This story takes place in mid/late-2011, and tells of when Hellcat Squadran discovers the world Ivalice and allies with the kingdom of Dalmasca, against the local New Archadian Empire and their own Shadow Alliance enemies.
Vaan and Penelo exit the Aerodrome in Rabanastre. It has been a couple months since the helped save Ivalice from possible destruction. They came to the Capital of Dalmasca because they heard news of strange happenings: electrical bolt appearing out of nowhere and areas being hit by wind that shouldn't be blowing. They walked through the West Gate and met up with Balthier and Fran. "What took you 2 so long?" Balthier said in his business-as-usual style of speaking.
Vaan was about to answer when the wind picked up. "Have any clue what is causing this?" Vaan asked Balthier.
"Nothing," Balthier responded. Suddenly, a flash of light appeared in the sky. In no time, the city was engulfed in light. When it cleared again, Rabanastre was in ruins.
Chapter 1: The Flaming AirshipEdit
The next week was spent repairing Rabanastre and trying to find out what happened to it. It was figured out, though, that it was not only Rabanastre that this catastrophe struck. 3 Days after the incident, Larsa and many Archadians came to Rabanastre seeking refuge. He said that his thought-dead brother, Vayne, had returned and swiftly took over the Archadian Empire, ousting Larsa from the throne. Those loyal to Vayne began to hunt down Larsa and those loyal to him, so they only had one place to go. Ashe gladly gave Larsa and them refuge at Rabanastre.
However, according to news some scouts had, Archadia was much better off than their rival: Rozarria was completely destroyed, few survivors, all of which already integrated themselves into Dalmasca's population. And if the situation wasn't strange enough, a week after the incident, it just got even stranger.
Ashe had called Vaan and the others up to see what they could do to see if there were other survivors, when Penelo called out to the others. Everyone came out and what looked like a meteor was falling. They realized what Penelo was calling about when the 'meteor' swerved to avoid a spire. "I think it's an airship," Penelo said, sounding worried.
"Looks like it. Meteors don't swerve," Balthier responded. The airship fell to the south of the city, in the Giza Plains. There was a large flash as it touched down in the Giza Plains.
Ashe then said, "I wonder if anyone survived that."
Vaan then said, "There's only one way to find out."
Ashe nodded and said, "I'll need to stay to keep things under control."
Balthier responded, with a smirk, "Of course. The Dalmascans need their Queen at a time like this." Vaan, Penelo, Balthier, and Fran then left to get ready to investigate the crash.
Leinad cursed under his breath. One minute, he and the others were surveying a planet that appeared from a Rift Storm a week ago, the next, their Pelican was shot down by a Covenant Loyalist Black-Force Phantom. Everyone but Tory bailed out, but now everyone was scattered across the landscape. He checked his belt to see if Vesracolian and his MAC-Pistol were still there and, seeing that they were, he set off to find the others.
Dazed, Tory regained consciousness. He managed to hold the Pelican straight long enough to allow the others to bail. He wasn't so lucky. He felt a pain in his side and found that part of the Pelican broke off and stuck itself in the right side of his chest. With a grunt, he pulled the shard out and stood up, using the wall to support him. Turning, he noticed the log he and the others kept when investigating a planet. In the log, he wrote down what had just happened, then decided it was time to get out of there. He went to the back of the Pelican, to find the door jammed shut from the crash. Calling on his Feral Powers, he slammed the door with his Feral Strength, lodging it on a bent engine pod. He left the Pelican and looked at his surroundings. All he saw was a parched desert. "Typical," he said to himself, "Every time I leave the lab, no matter what the mission is, I always end up in a desert." He snarled, "First Egypt, then Bara Magna, now THIS!" Then, he caught whiff of something in the wind, with his Feral Smell. "Another individual. Probably one of the others," he said hopefully. He limped from the Pelican and went toward where he smelled someone, but then he heard a howling and ducked into a bush. He then watched the enemy dropship fly over and pass him by, heading in the same direction he was. When it was out of sight, he used his Feral Speed to try to get to where he was going. If he sensed one of his friends, they would probably be in trouble. If not, then there would be less Shadow Alliance goons in the universe.
Chapter 2: Into the UnknownEdit
Vaan and Penelo listened to the sound that they heard and were now trying to investigate. The sound sounded like the wind howling......only more artificial than that. "It's not coming from the airship," Vaan called to Balthier, who caught up with them.
He responded with, "Then I don't like the sound of it then."
Penelo said, "Maybe, if there are any survivors on the airship, they know what it is."
"Maybe," Balthier said, "But either way, let's hurry." The group then proceeded to the airship.
Several minutes later, the group was still some distance from the airship, when the sound that they heard grew louder. Suddenly, an airship, shaped like the head of a fish, flew up to them. The bottom of it produced a column of purple energy. Within that beam, a group of Ape-like creatures dropped out. One of them spotted the group and growled and warbled to its companions. Then, they charged.
Tory heard the growls of the Brutes before he saw them. He didn't know what they said, but knew for sure that they had found someone to attack. Thinking it was one of his friends, he hurried to the location. What he saw surprised him: people he did not recognize, probably individuals native to the world, stood their ground against the Brutes, who charged full tilt at them. Tory knew that they would be crushed in mere seconds. So, he fired lightning bolts at the Brutes.
