The Recovered Logs of Midshipman Gregory Samuels Part 9

Midshipman’s Log Part 99

Gregory Samuels

October 11, 1252 CNS

H-h-h-help!  *INDETERMINATE LOUD NOISE* H-h-h-elp m-me!  *INDETERMINATE LOUD NOISE*  I j-j-j-j-egh.  I just c-c-can’t t-take it.  *INDETERMINATE LOUD NOISE*  I just can’t take it.  I can’t take it.  Anymore.  Not anymore.  *INDETERMINATE LOUD NOISE*  They’re at the door.  They’ve been at it for hours.  I thought they would have given up by now.  *INDETERMINATE LOUD NOISE*  The bulkhead’s held up so far but *INDETERMINATE LOUD NOISE* several more hours of this, and even I have my doubts.  I-I-I’ve still got my pistol.  I somehow doubt I’m going to stop whatever’s on the other side with this, hurling itself at the bulkhead door with the force of a battering ram *INDETERMINATE LOUD NOISE*.
post-it_10 no ideaThe lights have been flickering in and out.  I don’t need to tell you I’m scared shitless *INDETERMINATE LOUD NOISE*.  I’m just at my wit’s end.  I p-p-probably shouldn’t tell you this, or I probably should have mentioned at the beginning, but a few years ago I was diagnosed with *INDETERMINATE LOUD NOISE*.  Took *INDETERMINATE LOUD NOISE*, but when this position opened up, I couldn’t say no, but they wouldn’t have taken me either.  Dropped the *INDETERMINATE LOUD NOISE*, pretended I’d never heard of a ph-ph-ph-*INDETERMINATE LOUD NOISE*, and I had my medical data falsified.  But I never had hallucinations before *INDETERMINATE LOUD NOISE*.  Do you hear that?  I can see it.

*INDETERMINATE LOUD NOISE* OH GOD!  The lights went out.  Oh god oh god oh god.  They’re not coming on.  Hmm… please.  Just turn back on.  Please *INDETERMINATE LOUD NOISE* at least for me.

[Intervention of several minutes intermittent with continued loud noise of indeterminate source.]

post-it_11 schizoO’Leary?  Is that… you?  What… what… fucking flickery fucking lights.

*SOUND OF A FIREARM DISCHARGING*

STAY THE FUCK AWAY!

*SOUND OF A FIREARM DISCHARGING*

GOD FUCKING DAMNIT!

*FIREARM DISCHARGES SEVERAL MORE TIMES BEFORE THE FEED CUTS OUT.*

Sword of the Saints: Sinner Chapter Twenty

The amalgamated vulgus, whether suffering under the sin of the sky or scaly beyond all reason, by instinct and preternatural revulsion made great way for the apparently unaccompanied swordsman whose footsteps reverberated not normally in the ear but peculiar through the spine, too many tones too low to be detected in the auditory faculties of species alive or dead, animated as he shortly was with the solar god that for mere moments made him a living avatar cast in the image of the holy saints alive with molten bronze and hissing fire that poured to grim effect upon a receding earth fearful of the life that made it.  He strode confidently, like a liberated Atlas bounding from peak to peak and abounding with unearthly laughter; meanwhile his companions, shivering in the broiling air, could hardly conceal their visceral contempt that made them shy just away, so far unable to produce a salutation.

In many ways it was a wondrous city, a harbor city, filled with the colors of innumerable different accents, colors, foods, and cultures—the gifts of the blinding legion of sailing ships that filled the harbor far beyond all capacity.  Strange smells, marvelous seasonings, the slow-cooked fats drizzling upon the floor of a tall and narrow earthen oven from an animal for which he had no name, despite being lettered and educated and not altogether unfamiliar with the sailing life.  In any direction a man might cast a stone and eat something different every day for the whole score of his mortal existence, a true cosmopolitan society of both men and those only debatably.

Leaning his shoulders back comically, he asked his traveling companions with a twinkle in his eyes, “Hungry, my dear friends?  I’ve a shiny coin or two that might purchase such contents that would stun you for a lifetime.”

It was some time before her pipe-organ passageways unsealed themselves, and staggering as if gasping for breath she replied meekly and repeatedly, “No…  no…  I think I’m fine.  I’m full enough, as it is.”

