((Corridors, Sasu Gol))
Luminous threads of light spiralled through the halls of the starship, shadows stamped upon them by footsteps drumming a frantic tattoo against the deck. Ragged breaths stirred still air, hearts thundered in chests, sweat beaded on brows.
It couldn't be real. None of it could be real.
Christalle eyes flew furiously down the passageways as they rushed by, each one expanding like a deep black cleft, shadows seeping over walls and floor. Something raced overhead; a lacerating mist of gloom that vanished into the bulkhead partition almost as soon as it appeared. Jal grunted as his shoulder collided with an unexpected barrier, allowing him a split second to look up and see the Lieutenant and the Ensign close behind.
Desoa: Which way were the lifeboats?
The Icelandic woman skidded to a halt as the ensign stumbled and sprawled on the ground in front of her. Grabbing the young Denobulan’s bicep, she dragged him back onto unsteady feet. He looked back at her, his blue eyes wild, and she felt twin stabs of frustration and sympathy. Fresh out of the Academy and already slammed headfirst into his limits, barely able to do more than run. Capturing his gaze, she tried to offer some reassurance by way of answering Desoa’s question.
Bjarnadóttir: We’re close. Just down the corridor, by the mess hall.
Desoa: You're doing well. Courage in everything.
The man's massive hand squeezed the Ensign's shoulder, providing what consolation he could in the tight and dangerous circumstance they hadn't anticipated to be in, even while the Ensign quaked like a sapling in a gale. Those dark purple eyes snapped to Petra, concern carved like caverns in the corners of the usually jovial countenance, giving the same without the extra epigrams he doubted she'd believe. She nodded in return, no words required.
The forcefield covering where the passage split in two ahead of them was a shredded wreck, barely functioning, power draining from it with each diminishing wave of remaining operating systems. Their combadges hissed determinedly; communications trying to break through an encroaching veil of webbed silence, useless in the face of…
It was impossible to say, let alone think about, and Jal determinedly aligned his thoughts with getting to the lifeboats. If there were any of them left. If anyone had managed to get off the Sasu Gol.
Up ahead, barely ten metres from their position, one of the crew lay prostrate on the deck. Until it wasn't. Until it moved, dragged by an unseen force, forward by the arms. Squelching noises of writhing and shuddering as what was once a Vulcan disappeared out of view.
Bjarnadóttir: I see it. ::She wished she didn’t. Squeezing her eyes tight for just a second, she opened them again and shook her head. The man was already beyond saving.:: We can wait, or we can go around. Either has its risks. Your call, sir.
Desoa: We'll be spotted less if we split up. ::He pointed down one side of the flickering forcefield split passage, and then the other.:: You go that way. Ensign, go with. Get to the lifeboat as soon as you can. If I'm not there, jettison.
Bjarnadóttir: You’d better be there. ::She wagged a finger in his direction.:: You still owe me a bottle of brennivín.
Despite the circumstance, the Tyrellian smiled, recalling happier times on board the Triumphant, when they weren't fending for themselves aboard the Vulcan vessel. The crack of a breath came alongside hesitation; unsure of what to say. Thunk in his gut and hollow of his throat. With a heavy hand and an even heavier heart, he clasped his friend's gold shoulder. Dark eyes of mauve seeking ever-observant blue.
Desoa: We'll see each other again. Your smouldering wine needs a suitable home.
Bjarnadóttir: Good. Áfram með smjörið.¹
She patted his hand and then nudged his shoulder, urging him the direction he’d chosen. Wasting no further time, ignoring the weighted tug in the middle of her chest and the temptation to look back, she turned toward the terrified young ensign and shepherded him down the corridor.
Kaleidoscopic markings on the Tyrellian's skin shone beneath the emergency lighting as he watched the Lieutenant move through the passageway. Jal clenched his fists, nerves he had left steeled against the thin veil of courage beginning to wear away. Footsteps hewn in trepidation, headed down the deserted corridor to the echoes of a gravelly breath humming the old melodies to him from the dark recesses.
Long forgotten songs from the old Tyrellia. Devotional and worshipful, like a lyric prayer. Sonorous and vibrant. Tonal and celestial in essence. Speaking of ancient trails, the breath of home. The planet has become barren and the voice summoned him to a place of death.
Jal went slowly along the deserted halls, ignoring the hungry need and growls emanating from the murky crevices. Xiva, Originator, and Redeemer. Flashes of movement on the edges of his vision, always out of step, out of reach, moving slower, then faster. Watching and waiting. Watching and hunting. Twitching just out of reach. A grim parody of his walk. Diaphanous warnings etched in suffering. Each step a new tenet of the old. Believe in oneself when all else fails. Liheni²… Liheni… Liheni…
It would be so easy to give in. Slide down the wall. Rest. Wait for rescue.
Screams of dread ripped through the corridors, bypassing his senses and pierced through his chest like a sonic spear. It drew him back to the world of the living with a clap of thunder and sparked movement in his limbs. He broke into a sprint, dashing through the vast cathedraline ship toward the lifeboats.
A metallic clang thundered through the hallways, and Jal rounded the corner to see Petra slamming her fists on the outside of the escape pod door, beating a futile demand against unyielding metal. The ensign stared back at her from the inside, dilated pupils turning his eyes black as pitch, blood smeared across the Denobulan curves of his face and across the gold shoulders of his uniform.
Bjarnadóttir: Don’t you dare! ::She thumped the locked door once again.:: Let us in right now!
The young Denobulan shook his head and stepped back out of view. Hisses whistled through the air, a deep rumble of ignition and the rattle of moving apparatus, and then with a boom which rattled the deck, the pod ejected. Through the small window, they watched the pod speed backwards, thrusters operating as they should from the localised power source contained within, burning through the limited fuel source in bright blue and purple flashes.
In the dark.
Metallic scraping behind, whispers licking like embers of a dying flame.
Tyrellian turned to Icelander, unspoken intentions clear.
They needed to hide.
¹ Icelandic: Move your butt / get on with it (literally: on with the butter).
² Tyrellian: Courage.
Commander Jal Desoa
Lt. Petra Bjarnadóttir
Chief of Security and Tactical