A race, after being wiped out, jumps back to life with tremendous maturity rate and wings!
The Growing Threat
Jordan and I crawled till the edge of the clearing and peeped over. The jungle sprawled across the land as far as the horizon and amidst the vastness of purple; there were open spaces that had nothing but flat violet grass. We were, at that moment, sneaking into one such clearing. It was about a little more than half a mile in diameter and surrounded by waist high scrubs. At the centre were burrows dug in the ground. Most of them were filled with grass and leaves. Some had sticks and branches coming out of the holes. The ones with grass had balls of various colours in twos or threes. There was no moving soul around.
Jordan looked both sides and made to crawl forward when I stopped him and pulled him back. I gestured away from the site.
“They could be watching over the place from somewhere else.”
“What the hell are...?”
“Sormanian eggs, various different species, but Sormanian nonetheless.”
“That’s a nursery?” Jordan said scratching the back of his head though it was only a gesture for he’d only reach till his helmet.
“A breeding ground, more preferably,” I added. “We would have to keep an eye on that.”
“But I thought that the Sormanians were destroyed. All of them. Whole of them.”
“We saw the eggs,” I tried to logic. “And they didn’t come from ashes.”
“Mostly the females,” I said and looked around. “And judging from the number, it’s more than quite a few. They wouldn’t leave this place unguarded.”
“I say we fry them,” Jordan said and stood up.
“What good would that be? There must be other such nurseries. We just accidentally bumped into this one.”
Jordan punched his left palm with his right fist.
“Let’s head back,” I suggested. “We’d have to raise the mother ship.”
“Yeah, the Royalty won’t be pleased with this.”
“Besides, we need to probe into something.”
“Like their growth rate, their life cycle, their …”
Jordan and I were thrown off the ground by an unexpected blast behind us.
I hit my head and my right shoulder against the tree. The surrounding went out like a flame in the wind.
I tried opening my eyes and found the right eye was stuck with blood. I wiped it away and tried to focus.
The trees and the foliage were wiped clean. The ground was hot, glowing like a coal on fire. On the other side was Jordan, waving at me. I couldn’t hear what he said. My helmet was crashed and I had lost my comm.
“Cody,” Jordan cried. “Get cover.”
My head was whining and ears ringing. I was feeling like throwing up. I tore off the helmet and breathed in heavily.
The ground swayed under my feet. I grabbed the tree for support and after a while, emptied my stomach near its roots.
Suddenly there was wind behind me.
Carefully, not to stir the inner turmoil, I turned my head and looked into a winged man.
I must have hit my head bad, I thought, for as far as my knowledge went no Sormanians had wings. But this one did and he was a Sormanian. He was more than seven feet tall, wide at the shoulders and tapered down at the waist. His arms were massive and fingers had claws. On the top of his chisel shaped face and bald head were two twisted horns.
My sight went out of focus twice.
The Sormanian raised his hand and I saw a sceptre in his hand, the head radiating like a fireball.
He aimed at me. I pressed myself up against the tree with my left arm. The right one was absolutely numb.
He aimed his sceptre and…
A full grown tree flew across my vision, taking the Sormanian along with it before it hit the ground about twenty feet away.
Fearing what I might see, I slowly turned to my right.
Jordan was reaching for another tree, but when the Sormanian didn’t reappear, he retreated. He took a step back and leapt. It was a more than thirty feet of charred ground between us and he covered it in one jump. He landed in front of me, skidded a little before gripping the ground.
I looked around. Not a soul in sight.
“Jordan Sesame, you shouldn’t… shouldn’t have called for your power,” I said finding it hard to speak. “It’s for emergencies only.”
“That flying hornhead was going to fry you,” he said taking my weight off my feet. “I call that an emergency.”
“We… we need to…”
“We’re going back to the pod,” he interrupted.
Before I could protest, he cuddled me in his arms and took off in another of his giant leap.
My head was throbbing so hard that I could hardly see. The right side was masked with blood. I was sure something was cracked, if not broken. Breath was coming in gasps. I was fighting to keep my eyes open. Things were swirling within me. The right shoulder was double its size and that side was totally out of commission.
Once back in the pod, Jordon put me in the rejuvenation chamber. It was a glass cylindrical container six feet long, horizontally laid that was designed to maintain the optimal condition for any sentient being.
As Jordon turned it on, the machine scanned me for my injuries. Red lights flashed everywhere. Jordan gasped and shook his head.
“Am I that bad?” I asked in a shallow voice.
“You’ll be better in no time,” he said and activated the recovery systems.
He needn’t tell me that. The rejuvenating chamber had drugs that could enhance cell growth up to two fifty per cent. Even if I won’t be perfect, but at least I wouldn’t have to borrow Jordan’s shoulder to keep my head up.
A hum started in the container. A couple of needles slipped into my veins, mists started to form inside.
