Militia: Brawl

There were six of them.  Six of Zellig’s elite crew, and at least one of them was one of Zellig’s right hand men.  To add insult to injury, Kalr was here as well. I could vividly remember the beating we endured at her hands, and Mutant’s death was still fresh in my mind.  

Eldritch raged against my control, demanding to be free, to run away from this disaster.  

We need more food.  We need more size to survive this.  We can’t die here.

Unbeknownst to anyone else, I struggled to push the monster back down, to keep control of our hulking form as Eldritch entered an almost primal panic.  These were apex predators and we had blindly walked into their lair. Even though Eldritch had pulled information from my brain, it was still a Neklim hive mind and all too familiar with this kind of killing floor.  Despite Eldritch natural instinct driving it to be a predator, it instinctually knew the tables had been turned on us.  

As well as I could manage, I assured Eldritch that we were going to survive this; we weren’t alone and the people with us were not prey.  While Siege was a phenomenal asset thanks to his ability to conjure Trillodan technology, Shockwave and Beleth were something else entirely.  In the time that I had my internal struggle with Eldritch, the two of them were already concocting a battle plan.  

“Siege,” Beleth asked, “What do they do?” 

“Bitch in yellow is in a special bomb suit, so she’s munitions.  Guy in blue over here manipulates force fields. Big blue bitch in pumped full of drugs and stupid strong.  Guy in front of me dumps energy into metal to hit harder or make it explosive. Green glowing asshole down there has a plasma cannon; basically a bitch version of Titan.  And…” he looked at the last woman operative, “I have no idea what she does. Looks like a stock standard set of power armor for the Trillodan. No weapons I can see on her.”  

Shockwave glanced around and then to Beleth.  Both of them had spent so long fighting one another that they were perfectly aware of the others strength and shortcomings.  Beleth had complete control of the area around him, but his reach was limited. Shockwave was more vulnerable but unbound by proximity.  

“Split them,” Shockwave insisted. 

“Take that half,” Beleth said, agreeing to something that neither Ragdoll, Siege, or myself understood.  

“Eldritch,” Shockwave snapped as Beleth turned away from the three Trillodan operatives in front of us.  “The big bitch, slow her down. Siege-”

“Middle guy.  Got it.”

Ragdoll didn’t even wait for the instruction, he simply launched himself at the last of the bunch who was a middle sized figure in armor with glowing blue tubes running from a power source to the operative’s gauntlets.  Sure enough, a blue force field appeared between them, just barely stopping Ragoll from making contact with his kick.    

As interested as I was in the new Trillodan technology, I was almost mesmerized watching Beleth.  We all prepared to square off against one of the operatives each; Beleth pitted himself against Salah the demolitionist, the guy with a plasma cannon, and the unknown elite.  And, in classic Beleth fashion, he was gliding forward to meet them without concern. As he got closer, the ground began to ripple around him and walls of packed dirt and rock rose up; with a little nod, Beleth pushed the walls he created forward, making something between a barricade and maze around those three, trying to quarantine them. 

Salah, threw an explosive to blast the first wall he put in her way.  As one fell, Beleth simply made another, the ground swallowing most of the rubble.  Despite all the munitions she had at her disposal, Salah wasn’t going to be able to simply blast her way free.  Unless she could remove the ground under his feet, Beleth would always be able to create more obstructions.  

The operative with the glowing green armor and plasma cannon flicked it on and belched forth a stream of green sludge that literally melted through the terrain that Beleth was erecting.  “Shockwave, you have a runaway!” 

Right before I collided with Kalr, Shockwave threw a bolt of force and knocked her legs out from under her to give me an immediate advantage.  As she tried to get up to her feet, I engulfed her arms, letting the mass of tendrils act like a straight jacket and hinder her range of motion.  Unlike the other Trillodan present, Kalr was a brawler and needed to be able to throw a punch to do any serious damage.  

