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Template:PostIn CatH Post 14, the team led by Captain Londris encounters the plantworm, one of the biggest and most deadly creatures created by Green who seeks to kill them all. The plantworm leaves Turbo in critical condition before the team are able to drive it off with their flamers. Toolkit has to stabilise him while Londris leads the others into the Command Centre of The Hopeful where they hope to gain a modicum of control over the ship. Unfortunately Toolkit arrives early - with a gun to his head. The two prisoners of Deonal Strang, who escaped in CatH Post 13, intend to take the ship for themselves. The human, to gain control of the situation, shoots Clear in the stomach.

Post

Plantworm

Clear pokes the wound on her waist idly as she stalks after the guys with flamers. She had to pull her goggles onto her forehead as the bright flames were blinding her. Their progress is slow as they're determined to burn every single weed before them. Judging by the gait of the two men up front, Clear is sure Sindra is the non-human she had seen aboard the shuttle when leaving Ledus. He moves with an unusually deliberate precision with each minor action. As though he is thinking about each twitch before it happens. Both Sindra and Turbo had removed their cloaks, she notes. Probably don't want to run the risk of setting them on fire. Or just wanted to make room for the bulky flamer packs strapped to their backs. Toolkit had returned to the group and had come bearing bandages for Clear. The wrapping around her waist were no inconvenience but he also wrapped one around her head, like a scarf that covers her hair. It is uncomfortable and she feels weird with material wrapped about her skull.

Clear checks in with Note every few metres of progress, mostly hoping for information on Green but Note never has anything to update. He told that he'd relayed messages to her, but she never replied. Clear wonders if there's something wrong with her plants that she cannot use them to communicate.

Londris: "I think I see a fork ahead. Which way."

Clear: "If we're going to the engineering section, we should go left. We could pass through the Command Centre on the way. We might gain more control of the sh-- whoa!!"

Clear feels a shove of inertia as something suddenly bursts from the metal floor behind her. One of the stormtroopers had been bringing up the rear and now he is gone. The plant-creature burst up and shoved him up into the ceiling, mangling both him and that ceiling. The plant-worm moves with great speed, up past them and the stormtroopers fire their laser carbines at the thick cylinder of foliage. It takes a long time for the beast to pass and Clear couldn't even begin to fathom how long it must be. Why a plant-worm-monster would ever occur to Green's mind is quite beyond Clear's ken. She feels sorry for the stormtrooper and wonders if Green feels guilty for the two men she's killed so far. How could Green ever be absolved after all this?

Londris: "Where the Hell did it go!?"

The stormtroopers fall into silence, trying to listen for the creature moving through the ceiling. The two flamers stop and Clear has to put her goggles back on. She can hear her own heart thumping. Pounding.

Suddenly it crashes down from above, breaking a new hole as easily as tearing through paper. It slams into the floor and crawls hurriedly towards them on tiny twig-legs. Its face is eyeless, just one huge mouth that looks shockingly human with perfect white teeth in rows. The worm appears unaffected by the laser fire as it rushes at them. Clear and Londris are knocked to the side as the worm barges by them. Then the flamers open up on the face the creature and there's a haunting scream. It crashes into Turbo, knocking him into the wall which crumples with the force of the worm's charge. The worm then dives into the solid metal of the floor. Clear and Toolkit hurry to check on Turbo.

Toolkit: "He's alive. Unconscious. I need time to do a scan and check for injuries."

Londris: "He'll have to wait. I don't want anyone else taken out by this thing. The fire works. Toolkit, get Turbo's flamer and get ready to burninate. The thing doesn't seem very smart. It'll attack from the same direction it left in so keep flames pointed that way. Salmitton, drag Turbo out of the way."

Clear does as ordered, despite not being one of Londris' soldiers. She isn't about to challenge the woman in charge at a time like this. She pulls Turbo's legs, hoping she isn't causing the man more damage than he's already had inflicted. As she's pulling him, the worm suddenly erupts from the floor again. It seems to leap up, crashes into the ceiling - pulling tiles of metal down - and then slams back down against the floor and charges at her. She keeps pulling desperately but she cant move fast enough. Fire springs forth and engulfs the beast. It screams. But it doesn't stop. It charges through and collides with the group. Clear is sent flying back and feels her skin react to the fire that coats the plantlife. She cries out. Turbo is crushed beneath the worm and she sees his body tumble along underneath the crushing weight of the monster. She doubts he's alive any longer. The worm rushes past Londris and she slaps something onto the tail end of the creature. A moment after the beast disappears through the floor again Clear feels, rather than hears, a distant rumble of an explosion. Londris must have had some kind of sticky bomb. Clear just hopes that the explosion didn't cause more damage to The Hopeless than the bloody worm. They wait in silence. Clear slithers along the floor to Turbo and tries to drag him to the side of he corridor - hoping he had lived through the pressing weight of a gigantic plantworm. Clear isn't sure how sturdy the stormtrooper armour actually is.

