Chapter 9:

From Tolokai’s Journal - Part 2

The Kitty: From Wives To Wormholes!

I couldn’t help but remember a past memory, on a planet that wasn’t the one I was on; the Hathgora homeworld of Hargoros.

I was in the outskirts of the grand city of Vernak, the iron capital I called home. Metal structures in the distance called to me, but I was here on the outside for a reason, for I was invited to meet someone here. It was hot, everything in Hargoros was, but for us, this was a land of peace. They say the planet was made by the rage goddess herself, though during these days, a part of me questioned the teachings. Maybe I questioned the ways of the Hathgora all my life, but I followed, if only to not have the status quo of my life be disrupted by traitorous beliefs.

Not a single soul in sight, at least not yet. In these fields of stone and large, swirling Aringula plants, unique to Hargoros if the botanists of the capital were to be believed, the outskirts provided a sort of serene atmosphere you could never find in the cities we grew up in.

The molten lava rivers rushed by underneath the stone bridge I stood upon, a bridge where I met her; the love of my lifetime. Her name was Rokshana, my spiritmate; the one for me as if determined by the goddess from the beginning of my existence. She was the one who invited me here, to this special place when we conveyed our affections and made our pact to, some day, be as one with the spirits in joined harmony, but such a day was not today.

After a period of taking in the calming sights of the land beyond me, I heard footsteps to my left. I turned to them and there she was; Rokshana, my love.

“Tolokai…” she said from a distance.

She walked closer, her smaller figure charming me, but her face was of concern. It caused my smile toward her to fade a little.

“Why did you invite me here, Rokshana?” I asked.

As Rokshana finally arrived to my position, she closed her eyes and turned her head toward the sky.

“I love you, Tolokai.”

I blushed at the sudden declaration. “I love you too, but that still—“

“Doesn’t answer your question?”

“Yes. What’s going on? Why the face?”

Rokshana opened her eyes and turned to me. “I’m leaving this place and I want you to come with me.”

The answer felt like a lighting bolt from the goddess, those words surprising me. For the Hathgora, we were bound to our homeworld, only leaving it for conquests. Females stayed behind while the men fight battles in the name of the rage goddess, so Rokshana’s declaration of her intent of leaving Hargoros was unexpected to say the least. It wasn’t her place to leave, but I knew her; she was unlike other women of our kind; brave, headstrong, and a warrior in her own right.

“Why, Rokshana?”

I knew she was serious about it; she didn’t need to explain that she was, rather I didn’t know of her motives. Rokshana stepped toward me and engaged me with an embrace. I embraced her back, but the words following it would feel like treason.

“Because I want to, Tolokai,” Rokshana said calmly.

“But… that would be treason!”

“I know.”

“So then why would you want to go behind the back of our people? Of our ways? Your friends, family, me?”

Rokshana locked her eyes to mine. “Have you ever wanted to explore the stars just for the sake of seeing the broader world out there? Not to kill or conquer, but just to fulfill your curiosity? To see the things you’re missing in this universe we live in?”

“No, I—“ I stopped myself. The more I looked at her stare, the more I was reminded that I loved her. Her expression was so cute, but also of… sadness. Why was she sad? “Okay, maybe on occasion, but Rokshana, I’m a warrior of the goddess. We made a pact to serve the goddess, I can’t just turn my back on it, and neither can you!”

Rokshana closed her eyes, exited the embrace, and turned her back to me. I wasn’t upset, but wondered what had gotten into her.

“I plan to leave for the Tyran System; I heard they have the most beautiful particle storms over their moons during this cycle.” She clenched her fist. “I guess I’ve… just gotten tired of this life we live here, Tolokai. I want to explore the universe, learn what I can never learn here on this world.” She turned to me, a smile on her face, but one weakly held. “Won’t you join me?”

I looked in silence. A part of me wanted to say yes, if only because I loved her, but I already made my birth vows to the goddess; the interest of goddess remained a priority, that and to the interest of the people. I’m a warrior, not an explorer. What I did next was an act of treason in of itself, though I suppose not to the same extent as Rokshana’s.