“It’s a shame,” he roared in gleeful reply.  “I had you figured for a quixotic.  I had you figured for a scholar.  What you witnessed is something none of your kind may possibly witness ever again, something I may never again practice or risk the wrath of my superior.  Very few humans ever even observe the wonderful horrors of the internal cult of the Solar Legion.”

“Right…  right…  but—.”

“But I understand.  To say it’s traumatic would be an understatement.  I myself have only once previous ever been the inductee, at my proving.  The consequences are intended to be grave.  Everything is intended to be grave.  There is no going back, and for the unprepared it can have…  devastating consequences, adjoining with the merest glimpse with the eye in the sky.”

“I think I might be sick.”

“Shall we back to your residence?”

Images of her white-robed wedding flooded back into her imagination, galloping across the empty space of her eyes, and choking down the morning’s victuals she started again with a tiny murmur in her heart.  “No no.  You promised to show me something I hadn’t seen before, and I promised you the same.  It wouldn’t be right to end with half-hearted measures.  Come on now, you haven’t yet witnessed the great glory of the city of Tlexloris Phtha, jewel of the Szchellezi Commonwealth.”

“Surprised you Szchellezi didn’t retain the city’s ancient moniker, with your alleged obeisance to the solar cult.”

Struggling to accelerate to his pace, she snatched his hand in her own, feeling the digits with a strange unfamiliarity, which she couldn’t rightly recognize, but she knew it was there, lingering just beneath the surface a strange hardness and a lattice work texture that had not been there before.

The Recovered Logs of Midshipman Gregory Samuels Part 8

Midshipman’s Log Part 98

Gregory Samuels

October 7, 1252 CNS

Fucking goddamnit!  Fucking goddamn!  Who the fuck!  What the fuck!  God fucking goddamn military!  Fucking shitty-ass transport duty.  I could fucking be damned with Sally and launch myself into rude orbit than take this fucking shit!  God fucking damn!  Why the fuck did I let myself get talked into this?!

*Intervening silence of approximately thirty minutes*

I’m sorry.  I’m deeply sorry, admittedly more for myself than whatever nitwit halfwit fuckwit’s reading this in retrospect—probably above my cold corpse.  So I did as I said.  I went to the aft docking portals, investigating as I said, really just looking for any hint of human habitation—perhaps a discarded communicator or a fragment of clothing or a paper communication.  Something, for god’s sake!  I’m no genius!  I’m not a fancy military attorney, and I’m not even a fucking detective.  But this, this was beyond the pale.  I don’t even know where that term comes from.  Yeah, right outside the third aft docking portal—there he was—ugly as the day he was born, Taticius facing away, continuing to mumble into the communicator as if he hadn’t seen my arrival, and I hadn’t exactly been silent.  I knew something was wrong right off the bat, shouldered my rifle, shouted at Taticius to get on the ground immediately or I’d blow a hole in his head.  He didn’t respond, didn’t even move, even shift, like he was calling my bluff like I was a child.  I closed the distance a bit.  I know I shouldn’t have, but I couldn’t help it.  What the fuck would you do considering?  I repeated my demands, and a quiet interceded, but I heard the unmistakable marker of rubber soles dragging behind me.  I was so terrified, I must have went out of my wits, and I turned about rapidly on my heels, completely forgetting Taticius.  And there was the lieutenant with a stupid fucking grin on his stupid fucking face holding his favorite fucking pistol at my fucking head.

post-it_09 dysphorias    My head felt like it was about to split open; I hit the ground screaming, and the rounds passed through the space where my throat and shoulders had been, neatly striking Taticius down, and down he fell—like a fucking throw rug.  I had dropped my rifle, which slid and skittered down and away on the floor, and I drew my pistol out and fired wildly in his general direction.  I couldn’t be sure I’d hit anything, but that piece of shit fell like a sack of potatoes.  I approached the corpse, replacing the spent magazine.  He wasn’t moving.  Put another one in his head just to be sure.  Looked around for Taticius, but he was gone, and so was my rifle.

I don’t think I’ve ever run so fast in my life.  Ran back to the crew quarters, locked the bulkhead behind me, and spent the better part of a half hour clearing out ever last fucking crevice where Taticius or god know’s what might be hiding.  Then I began writing, and here I am.  I’ve just got my pistol and the twelve rounds remaining in the magazine.  I still haven’t eaten.  I need to check the armory, need to check the command module, need to make sure Sally’s okay, but I don’t know how I’m going to make myself open that fucking bulkhead door ever again, even if I starve.  Fuck it.

