A journey awaits Kyungsoo as he finds himself stranded in alien terrain with no memories. His discoveries on this unknown planet are more than what he bargained for…
Chaptered / Completed
Action / Adventure / Mystery / Thriller
M / 40k
Her heels dug into the soil, arms swatting down and across the plant life as she ran for her very life. Her belly hung low and heavy with her unborn child, and she knew that if she kept this up much longer her spine would surely break. The clamorous sound of the people pursuing her grew louder and more viscous. She snapped her head to look behind her, witnessing the horde of people only meters away. There wasn’t much time left.
Distracted, a tree branch whipped across her face, drawing blood and burying dirt inside the wound. The woman’s pretty face and stunning figure were all but mangled at this point; covered in filth from sneaking away and ached all over. Her heart and lungs burned, and she feared for the safety of her child, aware that if she was caught, they would both reach an indisputable demise.
Night loomed over the sky and her steps became heavier until she couldn’t sustain her body weight and collapsed on the rough turf of grass. When the adrenaline drew from her veins and her heart slowed, she realized that her water broke. The baby was coming now and fear struck her in the most heinous way.
Isolated and alone with no one to help her, she had to give birth to a child. The contractions lasted for hours, labor crippling her entire body with pain and agony. She hastily tore the edge of her blouse and stuffed it inside her mouth to muffle the screams that wracked through her limbs. She couldn’t get caught now, her child should have the chance to live like its father couldn’t. The thought of leaving him behind was paramount amidst her racing thoughts. However, nature took its course, and the baby was on its way.
With much effort, she ripped off her pants and placed the shredded fabric on the forest floor as a pallet. When the baby came, she pushed, choking on the screams of desperation and wails of agony that consumed her. The night brought forth her greatest blessing but also her deepest regret. A lovely son, who she didn’t have the privilege to name as the light dimmed from her eyes. The infant’s eyes were bright and made the new mother’s chest swell with pride. He didn’t cry, he didn’t make a sound, almost as if he could sense the situation and wanted to do his part to keep the two of them safe. She looked down at the pool of blood and fluid that formed between her legs, and she felt the muscles in her arms and neck start to weaken.
Why now? She thought as she cursed the cruel Gods that created her. They’d managed to give her enough strength to bring her child into the world, but not enough to keep him safe. Her heart ached as she begged her body to stay conscious, to fight just a little more to keep her child, but she had undoubtedly reached her limit. She fell into an unconscious state, never to awaken again.
The deep ebony and the steepness of the seemingly infinite abyss encompassed everything. His mind lingered on the threshold of awareness, his senses coming back to him in fragments of consciousness, slicing through his muffled haze, bringing only fleeting moments of clarity.
His ears rang with high-pitched static fluctuating at rapid frequencies. Swarming particles of an effervescent pale white light nearly blinded his retinas when he slowly blinked his eyes open. His hand flew up to shield the implacable beams from his sight, and as the view of the light bent around his arm, mild awareness eclipsed his momentary clouded mind to form a state of confusion.
Similar to that of a blur, his senses failed to capture everything. The light began to fade from his vision while his ears adjusted to the sounds around him.
And then, he heard it.
An unnatural buzz of a machine powering up, its hollow whistle of a crescendoed whine steadily growing in volume until—
An earsplitting shrill blasted through the vegetation and haunted his ears. The brattle of the weapon commenced immediately after.
Now at full alert, he quickly rolled over to his chest and his hands found purchase on the thick and damp blanket of grass. His fingers dug into the turf causing tingles of pain to surge up his wrist. He hissed under his breath from the prickly grass, yet he couldn’t afford much of his attention towards the subtle throb.
Just mere yards away a vicious battle took place. A man, taller, sturdier, held some sort of weaponry within his palm and shot it toward a robot-like creature.
Kyungsoo hid in the shadows of the tall plant life and observed the display before him with apt attention. His eyes hovered just above the growing sod, the rest of his body disguised behind the wall of plants.
The man shot consecutively, the detonation of his cannon highlighted the immediate area with a bleached blue hue every time he fired. The sounds of the plasma ricocheted inside Kyungsoo’s head, echoing until another shot replaced the initial sound.
The stranger took down his enemy with an ease that told of his numerous encounters with the predators. The monster didn’t faze the man at all. Without breaking a sweat, he completed the battle unscathed. It was an overwhelming victory—a terrifying one.
