|Ice Age is a Historical Event
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This is Year Seven of the Ice Age.
The Team Grows
The Warlord's New Toy
Four months had passed since the destruction of the World of Corpses. Peace had returned to the Polar Crystal Alliance's space, while the rest of the galaxy resumed their lives, now free from the mutant hordes. On neutral space, an unaligned space station was present, which served as a meeting place for hundreds of thousands of all types of creatures, be them criminals, police or merely citizens. At this particular day arrived Dolgan Tuchaki, one of Dark Grip's lieutenants, and the first thing she did upon arriving was to go the club. Her face and armor concealed by a cloak, she made her way through the station, ignored by whoever crossed paths with her, not that anyone would try opposing a Borealis Zazane of her size. Upon arriving at the club itself, she went over to the bar and bashed the table to get the barkeep's attention.
- Dolgan - Beer. Now.
The barkeeper looked towards the Zazane and nodded quickly, reaching for a high-quality Paa'go bottle, with the words "Extra Strong" inscribed on the label in multiple languages, and slid it across the counter towards Dolgan. It was clear from his expression that Zazane had made a reputation for being notorious within these parts of the galaxy. As she took the drink, she turned around and looked around the club, as if she was looking for something. She had not come here solely to get a drink, she was here for a reason. She had a target. There were violent strobe lights and holographic smoke machines that gave the club a certain atmosphere, and the crowds behaved as if they were part of a colossal rave. There were posers and strippers of various species, some attractive while some otherwise, dancing and maneuvering around poles, exposing their bodies to the audiences.
Dolgan glared at them, her eyes narrowing and her teeth barred. Such sight disgusted her immensely. To display your body for others like this was one of the things she hated the most, though she made no indication of her annoyance to the people around her, keeping to herself and drinking from the beer given to her. One dancer had caught the eye of the majority of the club attendees and Dolgan herself; a pinkish-purple Zazane with bare, shapely breasts and a generous posterior, her form athletic and curvy. She was unrestrained by clothes, and she laughed as she danced and posed the night away, she herself drinking from a refreshing bottle of Paa'go.
- Dolgan - Torrent better get me a damn raise for forcing me to watch this humiliation.
It was then that Dolgan watched as the Zazane approached, stepping through the crowd as they reached to fondle and touch her body. She threw her emptied glass away and rested beside her fellow Zazane at the bar counter, glaring seductively at the barkeep and uttered a few words.
- Kalcedia - Another round, boy, and make it a strong one! I want to end up knocked out hard by the end of tonight.
Kalcedia turned to Dolgan and passed a sultry smile across her lips and looked back at the barkeep, leaning forward.
- Kalcedia - And another for the good lady, on the house.
Dolgan glared at Kalcedia and growled under her breath, but kept to herself. Striking now would blow her cover in front of an entire crowd, and she did not want that to happen. As Kalcedia received the drinks, she passed one to Dolgan, before noticing she already had a drink. With a shrug, she smiled and sat beside Dolgan, speaking in her usual sultry tone that could melt butter.
- Kalcedia - You're a good looker, I like the whole masculine thing you have going on. I always wondered why more girls don't do it.
- Dolgan - You stare too much, woman. Keep your distance.
- Kalcedia - Ooh, touchy! What are you here for? To fuck or get fucked? You look like the sorta girl who goes on top.
- Dolgan - None of your damn business.
- Kalcedia - What's your problem, princess?
Dolgan's expression went from a mere frown to downright anger. She glared at Kalcedia under her cloak and clenched her fist, breaking the beer cup she was holding.
- Dolgan - I suggest you watch your mouth when talking to me, before I break every tooth in your mouth.
- Kalcedia - Excuse me? I don't think you have any idea who the hell you're talking to!
- Dolgan - And you have no idea who the hell you are talking to, whore.
With a scowl across her face, Kalcedia smashed the glass bottle she had in her hand and stood up, kicking the stool she was sitting on away and knocking over various club-goers. She glared at Dolgan and slapped her across the cheek, although it did little to faze the Zazane. The slap uncovered Dolgan's face, revealing her identity to the entire club. Individuals screamed and backed away at the sight of the lieutenant, while she looked at Kalcedia with a glare. Her hand turned pitch-black from her nanomachines activating, and she delivered a punch at Kalcedia's mouth. Kalcedia was thrown across the bar, smashing glasses and breaking the counter itself before falling onto the floor, causing a path of destruction. After several seconds of recomposing herself, she leaped onto her feet and clenched her fists, glaring towards the Dark Grip lieutenant. The bruise inflicted upon Kalcedia's face quickly healed, almost as if she had been unscathed.
- Kalcedia - So it's you.
- Dolgan - I was going to wait until you were alone, but screw that. I'm gonna take you to Torrent by your damn crest.
- Kalcedia - Have fun, bitch! By the time I'm done with you, you'll be licking your blood from between my toes!
- Dolgan - He wants you to be his new toy, or so I was told. He has terrible taste.
- Kalcedia - Heh, if you don't like him so much, why don't you just leave him? Or do you need a man to keep you in check?
- Dolgan - By serving him, I get to kick the shit out of frilly little girls like you.
- Kalcedia - Mm-mm, kiss my ass, sister! Better yet, kiss my foot when I ground your face into the floor!
Kalcedia's skin began to crystallize, armouring itself with mineral-like formations across her body, acting in place of natural body armour. She passed a grin as she glared towards Dolgan and began to walk towards her, licking the blood from her lower lip where her opponent had struck her. The lieutenant's skin hardened and turned pitch-black from the nanomachines in her bloodstream as she walked toward Kalcedia herself. Kalcedia's grin began to disappear as she approached, and her walk started to transition into a run towards Dolgan, eventually engaging in an all-out dash as her blood boiled, with some club-goers having forgotten to run and instead remained where they stood, watching the two.
- Kalcedia - What are you waiting for... Come and get it!
Dolgan made no effort to increase her speed and kept walking while Kalcedia charged at her. Kalcedia, her fist clenched, threw it forward and slammed it against Dolgan's crest, processing an immense amount of force behind it. Her fist slammed her opponent's forehead - the crystalline formations across Kalcedia's skin shattered, and the Zazane took a wide step back, her arm limp. She winced as she took the opportunity to watch her arm dripping with blood.
- Kalcedia - The fuck...
Dolgan put her arms up and hammered Kalcedia's head into the ground, the floor cracking below the two of them and sending nearby watchers out of their feet. Kalcedia coughed blood as she hit the floor, weakened by Dolgan's strikes. Clearly, she had underestimated the potential of her rival, and was suffering the price for it as she laid upon the floor, naked and vulnerable. She panted heavily, her body twitching as she struggled to move and get up.
- Dolgan - I've slaughtered many whores over the last 45 years, but you have got to be the most disgusting I've ever seen.
As Dolgan looked down at the beaten whore, something happened that had taken the lieutenant off-guard; Kalcedia placed her weight onto her elbows and lifted her torso and lower body upright, wrapping her thighs around Dolgan's neck before slamming her lower body back down to the floor, taking Dolgan off of her feet and pounding her against the ground. The lieutenant shouted out in surprise, pain and disgust as she felt. Surprise out of Kalcedia's sudden move, pain from hitting the floor, and disgust for having the Zazane's exposed nether regions coming in contact with her neck as her thighs were wrapped around her. Raising to her feet in an athletic fashion, Kalcedia turned towards Dolgan and kneeled down, glaring into her eyes as she laid on the ground. Before the lieutenant could ascend and strike back, Kalcedia delivered a back-hand slap - to the lieutenant's mammary regions.
- Dolgan - You bitch, how dare you!
Kalcedia turned and ran, and emerging from her body was the butt of her highly-advanced, complex sniper rifle; Sinidaarl. She pulled it from her body to its full, glorious extent and turned around, aiming towards Dolgan as she watched the lieutenant with her keen, eagle-like eyes, and prepared herself to pull the trigger.
- Kalcedia - Sinidaarl... Send a distress signal to the nearest PCA vessel you can. I need assistance... fast.
Dolgan got up from where she had fallen and grabbed two daggers out of her belt. She ran after Kalcedia and threw the daggers at the Zazane's direction, aiming to stop her on her tracks. One dagger flew past Kalcedia's crest, barely missing her right eye as it travelled past. The other dagger, however, flew past Kalcedia's attention and estimation and ended up lodging itself deep into the center of her left breast, pouring blood and other essences from it as it delivered a harsh wound. Kalcedia screamed, almost dropping her rifle in the process. With Kalcedia slowed down by the pain, Dolgan leaped and slammed her into the floor with her arm. A blast of cold came out of the lieutenant's armor, freezing the ground around the two extremely fast.
Kalcedia screeched as the liquids in her body merged with the floor as ice formed around her, preventing her from getting to her feet. In an act of desparation, Kalcedia threw a free arm at Dolgan's face, punching her cheek while incapable of moving, having dropped her rifle in order to do so. Dolgan grunted and growled before punching Kalcedia's head repeatedly, growing angrier with her resistance. Her blood spilled onto the floor with each punch Dolgan delivered, cracking Kalcedia's crest under the amount of stress she was afflicting upon it. Soon, all Dolgan could hear when she punched the Zazane super-warrior was wet, moist sounds of muscle tissue and blood being pummelled, part of her skull already having caved in. She no longer made resistance, for she was unable to.
Dolgan got up, passing her hands on her armor to clean herself, and clawed her own neck repeatedly while groaning loudly. She looked down at the defeated Kalcedia and grabbed her by her crest, dragging her across the floor as she walked out. She put her free hand on her ear, contacting the party that would take her back to Dark Grip's headquarters.
- Dolgan - Chahenthras, I got the target. Prepare the ship and get me out of here.
Assassin on the Ship
One night upon Vekaron's ship, ready to leave Hyperborea on the search around the galaxy for Torrent, Vekaron and his crew were asleep in their quarters, except for Kamaris, who chose to read an article on Kalcedia and Dolgan's fight and her capture. Whilst Mahanayan music was playing quietly in the main part of the ship, something was amiss. He was using his fingers to pass over the holographic text to read, yet something was bothering him. The atmosphere felt different - acute but enough for Kamaris to notice. He put the tablet down, sniffing the air. He put his hand to his jaw, scratching it in curiosity. Walking through the ship, his senses which were over-reactive were playing difficult for him in such silence. He took it upon himself to enter Kirlisir's quarters and wake her up. He beated his hand against her back, almost throwing her to the side of the wall. Kamaris whispered, though it is somewhat louder than conventional due to his size.
- Kamaris - Wake up.
Kirlisir's eye fluttered open and she sat up, glaring towards Kamaris with a frown as she saw the Mahanayan standing over her.
- Kirlisir - You feel it too, then?
- Kamaris - Yes. I think there is an intruder in here.
- Kirlisir - Should we wake up Vek and the rest of the crew?
- Kamaris - Yes. Do it quietly.
Indeed, something was watching them, although the technology the intruder was using made it very difficult for anyone to pinpoint where he or she was hiding. Kamaris entered Wragrot's quarters, poking him in the side. Noticing Wragrot's large frame, it did not work. Instead, he thumped him on the shoulder. Wragrot mumbled and slowly opened his eyes. Kamaris could see that, due to his huge frame, Wragrot slept in two beds as opposed to one.
- Wragrot - You better have a really good reason...
- Kamaris - Is 'intruder' a good enough reason?
- Wragrot - Might be...you sure you're not just sleepy?
- Kamaris - Kirlisir can sense it too.
- Wragrot - Grr. Fine...
Kirlisir meanwhile had entered Vekaron's bed chamber and watched as he slept. She examined him for several moments, observing him sleep with a smile on her face before she leaned in and massaged his side in an attempt to wake him up, as well as get a feel for the Zoles' physique. Kirlisir could see Gardin sleeping in a tiny bed adjacent to his hugging on her Purion plushie. Vekaron notably wore earmuffs, those being there in case Gardin started screaming in the middle of the night.
- Vekaron - ...Uh? What...Gardin, go back to sleep...
Kirlisir approached Vekaron's head and softly lifted one of the muffs from his ear, leaning in closer and speaking gently so he could hear but not be too alarmed, almost as if she were speaking in a whisper.
- Kirlisir - Wake up, Vek.
- Vekaron - Huh? Kirlisir?...What are you doing here?
- Kirlisir - Don't be alarmed, but both I and Kamaris can feel a presence on-board. An uninvited presence.
- Vekaron - ...Oh no.
- Kirlisir - ...I never realized you slept naked.
Meanwhile, Wragrot had gone to the medi-bay, where Vyatak slept. As he got close to the doctor's quarters, he delivered a loud punch at the door, opening and awakening the Samilinus, who screamed and threw himself into the floor.
- Vyatak - What is wrong with you?!
- Wragrot - Wake up. Intruder.
- Vyatak - Nine hours! Need nine hours of sleep! Will not be in good conditions otherwise!
- Wragrot - Your face won't be in good conditions if you don't get up.
Kamaris entered Vansenk's chamber, letting out a sharp breath so that the smell of him and his room would not stain his nose. Instead of hitting him awake, Kamaris repeatedly muttered his name until he woke. However, upon closer inspection, Vansenk was not present in his bed. Instead, he could merely here the sound of slithering, and something dropped from above onto the floor - saliva. Directing his attention, Kamaris would have seen, if he had eyes, that Vansenk was crawling across his ceiling.
- Vansenk - I felt something. Something wrong. I feared my life. So I came up here.
- Kamaris - Well now, we are finding out what. Get down and search with us.
- Vansenk - If it is vermin, may I eat it?
- Kamaris - Take that up with Vekaron.
The last one to wake up was Kilchárunya, who had locked her door. She was a rough sleeper at the best of times, and was laid out on the floor whilst her left leg was still propped on the bed. She usually talked in her sleep, muttering in Kicathian.
- Kilchárunya - [...Drink...that drink...it's a drink...drink...]
Vansenk slowly opened her door, and watched her slumber. He licked his cracked, damaged lips with his black tongue and crawled across her floor, making little to no noise as he did so. Once he was within her vicinity, he stood, looming over the Kicath as she mumbled pointlessly. Taking the opportunity, his wet, cold tongue passed over her cheek before it withdrew into his mouth, his eyes wide and shining an ethereal, ghastly green. Kilchárunya awoke, but whilst she was somewhat perturbed at Vansenk, something else was bothering her even more. There was something looming over them on the ceiling.
- Vansenk - Wake quietly and arise with haste, we have been invaded, Kicath-skin.
- Kilchárunya - ...I can see that.
The faint shade on the ceiling had something peer down. It was a blade, cloaked in the same camouflage - it was thin, almost katana-like in build. Dropping down, the figure revealed itself in a bright flash. It was tall; a Kicath who wore a seamless piece of black armour over his entire body, covering it. Vansenk slowly turned himself around, observing the Kicath with a scowl. He hissed towards the figure and kept himself stood in front of Kilchárunya, salivating.
- Vansenk - Your intention is to bring death?
The Kicath did not speak, but instead kicked Vansenk through the door. Kamaris saw the attack, and entered the room. However, the speed of the Kicath overpowered him and kicked him away as well. Vekaron arrived to see Kamaris being kicked. He carried his sword with both hands as he looked at the Kicath intruder. A faint blush could be seen on his cheeks. Kirlisir appeared in the corridor beside Vekaron, fully armoured in her Rovegari combat suit and her Witch Gauntlets were ready for operation. She too was blushing, but her eyes were nonetheless narrowed as she laid them upon the Kicath.
- Vekaron - Identify yourself!
The voice from the Kicath was heavily distorted - it was replaced with a cascading code which morphed his regular speech into nothing but senseless noise. Wragrot appeared behind Vekaron and Kirlisir, his eyes shining intensely as he glared down at the Kicath.
- Wragrot - Who dares wake Kraknor Wragrot from his slumber?
Clenching his fist, the Kicath activated a device, disappearing from their sight. Kilchárunya rose from the floor, wiping the saliva off her face as she armed herself. Vekaron barred his teeth and looked around, his blade in hand, looking for the Kicath. Wragrot blocked the exit of the room with his body. Kirlisir's optical implant began to make noise as it analyzed the room through hundreds of varying spectrums and visual modes in an attempt to spot the intruder through his camouflage, and she prepared a steady stance to ready herself for combat.
Out of seemingly nowhere, the figure reappeared at blistering speeds to the side. His sword in hand dashed straight for the team. Vekaron charged at the figure and thrusted his sword at it, while Wragrot launched a punch at it. Kirlisir danced as she maneuvered herself around, clashing blades with the entity in an effort to stall him and allow a vulnerability in his strategy. Another bright flash from the figure caused it to disappear again, and reappearing behind them. Climbing over Wragrot, he kicked him to the floor before doing the same to Vekaron, engaging Kirlisir with his blade.
- Wragrot - Gah, hate you teleporting types.
Kirlisir narrowed her brow and focused for a single moment, throwing a wave of psychokinetic energy in a 360-degrees radius of several meters from her body in an effort to throw the Kicath off-guard. Her plan worked; the Kicath fell off balance, before Kilchárunya appeared behind him and slammed her fist directly into his armour, sending him crashing into the floor accompanied by a distorted groan. Wragrot quickly went over to the Kicath and began stomping at his head, while Vekaron prepared his blade to attack again. Kirlisir smiled to herself and approached the Kicath, placing a hand at her hip casually as she watched Wragrot pummel the figure. She placed a hand on his shoulder and turned to him.
- Kirlisir - Hey, keep him restrained, don't kill him.
- Wragrot - Why not?
The armour, luckily was advanced enough to absorb the overall damage from Wragrot's stomps, denying him of crushing the assailant's skull. However, he was unconscious. Kamaris knelt down and picked up the blade from the Kicath's now limp grasp, observing it. Vansenk kept to being implanted into the wall outside of the room, knocked unconscious by the Kicath's prior assault. He did not appear too badly injured, however.
- Kamaris - I have not seen a blade like this. You, Kilchárunya?
- Kilchárunya - It looks like an Agent sword, but no.
- Vekaron - Hmm...take him to the medi-bay. Vyatak can get some data out of him, perhaps see who he is. After that, it's straight to the jail.
- Kamaris - Right. Let's haul him over there.
Kirlisir approached Vekaron and glanced at him with a concerned look, placing her hands on his chest and side as she examined his torso and armour for any injuries, her hands feeling surprisingly warm.
- Kirlisir - You okay? Are you hurt? Where'd he hit you?
- Vekaron - Huh? Oh, don't worry, I'm fine.
The team had placed the Kicath on an examination table, where Vyatak, somewhat grumpy from being woken up early, was to closely observe the Kicath and what he was. After studying the individual, he returned to the team, bringing news.
- Vyatak - Interesting. Individual is an hybrid. Hybrid of Alpha and Beta Kicath.
- Kilchárunya - ...That's rare. Like...very rare.
- Kirlisir - A what now?
- Kilchárunya - There are three different types of Kicath. Alpha, Beta and Sampi. Getting hybrids is rare.
- Vyatak - Very young. Likely around 18 years old. Bright purple eyes. Technology too advanced to be of Kicathian origin.
- Kirlisir - Probably a mercenary.
- Kamaris - Only eighteen years of age?
Kilchárunya's eyes narrowed from the information.
- Kilchárunya - Purple eyes?
- Vyatak - Yes. Bright purple.
- Kilchárunya - That would narrow it down to only a number of families in the Kicath race. ...Even the Toázensa family has members with bright purple eyes. But no, can't be. Anything else?
- Kirlisir - Any augmentation?
- Vyatak - Many. Common in Kicath anyway. Individual has no tattoos. Likely houseless.
- Kilchárunya - I know how that feels.
- Vyatak - Also strangely tall for his age, even as an hybrid.
- Kamaris - How tall?
- Vyatak - 3 meters and 80 centimeters.
- 'Kilchárunya - Almost sounds like Agent Psi.
- Kirlisir - Is it Agent Psi?
- Vyatak - Studied some Agent augmentation once. Augmentations of intruder match.
- Kilchárunya - No, Psi is older. ...Agent augmentations? How in the name of Dal'nyur did he come across that?
Vekaron watched the team talk, sitting next to Kirlisir and making no comments of his own. Wragrot fell asleep on his chair, though he did not snore at this time.
- Kamaris - It might be worth waiting for him to wake up. If what you're saying is all true, then he sounds rather enigmatic.
- Vyatak - ...Perplexing DNA structure. Found a match...
- Kilchárunya - A match?
- Vyatak - Compared DNA to Kilchárunya's. They match. Blood relation clear as the sky.
Kilchárunya's eyes widened, her eyes shining brightly. She looked at Vyatak as her posture became weak where she stood. Kirlisir turned her head towards Kilchárunya with a raised eyebrow and leaned towards her, tilting her head. She sat for a moment in silence before asking rather outwardly.
- Kilchárunya - E-excuse me?
- Vyatak - Individual related to you. Younger brother?...Son?
- Kirlisir - Have you ever had kids before?
Kilchárunya was lost for words. There was a part of her history that she never truly revealed, and did not even reveal at this point. Instead of speaking, she fell faint, and collapsed to the floor in a heap of distress.
- Vyatak - ...Oops.
- Vekaron - Oh dear...what a night.
- Kamaris - We should get her on the table as well.
- Vansenk - Can we dissect them both?
- Vekaron - Yes and no.
- Kamaris - I think we should at least talk to the other one before we do.
- Vekaron - Perhaps. As long as his armor and weapon are confiscated, we should be able to restrain him if he tries attacking again.
The figure woke up in the cells of the prison of Vekaron's ship. His armour was removed from his body after a delicate process, however a thin suit was put over him to prevent nudity. As he woke up, he noticed Gardin watching him, almost fixated on him as he stumbled with a headache. The Rovegar kid watched closely, and as she noticed him waking up, she smiled.
- Gardin - Hi!
- Kicath - Nnngh...my head...what's going on here?
- Gardin - You're at the naughty corner. Don't ask me why. Daddy and Uncle Wragrot threw you there. Have you been naughty?
- Kicath - Suppose you could say that...
- Gardin - You look a lot like Auntie Kilch.
- Kicath - ...Who?
- Gardin - Auntie Kilchárunya! I like calling her Kilch because her name is long and hard to say.
- Kicath - Kilchárunya? That is not a particularly hard name to say, girl. At least...not compared to mine.
- Gardin - What's your name?
- Kicath - My name is Kitmnárochoaltánún. Most just call me Kit.
Gardin tilted her head and gave Kitmnárochoaltánún a weirded look.
- Gardin - ...Do Kicath all have funny long names?
- Kitmnárochoaltánún - Names, yes. Funny long ones? Not necessarily. My name is longer than most.
- Gardin - Well, my name is just Gardin. Nice to meet you!
Kitmnárochoaltánún let out a faint smile, but look around the prison cell.
- Kitmnárochoaltánún - Am I going to be in here forever?
- Gardin - I don't know. Probably not. Uncle Kamaris was there once but they let him out some time later. Why are you here? Are you a new friend of daddy's?
- Kitmnárochoaltánún - Not particularly. I was sent here on a mission.
- Gardin - Oh? What mission?
- Kitmnárochoaltánún - You wouldn't like it if I were to tell you.
- Gardin - Oh. I won't bother you with it then.
- Kitmnárochoaltánún - Where is the captain of this ship?
- Gardin - Daddy? Not sure.
- Kitmnárochoaltánún - I do. He's behind that wall, listening to our conversation. And he doesn't look like a Rovegar to me.
- Gardin - I know he doesn't!
True to what Kitmnárochoaltánún said, Vekaron was behind the wall. After his name was mentioned, he revealed himself, looking down at the Kicath.
- Kitmnárochoaltánún - I was wondering whether you would make yourself known.
- Vekaron - Gardin, leave us.
- Gardin - Oh? Okay. Bye, Kit!
Gardin waved at Kitmnárochoaltánún and left the room.
- Kitmnárochoaltánún - She is a nice child.
- Vekaron - Why are you here? Why did you attack me and my crew?
- Kitmnárochoaltánún - I was sent on a mission to kill you.
- Vekaron - Who sent you?
- Kitmnárochoaltánún - The kind of armour I was wearing did not give it away?
- Vekaron - Hm. It looked like Agent Chi's armor.
- Kitmnárochoaltánún - Indeed it did.
- Vekaron - So you're another one of Angazhar's lackeys.
- Kitmnárochoaltánún - Angazhar? I do not claim to have served him. Not willingly at least. It was a long path that brought me here, and now it looks like I am going to die here.
- Vekaron - It depends of what your mother will decide.
- Kitmnárochoaltánún - Mother? I am houseless. I was born into the Nameless.
- Vekaron - Don't try to make a fool out of me. My head doctor has compared your DNA to my crewmate's.
Kitmnárochoaltánún stood up. He met Vekaron eye to eye, perhaps only slightly taller, with a face of intrigue on him.
- Kitmnárochoaltánún - My mother gave me my name. I never knew her, nor did I know her family name, and nor do I know of my father. I am not making a fool out of you, Zoles.
- Vekaron - Is the name 'Kilchárunya' not familiar to you?
- Kitmnárochoaltánún - No.
- Vekaron - Hm...well, she is a member of my crew, and she is your mother. I will leave your fate to her, as I would not kill a friend's offspring in front of them without at least having their permission.
Kilchárunya walked into the prison. She was somewhat shaken by the news, although her steely Kicathian nature returned to her quickly. Kicath never usually brought down their emotional barrier, not even in front of family.
- Vekaron - Meet your mother.
- Kilchárunya - I guess I would see you again some day.
- Kitmnárochoaltánún - Hmph. I am surprised my mother who would leave me to the Nameless would even bother.
- Vekaron - Did you abandon your son?
- Kilchárunya - ...I had to. Kicathian culture is...difficult.
- Kitmnárochoaltánún - Difficult? Do you know the meaning of difficult?
- Vekaron - And where was his father in all this?
- Kilchárunya - He...was a noble. Kicath have...strict rules with blood purity and who can consort with who. I went against my father's own wishes...and I was thrown out of my family.
- Vekaron - Well, I'll leave his fate to you. He claims to serve the Benefactor. Should we spare or kill him?
- Kilchárunya - The Benefactor?
- Kitmnárochoaltánún - Yes. He and his associates wished to destroy the Agents, and I wanted to join. Those who I considered family were slaughtered by them.
Wragrot's head popped up at the door.
- Wragrot - Kid's childhood sucked, eh?
- Kitmnárochoaltánún - Both of ours did by the sounds of it. So what are you going to do? Kill me or spare me?
- Kilchárunya - ...It might kill me. But I am going to spare you.
- Wragrot - You sure of that? He tried to stab you. And he woke me up.
- Kilchárunya - I'm quite sure.
Vekaron walked over to a nearby console and typed on it. Moments later, Kitmnárochoaltánún's cell opened. He walked out, stretching his arms whilst looking at his mother.
- Kitmnárochoaltánún - You are only thirty-six?
- Kilchárunya - I look older?
- Kitmnárochoaltánún - Hmph. Age has not been kind on you.
- Kilchárunya - Just so you know. Your name? That is your father's name.
- Vekaron - Forget your old allegiance. The Benefactor and Chi are both dead. For now on, you'll fight under the Penumbra Unit's name.
- Wragrot - The other option is the airlock.
- Kitmnárochoaltánún - Very well. I have no other option anyway.
- Vekaron - Hm. Welcome to the team then, Kitmná...Kitmn...Kit.
- Kitmnárochoaltánún - Kitmnárochoaltánún. I shall admit. It is an impractical name.
- Kilchárunya - Hello? Name-giver here.
- Kitmnárochoaltánún - Oh. I didn't notice.
Once more, the training hall. The crater that had been made there has since been fixed by the engineering and design crew, with the floor now reinforced so that damage would not be so easily dealt towards it. Kirlisir, in her full suit of Rovegari combat armour, was leaned against one of the walls on the far side of the room, smiling to herself with her arms folded as she waited patiently. Gardin entered the room, carrying on her plushie as always. She smiled, expecting this training session to go as well as the last one. Kirlisir glanced towards Gardin and her smile grew wider, and she stepped away from the wall, approaching the center of the hall. Her arms still folded, she stood at the center-point of the training facility, her legs spread apart as she looked down towards Gardin.
- Kirlisir - Hey hey! You there! Over here, in front of me.
- Gardin - Hi!
- Kirlisir - Today, we have a very important lesson! Fundamental to the art of Rovegari combat! Gardin! ...Do you like dancing?
- Gardin - I do! I love dancing!
- Kirlisir - Good! Gardin! I want you to dance for me! Right here, right now!
- Gardin - I can do that!
Gardin began dancing in front of Kirlisir while waving her plushie around. Kirlisir watched Gardin dancing, grinning as she did. By nature, Rovegar were proficient dancers, and Gardin was certainly not an exception to this rule; her dance was fluid but somewhat clumsy, although it was an admirable effort from somebody as young as her. Unfolding her arms, Kirlisir began to dance, moving around Gardin in a circle.
- Gardin - See? I can dance well!
- Kirlisir - You do, it is impressive! But now you must apply that dance of yours... to battle!
Kirlisir stopped moving and stood behind Gardin, folding her arms again as she looked down at the child.
- Kirlisir - Don't turn around. I want you to dance, and while your dancing, try to hit me.
- Gardin - Hit you? But I can't see you behind me!
- Kirlisir - Ngh, when you feel like you know how close I am behind you, then strike out and try to hit me. While you're dancing.
- Gardin - Oh...I'll try.
Gardin danced more, and began moving backwards, at Kirlisir's direction. She swung her plushie and tried to hit her teacher with it. Kirlisir felt the plush hit her leg as Gardin swung it and smiled. Resting a hand on Gardin's head as an indication to stop, she looked down at her with a warm smile and passed a treat to her - it was more candy.
- Kirlisir - Well done, you hit me. Now, I want you to try firing psychic blasts at me from afar while you're dancing. I'll be in front of you this time.
Gardin ate the treat and nodded with a smile before dancing in place again. As she moved her hands, she fired small blasts of psychic energy, aiming at Kirlisir. The Rovegar warrior, who had positioned herself some meters away from Gardin, watched her dancing and releasing those minute blasts of energy. She stood there contemplating, her mind not entirely focused. Something was eating away at her from within and she wanted to quell it. She barely noticed the psychic blasts touch her as she was in thought. As she hit Kirlisir, Gardin noted her lack of reaction and stopped dancing, looking at her with a raised eyebrow.
- Gardin - Teacher?
Kirlisir looked back towards Gardin with some surprise and took a few steps towards her, she had an expression on her face that was... somewhat different to her usual smile. She appeared perhaps troubled or uncomfortable. She knelt down to pass another treat to Gardin, but as she did she whispered;
- Kirlisir - Gardin, can I ask you a question?
- Gardin - Yeah?
- Kirlisir - Promise me you'll keep it a secret and don't tell anybody I asked, okay?
- Gardin - Okay.
- Kirlisir - Gardin... You know you and your daddy?
- Gardin - Duh. Of course.
- Kirlisir - Does he ever... say anything about me, when I'm not there that is?
- Gardin - Say stuff about you?
- Kirlisir - Yeah, does he ever make... comments. Does he talk to you about me, have you... overheard him say stuff about me?
Gardin sat on the floor and put her hand forward.
- Gardin - I'll tell you for a treat!
Kirlisir smiled and sat down as well, passing two additional treats to Gardin with a curious expression on her face. As she gave them to her student, she leaned forward to listen to what Gardin had to say, her ears perking. Gardin ate the candy, and spoke with her mouth full.
- Gardin - He says you have cute hands. He also says he likes your hair.
- Kirlisir - H-He does? H-He... l-likes my hands? Has he said anything else?
- Gardin - One secret per candy!
Kirlisir grunted and passed another bunch of treats to Gardin, eventually deciding to give up on passing them and resorting to just giving her the entire bag of candies she had. As she did, she looked at her hands and placed her fingers through her hair, with thoughts of Vekaron and his words beginning to emerge within her mind. Gardin giggled to herself and and began eating, getting candy all over his face.
- Gardin - Daddy asked me the same thing.
- Kirlisir - H-He did what?
- Gardin - He asked if you spoke of him during training.
- Kirlisir - D-Do I?
- Gardin - Uh. You don't.
Kirlisir looked down, somewhat guilty as Gardin spoke. She fiddled with her fingers uncomfortably, her eyes directed at the ground with an expression of solemn regret across her face, letting out a heavy sigh.
- Gardin - Why are we talking about this, though? I thought we were training.
- Kirlisir - Umm... Y-Yeah, we were. Right. Erm, what I want you to do is fairly simple. I want you to dance, but I also want you to try and move something as you do it. With your, um, mind!
- Gardin - ...Are you okay, teacher?
Kirlisir stood up, a wide smile across her face as her solemn, guilty expression vanished within moments. She spoke out loudly and confidently, pointing upwards with a narrowed brow, forming an expressive and hot-blooded grin across her face.
- Kirlisir - Hey! Don't you waste your worries on me, I'll be fine! But you! You need to learn, and train, and practice!
- Gardin - Well, okay!
Gardin looked at her plushie and had an idea. Using her powers, she made it levitate in front of her and then stand on the ground, as if it was alive. Gardin then began dancing, and the plushie mimicked her movements. Soon, both Gardin and her plushie were dancing in unison. Kirlisir watched the two of them dance, and giggled at how adorable the two of them appeared. It was clear to her that Gardin was learning fast, and honing her skills even faster than what she had anticipated. With a heavy exhale, she clapped her hands, and called out once again so Gardin could hear her clearly.
- Kirlisir - Time's up! You did well today Gardin, practice on your motion in the meantime. I see you almost stumbling a couple of times.
- Gardin - Awww, already?
- Kirlisir - Hey! Next one will be longer, I promise! I never go against my own word, you know that. So! I... I guess you can go and play now.
- Gardin - Well, okay then. I'll see you later!
Gardin made her way to the exit, but before she got close to the door, she stopped on her tracks and turned back to Kirlisir.
- Gardin - Ooooooh! I get it now!
Kirlisir raised an eyebrow partway through waving goodbye to Gardin, intrigued by what she had just said. She blinked for a few moments before issuing a response to Gardin's claim.
- Kirlisir - W-What?
- Gardin - You want to be alone so you can think of daddy, don't you?
- Kirlisir - N-No! Of course not, whatever gave you that impression, you little tyke?!
- Gardin - You like daddy, don't you?
- Kirlisir - A-As a friend, yes! Of course! We're all friends on the ship, after all!
- Gardin - Friend? Well, that's sad. Daddy says he enjoys your company. He gets really, really worried when you're hurt. When he's talking about you, he kinda loses track of his thoughts.
Kirlisir was at a loss for words, unable to find something that would properly convey her feelings and expression. Instead, she kept her eyes to the ground, letting out a heavy exhale with a look of confusion on her face, hiding away from Gardin's vision.
- Kirlisir - H-He... Does he? I...
- Gardin - I can read minds.
- Kirlisir - G-Go and play somewhere! It's rude to do that to people!
Gardin giggled and walked outside the room. However, a few seconds later, she peeked inside the room again and gave Kirlisir a humorous look.
- Gardin - Mommy.
Kirlisir groaned and held a hand to her face, turning her back to Gardin and walking the opposite direction, trying to think about something other than Vekaron as she had her suspicions that even now Gardin was invading the privacy of her loose, unrestrained mind. Gardin giggled again and ran off, leaving her teacher alone in the room.
- Kirlisir - ...By the Composer, that kid needs a new hobby.
Rescuing the Eye
A Call for Help
The following morning, Vekaron worked on the captain's bay, looking over at orders left by the Council. Wragrot sat on a nearby seat and looked around in boredom, while Vyatak was off at the medi-bay as usual. Kirlisir was doing press-ups on the floor, with Gardin sitting on her back as she did. Vansenk, his head still sore, rested on the ceiling, almost asleep as if he were in a daze. Kamaris was, as per usual, reading an ancient script from Mahanayan culture upon a table. Kilchárunya was browsing what seemed to be a weapons catalogue on a tablet in Kicathian, whilst Kit was meditating in the prison cells down below.
- Wragrot - Damn, what a slow day. Anything good in the news?
- Vekaron - Other than some stuff about the Murgur warbands getting agitated, not really.
- Kilchárunya - Sounds like trouble back home, mister.
- Wragrot - Hmpf. I don't care. I don't have a home.
- Kirlisir' - Oooh, touchy.
- Vekaron - You never told us about your past life, Wragrot.
- Wragrot - There is nothing to tell. Change subject.
Vekaron shrugged and came back to his work, when his ship suddenly received a signal which displayed several coordinates to him. Vekaron looked closer to it and identified it as being a distress signal. Someone was calling for help.
- Vekaron - Huh...looks like I just found today's mission.
- Kirlisir - Care to explain, Vek?
- Vekaron - I just got a distress signal. Someone needs rescue in a nearby star system.
Kit entered the room. He was wearing a black uniform of Kicathian nature as he saw the team going about their activity.
- Kit - Good morning.
- Wragrot - Uh. Hey.
- Kit - Forgive me if this meeting seems awkward. Well. Forgive Kilchárunya.
- Kirlisir - Hey there, kid. Hope you slept well.
- Vekaron - You arrived just in time for your first mission.
- Kit - My first with you perhaps. I heard. A rescue mission? Where?
- Vekaron - A few parsecs away from here. I can't tell who sent it. We'll find out when we get there.
- Kirlisir - Heh, rescue. Different to our usual, it seems.
- Vekaron - Equip yourselves and get prepared. We'll go to the coordinates immediately.
- Kilchárunya - Can I just look at these weapons here?
- Kamaris - No.
The ship travelled to the coordinates listed by the signal and arrived to a lush, wild planet. Scanning it, they could detect an unknown base of operations in it, but it appeared recently built and still not very protected. Taking the shuttle, the team landed next to the base, undetected by the forces within it. As they arrived, they quickly saw the emblems of the Wranploer on its walls. Kirlisir examined the symbol and pounded her fist into the palm of her hand eagerly, her optical implant glowing excitedly. Vansenk slithered through the undergrowth, quietly and stealthily. Vekaron took cover behind a wall and peeked at the base's entrance, where he saw multiple Wranploer soldiers entering the buildings while a commander barked orders at them. They were clearly soldiers of the New Wranploer Legion.
- Vekaron - Torrent's goons.
Slowly approaching the entrance, the team could listen to two soldiers chatting.
- Soldier 1 - What's the commotion?
- Soldier 2 - I heard the hostage managed to breach her cell and is trying to escape.
- Soldier 1 - Really? All of this mess because of that?
- Soldier 2 - You didn't hear? The Warlord sent Dark Grip itself to get her. She's valuable.
- Kirlisir - "Her"? Dark Grip? Vek, sounds like they've got something dangerous cooped up in there.
- Wragrot - At least we know we're looking for a lady.
- Kit - Concerning the Dark Grip, possibly dangerous for them.
An explosion was heard inside the base itself, and an alarm was sounded. More soldiers were sent inside while the two chatting troopers kept to themselves, watching the whole event until the nearby Wranploer commander ordered them to enter as well. In a few moments, the area was clear for the team to proceed inside.
- Kilchárunya - Well. In we go.
- Vekaron - Keep an eye out for any soldiers.
Vekaron led the team inside the outskirts of the base, before making his way to the nearest entrance to the interior of the base itself. Wragrot walked over to the Zoles making little effort to make himself hidden from sight. Kit had cloaked himself using a device from his armour, making him essentially invisible. Vansenk remained to the darkest angles and corners, keeping himself out of sight, while Kirlisir flanked Vekaron's left side, keeping herself aware and open to any trouble that might attempt to come up behind them. Entering the base, the team was met with a duo of Borealis Zazane troopers. They had their backs turned to the team and faced a hallway, having not noticed their presence. They also chatted with each other.
- Zazane 1 - Did you see the size of those? Wow!
- Zazane 2 - I can't tell who's more gorgeous, the hostage or lieutenant Tuchaki. I want to give them both a squeeze.
- Zazane 1 - Yeah, don't let her hear you saying that, or your butt will be delivered to Vaxal in a box.
- Kit - Pulchritudinous female, nonetheless.
- Zazane 1 - Who said tha-holy shit, intruders!
The two troopers took their rifles and fired at the team's direction. Sweeping past one of them, the Kicath grasped the Zazane by the throat, lifting him up. Kirlisir ran forward and slashed at one of the troopers, slicing towards his crest and face as they had now lost the advantage of attacking from behind. The slashed trooper turned to Kirlisir and tried to fire at her, while the one lifted by Kit thrashed about, trying to get himself free.
- Zazane 1 - What the hell is going on?! Why am I floating?!
The cloak from Kit's armour switched off, looking at the Zazane in hand.
- Kit - Sorry for this.
- Zazane 1 - Shit. I preferred when you were invisible.
Kit threw the Zazane into the ceiling, cracking his neck or perhaps skull on contact with it. Kirlisir danced past her target, managing to get behind him while he attempted to fire. Without hesitation, she made an upward slash across the Zazane's spine, afflicting a deep cut that went straight from the base of his tail to the back of his head - a universal vulnerability in all Zazane. The two troopers were easily killed by the attacks.
- Wragrot - So it's not just a lady. It's a pretty lady. We're making progress here.
- Vansenk - Beauty is a subjective matter, Murgur.
- Wragrot - Yeah. You're uglier than a Sand Whale.
- Kilchárunya - Heh.
The team progressed further inside the base, coming across more pirate soldiers who were easily killed by their efforts. Eventually they arrived to a large hall and stood in an elevated position, where they could look down and watch a large group of soldiers aiming at a doorway, as if they were waiting for something to come out of it.
- Kilchárunya - Hmph.
- Kirlisir - Wonder what they're looking at.
- Vekaron - Our target, probably. Keep your guard up.
Before the team could make a move, the soldiers fired their weapons collectively into the doorway. Grenades and missiles were thrown, followed by explosions that launched debris in all directions, yet the soldiers found their assault ineffective; they were quickly dispatched, each one exploding into puddles of innards and blood as they were shot at from an unseen adversary. Vekaron watched the scene with interest while Wragrot raised an eyebrow. After waiting for several moments, the group watched as a Zazane, nude in her entirety and grasping a rifle tightly against her generous, full breasts, ran out from the corridor, her speed impressive as she gained momentum. She left deep footprints imprinted into the ground where she ran, while her breasts bounced and jiggled with every motion she made. Kirlisir let out a heavy groan as she watched the Zazane and prepared to leap down from where she stood. Kilchárunya did the same, whilst Kit had no real reaction to her whatsoever.
- Wragrot - ...What am I looking at?
- Vekaron - That's...a member of the UNOC unit, I think?
Out of the same doorway, Dolgan Tuchaki appeared, her body shielded by her nanomachines as she tried leaping at the nude Zazane, her daggers in hand.
- Dolgan - Get back here, you damn whore!
- Kalcedia - Kiss my ass!
- Vekaron - Definitely our target. Let's move, team.
Kalcedia turned around and, making use of the distance between her and Dolgan, fired at her enemy with her sniper rifle for just a moment, unleashing destructive anti-armour rounds before attempting to escape once more. Dolgan shielded her face with her arm, being knocked back by the shots. Vekaron and Wragrot made their way down to meet with Kalcedia at the next hallway.
- Dolgan - That hurt.
Kirlisir joined Vekaron and Wragrot, while Vansenk crawled down the walls in an effort to flank both of the Zazane women, moving fast as if he were a spider. Kalcedia growled and her skin began to crystallize as she aimed once again, firing multiple rounds at Dolgan with a grim smirk across her face. Kit leaped down from the top, swinging around with his blade in hand.
- Kalcedia - Come on, get closer, I dare you!
- Wragrot - Hello there.
Vekaron looked at the exposed Kalcedia and shook his head, while Wragrot downright stared at her. Dolgan looked at the team and frowned, growling.
- Dolgan - You lot again? I don't need any more problems today.
Kalcedia took a moment to turn her head and glance towards Vekaron and Wragrot, and her smirk became a warm, comforted smile. Soon, she turned her whole body to them, showing them her remarkably curvy stature and her buxom assets.
- Kalcedia - I thought help would never arrive, you took your time.
- Kit - Have you no decency, woman?
- Vekaron - H-hello. I don't remember your name.
- Wragrot - Name. Yes. Names are cool.
- Dolgan - ...Are you kidding me?
- Kilchárunya - Aliens.
- Kalcedia - Oh, I'm sorry Mr. Kicath, I'm all out of decency like I'm all out of clothes! ...Name's Kalcedia. Kalcedia Myran.
- Vekaron - O-oh, yes. It's a p-pleasure to see you again.
- Wragrot - I know it's a pleasure alright.
- Kit - Put some clothes on.
- Kirlisir - You're without clothes because those guys took them, right?
- Kalcedia - Course not, I was brought here naked.
- Kirlisir - Why were you naked?
- Kalcedia - I was stripping off course, gah! Honestly girl.
Dolgan stomped on the floor and roared at the team, the ground beneath her cracking loudly.
- Dolgan - I will deliver you all to Torrent screaming in pain!
- Kilchárunya - Yeah, yeah. Give us a minute.
- Wragrot - ...Oh. We were fighting pirates, right? Better go back to doing that.
Wragrot fired his shotgun at Dolgan while Vekaron sent his sword at her, who shielded herself with her arms. Kilchárunya fired blasts at Dolgan's face, whilst Kit only watched, unsure what to do. Kalcedia aimed her gun towards Dolgan and fired her armour piercing rounds from its barrel, blasting through the air, causing the vicinity to shake from the mere force. Wragrot threw a psychic blast at Dolgan, disorienting her and making her temporarily lose her nanomachine armor, before delivering a punch to her face which threw her back into the floor.
- Wragrot - Hah. Just like Torrent.
- Dolgan - Gah...damned Penumbra Unit.
- Kilchárunya - You don't know how much I enjoy doing this job sometimes.
Vansenk smiled as he loomed over Dolgan and threw his nano-scythe in her direction, salivating in a perverted, lustful manner. Dolgan saw the scythe coming and rolled out of the way, leaping back to the doorway she and Kalcedia had arrived from. She armored herself again and pointed at the team.
- Dolgan - Chahenthras, deal with them!
Materializing out of seemingly nowhere stood a Zoles, pinkish in colouration, with multiple augmented limbs appearing to stretch outward from her back. She smirked at the team and wielded two polearms, glaring at the group eagerly. Vekaron looked at the Zoles and his expression changed into anger, with him frowning and barring his teeth.
- Vekaron - A Zoles working for Torrent?!
- Kit - I must ask whether it is customary for an alien race to serve only one master.
- Kilchárunya - Who the hell taught you to talk like that?
- Kit - Not you.
- Chahenthras - What, is that all that surprised you? Or are you shocked because I don't align myself with you monarchists?
- Dolgan - Kill them all, except for the whore. Torrent wants his squeaky toy alive.
- Chahenthras - Of course, Dolgan.
- Kamaris - The practicality of having multiple arms is questionable as well.
Dolgan ran off to the doorway, while Vekaron and Wragrot prepared their weapons. The thought of a Zoles serving under Torrent infuriated the Penumbran immensely. Chahenthras spun her polearms in a frenzy and rushed towards Vekaron, her eyes set on him. However, as she ran, Kalcedia clenched her hand and launched her fist at the Zoles from the side, slamming it into her stomach. Chahenthras coughed and spluttered loudly, before she knocked Kalcedia aside with one of her limbs. Vekaron sent his blade at the extra limbs while Wragrot fired his shotgun at her. Chahenthras growled and countered Vekaron's blade with her polearm, while her flesh hardened as the shotgun blasts struck her body. She glared at her Zoles adversary for a moment before taking the opportunity to spit in his face.
- Chahenthras - That one is for your king--
Kilchárunya leapt forward, and swung her leg upwards, trying to kick the polearm from her hand. One of Chahenthras' polearms were launched from her grasp and thrown aside, taking her by surprise. Vekaron used the opportunity and slashed at her chest, while Wragrot launched another psychic pulse to disorient her. Kilchárunya scrambled to grab the polearm, wielding it in her hand.
- Kilchárunya - You call this a weapon?
- Kamaris - Somewhat.
The pulse had indeed disorientated Chahenthras and Vekaron's blade dealt damage against her flesh, causing her to scream and launch herself back. She grasped her wound tightly and glared at the team, panting heavily before taking several steps back.
- Chahenthras - Damnit, Dolgan... Left me outnumbered and overpowered.
- Vekaron - I don't care if you have a pickle with King Rebaris...joining Torrent is a crime I cannot forgive!
Vekaron leaped at Chahenthras' direction, sending his blade at her direction.
- Chahenthras - You know nothing, Vekaron!
Chahenthras used her remaining polearm to shield herself from Vekaron's blade, sending her backwards. With one of her mechanical limbs, she sent fists flying towards Vekaron's direction, aiming primarily for his face. The Penumbran was hit and thrown backwards, hitting the floor, blood visibly coming out of his mouth. Wragrot grunted and kept firing his shotgun at the enemy. Kit's fist curled up, and drove it straight at the Zoles' shoulder. Chahenthras, still disorientated by the prior psychic assault, reeled back as her shoulder was struck by Kit's punch, with the evident sound of bones breaking following. She leaped back once more, wincing as she held her arm, and glared towards the team, her brow lowered and eyes narrowed.
- Chahenthras - D-Damn it!
- Wragrot - Heh. You're weaker than the others.
- Chahenthras - What of it? It doesn't matter, Dolgan's escaped.
- Vekaron - But I won't let you do the same.
Chahenthras smiled and two of her mechanical arms clapped, followed shortly the sound of several sirens - alarms. With that, she threw her polearm, which proceeded to explode into a blast of shrapnel, and retreated, disappearing from sight while the group was distracted. Vekaron growled in anger and punched the floor before getting back up. The alarms attracted the attention of whichever more pirates were at the base. It was time to retreat.
- Vekaron - Grrr...everyone back to the shuttle, now!
- Kalcedia - What about my clothes? ...Ah fuck the clothes.
- Wragrot - I think you look fine as you are now.
- Kirlisir - You'll get clothed on the ship, just hurry it up.
- Wragrot - Want to take a ride on my arms? As you can see, I'm a big, strong man.
- Kalcedia - Ooh, why thank you, Mr... Ah, save names for later.
- Kit - Attracted to aliens? Odd man.