Vaan prepared to take the charge of the creatures, but was surprised when the area in front of them was struck by a blast of electricity, like a massive Thundaga magick. The creatures looked up and so did Vaan. Standing from where the bolt of lightning came from was a young kid. Vaan looked confused at his presence, as did some of the creatures.
However one's face had an expression that was a mix of horror and surprise. "Careful," it said in a surprisingly understandable language, "It's that Feral-Lightning lackey of the Chieftain's prey." The kid apparently didn't like being called a 'lackey.'
"You should just leave those people alone and go away, before you give me a REAL reason to kill you, here and now, you pathetic excuse for a sentient species." The creature then aimed a weapon at the kid and fired. Vaan watched in amazement as the kid swiped his palm in front of himself and a barrier of electricity appeared and knocked aside the projectile. Then, the kid let out an enormous bolt of lightning, frying the creature and those surrounding it. The survivors then ran for their airship and left. When Vaan and them finally got over the shock of what happened, they saw the kid limping away. Immediately, Vaan and the others went to follow him.
For several minutes, Vaan and the others were trying to keep up with the kid that saved their lives. It wasn't until the kid reached a large wreck that Vaan and the others realized that the kid was leading them toward the crashed airship. They stayed hidden for a moment as the kid slumped against the hull of the airship, until the kid said, "So, you followed me, huh?"
Vaan realized that he must have known he was being followed, so he stood up and said, "My friends and I wanted to thank you for helping us."
The kid nodded and said, "Couldn't let those Brutes kill anyone, could I?" Based on how the kid said the word, Vaan realized that 'Brute' must be what those creatures are actually called......at least, not in their own language.
Penelo gasped and bent over. Vaan looked at the kid and saw what caused Penelo to gasp: the kid had a large puncture wound in his side. Penelo approached to heal the wound, but the kid gently pushed her away. "I'll be fine. I've had worse. What's really important is finding the others. They bailed out as the dropship fell. If I don't find them, then......then......" and the kid passed out, presumably from loss of blood. Penelo then bent down to heal the wound......then froze, a startled expression on her face. Vaan then noticed that the flesh around the puncture wound in the kid's side seemed to be regenerating and sealing itself.
"Explains why he didn't want help," Balthier said, "He's perfectly fine on his own."
Penelo, still worried, said, "We just can't leave him here alone."
Vaan agreed and said, "Maybe we should stay here until he wakes up. If those 'Brute' things return, he won't be able to defend himself." The others agreed, so they waited there for the kid to wake up.
The group had been with the kid for hours, and he showed no signs of waking. Getting impatient, Vaan decided to take a look inside the dropship to see what they could find out about the kid or his friends. In the front of the dropship, he found a small logbook. He called the others over. "Well, let's have a look inside. Might have some information," Balthier said.
Vaan opened the notebook. Only one entry was entered:
"Exploratory Log: July, 19 2011
This mission got off to a horrible start. The Shadow Alliance seems to have beaten us here, as one of those Covenant Loyalist 'Black Force' Phantom Dropships shot down our Pelican. The others managed to bail out. However, I was caught in the crash. I'll see if I can find the others. Then, we can see what we can salvage from the wreck. Until then, I'm hiding the log in the wreck, in hopes that if the Shadow Alliance get here before I return, they don't find it. Also, I hope we can find a way to send a signal to the Forerunner Emancipator before they assume we disappeared.
- Tory Lund, Head of Research, Hellcat Squadran"
Vaan immediately thought that this kid was the individual 'Tory Lund' that was mentioned in the entry. Balthier then said, "I think that those 'Brutes' might be from that Shadow Alliance group. Sounds evil enough."
"But why would they be here?" Penelo asked.
"Although I did not intend to do so, as of yet, I'll tell you." The kid 'Tory' was standing behind them, supporting himself on the wall of the passenger bay, but, otherwise, looking much better than before. He seemed frustrated, but not hostile (much to Vaan's relief, based on the small fight with the brutes earlier). He then gestured them to follow him out, and when they were all outside the Pelican, Tory began to explain.
Chapter 3: Outta Step with RealityEdit
It was twilight by the time introductions finished, and Tory finished his story. Most of it, Vaan had a hard time believing. Balthier said, skeptically, "So, let me get this straight: You're telling me that you are a part of a Military Faction of a larger 'Coalition', and you are here on a survey mission. Plus, the incident that flattened half of Ivalice was cause by some 'Rift Storm' that transported us from our own Universe. And, to top it all off, this 'Shadow Alliance' group is also here, and plans to either get us to work for them, either through negotiations or force, or just blast us from space along with our world."
"Ok, good, just making sure."
"So," Penelo started, "you say some friends of yours are out there?"
"Yes. According to the trail left in the ground by the Pelican when it crashed, I think that everyone else is now somewhere in that direction." Tory then pointed somewhere in the direction of the Estersand, a desert just east of Rabanastre.
"Well," Balthier said, "we won't find them just waiting here."
"It's almost dark," Penelo said, urgently, "maybe we should wait 'till morning."
