Digestive track of an Acanti
Cable finds himself in unfamiliar territory never having been swallowed whole by a giant space-faring whale. As he is slowly driven toward the creature’s stomach via the Acanti digestive juices he reaches out blindly and grabs hold of some connective tissue. Upon gaining his bearings a tentacle of sorts reaches out from one of the Acanti’s internal organs and zeroes in on Cable’s head. Its mission: suck out his brain. Once the brain is devoured the Acanti can determine if the creature is worth eating. Cable, of course, has other ideas.
EnSabahNur I, Control Bridge
Bishop screams out in protest as the Brood Queen inserts its tongue into the back of his neck just above the spinal column. The Queen does not implant any eggs, but instead makes room for one of the younger Brood to attach itself to Bishop in order to take control of his brain. The Queen wants what Bishop promised, the young girl with unbridled power and this method guarantees his total compliance.
Emil leads Hope to a pair of terraforming pods. She looks at him incredulous, asking him how he’s planning on defeating the Brood with a pair of grass planters. Emil points out they can both house one person each and suggests they use them to escape. Smiling at his genius, Hope asks where the third one is. Emil hesitates and Hope realizes what he was trying to avoid telling her, there isn’t one for Cable. She points an admonishing finger at Emil and says she’s not leaving.
The young Sleazoid, tongue inserted into the top of Bishop’s spine, forces Bishop to march forward as the rest of the pack, Queen included, follows behind. They reach one of the Brood-induced breaching holes and walk through, out into the greenish glow of space. Bishop and his new allies float toward the other ship.
Despite becoming a mind-slave to the Brood Bishop is permitted to think, so that he is still able to lead them to the “powerful host.” He knows he can’t make a move against the Queen unless the Queen wills it, but he’s hoping he can break free of the Queen’s control for just two seconds, long enough to reach out and snap Hope’s neck.
Digestive track of the Acanti
The tentacle has secured itself even more firmly around Cable’s neck, but instead of trying to fight it he opts for another route. Plunging his t-o enhanced arm into the fleshy substance of the beast Cable’s hand touches bone and pulling with all his might he snaps off a piece. He then proceeds to plunge the jagged edge into the inner flesh of the Acanti and pushes forward slicing open a five foot long section. The Acanti regurgitates Cable with haste deciding the veteran soldier is definitely not worth eating.
It’s out of the frying pan and into the fire for old Cable as he’s now face to face with Bishop and the Brood. The Queen questions whether this is the mutant Bishop promised to them. No, Bishop responds, but adds that he’s the one who protects her saying the only way to get to her is to kill him. The Brood do not hesitate, immediately going into attack mode.
Hope chastises Emil for even thinking she would leave Cable behind. Emil apologizes again saying he only thought the two of them could… but he never finishes his words. Hope storms off to go after Cable.
Emil follows and, taking out some sort of needle, stabs Hope in the neck. Her eyes immediately roll back into her head and she passes out. Emil catches her and places her unconscious body into one of the terraforming pods. He wishes he didn’t have to knock her out like that, but there is no way he is ever going to lose her again.
Space, not far from Messiah II
The trained soldier that he is, Cable makes short work of the Brood using only the Acanti bone still clenched in his left hand. Limbs, faces and sternums are all severed or torn open by the mighty Cable. With most of the Brood already dead or wounded Bishop asks the Queen telepathically if he can help, but the Queen refuses. Bishop asks again, but the Queen vehemently denies his request.
As the last four of the attack squad make their move Cable does the unthinkable. He tosses his only weapon directly over their head. They turn and stare as the object flies over and into the eye of their Queen. The Queen lets out an agonizing “Nooooooooo,” and Bishop is suddenly able to move again. Using some of his stored up energy he blasts the Brood connected to his spine and escapes to the confines of EnSabahNur I.
Cable, on the other hand, heads to the Messiah with three of the Brood still hot on his tail. He starts banging on the outer door. Curious, Emil gets out of his terraforming pod to see what’s happening. He opens the door just as Cable bashes a Brood’s brains in against the outer hull. Nathan quickly maneuvers into the ship and Emil swiftly closes the door behind him.
