[23] Kovux Entry #404 - A Moment of Doubt by Arctacia

[Starting Kovux personal log...]

It had been nearly 40 hours now that we've been flying out to our destination. I was in the cockpit idly resting while AC and Emily were in the back sleeping. Though, Klov was also here keeping me company. This idle time gave me a chance to get to know him a little better. Though, I suppose being an android who hasn't been active long, he hasn't really developed much of a personality or distinctiveness to him. Still, given the circumstances, he was filled with human knowledge that I decided to bask in for a time.

"I have to say... " I said as I continued on my conversation with Klov. "I am impressed that Scott managed to make something like yourself."

Klov smiled a little. "He's quite good with his works. In all fairness, I am the result of years of research and development. I know I'm not the first trial of his, either."

"Hmm... tell me... what's it been like for you, to just live this life and experience what you have so far?"

Klov's eyes darted around a little in thought before responding. "It's been quite interesting. I look forward to much more, which I'm sure there will be plenty of experiences yet to be discovered."

I smiled softly and crosses my arms, leaning back in my chair. I gazed out the window at the stars flying past. "Yeah... trust me, I'm sure there will be plenty of those."

"Curious, what have your thoughts been for this mission?"

I peered over at Klov. "What? Just in general?"

He nodded softly. "Yes."

I looked back out the window again for a moment. "Well... it is pretty crazy when you look at it from an outside source. Even I at times have to wonder." I leaned forward a bit and gazed on at Klov. "But, I began to realize there has to be something to this the more I follow and observe AC's actions. There's been a fair bit of evidence there is more to him than meets the eye, more than even he realizes. He's not aware of his origins... he has been having these weird moments where something just takes him over and expresses a power I haven't seen before... and feels compelled to go to this place that only he somehow sees. That and the way he acts and talks is just... he's different. He seems human, but I have a feeling he's not of Earth at all... and probably not even human, either. But through all this, I have a feeling something wonderful will come of it."

Klov was in thought for a breif moment. "I understand. I must agree that the events and situations are distinct. As you say, I hope they can yield a positive resolution and he finds peace in himself. We'll know in time."

"So we shall." I peered down at my console and studied it for a moment before smiling a little. "Looks like we're approaching the Andromeda galaxy. God, about time. I get a little unnerved being out in deep space."

"Why is that?"

I shrugged a little. "It's just... empty. I dunno, it's like... being afraid of the dark in a way. I guess maybe you won't understand it too much."

"Suppose I can understand to a degree. But, you are correct, I am not certain of that concept. At least not yet."

I smiled a little. "I'm guessing Scott wouldn't want to program you with any fears, would he? Not for a bodyguard."

Klov smiled in return. "No, I would find that to be unwise."

"So, how complex are your feelings?"

"Not too complex. I can understand basic emotions for the most part and express them accordingly. Some concepts like fear, as you mentioned, are not something I can really experience or fully understand."

I peered back over at my console and used the inputs, curious about something that caught my eye. "Yeah... no worries there. You're not missing out on too much."

Klov tilted his head a bit, noticing my attention being robbed from our discussion. "Something wrong, Kovux?"

I became focused on the console, gathering more information on a signal of sorts I intercepted. "I don't know. I'm picking up a signal from within Andromeda. It's omni broadcast in nature and trying to convey information. I'm trying to get what I can of it and decode." I spent a moment on this task before I finally was able to make more sense of it. "Hmm... looks like a... distress signal. I'm going to continue to work on this a bit and see if I can compile a full message."

Klov began to stand up. "Should I get the others? Perhaps they will want to hear of this."

I looked over at Klov and nodded. "Yeah, probably should. By the time you get them in here, I should have this all figured out."

Klov bowed gently. "I shall get them momentarily." And with that, he departed.

For the next few minutes, I worked on the signal more and was able to assemble the entire message. AC, Emily, and Klov came in as I finished up. I greeted them as they entered. "Hey guys. Hope you rested well."

