“Have ya all gone daft!? Ain’t No Bleedin way you’ll be getting an Ironstryk into another of them damn tubes Plague or no!”
The inside of the Pharmco Medical transport was dark, stuffy and recycling oxygen it was anything but comfortable but The Dwarf Byron wasn’t making this voyage any easier on anyone inside with him. The group looked to one another pensively gauging if this was going to be another rant from the Delusional Champion of the Junk. If it were his normal bravado or litanies the group might have let it slide but something else was bothering them all.
The Escape from Space Station Aether was anything but a routine exercise. It had been a miracle they all made it in the first place, but Byron he saw the worst of it. He had been held down by a Swarm of Rads chasing after Grim while he had been carrying the Fuel Cell Auxillary Source. The Fact the Dwarf had not only survived the intense radiation they were emitting but also their plague ridden claws and teeth was a testament to Dwarven fortitude. Except “The Radical Plague” was a disease that knew no limits and has claimed the most hearty and durable of races all the same and Byron was covered in noxious looking gashes and bite marks some of the fringes of his skin even appeared to glow in the dim lighting.
“You don’t look so well Byron, you should lay down and let me scan you.” The Cyborg D-Dos rose from the floor extending out his left arm adjusting a few settings on his wireless Interface Module. A high pitched whining sound rang out as a scanning laser began to inspect Byron’s worst looking wound on his neck. The synthesized voice of A.E.T.H.E.R. spoke “Blood Contamination levels present. Organic Specimen is showing signed of compromised Immune system. Infection probability level at 73% and rising. Suggested recourse is to suppress advancement of virus in cyro-status tube.”
Byron’s eyes widened at that and he looked around the group to see most of them agreed with A.E.T.H.E.R without saying a word. He vehemently refused again and thrashes a bit before wincing and holding his neck wound. He shuffled over to the rear of the transport to be as “alone” as he could inside this small pressurized environment.
A.E.T.H.E.R’s Voice chimed out one more time but this time over the guidance intercom “Entering Earth Stratosphere in 180 seconds…” A hulking figure rose from of the transports’ cockpit standing over eight feet tall and weighing at least 600 pounds. Bearing resemblance to a triceratops dinosaur with humanoid features came back and cleared his throat with a deep grunt. “Byron, if I may; without your help we would have likely all died on the ship we don’t plan to punish you; we plan to help you… if possible.”
Byron just sneered back at the Hectar the Sauris. “Without me you’d of been dead for sure Lizard man.” His tone was harsh and patronizing and Hectar merely sighed in response know it was the truth. “I ain’t going back in no tube after fighting so hard to get out of the last one! Nothing doing, No way, No how!”
A gentle sound of a clearing throat was heard near Byron and to his surprise he say the Grymling Grim standing next to him. The Grymling simply tilted his head to the side and as though looking back the Dwarf suddenly without words pushed the Dwarf with all it’s squatty might. Byron’s eyes went wide as he realized he was lingering near one of the tubes he said he wouldn’t go near and Grim was just going to trick him into it. Stumbling inside it for a brief moment Dwarven instincts kicked in and Byron Kicked after the sealing door with all his might and sprang out of the claustrophobic alcove immediately latching onto an emergency release handle the rear access hatch.
The entire group stood up in horror as Byron’s eyes looked mad “No. MORE. TUBES!!!!” are the last words Byron shouted before throwing the emergency release lever open. As though the maw of a mighty beast was drawing in its first breath of air in centuries an immediate vaccum of force and wind swept through the cabin. Alarms were blaring inside the transport as the door to the stratosphere of Earth was open. The air immediately pulled Raziel & Clem from the transport and Byron despite his death grip onto the latch. Grim and D-DOS immediately grabbed security handles and fought with the current but managed to secure themselves inside the emergency release pods jettisoning from the disaster Byron Unleashed. Though Hectar was being pulled out his bulk and instinct barely gave him enough time to latch his grip to the floor and the lever Byron had just been on with all his might he was trying to reseal the enclosure before he was pulled out there too.
Byron is pulled in the undertow of the air currents for about 30 feet before sudden agony burns into his skin. He thought somehow he might be changing but he couldn’t have been more wrong, the External shields of the ship were still operational and keeping everyone inside a membrane around the ship. The wind was buffeting them against the boundaries and the sizzling energy of the shield was burning them all but provided makeshift walls and curvature to stand on and walk around in like a Skater’s rink. It felt like Agony but Byron saw Clem was already standing upside down on the roof of the shield as the wind pummeled her to stay put. Byron gasped suddenly realized he wasn’t going to fall to his death and held up his shield barely sparing him from a quick burst of from her M-16 Rifle.
