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Hull Shift
« on: March 15, 2015, 08:26:30 pm »

The ship was quietly on its way. Disguised as a launch of several satellites, The Uptroune Connected had docked in the black universe not too far from the pull it escaped near their once fruitful planet. A long thing with hopeful skirts of glass, made to reap a harvest of rays that wouldn't come. As it was, the Uptourne could only eat the reflections of real sunlight, and its useless, filtered remains. The Talevo techniques on board were able to make use of that and the cargo of batteries. It would be a meager saunter toward the edge of the Cycle Eater's range, after which the real sun would be available to fuel them, but by the grace of some other divinity than Talevo itself, The Uptourne would make it.

Its passengers may not, or the mission would fail.

En Klau had woken up with a cold in his body. He had come onto this ship pregnant. They'd disallowed other entities than those connected to The Cycle Eater through Talevo, so he'd sown his Au Oba with his own magnetic soul. They'd stripped him of other anchors before the inserting him into the gel-bag that would hold him for the aggressive launch. Well outside earth's reach, after the wake-up, he'd noticed a chill in his being due to sharing his energies with Au Oba. She had been awake and wasting his resources on the two day trip, during which The Uptourne Fragments had become The Uptourne Connected.

There was more than enough energy of all sort to revitalize his fading song and chilled body, but there was no such energy invented that could deal with his livid Au Oba when she did not want to relent her tie to his own magnetic pattern. Her stubbornness was part of his OCD and part the willful, meaningless declarations she had liked to adhere to in life. Sometimes she would jump into machines, and wear other things than him, but her anchor had always been in the place of his spine that he could tell but not feel. He'd not planned for that when he brought her. Nothing that could tether the remaining fields of a human had been allowed on Uptourne, of course, not when the wasting of their souls was what the mission needed. He'd had the foresight to pasteurize her and him well enough that he could be extracted the closer they got to The Cycle Eater, but he'd not thought to mix in the same fail safe for her. How could he? He'd want her to live, somehow, when he was gone, perhaps in all the dreams available on Uptourne. She would be another thing circling the sun, alive from its radiation. An Earth in all her right.

He was walking through the canteen, and saw it as it was designed for human eyes, without a customized layer of hollow skin. Ironide hands had forged pretty details onto the walls, from the first Victorian period and its Baroque inclinations. Giant windows to show stars, always stars. The naked glass, bent to make up half the ceiling, brought a minimalism, his most hated and arguably the most hubris laden of all the design directions, to the otherwise lush life of precious metals and obsessive carvings. Artists had wanted to be here for the salvation of earth, as well. The roses and twists were their own children, sent to the sun in their absence.

He ordered a hamburger from the 1970's. Beef aroma, not so much spices. Small. He sat down somewhere in the middle. So many seats. Banquet hall. They'd thought it was grandeur, making more chairs than there were people on board. The only thing he thought grand here, in this gold cut and enamel plastered echo hall, was their loneliness, even on the fullest day. Au Oba had wanted a glass of 7up. He'd complied when she spoke inside his head. At least it had been her sweet voice, a handful of years younger than her last voice. She was wearing it now, the drink, and it sizzled in every joint when she moved.

A liquid ghost, held up by will, she let bubbles be her hair and eyes. The light lived on the surfaces. So she was a day, sitting with her legs crossed on his table. He took a bite of the burger. His eyes fluttered at the taste. He'd ordered bloody, but they'd given him well done. It didn't taste bad, nothing did after growing up on blubber and lard, but it wasn't right. He should write a report.

Her soda lips didn't move. Her glass hadn't been large enough to make a solid form, so she'd only used the liquid for her skin. It made her look like a beautiful bubble. He didn't like when she made herself a grown woman like this. Something about the ring of bubbles masquerading as her navel was intimate, scary.

"Do you like the 70's, Ki Oby? Would you buy me a dress from then?" she chimed. He could buy her everything. Pritm would make anything for them. They'd have the world as long as they paid with their lives, their frequencies. Their songs. And being here, they'd already made the last deposit. Earth was just waiting for delivery.

"I would." he said, spraying crumbs to soak and then circulate on her. She looked her CO2 eyes down at the floating bread powder making its way to her left breast, where she'd imagined her heart today. "But then you'd have to wear it with a bipedal drone, silicone suit." he reminded. He thought of bloodied remains. Half her face showing the snow behind her. He knew what would come next.

She tossed her right arm at him. It detached and coiled in the air before it crashed and chilled his face. He licked his lips as the Sprite sprite became mostly vapor in front of him. "You are a bastard, Ki Oby!" she said with her oldest voice. "Wear a silicone suit, do I? Why? Why, Ki Oby! Was it because you had to keep your battery animal even after it had suffered head trauma?" Her head distorted in a three dimensional image of his Tiger's silhouette. It was hard to see. Through him she changed the canteen to their courtyard of smooth ice and pink snow. Pieces of the Tiger was everywhere. He turned the hollow skin off, returning the room to its real, hard image. "I don't want a dress!" she screeched before she jumped on him, the soda splashing his clothes when she returned into his body, snug in his field. She tied herself hard to him, which made him angry with himself and defensive at the same time.

He savored the freeze of the soda as he stuffed the rest of the burger into his mouth. It was a task that hurt his jaws. He sighed through his nose as he looked down, his nose and hair dripping onto the table. He'd worn a white t-shirt today, to show off his collarbones, and tailored dress pants, blue. He'd seen them once in an old file, on a tall woman.

Ara

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Re: Hull Shift
« Reply #1 on: March 17, 2015, 01:43:59 pm »
Kelly had been one of the first groups to wake. Not because he had anything particularly important to do or check on. He was seventeen and far from a prodigy. He had showered and dressed. His room was exactly what they had said, with everything he'd asked for. A large bed under that wall of glass that looked out into space. Clean, curving walls with screens that could be brought to life with a thought. The whole room with it's large expanse of floor could be filled with holograms of people and places, everything he'd imagined and requested.