"I did." AC replied.

"Not too bad." Emily began. "But I have to say, I'm really not used to seeing pitch black when looking out a window."

I felt a connection swell up in my chest as I darted a look of understanding and unease at Emily. "Right?!" I then glanced back down at the console. "Ugh... I am glad I'm not the only one who feels that way..."

AC smiled and crossed his arms as he leaned against the entryway. "Well, I think that's true for most. I don't think many life forms would be used to being in deep space like this. It definitely has a creepy vibe to it." He then glanced over at me. "So, Klov said we're approaching Andromeda and that there's a distress signal coming from it?"

I nodded and pointed out the window. "Yep... and you're just in time to see it come closer into view."

The others peered out the window as the full view of the Andromeda galaxy came into view. It was stunning as some of us gaped our mouth open in awe.

"My god, it's beautiful..." Emily stated. "It's hard to believe we're traveling from one galaxy to another. Not long ago we were traveling between stars within our galaxy... and that was hard to believe then."

AC shook his head a little in bewilderment to what he was seeing. "Man... it really is something. I've always been a sucker for space in general. But, to actually witness this firsthand... truly amazing."

Emily smiled before turning to face the others. "Well... that was definitely worth getting out of a warm bed for." she said before giggling out softly.

AC and I chuckled before I addressed the three. "So, there's that. But, the other thing is this distress signal. I was able to compile it and put it as close to English as possible. It basically reads 'Urgent! Help is needed. To any who get this, we ask for assistance. We are scared. We are dying..."

AC narrowed his brows in thought. "Of course, the good nature in me feels compelled to check this out and help. Do we know anything more? I'm curious how that was sent and if there's a way to tell when."

I glanced down and pulled up more information on the signal. "Hmm... it was sent using a rather advanced method. So, judging our distance from the origin and the transport used, I would say it was transmitted not too long ago."

AC nodded a bit and rubbed along his chin. "Given that, it must be something pretty serious. I suppose as long as it's not too out of the way, we can check it out at least and see what's going on."

"True enough." I replied. "I was planning on making a pit stop somewhere in Andromeda to top off the fuel cells, anyway."

AC grinned widely as he leaned in."And to get away from the creepy dark before the monsters get you, right?"

I smirked a little, my response simple, "Shut up."

The ship adjusted course to intercept the origin where the distress signal came from. As we drew close, I was able to pinpoint a planet within a system that seemed to be the target of the signal. When I approached to begin orbit, it was obvious just visually that this was no ordinary planet. It appeared artificial, either by augmentation of the existing planet, or this was fully constructed from scratch. Whatever the methods used, it was obvious we were dealing with something advanced.

"The hell kind of planet is this?" AC asked as he gazed out the cockpit window as orbit engaged.

I shook my head softly as I consulted the sensors. "Some kind of artficial construct. All of the surface is comprised of mostly metallics from what I can see. The architecture is very intricate and carefully laid out with precision." I turned to look back at AC. "It's almost like we're looking at a huge electronic board."

AC squinted onward at the sight of the planet. "Interesting... Any sign of conflict or anything that would suggest the reason to send out a large scale signal?"

I turned back around and looked at the sensors for any evidence of AC's inquiry. "Hmm... oddly enough I'm not seeing anything out of the ordinary. There does appear to be life... organics... even some artificial entities; likely android or something of the sort. These beings are definitely quite advanced. Probably a bit more than humans.

"Maybe we should try con--"

"Hold on!" I promptly interrupted AC as I noticed something. "There's a transmission coming in from the planet. I'm going to try to engage real time translation. It may take a moment before we can understand each other. Seems like this is audio only."

The transmission started to come over with vocals that we simply could not understand at first. "Wokoorad kurdawnt flagh. Dran stoo moopgraz?"

AC cleared his throat and tried to address the alien. "Ahh... we're not sure if you can understand us the moment, but we should be able to shortly. Can you tell us who you are? My name is AC, a human of Alpha Centauri."