The air was mind-numbingly cold with pockets of heat streaking off the shield but still managing to bleed through it via the heated oxygen that was entering inside the membrane. The sizzling sound of the barrier was a constant reminder that nothing was truly holding them inside this spiraling hellscape of wind, heat, cold and light. Byron without warning felt the ship suddenly spiral and the wind shifted massively… the ship was nose diving with two jettisoned lifepods floating away from the ship. With no one at the wheel and the force of the wind suddenly the insanity of being out there became far worse.
Bodies began to tumble and be tossed around like ice in a glass cup at some Point Raziel using his Psionic powers managed to reorient himself for the briefest of moments which was long enough to blink back inside the transport and assist Hectar in sealing the transport back up again. Seeing the hatch closing Clem manages to kick off the shield having been heavily marred by the energy shield now at this point but uses like a launching pad back inside. He Algorithmic Combat scanner racing to make corrections to the windpressure and flow to help guide her. As she scramble for the last 4 feet Raziel lunged out of the ship Blinking out beyond the hatch and materializing an energy claw to still hold himself inside the ship. With both His and Hectar’s strength they manage to pull in back into the nose diving ship.
Brilliant prismatic shifts in hues and electrical storms rage around the burning shield causing the shields to begin warping and destabilizing. These lights were like an Aurora Borealis but contained the latent charges Helitum and ionized air which was the reason the crew had needed a shield in the first place which was to hopefully stand up to what was dubbed centuries ago as “The Light Zone.”
Byron spun and plummeted in the sky seeing the beautiful cerulean, the placid cyans give way to rich crimsons and blazing oranges and hot golden yellows and malevolent violets. The warped and thining of the shield gave the sensation of chaos and doom as Hectar, Clem and Raziel watched Byron cackling and shivering in despite visible fire bleeding through the weakest points of the shields. He felt his would be a worthy death for the son of a IronStryk but he vowed to make sure this miserable lot of cowards joined him and were judged as well. He began to pull out random assortment of parts cackling the whole time he inside the chaos trying to make something that was falling apart as he was making it.
Clem took aim, Raziel hooked into the wall of the compartment shifting his claw to a staff reaching for the latch to close the environment completely why Hectar came racing over to the cockpit before shouting back “Don’t let that psychotic back on this ship!” Clem just brought the rifle to her eye and smirked before saying “Aw gee, and I was gonna ask if a kiss would help” her Sarcasm was noted He pulled her eye away from the ironsights… something was wrong “That Dwarf is up to something Hec, I don’t like it Turn off the damn shield and see how he likes reentry without our barrier.” She closed the remainder of the hatch and looked over to Hectar.
Hectar nervously shouted back “Soon as I ugh … can get everything …back under control.” His tone wasn’t re-assuring and the blaring alarms cut out and A.E.T.H.E.R’s Voice responded “Impact trajectory calculated Planetary collision in 20.” Everyone froze at that moment and Clem and Raziel raced toward the cockpit to see Hectar holding the steering wheel of the ship in his hands. A nervous and embarrassed expression was on the dinosaur’s face. Grim was the pilot of the ship, and a note was left on the passenger wheel that said “How the Grim Clan thank Family Killers.”- Love Grim…wait no “With Hate Grim <3”
“It’s… not as bad as it looks.” Panic swept across all their faces as everyone raced over to a security harness to latch in. The Sirens were deafening and a screeching was ripping through the sky everything went black seconds before the last moments of the fall.
Byron couldn’t be supported by the thinning shield any longer and slipped through greeted by immediate inferno and blue dark grey skies as he fell away from the ship his singed skin could keenly feel the humidity and moisture in the air. His back crashed against the tops of trees splintering both them and his back as he continued to spin out of control already losing feeling in most of his body. A series of vines slowed his assent like writhing barbed tentacles drawing dozens if not hundreds of small gashes all over his body. A Clumped branch caught his shield arm immediately dislocating it and hurling him in a new direction before the remaining momentum of his body crashed into the swampy waters and into the mud encasing him nearly from back to nose inside it.
Hemorrhaging blood, suffering a broken back, dislocated left arm, three broken fingers, 4 broken ribs and losing consciousness from the pain and burns. Spitting up blood the Dwarf is surprised he somehow survived this series of events. He was losing consciousness fast and realized he might turn if he didn’t come to his senses in time. Struggling to move or breath suddenly he heard a quite whisper.“What do we have here? Wow nice shotgun Wilkes probably has a need for something like this….” Byron’s eyes shot open to see a small Ratling in an umpire’s outfit looking over his things. The Ratling holds out his hand “Woah there… whoa… No need to get excited there Sky Dwarf.” Without another thought Byron refused to be the victim of a thief either he reached for his chainsword.
In that moment the Ratling’s hand went to his pistol and easily had the drop on Byron especially in his wounded state. A .357 Magnum was leveled at the Injured Dwarf’s head and fired twice casually with a sigh from the Ratling “Shame. Would have been nice to figure out where he got this stuff from…” With a shrug the Rat continued to scavenge through whistling as his tail swung to the tune.