#602 was waiting in the pod room, hoping she wasn’t acting suspicious. It was normal for researchers to wait for whoever came next to take them for experiments, but when you try your hardest to look normal you become paranoid over it. Which is why it was a great relief to see the machinery start to drain one of the pods, and when the fluid was half-gone, #539’s eyes lit up with an amber glow. As nonchalantly as she could, Jayren walked over to the pod with two black lenses for Drakian to hide his energy.
“Hi, are you free?” She asked as she discreetly handed over the lenses.
“Possibly,” an almost robotic voice responded – the default, neutral, setting on the voice box. The gray bent down to change that, while simultaneously putting lenses on top of his big eyes. “Okay…” he started as if testing the voice box, while asking telepathically if the lenses were in properly. Getting an affirmative answer, he continued. “That’s better, now what is it you need?”
Perfect, he’s playing along well, Jayren thought to herself as they left the pod room and started walking down the hallway. “I wanted to do some work with the dimension nullifiers, and I’d love a little hand with them.”
“Sure, but it sounds like it may take a bit. I have to quickly check up on the project surveillance, so you go ahead and-”
“-and I can help you!” Both of them froze as they looked at the speaker, gray #291 “I’m free right now, and I’m still n- ekhm… Inexperienced with the nullifiers, so I could learn while helping”
Jayren didn’t know what to say. Their pretend conversations were supposed to give them a believable cover-up, but they weren’t thought out to be listened to in real time – they assumed everyone would be too busy with their own research to eavesdrop on conversation. She wanted to ask Drakian what to do but he answered the question before she even got a chance to ask it. “Oh, great, go with her then,” he said as Jayren stared at him with terror she couldn’t show. What are you doing?!
Relax, I’ll play the recording normally so whatever you do or say won’t appear on it, try your best to not have him suspect anything, we can try again as much as we want. “Have fun you two!” He finished as he entered the nearest room, leaving the two of them alone.
“So, shall we get going?” #291 spoke, breaking the silence.
“Oh yes, sorry, got lost in thought,” #602 continued down the hallway, thinking about what best to do. “You go ahead and enter I’ll be there in a moment,” she said as they passed the breakroom. He nodded and continued forward as she went through the doorway. She had no reason to be here, but it was the best excuse she could come up with. On the recording there was a pause between them entering the imprisonment room, and she had to take it into consideration, counting to 120 in her head. When that counter was nearly up, she left the room and went straight towards her destination. Reaching 0 as she passed the entrance.
“Isn’t this supposed to be lit up?” Was the first thing she heard, right as the doors closed behind her. Oh no. Oh no no no no no. She was starting to panic, hoping that she could talk him out of thinking too much about it.
“Not all of them are filled, we still are waiting for any future catches.” She found that believable enough, and hoped the other researcher would too.
“Yes, but too many are empty. I guess light inside means it’s occupied, right?” He was walking around the pillars on top of which stood the mechanical cylinders, with hundreds of tiny pipes, cables and rotors on the sides of each one. “At least it would only make sense so. But then where are the missing two?” He turned around to face her, as if he knew she had an answer.
“Maybe someone took them for tests, we do that sometimes,” she watched as he turned around, considering the option. He started looking at the empty pods for any notes or other means of mentioning that someone may have borrowed the contents of one of the cylinders. Knowing he wouldn’t find anything, and that she’s out of excuses, Jayren bent down to open the nearest pillar. Each of them had a tube within them, connected to the bottom of the cylinder that stood on top of them. They ended with a metallic, claw-like structure which acted as a two-way port to access the prisons and their content.
“Shouldn’t they make it quite obvious that they take something though? Like a-” #291s sentence was cut short as he felt metal cling to the back of his skull.
“Sorry, new guy. I didn’t want to do this,” Jayren pressed the activation button, and the claw came to life, causing the unwanted visitor’s body to fall to the floor. As he laid there, one of the pincers shined with a bright aqua aura, while the other had thin, white, silky threads weaving from the head to the claw. The entire process was silent and, despite being incredibly bright up-close, didn’t produce significant levels of light. As the machine did its job, Jayren looked around for some glass to blacken and mold into a pair of lenses for whoever she just pulled out.
“What is this place?” The voice was much louder than the voice boxes should allow for, it wasn’t in full force yet, but it was distinguishable.
