This story takes place in 2273, and features Anastasia Renner, Trista Bennett, Sasha Urec, Vint Acadal, and Maine. It's been 3-4 years since Anastasia was revealed to be Judge Althaea to the public, and she's become a well-liked individual in Coalition society. However, this new-found fame may also have a downside: someone, or something, is out there, hunting her. And, when this threat finally finds her, her only hope may be her friend Trista, who, due to having Flood Matter for a brain, no one seems to trust...
Chapter 1: FriendsEdit
Sasha was at Kaven Base's Mess Hall, to get something to eat. What she'd gotten herself to eat was some pizza, while she thought about who to sleep with next.
Just then, a voice squeaked, "Hey...Sasha?..."
Sasha turned towards the voice and saw Trista Bennett. She didn't trust the girl much: with her having a Flood Form for a brain, how COULD she trust her. "Uhh...hi?"Sasha responded.
"Hey...do you...have any idea where Anastasia was? She said she wanted to show me something, something to do with her Mist Powers...and I can't find her anywhere..."
Sasha quickly responded, "No clue."
"Are...are you sure?"
"Yah, I'm pretty sure."
"Oh...ok...so...how're you doing?"
"Thinking of going to the city for a one-night stand. You?"
"Ummm...I'm not sure...I'll...I'm going to look for Anastasia now..." With that, Trista left.
Once Trista was out of earshot, Sasha muttered to herself, "Kept brain, all good." Then, she noticed a couple ODSTs preparing to eat. "Maybe them..." she thought to herself, returning to what she said that caused Trista to leave.
Anastasia waited in a park at Kaven Base for Trista. She'd been trying to master a Mist Power for some time, and finally, she thought she got the hang of it.
Finally, looking down the path, she saw Trista enter the part (looking slightly dejected, as she always did). "Hey, Trista!" Anastasia called out. Trista's expression lit up when she heard Anastasia, and Anastasia could probably guess why: while Anastasia tries to make a few friends as possible (but still seems to make more anyways), Trista wants to have some friends, but, due to the fact she had a Flood Brain form as a brain, people don't trust her easily: Anastasia was one of the few that did.
"Hey, finally I found you!" Trista said, "So, what is it you wanted to show me?"
"Watch this," Anastasia said. She charged up Mist Energy in her hand, and, seeing a small tree, she shot it out. The Mist Energy collided with the tree, warping it and making it disappear.
"Impressive. Warp, I take it?"
"Yeah, been trying to master that Magick forever. Finally, I think I got it down."
"So, you said you were gonna work on Break next?"
"Yeah...these Magicks will probably come in handy with the threats I'll end up facing."
"Yeah...what about your Aura Powers? You seem to have been neglecting them."
"They'll be fine. I just want to get my Mist Powers up to spec. I'm still rendered a little woozy by using Quickenings, and I want to fix that."
"Alright then...say...you talk to..."
"No! No...not yet..." Anastasia seemed to sink back into her old 'shy and nervous' mindset momentarilly.
Trista giggled at that. "Well...you should really talk to him soon: or else Sasha will probably get to him first."
"Oh thanks, I really needed that picture," Anastasia sarcastically remarked, as Trista continued giggling.
Then, remembering something, Trista said, "Hey, I gotta go meet with Maine, he's offered to give me some more hand-to-hand training."
"Yeah, you used to be a badass as Coruptus's agent, I'll admit..."
"Yeah...a badass forced to do bad things..." Trista said, depressed.
Anastasia, getting what's bothering her, said, "No one blames you for what you did, Trista...you...you didn't have a choice...but you do now...and all that matters is that you're making the right one now..."
"Thanks, Anastasia..." Trista said, "I'll see you later."
Chapter 2: Openning UpEdit
Trista made her way to the Hellcat Squadran training areas, where she was supposed to meet with Agent Maine. When she entered the room, it was almost completely pitch black, except for a light that showed where she was in the room. She felt something off immediately...and she leapt to the side, just in time, as Maine appeared from the darkness, slamming his fist at where she was just moments ago.
The ground seemed to blast apart under the force of his fist, as he slammed to the ground. A moment later, he looked up at Trista, his face hidden by his large helmet. The duo merely stared at each other, sizing the opponent up...before charging. Maine unleashed several heavy punches, each of which could have easily thrown Trista back had she not dodged. Trista attempted to counter with her own attacks, but Maine either shrugged them off or dodged them.
This back and forth continued for an hour or so, until Trista then unleashed a series of jabs at select areas on Maine's body. While his armor would be able to shrug normal strikes back, Trista's unnaturally strong attacks managed to send the force through the armor, feeling like a kick in the stomach to Maine.
Maine staggered back, and Trista, seeing an openning, attacked. However, Maine, ready for her, unleashed a massive punch to Trista's gut, sending her flying, causing her to land on the ground, hard. Before she could recover, Maine was already on her, using a foot to keep her pinned.
The 2 panted for a moment, their non-stop combat having worn them out. After a moment, Maine took his foot off Trista's chest, and, grabbing her hand, helped her to her feet. "Almost had me there, for a moment," he said.
"I don't see how," Trista replied, accepting his help.
Maine then explained, "Those attacks you launched did in fact catch me off-balance: had I not countered when I did, you would have beaten me."
Trista seemed to smile: she was improving again. She'd been told numerous times how she used to be extremely skilled when she was Coruptus's pawn: her first goal was to make a name for herself, as herself, not as Coruptus's minion.
And this was a step in the right direction.
In one of the bars near Kaven Base, a young man walked through the door. He was already somewhat known to the bartender there, who also knew about his most recent problem.
"Hey, kid. How's the sis?" the bartender asked.
"Still terrible: Giarc's DNA is still trashing her system. I overheard Quel thining out loud: thinks she might not even make it..." the young man, Vint Acadal, said sadly, "After all I did to take care of her...she may just up and die on me..."
"Hey, Quel's been wrong before. Many, many times before."
"Well...I wouldn't know when..." Vint replied. He and his sister only arrived a few years ago.
"Check his records some time. Drink?" the bartender asked, offering.
Vint replied, "I'll just take my usual..."
"Aight. Don't worry kid. From the shit I've seen around here, worrying will just mess with you more," the bartender replied. Vint took what he was given, and moved off into the corner of the bar he usually went to.
A few minutes later, Sasha Urec and her sister, Anastasia Renner, arrived.
The bartender took notice of them. “How will I get paid this time, you two?”
Sasha answered, "Same as ever, unless you have some sort of mind control that would get Ana to pay you..." Anastasia gave her a dismayed look that basically said, What the f***! Sasha responded, "You never know..."
“I HAVE learned Vanish, you know…” Anastasia pointed out.
