Submitted by Apophenia on Tue, 10/28/2014 - 11:13

The woman was still alive. Jeran’s brain had trouble processing this bit of information. That should be possible, couldn’t be possible, yet somehow it was true. She wasn’t breathing but she had a heartbeat, true it was almost undetectable but it was there never-the-less. Jeran grew excited as the watch the heart pulses. Now even if this crystal wasn’t the Null Crystal he would still be able to use it.

The reading where telling him that the woman was in some kind of suspended animation. It was beyond any form of suspended animation that he knew about, if he could only figure out how it worked then he might be able to replicate it and that would give him more time.

However for the major analysis he would need a small chunk of the blue crystal. He drew out a laser saw to slice off a small section of crystal. However as soon as the glowing red blade touched the crystal red light began to refract throughout the entire structure. Jeran jumped back in alarm. The crystal was now veined with red and the red was spreading through-out the structure.

Soon the entire crystal had changed to red and his sensor’s instruments were going crazy. He was focused of trying to figure out what happened when the entire large crystal began to melt, almost like it was made of water. He tried escaping from the streaming crystal, uncertain what effects it might have on his body. However the room and the crystal were too big and too big and his shoes quickly became soaked. He calmed down when there seemed to be no immediate effects on his body.

The crystal were shrinking at a rapid rate and the red liquid was beginning to pool up around the room it seemed that it didn’t have anywhere to drain. Jeran turned to the large crystal contain the woman and approached it. If the crystal was melting then the woman might leave her suspended animation. As the crystal melted around her Jeran stretched out his arms and grabbed her before she could fall.

For just a second her eyes were open and staring at him. Then he thought a slight glimmer of a smile before he eyes closed. Afterward he was still uncertain as to whether it had actually happened or not.

It wasn’t right for him to just leave her and and he didn’t know how say it was to stand ankle deep in the strange red crystal liquid. So instead he had to carry her all the way back to his ship. It was much easier then he had expected. The woman was surprisingly light, at least much lighter then the equipment he had dragged here days earlier.

However he was forced to leave his sensory equipment back in the room and would have to go back later. It grew chillier as he left the warm room and traveled back up to his ship. By the time he had reached the surface he was panting yet he managed to complete the journey without too much extra effort.

After reaching his ship he laid he down on one of the beds. Now he could finally get a closer look at her. Before the crystal had colored her blue but now she had a normal human hue. Her hair however was a marvel. He hadn’t noticed it while carrying her but he hair had a rainbow sheen to it, sparkling and glittering in the ship light. It was light nothing he had ever seen before. Jeran stood there enchanted before finally tearing himself away to each his mini-terminal.

According to the readings her breathing had stabilized and her heartbeat was now at a normal speed. Compared to the readings he had gotten while she was in the crystal this suspended animation recover was almost too quick. Cryogenic status usually took several weeks to awake from but she already seemed almost normal.

Still he was a man of action, not one to gawk for long at a strange sight. He needed to return to the cavern to see what had become of it. He returned to the cavern quickly knowing he had already spent too long looking after the woman. Who knows what had happened during the time that he was gone. However when he arrived he was greeting only by nothing. The room which had once been filled with multitude of blue crystals was now completely empty except for his sensory equipment. Even the warmth that had been in the room was quickly dissipating.

Disappointed he checked his instruments for there recordings and watched what had happened. After he had left the crystals had continued to melt, eventually flowing out of the room into who knows where. It was disheartening to watch his hope vanish like that, however he still had one ray of hope. The women had to know something about why she was there, maybe she knew something about the Null Crystal.

Now all he could do was pack up his instruments and begin the laborious task of transporting everything back to his ship. After he had returned to the ship he was not surprised, after everything that had happened over the last couple of days, to find the woman awake. She was staring at him as he entered the cabin.

“Ah, your awake.” Said Jeran, fumbling for words. He didn’t really know what to say to someone in a situation like this. “Are you feeling alright?” He paused for a moment and when she didn’t respond he continued. “Um… you were stuck in this crystal like thing in some sort of suspended animation and I managed to free you.”

Jeran was beginning to wonder if the woman understood Normaish. It was one of the common languages in the galaxy and the language spoken in Myth. He was about to try another language even though he wasn’t as good with them when she finally spoke.

“How did you find me?” Her Normaish sounded strange and archaic to Jeran’s ear. Her voice had a haunting musical quality to it and he didn’t think he would ever forget what it sounded like.

“I was looking for the Null Crystal. I followed old rumors and legends. I purchased this location of this planet from an old friend of mine and he had found it because of an old data disk which had found containing a local star-map and directions to this planet. However information only mentioned a giant crystal. I guess it must have meant the crystal you were stuck in.” Said Jeran.

“It was a Hexion Sphere” said the women as if correcting him. “Would you also tell me what year it is and where in the galaxy we are?” She was calm, much calmer the he thought he would be in her situation.

“We are on the planet XJ453 but since you might not know where that is, it is in Norma near coordinates 457.845@, -56.463@, at a distance of 94243 relative to the galactic meridian. “ Jeran was trying to be specific as he could be. He didn’t know how long this woman had been stuck in that crystal. “It is the year 1424 since the establishment of the new galactic peace. Let’s see… that would be the year 4756 according…”

The woman raised her had to prevent him from continuing. “That is fine. Your information is more then enough. Now I need to sleep. Recovering from status is slow and I need to recover my strength. However I can not thank you enough for rescuing me. I’m sure you have questions too, however those must wait until later.” She looked him in the eyes for another long moment before laying back down on the bed.

Jeran stumbled over his words. He wanted to ask her many questions but he didn’t want to ignore her request. However he wasn’t able to stop himself from saying, “Could I at least ask you what your name is?”

“Null” the woman whispered before closing her eyes and turning onto her side. ‘Null?’ wondered Jeran, was it just a coincidence that this woman had the same name as the crystal that he was searching for. He wasn’t certain how possible it was for that to be true. Either way she was all that would be found on this planet, it was high time for him to leave. He doubted that Null would have anything that she still wanted from this planet and Jeran wanted to make good use of what time he had before the deadline.

He lifted his ship off the planet and set the autopilot to head back toward civilized space. The journey would probably take several days, fairly quick really. His ship was one of the fastest models in production by the Myth military.

He headed to the kitchen to prepare some food. It had been a while since he had eaten and he was sure it must have been even longer for Null. Most of his food was freeze-dried pre-prepared food, stuff suitable for a long journey. He had grown used to it because of his many years of traveling in space. He tried to make the best of it that he could.

He left it in the warmer and went to check on Null. She was still sleeping where had had left her so he returned to the cockpit and flipped on the terminal to check the latest news. This far out in space all the information he received was from several days ago. I would take some time for him to receive the current news. His disappearance still hadn’t broken headlines even though it had been more then a month. The Myth military must been really trying to keep it under wraps.

Jeran composed a message to his friend Aben Ranabm telling him that he would be returning. Aben was basically an information broker who had helped Jeran locate the different planets he was searching. Jeran made sure that the message was encrypted before sending it