Submitted by Apophenia on Tue, 10/28/2014 - 11:12

The robed and hooded figure stood silent at the center of large room. She was silent not because she wanted to be but because the mask covering her face prevented her from speaking. All around her in the lofted balconies sat her captors. She couldn’t make out their features because there were bright lights shining at her.

“Criminal Number 5638” said a deep voice which boomed out from the brightness. “You have been found guilty of using Class A Forbidden Technology. This is an inexcusable crime which must to punished.” Even if the women had something to say in her defense she was unable to speak. “For this and other crimes you are being sentenced to eternal imprisonment inside a Hexion Sphere.”

She stood there still upright as if unyielding to the horrible punishment that awaited her. They had determined she was too dangerous to even let die. She would be sealed away and cast into some unknown part of the galaxy, to be lost for all eternity. From the moment she had been captured she had know that there would be no other punishment which could have awaited her.

The voice continued to proclaim her punishment, more for the benefit of the other people watching her. “After the criminal is sealed in the Hexion Sphere it was be deposited in a unreachable part of the galaxy and the we will begin with Protocol 231, the permanent erasure of all knowledge related to the prisoner.” Not only would she be sealed away for ever but all records of her would be deleted and anyone who had ever know her would have their memories changed. Once it was over nobody would ever know she existed, not even the people who were punishing her right now… nobody.

Still she stood strong. She had done everything she could and some of it was very horrible. But it had needed to be done. They didn’t understand, couldn’t understand. They thought that imprisoning her and erasing her from the galaxy would fix everything, would stop her… They were wrong, even ANGEL can make mistakes.

Jeran Ortrott was on the run. He had abandoned he position as on of Myth’s elite soldiers and escaped with one of their new scout ships. No body would have expected the decorated solder Jeran Ortrott to betray them. In fact his betrayal was still being kept secret by the Myth government, it would be quiet a scandal if it was discovered that a hero like him had betrayed Myth.

The ship beeped to inform Jeran that they were approaching planet XJ453. It was an unnamed planet which had a thick atmosphere but no life. It wasn’t a very notable planet and since it was in a section of uninhabited space nobody had really been there. Yet it was this planet that was Jeran’s destination. He was still uncertain that it was this planet which contained what he was looking for.

All he really had to work on very decades old myths and years old rumors. This would be the sixth planet he had visited in search of the Null Crystal and he was beginning to become desperate. Jeran didn’t have much time left, only a couple of months, before it was too late. If he couldn’t find the Null Crystal on XJ453 then he didn’t know if he would be able to find it in time.

He brought his ship down into orbit around XJ453 and set his ship to begin scanning the planet for any unusual energy signals. He watched the readouts patiently for several hours before getting up to take a break. It was then that the computer beeped, showing a strange cavity beneath the planet’s surface. Jeran looked over the strange data. It seemed that there as a section of the planet that was shielded against his sensors. This that sort of thing was common on developed planets, it was virtually unheard of on an uninhabited planet like XJ453.

Jeran quickly became excited, this could be where the Null Crystal was hidden. He took a deep breath to calm himself. His experience had taught him not to get his hopes up there had been several hopeful planets before this one. He move to the pilot controls and brought his ship out of orbit and down onto the planet.

Jeran set the ship down slowly on the planet and as the dust settled he checked the readings on the planet. It seemed that the atmosphere on the planet was safe and that he would be able to breath. Jeran strapped on his gun and grabbed his mini-terminal. He didn’t know what sort of defenses might be guarded the Null Crystal and even if it wasn’t the Null Crystal here there still might be something dangerous.

The airlock to his hissed as it closed. He could feel the pressure change as the ships hatch open. The air was dense and dry and he had trouble breathing. His training had prepared him for all sorts of places but it was still uncomfortable. His ship had detected an entrance to a cave system beneath the planet that was near the unscanable location.

Jeran had landed nearby so it didn’t take him very long to reach the entrance. It was dark inside so he flipped on the light on his mini-terminal. He then moved slowly into the cave keeping to the walls and behind cover. He didn’t know for certain if there was any defense mechanisms here but habit and training told him to be careful.

As he moved deeper into the cave the air began to change in quality. It became warmer and the air began to become moist. Jeran thought that was strange, this planet wasn’t supposed to have and substantial source of water and it should be cooler underground. He checked his position on his mini-terminal and noticed that he was very close to the position of the unidentified zone.

As he continued it wasn’t very long until the caves began to light up, almost glowing with a light from an uncertain source. His flipped of the light on his mini-terminal and continued, growing more and more uncertain. It wasn’t too long until he stepped into a large cavern and he gasped in amazement.

The cavern was filled with large blue crystals that looked almost like ice. However he knew that is impossible for it to be ice. The cavern was warm, far too warm for the ice to exist. The crystals were also glowing with a bluish light. Was this the Null Crystal that he had been searching for or was this something else.

He wondered through the crystal field, relaxing his guard. Touching the crystal they were warm to the touch and seemed to pulse under his hand. He had never heard of anything like this before. What was the composition of these crystal. However his mini-terminal wasn’t able to provide any information about it. It seemed that it was the crystals which caused the scanners to malfunction and he wasn’t able to get a clear reading anywhere in the cavern.

It was then that he spotted her. Suspended inside a large crystal was a woman. Her body, clothes, and hair looked blue through the crystal and she was the most beautify people he had ever seem. She was almost impossibly perfect, even more perfect then the synthetic bodies that were produced for cyborgs and androids. Those had a cold beauty while this woman had a warm beauty.

He felt guilty for thinking that and trying to avoid thinking of his dead wife. He move closer to the woman in the crystal until he was almost close enough to touch her, if the crystal wasn’t in the way. She was wearing non-discript clothes but that didn’t diminish her beauty.

He couldn’t help but wonder who she was and what she was doing trapped in the crystal. She couldn’t possible still be alive in there, but he couldn’t help thinking of her as alive. It was like insects trapped in amber, frozen in death.

The warmth spread through his fingers as they lingered on the crystal. He withdrew his hand and broke his gaze from the woman's closed eyes. Jeran didn’t know if this place had the Null Crystal what he was looking for, but this was the strangest thing he had encountered in his journey. However because of the crystal’s interference he wouldn’t be able to discover if it was truly what he was looking for without better equipment from his ship.

It seemed much chillier then he remembered as he traveled back up to his ship. The air began to hurt his lungs again, was there something about the air down there that made it easier to breath. His scout ship had all kinds of portable surveillance equipment, it was one of the reasons that he had stolen this kind of ship. It was a tough to transport everything by himself because the ship was supposed to be crewed by three people.

As he lugged the equipment back to the crystal room he was in awe again as the strange sight. It felt brighter then it was before but he knew that was only a trick of his mind. It took him awhile to set up the equipment and get it working properly. After several hours of work everything was set up properly but it would take the instruments a long time to adjust to the interference that the crystals were giving off. It would probably take several days at least. Jeran didn’t want to waste the time but he knew that this was the best change he had at finding the Null Crystal.

The days passed slowly as the instruments slowly began the process of decrypting the interference. Jeran spent much of his time staring at the women in the crystal. It was strange watching her, he couldn’t help but wonder why she was there.

It was early morning and he was just getting out of bed when his mini-terminal beeped and told him that the decryption was complete. Jeran quickly made his way down to the crystal room, hoping that all this time would finally pay off. But when he finally got to the instruments he stared at them in surprise. He then glanced up at the woman and whispered beneath his breath, “That woman is still alive…”