CHAPTER FOURTEEN – The Main Mission

I panicked, didn’t know what to do, where to go. I ran back. Back onto the seabed. The edge of the room was visible now that there wasn’t any water in the tank anymore. I backed up, fearful. Realising that the Stilla couldn’t see me considering they were searching the domes. They were opening doors and trying to find whatever or whoever. I stood there, terrified, knowing that I needed to do something, anything. I looked at the exit once again. The Stilla were coming through one at a time to search the area. I knew I just needed to run through, and perhaps the momentum of this powerful suit will be enough to get me through. I got ready to run like I was a runner on the start line. Then the invisible gun went off in my head. I ran. I saw that the entrance cleared, space was being made, I tried to run quicker. Just before the door, I tripped again over the same seaweed and went launching forwards.

By a miracle, I brought my other leg round and launch myself at the door. I looked up and they blocked it. Two Stilla were walking in one after the other. I put my fists forward and stumbled forward as I tried to thrust my legs down. It wasn’t long before I was at the door and the Stilla in the doorway flew outwards into the cylinder once again. I launched through like Superman and felt for a second invincible. But that is when it hit me. Both the ground and the realisation that I was heading towards it at an odd angle. For a moment I had forgotten about how the floor goes out at a 90-degree angle. I fell forwards and onto my chest. But I didn’t want to be there long. I twisted around and found that Stilla were gathering around me. Could they see me? I didn’t know. I just stumbled up from the ground and punched one in the face. Its mandibles snapped on my metallic fist and face exploded. The force in which I must have hit it must have been immense. 

Scared by this moment, I ran. Ran as fast as I could. Not knowing where Periclum had gone. I didn’t care. I kept running until I got tired and I stopped. Looking behind me, I found that nothing had followed me. I was in a darker part of the ship now. It looked like a lot of the technology had been stripped from this section. Looking around, I didn’t see a single Stilla, and so I sat. I looked down at the screen on my arm. It wasn’t a physical screen, however, my visor seemed to show a hologram hovering where my screen should be. On it, I could see that the cloak was still active.

When I saw that information, I laid down onto my back, then closed my eyes for a moment. I felt I should have been exhilarated at that moment. But I didn’t. I felt this increasing sense of anxiety. As if everything around me could kill me at any moment. I looked at the screen again to see if there was a way to hear what was happening on the outside of the suit. To detect others around me. I selected an option that brought up a holographic display that looked a little like a radar screen. I could see some yellow dots on the outer edges of the circle. It showed they were around fifty metres away, so I wasn’t so worried about them. However, there was a blue dot that headed towards me. It wasn’t moving like the others were. The others were almost moving in random directions. This dot was heading straight for me. 

Standing up quickly, I tried to look in the dot’s direction. I couldn’t see anything. It filled me with fear and I reached for my weapon. The weapon felt solid in my hand as I drew it from its holster. But then the weapon became visible, I could see it hovering in front of me. I could feel where my fingers were and I released the safety. I could see the blue dot getting closer. Then I heard a voice. “James, are you pointing your weapon towards me?” It was a confusing moment. It took me a moment to figure out whether that it was Periclum talking. “Periclum?” I asked, confused. “Yes James! Put your gun away!” I took my finger off of the trigger at that moment. Looking at the weapon, I moved my finger up and put on the safety. Still confused but following instructions from Periclum, I fumbled as I tried to put the gun back in its holster. I continued to see the blue dot getting closer. “There is this blue dot after me! I don’t know what to do!” 

“Wait, what? You have the scanner open? The blue dot is me, James! Don’t worry.”

“There are so many Stilla, so many things that can hurt me!”

“Oh no, James, I think you may be experiencing a random moment of anxiety from the Lenimen. Look, I am coming to you and we can talk. We need radio silence from now one!”

I agreed and waited for him to arrive. I recognised his outline as he began getting closer. There was this enormous thump sound. I felt myself being pushed back. I could see Periclum right in front of me and then his voice in my ear. “Right, now we can talk. Try not to point a weapon at me again!” 

“I’ll try not to!” I said talking to the air. 