There was a pause before the alien replied. "Not... urdash. Zeegree trying understand pookar mooluzera."

"Yes, keep talking... I'm starting to understand some words."

"Of interest... you zera planet not of here. From place not known. Welcome, frillents zi zi.

"Yes, we are outsiders. We intercepted a distress signal from this planet. Do you know anything about it?"

"Yes! Not much time. I am sorry crappal trying best as it bad. They are out of...control..."

"I'm sorry, I don't understand. Can you be any clearer?"

"It is...bad situation here. I should not even be doing this. You are first hope. I was not sure if anyone would get message. But... what is happening is overlords are out of control. I fear we are doomed. I do not understand why this is happening. Can you help?"

"I...I don't know. We're not really familiar with your people or the situation that much. Is there a way we can discuss this more in person or show us what is happening?"

"Hmm... yes, I think I can. Umm... one moment. I am seeing what you are."

AC raised a brow. "I'm sorry?"

"Interesting... different types you all are. But, you are fine here and it will work. Shall you come?"

"I mean... I suppose, but how are you--?"

"Okay, it will be done."

Suddenly my vision was ripped away by forces unknown. For a brief moment, it felt like my body was sucked through a narrow tunnel of energy and then planted into a completely different location that flashed into existence. Startled, I looked around, feeling disoriented from the unexpected ride. I was laid back on the ground. I began to sit up, groaning as I rubbed at my head. "What the fuck...?"

I noticed the other three were here as well, equally shocked and disoriented. We were in a dark room filled with all sorts of panels, electronics, and screens. It all appeared very modern and advanced, much like the planet. A small hunched over figure quickly turned around to face us. It seemed almost canine in appearance but with features, especially in the face, that made it seem distanced from this. Still, it was the best thing I could think of at the time. This creature was rather short, probably not taller than five feet. Darj gray fur had covered its body except for around the face as well as its hands, which appeared mostly humanoid with the exception of some darker padding and telltale claws. The face started to remind me of something like a goblin in Human fantasy works. Its greenish eyes were fixed on us now.

"Ah! You made it! Welcome!" The creature began to address us as it rushed over to help us up. Its voice sounded masculine, but higher pitched. There was a hint of ruggedness in its voice as well.

I looked on as I found myself fixated with interest on the creature as it helped me to my feet. "Well, damn, that was pretty intense. So, who are you, then? Where did you bring us?"

"I'm sorry to have scared you. If we don't act quick, they'll know and then it will be too late!"

AC slowly stood up through his own efforts, peering over at the strange alien. "Who is 'they', exactly?"

The creature looked over at AC with an alarm in its eyes. "The Rakton! They're so far gone. The rules are subjective! Not the same! Not the same!"

"Calm down... we'd like to help, but I need to understand what is happening."

Klov suddenly shouted over at the rest of the group. "There is an another entity incoming! Unknown origin!"

Our alien friend began to panic and freak out, its fists were clenched and face becoming a bit contorted. "Noooo! Too soon! Too soon! Damn it all to hell! You must run! Hide!"

We all quickly scampered off, finding some hiding places amongst the large equipment and computer systems that were found here. The alien glanced around and started to make its escape as well. Suddenly, I heard the sound of it choking. I looked back as I found a spot to view safely. The creature was being elevated off the ground by an invisible force, its fists at its neck, instinctively trying to stave off whatever it was that bound it. I then widened my eyes as I witness the apparent source of the alien's struggle. Slowly, a larger creature walked in, looking a mix of canine and draconic. Jet black fur covered its entire body except for the face and hands. It seemed fairly similar in appearance to our friend, but definitely more sinister. The larger alien's face was bare gray skin that resembled a wolf, but with a long smooth snout with fairly large nostrils at the very end. It had deep green eyes that gazed on at its victim as it held an extended paw towards it, no doubt using it to hold our friend at bay.

