Screaming Metal (Part 013)
Priyanka descends into the fissure of junk in search of Il'on.
Priyanka slowly worked her way to a point where she could see into the darkness, "What am I looking at?"
"There's a flashing light," said Deshel. "Faint, but consistent."
Down in the depths, between the gaps in the structures and machinery, there was indeed a faint, flashing light.
Priyanka raised an eyebrow, "More signals from our friend?"
Deshel frowned, "Wish I could find that funny."
Priyanka wished the same thing. Yet, she was still conflicted as to whether or not they were dealing with a functioning Metal or not.
Peeking out at the skyline from beneath the Alley Cat above her, she knew the day was coming to a close quickly.
She comm'ed Suen, "How're things up there?"
"Fine," came the reply, "Have you got it?"
"Mmm, we're not sure yet, but I want you to mark this spot."
"Are you coming in?"
Stepping to the edge of the drop, Priyanka looked into its depths, trying to ascertain the origin of the light. "Not just yet."
Priyanka unreeled a portion of support line that worked itself throughout the upper half of her exoframe, "Hook me up."
Deshel gave her a concerned look, "Pree, you can't be thinking of going down there. It's late and you won't be able to see a thing."
She nodded, fully aware that she should be putting the Alley Cat to bed for the evening, not making a descent in the dark.
But she couldn't let it go. She had to see for herself. She'd never forgive herself otherwise. "I'll just be a moment."
"Pree." It was Deshel's turn to raise his voice. "You could hurt yourself down there and bleed out before I could get you back up."
That was the truth. But it was calling her. She had to answer, even if in the most superficial manner. And that meant taking a risk.
Hefting a long piece of protruding frame way out of her way, she began to lower herself into the hole.
Deshel's alarmed voice echoed under the ship's hull as he rushed to secure her line, "Pree, stop!"
"I won't be long. I'll be right back." Priyanka replied, engaging the exoframe's lights and descending into the pit.
Within moments she was wrapped in cold darkness and an unsettling quiet.
Surrounding her were the remnants of eras and centuries long gone; the moments of their existence etched into them with indelible finality.
Their skins and skeletons, encrusted in creeping rust, slowly faded to twilight like the evening sky.
Priyanka twisted both herself and the discarded past to work her way ever downward.
Every couple of meters, she killed her lights to confirm the flashing beacon had not been a trick of light or phantom of their imaginations.
It remained steady.
She moved from wreckage to ruin, careful not to catch her line on anything that would hinder her ascent later.
Though careful about placing too much weight on anything, she watched and silently cursed herself as the odd part fell away now and then.
Eventually, she reached a small, level plateau of ship and looked up.
Though she could not see him for all the junk in the way, she imagined Deshel was peering back down at her.
"You alright, boss?" The man's voice came over the comm system,
Speak of the devil, she thought as she answered, "Yes, I'm good."
"Promise me you'll come back up soon. We've got to get out of here... if we want to make it out before the ScrapHounds find us."
The latter had been entreaty. Now that they were actually approaching possible evidence of Il'on's existence, Deshel was again ill at ease.
She didn't blame him. The conflict on the bridge had killed the thrill that normally came over her when they discovered their target.
Taking a quick breath, she let out audibly and continued her descent. She had to focus. She could worry about Deshel's misgivings later.
Preferably after they had Il'on's braincase.