Rattler wakes up, seeing the cat aim at Deathstrike, he pulls her down in time to avoid a laser blast. Taking aim with his laser pistol, he snaps off two quick shots, frying the freaky laser shooting feline. "You're welcome." He says dryly as he gets up. "And not all pilots are useless outside of the cockpit. Don't ask me how I know you think that, I have no idea. Probably this whole place is screwing with us. Let's just get the hell out of here."
The Assailant runs down the hall behind Rattler and Deathstrike. "Long story, but I know how to get out of here!" He shoots them both in the gut. "Sorry." The Assailant pulls out a knife and slits his own wrists. The three wake up on the ceiling. The Assailant looks around for a moment, looking at the smoking ruins of the last battle. He sees the Gatekeeper, just standing there.
Rattler wakes up again, this time hanging from the ceiling, with a rather irate Deathstrike next to him.
"You know... this waking up thing is getting old." Rattler growls as he works his way free of the vines. A moment later the Assailant wakes up.
"What the hell have you done?!" The Assailant cried as he jumped down from the ceiling. Now they know we're awake! We have to get out." He looks around the room to make sure everyone is free. He turned back to the Gatekeeper. "NOW!" The Assailant shoves past the Gatekeeper, and picks up Kane's saber. He looks back to everyone else, then leaves the room.
Darkon still looks quite confused, as Ty helps him to his feet. The Mercenary gives the Sith an odd look, before following the Assailant out of the room. "Lead the way, friend."
The Gatekeeper quietly follows the Assailant and Ty, as he summens Kane's mask, and puts it in his pocket.
"Listen," Said the Assailant, addressing everyone, "In case your memory hasn't come back fully, remember, these creatures are invincible in a fair fight, if you see one, run the other way. Getting out of here is going to be really difficult thanks to the genius here." He gestures angrily at the Gatekeeper. "But the sooner we get going, the better chance we've got. Let's find a hanger."
The Gatekeeper says nothing at the direct insult to him from the Assailant, however he does mutter the word "Kane..." in a sorrowful voice under his breath...
Rattler and Deathstrike catch up with the Assailant just as a cloaked figure appears. The Assailant moves to strike when Rattler holds him back, narrowing his eyes.
"You're the one that tried to help me back in that simulated world, aren't you?"
The figure, who upon closer inspection is revealed to be female, nods.
"Yes I am. But there is no time to waste. If you value the countless lives in this universe, you will follow. Gatekeeper, not all of us follow your brother."
Rattler asks her about her interest in him, as she apparently never appeared before any of the others.
"You are a child of the creators, those you would call the Forerunners. But now is not the time to discuss this. Hurry!"
Rattler rolls his eyes.
"Anyone else think she's hiding something? Cuz I don't want to be the only one."
He blinks as the cloaked woman makes a gesture, and their weapons appear.
"In case you still doubt me."
Ty294 buries his face in his hands. "As if this is already weird enough... I think I'm gunna retire. Yah, I'll retire. Buy a nice home on Naboo... maybe get a cat... one that doesn't shoot lasers..."
"I agree with you Ty." Said Rattler, "I'll be happy to get back to fighting just the Kilrathi. But look on the bright side, she's not trying to kill us... yet." Rattler says quietly, "Besides, I think that whole Forerunner line was a cover. Unless there's a whole bunch of full moons all lined up beaming bozo rays into everyone's brains."
The Assailant raises his hand, motioning everyone to stop. He peers around the corner to see one of the 'creatures'.
He motions for everyone to step back, but the creatures suddenly turns it head and looks strait at the Assailant. It's face looked like a very pale human with pitch black eyes. "RU-!" The Assailant starts to yell, but is cut short as he collapses to the floor, grabbing his head, as the creature tortures his mind.
Ty294 quickly activates his cloaking device and vanishes from view. However, his voice is heard by the everyone.
"Run you fools! Go! Go!! Go!!!"
The Gatekeeper walks over to the Assailant, and starts dragging him toward the creature. The he raises his hand and fires a bolt of red lightning at the creature. The creature absorbs the lightning, but in doing so, he temperarily releases his hold on the Assailant.
"You can't...fight it...RUN!" The Assailant screams as he gathers the energy to raise a gun and fire at a window, revealing a hanger.
The alien shot Darkon in the chest with some kind of weapon. Darkon stood there for a second, wavered a bit, then fell to the ground. "Master!" Deathstrike cries, running to her master's body.
Rattler snaps up his laser pistol, and fires at the creature. Instead of a blue bolt, a golden one lances out, and slams into the creature. The creature collapses.
"Wait a minute, I thought these things were supposed to be invincible?"
The cloaked woman responds. "I made a few alterations to your weapons. Unfortunately they are only able to stun them. We must hurry."
The Assailant starts to get up. "WHY AREN'T YOU IN THE BLOODY HANGER YET?" He throws himself through the broken window down into the hanger.
Rattler grabs Deathstrike's hand, and pulled her out of the room, into the hanger.
The Gatekeeper calmly walks into the hangar, leaving a trip mine on the door and broken window.
"Those trip mines will create a loud explosion when the line is crossed. They will temporarily stun the target, so they will buy us some..."Suddenly one of the creatures dives over the trip mine and onto the Gatekeeper's head, wrestling him to the floor, shreading at him with his claws. The Assailant gets onto one of the ships and uses the ship guns to blast the creature. "GET ON THE SHIP YOU IDIOT!"
"I'm already on the ship, Assailant." Said the Gatekeeper, standing behind the Assailant. "That was a dummy I postioned to distract them. Now you have revealed our location. Great job."
Everyone boards the ship, and they take off.
"But what about this place?" Captain O'Neill asks. "If we just leave, they will just capture more people and do this all over again."
The Gatekeeper replies, "I can answer that. We find out what planet this is, I take a massive fleet of Star Destroyers and the Uberweapon, we mop up resistance, then use the Shadow Laser to blow it up. Fair enough?"
"As long as they get taken out, fine by me." Rattler says.
"The Shadow Empire is gone." The Assailant said, as he looked at the Gatekeeper. "No-one can control the force near them, and neither could the Uberweapon. Until they are all dead, your precious Uberweapon is useless."
