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Stellar Quest


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#1 Offline Nuile the Paracosmic Tulpa

Nuile the Paracosmic Tulpa
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Posted Oct 14 2011 - 01:45 PM

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Over 100,000 yeas ago, not long before the Core War...It was a peaceful night just like any other on Spherus Magna. The starts twinkled in the sky, the weather had been beautiful, and the Agori and Glatorian below went about there business. Everything was as it should be.But then, in the blink of an eye, everything changed.No one knew exactly what they were, at first. Huge, mysterious gray shapes appeared in a flash, like rocks floating high in the sky, each the size of an entire village. In the villages below, all eyes watched the unknown shapes warily.Then tiny holes opened in the strange objects, tiny specks of light only slightly larger than stars. Immediately after, thousands of strange beings began to descend from the strange objects. They flew on orange wings, and each carried a legged creature underneath them. Agori screamed and fled as the Glatorian rushed forward to defend our villages.The mysterious beings did not attack, at first. They might not have, if our Glatorian hadn't shot their Thornax first. That's when the flying beings retaliated with a spray of their own projectiles, which exploded upon impact. Those who weren't killed fled under the onslaught.The Glatorian tried to fight back, but the legged robots were armed with strange hand-held devices, which fired beams of light that burned through both flesh and armor alike. Even the Glatorian stood no chance of defeating an army of these dangerous beings.They evacuated the villages, trying to at least save the Agori. While the invaders ransacked our homes, the Glatorian did their best to protect the Agori.And then, as abruptly as they had come, they left. The flying robots picked up their legged friends and returned to the flying objects just as a new day dawned. The huge floating rocks vanished in a flash of light, leaving the broken shells of a few of their robots and several years' worth of repair behind them.In one horrible night, our villages were destroyed. It was all so surreal. I, for one, was sure it had all been a dream. That I would soon awake from the horrible nightmare. But I did not.The Element Lords calmed us, helped us to find shelter in caves and hollow trees. They instructed their tribes in the repairing of our villages, leading us through those dark days with the promise that something was being done about it, though they refused to tell us exactly what.I was among the first few to find out what that mysterious "something" was.I am Agori Reise, and this is my story. The journey of the crew of The Unreachable Star. This is the Stellar Quest.

Chapter One

It was as I lay on the beach of Aqua Magna, my home, with the water gently lapping my feet. The gentle rhythm soothed my troubled mind. I stared up at the sky, dappled with stars, pondering its vastness. Where had those beings come from? Were there other worlds out there, where more beings lived? Obviously so. Was one of those stars their home? Was Spherus Magna a star to them?A cold wave splashed over me, bringing me out of my musing. I spluttered and coughed, spitting the salty water out of my mouth. When I looked up again, the Element Lord of Water was standing over me."Oh! H--hello, sir," I stuttered, surprised, and climbed to my feet. What did he want with me? Was I in trouble? Was he mad it me for taking a break from assisting in the repair of the Aqua Magna village?His answer would have been my very last guess. "I have a job for you, Reise," he said simply. "You must come with me."I was dumbfounded. What in the world did an Element Lord need from me? "I-I'd be pleased to help, sir. What do you need?" I asked.He did not reply, just turned and walked away, into the water. I cocked my head as he walked straight out, until his body blended with the ocean, his bubble-enclosed head disappeared.I stood there, waiting. Was he coming back? Did he expect me to follow? Surely he knew that I could not breath underwater as he could?With a sudden roar, a huge wave leapt out of the water, towering over my head for a heart-stopping second. No sooner had the thought of running managed to enter my mind that the wave crashed down on me, sweeping me into the sea. I twirled helplessly underwater, pulled along by a strong current. Vainly I fought, kicking and flapping my ams with every muscle I posessed, but the flow was too strong.As the ocean swept me along, despite my persistent struggles, panicked thoughts came into my head. I am going to drown! I never expected to die this way! Death by the very ocean that is as much home to me as my own house!I kicked wildly, flailing my arms, but the current just dragged me along. A thought struck me. Surely a current so strong could not be natural. I had swam these waters many times before, and never had I met any tide like it. Was the Element Lord of Water doing this? Was he trying to kill me? But why?My limbs were aching. My heart was throbbing painfully. And my lungs felt like they would burst. If I didn't get air soon, they probably would. Oh, what a terrible way to go! I thought.A deep, exasperated voice said suddenly, "You can breath, cool dude."In a moment I realized that he was right. I should have realized the Element Lord of Water would provide a "bubble helmet", like his own, for me. I gasped painfully, sucking in as much air as I could. Oh, sweet, wonderful air!I stopped fighting and turned around to face the way he pulled me. It was dark, and I could only just make out the Element Lord's bubble farther ahead, but little else. The moonlight did not make things much brighter. Despite the blindness, as I began to calm, I realized this wasn't such a bad way to travel. In fact, it was very enjoyable, riding effortlessly through the water at high speed. I would even call it peaceful and relaxing, once you realize you are not drowning.Suddenly I remembered why I was here, and curiosity pricked at my mind again. What in the world might the Element Lord of Water want from me? But I could think of nothing! I was just an Agori, what could I be needed for? Well, I am a medic, I thought. Is someone hurt? But even then, why call on me?The current swerved. We must have gone into a cave at that point, for the moonlight disappeared. We were left in complete darkness. The current swept on, the tunnel curving this way and that.Finally we surfaced. The bubble around my head popped, and I took in the dank, musty smell of the cave we were now in. Everything was dark, but there was a light coming from somewhere ahead. I couldn't see the Element Lord, but I assumed that was where we were headed. I walked carefully, cautiously feeling for any rocks, small creatures, or deep pits with razor-sharp spikes at the bottom.The light got bright enough for me to see the ground beneath my feet. There were few rocks, only one animal here and there, and not a single deep pit. The Element Lord of Water led the way not far ahead of me, a swirling vortex of water with a head encased by a bubble resting at the top.I was surprised to find, as we emerged from the tunnel into a large chamber, that our destination was already filled with people. I was even more surprised to see that none of them were from Aqua Magna, but that they were all from other tribes. Three Glatorian, an Agori, and even a Skrall were present, along with the other five Element Lords: Rock, Sand, Jungle, Fire, and Ice. Water joined them around a circular table, and I moved closer to the tribespeople, feeling a bit awkward.The Element Lords conferred quietly for a few minutes. I occupied myself with surveying the others in the room. The Glatorian were each of a different element, those being Sand, Jungle, and Ice. Their expressions showed the large variances in their personalities. The Sand Glatorian rocked back and forth on his feet, slightly nervous but excited. The Jungle Glatorian looked bored, his eyes roving from one thing to another. They often lingered on the Element Lords for a few moments, before moving on. At one point, our eyes met. He rolled his and looked away.I can tell he's going to be a good friend, I thought sarcastically. I just hope we'll be working separately.The Ice Glatorian was anxious. She bit the tip of her finger, tapping one of her feet on the sandy floor. I thought that, at the moment, I felt most like her.The other two tribespeople were both females. The Skrall genders, I knew, lived in separate tribes. The females wore no armor, only dark cloaks. The one I met that day wore a tattered cloak of a dark, faded purple. Her hood was down, revealing her repulsive face. That is only the opinion of an Agori, of course--all Skrall are ugly to me. She stood farther away from the rest of the tribespeople present. She was looking away from all of us, and by the sneer on her face, I could tell she was disgusted. Skrall, I knew, were very anti-social, except within their own tribes. The females especially despised any that were not one of them.And at last I took note of the Fire Agori. She stood in front of me, staring straight ahead at the Element Lords. She bounced up and down on her toes, arms folded, bursting with eagerness and curiosity.I suddenly wondered what my own appearance told. I was shuffling my feet, hands clasped behind my back. I felt nervous and awkward, with a tinge of excitement, and my actions betrayed me.At last, the Element Lords ceased their whispering and turned to us. Sand, leader of Bara Magna, spoke first, saying, "Welcome, tribespeople of Spherus Magna. I am sure you would all appreciate an explanation for our bringing you here so mysteriously."Maybe not all of us, I thought, glancing at the Jungle Glatorian and Skrall."The Great Beings have an important mission for you," Sand went on. "They left it to us to choose one member from each of our tribes, and so we have chosen you six."The Element Lord of Rock glared at the female Skrall, who returned a look of pure loathing. I highly doubted that choice had had anything to do with Rock."As you are all painfully aware, our planet was recently attacked by mysterious beings from a world unknown," said Jungle.I should have known it had to do with that, I thought. But yet, what could they expect us to do about it? Do they want us to find the bodies of the ones the Glatorian killed?Fire spoke up. "The Great Beings want to learn more about these beings. But they are far too busy, and of course we Element Lords can't abandon our tribes. So that's where the six of you come in."Excitement was building all around. I was leaning forward eagerly, the Fire Agori was bouncing more than ever, the Ice Glatorian had stuffed half her hand into her mouth, and the Sand Glatorian was rubbing his hands together while nodding slowly. Even the Jungle Glatorian was smiling expectantly at the Element Lords. The Skrall was still irritated by our presence, but she watched the Element Lords with interest.There was a pause before Sand spoke again. "You six are to search among the stars for the planet from which those beings came."We gasped in astonishment. That is what the Element Lords had chosen us for? Out of all the people of our tribes, they wanted us six for this important mission? To explore beyond our blue skies? For an adventure among the stars? Surely, it was just another dream.But no, it could not have been. It was not. It was all real, and the six of us would soon set forth past the mountains, past the clouds--into a world beyond anything the likes of which any of us had seen before.

Thanks for reading!

Word Count: 2,098

Review

Sincerely, Nuile: Lunatic Wordsmith :smilemirunu:


Edited by Nuile: Lunatic Wordsmith, Oct 17 2011 - 01:30 PM.

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#2 Offline Nuile the Paracosmic Tulpa

Nuile the Paracosmic Tulpa
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Posted Oct 17 2011 - 01:00 PM

Chapter Two

While the rest of us were flabbergasted, the Jungle Glatorian remained unshaken."We're going to strike before they get another chance?" he asked ebulliently, punching his palm."No," the Element Lord of Sand answered firmly, though some of the other Element Lords wore regretful expressions. "You will be there to spy and study only. You have seen what they are capable of--to attack them blindly would be suicide."The Jungle Glatorian frowned and crossed his arms. Meanwhile, the Glatorian from Bara Magna made a different inquiry. "How are we going to get there?"Jungle answered. "The Great Beings have created a vehicle capable of travelling among the stars," he said. "It is truly amazing. Not only will it take you to your destination, but it will provide comfortable living conditions during your travel. It has also strong defenses, in case you meet hostile forces.""Speaking of hostile forces, what about weapons?" the Jungle Glatorian piped up again. "For--erm--defense, of course."Rock smiled. "You will be provided with an array of technology for various purposes, including weapons--for defense." He emphasized that last with clear disapproval."That will be enough for now," Sand said, holding up a hand. "You know the basics of your mission. It is a great honor, but a heavy responsibility. It will be frought with danger. But the decision is up to you. None of you will be forced to accept the mission. You are free to decline and go home, as if nothing had happened.""I will take you to a nearby chamber where you can make your decision," Ice said, speaking for the first time. He started down one of the many tunnels leading out of the chamber, gesturing for us to follow. The Jungle Glatorian strode immediately after him, closely followed by the Fire Agori and the Skrall.I hesitated. The Sand Glatorian made me jump by placing his hand on my shoulder. With an amused smile he said, "Come on, don't lag behind."I nodded, letting him take the lead as we ran to catch up with the others. I hesitated near the tunnel entrance to glance back at the Ice Glatorian, who was standing alone. I called to her, and she jumped just as I had. A quarter embarrassed, a quarter amused and one half nervous, she ran after me.We caught up to the rest of the group following the Element Lord of Ice, and soon he led us into a small chamber, furnished simply with six stools around a small wooden table."Get to know one another, and evaluate the mission ahead of you. It will be very dangerous, but there's also the excitement of adventure," Ice told us. "Don't be rash, take your time to make a wise decision. Good luck."And with that, the Element Lord left us. We sat in silence for some time, each caught up in our own thoughts. The Skrall quietly moved her stool to a corner of the room, away from the rest of us.I couldn't help but think the Element Lord of Water had made a mistake. Why me? I was nothing special. Just a simple medic from Aqua Magna. I wasn't even a Glatorian! Surely this was a job for Glatorian only. But I was not the only Agori present. That was a relief!At the same time, maybe I had been greatly complimented. I had been chosen for this important and dangerous mission, alongside several Glatorian! I might not have believed in myself, but Water obviously did. If only I knew why....My thoughts were interrupted by the Jungle Glatorian's boisterous announcement. "Well, what is there to decide? If the Element Lord of Jungle chose me, I'm obviously the one for the job. Why would I leave and let someone else screw it up?" He leaned back, put his feet on the table, and added, "The name's Klimaat, by the way."What a conceited ape! I thought, shocked by his attitude.Klimaat had placed his feet in front of the Sand Glatorian's face. Disgusted, the latter pushed the feet aside, causing Klimaat to lose his balance and fall. Everyone else at the table laughed.The vexed and embarassed Glatorian climbed to his feet, brushing off the sand before sitting down again, feet on the floor and arms crossed."Sorry about that," said the Sand Glatorian, extending a hand. "I'm Seren." The hand was roughly shaken."My name is Veverka," put in my fellow Agori."I am Reise," I introduced, smiling."Cynnia. Very nice to meet you all," muttered the Ice Glatorian shyly.We all turned to the Skrall. For a moment, she just eyed us, considering whether she should speak or not. At last, she hissed, "Nagaan." A moment later she added contemptuously, "I hope you all appreciate how lucky you are. It was very commiserative of the Great Beings to allow the Element Lords to choose someone from each of their tribes, though a team with only Sisters of the Skrall would do a much better job. Hopefully you won't bungle things up too much."She was even ruder than Klimaat, which was a hard thing to accomplish. Not that I had really expected anything else....Klimaat just laughed at our Skrall friend, who gave us a very dark look before glaring in a different direction. Klimaat's cachinnations echoed around the empty chamber, until Veverka put an end to it by kicking him hard in the shins.After that, there was silence once more, until Seren broke it. "I've decided," he said slowly, "to accept the mission."Veverka nodded her head. "Me too. I was chosen by the Element Lord of Fire. I can't disappoint him."Cynnia frowned. "It is a hard offer to refuse," she said. "But...I have to. It's just--not for me. I'd rather stay here. Spherus Magna is home. I want to help with the repairs.""There's nothing wrong with that," Seren said, smiling. "It won't be easy for any of us to go. We all understand." After he said this, he glared at Klimaat, who had opened his mouth to speak. The Jungle Glatorian snapped it shut irritably.Cynnia stood up. "Thank you, it was nice meeting you all. Good luck with your mission--and your decision," she added, touching my shoulder. With those last words and a smile, she left the room.All eyes were on me now. I was the only one who hadn't voiced my decision. I hadn't made it, either. To both seek advice and stall for time, I asked, "Didn't any of you consider that maybe your Element Lord made a wrong choice?" Klimaat, of course, opened his mouth to be the first to answer. I cut across him by saying, "Well, you didn't, of course."Seren said slowly, "Well, I know I did. But the Element Lords chose each of us. And they wouldn't have if they didn't think we were capable. Some of us may be unsure of ourselves, but if the Element Lords think we can do it...well, we'll just have to do our best to live up to their expectations."Veverka nodded. "Well spoken, Seren. I agree with you." Glancing at me, she added, "But don't let us pressure you. It's your choice.""No, he's right," said I. "If the Element Lord of Water thinks I'm worthy for this mission...who am I to disagree?""If you ask me," Klimaat interposed, "If you don't believe in yourself, no one else should. But hey, they obviously saw something in you lot, and I respect any decision they make."Seren ignored him. "So we've all decided? We're a team now?" he asked, rising to place his hand at the center of the table.Klimaat shrugged, placing his palm on top of Seren's. "I'm in for whatever the Great Beings want of me.""We're a team," Veverka assented, following suit with her own hand."Yes," I affirmed, "a team." With that, I placed my palm at the top of the pile.Nagaan glared at us. "The Great Beings might have been kind enough to be even and fair, and we may be a team now, but that does not make us friends." She tossed her head and strutted to the door, saying as she went, "I just want to say that I am going to do all within my power to please the Great Beings, and I expect the same of each of you."The rest of us frowned at each other before following her out of the chamber. Though I was lost in the maze of tunnels, the Sister of the Skrall led us back to the Element Lords with ease."Have you all made your decision?" Sand asked as we entered. His fellows looked at us from where they were standing around the large table. Only Ice was not present--gone, I assumed, to lead Cynnia home.Everyone nodded, and Seren said, "On behalf of all of us, I would like to thank you for giving us the great opportunity to serve the Great Beings. We are pleased to accept."Sand smiled at the other Element Lords. "We are glad to hear it, Captain Seren."Seren's gaped in surprised. Veverka and I patted him on the back. Nagaan let out a low hiss of indignation, and Klimaat looked equally displeased."We are pleased to welcome you all to the Stellar Quest team."

