Acid, Action, Author, Chapter Four, Fiction, Mini Series, New, Novel, Original, Sci-Fi, Sci-Fy, Science, Science Fiction, Scifi, Scify, Scyfi, Writing, Zach, Zach Acid, ZachAcid, Zacid

Act One | Chapter Four | Episode Seventeen: Brief Reprieve

“Prepare Valeviynellin to accept the K-8,” Voiyn refused to betray his injury.

“Docking bay opened Valegbosh,” OhkBD’s voice came through the comm.

NaN eased the sleek black vessel into the gaping bay doors. Voiyn hovered, wounded, behind him as he landed the prized ship. As the landing gears touched down NaN leapt from his seat to take Voiyn to the much more suitable examination compartment.

Voiyn stopped him, engaging the same communication panel, “OhkBD, Vahl. They will be on us soon. Transfer all power to our defenses.”

“Understood,” OhkBD replied, than Voiyn allowed NaN to help him limp off of the docking ramp.

Voiyn was heavy to move. NaN was dragging him through the empty hangar bay when the thought occurred to him, “How is JOS?”

“He’s stable. He suffered some bruising, and broken cartilage,” Voiyn said. “We’ll see him in the examination compartment.”

Together they limped their way through Valeviynellin eventually making it to the compartment. The door slid open rousing JOS from his sleep whom stared in a confused dazed at the image of the great reptile being helped onto the long table. Purple fluids leaked from the hole in the lizard’s golden omnisuit. NaN found himself confused about what to do for his savior after getting him to the room. He began looking through the storage for anything for biorepair. Piling all the objects of his finding upon a service tray.

Unloading close to the entirety of the room that he could fit he rushed back over to the prostrated Voiyn.

“Wha.. going on?” JOS grumbled.

NaN shushed him, and waved to tell him to ignore them. NaN looked at Voiyn sympathetically, eyebrows scrunched in concern. “What do I use?” his voice was struggling to fight his building anxiety.

Voiyn forced himself onto his arm to see better. NaN watched, trying to guess what he was looking for despite his complete lack of experience. Voiyn glared at something, NaN started touching things within the radius of his vision. Voiyn grunted his disapproval until NaN finally touched what he wanted. Pulling the tool out, it was reminiscent of some medieval torture device. Some congealed substance was frozen out of the nozzle, and there was a trigger on its hand grip.

“Stick it in. Then squeeze,” Voiyn said, in pain.

NaN did as he was told, the thin device went into the hole with ease. Then violently expanded causing Voiyn to groan. At the squeeze of the trigger NaN felt some resistance as the device was backed out of the bloody hole. There was a viscous milky substance left behind. Already he could see the synthetic material bonding to the surrounding flesh.

“Woah… that’s insane,” JOS slurred in NaN’s ear.

NaN didn’t allow himself to scare. “Are you gonna live?” he asked. Then added, “Or am I going to have to care for you ’til you become geriatric?”

“I’m okay, I feel like I’ve been smashed in a compactor,” JOS didn’t seem to comprehend the other question. “More importantly, what’s wrong with him?” he asked.

“He received a…”

The door slid open revealing two concerned alien faces. They pushed through into the compartment together. “What’s wrong?” “What happened?” “Is it going to be lethal?” “Voiyn do I need to beat this little thing?” “What’re we gonna do when they arrive?” “Fight, what else?” “How’re we going to fight them against without Voiyn?” “Same way as always you ovelie.” “But…”

“Silence your foundling wining,” Voiyn snarled.

The whole compartment became instantly quiet at the sound of the Valegbosh’s voice. “Valh take NaN to the guns. OhkBD keep the ship functioning. Keep all of our defense batteries on maximum. JOS get back on the exam table.”

Hearing this was enough to rouse the Pack to action. Instantly Valh grunted toward NaN then walked away into the belly of Valeviynellin. NaN was quick to be on his heels not wanting to be left behind. He overheard OhkBD fussing over a disinterested Voiyn as the door slid behind him.

Valh was half a corridor away, NaN kept pace. He’d been on the weapons deck before, however had never had the opportunity to fire the Graelos, rapid firing six-barreled legiteon guns with a projectile the size of his hand. Any successful shot would be devastating for any erstwhile ship on the receiving end. Adrenaline made his heart race as he winded into the gun deck just behind the hulking Vahl.

“We don’t have time to go over the specifics. Get in that seat,” Valh pointed to the leftmost seat. NaN obliged. “The left sick, pull to reload. Right stick, rotate to aim, pull out to fire. The harder you pull the faster it shoots. Do not pull it all the way out, you will eventually burn the barrels.”

