It was March thirtieth of the year two thousand and twenty three. Katalena was surprised when her wall had become a window overnight. She looked through it and saw a young man in the cell across from her own, doing something to a rose in his hand. She watched curiously as a he seemed to transform it completely for the shadowy figure of her father. Her eyes narrowed at the sight. Another one of my kind. Interesting. I wonder if he'll be as hard on him as he was on me. She thought to herself. After around an hour, her father left, and the young man noticed her.
"Hey, love. Looks like its you me, and the devil between us." He said. He had an Irish accent, so she guessed he was a drunk. "And a few windows, of course." He added. She looked over at him, completely unimpressed. "Would you like to know my name?" He asked.
"I'm fine without it." She replied.
"Indeed you are, it is Mason, Mason Young." He said. She couldn't help but smirk.
"Fine. Katalena Akulov. You've met my father."
"Well, in-laws are always fun to meet." He said. She sighed and lay down on her bed, deciding she didn't want to talk to him anymore. "Come on, honey, don't be like that!" He cried.
It was May twenty-seventh of the year two thousand and twenty three. Another man had been taken into the cell block. Katalena watched as he attempted to take something apart with his mind, then reform it. He was struggling. Her father was speaking quietly to this one, and, in fact, they seemed to be getting along. She immediately decided she didn't want to talk to this one, and lay down on her bed again. A few minutes later, there was a loud bang, causing her to sit up quickly and for Mason to scream something about the holy spirit. She looked through her window and saw he had accidentally caused the object to explode. She smirked and lay back down.
It was April fourth of the year two thousand and twenty four. She had had numerous arguments with Nick over the past year, but was able to get along with him. She didn't have much of a choice, considering they were locked up in a cell block together. She had to admit to herself, having others like her was actually quite soothing. That day, another man was brought in. A tall, fit man with a tattoo sleeve on his right arm. She watched curiously as he displayed an ability that gave his skin something that looked like the surface of the sun. The sudden sunlight caused her to wince and shield her eyes, but the heat was glorious. Once her father had left, she spoke to him. "Name?" She asked, ignoring a comment from Mason about how she hadn't cared for his name.
"Axel. Axel Gustafsson." He replied, his voice had a Swedish accent and she thought she sensed a hint of depression in his voice.
"I'm Katalena. I can't say much for everyone else, but I welcome you to this dysfunctional little family we're forming down here." She told him.
"I'm the dad, she's the mom!" Mason interjected, getting an eyeroll from everyone else.
The next man was brought in on the seventeenth of November of the year two thousand and thirty four. He said nothing to any of them, her father, other scientists, nobody. All experiments ran in his blacked out cell did nothing to him. It got to the point that her father began to consider him a waste of resources. He had a firing squad brought in that opened fire on the man. Shockingly, the bullets merely vanished into thin air when they came only an inch from his face. Further attacks were used, but none had any affect. Her father decided that his power was that nothing could touch him out of harm, and that he would be known as The Void from that day forward. While the others used their names, rather than their designations, they knew not Void's name, and so they all referred to him as Void from that day forward as well.
At long last, on the fifth of December of the year two thousand and thirty four, another woman was brought into the cell block. It was a beautiful young thing that went on to show that she only needed to see someone do something to learn how to do it at their level. Many of the guys took a liking to her, despite her strange preaching of spiritual education using pleasure based stimulus.
On the first day of February in the year two thousand an thirty five, a young girl, only eleven years old, arrived and displayed the power of Astral projection. Once her father left, she began to subsequently freak out. She talked a lot about needing to escape and getting back to her older sister. Katalena took on the role of helping to get this child to understand the situation, something that proved difficult, considering that she was a highly stubborn young girl. Katalena couldn't help but admire that.
The next month, a woman Katalena's age with the ability to shift her own molecules arrived. She hit it off with Axel and Aednat, the mimic, right away, and got along with just about everybody, even Mason, to Katalena's shock.
Then, in summer, on the day Katalena decided to give up on keeping track of the dates, a young woman was brought in. She was Katalena's age, but there was something very different about her. She had a fire in her the likes of which Katalena had not seen in anyone. She displayed the ability to produce portals, though the cell limited the power use to inside the room. The woman refused to introduce herself after her father left, and went to sleep angrily. Katalena had a strange feeling in her stomach as she saw this woman. Things felt different. Tense, hopeful, she wasn't sure. Once the woman was asleep, Katalena spoke to the rest of them.
"Do any of you feel different?" She asked. "Ever since she walked in, I feel...weird." She said.
"Yeah, I have a strange tingling sensation in my anus." Mason said.
"Axel, you?" Katalena asked.
"What, you don't want to hear about my anus?" Mason asked, prompting Xylia, the molecule girl, to shoot him down.
"Yes, things are about to change, I'm sure." Axel replied.
Morri had been following up on a lead in her hunt for other people like her. A small city had been burned to the ground by a Skulblakan attack during the war. At least, that was the official story. Morri had had her doubts and suspicions about it, so she had come to investigate. It was a mostly unsuccessful investigation, but she had come across tell-tale signs that it was not Skulblakans that had destroyed the city. Some of the explosion scars on the walls of buildings and streets were too precise and calculated. The Skulblakans had been more wild in their assaults. She had concluded that something else had destroyed the city.
She had then found a large refugee shelter in a neighboring city to spend the night in. She had eaten the standard soup of the night, which she truly did not want to know what in had in it. It was awful, but it kept her fed. As she found a spot to set her sleeping bag down and nap, she had noticed that there was a larger concentration of people near her than normal. She supposed that her area was warmer than the rest of the building, so she shrugged it off.
When she awoke, she was lying in the back of a ship, trapped in a small room with walls made of see-through energy. She tried to portal herself past them, but found that her powers were no longer working. Trapped and with no way out, she was left with no choice but to go along with them. She was later drugged into unconsciousness and when she woke up again, she found herself in a holding cell. The cell was oddly well furnished, and even had a television in it. A shadowy man stood outside window. He explained that he didn't wish to harm her, and as long as she did as she was asked, nothing bad would happen to her. Angry at her imprisonment, and after several minutes of silent refusal, she showed him her portal abilities, and he left her alone. Her portals, to her anger, didn't take her anywhere outside the room. The other prisoners tried to talk to her, but in her anger and frustration, she ignored them and went to sleep.
Morri's eyes fluttered open and she sat up. She looked around her holding cell and sighed. She glanced at the other prisoners, who were all in various stages of waking up themselves. Once everyone was appropriately awake, the floor of the area between the cells started moving, and tables and benches came up from the floor. The other prisoners looked highly confused, so Morri assumed that this was something new. The windows of the cells went down. If you try to run, you will be returned to your cells. Please make this easier on everyone. An amplified voice said. Sit down. Converse, await breakfast. The voice said and then there was silence.
Morri nervously stepped out of her cell and sat down. A tall man with tattoo sleeve on his right arm sat down to her left, while a younger woman sat down on her left. Directly across from her sat a young man with a goatee and curly hair. A man sat off on his own at the other end of the table, ignoring everyone. A woman her age sat talking to a girl who looked to be about eleven. A blonde woman who reminded Morri of Aurora joined the goatee sporting man. Joining her was a man who she knew had served in the army at one point. She knew the look.
Over the course of the morning, she learned a lot about the group and their pasts, and explained her own to them, not going into any detail, but giving them enough to be satisfied. She didn't get to speak to the woman with the girl, or the quiet loner. She got a lot of practice rejecting goatee, who she learned was called Mason. The tattooed man was named Axel, the blonde was Xylia, the younger woman was Aednat, the soldier was Nick, the quiet one was known as Void, and the woman and the girl were named Katalena and Ileana.
"So a Sigurdson ends up in here, eh?" Nick asked. "They're bound to come looking for you, then."
"Doubt it. I've been away for a couple years...searching for you guys." Morri replied.
"Searching for us?" Aednat asked.
"Well, not you specifically. People like me. Skulblakan-Humans." Morri explained.
"Well, here we are." Axel said.
"Why do you guys accept being here?" Morri asked them.
"Food, good tv, porn access, what more could I want?" Mason replied. Aednat started complaining about how their windows were open and they could see in as Xylia started to answer.
"It's kind of relaxing, actually." She said with a shrug. "No real danger or anything. It's rather soothing."
"I...don't accept it." Axel said. "I'm quite bored, honestly." He grumbled.
"I find it rather grim, myself. No sun makes for dull times." Aednat said. Void remained silent, and the woman with the girl had grown quiet within their own conversation as well. Food came out and Morri was surprised with the quality of the meal. It was similar to that of a five star hotel's breakfast. Admittedly, she hadn't actually eaten food as good as this meal for months. Her travels had consisted of a lot of terrible meals from refugee camps or not eating for days on end. She was loath to admit it, but it was a truly good meal. Once everyone had eaten, the tables and benches vanished into the floor, and the amplified voice spoke once again.
I have decided you have earned the right to have a day of interaction beyond your cells. Enjoy it, but remain in the cell block. The voice said. Void returned to his cell and he sat on his bed and stared at the ceiling. Katalena and Ileana went to Katalena's cell, while everyone else went to Nick's which was outfitted with the largest tv that could play just about anything. Morri was about to join them for the sake of learning more about the group, but noticed Katalena was waving her over. She hesitated a moment before joining Katalena and Ileana.
"Go join the others, Illy, I'll tell you later, ok?" Katalena said. Ileana nodded and walked over to Nick's cell. "Why were you looking for us?" Katalena asked, gesturing for Morri to sit at the small dining table.
"I wanted to find others like me. There are plenty of powerful people where I'm from, but it's different when you're the only one of your kind." Morri said.
"I know the feeling. I've been here for years, and I was alone for the first year or so." Katalena said. "There must have been something else."
"I was...worried. Worried about what people would do if they found out that there were people who are part Skulblakan. If I could find them I could give them shelter from people who would see them killed."
"Or worse." Katalena replied. "When I first got my powers, my father imprisoned me here. I went through so much experimentation and torture, emotional and physical. All in an attempt to tap into my powers."
"What can you do?" Morri asked.
"Chaos. I can induce chaos in anything. He knew I could make a good weapon, so he forced me to destroy a city."
"So that was you." Morri said.
"Yes. And I mean forced...the torture was getting to be too much at that point. When I agreed, he stopped it." Katalena replied.
"What...what kind of torture?" Morri asked carefully.
"I'd get whipped with barbed wire sometimes. Pharmaceuticals. Hallucinogenics. At one point he brought my mother in here and killed her in front of me. Another time it was the family maid, who was more of a parent than he was." Katalena said nonchalantly.
"I take it you aren't one of the ones who can accept staying here." Morri said, more quietly, out of instinct.
"No, you couldn't say that I am. Illy needs to get back to her sister, so she isn't one to stay here either." Katalena said, her voice also hushing.
"I guess we just need to think of a way out." Morri said.
"It won't be that easy. Guarding us are five assassins, five of the deadliest guns for hire in the universe. All drugged enough to be deadly loyal to my father. Not to mention there are six floors of scientists and soldiers above us." Katalena explained.
"I can open a portal once we get high enough, and you should be able to induce enough chaos to help distract the guards."
"Not quite. There are dozens of countermeasures for each escape. I've heard him talk to the assassins about it while they thought I was asleep. The three of us would be able to make it pretty far, but not all the way." Katalena, said, shooting the idea down.
"So, if we had more of our kind to cover our asses on the way out, our chances would go up?" Morri asked, getting an idea. Katalena snorted.
"If you can convince them, I'll talk to Illy about it." Katalena said.
"Good. Just give me some time." Morri said. She turned to look at the overhead catwalks, a level that was shrouded in shadow, save for the silver glint of a metal arm that signified someone was pacing the catwalks, watching them. Morri waited until the end of the day, right around the time they were supposed to sleep, before she climbed up the wall to the catwalk. They must have not considered the probability of one of them physically climbing up. She slipped up behind the assassin that was pacing. He had shoulder length dark hair and had a knife across his back. She slipped up behind him, carefully stole the knife and silently jumped down. Her mother had taught her how to fall quietly. She returned to the table where Katalena sat. Very soon, the assassin jumped down.
"Get over here!" He roared. They all gathered near him. His face was guarded by a black mask, but his voice certainly displayed that he was angry. "Where's my knife?" He asked menacingly. Morri looked around at the others, acting as confused as they were. Katalena caught on and did the same. "Where's my knife?" The assassin repeated. Nobody answered. "Where's my fucking knife!?" He screamed, grabbed Axel with his metal arm and threw him across the room. Axel hit the ground with a loud thwack. The assassin ran over and used his natural arm to punch Axel. The group ran over and tried to pull the assassin off, Morri participated, slipping the knife back onto the assassin without him noticing. The assassin pushed them away with a sudden, surprising burst of strength before continuing the beatdown.
"Leave him alone!" Ileana let out from afar. He was upon her in moments and had lifted her into the air by the collar with his natural arm, his metal one held back for a punch.
"That's enough!" A voice barked. Three armored people jumped down and restrained the assassins. Morri shared a glance with Katalena, who mouth assassins. "I apologize for his lack of self control." The voice said, and they saw a shadowy figure up by the upper level door.
"One of those fuckers stole my knife!" The assassin roared.
"You idiot, it is right here!" Another assassin, a woman, said. She showed him his blade and he froze. They dragged him from the room.
"I thank you all for not trying to kill him. He was be disciplined, I promise. To make it up to you, I will allow you to mingle and interact without your cells. But remember, do not cause any trouble with your guards. For if his knife had actually been stolen, the punishment would have been up to him." The figure said before leaving as well. After that, people went to bed, Aednat and Xylia making sure Axel wasn't badly hurt. Katalena waved Morri over.
"Nice. You can see the others are doubtful now. Except Void, god knows what he thinks about." Katalena told her. "I'll speak to Illy tomorrow. Well done. We'll have to apologize to Axel once we get out, though." Katalena said .
"We'll talk again tomorrow, Katalena?" Morri said, yawning.
"Call me Kata. And yes, you can expect we will, Morrigan."
"Morri." Morri told her. They both smiled and went to sleep on their own. Morri knew that she could get the others to escape now, all she needed was some doubt and a little bit of anger.
He sighed as the night-guard left his office to watch over the subjects while he slept. He was left alone in his office with the assassin that had caused trouble that day. "I will put this simply, in a language you will hopefully comprehend." He said, blowing out cigar smoke. He reached under his desk and pulled out a silenced assault rifle. He threw it to the assassin. He pressed a button on his desk which locked at soundproofed the room. "Now, if you do not mind, unload that clip into me." He said. The assassin tilted his head to one side, the only indication of confusion. "That is an order." He told him. The assassin nodded, took aim, and opened fire.
The bullets all slammed full force into his chest, but fell and hit the floor harmlessly. His body vibrated with the shock waves of each impact. Once the final shock wave had dispersed into his skin, the assassin spoke. "You're one of them?"
"Aye, the third of our kind." He replied and rose from the chair. "Now, I will make myself clear. If you attempt to harm my people, I will allow them to use their full abilities on you. If you manage to survive, remember what I just did. I will deal with you if they do not." He told the assassin. The assassin nodded and he pressed the button to open the door, allowing the assassin to leave. He sat back down and sighed. He didn't want to cause his kind pain. That would be extremely counterproductive into the formation of this new species and society.
And he would have to obtain forgiveness from his daughter of course. If she was anything like her mother had been that would not be an easy thing to accomplish.
She was sitting in her cell, strapped down to a chair. Doctors wearing masks were looking down on her. She couldn't see them in any detail, as there was a bright light shining down on her. They brought a machine and she could tell, despite the light, that a mechanically controlled needle was about to be stabbed into her. All she could do was watch as it injected something into her jugular. Her vision went hazy, and when it cleared, she was falling down through the sky, aiming for a lake. She screamed in anger and frustration and fear as she fell towards it. Her vision went white as she hit the water.
Katalena woke up and gasped. She looked around, panting, and then sighed, calming down. She looked across the cell block and saw Morri watching her, a sympathetic look on her face. After a few minutes, the breakfast tables were brought in and the cell windows went down, allowing them to go and eat. To Kata's surprise, there was a new one of them. It had been a week since Morrigan had been brought to them, but this was the soonest another was brought in after a new one of their kind. After conversing with him, the man revealed he could teleport in little bursts of light.
She spent that morning looking after Ileana and talking with Morrigan about what to do next to escape. Around lunchtime, she sent Ileana to be taken care of by Nick. "What was wrong this morning?" Morri asked. "When you woke up?"
"Flashbacks." Kata said in a voice that denied any further questions on the topic. Morri nodded, understanding. They sat in silence for a moment, before hearing the new guy talking.
"This can't possibly be legal, what they're doing to us." Was one of the things that stood out. "We should try to break out, go get the Coalition, bring them here and arrest them." Was another saying.
"Stuart's gonna get himself killed." Morri whispered.
"Yes...he is." Kata replied sadly. They sat in silence for another twenty minutes before they heard a scream and a loud smash. They ran out of Kata's holding cell and saw that Stuart had tried to escape by climbing up the catwalk similarly to how Morri had done so, except he had alerted the assassin guarding them. The assassin was apparently under orders to not take kindly to such things, and had all but thrown him from the catwalk. The assassin jumped down and held a sword to his throat.
"Stop." Came a commanding voice. "Assassin, allow me to handle him." A man jumped down from the upper levels and the assassin retreated. He was average looking with a cigar pointing out of his mouth. "I've deactivated the device that restricts your powers, Stuart. If you wish to escape, I am all that stands between you and the exit." He said. Stuart immediately took the hint and began teleporting all across the room, trying to confuse the man. He appeared behind the man and unloaded a volley of punches before teleporting to different angles to attack. None of the strikes appeared to do anything. All they could see was ripples of energy coursing through his body. Then, he turned and stuck an arm out as Stuart teleported. When Stuart reappeared, his body was formed around the man's hand. Then, the man ripped a heart out of the body, and Stuart collapsed.
"My friends..." The man said after a moment (a moment that Kata used to shield Ileana's eyes). "Our kind is the next generation of galactic rulers. I have you here so we can form a society of gods. Not so we could live like mortals in our old lives. This..." He gestured to Stuart's body. "is not what a god should be like. The five assassins that guard you are others like us, they just see the truth. When you are ready, you may join them." He said, and walked out of the prison block. Morri looked around and saw fear and shock in the others' eyes, save for Kata's. In her eyes, there was nothing but hate.
The assassin returned and took the body away, and there was generally a lot of silence for the next few days. Finally, at one point, Axel walked over to Morri. "Listen...after what happened, I'm with you. We need a way out of here." He told her.
