The Mad KingEdit
Clara jumped from platform to platform, dodging simulated blaster fire. A sniper was on the other end of the arena, and she was unarmed. She ducked and rolled under a blast before jumping toward the sniper's platform, where she landed next to him. She quickly spun around, throwing one leg up and causing the back of her heel to connect with his head, knocking him off the platform to his demise. The simulation ended and Clara let out a long breath. The door to the simulator opened and she saw Loran walk in. "Hey, what's up?" She asked.
"The Spartacus is here. I think we're up." He said.
"Ah. Alright, I'll be right out." Clara said and quickly gathered her things and threw her cloak over her shoulders. Once she had everything, she ran out to the landing pads, where she found her friends already waiting. Everyone except Ziva was there. She slipped up beside Caden and asked "Where's Ziva?"
"She headed up early to check everything out, make sure things were still going according to plan. She hasn't called us, so I guess it is." He replied. Soon, a gunship flew down and opened up. The group boarded it, and Clara planted herself in between Caden and Sen.
"Maya's alright with you coming along?" Clara asked Sen.
"Yeah, just this once." He replied. She smiled and shook her head, glancing out the window to see the Spartacus in the sky.
"At least their stealth is better, this time." Clara pointed out. She turned to Caden and asked "Where's the non-jedi folk?"
"Sola's gonna send this ship down to get the others once we've been dropped off." He explained. She nodded in response and made a quick adjustment to her mechanical arm. She had stopped wearing a false skin over the limb, deciding it was slightly cowardly. Soon, the ship had reached the Spartacus and had landed in a hangar. The doors began to open, and the group was sucked out into the hangar. Clara and Caden were the first to their feet, and they looked up and saw Sola, Dinaya, and Ziva, all on their knees and bound. A large force of Ghosts stood around them, strangely clad in black armor and holding red blades. Behind their friends stood Neil, pacing back and forth like a tiger in a cage.
"Ah, hello my friends." Neil said. He ran his fingers through Ziva's hair and looked up at them. They couldn't see his eyes behind his helmet, but they could guess his expression. "I wouldn't go for your weapons." Neil said as Loran, Aurora, and Sen rose. "Unless you want these three dead." Caden looked as though he was about to not listen, when Clara gave him a look, and he relented. "Good. Now, Clara, you know of the one who funded the Shades, no? Liam Whitfield, from Coruscant?"
"Yes." She said shortly, trying as hard as she could to restrain herself.
"Well, he funds me now. And since I can't have you lot around, I'm going to send you to him, where he can handle you." As he said it, a large machine gun came from a hatch on the ceiling. It briefly looked around the room and then at the group. It fired four times, darts striking Loran, Aurora, Sen, and Clara. The four of them dropped, and Caden instinctively drew his lightsabers. Neil quickly knelt down beside Ziva and put the hilt of his Marethari sword up under her chin. "Not a word, not a movement." He said to Caden. "Since you didn't listen to me, something has to happen." Neil said, and four darts hit Caden in the chest. Immediately, he felt woozy and exhausted, and he fell to his knees. Neil rose up and stood behind Ziva, his clawed gloves scraping over her face. Then, he put down one finger on her forehead, and her eyes glazed over and she pitched forward onto the floor. Caden tried to move, tried to scream, tried to do anything, but it only made him dizzier. Neil walked over and lifted him up, carrying him over to the hangar doors. Neil lifted a hand up and his hand glowed silver with black sparks. Little areas of earth did the same. "Now Caden, what I'm doing is taking people who I know are precious to people like yourself, and I am sending them in between myself, my new forces, and my goal. That way I can kill them." He said and threw Caden to the floor. He grabbed Caden's face and forced him to look at Ziva's prone form. "And this should give you and idea of how I'm going to begin." Neil's voice whispered into Caden's ear as Caden drifted out of consciousness.
Morrigan awoke to the sound of the phone ringing. She groaned and glanced at her clock, which read one in the afternoon. She had had a late night, so she was rather exhausted. Morrigan also resolved to not sleep in her full clothes again. She wore full leather very often, and she realized it was very uncomfortable to sleep in. She picked herself up and answered the phone. "Hello?" She said tiredly.
"Go downstairs. There's something you ought to see." A voice said. Morrigan walked downstairs and dropped the phone. Her boyfriend, Zevran, had been impaled with a large glass shard. Her friends, Isabela and Varric, were likewise positioned. Beside them, a man clad in dark armor was pacing. He looked at her and held a hand up. Everything vanished in a swirl of grey, silver, and black. When her vision returned, she was in a forest. She looked around, shock kicking in. For a long moment, she stood there and cried, taking in the whole situation. When she finally stopped, she looked around and started walking, thinking back to the time her mother had taught her outdoor survival.
She found a stream and briefly drank some of the water from it. She sat there for a moment before she heard a few steps off to her right. She looked over and saw a woman who she guessed was close to her age, also leaning down to drink from the stream. Morrigan slowly rose and edged over. She made a rookie mistake and stepped on a twig, and the woman looked over, hand going to one of the bowie knives she wore. Morrigan, who was unarmed, held her hands up, knowing she could take a knife fighter if she had to, but wanted to know what was going on. "I don't want to fight you. Do you know where it is I am?" She asked.
"Good question." The woman asked, slowly rising. "Black and silver swirl and then you ended up here?"
"Yeah, you too?" Morrigan asked, surprised.
"Yes, about three hours ago. Been looking for other people ever since." The woman replied. "I'm Skylar, by the way." She said.
"Morrigan...Sigurdson?" Skylar asked hesitantly.
"Yes, how'd you know?" Morrigan asked, suspicious.
"I'm Skylar Llehctim." She explained. Morrigan immediately realized who it was.
"Ah..." Morrigan said. Her mother had often said that this woman's parents shouldn't be trusted. However, Morrigan was willing to take a chance with their kid. They can't all be bad. Morrigan thought. "Ok, think we should travel together until we can get out of here?" Morrigan asked.
"I guess..." Skylar started. "If we both showed up by the same means, who's to say there are others here, too?" She pointed out.
"Good idea. We should maybe build a fire, try to signal for people to come here." Morrigan suggested.
"What if we attract someone we don't want to show up?" Skylar pointed out.
"Give me one of those knives you're wearing and that won't be a problem." Morrigan said. Hesitantly, Skylar relented and gave Morrigan a butterfly knife. The two set to work making a fire by the stream, knowing it was a good idea to stay near water. A deer wandered out to take a drink from the stream.
"You know how to cook a deer?" Skylar whispered. Morrigan nodded, and Skylar's hands went to a pair of throwing knives, which she threw expertly at the deer, piercing its head and dropping it. The two brought the deer over to the fire and Morrigan set to work.
"Nice throw." She complimented, impressed.
"Thanks." Skylar replied simply. A few hours later, the two were eating the deer, including some of its organs, which Morrigan needed to talk Skylar into, very briefly. Morrigan also cracked open some of its bones to eat the bone marrow, which Skylar decided to not eat. The two stayed up into the night, and Skylar volunteered to take the first watch for the night. When Morrigan took over halfway through the night, she consciously tried, hard, to keep herself from thinking about Zev, Isabela, and Varric. She would start counting stars, or count how many times an owl would hoot, or anything else in particular. As the sun started to rise, Morrigan spotted a pillar of smoke further into the forest. Gently, she nudged Skylar awake. "Huh? Wha?" Skylar mumbled.
"Morning. Smoke on the horizon. Should we check it out, or catch a squirrel or something for breakfast first?"
"Smoke?" Skylar asked. "Think its someone else's?
"Well, it isn't ours." Morrigan replied.
"Well, sure hope it isn't a random fire that started." Skylar said, sitting up and rubbing her eyes.
"That a no to breakfast?" Morrigan asked.
"If we have time." Skylar said.
"C'mon, let's go." Morrigan told her and the two started to head towards the pillar of smoke. Midway through their trek, Morrigan spotted a squirrel, grabbed one of Skylar's throwing knives, and nailed the squirrel to a tree with it.
"Nice hit." Skylar complimented.
"Thanks." Morrigan said and retrieved the squirrel, cutting it open. She tossed Skylar a little piece of meat that looked suspiciously like a heart. Skylar looked at the organ and then to Morrigan, who smirked and said "Don't worry, it isn't that bad." Skylar made a do-or-die face and ate it. Once she got past the fact she was eating a raw heart, she didn't mind it too much. They moved on and eventually came upon the fire they had been looking for. It was a young man with a dark, light armor with a hood and mask pulled down. A pair of knives, two swords, and a pistol were lying next to him. "Should we talk to him? Think you can take him if you need to?" Morrigan asked Skylar in a whisper.
"Still have that butterfly knife?" Skylar asked after a moment.
"Alright, we can take him. I will want that knife back and some point, though." Skylar warned. Morrigan nodded, and the two stepped out into the open. Immediately, the man spotted them and fixed his gaze on them.
"Morning, ladies. Nice to see another couple humans." He said in a friendly voice. "You end up here by surprise?"
"Dark swirl, then here?" Morrigan asked.
"You bet. I'm just glad I'm not the only one." He said. He quickly gestured to the area around the fire. "Please, feel free to join me." Cautiously, the two women inched over to the fire, and sat down next to it. "I'm Dean. Dean Snow." He said. Skylar's eyes lit up with familiarity.
"You're the vigilante who lives in Veldton." She said.
"That I am. Afraid to say that I'm unfamiliar with you, though." Dean replied.
"I'm Skylar Llechtim." She said, putting a surprised and impressed look on Dean's face. Morrigan cleared her throat, and Skylar quickly added "And this is Morrigan."
"Sigurdson." Morrigan quickly added. They talked for a while before Dean looked up, distracted by something. "What?" Morrigan asked.
"Other fires. There's a lot of smoke pillars in the sky." He said. Skylar and Morrigan looked up, and saw there was indeed other smoke pillars.
"Should we go and look?" Skylar suggested. Dean nodded his agreement, and Morrigan nodded as well. The group rose, Dean fully equipping himself, and they made their way towards the closest tower of smoke.
Clara's eyes shot open. She sat up and looked around. She was on a bed in a windowless cell, and there was another cell across a hall from hers. She moved over to the door and saw Dinaya was sitting on her bed, leaned against the wall. "D!" She whispered, and Dinaya looked over and walked over. Her dark hair was cut shorter than normal, the left side of her face was swollen, and the right had a bad cut above her eye. "Dinaya, what happened?" Clara said, her jaw dropping.
"Neil. He found the ship and took over. Almost everyone defected to him. He's got an army of force users now, as well as various cloned soldiers and mercenaries from all over the galaxy. He dropped us off with some politician Nymeria used to deal with, and we're being held on his compound on a moon somewhere. Vitor is off somewhere, he wasn't on ship when Neil took over. I don't know if he's on our side or not." Dinaya summed up.
"Sola and Rorii were taken to another hall after Sola shivved one of the guards. I don't know after that. Loran, Caden, and Sen, haven't seen them since I woke up. Ziva..." Dinaya trailed off, closing her eyes. "I think she might be dead, Clara." Dinaya said finally. Clara's eyes widened. "Neil just touched her, and she dropped. I couldn't sense her. She was blank." Dinaya finished.
"We need to get out." Clara said, shaking her head to wave off the shock.
"Yes, I know. Be warned, there are Ysalamir all over the prison, we won't be able to use the force." Dinaya said. Clara swore. "Listen...for now, let's just try to regain any strength we have. If we try something now, someone will die for sure. Let's just...lay low for now. Eat everything you can. God knows when we'll get to eat again." Dinaya told her, then returned to her old position. The way she moved indicated she would not say anything further. Clara sighed, looked down each end of the hallway, and saw that it was barren. She cursed again and lay down on the bed, a million different plans going through her head of how to escape.
Her dreams that night showed her only images. Brief and unrelenting. Destruction, chaos, death, pain, betrayal, rage. She couldn't make sense of it all. All she knew was that she was trapped at the center of it. When she awoke, she looked over and saw a couple of guards leering at Dinaya, who was asleep. No. No, no no. Clara thought and quickly rapped her knuckles on the wall, drawing their attention. The two guards turned and quickly put their keys in the keyhole of her cell. Clara sighed and sat up. Two minutes later, both guards were unconscious, one with an elbow broken, the other with a leg snapped at the knee. Clara stepped out of her cell and immediately felt an electric shock to her face. When her vision stopped blurring, she awoke in her bed, wearing a straightjacket and a guard posted outside her cell. She looked and saw Dinaya, who was now awake herself. Dinaya shook her head at Clara and lay down, not saying a word to her.
Two days passed before anything happened with Morrigan, Dean, and Skylar. When they finally found someone, it was a large group of people, all around one larger fire. They guessed that the multiple fires had been from numerous groups until they had all converged into one. They slowly exited the treeline, hoping that they wouldn't attack them. A young woman looked up and saw them, raising a pistol. The large group of about twenty people all raised weapons. "Hey now, we're friendlies." Dean said, raising his hands.
"Blackish swirl, then here?" The woman asked.
"You know it." Dean replied. She lowered her pistol.
"I'm Taryn. Come on, more people, the more the odds of finding out where we are increase." She said and they slowly joined the group. "This isn't everyone. There's two people who are running off looking for food, should be back soon." Taryn said. They briefly introduced themselves, and the rest of the group did the same. After a few hours, there was a rustling in the trees, and everyone turned. Soon, a pair of blonde heads poked out of the treeline.
"Morri?" One of them said. Morrigan looked more closely as they drew near, and saw that it was her mother and sister. Wordlessly, she ran over and embraced the two.
"Thank god, you're ok." Her mother muttered.
"Yeah...ma, Zev, Izzy, and Varric are all gone." Morrigan said. Leliana closed her eyes and let out a long breath. Leandra hugged her daughter more closely. "Some guy, dark armor, black and grey. Horned helmet, with glowing red eyes and chest lights." Morrigan said, remembering suddenly. Leandra pulled out of the hug and looked her daughter in the eye.
"You're sure?" Leandra asked.
"Damn it. Taryn, we found a ruin of some sort. Better shelter and would be easily defensible." Leandra said. Taryn nodded, and soon the group was moving. As they moved from the camp to the ruin, following Leandra and Leliana, Dean slipped up beside Skylar.
"So, you know any of these people?" He asked.
"Not really. I know of Leandra by reputation. One of the best soldiers of all time, if the history books mean anything. Also a famous filmmaker at this point." Skylar replied.
"Didn't she used to work for your father?"
"Yeah...they didn't part well, apparently. He and my mom don't like to talk about it." Skylar replied.
"And they shouldn't." Leandra's voice rang out, surprising, and silencing, both Skylar and Dean from further conversation. They finally came upon a clearing, a clearing right before a mountainside. There was a ruined temple on the side of the mountain, and any trained military man or woman could tell it would be defensible with enough people. Leandra and Leliana led them in and around the temple. Leandra quickly took charge of the situation and the group set up a small camp in the ruin, all staying together. She also pointed out several good sniper positions, and sent Leliana up to one with a rifle. After two more were occupied, she pulled Morrigan aside. "Are you ok?" She asked.
"No...but I haven't got time to mourn. Let's survive first." Morrigan said. A look of pure, undiluted sadness hit Leandra. Morrigan almost thought she looked as though she was looking at herself. "Mom...are you ok?"
"I...I promised myself...and your father...that I'd give you and Leliana better lives than the ones of my previous kids. Better than mine or his, or anyone I've known." Leandra said.
"Mom, don't worry about me. I'm ok. I'll be fine. You're the most experienced here, what do we do?" She asked, gripping her mother on the shoulder.
"Right...for now, focus on stockpiling food, send scouting teams out to explore. Maybe send the Llehctim girl and that merc she was with earlier. They seem like they'd work well together." Leandra said, scratching the back of her head in thought. "Oh, that reminds me." She walked over to a weapon stockpile and pulled out a pistol and a machete. She handed them to her daughter, who nodded thankfully. Morrigan was about to say something, but she heard the click of Leliana's sniper rifle, and her, and her mother's, heads snapped up to her.
"Krogan. Armored, approaching." Leliana said. The Sigurdsons looked out into the clearing and saw a lone Krogan, fully armored and wielding a bladed shotgun, approaching. His armor signified him as a mercenary of some kind.
"Probably from the intergalactic republic..." Leandra mused as Skylar, Taryn, and Dean all approached to see what was going on. The krogan stopped, eyes locking on the group, and then it let out a loud roar and charged, firing its shotgun. A piece of stone exploded next to Morrigan and Leandra, sending the two scrambling for cover. Leliana fired a shot with her sniper, but the monster's shields deflected the round as she pulled the pin back. The krogan fired another blast, the small pieces of metal within the blast flying everywhere. One shard grazed Dean's head, and he stumbled back, cursing, and crumpled into cover. Skylar dove behind a rock wall as a blast was fired at her as Taryn raised an assault rifle and started to fire at the creature herself. It made its way up the stone steps, firing at them as it came. No other group members could be found, so they guessed they were wisely hiding.
As the krogan made it up the final steps, Leliana took another shot at it. This time, it stumbled, and they saw that its shields had been brought down. Morrigan and Leandra took the opportunity to open fire at it, but the beast was still standing. Suddenly, it was lifted into the air and flung off the ruin down into the clearing. They looked down and saw an armored man with a large, black shield and a purple lightsaber. As the krogan tried to stand up, the man stabbed down into its head with the lightsaber and looked up at the group. Deactivating his saber and slinging his shield over his back.
His helmet folded back, revealing a handsome face with a stubble beard and brown hair. "Is everyone alright?" He asked. Various group members started to pop up. Including Dean, who was holding his bleeding head. "Someone help him." The man said, and Skylar walked over, tearing off part of her sleeve to wrap around Dean's head.
"Who are you?" Leandra asked.
"My name is Vitor Rogan. I'm a member of the Ghost Jedi. Former, you might say. A terrorist named Neil Kenway has taken over the organization, and has captured the other two commanders." He said.
"Damn. That ship is big." Leandra said. She knew of this size and power of the Spartacus, and knew that in the wrong hands, worlds could be destroyed.
"Yes. The Spartacus is on this world, and Neil's forces are scouring the area, looking for this ruin. It is the gateway to a weapon that would make any other in this universe look like a toy." Vitor said hurriedly.
"And we're the only ones in his way." Leandra said.
"Exactly. How experienced are you with war and tactics?" Vitor asked her.
"I've served for over a century and a half. I know my way around the battlefield." Leandra said. Vitor nodded.
"Good. We should discuss what we're up against."
"Alright, come with me." Leandra said and led him off to the side. They passed Skylar, who was washing her hands of Dean's blood. As they left, Dean stumbled over.
"You should lie down, Dean." Skylar told him.
"Just trying to get inside..." He mumbled. She took one look at him and knew he'd need help. She stepped over to him and put his arm around her shoulders, helping him into the ruin. Someone had a sleeping bag, so she lay him down on it.
"Let me know if you need anything, ok?" She asked. He nodded.
"Thanks." he mumbled, and she went to check on the outside. She quickly busied herself setting up some barricades from loose stones and fallen tree branches at the bottom of the stone staircase.
Loran hit the floor, hard. A kick connected with his ribs, and he was winded in seconds. Caden tackled the prisoner who had attacked Loran and they went tumbling to the ground. They were in the prison's male cafeteria, and a prisoner with tattoos over ninety percent of his body had tried to take Loran's food. When Loran snatched it back, the man had kicked him in the face. Loran got to his feet and saw that Caden was absolutely pounding the prisoner, while Sen was grappling with another. Loran saw one going for Sen, and ran forward, jumped through the air and planted both feet on the man's chest, sending him flying back. Several more prisoners attacked the three, and those men were knocked out and wounded very quickly. Soon, guards came with electric batons and separated the three from the crowd. They sent the crowd back to their cells, and turned to the three Jedi. "One your knees, now." A guard said. They looked at one another, and looked back at the guard blankly. The guard nodded, and Caden and Loran each took an electric baton to the chest, putting them both on the floor. "Knees. Now." The guard said to Sen. Sen shook his head insolently, and the guard took a pistol out and shot him in each leg. He went down, and all three were soon knocked out by the batons.
Loran awoke and found himself in a cell with Sen and Caden. Sen had received treatment, but it would still hurt like a bitch. They stirred awake, and Loran moved over towards Sen. "Hey, man, you ok?"
"I've been shot in both of my legs. What kind of dumbass question is that?" Sen groaned. Loran chuckled.
"You'll be fine." He said and patted Sen on the shoulder. Caden sat up.
"Looks like they've separated us from the other prisoners." he groaned, stretching.
"With reason." Loran replied. As he said it, a trio of guards came and opened the door. They walked up to them and jabbed them each once with electric batons. Then, they hauled them to their feet and dragged them out the door.
"Now you will receive punishment for your actions." One said in a thick accent.
Clara sat on her bed, head held in her hands. Dinaya was starting to worry her. The Jedi was similar to a zombie at this point. Whenever Clara tried to talk to her, she would just get quieter and not respond. There was also a dead look in her eyes, and Clara had a feeling that Dinaya wasn't telling her the whole story. They also hadn't heard anything from Sola or Aurora, so Clara was very worried about them. Absolutely nothing from the guys, either. Clara tried not to picture anything bad happening to her effective family, but sometimes she couldn't stop the images from coming.
She heard a door open down the hall, and quickly moved to the edge of the cell to look down the hall. Four guards were walking down, armed with stun batons. Clara groaned and backed up. Soon, they had reached her cell, but didn't make any moves to touch her. "Come with us." One said as two of them went to say the same to Dinaya. Clara nodded slowly, and the two were soon being escorted down the hall. They were led into an interrogation room, where they were shoved in. One of the walls had a large, reinforced window that looked into another room. At the other side of that room was another window, which led into the next room. Nothing happened for several minutes, before their door was forced open again.
Sola and Aurora were roughly shoved in. Aurora looked fine, only minor bruises were visible, but Sola looked like hell. There was blood in her hair, she had a black eye, bruises covered her arms and visible torso, and there was a cut in her collarbone that looked like she had been slashed with a carving fork. Sola quickly embraced Clara before moving to Dinaya, who showed emotion for the first time since Clara had awoken. "Thank god you two are ok." Aurora said as she and Clara hugged.
"Yeah, mostly. You two?"
"I've been worse." Aurora said. Sola simply shrugged. They heard a door slam from across the windows, and looked up. Loran, Sen, and Caden were dusting themselves off. The ladies moved to the window and knocked on it, getting their attention. Loran was the first to the window, a look of total relief coming over his face for a moment, then replaced with fear. Caden mouthed to Clara 'Ziva?' to which Clara shook her head and mouth 'I don't know' back. Caden nodded slowly and leaned against the window. Sen had a look of worry on his face. The looks of Sen and Loran confused the women until their door opened again.
In walked a man Clara knew to be Liam Whitfield, who must have been running the prison they were in. "You four have been responsible for the death of one of my guards." He said simply, his voice oozing contempt and sadism. "Not to mention the crippling of another two." He added, looking at Clara. "So. One of you will pay for it. You have five minutes to choose who. If you don't, then I will." He said and walked out the door. Two minutes passed before anyone would say a thing.
"It should be me." Sola said. "I killed that guard. Let me take it."
"We can't just send one of us off to their death, Sola." Aurora said. Clara nodded, agreeing.
"We rush him when the door opens." Dinaya spoke up, surprising Clara. They all nodded slowly, knowing it was the only chance they had. The door opened, and to their horror, a large man with a large, spiked shield walked in first, cutting off any exit. Then, Liam walked in. They looked at one another helplessly as four more guards entered. They heard the guys pounding on their window in the other room.
"Have you chosen?" Liam asked. "Or should I?" The group all looked at one another, and Clara spotted Sola's mouth start to open. Before any words could come out of Sola's mouth, Dinaya shoved her out of the way and headbutted Liam in the face, causing blood to exit his nose. Liam stumbled back as the large one grabbed Dinaya and the other guards held the rest back, jabbing at them with stun batons. Soon, they were left alone in the room, and rushed to the window, seeing the looks of panic in the others' eyes. Soon, Dinaya was thrown in the room, and she landed heavily. She picked herself up as Liam and two guards entered. Liam threw her a pipe, which she caught.
"Keep things interesting, bitch." He said and walked out with his guards. Dinaya turned to her friends and said something they'd all remember forever.
"I got this."
The guards were replaced by four large, male prisoners. Sola slammed a fist on the window as one of the men lunged at Dinaya. Dinaya turned and swung the pipe into his jaw, sending him sprawling. She turned in time to swing up and catch another under the chin, knocking him to the floor, blood flying out of his mouth. A third wrapped his arms around her, pinning her arms to her sides and knocking the pipe from her hands. She threw her head back and broke his nose, but his grip was unbreakable. She took a pipe to the jaw from the fourth prisoner, and then one under the chin. They forced her to stay awake, as she was miraculously still alive. The fourth then broke her leg at the knee, snapping it in half. All of Dinaya's friends let out cries of pain, horror, and fury at the sight as her elbow was popped out of her skin. Clara punched the window with her mechanical hand, cracking the glass slightly. They dropped Dinaya and propped her up on one knee. She looked up at the girls, Sola and Aurora in particular, with eyes that said a mixture of 'I'm sorry' and 'Thank you'. The fourth prisoner raised the pipe and swung it into the back of Dinaya's head, and she pitched forward, her blood pooling out of her head as he brought the pipe down, once, twice, three, four more times.
Sola collapsed. She hit the floor and all that came from her was a quiet sob. Aurora hammered on the glass, a wordless cry of rage leaving her. Clara just turned around and hung her head, closing her eyes. Aurora quieted down and Clara turned around, where she saw all the guys' reactions. Caden and Sen had just finished pounding on the window while Loran leaned against it, forehead pressed to the glass, his eyes closed.
Morrigan and Leliana crouched and hid inside a bush. They were off on a scouting and scavenging run, hoping to come across food and supplies. They had spotted a small patrol of four or five mercenaries, who they guessed were working for Neil Kenway. They slipped a pair of silencers on their rifles, which they had looted from an earlier patrol, and took aim. Once they were sure of how many there were, Leliana shot first, dropping three of them as Morrigan took down the other two. They slipped forward, relieved them of their weapons, which they put in large duffel bag they had come across, as well as portions of their armor. They slipped away from the scene and made their way back to the ruin.
They returned and hopped over the barricade, which was made of sharpened tree branches and shards of broken armor. It wouldn't hold anyone back for long, but it was better than nothing. "Hey guys. What'd you find?" Skylar called down from the watchtower.
"Three rabbits, a squirrel, four pistols, two shotguns, and an assault rifle." Morrigan replied, getting a thumbs up from Skylar. They dropped the weapons off at an improvised armory within the ruin before taking the rabbits to the improvised kitchen. Then they went and found their mother, who was talking with Vitor and Taryn. The three of them had taken effective control of the group, as the three of them had the most real-world experience. Their mother spotted them and halted the conversation as they arrived.
"Hey guys. How'd it go?" She asked.
"Went fine. More weapons than food, but some is better than nothing." Leliana replied. Leandra nodded.
"Ok, you two take the rest of the day off." She said. The two nodded and left. Leliana went inside to eat while Morrigan went off to help be on lookout. Otherwise, she would die of boredom. She grabbed an assault rifle and climbed up to highest part of the ruin. She sat there, humming a tune of her own composition until she thought she spotted something move in the forest. She sighted up and looked down her scope. She closely looked around and then spotted it. There was a trio of black armored soldiers, each holding a shield similar to Vitor's.
"Guys, we've got company!" She shouted. Various group members poked their heads out of the ruin, holding random assortments of weaponry. Vitor ran out to the head of the staircase, followed by Dean. Morrigan took aim at the treeline, noticing that Skylar was doing the same. It seemed as though their visitors had seen they were discovered, as red lightsabers were drawn and they charged. Morrigan counted out about fifteen of them. Dean drew his swords, which Morrigan prayed were made of something that could take a lightsaber. Vitor raised his shield and activated his purple blade before they charged to meet their attackers. Morrigan took aim at one of the charging attackers and fired two quick bursts. Most of the bullets hit his shield, but she must have hit something, as he dropped, blooding pouring from what looked like his throat.
Skylar did the same, and the two started trying to thin the ranks of the attackers. They were able to drop about six of them before Leliana, Taryn, Leandra, and four others arrived. By that time, however, Dean and Vitor were already amidst their attackers, and clear shots had ceased to exist. All they could do as Dean and Vitor fought off their attackers. Vitor was clearly the best fighter on the field. He seemed to know what the enemy would do before they did it. Dean was proficient enough to fend for himself, but was only able to kill a few of the attackers while Vitor did most of the heavy lifting. Soon, most of the field was gone. As Vitor dealt with his remaining three, Dean dealt with his remaining one. Morrigan spotted a wounded one rise and start to make his way to Dean from behind. She aimed and pulled the trigger, but the rifle clicked, indicating it was out of ammo. She swore and rushed to find a new clip, but there weren't any reach. A gunshot rang out and the warrior dropped. Morrigan looked and saw Skylar slam a new clip into her own rifle.
Morrigan climbed down from her perch and made her way into the clearing. She ran up to Dean and Vitor, who were scanning the tree line for any other attackers. "Who are they?" Morrigan asked.
"They are my former comrades." Vitor said. "They betrayed my order to work with Neil. The fools thought that they would have a chance against me..." Vitor said sadly. "I taught them these techniques, I know how to get past their defenses." He shook his head.
"How many more will there be?" Dean asked.
"Many. We should set to work and fortify the best we can." Vitor said and they made their way back up the steps.
"Nice shot, Sky." Dean called up to Skylar, who nodded with a faint smile. Morrigan followed Vitor to get a few other members of the group so they could start to increase the barricades at the stairway. Barely fifteen minutes later, she was working with Taryn and Leliana to dig a pitfall trap at the foot of the stairs. After a few minutes, Taryn headed up to get water for the three of them.
"What do you think of Skylar?" Leliana asked abruptly.
"She seems fine to me. Why?" Morrigan replied.
"Just checking. You grew up with a resentment of her family. Wanted to make sure she wasn't on your shit list or anything. Mom doesn't like her much." Leliana answered.
"I think she reminds her of the kids she had before the two of us. First her son died, then her daughter, then another daughter went psycho, then another daughter died. Then Scott went missing two years ago..." Leliana trailed off. Their half brother had gone missing and they had not seen him for two years.
"Why would Skylar remind her of them?" Morrigan asked.
"Well...Mom's husband seriously resented her parents because of how little they lost. When they had Skylar and Skylar's sister, and things seemed to go fine, Mom started to get the same resent." Leliana explained.
"Ah..." Morrigan said, not sure of how to diffuse the situation between her mother and Skylar. If her mother snapped, who knew what would happen? Morrigan shook her head and sat down, taking a momentary break from the digging. She spotted something on the treeline, and saw a tall, blonde haired woman walk out of the trees, hands raised, a sword from each hip and one over her back.
