The air was moist and the breeze hot on the beach. The sun beat down on Gigaer's naked body with an oppressive force. Exhaustion was beginning to set in and he felt his consciousness begin to give way.
All according to plan.
A planet on the outer edges of known space. Gigaer was probably the only sapient creature on the rock. The perfect place to isolate himself from everything he could in order to perform this specific and risky ritual.
He danced a deadly dance upon the blazing sand. Deadly because it involved the expert use of his kandjal. Deadly because this ritual lasted for days and required the participant to push himself beyond the breaking point, inducing a near-death experience.
For days now Gigaer felt something on the outer edges of his ethereal perceptions. Beyond the mist that blocked his view of eternity and protected his sanity, there was something looking back at him. This something was malicious to be sure, but he could not discern anything else. Such a sensation would not have normally prompted such a dangerous measure as the one he undertook now, but things were not so simple.
A message. One sent on an open channel and unencrypted. This was not truly out of the ordinary, until you take into account the sender. Eyes. Eyes was a man who didn't just live in the shadows of secrecy and subterfuge, no, Eyes WAS a shadow. As close to a non-entity as any human could be. The circumstances of the message put Gigaer on alert to be sure, but the content sent him into as close to a panic as he had been in years. It was only one word:
Eyes was surely dead, and that death was surely Gigaer's fault. Someone, or something, was hunting Gigaer, and somehow managed to get to Eyes.
Gigaer was not in the middle of nowhere to run. Running had never been an option. Eyes must have known that. The message was meant to warn Gigaer that he was being hunted and that evasion was key. Gigaer chose instead to hunt the hunter, and to that end needed information on his prey. Anyone who could outmaneuver Eyes would not exist to the rest of society, so searching any normal channels of data would be fruitless. Gigaer had to use extraordinary means.
Gigaer had grown much since the day he learned of his true heritage. At a height of 6 feet and 3 inches and a weight of 250 pounds, he was on par with the largest of Brutor. His constant training endowed him with dense muscles and low body fat that pulled his jet black skin taut, showing off every ripple and bulge. Due to his clan's history of inter-tribe relationships, his facial features took on the more expressive features of the Starkmanir. His eyes were a solid green that seemed to exude willpower, and his hair was ashen white (a rare Minmatar trait that he guessed hearkened back to a Krusual relative) which he wore in a large mane of dreads that extended down to the small of his back and were held together with thick crimson rope. Gigaer had undergone the Voluval when he was with the Elders, yet his tattoos covered his entire body, unlike most Minmatar whose markings were found only on the face and shoulder. A Prano's tattoos served a unique purpose, in which they would enhance the connection to the vital universal energies that the clan tapped in to.
Gigaer's body ceased to sweat some time ago and Gigaer had to fight to remain awake and upright. Before he began this ritual, he ingested a Matari plant known for its minor hallucinogenic effects. This would aid him on his quest for answers and help him pierce the veil between him and the universe for an infinitesimal moment. It was dangerous, but Gigaer saw it as the only way to proceed.
Gigaer has lost count of how many times he had gone through the specific series of kandjal forms, which was half dance and half fighting style. The repetition of these specific forms was meant to focus the mind on the task of seeking answers in the void.
Slowly Gigaer's perception pulled inward until the universe was only the whistle of his kandjal blade and the war drum-like thumping of his heart.
The sounds danced with each other inside his head until they coalesced into a single point of life. Gigaer existed as this speck of will and dashed along the border between nowhere and everywhere. There, for the first time, as he stared into eternity's swirling vortex of past and future, something was looking back at him... something human.
Gigaer opened his eyes. It was night and the stars above him were out. He guessed he had been unconscious for a few hours. Local scavengers had begun to approach, but scurried off and flew away once Gigaer managed to move again. his naked body lay sprawled out facing up. His kandjal was stuck in the sand a few feet away, where it must have flown the moment he lost consciousness and his grip on the weapon.
A few metres away lay a vast ocean. Before Gigaer would trek back to his Claw interceptor, he would take a dip in the cool waters and plan his next step.