"Alright, good. Any ideas?" She asked.
"Not yet. Aednat agrees with me, as does Nick and Mason. Xylia and Void will need more proof, if you even want to take Void with us." He said. Before Morri could respond, the floor shifted and was turned into a large, empty floor save a group of force-field generators.
"Chaotician and Sunfire to the sparring area." The amplified voice of the man Morri assumed was Kata's father boomed. Axel walked into the designated area, as did Kata. A force-field cage rose around them. "Begin." The voice said. The two of them hesitated a moment, then Axel transformed himself, his entire body looking like the surface of a sun, and a blast that resembled a solar flare was launched at Kata. She calmly raised a hand, which was surrounded by violet energy, and the attack was abruptly redirected into the ceiling of the cage. Axel launched another while putting a hand to the floor, which caused the floor to heat up rapidly and begin to melt. Kata saw this and, strangely, began floating in the air as she redirected the second flare.
Kata raised a hand and the floor beneath Axel melted several times more rapidly than the rest of the floor, and he sunk into it. She took her hand down, and the floor started cooling rapidly as he, in a fit of panic, came out of his form. When he had transformed, he was trapped in a block of cement. Once Kata let him out and Nick repaired the floor, the voice spoke once again.
"The Warper and the Gatekeeper." Morri realized that gatekeeper must have been her designation, so she entered the area once the field came down and Axel and Kata left. She paced on the other end of the cage while Mason grinned at her from the other side.
"Don't worry, honey, I'll make this quick." he said. Immediately after, they were given the go ahead to begin. He snapped his fingers and she collapsed. The floor beneath her left foot suddenly far lower than the floor beneath her right. "If you want to stay down there we can get some exhibitionism going." He said, annoyingly trying to add a seductive drawl to his voice. She threw up in her mouth a little at that. She put one palm on the floor beneath her and opened a portal, which reopened up in the air. While she was still in the air, she threw another one down next to his feet and one right in front of her. She flew through her's and came up next to him. She threw a right hook which caught his cocky face on the chin, knocking him off his feet.
"Oh, I'm sorry, did that hurt you, sweetie?" She asked, not meaning it at all.
"Don't worry, I'm a masochist." Came his response. She opened another portal beneath him which dropped him next to her. As he fell, she caught him under the chin with an uppercut and he was left dazed and confused on the floor. She sighed. Had he taken the fight seriously, he probably would have been able to defeat her. Numerous match-ups happened, though Void, Ileana, and Nick were never brought up, considering Nick's hazardous control over his ability, Ileana's young age, and Void being all but untouchable. At the end of the day, everyone was dead on their feet and slept like rocks that night.
Morri was awake early the next morning, and saw Kata shaking in her sleep for several minutes before she woke up as well. When the windows came down, Morri immediately went straight for Xylia's cell. She stopped Xylia from heading to the breakfast table. "I want your thoughts on what happened with Stuart." Morri said.
"It was terrible, but he did provoke it." Xylia said.
"And you want to accept living under the guy who killed him?" Morri asked.
"I wouldn't say accept..." Xylia sighed. "On the outside, there's a guy who is out there and still alive, a guy I really want dead. If I keep going after him, I'll end up dead. I'd choose life." Xylia said.
"We get out of here, you can come live with me, and I can keep you busy. You can get all the niceness of life out of this place and be occupied enough to forget about murder." Morri said. Xylia was quiet for a moment.
"If he shows himself, I want you to help me." She said.
"Done." Morri replied.
"Alright, let's eat." Xylia said and they went to sit down for breakfast. That day was spent doing annoyingly difficult training sessions. When they broke for lunch, Morri sat down across from Void.
"I will help you." He said, taking her by surprise.
"Ok...why?" She asked. He said nothing so she figured it would be all she would be getting from him, so she moved over to sit next to Kata. "Everyone's in." She whispered.
"Good. A couple years back, he told me once I was ready to stand at his side, to find a way in the middle of this room at midnight. His assassin will see and take me to him. I'll get you guys out from there." She said in hushed tones. Morri nodded and proceeded to ask about Kata's favorite color as a cover.
He sat in his office. It was late at night and he was cracking open an old mickey of whiskey. He poured it into a glass and sat down. He put his feet up on the desk and leaned back in his chair, taking a sip of it. He sighed. His people were strangely stubborn when it came to leaving their old selves behind. It would come, he was certain of it. It truly depressed him how his daughter appeared to be the most stubborn of them all. There was a knock on the door, and he removed his feet from his desk. "Come in." He called.
The door opened, and the assassin with the hovering machinery walked in. "Sir, your daughter wishes to speak with you." She said.
"Send her in." He said, trying to mask his excitement and nerves. The assassin left, and Katalena walked in. "Good evening, my dear." He said and stood. "Have you reconsidered your stance on joining my side?" He asked.
"I have..." She said. "You're right, our kind is superior. Our race's rise will be faster if there is no conflict between us." She said. He nodded, happiness overwhelming him.
"Thank you, my dear, for seeing the light." He said and walked over to her and embraced her. Awkwardly, she returned the embrace. He let her go and got her out a glass. "Come, have a drink with your old man." He told her. She took the glass as he refilled his, they clinked the glasses together and she downed her's in one. "To be safe, we should reinstate the others' lockdown for a while, no?" He told her.
"I agree. Void had been...disturbing as of late." She said.
"Very well." He replied.
"Thank you, I would hate to see his mental state crack and result in unneeded death." She explained.
"You are welcome, my dear." He said and pressed the button that reactivated the lockdown.
"Yes...thank you...father." She said, cursing him in her mind.
"Shit, shit shit shit shit shit." was all that Morri could say the next day, when she realized that they had been locked in their cells once again. "Mother fuck." She groaned. She lay down on her bed and prayed that it was just a momentary setback, rather than something long term. Or worse, that Katalena had been playing them all along.
Unfortunately, it was a very long term problem. Almost a month passed before anything happened. Katalena felt horrible about how she had to leave her people trapped in their holding cells for so long, but no good opportunity arose. Finally, one night, her father called her to his office. "Good evening, my dear." He said.
"Father." She said and he gestured for her to sit down. She did so. "You seem to grow tired of the standard attire my people clad themselves in." He said. She nodded slowly. She had to admit, the military outfit was extremely annoying for her. "Well, I kept this outfit of yours from years ago." He said and pressed a button on his desk. An armor stand rose from the floor. On the stand was her small red coat from years ago, the short black dress and black shorts she wore under it, the shredded knee-high socks and hiking boots she had worn constantly.
"Would this not be clinging to my old life, father?" She asked.
"Attire will mean nothing in our world, my dear." He said. "You may change." He said. She grabbed the outfit and waited for him to turn around. He didn't. A pit formed in her stomach when she realized what he was thinking. She turned around and used her powers to hold her old outfit in front of her as she changed into the new one. When she had finished, she tossed the military suit aside. He pressed another button and a mirror formed before her. She looked into it, and admitted to herself she was glad her old attire was back in her possession. He came up behind her and, to her shock, wrapped his arms around her waist. "Don't you look beautiful...?" He said quietly. "My dear, I will be leaving for a few days, looking for more of us. Can I trust you to look after our home while I am away?" He asked.
"Yes, father." She said quietly.
"Good." He said and gave her a horrifyingly long kiss on the neck. Immediately after it, she excused herself, claiming to be exhausted, and left the room, practically running back to her own room. Once she reached her room, she locked it and used her powers to push the table in front of the door. She dove under her covers and didn't sleep until she got the message her father had left and that she was now in charge of the facility. She slept horribly, still haunted by the dreams of her experimentation. When she awoke, she managed the facility like any other day, up until around eight in the evening. She activated the PA system and spoke into it.
"Everyone, you've earned and early night, go get some drinks and some sleep, one night only." She said. She watched the security system until she was sure that everyone was in the barracks before she made her way down to the prison block. She slipped up behind the assassin guarding them that night, the same one that had attacked Axel, and caused a small explosion near his feet, just enough to make him trip to his knees. She kept walking and brought her knee up into the back of his head. He fell, unconscious, but she figured she didn't have long to get them out. She floated down and used her powers to cause the windows to crack and shatter. They stepped out cautiously and saw her. "Time to go." She said. Morri nodded and opened a portal up to the door out, which opened at Kata's command.
They crept down the halls until they reached the barracks area. A light could be seen from one of the sleeping rooms, and they could hear some of the workers inside still awake and talking. "I'll distract them, everyone else, creep down to the end of the hallway." Kata said and walked into the room to talk to the people inside. While she distracted them, one by one, the others made their way down to the hall's end, which was a corner where two night security guards stood.
"I got this." Mason said. Instead of using his powers to incapacitate them, he ran past and led them elsewhere.
"Uh...should we help him?" Aednat asked. Soon after, Mason's voice yelled through the intercom.
"I'm being assaulted by a chick with a dick! Help! They've sewn up his klunge! They've sewn up his klunge!" They heard Kata tell the men in the barracks she would handle it and came over to them.
"What the fuck?" She whispered. Mason came screaming around the corner.
"They'll be investigating a couple of unconscious guards, so we have time while they go there." Mason said. Kata and Morri shared a look of surprise. "Yeah, I know, I'm not totally retarded!" He said, sounding as surprised as they were. Morri picked up Ileana as the group moved for the stairwell that led upwards. A guard walked through the door as they reached the top, causing Axel to quickly incinerate him. Xylia took on the guard's form and stepped outside, saw the way was clear, shifted back to her normal appearance and they kept moving.
A group of guards turned the corner around the same time as them. Morri opened a portal and allowed Xylia to jump through as she transformed her hand and forearm into a superhard blade. Axel entered his sun form and slammed into the guards as well. Aednat displayed a talent for unarmed combat and defeated two of her foes while Nick disintegrated the last one. "Morri, how long before you can get us offworld?" Kata asked.
"I need to see the sky." Morri replied.
"Alright, guys, next room is the hangar, there will be a lot of security, probably an assassin. Move for the exit, don't stop." Kata replied, led them to the door, and pushed it open. Four guards spotted them immediately. Kata fell into a low kneel and held her hands out, causing a crate to be thrown through the air and into one of them. Aednat soared over her head and tackled one while Nick caused a hole to form in one's stomach. Axel went into his sun form and simply ran into the last one. They made their way through the hangar, fighting their way past anybody who tried to stop them. Before they could have reached the exit, the hangar doors had closed.
"God dammit!" Morri said angrily. A loud clang sounded and they turned to see the assassin Kata had immobilized as well as two helmeted assassins with blades. Void stepped up to the door and pressed a hand to it.
"This will take a moment. Hold them off." He said simply. Morri left Ileana with him and opened a portal, allowing Axel to jump down at the assassins from above. The one with the metal arm held a hand up and Axel was pushed back through the portal. Axel slammed into the hangar door before charging the metal armed one again. The two with blades and helmets engaged the rest. One of them made numerous copies of themself, while the other melted into a puddle, would move across the floor and reform behind one of them. Morri used her portals to redirect anyone coming for her, Void, or Ileana. Axel tried to burn through the metal armed assassin, but his opponent seemed to have some command over air-flow that restricted Axel's movement and keeping him from getting in close. It was a fairly even fight between the copies and the prisoners, but the puddle-man seemed to be the deciding factor, tripping and beating them before leaving and moving to another.
"I have it." Void said. Morri turned and saw he had created a hole in the door. She slipped through, opened a portal and turned.
"Guys, come on!" She yelled. Ileana used her Astral projection to create some kind of tentacle that beat the assassins back long enough for the others to run through one by one. Morri was the last one through, right after Kata. She jumped through and closed the portal. She looked around, trying to remember where she had opened it. She remembered fairly quickly when she looked up and saw a rather stunned looking Caden in the entrance to his living room, which they had just landed in. "Hi Caden." She panted and opened another portal, this one into her friend Skylar's basement.
"uh...I...Morri, what?" Caden stuttered as Axel, Aednat, Xylia, Void, Ileana (who was being carried by Xylia), and Nick hopped through the portal. At that point, Clara walked into the room and her face became one of utter bewilderment.
"I might want to stay here." Mason said. Morri looked at him and saw, to her own bewilderment, that he was sitting in a wheelchair. Kata saw this as well.
"Why are you in a fucking wheelchair?" She asked.
"The tingling sensation in my anus from when Morri arrived has spread through my body and I can't feel my legs." He said. "Maybe that one can help me?" He said, winking at Clara. The look on Caden's face was one of absolute murder. "Hey, hey, hey, you can't hit a man in a wheelchair!" Mason said. Ignoring that entirely, Kata grabbed him and threw him through the portal.
"Sorry about him, he's an asshole." She said before jumping through the portal herself.
"Sorry for the mess, and the wheelchair. Good seeing you guys again, bye!" Morri said and jumped through the portal. Once she closed it, she ran upstairs. "Sky, Dean, you guys here?" She called. When she got no answer, she checked the answering machine. Skylar's voice played through, explaining that they were on a trip helping refugees in Europe. Morri went back downstairs.
"Ok guys, we have the house to ourselves for a while. May as well raid the kitchen, don't get too drunk, we have a kid here." Morri said. Mason tore for the liquor cabinet while Kata went to get Ileana something to eat. Morri went and checked all of the spare rooms, and found the one called SELAH in one of them, dead asleep. She scribbled a not explaining the whole situation and taped it to the door before she returned to the basement. Mason fell asleep in a ball in the corner, Nick slept on a chair, Axel took the couch, Xylia quite comfortably on the floor, Aednat leaned up against the couch Axel was on, Void sat cross legged leaning against the wall to sleep, and Morri took a spare mattress out of the closet to sleep on.
Katalena was in the kitchen, fixing herself, something, when she felt something pull on the hem of her dress. She looked down and saw Ileana. "Uhm..." Ileana said shyly.
"Are you alright?" Kata said, kneeling down so they were at eye level with one another. "Must have been terrifying back there."
"I'm alright...I just...now that we're out, I really need to find a way back to my sister...wherever she is..." Ileana said quietly. Katalena picked her up and sat her down on the counter.
"Can you tell me more about her?" Kata asked.
"Uhm...have you ever heard of something called Kentarax Syndrome?" Ileana asked.
"Yes, I have." Kata responded. Ileana sighed and looked down, causing Katalena to guess the problem.
"How bad of a case is it?" She asked the girl.
"On a school trip her class crashed on a planet with a bunch of tribes. One month later the rescue came. By then she built a scary thing that she used to kill all of a tribe. Dunno what else happened. Her class were scared of her forever. She's really smart. Smartness and crazy are a bad mix, right?" Ileana asked.
"Yeah, you could say that...now...I need you to listen to me for a moment, ok?"
"Remember the bad guy from prison, my dad?"
"Well, he's gonna come looking for us." Katalena started.
"Until he either gets us...or we kill him." Kata said slowly.
"My sister can find us, and she's good at killing things." Ileana said. The darkness of that sentence broke Katalena's heart.
"Listen...we don't want anyone finding us." She said slowly. Ileana visibly saddened. "If she finds us, that means he can too. What's more, if she finds us and ends up leading him to us...he won't want her alive." She said gently. Ileana tapped her fingers on the counter nervously, as though she was hiding something.
"She's...not easy to beat..." She mumbled.
"Go on." Katalena pressed gently.
"Uh...when our home blew up, she saved me a lot from bad guys. One time...she had her head cut off, but kept fighting, then put her head back on. I've seen some weird stuff, but I don't think that's natural..." Ileana said. Katalena then pulled Ileana into a tight hug. "Huh?" Ileana said, surprised.
"Illu...I promise, I will do all that I can to make sure you never see something like that again..." She whispered.
"Thanks...but still...my sister needs to be with me...and I need to be with her..." Ileana said sadly.
"I know...once we're free of my dad we'll go find her, ok?" Katalena said. Ileana smiled up at her.
"Ok...thanks...but when we do-" Her voice got a little snarky at that point. "-duck."
"You watch your mouth." Kata said, smirking. "Go on down to bed, I'll bring you a hot chocolate, ok?"
"Don't be so gloomy. Just think of me and Morri as your parents for now. We'll take care of you."
"Ok." Ileana said. Katalena helped her down and she scampered off to bed. Katalena took some time to wet her eyes with a cold wet towel, trying to avoid breaking down. She felt a strange rush of sympathy for the girl. At her age, she should have never have seen what she had. Once she had calmed down, she brought the hot chocolate down to Ileana, alongside the pizza she had been making, shared it with her, and watched as the girl went to sleep. Once Ileana had fallen asleep, Katalena slipped back up the stairs and headed for the door. She opened it and quietly started walking down the front walk.
"Going somewhere?" She heard a voice say. She turned and saw Morri sitting on the deck bench.
"How'd you get past me?" Kata asked.
"You were occupied with her." Morri replied, rising. "Why are you trying to leave, Kata?"
"I told you what he did to me." Kata replied.
"No you didn't." Morri replied. She took a few steps closer. "Hearing you talk in your sleep for a few weeks told me everything I needed to know."
"Then you should know to not try and stop me." Kata replied and turned to go.
"I'm not. I'm just saying we'll be safer and stronger with you. Your knowledge and power would give us all an edge in surviving." Morri said. "Not to mention if his assassins find us, or him, for that matter, you've known them longer than any of us."
"If I kill them now, the danger is ended."
"Don't be naive, Katalena." Morri said and sighed. "I won't try and stop you, just think about what I said." Morri said. She turned and headed into the house. "I'll try to explain to Illy if you go." She said and closed the door, leaving Katalena to ponder outside.
A few days later, which were spent hiding in the basement and sending SELAH on food runs, Morri received word that Holly wanted to speak with her. They set up a meeting place on the DDS Stormblade, an empty conference room. They met, exchanged pleasantries, and sat down at the table. "How much do you know about us?" Morri asked.
"Not all that much, really."
"Well, we're superpowered, refugees from more of our own kind, and we're part Skulblakan." Morri said.
"Alright...how many of you are there, and what are you capable of? More importantly, how many of them are there, and what can they do?" Holly asked.
"Eight of us. Six of them." Morri said and handed Holly a file with the details on their abilities.
"Hmmm...I see..." Holly said, reading it over.
"And there are more of us out there." Morri said.
"Well, that leaves us with quite a few dilemmas: How to find more of you, how to stop him from finding you, and how to cut off his funding." Holly said.
"You won't." Katalena's voice said. They turned and saw her enter the room.
"How'd you get in here?" Holly asked.