- Kilchárunya - I've had to deal with this for a few years. Still don't get it.
Wragrot chuckled and grabbed Kalcedia, carrying her as he followed Vekaron to the exit. He led his team back to the shuttle, but while he did, he kept staring at Wragrot as if he was jealous of what he was doing. Kirlisir glanced towards Vekaron as he stared at Wragrot and lowered an eyebrow with irritation, tapping the Zoles' shoulder as they ran.
- Kirlisir - Focus, Vek.
- Kit - I am now beginning to wonder who the child is here.
After successfully escaping and returning to the ship, several minutes passed until the team met up at the captain's bay again. Kalcedia had been given clothes by the crew and invited into the bay herself. Kilchárunya was sitting down, examining her weapons, whilst Kit stood with his feet apart, and his hands together and his head down. Kirlisir was sat near Vekaron, her arms folded and her head lowered as she seemed to have fallen asleep. Vansenk had his eyes fixated on Kalcedia, who was leaning against a wall, her hands on her breasts as she played with them out of boredom. Kamaris was also standing there, his arms folded. His helmet was placed on the table.
- Kamaris - Must you do that, woman?
- Vekaron - So, erm. Kalcedia. Why were you at a Wranploer base?
- Kalcedia - Like I said, I was stripping at a bar, and then that bitch came along and showed me a hard time. I got knocked out and as soon as I know it, I'm stuck in a container just itching to get out.
- Wragrot - By what she said, it sounds like Torrent wanted you as his...well.
- Kit - It is not right. Selling your body like that.
- Kalcedia - Hey, my body. I can do what I like with it, thank you very much, kid.
Kalcedia smiled as she approached Kit and placed her bouncing, glamorous breasts against his chest, getting in his face with a sultry grin across her own. Kit made no reaction; his biochemistry and his personality disallowing him to do so.
- Kit - Have you ever met a Kicath?
- Kalcedia - Plenty of them, and nearly all of them react the way you do. Heh, I've walked with some of the best; Agent Nu, Tau, Psi, that one Agent with the freaky hand, Kithworto.
Kilchárunya shuddered at the sound of 'Nu'.
- Kit - Then you would be wise to get your 'endowments' out of my face.
- Vekaron - I remember working with the UNOC unit during the Second Great War.
- Wragrot - So you know the gal?
- Vekaron - We never talked.
- Kalcedia - Oh, that's right. We did't. Much.
- Kamaris - Why? You have such a vibrant personality.
Kalcedia stepped away from Kit and approached Vekaron, her hips and tail swaying as she did. Kilchárunya made a slight hissing sound as she noticed her provocative walk.
- Kalcedia - Vekaron's married to his job.
- Vekaron - I was too busy fighting a war to chat with anyone.
- Kalcedia - But you're not fighting a war now, are you, Mr. Job?
- Vekaron - A slightly smaller war, but yes. You were under the possession of who I'm fighting against.
- Kamaris - Indeed. Define war.
- Kalcedia - I must say, your rescue was appreciated. Heh, who knows how difficult it must've been for you to penetrate the area, and search all the little nooks and crannies inside its walls for me?
- Wragrot - She's mocking us. But I don't even mind.
- Kamaris - I mind.
- 'Kalcedia - Mocking? Why would I mock my saviours? Heh, I think I'm more inclined to grant you a reward rather than mock you.
- Kilchárunya - Oh, can I imagine what. You aliens are all about one thing.
- Wragrot - Reward, eh?
- Vekaron - Hm. Do you want us to leave you somewhere?
- Kalcedia - No, no, I think I'll stay here for a bit. Help around the ship, join you on your missions, I have the free time after all.
- Vekaron - If you say so, then welcome to the team.
- Kirlisir - How long do you think you'll stay for?
- Kalcedia - As long as necessary.
- Kilchárunya - Grrr. Fine. Don't touch my stuff.
Kamaris walked over, picking up his helmet from the table. Whilst he did not look at Kalcedia, his attention was on her. At this moment, Gardin arrived to the captain's bay and strolled over to them. As she noticed Kalcedia, her eyes widened and she held on her own face.
- Gardin - Oooh! Another new friend!
Kalcedia turned towards Gardin with a warm smile, blinking several times as she gazed upon the small child. She knelt down in Gardin's direction and reached out a hand to her, and she spoke in a playful tone.
- Kalcedia - Well, hello little girl! What's your name?
- Gardin - I'm Gardin! Who are you?
- Kilchárunya - I'm going to die this week. I can feel it.
- Kalcedia - Kalcedia. But... you can call me Kal, little Gardin.
- Gardin - Okay! Are you another one of daddy's friends?
Kamaris let out a sharp breath, almost as if it were laughter. Kalcedia tugged on Gardin's hand and brought her close, hugging the Rovegar warmly, pressing her against her chest. Kalcedia closed her eyes as she hugged the infant and sighed content, as if a deep, maternal instinct had just been satisfied after so long.
- Kalcedia - Could say that.
- Gardin - Miss Kal...you're so boingy!
- Kilchárunya - I'm done. I'm actually done.
Kilchárunya stood up, and walked out of the room, muttering Kicathian profanities to herself. Wragrot pointed and laughed at her as she left, while Gardin hugged Kalcedia affectionately.
Hours later, when most of the team had gone to sleep, Vekaron was at his room checking on his personal computer. Gardin was at another room playing with her toys, leaving the Zoles alone. While many of the team required such periods of rest, the Zazane was not one of them. Already a species that can function without prolonged and regular rest cycles, the nanomachines in her body allowed her to cease sleeping altogether unless she desired it. With little else to do, she approached Vekaron's door, and knocked quietly. She wore little clothing, merely a tight-fitting bra and a thong. Vekaron got up from his chair and opened the door to see Kalcedia at the other side. He looked at her with a raised eyebrow.
- Vekaron - You need something?
Kalcedia smiled and allowed herself into his room, shoving past him gently as she did, yet she never broke eye contact with Vekaron. She licked her lips with her long, wet tongue and sat down on Vekaron's chair. Vekaron watched Kalcedia's movements and looked nervous, unsure of what to do. Without his notice, the Zazane's pheromones were starting to affect him.
- Kalcedia - Shut the door.
- Vekaron - Huh? Why?
- Kalcedia - Why not?
Vekaron remained motionless for several moments until he closed the door and locked it behind him. Kalcedia folded her legs and smiled cheekily towards Vekaron, and glanced towards his personal computer with curiosity. With a sultry tone, she spoke out to the Penumbran, a giggle of amusement in her voice.
- Kalcedia - What you looking at?
- Vekaron - Uh...I was just browsing the extranet...I was looking for anything in specific.
- Kalcedia - That so? You know, you can hurt your eyes by browsing in a dark room. It can cause your sight to... fall short.
- Vekaron - W-why did you come here?
Kalcedia grinned as she moved her hands onto her hips and slowly had them ascend her body, moving up her sides and approaching her bust, which appeared somehow larger than before, although not undesirably huge. She blew a kiss in Vekaron's direction, as if gesturing him to come closer.
- Kalcedia - Does it matter? ...You saved me today, and the least I can do is just... show my gratitude somehow.
Vekaron's eyes widened and he remained static in place.
- Vekaron - G-gratitude?
- Kalcedia - You know, my thanks, appreciation, whatever you wanna call it. I just... want to show it.
Suddenly her bra fell onto her lap, revealing her exposed, almost mountainous chest as it bounced, and she rested her palms on them, squeezing them together suggestively.
- Vekaron - ...Oh dear...my race don't even have those yet...they appear so captivating.
- Kalcedia - You want to touch them?
- Vekaron - Well...if you want to show your gratitude...who am I to stop you?
Kalcedia's grinned spread and she unfolded her legs, getting up to stand. She approached Vekaron once more, a suggestive sway in her walk, and she wrapped her athletic arms around the Penumbra's neck and shoulders, forcing his head closer to hers, their eyes meeting and glancing into one another. Her breasts pressed against his chest, she leaned in and kissed her captivated prey - the night ahead was to be a long and exhausting one, if anything was to be guaranteed.
Feelings of Guilt
The morning after. There was no sun to shine onto the messied bedsheets, as the ship just so happened to be upon its voyage in space, so instead it was the sound of an alarm that woke them up - a bedside alarm, intended to go off at a set time. The Zazane woman's eyes fluttered lightly and she yawned, rolling onto her back as she looked up. At her side was Vekaron, who sat on the bed, holding on his head and looking down. His expression was unlike anything Kalcedia would have expected, he had his teeth barred and clenched the bed with his free hand. What looked like a mix between fury and sadness dominated his face, and by his appearance, it was obvious that he had not slept at all that night. Kalcedia turned her head to the Penumbran's direction and sat herself up, reading the expressions across Vekaron's face. With a smile, she slithered her hand towards his chest.
- Kalcedia - Morning, big guy.
As he noticed her hand coming in contact with his chest, Vekaron swat it aside, glaring at her direction.
- Vekaron - Get out of my ship, you damned succubus.
- Kalcedia - Wow, rude. Who pissed in your coffee?
- Vekaron - Was stripping me of my honour not enough? Do you seek to mock me now?
- Kalcedia - I remember stripping something but it certainly wasn't honour.
Kalcedia groaned and looked away from Vekaron, her eyes narrowed and her arms folded over her naked breasts. She pouted with a miserable expression.
- Vekaron - You made me do acts I would only do to a loved one. How am I supposed to face my crew now? I have been reduced to trash.
- Kalcedia - If you didn't want this you should've said no, you know.
- Vekaron - Like you ever gave me a choice...I have kept my body clean for over 110 years, since the death of my wife and daughter. I was only supposed to do such things to someone truly dear to me...
Vekaron held on his head with both of his hands and let out a loud groan.
- Vekaron - I've spat on my wife's grave.
Kalcedia glanced towards Vekaron for a moment and released a heavy sigh, a sorrowful look coming across her face as his words registered and rung within her ears.
- Kalcedia - You had a wife and daughter?
- Vekaron - Before Torrent slaughtered them both in front of my very eyes. It's because of them that I joined the Imperial army.
- Kalcedia - ...I'm sorry. I should have known better than to crash into your life like this. I was... I found the rescue mission exciting, and I wanted to repay you for it.
- Vekaron - I feel shameful. I can't look into the eyes of my crew now. And even worse, I just realized I forced Gardin to sleep out of her bed because of all this.
The Zazane had nothing to say in response, as for once she had felt... in the wrong for this situation. She groaned again, placing a hand against her face and rubbing her brow before looking back towards Vekaron.
- Kalcedia - I can see it on your face.
- Vekaron - What? My shame? I already told you, I don't want your mocking.
- Kalcedia - You're ashamed because... there's somebody your concerned about.
- Vekaron - ...My wife, yes. I just mentioned her.
- Kalcedia - No, not your wife. You're concerned because of somebody in your crew.
Vekaron blinked and looked at Kalcedia in surprise.
- Vekaron - What are you implying?
- Kalcedia - You have a crush.
- Vekaron - My crew are my fellow soldiers! I'd never fall for such temptations!
- Kalcedia - Then why are you so concerned?
- Vekaron - B-because...because...agh...
Vekaron's wings opened and he covered his face with them.
- Vekaron - ...Like it matters at this point.
- Kalcedia - Hey, I'm not gonna talk about this if you're not.
- Vekaron - I feel like that Zoles traitor...I did fall for temptation.
- Kalcedia - Will you stop saying that? You're starting to sound like a robot.
- Vekaron - Yes. I have a crush. But she would never accept a man like me.
- Kalcedia - I dunno, you're pretty good in bed. And you have a big co--
- Vekaron - What do you know of relationships? What you do in bed is but a fraction of a couple's life. I want someone I can wake up to see at my side everyday. A person to grow old with. Not merely to fulfill carnal desires.
- Kalcedia - Somebody to raise your children with?
- Vekaron - Yes...
Kalcedia grunted and stepped aside from the bed, pulling back the covers that concealed the rest of her form and standing upright. She reached for her clothes, tossed aside unto the floor, and began to place them on her body, speaking all the while.
- Kalcedia - Then why don't you ask her?
- Vekaron - Ask what? To live with a man who so easily loses his honour? Besides...if something happens to me...or to her...I don't want to go through that pain again...
- 'Kalcedia - Gee, aren't you all sunshine and rainbows. Look, if you want to find a way to "restore your honour" or whatever, why don't you try impressing her? And besides, she'll never know if we don't say anything.
- Vekaron - I'm sure she has no time for relationships anyway...to think that after a century, I would be captivated again. By an alien, no less.
- Kalcedia - Look, hun, you'll never know if you don't try. And what if something does happen to you or her? You go out without ever trying to get the opportunity to be something special.
Vekaron uncovered his face and looked at Kalcedia. His previous furious expression was now replaced with guilt and confusion. She could clearly see that he had no idea what to do now.
- Vekaron - ...How can I impress a woman like her?
- Kalcedia - Well, what kind of woman is she?
- Vekaron - Powerful, strong-willed, always ready to face danger...helpful, good-natured, cute...
- Kalcedia - So what do you think will impress her?
- Vekaron - I have no idea. I don't know what...Rovegar like.
- Kalcedia - Rovegar? I've only met a few Rovegar, pirates and the likes... They're more emotional than others. Giving them gifts, complimenting their appearance, that sorta stuff works for them.
- Vekaron - Really?...I always thought she had adorable hair. And I kinda lose track of myself when I look into her eyes.
- Kalcedia - So, tell her that you like her hair, or that her eyes are pretty.
Vekaron remained in silence for several moments until he got up and shook his head.
- Vekaron - You're right. I can't let this grief overcome me. She would not enjoy seeing me like this.
Kalcedia smiled as she placed her clothed upon her body and folded her arms once more, confidently looking towards Vekaron with a perked eyebrow. He was still naked, and she took the opportunity to glance towards his waist once more, licking her teeth almost with excitement as she laid her eyes upon him.
- Kalcedia - Yeah, yeah she won't...
- Vekaron - I...must apologize for snapping at you earlier.
- Kalcedia - Don't worry about it, sweet-cheeks, it's not the first time I woke up to a man screaming at me.
- Vekaron - If you really want to show gratitude, then...maybe you could give me more tips later. You should know by now who I am talking about.
- Kalcedia - The armour-wearing Rovegar girl, by the sounds of it. Heh, I'll be on-hand if you want any tips. You gave me more than a fair share of your own, after all.
- Vekaron - I did?
Kalcedia lifted her arm and pointed towards Vekaron's crotch, a grin perked across her face. Vekaron looked down on himself and sighed. He rested on his own bed, holding his hands together.
- Vekaron - Despite everything...I won't lie. It was good.
- Kalcedia - I feel wet just thinking about i-- I mean, I appreciate it, Vekaron. I'll be in my room if you require me, getting myself ready and... well, shit like that.
- Vekaron - I get it. Lock the door on your way out, please.
Kalcedia nodded, winking towards the Penumbran for a moment before leaving to exit the room, opening the door and closing it behind her. She giggled to herself quietly so as to not attract attention and walked back to where she had come from - her own quarters, that is. Before she moved on, though, she noticed something. Leaning on the wall next to Vekaron's door was Gardin, who slept on the floor, curled into a ball. Kalcedia turned to look towards the ball that was Gardin and an expression of slight guilt emerged on her face. While it was adorable, Kalcedia recognized the implications of what she had done, and she turned away with haste to return to her quarters, trying to ignore the curled up child that she was faced with.
Murgur Civil War
Retake What Is Yours
Two weeks had passed since Kalcedia's arrival. Vekaron and his team were left without action as no missions were ensued to them in a long time, with the Zoles Penumbran regularly checking on the news to keep up to date with the galaxy's affairs. News of Murgur raids across the Arm of Knowledge were growing in number. While Vekaron checked on the news on one day, Wragrot scratched his belly while sitting lazily on his seat, looking around in boredom. Kamaris, usually reading, was not this time round. Instead, he and Kit were sitting on the floor, in a meditative stance. Kilchárunya was playing a Kicathian board game, commonly associated with gambling. Kirlisir was with Gardin, playing hand games with her in order to test her memory and sensitivity to reaction, while Vansenk dangled from the ceiling, asleep with his tongue hanging outwards from his mouth. At the far end of the room, Kalcedia sat, surprisingly clothed, and was reading through a holo-magazine at merchandise.
- Wragrot - Nothing interesting?
- Vekaron - Not really.
- Wragrot - I'm starting to miss Xeron's face.
- Kirlisir - Maybe the pirates are all on vacation, or they're scared of us.
At this moment, another ship appeared next to Vekaron's. With distinct blue-coloured plating, they could all see it was clearly a large, sized Murgur vessel. A request for communications was sent to Vekaron, who accepted a few moments after. On his screen appeared a large Murgur wearing what could be described as a mix between armor and formal clothing.
- Kilchárunya - Aren't I just the goddess of bad timing?
- Murgur - Good evening. Penumbran Vekaron, I presume? I would like to request permission to enter your vessel, for I need to speak to you in person.
- Vekaron - ...Well, this came out of nowhere.
- Kilchárunya - Wow. A polite Murgur. I'm going to die today.
- Murgur - I understand the timing might be a little too out of nowhere, but I'm afraid this cannot wait.
- Vekaron - Can I just ask who you are?
- Murgur - I am Muganda Groanknir, head of the Muganda Warband.
Wragrot raised from his chair, his eyes narrowed.
- Wragrot - This can't be good...
- Kalcedia - They're always polite at first, and then they end up getting their third or fifth leg inside you without so much as a "please".
- Kamaris - ...Fifth?
- Kalcedia - Hey, not all creatures have just two legs.
- Vekaron - Well. Come in, I think. Just don't try anything funny.
- Groanknir - Do not take me as a barbarian, Vekaron. Not all Murgur are mindless brutes. You should have learned that by now.
- Kit muttered under his breath - Better prime our weapons, to be sure.
- Kirlisir - Oh goody. More warmongers.
A shuttle came out of the Murgur vessel, carrying Groanknir to Vekaron's ship. It connected itself to the Zoles' ship, and after a few moments, Groanknir appeared, alone. He carried no weapons on his being, and looked at the team with a stoic expression. As he was not a Battlemaster, he was noticeably shorter than Wragrot. Kamaris and Kit stood up from their stances, and looked at the Murgur with apprehension.
- Kirlisir - We were expecting someone taller.
- Groanknir - I am taller than you, Rovegar.
- Vekaron - So...what do you want to talk about?
- Groanknir - Excuse me, for I have lied earlier. I do not wish to speak to you. I wish to speak to Kraknor Wragrot.
- Kalcedia - Wow, rude.
- Kilchárunya - ...Where the hell is Vansenk?
- Vansenk - I was sleeping.
Vansenk glared at the Kicathian woman from above, dangling from ceiling with his tail wrapped around some of the interior design. Wragrot walked over to Groanknir, looking at him in the eyes. The Muganda leader did not show any fear of Wragrot despite his obvious disadvantage compared to him.
- Wragrot - Why not just call me?
- Groanknir - You would ignore me. By asking your captain to let me in, you cannot run from this conversation.
- Wragrot - Hmpf. I would.
- Groanknir - It is time to go back, Wragrot. Kraknor needs you.
- Wragrot - I'm not part of Kraknor anymore. Their matters do not concern me.
- Groanknir - I do not believe you are aware of the circumstances of this. Tismahgo is going to lead Kraknor to extinction.
- Wragrot - I don't care. Let them all die. It'll be better for everyone.
- Groanknir - How can you say this of your own people? Of the Murgur you used to lead?
- Kilchárunya - Apply cold...water...to burn.
Wragrot grabbed Groanknir by his collar, lifting up to his eye level with a frown.
- Wragrot - Silence yourself.
- Vekaron - Wait...lead?
- Wragrot - Ignore him. He speaks nonsense.
- Groanknir - Are you trying to run away from the past? Are you hiding the fact you used to be the Warmaster, Wragrot?
Kalcedia glared towards Wragrot with narrowed eyes, subtlety looking up from her holo-mag to glance at what was going on at the opposite end of the room. She folded her legs and readjusted her seating position, while Kirlisir watched on in interest, crossing her arms and analyzing the situation.
- Vekaron - Wragrot...You used to lead the Kraknor Warband? And you never told us that?
- Wragrot - Grrrh.
- Kirlisir - Well now, that was unexpected.
- Wragrot - The past is dead. No one is supposed to know of this. How do you even know about this?
- Groanknir - Extensive research, information brokers, records, assassinations here and there. It was hard finding you, but I did.
- Wragrot - It doesn't matter. I'm not returning. I'm never returning.
- Groanknir - You will, or the Murgur race will die.
- Wragrot - Quit with your bullshit!
- Groanknir - You do not get it. Zukarnos is dead, Wragrot. The Vorazius Warband has fallen.
Wragrot's eyes widened, and he remained silent for several moments. He slowly put Groanknir back down, who cleaned his collar with his hands.
- Wragrot - How...
- Groanknir - Tismahgo found his headquarters. He attacked him, ripped his head off with his bare hands. Vorazius' territory belongs to Kraknor. They are now the largest Murgur population in the galaxy.
- Wragrot - What is he planning? Conquering every Murgur?
- Groanknir - Yes. And once he does, he will throw every Murgur in the galaxy at the Polar Crystal Alliance.
- Wragrot - But you said the Murgur would be extinct.
- Groanknir - Because we stand no chance against the Alliance. If this war starts, our race will be wiped out. Tismahgo's bloodlust will result in the extinction of the Murgur.
- Kalcedia - Now isn't this exciting.
- Kirlisir - The PCA wouldn't do that, would they?
Groanknir turned to Vekaron.
- Groanknir - I also have reasons to believe someone is backing Tismahgo up. And they are most likely related to the Wranploer.
- Kamaris - I see where this is going.
- Kilchárunya - You see?
- Kamaris - Shut it.
- Vekaron - Wragrot, why aren't you leader of the Murgur now? What happened?
- Kirlisir - Wragrot, it's fine to tell us. We're not going to judge you for it... Probably.
Wragrot sighed and sat down again. He looked at the team and at Groanknir as if he was about to tell them an old story, which was in fact the case.
- Wragrot - I suppose there's no reason to keep hiding it. I used to lead the Kraknor Warband until up to 800 years ago. Unlike every other warmaster, I actually wanted to see an unified Murgur empire, but not one made from blood and war. A Murgur empire made by the Murgur people, for the Murgur people. But that being Kraknor and the Murgur being a horrible race, there were oppositors everywhere. Among them, Tismahgo. One day, he stabbed a poisoned dagger through my back on my sleep, and claimed to everyone that I was dead. By Murgur tradition, killing the Warmaster makes you the Warmaster yourself, but only in honourable combat. I was dumped away in a trash spaceship to die while Tismahgo made himself ruler, and no one bothered to see if he spoke the truth. That day, I realized the Murgur race was unworthy of sympathy. If they accept a cheater as their leader, I had no reason to stand among them anymore. Once I healed from my wounds, I became a bounty hunter, alone, never working with a Murgur again.
- Kilchárunya - What a kiltaránkisiatékagazátazhatmanaí [motherfucker].
- Kirlisir - Treachery, eh? Sounds like somebody needs their ass kicked.
- Vekaron - Wow...I never expected something like this.
- Groanknir - So this is what happened. I can understand why it infuriates you. But if you do not return to Kraknor and reclaim the throne that belongs to you, all of us will die. Do you really not care for it? Did you really lose the will to create an unified Murgur empire?
- Wragrot - What's the point? No one wants it to happen.
- Groanknir - Muganda does. I too want to one day see all Murgur going to Kaos and refer to each other as kin, instead of bickering over what is the colour of their armor. Remember, Wragrot, that you have Muganda's support. I would give my life to see this day come true.
Wragrot's face showed apprehension. He looked at the rest of the crew.
- Wragrot - What do you guys say?
Kirlisir approached Wragrot and placed a hand on his shoulder, a smirk spread across her face confidently as she nodded to him. Vansenk nodded also, leaping from the ceiling onto the floor, while Kalcedia stood, winking at the Murgur as she placed a hand on her rifle.
- Vekaron - You should do what you believe is right. But I'd say shooting Tismahgo in the face is a pretty alright idea.
- Kilchárunya - Meh. Go for it.
Wragrot sighed heavily and then looked forward, his expression returning to the same bored face he had before this all started.
- Wragrot - Might as well stop those idiots from killing themselves, I guess.
- Groanknir - I'll be keeping you all updated on internal news and look for a chance to strike at Tismahgo. For Wragrot to retake control, he needs to face him in combat, where everyone can see how alive he is. It is time to retake what is yours, Wragrot.
- Vekaron - Very well. We'll be prepared.
Groanknir nodded to the team and turned back, going back to his shuttle.
- Gardin - So Uncle Wragrot is a big leader? That's really cool!
- Wragrot - Hm. It was. Telling people what to do was always fun.
- Kilchárunya - Well. Could turn Wragrot into an Agent. See how funny that would be.
- Vekaron - But can we trust Wragrot with that much power?
- Kilchárunya - They trust Nu with that much power.
- Kamaris - Somehow, I doubt Vekaron was talking to you.
- Kilchárunya - Point still stands.
Internal warfare and a bloodthirsty warlord would bring the Murgur to their knees, and it was up to Wragrot to stop them. But if Groanknir's suspicious are really true, then perhaps this warlord is not even the largest threat.
The End of Vorazius
It happened three days before Muganda Groanknir's arrival. The Vorazius Warband was the third largest of all Murgur factions, and was well known for its wealth. Vorazius Murgur were proud of using royal ornaments on their armor pieces, plating the interior of their homes and spaceships with gold and accumulating as much previous good as possible. At the same time, the warband was also primitive in technology compared to the others due to the leader, Vorazius Zukarnos, suffering from technophobia. He had ordered the warband to remain stagnant in technology, and new forms of tech were strictly forbidden to the point of being a scientist was enough to get you killed. This downright irrational behaviour originated from the slaughter of the Inner Core region of the galaxy during the the Great Purging, several hundred years in the past. Zukarnos used to operate in that area when Borealis Grox Empire suddenly murdered all life in the region mercilessly. He watched civilizations and his own men dying to the hands of machines, and from that day, he grew to fear them like the plague.
The flagship of the Kraknor Warband, the Bloodletter, arrived to the orbit of the Vorazius headquarters of Unt-angow followed by a large fleet of Murgur vessels. These vessels, while all clearly Murgur in design, all had something different, sporting a more advanced and intimidating frame than normal Murgur spaceships. Kraknor and Vorazius were long-time enemies, and as soon as the fleet arrived, the planet's defenses appeared to face them in combat. And they were cut down like animals. The Kraknor fleet easily tore through the planetary defenses like a knife through butter, suffering no casualties while the Vorazius Murgur were easily killed. Even with Vorazius' lower technology, Kraknor's ships were not that powerful. Something had empowered these ships, something that Zukarnos would never learn. As soon as the planet defenses were down, shuttles came out of the ships and made their way to the surface, deploying infantry and vehicles which quickly stormed the cities of the planet.
Tismahgo himself landed on the planet, making his way to the entrance of Zukarnos' palace. Zukarnos was often described as being "greed in Murgur form", and Tismahgo could easily tell it by the gross amount of riches he put on his headquarters, for the entire building appeared plated in platinum. The Kraknor warmaster was forced to shield his eyes as he made his way inside, the sun's light reflecting all over the building. Vorazius soldiers who attempted to attack Tismahgo found themselves either shot down by Murgur, mauled to death by Varkorus troopers or attacked by surprisingly large Levarcor who carried heavy weapons. Tismahgo would force open two large doors which revealed a great throne room, where Zukarnos sat on a golden throne at the very end of the room. He pointed at the Kraknor leader and his guards all aimed their weapons at him, an angered scowl visible on his face.
- Zukarnos - You dare defile my palace with your presence, Tismahgo?
- Tismahgo - Your palace is mine now. So is your whole warband.
- Zukarnos - You'll have to take it from my cold dead hands!
- Tismahgo - My plan exactly.
The soldiers fired their weapons, but their shots were pitiful compared to Tismahgo's armor and shields. Zukarnos could easily see that Tismahgo had changed since the last time they met in person. His body was bulkier, filled with cybernetic implants. Zukarnos already hated him, but now he hated him twice over. He had become one with the machine. Kraknor forces easily tore the soldiers down with their weapons, while Tismahgo walked over at Zukarnos' direction, with a mocking grin on his face.
- Zukarnos - You're a damned robot as well!
- Tismahgo - And you still have this nonsensical fear of technology.
- Zukarnos - You'll be consumed by it! Or rather, you won't, for I won't let you leave this room alive!
Zukarnos got up from his throne and out of a sheath from his belt, he took out a curved blade which looked much like a scimitar, with a handle decorated with gems and jewels. He lunged himself at the Kraknor leader with an angered scream, but Tismahgo did nothing but chuckle at him. Winding up, he threw a punch forward, hitting Zukarnos over the face with his full fist. The golden Murgur was thrown backwards several meters, blood and teeth being launched out of his mouth and his primitive sword being thrown out of his hand. Tismahgo crouched over at Zukarnos and with his two hands, he began strangling the Vorazius leader, a bloodthirsty smile dominating his expression.
- Zukarnos - A-agh! D-damn you, Kraknor!
- Tismahgo - Sssh. The dead don't talk.
- Zukarnos - M-my ancestors are smiling upon m-me, Kraknor! C-can you say the same?!
- Tismahgo - I can't. And I don't give a damn.
Zukarnos' head began turning purple as he was asphyxiated on Tismahgo's grasp, until the Kraknor leader forced his enemy's head to the side. The sound of cracking bone echoed through the room as Zukarnos' neck was broken, finishing the Murgur leader off, though Tishago was not satisfied with such a clean death. Using all the strength he had obtained through his enhancements, he forced Zukarnos' head out of his torso, launching blood all over himself and the floor around. Now holding the decapitated head of his enemy, Tismahgo walked over to Zukarnos' golden throne and sat upon it, while his soldiers all bowed to his might. This throne was his now. Vorazius was his now.
It was another busy day over Hyperborea, with trade vessels and tourists faring in and out of its vicinity. Dropping out of FTL was a ship under a small escort, one thing noticeable was that these ships bore designs and identifiers that marked the mas being from Andromeda. The ships' onboard AIs contacted the station requesting docking permission, which was granted to the vessel. However as it landed, the security at the docks observed it with scepticism due to its origins. The ship was of a peculiar design, vaguely resemling a fish based on the curves of its design as well as the bulges in the structure that appeared to resemble fins. Dancing patterns were etched across the hull, which became clear under the lights of the docking bay
As the ship docked, a door in the side opened and a group of slender lizardlike beings disembarked. A Caretaker approached the beings as they arrived to greet them.
Caretaker - Welcome to Hyperborea! Can I help you with anything?
One of the beings looked to the Caretaker with a slight but friendly smile.
Drantoa - Our cluster wishes to impart its pollens to your Polar Crystal Alliance's council. May you guide us as the winds to them?
Caretaker - You wish to speak to the Council? I'm afraid they can't speak to every person who arrives to the space station like this.
Drantoa - Then we offer our combined regrets that they did not hear our words sooner.
Caretaker - I could leave a request though, so you can speak to them when they are available. Who are you and where do you come from?
Drantoa - The winds guided us, pollens from the flowers of Altaris Nurturation, from the meadows of Draco.
Caretaker - Draco? Oh, I get it, you come from the Draconid Imperium! Okay, give me a second, please.
Drantoa - As one would wait for the sun to climb. We shall.
The Caretaker walked over to a small terminal where it began to quickly type in a holographic keyboard, writing a message. Usually, the Council would ignore strangers who came to the station to speak to them, as they were already busy people. However, the Caretaker was surprised to see he was replied to a few moments later. It turned back to the Drantoa and approached them again.
Caretaker - The Council wants to speak to you now, it seems.
Drantoa - Then we shall answer. You thaw the snow for our stems, Caretaker.
Caretaker - Please follow me. I'll lead you to them.
The Drantoa nodded and kept close to the caretaker as he led the Drantoa delegation through the station for several minutes until they arrived at the Council Tower, where they were led into an elevator which took them to the Council's chamber. The three Councillors looked down from their chairs at the Drantoa with apprehension, except for Xeron, who had his eyes narrowed in annoyance. The Drantoa bowed in succession, indicating their ranks relative to each other, with the Drantoa in front, his crimson robes obscured partially by a strip of bright purple, stood in front.
Xeron - Andromedans. What is your business in Hyperborea?
Drantoa - Great polar crystal aliance, The winds call me Aron'Xhau and we were brought by currents with a wish to pollenate the winds. We were brought to nurture life in this sea of starlight, if you will allow us.
Semirian - Nurture life?
Aron'Xhau - We wish to spread the seed of intelligence.
Xeron - Isn't Borealis too dangerous and scary for you? Because that's what we heard when you all ran away a month ago.
Alar'Zan - There is hostility. We understand. Our cluster has developed ways of shielding our seeds from the predators amongst this sea.
Xeron - Who are you calling a pred-
Rylarien - Xeron, enough. Please, explain what you mean with spreading seeds of intelligence. I'm curious.
Xeron scowled for being interrupted by Rylarien and feeling as though the Drantoa had made an offhand comment towards him. Laron'Xhau bowed and continued speaking.
Laron'Xhau - Altaris Nurturation works for the Draconid Imperium's Great Life Initiative. We sail the cosmic currents, breathing life to worlds we find stable. When we spread seeds of intelligence, we concieve beings destined to one day join the universal society.
Semirian - So you uplift non-sapient races. Similar to the Elzie Empire then.
Alar'Zan - We only give them the awareness. The path to the stars must always be their own.
Rylarien - I understand. And I like the idea.
Semirian - I see nothing wrong with it.
Xeron - I suppose it could happen.
Laron'Xhau - Our suns shine at this news. We ask that the Elzie or others do not cross-pollinate with our nurturing.
Semirian - We will order them to leave your work alone.
Laron'Xhau - We have but one more request before our palms fully open: We spread the pollen that as you are patrons of this sea, that you offer our charges messages for when they are ready to join you. Due to our work, this may take millennia to come to fruition.
Semirian - Messages? You mean as in some sort of time capsule?
Laron'Xhau - Exactly as such.
Semirian - Now that is an interesting idea. We could leave the ideals of the Alliance alive for races millenia in the future to learn.
Xeron - Oh, I like that. We'll do that for sure.
Laron'Xhau - We have the recorders on our forms if you wish.
Rylarien - We do, yes.
Laron'Xhau beckoned for one of his subordinates to hand a recording device to him and he set it upon the ground, pushing panels on a wrist computer to activate it. While he was working, one of his other subordinates showed the councillors ple planets they had decided on and the species they had chosen to biologically uplift.
Alar'Zan - We selected systems away from major trading streams so as not to be easily found, and each planet will be enveloped in a planetary-scale network of cloak generators. As far as the universe will know, these planets will not exist save for our charts.
Semirian - Understandable. We don't want anything to happen to them while they're evolving.
Laron'Xhau - The device's ears are open.
Nodding, Semirian positioned herself and straightened her outfit. She gave a hand signal to Laron'Xhau that she was ready and he nodded, pressing a panel on his wrist device to begin recording.
Semirian - Ahem...If you are hearing this message, then we welcome you to the galactic community. This is being recorded likely millions of years before you achieve space travel, but know that even with this time gap, the Polar Crystal Alliance will still be present. We strive for galactic unity and prosperity, and you, young ones, are more than welcome to be part of this.
When she finished, Laron'Xhau deactivated the recordier.
Laron'Xhau - Our petals open in response to your morning rays, councillors. We shall preserve your words for when the time is right.
Rylarien - We are glad to have helped.
Laron'Xhau - It is our pleasure. may the summer winds push you forward, councillors. One last thing. We understand there is hostility towards our kind in Andromeda. We offer a gift of goodwill.
Xeron - Gift?
One of the Drantoa stepped forward and placed a small jar on the table. Opening the lid, the councillors were abruptly hit with the smell of soothing aromatic oils.
Semirian - Hmm. Pleasant. What is this?
Laron'Xhau - An extract from the essences of Alarimchena; a plant native to one of the realms nestled within the inner-regions of the meadows of Draco.
Rylarien - It smells wonderful. Thank you.
Alar'Zan - We are aware that this is only one jar to appeal to a disappointed galaxy. So we offer enough of the plant for it to be cultivated, as well as the understanding of how to nurture it.
Semirian - That is kind of you. I'm sure the rest of the population would love to have this scent around their worlds.
Alar'Zan - Your gratification is morning sunlight to our petals.
The group bowed and turned around, leaving the jar of scented oils and talking the recording equipment with them. Down in the docking bay, other crews had signed off the flowers and several instruction manuals for customs to deal with.
The New Fleet
Two days later, Vekaron and his team received a call from Muganda Groanknir, who delivered them their first mission in their scheme to remove Tismahgo from power. On Vekaron's screen for the whole team to see, the coordinates of a space station were shown, as well as pictures of the Murgur spaceships used to defeat the Vorazius Warband.
- Groanknir - These ships are clearly not Murgur-made. They have a far more advanced and clean design than Murgur vessels. As I mentioned the first time we met, I believe the Wranploer are involved.
- Kalcedia - When aren't the Wranploer involved?
- Kamaris - Not in your bed. I can tell.
- Wragrot - What do you want us to do?
- Groanknir - Infiltrate the space station on your screen. My sources claim it serves as a sort of checkpoint for Tismahgo's forces. Once you are in there, retrieve all information you can about Kraknor's plans.
- Kilchárunya - Infiltration. Easy enough.
- Groanknir - Do not make your presence known. We must not allow Tismahgo to discover that Wragrot is still alive, otherwise our cover will be blown. Be as stealthy as possible.
- Kamaris - Hm. Perhaps better if I did not take part in this one.
- Kirlisir - Don't be a wimp.
- Vekaron - This isn't a matter of being a wimp, Kirlisir.
- Kamaris - Does it look like my kind are built for stealth? No? Kažāolom yan [Shut up.]
Wragrot let out a groan and crossed his arms.
- Wragrot - I suppose I can't be part of this either.
- Groanknir - I am sorry, Wragrot. But indeed, you are just...too huge for stealth. Vekaron, do you have stealth specialists on your team?
- Vekaron - I appear to.
- Kalcedia - Well, isn't it lucky that I just so happened to turn up at the right time? You have a veteran stealth operative right with you.
- Vansenk - Your compliments are appreciated.
- Kit - I managed to infiltrate your ship. Albeit unsuccessfully since you have essence-sensitive kasat [aliens] on this ship also.
- Groanknir - Murgur are ignorant to essence. You should not worry about such things during this.
Vansenk had his back turned to the team and his arms folded, although he wore a smile, keeping to the shadows at the far side of the room. Kalcedia grumbled towards the Hseraelna before turning back to the screen, while Kirlisir had her arms folded.
- Kirlisir - So that counts me, Vansenk, the sniper, and the kid.
- Vekaron - ...And me and Kilchárunya.
- Kit - Kid?
- Kilchárunya - Hm. Perhaps I should hang back as well. In case things get awry back here.
- Vekaron - If you say so. Just me then.
- Kalcedia - Unfortunate. I was hoping to see if you were as rabid in combat as Nu was, but if that's true it would be best for you to stay behind. No offence.
- Kilchárunya - I'd hold your tongue. You don't want it ripped from your mouth.
- Vekaron - Don't start, you two.
- Kit - Kicathian courtesy, right there.
- Groanknir - I will leave you all to complete this objective. I do not have to wish you good luck for I am more than aware of your abilities. I will be waiting for your report.
At this moment, the transmission with Groanknir ended.
- Kirlisir - I have to say, being on a ship full of sweaty Murgur isn't my idea of fun.
- Wragrot - Rude.
- Kit - Don't say anything, Zazane.
- Kalcedia - Aww.
- Vansenk - If the Wranploer are involved, you can expect surprises.
- Kit - Néseur. [Very well, then]. I suppose I should prepare.
Vekaron's ship travelled to the space station's star system, and a shuttle taking the Penumbran himself, Kit, Vansenk, Kirlisir and Kalcedia was sent to it. The shuttle went undetected through the Murgur's less advanced orbital defenses and landed next to a large storage chamber located at the back of the station. Vekaron was the first to leave the shuttle, taking cover behind large mountains of boxes with his blade in hand. Visibly, the team did not notice Kit's departure from the ship. A cloaking device assumed over his armour as he stepped out of the shuttle.
- Kit - So their technology is not advanced. I suspect it is still effective, however.
- Vekaron - More than other Murgur's, less than ours.
Kirlisir followed swiftly behind Vekaron, her suit engaging in camouflage protocols. Vansenk slithered out from the ship as if he were a serpent, while Kalcedia strutted out with her rifle hidden within her anatomy.
- Kit - So. Tactics, captain.
- Vekaron - Use cover, don't make too much noise. If an enemy is on the way and won't leave, get rid of them silently.
- Kit - Easy enough orders to follow.
- 'Kirlisir - Cept for the "silent" part.
In one bound, Kit leapt on top of the storage container, observing the exterior of the station to scout ahead. The large number of box towers allowed the rest of the team to traverse through the storage chamber without being seen. In an elevated position, Levarcor soldiers patrolled around, but none of them noticed their presences. Kit used the height of the box towers, leaping from one to another to catch up with the team as he kept looking for more threats. Kirlisir raised an eyebrow while Kalcedia hid herself behind several boxes, and Vansenk analyzed the Levarcor from afar without the aid of any additional visual equipment. He could... smell something off regarding them. From his position, Kit could see a number of cameras ahead, which moved from side to side, looking over the storage chamber.
- Kit - Caution. Surveillance cameras.
- Vekaron - Hm. We need a way to distract them.
- Kirlisir - Hmm. I have an idea.
Using her telekinesis, Kirlisir caused one of the box towers at the other side of the room to fall, away from the team's position. The cameras turned their attention toward the fallen boxes, while the Levarcor soldiers ran at their direction to inspect them.
- Kit - Impressive. Perhaps I should learn how to use telekinesis some time.
The Levarcor soldiers barked orders at each other, discussing who was going to fix all the mess. Meanwhile, the rest of the team was forced to make their way through series of corridors to venture deeper into the station until they came across one hallway bodyblocked by a Varkorus guard, who had his back turned to them. Vansenk slithered behind the guard and, using his scythe, he cleaved the enemy's throat and sent his hand to cover his mouth. The Varkorus agonized and slowly died, while Vansenk made sure to pass his fingers through the creature's huge exposed teeth. Kit moved further on, virtually travelling parallel to the team. From his position, Kit could look down to another room, adjacent to Vekaron and the others' position. He could see an immense battlesuit making its way through it, its design appearing Niaka-like but much larger and humanoid in appearance.
- Kit - Halt. I see something.
- Vekaron - What is it?
- Kit - A battlesuit. Probably Niaka design.
- Kalcedia - Niaka? Here?
- Kit - Definitely.
Vekaron and his team hid behind the hallway while the battlesuit passed through it. It was far larger than any Niaka mecha they had ever seen, sporting three pairs of extra limbs carrying what looked like chainsaws, and the floor trembled at each step. Once it left, Vekaron looked around to see if there was no more danger before proceeding ahead.
- Kalcedia - What the hell was that?
- Vansenk - A Niaka with a large ego, perhaps.
- Kirlisir - Whoever it was, they seem like somebody important.
- Kit - One of Torrent's. I suppose.
- Kirlisir - Wouldn't surprise me.
The team progressed through the complex, evading soldiers and guard along the way until they arrived to some sort of laboratory. There did not appear to be anyone inside, and an opening on the ceiling allowed Kit to enter the room with the rest of the team. Computers on the back of the room showed schematics about spaceships, which Vekaron quickly took notice of.
- Vekaron - Looks like we found our info.
Kit unsheathed his blade, perhaps preparing for any sudden encounter. As he did, he noticed a pair of Murgur who had their backs turned to the team, but the noise of them entering the room caused them to turn around.
- Murgur - Who the hell are you?!
- Kit - I am not the one to answer that question.
- Vekaron - Eliminate them, quickly!
Kit released a blast from his pistol, directly at one of their heads. Kalcedia drew her rifle and fired hypermatter rounds at the Murgur with precise efficiency, aiming for their heads. The combined shots quickly dispatched of them before they could react, while Vekaron took the opportunity to walk over the computers. He began downloading the information contained within it, reading it as he did.
- Kit - Be prepared for more.
- Vekaron - "Warmaster Tismahgo, I'm sure these new ships will come in handy in our great push. Believe me, you will not be disappointed". As written by the "The Patriot".
- Kit - The 'Patriot'? Hm. Probably whoever was in that mech we saw earlier.
Kirlisir approached Vekaron and looked at the schematics from over his shoulder, her cybernetic optical implant analyzing the data from where she stood. Vansenk dragged the Murgur bodies into the shadows where they would not be found. Vekaron and Kirlisir both saw the emblem of the New Wranploer Legion through the message.
- Vekaron - Torrent's goons really are involved in this.
- Kirlisir - I'm not surprised, it's so like Torrent to get himself involved in other people's business where it does not concern him.
- Vekaron - I wonder why though. Probably to backstab Tismahgo later and take over the Murgur for himself.
- Kalcedia - That or Tismahgo is making Torrent a profit.
At this moment, footsteps were heard through the corridor outside of the room, as multiple Murgur warriors made their way to it.
- Kit - Contact.
- Vekaron - Hide! I think I know how to get rid of them.
Kit jumped to the ceiling, hiding in the darkness of it. Vekaron turned to Kalcedia.
- Vekaron - Can you shapeshift into a Murgur?
- Kalcedia - Is the sky blue?
- Vekaron - Do it. Talk to the soldiers and make them leave. Everyone else, hide.
Kalcedia smiled and placed her rifle within her physiology once again; within moments, she had transfigured her aesthetic from a tall, busty Zazane dominatrix and military operative, to that of a rather imposing, heavily armoured yet womanly Murgur warrior. Vansenk scurried into the darkest corners of the room, while Kirlisir camouflaged herself once again and took a hiding position. Vekaron hid on a corner alongside Vansenk while the Murgur soldiers opened the door. Their commander looked around to find the disguised Kalcedia.
- Murgur - What was that? We heard gunfire coming from this room.
- Kalcedia - I saw a couple of vermin. Decided to blast them into chunks.
- Murgur - Where are the engineers?
- Kalcedia - On their break.
- Murgur - Break? Is this a joke? Find them and tell them to stop slacking. We don't want to leave the Warmaster waiting.
- Kalcedia - Affirmative, sir. I'll commence a search as soon as possible.
The Murgur commander ordered his squad to move on and left, their footsteps eventually no longer being heard as they were too far away. Kalcedia chuckled to herself as she looked down and admired her Murgur form for a moment before swiftly changing back into her Zazane appearance, with the Murgur armour she was wearing morphing back into that of her own default attire. Vekaron left the corner he was hiding and walked over to the Zazane.
- Vekaron - Good job. I think I got all the info we need already.
- Kalcedia - Did that form make my butt look big?
- Vansenk - Everything looks big on you.
- Vekaron - Time to return to the ship, team.
- Kit - Call it intuition. I don't think we're finished yet. For some odd reason.
Following Kit through the ceiling of the station, the team eventually got back on their shuttle and returned to their ship. Vekaron transmitted the information he had downloaded to Groanknir while the team found Wragrot lazily sitting on a chair, with Gardin resting on top of his head. Kalcedia smiled as she saw Gardin and sat beside Wragrot, folding her arms and getting comfortably seated. Kirlisir leaned against the wall closest to Vekaron while Vansenk simply rested on the ceiling once again, almost unnaturally.
- Kit - Hm. I've been wrong before.
- Wragrot - So what did you lot find?
- Kalcedia - The Murgur are being supplied by the Wranploer.
- Wragrot - We already knew that.
- Kit - Our suspicions were confirmed. More severely, Tismahgo is in direct contact with Torrent and his associates.
- Wragrot - Oh. Great. Except not great at all.
- Kirlisir - We found Niaka battlesuit soldiers there alongside.
- Kilchárunya - It sounds like a opportune prospect to me.
- Groanknir - Bizarre. I do not know of Kraknor working with Niaka pirates. Especially now that the Old Niaka Order has fallen.
- Kit - Well. From what I saw, there was only one Niaka there. In a mechanical battlesuit.
- Groanknir - Regardless, I will analyze the information you have gathered and report back to you once I am done. You have done well, Penumbrans.
- Vekaron - What can we say? We're good at what we do.
- Kalcedia - I'm not part of UNOC to just stand around and look pretty.
- Kirlisir - Certainly had me fooled.
- Kilchárunya - I like where this is going. Tismahgo and Torrent as business partners? Great chance to...what's the phrase...kill two birds with one stone?
- Vekaron - Indeed.
Groanknir nodded to the team and ended his transmission, the screen going off as he did so.
- Vansenk - ...Why are we killing birds with stones? We should focus on Torrent and Tismahgo.
- Wragrot - Heh. Stupid.
- Kilchárunya - Killing two birds with one stone. Torrent and Tismahgo are the birds. Our devices being the stone.
- Wragrot - Heheheh.
Project Titan 2.0
The following day, after the team had received Groanknir's report about the Wranploer-made spaceships, Vekaron and the others were at the dining room of the spaceship having breakfast, with the exception of Vyatak who was busy sending the gathered information to the Council. Kalcedia was feasting on a sausage, savouring its flavours for a while, while Kirlisir sat beside Vekaron with a ham sandwich placed between her fingers, munching on it with a pleased and satisfied expression. Vansenk had sat beside Wragrot, eating from a plate that carried a concoction of eyeballs and other nasty bodily parts from verminous creatures.
Kilchárunya was eating a delicate platter of Kicathian staple foods, notoriously poisonous to other alien life forms. Kamaris had already finished his food, sitting quietly at the table to wait for everyone else to finish. As usual, Kit was nowhere to be seen. Wragrot ate a rather oversized slab of meat, splatting juice over his face as he did. Vekaron ate what a human would describe as a hamburger, while Gardin ate several pieces of candy. Vekaron kept his eyes on Kirlisir as he ate.
- Kirlisir - ...You wanted some of my sandwich?
- Vekaron - ...Oh. No, no. I...was just thinking. Did you...do something to your hair?
- Kirlisir - I... Erm, I used a different conditioner.