Tory responded, "Penelo may have the right idea. Those Jiralhanae had been hunting all day, and, in this desert, even they need rest." However, his expression grew grim. "However, I agree with Balthier. The Brutes won't be hunting by night, but it's not the Brutes that worry me."
Everyone was silent for a moment. The silence was broken by Fran. "I think that, if there are dangers indeed more a threat than these 'Brutes,' that they may be more of one if we stay in one place for the night. If we keep moving, they might not catch us."
Tory then looked up and said, "You have a point there."
Finally, Vaan said, "Then it's settled. Let's get going."
Penelo started to argue, but Vaan gave her a look that said I know what I'm doing, and, knowing that to argue would be futile, she fell silent. In a few minutes, everyone was packed up and ready to go. Tory had pulled a pack of supplies from the dropship and held a gun with glowing lines on its sides.
Penelo was going to get the pack from him, but he said, "I can handle it. Just let me take care of it." Penelo reluctantly backed off. Vaan found that it actually felt a little unusual about how independent Tory was, but he decided to let it rest for now. Tory's companions still needed to be found.
May was getting frustrated with everything that happened that day. When she landed, she came in at an awkward angle and sprained her ankle. 'Well, it could have been worse,' she had thought to herself. She managed to make her way into a canyon and was now hiding on a ledge behind a bush. She looked at her SREVN Sniper Munitions Rifle, which she managed to retrieve before she jumped out of the Pelican. She was the last one to jump out and, therefore, saw the Pelican crash.
She was worried about Tory. He wasn't able to bail out before the dropship crashed. However, with her injured ankle, wouldn't have been able to make it to the crashed dropship. 'Besides,' she thought to herself, 'Tory's tougher than that. He surely survived that crash.' Hidden behind the bush, and being a few meters above the canyon's floor, she knew she was safe. She fell asleep, knowing that, by morning, her ankle will have stopped hurting, or, at least, not hurt so much as to be of any notice.
It was the middle of the night, and Tory and the others had come into a canyon, following a set of footprints. A few minutes or so before, they found a place of disturbed sand that looked like a place where someone who had fallen over landed at. Tory mentioned something about someone named 'May' and began following some footprints leading away from the sight.
"You sure she's here?" Vaan asked.
"Positive," Tory said, "May's the Stealth Division Leader of the organization I'm in and is probably the best at hiding out of any of us. She could be anywhere." The quintet entered the canyon.
A loud thump woke May with a jolt. She looked over her ledge and saw the familiar shape of a man in a full-body jumpsuit and a black helmet, with a semi-transparent red visor.
"Shadow," she whispered. She then retreated behind the bush as the Shadow looked in her direction. Having missed her, the Shadow called into his radio and 3 more of the NOD Special Ops soldiers appeared. Then the 4 soldiers hid in various areas. To try to shoot one now would be suicide: they'd find her before she could drop 2 of them. So she waited, until she heard more people coming around the corner, one of which, she sensed a very familiar presence.
Tory rounded a corner in the canyon and stopped.
"What is it?" Balthier asked.
"She's close," Tory said, concentrating deeply. Suddenly, he said, "And she's not the only one. Get down!"
Everyone ducked for cover and a quartet of streams of laser bolts flew over them. Tory peered out and snarled, "Shadows."
Balthier whispered, "Shadows?"
"Brotherhood of Nod Special Operations Agents. Of all of the Shadow Alliance's Human Forces, Shadows are the most dangerous." He then pointed his gun at the Shadows and fired. A small stream of yellow-orange globules of ionized bullets flashed across the canyon and blasted one of the nearby rocks, the Shadow behind it diving to another rock. After that, his partner fired a stream of laser fire at Tory, who ducked behind his cover again. "They have us," Tory said reluctantly.
Suddenly, a triple-bang and a shout sounded. One Shadow, his visor cracked open, with holes in 3 separate areas, toppled over. However, the Shadow hadn't even hit the ground before another triple-bang sounded and another Shadow died. One of the remaining 2 backed out to find the person killing the others, giving Tory a chance to shoot him. The Shadow's chest was vaporized when the plasmatic lead bullets struck him. Tory aimed at the last Shadow, but a 3rd triple-bang dropped him. The Shadow hit the ground, and everything was silent for the next few minutes.
After 5 or so minutes, Tory shouted, "Nice shot, May. Thanks." On one of the ledges above them, a bush rustled and May crept forward from behind it.
With a look of relief she said, "I knew you would make it." She then noticed Vaan and the others.
Tory quickly said, "Relax, they're friends. People from this world that I helped out earlier."
May lowered her rifle and crept to a slope. She slid down it and was about to step forward, but her left leg buckled and she barely managed to catch herself as she fell over. "Sprained my ankle when I hit the ground," she said, hissing in pain.
"Maybe now would be a time to rest," Tory said.
Penelo then responded, "I agree, but what about those Shadows? Aren't there more?"
"They normally don't occupy a square-mile area with more than 4. We should be safe for now."
Vaan and Penelo didn't feel comfortable with how he said 'normally,' but decided that they did need some rest. Tory said, "I'll take watch."
Chapter 4: Two-For-One PackageEdit
Dawn waited impatiently at the entrance to the cave. When she bailed, she landed not far from one of the other individuals on the dropship. After some time, she found footprints leading into a cave, and recognized them as ones made by the others. Now, she was going to see if she can find them, with the other person. After a while, she saw what looked like a marine come over the nearby hill. "About time," she said impatiently.
