[22] Kovux Entry #403 - Strange Bedfellows

Story by Arctacia on SoFurry

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#22 of Arctacia Mythos

Personal log recorded by Kovux.

[Starting Kovux personal log...]

It was looking grim. The surviving humans had us pinned with their guns aimed at us, ready to fire at any moment. Klov suddenly stepped forward in front of us, holding up a hand as he called out to them. "Wait...please don't do this."

As expected, the leader cried out to the others, "Drop them!". Soon, the entire opposite side of the room flooded with muzzle flashes from all the guns being fired towards us. AC, Emily, and myself all quickly dodged off to the sides behind miscellaneous equipment and storage that was strewn about. I peered up from cover and saw Klov just stand there as the rain of bullets hit him from all angles. Despite this, he reacted very little to the barrage. Realizing this, the leader stopped firing and the others soon followed suit with looks of shock on their faces. Klov remained unfazed as he looked on.

"What the fuck are you?!" the leader cried out, clearly confused by Klov's endurance.

Klov then rushed forward and quickly picked up the leader by his neck and dangled him from up high. Sounds of choking and struggle came from the human as he squirmed about violently. The other humans raised their weapons once more but hesitated to fire as they realized they would likely sooner bring harm to their own before even doing anything to Klov in the least. In a mere second Klov soon clamped down on the leader's neck and completely broke it with a brisk snap, his body went completely limp. Klov then released the now dead human as he collapsed into a lifeless heap on the ground. The panther then lowered his paw, as he continued to look on at the other humans. There was no emotion on his face for his accomplishment, he was only doing what he was designed to do: protect AC.

The other humans looked on with shock and horror, their morale was clearly compromised as some began to step back, not breaking sight of Klov. "Oh shit...", said one of the humans. "He just fucking killed him!"

Another one of the humans holstered their weapon with a look of panic as they raised their hands near either side of their head. "Okay... look... we obviously got off on the wrong foot here. We don't want any trouble, all right? Please... we're just trying to live our lives down here with the shit we've been through."

Klov looked on at the others as they spoke, still appearing calm and receptive. He finally glanced back at the others for confirmation on what to do next.

AC and I peered over at each other, not being far apart from a similar cover point. We then both looked on at Klov. AC proceeded to speak out to the others, "We're just trying to see what was left... of Earth."

The human that last spoke smiled nervously and chuckled a little, shaking his head. "There's not a whole lot left if you couldn't tell. What the hell were you hoping to find?"

Before AC could think of a response, we were both alarmed by the sound of Emily crying out in a struggle. I looked over and saw her being held fast from one of the humans that managed to sneak over to her position on the opposite side of the room. This was my cue now; my eyes widened and turned completely black. At this point from others' perspectives, it would have been as if I vanished into nothingness. To myself, I was in a whole other plane of existence.

We've seen this done before, though it hasn't been since I first met AC, when I had to hide both him and myself from another crossing our path. It was a strange ability that I never really talked about much as I wasn't sure what to fully make of it myself. I just know that when I wish to, I can cross over to a plane of existence where time and physical existence have a much looser meaning and concept. While here, my surroundings seem to be in shadow or darker than normal, but a lot of it felt the same. Sometimes places seem more fragmented or detached from one another, like subtle points of light in an otherwise dark void. Most importantly, time goes at just about any rate I want it to, though it always starts off at a complete stand still, as if it were completely stopped. It gave me time to think and look at my situation so that I could act upon it at the rate of my choosing. I could never reverse time, though. It always had to stop or go forward.

Now that time was on my side, I slowly made my way over to where Emily and her assailant were. As I approached, the two were completely still, putting on a mimicking display of an eternal struggle. It very well could have if I allowed it. It didn't matter here. I could stop and study everything for a time and do all I wanted to ensure that every person in this room hit the room by my hand alone and they'd never know it. But, there was one thing of note, the more time I spent on this plane and the more I did within it, the more taxing it became. It was like holding your breath, really. So as result, I could only do it so long. I was pretty good at it though, having been used to this crossing of planes. I allowed time now to start to move forward, but only slowly. It was enough so that I could get behind the human, remove his knife from his hand as well as Emily from his grasp, then grab at him from behind and get him into a head lock. I now had the human's own knife close to his neck as I let myself snap back into former reality.