"I'm glad you stayed." Morri said, smiling at her friend. Katalena returned the smile before snapping her fingers. The door opened and the guard drone outside the door fell into a heap. Holly gave her an angry look.
"You won't cut off his funding, he has hands in everything. You won't stop him from finding us, you can't. And most importantly, you won't find any more of us."
"What do you mean?" Holly asked.
"I refuse to allow your people to round up mine." Katalena said. "Besides that, your actions would alert him, considering he is a Coalition General."
"He's a WHAT?!" Holly exclaimed.
"His name is Dmitri Akulov, a famed military scientist you may have heard of."
"Oh, I've heard of him alright. And now I am doubly eager to tear down his powerbase. A Coalition general, really?! We can't have someone who has done what he has have a seat in the Coalition."
"Doesn't matter. He'll be well funded from the illicit drug rings he runs in the undergrounds of Coruscant and Mandalore. Plus he'll have moved his facility now." Katalena said. Holly slammed her fist on the table in anger.
"There has to be something we can do to help!" She said frustratedly before standing up and pacing."
"Give us asylum for a while." Morri quickly said.
"I plan to do that, but we have to do more! We can't just let him roam free, using Coalition funds to fuel his practices!" Holly said angrily. Kata shrugged.
"Good luck. Morri, you should come home. Mason tried to slip a camera into your friend's bedroom and SELAH caught him." Kata said to Morri.
"SELAH? Really? Were it not for his powers, I'd think he'd be lucky to have kept his arm." Holly said.
"That reminds me." Katalena said and levitated the file with all their powers over to her and away from Holly.
"Uh, why'd you do that?" Holly asked.
"Can't have you sharing this." Kata said.
"Still going to need something here. If this is revealed to the public the wrong way...the results could be catastrophic." Holly said.
"Which is why anonymity is so important to us." Morri said and rose to join Kata.
"Of course, but the moment something happens to reveal it, well, we need to be ready for quick damage control." Holly began. "Doubtlessly someone would use the information wrong. I mean, the invasion is still fresh in everyone's minds, and the knowledge that part of the population is part Skulblakan would allow someone to benefit in the wrong way. Maybe some politician will use the scare to push his or her own agenda. We have to counter what they will try to pull." Holly said. At that, Katalena simply walked out. Holly rose to follow, with Morri trying to explain Katalena's point. When they reached the hall, the froze at the scene before them.
Two guards lay unconscious on the hall floor, with at least eleven security drones lying in pieces throughout the hall. Holly looked quite upset about the drones, rather than the human guards. "Least you can techo-build them." Morri said, patted her on the shoulder, and left, following her chaotic friend.
Later that afternoon, some of the group threw a movie into the TV while Katalena kept Ileana occupied. Axel, however, pulled Morri aside and up the stairs to talk to her. "What's up?" Morri asked once they were alone.
"I'm wondering what our next move is. Katalena won't say anything with Ileana around, so I figured you'd be a good one to ask." He said.
"We're gonna take asylum here for a few days. I'm working on getting us a more secluded place, actually."
"And then what?" He asked.
"We get ready to take them on if they try to come get us." She replied.
"I may know a place we can go to hide." Axel said. Before Morri could reply, there was a knock on the door. Morri walked over and answered it, there was someone she didn't recognize there.
"I am Thelia, a member of the Rebel Advent. I merely came because Holly was...worried...about how 'OK' your people were. I am simply here to help resolve that issue. That being said, I am sure there is nothing to be worried about. You are Morrigan Sigurdson, are you not?" The woman said in a neutral, but polite voice.
"...Hi. How can I help you?" Morri asked, taken aback slightly.
"Like I said, I am merely here to analyze the intentions of your comrades. Nothing too intrusive, I assure you. Merely something to put Holly's mind at ease with her decision to a higher degree. If you would be able to explain this in an acceptable way to your friends, it would be appreciated. I am only here to help, after all." Thelia said evenly. At that moment, Katalena came up the stairs, heard this, and walked over.
"I volunteer to go first." She said.
"I see...don't worry, I am sure there is nothing to worry about." Thelia said and began. Over the course of the next minute, Thelia was exposed to the utter chaos that Katalena's mind consisted of. Even attempting to make sense of the mind and memories and ideas left her extraordinarily weakened. "Gah!" She cried, breaking the connection. "Wha-was that some kind of trick?" She asked suspiciously.
"No, that's my mind. If you want to know our intentions, I will explain to you, in layman's terms, if you wish." Katalena replied.
"I would...feel better if I could analyze them...but very well, I will hear you out first." Thelia said cautiously.
"I want my father dead. Morri wants a haven for our people. Axel is with Morri. Aednat wants a normal life. Xylia wants payback on a man that betrayed her in the past. Void wants nothing. Nick wants peace between us and my father. Ileana wants to find her older sister. Mason will let you into his mind if you let him into your special place." Kata listed.
"Use the full force of Unity to crack into this Mason's mind then, got it." Thelia said in a pathetic excuse for a joke. There were several moments of silence.
"I don't think you understood me." Kata said quietly.
"I was...trying to make a joke..." Thelia said, confused.
"You have your information. If Holly wants anything else, she can come and get it herself." Kata said and left back down the stairs, leaving Morri, Axel, and Thelia in the kitchen.
"I have a feeling that could have gone better." Thelia said awkwardly.
"She wasn't lying. She laid all our intentions out for you." Axel told her.
"I was sent, not so much as Holly doubted you, as much as she wanted something definite." Thelia tried to explain.
"Ask her if Leandra's daughter would give you anything that wasn't definite." Morri told her. There was silence.
"She told you the truth. I don't want you in my head." Axel told Thelia.
"Hey..." A voice said. They turned and saw Ileana.
"Hey, what's up?" Morri asked her.
"Ummm...would you go if you looked at only one of us?" Ileana asked. Immediately, Morri looked at Thelia, mentally screaming "NOT HER!" at the psychic. "It'll be ok. I've been through worse." Ileana said.
"And it won't be too intrusive, she won't feel a thing." Thelia said.
"Kata will kill you." Morri said seriously. "Do me instead if you must." There was a moment of silence before Thelia spoke again.
"That will not be necessary." Thelia said. She was quiet again, looking at the floor before smiling. Seeing this, Axel made his hand take its sun form.
"Forgive him, but expressions like that scare us." Morri said carefully.
"Don't worry, I'm simply satisfied with this experience. I have what I came for, you have nothing to worry about." Thelia said. With that, she left.
"Uh, Axel, watch Illy." Morri said. "Illy, you know the parents analogy Kata made a couple nights back?" Morri asked.
"Mom needs to go talk with other mom, ok?" Morri said.
"Go hang out with Uncle Axel, alright?"
"Ok." Ileana said and went over to Axel, who picked her up and sat her down on the counter.
"How're you holding up, kid?" He asked her.
"Alright." She answered.
"Listen, do me a favor, when people ask for stuff like that, can you let us handle things?" He asked, trying to be as polite and kind as he could. Ileana sighed.
"It's not like I haven't met any psionicists before..." She muttered.
"Hey, what you did was really brave. But things have changed. We need to be much more careful now." Axel tried to explain.
"Yeah...but...I know what it's like just watching..." She said quietly.
"What do you mean?" He asked.
"I've seen bad things...sometimes my sister needed help..." She grumbled.
"Hey, we'll be sure to find her once things die down a bit. So, is there any foods here you haven't tried that you might want to give a shot?" He asked. She shrugged, and he held her up to the upper levels of the pantry to inspect the stock.
Morri found Katalena lying in Skylar's bed. "My friends fuck in this bed, you know that, right?" She asked.
"I really don't care." Katalena said and sat up. "That psychic is what we have to look forward to. They'll start by reading our minds once to see if we're ok. Then they'll start doing it really often. The next step is controlling us, and using us to round up our own kind. You know what's after that? They'll give the people what they want." Kata said angrily.
"No, Kata, I know these people. So long as we stay here, we'll be safe from all that." Morri protested.
"What if we leave and move elsewhere. What about the others like us when they get discovered. They'll want to destroy us. They'll want revenge. We're part Skulblakan, that's they're reason, and it is a reason a lot of people will accept." Katalena shot back.
"You can't think like that." Morri said. "Right now, they need us. We can use that."
"And that's the only reason we're not prisoners again." Katalena said. "We'll deal with that later, but we need our own place, Morri."
"True. Listen, we'll get our own place, then we'll deal with everyone else. For now, let's go have supper." Morri suggested.
"Yeah, ok." Kata said. They went back downstairs and helped Xylia and Nick cook dinner, which wound up being breaded chicken and french fries all around. Mason had also finally cracked the lock for the liquor cabinet (he had decided that breaking in would be more fun compared to using his powers) and a few of them were lightly drinking.
"Throw it back, army boy, I want to see how red your face can get." Mason said to Nick as Nick did as instructed with the bottle of kanar he had found. Xylia was sipping at a green fluid that no one recognized. Morri was having something that Mason described as soda, to which she replied that she was going to be the responsible one of the evening. Katalena was sipping at a glass of red wine while holding Ileana on her lap.
"Can I try some?" Ileana asked Kata.
"Uhh, maybe we give that a few years." Kata said, smiling.
"Come on, Kata, why not?" Morri said, smiling. The group went quiet and Kata held her glass out of Ileana, who took a sip, winced and stated her stance in one simple word.
"Ew!" She exclaimed, handing the glass back to Kata, causing the group to break out laughing.
"Alright, let's keep it that way." Kata said, grinning.
A few days passed before word reached the group of Dmitri Akulov. The Coalition's intelligence agencies had sent Holly word of a meeting that was set up between Akulov and a drug dealer that worked for him. Morrigan and Katalena made a point of seeing themselves onto the investigation mission. They boarded a ship with several soldiers and they flew to the location of the meeting, in the underground of Coruscant. They left Nick and Axel in charge of the group. When they landed in the city, they were greeted by local security.
"Ma'ams, the primary target will be exiting his vehicle two blocks from here in about three hours, we have time to debrief you and set up hour positions." One of them said. They were led into a security speeder disguised as a news vehicle and were hidden in a back alley. They learned that the dealings with the drug lord were his primary source of finance, so this was an opportunity to hit two birds with one stone. Morri and Kata took position on the roof adjacent to the point of entry. They waited until their comms started buzzing.
Target is approaching in a blue vehicle around the corner, be ready. The comms said. They waited for about three minutes before the vehicle arrived. The target vehicle stopped, and out stepped one of the assassins from the prison. Morri activated her comm.
"Target will not be here, everyone bug out." She ordered. The security forces did as they were told, but neither Morri nor Kata moved. "I see four guards out here...are you sure you want to risk this?" Morri asked.
"Yes. I don't plan on killing her, or the guards. I just want to know something." Kata replied. "Don't worry. I don't plan on killing any more of our kind aside from my father." She said. Morri nodded, waited a moment, then opened a portal. Katalena stepped through and reappeared behind the guards. She cast a chaos hex and they each were beat into unconsciousness by their own guns. Morri followed her through. Kata cast a hex on the door and it crumbled into a small, pathetic ball on the floor. Kata led the way in. A duo of guards tried to halt their progress. Kata was having none of that. She raised a hand, which glowed in their orb form, and she sent one flying into the ceiling, his head smashing clean through the ceiling and leaving him hanging and struggling to pull himself out. The other was sent out the window, where he fell ten feet to the street below.
"Jesus christ, Kata!" Morri exclaimed and pulled the man who was hanging from the ceiling down. When he was free, she knocked him out both so he wouldn't attack them and so he wouldn't injure himself any further.
"They'll live." She replied and kept walking. Morri shook her head and followed her. They reached the meeting room and crouched by the door. They looked into the room and saw the assassin, a female with two machetes, standing over the body of what looked like a drug lord.
"I guess he's cutting off his own funding." Morri whispered.
"Loose ends." Kata replied, equally hushed. They watched as the assassin looked into the desk of her victim, searching for something. They waited until she stood up, holding a file of information, then Kata sprung out. She cast a hex that sent the dead drug-lord's chair flying into the back of the assassin's head. The assassin stumbled, looked up, saw them, and then began cloning herself. Soon, four or five of her were in the room, and they couldn't tell which was the real one. Morri decided to chance a guess, and opened a portal under two of them, which re opened outside the window and sent them falling to the ground. Right before they hit the ground, they disappeared in glowing flashes. The remaining three attacked. Morri ducked under a machete strike and threw her hands out, catching the wrist of a thrust from another attacker. Kata cast four quick hexes, causing the leg of one of the assailants to completely give out from under them and for the body to vanish in a flash of light. One assassin threw a knife. As they did so, Morri noticed their arm shimmered slightly before the throw. She opened a portal which redirected the knife into the body of the thrower, who vanished into nothingness as well.
The assassin tried to use her knives to take Morri out of the equation, which was a fool's errand. Morri's experience with knife combat from her younger days easily overpowered the assassin, who they soon had pinned to the desk. Kata raised a hand up and surrounded it with a hex orb. "Make a move, I dare you." She snarled. The assassin grew still. "Why did he have you murder his funding?" Kata asked.
"You should know yourself, he doesn't like loose ends." The assassin replied. Her voice, despite being augmented by her helmet, was very raspy and dry, like she had been smoking for much of her life or was sick.
"Morri, check the file, I've got her." Kata said. Morri quickly grabbed the file and opened it. The assassin didn't offer much of a struggle. Morri read through the file. Each piece of paper was on more of their kind. One appeared to be the exact opposite of Axel's power, one was on a hermit from a foreign world, there was a man who would mix things together, a man who could change his skin into whatever surface he wanted, and a man who could absorb the physical traits of others.
"It's on more of us." Morri said. "He's looking for replacements."
"Not replacements, he still wants you at our side." The assassin hissed. "He's a very convincing man, your friends are learning this as we speak." The assassin said. Kata looked at Morri, eyes widening in horror. Morri opened a portal, but it closed itself before they could pass through it. "You can't portal yourself to him, he can build reversals to everything we can do." The assassin said.
"Security, we need a ride back to Earth, now!" Morri yelled into her comm. "We have a prisoner, biggest priority possible." She went on as Kata found a way to use her powers to create a binding for the assassin.
Back at the house, Void was actually talking as he watched an awful reality show re-run. "Of course he is not the father, dammit!" He said, still utterly monotonous. "He's wearing overalls!" Meanwhile, Nick and Mason had occupied themselves with a strange model ship that actually fired tiny stun blasts. Xylia was entertaining Ileana, Axel, and Aednat by transforming her body into various different shapes and objects. They noticed Mason and Nick were having a debate about chicken wings.
"I hate that ranch shit. Don't put it close to me, don't put it around me, get it away from me." Mason said, causing Axel and Xylia to laugh.
"What should wings be served with, Mason?" Aednat asked.
"It's either blue cheese with wings or go fuck your mother." Mason replied, causing everyone who wasn't Void and Ileana to laugh.
"Can't: Allergic." Ileana said.
"...Fuck." Was Mason's sole response. Aednat and Xylia laughed as the doorbell rang.
"I'll check it." Axel said. He headed up the stairs as Xylia sat down next to Ileana.
"So, Ileana. When this is all over, what do you want to do when you're older?" Xylia asked the girl.
"I...don't know." Ileana said simply.
"Just don't do what I do, ok?" Xylia told her. "Do something productive like build shelters or something."
"Ok." Ileana said.
"Or," A familiar voice said, causing them to recoil from the stairway. "you can come with me, and be royalty in the new universe." Coming down the stairs was Dmitri Akulov, their old captor, alongside the metal-armed assassin and the assassin with floating machines.
"Stay behind me." Xylia whispered to Ileana, who stepped behind her as Xylia sheltered her with her arm.
"Why are you staying in a human base?" Akulov asked them as the metal armed one threw Axel over to them.
"Shelter. From you." Aednat said.
"Shelter? I was giving you that. Shelter from the humans and coalitions that will one day turn on you." Akulov said.
"The only one we need shelter from is you! You took me away from my sister!" Ileana exclaimed.
"My child, look around. We are your brothers and sisters now." He said, smiling down at Ileana. "A family that will make the royals of the past look like meager gang lords." He said, and his smile disappeared. "Now, I offer you a chance to join my side. Choose as you will, for we will return you to the family next we meet anyway." He said. The group was quiet and still, then, Void walked past them and joined Akulov's side. Immediately after, Ileana, now being effectively held back by Xylia, started yelling at Akulov, screaming about how she would never join him if it meant leaving her sister. "I guess we know your first target." Akulov said to Void.
"You hurt my sister I will smash you!" Ileana cried emotionally.
"Get down!" Axel said. Xylia covered Ileana and morphed into something fire and heat proof as Axel unleashed a small solar flare at Akulov and his people. Akulov absorbed the attack, smiled, then pressed his foot to the ground. The floor exploded and he and his henchman left before the others could give chase, too busy trying to escape the devastated house themselves.
Morri and Kata returned the next day to an annihilated house with the group and SELAH sitting outside, surrounded by security, Holly was standing talking to security leaders, and Skylar could be seen trying to find someone to talk to about her house. Morri ran over to Holly and Kata went straight for the group. When Kata reached them, Ileana ran up to her and hugged her surrogate parent. "We really gotta find my sister, now!" She exclaimed.
"What do you mean?" Kata asked.
"While he was here...when I said I wasn't going with him...he said they were going to kill Corina!" Ileana said and started crying. "She's tough but...what if he gets her?" She continued before her crying intensified.
"Shh, honey, don't worry. We're gonna get a new place to hide and I'll go get her myself, I promise." Kata whispered, hugging the girl closer.
"Ok...thanks..." Ileana said, wiping her eyes on Kata's dress.
"Go chat with SELAH, me and your other mom have to talk to Skylar, ok?"
"Ok." Ileana said and went to talk to the cyborg as Morri and Skylar approached Kata.
"Sky, I am so sorry about the house, I will pay all of the costs of repair." Morri said honestly.
"You mind telling me what the fuck is going on here?" Skylar asked.
"We're all part Skulblakan with Skulblakan powers. We needed a place to hide from psycho people like us. They found us." Morri hastily explained.
"And I slept where you and your husband get freaky." Kata chimed in. Skylar gave her an annoyed look.
"Well, at least you're all ok." Skylar said, returning her gaze to Morri. "But what are we gonna do now?"
"Meet Kata, we're adoptive parents to the kid." Morri said.
"Kid?" Skylar asked.
"The girl talking to SELAH." Morri said, gesturing.
"What's her story?" Skylar asked, looking.
"Separated from her sister, I looked after her in prison, Morri arrived and helped, now she has two moms." Kata summarized.