The large alien then spoke out in a loud hissing whisper with a raspy texture that filled the room. "EEZEOTH ZU DRAFNEEK! SKA'LASH BULLON!"

"Damn you!" the smaller alien cried out. "You can't repress us forever!"

A deep gutteral growl came from the Rakton as it lifted its other paw to meet right beside the other that was extended. Our alien friend looked on with dread as they screamed out. "No... NOOO! YOU CAN'T DO THIS! LET ME GO!"

The Rakton smirked as it laughed out demonically. The piercing nature of it was hard to listen to that I ended up covering my ears to tune it out as much as I could. A moment later, the Rakton seemed to struggle to pull its paws apart, but it smiled as if expecting this. A stream of what looked like electrical current emitted from its paws and connected with the smaller alien. Our friend cried out primally as I suddenly witnessed the Rakton's paws pull apart from one another in a swift motion, causing its victim to suddenly explode into a gorey mess that littered the entire room.

"Oh fuck!" I whispered out as I lowered myself completely into cover. A moment later I relaxed my tensed up body and slowly raised my head to look past my vantage point at the aftermath. The debris of our alien friend began to dissolve into nothing, leaving not a single trace behind. It was evident the creature was completely eradicated. This caused a sinking feeling inside; we were potentially stuck here now. Stuck in a world we knew barely anything about. Shit...

The Rakton slowly turned around to face where it came from and then steadily made its departure. I could practically feel the entire group's sigh of relief sweep over the room as it left. After a moment of waiting, I slowly made my way from behind the equipment and approached the center of the room, looking on to make sure the coast was clear. The others began to come out as well once they saw me. "Well, fuck me..." I said softly as I gazed on a bit helpless at the exit. It lead to a long metallic hallway that was dimly lit by lights from the ceiling. The Rakton was nowhere to be seen.

"Everyone okay?" Emily asked, glancing about.

"Yeah, I'm fine." AC replied.

Klov then approached and nodded softly. "Systems check in."

AC sighed out as he crossed his arms. "Well, shit... this is bad."

"My thoughts exactly." I replied. "I'm not sure how we're going to get back now, or even know for sure what's going on."

Emily glanced around the area as she spoke. "We're just going to have to carefully observe and take this at a slow pace. What choice do we have? We'll just have to make due and hope we'll find a way out of this. Despite the aid we originally offered, our top priority is our survival and safe departure from here."

"Emily is right." AC affirmed. "We need to make sure we can save ourselves first before we even attempt to do more. It'll be best to get as much of an understanding of this place as possible. Maybe even try to utilize that same transport technology that brought us here."

Emily glanced over at the set of consoles then pointed to them. "What about those? I'm thinking the creature used that system to bring us here originally."

Klov walked over to the computer system and looked it over. It seemed rather quiet and dark compared to how it was earlier. "I'm not detecting any power to this system at all."

I moved over to the system as well and felt along its surfaces and shook my head. "Yeah...this thing seems dead. That Rakton must have shut it off or disabled it when he killed the other creature. Either that, it was -that- creature that allowed it to work in the first place."

"Well..." AC thought for a moment. "Looks like we're not going to get anywhere here, unfortunately."

"Go figure..." I muttered. "Of course it wouldn't have been that easy."

Klov walked over to the exit and peered past at the hallway. "Our way forward is evident. I am detected nothing in the hallway at this time. However, the next room seems rather large with several life forms present."

I made my way over to where Klov was and focused a moment down the hall. "Yeah... there's definitely a lot up ahead." I squinted in confusion for a moment, not certain what I was seeing. "Strange... I'm not... Well, I suppose we'll see when we get there."

AC glanced over at me then moved near to my position. "What is it, Kovux?"

I shook my head a bit. "Their movements seem... almost perfect and coordinated. I dunno, for organic creatures that's not common."