As the 2 sat down, the Bartender began readying their usuals: Sasha's being straight-shot vodka, and Anastasia just getting Cream Soda. “So tell me again, how did you kill that Giarc fella?” the Bartender said, looking in Anastasia's direction.
When Vint heard Giarc's name, he immediately began eavesdropping on the conversation. Giarc's dead? he thought to himself, in joyful disbelief, And that girl killed him?
Anastasia nervously responded, "Uhm...well...threw a few Magicks his way, blasted him with a Quickening chain...and...uhm...cleaved him in half..."
Sasha facepalmed when Anastasia said 'Cleaved'. "You love that word, don't you? I'll have to let him know whenever you let some guy...or girl, in your room.”
Missing the inference Sasha made, Anastasia responded, indignantly, "Hey, I make a threat, I keep to that threat: I don't bluff."
The bartender, not missing what Sasha said, pointed out to Anastasia, “You do realize that she just inferred you might sleep with women?”
Finally noticing, Anastasia sputtered in a shocked voice, “…Wait, what?!” Then, she gave Sasha a look similar to her earlier 'What the f***!' look.
“Ok, I get a discount today," Sasha said, before turning to Anastasia. “You've never really shown attraction to either, so how am I supposed to know? Unless you reproduce through mitosis or something.”
Anastasia seemed uncertain how to respond, when, suddenly, a churping sounded in her pocket. She muttered to herself, "Oh, good, saved by the bell." She then said to Sasha and the bartender, "Hold on, I gotta take this." After gulping down the rest of her Cream soda, Anastasia left the bar.
Once he saw Anastasia leave, Vint came over to the bar.
Sasha, seeing him approach, said to the bartender, “I'll pay for him too, as I'm getting mine free.”
Once he reached them, Vint said to Sasha, in a serious voice, “I need to talk to you. What did you say about that girl and Giarc?”
Sasha, realizing he was refering to Anastasia, said, "Oh, you want to sleep with my sister, alright then."
Vint, now feeling a little impatient, stressed, “…Please answer my question…”
Sasha asked, "Why do you want to know?"
After a moment of silence, Vint responded, coldly, "Because that asshole Giarc killed my father..."
"Point taken," Sasha replied, "Yeah, Ana killed him. Cut him in half. I was hoping for quarters, but what can you do?"
Vint muttered to himself, “Really...so she did take that asshole down…”
"Hey, if you want to meet her, she should be back in a few."
Vint then admitted, “There’s a reason I waited for her to leave before asking: I’ve noticed before that, when she knows I’m around, she can barely speak two full words. Tried talking to a friend of hers about it, but she wouldn’t say anything.”
Sasha, realizing immediately what was going on, told him, "Wait here. BT, get him something." Sasha then left the bar as well, finding Anastasia on her phone with someone.
Anastasia, seeing Sasha coming, said into the phone, “Hold on…” Then, she asked Sasha “What is it?”
"Who're you talking to?" Sasha asked.
“Larsa, says that there’s another mission I’m needed for. Will be departing for it tomorrow. Even after all that’s happened, I still want to strike the Archadians a blow…what is it?”
Sasha immediately grabbed the phone out of Anastasia's grip, and said into it, "Hey, Lars, its Sasha, Ana has to go for a while, thanks, bye," before hanging up the phone.
Anastasia, shocked by this, asked "Ok...what was that for?"
Sasha merely grabbed Anastasia's arm, and lead her back into bar.
Anastasia was confused for a moment, until they got into the bar. Anastasia was then startled to see Vint there, waiting. "Uhh...Sasha...what's this about?"
"Come on, go get some!" Sasha muttered to Anastasia.
Anastasia whispered, nervous “Huh?”
"He says you don't talk while he's around, go get him or so help me I will bed the man myself!"
Anastasia, startled by what Sasha said, then took a tentative step towards Vint.
Sasha then gave her a shove, so she stopped at the stool right next to Vint, as Sasha went to sit at her own table.
Vint, when he finally noticed Anastasia, said to her, “Hey.”
Anastasia, nervously, answered “Uhm…uh…hey…”
Sasha made gestures to Anastasia, trying to encourage her to keep talking. Instead, scared out of her wits, Anastasia just began stuttering and shivering.
Vint, immediately worried, put a hand on Anastasia’s shoulder, before saying in caring voice, “Hey, you alright?”
Anastasia, hearing the tone Vint spoke in, seemed to settle down...only a little, though. “…Yeah…I’m…I’m alright…just…uhm…”
Sasha, humiliated at how Anastasia seemed to be messing up, made a noose in the air and pretended to hang herself.
However, Vint, in the same caring voice, said, "Hey...I get it, you're nervous. Nothing wrong with that."
Anastasia immediately smiled at that, relieved.
Sasha, equally relieved, made a praying motion and mouthed "Thank god."
Vint, deciding to ask about what he wanted to talk about, then said, “So, I heard you’re the one that wasted Giarc…guy had it coming to him.”
“What do you know about him?” Anastasia asked, nervously.
“Knew he killed my father: anyone who’d stand up to that guy is ok in my book: anyone who would stand up against him AND could take him down is better still.” Anastasia smiled wider at that, even started blushing a little.
Sasha, then started making more "keep going" gestures, prompting Anastasia to ask, “Uhhh…so…what happened after that?”
Vint answered, “I ended up having to take care of my sister for a few years…I came here a few years back when my sister became deathly ill: turned out some of Giarc’s DNA got into her, was trying to eat her body…so, how’d you end up here at this base?”
“Me? I-I was born on-base…my mother’s a member of Hellcat Squadran…”
“Really? That’s interesting.” Suddenly, his watch began to beep. “Oh…sorry, I have to go…I usually go visit my sister around this time…I’ll catch up to you later, ok?”
Anastasia hastilly warned, “I…probably won’t be available tomorrow…but I may be available later…”
“Alright, thanks for warning me. See you around…and try not to be so nervous all the time, ok?” Anastasia nodded to that, smiling. With that, Vint left.
Sasha then approached Anastasia. "Well, was that so hard?"
“It…felt hard at first…but once I got going…” She smiled to herself, remembering it, “I…I don’t know…I guess…I guess I almost didn’t want to shut up…”
"Tell you what, tomorrow I'll find out where he normally hangs out for you. Don't worry, I won't sleep with him...sadly."
“Thanks…” Anastasia said...to both things Sasha said.
Sasha then waved the bartender over and whispered something. He came back soon after with a glass of yellow liquid. Anastasia gave Sasha a confused look. "For you, don't worry, you're my ride home," Sasha said, trying to re-assure her.
"What is it?"
