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Big Eyes, Small Mouth (BESM): Nexus Earth - Dreamscapes [CH: 5 Interlude]


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I was not sure what had happened. We both wanted it really badly and were excited it was going to happen, but when it did, everything went wrong. I might have been something I said, or something she mentioned, but whatever the case, she stormed off from the table, breaking off our date. What was worse...I knew she wanted me to stop her, but I didn't. How would I approach Amane now? Would she speak with me if I did? I really made a mess of things.

As I walked solemly, with the heady atmosphere of dejection hanging over my head, I wanted nothing more than to run back to Amane to tell her how much I love her and that I was sorry for all I said. It was not that I had a valid argument, Satoshi was culpable in the mess we found ourselves in. They were the ones who hired 'loose cannons' and unstable psychopaths and put them into senior positions simply because they had the ability. It was to be expected: Satoshi was a corporation. Where I think Amane objected was that she thought I inferred that all their Captains were 'psychopaths', and by extension, her. I tried to explain that she was one of many exceptions, and only proceeded to muddle it further. I ended up with a drink in my face before the meal had even arrived. I must really suck at this relationship thing.

So much for this 'love' thing. It was never a part of my life before and it would never be again. I am a soldier. Soldiers have no need for love of others, only love of honor, duty, loyalty and country. Relationship love is a wrench in the gears. It has no place in my life.

I entered my room and flopped down on my bed. A flood of emotions washed me as I felt the dark oblivion of sleep grab me and pull me into the world of nightmares.

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For a brief while, I had thought them gone. Maybe it had been my growing love towards Amane that had shunted them to the recesses of my brain, maybe it was just one of theose natural dream cycles I went through: for inexplicable reasons, months went by without them. These were blessed times when I slept through the night and felt refreshed into he morning. Unfortunately, they always returned. When they did they were always especially vivid and tactile. I would wake with physical sensations that mirrored those in my dreams.


I walked down a wintery road, littered with the wreckage of horse-drawn carts and animals. The occasional body of a soldier lie frozen to the snowy ground; his life's juices spread out in frozen, macabre sculptures underneath him. The animals were torn to pieces by cannon and grapeshot, as if they had strayed withing range of the artillery pieces. The markes of teeth on frozen horse-flesh were visible, signifying that wolves were in the area. When spring came, the place would be a fetid, fly infested scene of putrescense where vultures fought over the semi-liquified innards of some soldier or animal. If war was hell, it's aftermath was a horror that made a demon's blood curdle.

I saw a figure standing in a field off to my right, it's shape was mostly obscured by blowing snow and blurred by distance. Near it was a small bombed out farmhouse, its windows shattered and the roof burned away until it was little more than a windbreak. When I blinked, the person was gone. Only the farmhouse remained.

Distant booms signaled that there was a battle nearby. Their vibrations shook the snow from the trees, further obscuring my vision. I turned from them. I was one man with a single muzzle-loaded rifle. I stood no chance against artillery. I would be better to return to the farmhouse, where at least I had some shelter, and try to return to my unit. I didn't even know how I had become separated from them. I had woken next to a shattered cannon, frozen to the ground in a pool of blood. For two days since, I had been following their trail.

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I arrived at the small farmhouse without remembering how I got there. The door was still intact, but it had several fist sized holes in it from small arms fire. The walls on the outside appeared to be made of stone, and had not succumed to the infernal that had blackened them.

My head spun around as I heard a sound from the woods nearby. It was a wet, snorting sort of sound, and it made my skin shiver in unease. That was not the noise of wolves, boars or oxen...it was something hunting; its mucousy, snorting noises were rhythmic and earnest, as if seeking. Was it looking for me? My heart quickened and I grabbed the doorhandle. If I could get inside I would be safe...something told me it was safe.

The single room was remakably preserved. Inside were intact items of furniture like chairs, a table and a bed. Surely these things did not survive the fire, but must have been added afterwards by a later occupant. The fireplace looked to have been used recently, as the ashes were still soft and undistrubed. A pot of a recently cooked, but now frozen meal, sat next to the cold hearth. Remarkably, the bed looked to still have blankets and pillows on it, all of them untouched by the blowing snow. Without a roof, the interior should be coated with snow. But it wasn't.