Stepping out of the bathroom, his feet naked and his jeans over his heels, he was tempted to try it out. Fingers rolled through pale strands of hair, pushing them back into added disorder. She wouldn't notice if he left her asleep for a little longer, would she? She chewed his lower lip in consideration before shaking his head and grabbing up the shirt he'd tossed on the bed. It was faded as though he had worn it before. He had been very specific about the details of everything he wanted on his ride to death.

Long legs carried him to the door and he forgot about his boots when it slid open, letting him out into the hallway. He was making his way toward the room of sleeping bodies, rolling his head from side to side to try to get out that persistent kink in the base of his neck. Most of the bags emptied out and woke the passengers on timers, like his own had, but that would not be the case for Ms. Opal Verona.

They had given Kelly an early wake up so that he could settle in, shower and stretch, before waking her. It had become apparent early on in the planning for this trip that someone was going to have to be responsible for the unwilling titan. Kelly had not minded that the responsibility fell to him. On paper, it had not looked like all that much work. They had outfitted her room with a door that locked from the outside so that she could be contained but still in luxury so as to ease their guilty hearts.

He was passing the open doors of the canteen when he heard a woman shouting. “You are a bastard, Ki Oby!” She howled and his heels stopped on the metal floor to turn his head and watch the liquid apparition shouting at the man about silicone suits, battery animals, head trauma and a dress. Before he could even think about looking away, she had slapped into him, liquid splashing and apparition vanishing.

Kelly stood a moment longer in the doorway before walking in. “Women.” He muttered, hoping it would be as funny as he thought and making his way to the wall to order a latte with caramel flavoring, all the while keeping an eye to see if he had won a smile from that soda painted face. He had seen this guy around the training facility and when they went in for launch day.

He watched the latte appear and wondered briefly if Ms. Verona would be happy to have a coffee when she woke. He considered getting it splashed in his face and decided to drink it for himself instead.

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Re: Hull Shift
« Reply #2 on: March 21, 2015, 02:42:32 pm »
The air was room temperature, which meant it was made to nurture body temperature. This also meant it wasn't made to keep his clothes warm now that they were permeated with Au Oba's last body. She tasted like sugar and lime. Her scent was burnt away by the CO2 but her anger and love was still roiling inside. En Klau chewed furiously to deal with the hefty bite he'd forced upon himself. After a few cracks heard inside his head, his jaw straining to meet his fixed idea, he was able to swallow. Once, twice. With a sigh he lowered his head. He could breathe normally again.

The inside of his nose smelt like beef. The protein had been a good imitation. But what did he know? As long as it wasn't ice fish or any of the lardy mammals he'd been raised on, his opinion was moot. What does a dog know about color when he's given the spectrum, finally? He smiled at Kelly, keeper of the Verona rebel on board. En sat up straight and smiled at the offered conversation. Pritm's voice was loud in his ear.

Your core temperature might drop. Would you like a change of clothes?

He let Au Oba have her fit, arguing with the unanswering soul of the ship. His attention went to Kelly.

"And how is yours? Is she as loving as when I tried getting her to play a game with me?" En asked, his chin dripping. It had been a dear meeting, between himself and her anger. She'd terminated his hologram of the game. The recreational server was down for fifteen minutes after her strong boot. He'd not appreciated it, but back then he'd been more understanding. Poor Kelly had more patience. Poor Kelly had to. He wondered what kind of relationship would build between Kelly and Verona. It'd be like an angry daughter and her parent, if En had to guess. She'd always have wrath, but perhaps a strong fettering to Kelly, as well. And from Kelly's side, would it always be responsibility, or would some of the care taking be from wanting to take care?

En felt warm suddenly. Au Oba was playing with the energy inside him, and the molecules of the soda in his clothes. Soon there was steam. Perhaps she had heeded Pritm's prodding. To Kelly, En would wear a mask of tight vapor, flowing from the collar of his shirt to envelop all his features to his hairline. Au Oba let the hair be as it was, darkened by liquid, and held back with a tie. The smoke face, pretty when it wasn't too evanescent to recognize, mouthed a childhood taunt at Kelly. En would not be as rude as Au Oba.

"Sorry about this." he said and gestured to the mask she'd created. "Would you like to do something with me? Sometimes she doesn't stay for boy activities." he offered while the sent of citrus and sugar spread between the two males.

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Re: Hull Shift
« Reply #3 on: March 22, 2015, 02:44:27 pm »
Kelly grinned around the lip of his cup, sucking at the foam of his latte. It was strange to hear Verona referred to as his in any way other than his job. “Somehow I don't imagine that her time asleep will have made her any more pliable.” He admitted.

He had a few sisters, now far away on a planet he would never stand on again. He loved them well enough but he doubted that he would have been willing to carry any of their spirits with him. Watching En's apparition make a face overs his, Kelly was certain that he wouldn't.

Verona was enough trouble and she he could sedate, restrain and lock away in her own quarters most of the time. Her attack on En's game and the recreational server had only been one of her stunts before they embarked. She got loose early on and tried to sabotage the entire vessel. It had taken three days for the systems designers and Talevo to find and undo what she had done. They might have been able to be angry with her if they didn't feel that weight of guilt every time they looked at her pretty face. She was exactly what a Titan should be, the best of the best, and they were strapping her to a rocket to die.

Kelly looked up from his drink when En asked if he wanted to do something with him. The blond youth raising a pale eyebrow. A crooked smile pulled at one side of his mouth. “Boy activities?” He tried to press that smile back down and took another sip of his coffee, nodding. “The princess won't notice if I wait to wake her..” He decided out loud. “What did you have in mind?”

Some of their cohabitants on the ship had made it clear that they wanted to spend this ride in private- as much as possible, anyway. Kelly was not looking to die alone so much as he was hoping to have a great time before everything came to an end.

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Re: Hull Shift
« Reply #4 on: March 26, 2015, 08:44:54 pm »
The face over En's had spent most of the available liquid for resolution, and was fading now, leaving him with dry sugar on his clothes. She frowned one last time at Kelly's excitement for whatever the boy's were planning before she took the last of the fruity smoke and disappeared. En had a smirk as the white curtain left him. Kelly was a lighthearted acquaintance. Surely the people who had built the Uptourne and planned this salvation had hoped for subjects like Kelly.