Gregory Samuels signing out.

I’ll be sleeping with the lights on tonight, the lights on and the pistol at my bedside.

Sword of the Saints: Sinner Chapter Nineteen

Blinded in the unimaginable darkness, Rina stumbled repeatedly, held aloft merely in the vice-like grip of her servitor, while the clearly perceptible echo of their guide strode further and further on ahead, as if within the temple—impossible space—while he hummed, it seemed, a liturgical hymn with the blind familiarity of a Sunday-school child nostalgically admonished with the stroke of a cane.

“Arius, Arius, are you there?”  Rina shouted, which echoed return in near-mocking retort.  “You seem to be getting so far ahead.  We can’t keep up with you.”

“Hmm…  hmm?” he responded, as if altogether oblivious.  “Just follow the moon’s silver and you won’t have a problem.  Eye on the sky.”

She gazed upwards into the vast darkness of the overwhelming dome, but there was nothing, no great glory of the heavens for those destined merely the terrestrial, no undying trials at the behest of Brassos or the saints, just darkness and the guarantee of terrible predestination.

“Slow down, Arius—please,” she continued.  “I can’t see a blasted thing, and I’ve near stumbled upon my face—more than once.  Please just have some pity.”

The confident clicks of boot-heels returned rapidly, as if arriving from across a great space in the shoes of great titans, and an invisible hand pitilessly snatched hers, struggling upon the stairway paves, and launched her within the comfort of his arms as he stood her confidently upon the platform still bathed in deep and nebulous shadow.

“Just keep your hand in mine,” he advised stringently, as if interrupted from the summation of his life’s work.  “You won’t trip and you won’t stumble.”

“Just what’s the point of all this?” she replied, her throbbing heart beginning to settle.  “Can’t we just light a torch or—?“

“Absolutely not.  Don’t even consider it.  I won’t be offended.”

“But—.”

“Come on.  Just keep yourself close; stay within my grasp and bear the confidence in my breath.”

Charmed, she remained voiceless while he shortly approached an invisible brazier and postulated her with the utmost gravity, “Keep your hands utterly to your sides and do absolutely nothing.”

“But I don’t even know what to do.”

“Precisely.”

“But—.”

“You’re a scholar, right; be prepared to learn something.”

All around, the shades of a legion of slaughtered soldiers sat eternally upon their vacant thrones surrounding the platform, swooning in the ascending orange glow gleaming within the folds of the knight’s palm as it rested shortly upon the sun-whirling diadem appointing the brazier, which seemed to arrest the opaque tomb of its howling madness as the ceiling gave away and a wonderfully crafted elucidation of the undying sun overseeing innumerable farmers at labor bathed the whole chamber in near blinding light.

Stunned and overwhelmed, Rina cast her hands before her eyes, backtracking a few steps before tripping backwards over something that skittered at her rear, rescued only from collapse by the slow-to-arrive bodyguard, who with open maw surveyed the solar majesty.

The remains of men, scattered skeletons, still held within the bulwark of their scale-mail armor and bronzed greaves huddled about the facsimile altar and the countless blue eyes of the doomed and the damned resting their gaze severely from their dry-rotted thrones upon the assembly held upon every coliseum wall.

Swollen with a glory not his own, fire could be seen to drip from the merciful, burning pours of his tear-soaked eyes, as he absorbed the full contents of the god’s presence, only painfully retracting his seared and broken hand from the voracious brazier, which still seethed with solar fire.

“Captain Timon, son of Capitolinus, was the last man to place his hands upon the diadem.”

“What in the endless hells was that?”  Rina roared, virtually out of her wits.

Pitch settling upon the overhang of his cheeks, he eyed her with a mixture of confusion and amusement, “Is this not what you wanted to see?  You told me you were a scholar.  This ritual is almost lethally private by nature, and I’ve only ever performed it once.”

“We should go,” Gul Ladal whispered, eying the vacua where once rested legion in repose.

The literally imperceptible mourning of the overhanging sphere only receded slowly, the rivers of fire and glowing ash once more the flicked away waters of mundane bereavement.  “I think I know why you people fear this place.”

