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Cyrus Del-Shir stood facing the blast doors, deep in concentration. Around him, the starship Integrity roared with the cacophony of battle, though it was reduced to a distant echo in his trance. Cyrus’ focus was purely on himself, drawing out his inner reserves of energy, and forcing them out through his palms. The result was a slow but continuous stream of force, steadily tearing through the Yvartech metal aperture. He willed the reserves of potential within him to surge, just as the power culminated in a final blast. The resultant explosion of psionic energy and molecularly reinforced steel sent Cyrus stumbling back, with shrapnel tearing lines through his robes. Ignoring his injuries, he stepped forward and through the remains of the blast doors.

The guards positioned on the inside of the vault were ill-prepared for a psionic intruder. The explosion had killed a majority of the dozen soldiers stationed inside, with a particularly gruesome cadaver laid out in front of him. The chitinous corpse of the Rynok had a large shard of the former blast door embedded in it’s torso. He stepped over it, focusing his gaze upon the three remaining soldiers. His eyes fixated upon the human, who’s unbalanced stance belied his inexperience. The Gauss pistol in his hands shook as he aimed it towards Cyrus. Finding another Human so far from Sol was rare, and one without any visible mutations even rarer. He reached out with his mind, grasping at the guards with imperial command.

“Kindly aim your weapons at each other, and shoot.” Cyrus said, adding a verbal impetus to the grip he had on their psyches.

Two of the guards, both Rynoks, slowly turned to face each other, grimacing as they attempted to resist the mental intrusion compelling their weapons to take aim. The resistance was futile, and all it took was another mental urge for them to snap the triggers back, launching the magnetically propelled payload into each other’s heads. Their exoskeleton was tough, but pathetic compared to the destructive potential of a fully charged Gauss-class weapon. Both dropped dead to the floor in unison.

The Human stood aghast, apparently still lucid enough to understand what was happening. His own weapon had since been aimed at one of the Rynoks now dead. Cyrus turned his full attention to him, wondering why the human had been able to resist for so long.

“Aim your weapon at your head and pull the trigger.” He said, this time more forcefully.

The Human struggled for a second. Then another. His hand was moving his pistol up to his temple, but it was sluggish, and he kept his eyes fixed on Cyrus’. The glare he was giving was electric, and Cyrus felt a slight tingle spreading across his nervous system. His eyes opened wide as he realized what the Human was doing. Another psionic.

Cyrus channelled the last of his emptying psychic reserves into a final mental assault.

“Fall. Asleep.” He said, biting out the words as his head filled with the synaptic static of overexertion.

The Human gave one last glare, before his eyes slowly rolled up in his head and he fell to the ground, soundly unconscious. Cyrus let out a sigh, as he fell to his knees. Never had he fought against such prodigious psionic power before, especially against another human. Picking himself back up slowly, he realized the sounds of battle had dimmed, to be replaced by the sounds of marching feet.

“Boss, are you alright?” Came a scratchy voice. Running down the hall was an 8-foot tall Artock, Cyrus’ right-hand man. He rushed over to help Cyrus up, who was still clutching his numb head.

“Yes, yes. I’m fine Nobo, thank you. We got what we came for.” Cyrus replied, his voice hoarse. He gestured with his hand weakly, shifting Nobo’s focus to the vast wealth lined up on the walls of the vault. More important, however, was the large brass box resting on the center shelf.

“Grab what you can before the Hegemony gets here. And that human there, take him to the medical bay. The Oblivion-” Cyrus tried to command his body to speak further, but he was spent. Despite his objections, he was clearly not fine. Cyrus collapsed again, only to be caught deftly in Nobo’s arms.

“You lot heard the boss. Plunder what you can; I’ll be taking the boss and this fella back to meds.” Nobo barked out. Picking up the other human, he slung both over his broad shoulders and began making a hurried pace back to the Oblivion.


-----

 

“Kindly wake yourself.”

“Boss, I think you broke his brain.”

“I hope not. He showed significant potential back on the Integrity.”

“He’s not showing any potential now.”

“Yes, well, leave that to me. You should go check on the pilots; let me know when we’re ready to exit the Triad.”

“Sounds good, Boss.”

Art could hear voices talking, the echoes of their conversation floating around his stunned mind. It took all his effort to focus on those voices, but even then, they meant nothing. His brain was filled with static, and a constant voice echoing a singular command.

‘Fall Asleep’

His body was asleep as far as he could tell, but the last vestiges of his conscious mind kept fighting the command.

“Kindly wake up.” Came the smooth voice, as if from lightyears away. It began to echo through his mind again, overpowering the previous command. Suddenly he felt an influx of energy. It was as if his soul had been filled with the fusion of a star. His eyes shot open, his body jerking to alertness. He took in a deep gasp, and for the first time in what felt like eternity, he had a single coherent thought.

Damn.

He took a few seconds to adjust to the foreign setting. Looming above him was a man draped in purple cloth, a gold patch emblazoned over his heart. It took him a few seconds to realize the man above him was human, albeit with rather prominent horns. They curved in spirals like an Old Earth ram. Another few seconds, and Art realized this was the same man who had killed his fellow guards.

He moved his hands up to grab his captor, only to find that they were restrained to his sides. Craning his neck forward, he saw the glow of plasma chains around his waist and legs. With a resigned sigh, he let his head drop back to the surprisingly plush pillow.

“Are you capable of speech?” Said the voice, like silk, with an accent he didn’t quite recognize.

“Why am I still alive?” Art said flatly. The horned man gave him a hard slap across the face

"Not like that, knave. Are you capable of deep speech?” Came the man’s voice, and Art suddenly realized that his captor hadn’t opened his mouth to speak. The voice was directly projecting itself into his head. It took him a while to overcome that revelation, all the while the horned man watched impassively.

“No, no I can’t do that.” He said finally, trepidatious. His captor was clearly a psionic, and a powerful one at that. He recalled the events that transpired upon the Integrity and involuntarily shuddered. Art had never met one in person, though the ruling family of Callisto was rumored to posses the gift.

“So you remain latent then. Not an issue, we have our own lumen room aboard the Oblivion. Would you kindly join me?” The horned man turned around to walk away, as the plasma chains dimmed their lights and unlatched.

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