With a swing of his weapon over his shoulder, the man stood over the dead animal, looking down at its corpse.
Kyungsoo desired to move closer and inched along the forest floor on his palms. While doing so, he failed to notice a broken twig under his hand until it snapped from the pressure of his weight.
Instantly, the sound caught the man’s attention and Kyungsoo ducked his head under the vegetation when the man threw a glare in his direction.
His breaths became hurried and shallow as nerves overcame his limbs in violent tremors of fear. His eyes focused on the man to decipher whether he had been caught. Any attempts to calm his accelerating heart were futile as the man took three slow, cautious steps in his direction, scouring the lot of grass for any predators near.
When the man deduced there weren’t any threats present, he turned on his heels and marched away from the site.
Kyungsoo closed his eyes and exhaled a shaky sigh. He quickly swiped the forming trail of sweat from his forehead. Relief fell over his body in a massive wave, and he felt his life flood back into him after seeping out into the atmosphere.
Although the man was fearsome, he appeared to have a natural grasp on survival. That much was evident through the exhibition of his skills during the battle. Against Kyungsoo’s better judgement, he determined that following the man would be beneficial.
He rose to his feet on quivering legs and straightened his back to stand tall. After one step forward, he briefly thought of the consequences of his actions. However, his fear of the unknown triumphed the fear he held toward the man, and he followed behind with a distance of a few yards.
His attention to detail was substantial. Not only did Kyungsoo have to worry about alerting the stranger but also the predators which lurked in the forest surely had the adaptability which he lacked. There was no way in knowing when a monster would attack or what would come from letting his presence become known. His head whipped around, searching left and right as he attempted to follow the man’s footsteps.
Curious, Kyungsoo walked closer to the fallen prey that engaged in battle moments ago. When close enough, he peered over its dead body for a quick examination.
The prey was a machine in the form of an animal. It flickered and sparked, exposing the complex wiring beneath that ran through its body like a maze, weaving like veins but the blood and crux of life was non-existent. Rays from the sun shone down onto the burnished metal casing and with each of its jerks and twitches, the waning whir of its motor only enhanced the essence of its mechanical nature.
Kyungsoo leaned over further, his thoughts still occupied about the peculiar thing. That brief glance costed him the man’s whereabouts and he searched around for any traces of footprints in the soil. He hurried, his swift steps carried him past a tree and he turned left before the whine of a gun powering up sounded from directly behind his head.
His steps halted.
He no longer possessed the ability to breathe, his heart pounded fiercely against his rib-cage at an alarming speed. Immobilized by fear, he closed his eyes and didn’t dare turn to determine whether he had been caught. He was one-hundred percent certain he had.
“Turn around.” Came the rasp of an angered voice, low and deep. Kyungsoo didn’t possess the gall to go against the man’s wishes.
As he turned around, his vision instantly became seized by a glaring blanched blue light. The weapon consisted of what appeared to be a mixture of plastic and brushed steel. A large fluted barrel was the first thing Kyungsoo noticed; its size incredible with a circumference larger than his face and the length of 3 feet. His eyes zoned in, settling on the minuscule bead-like particle blasters within the barrel. Kyungsoo fully saw inside the weapon, it’s thick cylindrical neck led into the man’s grip which was positioned on the trigger, designed for both accuracy and comfort.
There was a twitch in the man’s motions. “Who sent you?” He asked, or rather, demanded to know. Silence became the responder for such a daunting question, and the man didn’t take kindly to his lack of reply. He pushed the tip of the barrel against Kyungsoo’s forehead. “Who are you?”
“I’m n-not here to h-hurt you.” Kyungsoo held up both arms in show of resignation. The man, however, didn’t budge from his stance with a skeptical glance in his direction. “I’m not here to hurt you…I don’t know where I am. I’m not even armed…” He continued, fear struck limbs refusing to move. The only thing separating his life from death was this man’s whim. The stranger had the choice to take his life within an instant and there was absolutely nothing he could do about it.
After a battle of heated eye contact to determine his fate, the man gradually lowered his weapon. It was then that Kyungsoo got a better look at the stranger.