"Alright...any idea who her sister is?" Skylar said.
"Name's Corina Dalca." Morri answered.
"Got anything else about her?"
"Lunatic." Kata replied before adding "Kentarax Syndrome." Skylar, hearing this, mouthed "oh"
"Yeah, may prove difficult talking to her if we find her..." Skylar said.
"Not we, dear." Morri said sadly. "As much as I love you, and working with you, we need to handle this one ourselves."
"Are you serious? You sure you can handle this on your own? If he can do this-" Skylar gestured to her ruined house. "Then it can't hurt to have some backup."
"We're discovering more of our own kind. Government being there would not help." Kata said. Skylar was silent. Morri grabbed Sky's face and turned her head to face her.
"Like I said, honey, I love you, but you can't help with this one." Morri said. Sky sadly looked down, causing Morri to hug her.
"Oh, kiss and make up, you two." Kata said after a moment. Before either could say anything, or do as she said, Mason's voice rang out.
"TIME TO FAP." He said loudly. They looked over and saw he was watching intently. Skylar, hearing this, pulled out a d'k tahg, a dagger their friend Serra had bought her many years before.
"Anyone else notice the walking talking target dummy?" Skylar asked, only half joking.
"Hey, I'm an asshole, but at least I'm no traitor." Mason protested. Morri started to explain how one of their number had left for the other side, and also left instructions about keeping their survival and locations quiet. As she did so, Kata watched as a beautiful blonde woman walked over to Mason and started flirting with him. The two looked like people in love. After a moment, the woman walked over and, too Kata's shock, planted a long kiss on Skylar's mouth. She gave another to Morri before she left, waving at Mason.
"I wish she'd stop doing that." Skylar grumbled.
"Hey, Dean loves it." Morri pointed out, to which Skylar rolled her eyes. "Alright, we should go. Thanks for letting us use your house." Morri said.
"Alright..." Sky said. "We were thinking about remodeling anyway." She joked.
"Your bed smelled weird anyway." Kata said, shrugging. Skylar was silent. "Air freshener." Kata suggested before (surprisingly) hugging her as a thank you. Skylar was then hugged again by Morri and the two left. They walked over to the group. "Where do we go now. Any ideas?" Kata asked.
"We need someplace a little more secluded, but not so secluded that it is obvious." Morri said. Axel smiled.
"I know the perfect place." He said.
They stepped through the portal, leaving Kaven base behind. Morri closed it as Mason, the last to step through, passed into Sweden. They all looked at the building that lay before them. It was an abandoned old training gym. "Welcome to my childhood home." Axel said.
"Reminds me of home, actually." Morri said.
"There's a living area in the basement, head down there, I'll see what undetectable power sources there are." Axel said and unlocked the door. They headed down the stairs while he went for the power room. When they reached the basement, they found two large beds, a couch, three chairs, and a massive bean bag that was the size of a couch in itself.
"Ileana gets first pick." Kata declared. In response, Ileana went straight for the hulking beanbag. Mason grumbled and took a couch. Xylia grabbed a chair, and then it was a free for all for the beds. After about an hour, Axel came downstairs carrying a fire stove.
"Well, we won't have any electric heating." Axel told them. "Alright, I need you guys to head upstairs and start bringing down all of the training equipment. Ileana, you get to help with the fire." He instructed.
"Ok, I like campfires." Ileana replied and followed Axel into the corner. While the others used Morri's portals to bring equipment down, he showed Ileana the ins and outs of the stove and making it run. Once all the equipment had been brought down, Xylia came and sat next to Ileana.
"Hey, how're you holding up?" Xylia asked.
"Alright...I guess." Ileana said, sounding worried, despite her words.
"Don't worry, Katalena's heading out to find your sister tomorrow." Xylia told her. Ileana smiled, visibly brightening. "In the meantime, want to help me with dinner tonight?" Xylia asked.
"Ok." Ileana said. They raided the food storage, which was luckily still stocked, and Xylia showed her how to prepare chicken breasts and salads. During the meal, later that evening, Kata interrupted everyone's conversations.
"Ok, everyone, I need to tell you something." Kata said. Everyone silenced. "Tomorrow morning I'm going out to look for Ileana's sister. Alone. Morri and Axel seem to be the most experienced, so I'd advise listening to them. If I do not come back, do not come looking for me." Kata instructed. "Now, since the invasion, the weather has been messed up on this planet. A nasty winter is coming these next few days. Bunch the beds close together and near the fire. Use the gym equipment to barricade the door. If someone comes looking for you, do not engage them. We need to remain unknown, at all costs. The cold ought to be survivable during the day, so I'd advise hunting. Also...make sure Ileana is with someone at all times." There was silence. "That's all I have. I'll be gone before you all wake up, so...wish me luck."
Everyone nodded and they finished their meal quietly. Everyone fell asleep relatively early, save Ileana. Ileana couldn't sleep, even while everybody else did so. Around one in the morning, Ileana saw Kata get out of the bed she shared with Morri. Ileana sat up and watched her, thinking. Kata, not noticing, grabbed a bag to start packing. Ileana decided to not disturb her, and simply watched. "Can't sleep?" Kata whispered abruptly. Ileana shook her head. Kata came over and sat down next to her. "You ok?"
"I don't know..." Ileana replied.
"Listen...you should know...I may fail." Kata said hesitantly. Ileana looked down sadly. "It's a very real danger. I'll do all I can to see otherwise, but you need to prepare yourself, just in case."
"Alright..." Ileana said sadly.
"How old is she?" Kata asked.
"Twenty-five." Ileana said. Kata nodded, wrapped an arm around the girl's shoulders.
"Any advice before I go?" Kata checked.
"Try to tell her you're my friend. Maybe she will listen. If not..." Ileana snickered quietly. "Duck." Katalena smiled.
"Don't worry, I don't need to duck." Kata said and kissed the top of the girl's head. "Do I get a hug before I go?" Kata asked. Ileana immediately hugged her tightly. "It's a bit easier to sleep on the bed, go join Morri." Kata suggested. Ileana nodded and climbed in next to Morri. "Bye, Illy." Kata whispered.
"Bye..." said the girl, and Kata slipped out the exit and into the night.
Katalena searched for Ileana sister for three weeks. Three weeks of false leads and lies before she finally found Corina in a warehouse on Mandalore. She had followed a mercenary she believed Corina was targeting, and sure enough, after checking the perimeter, found Corina standing over the wounded merc. Corina was wearing a strange set of armor that looked like something a terrorist would design to scare his victims. Kata was astonished when she grew closer and heard the woman singing.
"There's a room where the light won't find you. Holding hands while the world comes crumbling down. When they do, I'll be right behind you. So glad we've almost made it. So sad we had to fake it. Everybody wants to rule the world. Everybody wants to rule the world. Everybody wants to rule the world." At the final word, she stabbed the mercenary, mercifully killing him. Kata floated down into sight.
"Tears For Fears, nineteen-eighty-five." She said.
"If you value your life, stay out of my way..." Corina said quietly. Despite the low volume, Kata could practically feel the madness, smell the insanity in the room. There was also a strange level of cold determination involved.
"Again, stay out of my WAY!" Corina screamed the last word, filling the empty air with a high echo.
"No. You'll want to hear me out." Kata replied calmly.
"Give me one good reason, ONE good reason I should?!" Corina yelled.
"Your name is Corina Dalca. You suffer from Kentarax syndrome, you're a genius, and you have an eleven year old sister named Ileana." Kata replied. Corina visibly paused before responding.
"So you did your research, am I supposed to be impressed?" She asked.
"On a class trip, your class crashed on a world with numerous hostile tribes. You built a device that wiped an entire tribe out, leaving your classmates horrified of you."
"Less known, but still known. Why should I hear you out?" Corina snapped.
"Because the one who told me all this was your sister, Ileana." Kata said evenly.
"My sister?" Corina asked, her voice was abruptly and shockingly normal. "You've seen her?"
"She's basically my daughter." Kata replied.
"Explain." Corina ordered, a twinge of crazy returning to her voice.
"My father had imprisoned me and people like me, part Skulblakan, part human, to make his army of our new species. She was brought into the prison, I looked after her. Me and a friend of mine, since we've escaped, have been her two mothers ever since, with our group helping raise her as well." Kata said. The helmet on the suit retracted, revealing a shocked expression which turned serious.
"Take me to her. NOW."
"Only if you listen to my terms." Kata said, now in control of the situation one hundred percent.
"You come with me, that's fine. I'd rather leave you out of this, considering you're human, but since you're related to her, I will make an exception. However. If you hurt her. If you hurt me. If you hurt her other mom. If you hurt any of our people. You are out. We will force you out and you will never come back. And she will be kept away from you and your dangerous nature, understood?"
"Fine. Now I got a ship to get us there, tell me where, now." Corina said, glaring at her.
"Stockholm, Sweden. We dump the ship there and move the rest of the way on foot."
"Fine. Let's go."
In the basement of the training facility, Aednat was watching over Ileana. The girl was basically staring into space and being worried. She had been worried throughout the last few weeks since Kata had left. "Hey, Ileana, want to see a secret?" Aednat eventually asked.
"Uhm...what kind?" Ileana asked.
"In the kitchen, come see." Aednat said and crouched down behind a counter in the kitchen.
"Ok." Ileana said and came over. Aednat showed her a small button that was underneath the counter's edge.
"Want to press it?" Aednat asked the confused looking child.
"Uhm, ok." Ileana said and pushed the button. A stairwell formed in the floor of the kitchen, going down to a sub-basement. "Huh?" The girl said, sounding confused.
"It's a practice range down there. Also known as where you'll hide boys when you're sixteen." Aednat said.
"Ok." Ileana said, scratching the back of her head.
"Want to check it out?" Aednat asked.
"I guess." Ileana replied and they went down to explore the new room. It was a lot like the a massive bomb shelter. While they were down there exploring, Kata returned to the basement with Corina in tow. Once they slipped past the barricade, they saw, to Kata's horror, that the basement was empty.
"Where is she?!" Corina snarled furiously.
"I...where...?" Kata stuttered, fear and confusion hitting her like a hammer. Oh god, what if he found them when I wasn't here? She asked herself.
"You said...she was HERE! WHERE IS SHE?!" Corina yelled.
"She was..." Kata said, only half paying attention to Corina, trying to think of where her father could have taken everyone.
"Then where is she NOW!?" Corina roared. Her blades extended, drawing Kata's attention to her fully.
"You need to calm down, Corina." Kata said coolly, but used her powers behind her back to float a knife from the kitchen up behind Corina's head.
"Calm down?! CALM DOWN?!" Corina screamed. At that moment, Aednat seemed to float out of the floor in the kitchen and into view.
"Kata, who the hell is this?" She asked.
"Where is Ileana, this is her sister." Kata said, her voice hurried. Aednat hesitated, but upon Kata's insistent nodding, Aednat leaned over to the stairwell.
"Ileana, it's safe to come up." She called down. Kata quickly put the knife back. Behind the counter, Ileana poked her head out the stairwell before going to the edge of the counter and peeking around. Corina looked over and blades retracted immediately.
"Il-Ileana?" She said.
"Corina!" Exclaimed Ileana, and the two sisters rushed forward and embraced, sobbing. After a moment, Corina looked at Katalena and made a motion with her mouth that appeared to be some sort of apology, which Kata nodded at. Ileana followed suit with a tearful thank you, something Kata smiled at in response. At that moment, the others, led by Mason, stepped through a portal and into the scene.
"Nope." Mason said, shaking his head. "Not sticking it in that." He said, and Kata realized he was talking about Corina. Morri smiled and walked over to Kata.
"So we just lost our daughter, right?" She asked her chaotic friend.
"Guess so." Kata replied. Later, at supper, the group sat eating around a camping lamp that Axel had found. It was the only light in the building at that time, so they huddled fairly close together. Around three hours after everyone had returned to the basement, only then did Ileana and Corina seem to notice there was anybody else there.
"Alright, now let me get up to speed." Corina said, Kata noticing the edges of madness were completely absent. "What are we dealing with. What's going on?"
"The people in this room, your sister included, are part Skulblakan." Morri started.
"Ok, ok, need details." Corina said.
"Each of us has a Skulblakan power of some kind. Portals, Astral Projection, Chaos Magic, the list goes on. Now, another of our kind, Kata's father, believes us to be the ones to inherit the universe and rule over the rest of the races. He is currently building up a force of our kind, with which he will one day make a move on the rest of the galaxy." Morri said.
"Ok, that's a little more specific...how did you all get here?" Corina asked.
"We were prisoners of Kata's father. After a while, we escaped and lived on Kaven for a few days. He found us, one of our number left us for him, we fled here. Then Kata went out to find you, since he was planning on targeting you." Morri said.
"Targeting me? Why?" Corina asked.
"Because of Ileana. He wants her alive. He doesn't want any of us dead, he wants us working with him. With you dead, all it would take is a little brainwashing for her to be his new adopted daughter." Morri explained.
"And he treats his daughters like his personal whores, to boot." Kata said, surprising everyone there. Corina grew visibly angry.
"He what?!" She exclaimed. "If I meet the bastard, I'll tear his guts out!"
"No you won't." Kata shot her down.
"He plans to do that to my sister and you expect me to sit around here lounging?" Corina asked, disgusted.
"No. I mean, you'd be welcome to try, but he'd just absorb the attacks." Kata went on.
"Absorbing a blade to head and gut? How does that work?" Corina asked.
"How does this work?" Axel shot in, turning his hand into it's sun form.
"How...how do you do that?" Corina asked, eyes widening. Katalena noted that powerful fire seemed to bring fear out of Corina.
"My power." Axel replied, returning his hand to normal as Mason pulled out a very dead rose. He spun his hand around it and it was suddenly in bloom again.
"Hmmm...alright." Corina said, sounding uninterested. Morri created a portal, stuck her hand through it, and grabbed Mason's rose on the other side from him. "Useful." Corina commented.
"And that's just scratching the surface of what our race can do." Morri said.
"Alright...I guess I'd need some hard-core tech to try and counter that." Corina said. There was a moment of silence.
"I'm going to bed. Anyone disturbed by gore should vacate the basement tomorrow, save Ileana, Morri plans on teaching her how to skin and clean a deer." Kata said.
"At least it gets done. Was hoping to teach her myself at some point." Corina said.
"You can hang around to watch." Morri offered as Kata rose, kissed Ileana on the head goodnight and went to lie down on one of the beds. Eventually, people started following Kata's lead, and soon, only Morri and Corina were awake. "I take it Kata had a talk with you about our security."
"Yeah..." Corina said.
"I had a sister too. She started to lose her mind during the invasion." Morri said. A saddened expression came over Corina's face.
"I take it that...?"
"She slaughtered an entire children's nursery save one of them under the impression that the Skulblaka would come and resurrect them." Morri went on. Corina was silent. "I decided that she was truly not my sister anymore, that the Leliana I knew was dead. So...I put some music headphones on so she would be happy in those moments...and I put a bullet in the back of her head." Morri said.
"No one should have to do that to their family..." Corina said sadly.
"Agreed. I just wanted you to know so you would know how far I am willing to go to save the ones that I love." Morri said, in a rather passive warning.
"Don't worry. As long as Ileana is around me, I can almost guarantee I won't attack anyone. Unless they attack me first. Or if that Mason guy tries to flirt with me..." She said, making an awful attempt at a joke.
"He'll try. Don't hurt him either." Morri immediately said.
"I was trying to joke...am I still that bad at it?" Corina asked.
"Must be." Morri said. "Now listen...please understand that for the last while, Ileana has all but been our daughter, mine and Kata's. We love the girl. Please don't take it the wrong way if we show that." Morri said.
"Understood. I'm just glad she wasn't alone in all this." Corina said.
"And no, we're not a couple." Morri pointed out.
"Understood." Corina said.
"She's on that big bean bag, if you want to join her. I'm on first watch." Morri said.
"I'm used to all nighters." Corina said.
"I think it'd do her good to wake up and find her sister nearby, no?" Morri suggested.
"You're right." Corina said after a moment. "Sorry, just got back, already slipping into old habits."
"Just go to her, it's fine." Morri said.
"Alright...night, and thanks." Corina said.
"You don't need to thank me." Morri replied as Corina went and lay down next to her sister. Morri watched for a few hours before waking Xylia to take over. Morri crawled in next to Kata, who stirred awake at the movements.
"How is she?" Kata whispered.
"Sleeping...the other is with her." Morri whispered back.
"I guess we don't need to raise her anymore." Kata said.
"Kind of makes me sad, actually." Morri admitted.
"We'd be weird parents anyway. Gothic with black leather and knives all over and the crazy punk that is me." Kata replied.
"I think any kid we had would be pretty awesome, in all." Morri joked.
"Agreed." Kata said and rolled over and fell asleep, Morri soon following her.
The next day, Morri taught Ileana the basics of cleaning and skinning a deer, which took surprisingly longer than she had anticipated. In the early afternoon Kata approached her, holding the file that detailed the four others that her father was out looking for. "Listen...I've been thinking she should go get these people. Find them before my father does. Nobody should live in that cell block." Kata said.
"Ok. Who should go looking?" Morri asked.
"You and me. Axel and Nick can handle things here, they'll be ok." Kata said.
"Alright, which should we go for first?" Morri checked.
"Well, I followed a lead while looking for Corina on one of them. Intergalactic Republic militant living in this galaxy." Kata said.
"When should we go?"
"Right now. We'll steal Corina's ship." Kata replied.
"I'll tell Axel." Morri said. She went to do so and Kata went to say goodbye to Ileana, something Morri joined her for. Once they had said their farewells, the left, headed for the ship, and took off.
About a week later, Morri and Kata landed in the spaceport of Mos Eisley, Tatooine. "Hot. As. Fuck." Morri grumbled as she wrapped her cloak around her.
"What did you expect? It's a desert." Kata reminded her, throwing her own cloak on as the walked off their ship. Morri haggled the price of parking down to about half the original price before the headed out into the streets. "He sometimes goes to a cantina near here, we'll start there." Kata said, and they made their way to the cantina. They quickly stole an empty table and looked around. They both flipped their hoods down and scanned the place quickly.
"Table, other side of the place." Morri said, pretending to scratch her nose, using it as a cover to point at their man. Kata glanced over and looked back quickly, nodding. "Flash of confusion over his face at the sight of us. We've got his curiosity."
