Xenoforming – First Contact – Chapter 08

“What now, Oliver? Any other feelings?” Darius asked. “Not really. I think we should find a computer and pray to find a map in it.”

              “That doesn’t sound very effective,” objected Yuna.

              “I haven’t got anything else. Any other ideas?” No one answered. “So, then we haven’t got a choice,” noted Darius.

              As nobody had a better idea, they all walked out of the room. They were in the middle of a T-shaped hallway. Oliver was considering which way they should go, when he saw something moving left from them. There was about eight Greys and they were all aiming at them. They were too far to start a fight with them. Oliver screamed and turned right and wanted to run. But another group of Greys ready to shoot had appeared there before he even moved. He went straight and took Sophia, who he was still holding hands, with him. The bullets were everywhere, but luckily no one was hit. Oliver ran around the corner and the other followed him. He saw a door marked as STORAGE and ran to it. He opened it and they all hided inside.

              “I think they’ve just found us, “ said Ales. “Really?” Darius frowned. “Why now? Why so easily?”

              Oliver was biting the nail on his left thumb, he was doing this every time he was thinking about something. “Except for that we’ve been lucky so far, I think the fact that we’ve been always operating in cells helped us, too. The cells tell us, who is inside and who’s not. I think that in the device we had in our body, there was also a tracking device. They probably knew that Sophia’s device ended in the terrarium instead of her cell and they wanted to inspect it. Maybe they came across one of the lots of dead bodies, we had left behind.”

              Darius was staring at Oliver. “Why didn’t you say it before? We could have waited until they bring Sophia to her cell and then free her.”

              “I wasn’t sure, they were taking her to the cell and I didn’t want to risk, they found us and would try to take her somewhere else.”

              “OK, but how are we going to solve this, they are looking for us and we haven’t got any weapons? There’s too many of them and no one sane will fight with them and we can’t let Lucas to fight them all.”

              When Lucas heard his name, he joined the conversation. “Hey! Even I wouldn’t have gone there! Seems like they are having a romantic moment…all together.”

              “Can’t we shoot from these glove like they do?” asked Sophia. Oliver and Darius looked at each other with surprise. “Don’t tell me you haven’t been thinking about it till now?!” “Actually, no,” said Darius and lowered his eyes. “So, what do you think, Oliver, which button?”

              “Not that it didn’t cross my mind, but it’s not very practical to use someone’s hand as a gun. It’s moving a bit. The buttons are not marked, but when they are shooting on us, they are almost touching their elbows. So, it’ll be one of the last ones.”

              Darius grabbed the Grey’s arm as a shotgun and started pushing buttons. By the third one the glove flashed and fired an energy ball. “I think we’ve just answered our tactical issue.” Darius looked into their faces. “OK, I think it’s time for a new formation. Lucas and I have got a bit more experience in shooting. So, I’ll go as the first, followed by Oliver, because he understands that gibberish those assholes use, and then the rest. You’ll take everything what we three can’t, as the shooting from the Greys’ hands needs two human hands. Lucas will go as the last to cover our backs. Any objections?” Nobody protested. Darius gave the leg of the table to Ales. He also handed him over the small bag with scalpels, which was tied to his shoulder. “OK, I’ll open the door and Lucas and I will check, if we can go out. We’ll cover both sides of the hallway. When we’re on the move, we have to find a room with computers. If, for some reason, we split and you find one, try to let us know somehow.”

              Darius opened the door and peeped outside. As there wasn’t a soul, he slowly took a step out into the hallway. Other followed him. They were walking along the hallway, they didn’t want to go back, they were too scared to meet that group of Greys, which was shooting on them a moment ago. Oliver was looking around reading the signs on doors. Nothing was very helpful. Sophia, who was going after him, whispered to his ear. “You really didn’t think of shooting on them? Are you serious? An agent, a criminal, a strategist and I come with it?”

              “Look, we had a lot of other problems and we were fine with what we had so far, I really wasn’t thinking about it. I even didn’t have that time,” answered Oliver offendedly and ashamedly as well.

              They found several other terrariums and storages, but they knew they didn’t have enough time to search them over. Their time was precious, the sooner they find an exit, the fewer risk they will take. Oliver tried to find a map in the glove, but unsuccessfully.

              At one of the crossroads, Darius went around the corner and immediately jumped back. At that moment an energy ball appeared and hit the wall. “Fuck! There’s five or six of them and they’re waiting for us. Oliver, shoot over me, Lucas, cover our backs.” Darius went on his knees and started to fire from the corner. Oliver did the same and shot over his head. Every time they hit one of them, they heard a painful sound coming from a Grey’s mouth. Nobody was sure, whether they can call it a scream.

              The shooting took a long time because none of them knew, how to aim with guns they were using. And the Greys were also not the best shooters although the gun was their own hand. After several minutes it was over and six Greys were lying on the floor. Ales came to them and hit each of them into the head with Darius’ leg of the table. Just to be sure.