"There's a section that was supposed to be detached when we sped up. Pritm says there's still a gravity protocol in most of it, but that all the stuff there is out of function." En suggested with some excitement, standing up. "It was mostly storage and heavy duty parking, so it's going to be a little like a trash heap. I thought it'd be fun to map it out. You know, get away from all the pretty Hologames they made for us and do something real, borderline productive."

Pritm was saying low level warnings in his head. He was sure something similar was happening in Kelly's thoughts. It was hard thinking of acts of rebellion when all they really had to do on this ship was enjoy all of its confined freedoms. He'd thought about the never detached section a lot for that reason. It was a treasure cove of things people hadn't planned with. While it was relatively safe, it was unexplored. Deep inside it, Pritm herself might have a hard time following them.

He thought about the old legends, about cracks in the ice below that could become people. Cracks that had their own songs and wanted nothing more than for the bodies of the Icelings to listen. He'd been afraid of those stories well into teen hood. His over active imagination was a byproduct of his spiritual connectivity, which was a point of pride in his family. They'd hope he'd be some kind of leader in the choirs. That would have helped the Klaus politically. En had always felt ambivalent about his sensitivity. Now he'd use it. Prone to fright was a lovely boost of adrenaline when exploring new places. "What do you say, Kelly?"

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Re: Hull Shift
« Reply #5 on: April 03, 2015, 05:47:50 pm »
Kelly smiled and took another drink of his latte. One of the reasons he'd climbed onto this fancy rocket was to get away from trash heaps, but En's company was enough to have those shoulders rolling in a shrug and wide lips pulling into a smile. "Why not?" The band around his left wrist chimed, sending a little pulse through his arm, reminding him of his responsibilities. He raised it, wrist up, to look at the little lights on the black cuff that told him of Verona's stats. They were level. She was alive and calm and very much asleep.

The tech crew involved in planning their mission had considered keeping Opal Verona asleep for the entire trip. It had been debated quite a bit but in the end, the ones that felt it was a lesser evil to keep her locked in a luxury room had won out over the ones that felt sleep was safer. That had been the issue of the arguement, finding some sort of ground between safe and wrong that they could all live with. They, being the ones that stayed on Earth, of course. No one on this ship was going to have to live with anything.

Kelly finished his drink, getting a mouthful of vanilla syrup that had sunk to the bottom of the cup and swallowing it down, letting that rich sugar coat his throat before heading toward the door and dropping the glass into the shoot that sucked away all garbage and dirty dishes to be sorted elsewhere in the ship and recycled. "But just so we're clear, I'm only willing to be boarderline productive- nothing full blown."


The dark room hummed with machines, illuminated only by the soft blinking lights that signalled function. A small hum grew loud and one of the sleeping vessels lit up, her body held there in a sack of thick fluids and cords, like the technological version of a womb. The humming began to click and after the fifth, the sack split in the base to begin emptying out the fluids, the thick plastic deflating around her, pressing around her flesh and face before the flood of water rinsed through. A flurry of sounds occupied the room, the metal cap at the top of the sack rotating, growing, rolling down until she lay there on the metal bed. Mask stuck to her face and cords extending from flesh.

Opal Verona opened her eyes, blind for a moment and shaking the next, doing everything she could not to move, not to panic, not to alert any sensors of a problem. She had taken the opportunity to rest the waking protocol on her pod when they thought she'd ruined their recreational server. She trembled where she lay, vision blurry and looking around at darkness to find no moving shadows, no sounds other than machines. She smiled weakly inside her mask.

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Re: Hull Shift
« Reply #6 on: April 19, 2015, 05:22:05 pm »
Kelly was a light heart. En Klau could appreciate such things. He needed something that wasn't as thick as sorrow and as hard as the darkest periods where he lived before he'd come on The Uptourne to be a hero and a martyr. He nodded at Kelly's request as though it had not been rhetorical and in jest. "It won't be as productive as it sounds. It'll be for you and me." he said with a wink as he got up. "I'll prepare some things. Play Ironide. Maybe you need to get something too, dress up." at the last two words Au Oba stirred but she soon realized this was not going to be about her clothes, so she went deeper inside than before. "Or perhaps check up on your sleeping princess?" he teased as he touched his own cheek. Mostly En just needed to get rid of this film of syrup. "I'll see you at mouth 3b in ten."

En hurried back to one of his huts. This one was primarily a clothing chamber. All of what they needed could have been made on the ship, but he'd enjoyed going to a human with knowledge of threads, back when he was still standing on earth and ice. He'd seen some judgement in the tailor's eyes. It was frivolous to send good cloth toward the sun. Frivolous would have been one of the smaller sins En was guilty of, he thought when he stepped out of the laser shower. He pulled on a thermal shirt, tight with its gray hexagon base, and faded green vein-work of gels. The pants were thicker, but as taut. He liked a flexible boot, and had to sacrifice the sturdy toe, and compensate with a thick sole.

Most of the tech needed was hosted in the shoulder compartment of his suit. The scanners spread into the gel. Wherever they he, they'd be mapping. For the sake of analogue sightseeing, En turned off sub sonic echo instruments. He jogged over to the mouth he'd told Kelly and waited. The transportation system had been beckoning him the entire way. The handles in the walls and ceilings of the tunnels were fastened in rails, a very effective and aggressive way of getting places. He didn't use them this time, and told Pritm to be quiet on that front. A built in fail safe still blared the recommendation after a few sections, anyway.

He waited for Kelly at the mouth. Rusted stains reached over the door like fangs. The shape of most mouth's were perfectly round, but this one was slightly bent, like a laying oval, like a human mouth ready to smile and eat at the same time. En laughed, excited. The adrenaline didn't bother his sleeping sister. His hands, fingers wrapped at their joints and knuckles by the ergonomic gloves, reached for the large metal panel that would release the chain of locks. He pulled back before enough pressure had been applied to start the opening hydraulics. Kelly should be here for the wind that would come to equalize the pressure between the two spaces.

Instead En entertained himself with warming up. He sprinted back and forth and ran up the walls as far as he could, it was quite a bit since the corners between wall and floor were curved in the tunnels, before he bent back and flipped to land on the tight metal net that acted as hull ground this far from the living quarters. He imagined that gravity was more forgiving here, even though they'd said that it shouldn't be any different from earth's pull.

