Abominations corralled a small group of people against a wall, trapping them. A group of mono-eyed constructs drifted towards them, resembling unearthly cepholopods from a distance. Picking a victim each, a beam radiates from their eyes and bathes the chosen person’s face in their gaze. Enthralled and utterly incapable of resisting, three tentacles from the one-eyed constructs pierced their temples, seemingly draining something from their host, spreading infernal-orange cracks across skin wherever they touched. Their victims’ jaws then went slack, and faster than the eye can see, they forced their way into their mouths, their victims’ throats and chest bulging from the foreign body within. A second of spasms ensued, during which the chest of the host glows yellow, with crystalline spikes developing randomly on the host, squirting blood everywhere as flesh is re-purposed into new form. One host body, however, seemed incapable of supporting such changes, evidenced by it collapsing to the floor, a bloody mess of crystal spikes and mutilated internal organs. Those were the lucky ones.
A man gets up and lunges at one of the abominations, landing a solid blow across the remnants of a face. Unfazed, the abomination retaliates with a spike in the man’s throat, then signals for one of its one-eyed brethren to join it. Removing its arm from the throat, the man collapses to the ground, only to be set upon by the one-eyed construct. Beaming in the man’s face, it only takes a second’s moment of hypnotism for the creature to force its way into its new host through the wound in the man’s throat. Another host completes the same transition, the eyes now orange, and screeching in an incoherent language, the newly born abomination joins the ranks of its brethren, its new form moving with unearthly fluidity, albeit its head barely hanging on. The whole transformation process takes lesser than three seconds, and the rest of the ship crew seem fated to join them, except that there were more people than constructs. Even so, the processing was methodical but bloody, like a slaughterhouse. Some one-eyed constructs just attacked their hosts, not bothering with a beam and just forcing their way into their hosts’ bodies. Many of the others were beamed up for a precious few seconds, but their end was all the same. Muffled screams were the end of the process as the abomination forces ran out of constructs to impregnate their victims with, and the remaining humans were led away to an unknown fate.
The ship’s tilting had stopped, but it was from behind the minibar that Heimler witnesses the entire scene. They had slid a short distance before falling straight into the minibar, where they managed to hang on and hide. Using her legs to wedge herself between the counter and the wine racks above her father, Ana sifts through the pouches on her waist, looking for something.
There’s about 16, I don’t think you can take them-
Shut it, deadbeat. I’m trying to get us out.
Ana fishes out a couple of pills, which she gulps down with the help of some Lantharian gin. The cut on her cheek was bleeding, the wound refusing to close, and for second it glows a searing orange. Gritting her teeth, Ana endures the fleeting sensation as her father keeps a lookout.
Do we just run for the lifeboat?
Ana claps her hands together, then whispers-
Ana lifts her left hand up, and her figure blurs for a second. A slightly translucent image of her appears and lifts off her form, which then grabs her dagger from the right scabbard. A glow then envelops the dagger edges, forming Ana’s kama as the mana blade reforms. Identical in every aspect, the clone Ana then dashes out from behind the minibar and runs upwards towards the wreckage of their room, kama in hand.
Now we go.
Looking at the reflection of the deck to make sure that the abominations had their attention captured, father and daughter crawl out of their hiding spot, making their way down towards the nearest lifeboat. A crash from behind, and the abomination that Ana ‘defeated’ earlier bursts out of the wreckage of the room, lashing out at the clone. Nimble as she was, the doppelganger dodges and leaps higher. Ana looks back and sees the sixteen to one ratio, casts a spell.
As Ana completes her incantation, a storm of fiery arcane missiles projects from her clone’s left hand, striking its pursuers. A combination of acrobatics and nimbleness keeps the clone from harm, as the fiery missiles track their targets and explode in their faces. Crouching on a railing, the doppelganger waits, and barely dodges an arm missile as the smoke clears. Clearly, these foes were far more stubborn.