"Never underestimate me. I can summon a new Uberweapon in an instant as well as an INFINITE number of Star Destroyers. Assailant, you have my word. They can't win. Just tell me who needs taken out, and it will be done. It will take awhile, if they are as powerful as you say, but keep this in mind: Even if my Empire is gone, my fleet and the original Uberwerapon destroyed, I can still use the Force. As well as other sources of power. It is clear to me that we can only make it out of this war alive if we work together. I can provide the military, as well as a master tactical strategist. I've been doing this since long before you were even born. So, what do you say? Unending fleet? Invincible battleship? Perhaps even peace when this is all over...?"
"You still don't remember, do you?" Asked the Assailant, clearly frustrated that no one else remembered. "Those things back there aren't the threat, they are just minions! There are only two leaders, and they are, as far as we know, unstoppable! You became powerless in their presence before, and it almost cost you your life! Now you want to do it again?"
The Gatekeeper would not listen, so he teleported out of the ship.
"You damned idiot!" Yelled the Assailant.
Lord Darkon realizes that he missed the escape. However, a strange... presence... can be felt through the Force in this facility.
"Typical. Well, up to a True Sith'ari to rid the universe of this menace!"
At a sudden sound behind him, Lord Darkon rolls, just in time to avoid a black power-bolt fired by another of the human-like creatures that has just entered the hangar.
Teras-Kasi piercing kick - with the Force still blocked, and weaponless, Darkon has to revert once again to his mastery of Teras-Kasi. However, the creature is unharmed.
Another of the black power-bolts catches Lord Darkon in a grazing blast to the side. He staggers, moderately wounded. He feels the power of the crystal he absorbed earlier pulsing through him once again. He looks back up at the beast with an evil smile on his face.
Basilisk Stare - the creature is turned to stone
Teras-Kasi hammer kick - and is now a pile of dust
"Well, one more down... how many more to go?"
Deathstrike suddenly jumps to her feet.
"You thought Lord Darkon was dead! He is not! I can sense him again! I'm going back!"
Before anyone can stop her, she jumps into an escape pod, launches it, and pilots it back to the hangar.
"I shall stand by my Master! I will not let him face those creatures alone!"
Deathstrike's escape pod lands back in the hangar. She joins Lord Darkon.
"Master, you actually destroyed one of them?! The hooded woman told us they could only be stunned! Your powers truly are astounding..."
"I was fortunate to find an empowerment crystal, my apprentice. The power it granted me allowed me to gain the upper hand. However, I am still cut off from the Force, and by the haunted look in your eyes, I can guess you are, as well. Tell me, who is this 'hooded woman' you speak of, and everything else that happened while I was... indisposed."
"At once, Master. And while you are empowered, look, I have a lightsaber. So neither of us is completely weaponless. That bodes well for us."
Deathstrike's escape pod lands back in the hangar. She joins Lord Darkon.
"Master, you actually destroyed one of them?! The hooded woman told us they could only be stunned! Your powers truly are astounding..."
"I was fortunate to find an empowerment crystal, my apprentice. The power it granted me allowed me to gain the upper hand. However, I am still cut off from the Force, and by the haunted look in your eyes, I can guess you are, as well. But, as you can see, the creature did manage to wound me. Without the Force, I cannot regenerate... I must find some healing herbs in that forest in the last plane. Let's go. On the way, you will tell me, who is this 'hooded woman' you speak of, and everything else that happened while I was... indisposed."
"At once, Master. And while you are empowered, look, I have a lightsaber. So neither of us is completely weaponless. That bodes well for us."
Lord Darkon listens as Deathstrike tells the whole story.
"So, the Gatekeeper has a brother, Kane, who drove the Jedi into two factions." Darkon mused. "And the Dark Jedi eventually began to interbreed with the ancient True Sith, and took on the mantle of the more contemporary misguided 'Sith'. Why am I not surprised that such misguided arrogance is a truism for his entire family, not just the Gatekeeper," Darkon rolls his eyes. "In any case, this situation is now beginning to make sense. This Kane is responsible for the suppression of our Force abilities, and he is likely the master of these 'creatures' that seek to destroy us. If the True Sith are to prevail in this struggle, we MUST destroy him!"
"The Gatekeeper plans to assault this multidimensional planet with the Uberweapon and his fleet, and destroy it, Master. He believes that will solve this situation."
"Typical. He even underestimates his own brother! He thinks that a simple direct assault will be enough... and I am sure Kane expects him to do just that! Still, the Gatekeeper's assault will certainly distract Kane... giving us the opportunity to act from within, and destroy him! We shall remain concealed for now, and try to find more of these empowerment crystals, as well as any other weapons available. We will need every bit of power available to take on Kane! Also, I suspect that when Gatekeeper attacks, Kane will be distracted enough for our Force abilities to return to us... for now, however, this is a waiting game."
"Yes, my Master."
Ty294 materializes directly behind Deathstrike.
"Darkon, now your the one doing the underestimating. Did you think this would be so easy? The only reason I snuck back with Deathstrike is to save you two from your foolish delusions so you don't get killed uselessly! Those crystals are a ruse! When you use them they give you a false power while draining your real power and giving to the enemy! Look!"
Points back toward the hangar, where the mysterious creature, previously thought destroyed, had vanished.
"Now great Sith'ari, you better follow me!"
Darkons makes no move.
Ty stands right in front of the Sith'ari and Darkon feels Ty's powerful grip around his throat.
"You idiot! This Assailant knows more about these forces then you will ever know! Now you attempt to take them on yourself? If you wish to die Darkon, I guess I cannot stop you. I only wish you wouldn't drag this girl to doom with you."
Ty activates his cloaking device and disappears. He swiftly moves to another hangar where he can only hope there is a ship that is still pilotable.
Deathstrike stares after the Mercenary, which she believes to be an illusion.
"Even as an illusion, he is still a coward. Run, rather than face the enemy and conquer!"
"Ignore him, my Apprentice." Darkon said as two creatures - different than the ones before - walked up behind the two sith. "Looks like more minions of Kane are attempting to waylaid us. Take the demonic beast to the left, I'll dispose of the right one."
Deathstrike charges the left beast, as it fires some sort of toxic dart out of its mouth. Deathstrike throws herself to the side, transferring her forward momentum into a sideways roll, still toward the beast. Before the beast can shift its aim, Deathstrike's right foot catches it behind its knees, toppling it to the ground, as Deathstrike's lightsaber slashes through its skull.