"Calm down," Derek responded, "None of us want Nod taking my equipment, do we?" Dawn just huffed and entered the cave. Before he entered, Derek thought for what was not the first time, how he ended up with Dawn.
The group arrived at the entrance to a cave. From inside, they could hear the tell-tale signs of an argument going on. May and Tory knew immediately that it was Dawn and Derek Sanders. The group then entered the cave system, hoping to catch up with them.
"......maybe if you didn't just shoot without coming up with a plan!"
"Well, I did eliminate them didn't I?"
"They could have just as easily defeated US!"
Derek and Dawn were having another argument, after the group (mostly Derek) eliminated a NOD patrol, and Dawn didn't like the fact that Derek almost blew their cover. "And another thing, what if......"
"Quiet," Derek interrupted immediately.
"But I'm not......" Suddenly, Dawn heard a sound, which she took to be the reason why Derek interrupted her.
"Maybe we should......" But before they could back out of the chamber they unwittingly entered, a huge, lizard-like creature with dragon-like wings and a ring around its neck appeared.
"What the heck is that?!" Dawn asked, startled.
"I don't know," Derek responded, "But I don't think its friendly." Just then, it shot a column of lightning from its mouth, and charged.
The group started to hurry when the arguing stopped. Then, a roar echoed through the cave. "Wyrm," Balthier said, "Ring Wyrm by the sound of it."
"That doesn't sound good," Tory said, "Let's hurry." The group broke into a run, until they entered a chamber.
In the middle of the chamber was a huge, lizard-like creature with a ring around its neck and dragon-like wings and horns. Tory and May stepped forward.
"You did quite a bit to help us," Tory said, referring obviously to their direction-giving, "We'll handle this fight."
Before anyone could respond, Tory and May transformed: Tory into a creature made of bolts of electricity, that reminded Vaan of a flat-snouted, earless bangaa, and May turned into a serpent-like creature made entirely of water. Suddenly, 2 more figures came into view, fighting the Wyrm: one was a young girl, the other was a soldier wielding a rifle that quickly fired bullets at the Wyrm. The bullets pinged off its scales, but the soldier appeared to be aiming at the beast's eyes.
The girl then spotted Tory and May. She smiled and likewise transformed, into a giant snake of lava and fire, covered in the kind of rock found around a volcano. "Good to sssee you two," she said.
"Good to see you too, Dawn," Tory/Beast said.
Dawn/Snake then saw Vaan and the others, and said, "I sssee you picked up a few nativessss."
"They've been quite a bit of help, for your information," May/Serpent snapped.
Dawn/Snake just turned her attention to the Wyrm and fired a stream of fire at it. May/Serpent then also fired a stream, hers being a stream of super-condensed water, at the Wyrm. However, the Wyrm wasn't fazed, and it lashed out at Tory/Beast, who was sneaking up on it. He was hit with tremendous force and was thrown into May/Serpent. May/Serpent then was zapped by Tory/Beast's electrically-charged body, and was turned back into her normal form. She slowly got up as Tory/Beast attempted to get up as well, and spontaneously transformed it his normal form. Dawn/Snake came over and transformed into her normal self.
"Calm down Tory, it's not worth it now," Dawn said. Tory calmed down, Vaan seeing from his location that Tory's eyes were turning red, until then.
Tory asked, "Then what are we going to do now?"
The 2 figures were retreating back through the cave. They heard the battle going on. "I sense the presence of a Wyrm. It seems to have a malevolent heart and is attacking something," Draconus Rex said. "It's some of the others," Adriana said, "May, Derek, Tory, and Dawn, among others."
"Then they are in danger," Draconus Rex said, pulling out his sword while Adriana pulled out her quarterstaff. The 2 then found the entrance of the chamber, and prepared to engage.
Chapter 5: Shadows of the AllianceEdit
Tory, Dawn, and May dodged as another column of electricity shot passed them. Vaan's group was forced to exit the tunnel as the column struck the nearby wall and collapsed it. The creature roared in fury as it noticed the new creatures entering its chamber.
It charged forward at Vaan and Penelo, who prepared to defend themselves from the attack, when, suddenly, an individual in heavy plate armor leapt in and plunged his sword into the Wyrm's scales. It cried in fury as the sword slid through its defensive scales and injured it.
When the individual approached, no one spoke for a moment, then Tory finally broke the silence by saying, "I never thought I would ever be as glad to see you as I am right now, Draconus."
Suddenly, another voice said, "There's no time for that now." The others looked and saw Adriana, her jumpsuit equipped with some of the Magnetic Armor Plating she normally attached to the suit's Iron-Filament Threads. "In case you didn't notice, that THING is getting back up."
The others then noticed the Wyrm getting up, like Adriana said. The group prepared to attack, when, suddenly, the Wyrm was struck by a stream of energy and dropped, dead and smoldering, to the ground. They felt a momentary sensation of relief, until they heard a familiar, spine-chilling voice say, "No......these are for me to kill......"
Tory, May, Dawn, and Adriana looked and saw......"TARTORUS!"
"Yes, whelps. Good to see I have not been forgotten."
