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224 One Chance to Survive

    After noticing the edge of what looked like a safe, hidden behind a drawer, Daniel approached the area, and pulled the piece of furniture away from the wall. It was only then, that he found out that the metallic bar wasn't part of a safe, but was in fact the edge of a glass case which contained the spare key to control the helm.

    With joy beaming from his face, he quickly opened the small glass panel behind which the key was stored, and took it. He then walked out of the cabin, and along with Jerigh and the woman, went back towards the bridge in complete silence.

    Once they reached the bridge, Daniel took the key out of his pocket, and showed it to the woman, which confirmed that it was in fact the right key, by saying "That's it."

    One more time, elation appeared on Daniel's face. Things were finally starting to go well for him. Without thinking too much about it, he walked straight towards the helm, and started to get familiar with the formation, when the woman suddenly interrupted him.

    "What are you doing?" She asked with surprise.

    Daniel looked back at her, and said "I have to change the course. Not by too much, only enough to brush past the isolated planet."

    "You can't do that! We are still tens of millions of kilometers away from it.. Any change in the course will send us drifting through space forever.. Also, you have to add the power to the propulsors in order to change course." Responded the woman animatedly.

    "I am really starting to hate space.." Muttered Daniel in annoyance. He then gave up on operating the formation, and approached the sound formation instead. Each different formation within the bridge had a differently-shaped keyhole which was needed to be operated, but the announcement formation was different.. It had multiple keyholes, and one was rhombus-shaped, just like the one that was needed to operate the helm.

    "Once you insert the key, everything you say will resound through the whole ship.." Said the woman hesitantly. She then turned pensive for a moment, and asked "Are you sure about that? Who knows how these monsters will react.."

    "Well, there is nothing much that we can do now.." Responded Daniel before pressing the rhombus-shaped key into the keyhole, and..

    "This is Dan Hiel speaking. I am one of the passengers of this ship, and I have something important to communicate. This ship has been invaded by a sort of sickness, parasite, or disease, which is turning the people it kills into mindless monsters. DO NOT leave your rooms, and if you do, be aware that while these monsters are blind, they are attracted by sound and immortal essence! I REPEAT! Keep the sounds to a minimum, and your immortal essence in your bodies.."

    Through the entire ship, Daniel's voice was being transmitted loudly. The many people that were still busy cultivating had now been interrupted, and were listening carefully to the message. Some did not believe it at first, but were quick to change their minds after taking a peek at the scenery that played out in the corridors right in front of their cabins.

    The monsters were going out of their mind. They were dashing through the corridors like crazed beasts, constantly bumping against each other, and scaring the passengers like they had never been scared before.

    "Do not attempt to look for a member of the crew. I am transmitting to you from the bridge, and I assure to you that there is no one left to ask to. If you want to survive, you have to do exactly what I tell you. You have only one chance to escape.. Fail, and you will likely die on this ship.."

    -----

    Four Days earlier

    After witnessing to the death of the entire ship's crew, Der and the two girls had started to make their way back towards the passenger's cabins where Der though he could have finally reunited with Daniel and Jerigh. The path which the older of the two sisters had suggested, since they couldn't go back from the water tanks room, was the inverse path that his companions would take just a few days later.

    From the officer's cabins, they had reached the exchange halls, and while they had arrived early enough to see a few monsters still in the area, they had also noticed that these monsters were slowly walking out of it, and moving towards the same direction in a large group.

    Naturally, Der did not fail to notice that something was odd about their behaviour.

    Along with the two girls, he followed the monsters through the arena of discussions, the training grounds, the exposition booths, and finally, the exchange station.. Witnessing as the group became larger and larger the more room they went through.

    Just as the three of them were about to follow the massive group of monsters out of the corridors, and into the reception area.. Der stopped right before the turn, and peeked at what was happening by pushing his head past the corridor.

    At that moment, hundreds of monsters were pacing aimlessly in the reception.

    The monster's behaviour was weird, but what shocked Der the most, was not the fact that the monsters had regrouped in the hall and were staying there instead of hunting for prey.. But that there was a human in their midst.

    This human was a relatively young man, probably in his late twenties. His long black hair flowed down his shoulders like filaments of obsidian, and his eyes emanated a bright red light. He was wearing tightly fitting elegant robes, which showed a peculiar pattern which seemed to indicate a rough bloody sea.

    For as odd as this person appeared, the most shocking detail, was the fact that he was not hiding, or walking slowly from one side of the room to the other. Instead, he was sitting comfortably while looking at the massive window that allowed a view of the infinite universe.

    Around him, the monsters walked aimlessly, almost ignoring the fact that he was humming a song quite loudly.

    As if contributing to making the whole picture even stranger, this young man was playing around with what looked like a black fist-sized rock. He was just throwing it high up on the sky, then watch as it landed back on his palm.