              They continued on their way and Oliver was still looking at the signs on doors, but when he saw one, mostly it was a storage or a terrarium. Suddenly Ales shouted. He fell on the ground and huddled. They were all looking for the shooter, but when they didn’t see anyone, they turned back to Ales. Sophia kneeled to him. “What happened? Did something hit you?” But he wasn’t answering, he was touching his shoulders and screaming. Oliver saw some dark red fibers coming out of his neck right through his shirt. They also appeared on his hands. It looked alike to those on Oliver’s left hand. Suddenly he stopped screaming and came to himself.

              “What happened? What was that?” he asked. “You tell us,” said Darius seriously. “I don’t know, I just felt a huge pain in my back. It was so painful, I don’t know what can I compare it to. A severe torture, that didn’t want to stop…What did you say?”

              “Nobody said a word,” Yuna noticed carefully and looked at Ales doubtfully. “Yes, you did, I can hear them speak,” Ales frowned. “Who?” Yuna asked. “I don’t know, those voices. They are talking but I can’t understand them, ahhh…!” He screamed again. This time, he was holding his head. “The voices, they want something from me! They want to go inside my head! But I don’t want to let them go in!” This is bad! Oliver didn’t need that mystical voice to get this. Ales stood up. His sclerae changed their color, now they were as red as the fibers on his neck and hands. Before anyone reacted, he attacked Darius, punched him in his chest and Darius flew over a meter. He fell on the floor and couldn’t catch his breath. Yuna shouted. Ales turned around and jumped on Lucas, who was aiming at him. He managed to shoot, but it didn’t seem like it would have hurt Ales. He reached Lucas and punched him in the belly. Lucas fell on his knees and writhed. Oliver attacked Ales from his back and grabbed his throat. He tried to choke him, but he easily ripped out and started to beat him. Oliver was standing by the wall so he couldn’t fall back. Ales continued beating him, Sophia, Yuna and Amat went for him and tried to stop him, but he got rid of them easily and took them of like children, so they all fell on the floor. Ales turned back to Oliver and beat him again. After the third punch, a dull thud was heard. And another one. Ales fell on the ground.

              Darius was standing over him with a bloody metal leg of the table in his hands. “What, the fuck, was that?!” He shouted. Sophia looked at the body by Oliver’s feet in fright. “Is he…?” “Yes, I’ve killed him. As you could see, he was dangerous. He would kill us all, probably. I want to know what was it about! Oliver, that thing on your hands looks like the one that was on Ales’ body. He was talking about some voices and then he got mad. Oliver, tell me, you have got a good explanation, tell me, you don’t hear those voices, too. You told me, if you’d explained me everything, you’d be a freak to me. Is it because you hear those voices, too?”

              Shocked Oliver was staring at Darius. He wanted to answer him, but he couldn’t. Yes, he heard a voice, just one voice, and so far, it had been helping them. Oliver, as well, wanted answers, he didn’t get. I’ll answer you. Calm them down. If I tell you everything and you tell them, they won’t trust me anymore. You have to persuade them that you’re not dangerous! I’m not, but what if you are? Thought Oliver and hoped the voice didn’t hear it.

            If I wanted them to get you, I wouldn’t have shown you how to read their signs. I would have just brought you right to them! I have shown you where your friends were, so trust me now. Please! This is about my freedom, as well as yours!

              Maybe he was right. “OK, listen to me, Darius. Yes, you’re right, I can hear a voice…,” Idiot! “But it’s only one voice and it’s been helping us so far. Ales was talking about several voices he heard. The one I can hear, showed me, where to find you all and he also taught me how to read their signs. It warned me, when the groups of Greys were coming near, and it has been leading us the whole time. If it wanted to hurt us, it would lead us somewhere, they could easily catch us. If you want to kill me, do it now, but without me you’ve got a very little chance to escape. But if you promise me you get them out of here, I’ll go on my own.”

              Darius was gazing on him and Oliver did the same. Nobody said a word. Darius was standing above Oliver for a minute, but Oliver didn’t turn his eyes away, didn’t try to run away or even tried to stand up. “What if those other voices try to manipulate you like Ales?” “I won’t let them do that!”

              “It says, it can protect me. At this moment I think, we haven’t got a reason not trusting it.”

               Darius gave him his hand. Olivet grabbed it and stood up. “Fine, but if I have a feeling your imaginary friend is leading us into a trap or he wants to hurt us, I will not hesitate and I will kill you. We’re moving on, my dear friends!”

              Darius was leading the group. They were walking through hallways and Sophia took a step to Oliver. “Are you OK? Didn’t they hurt you?” “I’m gonna have some bruises, nothing more.” “His one punch was enough for Darius to flew through the room, don’t tell me nothing happened.” Oliver was looking at her. Though everything he said about himself, though he was something like a mental case who hears a voice, it didn’t seem like she was afraid of him. This was putting his mind at ease. “No, really, I’m OK. I feel fine. And you?” “Of course, I am. I think. I have never seen a man beating another man to death, but physically I’m OK.” When she was saying this, Oliver saw she wasn’t feeling very comfortable about it all.

