Aberration, Part 16
"Do you have any idea what might be beyond this door?" Eren asked.
"Judging by the main cargo of this ship; we're fairly certain that it's an Aberration," one of the crew members said.
"You don't say?" Eren sighed cynically. "I mean, are you ready to face it? It could be very powerful; even more so than the Moku."
"The Moku caught us off guard; but we're prepared for this."
"I should hope so."
Eren strode towards the door, and plucked the explosives from around it.
"What are you doing?" the crew member demanded.
Eren glanced at him and was probably giving him an upset glare, but it was hard to tell in her lifeless lens-eyes. "I don't like your tone," she growled.
"Sorry," he said, backing off.
"You don't need these. Not since I'm here." She dropped the explosive disks carelessly, letting them clatter onto the floor.
"Careful with those..."
"Do not worry. It makes me stressed when you worry."
Eren inspected the door, trying to work out which way it opened. It was apparent that it would slide into a cavity hidden by the wall. The normal way in would have been to use the control panel to the side, but nobody alive or undead here knew the password. And besides, there was probably not enough power left to lift the door that way.
But Eren was strong enough on her own. She had concluded, after tapping on parts of the wall, that the door was supposed to slide to the left, away from the control panel.
She placed her metal fingertips on the door's surface, and sucked in air to create a vacuum, giving her a perfect hold on it. The rubber in the holes in her fingers allowed for strong suction to be applied. Eren strained as she walked to the left, but the door was no match for her; it probably weighed a couple of tons, but she'd moved heavier things before. Her augmented body was a lot stronger than it looked, and it looked plenty strong.
The salvage crew walked through the door, readying their weapons, but Eren stopped four of them.
"There are still others from our crew that may arrive here. You four will stand guard by this door. There are enemies on this ship; if they come here, kill them. If the rest of our men come here, notify me with your audio crystals and I will allow you all in."
"Right," the four said in unison.
Eren walked through the door, and shut it behind her. She had sensed the Aberrations beyond this door, and could tell by the power of the demons inside them that they were valuable; she didn't want anyone meddling.
But one of them was giving off strange signals; the demon within that one didn't seem to be completely fused. All the more reason to investigate.
"Yhana, let me out!" Kane demanded, straining and struggling against the moist walls around him. She had swallowed him again, and he wasn't pleased with it, to put it lightly.
"If I do, you'll die," she explained, putting her helmet on hastily as the pink vapor crept over to her side of the room. "If you inhale any of the kasghath venom, I can't do anything to save you."
"Isn't there a better way to do this?" Kane called back, halfway down her gullet.
"You're just saying that, right? Right?"
"No, I'm serious."
"You could have teleported us out of here!"
"Do you know how much energy a two-person teleport takes?" Yhana asked, not taking her eyes off of the Aberration that trapped them in here. Razors on chains lashed out at her, falling short by a few yards. "I spent a lot of my energy when I tried to hold off our attacker; I'm more of a sprinter, to put it in physical terms."
"Whatever; just let me out of--" Kane took a short drop into her stomach, landing awkwardly. "--here."
"Calm down," she said. "I'm saving your life."
"You just wanted an excuse to eat me again!" Kane retorted, trying to shift into a more natural position.
"Yes and no. I had entertained the idea," Yhana paused, dodging to the side as the Aberration finally found a barb-tipped chain long enough to strike at her, "but I wanted to wait for a better time to do it, but I guess now is a time as good as any, because I actually have a reason, and that's keeping you alive."
"Your stomach is completely empty, except for me; I'm probably gonna be digested..."
"You won't," Yhana promised, ducking another thrust from the barb. "I've learned to halt my bodily functions through use of combining magic types. I learned how to do it safely after practicing on people I was assigned to torture. I may be producing moisture, but I'm not producing acid."
"What about the air supply?"
"That's the only thing you need to worry about. Ferrous might have used up a lot of it earler, but at your size, you've got a couple of hours, and we'll be out of here by then."
"How do you know?"
Yhana deflected the barb with a burst of electricity, shocking the Aberration and disabling use of that chain for a while, she hoped. "I really don't, but let's be optimistic about this, okay? Besides, isn't it a lot nicer in my belly than it was out here in this cold scrapheap of a ship?"
"I don't mind a little extra warmth, but this is out of the question; I'm practically burning up in here," Kane complained.
"You're so picky," Yhana sighed. "I suppose you'll be calling for room service while you're in there?"
The barbed chain recovered quickly, and retracted back into the Aberration's body, before taking another stab at Yhana. She may have been armored, but she didn't doubt that the nasty spike could have pierced her plating without much difficulty.
The spike shot out again, and Yhana just deflected it with another electrical shock.
"Yhana," Kane said, curling up into a ball. "Yhana, talk to me. I feel like the walls are closing in..."
"They are," she replied, "They should expand again soon, so don't worry."
"I don't like it in here; make the thing go away so I can come out..."
"Aww, you don't?" Yhana said, faking offense and placing a hand on her stomach. "What isn't to like? It's soft and warm."
"You're unnatural, Kane."
"But that doesn't mean I have to like it!"