NaN sat in the black seat, which lifted him on hydraulics sensing his weight. The controls stayed level in front of him, he seized them. The ships brain recognized his prints, activating the view screen and loosening the controls. NaN swung the weapon around to feel out the controls.

“They’re comin’. Follow the targeting glyphs with the trail reticule,” Valh called out to him.

NaN sat nervously, a cold sweat filmed on his hands.

A white glyph appeared from the left side of his viewing screen, NaN breathed in deep. Breathing out he steeled his nerve, and began to fire on the incoming ship.

It is my very great honor to bring you the first book from the fluxDominion,

THE CARNAGE OF PALTOCK

The most important piece for any historian of the fluxDominion. Written by Toretia Wailxl the personal assistant to the mightiest of Supreme Leshers, Umixquios the Grand. About his life and how he became the Grandest Umixquios in Preshood history.

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Action, Author, Chapter Four, Fiction, Mini Series, New, Novel, Original, Sci-Fi, Sci-Fy, Science, Science Fiction, Scifi, Scify, Scyfi, Writing, Zach Acid

Act One | Chapter Four | Episode Sixteen: Close Call

Voiyn stumbled forward, and exited the examination compartment intent on not giving the stowaway another shot. His hearts beating fast, he glanced at the wound. ‘Nothing vital,’ he thought. It had been an energy weapon, which was fortunate, Voiyn wasn’t going to bleed out and the cavity wouldn’t become infected. He needed to get to the K8’s Armory.

As fast as he could drag his magboots the great reptile labored through the sterile white corridors of his own ship. The Armory was behind a hidden door, on the way to the cockpit. Senses on full alert he heard light footsteps rounding the corner behind him. Quick on his feet, he ducked into behind the threshold of a personnel compartment. A green lance struck the opposite side of the threshold where his head was just a moment before.

The steps were careful and meticulous, but not enough for Voiyn’s senses. A small flick of his tongue and he could taste the pheromones wafting off his enemy. ‘Let’s get his nerves even higher,’ he smirked at the thought. Slipping his had behind him, he activated the controls to the door. When it hissed open, the stalker moved quickly to the compartment. The hand held weapon peaked out from behind the corner.

Voiyn lashed out like he was striking at prey, grabbing the gun and biting into its arm. Warm blood rushed in his mouth as looked into the eyes of one of the adept servants crewed with the Seven Hounds Bounty. The being’s eyes went wide with fear, and then glassy as the toxins in his fangs pumped quickly through the creatures system. Wrenching the black weapon out of the hands of his would be assassin a few bones cracked, the musculature of the creature going stiff.

Having captured his prey, he looked over the aspirant. A greyish epidermal layer with a finely scaled quality. It’s eyes had been yellow orbs bisected with red pupils, now they had turned milky white, the toxins were going to work on his physical senses. All swaddled in the typical solid black of the Seven Hounds.

‘Notan owes so much. I need to comb the ship for more vermin, but first to warn NaN.’

— — — — — — — — — — — — —

“Call them off,” Essec pushed, exasperated with the sluggish thing.

“They are not mine to call, or push, or convince to do anything,” Notan repeated. His foul breath crept into Essec’s olfactory. “Like you and your lizard master, I can only supply the motivation, whether or not you comply is completely voluntary.”

This was exactly why Essec hated this smug thing. “Then supply them with the proper motivation,” Essec said trying to keep his tone amicable, but it was slipping fast.

“My, my, aren’t you the impatient one,” Notan’s gurgling voice even more disgusting attempting what Essec could only imagine as cuteness. “If any harm befalls the little monkey, I will gladly reimburse Voiyn for his damaged property. A good one is hard to acquire, I know. Unless you have something to give me, something that could supplant the boys value. Only then would I see Gort’ekl turning around. If you have nothing to offer, then our business is concluded and I wish you and Voiyn the best.”

Essec went stoic, there was no way he was leaving without receiving some kind of aid from this fat, greedy thing. Fortunately there was one thing in his possession that could be offered to the Pit Master. One thing that was his, that was the only thing of his homeworld. Having reached the black thirty cycles prior he’d begun a quest for his past, a history that had been difficult to discover in the limited channels of this caged called The Vale. Nokitha in the Juxl system was where his race hailed from, it took seven cycles just to understand that. After that huge discovery he’d begun to collect any and everything about the world, far far from this insipid place. The crown of his collection was a jewel, the rarest from his world, and the only he knew of that could be bartered with here.

“I have something. In my own personal possession, that cannot be found within The Vale,” he proposed.