              “Shut up, you two! You’ll betray us!” Turned Darius on them. Sophia was quiet, but Oliver had the feeling she got nearer to him than before.

              I think we’ve got a time to talk. Something I understood thanks to Ales. I have no idea what being you are, but I suppose that black substance on my left arm enabled you to talk to me. It looks the same as what Ales had on his body, except for the color. This affected Ales, too, right? Was that why he heard those voices? Speak up, what are you? Are you somewhere in this building? Do you want us to take you with us?

              You are more intelligent than I thought in the first impression. For a while I hesitated, when shooting at the Greys didn’t come to your mind and, instead, you have chosen a more barbaric attack. And you are not totally right about our communication. I don’t communicate through that thing on your hand. I AM that substance on your hand. That’s my physical body. I belong to a biological race, that can develop only in a symbiotic relation with another living being. Back there, in the terrarium, when you broke the aquarium, you have set me free. I felt your will to live, to escape so I have decided to help you. I have connected to your body, as my physical body is not very moveable, I have attached myself to that part of your body, which was the nearest. At first, I gained all your language information so that we could communicate and when I wanted to know more, your mind defended itself. If I wanted to, I could have had killed your mind and taken over your body. But I didn’t want to do that. You should appreciate that. That’s why I stopped the process of our connecting, we are connected to about twenty percent, thanks to what you can use your own mind, but we can communicate with each other. If I had connected to you at a hundred percent, our minds would have struggled together and the stronger would have killed the weaker one. I am a being whose mind is almost everything it has. I don’t want to kill you for a reason. When you were unconscious, I have taken the control over your body. I have killed those three Greys, who had caught you. Before I killed them, I had extracted their language information and given them to you. That’s why you understand all those signs. I also wanted to find other useful information, but they were trained at defense. One of them overcooked his brain rather than give me that info and by the second one I felt deadly intentions, which were not only an empty threat, so I got rid of him immediately. When you left the terrarium, I saw you. Every intelligent race sends out brain waves, every single intelligent race, but on different waves. According to this I have separated you humans from the Greys. That’s why I managed to lead you according to your feelings to everyone, and warned you before attacks. Unfortunately, moments ago I found out it will not be so simple from now on, as there are too many people together, I can’t absorb the brain waves coming from distance. Actually, you are jamming my signal. If you were a bit more intelligent, you could isolate that signal at least a bit. Probably I would be able to do it myself, if we were more connected, but as I said before, I don’t want to ruin your mind to have a better symbiosis. I hope, this have answered your questions. Or do you have any other questions?

              That was too much information at once. Oliver was surprised, that the being told him everything. The info, that on his hand he’s been carrying an alien life form he knows nothing about, wasn’t very cheering, too. He was thinking about how dangerous he can be for the others.

              How can I call you?

              I don’t have a name, I have never needed it nor they have given me one. But in your mind I have found a word, that I think describes me. So, you can call me Shadow.

              It seems, that we’re going to be cooperating for a time. Is there a possibility of separation after we escape from here? No, if you don’t want to die. What do you mean? As I said. If we split up, you’ll die. I’m sure, you see your shoulder is healed, I have been working on it the whole time we have been together, I can improve your bodily functions. The symbiosis effects your body in a positive way, after a time, you are going to be faster and stronger than everybody of your species. But if I separate from you, you will die. If we are separated by violence, without the right process of separation, the both of us will die. My body took over all the genetic information of your body and, in this phase of the process, it also gave your body my genetic information. Without me your cells won’t be able to preserve its form. The separation would destruct your cells. It also means, you are no longer a human being, at least from the DNA point of view. Are you saying, that if we split up, you will survive and I will die? If I separate voluntarily, yes. You die, I life. If we are separated by violence, if you lose your hand or if you die, I will die, too. So, I can’t get rid of you? I hope, in a normal life, you won’t be very talkative, I like my own repose. I’m surprised, you are taking it very good. I told you, I’d give you everything you want, if you help me save her…them. Or have you forgotten about that?

              Oliver ended this conversation. He still wasn’t sure, that he just wasn’t talking to himself or if the Shadow can be trusted. But he decided he would trust him so long he was being helpful. If he endangered them, he would cut of his arm, if he had to.

              They were going from one door to another and Oliver checked them all. The majority of them were terrariums. They met another three groups of Greys on their way out. Those groups were small and couldn’t beat them even in shooting. But every gun fight took a long time and Darius was nervous. It was mainly because of the inconvenience of shooting from the Greys’ gloves, when they had them on. If they met a bigger group of Greys or if they managed to surround them, they wouldn’t have a chance to win.