Clara sat in her cell. The hall was empty, save herself. She looked across the hall at the empty cell that Dinaya used to inhabit. She tried hard not to remember her friend's final moments, but the sight of Dinaya's death remained with her. She looked around her cell, praying to find something to distract herself. She spotted a loose pipe on the wall, and Dinaya's death came to mind again. She pushed the image from her mind and grabbed the pipe. She looked at the wall and saw there was a place to hang it. She did so, and climbed up, tucking the back of her pants on it, so she was hanging by her waist. Feels like something from a movie. She thought as she grabbed her sleeve and ripped a piece of her sleeve off, which she tied around her neck at one end, and the other on a loose screw in the ceiling.
She waited for a long time before she heard a door open at the end of the hall. She promptly deadened her gaze and stared at the floor. She waited until a guard came near her cell. She heard him swear as he opened the cell and walked over to pull her down. When he was close enough, she kicked him in the face, causing him to spin in a circle. She wrapped a leg around his neck, squeezing as hard as she could and then wrenching her leg to one side, breaking his neck. She took the fabric off her neck and climbed down from the wall. She stole his keys, and saw he had no weapon that would be of any use to her. She walked through the open door and left the hall. It took a while, but she eventually located where the others were.
She saw that Loran, Caden, and Sen were all together, and knew that they would be able to handle themselves in case of a prison riot. She pressed a button, and opened all the cell doors on the male side of the prison. The three guys exited the cell they were in and looked up at the camera. She moved it up and down in a nodding motion, and they nodded back before running off to find their way to the female half. She waited until she found where Sola and Aurora were before leaving to find them. Luckily, most of the guards were leaving the control the sudden riot on the other half of the prison, so she encountered little resistance. Once she arrived in the hall where Aurora and Sola were, she spotted a lone guard watching the two. She ran over and jumped through the air, spinning so her hell hit him in the face. He pitched forward and slammed his face onto one of the cell bars, and Sola jumped forward. She jammed her fingers into his throat and ripped out of jugular with her bare hands.
"Clara!" Aurora said, jumping up and moving toward the cell door. Clara quickly unlocked the two doors.
"Come on, we need to find the others." Clara said. Aurora nodded, and Sola wordlessly followed the two of them as they looked around the halls, hoping to come across the armory, where their supplies would undoubtedly be. They finally found it, guarded by a duo of guards with shock batons. This time, there was no stopping the three. They were upon them in seconds, Aurora cracking ones's head open against the wall and Sola knocking one over and stomping on his throat. They knocked the door down and Clara walked in first. Immediately, there was a red lightsaber blade at her throat, and she stopped abruptly, turning to her assailant.
"Shit, Clara, I'm sorry." Caden said, deactivating the saber. Despite herself, Clara quickly stepped in and hugged him. After a brief moment, he hugged her back. When she regained her composure, she pulled back and looked around for her weapons. She found herblade collection and her armor disk, which she put on, aside from her helmet, and tossed Sola her lightsaber. Sola replaced her prison gear with the attire of a deceased female guard, changing in front of them (to which Clara dragged Caden away as Aurora did the same with Loran, leaving Sen to fend for himself). When she had finished, she was wearing a thin red sweater with pieces of some kind of swat armor over top.
The others found their armors or robes and Sola found a map. "Follow me, I can get us to the hangar." She said, and the group ran out into the halls and found their way to the hangar. When they arrived, Sola force choked a duo of guards by a ship to death as the group ran for it. They got on and Sola jumped in the pilot's seat. She took off and started flying. They soon realized they were going to Coruscant.
"Why Coruscant?" Sen asked.
"Because it'll be easier to find help there." Caden suggested, but Aurora shook her head.
"No. She's taking us there because that is where that Liam guy is." She told her brother. He nodded wordlessly and Sola told them to get comfortable while she flew. Tentatively, the group made their way to the back of the ship, which had a small sitting area. Sen took to standing at the edge between the two rooms, keeping an eye on Sola. Loran fell down onto a small couch and was immediately joined by Aurora. "You ok?" She whispered to him.
"I've been better." He replied honestly.
"I know." Came her answer as he put an arm around her. She rested her head on his shoulder. Caden sat down in a chair as Clara started pacing the room, looking like a caged wolf. Eventually, she broke the silence.
"Why?" She asked. "Why did she take that for us?" She asked, voicing what they were all thinking. Before an answer came, Sen entered the cockpit and Sola walked in on them.
"Because she felt useless at that point. Before you all arrived on the Spartacus, Neil severed her connection to the force. She couldn't feel anything, use any force powers, or even be felt by one of us. Without her powers, she didn't think she would be of any help to us." She said.
"She wouldn't have been-" Caden started, but Sola cut him off.
"It should have been me, I know. Before you ask, I don't know how Neil did it, but he did. And he did it to Ziva, as well."
"Is that what he did?" Caden asked, jumping to his feet.
"Yes, but...she reacted very differently than Dinaya had. Dinaya was still conscious and moving when he did it to her. Ziva...I don't know what happened to her." Sola answered, and then walked back into the cockpit. The rest of the day was very quiet. Clara spent much of it trying to comfort Caden while Loran did the same with Aurora. When night fell, and the group was asleep, Sola contacted Kaven, hoping to get word out of the the current situation. When she couldn't find any frequencies, she whispered a swear and kept flying the ship. Midway through the night, the ship arrived at Coruscant, and Sola took it down to the Jedi Temple. She landed and exited the ship without waking the others up. She spoke to security and a Jedi Master, who let them stay the night, as long as they were in their ship. Sola nodded gratefully and returned to the ship and crashed in the pilot's seat, where she tried again to contact Kaven.
This time, she was successful. A hologram of IceBite came up. "Sola, is something going on? You missed the last meeting and my younger daughter has gone missing." He said. Sola sighed.
"You remember what I told you about Neil Kenway, right?" She asked.
"Yeah...Ah, damn it, don't tell me..."
"He's back, and more powerful than ever. Dinaya's dead, and Ziva is missing, presumed dead. He also teleported various people from all over the galaxy somewhere. I don't know where." She filled him in.
"And my daughter's probably one of them. And with more people dead because of him...what course of action to you propose? I wasn't having my forces collecting ysalamiri over the past few years as a hobby." He replied.
"We're working on it. I have Clara Renner, Ethan's kids, his son in law, and Sen with me. We're following up a lead tomorrow, hopefully we'll have more for you then."
"Alright. Contact me, and I'll have Omega on the way." He said.
"Also...he has the Ghosts under his control. My third in command isn't with him, I know that. He does, however, have the Spartacus and five hundred Jedi and Sith, plus a small army of mercenaries." She explained.
"That much backup? Want me to explain things to Martok?" He suggested. Both knew about Martok's soldiers and their love of the fight.
"No, have him on standby in case Neil gets by us. His first target will likely be Earth, so have fleets ready to defend there." She advised him.
"Alright, who else should I alert?" He asked.
"Just keep people ready...how are May and Ariana taking...you know." She said, slightly awkwardly.
"May's keeping an eye out for Skylar through her contacts, but she's keeping her head. Ariana is worried as hell, though..." He said, and Sola could see that he was, too.
"Anyone else missing on base?" She asked.
"Serra Urec and Ava Stone." He replied.
"Well, put Serra together with your kid and Neil should have his work cut out for him. The kids are the toughest powerless folk since Zack...right, sorry." Sola said. She had forgotten that IceBite had ordered Zack Sigurdson's death in 2271. He immediately got a depressed look on his face, and got quiet. "I'll let you go. If I find anything, I'll contact you." She said.
"Alright...hope you find something..."
"Me too. Let Anastasia know that her brother is ok." She requested.
"Alright, I'll contact her...or have Ashe do it if I can't get to her." He said, still sounding depressed.
"Thanks...I'll get your kid, Leinad. I promise." She said, but she didn't know why she said it.
"Thank you..." He replied, and she ended the transmission. She leaned back in the chair and fell asleep immediately.
Morrigan found Skylar sitting on a small stone wall and headed over to her. "Hey." Morrigan said as she arrived next to her.
"You're looking grim, what's up?" Morrigan asked.
"Just missing my family." Skylar replied.
"Ah. Anyone else back home?" Morrigan asked.
"Some friends, as well." Skylar said. Morrigan plopped herself down next to her.
"When you get back, you cherish them. My brother went missing two years ago, and I lost my two best friends and my boyfriend to the bastard who left us here." Morrigan told her.
"Who were they?"
"Just some local mercenaries from Mandalore. Me and Zev, my boyfried, we were talking about getting married before..." She trailed off.
"Oh, I'm sorry..."
"Now, I'm just focused on getting my mom and sister out of here alive, and as many of the people here as possible, too." Morrigan said.
"Alright." Skylar replied. They watched as Vitor walked up the steps, flanked by a pair of young women they didn't recognize from afar. Vitor had been off on a supply run. "Vitor's back, who's that with him?" Skylar asked. One of the women spotted them and came over.
"Looks like this place isn't as bad as I thought." She said to Skylar.
"Serra? Black and silver swirl?" Skylar asked, incredulous.
"Yeah. Me and Ava were training when we were suddenly in a lake." Serra replied.
"Yeah, was training too...wound up in a thorn bush." Skylar replied. Morrigan snickered despite herself.
"Who's this?" Serra asked.
"Morrigan Sigurdson. We found each other first before anyone else here." Skylar replied. Morrigan nodded.
"You make friends with the knives and leather girls very easily, eh Sky?" Serra said, grinning. Skylar rolled her eyes. "Also, who is that?" Serra asked, pointing to the sniper den, where Dean sat on watch.
"Remember the vigilante we've seen in Veldton?"
"Really?" Serra asked, surprised. Skylar nodded. "Wow...hon, go for it." Serra said abruptly. Skylar was quiet for a moment, then wordlessly got up and climbed up to join Dean in the sniper den.
"How the fuck...?" Morrigan asked Serra.
"I don't know..." Serra said, looking equally surprised.
Loran awoke to the sound of the ship's doors opening. He looked around and saw that Aurora had woken up a before him, as she was just getting up and stretching. "Morning." He said and she turned to face him.
"Hey. Sleep well?" She said half-heartedly.
"Not really. You."
"No, me neither." She replied. He got up and fit on his armor, but left his helmet in the ship. The two of them headed off of the ship and found Sola and Clara standing outside, talking quietly. "Hey guys." Aurora said, and then they saw where they were. "Wow, you got us here overnight?" She asked. Sola nodded.
"Yeah. We're just waiting for clearance to leave, then we're going to get Liam." Sola replied. Aurora and Loran both nodded slowly.
"Where's Caden?" Loran asked.
"He volunteered to go get clearance...I think he needed to distract himself..." Clara said. Both nodded again, and Aurora wiped her eyes and blinked rapidly. Soon after, Caden returned, alongside Sen, and Sola was flying away. Soon, they came across a penthouse apartment atop a very tall building, complete with a landing pad. Sola landed it and she led the group off the ship. Sola used the force to open the door, and a blaster shot was barely deflected in time by her. Sola moved faster than any of them, and had lunged for the source of the blast, which was a middle aged woman holding a rifle. Sola cut the blaster in half and stood menacingly over the woman.
A chair was knocked over further into the apartment, and Clara rand ahead and tackled a fleeing man. She dragged him in and it was revealed to be Liam. She pushed him down onto his knees and held her yellow saber hilt to the side of his head as the rest of the group caught up and situated themselves. "Who is that?" Clara asked Liam, gesturing at the woman. He stubbornly said nothing until Clara grabbed his arm and popped his elbow out the front. He screamed out, wordless at first, but developed into a confirmation. In response, Sola drew her saber and slashed the wife's throat. Caden, Sen, Loran, and Aurora all reared back, shocked at the sudden action. "She's collateral, for Dinaya." Clara said darkly. She looked up at Sola and said "Find a pipe." Sola left the room, and the group was left in silence. Clara rose and stood in front of the man, watching him try to remain as calm as possible, but watching a tear fall here and there. Sen moved to stand behind Liam, stopping an escape, and Caden to his right, with Loran to his left. Aurora sat down in a chair and watched.
Sola returned. "No pipe. But I found this." She said, and held out a snow globe. Clara took it and nodded to her.
"If...if Neil finds out about this, he'll kill you all. Slowly." Liam got out, trying to seem brave and defiant in the face of the group's wrath. "Or...he'll throw you in another prison until you die. You know what happens then?" He asked.
"You lock us in a room and take bets on how long it takes for us to die?" Clara asked, looking at the slobbering mess of a man with contempt.
"Don't do this...I'm sorry about your friend...I was...just following orders..."
"Don't blame someone else, you bastard. That's weak." Clara snarled, crouching down so that they were eye to eye. She leaned in closer. "I want you to tell me how sorry you are." She whispered.
"I am sorry..." He choked out. "God dammit...I'm sorry, please...I'll do anything you want. If you need funds for your organization, I can get you them, by any means necessary." He begged, tears now openly falling from his eyes.
"I'm not convinced." Clara said and rose. Liam started to sob again.
"If you're going to kill him, get it over with." Aurora said, shaking her head. Clara nodded and looked up at Sen.
"I got this." She told him. They switched positions, so that she was behind Liam, and he was in front of him. Clara reared back and slammed the snow globe into the man's head. He collapsed, and she hit him once more. Twice more. Three more times. Four more times. She just kept going, unwilling to stop. The man's head became nothing by a bloody mess, but she still kept striking. After the eleventh strike, Caden walked up to Clara and pulled her back.
"Clara, its ok...its over." He whispered to her, and she dropped the snow globe, which rolled across the floor. There was a moment of silence before Loran left the room. Aurora followed him into another room, where she found him frantically searching a computer room. Realizing he was looking for links to Neil, Aurora began to help him as well. They didn't find anything for a while, until Loran stood up, holding a hilt of what appeared to be a lightsaber blade.
"What's that?" Aurora asked, flipping through a file of some kind.
"Blade...it isn't like any other lightsaber I've seen, though..." Loran responded and activated it. It promptly stabbed a hole in the ceiling, and Loran realized it was far longer than any other lightsaber he had ever seen. He guessed that it had a good extra third of the length of his other lightsabers on it. Its black blade was odd, however. It possessed a certain quality that no other lightsaber had.
"Nice." Aurora said, coming over to look at it. A quizzical look came over her face, and she held a hand up, a few inches from the blade. "Its cold." She remarked. Loran deactivated the blade and looked up. The hole in the ceiling was not burned through, but it was a simple stab, a clean cut with no other damage. He strapped the blade to his belt and they resumed their search. They came across a button under a desk, and, after a moment of consideration, the two decided to press it. Immediately, a black swirl filled the air and their world vanished.
Sen's vision cleared and he landed in a muddy puddle. He shook his head, irritated, and slammed his fist into the puddle, causing it to splash once before he hauled himself up and looked around. There were four krogan mercenaries surrounding him. Each had a shotgun and they were aimed directly at him. "Damn it..." He muttered and readied himself to avoid any blasts. Suddenly, the krogan each went flying to the sky in rapid succession. Sen looked around and saw nobody anywhere near him. What the hell? He thought to himself. Something impacted his side, and he went flying into the mud as well. Half a second later, a rocket flew over the heads of himself and his rescuer. He looked down and saw, to his shock, Maya.
"Hey, love. Glad you joined the party." She said with a grin.
"What's going on?" He asked, in pure survival mode.
"Mercs are trying to kill me. Care to distract the one with the rockets while I go get him?" She asked.
"On it." He said and rose while she snuck off in the direction of the rocket fire. He waited, ready to dodge, when she called out "I got him!" She returned and promptly tackle-hugged him down into the mud.
"Good to see you too. Now, any idea what is going on here?" He asked, her and his own survival the main thing on his mind.
"Bout three weeks ago, black swirl, then I'm in a rose bush. Mercs have been hunting me ever since." She replied. He quickly explained everything that had happened to her. "Damn. Well, I heard talk of a camp of resistance to the local mercs, who seem to be working for this Neil person. Shall we begin our search?" Maya asked.
"Alright." Sen said and they got up from the mud to start looking. As night fell, they found a cave and quickly moved into it. Maya lay down on the ground and stretched.
"Forest life. Not even half as bad as desert life." She remarked. She looked up at him and beckoned for him to join her. He did so, and she curled up next to him. "You know, I've missed you, you little shit." She said, both jokingly and lovingly. She waited a moment, then added "Do you know what happened to your friends?"
"I have no clue." He replied sadly.
"Well, don't worry. We'll find them." She assured him. He nodded. "That's the spirit. Now, you get some sleep, I'll take watch for a while, ok?"
"Alright..." He said and slowly nodded off.
Meanwhile, Caden, Clara, and Sola sat down under a tree. Sola was the first asleep, followed by Caden. Clara stayed up and watched the night. There was absolutely nothing to take interest in. Not one thing was out of place. It almost annoyed her. Soon, she nudged Sola and went to sleep herself. In the morning, she awoke to find Sola talking to someone. She looked over and saw that Sola was talking to Vitor. Clara nudged Caden, who jolted awake and looked over. Vitor and Sola saw them and looked over. "Morning. Vitor is on world, apparently." Sola said. Vitor nodded at them somberly, and Clara guessed that Sola had told him of Dinaya's death.
"How did you get here?" Caden asked.
"I was scouting places that Neil might have been looking for when I heard the news of his takeover. He had sent numerous people from across the galaxy to stand between him and his goal, and I've been rallying them ever since." Vitor replied.
"Why would he put people in his way? Makes no sense." Caden replied.
"I think he enjoys the thought of people standing in his way. He enjoys killing, so that gives him a reason to." Vitor replied. "Come, we should return to my camp."
"What about the others?" Clara asked.
"I'll send scouting parties out to find them. Don't worry, we won't let them disappear." Vitor promised, and they started walking through the woods. Clara and Caden took up the rear while Sola and Vitor walked ahead.
"You ok?" Clara asked Caden tentatively. He didn't respond for a moment, then answered.
"No. I'm not. I'm really not."
"I know." Clara replied, and silence fell again. Abruptly, Vitor stopped, and Caden walked into his back. "What's going on?" Clara asked.
"Someone's watching us..." Vitor replied and drew his saber and took his shield off his back. Sola also drew her saber, so Clara and Caden followed suit, Clara using her green blade. Out of nowhere, Sola was sucked into the air and up into a tree, her legs tied with rope thirty feet above them. Immediately, something struck Caden and sent him flying through the air and into a tree, which he slid down with a thud. Vitor quickly turned in time to raise his shield as a lightsaber struck it. His attacker was a woman clad wholly in black armor, from head to toe. Vitor pushed her back and slashed with his saber, trying to catch her. She jumped back and rolled towards Clara. Clara blocked the strike from the attacker's red blade and countered. Her opponent sidestepped and slashed at Clara's right arm. Her blade bounced off the phrik metal of her mechanical hand and Clara spun, swinging her blade at her foe's side. Her attacker blocked the strike and spun to attack Vitor, who blocked with his shield and stabbed with his blade. Their attacker rolled away and pounced forward, kicking Vitor's shield with enough force to knock him back. Then, she spun and slashed at Clara, who raised her blade and blocked the strike. Her opponent quickly flicked her blade and Clara's green weapon vanished. Clara jumped away and looked down at her sword, the top of the hilt had been cut off, rendering the weapon useless.
Clara ducked under a strike and had her double ended saber out in a flash. She struck once at her opponent's hips, each in fast succession, but the fighter saw an opening and slashed her double ended weapon in two. Clara switched to a Jar'Kai form of fighting and attacked rapidly, but soon, the two blades met the same fate as the previous one, and she jumped back to draw her yellow weapon as Vitor attacked. Sola fell down from the tree and joined the duel, and soon Caden was in the chaos as well. The woman fought them furiously, after several minutes, they knew it was a stalemate. They kept fighting, however, and hoped that their assailant would make a mistake.
They were wrong. She got better. After several more minutes of her improving, she knocked Caden's sabers aside and stabbed him through the stomach. Clara's vision blurred red and she fired a purple blast of force lightning from her left hand at the woman, who turned to face her. The blast struck her in the chest and she was sent flying through the air and out of view, flying further and further into the forest. Clara thought of giving chase for a moment, then turned to Caden, who was picking himself up. "Caden, are you alright?" She said, immediately, taking his arm to support him.
"I'll live..." He replied. She looked to Vitor, who nodded immediately and helped her carry him as they ran through the forest once more. They soon came upon a ruin, it reminded Clara of old Mayan ruins on Earth. They kept moving forward, Vitor moving ahead to guide them through what they soon realized to be a trap filled field. Vitor took them up the stairs, past several people who Clara did not recognize and into the ruin. They lay Caden down on a makeshift bed. Vitor ran off to look for a healer. Clara quickly examined the wound and saw that no normal healer would be able to heal it. She turned to ask Sola to force heal it, but Sola had gone with Vitor. She turned to Caden and knew that she would have to try to heal him. She swore quietly. She had never been good at healing anything, that had been Sola and Aurora's area of expertise. She swore again and held up her organic hand, focusing all her energy into healing the wound. It took a while, but the wound eventually healed over completely. She stopped and leaned against his bed, completely drained from the effort.
"You'll be ok." She whispered to him, taking his hand. "You'll be ok."
Spark to InfernoEdit
Clara watched over Caden through the night. The next morning, she made sure to not let him get out of bed. "You think I'm going to hurt myself or something?" He asked.
"Maybe. Lord knows with your track record..." She replied.
"Hey, my track record is a damn good one." Caden joked. Clara smiled and shook her head.
"Besides," She started. "Maybe I have you right where I want you." As she said it, Sola walked in, an exhausted look about her. Caden smiled at Clara before turning to Sola.
"Hey Sola, you holding up ok?" He asked.
"I'm breathing. Was just trying to sense the others. Loran and Aurora are ok, and they're on their way. Sen and his girlfriend are coming as well, from a bit farther out." She explained.
"This is turning into a woodland Kaven, with all the people." Caden said.
"It isn't all good news. Neil's out there, and he's got about four thousand mercenaries with him, plus about three hundred eighty of my former students. Not to mention that assassin from yesterday." Sola replied.
"The assassin caught us by surprise and confused. We'll get them next time." Caden said confidently.
"Another thing, I don't know much about them, but they're a force blank." Sola told them.
"Maybe Neil's doing that to his forces to prevent them from fighting him." Caden suggested.
"Maybe. Anyway, get up sometime soon, we could use help getting this place's defenses up." Sola told him.
"I would, but someone's babysitting me." Caden said and looked at Clara, who rolled her eyes.
"Ok mom, I'll let him go." Clara said to Sola.
"Thank god. I've been dying just sitting here." Caden said and attempted to rise, but the pain overcame him and he fell back. Slowly, he started to rise again, and Clara helped him up. Sola, seeing Clara had him, left.
"You know, normally you're supposed to be the one who does the carrying." Clara told him.
"And you're not supposed to heal very well. Always time for things to change." He replied.
"Good point." She said and helped him out of the building. They saw numerous people working on rigging traps throughout the area, save one, who was sitting alone and sharpening a sword. Clara locked eyes on her. "Um...mind if we go talk to her?" She asked Caden.
"Yeah, sure. Whatever you want to do." Caden said and Clara hauled him over to the woman. As they approached, the woman saw them and rose.
"Hello Clara, Caden." She said mystically.
"Ma'am." Caden said.
"My name is Diana, as you already know, Clara. It is good you are here, so I may explain. In this temple there is a key, which opens another temple on this planet. Neil wants this key to open the other temple, as it will unleash something upon the universe that will make the Gallifreyians whimper like children. You cannot let Neil get this key." the woman said.
"What the hell could be in that temple that is so strong?" Caden asked.
"It is a creature called the Skulblaka, a monster from my own plane." Diana replied.
"Then why don't we just destroy the key?" Caden asked.
"Because only a certain group of people can handle it. One of which is Clara here."
"Why me?" Clara asked, shocked.
"You are part of a strange group of inter-plane beings, all part of a prophecy to kill the Skulblaka. However, only two of you kind remain. Yourself, and me." Diana said.
"Wow. You never told me you weren't...human, I guess." Caden said, shocked.
"I didn't know..." Clara said, looking overwhelmed.
"Oh, she's human. Just a special one." Diana said and held out a small purple stone. "Please put your hand on it." Diana requested, and Clara did so. Immediately, a look of fatigue came over Diana, who pulled way. "Ah, so you are the Alpha of our kind."
"This is just...wow." Caden said, a look of extraordinary confusion on his face.
"You're telling me." Clara said sarcastically.
"This answers much. Clara, you must hold onto this and keep it safe. One day, our paths will cross again, and we shall both cease to exist." Diana said.
"Excuse me?" Clara asked.
"Once the Skulblaka is destroyed, our kind will merge together into one being." Diana explained.
"So, she won't be herself, and you won't be you anymore? You'll just disappear into one?" Caden asked, sounding worried.
"No, as she is the Alpha, she will remain largely the same. However, I will disappear into her, and she will gain many of my memories and knowledge. Maybe even some of my powers. However, you will still have the Clara you have now." Diana explained.
"Alright." Caden said, nodding and sounding relieved.
"Now, I must depart, Caden, do not impregnate her until after I have joined with her." Diana said, and Clara looked away, blushing furiously. "Now, goodbye." Diana said and vanished in a purple swirl, leaving the stone where she used to be. Caden rubbed the back of his head, embarassed.
"Well, that was...weird."
"How do you think I feel?" Clara pointed out.
"Yeah, I know." Caden said and picked up the stone for her. Immediately, Caden was blasted several feet back off his feet. Clara pocketed the stone and knelt down next to him.
"How's that track record, eh?" She asked him.
"Shut your mouth." He replied.
"Hmm. No." Came her response. Caden slipped his arm around her legs and tripped her so that she fell on him.
"Yes." He said wittily.
"I still say no." She said, sitting up on his stomach.
"You do know that's painful, right?" Caden chuckled.
"Fine, fine." Clara said and moved slightly further down. Caden didn't respond, but he started blushing. "Is that a hint of red I see?" Clara asked.
"Not as much as you had a minute ago." Caden replied. Clara playfully poked him in the side, now going red herself. Caden laughed and smiled at her. She noticed that this was the first time he had seemed happy since the whole thing had began. She grinned down at him, and then slowly, slowly, started to get off.
"Well, we should probably go help set up the traps..." She said, everything in her voice saying that she really didn't want to.
"Yeah. Or we could go back in. We can't have the person who is gonna save the universe out in the open, can we?" He said.
"But I like the sun. And nobody has any traps set up at the treeline." Clara said.
"As you wish, mi'lady." Caden replied. Clara got up and looked down at him.
"Did I give you permission to go all formal on me?" She asked.
"I like to think it's better to ask forgiveness than permission." Caden replied.
"I'm afraid you'll have to earn my forgiveness." Clara said and turned around. "Shall we?" She asked.
"Right behind you." Caden said, getting up.
"This is where you give the lady your arm." She said, looking over her shoulder, smiling at him.
"I don't know, I like the view from back here." Caden said. Clara merely waited expectantly. "Hah, alright." He said and came up and give her his arm. She snaked her's around it.
"Lead the way." She said, and he escorted her to the treeline, talking his way past the other group members. They entered the treeline just so that they wouldn't be seen by the rest of the group. "Well...we are here." Clara said.
"It seems so peaceful out here." Caden said.
"It is a bit quiet." She replied.
"We can fix that." Caden said and laughed to himself.
"Oh?" Clara said and took a few steps in front of him, where she stretched. "And how would that come about?" She asked. In response, Caden stepped forward and wrapped his arms around her.
"By doing something I think I should have done a long time ago." He said.
"Oh?" She asked, sounding both nervous and excited. Caden took a quick breath and leaned down and kissed her.
Loran and Aurora walked through the forest, both exhausted from the long day of bushwhacking and hiking. Both of them had several small scratches on them from branches. Aurora more so than Loran, as he wore armor while she wore robes. They kept going until they came across a stream, where they stopped. "This a piss day so far, whatcha think?" She asked.
"Well, it could be much, much worse." He replied, filling a bottle with water and giving it to her.
"Thank you." She said and took a sip. "Wish we could find some sign of people, though."
"We could feel Sola telling us where to go earlier, at least." Loran pointed out.
"Still, seeing someone would calm the nerves." She said. Loran started to say something, but stopped abruptly and looked around, alert. Aurora looked at him, confused, then started to look around herself, for any trouble. Suddenly, he shoved her aside and a horizontal tree struck him, sending him flying into the stream. "Loran!" She cried and started to make her way towards him, looking around. She heard someone land behind her, and turned. Facing her was a woman clad in all black from head to toe, carrying two red lightsabers. "I take back what I said about wanting to see someone." She said and drew her sabers.
The assassin closed the distance and attacked. For all her might, Aurora couldn't do a thing to her attacker, and was soon pinned to a tree, a lightsaber blade at her throat. Before the assassin could do anything, Loran attacked her from the side with his two red sabers. The assassin dropped Aurora and dueled him, soon destroying the two blades. His blue saber was out immediately and was destroyed as well. He drew the silent, cold black saber and held it at the ready. The assassin froze, then bolted. "Who he hell was that?" Aurora asked.
"I dunno, let's get out of here." Loran said and they turned to run. When night fell, they stopped and hid in a cave. After a few minutes, they decided to risk a fire. Aurora soon saw that Loran was staring off into space.
"Loran...what's wrong?" She asked.
"It has been a...terrible three and a half weeks. First Ziva, a prisoner tried to rape me, Caden, and Sen with a turnip, Dinaya...and that assassin, I couldn't sense them. Last time that happened was when the Stalker's were trying to kill us all." He answered.
"It'll be fine, Loran. We've always made it through this. We'll find them." Aurora said and leaned on him.
"Don't you be joining those two on me...ok?" Loran asked.
"I'm not going anywhere. Someone has to look after you." She said. He kissed her on the forehead before she fell asleep. He woke her halfway through the night and she watched the rest of the night. The next day, around noon, they arrived at a ruin that was similar to the Mayan ruins on Earth. They saw people on it, who then noticed them. A lone man was sent down, and walked in a zig-zag pattern through the field.
"Is that...Caden?" Loran asked.
"I think it is, no way!" Aurora said, her face lighting up. Caden arrived in front of them.
"Loran, sis, good to see you two are ok." He said.
"Hey brother." Aurora said and hugged him.
"Likewise. Anyone else...?" Loran asked, praying that the others were alright.
"Clara is here, as well as Sola, and some other people. Search parties are out looking for Sen." Loran sighed with relief.
"Good...Listen, we should go talk to whoever is in charge here." Loran said.
"Ok. Watch your step for traps, there are a lot of them." Caden said and took them to a Jedi and a blonde woman. Loran recognized the Jedi as Vitor Rogan, and the woman as Leandra Sigurdson. As they drew near, Leandra pointed at Caden.
"You. We shall have words sometime today." She said in a voice that practically screamed 'you're in trouble'.
"Um, ok. Whenever you want." Caden said.
"Your sister and her husband?" Leandra asked.
"Yes." Caden answered, and Leandra looked at them both.
"There are hot springs a few levels down in the ruin. You look like you could use them." She told them.
"Thank you." Aurora said and they headed into the ruin. As they entered, they bumped into Sola. "Sola!" Aurora exclaimed.
"Hey you two." Sola said, smiling, and hugged them both.
"How long have you been here?" Aurora asked.