The right beast traverses sideways from Lord Darkon, discharging a volley of toxic darts with unerring accuracy. Darkon leaps straight up, entering a horizontal spin in midair, as he catches two of the darts between fingers of both hands. The rest are being evaded or deflected by the torque of the roll. As he falls back to the ground, he kicks off, and launches himself directly towards the beast. Now below the beast's initial aim level, it takes the beast a quarter second to shift its aim... far too long. With a flick of the wrist, both darts previously caught bury themselves in the midsection of the beast, sending it staggering backwards, stunned. Half a second later, Darkon's left heel connects with the beast's nose in a devastating backward snap-kick, with a force that drives its nose almost fully inside its cranium. It collapses, dead before it even hits ground.
Lord Darkon and his apprentice's eyes meet, echoing the unspoken thought.
"Never underestimate the power of Teras-Kasi!"
Moments after the demonic beast's corpses reach the floor, they merge into one twoering creature. It stands there, it's gaze moving from Deathstrike to Darkon then back to Deathstrike. In an instant, it breaks apart into a swarm of tiny insects, these insects seem to disperse for a moment, then they reform into a swarm and head straight toward Deathstrike. Unable to do a thing to stop them, the swarm envelopes Deathstrike completely. Darkon attempts to free his apprientice but only after the bugs scatter does he realize: Deathstrike is gone.
Slowly coming back to consciousness, Deathstrike is still for a moment, listening. A faint clicking sound can be heard coming from behind and to the right. Opening her eyes and slowly turning her head, she can see one of the Creatures behind her, working at some sort of computer console in the right corner of a strange room, the room's walls seemingly made of pure flesh, alive and pulsing. She can no longer feel the weight of the lightsaber at her belt, it is gone. Something is driving in her back, and she pulls out a small orange crystal. The crystal infuses in her skin, granting her a non-Force power.
As the bugs disperse, Lord Darkon is shocked that his apprentice has seemingly vanished. All that is left behind is her lightsaber, which he picks up. There is no sign of any kind as to what might have happened to Deathstrike, and without the Force, he cannot even tell if she is alive or dead. Searching the scene, he finds another small crystal, violet this time. As before, the crystal infuses into his skin, granting him a new non-Force power.
"Deathstrike's disappearance must be connected with that illusion of the Mercenary, somehow. Kane is more manipulative than I anticipated... I should follow that illusion. Perhaps more clues will be revealed."
He runs off in the direction he saw the illusory Mercenary take. Darkon enters a hangar, similar in appearence to the one that the others had found their ship. As he does, he sees the duel engines of a small-fighter craft rocket to life and propel the ship out of the hangar.
Ty294 sits in the cockpit of a small fighter he located in one of the hangars. The controls are similar to his Z-95 so he has no trouble getting the craft to function. As he exits the planet's atmosphere, he begins to talk into the radio.
"This is Ty294, Assailant, are you still here?"
"Damn it! Ty294 to Assailant, do you read me?"
A faint broken voice comes over the static.
"Merce ... ssailant, what were .... send cordi ... mee ... rendevous poi ..."
The radio goes dead, Ty294's scopes locate a ship at the edge of the system. A second later, it drops off the sensers; likely it's gone into hyperspace. The computer suddenly displays a set of hyper coordinates. Ty ponders for a moment whether or not this is a trap.
"It's my only chance." he decides.
Deathstrike begins to crawl carefully and silently toward the room's exit on the far side of the Creature sitting at its console. Unfortunately, the Creature's ears are VERY acute. It rises to its feet and turns to Deathstrike, who likewise leaps to her feet.
Deathstrike's green eyes take on a black shadow-cast, as they always do when she is furious. She snarls: "Your precious Kane is simply another miserable worm in the way of Lord Darkon and the True Sith! And now, you shall see that I am not as 'feeble' as you think..."
Dimensional Displacement - orange crystal power - The Creature's body becomes two-dimensional. Not having any width, it is no longer able to support itself, and it flops to the floor like a piece of thin paper. The effect is temporary, and the Creature is still alive, but will pose no threat for some time.
"Now, let's see what this console is all about..."
She taps a few keys at random, and suddenly a map of what appears the layout of this particular dimensional plane appears on the screen. On it are denoted two green dots, clearly herself and Lord Darkon, as well as a myriad of red dots... Creatures, their demonic minions, and probably Kane. She smiles sweetly to herself, remembering one of Lord Darkon's teachings.
"Valuable intelligence on enemy movements is the most lethal weapon on any battlefield."
Deathstrike finds a datapad next to the terminal, and copies this dynamically updating map program to it, then runs out of the room on her way to meet her Master, carefully avoiding enemy concentrations. But ss Deathstrike makes her way through the corridors of the building, voices begin to swirl in her head.
"You do not know what forces are at work here..."
"Shut up Kane! You feeble attempts don't scare me!"
As she turns the corner, she sees Darkon.
"Master!" she cries dashing toward him.
Darkon turns and faces Deathstrike. Deathstrike realizes, that it's not really Darkon. The vision laughs in a deep, raspy, inhuman voice then vanishes. Deathstrike continues, but at every turn she sees someone she knows: Darkon's officers, Grage, Patten, Rattler, Ty294, the Gatekeeper. Each time she hears the voice and the visions disappear.
"You don't understand a thing Deathstrike..."
The Gatekeeper stands on the new Uberweapon, organizing a massive attack fleet, which has appeared out of nowhere. He turns to the Admiral. "Hold off on the attack. I can sense Lord Darkon and Deathstike down on the planet... Kane is still alive... I'm going." Before the Admiral can say a word, he vanishes. He reappears right next to Lord Darkon. "What a surprise..." Said the Gatekeeper. "Darkon, I don't want to do this, but seeing as the circumstances call for it, I don't have a choice. I'm going to give you your powers back, then I'm going to find Deathstrike and give hers back as well. As the creator of the Force, I'm still connected to it wherever I go, as it flows throughout my body. Long story short, your welcome, and don't abuse this privilage." He waves his hand, and Darkon feels his powers return, but before he can say anything, the Gatekeeper vanishes. Just as suddenly as he appeared, Lord Darkon feels his Force powers leaving him again. Clearly, Kane can easily counter any change in his domain. Only this time, he underestimated his adversary! Even as his powers fade out again, Lord Darkon can feel the connection between Kane, the Gatekeeper, and their ability to drain or infuse the Force. He can feel it... and he can now counter its effects completely! The Force once again empowers him, and this time, no one, NO ONE... could possibly negate it again! Not Kane, not the Gatekeeper, nor anyone else! In an instant, he senses his apprentice, rushing towards him with critical information in her hands. Phasing right next to her, Lord Darkon restores her Force connection as well.