“I won’t tell anyone you’re leaving, however you plan to do so, Rokshana. I love you enough to keep you alive and conceal your intent, but… I made my vows. The goddess comes first. Hargoros comes first.”

Rokshana’s smile faded and she turned herself away from me once more.

“I see…” She began walking away, but not before saying, “if you ever change your mind, you’ll know where I’ll be. Find me, Tolokai, if the goddess doesn’t smite you first.”

Suffice to say, as I stood on that bridge and saw her figure fade in the distance, I wondered if I should’ve went with her now that I look back on it.


We reached the rally point, but not with welcome arms. The captain was there and he looked angry, which only made me feel more fear, if only because there was now two parties ready to tear our hides.

We stopped our approach as the captain and the rest of our brethren walked toward us.

“Where’s the rest of you?!” shouted the captain.

“We told you! They’re dead! She killed them!”

“A human? You’ve got to be kidding me!”

“It’s the truth!” shouted Moshtok. “Mibrog, Gar’ash, N’arasha, all gone, sir! The human isn’t what she appears to be at all! A powerful forcefield armament! Unforeseen strength! Even her guns defy expectations! She’s gonna kill us if we don’t get out of here!”

“CALM DOWN! Now, if what you say is true, it was foolish to split up! But we still have her outnumbered! We still have her cornered and she doesn’t know it! Pull yourselves together, for the hunt isn’t over yet!”

“B-But she could be anywhere!”

“Yet she is but a mere mortal, as are us. She has her limits, and those limits will buckle under our complete might! Lock and load, brothers!”

“YES, SIR!” shouted the others.

But Moshtok and I did not share their enthusiasm, for our rage was left out in the darkness around us. As we checked our supplies, readied our arms, and took aim into the abyss for which we ran from, I trembled a little. Maybe with our combined efforts, the woman whom had slaughtered a good portion of us will finally meet her end, but at what cost would it take to do so? Will I even live to see such an outcome? Or does fate have its own plans for me and my brothers?

Whatever “honor” I had with the goddess, with our way of life, was dwindling by, moment by moment. I was losing myself over a single human’s wrath.

Into position I went, carrying excess supplies with me, covering the center alongside the captain and Beta squad, Moshtok to the left flank with half of Omega squad, the other half covering the right, all of us taking cover behind the pillars. We aimed, practically squinting our eyes at the first sign of the human.

The plan was to be relatively simple. Center would provide suppression upon sight of the enemy, and while that happened, both flanks would approach the target in a pincer tactic, around her shield, trapping her for the kill.

Silence. Heartbeats were afire within our chests, but for different reasons. For them, it was revenge; but for me, and likely Moshtok as well, it was… cowardice. We wanted to run, but with our ways, our bloodpact to the Kalsanian, what was there to do if I were to run now? I’d be shot down if I did run, for it was not in us to betray the goddess and the trust of my brothers.

The tense silence grew ever more; it felt like the human was staring at us with eyes we could not see. I gulped, my heart going off stronger and stronger.

“It’s too dark,” the captain stated. “Tolokai, throw a flare.”

Reaching into the supply bag, there was a series of unused flares at the bottom, organized somewhat neatly with the Cryptinium ammo reserves and explosives. I grabbed a flare, and activated it with its biometric, squeeze-controlled mechanism. It shone it’s highly bright light in front of my eyes, nearly blinding to my sight. I threw it in the frontal vicinity of our position. It flew above in an arc trajectory, heading gradually downward, but without hitting the ground, it wasn’t surprising what the light would unravel. The darkness was her haven and that haven was about to be exposed as, from that darkness… there she was.

Standing, with eyes of madness, empty, possessing nothing but hatred towards us. In that moment of exposure, she was fearless where we were cautious, maybe too cautious. We hesitated in that moment, long enough to witness her stare. The stare was directed, not to me, not to my brothers particularly, but sure enough, to our captain, for he stared at her right back with fury.

“SUPPRESSION!” shouted the captain.