Vaan watched as a Jiralhanae entered the chamber. It looked similar to the ones Vaan saw before. However, this one's fur was white, and leaked a black energy. Vaan whispered to Draconus, "What is THAT?"
"Tartorus, the supreme evil leading the Shadow Alliance. He is the one responsible for a lot of destruction and murder." The creature 'Tartorus' charged forward, Tory countering with a blast of purplish energy, compounded by a blast of amber energy from Dawn and light-blue energy from May. However, the large creature continued, un-fazed, and struck. A beam of red energy lanced out and blasted Tory and Dawn against the wall. May and Adriana tried to flank the creature, but were met with a pulsating wall of blackish energy. However, Vaan and Penelo were able to prepare something for Tartorus.
"Ready Penelo?" Vaan asked.
Penelo nodded, and said, "I have a feeling this Tartorus won't expect it."
Just then, energy coalesced around Vaan and Penelo. First, Penelo stepped forward and spun extremely fast, energy bolts forming and flying off around her. When she came to a stop, the bolts struck Tartorus head-on, causing him to stagger. Vaan was next. He rose into the air and, in his hands, 2 orbs of reddish energy formed and he threw them at Tartorus. When they made contact, they exploded with tremendous force. The Hellcat Squadran members looked flabbergasted.
"What was THAT?" Adriana asked, completely confused.
Fran answered, "They used Quickening Moves, abilities that require tapping into the Mist......which it appears you never heard of," she added on, in response to Adriana's further look of confusion.
However, when the dust thrown up by the attack settled, Tartorus had disappeared. Tory began "Where is......"
No one had time to react as Tartorus appeared out of no-where and quickly grabbed Penelo by the neck. Vaan shouted, "Let her go, or......"
"Or what?!" Tartorus taunted, "You'll attack me? If you do," he produced one of the guns from one of the earlier Jiralhanae, "SHE dies." Vaan stood back and considered what to do. Penelo began to pass out from lack of breath, and, if no one thought fast, would suffocate. Suddenly, shadowy energy streamed down Tartorus's arm and struck Penelo's neck. "Think quickly. Surrender or she dies."
No one moved, then Tartorus said, "Then I gue......huh?" A flash seemed to distract Tartorus, causing him to slacken his grip on Penelo, but she was still held firm in the Brute's grasp. Vaan and the others turned around and saw an orb of light.
Chapter 6: The Light in the ShadowsEdit
Everyone saw as the orb pulsated and pulsed, growing. After a moment, Tartorus roared in fury and prepared to strike Penelo, when suddenly, the light orb burst, and a Teenage Boy wielding a sword appeared and slashed the sword at Tartorus. He wasn't close enough to actually strike Tartorus, but, as it appeared, he wasn't trying: a blade of light shot out and severed the arm Tartorus was holding Penelo with from its body. Vaan quickly came in, caught Penelo's limp body, and sped back out.
Roaring in fury, Tartorus, while he regenerated his arm, shouted, "ICEBITE! YOU HAVE ALWAYS INTERFERED!"
The individual, 'IceBite', said, "You attack my people, and threatened those my people befriended. I cannot allow that." Suddenly, Vaan remembered: Tory mentioned and individual called 'IceBite', as his commanding officer.
"YOU STILL HAVE INTERFERED FOR THE LAST TIME!" Tartorus charged, and, at last second, IceBite side-stepped. Tartorus fumbled and couldn't dodge, as IceBite sliced with his sword. The sword struck Tartorus's side, slicing through the hide there. Tartorus then began to berserk. He pulled out a Hammer, also leaking shadowy energy and swung at IceBite. IceBite blocked several times, until Tartorus swung the butt of the Hammer at him. IceBite staggered and Tartorus prepared to swing the killing blow. Suddenly, IceBite lashed out, a SECOND sword, this one's blade made of Energy, appearing in his hand. The new sword slashed into Tartorus who roared in pain. IceBite then crossed the swords and slashed with both. Then, Double-Projected Blades shot out and struck Tartorus, who howled in pain. Tartorus staggered and IceBite approached.
"We WILL meet again," Tartorus said, and he vanished.
Vaan then turned his attention to Penelo. She was laying on the ground, shivering, and with a large black spot on her neck, exactly where 'Tartorus' grabbed her at. "Is your friend injured?" Vaan turned quickly and saw IceBite standing next to him.
"You have any clue what's wrong. There's a black area......" IceBite was already bending down and inspecting the area.
"Shadow beings can infect any they touch with Shadow Energy. If left unchecked, the individual will become completely infected, and die."
Vaan looked shocked and looked worryingly at Penelo. "Is......is there anything we can do......for her?"
Suddenly, Tory spoke up. "Hey, dude, IceBite here happens to be the exact OPPOSITE of Tartorus."
IceBite cut off Tory and said, "I can use my light powers. That should reverse and destroy the corruption." IceBite's hand began to glow with light. He slowly placed it on the spot on Penelo's neck that was being corrupted. Suddenly, Penelo jolted and yelped, the reversing of the corruption shocking here back to consciousness. She kept her eyes shut while IceBite continued to remove the corruption. Suddenly, the black area disappeared. Just then, Penelo shrieked and passed out.
