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  1. #1
    That's Mister to you. Freeze's Avatar
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    Default Ragol's Legacy (FINAL)

    For those who haven't read or would like to reread the first two books, here's the links.

    Ragol's Gift

    Ragol's Curse







    CHAPTER ONE

    Jack Carson bunkered down in the trench shielding him from the shrapnel released from bombs exploding around him. He gripped his rifle tight and dunked his head as another explosion sprayed dirt all over him. Susan Maltais scurried over to him dropping down beside him. She quickly brushed the dirt from her short black hair and shook her head slowly.

    "Our front lines are getting hammered bad."

    "We're not doing much better back here." Jack replied.

    "We can't let ARKZ reach the central dome." Susan said shielding her head from a nearby explosion.

    "I know but some how they managed to hold on to their CARD technology." Jack yelled over a second explosion, "It leaves us at a serious disadvantage."

    "I'll be sure to send your complaint to President Grisen." Susan grumbled, "And I thought Tyrell was useless."

    Terry Marion, a FOnewm, crawled up to the two rangers. He was black from dust and ash. He tried wiping his face off on his sleeve then shook his head.

    "The third brigade was just over run." He said, "The main ARKZ line hit us hard. They'll be here shortly."

    "Someone should report back to Commander Hitman." Jack said, "They need to know trouble is headed their way."

    "You go Sue." Terry nodded, "You run faster than either of us."

    "What happened to the warps?" Susan asked.

    "They went down when ARKZ took out the field generators." Terry shrugged.

    "Great." Susan sighed, "OK cover me."

    "Got it." Jack nodded.

    Jack and Terry popped up from the trench and began firing as Susan bolted for the main camp. Jack could see several lines of fire coming from an adjacent trench. Knowing that his troops were still with him brought a smile to his face. Lines of photon generated monsters marched across what used to be the forest area. The walls and fences that used to mark the residential area were nothing but rubble and scrap. ARKZ troops followed the monsters and the ARKZ generals followed them. Terry ducked as a bomb exploded much too close. He popped up releasing a massive RAfoie blast. Several monsters were blasted away landing on the ground burning then vanished. Jack fired several shots taking down three monsters and an ARKZ trooper. Fire from the other trench pelted the remaining monsters with gun fire. Several troopers drew CARDs and generated monsters to replace the ones they had lost.

    "We won't last much longer against this!" Terry called.

    "We have to hold out as long as we can." Jack called back.

    An explosion erupted beside Jack forcing him to shield his face. When the dust cleared he looked up but Terry was gone. Monsters closed in and several Delsabers leaped over the other bank and into the trench. Jack could hear shouts and cries as the gun fire ceased and the hunters switched to their melee weapons. Jack continued to fire at the marching monsters but his spirit sank as he heard the other trench go silent then watched as three Delsabers crawled out. The Delsabers ignored him and continued to march for the Central Dome. Jack fired bringing down a marching Booma. He saw a trooper step into the void and raise a rocket launcher.

    "Oh crap." Jack muttered.

    He tried to move as the rocket shot out toward him. He felt a powerful force smash into him and the last sensation he had was that of freefall before darkness consumed him.
    Last edited by Freeze; Sep 12, 2010 at 04:09 PM.

  2. #2
    That's Mister to you. Freeze's Avatar
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    CHAPTER TWO

    The thunderous roar of a nearby exploding bomb shook the small concrete bunker causing small chunks of plaster and dust to clatter on the star charts and data pads resting on the metal table below. The man wearing a white and blue ranger’s uniform seated at the table simply wiped the dirt away before returning to his study, ignoring the chaos outside. Pioneer Two had gained its independence from Coral several years ago then soon after an organization calling themselves ARKZ began an underground movement to separate from the Pioneer government and take control of Ragol. The native creatures began to return to normal and the D-cell outbreaks were nearly unheard of. Enrolment in the Hunters Guild had dropped off with little or no work available and the Guardians of Pioneer had collapsed under their own corruption. Rumours spread that they had been the founders of ARKZ although it was never confirmed. Over the years ARKZ continued to gather support and stolen technology including CARD. It had the ability to scan a creature’s photon signature and store it on a data card allowing the user to recreate the creature and use it as a weapon. The ARKZ was now fighting for control of Ragol and its settlements and they were winning. The military was all but gone and the hunters weren’t faring much better. None of this concerned the man in the ranger’s uniform. He was completely absorbed by the ancient star map found in the ruins. He had to decipher the map before a certain purple android did. The android had disappeared shortly after the last great battle against Dark Falz but the man knew he was still out there looking for the power source mentioned in the ancient text. Another explosion rocked the bunker causing more dust to fall. The man just sighed and went back to his charts. He had mapped most of it compensating for stellar drift. The trail started near the center of the galaxy but passed close enough to Ragol to be picked up. The problem he was having was that the trail just ended in a completely empty section of space. Doctor Montague had sent a probe containing several sensor packs and an information card with records of Ragol, Pioneer Two, and much of their culture and people but he lost contact with it before gaining any information. He was preparing another when he vanished in an attack on his planet side lab. The bunker shook again from an exploding bomb. It was very close. ARKZ was on their way to the Central Dome and it appeared that the hunter’s front lines were failing. The metal bunker door burst open smashing against the wall that it was attached to shaking the man from his thoughts. He looked up to see a blue eyed white haired Newman woman in her early forties staring back at him. She was breathing heavily and wore military style body armour.

    “ARKZ has breached the barrier.” She puffed, “We need to leave now.”

    “I’m not finished.” The man replied.

    “There’s no time left.” The woman frowned, “If we don’t go now we’ll never make it to the shuttle.”

    “I don’t know where we’re going yet.” The man grumbled and turned back to his charts.

    “That’s not all.” The woman shook her head, “Falcon spotted Kireek heading to the launch pads. He’s gone to intercept him.”

    “What!” The man spun around to face the woman, “He can’t fight Kireek.”

    “He may be able to hold him up enough for us to get away first.” The woman replied.

    “You’re right.” The man nodded gathering up his pads and charts, “You sure you’re up to this?”

    “Till death do we part honey.” The woman smiled.

    The man nodded and followed his wife out into the street. The surrounding buildings that had originally been meant for the colonists aboard Pioneer Two were nothing more than burned out crumbling shells of a dream long abandoned. The street had been reduced to twisted chunks of cement lying in what ever haphazard position the last explosion had left them. Clouds of black smoke billowed up from near by streets still burning from the last round of attacks. The couple began the treacherous jog down the road being careful not to trip on a loose slab of cement. They rounded a corner to meet up with the hunter’s battle group. Cerberus, the hulking red RAcast, Sahara, the purple HUcaseal, HitmanJ the green RAmar and Lisa the tiny white and pink RAcaseal awaited their arrival. Cerberus smiled painfully as he greeted his friends.

    “Deepfreeze, I see Amanda finally pulled you from that bunker.”

    “Not me.” Amanda shook her head, “Kireek.”

    “Ah yes, the mutt finally decided to show himself.” Cerberus sighed.

    “Situation?” Deepfreeze asked.

    “ARKZ has breached our front line finishing the last of WORKS.” HitmanJ reported, “We’ve counted twenty ARKZ soldiers but if they decide to use CARD then the count could get much higher.”

    “And you know they will.” Sahara said grimly.

    “Falcon’s gone after Kireek correct?” Deepfreeze asked.

    “Yes.” Sahara nodded, “He said it was time to settle their dispute.”

    “I’m very sorry Sahara.” Deepfreeze replied.

    “It’s ok.” Sahara shrugged, “It’s his duty.”

    “Let’s hope he can delay him long enough.” Deepfreeze frowned, “Is the shuttle ready?”

    “Alexander is prepping it for launch right now.” Lisa smiled slightly.

    “That’s my son.” Deepfreeze smiled for the first time in ages, “Lisa, Cerberus, your with us.”

    Cerberus and Lisa drew their weapons and stepped up beside Deepfreeze and Amanda. Deepfreeze paused for a minute to look over his flight crew then turned to HitmanJ and Sahara. He looked at them with sorrow filled eyes and hugged them both tightly.

    “You two take care of yourselves.” He said shaking HitmanJ's hand, “You guys are like family and I will miss you both.”

    “Get Kireek for me.” HitmanJ smiled.

    Amanda hugged each of them goodbye then started to weep as she walked away slowly heading for the ship with the others. HitmanJ and Sahara turned back to the battle front. Striker emerged from a burned out building on the left followed by Tessa, Nikki, and Crystal. They were all covered in black soot and sported some nasty looking burns. Nikki’s long red hair was now charred and no longer than the bottom of her head. Her beret still smouldering from fallen ash. Crystal no longer wore her force robes opting for the more manoeuvrable military uniform. Her once long black hair was now military short, greying and covered in dust. Tessa was nursing her left arm which had started to swell and turn purple. HitmanJ went to attend to her at once. Striker, bleeding from several cuts turned to Sahara.

    “ARKZ has breeched our second line.” He exhaled. “We took a few of them out but the loses are heavier on our side. I ordered everyone back here.”

    “Good.” Sahara replied without even a hint of emotion, “Status.”

    “Running low.” Striker shook his head, “And they’ve got a pretty heavy arsenal of monsters.”

    Sahara paused for a moment looking a Striker with a very grim expression then shook her head.

    “This is the last line then.”

    “What?” Striker frowned not quite understanding what Sahara was saying.

    “We must hold ARKZ back long enough for our flight crew to escape.” Sahara stated, “Ragol is lost. Who knows, maybe things will improve under ARKZ rule.”

    “But we are hunters!” Striker gasped, “Loyal to Pioneer Two.”

    “Yes we are.” Sahara smiled, “And we will defend it with our lives.”

    Three groups of battered and bleeding hunters emerged from the smoke. They all looked ready to collapse and some had been dragged back by their comrades while others concentrated fire into the smoke. HitmanJ stepped beside Sahara holding Tessa tight.

    “ARKZ is here.” He said flatly.

    “Here is where they shall stay.” Sahara replied drawing her Cross Scars.

    HitmanJ released Tessa and drew his Mila Guld mechguns. They all began walking forward to meet their retreating forces. The hunters formed up and waited. Slowly fifteen Shadowy figures began to appear in the smoke. A light breeze began to blow from the hunters backs clearing away the foggy black cloud that shadowed their enemy. The ARKZ soldiers stopped in a straight line. Each one drew out and held up a CARD. The hunters stood firm knowing they were about to be grossly out numbered. ARKZ activated their CARD forming a line of Boomas, and then drew again. A line of Evil Sharks appeared followed by Sinow Beats and finally a line of Hildebears. The hunters raised their weapons and steadied themselves.

    “This is only their first wave.” HitmanJ groaned.

    “You mean if we get by this there will be more.” Nikki gasped.

    HitmanJ nodded.

    “If you want to leave, now is the time.” Striker muttered.

    “I’ve never quit before.” Nikki shook her head.

    “Ready everyone!” HitmanJ shouted.

    “Today is a good day to die.” Sahara sighed.

    “Indeed it is.” HitmanJ replied.

    Nikki leaned over to Crystal and whispered, “I always thought dying was never good any day.”

    Crystal simply nodded. She was too tense to reply. Her thoughts started to drift away focusing on the flight crew as they prepared to depart and especially on the man she couldn’t have but still loved.

    “Stay safe Deepfreeze.” She whispered.

    The ARKZ commander called out the charge sending their photonic minions into battle while the ARKZ members stood back and watched. HitmanJ responded with a charge order of his own. The battle weary hunters charged forward each knowing this could be the last day of their lives.

  3. #3
    That's Mister to you. Freeze's Avatar
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    CHAPTER THREE

    Falcon stood silent on the bridge that connected the shuttle to the launch tower watching the battle in the distance. He waited for Black Hound but his thoughts were on his sister who he knew he would never see again. Black Hound had been sighted heading this way so Falcon had ordered the security team to the other two shuttles in an attempt to draw Black Hound to him. A flash of red light drew his attention to the ground. He didn’t see anyone but the elevator began to ascend.

    “So you have arrived.” Falcon muttered gripping Sange and Yasha tightly.

    The purple HUcast stepped off the elevator holding his twisted black scythe in his left hand. He glared at Falcon then chuckled lightly.

    “Just you?” He pointed, “I thought you were smarter than that. You have no chance of defeating me. As you can see I have regained the power Dark Falz had given me and I am no longer under his control. It took years but I managed to harness the power of the D-cells in my Soul Eater.”

    “Who says defeating you is my intention.” Falcon pointed back.

    “All I have to do is keep you from boarding this shuttle.”

    “Would that not require defeating me?” Black Hound frowned.

    Movement on a nearby shuttle caught his attention causing him to glance to his right. A team of four hunters were scurrying across the bridge to the airlock. Black Hound smirked and turned back to Falcon.

    I see.” Black Hound lowered his head slightly, “You’re here to delay me. So Deepfreeze figured out the ancient text did he. No matter, when I finish with you, I will slice him up into little pieces too.”

    “You will never leave this planet!” Falcon cried charging forward.

    Black Hound bolted forward leaping high over Falcons head landing directly behind him. Falcon spun around swinging Yasha at Black Hound who simply knocked the attack aside then drove the butt end of the Soul Eater into Falcons chest. The android staggered back but managed to remain on his feet. Black Hound took a swipe at him which Falcon drove aside with one katana then chopped with the second. Kireek blocked with his shield then kicked Falcon in the right shin taking his leg out. Falcon fell to his knees and swung at Black Hound who had to jump back disrupting his second attack. Black Hound bolted for the shuttle air lock. Falcon anticipated this and stuck a katana between the androids legs as he ran past. The sword locked between his legs spinning him around. Black Hound fell on his back then rolled to his stomach. He got to his knees as Falcon raced in driving a foot into Black Hounds chest. Black Hound fell back but as Falcons momentum brought him to Black Hounds waist, he swung the Soul Eater up behind Falcon driving the tip into his shoulder. Falcon jumped forward away from his foe to quickly assess the damage. The attack didn’t have much force behind it and barely pierced his armour.

    “You’ll have to do better than that.” Falcon sneered.

    “Oh I intend to.” Black Hound growled.

    He rushed forward with Soul Eater raised ready to chop Falcon in half. Falcon blocked with crossed katanas but felt something give under the impact accompanied by a loud crack.

    “Such inferior weapons!” Black Hound roared as he chopped again.

    Falcon blocked again but this time his weakened Yasha gave out snapping in half.

    “Signs of things.” Black Hound chopped a third time.

    Falcon jumped to the side narrowly missing the attack. The Soul Eater dug deep into the bridge and stuck fast. Black Hound tugged at it then cursed when it would not move. Falcon swung Sange cutting into Black Hounds right arm. Black Hound twisted away then tossed a trap at Falcon who tried to dodge the flying tool but was too slow. It exploded in a purple cloud sending his systems into frenzied chaos. Falcon tried to gain enough sense to dig a sol atomizer from his pack. A sudden impact sent him flailing back, unable to break his fall; he landed flat on his back. His senses returned to normal just in time to see the Soul Eater falling down on him. He raised his left arm in defence. The Soul Eater sliced through his shield and into his arm. It severed the control servos to his hand. Falcon spotted Sange lying just to his right. He grabbed his sword and plunged it into Black Hounds side. The android roared as several systems shorted out. He staggered back a few steps allowing Falcon to climb to his feet. With pure anger and hate burning in his eyes, Falcon marched forward raising Sange for the final blow. Black Hound gripped his wound with his left hand as the fluids poured down his leg to the metal floor of the bridge. He growled as Falcon approached.

    “Now it ends.” Falcon said ready to drive his sword into Black Hounds chest.

    “You’re right.” Black Hound nodded.

    In one fluid motion the Soul Eater swung up taking Falcons right arm off at the shoulder. Falcon paused for a second from the shock of the attack then rushed forward ramming his left shoulder into Black Hound driving him off of the edge of the bridge. Falcon leaned over to watch the android fall but saw nothing. A loud clang from behind caused him to spin around. Black Hound stood glaring at him from the opposite side of the bridge.