              Finally, they came to a door marked as Laboratory #36, so they decided to check it out. They went in and it seemed none of the Greys was inside. It was a very large room with several metal tables. Some strange devices were put on them. But on the biggest one, there were four human bodies. They were impaled with tubes and a yellow liquid was floating through them.

                They all took a step to them. They didn’t have to check, if those people were alive, all four bodies were cut, and their organs were out. When they saw it, they turned away and Amat even puked himself. Sophia closed her eyes and turned away. “I wonder, what are they filling them with,” said Lucas with a voice, that meant he wasn’t going to make fun of it, too. “I think it’s a liquid that helps them to slow down the human bodies’ decay,” said Darius. The only person, who wasn’t disgusted, was Yuna She looked really fascinated, her face was so near to one of the bodies, she was almost touching it. At this moment, Oliver wasn’t looking at Yuna back there at the terrarium, so he couldn’t see it, but she was more fascinated than before, when she was looking at the aquariums with strange beings.

              “I don’t think we’ll find a map here, let’s go out of here, we can’t help them.” Sophia said after a while. Darius looked at her and agreed.

              They continued walking along one of the hallways. It seemed, they entered another part of the building, because there was not as many terrariums as before. They found some cells, but they were empty. They got into another gun fight with a group of Greys, that walked out of a door they were going to. It was another laboratory. They took the Greys’ cadavers inside and checked the lab. The room wasn’t as large as before, but it was big. Inside, there were lots of cupboards with pull-out trays, which reminded Oliver of a card file. In the furthest corner of the room was something that looked like a computer. They all screamed with excitement.

              “Great, Oliver, you go to check on it and you check the pull-out trays and look for everything useful.” Darius told them all what to do. Oliver switched on the computer and inspected data in it. After a few minutes he knew it wouldn’t be as easy as he thought. It contained lots and lots of data and its operating system wasn’t like anything Oliver had ever seen before. He was looking over the computer so long, that the others managed to explore the rest of the room.

              Darius was sitting at a nearby table and was talking to Yuna. Lucas was guarding the door. Amat lanced his glove and his wife, still with no reaction, was standing beside him. Actually, she was standing in the same place, he let go of her hand. Oliver didn’t take a notice of the them, he was focusing on finding their way out.

              “How’s it going?” He had no idea, when Sophia came to him. “Not very well. I don’t know anything about this system, their files are not marked with words, but with shortcuts and codes. I believe, if we’ve got enough of time, I can find something that will help us.” “The problem is, that with every single minute we’re risking they will find us,” said Darius, who was listening to them, although he was talking to Yuna, too.

              “Let him be, Darius. He’s doing the best he can,” Sophia defended him.

              “Don’t worry, Sophia,” Oliver calmed her down. He knew, Darius was a bit right, but he also knew, they couldn’t run through those hallways just randomly hoping, they would find an exit. The building was very large and there was a bigger chance they’d find them in the hallways than in a room.

              The door opened. Lucas didn’t wait and reacted in a second. Several Greys wanted to enter the lab, so he started shooting at them. There were a lot of Greys and they were all shooting into the room. It took only a few minutes and not less than twenty Greys walked into the room. Oliver and the others reacted as fast as they could, they turned over the tables to cover themselves. Energy balls were flying into all sides of the laboratory, But Ewa was standing still staring at Amat, with a distant look in her eyes. The situation was critical, although fugitives were more effective in shooting than the Greys were, the Greys outnumbered them. Every time they wanted to aim at the Greys, in the same moment they had to hide not to get shot. The gun shot eased up for a while, so Amat jumped to Ewa and wanted to draw her down to him. Suddenly, an energy ball hit him into his shoulder, his knees buckled, and he fell down on the floor. Darius scolded and continued shooting. “They’re gonna get us! We have to do something!” he shouted.

              A deafening noise filled the room. Both fugitives and Greys turned around to its source. For the first time, Ewa reacted to what had happened and screamed at the top of her lungs and with tears in her eyes, she pointed at Amat, who was lying on the ground in front of her. She started to tear her hair and ran to the Greys.

              No one knew, whether she wanted to run away or attack the Greys. As she ran to the Greys uncovered, at least a half dozen of energy balls hit her. She fell to the ground and wasn’t moving.

              Darius and Lucas didn’t waste their time. The Greys were focusing on Ewa, so they fired at everything that wasn’t human. Till the Greys recovered, they killed at least a half of them. After a few minutes, everything was over. Yuna, who was shooting the best she could, didn’t hit a single creature and at the end of the gunfight, she was shot. Darius went to her and checked her pulse. Lucas checked on Ewa and Sophia went to check on Amat. “Yuna will be OK,” said Darius. “Amat, too,” added Sophia. “I wouldn’t count on that,” said Lucas and everybody turned on him. “Six energy balls were too much for her. She’s not breathing.” Darius ran through the laboratory and gave Ewa first aid. But after several attempts he gave it up and shook his head. “She didn’t make it. Oliver stop messing around and look for the map.”