"We should check it out." Emily proclaimed as her and Klov joined us near the hall. "I mean, if it's our only way to progress. I am rather curious to see these creatures."

I sighed out and rubbed at my head a little. "Just as long as we don't run into any more of those Rakton fuckers. I'm good with keeping myself in one piece."

"But what about that ability you have? Couldn't you use it to stop them somehow?"

"Eh... the problem is I don't know what we're up against. I haven't had much time to analyze the Rakton to determine how it -can- be stopped. That and who knows what other loads of fun awaits us ahead." I glanced down in thought for a moment. "Though... I suppose I could use my ability to help scout out the area and try to find something... anything..."

AC smiled and nodded. "That sounds like an idea." He then looked on down the hall and pointed onward. "Let's advance to the next area and we'll be able to figure out what to do from there."

We walked on for a few minutes down the dark and dimly lit hall. The entire length of it consisted of black metallics made up of several strange long intertwining rods and beams, mostly. The dim white lights above barely lit the way. It didn't offer the most inviting of appearances. As we drew near, a door stood in our way that had a bright silver sheen to it with triangular embossments and patterns of simple nature. In fact the doors themselves were in a triangular shape that split along a diagonal line where they met.

I approached the door as the others stopped not far behind, reaching out to examine it. "Hmm... I wonder how this th--" Before I could get the rest of my words out, the door opened rather simply. I was left with a little surprise and a bit unamused. "Oh..." I paused briefly at this remark, but then quickly repeated with more amazement as I saw what lie beyond, widening my eyes a bit. "Oohh!"

The other three also looked on with intrigue as they came up behind. What we saw was a large almost arena-like center. Various black metallic structures dotted the area of various elevations and shapes. The ground was gray and seemed to be made perfect of smooth stone, creating various paths around the area. Bright red stylized lines were marked down the center of these paths as well. It wasn't long that we also saw various alien creatures wandering about. Some of them looked like the smaller alien who brought us here, but some were humanoid in appearance. There were even aliens that bordered more on the otherworldly and imaginative. Sure enough, we also spotted the occasional Rakton. They were not nearly as numerous as the other aliens here, but they gave the impression of being some sort of overseer to the others.

"My god..." Emily exclaimed in a whisper. "Look at all of them."

AC shook his head, his mouth gaped open a little in awe as he took in the sights. "Yeah... this is crazy. What is all of this? And look..." He pointed out to the aliens wandering about. They all seemed to move with a rather unnatural behavior as mentioned before. Some would walk along, then suddenly stop on a dime and wait before moving along seconds later. Some creatures would suddenly change position and head off in a different direction. "It's like they're... really efficient. And it seems to be the case despite their species or... whatever differences they have." AC then looked back at me, a bit confused. "Say... how -did- we manage to still understand that alien after he brought us here? Wasn't the ship translating for us?"

I glanced about in thought for a moment. "Mm... yeah, it was. Though, I'm guessing with how advanced these creatures are, they probably have a way to translate languages themselves. I can also translate and decipher stuff on my own using my brain augments over time. I just have to study things as I find them... observe and what not."

"Ah, kind of how you managed to learn about us and speak our language pretty quickly I'm guessing."

I nodded softly. "You got it." I scanned the area for a moment then rubbed at my chin. "I'm going to try to scout out what I can of this area, but I have a feeling we're not going to find much here. I'm going to find some more side areas like the one we just came from. I would say you guys staying put would be good, but if you want to explore this area... just be careful."

AC nodded. "You as well, Kovux."