They wait.

And wait.

Silence reigns. Clear can't even hear her heart beat this time. She's too exhausted from fear.

Nothing happens.

Londris motions for one of the troopers to peak down the hole to see if he can see the creature. The soldier gets to the edge of the hole and looks down...

He can't see anything.

Everything sighs with relief, though Londris is weary that nothing could be found. She is certain some remains must exist if it is dead. Toolkit removes the flamer and hands it to the brave soldier that peered down the hole. Londris commands her, her name being Vix, to go up front with Sindra and continue vapourising the plantlife. Toolkit is already on Turbo. He confirms that Turbo, somehow, survived the ordeal but he's been seriously wounded. Including internal bleeding. Toolkit would have to remain behind to stablise the man. Clear wearily follows after Londris, with a glance back at Toolkit. Clear has never seen so much death and violence. Her entire species was dead, but it had all happened without her. She was never in the camps. She never saw people die of disease or gunshot wounds.

She manages to block it out though. It's easy when exhausted.

Clear leads the group to the Command Centre. In there is the usual vine-coating of plantlife but also several hanging plants with unusual bulbs that appear almost like cocoons. Vix and Sindra are quick to set them alight, sparing any nasty surprises. When they have cleared the room, Clear accesses the control console. There isn't enough power to do much but she is able to raise the ship's internal map, which showed lifeforms aboard the ship. It's a mess. The plant life, being alive, illuminates most of the map meaning Clear couldn't begin to guess where Green might be. She sees that there isn't much plant life between them and the engine room so she directs Vix and Sindra that they ought to continue through into the next corridor. 

Londris: "Toolkit? What're you doing here?"

Toolkit: "Sorry, Sir..."

Toolkit shuffles into the room, behind him emerges the young human man from Ledus. He holds up the laser carbine he'd stolen from Toolkit.

Londris: "Turbo?"

Toolkit: "Stable. Not for very long though..."

Man: "So sad. Another dead murderer."

Londris sighs.

Londris: "What do you want?"

Man: "Well, my new friends here--"

Wai comes up behind the human and Toolkit. He looks a little uncertain.

Man: "--says he should be able to override the ship's A.I. and jump us to somewhere I want to go. Things the way they are, I figured I better take control of this Command Centre so Wai can do that. But I still need you lot to activate the power."

Londris: "And when you get your taxi ride where you want to go?"

Man: "I go. You get to do whatever you like."

Clear is certain the man is lying. And she knows Londris thinks so too. The human intends to kill them all - especially Londris. Clear couldn't bring herself to blame him.

Londris: "You realise this ship is under attack? I doubt the jump drive will work even if we get the engine room under control."

Wai: "Actually that shouldn't be a problem. The warp drive isn't actually reliant on those engines. Get the warp drive under our control and we should still be able to make a jump."

The man grins at Londris. It isn't a pleasant grin.

Londris: "Well, I guess I'm in no position to argue."

Man: "No you're not."

Londris: "But you have to let my man take care of the wounded man you left behind..."

Man: "You're not in the bargaining position here! Unless you want them both dead!?"

The man's hand moves quickly and he fires the carbine. Clear is propelled backwards and her body slams into the console. She slides down the computer and feels completely numb with shock. She can feel the hole in her stomach as her fingers slide against the wound. She falls to the ground. She hears shouting and arguing but she can't understand it. Then everything goes dark...

Notes

Britt's Commentary

"I've always been interested in how a situation or a person can appear as one thing to one person but something else to another. Here we can see how Green, who we are used to seeing as cute and innocent, can be seen as a monster thanks to her dangerous powers. We also see the freedom fighter, or rebel, as seen through the eyes of imperials. This post also continues the survival horror style of the previous post." - Britt the Writer

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