Point-Two’s head was resting on something soft. He was grateful. His body was aching and in some places stinging. His mind wasn’t fully awake and he knew once it was, there would be an increase in pain and a decrease in softness, so he decided to enjoy his current situation as long as possible.
“Don’t you think you’re getting a little too comfortable?” said a voice that was low in volume but probably because the words were being crushed between gritted teeth.
Point-Two opened his eyes and stared directly into the deep valley between two hills. He jumped back, ignoring the pain he had known would come with any movement, and held up his hands to ward off the gun aimed at him.
“Hey, don’t, I don’t know what’s happening,” he blurted out.
Weyla, one of the two Seneca mercenaries who had also been on the asteroid, was lying on the ground, her suit ripped and revealing a little too much.
Thoughts of where he was and how he got here were pushed to one side in light of the muzzle following his movements as she prepared to shoot him.
“Don’t,” said another voice from behind. “Not yet.”
Weyla frowned as she lowered the gun. She didn’t put it away, though.
Point-Two turned. The other sister, Leyla was standing behind him, examining a wall with strange markings.
“You two...” Point-Two raised his brow but even that hurt. His whole body felt like a big bruise, like he’d been pummelled by mountains, and not the ones on display by Weyla.
“Hey! Keep your eyes pointed somewhere else,” said Weyla, waving the gun at him.
“Yes. Sorry.” He looked around. They were inside what appeared to be a small room. “Where are we? How did we get here? Is anyone else here?”
“Enough with the questions,” said Leyla. “We don’t have any answers for you.” She looked straight up.
Point-Two followed her gaze and realised the room had extremely tall walls on all sides but no roof. Overheard was an unnaturally colourful sky. It took a second for him to recall why it looked so familiar.
“We’re in the wormhole?” The other two didn’t respond. “How are we alive?”
“I told you, we don’t have any answers,” said Leyla. “We came down the chimney with you.”
Point-Two was drawing a blank. He remembered everything going crazy on the asteroid. They had been swallowed by the wormhole while everything exploded. The asteroid had come apart and he recalled the feeling of being tossed out into space. He hadn’t expected to survive, let alone find himself inside the wormhole.
“Is this part of the asteroid?”
“No,” said Weyla. “You don’t remember seeing the island?”
Point-Two’s mouth curled down at the corners. “Island?”
The sisters exchanged a look.
“Just tell me what happened,” said Point-Two, starting to find their reticence annoying.
“We were all sucked into the wormhole,” said Leyla. “Not just us, everything. The three of us somehow ended up together, we don’t know what happened to everyone else. For some reason, we were able to breathe inside the wormhole. We were also pulled along with no way to control where we were going. You… you helped us avoid getting smashed to pieces by the debris. You don’t remember?”
Point-Two shook his head. “Helped you how?”
Weyla smiled but her expression carried a tinge of bitterness. “You bounced off the bigger pieces, using the impact to push them away and clear a path. Really, I’ve never seen someone move like that. We couldn’t move at all, even with our organics. I thought we were going to be pulverised for sure. But you...”
The two sisters looked like they wanted to thank him but stopped short of actually saying it.
If he had used his body to ward off bits of the broken spaceships and chunks of the obliterated asteroid, that would explain why he felt like a piece of tenderised meat.
“And how did we end up here?”
“This is where everything ended up,” said Leyla. “A massive island in the middle of the wormhole. I have no idea how it can exist, but here we are.”
“Some sort of tower. You seemed to be heading here on purpose, I don’t know when you lost consciousness. We followed you down and found you lying here.”
Point-Two felt a little confused. “Then why was I lying on top of…” He looked at Weyla, whose face flushed crimson.
“I was looking after you, that’s all,” she stammered.
He could hardly complain so he stood up and winced. “Can we get out?”
“I haven’t found an exit,” said Leyla. “Just these strange markings.” She slid her palm over the black walls, brushing away dust. There were marks etched into the wall, patterns and symbols he didn’t recognise.