As if instinct took over, our fingers pulled their triggers, again and again. The rifles fired, the Cryptinium rounds blasting from the barrels. BOOM! BOOM! BOOM! BOOM! BOOM! The bursts were almost in slow-motion in our adrenaline-fueled minds, heading toward the target for the act of suppression; it was the plan.

But it seems destiny gave us a sly wink. It was expected— no, it was assured the human would, indeed, try the same trick she pulled previously; forcefield hat in hand, shields up, then the pincer squads would roll in and take her out. Yes, that was the plan, but the plan would backfire, but in a way that was never anticipated at all.

An animal, any animal, would defend themselves; save their own lives. It is logical, it is natural, it is inevitable. But something peculiar happened, something… illogical happened. The human just stood there, motionless and ever fearless until, suddenly, a round met its target; her right shoulder. It sent her body shifting backwards, twisting to the right. Then another round hit; her left hand. Another hit; the right leg, causing her to kneel over. Another hit; her chest, causing her to convulse inward and her head rocking forward from the force. Another hit, then another, then another. Another, another, another, another.

We kept firing, mindlessly, but a part of my brain found this strange, highly strange. She just took the damage, the pain, all of it, to the point where she was now on the ground, taking more and more and more punishment from our hail. Was she killed? No, it can’t be. It shouldn’t have been so easy.

This human was now a corpse? Her only movement was from our rounds hitting her one after another. She was bleeding, but we were at such a distance that we could not make out its color, texture, or formation. We… killed her?


At once, we stopped firing upon the now dead woman, as was the order of the captain. The gunshots echoed, as if spirits pervaded the chamber, before stilling after a moment of disbelief for me, yet the happiness of the others. The flare that illuminated the human grew dim before, at last, tiring out as if the human’s soul and it were connected.

“We… did it?” a brother uttered softly. It was Potak of Beta Squad. The captain simply looked in silence, ever serious, as my brothers let out a celebratory roar, even on comms. I, however, did not join them, if only due to the fact that it shouldn’t have been so easy, something I assumed the captain thought as well.





Before the enthusiasm could continue to fester…

“SILENCE!” the captain roared. It broke the noise and, in a flash, he had all eyes. “We still need positive I.D. of the target, men! Move up on her location, carefully!”

The captain had the right idea. The others doubted anything less than a sure victory, clearly, as their expressions indicated with irritation. ‘It’s not over?’ they probably thought to themselves. Alas, it was time for all of us to head toward the now dead human woman.

Slowly we approached, torches on alert, yet the only one of us who showed any concern was me, Moshtok, and the captain. The others were confused as to why we would use such caution on the dead. Step by step, the location of the human became closer. Step by step, our hunt would be over. Step by step, I would see my Rokshana again and leave this operation behind me; leave Hargoros behind me, for I intended to fly to the Tyran System this whole time. I had thought of it on my way here. I missed her; I missed Rokshana. Yes, now you know: I wanted to commit treason. And after all this? I wouldn’t regret it if she were by my side.


As we approached the position of the woman’s body, a scent gradually revealed itself to our senses, beyond our masks; an unusual smell of sourness. We assumed it was her, on the ground, lifeless, though such decay is too soon. It smelled like nothing I’d ever encountered on a battlefield. Sour, almost oily scented. Corpses don’t decay to such a noticeable degree in a matter of a few minutes, nor have they ever smelled like this from any species we’ve fought.

The lights of our torches lit the way to her, or rather where she should be. The smell grew ever potent, to the extent it started bothering us visibly.

“What is this… stench?” Moshtok asked. There was no answer to communicate, for the answer would show itself within the next few seconds. A peek of something peculiar: The edge of a puddle, the source of the sour stench; the location where our prey should be.

More and more, it came into focus. Golden liquid stained the ground where the woman should’ve been, followed by a trail of drops going East of the chamber. Was this… blood? It took a moment to process this, for it was strange to see, if not a little frightening knowing our prey was still on the move somehow. Little did we know that no one was more on edge about this reveal than the captain, who seemingly tightened the grip of his rifle, and widened his eyes like a puzzle was solved, something we did not share at all.

“Men…” the captain uttered. “Circle formation, now!”