    “I must congratulate you.” He sneered, “You caught me off guard.”

    “You must be much more alert to defeat me.” Falcon replied partially clenching his fist.

    His self repair system was quickly restoring his health. Black Hound must have noticed it to because he lunged forward swinging the Soul Eater down at Falcon. Falcon twisted to the left leaving nothing but the bridge railing for the Soul Eater to cut through. He quickly scooped up his broken Yasha and threw it at Black Hound. His grip was still weak so the attack went wide but, as Black Hound watched the sword piece fly by, Falcon scooped up his Sange and swung at his nemesis. The sword dug into Black Hounds right arm cutting open a fluid line but not disabling his hand. Black Hound pulled away and swung. Falcon dodged to the left. Black Hound swung again. Falcon twisted to the right. Black Hound chopped. Falcon blocked with Sange and heard the same sickening crack as before.

    “No!” He gasped.

    Black Hound began to laugh. Falcon quickly pulled back and drove his sword into Black Hounds chest. The android roared and twisted away breaking Sange off. Falcon swung with the remaining piece of his sword catching Black Hound in the left shoulder. Black Hound kicked back and swung with a sideways motion drilling Falcon in the rib cage. Falcon shuddered for a second as a short circuit surged through his body. Black Hound with drew his weapon and swung again. Falcon blocked with his sword piece then pushed Black Hound back. The purple HUcast roared with anger and rushed forward. Falcon quickly tossed a damage trap which exploded right in Black Hounds face. Black Hound cried out stepping back and gripping his mangled face with his hand. He suddenly went quiet and looked up at Falcon with an evil grin. A stream of smoke began to flow from the Soul Eater and quickly enveloped Black Hound. When the smoke cleared Black Hound was completely repaired.

    “You see.” Black Hound shrugged, “You can not defeat me.”

    Before Falcon could respond, Black Hound lunged forward swinging low slicing through Falcons right leg. Falcon went down on hand and knee looking up to see Black Hound grinning at him.

    “Now it ends.” Black Hound sneered.

    He swung down driving the tip of the Soul Eater into Falcons head then with the fluid motion he is famous for, sliced Falcons head clean off. Black Hound pushed Falcons body over with his foot and laughed. The whole structure began to shake as a thunderous roar filled the air. Black Hound spun around to watch the shuttle at the next platform lift off. Black Hound looked back at Falcons corpse and spat.

    “You may have accomplished your goal but I shall make sure it was in vane.”

    He quickly boarded the shuttle and began the launch sequence.

    Sahara shivered as a wave of dread washed over her. She stood still on the battlefield staring straight off into space. Fortunately the fighting had stopped momentarily as each side regrouped. The battle had gone better for the hunters than expected. They had only lost a couple people but the entire ARKZ force of CARD monsters had been destroyed. HitmanJ grabbed Sahara’s arm shaking her from her trance.

    “What is it?”

    “Falcon is dead.” Sahara replied.

    “I’m very sorry but mourning will have to wait.” HitmanJ said, “The next wave will be upon us shortly.”

    They hurried back to their line as ARKZ began conjuring another wave of larger and deadlier creatures.

    “Status!” HitmanJ barked.

    “All guns drained.” Nikki replied, “Doesn’t look like they’ll recharge in time and all our spare battery packs are dead too.”

    “Our supplies of fluids are gone too.” Crystal added, “We forces have nothing left in the way of TP.”

    “We’re down to blades then.” Striker sighed, “I don’t like those prospects.”

    “Nor do I.” HitmanJ sighed turning to the enemy, “If ARKZ wants this planet then they will have to earn it.”

    As if the enemy could hear they began to move forward. This wave contained the largest and most deadly of ARKZ's arsenal. The hunters rushed forward to engage the new threat. Several hunters went quickly in the initial clash. Tessa went next as four Mericarol surrounded her. HitmanJ turned to the sound of her cut short scream but the giant flowers left nothing that was recognizable. Nikki and a couple other rangers fell in the pounding bombardment of five Gibbles. Crystal tried to run to their rescue but was cut down by a couple of Delsabers that jumped her from the side. The fighting died soon after as the hunters were pounded into submission. Their numbers reduced to only a few and those still alive were bleeding and broken. Many most likely would not survive the day. The creatures were returned to their CARDs as the ARKZ soldiers finally entered the battle field. The Commander casually strolled up to HitmanJ who was bleeding heavily and missing his right hand. Sahara lay next to him, still functioning but missing both legs.

    “You have lost.” The Commander stated, “Surrender and you and all your people shall live.”

    “No!” Striker cried rushing forward from a cloud of smoke.

    An ARKZ soldier met his charge, blocking his attack and knocking him on his back. Before Striker could recover, the soldier drove his sword into Strikers chest. Striker gurgled out one last curse then relaxed in death. The Commander shook his head slowly and turned back to HitmanJ. Before he could speak a lieutenant came running up.

    “Sir, we found more survivors. What shall we do with them?”

    “Well?” The Commander frowned at HitmanJ.

    HitmanJ remained silent as he considered his options and fought the pain.

    “Very well.” The Commander sighed and turned away.

    HitmanJ’s heart sunk. He had failed his men.

    “No!” Sahara gasped.

    “Lieutenant.” The Commander said slowly.

    “Sir.” The Lieutenant replied.

    “Take the survivors and provide what ever medical care they require!” The Commander said finally.

    Sahara let out a deep sigh. HitmanJ slowly laid back and closed his eyes.

    “We are not the merciless butchers that Pioneer Two lead you to believe!” The Commander said softly then turned to another soldier, “Get him medical aid and a repair tech for the android. Then take them back to base. We have much to discuss.”

    The soldier saluted and hurried off to carry out his orders. The Commander took one last look at the hunters and walked away.

    “Ragol maybe lost but at least our flight crew got away.” Sahara said softly.

    HitmanJ didn’t answer. His thoughts were far away on his one true love lost long ago. Her face was still as bright and vivid as the day they had met. Sahara was still trying to talk to him but her voice was merely a whisper in the vastness of his conscience. His life was slowly slipping away. The call of eternal rest became ever more inviting, calling him to its dark embrace. He would be with Aphrodite soon. To be with her forever and always. Some one grabbed his hand and squeezed it tight, and then a refreshing wave of cool light flowed over and through him. His strength returned as the call of death quieted then disappeared. He opened his eyes to Sahara’s shinning face. She stepped back and released his hand.

    “I’m still alive?” He frowned.

    “We thought we were going to lose you.” Sahara sighed.

    “You should have let me go.” He moaned.

    “Are you crazy?” Sahara whispered, “Why?”

    “Everyone I loved is gone.” He said quietly, “The hunters are finished. I have nothing and no one to live for.”

    “You have me.” Sahara said, “I’ve lost everyone dear to me too. You are my last friend and I need you. I may be made of metal but I still have feelings and the need for friends.”

    “You’ll make new friends.” HitmanJ sighed.

    “Eventually but who will help me now?” Sahara frowned, “I’m still a woman.”

    “Wait you’re not suggesting?” HitmanJ gasped.

    Sahara gave him a soft slap on the head.

    “Get your mind out of the gutter.” She frowned.

    OK, OK, you win.” HitmanJ smiled, “Where are we?”

    “ARKZ Central Hospital in the lower quarter of the forest.” Sahara replied waving a hand, “You’ve been out cold for three days.”

    “The other survivors?” HitmanJ asked quickly.

    “Being well cared for although a couple are still a little iffy.” Sahara said taking his hand, “If you feel up to it, I’d like to go for a walk.”

    “I’d like that.” He smiled and slowly slid off the bed.

  4. #4
    That's Mister to you. Freeze's Avatar
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    CHAPTER FOUR

    The pre launch sequence was taking way too long. Deepfreeze impatiently watched as the computer cycled through the check list. He glanced out the side window and spotted Falcon engaged with Kireek. He wasn’t faring very well. A ding drew his attention back to the computer screen. The check came out green.

    “We’re ready for main engine start.” Cerberus said.

    “Every one strapped in?” He asked.

    The two girls and Alexander nodded. Cerberus gave him a thumbs up. He glanced out the window again just as the Soul Eater came down on Falcons head, then it came off.

    “No.” Deepfreeze gasped and turned away.

    The others sat in silence as they read Deepfreeze’s reaction.

    “Good bye Falcon.” Amanda whispered.

    “Times up Dad.” Alexander said starring at his monitor.

    Deepfreeze nodded and reached up to the overhead panel and pressed the start button. The engines roared to life shaking the whole shuttle as it began to lift off. The passengers were pinned to their seats by the G force for a moment before the internal dampers kicked in. The sky quickly turned from light blue to a star filled black. Pioneer Two was on their left surrounded by the smaller ARKZ shuttles. They were busy destroying the last of her defences.

    “So, they were after more than just Ragol.” Deepfreeze muttered softly.

    “I’ve plotted an intercept course with your map trail.” Cerberus reported.

    “Adjusting heading.” Deepfreeze replied banking to the right.

    The shuttle lazily drifted right and pitched its nose up. The navigation HUD turned green and Deepfreeze throttled up.

    “Uh oh, we’ve got company.” Lisa looked up from her screen.

    Pushan added his own little trill as three blips closed in on their position. Amanda quickly raised the shields and charged weapons.

    “What to you make of them?” Deepfreeze asked.

    “ARKZ attack fighters.” Cerberus replied, “Modified Pioneer Two scout ships. Twin photon cannons and level two shields. Most likely broke off from the Pioneer attack.”

    “They could rough us up pretty bad.” Amanda said.

    “We need to out run them.” Deepfreeze said, “Reroute power from weapons to engines.”

    “Done!” Alexander quipped pounding his panel.

    “The lead ship is hailing us.” Lisa said.

    “Put him on.” Deepfreeze frowned.

    The man’s image appeared on the window HUD.

    “Pioneer craft, decelerate and prepare to be boarded.”

    “We can’t do that.” Deepfreeze replied, “We are on a very tight schedule. There is no need to detain us. We are leaving the system with no intention of returning. We are not a threat to you.”

    “I am under strict orders to detain all Pioneer craft.” The pilot replied, “This is ARKZ space now and all Hunters are officially under arrest.”

    “That’s crazy!” Amanda blurted.

    Deepfreeze waved her quiet then continued.

    “I don’t wish to fight with you but I must be allowed to leave. The fate of the galaxy may depend on it.”

    “Do you honestly expect me to believe that?” The pilot scoffed, “Now decelerate and prepare to be boarded.”

    “I’m very sorry.” Deepfreeze said and cut the signal, “How much power is left in the aft cannons?”

    “Just the primary charge.” Amanda replied.

    “Target the lead craft.” Deepfreeze said flatly.

    “Target locked.” Amanda nodded.

    The ship rocked as the fighter poured energy into its shields.

    “Fire.” Deepfreeze said.

    Two streams of red energy lanced out from the ships aft turret. The lead craft rolled right avoiding the attack but his wingman wasn’t so lucky taking the blast in his starboard shields draining them and sent the fighter into a spiralling roll. Deepfreeze pushed the throttles to full sub light. He hoped they could hold the fighters off until they cleared the systems gravity well. The ship shook again as the fighter blasted the aft shields. Deepfreeze pulled some evasive manoeuvres but the fighters were too agile.

    “Another ship is leaving Ragol and heading this way.” Lisa reported, “Two fighters are breaking off to intercept.”

    Kireek.” Deepfreeze spat.

    “At least he’s made our job a little easier.” Cerberus shrugged.

    “Alex, give me some power to the aft cannons.” Amanda called.

    “OK mom.” Alexander replied, “Full charge.”

    Amanda targeted the remaining fighter and poured everything she could into his forward shields.

    “His forward shields are gone.” Lisa said, “He’s breaking off and heading back to Ragol. The other fighters have broken off too and are limping back with heavy damage.”

    “That leaves nothing to hold him up.” Deepfreeze shook his head.

    “Kireek’s ship is slightly faster than ours at sub light.” Cerberus said, “We should lose him at light speed.”

    “No.” Deepfreeze sighed, “We will only beat him to the destination, and he’ll be hot on our tail when we do.”

    “I won’t miss this place.” Amanda muttered.

    “Nor will I.” Deepfreeze replied.

    He finally got the green light and engaged the light drive. The star field melted into a tunnel of white streaks as the ship jumped to light speed then continued to accelerate. It took several hours to reach the trail laid on the map. Once there Deepfreeze dropped back to sub light, adjusted his heading, then accelerated again, beginning their long journey with Kireek right on their tail.


    Ten days passed by with out incident and Deepfreeze had once again recessed to his cabin with his charts and pads coming out only to eat. The cabin door slid open but he didn’t hear anyone enter.

    “Are you just going to stay in the door way?” He said without looking up.

    “We need to talk.” Amanda replied finally stepping inside.

    “About what?”

    “Us.” She replied, “You and this unhealthy obsession.”

    “It’s not an obsession, it’s a responsibility.” Deepfreeze still did not look at her, “The universe needs me.”

    “I need you.” Amanda replied slowly seating her self, “Our son needs you.”

    “I’m doing this for him.” Deepfreeze slammed his pad down, “All of this is for him, so he’ll have a future. So he’ll be alive.”

    “Are you sure it’s for him and not for her.” Amanda frowned.

    “Who?” Deepfreeze frowned, “Rico?”

    Amanda nodded slowly.

    “This has nothing to do with her.” Deepfreeze waved, “We were only friends and colleagues working to uncover the traitor on Pioneer Two.”

    “Really?” Amanda held back a tear, “What about all those time you two were alone. How
    close did you really get?”

    “Not very.” Deepfreeze sighed, “She wouldn’t let it. I think she knew about us even when we didn’t. If anything she’s the one who made me realize how I felt about you.”

    “And what about Alexander?” Amanda pointed, “How much longer is he supposed to go without a father. You’ve missed his entire childhood. His sixteenth birthday is coming up. Are you going to miss that too?”

    “No, I…” Deepfreeze started.

    “You’re very lucky he loves you as much as he does and doesn’t hold any of this against you.” Amanda started to cry, “Everything he’s done has been for you. To make you proud and to get just a little of your attention and love.”

    “But I am proud of him.” Deepfreeze shrugged.

    “He needs you.” Amanda wiped away the tears, “I need you.”

    Deepfreeze got up and went over and hugged his wife.

    “I am sorry.” He said softly, “I never meant any of you pain. I just wanted to protect you.”

    “I know.” Amanda cried into his arm, “But we don’t need that, we need you.”

    “I promise when we get to where ever it is we are going you and Alexander will be my number one.” Deepfreeze said wiping away her tears.

    “Thank you.” She whispered.

    The intercom beeped.

    “Cerberus to Deepfreeze, we’re approaching the coordinates.”

    “We’re on our way.” Deepfreeze replied.

    He then took Amanda’s hand and led her to the flight deck. Cerberus was seated at the pilot’s station. Lisa was seated at her station on the left and Alexander had the engineering station in the center. Amanda quickly took her seat on the right as Deepfreeze sat down beside Cerberus.

    “We’re here but it’s empty.” Cerberus said.

    “There has to be something here.” Deepfreeze said scratching his head, “Why would the map lead us to an empty sector of space.”

    “Maybe the map is incomplete!” Lisa shrugged.

    “Rico wouldn’t give me an incomplete map and tell me to follow it.” Deepfreeze shook his head.

    “What if she didn’t know?” Amanda tipped her hand.

    “Rico knew those ruins better than anyone.” Deepfreeze shrugged, “If the rest of the map wasn’t there it was because it never was, but if that’s the case then why put the map there at all. No, we’re missing something.”

    “Could you have made a mistake calculating stellar drift?” Lisa suggested.

    “Possibly, but then Kireek wouldn’t still be following us.” Deepfreeze replied pointing at the sensor screen.

    “I’m just not getting anything on the sensors.” Cerberus said tapping the screen.

    “Kireek is dropping out of light speed.” Lisa reported.

    There was a bright flash as Kireek's ship reverted to normal speed. He fired off a couple of shots as he flew past the other ship and plunged toward the center of the sector.