"Now for his attention." Kata said. "Watch my back." She rose from the table and went over to the bar on their target's side of the cantina. Almost immediately, two smugglers neared her and started heckling her. She ignored them for the most part, noting that their man had shifted to the edge of the table, watching the smugglers. She smirked. When one smuggler made a remark about how they were going to sandwich her, she raised a hand, while sipping at the drink she'd ordered, and sent one of the smugglers flying across the cantina. The red-ish glow died as she released the spell. She could sense the anxiety calming in their target behind her, just before the other smuggler drew a knife. She calmly floated the knife out of his grasp and stabbed him in the palm of his hand with it before sending him flying towards the door. She finished her drink, ignoring the looks of the crowd, and sat down across from him.
"That was impressive." He told her. As she put her feet up on the table.
"That's the life of a woman on this planet, no?" She replied.
"Yeah, I suppose." He said.
"I'm Katalena. Nice to meet you, Rhett." She greeted him.
"The feeling is mutual. How do you know me?" He asked.
"A file I stole from your potential kidnappers." She explained.
"Kidnappers? Alright, you have my attention." He said. She smiled.
"How'd it feel when you first used your powers?" She asked.
"It felt strange."
"Must have been." She said, hushing her voice slightly. "Being part Skulblakan and all."
"Excuse me?" He asked, hushing his voice as well.
"Why else did the colony kick you out?" She asked. "Your powers are the result of the planar merging. Part human, part Skulblakan.
"Guess it kinda makes sense. Never seen anything like it before." He admitted.
"Your kidnappers want you because they're like you. They also believe the new race will inherit the universe and become gods and royalty and such." She went on.
"Can't really blame their logic. That doesn't make it right, but you can't blame them." He said.
"And I know all this because I'm their leader's daughter, whom he molested and experimented on regularly in the early stages of his empire." She explained.
"And why would you tell me this?" Rhett asked.
"Because I escaped with numerous others of our kind. People like you, with extravagant abilities all hiding from society and my father. Also because my father just wants you to become a mindless soldier for his cause." Katalena said.
"Is that so? I take it your partner over their is one of them?" He checked.
"Us." She replied.
"You know what I meant."
"Yes, she is." Kata affirmed.
"So let me guess, you want me to come with you so I can help you defeat your father and his mindless minions as well as denying him access to me." Rhett summed up.
"Don't look at like that." Kata said, smirking. "Look at it more like a hot punk and a sexy goth desperately need your help."
"Haha, that would be a better way." Rhett agreed. At that, Kata tilted her head to one side, signaling Morri to come and join them. Morri got up, came over, and sat down next to her.
"Did she pull the porno plot line idea on you?" Morri asked.
"I don't think so."
"Good, means she listened." Morri replied and held her hand out. "Morrigan Sigurdson."
"Rhett Progmer." He said and shook her hand.
"The name Rhett. Yep. Aednat is gonna love you." Morri said. Rhett looked at Kata curiously.
"Hot irish girl, loves the movie Gone With The Wind." She explained.
"Ah, I see." He replied.
"Does this mean you'll come with us?" Morri asked.
"It gets me out of this pisshole, sure." Rhett replied, shrugging.
"Good. We should get-" Morri started, but froze mid sentence. Rhett's hand slid to his sidearm.
"What's wrong?" He asked.
"On your four, there's a man standing in the doorway." Kata said. He looked over and saw a man Kata and Morri knew as Void. "Old friend of ours, betrayed our group. Put this cloak on." She said as she shoved a cloak to him under the table.
"Thank you." He said and put it on.
"I'll distract him and lead him out the back, if I'm not at the spaceport in an hour, go without me." Kata instructed.
"Following you, Morrigan." Rhett said. Kata slipped away, caused a wall to nearly fall on Void before sprinting out the back entrance, to which he gave chase. Morri and Rhett slipped away and made their own way to the spaceport. Kata arrived at the forty-five minute mark, but hurriedly took off before either could say anything to her. Once they were away from Tatooine, Morri spoke to Rhett.
"So, you must have a lot of questions." She said, removing the cloak.
"Yeah, kinda. Not everyday I get picked up by two chicks in a bar." He remarked. She sat down across from him.
"So, ask away." She told him.
"How many of you are there?" He asked.
"In our group, nine." She answered.
"Anything specific I need to know about them? Like who not to piss off?"
"Red-headed psychopath. She's not one of us, but a sister to one of us. Katalena shouldn't be trifled with. Also, don't kill Mason."
"Am I gonna want to?" He asked.
"Without a doubt." She replied. He sighed.
"Okay, what about you? What do you do?"
"Portals." She replied.
"Sounds like fun."
"Experimenting with it is interesting." She admitted.
"Sounds like it." He agreed. She opened a portal behind him and next to her, sticking her hand through it and ruffling his hair from behind him. Rhett laughed. "Okay, okay, I gotcha." He said.
"There's also an eleven year old girl we're fiercely protective of." Morri informed him.
"Okay, no problem. The kid won't have a problem from me." He assured her.
"Good. Now, we're also living in the basement of a run down gym, using a fire stove for heat and cooking." She warned him.
"Huh. Thought I was leaving the shithole. No offense." He quickly added.
"Don't look at it like that." She advised him. "Think of it as a sleepover where you're within ten feet of me and her sharing a bed."
"You two are very optimistic girls, aren't you?" He asked, sounding slightly amused.
"Not really..." Morri said, getting flashbacks to the invasion and the months leading up to it. "We just want you to come with us."
"Are you okay?" He asked.
"...A few months before the invasion, I watched my mom get beheaded." Morri said after a moment.
"And a year later, I had to put down my sister." Morri went on.
"I'm really sorry, I didn't mean to bring it up." He apologized.
"Don't worry, it's good to just say it out loud, you know?" Morri asked. "My life hasn't be a great one. Murdered friends, fiancee, mother, then the thing with my sister...I'm just tired of people dying."
"Aren't we all?" He pointed out.
"Well, enough of my sob story life." Morri said, shaking her head. "When we get there, if you end up shagging someone, please do so when the kid is nowhere near you."
"Noted. Won't happen." Rhett said. Kata walked in as he said it.
"Morri, can you take over for a while?" She asked. Morri nodded and went up to the cockpit. Kata sat where Morri had been sitting. "She scare you with the stories of our living conditions?"
"Not too much. I've lived in worse."
"Me too. Anyway, she has a habit of changing just anywhere, so try not to stare, alright?" She informed him.
"Alright, I think I can do that."
"Then teach Mason how." She requested.
"He that bad?" He asked.
"If it has two nether holes and is humanoid, he's going for it." She replied.
"And that's wonderful." Rhett said, shaking his head.
"So...tell me about yourself." Kata said.
"Well, I was born in the Republic. My dad was a famous admiral, so I kinda got forced into the military. Became a marine, then I was sent here to help some of the forces. Group was killed, was thrown out of the colony when they saw my powers, now I'm here." He summed up.
"Hobbies, food, fetishes? More personal stuff."
"Honestly? I don't really know. My parents never really gave me the time for any hobbies." He admitted.
"Ah, so yours is a story of self discovery."
"Yeah, I suppose so." He agreed.
"Well, hopefully we can help you with that." She told him.
Later, when they arrived at the gym, Kata stayed with the ship while Morri walked him into the basement. As they entered, they head Mason talking to Nick. "Were you one of those fat kids who had milk seeping out of his manboobs during puberty? We had one of those in my school. We used to milk him."
"I take it that's Mason?" Rhett asked Morri.
"And that's all you really need to know about him." Morri said. At that moment, Aednat stirred awake from her chair and rolled off of it, hitting the floor with a loud thud.
"You alright?" Rhett asked, walking over and offering a hand to help her up. She looked up at him.
"Am now." She replied. He laughed and she took his hand, getting up. "So...who are you?" She asked.
"Rhett Progmer. I guess I'm your guys' new roommate." He replied.
"Good." She said, then realized what she had just said. "Shit, I mean, hi, welcome to destitution. I'm Aednat."
"Very glad to meet you." He told her.
"Banging room is down those stairs, guys." Mason said loudly. Ileana, who had run over to hug Morri, appeared to ask her what "banging" meant.
"Well, uh, care to introduce me to the rest of the group?" Rhett asked, scratching the back of his head and going a little red.
"Mason." Mason said, holding a hand in the air.
"Trust me, he already knows." Morri grumbled.
"I've been strictly told to play nice with you." Rhett said.
"We've been thinking up code names for you new guys. Who are you? Captain Invincible, Mr. Backwards, the Invisible Cunt?" Mason asked.
"Are you sure I have to play nice?" Rhett asked Morri.
"For now, yes." Morri replied. Xylia then sat up from her bed, walked over to Mason, punched him in the nose, and went back to sleep. "Blondie can get away with it."
"Alright then, got it." Rhett replied, just a twinge of regret in his voice as Mason cursed numerous deities.
"Well, I'm headed back to the ship. We're gonna go bring another one back." Morri told them.
"Okay, I think I can handle myself now." Rhett told her.
"That's her job." Ileana unexpectedly said, pointing at Aednat, who went beet red as everyone laughed.
"Oh, you're definitely my daughter in a past life." Morri said, leaning down to kiss her on the forehead before leaving. Rhett laughed.
"I think I could live with that." He said.
"She has an age difference fetish, so you're perfect." Xylia said sleepily. Aednat immediately hid her face behind her own hair.
"I could get used to this place, I think." Rhett said, laughing.
"I know! Wee-Wee Wrangler!" Mason said, eliciting an "Ew!" From Ileana.
"I'm ignoring you now." Rhett told him.
"Well, new guy gets to skin the deer." Nick declared. Rhett took out his combat knife.
"Just show me where." He said. Axel got up.
"Come on, follow me." Axel told him. Rhett nodded and followed him down the stairs to the skinning area.
Morri and Kata stepped off the ship, wrapping themselves in cloaks that were far thicker than the ones they had worn on Tatooine. "Even in fucking summer, Canada's the coldest place on Earth." Morri grumbled.
"Russia's almost as bad." Kata said, shivering. "Almost." They paid the people at the spaceport and made a point of staying indoors for a few minutes, Morri using a coffee shop to justify their loitering. Once Morri returned and handed Kata some coffee form that the russian-native didn't care to identify, they left the spaceport and started walking in the direction of their target's apartment building. "So what routine are we going with this time, I beat people up and then seduce the guy like last time, or we pretend to be lost tourists who can't find a hotel, we break and enter and he returns to us in his bed, what?" Kata asked.
"I'm thinking the classic 'knock on the door and say hello' routine." Morri replied.
"Works for me." Kata replied as they came up upon the entrance to the complex. Morri rang the buzzer for the target's room and they waited for a response. "Why can't you just portal us in?"
"Can only use em for places I'm already been." Morri replied. Kata nodded as the target replied.
"Hello?" His voice said on the intercom.
"Hi Dexter. My name is Morrigan Sigurdson, you might recognize me from the gossip magazines of when my parentage was revealed." Morri said. A video screen came up and they saw their target's face pop up.
"Wow, you are her." Dexter said.
"I'd like to have a word, may we come in?" Morri asked.
"Uhh...sure, I'll open the door." He said. The screen turned off and they entered.
"See, is playing nice so difficult?" Morri asked Kata.
"...Sometimes." Came Kata's response. They walked up to his apartment and knocked on the door. He answered and let them in. He offered his couch to them, which Morri sat down on while Kata started pacing around the room, arms crossed.
"Would either of you like a coffee?" Dexter asked them, standing before them looking slightly awkward. Kata shook her head, while Morri politely accepted. While Dexter was making it, Kata slipped into the hall to scope out the bathroom and bedroom. In the living room, Dexter returned and gave the coffee to Morri, who took it, thanking him as he sat down. "So, uh, you'll understand my confusion about you showing up to my apartment and requesting to talk to me, of all people." He told her, sitting down across from her.
"Well, I want to open this by asking you not to run away, because we're not here with badges. We're...separate." Morri said. "We're looking for members of a...I guess you could call it a society."
"Uh, forgive me, but why would I want to up and leave my home abruptly over this?" Dexter asked. Morri sighed. Before she could reply, Kata yelled from the bathroom.
"Morri, toilet paper's out." Kata said.
"Can you lead me to your closet?" Morri asked. Dexter took her to the hallway closet, from which Morri retrieved a toilet paper roll, pressed her hand on the wall, opened a portal while pushing Dexter's gaze so he could see the portal and not Kata. Kata's hand poked out and grabbed the roll.
"Thanks, babe." Kata said as Morri closed the portal.
"The invasion changed us just like it changed you, Dexter. Part human, part Skulblakan, you could use some friends." Morri told him.
"Give me five minutes to pack." Dexter said and went into his room to do so. Kata left the bathroom afterwards and came up behind Morri.
"How'd he take it?"
"Pretty well. Next one should be a bit more difficult. Eccentric thief girl, like Xylia on speed. Matches our style, though." Morri replied.
"Another goth-punk? We're teasing Mason too much." Kata said, getting a grin from her friend.
"She has moves, I'll give her that." Kata muttered as she watched their target from their hotel room. The deserted apartment that their target inhabited. She passed the binoculars to Morri, who looked through, eyebrows going up. Their target (who exceeded both of them in the goth-punk department) was dancing unreservedly to some song that was playing in the house.
"Jesus, she pelvic thrusts harder than most men." Morri commented.
"We sure about picking her up? Just from looking at her she and Mason may make kids in a few days." Kata said.
"My money's on she'll punch him." Morri replied.
"I will take that bet." Kata said and they left their apartment and headed down to cross the road. "Remind me why we're doing a two person pickup trip? Some hermit may not get along with this one." Kata said.
"It'll be fine." Morri said and slipped through the door, which was loosely chained shut. Kata followed her in and they started making their way up the stairs. They could hear some very heavy, dark sounding music blasting loudly from one of the rooms, so they decided that was the best choice. They knocked four or five times, but nobody answered. "Hello?" Morri called. Again, no answer. "Eh, fuck it." Morri grumbled and opened the door. They saw, to both of their confusion, the woman they had been looking for hanging upside down from a stripper pole while eating ice cream. They stood frozen, blinking. Neither was sure what to make of the sight. Then, the woman spotted them, and pressed a button on a remote, still hanging upside down.
"Did I meet you two while drunk at the club or something?" She asked.
"Depends, which club?" Morri asked. The woman pointed after putting more of the frozen food in her mouth. "That's the one where people piss on the fetish people in the corner when the bathroom is full, right?"
"Yep." The woman replied. "And no, I'm not either of them."
"Well, no, then. But we do know you, Vivien." Morri replied.
"Ah, it's Viv. Very much Viv. Vivien is for when I talk to my lawyer about all the times I get roofied." Viv said.
"Well, consider us your new lawyers, then." Kata said, floated a spoon from the kitchen to the ice cream bowl, scooped some of it, floated it over and ate it herself. Morri opened a portal to the kitchen, put her hand through, and grabbed a spoon of her own before closing it.
"May I?" Morri asked.
"Does this mean I'm joining another cult by accident?" Viv asked.
"No, no. Just a group of rejects from the universe." Kata said.
"Awesome, I'm in." Viv said and jumped down from the pole. Viv was so gung-ho about returning to their people, they had to check out of the hotel, grab the ship, and start flying to the outer-rim that night.
"My god, I could vacation here." Viv said the moment they stepped off the ship. She had insisted on coming with them to find the last of their targets. "Seriously, we should definitely come back here for vaca-whoa." Viv halted mid sentence and looked at Kata, who appeared normal. However, both Viv and Morri could all but feel the chaos within her radiating into the atmosphere.
"Don't objectify me." Kata said, not noticing what she was doing. "I'll give you one guess as to where the guy lives." They followed her gaze and saw a massive temple, high in the mountains. Wordlessly, they started walking towards it. It took two days to climb the mountain to the top, Kata and Viv having not been trained for such things since they were young. Once they reached the top, they had to take a two hour rest stop to catch their breath and, in Viv's case, nap. They spent the better part of an hour searching the temple for the man, and eventually came across him, sitting and meditating on a balcony. Morri approached him first, with Kata right behind her and Viv a few feet behind Kata.
"How may I be of assistance to you three?" The man asked.
"You're pretty calm about us just letting ourselves in." Morri said.
"Why should I not be? You mean me no harm." The man replied. Morri walked around so she was in front of him, as Viv lay down on the ground and started napping.
"How can you tell?" Morri asked once she stood before him.
"Ask yourself, if you wanted to harm me. Why engage in conversation with me?" He asked.
"True. My name is Morrigan, this is Katalena and Viv." Morri told him.
"Welcome to Enroyen." The man said.
"How connected to the news of the universe are you?" Morri asked.
"Enough to know what is going on."
"What about what you are?" Kata asked.
"The part of me that is Skulblakan?"
"Well, that cuts the explanation phase of all this." Kata muttered, seemingly uncomfortable.
"Are you uncomfortable because this is a temple of peace? Or because I robbed you of the opportunity to explain?" The man asked.
"Neither." Kata shot back.
"How much do you know about Dmitri Akulov?" Morri asked quickly.
"Nothing, besides that a few of his servants came here a few days ago." The man said.
"What?" Kata asked, shocked.
"Never wondered how you could find me?" The man asked.
"Then why are you still here?" Kata asked.
"Why not? I have no reason to leave." The man said.
"I'm just amazed they didn't force you." Kata remarked.
"They were incapable."
"Well, we're the opposite of them in the sense that we don't want to force you." Morri told him.
"Why would I want to leave?"
"They want to start a war with anyone who isn't them. We want to avoid that." Morri replied.
"You only wish to exact vengeance and kill him. Such a sentiment will never create a lasting peace." The man told her.
"I'm not interested in revenge." Morri said and gestured to Kata. "That's her game."
"You do not deny the notion to kill."
"I will admit I see no other way." Morri admitted.
"Then you are misguided. Those ideas are what cause the cycle of hatred." The man said sagely.
"Come and educate us, then." Morri suggested.
"Why do you not come here?"
"Moving all of us like that would draw him in. All the legal things he dabbles in would lead him right to us. And I don't want to endanger our little girl like that." Morri replied.
"Would that not be preferable? This is an isolated world. A fight here would endanger no innocents, unless you only truly care about yourselves." The man suggested.
"Total isolation is too obvious. They found you easily enough. Besides, so much of Earth is deserted as is. Only the big cities are at all populated." Morri answered.
"You want to fight him anyway, why wait?"
"Because we'd lose." Kata said impatiently.
"Time will not change that." The man told her.
"This is a waste of time." Kata snapped at Morri. "I'll be waiting at the ship." She said and left.
"Your friend seems to lack the patience for an undertaking like this." The man commented.