The first thing Kyungsoo noticed was the pigmentation of his eyes. They reflected from the stars’ radiance in a brilliant shade of marigold. They were rich with fire and shone with passion. Kyungsoo found himself entranced by those beautiful eyes which peered at him in contemplation.
The next thing was the ash gray hair pulled back into a low ponytail. To see someone whose hair was gray made Kyungsoo’s curiosity spark wonders. And if he weren’t intrigued enough, the deep scar which traveled across the upper left corner of the man’s forehead to the shell of his ear piqued Kyungsoo even more.
“W-what’s your name?” Kyungsoo asked, curious.
The man didn’t answer. Instead, he swung his weapon over his shoulder and began walking away. Kyungsoo didn’t hesitate to follow as if his life hadn’t been in jeopardy only moments before.
He took a few steps and the man stopped, prompting him to do the same. The man looked behind him, and Kyungsoo averted his attention elsewhere with the “minding my own business” front.
When the man began walking again, Kyungsoo followed in the same number of steps. And then, it happened again. The man stopped to throw a look over his shoulder and found Kyungsoo still following him.
By the third look, the stranger appeared undoubtedly furious.
“Stop following me.” He said, his voice dangerous.
“I need help. I-I don’t know who I am. I don’t know where I am.” After saying it aloud, panic found itself within his limbs. His breaths quickened, hyperventilation setting in moments later. He doubled over, palms resting on his knees to slow his breathing. The sensation to hurl crawled up his throat but he swallowed it back down before he stood up straight once again, only to find that the man was gone.
“Wait!” Kyungsoo called out, his footsteps uneasy and his body swaying to the loss of vertigo. “Wait, please!” He continued after the man.
“Leave or die?” The man powered up his gun with the flick of his thumb over the metal. He pointed it at Kyungsoo who stood facing the cannon without fear.
“It’s better to go with you rather than being in the middle of an unknown forest.” He didn’t budge, finality in his tone. The man arched an eyebrow, traces of amusement in his eyes. He lowered his weapon again with a sigh.
“You need to leave, I travel alone because I don’t play well with others.” He placed the weapon over his shoulder once again and continued walking through the terrain. Kyungsoo was one step behind, two of his footsteps matching one of the man’s long strides.
“I need to know where I am.” Kyungsoo looked up at the looming trunks of trees. They grew in bulk, wide and sturdy columns that had centuries to develop. They reached the heavens, towering and all-encompassing which unsettled him further. Not only was the forest swarming with beast-like technological animals, but the forest itself was haunting and threatening. It didn’t feel safe. Yet, with this man, he felt an overwhelming sense of protection.
The man’s eyes were wild and displayed only barbaric knowledge, his clothes as well which consisted of dark brown loose pants, a tan, sleeveless top with a matching scarf wrapped loosely around his neck. It was almost as if he’d been living in the jungle all his life.
“Hey!” Kyungsoo called. The man didn’t stop, but Kyungsoo’s footsteps hastened. “Hey, tell me where we are.” He demanded but the man didn’t utter a sound. Irritation seeped into his limbs which urged him to shout once again. “Hey!”
Soundlessly, the man made a quick turn, aimed his gun toward Kyungsoo and fired his weapon. Kyungsoo closed his eyes and waited to accept his fate, however, he hadn’t been touched.
Squinting his eyes open, he dared a glance behind him and saw an animal’s body fall limp to the ground. It spasmed, its limbs sparking and ricocheting with a whomp sound of shutting down. Swathed in relief, Kyungsoo’s shoulders fell.
Yet, that relief only lasted a second.
Out in the distance behind the stranger, Kyungsoo saw something shift. A small panthera hybrid dug its claws into the ground before pouncing towards the man. Its long neck twisted in a sideways motion, exposing the intricate circuitry inside. Its motor whirred insidiously, the cycloptic eye blinked with a murderous scarlet light deeming it a foe.
Though modeled after one of the most graceful and stealth creatures, the low buzz of the electric life which purred inside hinted at the soulless and precise nature of the being. As its body lumbered closer, the sharp glinting metal teeth and claws presented themselves. One bite from the creature would leave serrated wounds that would definitely be fatal.
Before he could think, Kyungsoo’s body reacted. “Watch out!” He reached out to grab a hold of the man’s arm and yanked him forward. As he did so, his body used the momentum of the pull and he swiveled on his heels. His entire body circled around and his foot flew off the ground, hitting the unknown animal directly on the side of its face. He followed through with his kick making a full swing and the animal went flying to the left before plummeting to the ground.