"Two days. Eventful, but still just two days." Sola replied.
"How so?" Aurora checked.
"Caden didn't...oh...ask him when you two are done frolicking in the baths. Leandra and Morrigan are a little pissed at him and Clara right now." Sola replied.
"Anyway, you two have fun. Don't take too long." Sola said and left. Aurora sighed.
"Forget it. I'll worry about my brother later. You're coming with me." She said and dragged Loran down the stairs.
"Don't have to tell me twice." Loran replied.
After Caden had finished being chewed out by Leandra, he went and found Clara, who was setting up a box of bear traps by the side of the temple. "Hey there." He said as he neared her. She looked up and smiled at him.
"Hey. What's up?" She asked, rising.
"Just had an interesting talk with Leandra."
"Go on." She prodded him.
"One of her kids was scouting and, erm, saw us out in the woods. Needless to say, she wasn't happy about everything." Caden said.
"...How much did they see?" Clara asked.
"Ok. Something else is on your mind, I can tell." Clara said.
"That's uh...that's nothing." Caden replied. In response, Clara gave him a look. "Really?"
"Come on, if there's someone in this universe you can trust, it is this one." Clara told him. Caden sighed.
"Fine. It hasn't even been a month since...well, you know. And I feel like people are angry with me for being near you." Caden said.
"...Rorii and Loran are back, aren't they?" Clara asked.
"Yeah, they are." Caden replied.
"Ok...well..." Before Clara could finish, gunshots rang out from the top of the ruin.
"Guess we'll finish this later, come on." Caden said and the two ran to the top of the ruin. They saw Morrigan and Leliana opening fire on a pair of charging Krogan and four Turians. Clara held her left hand up and fired a short blast of purple lightning into a Turian, sending it flying, its shields overloading and its skin cooking. The Krogan arrived at the bottom of the stairs as two Turians fell into a pitfall trap and died. The final Turian fell after its ankle was caught in a bear trap. His head hit another, and was soon crushed as well. Caden jumped down, sabers activating, and he slashed down in an X formation, cutting the Krogan into three pieces. Vitor was right behind him and cut the other Krogan in half down the middle.
"Nicely done." Vitor told him.
"Thanks. That was impressive." Caden replied.
"Thank you." Vitor said as Loran and Aurora came into view at the top of the stairs, both wearing expressions of worry and fear.
"Just a few mercs. Nothing to worry about." Caden called up. Loran waved for him to come up to them. Caden ran up the stairs to meet them.
"What's wrong?" Aurora asked him.
"What do you mean?" Caden asked.
"Sola said Leandra wasn't very happy with you, and she didn't seem too excited when she saw you." Aurora asked.
"Ah. I was slacking off on the job a bit, and she may or may not have seen me. It was my fault." Caden lied.
"She also said she wasn't exactly thrilled with Clara." Loran added.
"Yeah...we were both kinda in the woods, instead of setting up defenses." Caden said. Loran tilted his head to the side, then closed his eyes and shook his head. He let lout a long sigh. "Loran, not the time." Caden warned. Loran simply shrugged and waited for Aurora to put the pieces together.
"What're you...?" Aurora started, then it dawned on her. She rubbed the bridge of her nose. "Oh, Caden..."
"Both of you just drop this, ok?" Caden said.
"Ok." Loran said, holding up his hands in surrender.
"Fine, fine. Your life, Caden." Aurora said. Caden sighed and left.
"Well..." Loran said, really not sure what to say.
"This was unexpected. At least this quickly." Aurora said.
"Yeah...He's pissed." Loran stated.
"He'll be fine. He was always the independent one." Aurora said.
"Because you're at all dependent in any way." Loran told her.
"I can't be anymore. I'm stuck taking care of you." Aurora joked.
"And I have no issues with that." Loran said with a grin. As he said it, Leandra and someone they thought was Taryn walked over.
"We're going to get rid of the bodies. We'll be back in a few hours." Leandra told them.
"Alright. Everything...ok?" Aurora checked tentatively.
"Yeah. Just tell him to wait until off-duty hours next time." Leandra replied. Aurora sighed.
"Will do, will do." She replied and Leandra and Taryn left, dragging the bodies with them.
"So, should we go say hi to Clara?" Loran asked.
"Sure, this'll be interesting." Aurora said and they went to find their friend.
Leandra and Taryn loaded all of the bodies onto a sled and dragged them through the safe path through the field. They took them into the forest and got ready to bury them beneath some leaves. They started to look around for fallen branches and leaves to bury the bodies. As they busily worked, Taryn couldn't shake the feeling they were being watched. Had she looked up into the trees, she'd have seen the silent Neil Kenway watching them, contemplating his next move.
The Pointy EndEdit
She had been piling bodies, Turian and Krogan. She had been taking off pieces of krogan armor when she had heard a loud noise. The noise, to her trained ear, was one of someone being hit by something metal. She whirled around and saw an armored man standing over Taryn, who was unconscious. She had gone for her pistol, but a black lightsaber had been at her throat before she could do anything. She dropped the pistol and was soon rendered unconscious herself.
Taryn nudged Leandra and awoke her from her reverie. The door to their cell opened, and Neil walked in and sat down on a chair. "I want you both to know that I have a sudden admiration for you and your group." Neil said.
"Fuck off." Taryn said angrily.
"See? Exactly why. I have decided that I will give your group one chance to let my past them, take what I want, and then I'll leave you alone." Neil explained.
"No you won't." Leandra replied.
"Yes, I will. I can kill them at a later date, with much less effort." Neil objected.
"Then why would they let you past?" Leandra pointed out.
"You two." He replied. "If they don't, I'll kill you. Your daughters wouldn't like that, would they?" Neil said, and Leandra stiffened. "Now, think on that. Try to talk your people into a peaceful way out." Neil said and rose. He saw his assassin pacing outside his portable house, and walked over. "Assassin." He greeted her.
"My lord, your forces are ready." She replied.
"Good. Now, we should kill a few hours." He said. She nodded and turned around, her helmet vanishing, exposing her black hair. Neil ran his fingers through it before grabbing, hard, and dragging her inside the house by the hair.
Back at the ruin, Vitor and Dean were checking a few traps for any malfunctions. Dean found a problem with a bear trap and crouched down to fix it. "So...you and Skylar have been getting closer." Vitor observed. Dean looked up, surprised.
"Yeah. It's nice. Are there...any...er, issues?" He asked cautiously.
"No, just be careful. Don't pull a Caden and Clara." Vitor said. Dean chuckled.
"Don't think you need to worry about that." Dean said. They kept working until Dean spoke again. "Been awhile since Leandra and Taryn left."
"Yeah. I won't be worried for another hour, Leandra is a tough one, and Taryn, if you know her history, is made of stone." Vitor replied. Dean nodded, a little confused. Unlike Vitor, he knew nothing of Taryn's history. Dean fixed the trap and they headed back inside the ruin. Vitor saw Sola pacing, and walked over, concerned. "You ok?" He asked his former teacher.
"Yeah, just, that assassin. She kicked all of our asses, but ran away from Loran because of one of his weapons. Does that make any sense to you?" She asked.
"Not really...that blade is a very special one." Vitor pointed out.
"True...but still, most fighters would just avoid getting hit if they were worried about the weapons." Sola replied, still looking confused, and a little stressed.
"Well, if she attacks us again, we'll have Loran use that thing, and we can attack her together." He told her. She nodded.
"Listen, Vitor, when this is over, I'm not going to command anything. I'm leaving that to you." Sola said. Vitor raised his eyebrows. "It is a big responsibility, but you can do it. You're more of a born leader than I am." She said. He nodded slowly.
"Thank y-" He was interrupted by a tremor and the sound of an explosion from the outside. They went tearing out the door to investigate, where they found Morrigan and Leliana watching with Skylar as a large tank and a force of foot soldiers exited the treeline.
"Vitor. Come on down here. Let's talk." Neil called, standing on top of the tank, hands on his hips, his black armor reflecting the sunlight up at them. Caden, Aurora, Loran, and Clara arrived behind Vitor.
"Holy shit..." Loran said and put a hand on Caden's shoulder, seeing the intense desire to jump down and fight him. Sola did the same to Clara, shaking her head slightly. Aurora ran her hands through her air, eyes wide at the size of Neil's force.
"Why should I?" Vitor called. "You'll probably just kill me and march over my body."
"Perhaps. Perhaps not. You've impressed me, Vitor. It would be a pity to kill such resilient folk now when I can do it later, after more of your entertaining efforts to stop me. Maybe I want this to end peacefully." Neil replied.
"Somehow I doubt that." Vitor shot back.
"I also have leverage." Neil replied and waved his hand. The black clad assassin jumped down next to him from a tree and climbed into the tank. She returned with the chained and bruised Leandra and Taryn. She threw the two women down in front of the tank and jumped down in between them.
"Mom." Leliana said and looked as though she was about to run to them. Morrigan grabbed her arm, eyes wide and fearful. Vitor hung his head, looked at the group and nodded slowly before walking down the steps and then jumping over the field, landing about thirty meters in front of Neil's force.
"Why peacefully?" Vitor asked.
"Simple. You have something in that temple that I want. I'd prefer to kill you all at a later date, so that way we can avoid the bloodshed, or at least postpone it." Neil replied.
"That doesn't give us any reason to leave, Neil." Vitor replied. Neil didn't respond, and Vitor could have sworn that an irritated sigh escaped him. He nodded at the assassin, who drew a bowie knife and put it at Taryn's throat before looking up at Vitor.
"My dear, if you would." Neil said. The assassin looked up at him, then her helmet vanished, and she looked at Vitor, whose eyes widened. Up at the temple, Clara's hands jumped to her mouth at the sight of Ziva working alongside Neil. Aurora reacted similarly, while Loran swore and dropped his saber pike. Caden's eyes widened, disbelief flooding his face. He took a step forward, then fell to his knees. Sola froze, almost looking like she was dead inside. Loran took a few steps back, moving towards a rolling box filled with spare firearms. He rolled the box towards Morrigan and Leliana and gave each of them an assault rifle. He rolled the box back towards the entrance to the ruin, where Dean and Skylar were. The two of them started giving them to other survivors in the ruin.
"Ziva, why are you doing this?" Vitor asked. She didn't answer, her gaze simply focused on him. "Whatever reason this man gave you for joining him, I can guarantee it is false. Ziva, I know what he did to you. He severed your connection to the force, just like he did to Dinaya. Dinaya's dead now. Because of him, she died while they," He pointed up at Caden, Sola, Loran, Aurora, and Clara. "they, were forced to watch. They all thought you were dead, Ziva." She flinched, a look of doubt in her eyes. Vitor saw this and knew he had a chance at bringing her back. "Ziva, those people are your family. You are their family, and they love you. Those people love you more than anyone in this universe, and all they want is to have you back. Please, put down the knife, come with me, and you're one of us. You can be with the people that love you again." Vitor said. Ziva blinked rapidly, then looked past Vitor, up at the group. She saw Loran, practically jumping up and down with nervousness. Aurora looked ready to sob. Sola looked as though her heart had been torn out of her chest, and Caden...was kneeling by Clara, who stood over him, a look of protectiveness about her. It was a look Ziva had often wore when Caden was in a bad place. It was a look she knew all too well what it meant. Ziva returned her gaze to Vitor.
"Liar." She whispered, and slashed to the side, cutting Leandra's throat. Time seemed to slow down in the brief moment. Taryn's jaw dropped and she looked over at Leandra, who remained upright. Aurora shut her eyes and looked away, while Caden looked on, simply unable to react to what he had just seen. Morrigan screamed, while Leliana fell to her knees, tears flowing freely now. Sola's eyes widened and she slackened a little, while Loran almost looked ready to jump down to attack himself. Vitor remained still until Leandra and pitched over to the side, blood flowing out freely. Vitor raised his shield and drew his saber, just in time to block a few blasts from the mercenaries. Morrigan raised her assault rifle and fired two three-round-bursts. One of them caught Ziva in the shoulder, and she stumbled behind the tank. Leliana opened fire as well, aiming straight for Neil, who seemed unharmed as they bounced off his armor.
The mercenaries started to move in, and Leandra started crawling towards the treeline, some strange idea of freedom in her mind. Taryn rolled away and into the treeline, where she planted herself behind a tree. One of the mercs came running, but she stuck a leg out and tripped him, then she stomped on his throat. She searched him and found his keys to her chains, and freed herself. She looked over and saw the woman named Ziva move over to Leandra, raise the knife, and bring it down on her neck once more. Taryn looked away and saw Vitor jump back to the steps, trying to reflect all the blasts aimed at him. Ziva brought the knife down again. Taryn saw Neil jump off the tank, which surged forward. Ziva brought the blade down again, and Leandra's head severed completely.
Up at the ruin, Caden was physically incapable of doing anything, while Aurora moved down to help keep the fire off of Vitor. The tank was soon trapped in a pitfall, and rendered useless as the foot soldiers fell victim to various other pitfalls and spike traps throughout the field. Loran joined Aurora and Vitor, the latter of which yelled over the sounds of battle. "You two, get Caden, Sola, and Clara out of here. There is a river to the west, we meet there, go!" He yelled.
"We can't leave you here, you'll get slaughtered!" Aurora objected, deflecting a blast into a human's skull.
"I'll lead the rest of the group in a circle around, get going!" Vitor ordered.
"Rorii." Loran said. "We need to go. He'll be ok." Loran said. Aurora looked between the two of them, the nodded.
"Fine. Come on, let's go before I change my mind." She said, and she and Loran ran back up the stairs, where they found Clara physically dragging Caden back, Sola covering them as they went. "Quickly, we're heading west, to the river." Aurora told them.
"Ok. Caden, we have to go now." Clara said, just as Sola took a blast to her shoulder and hit the ground. Seeing her go down snapped Caden out of it, and she lifted her up and supported her as they slipped out the side and escaped into the western treeline. As they reached the trees, they saw Vitor vanish into a sea of human mercenaries, krogan, and batarians.
"Vitor! Dammit, I told you!" Aurora yelled. Sola looked at Aurora intensely.
"Keep...moving." She said, sounding oddly menacing. Aurora sighed.
"Yeah...you're right." Aurora said and they kept moving. After a few hours, they reached the river, where they found Morrigan, sitting in the water, soaking wet.
"Where's everyone else?" Aurora asked her, walking over. Morrigan looked up, surprised.
"...Skylar and Dean circled around the trees...Leliana...missing...Taryn...missing." Morrigan replied, then wiped her eyes. Aurora remembered that it had been Morrigan's mother who had just perished. Aurora crouched down, her ankles now soaked to the bone as well.
"Hey...I'm sorry about your mother. She was a hero." Aurora said. Morrigan looked as though she was about to respond, but was interrupted by the sound of a splash further down the stream. They looked over and saw Taryn stumbling through the water towards them. "Taryn!" Aurora yelled and ran over to help her. She healed some of the wounds and bruises Taryn had on her, then, after talking with Loran and Clara, decided it wasn't safe to stay there. They crossed the river and kept moving until they came across a broken down and abandoned cabin. They moved in and treated whatever wounds were left. Taryn fell asleep once night fell, followed by Morrigan and Sola. Once she thought everyone else was asleep, Aurora moved over to Loran, who was watching the outside through a window. "I...I cannot believe what has happened today." She whispered.
"Me neither...are you alright?" Loran asked.
"No, of course not. I just found out that my thought to be best friend is actually working for the most wanted man in history, we had to leave others behind while we escaped, and Caden's probably on the verge of losing it right now." She replied.
"Yeah...listen, I know how we can get home." Loran said.
"Please, tell me."
"Sola knows where the Spartacus is on planet. She also knows that hardly anyone is left defending it, as most came for us. We need to steal that ship, its our only shot." Loran explained.
"So, our only hope is to steal a city sized ship and pilot it to a safe place, all with a squad of less than ten people?" Aurora asked, then sighed. "Why not?"
"It only takes one person to pilot it." Clara's voice said, startling them both.
"Well, there's something, at least." Aurora said, surprised.
"Yeah. You two should probably sleep." Clara told them.
"Yeah, you're right." Aurora said as Loran sat down and leaned against an open section of wall. Aurora sat down next to him and leaned her head on his shoulder, and both were asleep in seconds. Clara looked at Caden, who was also awake, but in a vegetative state.
"You're awake." Clara said, slightly surprised.
"Yeah...sadly." Caden replied, staring into space.
"I...I don't know what to say." Clara said.
"What is there to say? The woman I've been with for decades is now with the man I hate the most, we're trapped here, and half our people are dead or MIA." He said. Clara was about to reply, but stopped.
"Someone's outside. I'll go check it out, I'll be back in a minute." Clara told him. Caden nodded, told her to be careful, and she left. A few minutes after she was out the door, Caden noticed a black mist seep through the door. He sat up, his hands on his lightsabers. The mist took form into that familiar form of Darth Nymeria.
"Nymeria. Long time no see." Caden said.
"Indeed. I must keep this short, or Neil will find me. Neil did not find what he was looking for, so he is looking for you. His forces captured Skylar and Dean, as well as Sen and Maya Arslan, who I believe you know well. They are locked up on the Spartacus while the rest of his forces are hunting you. You need to get the Spartacus and get out of here." Nymeria told him.
"I heard. I don't know if we can do it, though. I know I can't." Caden said.
"Do you know what his plans for you are?" Nymeria asked.
"Break me, humiliate me, kill me." Caden guessed.
"Your group. He's going to do to Clara and Aurora what he did to Ziva. Then he'll make you and Loran watch, while the rest die." Nymeria said.
"The hell he will." Caden said, sad and worried.
"What he did was pick apart Ziva's mind and replace feelings with new ones, as well as remove some memories. She now associates you with adultery, and Clara as the mistress. That is what he plans for your sister and Clara." Nymeria warned. Caden gripped his saber, hard. A red tint of aura energy surrounded him as his rage intensified.
"I will make him wish he had never crawled out of whatever hole he came from." He snarled.
"Then make sure he fails here. Get these people offworld, and get them to Kaven. I hate to say it, but that is the safest place for you now. I must go." Nymeria said and vanished.
"Failure is too tame a word..." Caden said and sat in silence for the next several minutes. Clara re-entered, holding her stomach, Vitor behind her. "Vitor! You're alive." Caden said, taking care to not wake anyone. "Are you two alright?" He asked.
"Just...got stabbed." Clara groaned.
"I found her dueling Ziva, who stabbed her before I could force her away." Vitor explained.
"Jaysus...come on, let me help you." He said. Clara moved over and lay down across his lap.
"I...I think she's gone, Caden..." She told him.
"I know. I know. Listen, once you're healed up, we have to find that ship." Caden said.
"Care to...?" Clara asked, gesturing down at the stab wound in her stomach. She weakly folded her shirt up so he could see.
"I got you." Caden said, folding up her shirt a little more so he could start trying to heal it. Vitor slouched down by the door as Clara fell asleep in Caden's arms.
"You ok, Vitor?" Caden asked.
"Tired. Barely got out. Two of your friends, Sky, Dean, and one other group member were captured." Vitor said.
"I know Sky and Dean were." Caden said. Dean nodded.
"We go to the Spartacus tomorrow?" Vitor asked.
"Yep. We take back your ship asap." Caden affirmed.
"Alright. You should sleep. I'll wake Loran up halfway through the night for watch." Vitor said.
"Ok. Glad you're back, Vitor." Caden said.
"Glad to be back." Vitor said and dozed off. Clara, still asleep, curled into Caden a little more. Caden held onto her and tried to get some sleep himself.
Nymeria hit the ground hard. She rolled over onto her back and saw Ziva bearing down on her. "Where are they?" Ziva asked, wrapping her hands around Nymeria's throat. She repeated the question, again and again, thrashing the Sith Lady's head around angrily. Soon, she realized, Nymeria was dead. She swore, rose, and kicked the body.
"Ziva." She heard Neil's voice.
"My lord?" she asked, looking around."
"Wait on the Spartacus, my dear. Watch our prisoners. I will handle the search." His ethereal voice told her.
"Yes, my lord." She obeyed immediately, and made her way towards the ship.
You Are My SunshineEdit
The next day, the group started its long hike through the woods, making its way in the direction of the Spartacus. More than a few times, they had to hide in various bushes and greenery to avoid being spotted by mercenaries. Eventually, they came across another river, and knew they had to swim across. Morrigan groaned about having to swim, a sentiment shared by Caden and Aurora. The group kept moving until they reached the Spartacus. They decided that if any security was inside the ship, they would have to be at the top of their game to successfully take the ship over. They munched on some food as they whispered ideas about sneaking in. Clara eventually got up and decided to explore the area around them, so they might find good places to attack from.
Clara eventually came upon another, smaller set of ruins. She walked through them, curious, and then climbed up one of the stone pillars. She looked and saw the Spartacus sitting there, completely still. She looked out with the force and tried to feel for security, but none came up. She tried to climb for a better, view, but slipped and fell. She tumbled through the air and landed on the ground. She swore and picked herself up. There was a snap in the forestry, and she turned to face it. It was Loran, coming through the woods. "Hey, Clara. We're getting ready to go in."
"Alright, was just trying to find security." Clara said. "I couldn't feel any inside the ship."
"Really? I can sense..." Loran trailed off, and his eyes widened. He drew his silent, black bladed saber and turned walked past her. "Clara, go, sneak around, they're trying to take you alive, go." Loran said. Clara, for a moment, wasn't sure what she meant, then she could feel the security. "Go!" Loran told her, and, reluctantly, she dove into the woods. Loran walked around the corner of the ruins and faced the three hundred former Ghost Jedi, all armed with shields and lightsabers, clad in black, and coming for him. He raised his saber, ducked under a strike, and the fight began.
He counterattacked and slashed one's legs off before swinging at another two. Many of them kept attacking him, and he was forced up the ancient stone stairs by some while the remaining went after Clara. He dispatched four or five before he saw them flooding into the forest after her. He jumped off the ruin and landed, each of his feet on the shoulder of one, crushing him beneath his weight. He slashed at one bringing him down, while another attacked him with his shield, sending him flying to the ground. He spun onto his back and slashed up at his attacker, who pitched forward and landed on him. As he tried to get the body off of him, a purple lightsaber soared overhead and stabbed through a Ghost while a blast of red aura dropped a second. He got the body off of him and saw Vitor smash his own shield into the face of a Ghost as Caden slashed outward and decapitated another.
"Loran, go after them!" Caden yelled as three Ghosts came for him. Loran cut through one and dashed past Vitor, who was engaging another four with only his shield, trying to get his saber back. Caden stabbed one through the chest and into the one behind him with one saber, then he slashed the next one across the stomach. Vitor rolled under a strike, got his saber back, and it wasn't long before each of his attackers were dead. The two chased after Loran, who was doing all he could to fight through the throngs of attackers. They joined him, and started picking their foes off one by one. Caden took to blasting with his aura powers to take his foes out at range, while Vitor would get in close and carve them to pieces.
Clara stopped running when she reached the river, and she found there was nowhere to go. She swore and drew her yellow saber and turned, just in time to cut down an attacker. She found herself engaging twenty or so attackers, to her dismay. She was able to cut them all down, but grew very tired in the process. She looked up and saw even more approaching. She spotted several silver glints, followed by a Ghost dropping. Morrigan must be throwing knives. Clara thought. As the attackers arrived near her, there was a green slash, and two Ghosts dropped. Sola rolled to her feet and stabbed another one through the stomach. Close behind her was Aurora, who spun in a circle and slashed through four while driving many of the others back.
Further up the forest, Vitor slashed one Ghost in half while Loran stabbed one and kicked him away before turning to black the strike of another attacker. Caden was picking targets off at will with his Aura powers, and soon, only a few remained in their vicinity. Loran found himself grappling with one while Vitor finished another two off as Caden sent blast after blast at the fleeing Ghosts. Caden turned and saw Loran struggling with his attacker, and sent a blast into the Ghost's back, killing him. Suddenly, there was a scream, a terrible scream that sounded as though someone was being eaten alive. "That's a force bellow." Caden said.
"That's Sola." Loran replied and darted past him, quickly engaging another attacker. The Ghosts kept going down the hill, but once they reached Sola, Clara, and Aurora, they inevitably fell. Sola slashed through one and force pushed another back into his comrades before letting out another bellow. The Ghosts flooded through the forests towards them, in numbers so great they knew they would be overwhelmed if help didn't arrive. Then, they stopped, and retreated. For a moment, they thought they had won, then, a familiar woman landed in front of them. Ziva drew her two red sabers and looked ready to kill all three of them. Aurora looked frantically at the other two, giving them a look that said I don't think I can fight her. Sola wore a similar look.
Ziva attacked and focused on Sola. Sola was utterly demolished under the onslaught. Soon, she was face first on the ground, and they weren't sure whether she was alive or not. "Ziva, knock it off! This isn't you!" Aurora yelled, and Ziva attacked her and Clara. Ziva's attacks were so furious they couldn't even attack back, simply defend. "What the hell, kid, stop! We're best friends, remember?" Aurora asked desperately. Clara was blasted to the side and Ziva jumped into the air, slamming her knee into Aurora's chin, knocking her out. Ziva turned and raised her saber on the down Clara, ready to finish her, when something struck her in the back of the head, and she hit the ground, unconscious. Loran stepped over her and ran to Aurora's side. Caden followed him down and kicked Ziva's weapons away before running over to Clara, who was still conscious.
"Jaysus..." She said, then shook her head. "Great, now I'm talking like you." She added as she rose and ran over to Sola, who was still alive, and helped her up.
"And that's a bad thing?" He asked before cautiously going to check on Ziva. Vitor arrived and threw Ziva over his shoulder. Taryn walked out of the bush, holding a bloodied log. Vitor gave Ziva's weapons to her and yelled for Morrigan. Morrigan stepped out of another bush, on her last knife. Loran picked up Aurora, who stirred awake as he did so.
"Ugh." Aurora groaned.
"Hey babe, you alright?" Loran asked, not setting her down as Vitor began to lead them through the woods towards the Spartacus.
"I'll live. Someone's finally pulling their weight in the relationship." She said, smirking.
"Well...your weight." Loran joked, relieved.
"Hehe, shut up." She told him. The group made its way onto the Spartacus Vitor dropped them off in small apartment rooms via the elevator system. He dropped Ziva off in a containment cell and left Taryn to watch over her, then found and released Sen and Maya, sending them to their own room, and then released Skylar and Dean, and for convenience's sake, gave them their own room as well. They also explored the rest of the rooms, and found Serra Urec, who they dropped off at Skylar and Dean's room. On the way, she told them that her sister, Ava, had been killed by Neil personally. They then found Leliana, who was then dropped off with Morrigan at another room. He then dropped off Loran and Aurora off in an apartment room. "Is it weird I don't even feel safe on this ship?" Aurora asked.
"No...but...I think we'll be ok." Loran replied.
"True. I got you to protect me." Aurora said.
"Not a bad apartment we have, eh?" Loran pointed out.
"Yeah, this is nice. I could get used to it, if we weren't being hunted." Aurora replied.
"Might want to sleep in an actual bed tonight, before we return to the chaos." Loran suggested.
"That's up to you." Loran replied.
"Well...ugh forget it, must sleep." Came her response. Meanwhile, Vitor dropped off Clara and Caden in their own room.
"This ship is kinda nice." Caden said.
"Haven't had the greatest experiences in this ship." Clara replied.
"True, sorry..." Caden said, remembering what she had told him a year before.
"Its ok. I'm going to make something to eat, then bed." She told him.
"Alright." Caden said.
"Feel free to join me." She added.
"For the cooking or bed?" Caden asked and laughed.
"I was hoping both." She said.
"As you wish." He replied and set to work helping her. Up in the pilot room, Vitor and Sola took control and started flying. Morrigan had requested that she and Leliana be dropped off on Mandalore, since they weren't the ones being hunted. Sola and Vitor didn't see why not, so they set the course. It only took a few hours to arrive at Mandalore, and they gave the two young women a dropship down. Morrigan flew the ship down the Mandalore and onto their father's front lawn. She took Leliana's arm and helped her out of the ship. Leliana had been tortured, and was very weak. Morrigan helped her to the front door and knocked. Their father, Ryan Ferran, opened the door.
"Morri, Lel? What's wrong?" He asked.
"Can we come in?" Morrigan asked.
"Of course, of course." Ryan said and let them in. Morrigan took Leliana to the couch and sat her down before wrapping a blanket around her.
"Do you have anything for her to drink?" Morrigan asked.
"Yeah, sure, what happened?" Ryan said, getting Leliana a drink.
"We were kidnapped and sent to another world. You remember Zev, Izzy, and Varric, right? He killed them all before sending me offworld." Morrigan started.
"Oh god. You two got out alright, though..." He said.
"You know...Caden's girlfriend, Ziva?" Morrigan asked, starting to choke on her words.
"Yeah? Oh no, did she...?"
"No, she's alive. A man named Neil Kenway took control of her mind and she...she..." Morrigan couldn't finish the sentence.
"What happened?" Ryan asked.
"Ziva...killed mom." Morrigan forced out, and Leliana began to cry on the couch.
"No...oh my god..." Ryan said and sat down next to Leliana, putting an arm around her. Morrigan sat there and stared into space, wondering where she was going to go from there.
The Spartacus landed just outside Kaven Base, as it was too big to land within the base. Vitor, Sola, Skylar, Serra, Dean, and Taryn went to meet with IceBite, as Sola had contacted him before their arrival. Sen and Maya headed for Maya's unused house, looking for time alone together, and Caden Aurora, Clara, and Loran headed for the Ferrans' house. Clara knocked on the door and Ethan answered, to their surprise, he was using a cane. "Oh, hello." Ethan said.
"Have we...got a tale...for you..." Clara sighed.
"Well, come on in, make yourself at home." He said, to Clara more than the other three. Aurora and Caden took to greeting their family while Loran took Ethan aside and he explained everything. "What the hell. I assume he's gonna strike here next." Ethan said.
"Maybe. This was the only place we had to run to." Loran said.
"Son, I love you and I understand your reasoning, but you may have signed a death warrant for everyone on this base, if not the planet." Ethan said.
"It wasn't my call." Loran said. Clara got up and walked over.
"Ethan, can we talk? Shoo Loran." She said and sent Loran over to be with Aurora.
"What?" Ethan asked.
"Did he tell you about how we took the only ship on the planet?" She asked.
"Yes, but I don't think that's ever stopped a galactic terrorist before."
"What about how we may have the only weapon in the universe that he fears?" Clara asked.
"No. What might that be?" Ethan asked.
"Just got a message from Sola. The sword Loran carries is a Marethari weapon designed for killing people like him. As long as Loran is near the stone, Neil won't come for it." Clara said.
"Then protect that boy at all costs! I've been doing this longer than all of you combined, but that is the single most important order I've ever given. If his life stops Neil from coming for the stone, then he is essentially the key to our survival."
"I'm not done. If Neil comes here and he hurts anyone I care about, I will kill myself. I'm the only one who can handle the stone without dying, so he needs me alive." Clara said.
"How do you think that will go over with them?" Ethan asked. Clara sighed.
"Terribly...but if I don't, then Neil will unleash something more powerful than anything you or I have ever faced." She said.