Emily flailed back suddenly and fell to the floor, not expecting her attacker to suddenly be incapacitated and his life now threatened. The human gasped out suddenly, his heart was racing and his breathing fast and shallow. "Wha--WHAT THE FUCK!? HOW?! Oh god, please don't kill me!!", he cried out as I held onto him firm, keeping the blade close. He was pathetic and I saw no reason for him to live. I immediately slit his throat with the knife, the human gurgling as blood filled his esophagus. He then fell to the floor dead as I let up my grasp on him. The knife clanged to the floor as I tossed it down nearby, my job complete. I smirked a bit as I slowly turned to the remaining humans. "So... anyone else want to fuck with us, or can we finally talk and be sensible?"

The other humans looked at each other with defeat and helplessness. The one who spoke before looked on at us and gave a deep sigh as he tossed his weapon on the ground, causing a loud clank. It seemed to signal the others as they too followed suit, wishing to show a sign of peace. The lot of them then stood idly with a look on their faces as if awaiting an uncertain demise.

"Let us talk then.", the one human finally replied. "You're... clearly beyond anything I've ever seen before." He lowered his head gently. "We are at your mercy..."

AC slowly stood up then made his way calmly over to the human, stopping just a couple feet away from him. "What is your name?"

The human slowly raised his head and looked on at AC for a moment before replying. "Jonathan... My name is Jonathan."

AC pursed his lips together in a bit of a smile. "You can call me AC." He sighed out as he looked around at the bit of disaster that took place before looking back. "I'm... sorry. We didn't want any blood shed or to cause problems for you."

Jonathan shook his head a little, seeming to search his mind for words. "It's... heh... sort of fine, actually."

AC looked on confused and a bit curiously at Jonathan's reply. He noticed AC's expression then quickly proceeded to explain. "Oh... it's just that our leader and the other guy... they were a bit extreme when it came to how they ran and did things. We rallied behind them because there was little other choice. We've been through a lot. We've been told stories of the great war that happened over a century ago and how only a small fraction of humanity managed to survive. It's forced us to live underground as the surface hasn't been habitable like it used to be."

"Is there perhaps a place we can go to sit and talk?", AC asked.

Jonathan looked back at the others for a moment. "I... yes, actually. A more comfortable situation would be better." He looked to some of the others and directed a few to some duties to help with the clean up of the area. The rest of the humans slowly cleared out and left just the group of us still.

AC peered over as he noticed Emily and Klov come up beside him. "Emily... Klov... are you both okay?"

Klov gently nodded, "A few dents it would seem, but nothing of compromise."

Emily smiled a little as she adjusted her suit a bit, giving out a sudden sigh, "And I am fine as well. I was about to show the guy some self defense I haven't had to use in awhile. But, the next thing I know, Kovux is suddenly there taking the guy down. Which, in hindsight I'm glad happened. It certainly put on a show for the other humans to notice and stop their aggressive stance." She peered over at me in question. "How did you manage that, anyway?"

I smiled a bit and brushed my hand through my hair, "It's... something I'll have to get into later."

Jonathan approached us with a soft smile, "Well, if you guys are all set and willing, I have a place I can take us to."

AC smiled in kind and nodded, "Of course. Lead the way."

Jonathan nodded as well, then turned as he led us to a modest sized room that had a large desk near the back. Scattered around were some metal chairs as well. Much of the underground bunker was kept relatively clean, though there were signs of wear and tear to suggest it had certainly been lived in for some time. It was also pretty minimalistic, only having mostly essentials. Jonathan approached the desk then turned his back towards it to lean on. He gestured at the chairs nearby, "Please, feel free to sit wherever you wish."

We all found a chair to sit into then looked on at Jonathan. AC began the dialog by leaning forward a bit. "It seems the others respect you a bit despite not being a leader yourself."

"It's true." Jonathan went on to state. "Mainly because while Seager, who is our... well, -was- our leader at this point. Anyway, a lot of us didn't like him. There were times I did what I could to be there for others and to try to help out where Seager simply did not. So, because of that, I earned some respect."

"So, it sounds like we sort of... helped with that, oddly enough."