"What happened?!" Vaan asked, angrily.
IceBite calmly responded, "The de-corruption process is usually painful to the corruption victim. She only passed out, but is now not corrupted."
Vaan let out a sigh of relief, then said, "I'm sorry about that." IceBite nodded and said, "Don't be. You seemed like the kind of person who didn't know how this sort of stuff works, but are also loyal to your friends. I would have probably responded in kind." IceBite stood up, suddenly, his head darting in multiple directions, before saying, "We must go. More Jiralhanae have our scent and we are not in a good position to fight." Vaan picked up Penelo and everyone exited the chamber.
Chapter 7: Passing DangerEdit
The part of the cave the group stopped for the night at was small, not nearly as large as the Wyrm's Chamber. This, however, made it easier to defend. When the group arrived at the location, Vaan set Penelo, who was still unconscious, against the wall furthest from either the entrance to the room or the exit right next to the entrance. IceBite told the others to get some rest, that he'd stand watch. However, Vaan insisted that he also stay awake, if only to watch over Penelo, and, eventually, IceBite agreed. A while afterwards, however, Penelo regained consciousness, and, after introductions, IceBite convinced Vaan and Penelo to get some rest (especially Penelo).
However, Penelo didn't stay asleep very long. "Why aren't you asleep? And don't say that you're taking watch. After some time, you could easily wake someone up to take your place."
IceBite responded, "I don't sleep. I don't require sleep."
"What do you mean by that?" Penelo asked, confused.
"It is not of your concern, as of now. Get some rest. We depart in the morning. I seriously doubt anyone, especially your friend Vaan, would like to see you succumb to exhaustion."
The next morning, as soon as everyone was awake, IceBite said to the others, "Quickly, we must keep moving."
"Is he always this......demanding?" Vaan asked May and Tory in a hushed whisper.
"No," May said.
However, Tory spoke up, "Usually, he's a lot more demanding." May shot Tory a sharp glance, but Tory didn't notice. Vaan then just went over to help Penelo, who still felt a little weak.
"Let's lock and load," IceBite said, "We're moving out."
The Canister shot through space at faster-than-light speed. Having responded to the disappearance of the Hellcat Squadran Pelican, the individual in the Canister decided to head to their assistance. Finally the Canister arrived at its destination: a small, seemingly-insignificant planet. The Canister slammed into the ground, and a port on the side opened. Then, a figure climbed out of the Pod. "Now, to find them," Soo-Doh-Koo said, "I hope they are not far."
The group made its way through the cave system. Whenever the group would try to stop for breath, however, the sound of Brutes approaching caused the group to be pushed forward. Eventually, the group saw a light indicating the cave's exit. They finally walked into sunlight, but the Brutes still chased them. "It's apparent they won't stop following us," IceBite said, "We'll have to stand our ground."
"I think that we are probably too worn out to take them on," Balthier pointed out.
"I still have a few tricks up my sleeve," IceBite said. The Brutes in the cave approached, and IceBite pulled out both of his swords. He said to the others, "Be ready." The Brutes then charged from the cave, 8 total, led by one in a set of Dull-Gold armor, with a V-Shaped Helmet-Dress. "War Chieftain!" IceBite called out to the others. IceBite lunged as the War Chieftain pulled out a Gravity Hammer, and the 2 dueled. Meanwhile, a Brute charged at the group, but fell at Draconus Rex's Sword.
"Bring them on! These evil filths will fall to my blade!" Another was brought down by Adriana, as she pulled out her staff and bashed open the Brute's skull. Another trio of the Brutes approached Tory and Dawn. The 2 nodded and transformed into their Elemental Forms. Then, Tory/Beast and Dawn/Snake then merged, forming a man-sized, saurian-like creature. The creature opened its mouth and a large beam of what looked like plasma shot out, melting one Brute. The other 2 ran in terror, but fell to Derek Sander's Rifle. One of the last 2, who was equipped with Stalker-Brute Armor. snuck up on the others. However, Penelo noticed a shimmering in the air, so as the Brute's Active Camo deactivated, she had time to plunge a dagger she had in between the Brute's armor plates. The Brute howled in pain, making it noticed by Derek, who shot it in the face.
What the others didn't notice however, was that the last Brute snuck up behind Derek and knocked him over. It was about to fire its weapon, when a spiked projectile struck it, exploding on impact. Standing on a nearby ledge was a partially-mechanical individual in black and red armor, with an arm that looked more mechanical than the rest of its body, and a Black, Long-Crested Helmet. However, its form shivered, indicating a completely organic shape-shifter.
"Soo-Doh-Koo," the others heard IceBite say. They looked at where he was just fighting the Brute Leader, and found the Brute a corpse inside a shell of dull-gold armor. The shape-shifter nodded. "Why are you here?" IceBite asked, slightly confused.
"Your ship lost contact. I came to investigate. I see you found friends with the planet's populous," Soo-Doh-Koo said.
"We must keep moving. Is there a settlement nearby?"
Balthier spoke up. "Well, the Capital of Dalmasca, Rabanastre, is nearby. If fact, we intended on taking you there when everyone was found."
IceBite eyed him suspiciously. "Well, all of us are here, so I guess it would be time."