“Confinement laboratory on the Acro Space Station,” she turned around just in time to see #291 stand up and take off the claw as if it was some sort of a hat. The tube retracted back into the pillar, closing it off as the gray with now glowing eyes scanned his surroundings. “Put these on, I need to get rid of a host and then can explain more,” she handed him the lenses and hunched down near one of the empty cylinders to connect herself to its claw. This time, as she laid lifelessly on the floor, only the white threads were visible, with Jayren holding her energy back to not get accidentally sucked in. After it was done, her eyes came alive again, as did the light within the prison she just filled with a random, innocent spirit. “Before you say anything more, keep your voice down. We want to blend in as much as possible. Now, to briefly explain what’s going on,” she quickly summarized what the researchers where doing, why they’re escaping, and that they don’t have much time to talk and have to leave the room on point with the clock. “I know we’ve had our differences in the past, but if you don’t want to be stuck in an inescapable prison, put them aside and let’s work together,” she would’ve held out a hand at this point, but she was pre-occupied with ticking off the daily check on the panel near the entrance. “Now come, I’ll answer more of your questions as we wait for Drakian,” She waited for him to walk closer before opening the door. Remember, discussion on the inside, theater on the outside.
#539 entered the viewing deck, where two grays were already chatting near the glass window. “Oh, six-o-two, how did the thing you needed help with go?” Drakian knew his acting was sub-par, but he didn’t like it when things didn’t go according to plan.
“Good, good. Two hundred ninety one helped out,” #602 spoke, as Jayren chimed in It went horribly, new guy figured out we’ve escaped and I had to exchange him for Syre here. #291 waved with his hand as the three of them turned to look at the window “We were wondering just how many different species there are on this ship.” Whilst in reality we were looking for a place to meet up.
Why not the antique store again? Drakian asked as he joined in the game of pretend. “There aren’t that many of same species, not counting the guards, so I’d say four to five hundred different species.”
“That’s exactly what I said!” #291 spoke up, while Syre talked silently It’s a good spot, but meeting twice in the same place, even with different bodies, could raise suspicion. I propose we just meet up at the end of this hallway and decide where to go afterwards. “But Miss I-don’t-trust-statistics here says it’s too many.”
“I don’t distrust statistics, I distrust the numbers you took out of thin air. I just think this place is much less diverse than it looks at first glance.” We can do that, and what then? We still haven’t really made an escape plan.
We only need to escape this lab, leaving the ship is a minor issue after that. Before Drakian could say anything more, the door to the room sizzled open and #147 came in.
“That’s unusual, normally there is nobody here,” he spoke as he crossed the room to come closer to the group “What’s the discussion about?”
Drakian wanted to speak up, but before he got a chance Syre stepped in. I got this. “We were just talking about the diversity of the spaceship, but you just reminded me of an idea I had. Maybe you can help, see I was wondering if we could use oxygenated graphene sheets to enhance the power output of the dimension nullifiers.”
The newcomer stared at him for a moment before speaking out “They could be great substitutes for current capacitors, but they wouldn’t handle the energies we’re working with.”
“I wasn’t thinking about replacing the current ones, but adding them to increase the output efficiency.”
“But that would disrupt the cores! They are all at the apexes of their inner fields to cancel out the spatial dimensions beneath. They could rapidly re-gain dimensional structure had they had an additional vector act on them.”
“But lining the entire cylinder with layers of it would cause the effects to cancel out from one another, while still increasing the output.”
“That… could actually work. Come with me, we can work on the new prototype of the dimensional nullifier that’s to be put in the entropy nullifier. We can see if they’ll work together,” as abruptly as he came in, #147 left, taking #291 with him. Wait for me at the meeting point. Syre managed to say before the two of them disappeared into the corridor.
After a period of silence, where both of them only stared at the now closed door in confusion, Drakian decided it’s best to say something, even if he did not understand what was said. “It could work…” Is he helping them make better prisons?!
“We’ll see how their tests go.” I have absolutely no idea. But he’s definitely the god of science on Vyarne for a reason. She headed away from the glass, leaving the room with a goodbye. I’ll start the solo recording for you in a moment so you can cover your tracks. When your host is in your prison come to the meeting point, and we can figure out what to do while we wait for him.
He gave her a mental nod, and then counted to 8 before leaving himself, making sure the timing was proper. He proceeded straight to his old prison, connecting the metal claw to his head and letting the white essence flow through it. Before leaving he made a quick check to make sure that nine lights are lit up, and that it’s impossible to tell what exactly is inside. Having that reassurance, he made his way towards the exit pods. He took out his lenses and placed them on top of the machinery, in a move that someone viewing security footage would simply consider as opening the pod by pulling the door at the top, before entering the tube.