Jonathan smiled and chuckled a bit, "Yes, so you have. Now that Seager and his lackey have been removed, things will probably be a little more peaceful around here." He then took a moment to look over at our small group of four. "So... it would seem that the two of you are human as well. Though, the other two... definitely more animal in nature. I'm guessing there is some sort of story to all of this?"

AC sighed with a smile. "Indeed there is. This will not have been the first time I've told the details on this today, interestingly enough."

And so we began to tell the tale once more of how we came to be here. AC went over more background with his experiences here on Earth before fleeing to their new home. Jonathan seemed intrigued by all this.

"Well... now I know." Jonathan stated. "I can't believe that there were those who managed to escape the war before it happened. Your situation especially sounds like something from a sci-fi film. Man, it would be great to get off this dead rock. I mean... considering you'll have us. I know we're probably more of a rugged bunch, but that's more from the crap we've had to deal with than anything. That and you pretty much gutted out the worst of our group today. There's actually hope for us now and it sounds like you could use all the help you can get."

You are correct." AC replied. "The Ralkai threat is a serious thing, but probably nothing we'll face in our life time. It's a bit of a discomforting thing to realize that our efforts for the future will be uncertain to ourselves. We just have to hope that what we're doing to prepare will pave an ideal road for future generations to grow on. I think part of what caused our species' downfall is that we tended to be too short-sighted. We never consider the long term of things because it's just easier to focus more on the now and very seldom anything beyond our own life time. Too many old ideas and concepts that we clung to. But I guess that's understandable. We scare too easily, don't we?"

We all sat in silence for a moment after that last sentence; it made sense. Even though I'm not human nor had the experiences these poor guys had, I could still relate. I think that primal and natural fear of the unknown or uncertain stretches across life in general and why so many species have a hard time becoming advanced enough to overcome their primitive nature to evolve into something truly great. It made me realize that my people were also founded by that same fear. All those years ago, the Ralkai were trying to fight off their imperfections and even death itself because they feared it. They couldn't accept or take the time to understand themselves so that they could take a slower path and carefully plan their future. Instead they rushed into using cybernetics and other artificial advancements without realizing the long-term harm it could cause. Over time, they lost themselves and gave into the technology so much that they were no longer the people from before. They grew desperate and their fear only escalated when they panicked and realized they needed more resources, more ground to cover, more planets to explore. The Ralkai were already nomadic to begin with, so they kept right on moving, wanting more. Eventually, they couldn't stop, and soon their hunger for resources and fear to keep advancing to a sense of perfection and sustained life became entirely who they were. They were monsters of their own doing.

I found myself looking among the humans now. I couldn't let their species die out. I don't know why I even cared so much. Most of it was centered around AC, of course. But after the war that sprung from the fear these humans faced, the fact that some of them survived made me think they needed a second chance. Just like they gave me a second chance... A chance to show that I was not like the Ralkai and that together, we could achieve much and ensure not only their longevity, but those of other races.

It couldn't have been more than a few seconds or so, but I managed to break the silence. "Most life can scare easily. But I'm going to make sure you won't have to anymore. You all will, in fact. You guys are living proof that there is still a chance for your species. I don't know why, but something in my being is telling me there are great things to come if we play our cards right."

Jonathan smiled softly. "Thanks, Kovux. I'm glad you guys found us and decided to allow us the possibility of joining you. I don't want to hold you guys up any more, though. It sounds like you have a bit of a road ahead. So, you said the other humans would get in touch with us soon?"

"Yes." I replied. "We'll be in contact with Jeff Edmund who leads the New Earth colony to let them know you guys are here. They're in the works of putting together a larger ship for the purposes of transporting any survivors from here to their planet. It will also be useful for when I migrate all of you to a newer home later on. I haven't gone into that too much, but it'll help some of you learn some interesting abilities we'll just say."

Jonathan raised an eyebrow. "You have me curious, though I suppose that will become more apparent as time goes on. Anyway, thank you so much for... just all of this. Really, I can't believe someone has found us."

AC slowly stood up and smiled. "We're glad to have found you as well. It may take a little while to complete the ship. Kovux, do you know how long it might have been?"

I slowly stood up myself, glancing up in thought for a moment, "I believe based on some estimates I ran through, it'll probably be a couple weeks."