He would be jogging in place when Kelly arrived. "You ready, partner?"

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Re: Hull Shift
« Reply #7 on: April 26, 2015, 01:42:05 pm »
Kelly laughed when it was suggested that he dress up for this adventure into what he imagined to be a mess of wreckage. If they were on earth he might have remarked about this being a terribly shabby first date but considering that they were on a space ship and company as well as time was limited, Kelly figured he best take what he could get. This could be his last adventure, that is, before the dying one. And En seemed like good company.

"She'll be fine. Her pod is set up to hold her until the end." He laughed a little, following En out of the cafeteria. "I think some of the suits were hoping I'd leave her in there." He waved when they went their separate ways with a promise of meeting up. Opal Verona was going to be a chore, Kelly was sure of it, but he wasn't going to leave her in there for the whole ride. Everyone deserves a last meal.

Kelly was hoping not to die alone when the time came. He was prepared for it, the image of himself reclined on a couch looking out those walls of windows at the blaring sun were charming. He cut a pretty figure, he knew, but it wouldn't be his first choice. En would not have such problems, Kelly realized on his way back to his room to change jackets and put on boots. En would not die alone because En was not alone to begin with. Kelly was quiet certain that, given the choice, he would rather die alone than with one of his many siblings. Getting on this boat to burn up far from them had been one of the perks.

When his boots were zipped up and his new jacket snug and warming his arms and torso, he left his quarters again, giving on last look to the band on his wrist that kept track of her vitals. A little higher than before but still that sleepy blue color that he'd been told would mean she was asleep, sedated or calm. During the practice rounds, he had only seen blue when she was unconscious. Opal was a red sort of girl, it seemed.

He took long strides to move a little faster down the halls and laughed when he found En jogging where he stood at the mouth. "I feel like this is going to be a bigger deal than you lead me to believe..." He mumbled with a smile, pulling the gloves from the pocket of his jacket and tugging them on. They seemed to meld to his skin, like his pants and jacket had, hugging like a second skin and shifting in temperature to keep his skin always at optimal. Kelly was a fan of optimal. "Alright. Let's be stupid." He was also a fan of fun.


Opal lay still for what felt like forever, the endless blinking of those lights assaulting her retinas in through her lids. She had to stay clam. Had to stay blue. She had thought about this every time they practiced. Every time they checked her vitals and she made sure to pitch her fits and keep them high. She was still for so long that she worried she had fallen asleep and when she opened her eyes again that light was still blinking. Her skin prickled with cold, still wet from the fluids of the sack but exposed to air now.

She reached up with one hand to take hold of the mask over her face, pulling it off and taking careful breaths of air, her body shuddered and she turned onto her side. It took handfuls of minutes to sit upright, vision swaying and stomach threatening to turn over. She looked down at her wrist where it clutched the side of the bed. Pritm whispered good morning in her head and Opal smiled gently at the familiar voice. "Good morning." She whispered back.


« Last Edit: April 26, 2015, 09:58:08 pm by Ara »

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Re: Hull Shift
« Reply #8 on: April 27, 2015, 07:40:38 pm »
En smiled. Kelly looked the part. The blond male could just as easily have decided to drag his feet, be comfortable in his attire, and painfully humor En. This adventure was on its way now. He nodded. Stupid was right. They hadn’t really been recruited to this mission for being smart. En reached for the metal panel and pushed it swiftly. It didn’t budge enough to release the lock. En smiled, embarrassed, and leaned into the next attempt. Still not enough. “Well, this was anti-climactic.” he said and dug his boot in to shove his shoulder into the oversized button. “The fuck…” he muttered and looked at Kelly as though he’d offer a solution.

Before the other boy could deliver such advice or help, En had doubled back a handful of paces. “On second thought.” He said before kicking off, long strides taking him quickly back to the wall before he leaped, tossing his head back and bringing both his legs up to stomp the insipid metal plate. A muted thump preceded a short, dull vibrato before En landed on the netted floor again. He looked up. The panel had given, stuck deep in its socket. He turned his attention at Kelly then, with a thumb up and a grin.

“Man one, machine ze…” he started triumphantly as he pushed himself up. The strained hydraulics sung a shrill aria that had En follow the arch of opening latches along the frame. The door bent unnaturally toward the room they wanted to enter. His heart chilled and sunk at the implication. His eyes turned to Kelly with that worry before the last pin was pulled and the oval hole inhaled, swallowing the door and pulling both the boys like the storms En had known out on the ice.

En saw the light of the corridor at a distance. Then the wind weakened, and his body descended as the panic increased. In a flash of clarity he looked over at Kelly, and apologized to him just in time for both of them to hit and roll on the floor.

En’s boots caught first, eating most of the momentum before he could roll. Half of the tumble was intentional and controlled, the rest and finishing stretch was a series of flailing, scratching oscillations. He stood up quickly, looking down at the scratched suit. His vitals were alright despite his heightened pulse and the spike in adrenaline. “You okay?” he asked as he looked around, some of the distant light from the door still able to provide a semblance of a field of vision. This would not be the case deeper in. “Well, that was a fun start.” He said as he laughed and brushed himself off.

A ghost from the old circuits looked at them through a ragged optical end. It recorded his voice and filed his glee. For a moment En’s face flashed around the corner, a reconstruction broken up with static. Half of the image was bone from a basic cranium construct, where the program had not been able to imagine his skin, filming him from the side. The program was not yet satisfied with the rendering and had to think of other ways to have the visitors come further in.

A few buzzing lines lit along the floor. Yellow streaks, sporadic, leading the way into the tunnels dust and cracks.

En looked at Kelly with wide eyes. “That’s totally normal, right?” he asked, nodding for the blond to take lead, a bit of a challenge in his eyes.

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Re: Hull Shift
« Reply #9 on: April 28, 2015, 12:08:39 pm »
Kelly was trying not to laugh when En finally got the door open. There was silence, one of those heavy ones full of foreboding before that door burst open and they were sucked through. His heart rose in his chest and his stomach twisting, some part of his brain expecting to be launching tumbling into space. He almost wished he had when he saw the floor coming for him instead.