The stranger wasted no time in charging his weapon again and blasting the robotic animal to smithereens. After the tenth shot, it became overkill. However, Kyungsoo allowed the man to have his moment.
After killing the hybrid, the man stood silent watching over its remains. He then quickly turned to look at Kyungsoo, baffled inquisition on his lips.
“How did you do that?” He snapped, apparent anger in his voice, nearly overshadowing the curiosity.
“I-i don’t know…my body just reacted.” Kyungsoo said. And it was true. He did not know. He never knew he could move that way until now. His body reacted on its own accord and he somehow ended up saving this man from his imminent doom. “B-but I can be of use to you, so let me join you…please.” He attempted to ask once again. Surely the display of combat skills could be the buffer he needed to convince this man to take him along.
The only response given was a brisk nod, but Kyungsoo could sense that the distance between the two men may have increased.
Kyungsoo smiled despite himself. Though content, he remained uncertain of his own abilities and just who he really was. He looked down at his palms and clenched them tight before unleashing them.
Who am I?
He asked himself and hoped that time would answer. For now though, he followed the man closely so that he didn’t lose him for a second time.
They walked steadily for what felt like an hour, silence thick between them. It was unbearably hot and Kyungsoo noticed how the black trousers that tapered down to his ankle, once neat and tidy, were now scuffed and covered in that ever present rust colored dust. His t-shirt remained tucked neatly into the tight waistband, the khaki color looking worn away and a few minor holes had appeared around his abdomen, likely scraped on rocks and earth at some point during his ordeal. He donned a black vest atop his shirt but was quick to shed it. An extra layer of clothing that seemed unnecessary, especially given its tattered state. The functionality of the vest seemed only to serve the purpose of looking smart and with no real value, it was discarded by the man very quickly.
As he ventured deeper into the forest, the humid scent of hot wires and flora encapsulated the air in such a thick blanket that it was almost hard to breathe. He noticed how the towering trees were littered with scorch marks, evidence of more critters now turned to scrap.
There were branches leaning across the footpath, seared in half and somehow still holding their shape as if to make an entry way of arched and broken wood. Three beams of light left the cannon as he took down a mouse-like creature, another one the size of an insect and a slightly larger one which swooped through the glittering treetops like a majestic bird; now all reduced to nothing but fried motherboards and severed robotic limbs.
The sounds of the gargling and shivering creatures could be heard as the last remaining buzzes of artificial life juddered them across the red-colored dirt for only a few seconds before they lied aimlessly atop the wreckage of the previously hunted.
The dense vegetation thinned out until they came upon a small clearing inside the forest. Underneath his feet, the grass evened out into a sheet, pristine and untouched. Straight ahead, Kyungsoo beheld a dark umber tent-like structure. It was large with an annular top that over arched in a semicircle and its roots were sturdily planted inside the ground.
The man lifted the flap to enter and dipped his head as he walked inside. Kyungsoo followed not too closely behind, intrigued.
When he lifted the flap, what came into his view was unexpected. The tent was filled with a multitude of items which, to Kyungsoo, looked like foreign pieces of scrap until he took a closer look.
There was a round, rusted, metal barrel in the center of the room, a makeshift table of sorts and as he walked closer, careful not to knock anything on his way, he noticed the dented, dull canister which had become a chair. As his eyes roamed the walls of the tent he was struck by the amounts of almost domestic items which had been fashioned from old clothing, scrap metal and other discarded items that the man must have collected over his time. It was clear that this man had lived here a long time, this was his home, his refuge.
A sense of intrusion washed over him the more he noticed the lone bed, the single chair; this man must have lived alone for a long time, and this set him on edge, feeling as if he shouldn’t be here. Nonetheless, here he was, and this man was the only thing he knew; the only person he knew. His only safety in a frightening and unfamiliar land was the first person he’d laid eyes on. Though in the man’s defense, it would have been all too easy to end Kyungsoo’s life in the interest of self preservation. However, this also caused Kyungsoo to wonder why he was spared, if the man was such a loner as was made obvious from his isolation, why would he so easily agree to travel with a complete stranger claiming to have no memory?