"That's not too bad, then." Jonathan remarked. "Well, hopefully we will hear from you in that time. A couple weeks or so is nothing compared to how long we've been trying to survive out here."

Emily stood up and smiled. "It has been a pleasure speaking with you, Jonathan. I hope our people can work together to try to move the human race to better times."

Jonathan nodded softly and smiled. "Thank you, it's been wonderful meeting you all as well. This is definitely an opportunity I didn't think would ever happen. Other than that, I'll help see you out and wish you the best of luck on this... rather interesting journey you seem to be on." He stood up and began to exit the room. "Right this way."

We all followed out and said our final goodbyes before leaving through the interlock hatches and putting our helmets on. The outer one closed behind us as we made our way to the surface. We all took a moment to look around once more at the dead planet. AC and Emily couldn't believe what had become of their home. Though, it seemed like a situation where they sort of expected it, but never to this level. The visual evidence of the war was real when seeing it first-hand. After a moment we finally started to walk back to the ship. I overheard Klov and AC begin to talk.

"Did I do the right thing?" Klov gently asked AC.

AC looked back a bit confused at first. "Hmm? Oh! You mean, with killing their leader?"

Klov nodded. "Yes. I was told that killing another is not something you do casually. Based on what I know, I felt the situation required such an action. I just wanted to be sure I was correct in my assessment. The last thing I want to do is create an error in my judgment. Even though I have been programmed to know much, I am still adapting and learning in some areas."

"I understand, Klov. Don't worry, I think you did well. I doubt the guy was going to be willing to talk at all. Plus, the others seemed glad we got rid of him. But, you're right. One has to be careful with such actions."

Klov looked ahead for a moment quietly, his head and eyes twitched about a little as it seemed obvious he was thinking about the conversation. "Thank you, AC. I shall be sure to do so in the future. I am just glad I was able to protect and assist you as I've been designed for."

AC glanced over at Klov with a gentle smile then looked ahead as the ship drew close. "Well, time to be on our way. You guys ready to leave?"

Emily stopped and looked behind her for a moment quietly. AC noticed this and slowly walked over to her and stopped just beside her, sharing in the moment of looking out once more at the grim landscape.

"I know it's hard." AC said softly to Emily. He scanned the ruins and took in the moment himself, then glanced down at the ashy floor. "We're going to do our best to make sure nothing like this ever happens again. We can't bring them all back, but we can at least keep going and make something of our species' future. They don't have that opportunity anymore, sadly. But, we certainly do."

Emily lowered her gaze as well for a moment, letting out a soft sigh as she slowly nodded, some tears had formed on her face. She then turned to look at AC and managed to muster a smile past her sorrowed expression. "Thank you, AC. We won't fail them, I'm sure of it." Emily looked over at the ship, then slowly began to walk towards it.

Klov and I started to follow along, but AC lingered a moment as he glanced back at the landscape once more before softly saying, "We can't fail..." He slowly followed behind us as we all went aboard.

Moments later, we settled in and took off our helmets. I went over to the cockpit, AC followed close behind. "So, finally on course I would imagine?" AC asked as I set in the coordinates for our target destination.

I nodded and smiled a little. "Unless you had any other exciting pit stops you wanted to make along the way. You know, like the ones we had to deal with already?"

AC chuckled gently. "No, I think we're good. Any idea how long it will take to get there?"

I glanced over at the console and brought up the ETA information. "Looks like about a six days."

"Oh... must be on the other side of the galaxy then, huh?"

I shook my head and smirked a little, continuing to set things up. "Ah... heh... no. More like another galaxy entirely from the looks of it."

AC paused a moment. Even though I wasn't looking right at him, I could tell there was some confusion settling in. This was confirmed by the puzzled tone in his voice. "Wait... another galaxy? How far away is this place, exactly?"

I looked at my console for the details. "Well, it's over two gigaparcecs away. My ship can travel about four hundred megaparcecs in a twenty-four hour period. So... yeah, we'll actually be going to a whole other galaxy." I then turned around and looked over at AC curiously. "Everything okay? You seem a bit confused or something."

AC glanced down in thought for a moment, then lifted his gaze as he moved over close to me and peered out the cockpit window. "Can you get us back into space? I need to confirm something."

