Screaming Metal (Part 015)

Priyanka may not be alone in the chasm of junk...

There didn't seem to be rhyme or reason to the timing of the outbursts.

She needed to calm herself, lest she trigger a collapse and join Il'on and the rest of the junk here in eternal obscurity.

As before, without preamble, the noise faded to a din that eventually died out. But the junk-merc dared not let her guard down.

She took a deep breath, let it out slowly.

Her brows knit with the jumble of emotions washing over her, chief among them exasperation and confusion.

This had to be a joke, but the motivation behind it was lost on her.

Or... perhaps someone was trying to scare her away from the site. Or even worse, use it as a distraction. Unease gripped her stomach.

Alarmed, she called up to the Alley Cat again. "Suen?"

This time there was an answer, "Pree! We've been trying to contact you... Are you alright?" The other woman's voice was deeply concerned.

"I'm fine. Suen, listen. I need you to make a thorough check. Press the sensors and see if we aren't being approached."

The reply was swift and alert. "You got it. Hang on..."

"Deshel, I might have to execute a quick ascent," Priyanka said, alerting her crewman.

Deshel's voice was adamant. "I really would advise against it."

"I don't think we have a choice," Priyanka replied.

Suen's voice came back to her over before she could say any more on the subject.

"Pree, I've got nothing. Not even the ScrapHounds, which is odd considering their schedule. You really should consider coming back up."

Suen was right. She probably hadn't made the best decision coming down here in the first place, but she needed to see Il–

She interrupted her own train of thought. No, she wasn't ready to concede that this was Il'on until she had definitive proof.

But she did need to gauge just how close she was to her goal.

It would help drive her and possibly give her the leverage she needed to keep the other two on the team before this whole deal went sour.

The red glow of the light had died back down, and yet it was still clear, still calling to her. And not so far away.

Priyanka made her decision. "Give me just another minute. Then we'll close up shop for the night."

"Pr–" The voice was Deshel's. He had stopped himself from saying something – something he thought might be out-of-line, perhaps?

"Just... be careful, please," he finished.

Refocusing herself on getting to Il'on, Priyanka moved as swiftly as possible in the limited confines of the surrounding garbage.

Within minutes, she found herself nearly level with the light as she dropped down upon an ancient databank.

The long, bulky device that had once helped hurtle starships across the cosmos now teetered slightly as she stood atop it.

She waited for it to settle itself and then continued forward, dropping to her hands and knees to slip through an opening.

The beckoning red glow was just beyond, pulsating... almost in time to the quickening beat of her own heart.

Pulling a pack of glow stickers from a pouch, she slapped several on objects around her, marking the area.

Time to leave, she thought.

Leaning in toward the light buried just meters away in the dark, she spoke to it tersely. "Be back for you."

Hissed curses in alien languages and machine squirts snapped.

Priyanka jerked back.

Rabid snarls followed and then a more feminine voice that bordered on youth, but not childish.

It pleaded. "No, don't leave us... don't–"

Arcs of electricity sprung up with great pop and sizzle, playing over the surface of the machine block within the mess of junk.

**Screaming Metal—All Parts**

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Screaming Metal (Part 015)
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