Thanks for reading!

Word Count: 1,569

Review

Sincerely, Nuile: Lunatic Wordsmith :smilemirunu:


Edited by Nuile: Lunatic Wordsmith, Oct 17 2011 - 01:30 PM.

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I know I am ready to start my voyage.

 

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#3 Offline Nuile the Paracosmic Tulpa

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Posted Oct 21 2011 - 04:13 PM

Chapter Three

The Element Lords led us down another tunnel leading off the main chamber. It forked here and there, indicating a vast network of tunnels and chambers. It pricked at my curiosity. What could they all be for? Just how many secrets were hidden there? These questions, I knew, would probably never be answered."The vehicle the Great Beings have created is just ahead," Jungle explained over his shoulder. "And it's going to be your home for--well, a long time.""You mean we can't go home at all during training?" I asked, surprised."Going back and forth every day would be a waste of time," said Rock. "Besides, you might as well be getting used to living in the ship."I nodded, but I didn't like the thought that I was leaving my home behind so soon. Aqua Magna, my house, my friends...I never even had a chance to say good-bye. And what if we failed? The thought made me shudder.Veverka nudged me. "Hey, don't worry," she whispered with sympathy. "I know it's hard to think that we'll be away from home for so long, but just think about all we're about to do!"I nodded thoughtfully. "And that's exactly what worries me."Before Veverka could continue the discussion, we reached our destination. The Element Lords led us into an enormous cavern full of various pieces of advanced technology. The walls stretched upward in a long tunnel, emerging into daylight at the end. But the massive object at the center of the room caught all our attention.A giant metal orb, held in the air by three long, sturdy legs. It was larger than the largest house I had ever seen. My own probably would not have even filled a quarter of it! It was simply amplitudinous!"There she is," Fire announced, gesticulating at the legged orb. "Isn't she beautiful? Her name is the Unreachable Star.""The Unreachable Star?" I repeated. "That's not very encouraging."Veverka chortled. "It's supposed to be inspirational.""It doesn't inspire me.""So when does training start?" Klimaat asked."One of the Great Beings is waiting for you right now," was Sand's answer.The five of us gasped. "Are we going to get to meet a Great Being?" Seren's voice was filled with awe and excitement. I entirely shared his feelings, and judging by the expressions of my fellows, we all did."Well, not exactly," Rock laughed. "But you'll see. He's waiting just inside the Star.""Come, brothers, let us leave the team to their training," said Sand. To us he added, "Good luck."We walked through the aisles created by all the tables and machines sitting around the chamber, toward the ship. I gazed wonderingly round at all the gadgets, feeling as excited as a thief in a treasure trove. How amazing everything was! And to think, I would be learning how to use it all...or some of it, at least. Even that was an overwhelming thought!Nagaan expressed her annoyance at our presence with an occasional hiss.Klimaat--either eager to annoy or to comfort, my guess being the former--threw an arm around her shoulders. "Cheer up, Naggy!" he cried.Nagaan instantly screeched and shoved the Glatorian away. "How--dare--you touch me!" she gasped.Klimaat let out a sudden cry of anguish and fell to his knees, clutching his head. The pain seemed to be only momentary, for he quickly rose to his feet, glaring at the Skrall.It took me a moment to realize what had just happened. Nagaan had attacked Klimaat using her Psionic powers.Klimaat pulled back a fist, but Seren grabbed his arm. "Hey, break it up, you two!" To the Skrall, he added, "None of that, Nagaan. It's not necessary here."Nagaan rounded on the Sand Glatorian. "You cannot tell me what to do!" she hissed."Calm yours--woah!" Seren cried out suddenly, leaping backwards like a frightened Sand Fox. The captain's wide eyes were fixed on Nagaan.I was bewildered. What could possibly have provoked such a reaction?Seren glanced at us. We were all gazing at him, blinking inquiringly. Realization--of what, I do not know--dawned on the Glatorian's face, and he regained his placidity. His voice calm and quiet, yet dripping with ire, he said, "That's not funny, Nagaan," then turned on the spot and marched toward the ship.I was still clueless and curious. "What was that? What happened?"Seren answered simply, "Nagaan fooled me."Then I understood. Of course! Another mind trick. It really made me wonder why the Great Beings had chosen a female Skrall. A Skrall had to be included on the team, of course, it's only fair--but why in the world a Sister of the Skrall?Silence followed as we picked our way through the rows of technology. Soon we reached the Unreachable Star (pun entirely intended). A ladder hung from an opening in the side. Seren led the way up this, followed closely by our two most conceited members."Ladies first," I told Veverka. "Well--fourth...." Laughing, the Fire Agori ascended the ladder and I followed.I found myself crammed into a small room with the rest of the team, a closed door leading on into another portion of the ship. Seren struggled to find a way to open the door while Klimaat babbled instructions over his shoulder, which to his displeasure were ignored. Nagaan was looking extremely claustrophobic.We squirmed around one another in the small space, and I found myself shoved suddenly against the wall. I hit something, and it made a loud beep, followed by a woosh as the entrance slid shut, locking us in that small space.My immediate reaction was that it had been some sort of cruel trick to lure is into a trap--but to what purpose, I had absolutely no clue.This idea was quickly dispelled, as the second door slid open a moment later, and we fell out, tripping over one another and tangling our limbs. Nagaan let out a sickened scream and freed herself, fleeing as far from her teammates as possible."We don't have cooties, you know," exclaimed Klimaat indignantly, getting to his own feet.As soon as we were back on our feet, I observed the room. Lights of all colors blinked and flashed beside buttons, knobs, switches and other things I didn't even know the name for. Sliding doors, glass tubes, ladders going up and down--the wonders were endless! It gorgonized me even more than the cavern outside!Suddenly, a deep voice echoed around the room: "Greetings, Stellar Quest team! My name is Angonce, and I am one of the Great Beings who will conduct your training."Heads rotated back and forth, searching for the speaker, but we saw no one but each other."I am sure you are confused--look here, on the table at the center of the room," said the voice again.On the indicated spot, I saw nothing bit six small, circular boxes. Klimaat edged closer and poked one of the boxes, jumping as the voice spoke again."Do you see them? Six boxes, one for each of you. They are communicators, which will give you the ability to speak together over great distances, as I am doing with you right now."I picked one up and examined it. It was simple in appearance, nothing but a smooth chunk of metal with a few buttons poking out from the sides. What seemed a net of tightly criss-crossing fibers formed a dome on its top. How could this box possibly carry voices from far lengths?"Uh--erm--hello?" I whispered hesitantly."Well, hello! And who are you?""Um--Reise, sir.""Occupation?" asked the voice."Medic, sir?""Is that a question or an answer?"I smiled slightly at his light-hearted tone. "Answer, sir. I am a medic.""Ah, good. And who got to be captain?" Angonce inquired.The others had taken their own communicators, and Seren spoke into his. "Me, sir. Seren.""Ah, Seren! A good choice. Well, everyone, introduce yourselves!" the Great Being invited.Klimaat was the first to take the offer. "I'm Klimaat, sir, renowned warrior from Bota Magna.""I've heard of you," said Angonce with amusement. "The Element Lord of Jungle suggested you for Master of Defense.""Willing and able, sir," Klimaat answered eagerly."Good. Now then--er, Vivicka?""You mean Veverka, sir?" she spoke up."That's the one," the voice said. "You are a mechanic, correct?""That's right, sir," Veverka articulated, "But--""The Unreachable Star is far more complex than anything you've ever touched, I know. But you have a knowledge of your primitive technologies, at least, and that's a good start. You will be Engineer.""Thank you very much, sir," Veverka replied breathlessly."Cynnia?"Seren hesitated before saying, "She went home, sir."The transmitter emitted a sigh. "Did she? How disappointing. Well, then, that leaves Nagaan.""Yes, sir! Thank you, sir, very much, for choosing me!" Nagaan's words came in an excited rush, unlike I had yet seen her. But in a mere moment her giddiness evaporated as she regained her bitter disposition. "Of course, the conditions are not preferable. But I can bear it for the sake of the mission.""I am sure you are disappointed," said the Great Being with forced sympathy, "but I assure you, it is for the best. A variety of skills and minds is vital in your venture. Nagaan, you are to be the Navigator, for your familiarity with Psionics."I tilted my head in curiosity. "Is the ship controlled mentally, sir?"Angonce chuckled. "I could bore you with a more complex explanation, but I will not. Essentially, Reise, indeed it is."Nagaan spoke again, saying, "Thank you, sir. I would be proud to pilot this ship."Covering his communicator, Klimaat whispered to Seren, Veverka and I. "Proud enough already, isn't she?"As I considered noting the irony of his statement, Angonce interrupted me. "I heard that, Klimaat."I couldn't help but to laugh. Veverka and Seren joined me."That's enough, that's enough," the Great Being quieted us. He went on: "Training will begin soon, but I am sure you would all learn better with refreshed minds. You will find your rooms if you take Chute A up. There are your beds, as well as a few pieces of personal equipment I recommend you keep on your persons at all times during the mission. The same goes for your transmitters. Well, then, good night to you, Stellar Quest team."There was a quiet click, and the communicator went silent. I looked around at the others, having a hard time believing Angonce expected any of us to sleep after all the excitement of the day.Nonetheless, Klimaat led the way to the chute marked A. Tentatively, he stepped onto the platform inside. Nothing happened.The Jungle Glatorian looked confused. "Um--he did say to take this chute up, right? Chu--woah!"At the word up, the platform ascended, taking Klimaat with it."Wow! That was cool!" Klimaat's voice echoed down through the glass tube."Now get off so the rest of us can follow!" Seren called.When the platform returned, Seren stepped on and said hesitantly, "Up?"With a woosh, the Sand Glatorian disappeared.The rest of us followed suit: first Nagaan, then Veverka, and finally myself. I stepped out to find myself in a hallway alongside five rooms, the door to each marked with the first symbol of our respective names. Nagaan had already disappeared behind the threshold marked :n:."Well, good night everyone," Seren said, yawning suddenly. "Wow, I'm more tired than I thought. I just hope I can sleep....""Night all!" Klimaat waved before disappearing into his own room, leaving Veverka and I standing in the hall.Veverka smiled at me. "Good night, Reise. See you tomorrow."I watched her enter the room labeled :v: before departing to my own lodging.It was small, I found, but comfortable. There was a single bed built into an alcove in the wall, a cushioned metal chair, a table, and a small shelf unit. Not much, but I did not really need much.On the table I found a small arrangement of equipment, just as Angonce had said. I first lifted the most interesting in appearance and examined it. It was a saber of some sort, dark blue of color, with two blades that curved and met in the middle, making a parenthesis shape. I grasped it by the handle behind the center of the blade, giving it a test slice through the air. It was lightweight, easy to manage, and my now three-legged chair testified to its effectivity.Setting the blade down, I inspected a large metal backpack. Strangely, there was only one compartment for storage. I could find no way of getting inside the rest of the pack. Perhaps Angonce would tell us about the equipment when we began training.I sifted through the other gadgets sitting on the table, but I could not figure out what any of them were for, and a yawn reminded me how exhausted I was. I pushed all the gizmos into the backpack and flopped down on my new bed.Now that I had no distractions, my mind fell into chaos. Thoughts and questions whirled around my brain, bumping into each other and getting jumbled up. Just as I began to ponder why the Great Beings had chosen me, the question slipped away and I began to think consider the rest of the team. Suddenly I got distracted wondering if ever I would return from this mission, before my thoughts turned those mysterious beings that had attacked Spherus Magna.I shook my head to clear it. These were all good questions, but I had no answers to any of them, and I would not until morning. But even then so few of my questions would be answered, and surely as many if not more would crop up. So much I had to learn of--the Unreachable Star, all our equipment, those mysterious beings--and I knew nothing about any of it. I felt like a newborn being introduced to the world for the first time. There is so, so much out there...and I understood so little.My thoughts continued to whirl in my mind, clouded by exhaustion. At last, long after losing track of time, I drifted into a fitful, restless sleep.

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Word Count: 2,402

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Edited by Nuile: Lunatic Wordsmith, Oct 21 2011 - 04:15 PM.

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#4 Offline Nuile the Paracosmic Tulpa

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Posted Nov 03 2011 - 07:05 PM

Chapter Four

Several months later...It was a surprise when at last the Great Beings announced that they had nothing further to teach us. So much time had passed, and we had all learned so much. Yet, that fateful night when the Element Lords had fetched those chosen to be members of the Stellar Quest team to their underground labyrinth seemed as if it had happened only the previous day, at least to me.Most of our training had been separate, and even when we were together we had little chance to talk with one another. The Great Beings kept us so busy that we had no time to socialize with one another. I could not help but wonder if it was so wise to send five complete strangers out into the infinite blackness beyond our skies together. But how could I question the Great Beings?My own training was fascinating. We were all shown the basics of the ship and our equipment, but after that we were instructed in our specific fields. In my case, that meant learning to use the vast arrays of medical devices which, on the mission, would be at my disposal. Furthermore I had to know the best way to deal with unknown diseases, which would be a probable factor in our mission.My teacher was a Great Being named Maharba. He told me that he was one of the best medical experts among the Great Beings, and had himself created most of the equipment I was to use. He was not very friendly, however. He was stern and crabby, always impatient with me. If I made any mistakes he became very irritated. He was obviously displeased that the Element Lord of Water had chosen an Agori. Yet all this only encouraged me to work and learn harder. By the end of my training, I would say I was much more advanced in the practice of medicine than any Agori or even Glatorian on Spherus Magna.And as I learned to tend the health and care of my crewmates, the others were trained in their fields. Nagaan learned everything there was to know about piloting and navigating, while Klimaat learned to operate, manage, and clean our weapons and other small gadgets. And as Veverka was taught the inner workings of our transport, Seren was educated in strategy, leadership, observation, and other such things that would be important to him as captain.But there was still so much we did not know, so much we had yet to learn. We knew everything we needed to know about the Unreachable Star, all our amazing equipment, yet the most important aspect of the mission was entirely unknown.Space. The stars. That infinite blackness that stretched above Spherus Magna when the sun did not hide it. And moreover, those strange beings, with their flat, round projectiles, powerful beams of light, and their gigantic vehicles. They were the most dangerous part of our mission, and that's only including what we did know--but all the unseen would be even more perilous.This, of course, was the purpose of our operation. We had to learn more, to discover what we did not know, and explain the unexplained. But it was still a terrifying prospect, and such thoughts, among so many others, often kept me awake at night.But my worries had to be pushed to the back of my mind during the day, for training took all my attention. I always enjoyed the relief, even if I knew it would only last a day.And at last, after our interminable tutelage--one morning when, like clockwork, we all awoke, and made our way to the Bridge to report to the Great Beings--Angonce greeted us over the communicator with an announcement:"Congratulations, Stellar Quest Team! You have trained long and hard, and at last you have all the necessary knowledge we can give you. We need not delay your mission any longer. As I speak, the Element Lords are making public the details of this project to their villages. It will put the Glatorian and Agori at ease, I am sure, to have our doings confirmed.""Confirmed?" Veverka echoed. "What do you mean by that?"Angonce laughed. "It seems a rumor has been spreading that the Element Lords are forming a secret army to attack the "Etran," as the villagers call them now.""Etran?" Klimaat grinned. "I should have thought of that one."If he had, I would not have been surprised. "Etran" meant "extra foreign" in Agori."How did the rumor get started?" I wondered aloud."It most likely started with Cynnia," Angonce replied."Cynnia?" Veverka looked surprised. "I never would have expected this from her.""I'm sure it was an accident," Seren said. "She probably just told a friend or two, who in turn told a few friends. From there, things could easily spread and evolve into a plan to attack the "Etran" with a secret army. You know how things like this swarm and distort.""Not that this discussion on the workings of gossip isn't fascinating," Nagaan interrupted snidely, "but I would like to know, when do we leave?"All eyes turned to the communicator. Angonce's voice answered, "Begin preparations immediately. If all goes well, you will be leaving tomorrow."