Taking advantage of the distraction, Heimler arrives at the lifeboat first and starts working on controls to activate the lowering mechanism. Ana stays 5 yards above him and the lifeboat, casting spells by proxy as she mentally directs her doppelganger’s actions. A soft clink from the main ship, and the lifeboat is lowered slowly into the water.
You like it?
Ana flashes a cheeky grin, but then the cut on her cheek glows again. A split second is a short time to react, and just as Ana turns to jump into the boat, a spiked arm buries itself wrist-deep in her left scapula. Her scream pierces the night air.
Caught off guard, another projectile grazes Ana’s neck before she hastily throws up her mana shield to deflect further projectiles. Out in thin air, she falls a few meters, only for the fall to be broken by her own father, who leans over the stern of the life boat, grabbing her right hand. Searing pain rips through her form as she pushes her mana shield further from herself, shielding Heimler from projectiles from above. The father quickly pulls the daughter into the life boat. Laying her on her right side, Heimler leans over to grab at Ana’s left side as the abomination hand squirms inside her back. Pulling the foreign limb out of her back, she lets out a cry as Heimler throws the limb into the ocean, coughing out blood and mucus. It wasn’t good. The projectile had penetrated her leather armor and pierced her ribcage, perforating her left lung, narrowly missing her heart by half an inch. Sweat drenched and coughing up more blood, Ana’s complexion was pale, blood and tears all over the right side of her face, a dark red contrasting the thin line of runic tattoos across her left cheek, which were still glowing. The cut from just now was glowing orange, blood seeping from it. And the abomination horde was descending on their position, all thoughts of the doppelganger forgotten.
Which is then that the doppelganger dances past its foes, a trail of carnage blossoming in its wake as the magic kama severs limbs from abominations. Taking up a defensive stance in front of where the lifeboat was, doppelganger Ana lets out a warcry as the monsters charge her position. A crescent kick at the nearest foe sends it flying behind her, and before her foe recovers, doppelganger Ana drives a push kick into its solar plexus, sending it flying off the back of the ship. Taking a large stride back with the momentum of her kick, a one-armed , headless abomination lunges forward, but a quick roll of the shoulders traps the arm, and doppelganger Ana buries the kama in her foe’s chest. The aqua glow of the magic blade intensifies as it drinks the mana from its foe, only to be removed to slash at another nearby foe. A kick dispatches that enemy over the open sea, as the doppelganger uses the trapped abomination body as a meat-shield for eye-beam fire.
Throwing the mutilated abomination at its comrades, doppelganger Ana leaps forward and buries the kama in another foe, the blade glowing in delight as it drained its next victim. Ripping the kama in an arc as it performed another crescent kick, the doppelganger sunders its foe’s torso and left arm, catching the latter mid-air using it as a bat. The sundered core glows from within the abomination, a trail of leaking mana arcing the path of the kama as doppelganger Ana throws it at another foe in the back. The damaged core shrinks into a concentrated ball of pure energy, and pulls the remnants of its crystal endo-skeleton towards it, warping organic matter into energy as three appendages formed around the crystal bits orbiting it. The one-eyed construct squirms out of the mutilated host body, having no more use for it and targets the doppelganger. Beaming at the doppelganger, it’s gaze lands momentarily, only for the kama to fly back like a boomerang strike it, sending it flying away uncontrollably. That momentary immobilizing effect was more than enough, as an arm-blade pierces the doppelganger’s torso, followed by three more as the clone is swarmed by abominations. A scream rapidly dwindles down to a whisper as the image of Ana flickers and disperses into a thousand aqua wisps that fade away. The kama, seemingly with a mind of its own, falls from the doppelganger’s hand and flies back to it’s mistress in the boat below.