I heard some wood collapse from teh pile against the side of the building followed by an annoyed grunt and wheeze. Whatever it was, it was four legged; I could hear it's feet shuffling in the snow. It was hunting me, for I heard a loud snort from the bottom of the doorframe moments after I closed and barred it. Something bright red poked underneath the half inch gap between the doorframe and the floor. Moments later, it stuck a claw under the door, as if reaching out for me. The large, curved, 2 inch dagger-like claws, left white scratchmarks in the stone floor. I saw the red probuscus like nose again, inhaling the odor of warm flesh- my flesh. Drops of dark saliva littered the gap between the doorframe. The thing seemed to stop and turn, moving away slowly. Ic ould hear it brushing up against the side of the small cabin, its claws occasionally scraping as it searched for some way to climb the walls and get to the sweet-meat inside. I slammed my eyes shut, hoping this was all a dream but when I opened them I was still there. I was trapped in this ice box, surrounded by a hungry animal I could not begin to fathom that existed.

I jumped at a knock at the door. Animals don't knock, people do...but who would approach the farmhouse while that thing prowled around it?

"Hello?" I said, my voice quaking.

"Let me in Georgi!" It was Amane and she sounded frightened. "Oh god, Georgi! Please! It is going to get me! Hurry!" I could see, through one of the holes in the door, Amane's tear-stained face. I had to let her in, I couldn't let that thing get her.

I raised the bar on the door and grabbed the handle. I wanted to hug her and tell her what I felt about her; to keep her safe. When I started to open the door,n I saw what looked to be a paw with long, greasy claws through one of the holes lower down on the door. These claws were attached to a human arm! The door opened further, as Amane pushed the door open further. Oh God!...It's not Amane!

My mind screamed out a warning and I shoved all my weight against the door. I heard a woman's startled scream change to a gurgling snuffle. I slammed the bar down, locking me inside. For several seconds, things were quiet.

"Georgi!" The voice was a gutteral mixture of Amane's sweet comforting voice and the wet animalistic snorting of the thing that stalked outside the cabin. "Please Georgi, let me in. I am sooo hungry and cold."

I sunk to the ground: hands holding my knees against my body. I rocked in misery as the beast outside, taunted me with Amane's love and promises of kindness in her voice, and froze in chilled terror when it would describe how it would eat me. I knew that my life was over, destined to perish of starvation. The alternative outside, was too frightening to consider.


Morning came and Georgi did not show up to his appointment in the armory. By the time lunch came, people were sent to look for him.

He was found catatonic, in his bed, with a terrified look fixed to his face.

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Amane sat next to his comatose body for twelve straight hours, horrified that her last words to him had been some spoken in anger. "Can nothing be done?"

The doctor shook his head. "Nothing that we've got alot of data on. There are several ancient Kage rituals that could be tried, but I don't know that they'll work."

"What do they entail?" There was hope, she'd try anything.

"We can try a sympathetic mental link. His problem is Psychological, not health based. We can put a consciousness in his mind, a guide if you will to bring him back to the real world. But the person who acts as guide is in danger of being destroyed by the demons of his psyche. Kai or Akina are the best choices, but neither evokes enough of an emotional response to shock Georgi into acknowledging them."

"I'll do it Doctor."

"But Captain."

"Now, Doctor."

"Yes of course."

The next hour is spent making arrangements, and finally Amane is put to sleep, and mentally linked to Georgi.

She finds herself alone and in a dark forest on the russian Taiga. "Great. Now think Amane, where would he be?"

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I was hungry and cold and spent much of my time trying to sleep in the moth-eaten blankets on the bed. To my dismay, the beast outside would emit a cry, like a dying woman, everytime I shut my eyes. It was pure hell. The wood to make a fire was outside with that thing, and I was stuck inside. I had chopped up the chair and table for firewood several days ago. Now I debated doing the same to the bed.

Day after day, the beast prowled outside the stone cottage, scraping, grunting and taunting. On several occasions, probably due to lack of sleep and starvation, I began to open the door. The monster was wearing me down with images of an outside that was warm and bountiful with food; where I could sleep in a bed and hold a loved one. They were all lies. There was only me, the beast, the forests, and the unforgiving Russian winter.

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After battling two creatures from his mind and marveling at just how dangerous they truly were, Amane had been suprised by three more. She had been nearing a cottage, cold dark and abandoned, but it was the only sign of civilization here.

She pullled her fist back, taking a stance and then let fly with one of her more brutal attacks. "TanShinkou!" The blast of force blew a hole through one of the demons even as the other pounced on her.

After several minutes one threw her battered body up against the door. Using pretty much the last of her reserves, She roared out a final "TanShinkou!" and blased away the two final creatures, before falling back against the door, wounded and exhausted from so many attacks with an audible thud, and a groan.