* * *

We awoke the next morning to find the Element Lords waiting on the Bridge."We have come to wish you our luck and farewells," Sand explained.We all stepped forward to meet the village leaders, except Nagaan, who hung back, glowering at Rock."I do wish you luck," said the latter. He spoke in an insincere and forced manner. "You have trained long and hard, and I--am--proud of you."The Element Lord of Water towered over me. His appearance was very intimidating, though he smiled kindly. "The Great Beings told me how well you did during your training. Congratulations.""Thank you, sir," I responded awkwardly."But remember," he warned, "your journey will be very dangerous. Illnesses and lesions will be a probable aspect, and it is up to you to keep your crewmates strong enough to complete your mission. Success depends as much upon you as the others--if not more so."No pressure,I thought satirically."But I have faith in you, Reise. I know you are meritorious of the task."If only I could share your confidence. But it meant a lot to me to hear him say it. Aloud, I replied, "Thank you, sir. Very much."Two drenching hands were placed on my shoulders. "Good luck."Water stepped back, leaving me dripping wet. As I shook the water from me shoulders, Ice spoke."It is time, Stellar Quest team. Your adventure is about to begin."Sand nodded in agreement. "The time has come. Begin launching procedures."The Element Lords bid us their final good-byes and good-lucks as they filed through the air lock, one by one. Soon, the Unreachable Star was empty, but for the five of us.We stood for a few moments, savoring the memory of our leaders' praise, and pondering the arrival of the start of our journey.It's here, I thought. Our expedition is about to begin. We're leaving everything. Our homes and friends, and our beloved planet.But think what you're gaining! Knowledge beyond that of any Agori, of any Glatorian. Knowledge, perhaps, beyond even that of the Great Beings! I reminded myself zestfully. Think of what you'll see! The stars and planets that lie beyond the clouds, far beyond the reach of wildest imagination. Beings and objects unknown to Spherus Magnians.After several minutes, I was shaken back to the present by Seren's voice."Right, then. Time for take-off!" he declared suddenly. "Everyone, to your posts."Seren sat down in his chair, which was quite a remarkable one. It had the abilty to rove around the room, controlled by a pad of buttons on the right arm. This allowed Seren to reach any button, lever, or so on, and thus he could oversee the operations of the whole ship from the comfort of a sitting position.Meanwhile, Nagaan entered Chute A, which led only to the cockpit at the very top of the ship. I had never seen it myself, and had occasionally wondered what it was like; but I knew that right before launch was not the time to find out. Besides, it was highly unlikely that my visit would be appreciated.So instead I took Chute C down to the Medical Bay, where I seated myself at my desk. Personally, I saw no reason I should be there. What purpose could I serve? Then again, what purpose could I serve elsewhere?Shrugging, I switched on the computer sitting on the table before me. Besides its many other uses, by that machine I could see from the top and bottom of the ship, as if sitting there myself. Maharba had explained that this was done via "cameras," though he had not told me what a "camera" was. I imagined it as some sort of giant eyeball.I set my communicator on open frequency, which would allow for us all to converse simultaenously. Thus, as I sat at my desk, my eyes and ears were all over the ship. What thaumaturgic inventors those Great Beings are!"Is everyone set?" asked Seren's voice.Veverka eagerly answered, "I'm prepping the engines now.""Standing by." This was Klimaat's voice."Awaiting orders, sir," said I."I'll be taking off in one minute," Nagaan hissed over the communicator. "You had all better be ready.""I believe that would be my decision, Nagaan," Seren returned smoothly."Make that thirty seconds.""Nagaan!""Ten....Nine...."Veverka let out a distressed cry. "Nagaan, the engines aren't ready!"Seren's voice was wavering angrily as he said forcefully, "Nagaan, you must wait until the ship is fully prepared!""Eight....""Nagaan--"I interjected. "Please, Nagaan! The Great Beings would not be pleased if you damaged the Unreachable Star by taking flight before she's ready."There was a pause. Finally, Nagaan said muttered, "Fine. But hurry up.""Woah," breathed Klimaat. "Reise can speak her language!"Muffled giggles showed that Veverka was striving to prevent Nagaan from hearing her amusement.This was followed by a lengthy silence. I entertained myself by toggling my computer screen between a view from the top of the ship to one from the bottom. Eventually I discovered that I could split the computer screen and watch both at the same time.I resigned to twiddling my thumbs, until at last Veverka declared, "The engines are ready!""About time," sibilated Nagaan impatiently."Commence countdown," Seren instructed. A hint of enthusiasm crept into his voice."Ten..." Nagaan began, "nine...eight...seven...." With every syllable, she made obvious her displeasure at being commanded by a "lesser being." But even she could not diguise her excitement.I was shaking with ardor. Just a few more moments...."Five...."A deep rumbling sounded from the engines, which were only a floor below me.I began to whisper along with Nagaan as she continued."Three...."This was it. We were about to leave!"Two....""One...."Our adventure was about to begin!"Ignition!"I could not help shouting it aloud, in chime with the rest of the crew.The engines roared. My computer screen revealed huge flames bursting from the base of the Unreachable Star, propelling us upward. The other half showed tunnel walls sliding past; slowly at first, then faster, and faster!Presently I saw below us the mouth of a dormant volcano--so that was where the tunnel emerged! Higher and higher we went, and the surface of Spherus Magna stretched before my eyes.And above, stars! Hundreds of dazzling lights twinkling in the night sky!My eyes transposed rapidly between the two half-screens. We burst through a cloud just as I spotted the waters of Aqua Magna.That's when it struck me the most. We had left Spherus Magna. We really had. This wasn't some dream, it was all reall. Too real. It was very daunting.And at the same instant, it was elating! Our journey, our adventure, our new lives had begun!We had embarked upon the Stellar Quest!

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Word Count: 2,029

Review

Sincerely, Nuile: Lunatic Wordsmith :smilemirunu:


Edited by Nuile: Lunatic Wordsmith, Nov 07 2011 - 01:17 PM.

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#5 Offline Nuile the Paracosmic Tulpa

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Posted Nov 07 2011 - 01:19 PM

Chapter Five

A silver orb drifted through space, an insignificant speck in the vast universe. But at that moment, to the five passengers it carried, that was all that existed. Their home, the only shred of the omneity they had ever known, was now just a twinkling light in the darkness surrounding their transport.To me that planet which we had only recently left seemed as nothing but a distant memory. My house, my village, my ocean--all seemed so small and insignificant in comparison to the immensity that stretched away from me now in all directions. Hundreds of twinkling specks crowded into sight, hiding Spherus Magna in a whirl of apparent clones.It was painful just to think about it. My whole life was nothing. Unknown and worthless to many people of my own planet, apart from the unthinkable amounts of beings in other galaxies and planets.And I refused to even think about alternate dimensions. That's just taking a fraction already smaller than a trillionth and dividing it by thousands, maybe even millions.How I envied the Agori and Glatorian back home, who remained carefree, and oblivious to how inane their lives really were. I, however, was forever scarred by the knowledge.Knowledge may be power...but ignorance is bliss.Seren's voice broke through my thoughts. "Is everyone okay?""I stubbed my toe, but I think I'll survive," Klimaat replied satirically."If you're so eager to report, have you sighted any potentially threatening objects?" Seren asked."Not yet, but I'm crossing my fingers.""Klimaat! That's nothing to joke about!" Veverka scolded. "This is serious! The Great Beings are relying on us!""Keep your helmet on! Don't you have any sense of humor?" Klimaat rebutted."Veverka," Seren cut in, "How is the Unreachable Star holding up?""Excellently, captain," Veverka answered eagerly. "There was a small leak in the main engine pipe, but I'm not surprised. It's all patched up now.""Very good. Nagaan, are we on course?""Of course I am!" assibilated the Skrall's voice. "The Great Beings gave very specific instructions on the probable location of the Etran's planet, based on their trajectory, among other such things none of you would understand. It would take an cool dude to err with such clear directions."Klimaat interrupted with a derisive comment: "Then I guess we're in trouble.""Klimaat! There is no place for that on this mission, do you hear me? We must work together, regardless of what we think of one another." Seren reprimanded angrily. "Just look at me: I'm working with you, aren't I?""Now wait a second, O fearless leader! I--auugh!" The Glatorian's retort was interrupted with a cry of pain. "Ohhh....If she keeps this up, my brain will be reduced to mush!""Don't worry, it can't get much mushier than it already was," said Veverka deprecatingly."And what would you know about brains, Agori?" Klimaat taunted.An insult to my own species! I refused to take it sitting down. "I'd rather be an Agori than a mindless brute like you!""You're all mindless!" Nagaan jeered. "Foolish, petty squabblers!""It takes one to know one!""And you know better than any!""Silence!" Seren roared. His usual calm tone abandoned, he went on furiously, "All of you! Calm yourselves! We cannot fight amongst ourselves when our mission depends upon unity! We are a team, and friends or not the Great Beings are trusting us to complete the Stellar Quest! We cannot let them down by bickering with one another! Is that clear?"I sat down, mutely agreeing with every syllable. I scolded myself for joining the argument. I knew how much the expedition depended upon our collaboration, yet how could we all get along when we were so different? None of us had ever even met before! We were each from a different tribe, and we each had a unique personality. Some were harder to cooperate with than others. Could we ever put aside our differences and become a team?"Is that clear?" Seren repeated."Yes, sir," Veverka and I replied willingly."Yes, sir," Klimaat grumbled."Nagaan?""I agree with you," Nagaan admitted with a sigh. "If we cannot work together we cannot succeed, which makes me wonder all the more why the Great Beings allowed you pettish Glatorian and Agori to be chosen as part of the team, when a group of Sisters of the Skrall would get along much better."Klimaat began indignantly, "Now listen here, Skrall scum--"Seren cut him off crisply. "Bridle your tongue, Klimaat.""If that is all, I would like to get back to piloting the ship, and I would very much appreciate it if you refrained from further disturbing me.""As would I. I don't want to hear another word out of any of you unless it's important," Seren ordered.Followed by this statement, all speaking ceased. The only sound came from the jets, roaring quietly from the bottom of the ship as we flew through space.I got to my feet. Thanks to the ship's gravity system, my feet remained firmly on the floor as I began to pace around the room.With nothing to distract me, my worries returned: I fretted over the the division between our team members, which would be dangerous to our success; I nervously considered the endless repositories of knowledge I could not even imagine; and I pondered how trivial it all really was, compared to the grand vastness of the universe.My heart twisted painfully as I pined for home, where I knew waves gently lapped at the shores. The peaceful sound always soothed me. But at that moment, the only sound was the roar of engines and the ringing of silence, which gave me no comfort.There was also a high-pitched humming, which at first I did not recognize; I realized, however, that its key alternated, as if following a tune. Yet it still seemed to emanate from the Engine Room, which filled the deck below the Medical Bay.Curious, I walked over to Chute F, which would take me downward. Chute A, which stood close by, led to both the Bridge and the deck above, where our quarters were."Down," I ordered, and the chute descended.I found myself in the engine room, which I had rarely seen. Large turbines spun with a quiet whir, pipes gurgled, others emitted steam. It created a music of its own, which might possibly be soothing to certain people. As for me, it felt nothing like the calming rhythm of my Aqua Magna waves.I heard the hum again, which reminded me of my purpose. I turned my head to its source, and there stood Veverka, her back to me, swaying smoothly from side to side.I stood, listening to her peaceful humming. That was a melody comparable to my beloved waves. I allowed it to enrapture me, dispelling my troubled thoughts.I closed my eyes and hummed along, just as Veverka broke into a captivating ballad:

To dream the impossible dream

To try when your arms are too weary

To run where the brave dare not go

To right the unrightable wrong

To bear with unbearable sorrow

To reach the unreachable star

This is my quest

To follow that star

No matter how hopeless

No matter how far

To fight for the right

Without question or pause

To be willing to march to my doom

For a heavenly cause

And the world will be better for this

For that one, scorned and covered with scars

Still strove, with their last wisp of courage

To reach the unreachable star

With one final high, prolonged note, Veverka's song ended.I was smiling contentedly. Her song had been just what I needed. "That was marvelous," I breathed.Veverka nearly hit the ceiling. "Reise!" she gasped. "You surprised me!""I'm sorry, I didn't mean to scare you," I apologized."No, it's okay. I just didn't realize I had an audience, that's all." In reponse to my first statement, she said, "Thank you, I'm glad you liked it. But I'm sorry if I disturbed you.""Disturbed me? Not at all! Your song was--was beautiful! It was exactly what I needed to soothe my mind," I replied.She grinned sheepishly. "Thank you. My mother sang it to me when I was young. And now, whenever I feel troubled, I sing it to calm myself.""So you're worried, too?"Veverka nodded. She hesitated before speaking again. "Everything's so--so new. There's so much to learn! There's just so much out there! It's not easy to take in, is it?""No," I replied, "not easy at all."She sighed. "Thinking about it often keeps me awake at night.""Yes, me too. I'm sure it does to all of us.""Except Klimaat and Nagaan."I laughed. "Well...no, not Klimaat," I agreed. "But Nagaan's different. She's arrogant, but wise. I'm sure she feels the same as the rest of us, even if she would never admit it."Veverka nodded. "You're probably right." She paused thoughtfully. "But her arrogance worries me. Klimaat's, too. They're so full of themselves! It could be dangerous to the mission, don't you think?""Yes, I do," I admitted. "It's one of my biggest worries. But the Elemental Lords chose us, all of us--and the Great Beings approved. And how can we question their decisions?""You're probably right....""I'm sure I am. Besides, in time, we'll all learn to get along. You'll see.""I just hope we have enough time," said Veverka ominously.We stood there quiescently, pondering her words.A sudden beep made us jump. Someone was trying to contact Veverka, who had disabled her communicator.Veverka stepped to a table where her computer sat, and where she had left her communicator. She set it on open frequency and asked, "Yes?"It was Seren, urgently issuing orders. "To your stations, everyone! We've been spotted by an Etran spacecraft!"

Thanks for reading!

Word Count: 1,648

Review

Sincerely, Nuile: Lunatic Wordsmith :smilemirunu:


Edited by Nuile: Lunatic Wordsmith, Nov 07 2011 - 01:22 PM.

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When I know I can't live without a pen and paper, when I know writing is as necessary to me as breathing . . .

 

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I know I am ready to start my voyage.

 

A Musing Author . . . Want to read my books?


#6 Offline Nuile the Paracosmic Tulpa

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Posted Nov 09 2011 - 07:37 PM