We didn’t bother questioning this decision as we formed a circle-like formation to cover our bases. We aimed, at the ready.

“At first sight, fire.”

All around, the woman, who seemingly was brought back from supposed death, felt like a phantom haunting us. My finger was loose on the trigger, my knees slightly trembling, I was panting. Any moment could mean our demise as much as any hope of victory.

Tick, tock, the seconds grew on. Where was she in this darkness now? Who was next?

The answer finally came when Moshtok, my only remaining squadmate, suddenly collapsed and hit the floor with a crash. There was a bang from the dark, from long range, hitting him in the head for an instant death. The others could only stare at his corpse in bewilderment, if only because it happened so quick. The captain roared.

“FIRE EAST!” He pointed toward the East of the chamber.

His order snapped us back to the reality in front of us and we fired toward the East, toward the abyss ahead. No human in sight; it was as if she was the abyss itself.

“CEASE FIRE!” We stopped firing immediately. “AMMO CHECK!”

“Half mag left!”

“Same here!”


My rifle was nearly empty, so I proceeded to reload. It was a brash decision for the captain to make, firing blindly into the dark like that. But as I glanced at him, he was panting, eyes wide, even… sweating? The first time I’ve seen such a sight from someone like him. He was spooked like the rest of us, maybe for the first time in a long time. Was he not thinking straight? His attention was then redirected toward the golden liquid on the ground, or rather the trail in its wake.

“Maneuver toward the East,” the captain ordered. “Follow the golden trail, aim at the ready.”

Once more we cautiously moved through the dark, rifles aiming all around, with only this possible blood trail being our only guide. There was no time to mourn Moshtok; it wouldn’t help us, and were we growing weary. We had to keep moving— to keep hunting. I didn’t even want to look at his corpse, for my focus was on my own survival.


After a while of shuffling through this darkness, it began; the shadow images, the sound of laughter radiating the mind, the tingling feeling on our spines. With only the torches to light the way, the mind played its tricks as we continued to follow the trail. On and on, it continually built a sort of energy in our hearts that wouldn’t dissipate. The blood pact was important, sure, but to when is there a limit if any limit exists at all?

Eventually, the golden drops of her blood began to run duller and less frequent, until it stopped altogether. We stopped our march as our captain inspected the final drop of golden blood, kneeling down, touched it with a finger, and smelled its sour odor like some beast.

“Why did you… smell the blood, captain?” I asked curiously.

“Because we wounded her, Tolokai. The visual trail ends here, but this golden blood’s potent odor lingers. She is around here, hiding like the lowly pest she is.”

“You still… smell her?”

“This isn’t the first time I’ve encountered this blood. That being said, I’m afraid we are in the worst case scenario.” He turned to the rest of us. “Keep an eye out, all of you!”

Then suddenly…

“This was supposed to be a simple job…”

We froze in our tracks. A voice, echoing from somewhere! None of our voices, but of the human. We anticipated her appearance.

“SHOW YOURSELF!” The captain roared in the air.

“So you can kill me? To be one your statistics or, worse, your trophy on this campaign of yours?! Pawns of that energy-emitting swindler pulling your strings?!”

Her voice, which was controlled and dry before, was of madness now.

“We’d be doing this system a favor by killing you, demon!”

“Me the demon? Hilarious and sad! You killed and killed so many around these parts, so what difference does it make that I do the same to you? You’re the demons here, and you’ve gotten me all excited to take you down! It will be quick if you let it!”


The human laughed vigorously. “The only trapped animals here are you cultish morons! If you wish to face me, I can grant that wish! I just hope you learn to be more careful of what you wish for in Hell!”

Suddenly, in the field of my vision, an object sprung forth from the darkness to the North, hovering in the distance at rapid speed. It was tiny drone, silent and getting near; its implications were obvious.

“DRONE IN MY SIGHT!” I yelled.

Ilok, Beta squad’s sharpshooter, came up and pushed me aside.

“I got this!” he insisted as he aimed at the drone flying in. Steadying his rifle, he pulled the trigger. In that instance, the drone blew up into large cloud of smoke that rushed forth, covering us and the surrounding vicinity with blinding particles when, combined with the darkness, made the act of determining our position even harder than it already was. Our torches could only light the smoke around us. Where were we now?

