The Fear on Fernando's

“Fuck me,” breathed Plisken as he slumped against a tree trunk, his brow soaked with sweat.
“Yeah, that was my thought,” Jay sighed as he took a seat on a harsh rock to gather his breath.
Tara and Arien both stumbled through the bushes and into the clearing, a small bare haven in the dense jungle.
“Everyone okay, yeah?” panted Tara as she joined Jay on the rock.
“Yeah, more or less,” Plisken said through gritted teeth, and an instinctive hand flew to his side to cover the pulsating pain of his wounds.
“What was that thing?!” asked Arien in a strained cry, her voice mixed with shock and exhaustion.
Plisken paused for Jay to answer the question, since he was the de-facto leader of the group, but Jay just shrugged breathlessly. He glanced at Arien to see her expectant eyes.
“I dunno,” Plisken shrugged, “It really could have been anything.”
“Really?” Tara said sarcastically, “You don’t know.”
Plisken didn’t say anything but flicked his hard eyes up at her.
Sven broke the awkwardness by bursting through the leaves, the hover bike held in his strong arms.
“That was a good fight, Comrades, no?” he said, almost too cheerily.
“You could say that,” said Jay through a forced smile. He quickly changed the subject, though, “What happened to your eye?”
Plisken’s hand went to his eyepatch, the scar still exposed at some edges. “I’ll tell you later.”
“Or you could tell us now?” Tara asked, almost demanding an answer.
Again, Plisken didn’t say anything.
“So what’s the plan?” asked Arien.
“Well,” said Jay, easily taking charge, we might want to go have a nosy around in that facility.”
“No,” said Plisken, cutting him off.
“Trust me; there are things that you could not imagine in those halls.”
“Like what?”
Plisken rose to his feet. “The darkest fears in your mind.”
“I think we’ve been through worse.”
“No, I have been through worse; you might just loose your mind.”
“Just who are you?” asked Tara, this time the demand wasn’t even slightly masked.
“Maybe later,” Plisken said trailing off. He turned around and began to leave the clearing, pushing through the wilderness.
“No, I think you’d better tell us right now.”
“If we get back? Back to the Dwarf? Then maybe I’ll tell you,” Plisken said, his edged words cutting deep into Tara, “But you do not want the knowledge of who I am distracting you while we are here.”
Tara went quiet.
“Cass,” said Jay, “And the others, what if they are inside?”
Plisken sighed. “Then they might already be lost. The Scarecrow Rooms? They are not something that people usually come out of again.”
“I am detecting a signal…” Sven said, his still body quietly processing the large chunks of data, “It is faint through the interference… I am detecting several humanoid life-forms near a large underground facility…”
“Scarecrow Rooms?” Jay asked.
“I’ll tell you on the way.”

As the group began to walk, following the instructions of Sven as he read out the directions that were processed by his robotic brain, Plisken explained the horrors of Fernando’s. Deep under some mountain range, a far of distance from here, was a species of creatures that had been said to have no fear. Linked together like terminals in a network, the creatures were reliant on the ‘mainframe’ to live. This ‘mainframe’ secreted a black liquid, viscous and thick, that had been produced from the minerals surrounding it. It would collect in sacks or eggs in clusters and that would then be used to fuel the ‘mainframe’. When the liquid was discovered, it drove the scientists and guards mad, claiming that they could see their greatest fears. The liquid was turned into a gas and tested in the Scarecrow Rooms, the chambers flooded with the fumes.

“Wow,” said Jay as they approached the centre of the faint signal, “That’s some story.”
“Yeah, well, that’s how it happened,” said Plisken as he crouched down at the edge of a hill that overlooked the area of the signal’s origin.
“And how do you know all this?” asked Tara, crouching next to him.
“Because I was there,” he mumbled absent-mindly. “Look, there!”
Everyone followed Plisken’s pointing finger. It led them to an overgrown concrete building, almost invisible against the leafy backdrop of the jungle.
“Is that our way in?” asked Arien.
“It is A way in,” corrected Plisken.
“Looks like an old service entrance,” muttered Tara.
“You’re probably right, might lead down into maintenance shafts or sewers, and I am in no mind to run through another set of those this month.”
“I’ll explain later.”
“So, the signal is coming from within there?” asked Arien.
“I am sorry Comrade, it is too faint to tell,” apologised Sven, his metal shoulders almost sagging in shame.
“Don’t worry, it was a miracle we got as far as we did.”
“So how do we get in?” asked Tara, squinting hard to find an entrance.
“I don’t see a door, and if there is one, I don’t think we’ll be able o kick it down…”
“YAHOO!” whooped Jay as he sped off on the speederbike down the slope, one arm raised with a clenched fist in triumph.
“I knew I should have made him leave it behind…”
Jay sped the bike through the jungle, weaving between trees and rocks, steering towards the concrete building. If there wasn’t a door, he could make one. As the wall approached, he muttered a ‘Sorry, baby’, patted the bike and leapt from the seat. The bike careered wildly before striking the concrete and red explosion of fuel, metal, and wall. The smoke cleared to reveal a large gash in the wall of the facility, the interior exposed for the first time.
“Well?!” cried Jay to the others who still stood on the cliff.
“God damn it,” muttered Plisken and began to make his way down the hill, the others following.

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