Chapter Six

Without a word to Veverka I took the chute back to the Medical Bay, where I strapped myself into my seat and turned on my communicator.My computer's screen revealed several discoid objects surrounding the Unreachable Star. These appeared to be roughly the right size for a single Agori to fit comfortably inside. Beyond them, I spotted a much larger ship, similar to those which had invaded Spherus Magna, but slightly smaller in size.Seren and Klimaat were arguing, the former trying to convince the latter not to attack the Etran ships."If you shoot first, we won't have any chance of solving this whole matter peacefully!""We're supposed to spy on the Etran, not negotiate with them!""No, our mission was to find out as much about the Etran as possible. We can do that easier if we speak with them rather than attack them.""You certainly sound sensible, traveler."I jumped at the sound of the new voice. It was deep and scratchy, yet there was a hollowness to it."So who are you, and what business have you here?" asked the Etran voice."My name is Seren," replied he. "I am from Spherus Magna. I was sent here to investigate a recent attack on our planet."There was a pause. "Spherus Magna...was that planet created by the Great Beings?"The words took me by surprise. If the Etran knew of the Great Beings, how was it that the Great Beings knew nothing of the Etran?"That is correct," Seren replied slowly."Are you a Glu-tor-een?"With some amusement, the captain corrected, "Glatorian.""The Emperor will wish to speak with you,” said the Etran. “Prepare to be taken into this starship.”“Wait a second,” Seren responded, “I’d rather we pilot our ship down to the planet ourselves.”“That is not your choice, Spherus Magnian.”A bright light shot from the Etran starship, coming straight for us. Nagaan fired up the engines, but it was too fast. The beam hit us. At first, nothing seemed to happen. But then, with a sharp lurch, the starship began dragging us toward it, in spite of Nagaan’s resistance.Klimaat cried, “We’ll see about that, Etran scum!” I watched as the Thornax Cannons shot beams of light at our enemies. The discoid vehicles swerved to avoid them, but some were hit: most of these went spiraling out of control, others exploded.“Your recalcitrance is futile,” the Etran voice said in its flat tones.Another beam of light burst from the Etran starship. In a moment it hit, and then everything went dark.At first, I had no idea what had happened. Am I dead? I wondered. But, no, I couldn’t be. I still felt my chair, and the desk before me. I just couldn’t see.Had I gone blind? But if I had, why couldn’t I hear the engines, or lasers? Had I gone deaf and blind?My momentary panic was dispelled when a voice met my ears, coming over the Communicators. It was Seren, asking, “Is everyone okay?”Well, if I was not deaf, then I was probably not blind. And if I was not deaf or blind, the only answer could be that the ship’s power had been drained. Or, at the very least, shut down somehow.“Oh, I'm just dandy, Seren! I’m only stuck inside a giant ball in the middle of outer space, with evil beings from another planet dragging me to my doom. Why wouldn’t I be okay?”Shortly after Klimaat finished, Nagaan began. “How dare those Etran capture me like a filthy animal! Who do they think they are?” She fumed on to the point that I wondered if Skrall had to breath.When her tirade subsided, Veverka answered. “I, for one, am fine.”“Yeah, I guess I’m okay, too.” I put in. “But what are we going to do?”Seren sighed. “There's only one thing we can do: wait.”"I was afraid of that," I muttered.Unstrapping myself from my seat, I rose. And I mean that more literally than you would think.No power to the Unreachable Star meant no gravity. No gravity meant a little momentum went a long way.I stretched out my arms, and as soon as they touched ceiling I pushed myself gently back to the floor."This is freaky!" Klimaat exclaimed. "I'm flying!""It is an odd sensation," Seren agreed.I launched myself back into the air, twirling and twisting as I went. It was fun! I was literally bouncing off the walls!I kicked against the ceiling, pushed off the walls, propelled myself off the floor, doing loops, cartwheels, spins and anything else I could think of. Immature, perhaps--but so much fun!"Having fun, Reise?" laughed a voice below me.I glanced down. A light glared out of the darkness, blinding me temporary. As my eyes adjusted, I recognized the physical appearance of the person to which I knew the voice belonged: Veverka, sensibly armed with a handlight."I--er--I was just--" I stuttered.Veverka giggled. "It's okay, I was doing the same thing down below."Distracted, I forgot to control my collision via my arms--so I rammed headlong into the ceiling."Ouch!""How graceful!""That hurt, you know," I replied."Oh, you should be more careful, doctor! If you're wounded, who's going to take care of the rest of us?"I rolled my eyes. "So how did you get up here, anyway? The chutes aren't working, are they""I took a Kaxium," she replied sarcastically. "I flew, what did you think?""But wouldn't the platform have been in your way?""Oh, well that's a more sensible question. No, it runs on a magnetic track, so no power means no magnet, and it just falls-or floats," Veverka explained."That's interesting. It sounds like a very useful technology.""Yes...I've often thought about how pragmatic the Great Beings' technologies would be to us, back on Spherus Magna.""They would have their advantages, wouldn't they?" I agreed. "Why, if I had had all this medical equ--gwah!"My response was interrupted as, all of a sudden, gravity returned. I plummeted to the floor, landing with a loud--and very painful--thud."Reise!" Veverka gasped. "Are you okay?""Yeah, and that's--ouch--why I'm lying here--ow--in anguish." I tried to sit up, only to fall back down with a wince and a grunt."Oh! Did you break anything?" she breathed anxiously."Only my dignity," I muttered."What happened this time?" Klimaat's irritated voice echoed through the ship."Is everyone okay?" This was Seren."Oh, Reise isn't!" Veverka called."No, I'm fine!" I added quickly. "I just fell.""Are you sure?" Seren checked."Who's the doctor here?""Is anybody else hurt?"Klimaat said, "Unless you count falling headfirst into the floor, no."Seren sighed. "Is it serious?""Nah, I didn't fall far."Meanwhile, Veverka was fretting over me. "Are you sure you're alright? Do you need me to help? You're the doctor! Tell me what to do for you!""I'm only bruised, Veverka, not dying." I chuckled and went on, "Just help me up."She lifted me to a sitting position and asked, "Do you have anything for the pain?""Well, yes, actually, I do," I orated. "It's in my jetpack compartment." I reached for my pack, grimacing as my muscles protested sorely.Veverka offered, "Let me. What's it look like?""A long white stick with a silver handle."She retrieved the object and handed it to me."It's a simple device," I explained as I switched it on. "I'll spare you the details, but basically it evaporates minor aches."The white part of the stick glowed blue as I swept it over my body, absorbing the pain."Better?""Much." I nodded cheerfully. "Thanks."I shone my own handlight around the room as we got to our feet. I wanted to be sure that nothing had been damaged. Everything seemed okay."What happened, anyway?" I wondered aloud."We probably entered into their--the Etran's--ship. They have a gravitational system as well, it seems."I nodded. "Ah, that makes sense."There was a pause. Then Veverka asked, "So what do you think will happen now?"I frowned. "I...I don't know. I guess they'll take us to their capital, and to their emperor. But what then? Can we make peace with them? Are we already at peace with them? Will they capture us? Will we have to fight our way out? Can we fight our way out?" I sighed and shrugged my shoulders."Instead of an answer, I get even more questions," Veverka soughed.I concurred. "There are a lot of questions. It's the basis of our whole mission. Questions, unsolved mysteries, knowledge. And if knowledge is power, we're pretty weak."Seren interrupted our conversation as he ordered suddenly, "Come to the bridge, everyone. We can wait here together until we've landed. Klimaat, let's see if we can force open that door."That should be easy enough. The door to the Defense room runs on a magnet track too," Veverka explained as we made our way to Chute A. "It will slide loosely back and forth without power. The air lock runs on such a track also, but it has a special fastening that can only be undone electronically. The door cannot open without power.""So...we're trapped?" said I.She frowned. "You could put it that way, but it's better than the alternative."Yes, the alternative: the vacuum of space, that would force open the doors and suck all the air out--and us with it."Yes, much better," I agreed.We circled to Chute A, which stood near the center of the room, across from Chute D. I shined my light into the space and canted in. There wasn't much distance between our current floor and the next, but the walls were entirely smooth."It won't be an easy climb, but we can do it," I said. Smiling, I gestured Veverka in. "Well, females first."She gave me a sarcastic "thanks" before stepping into the chute. Employing enough pressure against the sides of the tube, she caused enough friction to hold herself, and slowly ascended in this manner. When she was nearly halfway up I followed.Veverka reached the ledge of Deck 3 and hauled herself easily up. "That was fun!" she declared.She got her handlight out of her pack again and shone it down at me."Gah! I can't see!" I exclaimed, shielding my eyes from the light."Oh--sorry!" She pointed her light elsewhere.I "humph"ed and pulled myself a little higher. Soon I grasped the ledge and pulled myself up. Panting, I flopped on my stomach."Wasn't it fun?" Veverka asked, pulling me to my feet."Oh, lots," I heaved."Is Nagaan here yet?"Veverka was answered by a quiet squeaking noise as Nagaan slid slowly down Chute B. Presently, she appeared. As she landed on the floor, I noticed her wince."You hurt your leg? Here, let me take care of that," I offered, extracting the so-called Pain Imbiber from my jetpack.She hid her discomfort as she strode across the room, glaring at me. "No, I don't need your help.""Please, it's a simple--""Come near me with that prod, Agori, and you'll regret it!" she spat.Klimaat snorted and kneeled beside me. "Here, help somebody who wants it. My head is still sore."I swept the stick over his head and he smiled in relief."Wow, not bad. Thanks."I opened my mouth to reply when the ship gave a sudden lurch--I stumbled into Klimaat, knocking him sideways into a box of controls."Ouch!" Klimaat moaned. "Watch where you're going! What kind of doctor are you, anyway? Curing me only to hurt me again. Humph!"As I switched on the Pain Imbiber once more, I asked, "What was that, anyway?""It's simple to understand," said Nagaan. "Well, not for you. But I'll try to make it easier. We just entered the Etran planet's atmosphere, which means we are now effected by this planet's gravity.""So the jolt was caused by the sudden pull of gravity?" I confirmed. "Which means, we're here?"Nagaan sneered and clapped her hands mockingly. "Very good, Agori."There was a crackling noise, and the Etran's voice greeted us over the communicators."This is Commander Dynamo again," said the voice. "As you might have guessed, Spherus Magnians, we have entered the planet's atmosphere. Welcome to Slizer!"

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Word Count: 2,080

Review

Sincerely, Nuile: Lunatic Wordsmith :smilemirunu:


Edited by Nuile: The Daft Wordbender, Jun 05 2012 - 06:53 PM.

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#7 Offline Nuile the Paracosmic Tulpa

Nuile the Paracosmic Tulpa
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Posted Feb 21 2012 - 02:28 PM

Chapter Seven

With a flicker, the lights came back on. The Unreachable Star's power had returned.There was a sudden pounding on the air lock door. Through its windows, I could see two figures standing on the platform outside; of the mechanical species which had attacked our planet. They were armed with their discoid projectiles in one hand, and the device that fired rays of light in the other.They pounded again. They could not open the air lock, for the button outside was programmed to respond only to our own hands."Let them in, Veverka," Seren instructed. "I want to perform a quick test of the air outside, to see if its breathable."Veverka obeyed as the captain started tapping buttons on one of the many control boxes in the room.As the two Etran entered the room, one said, "Greetings, people of Spherus Magna. We are to escort you to the Emperor's throne room unarmed." His voice was toneless and empty, even more so than the one who had spoken to us over the communicators."Unarmed?" Klimaat cried indignantly.The other nodded. "By order of Commander Dynamo.""I don't care what he says, I'm not--"Seren waved a hand at the Jungle Glatorian. "Quiet, Klimaat. If this is to go peacably, we must comply."Klimaat muttered angrily, but obeyed. He removed his jetpack, and put it on the table at the center of the room, along with his axe and handheld Thornax Blaster.Veverka and I disarmed in the same manner, and Seren, after hitting one last button, followed suit."Very good. Come, we will take you to the throne room.""One moment, please," Seren requested. "I'm testing your planet's air, to see if it the air is safe for our lungs."The Etran exchanged a glance. "Very well. But do not take long."Within a few minutes, the computer beeped. On the screen, in large green letters, was the word "positive."Seren nodded. "The air's suitable. Let's go."Without any further ado, the Slizerians led us out of the Unreachable Star. We found ourselves in a large, rectangular room, with a square outline in the middle of the floor, just under our ship. Presumably, this was a door for the entrance of spacecraft into the ship.Metal catwalks bordered the room, forming a second level. Various doors, large and small, led out of the room. Other Etran, of either the flying or walking types which had attacked Spherus Magna, ran this way and that, across catwalks, up and down ladders, through doorways.The pair ahead of us employed a doorway out of the chamber. We walked down a long corridor, with side passages here and there. The Slizerians weaved through these, at last arriving at a metallic door.The door slid open, and as I followed the others through it, I found we had finally exited the ship.As soon as I got a good look around, I was stunned. The chamber was prodigious! The humongous black spacecraft, bigger than a cloud, sat beside others in a long row. The ceiling hung amazingly high above us, maybe more than a half-kio, easily twice the height of the black ships!We all paused, dumbfounded. Where were we? Wherever, it was incredibly macroscopic! And could this room be only a portion of it?The Slizerians were leading on, unaware that we were not following. One shot a glance over his shoulder. Noticing our puase, he called, "Follow, Spherus Magnians."I shook my head and faced the Etran. I took a step forward, but Seren stopped me by the arm."This way, Reise."Confused, I followed his lead. There, sure enough, were two Etran, waiting for us to catch up. I had almost followed the wrong pair!Foolish, I scolded myself. But these Etran all look so alike!On the Slizerians led, through another door and into another network of hallways. These were still metal, but brighter in color, with large orbs of light attached to the ceiling at regular intervals.These halls went on, on and on. We passed mysterious beings, closed doors, and unknown machinery. I was trying my best to memorize our path, just in case we needed to make an escape back to the Unreachable Star, but I completely lost track of all the twists and turns.That machine looks familiar, I noticed suddenly. And that door. Are they leading us in circles just to confuse us? If they were, it was working. My head was spinning.Once we crossed a short catwalk that linked two doorways through open air. Klimaat, farthest ahead bar the Etran, emerged first into the sunlight--which, apparently, Slizer had too. Curious, he peeked over the side of the catwalk.Klimaat gasped. "Guys! Come look at this!"The rest of us leaned over the metal railing to stare over the edge. Nagaan pretended to look uninterested, but I saw her eyes widen as she craned her neck to see what was below."Woah," Veverka breathed.That was a very good word to describe it. Another would be breathtaking. Some more suitable adjectives are astounding, bewildering, wonderful.Clouds drifted slowly by below us. Farther down, a giant metal village stretched across the ground, bigger than any village back home. Details were hard to make out from our height, but it seemed that many of the buildings were far larger than our own as well."Come, we must go," one of the Etran ordered."Where are we?" Veverka asked."Emperor Millennium's Palace," said the other. "Come, he is waiting for you.""And the city below?" I inquired, as we continued to ignore their commands."Millenium City, the capital of Slizer. Come, we must go."Seren nodded. "He's right, we can't keep their Emperor waiting. Come on."And so we trudged on, down this hall and that. After what seemed several hours, our surroundings changed. The passageways got taller and wider, the metal more reflective and polished. The orb-shaped lights were now smaller, but at each interval there was a cluster of them held on what looked like a silver octopus hanging from the ceiling. A window appeared on our left between each light, pouring sunlight on us.At last we reached a large door, tall and wide, curved at the top, facing a row of eight windows on the other wall."This is the throne room of Emperor Millennium. He is waiting inside. You may proceed."Klimaat stepped toward the door, but Seren barred his way with on arm."Before we go in," said the latter, "I want one thing clear. I'll do the talking."The Jungle Glatorian opened his mouth to object, but Nagaan beat him to it. "You, a Glatorian? But I am a Sister of the Skrall! If anybody should speak to the King of Slizer, it should be I!"Seren shook his head. "The Great Beings chose me as Captain, Nagaan. They believe that I am responsible, and so put me in charge of this mission. You know that. Put your faith in them, not me."Klimaat cried, "Now hold on! So the Great Beings did choose you, that doesn't give you the right to--"Nagaan interrupted Klimaat with a long sigh. "You are right, Bara Magnian. Whatever I think of you--all of you," she added distastefully, "What the Great Beings think means more. I will allow you to speak alone to their Emperor--as long as you do well."Klimaat sniffed. "You may have convinced that...thing, but I still--"Nagaan rounded on him and cut off his statement for the third time. "As for you, you Sand Mite, if you pronounce one syllable during this meeting, I will fry your brain, with much euphoria.""Thank you, Nagaan," said Seren. "But I would prefer if you stopped threatening your teammates.""I did not do it for you," Nagaan announced tartly. "I did it for the Great Beings.""Emperor Millennium is waiting inside. You may proceed," one of the Slizerians reiterated.Seren nodded, swept his gaze over us, and then stepped up to the door. Tentatively, he knocked twice.Nothing. Seren lifted his fist to knock again, but just as he did so the huge door slid out of our way.I gasped. I couldn't help it. You would think, after all I had seen, nothing could surprise me. But you would be wrong.The room was very large, though small in comparison to the sheer grandiosity of the dock for the Etran ships. Yet it was far more impressive, for the walls, ceiling and floor were all made of pure gold. The room must have been at least five bio in width, and six times that in length.Hanging on the walls were numerous large screens, depicting animated scenes of beautiful views. Two were of hi-tech cities, others reminded me more of Spherus Magna. One especially interested me: a seascape, revealing a number of strange creatures as they swam past.A length of shimmering silver cloth was spread across the floor, leading from the door to the Emperoror's throne, between two and three bio wide.As usual, I save you the best for last. There were five Slizerians in the room. First, there were two guards, on either side of the door, similar in size and shape to the legged Etran we had seen before, yet different. Their main body color was, gray, not purple, and they had large black pieces of armor on their shoulders. They were rather similar in appearance to the Emperor himself--whom I will detail in a moment--yet smaller.Behind the throne tood a taller yellow being, roughly the height of the average Glatorian. In one hand, he held a strange contraption with two small mechanical arms, each holding a disc; which were, I assumed, explosive, as the ones the Slizer soldiers had used in the attack.A fourth being was kneeling before the throne; as we entered, he rose and turned to us. It was a dramatic change, for at full height the Slizerian was easily three times my size! Even more surprising were the two heads that sprouted from his massive shoulders, reminding me of the Spikits back home. At that moment, he was unarmed, but a three-handed launcher and a blaster the size of our cannons were strapped to his back. He was definitely not someone I wanted as an enemy.Last but not least, the Emperor himself: Millennium. He sat on his throne, eyebrows lifting in interest as we entered. He seemed roughly the height of his friend behind the throne, but he had a regal and more dangerous air about him. Green, slitty eyes glinted from his pointed gold head. Two sinister black horns pointed from his head, and behind them, two black spikes jutted up from his back. These seemed to be a mark of royalty, or at least of this particular Emperor, for printed on the walls, doors, and throne were insignia bearing those spikes behind a depiction of Millennium's head."Presenting to our visitors His Royal Highness, ruler of Slizer, Emperor Millennium!" announced the guards in unison."Welcome!" said the Emperor. "I hope you are enjoying your stay so far?" His voice was deep and--unlike his commander and soldiers--full of personality. His greeting was jovial and warm."Your palace is inredible," Seren admitted."And the view?""Breathtaking!""And the Throwbots, the natives?""Very different, yet similar.""An interesting planet, you think?""Yes, very.""Good." The Emperor nodded, satisfied. "Now, down to business. Who are you?" His tone hardened; he spoke briskly and coldly."I am Seren, captain of the Unreachable Star, and the Stellar Quest team." He gestured to us. "We come from Spherus Magna, here to seek knowledge about your planet."Millennium narrowed his eyes. "To spy?"Seren hesitated. "Not exactly," he lied; for that was exactly the way the Element Lords had put it. "We are here to learn. We mean you no harm.""And what brought about this quest for knowledge?" Something in the Slizerian ruler's eyes told me he already knew. Besides, it must be hard to forget about sending an army on the attack."Our planet was recently invaded by Slizer troops, Your Majesty," Seren answered. "We are here to find out what the purpose of that attack was.""As I remember Commander Dynamo's report, your people attacked first." The Emperor spoke in a calm, quiet voice that dripped with menace."If that is true, and this is all a misunderstanding--"Millennium waved his words away. "Perhaps it was a misunderstanding. But it makes no difference now."My heart beat faster. As much as I hoped he meant the matter was done with, all was forgiven, and there was no reason for hard feelings between our planets, I doubted that was so."And why is that, sir?" Seren inquired, eying the Emperor warily."We have detected on your planet a profusion of a valuable substance which I believe you call Protodermis. These resources would be highly useful to our planet."Once again, I was surprised--and a little frightened--by how much this being knew.Emperor Millennium went on. "Not only that, but we have discovered a small liquid amount imbued with a powerful energy. The benefits this material could give us are incalculable."Seren nodded. "I'm sure it would. We have not discovered this supply, but I'm sure our leaders would be happy to nagotiate a trade with Slizer nevertheless."Millennium laughed derisively. "You do not understand! Your planet is in no position to nagotiate!" he responded. "I desire your resources for my planet. I do not wish to trade. What I desire I take by force. Your people can cooperate, or be annihilated." He shrugged, as if impassive to which it would be.Klimaat began indignantly, "Now look here! I don't care if you are an Emperor, you can't just--"Millennium snapped his fingers, and immediately more "Mini-Millennium" Throwbots poured into the room. Five, ten, fifteen, twenty--I lost count as they filed into the room, blocking the exit and surrounding our little team."But I can, Glatorian," he said, in a mockingly condolent tone. "I can do anything I want."