    “Where is he going?” Lisa frowned.

    The hunters watched as a great whirlpool of light opened up and swallowed Kireek’s ship.

    “I’m reading a massive rip in the fabric of space time.” Cerberus gasped, “And a massive power source on the other side.”

    “A mega wormhole.” Alexander gasped.

    “That’s it.” Deepfreeze muttered and shoved the throttles full forward.

    “What are you doing?” Cerberus gasped again.

    “Following Kireek.” Deepfreeze replied, “If that rip closes we’ll lose him for good.”

    “But you don’t know where that goes!” Amanda cried.

    “Doesn’t matter.” Deepfreeze shrugged, “This is what the map was leading us too.’

    “You don’t know that.” Cerberus shook his head.

    “Yes I do.” Deepfreeze nodded, “Hang on.”

    The shuttle dove into the swirling pool stretching into a thin stream of light and it plunged into the event horizon reforming instantly on the other side. A nearby explosion shook the shuttle. Deepfreeze banked left out of the line of fire. The hunters paused for a moment as they gazed upon the tri planetary system before them. One planet looked much like Ragol with land masses surrounded by oceans and large industrial cities. The second was a green forest planet and the third was a desert world surrounded by a set of rings. The whole system appeared to be at war with small fighter craft buzzing around like angry wasps. Large cannon fire was flying up from the surface of the planets then plunging hell fire down on their neibours. It was all Deepfreeze could do to stay out of the way, and then he spotted Kireek’s ship close to the moon of the forest planet. He pushed the throttle forward and raced after his prey. The small fighters completely ignored the two larger ships, content to destroy each other. Deepfreeze brought his ship along side Kireek’s and prepared to dock. An explosion rocked the ship and temporarily blinded the crew. Deepfreezes vision quickly cleared to the sight of a large gaping hole in the port side of Kireek’s ship. The android could still be seen through the flight deck window sitting in his seat.

    “The ship has completely decompressed.” Cerberus reported.

    “We can’t get him then.” Deepfreeze sighed.

    “I could.” Cerberus replied looking up from his screen.

    “Are you sure you want to do this?” Deepfreeze frowned.

    “Kireek must be stopped.” Cerberus shrugged, “I’m the only one who can go over there.”

    “Alright.” Deepfreeze nodded.

    Deepfreeze swung the ship over and locked on with the docking cable. Kireek tried to break away but Deepfreeze reinforced his lock with a couple of grapple cables then escorted Cerberus to the airlock.

    “Once you’re inside I’ll decompress the air lock.” Deepfreeze said.

    “Ok.” Cerberus nodded then turned to step through the inner door.

    “Wait.” Deepfreeze said pulling the ancient sword and its holster from his back, “You’re going to need the Spirit Guard.”

    “Thanks.” Cerberus said.

    He tossed the holster over his shoulder then drew the sword.

    “One more thing.” Deepfreeze sighed holding up his finger.

    He plucked Sato from his left shoulder who let out a very surprised meow. He paused for a moment starring down at his little blue Mag. Sato let out a mournful meow.

    “Sorry little buddy.” Deepfreeze said softly then looked up at Cerberus, “I want you to take Sato.”

    Cerberus had been planet side when the second explosion wiped out everyone’s Mags. Deepfreeze and Amanda had been on Pioneer Two at the time so their Mags were safe but Cerberus’ Nidra had been destroyed.

    “I can’t take your Mag. Cerberus gasped.

    “You can’t go over there without a Mag.” Deepfreeze frowned.

    Cerberus slowly took the blue fox Mag from his friend. Sato turned to her owner and meowed again. She had been constructed long before the discovery of D-cells when Deepfreeze’s mother had joined the local Hunters Guild branch in their home town. Sato had been infused with the D-cell samples that had been collected from a passing meteor, like all Mags giving them the ability to photon blast in Ragol's unusual photonic energy. It was at this time Sato developed her identity disorder thinking she was a cat instead of a fox. Deepfreeze knelt down and looked at Sato nestled in Cerberus’ hands.

    “I want you to look out for Cerberus.” He said softly, “He needs your protection Ok?”

    Sato meowed.

    “Don’t worry about me.” Deepfreeze smiled, “I’ve got Savitri and Pushan to watch over me.”

    Sato meowed then floated up to Cerberus’ left shoulder. Cerberus stepped through the door and watched his friends disappear behind the door. The air quickly hissed away then the outer door opened onto the interior of Kireek's ship. Cerberus slowly stepped through the hatch and headed up to the flight deck. The door silently slid open. Kireek was seated at the pilot staring right at him. The android slowly climbed from his seat and picked up the Soul Eater. An explosion pitched the ships nose up breaking the connection between the two ships. Cerberus was sent tumbling back through the flight deck door and down the corridor. Kireek managed to grab the seat holding himself steady. Cerberus slammed hard against the rear bulkhead.

    “The internal dampers must be offline.” Cerberus thought.

    Cerberus charged back down the hallway with Kireek coming the other way. An explosion impact drove Cerberus hard into the wall knocking him to the floor. Kireek was thrown back landing on his side. The two androids slowly climbed to their feet and watched as a crack began to form between them then pulled apart as the ship broke in half. Without engine power the ship could no longer fight the gravitational pull of the moon. The two halves slowly began to plummet to the surface. Cerberus watched as Kireek turned and headed back to the ladder and descended to the lower deck.

    “Where is he going?” Cerberus thought scratching his head then snapped his finger, “The stasis chamber of course. There should be some in this section too.”

    He spun around and raced back to the nearest ladder. He dropped through the hatch and smiled. Two chambers where in this section and they were still powered. Cerberus didn’t have time to program any kind of time limit, he just hit the activate function stowed his sword and jumped in. The chamber was simply long flat beds with a clear dome that lowered into place. The live support system would slow the occupants life functions down to a crawl, just enough to keep the body alive or in an androids case keep just enough power running to maintain memory storage. Cerberus’ chamber sealed shut then all his systems shut down putting him in stasis for all eternity.


    Deepfreeze watched in horror as a planetary photon missile launched from the forest planet and impacted Kireek’s ship breaking it in half.

    “No! He cried pounding the window.

    The two women remained quiet until an explosion rocked their ship. Alarms began to blare as the ship pitched down toward the forest planet.

    “Manoeuvring thrusters are offline!” Lisa cried.

    “Main engines are out too.” Alexander reported.

    He tugged at the controls without success. The ship began to side slip as it hit the atmosphere. The hull began to heat as the ship plummeted toward the ground. Deepfreeze quickly switched over to auxiliary power bringing the thrusters back on line. He couldn’t break out of the fall but he did manage to level their decent. A ground to air missile impacted the side of the ship tearing out the wall right in front of Lisa. She screamed as her chair tore free and flew out of the hole.

    “Lisa!” Alexander cried as he tried to reach out and grab her.

    She slipped past his fingers and disappeared in to the night. Deepfreeze wanted to look but all his concentration was on maintaining control of the ship. They passed over the equator and dove toward the northern hemisphere. The ship dropped down into the forest smashing the red leaved trees and setting the local brush on fire. The ship hit the ground cutting a deep trench in the ground. The ship finally groaned to a halt. The flight deck quickly began to fill with smoke. Deepfreeze climbed from his seat, hurried over to the emergency hatch and blew the door. The shoot instantly deployed. Amanda’s restraint belt refused to release. Alexander quickly cut the belt and helped her to the door. He and Deepfreeze helped her onto the shoot and then followed once she was clear. They slowly stumbled away from the burning ship only to come face to face with a large group of shadowy figures. Amanda fell to her knees choking on the smoke. Deepfreeze knelt down beside her as Alexander watched a single figure step forward. The tall bulky man stepped into the flickering light produced by the burning ship. Alexander gasped as he stared up at the solid lines of a well built male Newman. Deepfreeze just glared up at him. The man stared down at the ranger with stern blue eyes, firm square jaw and pointed ears sticking up and flat against his head. His ears were the same as Amanda’s.

    “Are you hurt human?” The man asked.

    “I am not injured.” Deepfreeze replied.

    “What is your business with these two Newmans?” The man asked.

    “This is my wife and that is my son.” Deepfreeze replied.

    “What!” The man gasped, “This is not possible.”

    “Why not?” Deepfreeze frowned.

    “The four races of Gurhal are at war.” The man replied, “We do not mingle with the enemy.”

    “I don’t understand.” Deepfreeze frowned.

    “How could you not?” The man scowled. “Humans have oppressed the other races for decades. Only now do we rise up against our masters. All we seek is our freedom and independence.”

    “I am sorry but we are not from this place.” Deepfreeze replied, “We come from a distant star system.”

    “You are aliens?” The man gasped.

    “That’s right.” Deepfreeze nodded.

    “That explains the strange clothing you wear.” The man said.

    “Careful Lord Marco.” A younger man protested, “They could be trying to deceive you.”

    Marco eyed the strangers then shook his head.

    “I do not believe they are deceiving us.” He said, “Come, we will provide you medical attention. Any human brave enough to wed a Newman is always welcome here.”

    “We are honoured Sir.” Deepfreeze replied.

    He helped Amanda to her feet and they followed the group back to the village. The local doctor took Amanda into the examining room while the others waited outside.

    “Please Sir, would you mind telling me of the home you left.” Lord Marco said.

    “Call me Deepfreeze.” He replied, “The planet I come from is called Ragol although my real home is a planet called Coral. Due to an on going war our planet was dieing and we had to relocate to Ragol. Unfortunately it was not the paradise home we hoped for and has also been plunged into a civil war.”

    “So you once again run looking for a safe place for your family.” Lord Marco sighed, “I wish I could say you found it.”

    “Not exactly.” Deepfreeze shook his head, “We were actually on a mission when we got caught in your war. The ship we were pursuing crashed on your moon and ours; well you saw what happened to ours.”

    “I’m sorry you are unable to complete your mission.” Lord Marco.

    “Well with the other ship marooned on your moon our mission is kind of complete.” Deepfreeze shrugged.

    “Then we must set you up with a new home.” Lord Marco smiled, “You are welcome to stay here. As Lord of this chapter of the Communion of Gurhal I will be able to keep you safe and secret.”

    “Communion of Gurhal?” Deepfreeze frowned.

    “We are the religious organization that ensures the praise and worship of the holy light is never forgotten.”

    “Holy Light?” Deepfreeze tilted his head.

    “It is the photon energy that flows through every living thing.” Lord Marco explained, “It also powers all of our technology and gives our Divine Maiden her abilities.

    “Sir, I look forward to learning all about this world.” Deepfreeze smiled shaking Marco’s hand.
    Last edited by Freeze; Jan 22, 2010 at 07:46 PM.

  5. #5
    That's Mister to you. Freeze's Avatar
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    Chapter four has be revised the old chapter five has been added to four.

    CHAPTER FIVE

    The purple cast stared with sharp piercing yellow eye as it slowly moved closer to its prey. It started to speak in an unknown language, its words garbled by the stream of blood running from under its face plate. The eyes began to bleed as it raised a black twisted sickle also dripping with blood. Everything else was black, only the cast was visible and it began to laugh as it swung its sickle down in to its prey.

    Heidi sprang awake screaming in the middle of the night. The only light was from the moon shining through her window. It was the same nightmare that haunted her every full moon. Heidi climbed from her bed and carefully made her way to the washroom. She flipped on the light temporarily blinding her. Her eyes quickly adjusted as she went over to the sink and splashed cold water in her face. She stared at the young woman in the mirror. She was twenty two years old with bright blue eyes lightly tanned skin and long bright white hair that wrapped around her pointed Newman ears that stuck straight up. She dried her face then turned to find her mother standing in the door way.

    “Nightmare again?” She asked.

    Her mother was a tall beautiful woman with dark brown eyes and short blonde hair. Her ears stuck straight out from her head. She was a member of the local Communion of Gurhal and was away much of the time. Heidi loved her very much but didn’t feel as close to her mother as she thought she should. She nodded at her mother then turned to the bathroom window.

    “Same one as always.” Heidi replied with a soft sweet voice that everyone seemed to adore.

    “That cast again?” Her mother asked hugging her daughter.

    “Uh huh.” Heidi nodded, “I’ve never seen a cast like him and yet there is something so familiar, like I knew him once.”

    Her mother paused looking up at the moon in the window then squeezed her daughter tight.

    “It’s just a dream.” Her mother said, “Imagination is a very strange thing. It can play tricks on us.”

    “Well mine is very cruel.” Heidi sighed.

    “You better get back to bed.” Her mother said kissing her cheek, “Busy day tomorrow.”

    “Ya, dad’s coming home.” Heidi smiled.

    Her father was average height and a well built Newman who had the same ears, blue eyes and white hair that Heidi had. People would say those were the only features Heidi got from him. He was a member of the Guardians and had been called away to deal with the SEED threat, an alien organism that would infect and mutate local plant and animal life. Lately it had been discovered to infect people as well. He was currently on Moatoob the desert planet inhabited by the beast race dealing with massive infection outbreaks. Heidi hugged her mother then returned to her room. The purple cast did not return to her for the rest of the night.


    Winter on Neudaiz was nothing more than months of rain except at the most northern and southern tips of the planet where snow actually fell. Heidi’s village was located in this northern region. Heidi’s mother had left early to attend to business at their local Communion branch. Heidi was left to attend to the house before heading out to their neighbour's farm where she worked tending to the animals. Dressed in boots, long pants, and a heavy coat, she set out for the hike through the wet heavy snow. Following the road would have been easier but it would have taken twice as long so Heidi opted for cutting across the back fields. She found farmer Merkan Rutsa in the barn feeding the Ollaka.

    “Good morning Miss Kimble.” He smiled.

    “Good morning Mr. Rutsa.” Heidi smile back, “Sorry I’m late. I didn’t sleep well last night.”

    “The nightmare again?” Merkan frowned.

    Heidi nodded with a weak smile.

    “Think nothing of it my dear.” Merkan shrugged, “Just finish feeding the Ollaka then come see me in the shipping barn.”

    “This months Ollaka is ready?” Heidi gasped.

    “Despite the hard winter we’ve had, they’ve been well fed.” Merkan grinned and left.

    Heidi picked up the feed bucket and began spreading the slop in the troths. The juvenile Ollaka trampled each other as they fought for a place to feed. Heidi watched them for a moment as the ugly four legged beasts slurped up their breakfast. Soon they would be as big as large pigs and acted much the same way but for now they were no bigger than a small dog. Heidi cleaned up the feed buckets at the large tub then proceeded across the yard to where the transport sat docked on the loading bay. She quietly slipped through the door and around the transport to where Mercian’s son was working.

    “Hi Heidi.” He beamed.

    She just waved back then went to find Merkan, looking back just once to spot the son starring at her. Danon was only a year older than Heidi with short black hair, ears that pointed halfway between hers and her mothers. He was built much like her father but much shorter, in fact he was almost the same height as Heidi. Danon had a crush on her and had even asked her out a couple of times. She liked him but only as a friend and felt bad when she had to turn him down. He had just accepted the rejection and carried on like nothing happened. She knew he would try again soon. Merkan was with a couple stable hands trying to usher a group of Ollaka into the channel leading to the transport.

    “Heidi, good.” Merkan grinned, “Grab the food stick and try to convince these guys to leave the pen.”

    Heidi nodded and grabbed the short stick that looked much like a long cob of corn. It wasn’t real food but the Ollaka didn’t know that. She climbed over the fence and into the channel. Standing at the open gate she began to wave the stick. One Ollaka caught wind of the scent. It turned and charged at her. Not to lose out on the opportunity for food the others followed the first. Heidi bolted down the channel and tried to hop the fence. Her mud covered boots slipped and she went down. The Ollaka charged right at her. She curled up into a ball hoping the beasts wouldn’t trample her. The Ollaka continued down the channel to the waiting transport. Merkan and the others ran over to tend to her. Merkan carefully rolled her onto her back and began to check for injuries.

    “Are you hurt?” One man asked.

    Heidi nodded but couldn’t say anything. It took all her concentration to keep from crying. Merkan sensing this smiled warmly.

    “It’s ok.” He said, “You can let it out.”

    Heidi choked back the tears and took a deep breath.

    “I’m alright.” She said at last even though she was anything but.

    “Sarin, take her to the house and have my wife look at her.” Merkan said.

    “Yes Sir.” Sarin nodded carefully picking up the injured girl.

    Merkan’s wife quickly gathered up some blankets to keep Heidi warm then asked her where it hurt. Heidi slowly pointed out each spot the Ollaka had trampled her which Merkan’s wife proceeded to heal with Resta. By the time she finished Heidi was feeling much better.

    “I didn’t know you could perform techniques.” Heidi grinned.

    “I used to work at the Communion.” The wife replied, “Healing is the first thing we learn though its effectiveness is much reduced without a good wand.”

    “I thought technique use was forbidden without being channelled through a weapon.” Heidi frowned.

    “That will be our little secret.” The wife winked.

    “Right.” Heidi smiled.

    Merkan’s wife gathered up a few dishes sitting on the coffee table and left to let the girl rest. Danon burst through the door, looked around spotting Heidi on the couch and hurried over to her.

    “Are you alright, does it hurt?” He asked frantically, “When father told me you had been injured I hurried right over.”

    “Danon, Danon.” Heidi smiled taking his hand, “It’s ok, I’m not hurt. Your mom fixed me right up.”

    “Oh thank the Holy Light.” Danon sighed, “I was so worried.”

    “I am a big girl.” Heidi grinned, “I can take care of myself.”

    “I am sorry, it’s just you mean the world to me.” Danon replied, “If anything happened to you…”

    “You’re very sweet.” Heidi blushed, “Thank you.”

    She tried to sit up but Danon pushed her back down.

    “No, no, you need to rest.”

    “Danon, I’m fine really.” Heidi protested.

    “Actually, you have to remain here for a bit.” Danon said solemnly, “We have to make sure you weren’t poisoned.”

    “Poisoned!” Heidi exclaimed, “What are you talking about?”

    “Unlike Koltova on Parum, Olloka have poisonous barbs under their jaws.” Danon explained, “They use it to paralyze their prey in the wild. If you had actually been attacked you would have been poisoned instantly. Since this was just a stampede we have to make sure you weren’t accidentally jabbed.”

    Heidi slumped back on the couch and sighed.

    “What would dad think if he saw me like this?”

    “I think he’d be very worried about his little girl.” Danon grinned.

    “You’re probably right.” Heidi moaned and rolled away from him.

    Danon quietly got up and returned to his chores.
    Last edited by Freeze; Jan 22, 2010 at 07:49 PM.

  6. #6
    That's Mister to you. Freeze's Avatar
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    CHAPTER SIX

    Heidi awoke from a firm grip shaking her shoulder. She spun around to find Merkan staring down at her. She suddenly felt very hot and weak. Sweat covered her forehead and ran down the side of her face.

    “What?” She horsed.

    “You were talking in you sleep.” Merkan said, “Sounded like you were in trouble.”

    “That purple cast was chasing me again.” Heidi replied, “It’s strange, he doesn’t usually come during the day and only on full moons.”

    Heidi tried to sit up but her body refused.

    “Lay still.” Merkan replied, “You’ve been poisoned.

    Heidi groaned and let her head fall back against the pillow.

    “Esters reverser is no longer strong enough to cure it so she’s gone into town to fetch the doctor.” Merkan explained, “I contacted your mother. She can’t leave the Communion but she’s going to send your father over as soon as he arrives.”

    “Oh ya, there was also something about if you had joined the Communion like she wanted this never would have happened.”

    Heidi nodded with a weak smile, “And Dad wants me to be a Guardian.”

    “Is that why you’re still working for me?” Merkan frowned.

    “I just don’t know what to do with my life.” Heidi sighed.

    “Is either path right for you?” Merkan frowned.

    “If one could tell me who the purple cast is then yes.” Heidi replied.

    “And you’re sure he’s real?” Merkan asked.

    “It’s the only thing I am sure of.”

    “It sounds like Guardians work to me.” Merkan said then smiled, “Don’t quote me on that.”

    He turned and slowly left stepping out just as his wife walked in.

    “You’re up.” She smiled, “Don’t worry dear; the doctor is just gathering his things. He’ll get you fixed right up.”


    Several hours passed before Heidi’s father appeared at the door. Heidi beamed with delight and sat up. The medicine must be working because she was feeling much better.

    “Daddy!” She cried.

    “Hi Snowflake.” Jonathan smiled hugging her tight, “How’s my girl?”

    “Much better.” Heidi replied squeezing him tight.

    “Sorry I’m late but the flyer base was packed.” Jon said, “There’s been a seed outbreak on Moatoob so most of the flyers are evacuating people from the surrounding areas.”

    “Seed again.” Heidi frowned, “Are the beasts ok?”

    “We’ve had casualties.” Jon sighed, “The military has begun purification procedures, and we don’t have enough Guardians to help those not yet infected. We uh could use another Guardian.”

    “I know Dad but Mom wants me to be a Communion member.” Heidi sighed, “I don’t
    want to disappoint either of you.”

    “What ever decision you make, I’ll be proud of you.”

    “Thanks Dad.”

    “Now.” He said helping her up, “Let’s get you home.”

    The ride home was very quiet which surprised Heidi. Normally her father didn’t stop talking to her, sharing stories and answering her questions. The family transport pulled up to the front door and her father helped Heidi in to the family room couch where she instantly crashed. She slept all afternoon until her mother arrived home bursting through the front door.

    “Where is she?” Her mother yelled.

    “Who?” Jon asked poking his head out from the kitchen.

    “Your daughter!” Mom fumed.

    “She was sleeping on the couch.” Jon replied.

    Her Mom stormed off to the living room where she found Heidi just waking up. She stood over her daughter and glared down at her.

    “Hi Mom.” Heidi said rubbing her eyes.

    “This foolishness has got to come to an end young lady.” Mom glared.

    “Huh?” Heidi frowned still half asleep.

    “Tomorrow you are coming to the Communion where you are going to be taught to be a proper young woman.” Her Mom stomped.

    “Mom no!” Heidi gasped.

    “Karin wait.” Jon said entering from the kitchen.

    He finished drying his hands and set the towel down, looked at his daughter then up at his wife.

    “You’re over reacting just a little bit.” Jon said, “You can’t force Heidi into the
    Communion just because that’s what you want. She needs to find her own spot.”

    “Is working on a farm really a place for our daughter?” Karin shot.

    “Of course not.” Jon shook his head, “She’s a very sharp young woman who will find her place and when she does she will be the greatest.”

    Heidi couldn’t stop from blushing and sheepishly turned away.

    “We can’t push her.” Jon continued, “She’ll find it and soon I think.”

    Heidi gasped and stared up at her father who just smiled back.

    “Until then she is going to join me at the Communion and at least get some proper training.” Karin glared.

    “Honey I don’t think….” Jon started.

    “Jon, I’m not budging on this.” Karin glared.

    “I suppose it couldn’t hurt as long as you don’t force her to sign up.” Jon glared back.

    “I suppose she’d never forgive me if I did.” Karin sighed, “Alright.”

    “Dad I don’t want too.” Heidi started to protest.

    Jon held up his hand stopping her.

    “I know you’re a grown woman and don’t have to do anything we tell you anymore but
    please do this for your mother.” Jon said, “Give it a try and if you don’t like it you don’t have to join.”

    “Jon.” Karin started to protest.

    “She’s going to try it but you agreed not to force her.” Jon replied.

    “I did, and I will honour that.” Karin sighed.

    “Ok.” Jon nodded then looked down at Heidi, “Ok?”

    “Ok.” Heidi sighed.

    “Great, the world famous Kimble stew will be ready shortly.” Jon smiled.

    “One of my favourites.” Heidi giggled.

    Karin gave a weak smile obviously not impressed with tonight’s meal selection. Jon smiled and went back to the kitchen. Karin looked down at her daughter with a frown.

    “Why did you tell him you liked it?”

    “Because I do Mom.” Heidi shrugged, “I know you never developed a taste for our family cooking but these recipes go back, what, at least six generations. Our family history is a little fuzzy past that.”

    “I always did wonder where Kimble came from.” Karin sighed with a shrug, “There are no other Kimble’s anywhere in Gurhal.”

    “No there aren’t.” Heidi shook her head, “But I think it is a very pretty name and I’m proud to have it.”

    “You are your father’s daughter.” Karin sighed and exited the room.

    Heidi turned back to the hollow viewer just as Gurhal Channel Five news came on with Hal reporting in her usual over perky style.

    “Oh no, not Hal.” Heidi moaned and quickly searched for the remote.

    She found it hiding under a cushion and was just about to change the channel when Hal began talking about the Seed out break on Moatoob. Images showing the AMF troops moving in to purify the infected areas.

    “Casualties are growing at a steady rate despite the best efforts of the Guardians.” Hal reported, “Critics from Moatoob's trade federation are blaming Guardians president Dallgun for the Guardians ineffectiveness. In response President Dallgun has sent Guardian ace Laia Martinez and her new trainee Rolf Anderson along with Guardian veteran Tonnio Rhima to over see the Guardians operations and to assist the AMF with purification. In a shocking development Laia Martinez has discovered that the large number of Seed creatures spotted in infected areas are indeed mutated beasts that have been exposed to the Seed Virus. Miss Martinez has begun to put pressure on the AMF to stop all purification but due to the lack of available vaccine the AMF has refused.”

    “Oh no.” Heidi gasped.

    She didn’t hear her father enter but she felt him squeeze her shoulder.

    “That’s the A.M.F.’s answer to everything.” He said softly, “Blast it off the planet before it spreads.”

    “But the pour beasts.” Heidi sniffed, “Shouldn’t someone try to help them?”

    The Guardians have Mia Shidow working around the clock on the vaccine but it’s still untested and as Hal said there just isn’t enough of it.” Jon said, “We are short on people too so all we can do right now is just try and get people out of the way.”

    “Is Neudaiz in danger?”

    “No more or less than the other planets.” Jon replied, “Moatoob seems to be particularly appealing to the Seed right now. It may have something to do with the strange A-photon research Laia discovered there. We can’t even send people to investigate that.”

    Jon rubbed Heidi’s shoulder then turned back to the kitchen as he muttered, “Maybe Ethan will turn up something.”

    “What was that Dad?” Heidi starred over the back of the couch.

    “Nothing Snowflake.” Jon smiled, “Dinner will be ready in a few minutes.”

    Heidi nodded and turned back to the viewer. She was beginning to hate the nickname Snowflake. It sounded very childish and she was a grown woman now, she just didn’t have the heart to tell her father. He still saw her as his little girl and she was his only child. As she began to think back through what she knew of her family tree she realized that every generation was an only child. This was something she needed to ask her father. She leaped off of the couch and nearly toppled onto the coffee table as a wave of dizziness swept over her.

    “Woh, not better yet.” She said as the dizzy feeling went away.

    She wandered over to the kitchen and sat down at the table. Her mother was already seated and her father was dishing out the stew.

    “Dad?” She said as she watched the bowl settle in front of her.

    “Yes sweetie.” Jon smiled.

    “Why don’t I have any brothers or sisters?”

    “Ah well.” Her father stuttered.

    “It’s a strange genetic condition that runs in the family.” Her mother said, “Kimble men can only conceive once, then their uh, system shuts down.”

    “Mom, I’m a big girl now.” Heidi frowned, “You don’t have to sugar coat things, believe me I’ve heard much worse.”

    “Sorry dear.” Karin shrugged.

    “So Grandpa is an only child as was Great Grandpa.” Heidi tilted her head.

    “That’s right.” Jon nodded, “Every Kimble man has joined the Guardians since it was formed.”

    “Jon.” Karin glared.

    Jon just shrugged with a grin then looked back at Heidi, “You are the first girl ever born since the start of our family line here in Gurhal.”

    “So our family name ends with me?”

    “I’m afraid so.” Her father sighed.

    “That’s terrible!” Heidi gasped shaking her head and staring down at her stew.

    “Not entirely.” Jon replied, “We had a feeling this would happen eventually. It’s been passed down that this would be a sign.”

    “A sign for what?” Heidi tilted her head.

    “I’m not really sure but our family has been expecting something big.” Jon shrugged, “Could be something good, could be something really bad.”

    “Jon please.” Karin shot, “The girl is troubled enough with these nightmares.”

    “One thing we do know is it has something to do with the ancient legend our family kept safe.” Jon said taking a bit of his stew.

    “What legend?” Heidi asked swirling her fork around.

    “Forget it.” Karin waved, “It’s just some stupid story that your really Great Grandfather
    believed in.”

    “He believed in it so strongly that it consumed his entire life.” Jon shot, “He even made his son promise to keep the secret safe so that evil could never get its hands on it.”

    “Must be something very powerful.” Heidi smiled.

    “The power of life I think.” Jon replied.

    “It’s just a story now eat your stew.” Karin pointed.

    The rest of the meal was fairly quiet with only Jon doing any talking as he told then of his latest adventures with the Guardians. Heidi always loved hearing all the adventures her father got to go on. The stories continued once dinner was done and the family retired to the living room. Jon left out the more grisly details on the Seed which Heidi was thankful for. It wasn't that she was squeamish but she didn’t like hearing about people getting hurt. The evening finally wore out along with the stories so everyone retired to their beds. Heidi had a quick shower checking the small red spot where the Ollaka had jabbed her. It was still a little sore but it was healing well. She changed into her pyjamas and crawled into bed. She was asleep as soon as her head hit the pillow, only to be greeted by the purple cast.

  7. #7
    That's Mister to you. Freeze's Avatar
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    CHAPTER SEVEN

    Morning came much too soon for Heidi’s liking. Her mother came to wake her. She was dressed in her communion uniform. Heidi groaned and climbed out of bed, quickly pulling on her blue knee length shorts and her light blue jacket. Her grey Prita short boots where waiting at the door. She pulled them on and started out the door.

    “Hi Snowflake!” Her father called.

    She turned to look only to find a wrapped sandwich flying at her.

    “Eat it on the ride.” Her dad yelled.

    She caught it with both hands then waved goodbye as she scurried out the door. She climbed aboard the bus and sat down beside her mother. The two didn’t say much but then Heidi couldn’t have had a conversation if she wanted too; her mouth was full of dad’s sandwich. The bus finally stopped in front of the Communion. Heidi and her mom stepped off and were greeted by a man dressed in long white robes.

    “Good morning Karin.” He smiled.

    “Good morning Master Ruka.” Karin smiled.

    “Ah this must be Heidi.” Ruka grinned, “I’ve heard so much about you.”

    “Hello.” Heidi smiled.

    “We’ll try to make you feel right at home.” Ruka said, “You’ll quickly see that the Communion of Gurhal is the best place for us Newmans.”

    “We’ll see about that.” Heidi muttered.

    Master Ruka turned and ushered the two women inside. He picked up a stack of forms from the front desk and handed them to Karin. She bowed then departed down a long hallway. Master Ruka turned to Heidi.

    “I believe I’ll start you in document restoration. It always gives our new members an appreciation for the history and religion that is the Communion.”

    Heidi just nodded and followed Ruka down the hallway that was decorated in the Communions usual predominant red, into a room where three other girls were working. They looked to be in their late teens dressed in plan tan coloured robes. None of them looked up to acknowledge the newcomer. Master Ruka quietly led Heidi to a back table. She carefully sat down eyeing the scrolls piled high in front of her. They were made of some kind of ancient parchment that had yellowed long ago and looked quite delicate. Master Ruka carefully unrolled one and placed it in front of Heidi then activated the view screen mounted on the corner of the table.

    “This data base contains the original script of every scroll in this building.” Master Ruka said softly, “Simply enter the number ID tag located on the corner here then take your ink pen and fill in any spots where the text has faded or missing.”

    “That looks like the entire document.” Heidi frowned.

    The one of the other girls shot her a frown.

    “Please keep your voice down.” Master Ruka scowled.

    “Sorry.” Heidi whispered.

    “Once you’re done, carefully roll up the scroll and place it on that cart by the door.” Master Ruka pointed then left without looking back.

    Heidi sighed and picked up the pen to begin her life long career as a Communion member. After two hours of tedious writing in complete silence Heidi couldn’t stand it any longer. She had to talk to someone, so she leaned over and whispered to the black haired girl at the next table. The same one that had given her the look earlier.

    “Hi, I’m Heidi.”

    “Excuse me; I am trying to work here.” The girl snapped.

    “You really like this silence thing?” Heidi frowned.

    “It helps me concentrate.” The girl snapped.

    “We could do this and still talk.” Heidi shrugged, “It would make this job more enjoyable.”

    “It isn’t about enjoyment.” The girl shot, “It’s about mental discipline.”

    “Hey keep it down, I’m trying to work.” The red haired girl said.

    “Oh lighten up; we could use something to break up this boring job.” The purple haired girl frowned.

    The two other girls shot her a dirty look so she clamped her mouth shut and went back to her work. Heidi worked well into the afternoon stopping only for lunch, hating every moment of it. She spent most of her time daydreaming about her father’s adventures. Finally having enough she slammed her pen down. The other girls stopped and stared.

    “Tell me this.” She fumed jumping from her seat, “Is this what I can expect for the rest of my life here?”

    “Ah yep.” The purple haired girl said.

    “Yes.” The brunette replied.

    “Pretty much.” The red head nodded.

    “Well this sucks.” Heidi nearly spat, “This doesn’t help anyone.”

    “If you’re smart enough you might get moved into research and development.” The purple haired girl said, “They did build the lattice shield after all.”

    “I’m no genius.” Heidi shook her head, “I can’t invent things.”

    “Guard maybe?” The brunette girl shrugged.

    “She still wouldn’t be helping anyone.” The red haired girl shook her head, “Let’s face it, if helping people is what you really want to do, then the Communion is the wrong place for you.”

    “Thank you.” Heidi smiled, “I have decided one thing.”

    “What’s that?” The brunette girl asked.

    “I’m leaving.” Heidi giggled and ran out.

    The other girls sat still for a moment staring at each other, and then the purple haired girl stood up.

    “I’m leaving too.” She announced

    “Me too.” The red haired girl joined in.

    “But the Communion is the only place where we Newmans can become true Newmans.” The brunette frowned, “We are supposed to be here. Only the privileged few get to join the Communion.”

    “Stay here if you want but the rest of us are getting out of this prison.” The red haired girl said.

    The brunette sat for a moment staring at her scroll before standing up and running for the door.

    “Wait for me!” She called, “I’m coming too!”

    Not a minute after she left Master Ruka returned to check on Heidi.

    “What has happened here?” He sputtered, “No, we can’t loose anymore girls. Head office needs them.”

    He hurried down the hall to the security office. The guards jumped as he burst through the door.

    “Act lively, we’ve got four runners.” He shot.

    “Yes Sir.” The chief snapped.

    He led his men down the hallway toward the front door. Heidi was standing outside when the other girls burst out and ran up behind her softly bumping her.

    “We decided to join you.” The red head said squeezing Heidi’s arm.

    “I never meant for you to quit.” Heidi gasped.

    “It’s ok, we were miserable.” The purple haired girl smiled.

    “I’m still not sure this is a good idea.” The brunette said looking around, “But I am glad to be outside.”

    They heard the alarm start to blare inside the building.

    “Uh oh.” The red head said, “They know we’re gone.”

    “How much trouble will we be in if we get caught.” Heidi asked.

    “Lots.” The girl replied grabbing Heidi’s arm.

    She dragged Heidi down the street before ducking down an alley way. They stopped to catch their breaths and plan their next move.

    “Someone please tell me what’s with the high security in that place.” Heidi said taking a deep breath.

    “We are runners.” The red head replied, “The Communion doesn’t like deserters. Once you’re in you are in for good. I’m Maya Dayton by the way.”

    “Heidi Kimble.” Heidi smiled.

    “I’m Shelly.” The purple haired girl nodded, “And that’s Ami.”

    “A pleasure.” Ami nodded.

    “So what do we do first?” Heidi asked.

    “Uh we thought you knew.” Shelly frowned.

    “Not me.” Heidi shook her head, “I’m just a simple farm girl.”

    “Well I’m just a computer nerd.” Ami sighed, “Yes I admit it.”

    “So is that it?” Maya asked, “Do we just give up?”

    “No, we can’t give up now.” Shelly whimpered, “I just got out.”

    Heidi’s eyes glazed over and she sat very still staring straight ahead. The girls continued to squabble over their situation until Ami noticed Heidi’s condition.

    “Heidi, are you ok?”

    “Heidi, hello.” Shelly said waving her hand in front of Heidi’s face.

    The whites of Heidi’s eyes turned bright red and she snapped to attention.

    “What’s our situation?” Heidi asked

    “What?” Ami frowned.

    “Situation hurry.” Heidi snapped.

    “Uh we are running from the Communion guards who want to take us back and imprison us there forever.” Maya said.

    “Ok, first thing you girls need to do is ditch those robes.” Heidi said.

    “But that would mean we’d be in our under wear.” Ami gasped, “And it’s not exactly warm out.”

    “Not to mention embarrassing.” Shelly giggled.

    “I’ll do it.” Heidi said, “Does any one have any currency?”

    “We have our meseta cards but the moment anyone uses it they’ll know where we are.” Maya said.

    “You use meseta here?” Heidi asked.

    “Uh ya.” Shelly frowned, “Heidi what is wrong with you.”

    “I am not this Heidi.” She replied, “My name is Amanda, I am a member of the Hunters Guild. My first concern is your safety. Remain here while I fetch you some new clothing.”

    “Ok.” Ami nodded slowly.

    Heidi returned a few minutes later with two bags full of cloths for her friends. They quickly pulled off the robes and put on the new cloths. Several guards ran passed the alley entrance. Heidi signalled for the girls to freeze. When she was sure the guards were not coming back she signalled the all clear, and then slowly approached the street. She couldn’t see any guards around to she returned to the alley.

    “We can not remain here.” Heidi said.

    “So what do we do.?” Shelly asked.

    She was now dressed in a red coat, long black pants, and shoes. She had even tied her purple hair into a pony tail using an elastic band from her shoes. Ami had short black hair so there wasn’t much to do with it and she had chosen the purple coat. Maya’s red hair was styled much the same as Heidi’s and had even chosen the blue coat. She giggled saying they were now twins. Heidi just nodded.

    “I know!” Ami snapped her fingers, “The mall.”

    “I haven’t been there in ages.” Shelly squealed.

    “Let’s go then.” Maya nodded.

    “I don’t think that’s such a good idea.” Heidi said.

    “Why not?” Ami frowned.

    “The Communion guards are still looking for us.” She explained, “Going to an open public place is a sure way to get caught. We need a place to hide for a while.”

    “Oh.” Ami nodded.

    “Truth is no place is safe from the Communion.” Maya shook her head.

    “We need some place that they won’t look for us.” Heidi said, “I think I might have an idea.”

    Heidi got up and headed for the street. The other girls followed right behind obeying every instruction Heidi gave them. They soon made it to the edge of town just narrowly avoiding the guards. They stood at the edge of a snow covered field. No one was really dressed for such a hike but it was better than spending a life time at the Communion. Heidi took the first step into the deep wet snow. The sky lit up as a giant fire ball appeared in the sky. The girls watched as it left a long fire trial through the atmosphere. Maya tugged on Heidi’s arm.

    “Uh Amanda, is it just me or is that headed right for us?’

    “I think you’re…”

    She was cut off as the object slammed into the field. The large burning pod opened up and began releasing little floating flowers that began to spread in the wind. People began to gather around the strange object.

    “What is it?” Shelly asked.

    “The Seed.” Someone said, “It’s here!”

    Master Ruka and a group of his guards pushed their way through the crowd to the front. He either failed to notice the girls or just plain ignored them. Shelly tapped Heidi on the shoulder and pointed him out. Heidi nodded then slowly pushed the other girls back into the crowd.

    “But I want to see.” Ami cried.

    Heidi clamped her hand on Ami’s mouth.

    “Are you trying to get us caught?” She growled, “Be quiet and follow me.”

    Heidi glanced back and gasped as she saw dark creatures begin to form around the infected area. These weren’t infected animals typical of Seed attacks these were the actual Seed monsters found in hives. The Communion was ushering people back but doing nothing about the real problem. A small group of people allowed the monsters to get too close and were immediately attacked. Heidi stood in horror as the Communion guards ignored the cries of the victims and continued to usher people back. The three girls behind her also stood in horror.

    “Why don’t they do something.” Ami gasped.

    “Is this what the Communion is really good for?” Maya gasped.

    The crowd began to break up and scatter as hysterical panic washed over it like a giant tidal wave drowning each person in its uncontrolled emotion. This further increased the number of attacks compounding and feeding the hysteria. Heidi and her friends were trampled down by a large group fleeing from the oncoming attack. It was all they could do to avoid being stomped on. The trampling feet finally thinned out allowing Heidi to slowly look up only to stare death in its face. A Delsaban staring down at her even though they have no recognizable face, just a large yellow circle divided in to four by a cross formed by its black flesh. It let out a metallic ghostly scream then raised its sword shaped arm ready to impale her. The arm came down but was suddenly stopped by a wand that seemed to appear from no where.

    “Heidi run!”

    She looked up into the face of a white haired middle aged Newman man. He glared back at her.

    “What are you waiting for?” He asked then yelled, “GO NOW!”

    “Do you have an extra weapon Sir?” She asked.

    “What?” He gasped, “No, now run.”

    “AMANDA HELP!” Shelly called.

    She glanced over at her friends who where being stalked by two Delsabans. She sprang to her feet and ran to them. She slammed her shoulder into one causing it to fall into its partner. She quickly grabbed Ami’s wrist and lead them away from the monsters. When they were far enough back she stopped and glanced back at the white haired man. He was joined by two beast males. One was tall with light brown fur dressed in a red coat and pants. The other looked like a child wearing a simple black and purple tunic.

    “Do you guys know who they are?” Ami squealed, “That’s Leo Berafort, and Tonnio Rhimma.”

    “No way.” Shelly gasped, “Famous Guardians here.”

    Heidi suddenly became dizzy. Her legs became weak and her eyes rolled back as she collapsed to the ground.

    “Amanda!” Maya cried.

    She was the first at Heidi’s side quickly checking for injuries.

    “What happened?” Ami asked.

    “I don’t know.” Maya shook her head, “She just collapsed.”

    Maya softly called Amanda’s name as she softly tapped Heidi’s face. The girl moaned and slowly opened her eyes. The red was gone and the white had returned.

    “Oh my head hurts.” Heidi groaned.

    “Are you hurt Amanda?” Shelly asked.

    “Amanda?” Heidi frowned, “whose Amanda?”

    “Isn’t your name Amanda?” Ami frowned.

    “What?” Heidi frowned as she slowly sat up, “I told you guys already, my name is Heidi.”

    “But you said earlier.” Shelly frowned, “That was after you said it was Heidi then you changed it.”

    Heidi looked around but couldn’t see much due to the crowd.

    “Where am I?”

    “On the edge of town.” Maya replied, “We’re being attacked by the Seed.”

    “Seed!” Heidi gasped jumping to her feet.

    “It’s ok.” Shelly said, “Three Guardians are here.”

    Heidi looked out spotting the Guardians engaged with the Seed.

    “Dad.” She gasped.

    “So the Newman is your father.” Maya smirked.

    “He’s very handsome.” Shelly giggled then quickly wiped it from her face and sputtered, “For an old guy.”

    “Lucky for us he was here.” Maya smiled.

    “Lucky for us they are here.” Shelly swooned, “Tonnio is so cute.”

    Heidi shook her head slowly still feeling a little light headed. The three Guardians quickly eliminated the monsters then proceeded to purify the seed pod. Once the threat had been eliminated, Master Ruka stepped up assuring everything was safe again acting as though he had single handily defeated the SEED. The crowd slowly dispersed leaving the Communion with the chore of dealing with the injured and dead. Heidi and the girls quietly slipped away and ran after the Guardians. Tonnio spotted them first.

    “Guys look, fans.” He grinned.

    “Hey Jon, the one in the lead looks just like you.” Leo elbowed him.

    “She’s my daughter.” Jon frowned.

    “So we finally get to meet this daughter we’ve heard so much about.” Leo smiled.

    “As a fellow family man you’ve had your share of stories.” Jon grinned.

    “A father’s right.” Leo nodded.

    “Hello girls.” Tonnio smiled tried to look macho.

    The three teenagers swarmed him laughing and giggling as Tonnio absorbed every bit of their admiration. Heidi went straight to her father.

    “Dad, I’m so glad you’re here.” She smiled.

    “Heidi, why didn’t you run when I told you too?” Jon glared.

    “What?” Heidi frowned, “When did you…. I never heard… I mean I don’t remember.”

    The stern look drained from Jon’s face. A concerned look crossed Leo’s face as he turned to look down on the girl.

    “Heidi are you all right?” Jon asked.

    “Something weird happened dad.” Heidi said, “I was at the communion and I got tired of it so I tried to leave. My new friends decided to join me. I remember running into Communion guards then I woke up here and they were calling me Amanda.”

    “This is very strange Jon.” Leo said, “She should see a doctor.”

    “Good idea.” Jon nodded, “This might be some thing the medics on Clyez City might want to see.”

    “I’m sure it’s nothing Dad.” Heidi shook her head then turned to Leo, “Thank you Mr. Berafort; you saved me and my friends.”

    “No thanks necessary.” Leo waved his hand, “And please call me Leo.”

    “Yes Mr. Leo.” Heidi grinned.

    “You have your fathers’ sense of humour I see.” Leo chuckled.

    “Dad.” Heidi said turning to her father, “I want to be a Guardian.”

    “I had a feeling that’s what you were going to pick.” Jon smiled.

    “You did?” Heidi frowned.

    “Sure.” Jon nodded, “You’re too much of a free spirit to be cooped up in a temple for the rest of your life.”

    “You’re too much like your old man.” Leo nodded, “Always the adventure seeker.”

    “Leo could you take Heidi to the colony and help her get signed up?” Jon asked.

    “Of course.” Leo nodded once.

    “Wait, you’re not coming?” Heidi gasped.

    “This is where we must separate.” Jon said, “As your father I can not be there during your training. Conflict of interest or something.”

    “Don’t worry Heidi; the Guardians will pair you with the best instructor for your talents.” Leo smiled, “I’m sure you’ll do quite well in basic training.”

    Jon bent down and hugged his daughter as he whispered, “Be strong my little Snowflake.”

    “Let’s go.” Leo waved.

    The three girls standing around Tonnio looked at each other then Ami stepped forward.

    “Can we be Guardians too?”

    “Of course.” Leo smiled, “We need all the people we can get.”

    Ami and Shelly squealed with delight. Maya followed in the back looking a little less happy.

    “My mother is going to kill me.” Maya muttered.

    Heidi was the last to board the flyer looking one last time at her father and her home. Master Ruka had spotted them and came charging with three guards. Jon stepped in front blocking them. Master Ruka looked very angry as Jon kept him back. Heidi shot him a little smile and waved as the door slid shut. The shuttle lifted off pitching up to space leaving Neudaiz and Heidi’s home behind.

  8. #8
    That's Mister to you. Freeze's Avatar
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    CHAPTER EIGHT

    Mina, the Guardian Colony’s receptionist, nearly jumped out of her skin as a tall black man seemingly appeared out of nowhere. He was about six foot five sporting well groomed greyish blue hair, matching goatee and orange tinted sunglasses. He wore a blue long coat with a white stripe that ran from the front of the left shoulder to the center of the coat then down the front. The collar was trimmed in white fur. His pants were blue and black military style with heavy boots and gloves. He glared at her holding out his license.

    “Jeez Iceberg.” Mina gasped, “How do you do that?”

    “Years of training and discipline.” Iceberg replied in a deep raspy voice.

    “I’m sure.” Mina replied as she brought up his file, “OK, I have your next assignment.”

    She handed him a data card then looked around.

    “I don’t see Isis yet.”

    “She is delayed.” Iceberg stated, “I will deliver her assignment.”

    Mina shook her head, “You know I can’t release her form without her Guardians license.”

    “We have the same assignment.” Iceberg frowned. “She will get my information. That will be sufficient.”

    He turned and walked away.

    “Hey come back. That won’t work.” Mina called then signed, “Ah crap, may the Holy Light guild you.”

    Iceberg waved without looking back as he stepped through the door. He casually strolled down the ramp to the fourth floor where a large group of Guardians had gathered for idle chat. He ignored the noise and began reading through the mission details. A small satellite relic site had been discovered on the northern continent of Neudaiz and had begun emitting strong A-photon emissions. He was instructed to meet Maya Shidow at the flyer base and proceed to the site. Iceberg was not impressed with the prospect of working with Maya. She was too much of a manipulator for his taste. He preferred facing his opponents in clear defined combat rather than deceit. He deactivated the pad then stored it in his nanotransformer, a device used to convert matter into energy and store its pattern in its memory. He casually strolled over to the Neudaiz PPT gate to get away from the noise and tapped his ear piece communicator. It beeped several times before Isis answered. She was a tall beast with lightly tanned fur and long bright blue hair that she usually tied the end together. She wore a pink western cowgirl top, red shorts and black knee high boots.

    “Iceberg, is that you?” She asked.

    “It is indeed.” Iceberg replied.

    “Can you hang on a minute?” Isis yelled, “I’m a little busy.”

    “I’m afraid I can’t.” Iceberg shook his head, “I have received our next assignment and time is of the essence.”

    “Look out!” Isis yelled to someone, “Look, I’m not finished with my current mission.”

    Iceberg let out a soft growl, “Fine, when you have completed your objective, meet me at the Ohtoku City flyer base on Neudaiz.”

    “Fine, bye.” Isis huffed and cut the signal.

    Iceberg stood staring at the gate entrance for a moment. He was in no mood to spend any time alone with Maya. The female cast at the gate just stared back at him with a stupid grin.

    “What!” He growled.

    “Are you going to be using our service today?” The cast asked.

    “Yes, so?” Iceberg frowned.

    “The next shuttle leaves in five minutes.” The cast replied, “There won’t be another one for an hour.”

    “Then I had better get aboard.” Iceberg mumbled.

    “Indeed, and may the Holy Light guild you.” The cast smiled.

    “Stuff it.” Iceberg muttered as he walked by.

    The shuttle ride to Neudaiz only took a few minutes causing Iceberg to wonder why there was going to be a full hour before there was another shuttle. He disembarked from the shuttle then quickly exited the port. Night time in Ohtoku City was lit up by the many lanterns hanging over the streets casting a soft blue and purple glow on the Newman citizens that were beginning their journey home. Iceberg walked over to the nearest bridge that crossed the river, stopping at the center of it and leaning up against the railing to watch the fish swim by below. He looked up and took a quick survey of his surroundings finally spotting Maya waiting by the flyer base. He groaned at the thought of having to work with such a promiscuous scientist and it wouldn’t be the first time she had tried her charms on him to get her way, however his years of self discipline allowed him to easily resist her. She was attractive and sexually appealing however Iceberg found her weak of character and so he could never be attracted to her. He was pulled from his thoughts by a tug at his pants. He looked down into the smiling face of a young Newman girl around the age of five.

    “Are you a Guardian?” The girl asked.

    “I am.” Iceberg nodded with a smile.

    “Are you here to fight the aliens?” The girl tilted her head.

    “Aliens?” Iceberg frowned then smiled as he realized who the girl was talking about, “Yes, I am.”

    “They came to my home yesterday.” She said quietly, “Mommy and Daddy took me away. We don’t have a home now.”

    Iceberg knelt on one knee and looked into the girls eyes. He saw the fear and sadness. It was enough to make most people shed a tear.

    “Are you saying the Seed is here?” He asked.

    “They came from the sky.” The girl pointed up, “They set fires, hurt people. We had to run.”

    “No one stayed to fight?” Iceberg frowned.

    “Some.” The girl sniffed, “They got hurt bad.”

    “What about officials, military, any warriors?” Iceberg asked forgetting who he was talking too.

    “What?” The girl frowned.

    “Anaya!” A voice called, “Anaya, there you are.”

    Iceberg rose to his feet as a dark haired Newman woman came running up.

    “What have I told you about talking to strangers.” She said as she scooped up her daughter.

    “But Mommy, he’s a Guardian.” The girl pointed.

    “Oh.” The woman said then looked up at Iceberg, “I’m sorry for the interruption. Anaya seems to be drawn to you guys.”

    “It is no interruption; reports such as your daughters are welcome and important
    information.” Iceberg said, “Perhaps some day she shall become a Guardian.”

    “Ya.” The woman frowned, “I’m sorry, we’ll be going.”

    “Just one moment please.” Iceberg said holding up a finger.

    “Yes.” The woman replied slowly.

    “Your daughter was just telling me about a Seed attack on your home.” Iceberg said, “Was there any action by the officials to counter such an attack?”

    “The Communion evacuated our village and quarantined the area.” The woman said, “They told us not to mention anything as they would handle the attack and provide temporary shelter for us. I don’t know about the Seed but they have done nothing about providing us with shelter.”

    “The Communion has always been reluctant to accept help from outside.” Iceberg frowned, “Probably why the Guardians weren’t contacted.”

    “From what I’ve seen so far the Communion is ill equipped to handle these attacks.” The woman said.

    “Yes, the best they have managed is calling aid from the AMF.” Iceberg frowned, “And with their methods you still shall have no home.”

    “I know.” The woman sighed, “It doesn’t make any of this better.”

    “No, it makes it quite unacceptable.” Iceberg frowned, “Provide me the location of your village and I shall deal with it.”

    “You?” The woman frowned, “All by yourself?”

    “No.” Iceberg shook his head, “I will be with two other Guardians. We will battle the Seed and drive them from your home.”

    “Any help will be more than welcome.” The woman smiled, “This is the location of our village and my contact information.”

    She handed Iceberg a small data pad. Iceberg took the pad then watched as the woman quickly dragged her daughter away.

    “Thank you!” Anaya waved as she disappeared into the evening crowd.

    Iceberg began to scroll through the information the woman had provided him. His concentration was broken with a tap on his shoulder. He turned to see Isis smiling at him.

    “Hi ya, what’s our mission today?”

    “It must wait.” Iceberg said, “We have a higher priority.”

    He handed her the pad and she quickly scanned it over.

    “Iceberg, we can’t just go running off on something like this.” Isis frowned, “We have our orders and the Communion has jurisdiction here. We aren’t permitted to deal with infections without the Communions authorization.”

    “The Communion is doing nothing for these people.” Iceberg replied, “It is my sworn duty as a Guardian to protect the citizens of Gurhal. I will do that with or without the Communions permission. I swore to a certain young lady that I would help.”

    “You’re a real softy, you know that right?” Isis grinned, “Was she cute?”

    “Adorable.” Iceberg muttered, “Now let’s find Maya and get going.”

    “You know she isn’t going to be happy about this.” Isis frowned.

    “Not my concern.” Iceberg shook his head.

    He started for the flyer base where Maya was waiting.

    “You’re enjoying this aren’t you?” Isis called.

    Iceberg didn’t answer and Isis had to run to catch up. Maya was standing alone with her arms folded across her chest, like she usually did. Isis had occasionally joked that she did it to support her giant boobs. Iceberg often suspected there was a little bit of jealousy there as Isis was athletically built and didn’t have much there. Maya spotted them approaching and greeted them with a smile.

    “I was beginning to think you weren’t coming.”

    “Some one decided it would be more fun to wrestle with a giant snake.” Iceberg smiled.

    Isis frowned and gave his arm a shot.

    “OK so this new Relics site is putting out some very unusual A-photons.” Maya began.

    “It will have to wait.” Iceberg waved, “We have a Seed outbreak to deal with first.”

    “What?” Maya frowned, “I wasn’t informed.”

    “Imagine that.” Iceberg grumbled and entered the flyer base.

    “Wait, if no one informed the Guardians branch then it means they don’t want or need our help.” Maya called.

    “Looks like they’re getting it anyway.” Isis said and lead Maya into the base, “I’ll explain on the way.”

    The flyer gently lifted off the ground and accelerated to cruising speed on a heading that took it over some of the densely forested areas on Neudaiz. Night quickly changed into daylight as the flyer crossed into view of the Gurhal sun. The lush green scenery soon gave way to the snow covered landscape of the north. A storm was brewing far in the distance threatening to bring the season’s first rain. The flyer began to shake and buck as it entered the red cloud sky filled with Seed spores. The ground below was charred and several fires continued to burn. Even at this altitude they could see the Seed pods that spread the infection. Iceberg tapped Maya on the shoulder and pointed to a clearing.

    “Set down there. We’ll begin purification here.”

    “There’s no sign of anyone dealing with this.” Maya shook her head.

    “There isn’t anyone.” Iceberg said, “The Communion must be leaving this for the AMF.”

    “That doesn’t sound right.” Maya frowned, “The Communion usually handles all of Neudaiz problems. They don’t even want us involved.”

    “I agree.” Isis nodded, “Something about this doesn’t taste right.”

    “We should proceed with caution.” Maya winked.

    “Tip toe around if you like.” Iceberg said checking his shotgun, “I will attack head on.”

    “I don’t think that’s wise.” Maya shook her head.

    “That’s why you are a scientist and not a warrior.” Iceberg stated.

    “It’s been said those who can’t think, fight.” Maya grinned.

    “Those who think too much die.” Iceberg replied.

    Maya frowned then brought the ship around for a landing. The three Guardians stepped off the flyer into the smoke filled charred landscape that was northern Neudaiz. The air was heavy and thick causing Maya to cough. The brisk winter had been pushed aside in favour of this new burning heat. Iceberg wiped the sweat from his brow wishing his coat wasn’t quite so heavy. The area appeared to be free of Seed creatures and infected wildlife leaving the Seed pods to fend for themselves. Three of the pods were grouped together while the last two where on the far side of the field. Maya activated her goggles to take a quick assessment of the situation. The three pods grouped together were actually connected underground and shared some of the blooms that sprouted up from the ground. The blooms could only be seen with the goggles and required the photon eraser to neutralize the blooms before attacking the shielded pod.

    “We’ll need to split up to take out all the blooms.” Maya said, “I’ve never seen pods connected like this before.”

    Iceberg had already started working which annoyed Maya. He had no idea what the situation was or what might happen but he jumped ahead anyway.

    “We must hurry.” He called, “These blooms will reactivate if we don’t neutralize the Seed quickly.”

    “And how do you know that?” Maya frowned.

    Iceberg had moved on to the next bloom and Isis began on one growing on the opposite side.

    “Isis and I ran into this situation on Moatoob during the Fire Break crisis.” Iceberg replied quickly moving to the next.

    “Why didn’t you report this to anyone?” Maya frowned.

    “The Seed was neutralized that was all that was important.” Iceberg replied hurrying to the next bloom.

    “That is valuable information that should have been shared.” Maya scolded him, “Anything new we learn about the Seed must be submitted in a full report.”

    “Less talk, more work woman!” Iceberg yelled.

    “How dare you talk to me like that?” Maya fumed.

    Iceberg stormed over to her and stared down at her.

    “The more time you spend talking the more time the Seed have to recover.” Iceberg growled pointing at a bloom.

    The bloom flashed a couple of times then reactivated.

    “See!”

    Iceberg stormed away to take care of the bloom. Maya was so flustered she almost cried. She shook her head and composed herself enough to begin work. It took a couple of tries but the Guardians finally got the blooms under control then attacked the now unshielded pods. Using their weapons they quickly eliminated the pods then moved across the field to the last two pods completely unopposed.

    “This is too weird.” Isis said scratching her head, “I’ve never seen pods completely unguarded before.”

    “Something definitely smells foul.” Iceberg growled.

    "We should investigate." Maya said.

    “Once the Seed is dead.” Iceberg cut her off.

    Maya shot him an ice cold scowl but he just ignored it and went about killing the pods. Maya checked her map, quickly getting a position on the Relics site as the other two quickly completed their task.

    “Good news.” She smiled.

    “That’s a change.” Iceberg mumbled.

    “The Relics site is just over that ridge.” Maya pointed, “If we hurry, we can be there in no time.”

    “That explains why the Seed is here.” Isis nodded.

    “Indeed.” Iceberg replied as he followed Maya up the hill, “I’d like to know how it got through Neudaiz lattice shield.”

    “The shield isn’t quite complete yet.” Maya replied, “This area is one of the few gaps in the system. The communion expects to have it completed within the month.”

    “They still refuse to share it?” Isis asked.

    “Unfortunately yes.” Maya sighed, “President Dallgun has tried negotiating on behalf of Parum and Moatoob with little success.”

    “Rutsu is a stubborn man.” Iceberg grumbled, “He will not give in easily.”

    “Stubborn is one thing but to stand by and watch as innocent beasts are slaughtered in masses because there is no cure knowing full well that your shield could save lives, well.” Isis huffed, “It’s barbaric.”

    “Some still see beasts as sublifeforms and that this slaughter is no different than killing Koltova.” Iceberg stated.

    “What?” Maya gasped, “You’re not saying its OK are you?”

    “No, I am merely stating a fact.” Iceberg shook his head, “Old ideas and prejudice die hard especially among the self righteous. They have little honour.”

    “But how do you feel?” Maya smirked.

    “If I felt the same, Isis would not be my partner.” Iceberg replied.

    Maya paused for a moment staring at him as he continued up the hill. Isis giggled as she grabbed Maya’s arm pulling her along.

    “You asked.” Isis grinned.

    The top of the hill ended in a steep cliff that dropped into the snowy valley below. A small river gently weaved through the valley floor disappearing into the distance. The snow was quickly turning to slush as the temperature continued to climb. A storm rumbled on the horizon as it slowly approached.

    “That will reach us before nightfall.” Iceberg nodded.

    “That’s only a couple hours away.” Isis said.

    “Then we should hurry.” Maya said and started down the cliff.

    “You’re not actually going to climb down there?” Isis frowned.

    “Why not?” Maya asked.

    “It’s got to be several hundred meters down.” Isis pointed, “One slip and you’re dead.”

    “Agreed.” Iceberg nodded, “We will return to the flyer and land in that clearing down there.”

    “It will still be a bit of a hike but we’ll arrive alive.” Isis said helping Maya back up, “For
    a scientist that was a pretty stupid idea.”

    “Sorry, I’m just a little excited.” Maya sighed.

  9. #9
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    CHAPTER NINE

    The Guardians quickly returned to the flyer without seeing a single animal, infected or otherwise. This continued to pick at Maya’s brain. The others seemed to be unconcerned but Maya couldn’t shake the feeling that something was very wrong. The flyer gently lifted off and quickly hopped down into the valley landing in the clearing Iceberg had spotted. The Guardians quickly exited the flyer into a slushy field teeming with life. Several birds flew over head occasionally diving on the river, pulling out the odd fish. A heard of Ollaka peacefully grazed nearby ignoring the newcomers.

    “Wow.” Maya smiled, “This place is completely untouched by the Seed. Even the animals are peaceful.”

    “Then let’s hurry before the Seed comes.” Isis said.

    “Yes, we must shut down this A-photon leak.” Iceberg nodded and started toward the site.

    “Tell me Maya.” Isis tilted her head, “If this is such a predominate leak, why isn’t the AMF all over this?”

    “Or GRM.” Iceberg muttered.

    “The AMF is too busy dealing with the Seed to worry about A-photons.” Maya shrugged, “It was never really their area anyways. The Endrum Collective was assigned to that and now that it has been disbanded the military really has no interest.”

    “Which leaves them open for the private companies.” Iceberg said.

    “Exactly.” Maya nodded with a smile, “That’s where the Guardians come in. We have to secure all sources of A-photons before the big three can. There is a lot of meseta to be made and plenty of dirty hands that can afford it. Imagine unregulated A-photons popping up all over Gurhal.”

    “The Seed would have a feast.” Isis gasped.

    “Not to mention what the Illuminus would do with an unlimited supply of A-photons.” Iceberg shook his head slowly.

    “We ‘subspecies’ wouldn’t stand a chance.” Isis sighed as she made quote symbols with her fingers.

    “Just a bunch of cowardly fanatics if you ask me.” Maya shrugged.

    “They are without honour.” Iceberg mumbled.

    The Relics site loomed before them, carved into the rock face of the valley wall. Even though this was a smaller site it was no less impressive. Iceberg equipped his goggles and searched for hidden traps. He nodded when he was satisfied it was safe. The three Guardians cautiously entered the dark cavern with Isis bringing up the rear. She looked back for a moment when she thought she heard something rustling nearby. She didn’t see anything and heard nothing more so she continued on with the others. Relics sites usually had internal illumination but this one was quite dark. They had to use their goggles to see where they were going. The hallways were very straight forward, branching off occasionally to connect to a single room. Most were empty but one was filled with the giant mechanical guards known as Stateria. They were all inactive. The group continued along the main hallway with Maya in the lead tracking the source of the A-photon energy. They entered a large central chamber bathed in soft yellow light emanating from a giant swirling sphere hovering over their heads. A circular control station sat at the center of the chamber directly beneath the reactor. Maya raced over to the station and began studying the read outs. Iceberg stopped beside her quickly glancing at the display screens. He couldn’t understand any of it.

    “Can you read it?” He asked.

    “A little.” Maya sighed, “I haven’t studied this ancient language enough to safely interpret it.”

    “Do you know anyone who can?” Isis asked starring at a screen.

    “No, but Lou might.” Maya shook her head.

    “I’ll contact her.” Isis nodded.

    “You’ll have to go outside.” Maya said, “The COM links won’t work this close to the
    reactor and this far underground.”

    “Right, be back shortly.” Isis waved as she ran out.

    “Well that leaves just you and me.” Maya grinned turning to Iceberg.

    “Wonderful.” Iceberg muttered.

    “Come now, I can’t be all that scary.” She said hugging his arm and drawing her finger across his chest, “What could little old me do anyway.”

    “You should know by now that this will not work on me.” Iceberg glared.

    “What won’t work?” Maya frowned innocently.

    “You know exactly what I mean.” Iceberg said, “Now remove yourself from my arm.”

    Maya reluctantly let go and stepped back.

    “Why do you hate me so?”

    “I do not hate you.” Iceberg shook his head, “But I do find you weak of character choosing to manipulate your opponents through sexual gestures rather than facing them directly.”

    “Not all of us can use physical force to win our fights.” Maya frowned.

    “Perhaps but I have yet to find a reason to trust you.” Iceberg replied, “You have on many occasions tried to manipulate and deceive me. I am a fellow Guardian and yet you treat me just as you do an opponent. You have no honour Maya Shidow and for that I will never like you.”

    Iceberg started to walk away.

    “How can you say that?” Maya cried unable to hold back the tears.

    Iceberg turned to face her once again.

    “It is the truth.” He replied, “You must face your enemies, display your strength and stand with honour, but most of all you must stand beside your allies not against them.”

    “So getting the crap kicked out of you is better than walking away clean?” Maya frowned wiping the tears away.

    “I don’t get the crap kicked out of me.” Iceberg smiled, “I do the kicking, and I never leave a man behind. That is true honour.”

    “Oh brother.” Maya sighed.

    Several minutes passed with no word from Isis. Iceberg became restless and started to pace. Maya looked up and smiled.

    “Iceberg, don’t tell me you’re actually worried about Isis.”

    “I won’t attempt to deny it.” Iceberg replied, “It should not be taking this long. Something has happened.”

    “You may be right.” Maya nodded, “Let’s go check on her.”

    The two Guardians hurried back down the hallway to the entrance only to be greeted by several armed casts. One was holding Isis captive.

    “What is the meaning of this?” Iceberg growled.

    A tall thin cast coloured in maroon and dark grey stepped forward wearing a very confident smile.

    “This area is now under private occupation.” He said, “Your presence is disruptive and
    will not be tolerated.”

    “Magashi.” Maya gasped.

    “Another clone.” Iceberg smiled, “It must be costing the Illuminus a fortune to keep building you.

    “That is unimportant.” Magashi waved, “This site now belongs to the Illuminus and unlike the Magashi of the Endrum Collective, I will not let you be on your way.”

    “Yes, cooperation and compassion was his major defect.” Iceberg smirked.

    “A defect that had been corrected.” Magashi replied.

    “And the new models have been working so well.” Iceberg smiled, “We Guardians have trashed how many of you now?”

    “Enough!” Magashi boomed then turned to his soldiers, “Eliminate them.”

    “Not so fast.” Iceberg said drawing his rifle and fired.

    The shot caught Magashi in the right shoulder dropping him to the ground. The soldiers began firing causing Iceberg and Maya to dive for cover. Iceberg peered out from his boulder and spotted Magashi climbing to his feet. He casually strolled over to Isis and grabbed the beast woman by the throat. He lifted her off the ground and began choking the life from her. Iceberg calmly raised his rifle and fired. The shot caught Magashi in the side of the head dropping the cast for good. Isis fell to the ground gasping for air.

    “There goes another clone.” Iceberg smiled.

    The two soldiers standing beside Magashi spun toward the attack only to be blasted with fire from Maya. Isis slowly climbed to her feet and crept up behind a soldier who was concentrating on the rock protecting Iceberg. She slowly drew a dagger from her nanotransformer and with the precision of an assassin, slit the mans throat. Iceberg popped up and fired hitting a soldier who was targeting his partner. Maya blasted a couple of the casts with her zonde. One cast shuddered before falling to the ground then the second one followed. Isis stowed her dagger and drew her twin sabres charging after the cast that had held her. The cast drew his rifle and aimed at the charging beast. Isis swung down slicing the tip off of the rifle. She swung again only to be blocked by the cast’s rifle. Without hesitating she took the second sabre and drove it into the cast’s belly. Dark lubricant began to seep out around the photon blade. Isis withdrew the sabre and watched as the cast stumbled backward.

    “Filthy beast.” The cast grumbled before falling to the ground.

    Iceberg fired at the last cast taking his head clean off. The three remaining human soldiers dropped their guns and ran away as fast as they could.

    “Should we go after them?” Isis asked.

    “No.” Iceberg said starring down at the fallen Magashi, “If the Illuminus was attracted to this site so quickly then others will not be far behind. Our time here is limited.”

    “I agree.” Maya nodded, “We need to shut this place down.”

    Isis finished with her COM link and deactivated her ear piece.

    “Lou said the Communion of Gurhal has a scholar who can read the ancient text. She’s going to contact them to see if they’ll send him out.”

    “Hopefully they’ll hurry.” Maya said.

    “Hopefully they’ll agree to help.” Iceberg muttered.

    “You don’t trust them do you?” Maya asked.

    “So far the Communion has proven untrustworthy.” Iceberg shook his head, “They have lied to the rest of Gurhal, conducted secret experiments on their own people and have repeatedly tried to eliminate our people. Anyone who attacks a Guardian is not worthy of my trust. I just hope lying and deceit is not an inherent trait for all Newmans.”

    “Iceberg!” Isis shot.

    “It’s OK Isis.” Maya sighed, “We as a race have not done very well to instil trust from the rest of Gurhal.”

    “Please understand Maya that I am not blaming your entire race on the actions of a few.” Iceberg said, “However my track record with Newmen has been very poor thus far.”

    Maya nodded but said nothing more. The trio waited at the Relics entrance until a flyer finally showed up landing in the field beside theirs. Iceberg watched through the scope in his goggles as a tall red and black cast stepped off the ramp. His head was designed much like an ancient battle helmet. His upper body looked much like a jet pack suit with two cylinders mounted to his back. Two wing like shields hovered just over his shoulders. His lower body was sleek and armoured. Iceberg smiled slightly as he watched the cast impatiently wait for his passenger. Isis noticed the slight smirk on his face.

    “What is it?”

    “They gave the baby sitting job to a very good friend of ours.” Iceberg replied.

    “Phoenix.” Isis gasped, “I bet he was thrilled by that.”

    “He certainly doesn’t look too impressed.” Iceberg grinned.

    “You really shouldn’t take such pleasure in a friends misery.” Isis smiled.

    Iceberg just nodded as he continued to watch. A short black haired Newman male dressed in purple robes finally stepped off the flyer. Phoenix nodded then lead the man across the fields and up to the entrance where the Guardians were waiting. Phoenix immediately stepped up to Iceberg and stared him in the eyes. The two men were nearly the same height which pleased Iceberg and annoyed Phoenix to no end.

    “What kind of pointless quest for glory have you dragged me into this time?” Phoenix asked in a very harsh and metallic voice.

    “No glory this time.” Iceberg shook his head, “Only duty.”

    “Then it will be done.” Phoenix said looking around, “You could have called me before you finished the fight.”

    “Wasn’t much of a fight.” Iceberg shrugged.

    Phoenix spotted Magashi’s body lying nearby. He walked over and gave the cast a slight kick.

    “They just don’t build Magashi’s like they used to.”

    “Maybe not but it is one less clone to deal with.” Iceberg shrugged.

    “True enough my friend.” Phoenix nodded, “One day we shall bring down all of these cheap copies and it will be glorious.”

    “Until then we have work to do.” Iceberg pointed to the relics, “We have an A-photon reactor to shut down.”

    “Then let's get this done so we can get back to real missions.” Phoenix said and headed for the entrance.

    They caught up to Maya and the others at the core. Iceberg eyed the Communion man closely.

    “Iceberg, this is scholar Lord Ira.” Isis said.

    “It is an honour Sir.” Iceberg said shaking his hand.

    “I was most excited when I learned of your dilemma.” Lord Ira said, “To finally put my skills to practice is a most welcome treat.”

    “Please continue Sir.” Iceberg waved to the consul, “Time is of the essence.”

    Lord Ira excitedly skipped over to the large circular consol and began studying the read outs. Iceberg watched for a moment before leaning over to Phoenix.

    “How come you keep getting all the fun missions lately?”

    “I have already complained to HQ but they continue to keep giving me these baby sitting jobs.” Phoenix grumbled.

    “I think your problem is your insistence to work alone.” Iceberg shrugged, “Most missions require at least two Guardians.”

    “A true warrior needs no partner.” Phoenix replied, “As a Cast I have no need for a partner, especially one of inferior species.”

    “I’ll try not to be too offended.” Iceberg frowned.

    “That concerns me not.” Phoenix waved.

    “Just be careful.” Iceberg said, “Next thing you know they’ll stick you with an instructor job.”

    “Don’t even joke about that.” Phoenix shot, “Being forced to pair with an inexperienced rookie would be the final insult.”

    “It’s not that bad.” Iceberg shrugged, “I made out all right.”

    “Say’s you.” Phoenix grumbled.

    “PRAISE THE HOLY LIGHT!” Lord Ira cried.

    Iceberg and Phoenix hurried over to the consol stopping beside Isis and Maya.

    “You have found something.” Phoenix stated.

    “Yes.” Ira nodded, “Remember I am no technician but from what I can tell this whole sight is an antenna for the reactor.”

    “What does it do?” Maya asked.

    “I don’t know but this panel should activate a holographic image.” Ira shook his head.

    “Then do so.” Iceberg commanded.

    Ira tapped three buttons causing a large 3D image of Neudaiz and its moons to appear above their heads. A red stream of energy was radiating out from the surface of Neudaiz, forming a large swirling disk above the largest moon.

    “What is that?” Isis gasped.

    “From what I can tell, this is where we are.” Ira said pointing to the base of the stream.

    “So this site is an A-photon transmitter.” Iceberg said scratching his beard.

    “Looks that way.” Ira nodded.

    “For what purpose?” Maya asked.

    “We need an A-photon expert for that.” Ira said.

    “Tomrain.” Phoenix and Iceberg said.

    “And we need to go there.” Isis said pointing at the swirling disk.

    “Wait, there’s more information here.” Ira said.

    He tapped a few buttons and the map expanded to the entire Gurhal system. Hundreds of blue lines branched out from the disk and reached out to the surface of every planet.

    “Woh, every point that those lines touch are relic's sites.” Maya gasped.

    “What are we looking at?” Phoenix asked.

    “If I am interpreting this text correctly it is all the received energy from the disk.” Ira said, “This site is a transmitter and all the other sites are receivers.” Ira said.

    “Receivers for what?” Isis asked.

    “Matter!” Ira gasped.

    “That explains all the strange technology that’s been showing up there lately.” Phoenix said.

    “Look at that one.” Iceberg pointed to a blue line that stopped just above the moon, “It’s
    larger than the other ones and it stops close to the disk.”

    “We really need to take a look at that.” Isis said.

    “Then we need to pay a certain Doctor a visit.” Iceberg said and headed for the exit.

    “But Tomrain is under heavy guard right now.” Isis called after him.

    “I would like to stay and study these inscriptions and terminals.” Ira said.

    “So would I.” Maya nodded.

    “My mission is to guard Ira so I must stay.” Phoenix said, “I will guard Maya as well.”

    “Thanks Phoenix!” Isis waved then chased after Iceberg.

    Phoenix sighed and turned back to the two scientists hunched over one of the terminals. He would have to log another protest with the Guardians.

  10. #10
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    CHAPTER TEN

    Doctor Tomrain was locked in one of the Guardians labs under heavy guard. The Illuminus had already made several attempts to abduct the man and promised more. Tomrain was seated at his desk staring at one of the few small A-photon reactors recovered from the relic’s site on Parum. He didn’t even look up when Iceberg, Isis, and the cast Lou entered the room. Lou stepped up to the desk and tilted her head.

    “Excuse me Doctor.” Lou said in her soft almost child like voice, “These Guardians have information you may find interesting.”

    “They do huh.” Tomrain replied without looking up.

    “Indeed we do Sir.” Iceberg said, “It’s about the small relic’s site discovered on Neudaiz.”

    “More A-photon reactors no doubt.” Tomrain said finally looking up.”

    “Just one.” Iceberg replied.

    “Not worth my time then.” Tomrain waved.

    “I think it is.” Iceberg replied.

    “Doctor, it’s a giant reactor.” Isis said.

    This caught Tomrain's attention.

    “And it’s emitting massive amounts of energy into space.” Isis finished.

    The Doctors face lit up with excitement as Isis explained everything they had found at the relics site. When she finished Doctor Tomrain sat in silence for a long moment before looking up at Lou.

    “I wish to visit this site.”

    “That is quite impossible Doctor.” Lou shook her head, “The Guardians can not guarantee your safety.”

    “That is hog wash.” Tomrain began.

    “There is a spy inside the Guardians.” Lou said.

    “What!” Iceberg and Isis gasped.

    “Are you sure?” Isis asked.

    “Is that why Waber disappeared?” Iceberg asked.

    “Ethan Waber’s disappearance is under different circumstances.” Lou said.

    “But he is working for the Guardians?” Isis asked.

    “I do not have sufficient data to confirm or deny that.” Lou replied, “All I can say is that he is still a wanted man.”

    “This is not important right now.” Tomrain slammed his fist on the desk, “This site must be secured by the Guardians and I must be allowed to research it!”

    “The site is under protection by Phoenix and Maya.” Iceberg shook his head, “What we want you for is what’s floating above Neudaiz.”

    “What’s above Neudaiz?” Tomrain asked.

    “Come see Doctor.” Isis said.

    “I will inform HQ and request the appropriate release forms.” Lou said.

    “You do that.” Iceberg said, “Only the Doctor will have already left. Time is short.”

    “I can not allow this.” Lou shook her head, “This is against protocol.”

    “It’s OK Lou.” Isis smiled, “You’re coming too.”

    “I am?” Lou looked puzzled.

    Isis grabbed Lou by the shoulder and pushed her out the door followed by Iceberg and Tomrain. The two guards standing outside the door watched them exit before responding.

    “Hey!” One yelled, “Come back with the Doctor.”

    “It’s OK!” Isis yelled back, “Guardian business.”

    The guards stopped in their tracks, looking quite confused. The three Guardians lead Tomrain down the hallway and out into the Guardians office. They scurried around the circular counter and towards the door.

    “Hey!” Mina called, “Where are you taking Doctor Tomrain?”

    “Official business.” Isis replied.

    “I don’t have any paper work for that.” Mina frowned.

    “That’s because Lou hasn’t filed it yet.” Isis smiled.

    Mina tried to reply but the Guardians disappeared through the door. Several Guardians had to jump out of the way as the foursome raced down the ramp to the fourth level and over to the flyer PPT terminal. Isis ushered Tomrain in while Lou and Iceberg booked a flyer. They jumped on board and quickly lifted off before any one could protest. Iceberg brought the flyer around and headed for the Neudaiz moon. It wasn’t long before their COM link started beeping.

    “It is President Dallgun.” Lou said before Iceberg could answer.

    “How do you know that?” He asked.

    “A system wide alert had been raised about us.” Lou replied, “My counter parts at the other branches have been instructed to report and apprehend us.”

    “Good thing we’re not going there.” Iceberg shrugged.

    “We are in so much trouble.” Isis sighed.

    President Dallgun appeared on the front HUD and he looked very upset.

    “Bring Doctor Tomrain back to the colony at once!” He ordered, “Do so and I might just
    over look this. Continue and I’ll have you locked up personally.”

    “If we did that then all this effort would be for nothing.” Iceberg replied, “Time is very short Sir. Tomrain needs to see this A-photon phenomenon before it disappears.”

    “We can not risk the Doctors safety.” Dallgun replied, “The Illuminus could attack at any time.”

    “So instead of being a prisoner of the Illuminus he’ll be a prisoner of the Guardians.” Isis frowned.

    “That’s not it at all.” Dallgun waved.

    “Then let me do my job.” Tomrain said, “If this involves A-photons then I must investigate.”

    “Sorry Doctor, the threat from the Illuminus is too great.” Dallgun shook his head, “Return to the colony at once.”

    “What was that Sir?” Iceberg asked as he began to play with the communications, “You’re beginning to break up. We didn’t get that last transmission.”

    “Don’t play games with me Iceberg.” Dallgun frowned, “I know you heard me clear….”

    The HUD disappeared cutting the link with the colony.

    “It was nice being a Guardian.” Isis sighed, “Now I’ll be lucky to get a job as a garbage woman.”

    “Relax, we’ll be fine.” Iceberg shrugged, “I’ve done much worse than this.”

    “It is true.” Lou nodded.

    Isis just shook her head and leaned back in her seat. The flyer entered the catapult that accelerated it to Neudaiz. Iceberg banked away from the approach lane and headed for the largest moon. Here there was no visible energy stream radiating from the surface, no swirling disk, only a slight sensor reading.

    “I don’t see anything.” Isis shook her head.

    “That would be why no one knew about this.” Iceberg replied.

    He tapped the COM board and contacted Phoenix.

    “Go ahead.” The cast replied.

    “I see the signal booster you set up is working.” Iceberg said.

    “Yes but we have to keep it on max power.” Phoenix replied, “We have you on the map now. The disk should be right in front of you.”

    “Nothing.” Iceberg said.

    “Try venting some drive plasma from your engines.” Maya suggested, “It might light things up for you.”

    “Good idea my girl.” Tomrain smiled.

    Iceberg entered the necessary commands and a stream of blue gas began flowing from the flyer. It gently drifted out into space until it hit the stream from the planet. It was blasted out into the swirling disk lighting up the outer edge before swirling into the center.

    “Amazing.” Tomrain gasped, “It takes a massive amount of energy to warp space like this.”

    “Warp space?” Iceberg frowned, “Is it dangerous?”

    “I’m not sure but it does explain some of the ancient and alien objects and weapons that
    have been showing up at the relic’s sites.” Tomrain nodded.

    “We confirmed this at the relic’s site.” Isis said.

    “How so?” Tomrain frowned.

    “We are looking at a giant map of the Gurhal system.” Maya said, “It shows us all the received light streams that came through that disk. All but one goes to a relics site.”

    “Where does the one go?” Tomrain asked.

    “It stops here.” Iceberg replied.

    “Here?” Tomrain gasped.

    “Here.” Isis nodded.

    “Doctor, I believe the object is increasing in size.” Lou reported.

    “It’s building up to some massive release of energy.” Tomrain said excitedly, “This may explain what happened to the ancient civilization here in Gurhal, or where they came from.”

    “Are you suggesting they may not have originated here?” Iceberg frowned.

    “Did we?” Tomrain smirked.

    Iceberg started to reply then thought for a second before shrugging.

    “Doctor according to this map nothing has ever exited our system through that disk.” Maya said, “Only entered, it may be a one way gate.”

    “Quite possible.” Tomrain nodded, “And I believe it may be charging up for another entry.”

    “I wonder what we’ll get this time.” Iceberg said softly.

    “Probably just another Varista.” Isis mumbled staring at her hand gun.

    “Doctor, I am receiving strange readings from the surface of the moon.” Lou said.

    “Hmmm, yes I see.” Tomrain nodded, “There is something down there.”

    “Then we need to take a look.” Iceberg said.

    He banked the flyer around the energy disk and angled in at the readings on the surface. He did one quick fly by before bringing the shuttle down near the readings. Tomrain quickly equipped his own line shield before handing oxygen recyclers to the others.

    “Equip these to your line shields.” He said, “It may get a little cold out there but at least we’ll be able to breath.”

    “I didn’t know line shields would protect us from the vacuum of space.” Isis shook her head once.

    “For a short period of time they will.” Tomrain replied.

    “Then we had better make this quick.” Iceberg said as he finished checking his rifle, “Lou stay with the ship and keep an eye out.”

    “I will.” Lou nodded.

    The rear hatch popped open with a loud hiss as the entire rear bay decompressed. Iceberg, Tomrain, and Isis were greeted by a stinging cold. Isis began shivering as she was the most underdressed. Lou set her COM link to open and instructed the others to do the same. Iceberg stepped off the ramp and on to the thin white dust that covered the hard rocky surface. He carefully studied his surroundings finally settling on an odd looking rock several meters away. He headed straight for it leaving the others behind. As he got closer it became clear that his dust covered rock was actually made of metal, and it looked very old.

    “What is that?” Isis asked.

    “Metal.” Iceberg replied and wiped the dust off the side, “Part of a ship I’d say.”

    Strange white symbols were painted on the side of the hull. He continued to wipe the dust off and the others joined in. They quickly discovered that it was very large and buried in the ground. They split up and soon had most of it cleared. They all stood silent for a moment staring up at the once jagged remains of a spacecraft. Most of it was still underground, only the broken end was sticking up. Years of exposure to the vacuum of space had left the craft perfectly preserved.

    “I wonder which half this is?” Isis asked.

    “I don’t know but I’d like to get in.” Iceberg said.

    “I’d say this damaged area was once wide open but over the years it’s been blocked up by the rock and dust from impacting asteroids.” Doctor Tomrain said.

    “Iceberg, over here!” Isis called, “I found a hatch.”

    Tomrain and Iceberg hurried over to where Isis was standing. The hatch was partially buried in the ground and looked sealed. Iceberg drew his rifle and waved everyone back. A few well placed shots quickly cleared the debris from the door. Isis stepped up to the door and pried on the latch. It took most of her strength but the latch slowly slid free then she was able to pull the door open. The dark hallway inside angled downward. Small bits of rock, that fell from Icebergs boot as he stepped inside, clattered along the metal floor as they rolled to the bottom. Iceberg equipped his goggles and carefully proceeded down the hallway. He had to slowly side step down the hall to keep from slipping down the steep slope. The hallway ended at a closed door. Iceberg reached out to give it a push. It took a little muscle but the door did slowly open. Inside was what could only be the cockpit. The front windscreen was cracked from the impact but remained intact. Two seats just behind the front consul must have served as pilot and co-pilot. Behind these there were three more seats side by side each with their own consul. What these served as Iceberg could only guess. All the panels were black and some of the display screens were either cracked or broken. Iceberg turned to Isis and grinned.

    “This must be the front half.”

    “So where’s the rest?” She frowned.

    “Incredible.” Tomrain gasped pushing past Iceberg, “This technology looks very similar to the weapons appearing in the relics.”

    “This ship is from the same place they came from?” Isis gasped.

    “Looks that way.” Tomrain nodded.

    “The power has been completely drained.” Iceberg said tapping a few of the controls.

    “What about the memory in the computer core?” Isis asked.

    “This looks like a job for Lou.” Iceberg replied.

    “I will be there shortly.” Lou said.

    Lou appeared in the door away a couple minutes later.

    “Lou, good.” Iceberg nodded, “How about it.”

    Lou walked over to the pilot consul and removed a main panel. There were a lot of wires and fibre optic cables but nothing resembling a computer interface. She continued removing panels until she found one that contained rows of small circuit cards.

    “I believe I have found some computer command cards.” Lou reported, “We may be able to take these back with us provided they haven’t degraded too far.”

    “The vacuum of space should have preserved them.” Tomrain said.

    Lou pulled out all the cards and stored them in her nanotransformer. Tomrain continued to study the writing on the walls. It turned out to be very similar to Gurhal writing and most was warning decals or simple labels. Lou started to pull on of the last boards; she only had five left, when it let out a bright spark. Lou immediately let go leaving the board in place.

    “I thought the power was completely drained?” Iceberg frowned.

    “It appears we were mistaken.” Lou replied.

    “If there’s power running through that board then it must be running something.” Tomrain said.

    “Then we need to find it.” Iceberg nodded and headed back up the hallway.

    “Lou, can you tell what that board is running?” Isis asked.

    “No, but I am attempting to trace the power.” Lou replied.

    She paused for a moment staring off into space before looking up at Isis.

    “I have traced the power to a lower deck.”

    “Let’s go.” Isis nodded.

    Iceberg climbed about halfway up the hallway where he found a circular hatch in the inner wall. It wasn’t locked so he pulled it open. Inside he found a ladder that lead to a lower deck.

    “Iceberg!” Isis called, “The power is running something on a lower deck.”

    “Lucky for me.” Iceberg said to himself.

    He climbed onto the ladder and slid down to the floor below. He found himself in a large room with several capsules large enough to encase a big Cast, placed through out the room. Most of them were open and empty. One located on his right was closed and the small interface panel glowed with a dim light. Iceberg slowly approached the capsule first looking at the panel. It was covered in heavy dust. Iceberg carefully wiped away the dust and found a display that looked very much like vitals readout.

    “What is it?” Isis asked as she stepped off the ladder.

    “The source of our power.” Iceberg replied

    “But what is it?”

    Doctor Tomrain stepped off the ladder and stepped aside to make room for Lou. Iceberg stepped around to the head of the capsule and wiped the dusk off the small glass window. He peered inside and was greeted by the slender metallic head to a purple and black Cast. Iceberg had never seen such a design before. The Cast had solid yellow eyes, no visible mouth and three white dots on his forehead arranged in a triangle. Iceberg couldn’t quite make it out but it looked like there was an object lying beside the Cast. Iceberg frowned.

    “Who’s in there?” Isis asked.

    “A strange Cast.” Iceberg replied.

    “Let me see.” Tomrain said pushing him aside.

    Iceberg let himself be moved though he wasn’t too happy and expressed his annoyance
    with a growl.

    “This is incredible.” The Doctor gasped.

    “What is it Doctor?” Lou asked.

    “This could very well be an ancient.” Tomrain replied.

    The girls gasped. Iceberg just grumbled.

    “I wonder how long this ship has been here.” Tomrain asked quietly.

    “Maya, do you read?” Isis said tapping her COM link.

    “Barely.” Maya replied, “Isis you’re pretty broken up.”

    “Maya, are there any dates on that map of yours?” Isis asked, “Specifically the one that stops in space.”

    “Sorry Isis no dates.”

    “Thanks Maya.” Isis nodded.

    “Strange.” Lou muttered as she tapped a couple of buttons on the pad.

    “Lou?” Isis tapped the androids shoulder.

    “This technology is slightly more advanced than ours.” Lou replied, “I believe it predates the relics level of technology however from what I can tell from this, this vessel is not as old as the relics.”

    “So, they’re not ancients?” Isis asked.

    “I do not believe so.” Lou shook her head, “But I would say he is of the same technology as the Kubara prototypes that have shown up in the relics.

    “But they’ve only started to show up.” Iceberg said, “This place is much older than that.”

    “It is possible that the energy disk has the ability to cross time as well as space.” Tomrain said, “The weapons and artefacts are all appearing at the same time because they are being received by the relics sites. It may be that these sites control when these things enter our universe. Our friend here wasn’t received by a site; he was dumped here in orbit. I would theorise that his ship was dropped from the slip stream at whatever point in time he was.”

    “Are you saying he just crossed space Doctor?” Lou asked.

    “He may have crossed time too.” Tomrain replied, “But his entry to our universe was not controlled. No telling what the date was when he arrived.”

    “The power on this unit is close to failure.” Lou reported.

    “How long?” Iceberg asked.

    “No more than a year.” Lou replied.

    “Can you revive him?” Isis asked.

    “I estimate a ninety four percent success in that procedure.” Lou nodded.

    “Then do it.” Iceberg frowned.

    Lou tapped a few buttons then watched as the life readings rose to full level. There were a couple of clicks then the canopy slid back revealing a tall slender powerful looking Cast. Beside him lay a black and red scythe. Iceberg started to reach for it. He didn’t want a strange Cast being armed in case he was hostile. His fingers nearly grazed the shaft when the Cast grabbed him by the wrist.

    “No one touches my Soul Eater.” The Cast growled.

    “It’s alive.” Tomrain gasped, “And is can broadcast over our COM links.”

    “The lack of oxygen in here made it necessary.” The Cast said as he sat up, “It appears I was correct, the stasis pod protected me from the crash.”

    He paused for a moment to look at his rescuers stopping with Isis. He released Icebergs arm and frowned at the beast woman.

    “I recognize human and android though I do not know your design.” He said nodding at Lou then glared at Isis, “What manner of beast are you?”

    “Me?” Isis hesitated, “Why, that is exactly what I am.”

    “Do not play games woman.” The Cast glared.

    “I am called a beast.” Isis replied.

    “I see.” The Cast nodded, “You share similarities with the genetic structure of the humans but I detect much mutation, enhancing physical strength and structural integrity.”

    “We were genetically created for hard labour.” Isis replied softly.

    “By the humans no doubt.” The Cast glared at Tomrain, “No matter where in the universe you go, you must always try to change who you are. Always trying to create something better and always failing. It was the same with the Newmans.”

    “You know of Newmans too?” Tomrain asked.

    The Cast sprang from the bed grabbing the Doctor by the collar.

    “You have Newmans as well?” He growled.

    “Yes.” Tomrain nodded, “An off shoot of humans too. Superior mental strength lessened physical strength.”

    The Cast released Tomrain, “Where am I?”

    “You crashed on the largest moon of Neudaiz in the Gurhal system.” Tomrain replied.

    “I remember seeing three planets.” The Cast said, “They were all at war.”

    “Yes but that was over a hundred years ago.” Tomrain nodded.

    “And the ranger Deepfreeze, did he survive?” The Cast growled, “Did he beat me?”

    “I’m afraid I have no idea who you are talking about.” Tomrain shook his head.

    This appeared to settle the Cast for a moment.

    “Then he failed.” The Cast nodded, “I may still have time.”

    He turned back to the others and began to slowly tap the butt end of his weapon on the floor.

    “I assume you have a space craft?” The Cast glared.

    “Wait a minute.” Iceberg said stepping forward, “I have some questions for you.”

    “I see fire in your soul.” The Cast seemed to grin, “I shall enjoy killing you.”

    The red orb at the base of the blade began to glow and before anyone could react, he attacked.

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