              Only then Oliver realized, he was just standing there looking at them as if he didn’t have anything to do. He sat to the computer and looked for anything helpful. He heard the knocked out standing up. Sophia took a step to him and watched him searching data in the computer.

              Behind his back, he heard Darius’ voice. “Are you OK? Remind me we have to teach you to aim better.” According to this Oliver assumed, he was talking to Yuna, but he didn’t turn around to check on her. He was so engrossed in finding the map of the building.

              “Buddy, I think you should stay sitting for a while, so you don’t lose balance,” said Lucas. Amat’s answer was very confused and hard-pronounced: “What?” Amat was looking around the room and his face looked like he was starting to understand what was happening. “Where is Ewa?”

              Lucas didn’t look him in the eyes, his voice was as serious as it could be. “When they knocked you out, for the first time she…reacted.” “What do you mean? WHERE IS EWA?!” “When she saw you falling down, she probably thought, you were dead. She started to scream out loud, crying and tearing her hair off. Then she ran towards the Greys. There was no chance to stop her.” “WHERE IS SHE?!” Amat was on his knees holding Lucas’ shirt. “She’s by the door, six energy balls hit her almost at once.”

              Amat jumped on his feet a ran to his dead wife. “No! Please! No!” He screamed and put his ear on her chest. “You can’t…!” He started to give her cardiac massage and artificial respiration, but with no success. He was trying it for several long minutes. Nobody was even trying to stop him.

              “FUCK! FUCK! FUCK!” He was screaming and was beating the floor. “This all happened because of these fucking little bastards!” By every word he kicked a Grey’s body. After the gunfight, no one checked whether all the Greys were really dead. Suddenly, one of the Greys’ stood up and fired at Amat, who was standing beside him. Oliver, Lucas and Darius quickly turned around and wanted to fire, too. But the Grey had other plans. He made a strange move with his hand around the glove and he started to push all the buttons very fast. “STOP HIM! NOW!”

Oliver knew, it was too late. The Grey already pushed the last button. This reminded him of how he was standing behind a window watching one of them trying to fire from his glove. It all happened in one second. “DOWN…!” Oliver ran aside, took Sophia with him and covered her with his own body. In the same second the glove on the hand of that Grey exploded. A huge explosion filled the laboratory.

              There was a ringing in Oliver’s ears. Sophia was still lying under him, it seemed she was unconscious. The dust was everywhere. Oliver tried to stand up, but a huge pain in his back knocked him down to the ground. He checked Sophia’s pulse, even this move caused him a big pain. The ringing in his ears stopped after a while and he could hear again. “Can anyone hear me?!”

               “Fuck it! What the fuck was that?!” Darius screamed from Oliver’s left side. Oliver couldn’t stand up, so he just answered him. “I think that in the glove there is something like a safety lock, which destroys it and everything around it. They probably use it as a safety measure. I think, this is what wanted to use one Grey in the terrarium right after we had escaped. Listen, I don’t know how you are, but I can’t stand up.”

              “I’m quite fine, that card file in front of us saved us from the worst. But Yuna is still unconscious.” Oliver heard him going towards him. “Wow! Man, your back is totally burned.” Oliver awaited something like that. “It doesn’t matter now, help me to sit. We haven’t got much time. I think an explosion like this will call their attention.”

              “You’re right, I’ll check on the others.”

              “That was COOL! What was it? Can anybody hear me? The jangling of church bells inside my head finally stopped!” He said from the door.

              “I’m glad you’re OK, Lucas!” Shouted Darius at him. “I don’t think Amat had a chance to survive.” Said Darius, who was standing above a group of burned Greys’ cadavers. “But important is, that the gloves remained intact.”

              “I think they are somehow protected, so that they don’t cause a chain reaction. The amount of them in this building can probably flatten a skyscraper to the ground,” added Oliver as comprehensibly as he could. Because of the pain, he felt, he had trouble with speaking.

              Sophia woke up. “What happened?” “A glove had exploded. Amat was in the first line.” “Shit,” she stood up slowly and hugged Oliver. He racked with pain. “Oh, sorry, I didn’t see…” She froze in the middle of the sentence, when she saw Oliver’s back. “…that’s because of me, isn’t it? If you didn’t protect me, this wouldn’t happen.”

              Oliver saw she was upset. “Don’t worry about it, it will be healed quickly, my mentor will help me.” “How?” “I’ll tell you later, we have to be moving. I’ve been sitting here for some time and I think another group of Greys will come soon. “Darius, how’s Yuna?” “I’m fine, but I was feeling better.” Yuna’s voice came from behind the fallen card file. “We have to go, Darius!” Shouted Oliver. “You’re right, can you walk?”