Notan’s eyes opened in curiosity, “What kind of something might this be?” Now Essec had the fat stumpy creature’s attention.

“A gem the size of my fist,” Essec said.

Notan’s excitement seemed to fade. “Do you have an image of it? A being in my position has many trinkets of rare quality. I’m sure you understand,” Notan gurgled sardonically.

Essec had taken a recording of it on his data card. He never wanted to imagine being rid of it, however he knew it was priceless and could very easily become something to barter with in an extreme circumstance. Just like the one he found himself in currently.

He pulled the data card off his omnisuit, and thumbed through it to the storage function. Selecting the video he handed the device to Notan. The gem and video was burned into his memory, after so many cycles of searching he’d stared at it for thousands of decacircuits once it had entered his position. It was a ovular gem, deep blue and black gem, the blue swirling within the sea of jet that made up the base of the treasure.

Notan’s excitement returned, “This will do. When can I have it?”

Essec smiled, “As soon as they return with the monkey.”

It is my very great honor to bring you the first book from the fluxDominion,

THE CARNAGE OF PALTOCK

The most important piece for any historian of the fluxDominion. Written by Toretia Wailxl the personal assistant to the mightiest of Supreme Leshers, Umixquios the Grand. About his life and how he became the Grandest Umixquios in Preshood history.

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Author, Chapter Four, Mini Series, Novel, Original, Science Fiction, Writing, Zach Acid

Act One | Chapter Four: Vexed | Episode Fourteen: Rescuing NaN

The Kal’rax Fnerckt, Gort’ekl’s ship, glinted off in the distance. Voiyn could track it with onboard tech signal or no. His ship, the K8-Blackstar, pierced through space inexorably towards the Seven Hounds Bounty. Primal maternal instinct raged through his changing asexual physiology, not only were they part of his crew, but he had imprinted on the fledglings. Being that he had not mated as a male in over thirty cycles, he remained both sexes at the same time. This maternal desire gave him focus, therefor he was not, currently, rejecting the emotional torrent that flooded his reptilian nervous system.

Voiyn’s hands made microscopic adjustments as he approached the rear of the enemy, staring directly into the fire-red exhaust ports. Not for a microsphere did he tamper with his speed.

Within the thousand unit killzone of their hull Voiyn commanded, “All weapons engage in targeting lock.” Multiple overlapping reticule glyphs appeared in his optics, he paused a moment before launching the fusillade. “Disengage all lethal weaponry,” commanding the ships brain reduced the locked on glyphs to three. Without moving his eyes from the back of the Kal’rax, Voiyn red the still active weapons list in the bottom right peripheral of his vision. His trusty hook, electromagnetic disruptor rockets, and a jamming sentinel. Swipes with his foreclaw highlighted the third option projected into his eyes. A squeeze from his left hand and two sentinels thumped out, self propelled, immediately attracted to the heat produced by their target.

A blast fired, hitting one of the drones, exploding it in a corona, the second with luck attached itself to the top of the boxy ship, laying as flush to the metal skin possible. If it took damage, so would they.

Realizing this the same golden beams began firing upon the K-8 intermittently. Deftly, Voiyn maneuvered around the aim of their ships autoturret’s algorithm, as he waited for the jamming device to effectively kill all sensors aboard the Kal’rax Fnerckt. For a moment the golden beams continued firing into the same point in space.

Taking advantage of the wayward turret, Voiyn flicked his talon to the electromagnetic disruptor rockets, and squeezed. Carbon based fuels emitted a orange glow as the fired pair streaked for their target. For the first time since the chase began Voiyn backed off the throttle. Anything within five-hundred units of the blast, that required electronics to function was about to go limp.

Coruscating energy rushed outwards in visible overlapping spheres, the Kal’rax disappeared as it was engulfed inbetween their expanding diameters. Voiyn watched cautiously waiting for the apex of the effective range. Less than a hundred units away from the the tip of the K-8’s fuselage the energy field was unable to keep its integrity, scintillating into nothingness. A jerk of his right hand gunned the engine forward, his hook all ready to fire at his command.

Getting the K-8 lined up on her left wing, on the boxy modified runner’s right. Firing, the barbed cables into its side, winches whined as they pulled the two ships together. Then came the ssekhratess, the gap between the two ships less than ten units, the oversized, spiked piston jut out, piercing the hull of the other ship, its gem like spear folding open to create a permanent, airtight, connection. Until Voiyn decided to sever it.

Red, green, and purple warning lights, and alarm klaxons signaled all of the obvious, they were under attack. Except one. To NaN these were all but warnings or alarms, these were symbols of hope. Suddenly, the ship went black, like a tomb.