"Apple juice, again, you're my ride, so don't worry."
Anastasia tried a small sip, still not trusting it...and sure enough, she detected alcohol, prompting her to impulsively spit it back out. Then, she said plainly to Sasha, "You lied to me..."
Sasha practically killed herself laughing. Once she could get a hold of herself, she said, wiping her eyes, "Oh god, that was funnier than the story of Korra and the cucumber!"
"Really, Sasha...that wasn't funny..." Anastasia responded, in a slightly hurt tone.
"Mom hasn't told you about the time she got high, I'll assume." Anastasia raised an eyebrow at that. "While she was pregnant with us, no word of a lie."
“How’d that happen?”
"She ate a weed sandwich."
“Well…why? It’s not like she’d do it on purpose.”
"She didn't get that far into the story...Anyway, sorry."
Anastasia, deciding to get back at Sasha, cast a magick under the table. In an amused tone, she said, "Don't worry...all is forgiven..."
Sasha immediately felt the effects of Slow. Sighing, she said, "You...bet-ter...go..."
"Alright, alright..." Anastasia said, casting 2 more magicks. "There, you're not slowed anymore..." Waht she didn't tell Sasha was that she was now under the effects of Haste.
"Thanksyou..." She stopped mid-sentence when she discovered the speed she was reacting at. "Justgo."
Anastasia held a hand over her mouth to keep from laughing. "Ok, ok...see you later..." Then, she left, still trying to keep from laughing.
Chapter 3: Getting to know the NeighborhoodEdit
The next day, Sasha was out jogging, as part of her training. Just then, while passing the Med Labs, she spotted Vint, the boy Anastasia talked to the previous day, sitting, as though waiting for news. "Hey there. Something happen?"
Vint looked up at her. “Hey…you’re…Anastasia’s sister, right? Not really…just hoping for more news on my sister…”
"Yeah, I'm Sasha." Sasha said, holding out her hand.
"Vint. Vint Acadal," he said, shaking her hand.
Just then, Sasha remembered something. "You might want to wash that hand before you see your sister again."
Vint's expression turned uneasy. "Uhhh...right..."
"Sorry, umm, Ana pranked me by making me move a lot faster. Thinking I should make the most of it, I ran down to the barracks, figured some of em really needed it. Turns out, sixteen did. At once."
“Umm…right…” After a few moments of awkward silence, Vint said, “I’m guessing she probably used Haste…”
"Oh, you know about it, yeah, that was it. You hang around here often?"
“Quite a bit, yeah…say, what is your sister up to today, anyways?"
"She's off kicking more and more ass. Should be back sometime from nine tonight to nine tomorrow morning."
“Alright…good to hear, I was hoping to talk to her more…she seems like a nice person…”
"Hey, if you want to meet the rest of the family, feel free to drop by our place sometime."
“Alright, thank you…so…is she usually all nervous like she was back there, or was that a rarity for her?”
"Depends on who she's talking to. Consider it a compliment."
"Wow...when is she not nervous then?"
"Maybe you should ask her when she gets back. She likes the food at the restaurants on the south side of the base, take her there and find out."
Vint smiled and nodded in response, “Good to know.”
"Well, see you, I still need to pay the bartender."
“See you around.”
Sasha then hopped a fence and ran through peoples' yards to leave. Meanwhile, Vint looked back at the Med Labs, still hoping his sister would survive.
Trista was sitting on the top of her new starship, the Second Chance. She'd recently been granted permission to operate the ship, and had since moved into it as her home, considering it had more space than her old hovel.
Then, someone came up below her ship. A male voice then shouted, "Hey, Trista! I want to talk to you about something!" Trista looked down from her perch, and saw it was Vint.
"I'm still not telling you!" she shouted. She was refering to Anastasia, and how she had a crush on Vint: she was going to wait until Anastasia had the guts to tell him herself.
"Yeah, already talked to her about it...Sasha managed to get her to talk to me for once..." Vint replied.
Trista didn't believe it at first...then remembered that Vint mentioned Sasha had to do with it, and with how pushy that girl was...Trista believed it. "Ok...be right down..." After a few moments, Trista had managed to maneuver her way down the ship, and to the ground."So...what did you want to talk about?"
"Actually, I wanted to talk about you...With you being Anastasia's friend and all, thought I should get to know you as well..."
"Really..." Trista said, immediately nervous, not wanting to reveal her secret to him just yet.
Vint, however, caught on. "Don't worry: already know about the whole 'Flood Brain' thing: that's not really 'classified' information on Hellcat Squadran's databanks."
Trista was surprised: it was as though he didn't mind all too much..."You and Anastasia ARE right for each other: she had pretty much the same reaction about the whole thing."
"Yeah, she is a good person, I look forward to introducing her to my sister tomorrow..."
"You're taking her to introduce her to your sister?" Trista asked, surprised: several people had asked him if they could meet his sister, which he denied, and now he was going to invite Anastasia to meet her? "Thought you didn't want anyone meeting her..."
"It's not that...just wanted to wait for the right person to invite," he responded.
"Oh, I see..." Trista said, smiling slyly.
Vint, immediately getting embarrassed, then said, "I have to go, see you later..."
"Yeah, see ya..." Trista responded, as Vint left. Then, she decided to go back into her ship to straighten it up, before making herself some dinner.
Chapter 4: CollapseEdit
The next day, Vint made for the hangars, as a Dalmascan Stealth Leviathan entered the base's airspace. He was waiting in the hangar, as the ship touched down. After a few minutes, the ship's hatch opened, and, slightly wobbly with fatigue, Anastasia exited. Upon seeing Vint, she smiled. "Vint...what're you doing here?"
"Came to see you. How'd things go?" Vint asked.
"Went well...managed to destroy the enemy's shipyards..."
"You alright? You seem exhausted..." Vint asked.
Anastasia responded, "These missions can be a bit...draining..."
Then, after letting Anastasia catch her breath for a second, Vint said, "Hey, remember my sister? The one in the Med Labs?"
"Yeah...what about her?" Anastasia asked.
"I was thinking, maybe you'd like to meet her?" Vint asked.
Anastasia was surprised: like Trista, Anastasia had heard that he never let anyone visit his sister before. "Are you sure?"
"Yeah, I'm pretty sure she'd like to meet you as well..."
Anastasia thought for a moment, before responding, "Alright...I guess I'll meet you there...although...I would like to get some rest first..."
"Yeah, you do look kinda tired...tell ya what: I'll meet you there in around 5 hours...gives you plenty of time to 'recharge', so to speak. Doable?"
"Yeah, sure...see you then..."