“DON’T COWER!” yelled the captain. “Rifles at the ready! She’s about to attack! Find a pillar!”

We scattered to find nearest pillar within the smoke posthaste, not knowing where she was positioned, let alone where we were. There wasn’t a tactic now, just take cover and hope we get a shot at this human for whenever she should appear. Colliding with one of the many pillars in this area, I readied my rifle. The smoke persisted, the others were nowhere to be seen, probably as she planned. We weren’t in control of this battlefield from the start.

“Any visual?!”


“We’re trapped!”

“What do we do?!”


But we were cowering. The target was completely allusive to us all. As I stood against this pillar, I couldn’t help but feel the human was an all-seeing entity, with a vision that defied the smoke around us, witnessing our cowardice with fascination, thinking about how to strike next. Each second was a deathtrap, the ticking of the clock spelling our next victim’s name in blood. We find her or she finds us, which is exactly what happened to Beta squad in the next moment when a bang blew out in the distance at my 7; an event none of us could see except for them.

“SHE’S HERE,” panicked Ilok on comms. “‘POTAK S DOWN! I REPEAT, POTAK IS—“

Another bang rung through the air as Ilok fell silent.

“Ilok?!” the captain yelled on comms. “ILOK!”

“WE ARE ENGAGING THE HUMAN!” It was Beta’s leader, Gan’dir. With Ilok and Potak gone, it was him, Xaza, and Kondor left. With the captain and Omega somewhere else in the ever unending smoke and me by my lonesome; they were easy prey to this… thing.

A firefight sprung out of its cage. Blips of light, from what was presumed to be rifle fire, could be seen in the distance within the smoky mist, but who was it from really? Them or her?

“Beta, we see lights in the distance!” said the captain. “Pop a flare if that’s you!”

“Roger! Popping flare!”

Pretty soon, a ball of light shot out above where the blips were seen, confirming that they belonged to Beta squad. With that signal, there was one thing we had to do.

“All units, move in to Beta squad’s position and reinforce their offensive now! EVEN YOU TOLOKAI!”

I said nothing as a began sprinting toward brightly lit area ahead of me. As I panted, my four lungs began to ache like mad from the smoke inhalation, though I tried to tough it out.

The pillars, at least the ones I could make out, made for my only cover as I ran to Beta’s position, hopeful to come across the captain and Omega along the way. As the flare slowly died down…

“XAZA IS GONE!” Gan’dir loudly announced on comms.

I gritted my fangs. Time was running down for Beta squad as their silhouettes gradually came into focus in the fog, the blips of light coming and going with the sound of their rifles. Soon, it became clear that they were situated near more pillars, likely using them as cover.


I was nearly there; they were in sight.

“I’m here!” I announced.

“TAKE COVER, TOLOKAI!” Kondor warned.

I sprinted to the nearest pillar without hesitation, still unsure of where she was. The smoke soon showed the bodies themselves. Ilok simply laid limp to his side, death by multiple chest wounds. Next to a pillar was Potak’s corpse which fared a little better; a clean headshot. Xaza, however, had it worst; another headshot, except this one took off half his head off.

I tried not to look at the matter that was coming out of his now exposed skull. To my left, Gan’dir and Kondor were firing their rifles behind cover, likely at the woman. I peeked my head around the corner of the pillar and, as the smoke unraveled, I saw her once more.

It was deja vu. In the middle of my vision, there she was, moving toward them, the forcefield of her hat was engaged, and in her right hand, was a revolver firing rapidly at the two with seemingly no end. It was an advantage of fusion-based armaments that they last a while on a single charge, so she didn’t seem too concerned about ammo conservation as we were.

I turned to Gan’dir and Kondor, firing back at her to no real effect, only slowing her advance with each hit to the field.

Gan’dir turned to my direction and shouted, “WHERE ARE THE OTHERS?”



The comms buzzed. “WE’RE ALMOST THERE!” the captain yelled on comms.