"...I know." Morri admitted. "And I'm no spiritualist who can teach her such things."
"Neither am I."
"Do you believe there is another way to resolve this conflict at all?" Morri asked him, a hint of longing in her voice.
"There are always other ways."
"Show me, then." Morri implored him.
"It is not something that can be shown. You must find it yourself."
"I imagine you will not come, then." Morri said.
"I never said that. Yet so far you strike me as very similar to the other group. Equally ready to kill in order to achieve what you want to."
"The difference is I don't like it." Morri replied.
"And the rest of your group?"
"Kata is the only one with a desire for blood. Hell, one's main concern is drinking and drugging his way through life. Viv here just wants to be around people like her." Morri went on.
"One more question then. Why do you want me to join your group?" The man asked.
"I'm...worried about the human public. What they will do when we are discovered for what we are. If we stop a war for them, hell, I hope they'll realize we're not the next wave of Skulblakans." Morri explained.
"You are not even aware of what I can do, nor who I am, are you?"
"You can give people false experiences, manipulating them. Your name is unknown to me, though." Morri replied.
"You neither have the ears to hear, nor the tongues to speak my name. But you may call me Shisui." The man said.
"Ok. So you will come with us?" Morri asked.
"I do not see why not." Shisui said. Morri nodded and opened a portal down to the ship. They could see Kata floating down towards the door of the ship.
"Viv, wake up!" Morri called. Viv shot awake, sitting upright.
"I didn't fuck a duck!" She exclaimed. "Oh...right...dreaming." She said sleepily.
"Portals?" Shisui asked. "An interesting trick."
"We all have our own talents, unique to each of us." Morri explained.
"I assumed as much." Shisui replied as Viv danced through the portal like a terrible ballerina.
"After you." Morri told him. Shisui walked through, Morri following him. They boarded the ship and found Viv hanging upside down from the ceiling and Kata in the cockpit.
"Wow. You convinced him." Kata commented.
"I never claimed I would not come." Shisui replied. Kata ignored him and took off. Later on the ride, Morri spoke to him again.
"So, can you tell what we all can do?" Morri asked. Shisui glanced at Viv and she spoke.
"I can make my skin into anything I touch." Viv explained, though Morri could tell that he had made her tell him.
"Interesting." He said and glanced at Kata in the cockpit. Nothing happened.
"She can induce chaos in anything. This is reflected by how her mind is unbelievably chaotic. This also makes any attempt to control her mind futile." Morri explained.
"Interesting." Shisui repeated.
"You seem unimpressed." Morri observed.
"Live as long as I have, and little impresses you." Shisui said.
"I suppose so." Morri agreed.
"Well then, I shall meditate for the rest of the journey." Shisui told her.
Hours later, upon their arrival in the basement, Morri and Kata with both immediately greeted by hugs from Ileana. Mason's head popped up from the couch.
"Is this one the Invisible Cunt?" Mason asked.
"I am indeed not the person you refer to." Shisui said.
"Of the rules we have here, don't kill Mason can be the hardest to follow." Kata told him.
"Killing is for those who are too weak to endure." Shisui said.
"She was speaking metaphorically, big guy." Morri told him.
"I am only making sure you are aware." Shisui replied. Kata headed down the stairs and passed Xylia, who was coming up.
"More new guys?" Xylia asked as she entered the main area. "We may have to move soon."
"I did suggest that." Shisui pointed out.
"For now, we'll be ok." Morri told them.
"I like the orgy atmosphere, anyway." Mason commented.
"If you think so." Shisui said, uncaring.
"Well, he needs to get laid, quickly." Viv muttered.
"I actually do not require that." Shisui replied.
"The irish guy, not you." Viv explained.
"You should clarify, then." Shisui instructed.
"Though you strike me as the one who needs it, too." Viv said. "Maybe you and him should hook up." She suggested and danced down the stairs.
"It seems none of you here understand inner peace." Shisui judged.
"We're not the most spiritual of groups, Shi." Morri said.
"That is most certainly true." He replied as Viv came sprinting back up the stairs, clutching a liquor bottle.
"It's like christmas! There's a booze storage!" She informed them and proceeded to race Mason back down the stairs. Morri picked up Ileana.
"In a few days Kata and I will go see about one more of us. Then we'll see about making the move."
"I see." Shi said as Morri took Ileana into the kitchen and Xylia approached him.
"You speak of inner peace, something I'm looking for." She said.
"All people in life should strive for that." He replied.
"How do you do it?" Xylia asked.
"It takes many a year before you can even begin to learn."
"I guess I should start now, then." She decided.
"It is never too late to start the path to enlightenment."
"Good." She replied, a small smile on her face.
It was late at night, Morri and Kata had gone away in search for another one of their kind that morning. They had left Axel and Xylia in charge once again, though Xylia seemed more interested in learning from Shisui than anything else. This left Axel in charge. That night, Corina and Ileana were on watch. Around one in the morning, Viv danced up the stairs like a very bad ballerina. "Evening." She said quietly.
"Uhm...what are you doing?" Corina asked. Over the last few days, neither of them had had much of a chance to speak to Viv.
"What does it look like?" Came the goth's response.
"Uh, dancing for no reason." Corina replied, at which Ileana quietly snickered.
"If you enjoy doing something, there is always a reason." Viv replied.
"Uhh...right." The elder sister said.
"So, what are your plans for when this is behind us all?" Viv asked.
"Find somewhere we can live, hopefully not the forest again." Corina replied.
"What about you, kid?" Viv asked Ileana, who shrugged. "You kinda remind me of someone, kiddo." Viv told her.
"Huh? Who?" Ileana asked.
"Well, a fried of mine, a lady a lot like your sister, hung around with this little girl a lot. It was really awkward when my friend got arrested for having consented love nights with this girl." Viv replied. "Then the kid murdered her, and things got weird from there."
"That's when things got weird?" Corina asked.
"Yeah." Viv replied. "And the moral of the story is: Don't get a girlfriend who is older when you're nine, got it?" Upon Corina's unamused expression being cast her way, Viv sat down next to the older sister. "Do you like ducks?" Corina gave no response. "Well you're no fun. Just remember, even ladies need to roofie a guy for a sure thing now and again." Viv said and fell asleep. There was silence for a moment.
"She's...weird." Ileana decided.
"Agreed." Corina said, nodding.
Morri and Kata opened the door to the small office and entered. They had contacted their last target and he had told them to meet him there, in a construction site for a pit mine. He sat at the desk, arms crossed and staring at them. "Bit of a dark place to meet, isn't it?" Morri asked. Kata was wordless, looking around, scanning the small room for anything. The man, a clone by the name of Clayton Withers, said nothing, he simply gazed at them.
"Something's off, we need to go." Kata said urgently. Morri nodded, understanding, and they turned, opened the door and stepped out. Before them stood Dmitri Akulov, the metal armed assassin, and the one with pieces of technology floating around with her.
"Hello, my dear." Akulov said. Kata snarled and her hands were immediately surrounded by red chaos energy.
"Kata, we haven't got a chance against them, we need to get back, now." Morri whispered.
"You shouldn't bother going back. Void will get the others and bring them to us, and we can iron things over without violence." Akulov said.
"Oh, Shisui would love you." Kata said. The technology assassin's two metal floating objects moved, and they saw, to their horror, that within them were two decapitated heads, blinking and staring aimlessly forward. The assassin held a hand out, and Morri immediately started feeling weaker.
"This one can absorb your life force piece by piece. She keeps these heads with her in these machines because the machines keep the heads alive, similar to how some Jedi can survive decapitation. They keep her strong." Akulov said. Morri collapsed to her knees, growing visibly paler. Kata knelt down next to her, putting an arm around her friend's shoulders.
"Get a portal back there, we'll risk it." Kata whispered. Kata turned to see the door behind them freezing over. It then smashed into pieces and Withers walked out, his skin looking as though it was made of ice. Kata stood up. "I'll buy you some time." She said and raised her hands, one pointing at Withers, the other at the one with the heads. She locked eyes with her father for a brief moment, then closed both fists. The small office building collapsed in on itself, the wooden splinters soaring over her head and straight into the two floating heads, smashing their containers and stabbing through each head.
Kata turned and cast a second hex while Morri started gasping, the life-stealer's hold on her weakening. She swiped her hand through the air and caused a construction crane's base to explode and it to fall towards her father and the metal armed assassin. The assassin saw it coming and turned, ran, and knocked it out of the way with his arm. Kata saw her father start walking and new that she wouldn't be able to stop him from where she was. She knelt down next to Morri and whispered. "Just go, I'll be fine." She floated upwards, hands and eyes glowing, and she gathered all of the wreckage she had caused, floated it above her head, gathering it into an orb, and she threw it down at her father and his regrouping minions. Her father jumped up to meet the orb, and it all but bounced off of him. She caught it with her powers and built a barricade around Morri, who was only just regaining the strength to form a portal.
Inside the barricade, Morri looked up through the cracks and saw Kata floating, hands aiming down towards her, trying to keep the barricade intact. She also saw the metal-armed one moving to climb a crane to stop her. Morri nodded, understanding, and she forced the portal to become large enough. She fell through just as the barricade was demolished. The last thing she saw before it closed was the assassin smashing his metal fist into the side of Kata's head and her falling from the air. She landed on top of Mason, who yelped about something related to Allah.
"We need to go, Void is coming..." Morri gasped. Immediately, Xylia and Aednat helped her up. "Shisui's home, now..." She gasped, then she passed out.
Morri's eyes fluttered awake. She looked around and realized she was in Shisui's temple. "Morri, you're awake!" Ileana's voice exclaimed and a small body tightly hugged her.
"Oof...hey kiddo..." Morri said, hugging Ileana back. "You ok?" Morri said, pulling out of the hug.
"I guess, but...what's gonna happen to Kata?" Ileana asked, and Morri remembered what had happened.
"I don't know...she was captured." Morri hesitantly told her. A frightened and extremely worried look came over Ileana's face. "Listen, Kata's tough, powerful, and smart. She'll be back with us in no time. For now, though, I need you to stay strong for her. She's want you to keep going and one day kick Akulov's ass, right?" Morri said.
"Alright..." Ileana said, sniffing and wiping her eyes.
"Who is all here?" Morri asked her.
"Everybody but Kata." Ileana replied.
"Can you run and get Axel and Xylia?" Morri requested.
"Ok, don't move." Ileana said and took off. She returned in five minutes with Axel and, rather than Xylia, Viv.
"Xylia hurt or something?" Morri asked.
"She's actually been helping Corina look after me while you were here and Kata was...away." Ileana said.
"They found a way to pry open your portal, Morri, and metal arm was in the basement while we escaped. He had Corina wounded when Viv grabbed his arm and turned herself metal. She threw him away and held him off long enough for Nick to carry Corina out. We only just made it away." Axel explained.
"So they like me now." Viv said and ruffled Ileana's hair.
"So...we need to be ready for when they come to get us here. Metal arm can repulse anything, machines can suck the life force out of people, one can duplicate herself, don't know about the other two, and Akulov can absorb all attacks thrown his way." Morri said.
"Alright...I just hope Corina's ok..." Ileana said sadly.
"She will be, don't worry." Axel said, though his voice sounded guilty.
"Viv, I need to talk to him, can you take Ileana for a walk?" Morri asked, catching the guilt in Axel's voice.
"Come on, they need some alone time." Viv told Ileana, and they left. Once they were out and about, Viv pulled out a holo-tablet. "Want to see the wonderful world of galactic news?" Viv asked. Ileana nodded, and Viv turned it on. Viv showed her a headline, which read that Akulov was now wanted by the Coalition.
"Yeah, hopefully he gets it soon." Ileana said. Suddenly, the tablet started malfunctioning, and it was replaced by an image of Akulov, sitting in a chair. "Oh no..."
"Hello. I see I am a wanted man now. Good. I will tell you of what I plan. In one week, the skies of Earth will become our battlefield, and my race will triumph over yours. We, part human, part Skulblakan, will defeat you. The cards are on the table. I will see you in one week." Akulov said, and the broadcast ended.
"Oh no, Oh no, Oh no! Now we're goners, now we're goners, now we're goners!" Ileana cried. Viv grabbed the girl's shoulders.
"Sweetie, listen to me." Viv said seriously. "We stop him, they move on from what we are."
"Alright...alright..." Ileana sniffed.
"Let's go tell everyone else, ok?" Viv said.
"Alright, let's go!" Ileana said, panic still in her voice, just not at the forefront anymore.
Kata sat cross-legged in her new cell. Her hands were chained and held out to her sides, while her ankles were similarly chained, but she could freely move them with some limits. She listened to the broadcast outside and cursed her father. He had effectively just doomed them all. She listened as he walked toward her cell, where metal-arm was guarding the door. "I hope you are prepared for battle, my friend. They will surely amass a large force to meet us."
"I am ready, my lord." The assassin replied.
"Good. If the worst should happen, I suppose I should put a son in her." Her father said.
"I would agree, sir." The assassin replied quietly. The door to her cell opened behind her. She closed her eyes. She could sense the inner chaos of both the assassin guarding the door as well as her father. The chains began moving and she was lifted so she would hanging an inch from the ground, her arms and legs in an 'x' position.
"You look beautiful, my dear." Her father said. He walked around in front of her, and she saw he was holding a whip. "However, you have been bad. I fear I must punish you. He walked around behind her and the whip started cracking. It wasn't hard enough to pierce her clothes or cut skin, but she would be damned if she didn't admit that it hurt. She did not cry out, however, not wanting to give her father the satisfaction. The whip hit the floor after five minutes of pain. He came up behind her and kissed her neck, his hands starting to move toward places she refused to believe they were.
Wait. He absorbs attacks. What if I hit him with something that isn't an attack? She asked herself. As his hands started to go for the buttons of her dress, she turned her head and, wanting to kill herself, kissed him. His reaction was one of utter invasion, his tongue entering her mouth. Good. She thought, and gently bit it, gradually increasing the strength of the bite, when she tasted blood, he pulled away. Sensing his chaotic mix of frustration and anger, she drew off of it, taking it in. It gave her strength. Eventually, it became enough to overcome even the makings of his advanced prison. Her chains exploded as her hands and eyes began to glow. She blasted the floor underneath him with the chain fragments, cutting a hole in the floor that he fell through.
She turned and used the same fragments to smash open the door. She made for it, ducking under a punch from the assassin. She levitated him into the air. "I don't want you dead. I want our race to survive and become powerful, only he doesn't deserve that day. You do not need to die." She said and threw him down the corridor before turning and blasting a hole in the wall. She saw sky and realized they were on a ship. Without thinking twice, she flung herself out the hole and started tumbling down through the air, headed for the ground. She fell for several minutes before finally using her powers to float herself down into the city they had been hovering above. She smashed a hole in the ceiling of a spaceport, slipped in, stole a ship, and started flying. Once she had punched the hyperdrive at a course for Enroyen, she grabbed a vomit bag and used it. Repeatedly.
Ileana and Viv were standing on the balcony where they had originally found Shisui. As they chatted, a ship inexplicably crashed off in the distance. They looked over the edge and saw that a figure was floating towards them from the crash site. As it drew near, it was revealed to be Kata. "She's back!" Ileana said excitedly. Kata landed in front of them and Ileana ran forward to hug her. Kata hit her knees so they were at eye level and caught the girl in a bear hug.
"Hey honey...miss me?" Kata asked.
"Yeah..." Ileana said, relieved.
"Missed you too, love. Viv, we're going to Earth, now." Kata said.
"We know, the others are getting ready. We saw your dad's broadcast...he computered his way into the networks." Ileana said.
"I know, I was there." Kata said. They went off, joined the others, and the group started the flight back. That night, Morri, Kata, Ileana, and Corina shared a room with two bunk beds. Late into the night, Morri, Kata, and Corina were awake and talking quietly. Ileana was listening, but they were unaware that she too, was awake.
"What happened on the ship with your father?" Morri asked.
"I was chained in a room...he...told his assassin, metal-arm, that he intended to put a son in me." Kata answered. Corina's expression grew angry while Morri put a hand over her mouth. "Then the chains lifted me up and he walked in. He started whipping me." Ileana's expression, hidden by the fact she was facing the wall, grew as angry as her sister's. "Then he started kissing my neck and...his hands started exploring."
"Ok, that asshole needs to be put down." Corina said, furious.
"To hurt him, I needed to...play along." Kata said. Corina and Morri were silent. "So...I kissed him. And bit his tongue after it went down my throat." There was silence. "Then I was able to get away."
"I'll get the alcohol." Morri said and left the room. After a minute or two, she returned with a bottle of red wine and three glasses. She poured a glass for Kata, who thanked her. "Want one, Cori?" Morri asked.
"I guess." Corina said and Morri gave her a glass and poured it for her. After she had done so, she froze, closed her eyes, and sighed.
"Do you want any, Ileana?" Morri asked aloud. Ileana jolted.
"Should have guessed, kid likes to eavesdrop..." Corina said, shaking her head.
"You can if you want." Morri said, sitting on the end of Ileana's bed.
"No thanks..." Ileana sighed.
"Sorry you heard all that, love." Kata said quietly.
"Not like I haven't heard worse..." Ileana replied.
"If you've heard worse than someone's dad almost raping them your sister and I need to have a talk." Morri said, shooting a look at Corina.
"Our...life before this wasn't all that great. We've both heard of far worse, and borne witness to some. Part of what we want to do when this is all over is live someplace where we won't hear or see things like this anymore." Corina said.
"Well..." Morri started, but gave up with a sigh. "Anyway, we'll be staying with an old friend of mine and her roommate. One is an alcoholic, so be wary."
"Where is this friend living?" Corina asked.
"City called Veldton." Morri answered.
"Ah, I've heard of that. Near Kaven Base, right?" Corina said.
"I hope! I want to see SELAH again. She was nice." Ileana said. They noticed then that Kata had silently laid down and went to sleep.
"I'm gonna follow her lead." Morri said and went to sleep.
"Alright, night." Corina said. Morri kissed Ileana goodnight and went to climb up to the second bunk of Kata's bed.
In another room, Mason was pestering Axel. Axel had pulled the short straw and was stuck in a room alone with Mason. "So, you are Morri, eh? That's a thing, right?" Mason asked.
"No, Mason, it is not a thing." Axel replied.
"Come on, while she was bed ridden she requested she be alone with you. If that isn't a sign that says 'eat me now' I don't know what is." Mason said.
"She was helping me get over guilt, you asshole." Axel replied.