              He stood up and fell again because he couldn’t keep the balance. Sophia propped him up. “With Sophia’s help I can make it! But I can’t help you in fighting!”

              “That doesn’t matter, Yuna, help him, too! Lucas and I will be covering us.” Yuna agreed and braced him up on the other side.

              They all ran out of the room as fast as they could, as fast as their injuries enabled them. But they walked fewer than ten meters and they got into another gunfight again. Fortunately, there were only two enemies. “We have to get away from here as far as we can, we can look for a map when we find a safer place.”

              Darius was leading them through a maze of hallways. He was trying to change their direction to confuse potential trackers. Meanwhile, Oliver was trying to talk to the Shadow.

              How fast can you heal my back? If we get into a bigger fight, they will need me.

              To make your healing be faster means, would mean that your metabolism will consume more nutrients in your body. If I heal an injury of this extent, you will stay exhausted. If you don’t find a way out within a few hours, your body will be on the brink of collapse.

              If we don’t find our way out within a few hours, my body will probably end up cut into pieces in the dissecting room.     

              OK, I’ll leave it to you, but I’m warning you. Now, I am flooding your body with natural anesthetics to lower your pain. I can heal you in about a half an hour, but there won’t be time for anesthetics. Besides, the healing process is not painless, too.

              I can’t help them, while I’m in this condition. I have to be able to fight. Do it!

              Right after he thought that, he felt an increasing pain in his back. Fortunately, Sophia and Yuna were still propping him so he didn’t fall, when it was the worst. But he was still barely trudging. He felt a thousand hot knives were cutting his back, which also started to be intolerably itching.

              They all were breathlessly running, and Darius decided, they were far enough from the place of explosion, as they didn’t meet anybody for several minutes. He opened the door they were standing at and lead the rest of their group inside. It was another laboratory. Oliver saw a computer, but he didn’t have the strength to help them.

              “OK, I think we need a break. We lost a half of our group in a few minutes. It’s true, Ewa wasn’t useful, but I didn’t want to leave anyone behind. Oliver, how do you feel? Can you take a look at that computer?”

“I need some time to heal, Darius. The Shadow can heal my back so that I’m fine again. Now, I’m hardly listening to what you are saying, it hurts like hell.” “Shadow?” Yuna asked. “That’s what that voice calls himself,” answered Oliver.

“Alright then, I don’t think we have a choice. Sophia, take him to the other side of this room and put him down on the ground, so you don’t have to hold him the whole time. Yuna, Lucas and I will barricade the door until Oliver finds a way out,” ordered them Darius.

Sophia took almost unconscious Oliver further into the room. She laid him down and exhaustedly fell beside him. “Oliver, can I help you somehow?” “Have you got morphine? You can’t help me, if you haven’t got it.” He wanted to smile, but it hurt him so much he had to stop.

Sophia hugged her knees and looked at him. She felt such a helplessness, but Oliver didn’t take a notice about it. He was trying to stay conscious, he was afraid of what would he see if he fainted.

I can’t talk, and I barely listen to what they are saying, but our conversation is different. Tell me more about you. You were talking about your species, but what actually are you? What are the Greys? Do you know, where we are?

I can’t answer your questions completely. To answer them, firstly, I have to tell you how my species lives and where I come from.

So, as I said before, my species is symbiotic. I won’t tell you its name because you won’t be able to pronounce it. We connect to other living beings to survive. The majority of us is too haughty and domineering. We all are born in the connection with other symbionts. This connection is similar to ours, but way more extended. It makes up a collective consciousness. Thanks to this, we can access all information and knowledge of our whole species.

The connection shows you, how to use the abilities we have. And it also teaches you our philosophy. It says, we are the only species to rule this universe. Every one of us should find as strong host as he can to gain helpful genetic information. If he finds someone stronger, he should leave his old body and attach to the new one. Also sharing mind with a host is forbidden. According to our philosophy, all other species in the world should serve us and be our slaves. If we choose somebody as a host, he should be blessed he can sacrifice his life to the species they consider gods.

We all are born with this philosophy and that’s why the most of us think we are gods. Since we exist, we have stolen so many technologies and have taken so many species under our control. We rule almost one whole galaxy. But later we have come across an enemy, that even my species could not possess.

The Greys are only a small part of what this army has. We went to the war with a race that was watching us and was learning from us. They were looking for some species helpful for them and they started to form new species. Afterwards, they cloned them and  built up an army. The Greys are actually a race bred for scientific work. That’s why you can defeat them so easily as they can’t think in a tactical way and their bodies aren’t made for fighting. That’s why you were able to rip off a Grey’s arm and didn’t have to carry the whole body. I don’t know the name of the species that controls the Greys, I haven’t uncovered that so far, but the name, that can be used, can be translated as Colony of Wisdom. These are the information I had gained from their collective consciousness, before they banished me.

