“We graduate, buy everything we need where as you blow all your money on drugs. Sorca what the hell were you thinking?” Ashens had elected himself leader of the squad and was less than impressed with his teams token Eban.
“I bought my flintlock and deathsuit, SLA game me a shiny new gun. I don’t need anything else, these drugs will make me invincible when the fighting starts or at least make me feel it.” Sorca knew Ashens came from money and would end up buying more equipment for the squad after their first successful BPN
“It’s an investigation mission you brain-dead… Never mind we don’t have time to waste.”
The young ebb only squad was named ‘The Flow’ Sorca thought it was as pretentious as the idiot that choose it but decided to let him be happy while he could still be generous.
Their very first BPN was to investigate a fold ship that had appeared near Mort’s atmosphere. Mandrake’s Lament was an exploration and survey ship that had disappeared 2 years ago, it was now floating near Mort’s orbit not responding to communications with no signs of life on board. The squad were to be the first to board tasked with searching for survivors and docking the ship for a full inspection.
Once aboard it was clear that the ship had power and air. Looking through it seemed as though the ship ran perfectly apart from the crew.
Maia the squad’s healer was the first to find a member of Mandrake Laments crew. She found bodies torn apart in one of the loading bays the squad were stunned at the brutality of the killings. Sorca however kept a cool head and began examining them. “They killed each other” he surmised.
Ashens quickly looked over the bodies himself he could clearly see the damage was done by an ebb user then he saw how Sorca had come to his conclusion. “This one is still partially transformed, he mauled the others. Then they burned him. There are only 5 bodies here the crew had a compliment of 200. I doubt this mad man killed them all. We need to secure the bridge first then find the medical bay if there are any survivors we’ll find them there.”
The bridge had more bodies. The captains body showed signs of being frozen while the pilot had a clip from a 603 emptied into the back of his skull. The rest of the bridge crew had been killed in a blast which had taken out most of the ships controls including communications.
Marr the squad’s tech specialist managed to get the internal sensors working. Other than the 4 squad members now in the bridge there was 1 life sign coming from the medical bay. Ashens turned to his squad “Marr you stay here and try and get the comms working, the rest of us are going to the med bay to help this survivor and find out what happened.” “We should be ready to blast them away” replied Sorca
Maia seemed shocked at the Ebans response “someone survived this slaughter we need to help him”
“This guy is probably as mad as the rest of the crew, they’ve all killed each other and there’s only one left. So they are either the luckiest survivor ever or a lunatic who ran out of people to kill.” Sorca couldn’t help but sound condescending as he spoke to the naïve Maia.
Ashens stared at Sorca “We go help the survivor, but we do it carefully”
All transport within the ship was destroyed with pathways and ladders between decks the only way to the med bay. As the 3 of them passed through the ship they kept finding more bodies each one brutally killed by another member of the crew. The mess hall had been the worst of it a blast had pierced the hull killing everyone within.
It was then that Maia had seen enough. Sorca belittled her for being sick on the job while Ashens tried to get her going again. While he consoled her she shot him in the stomach.
Sorca stood stunned, Maia was the pacifist she couldn’t bend ebb to hurt anyone only to heal or protect, the FEN 603 she shot Ashens with was standard issue given to all graduates she wore it purely as a symbol that she was now an operative of SLA Industries. Ashens didn’t even think she knew how to fire it.
Ashens swung his fist at Maia smashing her square in the jaw knocking her cold. He then tried to heal himself with his basic understanding of ebb healing.
Sorca was amazed and he had to admit to himself more than a little scared. If what he had just seen had happened at any other time it would have been the greatest day of his life. Self-righteous prick shot in the stomach and the coward knocked out cold by her hero. The cause of it though worried him. Especially because he felt as though someone was scratching the back of his mind. He could see the same thing was happening to Ashens.
Before either of them could react they heard Marr laughing on the comms as the lights went out.
“He’s cut off life support. The suicidal fucks cut off life support. Fuck the mission Ashens we need to get the hell out of here.”
“We finish the mission, we just have a shorter time frame. You go to the bridge and restore communications. Kill Marr if you have to. I’m going to get the survivor so they can tell the brass what heroes he are.”
Sorca for the first time listened to Ashens and headed back to the bridge. Mostly because he was convinced the survivor was going to kill Ashens.
Once he arrived at the bridge he was greeted by Marr wildly swinging a pipe at him. Marr was a great shot and his FEN was still strapped to his hip. Sorca dodged his clumsy swings and blasted his deluded squad mate. Then on the comms he could hear the sound of Ashens screaming. Sorca looked at Marr he was incapacitated but not dead, the control panel was all lit and ready to receive commands. “Fuck this. Fuck this squad. Fuck this mission”.
Sorca opened all of the doors across the ship and located the nearest escape pod. Once inside he blasted a hole in the hull and let the cold void of space kill whatever was left in the ship along with his squad.
Sorca was somewhat creative with the truth during his debrief saying that he was convinced the rest of his squad was dead and that if he had come face to face with the threat he would be also. He felt as though the best response would be to secure the safety of the ships records by removing anything living from within.
He sat in a debrief room for 12 hours before a Necanthrope entered. Sorca stayed seated trying not to look into her eyes. “Did you see the survivor of Mandrake’s Lament?” “No I only saw the dead” “Did you feel it?” Sorca froze for a second and tried to deny it. Then the truth escaped his lips. “I felt a sort of scratching on the back of my mind, it was getting stronger the longer I stayed on the ship. It scared the hell out of me it’s the main reason I ran” “Very well. Congratulations on completing your first Black BPN. My sympathies for the loss of your squad” In front of Sorca was the BPN that Ashens has accepted for them but with one big change the BPN had been changed from a Jade to a Black. Sorca knew enough to keep his mouth shut and watched the Necanthrope leave.