Rubble and debris covered this entire sector, making it impossible for larger ships to pass through. The remains of the first Deathven were immense, yet after so long, drifting endlessly in a timeless space, there was still so much that was unsalvaged, untouched and unexplored. While the main living areas had been stripped eons ago, it wasn’t until a handful of collisions had caused several minor explosions that other areas of Deathven could be accessed.
“Ugh, I hate this…” Saahro grunted as he adjusted the straps tied around his chest. Each strap contained a multitude of tools and a tracking device so that the rest of the crew back on the Shimmer’s Plight knew where he was. Joining him was Thaed, a colossal serpentine being who had a single strap around its neck and a couple of thicker ones further down its back. All the straps had miniature boosters on them to assist Saahro and Thaed in their travels, but Thaed needed no tools. He was there to cut through everything with his massive claws.
“This one always hated trips too. Though this is the betterment for these all…” Thaed hissed. “This one believes there are those others out there.”
“We do not know what else is out there!” Vikalos’s voice boomed over the intercom. “There may be all sorts of life down there. It is our duty at this moment to perform search and rescue tasks. Are you both ready?”
Saahro nodded his head, tutting. “We are ready, boss.”
The cargo bay doors opened up. Beneath them was the maze-like rubble of what may have been the prisoner block of old Deathven. While the entire facility had been rebuilt in another quadrant, the prisoner block had been relocated elsewhere. Not that many of the beings held there had made it out alive.
The two Decay-Lords leaped out into the darkness, making their way towards a large hole. This was one of the impact craters, one of the first points of attack. Everything here had been instantly vaporized, the shadows of the dead still painting any flat surfaces. Further in though, there were a massive canyon and a myriad of tunnels where the impact had shattered and exploded, ricocheting in a million directions. Many of the larger ones had already been salvaged, but Saahro and Thaed’s task today was to enter a deep southern tunnel, the only available path that led to the Anti-Fthoric Subject Containment area.
“Still hate this…” Saahro muttered as he flapped his draconic wings, giving him a small thrust forward. “We’ve never found anything.”
“These few found the body of one Voldanoi, this one being of the major Decay-Lords…” Thaed hissed as he pushed debris out of his path. “These few have found plenty.”
“Yeah but we never found anything alive, not here in the prison section. And the fact that Vikalos keeps on dragging us back here caused the others to leave!”
“That Adis would have always left. That one was not happy.”
“What about Myyxa?” Saahro growled. “Or how about Gathis? And Tromeris? And what about poor Epanastasi?”
Thaed landed on a large platform, cutting down the door with his scythes. “That Epanastasi did not fit. That one was too large and unwilling to be small… But this one… does have a point. These few have had a lot of those who pass through. This Captain, this one believes, always felt guilty over what happened here.”
Saahro snorted. “Oh definitely…” the Murdragon paused to read the signs, to better work out his position. “Oof. This is the corruption area. Poor fuckers who were too fthoric to properly live here.”
“Those here were below 5%. This one is safe!” Thaed continued to grunt as he cut his way into the corridor. “But this one does not detect anything yet.”
As Thaed finished cutting, a massive, heavy door slammed into the ground. This area had been completely inaccessible after the disaster, meaning that Thaed and Saahro were the first two beings to have been there for a long, long time. On their left were rows of cells, many of which had been crushed by rubble from above. To their right, there had once been a window, but the whole thing had been completely smashed and pushed in by debris crashing in from outside.
“Heck, this is depressing…” Saahro muttered as he peered into each of the cells. Many of them were completely crushed, but occasionally the long-dissolved remains of a Decay-Lord could be seen inside. This bothered Saahro. So much uncountable time had passed that the bodies were no longer identifiable.
Thaed wasn’t paying attention. He had slithered off ahead and Saahro wasn’t sure why. With a flap of his wings, Saahro chased after the serpent, who had suddenly come to a halt in front of a somewhat specific cell. Thanks to how the debris had fallen, the entrance had been utterly smashed, but there was a small, untouched area trapped within the rubble.
“What is it?”
“This one senses something.”
Immediately, Thaed raised his scythes and slashed through the debris, forcing his way in. Saahro followed awkwardly, trying not to get stuck. Somehow, almost miraculously, while rubble and debris had smothered the entire room, the bed was intact. And on it was a large, black, pulsating sack. Whatever it was, it was unlike everything else in the ruins. It was alive.
“We need to get this back to the ship now!” Saahro screeched as he picked up the sack with his lesser arms. “Vikalos is going to freak the fuck out!”