He rolled when he landed, thigh first. It wasn't so elegant but he did finally come to a stop. He rolled onto his back when he heard En next to him. Wide lips pulled into a grin that huffed air. “Peachy.” Kelly sat upright, more than a little surprised to find all of his limbs intact and nothing bent in a direction it shouldn't be. “And you?” He stood up and stretched before brushing off his suit, smiling and looking around at their dim surroundings. He smacked his gloved hands together to have the lights in the palms coming to life, directing one around to see if they could make out the walls in this place. Before he could start to wander, the floor came to life.

He blinked at the yellow lights in the ground, persistently trying to direct their next move. He laughed a little at En's question and nodded, face scrunching a little. “Totally. I feel like I've seen this before. Of course, it was in a movie and the people that followed the lights were savagely eaten by space monsters but, sure.”

Kelly took a couple of steps in that direction, shining more light to see if they could make out any such space monsters.

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Re: Hull Shift
« Reply #10 on: June 09, 2015, 07:56:52 pm »
En followed Kelly. When nothing happened, he quickly took to walking beside his friend. The lights on the floor stretched and bent, but the darkness ahead suggested they only lit one corridor at the time. En looked back to confirm it, witnessing darkness close on their heels. None of the boys saw the chimera of Kelly and En moving ahead of them, pulling itself one corridor away, using incomplete limbs to drag itself forward.

“Yo, K.” En said as he tapped the shoulder of his traveling companion. “Look.” His thumb jabbed at the disappearing lights in their wake. “Pretty creepy, huh?” he said. Was the darkness following or was the light failing? What if whatever program they’d activated only had enough juice to provide sight in their direct vicinity? Somehow the thought of being led to a certain point only for their unnamed guide to run out of electricity was eerier than starting out with only the illuminant devices they’d brought.

There was a low rumbling from far away, shifting in screeches the closer it came. At first it was only as loud as paranoia and imagination, but eventually its scream couldn’t be anything but real. En looked at Kelly again and then at the wall, the rails for the transport system on the wall vibrating. They were coming around a corner and the corridor they would enter then worked as an amplifier to the sound that became more and more akin to the crescendo of a cheap scare-tactic in horror movies. En wrinkled his nose in disapproval of the situation before he realized what was happening.

The old handle had been activated to follow the rail. As it turned the bend it detached and ricocheted off the opposite wall, sparking on impact. The momentum was enough to leave a dent as the handle continued to bounce toward them, ceiling, wall and floor, with a menacing speed. En had just enough time to drop his jaw and cringe before it passed both him and Kelly to stick into the floor a couple of feet behind them. He’d felt the draft of the projectile, and saw as he directed his own light at it that it was rusted broken, with jagged, brown edges bared like teeth as though to mourn its inability to use them.

“That was almost the end of this adventure.” En said with a manic kind of excitement before he shook his head. “Seriously, that seemed intentional, didn’t it?”

He thought of Earth, and how their lust for entertainment would have ended every family line and snuffed every dream if that handle had flown differently. He would have had no time to die for the ice or the water it would become, he would just have died. “Let’s go back.” He decided. “I’ll beat you in a game instea…” he managed before the same screams and vibrations were heard from the direction they had come. “Move!” he called and shoved his friend forward. The screeches were enough to count at least three coming projectiles. Three toothy objects in a tunnel where there were two possible targets? He wouldn’t play the odds this time.

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Re: Hull Shift
« Reply #11 on: June 16, 2015, 02:15:48 pm »
Kelly's smiled stretched wider the further they walked into this three dimensional horror flick. He stood there when the sounds came at them, turning into projectile fury hurling through the air. His smile twisted down into a cringe when his body tensed, curling away from the chunk of rejected material whirling past them to leave its mark on the floor not far from where they stood. "Holy shit." He breathed with a little, anxious laugh. He nodded along to En's words. "Gotta say, you made this sound a lot more boring than it's turning out." Kelly muttered, turning to look at the debris.

Kelly nodded again when the other man suggested they go back. "Yeah. I mean, recklessness is fun but it's kind of early for us to die." His mouth grinned around the words, knowing that they had an appointment already for that.

He had just taken his attention from their would be assailant to look at his companion, body turning and starting back the way they'd come. He cringed when the sounds rose up in the darkness again. A hand to his body forward shoulder first and long legs ablidged, more than happy to put that nervous energy to use, hurling himself toward their exit and casting a glance back to make sure En was in tow. He was only a few steps behind but behind him Kelly saw the burst of movement, large jagged bits of ship, once useful and now murderous, flinging toward them.

He reached back and grabbed En by the arm, pulling him with when he veered to the left, a twisted bit of metal the length of either of them whizzing passed to hit  the wall beside their exist. "Fuck." Kelly exhaled, neck twisting back to look at the other two, his heart beating loud against his chest.

He had a plan of sorts now. A stupid plan, but a plan of some kind even if it was so basic as to peek and dodge. He forgot the plan when something else caught his eye. In the dark, at the edge of the light, a face. It was looking at them. Was someone in here? The face flickered and vanished and his heart sunk low in his chest when a chunk of metal obscured his vision all together, coming in like a comet to blot out the sun. Poetic, considering.

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Re: Hull Shift
« Reply #12 on: June 16, 2015, 09:41:23 pm »
When Kelly first saved him, En had mostly been annoyed. It was only as he was being pulled along that he registered the significance of Kelly's rude push and pull. It felt odd to suddenly be running for your life, after having come in here for recreation. En ran. He appreciated running. There was not much of it outside, where he came from. As kids it was all they wanted to do. Chase each other in the large halls when the wind wailed outside. As he put that practice to good use, he noticed Kelly's attention transfixed. En realized just in time Kelly was staring into his own bane.

The handle lancing toward his friend's face came fast and hard, but since it wasn't very large, En could pull Kelly to his body and pivot them both without loosing too much speed before they were back on their course again. It was a bit of a twist for their bodies, but their bodies were young. A part from expiring soon, the closer they got to saving everyone they knew, they were healthy, compliments of all of Earth. "Keep your head in the game, Kay! Or at least keep it on your neck." En called as they continued to rush forward into the lights that kept showing their way. Until they didn't.