“That’s enough,” Gul Ladal retorted, “enough for one day.  And the Lady’s quite had enough of it.”

“It’s nothing unnatural, but I will acquiesce.  Perhaps the lady has had quite enough for one day, a story fit for wide-eyed grandchildren,” he said and sighed, exhaling the punitive warmth of the celestial disk.

The Recovered Logs of Midshipman Gregory Samuels Part 7

Midshipman’s Log Part 97

Gregory Samuels

October 6, 1252 CNS

Taticius started talking to me today.  I admit, I haven’t worked up the nerve to go see him.  Says he needs to get into the command section but that he’s lost his command override—wants me to do it for him.  He just keeps calling me.  Over and over and over again.  The absence and apparent reappearance is one thing—so you’d think—but there’s something very wrong and I *KNOW* I’m not imagining it.  People, real people, not clumsily made dolls meant to terrify children, they understand to use tone and emphasis and rate of expression.  But he’s almost like, he’s almost like a robot, but a machine would at least maintain a constant means of expression.  I think he’s gauging my responses, trying to learn from my speech—not only how to speak, but also taking cues from my response.  He’s been talking to me for five hours now.  Five hours.  Repeating the same fucking lines.  “Gregory.  Come.  On.  Letmeintothecommandsection—BUDDY!” as if he were suddenly enthusiastic and congenial.  But he’ll suddenly turn angry—vicious—“PLEASEI’VEONLYGOTFIVEMINUTESBEFORETHESHOW I’LL TELL THELIEUTENANT on you, youknow?”

I keep my thumb poised above the mute, but I just can’t.  I keep worrying just “what if?”  Would help if I wasn’t a wreck.  I asked where he’d been, if he’d been playing a trick on me, if he continued to be.  He didn’t answer, just the same prompt over and over and over again.  Communicator says it’s coming from the third aft docking bay.  I haven’t been able to work up the courage, see if he’s really there, but I don’t think I can handle it much longer to be alone.

I haven’t eaten in two days.

I worry about Sally.

post-it_08 rustThe faucet water’s starting to come out rust-colored.  Just my luck, right?  I shouldn’t get too sick, as long as I don’t have too much, as long as I can make it to the mess in a few days.  I’ve had my shots.

It tastes like I imagined.  Better than tasting like shit, I guess.

Are you familiar with tetanus?  Comes from Greek.  The condition of being stretched basically to death.  Bad way to die.  Somehow, I imagine it’s the least of my concerns now.

I confess I feel a little better.  I’m going to close the log out here.  I’m going to open the bulkhead door.  I’m going to the aft docking bays, see what I can find.  I won’t tell Taticius that I’m coming.  Got my guns with me.  I’ll report what I find as soon as I can.  This might be my last report.  Maybe I should tell Sally.  If god is with me, I’ll be back soon, no worse for wear.

Sword of the Saints: Sinner Chapter Eighteen

Striated marble gleaming of alabaster, storm-grey, and basalt adorned the temple’s grand exterior, evidently all derived from the same quarry in attempt to preserve the striation’s long rivulets that ran the whole of its sparkling surface, an exultant testament to the glory of the undying sky, but it was obvious that she had fallen on hard times.  Certainly dwarfing the myriad temples ranged all about, she had not been so much maintained as merely swept, stone figures of rampant templars collapsed and left in the weedy foregrounds, face-first in the dirt to ruminate ever-after below the paddling of alien soles beating the accumulated dust and collapsed masonry into a conglomerated powder that glinted nevertheless ever-so-slightly in the still lingering innocent eye of a passing child or a surreptitious cavalier carefully striding by, fearful of being noticed.

“Carefully maintained and respectfully preserved?  You know, if I weren’t so peaceful a man, I’d actually be mad.”

“Oh oh oh, it’s not that bad,” she remonstrated.  “Our own temples devoted to our own deities have always respected the pre-eminence of Brassos.”

“And you think that’s sufficient?”

“Skilled craftsmen are nowadays few and far between.  It would take an act of will to secure such resources, certainly of anyone capable of reproducing such ancient style.”

He paused, surveying the wreckage, before shaking his head.  He strode before the vaulted entrance concealed behind weather-beaten wooden slats adjoined with a long metal chain and a welded iron lock evidently untested in lifetimes.

“The god’s temple is to ever remain open,” he moaned through sibilant teeth.

