(WildStar fan fiction of my OC, Jenny.)
The rusty, antiquated shuttle was shaky in her hands. Or maybe it was merely Jenny’s hands that were shaky. The lush, verdant canopy of Wilderrun filled the cockpit with it’s soft, emerald glow, and Jenny checked her heading. Two miles out.
It has been a year since she had joined the Nebula. A year of blissful freedom and learning how to thrive. A year of searching for any of the Empress’ former crew that had survived Seth’s take-over. Jet had been the one to tip her off to the location of a former deckhand. Codes matching Cole’s has been used at the Exile outpost in the richly forested corner of Olyssia, and the rest had been word of mouth.
Steering the craft down, a small, unassuming cabin in a clearing came into view. As the landing gear found the soft earth she studied the seemingly abandoned building for a moment. It was quaint, cleanly painted with whitewash, and the grass around the building had been trimmed several days past. Could she have gone to the wrong place? No, this had to be it. While much of the near nature had been left untouched the house seemed to her as well-kept as most everything in her friend’s life.
Cole. He had joined the Empress in the hopes of being a weapons specialist. Would have made a damned fine one, too. Two of them had raced bikes together, on occasion been wing-men, and the last she’d seen him Benton was shoving the young man into a one-man escape pod when the mutiny on the Empress had taken a turn for the worst.
Something told her to leave the rented shuttle running. The hatch sliding open, Jenny didn’t bother with the ramp, and hopped the few feet to the ground as the ION engines idled. Habit saw her rest one hand on a pistol as she walked down the worn dirt path, and the distant sounds of insects and birds amidst the jungle canopy brought to mind some long forgotten memory of a peaceful afternoon on good, solid earth. She had to hand it to him. The man really knew a good place when he saw it.
“’ello?” she called, rapping a knock on the plain, windowless front door. There was no response. Frowning she knocked a second, then a third time. He could be sleeping, or gone… or hiding. If it was either of the last two….
Jenny tried the handle to find it unlocked. She swung the door open. No response. Stepping inside her brows rose as seeing the clean, modestly furnished living room. The faint hum coming from the holo-vision set up against the far wall told her it needed fixed, but she tucked the mental note away for later.
“‘ello? Cole?” she called again. The faint scuttle of tiny feet sounded from inside the wall to her right, making her jump a little. Of course the moron would have critter problems. “Oi! Cole, if yer ‘ere, I’ll kick yer ass if ya shoot me, and then get ya a house broke pumera.” She hesitated, a grin turning up her pink lips as she saw several cheap frames holding pictures of the old crew. She was for sure in the right place. “If I’m jus’ talkin’ t’ mahsel –”
A light shuffle sounded from the next sun-lit room, followed by the sound of a ragged voice. “H-Hello? If – if you’re there… augh, Kemos, please h-help.”
Jen’s smirk vanished. Quietly drawing one of her pistols her thumb flipped the safety off. The scuttling of feet sounded again, this time up in the ceiling above her head. “Who’s there? Cole?”
Another labored breath, and the faint clinking of shattered glass reached her ears as Jenny cautiously approached the doorway. “Wha – Jen? Jen is that you?” The voice sounded rough, dry, and though choked with emotion, there was no doubt that it belonged to Cole.
A wave of dread washed over her. Swallowing hard, she chanced to lean into the doorway and peek around the corner. Bile rose in her throat.
Guns lost in one corner, broken glass littered the white kitchen tile. In the middle of the room her friend lay in a pool of blood. A slowly waking, violet mass rippled and rolled along the devoured lower half of the man’s body. Several indigo and royal purple tendrils rose from the floor to creep over one of Cole’s outstretched arms, and a dozen yellow eyes flickered open to fix on the young mechanic.
“Shit, Jenny what are you doing here?” Cole rasped, red-tinted tears welling in his eyes and streaming down pallid cheeks as splayed fingers gripped the floor in a fruitless attempt to drag himself towards her.
What sounded like a groan and the slapping of tentacles echoed from the room beyond the young man.
Jenny choked on a sob, pressing the back of her gloved hand to her mouth as she looked at the torn man and vivid beast that began to shift and coil further around him. “I came to find you – Fuck, Cole –”
His attention no longer on her, Cole’s head half turned to listen to the adjacent room behind him. The sounds of chirping from outside had suddenly stopped, and his eyes opened wide in realization. “No… no, NO, Jenny run!”
Even as the words erupted from his parched lips a shrill shriek tore through the house, followed by a snarling, screeching violet beast that exploded out of the far room. Knocking over a small table and several chairs, the monster’s claws dug into the ceramic floor as it dove for the young woman.
Jenny was already running. Bursting out of the front door she tore down the path towards her waiting aircraft so fast that her body lost feeling and the world lost color. The Strain-beast screamed, closing in from behind. White hot energy filled her hands, and poured into her sidearms. Making a desperate leap into her rented vessel Jenny turned at the last second and fired, the enraged monster’s grasping lunge at her hardly two feet away when the inferno slammed into the deformed face and hurled it back.
She landed hard on the metal grated floor, the wind knocked from her lungs. Forcing herself to move she rolled to the pilot’s seat. Her left arm snagged on something as her other reached out in desperation for the console. More screams rose from beyond the old rental. Pain shooting up her arm, she unhooked herself, slammed her palm the button to close the hatch and threw the engine into full throttle. With a concussive roar the grass and earth and Strain creature behind the ship were incinerated as the vessel took off, fleeing the infected house and the devoured man within.