• Published 29th Jul 2012
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Life Giver - Nightwatcher

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Chapter 2 : The End and the Beginning

/ 2/11/8252 CE


/ Corporal John Maxwell

/ Playback begin

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My mind was a haze of pain and confusion, the only thing making it through to me was the blaring warnings on my HUD. I silenced the alarms as I opened my eyes.

The first thing I found out was that I was under water. The glass windows on my pod had scattered and water had poured into the pod. I silently thanked the fact that my armor had prevented me from drowning. I activated my helmets low-light mode and took inventory of my things, finding that luckily nothing had been lost.

I had landed hatch down in the water, I would have to lift the drop pod off of me. I planted my feet on the hatch and heaved the destroyed pod away.

"Must have landed in an underground lake" I thought as I looked up.

I rolled my shoulder and a small ANGLE drone released itself, I commanded it to see just where I had landed. It shoot up through the water, eventually breaking the surface. A small window appeared on my HUD showing what the drone was seeing. I had indeed landed in a underground lake, a look through the hole in the ceiling told me that I had smashed through a second layer of rock before stopping in the lake. My drone plotted the quickest route out of the lake, as my armor prevented me from swimming.

After a hour long trek I final breached the surface of the water, as I came up the rock shore my drone landed in its compartment on my shoulder blade. I moved towards the only route out of this area of the cave.

"This is BLUE 1-1, Can anyone read me. Over." I spoke into my COM, only static greeted me. "Damn"

I found the tunnel out of the cave, but something cut my eye, I walked over to the wall and ran my hand over the stone.

"Tool marks." I said. After checking that my recorder was active I continued on, looking for any other signs of life.

After a time of walking I heard something that sounded like a extremely loud cricket call, long and drawn out, my ecolocater pointed me to where it had come from.

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I was confused by what I found, dozens of large insectoid creatures, sprawled across the floor of the cave, all of them were dead. The look like they were all torn apart by some large predator most missing limbs or the horn like protrusions on their heads. I examined at one of the more 'put-together' corpses Its exoskeleton was a deep black in color it even had deep green hair like protrusions coming from its head and neck almost making it resemble a mane of a horse. I looked at its back to find a pair of insectoid wings, one of them being torn in half. Its bright fluorescent green blood leaking out. I moved its hair with a finger and nearly froze with shock.

It was wearing a necklace, a incredibly crude thing of a lump of crystal but a necklace still.

Animals don't make or wear necklaces. That left only two options.

This... insect was intelligent.

Or something on this planet was.

"Oh my god...." I said in awe. My mind was snapped back into place when my motion sensor detected movement around the next bend.

Something large.

I took the necklace off of the corps and pocketed it, running towards the large blip on my radar.

I rounded the corner and found what had made the huge blip. What looked like a giant cave spider, covered in the glowing green blood of the insectoids, was currently tearing at a small divot in the cave wall; obviously trying to get at something hiding in it.

Now I had a dilemma, first contact protocol forbids the killing of any creature because of the chance that it was intelligent.

The loudest screech I had ever heard suddenly assaulted my eardrums, my helmet saving me from losing my hearing. The monster of a cave spider was not so lucky, It stumbled back on its six legs disorientated. As it moved I caught sight of what it was trying to get at, one of the insectoid creatures had survived and was hiding in the divot.

I quickly weighed the chances in my mind and decided what to do.

"Oi! Ugly!" I shouted over my helmets external speakers.

The massive creature snapped towards me, its two arm like pincers snapping at me.

I raised my AR-548, centering the ridicule on my HUD right on the middle of its midsection. I pulled the trigger three times and the rifle sent three of its massive rounds into the spider like creature.

All that seemed to do was make it angry.

It pounced at me as I jumped to the side, firing all the way. Just as I finished my roll it jumped on top of me, its fangs swiping and scraping at my helmet. So I did the first thing I could think of.

I punched it in the face. Hard.

Then I activated my plasma gauntlet blades.

It let loose what could be actuated to a scream and fell to the floor, the fire spreading across its fur covered exoskeleton. I stood up and just five rounds into it to make sure it stayed down.

After standing there for a moment soft clicking brought me out of my stupor.

I looked at what was making the sound, finding that it was the insectoid, one of its wings was trapped under a rock, its eyes looked on my visor.

I took the time to get a good look at it.