Emergency powered life systems clicked to life, a faint hiss could be heard as the recycled air flowed through the ship.

The Seven Hounds Bounty was driven insane, a maelstrom of cursing and shouting could be heard beyond his cell door. Their chaos gave him more hope still. The crunch of metal piercing metal was the next odd sound. The ships gravity synthesizers down, NaN could feel the shift as he collided with the bulky door. The same death-like silence followed, even the crowd beyond had become completely still. The vessel stopped moving, his mass continued in the same direction, floating away from the door.

Near him, from the other side of the bulkhead came the most ungodly sound as the alloyed metal plating of the hull was punctured, and then peeled back. Disturbing as the noise was to hear, it could only signify one thing. They had been borded.

ssekhratess – Piece de resistance

It is my very great honor to bring you the first book from the fluxDominion,

THE CARNAGE OF PALTOCK!

Unfortunately Pubslush as a company has tanked, and any contributors will be receiving their money back. Thank you everyone who contributed!!!!!!!!! I will be launching a kickstarter, and probably a gofundme as well in light of this event. Stay tuned.

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Author, Chapter Three, Mini Series, Novel, Original, Science Fiction, Writing, Zach Acid

Act One | Chapter Three | Episode Twelve: Enraged

Voiyn put the young one down to sleep. Wasting no time he informed the others of the small amount of information he’d been able to gather from the broken words. Vahl and OhkBD were in the main hold awaiting Voiyn’s return with the two boys to observe their prescribed punishment which was forgone after the proceedings. Unfortunately he had to disappoint because of the significant investment that had gone into acquiring those two apes.

“OhkBD get to your position in the cockpit. Prepare Valeviyenellin for launch,” Voiyn was sure to snarl, expressing his need for urgency, “Vahl get to the guns. We need our disabling munitions locked into place.”

“Are we going to need Essec? he’s still offboard,” OhkBD asked meekly.

“Reach him. Inform him that the black haired one has been taken by the Seven Hounds. We need to get out of this rock and onto their scent if we wish to retrieve him in one piece. Request that he speak with Notan about this matter. He has permission to tempt the yüel* with anything short of this ship, my personal transport, and anything living to get him to force his hand in the matter,” Voiyn couldn’t remember needing to say so much in a long while. OhkBD diverged on his way to the cockpit, while Voiyn went to prepare for a fight. His Omnisuit had been modified over many cycles to allow him total freedom of movement within the grip of the Void. One-hundred and twenty circuits of life support, was enough time for any operation.

He would gladly show these scum what it is like to put themselves against a true Valegbosh. One whom earned their title with their own blood, rather than by standing on piles of dead, with none other to claim it as with Poichal Nrkthah*. Foul defiler of the noble title Vale Hound.

Sealing his suit with his golden helm, he moved with jarring speed to the cockpit. There Vahl was in his seat, optics fitted against his sclera, guns at the ready, “Non-lethal’s loaded Valegbosh.”

“Excellent.”

OhkBD was in his control position, multiple arms flying furiously between his multiple input devices. “BD, find their ship first. If there’s no trace search all bandwidth channels for the foundling’s datacards. That is what they’re for correct,” Voiyn posed rhetorically. “Twenty beats ahead Valegbosh,” OhkBD gave his affirmation of the command. Voiyn finishing his preflight checks lamented the empty chair, but Essec would serve a more functional purpose. Then sat in his own command console, inserting his hands into the blue and red orbs respectively and began to lift the Valeviyenellin off the deck.

An unsolicited com-channel opened on the display projecting into his eyes, “Not even going to let me know you’re leaving,” Notan’s overfed voice oozed through the audio outputs against his cranium. Voiyn restrained his anger, the pay for this next one was too great, “The crew you hired to accompany us has taken one of my crew, and my personal property. From your noble house no less. I have placed a high value on the young one now in their possession it is imperative that he is returned to me intact. My best, Essec,” he made sure to hiss the name with menace,” will be speaking with you shortly. If all you need is a farewell. Consider this farewell for now. Have your men open my docking hatch. I swear to return the moment I have retrieved what is mine.”

“Then I wish you good fortune Voiyn Valegbosh,” the sickly voice cut off. It was all he could do to resist the primal urge to sink his poisoned fangs into something. Being pushed into a corner made Voiyn into something to be feared.