After the 5 hours, Anastasia arrived at the Med Labs, appearing well-rested. Vint was waiting for her near one of the doors. "So...you ready to meet Arin? She knows you're coming."
"Yeah, I'm ready," Anastasia replied, before adding, "Arin? That's a nice name."
Vint nodded, and openned the door. In the room, Anastasia saw, on the bed, a girl that looked just slightly younger than herself. She was linked up to a machine that appeared to be controlling an endless traffic of nanobots into her system, likely going in to repair the damage done by Giarc's DNA, as well as try to eliminate the offending DNA in question, before returning to the machine for maintenance. Over the girl's face was an oxygen mask: an obvious sign Giarc's DNA had damaged her ability to breath: a simple fix...once Giarc's DNA was neutralized.
The girl looked over, specifically at Vint, and muttered weakly in Dalmascan, openning her eyes, "Is this...the person you wanted to...introduce to me?"
Vint nodded to her. Anastasia said, "Name's Anastasia...so, you're Arin?"
"Yeah..." Arin replied, before she began hacking and coughing, for a few seconds.
Vint then asked her, "Are you alright?" He immediately seemed worried: as if that hacking and coughing were unusual.
Arin seemed to grow weaker, as she said, "I...I can...feel...I think I'm not going to...last much longer..." She indeed began to grow weaker.
Just then, Meditron, as if alerted by something, entered the room. Ignoring Anastasia and Vint, he immediately went for the machine operating the nanobots.
Vint quickly approached him. "Meditron, what's going on with her?"
Meditron looked over the display, before slamming his fist on the device. "DAMN! Giarc's DNA is overrunning the Nanobots. We only have one shot now!"
"One shot?" Anastasia asked, "Meaning..."
"Fortunately, we've been monitoring Giarc's DNA, and we've been steadily gaining evidence saying that, if we can't destroy his DNA, if we have a certain energy resonance, we can render the DNA inert, permanently stopping it from consuming her...however, manipulators of the energy we need is HIGLY rare! Where the hell are we supposed to get it?!"
"What energy is it?" Vint asked.
Meditron replied, "Aura..."
Out of Vint's line of sight, Anastasia reacted with shock: the very thing they needed to cure Vint's sister...and she could control it at a whim... Vint then exclaimed, "I can't believe this! I've taken care of her for a long time, and now the only way I can save her is with an energy source I have no clue how to access!" Anastasia, immediately realizing what she had to choose, began forming a small sphere of Aura enegy in her hand, as Vint continued ranting.
"I mean, how the hell are we supposed to find Aura Energ-" Anastasia then tapped his shoulder, gaining his attention. He wondered what Anastasia wanted...before looking in her hand: in it was a floating orb of energy: bright blue, smooth in shape, undeniably Aura Energy. "You're...you're an Auramancer, as well?"
Anastasia nodded. "I got my Mist Powers through a shard of Manufacted Nethicite...My Aura Powers, I was born with..." She then clenched her fist around the sphere of Aura Energy, shrouding her hand in crackling, electricity-like Aura Energy. "A full Aura Transfer is too risky to attempt, however...if I can merely siphon off a small portion of Aura...I should be able to survive..."
Before Vint could stop her, Anastasia pointed her hand at Arin, and released a stream of Aura Energy. For a good 10 seconds, Anastasia kept the stream going, until, then, the device connected to the nanobots began sending out an alert, and Anastasia stopped the stream, staggering backwards into a chair, severely weakened. Meditron ran the diagnostic, and, in a cheerful voice, cried out, "That did it! Over 85% of the offending DNA is inert! Hahhah! My nanobots should be able to wipe out the rest easily!"
Vint seemed overjoyed: his sister would live...and it was all thanks to...Suddenly, he looked back at the chair, and saw Anastasia there, almost completely still, only her breathing giving indication she was alive. "Anastasia!" he gasped, as he went over to her.
As Vint bent down next to her, Anastasia, weakly, dragged her head up, to meet his eyes. "Did...it work?"
"Yeah: Arin's gonna recover...thank you...Are you gonna be alright?"
"Yes...I'll be fine...I used Aura Transfusion...it's not as fatal as Aura Transfer, but...it's still particularly draining..."
"Don't worry, I'll call up Trista: she'll get you home...I'd...take you myself, but, I..."
"Of course...I understand...just be with your sister for now...don't worry about me..."
"Thank you again, Ana..." Vint said, notably calling Anastasia by her nickname. Then, he went to the phone to call Trista Bennett, to take Anastasia home. Afterwards, he went over to his sister, and waited for her to wake up.
At the Renner household, Elle, Sean, and Sasha were in the middle of a conversation.
"So, why haven't you found anyone lasting yet?" Sean asked.
Sasha replied, "Dunno. Nobody really seems tolerable enough yet."
Elle then asked, "Tolerable?"
Sasha shrugged. "No one I can agree with on morality and stuff. That and Caden is after Ziva."
Elle, hoping she was refering to Caden, said, "At least one of those reasons are agreeable: best to find someone you get along with, before settling down..."
"Hon, you're being biased again," Sean warned.
"Well, from what I've seen, those are the relationships that've lasted longest..." Elle replied.
Sasha pointed out, "Ethan and Becca. Zack and Leandra lasted a long time. Sen and Oph are lasting. Sasha the first and Jake lasted until she died."
"And from what I saw, they seemed to get along just fine..." Elle pointed out.
Sasha then said, "Still, knowing me, I probably won't get married ever."
"That's a shame...nice feeling, really, finding the one you like most..." Elle said, smiling at Sean.
Shrugging again, Sasha said, "Not what I meant. I won't get married because I don't see the point of involving lawyers, politics, and religion into a commitment I have with someone."
Suddenly, the front door burst open. Bleeding from several wounds, and having several scorch marks on her clothes and body, was Trista Bennett...
Immediately expecting something, Sasha and Sean went to prepare, as Elle helped Trista over to a chair. "What happened? I thought you were bringing Anastasia home from the Med Labs."
"That's...it...Ana's been kidnapped..."
Chapter 5: Gathering ForcesEdit
Trista waited in the chair, while Elle healed her wounds. Sean and Sasha were readying their weapons, and asking questions about the kidnappers.
Sean, while he was testing his scope, asked, "Species, size, and arms?"
"They appeared to be human...no...Humes...from the looks of their armaments and armor, I would guess they were Archadian, or at least allied with the Archadians. We exited the base's perimeters to get back here: Ana thought it'd be the fastest way to get back here...knew we should have just stayed inside the security perimeter..." Then, Trista seemed to get upset, as if she failed Anastasia by letting her get kidnapped.
"Don't blame yourself," Elle said, sensing her guilt, "From what you told me, and from these wounds, looks like you fought tooth and nail to keep them from getting Anastasia."