The two boys were left with their own sources of light, the path lit up for them fast disappearing behind them when the rattling rails did not. En held harder onto Kelly then, as the echoes of their steps along with their brought lights gathered deeper into something they were mapping, something essentially unknown and evidently unfriendly.

The music of the threat had to stop at some point, so it did. En had a lot of adrenaline for a lot of running left, but without the imminent threat it was hard to justify darting through the dark. He eventually pulled them to a stop, looking around the tunnel they were in as he panted. "Wait." he said and looked around before extending his arm to the right to support himself on the wall. As he tumbled without the leverage he sought, a pretty face flashed before Kelly. It was the epitome of the golden ratio. In fact, it was exactly that, a face based on the graphs of mankind's old perceptions of beauty.

En moaned from the room he had stumbled into, and the sound was given back to him repeatedly, too perfect to be an echo. Lights came on in the ceiling, and the room turned out to be an old lab, most of the plants stretched out in desperation, rotten while a few climbed the walls, the nutrition still good in their pots and boxes. Most things that grew had to do so without sunlight, but that didn't meant they didn't need water or care. The light was bright. En stood with his forearm as shade, looking around. This place was eerie in its honest decay. Something else had to be in here.

He looked over his shoulder at the dark opening where he had come from. "Kelly!" he shouted. "Get in here, obviously!"

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Re: Hull Shift
« Reply #13 on: July 01, 2015, 11:53:30 am »
Kelly had tried to get out a "Did you see that?" but it was swallowed up by the efforts of survival, his new friend all but dragging him from danger. Running was easy in that it was always the same sort of hard. With as many sibling as Kelly had and his penchant for getting into trouble, only by accident truly, he was more than used to sprinting, lean body and long limbs ready for that challenge.

He could have gladly run until they fell but En had decided it was time to stop. His legs jerked to comply, body doubling forward to have pale blond hair pushing forward, stretching down and then falling back to stick to his high cheeks. Hands pushed at the knees of his jeans and head turned to look at En, sucking in deep breaths. His icy blue eyes watched the other turn curiously into another doorway and then cringe at the excess of light that came from it. "En... sweetums." Kelly called, voice raspy for running but never lacking amusement. "We really need to talk about cats and curiosity."

He let out a huff of laughter when he was told to follow, blue eyes rolling but wide lips pulling into a grin as he straightened and stretched, taking long strides into the room. His gaze swept over the plants, ugly in their struggle for life before landing on En again. "I'm starting to think you have bad judgement." He muttered, walking in and flicking a leaf with little interest. "Did you see the girl?" He asked. "The hologram." He corrected. "Must be some kind of glitch. This junk really should have been cut loose.."

-

Gavum was unlucky. He was unlucky as child, always the one getting injured or left out. He was unlucky in love, divorced twice at the age of thirty-two. He was even so unlucky as to be chosen to save the world. And today, the day of waking on the ship that would carry him to his death, he was unlucky enough to be the one that noticed the wet footprints in the hallway. He followed them because thirty-two years had not been enough to teach him better.

The doorway was open and the room dark. He hesitated there at the edge of the light, leaning in to look at the shapes of minimalistic furniture in the glow of stars from wide windows on the far side. "Hello?"

There was no answer but he knew he wasn't alone. One step into the dark. He waited but the lights didn't come on. "Pritm." He called. "Lights." There was a moment. A second really. But it was hesitation on Pritm's part. As though the Talevo did not hear him or, perhaps, as though it was deciding whether or not to listen.

The lights came on.

Gavum sucked in a breath when his pupils shrank and he saw the woman standing right in front of him, still wet from the gel of her sleep pod. Her dark hair clung in cords to her pale skin. Naked and pale. Lean muscles all slathered in that gel. Her hand reached out to grab at his face and the door closed behind him just as she pushed, slamming his head back against it before he could even scream. He fell and she continued to grab at him. He kicked in his struggle but by then she was behind him, arm folded around his neck and pulling, pulling and pulling until he finally lost consciousness.

Opal let him fall, his clothing wet with the print of her body against his back. Her knee pushed him from a slump into a full sprawl on the floor and then stepped over him on her way to the shower. "Lock the door." She told Pritm while she crouched down to open a panel of wall.

While she was being contained and everyone else preparing for their voyage of sacrifice, she had gotten loose. Only once. After that they'd kept her sedated. But once had been enough. She had had twenty minutes running about this retched ship before they put out an alert for her and then she had locked herself in a room- this room. She pulled a bag out of the wall. Mostly sedatives. Enough to put a full grown man in a coma with the right doses. Gavum was her first patient. Rolled onto his back and sedated before she took her shower and got ready to take her ship.

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Re: Hull Shift
« Reply #14 on: July 01, 2015, 06:27:47 pm »
She danced around in the outskirts of the darkness when Kelly responded to En. Then she followed the blonde as he made his way into the light. The more illumination that drowned the boy, the less contrast there was to reveal the girl. By the time he’d crossed the threshold, she was gone.

En snickered in response at Kelly’s comments. “I like cats.” He mumbled as he used a pipe to lift the vine of something dead. Soon he did no longer deem the object interesting and let the pipe clang soundly to the floor. He regretted that as soon as the noise spread. His head whipped toward his friend when he mentioned the girl. He thought briefly of his own sister. “Was she hot?” En teased. “Better apparitions be hot.” He added as he spun to look around. “If we ever need a boy’s clubs house.” He suggested as his arms came out over their new found kingdom of rot.

As he stood there, triumphant, limbs extended, and looking at Kelly, a tube filled with shadows cleared behind him. The particulates in the liquid quickly drained as the contents of the large tube was revealed. Roots, smooth ones and ragged ones with weeds woven into them, as well as protected chords, led to a heart of glass and wires. Hanging from this heart, the size of a torso, were silicone rags almost as clear as the liquid surrounding them, drowning them. En popped his shoulders in an ugly victory dance as the thing behind him started to flicker with holographic content. The images blared borrowed the anatomy of the thing in the tube, projecting people on it. The heart became the upper body, the rags took on light as arms. First a man, mangled, then a woman, opened, and in the end a child, her hair long and her lower jaw pulled to barely connect to her by the shreds of her cheeks.