As long as I could lock her up and keep her away, everyone else would be able to take care of themselves.  

“Get off of me,” she growled, straining as I pushed her back into a building, the wood groaning as it tried to support our combined weight.  “I ripped you apart once-” 

“And we took your arm off last time,” I hissed back.  

“Good thing we can make new ones!”  Kalr pushed forward and then threw herself back, pulling us both through the strained architecture.  We tumbled and she drove a foot into my midsection, rolling back and launching me deeper into the house we had just crashed into.  

I ended up ripping away chunks of the translucent membrane around her arms, but she was free of my grasp.  My body shifted and I galloped forward, barreling forward on all fours; Kalr dodged and rolled to the side, avoiding the momentum that I had built.  I managed to stop, but she had descended upon me before I could get another head of steam.    

A heavy blow slammed into my midsection, managing to rattle my actual body beneath the layers of Neklim provoking a small disconnect with me and Eldritch.  I gained control, but not before Kalr could continue her assault. It should have been easy to pull my arms in and protect my core, but the beast was trying to pull away, to cut and run.  

She ripped us apart when we were bigger than this!  We need more meat! We can’t fight her at this size! 

Another flurry of blows slammed into our torso, driving us back a step.  We were saved by a kinetic blast hitting her in the stomach.  

“Eldritch, get your fucking head on straight,” Shockwave shouted.  “I can’t cover for you all the fucking time!” 

The operative who had the molten green sludge was trying to advance on Shockwave, every time being pushed back by the kinetic assault.  The problem was that he was helping to cover for Beleth. Salah and the other Trillodan had split apart, making a point to be at the edge of his range and force him to spread thin.  Shockwave kept firing quick blasts back at them to ensure the last one couldn’t slip away entirely. His split attention meant the blasts from his hands were having limited time to charge, greatly diminishing their destructive output.  

With the little bit of space that Shockwave had bought for me, I did my best to reconcile with Eldritch.  We weren’t losing, we had friends with us, we had others on the way. We still had time before we needed to start panicking and going berserk with a need for consumption.  

I barely managed to get the agitate Neklim under control before Kalr came charging.  This time, with a unified front, my body didn’t fight back as I moved my arms into place to absorb the blow.  A few kilograms of material were crushed, but not enough to cause alarm. My arms split and fanned out, forcing her to back pedal to avoid being snared.  

Kalr growled in frustration as I advanced, driving her away from everyone else.  For now, we were on even footing. The sludge she carried would negate any harm and she was generally strong enough to simply overwhelm or overpower any opponent she encountered.  But I was big enough to mitigate her strength.  

And I had one extra trick she didn’t.  

Mutation: adrenaline. 

A burst of strength filled my body, all four tonnes charging forward.  The change was surprising enough that she was slow to dodge my grab; a huge swath of mass re-allocated to prevent her from tearing her arm free.  

She struggled, at first completely in vain.  Even with her raw might, she couldn’t displace a four-tonne monstrosity.  Her glower faded to a smirk as she reached back, slapping the massive metal tank on her back. 

Red serum seeped through the tubes that were plugged into her skin.  Her smirk turned to a manic sneer as she planted her feet, reaching her other hand forward to seize under one of my massive limbs.  Both Eldritch and I panicked as she heaved us off the ground.  

“I hope you have another trick,” she laughed.  Kalr launched us to the side, ripping her arm free in the process.  Our bulk obliterated a small home and cost us nearly two hundred kilograms of material.  While I had calmed Eldritch down earlier, we were now recalling the abuse we had endured at Kalr’s hand when she was empowered with that steroid.  Even turned into a monster of crystal, we hadn’t been able to withstand her fury. With how she was looking at our center, she was intent on ripping me free of the Neklim mass, and I wasn’t sure how we could stop her.  

As we rose from the rubble, she crashed down on top of us, driving a hand into our shoulder, tearing a huge swath of growth free as I tried to backpedal and regain my bearing.  My other arm wrapped around a fridge and I swung it around like some kind of hammer. Kalr shielded her head with an arm, but she barely recoiled at all, despite all the force behind that blow.  

We have to run, Nick!  If we don’t, we die here! 

Before we could turn, Kalr lunged like a feral cat, tackling us through the wall and back out into the street.  Nearly a hundred kilograms of material were casualty to the road rash as we skidded to a halt with her sitting on top of us.  I swung an arm, trying to knock her off, but she was far too strong, far too juiced up to even budge. The giantess frantically ripped handfuls of growth free, literally digging for my real body.  

In desperation, I shifted the distribution in my arm and lumped my growths over her head, smothering her.  Kalr growled and withdrew one hand to keep ripping tentacles free of her mouth so she could keep breathing, but her pursuit continued.  

One of her fingers grazed my arm.  

For a moment she paused, and then both hands flew to my core; she knew she could hold a moment of being smothered.  The moment I was torn free, the Neklim would disintegrate and I would be out of the fight for good.

Her weight vanished from my chest as the air rippled around me.  Kalr went flying backwards, buried into the remains of the building we’d just escaped.  Shockwave glared my way, both hands trying to quickly accumulate a new charge as Kalr rose from the pile of debris, sludge washing over her and fixing all the injury he’d inflicted.  

“Eldritch,” he said, stern, “Trade me.  I’m a better match for her.”  

Behind him, the man with the cannon of molten green material had clearly endured some damage, with chunks of his armor cracked.  It seemed like he had valued preserving his weapon over keeping his own body intact; the only reason he was probably still standing was the fact that Shockwave had been splitting his focus between several attackers.  

Kalr tried to charge me while my back was turned, but Shockwave clapped his hands together, sending a wave of energy screaming through the air; as soon as it came into contact with the giantess, it exploded and sent her tumbling back.  Despite her landing in a mangled heap, she was back on her feet in seconds, the sludge flowing through those tubes, mending all the damage that Shockwave could dish out.

The others were faring better than I had managed, though none of them needed to try and talk sense into a panicking beast.  Tol and Siege were exchanging blows, seeming to be at a stalemate. While the Trillodan had far superior combat experience, Siege could always conjure a new weapon to compensate for any shortcoming he had.  

Ragdoll was in another peculiar stalemate with his opponent.  The operative’s suit made force fields that projected from his hands, and that was all that was keeping Ragdoll from smashing him into the ground.  The Trillodan seemed more used to standard movements and limitations that most would have on how far they could jump or throw themselves. Every time he tried to project a forcefield and use it to squish Ragdoll, the head of Flagbearers threw himself out of the way and rapidly repositioned for a new angle of attack.   

Doing my best to trust the others, I focused on the injured operative that had been left for me.  Someone with a weapon that was reminiscent of Titan’s molten mixture wasn’t ideal, but I would be able to deal with them better than I could Kalr.  

Burning what was left in my storage, I bulked back up to five tonnes of mass and felt another threshold of power reached, both mine and the monsters desperation prompting another timely alteration to our physiology.

Mutation: Thermal resistance.

The whole Neklim mass felt a surge of strength as our second mutation set in.  Even though I had rapidly constructed the extra mass and only had fifteen minutes of size, both the beast and I felt more confident as we approached our new opponent.  As we got closer, I started to lose that little burst of confidence.  

Around the operative, the air was scalding.  Even though we were now more resistant to the harshness of the temperature differential, it was agonizing.  All the tendrils on the exterior were frying and I got to feel all of them trying to cope with the oppressive heat from the Trillodan’s weapon.  

To make matters worse, Eldritch and I had felt something like this before. 

Titan burned us.  Titan cut us down.  He’s just like that.  We can’t do this!

I roared and shook the whole pavilion, undoubtedly causing more harm for all my teammates than I did any of the Trillodan.  I was so sick of trying to fight Eldritch and the abject fear that I was experiencing as a side effect. If I could just get the damned Neklim to calm down we could probably hold our own.  But instead I was grappling with PTSD from my own Adaptation.  

I charged forward, forcing my rebellious body to action.  Even if Eldritch wouldn’t work with me, I was the host. I was the owner of this whole ordeal.  We would fight.  We would not abandon our team now and leave them to die.  

The Trillodan raised the massive weapon and pulled the trigger; a jet of molten green plasma slammed into our legs and began burning away dozens of kilograms, making me stumble and fall onto my arms.  Another blast of this plasma and my right arm lost a third. Reeling, I reached out and seized a chunk of debris, courtesy of Beleth constantly manipulating the distorting the landscape around himself.  I threw the hunks of rock, forcing the operative to adjust settings on his weapon and make a sheet of plasma to disintegrate the projectiles.  

Getting back up, I burnt some stored adrenaline and did my best to rally.  Attacking him head on was suicide, celarly, but we had beaten Titan. We had used our strength to turn everything around us into a weapon.  It had worked once, and it would work again.  

Thanks to Salah constantly blasting away Beleth’s creations of rock, there was plenty of loose rubble to grab fistfuls of and launch at the alien with the glorified flamethrower.  The tank that was feeding his cannon wasn’t seeming to empty, but he wasn’t able to launch any kind of meaningful counter attack either. I kept reminding myself that stalemate was fine.  All we needed to do was hold out. I wasn’t supposed to panic and let loose. We had Clemency and Spectre in the area, they should be here soon, especially with me letting out a roar like some kind of alarm system.  Salah was constantly demolishing plenty of rock as well. They should be able to find us.  

Why aren’t they here yet, Nick?  Why hasn’t Clemency shown up? We can’t hold out forever and if we stay out too long we will die.  The fire is consuming any reliable meat that might have been nearby. The longer we fight, the less likely we are to survive. 

I ignored my other half, doing my best to keep my head in the fight and hold the even state.  But, as we saw all the fights unfolding, I was worried that things weren’t going to get better.  

Ragdoll was doing his best but still making no tangible headway on his fight with the force-field manipulator.  Even though he could kick hard enough to behead someone, he hadn’t been able to make contact. The Trillodan wasn’t doing Ragdoll any damage but Ragdoll was panting from exertion.  More than that, Ragdoll was running himself ragged and taking giant breaths of air polluted with smoke thanks to Salah’s explosions and the fires that Clemency had started earlier.   

Siege had broken a few pieces of Tol’s suit off and drawn blood, but he was gassing out quickly.  His constant adjustment to counter Tol had started to seriously take the wind out of Siege while the Trillodan lieutenant was comfortable fighting through fatigue and pain.  Even though Siege wasn’t breathing ash like Ragdoll, he didn’t have the natural strength and conjuring a literal tank earlier had done a number on him.  

Shockwave was the only one who wasn’t winded, but he was clearly getting more and more frustrated that every blow against Kalr was washed away by that sludge.  He tried to target the tank on her back, but she consistently denied him a clear shot. Even though her dose of that red serum had faded, she was still running around just as easily as when the fight had started. 

A little bit of motion caught my eye as the other woman Beleth was holding back raised her arm and threw a black orb towards us.  It touched the ground and a black gas erupted out; from the cloud, five little fingers of smoke shot out, each guided towards one of the Adapted.  The instant it made contact with the wall of Neklim I wore, I felt the effect.  

Lethargy.  Unbelievable exhaustion spread through me like fire through dry leaves.  The lattice structure of the growths started to sag, the individuals tendrils robbed of the strength to hold themselves together.  

Shockwave blasted the air away from himself, but a new wisp of smoke shot back towards him after the first failed.  Ragdoll tried to launch himself clear of the pavilion, but a force field slapped him out of the air and back down to the ground where he was subjected to the gas.  Beleth didn’t quite pull himself underground fast enough to avoid the inhalant. For a moment, the only one immune was Siege.

Tol’s suit had given him a respirator.  Even though it lingered around his head, Siege stayed on his feet.  

However, his opponent now had reinforcements.  

A force field slammed into Siege’s legs, upending him.  Before he hit the ground, Tol was pouncing, pinning one hand and pressing his prosthetic arm against Siege’s mask.  There was a metallic grinding as Tol’s robotic hand squeezed hard enough to shatter the mask and Siege’s jaw beneath.  

The head of Black Mass screamed, but his cry died down to a whimper as the gas took effect on him as well.  

“Omec,” Salah said as they began closing she and the Trillodan responsible for the blight sauntered forward, “You’ve outdone yourself with this one.  Targeted metabolic depressants?” 

“Yeah, I just needed to adjust-”

“That one isn’t done,” Tol shouted, drawing all the Trillodan’s attention to me.  

I burned what little adrenaline there was left in my system to keep my structure together and stay upright.  I turned to fight and let out another roar, trying to portray some kind of confidence…but it was all a front.  

Both Eldritch and I were alone.  

Desperation drown us both, and both of us were aligned with a specific goal: 


“Carve him out, Phelios,” Tol called to the operative with the plasma cannon.  “Now!” 

Eldritch and I screamed.  It wasn’t a roar like we usually let out, it wasn’t a cry of war, it was a cry of panic.  We were cornered again, the predator turned to prey. Both of us knew that this was another absolute end if we fell.  Clemency and Spectre hadn’t shown up yet, and we didn’t know if they would be able to. There could be more operatives around, there could be Zellig himself fighting them.  

We were alone and we had no options.  

As the searing green liquid began burning my left arm, I felt a wave of power and change rip through us.  We didn’t turn to crystal like we had last time. Instead, Eldritch wanted a way to fight, not just survive.  The apex predator of Tso’got was tired of being hunted, tired of being powerless. With that gas on our mind, I felt our physiology shift in an instant. 

More than a mutation, it was the same phenomenon we had felt saving Murphy.  Eldritch was Adapting again, overhauling his natural limitations and defying nature in the blink of an eye. 

Little geysers erupted on my back, releasing wisps of green gas.  Just like Omec’s it was directed, each trail chasing down an operative.  Phelios was closest and didn’t get a chance to react and get himself clear.  The little breath of fog ballooned in size, enveloping his armor; within seconds it began melting.  Pehlios screamed and dropped his weapon, trying to rip free of the demolished armor and layer of acid that had formed atop the metal.  It quickly ate through the metal and seeped through the cracks, cooking the alien underneath. He fell to the ground, screaming as he continued to cook, not long for this life.  

Tol assumed charge immediately, barking commands in a foreign tongue.  The squad of Trillodan quickly sprinted together as Salah threw something down that seemed to incinerate the air as the gas tried to fly through it.  Eldritch screamed again, fighting against the lethargy that was just barely staved off. More gas erupted and began swirling around the Trillodan, seeming to run Salah’s device to capacity.  

Omec was next to provide a counteragent as she quickly tinkered with a glass cylinder.  In a dramatic motion, she slammed it against the ground and some little yellow arthropod crawled out, visibly affecting the air around it.  With a kick, she launched it my way. As soon as it came into contact with me, it exploded in a cloud of dust and some kind of particle that made the air heavy, and pulled my trails of noxious gas down to the ground, fizzling out as the ground absorbed the acidic fumes.  

Tol burned a red disk and fired a metal needle into my shoulder; a second later half of my mass was demolished and my real body was tossed free of the mass of Neklim.  I groaned as I hit the ground, struggling to get up to my feet, my skin red and blotchy from the heat. My brain tried to adjust to being just a single person again; I was centered by Tol grabbing my shoulder and shaking me.  

“Not twice,” Tol said as he leaned down.  “You had your little upset. Do you think we’d give you a second?” 

I raised my head and endured a metal gauntlet to the mouth before I could try and be defiant.  

“Learn your place, worm.” 

At the far corner of the pavilion, a tall silhouette was cast against a backdrop of flickering flame.  Stepping forward, I recognized the white coat and black surgical mask with neon teeth painted onto it. “Bargain!  All out! Ten minutes duration!” The operatives rounded on Psycho, ready to fight. Psycho just laughed, shaking his head.  “Oh, I wouldn’t worry about me. It’s him you need to be scared of.” 

On the opposite corner, the grimey and scraped up figure started convulsing, his body contorting for a moment as he seemingly put on thirty pounds of muscle in a split second.  Salah didn’t bother waiting for him to finish his transformation and threw an explosive his way; I felt a pang of anxiety on his behalf.  

My apprehension was grossly misplaced.  

Bargain sprinted out of the fire and smoke almost faster than the eye could track, immediately going for Omec.  She let out a scream of pain and surprise as he grabbed both her hands, crushing them in a squeeze. She was shoved backwards into Salah and both went flying as if Shockwave had blasted them.  

Tol powered his suit up with another one of those red discs and tried to join the fray, but Bargain ran to him, closing the gap in a blink.  Even with the speed granted by the serum, the Altered hit him a dozen times before the Trillodan lieutenant could react. Each blow cracked Tol’s armor and audibly cracked the Trillodan’s bones beneath.  

Kalr roared and swung a massive leg into Bargain, and he didn’t bother to dodge.  He let her gargantuan leg collide with his torso; instead of Bargain going flying, Kalr’s shin snapped around him.  “Pest,” he grumbled, merely inconvenienced. A palm shot out and Kalr’s chest collapsed, her body landing in a heap fifteen meters away.  

The last man tried to grab one of those white vials that acted like a quick means of teleporting away; before he could shatter the glass, Bargain zoomed over to him and smacked it out of his hand.  A force field came between them, and Bargain blitzed through it. Tubes were ripped free of the power supply as Bargain tore his arms free of his body. The operative tried to scream; Bargain silenced him by hitting him hard enough to cave in his helmet and his head.  

A blink of white light quickly flashed where Salah and Omec had been thrown to, and a quick glow behind me told me that Tol decided to abandon the fight as quickly as possible.  

I had heard that, if he wanted, Bargain could be one of the most powerful people alive.  His power was temporary strength equal to the punishment he would take once his power expired.  I had seen him pummel Shock and Awe handily but this was… something else. Five of the strongest Adapted had floundered against these operatives and he’d cut through them like a hot knife through butter.  

“Should we kill this one?” Psycho asked, lifting the unconscious form of Kalr.  “Bargain, care to do the honors?” 

Another blur of movement, and Bargain appeared behind her, readying himself to behead her.  

“Wait!” a stern voice insisted.  Up above us, Clemency dropped down and raised a hand to stop the two Lunatics.  “We can use her. How often do we get to have a prisoner? How much value is she going to pose for Zellig?”

Psycho turned to the man clad in cobalt and laughed, “Are you serious, Clemency?  These are the Trillodan. You think they’ll negotiate? You think this crazy bitch is going to cave to torture?  They are roided up fanatics with a stronger attraction to murder than me! They are all happy to die for their cause!  Besides you think Zellig is going to just let us keep her? Hell, you think she’s going to just be confined to a prison cell?  Look at this bitch! Besides,” Psycho said, glancing at me, “She’s the one who killed Mutant, isn’t she?” Despite him being in his Narcissism form, Psycho’s became surprisingly somber.  “Bargain, kill her. Eldritch, eat the corpse.” He turned back to Clemency, “I think it’s time we start to even the score, don’t you?”

Clemency clearly didn’t want to give into the wills of a madman governed by mental illness, but his lack of response was all the go-ahead that Bargain needed. 

Karl’s head hit the ground and body was launched, skidding to my feet.  “Eat up,” Bargain insisted. “Make her death at least somewhat productive.”  

I nodded and pressed a hand to her flesh, her chemically stained muscle admittedly making me nauseous as I devoured every last scrap.  Two hundred and sixteen kilograms of muscle tissue, all of it gone in a few precious seconds.  

“What happened to you guys?” 

“Some illusionist and a pair of their operatives were keeping us penned in,” Clemency mumbled, frustrated as he grabbed the nearly comatose Shockwave.  “Help me get the others!” he shouted over the crackled of the flames. “We have very little time left to get the fuck out of here.” I wanted to know more about what had happened and why they had been slow to respond, but I didn’t push it.  Clemency was right that we were in a hurry.

Psycho scooped up the other Adapted I had come with, tossing them all unceremoniously over his  shoulder with ease. I got up on my own accord, much less affected by the gas that Omec had released.  As he grabbed Beleth, he noticed the puddle of melted armor and flesh that I had turned Phelios into. “What the fuck happened to him?”  

“I, um, melted him.  Where are-”

“Waiting for us at the extraction,” Psycho said, his face actually somewhat dour.  “Pacifist took a nasty hit. Spectre is keeping her safe.” He gave another cautious glance at the pile of liquified flesh, “How the fuck did you do that?” 

Part of me considered confessing that my Neklim form had a way to Adapt on its own, but I kept my mouth shut.  The last thing I needed was to incite more fear about how dreadful and unhinged my power could get if properly enabled.  “One of the mutations I can gain is an acid splash,” I answered, “Poor guy got too close to me and took a full hit.”

The leader of the Lunatics raised an eyebrow, clearly calling bullshit on my explanation.  He didn’t press any further, ripping Beleth free from the ground since his legs were still halfway submerged.  

As soon as we had everyone, Clemency insisted we make quick time to extraction. 

I wondered why we were even bothering to hurry.  All the Ellayans had taken refuge in the water during the attack or been  killed by one of us. Their little base was in shambles, and no one was going to challenge us.  Even Zellig himself wouldn’t be brash enough to come anywhere near us with Bargain as high-powered as he was.  

The moment we arrived at the extraction, Bargain dropped to the floor unceremoniously.  His body deflated, all the power rapidly fleeing and being replaced with grotesque infirmity.  

“Careful with him,” Psycho snapped at me as I helped him to his feet, “His bones are going to be incredibly brittle.  We need to get him back to Organelle and make sure that his lungs are functional enough for him to survive the two day coma he just lapsed into.”

Inside our rendezvous house, Spectre and Pacifist were waiting, both looking worried.  Pacifist had a hand pressed to her side, blood seeping through her fingertips.  

We sat there a moment before the room began to shimmer, Distortion’s power finally kicking in and ripping us through reality back to the ship.  After a split second of nothingness, we were back among our comrades on the hillside, overlooking the city.  

There was a hustle and bustle to get the injured up to Organelle, but I excused myself and slipped away after someone was kind enough to give me a pair of pants.  Climbing onboard, I found a dusty and empty room to lock myself inside of.  

Now that no one could see me, I let all the bottled emotion and panic out as I put my head in my hands, unable to control myself.  The last time Eldritch had Adapted, we had managed to rally.  

This time, it had barely made any difference.  Our surprise burst of power had claimed one of Zellig’s elite, but that was it.  The others had quickly turned it around on me, negating my newfound biological weapon.  

I needed to be saved.  Again. I was supposed to be some kind of super-weapon in this fight against the Trillodan and I had let everyone down.  Again.  

Tonight was a victory.  Even though Bargain was going to be down for several days, if not a week, we had stalled the Ellayan militia and burned the beach head the Trillodan were trying to prepare for themselves.  We had bought valuable time for the construction crew to continue work on making our escape vessel something that could get off the damn ground. And we had done it all with no casualty.  

But the only thing I could hear was my own head repeating one thought over and over again.  


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