"My lord... how...wha-?!" -Deathstrike is struck speechless.
"My supreme power is mine again, more secure than EVER before, as is yours, my apprentice! Now, let me see that map you bring, and begin to plan our move on Kane as his dear brother distracts him by his assault!"
"At once, Master!"
Meanwhile, the Gatekeeper is stalking through hallways, slaughtering these "Creatures" one by one with ease: They are not a match for the unequaled power of the Gatekeeper. He walks into a massive dueling room, and finds Kane, flanked by 20 of the creatures. Force Whirlwind: The Gatekeeper starts waving his arms around his body, and the creatures start flying around him in circles, as red lightning engulfs their helpless bodies, mysteriously draining them of their resiliency. The Gatekeeper tosses his arms out to his sides, and the creatures go rocketing outwards, destroying everything they come into contact with and killing them instantly. The Gatekeeper turns back to his brother, only to find that he was an illusion. He walks on, more determined than ever to kill his own flesh and blood...
"I feel it, my apprentice... Kane... he is exerting himself! The Gatekeeper is making his assault. Kane's energies are substantially drained. The time has come! Do you have the location?"
Deathstrike hands Lord Darkon the datapad with a map, an eager smile on her face, bloodlust in her eyes.
Force Designation - through the Force, Lord Darkon becomes one with the instrument, divining instinctively Kane's true location by the flurry of power Kane expends on his illusions, and the battle with his brother...
Lord Darkon and Deathstrike traverse the corridors, using the shortest and most efficient route to Kane's location, while the Gatekeeper continues to waste his time with Kane's pathetic Creatures and other minions. In no time at all, they find themselves in a massive oval chamber, with the walls, ceiling and floor made from pulsing live flesh, as Kane sits on a throne made from skulls and bones of all the others he disposed of in his domain.
No words were said. No words were required. After a brief locking of gazes with Kane, Lord Darkon launches his attack, Deathstrike charging to the left flank.
Force Annihilation - Lord Darkon's arms emit a massive discharge of polarized neutron energy, equivalent in power to 6 Force Destruction attacks. Kane extends his hand and blocks it, sending it straight at Deathstrike, who barely dodges it in time, however while doing so she mysteriously gets paralyzed. Kane turns his attention to Lord Darkon, just as the Gatekeeper enters the room.
Who would have imagined that the time would come when I am glad to see his ugly face? Darkon thought.
Preparatory power1 - Force Palisade - an enhanced version of Force Protection Preparatory power2 - Force Dissipation - enhanced Force Absorb Preparatory power3 - Blood Fury Rage - supremely enhanced Dark Rage
A pulsar of death, Lord Darkon is a reddish blur of pure murder as he charges at Kane, his lightsaber whirling like a hyper-fast turbojet. As Kane meets Lord Darkon's savage rush with a conterattack, and the two are engaged in a fierce close-blade duel, rainbow-coloured energies enfolding them, while the Gatekeeper rushes in to join the fray, Deathstrike stirs, her power managing to overcome the paralysis effect.
"YOU WILL NOT deny me battle, Kane... it is what I live for!!!" - she growls, that manic, blood-crazed look in her eyes once again.
Force Bloodslayer - Deathstrike's speed and reactions quadruple, and her lightsaber begins to leave behind a blood-red trail. She gathers addtional power by drinking blood directly from the flesh walls, before she charges, her entire body covered red with blood.
"FOR THE TRUE SITH!"
Admiral Patten and his elite team, Eagle Squad, suddenly uncloak just outside the throne room. "We've been doing some recon, planting traps and creating defensive position in the meantime. We'll cover the entrance!" he shouts, as he looks on in amazement at the battle unfold inside. "OK men, lets do what we do best!" he yells to his squad as he views hordes of creatures and a previously unseen robitic creation moving in his direction. "Carter, take 2 men and guard the left flank! Julia, you take the right! The rest of us will guard the center! All Guardians, ENGAGE!"
Rattler, O'Neill and the Assailant stand on the flight deck of the TCS Excalibur.
Lt. "Mags" Wilkins and the rest of the Black Knight Squadron gather around their Wing Commander. It had been a few hours since they returned on a stolen ship, and Captain O'Neill ordered all hands to battle stations as soon as they got on board. Rattler briefs not only his squadron, but the seven other squadrons as well.
"Ok listen up. We got ourselves a 'fate of the universe' thing here again. We will be coordinating with local forces in a joint operation against unknown hostiles. Our job is to provide fighter support as the TCS Kyushu gets into position to use her Phase Transit Cannon. We don't know what we are gonna be facing in the way of resistance, but expect it to be substantial. Get to your ships. We hit space in five. Good luck, and give 'em hell."
The pilots disperse, but Mags stays behind.
"Good to have you back." She said quietly to Rattler. She hugs him quickly, before rushing to get to her Rapier.
"Good to be back."
As allied forces engage the enemy on the ground, the Confed Expeditionary Fleet engages the enemy in space. Fighters from the TCS Kyushu and TCS Excalibur harass an orbital defense platform until the massive Confederation class Dreadnaught fires its Phase Transit Cannon for the first time. The massive blast leaves a hole in the platform big enough to fly a Raptor Heavy fighter through with room to spare.
Rattler banks, and lights up a turret with combined Particle Cannon and Laser Cannon fire.
"Time for a little payback."
A second blast from the Phase Transit Cannon rips the Orbital Defense Platform apart. The Black Knights enter the atmosphere to provide air support for the ground forces if needed.
The Assailant stepped up to Mags. "Do you still have my ship?" He asked.
"Yes," Mags replied. "Hanger bay 631, it's..." The Assailant runs out of the room.