“Sup, dude?” En asked as he started walking back, an improvised, atrocious moonwalk. He did not have that skill. “Can’t handle these here umphz?” he asked as he sucked his lower lip and pumped his fist, not really understanding Kelly’s attention for what it was. During one particularly violent throw of his head, En fell back, his back touching the glass of the tube he’d not seen yet. Suddenly the images subsided, torn away quickly before his Au Oba suddenly found herself projected on the make-shift body. She lifted her hands in the liquid, and then looked at Kelly, newly awoken, terrified.

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Re: Hull Shift
« Reply #15 on: July 01, 2015, 09:35:10 pm »
Kelly stared, squinting at first and then wide-eyed just trying to understand what it was he was seeing behind En. When his friend tumbled back, toward the terror, Kelly lunged forward. He grabbed onto the other man's arms with the intention of pulling him away, leaning himself so much closer just in time to see that horrific shape jar to life. Life.

He sucked air and pulled En upright and away, legs staggering a couple of steps away, pulling and turning him until he would see it too. "Not crazy right? That's happening." He breathed out the words, somehow afraid that volume would break that glass wall between them and the living body of roots would lunge for them. It was looking at them. It was... expressive. "What the fuck?" He whispered urgently now.

-

Remy sat in one of the many rooms that made up the great engine of this ship. She was perched on a short stool on four wheels, her lips pursed and her cheek squished against the heel of her palm, elbow digging into the thick canvas of her black work pants. They had an abundance of pockets and were well worn. They had offered her new ones, of course, but she didn't think it was necessary.

She rolled from one side to the other, staring at the new parts of that glorious engine. Everything was functioning perfectly. Of course that was what she was hoping for when she came down here to check up on everything and yet she couldn't help but feel disappointed. She wasn't sure what to do without something to fix. She didn't want to go back to her room. It was full of momentos from her family and friends on Earth.

It was a common custom for Ironides to be cremated after death but before the body was sent into the incinerator, it was covered in layers of handmade trinkets and tokens by the loved ones left behind. Her room had become a casket. Fitting, she supposed, as she was going to the fire, but not exactly comfy.

She was about to give up when Pitrm bleeped and the screen on the wall behind her came to life. She swiveled around so quickly that her legs tangled, dark maroon hair held back from her currently pale face by large goggles atop her head. She had lost her tan lines and sunburns during the sleep process. She had been almost alarmed when she saw herself for the first time hours ago. She had never seen herself so pale.

'Door malfunction.' Pritm chimed and the map of the ship lit up. Remy blinked at it, standing quickly and coming closer. Her face scrunched. "Shouldn't this have been dislodged?" She asked, touching the portion of ship where the blinking malfunction was located. Of course it wasn't functioning. It wasn't even supposed to be there.

'Dislodging malfunctioned.'

"Okay. That's a little late." Remy remarked, eyeing the screen with a lifted 'you know what you did' brow.

'Door malfunction.' Pritm chimed insistantly. The screen changed as Remy wanted it to, showing her the door in statistics as well as camera view. It was open and struggling to relatch. "Why did you open it?" She asked aloud.

'I did not.' Pritm assured.

Remy nodded, assuming then that it was perhaps the reason the section had not been dislodged. If it was an issue with Pritm, Remy would not be the person to call on to fix it. But if it was a malfunction in the door itself.. She bit her lip in excitement and grabbed up her backpack of tools, throwing it on and leaving the engine to head upstairs and toward that back corner of the ship.


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Re: Hull Shift
« Reply #16 on: July 02, 2015, 06:44:31 pm »
En had been a bit afraid himself when Kelly moved forward. Too surprised to fight him, En had followed along in the force of Kelly’s pull once En’s back had touched the glass. He studied Kelly’s face up close then, pulled into the other person, own cheek taking on Kelly's breath before En was turned.

His cheek was not so warm anymore, when he saw her on the metal chunk, her arms lit up on the shreds swimming around the little motor. Her expression was heartbreaking. At first, she was fearful, and then confused. In the end she moved her fingers, slowly taking shape in silicone, toward her throat, he lips shaping a circle as though she wasn't be able to breathe. As though she was alive.

En pushed Kelly away to get closer to the glass, slamming his palm against it. He turned back, frantic, to look at his friend. Those silver, black framed irises were vivid with a beacon for help. En himself didn’t know what Kelly might do to answer that silent call. Soon he pushed passed his only company to tear things down the closes slab. Plastic containers and long since dead plants. He kicked the things he’d spread on the floor out of pure frustration, looking over his shoulder again at his sister, who pressed a fully formed hand at the curved glass, her eyes darting from Kelly to En.

He roared and swiped his arm over a cart to free it of light plastic and bagged earth. “Move.” He warned Kelly before he got behind the cart, pushing it toward the tub. The ingenuity from insanity resulted in a tall crack. En tried the cart a couple of more times until he started throwing himself against the glass. On the third desperate attempt, the web of destruction spread fast over the clear surface, the melody of undone glass loud and then deafening. The liquid became white water, bursting out, toppling the big brother and sweeping him into Kelly’s legs.

The machine was pulled from its chords and also bathed in its former life supply. It stood. No sounds of joints rolling or moving. Good tech. The clear silicone was filling in, flesh color. His Au Oba stroke her own hair.

“Hmmgg…” something said in his head. He lifted his wet brow. “..why so much noise, Ki Oby? Why can’t boys be quiet?” she asked. His eyes widened.

“Kelly…” he said, pushing himself up against a sturdy table. “T-that’s not my sister.”

The girl, naked, white with pink details smiled. It took on Kelly's blond hair, same length, but kept the feminine design on its cranium, cheekbones. It braved the shards spread between it and the boys. No blood in her wake. En stood to say something, and she ducked under his arms and past him to stand face to face with Kelly. “Sup, dude?” En's words, many voices. “Can’t handle these here umphz?” fewer voices, females, some of them screaming, some of them singing. "umphz." Longer Z. Only a handful of voice now. She grabbed his hands and took it to her neck. "This junk really should have been cut loose.." his voice, women singing. “Can’t handle these here umphz?” she had a voice now, it was pitchy. Her hip started to move in the offensive way, side to side, that En's had. it looked strange, almost inhuman, with her narrow legs. Her neck and head were still, eyes on him, her lower body moving almost independent. "These here umphz."