“Let’s go get our young,” Voiyn felt the maternal urge of his reptilian asexuality taking over, as he willed the barrier to close off his ship to the living Pit. He spun the ship around towards the porthole leading out of the rock. Klaxons rang outside the ship, and caution lighting signaled that the space was being opened into the Vale. “Do we have them yet?” Voiyn demanded.

“Lock on the datacard has been successful, they’re moving quickly,” OhkBD spoke as fast as his hands moved.

“Put it on my screen, I’m going to chase them down. They’re going to remember why we remain unmolestable in this Pit Territory,” Voiyn caught the reticule on his optics, pointed the Valeviyenellin at it, and blasted out of Notan’s Pit in wrapped in the fiery cloak that scored the docking bay he’d left behind in a flash.

It is my very great honor to bring you the first book from the fluxDominion,

THE CARNAGE OF PALTOCK!

Be sure to stop by and become a fan of The Carnage of Paltock’s Crowdfunding Campaign.

Accessible at thefluxdominion.pubslush.com

Help support the expansion of the fluxDominion!

Be sure to stop by and become a fan of The Carnage of Paltock’s Crowdfunding Campaign.

Accessible at thefluxdominion.pubslush.com

Help support the expansion of the fluxDominion!

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Author, Chapter Three, Mini Series, Novel, Original, Science Fiction, Writing

Act One | Chapter Three | Episode Eleven: Rude Awakening

JOS was lost… somewhere. Though there was no real way to be sure of where. His head felt as though it’d been split in half, and some beeping sound kept getting louder and louder in the darkness. He then came to the realization he was being shaken by something, . Not just by the vibration from his waist, but a sincere rocking motion, and a voice that was impossible to discern through all the other senses he could make no sense of.

Where was NaN, the need to get back to the ship, Voiyn would murder them if they were late. Knowing NaN he could be anywhere.

No.

He should still be with JOS, but something was telling him that he wasn’t. This terrified feeling grew within him, grew like the violence of the shaking, and the beeping that rose to a siren. He opened his eyes to see a blur of lower extremities. Once his eyes focused on the spot where he remembered NaN was, except there was nothing, no trace at all. JOS could’ve sworn there had been restraints on him. Now he was only surrounded by a crowd, and free to move. The beeping persisted, causing his head to ache ever greater with each pulse.

His datacard!

JOS lurched up too quickly, he had to catch himself before he passed out. As the space around him stopped spinning, he could hear a creature asking, more yelling, “…ARE YOU OKAY!?” in a shrill tongue. He nodded, hoping to satisfy the being. He slid his right hand down to grab his datacard to turn the thing off.

Before shutting it down he remembered to look at the time. There were only ten circuits until he had to be back on Valeviyenellin. He examined the routes available on his card, he was still at the bottom of the central spiral, which he observed had returned to the open position. He sprang to his feet, again nearly collapsing, he bent his knees to catch himself, it didn’t stop his head from throbbing, but there was no time to examine any wound, let alone coddle it. JOS took off as fast as he could up the spiral in the direction of the ship. His body felt more labored than what he was used to. His sense of urgency drove him to fight the pain screaming from his frontal lobe. As he rounded the corner to the diameter arm, he noticed that his eyes were half open, and his vision was tinted red. In spite of this he continued down the arm to the Pit’s circumference. He ignored the disgusted, and offended looks of the passersby, as he rounded the final corner.

Finally on the circumferencial pathway he could see the hangar where Valeviyenellin was. JOS bolted at this marvelous sight, he had to get back, he had to tell someone. Bodily fluids were dripping everywhere, sweat, blood, snot, the parts that ran in his eyes stung, he was a complete and utter mess. Voiyn was waiting for them at the ships entrance, first with a look of anger, searching for the two, then their eyes met. He became confused,, which changed instantly into worry as he moved in JOS’s direction.

What Voiyn had seen was the boy he’d taken in, or some purple and red version of him, sprinting full speed towards him. The soft birthmarked face was broken and bloody, the sweat changing his fair skin into a shiny red. The sclera surrounding his eyes had even turned the color of his blood, and his olfactories were crushed flat. Then he realized the other one wasn’t there, this caused him to worry the most.

JOS could feel his legs getting numb but he had to tell Voiyn about the Seven Hounds Bounty woman, how she kidnapped NaN. As soon as he reached the great reptile he collapsed. Strong arms caught his weight. Despite all his wanting to say something, only fractions of syllables could escape his lips, the rest was winded gurgling breath. It took all of his concentration to even remain conscious at this point. Concern for his friend was the only thing keeping him from slipping back into that place again. Then his friend could be anywhere.

He tried to relax, now that he was safe again, and slow down his breathing. Being carried helped, as they crossed into the ships center he willed himself to say one broken sentence.