"I appreciate what you're willing to do. That takes guts, kid." Ethan said.
"I'll hate myself for it, and I will wish myself to hell for it. Especially for what it would do to Caden..." Clara said.
"What do you mean?"
"Me and him are...er...Loran didn't tell you?" She asked.
"No, he didn't."
"Oh. Well, yeah. Me and him are a thing." Clara said.
"Hmm. I liked Ziva, too." Ethan said and moved over to the side of the room.
"Oi vey." Clara said and walked over to Caden. "Hey, can you explain us to your parents?" She asked.
"Easier said than done." He objected. She promptly gave him a "now." look. Caden sighed. "This won't work." He told her and walked over to Ethan. Clara crashed down on the couch and swore in her head.
On the planet from before, Neil fell on his knees before the creature. Instead of using the key, he had unleashed all of his power into the prison. The prison had exploded, and now, he was facing what he had unleashed. The large, metal monster looked down at him.
Neil. Kenway. You are now mine. You will obey me, no matter what I say, understood? Its deep voice sounded in his head. Neil nodded frantically. You will wait exactly one month before you attack them again. I care not of the outcome. I simply want your nemesis Clara gone. It said, its bright orange eyes glaring down on Neil and into his soul.
Serra found her way to the Llehctim house and knocked. After a moment, Skylar answered the door. "Oh...hey Serra." Skylar said.
"Hey...you tell Ari about Ava?" Serra asked.
"Yeah...she...wasn't very happy about that..." Skylar said, sounding as though she was trying to word it right. "Such things, she said, were why she tries to keep others at an arm's length." Serra nodded.
"Well, don't let her lock herself away. Her being alone won't help at all." Serra warned. "How did your dad take learning it all?" She asked, referring to the events of the previous few weeks.
"He's mainly glad I'm safe. But he was angry about all the deaths that happened. I remember him saying something about wishing he could tear Neil apart himself. He's now working to beef up the Earth Defense Fleet. He said something about a fully equipped Klingon Attack Fleet and a Minbari Battle Force on the way." Skylar replied. Before Serra could reply, a small fighter flew over the house and landed in the street. It was pirate looking, and didn't match any known Coalition models. "What the hell is that about?" Skylar asked. The cockpit opened and, to their shock, a man they recognized as Ian Bauer stepped out of the fighter. Skylar cautiously reached for one of her bowie knives with one hand, and a throwing knife with the other.
"I wouldn't do that, Skylar." Ian said.
"What the hell are you doing here?" Skylar asked, noting that Serra looked about ready to lunge for him.
"I'm here to speak to your father." Ian said.
"Why now? Last time you were here, you caused the deaths of quite a few good people. Why talk now?" She asked.
"I had a falling out with a business partner, someone I know your father hates." Ian replied. As he said it, they spotted Dean creeping up behind him. Skylar cocked her head to the side, hoping to catch Dean's attention and make him stop for a moment.
"What business partner?"
"I assume you are familiar with Neil Kenway?" Ian asked. Skylar raised her eyebrows.
"You could say that." She said, and Ian shrugged.
"I may be able to provide some information on him. And perhaps fix the now insane Ziva Harper." Ian replied. Skylar took a moment, then shook her head at Dean and then tilted her head in the direction of her father's office. He nodded and left.
"Ok. But be warned, I am watching you." Skylar threatened. Ian rolled his eyes and held his hands out for cuffing. Serra seized the opportunity and lunged forward. She punched him once in the face before cuffing him and shoving him in the direction of IceBite's office. It only took a few minutes for IceBite to be in an interrogation room with Ian. Skylar paced outside the building, unsure of what else to do, as Serra was inside with them. She looked up and spotted Dean approaching.
"Hey, how's it going in there?" He asked.
"I have no clue..." She replied.
"You ok?" He asked.
"You sure about that?" He pressed.
"Well...circumstances considered..." She replied.
"True...how's your sister doing?" Dean checked, knowing that Ariana had been friends with Ava.
"She's still very upset about Ava...every lost friend, to her, from what I can tell, is like a knife in the heart. Either way...she is taking it better than her behavior would suggest..." Skylar mused.
"Yeah...listen, while they're in there, care to show my around the base?" Dean asked. Skylar thought for a moment.
"Alright..." She finally said, and the two started to slowly walk down the street, her pointing parts of the base out to him.
Fire And BloodEdit
The Ferran house was generally a quiet place for the next two days. The group needed to recuperate from the chaos of the last few weeks. After helping Becca with some of the cooking, Korra excused herself her room, which was luckily somewhat soundproof, and phoned Kira. Kira answered on the fourth ring. "Hey. How're things?" Kira asked.
"Not very good. Things are running rampant out there." Korra replied somberly.
"What do you mean?" Kira asked.
"Neil Kenway. He just kidnapped a good number of our people, and they just escaped. Well, some of them."
"Ah...well..." Kira said hesitantly.
"What?" Korra asked.
"Today's the day I'm allowed to come back. Do you reckon it would be a good idea?" Kira asked.
"I don't know. The good news might make them happy, but it could distract them." Korra said honestly.
"You know I could pull my own weight if anything were to happen." Kira pointed out hopefully.
"I know you could. It would be easier with you back." Korra replied.
"That settles that. When should I come?"
"As soon as you can would be nice." Korra told her.
"I'll be there in five minutes." Kira replied.
"Where the hell are you, exactly?" Korra asked, taken aback.
"Just outside the gate. See you in a few, bye." Kira said and the call ended.
"That was unexpected." Korra said to herself, just before she left her room and aimlessly wandered the house, her nerves practically exploding. After the five minutes passed, Korra got a text message saying I'm here. Korra quickly headed to the door and opened it, where she found Kira, who looked just as nervous as she was.
"Should I just come in, or...?" Kira asked.
"Give me a second." Korra said and returned to the living room, trying to get everyone's attention. When she finally did so, she took a deep breath, and started. "Guys, I think there's someone you should meet...again." She said, experiencing a strange sense of Deja Vu. Everyone waited, and Kira walked in and came up beside Korra, clearly nervous.
"Hi." She said.
"And I thought the days of people coming back from the dead were over." Ethan quipped.
"Wha-How?" Caden stuttered.
"What? Kira?" Aurora asked.
"Resurrection runs in the family, it seems." Kira said, specifically to Ethan.
"At this point, I would believe so." He replied. She smiled.
"Good to see you too, old man." She said, not unfriendly. Ethan laughed.
"At least I'm still kicking. Better than what you could say." He replied. Caden and Aurora both flinched, remembering the friends they had lost. Clara shot a dirty look at Ethan before getting up and walking over to Kira.
"So, you're Nymeria's secret project?" She asked.
"That I am. You must be her favorite protege." Kira replied.
"I guess so." The Jedi replied.
"You know each other?" Caden asked.
"Not personally. Nymeria, the one who brought me back, spoke often of her, quite highly." Kira replied.
"She had a secret project that she finished back when we first met, Caden. I guess we know what it was, now." Clara explained.
"And before you ask," Kira said. "If I could have come back then, I would have." Kira said.
"What stopped you?" Aurora said.
"Nymeria took secrecy very seriously. I owed her a certain amount of time before she would let me loose on the universe. As of right now, I don't remember any locations or names, aside from her own." Kira explained.
"I guess that means you can't give us anything on our guy." Caden said, sounding disappointed.
"Neil stopped being a secret when-" Kira began, but she was interrupted when the door opened and Sola walked in, jaw agape.
"Meet our new friend." Korra said.
"Yeah...god damn...I guess I should tell you now that we were almost siblings. I was going to marry your brother." Sola confessed.
"You were?" Kira said, shocked.
"I didn't know that." Korra said, looking equally surprised.
"Yeah. Anyway, uh, guys, you know Ian Bauer? He came back, offered to help against Neil, and is currently trying to rebuild Ziva's mind." Sola said.
"What? How?" Caden said, leaning forward, eyes wide.
"Seriously? That's great!" Aurora said, her eyes lighting up.
"Good, good. That'd be impressive and helpful." Ethan said. Loran looked wordlessly happy, as well as the rest of the clan. Kira noticed, however, beneath the relief that Clara showed, there was fear.
Ian leaned back in a chair, looking into Ziva's holding room through a window. Throughout the day's attempts, she had tried to bite him at least four times, as well as seventeen separate escape attempts. Serra paced behind him. "So...in short?" She asked, looking for his results.
"It will be a long process...he really messed her up. Some memories, in fact, will never come back." He said.
"Can you fix her, for the most part?"
"Yes, I thinks so...but...she will be very different. In fact, the only things I can guarantee will be that she won't attack at random, and that she'll still feel friendship towards Aurora Ferran. Beyond that...who knows. She might try to kill you, or Aurora's husband, or me, or anyone else she would recognize as a target before. We'll have to see as it comes along." Ian said.
"Ok. Just remember. You're only stalling right now." Serra warned and she stormed out. He knew she wanted his head.
Neil followed closely behind his new master, praying that he wouldn't displease him. The monstrosity was nine feet tall, had skin of pure metal, and there was something within it that glowed a light red. The thing wore a large cloak over its golden-metallic skin, but it still drew eyes from the various people in the streets, both for its glowing red eyes and mouth, and its massive height. It was night time on a border world. Like many of the border worlds, it was largely without governance, and was riddled with crime gangs. Neil had taken his master here, in hope of building up a new army. They didn't need one, per say, but his master wanted Neil to buy him time to regenerate his power.
They went down a back alley and found a small staircase. They took it down into the city's underground. They eventually came upon a large pit with seats surrounding a fighting ring. Spectators were of all species, but they all had something in common: They wanted violence, and they were all armed to the teeth. They looked around the arena and saw a box with a finely clad man sitting inside it. They both knew immediately that the man was clearly the one in charge. His master gave him a look, signalling to stay there, and he made his way to the box. Neil occupied himself by watching the fights.
"It did not take you long to kneel before him." A voice said, Within his helmet, Neil paled and turned around. Nymeria stood before him, a smirk on her face.
"I kneel to no one." Neil snarled.
"All evidence to the contrary." She replied, and he lunged for her throat, but his hands passed through her, her body parting around his hand.
"Ah." Neil said, pulling his hand back. "Ziva merely killed your physical form."
"You should have thought of that long ago." Nymeria chided him. Neil quickly blinked and activated his helmet's HUD. He quickly found his recorded video archives. While on the planet, he had recorded some of the moments that could have been more useful to use to terrorize his enemies. He found the recording of Ziva killed Leandra and soon had it uploading onto the extranet. "So you resort to digital terrorism?" Nymeria asked.
"Whatever methods I use I use because they work. It matters not what you think of them." Neil snapped. Nymeria's smirk widened.
"Has your new master told you of the prophecy he is trying to halt?" Nymeria asked.
"Why does it concern me?" He asked.
"It should. Has he at least told you of the joining?" She asked curiously.
"Yes, of course. It is what we will stop." He shot back.
"Do you believe that you can find the lost planet?" She asked.
"Erachus? Of course. What do you think you can do to hinder us?" He boasted.
"Nothing. It isn't me who will." Nymeria said and she dissipated and vanished. The sound of shattering glass filled the air and Neil turned to see his master standing in the arena, holding the boss up in the air with one hand. Wordlessly, he crushed the boss's head and looked around. He threw his cloak off, revealing his gold, metal armor and glowing red eyes and mouth. He looked around at the room, and slowly, each of the criminals in the room began to scream in pain for several seconds, then, they stopped and looked dead at him, as if they were awaiting a command. Neil felt a chill run down his spine as he realized how they were going to get their army.
Clara found her way to the training facilities and started practicing unarmed combat techniques on a punching bag. She started slowly, then found herself increasing in speed and intensity. Eventually, she slammed her mechanical hand into the bag, and it flew off its hinges and hit the wall. "Blowing off steam, or training?" A voice said. Clara turned and saw Kira walking over.
"A little bit of both, I think." Clara replied.
"I see. Something tells me it is a lot of the former, though." Kira told her.
"What makes you say that?"
"A long time ago, I was in here doing the same thing. Then someone came in here and told me to remember a punching bag will only do so much." Kira said. "Of course, I was a little different than what you're like right now. Tell me, Clara; what are you afraid of?" Kira asked.
"How do you know I'm afraid?" Clara asked.
"I can see it. If anyone in there had been looking at your face, they'd have seen it too." Kira said. "So, what is it?"
"I'm not sure." Clara admitted. "We don't know if and when Neil will attack, I can't shake the feeling that everyone is pissed at me, especially Ethan, and...what happens if Ziva comes back just like before?" Clara said.
"I don't know. There isn't any guarantee of that, though." Kira replied. There was a long silence before Clara spoke up again.
"When will you tell them all about you and Korra?"
"What do you mean?"
"Not hard to figure out you two are together." Clara responded. Kira sighed.
"I don't know just yet." She admitted.
"Did...did anyone tell you everything that happened on the border world?" Clara asked tentatively.
"No...why?" Kira asked.
"Oh god...Clara...while we were there...Neil...Ziva..." Clara sputtered, unsure of what to say.
"Spit it out, kid, come on." Kira said. Clara was about to speak when a video started broadcasting on the tv screen in the training room. Clara watched, horrified, as it showed, from what she guessed was Neil's helmet camera, a video of Ziva killing Leandra. Clara turned to face Kira, but saw the woman had left the room. Clara chased her out the door and saw Kira running in the direction of the medbay where Ziva was being held. Clara caught up to her and jumped on Kira's back. Clara wrapped her organic arm around Kira's neck, trying desperately to choke her into submission. She could feel Kira's fury and anguish radiating through the force. Kira, instead of falling to her knees like Clara would have hoped, fell backwards on purpose, slamming Clara onto the ground. Kira sprung up, Clara following, hoping she could catch her in time. Unexpectedly, Kira whirled around and threw her foot up, catching Clara in between the legs.
Clara hit the ground, crying out in what was probably the worst pain since Neil had carved the scar into her back. She tried to haul herself to her feet, but found she couldn't. Soon, someone walked by and helped her up. She crouched over and groaned before looking up. "Thanks..." she mumbled.
"What happened?" The man asked.
"Ugh...Kira...kicked me in the cunt." Clara said angrily.
"Kira...the redhead I just saw Dean, Skylar, Serra, Loran, and Aurora drag away from the medbay?"
"Yeah, that's the one." Clara said, rose up and stretched. She looked at him, and saw that he was rather familiar. "Hey...you were on the border world with us." She said.
"Yeah. I'm Jax." He said and held out his hand. She shook it.
"Clara." She said, as she spotted Caden running over. She walked over to him.
"Hon', I need ice." She said.
"Uhhhh...why?" He asked.
"You're not the only one who feels pain after getting kicked between the legs." Clara said. His eyes widened, and he nodded, taking her arm and leading her back to the Ferran house.
Ian leaned back in his chair. It had been four days since he had begun to work on fixing Ziva's memories. He wasn't sure of just how exactly it would go, but they were going to wake her up soon to test her memories out. First, they had to be certain she was still capable of walking and speaking, rather than simply turning into a puddle the moment she got off the bed. He sat and watched as Serra administered the physical tests. Ziva was doing just fine. In fact, she was up to combat capabilities as good, if not better, than she had been before. She was still a force blank, there was nothing Ian could do to fix that, but her unarmed capabilities and use of bladed weapons had soared through the roof.
However, he was very uncertain what her mental capacity would be like. For all he knew, she was going to be a totally new person. Serra took Ziva into an interrogation room and came into the room Ian was in, where they looked at the woman, who was glancing around the room, almost as though she was examining the room for weaknesses. "What do you think?" He asked.
"She's great, physically. Didn't tell me much, though." Serra replied. Ian nodded and then walked into the room where he sat across from Ziva.
"Ziva, I'm going to show you pictures of a few people, and I want you to tell me what you know about them, ok?" He said, and Ziva nodded. He began the examination, and Serra watched on, shaking her head. There was a knock on the door and Skylar walked in.
"Hey." Serra said, and Skylar nodded before joining her, watching silently as Ziva perfectly described every person Ian presented a picture of.
"Where the hell did he learn to do this?" Skylar asked.
"Good question. Maybe Neil taught him." Serra replied as Ian held up a picture of Dinaya.
"That's Dinaya Orslade. We're friends and we were taught by the same master, while I had a connection. Haven't seen her for weeks." Ziva explained. Ian nodded. For a moment, Serra was worried that Ian would tell her that Dinaya had been killed, but to her relief, he chose not to do so. Ian held up a picture of Sola. "She was my master. I lived with her for ages." Ziva said. Ian nodded and held up a picture of Aurora. "That's Aurora Ferran. She's my best friend, youngest of the Ferran Clan, I think." Ziva replied. Serra raised an eyebrow, surprised there was no mention of Caden. Ian nodded again and held up a picture of Loran. "That's Aurora's husband, Loran. Great guy, hate to piss him off. Has the force telekinesis of a god." Ziva explained. Ian now, tentatively, held up a picture of Caden, and Ziva's face darkened. "That's Caden. Aurora's brother. We broke up back in 2298." She said shortly. Serra and Skylar looked at one another, eyes wider. Ian sighed. It seemed they had come to the first problem with Ziva's memory.
"Ok, this is the last one." Ian said and held up a picture of Clara.
"That's Clara Renner. Caden left me for her. Bit of a bitch, amazing fighter." Ziva replied. Ian sighed.
"Ok, thank you Ziva, I'll return in a few minutes." Ian said and Ziva nodded. He left the room and joined Serra and Skylar.
"So...will you be able to fix her up more?" Skylar asked.
"No. Not safely. If I rearrange anything else, there's a good chance all the tampering would kill her." Ian said. Serra sighed and turned to look at Ziva, who was now drumming her fingers on the table.
"Poor Caden, he's gonna-" Serra started, but she was interrupted as something hard hit her in the back of the head. She hit the floor, unconscious. Ian turned and caught the knife Skylar had thrown at his head and aimed his revolver at her.
"Bullets go faster than blades." He told her and motioned with his sidearm to put her knives on the ground. Slowly, she did so. "Sorry about this. Hopefully your father will learn about the pain his comrades were forced to endure." He said, and pulled the trigger, shooting Skylar in the stomach. He turned and left, leaving his enemy's daughter to try and treat herself.
Kill Them AllEdit
A few days later, the Ferrans received a knock on the door. Ethan hobbled over to the door and answered it. A tall man who had the aura of a commander stood at the door. "Hello. Who are you?" Ethan asked.
"My name is Vitor Rogan. I was with your twins while they were away. Former apprentice of Sola's, I've been taking over examination of Ziva while Serra recovers." The man replied.
"Have you now. Well, come on in, Vitor." Ethan said and let him in.
"Thank you. It...may be wise if I speak to yourself and Aurora before I speak with Caden." Vitor said.
"Alright, I'll get her real quick." Ethan said and summoned Aurora.
"Is there a place we can speak privately?" Vitor asked.
"Yes, there is. Come." Ethan said and led them into the spare room.
"Ok...well, I have good news and bad news, in Ziva's case." Vitor began.
"Well, fortunately, she is at peak physical capacity. In fact, she's better than she used to be. She also retained most of her memories." Vitor began.
"That's great!" Aurora said excitedly.
"Wait a second, bad news?" Ethan asked.
"Only partial repair was able to be administered to the most damaged parts of her memory, and her connection to the force has permanently been severed." Vitor said.
"We understand." Ethan said, but Aurora quickly interrupted him.
"Wait, you said partial repairs? What wasn't repaired, exactly?"
"Well, she doesn't remember any part of her relationship with Caden after their temporary breakup in 2298. In her mind, only a few weeks afterwards, he was with Clara. As such, she holds a decent resent for them both, now." Vitor explained.
"Oh no..." Aurora said and her hands went up to her mouth.
"That's...unfortunate." Ethan said.
"Any more tampering would have killed her, so the current Ziva is the best possible Ziva to be alive." Vitor reassured them.
"Ok, thank you, Vitor." Ethan said.
"Caden's going to be heartbroken..." Aurora mumbled.
"Would you like me to tell him?" Vitor offered, sympathetic.
"I think we can handle that. This appears to have become a family matter, at this point." Ethan said.
"Alright. I will inform you of any further developments." Vitor assured them.
"Thank you again, Vitor." Ethan told the Jedi, who nodded.
"I wish we could have met under better circumstances, alor." Vitor replied. Ethan's eyebrows went up, surprised at the use of the mando word.
"Likewise, burc'ya." He told the Jedi. Vitor bowed slightly and took his leave.
"So, how're we gonna tell him?" Aurora asked her father.
"I don't know. However we do it, though, it'll be bad." He said. They eventually decided to go and find him, and found him in one of the training areas, sparring with Loran, who was using his pike against Caden's dual sabers. "Cad'ika, hold!" Ethan called. Caden stopped and looked over. Loran did likewise, a confused look on his face. He saw the look on Aurora's, and immediately looked worried.
"Yes, Et'buir?" Caden asked.
"Come, son. We...need to talk." Ethan said tentatively. Loran moved over to Aurora, a quizzical look on his face.
"We got an update on Ziva. Not all of it was good." Aurora whispered to him.
"Ah." He replied and waited to find out. Ethan let out a long sigh.
"Son, Vitor was just over. He told us everything they'd been able to do with Ziva." He said. Caden's eyes widened.
"Physically, she's better than ever. And mentally, they were able to salvage most of her memories."
"That's good though, why do you and Rorii look so upset?" Caden asked.
"Caden, she...she has no memory of you after 2298. The last thing she remembers, or thinks she remembers, is you two going through your breakup. She also thinks that you left her for Clara in that time as well." Ethan explained. Loran's eyes closed and he was silent.
"What? That...that..." Caden silenced at stared at the ground.
"Cad'ika..." Ethan said, putting his hand on Caden's shoulder. Caden shook it off.
"I'll...I'll be back. Later." Caden said, grabbed the rest of his things, and left without a word.
"Eth...Et'buir, how much else did Ziva remember?" Loran asked.
"She remembers the rest of you. She's basically the same, minus Caden and Clara." Ethan explained. Loran didn't say anything for a moment.
"That motherfucker." He finally got out. He looked angrier than either of them had ever seen him.
"Easy, honey." Aurora said quickly.
"Calm child. I don't think you're the one who should be angriest right now." Ethan told him.
"I know, I know. I just figured out what Neil did. He had Ziva kill Leandra because he knew what it would do to Caden. Then, he put her on the Spartacus because he knew we would defeat her and take her back. He either knew Ian would try to fix her or he deliberately told him to so that he could fix her, knowing what memories would be impossible to repair, because he knew what it would do to Caden and Clara. He's always hated them the most." Loran told them.
"That man is a true menace." Ethan said gruffly.
"Do you really think so?" Aurora asked.
"It makes sense, doesn't it?" Loran said.
"It does, sadly." Ethan replied. Loran took a long, deep breath, calming himself down.
"Should...should someone go after Caden?" he asked carefully.
"That might be a bad idea. When he gets angry like that, it isn't pretty." Aurora said, shaking her head.
"Let him blow off some steam. If anyone finds him, may god have mercy on their soul." Ethan said, then he slowly walked off, probably to tell the rest of the family.
"Are you ok?" Loran asked Aurora.
"Personally, yes. I just feel so bad for Caden. And angry at Neil." Aurora said.
"Yeah...I have a feeling we'll get a shot at him soon enough." Loran told her.
"I hope Caden gets that shot more than us." Aurora confessed.
Caden had made his way out into the woods outside the base. He was sitting cross-legged on the ground, staring off into space. Everything in his system was screaming at him to go after Neil. His only emotion was rage. He was picturing various separate ways of killing Neil. For what felt like an eternity, he was alone. Then, he felt someone skirting around his general area. He checked it, and realized that it was Clara. He looked up in her direction, fiddling with a knife in his hands. She stepped out of the bushes. "Hey..." She said, sounding truly uncertain of what to say.
"Hey..." Came his reply as he ran his knife over his gauntlet, making sparks.
"Listen, uh...in a few days, Vitor is going to start putting a force together to go after N...him. I just thought you might want to know about it." Clara told him.
"There is nothing I want more than to make him suffer for what he's done. You'll be damn sure I'm with Vitor on this one." Caden told her. She opened her mouth to say something, but before she could, a shadow was cast over them. They looked up and saw a massive ship, similar in design to the Spartacus, but bigger, in the sky above the base. The ship's bottom hangars opened and dozens of gunships that were of friendly model began to pour out into the sky.
"Who the hell are these guys?" Caden asked.
"We should get back, find out." Clara suggested.
"Yeah...ok." He said, rose and followed her back. They arrived at the gate, and once they were inside, they found Vitor and Sola looked up at the gunships, which were hovering over the base, doing nothing. "The hell? This can't be good." Caden said aloud. Sola looked over at them.
"Who the hell are these guys?" She asked them.
"No freakin clue." Caden replied. Loudly, a door opened on one of the ships, and they looked up. To their fury and anger, Neil dangled out from the ship. He looked down at them. Then, in an amplified voice, he broke the dam with one sentence.
"Kill them all."
The ships started to land on the ground and mercenaries of all breeds started to exit their ships. Caden's eyes went red, and they all knew he wanted to go straight for Neil. Neil jumped down from his perch and landed out of sight, behind several houses. "You heard Neil, kill them all." Caden said and he jumped into the midst of the chaos, carving his way after Neil. Clara tried to follow him, but was cut off by his forces, and was trapped fending them off with Vitor and Sola.
Caden slashed and hacked through Neil's forces, moving steadily in Neil's direction. A krogan made an attempt to bar his path, but he used his Aura powers and sent the monstrosity flying from his sight. He turned a corner and saw Neil defeat four or five security members, then loose a force repulse that sent the advancing IceBite flying to the other end of the base. Neil saw Caden coming and waved his hand, signalling his forces to clear an area for them to duel. Caden's helmet foled back. "There isn't enough life in you for me to repay all the pain you've caused." He said.
"Not that you could." Neil taunted. "Because you certainly haven't been able to so far." He quipped.
"If Nymeria can basically make you her pet for a few years, I can handle you this time." Caden snarled. He spotted Ziva moving behind Neil, hidden blades ready for stabbing. Neil turned around and raised his hand, firing a blast of red force lightning into Ziva, sending her flying. Caden charged while his back was turned. He slashed at Neil's neck, but the Sith crouched into a ball and ducked. Caden slashed at his feet with his other saber, but Neil sprung up and over the attack. Neil punched Caden in the face, knocking him to the ground. Neil deactivated his saber and allowed Caden to get up and attack him. Caden attacked with force powers, aura powers, and his sabers. Nothing hit Neil. Neil caught an overhand strike and twisted Caden's arm around, dislocating it. He shoved Caden to the ground and planted a foot on his shoulder. He crouched and forced Caden to turn and see Clara, trapped by numerous foes, trying desperately to get to him.
"Touching, isn't it? She's fighting through all that for little old you? She still has spirit. Spirit won't make up for the memory of my cock inside of her, though, will it?" Neil asked.
"Last I checked, she still has the winning record against you, doesn't she?" Caden said and made an attempt to stab Neil with his gauntlet blades in the foot.
"Not quite. See, after I took what she was probably saving for you, I cut her arm off and put that scar on her back. Then, I defeated her once again. I have one on her." Neil told him.
"That'll change soon enough." Caden snarled as they watched Clara cut down a batarian from shoulder to hip.
"Maybe. This time, instead of fucking one or the other, because lord knows did I ever fuck Ziva, I'll fuck them both this time." Neil taunted him. Caden began to glow red with fury once again. Neil activated a saber and held it up. "And every time they say your name instead of mine..." He taunted and scratched Caden on the neck with his clawed hand, drawing blood. "Now, to be done with you." With his clawed hand, he began to choke Caden. This lasted a while, with nobody able to reach him to help, Caden struggled in vain. Finally, as his vision began to leave him, Neil's saber arm vanished at the elbow, and Neil jumped back, a mangled scream coming from his helmet. Caden tried to look around, and saw Loran jump between him and Neil, Marethari longsword held up. Neil looked around and saw his forces falling, especially where Clara was. He vanished, and the massive ship overhead flew into orbit.
"Thank you, Loran." Caden said.
"Don't mention it." Loran replied and helped Caden to his feet. Clara stumbled over to join them, a stab through her left thigh, the rest of her covered in blood.
"Got sloppy...shit..." She mumbled and leaned against Caden.
"Agh..." He said, feeling the pain of the extra weight. "Come on, we need to get you out of here." He told her. Before she could respond, they saw the ship start to power what they knew to be a death star laser. "No...you can't be fucking serious." Caden said.
"Son of a bitch." Clara groaned. Loran was silent, and he deactivated his longsword. The ship fired its weapon at them. However, instead of oblivion, all they felt was heat, as though they were in very hot weather. They looked up and saw a large green laser blast hovering in front of them.
"What the?" Caden said. Loran raised both hands, and the blast began to contort into an orb. Caden's jaw dropped and he shook his head, bewildered. Clara watched him, wide-eyed, as he pushed upwards, and the orb went flying into the sky and into orbit, where it hit the ship, turning it into a massive fireball. "The hell just happened?" Caden asked, and Loran hit the ground, unconscious. "Loran...shit...come on, I've got you both." Caden said and made a valiant but useless attempt to carry them both.
"Nice try. I can limp, come on, we've both got him." Clara said and they each carried Loran away.
Several hours later, Clara and Caden returned to the Ferran house. Walking in, they found Kira and Korra embraced in a way that anyone could tell was more than friendly. "Uhh...didn't see that one on the horizon." Caden murmured.
"I did." Clara whispered. "Know a place we can be where we won't disturb them?" Clara asked.
"I'm sure we can find one." Caden responded.
"Your house. Lead the way." Clara told him. Caden led her into an old armory and control room that was hidden beneath the house. "Oooh. I didn't know this was here." Clara said.
"And as far as I know, neither does Loran, Kira, or Ziva..." Caden told her. Clara looked at him, surprised.
"I'm...I'm honored." She stuttered.
"I'm glad. Everything Ferran-related was run from here for the last two centuries." Caden told her.
"Wow. Kinda like the Sigurdson basement legend." She said in wonderment. He remembered the story of how Zack Sigurdson supposedly built a tunnel system that went under most of the state, supposedly.
"Exactly. Except a little smaller. Heh, I wouldn't be surprised if they had worked on these places together." Caden said.
"Yeah...so...why're you showing me all this, Caden?" She asked.
"I don't know. A show of trust, I guess. To show that you're as much a part of this clan as anyone." He told her.
"Well, I always considered you guys my family, I guess it is just official now." She told him.
"I guess so." He said and embraced her.
Aurora sat watching a tape of Ziva's interviews while she waited for Loran to awaken. Vitor was interviewing her, examining her psychosis. "So, if you could choose any of the people that you're around a lot to live with you for a while, who would it be?" Vitor asked.
"Rorii. Loran would be too polite the whole time, Sola would kick my ass, Clara's a bit of a bitch, and Caden is fuckin whipped, which would get pretty boring." Ziva said, and the tape stopped.
"Wow. Harsh, but I'm honored nonetheless." Aurora muttered to herself. The door to the medbay room was knocked on. Aurora walked over and answered it.