I nodded as well before fading from view, entering the other side of reality. I quickly moved about, looking at the sights along the way. I jumped back into normal reality occasionally to recover and to also see things in action from vantage points I would find. Over time, I began to realize the way these creatures moved and interacted, it's almost like they were following precise guidelines. The Rakton did in fact seem to be overlooking them, enforcing things to make sure they were in order. But, as I watched all this, I found I could not understand the whole purpose of this. It seemed like there was some kind of battle going on here, but it was... so oddly organized and worked out. It almost seemed too artificial for me to be believable. Was this perhaps some live game of sorts? I couldn't gather anything really useful from this. I continued on towards the other side of the arena. As I approached, I could see a few doors along the wall here. I went over to one of the doors, but it did not open. I scanned it for any way to open, but the mechanisms were a bit alien. I could study it for a bit and figure it out, but I wasn't sure how long that could take.

An entity started to walk towards my position. I noticed this and quickly shifted planes to make myself fade from view. I now watched this figure, literally a pig-faced alien of sorts. Its figure was heavy-set and was wearing some formal-looking uniform. I glanced along the wall I was at. No part of this area seemed detached for me to exploit past the doors casually on this plane. Though, with this creature approaching, I think I might be in luck. I allowed time to pass at a normal rate, the figure now passing me. I watched as it went for one of the doors. I smiled and allowed time to stop as I caught up with the alien, then allowed time to advance as I followed behind. The creature opened the door by accessing a panel and pushing on a sequence of symbols then went inside. I made sure to carefully note the sequence for later. I trailed right behind to enter the room as well.

Once inside, I peered around and saw nobody else was in the immediate area. The pig-like creature kept walking on, going to the far side of the room and well away from me. I shifted back to the normal plane and looked around more. This room looked like the one similar to what we saw upon arriving on this planet, complete with computers and other systems. I smiled with some hope, then glanced over to a door and made my way to it. It opened promptly without issue, allowing me to quickly enter. As the door closed behind, I looked about this room, which wasn't too big but did house in the corner these distinct red pads on the floor. There was a faint glow underneath them. I scanned the room for a moment and began to see systems and technology that confirmed the function of this room. This must be used for teleportation. "Good... I really lucked out finding this place. But, how the hell can I get the others over here too?"

I held at my head suddenly, hearing the sounds of what were like several whispering voices as well as strange electronic tones and buzzes. For a moment, the idea of just leaving this place by myself felt like a better option. But, I shook my head, letting myself focus back on the matter at hand. I know it was going to be a challenge, but there had to be a way. I sighed out softly, looking at the console as I whispered to myself. "All right... let me just see if I can figure this thing out first..." I stared at the various symbols and markings for a moment. They began to take familiar shape in my mind and were starting to make sense. I then started to work the console, seeing if there was a way to target my ship from here. After a moment, I found an object in space that matched about where I recall leaving it. I smiled and decided to give it a test.

Looking around, there were various boxes here. I went over and grabbed one and placed it on the apparent teleport pad, then rushed over to the console to make the attempt to send it to my ship. The box turned a bright white, then vanished in a progressive deconstruction of thin lines. The console seemed to confirm it was now on my ship. I now tried to bring the box back. Within seconds, the box reappeared and assembled in the same progressive pattern before dimming to its appropriate look. "Excellent! Well, this was the easy part. I just have to figure out a way to get the others here, too." I walked over to pick up the box, putting it back where it was before. I then paused a moment and looked over at the console. "Hmm... you know... this technology could be useful. It's not something I know well of at moment." I approached the console once more and started to scan and study it in more detail. I also looked around the room and at the teleport pad. I could see the internal workings and was beginning to make sense of it. I was also now documenting this information so that I could try to recreated back on my ship. Having the ability to teleport to and from the ship could be useful. After a moment of this, it was time to leave.

As I entered the previous room, I decided to check out the other system here to see what it had. After a moment, I found this computer had a layout of the entire arena as well as the aliens within it. My observations suggested that keeping to the edges of this place was the best way to traverse it, as I figured anyway. It definitely seemed like I was looking at a game from this view. I then noticed one of the two apparent teams of this 'game' seemed to have an upper hand and was more focused with the opposing team further to one side. This meant a clearer path on one side of the arena versus the other. It was at least some opportunity to take advantage of. With that, I quickly headed off to the others, little to nothing now being in my way.