It looked like the others that I has found, only smaller.... much smaller. The one that was wearing the necklace would have come up to my chin, horn included. This one on the other hand would barely make it to my kneecaps. That told me that this one was a child, or whatever was equivalent to that for this species. It also had a dark cerulean colored mane, and a pair of bright green eyes.

The question remind though, was it intelligent?

Fortunately I have a way to find out.

I kneeled in front of the small insectoid and a little holo projector popped out of my shoulder pauldron. It jumped when a rectangle appeared between us, about a foot from it. A large spinning square appeared in the lower left of the display, capturing its attention. It stopped and left a red square in its place and made a single chime, then repeated, this time leaving two, one red and one blue, and made two chimes. Then it repeated again making three , red, blue, green, and made three chimes. The purpose of the test was to see if the organism could conceptualize and was therefore intelligent. The test would repeat and if it began to copy the test it would stop, and it it continued the series that meant it was probably intelligent. This process repeated itself over and over, I decided to let it run one more time before shutting it off.

The small square left a red square and make a chime.

BIZZ

My eyes snapped to its one wing, The test made two chimes.

BIZZ BIZZ

Then three

BIZZ BIZZ BIZZ

I watched as the creature tilted its head is the square stopped then it looked at me, and I waited.

BIZZ BIZZ BIZZ BIZZ

Four...

I watched it count all the way up to ten before I stood up, making it stop. Its eyes closed shut as I reached out towards it. I gently moved the large rock off of its wing. It opened its eyes and scooted back as fair as possible into the divot. Something glinted in the light, it was wearing a necklace. Almost a copy of the one in my pocket.

I fished the trinket out of my pocket and showed it to the small insectoid. It saw it and let loose a symphony of chirps and scratches, judging from its face it knew where I had gotten it from. I held it out in front of me, baiting the child out.

It worked, the small insectoid slowly came out and stopped in-front of me, head down, I held the necklace out to it but it did not take it. I sighed and out the trinket back in my pocket.

My attention was brought to its broken wing, I slowly reached out and grabbed one off the insectoids legs keeping it in place. It wiggled in my grip but stopped after a short time. I brushed my hand over its broken wing, spreading a medical gel over its wounds, the gel would stop the bleeding and numb the pain. After the gel absorbed into its body the insectoid looked its wing then to me. It let out a cry of clicks and squeaks and jumped closer. I have a hidden smile at its actions. It began to move towards back the way I had come, it got to the bend and I assumed saw the bloodbath that was back there.

There was a....flash in its eyes, almost like they grew brighter for a moment and it took off like a shot. I got up to follow it. As I rounded the corner I found that it was nudging and poking at the body that I had gotten the necklace from. It caught sight of me and pointed at me, then its wing, then to the body. I got the gist of the message.

Help.

I kneeled next to the body and activated my medi-scanner, and found something interesting. It was still alive, barely, but I could save it.

I put my hand over one of its many wounds, and watched as the medical gel seeped into its body. The gel would take time to fix the damage done but it would most likely live. I looked at the small Insectoid and nodded, although if it understood the gesture was unclear as it just tilted its head at me. I pulled the necklace out of my pocket and replaced it around the creature's neck, Then backed up to the wall as not to startle the being.

After nearly an hour of the gel working on the creature, it’s eyes slowly opened. The moment they did the smaller one practically tackled the larger being, making odd clicks and buzzing noises to which the larger responded in kind.

Then the larger one finally noticed the the eight foot tall human standing ten feet away, needless to say it froze in what I assumed was shock. The smaller one took note of this and did something odd. It walked up to the larger one and touched its horn to the others, then both of their eyes lit up.

It stayed like this for a while then it stopped, the larger of the two looked at me then back to the smaller one. After a moment of the two making clicking noises at each other the larger one stood up shakingly.

Using one of its 'hooves' it pointed at me then to the other bodies, a quick medical scan confirmed what I thought. The others were dead.

I looked at the larger one and shook my head, to which the being repeated the motion.

"I'm sorry, there's nothing I can do." I told the creature, for it to only repeat the motion. It walked towards one of the bodies, its eyes lighting up again. It did this to each of the bodies until I assumed it realized there was nothing anyone could do.

It looked towards the smaller one then to me, it then walked up to me and then it did something.....odd. Its horn glowed and it touched my head. Its eyes glowed.

There was a flash of pain.

Then darkness.

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