I nodded softly with a slight quirk of my brow, spinning back around to face the console. I then pushed at a few buttons and moved up a couple sliders. "Uhh... yeah, sure thing."

The ship slowly began to take to the air then quickly darted out into space. A moment later, the darkness of space greeted us once more. I then picked a spot to stop and looked over at AC once more. "Well, here we are. So, what's up?"

AC peered out the cockpit window once more. "Can you face us towards our destination? Also, if you could mark it somehow, that would make this a bit easier to verify."

I nodded once more, looking back out the window. I took the flight stick in hand to pivot us facing the direction he asked, then put a reticle HUD around our target. "That's our goal. So... what's this all about, already?"

AC crossed his arms as he took a moment to look, then gazed down at me. "Tell me, do you see anything at all within that mark you put?"

I tilted my head, gazing within the reticle and seeing nothing but dead space. I slowly shook my head. "No... not a thing." I then glanced over at AC, rather puzzled. "Do you?"

AC lowered his arms as he rested his hands on his hips. "Yeah, I mean... it looks like a star to me from here." He then gazed down at me. "So... you actually don't see that at all?"

"No, there's nothing there to me." Just for the hell of it, I glanced back at the spot once more. Still nothing. Completely void of any light or anything that isn't pitch black. Yeah, I see nothing there. So... I guess somehow you're seeing something that the rest of us likely aren't. That's... kind of fucked up. But, I guess that's why we're on this crazy adventure to begin with. Right?"

AC smiled and chuckled a bit. "Yeah... would seem that way. I guess this makes me feel a bit better. Like there's an actual purpose to this and not just because I'm going out of my mind. Well... that last part is probably true, anyway."

I smiled a bit and shook my head. "Well, for someone who is losing it, you've certainly been holding it together pretty good lately. I'm surprised you didn't go all bat shit crazy and kill all those humans earlier when they had us pinned."

"Yeah... I did keep my cool there, didn't I? I must be starting to get a better hold of my... weird ways. Though, I still haven't figured out what it all means, other than part of it seeming to be getting the hang of this... magic thing."

I slid up a few sliders and pushed a few more buttons as I engaged the hyper drive, setting us at full speed to our destination. Stars began to streak past our view in rapid succession. "Hmm... you seem to be right on that. Kind of scary, though. I mean, you've pulled off some stuff that someone new to tapping those energies wouldn't normally. That and the fact you've been doing that within the Alpha dimension is... insane." I smiled a bit. "I just hope when all is said and done that you're on our side."

AC chuckled a bit. "Yeah... I hope so, too. I'm scared, really. Well--part of me is. The other part is a bit excited and curious to see what will come of this."

"We all are, really. That's why we're doing this. There's been something about you I can't quite figure out. But each day, it seems to become stronger little by little. Whatever it is, it can't be worse than the Ralkai, even if things did go bad. But, I just don't see that happening."

Emily suddenly came in. "Hey guys. Just wanted to let you know I managed to get a hold of Jeff to tell him about the other humans."

AC looked back at Emily and smiled. "Good. Thank you."

"Also, he did confirm they are still on target for the two week completion, so sounds like things are going well there, too. Anyway, I'm going to go relax for a bit."

"All right, Emily. Appreciate the update."

Emily smiled before slipping off. We both stared out to the stars flying past for a bit. Our minds both drifting on to think about the possible things to come.

Well, shit, no cliffhanger this time... Oh well. That's enough of this log for tonight.

[End Kovux personal log...]

[23] Kovux Entry #404 - A Moment of Doubt

[Starting Kovux personal log...] It had been nearly 40 hours now that we've been flying out to our destination. I was in the cockpit idly resting while AC and Emily were in the back sleeping. Though, Klov was also here keeping me company. This idle...

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[21] Kovux Entry #402 - Remnants

[Starting Kovux personal log...] So, there we were, gazing upon what remained of the human home world they called Earth. The surface was mostly black with occasional streaks and blotches of what appeared to be fire and smoke, the only remnants left...

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[20] Kovux Entry #401 - By Way of the Stars

[Starting Kovux personal log...] So... it was the next day after AC's strange incident. It was getting to a point where I had to start giving such events names or details over the fact they were happening more often now. I knew I had to continue...

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