“There was a difficulty,” she replied, her eyes wandering to the mundane, “with vandalism against the temple, the local Ivederenghoi having taken issue with the perceived silence of their deity.”

“And you couldn’t maintain a permanent vigil, place a guard at the fore?”

“I confess, few so ordained were willing to remain for long.  Even upon its edifice it bears an alien countenance and decibel silence menacing from within from an impenetrable darkness that swells before the eyes.  You yourself have spoken of the god’s preference for his children.  It is not bluster.”

“My word,” he replied, “how can I argue with that?  All heresy and hearsay vomited from the mouths of scaly brutes.  I should make a contention, but I confess, somewhat darkly, my curiosity has gotten the better of me.”  He wiped the sweat from his eyebrows before again glancing up to absorb the facade of the forgotten stained-glass elucidation of the knighting of Saint Aloisius.  In a practiced motion, his blade danced outward from his palm and promptly returned within its wooden domicile, neatly bisecting the welded lock which finally permitted the guardian rungs, with a gong, their final respite on the sandy floors to be joined shortly with the splinters of weather-beaten wood caved inwards under his forceful boot-heel.

“Coming?” he asked, smiling to one ear alone.

They shied away, recoiling against the sense of extraterrestrial boiling with long unreciprocated hatred within, but they nevertheless slowly followed his treads as he made his way amongst the darkness as if swimming in the light of day.

The Recovered Logs of Midshipman Gregory Samuels Part 6

Midshipman’s Log Part 96

Gregory Samuels

September 27, 1252 CNS

post-it_06 formication    Can’t get over how itchy I feel.  I mean, I’m not delusional—not seeing insects crawling over every surface and up the inviolate walls of my skin hungry for my eyes.  No bumps under the skin blistering forward with a legion of hungry baby spiders.  I’ve had to restrain myself, for otherwise I’d end up covered in lacerations boiling into infections.  I’ve considered cutting my nails painfully short, even at the risk of the draw of blood.

I’m sorry to begin like this.  I should pretend that I’m in better condition.  I just don’t care anymore.  I should pretend, but I just can’t maintain the façade.  I’ve never been so lonely, and I’ve long thought myself a lonely man.  Primary and secondary education, you see, were an absolute terror as regards my own comrades and most catastrophically the opposite sex.  For years I thought the only woman I’d ever kiss would be my own mother.  So you’d think I’d be up for this.  There are other men in history that have withstood long periods of isolation with their sanity largely intact.  I just don’t feel right, and I think it’s beginning to manifest physically.  I think I spent three hours solid scratching my throat.  On the one hand you’d expect a man, all alone in a big ship like this, would lose himself a bit, see things in the corner of his vision.  Happens to people all the time.  It doesn’t actually mean anything, long as it doesn’t bother you.  But.  It.  Does.  Bother.  Me.

I don’t think I’ve ever had genuine comrades—maybe Taticius, maybe another boy in school.  But he saw it, didn’t he?  Taticius, before we he went silent.  Strange then that such a helpless misfit like me’s the lone survivor.  I can’t help wondering.  It’s been a constant thought on my mind.  Can it kill me?  It was fast, wasn’t it?  It took them before they could react?  But would it have to be fast to do that?  You’d think but—wouldn’t I have been taken as well?  I’m no magnificent soldier, and I think in general that I’m a fair bit less agile than my fellows.

Yesterday, I went to the mess to collect a day’s rations.  While I was reheating a freeze-dried package of roasted chicken when what sounded like the discharge of a firearm went off on some deck overhead, but before I could investigate, this pain right behind the eyes, and I was blind.post-it_07 conversion syndrome  Completely blind.  Stumbling about, trying not to fall face-first onto my steaming-hot victuals, I was completely blind—fifteen seconds I think.  That’s never happened to me before.

I ran back to the safety of the crew quarters as fast as my legs would carry me.  I didn’t even eat.  It was two hours before I could work up the nerve to investigate, finger quivering over the trigger of my rifle against the regs.  Nothing out of the ordinary.  I thought it was a little more humid than it should have been, but that’s not unreasonable considering how long we’ve gone without maintenance.  Just hope atmospheric filters hold up long enough till the end of the journey.

I’ve got the door shut, locked, and I’m considering a barricade.  I’ll report as soon as I’m able.  Somehow writing about it makes it seem not so bad.  Should be added to the regs.  I wouldn’t mind a manual citation.