"Where to?" Sean asked.
"I...I don't know..." Trista seemed to think for a few minutes, before remembering, "Wait! I think I remembered Anastasia mentioning a group of Archadian-aligned pirates based in the Tricola Expanse. Said she destroyed some shipyards there, which appeared to be supplying the pirates with armaments and vessels: this must be their payback...She suspected their base was within that area..." At that moment, Elle finished healing Trista to the best of her abilities.
"I've done the best I could. Be careful: I wasn't able to get everything-" Elle began.
However, Trista interrupted, "I'll make do: thanks."
"Alright, let's go," Sasha said.
"I've got a ship: let's go," Trista said, "Managed to pass IceBite along the way here: said he'd spread the word and tell them to meet us at the Second Chance."
"Lovely. More people more attention," Sasha said.
Trista pointed out, "Trust me: this won't be an infiltration mission: these people will KNOW someone's coming for Anastasia: what matters now is getting the best, and most, people we can to help."
Sasha commented, "Just saying. The most I need is one other person and a line of sight."
"Still, let's get moving: the longer we wait, the more likely something bad'll happen to Anastasia!"
As the group headed to the door, Elle tried to follow. However, Sean stopped her. "Elle, stay here. This can go wrong, and if we all go out, Sen's gonna need someone."
"Elle, think hard here. What would happen to him if we all went out?"
Elle thought for a moment, and, as if seeing what he ment, sadly moved to sit in one of the chairs in the living room. Then, she looked at the group, and said, "Bring...her...back..."
With that, the group grabbed their gear, and set out for the Second Chance.
When the group finally reached the Second Chance, they found Aurora Ferran and Agent Maine waiting for them.
"Well, at least the help isn't incompetent," Sasha said. However, as the group loaded up, a familiar figure, armed with 2 sword, a crossbow, and a dagger approached, armored up in Sub-Judge Armor.
"Room for one more?" asked Vint Acadal.
"Oi vey," Sasha said.
"Sasha, you never know when you may need a walking tank," Sean replied.
Vint said to the 2, "My father taught me a lot before Giarc killed him: might as well put it to use. Not only do I care for Anastasia herself, she also saved my sister's life...and I think it's because she did so that she was easy prey for whoever kidnapped her. I owe her this...and more..."
Sasha then said, "If Ana doesn't screw him after this so help me I will bed him myself."
"You do remember that she's the kind of person to wait 'till marriage, right?" Trista pointed out, having overheard Sasha.
"So was Sen," Sean pointed out.
Trista then said, "Vint also strikes me as the kind of guy to wait until then, as well..." Sasha just shrugged at that, and the group met up with Aurora and Maine at the ship.
"So, what's the plan?" Maine asked.
"I was just going to shoot them," Sasha replied.
Trista then came forward. "Actually, I was thinking we have one or 2 of the people stay outside to distract security, while the rest of use fight our way in. We'll be needing our 2 strongest fighters there, to keep the enemy occupied."
"I'm sure I can do some good as part of that distraction," Maine replied.
Sasha also volunteered to aid in the distraction. Trista replied, "Ok, so that means myself, Vint, Aurora, and Sean will go in to help Anastasia."
"I'd like to take point on this one," Sean replied.
"Alright then...so...if everyone's clear on the plan, we should get moving, right?" Trista announced.
Sasha added, "Today, preferably." With that, the team loaded up on the Second Chance, and the team was on its way to the enemy base, to rescue Anastasia.
Chapter 6: Breaking InEdit
The Second Chance exited FTL near a small planet. After searching for hours, the group's searching finally bore fruit: the planet they just found was surrounded by several stations, the appearance of which Sasha found vaguely familiar.
"We're here. Please let the distraction group commence."
"Let's get planetside, first," Trista commented.
"Then let's go..." Sasha replied, increasingly getting annoyed.
"We will, we will, just gotta find an openning in the orbital defenses..." Trista then seemed to stare intently at the orbital facilities, before turning her attention to the sensor readouts. After a few minutes, she abruptly set the Second Chance to fly forward at top speed. "Ok, hold on, things are gonna get a little..." She seemed unable to think of how to finish the sentence, at least before they reached the outer range of the stations' weapons.
"Explosiony?" Sean suggested.
"Uhhh...I guess: was gonna just go with 'bumpy' but that fits...I guess..."
"Just get us there quick. I want to make it to ground in one piece," Aurora blurted out.
"I'm trying, I'm trying!" Trista said, dodging a Dark-Magicite Burst. Soon, they reached the enemy platforms. Indeed, the path Trista took was both the most direct path, and the path that took them as far away from the platforms as she could. Nimbly, the ship dipped, dodged, and avoided Magicite bursts and Nethicite blasts, sometimes even tricking platforms to fire into each other.
Eventually, however, the Second Chance made it past the platforms, and, not wanting to shoot up their planet, the platforms ceased fire. With that, Trista was able to relax. She sighed with relief, sagging into the pilot's seat.
"Oh, fuck these people..." Sasha said.
"What, you WANT them to keep shooting us?" Trista asked. Sasha just flipped Trista off. "Oh, that's just cold..."
Sean just muttered, "Need a better pilot..."
"Hey! This is my first time flying in combat, alright?! Just be happy we weren't even hit..."
When nobody commented, she returned to piloting the ship to its destination.
As the Second Chance approached the base, Trista asked Aurora, "Hey, you sense Anastasia here?"
After a moment, Aurora announced, "Yeah. Not strong, but she's there."
Trista looked outside the cockpit, and, looking over the landing pad, she said, "Ok, everyone, lock and load! We're going in hot!"
The enemies on the landing pad began openning fire on the Second Chance, their rounds and blasts bouncing off of the ship's shields. The Second Chance eventually touched down, the hatch openning.
Sasha and Sean were the first out, and they immediately began attacking the guards. Next out was Maine...but the enemies brought out an LRV...which they immediately drove at Maine...
...Before Maine actually caught the LRV, and held it in place. Even as the LRV tried to continue forward, Maine just held it in place.
"Throw the fuckin car!" Sasha and Sean both yelled out.
Maine not only threw the car, he tore off the front bumper and clubbed the LRV with it so it went flying across the battlefield. With that, the group continued killing.
Finally, Aurora, Trista, and Vint got off the ship, and began fighting their way through the crowd. While Aurora used her lightsabers, Trista utilized martial arts and her SMG to fight through, while Vint practically tanked through, Blood Sword and Crystal Shield in hand.
