Aberration, Part 12
Kane wandered around above deck for a while, trying to peer through the fog or into the dark depths of the water, but after concluding that he couldn't see anything, he decided to go back to the ship's interior.
He lifted the metal cover, and then leaped down, without even using the ladder. He wasn't strong, but he was agile. The cover slammed shut above him and resealed itself as the valve turned slowly.
Kane turned and headed down the hallway, and knocked on Yhana's door. "Can I come in?" he asked. He'd gotten used to Yhana by now, and didn't feel afraid to try to talk to her.
"M-hm," she responded. Her voice sounded kind of muffled.
He opened the door, and as just as he was starting to walk in, he froze, and all nine of his tails went rigid. He clutched at the sides of his head; a reflex when something shocked him. "What are you doing?!"
Yhana held up a finger as if to shush him, and continued to casually guide the saliva-coated snake out of her mouth. The fact that she had it inside her for who knew how long was more than a bit surprising. The thing must have been at least three feet long; it was impressive that Yhana could hold her breath long enough to get it back out this gently.
Once the snake was entirely out of her mouth, she turned to Kane and said, "Good thing you came back. I was starting to get bored with nobody her besides myself and Ferrous."
"You just coughed up a snake..." Kane trailed, still holding firmly onto the sides of his head.
"Well I couldn't just leave him in there forever, could I? He's got a limited amount of air," Yhana said, as though this was completely normal. Well, it probably was normal, for her.
Kane shuddered, and then just tried to put what he had just seen behind him. "How did you even get that in you?"
"Pretty easily," Yhana answered. "I just held my breath and kept swallowing."
"Yeah but... why?"
"He likes it."
"Yeah, but... why?"
"Because, snakes are cold-blooded, and he's gotten more than used to my body heat."
"Yeah but..." Kane asked again, "why?"
"I have a compulsive eating problem," Yhana sighed. "If I don't eat for a while, if I don't pay attention, I enter a trance and just randomly reach for whatever's convenient and ingestible."
"And in this case, it was your snake?"
"No, that's when I first swallowed my snake. Now, I just do it sometimes when I'm feeling playful."
"Well then please, don't get playful with me again."
Yhana smiled. "You're never letting that go, are you?"
"You just came out of nowhere and snacked me! No, I'm not."
"Maybe if it happens again a few more times, you'll get used to it."
Kane paused, and then spun on his heel to walk the other way. Maybe the brains in tanks by the generator would keep him company. Before he could shut the door, Yhana grabbed him by his scarf and pulled him along, making him sit on her bed.
"Don't eat me again," he whispered.
"Why are you whispering?"
"I don't want to provoke you."
"That only works on feral animals."
"No, it's worked for me with other Xeeok."
"Were they drunk?"
"Don't eat me again," Kane repeated, no longer whispering.
"I'm not going to. You can rest easy."
Kane exhaled deeply. He didn't know why, but for some reason, he trusted Yhana.
"So," he began, changing the subject. "What's your snake's name?"
"As in iron?"
"Yep. look at his markings; it looks like rust."
Kane examined the snake; the lines dividing its six-sided markings really did look like creeping rust.
"That's a hexagon viper, isn't it?" he asked.
"Hence the hexagons," Yhana answered.
"Aren't they dangerous?"
"Their bite stings like crazy, but it can't do anything serious to anyone our size. And Ferrous here isn't very aggressive; you can hold him if you like."
"Maybe when he's not so wet," Kane declined.
Yhana looked at Ferrous, he was still dripping with saliva. "Yeah, that might be better. Lemme do something about that."
The fleshbag Aberration lay motionless, hung on several cables, like its captors. Unlike them, it wasn't quite dead yet.
Six agents of the salvage crew hung limply by their necks in the ery same cables they had once used for grappling; their lower bodies completely slashed off.
The Aberrated Moku stared at the expiring thing. If it were capable of exhibiting sympathy, it would have done so. As an Aberration, compassion was not part of its programming. Rather than feeling sympathy for the once-fleshbag, it felt rage towards the rest of the salvage team. Before, they were sport. Now, they had another reason to be killed off.
In the commotion, the Stormrunner's members had slipped by. Just more prey for the Moku. Its finely-pointed legs touched the floor, vibrating, and it zipped away, streaking after the intruders.
"What is it this time?" Eren asked, responding to the audio crystal.
"We found something. Get over here."
"Do my ears deceive me, or did you really just give me an order?" she growled, becoming angry.
"Remember who you are dealing with. I might just have to pass up on the next available demon so I have room for you. Do you like the sound of that; living without a soul?"
"Relax. Your tension is making me get stressed as well."
"We will be right over. Try not to get killed until we arrive."
Eren tapped the crystal sharply, ending communication. She turned to the rest of her group, and said, "Apparently, they have found something of value. Follow me."
Eren headed arbitrarily in a random direction-- or what seemed random. She knew where any living crew member was; she had memorized their auras.
Over on his end, the self-appointed captain of his team and other members of the crew placed explosives around the heavily-sealed door. Judging by the sheer size of the door, whatever was on the other side must have been important.
They guessed it was an Aberration, and they were right. They weren't going to detonate the bombs until reinforcements arrived, because of this.
But this one was different than most.