Sword of the Saints: Sinner Chapter Seventeen

“My goodness, just…  goodness!  I mean—my my!  Unbelievable, just unbelievable!  If my mother could have seen she’d…  she’d,” Rina gushed, percolating upwards upon bubbling heels of lethally honed ungula.  “I mean my god!  My gods!  I confess I’ve seen a man killed before, mostly executions; I’ve even seen a guard struck down in the fullness of his youth in equal combat, but that was utterly baseless.  There’s no other was to describe it.”  She stopped dead in her tracks, and the inexorable tug on his shoulder necessarily stopped him, as he struggled to remain upright without betraying his sudden weakness.  Before he could find his bearings his shoulders thundered involuntarily upwards, his rising lips crashing like the very tides upon her own, as she commenced to consume the whole of his lips and run her slithering tongue playfully about the gates of his esophagus, as if something deeply erotic.

His eyes locked with her own, as he struggled to wipe clean his face of her maw’s digestive secretions but succeeded only in smearing the whole of his countenance in the musk of her erotic display, as she rejoined, giggling like a schoolgirl, “Time enough later to mark yourself.  Goodness gracious me what a time.  And besides!  And besides!  You have to tell me.  You make it look so easy, so thoroughly easy; don’t whisper this to my bodyguards, but I have the fullest confidence they’d prove in no way your equal.  Just how do you make it look so easy?  I’ve never seen a man killed like that before; I’m not sure anyone has, and so much it was a shock to them that their hands quivered like grain in a bluster.  Slaughtered to a man before the magistrate-men could even arrive for inspection.  Barsica is flying high today!  High indeed!”

“They weren’t soldiers,” Arius grumbled, as if spitting out bile from between his teeth.  “They were assassins inasmuch as I’m an honest man,” he whispered malevolently, “abounding in the blisters that plague these so-called ‘Ivederenghoi.’  He only paused inasmuch as the strangely alien spectacle of the magnificent dome strode further into view arriving with every bounding step an iota further, and he shortly continued, “Their blades were rusty, in more ways than one.  It was no issue; it was no struggle.”

“Oh but surely you’re just being modest.  There were a score or more of them and the bare three of us!”

“A throng of people is no more an army than a collection of building materials a house.”

“Philosophy?” she quizzed.

“Something my mother used to say.”

Sword of the Saints: Sinner Chapter Sixteen

“Over the hilltop of roofs, over the canopy of coral clay,” the Lady Rina pointed out, “beyond the regular refuse of the city—it’s that dome there yonder, strangely opalescent in the sun but, I can guarantee you, completely opaque from within.”

“I can see the resemblance.”  Arius replied, squinting his eyes in the strange light.  “Not at all distant now.  I assume you know how to navigate this maddening labyrinth of fractured boulevards and side-streets?”

But Gul Ladal was already poised to gently push the lady beside, faced as he was with a forest of half-rusted dagger points once secreted in the dug-out clay repositories of the abysmal country homes of Ivederenghoi.

In the unseemly familiar pidgin of the degenerates the bodyguard laid out his challenge, imprecations before five chthonic gods and a demand to lay down their weapons and surrender themselves before an expedient execution.  Nevertheless, in their throng undaunted they wailed bloody ululations that mocked the mother tongue of Braxosian, of which precious little could be translated, save for the vagaries of unmentionable expletives intended for the traveling dame, who, guarded against the vileness of the commons stood fully erect and stunned, serpentine eyes widely dilated while she drew vigorously shallow breaths.

Little could be determined of their features, clad in crudely-stitched rags that obscured all the obscenity of their firmament curse save for the desiccated blisters on their exposed digits, in truth more hospital patients than even would-be assassins.