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I think I dozed off for a few. I heard the sounds of battle but was not sure whether they were in the present or in my past. They were probably more hallucinations: I had been seeing and hearing things that could not...should not exist. I saw myself in a strange uniform with an odd looking rifle in my hand. I was shouting orders to a company of similarly dressed men. The alien flag on my uniform consisted of a white hammer and sickle on a red background. Was I going mad, or was this a portend?

Another shout dissolved the current image from my eyes, only to have it replaced with a simlar, but equally perplexing image of which I understood little. I was flying in a strange machine that made a loud Thwipping sound. All around me were other soldiers..Russians by the look of them, and we were all dressed in similar uniforms. They were not the Imperial Uniform of Czarist Russia, which is what I wore, but were grey and white. The flag under which we fought was striped red, white and blue. Did Russia have another army with fantastic flying machines that I didn't know about?

A thump at the front door roused me from my hunger-fueled delusions. With agonizing effort I stood and using the frozen walls of the cottage's interior, I stumbled towards the door. It was that damn demon again, it was even disturbing my hallucinations.


TanShinkou? It sounded like Japanese. What would someone from Imperial Japan be doing up here in the Russian Taiga in the middle of winter? It must be the beast again; it was playing with my mind. What really bothered me about it, was that I understood Japanese even though i'd never set foot there, or been taught the language. Had it gotten into my mind now? I had to scream in anger at it's new assault on my mind.

"Leave me alone!"

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Amane heard him inside and her spirit soared. Even if he wasn't in the mood for guests, he was alive, and intact.

"Georgi, we're all.. worried..about...you.." Her exhaustion was showing. Clearly here she didn't have the epansive energy reserves she had in her physical body.

"I was worried about you." She slumped down next to the door, feeling tired beyond belief, and in the distance she could hear more creatures approaching.

"I can't fight anymore of them Georgi, you have to let me in, or it's all over, you'll never be able to keep your promises."

She coughs, a sick painful sound. "We won't get to finish our dance."

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I slammed my hands over his ears. The pleading and crying was too much for me. I started pacing back and forth, muttering to myself so that I might drown out the demon's cruel mimicry of Amane. The sounds of an injured Amane were unbelievably cruel and my heart was at the point of breaking.

I could take it no more. "Stop it!" I screamed at the beast. "I'll die of starvation before I give in to you! There is nothing you can say to me which will make me leave!"

The demon must be in my head. How else would it know about my promises to Amane. I lost all hope; there was no longer any point in sticking around. I walked over to the rifle and checked it. There was a round loaded...enough to end this nightmare.

I placed the muzzle against my forehead, my hands glided down the barrel to the trigger. I love you Amane.

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"We're losing him!" All around in the medical bay alarms were sounding as Georgi's body began preparing for what was happening inside. "Be ready to pull Captain Kaunac back out forcibly. I won't lose them both."

Inside the dream Amane knew she had one thing left that could break through to him.

"I love you too Georgi.... Ban...kai..."

Light enveloped her, and the house, Taiga and scenery vanished. it was as if she was bisected. To her right, the soft beautiful skin and white armor of an Angel, resplendent with a large brilliant white wing and long blond hair. To her left, the black demonic armor resembling the Witchblade. Her Left wing was jeb lack, as was her hair. Both her eyes were the lapis color of a cat's, and she smiled, holding out her arms to welcome him.

"My last secret Georgi, now please come home, I need you."

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I saw an angel..or was it a demon. Everything around me had vanished and I stood in a featureless space with a beautiful and terryifying figure. I didn't remember pulling the trigger, but there in front of me was...Amane? Was it really her? Where did the beast go? Did it somehow get me and my mind saw it as it was?

My last secret Georgi, now please come home, I need you."

Home? I had thought I was home already. My brain screamed out in warning, and I wanted to reflexively pull away, to return to the cold and the hunger. It had seemed so real; the sights and sounds and the fear were things that felt real. Yet, here was Amane, bearing her soul to me. My heart told me she was real and that I should follow her. I reached out and grabbed her hand.

"I will do as you say." If it was the beast, my life was over. I didn't care anymore. The only thing I cared about anymore was holding my hand. I needed her too.


In the infirmay, Georgi opened his eyes weakly and looked upon the tear stained face of Amane. The forest and snow and beast were gone. He was back on the ship, in the present. He sat up in bed and pulled Amane close to him. He whispered in her ear.

"I will keep your secret."

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