Patten and his troopers fire hundreds of shots into the horde of incoming hostiles. Many fall. Just as it seems the Guardians are about to be overrun, the mines that were placed earlier suddenly detonate, cutting a large portion of hostiles down. When Patten's M12 assault rifle is out of ammunition, he throws it aside. He shouts, "You... will... all... die!" He suddenly charges forward, throwing a plasma grenade into the horde of hostiles running towards him. Yelling a savage battlecry, he ignites the plasma swords attached to his forearm armor and jumps into the middle of the advancing force, hacking, parrying, slashing, killing and destroying everything in his way. One of the creatures manage to get a severe hit in, but Patten's shield takes the brunt of the blow. "You will NOT defeat me that easily!" he shouts as he slices the creature cleanly in two. He looks up, seeing that the hallway is now clear. As he turns around, he hears metallic groan behind him. He looks over his shoulder just in time to see a stream of flames heading towards him. He rolls to the side, taking a newly designed M78 HE Tactical Shotgun out of the holster on his back. He lunges towards the robot, jumping into 5 feet into the air to avoid another jet of flame. He unloads a round into the robotic creation's head, then, while still in the air, ignites the plasma sword on his right arm, using a backhand swing to cleanly slice its head off. As he gets up, he sees 7 more running down the hallway towards him.
Lord Darkon and the Gatekeeper are momentarily on the back foot under the onslaught of Kane's assaults, Kane proving to be a very worthy opponent for both of them, when Deathstrike surges in a flash for Kane's rear. He parries a flurry of attacks, but is caught by surprise, and Deathstrike manages to score a furrow across his abdomen before she is repelled and flung back against the far wall. The stall in Kane's onslaught allows Lord Darkon and the Gatekeeper to regain the initiative. Battered, and with a shallow lightsaber burn across her right cheek, but even more invigorated by the battle, Deathstrike leaps back to her feet!
"YES!!! Yes... Hurt me, Kane... I shall hurt you far more!!!" - Even more frenzied, she unleashes another battle cry, and rushes back in.
The Gatekeeper stiffens up and extends his hands forward.
Lightning Trials; A seemingly endless amount of lightning shoots from his fingertips and into Kane, who blocks it for all of half a second before being thrown against the far wall. After the lightning stops, Kane's body is severly burnt from head to toe. He looks beat, but then he presses a button on the wall, and over a hundred of these creatures, only more advanced with stronger armor and much more mechanical in nature, yet still organic.
Lord Darkon uses force death sight to superheat Kane's skin and flesh and distract him as he issues orders to his apprentice: "Deathstrike! Do not re-engage Kane! Leave him to Gatekeeper and myself! Concentrate on those abominations! It seems this battle will be waged on more than one front! I am providing you with required backup."
She anwers reluctantly, "Yes, Master..."
"I know you thirst for his blood now, but remember the other thing I have tried to teach you, Deathstrike: Never allow bloodlust to overpower tactical objectives in battle. Bloodlust is useful as a tool of battle mastery, but not to the point that it masters you! That direction lies weakness and death!"
She answers more firmly, icy calm, but with fire underneath: "Understood, Master."
Lord Darkon summens 50 Sith Uberspectres to help Deathstrike attack the robotic abominations. Deathstrike is already upon them, a blur of motion as the first five abominations are slashed to pieces. The Spectres soon annihilate another twelve.
Lord Darkon turns back to Kane, dueling his brother, and rejoins the battle.
The Assailant, realizing that his plan is falling apart, contacts one of the only 'intelligent' people he knows.
"Ty294, do you copy? Ty294, do you copy? These idiots aren't killing a damn thing, the enemy will be hear any second now, we need to get them out!"
He drops the comm, and bursts into the throne room.
"I hate to break up you three shutta's fun, but I need to take Darkon and the Gatekeeper out with me."
Kane raises his hand, intent on destroying the Intruder, but he cannot use the force... The Gatekeeper's comm crackles
Neither the Gatekeeper, nor Darkon could use the force anymore. The Assailant realizes what has happened.
At that moment, Ty294 and an Imperial Officer rush into the room.
"Stop this madness! It will do no good to kill Kane! Everyone stop and listen!"
"You aren't in control here Kane, you never were. You're a puppet to distract us from the bigger picture! Tell them your discovery Major."
"I'm Major Jammerson, Admiral Grage's chief physicist. After the battle I began to analyze the mix of interdementional energy in the sector. Long story short, the Gatekeeper and Darkon's battle earlier released an untold energy that is changing the entire fabric of the universe! If my caculations are correct, all the dementions of the universe are consolidating into one!"
Ty steps foward again.
"When we were trying to escape here the first time I recieved a message in my mind from some strange source. I can't discribe it. But this much I know."
Points at Kane.
"You're aren't in command here! IT is! IT is trying to remake or destroy the universe and it has us fighting shadows while it's plans are being carried out!!!"
The Assailant nods at the Mercenary. He turns back to the duelists.
"This planet is a trap!" he yelled. "They knew you'd come back here, and you have! Now they are here to finish the job!" He looks back up at the Gatekeeper. "Not even you can control your own power now. These things are not of this universe."
As Rattler flies overhead, a rift forms above the enemy base. The Black Knights break off to avoid contact. Switching his radio to an open channel, he alerts allied forces.
"Knight 1 to allied forces, Some sort of rift has formed above the enemy base. I repeat, a rift has formed above the enemy base. Black Knight Squadron will maintain position outside its range."
On another channel, various transmissions are picked up, with sources calling themselves GDI, Colonial, Star League, and even Federation and Terran Empire. Rattler glares at the rift, thinking that the final battle is about to begin.
Ty294 turn toward Patten and his men.
"If you value your life and your men's lives you'll get out of here now!"
Turns toward Deathstrike, Darkon, Gatekeeper and Kane.
"You're greed and arrogance has blinded you all! If you would acknowledge there are other intelligent beings in this universe besides yourself we may not be in this mess!"
"Screw this." The Assailant turns and runs out of the room. "Come on Ty, we've got a Universe to save."
Ty294 gives one last glance at the four pairs of angry but confused eyes in the room then turnes and, along with Major Jammerson, dashes after the assailant.
Deathstrike rushes back to Lord Darkon, a commlink in her hand.
"My lord, I don't understand... listen to this..."