- Vekaron - I see...It smells nice.
Kalcedia stared at Vekaron and Kirlisir eagerly, a wide smile stretched across her face, so much so that her face almost looked contorted, with her teeth bared. She didn't appear maddened or distraught - in fact, she seemed to be rather overly happy. Kilchárunya sighed heavily, the general distortion of the Kicathian voice made a very strange sound. She muttered something in Kicathian, in a defeated and a very annoyed tone as she kept eating her food. Wragrot looked at the scene with bored eyebrows before turning to Kilchárunya and letting out a quiet chuckle.
- Kilchárunya - I don't understand kas-at zhǎsúnoattaunīsirí [courtship rituals]. Strange.
- Gardin - You speak funny, auntie.
- Kilchárunya - I don't know the translation. But in aliens it's an odd thing.
At this moment, though, the ship's main screen showed an alert. Vyatak ran over to dining hall and shouted at the team, his sudden appearance causing Vekaron to stumble on his chair and put himself against Kirlisir by accident. Kirlisir blushed and accidentally shoved the sandwich into her mouth whole, causing her to cough and splutter as she struggled to chew it. Vansenk passed a glare towards Vyatak and Kalcedia readied her rifle almost immediately.
- Vyatak - Mission! Cease eating!
- Wragrot - The hell.
- Vyatak - Groanknir calls. Kraknor attacking Alliance world. Need us to help repel attack.
Simultaneously, Kit walked into the room, noticing the palaver between Kirlisir and Vekaron.
- Kit - Dal-ánnanaznya. [Good morning]. ...What are you two doing?
- Vekaron - N-nothing, I just got startled by Vyatak.
- Kirlisir - M-Mmph mph mmph mmmmph phmmph!
- Wragrot - You two are pathetic, seriously.
- Kilchárunya - Exactly what I was thinking.
After preparing themselves, Vekaron's ship travelled to a planet on the outskirts of the Zoles Imperium. The shuttle landed in the middle of a battlefield, where Zoles forces battled with Kraknor invaders. As Vekaron and his team arrived, the Zoles soldiers all looked at the Penumbran with awe. Kalcedia had her rifle aimed and ready to fire as she stepped off of the shuttle, and Vansenk slithered out to rest at Vekaron's feet, hissing as if he were a snake. Kirlisir stood beside Vekaron and had her blades drawn and energized. The team could see the Kraknor force was made mostly of Levarcor, though they were considerably larger than most Levarcor they had ever seen with the exception of Brakarion Gragon. Vansenk sniffed the air and hissed louder, placing a hand against Vekaron's chest to keep him restrained for just a moment.
- Vansenk - Something isn't correct regarding the Levarcor.
- Wragrot - They're pretty big.
- Vansenk - They're big, yet they smell... fresh.
- Vekaron - What do you mean?
- Vansenk - They smell of spawn. Mere children, yet they are the size of elders.
- Vekaron - Spawn...clones?
- Wragrot - So Tismahgo is creating huge Levarcor clones. Not cool.
- Kamaris - Hm. Unsavoury.
The Levarcor aimed their weapons and fired at the team's direction. Vekaron charged ahead, his blade in hand, and struck at the creatures who got close enough. Their size made them almost as big as Kamaris and Wragrot, which was already larger than the average Murgur. Kilchárunya, as per usual, used her pistols to pick off Levarcor enemies. Kit danced around the Levarcor enemies, tossing them about and slashing them. Wragrot fired his shotgun at the Levarcor, using his telekinetic powers to either throw them at each other or keep them still so he could get clear shots.
Kirlisir attempted to throw any Levarcor that got close with her telekinesis, while countering and slicing at any that strayed too close or were unable to be moved. Kalcedia used her rifle to strike at vital points in the Levarcor's defenses, aiming with absolute precision, while Vansenk stayed behind Vekaron, unable of assisting. One of the Levarcor charged at Vekaron and delivered a blow to his face, sending the Penumbran to the ground. At the same time, more Levarcor charged at Wragrot and attacked in melee, while others kept firing their weapons at the rest of the team.
- Vekaron - Get off of me!
Kirlisir rushed towards the Levarcor that was assaulting Vekaron, but before she could deal a blow, the creature found its face attacked by the long, sharp scythe that was wielded by Vansenk, who had managed to flank the beast while it was occupied with Vekaron. Kamaris ran over to aid Wragrot, delivering crushing blows to their skulls with his fist. Kalcedia redirected her focus and aimed for the Levarcor that were attacking Wragrot, taking shots at any Levarcor that he was unable to deal with. Vekaron nodded to Vansenk and got back up, while Wragrot growled in annoyance as the Levarcor around him were taken down.
- Wragrot - You're starting to get on my nerves.
- Kamaris - Trust me. You were outnumbered.
- Wragrot - Oh no, not you. I meant them.
Kit sped through a number of Levarcor, slicing their sides with his blade., while Vekaron charged at one of the enemies still near his position and sliced at his head vertically with his blade. In the distance, behind the dwindling horde of enhanced Levarcor warriors, a figure stood with his arms folded, atop a massive mound of rubble and debris. It looked as if it was analyzing the battlefield, watching the process of the battle unfold in front of it, and possessed an indifferent stance. That is, until it caught eye of Wragrot.
It did not move from where it stood, but it kept its attention drawn to the Battlemaster; the figure was a Murgur, dressed in heavy armour. As Wragrot used his telekinesis to crush a Levarcor's skull from a distance, he turned his attention to the unknown Murgur's direction, raising an eyebrow as he noticed him.
- Wragrot - ...Eh?
The Murgur stared while the Levarcor at its feet continued to attack the team, itself refusing to move onward to deal blows as it took a firm, curious interest in Wragrot, tilting its head and letting out an audible, heavy exhale. Using his psychic powers, Wragrot tore out a chunk of the ground and threw it at the Murgur's direction, intending to smash him with it. As the chunk of debris travelled through the air, Wragrot noticed as the chunk began to slow until ceasing motion completely in mid-air, before it was launched back towards him at excessive speed. As the attack was returned, the Murgur turned and began to walk away without uttering a word. Wragrot sent his fist at the chunk, destroying it as it came in contact and launching earth all over him. As he noticed the Murgur leaving, he began shouting at him, getting the rest of the team's attention.
- Wragrot - Hey! Come back here!
- Vekaron - Huh?
The Murgur lifted a hand and clicked its fingers loudly, gaining the attention of the surrounding Levarcor. It continued to walk away until it was fully out of sight, and found itself unharmed by any of the Levarcor; they were under his command. The surviving Levarcor turned away and began retreating, running away from the battlefield. The Zoles soldiers who still stood cheered as the invaders were pushed off, but Wragrot had a scowl on his face.
- Kirlisir - The hell?
- Kit - Why don't I like this?
- Wragrot - Who the hell was that? A Murgur with psychic powers...
- Kamaris - Another one like you.
- Kalcedia - Well, isn't that something?
- Wragrot - That's not possible. There are no more Battlemasters...and that guy. He was...green.
- Vansenk - If Tismahgo can afford to dispatch lab-spawned warriors, then it may not be far-fetched to think that... he has either found, or created, a Battlemaster.
- Wragrot - This just makes me hate that prick-headed bastard even more.
Three days after the attack on the Zoles, it was night time at Vekaron's ship. Unfortunately for them, Groanknir had no information on Battlemasters other than Wragrot surviving to the current era, even less about green-skinned Murgur. Vekaron pondered about the situation on his chair, while Wragrot had a scowl on his face and his arms folded. It was as if he could not believe himself. Kamaris had just finished unbinding the armour from his body, placing it on a Mahanayan-sized armour stand. He wore plain, modern clothing as he walked through the ship. He also wore a blindfold, covering his blackened eyes. Kalcedia was playing with Gardin as the adults placed focus on the situation at hand, and Kirlisir watched them both intensively with her arms folded while she kept an ear perked for anything anybody has to say. Vansenk was asleep, attached to the ceiling.
- Kamaris - If five hundred years of war within my life has taught me anything, we do not wonder why things happen. Much rather act upon how to return to normal after it happens.
Sitting down at the table, he took a glass full of an alcoholic beverage in his giant hand.
- Wragrot - I'd love to act but I don't know where green-man is at the moment. I'd love to cave my fist into his skull.
- Kamaris - I don't know enough about Murgur culture nor the history behind Battlemasters. But you do. In fact Vekaron would have an entire database dedicated to the galaxy's cartography. Where would you think he is?
- Kirlisir - Wherever he is, a Battlemaster for an enemy is nothing to laugh at.
- Wragrot - As far as I was aware, I was the last Battlemaster alive. Our history? Messed up genetics, I guess. I don't know where Battlemasters come from, I just known they started appearing thousands of years before we created spaceships. It's hard to tell anything about Murgur history when no one bothered to keep track of it.
Kamaris snorted heavily at Kirlisir's remark.
- Kamaris - One should not laugh at any enemy. Many centuries ago on Mahanaya, there was a civil war. People laughed at one of the leaders. His name? Hezkalka Naystathyo. The same people regret laughing that day.
- Vekaron - Why's that?
- Kamaris - Because now, Hezkalka Naystathyo is the Dominion's leader.
- Vekaron - ...Oh.
- Kamaris - What I am trying to prove. One Battlemaster proved a problem. Many would prove many problems. We solved the problem with Hezkalka's grasp over Mahanaya and we reclaimed it. We do not solve problems by sitting down, drinking drinks with a scowl on our face.
- Wragrot - Well I'm not the one drinking here.
At this moment, a transmission was sent to Vekaron, who accepted it and revealed it to be Warmaster Groanknir. His face, usually stern and stoic, for the first time showed an emotion the team had not seen before. It was clear distress.
- Groanknir - Penumbrans. We have a problem.
- Kirlisir - When do we not?
- Groanknir - Holy Kaos as fallen. Tismahgo has taken control of the homeworld.
- Wragrot - What?!
- Groanknir - The bloodthirsty fool desecrated our holiest world, one of the few places were all Murgur were equal. He brought weapons to our ancestors' graves and spat on them. Kaos is now under his complete control.
- Kamaris - I will go put my armour back on, then. And wake Kilchárunya while I am at it.
Kamaris shot back out of his seat, walking away from the scene.
- Groanknir - You may not go to the homeworld now. All of my informants stationed there have been arrested or killed. We are completely on the dark on everything that happens there.
- Kirlisir - So the Murgur have lost their homeworld and there is little we can do to help as of the moment. Tismahgo's a bastard.
- Kalcedia - Must be effective if he took the homeworld, I was expecting him to be just all "rip and tear!"
- Wragrot - Tismahgo isn't a Murgur anymore. I wouldn't even compare him to a Loron. Not even the most insane Murgur in history would dare lay a finger on the homeworld. It's sacred in our culture.
Kilchárunya walked into the room, somewhat dazed from waking up.
- Kilchárunya - Alright...you'd better have a good reason for waking up.
- Vekaron - Tismahgo has conquered the Murgur homeworld.
- Kilchárunya - ...That's a pretty good reason...what are we gonna do about it?
- Vansenk - There is little we can do.
- Kilchárunya - Good ol' Kicathian tip. Don't listen to a single word people say.
At this moment, Gardin, who was playing with Kalcedia, suddenly stopped what she was doing. She approached the Zazane and hug her tightly, her expression showing worry.
- Gardin - Auntie Kal, I have a bad feeling...
Vansenk emerged from the ceiling and landed behind Kilchárunya, placing a hand upon her shoulder while he hissed almost seductively, his breath rotten and damp. Kalcedia looked towards Gardin and held onto her, patting her back and nuzzling her as she perked an eyebrow. Kilchárunya was so used to Vansenk's presence in the past seven years, that she barely realised he was even there.
- Kalcedia - What's wrong?
Before Gardin could respond, almost as if she had predicted it, the radar on Vekaron's screen showed multiple ships approaching. Murgur vessels, enhanced by Wranploer technology, began materializing around the Penumbran's ship, surrounding it. Kirlisir's eye widened and she stood to attention, an expression of shock on her face.
- Kirlisir - The fuck?!
- Wragrot - ...Shit.
The Murgur ships opened fire, hitting the shields of Vekaron's vessels, the sheer number of enemy ships attacking at once making the Penumbran's ship rumble slightly. Vekaron let out orders for the crew to prepare a counterattack, and weapons were fired at the Murgur ships. Explosions were heard from the lower decks of Vekaron's ship, and moments after, his radar detected intruder boarding the vessel.
- Vekaron - We're being invaded! Prepare yourselves to battle!
Kalcedia nodded and stood, grasping for her sniper rifle. Kirlisir rushed for her powered armour so that she could fight more proficiently, while Vansenk drew his nanomachine-constructed scythe, a deathly glare in his eyes. Wragrot grabbed his shotgun and followed Vekaron, who ran at the direction of the ship's lower decks, beckoning the team to follow him. Gardin, scared of the attack, began crying where she stood. Kilchárunya returned to her quarters to don her clothing and equip her weaponry. On the other hand, Kamaris and Kit were already down in the midst of battle, combating the intruders. Kalcedia leaned downward and grabbed ahold of Gardin, placing her in one arm while she handled her weapon with the other, and followed the lead of Vekaron and Wragrot while Kirlisir kept a close, vicious eye on the Zazane as she managed her pupil.
Murgur, Levarcor, Edulia and Varkorus soldiers, all carrying Kraknor's emblem on their armor, fired their weapons at Kamaris and Kit, pushing into the ship. Once he arrived to the fray, Vekaron slashed at one of the soldiers while Wragrot shot his shotgun at them. The Zoles looked at the Edulia soldiers and raised an eyebrow at them, having never seen their race before.
- Vekaron - What are these creatures?
- Wragrot - Never seen an Edulia before? Those guys can steamroll a Murgur with a charge attack.
- Kilchárunya - This is what you get for waking me up, you motherfuckers!
Joining the team, Kilchárunya opened fire on the warriors, almost pushing her own team aside in a maddened frenzy. Kirlisir battled Levarcor and Murgur in melee combat, dancing with them as she countered and parried their attacks, while Kalcedia slammed her form against several Varkorus in order to knock them back, keeping Gardin closely in her grasp so that she would not be harmed without her knowing. Kamaris hoisted a Varkorus of its feet, and, using his strength, threw it at the soldiers in hopes of felling them. Several soldiers were knocked away into the ground, while one Edulia soldier let out a howl and charged at Wragrot's direction. The Murgur held on the enemy's chest and was dragged across the floor for several meters until he stopped him, throwing him into the ground and shooting his gun at his head.
- Vansenk - Tismahgo's infantry is potent, but we are moreso.
- Vekaron - Push them back! Don't let them damage the ship any further!
- Kilchárunya - How about you use some of your Agent tech and help us?!
- Kit - Don't tell me what to do. You're not my...wait.
Kit drove his fists into numerous soldiers, spurts of blood painting the lower decks as he crushed their skulls. Enemy soldiers continued to pour into the ship, firing their weapons and charging at the Penumbran and his team, although after several minutes the gunfire stopped, and the soldiers stepped aside. They were still grunting and threatening the Penumbran team with snarls and barks, yet they refused to attack. They looked as if they were... waiting. Vekaron and Wragrot looked at the soldiers in confusion, keeping their weapons ready to strike again. Kirlisir kept to her combat-ready stance, observing the enemy with a cautious expression, and Kalcedia kept a tighter grasp on Gardin, aiming at the soldiers with her sniper rifle as she prepared herself for another onslaught, drenched in blood. Vansenk closed his eyes and sniffed the air.
- Wragrot - What are you doing? Speak or I'll kill you all!
After a moment, stepping out from the horde of pirates, mercenaries and soldiers, was a familiar, daunting figure; the green Murgur, the one who had led the Kraknor assault against the Zoles prior. He had heavy footsteps and he breathed heavily, his heavy armour giving him an imposing, intimidating appearance.
- Wragrot - You...
- Murgur - Hehehe, yes, me. The legends spoke true of you, Wragrot; you are still alive, and as powerful as ever.
- Wragrot - Who the hell are you?
With a large, bare-toothed grin, the Murgur slammed a fist into the ground, knocking the entire team back with a psychic shockwave as he looked towards each member, analyzing them with an eager expression. Electricity shot up through his arms and legs, his muscles tensing beneath his armour, and he spoke loudly. Vekaron fell backwards while Wragrot was dragged across the floor on one knee, growling at the green Murgur.
- Murgur - I am Yatakhan! Battlemaster Kraknor Yatakhan!
- Wragrot - I thought Tismahgo had ordered all Battlemasters executed.
- Yatakhan - Oh, he did. But I am the exception, for what sort of Warmaster would Tismahgo be if he did not have at least one Battlemaster answering to every beck and call?
- Wragrot - I'll enjoy burying you along with Tismahgo.
- Yatakhan - Just you try it.
Outstretching a single hand, the team felt an immense, psychic surge pulsate throughout the room; Kalcedia lost her grasp on Gardin, causing the Zazane to stumble onto the ground on her front while the young Rovegar was flung through the air and collided with Yatakhan's palm, allowing him to trap her in his indomitable grasp. Kirlisir looked on in terror and stepped forward, yelling as she prepared herself to rush forward, yet she stopped when she saw Yatakhan's grip tighten around the Rovegar infant slightly. Vekaron's eyes widened as he saw Gardin on Yatakhan's grasp, the young girl crying out as she was taken.
- Vekaron - Gardin!!
- Gardin - Daddy!
- Wragrot - You damned coward! You call yourself a Murgur?
- Vekaron - Get your hands off her now!
- Kirlisir - You son of a bitch...
- Yatakhan - Come any closer, and the girl will be reduced to pulp. Do you all understand?
Vekaron's eyes twitched, the Penumbran's body seemed to spazz out of pure anger. Gardin cried out in Yatakhan's grasp, shrieking loudly. Yatakhan smiled and admired Gardin, breathing heavily as he lifted her towards his face. He stretched out his tongue and licked Gardin's cheek, lapping up her tears before he rested his hand, and her, at his side, seemingly unaffected by the noise Gardin was making.
- Wragrot - I'll gonna-
- Vekaron - I'll rip you apart! Limb from limb! Tendon by tendon!
- Yatakhan - Such a sweet thing. I had children once, several sons, but that was a long time ago. You will all do exactly as I, or rather Tismahgo, demands if you want to see the girl alive.
- Wragrot - You have a lot of nerve, you damned bootlick.
- Yatakhan - Watch your tongue, coward. Who was it that allowed Kraknor to fall to Tismahgo's grasps? Whose fault was that?
- Wragrot - His own. He's the coward who needs to cheat to rule. Make your fucking demands already.
Yatakhan snorted, raising Gardin for the group to see, and his tone swiftly changed; he sounded deathly serious, and his eyes narrowed onto Vekaron through his heavy armour. Kirlisir saw herself forced to keep Vekaron in place, holding on his arms to keep him restrained as he glared at Yatakhan with a murderous glare.
- Yatakhan - You will await in your ship until I give you the coordinates for a desired location. Once I give you the coordinates, you will go the destination provided, with Tismahgo's fleet in tow, and you will be directed to an... associate of ours, who is rather eager to meet with you all.
- Kilchárunya - Three guesses who.
- Wragrot - Torrent, probably.
- Yatakhan - If you want to see the girl again, you will do as your are told without question. She will be returned to you once the meeting is completed.
- Wragrot - Grrrh...so be it.
- Yatakhan - Now that I have made myself clear, I will make my departure. Hehe, hey, don't look so down, I'll be sure to take good care of her. Not a scratch will touch her, not even a single hair on her head.
- Wragrot - If you value your life.
Yatakhan chuckled for a moment before he returned to an indifferent, stern expression, and turned to walk away from the team with Gardin in hand, his heavy footsteps leaving indentations in the metallic floor of the ship. Once again he clicked his fingers to signal to his soldiers that it was time to depart, and he said not another word regarding it. Kalcedia watched as Yatakhan left and kept an unsteady hand on her rifle, while Kirlisir wiped her lower lip as it had been cut by Vekaron in his attempt to attack the Murgur. Vansenk watched on in silence, his scythe at his side. Vekaron thrashed as Wragrot held on him until he began slowing down, weeping. Tears came out of his eyes as he began punching the ground in frustration.
- Vekaron - Gardin...
- Kirlisir - Damnit... Fucking, goddamn Murgur!
- Kamaris - Get him to a chair. We need to think of something.
- Wragrot - This is low. Even for Tismahgo.
- Kalcedia - I-I'm... I'm sorry.
- Wragrot - It's not your fault. It looks like that was his objective from the beginning.
- Kilchárunya - So what, we're just gonna wait here so he gives us orders to die or something? Nuh-uh. Not accepting that.
- Wragrot - We have no choice. We'll do what he says, and we're getting the girl back. And we're killing that motherfucker while we're at it.
- Kilchárunya - Why do I have the feeling we're walking right into a trap?
- Kamaris - Because we are.
- Vekaron - Gardin...my dear Gardin...daddy will come for you. Just wait a little longer...
The Patriot's Gauntlet
Being forced to obey Yatakhan's orders, Vekaron's ship travelled to the destination given to him on the following day. The Murgur fleet that had survived the space battle was still around Vekaron's ship, keeping it from retreating. The destination showed itself to be another space station, located on the outskirts of the Corrupted Sector of the Arm of Knowledge. The entire team was on their shuttle, making their way to the station, with Vekaron and Wragrot both looking at the place with scowls on their faces. Kilchárunya pace the shuttle, speaking in Kicathian as she did, quite obviously making less-than-friendly remarks about the surrounding fleet. Kalcedia grunted as she analyzed the station from one of the ship's visual monitors, with Kirlisir standing beside Vekaron with a hand upon his shoulder, her brow lowered and eyes narrowed. Vansenk kept to himself as usual, obscuring his face with his hooded cloak. Kamaris sat in his full suit of armour, statuesque in his stance. Kit was preparing himself for any, and likely, assault.
Upon arriving to the station, the team left their shuttle to find themselves in a large hall with a large door on its end. From the ceiling, a large monitor was visible. it turned itself on, and the image of a Niaka appeared. Notably, the Niaka had multiple cybernetic enhancements, including a robotic eyeball.
- ??? - Aaah, so we finally meet, Penumbran Vekaron.
- Vekaron - Who are you?
- ??? - I am Xegriek, the Patriot of Dark Grip. I am the soldier who wins wars, the warrior who brings bloodshed in the name of the New Wranploer Legion, the right-hand man of the warlord.
- Wragrot - ...Like I'm gonna believe that.
- Kamaris - I'd like to know how many wars you have won.
- Kirlisir - So, this is the "associate" that son of a bitch was talking about.
- Xegriek - The warlord told me you had a kid, so I thought, maybe she'd like to spend some time with us. But what an annoying little shit this girl is. Ugh, my ears are still ringing.
- Kalcedia - It'll be more than your ears ringing when we're finished with you.
- Xegriek - Hah! You're that gal Dolgan was talking about. Nice legs. Anyway, I challenge you Penumbrans to pass through my gauntlet of death! Prove me you're competent soldiers and get your annoying brat back!
- Kit - Are you serious? You're going to put us through some cliché contest? ...why can't we just order an orbital strike on this station?
- Kilchárunya - How uncharacteristic of you.
- Kamaris - ...Yes. 'Uncharacteristic'.
- Kalcedia - In case you don't remember, Murgur war-fleet.
Xegriek's monitor turned off, and from the ground, multiple turrets appeared and began firing at the team's direction. Vekaron, who had no ranged weapons, was forced to take cover behind a nearby wall. Kalcedia's skin partially crystallized as she swung her sniper rifle around, firing at the turrets that sought to rip them apart with hails of bullets. Kirlisir and Vansenk took cover alongside Vekaron, as they too were lacking in the department of ranged weaponry. Kamaris hunched over, taking the brunt of the bullets whilst retreating. Kit sped behind cover, trying to examine the nature of the turrets. They appeared to be standard Murgur defenses, and Kalcedia's shots were enough to destroy them when they were hit. As some of the turrets were taken down, Murgur soldiers entered the room and fired their rifles at the team.
Kalcedia, crystal shards splitting from her skin as her crystalline defenses fragmented under the pressure of bullets, swung her sniper rifle around once more and fired hypermatter rounds at the Murgur, screaming frantically as she did in a feral, beastlike manner that seemed unnatural of her. The team could tell that, if anything, Kalcedia was angry. Severely angry. Wragrot looked at Kalcedia with a raised eyebrow before using his telekinesis to tear the remaining turrets out of the floor and throw them at the soldiers. This allowed Vekaron to leave cover and strike at them with his blade. Kamaris marched through the battalion of the Murgur warriors, his suit of armour deflecting much of the impact. Having crushed one of their chests with a punch, he grabbed their rifle and began firing at the Murgur whilst they surrounded him.
- Kamaris - I am not in the mood for this. You annoying forms of life.
- Wragrot - That's the rudest thing I've ever seen you say.
The team was allowed to move on as all soldiers and turrets were taken down. As soon as they entered the doors, they found themselves on a corridor where several flamethrowers were placed and fired in a pattern. It seemed like this place had been purposely designed as obstacle course. As soon as the team arrived, Xegriek's voice could be heard.
- Xegriek - That's a courtesy of my pal Kravh Helljaw!
- Kit - Okay. Who here doesn't like fire?
- Wragrot - I don't think anyone anywhere likes fire.
- Kirlisir - Step back, I have an idea.
- Vekaron - What is it?
Kirlisir stepped forward and muttered several words to herself, probably curses, before she spread her arms openly; the team watched as a semicircular bubble of psychic energy formed around Kirlisir, whose eyes remained closed.
- Vekaron - Ooh, I see. Nicely done, dea-erm, Kirlisir.
- Kirlisir - It won't last long, so I suggest you all hurry up and get in before we get roasted.
- Wragrot - Let's do this then.
- Kamaris - If you say so.
Now protected by Kirlisir, the team easily passed through Xegriek's fiery trap and progressed deeper into his gauntlet. They arrived to a much larger, open room with little visibility, but as soon as they arrived, they found themselves attacked by small robotic drones with multiple arms, unlike the arms used by the Zoles lieutenant Chahenthras. The robots attempted to grab, leap or punch the team as they attacked. Vansenk spread a smirk and used his scythe to sweep at any drones that approached him, moving like a ghost through the darkness. Kalcedia screeched as she experienced one of the drones pinching at her private assets and began to lash out with punches, kicks, and tail swipes. The drones appeared fragile enough to be destroyed easily by the team. Vekaron slashed at them and cut them in half, while Wragrot downright stomped on them with his foot.
- Wragrot - Urk. Creepy grabby hands.
As one of the drones grabbed both of Kamaris' arms, he lunged forward with a headbutt, crushing the processor within the robot. Gunfire was heard, and a shot was fired, hitting Kamaris' shoulder but not doing any significant damage. Into the darkness of the room, in elevated positions, several Levarcor snipers were prepared to fire while the team was distracted by the drones.
- Kamaris - Hmph.
With the crushed drone still feebly on his body, Kamaris clasped it in his claws, and threw it at a group of the snipers. One of them was hit across the jaw, causing him to fall off its elevated position into the ground.
- Xegriek - Ehehehe. So, how do you like our super-Levarcor? Got them straight from Soltako Armed Military for a rather high price, but I say they're far better than any normal Levarcor.
- Kirlisir - Didn't even notice the difference.
- Xegriek - You'll notice it when they tear you apart, whore alien.
- Kirlisir - Fuck you, midget!
- Wragrot - Can anyone here make a light?
- Kit - Mmhm.
A light upon Kit's armour flashed on, giving light to most of the room. The snipers were illuminated, allowing Wragrot to concentrate on them. Using his psychic powers, he launched them out of their positions and sent them crashing into the ground, killing most of them instantly from the impact. Vekaron slashed and destroyed the last remaining drones, and the team could notice the doorway leading further into the station at the end of the room. As they progressed, more Murgur and Levarcor stood on their way, but the team dispatched them more easily than Xegriek had predicted. His voice grew frustrated the more they progressed through his traps.
- Xegriek - Perhaps I've underestimated you. That's an horrible mistake for a soldier to do.
- Kilchárunya - Well done.
- Kalcedia - I guess we just overestimated you.
- Xegriek - Not my fault though. I wasn't even the one who designed this place. It was the green Murgur. Why? Hell if I know, but I gave it good use.
As the team arrived to the deepest part of the gauntlet, they found themselves in a large room where Gardin was visible, locked in a small portable jail. She appeared unharmed. Next to her was the aforementioned green Murgur Yatakhan, though Xegriek himself was nowhere to be seen. Yatakhan looked at the team with a rather wide grin and he had his arms crossed, leaning against the jail while his eyes met those of Vekaron and his affiliates. He let out a short chuckle before clapping.
- Kamaris - Something is a little off about this. No. Very off.
- Yatakhan - Congratulations, you made it. I didn't expect anything less from the great Penumbran Vekaron and his accomplices, especially you, Wragrot.
- Wragrot - Shut your whore mouth.
- Vekaron - Give me my daughter back. Now.
- Yatakhan - Certainly. Just so you know, we didn't lay a finger on her after we brought her back. She's completely unharmed.
- Wragrot - ...Eh? You're really giving her back?
- Yatakhan - Why wouldn't I? I'm a man of my word, I know what it's like to care for children, especially your own. It would be... undignified not to.
Vekaron and Wragrot looked at Yatakhan with skeptism, keeping their weapons ready in case he tried anything. Yatakhan took ahold of the portable jail and opened the cage's door before reaching in a hand and grasping ahold of Gardin, albeit far more gently than before, and bringing her out. He walked towards Vekaron, holding Gardin with care, and when he was close enough he stretched out his arms with Gardin in his hands, gesturing for him to take her. Kamaris' eyes narrowed, almost as if he was expecting something to happen. Vekaron took Gardin and quickly paced back, getting away from Yatakhan. The Rovegar girl embraced her father while crying.
- Gardin - Daddy! I was so scared!
- Vekaron - Ssh, ssh. It's okay. Daddy's here.
- Xegriek - What in the name of the warlord...Oi! Greenie! What the hell do you think you're doing?!
- Yatakhan - Keeping my word, Niaka.
- Xegriek - You're ruining my trap! Screw it! I'm crushing all of you to dust, you included, you damned Murgur!
A loud metallic sound was heard above the team. Turning up, they could all see Xegriek's gigantic battlesuit descending at their direction. He was hiding at the ceiling all along.
- Yatakhan - As touching as this scene is, Penumbran, I suggest you run for it.
- Vekaron - ...Team. Back to the shuttle, now!
- Wragrot - I'm gonna strangle you next time we meet, you hear me?
- Yatakhan - Of course you are, Wragrot. Now, go, before worm-face up there gets the better of you.
Vekaron and Wragrot turned back and ran while Xegriek's battlesuit landed, causing the whole room to rumble loudly. His chainsaw limbs was thrown at the team's direction as well as Yatakhan's, while guns appeared on the suit's arms and were fired at them. Kamaris, Kilchárunya and Kit had fled the scene, sprinting quickly from the giant mech. Kalcedia, Kirlisir, and Vansenk rushed after Vekaron swiftly, their eyes focused on both the impressively-threatening battlesuit and Yatachan, avoiding the chainsaw blades and gunfire as they followed the Penumbran's lead.
- Yatakhan - You should have taken your chance when you had it, Niaka. This is what happens when you savour something for too long.
- Xegriek - Shut up, useless! Can't even kill a bunch of people right! This is all your damn fault!
Xegriek eventually gave up on attacking Yatakhan and went after Vekaron's team. His chainsaws were launched at the ground where they ran, creating large dents on the mettalic floor. The battlesuit hovered slightly above the floor as it ran, appearing almost as if it was "sliding", and the chainsaws turned pitch-black on each attack. Xegriek's body was not the one protected by nanomachines. His mechasuit was.
- Kalcedia - Holy shit!
- Wragrot - I hate all of you Dark Grip assholes!
Wragrot turned and launched psychic pulses at Xegriek to slow him down, beckoning Kirlisir to do the same. Kirlisir joined Wragrot in attempting to stall the colossal battlesuit and swiftly spun herself around, launching psychic bullets at Xegriek while Kalcedia and Vansenk rushed past her. The psychic attacks caused Xegriek to stagger and slow down, allowing the team to progress and get back on their shuttle. Once everyone was inside, Vekaron shut the doors and ordered it to fly, and they could all hear gunfire hitting the shuttle as Xegriek fired at it. They finally took flight and escaped as Xegriek was about to launch one of his chainsaws at it, missing by a meter.
Now safe inside the shuttle, Gardin left Vekaron's grasp and hugged herself against Kirlisir, weeping. Kirlisir held onto Gardin with a warm embrace and hugged her tightly, almost brought to tears as she felt the young Rovegar in her bosom once more. Kalcedia smiled as she saw that Gardin, the young Rovegar, was now safe, and set down her rifle in order to take a seat.
- Kit - Annoying. Once we get back I should get the Remnant to blow that place to pieces.
- Vekaron - I can just request the Alliance to do that... Wait. I just realized. The Murgur fleet is gone.
- Kit - I'd rather have the burden lie with the Remnant than the alliance. As much as I hate those walking, psychotic killing drones, I would gladly watch them rip Torrent's men and anyone who claims to be their allies to shreds.
- Vekaron - Fair enough.
- Gardin - Daddy, teacher, everyone...I heard the bug man speak of this "Torrent" when he trapped me in that cage.
Looking outside the shuttle, it seemed like the Murgur fleet truly had disappeared. Almost as if someone had ordered them to leave. Vansenk hissed as he saw the fleet had disappeared, before he closed his eyes and placed his hood back over his face to obscure it. Kalcedia let out a sigh of relief, tapping her foot against the floor while Kirlisir listened closely to Gardin's words.
- Gardin - "Torrent is contacting me, but I can't answer yet. Not until everything is prepared. Not until I have Tismahgo on my grasp. I need to make everything perfect for the warlord! These Murgur will belong to us!"
- Kamaris - That means we have a clause.
- Vekaron - So Torrent really wants to backstab Tismahgo.
- Vansenk - Not at all unexpected.
- Kit - Hm. What would Tismahgo think of that?
- Wragrot - He'd probably turn against Torrent, but we better talk to Groanknir before we do anything else.
- Gardin - I also heard the ugly green man talk about Uncle Wragrot. He said it was "a test". I don't know what though.
- Kirlisir - A... test?
- Vansenk - What test?
- Wragrot - I want to test my gun against his eyeballs.
- Kamaris - I have a suggestion. But I believe the dice had better be cast in nature's favour rather than my own.
- Vekaron - What's that?
- Kamaris - Hm. Perhaps some other time.
Muganda's Darkest Hour
Vekaron's ship left the spacedocks of Hyperborea. The ship had been taken there to repair the damage caused by the Kraknor attack from days earlier. The crew took the opportunity to resupply, and now they awaited news from Groanknir as of what to do next. Kraknor knew of Wragrot's existence, something that Groanknir was trying to prevent from the start. Vekaron sat on his chair, awaiting for a report from the Muganda leader while Wragrot had his arms crossed and his arms closed, though he was fully awake.
- Kilchárunya - Still think we should go to Kaos and kick his ass.
- Wragrot - We'd get killed if we rushed in.
Kalcedia sat beside Wragrot with a smile, admiring his musculature for several minutes beyond everyone's notice, while she held Gardin in her arms, pressed against her chest. Kirlisir was leaning against Vekaron's seat casually, filing her nails with one of her blades, while Vansenk was sitting with Kilcharunya, half-asleep. Gardin let out a yawn and made herself comfortable, falling asleep on Kalcedia's arms.
- Kilchárunya - I dunno. Send Agents in, then.
- Kit - Yes. Because every problem can be solved with Agents.
- Vekaron - I would but I don't want the entire population of the planet destroyed.
- Kilchárunya - Hey, they're not that bad...okay they can be.
- Kit - Judging the statistics that every Agent is said to have killed at least two thousand people each...
- Kilchárunya - Where did you hear that?
- Kit - Rumours.
At this moment, a warning appeared on Vekaron's screen. He turned on his communications and was greeted with an image of Muganda Groanknir. However, something was clearly different. His usually stoic face showed distress and gunfire was clearly heard from where he was calling.
- Groanknir - Penumbrans. This is an emergency. I have been located by Kraknor and I require assistance.
- Kamaris - Well. Looks like this is all beginning to end.
- Kirlisir - We'd better paint ourselves red and get there as fast as possible then.
- Vekaron - Where are you now?
- Groanknir - My capital, the planet called Allycal. I am sending you the coordinates right now. Either Tismahgo or one of his lieutenants is here. I am afraid I will not survive unless you intervene.
- Wragrot - Don't worry, we'll be right there.
- Kalcedia - Damn Murgur, can't get a moment of peace without something involving them going apeshit.
Before Groanknir could say anything else, an explosion was heard from his side of the transmission and the screen went static. It only persisted for enough time for Vekaron to receive the Muganda leader's coordinates. As it happened , he turned to his team.
- Vekaron - Everyone prepare yourselves. We're departing immediately.
- Wragrot - I hope Yatakhan is there, so I can rip his throat off through his mouth.
- Kamaris - I have a feeling it is too late to save him.
- Vekaron - We depart regardless.
Vansenk awoke and he looked towards Vekaron almost lazily, his eyes rolling around inside his skull, causing Kalcedia to express some disgust.
- Vansenk - What's this about... monkeys? Or Murgurs, or... Same thing, right?
- Wragrot - Racist.
- Kilchárunya - ...What's a 'monkey'?
Travelling to the coordinates given by Groanknir, Vekaron's ship departed and arrived to a planet located far outside of Murgur territory. Allycal was a desert world much like the Murgur homeworld of Kaos, and the fleets of the Muganda Warband clashed against Kraknor's. Vekaron and his team took their shuttle down to the planet, landing at the vicinity of the capital city of the planet, where they were immediately greeted by Kraknor soldiers firing at them. Leaping out of the shuttle, Vekaron charged at the enemy Murgur and slashed at their limbs and throats, while Wragrot fired his shotgun at launched other Murgur away through telekinesis. Kalcedia leaped out from the shuttle and fired her sniper rifle through enemy defenses, with Kirlisir rushing through the horde of Murgur soldiers and dividing them from their legs and waists. Vansenk slithered amongst the chaos, slitting the necks of any Murgur he came across that hadn't noticed his presence. Muganda soldiers arrived and flanked the enemies, giving the team more room to progress. One of them walked over to Vekaron, looking at him in the eyes.
- Soldier - You must be Penumbran Vekaron.
- Vekaron - Yes. Where is Groanknir?
- Soldier - The boss is at the great hall. Go west from here, big spiral building. Can't miss it.
Vekaron and his team moved to the directions given to them, Muganda soldiers going with them and keeping an eye for anymore enemies. The building mentioned by the soldier could be seen in a distance with ease due to its tall size. The capital itself was ruined and most of its buildings in flames, and Wragrot looked around with a frown on his face.
- Wragrot - Typical Kraknor tactics.
- Kalcedia - Hmph. Kraknor are pretty wasteful.
- Wragrot - Kraknor's all about big collateral damage. It's how they've always operated. Cause as much damage as possible as fast as you can, then pick off any stragglers.
- Kirlisir - Is that how you operated, Wragrot?
- Wragrot - ...Yes.
- Kilchárunya - I like that logic.
- Kalcedia - Of course you would, it's similar to Agent philosophy. I've seen them in action. Not pretty.
More Kraknor troopers from all four kinds of races who lived on the warbands attacked the team as they progressed, but they made short work of them alongside the various soldiers who gave them aid. Once they finally arrived to the spiral building, they could Groanknir and several more Muganda soldiers, firing their weapons at an unseen enemy. Groanknir himself appeared mildly wounded and carried a pair of what could be compared to tommy guns, one on each hand, firing them at whoever was attacking him. The gunfire caused dust and debris to fill the air, clouding the vision of the Muganda soldiers. Vansenk sniffed the air and grasped his scythe tightly, glaring at the chaos ahead; when the dust settled, appearing from the hail of bullets unscathed, was the green Murgur Yatakhan, with half a Murgur in each hand.
- Wragrot - There's the damn bastard!
- Kamaris - Let's finish him.
Yatakhan wore a bloodthirsty grin as he swung his powerful arms and launched each half of the corpse at his opponents, causing several soldiers to be thrown back before he engaged in a blindingly fast rush, downing and crushing Murgur with unrelenting force stored behind his punches and swings.
- Yatakhan - Glad to see you could join us! This party was beginning to become dull!
- Vekaron - Cut his head off!
- Kit - I think we should do more than that.
Vekaron charged at Yatakhan's direction while Wragrot fired his shotgun. Groanknir took the opportunity get behind cover. Kalcedia aimed her rifle and fired at the green Murgur with a determined smirk written across her face. Her bullet screamed through the air, but before it could penetrate Yatakhan's heavily-structured armour, he swung his arm and allowed his psychic power to redirect the bullet, launching it towards Vekaron with terrifying speed. Wragrot saw the bullet changing its course and used his own psychic powers to launch it back at Yatakhan's direction, while Groanknir popped out of cover and fired his guns at the enemy Battlemaster again. Yatakhan roared as the bullet struck his shoulder armour, but his grin remained as he charged Vekaron, laughing as sand and debris began to circle him as if they connected with his aura, and he used the opportunity to launch chunks of ruin at the team while throwing sand and dust towards Vekaron's eyes.
The Penumbran's eyes were hit and Vekaron was blinded, staggering in place and allowing himself to be hit by Yatakhan. Wragrot growled and launched waves of psychic power at the green Murgur. Kirlisir ran beside Vekaron prior and attempted to flank Yatakhan, who sent the Penumbran flying backwards with a swing of his powerful arm. However, Yatakhan's focused turned to the Rovegar as he used his armoured left wrist to block her slashes, leaving him open to attack - he was struck by Wragrot's psychic blasts, causing him to be thrown back somewhat.
- Groanknir - Vekaron! Are you okay?
- Vekaron - Agh...I can't see.
- Groanknir - When you told me of a green Murgur, I sincerely thought you were drunk.
Kit sped forward towards Yatakhan, now open for his assault, swung forward with his leg and drove it across his skull with a roundhouse. Yatakhan felt the force of Kit's leg slamming into his face, and his armoured helmet began to crack under the pressure, although the green Murgur's eyes gleamed and he grabbed ahold of Kit's arm, throwing the Kicath away from him and towards the ruined remains of a building some tens of meters away. While Yatakhan was distracted with Kit, Wragrot charged at him from behind, aiming to hit the enemy's back with his massive arm. His eyes burned in psychic power and a faint aura could be seen around him. Yatakhan smiled as he felt Wragrot's power, though before he could turn, his cheek, which had been struck by Kit just before, was assaulted by psychic blasts from Kirlisir, causing him to groan and lose his focus. Kalcedia aimed steadily, watching as Wragrot charged the green Murgur and prepared an emergency round.
- Yatakhan - Tell you what; I'll kill you first!
- Wragrot - You call yourself a Battlemaster!
Charging his whole arm with psychic power, Wragrot sent a punch at the direction of Yatakhan's head. Yatakhan looked towards Wragrot and was thrown back as his opponent's fist collided with his head, although he kept his clawed feet firm and he refused to lose his balance, instead slowing his momentum until he came to a halt. With an aura manifesting around his entire form, the ground around Yatakhan shook, causing tremors throughout the battlefield.
- Kilchárunya - Alright. Rollin' on out with this one.
- Wragrot - Grrh. You're tough to a bootlick mutant. But I've killed bigger than you.
- Groanknir - Such a waste of Murgur power.
- Yatakhan - I will show you... why I am called a Battlemaster!
The ground continued to shake more, and Yatakhan began to sweat and bleed. His grin vanished, replace with a look of strain and struggle, and psychic electricity was launched from his body wildly, as if uncontrolled. While the team did not notice it at first, there was soon cries and pleas of shock and horror coming from Muganda soldiers - behind Yatakhan, the great hall was loosened from the floor, and slowly began to the air, with Yatakhan roaring and groaning as it happened. Vekaron cleared the sand from his eyes as he noticed the building rising, and his skin went pale. Wragrot's eyes widened and he began backing away back to the team while Groanknir looked at the scene in visible distress.
- Wragrot - Well, fuck me.
Slowly, the building began to reposition itself several hundred feet in the air, and its spiral tip was aimed directly at the team - more specifically, at Wragrot. Behind the strain and difficulty of maintaining the building's ascension, Yatakhan managed to grin once again, even as blood, sweat, and tears dripped from his face. Slowly, the building began to reposition itself several hundred feet in the air, and its spiral tip was aimed directly at the team - more specifically, at Wragrot. Behind the strain and difficulty of maintaining the building's ascension, Yatakhan managed to grin once again, even as blood, sweat, and tears dripped from his face.
Kalcedia's eyes widened as she saw it happen, and Kirlisir was left paralyzed in awe at the spectacle. Vansenk, who had remained far from the conflict as there was little he was specialized for in this situation, hissed erratically. Wragrot glared at the green enemy with a scowl. He pressed his feet on the ruined sand of the battlefield and began channeling his own energy, a psychic aura and electricity emerging from his own being. He turned his team to the team, including Groanknir.
- Wragrot - Get behind me!
- Kilchárunya - Where the hell is Kithworto when you need him!?
- Kit - Oh ye of little faith.
Vekaron and Groanknir looked at Wragrot with raised eyebrows before moving themselves to behind him. Kirlisir did as she was told and swiftly leaped behind Wragrot, while Kalcedia got into cover. Soon, the building began to turn and turn, spiralling round and round as if were a colossal drill, and was launched at the Murgur once it had amassed enough speed. Yatakhan laughed constantly, his fists clenching the earth and dirt beneath him.
- Yatakhan - Let's see you take down this, Wragrot!
- Wragrot - I'll show you why I was Warmaster, you damned kid!
Wragrot threw his hands upwards, and a massive psychic barrier rose from the ground in front of the team, which was hit by the spiral building. As it was hit, sweat and blood came out of Wragrot's own body as he did what he could to keep the barrier up, protecting the team. Kirlisir grasped onto Vekaron as she watched the building drill against Wragrot's psychic barrier, with the building beginning to crack as it both gained speed and pushed harder against the kinetic shield. Yatakhan yelled and roared loudly, more lighting erupting from his armour and body as he tried his hardest to penetrate Wragrot's defense.
- Groanknir - It's no wonder Tismahgo wanted you all dead...you Battlemasters are weapons of mass destruction!
- Wragrot - You can thank me later!
- Kamaris - Times like this, I should have listened to the grandmaster. But no.
Wragrot's own barrier also began cracking, but the Murgur nonetheless endured the impact of the drill against it, going a step up and pressing his weight against the floor so that he would not fall off his feet. With a last push, Yatakhan roared out Wragrot's very name as the building-turned-drill made a final attempt to break through Wragrot's barrier. However, after several more minutes of persistent drilling, the building shattered into dust and debris, destroying itself as it could not penetrate Wragrot's mighty shield, and Yatakhan fell to the floor, panting and groaning with difficulty. Wragrot smirked as Yatakhan fell, and with a forward move, he threw his barrier at the enemy Battlemaster's direction.
Yatakhan watched and his strained expression once more became a rather smug, devious grin, yet he made no attempt to stop the attack as he was physically incapable of doing so. He was vulnerable to the push, and thus was sent flying backwards through the remains of the city, eventually landing on his back a far, far distance away from the team.
- Wragrot - Heh...fuck you, asshole...
With these words, Wragrot fell to his knees and then fell with his face on the floor, unconscious.
- Kirlisir - Wragrot!
- Vekaron - Take him and Groanknir back to the shuttle, quickly!
A pair of Edulia soldiers appeared from outside the team's view and ran over to Yatakhan, each grabbing the Murgur by an arm. The soldiers then dragged their leader away before the team could inflict anymore harm on him. As he was dragged away, Yatakhan looked towards the team, his face covered in his own blood and sweat, and smirked. With his eyes set on the team, he winked, before both of his eyes closed and he fell into unconsciousness, his limp body soon vanishing from sight as he was carried away by Edulia infantry. Kalcedia rushed from where she had taken cover and approached Wragrot, placing his arm over her shoulders and lifting him up, and gesturing for somebody else to do the same for his other side.
- Kalcedia - Come on, we haven't got all day!
Kamaris took most of the weight from Wragrot's body, almost lifting up Kalcedia also as he walked along. Hours later, back on Vekaron's ship, the Penumbran and his team were on their meeting room while Wragrot rested at the medi-bay. Despite their victory over Yatakhan, Kraknor still took over the Muganda capital. Groanknir was with the team, his arms crossed and a frown on his face. It was obvious that his previous plans of taking down Tismahgo had failed.
- Vekaron - How's Wragrot, Vyatak?
- Vyatak - Great bodily stress. Surprised his brain didn't fry. Will be well again in few hours though.
- Kirlisir - Whatever he did back there was impressive... But that green Murgur was terrifying. Are all Battlemasters like that, I wonder?
- Groanknir - Yes. Battlemasters have this name for a reason.
- Kamaris - I don't think Battlemasters are meant to put themselves through such stress. I have only witnessed power like that through someone who was descended.
- Vyatak - Indeed, they aren't. Wragrot's muscles very damaged. Almost completely broken from overcharging power.
- Kirlisir - ...Descended?
- Kamaris - Yes. Descension. You have not heard of it?
- Kirlisir - The concept is rather... alien to me. Wouldn't be surprised if it's something those Kondrakar bastards do, though.
- Kamaris - Indeed. I have had my fair share in fighting descended enemies. The concept is not foreign. And it is not a nice concept. Your body and mind is warped. Destroyed. But your power to control things beyond the physical plane becomes...unnatural.
- Groanknir - A sneaking attempt to weaken Tismahgo is futile. It is time to change our strategy. I did not want to do this, but I am afraid it is the only way now.
- Vansenk - What strategy would this be, Murgur?
Groanknir let out a heavy sigh.
- Groanknir - I will take what remains of Muganda's military might and hurl it at Kaos. In the midst of the chaos, you and your ship will sneak into the planet, and once you are there, you will seek and eliminate Tismahgo.
- Vekaron - But...won't your men all die?
- Groanknir - Sacrifices must be made to achieve what we wish for.
- Kamaris - And there is no other way than that?
- Vekaron - I could get help from the Alliance.