"All right," Vaan said, "This way." The group finally began the trek to Rabanastre. While on the way, Vaan and the others told the members of Hellcat Squadran about Ivalice, right down to the recent Archadian Power-Struggle, ending in the take-over of the empire.
After some time, the group climbed a hill, and saw a partially-destroyed, recently repaired city.
Chapter 8: Race Against TimeEdit
The group approached the gates of Rabanastre. A pair of armored soldiers stood at the gate. Vaan whispered to IceBite, "Former Archadian soldiers. Part of the group that fled the former Archadian Empire and joined Dalmasca."
IceBite nodded and walked up to the gate. "Halt," one soldier said, raising a hand, "Who are you?" Vaan came forward, and, before he said a word, the soldier understood. "All right, enter." The group entered the city and, when after walking up the stairs to the center of the crossroads of the gates. Visible from there was a large building.
"What's that?" IceBite asked, pointing to the building.
"That's the Palace of Rabanastre," Penelo said.
IceBite immediately asked, "That's where your leader is?" The way he asked made Vaan and Penelo feel uneasy.
"Yes, she is there," Vaan said.
"I'll need to speak to her, then," IceBite said. Vaan and Penelo paused.
However, Balthier didn't. "Ok," he said, "This way."
It took quite a bit of talk for IceBite to finally arrange to meet with Ashe, and even longer was the wait. Finally, IceBite, along with Tory, May, and Dawn, as well as Vaan, Penelo, Balthier, and Fran, made their way into the Palace.
Eventually, they found Ashe on a Balcony. "So," she said, "you're the leader of the people that were on the airship?"
IceBite nodded, and said, "There's something you should know."
Ashe looked the group over and said, "Speak." IceBite flinched.
'Apparently, he isn't used to being ordered around like this,' Vaan thought.
Finally, IceBite said, "There is an organization of factions that my organization, and its allies, fight against, and it knows we are here. And, because of some friends we made from here," he indicated Vaan and them, "they know we made allies here. I have a feeling that, sooner or later, they will come here, in force...... Then again, they may have come here anyways."
Ashe seemed to understand what IceBite meant. "You really think they allied with the Archadians?" That idea took everyone by surprise.
"Exactly. The Shadow Alliance thinks we already agreed to terms of an Alliance, so they may have tried to find a possible ally. They have been too lucky trying to find us. I think the 2 may already be allies."
Ashe looked at IceBite for a moment. "What are you suggesting?" "That we do exactly what they fear we already did," IceBite said with a sly smile creeping up his face. Ashe and IceBite looked at each other for a moment.
Ashe was surely thinking about the possible consequences of this action. However, she seemed to have decided when she nodded and asked, "What do you need us to do?"
IceBite then immediately started saying, "The Shadow Alliance will probably try to take over this city in force. What I need is access to materials my people can use to fortify this city against the enemy's attack. I'll also need maps of any secret passages into and out of the city. The Shadow Alliance could surely use them to their advantage." Vaan watched as IceBite continued to list different actions and conditions that he needed to prepare for the defense of the city. From all the preparations IceBite mentioned Vaan knew that this was going to be a tough fight.
The next morning, Hellcat Squadran began to get to work fortifying Rabanastre. After recovering salvage from their crashed airship, Hellcat Squadran began making multiple devices, including missile launchers and flak cannons, and placing them in multiple areas on Rabanastre's walls. The Dalmascans were divided between being impressed with Hellcat Squadran's ingenuity and fear of why they were fortifying the city. Sometime later, Ashe had to tell her people of what was going on. Surprisingly, they took it rather well, and some even did what they could to help fortify the city.
"That's it," Tory said, "That's the LAST of what we could salvage from the Pelican." IceBite had sent Tory, Balthier, and 2 friends of Vaan's: Kytes, a rising 'Black Mage', and Filo, a young orphan that wanted to be a sky pirate like Vaan, to scavenge the Pelican wreck for anything useful. This round, the group returned with the last of the Pelican's Autocannon ammunition and some electronics, including the Pelican's sensors.
"The rest of it looked melted and didn't really smell all that great," Balthier mentioned.
IceBite took note of the salvage and said, "It'll have to do. See if you can get some sort of tracking system made from the electronics. Maybe they won't expect auto-aiming weaponry from this city, which would give us the element of surprise."
Moments later, Vaan returned. After learning of the mysterious properties of creatures from Ivalice, IceBite put up several requests for hunters to hunt down various marks, whose parts could supposedly be used in the creation of some of the weapons they would need. Vaan, not surprisingly, accepted most of them. "I got the things you needed. I can understand why you would need the Bomb Cranks and the Slime Oil, but when it comes to the Sagittarius and Virgo Gems, the Mirror Scales, and the Holy Crystals, you got me."
"I believe that either myself or Tory may be able to fashion them into some form of laser weapon," IceBite responded, "We have to be prepared for anything.
Chapter 9: Imperial MarchEdit
Vaan finally returned to the city at nightfall, with the last of the parts IceBite required for his experimental laser weapon.
Penelo, who was with him, commented, "Doesn't it bother you at all how old some of IceBite's 'officers' are? Even he himself appears only 16."
"And Filo's only 11 and Kytes is only 10, and you don't appear worried about them," Vaan countered.