“Woman… Seven Hounds… NaN, taken,” the strain was finally too much. His goal had been reached and he slipped comfortably off into the dark of his mind. Floating weightless on a sturdy cloud.

It is my very great honor to bring you the first book from the fluxDominion,

THE CARNAGE OF PALTOCK!

Be sure to stop by and become a fan of The Carnage of Paltock’s Crowdfunding Campaign.

Accessible at thefluxdominion.pubslush.com

Help support the expansion of the fluxDominion!

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Author, Chapter Three, Mini Series, Novel, Original, Science Fiction, Writing, Zach Acid

Act One | Chapter Three: Entanglement | Episode Nine: Discovery

NaN’s nerves wore off after a few circuits. The atmosphere was still tense, and stifling, but they were pretty much ignored, their novelty had already worn off. Everything seemed a little clearer this time. Directly across from the Docking Bay were the eateries and ethyl-alch lounges, ‘For those times when you need inebriation as quickly as possible.’ His imaginary commercial voice perfectly irritating. A hodgepodge combination of these businesses formed the outer orbit, two intersecting, diametrical corridors ran into the center of the station. Down into the real Pit.
Every store front corridor had an odd synthesis of natural and synthetic structure. Overall it was an easy layout to understand, it took them the better part of the first half of the one revolution allotted them by walking the circumference. After reaching the first leg of the intersecting passageways, NaN whipped out his datacard to trace a map with his relative position in space. Plans for future visits were already being made.
“…more apes. Can you believe how quickly they reproduce? They should keep themselves to their own cesspool in the Eleventh District. Us good being want have to not put up with their fragile little lives, paying with my good orn to pump this filthy oxygen…” The voice of the passerby clicked as he trailed off into the pockets of crown surrounding them.
“You hear that?” NaN clapped JOS enthusiastically.
“What,? The screaming from the back of that eatery?” JOS pointed at the restaurant bearing a sign: Quality Meats – Fresh?
“No…” NaN lost his focus for a moment, distracted by the many shades of neon making up the sign, he remembered, “No.  There was this thing that was talking about a place here, just for our type.”
“New?” JOS was so clueless.
“Not new to the Pit, it’s a place filled with the same species as us,” NaN could see he’d gotten his friend’s attention.
“Where is it?”
“Some place it called the Eleventh District,” NaN answered.
“What is, or where is the Eleventh District?” JOS beginning to sound frustrated having to repeat himself.
“Probably down in the lower levels, our datacards shouldn’t have any problem mapping any route we take, sound like fun?” NaN watched JOS think about it.
“I’ll set mine as well, the moment we go out of range we turn back. We cannot get lost here,” despite the serious voice JOS’s eyes betrayed his excitement. JOS detached his datacard from his magbelt to set the map tracker.
NaN kept his eyes on the descending spiral about 800 Units away. “Let’s go,” JOS commanded. Together they continued through the light crowds towards the center of the Pit. More aware of the surrounding environment without protection, there were several directories posted around the entrance to the Pit’s main artery. A group of beings were gathered around it, they looked familiar, it was hard to place anyone after seeing so many shapes, sizes, and types of bodies.
He tried to pick out recognizable details, but they all stood cloaked by the back lighting of the directories. Only five in the group. ‘It’s them!’ the thought sounded off like a klaxon. Seven Hound’s Bounty, from down in Notan’s Lair. His hand shot out to stop JOS.
“What?” JOS surprised, “Wasn’t this your idea to begin with?”
“No,”NaN shook his head, “no, I see something better. See those guys by the central spiral?”
“Yes.”
“Recognize them?”
“How could we possibly know anybody here NaN?”
“You’re not thinking about it clearly enough. Look closer.”
NaN watched his friend scrutinize the beings hoping to see him come the same conclusion as him. Now JOS was irritated,”I don’t recognize anyone.”
“Maybe almost dying made you forget, think back like twenty circuits before that,” NaN reminded JOS.
JOS’s eyes went about as wide as his mouth did, “Those are the guys we’re supposed to hunt with right? What do you think they’re doing?”
“That’s exactly why I stopped you,” NaN’s voice was conspiring. “Let’s find out.”
“Are you trying to get us dead?” JOS asked incredulous.
“Not killed, I think we’ve got an obligation to know more about these guys, and what it is we’re getting into. “
JOS thought on it, before he could respond NaN had to include, “Or are you too terrified?”
NaN was always surprised at how JOS could remain stoic, even with his constant checking for cracks in JOS’s ego.
“Alright, I’ll concede. More importantly we can get a guided tour from some serious killers,” JOS tried not to sound nervous. “I’m sure they’ll go to all the best section of the Pit. Set the timer on your datacard now.” JOS fiddled with his own as he continued, “We have about half a revolution, fifty-three circuits exactly. Once our timers hit thirty circuits we return, no matter where we are.”
“Yes, Valegbosh,” he mocked JOS sarcastically.
JOS gave him that stern look of disapproval he often received, “Are you ready to do this?”
“After you Fligar,” NaN meant it. Having any name was better than some anthropomorphic serial number. He caught the smile JOS tried to hide by taking the lead. Not that NaN wanted it anyway. This was JOS’s specialty, stalking clientele, moving noiselessly through hallways teeming with auditory sensors to alert customer’s at the Servitude Colony that they could be heard by the servants. As property of the Juxl Corporation, they were encouraged to learn the secrets of their customers, which the Corporation would gladly keep safe, for a fee.
‘A precautionary measure to ensure the safety, comfort, and privacy of our staff, patrons, and wonderful guests,’ the faceless monotonous feminine voice from the Colony still clear.
Another large group was within fifty units of the Seven Hound’s Bounty, still having a great time bogarding the directory. The two did their best to blend in by having a silent conversation, actually watching their prey, which only stood around making more noise than anyone in the vicinity. They seemed to stand there for revolutions.
Without warning the five Hounds shifted as a group into the central spiral, NaN and JOS stayed relaxed. JOS followed first, just before the last one slipped out of sight. Standing at the entrance was like his first leap across the void. NaN breathed out, taking the lead now, he was feeling powerful, and wanted to test his own abilities. The group wasn’t moving very quickly, making them easy to keep up with, but hard to watch. It’d be too simple to give themselves away if they rushed their stalk.
Halfway down, the entrance into the Pit proper revealed itself again. Imagining it in his mind distracted him from controlling the weight of his boots. It clacked a little too hard against the metallic flooring. NaN pushed his body into the bulkhead they were walking along. Everything was too quiet, NaN’s heart pounded in his throat.
“I smell dessert…” the slimy voice could be heard through the sound of adrenaline try to burst his heart through his sternum. One more check in with his data card, ‘Plenty of time,’ he thought. Twenty-four more circuits until that alarm would go off.
“Fligar,” NaN flashed a smile, nodding at JOS.
“Ragilf,” JOS nodded back in confirmation.
In one motion both of them lifted themselves from the wall, slinking into the vast crowd that made up the permanent residents of Notan’s Pit. Eyes and ears were on full alert, searching for their “guides”, and the Eleventh District.