As the fluid engulfed the gray body, Drakian could feel himself being dragged by the heavy wiring hidden in the ships walls, back to the pod in Krestean’s bathroom. After the pod doors opened, before he could as much as open his eyes, he felt a muzzle of a gun at his chest. “Out slowly and into the drier,” a deep voice spoke. He obliged, and moved himself, still oozing with goo from the pod, to the full-body drier in the corner.
Before executing the escape plan both he and Jayren convinced their hosts to go out and have some fun, at the same time bringing someone home with them. While he couldn’t outright say who he wants as the replacement host, he tried his best to give Krestean a nudge, which was enough to provide a decently muscled being, with short, gray, black-spotted fur and a very flexible tail. If there was only a single attacker in the room with him, he could probably take them on. But he couldn’t open his eyes to check if there was only one, or if there were more.
“Good,” the voice said when the dryer stopped humming. “Now come out and identify yourself.”
“Can I have my visor first?” Drakian tried to sound as innocent as possible, trying his best to hide his true voice and use the biological strings his form provided.
“So you can call in backup? How dumb do you think we are?!” The aggressor lowered his tone as he spoke to someone else. “Tarnyor pick the visor and see if you can find anything.”
“Yes, sir!” An audibly younger voice said, followed by the sizzle of an opening door.
So there are more of them, Drakian realized, glad he didn’t attempt an attack. “No, I need it to see who I’m talking with.” Keeping his voice seemingly normal was already a feat, having the tone under control was too much.
“Are you mocking me?! We know you’re not blind, so open your eyes and see for yourself you dumb roq,” With a strong swing, the grip of the gun pointed at him a moment ago now slammed into the side of his face. Drakian used the force exerted on him to move closer to the wall and leave his body – hiding his amber energy within the yellow lights that lined the mirror, allowing him to clearly look around the room without being noticed. There were two large hiartels in the bathroom, and another one in the hallway, visible through the still open door.
“Narton! Control yourself.” Shouted one of the figures, coming closer to the body that was lying on the floor. “Just look at this guy,” he continued, gently poking the hunk of lifeless meat with his foot. “You knocked him dead cold, how’re we meant to find anything this way?”
“Relax,” Narton hid his gun in the holster on his belt. “I didn’t hit him that hard, he’ll wake up soon enough,” he knelt down, picking up the being off the ground and throwing it over his shoulder. “C’mon, let’s take him to the interrogation room.” With that, all three moved out, leaving the room in silence.
Within moments of the sound to the apartment exit shutting close, Krestean peeked in through the doorway. “Oh good, not much of a mess,” she said to herself as she came in to close the pod door. Without thinking, Drakian quickly swooped into Krestean’s mind, taking over the control. However as he knew that there won’t be time for any more body switching, he didn’t bother blocking her consciousness, which resulted in confused swarms of thoughts. Why can’t I move my arms? Why are my legs moving? What’s going on?
Nothing you have to worry about. He walked out of the room and started looking through the wardrobes for something to go out in. Got a favorite? He asked, figuring he might as well do one good deed for his host.
Krestean was silent, still processing what was going on, however Drakian could sense a thought in her subconscious, pointing towards the green robe on the left. You’re one of the monsters… Ravik was a puppet to get you out, wasn’t he? But how? How did you make him do it?
You’re working on false assumptions there, Drakian thought calmly as he put on the knee-length robe. I’ve been out for a while now, you even noticed that you felt more tired – it can be a side-effect. Also, “monsters”? We’ve done nothing wrong, you’re the ones trapping us in zero dimensions.
But that’s impossible! How would you have escaped on your own? You can’t even move inside of the dimensional nullifiers, how are you able to even think of an escape plan?
A magician never reveals his tricks. Drakian put on the visor glasses, and as he was about to leave, a thought from Krestean’s subconscious reminded him to put on the sandals. Also call me Drakian if you could. I don’t think you’d like if someone kept calling you a monster, would you?
I guess, she said as he walked out of the apartment, locking the door. But you are monsters. Your energy auras are too powerful and have to be kept in check.
How do you even know how powerful we are? As far as I’m concerned none of your measurement techniques are capable of quantifying it.
And that’s not enough of a reason to want it kept at check?
That’s not enough of a reason to call us monsters. This made Krestean’s thoughts go silent as they navigated the corridors to get out into the main marketplace. As he got closer to the meeting point he waved his arm in the air to grab the attention of two beings that were standing there. One was the body of whoever Jayren put into the prison, meaning the other must have been Syre. The scientist he possessed was a tall, green, insect-like being, with a segmented, ellipsoidal body, out of which 4 long, thin pins came out to act as legs. All of them, as well as the two additional ones that acted as arms, got thinner the further they were from the body, almost up to the point of being sharp. Drakian shared a look with him, both wanting to speak up about the others current forms, but they knew it’s best to not say a word. “Sorry for taking so long, had a little hold-up.”