"Reminds me of a time when I was sixteen. There was a girl named Jenny Smallbush and I climbed in her window and ate her out while on a quaalude. Just hopped the fence, grabbed a ladder, climbed up, opened the window, didn't even ask. Pulled her pants, ate her monkey and left like a burglar in the night. Didn't even bang it, just ate it and left. Like a doctor."
"...On a quaalude?" Axel asked.
"Yeah. She saw me a week later and was all 'that was amazing' and I'm like 'damn straight, it was me' on her."
At that moment, Axel covered his ears with a pillow and went to sleep.
The next day, as the entered Earth's atmosphere and flew down for Veldton, they saw protests going on outside security stations and government buildings. "The hell is going on?" Morri asked.
"We'll check it out after we've dropped everyone off." Kata told her. Morri nodded and they landed the ship in a spaceport. They went for the security checkpoint, and, with a jolt, Morri realized she and Kata were the only ones with anything resembling an ID.
"Shisui, can you make the guard let everyone through? I don't want us to have to fight our way out." Morri asked him. He nodded and Morri and Kata got through security easily. Shisui simply walked in front of the guard and the guard happily let the entire group through. They left the spaceport and saw numerous cars filled with people holding signs headed off to various protests. Morri led the way, walking through the back alleys to avoid the protesters, and they eventually came up upon a small house in the residential district. They hopped the fence (Kata making a point to float Ileana over it) and knocked Morri went up and knocked on the back door.
The door opened and Morri was immediately hugged by her old friend Sajin Kenway. "Morri! We'd heard you'd gone MIA for a while, I was worried. Are you ok? What's going on?" Sajin asked, speaking so quickly it sounded as though it had all been one word.
"I'm ok, don't worry. We need a place to stay and lay low for a few days. Can we use the basement?" Morri asked. Sajin nodded and held the door open. Once everyone was indoors she escorted them all to the basement. Morri went upstairs to the living room with Sajin to explain what was going on. "You know all the talk on the news about Skulblakan-Humans?" Morri asked.
"Yeah, the protests are starting to get nuts." Sajin replied.
"Well, that's us. We're the good guys in that little species. We're gonna make it a point to stop Akulov before he actually cements that we are all evil." Morri explained.
"Alright, yeah, sure." Sajin said, nodding rapidly.
"I'm gonna take one of them and we're gonna scout out the protests, see what we can learn." Morri told her. "How's Sola?" She asked after a moment.
"She's...not well. Even after she was allowed to see Sylas for visits, the drinking has just not been stopping." Sajin said sadly. "Once, for a few days, I thought she was getting better, but then it relapsed and she's been in the hole ever since."
"Right...I'll say hi to her once we're back." Morri said. "It's good seeing you again, Sajin."
"Likewise. Don't worry, I'll watch over your friends." Sajin assured her. Morri headed downstairs and found everyone was already making makeshift beds out of the various furniture. Mason was already asleep, curiously on top of a line of three ancient arcade games.
"Kata, Nick, with me. Guys, Sajin is in the kitchen upstairs, if you need anything check with her and...don't go upstairs. Please." Morri said, not wanting to subject Sola to the amount of people in her house. Morri led Kata and Nick out into the street and they, almost immediately, spotted a wave of protestors marching down the sidewalk. The slipped in behind them and followed the crowd down the street. They reached the security precinct, which was already surrounded by a crowd of protestors as is. The made their way to the edges of the crowd and watched. Kata hopped up and sat on the rood of a car, while Morri sat on the hood and Nick paced around it.
Hundreds of home-made signs could be seen, all reading something that either supported their kind's extermination or imprisonment. Rocks were being thrown, as well as the occasional beer bottle or firecracker. Fights broke out and soon security forces needed to break up the violence, only to be thrown into it themselves. "We should go." Morri said.
"No. I need to see this." Kata replied calmly. She watched the madness ensue, and after a moment, Morri realized that she was feeding off of it. "I need it to be ready for him."
"Kata...staying here puts you at risk, there will be plenty of chaos the day of." Morri said. After a moment, Kata nodded. She jumped down and they started walking back.
"You still think they'll be alright with us, Nick?" Kata asked abruptly. "That the best of them will come out when we're all in one place? I guarantee it, the people you think will do the right thing will turn their fleet on us." Kata said frustratedly.
"Do you know that?" Was Nick's response.
"From my limited knowledge of people, I'd say it's a good guess." Kata said.
"That's enough, you two." Morri snapped. "We'll talk about this when we get back." She told them, and the walked the rest of the way in silence. They reached the basement and Morri gestured for Kata and Nick to sit down. "There's a lot of hate out there, regarding our kind." Morri started. "A lot of people are wanting them to either wipe us out or imprison us." Viv turned the tv on, and the news was telling the same story. "My belief is that if we stop Akulov, then we can show them that we are not the monsters they believe us to be." Morri told them.
"Say, just say that doesn't work." Kata said. "What do we do then?"
"Seclusion." Shisui said unexpectedly. "We could return to the temple and they would never have a need to come and find us. Never need to do us harm."
"I...agreed with the first part. But if my father can find you as easily as we did, someone with half the resources could as well. It's too obvious."
"You can stay here until things blow over." A voice said. Morri looked over at the stairs and saw Sola coming down them. Her usual manner of calm, friendly authority had long since abandoned her, replaced with the look of someone who had been beaten down by life and wasn't getting up any time soon. The bags under her eyes looked like black eyes more than anything, and she had lost all the muscle weight, so she looked gaunt and slightly corpse like. Morri got up and hugged her, a part of her wanting to cry just from seeing her old friend.
"Thank you." Morri whispered to her before she turned to the group. "Kata and I have discussed what's going to happen. Anyone who doesn't want to go to battle can stay behind. We will not hold anything against you. Ileana, you will be staying here. I'm sorry, but that's the way it has to be. Corina, if you can't keep in control while off fighting them, you stay as well. If you do come with us, there is a rule that we have. Do not, I repeat, do not kill the assassins. They're just pawns and can be helped. Kata told me they were in an invisible ship that should reveal itself to begin the battle. We find it beforehand and bring it down, preferably outside the city. We handle the assassins, Kata goes inside and takes care of her father." There were no objections. "I'd advise everyone sleep well." Morri said and turned to talk to Sola.
"You should not kill your father." Shisui told Kata immediately.
"What does it matter to you?" She asked.
"You are treading a dangerous and dark path, if you continue on this trail you will end up like him." He warned.
"Different from what I am now, yes. Never like him." She replied and walked over to help explain to Ileana why she couldn't go to the battle with them.
Kata awoke on the day of the battle about an hour before anyone else. She quietly made herself breakfast and sat eating on the staircase. She reached into her jacket pocket and pulled out a trio of marbles, her only souvenir of what had happened in the prison. She looked at them for a few moments before returning them to her pocket. As she did so, she noticed Rhett waking up. "Morning." She said.
"Morning, ma'am." He yawned.
"You don't need to call me that." She told him.
"Force of habit. I'm a marine, you're the leader here. Old habits die hard." He replied.
"True. You coming today?" Kata asked.
"It's what I came here to do. Not gonna back out now."
"Alright. Is there a way you can unmix people or things you have mixed?" She asked.
"In a way, yes. I can do it with anything." He answered.
"Remember, don't kill the assassins." She said.
"Nothing permanent." He said, understanding.
"Good...what are your thoughts on the humans protesting?" She asked.
"I get why they're doing it. Can't say I wouldn't be thinking the same thing if I was in their shoes. Guess we just have to try and prove them wrong." He replied.
"Forgive me if I don't have the faith to believe they'll change their minds. I mean...they've shunned their kind before." She said.
"Not saying it'll work, but we have to at least try." He told her.
"I guess. Anyone here you've had the urge to kill? I can talk to them before we leave." Kata offered.
"No, I've gotten along with them. Including Mason." He said. Her eyebrows went up.
"I'm stunned. Of course, I'm more surprised he and Viv haven't hooked up yet." She said, shrugging.
"I don't know if that'd be good or bad." Rhett said.
"Speaking of which, you and little fire going anywhere?"
"I'd like to say good, but I've never been good at figuring that stuff out." Rhett replied.
"Well, hopefully you can get better at it when we're done here." Kata said as the others started to slowly wake up. When it was time to leave, Kata, Morri, Rhett, Shisui, Aednat, Viv, Nick, Axel, Xylia, and Dex all loaded up onto Corina's ship. Corina and Ileana were staying in the house, Corina not wanting to leave her sister with strangers.
"I'll bring her back in one piece, alright?" Morri called to Corina before waving at Ileana. She was the last one aboard and slipped up to join Kata in the cockpit. They looked up and saw a fleet of around two dozen Coalition ships floating in the sky. "Well, they did get a threat." Morri muttered.
"Idiots are gonna get in the way." Kata said. "Aednat, come watch Morri fly." She called back. Aednat climbed into the cockpit, stared at Morri piloting it for no more than five seconds before nodding. Morri gave her the wheel and Kata and Morri moved to the back with the others.
"How're we gonna know where their ship is?" Nick asked.
"I'll be able to sense the chaos in the air the ship makes." Kata replied as she and Morri headed down to the boarding dock.
"Get us as close to the fleet as you can, Aednat." Morri said, knowing her friend was listening over the intercom. "And make sure we're level." She added as the two reached the boarding dock. After a few minutes, Aednat's voice sounded over the intercom.
"Alright, this is the best I can do." She told them.
"Open the boarding dock." Kata said. Aednat did not object, though Morri would guess the look on her face was one of confusion. The boarding dock opened and they could see the entire fleet hovering there, waiting for something.
"Can you sense them?" Morri asked.
"I can feel the angers and worries of the various crew they have. A lot of them want our kind removed from their galaxy. The chaos their engines make in the air is actually quite immense. Heh, the captain of the big ship doesn't want to go through another war. Look's like he's the smart one. Wait...there it is." Kata said. She pointed to a spot about five hundred meters in front of the fleet.
"You sure?" Morri checked.
"Let's find out." Kata replied. Morri nodded and opened a portal in front of them, one that led right to the spot Kata had indicated. Kata floated through and reappeared on the other side. She held her hands out to her sides, like a floating scarecrow. Morri watched as her hands and eyes glowed, noticeable even from the distance they were at. Sparks started flying from a point in thin air, followed by numerous small explosions. Within moments, a small cruiser began to be visible, numerous sparks and explosions flying from the hull. The Kata began to float it in the direction of the city's borders, hoping to get the cruiser away from any civilian populace.
Things were going well, right up until a hull opened on the ship and one of the assassins clambered out. Morri watched as he raised a sword a blast of electricity coursed through it and struck Kata in the chest. Kata tumbled from the sky and the damaged cruiser went straight down and crashed into the residential area of the city. Morri opened a portal and redirected Kata's fall so she fell back through the boarding dock. Kata landed in Morri's arms, looking dizzy and rocked. "Thanks." She mumbled.
"Aednat, take us down there, now!" Morri called. The ship swerved and Kata and Morri were sent careening into the walls of the hallway. When they landed, the group made their way down to them and the boarding dock opened. They jumped out and started moving towards the wreckage. A part of the hull opened and the five assassins jumped out. "Pick one, neutralize them. Non-fatal only." Morri said. The group nodded, and Morri opened a portal under Kata's feet. Kata fell through and floated down on the assassins from above, using her powers to throw them down towards the group. She landed, opened a hole in the hull and she ran into the ship to find her father.
One of the assassins duplicated herself into ten, all of which targeted Rhett. Metal-Arm clashed with Aednat and Xylia, Viv, her skin turning into cement, targeted the one who had blasted Kata earlier, followed by Mason. Nick and the one who drained other's life force began squaring off, both knowing that either could kill the other with ease, more of a staredown than a fight. Morri, Axel, and Dex found themselves engaged by the last one. Who effectively proved to simply be really, really fast.
Rhett dealt with being surrounded very easily. He calmly made his way to the edge of them, keeping them all in his line of sight. He systematically stabbed them or mixed them with the street or someone's lawn. One by one, the fakes vanished in small bursts of light. However, the assassin continued to duplicate herself and continue to keep coming. However, he noticed that she always maxed out at ten. He smiled grimly and quickly mixed all of the duplicates at once to an overturned RV. She basically looked like a torso sticking out of the wall, she whenever she tried to duplicate herself, the duplicates would become stuck in the RV as well and vanish.
Viv ducked under and electrical blast and punched the assassin in the ribs with her cement fist. The strike only stunned him, as his thick metal armor provided protection. He grabbed her and threw her (an impressive feat, considering she was made of cement) right at Mason, Mason waved his hand and she appeared four feet to his left, missing him harmlessly. The assassin loosed four electric blasts through the air at him, but all either fizzled into nothingness or were redirected with simple swipes of Mason's hands. Viv got up and attacked again. After a brief scuffle, the assassin had her in a headlock. Mason raised a hand and freed her. However, the sudden change in reality caused her to reflexively change her skin's form, becoming the metal the assassin's armor was made of.
The assassin spotted this and loosed a lightning blast that electrocuted her and sent her tumbling to the ground, spasming. Mason was quickly returned to simply defending from the electrical currents coming for him. He realized that they needed a way to stop the assassin's conduction. He glanced at Viv, who was slowly rising but looking like she had been concussed. He reached into his pocket and threw something to her. It landed in her lap and she gazed down at it, highly confused for several moments. "Oh. A rubber." She said, and turned her hands to rubber. She put her forehead to the cement street, turning her head to cement, and snuck up behind the assassin. She wrenched his sword away and grabbed his hands, preventing any conduction. Then, she began to repeatedly headbutt the assassin until he hit the ground, unconscious.
Aednat back-flipped over a swipe from the metal arm of the assassin. Xylia forced her molecules to create a hole in her torso, the repulsion blast the assassin fired at her passing through harmlessly. He spun and punched through her with his metal arm, his fist passing through Xylia harmlessly. She threw two punches of her own into his face, which he largely ignored, turning and catching Aednat under the chin with a rising elbow. She flew up into the air a few feet and landed hard on her back, winding her. He moved toward her and attempted to stomp on her face, but Xylia jumped forward, catching the back of his legs and dragging him into the ground, pinning his arms and legs within the cement before rising out of it herself.
The fast assassin watched as Nick struck first at the one who drained life, using his powers to try and deconstruct the left head-case. The results were explosive. He lost control of the attack and it exploded, causing the other to explode and send the assassin careening to the ground. Seeing this, the assassin decided that the group was more powerful than his own, and that fighting them was futile. So, he turned to run. Instead of fleeing, however, he ran straight through a portal Morri had created and ran through and straight into one of Vivien's cement fists.
"Everyone ok?" Morri asked, looking around at the incapacitated assassins. She looked around, doing a head count of her people. "Where the hell is Shisui?" Morri yelled.
Kata sprinted down the empty corridors. She could feel the chaos of her father's mind and she gravitated towards it. She forced a set of doors to open and she ran into the prison block of the ship. In the center of it, her father stood, cigar in his mouth and a smile on his face. She slowed to a walk. "Hello, my dear." He said. "Can we not put aside this petty feud and speak like father and daughter?"
"You would have me as more than your daughter." Kata snapped. "You would have yourself inside me on a regular basis. Your own god damn daughter."
"We are all family anyway, our kind, our fledgling little species." He protested. She raised a hand and brought down a portion of the ceiling towards his head. It struck home, but it bounced off and he vibrated with energy. He started walking towards her. She cast dozens of spells and hexes, trying to hold him back. It did nothing, and he simply touched her on her collarbone and she was sent flying backwards. She hit the wall and fell to the ground. "Everything I did was to make you the queen of the new species you were destined to be. You are stronger than any of them. When you reach your full potential, you will possess a power no being can match. Not even me." He said and held her up to the wall. "However, your resistance does nothing to accelerate your growth. In fact, it delays it. Join me, and you can become a goddess." He said, using only a single finger to keep her pinned to the wall.
"I know." She said. "All you've done in the past was for me...it made me as powerful as I am now. Without you, I'd still be the scared and quiet girl from Russia." Kata confessed. He smiled at her. She felt a tear go down her cheek, angry that he was right. She looked up and saw that Shisui was entering the room. "Still...you're not easy to get along with. Even he agrees." She said and looked past him, straight at Shisui. Her father let her go and turned, only to be frozen in place by Shisui. Kata walked around him and Shisui came up beside her.
"We have him." He told her. "We can turn him over to the humans and they can what they want, and clear our kind's name in the process."
"They'll never stop there." She replied. "Besides, no prison of theirs' can hold him."
"Killing him will not solve anything. It will not bring peace to you or any of them." He told her.
"Peace was never my goal." Kata replied and swiped her hand through the air. Shisui went flying through the wall and out of sight. Her father remained frozen. "I guess he needs to let you go." She said. "I do agree that we are the next generation of this plane, father, but you went about it all wrong." She said. "Also...you tried to rape me and had my mom and surrogate mom killed before me. As well as imprisoning me and torturing me." She floated out the trio of marbles. "Remember these?" She asked. "You would have me use them to prove I was making progress. She held up her right fist and they started moving towards his head. "You always were looking for glowing marbles." She said and made the marbles glow with energy. "And then explosions. So that is what I will give you." She told him. She forced one up one of his nostrils, one into his ear, and one into his mouth. "Goodbye." She said, and opened her hand. The marbles exploded, causing his lower jaw to fall off and his nose to explode. His right ear exploded and left a hole in the side of his head.
The marble fragments went everywhere, one landing next to her foot as the body hit the ground.
Outside, the group helped Shisui to his feet as he regained consciousness. As he rose, they noticed the assassins, even metal-arm and the duplicator (both of which had been freed from their prisons) were rising, but looked in no mood to do battle. A hole opened in the hull of the ship, and a dead body floated out. It hung in the air like a crucified man, bloodied face disfigured by small explosions. They realized it was Dmitri Akulov. The body dropped and Kata floated out behind it. Shisui shook his head, seemingly disappointed. "You are no better than he was. You will evolve to be worse and attempt to justify it all by lying to yourself, saying this was for the good of our race. It was nothing more than a quest for your personal revenge." Shisui called to her.
"I freely admit I wanted him dead for my own reasons." Kata replied, sounding eerily calm. "But now, no more fighting amongst our own kind. I fear our true enemy is in the sky. I can sense the chaos found in the crews of the ships as they overthrow their captains and turn their guns on us." Kata said. "Look to the skies. You can see them aiming even from here." She said. At that moment, Ileana and Corina arrived, having heard the halt in battle. Morri looked around and saw that the ship had narrowly missed crushing Sola's house. "Watch. It about seven seconds they will open fire. At least the ones with successful mutinies. About fourteen of them are still in a power struggle between vocal minorities that hate us and their order lov-ah, their it is." She said as the ships opened fire, energy missiles coming down at them.