Thanks for reading!

Word Count: 2,369

Review

Sincerely, Nuile: Lunatic Wordsmith :smilemirunu:


Edited by Nuile: The Daft Wordbender, Jun 05 2012 - 06:54 PM.

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#8 Offline Nuile the Paracosmic Tulpa

Nuile the Paracosmic Tulpa
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Posted Feb 22 2012 - 10:12 PM

Chapter Eight

A few months ago, I had been living a peaceful life in Aqua Magna as a medic. My life had been simple and routine.And now, enticed by the aspect of adventure, I found myself trapped in the dungeon of a tyrant's palace, floating high above a technologically advanced city on a foreign planet known as Slizer.I would have called you mad if you had told me this was going to happen to me.Perhaps, however, I am the mad one.So some of you might be wondering if I, at that time or any time, ever regretted my decision to join the Stellar Quest.So I'll tell you: not for a minute!Well...maybe for a minute...or two...or a few hours...but never longer than that!"'Don't attack, Klimaat, we should try to nagotiate peacefully,'" Klimaat was saying in a derisive apery of Seren's voice. "'Leave our weapons on the ship, Klimaat, we must cooperate! Let me do the talking, Klimaat, so I can kiss their Etran rears!' Well a great lot of good listening to you did us, captain!"Seren bowed his head. "I am sorry, all of you...I was stupid. I left us wide open. I put the whole mission in jeopardy. I--"Veverka cut across him. "Now's not the time, captain! We have to get out of here and stop them, or get back home and warn everyone, or--well, we have to do something!""Let him go on," Klimaat replied. "Penitence is something!""So is, say, escape!" Veverka retorted.As they argued, I was leaning against the wall, staring through the glass--or hopefully a more sturdy diaphanous substance--under my feet, at the city sprawled below. It was a nice view, but I shuddered to think what they did with their prisoners when the dungeon was full....Klimaat was defending his pointless position far beyond necessity, and the debate was growing to a crescendo. Seren stepped in to break it up.Yes, I thought. Stop the senseless fighting!We were in quite a predicament, and I knew it tightened the nerves, but--Wait, I thought, Maybe we should be polemicizing.I glanced at Nagaan, who was standing in her usual lonely corner, seething silently. She glared at me when I looked to her. I winked, she cocked her head in confusion, I stormed over to the others--treading carefully on the discomfiting floor."What's the point, anyway?" I cried. "Why escape, why do anything? It's no use! We're up against a planet full of advanced technology, far beyond anything we have back home! Even if we get back, what? You think we'll have a chance of stopping them? You heard Millennium--what he wants, he takes by force!"Veverka stared in shock. "Reise!" she gasped. "How can you say that? The Great Beings--"I tutted. "The Great Beings! They knew nothing about Slizer, and yet Slizer seems to know them!""How dare you!" Nagaan screeched--but her eyes twinkled. "They are called the Great Beings for a reason, foolish Agori! They will flatten Slizer as you would a fly!""Impossible! After what we've seen of the Slizerians? Which, in reality, must be only a fraction of their capabilities!""Reise, we must have faith! We must trust in the Great Beings!" Veverka exclaimed."Faith, trust!" I sneered. "Give it a break, Veverka! Here we are, locked in a cell, who knows how far from home, as an army of Throwbots prepares to conquer Spherus Magna! All hope is lost!""Calm yourself, Reise!" Seren ordered loudly.I glanced it him; I couldn't quite tell if he had caught on, but I could always apologize later--so I punched him in the stomach. "Don't tell me what to do! You're not my captain anymore! The mission is over, we've lost! We're all doomed!"I had gone so far, even Klimaat jumped in to reprimand me. "Who do you think you are, Water Agori?" I wondered if he even remembered my name or not as he went on, "Seren is a Glatorian, not to mention a superior officer! We're still the Stellar Quest team! We can still fulfill our mission! So shut up, fool!"A sixth voice spoke--at last! Our dissent had drawn a guard, one of the kind that looked like Millennium."Enough, prisoners. Be silent or you will be punished."I turned to Nagaan; she was already concentrating on the disc in the Throwbot's hand.As I watched, the disc flew suddenly from his hand, off to the side, and then whizzed for the guard's head. It exploded; he slumped to the ground, unconscious; and Nagaan lifted his card key with her Psionic power. In moments we were free."Sorry about that," I apologized immediately. "I really didn't mean anything I said, it was only to deceive the guard."Seren placed a hand on my shoulder, grinning. "It was a good plan, Reise, but I'm glad to know it was only an act. And you did very well, Nagaan."The Skrall rolled her eyes. "Of course I did."Veverka punched my other shoulder. "Don't you ever act like such a bonehead again! At least not without warning us first!"I laughed. "I won't, and that's a promise.""Right then. We better get out of here before another guard shows up," said the Captain."I don't know about the rest of you, but I don't remember the way back to the Star," Klimaat said. "Not to mention that the whole place is swarming with Throwbots; and even worse, we're still unarmed. Any clever solution to all that, Reise?"I answered jocularly, "Well, I think I see a lake down there. Maybe there's a button that opens the floor, and we could--""Sounds good to me. You first."I shrugged. "I invented a way out of the cell; it's your turn!""Why my turn? Seren's captain, and it's his fault anyway, let him get us out of this mess.""All we need is to logically consider the problem," Seren said thoughtfully. "So what do we need? To reach the Unreachable Star. That's our only chance of escape. In addition, we need our weapons, which are still on the ship.""Good work, Captain--obvious, that is," Klimaat jeered.The Sand Glatorian ignored him. "And we won't make it to the Star unless we reach their unseen...or unregarded.""Same thing.""Not exactly. If we were disguised, for example, we could be seen without consequence. But I don't see that that's an option. So that brings us to the next question: how do we travel unseen?""We wouldn't be seen if we were inside the walls," Veverka suggested.Confused, I followed her gaze. There I saw a grate in the ceiling, roughly a bio long, and half that in width."What is it?""It's an air vent," the Fire Agori explained. "Through a special machine, air is taken from outside, then either cooled or warmed before being distributed throughout the palace. It flows through these vents, or grates. Behind it there should be a system of ducts...hopefully large enough for us to crawl through. The Unreachable Star has a similar system.""Good, Veverka," the captain commended. "However, there's one problem: we still would not be able to find our way back to the hangar.""I can assist you with that," said a new voice.Across the metal floor that dissevered the two rows of cells, standing in one of his own, was another Throwbot, different from any I had seen before. He was winged, yet still possessed legs and arms. From the tip of each wing projected a three-bladed rotor."Just let me out, and I will help you back to your ship." His voice was high and apparently amicable, but as with all Throwbots, there was that strong vacuity of tone.Klimaat laughed. "How dumb do you think we are? As if we'd trust a Throwbot--and a criminal, no less!""We're criminals too," Veverka discepted. "These Throwbots might be as innocent as we.""She has a point," agreed Seren."But we don't know we can trust him," returned Klimaat."I hate to admit it, but I agree with Klimaat," said I."You do not believe me?" questioned the Slizerian. "I can comprehend that. I shall offer you a transaction: if you promise to free me, I will explain how you can find your way through the ducts."Klimaat shrugged. "That sounds fair.""It's a deal," Seren declared. "What do we do first?"Our potential ally directed us to a computer near the dungeon door."You will need a card key," he added.I turned and slid the guard's key from our cell control box. "Got it.""Good. Now enter it into the computer to activate it."The team grouped by the computer, and I entered the card into the machine."Now what?""Merely select the map register, and then the air duct digram. Recite then to me the directions, and I shall memorize them.""That won't be easy if we can't understand your--but hold on," Veverka interrupted herself. "I can I read that!""Curious," observed Seren. "It strongly resembles our own language, at least to the point that we can understand it.""Curious?" I echoed. "This is inexplicable!""It's an inexplicable planet," Seren agreed. "But now's no time to dwell on that."But as our captain began navigating the digram of the duct system, I did just that--I dwelled.How was it that Millennium knew about the Great Beings? How did he know our term for protodermis? And how could it be that the peoples of both Spherus Magna and Slizer all shared a common spoken and written language?Inexplicable, I repeated silently. In some unknown way, our two planets are strongly bonded. How is it, then, that one is preparing to besiege the other?"Captain," said Veverka abruptly. "What about the other captives?""What about them? They're not our concern!" Klimaat answered."It's not fair to leave them all here, especially when they might be guiltless!""I know, and I agree with you," Seren replied, interrupting another reply from the Glatorian of the Jungle Tribe. "But what can we do? We can't all escape. It would attract too much attention."Klimaat snapped his fingers. "Hey, maybe it's not such a bad idea after all! They could serve as a distraction!""Klimaat! That would be cruel!" Veverka objected."I approve of the idea," verbalized our Throwbot friend. "It would make things much easier for us.""But that would be selfish!""I agree with her," declared a Throwbot prisoner."Me too," agreed several others."You don't get a choice," Klimaat snarled."They would at least have a chance to get out if we released them," said I."Not you too!" cried Veverka."It was your idea to set them free in the first place! Besides, they couldn't be any worse off than they are now.""Well, they could be punished," admitted the Throwbot. "Possibly killed. But death is debatably better than living on Slizer as it is now.""I still say--" Veverka began."Enough!" Seren ordered. "The prisoners will stay here. I wish we could help them, but the Stellar Quest is more important. It does not involve them.""Why don't we leave him here then?" she asked, jerking a thumb at our Throwbot aid."He assisted us, so now we must assist him, as promised. It would be dishonorable to do otherwise.""It would also be dishonorable to leave them--""Enough, Veverka," the Sand Glatorian repeated firmly. "The prisoners stay, and that's final. Now Reise, release our friend please."He tossed me the card key, and I obeyed, glancing at Veverka as I moved; she had turned her back on the captain, arms folded and eyes narrowed in ire, and now gazed at the prisoners we were to leave behind.As I freed the Slizerian, he announced, "So you are all aware, my name is Puxe. Good to meet you all."We introduced ourselves in return as Puxe's rotors picked up speed, lifting him in the air. He flew to the grate and unfastened it.With a boost from Klimaat, Seren entered the duct first, and the two male Glatorian reached down to help Nagaan up.As this occurred, Veverka grasped my hand suddenly; our eyes locked, and she silently conveyed her purpose. I nodded, allowing her to slide the card key discreetly from my hand.Klimaat watched her slip away. He looked at me, grinning in amusement. He understood...but I knew, for his own purposes, he would remain silent.Guilt pricked at my conscience as Seren grasped my hands. Veverka was disobeying orders, and I had helped her to do it. Had I done the right thing?Veverka was back in a moment. Klimaat lifted her to reach Seren's hands, following swiftly himself.The Jungle Glatorian pulled the grate shut, just as I glimpsed the first Throwbot prisoner run past.Unsuspecting--or so I hoped--Seren directed, "Lead the way, Puxe."

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Word Count: 2,170

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#9 Offline Nuile the Paracosmic Tulpa

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Posted Feb 28 2012 - 02:52 PM

Chapter Nine

Puxe pressed his face against the grate, peering through the small gap."I cannot see much," he reported. "There is a stack of cargo one-and-two-thirds bio away."Bio, I thought. Somehow, I'm not surprised.Puxe opened the vent and emerged from the shaft, the Stellar Quest team behind him. Even crouching there felt more comfortable, with the long walls stretching away from us in three directions. After so crawling and climbing through so many metal tubes, two beings behind me and three ahead, I had started to feel rather claustrophobic.We crowded behind the pile of boxes, canisters and other manner of supply containment, as Puxe spied around them."Good," he said, "Most of the guards are gone. There are only four left, all armed; two guarding one of their ships, two guarding the hangar door controls."Before I continue the narrative, allow me to explain. Several minutes before we reached the hangar, a siren had begun blaring. To half of the present minds, it was evident that we had been discovered absent; but Klimaat, Veverka and I knew we were not the only absentees. In any case, we continued at a faster pace.Back to the moment of subject, Puxe suggested we split into two teams and sneak up on the guards. That way, we could disarm them before they were aware of our presence."I have a better idea," Nagaan replied.Said Seren, "Go ahead. What is it?"Rather than answer, she closed her eyes and concentrated; a moment later, a resounding crack boomed from the center of the room.Curious, the rest of us peered around our shelter. The guards were running pell-mell for their lives, and I could not blame them. The floor was rapidly crumbling, and already several spacecraft, including that that held the the Unreachable Star in its metallic stomach, had plummeted down toward the city far below."The guards have gone," Veverka told Nagaan.The Sister of the Skrall opened her eyes, smiling with satisfaction.In the blink of an eye--or the opening of Nagaan's--the floor was repaired, the ships returned to their previous positions.Puxe's eyes were wide in astonishment. "But--how--""You saw what happened to the guard back in the dungeon? Nagaan here--" Veverka touched the Skrall's shoulder "--has powers over the minds of others.""And don't any of you forget it," Nagaan hissed threateningly."She might be a pain the neck, but she sure does come in handy." Need I tell you who said that?Nagaan rose, a furious inferno blazing in her eyes. Veverka turned and punched Klimaat in the stomach, which seemed to assuage the Skrall."What did you do that for?" Klimaat wheezed."To save your life. Now why I did that is a more sensible question.""Come on," Seren interrupted. "We have to get out of here before any guards return."Puxe shook away his wonder and took flight. As he made his way to the controls, the rest of us entered the Throwbot ship where our Star was being held.There we waited. Soon, the sound of sliding metal met our ears, followed shortly by Puxe's appearance."The hangar door is open. Lead the way, foreigners."This leg of our trek to Millennium's throne room was easy enough to retrace. After several twists and turns, we found our ship--guarded by four more Throwbots."I have a plan," Seren whispered. "Klimaat and I will sneak around to a different entrance, and take the guards by surprise while the rest of you distract them.""Or," Veverka propounded, "We could let Nagaan handle it."Klimaat pouted. "Where would the fun be in that?""You're right, Veverka, that would be faster," Seren admitted--though I noticed he looked a bit disappointed as well. "Very well then. Please, Nagaan, go ahead."The Skrall sighed. "You would be helpless without me!" She paused, shutting her eyes as usual; a moment later she strolled audaciously into full view of the Slizerians."She's mad! She'll get us all captured!" Klimaat gasped.However, the guards took no notice of the Skrall. She strutted right up to the Unreachable Star, where she halted and turned to us."Are you just going to stand there all day?" she called.We trailed after her, cautious at first, but quickly realizing it was another mind trick. Still, it was awfully unnerving to stand beside the Throwbots, armed with light ray guns and exploding discs as they were, and us defenseless. Perhaps they were only pretending--perhaps they could see us--perhaps they would strike at any moment--perhaps now--now--or now--it was not pleasant."Go on, Glatorian, have your fun." Nagaan indicated the guards.Klimaat grinned at Seren. "Can't just leave them standing here, can we?""They would assuredly notice the Star take off," the Glatorian from Bara Magna agreed.I rolled my eyes, Veverka gave me an exasperated look that said, Glatorian!The Captain walked right up, grasped two of the guards by the head, and rammed their metallic skulls together.The pair slumped to the ground. Another Slizerian blinked at them. "What was that?""Nothing to worry about." Klimaat, seizing the weapons of the remaining guards, commenced to clobber them to unconciousness.Nagaan huffed vexedly. "You Glatorian; always so violent!""Physically," Klimaat concurred. "But mentally, you're even more so." As an afterthought, he admitted, "But it was awful nice of you to let us have at the Etran."The Skrall smirked in vain contentment. "Stay on my good side, Glatorian; it has its perks."As far as I could remember, this was the first exchange between the pair that had not ended with Klimaat buckled in pain. They were learning to get along; that would mean a lot in the troubles I knew were ahead."Let us go on, foreigners," said Puxe.Seren nodded his agreement and led the way up into the Star.What a relief to be back! I thought as I stepped out of the air lock. After our adventure in the palace, to be back on our ship felt like home."Okay everybody, grab your equipment and get to your stations. I want to be ready to take off as soon as possible.""I have a question," I stated as I pulled my jetpack on. "How are we going to get out of the Slizer ship?"Klimaat grinned. "Oh, you just leave that to me."With that, we disperesed to our posts. Klimaat moved into the Defense Ring; Veverka took Chute C to the lowest deck; Nagaan rode Chute A to the highest; and I went down to Deck 4, the Medical Bay, the office with which I was happy to be reunited. Only Seren and Puxe remained on the bridge.As I set up, I heard Veverka prepping the engines below. Within a few minutes, she announced that all was in readiness. The engines roared, and I watched from my computer as the room outside filled with smoke.Seren's voice. "Ready, Klimaat?""Huh--wha'? Oh, sorry, I must have fallen asleep with all the waiting," the Jungle Glatorian answered.A moment later there were a number bright flashes of green accompanied by loud but muffled peals, followed rapidly by plangent explosions and crumbling metal."An elegant threshold just for you, my dear Nagaan!"I couldn't help but laugh when I espied the "elegant threshold;" a large hole gaping out of the wall, framed by ragged edges of scorched metal."I'm touched," returned the Skrall drily.The Star emerged from the Slizerian battleship to a tumult of shouts; the guards had returned, no doubt drawn by the noise."No objections, captain?""Klimaat, you have my full support.""Good to know--death to Throwbots!"Loud reports, flashes of green, resounding booms--Klimaat discharged all five Thornax Cannons ceaselessly, raining fire upon Millennium's soldiers and their ships. The guard's ranks scattered, throwing their disks randomly at the Star. It was to no avail, for their small bursts did little damage to our shields. A small flock of guards made for the controls, trying to block our exit, but with a swift blast Klimaat broke this up."I think they have learned their lesson now," Nagaan announced."Awww, not yet--just five more minutes? Please?" Klimaat begged.Seren and I snorted, Veverka giggled, and Nagaan merely ignored him as she steered the Unreachable Star out into the clear blue sky.