“Happens to the best of us,” Jayren said as she motioned for them to follow. “S-… Dr. Porstyiz, is kind enough to let us use his ship.”
“Indeed, I’m always willing to help out. It’s right down here,” Syre was playing his role well, taking the lead and guiding them down a flight of stairs and into the humongous docking area at the bottom of the station. He paused for a moment there to sift through his memory in search of where the ship was exactly, before leading them through the parking lot. They stopped near an ovoid, gray and black metal spaceship, which was standing on four legs stretched from its non-existent corners. Syre went up to the side and raised one of his arms. He stood still for a moment, looking at the limb before it suddenly snapped open, the already thin point at the end splitting into four, more finger-like appendages. Syre inserted them into holes at the side of the entrance, which made the back of the ship lower and open up, revealing the interior, as Syre folded back his fingers and passed a message to the others. These feel… almost robotic. So strange…
Eek, who was that?! Krestean’s startled voice sounded in Drakian’s head.
That would be Syre, the green bug. The female is Jayren. I’m not leaving alone you know. He explained as everyone entered the ship. “Need me to steer? I’ve got experience flying,” he asked with a smug smile.
“Be my guest,” Syre responded sarcastically, moving aside to clear the way to the cockpit. Simultaneously, Krestean started getting worried No, stop, this station needs you to operate, you can’t just leave!
Don’t worry, we’re not monsters, he reassured her as he sat comfortably in the control chair and started flipping switches. I saw your calculations, we’ve left six of us in there so that this place doesn’t run out of power. The ship’s engines hummed as the computer sent a request for permission to leave the premise.
“I… didn’t expect you to actually know how to steer this thing,” Syre was pleasantly surprised as he most likely had no idea how to do it himself.
“It comes naturally,” Drakian responded with a smile, as their ship got tugged away to the launching belt. Once we get away from the station you can get rid of the body, I’m sure you hate it just as much as I do, but I’ll steer for now and I need normal hands for that. He passed telepathically to Syre, in the off chance of someone listening in.
They lifted off, navigating out of the local cluster of ships, stations and satellites, orbiting around a mostly blue planet, whose yellow continents were showing from behind the clouds. When enough time has passed so that nothing more appeared on the radar, Syre enveloped his green body with his aqua aura. The shapeless blob rapidly taking form of a serpentine whose long tail started to extend all over the main area of the ship.
“Ahhh” Syre raised the front part of his snake body, making bolts of energy move in a stretch-like manner. “Much better, so now what?”
“Now?” Jayren spoke, taking off her glasses to reveal the eyes that sizzled with black energy. “Now you’re free to go wherever, do whatever. Just stay low so they don’t find you again.”
“Stay low you say? Hmm… they haven’t breached the astral plane yet, have they?” Jayren shook her head “Then that seems to be the best place to go,” and without a goodbye or any other sound, the long snake disappeared into thin air.
“Are you going with him?” Drakian asked, coming out of the cockpit.
“No, I think I’ll go check up on my followers, see how they treat unknown newcomers. What about you?”
“I was thinking of going to Earth.”
“I think I heard that name somewhere…” Jayren tried to go through her memory and recall where she’d heard it before, but before she did Drakian explained.
“It’s a rocky world in a system within one of the smaller arms of the galaxy. It’s inhabited, but not a part of the Galactic Council. And before you ask, I’m going there because it had the most false positives in detecting our energies. If they ever track me down, it’ll be easier to put it off as another fake alert.”
“Smart,” it seemed as if she wanted to ask more, but instead she just stood up and said “hopefully next time we meet within better circumstances,” and with a quiet pop she disappeared as well.
What about me? Krestean’s voice sounded in Drakians head as he headed back behind the control panel.
“For now, you’re going with me to Earth, then we’ll figure something out,” his hands moved swiftly between screens and switches, and soon there was a planet selected as destination. “Now no offense, but I don’t really like your body, so you can have it for the next…” he pressed the ‘accept destination‘ button, “174 hours.” With that, he walked out of the cockpit again, this time locking the door behind him, before letting Krestean take back control of herself, right after which he spoke in her mind. I’m still here by the way, so how about you explain why exactly everyone thinks of us as monsters? With a sigh, Krestean sat down where Jayren was seated moments ago, gathering her thoughts.