Watching Trista fight, Sasha said to herself, "The zombie can fight, I'll give her that..." As she thought this, Trista took down another enemy by uppercutting the enemy with her SMG firing full auto. As another enemy came up behind her, she unslung the modified M90 shotgun slung to her back, and fired it onehanded into the enemy's face.
As this unfolded, Vint had replaced his shield with his Kagenui Ninja Sword, and was now fighting 2 enemies at once, in an intense sword battle. Sean, taking notice of this, put an arrow in the throat of one of them. Sighing in disappointment, Vint sheathed his swords, before pulling out an intricately-designed crossbow, and, pulling out an orange and blue bolt, and, gaining some distance from his remaining opponent, firing it at the enemy. The bolt hit head on, and the enemy gained a redish glow to him. The soldier looked at the bolt, and at Vint...before disappearing in a flash of Magicks.
Sean told Vint, "Trust me kid, anyone who has a chance at making my daughter happy will suffer from protective-Sean-syndrome."
"Ok, thank you for telling me. Speaking of your daughter, let's go get her!"
As Vint said this, Trista and Aurora secured the entrance to the facility, as Sasha and Maine kept the enemies distracted further. Sean entered the facility, Vint following closely. Trista was next, and last in was Aurora.
Meantime, Maine and Sasha, resting in between waves, watched them enter. "They're in...time for our part..." Maine said to Sasha.
Sasha loaded another arrow into her bow, this one armed with a bomb. "This is gonna be too easy."
Maine pulled outh is signature Brute Shot, and loaded a set of grenades into it. "Think you can keep up, kid?"
"Grandpa, if I can handle sixteen lonely ODSTs at once I can well out-kill you."
Maine growled in response, in a way that sounded like how he did as the Meta. As he did, the enemies emerged again for the next wave. "Well then...may the best killer win!" Then, he roared, as both he and Sasha entered combat against the guards.
Sean taking point, the infiltration team continued into the facility. Eventually, the team arrived at a security terminal. Before Sean could act, Trista advanced ahead, and silently took down the guard, before getting to the terminal and hacking in.
"Tell me next time," Sean hissed, frustrated.
Trista just ignored him as she hacked the terminal. Eventually, she said, "Found her: Cell Block C, Security Chamber Delta...Ah crap..."
"Spill it..." Sean said.
Vint instead pushed ahead. After reading the information himself, Vint said, "Ah, damn it: the Security Chamber's lined with Nethicite..."
"That small Nethicite Gem Anastasia carries: it's harmless...the concentrations of Nethicite here however are probably sapping her energy: apparently why she didn't break herself out already," Trista replied.
Vint continued, "Not to mention it'll sap my abilities as well."
"Guess that means I'm going first," Sean said.
"Well, we better get moving," Trista said, "No telling just how well she's holding out."
The group eventually made their way to an intersection in the hall. However, just as they went to move down the straight path, a blast door slammed shut. Trista only just managed to pull Sean out of the way of the blast door in time.
"Thanks kid," Sean replied.
"Don't mention it...no way we're getting by that, though...The only way is through there, but..." she said, pointing down the other hall, which openned into a large room.
Sean then said, "Then let's go." However, before Trista could stop him, he entered the room...only for Trista to, again, pull him back in time to save his life, this time as some creature slammed its fist at him.
"I tried to tell you: that's some kind of creature storeroom: There're a ton of monstrous creatures in there..." As Trista said this, the creature tried to reach in towards them, but they kept backing up. In the meantime, Vint muttered something to Aurora, prompting her to go to the door, and try to cut through it with her lightsaber.
"So, any volunteers?" Sean asked.
After a few moments, Trista unslung her shotgun and unholstered her SMG. "I'll go."
"You sure kid?" Sean asked.
Trista nodded, "You're Anastasia's father, and Vint's the guy she's falling for. Either way...I'm just someone Anastasia helped put on the right path...These creatures will probably be able to follow you, should I not go stop them. I'll hold them as long as possible...If I make it, great...if I don't...just tell Anastasia I died making a difference...Tell her that I'm finally at peace..."
With that, she readied her weapons, and charged out into the room, drawing the attention of every creature in there. As one approached, she openned fire with her SMG, merely pissing it off. As it closed, she fired her shotgun point-blank in its face, killing it. Another charged her, and she nimbly dodged the attack.
"Fuck," Sean said, shooting that creature in the eye.
Trista turned back and yelled, "No! Just go! You're wasting time!"
As they did that, Aurora finished cutting through. "C'mon!" Sean said, as he went through the door.
Seeing potential prey leave, the creatures made to follow, but Trista blocked their path. "No. You have to fight me first..." The creatures ready for battle: they'll kill this interloper first...
The group finally reached the entryway to the cell block. However, they were headed off by a Sub-Judge, a Swordsman, and a Magus. As the group readied to fight, another such group appeared from behind. Then, Many more Swordsmen and Maguses appeared.
Vint then said, "Fear not their numbers! Take down the leaders and the others will follow!"
"Oh I hope you don't move in when you're married to Ana..." Sean said, shooting one of the leaders in the eye. However, the Sub-Judge merely reflected with a Paling.
Sean sighed. The group continued fighting towards the leaders, but more enemies seemed to be coming. Then, finally, Vint said, "I've had enough of this!" As he said that, he began to charge up energy, an aura of Mist appearing around him.
Then, when the 2 Sub-Judges were close enough together, he discharged: first the energy appeared as 3 streams of wind, that slammed the 2 Leaders. Then, the next discharge had him crack the ground, a chunk of it, rising out, with his fist following it, as though his fist was manipulating the ground. Then, he slammed the chunk of ground downwards, taking the Sub-Judges with it. Finally, he Charged more energy, this time forming a rune, which then exploded into lava, and surrounded the leaders, then spewed out flames which set the leaders on fire. As if that wasn't bad enough, then, a rune appeared above them. This rune then flashed with bright light. When the light cleared...all that remained of the 2 Sub-Judges (and those soldiers standing too close) were scorch marks.
"Do that first next time, eh?" Sean commented.
"Not as wise as it sounds," Vint said, "It's a rather draining power. As a Hume, I can naturally handle the fatigue, but it'll take some time to accumulate more Mist Energy. You ever observe Anastasia using a Quickening Chain?"
Sean pointed out, "True, but its battlefield humor, kid."
"Oh...alright...come on, let's hurry!" Vint said. Once they mopped up the rest of the soldiers, they continued on into the Cell Block.
The team continued through the Cell Block, until they reached a cell lined with glowing blue stone.
"Can I borrow that sword, Vint?" Sean asked. Vint handed over the sword.
"Hey, be careful! Could have easily just picked the lock with my dagger...or just asked Aurora for her lightsaber!"
"Its against Jedi code to lose those things."
