Chapter 24: Secrets of the Hive-
The jungle area teemed with life. The scorched air, dark underbrush, and ambient noise would make any living being feel extremely claustrophobic. As he walked on, sometimes the captain would see a pair of glimmering eyes staring at him, only to disappear into the shadows of the trees. The Psionic, too, was unusually on edge. Occasionally they would stop after hearing a suspicious sound, but nothing happened.
They descended into a depression in the ground which was overcast by the clouds' and trees' shadows. That's when they were attacked. In the complete dark, their stalkers took the opportunity to make an easy kill. The captain felt claws swipe inches from his face. He spared a second to see how the Psionic was faring. What he saw amazed him. The Psionic's light revealed nothing at all. Invisible scratches appeared on the Psionic's delicate skin but their origin was nowhere to be seen. The captain felt himself be grabbed by the invisible attacker and thrown back. There was a purple flash. A monstrous roar shook the trees with its volume, and the captain felt a dead weight fall on him in a heap. Blood oozed all over his shirt.
He strained his neck to see the Psionic. The Psionic was simply floating there, casually sending purple orbs of energy out in all directions. Some hit the invisible attackers and exploded into dozens more energy orbs. Then, with the strength of his mind alone, he lifted what the captain guessed were the remaining enemies, and froze them into blocks of solid ice. The dead body lying on top of the captain disappeared, but its blood remained behind. He got up.
The clouds parted to let some of the sunlight through again. The captain wiped some of the blood off of his face and noticed it was purple. He turned his finger slightly and the blood gradually became light blue. Finally it faded into nothing. He looked at the Psionic, who was still holding the blocks of ice motionless above the ground. The captain asked in bewilderment,
"What were those things? I couldn't see them at all." The Psionic relaxed his composure and the lowered the ice blocks to the ground. He lifted one of the blocks of ice and brought it in front of the captain. Frozen in its final position, was the mold of a reaper body. For a moment he thought he could see two yellow eyes glaring at him, watching him from a faraway place.
"Reapers. The ghosts of the Hive. These are beasts that have survived on Notrium for eons, slowly letting their souls be absorbed by this cursed planet, until they barely exist in a corporeal form. See this one?" he brought another block in front of the captain. “It was probably a bumbling explorer searching for riches on the planet of Notrium." Another block moved to the front. "This one was probably a crewman of a fallen warship, stranded here from an ancient battle in the space above Notrium. They were all once like you, merely survivors in an alien place. After they die, their bodies lose their last hold onto our world. They simply vanish."
With this, the Psionic shattered the ice blocks with a single thought, and left the captain there to stare at him in amazement.
"Wait up!" The captain yelled out. The Psionic stopped and turned to face him. The captain caught his breath, "How the hell did you do that? You don't get those powers overnight." The Psionic replied as if it were nothing,
"Oh you mean the freezing? That's from combining my knowledge of the basic blast and the water tok-" He stopped, noticing the confused look on the captain's face. "Like I said: Much has happened since the last time we met. And again, like I said, I will explain them to you later but right now just isn't the time."
The captain was about to retort with a sarcastic, "Oh of course." but kept his mouth shut. Friend or no, the Psionic could kill him in the blink of an eye. He remembered suddenly about the Psionic's telepathic capabilities, so he tried his best to banish these thoughts from his mind.
As if they witnessed the death of the reapers, the rest of the aliens they encountered ran off as soon as they were seen. Little by little the light from the sky faded, and so did the captain's energy. He was hungry, tired, and frustrated. Hours of stomping through a death-trap had a tendency to do that to even the most seasoned hiker. The Psionic whispered in his mind. "This is the way to the central nest of the blue aliens. We would be better off taking a detour."
The captain followed without objection. It was true though, for he noticed many blue aliens peeping out of the jungle to see who was intruding in their turf. A few of the smaller ones left, but the fully matured blue aliens reared their narrow heads and shouted their battle cries. Almost simultaneously with these cries, countless more blue aliens ran out to claim their prey. The Psionic floated in front of the captain and told him, "I'll handle this. Just run when I tell you to." He lifted his arms to gather his energy. His outline blurred, and then doubled. The captain blinked again to make sure his eyes were working right. He saw his own outline be doubled over and over until he was surrounded by exact replicas of himself, each one looking around in puzzlement just like him. The Psionic shouted, "Run!”
All of the decoys scattered in every direction. The captain wasn't sure which Psionic to follow. At first the decoys were able to distract the aliens but then their numbers dwindled until only three were left. The captain kept on running away from the group of aliens that decided that he was the real one. Never before in his life had he ran so desperately, swinging his legs with every muscle, every tendon straining to their limits.
But his lungs couldn't keep up. Blood pumped into his head furiously but he still felt light headed. His legs and arms just gave up. He curled up into a shivering ball. For the first time in his life he felt what it was like to know fear. Not the fear that he knew of being alone, nor was it the shallow fear that he felt towards the marines, crash onto Notrium, and its subsequent dangers. He thought that he didn't fear death but he was wrong. He was afraid. At this moment what he wanted most was to survive, no matter what the odds were. He would survive, and if he couldn't, at least he could take as many of those alien bastards down with him.
A pressure came from inside him, and it came out as an odd sort of croak. It grew louder, more ferocious, until his mouth was wide open, a sound of primal fury blasting out of his throat. He saw the aliens who were chasing him, he smelled them, heard them, and felt their heartbeats vibrating off of the trees. He felt alive. Then, by instinct, his claws flew up to slash the throat of the nearest alien. Blood sprayed into his eyes, only making him want more. Another alien fell before him, and then another. With each small death he felt angrier. There was a presence past those trees, he could sense it. It drew him like a magnet, but he didn't care. All the voice inside his head told him was to kill, kill, kill.
And so he followed this attraction, leaving behind a trail of disemboweled bodies. His sense of smell was driving him mad. The smell of life came from beyond those trees, and he would go there to end it. There was its origin. The queen of the blue aliens, sitting in her nest. Literally hundreds of tiny baby aliens poured out of the nest to protect their matriarch. They were all clawed apart easily. The mighty queen ran off of the nest to face the intruder. He leapt onto her back and created two gashes down the length of her body. She hissed while trying to swat him with her tail. The blood splashed up to him, and he buried his head into her back to devour her from the inside out. She screamed for help from her broodlings, but none of them answered. All she could do was to wait for the end to come. Slowly, her cries grew softer, until they were barely a whisper.
He ate her corpse up, relishing every bite of it. Another creature appeared by the nest. A bright light appeared in his eyes. Then he could see it in his mind. "Noo! What are you doing? Get out of my head!"