Catching up with the others didn't take too long as they mostly stayed near the entrance we came through earlier. They started to spot my arrival as I came close. "Hey guys, we're in luck. I managed to find another room like the one we showed up in earlier. Problem is, it's on the other side of the arena. However, it looks like fewer aliens are on the side I came through at moment, so the quicker we head through, the less likely we'll be seen."

AC nodded. "Sounds good. We didn't get too much observed here other than... yeah... it seems like this place is just one big game of sorts. It's so strange how the aliens act and move, as if they're being controlled or something."

"That wouldn't surprise me." I commented. "I found a computer system that showed an entire view of the arena and its participants. There was definitely data there showing movement plans and such. I think the Rakton oversee and possibly relay this control in some way. These various aliens are probably being enslaved to take part in all of this."

Emily shook her head in disapproval, "If that is in fact what they're doing, that's terrible."

AC shrugged a little, "We don't know certain. Really, the only evidence we had was the distress signal from someone who is now dead. And as it appears so far, there's nothing else to suggest there is a real danger."

Emily sighed a bit as she glanced out into the arena. "I suppose you're right. We simply don't understand these people enough."

I motioned at the others, pointing to the other side of the arena. "Let's just get out of here. We can discuss more of this on the ship."

AC nodded over at me. "Absolutely. Lead the way."

I began to move us along the clear edge of the arena, carefully scouting out before advancing between various places of cover. Most of these cover points consisted of buildings, boxes, or other urban-like features that existed. Over time, we managed to get about three-quarters of the way through before I suddenly heard Emily in the back cry out briefly. As I glanced back, I saw one of the aliens had crossed paths with her. I prepared for the worst, but was surprised when I saw the alien simply continue moving along, and spoke out. "Can't break the rules... can't break the rules. Keep clear! Keep clear!" It then vanished past the scenery as it went deeper into the arena.

"You okay?" I called out to Emily.

"I'm fine." Emily replied, starting to catch back up with us. "That thing just seemed to startle me for a moment. Do you know what it was saying?"

"Yeah... it was basically saying 'can't break the rules' and 'keep clear'. They really are tied down by rules and expectations here." I then glanced past Emily as I noticed a large figure come around a building behind her. It was a Rakton. "Shit! We gotta' move!"

I and the others started to run as we noticed the Rakton approaching. All of a sudden, the entire arena started to flash red lights from above as a warning klaxxon sounded. "Warning!" a voice started to relay through the arena. "Session compromised and placed on hold. Corruption has been detected. Clear area immediately." Emily then screamed out. I stopped and looked behind to see the Rakton had suspended her in mid air. Klov bolted over towards them at a rapid pace. He leaped into the air right on top of the Rakton's shoulder, wrestling and struggling with it. The Rakton lost control of Emily, causing her to fall back to the ground. AC and I ran over to her and helped her up.

"You okay?" AC asked.

"Yes..." Emily replied, a bit winded. "I'll be fine, thank you..."

We all glanced over as Klov managed to down the alien, making a few precise blows and slashes, causing the creature to bleed out. Soon the Rakton fell unconscious and probably dead, its bright red blood was oozing from several places on its body as Klov remained on it for a moment to be sure. He then darted us a look. "Let's get moving!"

"All right, come on!" I shouted. I started to run off towards the side of the arena that was not too far now.

Klov jumped off the downed Rakton and quickly caught back up with me. AC helped Emily along and were not too far as well. After a few moments, I approached the door I had discovered earlier. I quickly tapped in the code, the door soon opened after. I looked back and saw the others running up.

"Quickly, in here!" I called out to the others. They quickly ran into the room, afterwhich I followed and closed the door behind me once we were all inside. I then pointed to the side door that led into the teleport room. "Through that door." They then proceeded to the other room.

At this point, the pig-like alien I followed in here earlier was hearing our comotion and started to enter from the far end of the room. "Hey!" The pig shouted. "What is going on in here? Who are you?!"

