Nina’s right arm was a tapestry of destruction, an inked and toned muscled map of her kills and conquests. Monsters never before seen were forever immortalized in their horror. Monsters she had hunted and slain out here in the far reaches of space and time. There was so much darkness in the universe, and Nina lived for the timeless night of it.
Nina’s left arm bared only the crest of her father’s regimen and a scared-over patch of skin on her wrist that had once been a commitment to a man she would rather since forget. Like her father, Nina had always lived life for the moments, and that patch of flesh had turned out to be just that.
One which was now best long forgotten.
The planet had three suns, casting it in a variant of amber and pink depending upon the hour. The ground beneath her feet creaked and quivered from their pull, a never-ending shimmer of quakes from various epicenters as the crust tried unendingly to adjust to their gravity.
Nina stared out at the horizon, a massive sink hole caving-in in the desert before her as the wind whipped at her long pulled back mane of seemingly endless black hair. Her amber eyes took it in unflinchingly. They were the eyes of a hawk, a calm raptor on the hunt passed down from her father. She dressed in black, a tight black tank and leggings tucked into long well-worn black boots. Her skin was a glowing bronze and both a custom designed blaster and plasma sword hung from the belt at her thighs.
One ranged weapon, one melee. Standard field issue under her father’s command, not that Nina had ever been under any man’s command.
No matter how respectable.
There was evil on this planet. Nina could feel it down there in the vibrating core of this forgotten rock. She could almost smell it reeking up from the fresh lake sized hole before her and drawing her sword, she hopped down into the pit.
When Nina was eight her mother had given her a Belzsnark. He had been an ugly little green and yellow spotted thing, his color dull and his trunk stunted but he had followed her everywhere and they had used to play in the caves together. There were Luminites in the cave and the Belzsnark would sniff them out with his off-sized trunk, the caves growing darker and darker with each one he devoured until there was no light left at all and Nina and the Belzsnark would continue on their way in darkness. Nina had always been comfortable in darkness, a fact that had made her father and his unit proud. It was dangerous for a member of the Space Fleet to rely solely on something as easily deceived out here in the Outer Quadrants as sight. Sight was based on a creature’s ability to interpret light, and space was nothing if not full of tricky light.
There was light in the natural caverns of the rumbling cave, Nina could see it flickering off the walls ahead. She was aware of being led downward as she headed for them, and the rumbling seemed to be absorbed more by the hold of the ancient sediment although she had no doubt that any moment the opening above her would shift and cave it. She pressed a button on her sword and felt the molecules come to life invisibly around her, the technology to terra-form entire planets reduced to a humming bubble of Galaxxy Industries ingenuity. The battery would hold for two weeks, any longer than three days down here and Nina would head back to the ship as a precaution.
There was no way of telling how far ahead the lights were. They seemed a pale blue or violet in origin but no light was ever to be trusted and with the GI bubble tuned into servicing her she could not use any other senses until closer. As she approached the glow just meters in the distance Nina noticed a change in the atmosphere beyond the security of her bubble.
The rocky cavern walls had begun humming. If Nina had been able to get a closer look in the darkness she was certain she would have found their speckled crystalline flakes glittering and dancing as they vibrated.
Nina now knew exactly what those pale and dangerous beckoning lights were in the darkness beyond.
A magnetically produced and perpetuated underground lightning storm of generated friction providing a natural barrier between her and whatever lay in the pit. Nina walked through the beautiful cascading catastrophe as the sound of crackling roared all around her shield. It would hold, the flickering blues and ultra-violets could sneer and rage all they wanted, Galaxxy Industries had tested-out under far more extreme planetary conditions than this. It was the best, and Nina calmly strode through the subterranean storm without so much as a flinch, for she too was the best.
Beyond the storm there was only silence and the void.
Nina fell still, listening and feeling the silence and darkness before her. It must go on for miles in the darkness, a darkness which was far too dark for human eyes to ever adjust to and thus Nina’s fell closed.
It was a pool.
A large massive aquifer in the darkness.
A splash then, a slithery wet splash of something testing the surface tentatively before quietly diving back under. Nina opened her eyes.
It knew she was here.
Nina altered the levels on her shield for the slightest fraction of seconds shooting out a GI Flare into the cavern, lighting up the walls in violent crimson causing the creature to groan; shuddering the walls in his pained rage from beneath the waters. She had activated the flare just as much to harm his own sight as to aid her own and from his increasing fury she could tell it had worked.
Calmly the Demon Slayer gripped her sword and braced for impact.
The cave shuddered, great chunks of rock falling from the ceiling into the water as he rose from the waters in a speed reserved only for such demons of the deep, tendrils wrapped tight around her bubble and soon she was swallowed up by a wall of nasty green and red bulbous pulsating suckers, his voice echoing off the cave walls as he cursed her in the forgotten tongue of The Unformed.
Back before The Light, before Shadows. Back when there was only the dark cold vastness of space.
Nina let him take her in, swallowing her down pass rows and rows of razor sharp teeth until she landed in the dark void of nothingness that was the monster’s core.
Then, she closed her eyes…
…and began gathering energy.
There was a myth that the bellies of The Forgotten held the space between universes. Pits of pure nothingness that could hold the secret of trans-dimensional travel to any point and space in any universe. The people who theorized such things had never visited the bellies of said beasts however, let alone set off an Atomic Singularity Event in one…
Nina opened her eyes.
Time and space shuddered, pulling in against her shield like the slightest inhale of breath…
…and then there was nothing but the fire and The Forgotten’s screams for as far as the senses could endure.
Then it was simply blown away by the planet’s winds and there was only Nina in the pit, now twice the circumference but just as dried out and lonesome as before.
There were no aftershocks as Nina made her way to her ship, the power of her subterranean blast temporarily stabilizing the planet.
Nina stripped from her suit in the decontamination chamber, robotic arms aiding her in purging irritants of any biological, radioactive, or chemical nature and redressing her for take-off.
Nina’s ship “The Pale Mistress” blasted off into the bitter glaring sunlight, the planet as oblivious to her exit as it had been her arrival. Space cared nothing for life or death, only the light and the dark. This planet had existed out here in the Outer Quadrants for billions of years, and it would continue to exist for billions more until its suns began to eat one another and consume it as a mere side-morsel within their excretions.
Planets and stars didn’t care about evil.
That was the job of the living.
That was Nina’s job, the job of the Demon Slayer.
To bring death to evil.