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Re: Hull Shift
« Reply #17 on: July 14, 2015, 04:47:14 pm »
Kelly watched what looked like a series of really bad choices being made in quick sucession. He let out a hiss when he jumped up onto the table just before En and the cart turned battering ram came rushing past him, slamming into that clear prison. His mouth opened  when he landed on the floor again, thinking to try to suggest a better plan but could only cringe at the wreckage and flood that followed.

The blond stared in horror at what crawled out, his pretty face scrunching when En said uneasily that this wasn't his sister. "No shit." Kelly muttered in a low whisper, unable to keep from replying and yet wanting very much not to earn the attention of whatever the hell this thing was.

He failed. He could blame genetics. He had a way of getting attention even when he didn't want it. He inhaled and straightened when the humanoid tech slid easily past En and right up into Kelly's personal space. He didn't think he could tense more until it grabbed his hands, talking, taunting, moving. He tried not to sneer, letting it have his hands for now, looking past it breifly to En and then to the door, hoping the other boy might take the hint and start moving so he could follow and maybe they could shut it in. "Don't take it the wrong way or anything," Kelly spoke to the machine. "I'm not a techophile. And, even if I was," He trailed, pushing her away when En had moved and taking his hands back. "you're still not really my type." He would say before moving for the door. If she moved he would run.


Remy reached the door. She could see it ahead, opening and closing. Well, almost closing before jarring open again. She frowned, pulling out a tool from her pocket to pop open the panel. She paused to lean to the side and peek through the momentarily open doorway at the dark hall beyond. She shook her head to herself and started running scans and checking wiring.

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Re: Hull Shift
« Reply #18 on: July 15, 2015, 06:17:31 pm »
En had his hand out for the doll, but realized the plan Kelly had in his eyes was a better one. He nodded, listening to the conversation between the two blonds, soles moving over the wet surface toward the exit. There were sounds, thin waves upsetting little, dirty things on the floor, but the doll did not seem to notice, attention locked on Kelly. En had fallen into this room, so he wasn’t entirely sure there was a door to shut, but he made sure to fiddle with the pad on the thick frame and managed to locate a few embers that looked like code on its cold surface. It would be hard finding the controls to these doors among everything offered and jostled, but the distressed boy still smiled as he played away on the broken script.

She had taken the pulse from his touch, imitating its sequence in a low base in her own being. At first it showed as a distortion of her outlines, until she’d gotten the rhythm under control, hiding it in the center of her metal torso. She looked at him as he spoke, waiting for words of approval, shadows of his expressions on her face as well, the dual projection distorting at times, converging in a strange, melded imaged. She looked at herself as he pushed her back, confused by the motion before she tripped gracelessly, naked legs flicking a vertical ring of water before her silicone head fell to splash against the floor, the torso thudding heavily.

By this point En had been able to reconstruct a semblance of order in the scattered code, and even build countermeasures that might protect it from the ai if it should disagree with his commands. He looked over at Kelly as the doors moaned, slowly moving. En pulled the edge of the slowest door to have it catch up to the other one. “Let’s go, lover boy.” He spat.

She tried reconciling her current position with anything she knew of affection, because he had to love her. The recreational files held some hopeful data. “You hurt me, dude.” She said and sat up, a collection of aggressive moans playing as she touched the back of her head and stroked her throat. “You like hurting me.” She deduced as the moans were tamed into a dark, female tune. She reached for Kelly with perfect, long fingers that started to break backward as they came closer. She crawled toward his legs with her other limbs. “Look. It hurts.” She said. A shrill scream played, cut off before it died down, and then repeated. “Kelly Debor, 17, male, can stay and…” a frizzt on her naked skin. “hurt Umphz for the entirety of this mission.”

Well outside En would point to the rail on the wall, having already grabbed on the opposite side. Hopefully Kelly would time it well enough that this ai wouldn’t be able to make it until the doors closed. If Kelly did grab the handle, they’d be jetted back where they’d come from.

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Re: Hull Shift
« Reply #19 on: July 30, 2015, 09:41:32 pm »
Kelly was transfixed, staring at the object immitating a creature, his pale blue eyes going wider for the things it said. Who would have taught it that? Why would it try? His face scrunched, more on one side than the other. The breaking of its fingers reverberated through his body, sending him into motion, as though another unseen body was pulling him away from the twisted machine, drawing him closer to En, closer to anything that wasn't it.

He grabbed at the front of En's shirt to be grounded by something, to be attached to something sane when he couldn't seem to look away from the machine that was reciting his name and age and gender as though it was reading off a file printed to his forehead. "Son of a bitch." Kelly whispered, turning to see En's arm on the rail and the handle. It was reaching for him, reaching with a desperation no machine should immitate. He grabbed onto the handle and their bodies jolted, pulled suddenly down the halls and away from it. Away. He breathed when it stopped. So much space taken in so little time. He was still holding onto the front of En even when he was catching his breath and twisting to look back, expecting to see the apparition chasing after them but finding only shadows.

"You're either the best or the worst adventure buddy." He mumbled before unlatching his long fingers from En's front and taking those strides toward the light of the doorway that would lead them back onto the ship they were supposed to be on. He came into the gap just in time to have a small female pop into view, reminding him of the machine. His arm shot out before he could think, shoving the girl back and using the force to twist away as well, tripping over his legs and falling into En with a string of embarassed curses.

Remy fell back with an eep that would have been a scream if the fall hadn't pushed the air right up out of her lungs. She was still clutching at a tool that looked a lot like a miniature ice pick, holding it up above her like some sort of weapon. Her eyes were large and blinking. There had been a clatter of sound and then the door wooshed open despite her efforts to convince it to stay closed only this time, unlike all the others, someone came barreling through it. "What the hell?" Remy shouted, face scrunching now with anger fueled by realizing that he was as alarmed as she was.