- Groanknir - No. If alien ships arrive to Kaos, Tismahgo will surely evacuate. If all he sees are Muganda ships, he will believe it is merely my men wishing to avenge the capital. We cannot let him get away.
- Kamaris - Hm. Unfortunate that this has to happen.
- Kilchárunya - Shit happens.
- Kalcedia - A noble sacrifice, Groanknir. Are there any last requests that you desire to make in the coming days before our last assault?
- Kit - Don't even think about it.
- Groanknir - Prepare yourselves and give it all you got. Expect that green Murgur to be there. And expect the Niaka named Xegriek to also be there. One of the last rumours I heard from Kaos was that a member of Dark Grip was going to station himself into the planet.
- Kilchárunya - Huh. Nice. I was wanting a challenge.
- Kit - Please tell me you are joking.'
- Kilchárunya - Of course. I think I've been going to die for the past seven years.
- Kirlisir - So did I.
- Vekaron - Yeah, my missions are dangerous, I get it.
- Groanknir - Now if you excuse me, I am going to the medi-bay and watch over Wragrot.
Groanknir turned away from the team and left the room. Kirlisir sat beside Wragrot and held onto his arm, looking at him in worry. Kalcedia held onto a sleeping Gardin, patting her head and brushing her hair softly, singing a quiet lullaby to hush her to sleep while the last of the Muganda soldiers composed themselves. Vansenk, his face indifferent, crept back into the shadows, disappearing from sight.
The Key to Your Mind
It was nearly three days since Wragrot had battled Yatakhan, and it took him a while to recover. He was walking around the ship, but perhaps not fully recovered - Kamaris had noticed that in him, despite Wragrot's ability to shrug off any weakness. As Wragrot was sitting alone one day, Kamaris walked into the same room as him, placing his curious helmet on the shelf. The Murgur picked on his teeth with one of his claws as he looked at Kamaris approaching, raising as eyebrow at him.
- Wragrot - Eh? Oh. Hey, Kamaris.
- Kamaris - Hello. I see you are walking around better.
- Wragrot - Somewhat. My legs still hurt a bit. But I should be back to normal very soon.
- Kamaris - And your head?
- Wragrot - Other than a few headaches, it's good. I never used so much power in my life.
- Kamaris - I do possess a few psychic powers myself, you know. I can tell you're not as recovering as quickly as you think you are. At least, not 'in there'.
- Wragrot - What do you mean with that? My mind?
- Kamaris - Yes. I can tell. There's this certain kind of mentality within you that's holding something back. Almost as if you haven't used that power in a long time.
- Wragrot - Last time I used so much power was...never, really.
- Kamaris - Exactly. Your body is there. Your mind isn't. What I had learned in my youth during training for my ranks, I had to learn that the mind is far more powerful than the body.
- Wragrot - What do you suggest I do then?
- Kamaris - Well. I was always told the mind was a door. You have to unlock it. Or, possess the key to unlock it at any time.
- Wragrot - I don't think I have any keys for that.
- Kamaris - Luckily, that is why I am here. Considering your kind and my kind have similar...tendencies...I should be able to, how would one put it, 'train' that mind of yours into unlocking itself.
- Wragrot - Well. Let's not waste time then.
- Kamaris - Good. We should probably do this in the medi-bay. Vyatak won't mind. Well...he might, but I doubt he would question us both.
- Wragrot - If you say so.
Kamaris stood up, taking his helmet with him. He walked across the ship with Wragrot, humming atonally as he did. Wragrot followed Kamaris as he walked, walking somewhat slower than usual due to his injuries but not enough to be left behind.
- Kamaris - Changing subject slightly, I was always surprised that no one asked me why I have two sets of armour on this ship. Perhaps it was just me wanting attention.
- Wragrot - I imagine everyone has at least one spare armor.
As they walked through, they passed a stand which held Kamaris' older set of armour, which was more modern in appearance, but was burnt at the neck where the acid had blinded him.
- Kamaris - Well. I wouldn't call this 'spare armour'. It wouldn't do my order much justice.
- Wragrot - Why don't you get your eyes healed again?
- Kamaris - You could ask yourself that question. Or Kirlisir. With some control over the mind, you do not need eyes. You have seen me read, eat, move, fight. I do not need my eyes healed.
- Wragrot - Well excuse me then. It just looks inconvenient to me.
- Kamaris - Suit yourself.
Reaching the med bay, Kamaris tapped on the table, beckoning Wragrot to lie down on it. The Murgur raised an eyebrow but said nothing, and simply laid on the table. Kamaris washed his hands in a nearby medical sink, placing his helmet next to it again. Nearby was a blindfold, which he handed to Wragrot.
- Wragrot - Am I supposed to wear this?
- Kamaris - Yes.
Wragrot took the blindfold and covered his eyes with it.
- Kamaris - You're asking why? Trust me. You need your mind to be in order before I start. I would begin breathing in and out deeply.
Wragrot remained in silence before he began inhaling and exhaling deeply. Although he was devoid of sight now, Wragrot could feel the presence of Kamaris' large hands surround each side of his head. Wragrot continued breathing, making no reaction to the Mahanayan's approach.
- Kamaris - I should probably mention. Considering I am from another universe, this may damage your mind. Kill you perhaps.
- Wragrot - Should've warned that earlier, you know.
- Kamaris - I joke. But it will hurt.
- Wragrot - Eh. Go for it.
As Kamaris' palms tensed, Wragrot felt himself becoming slowly deaf, a full feeling in his ears. It did not hurt at first, but it slowly began to sting. Wragrot barred his teeth and let out an annoyed growl, but remained on the table.
- Kamaris - Relax.
- Wragrot - Can't hear a word you're saying.
- Kamaris - Of course.
The feeling began to die down for a second, though it returned with a second blast - initially, the pain was excruciating, but then Wragrot felt as if he was leaving his body as he began to feel weightless. Calm, almost. Wragrot let out a loud grunt as the pain hit him, until he began to relax where he stood.
- Kamaris - Well. I am glad you are physically strong enough. I have seen those like myself use the same tactic to blast people to pieces.
- Wragrot - Good thing I'm the strongest Murgur then.
- Kamari - That, and I never really trained these powers to any real effect. Seems I picked the right person to do it to.
- Wragrot - Well I trust you to not blow me up.
- Kamaris - My abilities don't extend that far.
- Wragrot - Better safe than sorry.
The feeling began to intensify within Wragrot's mind; he became rigid with Kamaris' intervention in his mind. Wragrot let out uncomfortable grunts as he found himself unable to move.
- Kamaris - Okay. This part will hurt. Freeing up your subconscious is proving more difficult than I originally thought.
- Wragrot - Ngh.
If it weren't for Kamaris' level of control, Wragrot would have shot off the table with the amount of convulsion that he was about to experience. Kamaris was entering the deepest levels of Wragrot's mind, some place that Kamaris was somewhat expecting to have been a mind with a stone-faced past to it. Wragrot gasped and began shaking in the table the deeper Kamaris ventured into his mind. It was not long before it was all finished, however. Kamaris' hands slowly moved away from Wragrot's head, and Wragrot himself felt more 'liberated', within perhaps, than he did before. Calmer, more in control of his inner self than he did before. Wragrot let out a deep breath and slowly raised from the table. He felt himself empowered, as if there were less strains on his mind. Kamaris flexed his fingers - the connection took a strain on his hands. He breathed in and out, his eyes, blackened by the acid burns, glowed a dull blue as he did.
- Wragrot - Well. I feel better than before.
- Kamaris - You should put this to practice. The next time you encounter Yatakhan or Tismahgo, perhaps. I wouldn't mind seeing you crush them with a building of your own.
- Wragrot - Heheh. I know I'm gonna try.
- Kamaris - I would do this to Kirlisir, but I expect her head would explode.
- Wragrot - Yeah, don't do that. You might make Vekaron sad.
- Kamaris - True. What amazes me is that we have six on this ship who can use essence and yet only four of us can use it.
- Wragrot - Not everyone has the gift. Back when Battlemasters were "common", there were like, an average of one per a thousand Murgur colonies.
- Kamaris - Is that so? Hm. I will have to ask Kit about it.
Kamaris nodded, his personality too stoic to deliver a smile to Wragrot. He took his helmet from the counter, and walked out, humming. Meanwhile, Wragrot walked the opposite way, at the dining hall's direction to get something to eat.
Bloodshed in Kraknor's Name
The Return of Our Leader
Vekaron's spaceship hid in the midst of a large Murgur fleet. The ships of the Muganda Warband travelled to the Murgur homeworld of Kaos, while Vekaron's team and Groanknir prepared themselves to make their way to the surface. Kraknor vessels quickly took notice of the invaders' arrival, and it would only be a matter of moments before the battle began. Vekaron prepared his blade while Wragrot reloaded his shotgun, eager to get to Kaos. Kirlisir stood beside Vekaron with her powered-armour prepared and ready for combat, while Kalcedia had her rifle at her side, grasped closely to her. Vansenk, after a short fit of coughing, materialized his scythe and swung it in vertical, circular motions constantly, growing impatient of waiting. Kilchárunya and Kit prepared their weapons, whilst Kamaris stood patiently, almost motionlessly.
- Groanknir - I hope you are all ready. There is no turning back now.
- Wragrot - Let's get this done and over with. Time to remind Tismahgo who he's dealing with.
- Kirlisir - Wragrot, do you think you can beat him?
- Kalcedia - It's likely that the green Murgur is gonna be on the ground, so we should prepare ourselves for that.
- Wragrot - Do I? Yes. We can. And we will.
The fleets clashed. Lasers, missiles and pulses were fired from all sides, the Muganda ships doing what they could to allow Vekaron and his team to progress. The Wranploer-enhanced ships of the Kraknor Warband allowed them to easily push the intruders back and destroy them with relative ease, Groanknir looking at the battle before shutting his eyes and turning away. The shuttle got to a safe position and was sent to the surface's direction, alongside other shuttles of whichever Muganda ships were luck enough to survive getting close. The shuttle would land at the outskirts of the capital of Kaos, the city of Rexran, which was dominated by an immense palace and a huge arena once used by old Murgur emperors long before the race was spacefaring.
- Kamaris - Maĥas vāthamānaam. [Let's do this.]
- Vansenk - We have little time to waste. Make haste.
- Vekaron - Tismahgo is likely at that large building.
- Wragrot - The Rexran Palace...I never had the chance of visiting it myself. Let's go.
As the team left the shuttle, the population of the planet looked at them in surprise and backed away. They were Warband-less Murgur, noticeable from their lack of coloured tattoos. However, Kraknor soldiers stationed on the planet quickly noticed the team's arrival and fired their weapons at them. Kamaris unleashed bolt after bolt from his weapon, firing it at the Murgur soldiers. Kirlisir rushed forward and challenged the Kraknor opposition up-close, countering their weapons with her own before dismembering her enemies, filling the air with "red mist" as she danced around her foes. Kalcedia ran and slammed herself into an Edulia, knocking it back, before disposing of it with her sniper rifle. Vansenk, rather than staying at the back to fulfill support, slithered forward and took out the legs of enemy soldiers beneath them with his scythe before ending their lives in swift, fell swoops. Wragrot let out a loud roar, amplified by his psychic energy with enough strength to launched enemy soldiers flying.
The population began looking at him with intrigue and widened eyes. Soon, they could be heard discussing among themselves. "Is that Wragrot?", "Isn't he dead?", "I must be dreaming, Warmaster Wragrot is here!", among other things. Groanknir watched as the population watched the battle and ran over to the top of a platform, where he could be seen by everyone on the team's surroundings.
- Groanknir - People of Kaos! No, you are not dreaming! Warmaster Wragrot has returned! And more than ever, he requires your aid! Warmaster Tismahgo conquered Kraknor through cheating and doublecrossing, and now he makes deals with the New Wranploer Legion! The warlord of the Wranploer hopes to take over our race, and Tismahgo hopes to send us all to our deaths facing the Polar Crystal Alliance! Do not stand idle for this! Act and fight!
- Kilchárunya - I feel roused.
- Kirlisir - Viva la revolution! Whoo!
- Wragrot - I'm back, and I'm pissed off! Who wants to kill Kraknor?!
The Murgur over the city cried out and took up arms, and soon the whole region was caught in a massive battle between Kraknor soldiers and the population of Kaos. Previously having no motivation to fight the invaders, now they finally found someone to lead them. Kalcedia looked to Wragrot with a nod and smiled, before she proceeded to pick off any heavy units that Kraknor attempted to throw at them, her aim remaining proficient amidst the chaos. Even Vekaron felt more motivated by Groanknir's words, and he leaped into a Varkorus enemy to decapitate him with his blade. Wragrot eagerly blasted enemy after enemy with his shotgun while Groanknir fired at them with his guns, raining bullets down at them. Vansenk tore enemies apart as he easily camouflaged himself amongst the fighting, maneuvering himself through the crowds and dealing damage to vulnerable areas in the anatomy of his opposition. Kirlisir did the same, except she remained far more visible, attracting enemies from all sides before she cut them down and left them for dead.
As the chaos ensued and bodies littered the streets of the capital, loud buzzing sounds heard. Huge blackened chainsaws cut their way through multiple buildings, and a massive mechasuit was seen sliding slightly above the sand of the soil. Xegriek had arrived, and with a swing from one of his chainsaws, he slashed and struck Groanknir, severing the Muganda leader's left arm in one blow. Groanknir roared in pain and fell off the platform where he stood, and Vekaron and Wragrot both turned to the Niaka suit with scowls.
- Xegriek - You...you're ruining everything! I was supposed to prove myself for the warlord! You were all supposed to have died at the Muganda capital!
Kirlisir and Vansenk took a step back as they watched Xegriek make his appearance, and they both frowned simultaneously, having remembered previously about the nanomachines that infested the materials of the mechsuit. Kalcedia aimed her sniper rifle towards Xegriek from afar and fired a hypermatter round, hoping to pierce his armour. Kalcedia's shot hit the shields of the suit while it shielded itself with Dark Grip's nanomachines. The six chainsaw limbs of the suit moved themselves upwards and fit themselves with each other, eventually becoming a single, much larger chainsaw on a handle. Xegriek grabbed it and held it in front of them, holding it as if it was a greataxe.
- Xegriek - No matter! The warlord will reward me greatly when I show him Vekaron's severed head on a plate!
- Wragrot - You guys ready to take down a bug?
- Kirlisir - Well, for starters, we're gonna need more bug spray.
- Kamaris - Perhaps we can swat him.
Xegriek charged at the team's direction and swung his chain-axe at their direction. The sheer weight of the weapon forced it to use what looked like rocket thrusters to be swung forward. Vekaron's eyes widened and he threw himself out of the way, while Wragrot ran away from the attack as he could. After having evaded the attack made by Xegriek with a swift backflip, Kirlisir began to unleash blasts of psychic power at the nanomachine-enhanced colossus, although she was clearly reluctant to step closer to it as her eyes remained focused on the chainsaw. The blasts caused the suit to back away, staggering in place and its shielding briefly failing.
- Xegriek - My damn head!
Kalcedia took another shot at Xegriek's mechsuit with several anti-armour hypermatter rounds, her eyes maintained on the titan. Vansenk rushed forward and clasped onto the back of the mech, and began to slash at it with his scythe in an attempt to penetrate it from behind. Kit rushed ahead and delivered a punch at one of the suit's legs, cracking it until Xegriek regained his composure and spun in place, hitting the Kicath across the chest and sending him flying through a building. Vansenk found himself incapable of penetrating the suit any longer as nanomachines began protecting it.
- Xegriek - None of you understand, don't you? Your damned Alliance is always there, telling everyone what to do and how to live as! We are not your slaves, we are free people! I fight for that reason, for freedom! Freedom from your oppression! I fight so that you can't tell me what to do anymore!
- Vekaron - Maniac!
- Kirlisir - Wragrot!
Wragrot looked at Kirlisir and nodded before using his own psychic power at the suit, launching pulses and waves at it. Xegriek found himself stunned again, and his rage increased even more. Kirlisir smirked and joined Wragrot, launching blasts of psychic power at the mechsuit from behind while he assaulted it from the front. As the two were launching their psychic blasts at the mechanical armour, Kalcedia rushed forward and began unleashing a hail of hypermatter rounds at Xegriek, screaming as she did.
- Kalcedia - You call this graveyard freedom?!
Wragrot roared and shot as well, alongside Kilchárunya, Kit and Kamaris, while Vekaron struck at the suit's legs with his blade. Watching the team confronting the giant mechasuit, the inhabitants of Kaos who were not killed during the fight with the Kraknor soldiers and Xegriek's arrival all joined in the fight and fired their guns at him. Wragrot looked as the other Murgur helped and a smile grew on his face. A genuine smile. The Murgur Battlemaster turned to Xegriek and smirked. He began channeling his newly empowered psychic ability, and in moments, Xegriek found himself paralyzed in place. Parts of his suit began exploding from the gunfire of the team and the Murgur population, until Wragrot let out a roar and swung his hand back. A loud metallic sound was heard as the protection around Xegriek was completely ripped off and launched away, throwing the Niaka out of his suit, which crumbled into the ground and exploded violently.
Kirlisir watched with a smile as Xegriek travelled through the air, while Vansenk scurried away from the exploding mechsuit in order to avoid injury. Kalcedia lowered her rifle and turned her attention towards Xegriek, approaching him. The Murgur all cheered in victory as the suit was destroyed, and the team could see the full extent of Xegriek's robotic enhancements as he laid defeated on the ground. He had his entire lower half replaced with robotics, as well as three pairs of cybernetic legs which connected inside his suit.
- Xegriek - No...my plan...
Stepping close to Xegriek until she practically towered over him, catching him in her shadow, Kalcedia raised her foot with a grin spread wide across her face before slamming it down, destroying Xegriek's mechanical legs in the process and reducing them to little more than broken scrap. Xegriek yelled out in pain as the rest of his body turned pitch black and metallic. His own body was also protected by nanomachines. The rest of the team walked over to him and Wragrot grabbed the Niaka by his throat, lifting him up to his eye level.
- Wragrot - Where is Tismahgo?
- Xegriek - Ack! At...the palace!
- Kit - What should we do now? Kill him?
- Vekaron - Hm. No. I have a better idea.
- Kalcedia - What's better than wasting this little fuck?
- Vekaron - Ever heard of Exile Station?
- Kilchárunya - ...The super prison?
- Xegriek - Oh hell.
- Kalcedia - I've only ever heard news about it.
- Vekaron - Exile is currently empty. I think Xegriek would be a fine number one prisoner.
Xegriek gulped with his eyes widened and Wragrot handed him to Vekaron. The Murgur then ran over to the wounded Groanknir, who laid on top of several debris, his arm visible in a fair distance.
- Wragrot - We need to take you to safety.
- Groanknir - Forget about me, Wragrot...go to the palace, and face Tismahgo.
- Wragrot - Are you sure?
- Groanknir - Yes...I have been through worse...or not. Regardless, just go...
Wragrot nodded to the Muganda leader and turned back to the team.
- Wragrot - Let's go.
- Vekaron - We're right behind you.
Honour of a Battlemaster
Delivering the wounded Groanknir and Xegriek to the Murgur they had allied along the way, Wragrot and the rest of Vekaron's team arrived to the Rexran Palace, and they were immediately greeted by a vision of Murgur history. Immense bronze statues, estimated 50 meters tall each, dominated the two sides of the main hall, each representing a Murgur emperor who reigned over Kaos over 15,000 years in the past. The architecture was extremely old and devoid of any signs of modernity, implying this building was untouched for several millenia. Wragrot looked around in interest, having never entered this building before as it was considered off-limits for all Murgur in the past.
- Wragrot - Wish we didn't get here not in the middle of a war. I always wanted to visit this place.
- Kamaris - It reminds me of home.
- Kirlisir - Seems pretty basic-- I mean, it looks like a wonderful place, full of spirit.
- Kalcedia - Is this all that remains of Murgur history?
- Wragrot - Yeah, the Murgur never really cared for history. I heard the old emperors' coffins are deep inside these statues. So if we end up breaking one and a skeleton pops up, you should know the reason.
- Kilchárunya - That's...unnerving.
- Vekaron - That's a way of being immortalized.
- Vansenk - Don't like skeletons. They're always smiling. Makes me retch.
As the team walked through the hall, at the other end, multiple Kraknor soldiers appeared and made a formation, as if someone woudl walk through them. In instants, a larger Murgur, though not as big as Wragrot appeared. He was cybernetically enchanced, though his enhancements were not clean and discrect. They were grotesque, as if the user cared nothing for his form. And he did not, for this Murgur only cared for the power given to him by them. As he looked at the team in a distance, he grinned.
- Tismahgo - Wragrot.
- Wragrot - Tismahgo!...What the hell happened to you?
- Tismahgo - Power happened.
- Kirlisir - More like surgery.
- Tismahgo - That too.
- Wragrot - I'm here to take your head away, you damned cheater.
- Tismahgo - When I heard from Yatakhan that you were still alive, I couldn't believe my ears. But here you are. You really are full of surprises, Wragrot.
- Kalcedia - How did this guy depose you, did he hit you with his ego?
- Tismahgo - I'm not going to fight you. Not yet. I want to fight you one-on-one, like Warmasters are supposed to. I'll put one more obstacle in your way, and if you get past it, then meet me at the Rexran Coliseum. Your allies, if alive, will receive special seats, and all the Murgur of Kaos will watch you and me fight to the death in there.
- Wragrot - An honourable duel? As if I'm gonna believe that.
- Tismahgo - Do you want someone else to kill me? Don't you want it to do it yourself?
- Wragrot - Grrr. Fine.
- Kamaris - Obstacle?
Suddenly, the group heard loud, heavy footsteps, emanating from behind them. As they turned around, their eyes met once more with those of the green menace that had plagued their efforts throughout the conflict - Kraknor Yatakhan, his arms opened wide with a smile on his face, chuckling. He looked towards Wragrot and began to clap his hands, nodding in acknowledgement. Yatakhan had a joyous expression written across his face as he clapped repeatedly, before stopping and folding his arms, his body radiating with a psychic presence that began to ascend rapidly. The green Battlemaster looked towards Tismahgo before his gaze focused back on Vekaron and his affiliates, and he snickered.
- Wragrot - Oh, of course.
- Tismahgo - Yatakhan, either you or Wragrot will leave this room in a coffin. Make sure it's not you.
- Yatakhan - Do not worry, I shall be sure to send dear Wragrot and his friends home. In a box.
Tismahgo and his soldiers turned away and left from where they had arrived, closing the doors behind them. Wragrot growled and glared at Yatakhan, aiming his shotgun at him while Vekaron prepared his blade.
- Wragrot - I'm really gonna enjoy killing you.
- Yatakhan - You're really going to use that pathetic weapon to try and hurt me? Come on, Wragrot, you and I both know that you want to tear me apart with your bare hands! I say, come on! Show me what you've got!
- Wragrot - Shut up, I'm not playing your games. Charge!
Wragrot suddenly put his shotgun back and launched a psychic wave at Yatakhan's direction, while Vekaron charged at the enemy Murgur's direction with his blade in hand. Yatakhan roared, similar to an animal, before he charged forward, his massive fists clenched as he ran at the team. Wherever he ran, debris was thrown in all directions, and soon his psychic power allowed his to levitate in the air rather than having to use his feet. As he approached Vekaron, a wide, sadistic grin on his face, Kirlisir charged forward and unleashed a psychic blast in the direction of his face. Vekaron displayed no fear of the Battlemaster and leaped at his direction, sending his blade to the direction of his head, while Wragrot put his shotgun forward and began shooting at Yatakhan's direction. Kamaris fired blast upon blast at Yatakhan, Kilchárunya and Kit doing the same. Yatakhan's armoured helm cracked as Vekaron's blade collided with it, cutting his cheek in the process. The combined blasts of psychic energy caused Yatakhan to lose his balance and fly past Vekaron, crashing into several walls within the palace, and while he suffered damage from the gunfire, he soon generated a psychic shield around his body.
- Yatakhan - ...Is that all? I overestimated you!
- Wragrot - Let me show you what I can do then!
An aura of psychic power grew around Wragrot as he began causing one of the immense statues in the room to levitate. Sweat came out of his face, though he appeared to be handling easier than during the battle at the Muganda capital.
- Kit - Well. Now I've seen everything.
The green Murgur's grin began to widen as blood travelled down his cheek, and he stood from the large crater he had caused upon his crash into the wall behind him. With his eyes fixated on Wragrot, he clenched his fists as his psychic aura began to intensify, and soon a large fragment of the floor at his feet was torn from its foundations to create a shield. Wragrot threw the statue at Yatakhan's direction, impacting with his makeshift shield. Not only aged bronze flew across the room, but also pieces of wood. An object flew across the room and fell on the floor next to Kalcedia, and as she looked at it, she could see it was a broken Murgur skull. Kalcedia looked at the skull and her eyes widened out of horror, causing her to kick the skull away while screeching and squealing disgustedly, reluctant to have even touched it. Kirlisir stood back as Wragrot and Yatakhan once again came to telekinetic blows, although she would allow herself to contribute via empowering the psychic presence around the statue. Yatakhan was beginning to struggle.
- Wragrot - Die you damned lackey! How dare you call yourself a Battlemaster when you serve the most dishonoured Murgur of all time?!
- Kilchárunya - How you came out of Andromeda alive, I don't know.
- Yatakhan - You abandoned Kraknor! You left us all to perish at Tismahgo's claws! This is your fault!
- Wragrot - I didn't abandon Kraknor. Kraknor abandoned me! They picked the cheater over me, so why should I care for them?
- Yatakhan - Not all of us were given the choice of loyalty!
Using his psychic powers, Wragrot bashed what remained of the statue against Yatakhan's shield repeatedly, sending debris flying across the room. Vekaron's eyes widened as he was hit and floored by one of them, falling on his back and being left dizzy.
- Wragrot - The hell are you on about?
- Yatakhan - You heard! You wish to know why I serve Tismahgo?
Yatakhan's grin became a scowl as he struggled to maintain his shield, as it was quickly detoriating due to it being drilled through by the statue Wragrot was using as his means of attack. With psychic electricity fluctuating throughout his body and armour, Yatakhan was resorting to using his own powers to defend against Wragrot's offense.
- Yatakhan - Then come and get your answer!
Wragrot's eye twitched and he waved his hands. What remained of the statue was thrown aside, and the Murgur lunged himself at Yatakhan's direction, his claws raised, prepared to grab him by his neck. Yatakhan growled and raised his clenched, bleeding hands over his face and eyes in an attempt to defend himself from Wragrot's attack. Kirlisir winced and stepped back as she felt the immense power of the two Battlemasters ascending quickly, rising to a level that almost overwhelmed her, and she collapsed onto a single knee, incapable of assisting any longer. Wragrot put his hands over Yatakhan's neck, digging his claws on it as he raised him from the ground, shaking him as he spoke.
- Wragrot - Start talking or I'll put my thumbs through your eyeballs.
However, Yatakhan did not talk; instead, he flung his fists in the direction of Wragrot's face desparately, with his blows landing with terrifying velocity as the green Murgur placed what remained of both his physical and psychic strength behind his assault, and blood spurted from his mouth, spitting onto Wragrot's face. Wragrot began growling and his eyes burned in energy, and Yatakhan could feel his limbs getting locked in place as Wragrot froze him with telekinesis. The Murgur threw his opponent against the ground, bashing his head against the ground violently before sending his claws at his face repeatedly. Yatakhan screamed in agonizing torment as Wragrot savagely attacked his face and neck, tearing at his flesh and armour. The brutal, horrifying attack caused large gashes to appear across Yatakhan's face, some as deep as to reveal bone, and after several minutes of repeated attacking, Yatakhan spat blood once more and, tears and blood dripping from his head, attempted to talk.
- Yatakhan - W-Wragrot...
- Wragrot - Last chance.
- Yatakhan - ...Y-You win... G-Good... N-Now I know... t-that I can t-trust you...
- Wragrot - ...What.
- Yatakhan - A-After... y-you were deposed by T-Tismahgo, I... Kraknor Yatakhan... rebelled. I led... h-hundreds of men, women, a-and children against him... T-They were all s-slaughtered, aside from me... He k-kept me alive.
- Wragrot - ...Go on.
- Yatakhan - I r-rebelled as I had... c-come to believe t-that you, Wragrot, w-were a better m-man and l-leader than... t-than he ever would be. He k-kept me alive... t-to serve, a-and to live in s-shame... I l-lived in hope... t-that you would return. A-And I f-found you... B-But I had t-to be sure...
- Wragrot - Sure of what?
- Yatakhan - S-Sure... that y-you were s-strong enough. S-Strong enough to fight h-him... I r-routed you out... and t-tested you. Y-You and y-your team... Urgh, I-I d-don't expect you to f-forgive me... for I s-served Tismahgo... and h-hurt your team. I-I led you i-into traps... I-I just h-had to be s-sure...
- Vekaron - Hm. Remember when Gardin said she heard Xegriek talk about a test?
- Wragrot - Grr. Kirlisir. Read his mind. See if he's telling the truth.
Kirlisir nodded and approached the gravely damaged Yatakhan, his armour decorated with cracks and broken fragments and his body almost entirely broken. She kneeled beside Yatakhan and closed her eyes, placing her hands upon the Murgur's torn flesh... After several minutes, Kirlisir turned to Wragrot and gave a slight nod.
- Kirlisir - I don't detect any traces of him lying. As far as I know, he speaks the truth.
Wragrot growled and clenched his fist in front of Yatakhan's face, though he did not seem to have any intention of finishing him off.
- Wragrot - So I've proven myself to you. Who cares. You're a damned coward for surrendering to Tismahgo, a true Battlemaster would've died fighting.
With narrowed eyes, Yatakhan's hands raised from the ground and clasped onto Wragrot's collar. With the last of his evident strength, Yatakhan threw his head forward and slammed it against Wragrot's, keeping their foreheads, both of which now bloodied, connected. However, Yatakhan made no further attempts to attack, as it was likely he was incapable of doing so.
- Yatakhan - D-Do with me a-as you please, Warmaster... J-Just as long as... y-you kill him.
Wragrot looked at Yatakhan in silence for several moments until he grabbed his arm and took off his collar. The Murgur turned away from the defeated enemy and walked over to the rest of the team.
- Wragrot - Let's go meet up with the Kraknor men to prepare for the arena match.
- Kirlisir - Wragrot...
- Vekaron - What about Yatakhan?
- Wragrot - Leave him. I...suddenly don't feel like killing him anymore.
Yatakhan breathed heavily, struggling, and closed his eyes, a grin forming on his face. He leaned his head back, blood catering the floor where he had collided, and he allowed himself to rest. Kirlisir looked to Yatakhan one last time before turning away and rejoining the group, a concerned expression written upon her face. Kalcedia had her sniper rifle become absorbed into her anatomy for storage and looked to Wragrot, nodding in acknowledgement of his request. Vansenk hissed, glaring at Yatakhan's beaten, bloodied body, before turning his attention back to the group, a cold shiver being sent down his long, serpentine spine as he let out another splutter of coughs.
- Kilchárunya - I have to say, well done. That heartlessness would have given Nu a run for his money.
- Wragrot - I'll take that as a compliment.
- Vansenk - It would be wise to get a move on... Would be rude to keep Tismahgo waiting much longer.
This Is My Warband
One hour later, almost nothing could be heard among the titanic crowd of Murgur, Levarcor, Varkorus and Edulia which was present at the arena. The Rexran Coliseum was the oldest Murgur-made structure in all of Borealis, dating from before 15,000 BC. It was formerly used to house gladiator battles, for the entertainment of the old emperors of the Murgur race before they became spacefaring. When the Murgur left to space and declared Kaos as a holy planet, the Arena was deemed off-limit to all members of the species, including even the Warmasters of the greatest Warbands. However, the Arena was being once again used, this time to house the face-off between Wragrot and Tismahgo. Vekaron, Kilchárunya, Vansenk, Kamaris, Kirlisir, Kitmnárochoaltánún and Kalcedia were all given special seats which gave them a frontal view of the arena and a closer view of both combatants, who glared intensely at each other. This was an honourable duel for the title of Warmaster of Kraknor, and therefore both Murgur were forbidden of using any weapons but their strength and wits, as well as whichever natural abilities they had. While this meant Wragrot had the advantage of using psychic powers, the sight of his old arch-nemesis bothered his mind to some extent. Tismahgo was a cyborg, his appearance downright grotesque to look at.
- Tismahgo - Are you ready to give the crowd the time of their lives, Wragrot? By that, I mean the end of your own, of course.
- Wragrot - Look at you. You look like a damn Grox.
- Tismahgo - I became powerful, Wragrot. What about you? Have you changed at all in the last 800 years other than getting older and molder?
- Wragrot - I'd rather become a senile old man than become anything like you.
While other races would not complain as much for cybernetic enhancements, the Murgur always had a dogma against it, mainly due to the Hegdar Warband's actions. It was considered a sight of weakness to replace your body with machinery, and it was considered even more weak to boast about it. Tismahgo was doing both. The two giants charged at each other, and the crowd roared as the first blows were delivered. Wragrot and Tismahgo delivered punches to each other's heads, each blow causing a strong impact sound which could be heard through the whole arena. The old Murgur's eyes began burning with psychic energy as he fought, while that Tismahgo did was grin at him, almost as if he was enjoying the pain from the attacks. Throwing himself downwards to dodge one of Wragrot's punches, Tismahgo then delivered an uppercut at the old Murgur's chin, causing him to growl in pain and get staggered back before Tismahgo charged at him, carrying him across the arena and then punching him into the floor. Wragrot grunted loudly as Tismahgo began stomping on his head repeatedly, blood coming out of the Battlemaster's mouth before the Warmaster found himself flung upwards by an invisible force, before being launched into the ground aggressively, creating a crater around him.
Tismahgo grunted and raised from the crater, glaring at Wragrot whose aura was fully visible. The Battlemaster initiated a charge of his own at Tismahgo and delivered a blow at him, but as he did, the Warmaster clenched on Wragrot's fist and swung him in circles before throwing him away. Despite his noticeably smaller height, Tismahgo's enhancements had allowed him to become as strong as a Battlemaster physically, if not more. Once Wragrot rose from the floor, the two charged at each other, with Wragrot leaving burning footprints behind him as he ran. Clashing once more at melee, punches, slams and scratches were thrown at him, their mutual hatred from each other growing. Vekaron narrowed his eyes as he watched, bothered of how he could do nothing to help, though Wragrot had made clear that he did not want their help. This was his fight, and his alone.
- Kalcedia - If we don't do something, Wragrot's going to di--
- Kirlisir - This is his fight, Zazane. It would not be right of us to interrupt it.
Kilchárunya, perhaps out of sheer enjoyment, roared louder than most of the crowd there.
- Kilchárunya - Smash his fucking head in!
- Vansenk - You had better be cheering for Wragrot.
Tismahgo grinned once more. An evil, cruel grin which got Wragrot's attention. Out of his sleeve, a sharp object was visible. A dagger. The exact same dagger which Tismahgo had poisoned and stabbed Wragrot with eight hundred years in the past. Wragrot's eyes widened as he lost his concentration, leaving himself exposed, and that was all Tismahgo needed. He had cheated again and brought a weapon to a weapon-less duel, though who would mediate this fight? This was a face-off agreed by both of the Murgur, so there was no authority to tell Tismahgo was forbidden of doing it. He had broken his own rules, as well as the skin layer protecting Wragrot's neck as he delivered a stab at it. The crowd gasped as they watched Wragrot roar out in pain and fall to his side, having difficulty to breathe.
- Kilchárunya - Shenanigans! Fucking shenanigans!
- Kalcedia - Damnit, do something!
- Kirlisir - Wragrot, don't let us down! Get up and take his eyes out!
- Vansenk - I would have done the same, admittedly.
Tismahgo jumped on top of Wragrot and kept the dagger in place so that the Battlemaster could not remove it. He laughed as he watched Wragrot thrash in place, being too stunned to use his psychic powers to throw Tismahgo off him.
- Tismahgo - You remember how it feels, don't you? How does it feel to be suffering the same pain again?!
While Wragrot continued to thrash and struggle, the dagger's blade causing a deathly itch upon the flesh of Wragrot's neck, Tismahgo was almost ignorant to the two massive, muscular arms that clamped around his torso like a vice; soon, Tismahgo could not feel the floor beneath his feet as there was no floor beneath his feet due to him being flung through the air towards one of the walls on the far-side of the arena. Standing above Wragrot, dripping with blood and steaming with the last reserves of psychic energy he could muster, Yatakhan. Once again he wore his grin across his face despite the damage dealt to him and the evident amount of pain that his body was being subjected to due to the battle prior, although he appeared to shrug off the overwhelming agony comparatively well. Tismahgo punched the floor as he got back up, glaring at Yatakhan with murderous eyes.
- Yatakhan - How about you take a rest for a while, I'll keep Tismahgo occupied.
- Wragrot - Y-Yatakhan...
- Tismahgo - You! I should've killed you the day we met!
Yatakhan turned towards Tismahgo and took a step towards him, clenching and releasing his fists over and over repeatedly, giving the cybernetic Warmaster an eager gesture for him to approach. Tismahgo charged at Yatakhan's direction in a frenzy, sending a barrage of punches at the green Murgur's direction.
- Tismahgo - I'll bathe in your blood, you mutant scum!
- Yatakhan - First, you depose of our Warmaster. Then, you kill the innocent people I rallied to oppose you. Then you made me live in shame and disgrace as your servant. And now? Now?! I will make you repent for it all!
Yatakhan roared as he entered a defensive stance, lifting his arms and enduring the flurry of strikes that Tismahgo threw at him, clashing against his armour and muscles and damaging both equally. Fragments and shards of Yatakhan's armour flew across the battlefield, as did the green Murgur's blood, before Yatakhan attempted to deliver punches and strikes of his own, directed at Tismahgo's face. Before he could be hit, though, Tismahgo grabbed Yatakhan's fists and used them to twist the Battlemaster's arm, a angered frown on his face. He used his free hand to repeatedly punch the green Murgur's mouth while also delivered hits to his stomach by using his knee. Yatakhan roared out once more as Tismahgo's attacks absolutely shattered what remained of his heavy armour, flinging it from his muscular, green body to reveal scars and deformities across his body - some of which may have been a result of mere defects. Yatakhan groaned, bleeding heavily, as he was constantly pounded, attempting to thrash and escape Tismahgo's grip.
- Tismahgo - I'll kill you here and-
- Wragrot - TISMAHGO.
Wragrot rose from the floor, removing the dagger from his throat. Tismahgo froze in place as he heard his breathing, heavy and furious, and turned around to see the Battlemaster giving him the murderous glare he had ever seen in his life. He could do nothing as the immense Murgur lunged at his direction and grabbed his head, before throwing him at the ground, causing a huge crack to appear from one end of the arena to the other. Tismahgo yelled out in pain as his teeth fell out of his mouth, but before he could do anything, he was launched once more against the floor, Wragrot's sheer anger and strength causing the arena to crack further and debris to float around him. The crowd began roaring once more, shouting Wragrot's name as he pulverized Tismahgo below him, his body engulfed in a burning, radiant aura of pure energy.
- Wragrot - I am Kraknor Wragrot, and this is MY WARBAND!!
With these words, Wragrot grabbed the dagger Tismahgo had attacked him with and raised the battered Warmaster to the air. His face broken, his left eye missing and the entirely of his head bloodied, Tismahgo could merely gasp and groan as he watched the dagger coming at his direction. Wragrot delivered a stab at Tismahgo's own throat, in what could be seen as a very ironic scene. By comparing their sizes with that of humans, a dagger for a Murgur was a longsword for a human, and Tismahgo could now feel the pain Wragrot had felt as he dug it deep into his flesh, blood pouring out of his wound, though this was not enough to keep Wragrot's anger satisfied. He began forcing the dagger against the bones of Tismahgo's neck, causing the still-living Warmaster to scream with the last energies he had, until the sound of cracking bone and steel breaking was heard. Wragrot dug the dagger so much against the bones of Tismahgo's neck that not only they were broken, but the dagger itself was snapped in two.
Silence hit the arena as Wragrot rose again, throwing Tismahgo's lifeless body into the ground. He rose his arms, looking at the crowd, before letting out an echoing, booming, victorious roar at them, causing the crowd to roar back in enthusiasm. Tismahgo was dead. Kraknor's tyranny had ended. Vekaron jumped down from his seat and landed close to Wragrot, giving a pat on his shoulder and looking at him with what looked like pride.
- Vekaron - You did it, Wragrot.
- Wragrot - So I did...heh...ow.
- Kamaris - We'd ought to get him to a med-bay.
- Kilchárunya - Fuck. Well I didn't get my money's worth for-- I mean great show. Now what?
Kalcedia leaped from where she sat and landed near to where Vekaron and Wragrot stood, causing a small tremor where she collided with the earth. She then approached the two of them, with Kirlisir following swiftly behind. Vansenk merely slithered and crawled across the ground, wishing to not be noticed. Groanknir approached them as well, bandages covering the stump of his severed arm. He walked over to Wragrot with a genuine smile on his face.
- Groanknir - Congratulations, Warmaster.
- Wragrot - Heh. Don't thank me. Thank Greenie.
Some distance away, Yatakhan coughed and spluttered blood and other substances, with the extent of his mutation shown to the entire crowd who had kept their eyes on the arena. Not only was he green, but he was quite clearly deformed - something of a freak of nature. Nonetheless, he stood, barely alive, and he smiled towards Wragrot weakly, attempting to clap. Wragrot walked over to the center of the arena, calling over to the audience to pay attention to him.
- Wragrot - You have all seen what Tismahgo has done to you. What Zukarnos did. What Bistinius did years ago. This is what the warbands do to us! They kill, they corrupt, they destroy us! No more, I say! Follow me, and I will lead you not as weapons, but as people! A single Empire of the Murgur must rise! We will survive as one, and but we will still be Murgur at heart. And that means smashing the face of whoever tries to get in our way!
The crowd all roared in enthusiasm once more, shouting Wragrot's name over and over. Groanknir closed his eyes and put his head down as he thought to himself, while Vekaron watched with an impressed expression.
- Vekaron - Wow. I don't know what to say.
- Groanknir - Our struggle is ended, Zoles. Peace has finally come to the Murgur people after so many millenia of war.
Kirlisir and Kalcedia clapped Wragrot optimistically, smiles wide upon their faces. Vansenk hissed and looked away, quite clearly lacking the enthusiasm that the other attendees of the battle had managed to bring alongside them. Yatakhan approached the group, including Wragrot, although he said little, pre-occupied with having to breath through his mouth.
- Wragrot - You're forgiven now, greenie.
- Yatakhan - Y-You... You had me w-worried... f-for just a moment, W-Warmaster.
- Groanknir - No. Not Warmaster. Emperor.
- Yatakhan - ...A-Allow me... t-to be the first to... t-to bow.
Yatakhan fell onto a single knee with a heavy pant and placed a clenched fist upon his chest, directly over where his heart would be. The mutated Murgur lowered his head and honoured his new ruler, the first Emperor of the Murgur, and he grinned with broken teeth. Groanknir watched Yatakhan and quickly did the same, while the crowd who watched them all began bowing as well. Wragrot look at them with a surprised expression before smiling. However, his smile eventually vanished as he turned to Vekaron's team once again.
- Wragrot - I...I guess this is goodbye then.
- Vekaron - Huh?
- Wragrot - I'm gonna have to stay here now, otherwise these idiots will start killing each other again...
- Kamaris - We understand.
- Kirlisir - T-This soon?
- Vansenk - Unfortunate, I was beginning... to enjoy your company. Wragrot.
- Vekaron - A-are you sure of this?
- Wragrot - Vekaron...these were the six best years of my life. You keep doing what you've always done and don't you dare disappoint me out there. You're a Penumbra, for Kaos' sake.
- Vekaron - ...Of course, Wragrot. I understand. But you will surely be missed at the ship.
- Kilchárunya - Heh. I'll be sure to keep that room clean.
- Kirlisir - Gardin's going to miss you, you know...
- Wragrot - I'm gonna miss the little egghead too. Funny because I never liked children.
- Kirlisir - I'll make sure that she stays safe. You can trust me, Wragrot.
- Wragrot - Yeah, you do that. Actually, I know what to do. You're all invited to dine at the Palace. I'll show you all how royal Murgur eat.
- Vansenk - I don't feel hungry. ...Maybe I can have a slice.
- Wragrot - You'll eat and sleep like Murgur kings and queens, I assure you.
Wragrot perked an eyebrow to Kalcedia.
- Wragrot - If there's not enough guest rooms...you can sleep on the emperor's bed today.
- Kilchárunya - ...Where are you gonna sleep then?
- Wragrot - On the emperor's bed.
- Kalcedia - I think I shall be doing a little more than sleeping, dear Emperor.
Kilchárunya tilted her head, failing to grasp the conversation. Wragrot chuckled and walked over to Groanknir, taking him away from the team so that they could not be heard.
- Wragrot - Your emperor has two orders, Groanknir.
- Groanknir - Yes?
- Wragrot - Take Yatakhan to the hospital urgent.
- Groanknir - And the second order?
- Wragrot - Make sure there aren't enough guest rooms.
- Groanknir - ...Heh. Very well, my liege.
Knight Versus Pirate
Three months had passed since the end of the Murgur Civil War. Wragrot had unified the Murgur into a new empire and made them join the Polar Crystal Alliance, where they slowly integrated themselves into the galactic community. Meanwhile, back at Vekaron's spaceship, the team had recently done their routine medical check under Vyatak. He did it every four months to ensure that the team as a whole, including the relatively newly-arrived Kit and Kalcedia were at prime health. While none of the team had any issues in the past save for minor sicknesses, Vyatak showed worry once he read Vansenk's results. The Samilinus called the Hseraelna over to speak to him in private at the ship's medi-bay, a look of distress on his face as he kept reading the results he had obtained. Soon, not with a particular sense of urgency upon his mind, Vansenk entered the medical bay, draped in his usual clothing and looking visibly discomforted as he stepped into the sterile, brightly-lit environment - there was no darkness for him to hide within. He hissed for a few moments before coughing, raising a hand to his mouth, and approached Vyatak.
- Vansenk - You called for my presence, doctor?
- Vyatak - Yes. Sit down. Problems have arisen.
The Hseraelna groaned with visible disinterest and he sat upon one of the surgery tables, his eyes directed to the floor. He refused to maintain eye contact with the Samilinus, and kept quiet and reclusive.
- Vyatak - Bad news. Always worried about your well-being. Refuses to take care of yourself.
- Vansenk - Does this concern my absence from the previous scheduled medical analysis? I fare fine, doctor, I feel well.
- Vyatak - You do not. You are not well. Vansenk, you are dying.
Vansenk glared towards Vyatak and hissed again, his eyes transfixed on Vyatak with aggression written across his face. He stood from the table and turned fully to face the doctor, looking uncomfortable. He coughed again, however, and fell onto a knee as he did. After several moments, gesturing for Vyatak to stay back, Vansenk rose onto his two feet and spoke.
- Vansenk - We're all dying, doctor. All things die eventually.
- Vyatak - Bonehead. Killing yourself. Listen to me for I am not joking.
- Vansenk - Why am I dying, doctor? Provide me your diagnosis. Speak aloud your results.
- Vyatak - Weak immune system. Refusal to undergo proper quarantine procedures. Smoking. Drinking. Allowing wounds to become infected in battle. Contracting alien diseases. Absolutely refusing to maintain your health and hygiene. Organ failures. Senile age for Hseraelna. Would be harder to find something not going wrong in your body.
The Hseraelna placed a hand upon his stomach but never allowed his gaze to be distracted from Vyatak, although the list of problems and anatomical errors flooded through Vansenk's mind like chanting - a choir of a diagnosis. No tears were shed from his eyes, just a few flakes from where he gritted his malnourished teeth, and he spoke neutrally.
- Vansenk - How long do I have?
- Vyatak - Three months max.
- Vansenk - Three months, how very inconvenient...
- Vyatak - Unsure if reversible. Would require extremely extensive levels of surgery...surprised you lasted this long.
- Vansenk - Cybernetics, I assume. ...No. No, I wish not for an operation.
- Vyatak - What do you mean? Do you want to die?
- Vansenk - Do I desire death? Take a second glance upon your diagnosis, doctor, that should allow you your answer. ...I despise this body. I hate this body.
- Vyatak - But...do you not care for the world? Your comrades who look after you? Inconsiderate.
Vansenk looked away from Vyatak, breathing heavily as the question was posed. With a scowl forming from his consistent frown, Vansenk's harsh tongue hissed louder, in a more threatening manner, and he turned his serpentine gaze back to the Samilius doctor and taking a step towards him, meeting eye to eye with him.
- Vansenk - The universe will carry on without me, as will my... companions. I am comfortable the decision - I refuse operation - and I am comfortable that I possess the knowledge that this body suffers. ...However. I refuse to merely lay upon the ground and wait. I will continue to offer my service, as I have always done.
- Vyatak - Hmpf. Fine. Leave then. Have to warn Vekaron of this.
- Vansenk - No.
- Vyatak - Yes. Captain must know crewmember is suiciding.
- Vansenk - If you alert Vekaron to my condition, he will bar me from further combat operations. I wish to remain useful, thus you mustn't tell a soul.
- Vyatak - If you wanted to be useful, you would take care of your health.
- Vansenk - It is clear that you do not understand. Fine. I will inform them of my health, in my own time. My last request to you, Vyatak, allow me secrecy until I am ready to announce.
Vyatak held on his head with both hands, clearly frustrated by Vansenk's attitude. He let out a groan and went silent for a few moments, before speaking again.
- Vyatak - Very well.
Vansenk nodded and placed his hands upon Vyatak's shoulders. Shortly after, Vyatak found himself embraced by the Hseraelna, the closest and most affectionate he had seen Vansenk throughout his time on-board the ship, and was held in such a position for a few minutes in silence. Vansenk eventually let go, coughing into his hand. Vyatak's eyes widened from the act, having never expected something like this from the Hseraelna.
- Vansenk - What do you aspire, Vyatak? What is your... greatest desire.
- Vyatak - Greatest desire?...Well. Always aspired to be great scientist, studying among the elite. Penumbra Unit close enough.
