Genre: Space Opera
Random Word: Reflection
Random Action: Going to Church
Story Size: 1000 Words
Looking at her, Soldier wondered if it was right to bring Brielle on this mission to such a dangerous planet.
“You gonna be ok, kid?” He asked in a voice too low for others to hear.
“I’m excited.” She lied, it was all over her face that the excitement of getting her first off-ship mission had morphed into crippling fear. Her hand shook, clipping her tetherline in place, making a tinkling sound that echoed throughout the exit chamber.
“Look we go get the stuff. We come back. We fly away. Easy ‘nough.”
“You’re our shield out there. It's better to admit your fear now so you can think rather than try and come to your senses when a DarkMist is attacking us.”
She nodded. “I’m terrified. But no part of me wants to go back.”
“Good. Remember your training.”
“The 5 minutes of Twique telling me what the knobs and buttons do?” She held up the shield generator that was now permanently attached to the arm of her uniform. “Yeah I got it.”
The command came over the intercoms. Soldier focused on the task.
A red light lit the room, flashed once, twice, and on the third flash all members of the A831 team began ascending the ladder to the hatch. They came to the surface single file all exiting according to their planned number.
Brielle climbed out the hatch determined not to slow anyone down. But when she saw the sky she froze in awe. The colors and textures were so unbelievably beautiful she couldn’t comprehend them. She was knocked back to reality by Soldier bumping her foot. She got in position and posed her hand over her activate button. Ready to hit it should any danger be suspected.
The signal to move the party eastward was given. Brielle walked sideways as planned, keeping a sharp eye. But she couldn’t help herself; she peeked one more time at the flamboyant sky swimming with colors. Movement in the clouds. She posed again. But it wasn’t a DarkMist it was a whale, she’d only ever seen images of whales. This was more fabulous than any image could ever capture. Twirling in the fluff, swishing through the lights, the creature was magnanimous. She heard something in the darkness beside her. She activated her shield.
“What? What’d you see?”
“I heard something 3 ticks left.” The guard on her side of the circular party pointed his weapon and scanner.
“Nothing,” he said. Brielle felt stupid, she shut off the shield. “Let’s keep moving.” The party paced as a whole to the east. Brielle wished she could look at what the collectors in the circle's center were doing, as she heard them clanking and dropping things, but she was terrified to mess up again.
Poor kid Soldier thought. She was panicking already. It happened faster than Soldier could react, DarkMists appeared on his right then left. And black smoke came streaming at the party from all sides. The shields were snapped on, it was too late for someone. He just hoped it wasn’t one of the collectors. Red lights blazed and the shields were failing, the black smoke hitting its targets, through whatever crack it found in the shields. “Tighter! Pull in tighter!” Screaming burned his throat in the wake of the smoke beams. The shield next to his right fell, then the left. The circle was smaller and smaller as comrades dropped into the black dirt at their feet then turned to smoke. He was back to back with someone now. A beam came at him, the hit splattered midair before his face. Whoever was left was a shield. Pushing them back at the hatch. He opened it and climbed in. To his surprise, a panting and shaking Brielle followed him.
Two days after the attack another mission was called. None of the collectors survived. The mission failed. Brielle was in the ship’s chapel long after the service had ended. Soldier came and sat next to her in the empty pew.
“I’m sorry, they asked you to go again,” he said. His presence had always made her feel protected and comfortable.
Crash! The ship shook. She and Soldier collided and the chapel filled with black smoke. Brielle hit her shield instinctively and it was splashed with smoke over and over again. She saw her reflection in the onslaught of darkness. She was crying in Soldier’s arms.
Suddenly the Darkmist stopped and a single set of sharp footsteps echoed in the room.
An unfamiliar blue face stood over the two. A woman. Malice and thirst in her countenance. Holding a ball of black smoke in her hand.
“Join me, or die.”
“You,” Soldier choked out, “You lead them? The DarkMist?” Fear overtook Brielle for the first time, hearing the frightened voice of her once brave comrade.
“Yes, I am the mother of the mist children. They are simply an echo of me. Slaves to my will.” Thousands of DarkMist materialized within the chapel as she spoke. Everywhere hooded black shadowmen. “Your shield won’t last against them all.” She licked her top lip. “Join me or die.” She repeated. Soldier shot a look towards Brielle and ever so subtly half smiled. Brielle filled with unfounded hope. There was a tinkling click. He nodded to her and she lowered the shield. No second passed before Soldier’s tether rope was thrust around the blue neck of the mother. He yanked her towards them. Brielle turned the shield on, cranking her knob to full strength. It hit the mother’s shoulders, trapping her there. Black smoke banged as Darkmist attacked. Soldier tightened his hold on her neck until she stopped fighting back. As suddenly as it started, the smoke cleared and the DarkMist disappeared. Brielle and Soldier were completely alone.
The two ascended through the hatch to the black surface.
“I guess we’re the captains now,” he said to Brielle.
“I guess so,” she sighed. The two sat down in the black dirt and watched the whales.