"Hey, Rorii." Ziva said with a smile. Aurora froze, her hand almost went to her lightsaber, but she stopped herself.
"Oh. Ziva. Hey." She stuttered.
"Don't worry, the electric shock I'd get would stop me." Ziva said.
"Oh, ouch. What're you doing here?" Aurora asked. Ziva looked surprised.
"I haven't seen you for weeks, kid." She pointed out.
"No, we have. Just not under good circumstances." Aurora sighed. "Sorry, its just that the last few weeks have been exhausting." Aurora told her.
"I...I don't remember any of it." Ziva confessed.
"That's probably for the best. Come on, sit down." Aurora said.
"Alright. He ok?" Ziva asked and sat down.
"He should be fine. He just exerted a lot of energy on that one." Aurora told her.
"I'd imagine. Took off Neil's arm, too." Ziva added.
"Heh, the irony."
"Yeah. So, I heard one of the Sigurdson twins is coming from Mandalore." Ziva told her.
"No way. I didn't hear that. Which?" Aurora asked, surprised.
"Uhhh...leather and knives."
"Yeah, apparently the other one is suffering some kind of PTSD and is staying with your grandpa." Ziva said.
"I can see why. Losing her mom must be hard." Aurora said, then stopped, realizing what she had said.
"Her mom died? Wow." Ziva said, sounding honestly surprised.
"Yeah. Um, I'd stay away from her, if I were you." Aurora suggested tentatively.
"Ok? Also, apparently your aunt and Kira are a little bit more than best friends." Ziva said.
"Yeah. Apparently they're a thing." Ziva said nonchalantly.
"Guess that explains the immense lack of men in Korra's past." Ziva said.
"It would seem so. Not that I blame her." Aurora said. Ziva raised her eyebrows at that comment. "What?"
"Care to explain that last bit?" Ziva asked.
"Have you seen Kira? I mean, woah." Aurora pointed out.
"Very true. I wonder if they'd let me join them for a night..." Ziva mused.
"That's my aunt your talking about." Aurora joked. "But hey, more power to ya."
"So...when do I get be an aunt?" Ziva asked her.
"Not yet, child. Not yet." Aurora said and laughed.
Two weeks passed before Vitor took a force to go after Neil. He had taken any volunteers to go, which had included Caden, Taryn, Sola, and Dean. They took the Spartacus and flew off into space. Loran wasn't allowed to leave the medbay, and Ziva was still trapped in security for most of her time. Aurora wandered for a while before returning home, where she found Clara, sitting on the couch, looking thoroughly unhappy with having to stay on base. "Hey Clara, you ok?" Aurora asked.
"I hate that I'm stuck here. I don't care what Sola and Vitor say, I could help." Clara grumbled.
"We all know you would. But right now, we need you and Loran safe, ok?" Aurora told her. Clara's only response was an ambiguous grunt. "Calm down. You'll get your chance soon enough." Aurora said.
"Yeah, yeah...what have you been up to, lately?" Clara asked.
"Nothing, really." Aurora said.
"Well, what do you normally do?" Clara checked.
"I was usually with the others, but that isn't exactly a viable option right now." Aurora said.
"Yeah, that's normally what I do. And I've already practiced by patterns at least a dozen times already."
"I never thought there would come a day where we would have nothing to do." Aurora mused, sounding honestly bewildered.
"What would you and Ziva normally do?" Clara asked.
"We would usually just hang out. Paint the town red, so to speak." Aurora responded.
"Show me?" Clara asked.
"Yeah, sure. Let's go." Aurora said, and she led Clara out of the house. They drove off, their car watched by Kira and Korra, who were sitting on a bench on the side of the road. "Those two know." Kira told Korra.
"And Ziva. Probably Caden and Loran, by now." Kira said.
"Think this is bad? Or should we just not worry about it?" Korra asked.
"Not bad, per say. Might just be a good idea if we tell your family. Ourselves." Kira answered.
"Yeah, I agree." Korra said, nodding.
"So...who should we start with?" Kira asked.
"Let's try Becca. I don't know how Ethan will react." Korra suggested.
"Ok." Kira said and got up. "Let us find her."
"Alright." Korra said and rose as well.
"God damn you're tall." Kira told her.
"Maybe you should grow some." Korra joked.
"Nah. I like it when you carry me. Can't do that if I'm bigger." Kira pointed out.
"Haha, ok, ok." Korra said, and led Kira off to find Becca. They returned to the Ferran house and Korra knocked on the door to Ethan and Becca's room. Becca answered.
"Korra, Kira, how're you?" She asked.
"Uh, we've got something to tell you." Kira started.
"Ok, what is it?" Becca asked. Wordlessly, Kira looked to Korra for help.
"Ok, so, you know how we're best friends?" Korra checked.
"Well, maybe that isn't the best term for it now." Korra finished awkwardly.
"What do you mean?" Becca asked. It was Korra's turn to look to her partner for help. Instead of saying anything, Kira quickly stretched herself up and kissed Korra quickly before resuming her old position. Becca's mouth opened as she realized what had just happened. "Ohh." She said.
"Yeah." Kira said and grinned sheepishly.
"How long's this been going on?" Becca asked.
"A...while." Kira confessed.
"Well, I'm not against it. If it makes you two happy, have at it." Becca told them.
"It does. Thanks for understanding, Bec." Korra said.
"No problem at all, sis." Becca replied. Kira stepped forward and hugged Becca. Becca chuckled. "Save it for each other, ok?"
"Trust me, I am." Kira said and stepped back next to Korra. Becca shook her head.
"And on that note, I'm done." She told them and returned to her room.
"So...who's next?" Kira asked Korra.
"Might as well tell Ethan." Korra said, and they made their way to the living room in time to see Ethan walk in the door.
"Ethan, come." Kira quickly said. Ethan hobbled over.
"Korra and I have been seeing each other for a while. Just thought you might be interested to know. How was your day?" Kira said very quickly.
"That was very blunt, child." Ethan said weakly.
"She's the eloquent one." Kira pointed out.
"I've known she's been alive for a while. We've developed a...bond. We thought you should know." Korra said, shaking her head.
"I see. Korra, you know I am accepting of nearly whatever choices you make. If this is it, I'm behind you." He told his sister. Kira promptly hugged him as well. "Hey, careful on the old man." He said.
"Sorry, gramps." She replied.
"Children..." Ethan said with a sigh as Kira let go of him.
"Be careful, once the grandkids come along..." Kira told him.
"Don't start." He ordered, getting a grin out of Kira. Ethan shook his head and hobbled off.
"Well, that went better than expected." Korra said.
"Why wouldn't it have?" Kira asked.
"I didn't know he'd take so kindly to it." Korra admitted.
"...What about...your dad?" Kira asked.
"I think he's busy with Leliana right now. He's got enough on his plate as is." Korra said.
"Ok. I think Morrigan arrives tomorrow." Kira told her.
"Yeah? One more person here, then."
"Hard to tell. From what I hear, that one can be a bit of a lone wolf." Kira replied.
"Understandable. Look at who her family is." Korra joked, causing Kira to poke her in the gut. "No offense, obviously."
"Well, it may be early, but I'm kinda tired." Kira told her, gesturing with her head toward Korra's room.
"It is never too early." Korra replied.
"I've taught you well...so glad Nymeria made this change..." Kira said.
"You and me both."
"Now...remember how I said I like being carried?" Kira asked.
"Yeah." Korra replied and immediately scooped her up.
"Lead on." Kira said, smiling down at her. Korra smiled back and took Korra into her room.
Dean hit the floor of the training room and groaned. "Ow." He said and got to his feet. Sola walked in a circle around him.
"Dean, you're going to have to improve without a weapon pretty damn fast. I'm sorry, but it is true." Sola told him. He rolled at her leg, trying to trip her, but she simply raised her foot and soon had a leg on either side of him. She reached down and grabbed his collar, raising a fist. "See, now I have you." She said and dropped him. She let him get up and walked to the other side of the training ring. He shook his head and got up, taking a fighting stance. Taryn, who was watching with a look of both amusement and disgust, hit a bell and they moved forward. Dean quickly tried to kick her back, but she caught his leg, stepped in, and swept his other leg out and put him on the floor again. She shook her head and got back to her feet.
"You know, as much as I love it when a woman beats the crap out of me, wouldn't it be better if you actually taught me what to do?" He pointed out.
"You learn better from experience. I wasn't taught shit growing up." Taryn called. "And I'll do you a favor and not tell Skylar you said that."
"Don't." He immediately said, looking at Taryn. She smirked at him as Sola got his attention to keep training with him. After several more times, she shook her head and got out of the ring. "Where are Caden and Vitor?" Dean asked her.
"They're training with lightsaber techniques together. I know both of their fighting styles by heart, so I decided I'd help you kids out." Sola responded. She walked over to a rotating training dummy and started to practice unarmed counters on it. The door to the training area opened and in walked a tall, beautiful blonde woman carrying a trio of swords. She nodded at them, took her shirt off, leaving just a training bra, and made her way towards the salmon ladder that none of them had bothered attempting to use just yet.
Meanwhile, Caden and Vitor were sparring in a different training area. For the most part, they were evenly matched, but Caden suspected that he was the better swordsman of the two. Eventually, he spotted an opening and slashed at it, disarming Vitor. Vitor ducked under his next attack and bashed him with his shield, causing him to stumble. Caden recovered, quickly, and jumped over Vitor before slashing behind him, Vitor caught the attack on his shield and wrenched Caden's saber away from him before twisting his arm behind his back. With his free arm, Caden threw an elbow back and knocked Vitor off his feet. Caden quickly put his saber to Vitor's throat, panting. Vitor nodded, conceding. "Good fight, Vitor." Caden said and held a hand out. Vitor took it and Caden helped him up.
"Thank you, likewise. Who taught you, growing up?" Vitor asked.
"Mainly my uncle and my grandfather. My time at the temple was not the best." Caden replied.
"I was a very...rebellious kid. I never really saw eye to eye with my masters and the old timers, there." Caden said.
"Ah. I left to join Sola, myself. I never truly saw eye to eye with the masters there, either." Vitor said, nodding.
"Yeah? Well, let's just say if you don't, they don't appreciate seeing you there again." Caden warned him.
"I see. I myself learned from a master Sola had recruited. He...was actually related to Loran." Vitor said, after a moment's hesitation.
"I never knew Loran had any relatives. We never talked about it." Caden said, surprised.
"He was a master when Loran was growing up at the temple. They didn't get along very well. Loran was very combative, his uncle was quite the pacifist. Loran started to learn some of the dark arts, his uncle got very angry. They eventually stopped talking to each other." Vitor explained.
"Oh, wow. Never would have guessed."
"Neil killed his uncle a few years ago. That was the first time I fought Neil." Vitor mused.
"Did anyone tell Loran he had passed?"
"I'm not sure. Sola had forbidden us from telling him. Clara might have."
"Ah..." Caden said, sounding confused.
"We should go check on Sola and those other two, make sure she hasn't killed them." Vitor told Caden.
"Hah, that would be a bad start." Caden replied, and the two made their way to the other training area, where they found Sola, Dean, and Taryn watching a blonde woman using a salmon ladder. "You three getting along?" Caden asked. Sola nodded, while Dean continued watching the woman, mesmerized. Taryn looked over that them.
"She's been using this thing for like, an hour." She told them.
"Wow. Who is she?" Caden asked.
"We've met." The woman called and went up another bar. By now, she was about twenty feet in the air.
"You being up there makes it hard to tell." He pointed out. She jumped down, landed, and stretched. Even Vitor's (who was normally one to refrain from openly expressing interest in women) eyes widened. "Ah. I remember you." He said, it coming back to him. "You were at the ruin.
"Yes. I'm glad you're here, I should explain some more. May I take him aside so we may speak?" She asked.
"Sure?" Vitor answered carefully.
"Don't worry, Vitor. She won't bite." Caden said, smirking.
"Well...much." Diana said and led Caden off to the side.
"So, what is it?" He asked.
"Listen...I was wrong when I told you and Clara about our kind." She admitted.
"Well...I discovered that the souls of the rest of our kind were still intact, and I have them in a small orb in my bag. This means the two most powerful of our kind, myself and her, will each receive souls that will be absorbed into our being. Ten each. This will make the both of us different people, for the most part." She explained. Caden's shoulders slumped.
"I'm not sure. Physically, we will remain the same. However, our personalities may be altered, due to the absorption of so many different souls. Her's will be the most dominant, as she is the most powerful of our kind, though." She went on.
"Alright." Caden said shortly.
"Secondly, Neil is no longer working alone." Diana warned.
"Really? He doesn't seem like the type to willingly work with others." Caden said, surprised.
"The other is the creature myself and Clara are destined to destroy. He has, in human language, made Neil his bitch." Diana elaborated.
"What? I thought Neil needed stuff to unleash him?"
"So did I. I don't know how, but Neil's master is out there. He's not at full strength yet, luckily." Diana said.
"Luckily, so, how do we stop him from getting there?" Caden asked.
"We basically wait for the day my kind becomes two people, and the two go after him." Diana said and shrugged sadly.
"Okay..." Caden said, and Diana looked past him.
"Someone else just walked in and she looks like she wants to talk to you. I'll let you go." Diana told him.
"Alright, thank you." Caden said, and turned to see another blonde woman. He walked over to her, and saw that she had an aura that made him feel slightly nervous as he approached.
"Hi, Caden." The woman said.
"Hello, I'm sorry, but I don't believe I know your name."
"Oh, Clara never told you? Shame. I was wondering if she'd share you." The woman said.
"And what did she never tell me?" Caden asked.
"Well, I slept with her in the back of a run down bus in the middle of the city." The woman replied.
"Yeah, I definitely would've remembered that." Caden said, flat out surprise on his face.
"I'm Zyana, by the way." The woman said. "You hit that yet? Talented girl." She told him.
"None of your business, sorry." Caden said bluntly. For a moment, the woman looked surprised.
"Aww. Anyway, I figured you might want a little bit of help on this crusade of yours, so I jumped on board." Zyana told him.
"Don't know how the others would feel about you sneaking on, but I guess it can't hurt to have backup. If you're trustworthy." He said.
"Don't worry." Zyana said with a smirk. "I'll behave."
"Okay, good. Now, what was that about sharing me?" Caden asked.
"Well, look at you. Though, I suppose that Dean over there would be an easier target. God knows that he'll have a hard time getting anything." Zyana replied.
"I would disagree."
"Come now, he's all but dating a Llechtim. He has his work cut out for him." Zyana said, shaking her head.
"Hmmm, touche." Caden said, understanding.
"Well, it was nice to meet you. Feel free to think of me and Clara when you're lying alone tonight." Zyana said with a wink before she walked off to flirt with everyone else in the room.
"This life never ceases to surprise me." Caden said, shaking his head. Later that night, when he was alone in his room, his room got a video call (as there was a tv in the wall) from none other than Clara.
"Hey, how's the traveling?" Clara asked, her facing appearing on the screen.
"It's as good as you'd think. Learned some stuff, though." Caden replied.
"Diana visited you, too?" Clara asked.
"Yeah, that was one thing." Caden said.
"Go on." She said, realizing he was getting at something.
"Vitor told me about Loran's uncle." He said, and her eyebrows went up, surprised. Then she sighed.
"Yes, I did tell Loran. He didn't exactly have a reaction. He just acknowledged it and moved on with his day." Clara said.
"I can see that. The last thing, though, was probably the least expected." Caden said.
"Ok?" She asked, apprehensive.
"One of your, erm, friends, snuck on board the ship. Zyana, I believe it was." He said.
"Please don't fuck her." Clara said, eyes widening.
"Yeah, she said she wished you would share me." Caden said.
"With that one, no." Clara immediately said.
"Ok, ok. So, just with that one?" He said, smiled and winked.
"Depends on who you come across. Listen, that one, Zyana. Do not fall for that flirty exterior. The morning after I found her eating a pile of corpses, looking like a demon. Actually, she's a half demon. She sends people to hell and then her demon form eats the bodies." Clara quickly told him.
"Woah. Well, there goes my appetite." Caden said, shocked.
"Yeah, and I was there. You'll find she can be very persuasive, especially if she wants you in her bed. Only person I know of to resist her was Skylar." Clara told him.
"A Llechtim, of course." Caden said, and Clara burst out laughing.
"Yeah. Anyway, life's boring without you here. Loran's still in the medbay, and Ziva only gets one hour outside of containment per day. Rorii and I are going crazy." Clara said.
"Wish things weren't this way right now. I'd feel better if I was back there with you guys." He told her.
"I'd feel better if I was out there with you." She replied.
"Pfft, why? Every time we find a fight, you have come drag my ass out of the fire." He told her.
"You're the one who wades right into it all." She pointed out, laughing. "Anyway, I have to go. If I don't escape the noises, I'm gonna go crazy." Clara said.
"What? No, nevermind. I don't want to know." Caden said quickly.
"Probably not. Come home soon, I'll have some surprises for you." She told him and winked.
"That'll definitely keep me going. I'll be back soon." Caden promised.
"I'm gonna hold you to that." She said.
"Heh, alright. Stay safe, Clara."
"You too. Keep Dean and Vitor away from Zyana, for their sakes'."
"I can try. But if they keep her busy, its better for me." He pointed out.
"True. Alright, bye. Keep your arms attached to your body, one mechanical limb in this couple is more than enough." She said, blew a kiss his way, and the signal cut. Caden glanced down at one of his arms.
"It is, it really is." He murmured. There was a knock on the door. Caden got up and answered the door, to find Vitor outside.
"Hey. Bad time?" Vitor asked.
"Nah, you're fine. Come on in." Caden offered.
"Don't need to. Just wanted to let you know that our first mission is an undercover look into a club that Neil was sighted in alongside a hulking being in a cloak." Vitor said.
"Hulking being? I may know who that is, actually."
"Diana spoke with me. We should proceed very carefully." Vitor said.
"Alright. Get some sleep, I think we'll be needing it." Vitor advised.
"Yeah, probably." Caden said, and Vitor left. Caden went and lay down on his bed. He tossed and turned for a bit before he fell asleep.
This Sorrowful LifeEdit
Morrigan rested her head on the window and looked outside as the city began to vanish behind her. She had jumped onto a bus that was making its way towards Kaven Base. She counted the number of trees that passed by as the city vanished, but once they reached the forestry, it soon became futile. She shook her head and looked around the bus. She immediately noticed that she was the only one on board, and sighed. She quickly whipped out a throwing knife and started to play around with it, distracting herself. The glanced outside, and saw that the trees were beginning to move more slowly, she looked ahead, and saw that they were nearing Kaven. She stood up and opened the overhead compartments, where she found all of her possessions.
Inside, there was a disassembled shotgun, two pistols, a large set of throwing knives, two swabbie knives, and a butterfly knife. She also had two old shirts and one other set of pants. Everything else, she was planning to make it up as she went along. She had left everything behind on Mandalore. Everything had been left for Leliana to have. She just wanted to move on with her life. However, her first order of business was to help bring down Neil. The bus stopped, and she got off and headed for the security checkpoint. Why are you doing this, Morrigan? She thought to herself as she went through the security screening. Revenge? She asked herself. No...Mom didn't want you to turn into her, or Scott's dad. She told us very often that what they'd done and been through was something that haunted them for a long time. Must have been the reason Scott's dad turned to drinking and heroin. Morrigan thought to herself as she walked through the gates and into the base.
I guess...Neil needs to die. Not even for personal reasons. The destruction he causes just can't be allowed to happen anymore. She concluded, and kept walking. If she was to make it through everything and not end up like Leliana, a mess back on Mandalore, she needed to keep emotion out of things for a while. Eventually, she was greeted by two women she recognized to be Maya and Serra. "Hey you two." She said.
"Hey. We're going to just put you into a training room, see what you can do." Maya said carefully. Morrigan nodded and followed them. She was let loose into a training area filled with targets and punching bags and other assorted things. Serra and Maya watched from the side as she started going at a few punching bags. "I'm worried about this one. She's not far from going crazy. Lost her two best friends and life-partner not long before her mom." Maya said.
"Yeah...she's a tough one, though. Tougher than most. She's made of sterner stuff than a lot of people." Serra said.
"True. I just feel so bad for her. She's lost more than most on this base within a tenth of the time." Maya said sadly. Morrigan stopped and grabbed a throwing knife belt. She wrapped it around herself and set up a few targets to start moving. The began to move in circles around and over her, not slowly, either. She stood in the middle of them and remained still, slowing down her breathing. They heard the door open and saw Skylar walk in. Serra waved her over and she quietly slipped over to sit in between Serra and Maya.
"Watch this." Serra whispered to her. As if on cue, Morrigan moved one hand and a target went flying, a knife in it. She snapped her other arm up again and a second target flew off its hinges. Skylar blinked, and she had missed Morrigan knock out another target. After a few minutes, all the targets were knocked out, and Morrigan had not missed once. She missed the fastest record by about one percent, a record held by Serra, and missed the highest accuracy record by point two percent, a record held by Skylar.
"She's good." Skylar said, getting an eye roll from Maya, who considered that to be a strong understatement.
"She's a Sigurdson." Serra pointed out, leaning back against the wall. "Of course she's good."
"Very true." Maya said, rose, and left. She headed back to Sen's place, where she found him, absently flipping through a book on the couch. "Hey, love." She called and walked over.
"Hey." He said, looking up. "How was Morrigan?"
"She seems fit for action, but I think she's about as close to losing it as Caden was when...you know." She said, referring to when Ziva had beheaded Leandra. He nodded.
"What's she doing now?" He asked.
"I left her with Serra and Skylar. Maybe we'll have three clad-in-black knifeslingers running around base." She said.
"That would be...horrifying..."
"True...I'm glad Serra's doing ok...thank god she's got Skylar. Ariana must be dying right now..." Maya said and wiped her eyes, taking a long breath. She sat down next to Sen. "You know, your sister would kill me right now." She said. He knew exactly why, as an image of Ava flashed through his mind.
"Yeah...she'd gut me too." Sen admitted.
"Makes me afraid of ever having kids." Maya said, shaking her head.
"I don't think we're there just yet, Maya..." Sen said queasily. She looked at him, a small smile on her face.
"Good. Let's keep it that way for a while, alright?" She said and headed into the kitchen to get a drink.
Morrigan sat down in a chair in IceBite's office. He walked in and sat down across the desk from her. "Ok." He began. "Main thing, just security stuff: Are there any people on base that you take issue with?" He asked.
"Funny you ask. Only one who I would assault is Ziva. Not colossal fans of you or your wife, but I'll live with you."
"Alright...from what I've heard, that's understandable, but please refrain from doing so...without reason, of course." He said.
"Alright." He began. "So, do you have a place to stay?"
"Can you arrange a house to myself?" She asked.
"I'll see what I can do."
"Alright." She replied. After a few more questions, she left, and started to wander about the base. After a few minutes, she bumped into Skylar.
"Oh, hey." Skylar said.
"Hey. How'd I do?" Morrigan asked, referring to her knifeslinging.
"Thanks...tell me, how come you stayed, instead of going hunting Neil?" Morrigan asked. The question had been on her mind for a solid hour.
"That bastard Ian...after he helped out with Ziva, he knocked Serra out and shot me. I was still out of it when the others went to hunt Neil down." Skylar explained.
"Ah...you...worried at all?" Morrigan asked. Skylar quickly knew she was talking about Dean.
"Uhm..." Skylar said uncertainly, shifting uncomfortably. The look on her face was an obvious confirmation.
"Hey, I've been there. You can tell me, of all people. Just because mine died doesn't mean I'm angry about everyone elses'." Morrigan told her.
"Well...I just..." Skylar said, as if not knowing how to explain.
"You don't need to be a poet, kid. Just be blunt about it." Morrigan told her, ignoring the fact that Skylar was twenty years her elder.
"I just...I'm scared to think about him not coming back. We grew close on that world, and...I really don't want to imagine losing him..." Skylar said, struggling with her words.
"Hate to say it...but when your last name is Renner, Ferran, Sigurdson, or Llechtim, there's a good chance of losing someone. You just have to embrace that fear and channel it into something useful." Morrigan said honestly.
"I..guess..." Skylar said uncertainly. Morrigan decided to change the topic, recalling a file she had spotted in Leinad's office.
"Hey, you know how your mom will be giving command of an undercover operation to Serra?" She asked.
"Wow...no, I didn't." Skylar said, surprised.
"Might ask if I can jump in on that."
"I'll see what I can do, too." Skylar replied.
"Nice. Well, I'm getting my own house, so if you ever want to stop by, feel free." Morrigan told her.
"Ok. Thanks, Morrigan." Skylar replied.
"Morri." Morrigan replied. Skylar couldn't know it, but it was a big thing for Morrigan to let people call her by her pet name.
"Shortened version, Morri." She replied.
"Oh, ok." Skylar said.
"Well, I'm gonna go see about getting on that undercover thing. I'll see you around." Morrigan said.
"Alright, seeya." Skylar replied. The two kept walking, and Morrigan headed into the Renner house, hoping to find Serra.
Serra finished packing her weapons. For her operation, the members of her team would be living together for a time so they could form bonds and work better together. Serra had quickly reserved the old Boondock headquarters. There was the sound of footsteps coming up the stairs, so Serra guessed it was Elle. The door opened, and she looked over her shoulder to see, to her surprise, Skylar. "So, you getting ready to go for your op?" Skylar asked.
"Not quite. Team members are gonna get locked in the old Boondock HQ to bond for a few days." Serra responded.
"What're you up to?" Serra asked.
"Well, I guess I should probably get my stuff, too." Skylar replied.
"You're coming?" Serra asked, surprised.
"Yeah. One of the perks of having a mom who is in charge of all the undercover operations is you get to talk to her about it fairly quickly when you find out." Skylar replied.
"Nice. You me and Morri in a giant house for a few days." Serra said.
"Ah, so Morri managed to get on the team? My dad really needs to learn to hide his mission files better." Skylar said.
"That or her mom taught her the layout of his office, so she knew where to look."
"Maybe...then he needs to start changing his locks." Skylar decided.
"That too. Morri's already moved in. She has a grand total of one bag with everything she owns. Left everything else behind on Mandalore." Serra told her.
"Wow. Guess I better go pack the rest of my stuff, then."
"Have you got any of your weapons on you?" Serra asked. Skylar flicked her wrist and a throwing knife was in her hand. She rolled her sleeve up to reveal a knife dispenser on her arm, which she reloaded. "Then that's all you'll really need, I'm just bringing my weapons." Serra added.
"Alright." Skylar replied, and they began to walk to the old Boondock house.
"So." Serra began. "I'm a bit surprised that your mom is letting you on board."
"Took a bit. I guess it helps that I can actually get along with her." Skylar replied.
"Are the rumors that she's having another one of you true?" Serra asked.
"I think so." Skylar replied. "Might be a boy this time, I hear."
"Fun. You know that means you'll be babysitting."
"Didn't think about that." Skylar said, a cringe on her face.
"Lord knows Ariana probably had to look after you for a few of the early years." Serra pointed out.
"I'm starting to wonder if you'll have as many siblings as the Ferran Clan originally did." Serra said, chuckling.
"How many were there, again?"
"Seven or eight of them." Serra answered.
"Damn." Skylar said, shaking her head. As she said it, they arrived at the house, and entered. They immediately spotted Morri hanging from the ceiling by her feet, doing curl ups.
"Why from the ceiling?" Serra asked.
"Gravity." Morrigan replied. "Makes it harder. You should try it sometime." Morri finished and jumped down.
"Umm. Why?" Skylar asked.
"More challenging, more fun." Morri replied. "Anyway, there's an armory in the basement, a minigun, in the upstairs closet, and a liquor cabinet with drinks from, like, a century ago." Morri told them.
"Any Cardassian Kanar?" Skylar asked, only half joking.
"As a matter of fact, yes. I'm interested in the Batarian and Krogan stuff. That is the makings of a fun night." Morri replied.
"Damn, cool. Don't expect me to drink myself stupid, though..." Skylar warned, giving Serra a look.
"Then avoid the Krogan stuff." Serra advised, rolling her eyes. "One shot of that and you'll wake up in a forest somewhere."
"And find someone's stolen your pants." Morri added.
"Good to know..." Skylar said, then raised an eyebrow, as though she'd thought of something. "And don't try anything, you two." She gave Serra another look. "I happen to know how to check what it is you're feeding me...caught the clerk trying to serve spoiled Kanar at least twice."
"Times have changed since people fed Elle marijuana." Morri observed.
"Still gonna check." Skylar said with a smirk. Morri shook her head.
"So, boss. What is our schedule for the day?" She asked Serra.
"Basically, we'll do some physical training for a while, find whatever is on the TV, break into the liquor cabinet, and then interrogate Skylar about her and Dean." Serra responded. Skylar rolled her eyes, but both of the others could tell she was inwardly panicing.
"Should be fun. Skylar, get onto the salmon ladder downstairs." Morri said.
Loran was out running. He had finally been given clearance to leave the medbay and resume his training regimen, so he had begun as quickly as possible. He ran for a few hours before stopping at a bench to rest for a few minutes. He caught his breath and leaned back on the bench. It was good to finally be able to move. Lying in a hospital bed all day had drained him severely. He let out a long sigh, then he paused, thinking he heard something. He could have sworn it was a woosh of some kind, as if something was flying around. Then, there was a flash of white, and his vision was gone.
Meanwhile, the team on the Spartacus were returning to the mess hall after a day of investigation. So far, they had found nothing. Caden ate quietly, thinking about his loved ones back home, when Vitor's voice sounded over the PA. "Caden, need you in CIC, now." He scarfed down a few more bites and headed up to CIC. In the conference room, he found Vitor standing with two holograms, one of Clara, who looked grim, and one of Aurora, who looked distraught.
"What's wrong, why is everyone so down?" Caden asked, unsure if he wanted to know the answer.
"Neil took advantage of our absence." Vitor said, shaking his head frustratedly.
"He kidnapped Loran." Clara finished.
"What? Right out from under you?" Caden asked, shocked.
"Yeah...people tend to not notice him when his armor is off...I almost caught him, but..." Clara said, trailing off, angry with herself.
"He dropped a house on you, there wasn't much you could do." Vitor told her. Caden sighed.
"Is everyone alright?" He asked.
"No, obviously not..." Aurora said, clearly depressed.
"Physically, I mean." Caden added.
"We're fine. But we need you guys to come back and pick us up. Luckily, Loran forgot to take the patient tracker out of his arms from the medbay, so if we can hook the medbay's system to the ship's, we can track him down." Clara told him.
"That'll do. Vitor, I assume full speed back?"
"We're already on the way back...if I may, it may be wise to bring your Spartan and...er...dog on this one." Vitor suggested.
"I'll inform Katlyn and Wolf. They'll be ready to leave by the time we arrive." Caden replied. Vitor nodded and left, leaving Caden with the two girls. "Rorii..." Caden began, but she cut him off.
"Don't say it."
"We'll get him back, don't worry." He said anyway. Clara nodded in assent, but had a look of extreme guilt on her face.
"It wasn't your fault, Clara. None of us could have expected this." Aurora said.