"She passes it to you, you cut lock off, you give the lightsaber back to her, how's that losing it?"
Vint just rolled his eyes, which, due to his helmet, was hidden from view. "If it were not for that damned Nethicite, I'd just blast the lock off..."
Finally, Sean threw the door openned. Once everyone was in the cell, they found Anastasia inside. She was laying on the floor, unconscious. In fact, if they didn't see her breathing, they would have thought her dead.
"Jesus Christ...Vint, can you carry her?" Sean asked, worriedly.
Equally worriedly but with some confidence, Vint responded, "More than likely."
However, before anyone could do anything further, Anastasia moaned.
Sean responded to that, in a gentle, worried voice, "Ana, you ok?"
Anastasia moaned again, cracking her eyes open slightly. She groaned before saying, "Wha...dad? Wha...what're you...doing here?"
"What I should have done so many times before." He then looked at Vint. "Might be best if you still carry, man."
Vint nodded, and said, "Alright."
"Wha...Vint? Was..." Then Anastasia was interrupted, as she coughed and gagged a little. Once it settled down, she then continued, "Was...was that you...Vint?" She then coughed and gagged again.
"Shit, did they feed you anything?" Sean asked.
Anastasia shook her head, before coughing again.
"Ok, anyone have water?"
Vint took out a bottle of black fluid. "It's not water, but it should help a little better than it would."
"Alright. Aurora, check to see if we're clear."
Aurora then said, "Alright. Be back shortly," before heading out.
Anastasia, after drinking the fluid Vint provided, seemed to be fairing a little better. "What...what's going on?"
Sean answered, "Sasha and Maine are killing stuff. We came to rescue."
"How'd you...get here?" Anastasia asked.
"Trista. Her ship," Vint answered.
Anastasia then asked, "Trista's here too? How many of you came?"
Sean looked at Vint in a "You got this one" way. Vint then answered, "Myself, Sean, Sasha, Maine, Trista, and Aurora all came."
"You said Sasha and Maine were elsewhere...you just sent Aurora off...where's Trista?"
Sean answered, "Stayed back to kill some giant things I'd prefer to not identify."
At that moment, Aurora returned. "She's killing them, but she needs help."
"What's going on?" Vint asked.
"They keep getting up, I'm gonna go help." Aurora then left.
Vint, however, said, "We should get moving." As he said this, he moved over and helped Anastasia up, putting her arm over his shoulders so he could support her. "We found Ana, let's get the hell out of here!"
Sean replied, "Gladly." Then, he lead the group out, Anastasia in tow.
Chapter 7: ExfiltrationEdit
The group eventually reached the area Trista remained at. As they saw, Trista was indeed still active, but the creatures just kept getting back up: even as Trista leapt over one of them, filled its head with lead, then unloaded a shotgun blast into its chin, the creature still got up moments later.
In a clearly angered voice, Trista snarled, "Why! Won't! You! Fuckers! DIE?!"
"Trista, we got Ana, forget about them, let's go!" Sean shouted to her.
Trista looked up, and nodded, attempting to disengage. However, one of the creatures managed to flank her and slammed her hard into the wall with one powerful punch.
In response, Sean shot the creature in the eye, blinding it momentarily. However, the creature just pulled the bolt out of its eye, which started to regenerate. Trista pushed herself out the indentation she made in the wall on impact, and staggered out.
Then, Vint came up, and, after helping Anastasia lean against a wall for temporary support, loaded another orange and blue crossbow bolt into his crossbow. Taking aim, he fired it at one of the creatures. As with the soldier he hit with it earlier, the creature was covered in a redish glow...before disappearing with a painful squeal.
"Did you know it would do that?" Sean asked.
"There's usually a one in four chance that can happen: Time Bolts. Enchanted with the Doom Magick..." Vint explained.
Sean sighed. "Well, c'mon!"
Vint recovered Anastasia again, then the team entered the room and quickly recovered Trista, who was still staggering from the impact she took. They were able to make it in and out without issue: the creatures had momentarily backed off due to Vint's Bolt.
After some time, the group made it topside again, finding Sasha and Maine seemingly competing for who had the most kills. Currently, it was quite even so far.
"This is fun!" Sasha said. Maine merely grunted in response, blasting another group of soldiers with his Brute Shot.
"Where's the fuckin ship!?" Sean asked.
Maine replied, "It's right there, where it was before!" Maine pointed to where the ship, indeed, still was.
"We got Ana, cut the competition!"
"Alright!" Sasha said, firing one final bomb arrow into the enemy, while Maine blew up another Hoplite phalanx with his weapon. The 2 groups groupped back together, and made a break for the ship. Sasha and Maine, the first 2 there, covered as Vint and Anastasia boarded, then Sean, then Trista, then Aurora, before they finally boarded the craft. Again, Trista, seeming to have recovered from the impact she took earler, got into the pilot's seat.
"Ok, getting out should be a lot easier than getting in. However, still setting full power to shields," she said.
Sasha then grabbed Vint's crossbow and fired a bolt at a Gunner trying to get into position to fire. Finally, Trista closed the hatch, and the ship lifted off.
As the ship returned to space, the platforms stood, waiting in the distance. "Oh boy...." Sean said, remembering what happened when the first arrived.
Suddenly, however, a flash appeared on the other side of the defenses, and a massive starship appeared from it. "That's a Dalmascan Bahamut class Command Cruiser!" Trista exclaimed, as the vessel openned fire on one of the platforms.
Then, over the comm came, "This is Dalmascan Fleet Commander Alicia. Sorry we're late: took a while to get the old Jahara up and running. We'll clear a path, you just concentrate on getting away from the planet!"
"About goddamn time!" Sasha replied, "I don't know if I should kiss you or if I should punch you, maybe both, just to be safe."
"Just calm down: like I said, this old ship's not what it used to be." Then, the platform the Jahara was firing on exploded, tearing a big hole in the orbital defenses.
"They made us an opening!" Trista said, "I'm going for it!" She immediately directed the Second Chance through where the platform originally was, that being the furthest point from any of the other platforms in orbit.
"I'm just gonna start praying now..." Sean said. Fortunately, however, the platforms now seemed more interested in the 1.5 km long command ship that was poking holes in their defenses: they completely ignored the Second Chance as it made its break for space.
Soon, they were out of range of the planet's gravity well, and the FTL Drive read all clear. "Ok, punching it!" The Second Chance then leapt to lightspeed, away from the planet, to safety.
"Praise be to Jesus," Sean said, relieved they made it.
Trista then asked, "Where's Anastasia?"
"On one of the beds in the other room," Vint replied.
Sasha the said to Vint, while cleaning her Icepick, "Go get some."