Jordan smiled at me from outside and said something I couldn’t catch. My eyes closed in as I slowly slipped in to the comfort of slumber.
I woke up to the immense pain in my arms and head. I chocked as I tried to breathe and the mist blurred my vision. Trying to figure out what was happening I found myself on the floor, scuffling on the broken glass of the chamber.
“Cody,” a voice cried. “Cody? Can … can you…”
The pod shook beneath my feet throwing me off once more. I hit the panels and landed on all fours.
“Status report, Jordan,” I cried trough the growing mist in front of my eyes. “What the hell’s happening?”
A hand grabbed my arm above the elbow and pulled me up.
“We are under attack,” he said as he studied my wounds. “You still needed a couple of more hours in there.”
“Let’s fast forward,” I smiled. We were standing on the belly of the pod, which meant the pod had toppled over meaning we couldn’t fly away. “Let’s go out. You’ll have to erect the pod.”
Jordan, knowing that would drain him off his ninety per cent of his strength, nodded.
“And raise the mother ship.”
“Can’t,” he shook his head. “Comm. is dead.”
“Then we’ll take them head on,” I returned. “I’ll cover you. You get the pod up.”
The pod trembled twice while we scuttled through the narrow passageways and hatches. Jordan put his hand on the outer hatch and turned to me.
“Don’t tap into your core. You are not strong enough.”
I was trying to wake the weapons system.
“It’s dead,” I pronounced. “No choice. I’ll be careful.”
“That’s an order Lieutenant.”
He breathed out heavily. “Yes Commander.”
As soon as Jordan wrenched the hatch, I climbed out and he went up for the nearest CIWS hutch. I hate calling up ranks between us, but at times he becomes too protective.
All I saw was a wall of fire in front of my eyes. I jumped to the ground as the fire hit the wall above my head.
“When did they get reinforcement?” I asked counting ten Sormanians already.
“The eggs hatched,” Jordan said taking down two as we spoke. “In two hours they covered infancy to adulthood.”
I slipped under the pod to concentrate. I tapped into my core unleashing the power. I could feel my fingers tingle as the energy surged through my veins.
Balls of fire continued to hit the pod over and over again. I could hear cries as Jordan hit the Sormanians one after the other but they just kept on coming.
I breathed in steadying my nerves. Jordan was right. This would knock me off for long if not kill me.
“Ready Jord,” I asked.
“Are you sure?”
“One shield coming up.”
I put both my hands on the surface of the pod and closed my eyes. A warm feeling spread all over my body and as I opened my eyes, I could see my self-generated force field like a second skin enveloping me and the pod alike. Well, they didn’t call me the Star Shield for nothing.
“You are on Jordan,” I cried feeling the strain already.
In the meantime, the Sormanians had doubled in number. They came all shapes and sizes.
“I had been thinking about their rapid growth rate,” I said.
Jordan blasted his gun to the full. A load of Sormanians crumbled to the ground.
“Don’t bother,” he said. The calm in his voice brought up a picture of sunset at the beach in my mind. “They are mutated. Like they have a …” another blast cut him off, “…different strain.”
“By the moon of Mozart! But where’s the mutagen?” I asked.
Wings and higher growth rate. How could a species go for such an experimental undertaking after being completely annihilated? Even if some survived, it’s impossible. Unless…
A shrill cry cut across my thoughts. I saw two Sormanians falling off with wings on fire.
“I am coming out,” he said.
I barely heard him. My ears were ringing again and hands shaking. Just a few more seconds, I told myself, just a few more.
Balls of fire crashed on the pod threatening to break through the shield. As I bit into my lips, I could feel the pressure on my mind. It was hard to focus.
The pod moved.
Jordan was trying to erect it. If he succeeded, he would have no more power than a normal human. I just hoped the loss on Sormanian side would give us enough time to escape while they regrouped.
“Steady Cody,” Jordan’s voice cut through my earpiece. “The shield is wavering.”
“Don’t... worry,” I pushed harder. “Get in when you are done and start the engines.”
I closed my eyes and put all my power into it. At least one of us should reach the mother ship, if not both.
I could feel my limbs going numb, my head bending low with heaviness. As I fought to keep up my conciseness, I could feel the tremble of the engine palpating through my hands.
He’d done it. I smiled and breathed out.
I released the shield and stepped back. The holler at the Sormanians nursery fainted in the background. My strength slipped off as the legs folded under me.
I startled to senses. The spec against the dark space was the mother ship. I turned to Jordan. Sporting a cut on his cheek he looked pretty pleased.
“I think I found the mutagen.” I said.
Jordan raised a brow.
“Remember the Dembogs?” I asked.
“Those humanoids with bat-like wings?”
“They are cross breeding. They were not very far apart on the family tree.”
“You are right. This will become a major threat against the council. The Sormanians won’t go down easily this time.”
I looked out the window as the sun rose on this side of the planet.
“Damn Jord. We are at the dawn of war.”