I looked over at the pig alien, then shifted into the other plane, moving over behind it, then grabbed at its neck into a head lock, shifting back to reality. The alien gasped out in shock and struggled. "How the...?! Let go of me!!"

I smiled and replied. "Gladely..." I then quickly dragged its head and rammed it into a console that was nearby. The console shattered open and electrocuted the alien from the exposed electronics. The pig cried out, body convulsing from the current passing through before the device shorted out. The pig alien's body now limp and motionless. I then quickly entered the side room to meet up with the others.

Once inside the teleport room, I rushed over to the console here and started to operate the teleporter, finding and confirming my ship as the target and to prepare a delay before transporting. "All right, I need everyone on the teleport pad over there. I'm going to set a five second delay." The three quickly positioned themselves on the pad as I set up the transport sequence. "Okay... and... here we go!" I immediately bolted to the pad and stood on it. The countdown was beginning in an electronic voice from the console, "Five... four..."

The door nearby suddenly blew right off its hinges from an impact on the other side. The source was quickly obvious as a Rakton came charging in, starting to get a fix on us. "Oh, fuck me!" I cried out.

"Three...Two..." the console continued. Even though it was just mere seconds, time seemed to slow down to a crawl and even without my doing it. My eyes widened as the Rakton started to do its snare. "One..." the voice kept going. The Rakton then cried out as he lashed its attack on us. "Transporting..." the voice finished as the scene flashed before my eyes.

I panted out from the shock, collapsing a bit to the floor. The calm hum of my ship now greeted me, the familiar interior perfectly still. I then quickly lifted my head and looked about. I saw AC at first, then Klov as I looked further. Finally, I spotted Emily as well. I closed my eyes and let out a sigh of relief as I rested my head back down again, just letting myself have a moment to relax for the first time in awhile. "God damn... let's not let that happen again..."

AC groaned a bit as he rolled over to his side, facing towards me. "We were definitely not in a good position for it." He then peered around at the others. "Everyone else okay?"

Klov looked about, then quickly stood back up. "All systems are operational and in good health."

"Yeah... I'm fine..." Emily softly replied, slowly getting to her feet.

I looked down in thought for a moment. "Let's see... suddenly teleported to an alien world we know nothing about, without weapons or equipment, barely understanding the situation as we're chased around by Rakton. Yeah... sounds like the ingredients for failure, huh?"

"It's rough to deal with." AC commented. "With our contact dead, we'll never know for sure. It's hard to be heroes of something when you don't even know which side is truly right. If... there even is such a thing."

"And we can't be heroes all the time." Emily replied.

I stood back up and stretched out a bit. "Plus, it would take us time to observe and get an understanding to figure out how this planet and race of aliens work. That's just not time we really have. And as Emily said, we can't be heroes everywhere. There's only so much we can do."

AC stood up now and sighed a bit as he walked over to one of the windows and peered outside. "True enough. But I worry how we'll even handle the Ralkai threat if we can barely help these people."

I lowered my ears then walked over near to AC. "I... I know this is rough. But, you guys will have time to prepare and evolve to a level the Ralkai won't anticipate. And through exploration in time, we might even get the aid of other races."

"I dunno, Kovux... I think I'm starting to realize this is all based on hope and the small chance we'll actually accomplish our preservation."

"I can't deny that you're right, AC. But really, the chance is still there. And how can you say that this personal mission we're on right now for you is any less departed from that fact?"

AC slowly lowered his gaze, growing quiet. I then gazed on at him for a moment before slowly turning around to head over to the cockpit and pilot us out of here. A moment later, the ship slowly began to leave orbit of the planet and headed off into the distance.

[End Kovux personal log...]

[23] Kovux Entry #404 - A Moment of Doubt

Arctacia

17 January 2016 at 18:45:33 MST

Personal log recorded by Kovux.

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