- Vansenk - I wanted to be a doctor. I... was a doctor. Before my rebellion against my people, that is. Weaponized medical nano-drones, designed specifically to destroy contagions and cancerous growths, refitted for inducing extensive pain and precise damage to my enemies.
- Vyatak - ...Is that why you use these nanomachines? They are...medical tools?
- Vansenk - Once.
- Vyatak - Oh my... Never imagined such... Don't know what to say... Sorry, Vansenk. Was too harsh with you.
- Vansenk - ...Apply for study and membership within the Polar Crystal Alliance's board of top scientists within the next three months, Vyatak. Achieve your aspiration.
- Vyatak - ...Yes. Will do.
- Vansenk - Good. Now. I must depart. I have... living to do.
- Vyatak - Yes. You do.
Vansenk gave a nod to Vyatak and turned around, walking out from the medical bay with his otherwise usual stance and step. From his stroll, it appeared as if he truly was not bothered by the almost uncountable physiological malfunctions that happened to be occuring within his body.
Days had passed since then, and Vekaron's team had just returned from a minor pirate raid on a nearby system, where they helped the planetary forces deal with a horde of Wranploer soldiers. Wranploer attacks were growing less common and also less organized as Vekaron noticed, as if they were growing desperate almost. As the team went back their quarters to rest from the finished mission, Vekaron stood on his chair, watching Gardin play her handheld videogame on his lap. He stroke her hair as he watched her, and whichever game she was playing, she appeared to be rather good at it. Vekaron could not hope but smile at the situation, for moments of peace like these pleased him immensely. After several minutes passed, a transmission was sent to the Zoles Penumbran and once he accepted it, he was surprised to see a familiar face. A Radeon with cybernetic implants who looked at him with a content expression, or as content as he was capable of. Baptarion Light of the Indoctrinate Collective.
- Baptarion - Hey there.
- Vekaron - Baptarion! It's been a while. How have you been?
- Baptarion - Oh, I've been just perfect. Even more now with these news I got for you.
- Vekaron - Hm?
- Baptarion - Remember the whole business with me being kidnapped by Torrent and being forced to help make those nanothings of his? And that yicky mutant monster?
Baptarion groaned and shook himself for a moment before going back to his usual stance.
- Vekaron - It's hard to forget that.
- Baptarion - And remember how I ate some of those nanothings myself and how I managed to use them to stop bleeding out?
- Vekaron - Go straight to the point, Baptarion.
- Baptarion - The robotics boys over here studied the nanothings on my bloodstream, Vekaron. And they've developed more nanothings which can be used to combat them.
Vekaron approached the screen, showing interest on what the Radeon scientist was talking about. Reaching his body forward, he ended up pressing his chest against Gardin and forcing her downwards against his lap, though the girl appeared mostly ignorant to it as she kept playing her game, her tongue sticking out of her mouth.
- Vekaron - Elaborate, Baptarion.
- Baptarion - Let me just get the memo given to me by them... I know little about this nonsense, I'm an archaeologist, not a robotics man... Ah, here it is. "Anti-nanomachines built specifically to counteract and destroy the ones created by Torrent. Safe to use with any other type of nanotechnology.
Baptarion reached his hand off-screen and then present Vekaron with a syringe filled with a blackened liquid. Or at least, it seemed to be liquid from a distance.
- Baptarion - So you sting Torrent in the butt with this and he's gonna go weak.
- Vekaron - That's amazing! This will turn the tide on our favour for sure.
- Baptarion - Well, to be honest, we had this completed for a few months now. But we wanted until now because of all the chaos going on through the galaxy. Also because we had a plan.
- Vekaron - Plan?
- Baptarion - A trap. We lure Torrent or one of his goonies here, so you can come over and capture them. And then you sting them in the butt with the syringe, and boom. Victory.
- Vekaron - Sounds like a plan. I'll set my ship to Kurithora tomorrow so we can get ourselves this syringe.
- Baptarion - You do that. I think they said they can put it on a gun too. So a syringe gun. Also, the memo says you gotta wear the opponent out before applying the anti-nanos. So beat Torrent up, then poke his butt.
- Vekaron - I get it. Well, we'll talk tomorrow.
- Baptarion - And I gotta go back to my research. See you.
With this, Baptarion left the transmission and Vekaron's screen turned off. On his lap, the almost smothered Gardin let out a giggle as she heard her father and the Radeon speaking.
- Gardin - Heehee, he said butt.
- Vekaron - I don't want to hear you saying these things, okay?
- Gardin - But you said this stuff sometimes!
- Vekaron - It's an adult's thing, and you're no adult yet.
- Gardin - Can I say Kaþáratzí at least?
- Vekaron - ...How did you learn to say that?!
Breaking the Grip
Ambush at Kurithora
As the Indoctrinate Collective had planned, news about the anti-nanomachines were spread and soon enough, a Wranploer raid was launched at the Collective capital of Kurithora. Vekaron's team, in their shuttle, immediately made their way to the surface to face off whichever member of Dark Grip was tasked to attack the planet. Vekaron had been given the anti-nanomachines in the form of a syringe gun, which he inspected as they made their way down.
- Vekaron - I sincerely can't wait to use this.
- Kilchárunya - Syringe gun. Isn't that so...you know...two hundred thousand years ago?
- Vekaron - I don't know. I've never seen one before. I guess the Dracogonarious like being retro.
- Vansenk - Syringes. I crave them.
- Kirlisir - Eugh, keep that thing away from me. Needles unsettle me, to say the least.
- Kalcedia - I'm not sure about the rest of you, but I am curious as to whom the Wranploer sent.
- Vekaron - We'll find out soon.
The shuttle landed behind the actual battle, giving the team a stealth advantage. They could hear the shots between the Wranploer and the Collective, and by the looks of it, the Wranploer were being quickly dispatched by the Dracogonarious' superior tactics and technology. Vekaron hid behind a wall and signaled the team to follow his head as peeked over at the battle. Kalcedia refrained her shots, although she would fire if necessary, and Kirlisir kept hidden alongside. Vansenk blended into the debris almost perfectly, covering and coating his scaled body with dirt and filth. Looking over at the fight, Vekaron managed to get a glimpse of the Dark Grip member sent to the planet, who sent her fist at the head of a Dracogonarious soldier and crushed it with ease. It was the Borealis Zazane Dolgan Tuchaki.
- Vekaron - It's that Zazane woman.
- Kilchárunya - Oh boy. Nu's crush.
- Kirlisir - She looks immensely pissed off.
- Kalcedia - You think that's pissed off? Wait until she catches a glimpse of a thong.
- Vekaron - We have two options. We can either charge at her all together now, or we could try spreading out and flank her from all sides.
- Kilchárunya - Latter idea sounds smarter to me.
- Kalcedia - Agreed. I wonder if she likes taking it from behind.
- Vekaron - Regardless, we'll have to weaken her before applying the anti-machines. Use the buildings as cover and take your positions. I'll remain here.
- Kirlisir - Try not to get yourself killed.
- Vekaron - ...Same to you. Now go.
With a sudden dash, debris was kicked up as Kalcedia made a dash for a nearby building, her rifle in hand as she kept a firm, steady glance on Dolgan from afar. Kirlisir's battlesuit engaged in its camouflage systems and she ran to circle the perimeter around Dolgan, while Vansenk kept behind cover, not using any of his weapons as he was clearly outmatched. Kilchárunya remained fairly close to the scene, scoping Dolgan near the building where Kalcedia moved to. Kit did the same, though Kamaris moved steadily behind Vekaron due to his size. The Zazne lieutenant grabbed a Dracogodasimer by his throat and lift him up to her eye level, her teeth barred.
- Dolgan - Where's the main lab, you thing?
- Dracogodasimer - Eat shit, pirate scum!
Dolgan growled and crushed the Dracogodasimer's neck on her grasp, leaving herself distracted and vulnerable to a surprise attack. And seeing this opportunity, Vekaron charged at her direction, signaling the team to follow his lead. Without a second thought, Kalcedia sent a rapid barrage of hypermatter rounds at Dolgan's direction from behind, leaping from cover and flinging herself through the air, still firing. Kirlisir, continuing to immerse herself with camouflage, dashed at Dolgan's side and sent her blades in her direction. Vansenk, meanwhile, watched from afar. Kamaris and Kilchárunya rushed out of their position, blasting Dolgan with their weaponry. Kit however, remained in case of a surprise attack. The Zazane was caught by the attacks and yelled out as she was thrown into the ground, wounded. Her body immediately hardened from her nanomachines as she got back on her feet, glaring at Vekaron and his team in anger.
- Dolgan - Not you again!
- Kalcedia - You'd better believe it!
- Vekaron - You're under arrest, Zazane.
- Dolgan - This was a damn ambush, wasn't it? Goddamnit, Torrent...
Vekaron sent his blade at Dolgan, who used her hardened skin to shield herself. The surviving Wranploer soldiers all unleashed their weapons at the team, in hope to defend their leader. As the Wranploer soldiers fired, they shortly found their limbs and torsos dismembered as Vansenk emerged from behind them, swinging his scythe through the air with terrifying efficiency. Dolgan sent her foot at Vekaron and delivered a kick to his stomach, knocking the Zoles into the ground before she took out one of her daggers and leaped at his direction, a murderous glare visible on her face.
Stepping in front of Vekaron and taking the force of Dolgan's assault was Kirlisir, who emerged from her invisible state as she used one of her blades to block Dolgan's own. She wore a deathly scowl upon her face and emitted a psychic burst in an attempt to knock the Zazane off-balance, while Kalcedia came up from behind and grabbed one of the protrusions upon her crest - she proceeded to throw Dolgan across the battlefield. From a distance, Kit was picking off the forces, destroying their heads as he shot from his weapon. Dolgan hit a wall, which crumbled on top of her. However, she immediately got back up and took out her coil gun, firing antimatter-fueled bullets at the team's direction.
- Kalcedia - Get down!
- Dolgan - I'm sick and tired of you getting on my way! I'll kill all of you pigs and whores!
- Kirlisir - Right, now she's pissed!
Vekaron ran as the bullets flew past him, causing powerful blasts as they hit either the ground or buildings. Dracogonarious soldiers hit by them were killed rather quickly. Kirlisir growled and allowed herself to push and shove Dracogonarious soldiers into cover, or at least outside of Dolgan's precision range. Vansenk continued attaining the attention of the remaining Wranploer forces, slashing at them without care, and Kalcedia rushed to Dolgan's side, firing her own gun at her. One of Kalcedia's shots hit the Zazane straight on her shoulder, causing her to be staggered and lose grasp of her gun. She began panting as the team's attacks were leaving her exhausted, and by extension she was having difficult keeping her nanomachines active. Even with them, her body was clearly wounded.
- Kalcedia - How much longer until we can do it, Vekaron?
- Vekaron - Immobilize her. I think she's worn out enough.
- Dolgan - I'm going to enjoy... killing each and every one of you!
With a nod, Kalcedia threw herself forward and slammed into Dolgan, tackling the Zazane to the ground in a desparate effort to accomplish the objective before Dolgan could recover. She threw the full extent of her physical mass in Dolgan's direction. The Borealis Zazane let out an angered and disgusted yell as she used all of her strength to get back up, thrashing in place and swinging Kalcedia about. Kit jumped down, flexing his body as he stormed towards Dolgan. The Zazane was sent into the ground, held by Kalcedia and Kit's weight. Vekaron took out the syringe gun and fired at her, blasting syringes filled with anti-nanomachines at her neck and limbs. After a few moments, Dolgan began groaning as nanomachines on her body stopped responding, and she felt her body slowly going numb.
- Dolgan - What... have you done to me...
- Vekaron - Vansenk! Sedate her!
With the order given, Vansenk rushed towards their position and leaned over Dolgan, his nanomachines beginning to perform their purpose; they infiltrated all of the orifices that could be accessed, festering within her body, so as to calm her systems and prevent any threat of death or unnecessary injury. He would be able to keep her organs active, yet her consciousness rested, as his nanomachines filled her systems. Dolgan tried to move herself but found it impossible to, until she finally blacked out cold. All Wranploer soldiers had been finished off as Vekaron smiled successfully.
- Vekaron - Mission accomplished.
- Kilchárunya - I don't know why we're keeping her alive. Then again, if Nu finds out that you killed her, he might not be too happy about that.
- Vekaron - Nu knows her? Besides, it doesn't matter what he thinks. She's getting sent to Exile.
- Kilchárunya - He doesn't. He just has the sex drive of a human.
- Kalcedia - Pity that she's being sent to waste away. She's... strangely beautiful.
- Vekaron - Hm? She's good-looking I guess... but I've seen better.
- Kirlisir - Oh have you really?
- Vekaron - Yes. I have... We need to take her to Baptarion. He'll order his assistants to remove the nanomachines from her bloodstream.
- Vansenk - Do so quick before she awakens.
Memories of a Better Life
Vekaron and his teammates had taken Dolgan Tuchaki to Baptarion's laboratory, where several scientists had placed her on a table. Tubes had been placed on her head, chest and limbs, which drained her blood and by extension her skin-hardening nanomachines. Baptarion himself was not present, for this kind of procedure did not really interest him. Vekaron sat on a chair as he watched the defeated Zazane, pondering to himself. Kalcedia looked over Dolgan's naked body and admired her physiology, staring intently as she looked over her form. Kirlisir sat beside Vekaron, checking him over to see if he had sustained any form of wounding. Vansenk watched as blood was drained from the Zazane and did not take his eyes off of the tubes, watching while licking his lips. After several minutes had passed, one of the Dracogonarious approached the team, his expression showing some extent of confusion.
- Scientist - Penumbran? I believe we may have a problem.
- Kirlisir - Problem? What kind of problem?
- Scientist - There was a sudden energy spike on the prisoner you have given us and... there is some kind of smoke coming out of her body.
- Vekaron - Smoke?
- Kalcedia - ...Descension?
The scientist beckoned the team to follow him, taking them to the table. A dense, blackened smoke came out of her mouth, one which the scientists could not identify. Kalcedia watched curiously and nodded in acknowledgement, almost certain as to the nature of the smoke and the condition that Dolgan was suffering. Vansenk kept away, while Kirlisir held her nose and covered her mouth.
- Vekaron - What's happening to her?
- Kalcedia - Since she's been rendered unconscious, I'd say that there's little stopping her from undergoing Descension. Her... inner demons are allowed to roam free, so to speak.
- Vekaron - You mean she's about to go all Demon Form like Tyraz?
- Kalcedia - Potentially.
- Vekaron - Shit.
- Kilchárunya - Well.
- Vekaron - Any way we can stop it?
- Kalcedia - Kill her. Or find a way to calm her down.
- Vekaron - She's to be sent to Exile. So the latter is preferred. How, though...
Vekaron looked over at Kirlisir and then back to Dolgan, getting an idea.
- Vekaron - Kirlisir, read her thoughts. See what's bothering her. Other than us, of course.
- Kirlisir - Very well. I can also mend our minds so that everyone can see it. It'll be easier that way.
Kirlisir walked over to Dolgan and put her hands on her head, closing her single eye. Using her psychic powers, she began dwelling inside the Zazane's mind, looking for answers. The other members of the team could all see the same as Kirlisir, and after a few moments, various images could be seen. Images of memories.
A Borealis Zazane female, clearly a teenager by her size and body frame, cautiously left a room in an immense palace. She wore golden and silver ornaments on her dress, clearly showing she was part of some sort of royalty. She looked left and right, inspecting the corridor before stepping out of it. As she walked out, though, a much larger Borealis Zazane male appeared from the shadows, as if he was expecting her. he wore a regal, imposing-looking set of armor as well as a decorated crown on top of his crest. The man was Tondroskys Talsar, king and leader of the Borealis Zazane race and a servant of General Volim of the Wranploer. He looked at the teen girl with a dissatisfied expression.
- Tondroskys - Tulsarshima. What were you doing there?
- Tulsarshima - F-father...
- Tondroskys - Answer me, girl.
- Tulsarshima - I... I just wanted to see Kryptkor... he's so alone in there...
- Tondroskys - I've told you enough times. There is no Kryptkor anymore. Forget about him.
- Tulsarshima - How can you be so cold? Kryptkor is my brother! Your son!
- Tondroskys - He was a traitor. Was. Refer to him as a man long gone, for that is what he is. Go to your room and do not leave until I order you to.
- Tulsarshima - Father, please...
Tears formed on the Borealis Zazane princess' eyes, though the king remained adamant, looking at her with a frown. Nothing she could say would change his mind, as her brother was dead on his eyes after what he had done. He made a terrible crime which could not be forgiven: trying to oppose the will of the Wranploer General. Tulsarshima knew that her father's blind loyalty to the Wranploer came before his love for his family. She did nothing else but turn away and make her way to her room as she had ordered. However, this was the least of her worries. Alerts roared through the palace as a fleet entered orbit and began bombarding it seemingly out of nowhere. Soldiers began mobilizing as they saw the capital city under attack, enemy troopers as far as they could see.
The Zoles Imperium was there.
In a mission to weaken the Wranploer Legion by harming its member races, the Zoles launched a relentless attack on the Borealis Zazane homeworld of Kryptka. And soon enough, the entire planet fell into chaos. Tulsarshima ran through the burning corridors of her home palace, looking for a way out as it crumbled down. She yelled for her father, mother, brothers, yet she could find no one. After much searching, though, she did find her father. An immense pillar had fallen on top of him, crushing him and leaving only his legs and tail not crumbled below debris. She put her hands on her mouth and tried to contain her tears, and she looked away as fast as she could, no longer desiring to see her father's blood in front of her. Finding a set of stairs leading down, she hid underground, merely hoping that the Zoles would not find her, or that her mother or brothers. But no one came. No Zoles, no family. The attack lasted for several hours, and Tulsarshima only left her hideout the next day, after the fires had died out. Her home was in ruins and the capital was tore apart, the bodies of dead Borealis Zazane soldiers and civilians littering the streets.
She walked through the streets, looking for more survivors, but all she could find was death. Her formerly beautiful dress was reduced to rags from the whole incident, and she was covered in ashes. The skies were cloudy and darkened from the smoke released from the attack, which further caused Tulsarshima's spirit to break. Her home was destroyed and her family was nowhere to be seen. Only after several hours did she hear a sound. The sound of a landing shuttle, from where several Borealis Zazane emerged. However, they were not there to save her. They were space pirates, and were there to loot what remained of the city. Tulsarshima attempted hiding from them, but she was quickly noticed. And cornered.
- Pirate 1 - Well, would you look at this fine little thing.
- Pirate 2 - Hot damn.
- Tulsarshima - S-stay back! I-I'm warning you!
- Pirate 1 - Oh? Warning us, eh? Who do you think you are?
- Tulsarshima - I am Princess Tulsarshima Talsar and I'm ordering you to stay away!
- Pirate 2 - Huh? Old Tondroskys' daughter?... We scored, man.
- Pirate 1 - Oh yes. Imagine how much we could profit from selling her.
- Tulsarshima - W-what?!
- Pirate 1 - Oh yes, we can definitely make a small fortune out of her.
- Pirate 2 - Heheh. Before we do that, though.... Heheheh.
- Tulsarshima - N-no! Get away from me!
The pirates took Tulsarshima, and she never saw Kryptka again. Tondroskys' legacy was dead, and she became merely a token, used by many. She screamed, she fought back, but through the next years, she was forced to pleasure countless individuals, each paying large amounts of credits for her. And every day that passed, she hated them more. She could do nothing about it, and so she kept it to herself. A burning, agonizing hatred for each and every man who laid a finger on her body. Tulsarshima grew up to become a stunningly gorgeous woman, and that only meant she was abused more and more. But it reached to the point she could no longer take it. The last man who tried to lay down with her found himself choking on a drink that she had poisoned, and as he did, she grabbed him by his horns and pulled them until they were ripped out of his head. She trained her body and skill through the years when not being abused by someone, and she decided to put these skills to use at last. Others tried to stop her, and she killed every one of them, one by one.
Tulsarshima became legendary for her skill, living as an independent mercenary who occasionally worked for the Wranploer Legion. She hated it, but it was an easy way to get money. And once the Wranploer Legion fell, she was contacted by someone who was interested in her services.
- Torrent - So I've seen how powerful you are. A killing machine. I'm looking for the best killing machines in this galactic arm.
- Tulsarshima - What do you want from me, Torrent?
- Torrent - I am forming the squad named Dark Grip. Serve under this squad, and I can grant you all the power, all the riches, you can walk for the rest of your life.
- Tulsarshima - Power and riches, hm? I may have use for that.
- Torrent - So I believe we have an agreement. I'll be giving you the coordinates of where you'll receive your... enhancements. It has been a pleasure making business with you, Dolgan Tuchaki.
- Tulsarshima - Hmpf. Yes. "Warlord".
- Kilchárunya - Meh. I've seen better life stories on TV.
- Vekaron - I'll be like Wragrot for a moment here. "Shut up".
- Kamaris - Well...I cannot say that isn't insensitive.
- Kilchárunya - What? Like I actually give a shit.
- Kamaris - I'll never understand you Kicath types.
Kirlisir grasped her forehead and caressed it as the visions faded and she left Dolgan's mind, severing the others from the Zazane's memories. With a rather distinguishable frown upon her face, Kalcedia moved a hand towards Dolgan and rested it on her shoulder while she was unconscious, looking saddened by the visions that the Rovegar had to show them.
- Vekaron - I never thought this woman was actually royalty. As far as I know, Kryptkor Talsar currently resides at the Brood of War. I wonder if she's even aware of it.
- Kalcedia - All women like to keep at least something about their person secret.
- Kilchárunya - Yeah. Like the size of your--
- Kamaris - That's enough, Kil.
At this moment, Dolgan's eyes jolted open. The machinery connected to her detected extreme amounts of energy radiating out of her being, and the smoke coming out of her intensified. A layer of hardened, rock-like structures began growing out of her skin as she began growling in an angered, rabid manner. Kalcedia leaped back out of pure instinctive reflex, while Kirlisir backflipped to stand in front of Vekaron with her blades drawn. Vansenk slithered to the back of the group, wishing not to stand in the juggernaut's path. Dolgan rose from the table and let out a demonic roar, which sent all things close to her flying away and forced Vekaron to put her hands on her ears. She gradually grew in size as more of her body was engulfed in rocky formations, and she then tackled a wall, easily creating a hole through it, which she to run away.
- Vekaron - ...Fuck. I'm starting to regret his idea.
- Kilchárunya - You think?
- Vekaron - After her! Don't let her escape!
- Kamaris - I'm not sure whether it is a smart idea to give chase to that.
- Vekaron - She's gonna destroy the city if we don't do something.
- Kalcedia - If you try anything, don't face her head on. You'll get yourself killed like that. Aim for the back of her head and you should... well, maybe be fine.
- Vekaron - Alright. Everyone, move out!
Care for the Uncaring
The sound of gunfire was heard as the half-demon Dolgan rampaged through the city. The Dracogonarious' weapons, which cut through her forces only an hour ago, now could not even slow her down. She was becoming larger as time passed as well as more demonic, and it would be a matter of time until she fully Descended herself. Vekaron and his team chased after her, though the Zoles was unsure of what to do.
- Vekaron - Kalcedia, have you fought things like these already? Are you sure about this whole neck thing?
- Kalcedia - Oh, it's not like I'm a Zazane or anything.
- Vekaron - Now it's not the time for sarcasm. I'm being serious. The last time we fought a demon, we nearly lost Hyperborea.
- Kamaris - True.
- Kalcedia - I have, in fact, fought something like this before. I prefer not to speak of it, but it just so happens that in this state, Dolgan would be vulnerable to immense heat and strikes to the back of her head.
- Demon Dolgan - I hate you all... I hate you! HATE! YOU! ALL!
Dolgan unleashed a blast from her mouth which froze all that touched it, covering the Dracogonarious capital in demonic ice and instantly killing all soldiers on her vicinity. Vekaron's team arrived to the location to find her with her back turned to them, letting out another roar. Kalcedia drew her sniper rifle and aimed proficiently, without having to so much as glance through the attached scope, and fired at the back of Dolgan's head, striking the under-segments of her protruding crest and barely missing the rear of Dolgan's skull. The demon screeched out in pain and turned itself to the team's direction, walking at their direction. Her face spazzed and an angered growl came out of her as she set her eyes on Kalcedia.
- Demon Dolgan - Whore! Bitch! Scum! I hate you the most!
- Kalcedia - I suggest it's time you all find somewhere to camp.
Vekaron looked at Kalcedia before turning away, running for cover. Kirlisir did the same, following Vekaron's lead while Vansenk scurried in the opposite direction to them. Kalcedia stood valiant as she saw Dolgan approach and fired a round from her sniper rifle, which flew almost completely pass Dolgan's face - however, shortly afterwards, it exploded near Dolgan's eye. The demon growled angrily as she stumbled in place, before she sent one of her now massive and rock-shielded fists at Kalcedia's direction, intending to crush her under it. Kalcedia's skin soon protruded with its own diamond-like bio-armour, although most of it shattered as Dolgan's fist collided with her and sent her flying backwards before she managed to regain her balance and attract Dolgan's attention. Bleeding, she fired more explosive rounds at Dolgan to agitate her. The demonic Zazane put her arms on the ground, and on all four, began walking on Kalcedia's direction. Her transformation allowed her to shrug off most damage, though it slowed her down considerably.
- Demon Dolgan - Get out of my sight... it makes me angry! You make me angry!
- Kalcedia - She's coming this way, get her! Back of the head or behind the crest, remember!
Vekaron jumped out of cover, taking flight and going for the nape of the demonic Dolgan's neck, delivering a slash at it which caused the demon to growl in anger and pain. Kirlisir followed suite and struck Dolgan's rear skull as well, slashing through several of the icelike formations that had amassed on her back, while Vansenk leaped from cover and dug his scythe into the wounds inflicted by Vekaron and Kirlisir, beginning to infect the titan with his nanomachines - Dolgan quickly began to feel an irritable, increasing feeling of internal burning. Dolgan thrashed in place and nearly fell over from the attacks. She began limping as she swung her arms around, trying to hit the team.
- Demon Dolgan - You make it hurt! It hurts so much!
- Kilchárunya - Well sorry for keeping the peace! Sort of.
- Kalcedia - Calm down and stop resisting, then it won't hurt!
Dolgan turned her head to Kalcedia and sent an ice breath at her direction, irritated by her presence. Kalcedia swiftly evaded the attack, although parts of her flesh were covered in frost as Dolgan's attacks were too overwhelming to escape from unscathed. With her rifle, she fired at Dolgan once again, gaining her attention while Vansenk continued festering his nanomachines within Dolgan's body, and Kirlisir took an opportunity and slashed at Dolgan's heel. The demon grunted and fell on the ground, holding herself on her hands as she tried to get back up. She was clearly weakened, though if given time, her wounds would heal.
- Kalcedia - Everyone, hold back.
- Vekaron - Huh?
- Kalcedia - She's weakened. If we continue this, we could kill her. We don't want that. I don't, at least.
- Vekaron - What's your plan then?
- Kalcedia - Like I said before. Calm her down.
- Vekaron - ...Very well.
Kalcedia approached the fallen giant and kept some distance between herself and Dolgan, although she nonetheless stood closer than she had done before. She set down her gun as a sign that she meant no further harm nor agitation towards the Borealis Zazane and lifted her hands, exposing herself freely.
- Kalcedia - We don't have to do this, Dolgan.
- Demon Dolgan - Grrrh... Whore, scum, insect... You're everything I hate about this life.
- Kalcedia - Sure I am, Dolgan, and I can understand why. But you're not alone, there are others that can understand, and have gone through, the pain that you have.
- Kilchárunya - Cast out by a family? ...Me I guess.
- Demon Dolgan - No one can understand. All want to use me as their plaything. You want to do the same!
- Kalcedia - Dolgan, I am a plaything. I was born that way. ...I don't want to use you, I want to help you.
- Demon Dolgan - Help?... Help?... YOU?
- Kalcedia - Yes. Help. I want to help you. I can help you cope... I can take you away from all that suffering.
Dolgan stomped on the ground and roared at Kalcedia, enough to knock her back a few centimeters from where she was standing.
- Demon Dolgan - How can you help me?!
- Kalcedia - Well for starters, I'm the only thing that's keeping the rest of Vekaron's guys from killing you right here and now after destroying a city block. I can also help you find something... new to do.
- Demon Dolgan - Find... something?
- Kalcedia - Yeah. Something you enjoy, something you want to do. What have you always wanted to be when you were a little girl? I can help you get it.
- Demon Dolgan - Not being born!
- Kalcedia - Did you want to find your brother? Do you want to see Kryptkor again?
- Demon Dolgan - Don't talk about Kryptkor!
- Kalcedia - Do you... want to see him again? Because, Dolgan, I can help you do that.
- Demon Dolgan - You can't... Kryptkor is dead... My whole family is dead... Stop reminding me of it!
Kalcedia sighed and leaned on her gun, its barrel resting against the ground. She whistled towards Vekaron and Kirlisir and nodded to them, as if wanting to gain their attention before asking a question.
- Kalcedia - Vekaron, is Kryptkor Talsar alive or dead?
- Vekaron - He's alive. He used to serve the Wranploer Legion until he joined the Brood of War. I remember learning about it during the Second War.
- Kalcedia - See, Dolgan? Still alive. Free.
- Demon Dolgan - ...That was... Kryptkor?... I heard there was a new ruler... Was it him?
- Kalcedia - Yes, it was him. It was Kryptkor. If you wish, I can arrange for you to see him again.
Dolgan stopped in place before she looked at her own hands. Her growling ended, being replaced by the sound of weeping. Smoke came out of her being as tears formed on her eyes.
- Demon Dolgan - Kryptkor would hate to see me like this...
- Kalcedia - Come on, come with me. We'll get you bandaged up and we can help you.
Dolgan's demonic body began falling apart, her armored hide and flesh falling into the ground. From her head, Dolgan's naked form emerged and fell on the ground in front of Kalcedia, crying loudly. Vekaron looked at the scene in surprise, unsure of now to react, and decided to simply remain a safe distance away from them.
- Kilchárunya - Well this was an enlightening experience.
- Kit - Must you be so cold?
- Kilchárunya - Yes.
Kalcedia approached Dolgan and helped her to stand before walking with her, towards the facility from which she had rampaged through prior. Kirlisir kept close to Vekaron and held his hand in hers as the rest of Dolgan's demonic vessel crumbled into shards and rubble, and Vansenk followed the two Zazane, keeping a keen watch from behind.
Hours later, the team returned to the ship. And now, Dolgan was with them. Vekaron decided to no longer send her to Exile, and instead, the Borealis Zazane would remain a member of his team. They were all united on the captain's bay as usual, and Dolgan remained close to Kalcedia, looking at the rest of the team with what appeared to be fear. Kalcedia turned to Dolgan with a soft smile and chuckled to herself.
- Kalcedia - There's no need to be scared of them, you know.
- Dolgan - I... I haven't spoken to someone properly in... decades.
- Vekaron - Don't worry about it. We had our differences in the past but believe me, you'll be far more accepted here than with Torrent.
- Kamaris - Very noble to be so open with your former enemies.
- Vekaron - Yeah, I'm kinda used to having enemies become friends by now. Just look at the Second War.
- Kirlisir - You seem to forget who exactly tried to kill you that one time, heh.
- Kamaris - Indeed. That was more of a misunderstanding rather than this.
At this moment, Gardin arrived to the room. Upon taking sight of Dolgan, she put her hands on her cheeks and let out a yell, which caused the Zazane to jump in place startled.
- Gardin - A blue Kal!
- Kilchárunya - So marks the end of my influence on that child.
- Kalcedia - Ssh, don't be so loud! You'll spook our guest.
- Kirlisir - Gardin, meet Dolgan. Dolgan, this is Gardin, Vekaron's little girl.
- Dolgan - Vekaron's...
- Vekaron - Adopted.
- Dolgan - Right. By Vaxal... I never had to deal with children before...
- Gardin - Hiiiii!
- Kilchárunya - Hm. I might actually get along with you.
- Dolgan - I... I'll do my best to not hate everyone... Wait, that sounded wrong, didn't it?
Kalcedia giggled again and, in the spur of the moment, wrapped her arms around Dolgan and embraced her, pressing her muzzle against Dolgan's cheek. Kirlisir's eyes widened as she watched the scene and froze in place, while at the opposite end of the table, Vansenk watched with a rather wide, perhaps perverted grin across his scarred face. Vekaron's eyes also widened from the scene, and he tried to make an effort to hide his reaction. Dolgan was caught by surprise and remained static, her cheeks becoming dark blue from blushing.
- Vekaron - ...Erm. So. Would you prefer if we called you Dolgan or...
- Dolgan - Call me Dolgan... captain.
- Vekaron - Heh. As you say.
Ruler of the Zoles
Vekaron's ship travelled to the edges of the Zoles Imperium, where they met with a massive dreadnought surrounded by a fleet. This imposing vessel, Zoleia's Crown, was Rebaris' flagship and means of space travel. The old Zoles king had invited Vekaron and his crewmembers to a dinner on his ship, while he travelled through Imperial space to visit multiple planets. Vekaron wore a more formal uniform than his standard armor, though he still kept his blade and his new syringe gun on his belt. Vyatak followed him with a smile on his face, being extremely eager to meet the king of the Imperium in person. Kilchárunya wore formal Kicathian attire - nothing pertaining to a dress, as Kicath had no concept of femininity. She did however conceal a pistol under it. Kamaris wore somewhat archaic Mahanayan clothing, somewhat difficult to describe. Kit, perhaps for the first time in a while, was not wearing armour either. It was noticeable that his skin had faded and paled because of the time spent under it. Kalcedia wore something partially revealing and exposing, yet still appropriate and formal, at least for her, while Kirlisir a suit styled for Rovegar fitting, having refused to wear a dress of her own. However, between Kalcedia and Kirlisir, Dolgan Tuchaki appeared to have been wearing a light blue dress with white, floral patterns, and some make-up adorning her features. Vansenk, meanwhile, kept his cloak upon his body but his hood down.
- Dolgan - This is embarrassing. Must I really wear this?
- Kilchárunya - I know how you feel. Sort of.
- Kalcedia - This is your first formal occasion, you must be dressed accordingly, hmm. Kirlisir - Hey, if you don't like it, you can wear a suit next time.
- Kilchárunya - Always bugs me. You know? Female clothing.
- Vyatak - Very excited. Will meet King himself. Always wanted to. Where is young Gardin?
- Vekaron - I left her at the ship. I think she might cause trouble... and I'm not sure how Queen Aldaren would react to her.
- Kamaris - Is that wise? To leave her alone?
- Vekaron - Don't worry, the crewmates at the ship are taking care of her. Still, Queen Aldaren is... too eccentric for me to trust Gardin to her.
- Kilchárunya - You should have said. Could have stayed with her. I hate eccentric types.
- Vansenk - Eugh. Royals.
Walking through the corridors of the ship, Zoles, Nilito, Heleanorian and Samilinus soldiers all bowed at the team as they passed through them. They were all equipped with highly advanced, yet decorated armor which made them look almost like knights. The insides of the ship were decorated with immense portraits of old Zoles kings and queens which were large enough to cover entire walls.
- Kamaris - Reminds me of home. Except less sand.
- Vekaron - These all were rulers of the Zoles people at one point in history. From the earliest king of the Empire of Zoleia, to king Rebaris himself, thousands of years later. We are rather proud of our history.
- Kirlisir - Quite a short amount of time. By Rovegar standards, that is. Though, it looks colourful nonetheless.
- Kilchárunya - At least most of your history still stands. A couple hundred thousand years later and we are still digging on Paclernos for our history.
Arriving at the dining hall, the team was greeted by guards which took them to their seats. The table was not terribly large, but it was still a fair distance between one end and the other. King Rebaris and his wife, Queen Aldaren, sat on the opposite end of the table, and the old king smiled as Vekaron and his team arrived.
- Rebaris - Vekaron, my boy. I'm glad you and your friends could come.
- Vekaron - It's an immense pleasure to see you again, my king.
- Vyatak - Oh dear. King Rebaris! Immense honour! Will bow immediately.
- Rebaris - Oh no, you have no need to. You are not my subjects. You have no need to bow to me.
- Kalcedia - You're a pleasant king, no wonder you are so popular.
Vekaron looked at Rebaris with a smile, though his expression was somewhat apprehensive. He could see that age was not being gentle to the Zoles ruler, he appeared weak and wrinkled compared to the last time they had seen each other. Queen Aldaren appeared more energetic, though she was just as senile as her husband. The Queen looked over at the team and kept her eyes on Kilchárunya.
- Aldaren - Hello there, Vekaron! Who are these people? Is that your girlfriend?
- Kilchárunya - 'Girl-friend'...what does that mean?
- Kirlisir - No, your majesty. No she is not.
- Aldaren - Well that is a shame, she looks gorgeous.
- Rebaris - Dear, please don't bother the guests with such questions.
- Aldaren - Aww, I was just trying to chat.
- Kilchárunya - Is it me or is she speaking a different language?
Droids carrying plates arrived to the chamber and placed meals in front of every member of the team. Rebaris had made sure to get meals which were enjoyable to the alien members of the team. As per usual, the Kicathian meals were minimalistic - the food was of dark colour and gave off a strange smell. Such foods were poisonous to others, something that Kilchárunya and Kit sort of admired in the selection. Kirlisir's dish was adorned with vegetable matter and other flora that was usually eaten by Rovegar, while Kalcedia was given a plate that was decorated with what appeared to be a pile of raw, uncooked mince meat. Vansenk glared hungrily towards his plate, which carried various cephalopodic, cooked creatures. Kamaris was given a large selection of different cooked meats, thick to chew and perfect for a Mahanayan of his stature.
- Rebaris - I've heard of your recent victories against Torrent. The unification of the Murgur people and your aiding of the Indoctrinate Collective.
- Vekaron - Heh. I'm just doing my job, your majesty.
- Rebaris - Of course... I'm just saddened that I won't be able to see you win this conflict.
- Vekaron - Hm?
- Rebaris - I invited you here to tell you that I'll be stepping down from the Zoles Imperium throne in a few days.
Both Vekaron and Vyatak, at this point, began choking on their meals, startled by what the Zoles king had said. Kalcedia glanced towards Rebaris with a raised eyebrow while she ate from her plate, and Vansenk passed an eye as well. Kirlisir, who sat beside Vekaron, looked over towards Rebaris while making sure that Vekaron did not choke on his food.
- Vekaron - W-what? Why?!
- Rebaris - Look at me, Vekaron. I'm on the verge of dying of old age. I'm no longer fit to rule an empire anymore. My mind is weakened and my body is scarred from the torture I endured under Volim and Falrik Zaarkhun during the Second War. It's time to move on.
- Kirlisir - If you do not mind me asking, do you have an heir in mind to take over for you?
- Rebaris - Aldaren will be ruler, and after her, my oldest son will take the throne. I have prepared this for several months now, I am merely announcing it today.
- Aldaren - I don't want to see you go, dear... but nature is a vile, horrid thing.
- Rebaris - Unfortunately, Aldaren, you're right.
- Vansenk - That is for certain.
- Kilchárunya - Well you could get cybernetics and biopharmaceutical nanotechnologically implemented prosthetics to further your lifespan.
- Kamaris - I didn't even know those were words.
- Rebaris - No. I'm not interested in increasing my lifespan. I've lived my life already, all these 395 years were enough for me. I'm going to move to the farther, rural regions of Zoleia and spend the rest of my days resting, until the day I'm reunited with our ancestors.
- Vansenk - Every man has his reign, Kicath. And then he dies.
- Kilchárunya - Yeah. Tell that to the councillor man.
- Kalcedia - Ahem... When do you plan on revealing this news to your public, Your Majesty?
- Rebaris - Tomorrow. I wanted you to be the first individuals to learn about it. Vekaron, I know you and I were always close, like father and son. But don't mourn over me. Keep your head up, and keep doing your best. I'll be gone, but remember, our ancestors watch us everyday of our lives.
- Kamaris - Three hundred and ninety five years. The Zoles must appreciate life if they are to live it in so little time.
- Kirlisir - They appreciate it more than certain Rovegar do, at least.
Vekaron looked at his king and said nothing, nodding to him before going back to his meal. Vyatak had a solemn expression on his face and kept his head down. While the atmosphere of the room was already heavy, all individuals in it felt the entirely of the ship rumble. Imperium soldiers began mobilizing themselves while a Zoles warrior, with an imposing set of commander armor, ran over to the king and queen of the Zoles.
- Zoles Commander - We are under attack! The Wranploer are all around us and have us pinned! We must evacuate the vessel immediately!
- Aldaren - What?! Those disgusting cretins! How dare they!!
- Rebaris - Oh no...
- Kilchárunya - Ah. Right on cue -- oh wait. Gardin.
- Dolgan - Fucking Torrent must be after me.
- Vekaron - ...After you and the king. Which one of you brought weapons with you?
- Dolgan - Gah. I didn't.
Kilchárunya pulled her pistol from a concealed pocket in her tunic. Almost upon demand, the barrel of Kalcedia's rifle erupted from he torso and she pulled it out from her body, which quickly reformed and sealed itself, with the clothing she wore being unscathed as they were part of her form. Vansenk drew his scythe and slithered out of sight, while Kirlisir slammed her fists, regretting not bringing her blades.
- Kilchárunya - Hell. Never go anywhere without it.
- Kamaris - I suppose I could just use the table. If you don't mind.
- Rebaris - Feel free.
Kamaris nodded, and, as gracefully as a Mahanayan could, which was not much, pulled the table up in his two hands, causing all of the ornaments and food to crash on the floor and all over Kilchárunya. Kit stood up, following them close by.
- Vyatak - Yickes.
- Kilchárunya - I thought you were an age-old master of war.
- Kamaris - This is not the place nor the time.
- Vekaron - Our mission is clear. Escort King Rebaris and Queen Aldaren to the escape pods, no matter the cost. Let's go!
Out of His Misery
Vekaron kept his blade in hand as him and his team protected Rebaris, Aldaren and Vyatak, who naturally carried no weapons. Zoles soldiers flanked them as they walked through the ship's interior, the tapestries and portraits of old rulers being set alight by Wranploer forced which poured into the ship. The soldiers of the Imperium fired their guns at the Wranploer soldiers in sight, while Dolgan shook her fist in an angered manner, having no means of ranged combat.
- Kilchárunya - Sorry if this sounds disrespectful but you can never beat a good bust-up.
- Dolgan - If only I wasn't wearing a damned dress!
- Kirlisir - You're a Zazane, aren't you? Run up and punch something!
Kamaris launched the table at the soldiers, the air could be heard being torn in mid-flight. Multiple soldiers were immediately floored and stunned, while Dolgan growled and charged ahead, stomping on the heads of whoever got in front of her. Vekaron had a scowl on his face as he slashed pirates who attempted to approach, cutting them horizontally and diagonally. Kirlisir narrowed her eye and launched psychic bursts towards her opponents, launching them and throwing them afar, with many being killed or severely wounded from the mere impacts. Kalcedia fired her gun with unchallenged precision, firing through pirates mercilessly. Kilchárunya blasted her pistol at the soldiers, whilst Kit charged in head first, throwing the soldiers across the full length of the hall. A blur was seen on the team's eyes as something charged through them, grabbed Rebaris and ran away, disappearing in the corridors ahead. Aldaren, Vyatak and various soldiers were thrown off their feet.
- Aldaren - W-what was that? Where is Rebaris!?
- Vansenk - We were not paying attention. And now we suffer.
- Kirlisir - Oh, no we don't.
- Vekaron - Damnit, go after him! Now!
- Kit - He went that way.
Without a second thought, Kirlisir charged in the direction that the blur descended upon and pursued with as much speed as she could, which was impressive by the standard of most other Rovegar. Chasing after Rebaris, whoever had caught him set out various explosives which blocked the way with debris, forcing the team to take detours. Vekaron grew increasingly angry as the king was lost from his sight, while Dolgan's expression showed some worry. She was aware of what was waiting for them.
- Kalcedia - You know, I'm starting to get worried we might actually fail this.
- Aldaren - N-no! You must save Rebaris! He can't die! Not yet!
- Kilchárunya - Leave the cynicism to me. You can't do it.
Killing pirates on the way, the team eventually arrived to a larger hall, where various exits were blocked by debris and the bodies of fallen soldiers littered the floor. At the far side of the room, a familiar figure walked from left to right, glaring at the team. A well-armored Sankáryn.
- T'enth-ei - You shall no proceed.
- Kirlisir - You.
- Dolgan - I knew it.
- T'enth-ei - So you serve under him now. I expected more of you, Dolgan. Betrayal will not be tolerated.
- Kalcedia - Betrayal, was it? I prefer the term 'liberation' myself.
- Vekaron - Where is Rebaris, you fuck!
- T'enth-ei - With Torrent.
- Vekaron - Torrent is here?!
- T'enth-ei - You will not get to him.
- Kirlisir - I may not have my suit, but I'm still going to make sure you lock eyes with your own asshole once I'm finished with you.
T'enth-ei stepped forward and then charged at the team's direction, sending his blade at Vekaron's direction. The Penumbran responded by striking at him with his own blade, though the Sankáryn was clearly far faster than the Zoles could hope to match. Kirlisir flung blasts of psychic energy at T'enth-ei, refusing to lose track of it despite its agility, and threw various objects splayed throughout the room at him. Kalcedia took aim and fired at T'enth-ei from afar, while Vansenk leaped from the shadows and flung his scythe in the Sankáryn's direction. Kamaris shut his eyes - though blinded, his mind was clearer even then. He breathed in heavily, overcome by feelings of revenge, but then tried to calm himself to fight the one who took his sight from him. The Sankáryn stumbled in place and was knocked into the ground, before getting back on its feet and running in circle across the room, firing its shoulder-mounted guns at the team. Aldaren screamed as Vyatak pulled her into cover.
- T'enth-ei - You cannot keep up.
- Kirlisir - Come on! Come and fight me like a man, not an insect!
Vekaron was hit by several shots and winced in pain as he fell to one knee. The Sankáryn ran too fast for Dolgan to notice it getting behind her, and it delivered a kick, striking the back of her head. The Zazane screamed and was launched across the room, hitting a wall and then falling on the ground, unconscious.
- Kalcedia - Dolgan!
- T'enth-ei - Traitors are obstacles. Obstacles die.
Kalcedia performed a roll towards the unconscious Zazane and fortified herself near her position, blocking Dolgan away from T'enth-ei - she proceeded to unleash a barrage of hypermatter bullets in the alien's direction, baring her teeth as she defended Dolgan's location. T'enth-ei's skin hardened and he put his arms in front of himself as a shield. Vekaron took the opportunity and struck the Sankáryn at his back, causing it to hiss in pain and back away. Delivering an off-hand slash, T'enth-ei struck Vekaron's hand, causing the Zoles to growl in pain and jump back. The Sankáryn turned its head to Kamaris before charging at his direction, blasting dust behind him.
- Kamaris - You.
- T'enth-ei - Ssssssshhh!
Kamaris tightened his grasp on the Sankáryn's neck; straining sounds could be heard. T'enth-ei began feeling numb as the anti-nanomachines began affecting him, and he used what remained of his strength to attempt to jab Kamaris with his blade. The blade did little damage to Kamaris' armour, bouncing off it as the blind Mahanayan looked at him.
- Kamaris - I want you to look at me. I want you to see me; the last thing you will ever see in your life. And I want you to take it to Inferno with you; so you shall be tormented forever. I want you to look at me when I tear your brain from your skull.
- T'enth-ei - Sssssshhh. Burn with all the Zí-Jittorám I have slaughtered.
- Kamaris - I am much worse than a Zí-Jittorám. And I want you to tell your friends in hell about it.
- T'enth-ei - Kill me if you will. You will still fail. We have won today.
Kamaris delivered a punch straight to T'enth-ei's face, smashing the horns and plates from his head as he hit the ground, rocking his left eye almost out of the Sankáryn's socket. He was still alive however - and Kamaris, usually a calm person, wanted him to suffer as painfully as possible. T'enth-ei let out a blood-curled hiss as he hit the ground, incapable of moving. Dolgan held on her head as she woke up to see the Sankáryn on the floor, a grin appearing on her face. Kamaris then pressed his foot against T'enth-ei's head. Being many tons in weight, he slowly applied pressure to his skull, slowly cracking in the process.
- Dolgan - Never liked that smug little asshole.
- Aldaren - Oh dear, I can't take this.
- Kirlisir - I suggest you look away, ma'am.
T'enth-ei squirmed and shook himself as he could, though he was obviously overpowered by that point. The more he pressed his foot down, the more his head expanded until it popped like a balloon - green flesh and a disastrously copious amount of blood exploded from under his foot as Kamaris slammed the Sankáryn against the floor. T'enth-ei's limbs twitched for a moment before all movement ceased. Vekaron looked at the scene, impressed by Kamaris' brutality.
- Vekaron - Damn.
- Kamaris - He took my eyes. I took his life.
- Dolgan - I got a lot of respect for you now, Mahanayan.
- Kirlisir - I would've had him suffer in Exile. But killing him was... entertaining to watch.
- Vekaron - As satisfying as this may be, we need to move on and find Rebaris. Torrent is here in person apparently.
- Kirlisir - We'd best get a move on then, can't afford to waste time here.
The team progressed through the ruined ship until they arrived at the next major chamber, the escape pods, though it appeared they were too late. Torrent was visible, his bird Scallywag on his shoulder, and he held the Zoles king by his neck at his eye level. Soldiers shielded Torrent in a circle.
- Torrent - Any last wishes, you old fart?
- Rebaris - Killing me will accomplish nothing, you fiend. I'm already about to die. My death will not harm the Imperium.
- Torrent - This is revenge, Rebaris! Revenge for the destruction of my people! Revenge for the ruination of the Wranploer Legion! It's all your damned fault!
- Rebaris - Vekaron will stop you. I have faith in him.
- Torrent - Here's my opinion on your fate bullshit!
And with a single movement from his hand, a distinct sound hit the ears of Vekaron and his team. Cracking bones. Torrent snapped the old Zoles king's neck without difficulty, throwing his body aside immediately after. The Penumbran's eyes widened as he began sweating cold, and Queen Aldaren let out a terrified scream.