The commlink crackles with transmissions from many previous battles, all intermingled, chaotic, unfathomable... the voices of Lord Darkon, The Gatekeeper, Admiral Grage, Grand Admiral Patten, Fleet Admiral Rajko, and even Deathstrike herself, all overlapping... along with sounds of battle and mayhem.
Lord Darkon's face is carved from stone, as he realizes the horrible truth.
"The universe is beginning to collapse in on itself! THAT is what the Assailant meant..."
"No time, my apprentice" - Lord Darkon says as he smashes the commlink - "We must go!"
Together, with the Gatekeeper and Kane, they run to catch up with the Assailant.
The six climb into the Assailant's ship and fly it out of the atmosphere towards the battle.
"How exactly can this disaster be reversed?!" Darkon asked, "How can the universe be saved? Answer me!"
The Assailant through his hands up in the air, "Hell, I don't know!"
The Gatekeeper responds,"Typical Gatekeeper answer, but I suggest we find the guy in charge and take 'em out. That usually works, doesn't it? If not... I hate to say this, but we could fly to my dimention, which is permanently sealed, by the way, so it is not being altered, and I could go to my lab and destroy the galaxies, rebuild them, and pray that this 'Thing' was destroyed with them..."
The Assailant looks at the Gatekeeper. "You still don't get it, do you? YOU HAVE NO POWER! You are mortal, just like the rest of us! If you die, your dead. We can't go to your dimension, even if it does exist, because YOU HAVE NO POWER!"
Ty294 turns and grabs a stunned Gatekeeper by the throat.
"Have you not been listening at all my friend? The ENTIRE universe is collapsing! Your demention is no safer then any other!"
The Assailant looked up, surprised. "What the... The Uberweapon is moving..." He realizes what is happening. "Oh Shi...!" The Assailant swerves the ship and narrowly evades a shot from the Uberweapon. "They have taken over the Uberweapon!"
"Rattler, this is Admiral Alexander Grage, we have not been formally introduced but that doesn't matter now! All your forces are in grave danger! Fall back to my command ship. I'll send you the coordinates! Move quick!"
"Copy that Admiral. Knights, form up on me!"
The Black Knight Squadron heads back out from the planet's atmosphere, and sees the Expeditionary Fleet already near Admiral Grage's task force.
Rattler watches in horror as the Uberweapon turns on them, and fires on the closest forces, A TEC battle group. Rattler starts swearing profusely over the open channel.
The Gatekeeper argues, "My other powers are gone, but I still have the Force! No matter how many times it leaves me, my body regenerates it! GET IT THROUGH YOUR HEAD!"
Deathstrike turns to her Master. "Or... could all this be, this universe, this reality... IN OUR MINDS?!" She turns to the Gatekeeper - "Oh, SHUT UP!"
She ignites her lightsaber and stabs herself, but instead of collapsing to the deck, she.... vanishes.
Lord Darkon stares for a long, long moment at the space she had just occupied, before smiling tightly to himself. "Hmm... perhaps I have taught her... too well! So be it."
He ignites his own blade, and throws himself upon it. He is... gone.
Suddenly, Darkon and Deathstrike rematerialize on the ship. Ty294 is instantly in Darkon's face.
"You pathetic moran! All the dimensions are compressing into each other! The spiritual is joining the physical! Stop your insanity!"
The Gatekeeper, not even noticing Darkon and Deathstrikes stupidity, continues arguing with the Assailant.
"Want an example? Fine!"
Just as the Gatekeeper is about to Crush the Uberweapon, he feels his powers leave him.
"What?! This is insane! That's impossible! How am I supposed to torture people to death without my powers?! ARGH! Aaargh!!! "
The Gatekeeper suddenly collapses to the floor, holding his head. "Sithspit!" The Assailant cried, "They're invading his mind!" He fires several shots at the huge ship emerging from the rift. The Gatekeeper gets up. "What a minute... that's just a normal ship... it's huge, but there is nothing supernatural about it..." He thought for a moment, dodging a couple shots from the Uberweapon "They control the Uberweapon; an unimaginably powerful and indestructible ship which we can't control, and...." He looked at the others with an insane expression on his face "I've got an idea."
Squadrons from both the TCS Excalibur and TCS Kyushu start harassing the Uberweapon, targeting the massive vessel's weapons in hopes of at least disabling them. The TCS Kyushu comes about, and prepares to fire her Phase Transit Cannon if necessary.
"Ok, does ANYONE have an idea how to stop this?" Rattler asked, exasperated. "If whoever is behind this mayhem continues to find ways to make us fight each other, we're not gonna get anywhere!" He exclaims over the open channel as he dodges anti fighter turret fire from the Uberweapon.
"I have a plan." Explained the Assailant. "Ty, you and me are going to the Uberweapon, I believe that the creatures will come to the Uberweapon to destroy us." He turns and looks at Darkon and the Gatekeeper. "You two are going to... I can't believe I'm saying this... You are going to take control of my ship, and land on the 'Mothership' AFTER the creatures are on the Uberweapon. Me and Ty will stall them as long as possible, you and the Gatekeeper must fly the 'mothership' into the Uberweapon, destroying both ships, and, hopefully, these 'aliens'."
Darkon made a noise on floor, everyone looked at him. "Now who is the only intelligent individual here...." he said, while cackling madly.
"Appearantly not you." Ty replied.
The Assailant docks the ship on the Uberweapon. "You with me Ty?" He asked.
"To the ends of the universe, assailant! Such an ironic phrase right now."
Just before Ty leaves, he looks at Darkon, who is laying on the floor, muttering incoherently. Ty stomps him in the stomach. "See ya Sithy!" Ty ran down the loading ramp.
"Uh, Assailant?" The Gatekeeper said, "We've got a problem. Darkon's monkey-ass has bailed. I have no idea where he went, but I have another idea: What if I go to the Uberweapon? I have stronger armor, I know where everything is AND I created the ship. You and Ty can go to the Mothership. How's that sound?"
"We are not going to control the Uberweapon," The Assailant replied, "We are going to distract the creatures. If there is just one person, they will just invade his mind, with two, they can't do that. You need to go the mothership."
The Assailant lays his hand on his ship one last time.
"Keep her safe for me."
The Assailant and Ty procede into the Uberweapon.
Nobody is on board the Uberweapon.
