Ketta Terace: Chapter 3

 

The Prisoner writhed in the mud. The Bolmorrean plummeted towards her. Four fists impacted the ground, followed by the massive weight of the zombified being crashing into the earth in a wave of mud and clumps of grass. She rolled, pushing with her legs and arching backwards down the hill just on the edge of the flying debris. Multiple streaks of lightning broke across the sky as she found her feet. Through the rain she skidded to a halt, her eyes trained up through the flying mud at the impact crater. In the flashes she saw the creature pushing forward again, one crazed eye still locked on her. She raised her pistol, mud and grime dripping from it in a thick layer. She pulled the trigger.

Nothing

She cursed, fretting over the weapon, trying to knock as much of the grime out as she could. The mud had entered into the broken panel among exposed wires. The Bolmorrean lowered its body and pushed off toward her. Repeated curses flew from the prisoner as she dug out the muck with her fingers. The small blue light of the battery pack shone through the side panel illuminating exposed wires looped inside. Although the prisoner was not mechanically inclined, she had spent enough time around weapons. One of those wires controlled the limiter relay, the hardware that sent out the right voltage from the battery to the core shear, which measured out the precise raw material that was amplified into plasma. Still, her knowledge in this situation came down to a choice of wires to pull. The hope was that the sudden open gate surge to the shaver would hit the core before the malfunction-inhibitor broke the gun resulting in an indulgence of core energy into a single unstable bolt of plasma: an overcharge.

Cakes of earth sprayed behind the Bolmorrean’s feet as they tore up the earth. Four arms pumped together and propelled great weight like a locomotive; the human in his sights was nothing but a small shape to the raving and clouded mind of the beast. She leveled the pistol, one index finger looped around the trigger, the other around a wire in the exposed panel of the device. Her eyes trained through the rain. Her hands steadied. The creature approached. She pulled the trigger and tore out a wire.

Radiance expanded within the casing and at the edge of the barrel. The grassy, muddy hill was bathed in a new light. Shadows of the raindrops crossed over the figures and made the blue world speckled in black dots. The weapon shuddered as the shot released, mud and caked grime burned or flew off in all lateral directions as a latent energy bloated within the gun and cracked the casings. The pistol exploded in blinding heat. From the explosion an amplified trail of plasma tore through space, drops of rain obliterated into hissing steam as it coursed across the plain towards its target.

The afflicted Bolmorrean, his one good eye still trained on her went suddenly smaller as the iris reacted to the explosion and the forthcoming bolt of plasma. He did not show any sign of self preservation. He did not dodge. He did not cower.

The fired bolt sped up to meet him and impacted between the eyes right where his pachyderm trunk met skull. The roaring heat and energy melded into his skull and the marrow beneath. Flesh was flayed from the area and all was driven from the cavity within. From each passageway to the cranium, an explosion of blue was soon followed by fluttering orange flame and black smoke. The weight of his charge still carried through a step or two before his legs gave way and he crashed to the ground and planted into the mud.

She threw down the burning weapon and turned from the heat, but too late. Her gun and hand had broken apart as coils of electric energy wound up through her arm. There was disbelief before true pain set in. She cried out and fell to her knees, clutching what remained from the numbness of her limb. Loud and long her curses filled the rain as she let the water run over her. It was too much and consciousness escaped her.

...

When she awoke there was no rain, no sun, only the intense darkness of the sky above. Her hand and arm knew only pain, a sickening pain. Still, it was manageable. She looked at the results. Half of her hand was gone and cauterized by the intense heat. Trails of deep burns in the skin spiraled around her forearm. It seemed that the jacket had protected her, it was a thick material and the outside was wet, but she could feel burns or shrapnel in her neck and face.

Getting to her feet, she clutched her arm against her chest, trying not to look at or feel its deformity. She shuffled through the slick earth towards the Bolmorrean as an icy wind crossed the dark hillside. She swayed in its force.

The being was unmoving, face down in the muck and flayed out. With her good hand she tried to pick through its pockets. There wasn’t much left of his ragged clothing to begin with, but her mind ran through the checklist of survival even as great fear boomed around the one bit of order that remained in her mind. She found nothing that could better her situation.

It was then that her gaze fell on the great wound on the Bolmorrean’s side. Their fight had brought them away from the landing pad floodlights and it now only looked like a large dark space. She checked her pocket for the torch and illuminated it. Directing the light she saw that the green translucent skin had overtaken a far greater area. The parts of the Bolmorrean that were covered in the spreading infection seemed to be a second dermis, hard and strong. Still, she wasn’t about to touch it. And then before her eyes she saw that there were things moving within. Beneath the second skin where the wound had been created, she could see bubbles traveling about the pockets of green. She recoiled, feeling even more sick than before. She wondered how a plant could have done this.

Her situation was bad. Trapped on an unknown planet, down a good hand, no weapon, and only a cryptic message to possible safety. Part of her wanted to wait for another drop ship, but in all likelihood, what she had said to the Bolmorrean (before he went feral) was right. If she was seen by the Skivri, they would probably try to kill her. There was always the chance that she could team up with whatever poor soul they decided to drop here, but in her condition, she was dead weight to anyone with sense...except as food.

The thought of food had graced her mind, but between all that had happened, she wasn't hungry. The only chance that she had, the only hope that existed was to follow what the graffiti said. Follow the green-yellow lights, find where the prisoners had made their stand. Hopefully they wouldn't all have crossed the same plant that the Bolmorrean had.

And so, she started walking over the muddy grade and towards the strange formations that lurked, brooding in the dark distance.

 

By Jason Pratley

Jason Pratley joined the team sometime in 2013 when he created the concepts for the gods of ODR. He has since become the Writing Director and de facto loremaster for DDG. Check out some other stories and content at jvfpp.wordpress.com and goodevilcomic.com