Vint returned to the room where he laid Anastasia down in. Maine was sitting in the corner, sharpening his Brute Shot and cleaning the blood off it. However, seeing Vint enter, he respectfully left, to let Anastasia and Vint be alone.
Vint finally removed his helmet, and knelt by the bed Anastasia was at. "You...alright?" he asked, worriedly.
"A...little...Still don't feel...too well..." Anastasia responded, before coughing again.
"Don't worry, you'll be alright," Vint said, placing his hand on the side of Anastasia's face.
Anastasia weakly smiled, just generally happy that Vint was there. She was in tremendous pain at that time, and yet, with Vint there, his hand touching her face, she seemed to not even feel it. However, suddenly, the pain returned, this time in full force.
Vint was worried momentarily, but then realized that all Anastasia needed was rest. "I'll come back later, if you want. Just rest for now, ok?"
Anastasia, trying to smile past her pained expression, nodded, before attempting to relax.
Vint left the room and shut the door, after shutting off the light. Then, he returned to the cockpit, where everyone else was.
"Did you get any?" Sasha asked.
Vint ignored the comment, instead electing to tell the group, "Anastasia's in a lot of pain right now, and is currently resting. Whatever they did to her at that place, it'll probably take some time for her to fully recover."
Sasha then said, "Ok, now you go back in there."
"I'm letting her get some rest right now," Vint repeated, "She looked to be in a lot of pain when I left her. Really, she's probably asleep by now."
"You wait in there in case she wakes up and needs something. Trust me, it'll be good for her," Sean commented.
Vint mulled it over a bit, before nodding, and saying, "Alright." With that, he left the cockpit.
As Vint left, Sasha just thought to herself, "Just marry her already..."
Meanwhile, Sean thought, "He breaks her heart, I break his throat."
Chapter 8: ExileEdit
A few days later, the team was already back on Earth. Anastasia was taken to the med labs, where she was treated for the injuries she took during her time in captivity. She was currently talking to Vint. She still seemed a little sheepish around him, but occasionally giggled at something he said.
Above, in the observation room, was Elle, Sean, IceBite, May, Larsa, and a few others. Sean commented on the scene, "Well, that looks familiar."
Elle nodded. "Sure does..."
However, IceBite's mood was more depressed. "How much longer will it be able to go on, though?" He clearly knew something was going on, beyond the reaches of the base.
"May as well spill it," Sean said.
IceBite then said, "The enemy appears to be getting more and more determined to eliminate Anastasia...Dawn has already reported that her new security system already caught 5 separate infiltration attempts by Nod and Archadian agents within the past 2 days, all trying to gain access to the Medical Labs."
"God...fuck..." Sean replied.
Elle then said, "Well...at least we know Dawn finally created a security system that works..." However, she too was now worried about Anastasia, a fact her tone of voice showed.
"Well, what's your grand plan?" Sean asked IceBite.
IceBite stood there thinking a while, before saying, "I don't have one yet, but, regardless of how you 2 may not like it, I keep coming to the same conclusion..."
"What is it?" Elle asked.
IceBite mulled it over a bit, before saying, "...That, for now, until either our new security system is completely worked in, or until the Archadians just forget her...it's no longer safe for Anastasia here...We have no choice, but to send her into hiding..."
"You must really hate every parent on base."
"Damn it, Sean, if there were another way, I'd leap at the chance! However, the security system is not yet back up to full capacity, and besides, as long as the Archadians know where Anastasia is, they won't let up! If we can't cause her to disappear to them, so they'll no longer care about her, she could end up dead! Would you rather not know where she is, but know she's alive, or know where she is because she's dead?!"
"What would be better to do is go and kill the Archadians yourself instead of sitting on your ass here all the time!"
"Damn it! You think it'd be that easy?! Intelligence reports indicate that Vayne alone is powerful enough to probably take us all on. How do you expect-"
Just then, Church advanced from the crowd. "Hey, Ice, I've been thinking: we got an area that could be used."
In the meantime, Elle gave Sean a look that said that, as much as she wished this didn't have to be done, that they should maybe at least hear Church out.
IceBite raised an eyebrow. "Really?"
Sean growled, "Just...say it..."
"Yeah, it's small; it's secure; it has a computer uplink where the kid can keep in contact with her family, limitedly at least; best of all, it's out in the middle of nowhere, the last place anyone, even the Archadians, would think to look for her..."
Sean shook his head angrilly, however not in a way that said no. Elle merely looked content that at least she and Sean wouldn't be entirely cut off from their daughter. IceBite, merely glad that he now has something resembling a plan, just smiled and said, "Show me..."
The Renners, and the Acadals, waited in the hangar, as Anastasia's stuff was loaded into Four-Seven-Niner's Pelican. Anastasia approached the group, head lowered. "I...wish this didn't have to happen...I just hope I'm able to return soon..."
"Don't worry, you and Vint can still cyber," Sasha said, trying to hide her emotions.
Anastasia nodded, and then turned to Sean and Elle. "So...Again, I'm sorry all this happened..."
Sean replied, "Don't worry. If you have to be there for more then a year I'm going to kill the Archadians myself."
"I wouldn't underestimate them. They're dangerous opponents." Anastasia then smiled, "Besides...I might want to get back in the game when I get back."
"I'll save the survivors, however few they may be," Sean replied.
Strangely though, Elle didn't seem worried. Sasha said to her, "Ma, this is where you put on your 'I'm a decent parent' hat."
"Well...at least we'll know you're safe, Anastasia. Besides, the only reason this is happening is because you were doing what you thought right: something that none of us can be angry at you for." Anastasia smiled at that.
"Word of advice. Don't let Tucker near you. He isn't very good at night," Sasha said.
Just then, Sarge called over, "Hey, we got everything loaded up! We're leaving soon!"
Anastasia, before leaving, turned to Vint. "...Promise me you'll be here when I get back...please?"
Vint just held her hand, tightly. "Don't worry, we'll ALL still be here when you get back."
Anastasia lowered her head, and, realizing what was going on, blushed. Then, finally, she had to turn around, and load up on the Pelican. At the hatch, she gave her family one last, sad look, before loading up. Then, once Sarge and the others who helped load the Pelican up were onboard, the dropship lifted off, flying towards the Freelancer Starship HCS Silent Corsair.
Vint then said quietly to himself, "Stay safe, Ana..." as he watched the dropship fly up to the cruiser.
Sasha just said, "Ok...I'm getting drunk..." and left. Soon, Elle and Sean left, just leaving Vint and Arin alone in the hangar.
"I'm sure she'll be alright..." Arin said to her brother.
Vint looked at her. "How can you be so sure?"
"Just...call it a feeling..."