The Assailant and the Mercenary made their way to the bridge, but no-one was there either. The Assailant looked at Ty.
"We gotta let those core-slimes know we're hear."
They raised there guns and started firing at the walls and controls of the Uberweapon.
"I just hope the Gatekeeper gets to the mothership without getting killed..."
They both stop shooting. The room felt strange, it felt oddly.. cold. The Mercenary and the Assailant turn around slowly, to see to beings standing on the bridge. They looked almost human, other than for their pale skin, claws, pitch black eyes and razor sharp teeth, they were almost normal.
The Assailant looked at Ty. "You ready for this?"
The Mercenary gave him a look.
The Assailant turned back to the aliens. "Me neither." They both raised their weapons.
Rattler pulls back on the stick, having managed to destroy another turret.
A message comes through his comm: "All fighters, get clear of the Uberweapon, The Dragon Awakes!"
Rattler recognizes the message, and hits the afterburners. The last of the Confed fighters clears the Uberweapon just as the TCS Kyushu fires her Phase Transit Cannon at the Uberweapon's engines. It rips an enormous hole in the Uberweapon, but to their dismay, the ship somehow began regenerating.
Rattler, as well as every Confed pilot in the battle, starts throwing every swear word in the English Language out as they see their hard work repaired in minutes.
"What the hell kind of ship is this thing? It even survived a frakin' PT shot!"
"Cut the chatter Knight 7. I want a weapons and fuel check. If anyone's running low, gas up and load up. This is gonna be a marathon battle." Rattler says, then turns his attention to the newly arrived Mothership. The design is similar to what he saw in the simulated world, but more menacing. Getting an idea, he aims his Rapier at the Mothership. The rest of the Black Knights follow.
The two men charge the bridge, Ty294 quickly targets the nearest one, firing several shots into its face. One of other monsters flings a strange blade like object which Ty barely dodges. After the last of the beasts falls to the floor, their bodies suddenly fade away.
"Is that it?" The Assailant thought, but before the words could leave his mouth, they appeared behind the two men, and lifted them off the floor by their necks, with in-human strength. Gasping for air, the Assailant activated his flamethrower, burning both him, and his captor. He then jumped onto the back of the alien holding Ty.
Patten and his men are aboard a modified, heavily armed gunship equipped with cloaking technology. The gunship lands aboard the Mothership in a hangar, and Eagle Squad jumps out, with the gunship providing covering fire. "Go, go go! Get to cover!" Patten shouts. "Carter, flank right! Julia, flank left! Markus, supressing fire!" Blaster rounds fly all around Patten's head as he jumps over a pair of crates and rolls to the next stack, throwing a plasma grenade in the process. The grenade lands next to a barrel that is apparently filled with some type of fuel, since it explodes, killing several creatures. The gunship is still giving support, cutting swathes through hostile troops with repeating plasma cannons. Julia, flanking left, catches a few troopers by suprise, killing them with a few shotgun blasts. Carter, flanking right, catches more hostiles without cover, mowing him down with his assault rifle. Patten charges forward, plasma swords ignited, jumps over the cover protecting the last several troopers, impales one while knocking another down with a scissor kick, rapidly spins, shooting a third in the head with his Magnum, impales the trooper on the ground, and diagonally cuts the final trooper diagonally in half, all in less than 10 seconds.
"Hangar secured! Eagle Squad, move forward!"
Rattler barrel rolls to evade fire from an anti fighter turret, and opens up with his Particle Cannons, destroying said turret. The rest of the Black Knights pour fire into various points on the Mothership's hull. The Mothership takes aim at the TCS Kyushu, and fires a massive green bolt of Plasma energy. The Dreadnaught's shields flare as the Plasma blast strikes.
Over allied comm channel: "TCS forces, I think you might appreciate some help," a voice says. Suddenly, a gigantic fleet of NEF vessels exit hyperspace just behind the Kyushu. The Atlantea opens fire with EPB weapons, creating massive scars on the Mothership's hull. Firestorms launch fusillades of missiles, aiming specifically for turrets. Decimators and a previously unseen type of battleship, the Devastator-class Battleship, which is normally reserved for planet defense and major offensive actions, fire their Heavy MEV cannons, trying to aid in the destruction of offensive turrets. Hundreds of Hornet-class Heavy Fighterbombers swarm around the Mothership. "Gold Flight, this is Gold Lead, arm plasma torpedoes and try to take out their heavy turrets to provide cover for the fleet!" one squadron commander orders. The battle aound the Mothership has now begun in earnest.
Meanwhile, Eagle Squad continues to move through the ship towards the bridge, eliminating all resistance they encounter.
Ty294 grabs one of the aliens in an arm lock, but the alien uses it's claws to shred at Ty's legs. Ty falls to to his knees with a cry of pain, as the alien spun around intent on decapitating the Merc, when a blade flew through the air and struck the alien in the chest. Ty gets to his feet as the creature pulls the blade out, and throws the blade back at the Assailant. The Assailant ducks to avoid it, but as he stands up again, the second alien punches him in the gut, sending him flying across the room. The Assailant slowly gets up, blood spilling from his mouth...
As the NEF fighters join the fight, Rattler quickly returns to the Excalibur to refuel. The flight deck is a hive of activity as techs scramble to rearm or refuel fighters. A Hornet light fighter covered in carbon scoring and missing part of its starboard wing barely manages to land safely.
One of the techs approaches the pilot as he waits for his Rapier. Rattler turns to face the tech.
"We got a trooper transport full of marines prepping for launch. Think you can cover their approach to that monster?"
"Which one? The Uberweapon or the alien ship?"
"The Alien ship sir."
"I'll make sure the ground pounders get to play. Besides, Sgt. Apone's got a bad case of Cabin Fever from what I heard."
Rattler gets back into his F-44 Rapier II, and closes the canopy. A Confed shuttle pulls up beside him. The catapult system grabs his fighter, and shoots him out through the airlock. The shuttle follows soon after, with about as much grace as a brick with engines. After several minutes, the trooper transport lands in one of the alien ship's hangers, and Confederation Marines proceed to secure the hanger.
"By the numbers ladies! Let's go! The Corps ain't payin' us by the hour!"
Just as Apone and his Marines reach the door, some of the troops who had boarded the Mothership before them run into the hanger. Apone stops one of the soldiers.