    This went on for a few seconds.. Before he finally stopped, pushed his face closer to the rock, and took a deep breath at just a few centimeters of distance from it. It looked almost as if he was smelling it.

    Nothing happened as a consequence of the young man's action.. Or so was what Der thought. Just as Der was starting to formulate his own assumptions, the rock started to vibrate, and right after that, its uneven surface suddenly cracked, and the rock started to move unnaturally.

    As if coming alive, the black rock turned into what appeared to be a huge and disgusting insect, with hundreds of small bony legs. It did nothing, except for moving on the young man's palm.. Almost happily.

    A weirdly affectionate expression appeared on the young man's face, which smiled sweetly at the insect before opening his mouth, and pushing his tongue fully out. He then moved the hand where the insect was resting right in front of his opened mouth, and let the insect crawl over his tongue.

    Once above the man's tongue, the insect made himself comfortable, as the man put his tongue right back into his mouth, and swallowed the insect whole.

    After swallowing the insect, the young man stood up from the chair he was sitting on, and walked out of the reception area. He didn't bother with trying to avoid making any sound, as none of them would ever attract the attention of the hundreds of monsters around him.

    "I smeeeeeeell youuuu.." Said a now distant voice.

    This voice was low pitched and honeyed, which when heard while surrounded by blood and pieces of flesh, gave Der a creepy feeling. This voice belonged, of course, to the young man.

    Der did not wait to see if the young man was talking to him, and instead, he grabbed the two girls and dashed inside one of the opened rooms. He could feel from the young man's voice how powerful he was.. And he certainly wasn't any weaker than the strongest monsters he had seen so far.

    For a moment, Der thought that this young man could order these monsters around, but after thinking carefully about what he had seen, he quickly realized that these monsters simply ignored him. It was as if he was one of them.

    -----

    Back to the present

    ".. Fail, and you will likely die on this ship!" Said Daniel while talking into the sound formation, and giving instructions to the passengers that were still alive.

    "The course hasn't been changed, and we will still reach the isolated planet within a month. Now, you have two options. Either hide until then, or if you are confident enough in your stealth abilities, move now. I repeat, reach the deck if you want to survive. DO NOT TRY TO ESCAPE FROM YOUR POCKET DIMENSIONS! There is something wrong with the spatial formation. If you don't believe me, try to force something inside one of your spatial containers. I will repeat this message for the next two weeks, then, I will need to deactivate the announcement formation of the ship along with the internal defenses. From then on out, they monsters will hear the noises through the walls."

    Daniel's plan was simple. He wanted all of the survivors to regroup on the deck, so that they could jump off the boat and out of the barrier. Once outside of the spatial barrier, they could either leave through their own pocket dimensions, or Daniel would let them through his.

    Once alone, he could travel the rest of the way by himself.

    This plan required a few things to work. The first one, was a source of sound distant enough from the deck, which could easily distract the monsters until the end of the month.. Otherwise a single distracted passenger could easily attract the attention of one of the monsters, and that would pretty much assure their death.

    The second one, was for him to make sure that none of the monsters reached his planet of origin. Just one of those monsters, and the entire population of the world would likely go extinct.

    The first problem was easy to solve, as he had the solution right in his hand.. The sound sphere. Unfortunately, there was also a difficult part to this plan. Someone would have to plant the sphere in the bellows of the ship, and activate it.. Therefore attracting all of the monsters within the ship. It was safe to say that that was a suicide mission.

    The second part had another big problem.. He needed to veer of just a few degrees, at just the right moment, and without making any mistakes. A single mistake could take him far enough for him to not be able to see the planet with his naked eye, and therefore risk going in the wrong direction.

    Needless to say, he needed a bit of help.

    -----

    Daniel, Jerigh and the woman spent the next fourteen days within the bridge, and during that time, they transmitted the same message over and over through the entire ship. The reason they did so, was not only to make sure that everybody understood the message, but also to give a helping hand to the people that were reaching the deck, by distracting the monsters.

    After two weeks, Daniel and the others needed to leave.

    Daniel was now standing in front of the sound formation, with his hand placed above the sound sphere, as he had just finished to repeat the the message one last time.

    "Are you sure that breaking this panel will cause the internal formations to collapse?" asked Daniel with clear doubt. He wasn't really experienced with formations, and he couldn't detect or read them too well. All he knew, was that interacting with them would cause a clear effect.

    "Yes. The announcement panel and the defenses of the internal walls are connected. That's how the sound goes through the entire ship. On the other hand, the external shield and the helm are bound to a separate formation which only the captain and the helmsman can control.."

    "Alright.. Well.. hope they listened to us.." muttered Daniel to himself, before grabbing the sound sphere tightly, and saying "..Here goes nothing."
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