"Relax. If I don't have to keep disabling this thing's weapon, then I can use my stored energy to fight it off, and we'll be out of this problem, m'kay?"
"That's funny, Yhana! It sounded like you told me to relax!" Kane said, starting to laugh a bit. It wasn't an amused laugh, either; the stress was getting to him, and he was about to have one of his breakdowns.
The chain twitched to life- or whatever state of not-dead it was now considered to be in -and retracted once more.
Yhana was prepared for the barb; and dodged out of its way easily. As the chain swept sideways, she ducked under it. As her abdominal muscles tightened, the walls of her stomach drew close around Kane, and he panicked.
"Okay, let me out now!" he shouted, holding his knees to his chest. "I mean it!"
"Stay calm; you're not the one who has to work to keep dodging this chain!"
"Well you're not in someone's digestive tract!"
"Fair enough. But seriously; stay calm, you aren't helping."
"How do I stay calm? I feel like the walls are trying to suck me in!"
"Ignore them. Take a nap or something; you're in the perfect environment for one," Yhana suggested, ducking another swipe from the chain.
"Yeah, right..." Kane moaned quietly. Yhana's belly contracted again; the walls squeezing around Kane and further dampening his clothing and fur. It really was a unique sensation; the heat was actually pleasant compared to the cold dankness of the ship, but he really disliked the possibility of being crushed by a sudden muscle twitch.
He started rocking back and forth, and shut his eyes. He started counting down from 40, indistinctly, guessing that he would explode by then. He felt gravity shift as Yhana rolled to the side, flipping him around and landing him in an uncomfortable position again.
"Are you done yet?" he asked desperately, trying to get upright again.
"Almost," Yhana said. She was being honest, she had been building up energy by avoiding having to disable the chain again and waiting to use the power for spellcasting for an attack.
Yhana turned swiftly, narrowly avoiding the barb as it lashed out again. As it drew back, she turned to face the Aberration. "Right. Time to finish this."
Sigils floated in the air in bright red, and spiraled around Yhana's right arm as she raised it. She spread her fingers and a ball of red light- death energy -collected in her hand.
The ball flared up, and released itself as a wide, conical beam, as the sigils revolved around it quickly.
The Aberration was too large to move out of the way, and it took the beam full-on. It emitted a loud, horrible screech as the front end of its long form was forced back in a bulky pile on the rest of itself outside of the doorway.
Yhana advanced confidently, and released three quick pulses of energy. They ruptured the Aberration's plating much more seriously than last time; pieces of the dark metal were wrenched out of the flesh that they were rooted to, like razor teeth being ripped out of their sockets.
Chains with everything from needles to shark teeth lashed out at Yhana, but a pulse of red light escaped her aura as they drew near. The chains and the sharp implements attached to them were caught by the minimization spell, and so much material was shedded from them that they were reduced to nothing more than the black dust of their base matter.
The Aberration tried to get up off of itself, but Yhana forced it back with a flash of flame, striking it in the chest and provoking another screech from it as it collapsed over its centipede coils again.
Yhana leaped over the limp sections of its body, and started running. She still had plenty of physical energy, but all the magic she just used had taxed her aura, and for a while her spellcasting would be weak and she would be more vulnerable to attack from another mage.
And demon possession, for that matter. She sincerely hoped that she wouldn't run into any escaped Leeches while she was on board.
"Alright, we're out of there," she said to Kane.
"Great, now let me out," he prompted.
"About that... The matter I shedded off of you to shrink you is gone. There was nothing left over from it; the spell has a small chance of doing that every now and then..."
"Are you saying I'm gonna be tiny forever?!" Kane asked, shocked. He could already imagine how much Yhana would abuse this.
"No; we can get you to someone who can synchronize matter with your aura and add it to you."
"Well you're a Voidmind, can't you do it?"
"Just because I have access to all magic types doesn't mean I know them all."
"I want out. Now."
"You're tiny and have no armor, and there's still danger on this ship. You're safer in my belly than you would be even if you had your own armor."
"Yhana. If you don't let me out, I'm going to snap."
"No you won't."
"I can feel my mind unhinging! Let me out!" Kane began to struggle frantically, and his breathing sped up.
Yhana slowed down. "Hold still; you're tickling me."
"Let me out. Now!"
Yhana took a deep breath, and then clenched her abdominal muscles tightly, causing her stomach to contract around Kane again, more forcefully than before.
"Settle down or I may just crush you here and now so I don't have to deal with your whining. M'kay?" She had lost any sense of playfulness she had with Kane for the moment, and sounded dead serious.
"Yes, ma'am," Kane said quickly and meekly, no longer struggling. He couldn't even if he wanted to, Yhana's stomach was tight and molded around him like shrinkwrap.
"Don't call me ma'am," she said sternly, relaxing her body and allowing Kane a bit of movement. "Seriously, don't."
Kane said nothing, but stayed curled into a ball. He was shivering, and felt like he would break down any minute. He probably could let go the last time Yhana swallowed him, but this really was beyond what he was okay with.
He still shivered as he breathed; he wanted this to be over now.
But he still had quite a bit of time left before Yhana and he were done here.