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Author, Chapter Two, Mini Series, Novel, Science Fiction, Writing, Zach Acid

Act One | Chapter Two: Notan’s Pit | Episode Eight: Fligar & Ragilf

With this he could defend himself, if he managed to keep it, it would be paramount in establishing his name as Ragilf. NaN basked in his self-aggrandizement for a moment. First, he had to figure out a way to keep it better hidden, since it had already atomized his sleeve. He checked his data card for the time. More than a revolution and a half before the rest were back onboard. “If some aren’t back already,” he whispered in embarrassment to himself.

Now or never. He climbed out of the hatch, back into the engineering compartment where he looked for a couple of heat masks. JOS was probably in the fitness arena already done with his tasking, attempting to train. The thought made NaN smile. Then he imagined JOS’s reaction to the nanobrains.

Likely he’d defecate on the spot. NaN chuckled to himself rounding the corner towards the fitness arena, the imagery of his hardline friend, eyes bulging with shock, mouth moving speechlessly. As if gasping for air. Too amazing.

He’d almost forgotten the need to be paranoid when he heard the whisper of a door from the fitness arena opening further down. “You’ll never guess what happened!” NaN called out.

His heart sank.

“What exactly happened?” Voiyn’s deep voice made the feeling worse. NaN swore he saw Voiyn look at his arm before he could shift it out of view.

Quick to reach for something, “Vahl’s compartment is absolute filth. It was so foul I had to hold my breath the entire time,” he mimed, placing his right hand over his nose and mouth. In an attempt to draw the attention away from hand holding the masks, covered in nanobrains, poorly hidden behind his back.

“And the masks?”

‘Think, think…’, “They’re to help with JOS’s training, I figure he’s probably not going hard enough in there,” he served the lie on silver.

