As Lt. Tsunade descended into the thickening darkness of the Black Holds, things began to feel very wrong. Carnage met her at the bottom of the elevator: an open cage, scorch marks, and a trail of torn walls and wiring leading away from the elevator. It seemed clear that the others must have come this way as well, following or followed by a rampaging hellboar, and so she entered as well with her four troopers in tow.
As they venture into the darkness, lights in hand, the temperature begins to plummet, and before long, they found themselves trampling through a layer of snow, following the tracks of humans and hellboars, along with an ominous trail of blood. The torn corridor opens into a wide cavern, stretching hundreds of meters in each direction, possibly along the entire keel of the ship. Snow drifted down from the ceiling, invisible above, but an faint light seeped in, seemingly without source. The floor seems as a maze of endless cargo containers. Who knows when they had last seen the light of humanity.
The corridor continues out onto a catwalk for several meters before the walkway shatters. There were fresh blood smears on the jagged metal, so whoever fought a pitched battle here likely fell to the ground below. And so Chikako and her troopers set up lines to repel down to the floor. And that was when madness struck.
Private Handel was the first to go. But the moment he touched the ground, he seemed fixated on the shadows, the light from his torch whirling frantically as he muttered to him self, “No, no… you should be all dead.” He would have gone off if Lt. Tsunade had not shouted him down. But even as she did, Private Romeo turned and fled down the crate maze, shouting after a loved one. He was never heard from again. A third trooper, Private Vics was =REDACTED=, and the lieutenant decided to send the three of them back topside, leaving only Private Johnson to accompany her deeper into the Black Holds.
The humanoid tracks split after a time, and the two decide to stay together. Eventually, the footsteps lead into the darkened entrance of a cargo container. After a cautious inspection, the two step inside…
… and sudden Chikako was elsewhere. It was small room. A room from her childhood. Calligraphy and brushstroke paintings hung from walls, and a rice paper door was closed behind her. She suddenly realized she was no longer armed, and in place of her flak vest, she wore a simple, traditional kimono. And in front of her, an elderly figure sat patiently behind a table. His face was so familiar… It was Master Shiro! — once her mentor… but had passed away many years ago…
He gestures her to sit with a wave of his arms, and she complies. He asked, in his signature, patient way, about her life — how she felt about leadership, about her troops, about the changes in her life. The scenery begins to change. The wall behind Master Shiro falls away, and she could see the landscape outside. A war raged over a rolling twilight landscape. Twin moons glowed in the dying light, and a bright star began to fall from the sky, burning.
On a hunch, Chikako searches for Parthos’ medallion and, finding it in her kimono, shows it to Master Shiro. The old man smiles, “You must keep it safe. You must bring it to the planet.” She pleads him to elaborate, but his response only puzzles her further, “All futures bring you here to me. The child you bring will doom us all.”
A dull roar begins to rumble through the room, growing louder every moment. It begins to drown out all other sounds, all other thoughts. Wind picks up, and the walls of the room begin to tear away, as if taken by a hurricane. Master Shiro seems unperturbed as the room begins to fall apart. Chikako remembers falling, flying, and then all is black.