((65 — Ko-Ku))
June 17th, 802 AT.
Up ahead of the Quinn, the crystals began moving. That didn’t happen, normally. The crystals were steady, sturdy, pillars. More stable than anything else in the Void.
Kasby muttered something to himself, then stood from his chair. “Goat, take the controls for a moment.” He took a few steps over to the sensory readouts, scanning them. The sensors showed a buildup of energy in the five crystals ahead, but...
... it wasn't the normal series of spikes that showed when a demon was escaping. Instead, the readings showed a gradual ramping up, and then... the energy pulses inverting? The readings didn't make any sense at all.
“Uh…” Goat said from the controls, staring out the front windows.
Kasby saved the readings for later pondering and returned to the controls. "Well, Goat, we haven't crashed and we aren't on fire, so good job with the controls. That said, something weird's going on. I'd like to pilot again."
“You mean like that?” Goat pointed as he relinquished the controls. Up ahead, five matching icosahedral crystals were slowly drifting into position in front of them, forming a pentagon large enough for the Quinn to pass through. The space between them was starting to darken.
"...Yeah. Something weird like that." Kasby shoved his way into the pilot seat and tried to turn the ship around, as up ahead the pentagon continued to darken, turning an impossibly deep black. The edges of it rippled and fuzzed slightly, and the whole thing almost seemed to be vibrating audibly.
“CENTER!?” Goat yelled at the top of his lungs. A moment later he was gone.
Kasby pulled the ship hard to port, trying to get them as far away as possible. The Quinn came around, to point back the way it had come—
—only to have another matching pentagon of shadows behind it.
Goat landed on the back deck of the ship, just as Zebra came out of the ladder, looking for the source of the yell.
The two pentagons began to slowly close in towards the ship from either end.
Kasby’s jaw dropped. He struggled with the controls, but they refused to obey him.
“Well, that’s not good,” Zebra commented, staring at the encroaching blackness.
The shadows and darkness drew closer, looming larger, filling the world on either side of them. Then there was nothing else. Just darkness. Shadows. The Quinn floated in an empty black void, lit by... nothing at all, and yet still quite visible.
Something flickered through all of their minds, a series of concepts more than words.
"Well, that's a relief," muttered Kasby.
“Hooray!” expressed Goat.
“Um? Who are you?” asked Zebra.
Kasby didn't speak this time, only waited for the shadows to continue. Sure enough, they did, the concepts coming in waves and bombardments, fading in and out, a stream of consciousness more than a conversation.
Kasby inclined his head towards Goat and Zebra. "I assume they mean you guys."
Suddenly, an image filled the void around them. It was of the crystal pillar, glowing red, the original six of them clustered around it, and Spider spinning, kicking, shattering it open. The image was simultaneously in front of them and behind them and above them and alongside them.
More images appeared.
Spider floated alongside a reddish insectoid demon, with Seth Quinn nearby, sitting on a chunk of crystal.
Skunk and Owl, aboard a small aircraft—Skunk at the helm, Owl writing in a notebook.
Yet again, an image filled the space around them.
This time it was of a strange creature, vaguely humanoid, but with too many arms. A cowl hung over it, so leathery as to be almost a part of its skin. It stood in a cavern of crystals, or ice, or something like that, gesticulating angrily at whoever or whatever was on the other side of it. The being or person behind them was obscured from view by its body.
Zebra drew back slightly from this last image, surprised.
Kasby stood from his chair, fascinated and terrified by it all.
This image was different. It showed no people. Only a small, gray, box, with runes sketched on each side.
Kasby reached out a hand to grasp it, out into the open air. It was too far away, insubstantial, impossible--all of the above, and none of them. Yet despite this, his fingertips brushed it. The box skidded half an inch to one side, leaving the sound of metal on metal ringing in the air.
The image--was it just an image?--faded.
This image, like the last, had no people. Instead, a large mountain rose up, covered with something white and powdery. More of the stuff fell from the solid black sky overhead.
Atop the mountain's peak was... something. It glowed blue, green, orange, red, yellow, pulsing, swirling, spinning... It was unmistakably magical.
This last image faded away too.
Kasby was utterly speechless.
After a bit, Goat spoke. “So… our friends are in trouble, but everything will be okay if we go to the center, into some cold tunnels, climb a big triangular thing, and get a pretty box?”
“Seems to be what they’re saying,” Zebra said. “Basically, anyway. Though you may have it slightly out of order.”
Goat shrugged, seemingly pleased that he had understood the semi-coherent stream of concepts.
“Let’s… let’s just continue, okay?” suggested Kasby, sounding exhausted and somewhat confused.
“Well, thanks anyway, I guess,” Goat said into the shadows.
Slowly, the blackness faded away around them, revealing the crystals and Void Nebula once again. The ten crystals that had formed the twin pentagons quietly crumbed into dust, and fell away into the fog.
Kasby sat there, stunned. "I am so over my head in this," he muttered.
Zebra turned to him. “Does it matter? Do what you should, and what you have to.”
“Wasn’t planning on doing anything else, Zebra. Just… doing what I can.” Kasby pulled a lever, and the thrusters activated again.
“Let’s save the known universe, then, shall we?” Goat said. “But first, I’d better go make some dinner!”