Periclum did an amused gurgling sound before he started, “James, that was amazing back there. I have seen no one use the suit like you just did!”

That small comment made me feel a little better at that moment. I began laughing and it became hysterical. The stress of everything had got the better of me. I didn’t quite know how to contain myself. As I settled with my hysteria, I asked Periclum if we are okay?

“Sure James, we are okay! You, however, I think needs some rest. First though, I want to find the Penthouse suite you started this crazy journey in. Plus, we should charge our suits.”

I couldn’t quite believe it at that moment, that Periclum still wanted to continue with the original mission. To get me to realise that this place wasn’t so scary. Well, after facing the Stilla like we did and being able to kick their ass, I felt a lot less fearful of them. The suit made all the difference as it gave me a feeling of invincibility. The scanner was still up in my visor and I could see yellow dots were getting closer to our location. I did not understand why I didn’t notice it before that moment.

“Ehm, Periclum. The yellow dots are moving towards us!”

“Lets get moving!” Periclum replied. He continued on into the direction that appeared to have less of the yellow dots. He was sauntering and I could keep up this time.  Periclum appeared to slow down next to each of the door’s we were passing. I heard the sounds of him thinking. “Looks like we are going in the right direction.” I realised at that point that he was looking for the Penthouse.

“Periclum, it doesn’t matter so much about the Penthouse. Shouldn’t we concentrate on sending out a distress signal or perhaps getting out of here?”

“No, no. Life isn’t worth living it you can’t get through things that hold you back. Nothing will hold us back!” I was realising how determined Periclum can get. On the scanner I could see that the yellow dots were closing the gap in the circle that surrounded us. I gulped at the sight, worried about what will happen next.  “Ahh, this way James! It’s just a few doors this way!” Periclum told me, unaware of the situation.

“Periclum!”

“What is it?” Periclum replied.

“Look ahead!” There was more lighting ahead of us and we could see many Stilla walking in a line, spaced by two metres between each of them. I pulled out my weapon, realising there wasn’t many options to get through this situation. 

“James, put your weapon away! It doesn’t remain invisible out of its holster!” Periclum said in a strict tone. I put the gun back in my holster and then we continued walking, watching the group of Stilla approach us. Periclum seemed very calm, and we soon strolled between two Stilla. My heart was in my throat, my mouth was dry and I felt butterflies in my stomach. I did not know how to react as we walked between these gigantic ant creatures. 

It relieved me to find we got to the other side of them. Although still wary that they were very close to us and I could see many more ahead on the scanner screen. As we kept walking, we came across more Stilla doing their own thing. We came across a group of Stilla who kept going in and out of one room, pulling out strange technology. We went around at the top of the door. One of them looked in my direction. I froze long enough for the cable to get taught and snapped Periclum back. “James keep moving!” he said to me in a hushed tone. Periclum gave the cable a gentle tug and I continued to follow.

After weaving between several Stilla and around different doors, we seem to have come to a door that looked familiar. It was still wide open and it appeared the lights were still on inside. I stopped when I saw it. The cable once again snapping Periclum back. “James, we’re almost there!”

“I know!” I replied, thinking that there were the remains of one of those drone creatures within. It scared me to face it. It wasn’t so long ago when I laid right next to that door wondering what the hell was going on while I stared at the strange mechanical contraptions above. I looked up. It had changed. They had stripped the central bit that had all the mechanical wires and contraptions. There was nothing left. Just a metal pole. There was also not a single one of those drones with tentacles about. It felt different this time. I knew I had this suit, I knew I had some freedom. Although I was in danger, I knew that I wasn’t helpless. It gave me some solace knowing that.

Periclum waited for me while I fell deep into my mind. Perhaps he knew I was going through something. But I came out of it, and then I looked towards the outline where I knew Periclum was. “Let’s go in!” I continued. “You first!” I heard Periclum reply. I continued walking and went into the room. Trying to feel confident as I felt my body turn around the door base. My foot twisted around and placed itself on the floor in the Penthouse. Then I concentrated on getting my other foot in without tripping. I looked at the floor during this period but then looked up.

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