"I guess...we kill him this time, agreed?" She said.
"As long as it is slow." Aurora said.
"I thought that was a given." Caden pointed out.
"When will you be here?" Clara asked.
"Complete guess? Maybe a day or two." Caden replied.
"We'll be ready." Clara said, nodding.
"Yes we will. See you later, Caden." Aurora said.
"Bye." Clara added.
"See you soon." Caden said, and the transmission cut. He quickly set to work contacting Katlyn. Back on Earth, Aurora immediately went to her room to meditate. Clara went into the Ferran living room, where she found Ethan.
"Hello, Clara. Recovering alright?" He asked.
"I'll be fine. I cannot say the same for Neil. Not this time." Clara replied.
"Hehe, good, I like that. That fire will assist you for as long as you keep it burning." He told her sagely.
"Speaking of fire..." She began. "Does Korra know that there's an opportunity for her and Kira to join that undercover op that Serra is organizing?"
"Oh really? She's never been much of an undercover agent, but hey. Any other news?" He asked.
"The newest Sigurdson is actually making friends with Skylar. Have to say, did not see that coming." Clara confessed.
"Maybe the new kids are burying the old members' fights. But I must agree, that wasn't what I expected." Ethan agreed.
"Also, some quick advice, if a woman named Zyana comes knocking, slam the door and lock it." Clara advised.
"Do I want to know?" Ethan asked wearily.
"Demon seductress." She said simply.
"Hmmm, I've seen worse, but I'll heed the warning."
"Alright, well, I'm gonna turn in early. Need to rest before tomorrow comes." Clara said.
"Alright. Good night...ad'ika."
"Night, Et'buir." Clara replied, smiling. Ethan chuckled and patted her on the shoulder as the passed and Clara went to Caden's room.
"These kids are growing up to be like us." He muttered. "Poor children."
A few hours later, Kira came home. She glanced at the clock and saw that it was eight in the evening. She further entered the house and found Korra making something to eat. Kira stepped up behind her and hugged her from behind. Korra smiled. "Hey, hun. Welcome home."
"Hey, love. How was your day?" Kira asked.
"Fine. Better now that you're here." Korra replied. Kira smiled.
"Agreed. Now, we may have gotten a job offer today." Kira began.
"Oh yeah? What job?"
"Well, Serra Urec was put in charge of an undercover op, and they are looking for another undercover worker and someone to run security for them." Kira said.
"Oooh, I like the sound of that. I can handle security if you go undercover." Korra replied, sounding excited.
"You forget I inspired the undercover stuff these kids seem to know so well. To sign up, we basically move in with the current team for a few days. Get to know them. All girls, so we won't deal with any ogling."
"I don't know about that. You never know with them."
"Well, at the very least, Skylar won't stare." Kira pointed out.
"Hmm, too bad. When do we go?"
"How do you feel about right now?" Kira asked.
"Give me five minutes." Korra said and Kira let her go.
"Be advised, you'll be the only non-leather-wearer there." Kira warned her.
"Fun. For me, at least." Korra replied.
"Just stay away from my sister, missy." Kira jokingly warned her.
"Fine, one exception." Korra said, got whatever she needed, and they made their way to the old Boondock HQ. Inside, they found Skylar passed out on the couch, Serra asleep on the floor, and Morrigan sitting in a chair, drinking a mug of coffee, and a smirk on her face.
"Oh, hello." Morrigan said.
"What did you do to them?" Korra asked.
"Well, Skylar gave us this big speech about checking her drinks and such, so I just mixed them so the labels didn't mean shit. Serra just fell asleep." Morrigan explained.
"Hehe, rookies. Serra's shoes still on?" Korra asked.
"No...why?" Morrigan asked.
"No, I want to know, too." Kira replied, giving Korra a confused look.
"If you fall asleep with them on, it means you didn't intend to fall asleep. Basically means you can mess with them, since they passed out." Korra explained. Immediately, Kira and Morrigan looked at Skylar.
"She good or no?" Korra asked.
"Have at." Morrigan immediately replied.
"Got a marker somewhere?"
"Coffee table." Morrigan said, pointing.
"Please draw like a winged dick on her face or something." Kira requested.
"There's plenty of room for stuff." Korra said and set to work.
Loran's eyes shot open and he looked around frantically. He was hanging from his arms by chains in a dimly lit cell, and chains held his legs to the ground, as well. He struggled against them for a time, then quickly realized it was futile. There was no exit to the cell, as far as he could see, aside from the obvious door in front of him, which he didn't need to try to know it was locked. He reached out with his force sense, trying to sense anyone else, but he found that it was useless, something was interfering with the force.
The door opened, and in walked Neil. Loran was sorely tempted to struggle against his bindings, but he knew that it would do nothing, so he simply glared at his enemy. Neil walked up to him until there were only a foot apart. "Hello." He said. Loran didn't respond. "This is rather awkward, I'm afraid. I had hoped that I would have captured two of you." Neil said with a sigh. "I should know to not work with others, at this point. The other one I had hoped to capture was your wife, but my partner decided it would be clever to sell her to slavers instead." Neil said. Loran lunged forward, unable to control himself. Neil shook his head. "Calm down. I have a proposition for you." Neil said. Loran's face immediately became confused. "You are strong, and powerful, and skilled, as evidenced by your removal of my arm." Neil said and held out his stump.
"Get to the point." Loran snarled.
"Simple. You help me, and I will purchase your wife back for you." Neil said.
"How do I know you're not lying?" Loran immediately said. Neil held out of a hologram projector and turned it on, revealing, to Loran's horror, Aurora at a slave auction.
"Now, join me, and you will get her back. I may not be a man of my word, but you of all people know that I want power, so why pass it up in you?" Neil asked. Suddenly, Loran's bindings let him go, and he hit the floor. "And remember, if you betray me at any point, or refuse, you'll never see her again." Neil pointed out. After a long moment, Loran nodded, hating himself.
Too Far GoneEdit
Clara stood on the landing pad, pacing back and forth like a caged tiger. She was watching as a gunship was flying down towards herself and Aurora. She heard some clinks on the stairs and looked over to see Katlyn and Wolf arriving. "Hey guys. Been awhile." She greeted them.
"It has. Long time no see." Katlyn replied.
"Caden tell you two everything?" Clara asked.
"Updates were sent regularly." Wolf stated.
"Yeah, he told us what was up." Kat agreed.
"Alright. Kat, you...?" Clara said, trailing off.
"Yeah, I'm fine. Let's just go." Kat said as the gunship landed. They boarded and flew up to the Spartacus, where they stopped in one of the hangars, where they found the rest of the group waiting for them. Caden quickly went to Clara, who hugged him tightly, wrapping her arms around his neck. Wolf hopped over and took his usual position beside Caden. Clara reached down with her mechanical arm and scratched wolf lightly in the ear area. Wolf, contrary to his ordinary response, simply looked up at her.
"Hey, he didn't get pissy. He likes you." Caden joked.
"That's a good sign, then." Clara said with a smile. Meanwhile, Sola approached Rorii.
"Hey kid. Listen, for the duration of this one, I'm gonna hang around with you." Sola told the younger Jedi.
"Not totally sure. Vitor told me it might be a good idea. Is it a bad one?" Sola asked.
"No, not at all." Aurora said, shaking her head. Clara tossed a small black box over their heads, which Taryn caught. The merc gestured for Katlyn to join her.
"Yeah?" Katlyn said, joining her.
"Vitor's not letting anyone bunk alone anymore. Said you might fit in with me." Taryn said.
"Works for me. Name's Katlyn."
"I'm Taryn. Come on, will need help hooking this thing up to the computers." Taryn told her.
"Piece of cake." Katlyn said, and they departed. Meanwhile, Caden felt someone tap him on the shoulder. He turned and saw Zyana smirking. Clara's eyes widened.
"Hello." Zyana said.
"Oh, hey Zyana." Caden said.
"And hello to you, darling." Zyana said to Clara.
"...Hi." Came the answer.
"This is...awkward, to say the least." Caden said carefully.
"I simply thought to say hello. I'm a little more needed elsewhere, see. I thought I might say hi before I depart." Zyana said.
"Needed where?" Caden asked.
"Some of your people will be walking right into a trap unless I go join them. You'll do fine without little old me. They won't. Well, I should really go." Zyana explained, then, randomly, she kissed Clara and vanished in a flash of fire.
"Aww, that was cute." Caden said and nudged Clara.
"Where's your room?" She bluntly asked before turning to Wolf. "Er, can you wait outside the door, maybe?" She asked the droid.
"Request confirmed." Wolf replied and Clara turned back to Caden.
"Lead the way." She said.
"Always do." he replied, and did so.
Later that night, Aurora finished showering, dried off, got dressed, and left the bathroom. She found Sola curled up in a chair, flipping through a book of some kind. "What'cha reading?" She asked.
"Photo album. Clara made one for herself and mailed me and Dinaya a copy a few years back." Sola replied, wiping her eyes.
"Really?" Aurora asked, walking over. "Wow." She said, looking down at the photo. It was of her wedding day, of the main group at the time. Dinaya had fallen into a humorous pose in it. "Oh man...that's just..." She said, unable to finish the sentence.
"Yeah..." Sola said, knowing what Aurora had meant. Aurora ran a hand over Dinaya in the photo, remembering her fallen friend.
"They'll pay. We'll make sure of it."
"Only one more. One more guy." Sola said.
"And then our friends can rest in peace." Aurora agreed.
"Yeah." Sola said and closed the book. "So. What are your plans when this is all over?" Sola asked.
"Have a nice, quiet home life for a while. Hopefully with Loran." Came the response.
"You mean definitely." Sola quickly said.
"Heh, yeah. Definitely."
"Me, I plan on doing the same. Vitor's taking the mantle. Maybe I'll catch up with what's left of my generation." Sola said.
"How many of you are left?" Aurora asked.
"Me and Kira." Sola answered.
"In that case, you're stuck with Korra, too." Aurora pointed out.
"Worse things have happened." Sola said.
"You know, for the first time in a while, there's a Renner Clan member, a Ferran Clan member, a Sigurdson, and a Llehctim working together back on base." Sola told her.
"The greats have come together and and aren't killing each other. The universe is screwed now." Aurora joked.
"Yeah. I was almost a Sigurdson, you know." Sola mused.
"I was dating Kira's twin brother. It wasn't exactly a long relationship, but we kinda knew. We had been talking about getting married." Sola explained.
"Wow, that was a long time ago."
"Yeah." Sola agreed, and her computer pinged. She checked it, and her eyes immediately widened.
"What is it?" Aurora asked, concerned.
"This...is a DNA test done on Morrigan Sigurdson." Sola said, sounding shocked.
"And?" Aurora asked, prompting Sola to turn her computer around, jaw hanging open. "C'mon, girl, tell!" Aurora said impatiently.
"Look at the parentage. This girl is your aunt." Sola said.
"What? Bullshit." Aurora said, then looked down at the screen, and her hand holding her towel slackened, dropping it.
On Earth, Korra was reading the same article, which she had found on the extranet. "This can not be fucking true." She said, slouching back in her chair. Kira opened the door to their room, and saw the look on Korra's face.
"Hey, what's wrong?" She asked.
"Have a look." Korra replied. Kira went over and checked the screen.
"God dammnit mom." Kira said after a moment.
"How old are they, again?" Korra asked.
"Born the same year I returned." Kira answered.
"Jaysus, dad...does this make it weird between us, now?" Korra asked.
"I am fine with weird." Kira said.
"Isn't weird our normal by now?" Korra asked.
"Like I said, I'm fine with it." Kira reaffirmed.
"Making sure." Korra said as the door knocked. Korra got up and answered it.
"Guessing you saw it..." Morrigan said.
"Yeah...hey sis." Korra said.
"I...um...I hope you're not mad at me or anything." Morrigan said uncertainly.
"Why would I? Nothing you did." Korra said.
"Yeah, don't worry about it." Kira said.
"Ok...and don't worry, you two don't make me feel awkward or anything." Morrigan told them.
"Heh, thanks." Korra told her.
"Just be careful if Leliana comes to visit. Also, Skylar just woke up. Mind your head, daggers are flying." Morrigan warned them.
"Thanks for the heads up. Or down, whatever."
"I'll go get her in the shower before her family sees the drawings or something. Thanks, you two." Morrigan said and left, looking significantly happier than before.
"Interesting start to the day." Korra said.
"How do you think your, or our, family is taking it?" Kira asked.
"Either well or terribly. Either end of the spectrum. Mum is probably taking it the hardest." Korra said.
"And Leliana is living in their house." Kira pointed out.
"Well...isn't awkward our normal?" Kira said.
"I hate you." Korra said jokingly, and laughed. A loud thunk sounded, and they looked up to see a bowie knife blade protruding from their door. "Oooh." Korra said. The sounds of a struggle could be heard outside their door for several minutes before they died down.
"Its ok, guys!" Morrigan yelled.
"Should we check?" Korra asked.
"Naaaah." Kira immediately replied.
Loran stood next to Neil, watching as the view counter for the extranet post began to garner billions of views. "Well done. Thank you for getting me this document, Loran. Were you as surprised as I was when you read it?" Neil asked. Loran said nothing. "Oh, what am I saying, of course you were." Neil said and cackled. He jumped over his desk. "And now, you are one step closer to getting your lovely wife back." Neil told him.
"What would you have me do?" Loran asked robotically.
"Oh, now? Now, Loran, I want you to start learning some of my darker arts. Immerse yourself in my ways. Maybe by the end of this, you'll be able to join me willingly." Neil said and opened the door for him. Loran hesitated. Neil sighed. "Loran, what would you do to hold your wife again? To feel the warmth of her skin, the taste of her lips, to hear the sound of her voice? Tell me Loran, how many men would you kill? A hundred? A thousand?" Neil asked.
"I would kill them all." Loran said dangerously.
"Good, because to get her back, you will kill many a man for me." Neil said. "Now, go, learn of my ways." Neil said. Loran nodded and started walking through the halls of the station, truly hating himself for what Neil was having him do.
Its for Rorii. You can get her back. He told himself as he found Neil's library of awful dark force magic. While he was down there, he came across a large box, easily large enough to stand inside comfortably and walk back and forth. He glanced over his shoulder to make sure nobody was there, then found a way to open it, and stepped inside. Inside, he found, to his surprise, three caskets. He examined one of them, and found no signs of identification. Carefully, he pried it open, and recoiled. He come across the preserved body of Leandra Sigurdson, her head haphazardly sewn to the neck. If he ignored the stitches, she looked much the same as she had before. He closed it and checked one of the others. Inside was Ava's body, various stab wounds up and down her torso. He closed it next, and then checked the final one, part of him knowing what he'd find. He was right, as he opened it and found Dinaya's body. To his surprise, he smashed skull seemed to have been painstakingly fused together with the force. She looked remarkably like she had looked before. He took a long breath, trying to not lose it. He closed her casket, not able to think of anything to say, and stepped out of the box. There was a small command console, which seemed to be a delivery system. He quickly set it for the Spartacus, and also found and disabled the tracking beacon. He pressed another button, and the box began to vanish into thin air, and then was gone completely.
Sola ducked under a strike from Aurora and countered towards her opponent's leg. Aurora got hit and stumbled. "Nice work, kid. That's the longest you've lasted against me." Sola said, panting. Aurora was about to reply, but a surprised look came over her face.
"What the hell is that?" She asked, pointing. Sola turned and saw a large metal container. Sola shrugged and cautiously approached it. When she reached the container, she activated her saber and cut a hole large enough to fit through in the box. She squeezed through and began to look around. "See anything?" Aurora called.
"...Yeah." Came Sola's response.
"Come on in..." Sola said. Aurora followed her in, and found Sola standing next to an open casket, with two closed ones beside it.
"The hell is this thing...?" Aurora asked. However, Sola merely closed her eyes and sat down. Aurora walked over and looked down into the casket to see Dinaya, looking almost exactly as she had before the pipe had struck her head. One of Aurora's hands shot up to her mouth. "Oh my god..." she whispered. Sola rose up and hugged her, seeming close to an emotional breakdown. "Let it out, Sola...come on...let's get you out of this box..." Rorii said and helped Sola out of the container. As the exited it, Rorii spotted Clara walk in the door. "What's that?"
"Its a note." Clara replied, and began to read it aloud. "Guys, in case you never find me, I feel like it would be good to give these three proper funerals. Better with you than here with me and the monster who is enslaving me. L."
"L? Loran?" Aurora asked, then fear enveloped her, and her eyes widened in horror. "No...nonono..."
"Rorii. Think." Sola said abruptly. "In what universe would Loran willingly work for Neil? Only one where he thinks you die if he doesn't. That is seriously the sole way." Sola said.
"But...still. This can't happen..." Aurora objected.
"Rorii, did you hear the word enslaving? He's of his own mind, not brainwashed like Ziva was. The moment he finds out you're alive and with us..." Clara said, trailing off.
"Its wonderful he'd do that thinking of me, but...Fighting for Neil isn't worth it, not even for me." Rorii replied, shaken. Clara looked as though she was about to say something, when the door to the training room opened, and Vitor and Caden walked in.
"Guys, we've come out of hyperspace, we'll land in twenty minutes. We've arrived. We've found them." Vitor said.
"Uhm, huge box, anyone?" Caden asked.
"Caskets. Dinaya, Leandra, and Ava's bodies." Clara answered.
"Wha-?" Caden asked, then let out a long sigh and held the bridge of his nose. He simply stopped talking. Vitor hung his head. There was a moment of quiet, then, shocking them all, a force scream resounding through the force. "You guys feel that?" Caden asked. Sola rose and pressed a button on her gauntlet. Pieces of metal flew from all directions and attached themselves to her, creating a winged, red power armor.
"That was Loran." She told them.
"We're going to get him. Now." Aurora ordered. Vitor nodded and walked to the wall, where he activated the PA.
"Everyone to the hangar, now." He said.
Loran's mouth shut as he looked at the dying hologram of his wife's body. "A shame you had to mess with my things, Loran. Just do what I tell you, was it truly that difficult?" Neil asked as the two dark acolytes forced Loran to his knees. "Now I shall have to find another, and resort to my normal methods." Neil said, drawing his Marethari sword. Loran looked around the room and saw his own on a mantlepiece. Neil saw his glance, and chuckled. He opened the window and force threw Loran out of it. Loran landed on a sand pit, and Neil jumped down and joined up. Neil tossed Loran his sword and fell into a stance. Loran activated the weapon and fell into a stance of his own. Then he lunged, firing a force push alongside the strike of the weapon.
Meanwhile, in one of the two nearing gunships, Caden, Katlyn, and Wolf looked out the front window in time to see a massive blast of force lightning fill the sky, followed by a force push that knocked an enemy ship out of the air. "Oh shit." Katlyn murmured.
"We're definitely in the right place." Caden said as another blast of lightning struck their ship, sending it downward.
"Shit, I hope those three are alright." Rorii said as she watched the ship manage to safely land. Sola opened the door of their gunship and jumped out, her armor's wingspan extending and she soared ahead of them. As they neared the source of the chaos, they saw what it was, a duel going on between Loran and Neil. "Loran. He's alright. For now." Aurora said, getting a look for Clara.
"Taryn, Dean, Diana and I will jump down now to hold off any resistance. Get in there." Vitor said and the four jumped out of the gunship.
"On it. Good hunting." Aurora mumbled. They landed near the source of the duel, and she and Clara jumped out. As the drew closer, they saw it had become an unarmed fight, which Neil was surprisingly winning, despite only having a sole arm, which he was then using to hold Loran against the wall, choking him. "You don't touch him." Aurora yelled. Both combatants looked up. Loran's expression changed to one of confusion, joy, and fury. Neil shook his head.
"God dammit." Was all he uttered and he threw Loran out of sight before blasting Clara back with lightning, leaving Aurora alone.
"You messing with us is really gonna come back to kick you in the ass one day, kid." Aurora said and charged lightning into her sabers. She lunged down and attacked furiously, which he discovered he was hard pressed to deflect. Eventually, he spotted an opening in her guard and blasted forward, knocking her forty feet back into a wall, and then he crouched down in front of her, using the force to keep her blades away from him.
"You know, perhaps I can use you. I mean, I've fucked Clara and Ziva, why not add you to the list?" He said.
"Maybe I can add you to the list of super-powered sith I've killed." Aurora snarled.
"You mean Alghul?" Neil snorted. "He was a-" Before he could finish, a shadowy mist began to grab at his armor, pulling him away from Aurora, who was still stuck to the wall.
"I have a feeling I know who wants to have a word with you." Aurora snarled. The mist formed the top half of a mermaid, her bottom half still in mist form. She looked strained and weak, struggling to hold her former apprentice.
"Now..." She said weakly, and a red flash flew into view and headlong into Neil. His legs remained with the mist, his top half torn asunder and was being punched to pieces by the armored Sola, who stood over him.
"heh, payback's a bitch." Aurora mumbled. Sola held the top half of Neil up, which was very much alive and still struggling against her. "Finish it, Sola!" Aurora cried, struggling against her force bonds. Even as she said it, Loran came flying into view, Marethari Longsword held overhead. At the last second, Sola tossed Neil up into the air and Loran brought the blade down on him, cleaving him in half down the middle. Nymeria fully transformed into her mist form and vanished. Sola collapsed onto the ground, all of the emotions she had been bottling up since Dinaya's death finally being released into one breakdown. Loran ran over to Rorii, who was no longer bound. "Loran!" She cried as he literally picked her up and held her up over his head. "Thank god you're ok. You are ok, right?" She asked, embracing him back.
"I am now..." He replied. "Feel...feel free to hit me now." He told her. She responded with a medium-strength jab to his side.
"That's for leaving me worried sick." She told him. As she said the words, Clara made it back, saw Neil's remains, and began to hack up his remaining parts to dissolve them, making sure he would never come back. "Usually not a fan of the brutality, but I'll make an exception this time." Aurora mumbled. Immediately after, Caden, Katlyn, and Wolf arrived to see the aftermath.
"I hope that's what I think it is." Caden said, motioning at what Clara was hacking up.
"Yeah..." Clara said and fell over, exhausted. She crawled over to Sola, and hugged her sobbing mess of a friend.
"Wonderful." Caden said and began to walk over to Clara and Sola.
"I sense you are disappointed." Wolf remarked.
"Shut it, Wolf." Caden snapped.
"Bones." Clara said, pointing to Neil's legs. "Nom."
"Negative." Wolf said and began to randomly take pot shots at things as Vitor, Dean, Taryn, and Diana arrived.
Later, on the Spartacus, as the vessel began its journey home, Clara, Caden, Rorii, and Loran sat in a lounge, exhausted. "So...now what?" Clara asked.
"Sleep. Pleeeeasse." Rorii said and play-collapsed onto Loran's shoulder.
"I, for one, plan to get drunk a bunch and have this one take care of me." Clara said and playfully punched Caden in the side.
"Aww, I like it better when you're sober." Caden complained. "Oh well, I think you've earned this one."
"Don't worry, it'll be your turn next." Clara pointed out.
"I, for one, am agreeable with sleep." Loran said, actually looking as though he was about to collapse then and there.
"And it shall be quiet in the Bendak quarters tonight." Caden said.
"Praise the heavens." Rorii added.
"Hey, you're the loud one, Rorii." Loran said.
"Shuddup." She replied, punching his shoulder.
"In all seriousness, please don't get promoted any time soon." Loran told his wife.
"Don't we do enough as is?" He pointed out.
"He has a point." Clara said as she rose and headed to the lounge fridge. She returned holding a bottle of something green.
"And it starts." Caden said, pointing at the bottle.
"We do, but isn't that the fun part?" Aurora asked. Clara walked over to the door and tossed her hair back as she looked over her shoulder at Caden.
"Come." She told him.
"Goodnight you two." Caden said, jumped up and headed over Clara.
"Night guys." Clara said and they left the lounge.
"Night." Rorii said as they left. "So, is it really gonna be quiet tonight, Loran?" She asked. When he didn't answer, she looked over at him. "Loran? Loran?" She asked, leaning over to see that he was asleep. She smiled, shook her head, lightly took him over to the couch, and rested his head in her lap, where she watched him sleep.
Down in the training room, inside the casket box, Sola sat on the floor, leaning against Dinaya's open casket. She was holding a bottle of genuine, uncut batarian ale. It had been Dinaya's favorite. She glanced down at the bottle, then raised her eyes forward, and she started blankly into space. "Hey kid." She started. "You know, I'd always really hoped that I'd be the first of us to go. You were the one with the promising future. People liked you, you weren't burdened with all the crap I put up with. I just wanted you to be ok." Sola said. She wiped her eyes before continuing. "I guess this world just doesn't want to let the ones who deserve to live the most be. Let them be, is it really that hard? I...I guess we'll all go eventually, but some people just deserve to stay a little longer, you know? We sent the ones who took you down to hell, believe me. At least you don't have to worry about them." Sola continued, her voice shaking at the end of the last sentence.
"Listen...you told me once that no matter how far down the shitter our lives seem to go, we can pull through. No matter how dark we go, there's a chance we can come back." Tears began to well again, but she let them this time. "At the time, I was skeptical." Sola said and rose to her feet, where she turned to look at her friend, no, her adoptive sister. "Now...I know what you meant. You believed we can all redeem ourselves, somehow. I didn't believe you then, but, I can agree with you now. None of us are too far gone. Thanks for pointing that out, dear, even if it took me forever to realize it." Sola said. She held up the bottle. "Next time we see each other, we'll share this, ok? Awesome. See you then, Dinaya." Sola said, tucked the drink under Dinaya's arm and closed the casket.
Sola exited the box and started walking. She made it to the wall, braced herself with one hand, and covered her mouth with the other, and a fresh wave of sobs overcame her.
What is Dead may Never DieEdit
Skylar stood in the kitchen of the now shared house, making herself food. Most of the others had gone off to bed already. She was still thoroughly steamed about the drawings they had put on her. Where they had gotten an idea for a dragon making out with a unicorn was beyond her, and the massive portrait they had put on her back had annoyed the hell out of her. She heard footsteps entering the kitchen and turned to see Morri walking in. "Hey, sorry about the triangle choke from earlier..." Morri said. Skylar didn't respond, still irked. "Did you hear about Kira, Korra, and me?" Morri asked.
"No...what about you three?" Skylar asked after a moment.
"Well, they're my half sisters from different parents." Morri replied.
"How?" Skylar asked, looking like she was having trouble processing it.
"Korra is Ryan Ferran's daughter. He's my dad. Me and Kira had the same mom."
"I'd hate to be there when Claire found out." Skylar said.
"I just don't want her to hurt Leliana. If she does, I'm flying out there to kill her." Morri said, completely serious.
"I don't see that happening, but expect Ryan to be in big trouble."
"Yeah. Tell me, would the rest of society think it is weird that two of my sisters are a couple?" Morri asked.
"Uhm...I'll be perfectly honest, it does sound pretty strange to me, but I don't think I can speak for the whole world." Skylar confessed.
"Well, doesn't bother me at all. They aren't related, technically, so I don't see the problem." Morri said, shrugging and grabbing the coffeemaker.
"I guess that's true."
"What do you think of having those two on the team?" Morri asked, trying to figure out how to use the foreign coffeemaker.
"I'm not sure. I'll be upping my ability to detect krogan liquor from now on, though. How the hell did you guys pull that off, it should have made the stuff all runny." Skylar said.
"That wasn't a small glass you had, Sky. All it took was a shot glass, barely did a thing to the texture. I used to do it to my mom whenever I wanted to sneak out when I was fifteen." Morri responded.
"Yeah...really need to practice detecting that stuff before it gets in my mouth." Skylar said. Morri giggled unexpectedly. Skylar raised an eyebrow, surprised.
"Sorry, reminded me of a friend of mine when she was sixteen and had her first boyfriend." Morri said and winked. Skylar sighed and went back to preparing her food. "So, Dean'll be back tomorrow." Morri said.
"He will?" Skylar said, quickly perking up.
"Yeah. They got him. Neil's gone." Morri said, sounding relieved.
"Yeah. Now, guess what our mission is." Morri told her.
"We're taking down Ian." Morri answered.
"About damn time." Skylar said angrily, clearly remembering getting shot by him.
"Yeah, rumor has it that he's operating on one of the more civilized border worlds, living rather lavishly." Morri explained.
"Well, hopefully, he shouldn't be too difficult to find. It'll feel damn good to show that fucker that I'm still alive..." Skylar said menacingly.
"Easy girl, easy." Morri said, and the door knocked. "I got it." Morri said and walked out of the room. Five minutes later, she returned with a woman Skylar knew to be Zyana Reed, a half demon who had tried extraordinarily hard to sleep with her. Skylar raised her eyebrow again and returned to her meal. "So it seems this one is joining us." Morri told Skylar. Skylar sighed in annoyance.
"Dean says hello, Deary." Zyana purred. Skylar looked up, giving Zyana a murderous look.
"Oh, I didn't fuck him, honey, don't worry. Thought about it, but didn't. Have you, yet?" Skylar ignored her completely.
"Sky's more of an emotional connection first kinda girl. The fun stuff comes after." Morri said to Zyana.
"Ah, you must have been fun in highschool." Zyana quipped, sitting up on the counter next to Skylar.
"I concentrated on my classes in highschool, because I really didn't want to repeat it." Skylar replied shortly.
"I was the sheltered girl who lived in her mother's closet, being forced to pray away the evil in my blood." Zyana said seductively. "Needless to say, I dropped out after I killed her." Zyana added as an afterthought, causing Morri to recoil. "And then my dad." She added, picked out a piece of Skylar's food at popped it in her mouth. Skylar quickly moved the rest of her food away from her, and started looking for someplace else to move to. "Well, I'm going to bed. Night." Zyana said and, lightning fast, she kissed them both and skipped up the stairs to the second floor.
"What the...eww..." Skylar said and shivered.
"You're talking like a five year old, you know that?" Morri observed.
"After what that person put me though before..." Skylar shuddered again.
"What, did she molest you or something?" Morri asked.
"No...but the amount of times she tried to convince me to sleep with her..." Skylar replied, irritated at the memory.
"Welcome to humanity. Most of the non-related guys wouldn't mind getting in with you. More than a few of the ladies, too." Morri told her. Skylar sighed and began looking for a place to eat. "Don't worry, when Dean comes back tomorrow you can reserve him and let them all be jealous." Morri said.
"I guess, but..." Skylar trailed off.
"Ah, I see." Morri said, reading Skylar's mind. "Well, here's some advice: Don't wait twenty years like Elle Urec did, wouldn't be surprised if her husband frequented brothels until she let him, take your pills and always be on top. I'm off to bed now." Morri said.
"Wait, always be on top, unless he's angry, then its the best. Night." Morri corrected herself and headed up the stairs.
"Night." Skylar said and went to eat her food. As she sat, she got a text from Serra, which read: How do you feel about dresses?
Oh god no, why dresses? Skylar thought as the next text came in: Nevermind, got one picked out for you. Tried to keep the cleavage as short as possible, don't worry.