- Aldaren - REBARIS!
Kirlisir looked on with a widened eye and she launched psychic explosions towards Torrent's soldiers in a rush. Kalcedia fired while assisting Dolgan, as she was yet to recover fully from her blow to the head, and took out several soldiers, although Vansenk hung back at the rear of the group. Vekaron roared as he launched himself forward, cutting through the soldiers in a fit of anger. Noticing them, Torrent raised an eyebrow and took a step back. Kilchárunya began to fire at Torrent, though, like usual, she had no real emotion for the situation at hand.
- Torrent - You? How did you get past T'enth-ei?
- Vekaron - We killed him! And I'm going to kill you now!!
- Torrent - Killed? Grrrh. You take my Dark Grip member then kill the other?
Torrent's nanomachines defended him from the shots as he sent his fist foward, hitting Vekaron across the face and sending him flying backwards. To prove his point, he sent his foot at Rebaris' head, crushing it under his boot and blasting blood and brain matter across the floor, before turning back and taking one of the escape pods.
- Torrent - Another day, Vekaron. I have today's prize already.
- Vekaron - Don't let him... don't...
Kirlisir ran towards Torrent, unleashing psychic blasts in his direction. She threw Torrent's soldiers aside with her abilities and leaped at the Kvargo's pod, throwing more psychic energy at it. Before she could reach it, though, the doors closed on Kirlisir and Torrent managed to escape, getting away from the ship. The enemy pirates were all killed by the team's efforts while Vekaron's head hit the floor, unconscious.
Several hours later, the team found themselves back on their usual meeting place. Queen Aldaren was safely taken back to Zoleia, alongside what remained of Rebaris, so that he could be given a proper funeral. Vekaron, though, was missing, for he had locked himself on his room. Vyatak had a hand on his head while Dolgan leaned on a wall, distressed. Kirlisir leaned on the wall outside of Vekaron's door, remaining silent while she kept her suit on, having not been given the chance to remove it. Vansenk was once again asleep on the ceiling, while Kalcedia had allowed herself to distract Gardin from the depressing, saddening atmosphere of the vessel's chambers.
- Dolgan - I feel like shit.
- Kilchárunya - A brief glimpse of our job. I guess that's it. Time to go after Torrent.
- Vyatak - Lost Rebaris. Damn Torrent. Damn him to hell.
- Dolgan - Well... at least T'enth-ei is done for. I imagine we should go after the rest of Dark Grip now. If Torrent's gonna try attacking you guys' dear ones then we may as well do the same.
- Vansenk - I have no dear ones to attack.
- Dolgan - The Zoles king was obviously dear to the captain. But really, considering the odds, chances are that Dark Grip will find us, not the other way around.
Within her private chambers on board Vekaron's personal vessel, the tall, Amazonian Zazane, Kalcedia, was stripped to minimal clothing, allowing her bouncing, glamorous bosom to sway and bounce as free as it pleased as she walked throughout the room, a hand upon one of her breasts as she strolled aimlessly.
- Kalcedia - Where is it, where is it... How am I supposed to make for an exciting evening without vibrations!?
As Kalcedia strolled around, the door to her quarters was suddenly flung open by an invisible, powerful force. At the other side, nothing could be seen unless one looked down, where they could see the young Rovegar Gardin, who yelled out as the door was fully open.
- Gardin - Hey, Kal!
Kalcedia screeched as the door burst open, causing her to throw herself backward onto her bed and her breasts to jiggle in shock. She took a moment to adjust herself to Gardin's presence and panted, a hand on her chest, as she glared towards the Rovegar girl with narrowed eyes.
- Kalcedia - Can't you knock?!
- Gardin - No!
- Kalcedia - Why?!
- Gardin - Knocking is boring!
- Kalcedia - No, knocking's polite! What, are you trying to give me a damned heart attack?!
Gardin's eyes lowered and she put her head down, looking at the floor.
- Gardin - Oh...sorry...
- Kalcedia - ...Gah, what do you want, you little tit?
- Gardin - I wanted to know if you'd like to play with me since no one else does.
- Kalcedia - Games? What sorta games?
- Gardin - Well, I thought we could play ball together.
- Kalcedia - 'Ball'?
A large, bouncy ball levitated into the room to next to Gardin, who pointed at it.
- Gardin - You know. Throw to each other... throw at each other.
- Kalcedia - I... I guess I could play with you. I need to find a way to alleviate some stress and tire myself out.
- Gardin - Yay!
Gardin reached her hand forward and Kalcedia could feel some sort of presence taking her own hand. It was psychic energy coming from the Rovegar, who gently held Kalcedia's hand and began dragging her out of the room. Kalcedia almost stumbled as she was eagerly dragged from her bed by the Rovegar, although she began to smile with a rather content expression and followed the young Rovegar, not even given the chance to adorn herself with some form of clothing aside from the skimpy, exposing outfit she was wearing. Gardin's ball bounced by her side as the two of them walked at the direction of the training room, which was Gardin's favorite place to play due to its open and large side.
- Gardin - Kal?
- Kalcedia - Yeah?
- Gardin - Your hands are really soft.
- Kalcedia - So are yours, silly.
- Gardin - ...They're pleasant to feel.
- Kalcedia - You always say my body's pleasant to feel, heh. It's because I keep it in good shape.
Once they arrived to the training room, Gardin ran to the other side, carrying the ball with her and signaling Kalcedia to stand where she was. Kalcedia shrugged with a sly smirk and complied with Gardin's commands, swaying her hips and body as she did, with her hands placed upon her breasts while he walked. Her tail moved itself side to side as she did, her wings fluttering softly.
- Gardin - Are you ready?
- Kalcedia - Of course I'm ready, I'm always ready.
Gardin immediately took the ball, winded up and then threw it forward. It was launched much faster than Kalcedia would expect from a girl of Gardin's size, a psychic blue trail visible behind it, almost like a comet. Kalcedia swung herself around and her tail, like a limb in itself, reacted to Gardin's throw by whacking the ball back at her with significant speed. As she returned the ball, Kalcedia looked over her shoulder to take a glimpse at Gardin and grin at her. The ball flew back at Gardin until it stopped in front of her, remaining floating in the air. The Rovegar girl giggled and tilted her head as she looked at Kalcedia.
- Gardin - I thought I'd get you off guard. Guess I'm wrong.
- Kalcedia - Look girly, I'm a member of UNOC. It's going to take much more than a little girl like yourself to catch me off guard, no offence.
- Gardin - Oh really now? I'll take that as a challenge!
- Kalcedia - Oh you'd better.
Without any movement from Gardin's part, the ball was launched back at Kalcedia's direction, as fast as before. Sensing the ball's approach, Kalcedia swung herself around in a semicircular motion once again and threw out a clenched fist, colliding with the ball and sending it back towards Gardin as she seemed to leap into the air as she delivered the punch to the ball. Halfway through, though, the ball stopped in place before being launched back at Kalcedia's direction. Kalcedia grinned and reached out as the ball approached her, catching it within her grasps and stopping its path as her fingers wrapped themselves around it. With the ball now in her palm, she threw it with full force at Gardin, almost losing her balance in doing so. The Rovegar did not expect Kalcedia's move and was hit right in the head, being sent backwards and falling on the floor a fair distance away. Kalcedia stood, looking over towards Gardin and approaching her while giggling, leaning onto her knees and looking down at the young Rovegar as she lay splayed across the floor.
- Kalcedia - You alright?
The ball rolled away as Gardin remained on the floor with her eyes closed, completely static. Kalcedia reached out and prodded Gardin, poking both of her cheeks and exhaling lightly as she watched her lay on the ground. She proceeded to pick Gardin up in her arms, tutting as she seemed to cradle her like a baby. Gardin remained seemingly blacked out until the ball levitated once more behind Kalcedia and launched itself at the back of the Zazane's head. As Kalcedia cradled the small Rovegar, she never took her eyes off the girl, allowing her tail to perk upwards and take the brunt of the impact from the ball before it wrapped itself around its spherical form, holding it there so it could not be moved again. Leaning her head down, Kalcedia poked Gardin's nose with her own.
- Kalcedia - You can wake up now.'
- Gardin - Grrr!
Gardin opened her eyes and clenched her hands, looking at Kalcedia with an annoyed frown.
- Gardin - I thought I'd get you this time!
- Kalcedia - If you could, I would have been dead a long time ago, girly. Not bad though, I gotta say. Who taught you?
- Gardin - Kirlisir did. Except I can hit her.
- Kalcedia - Tell Kirlisir to take you more seriously, you have some good potential to fight with. Oh, and uh, tell Kirlisir that your daddy's feeling a little lonely.
- Gardin - Is he?
- Kalcedia - Yeah, he is, he wants his "best friend" to be there with him. His "best friend" being Kirlisir.
- Gardin - ...I know daddy and teacher like each other in a special way.
- Kalcedia - You do?
- Gardin - Yep. I can read minds.
- Kalcedia - I suggest you don't read mine, then, because I'm sure that whatever is in there is not suitable for your age. And it's also rude to read minds without asking.
Gardin giggled and began blushing as she rolled her eyes.
- Gardin - Sure.
- Kalcedia - Heh, now, I suggest you go and get going. I feel pretty tired, you left me rather... exhausted, girly.
- Gardin - Yep. You're all sweaty...
- Kalcedia - Oh, well what do you know? I am.
- Gardin - ...You smell really nice, you know? Can I have your perfume?
- Kalcedia - I don't... Gah, sure, what the hell. I'll try and find something spare to give to you, since my perfume is sort of... different to others.
- Gardin - Thanks, Kal. I had fun.
Kalcedia nodded with a wide smile and set Gardin down onto the floor, petting her head and rustling her already messy hair as she did. She placed her hands on her hips as she looked down at Gardin and passed the ball held within her tail to her, offering it. Gardin took the ball and gave Kalcedia a warm smile before turning away and walking off to put it back to its place. Kalcedia smiled and let out a sigh, walking towards the exit of the arena although not before passing a glance to Gardin as she did. She folded her arms and stopped walking for a moment to wait for the girl, feeling it... dishonest if she had left her on her own. After putting the ball on its place, the Rovegar made her way out as well, catching up with Kalcedia as her psychic energy prepared itself to close the door behind them. Kalcedia smiled and looked away from the girl, walking in front of her as she proceeded to tread the path that led back to her personal quarters. As they walked and Kalcedia no longer paid attention on her, Gardin gave the Zazane an intense stare as her tongue stuck out of her mouth. She muttered quietly to herself.
- Gardin - I can't wait to be an adult.
Zoles versus Zoles
One More Intrusion
Days had passed, and it was considered nighttime for Vekaron's spaceship. The Penumbran himself was browsing things on the exonet of his command board with a bored expression while Vyatak had already gone to sleep at the medi-bay. Dolgan held on her chin as she watched television at the main meeting room, not finding entertaining things to her tastes in the Polar Crystal Alliance's channels. Kilchárunya joined Dolgan in watching TV, whilst Kamaris was in his room, meditating, and Kit was again in the prison floor, meditating. Kalcedia sat on Dolgan's lap as the three of the girls watched television, with Kalcedia near enough half-asleep as she leaned her head forward, and Kirlisir was also lazily browsing the exonet from far from Vekaron, observing various message boards and adult sites. Vansenk, meanwhile, was nowhere to be seen, probably in his chambers.
- Dolgan - Polar Crystal Alliance television sucks. Where are all the fighting games? They had tons of those at the Vijaha Sector.
- Kalcedia - I like that one show about the Zoles and Krektal guys who want to make money and decide to set up a business by making and selling drugs. Shame that it had come to a finish.
- Kilchárunya - Gee, I still can't get over how Kamaris popped that Sankáryn's head like a balloon.
- Dolgan - I want to watch that happen to Torrent. Or at least Brakarion, but that might be a little hard. His head is huge.
- Kalcedia - I've seen bigger heads.
Kalcedia smirked to herself and folded her arms as her eyes were closed, lazily resting on Dolgan's knees.
- Kilchárunya - Bet you have.
- Dolgan - Oh shut up.
- Kalcedia - I wonder how Vekaron's taking it. He's been quiet for a while now. Not as lively as before.
- Kilchárunya - Probably needs someone cheering him up. ...Not me of course.
- Dolgan - I'm not gonna be the one bothering him. I've been trying to kill him for the last three or four years after all.
Kilchárunya looked at Kalcedia.
- Kilchárunya - Well go on then. Do something.
- Kalcedia - Hm? Nah, not tonight. He's not mine to cheer up.
At this moment, something appeared on Vekaron's screen, causing the Zoles to lazily move his eyes to see what it was. It was an unidentified vessel which fired its weapons against the Penumbran's ship, causing it to rumble. Vekaron's eyes widened and he fell off his chair. Kirlisir looked towards Vekaron as he was splayed across the floor and placed her tablet down before standing up and assisting the Penumbran to his feet. Kalcedia looked around as she wrapped her arms around Dolgan, cuddling her, and narrowed her brow.
- Kilchárunya - Oh come on, not on TV night.
- Dolgan - The fuck?
- Kalcedia - Well, at least something interesting's going on tonight.
- Dolgan - Get the hell up, we're under attack!
Kamaris stumbled out of his room, shaken to the floor from the impact. He held his giant helm in his hand, donning it as he passed the arch way to the lounge.
- Kamaris - So that wasn't me jumping out of bed. Sort of glad that it isn't.
As Kirlisir helped him up, Vekaron put a palm over his face and narrowed his eyes, barring his teeth in clear annoyance.
- Vekaron - They've come for us.
Kilchárunya stood up from the sofa, sprinting to her room to retrieve her weapons. Vekaron walked forward, nearly shoving Kirlisir away as he did. He began barking orders at the other crewmembers of the ship who manned the vessel's defenses, with a tone not heard by the team before. Kirlisir glared at Vekaron as he budged past her and rushed to adorn her battle-suit, while Kalcedia grasped ahold of her sniper rifle and passed Dolgan's own coil rifle to her enthusiastically.
- Vekaron - Attack back! Tear that ship apart! Get on your positions, I'll not tolerate slacking!
Vekaron's ship attack back at the enemy, which was identified as a heavily-modified Raider-class Wranploer vessel. Alarms sounded as intruders began being detected inside the ship, and Vekaron quickly sprinted at the direction of the shuttle bay, leaving the rest of his team behind. Dolgan gripped on her coil gun as she went after the Zoles. Kit had already moved to the shuttle bay, holding back some of the forces that had invaded the ship. Kalcedia followed after Dolgan swiftly, while Kirlisir soon appeared shortly after and made her way towards the breach, where she began to launch psychic eruptions at her foes and slicing any that strayed too close into pieces. Kilchárunya and Kamaris soon joined them as well, blasting at the intruders with their weaponry.
Pirates and mercenaries poured into the ship as well as a large number of small robotic drones with multiple arms, something the team had encountered when they went through Xegriek's gauntlet. One of them jumped at Vekaron's direction, only to be cut in half by the Zoles before he could be touched.
- Dolgan - Oh great. Those.
- Kilchárunya - Better than the big one I guess.
- Dolgan - These are Chahenthras' pet drones. Don't let them swarm you.
- Kalcedia - They look adorable, though.
- Dolgan - If you're into grabby hands, sure.
- Kilchárunya - Well maybe you can reverse engineer one and stick a --
- Kamaris - Kil.
Kalcedia chuckled as she fired onto the drones with her sniper rifle, and stomped on several of them with her foot as they attempted to approach her, while using her tail to bat some of them away. Kirlisir groaned as she cut threw the drones with absolute precision, managing them by herself. Kamaris grabbed one of the other intruders, slamming his colossal fist into their skull, crushing their helmet and reducing their face to a bloody pulp.
- Kamaris - Wait - is the girl safe?
Meanwhile, at Vekaron's quarters, Gardin woke up at her tiny bed from the noise of battle. She lazily looked around to see drones forcing the door open, causing the Rovegar girl to scream in fear. She jumped out of her bed and began running around, the drones running after her and leaping at her direction to grab her, with some of them blocking the exit. Using tactics she had learned with Kirlisir, Gardin launched psychic waves at the drones which were enough to stagger or throw them off their feet, while using almost dance-like movements to escape their attacks. It was not enough, though, and one of them fell on top of her head. The drones locked the Rovegar girl's limbs as the one who jumped on her formed a fist and began to pummel her face repeatedly. Gardin found her face whacked and beaten repeatedly for a moment, before soon, it ceased - all she could hear was a *whirr* as the weight upon her head was lifted. The drone that had found its way to attacking her now dangled from the tip of a blade; Vansenk stood over her, and within his eyes were murder as he glanced towards the rest of the drones.
The drones let out electronic hisses at the Hseraelna and threw themselves at him, while Gardin looked at him with eyes widened, blood coming out of her mouth. With a single slash from his scythe, a majority of the drones were reduced to shreds, however one had managed to evade his strike and slam into him, colliding with the Hseraelna's head. Thrown against a wall and being pummelled, his blood spitting onto the floor, Vansenk grasped ahold of the drone and threw it against the wall repeatedly until its chassis was crushed. Shrapnel and metal shards had dug into his fingers and several of his teeth had been knocked out of his jaw. Gardin looked at the destroyed drones before turning her head back to Vansenk. She had always seen him with fear, as he seemingly had a distaste for her. However, if it were not for his appearance, she would have died. The Rovegar clutched into the Hseraelna's leg hugged it, tears coming out of her eyes.
- Gardin - Th-thank you...th-thank you...
Vansenk looked down at Gardin with dead, soulless eyes and his face appeared as indifferent as it did under any other circumstance, sans the injuries he had sustained, although he rested a hand on Gardin's head and picked her up in his arms. He now held her in his grasp and placed her closely to his chest, as if he were cradling her.
- Vansenk - You were lucky I had taken to watching you sleep. Somebody had to.
- Gardin - ...T-that's weird.
- Vansenk - If I was not watching you, you would be dead. Now let us find your father, wherever he may be.
- Gardin - O-okay...
Attack of the Remnant
Back at the shuttle bay, Vekaron stabbed his blade through a pirate's back before turning his head to where they were coming from. Someone was approaching. Amongst the drones and pirates that breached the ship's chambers was a familiar, and most certainly unwelcome, presence - bearing several polearms, Chahenthras glared towards the Penumbran and his affiliates with an atmosphere of scorn and hatred, and she wore an impatient expression on her face as more drones flooded inward.
- Chahenthras - I would like a word or two with you, you bastard!
- Dolgan - There's the multi-armed bitch.
- Kilchárunya - That's a woman?
- Chahenthras - I come to breach your ship and kill you, and what do I find? The ugly whore sucking on a Penumbran's dick!
Without uttering a word, Vekaron charged at Chahenthras, sending his blade at her direction with a murderous glare on his face. Chahenthras roared and dashed for Vekaron, throwing her polearms forward and aiming to strike at Vekaron's legs with one while attempting to counter, or at least block, his blade with the other, her movements far more agile by comparison to their previous encounter.
- Chahenthras - Give your king my regards when I send you to him in pieces!
Vekaron kept silent, though his eye visibly twitched the moment the moment Rebaris was mentioned. The polearms hit him across the knees, though he kept on his feet and attempted to attack the enemy as he could. Dolgan aimed her coil gun and fired several shots at Chahenthras' direction. Vekaron's blade pierced Chahenthras' shoulder, causing her to wince but not before swinging her polearm to strike the Penumbran across his head. As she did, her eyes widened in response to seeing Dolgan's coil gun bolts and flipped over Vekaron, moving over his shoulder and attempting to trip him with her polearm, once again aiming for his feet. The Penumbran was thrown off his feet, falling on the ground while the coil gun shots missed their target.
- Dolgan - Stand still, damn you.
- Chahenthras - You have no command over me anymore, traitor. When I'm done with you and your new masters, you'll be glad to find out where my polearm is going to end up inside of you.
- Dolgan - Oh shut up. You were always the weakest. Not even Torrent likes you.
- Kilchárunya - Kamaris, can you just punch her brains out now?
- Chahenthras - You think I'm fighting for Torrent? Hmph. Do not worry Dolgan, I'll be sure to give you T'enth-ei's regards.
- Dolgan - Oh. OH. You're fighting to avenge the Sankáryn?
Dolgan held on her gun and let out a loud laugher. Chahenthras growled in an agitated, frustrated manner and held up her wrist, where there was a gauntlet-like device attached to her wrist - a holographic display panel emanated from it. With her eyes focussed on Dolgan and those near to her, she spoke to the display in a whisper.
- Chahenthras - Activate sprinklers, direct energy to my position.
- Dolgan - The Sankáryn was pathetic and so are you. Join him in Hell you useless scum!
Above Dolgan, a rain of water poured onto her from an advanced device that functioned as a water-deployment unit and drenched the Zazane, including Kalcedia who stood beside Dolgan. Shortly afterward, more water started pouring from the ceiling across the room, and electricity began to spark beneath the floor and from the ceiling alongside. Soon, Kalcedia's body burned and smoked as she was shocked, her nerves being simulated beyond what they were used to, causing her to collapse. Around Chahenthras, her soldiers also began to die from induced assaults of electricity within the wet, dampened environment. Vekaron forced himself back on his feet and backed away, while Dolgan fell on her knees, yelling out in pain from being shocked. Kilchárunya stepped back, her face had a puzzled remark upon it.
Chahenthras, however, found herself protected from whatever damage the electricity could have caused as her nanomachines absorbed the voltage, instead reconverting it into yet more energy for her to use. Her polearms lit up as electricity were sent down their length collectively.
- Chahenthras - What's the matter? Never seen a party trick like that? I am very well acquainted with PCA vessels, and their virtual defenses are all roughly the same.
- Dolgan - Go suck... on Torrent's dick!
- Chahenthras - You're not dead yet? Hmph. I told you, Torrent is no longer giving me the orders. He's... far too detached. Ahem. Now if you excuse me; detach hanger from main vessel component in T-minus ten minutes. And disable the artificial air supply in T-minus five.
With that, Chahenthras rushed through the chamber towards the entrance, which was behind the team, and as she did she leaped over the team, who had become distracted with not allowing themselves to become fried by the hostile combination of water and electricity. She made for the entrance, and as she did, the doors shut behind her, sealing the team in the hanger.
- Kilchárunya - Siná'in.
- Vekaron - Grrrrrhhhh...
- Kirlisir - Bitch! ...Dolgan, Kalcedia, you alright?!
- Dolgan - Do I... look alright to you?!
- Kilchárunya - Yes.
- Kalcedia - Grrzmmble...
Vekaron ran over to the doors and bashed his shoulder against them, trying to force them open. Obviously, it was useless. Watching his attempt and seeing as sparks of electricity approached his position, Kirlisir rushed for Vekaron and, as she entered his vicinity, formed a bubble of psychic energy around the two of them, which found itself somewhat weakened by the electricity that attacked it.
- Kirlisir - Vekaron, stop! It's sealed, and you're not strong enough to get through.
- Vekaron - I. Am going to rip her head off!
- Kamaris - ...Where is Vansenk and Gardin?
- Kirlisir - Not with an attitude like that you're not! Calm the fuck down!
- Vekaron - She has the nerve of talking about Rebaris!... I'll make her choke on her own damn tail!
- Kirlisir - Vekaron, get away from the door.
- Vekaron - No! I have to kill her!
- Kirlisir - I said get! Away! From the door! You're not thinking straight and you're not killing anybody anytime soon!
Vekaron growled and raised his fist, glaring at Kirlisir. However, he did nothing afterwards, looking into the Rovegar's eyes. After several moments, he put his hand down, putting it in front of his face.
- Kit - Right. So how do you open this door then?
- Kirlisir - ...We try and find a way to override whatever hack the enemy has in place. Main priority is making sure that the artificial air supply stays active for now, though. Who here is good with computers?
- Dolgan - Uh. Not me.
- Kit - I learnt a few things during my service in the Nameless.
Kilchárunya was rather adept in computer technology, but she didn't input a word as Kit had intervened.
- Kirlisir - Think you can access the ship's mainframe from here? Gotta portable device or anything like that? ...What am I saying, of course you do, you're a Kicath.
- Kit - Hmph.
From his gauntlet, a device materialised in the palm of Kit's hand. It was holographic, and most of it was in Kicathian. Vekaron stepped back into the wall and let himself fall on the floor. He covered his face with his wings, while Dolgan slowly crawled at the team's direction, dragging Kalcedia by an arm.
- Kamaris - You only show us this now?
- Kit - No one ever asked before.
With a few hand gestures, Kit accessed the mainframe of the ship.
- Kit - So? Now what?
Kirlisir looked towards Vekaron and sat beside him, resting against the wall as well and placing a hand in his, looking at his face with a faint, but evident enough smile. Her touch was warm and welcoming.
- Kirlisir - Do what you can to try and keep the air supply online. I guess from here we'll have to trust in Vansenk, he's the only one behind that door.
Meanwhile, Chahenthras wandered the corridors of the vessel, an agitated expression across her face as she broke hardware and belongings that she came across out of anger. Minutes passed as she strolled throughout the many corridors and hallways of the ship, but she stopped once she came across a destroyed, sliced chassis of a drone. She leaned down and picked up the drone with a curious, as well as offended, facial display and threw it at a wall, growling quietly before she turned her head forward and watched as a figure, cloaked in dark robes, appeared from seemingly nowhere, carrying a young Rovegar in their arms.
- Chahenthras - Keh, who do you think you are, prancing around in a get-up like that? Death? And whose the little brat you're carrying?
- Vansenk - Death. Yes. Let's go with that.
- Gardin - Daddy, you're not looking so good.
- Vansenk - This is not your daddy, little one. Stay behind me. Your daddy would not appreciate you getting hurt under my care.
- Gardin - Okay...
Vansenk placed the young Rovegar down onto her feet and allowed her to walk. Afterward, he drew his scythe and glanced towards Chahenthras, a dead glare in his eyes, which seemed to have lost their hydration. It was almost as if he were a walking corpse. Chahenthras took a step back, a discomforted look on her face.
- Chahenthras - Look at you. You're dead already--
- Vansenk - Be quiet, I have heard enough talk.
- Gardin - Beat him up, Uncle Van!
- Chahenthras - ...I'm a woman, you little shi--
Before she could finish, Chahenthras found herself thrown across the hall and onto her back as Vansenk threw her away with his scythe, launching her from where she stood. Regaining her composure and balance rather easily, she did not anticipate Vansenk's next attack as he threw himself in her direction, colliding his scythe with her polearms.
- Chahenthras - Ugh, your breath stinks...
Vansenk smirked with a bloodied grin and spat a horrid combination of blood and saliva into her eyes, causing her to back away as she tried to clean her sight and face, opening her vulnerabilities. Vansenk struck again, causing a gash in her shoulder as she did not anticipate his move, although his next attack was blocked when her nanomachines hardened. Reaching into his cloak and robes, Vansenk pulled a similar-looking device into view - the syringe gun that Vekaron had used to suppress the nanomachines of the other Dark Grip members. He launched himself again as his scythe was stuck in her nanomachine-laden skin and aimed for her eyes once again, although she stepped out of the way and slashed across his chest with her polearm, causing Vansenk to shriek. Seeing Vansenk wounded, Gardin let out a shriek of her own, causing objects around her to rumble in place.
Chahenthras cringed and held her ears as the sound of Gardin's shriek pierced her eardrums, and she glared towards the infant. Spinning himself around while she was distracted, Vansenk grasped ahold of the pole of his scythe and swung it around, throwing Chahenthras from where she stood and slamming her into a wall.
- Chahenthras - You little bitch!
- Vansenk - Shut up. Or I will be forced to fill your throat with faeces.
Throwing her hands forward, Gardin threw waves of psychic energy at Chahenthras in an attempt to keep her in place or at least stagger her. Vansenk raised the syringe gun and jabbed it into now-restrained Chahenthras' eye, and only after did she think to activate her nanomachines around that area, too late to stop it. The anti-nanomachines flowed into her system directly, yet while Vansenk's mind was focused on applying them, he coughed and spluttered in a sickly fashion, coughing blood onto Chahenthras' face. Taking her opportunity, she raised one of her polearms swiftly - Vansenk was launched back as blood gushed from the wound that was left where his arm used to be, with the arm that had held the syringe gun dropping to the ground, the weapon firmly lodged into the Zoles' skull. Yanking out with agonizing pain, Chahenthras screamed and made a dash - a dash towards the hanger.
- Gardin - Uncle Van!
Vansenk rested against a wall, drenching it with his blood as he collapsed onto the floor, half-awake yet still somehow conscious. Breathing and panting heavily, he looked to Gardin and reached out to her with the hand that held his scythe in a gesture, wanting her to approach him as blood and saliva dripped from his mouth. Gardin approached the Hseraelna, a worrying expression on her face as she saw his severed arm on the floor.
- Vansenk - You...
- Gardin - Y-your arm!
- Vansenk - Oh... that? I never... used that arm anyway. Why did you not run... run and hide? You refused... to cower.
- Gardin - I was worried... I wanted to help.
- Vansenk - You have... Vekaron's spirit. Any other... would have run. ...Can you use telepathy yet, child?
- Gardin - I can...
- Vansenk - Tell... Tell Kirlisir that the enemy... is approaching her. And... that she has been... stabilized with the syringe. ...I need to rest my eyes for a moment.
- Gardin - Okay...
At the hanger, the artificial air supply had been prolonged to a point that the team would have hours before they would run out, and Kirlisir had commanded Kit to ensure that the hanger would stay attached to the ship. At that moment, Kirlisir's eyes widened and she stood up, a blank, expressionless look on her face. Kalcedia had recovered somewhat, resting against a wall with her eyes rolled into the back of her head. The water-deployment units had ceased, as did the electricity, and the floor was now covered with water. However, the door had yet to be opened, which right now was the least of the team's concerns.
- Dolgan - What's wrong, Rovegar?
- Kirlisir - The little girl... Gardin! She's... She's telling me that the Zoles is heading our way!
- Kamaris - Let us prepare ourselves for when she arrives then.
Vekaron's wings opened and he rose from the floor, positioning himself with his blade in hand. Dolgan prepared her gun while Kilchárunya, Kamaris and Kit all did the same.
- Chahenthras - Y-You... I-I... M-my nanomachines... W-What have you d-done?!
- Vekaron - Huh. Looks like Vansenk had his way with you.
- Kilchárunya - C'mon. Kamaris time.
- Chahenthras - A Hseraelna... on board your s-ship... Gah! Come on, then... Give it your best shot... I could take you all on with my hands behind my back! You and the dead king!
Dolgan gruffed as she and Kilchárunya shot their weapons at Chahenthras' direction, while Vekaron, Kit and Kamaris all charged at her direction, their blades in hand. They struck at the Zoles lieutenant, with Kit and Kamaris aiming to hit her multiple arms while Vekaron attempted to rid her of her polearms. Kalcedia's eyes rolled back to their normal positions and she stood, firing her sniper rifle at Chahenthras with extreme prejudice. The Zoles deflected various shots with her polearms, although she was soon met with the combined force of the Penumbran Vekaron and his team, and she began to struggle quickly - her lack of nanomachines caused her to become more vulnerable.
Clenching his fist, Kit threw a punch at one of the Zoles' polearms, causing it to break in two halves which were launched away. Watching his move, Dolgan aimed a shot and fired directly at another one of Chahenthras' weapons, sending it flying out of her hands. Kamaris and Kilchárynua kept concentrating their attacks on the multiple arms still attached to the enemy. Chahenthras gasped as her polearms began to break under pressure, alongside in response to the hole that Dolgan had shot through her hand. She stepped back and struck at the team with another one of her polearms, which was held in one of her artificial arms - an artificial arm that was swiftly dismembered by Kirlisir. Vekaron slashed his blade in a vertical manner, destroying the final polearm on Chahenthras' being. With her weapons destroyed and her many arms disabled, the Zoles Penumbran thrust his sword through the enemy's stomach, skewering her all the way to her back. She gasped for breath and blood spilled from her mouth onto Vekaron's blade, and she grasped ahold of it in an attempt to pull it out. She winced in pain as she glared towards Vekaron with a scowl, leaning closer. Vekaron removed the blade from the woman's chest before grabbing her by her neck, dragging her all the way to the nearest wall and bashing her against it.
- Vekaron - Why? Why do you serve under pirates? You're a Zoles!
- Chahenthras - Your... Your king is why! Your king, the king before him, and the king before him!
- Vekaron - Speak sense!
- Chahenthras - Agh... My lineage were... against the idea of a society governed by a monarchy. They... opposed it, centuries ago. They wanted to bring freedom... and democracy. To end oppression under a king or queen! My family... the last of this line, were executed under the command of your king, hunted to extinction. I am the last. ...I don't serve Torrent, Torrent is but a means. I don't fight for T'enth-ei either... I fight so that the galaxy... will be free from the governance of the PCA! They expand... and absorb... claiming "protection".
- 'Vekaron - The Zoles have prospered under King Rebaris and his predecessors. We have prospered as a kingdom and if you really were hunted down, then you were obviously terrorists!
- Chahenthras - Hehehe... Is that what y-you call it? Terrorism? Sure, the Zoles prospered under Rebaris and... his ancestors, but what say do people have? There have been... bad kings before, incompetent ones... ones that sought to oppress our people. And there will be in... future, too. The people... are forced to live with it, when they could make their own path...
- Vekaron - By serving under pirates? I'd rather die. You know nothing about being a Zoles, woman.
- Chahenthras - You know nothing of freedom, you know nothing of anything. You get your orders... and you do them. No questions asked... You're not a Zoles... I can feel the hatred emanating from you... You would do anything if it meant killing Torrent, even if it meant killing innocents... Innocents that could be freed, and made to feel like people rather than objects.
Vekaron tightened the grip on Chahenthras as he leaned closer to her.
- Vekaron - And you kill innocents. I do what I do because innocent blood was spilled by Torrent. If you truly seek to free our people, then you should not strive to kill them all.
Chahenthras growled and glared into Vekaron's eyes with her remaining one, before Vekaron was struck from the side and thrown off his Zoles enemy, who grabbed ahold of the blade that was wedged inside her with her remaining arm and threw it out, allowing it to land on the floor. She fell back as more drones appeared in the hanger, distracting the team while she herself was carried back to a shuttle that had breached the ship by several drones, bleeding heavily and gasping for breath.
- Kilchárunya - I did say, Kamaris time. But did anyone hear me? Noooo.
- Dolgan - After her!
However, it was too late - she had already managed to make her way to an escape shuttle, which quickly hovered and jettisoned away from Vekaron's own vessel, allowing Chahenthras to escape from the grips of the Penumbran and his team. Kalcedia panted and rested on her sniper rifle, while Kirlisir approached Vekaron and kicked the drone that had attacked him away from him. Kilchárunya let out a swear in Kicathian and stormed out of the room, followed by Kit and Kamaris, who had nothing else to do there. Vekaron looked at the floor before turning his head to Kirlisir, looking at her in the eyes. His expression was not as much of defeat as it was of sadness.
- Vekaron - Kirlisir, I... I have to apologize...
- Kirlisir - Vek... Don't worry about it, alright? You panicked, and you were angry. And I was shouting. And there was electricity. And a door. You had plenty of reasons to be angry at me.
- Vekaron - I wasn't angry at you, I was... stuck on thinking about Rebaris' death.
- Kirlisir - It's all gonna be okay, Vek, it was... horrifying, to say the least, but... Torrent's going to pay for it. He's going to pay for everything he's done.
Vekaron leaned down and wrapped his hands around Kirlisir, hugging her while shutting his eyes, a faint, saddened moan coming out of him. Kirlisir gasped lightly as Vekaron embraced the Rovegar warrior, and without hesitation, she returned the affection and placed her arms around him, hugging him back. She smiled softly as she stroked the Zoles' back, and she whispered.
- Kirlisir - You want to go let it all out over some late night ice cream? Trust me, it helps when I'm feeling down and blue, and I can come eat with you.
- Vekaron - I... I'd love to...
The Warlord's Anger
Her eyelid lifted slowly, her head continuing to ache from internal pounding, and a surge of horrendous pain shot up through her spine as her body regained consciousness - the damaged tissues within the open wound were still present, as was the syringe that lodged itself into one of her eye sockets. Chahenthras groaned loudly, watching as the ceiling appeared to move, yet she knew she was not moving of her own accord. Shifting her head to the side, she could see a pair of small hands clasped to her cheek, and she realized that she was not walking or sliding, but being hoisted and carried by the drones of her own invention. She groaned and leaned her head back, her face coated with blood, both her own and that of the Hseraelna she fought on the Penumbran's vessel. Chahenthras could see a clawed hand approach her, taking hold of the syringe lodged to her eye before slowly taking it off, raising it to the air. The air around her felt warmer than usual and she could hear a familiar, malevolent giggle. Chahenthras winced and gasped for breath as she felt the syringe removed from her eye socket, and her vision was too disorientated to have been able to identify the nearby figure by herself without assistance. She did, however, take a guess from the suddenly-heated atmosphere.
- Chahenthras - Ugh... You...
Walking by her side was Kravh Helljaw, who inspected the syringe with a large, tooth-filled grin. He looked back at the weakened Chahenthras and laughed mockingly at her state.
- Kravh - Ghhhk. You look pathetic.
- Chahenthras - ... You... look like h-how I feel right now...
- Kravh - Hhhck. Brakarion is upset. You make hasty actions and attack Vekaron by yourself. Now look at you.
- Chahenthras - Brakarion... He's waiting too... too long to attack...
- Kravh - Ghhrk. Stupid. We wait for Torrent's orders as always. We won't attack until Torrent orders to. Now you'll probably be punished. And I get to watch it.
- Chahenthras - Torrent's insane... Kravh, help me... out of t-this.
- Kravh - Eh? Ghhhhheheheheheh!
The Varkorus raised an arm and then delivered a smack at Chahenthras' stomach, most specifically where she had been previously stabbed by Vekaron. Chahenthras screeched loudly, using her barely mobile arms to try and cover the wound as it was struck, jolting and almost flailing out of the grasp of the drones that carried her.
- Chahenthras - W-What... the FUCK?!
- Kravh - Bleh! Why would I "help" you out of anything?
- 'Chahenthras - B-Because... y-you're my comrade...
- Kravh - Hheck! You jest! You jest with me! Or you're simply too stupid to understand.
- Chahenthras - ... F-Fuck you...
- Kravh - Grrrhehehk! Idiot! I want you to die! I want Brakarion to die! I want Torrent to die! And once everyone is in flames, I want myself to die too! I have no comrades, you're all just people I don't want to scorch at the moment!
- Chahenthras - You're b-batshit insane...!
- Kravh - Ghek! And that's the way I like it!
Chahenthras could see herself arriving to another room, much larger than the corridors she was being carried through. Torrent's control room. Kravh Helljaw chuckled while the drones placed their maker on the ground, at one end of a decorated carpet which extended to the end of the room. There was Torrent on the throne, though he had his back turned to the Zoles, seemingly keeping his head on his console. Diagonally to Torrent's throne was a far larger chair, and sitting on it was Brakarion Gragon, who looked down on Chahenthras while resting his head on one hand.
- Brakarion - Chahenthras. Explain yourself.
- Chahenthras - I... Eugh, they k-killed T'enth-ei...
Chahenthras glanced towards Brakarion with a degree of fear and apprehension, intimidated by his overwhelming size and mass - she feared whatever he would do to her if she unintentionally managed to attain a rise out of him.
- Brakarion - Are you saying you left our headquarters and made an unauthorized attack on our enemy out of revenge? You deserve your defeat, for it serves as a lesson. Attacks are things intrinsically planned ahead, you don't simply rush ahead trying to hit your enemy. T'enth-ei himself would disapprove of this behaviour.
- Chahenthras - I thought t-that... They w-would not be e-expecting an a-ambush so soon... a-and they weren't...
- Brakarion - You almost died. We already lost Xegriek, Dolgan and T'enth-ei, and I'd rather not lose another member of my unit.
- Chahenthras - ...A H-Hseraelna... A H-Hseraelna was i-in their unit... He did t-this... I a-almost killed them all... i-if it were not f-for his i-interference...
- Brakarion - I'm aware of the Hseraelna. I'm aware of his whole team for I've fought them already. You are to blame for your own lack of knowledge about the enemy.
- Chahenthras - ...Y-You're going to p-punish me now, a-aren't you... Punish me f-for... killing our e-enemies?
- Brakarion - Your punishment is staying out of our missions for the time being.
- Chahenthras - Eugh...
- Kravh - Hheck. It wasn't completely useless.
Helljaw approached Brakarion and showed him the syringe which was once at Chahenthras' eyeball. The gigantic Levarcor accepted the syringe on his hand and raised it to his eye level, so that he could actually see it.
- Brakarion - Hmmm. I take these are the famous anti-nanomachines... We can study these and develop a counter-measure.
- Kravh - Hhck. Anti-anti-machines.
- Chahenthras - Also... I-I killed the H-Hseraelna... t-took off his arm and l-left him to b-bleed to death... He was s-sickly...
At this moment, one of Chahenthras' drones ran over to the monitors on the room and connected itself to them, displaying images of the battle between the Zoles and the Penumbrans. Torrent, who stood quiet through the whole meeting, raised his head and began watching the recordings. Chahenthras heard the audio that was being emitted from the recordings and turned her head slightly to view them, gasping weakly and tiredly as she did so.
- Chahenthras - What... a-are you doing?
- Torrent - I want to see... what exactly you were doing there...
- Brakarion - Warlord?
- Torrent - Silence.
As the recordings played, words echoed through the room. "You think I'm fighting for Torrent? Hmph.", "Torrent is no longer giving me the orders. He's... far too detached.", "I don't serve Torrent, Torrent is but a means." Brakarion's expression changed into a scowl as he listened to these words, while Torrent himself kept his back turned away, disallowing anyone in the room to know how exactly he was reacting. Chahenthras' eye widened and she began to feel a cold, horrifying shiver crawl down her spine as she heard those words spoken, almost having forgotten that he had said them. While the two men were watching the recordings, Chahenthras attempted, pathetically, to crawl backward with her remaining arms. Kravh Helljaw let out a laugh while Brakarion had no time to react. Torrent turned his throne around, an expression of sheer fury on his face. He raised from his seat and ran at Chahenthras' direction, launching his foot to her head aggressively. Chahenthras shrieked as Torrent's foot slammed down onto her head, pinning her to the ground and causing her to shudder weakly, pain coursing through her veins. She gasped out for breath and winced in agony, baring her teeth.
- Torrent - Treacherous scum!
- Chahenthras - N-No! D-Don't! I was... o-over my h-head!
- Torrent - After all the power I gave you, this is how you thank me?! You disgusting, fucking Zoles bitch!
Torrent's arm was pumped with his nanomachines as he grabbed Chahenthras' shoulder. Immediately, she could feel her bones breaking as he clenched it, digging his fingers on it. A gush of blood was thrown directly at Kravh Helljaw's face as Torrent forcefully ripped Chahenthras' left arm out of her torso, causing Brakarion's eyes to widen in surprise while Kravh himself let out a loud laugher. Chahenthras screamed as her arm was torn from its socket, blood flooding and squirting onto the floor as well as both Torrent and Kravh. Strips of flesh tissue were scattered across the floor where her arm had been torn away, and the Zoles continued to shriek and squirm beneath Torrent like a persistent worm.
- Torrent - Your kind is undeserving of my rule! I accepted you on Dark Grip so you could redeem yourself for being born a Zoles, but I was obviously expecting too much! Your kind are all scum that needs to die!
- Chahenthras - Aagh... I-I came t-to you t-thinking you c-could free the g-galaxy from empires... a-and tyranny... You're as f-fat-headed as the Zoles king!
- Torrent - You dare compare me to one of you?!
With the same move he had used before, Torrent grabbed Chahenthras' other shoulder and forcefully ripped it off, throwing it at Kravh Helljaw with enough strength to floor him. Tears emerged from Chahenthras' remaining eye as it closed on a harsh impulse, leaning her head back as Torrent sheared away her limbs with immense agony and terrifying efficiency.
- Torrent - You enjoy multiple arms so much?! How does it feel like to have no arms at all?!
- Brakarion - Warlord, calm down!
- Torrent - Silence yourself before you're next!!
- Kravh - Gheeeheheheheh! GHEHEHEH!
- Chahenthras - Gagh, aagh!! I-I'm sorry... s-sorry... I-I'm sorry...
- Torrent - Apologize in Hell! You hated Rebaris so much? Well, you're going to join him now!!
Torrent jumped on top of Chahenthras and began assaulting her with his hardened claws, carving his way through her damaged armor and flesh. He was locked in a bloodthirsty state, enough to make even Kravh take a step back. All the residents within the room were forced to watch as Torrent's claws tore through the Zoles' body and diced through her inner muscle tissues as if they were paper, being shredded to mere pieces, and Torrent was now showering in blood. Chahenthras screamed as her intestines were divided and ripped asunder, as her lungs were dissected and impaled, as her stomach was launched across the room to splatter against the floor with a wet, unpleasant noise of moisture.
Soon, after several minutes, all that remained of Chahenthras were fragments of bone and other hard tissues, as all the softer, more vulnerable materials that were once inside of her were now thrown and strewn across the hall, decorating the walls. Her scales covered the floor, and the room had been painted red with Chahenthras' blood - positioned near Kravh was a single, pearly white eyeball that was now no longer residing within a skull, and grey matter coated Brakarion's figure. Teeth were scattered across the ground, and in Torrent's palm, a slimy, wet tongue that twitched and spasmed with death throes. Any outside observer who did not witness the brutal carnage would have sworn that instead of being shredded apart by claws, Chahenthras would have exploded from the inside. Kravh Helljaw looked at the single eyeball close to him and let out a loud, roaring laugher, being highly amused by the incident. Meanwhile, all that Brakarion did was put a hand over his face, not wanting to see his former comrade's destroyed body no longer.
He thought to himself that perhaps, she really was right.
Attack at the Matriarchy
One week had passed since Chahenthras' attack on Vekaron's ship, which was taken to Hyperborea to repair the damage caused by the pirates. Vekaron was feeling better now, and he spent the day playing with Gardin on his lap. Dolgan polished her coil gun, breathing to it and rubbing it until she could see her reflection on the barrel. The Zazane smiled to herself, something she did not do often. Kalcedia sat beside Dolgan, watching her admire and cleanse the coil gun of dirt and imperfections, and she became captivated by the up-and-down rubbing motions that Dolgan made with her hand as she polished the weapon. Kirlisir had joined Vekaron in playing with Gardin, although at the same time she found herself shopping persistently online for clothes and games for her to enjoy. Standing at the back of the bridge, within a corner, was Vansenk - a heavy, black cloak obscured his figure, and he had remained silent for much of the day aside from the occasional splutter and cough. In his remaining hand, he held his scythe quietly. Kamaris was eating, whilst playing a board game against Kilchárunya. Despite Kilchárunya's advantage over Kamaris, that being her sight, Kamaris was easily winning.
- Kilchárunya - This guy is blind and he is beating me.
- Kamaris - Yes. And you are quite bad at this game.
- Kilchárunya - Yeah but, how do you know I'm doing what I'm doing?
- Kamaris - I don't. You are *that* bad.
As per usual, Kit was nowhere to be seen. After a few moments, Vekaron's screen displayed the image of Councillor Xeron. The team had not been contacted by the Niaka for a few months now, and his appearance caught Vekaron by surprise.
- Vekaron - Oh. Hello, Councillor. It's been a while.
- Xeron - Greetings, Penumbran and associates.
- Kirlisir - Oh. Hey guy.
- Xeron - I have an assignment for you today, Penumbram. But before I describe it to you, let me just say I'm aware of your endeavors related to the Murgur and how you've broken most of Torrent's special unit. I'm most certainly impressed.
- Vekaron - We're just doing our jobs, sir.
- Kirlisir - Aww shucks, it was nothing. ...Are we going to get paid extra?
- Xeron - Speaking of Torrent, your assignment relates to him. One of his goons launched an attack at the Rovegar Matriarchy, probably for the purpose of looting them. Go there and get rid of them.
- Kirlisir - ...Erm.
Kirlisir looked uncomfortable for a moment and looked away from Xeron, diverting her attention to elsewhere within the room.
- Gardin - Ooh! We're going to visit home!
- Vekaron - No "we", missy. You're staying here with Vyatak and Vansenk.
- Gardin - Aww.
Kilchárunya threw the board across the table, before looking at the screen.
- Kilchárunya - Oh no. Not them lot again.
- Kamaris - Very mature of you, Kilchárunya.
- Xeron - Don't bother raising your voice at me, Kicath. These are your orders and you will fulfill them.
Kilchárunya repeated Xeron's statement, albeit in a childish tone.
- Vekaron - Stop that, Kilchárunya.
- Kilchárunya - Don't make me do this, Vekaron. It took me ages to get used to Kirlisir and Gardin, let alone a whole planet of them.
- Dolgan - We're not staying there. We're killing the pirates and then leaving. C'mon.
- Kalcedia - ...We're not staying?
- Vekaron - Well, no. Why would we stay there?
- Kamaris - It almost sounds as if you are afraid of them.
- Kilchárunya - Kirlisir painted my claws when I was asleep. I'd hate to know what lots of them would do.
- Xeron - ...Just fulfill your orders and report to me once you're done.
With this, Vekaron's screen turned off and Xeron was no longer seen.
- Kirlisir - I personally want to be in and out of there as fast as possible. I'm not exactly popular within the Matriarchy, what with me being, well, a rogue or rebel or whatever they're calling me.
- Vekaron - I don't want to stay there for a long time either. Last time they tried to eat my soul.
- Kilchárunya - Well I'm not going. You will have to chain me and drag me there.
- Vekaron - Fine. Stay in the ship if you want.
- Kalcedia - Good luck looking after the kid then, Kil.
- Kilchárunya - Íl malí'm ekolnyúratazhazá. [I'm going to die.]
Vekaron's ship departed to the coordinates left by Councillor Xeron, travelling all the way to the Geriamis Sector, to a lush green world controlled by the Rovegar Matriarchy. Arriving at the planet, the team could see the Matriarchy's navy had already taken care of most invading pirate ships, though they were still fighting at the surface. Vekaron, Kamaris, Kirlisir, Kit, Kalcedia and Dolgan made their way to the battlefield by shuttle, and as they arrived, they were greeted by the sight of Rovegar soldiers firing and quickly dispatching the forces of the New Wranploer Legion.