"They know what they're doing, and we know it. How are we supposed to know if these guys can handle it?"
"Penelo, those Brutes were SCARED of Tory, don't you remember? They feared him, meaning at least he has a reputation among those things, and he looks UP to IceBite. If that's the case, he surely knows what he's doing."
Suddenly, they heard a thumping in the distance. They looked towards the Giza Plains, and then saw a massive, metallic construct approaching. It looked like some form of Wolf. Suddenly, green streaks of light shot at Rabanastre's walls from beyond the construct. When they impacted, the walls seemed to fragment. The explosion threw Vaan and Penelo to the ground. The soldiers at the gate came to Vaan's and Penelo's aid.
"What was that?" Penelo shouted.
May, who was, apparently, nearby, came up to help the soldiers help Vaan and Penelo up. "Galactic Empire All Terrain Armored Transports. AT-AT for short. I've heard of them, but I've never seen one myself before."
Then, Vaan pointed out, "Well, they're getting closer."
The soldiers, Vaan, Penelo, and May ran into the city and seeked out IceBite, who was discussing supplies with Tomaj at the bar known as the Sandsea.
"You have the supplies? And..." He then noticed May's expression. "...It's begun, hasn't it?"
"Yes, it has," May said.
"Well, at least we have those supplies you asked for," Vaan said, handing IceBite a pouch full of Adamantite Ore, Mithril Nuggets, and Sun Dust.
"Ok," IceBite said, "now, we have a threat to deal with. Tory!"
At a nearby table, Tory had fallen asleep working on a device. He woke with a start. "Who? What? Where?"
"Tory, wake up, the Imperials are attacking!" IceBite told him.
Tory groaned. IceBite understood this as a groan of hatred at the Imperials, not of irritation at being woken up. "On it," he said, slightly irritated. Now THAT, IceBite could tell was from how tired he was.
Tory signalled the few Ex-Archadians he trained to use his defense mechanisms and they left. Vaan, Penelo, and IceBite followed them out, until they entered a section of the Palace reserved as a workshop. Minutes later, they emerged, piloting spidery war machines with cannons on top.
"Hopefully, any dropships they send won't get past us," Tory said, as the spider-mechs began climbing the walls of the buildings in Rabanastre.
IceBite nodded, and watched as the defenses got to the ready. It was all they could muster with what little they had. "Good luck," he mouthed to Tory, as he readied for battle.
Ex-Archadian Soldiers lined the walls, all armed with some form of Ivalician Gun. Near the South Gate, Dawn took command of Defenses there, while May took over the East Gate, and, from the West Gate, Vaan and Penelo helped in the defense.
It wasn't long before the Turbolasers began pounding the walls, and the dropships closed on the city. Vaan and Penelo watched the dropships nervously, but were relieved when Tory's Walkers spammed the skies with Mithril nuggets, shreading the craft.
However, they saw as soldiers clad in pristine, white armor marched towards the gate. They could see that the other gates faced the same threat. Then, they watched as 2-legged war machines joined up with the soldiers. "This is not good..." Vaan commented.
Ashe watched the battle from the palace. Although she wanted to be down there, fighting, IceBite convinced her that she needed to say there. However, as the Imperials closed, she just wanted to go out there and fight more. Then, Basch approached her. "I want to aid in the battle out there, too, but that IceBite character's the one who's experienced in this universe's combat. The city'll be fine..."
"I sure hope so, Basch..." Ashe replied, "I just feel so helpless, just waiting here."
Suddenly, an explosion sounded next to them. Fortunately, Basch was able to shield Ashe from the blast, and his armor sufficiently protected himself from it. Out of the blast came a squad of men in black jumpsuits, with helmets sporting red visors. They had backpacks on them with what looked like collapsable gliders on them, and wielded small pistols. A symbol identified them immediately: Nod Assassins.
Chapter 10: Outside and InEdit
Speeder Bikes rushed the gates, but their blasters were not strong enough to penetrate the gate. The Gunners on the walls were able to pick the Scout troopers off at their liesure, but soon had to drop down as the Stormtroopers began firing on the soldiers on the walls.
Vaan and Penelo on the West Gate were readying something to help them take on the Imperials. When Vaan was ready, he called out, "Hey, helmet-head, I'd like you to meet someone!" Immediately, he pulled out a flat item marked by a sigil and he channeled Mist Energy into it. Soon afterwards, a rune appeared at his feet, and from the sigil sprang a large, winged creature that looked to be a cross between a goat and a dragon. The air around the creature crackled with intense electricity.
Chapter 11: Reinforcements of the SquadranEdit
Chapter 12: The Occuria's WarningEdit
Chapter 13: Desert RunEdit
Chapter 14: Break for SpaceEdit
- Ashelia B'nargin Dalmasca
- Vaan (Not Yet Member of Hellcat Squadran)
- Penelo (Not Yet Member of Hellcat Squadran)
- Jean-Luc Picard - United Federation of Planets
- Chancellor Martok - Klingon Empire
- Gerun - Occuria
- Balthier - Unaligned (Not Yet Member of Hellcat Squadran)
- Fran - Unaligned (Not Yet Member of Hellcat Squadran)
- Gilgamesh - Unaligned
- Enkidu - Unaligned