Kyungsoo pushed all of the thoughts from his head hastily. There was no point in dwelling over such pointless things. After all, he had no choice but to trust this man until he regained his memories and could identify his surroundings.
The man sat on his bed-like structure, fiddling with his weapon on his lap. Awkward, and with nothing to do, Kyungsoo sat on the ground in front of him with questions upon questions prodding at his mind despite his previous proclamation. From what he deduced earlier this man wasn’t one to talk or reply to questions. But he figured he’d try his luck anyway as curiosity spurred him forward.
“Do you have a name?”
The man stopped moving. “Jongin.” He replied curtly. Kyungsoo nodded. Jongin.
“My name…” He closed his eyes. He needed to reach the depths of his memories for it. Although amnesia seized his capacity to remember, he still knew something as rudimentary as his name. The first word to blink inside of his mind was Kyungsoo. “…My name is Kyungsoo.” A small smile curved onto his lips. That simple feat meant that he would regain his memories one day.
Jongin nodded without word. Kyungsoo sighed.
“Jongin, um…can I ask… where are we?” He fidgeted with his fingers, anxiety within his motions.
“Simradia…” He said as he flipped over the metallic killing device.
Simradia, Simradia. Kyungsoo closed his eyes once again and attempted to call back his memories.
Nothing. He gave up after his head began to spin and ache.
“Does everyone on Simradia live in places like this?” Kyungsoo asked as his eyes searched around the small dome-like structure.
That inquiry made Jongin’s movements stop once again, only this time, the nomad stood to his feet and Kyungsoo’s eyes followed his motions. A heavy container hurtled into his lap and Kyungsoo nearly caught it with an umph flying from his mouth. Next, a small sack was thrown at him. What am I now? Target practice?
“Drink and eat. I will be back…” Was all Jongin said, and he walked away before Kyungsoo could even give a response. Silently, he watched the man leave, Jongin’s back disappearing as the curtain flap fluttered down and closed.
Then, he was alone.
It was odd, being alone in a unknown place, not knowing who he was. But he didn’t have time to invest in thoughts such as those. He needed his strength and the call for food was present in his stomach as it viciously growled.
The meal wasn’t extravagant, consisting of some wheat material that became soggy and tasted awfully stale. There were also olive colored circular fruits with thin skin that popped inside of his mouth, splashing juice inside. That was the only thing Kyungsoo actually liked. In the container there was a tasteless and odorless liquid. Kyungsoo guzzled it down, not realizing he was thirsty until he drank it.
After having his meal, he stood up to look around. While snooping and looking through Jongin’s things without permission, Kyungsoo stumbled upon a piece of parchment hidden underneath stacks of mechanical scraps. It stood out amongst the metals, its stained white surface a glaring contrast against the gray. It was a contained folder of some sort partly sealed and hadn’t been touched in recent time. The tips of his fingers ran along the symbols on the front and he vaguely remembered seeing this form of writing.
If he focused hard enough, he could decipher it. He stared at the symbol for an unwavering five minutes before it clicked—one word, two syllables, a name—
The snap of a twig outside broke him from his thoughts, and he hurried to put the envelope where he’d found it.
Jongin entered not two seconds later, wordlessly, of course. The nomad traveled to his bed and threw himself on it, leaving his weapon at arms length away resting on the ground. In a matter of minutes, the crackle of his snore resounded throughout the spacious tent.
Sleep didn’t come easy for the restless mind. Kyungsoo remained awake into the dead of the night, trying to remember more about himself, but to no avail. He surrendered any notion of his amnesia vanishing as quickly as he’d like and found comfort in the silence that washed over them. Soon enough, sleep welcomed him into its embrace.
Upon waking up, his vision blurred in and out until regaining focus. The strength of the grogginess had a negative effect and his limbs seemed heavy with a stomach that lurched in all the wrong ways. When he finally came to his senses, he noticed his body lying on the floor in a fetal position. Sitting up, he looked around and found that Jongin was not there.
In many ways, the vegetation reminded him of a far off dream; something you’d see inside the realm of fantasy. The muggy scent of burning metal and poignant flora was never the same in one spot. He encountered a more rafflesia aroma from the exotic plant life which grew in unnatural bulk. With its abundance of lavish bright hues of fuchsia and lavender, the huckleberry leaves expanded out wide, the size of full fledged table tops. They were just as frightening in their beauty as they were in size, and Kyungsoo steered clear of touching them in fear that they would amount to something poisonous.
