Acerbus The narrow shant spiraled out from the long barrel, finding its target in the occipitals of the tall, cloaked man at the end of the hall. The Omniman stood very still, waiting for the shadow man to make a move. He should have fallen on impact. The room was dark and damp. A single lamp hung from the ceiling, swaying with the air blowing from the vents. The energy source inside the lamp had long ago burnt out, leaving only the containment film and ash. Around the room was strewn a sundry of items, from memory discs to checksine generators to stale crackers. Along a back wall was a long row of shelves stacked with metal containers. Within the orb-shaped cases was a four month supply of preservatives and rations. The last shelf was packed full of energy capsules, presumably for the hanging lamp. In the center of the hall were five long tables arranged in a pentagon. Each table was crammed with the most random of euneumatec devices imaginable. Plasma screens and water tablets rippled as the Omniman passed by them. Flicking his head lamp on, the officer focused in on the shadow man. The man’s vitals were definitely failing, but not as fast as estimated. The Omniman had after all given him a fairly good sized dosage. The poison should be working faster. Either, the marking on the shant casing was wrong and this dosage was outdated, or the dark victim was resistant to even the deadly shanteoc venom. Unexpected. Believable. A step away, the Omniman tightened his grip on his surculus. The shrouded man remained still, his face concealed by the oversized cloak he wore. The rotary of the surculus revved with the desema current as the officer pressed the sharp barrel end up to the man’s back. The rotary clicked with the final stage of full power up. Suddenly, the cloaked man spun around, thrusting his bleeding hands out to the lawman. A rush of wind slammed into the officer sending towards the ceiling. Arms flailing, the lawman crashed into a dislodged service pipe. With so much momentum, the jagged metal piece bore through the back of the Omniman’s protective armor, its hollow space filling with durametal and flesh, pushing through until it came through the chest. The Omniman gasped as his body started cycling. From his gloves shot forth long, razor nails, and his mouth bled as his teeth multiplied, morphing into fangs. His veins gushed with blood and hormones as his arms overflowed with coarse hair. His dorsal armor tore open to reveal a spiked fin growing from his back surrounded by various jagged bones and morphing, rippling muscles. The Animalian officer resized three times, first a lion, then a kundar, then an eagle, before returning back to human form. Fighting to breath, the Omniman, his helmet now on the ground in pieces, lifted his heavy head. He wanted to look into the eyes of his killer. He knew who it was, but would he have the courage to face his kill? Did he have the guts? The cloaked man’s blood ran black as he staggered over to the skewered lawman. Pulling one hand away from his wound, he reached into the dark recesses of his shroud. Out with his rotting hand came a hollow, glass prism filled with a dark red liquid. His icy blue eyes glinted in the refracting light of the container. The Omniman’s defiant gaze was instantly filled with terror. “Malus! What are you- what are you doing?” Malus lifted his head so that the little light in the room illuminated his cold features. His face was mottled and discolored, and his skin was beginning to decay. Although his mouth was closed, the Omniman could see the man’s cracking teeth. The poison was quickly eating him away, and yet, all Malus could do was smile. He opened his festering lips and spoke words that sent a chill down the officer’s broken spine. “Sec surecipeo extorediaum ive stemtoras.” Just then, Malus’ hand cracked down the middle. The prism fell through his ash turned fingers and shattered on the floor. The red liquid spilled out over the broken glass and ran in several streams across the floor beneath both of the men. The Omniman watched in horror as the death of the world passed beneath him. His shocked gaze moved to Malus as more of the crumbling man’s body parts were falling like ash. He looked down from the ceiling into the man’s blackening eyes. For a brief moment, he saw sorrow. The dying wind master then opened his mouth to speak a final time “Good bye, Diligo…ive fratero.” My Brother. With that, Malus released his own soul. The wind within him tore apart the standing ash heap that was his body, sending decayed particles in all directions. The little air Diligo had left was taken by the suffocating gust, emitting from his once flesh and blood. Diligo breathed his last, dying a death that, in the end, he preferred to one to be experienced by the people of Itarna. “So does come, the beginning of the storm” -Malus ive Ravenkine O.V.D. 79-98 The night sky in Itarna is anything but dark. Some say that at times it can shine as bright as day, sometimes brighter. Unlike other worlds, the planet Anesilar has only one moon. The moon’s light is not a reflection of the golden sun as is the case with the other moons of the surrounding planets, and is not composed of granite or armalcolite , or any sedimentary mineral. Anesilar’s moon, Kesuleclaris is composed of Csoris, a black, smooth igneous rock not terribly unlike the naturally forming glass Obsidian, found on the four life supporting planets of the Milky Way galaxy. The core of Kesuleclaris is composed entirely of a very intense energy, measured at levels of 78`908 million minzels. Although the heat emitting from the moon prohibits anyone from getting within three hundred thousand miles from it, this doesn’t stop metachrondricals and scientists from making speculations about the sort of energy that the moon emits. The vast majority of Itarnans believe it to be the power source of the