When I discovered how my species works and that I should kill other beings, even when it’s not necessary, I was disgusted. The problem is, that because of our collective consciousness, they all felt it. I was sentenced to isolation from our collective consciousness and left behind without a host.

When I was disconnected, I was lying there, in the emptiness on the planet I was born, trying to find a host that would accept me. But no living being, except for my species, was around the place I was. At the end, they all disappeared. Likely, they were defeated by the Colony and they had to escape, because after a while I felt a lot of life, a lot of evil life. Sick minds.

They imprisoned me. I know they did some experiments on me, I felt pain they were causing me. But my time perception without a host and collective consciousness is different. Generally, we don’t perceive the time like you, people, do but when I was all by myself, I had only my thoughts and my pain, which the Greys were causing me. I don’t know, how long I was kept in prison or how long I was on the planet I was born. Maybe it took hours, years, I really don’t know.

I can’t tell you more. A lot of what I told you I put together only after I entered your memories. Only then I understood what had happened when I was disconnected from the collective consciousness. Without it, I am greatly limited to your knowledge and experience.

I hope, it helped you to answer at least some of your questions. If I come to anything else, I will tell you. I think the healing can be stopped now, you have a scab on your back, but if I produce a new skin on it, it will take a lot of energy, which you need. We’ll take care of your scab, when we get out of here.

Oliver opened his eyes. He realized he fainted. He sat and, despite the weakness he felt in his hands, he was happy he didn’t feel pain. His back was still itching, but when he wanted to scratch it, he found out, his whole back was covered with the scab, so he couldn’t do it. But still, it felt better than the pain he felt before. He also realized Sophia was still sitting beside him, holding her knees.

“When you fainted, I was scared that something bad happened to you. When I took your pulse and made sure, you’re OK, I was watching your back. It was amazing. A normal body needs months, maybe years, and your body needed only a few minutes. And suddenly, the whole process stopped, a huge scab was on your back and you woke up. How’s that possible? How did you do that?” She was staring at him with a steady gaze. He remembered the same look in her eyes when she was looking at her cousin Martin. It seemed to have been a long time ago. “The Shadow helped me, I will explain it to you later, but now we really haven’t got time for this. I have to find a way out.” He stood up and went to the computer.

He was very thirsty, and his head felt so light like when you sit down in an overcrowded waiting room after donating blood. He started to browse on the computer, Sophia went to talk to the others. He was browsing files, reading dozens of texts. Every time he found something that was looking helpful, he read it quickly, but mostly they were only scientific data he couldn’t understand, even despite his knowledge of the Greys’ language.

After about a half an hour Darius came to him. “How is it going? Have you got anything?” “No, I haven’t. I’m trying, but this system is totally different to what we use.” “You said you understood their language, didn’t you?” “I understand their language and I understand ordinary computers. In spite of the fact, that this computer can be similar to the one we use, it doesn’t mean its software is the same, too. Basically, they use a system, in which they don’t need to search files, because they classify them under some codes I don’t understand.” “OK, OK, just continue searching for a map and we’ll watch over you. Your girlfriend is looking for something useful, something that could help us.” “She’s not my…,” but Darius wasn’t listening him.

It lasted for ever. Sophia searched the whole room, went back to Darius, who sent her to Oliver. Now, she was sitting on the table, where Oliver was tapping on the computer. She was staring at him.

“Heureka! I’ve got it!” They all ran to him. “You got a map?” Yuna asked. “Not only that. Look at this.” They all looked at the screen. “It looks like my grandma’s pyjamas,” Lucas said. “Oliver, you remember, we don’t understand their language, right?” “Oh, yeah, sorry, Darius. These are security measures. They say, that in the case of an attack from the inside, the authorized personnel are to initiate a security system, which destroys this whole base with its whole research. There’s more of it, but in simple terms, this security system proves, we’re on a base, I don’t know where, but if they’re afraid of an attack, we’re not on the Moon or somewhere like that. Other files describe, for example, our situation.”

“I have found this map, which also explains a lot.” Oliver clicked on the map of the complex, it was huge. Many rooms of many shapes and sizes. They all were marked with some signs only Oliver understood. “If I get this right, there is only one exit and it is on the other side of this building. The whole time we’ve been going away from it, which also explains why we haven’t met many Greys. They assume, sooner or later we’ll get there, and they will get us. Those security measures, I’ve read, order them to close the exit. It can be opened from the control room only.”

“And are they right or no? We don’t have other choice than to go to the exit, do we?” Yuna interrupted him. “That’s true, but on the other hand, we’ve got something, that can help us. This here…,” Oliver pointed on the map, “…is something like a storage. If I got it right, it’s a storage with confiscated stuff. Darius, Lucas, when they kidnapped you, did you have guns? There’s a chance we may find them. If so, we could have a small tactical advantage compared to their gloves.”