- Dolgan - Sheesh. Are we even needed here?
- Kalcedia - Well. That's efficient.
- Kamaris - Might as well help.
- Kirlisir - The Rovegar have one of the best organized militaries in the galaxy. This isn't much of a surprise.
As the team arrived, multiple Rovegar soldiers turned their attentions to the team, noting Kirlisir's presence. Many of them became apprehensive.
- Rovegar 1 - That's the Dancer Discordant!
- Rovegar 2 - She's with the Penumbran?
- Rovegar 3 - Keep your eyes up. This can't end well.
Kirlisir groaned and narrowed her brow, wearing a frown upon her face as the Rovegar soldiers took caution of her appearance. She clenched her fist for a moment before letting out a calmed exhale and taking a step forward.
- Kirlisir - How about you keep your damned eyes on the enemy before you end up getting shot?
- ??? - Ghhhrek! I hear voices!
- Kit - Oh dear. Here we go.
Among the New Wranploer Legion forces, an inferno of flames formed, opening way for Kravh Helljaw to appear. As he arrived and noticed Vekaron and his team, he let out a hearty laugh and then turned his fire blasters, firing them at the Rovegar soldiers.
- Kravh - Hhheck! How fortunate of you to join me here today!
- Kalcedia - Time to turn up the heat, eh?!
Kirlisir growled and raised an arm, allowing a psychic barrier to ascend in front of the Rovegar soldiers in order to counter Kravh's flamethrowers. With her head, she made a gesture towards the soldiers to get away from the creature and prepared one of her blades, while Kalcedia took aim and began firing on Kravh's position. The Varkorus let out a shriek and jumped away from the shots on all fours, leaving a trail of fire behind him. He reached a hand over to his ear and began seemingly speaking to himself.
- Kravh - Hreeh. Vekaron is here.
Kalcedia continued to fire on Kravh while Kirlisir engaged in chasing him, throwing blasts of psychic energy in his direction while Kalcedia shot at the Varkorus' hands and feet, not moving from her position. Kirlisir dashed alongside the flames in an attempt to catch up to Kravh, trying not to get herself burned in the process. The Varkorus stopped in place before throwing himself back, turning to Kirlisir and preparing his enormous claws to attack her in melee. Meanwhile, Vekaron charged at the remaining pirate forces, slashing them with his blade. Kirlisir danced past Kravh, sliding herself along his side as he brought his claws down upon her and attempted to take a gash at his side, although she could feel her suit beginning to burn from the fire and heat that radiated from Kravh's hellish body. Blackened marks had began appearing on the skin of her battle-suit.
- Kravh - Ghrrek! You're strong, I like fighting you for that! Strong enough to get rid of the Sankáryn and Chahenthras. She failed us and Torrent killed her for it!
- Kirlisir - Good; that's another nuisance we don't have to deal with anymore. Now shut up and wipe that smile off of your face before I do it for you!
- Kravh - Bleh, I want my smile touching your skin!
Helljaw opened his mouth and out of his throat, Kirlisir could see what looked like the barrel of a gun. Instants after, a stream of fire came out of the Varkorus' mouth, directly into her direction. Kirlisir's eye widened and she attempted to evade the stream, although she was not fortunate enough to have dodged unscathed; the side of her battle-suit sustained charring damage, causing her to collapse onto a single knee as she winced in pain. While this would have dropped any other Rovegar, Kirlisir's endurance allowed her to fare better. Vekaron came to Kirlisir's aid and slashed at Kravh's back, causing the Varkorus to shriek and throw himself away. The Zoles ran after him while the Rovegar soldiers all watched the battle, speaking to each other.
- Rovegar 1 - This is insane.
- Rovegar 2 - I gotta say, the Dancer Discordant is impressive.
- Rovegar 3 - She is but... that Vekaron. Mmmmm. Look how muscular he is.
- Rovegar 4 - I wonder if he's single...
- Rovegar 3 - Eyes off! I saw him first!
- Kirlisir - Piss off! Why don't you stop standing around and help for once?!
Kamaris assisted Vekaron, running after Kravh as well. Vekaron struck his blade across Kravh Helljaw's face, severing some of the Varkorus' teeth, making them fall at the floor. The Varkorus retaliated by throwing his hands at the Zoles, blasting him with fire and knocking him at Kamaris' direction. Kalcedia chuckled to herself before unleashing several more rounds of hypermatter fire at Kravh from a distance, taking the opportunity to admire the physique and form of the several Rovegar that had already taken the chance to analyze the Penumbran. Dolgan joined Kalcedia and fired her own gun at the Varkorus, and their shots sent the enemy flying into the air, squeeling as he hit a wall which crumbled on top of him.
- Kalcedia - If you can't take the heat, stay out of the kitchen, freak!
- Rovegar 2 - Oh my... Look at those two Zazane!
- Rovegar 1 - What are you-ooooooh.
- Rovegar 5 - I think I'm in love.
As Dolgan noticed the Rovegar staring at her and Kalcedia, she growled hid behind the nearest cover she could find.
- Kalcedia - What's the matter, Dolgan?
- Dolgan - They're looking at me weird.
- Kalcedia - Yeah, people will do that. They're on our side so try not to knock their teeth out.
- Kamaris - I have a feeling Kilchárunya has probably died.
Kravh Helljaw emerged from the debris of the wall, visibly wounded and tired. Vekaron smirked, seeing it as a good opportunity to use the anti-nanomachines. However, as he reached his hand to get his gun, all of his team could hear a voice on their communications. It was Councillor Xeron, who spoke in a clearly distressed voice.
- Xeron - Penumbrans! Retreat immediately and return to Hyperborea!
- Vekaron - W-what happened?
- Xeron - We are under attack! Hyperborea is being sieged!
- Kirlisir - The fuck?!
- Kravh - Ghhrrreheheheheh! Brakarion is doing his thing while I kept you here!
- Kalcedia - You clever bastard.
- Vekaron - What about the Rovegar planet? We're almost done he-
- Xeron - I said immediately, Vekaron! And I mean-aaaaagh!
At this moment, contact with Xeron was lost completely.
- Kirlisir - Crap, we'd best go. The Rovegar military can handle this guy no problem.
- Vekaron - Damnit... You're right. Let's go, team.
- Rovegar 1 - Leave it to us, Penumbran!
- Rovegar 4 - Come back soon~
Kravh Helljaw let out a laugh and used what remained of his energies to run away, hiding among the ruins of destroyed homes, while the Rovegar soldiers ran after him.
- Kirlisir - How about you go shove a stick up your ass, whores!
- Dolgan - What's your issue, girl?
- Kirlisir - Grr... They're looking at Vekaron funny.
- Dolgan - ...Nevermind. Let's just go.
Battle for Hyperborea
Meeting Old Faces
Vekaron and his team left the Rovegar Matriarchy behind and hurried back to Hyperborea. Kravh Helljaw was nothing but a distraction to keep them away, and it worked fairly well. Arriving to the space station, they saw what was probably the largest pirate fleet since the invasion of Vijaha during the Second Borealis Galactic War. It seemed that Torrent had thrown his entire military might against the Alliance this time.
Taking their shuttle, Vekaron and his team landed on the station to find it in chaos. Hordes of pirate clashed against the elite soldiers of the Alliance, homes, shops and other buildings laid in ruins and fire was visible through the whole station. Vekaron took out his blade and charged at the nearest pirate band, followed by Dolgan who aimed her coil gun and unleashed hell upon her former servants.
- Vekaron - You've gone too far this time, Torrent!
- Kilchárunya - Huh. Now I don't know whether I am regretting going to that Rovegar planet or not.
Kirlisir looked upon the destruction and acknowledged it fully, shortly before rushing into the heat of the conflict and dealing death upon several pirate squads, cutting them to pieces. Kalcedia rushed forward, slamming those who had strolled too close with her mass while firing at any who were beyond her reach with her sniper rifle. Vekaron stabbed one Wranploer pirate across the chest and pulled his blade upwards, cutting his head in two vertically. The team could see Murgur warriors marching into battle, something the Alliance did not have prior to the creation of the Empire of the Murgur. In the midst of the scramble, an Agent walked through the carnage, walked past felling corpses of pirates and Hyperborea soldiers as he had a weapon for himself, but didn't use it. It was Nu - for some strange reason, still on Hyperborea. Whilst Vekaron's team were wholeheartedly engaging the enemy, he simply looked at them as if he were a spectator. Rovegar militia - granted by the Matriarchy as part of the pact with the Alliance - maintained stations and positions across the region, firing on pirates with their advanced weaponry, operating in efficient groups that disposed of threats quickly. Zazane warriors of the Borealan Adjudication Corps were also present, enforcing their might onto the attacking foe. Vekaron turned his attention to Nu, raising an eyebrow as he severed the head out of the nearby Varkorus.
- Nu - Looks like you guys are in some pretty big shit at the moment.
- Vekaron - Agent Nu? You look different.
A Levarcor charged up to Nu, throwing punch after punch at him though with little to no effect. Kilchárunya, whilst fighting the pirate forces, slowly budged away from the team as she noticed Nu.
- Nu - Is it my hair?
- Vekaron - Well, nevermind. Shouldn't you be at Andromeda?
- 'Nu - Yeah, probably. War's over. We won. Lost. Sort of. Don't know.
- Vekaron - Oh... That's good news.
- Kalcedia - Oh hey, handsome.
- Dolgan - How about you shut up and get back to killing pirates?
Nu's eyes were then fixated upon Dolgan, and then Kalcedia. The Levarcor next to him began to tire from the punches he threw at the Agent, before Nu swung round with his fist, obliterating the alien's skull.
- Nu - Oh my. You, missies, are some hot stuff. How about after the scrap we go get some drinks?
- Kamaris - Is he for real?
- Dolgan - Go screw yourself.
Nu smiled, his tail almost wagging with sincerity.
- Nu - I like you.
- Kalcedia - Ever since he came back from Insomnia, he's been a few angry genes short of a Kicath.
At this moment, a Zoles commander approached Vekaron. The Penumbran looked at him, noticing how he appeared apprehensive.
- Commander - Penumbran Vekaron!
- Vekaron - What is it, soldier?
- Commander - The Council was captured by... this gigantic Levarcor! We tried to stop him but he shrugged off our shots!
- Dolgan - Brakarion. Shit.
- Kit - That would be our target.
In the distance, another Agent was hurtled towards the scene, possibly from an explosion from afar. This time, it was Upsilon, crashing into a mountain of debris. He pulled himself out of the floor, groaning as he did.
- Upsilon - Nu, stop picking up girls and get back to the fight!
- Nu - Why? Can't you see they're excellent cock holsters?!
- Upsilon - No! Help me already!
- Nu - Eh, like you need help.
- Kirlisir - That reminds me. Dolgan, it;s unlikely we're going to see that Zoles girl here. Torrent had her killed, apparently.
- Dolgan - So I heard. Good riddance.
Upsilon pulled himself out of the rubble, rushing back into the fray and out of sight.
- Vekaron - We have no time for chit-chat. Soldier, where is this giant Levarcor?
- Commander - He broke down the walls and was last seen climbing the Council Tower. He's getting close to to the very top.
- Vekaron - Understood. Move out, team!
- Nu - Can't I just take a picture first?
Vekaron ran off, with Dolgan hissing at Nu's direction and going after the Zoles. Kalcedia nodded and winked towards Nu before following the team, with Kirlisir tipping her head in the Kicath's direction as a sign of acknowlegdement prior to turning around and dashing after Vekaron. At the rear of the team's position was a cloaked, obscured Vansenk, who wore a disgusting, filthy smile on his face. Nu sprinted after the team - not for Brakarion, but for Dolgan and Kalcedia. Kilchárunya did her best to stay out of Nu's sight, whilst Kit looked at his relative strangely.
- Kit - Friend of yours?
- Kilchárunya - Uh. Once.
- Nu - Come on! Think of it! It would be good! I bet you've never done it with a Kicath before! Think of it as a life achievement!
- Kamaris - He's going to kill as all, isn't he?
As the team made their way, cutting down pirates along the way, they could see Chief Major Xerkea in a distance, using her battlesuit to gun down pirates, followed by multiple Niaka soldiers. At another direction, Agent Mu could be seen raining Death Energy down at multiple enemies, appearing almost happy by his facial expression.
- Mu - Man, I missed fighting normal people!
- Kirlisir - That guy's hand looks like Vansenk.
Nu, fuelled on lust for the two Zazane, barked at Mu with a deafening roar.
- Nu - They're mine, Mu! Mine! Get your fucking hands off them!
- Mu - The hell are you on about?
- Nu - You know bloody well!
- Mu - ...Gee, okay. If you wanted to kill these pirates so much then stop running around and do it already.
As they were marching through, multiple Agents could be seen defending a point. In the multitude of them was Agent Tau and Agent Upsilon. Getting to the entrance of the Council Tower, the team found it heavily defended by what looked like elite Wranploer soldiers and fully grown Levarcor, who fired their weapons at their direction. Vekaron dodged the shots as he could, his shield absorbing the ones that hit him, and he slashed them with his blade while Dolgan fired her coil gun from a distance. Kalcedia took a more pro-active approach, leaping over Dolgan and firing at the Levarcor while Kirlisir launched blasts of psychic energy at the Wranploer infantry, attempting to separate them so they could be picked off more easily.
- Nu - I'll protect you, my sweets!
Looking at the soldiers, Nu tore out an entire chunk of the ground, running at them in a berserk manner. These enemies showed far more discipline than the troops the team had faced so far, and one of the Levarcor grabbed Vekaron by his throat and throwing him into the ground. One of the Wranploer noticed Nu and whistled, and immediately after, a Zí-Jittorám with explosives strapped all over its body appeared and ran at the Kicath's direction.
- Nu - You think you've got the balls to explode on me?! Well yes, maybe you do.
Dolgan fired her gun directly at the head of one of the Wranploer, exploding it and covering all other soldiers close to it in blood, while Vekaron got up and thrust his blade through the chest of one of the Levarcor. At this moment, Xerkea approached the Council Tower entrance and fired her gun at the soldiers, noticing Vekaron and his team.
- Xerkea - Hey kids, need a hand?
- Vekaron - Xerkea! It's been a long time.
- Kalcedia - Hey look, it's the old lady!
- Dolgan - ...Chief Major Xerkea?
Dolgan immediately hid behind Kalcedia, trying to make herself not visible.
- Kalcedia - Huh?
- Dolgan - Do you have any idea what she does to pirates?
Nu charged towards the Zí-Jittorám bomber, pushing its complicated skull towards the floor. The Zí-Jittorám exploded directly into Nu, launching debris across the battlefield in the process. Nu himself was launched several metres into the air, leaving behind a groggy squeal as he did. After many seconds, he crashed into the floor, directly in front of the team. Pulling himself back up, most of his armour peeled off his body whilst his helmet, now cracked open, revealed his flesh-torn face under it, with multiple blackened cybernetics and intimidating machinery under it.
- Nu - Just a scratch.
- Mu - Hey Nu, stop making a scene!
Xerkea grabbed one of the Wranploer soldiers and crushed him on her grasp, throwing his corpse away while Vekaron slashed at another one of them. Their number were quickly lowering, giving the team room to enter the Council Tower. With an agile maneuver, twirling and twisting through the air, Kirlisir slashed through various Wranploer and Levarcor with her blades, and launched psychic blasts to whoever thought to have tried to counter or assault her.
- Xerkea - Boy, you gotta move on. Take the elevator and get to the roof. I think Brakarion wants to throw the Council off the tower from there.
- Kalcedia - Best get going then. Heh, I was half expecting Xeron to be out here fighting.
- Xerkea - Xeron was also captured. Also, be cautious with that Levarcor. There's something very wrong with him.
Mu walked over to Nu and grabbed him by his shoulder, dragging him into the battle and away from the team.
- Mu - You come fight pirates now.
- Nu - No! No! Nooo! Dolgan! Come with me! Vacation!
- Dolgan - Go to hell you damn weirdo!
- Nu - If you want to go to Hell for a vacation, sure! I have tickets!
Kilchárunya shrugged her shoulders, before sighing.
- Kilchárunya - Ex-boyfriends. I pick odd ones.
Felling the Giant
Nodding to Xerkea, Vekaron and his tema progressed into the Council Tower, killing any other pirates who stood between them and the elevator. From security pictures, they could see images of Brakarion Gragon climbing the Council Tower, carrying the councillors in some sort of jail placed on his back.
- Kamaris - You know. This could be our last battle.
- Vekaron - It won't. We'll save the Council and eliminate that Levarcor.
- Dolgan - I'm eager for that.
- Kalcedia - Agreed, mustn't lose hope now. Besides, we've faced tougher.
It would take several minutes to get to the Council chamber via elevator, no matter how fast it was, the Tower was still extremely large. The team found themselves forced to take the stairs to progress, more pirates appearing on their way. Vekaron grew more and more annoyed by their number as he slashed the throat of one of them, while Dolgan took out her daggers and dug them on another pirate's skull. Kirlisir groaned as she lazily slashed at another bout of pirates, dismembering or beheading them while they progressed. Kalcedia meanwhile revelled in the destruction, slamming and pounding any pirates she came across with her arms, legs, and even her tail.
As all enemies were dead and they finally arrived at the top of the tower, they were greeted by the sight of the immense Brakarion Gragon, holding the Councillors' jail at the edge of the tower's roof. Semirian, Xeron and Rylarien were all tied up and with their mouths shut, barely capable of movement. The gigantic Levarcor turned his head to Vekaron and his team, grinning as he noticed their presence.
- Kilchárunya - Well. That's big.
- Kalcedia - ...Oh.
- Brakarion - Penumbran Vekaron. What a surprise.
Brakarion was different from how the team remembered him. He wore much grander armor, decorated with enormous spikes, and his team was darker than usual, with spots of his scales randomly changing from red to pitch black and veins clearly visible among his muscles. His eyes also shone in a bright red, looking almost cybernetic in appearance.
- Kamaris - I somehow doubt conventional weaponry is going to kill this thing.
- Kalcedia - Well, there's no harm in giving it a try.
- Brakarion - I see you've survived Kravh Helljaw. I expected it, really. It would be far more fun if I had all my squad here, but you killed most of them. And even our old associate Genrai Nal has gone missed. Atoning for something we don't care about.
- Dolgan - Brakarion... What happened to you?
- Brakarion - Well, well. Dolgan Tuchaki. Let me tell you what. We learned of your silly "anti-nanomachines". And we have created our own counter-measure. New, stronger, more powerful nanomachines. I have so many of them now... I've never felt so powerful before.
- Kirlisir - Our goddesses are bigger than... whatever that thing is.
- Kit - Yes. I'm with Kamaris on this one. Shooting a syringe gun at that won't work.
- Vekaron - Put the Council down... or-
- Brakarion - Or what, Vekaron? Are you going to poke me with that toothpick you call a sword? It's time for you to learn that the New Wranploer Legion has won! Your galactic rule over Borealis ends with the deaths of your precious council!
Brakarion winded up and threw the jail out of the Tower's roof. Vekaron's face went pale while Dolgan's eyes widened, her aim on the Levarcor titan becoming shaky. Kalcedia snarled and fired rounds upon Brakarion, although as was expected they had since become ineffective, and Kirlisir grasped onto Vekaron's hand as she watched the jail leave the Levarcor's grasp. Brakarion grinned more as Kalcedia's shots collided with him, but caused no damage to his armor or skin. However, the team could all see something rising from the air. It was the jail, and it was floating, surrounded by a psychic aura.
- Brakarion - ...Uh?
- Kirlisir - ...I'm not doing that.
Another object rose into view, this time a shuttle with its doors opened. On it, a Murgur had a grin on his face as his eyes shone the same colour as the jail, and he aimed his trusty shot, firing it at Brakarion and causing the Levarcor to grown in anger. The Murgur wore decorated, royal armor and looked down at the team with a humorous expression.
- Wragrot - You guys really are lost without me.
- Kilchárunya - 'Bout time.
- Kirlisir - You stupid bastard, heh.
Wragrot jumped out of the shuttle and charged his fist with psychic energy, delivering a strike at Brakarion's snout. The Levarcor groaned and took a step back, but seemingly took no damage while Wragrot landed close to the team, aiming his shotgun at the giant.
- Vekaron - Welcome back. Don't worry about Dolgan, she's on our side now.
- Wragrot - Well, that's good news.
- Dolgan - I don't like your sarcastic tone!
- Wragrot - Pleased to work with you.
- Kalcedia - Well well, look who finally decided to get out of bed.
Brakarion Gragon let out a roar and sent his fists at the team's direction, and Vekaron's eyes widened as he jumped away to dodge them. He tried to slash at the Levarcor with blade, but it bounced out of the giant's skin, much to his confusion. Wragrot and Dolgan both fired their weapons, hoping to do any damage but clearly failing to do so. Kirlisir dashed and sliced at Brakarion's flesh, although instead she found the material that constructed her blades to crack and shatter, breaking almost immediately upon impact. With a shocked expression, she leaped back multiple times to secure an area outside of Brakarion's reach. Reaching out his hand to his back, Brakarion took an enormous gatling gun and fired it at the team's direction, laughing as he did.
- Brakarion - Run, you damned cowards!
- Kirlisir - Oh shit.
- Kalcedia - No fair, his gun's bigger than mine!
- Dolgan - Run to cover, you idiot!
As Brakarion fired his gigantic weapon upon the team, destroying much of the terrain, Kirlisir could feel a familiar, empowering presence make itself known to her, and soon she bore witness to the materialization of a large, ethereal barricade constructed of psychic energies that withstood the power of the Levarcor's gun. Appearing behind the team, a grin on his face, was the green Murgur - Yatakhan.
- Yatakhan - Apologies for my lateness, I was busy on the ground. Some pirates needed a talking to.
- Wragrot - About time you showed up.
- Brakarion - You think a tiny wall can stop me? Ridiculous, you know nothing of my power!
- Yatakhan - Why don't you go ahead and show me, then?
Brakarion delivered a punch at the psychic barricade created by Yatakhan, and he felt it shattering in a single strike. The Levarcor swung his body and sent his gigantic tail at the team's direction, hitting Vekaron across the face and sending him flying through the roof, almost falling down until he managed to hold a ledge. Yatakhan's eyes widened and he prepared himself for the collision - when it struck him, he was almost granted a similar fate to Vekaron, although he managed to hold his ground as the tail dragged him across the dirt while he attempted to resist its push.
- Yatakhan - Wragrot, a little help would be appreciated!
- Wragrot - That's my plan. You and Kirlisir, put those heads to work! Storm him with all the psychic power you have!
Yatakhan and Kirlisir nodded simultaneously and glared at the Levarcor. With smirks and smiles being worn by the two of them, they focused their respective powers, and soon Brakarion found himself bombarded with psychic impulses from the two Essence masters. Kirlisir shot bullets of psychic energy at Brakarion while Yatakhan threw ethereal punches that were empowered by his mind. Wragrot concentrated and unleashed his full psychic might on Brakarion, who was hit by the combined attacks and put his hands on his head, screaming. His skin grew more deformed from the nanomachines overloading and Wragrot began sweating from the enemy's sheer resistance. Dolgan helped Vekaron get up to the platform, and the Penumbran ran over to the enemy and delivered a slash.
A wound was formed and blood was spilled.
- Vekaron - He's weakened! Attack him with all you got!
Kalcedia raised her sniper rifle and fired barrage after barrage of hypermatter rounds against the Levarcor, while Kirlisir continued throwing blasts of psychic energy at him from a distance due to the blades of her gauntlets having been broken in the prior attempt. Kamaris and Kilchárunya blasted Brakarion with their weaponry, whilst Kit did the same. Wragrot aimed his shotgun with one hand and fired it at the giant, while Dolgan fired her coil gun and Vekaron kept slashing at him. The combined attacks tore chunks of the Levarcor's armor and made deep wounds on his flesh, though he eventually roared louder and swung his tail in a circular manner, hitting Wragrot, Kirlisir and Yatakhan and forcing them to stop using their psychic power.
- Kirlisir - Damnit!
- Yatakhan - Now that one hurt.
- Brakarion - You'll pay for that... I'll teach you what it means... to be a true Levarcor!
Brakarion struggled to keep on his feet, his body battered and blood falling down from him at the floor. However, the team could see the wounds slowly closing themselves, as the nanomachines on Brakarion's bloodstream fixed his body. The Levarcor's body became more and more swollen, growing grotesque to the team's eyes. While Brakarion grew, his wounds sealing and reforming to the way they were before, Vekaron felt something brush past his shoulder for just a moment. Walking past him, and in front of the rest of the team, was the cloaked, scythe-wielding Vansenk, laughing to himself before he began to splutter and cough. If one were to look closely, they would have seen blood trickle from his mouth.
- Vansenk - It seems... you are having... trouble.
- Vekaron - Vansenk? What are you doing here? You were supposed to be at the ship!
- Wragrot - Stinky? Where's your arm?
- Vansenk - My arm... I did not need it. It is good to lay... my eyes upon you once again... Wragrot.
- Wragrot - You're looking worse than usual.
- Vekaron - Is that blood?
- Vansenk - Not... all of it is mine... You all... look so attractive today... in your... beautiful, handsome bodies... I wish I had skin like yours.
Brakarion stomped the ground in front of himself and growled as he saw Vansenk below him.
- Brakarion - You mock me by sending a crippled man to fight me, Vekaron... I will not forgive your insolence.
- Vansenk - Vekaron... did not send me... to fight here. I came... of my own... volition. Hehehe... I am... glad Vyatak kept... my little secret...
- Vekaron - ...Secret?
- Vansenk - My time... is nigh, Vekaron. For... the past seven years... I have... abused my body, refused... nutrition and care... Disregarded health and hygiene... And I am... getting old, Vekaron...
- Vekaron - What are you saying?
- Kilchárunya - He's dying.
- Vansenk - Got it... in one... Clever girl...
- Vekaron - ...Why? Why aren't you getting yourself healed?!
- Vansenk - ... I want... this skin... to shed and... and die. I am... tired of living inside it.
- Vekaron - I don't understand...
- Wragrot - Damnit, Stinky, you're a dumbass.
- Vansenk - ...You prolonged my suffering... and I... I thank you, for it... for everything... To fight... for a cause again...
Brakarion growled and stepped forward, sending one fist at Vansenk's direction. Vansenk smiled, his lips, teeth and tongue bloodied, before he turned around and leaped into the air, evading Brakarion's fist with his jump. Landing on the Levarcor's colossal forearm, he ran up the length of the limb, laughing in his raspy, dry tone, his scythe clenched tightly in his hand.
- Vansenk - I may... be a crippled man... but... I am a crippled man... fighting a dead one...
The giant Levarcor barred his teeth in anger and sent his other hand at Vansenk's direction, with the intention of throwing him off. Vansenk growled as he leaped from Brakarion's arm and onto his other hand, and taking a mere second to catch his breath as more blood trickled from his jaws, he leaped upward with an athletic jolt and landed on top of the Levarcor's snout, his black, heavy cloak drifting wildly in the wind. Brakarion shook his head, trying to get Vansenk out of his snout while Vekaron watched the scene with a raised eyebrow.
- Vansenk - I have... been waiting for this day... to come... You had better... not disappoint me...
- Vekaron - Vansenk! What are you doing?!
Grasping his scythe and licking his lips, Vansenk rushed forward and raised his weapon above his head, glancing into the very eye of the mountain he had ascended, before bringing it down - the scythe's blade buried itself into Brakarion's eyeball, piercing its jelly and into the internal tissues like a scalpel. Being too weakened to harden his skin, Brakarion found himself blinded as his eye was penetrated, and the giant Levarcor let out a pained roar, loud enough to make Vekaron, Wragrot and Dolgan cower.
- Vansenk - Vansenk. I always... hated that name... I am... not Vansenk... That is the name... given to this... vile, putrid skin... Who am I? ...Death? ...Yes. Let's... go with that...
Drawing back his scythe, Vansenk dashed up the Levarcor's snout and stood atop its upper lip, glaring down at the team he had trekked and travelled with for almost a decade. He looked at them with a smile, and his robes continued to flow dauntingly as Brakarion's roars echoed throughout the air.
- Wragrot - The hell are you thinking?
- Vekaron - Get out of there!
- Vansenk - ...This skin... will miss theirs... Perhaps if I am... granted fortune... I will see them again... Let... Let... Let them... remember me... a-as... a-as... Eugh, ach... urgh...
- Vekaron - Vansenk!!
With more blood escaping from his mouth, with some even beginning to drip from his eye sockets, Vansenk smiled weakly, his eyes beginning to roll into the back of his skull as blood trickled from between the gaps in his teeth. Clenching tighter on his scythe, Vansenk allowed himself to descend into the Levarcor's gaping maw, his robes flowing from his form and into the air as he did. The Levarcor's eyes widened as he put his hands on his throat, agonizing and choking. He began stomping the ground beneath him desperately, while Vekaron put his hands over his mouth at the scene. Wragrot slapped himself across the face while Dolgan had a look of complete disbelief. Kilchárunya's brow contorted slightly, as Kamaris' facial expression did not change. Kirlisir's mouth dropped as she watched the scene, while Kalcedia looked on in a combination of disgust and shock. As Brakarion coughed and spluttered, the team watched as the Levarcor's flesh began to rip and tear, exposing his veins and muscular tissues which began to burst and bubble, as if being overheated, and blood flooded from Brakarion's form. The Levarcor screamed and lost his balance. Brakarion fell down the roof of the Council Tower, letting out a blood-curled scream as he did. Vekaron blinked before rushing to the edge of the roof, looking down with his eyes widened.
- Vekaron - VANSENK!
Kirlisir rushed to Vekaron's side, observing the Levarcor's descent from over the edge, speechless. Kalcedia stayed where she was, keeping to herself as she looked towards the ground, a solemn, somewhat confused expressing overcoming her face. Brakarion disappeared after several moments of falling, becoming too distant to be seen. Vekaron fell to his knees and punched the ground, tears forming from his eyes while Wragrot put a hand over his face, barring his teeth. Dolgan looked at the scene and preferred to keep to herself.
- Vekaron - Why did you do that...
Kilchárunya's face squirmed slightly as the sight of Brakarion's falling corpse went out of view, more to do with the impending impact rather than the fact that Vansenk had lost his life. Yatakhan had watched the scene behind Wragrot and looked to his side, discomforted with the events that had just transpired.
- Kirlisir - Vekaron...
Kamaris took off his helmet, breathing a solemn wave of air into his lungs. Wragrot reached his hand over and made the Council's jail float to the top of the roof, where he broke its door open with his bare hands. Dolgan walked over to the councillors and broke them free of their bondings, though Vekaron kept a defeated expression, still on the ground. Whilst Kit looked over the edge silently, there seemed to be no emotional response from Kilchárunya. Perhaps it was just her Kicathian nature in general, but she moved on from the moment in mere seconds, preparing her way back to the ground.
- Wragrot - Get up, Vekaron. He wouldn't have wanted you to be like that.
- Vekaron - ...I... I guess you're right...
Vekaron got up and walked over to the cloak, grabbing it and lifting it from the ground. He let out a deep sigh as he walked over to the councillors. As Kamaris breathed the air, he and several other members of the team noticed something somewhat striking; the air smelled clean. For once, the team had gathered and the air around them smelled fresh and... cleansed. There was little, if nothing, that remained of the scent of the Hseraelna. Aside from the heavy, black cloak that rested to one side.
- Vekaron - Come on. Let's take you to safety.
- Semirian - Vekaron, we-
- Vekaron - Please, councillor. Just... don't say anything.
- Xeron - ...Fair enough.
A day had passed since the pirate invasion was repelled. Brakarion Gragon died the moment he hit the floor, breaking through multiple floors of the station and being reduced to a bloody pulp in the process. His remains were investigated and all that was found other than his flesh was a scythe. Vansenk's scythe. The Caretakers over the station had begun rebuilding the damage the moment the fight ended, and Vekaron and his team, including Vyatak and Gardin, once again stood at the top of the Council Tower's roof. The councillors ordered the Caretakers to build a pedestal as per Vekaron's request, and on the Penumbran's hand, he held the Hseraelna's weapon. And wrapped on the scythe was Vansenk's cloak, the one part of him which wasn't digested.
Vekaron walked over to the pedestal and planted the scythe on it, while Vansenk's cloak drifted in the wind, almost like a flag. The Penumbran laid down on one knee in front of the scythe, closing his eyes as he did. Kirlisir stood behind Vekaron and knelt onto a single knee, closing her eye and taking a deep, drawn out inhale and exhale to clear her thoughts and worries. The Kicathian members were not present to Vansenk's memorial. Whilst they respected Vansenk, they were not particularly accustomed to conventional practices - nor sentiment in that matter. Kit had gone back to usual meditation and it almost seemed like Kilchárunya had forgotten Vansenk's existence completely. Kamaris however, was present. His eyes, though burned and scarred beyond recognition, were noticeably closed in contemplation. Mahanayans were almost as cold as the Kicath, but they were spiritual over the concept of death. Gardin held on Kirlisir's leg and cried loudly, while Vyatak had his hands over his face. He felt guilty, responsible for allowing this to happen.
Kalcedia was present, if not only to care for the young Rovegar girl when she would be done with paying her respects, and had dressed in something appropriate - formal and not excessively revealing by her standards. She stood beside Vyatak, watching Vekaron and his teams pay their respects to the Hseraelna's monument. Dolgan had her arms crossed and her eyes closed, preferring to keep quiet rather than say anything which could potentially insult her teammates. Wragrot was also present, and he appeared much more affected by the Hseraelna's death than one would imagine.
- Wragrot - Damnit, Stinky... You're making me embarrass myself...
- Vyatak - Should've healed him under his back. Should've saved him. Let him die... Killed fellow doctor...
- Kalcedia - It was his choice. He chose to do this. Nobody's at fault and nobody's to blame here. It takes a particular kind of consideration to do what he has done.
- Kamaris - Whether death is the final part of the soul's journey in this world is something that only Vansenk would know now. Either way. I'm afraid we cannot stand here all day. Tĥōraālom amžavoyan žō vaāl [We have a galaxy to save].
- Wragrot - I'm gonna miss that son of a bitch... You sure this is good, Vekaron?
- Vekaron - This is how we Zoles honour fallen soldiers. He said he disliked being a Hseraelna, so I'm giving him a Zoles funeral.
- Kamaris - I'm not sure whether Kit and Kilchárunya's absence is disrespecting him or not.
- Wragrot - It is. Next time I see her, I'm gonna punch her until she cries.
- Kamaris - And Kit?
- Wragrot - I dunno about him. I don't really care.
- Kirlisir - They're probably dealing with it in their own way, I should assume. Kit did not know Vansenk that well, after all.
- Kamaris - Possibly not. From what I gather, Kilchárunya doesn't seem to have feelings at all. At least, not normal ones. I always found Vansenk and Kilchárunya very similar. Both of them were driven by hatred and both were incapable of loving...except until the very end for Vansenk when we realised he was.
Gardin walked over to Vekaron and put herself against his leg. The Penumbran looked at the Rovegar girl and embraced her as he rose from the floor. She still had tears on her eyes, refusing to accept the Hseraelna's death, even more so since they had just put their differences aside.
- Gardin - D-daddy...
- Vekaron - Ssh. It's okay, Gardin. Vansenk's in a better place now.
Kamaris turned his head slightly to Wragrot.
- Kamaris - So, are we seeing you again or must you continue to rule?
- Wragrot - You'll be seeing me for a bit more. I heard the Council commenting on this attack and they're pissed off. They're planning to pay Torrent in kind, and I'm most certainly going to help them.
- Kamaris - In that case, don't punch Kilchárunya. I doubt the councillors would like that very much.
- Wragrot - I'll claim it's in self-defense. Her attitude hurts me.
- Vekaron - It's time to return to the ship. Time to let Vansenk rest...
Kirlisir nodded to Vekaron and picked up Gardin, although she was swiftly taken into Kalcedia's arms. The Zazane gestured with her head towards Vekaron, and Kirlisir nodded, approaching the Zoles and taking his hand in hers - she felt cold. Holding on Kirlisir's hand, Vekaron walked away from the pedestal. Wragrot sighed and followed the Zoles, and a few moments after, Vyatak and Dolgan joined them. Kalcedia walked beside Dolgan, resting her head on the Borealis Zazane's shoulder before closing her eyes for a moment, breathing slowly and heavily.
As the group left to return to their shuttle, their having paid their respects to the memory of the Hseraelna, the wind began to pick up. The black cloak that Vansenk had once adorned began to transition into dancing as the winds grew strong, flowing with life and activity. The scythe remained static while the cloak danced around it - the unyielding nature of the spirit stood ever valiant in the face of the oncoming storm.
The Council's Response
It took the Caretakers two days to rebuild the damage caused by Brakarion Gragon's attack on Hyperborea. Vekaron made his way to the fully rebuilt Council Tower by himself, leaving his crew at his ship, after he was called over to speak to the Council in person. As he arrived at their meeting room, Semirian, Xeron and Rylarien were present as usual. Notably, Kithworto and Arkarixus were also there, having returned from their mission at Andromeda. Kithworto himself was dressed in notably different attire - looking completely different altogether. There was no ominous aura about him, nor did he look particularly ominous either. His face however, was still as stern as it ever was.
- Vekaron - Arkarixus. Councillor Kithworto. I heard from Agent Nu that your mission at Andromeda was completed.
- Kithworto - Indeed. Though the result was not exactly what we wished for.
- Arkarixus - I'd prefer to not remember it at all. Regardless, this is not the reason we are here today.
- Semirian - The New Wranploer Legion's attack two days ago nearly brought Hyperborea to its knees and costed the lives of thousands of soldiers. At the same time, we have reasons to believe their failure has also crippled their military considerably.
- Xeron - That means, it's time to pay back! Time to put Torrent where he should be: prison!
- Kithworto - Personally, I do not believe prison is a severe enough punishment.
- Arkarixus - Indeed. He is the last Kvargo, we should put the race out of its misery now.
- Xeron - Ah, yes. Much better idea.
- Vekaron - How do you plan to do this?
- Rylarien - We have investigated Brakarion Gragon's remains and have uncovered Torrent's current location from his equipment. You will lead an united Alliance fleet to this world and attack it.
The councillors' screen showed several statistics, displaying a great number of spaceships and soldiers who would be put under Vekaron's leadership. Among them were other Penumbrans, Kicathian Agents and leaders such as Xerkea and Wragrot. Looking at this reminded Vekaron of the battle for Vijaha during the Second War, when he lead the Alliance in the invasion of the homeworld of the Wranploer.
- Xeron - The fool threw his military at us. We'll throw ours at him. And we will pulverize him!
- Vekaron - When am I to lead this assault?
- Semirian - Three days. We need time to prepare this fleet, but we also can't wait too much or Torrent might run off again.
- Arkarixus - I will also be present in this assault. I want to be sure the Kvargo is dead. How about you, Kithworto?
- Kithworto - If you need me.
- Rylarien - If you have no questions, then you are dismissed now, Penumbran Vekaron. Prepare yourself and your team for this battle, for failure is not an option.
Vekaron nodded and bowed slightly to the councillors before turning away, making his way to the exit. He was to lead an army again, like during his commandant days at the Zoles Imperium. He was to bring doom to the headquarters of pirates once again, like when he fell Vijaha during the Second Borealis Galactic War. At this moment, he remembered the time when things went wrong. When he lost the war in an alternate timeline and was in the end killed by Torrent. The Kvargo too had memories of this, since Kolossus allowed everyone to remember what had happened during that bad future. As he was making his way back to the shipyard of Hyperborea, Vekaron could think of how this would be the time where this rivalry with Torrent was finally going to be settled. Yet he did not feel happy about it.
Vekaron had been fighting Torrent for over a hundred years. If Torrent was gone... what would he do? The thought of no longer having Torrent around felt like as if a part of Vekaron's very body was being removed. This mutual hatred had affected him to the point Torrent had become a part of his life... would he miss him if he died? What would be his life purpose after this? What would Vekaron do with his life after fulfilling his goal of avenging his wife and daughter after a hundred and ten years of pursuing their killer? At this moment, Vekaron turned his head and noticed something. A fancy, decorated restaurant, filled with people who lunched at it. At one of the windows, a couple composed of two Zoles and a pair of children ate together, while the man and the woman gave each other a nuzzle to each other's snouts, smiling happily.
Vekaron turned back forward as he kept walking, remembering he had actually found something worth fighting for. Someone who could be part of his life. And it was not Torrent.
Teacher and Student, Mother and Daughter
The combat simulation training arena. Once again, Kirlisir stood within its center, adorned fully in her advanced and complex battle-armour, the blades of her Witch Gauntlets having been repaired and replaced since the last battle. She stood with her arms folded, grasping what looked like smaller equivalents of her blades within her grasp, her eyes closed and a faint smile on her face as she awaited with an air of patience. Making her way inside the room was Gardin, who as usual carried her Purion plushie, dragging it across the floor. She tilted her head from side to side as she walked with a carefree expression. Despite Vansenk's death days prior, the Rovegar girl managed to longer think about it by locking the memories out of her mind. Kirlisir glanced towards Gardin as she entered the room and lifted her head, showing her smile, with a hot glimmer in her eye. With minimal effort, she allowed the two miniature Witch Gauntlets to levitate towards the young Rovegar with her psychic powers, her smile becoming a grin.
- Kirlisir - Now, Gardin, I want you to take these and put them on. Strap them to your arms like mine.
- Gardin - What are these? Knives?
- Kirlisir - They're called Witch Gauntlets. The Rovegar are mistresses of combat and dance. These are our main weapon, much like how Vekaron uses his sword. ...Except we have more grace than Zoles do.
Gardin looked at the Gauntlets in curiosity before placing her plush down and grabbing them. She put them on, fitting them on her elbows like Kirlisir, trying to make them not fall off.
- Gardin - They're kinda uncomfortable.
- Kirlisir - You will grow use to them. For now, you'll have to bear with the discomfort.
- Gardin - So... I've been training to use these? To cut people with them?
- Kirlisir - Correct.
- Gardin - I... I hope I don't have to use them much...
- Kirlisir - That is for you to decide in the future. For now, however, I want you to try and hit me with them. Don't worry, my battle-suit will absorb the damage.
Gardin looked at Kirlisir before assuming a stance. She was mimicking her teacher's moves, which she always watched during their training sessions. She charged forward and sent one of the blades at the direction of Kirlisir's right leg. With a smile, Kirlisir allowed the strike to collide with her leg, dealing little more than a scratch in Kirlisir's armour. Soon, Kirlisir took a step back, and spun herself in a circle as she made an attempt to strike at Gardin with her own Witch Gauntlets. As she saw the attack coming, Gardin put her blades in front of herself and let her teacher hit her, shielding herself from her attack and being slightly knocked backwards by her attack's strength.
- Kirlisir - Very good! You learn fast, I'm surprised you haven't managed to cut yourself with those just yet.
- Gardin - I'm not dumb!
- Kirlisir - That much is clear to me. Heh, come on, do it again! Harder this time, more attacks!
Gardin nodded and began slashing at Kirlisir's direction. She used moves she had learned on past training sessions, moving as if she was dancing. Kirlisir chuckled and also made swift movements, blocking or countering Gardin's motions as they danced together for several minutes, their blades clashing with every few seconds that they moved. Soon, however, Gardin watched as blood dripped onto the floor at their feet - a cut had appeared on Kirlisir's cheek from where Gardin had managed to bypass the Rovegar's defences. The Rovegar girl immediately stopped her attacks and stepped back, her visible eye widened and her expression showing shock.
- Gardin - T-teacher!
Kirlisir brushed her cheek and noticed the blood on her fingertips. She giggled and licked the blood with her long tongue and looked back to Gardin, smiling and chuckling in a warm, satisfied manner.
- Kirlisir - Congratulations, you actually hit me. And you're not cut. That's... really quite impressive.
- Gardin - I hurt you... I'm s-sorry...
- Kirlisir - What are you sorry for?
- Gardin - I cut your face...
- Kirlisir - It'll heal, don't worry, it's just a scratch. You'll be getting plenty of those if you decide to fight in the future.
- Gardin - Fight... I want to fight, but not you. I don't want to hurt you. I want the fight the ones who hurt us. The ones you and daddy and everyone else fight... The ones who took Uncle Vansenk away from us...
Gardin took another step back, the thoughts of recent events returning to her. She began sobbing to herself, turning her view away. Kirlisir exhaled and approached Gardin, kneeling onto a knee and turning the young Rovegar around so that she would be able to embrace her, hugging the girl warmly as she attempted to calm her down.
- Kirlisir - Sssh, ssh, there there...
- Gardin - I d-don't wanna see you hurt... I don't w-wanna see anyone hurt...
- Kirlisir - Hey, I'm not going to get hurt... If I do, it means other people aren't. There there... It's hard, I know, it's hard for all of us...
- Gardin - I'm worried, mo-teacher...
- Kirlisir - Don't be worried, I'll protect you...
- Gardin - I know you will... You're the best teacher.
Gardin reached over to Kirlisir's wounded cheek and delivered a kiss at it, before hugging her tightly. Kirlisir smiled and hugged Gardin tighter, smoothing her hand across the girl's back softly, humming calmly into the young Rovegar's ear as she calmed her further. She allowed the minutes to go past as they embraced and cuddled, savouring the time they spent with one another.
- Gardin - I'm sorry. I worry too much... Can we train more? I don't want to disappoint you.
- Kirlisir - Sssh, hey, you've done enough already. Go on, go and play your games, I'm not disappointed. Besides, it's been a while since somebody landed a blow that actually cut me. I'm impressed.
- Gardin - Teacher... I wanted to know something...
- Kirlisir - Hm?
- Gardin - Would you like to... be my mommy?
- Kirlisir - ...Be your mommy? I... S-Sure. Sure. Of course, Gardin, of course I want to be your mommy...
Kirlisir smiled wider and closed her eye, bringing Gardin closer in a tighter hug, nuzzling the young girl's cheek. Gardin let out a giggle as she was squeezed on Kirlisir's grasp, before she let out a sharp yelp. Looking at her own arm, she saw that she had poked herself with her Witch Gauntlets.
- Gardin - Ouch!
- Kirlisir - N'aww, you cut yourself, you silly Purion.
- Gardin - You're a silly Purion!
Kirlisir chuckled and patted Gardin's shoulder, standing up after kissing the injury she had inflicted upon herself by accident. Stroking the girl's hair for a moment, taking a minute to enjoy its softness and youth, Kirlisir stepped back and gestured towards the exit of the training arena with a smile.
- Kirlisir - Go on, you're free to go and play games.
- Gardin - Okay! Bye, mommy!
Gardin put her Witch Gauntlets on the floor before grabbing her plushie by its hand and running off to the exit. Kirlisir soon followed shortly after, her mind elsewhere - she had been struck off-guard when posed with Gardin's question, although inside she could feel her heart beginning to warm. Her attention was diverted, and she appeared visually distracted by her thoughts. Eventually, Kirlisir hit something in front of her, stopping her on her tracks. It was Vekaron, who stumbled in place for a moment as she hit his chest. Kirlisir stepped back and her eye widened as she saw Vekaron, her cheeks igniting with blush as she looked to the side, refusing to look the Zoles in the eye out of embarrassment.
- Vekaron - O-oh, Kirlisir! I was looking for you.
- Kirlisir - Y-You were? Um... s-sorry, m-my mind was... e-elsewhere...
- Vekaron - Yeah, I see you're done training Gardin, heh... she seemed really happy when I passed by her.
- Kirlisir - Ehehehe, well, s-she did well... really well, as you can see by the little cut on my cheek, heh. ...She, umm... S-She asked me if I would like t-to be her... 'mommy'.
- Vekaron - ...Ooooh...
Vekaron put a hand on his cheek as they too began igniting with blush. He then put his hand over his head, looking around as if he had difficult trying to say something. Kirlisir looked down at her feet, fiddling with her fingers as her cheeks grew redder, although soon she looked up towards the Penumbran with a short bout of confidence - her eye glimmered as it did before, but more warmly. More affectionately.
- Kirlisir - What's the m-matter, sir?
- Vekaron - I... erm... I wanted to know if... after the big mission...
- Kirlisir - Yeah?
- Vekaron - You and me could... well, maybe...
- Kirlisir - ...Yes?
- Vekaron - ...Have dinner together... just the two of us?
- Kirlisir - Oh! S-Sure, I-I would l-like that! J-Just the two of us... heh, i-it almost sounds... like y-you're asking me out on a d-date.
- Vekaron - Eheh... yes... I'm doing that.
- Kirlisir - Teehee, of c-course... Heh, y-you'd better survive, I'm l-looking forward to this now, hehe...
- Vekaron - Heh... yeah... you too... please be cautious...
- Kirlisir - You too, Vek... If you d-die I'm gonna have to k-kick your arse, you know that?
- Vekaron - Heheh... of course... w-well, I better get going now. Need to... prepare for the mission and all that!
- Kirlisir - Yeah, of course! Hehe, don't wanna... you know, go in unprepared and... crap like that. Umm... you, er, enjoy doing that, and I'll... g-go and do my thing, heh!
Vekaron turned away, stumbling in place before quickly leaving the corridor. Kirlisir could hear the Zoles hitting his leg over a table after had left her view. Kirlisir giggled to herself quietly before she turned and began to almost twirl and dance as she walked, giggling and laughing to herself happily. While she never had much of a keen interest in romance, always having found herself too occupied with fighting, for once she felt... different. And eager. As Kirlisir danced and Vekaron stumbled his way out of sight in the other direction, the Zazane sniper, Kalcedia, had watched and listened from behind a wall, placing a hand to her mouth as she giggled, smiling. Genuine. She had, in her mind, fulfilled her promise - all that was entirely required was encouragement. Right next to Kalcedia was Gardin herself, who had her hands on her cheeks, giggling in happiness. She was filled with glee, having watched the scene alongside the Zazane. Happy enough to forget all that troubled her a few moments before.
She had a full family again.
