Perils of S.P.A.C.E. Episode 19

Previously on Perils of S.P.A.C.E.: Sundance meets the cultist leader Iphigenia, who quickly forcefully seduces him to do her bidding.

Episode 19: Cult of the Obsidian Mask, Part IV: The Vessel

Astralyn sat in Sundance’s chair and watched Timmy work. She held the communicator in her hands and waited for Sundance to report in, but it had been almost an hour since his last check in. “Something’s gone wrong. I can feel it.”

“The captain’s probably on his way back,” Timmy suggested.

Astralyn shook her head and stood up. “No, I think he’s in trouble otherwise he would have checked in or been back already. I’m going out there.”

Timmy sat up and bumped his head on the console. He cursed and rubbed his forehead. “I don’t think that’s a good idea. The captain said that we should stick together.”

“Well, I can’t sit here and wait around anymore,” said Astralyn. She walked over to the cabinet by the door and pulled out another communicator. She tossed it to Timmy, who caught it for a second and then dropped it into his lap. “I’ll keep close radio contact and alert you if I’m in any danger.”

“I should probably come with you,” Timmy said, standing up. “I don’t think you should go out there alone. Who knows where we are and what’s out there?”

“We’re on the third planet of the Venga Star System, and Sundance is out there somewhere.” Timmy smiled at having his own response thrown back at him. “You stay here and fix the controls. I’ll be back soon.”

Timmy smiled and said, “You sound just like him.” Timmy pulled his laser pistol from his side holster and handed it to Astralyn. “You should take this, just in case. Be careful.”

Astralyn nodded and placed the pistol in her jacket pocket. She opened the back door and stepped outside. As she closed the door, she noticed that the ground was muddy. She wished that she had worn different shoes instead of her executive heels. She was thankful that she wasn’t wearing a dress today.

She looked down to see if she could see any footprints that Sundance might have left. When she found them, she followed them into the jungle, but the trail ended there. The shoulder height grass made it difficult to find anything. She did her best to look for branches that might have been cut the further into the jungle she got. She wasn’t much of a tracker, but she had learned a little bit from the survivalist books her father had left her.

Astralyn didn’t like how eerily silent the jungle was. She thought it peculiar that not even birds were singing. She hadn’t seen any animals, nor did she want to run into any.

Straining her ears for any sounds at all, she stopped when she heard the splashing of water. She ducked down into the grass and moved closer. She saw people gathering water at a lake. Sundance must have made his report from here, she thought. She looked beyond the lake and found the temple Sundance had mentioned earlier.

“Timmy, I found the temple,” Astralyn whispered into the communicator. “I’m going in to see if Sundance is inside.” She turned the device off before Timmy could reply.

She silently made her way around the lake and observed some of the robe clad men talking to each other. They must have made some kind of joke because they both laughed.

The sound of drums began to emanate from the red temple. The men dropped their buckets and headed back towards it. When they passed her, Astralyn jumped out of the grass and shot both of them with the laser pistol. Stunned, both of them fell to the ground. She pulled the men off the trail they were on and into the tall grass. Knowing she would need a disguise, she quickly disrobed one of the men and put it on herself. She chose to ignore the smell. She pulled the hood over her face and swiftly made her way into the temple.

The temple was lit by torches on the walls. She followed the dark hallway until it opened up into a large room. There were ink drawings on the walls and several of them were of a haunting black face, similar to masks found on the continent of Africa on Old Earth.

A large crowd of people were present. Some were facing the front of the room where a black mask sat on a pedestal. They were on their knees, bowing and praying to it. The others were facing a long table full of food and candles. What caught Astralyn’s attention were the people sitting at the table. There was a woman wearing a black robe and next to her was Sundance, eating some grapes that were being fed to him by maidens.

“Bingo,” she whispered to herself.

Astralyn joined the crowd and made her way toward the table. She hoped that Sundance would see her, but he was distracted by the scantily clad maidens. He looked like he was having the time of his life. She rolled her eyes as she pretended this didn’t bother her.

“My followers! My people!” The woman in the black robe stood up and walked behind Sundance. She placed her hands on his chest and rubbed him. “I have convened with the stars and the heavens. They have told me that this man will be our Chosen One this year. He has been selected and brought to us from another world. The Ceremony will be glorious and our god, Obsidia will walk among us once more!”

“Obsidia! Obsidia! Obsidia!” the people chanted. They raised their arms in the air and swayed. Not wanting to look out of place, Astralyn did the same.

She leaned over to the person to her left and whispered. “The Ceremony? What is that?”

The woman turned to her and smiled. “Oh, you must have just joined. Every year, a Chosen One is picked to become the vessel for our god, Obsidia.”

“A vessel?”

“Yes, though it doesn’t last long,” the woman replied. “The power is so great that the body will soon burn and release Obsidia back to the heavens. It’s a glorious occasion. That man is very lucky.”

Astralyn returned her gaze to the carefree Sundance and gulped. “Yep, he’s lucky alright.”

To be continued…

Onward to Episode 20!

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