Living Vessel #6

Vineling Number 6 Living Vessel

Outer Perimeter Near Paladin IV Solar System



Arabella Thorne sat huddled in the middle of the star chamber beneath arches nearly twenty meters above the porcelain-like smooth-stoned floor. It wasn’t hard to feel alone in this room, and she didn’t waste any time in procuring that hardly-elusive feeling.

In truth, she came here to try to evade it, but the gradual tugging of its power always dragged her back to that place of isolation. It didn’t matter how many times she generated the star map, how many times she simulated arrival at any one of a thousand civilized planets; she would always be alone.

Perhaps it was that always-chilled floor; perhaps it was the vast emptiness beyond the walls of the vineling; perhaps it was the crushing silence permeating every atom of that room. Perhaps it was the fact that her voice alone could cut through the oppressive roar of noiselessness; that only her heat’s wake could convince the dead floor to radiate with any symptom of life; that her spatial presence was the only breathing resident currently occupying any portion of the barren vacuum around her.

In spite of all that, her young age prevented her from taking control of her vessel the way an adult or even adolescent could, so, although she initiated all sorts of engine-generation protocols, nothing in the vineling seemed to respond significantly to her wishes. Thus, she was stuck drifting through space, seemingly indefinitely.

External sensors went off inside of her head, and she focused her vision on the contents of her deep space lenses set outside of the vineling’s bark hull. There was a bright flash of light—a flash which nearly matched a star’s—in the vicinity of one of her habitually-observed worlds.

What were those humans up to now, she wondered?

They—those inexhaustible humans on their civilized planets, always killing one another; they—those beings always living together and always doing stuff; they—those free beings outside her vineling prison, living and breathing and interacting as if the whole universe were at their feet: and she, the child waif, waiting in her cage which she, by all rights, ought to be able to command, and so to join in their harmonious albeit dangerous lives.

If she were old enough, she would go and at least see what they were up to. Deep space lenses only went so far, however. Resolution was always snowy, at best. She was always wondering what kind of specific stuff they were doing—besides killing each other.

That much she could see plainly. In fact, she had seen more violent interactions than any other. But surely they were more than warpath and destruction. Surely it was her disconnected position in the galaxy which disable her from viewing the more peaceful parts of their lives.

Her vineling had a special store of knowledge—a tiny bit of knowledge which Arabella had thoroughly digested: basic human language—although there were many languages, there was a common language which nearly everyone could speak; basic human anatomy and physical need; basic societal structures, historical and contemporary; basic political appendages, including interplanetary negotiations between many different political entities consisting of both violent and nonviolent methodologies; and, lastly, common knowledge, up to the point where the last bit of information had been drank by the vineling via direct communication from the human species–which was quite a long time ago, considering.

It was just and only because of this advantage of hers that she was able to discern a few faint white words written along the side of a metal vessel presently stationed near a planet called “De Valtos Prime.”

“The Pin-ing Bliz-zard,” she said, sounding them out with not a little difficulty.

What in Perun could that mean?

On the far side of the metal human vessel was a Perunite living vessel—one a hundred times larger than her own. She wondered if it might be her cousin, or perhaps one of her older sisters or brothers. Whatever the case, the human vessel suddenly lit up in bright coruscating light on all sides, sending thousands of lances toward the living vessel.

This was, what? War?

The lances pounded against the side of the living vessel, but they could not penetrate the thick bark-like armor of the Perunite. The living vessel did not make any attempt to reimburse the attack.

She thought it odd that a human vessel might bring its “war” upon a living vessel. She wondered what her kin could have done to deserve such animosity. Were they not all members of the royal family? Were they not the protectors of the stars? And, were they not completely separate entities which served entirely alternate purpose in the grand destiny of life?

What had Perunites to do with humans—and vice versa?

She thought, excitedly, that there was something glorious about war, about displayed power. Sure, it seemed cruel and vulgar, but there was something about watching the power of the human race at work.

Wasn’t that a horrible thought to have?

She wanted to get a closer look, wished she could get a closer look so desperately. The living vessel seemed to understand her command, but, whatever the reason, her command was unattainable. She bit her lip and clenched up her whole body, shaking with the fury of unanswered desire.

Why was it that, at the time she really wanted to move, she couldn’t move? She wanted to move now more than she had ever wanted to move before. She had never ever ever seen a Perunite living vessel interact with a human vessel before in this fashion.

The living vessel swung around and absorbed volley after volley of pounding and incinerating light lances sent by the human “Pin-ning Bliz-zard,” and although there were many scorch marks all along its surface, it didn’t seem to have been significantly injured by the attacks. At least, not outwardly.

The human vessel and the living vessel circled one another, starboard to starboard, and a brief moment of darkness seemed to allow the emptiness of space to breathe for a moment before it was the living vessel’s turn to reprimand its attackers.

The living vessel opened fire—lances of similar radiating color tearing across space to streak against the side of the human vessel. It quaked visibly at the assault, but the thick metal protection procured by the humans seemed more than enough to stop the bright lances.

Both the human and living vessels opened fire at the same time, this time, and it seemed to be more of a light show than any kind of real battle. It felt so much more magical, like a dance, than anything less innocent.

For a brief moment, Arabella thought that they were putting on a show just for her enjoyment. The humans and Perunites finally coming together to become one–the dream she had always maintained with abundant adoration since the farthest times her memories could grasp.

But then, at the end of all her captivating imaginations, she realized something that brought her to her knees with an implacable desire to vomit:

She at last realized the ultimate goal of either vessel–to destroy each other, to kill, to make deceased their opponent.


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