“What about the way we came in.” Point-Two looked up. “Can’t you use your organics to get up there?”
Leyla frowned. “I tried.”
Her eyes lit up for a second and the four walls began to shake, making the enclosed space feel like it was about to collapse. She stopped and the walls stilled.
“Do that again,” said Point-Two.
“If I do it too much—”
“I know. Just do it briefly like you did just now.”
Leyla sucked her lips into her mouth, brow creasing, and then her eyes lit up again.
The walls shook, dust fell, the chances of it all coming down seemed high.
“Okay, that’s enough,” Point-Two shouted over the sounds of the shuddering walls.
Leyla stopped. Point-Two turned to Weyla. “You’re the strong one, yeah?”
Weyla didn’t answer but her brow creased the same way her sister’s did.
Point-Two pointed at one of the walls. “Turn your organic on and hit that wall as hard as you can as high up as possible.”
The furrows in Weyla’s forehead deepened. She looked at her sister. Leyla shrugged and Weyla’s forehead smoothed. Then she ran towards the wall, her eyes glowing brightly. Leyla stepped forward and Weyla used her as a springboard, jumping into her poised hands and being launched.
The walls were shaking again as Weyla struck with a loud boom. The shaking intensified and then the wall she hit creaked, groaned and whooshed as it fell like a drawbridge opening. Woomph! It hit the ground, sending up clouds of dust.
By some miracle, the other three walls remained standing. The two women looked at Point-Two.
“It’s a knack,” he said.
They walked down the ramp created by the fallen wall, Point-Two limping as fast as he could. It seemed like a good idea not to hang around.
Outside, there were mountains and peaks all around them and even the distant glisten of what might be water. Along with dozens of very surprised faces. They were female and in Seneca uniforms. Weapons drawn.
Weyla and Leyla stopped once they jumped off the wall, onto a surface that appeared to be made of metal. Point-Two would have thought they would be pleased to encounter their own people here, but there seemed to be tension in the air and unfriendly looks, although that was the default setting for the Corps.
“You two are still alive,” said a commanding voice. Its owner was an older woman with close-cropped hair and a scar across her face. Her bearing marked her out from the others even though her uniform was identical. From top to bottom, she exuded authority and confidence.
“General Sway.” The sisters greeted her respectfully.
Hearing the two sisters call out to her, she simply nodded lightly before turning a suspicious look towards Point-Two and asked, “Since he’s here… that must mean you secured the Ollo boy as well, yes?”
“No, General,” said Leyla.
“The Null Void?”
She then looked past the two women at Point-Two. “Just him? The least valuable of the three.” She sounded very disappointed.
Point-Two didn’t mind. He preferred being of no value to her.
“He saved us both,” said Weyla. The disdainful looks she received from the members of the Corps suggested that being saved by him was not something to brag about.
“Him?” The General's brow rose slightly, somewhat surprised.
“He is injured,” said Leyla. “Please allow him medical aid.”
The General didn’t seem very keen but she nodded and stepped forward. “He may have some useful intel, it’s best to keep him in good condition. Give me your hand.”
Point-Two put out his hand. He was surrounded and in a weak state. If they wanted to force him to do as they wanted, he wouldn’t be able to do very much about it, so he might as well cooperate.
The General took his hand in hers. Her skin was rough and cold, but her grip was strong. Her eyes glowed and a warmth crept up his arm. It wasn’t unpleasant but it still made him a little uncomfortable to have this stranger pour a stream of energy into him.
The pain in his body subsided and he felt his strength starting to return. The energy flowed up his neck and across the top of his skull, easing the sense of pressure on his brain. Then he sensed thin tendrils probing into his mind.
Point-Two tried to pull his hand back but she held him in a vice-like grip. Fortunately for Point-Two, getting out of holds was something he was well-versed in. He folded his wrist, twisted and pushed his bent hand towards her as though he was trying to punch her in the stomach.