Kata held her hands up, the blasts freezing in midair about two hundred meters away from them. "Kata, you don't need to do this. You've proved your point already. They know they can't touch us. You can end this now." Morri pleaded.
"I am ending it." Kata replied and turned her hands. The blasts changed direction and went up at the ships.
"God, dammit!" Morri yelled and started opening portal after portal, redirecting the blasts in any possible direction. Miraculously, she was able to halt the missiles from reaching the ships. She lost track of where they were going, and they group and the assassins were all knocked off their feet by a blast that was redirected into an RV that was lying in the street. Kata rose and looked back at the blast zone, then she screamed out in horror, seeing Ileana had been closest to the struck RV. She was at the girl's side in an instant and fell to her knees, cradling the girl. Shisui, somehow, was near them next as Corina and Morri started moving towards them as well.
"What you see here is the result of your actions. Your relentless hatred and lust for blood has hurt those you care for. Just as I told you they would." He said to Kata.
"Shut up!" She screamed and swiped her hand through the air, sending Morri, Shisui, Corina, and the rest of their kind back dozens of meters.
"Why?" Ileana's voice said. Kata looked down at her, and saw that Ileana's injuries weren't as bad as she'd feared, and the girl was looking up at her with a fire in her eyes. "Why'd you attack them? They're just scared. It doesn't need to be like the invasion." Ileana told her.
"I...I needed them to know the cost of trying to exterminate us." Kata said quietly, noting in the back of her mind that the rest of the world was silent. "They wanted you, me, Morri, all of us gone, scared or not. They even fired on their own kind, on Corina." Kata said. Corina objected in the background, but Kata soundly ignored her.
"That won't help. They'll just keep shooting, and everybody dies." Ileana said. Kata was silent for a long moment.
"I'm leaving, Ileana." She said eventually. "I'm going away to make a new home for any of our kind that wants it." A sad look came over Ileana's face. "And...any of our group is free to join me. But...you won't want to come."
"Well...someone has to stay and prove we aren't evil." Ileana said.
"I mean...it's for our kind." Kata explained and looked at Corina. "Only our kind."
"Well...I hope this isn't forever goodbye...hopefully you guys can come visit when things settle down..." Ileana said sadly.
"I promise, you can always count on me being there if you need me to be. I love you, kid, and nothing will change that." Kata assured her.
"Alright...thanks..." Ileana mumbled. Kata leaned down and kissed the girl on the forehead before gesturing for Morri and Corina to come forward. Morri got their first and started cradling Ileana, asking if she was ok, while Kata stopped Corina from getting there for a moment.
"You have my word, that if anything befalls her under your care, you have me to answer to." Kata whispered to Corina.
"Not if I answer to myself first..." Corina shot back and pushed past her. Kata walked over to the group.
"I am leaving. I have a planet in mind for a new home for our species. What you do next is up to you. If any of you know that you want for me to take you along now, step forward. Everyone who is uncertain, you will have time to decide. All the information you will need will be provided. My father was an evil man and was wrong in many methods and beliefs. But he was right in that the humans will shun and hunt down our people to the brink of extinction. They know our strength now. They've shown they are willing to sacrifice their own kind to kill us. Now I will prepare to counter any offensive they can muster. If you wish to join me now, please, come with me." Kata said.
Only the metal-armed assassin joined her. Kata turned and saw Morri carefully approaching. "I know better than to guess you're coming with me." Kata said sadly.
"That you do...my friend...I cannot agree with your methods here. I know you want our kind to grow prosperous and free, but...this isn't the way. We want the same thing, but...I can't go with you like this. I'll be building a shelter for our kind, where hopefully they can learn to blend in or accept themselves. Here on Earth. I'll work to defend our names, but I cannot go with you."
"I know, Morri." Kata said. "We are not enemies. Whatever people you group together, make sure they know, we are not enemies with each other."
"Never." Morri said and hugged Kata. The two broke apart after a long moment. "Goodbye, my friend." Morri said.
"Goodbye." Kata said, took the metal-armed one's hand, and they floated away and out of sight.
Weapon of AnonymityEdit
Corina rapped her knuckles on the door. Ileana had directed her to this house when they had decided to visit Morri. The group, per instruction from Morri, had dispersed in various directions. Morri had given each of them coordinates for a mansion she was going to have built in the mountains. Seven weeks had passed since Akulov had been killed by Kata, and the sisters hadn't seen anybody. Neither Corina nor Ileana were certain Morri was staying there, but it seemed a likely place as any to check. Skylar answered the door. She had seen them around base, as they had taken to living on base as civilian refugees.
"Hey, Skylar, is-" Corina started.
"Is Morri here?" Ileana interrupted.
"Uhm...yeah, she's on the couch in the living room." Skylar said. The two went to the living room, where they found Morri lying on the couch, asleep. Ileana looked to lunge for her, but she was held back by Corina.
"What has she been up to lately?" Corina quietly asked Skylar. She shrugged.
"I really don't know. She usually vanishes during the day and sleeps here." Skylar replied. Morri then rolled off the couch and hit the floor with a loud thunk.
"Oww." Morri grumbled. Ileana rushed forward, part worried and part joyful.
"Hey! You alright?" Ileana asked.
"Hey, hun." Morri said, the moment she set eyes on Ileana, Skylar noted that it was the happiest Morri had looked for a long time. Morri immediately pulled the girl into a tight hug.
"How're you?" Ileana asked once the hug ended.
"I am much better now. How have you two been?" Morri asked.
"Great! Corina and I are living here now!" Ileana said.
"Yeah, glad to live someplace where everybody isn't killing each other." Corina admitted.
"Well, how do you two feel about a more stable place to stay? Because that is what I'm building." Morri said.
"Really?! Where?!" Ileana exclaimed.
"Well, why don't you two wait outside while I get dressed and I'll show you." Morri said.
"Ok." Ileana said excitedly and the sister went to wait on the front step.
"Hey, what's up?" Sky asked Morri as Morri changed. "You haven't seemed happy in a while, but the kid comes and you lighten up. What gives?"
"That kid is the closest thing I've got to one of my own." Morri answered. "You should really have Dean put one in you...you look flabbergasted at the thought of getting knocked up...wait, have you and him been talking about creating new life?" Morri asked.
"On occasion..." Skylar admitted.
"Ok, don't tell Zyana, for one." Morri said. "If it is a girl, I expect the middle names Serra Morrigan." Morri instructed.
"Ok." Skylar said, shaking her head, amused.
"You can have sex while prego, don't worry. Also, when you say you want one and if he agrees, lock yourselves in here for a weekend. Remember, it will basically be an eighteen year dry spell after that thing is born."
"And if I'm not the godmother, I will cut you." Morri finished. The door opened and they saw Dean walk in. Morri walked up to him and grabbed him by his shoulders. "Put a child in her. Now." Morri ordered and she left.
"Uhm..." Skylar said and scratched the back of her head awkwardly.
"I'm up for it if you are." Dean told her. After a moment, she nodded. Within seconds, she was on her back on the newly cleared off kitchen table.
Morri led Corina and Ileana into the basement of the Sigurdson house. There, she showed them the entrance to a tunnel system. Once they were a ways inside, they found Viv, who excitedly hugged them both. "Hey." Ileana said happily.
"That's all I get, a hey? You wound me, child." Viv joked.
"Go get some air, Viv." Morri told her. Viv sighed, nodded, and headed up into the house. Morri led them further in and they found a train car, which they climbed into. Morri pressed a button and started it. After an hour, the car stopped, and Morri led them out the tunnel. They stepped out, to their shock, and set foot in a mountain range. "Welcome to the Canadian Rockies." Morri said.
"Wow!" Ileana exclaimed. Morri pointed at a mansion that was being built in the distance.
"And that is the home I'm building." Morri said.
"Cool!" Ileana said. They walked over to it and found Axel helping to build it. "Hey!" Ileana cried. They walked closer to Axel, who rose from his seat.
"Hey, she recruited you two, eh?" He said.
"Guess so. Nobody hates on the non-hybrids here, right?" Corina asked.
"Don't worry, you're good." Axel said and unexpectedly kissed Morri. The two sisters exchanged a confused look.
"I thought we agreed to break it to them gently." Morri grumbled. "Ileana, so you know, moms do date."
"Yeah, yeah." Ileana snarked.
"Just remember I'm going to beat up your first boyfriend." Morri warned her and picked her up. "So, how do you feel about staying here a while?" She asked. Ileana immediately looked at Corina, who nodded.
"Alright!" Ileana said excitedly.
"Awesome! Now, we don't kill our own kind, and no pregnancies yet, we haven't got the facilities for that." Morri instructed.
"Ew, I'm eleven!" Ileana said.
"More to your sister, honey." Morri explained. Corina smirked, rolling her eyes. "Go find a room, I'll meet you guys for supper." Morri said, putting Ileana down.
"Alright." Ileana said and the sisters went off.
"I've got a feeling Kata may draw more folks in, but...we'll be ok here." Morri said to Axel, who took her hand.
"Just so long as she doesn't do anything crazy, I think we'll be alright." He agreed.
Chaos Lives In EverythingEdit
Caden pulled into his driveway and saw Clara's car was already there. She must have gotten home early today. He thought, climbed out of his car and went to the door. He was looking forward to a quiet evening of doing nothing after a long day of rebuilding the world. Again. He thought to himself. He opened the door and walked in. Clara was lying on the couch, already out of her day clothes and in sweats and a hoodie, watching the news. "Hey babe, holding up?" He asked.
"Still breathing." Came her reply. "Had to deal with PR today." He grimaced, knowing she hated doing PR of any kind.
"Poor girl. Just gotta deal with the press."
"This time they asked me if you were a pedophile." Clara told him.
"Wait, what?" Caden asked, confused.
"You know, age difference, asshole reporter." She explained.
"We could rebuild with one less person, you know." He suggested grimly, getting a laugh out of her.
"I told him the word he was looking for was 'genius'." She said.
"Yeah? You're sweet."
"Speaking of which, met a nice and interesting character at the pub the PR team stopped at for lunch." Clara said.
"Yeah? Who?" Caden asked.
"Called herself Viv. She walked up to the bartender and started quoting Oliver Twist to order another round." Clara said, smiling at the memory.
"Huh. Never heard of her around here before." Caden said.
"You wouldn't she's one of Morri's friends."
"So she's crazy?" Caden asked, half jokingly.
"No, she's part Skulblakan like Morri." Clara replied.
"Yeah, yeah. Was hoping you didn't mean that, though." He said.
"She seemed nice enough. Apparently she's living in the Sigurdson tunnel system while Morri lives at Skylar's." Clara told him.
"They're hiding out, are they? I would." Caden said, nodding to emphasize his point.
"Yeah...what do you think of that whole thing? Things have been so busy lately I haven't had the chance to ask you." Clara asked him.
"Honestly? They worry me...a lot. I'm sure that most are good people, but I don't like the thought of them walking around without anyone knowing." He replied. Before Clara could replied, the TV screen fizzled out, then the screen showed a woman sitting on a chair looking at the TV, floating a set of marbles around her head. "what the?" Caden asked as the broadcast started.
"Hello. My name is Katalena Akulov. I am a Skulblakan Human that was at the confrontation all of you people are worried about. In fact, I was the one who attacked your ships after my father, the one who wanted war, was killed, by me. Understandably, your kind is worried about mine, and is probably enraged with me. Consider that your kind attempted to wipe out the open members of my entire species, discarding all thought to the civilians of their own in the firing zone." The woman said. Footage was shown of dozens of missiles being blasted at a small group, but they were stopped by the woman on screen. "You see that? Dozens of blasts from your cruisers all halted and later redirected by me. That is but a glimpse of the power that I alone can unleash upon your people."
"Effing christ, that's not good." Caden said, drawing a confused look from Clara as to his use of the term 'effing.'
"However. I do not plan to engage your people in war. To my own kind, pay attention to the visuals you are about to see." Katalena said. An image of a planet showed up, as well as coordinates. "I am forging a new home for our kind on this universe. A safe haven for our people. A friend of mine was a hero in the Invasion, but when his abilities were discovered, the people he swore to protect cast him away. I do not wish that upon any of our people. Join me here, and you will not need to. To the humans listening. If you attack this world, it will be an act of war, and I will come upon your capital unleashing the power of absolute chaos. If you send spies, it will be an act of war, and I will respond appropriately. If one unwelcome human from your people sets foot on this world. I will consider it an act of war, and I will respond as I see fit. The cards are on the table. The next part of the game is to be decided by you." The woman said, and the broadcast ended.
"I told you. This isn't good." Caden said.
"Yeah...well...I can't say I blame her." Clara replied.
"Seriously? It's an act of war if some random guy stumbles into the system! That woman is a psycho." Caden protested.
"I imagine that they'd question the people who show up. I'd probably react similarly if the Coalition tried to wipe out my family. I'm not saying she's doing the right thing, but...for now I think we'll be ok." Clara explained.
"Yeah, but it's just one more thing we need to worry about now." Caden sighed.
"I don't think we should worry about it. Least not until the Coalition decides to go after her, if they do." Clara said.
"It's not like we have the power to do so at the moment, anyway." Caden pointed out.
"So, I say we focus on our stuff for now. Besides, a bit to political for after work hours." Clara added.
"Yeah...yeah, agreed. It's time to cool off." Caden agreed.
"I stole an ince cream bucket from Lorii." Clara said
"Time to dig in?"
"I left the other half for you. Did you know they call us 'cackle'?" Clara asked.
"Cackle?" Caden asked, bewildered.
"Yeah, C-A-C-L." She answered.
"That is just...wow." Caden replied.
"Your world just got turned upside down, didn't it?" Clara asked.
"No, not much. But that's just because you're my world." He said, winking at her.
"Did you rehearse that?" She asked, laughing.
"No. At this point I make it up as I go. Can't screw up that badly now." Caden replied, shrugging.
"Besides, when I'm upside down it means sixty-nine." Clara said bawdily.
"Now that, on the other hand, is a yes." Caden replied.
"Well, unfortunately for you, I'm a bit too wiped tonight. Tomorrow, I promise." She told him.
"You're such a damn tease." Caden said, laughing.
"Now, Blasto-7 is on tonight and I fully intend on watching it." Clara informed him.
"Guess I know what I'm stuck doing tonight." Caden sighed.
"Good to know I have you trained." She joked.
"Shush." Came his response.
"Oh, and Zyana has a boyfriend now." Clara told him.
"Wow. That's crazy." Caden said, genuinely surprised.
"You remember the Irish guy who put moves on me?" She asked.
"Oh, the guy I planned to skin. Yeah."
"Yeah, they're in an open relationship now."
"So, Zyana is open, and he's open to getting rejected." He guessed.
"Yep. So expect sandwich requests. She said and turned on the TV again to Blasto-7.
"Okay, okay." Caden sighed. Clara scooted up and made room for him on the couch.
"Come." She said and patted the spot next to her.
"I'm coming, don't worry." He said and joined her. She rested her head on his lap.
"I prefer soft pillows, be aware." She warned him.
"No promises." Came his response.
"I'll use teeth next time." She half-threatened.
"Do that, and the very ineffective hilt will get work." He responded.
"Don't threaten me with a good time." She shot back.
"I can't believe you just said that." He said, shaking his head.
"Skylar's prego." Clara added, completely unperturbed.
"Jaysus. Any more bombs you want to drop on my head tonight?" He asked.
"There's a gambling op jax has set up on how long before Rorii pops any out." She said. Caden started to say something, but then silenced himself and merely shook his head. "That's all." She informed him.
"Alright. Thank you." He said, sounding relieved. There was a knock at the door. "Damn, I'll get it." He said, rose and answered the door. A gothic looking woman stood before him.
"Hi." She said, and he realized she was likely hungover.
"Uh...hello." He replied.
"Clara!" She called. "Morri kicked me out for the night and everywhere else is unknown. And Mason's having an orgy." Caden immediately looked to Clara for help.
"Only if you can handle the noises of two people instead of twenty." Clara replied, sighing.
"Done." The woman immediately agreed.
"Come in then. You can have the room down the hall to the left." Caden instructed, and the woman went there.
"Meet Viv. Looks like you will be getting some action tonight." Clara told him.
"Don't know if I'm in the mood." Caden shot back.
"Too bad. I found an ancient pill called Viagra. You have no choice."
"Fine, fine. Who am I to say no?" He said.
"Go wait, I need to grab the outfit your sister bought me." Clara instructed.
"Wait, you're not going to question that?"
"I've come to not question a good thing." He replied.
"Good boy, now go." She ordered.
"As you wish, mi'lady." He said and did as instructed.
Kata sat on her lawn chair outside. She was sitting at the mountain peak she had chosen to host the building for her new headquarters. During her time there, she had built a small castle in the mountains to start her new city. She watched as numerous small ships flew down from the sky. She could sense the chaos of each other pilots and passengers that they were all of her species. She smiled. She could sense forty-seven people of her species, more than she had anticipated. She held a hand out and directed each of the ships towards her.
The ships landed one by one, and she directed each passenger to grab a room in the castle, and she would find them to speak with them about the rules of the new society. Out of one of the smaller ships stepped, to her happiness, Aednat and Rhett. While she directed them to their room, she sensed that Rhett seemed to have his doubts. No matter. She thought. He'll understand. Over the course of the evening, all but the fast assassin showed up. Towards the later hours of the night, the metal-armed assassin showed her a video on a tablet.
The video showed Nick, bruised and battered and chained to a wall. Onto the screen walked Void. Void wordlessly pressed a finger to Nick, and Nick dissolved away into nothingness. "That is what I think of your new society, Katalena." Void said and the video ended.
"I want him gone." Kata told her bodyguard. "Put out a bounty on his head. Anyone who kills that one will receive Asylum and total protection from any Coalition or other forms of law enforcement. One of us who kills one of us is no longer one of us. Understood?" She asked him. He nodded.
"Permission to leave this world to monitor the Earth Colony." The assassin requested. Kata nodded, and the metal armed one grabbed a ship and flew off into space. She rested her feet on a rock.
"A new tomorrow that starts today." She whispered to herself, sending the last of her marbles out over the mountainside, where it exploded at the bottom. Once she was finished debriefing everyone, she went up to her own room. She gazed at the cryochamber that sat beside her bed. "Hello, Vythica." Kata whispered. "Don't worry, nobody will know you're here, darling. You can sleep peacefully as long as you want."