"I'm Sgt. Apone, Confed Marine Corps. Give me a sitrep!"
"Private Jenkins, NEF. This thing's on a collision course with the Uberweapon. We gotta get out of here!"
"God dang it. And we just GOT here. Load up Marines, we're bugging out!"
The NEF soldiers board the Confed Shuttle, followed by Apone's Marines, and the shuttle leaves.
Rattler sees the shuttle leave the hanger shortly after it arrives, and asks the pilot about it.
"This thing's gonna ram the big gun thing out there sir."
The Shuttle makes its way back the Excalibur.
"Apone's gonna be in a bad mood for weeks now..." Rattler mutters.
Eagle Squad, returning to their gunship, also leave the Mothership and head back to the Leviathan, awaiting further developments.
Ty294's gun runs out of ammo. Covered in blood, he charged at one of the beasts, ramming his gun into his skull. The creature grabs the gun from Ty, and kicks the merc into the main bridge window, fracturing it. The Assailant ducked an attack from the second alien, and kicked his legs out from under him. He then drew his mandalorian wrist blade and started stabbing it into the beast on the floor. The second alien picked the Assailant up, and threw him over next to Ty. He looked at Ty, his vision blurred with blood, the Assailant was unsure whether the Merc was alive or dead. He looked up to see the alien again, looking down at him. He waited for it... He knew his life was about to end. Suddenly, the room went dark. The Assailant looked out the window to see the mothership, blocking out the sun itself, piloted by the Gatekeeper. The Assailant smiled at the sight. He then turned back to the alien, summoned all the strength left in him to kick the alien away, he slid off the console into a kneeling position, facing the window. He grabbed Ty's arm, and raised his wrist launcher at the window. "To the ends of the universe..." He fired the rocket and was sucked out into space with the mercenary, right as the two ships collided, the shockwave propelled the two away from the colliding ships as everything went black...
The Assailant opened his eyes and looked around the room. He was in a medical bay. Ty was next to him, as was the Gatekeeper. Rattler and O'Neill were standing in the room. He sat up.
Patten and the rest of Eagle Squad walk into the med bay of the Leviathan. He salutes the brave men who he fought beside. "Well done, gentlemen. No other hostiles are in sensor range. It seems as if we have won... for now. We fought a good fight. It was an honor to fight by your sides. Well, it seems that the only thing left to do is search for survivors among the wreckage. You are all welcome to stay here for the moment. Contact me if you need anything." Patten walks out of the med bay, heading back to the bridge of the Leviathan. Looking out the windows he whistles and says, "Well it sure was one hell of a fight."
The Gatekeeper rises and turns to the Assailant.
I have one thing to say. After all that we have been through, I don't believe you ever told us your name. If you don't mind me asking, what-" Before he can finish his sentence, he looks up.
"Wait..." A grim expression appeared on his face.
"...I sense Kane is still alive..."
The Assailant, ignoring the Gatekeeper, turned to the Mercenary and extended his hand, "It's been an honor serving with you."
Ty takes the assailant's hand and grasps it firmly.
"Same to you stranger. Tis a shame I won't be collecting that quadrillion credit reward though. Ha ha!"
The Gatekeeper walks out of the room. "All of this... Everything I went through for them... Not even a thank you... Still, serving with Legend was a great honor. Perhaps I can learn from this. Learn to forget what the human race has done to me... That would be nice. Perhaps Legend would be open to forging some sort of alliance. I could help his forces grow stronger, as he could help mine. I'll be sure to ask him tomorrow. In the meantime, I'd better return to the- Oh. Right. There is no Uberweapon to return to. I'll just construct a new one. Better than the others. A TRULY invincible warship! With built in defenses on the inside. Just in case... And I'll concoct a little gift for Patten. He could use a game changing warship of his own..."
Rattler and the rest of the Confed Pilots stand at attention on the Flight Deck of the TCS Excalibur as the leaders of the various faction leaders finish their visit. Captain O'Neill shakes their hands.
"It was an honor to fight by your sides," Captain O'Neill says to the gathered leaders. The Assailant winkes at her, but before she can respond, he had already turned and was heading across the room to where Ty and the Gatekeeper were. Deathstrike approached Rattler.
"I still say you're useless, flyboy." She says.
"Maybe sometime I'll tell you about this big furball I got into in the Lylat System and Vega Sector. You'd like it, lots of nasty creatures and explosions and guns. Not to mention a blue furred fox with a staff taking on a big, nasty monster."
Deathstrike blinks at the mention of a fox, then gives the Terran a feral grin. "Don't get yourself killed then flyboy. I won't be there to pull your useless hide out of the fire."
"Don't forget to duck," Rattler shoots back at her as she returns to her master's side.
Ty294 chats briefly with Patten before sharing some laughs with Rattler and O'Neill. He moves past Darkon, who seems a bit... distant, before facing Deathstrike.
"Nice fight back there." Ty said to her. "I suppose we'll never know who would have won."
"You ran away coward. We both know I would have won."
"Excuses. Always excuses for you Sith. Remember, your master had to come rushing in to save you. Let us leave it at that."
The Mercenary faces the Gatekeeper.
"It's been a pleasure fighting with you friend. I've been with yah for the long haul. You pay good too. Ever need help with anything short of saving the universe again, I'll be there for yah... for a price."
As they board their shuttles, the Confed crew snaps off a salute. It had been a rough fight, but the Expeditionary Fleet had survived. Now, they had to focus on finding a way back to the Milky Way Galaxy, and their own war against the Kilrathi. But that is a story, for another time.
The Assailant grabbed the Gatekeeper's arm,
"One more thing...Where's my ship?"
"I landed it in hangar bay 157. It's still there, untouched."
The Gatekeeper starts to walk away, but then he turns, pulls out a comlink, and says a few words in an unknown insectoid language. He then turned back to the Assailant.
"You humans are weird." He then walks out of the room, and out of sight, just as his comlink crackles to life, and someone replies back in the same insectoid language. They continue to exchange words until he is out of earshot of the Assailant and the others.
The Assailant stands in the doorway and watches as the unlikely allies part ways. The Assailant gives a salute to everybody, "May our paths someday meet again." He turned, and walked down to the hanger. He sat in the cockpit of his ship and thought to himself. "Though I hope to God that they won't..."