The man wondered, for only a brief moment, how much more beautiful the forest would be without the dried and rusted soil, the charred flowerbeds, the split trees and the constant sounds of whirring.
The floral smell only lasted so long until he came closer to a small creek. His senses were seized by the fresh scent of clean hydrogen and oxygen bonding, something that he was certain wouldn’t harm him. He watched the tide flow over and yonder until the horizon of his view could no longer see the stream of water. The slope he climbed gave him an outstanding view of the terrain and plant life present which was unlike anything he had seen before, to his knowledge.
Though grateful for the tree’s shadowy embrace, there was nothing more ghastly than its grasp over his life, shrouding him in unknown place and he felt overwhelmed with hopelessness, idly standing in the midst of an strange and dangerous forest without knowing who he was.
For a moment, it terrified him to his bones as his mind took a detour down the path of solitude that laid out in front of him. Sure, there was Jongin, but he had only met him hours ago.
While occupied by his thoughts, he began walking but failed to notice a log under his foot. Having no purchase over it, he tripped over the fallen piece of trunk and tumbled down the slope until his body reached the edge of the creek. He groaned as his head spun, misplaced vertigo was one thing he didn’t take favor to; the dizziness was far too much that he could hurl at any moment.
Luckily, he was able to grasp his senses as he lied on the ground for a moment to regain his balance.
Suddenly, he remembered something like this happening before—the fall, the tumble, how much physical pain it provoked, and then—
The memory was obscure, clouded in his mind and not truly coherent. The sense of déjà vu consumed him, an overwhelming one which he determined it to be true. He stood to his feet, ready to embark on the remainder of his journey to regain his memories. However, out into the forest stared two beedy dotted eyes gazing at him. Flashes of red round irises stalked in between the growing bushes. He felt its unnerving stare crawl along his skin, molding goosebumps onto his neck and raising fear inside his gut.
He whipped his head to look behind him a second too late.
A robotic lion pounced forward, its arms stretched out front preparing to come down on Kyungsoo’s unsuspecting and motionless frame. Kyungsoo’s arms flew up and he cowered in fear, not at all prepared to defend from the attack. However, the robot was blasted in mid-air, a stream of plasma pushed its suspending body from in front of Kyungsoo and sent it hurling to the ground.
Kyungsoo’s chest heaved up and down, adrenaline pumping steadily throughout his veins and nerves wracking at his insides. He snapped his head to look at the source of the blast.
Jongin moved near, silent as the merest breeze, his walk of utmost pride and assertion. He crouched down, bending over the still twitching animal and stuck the barrel beside its head before pulling the trigger to deliver the final blow.
Kyungsoo imagined that being his head only hours ago and swallowed hard.
“T-hank you.” He managed to say, and Jongin simply glared.
“Why are you out here? I told you to stay.” Anger consumed him. And for a moment, Kyungsoo thought he cared for him, but he knew better than that.
“I-I was looking for you.”
“Well, you’ve found me.” He said, cruelly kicking the animal’s remains before swinging the killing device over his shoulder. “We need to head back, more of them will come soon.” Was all he declared before he returned in the direction of the tent. Kyungsoo hot on his trail as he didn’t want to get lost again.
On the journey back to Jongin’s humble abode, the silence became almost sickening. Kyungsoo’s curiosity reached its peak, and he yearned to know more about the world around him.
“What are these things you kill?” He asked and the answer didn’t come for a moment, a few long strides in between.
“I call them, Narobots.”
“Narobots?” Kyungsoo repeated, and Jongin nodded while continuing to dip under the hanging leaves and swiping the tall plants to the side. “Why are they here?”
“Why does anyone come? To destroy.” Jongin said with an obvious induced tone.
“Why are you fighting them alone?” He asked, and with this question came the end of their conversation. Nothing more was said as they trekked along inside the jungle.
When they returned to the tent, Jongin went inside and Kyungsoo followed behind. Not a moment passed before the nomad was winding down in his bed to sleep the night away.
Kyungsoo, on the other hand, settled down deep in thought attempting to remember his past once again. Nothing came of his desperate attempt however, and he found the realm of fantasy easing into his daydream moments later.