“You’ll be surprised. He’s training harder than I’ve ever seen. Maybe being so close to death from that Boi-zht gave him some fire,” Voiyn said with great knowing. “You both should go through the Pit. Show the other Packs that Voiyn’s Horde is unafraid. This time show your faces proudly. You have a revolution and a half to explore. Don’t get yourselves killed. This next hunt will be big. Worth close to half your debts. Don’t waste the opportunity being reckless.” NaN couldn’t help but stare into the poisonous yellow eyes that reflected the light in the semi-shadow he stood in.

Voiyn carried on nonchalantly towards his private compartment. NaN was drop-jawed, ‘He knew. That crafty lizard knew,’ he looked at the matte black coating his hand. His footing returned to him as he began reading into what Voiyn had said. His mind flicked through an infinity of scenarios. “Yartūss*…” he shrugged to himself continuing on. That had been the only permission he could have wanted. Hopefully JOS wasn’t too dead to make this soujorn into the wild.

“Incredible,” NaN gave JOS a clap after watching his friend leap knee height, drenched in sweat.

JOS shot him a fierce look, he wasn’t the first interloper, JOS wasn’t in the mood. “Are you going to to stand there and stare, or join?”

NaN flashed a toothy grin, “You’ll never believe what happened.”

JOS’s face switched from anger, to exasperation.

“Remember how you told me about nanobrains?”

JOS sunk his body in annoyance.

“Wait!” NaN stopped him from turning around by raising his blackened arm.

JOS stared for a moment, “If this is some trick you’re playing, I’ll kick you so hard you’ll vomit,” he snarled. Marching towards NaN, his footsteps echoing off the walls, sounding harder with every step towards him.

Before JOS covered even half of the distance between them, NaN opened his hand like before. The unit long spikes stopped JOS in his tracks.

There it was. That face, it was even better, JOS looked like he’d just had a bucket of water thrown on him. NaN wasn’t sure if his smile could get any wider.

“Is that real?” JOS was still processing everything.

“Quite,” NaN responded haughtily, wanting to sound impressive.

“How?” was all he could say. ‘Got ‘im,’ NaN thought.

“That’s not even the best part,” he relaxed his fingers causing the spikes to recede, ‘I’ll have to remember that.’ “We have just receive notice of our allowance off this box, to go explore this Pit.”

“This is getting ludicrous. You’re telling me you have a nanobrain weapon,” JOS pointed at the matte black hand, “and somehow you secure us leave off the ship.”

“Something like that,” he waved towards the sanitation compartment, the nanobrains for med into talons. “Awesome,” NaN examined his hand. “Let’s go get back in our omni-suits, Valegbosh’s request.”

Donning their omni-suits, NaN exlained Voiyn’s offer, then he told JOS what he’d learnt going through each compartment. NaN finished up his magtags, deciding on a pair of black machining gloves instead of the matching pair. One puncture anywhere on his omni-suit would be a disaster to repair. ‘It’s better not to risk it,’ NaN reasoned with himself.

“How have you planned to tell Essec about the microscopic artificial intelligence attached to your arm?” JOS asked with those eyes that made him feel like a target. NaN hadn’t actually given it as much though as he probably should.

“By giving it back… if I can,” NaN hoped the joke would misdirect.

Nonplussed JOS responded,”That’s clever, I bet you have a voidsealed plan for getting off the ship without any permission. And at the same time, though unintentional, you stole someone elses belongings.”

NaN took the criticism for what it was, JOS knew he needed to hear it. As much as being wild was fun, the level of trouble for a single mistake beyond the protection of Voiyn’s Horde was too great.

“You can get what you want without asking sometimes too. Opportunities are everywhere it’s important to take advantage of them when you can. Which means you have to take risks.” NaN was all snark. He held his hand in the thumb and finger chevron sign of sarcasm.

“Since we’ve got our permission, let’s go out. Better learn something about this place if it’ll be our docking home for the foreseeable future,” JOS deadpanned.

“One of these rotation’s you’ll stop doing everything so stressfully,” Nan sighed. “You’re right though, let’s go learn about this filthy mess.”

Both exchanged a look of excitement.

“Ragilf.” JOS said.

“Fligar.” NaN responded, together turned in sync proceeding towards the hangar exit.

NaN remember, turning to JOS said, “Oh yeah, Voiyn said, don’t get us killed”

JOS punched him in the shoulder, sending him into the bulkhead.

There was a tense, silent moment between them. Then, JOS laughed. NaN joined, they laughed together until they couldn’t stand.

Finally able to catch their breath, they stood up, brushed themselves off, and went off into the plums of yellow, questionably nontoxic, gas.

* Yartūss – slang. Used when performing an undesirable task, (ex. “Oh well…”, “Git ‘r done…”, “Yartūss…”)

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