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Word Count: 1,404

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[i]Sincerely, Nuile: Lunatic Wordsmith :smilemirunu:


Edited by Nuile: Lunatic Wordsmith, Feb 28 2012 - 02:53 PM.

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#10 Offline Nuile the Paracosmic Tulpa

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Posted Mar 02 2012 - 05:05 PM

Chapter Ten

The Unreachable Star was now a falling star, as we rocketed down toward the planet below."Where am I heading?" inquired Nagaan."That's a good question," replied the captain. "Puxe, do you--""I will take you to the headquarters," said our Throwbot ally. "We share a common enemy now.""What about the ship?""Such a thing cannot be hidden so easily," Puxe answered, shaking his head. "You will have to abandon it.""Abandon her?" Klimaat objected. "Captain, surely you wouldn't do that?"There was a moment of silence, ended by a deep sigh from Seren. "What choice do we have? I hate to do it, but Puxe is right. We can't hide her. If our mission is to be a success, we must abandon her. Nagaan, find an empty location to land. Anywhere will do.""Just stay away from the center of the city, there is a small military outpost there," instructed Puxe.As we continued our descent, I gazed round at the Medical Bay. We were to leave our ship again already? This time, perhaps, for good! I could not help but feel sentimental. The Star had been our home, after all, even if for only a short time. She was as much a part of the team as the rest of us. But yet we had no choice but to sacrifice her for the sake of the mission.I shuddered. Would we have to sacrifice a living member of the team for the sake of the mission? Would any of us do so willingly? Seren, I thought, probably would. Veverka as well. I knew Nagaan would; though she would probably be more willing to send one of us "lesser beings," if it was necessary that she sacrifice herself, she would do it in an instant for the Great Beings' sake. Klimaat, however, was much too self-centered. If one of us had to die, he would be the last to volunteer.Speaking of whom; "We're being followed," announced our Master of Defense.My attention was drawn to the rear camera, which revealed, sure enough, that a small fleet of Slizerian discoid crafts were hurtling after us. They were far behind, but their ships were swift."Shoot them down, Klimaat!""I'm working on it, I'm working on it--it's not easy to hit a moving target, you know, especially from this distance--there, that's one!" I spectated as the green sphere collided with one of the Slizerian ships, which burst into flame and fell to the planet's surface. "Almost--almost--that's two!"Then our opponents opened fire on us. They projected similar spheres of energy, glowing purple rather than green. Nagaan swerved, avoiding some but not all shots. What hit struck our hull, causing considerable but not devastating damage. Another struck a leg. I caught my breath, letting it out in a relieved sigh when the leg held together. Landing without it would have been interesting.Two more Etran ships had gone down by the time Nagaan activated the frontal thrusters, slowing our descent. At the same time she had to weave in and out of the shower of ammunition, doing her best to prevent the Unreachable Star acquiring any more damage than she already had."The shields are weakening!" Klimaat grunted through gritted teeth. "She can't take much more of this. If the shields go down--""Then stop those ships!""I'm trying!" The Thornax Cannons discharged another volley of energy blasts; another disc fell. "Yeah--five down, one to go--come on--come on...."Nagaan righted the ship. Though the Star's gravity system prevented me from feeling as if I were upside-down, it was still unnerving to watch as we not only fell, but propelled ourselves toward the ground, and I felt much better when we were upright again.One more of Millennium's ships fell, and Klimaat declared merrily, "That's the last of them!""Excellent job, Klimaat!" the captain commended.With a smug sigh, "Yup, yup, yup." I iterate: conceited ape!"Yes," Nagaan agreed, "You took your sweet time, but I never would have believed you could have aimed well enough to hit even the palace.""I guess I proved you wrong then, eh?""Partially.""Partially?""You're right, even 'partially' was an exaggeration.""An exaggeration?""Oh dear, the communicator seems to be malfunctioning. All I hear is an echo."Klimaat did not enjoy the joke, but the rest of us did."Look here--""I do wish you would learn to bridle your tongue, Klimaat," Seren interjected with a sigh. "As for you, Nagaan, do you plan on landing today?"There was a hiss, followed by a click as the Skrall deactivated her communicator. Just as well; it was malfunctioning anyway.So what if it was a rotten pun?The Unreachable Star finally touched down upon a high roof, probably attracting the attention of Throwbots for several kio."Gear up and let's get going, Stellar Quest Team. No time to waste."I unharnessed myself from my chair and rose. This was it...we were leaving our ship, peradventure for good.I caressed the wall. "Vale, faithful friend. Hopefully you will not be captured by the Etran and destroyed." If she was alive, the Star probably would have slapped me. Or if not, Veverka would have jabbed me with her elbow.At that very moment, my stomach seared with pain."Don't sneak up on me!" I gasped."Oh, I'm sorry," Veverka apologized mockingly. "I'll leave you two alone.""It's not like she could have heard me anyway."She rolled her eyes. "It was still a dumb thing to say!""Why don't you ever take Chute C straight to the Bridge?""Fine, maybe next time I will.""Only joking. You're welcome in the Medical Bay any time, Veverka--if there will be more times for you to be welcome, that is.""Dont worry, I'm sure this isn't good-bye," said Veverka. "We'll see her again...and she won't be a pile of scrap metal.""Maybe ash, then?"I jumped backward as she tried to hit me again. The moment my feet hit the floor, there was a loud creaking from outside. My eyes widened. "Did I do that?"Crack. I ran back to my computer screen and activated the camera feed. I gulped. One of three legs, the one that had been hit by the Slizerians, had shattered. Without it, the Unreachable Star was unbalanced, and we could do nothing but watch as it tipped over the edge of the building."The ship's falling!" we cried in unison."I noticed!" returned Klimaat.I stared at the screen, too stunned to move. Veverka seized my arm and thrust me into my chair, squeezing herself in beside me. Awoken from my daze, I helped strap us both in.And not a moment too soon. The ship shook as we hit the ground below with enough force to spring back into the air, hitting once, twice more. The ship began to roll downhill, fast enough to make me dizzy in spite of the Star's gravity. Then the engines roared. Nagaan was trying to take off! She succeeded, but not quite in the way she had intended. Still spinning, we were launched into the air. We wobbled and swiveled and whirled as the pilot struggled to regain control.At last, our mad flight regulated, but not fast enough to prevent a collision with a tall Throwbot building. Leaving a dent in its metal walls, the ship fell once more to the ground below, where at last it halted, leaning against the structure.The lights flickered undecidedly, then the ship's power died altogether, leaving us in an inverted position. My communicator, computer, several pieces of medical equipment, and anything else that wasn't fixed to the floor fell to the ceiling."Is anyone hurt?" Seren asked in a voice thick with vertigo.My head was spinning and ringing, my hips ached from being squeezed between Veverka and the arm of the chair, and now my body was suspended upside-down, held only by the straps that pressed hard against me and restrained my breathing."So-so," Veverka called, her voice strained.Klimaat grunted, "As soon as I'm not hanging by my hands from the floor, I'll let you know.""So how do we get down from here?" Veverka whispered."With difficulty." I meditated a moment, gazing upward at the floor. "Well, if we could only get upright and unstrapped, we could lower ourselves to the floor--er, roof--with our rocket packs.""There's only one way to do that."We twisted in our seat (or suspension, rather) and grasped the back of the chair with both hands. I counted to three before unstrapping us, and we hung for a fraction of a second from the back of the chair before it swiveled in my direction. Veverka fell into me, causing us both to lose our grip. The Fire Agori activated her rocket pack instantly, followed by myself a split second later. Breathing heavily, we touched down upon the ceiling."That was fun!" Veverka cried, her eyes twinkling.I disagreed, but did not say so. Wordlessly, I groped among the debris for any unbroken equipment I should take with me. Veverka kneeled down to help.Just as I found my communicator, a voice said: "We cannot stay here long, foreigners. We must reach the headquarters before military forces reach us.""You mentioned a headquarters before," observed Seren. "What headquarters?"Puxe replied, "The Headquarters of the Aliruug, an organization of revolutionists. We fight to free Slizer from Millennium's tyrannical rule.""There are more of you?""Many more. There are few on Slizer who do not wish to be free from Millennium. If all were brave enough to rise against him, victory in open war would be almost assured. But they fear his forces.""If so many oppose him, why do not the soldiers?""I will explain all during our journey to the headquarters. In the meantime, we must hurry and get out of here!""You're right," Seren agreed. "Is everyone ready to leave?"I heard the door to the Defense Room slide open, and Klimaat say, "I am.""Do you have all you need, Reise?" Veverka checked."I think so--yes. Or all that was salvageable, at least. Do you?""Yup, I have all my tools. I might not need them until we get back to the ship, but best to be prepared."Veverka and her Water Agori companion slid down Chute A to the Bridge, where we found Nagaan had already arrived. We were all present and sufficiently equipped."How do we get out, then?" asked Klimaat, who attempted to force open the air lock to no avail."There's no way to open the air lock without power," Veverka answered. "But there's an emergency door on the Medical Bay. So we can just climb up there and--""Why can't we fly?" Klimaat jerked a thumb at his rocket pack.Veverka frowned. "We could do that...but it's not as much fun.""Time is of the essence," Puxe reminded us. "We must hurry!"The majority verdict was that we fly back down--er, up--so confusing!--to the Medical Bay. Puxe had to be carried, for his wings and rotors were too large to navigate the chutes, but shortly we were all gathered on Deck 4. The emergency exit was on the wall opposite my desk, just to the left (or right from our reversed perspective) of where the ladder would be outside.Seren unlocked the door manually and peeked out. He quickly withdrew. "They've found us.""Really? But how? After such a discreet landing!"Ignoring the satirical Jungle Glatorian, Seren continued, "They have the ship surrounded, but they can't get in.""So I guess Nagaan has to do that invisibility trick thing again?""Yes--please, Nagaan.""Very well."Nagaan shut her eyes for a moment, then nodded. "They cannot see us."Hidden behind the Skrall's mind tricks, we exited the Star, using our rocket packs--or wings in Puxe's case, Psionic powers in Nagaan's--to make the descent. We were nearly all out when the Throwbots first took note of the open door; seconds later, it shut again. Perhaps hoping to find it unlocked or to force it open, several winged soldiers approached the portal. We were unable to lock the door from the outside, which gave them the chance to enter. I hated to see them invade the ship, but there was nothing to gain in stopping them, and we could not without the risk of defeat by this large team of Millennium's Throwbots.As we snuck away from our transport, we all cast at least one glance each over our shoulders. The Unreachable Star looked terrible. It was dented, smeared with dirt and dust, and two of the legs had been lost entirely, the one remaining horribly deformed."We'll have a lot of repairs to do when we get back to her," Veverka observed cheerily. "I'll enjoy that, I think.""If we get back to it," Klimaat corrected. "They've already found it, and they're sure to remove it. What happens to it then...well, we can only hope for the best."I took in one last look at our dear ship before Puxe led us down an alleyway and it disappeared from view. I felt a sentimental twist in my stomach as I wondered if that would be the last I'd ever see of the Unreachable Star."And now, foreigners," said Puxe, "It is time for that explanation I promised you."

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Word Count: 2,251

Review

[i]Sincerely, Nuile: Lunatic Wordsmith :smilemirunu:


Edited by Nuile: Lunatic Wordsmith, Mar 02 2012 - 05:06 PM.

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#11 Offline Nuile the Paracosmic Tulpa

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Posted Mar 14 2012 - 08:26 PM