Skekla Kei, that the core is the center of the universal, energy based essence, commonly known as the Animus. This is not a fact and is up for viewers own speculat- - Lumen ive Acerbus flicked off the cheap visi-apparatus. The video viewing device he found in a waste canister on the transport vessel had been programmed with only second rate documentaries made by independent film companies. Tapping the copyright symbol on the side, he read the marquee projected in the holo-display. It read: Figures. Nothing good ever came from Sir Edecane ive Vultus. Lumen placed his fingers on the bottom of the disc, making it up in his mind that he would not let anyone suffer through the same torture. His fingers twitched. Tiny red sparks flowed from his veins phasing through the cheap metalline exterior of the device. The micro pulses of energy tore through the euneumatec pathways like a young boy tears through a spider’s residence. The holo-display began flashing random images before flashing a final time when the lenses snapped. Lumen stood and moved towards the bar; dropping the apparatus in the same waste canister he found it in. At the counter he tapped in his order and found a comfortable booth away from the smoking area. He found the practice of inhaling nicotize and other toxins into his lungs to be a sign of idiocy. However, the drinking of hard liquids he had no problem with. Not now especially. The transport vessel he was on had been detained at a caelevum (sky) depot for three sunsets. Midway through flight, a relay transmission had been received from the Itarnan Consulate. The Bauro Ryys Syndicate had closed down the entire continent of Itarna due to an outbreak. Any travel to or fro was being hindered for fear of spreading. The skyways were shut down, streets were blocked off, and all aquabicallis vessels were told to remain in the waters or to dock at an oceanic harbor. The cause or substance of outbreak was still unknown. Reports were constant for the first day and a half. Broadcasts primarily consisted of lists of the people who had died from the epidemic. Already, on the second day of outbreak three hundred people had died. By the end of the second day of detainment messages were only coming in about every five hours. The lists became too long for audio recording and began coming in text files which were displayed via the many visi-apparatuses mounted on the walls and ceilings throughout the vessel. On the morning of the fifth day of outbreak, the third day of detainment, a broken transmission was received. Much of the information on the list was not readable, but the spaces were tallied. The death count was now up to two thousand sixty-three. Most families on board had already found the names of their dead loved ones and were in their quarters grieving their losses. But few remained who had not heard from home and were anxious. As of the fifth morning, Lumen was one of those few. But, after others had surveyed the list and walked away in either sadness or relief, Lumen walked towards the apparatus on the opposite side of the room. He knew what he would find. He found the names of his family in the third slot. Acerbus_ Chaed Acerbus_ Laria Acerbus_ Haste Acerbus_ Mila Acerbus_ Anamell He didn’t cry like he thought he would. Even as he spoke aloud the name of his youngest sister, barely six years, he did not shed a single tear. His response was to drink. He had taken to drinking every once in a while during his studies in Nasiphym. His friends would take him out, away from his liqui-tablets and visi-discs; an escape from hard times. The only times he did drink were at those time, which didn’t happen very often. Lumen was on his way home from the water world, on break from his studies of at the metachrondrics academy in the Northern Oceanic Lands. He hadn’t seen his family in two years and a fourth. Tomorrow would have been the sixteenth anniversary of Mila’s birth. Lumen’s girlfriend from the Novus Academy was going to be home for the Aestas season. They hadn’t been official for three years, but that didn’t mean anything these days. Her name had flashed up with the other deceased on the second day of detainment. So he drank. The hard liquid slid over his tongue and down the back of his throat, burning the flesh in its wake. Lumen sucked in his breath through clenched teeth. The scorched skin cells slowly began reanimating and multiplying, filling in the new, burning spaces. Soon, his throat was entirely replenished, ready for another fluid hazing. Three more gulps followed. Lumen’s vision had turned to a blur. He had lost all depth perception, his breathing was heavy, he was subconsciously mumbling to nothing. He could’ve fixed had he the ability at that moment to concentrate. He could do so many great things. He had been the talk of the academy, a “demi-god, ever so kind to grace humankind with his presence.” His abilities were abnormal by anyone’s standards. Other telekinetics, as well as the incendiacs marveled at how easily things came to him, both the simple and the complex. Lumen was not originally an incendiac, but he had become able to manipulate and generate fire through intense concentration and study. All the praise and acknowledgements that he received throughout his three years at the Metachrondrics Academy meant absolutely nothing to Lumen now. He was completely wasted, quite literally, and he felt nothing, except exhaustion. With a final grumble, his eyes rolled back into his head and his neck relaxed letting his head fall hard onto the metalline table. He would be out for a couple of hours and eventually he would be moved to his quarters. But, for now, he would sleep and, if he was lucky, he might dream a little. Lumen dreamed of windships. it is sketchy, but it's only a rought draft. this takes place in the same world and time as my other short story idea, Devon the Meta-Human.