When Cable turns around he sees Hope in the terraforming pod. Standing next to her is Emil with a blaster in his hand pointed directly at Cable. Emil tells him not to come any closer. Cable tries reasoning with him, explaining that Hope was born thousands of years ago, that this isn’t her time. Emil confirms he already knew this, and about the people trying to kill her. Cable tells Emil it’s only Bishop, the man that brought him there. The infatuated boy asks why.
Cable explains that Bishop came from a time of enslavement and misery and that he blames Hope for that and by killing her he thinks he’s saving the world. Cable says Bishop’s wrong because in his time Hope is destined to save millions and there are those who think she’s their savior. He’s the only one who can bring her back, he informs Emil, and asks him to think of the Hope he knows and whose story he believes.
Emil places a caring hand on the clear shielding of Hope’s pod, turning his head toward her with a loving, sad gaze. His other hand remains armed and pointed at Cable. Cable knows his thoughts are wavering and warns Emil there isn’t much time. “Go,” Emil decides.
The ship is still riddled with Brood. This doesn’t deter Bishop as he fights his way through the various Sleazoids in search of his goal. He eventually finds it, his bionic arm.
Cable straps himself into the remaining terraforming pod. Emil starts running some diagnostics and tells Cable that the pods will act as cryo-stasis sleep chambers, regulating their life functions as they sleep. Though he does admit they didn’t have time to run too many tests.
Cable looks over at the “boy who loves Hope” and suggests there may be some room in the other pod. Staying focused on the computer systems Emil refuses, not wanting to weaken her chances of survival. Cable seems saddened at what he realizes must be done. Emil turns, a tear streaming down his cheek. “Could you tell her...,” he begins to ask. “I will,” Cable promises.
With a push of the button Emil sends the two pods toward their destination. As the minutes pass he can hear the Sleazoids working their way through the ship’s hull. He knows it won’t be long and tries telling himself it won’t be so bad because at least he will no longer have to think about Hope.
Instead of the Brood it’s Bishop who gets to him first. He asks for Hope, but Emil just looks at him and points his gun at him. “You lied to me,” he says. Bishop isn’t bothered by Emil’s theatrics and asks more emphatically where Hope is. “Nowhere you’ll find her,” Emil responds.
Right away Bishop realizes what’s happened. He immediately begins questioning whether or not setting off the nuke would get her. Emil’s not about to let that happen. He gets to his knees and blasts Bishop square in the chest. Bishop is knocked back so hard he makes a large dent into the door, ruining its integrity.
The Brood come streaming in trampling over the door and Bishop who is pinned underneath. The nuclear device Bishop was holding in his hand comes flying loose. Dread sets in as he watches his failsafe plan tumble away.
It stops at Emil’s feet. He picks it up quickly and takes off running leaving the Brood to deal with Bishop. Once he finds a place to be alone he stares at the device in his hands. He knows what he must do to protect Hope.
A panic-stricken Bishop blows the door right off him and all the Brood in his path. He leaps out of the ship and toward a nearby Acanti. He willingly jumps into the creature’s mouth. He’s greeted by one of the Acanti tentacles which immediately pierces his brain stem. “…kill the girl… save the world…” Bishop utters.
Sure enough, the Brood begin working their way into the room where Emil stands. He believes Hope is far enough away now. It strikes him as funny that his entire life will have meant nothing, but he doesn’t actually believe that. He doesn’t think his love for her could ever be snuffed out for it’s too strong and too deep. Somehow it must endure, he thinks to himself. He guesses it’s time for him to find out.
With the Brood Queen standing directly behind him ready to strike Emil pushes the red button on the nuclear device. With a tiny KLIK everything is vaporized in a bluish-white light of fury.
Two Years later
The terraforming pods are still going strong, but so is Bishop. For some reason the Acanti chose not to eat him, but to follow his command. Still connected to him through the base of his skull the Acanti finally closes in on its prey. It took two years, but Bishop has once again caught up to Hope.