It was Delta and Alpha all over again, everyone thinking they could take her down, only to meet a force too overwhelming for a small battalion like ours. I felt like we needed an army at this point, but who was I to question the captain and his anger; he wanted blood no matter what.

Wasn’t long before figures popped out from the smoke to our 6 o’clock; it was them. She noticed them too and redirected her fire toward the captain and his Omega squad.


With Omega squad finally in the mixer, Gan’dir and Kondor exited cover while shooting their rifles at the field, grouping up as instructed. Following suit, I felt like we had a better shot than before as I began to move myself into the rest of the firing squad.

Shooting upon the forcefield shield with whatever we had, the woman slowed her approach, frustrated, her expression visible as the smoke cleared further and further. The tactic was a simple one: Continuous fire; unyielding punishment. It was our first priority. Those who needed to reload were covered by those who didn’t, and when they needed to reload, we covered them. A team effort of movement and suppression.

Yet the shield held strong. It didn’t seem like any other portable forcefield we’ve encountered before. She crept closer to us as we crept closer to her, the woman stopping on the occasion that she wanted to pop a shot in like an unstoppable force going against another unstoppable force; a firing squad versus a single predator-like fiend who refused to give up.

It was a frustrating endeavor that needed a turning point. That turning point would show itself.


Kondor’s armor, which had an integrated satchel, slid open as he reached inside and pulled out something I never expected. In his hand was an Axidoom micro-nuclear thermal charge, bulbous, grey, shiny on the trims.

Manufactured by Axidoom Armaments and subsequently banned from galaxia battlefields via the Martyrdom Accords, an Axidoom micro-nuclear armament were commonly used for tactical destruction of terrain or structures on a ground-level basis.

However, cheap to manufacture and in large quantities as a result, they were quickly exploited to the point of being tossed around like cheap food. After agreeing by the United Galaxia Coalition that such weapons of high exploitation were too dangerous to be wielded by your average soldier, not to mention the civilian casualties in their wake, they were officially prohibited and were to be offloaded and disposed of.

It made the question of where Kondor got such a weapon more pressing. Even the human, who up to this point had remained maddened towards us, seemed to have gasped a little at the sight of such a weapon.



Tapping a button on the charge’s hull with a finger, the thermal charge blinked rapidly in red and squealed in a high-pitch, surely announcing that wherever it landed was about to, by all means, became a highly roasted, locally radiated death-zone.

Kondor swiftly threw the thermal charge with aggression. Flung at such a speed that we could barely track the blinking light. Its trajectory aimed right toward the woman like a bullseye. Mid-flight, the blinking red death bomb seemed to assure our victory, if only she didn’t aim directly at it while it was hurling towards her.

See, we could barely track it, but it seems she could. Her eyes ceased their madness and turned into that of intense focus. Moving her right arm, she aimed her revolver at the thermal charge, thinking about doing what, surely, was a long shot. No way a human’s aim, no matter how experienced, could land a shot on such a minuscule target moving at such a speed.

The blinking red micro-nuke was halfway toward its target now. The woman squinted, her finger on the trigger. With a squeeze, something remarkable would happen. With a squeeze, this battle— this long protracted battle between us and a single human, would be finalized at last.

She squeezed the trigger and let out a shot from her revolver.

The next moment I could barely fathom, at the time and even now. All I know was that it was extremely violent and loud. The charge, which had been squealing and blinking, was suddenly gone, replaced by an explosion.

Lighting up the entire chamber in bright light, the force burst out from the nuclear charge. I felt… no, we felt the force of this explosion as it swept us off our feet with thunderous power. Backwards we flew, and the pillars in the vicinity of the explosion were torn apart, debris flying in too many sides to count, not that we could count the debris as we were violently flung like ragdolls, and heat felt like Hell itself was summoned into our dimension.

I screamed, but I couldn’t hear myself. The others screamed, yet I could not hear them. The thought of Rokshana flashed in my mind, her smile bathing the the other, more deathly thoughts I had. Next I hit the ground. Then there was darkness; an abyss where sense and thought did not exist.

Perhaps— Perhaps I had died that very moment.