“Praise God,” he muttered. He then shook his head in dismay. “I never thought I’d praise God for a helmet…”
“No god exists here. They have all abandoned us to slaughter…”
Pokulok whirled around to search for the voice. “Who’s there?” he snapped. He fumbled with his helmet before he slammed it over his head and attached it to his suit.
“Nothing is here,” the masculine voice said in a melancholy tone. “You know that. Why can’t you accept it?”
The MSE switched on the night vision and looked in the direction of the voice. A shape that had the vague silhouette of a large man was curled against the wall in a position more suited for a fetus. Otherwise, it was far too dark to see any features.
Pokulok gazed at the pitiful figure for a few seconds before he decided to ask the man a question. “What’s your name, sir?” he said in a hushed tone.
The man didn’t respond to his inquiry, which served to annoy the younger teen. “Sir?” Pokulok asked in a firmer tone.
The man still did not move and showed no indication that he had even heard the question. Anger surged through the MSE’s blood. This was pointless. Why should he risk his life for these people if they were going to be as useful as a sack of flour? He had no time left to waste; he had put his life and the lives of his Pokemon in danger for this man, and he needed an answer now.
“Sir!” he spat furiously. The man flinched and looked up at him in fear. “Your name. What is it?”
The response was so small and weak that he almost couldn’t hear it. “M-Motris. Giror Motris.”
The MSE raised his eyebrows in response to the name. “Giror…Motris?” he repeated slowly. “Do you happen to be from Orre?”
Motris lowered his head. “I don’t know.” He looked up again. “Who are you? Are you a crewmember?”
The teenager sighed. “My name is Claude Pokulok. I’m an MSE, and I’m going to get you and the rest of the crew out of he-”
“No!” The MSE took a step back from the ferocity of the tone. “They’ll kill us if we try!”
Pokulok held his hands up defensively. “Okay, just calm down for a second. Let’s start from the beginning and tell me who you’re talking about. Is it the Revenant?”
Motris wrung his hands in agitation, although he had thankfully stopped shouting. “I don’t know who they are, man,” he mumbled. “I just know that they’ll kill us.”
The MSE stared in response. “That thing is going to find you in this room either way,” he said, trying to make his voice sound calm. “We can walk out, and if you’re behind me every step of the way, I can promise that nothing will hurt y-”
“No, you don’t know anything, man!” Motris interrupted, rising to his feet. He jabbed a finger at Pokulok’s chest. “You don’t know what they want. They want us, man! They want all of us!”
“Yeah, I know it does. It’s a game to that monster, but I’m not going to do what it wants. If we stick together and-”
“No, you’re wrong, man. They want us. They need us. You don’t know anything, man. Not a ****ing thing.”
“So you’re just going to wait for the monster to come and kill you?” the teenager growled incredulously, trying to stop himself from screaming at the man’s idiocy. “That’s a pathetic way of thinking.” He took a deep breath to cool his temper down. “I intend to get out of here with my Pokemon, and you’re more than welcome to come along. I could definitely use your help to get out of this mess.”
“No, man, we’ll never get out,” Motris said with an air of finality. He sat down and folded his arms over his chest. “You can’t beat them, ma-”
“Goddammit, have you been paying any attention to anything I’ve said?!” Pokulok howled, finally losing his patience. “I don’t give a flying **** about what you think! I put my Pokemon’s lives at risk for you, you pessimistic son of a *****! I left them alone in the hangar of this ****ing ship to save you!”
The man shuddered. “I-I can’t, man,” he said. “The spawn will kill us if we go out…”
“Well, that’s too bad for you,” the MSE snarled, firmly grabbing Motris by the arm. He involuntarily shivered at the icy-cold touch. “We are going out of this room, and there’s not a damned thing you can do about it. I’m in charge of this situation, and we’re getting out of this hellhole alive. You have one of two choices: you can get on your ****ing feet and walk out of here on your own power or I will drag you out myself, even if you’re kicking and screaming. But you will go out of this room, and I will not allow you to impede my progress. Do – I – make – myself – clear?”
After a few seconds, the man quietly nodded. Pokulok then realized that something that Motris had said seemed hauntingly familiar, especially after recalling Harris’ last moments.
“Giror, you said something about the ‘spawn’ killing us,” he said, making sure that his tone wouldn’t provoke the older man further. “What are the spawn?”
Motris glanced from side to side, almost as if he was afraid of a person overhearing the conversation. “Part of them,” he said simply.