“Of course, I had a gun. The problem is two guns for five people won’t be enough,” said Darius immediately. “No, it won’t be, but maybe we’ll find there something else. We don’t have to use the guns, we can defeat smaller groups without them. But if there’s lot of Greys at the exit or in the control room, we’ll need every single advantage, we can find. We can’t risk, they will outnumber us like they did minutes ago.”

“Fine, let’s go there. How far is it?” “If I read it correctly, the position of our cells and our actual position, it will take about ten minutes.” “And if you didn’t?” “Then we’ll get lost again.” “OK, lead us then. Can you remember the way out, too?” “I learned the whole map by heart.” “Eidetic memory?” asked Yuna. “That’s a myth, but there’s a bunch of memorization techniques, that can help you to remember a smaller amount of data, for example a memory palace…”

Immediately, Darius interrupted him. “Oliver, Yuna, there’s no time for a lecture, if you didn’t notice, we’ve been kidnapped, and we need to get out of here. What’s important, is that Oliver remembers the way out, so…lead us, please.”

Oliver was in the lead. The hallways were empty. They were faster than expected, but it didn’t feel so. With the glove, Oliver opened the door. After they opened, a loud beep was heard. He didn’t like it, but when nothing happened, he walked in and the others followed him.

He thought the storage would be empty, when there’s only eight of them, but it was very large. The boxes were reaching to the ceiling and there were dozens of them. “This will take a while. It doesn’t seem like the boxes have got a complicated system. Search those in front, if they were placed here according to the time we’ve been brought here, ours are in the front,” he claimed without a hesitation.

“If they were placed according to the time we came here, those bastards must have killed dozens of people,” said angry Darius and started to search the boxes.

It didn’t last for a minute and Sophia shouted, “Oliver, I’ve got our stuff!” Oliver looked into the box and saw his clothes, even his backpack. “Great, but we have to open all boxes, who knows what else we can find here, when there’s so many of them. When you find weapons or food, throw it aside, we’ll use what we find.” So, they continued. When they finished, they had nine guns, magazines, ammo, several tasers and lots of old tear gas sprays, some bottles of water, expired chips and chocolate bars. Oliver looked at the food and saw some expired more than ten years ago. He took the water and drank it. It tasted like plastic, but he didn’t care. He was glad to quench his thirst.

Meanwhile Oliver was drinking, Darius was speaking, “OK, we’ve got enough guns and looks like ammo won’t be a problem, too. I suggest we take our clothes to have some pockets. Everybody gets a gun and some magazines. If you don’t know how to shoot, leave it on Lucas and me, but I need you to cover us, when we’re in trouble. Lucas and I will take secondary weapons. Any objections?” They shook their heads.

They all took their own clothes to be sure it will fit them. They didn’t care about nakedness as the Greys forced them to undress in front of one another. They took off their prison dresses and put on their clothes. Darius had a black suit. When he was putting it on, Oliver saw he also had a holster and put his gun in it. Lucas had a T-shirt, jacket and jeans, just like Oliver had. Lucas, unlike Darius, had his holster behind his back. Yuna was dressed in a sweat suit and a T-shirt.

Darius gave to everyone a gun, two magazines and some ammo. Oliver put it all in his pocket. Afterwards, Darius showed them how a safety catch works. Oliver used to play airsoft, so he knew how to use handguns.

“I suggest we have a drink before leaving. The food looks expired, but the water should be good, according to how Oliver swallowed the whole bottle at once.” Nobody protested, and Darius gave them the bottles.

The door opened, and three Greys walked in. They looked around and the Greys were aiming at them. Darius went for his gun under his suit, Lucas did the same. Greys’ gloves shined, and three shots were fired, followed by a fourth one. After first two shots, two Greys fell down, the third went down after the fourth shot. Darius had his hand covered in his suit, Lucas had his gun pulled half out. They both looked behind them and saw Sophia putting her gun down. They didn’t get it. She smiled at them with a look, that said, it wasn’t propriate to scowl. “Come on, Darius, you didn’t ask, whether we had been shooting before, you just assumed, Lucas and you are the only one that had. My dad was in the army, now, he’s a hunter, I can shoot with everything you give me. Even with a bow.”

Darius rose his eyebrow. “I think you can take one of my secondary weapons. I’m no longer afraid, you’d blow my conk off. Anyone else here that can shoot? We’ve got four secondary weapons, but if you two never shoot before, I’ll rather leave it to Lucas.” He looked at Yuna and Oliver.

“I have never had a gun in my hand before, in my country, only police officers can have them.” “I used to play airsoft, it’s not the same, but I think I know, how it works.” “That’s fine, at least that means, if Lucas or I get hit, there will still be someone to cover us. Yuna, listen, push the security catch, as I showed you, aim at anything you want to die, and pull the trigger. If you really haven’t done it before, shoot only when it’s necessary.” Yuna agreed. “I think we should hit the road.”

Oliver went as the first to the door. He stopped by the bodies of three dead Greys. The first two were shot in the head, the third had a bullet in his eye.

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