Samuel found himself nodding in agreement to the German woman’s firm voice. He stepped aside as she left the room, and only afterward realized how deftly he had been played.Too late to stop her now.
He felt like he should say something. He turned to the German man and tried to set his tone to an appropriately imperious cadence. “Fritz, was it? Get a tourniquet around your friend’s leg; I’ll deal with you in a moment.” He scanned the other passengers, and inevitably his eyes were drawn to the scene’s apex: an unassuming religious icon resting on the captain’s desk. Burgundy shook his head knowingly and walked forward. “Well, well, well.” He carefully watched the others’ faces as he approached the relic. “What have we here?”
One of the Germans lunged for the relic, trying to intercept Burgundy, but he was too late. As Burgundy touched the item, he felt the faintest vibration run through him. It was not unlike doing a terrible job of changing a lightbulb and getting zapped. It was almost cute.
But cute, it would not remain.
Hands matted with Lang's blood, Fritz grabbed Burgundy by the arm, ruining Burgundy's clothes and also being obstructive at the same time.
The vibrations continued to run up Burgundy, focusing on his head and making him dizzy. He did not have the time to react to Fritz' assault before the room shimmered with an intense light, seeping out of every particle and space as if from nowhere. For a mere second, Burgundy thought his lifetime of gentle debauchery and casual indulgence had caught up with him, but everybody else left in the room seemed to be sharing the experience too, judging from their dazzled faces.
As the light intensified, Burgundy found his mind sharpening, focusing on something far ahead. The vibrations grew more violent.
Then he was somewhere else. It was a ship, yes, battered by the waves. But it was not the same ship. He was looking into the Bridge, which was swarming with different folks of every height, colour and style. A darker man wearing an offensively green coat was steering the ship. Beside him, a slit-eyed Oriental was barking orders in his heathen tongue.
"Too late. Can you feel that?" the dark-skinned captain of this foreign vessel asked, his accent unfamiliar.
The Oriental nodded and gritted his teeth.
"They're close to the island. Too late to board their ship."
"Umbra has failed." the captain said. "We've fucked this one up."
"Not too late to stop the relic, though." the Oriental nattered nasally. "We can make a landing-"
"Not our place. Our orders were-"
"We're not a corporation or an army. We are Umbra
." the Oriental clenched his fist melodramatically. "We can
take that initiative. We have to find that ship and its crew, kill everybody and get the relic off the island before it can make its way home. The world isn't ready."
The vision ended abruptly, and Burgundy found himself right where he had been - Fritz's arm on his own, surrounded by panicked looking people.
"We all saw it." Lang said, still lying on the ground pathetically. "I warned you that knowledge is dangerous. The more you know, the more power the relic has over you. The more we all get involved and drawn into this. We're-"
A resounding crash shook the entire ship. Everybody was thrown to the ground, except Lang, who simply rolled.
"We hit something!" the member of the ship's crew who was present, Ricks, wailed like a bitch.ONTO LAND. YOU ARE SINKING. LAND IS NOT FAR.
It was a thought, or a voice. But it was not Burgundy's own. And scrambling about, he could tell from the faces of his unwilling compatriots, that they had heard it too.
"How can you let her go just like that!?" Blurted Callum, dumbfounded. "She's obviously part of this whole relic business!"
Grabbing his sickly friend's arm, he made a dash towards the door. "Come, George, we need to catch her."
Callum and George stumbled into the hall, nearly tripping on the eyeless corpse. The German woman had vomited, but she was still on the move, following Bjorn and his men. Further down, Bjorn had just arrived at a door that had been smashed open, and he was looking inside the room with pistol in hand.
"For helvede." Bjorn annunciated rather loudly. "Lort!"
Callum, George and Wibeke arrived beside him just in time to peek into the room. The First Mate was there, propped in his chair, as eyeless as the corpse down the hall. 'Hans' was missing. Judging from the trail of destruction originating from the room, Bjorn seemed to arrive at a conclusion.
At least they had a suspect for the murders."God help me."
Something moaned from the room. No, not something. Someone. It was the First Mate, eyeless, but still alive.
Then the entire ship shook, and all were thrown to their feet.
As Bjorn got to his feet, rubbing his head, he addressed his men once more.
"If we hit land, we can't be too far from Reykjavik. And Arvid needs medical attention that we can't provide. If we're sinking, secure the lifeboats. Fuck the passengers who got us into this mess. Who knows how many of them are cultists or freaks."
Then Bjorn turned to Callum, George and Wiebke.
"Get out of my sight. You heard me. So you'd better hope we're not sinking. If you try to steal the lifeboats, I will shoot you. And if we get out of this alive, I am handing you over to the police."