Seeing the battle go unfavorably, Heimler pulls Ana’s short sword from her left scabbard. It felt just right, albeit with a little more heft than an axe, a hammer, or a test tube. Wasting no time, he starts hacking away at the ropes connecting the life boat to the main ship. A low rumble, followed by a hum echoes from below as a giant crystal drill the size of a building bursts from the belly of the ship, rearranging itself into a massive construct with crystal appendages. In its crystal components, Heimler sees humans trapped inside like insects in amber, their features distorted with orange cracks across their bodies. The snapping of a rope sends the life boat falling down the final meter and float in the ocean prow-first. The driller construct hums deeply, and the abominations start jumping onto the lifeboat.
A second rumble cuts across the night as Heimler catches Ana’s kama on its way back to its mistress. All of a sudden, Ana coughs up more blood and her consciousness fades, all the sensations experienced by her clone suddenly returning to her as it fully de-materialises. The overwhelming sensory input puts her out, and the glow of her runic tattoos fade away.
The mana blade in Heimler’s instantly vanishes, leaving Heimler with a dagger instead of a kama in his right hand and a short sword in his left. A series of impacts on the boat, and the abomination horde face Heimler.
COME AT ME!!!
The abominations waste no time charging at Heimler. They didn’t use their eye-beams on him, but it didn’t matter, he was going to take every single advantage he had. Bellowing a warcry, he takes a step forward and bisects the first abomination with a swing of the sword, his recently augmented arm-strength from self-experimentation paying off already. Heimler was on his next foe before both halves from the first creature hit the floor, slashing randomly like a berserker, sending gore and crystal shards flying everywhere. They massacred a ship of three hundred humans in less than half an hour.
THEY HURT HIS DAUGHTER. THEY WERE GOING TO PAY.
FASTER AND FASTER HE SLASHES, IGNORING THE CUTS AND STABS THE ABOMINATIONS DEALT TO HIM. HE FEELS NO PAIN. ONLY ANGER.
A third rumble echoes through the night as the waters around the boat churn, and the warmth from the crystal sample in his chest pocket intensifies, but Heimler doesn’t notice it all.
HE MUST KILL THEM ALL. HIS BODY MOVES MORE FLUIDLY THAN IT EVER HAS, EACH STROKE OF HIS BLADE SEVERING ABOMINATION.
An arm missile pierces his right shoulder, but Heimler’s body forces it out, repairing the tissue damage instantaneously. The waves rocking the boat grow stronger, throwing everything on it off balance. He doesn’t notice the pain or the choppy waters, HE MUST KILL THEM ALL. A sharp pain in his chest catches his attention, and Heimler turns around, only to see a crippled abomination impale his chest. He should be feeling pain. He should be dead. He doesn’t feel anything.
LAUGHING MANIACALLY, HE RIPS THE ARM OUT AND BISECTS THE CREATURE. REGAINING HIS BALANCE, MORE OF THEM RUSH HIM, BUT HE DOESN’T CARE. THEY’LL ALL DIE!! EVERY LAST ONE OF THEM!! IT DOESN’T MATTER IF THEY REGENERATE, THEY DIE!! DIE!! DIE!! DIE ALREADY!!DIE-
HE CAN’T MOVE.
Behind Heimler, a mono-eye construct beams him up. Immobilized and unable to retaliate, he is slowly being turned around to face the construct. He knows that once the construct looks into his eyes, he is as good as dead. He wills for more power from the crystal sample, but berserker strength didn’t matter at this point. His limbs were dead weights, his balance goes away as he crumples to his knees before collapsing sideways on the floor, at the mercy of the waves. His consciousness begins to waver as an intense fatigue like never before overwhelms him, leaving him prone on the floor, rocking with the choppy waters outside. The only thing keeping him conscious was all the pain that he was starting to feel from his wounds, and the sight of Ana lying on the stern of the life boat, bloody and unconscious. A large orange eyeball comes into his view as a gentle sensation touches his temples. Rocking like a baby in a crib, his life flashes past him, a memory of Dina and Ana cuddling by the fireplace, and his vision fades to black…
…as a fourth rumble came from beneath the waves, followed by an earsplitting roar.