine, then if I have to fight you for you to leave, then so be it Nyra." He grabbed the spear from the wall. Nyra ran to the big area, and flicked on a light, bathing the place in eerie white light. Aelius looked worse in the light then he did in the darkness. He looked like he was breaking apart, but there was an odd fire in his eyes, and he readied himself.

Nyra swiped her blade for his legs, but she gasped when he jumped quickly, and rolled behind her. They traded blow after blow, Aelius had the upper hand even in his weakened state, when Aelius whacked her arm with the blunt end of his spear, she was forced to roll away.

As Aelius rushed towards her, Nyra twirled her weapon, she gasped when Aelius seemed to smile as if he was expecting this move, she flinched when he shoved his spear through the hilt. Nyra pulled for control of her weapon, but Aelius was faster, he forced her to let go, and threw her weapon away from them both.

Nyra snarled, and felt her heart began to beat unnaturally fast, as if she was in real danger with Aelius, she brought both hands up, and latched onto the spear as well. Aelius and her grappled for control of the weapon, she felt her head start to pound, and she snapped much like the shadow in her dream, tears beginning to well in her eyes, "Stop! Stop it!"

Aelius hesitated, but that hesitation cost him, she brought the spear down forcefully, dragging them both with it. She kept her hands on the spear, and growled, "If you don't back away from the blade, I won't either, then neither of us will be leaving, so either you let go, or I'll make you let go."

Aelius stared at her in shock, and she finally calmed herself, "Marn would never forgive me if I just left you here." Nyra pointed out dangerously.

"He's pretty forgiving," Aelius said with a nervous edge in his voice, "You don't understand Nyra, these people want information."

"What information do you have that they could possibly want?" Nyra asked darkly.

"On the virus." Aelius said simply, not releasing his grip on the spear, Nyra only clutched it tighter.

Nyra growled, "Oh for, I don't care, Captain Raner told me not to crack, why are you?!" She yelled.

"Nyra, shh." Aelius whispered, Nyra finally stopped, and listened carefully. There was no noise, but the lights started flickering, which caused Aelius to flinch.

She finally let go of the spear, and Aelius sheathed it, "I'm warning you for the last time, Nyra, you and Marn need to get out of here." He whispered in a more urgent tone instead of an angry one. Nyra ignored him, and grabbed her weapon. She readied herself for dragging him out of there forcefully, but the lights fully went out.

"What's going on?" Nyra asked, and finally put her weapon away.

She gasped when someone caught her from behind, and blindfolded her, and the person said in a cold tone that sounded oddly like Rayan's, "Sorry, sweetheart, no hard feelings."

Nyra wanted to call for Aelius, but her voice failed her, and could only allow herself to be led deeper into the building, she thought, This has to be a nightmare... Not only did I get caught again... Aelius... What's wrong with him? Why is he acting like this?


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