The teenager bit his lip in frustration. The information wasn’t nearly good enough to go on, but he knew that if he pushed the man any more than he had, he risked losing him for good.
“Alright,” Pokulok murmured, turning toward Motris. “Now that we have that settled, do you know a way out of this room?”
The older man pointed at a metal door that the MSE had not noticed earlier. An emotion that was eerily similar to paranoia had started to dig its way into his brain, and it took the last bit of his courage to force it down.
“Okay, let’s get out of here,” Pokulok said in resignation. He walked toward the door, opened it, and nearly jumped out of his skin when he saw what was behind it.
He was back in the hangar, and his Pokemon were ten yards away, staring at him in horror.
“Deifir! Faitios!” He rushed over to them and embraced them tightly. “God, you had me worried. Let’s get out of here; I’ve seen enough to last…”
The teenager trailed off when he felt them trembling. He looked into their faces and saw the terror in both of their eyes – terror that was not aimed at him. He didn’t even need to turn around to know that he had been duped by the Revenant again. The pieces – an ungodly mudslide of clues he had missed and hints he had failed to see – had suddenly fallen into place with cruel precision.
I was a fool! It put the name right in front of me, and I still couldn’t see it! Giror Motris…Rigor mortis…
“****,” he muttered despairingly, whirling around and drawing his pistol after hearing an unearthly screech. The entity known as Giror Motris was roaring in agony as its human form slowly dissolved. Its melting eyes met Pokulok’s with a glare of utter loathing as the rest of its body continued its hideous transformation into shadow and tar.
“****!” The MSE raised his pistol and fired at the monster until the magazine had been emptied. However, it didn’t seem to faze the creature. After realizing that he was out of bullets, he fumbled with ejecting the empty clip, wasting too many precious seconds. He made the mistake of looking up and saw that the monster was shambling toward him with surprising speed. He took out a new clip and tried to load it into the pistol. In his terror, it slipped out of his grasp and clattered to the floor.
The teenager let out several obscenities and dove toward his ammo. He managed to snag the magazine with one hand, but the monster had reached him slightly afterward. It grabbed him by the throat with both of its clawed hands and raised him into the air. He thought that it looked up at him, but without its eyes, mouth, or nose, it was almost impossible to truly tell – until its face split into four and bellowed at him, revealing a jumbled mess of distorted facial features behind the mask.
The teenager kicked at it and thrashed around, but nothing seemed to break its grip. He was about to give up hope when he remembered that he still had his gun. He felt a strange sense of calm guide him as he loaded the gun, pulled back the hammer, aimed at the monster’s head, and fired six point-blank shots. It let out a bloodcurdling screech and immediately dropped him while it staggered and fell on its back. It melted through the ground as it hit the floor, leaving nothing behind.
Pokulok lay where he fell and breathed rapidly. He was exhausted beyond measure, but as he remembered his Pokemon, he realized that they needed him to be strong. He rolled onto his stomach and slowly got up, gasping at the effort. He stumbled to their side and immediately fell down again. He looked at them and forced a smile on his face, but it quickly faded when they didn’t return the favor. Instead, Faitios sobbed unashamedly into Deifir’s shoulder, while the normally-confident Absol had a defeated look on his face and didn’t even try to comfort the Skarmory. He felt a pang of sorrow hit him as he realized the enormity of what had just happened.
The Revenant lied. There were no hostages. It turned the crew into monsters like itself…
The MSE was interrupted by the cacophony of familiar laughter. He looked around and noticed the spawn phase through the walls with cruel laughs of their own. His Pokemon let out cries of panic and fled through the door he had come through.
“No, wait!” the teenager shouted, quickly leaping to his feet and giving chase. “Come back!” He ran at the door, but it slammed shut and locked itself on him as if it were possessed. He kicked the door open, walked through, and immediately shut it on the advancing horde.
The scenery had undergone a complete metamorphosis from when he last saw it; it had changed from a tiny room devoid of light to a balcony with a large brightly-lit room below him. Pokulok scanned the room and caught sight of Deifir and Faitios on the lower level, trying to get another door open. He immediately rushed to the edge of the balcony, opening his mouth to yell their names. He never got the chance.
He barely felt the subtle shift of his feet leaving the ground. He couldn’t force a scream out of his throat as he twisted his body to lessen the impact. He didn’t even try to fight off the darkness when he hit the ground. The last thought that came to his mind before he slipped into unconsciousness was that he had failed his mission and his friends.