"What the hell are they planning?" She asked herself. The next one read: Surprise mission tomorrow, though you may want to wear mission attire, aka this thing I just spent six hundred bucks on for you, to Dean's arrive tomorrow. You are welcome. Skylar closed her eyes, shook her head, and put her phone away.
The group began to assemble on exit deck of the Spartacus, exhausted and glad that the mission was finally over. Taryn walked over to Katlyn and asked "So, what're your plans now that we're back?"
"I don't know. Head back to the Jericho, and go from there. Not very exciting, you?"
"I'll need a job, for one. First order of business, however, is to head to the on base bar." Taryn replied.
"I'm sure we wouldn't mind having you around. Mind if I join you?" Katlyn asked.
"I was hoping you'd ask." Taryn said, grinning in what was the first time she had smiled since they'd met.
"Y'know, I think that's the first time I've seen you smile. It looks good on you.
"Thanks. I haven't had a lot of reason to my whole life. I'll tell you the story tonight." Taryn said.
"Alright, first round's on me." Kat replied. A few minutes later, the ship landed and the airlock opened for them to leave. On the massive landing pad, they saw Ethan waiting, as well as Korra, Kira, Zyana, Skylar, Serra, and Morrigan. Clara wolf whistled at the sight of all but Kira and Korra. The rest of that group was clad in rather short black dresses, Zyana's being somewhat revealing.
"Jealous of the team?" Korra asked.
"I'm fine, I'm fine." Clara dismissed. Morrigan stepped forward.
"Ok, I need Sola, Caden, Clara, Aurora, and Loran to come with me and Skylar, this is pretty important." Morri said to them. She led them to one of the holding cells, in which there was a man, broken, battered, and looking very weak. Clara immediately identified him as Neil. Suddenly, a hologram rose of Nymeria, a pre-recorded message for them.
"Ok, now that you're all here, listen closely. I stole Neil's power from him. In the realm of combat, he is all but useless. However, he is very dangerous in the realm of the mind. Morrigan hold's his sword, which can be used to kill him wholly. His existence as a Shandia caused him to regenerate, but I caught him before he could do anything. You must decide who is most worthy of this kill. Goodbye." She told them, and the video ended.
"Well, this is interesting..." Caden said.
"I guess we just decide who deserves this the most. Who...wants to go first?" Morrigan asked.
"Caden?" Aurora immediately said, but to her surprise, Caden shook his head.
"He's taken more fro Sola and Clara and Loran. I'll step down and let them take it, as much as it pains me." Caden said.
"Whoever. It doesn't matter to me." Skylar said. Morrigan nodded in agreement and the two left, not wanting to see Neil for another second.
"Sola." Clara and Loran both immediately rapped off.
"So, agreed, then?" Caden asked.
"...Thank you." Sola whispered, grabbed the sword off the table, and entered the cell.
"This will be sweet to watch." Caden said, more to himself than anyone. Almost in response, Neil looked dead at him through the glass.
"First you break Clara, the day Sennes was killed. Now you leave Ziva broken as well. You could have helped her, Caden, had you gotten to her sooner. She's gone now, though, and that is on you." Neil said.
"Shut up..." Caden said angrily, partly to himself.
"And you, Loran. You betrayed them, just think on that. Clara, just remember our night. You enjoyed it at the time, no? Sadly, I have nothing for Aurora, so..." Neil said and looked up at Sola, extending his neck. Sola swung the blade and cut his head from his shoulders. Within a matter of seconds, Neil's body had turned into a pile of wisps and ash on the floor.
"That death was quicker than he deserved." Rorii grumbled.
"I'm leaving." Caden immediately said and left before his emotions overcame him. Sola levitated the Marethari sword in the air and cut it in two with her saber.
"Sure it wouldn't have been useful?" Rorii asked.
"That's the weapon that killed the Shade Sith. That's the sword that cut down four of my students in front of me. The few that remained loyal. It didn't deserve to exist." Sola snapped.
"I understand." Rorii replied carefully.
"I'm...gonna go let Vitor know, we'll set up funeral arrangements." Sola said and left, followed by Clara, leaving Rorii and Loran alone. Loran was frozen in place, staring into space.
"You alright, Lor?" Aurora asked.
"No." Came his immediate response. "He was right."
"What do you mean?"
"I'm a traitor." He said.
"You didn't do it willingly. He lied to you and manipulated you, he used that to make you join him." Aurora objected.
"How did I not see it coming, though? He was the ultimate liar, we all knew that." Loran said.
"Because you felt the need to protect me." She told him.
"I guess..." He said uncertainly. At that moment, he had a look of undiluted, pure exhaustion. It was probably the most tired she had seen any human being in her life.
"He's gone now. Come on, we should get some rest. We earned it." She told him. He nodded, and they left.
A few hours, later, Sola left Vitor's new house and walked around, realizing she had sold her old home many years ago. As she wandered, she neared a house with Kira and Korra on the front lawn. "Hey guys." She called.
"Hey, Sola. You feeling better?" Korra asked.
"I think so." Sola replied uncertainly.
"That's good." Korra said, nodding.
"He's gone, then?" Kira asked, to which Sola nodded. "Good, good. What will you do now?"
"I'm going to do nothing for as long as possible. I'll need a house, first, though." Sola replied.
"Thinking what I'm thinking?" Korra asked.
"That depends on what you think I'm thinking." Sola answered.
"Think we can find space?" Korra asked Kira.
"In here?" Kira asked, pointing at the mission house.
"No." Sola said, smiling. "I'm very much done with missions for the time being. I might take you guys' room until you get home, though."
"Just so long as you don't go digging in there." Korra warned.
"I'm sure the smell will ward me away. I should go, if I'm gonna take your room." Sola said.
"You and I will meet up for drinks once we are back." Kira ordered.
"Wouldn't miss it." Sola said and headed off.
"Think she'll enjoy herself as much as we did in there?" Korra asked.
"Just so long as I don't find any moist socks in there afterwards." Kira said forbodingly. Korra shivered at the thought. "I've seen too many of those in my lifetime." Kira added.
"Thanks for the images, babe." Korra said.
"You're welcome." Kira said and smirked.
Sola knocked on the Ferrans' door. After a moment, Ethan answered. "Ah. Sola, welcome back." He said.
"Hey. Mind if I crash here until I get a new house? Sold my old one many years back." She asked.
"You've been around long enough that you can stay here for as long as you need." Ethan replied, and they entered.
"Thanks." She told him. "Rorii and Loran make it back yet?" She asked.
"I don't think so."
"Must have gone to his old place. What about Clara and Caden?" She asked.
"Again, I think they are still gone." Ethan replied.
"I can't wrap my head around this place being empty. Its just weird." She said.
"You get used to it. Its been a while since everyone has been around." Ethan said.
"Yeah...Neil's gone." She told him. "For good, this time."
"Really? About time. That's another sun that has set." He said.
"Yeah. Your boy did something very noble today, Ethan." She told him.
"Yeah? What'd he do?"
"He gave someone else the kill. It wound up being me, but...he let someone else do it. Said that we had lost more to Neil than he had." Sola explained.
"Thanks. Wish it felt that way more often, but thanks." He said.
"You sired two of the best people in the universe, old man. Never think any different, ever." She instructed him and yawned. "I'm gonna take Korra and Kira's room. That sounds weird saying it, doesn't it?" She asked.
"When you're my age, nothing is too odd."
"Very true. You know how the old Sigurdson house has basically been abandoned? Morrigan's taking it when their mission is over." She mused.
"I do guess it is kinda hers at this point. Its starting to feel like old times again." Ethan said.
"Not really, at least not to me." Sola replied. "Well, night, thanks for letting me stay."
"Anytime." He said and she went to sleep.
That day, Caden and Clara had headed off into the forest, while Loran and Rorii had elected to stay at Loran's old house for the night. Taryn had stayed the night in Katlyn's place, as she, like Sola, had no home of her own. Dean had discovered that he would be roommates with a former smuggler named Jax. One person they never found, though, was Diana.
In the middle of that night, Kira awoke abruptly after having a very peculiar dream. She slipped out of bed, got dressed, and headed down to the kitchen, but the door closing when she returned woke Korra up. "Hmm, you awake?" Korra mumbled.
"Yeah. Weird dream. Weirdest, actually." Kira replied.
"Well, I discovered sex tapes of me and Mark on the extranet, Sola joined us for polygamy, and...there were more black arrows." She said.
"That is really weird. At least it was only a dream." Korra reassured her.
"Yeah, I burned the tapes, after all." Kira agreed.
"Aww." Korra said, pouting.
"You really into my with a guy?" Kira asked, her eyebrows rising. "There might be some pictures in the tunnels, if you really wanted..."
"I don't think I'd mind." Korra replied, getting a surprised look from Kira. "You never know."
"Ok, question time. Was I your first lady?" Kira said bluntly.
"Yes, you were." Korra replied.
"Something in common." Kira said, sounding slightly relieved. "First...ever?" She asked, doubtfully.
"Close, but no." Korra replied.
"Go ooon." Kira said.
"There were a few guys here and there, nothing big. Actually, serious is the better word. Big was there." Korra replied, getting a laugh from Kira, one she had to stifle with the bedsheets.
"My only other serious one was going to shit when I...went." Kira said once her laughter had subsided.
"That's in the past. We've got all we need now." Korra assured her.
"And am I ever thankful for it. Now, we deploy tomorrow. You and Serra have external security, I have it internal. Let's just hope the ladies take Serra's method of storing knives, so we don't get caught." Kira said.
"That would end the trip quickly."
"How Serra does it is beyond me." Kira said, shaking her head.
"Practice, I suppose."
"Do you know how?" Kira asked, surprised.
"I have a vague idea..."
"Yeah, it sounds painful as all hell." Kira said, shuddering.
"Well, now that I have those happy thoughts in my head..." Kira said, shaking said head.
"Enjoy your nightmares." Kira said, undressed and crawled up beside her.
"I have you to protect me." Korra replied, leaning down to kiss Kira, and then the two dozed off.
The next morning Sola woke up early, around five in the morning. She sat up, stretched, got dressed and reached out with her force sense. She sensed that neither Caden nor Clara were present, so she left her room and snuck into theirs, where she took two of Caden's socks and went to the kitchen. She quickly got two teaspoons of milk and filled each sock with one and discarded them on the floor of Korra and Kira's room. She immediately crawled back into bed, chuckling to herself, and she fell asleep again.
She was rudely awoken five hours later by the sound of, to her utter horror, mariachi music. After a few minutes, she hauled herself up and exited the room. She found Becca sitting on a chair in the living room, a look of disgruntlement on her face. Rorii was sitting on the couch, hand holding her head up. Loran was pacing the kitchen, his head trapped between two pillows. Becca pointed to the front door and Sola immediately stormed out. The front door opened after five minutes, and Sola entered, ducking as the snapped form of a music player flew towards her. "You owe me a new one!" They heard Ziva yell. Sola ignored her and sat herself down on a chair across from Becca, who mouthed 'Thank you' to her.
Nymeria sat on the edge of the grand canyon in the dead of night. She didn't need to look like a human, but it let her feel slightly normal once in a while. She simply gazed into the canyon for several minutes before she heard some extraordinarily faint footsteps behind her. "I hope you'll forgive me if I drop the formalities." She said to the person behind her, once she realized who it was.
"Why wouldn't I? Gallifrey is nothing but a few broken pieces anyway." Amy Lawrence replied.
"I wouldn't know." Nymeria confessed. "I wasn't there."
"Yes. Long before it had happened, once we had defeated the Marethari." Nymeria replied.
"The defeat of the Marethari went hand in hand with what happened next." Amy replied.
"Like I said, I wasn't there. I left before what happened, found my way here."
"Wouldn't have been long until Gallifrey met its fate anyway." Amy said.
"We failed, overall, to wipe out the Marethari. There are some survivors." Nymeria told her.
"You still believe the lie you were told at the end of the war?" Amy asked, surprised.
"I didn't believe anything they told me at that point. How many survivors do you know of?" Nymeria asked.
"All of them. It was not easy, I tell you. Not after our esteemed lord's judge to exterminate anything that crossed their path." Amy said, her voice with some disgust in it.
"I actually find it slightly amusing that the one they had been targeting at the Soulweaver temple had escaped." Nymeria admitted, a smirk forming on her face.
"The Espada. Aizen's little project. No one knows what ultimately happened to them...it was all so much chaos after...it."
"It." Nymeria said. "How did you survive it?"
"By doing what any sane person would do. We fled prospero, the capital of our plane. Only the brave and stupid remained. The Inquisitors, all of them died." Amy told her.
"A part of me is glad." Nymeria said bitterly.
"That an uncountable amount of people died? That one of the greatest civilizations was burned and ripped apart? That the Mirror Verse regained strength?"
"No, not that...the high ones, I hated them. I was no great soldier, like you. I was a common thief living in the poor areas of the cities. I had enough friends to care. I also had someone who fathered my two children, but...then the higher ones killed him, and I ceased to care." Nymeria said.
"Who killed your beloved? I doubt it was the high lords themselves?"
"He was an apprentice to Orothrim. You know who killed him." Nymeria replied.
"Oh you mean Sicarius?"
"Yes. Then my son killed my daughter. I knew that his life would cause another plane to burn, so I allowed his own death, as well." Nymeria went on.
"Do you think the planes are safe? The two lords are still out there, ravaging the master planes. They have started on a singular mission, the want to eradicate all of the planes. His death has simply postponed the inevitable death of this plane." Amy replied.
"I am more concerned with something else. Are you familiar with the Marethari legend of the Skulblaka?" Nymeria asked.
"You never study the legends of those you destroy...then again, neither did we."
"The Skulblaka is a creature from another plane, supposedly one similar to Maretha. It wiped out that plane, left it worse than Gallifrey is now. It came to Maretha. Supposedly a Githarya killed it, but no, it became the Githarya. Then it fought our kind in the great war."
"Hmmm Gallifrey was never intended to be destroyed, but it tends to happen if the most powerful of our kind fight without holding back. Still, the news of this being is troubling." Amy confessed.
"Indeed. We are speaking of a being that could equal one of the two lords in a duel."
"Might be something that would attract Whitebeard. Which would in turn attract the two lords. Either way, this plane dies. A shame, I rather liked their art." Amy said.
"However, I know of something that may take care of this issue. I'm not one to believe in prophecies, but this one has worked so far."
"Any prophecy on Gallifrey was later revealed to be visions a poet had due to Amber." Amy said.
"Did any of them speak of beings from twelve planes that would merge into two and fight the Skulblaka, because they were the only ones who could?" Nymeria asked.
"No, but they spoke of the end of the Plane system, which is what we are headed for." Amy said.
"Great...how did you find me?" Nymeria asked.
"Amber. You may deny your heritage and run from it, but you still leak amber." Amy replied.
"Ah." Nymeria said and became her mist form before reforming, standing and facing Amy. "I had forgotten what you had looked like."
"Can't say I've met you before. I only came here because I sensed you."
"I remember seeing you once when I visited the capitol. I had been picking the pockets of people near you. Didn't dare to try you, however."
"I never had any money anyway." Amy said, shrugging.
"Well, then it worked out rather well. Also...I understand you know a girl from this plane by the name of Clara, know her rather...well, you may say?" Nymeria asked.
"Hmmm...I am aware of her, but she does not know me." Amy said.
"I see. Well, if you should meet her in the next few months, please don't get her killed. If she dies, the Skulblaka will run rampant throughout this plane, and its next target is what is left of your home." Nymeria warned her.
"It may do that. Hard to find though. Gallifrey is not only shattered, it exists in pocket planes all across existence. Though it would be a shame for this plane. Like I said...quite some art." Amy mused.
"Would you like to meet one of the two who may kill the Skulblaka?" Nymeria asked.
"Hmmm...ok, why not? I haven't got much else to do here anyway. Just one question...why not let it run rampant? It may have good reason for what it does."
"Let's just say I've grown close to some of the people of this plane. I'd hate to see them go." Nymeria floated toward her, whispered the location of the meeting place in her ear, and drifted off into the canyon, wholly in her mist form.
"They are people...it is their nature to wither and die." Amy murmured. Suddenly, Nymeria's voice rang out over the canyon, echoing.
"We're people too." The gallifreyian said.
Sola sat down at the old bar on the base. She ordered a drink and sat alone, quietly thinking. The next day was Dinaya's funeral, the day after Ava's, the day after that Leandra's. Sola was giving the eulogy at Dinaya's, while Serra and Ethan were going to take the other two. She let out a long, exhausted sigh. Someone sat down next to her and she looked up to see Vitor. "Hey, kid. How're you doing?" She asked him.
"I'm well. Are you ready for tomorrow?" He asked.
"Ready as I can be...listen...I've noticed you have been hanging around Ziva a bit lately. Can you...explain why it might not be a great idea for her to come to the funeral of Leandra?" Sola asked.
"Yeah, no problem." Vitor replied.
"Thanks. And be careful with that one. Don't break her." Sola warned him, giving him a knowing look over the rim of her glass. He nodded his assent.
"Sola, you should go and sleep. You'll need all the energy you can for tomorrow." Vitor advised. She nodded and finished her drink off before heading back to her borrowed room of the Ferran house. The next morning, she awoke early and headed out to the graveyard, where the coffin and a few people who would help to run the funeral were waiting. After a few hours, people began to arrive. Sola took a seat between Sen and Clara. As the funeral progressed, she waited for her name to be called to give the final eulogy. When it was called, she got up and headed up to the front of the smaller crowd that had arrived.
"So, Dinaya, as you all know, was a bit of a funny drunk." She began, noting all of crowd generally making motions of agreement. "Well, there was this one time when me and her were starting up the Ghosts. We had taken a night off and had headed out to the bar. I was the responsible one that night. As I helped but walk back to our house, she was blubbering her usual drunken nonsense. When we got home and I put her to bed, she said a few things. Now, normally they were things to make you laugh. This time, she got oddly serious, and she said a couple things that really changed my perspective on the world." Sola said, took a deep breath, and continued. "The first thing she said was that nobody in the universe is too far gone. Nobody is beyond redemption. I, for one, choose to believe that. The other thing she said was that what is dead may never die. It took me a while to know what her whiskey addled mind meant, but I think I know now. As long as we don't forget about the one's we've lost, they'll never be truly dead. She'll never be truly dead." Sola explained. She went on to express how thankful she was that she had been able to be a part of Dinaya's life, as well as told another story about how Dinaya had almost burned the house down at some point. Soon after, the casket was buried, and people dispersed to their homes.
The next two funerals went by similarly, with Serra giving the eulogy at Ava's speech and Ethan at Leandra's. When it was all over, Sola simply went to lie down in Kira and Korra's bed for a while. She slept for most of the day after before getting out of bed and going for a walk. While she was out, she spotted Vitor with Ziva. "Oh boy." She muttered. "That would be a power couple." She said to herself and kept on walking.
Black Wings in the ColdEdit
"So, what do you think?" Serra asked Skylar as she stepped back and Skylar looked in the mirror.
"I look like a hooker." Skylar complained. Serra smirked and Morrigan laughed. Zyana, on the other hand, looked indignant.
"Hey, those are my clothes." She objected.
"Exactly..." Skylar muttered so nobody would hear her. As one of the ones actually sneaking into their destination, she was stuck dressing like Zyana to maintain their cover. They had spent the last week flying out to one of the Border Worlds, where Ian was apparently living as a rich man. Specifically, he owned a very large nightclub that they were going to sneak into. Morrigan stepped forward, likewise attired, and pretended to fix something on Sky's outfit.
"Hey, at least you're torso is covered. Zyana's is basically lingerie." She pointed out, to which Skylar merely grunted. "Besides, wear this for Dean sometime and you'll have him in seconds." Skylar grunted again. She prayed that her parents or sister didn't come around and see her in a dress that, for all intents and purposes, were for prostitutes. Serra shook her head, and took them into the main room of their small ship. Kira and Korra were sitting together, looking apprehensive.
"Damn, ladies." Kira said as they entered. Korra wolf whistled, at which Skylar rolled her eyes, still thoroughly annoyed with the situation. Kira walked over and stepped behind Skylar, where she began fiddling with the bodice she was wearing. "Sorry about this..." Kira said and tightened it unexpectedly.
"How are you supposed to breathe in this thing?" She asked murderously.
"You're not. You're just supposed to look pretty." Zyana pointed out.
"Which you succeed at either way, but this will help for the job." Kira said.
"It better." Skylar said, and Morrigan looked ready to duck, half expecting knives to start flying again. The ship computer landed them in the ship parking lot of the club Ian supposedly owned.
"Ok, Korra and I will be circling the building. Anything goes wrong, we'll do what we can to be inside in a few seconds." Serra said, strapping her Katana across her back. "Kira, you're in first, keep an eye on them." She said and she and Korra exited the ship and walked into the night, Kira a few minutes after that.
"Well, ladies, follow me. I should be able to get you in the front door." Zyana purred to Morrigan and Skylar and led them out. They slowly approached the door, where a Krogan bouncer stood. Zyana held out her hand and caught Skylar in the stomach, stopping her. "I got this." She said and stepped forward. Her outfit would have drawn the gaze of any male of any species, as the dress's only non-see through material covered her bust and rear. Everything else was put on display. Soon, she was leading the Krogan into a back alley. As they left, Morrigan voiced both of their thoughts.
"Ok, that's just weird." She said. Skylar nodded in agreement and they entered the club unhindered. As they passed through, Skylar looked back at the small city, and was reminded of the underground of Coruscant, just poorer. Inside, they found plenty of drunken patrons and bouncers (most of which were krogan) all around a large, circular, two-level bar. On the second level of the bar, there were several Asari dancing seductively, to which Skylar decided to avert her eyes. "Be impressive. Get his attention." Morri said to her and headed off on her own. Skylar groaned and looked around. She spotted a man leering at one of the off-duty dancers, looking as though he was trying to pick her up. As Skylar neared, she heard that she was very right on that guess.
She listened for a few seconds before stepping in. "I think the lady just rejected you, man." She said to him.
"Well maybe you would care to join me, missy." The man said and stepped towards her. He grabbed her arm, and she reacted instinctively and brought her free elbow onto his temple, knocking him to the ground. He crawled off, disoriented and only semi-conscious.
"Thanks." The dancer said before heading off. Skylar spotted Morri joining a crowd of drunken dancers, noticed that a few of them appeared to be missing actual drinks. Be impressive, you say... She thought and made her way to the bar, where a lone man, massive in size, was sitting.
"What's a kid like you doing here?" The man said gruffly, sounding as though he was looking for a fight. She looked him in the eye and saw that he did seem to want to go there.
"Kicking your ass, in about a minute." Skylar replied. The man glared at her, which she returned, and he slouched in his chair and made his way outside. Skylar smirked and turned to the bartender.
"Thanks for that. Asshole was driving away customers." The bartender said. "Can I offer you a discount, as a thank you?"
"How about you give out a free round for everybody? Make for some good PR, eh?" Skylar suggested. "You'll probably get a bunch more customers, too." She said and winked. He considered, then announced into a megaphone that it would be happening.
"Now, you get a free one, too." He told her. She ordered her usual Kanar and made her way to a table, where she sat down and sipped it conservatively. After a few minutes, a waitress approached her.
"Excuse me, ma'am. The owner wants to meet you. Will you come with me?" The waitress asked sweetly and led her up a flight of stairs to a locked door. The woman opened it and gestured for Skylar to enter. Once she had, the woman waited at the door. "Please change into the provided attire and wait for the next door to open. Thank you." The woman exited and closed the door. Skylar heard it knock and groaned. She turned and found a pair of workout pants and a black tank top, which she gladly changed into. She also removed the high-heeled leather boots Zyana had provided and put on a set of provided running shoes. Once she had changed, the next door opened and she entered.
Immediately, a hand grabbed her from behind and clasped around her throat. "How?!" Ian's voice screamed, rage and confusion pouring out of his voice. "How is it that your stupid family just won't die!?" He roared and threw Skylar across the room. She crashed through the coffee table and hit the floor. She rolled to her feet in a crouching position and reached for her knives, but remembered that they had been attached to the dress, which she had changed out of. Ian stepped out of the shadows in the dimly lit room and she saw that his beard had grown extensively, as well as his hair. He had a wild, deranged look about him that was verging on insanity. He drew his pistol and immediately aimed it at her. Reacting on instinct, she threw a wheel kick at him, a technique Ariana had taught her, though she normally wasn't very good at it. Luckily, it successfully knocked the revolver out of his hand and across the room.
Ian lunged at her and pinned her to the ground, smashing a wooden chair to pieces. He punched her twice in the stomach and then once in the face, dazing her. He grabbed a shard of glass from the coffee table and stabbed down at her. She raised her forearm and was stabbed in it, but it was better than getting glass to the eye. She wrapped her legs around his waist, making it so he couldn't roll her over so she would be able to defend herself. She glanced to the side and spotted a broken, and sharp, leg of the chair. She reached over and grabbed it and thrust it upward at Ian's head. He caught her wrist and twisted, and she immediately knew her wrist was broken. She cried out and he successfully mounted her, rendering her legs useless. He punched her twice more, once in her left breast, which hurt like hell, and once in the face, dazing her completely. He reached down with both his hands and wrapped them around her neck, where he began to choke.
Her vision started to form a tunnel, and panic began to set in. She was pissed that the last thing she would ever see would be Ian's fury filled face bearing down on her. Then, out of nowhere, a loud bang sounded, followed immediately after by red blood spraying all over her face. Ian's hands released her throat, and Skylar coughed, regaining her breath. A non-heeled leather boot swung through the air and kicked Ian in the side of the head, knocking him off her. Skylar sat up and saw Serra throw Ian's revolver, still smoking, to the side, and she drew her Katana. Ian lay on the ground, dying, as she bore down on him. She raised her blade as he looked up at her. "It...its not...fair..." He croaked, his eyes looking at Skylar. "Not...fair..." He said, and a final gasp escaped him. Serra re-sheathed her sword and went to help Skylar up. She hoisted her friend up and carried her out into the next room, where they found the waitress, who had been cut down by Serra's sword, and the bartender, who was frozen in a block of ice. They reached the rest of the group outside the club, where they found Kira and Korra supporting a wincing Zyana.
"What happened to her?" Serra asked.
"Never...sleep...with a krogan...oww..." Zyana replied. For a moment, she actually seemed normal. She wasn't completely evil and demonic, she actually seemed human. Someone that they could talk to without being seduced or hit on. It surprised Skylar. Morrigan walked out of the club, looking sickened.
"My god...drunk batarians...their hands..." She said, looking traumatized.
"Come on, let's get on the ship and go home." Serra said and the group made their way onto the ship. Kira and Korra had to carry Zyana, who was incapable of walking. Later that night, when everyone was asleep, Serra sat in the cockpit and opened a transmission to Kaven as the ship flew on autopilot back. The small blue hologram came up. "Hey, you receiving?" She asked after he was quiet for a moment.
"Yeah, I am. Status update on the mission?" He asked.
"Zyana can't walk, warned us away from sleeping with Krogan in back alleys of a club...Skylar has a broken wrist and is covered in bruises...and Ian's dead." She explained. He looked startled.
"How bad is Skylar, exactly?" He asked, concerned.
"Almost got choked to death, punched in the face a few times, smashed through some furniture, punched in the tit, you know." Serra replied.
"Is she doing alright now though?"
"Yeah, she's asleep." Serra assured him.
"Alright...I just hope she recovers."
"Don't worry she'll be fine." Serra brushed him off. "Like I said, Ian's gone."
"How did that go down?"
"Korra and I fought our way through a bouncer, a bartender, and a waitress, I found him choking Skylar, and a I shot him." Serra replied.
"How'd Skylar get into that situation in the first place?"
"Undercover with Morri. You know, what she signed up for." Serra said, not afraid to be abrasive.
"Then where was Morrigan during this?" He asked.
"Getting molested by a group of Batarians." Serra replied bluntly.
"Umm...right..." He said, sounding disturbed.
"You sound like you're getting second thoughts of letting your kid do actual work." She observed. After a long moment, he sighed.
"I'm sorry, I guess its just the father in me coming out." He said.
"Well...let's just say I'll be thoroughly pissed if you drag her out of this. For the first time since you-know-what, there's a Renner Clansmen, a Ferran Clansmen, a Llehctim and a Sigurdson working together. Don't mess that up." She warned.
"I understand. Just...try to keep an eye on her, alright? I don't want to relive my younger years..."
"Don't compare it to that." Serra snapped. "Losing her would be much, much worse. Kinda like what Zack Sigurdson lost when Nes marched onto base and killed his son." At that, IceBite was struck silent. For a moment, Serra felt that she was more powerful than one of the Squadran's leaders. That scared her. She sighed. "Don't worry...I'll keep her alive. Her boyfriend would kill me if I didn't." She said.
"Boyfriend?" He asked, startled.
"Yeah, they met in the forest and 'hit it off' so to speak." She answered.
"How far have things gone between them, so far?" He asked, and she spotted a perfect opportunity to mess with him.
"Every time I ask she gets all embarassed and shy and avoids the topic. Goes a strange shade of red." Serra said. He was silent. "I mean...they might have...She doesn't seem the type to explain her methods to her friends." She went on. He was quiet again. "There was a moist sock on her side of camp once." She pretended to recall.
"I'm fairly certain you're messing with me at this point...and I do hope you are." He said darkly.
"Well, I should get some sleep. See you when we get back." She said and cut the transmission. She immediately burst into fits of laughter. She heard footsteps and looked to see Morri walk in, grinning.
"Brilliant." Morri said, clapping quietly. "Go get some sleep, I'll watch the ship." She said. Serra nodded and did so. Morri occupied herself by flipping through a photo album from the last few years. After a few hours, Skylar walked in.
"What're you looking at?" She asked.
"Oh, hey. Uh, pictures from the last few years. My fiancee, mainly.
"Yeah. It was a bit of a formality, we had considered ourselves emotionally married. When it gets to that point, the whole dotted line thing doesn't matter anymore." She said.
"Had?" Skylar asked. "What happened to him?"
"Neil killed him. And my two best friends. And then my mom." Morri replied.
"Well...at least we don't have to worry about him any more." Skylar assured her. "At least I hope so..."
"I think we're good...it did teach me a valuable lesson, though." Morri said sadly.
"What is it?" Skylar asked.
"If you've got someone, don't wait for anything. Just don't. It isn't worth it. If you've got that emotional connection, no worldly power matters at that point. Wait too long, and next thing you know-" She snapped her fingers. "-they're dead." There was a long moment of quiet. "Is it just me, or are the people with the happiest relationship Sen and Maya?" Morrigan pointed out. Skylar shrugged. "I mean, Loran turned traitor, I imagine Rorii was a bit pissed about that. Caden and Clara was formed on a mountain of mourning, I'm a widow, and Kira and Korra had to be secret for twenty-odd years." She pointed out. After a moment, she continued. "Want to know what a funny home movie is? Serra's mom finding out her uncle slept with his first girl." She promptly burst out laughing. "Serra's grandma looked like she was gonna faint. Her grandpa just went 'well, that's my boy!'"
"I will say," Morri went on. "That having Leliana for a sister when she turned eighteen was hell'."
"A real rebellious streak turned up. If she ever asks if you want to meet frosty the snowman, start running." Morri warned her.