Chapter Eleven

Two Glatorian, two Agori, and one Skrall followed a hovering Jet Throwbot as he weaved his way through the streets of Millennium City, the capital of Slizer. Every now and then we had to retrace our steps or hide to avoid being spotted by Throwbots of military or civilian variety. Puxe revealed just how knowledgeable he was of the layout and habits of the city as he led us through quiet streets and alleys, avoiding densely populated or highly visited areas. How grateful I was that we had him to lead us; without him, I would have felt utterly and hopelessly lost."It is difficult to choose a place to begin," said Puxe. "Perhaps it would be best to describe Slizer itself first, and then its history. Yes, I shall commence there."Our planet is divided into seven segments; they are the Magma Continent, the Ocean Continent, the Arctic Continent, the Desert Continent, the Jungle Continent, the Energy Continent, and the Urban Continent. I am confident you can imagine each location by its name. The planet is evenly divided among these regions."Though Slizer was divided by a greater number, there was still another definite resemblance between it and Spherus Magna. How was it that we were so similar, and yet the Great Beings themselves knew nothing of Slizer?Knew nothing, I thought with a sudden chill, or told nothing."So much for the planet. However, before I continue with our past you should know about the Throwbots. We are a biomechanical species, of eight subspecies, each living primarily in one of the Continents. These are the Torches, the Scuba, the Skii, the Granites--lower yourselves, foreigners, there is a Spark!...You may rise now, he passed.""What's so dangerous about a spark?" asked Klimaat, when the trouble had passed.Puxe answered, "A Spark is a type of Throwbot, but I will get to that. As I was saying, there are the Torches, the Scuba, the Skii, the Granites, the Amazons, the Electroes, the Jets (such as myself), and the Turboes. There are three others with which you have probably met--such as the Sparks--but I will get to those later. There are also many species of animal life on Slizer, such as the ____ and the ____, but those are of such an incalculable variety that there is not the time nor the necessity to list them all."Puxe checked if we had any questions as of yet. Klimaat inquired if the Jet and Turbo species both shared the Urban Continent as their primary home. Returning an affirmative reply, Puxe went on:"Now then, the history of Slizer, beginning from as distant a past as any can remember. Of times before that there are only legends and myths, stories passed down among our people, which vary highly, depending usually upon the species of the teller. Each tries to make itself appear the most important or heroic, and so facts are distorted. But as far back as any reliable record goes, Slizer was a planet of war. Primitive tribes fought over territory and supplies, even among their own kind. There was ceaseless battle and death, which elapsed countless years. It was a terrible time."That is when Emperor Millennium came in. He arrived on the planet from some far distant world, bringing with him superior technology, and two great warriors far larger and stronger than our own. They were Dynamo, his companion, and Blaster, his personal bodyguard. He promised us peace and happiness, and that procured him many supporters. With this legion, headed by Dynamo, Emperor Millennium crushed any opposition, united the planet, and founded his empire. Our grassland region became a city, the Urban Continent; the northernmost point of the planet, where all seven regions met, was levelled, and Millennium City was created as the capital of Slizer. As promised, we had peace and happiness."But not for long. Soon Emperor Millennium became greedy, and issued his levies, taking currency, supplies, and whatever else he could from us. When the people began to resist, he created his miltary. Somehow, he stole the DNA of regular Throwbots and used it to create two new species: Sparks, his foot soldiers, and Flares, his air soldiers.""So that's why his soldiers support him," said Seren. "They're custom-made to do just that.""Indeed, foreigner. But that was not enough for him. In addition, he used his own DNA to create the Millennions, his elite troops."I cast my mind back to the soldiers who guarded Millennium's throne room, the ones that captured us, and how strongly they resembled the emperor."And that is when Emperor Millennium had military outposts built all over the planet, and his own palace constructed to float above the capital city, as he issued many new laws to keep the citizens in check, including a ban on public arms. And that was when the Aliruug was founded; we have been fighting to end this tyranny ever since," the Jet finished."But is tyranny really so much worse than constant battle?" said Veverka. "I mean, Millennium saved you from all that. Does that really make him a villain?""I sometimes ask myself the same, foreigner. Yet it was freedom, regardless of what we did with it.""The freedom for senseless violence, endless war, and needless death!" Veverka retorted."Is it not better to die honorably on the spear, than to be dropped from the sky and swept up by a street cleaner?" Puxe asked. "Is it not preferrable to die of wounds gained in battle, foreigner Veverka, rather than wounds gained by torture?"For this, our Engineer had no answer. But she still looked unconvinced."Millennium is our immediate problem. If he can be removed, the next worry will to be to maintain freedom and peace among Slizerians."As Puxe led onward, we fell into silence, contemplating all the Throwbot had just related. I felt again that sense of kinship to the people of Slizer, with their varying species, living united and yet apart in their individual biomes.How much they reminded me of home; a thought that led on to the return of the unwelcome consideration of whether or not I would ever see home again. It was painful to consider. But I knew that if indeed I never saw home again, it could only be because it was destroyed, the consequence of failure in our mission.But that is not entirely true, I realized. There is another possibility. I hated to think of it, but if I sacrificed my life for the mission, it could succeed and I would still never see Spherus Magna again. This brought up the question that, while asking it of my teammates, I had refused to ask myself: Would I forfeit my life for the sake of the mission?I knew I would do almost anything for the sake of the team, the mission, the Great Beings, and above all, my home and all the beings there...but would I die for all that? It was a hard question to answer, but when I considered all that was at stake...weighed against all that, what was one life worth? I would give up my life in a heartbeat if necessary, I declared silently...I think.As we plodded on in silence, I tried to take my mind off such profound and depressing thoughts and observe the weather. The sun's last rays shone across the sky, illuminating the palace above and leaving us in the shadows created by the many tall buildings of Millennium City. There was not a cloud in the sky; did Slizer even have clouds? I wondered.That was it for the sky, rather empty as it was from our vantage point. That is besides, of course, the castle, which was a point of curiosity and amazement, and yet of darkness and oppression."Are we there yet?" asked Klimaat impatiently.Puxe returned, "Hush, foreigner. Nearly."We crossed another street. "Are we there yet?""No.""Are we there yet?" after we passed another road.Seren sighed. "Really, Klimaat!""What? I'm bored of all this running and hiding!" the Jungle Glatorian complained. "Why can't I just take out the guards instead? I haven't even had a chance to try out this darling yet." He caressed the Tree Tomahawk, his elemental weapon from the Great Beings.Said Puxe, as drily as was possible for a Throwbot, "You are entirely free to do so, foreigner. In fact, as you do, most likely calling yourself to the attention of every soldier in the city, it will serve an adequate distraction which will aid the rest of us in reaching the headquarters safely.""Oh, ha, ha, ha."Silence reigned once more as we progressed through the city, which grew ever darker with each passing minute. Balls of light, held aloft by spindly metallic arms, illuminated our path.As we continued, Puxe occasionally pointed out different Throwbot species to us. As we hid from sight, he would note the four-legged Granites and Electroes, the latter of which were also winged; the legged Torches, Scuba and Amazons; the wheeled Turboes; or the Skii, with slats always attached to their feet and a pole to push themselves along."Though Throwbots normally remain in their own territories," Puxe explained, "we often come to the capital to trade, visit with friends, or spectate at sporting tournaments. Sometimes Millennium holds events to announce new laws. And of course, some Throwbots live here.""Yes, it is the same on Spherus Magna," said Seren. "We typically stick to our individual regions, but we often travel for similar reasons.""Spherus Magna?" Puxe repeated inquiringly."You have not heard of it?" I asked."Not I."The Emperor does not share much with his people, I thought."I suppose it's your turn for an explanation, then," said Seren."'Knowledge gained is never a waste of time,'" said Puxe in a tone suggestive of quotation, though of whom I had not the faintest idea. "Proceed, foreigner.""Well...where to start?" After a pause, the captain continued, "Spherus Magna is rather similar to Slizer. We have several different environments, in which lives a different species, or rather a different type of the same species, but I'll get back to that. The ranges include Bara Magna, Bota Magna, Aqua Magna, the Northern Frost, and the Northern Region. In these areas live Agori--such as Reise and Veverka--and Glatorian--such as Klimaat and myself--of the five different elements: Sand, Jungle, Water, Ice, and Fire. There is a sixth element as well, Rock, which belongs only to the Skrall, of which Nagaan is one. The males and females live in different tribes; and the latter, as you have seen, possess Psionic powers. And, well, I guess that covers the basics.""Fascinating," observed the Throwbot. "This Spherus Magna sounds like an interesting place, which provokes another question: why did you leave?""Millennium," Klimaat declared irefully. "He claims that while his troops were out scouting or something, they found some sort of energy source on our planet. So they decided to launch an attack on our planet, and then report back to Millennium what they found out while laying waste to our home!""And that is why we were sent here," Veverka put it. "To find out more about Slizer, and what incited the attack. And now--now Millennium prepares to invade Spherus Magna and take as much Protodermis as he can get his hands on!"Puxe said, "I see now why you oppose Emperor Millennium. It is possible he plans to do the same on Spherus Magna as he has done here; to dominate your people and declare himself despot of your planet. And believe me, foreigners...if he is not stopped before the attack begins, there will be little hope for your home. Emperor Millennium will liquidate anything or anyone who gets in his way.""And that is why he must be stopped," Seren proclaimed. "And so he will be stopped."Quiet prevailed once more as our path went on, on, and on through the confounding labyrinth of pathways that enmeshed itself between the tall metal structures. I observed these towering objects with a feeling of despair. If Emperor Millennium, with his astounding technologies, could level a small portion of seven unique regions, and build upon them such an uncountable number of these colossal architectures--I knew that left but one hope for Spherus Magna: we five.No pressure."We near our destruction, foreigners," Puxe announced.The ominous words triggered a shudder. "W-what do you mean?" I gasped."I mean what I say; we near our destination," Puxe repeated.I shook my head. Of course...I misheard him, that's all, I assured myself.As we marched on, I did my best to suppress the dark chill that had overcome me.

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Word Count: 2,132

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Edited by Nuile: Lunatic Wordsmith, Mar 14 2012 - 08:27 PM.

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#12 Offline Nuile the Paracosmic Tulpa

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Posted Mar 15 2012 - 02:32 PM

Chapter Twelve

"This is it?" asked Veverka, disappointment in her voice. "This is what the hideout of revolutionaries looks like, huh?"We had, as Veverka's statement makes clear, reached the headquarters of the Aliruug; a colossal warehouse, abandoned judging by the state of it. Glass, metal, and other debris were strewn about the ground. Creeping vines clutched the walls, which was, in fact, the first evidence of plant life I had seen first-hand on Slizer."Did you expect a palace?" asked Puxe.Veverka ignored the comment and stated, "I'm just not sure if I trust the stability of this place. The roof is liable to collapse any moment. Parts of the wall already have collapsed.""As has the roof," Puxe replied. "So there is no need to worry.""Thanks, that makes me feel much safer," the Fire Agori responded in a sarcastic tone.Nevertheless, she followed Puxe, as did we all. Our alternate options were highly limited.Puxe led us to a side door, upon which he rapped once. There was no reply, but Puxe just stood there."Well? What are we waiting for?" Klimaat inquired impatiently after a short pause."Patience, foreigner, wait for--ah!" Two taps returned from the interior side of the door. Puxe knocked ten-and-seven times more, stated his name, and the door swung open."Puxe! You return at last. We were beginning to worry you had been captured, or worse. In fact, you have been gone so long, the code has changed to fourty-two knocks, but nevermind. Was your mission successful? All else is in preparation. We would have moved headquarters before now, if not for the importance of your return." All this spilled forth hastily from the four-legged Granite standing in the doorway.Puxe had no difficulty keeping track of all these statements and questions, and replying to each in turn. "Greetings, Akullo. Yes I was, and it would have been assuredly worse if not for these foreigners. They too oppose Emperor Millennium. It was indeed successful. Spectacular, then we may launch the operation as soon as possible. Ah, I apologize for holding up the transfer, I hope it has not caused problems.""Ah, new allies are always welcome, even if their appearances are most strange. Many thanks to you five for bringing Puxe back with the information he has gained for us. Yes, we may even operate tonight. It has caused no trouble, and there is no time left that it could."My head was spinning. "Can we stick to one subject at a time--please?""Ah yes, of course. I apologize." To Akullo, Puxe said, "The foreigners' brains are incapable of operating at speeds as high as ours."After a pause, Klimaat cried, "Hey! We're standing right here, you know!""So what's all this about preparations, and operations?" asked Seren."Enter into the headquarters," Puxe invited. "I shall explain inside."The two Throwbots disappeared through the doorway. As we followed, I prepared myself for the grand spectacle I expected inside. Weapons, computers, starships, hundreds of Throwbots, and who knew what else!My imaginings did nothing to prepare me. After all the wonders I had seen, I thought nothing could surprise me. But I was wrong. Nothing could have prevented the great shock with which I met as I passed into the warehouse.It was empty! There was nothing! Nothing! An empty metal floor, stretching nearly as far and wide as the hangar in Millennium's palace. Moonlight poured through the gaping hole above, bouncing off the reflective, albeit filthy, metal surface, giving the headquarters its only dazzling aspect."This is not at all what I expected the headquarters of an organization of hi-tech revolutionists to look like," Klimaat stated."I suggest you withhold comment until you have a chance to see the headquarters and judge it fairly," said Akullo. With that, the Granite stepped forward and vanished. Vanished, I say! Into thin air!Noticing our surprise, Puxe instructed us to follow as he himself stepped forward and disappeared."It is merely, as you boors would so crudely put it, a 'mind trick,'" explained Nagaan scornfully.Haughtily, she strode forward until she, too, disappeared. Cautiously we followed: Glatorian of Bota Magna, Agori of Fire, Agori of Aqua Magna, and finally Glatorian of Sand.And then we saw what we had been expecting. Weapons, computers, starships, hundreds of throwbots, who knew what else, it was all there."They have machines to turn themselves invisible!" exclaimed Klimaat. "Brilliant! That could come in handy."Nagaan sneered. "Indeed. I have always wondered what being invisible would be like."Before Klimaat could reply, Puxe said, "Follow Akullo, foreigners, I have someone I must speak with prior to accompanying you."With that, we split up. Puxe disappeared into the throng of creatures and technologies, while Akullo directed us down a different path through the maze. We passed Throwbots of all kinds; computers and machines for which I could only imagine purposes; weaponry, ships, and various other objects of a discoid shape, which I noticed seemed to be a popular theme on Slizer.The room was so large, and so replete, that it was hard to concentrate on any one thing for longer than a moment, and much eludes my memory. Yet some specific details I am able to recollect with ease. For one, I noticed the summit of a large, transparent dome in a far corner of the humongous room, which seemingly contained some type of luminous gas. Another was the massive network of platforms that crisscrossed the area, which was primarily used as a dock for the Aliruug's many transports. However, as we were nearing what I approximated as the center of the chamber, I noticed above me a circular platform raised above the others, ringed by computers and various other devices. At its center was a table, around which stood eight beings: one Throwbot of every kind. The Jet I would not have recognized as Puxe if Akullo had not pointed him out to me.I lost track of time amidst this treasure trove of technological wonders, but before too long we reached a comparatively quiet area of the headquarters. There were fewer Throwbots bustling about, and the space was filled with circular tables and chairs. We seated ourselves around one of these metallic plateaus, and were presently approached by an Amazon."Would you desire an article of consumable matter?" she inquired.I stared at her blankly for a moment, for the question seemed so out of the blue. Food! So much had happened that day, I had scarcely had time to think about food! But now that the concern was brought to the table, as it were, hunger crashed down upon me. Factually I could not remember ever feeling more famished.And so we selected a variety of dishes between us and laid voracious waste to them. The Slizerian cuisine was unique, unlike anything I had ever experienced before, but far more savory than it appeared...and smelled.Soon after our appetites had been satisfied, Puxe joined us."Now then," said Puxe, getting straight to the point. "You wondered what it was Akullo and I were discussing upon our arrival here. 'About preparations and operations,' as foreigner Seren put it. Well, the explanation is simple. The very reason I was locked in the Emperor's dungeon is because I infiltrated the palace itself. I was on a mission for the Aliruug, that being to retrieve a map of the fortress, and this I have done. This is being examined by our leaders--excepting one, for I have removed myself to speak with you--as I speak. Plans are being formulated, and the troops are gathering and making all necessary preparations. As soon as possible, we attack."Klimaat slapped the table before him. "How I love that word!""Do we have your support?""I don't think there is any doubt about that," Seren rejoined."Then give me your solemn word," urged Puxe. "Swear your allegiance to the Aliruug; to fight for our purposes as well as your own; to follow orders without hesitation or fail; to lay down your life in this pursuit of freedom for Slizer, freedom for Spherus Magna, and for any other planet that may in future be threatened by this tyrant! Vow, foreigners, that you will do all in your power to your very last breath to rid the universe of the plague that is Millennium!""I swear it!" Klimaat cried."I undoubtedly affirm it!" I declared."I promise!" exclaimed Veverka."You have my word!" said Nagaan."For all of Slizer, for all of Spherus Magna, and for the Great Beings themselves, I vow my allegiance!" proclaimed Seren."So be it," Puxe confirmed. "Seren, Klimaat, Veverka, Reise, and Nagaan; Stellar Quest Team, welcome to the Aliruug!"

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Word Count: 1,458

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Sincerely, Nuile: Lunatic Wordsmith :smilemirunu:


Edited by Nuile: Lunatic Wordsmith, Mar 31 2012 - 01:56 PM.

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#13 Offline Nuile the Paracosmic Tulpa

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Posted Mar 31 2012 - 01:55 PM

Chapter Thirteen

Mere minutes ago, we, the Stellar Quest Team, had just enrolled ourselves into the Aliruug. As it seemed, we were to join them in their final strike against the tyrannical Millennium, and eliminate him from his rulership once and for all.Now a blaring siren rent the air, accompanied by the din of laserblasts and explosions.None of us said a word. What was there to say? The situation was instantaneously comprehendible; the headquarters had been discovered by Millennium's forces, and we had to evacuate expeditiously. Nothing could have been clearer.Silently, Puxe rose and led us hurriedly away from the café area, winding his way through the pathways carved between machines and devices of innumerable types. I expected to be taken to the platforms above, where flying vehicles were located, but instead we were taken to another area of the ground level, where several long rows of wheeled conveyances were parked near a large portion of comminuted wall. A ramp situated before this suggested the gap served as a crude exit; at the moment, however, it served as a crude entrance for the onslaught of Sparks and Flares.Revolutionists met their enemies bravely, fighting with discs, daggers, flamethrowers, pickaxes, and various other weapons. Commander Dynamo had underestimated us, and his troops were greatly outnumbered; we were winning, but it would not be for long. As soon as Dynamo received reports of our multitude, he would send reinforcements. We had to escape and regroup before that occurred.Naught was to be heard but the clangor of metal, the roar of flames, and the sonority of explosions. Nobody spoke, nobody shouted, only rarely did one hear a vociferation of pain. The din was louder than that of any battle I had ever witnessed on Spherus Magna, but the lack of voices seemed unnatural.Still were we silent as we approached the range of vehicles, the only thing between us and the battle. Occasionally we ducked to avoid stray discs and blasts as the battle raged on nearby; more than once we were approached by a Spark, Flare, or some combination, but Seren and Klimaat made short work of these. Still nobody spoke, not even Klimaat; however, though he kept his mouth shut, the appreciation of his newly tested Tree Tomahawk was manifest on his face.Around us, Aliruug agents mounted vehicles in their own efforts to escape the headquarters, while empty slots between some vehicles suggested others had already departed. Above I saw, from time to time, a flying transport depart.Presently Puxe motioned to halt, and a moment later he was sitting astride a two-wheeled automobile. On either side of this stood a nearly identical machine, which varied only be color. Each vehicle had two seats: one for the driver, the other for, presumably, a gunner. Mounted on the rear of the motorcycle, before the latter seat, stood some sort of mechanism, the purpose of which seemed to be firing discs. The vehicles reminded me of the Kaxium back home, though these motorcycles were suited for battle, while the Kaxium was a simple courier transport.The rest of us mounted the cycles, in pairs of Puxe and Klimaat, Nagaan and Veverka, and Seren and I. Without delay the three vehicles took off, breaking through the ranks of Millennium's forces and riding down any foolish enough to stand in our way. Before I knew it, the battle had disappeared behind the invisibility screen, and the ostensibly abandoned warehouse was shrinking into the distance.It was almost too easy. Somehow I knew there would be more to it, even before Puxe declared, "Millennium Motorcycles!"I turned and peered over Seren's shoulder as the entire group swerved down a side path to avoid a group of five Millennions, mounted upon red motorcycles, who blocked the street ahead. We sped down that side path, their engines roared, and the chase began."It seems Millennium's forces are looking to get their rears kicked again," remarked Klimaat, opening fire upon our pursuers.In an instant Veverka and I followed suit--as did, unfortunately, our pursuers. A disc flew at my cycle, and if not for my warning and Seren's quick reflexes, we would certainly have been hit. Thence we gunners became the eyes in the postern of our pilots' heads, warning them when and which way to dodge.I fired repeatedly to no avail. Every shot missed. In an effort to concentrate, I held my breath and closed one eye. I aimed carefuly and fired, and at last hit my mark, but with an impact that only caused the Millennium Motorcycle to vacillate. With another breath I aimed once more and fired several times. One missed entirely, another struck the side of the cycle, but the third collided directly with the rider, giving me the honor of taking down the first Millennion.We rode onward through the darkness, our battle illuminated only by the moon and streetlights. Our own motorcycles received several hits, yet none of us fell, though Puxe and Klimaat once came close, and I was nearly flung from my seat during an unexpected turn, saved only by the powerful arm of the captain.One by one our trackers were worsted, either knocked from their vehicles, or their vehicles knocked from them. At some point they were joined by three more mounted Millennions, which fell along with the others until but one remained of the fleet that had tried in vain to halt our flight.I was sore all over from the rough ride, my back ached from leaning over the disc launcher, and I was generally fatigued from the many occurrences of the day. Nevertheless I took one last breath, closed an eye, leaned over my weapon, took aim, and--suddenly another disc whizzed past me, flying straight at the last Millennion. It struck him full on, knocking him from his cycle. The Millennium Motorcycle sped onward without a pilot, until it lost balance, tipped over, and slid to a halt.I turned to congratulate Klimaat, but found him leaning back in his seat, wearing a somewhat disappointed expression. I turned my gratulatory grin on Veverka, and she winked."Now at last we can make our way to the emergency rendezvous point!" Puxe announced over the roar of our vehicles.In an effort to deceive the Millennions, Puxe had taken us in the direction opposite the meeting place, thus our journey took nearly an hour unto our arrival. When at last we stopped, I felt practically dead on my feet. I noticed only vaguely that mixed among the throng of Throwbots around us were trees and other plants before I collapsed in a heap on the grass."Yes, please rest," Puxe invited as my eyes began to close. "We will all need as much of it as we can get."He did not need to ask me twice--I hardly heard him once as it was. Without further ado, I slipped into unconsciousness.