She reacted instinctively, pushing back. In the same moment, he reversed the direction of his hand and slipped it out of her grip. He stumbled back a few steps and directed a gloomy look at her.
“What happened?” Leyla saw Point-Two’s expression and knew something was amiss.
“That was rude, General,” said Point-Two.
“Shoot him,” said the General, no emotion in her voice. “We’ll take what we need from his corpse.”
“No,” said Weyla, turning with an apologetic face towards Point-two. Her refusal caused the General’s lip to rise in a sneer of displeasure.
“We’re no longer members of the Corps, General Sway,” said Leyla, showing a disappointed look.
General Sway didn’t debate the matter. She turned slightly and said, “Shoot them.”
The women behind her, a dozen at least, raised their weapons. Leyla and Weyla stepped in front of Point-Two, raising their own weapons. Everyone fired at the same time.
Nothing happened. They checked their weapons. None of them were functioning. They checked their suits and other pieces of equipment. All dead.
General Sway shook her head. “Take them by force.”
Every set of eyes focused on Point-Two began to glow. Point-Two had no idea what kind of organics these women had, but he was confident they were powerful ones, and that the sisters’ combined efforts would not be able to stop them.
The women behind the General surged forward and then came to a sudden stop as the lights in their eyes faded. The women looked confused.
“No organics,” said a distinctly male voice.
They all turned towards the towering edifice behind Point-Two where a man in a pristine spacesuit with perfectly groomed hair was examining the wall recently knocked to the ground as though searching for something.
“You’re disturbing my concentration,” said Ramon Ollo, his own eyes glowing brightly.
General Sway looked conflicted. “What are you doing?” she asked in a respectful tone.
The lights in Ramon’s eyes faded. “Trying to find a way inside.” He seemed indifferent to the conflict occurring right next to him. His complete attention was focused on the various pieces of debris on the ground.
“You want to get inside the island?” asked the General.
“Island? This isn’t an island.”
“Then what is it?”
Ramon looked at her like he was talking to a simpleton. “It’s a ship.”
“A ship? You’re sure?”
Ramon didn’t even dignify the question with a response. He walked up the ramp towards the three-walled chamber.
“What should we do?” she called after him.
“Whatever you want,” said Ramon. “Just don’t make too much noise. And no organics.”
The general turned her attention back to the three people in front of her. “You five, take them down.” She pointed at the group of five nearest her, perhaps her private guard.
It seemed to be a matter of pride to deal with the upstarts in clinical fashion. Not that they wouldn’t use overwhelming force if they failed. It would probably just look better on the report if they only used a few people to handle two washouts and a worthless boy.
Two women took on Leyla and Weyla, but the sisters weren’t so easily dealt with. They each managed to entangle another opponent.
The fifth woman got past them and headed for Point-Two. He found her movements oddly familiar.
She came directly at him, not wasting any time on fancy moves, and grabbed for him.
Point-Two easily evaded her reaching hands, sidestepped around her and tripped her up. When she sprang back to her feet in a single acrobatic move — as he knew she would — he swiped her feet out from under her and kicked her incredibly hard in the left buttock.
She yelped as she tumbled backwards.
The sounds of fighting had stopped. The women attacking the sisters, and the sisters themselves, were staring at Point-Two. So was everyone else, their faces showing incredible shock with no small amount of disgust and loathing weaved in.
“How did you do that?” asked Weyla, stunned.
Point-Two had predicted every move and hadn’t even needed to lift his arms from his sides to take out his attacker. It didn’t hurt that General Sway had given him a restorative boost just now.
“I know a guy who uses the same moves as you. Only, he’s a lot better at them.” Point-Two had never fought with Fig, but he had spent enough time with him to be able to read and predict his fighting skills. Of course, Fig also mixed in a lot of other styles, but his base was the same as these women’s. “Also, I used to be a female wrestler, so that helps.”
He had shown them his ability, the least they could do was offer a little begrudging respect. But they were Seneca Corps. They put aside any sense of pride or self-respect and all rushed him.