Grinning, a lunatic having been denied his vocation far too long, Arius drew the singing blade from its scabbard, which seemed to gleam and sparkle in the approaching storm to blinding effect.  Guarding their filthy visage against the impossible luster they inadvertently gave ground on a heavy heel, until finding themselves literally up against the wall; a pair charged forwards, their implements held in a pinch-grip at arm’s length; they’d killed before, intending the heart-stroke which precipitates death in mere seconds, but in their panic they proved as careless as witless, prey of the otherworldly glow.  With peerless speed and a master’s concision, the ancient fuller drove head-first through the upper-lip and first-row of teeth of its first victim, coming to rest only after having severed the tip of the tongue far past the uvula.  It was just a flick of the wrist to cleave the wandering eyes with the otherwise undamaged skull from the sputtering bloodspray and staggering mandible of the still strutting body shortly to collapse with a “puff” in the dust.  His companion, cocksure of a clean kill, slid below and under, driving his dirk up and towards the ribs, only to be halted in the paladin’s indomitable grip which snatched the hand from the blade of his assailant before tumbling the attacker earthward, dislocating his elbow with the end of his pommel before he trammeled his assailant’s skull under the splattering weight of his boot heel, gory with his bodily excess.

Content at first to lean upon his magnificently proportioned polearm, Gul Ladal could no longer stand idle and allow the day’s glory consumed by a single man alone and heaved forward with the impossible impetus of charging horses, armored head-to-toe.  With a single swipe he severed a pair of assassins of their hairless heads forevermore, and with a succeeding spray of carmine he cleaved diagonally through the midsection of a third, his bones no more a bulwark than paper before the refined edge.

Howling disparate old country paean, the bellicose pair weaved through what remained of them to the familiar gurgling of moribund blood which ran like rivers before the inviolate arch announcing the temple district in ancient and unabated Braxosian until the assassins’ futile essay did finally make end of itself.

The Recovered Logs of Midshipman Gregory Samuels Part 5

Midshipman’s Log Part 95

Gregory Samuels

September 20, 1252 CNS

I can’t really deny it.  It’s getting to me.  It’s been a some time since everything’s gone quiet.  I spent the first few days stalking through the corridors painstakingly in search of unwanted passengers and some sign or signal of the whereabouts or final destination of my comrades, but it’s all just empty; there’s nothing there, not the rattling call of a hoarse throat down a long steel corridor or the paddling reverberation of fleeing or pursuing footfalls, but it’s just empty, as vacuous as the murderer that surrounds these stalwart six walls.

I spent the first day huddled up within the crew quarters; I don’t think I even blinked the whole time, fixated upon the solid-steel door encapsulated within the auspices of Hercules’s ponderous bulkheads.  But eventually I grew hungry, hungry enough to risk murder—or worse things only imagined.  The mess was immaculate.  Not a scratch and certainly not a boom interrupted the seemingly slow preparation of my freeze-dried rations. 
post-it_05 food
Biscuits and gravy—filthy stuff—I don’t know what alligator-besotted backwater concocted it, but hunger, you see, is the finest sauce, even if it is hard to eat with your left hand while your itchy trigger-finger violates the most sacred tenets of firearm discipline.

I couldn’t get over how quiet it was, how still the shadows, how crisp the recycled air.  I didn’t know what to do.  As carefully as I could, I went from storage module to storage module, seeking perhaps something that I’d missed, or perhaps it was merely loneliness; just to observe my duties might make me feel whole again.

I visited Sally again.  Didn’t have the heart to tell her what plagued me, though I’m sure she had an inkling.

I worry I’ll lose track of the days.

I returned to the command module.  We’re on course.  The navigational intelligence demanded the presence of boatswain.  I didn’t know what to say, tried to explain that he was wounded or hurt, and she called my bluff immediately, indicating that the roster still denoted him healthy and hale and presumably on-duty.  I couldn’t help being curious.  I brought up the roster window to see what the administering intelligence thought of our status.  post-it_04 rosterFour green lights accompanied the names of my comrades.  A yellow light presaged my own.  I didn’t know what to say.

I’ve returned to the crew quarters to make this report.  I sealed the bulkhead behind me.  I can’t be sure, but I think someone’s been here, rearranged a few personal items—but none my own, so I can’t be sure.  The sheets are unblemished.  I’m pretty sure I sealed the armory doors behind me.  I’m not sure if it’s just the groaning of an old ship, but I think I hear voices, but I can’t tell what they’re saying; I can’t even tell if they’re addressing me.

It’s hard to sit upright; I’ve a splitting headache—feel like I’m going to fall face-forward onto the metal panels adorning with adornment the subservient floor.  Feel sick.  Fucking biscuits and gravy.  Fucking freeze-dried rubbish.

I’ll sign in again soon.  I’ll get her there safely.  And if I can’t, I promise I won’t let them get her.