Attack on the HQ
An immense Polar Crystal Alliance fleet, led by Vekaron's spaceship, made its way to the Vijaha Sector. Unlike in other recent great battles, there were no extragalactics to be seen. This was the Alliance's fight and their fight alone. Vekaron and his team were all on board of their shuttle, Wragrot also being present, as they looked down at the world detected as being Torrent's headquarters. A barren, almost desert planet, though it was clearly heavily protected from the large fleet around it. Dolgan could clearly see this was not the base she was used to, as Torrent had changed his location following her recruitment into Vekaron's team. The Penumbran looked at the planet with narrowed eyes while both Wragrot and Dolgan primed their weapons, preparing themselves for the final battle to come. Kilchárunya was sat in the cockpit of the ship, looking at the planet, whilst Kamaris remained somewhat calm, sitting at the table as usual. Kit, perhaps for the first time in months was upon the upper deck, staring out to the planet also. Kirlisir stood eager, fully dressed in her powered armour with folded arms and a toughened brow, while Kalcedia began finishing with applying various highly-advanced modifications to her sniper rifle. Kirlisir stood close to Vekaron, glaring at the barren world before passing a quick glance to the Zoles. On a screen, an image of Warmaster Arkarixus appeared. His voice was commanding and stern, as to be expected from his position.
- Arkarixus - Vekaron. You know your orders. You will lead the assault on the planet and eliminate Torrent. Destroy that base. Burn it to the ground. Leave no survivors.
- Vekaron - You don't have to say that twice, sir.
- Kirlisir - This is where it all ends, isn't it? Torrent's last stand, if he doesn't escape.
- Kalcedia - Escape to where? He has nowhere else to run.
- Dolgan - Oh, he's not running. He's dying here. And I'm going to enjoy watching him die.
- Kilchárunya - Let's focus on getting past that huge fleet first.
As the team observed the approach the of fleet of the New Wranploer Legion, Vekaron noticed another face pop up in its own window upon the holo-screen that Arkarixus was displayed upon; on the screen was a Krektal wearing an advanced eyepiece, with metallic, cybernetic arms and a rather advanced-looking set of thruster-armour. Vekaron looked at the Krektal with curiosity, recognizing him from somewhere but being unsure of who he was. The Krektal wore a firm smile across his face as he was graced with Vekaron's attention, folding his mechanical arms in a confident gesture.
- Arkarixus - This is Penumbran Tetra Terya. He will aid your team in locating Torrent.
- Tetra - So, you're the renowned 'Penumbran Vekaron' I've heard so much about. It's an honour serving beside you, sir.
- Wragrot - Man, that's a tiny Penumbran.
- Dolgan - Heh.
- Vekaron - Guys, please... I can say the same, Tetra. I'm fairly sure I've heard about you somewhere, I just can't put my finger on it.
- Kilchárunya - ...Hyperborea perhaps?
- Tetra - I helped secure a major Kormacvar artefact some two years ago, fighting the Zarkhator and SAM. I also worked with the Matriarchy in defending some of their colonies.
- Vekaron - Ah, that was it. The Zarkhator incident. I've heard many good things about you, Tetra. I'm sure we'll make a capable team.
- Tetra - I hope so, Vekaron. You're the best of the best from what Councilor Rylarien and the rest of the Council says about you. The people of Gotla hold respect for you.
- Arkarixus - If you are done introducing to each other, it is time for war. Prepare your shuttles, you will land as soon as possible.
- Tetra - Affirmative, Warmaster. Let's skip the talk and get to the good bit, shall we, Vekaron?
- Vekaron - Indeed.
- Kilchárunya - Well, I'll try to enjoy this one.
With this, the Alliance and the Legion clashed. Fleets firing their weapons at each other with much ferocity, old enemies were fighting once again. The old feud between the Zoles and the Wranploer would be decided at this day, and the Alliance had no intention of losing and forgiving Torrent for his attack at Hyperborea. Spaceships from both sides were destroyed from each other's fire, but the planetary defenses shuddered at the Alliance's power. Vekaron and his team took their shuttle, followed by Tetra's and many, many others as they descended at Torrent's headquarters. Artillery was immediately fired at the descending Alliance forces, though Vekaron's shuttle reached the ground unharmed. They could fire all they wanted, for they would not be able to hit every single shuttle in time.
Immediately as he landed, Vekaron lunged forward and sliced through the nearest mercenary he could find, while Wragrot gleefully fired his shotgun at the enemies, decapitating them with each shot. Dolgan had a grin on her face as she fired her coil gun from a distance, destroying whoever tried to get close to the team. Kamaris pinned a mercenary down by his foot, crushing the alien's chest with his sheer weight. Kilchárunya and Kit sped out of the landing zone and tore apart lines of soldiers with relative ease. Tetra and his associates rushed forward into enemy lines, with Vesinash taking shots at the mercenaries from behind cover while Tetra sliced them apart with his blades, as well as taking occasional shots with the Alvino particle rifle he had been granted permission to use. His other Krektal associate, Nirta, also cut down soldier after soldier. Alongside Tetra was a red-headed Rovegar, Traslia, who used her psychic powers to fling pirates away while a tall Levarcor, Lirtelta, fired at the enemies while cackling to herself. Close to them, Khaya, the Borealis Zazane, unsheathed her katana to sever a pirate in half before sheathing it again. Kalcedia, much like the Seagon, took precise, accurate shots with her rifle although she had been more pro-active, rushing into enemy squads and tearing them apart with her brutal physical prowess. Kirlisir ripped mercenaries to shreds with her dancing, raining blood onto the Alliance forces.
The Penumbran Kitanúniama was also present, blasting entire squadrons apart with his fists along with his own crew - Agents were accompanying him, treating him as if they were their creator - which in a way, he was. Arkarixus marched through the battlefield, raising a hand in front of himself. Enemies who stood too close to the Kormacvar Warmaster were tore apart in explosions of gore from his psychic powers, and Chief Major Xerkea could also be seen, firing her mecha's weapons at every enemy on her vicinity as if she was having the time of her life. Borealis Zazane equipped with specialized technology and weaponry - soldiers of the Borealan Adjudication Corps - charged onto the battlefield from cloaked dropships, either slicing mercenaries apart with their katana blades or blasting them into pieces.
While the army massacred the pirate forces, Vekaron and Tetra's teams went deeper into the structures to look for Torrent, separating themselves from the rest of the forces. As they went deeper into the Kvargo warlord's territory, large robotic defenses fired their weapons at them. Nirta rushed forward and dived past the ammunition that was being launched at the group, while Vesinash and Kalcedia took their positions and fired back at the defenses with a combination of rounds. Kirlisir stood beside Vekaron and tapped into her psychic capabilities, managing to counter many of the shots with an anti-kinetic bubble of Essence.
- Wragrot - Oh yeah! He's bringing out the big guns now!
- Lirtelta - Now we're having fun! Die, machine!
Wragrot used his own psychic powers to push the robots against each other as he fired his shotgun, while Vekaron struck them with his blade and Dolgan kept firing her coil gun. Heavy gunfire was felt as more pirate forces arrived in an attempt to repel the team: Elder Levarcor soldiers, armed with weapons such as rocket launchers and gatling guns.
- Tetra - Lirtelta, Feel free to go wild on those Levarcor! Nirta, lend her a hand!
- Nirta - It would be my pleasure!
- Kirlisir - Hey, save some for me at least!
- Kilchárunya - Is that how aliens speak to each other? Odd.
- Traslia - ...Oh wow, the Dancer Discordant!... Can you give me an autograph?
- Kirlisir - What?! ...Oh, I, uhh, perhaps a bit later, kid. I think we're both a bit too busy right now for that kind of thing.
- Tetra - Traslia, please try and keep focused.
Wragrot charged all the psychic energy eh could muster on his fist as he ran over to one of the Elder Levarcor, evading his shots as he could until eh got in melee range. The Murgur delivered a blow at the titanic pirate's chest, sending him flying across the building and crashing into a wall, which easily crumbled on top of him.
- Wragrot - That... was for Stinky.
Nirta dashed and sliced down an Eldar Levarcor, rushing past it with his aerial thrusters and maneuvering around it while delivering an extensive series of swift cuts to its flesh and armour, eventually downing it. Vesinash aimed for the heads of the Levarcor, while Kalcedia aimed for their armoured chests. Kirlisir did the same as Nirta, maneuvering around them while slicing through them. Lirtelta and Dolgan both fired their guns at giant enemies while Vekaron and Khaya slashed at their legs with their blades to make them fall over. Through the two teams' efforts, botht eh robotic defenses and the Elder Levarcor were dispatched off.
- Tetra - Torrent doesn't stand a chance, we've cut down his fleet, his army, and his personal defenses. What more can he throw at us?
- Nirta - Why are you always jinxing us, Tetra?
- Kamaris - Don't be overconfident.
At this moment, through a blast of fire rained over the two teams as Kravh Helljaw jetpacked about them firing the flamethrowers on his arms and throat at them while cackling. Wragrot growled as he formed a barrier of psychic energy around the team to protect them. Kirlisir glared and raised a hand, generating a psychic bubble around Tetra and his own team of affiliates in order to defend them from Kravh's firestorm, growling as she witnessed the pyrophiliac's return.
- Kamaris - The girl was right.
- Kravh - Greeeehhh! The greatest fire has begun! Nothing can stop it now!
- Traslia - What in the Composer's name is that thing?
- Lirtelta - Varkorus. Horrid creatures.
- Dolgan - You survived the Rovegar, you fucker!?
- Kravh - Grrhk! All burn! All burn! All burn! All burn!
- Vekaron - Damnit... Tetra. Take your team and go after that Varkorus. I'll take care of Torrent.
- Tetra - R-Right, I'm on it. Everyone, follow my lead and t-try not to get too close to the Varkorus! Fire from range and make sure it doesn't leave your sight! ...And stay away from materials that can melt!
- Nirta - Fuck.
- Khaya - Nuuuh. Fire.
- Kilchárunya - Have fun.
Tetra activated his thrusters and engaged in pursuing the Varkorus, with Nirta swiftly following behind his Krektal companion while Vesinash kept at the rear of the Penumbran's team, ensuring that they would not get compromised from behind by any hidden surprises.
Torrent's Last Stand
Vekaron's team progressed through the base until they arrived to what looked like Torrent's throne room. It was very large, decorated with tapestries typical to the Kvargo, and possessed numerous monitors which, at this time, were all static. At the corner of the room was a much larger throne, large enough for Brakarion Gragon to sit on. Kirlisir glanced towards the second throne and scoffed, flashbacks of Brakarion's grim demise flooding her mind along with Vansenk's disease-ridden sacrifice, causing her to flinch. Kalcedia kept her sniper rifle prepared for trouble, examining the room with keen perception.
- Kit - Hm.
- Vekaron - Torrent! Show yourself!
- Wragrot - Huh. Maybe he's not here.
- Kilchárunya - I wouldn't jump to conclusions like that just yet.
- Kirlisir - Doesn't seem to be present right now. Think he got out?
- Kalcedia - No, no I can smell it. I can smell his stench. He was here, very recently. Perhaps... Perhaps he still is.
At this moment, a very loud rumbling sound was heard as, at the corner of the room, the gigantic second throne began rising from the floor. Below it was Torrent, his entire body powered by his nanomachines as he rose the titanic chair above himself. With a swing, he launched the throne at the team's direction.
- Torrent - Knock before you enter!
- Kirlisir - Holy shit, look out!
- Dolgan - ...Do something!
Kirlisir stepped forward and focused her psychic powers on the colossal throne in order to attempt stalling it while it pierced through the air, while Kalcedia aimed and fired her rifle repeatedly at it as it approached. Dolgan frantically fired her coil gun as Wragrot joined Kirlisir, using his psychic power with hers. The throne eventually stopped in midair before Wragrot threw his arm to the side, launching it into the opposite direction. The giant structure collided with Torrent's own throne and made a large hole on the wall, revealing the outside. Kirlisir panted and turned her head towards Wragrot, chuckling with a tired pant.
- Kirlisir - Good... Good having you a-around again, big guy...
- Wragrot - Don't get too cheerful now.
- Vekaron - Torrent! I've come to end this once and for-
- Torrent - Die!
Charging at the team with frightening speed, crumbling the floor below him, Torrent sent a bunch at Vekaron, sending the Penumbran flying across the room. Immediately after, he delivered a blow to Wragrot, who was likewise thrown away like a ragdoll, roaring in pain. Kirlisir backed away as Torrent slammed both Vekaron and Wragrot away, causing her eyes to widen in both contemplation and fear - the strongest Murgur she had ever known and the most effective and successful Penumbran in history were both tossed with relative ease.
- Torrent - I'm not here to talk... I'm here to rip you apart! Your precious Alliance will die and I will rule this galaxy!
- Dolgan - Go to hell!
Dolgan took out her daggers and tackled Torrent, delivered slashes at the Kvargo who defended himself with his super-hardened arms. A blast of cold came out of the Zazane's armor and caused Torrent to shield his face, and Dolgan took the opportunity to deliver jabs at his stomach. However, each jab was deflected by his hardened skin. As Dolgan assaulted Torrent's front, Kirlisir manuevered around the Kvargo supersoldier and slashed at his back with her gauntlets, attempting to get in as many cuts and slices as possible in an attempt to penetrate through the nanomachines that hardened his skin. Kalcedia stepped back and fired at Torrent's arms to try and keep him vulnerable. Torrent threw his hands forward and grabbed Dolgan by her head before beginning to squeeze it on his grasp, a murderous grin forming on his face as the Borealis Zazane began screaming.
- Torrent - You want to join Chahenthras in the traitor grave? Eh? Eh?!
- Kalcedia - Get your hands... off of her!
Kalcedia rushed forward, her rifle grasped tightly in her grasp, and leaped in the direction of the Kvargo as Kirlisir continued working behind Torrent. With an angered expression on her face, filled with evident rage and agitation, she launched herself into the air and slammed a diamond-covered fist at Torrent's face. Torrent flinched as he glared at Kalcedia, who could easily see the large, almost maddening grin on the Kvargo's face. At this moment, Vekaron and Wragrot rushed back into battle and the Murgur emperor launched a powerful blast of psychic energy at Torrent. The pirate king staggered and was thrown to the side, letting go of Dolgan in the process, who collapsed into the ground. Wounds formed on the Kvargo's chest as he gasped in pain, psychic energy being his nanomachines' greatest weakness. The battle raging outside caused chunks of the building to explode and crumble, until the team and Torrent were completely in the open. The planet was turned into a burning wasteland, the skies going red from the battle.
- Wragrot - Remember! Use psychics against this asshole!
Kirlisir screamed, unleashing a deafening howl that pierced the Kvargo's ears, and leaped over his shoulder while he was distracted. In an effort to assist further, she unleashed a barrage of psychic bubbles at the wounds upon Torrent's chest, much like a machine gun, before she found herself swatted to the side. Growling in pain, Torrent charged once more at Vekaron, throwing powerful punches but missing due to the Penumbran's agility. Torrent's skin literally burned from the extreme amounts of energy he was forcing his body to use, leaving it with a charred, scarred appearance.
- Kalcedia - He's weakening!
- Kirlisir - Urgh... He hits hard...
- Torrent - I'm gonna crush you all!
- Wragrot - Oi! Kirlisir! Use all the psychics you have now!
- Kirlisir - Only as long as you do the same, Wragrot!
- Wragrot - Shut up before Vekaron gets be-headed!
- Kirlisir - Eat... THIS!!!
Kirlisir arose, standing to her feet, and glanced towards Vekaron and Torrent's close-quarters fighting. Closing her eyes, focusing the psychic energies throughout her body into a force that could be manipulated, she opened her eyes and unleashed a blast of telekinetic energy that shot towards Torrent at mach speed - a storm focused into a bullet. Using all the power he could, Wragrot did the same, and soon Torrent felt himself overwhelmed by psychic energy. The Kvargo put his hands on his head and began screaming as his body kept burning, the nanomachines' overcharging energy running through his veins at a critical level. Watching the scene and realising Wragrot's plan, Vekaron took out his syringe gun and fired all of its rounds into Torrent's body. Kirlisir fell to the ground on a single knee, panting and gasping for desparate breaths. She winced in a degree of pain as she attempted to recover from expelling so much psychic energy from her body at once, her armour smoking and steaming.
The nanomachines on Torrent's body, different from those of Dark Grip, began reacting to the syringes' contents. Torrent's body began becoming swollen as he screamed in pain, electric sparkles coming out of his limbs. The team was blinded as an immense explosion came out of the Kvargo, throwing all of the team away and into the ground and what remained of the base around them was reduced to rubble.
I Hate You
The battlefield burned, the sound of gunfire and destruction still roared through the world as Torrent's base was tore apart by the Polar Crystal Alliance's attack. Wragrot, Kilchárunya, Kamaris, Kirlisir, Kitmnárochoaltánún, Kalcedia and Dolgan had all been taken out of combat from the immense power released out of Torrent's body. The Kvargo's skill was scorched and charred, with exposed wounds as far as the team could see, and likewise, Vekaron was almost in shambles, his armor damaged and his stamina low, blood coming out of his mouth as he glared at his arch-nemesis. The syringes holding the anti-nanomachines stuck out of Torrent's hide and the Kvargo angrily removed them one by one, crushing them on his grasp as they did their job on his bloodstream. However, unlike Dark Grip before him, Torrent was still standing. The anti-nanomachines had not completely paralyzed him, likely because his nanomachines were more powerful than Dark Grip's to begin with. Instead, he had been reduced to a normal Kvargo. Vekaron and Torrent merely glared at each other's eyes, the wind blowing through them, sending dust and cinders through the air. Panting heavily, Torrent stared at Vekaron once more before clenching his fists, putting them in front of himself, as if he was preparing himself for a brawl. And that was exactly what he was doing.
- Torrent - We... are not done yet...
- Vekaron - Urk... You're a... tough son of a bitch...
- Torrent - Vekaron... let us end this game... man to man...
Vekaron glanced at Torrent before looking down at his blade. Staring at it for a few moments, the Zoles Penumbran decided to sheathe the weapon and like Torrent, prepared his fists. The Zoles was not sure why he was complying, he had no need to do this and he could simply lunge at Torrent and cut his throat open here and now. Yet, the thought of felt very wrong. The two tired, wounded warriors approached each other, their combating stances prepared until they were close enough, and once they were, Torrent was the first to attack. The Kvargo have thick, spiked, bony layers around their hands, meaning a punch from them was something to be feared for many alien races across Borealis, and it was most certainly a punch that went Vekaron's way. Before he could be hit, though, Vekaron took a step back, causing the Kvargo before lunging forward and sending a punch of his own at Torrent's direction, hitting his enemy across the face.
Torrent responded by sending an uppercut at Vekaron's stomach, hitting him with the full extent of his left fist and causing the Zoles to let out a pained gasp, before Torrent's right fist was launched at the Penumbran's face, causing him to stumble back and leaving several scratches across his cheek. In retaliation, Vekaron attacked Torrent again, who put his arms in front of his face to protect himself until the Zoles stunned the Kvargo warlord by sending a kick to the side of Torrent's head, followed by Vekaron sending his tail toward the enemy and hitting him across the cheek, causing him to yell out and stagger back. A dense, purple-coloured liquid was splatted across Torrent's head and he quickly began cleaning his face with his hands, easily recognizing what it was and why Vekaron had used it. It was Zoles poison.
- Torrent - That's... heh, a dirty trick, Vekaron...
- Vekaron - I have, agh... no reason to play fair with you...
- Torrent - I'd be... very disappointed if you were! Take this!
Using all the strength he could muster, Torrent sent a powerful punch to Vekaron's snout, causing the Zoles Penumbran to yell out in agony as he was sent to the ground, being knocking a few meters away from Torrent. The Kvargo taunted the Penumbran, clenching his fist and pumping it in front of his face while a grin grew on his wounded, bloodied face. As Vekaron got back up, stumbling as he did so, he quickly saw Torrent try the same trick again and quickly threw himself to his right, causing the punch to miss. The Zoles would take the opportunity to retaliate, wrapping an arm around Torrent's beck and locking his arm while squeezing it. Only after much squirming was Torrent capable of breaking free of Vekaron's grasp, throwing the Zoles' arms away before hitting him across the chest with his elbow.
Vekaron and Torrent both growled at each other as they attacked again. One punch each, each delivering a direct hit. Both Vekaron and Torrent groaned and gasped as their faces were struck, memories of their past battles beginning to resurface as both of them stumbled back from the attacks. Torrent panted as he glared at Vekaron, before barring his teeth and sending more punches at the Zoles, who used his arms to defend himself as he could, the spikes on Torrent's hands stabbing and cutting the Penumbran's scales with each attack. Putting his fists together and placing them above his head, Torrent sent them downwards and hit Vekaron's skull, sending the Zoles to the floor, coughing blood as he hit the ground. As he was about to proceed and attack Vekaron while he was down, the Zoles opened his wings, hitting Torrent and sending him backwards while he got up once more. Lunching at his enemy, Vekaron delivered punches and kicks at the Kvargo, blood and saliva being thrown out of his mouth with each attack until he fell down himself, landing on his back.
- Torrent - Heheheh... urk... y-you're aware... that y-you can't b-bring them back... a-aren't you? Y-your woman and your c-child... they're burning in h-hell right now... they're the r-reason this is happening... your t-thirst for revenge... y-you and me, Vekaron... w-we're not so different...
- Vekaron - Perhaps... b-but, unlike you... my goals have changed...
- Torrent - Huh?
- Vekaron - Ngh, agh... I d-don't fight j-just for them anymore... I have t-things to live for now... B-but what about you?... C-can you live... without me?
These words caused Torrent to freeze in place. He was reminded of the bad end of the Second War, when he killed Vekaron. He was reminded of the bad taste it left on his mouth. The Kvargo started to realize that, if he actually won a war with the Alliance, he had nothing planned for what he would do next. His whole life had been restricted to fighting Vekaron. He was nothing without Vekaron. Yelling out in anger, Torrent used whatever energy remained on his body and sent a flurry of punches at the Penumbran, who did his best to defend himself. Torrent's attacks grew frantic and irrational, and as he noticed an opening, Vekaron sent an opened hand at Torrent and dug his claws on his scales, cutting through his face and through his eyes. The pirate warlord screamed in pain before Vekaron kicked him into the floor, causing a heavy thud on impact.
Vekaron threw himself on top of Torrent and began hammering his fist down at the Kvargo's chest repeatedly, letting out tired and annoyed grunts as Torrent gasped and yelled in pain. Wragrot was the first of the team to wake up, still too weakened to get back up, though he was fully capable of watching Vekaron battering Torrent in a distance, raising an eyebrow as he gazed at the scene. Dolgan also regained her senses and watched the fight with an apprehensive look, one of her hands clenching on one of Kalcedia's tightly. Kilchárunya rose from the floor, her skin cut and wounded, and her mechanical legs bare from the assault. She stumbled to her feet, letting out small dissonant groans as she cheered on Vekaron's assault on Torrent. Kit's armour was damaged, and he rose to his feet also, looking on at the attack. Kamaris then pulled himself to his feet, wincing slightly at each fist laid upon Torrent's body as if he could feel it himself. Kirlisir looked on weakly, panting tiredly as she raised a fist, murmering and mouthing support for Vekaron as she tried to recover lost strength. Kalcedia grasped ahold of Dolgan's hand and sat up, rubbing her head as it throbbed and ached and watched on alongside.
- Kirlisir - G-Go on, Vek... Y-You can d-do it...
Vekaron would only stop his battering of Torrent when he became too tired to swing his fists. Blood poured out of Torrent's tooth-filled maw as Vekaron could clearly feel his enemy's chest becoming softer to the touch, his ribcage having been broken from the relentless assault the Zoles delivered on it. Laying defeated, Torrent looked at Vekaron and spoke in a low, pained voice.
- Torrent - V-Vekaron... Y-you can't... b-ring them back...
- Vekaron - Learn something, Torrent... I don't need them back... I have a new life now.
- Torrent - ...Urgh... Agh.... I... I h-hate you... I hate y-you...! I hate you, V-Vekaron!!
Hatred was the last thing coming out of Torrent's mouth as his body went numb. Letting out a final, angered groan, the Kvargo warlord finally succumbed to the beating he had received. Torrent had passed away. Vekaron held on one knee as he made an effort to stand up, looking down at the corpse of his nemesis with an almost indifferent expression. He had fulfilled his promise and executed his revenge.
Kirlisir arose and rushed towards Vekaron, almost stumbling several times before grasping ahold of his side and pressing herself against it in a sideways embrace, a *squeak* coming out of her mouth as she hugged Vekaron. Kalcedia stood and assisted Dolgan to her feet before walking over towards the bloodied Vekaron. Wragrot let out swears in Murgur as he walked over to Vekaron, stumbling to walk. Vekaron looked down to Kirlisir and wrapped his own arms around her, putting her close to himself. Kilchárunya slumped again on the floor, letting out a long, relieved sigh. It was perhaps the most relieved she had felt in many years, that something was finally lifted from her shoulders.
- Kilchárunya - It's over? Yay. Good. Listen, I found a good restaurant on Dzaranäo 2 that's willing to give an all-you-can-eat buffet to us. As well as free drinks.
- Wragrot - Slow down there, I can't feel my liver.
- Kalcedia - Heh, well, would you look at that?
- Dolgan - I wouldn't mind a huge buffet right now... Urgh, my head...
- Kit - I think the infirmary might be in order first.
- Kilchárunya - Yeah. I can see my legs.
Kirlisir continued to hug Vekaron, resting her head against him before glancing upwards towards his face with a smile. Her eyes glistened as she stared at the Zoles Penumbran, wiping away from of the blood that had gotten on her face from coming into contact with him. Kamaris stepped over to the lifeless body of Torrent, embedded in a pool of blood. He looked on somewhat with a sombre expression on his face, as if he felt sorry for Torrent.
- Kirlisir - Y-You... You've f-finished it...
- Vekaron - I... I did, didn't I?
- Kirlisir - V-Vekaron... Y-You're such a dumbass, g-getting in that close! You could've got k-killed!
- Vekaron - I was just... d-doing my job, t-that's all.
- Kirlisir - You're an idiot... But... You're my idiot...
- Vekaron - K-Kirlisir...
- Kilchárunya - Oi. Kiss on your own time. Some of us are missing skin over here.
- Kit - I'm not usually one for relaxing, but I could do with some time off. Perhaps a holiday on some nice rural colony.
Vekaron's face approached Kirlisir's, his eyes slowly closing as his lips approached hers... and all he could feel was pain. And her, too. The pain of a clenched fist, hardened by nanomachines, hit both Vekaron and Kirlisir across their jaws and launched them across the dirty ground. The fang-filled grin of Kravh Helljaw was seen, his body aflame and his look psychotic. His skin was visibly wounded, likely because of the efforts of Tetra and his team.
- Kravh - GGHHRRK. ALL. BURN.
- Kalcedia - Oh, not this again?!
- Kilchárunya - Thanks for tha-- Oh wait. It's you again.
- Kravh - Grrrh! You killed Torrent! Amazing! He will join the fire now! And so will you! And me! Everyone in this world! Everyone will join the big boom of fire!
- Kilchárunya - I'm beginning to think this guy likes fire.
- Kalcedia - What the fuck are you talking about?
Kravh opened his armor, revealing what looked like an explosive strapped on his chest. An anti-matter bomb. And a countdown, counting 180 seconds. Kalcedia was taken back by the presence of the anti-matter bomb that was strapped to Kravh's chest and raised her rifle, unsure of what to do regarding the situation, whether she should aim for it or avoid it at all costs.
- Kamaris - Erm. Okay. This is not good.
Kamaris pulled Kilchárunya off the ground, running in the opposite direction.
- Dolgan - ...DO SOMETHING.
- Wragrot - Oh, fuck off.
- Kravh - Ghrrreeeah! All burn! I burn! You burn! She burns!
- Kalcedia - There are still PCA ground forces fighting, there won't be enough time to evacuate them before the bomb goes off!
- Wragrot - ...Immobilize that fucker! Get the bomb out of him!
- Kilchárunya - Wait! Wait! Let me go!
- Kamaris - Why?
- Kilchárunya - I can defuse that thing!
- Kamaris - ...Are you serious?
- Kilchárunya - What kind of question is that?
Kilchárunya wrangled herself out of Kamaris' grasp, sprinting back to the hall. Wragrot sent a wave of psychic power at Kravh Helljaw's direction, though the Varkorus cackled as he ran the opposite way. Dolgan ran as much as her legs allowed it after the Varkorus, trying to leap at him, but her wounds made it impossible for her to keep up. Kalcedia attempted to both attract the Varkorus' attention and have him fall to the ground by firing onto his position, specifically towards his feet, shoulders and head, with her sniper rifle, which had reverted to firing heavy rounds at Kravh. Kravh was knocked off his feet by one of the shots and fell flat into the ground, and as he did, Wragrot immediately threw himself on top of the Varkorus. Two minutes away from the explosion, Wragrot yelled out as he tried to remove the straps around the bomb while Kravh thrashed in place.
- Wragrot - Stand still you ugly bastard!
- Kalcedia - Careful you don't get burned!
Kilchárunya leapt on top of the Varkorus, crushing his knees with her feet as she did. She took time to examine the bomb, finding it was considerably advanced for Borealis technology. Wragrot gave space for Kilchárunya as he pushed Kravh's head upwards before he could breath fire at her direction. Dolgan ran over to them and took hold of Helljaw's arms, keeping them in place.
- Kilchárunya - Titanium-compound skin and you're worried I'm going to get burned? You should go to Paclernos during the summer.
- Wragrot - Shut up. Bomb. Defuse.
- Kalcedia - Can't we just, you know, destroy the thing?
- Dolgan - And explode it on us? Girl, are you crazy?
- Kalcedia - You don't know if it'll do that. It's taking too long to defuse!
Though the Kicathian hands were usually a hindrance compared to most hands from aliens in Borealis, Kilchárunya wormed her way into the technology of the bomb fairly easily. In the centre was an antimatter core, which she avoided with the utmost care. As she slowly removed ring by ring within the bomb, the countdown began to slow down further and further. Kravh began squirming and thrashing in place the deeper Kilchárunya went into the bomb.
- Kravh - Ghreek! No! My beautiful work of art!
- Kilchárunya - As a Kicath, I can safely say this is not art.
- Wragrot - Hurry up, will you?
- Kilchárunya - And I thought I was impatient.
The final ring of the core was removed, and the countdown slowed to a halt. Wragrot ripped the bomb out of Kravh's body and used his telekinesis to put it away from the team or the Varkorus. At this moment, Kravh's body hardened once more and he used his strength to get the team members out of him before glaring at them in visible fury.
- Kravh - Ghhhhrrrr! I will kill you all!
- Kalcedia - ...Where's the syringe gun?
Before Kravh could do anything, a syringe flew into his direction, digging itself into the Varkorus' single eyeball, causing him to scream and throw himself back. Vekaron was standing up again, holding the syringe gun on his hands. There was, in fact, one final syringe left on the weapon after he fired at Torrent. And one was enough to deal with the nanomachines on Kravh's body. Kirlisir grasped ahold of Vekaron's side, using her psychic powers to assist Vekaron in lifting the gun, the two of them left visibly weakened after Kravh's prior assault on them while they were distracted.
- Kravh - Ghrrah! What have you... no... agh! Agh! Agh! It hurts! It burns! IT HURTS! IT BUUUURNS!
Kravh Helljaw's body, now unprotected by his nanomachines, could feel the fire around him burning through his skin. The Varkorus screamed in pain as he rolled across the ground, each scream louder than the last. Kalcedia watched the Varkorus writhe and seethe in agony, lifting her sniper rifle with utter temptation to place Kravh out of his suffering misery. As she prepared to press the trigger, she swiftly lowered the gun and continued watching the Varkorus burn inside his own inferno, smiling gleefully as it happened. Agonizing, screaming and squirming, Kravh Helljaw was eventually reduced to a charred corpse, all movement ceasing and his voice no longer being heard.
- Wragrot - ...Hell, that's fucking nasty.
- Dolgan - Oh man. I'm loving this shit.
- Kalcedia - I guess it's true that nobody can handle being as hot as I am.
- Dolgan - Don't ruin the moment.
- Kilchárunya - Okay. Now we're done.
- Scallywag - Torrent dead! Does not compute! Does not compute!
At this moment, Scallywag, Torrent's alien parakeet, flew over to the team and descended into Vekaron's head, delivering pecks to it. The Zoles, growling in annoyance, grabbed the bird and used all the strength he could to squeeze it on its grasp. The cyborg bird let out a screech as its body was crushed on Vekaron's grasp, releasing blood and circuits which fell on the floor below him.
- Kilchárunya - Animal cruelty! Bad! Like I give a fuck.
- Dolgan - ...Ew. Cool, but ew.
Kirlisir smiled and laid a hand upon Vekaron's chest, feeling his torn and damaged armour as well the muscular pecs that resided beneath it. Her touch provided some sense of comfort at least as she rested her head upon Vekaron's side, panting tiredly with severe exhaustion. Vekaron threw the dead bird away as he looked down at Kirlisir, a warm smile growing on his face. However, before he could do anything, the Rovegar could feel the weight of the Zoles above her as he felt unconscious due to his injuries. Kirlisir used the remnant of strength provided by her armour to ensure that Vekaron wouldn't hit the floor, instead supporting his weight on top of her as she struggled to stand. She began to call out, screaming for assistance as she noticed Vekaron's body fall limp and absent of independent movement. She could see that the blood coating his armour was not entirely Torrent's.
The following day, Vekaron walked into the main room of his ship, treated from his injuries after spending a night at the medi-bay. His body was still not fully healed, therefore the Zoles stumbled slightly to walk. Wragrot was on his ship, snoring on the chair he used to sit at when he was a crewmember while Dolgan had her arms crossed, as if she was contemplating something. Kalcedia was sat upon Dolgan's lap, leaning across it tiredly with her hands behind her head, having fallen asleep. Kirlisir walked beside Vekaron, assisting him with his own walking pattern and trying to ensue that he would not trip or stumble, as well as enjoying his intimate company. Kilchárunya was on a mobile device, talking in Kicathian - possibly to the restaurant owner about that deal. Kamaris was sitting at the table, eating food, whilst Kit was sitting there also, but reading a news tablet.
- Vekaron - Huh... what did I miss?
- Wragrot - Mhmhmm... oh. Oh! Hey there. Glad you're not dead.
- Vekaron - Yeah, thanks.
- Dolgan - Arkarixus wants to speak to you over comms, captain.
- Vekaron - Kirlisir, can you help me get to my chair?
- Kirlisir - Of course, sweet.
- Dolgan - Eugh.
Kirlisir responded with a smile and did as she was requested, helping the Zoles not to fall and getting him across the room safely, as well as positioning the chair correctly so that Vekaron could take his seat without fault. Vekaron nodded to the Rovegar in gratitude and then activated his communications. After a few moments, a hologram of Arkarixus appeared to the Penumbran and his team. His arms were crossed behind his back and his face appeared very satisfied.
- Arkarixus - Vekaron. I see you're recovering from your wounds.
- Vekaron - Slowly but surely, sir. What did I miss after I blacked out?
- Arkarixus - We are victorious. Torrent and Kravh Helljaw have been neutralized and their corpses were taken to Hyperborea, where we'll ensue no one tries anything funny with them.
- Kirlisir - I'm surprised there was anything left of Kravh's corpse, sir.
- Arkarixus - There wasn't much. All that was left was a burned, cybernetic Varkorus carcass. That thing had... a flamethrower installed on his throat.
- Kamaris - Crude.
- Kirlisir - ...What's the status of the Penumbran Tetra and his unit, sir? Did they get out alive?
- Arkarixus - Yes, Tetra and his team are safe and well.
- Kilchárunya - Turns out I can't get the whole restaurant rented out. Hm. Perhaps if I can ask Kithworto to do that...
- Dolgan - Damn.
- Vekaron - How did the Wranploer react to the attack?
- Arkarixus - Just like when Volim was defeated. They fell into disarray again and were easy targets for our fleet. This "New Wranploer Legion" of theirs is history.
- Kirlisir - So what will happen now, sir? The nanomachines, Torrent's research?
- Arkarixus - We'll see what we can salvage about Torrent's research to use it on the Alliance's own soldiers, possibly. You, though, I have orders for you.
- Vekaron - Yes?
- Arkarixus - Rest. And enjoy your victory.
A smile formed on Arkarixus' face, and Vekaron responded with a chuckle.
- Vekaron - Will do, sir.
- Arkarixus - If there's no more questions, I shall be going now.
- Kilchárunya - Eugh. Enough with the cheesiness. I've got a reservation now. Turns out killing Torrent was enough of a deal-breaker.
- Dolgan - Great.
- Arkarixus - So be it. Arkarixus out.
Kirlisir wrapped her arms wound Vekaron and leaned over his shoulder as he sat down, nuzzling his side softly and affectionately. Prior to Arkarixus deactivating the communications system, Kalcedia awoke and looked towards the screen, seeing Arkarixus' face and smiling widely, grinning.
- Kalcedia - See you, handsome.
- Arkarixus - ...Not this again.
With this, the hologram of the Kormacvar vanished, leaving the team to themselves.
- Wragrot - Well, that was an interesting experience I'm sure we'll all fondly remember. Except not really, my stomach still hurts from that punch I took.
- Kalcedia - Well, I feel pretty empty. If you catch my meaning, dear Dolgan.
- Dolgan - I don't.
- Kilchárunya - See? I'm not the only one.
At this moment, Gardin popped into view behind the seats Kalcedia and Dolgan were taking. Kalcedia looked down at Gardin and, with an eager smile, lifted her up and placed her onto her lap, sitting her there comfortably.
- Gardin - Dad! Mom! I've seen Aunties Kal and Dol kissing once!
- Vekaron - ...Uh?
- Gardin - It was weird, they had no clothes on.
- Dolgan - S-shut up you stupid brat! D-don't you know... lying is bad?!
- Kilchárunya - I can imagine Nu would be happy at the sight of that. Damn psycho.
- Wragrot - I know I would.
Kalcedia said nothing, instead smiling and giggling to herself as she sat on Dolgan's lap, wrapping an arm around the Borealis Zazane and placing it on her shoulder eagerly as she exploded into all-out laughter, blush covering her face. Kirlisir ignored what was going on and continued hugging Vekaron from behind. Vekaron put a hand over Kirlisir's, finding comfort on her presence. He had something to live for, and it was right there.
He needed nothing else at this moment, for he had all he could ever wish for.
The Hyperborean sky above was crowded with the presence of grey, artificially-constructed clouds that blotted out a majority of the light generated by the equally artificial Hyperborean sun - clouds and such were not necessary to the maintenance of the megastructure, it was simply largely cosmetic in order to provide a more natural, comforting atmosphere toward the nature of the false world. Within one of the leisure districts, an expensive restaurant resided, filled positively to the brim with people - largely members or affiliates of vital political and maintenance organizations - with the scent of food stretching onto the streets outside. Within the walls of the high-class, fancy restaurant, a small table fit for simply two individuals at a time had been occupied; a particular Penumbran and Rovegar rogue had chanced upon the seats.
Vekaron was, for once, not wearing any armor at all. Instead, he wore a formal suit for such an occasion, his usually ever-present headgear also being nowhere to be seen. Kirlisir also wore formal clothing, surprisingly a form of feminine dress which Kirlisir would never usually be seen wearing, although it hid her breasts and legs rather well so as to not completely betray her more masculine tendencies. She did not want to seemingly lower her standards. An Elzie waiter served the food ordered by Vekaron for him and Kirlisir before leaving. The Penumbran made sure to only order things he knew Kirlisir could safely ingest. Kirlisir had managed to obtain a plate of what appeared to be a Borealis analogue to spaghetti and meat balls, adorned with spices and sauces. She ate gleefully and contently, appearing to wholeheartedly enjoy the food, although her eyes never turned away from Vekaron.
- Vekaron - I hope you're enjoying everything so far.
- Kirlisir - Heh, oh trust me, this is delicious. You certainly know how to pick good restaurants.
- Vekaron - Hehe, I'm glad you think so... I've never actually been here before.
- Kirlisir - Oh, is that so? Well, Mr. Zankho, I too like to live dangerously, heh.
Vekaron chuckled before looking down, his expression become rather saddened all the sudden. Out of one pocket, Vekaron took out a pill of some sort before ingesting it alongside a sip of water. Kirlisir exhaled and moved a hand over the table to caress Vekaron's, her fingers embracing his softly and gently with a warm, sensitive touch.
- Kirlisir - You feeling alright, Vek?
- Vekaron - ...Vyatak says I have to take these from now on.
- Kirlisir - I know, Vek, I know... I wonder how you sleep at night sometimes, really. A century of fighting...
- Vekaron - At the beginning, it... wasn't easy. I kinda forced myself to deal with it.
- Kirlisir - I think it was a good decision to put you on those things if it means no more nightmares for you. I don't want my Vek sweating and crying in the middle of the night while I'm trying to cuddle up to him, you hear?
- Vekaron - Heheheh... you're too sweet to me.
- Kirlisir - Is that complaining I hear, hm?
- Vekaron - I'm not saying I don't enjoy it.
- Kirlisir - Hehe, good. If you didn't, I would've had to have made you enjoy it.
- Vekaron - Oh? In that case, I might even start complaining.
Vekaron began eating from a plate holding the same as Kirlisir, and he also never removed his eyes from her. Kirlisir winked in Vekaron's direction with a firm, sultry smile before continuing to caress Vekaron's hand, her eyelids drooping somewhat as she remembered the words that were said to her on the day of their introduction. She exhaled again.
- Kirlisir - You know... I never thought we'd get this far. You, me, having dinner, holding hands. It all seemed a little ridiculous at first, back before we got to know each other.
- Vekaron - Well... we did meet trying to kill each other.
- Kirlisir - Yeah, there was that. ...I was going to leave once my job was done. Once the pay stopped, I would have had no other reason to stay. I would have gone back on the galactic road, living on my own.
- Vekaron - You planned to leave?
- Kirlisir - I did. But not anymore. No, I left those plans behind a long time ago. There was you, there was Gardin... I warmed up to the crew...
- Vekaron - I don't know what I'd do if you left... I'd probably have died to Vorius.
- Kirlisir - Being without you is a strange thought... I couldn't imagine it now. I... Heh, I stayed because of you, Vek.
- Vekaron - I'm happy to know that. I... couldn't imagine myself without you now.
Kirlisir reached over the table and plunged her cutlery piece into Vekaron's dinner, pulling out a few strings of 'spaghetti' and placing them in her mouth as she maintained eye contact with Vekaron. The Zoles did the same, putting his fork into the food and bringing it into his mouth, though his gaze appeared almost lost in Kirlisir's single eye. As Vekaron began to ingest the spaghetti, the two found themselves nearing one another as a single strand of the pasta was shared between them, their gazes so absorbed into one another that they did not notice until their lips touched. Kirlisir's cheeks flared red in response, her eye widening in pleasant surprise. Vekaron's own eyes widened and his own cheeks grew darker, though he made no effort to do anything to stop this from going. Kirlisir smiled and allowed this to go on for several moments more, appreciating the warm moment before sinking her teeth into her side of the strand and swallowing, slowly moving away from Vekaron with a grin on her face and reddened cheeks.
- Vekaron - You're so cute when you're all red like that.
- Kirlisir - Of course you'd know about cute, wouldn't you?
- Vekaron - What makes you say that?
- Kirlisir - Have you looked in a mirror recently? You're obviously the most adorable thing around right now that I know of...
- Vekaron - Me? Cute? Heheh, are you sure you've not drank too much?
- Kirlisir - Oh please! You obviously don't know how well I can handle my liquor.
- ??? - He doesn't? Are you keeping secrets from Penumbran Vekaron, miss Kirlisir?
Standing at the side of their table was a Minga holding a portable gadget that appeared to be taking pictures of the couple in quick succession, capturing their faces and meals as well as recording some of their dialogue. The man appeared eager and excited, as well as immensely curious, refusing to cease taking photographs.
- Vekaron - Erm... excuse me?
- Minga - Penumbran Vekaron, how long have you been involved with miss Kirlisir? How many people have you told about this? Does your crew know? What do you see in miss Kirlisir that attracts you?
- Kirlisir - Uhh, I don't think that's any of your damned business, pal. We're trying to eat dinner here, in private.
- Minga - How long have you had this date arranged? Are you watching your weight, miss Kirlisir?
- Vekaron - Hey, you. I don't know who you are but you're bothering us.
- Minga - Are you getting annoyed, Penumbran Vekaron? I saw you taking a pill earlier, what was that for? Do you have a condition? Mental or physical health issues? What does the pi--
As the Minga persisted in its inquiries, it suddenly found itself being shoved and pushed away by a familiar figure dressed in a black, formal suit who smiled and chuckled as he relocated the reporter - it was Tetra, his cybernetic arms hidden beneath the sleeves of his suit.
- Tetra - Don't mind him, I'll sort him out. You go on and enjoy your meal, you deserve it after what happened back at Torrent's headquarters.
- Vekaron - Heh. Thank you, Tetra.
- Tetra - Don't mention it, really. This guy's been everywhere, recently.
- Minga - Are you and Penumbran Vekaron acquainted? What is your opinion on Gotla? What are the Zarkhator li--
- Tetra - Come on, people are eating, you know better than this.
Tetra proceeded to guide the Minga away from the couple and out of the restaurant quickly, with Kirlisir giggling to herself and resuming her meal, her gaze meeting Vekaron's once again. Unbeknownst to the two of them, it was not just the Minga reporter that happened to have had his eye on them, as sitting at the furthest corner of the restaurant were two tall, busty female Zazane characters, their eyes gazing towards Vekaron and Kirlisir from afar.
- Dolgan - I don't know how you talked me into this.
- Kalcedia - Isn't it sweet? They're really obsessed with each other.
- Dolgan - You really know nothing about privacy, do you?
- Kalcedia - Pfft, it's not like I'm going to record it or tell anyone. Doesn't looking at the two of them just make you feel warm, and fuzzy, and wet inside?
- Dolgan - Eh... It's kind of... cute, I guess.
- Kalcedia - Are you really that cold on the inside that you can't appreciate love when you see it?
- Dolgan - What do you expect me to do? Throw rainbows and flowers everywhere?
- Kalcedia - Shut up and give me a kiss, bitch.
An hour or so had passed and the Zoles and Rovegar had since finished their meals, with the waiter informing them that due to Vekaron's status and reputation, as well as an apology for the stray reporter, the food would be free this time around. Kirlisir had her arm wrapped around Vekaron's waist as they approached the exit of the restaurant, where they were greeted with a downpour of rain and a mist that was a result of the wet environment and humid weather. Vekaron looked at the rain and let out an annoyed grunt as he had a hand wrapped around Kirlisir's body.
- Vekaron - They just had to turn the artificial rain on today.
- Kirlisir - You don't like the rain?
- Vekaron - Well, no. You get wet and all.
- Kirlisir - Hehehe... Ahem. I mean, I kind of like it. The rain, the mist, it's all so... atmospheric.
- Vekaron - Hm. I see your point. Still, I don't want my blue-haired cutie getting water all over her dress.
One of Vekaron's wings unfolded and opened itself, and the Zoles placed it on top of Kirlisir's head, acting as an umbrella for her. Kirlisir giggled as Vekaron's wing stopped the rain from falling on her head, although it wasn't long before she removed the wing from above her, placing it back to it's folded position, and clinging in front of Vekaron, her arms wrapped around his waist.
- Kirlisir - Well?
- Vekaron - You're gonna get wet that way, you silly.
- Kirlisir - No, I'm not on about the rain.
Vekaron looked down at the Rovegar for a few moments before smiling warmly at her. With water pouring down at them, he leaned down to get to her level, approaching his head to hers. Kirlisir smiled and reached out her arms, wrapping them around Vekaron's shoulders and her head neared his. Soon, the two found themselves engaged in a deep, passionate kiss in the middle of the rain, soaking their clothes and bodies as they embraced one another in the middle of the downpour. Vekaron passed his hands through Kirlisir's back and behind her head as his tail swatted from side to side excitedly. He no longer made any effort to stop the water from hitting them and merely enjoyed the moment. Kirlisir's ears perked and she closed her eye, ignorant to everything else that was not Vekaron or their kiss. She felt like she could melt like butter between his arms as, despite the rain, Vekaron filled her spirit with warmth and affection. They would continue to kiss there for minutes more, with Hyperborean residents moving around them as they would not dare ask Vekaron to move himself and his date out of their way.
It was dark and a majority of the crew were either resting or absent by the time that Vekaron and Kirlisir returned to the Penumbran's vessel, although concerning noise neither of them paid much attention and continued to laugh and chatter as they made their way towards Kirlisir's quarters. Kirlisir herself was suspended in Vekaron's arms, her own arms wrapped around Vekaron's shoulders with a wide smile on her face, her wet hair drooping. Vekaron too was soaked, leaving water drops behind him as he walked, though that seemed to be the least of his worries at this moment.
- Vekaron - Heheh... what a day.
- Kirlisir - Mm, yeah, it's been quite a nice time! Treating me to dinner, kissing me in the rain... Hehe, you're just wonderful.
- Vekaron - Well, I'm glad you enjoyed it. We can do it as many times as it pleases you.
- Kirlisir - Oh, is that right?
- Vekaron - Of course. For you, I'd do anything.
- Kirlisir - Hehehe, what do you want to do for me? ...Or to me?
- Vekaron - What do you... ooh. You naughty girl.
- Kirlisir - What's the matter? Not scared or angry, are you?
- Vekaron - Scared?... Well...
- Kirlisir - Come on, I can take it! I'm a big girl, after all, I can take care of it and myself, hehe.
- Vekaron - Oh? Is that a challenge I'm hearing?
- Kirlisir - Why don't you come show me if that's a challenge for you, hm? My door's unlocked, the room's tidy and clean, and frankly you're looking more and more irresistible with each moment that passes.
Vekaron looked at Kirlisir with a smile before putting her lips against hers once again. He passed his hand through the Rovegar's soft cheek, feeling her sultry pale skin against him.
- Vekaron - I love you, Kirlisir...
- Kirlisir - I love you too, Vekaron...
With these words, Vekaron walked over to the entrance of Kirlisir's quarters and then closed the door with his tail, making sure to lock it from the inside. It was their night, and no one would interrupt it.