* * *

I awoke to a myriad of voices. In the midst of this, a very clear, familiar voice spoke in my ear. "Wake up, Reise! Come on, get up! It's time," Veverka announced, rattling me by the shoulder.Literally shaken from my rest, I rose to my feet. As the haze faded from my mind, I observed my surroundings more astutely than I had been able to previously. The moon was well on its way down the sky, while on the other horizon an orange glow was just visible. The latter outlined a line of tall metallic structures, which I noticed continued to surround us on all sides, albeit more distant than before. Of more proximity, trees, flowers, and numerous other plants of varieties I had never seen, suggested that we were in a garden of some sort.Veverka had seized my wrist and was pulling me along impatiently. She led--or took, rather--me to a nearby spot, thick with trees, where the Aliruug had gathered. A Bota Magnian, Bara Magnian, and Sister of the Skrall stood out among this crowd of shorter beings. As we joined them, I beheld five figures at the center of the crowd. These were the leaders, then, with the Turbo and Granite hidden behind the sea of heads. Above them hovered the Electro representative, addressing the assembly."...changes nothing. Whether Millennium knows we are coming or not, whether he has an army waiting for us or not, today we will fight! We will set forth into battle with but one purpose: to free Slizer!" he was saying as I tuned in on his speech. "Naught matters but to slay Emperor Millennium at any cost."Cheers erupted from the Throwbots, but I was taken aback. "Slay him?" I echoed quietly. "We have to kill him?""Well of course, Reise," Veverka whispered back. "What did you expect? That we would just imprison him?""I don't know, I--I guess I just haven't given it much thought.""I know it seems ruthless, but there really isn't any other way, is there?""Perhaps not, but it just--it just doesn't seem right, somehow.""I understand how you feel, Reise, and I don't blame you, but--wait, hush!" she added swiftly, as the Electro quieted the cheers and continued his speech."For hundreds of years we have been oppressed by this cruel autocrat, and for hundreds of years we have sought to liberate the people of Slizer. At long last, the hour of success approaches. Everything we have ever done has led up to the coming battle. Throwbots of every species have given and risked their lives to prepare for it. Now the preparations are at an end. Rally your weapons, your transports, your spirits, for the end is nigh. To liberate our people or die trying, we attack at dawn!"With an uproar of cheers, the Aliruug dispersed to make final preparations. We were to strike the final blow against Emperor--so he would be titled for a short while longer--Millennium, to free Slizer as well as secure continued freedom on Spherus Magna, and yet...the Electro's final words left me with a feeling of dread.To liberate our people...or die trying.

Thanks for reading!

Word Count: 1,697

Review

Sincerely, Nuile: Lunatic Wordsmith :smilemirunu:


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I know I am ready to start my voyage.

 

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#14 Offline Nuile the Paracosmic Tulpa

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Posted May 17 2012 - 03:57 PM

Chapter Fourteen

"Veverka?" said I, approaching the Fire Agori. "I would like to speak with you."We had all been assisting the Aliruug to prepare for the upcoming battle. Iora, the Amazon café server, whom I had been aiding, had just dismissed me to find another in need of my services. But before I could do that, before I would be able to partake in the fight, I knew that I must settle the one going on in my mind first."Of course, Reise," Veverka responded, setting down the box in her arms."I've been thinking--about this battle," I began. "It's just...I'm not sure--"With a sigh, she perched herself upon the box. "If we're doing the right thing?""Exactly. Have you been wondering the same?""A little bit," she admitted. "You got me thinking especially about 'slaying Millennium,' as that Electro put it. I know it all seems savage, but our reasons are noble. Not only will we be helping Slizer, but we'll be helping all of Spherus Magna. When you think about all that's at risk--well, what's one life? Especially when that one life is threatening so many others.""But it's not just Millennium. To get to him we'll have to fight his soldiers--and kill many of them! So much death--it doesn't seem natural!""You have to remember that there's nothing 'natural' about Millennium's soldiers," Veverka reminded me. "They're all mutants, born from his twisted mind, made from materials stolen from real beings.""Okay, I give you Millennium, and his army; but what about all the Throwbots of the Aliruug? What about--" us? I was unable to finish the sentence, but I did not need to.Veverka took my hands in her two smaller ones, and looked me straight in the eye. "I know what you're thinking, Reise. I understand how you feel. I'm worried too--who isn't? But our worries are selfish. We should be worrying about one thing, and one thing only: murdering Millennium. Because as long as he dies today, nothing else matters. No matter how many lives are lost in the battle--even if not one single member of the Aliruug, Slizer Military, or Stellar Quest comes out alive--it's all for the better. The lives that will be saved outweigh everything else. We are doing the right thing, Reise. So don't worry."She spoke with such conviction and logicality that I knew her every word was true. I cannot describe how much it warmed my heart. No word in the Agori language can express me feelings at that moment.As she said, she might die, but what did it matter? There was but one thing I wished to accomplish first, and so I seized Veverka in a strong embrace. Rather than struggle, she wrapped her own arms around me. How long this lasted I cannot say; perhaps it was a few seconds, perhaps a few hours, perhaps years filled with endless sunshine. At last we released one another, and I ran off to help finish making arrangements. I was no longer apprehensive about the approaching battle; contrariwise, I was ready to fight a hundred battles, kill a thousand Millenniums, and die a million deaths.

* * *

A battle raged in the sky over Millennium City. Discoid spaceships buzzed hither and thither about the floating fortress like a swarm of dragonflies, discharging red blasts of energy at one another. To my untrained eyes, the vehicles were all identical, and it seemed Millennium's soldiers felt the same. However, the Aliruug had no such troubles. Cleverly, their ships were discreetly marked, and their pilots trained to recognize these distinctions. It was a brilliant strategy which granted us the upper hand.Whilst this battle raged on outside the fortress, a different battle was being fought within its walls. A troop of revolutionists, led by Puxe and two other Aliruug leaders, had gained one of the smaller hangars, which was strangely replete with damaged vehicles (how that happened is a mystery to me). They used the many ships as stockades, launching their arsenal of discs from behind these when the defending Sparks and Millennions came to close. Flares circled the ceiling, posing a particular threat, but the brave Throwbots of the Aliruug were not to be intimidated. They fought valiantly, using their cunning and surreptitious tactics to gain an advantage over their foes.What the Aliruug lacked in quantity, they surrogated with quality. I, however, have no detailed account of these horrific and thrilling disputes. While the sparks flew from both within and without the palace, I--along with my teammates, two Torches, the Aliruug Turbo leader, and the Scuba leader--was inside the walls themselves. Our purpose was to permeate the palace to where Millennium waited, likely as not laughing at the battle going on around him. He would soon learn not to underestimate his enemies...."Everyone else is out there, fighting the greatest war I've ever seen," Klimaat moaned. "And where am I? Crawling through an air duct, that's where!""It is most undignified," Nagaan concurred. "Yet is to the end of the most significant task, the ultimate purpose for which the battle is fought: to liquidate Millennium. At least try to feign you are worthy of the honor, Glatorian."Klimaat was indeed learning to "bridle his tongue," as Seren put it more than once, for he ignored the insult. "You're right; our job is the most important. Just everyone remember that Millennium is mine.""It is not that simple, Klimaat, and you know it," Seren sighed. "Now hush."A hush it was that prevailed as we followed the twists and turns of the shafts, led by the Aliruug leader that was a Turbo. Many grates we passed until, at last, Lotu--for that was the Turbo's name--told us quietly that we had reached the throne room."Only Millennium, Dynamo and Blaster; surely guards in the hall," Lotu reported in a concise whisper.Thence we remained silent, sitting there in the cramped duct, eavesdropping as the Emperor conferred with the Commander."Your highness, I implore you to listen!" Dynamo was saying. "The battle is too close, you must leave at once!""Your anxieties are without merit, Commander," Millennium returned. "I am invincible within this fortress. The Aliruug is a vexating Disc Fly, nothing more. Leave me, Dynamo, and go where you are of more use. The battle will last no longer than a moment when you enter the fray.""As you wish, my liege," Dynamo replied. Behind his hollow tone, there was a hardly detectable innuendo of asperity.Millennium, as perceptive as I, narrowed his eyes when his subordinate turned his back; Dynamo did the same."It seems Millennium and his top flunky aren't getting along too well," Klimaat observed in a hushed voice.I heard the door slide open, to close a moment later. Dynamo was gone--now was the time.The grate was thrown open, and the Turbo rushed out, followed in quick succession by the rest of us. We spilled forth into the throne room from the gap above the doorway. When I emerged, I found Blaster had already moved to stand before Millennium, discs at the ready; but the Emperor merely smiled."Clever! Clever!" said he. "I should have realized it was the ventilation. I must amend that neglected security measure. But in any case, welcome!"Lotu ignored the garrulity as he exclaimed, "You are going to pay for all you have done, and all you have yet to do, 'Emperor' Millennium!"The tyrant let out a sonorous laugh. "You think so, do you? Well, perhaps--but not today. However, before we resort to vehemence, allow me one question: just what have I done that is so wrong?""You have robbed the Throwbots of their freedom, robbed them of their possessions, forced your will upon them, and tainted their species with your genetic depravities!" Nagaan hissed."I have given them peace!" Millennium returned. "The people of Slizer were in a state of constant war when I arrived--they were mercilessly slaughtering one another. How could I have let it go on? It was chaos; I made it order. I rescued them from anarchy. Is freedom not a small price to pay?""Hmm, anarchy or autarchy?" Klimaat snapped. "Tough choice!"Klimaat's statement was derisive, yet I felt his words were true. Anarchy or autarchy; which was truly better? But now was not the time to consider the dilemma."However I govern my planet, I fail to see how it concerns you, Spherus Magnians.""You made it our concern when you decided to attack Slizer," Seren cried. "Now it is as much our mission as that of any other to exterminate you.""So be it." And with a shrug of his broad shoulders, the Emperor of Slizer clapped his hands.All of a sudden, on either side of the throne, a small portion of the wall slid away and Millennions poured out. At least three score rushed from the concealed doors, forming a thick line between us and their Emperor. Soldiers armed with shields stood in the first row to contrive a defensive wall, behind which the other soldiers stood with their light ray guns, swords, spears, and, of course, discs, they made a formidable fighting force.It was a surprise, to say the least, but the Aliruug was not to be deterred so easily. Lotu and the Scuba dropped two small devices on the floor, which together formed a field of energy before us. We ducked behind this stockade to dodge the enemy's barrage of discs, which they soon found to be useless. The moment their fire ceased, we blasted large gaps in their ranks with our discs, Thornax Spheres, and elemental projectiles. Thus the conflict began.Amidst the battle, I sat behind the barrier, Sea Saber at the ready; yet I did not use it. I hesitated. I did not want to cause any more death, not even that of Millennium's unnatural creations. And not only that, I was troubled about the future--at a time like that! My mind refused to listen to reason; the matter had to be sorted.What would happen when Millennium was dead? Would the Aliruug be able to maintain peace among the people of Slizer, or would they revert to war? I could not imagine the carnage there would be, now they had the technologies Millennium had introduced.And what about Spherus Magna? What was to prevent the same thing there? What if one of the tribes became greedy? What if there was a dissent among the Element Lords? I realized how little it would take to start a war there...and Agori, Glatorian and Skrall alike would die if that were to happen. It would not be the lives of worthless mutants then--it would be the lives of my people! My friends, new and old, and maybe even myself!It was chaos; I made it order. I rescued them from anarchy. Is freedom not a small price to pay?The Aliruug was wrong. Millennium was not the villain, we were! Our actions would not deliver the people of Slizer; they would doom then! I had to stop this battle.I grasped my Sea Saber and stared at that blockade device, heart pounding. Uneasiness overtook me. This is what is right, I assured myself. Millennium must not be stopped. He will save Slizer and Spherus Magna from endless horrors...I hope.With a deep breath I lifted my dagger and plunged it into that tiny machine. It fizzled, crackled, and finally stopped. The energy field deliquesced."What are you doing?" Veverka gasped. "Have you gone mad?""Maybe," I admitted. "Maybe it was madness that caused me to see sense at last.""He will get us all killed!" a Torch cried. "The foreigner has betrayed us!"Astounded, outnumbered and nearly defeneseless, there was nothing my allies could do to check the Millennions as they rushed us. In vain they attempted to push our enemies back; in moments we were surrounded. Held at the point of more than thirty weapons, we dropped our arms.My teammates stared at me in heightened astonishment and ire. Veverka's gaze was the most difficult to meet; within her eyes I saw the culmination of shock, fury, and pain."Veverka, I--""You traitor!" she screeched. "You've ruined everything! They're going to kill us now, you know that! And when we die, so do the hopes of Slizer and Spherus Magna! And it will be your fault, Reise! How could you do this? How could you betray the Great Beings, the Aliruug, our mission?" She turned her back on me to hide the unspoken words I had already glimpsed in her tears: how could you betray me?The words cut like a dagger. I felt terrible, but yet I knew I had done the right thing. We were all to be put to death, but Veverka herself had convinced me that the worth of our lives paled in comparison to that of the far greater number inhabiting Slizer and Spherus Magna. Could she not see that it was for that cause that I had done my deed?"How wise of you it was to surrender, blue Spherus Magnian. You would all have died by my Millennions." To the guards, Millennium added, "Leave the blue foreigner with me. Take the others to the dungeon; I will deal with them once the battle is over.""I'm sorry," I said to the others, as the guards began to lead them away. "I really am. But I did what I thought was best.""Well you were wrong, Reise!" Veverka sibilated. "You have condemned us all!""No, this fight is wrong! Please understand! I could not let Slizer return to war! I could not let the same happen to Spherus Manga! Millennium will maintain uphold peace on both planets--you said yourself that tyranny is better than constant war and death!""As long as that tyrant lives, there will never be peace," Lotu stated solemnly.Veverka's reaction was to turn her back on me once more. This, I hoped, meant she was beginning to see reason, and merely too stubborn to admit it.It was dubious that she would forgive me in the short space of time that would preceed her death. I had sentenced her to death, along with the rest of the Stellar Quest team. In one stroke I had destroyed everything that we had been working to achieve.I know it all seems savage, but our reasons are noble. Not only will we be helping Slizer, but we'll be helping all of Spherus Magna.I did what I felt was right. I just hope, for all our sakes, that I was not mistaken.

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Word Count: 2,463

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Sincerely, