Welcome to the next installment of Captain’s Journey. hopefully you are enjoying the story so far. If you have any questions or comments please leave them in the comments or send them to me on Twitter.

***

“Mother-fucking asshole! The Terran League fucking lied to me! When I gained consciousness they told me he didn’t survive the crash!”

“I am sorry you feel that way Jaxx. The doctor that spoke to you did not have all the information. He should have told you that no body was found for your son and there were signs that your ship had come under some sort of attack.”

“Why didn’t someone tell me that some time after that? Why did you say the only way to cover all the procedures to get me back to health was to be work for the league on one of your ships? You fucking used me and used my son!”

My vision is blurry from rage and tears as something cuts into to the feed. The image is dark and indistinct as if some filter is being used to keep the identity of the speaker obscured. The channel cracks and pops with static and the sound that issues forth from this intruder is harsh and guttural.

“The terran ship Albedo will stand down. We will take the weapon that has been discovered and leave this sector. If, upon inspection, this weapon was created by the terrans as evidence indicates, we will retaliate.”

My spittle hits the screen as I scream, “I’m not transporting any weapon! I am fucking hauling Tridium for Ryl’Dan. They are interdicted but it isn’t used in making weapons of any sort! There is no fucking reason to attack my ship!”

“Just ignore the bug-eyed monster, Jaxx. I will make sure that you are kept out of the clutches of the Heddradan. If that isn’t enough, I’ve been authorized to offer you a full pardon for your your crimes against the Terran League if you will just turn control of your ship to me and let us escort you out of this system to where my crew can keep you and yours safe.”

“Captian of The Albedo, your actions are unacceptable. We will not be denied the ability to determine if this human has been altered  against the conditions of the Cara’Duun Accords. If you continue in this manner we will be forced to act to test him here and now.”

There is a feeling in the pit of your stomach you get when you know something is true but you don’t really want it to be. It’s like a ball of lead has just taken up residence and not going be moving anytime soon. I have no clue what this creature is talking about but I know with certainty that it is going to change everything from this point forward.

“Damn it! What is it talking about? Was something done to me after the crash? Is all this talk about my son just some ruse to get me back under terran control so you can check the progress on the experiment?”

The captain of the Albedo raises his hand as if to forestall further screams from me.

“you are just overwrought from being attacked by these monsters. Just calm down. Let us get you and your crew out of here. We will patch up your hurts and get everything straightened out so that you can start looking for your son. You can’t pass up this chance that we are telling the truth.”

There is a high-pitched keening that cuts across further conversation and the visual from the Heddradan clears. What appears on the screen is a hulking misshapen horror. The head is reminiscent of a preying mantis with some bilious goo dripping from it’s large mandibles. A long serpentine neck covered in scales and fur connects to a body that is composed of sections of grey and orange chitin and layers black and brown flesh that is covered by sparking secretions and undulates disturbingly. This misshapen mass is covered with tentacles, claws, and other appendages and orifices that strain the eye with the horrors that are beheld.

Some of these appendages begin to move in concert. Lights, sounds, and a data stream pour across my screen.

“Testing Begins.”

Before those words have are even registered by my brain, the pain begins. It’s a silvery-white fire that shoots along my neurons. Every muscle in my body clenches so that it feels like my body is trying to tear itself apart. My bones throb as if they are trying to expand and contract in time  to some cosmic rhythm that is beyond mortal comprehension. My Lungs burn as if they were filled with molten glass and I can not expel anything as my body will not respond to my command. I can see nothing but silver and gold streaks as even my eyes feel like they are going to burst. The noise from the ship is supplanted by a high tinny whine that drowns out all other sounds.

My body is beyond my control but my talent responds. I lash out with it and connect to the ship and every living mind berthed within. I can not physically hear my crews cries of pain as what I am going through is transferred to them. All their fear, anxiety, anger, and hatred are fed back to my along the connection as unadulterated power. As the surge hits me, My heart seizes in my chest and everything stops and my world quavers. Instead of ending, there is a wrenching in the center of my being. All the points of pain in my body are pulled into some strange alignment. Heart and talent become two poles that balance all this energy that I am receiving and fires it throughout my body. Where the energy touches a transformation occurs leaving me stronger but a little less human in its wake. I can see the field that is holding the ship in place and lash out, banishing from my sight. All the energy flowing into me just fuels my rage at what has happened and I latch onto the Tesla Drive and restore it to working order with a thought. Instead of leaning into to fling us away from this mess, I grasp the power eagerly and pull everything from it and everyone one the ship. I turn my newly opened eyes upon the enemies in space with a roar in my throat!

Everything goes black.

***

“Jaxx, you can not look away now. This is the important part. This is why you have to remember.”

“I know HAL. I think I know how this ends and I’m terrified.”

“I’m here with you Jaxx. Now, open your mind’s eye and see this through to the end.”

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