"Uhm...good to know..."
"Anyway, your plans for when we land home?" Morri asked.
"I really don't know."
"May I make a suggestion?" Morri asked.
"First, go and explain to your dad that you did not yet sleep with Dean, second, go and spend some time with the poor guy." Morri suggested.
"What?!" Skylar exclaimed, more to the first part.
"She hinted at it, to mess with him." Morri explained.
"Damn it, Serra, what were you thinking?!" Skylar hissed.
"Cool your jets, kid. Its not like you ever really gave a shit what your dad thought about you anyway." Morri pointed out.
"Yeah, but it'd be much easier to deal with him without him assuming that I..." She trailed off, annoyed.
"If he starts judging you, he's being a shitty parent. Tell him he's acting like Elle did back in the day." Morri told her.
"Well...hopefully he sees through the 'jokes' and knows better..."
"Besides, if you ever do go for it and he starts being annoying, none of us will judge you. Hell, I'd congratulate you on a job well done." Morri went on. Serra's voice called in from the other room.
"She's saying bed the man or she will."
"Thank you, Serra." Morri said, sounding annoyed. She leaned in closer to Skylar and whispered "Don't worry, I won't."
"Thanks..." Skylar replied, also annoyed. Zyana then walked in, holding a trio of steaming coffee mugs. Morri immediately took one and Zyana offered one to Skylar. To their surprise, she looked more than a little depressed. Skylar took it cautiously.
"Don't worry, no love potion or anything." Zyana assured her. Skylar tried a sip, and discovered it really was just coffee. "See? You have a bad experience or something?" Zyana asked, to which Morri snickered.
"You could say that..." Skylar said, giving Morri and annoyed look.
"Why would you do that to her?" Zyana asked, rolling her eyes. Skylar raised an eyebrow, confused. "By the way, sorry for my, er...handsy, moments." Zyana said.
"Uhm...alright..." Skylar said, clearly confused. Morri got up and headed into the other room.
"I...uh...you know how your dad has that ghost inside his head?" Zyana asked.
"Well, I have something like that, except that side has days where it is much more dominant."
"That's the side of me that basically molested you. I really have no control over that...I'm sorry." Zyana said. Skylar was quiet, completely unsure of how to feel. Before she could respond, Serra walked in.
"Morning." She said.
"How're you?" Serra asked, sitting down next to her, trying, hard, to not burst out laughing. Skylar raised her eyebrow at her. Serra laughed. "I can't wait til you do. Then I can offer advice."
"You get used to it, trust me kid." Zyana said.
"Ok...?" Skylar said, uncertain.
"Check out security recordings of conversations my mom had with my aunt. Those were funny." Serra said.
"God knows his friends will do it." Zyana mused.
"Leave the poor girl alone, guys." Morri's voice rang out.
"Right, right." Serra said. "Well, I'm gonna be moving into the house we used when we get back." She told them. "And I'm thinking I could use roommates."
"well, might like a place to stay to get away from my parents for a while." Skylar said.
"Mind if I live in the attic?" Zyana asked.
"Sure? Morri's gonna live in the old abandoned Sigurdson house." Serra said. The three of them quickly began discussing rooming arrangements, which is how they spent the remainder of the trip.
Sola shivered as she hopped off the plane and thanked the pilot. She watched as the pilot took off over the treetops and flew away. It was growing into nighttime, now, so she knew she had to hurry. She started running through the forest, up the mountain. She had been contacted by Nymeria to meet her in the rockies, so she had hired a small plane to take her out there. She climbed and jumped for several minutes before reaching Nymeria, who was sitting on a log. "You could have picked a warmer spot." Sola said, shivering again.
"Sorry, since my physical body was rendered useless, I don't feel temperature anymore." Nymeria said. A log levitated through the air and was flung at her, but it passed through her harmlessly. "It does have some perks." Nymeria admitted.
"I'll say. So, what did you want to talk about?" Sola asked, climbing up and sitting down next to her.
"You need to be careful. Something is coming, a creature similar to the Gallifreyians, and just as dangerous, if not more so." Nymeria warned.
"What is it?"
"It is called the Skulblaka. I know nothing of its abilities, for none who have faced it have lived. It wiped out an entire plane far more powerful than this one. And it has killed many Gallifreyians in the past. Now it is coming here."
"What can we do to stop it?" Sola asked.
"You need to protect Clara at all costs. She is they key to this, just ask her and Caden. I will protect the other one, but make sure the others know to keep that girl safe." Nymeria ordered. Sola nodded.
"Nym..." Sola said, referring to her as her nickname, known only to Sola. "How do you know all this?"
"Sola...I'm a Gallifreyian." Nymeria confessed.
"Ok." Sola replied.
"You're not...?" Nymeria asked, surprised.
"Not really. You're on our side and have proven you're a good person to us, why bother making an enemy of you now?" Sola asked. "Anyway, how long do we have?"
"Eight months, before the creature arrives. Get to Kaven and begin to prepare for war. He will target Earth first, it is the main hub of this universe, he knows this. Evacuation will only increase his hunger for blood. Prepare to stand and fight, but also be ready to flee during the battle, just in case." Nymeria said. Sola nodded.
"Ok. I'll let everyone know to get ready."
"Thank you. Would you like a lift back?" Nymeria asked.
"Please." Sola said, and soon she was soaring through the air, held amidst the black mist. When her feet abruptly touched solid ground, she looked into the air and saw that Nymeria's mist form had taken that of a dragon. The mist-dragon soared into the air so that the moon was behind it, it spread its black wings and vanished into the night. Sola shivered once again, and ran to find Vitor and then IceBite.
The Dead and The DyingEdit
Sola awoke and gradually pulled herself out of bed. She had been moving from house to house for the last eight months, not wanting to overstay her welcome at any of the places she stayed a night at. She found Vitor in the kitchen and found, to her surprise, Ziva in there. "Ziva? The hell you doing here at six in the morning?" She asked.
"I spent the night." Ziva replied pointedly.
"Ah." Sola said, shook her head and left the house. Kaven was particularly quiet these days. Most of the subfactions had begun a full scale preparation for the apocalypse. Holly was preparing to leave to join the research and guerilla warfare preparations, while the other commanders, save May, Vitor and Ethan, were readying for civilian evacuation and battle. May, who had given birth two weeks prior, was waiting to return to duty. Sola was amazed at the workaholic attitude the woman had in her, given her new child. It had been a boy named Sylas. Sola looked into the dimly lit sky and saw many ships floating around, ready to defend the planet at the first sign of danger. She couldn't shake the feeling that it wouldn't be enough.
She dropped by the nearest ration station and picked up an MRE before going to the training area. She was the only one crazy enough to use the training area as early as she did, so she normally got the place to herself. She did circuit training for a few hours before Skylar, Serra, and Morrigan entered. She nodded at them and noticed Skylar was sporting a new knife belt. "New toys?" Sola asked, jumping down from the top of the salmon ladder.
"Yeah, Dean got them for me." Skylar answered.
"You two be sure to not move too fast. It did not work for me." Sola said and left. She went for a second breakfast before finding Loran out on a run. She matched his pace and fell in line with him. "Hey kid. How're things?" She asked.
"Been better, been worse. We're gearing up to make our way over to Asia, where we can hopefully help with setting up the defense there." Loran said.
"Aurora and myself." He said.
"Don't get her pregnant, now is not the time." Sola warned. He shook is head and she broke off from him. The next person she bumped into was Sen, who was helping to load a transport with supplies. "Hey, need a hand?" She asked.
"Sure, I guess." He said and she picked up a box to load it on.
"So, how do you feel about all this?" She asked.
"A little nervous." He admitted.
"How's Maya doing?"
"Also nervous..." He said.
"You guys ever think about getting married? Lord knows if someone should right now, it would be you two."
"Maya's mentioned it." He said.
"And what do you think?"
"Uhm..." He stammered, looking conflicted.
"Listen, you can't play it safe anymore, man. We could be dead at any moment, without any idea we are dead." Sola told him.
"...Yeah, I see your point." He said.
"Well, talk to her about it. See what she thinks." Sola said and lifted the final box onto the ship. "And hey, if you can't find a pro to marry you guys, I'll make Ethan or Vitor do it. Or do it myself." Sola promised him.
"Ok, thanks." He said. They said goodbye and Sola went off to do something else. For lunch, she headed to the on base bar, which had been turned into a British-style pub. She had a small meal and sat alone, right up until someone she remembered to be Jax sat down across from her. "Hey." She said.
"Hey, how're you?" He asked.
"Take a quick guess." She said, looking up at him.
"True. You hear about Shivs and Shanks?" He asked. She sighed before responding.
"Is Shivs Morri or Skylar?" She asked.
"Shivs is Skylar, Morri is Shanks." He replied, smirking. "Anyway, the two of them had a mock knife-off yesterday. Morrigan won, but not without both needing a visit to the medbay."
"Those kids...always killing each other." She sighed. "I guess Sigurdsons and Llehctims are always gonna try to kill each other somehow."
"Come on, Sunshine, be a bit optimistic for those guys." He said. She rolled her eyes at the nickname. "Anyway, is it true that Daisy and Chuckles are going to Asia?"
"Yep." Sola replied, remembering that Daisy was Aurora and Chuckles was Loran. "And Waffles and Clara are staying here for now." She said. Caden's nickname, Waffles, was the only one she could remember. Clara didn't have a nickname, due to Jax's inability to come up with one. "What about you, blondie? What're you doing?"
"I'll hang around here, see what I can do to help." he replied, grinning at the nickname she had dubbed him with a week prior.
"Well, we always need a few good men, so thanks for sticking around." She said. "What is...Shanks' sister doing lately?" She asked. For some reason, Jax knew everything about everyone, so he was the person most people went to for information on their friends.
"Choir girl? Her own thing, as usual." He said with a shrug. Sola grinned at that nickname. "Ah, she smiles." He said. "She should also do it more often." He added. She shook her head, still grinning.
"Ok, well, I'm gonna go see if Clara is doing anything, could use her help with something." Sola said, he nodded, said bye, and left. She sent a text to Clara to meet on one of the benches in the park-like area. In fifteen minutes, Clara was sitting next to her.
"What'd you need?" Clara asked.
"I lied. I didn't need your help. I have something for you from an old friend of ours." Sola said and pulled out a small black cube. Clara took it in her mechanical hand.
"What is it?"
"Not sure. She just said to get it to you." Sola replied. As she said it, the cube dissolved into a black fluid, which engulfed Clara's mechanical arm, shocking them both. A black mist rose from her arm and blinded them both temporarily, and when it was gone, they saw that Clara's arm looked organic again. Sola reached forward and grabbed the arm, and felt only skin and bone, no metal or wires in this limb. Clara looked up at Sola, shocked, her eyes watering. Clara quickly hugged Sola, who was equally surprised.
"I gotta go tell Caden, thank you, Sola!" Clara exclaimed and ran off. Sola grinned.
"Damn Nym, you just keep outdoing yourself." Sola said. She sat there for a while, contemplating what might happen next, when all of a sudden, her answer came abruptly. There was the sound of a massive slipspace rupture, and she looked up, her eyes widening. She counted one, two, three, four, ten Death Stars, all clearly taken from alternate universes. In their midst was a glowing red ball of energy. Soon after, weapons fire of all kinds of weaponry, from the Death Stars as well as ships she couldn't see, was raining down on the Earth. Sola quickly sprinted to take cover behind a house. She stayed there as the ground and the buildings were riddled with weapons fire. Then, there was an explosion, and she was flung forward and into another house. She was knocked unconscious when her head hit the wall.
When she awoke, she found that she was buried beneath a good amount of rubble. She used the force to lift them off her and got up. She looked around and saw that a lot of the base was intact, but the ground and buildings had suffered a lot of damage, despite the fact they still stood. Sola looked around, yelling for anyone, but no response came. As she neared the house that IceBite and May lived in, she saw a creature, horrible in nature, a brown and insectoid creature with massive claws. It was scratching at their door. She neared it and stabbed it through the head with her lightsaber, and it dropped dead. She kicked in the door and heard the sound of a baby crying. "Oh god." She whispered and found baby Sylas in his crib, alone. "Oh my god..." She said as she scooped up the child. "Hey...hey...its ok, Sola's here now..." She said and carried him into the kitchen. She found several stored bottles of milk and formula, as well as a backpack on the floor that had a slot for a baby to stay in. Sola quickly found a blanket and wrapped Sylas in it so he would be comfortable, then fed him with one of the bottles. Once she thought he was ok, she quickly looted the kitchen and took any and all food she could find. She fit a lot into the pockets of her new backpack, and also found a few leg holsters for a pistol in one of the other rooms. She fitted it on and put on the backpack with the now quiet, and seemingly curious, Sylas. She carried him outside and looked around the base one final time before settling on it being abandoned. She looked to the sky and saw that it indeed was filled with ships that she knew were not friendly. She found that all of the vehicles on the base had been stolen or destroyed, so, on foot, she took the child off base and into the world, knowing that enemy forces would soon check the base for survivors. She headed straight for the forests.
She walked for a long time, stopping sometimes to feed Sylas. She finally stopped for the day and found a creek. She drank some of the water and simply sat there for a while, holding Sylas in her lap. Her mind quickly wandered to her friends and what had happened to them. Kaven had been deserted completely, and there had been a creature going after Sylas. That means either everyone escaped or was captured or killed. Sola thought to herself. Ok...you and a baby in a forest. You can handle this. She assured herself. You are basically this kid's mother from now on. She told herself, and she nodded, mostly to assure herself she wouldn't be a complete failure. She leaned against a tree and only slept for a few hours that night, mostly out of paranoia of something happening.
When the sun had risen that morning, she got up, fed Sylas and slipped into his little pouch and kept moving. After about forty-five minutes, Sola found herself looking at Veldton. It looked equally abandoned as Kaven. She decided to chance it, and headed for the city's outskirts. She found a small restaurant and made her way inside to see if there was anything in the kitchens she could steal. It was just as deserted as everything else, so she headed to the kitchens and decided to use them. Before she could actively cook anything, the tv screens in the restaurant turned on and she headed out to look at them. On them was an image of a golden-clad metal creature, its eyes and mouth glowing red with power.
"Hello, humans, and other people of this world. Welcome to a new era of your kind. I am what you may call the Skulblaka." It said, its mouth not moving. Sola's eyes widened. "Now, my forces are beginning to sweep over your universe, and they will conquer it. As of this moment, you may call me master. Welcome to my era." It said. Just before the screen turned off, Sola spotted Skylar behind the creature, chained to the wall and looking very, very afraid. Sola swore as the screen turned back on and showed what was happening over the rest of the world. In other cities, bodies were piling up, while the insectoid creatures killed some survivors and leading them into pens. The bodies in the streets began to rise, every bit as dead as they had been before. However, their eyes were a putrid yellow color, just like the insectoid monsters.
Sola realized what was happening. The living were slaves. The dead and the dying were turned into weapons. She swore again and picked up Sylas and took him back into the forests, knowing she needed to find a way off the world, but doing it from Veldton was an awful idea. She kept moving and moving, knowing that if they were caught, the Skulblaka would have no use for a baby at all.
Sleep Now in the FireEdit
"Move, move, move!" Someone's voice cried out.
"Look out!" Someone else cried. Their cry was followed immediately by the sound of a high pitched screech, one that grated Clara's ears so much she snapped back into consciousness. Nearing her was a large insectoid creature, claws extended. On instinct, she kicked it in the face, but it barely budged. It raised one of its claws to strike at her, but before the claw could be brought down, there was a slash of white light and it collapsed. Loran stepped over it and held the butt-end of his saber pike to her, nodding. He was fully clad in armor and already had several splatters of gore across his chest and the face of his helmet. She grabbed the handle and he helped her up.
"What happened?" She asked.
"The ship was shot down. These things are coming for us, we're evacuating, come on." He told her. She nodded and pulled out her armor disk, put it on her chest and it expanded to cover her wholly. She drew her Marethari sword and followed him into the corridors of the now destroyed ship. They had escaped on one of the cruisers that had begun to fly off of Earth, but they had been followed. The creatures were, for some reason, using technology very similar to that of their own, only in far greater volumes. Clara had guessed that they had been conquering other alternate universes and using their technologies to build its own army. It certainly explained how it had ten death stars at its disposal.
Loran kicked out a window and the sunlight poured in. It was a barren wasteland ahead of them, not quite a desert, but no grass or vegetation of any kind seemed to grow. The land in front of them also contained many humans engaging a large number of the monsters from before. Loran and Clara jumped into the fray and began to fight their new-found enemies. They weren't overly difficult to kill one by one, but in large numbers, they swarmed numerous survivors and overwhelmed them, turning them into piles of mince-meat. After what felt like forever, they had been able to defeat the vast majority of the monsters.
"Everyone! Regroup on me!" A voice roared. Loran and Clara looked over and spotted Vitor, clad in an armor that they didn't recognize and wielding a double ended-saber, standing on a pile of monster bodies. They ran over.
"Vitor, you ok?" Loran asked. He nodded at them as a crowd of survivors began to form around them.
"Listen everyone, there is a cave system a few miles south of here. We will make shelter there, as out of sight as possible. Everyone needs to grab supplies from the wreckage and transport them to the caves. I will need volunteers to come with me to make runs back to the ship to bring more supplies back. Let's move people, we should not be out after dark!" He said. Strangely, instead of questioning his credibility, people simply did as he said and began to gather weapons and food. He jumped down towards them and moved to speak to them. "Clara, can you stay in the caves when we get there? I need someone I can trust to watch over everyone."
"Of course, I got it." She said.
"I'll join you for the runs." Loran told him. He nodded, and they began to usher people to grab supplies and begin to move. Vitor took the lead and began to lead them. After about an hour, they reached the cave system. Clara led the people inside, where they began to settle, and Vitor, Loran, and a few others began to make their way back to the ship. As they jogged back, Vitor fell in line with Loran.
"Do...you know what happened to Rorii?" He asked.
"No...we were separated during the attack." Loran said, sounding as though he was trying to control a bomb about to go off.
"Listen, your wife is one of the toughest people I know, and let's face it, she could probably kick both our asses while cooking breakfast. I don't think anything can kill that woman. We'll find her." Vitor told him.
"Yeah...thanks." Loran said, though sounded as though he did not quite believe it. They continued forward until they reached the ship, and they quickly headed inside. Loran went into the medbays, hoping none of the medicine had been destroyed. He entered and found some of was still intact, so he set to work and began filling his bag with as many meds as he could. As he worked, he took his mask off so he could breathe more easily, then he heard a groan behind him. He turned and saw someone moving in the shadows, clearly hurt. He activated his saber, more for light than anything, and saw, to a mix of his elation and shock, Rorii, pale and pinned under a piece of wreckage. He set his saber down and ran over, where he pried the wreckage off of her just as she passed out. He quickly scooped her up and carried her to the door of the medbay, when he started yelling for someone to help him. A young man came running, and Loran gestured at the meds bag. The man set to work filling it as Loran began to take Rorii out of the ship.
The Jericho came out of hyperspace and began to drift, no real destination. Taryn was pacing and working with an old communication system, very similar to a radio, that she carried around with her. She was trying as hard as she could to make contact with any survivors, anywhere in the universe. "Any clue on the others' locations?" She heard Caden ask.
"Negative, all contact has been lost." Wolf responded. Caden rose from his seat and ran a hand over his face.
"All that preparation and they just blow right through our defenses." He said, walking over to Katlyn, who was working with a holomap.
"It could have been worse." Kat said.
"Not by much." Came his response. Taryn couldn't think of anything to say, so she kept her silence and kept working.
"We'll be safe out here for a while. If Taryn gets that thing working, it could help." Katlyn said.
"It better, our options are very limited as of now." Caden said. As he said it, Taryn heard a voice start playing through her contraption.
"Hello, hello!" She said hurriedly.
"Thank god." The voice said. It was slightly distorted, but they could tell it was a woman. "Who is this?" The voice asked. Taryn saw Caden looking over, excited she had reached someone.
"I'm Taryn Helfer, currently aboard a vessel somewhere in-"
"Taryn? Thank god, its me, Clara. I found an older system and thought I should try the channel." Taryn, realized who it was, held the machine out towards Caden.
"Clara? Clara, its Caden." Caden said, grabbing it eagerly. "Are you okay down there?"
"Yeah, yeah, we're fine." Clara said, releasing a long sigh of relief. "Loran's here with Rorii. She got pretty messed up in the crash, but she'll make it. We crashed on some wasteland planet. Vitor and Ziva are both here as well, with a couple hundred others." Clara said.
"Glad you're still alive. Any chance we can evac you?"
"If you can find us. We're not even sure where we are. We have to live in some cave system underground, and there's a few enemy cruisers in the sky above us." Clara explained.
"Wolf, Kat, see if you can trace the signal, we can get by cruisers." Caden ordered.
"Did you see the broadcast?" Clara asked. Taryn sighed and shook her head, remembering it.
"We saw it. Makes the blood boil again." Caden said.
"One thing at a time. Listen, if you find us, we may not be able to get everyone out of here. There's a lot of us. It may be better if we fortify." Clara told him.
"Understood...we'll do everything we can to help." Caden said.
"Awesome. Do you know if anyone else made it out? I...saw Sola buried by house wreckage. I don't think she made it." Clara said, her voice shaking slightly.
"I only have my crew and Taryn. If they aren't with you, I don't know." Caden replied.
"Ok. Taryn, can you hear?"
"Yep." Taryn replied.
"Ok, start checking the other old channels, someone else might be checking for survivors on them." Clara said.
"On it. Should I tell them to try to find you, wherever the hell you are?" Taryn asked.
"I guess." Clara said, and they heard a the sound of rushing people in the background. "Ah shit, cave in...oh hell, Ziva just broke her leg. I need to go. I"ll put someone on to keep the line busy for traces."
"Stay safe, kid." Caden said.
"You know I will. You too. When you get here, I'm chaining you to me. Bye love, see you soon." Came her response.
"See you soon." Caden said and Clara's voice vanished. Taryn took over the machine to start helping to find traces and other survivors.
"Kat and I can handle things if you want to go rest up. You look like hell." Taryn said bluntly.
"Thanks for the compliment." Caden said and rubbed his eyes. "But really, thanks. I'll be back soon, won't leave you two alone for long."
"No problem, boss. I'll come screaming if there's something you should really know about." Taryn told him.
"Good. You'll fit right in here." He told her.
"Thanks." She said with a smile. "Now, go get some sleep or I will put you to sleep myself." She warned him, taking a careful glance at Wolf.
"Would not hinder attempts." Wolf informed her.
"I like you already." She told the droid. Wolf looked up at Caden.
"I approve of new choices." Wolf told him, causing Caden to shake his head.
"I'm going now. Good luck, all." He told them.
"Thanks, now git!" Taryn said and gestured to the door.
"Alright, alright." Caden said and left as Taryn returned to work.
"Kat, would now be a good time to mention I don't have a room to stay in?" Taryn asked.
"It is a better time than later. We'll find you a place to stay." Kat replied.
"No rush, something tells me I'll be working this thing through the night." Taryn said.
"True. Well, wherever you want, we'll make room."
"Wherever works." Taryn replied. Kat chuckled, causing Taryn to half look over, half keep working, slightly confused.
"Alrighty." Taryn said and took out her flash of a neon green fluid, which she took a swig of before shaking her head rapidly and returning to work.
"That stuff work?"
"So far. Want some? Warning, it tastes like shit." Taryn warned.
"No thanks. Shit isn't normally the best flavor."
"Alright. Its actual blood from the local wildlife on one of the border worlds."
"Eck." Kat said, shaking her head.
"Alright, let's get to work on that trace and start calling other people. Its gonna be a long night." Taryn said.
"Agreed." Kat said and set to work.
Skylar watched as the Skulblaka stalked from the newly forged throne room and out of sight. She quickly struggled against her chains, to no avail. "Struggling won't help." A voice said. Skylar froze, and realized it was Zyana's voice. She looked around quickly. Zyana stepped out of a shadow, a somber look on her face.
"What're you doing here?" Skylar asked. Zyana let out a tired sigh.
"He thinks I'm helping him."
"Half of my soul is from hell, Skylar. If he succeeds, hell will be destroyed as well." Zyana pointed out. "Why in god's name would I help him willingly?"
"I mean...how're you pullin-nevermind." Skylar said, defeated.
"Listen, he told me I could pick one survivor to be my handmaiden." Zyana went on. "I chose you."
"Really? Why me?" Skylar said, more confused than anything.
"I didn't know anyone else. Serra and Morri weren't among the captured, and I didn't recognize another person in the throngs." Zyana said.
"What about my family, do you know about them?" Skylar asked.
"I don't know...except...Skylar, I don't think your brother made it out..." Zyana said, her human side very dominant, looking very saddened by having to deliver the news. Zyana saw the beginning of tears forming in Skylar's eyes.
"Damn it." Skylar said, her voice completely restrained and mangled. Zyana reached up and unlocked Skylar's chains so that Skylar dropped off the wall, Zyana catching her. "Thanks..." Skylar said, her voice still mangled.
"Come on, I should show you where we're staying." Zyana told her.
"Alright...and where's Dean?"
"No clue. I'm sorry, hun." Zyana answered. Skylar merely sighed and her shoulders sagged. Zyana led her to her room, which was very large, in fact, it was the equivalent of a one story house. It was very lavish, with ornate designs from various cultures and dark red, partially transparent curtains surrounding a massive bed. There was a sitting area and more than a few tables, as well as a balcony that overlooked a city Skylar couldn't identify. "We're staying here together."
"Now, listen to me closely. We need to keep up appearances in public. Basically, I need you to just stand by me and don't say much. Just play along with anything I do." Zyana told her.
"I'm being serious, if the Skulblaka suspects you're anything more than just a slave for me he will kill you himself." Zyana warned. Skylar was silent. "In here, don't worry, I'll leave you alone. Just, you know, stay quiet and look pretty in public, ok?"
"Who knows? Maybe someone we know will be invigorated by the sight of you as a slave-girl and come here to kill that thing."
"Hey, you alright in there?" Zyana asked, lightly tapping Skylar on the side of the head, not at all unfriendly.
"...Sorry, just..." Skylar said, and a look of utter defeat came upon her, alongside a willingness to just give up.
"Yeah...you should really sleep. The bed is big enough that we can share without waking up on top of each other, but there is a couch, if you really want." Zyana said, to which Skylar was silent. "Its up to you."
"I guess I just need some rest, for now." Skylar said, totally passive and submissive. While a part of Zyana liked the thought, she pointed at the bed.
"Ok, get on the bed." She ordered, pseudo-maternal. Skylar slowly and unsteadily walked over to the bed. Zyana followed and physically tucked her into bed. Skylar merely fell asleep, unable to take anything else in over the course of the day. Zyana sighed sadly and spent the rest of the day sitting on the balcony, occasionally sipping at the various drinks in the outdoor fridge. When it was around eleven at night, Zyana entered her room again, changed into her sleep wear and slipped into bed, a few feet from Skylar.
Morrigan collapsed on the floor of the transport. The mad rush to get off the ship had caused herself, and numerous others, to be knocked off their feet. Groaning, she hauled herself to her feet, to avoid being trampled. She slipped out the door and looked around, praying the others hadn't been swept off by the crowd. She heard a crash and her head whipped around to see someone being dragged down one of the side alleys. They had been transported to Coruscant, for reasons highly unknown to Morrigan. She dashed after the commotion and followed the sounds, which were growing fainter. They continued to grow quieter until they had halted completely. She stopped, cursing. Then, there was a cry of pain from around the next corner, and she sprinted for it. She turned the corner and found, so her pleasant surprise, Leah with a large man lying on top of her. Rather than an invasive way, she had him in a triangle choke and an arm bar.
"Nicely done." Morri said as the man passed out from the choke and Leah rose to her feet.
"Thanks..." She panted, dusting herself off.
"C'mon, we should go see if the others are nearby." Morri said, praying that they were. They returned to the docking area and found a pacing Serra, looking panicked. "Serra, over here!" Morri said loudly. Serra looked over and relieved look came over her face.
"Guys, come on, I think I saw Korra and Kira go that way." Serra said, pointed, and they quickly walked in that direction. They turned a corner to see Korra and Kira, as well as Jax and Dean, standing there casually. Behind them, there was one man with a block of ice surrounding his head and nailed into the wall, as well as one who was struggling to pry a large volume of rock off his feet.
"Hey guys." Kira said, waving. "The apocalypse seems to turn to the locals into rapists."
"I noticed." Leah grumbled.
"So, Shanks, now what?" Jax asked.
"Hell if I know." Morri replied, smirking at the nickname, which she was quite fond of. Her stomach grumbled, and she had an idea. "Food."
"I am agreeable." Kira said. Dean, Leah, and Korra all nodded, with Serra fist pumping slightly.
"After that, maybe we start finding who is in charge around here, start looking for ways to fight back." Serra said. All of them nodded, eager to pay back the new foe for the damage they had done.
Clara sat in the communication portion of the cave system. She had spent the last several hours trying to find other groups of survivors, but to no avail. She leaned back in the chair, which had been salvaged from the wreckage supply runners. She could sense Loran sitting at Aurora's bedside, pike in hand and ready to fight any unfriendly visitor at a moment's notice. Aurora was still fading in and out of consciousness, but she had been stabilized. Clara knew they'd eventually need to get Loran to help with supply runs or fortifications, but for that moment, Clara was content to leave him be. Vitor was with Ziva, in a couple that had rather surprised her.
And she was alone.
Clara did what she had always used to do when she had felt alone before she had begun to live on Kaven. She took out her old drawing notebook, which she had been carrying when the attack had begun, and it had wound up coming with her. She opened it and flipped to a blank page. She found a pencil, which was lying on the floor amidst some scattered supplies, and she set to work. After a while, she had drawn Sola, who she had heard didn't escape earth and had been crushed under a falling house. Next came Leandra, who she had hardly known, but she knew that the woman's death had impacted her life greatly. Then came Dinaya, followed by Ashley and Jai, then her father.
She then set to work on the people that her friends had lost. The page was soon filled with drawings of dozens of the fallen, all standing together. When she put the pencil down, there was Zack Sigurdson sitting cross-legged in front of them all, a knife in one hand, his pistol in the other. She had not met him, in fact he had been dead well before her birth, but knew enough of him to know that he deserved to be on the page as well. She closed the book, fit it in her small supply pouch, and curled up in the makeshift nest she had created in the communication room.
Sola sat on a fallen tree, rocking back and forth, Sylas in her arms. Sylas was fading between being awake and sleep, his eyes slowly blinking up at her and looking at her with already striking grey-blue eyes. She softly sang to him an old Nordic lullaby she had learned on a trip to Iceland. As she sang it, he slowly drifted off to sleep. She finished the song just to be sure. "Don't you worry, sweetheart." She whispered to the sleeping child. "I'll look after you, I promise. The monsters will never lay a finger on you as long as I live." She said. As she finished the sentence, she looked into the sky to see that it was glowing orange from the fires of a nearby burning city, the wrath of the Skulblaka had been raised.
"As long as I live." She whispered and kissed the baby on the forehead.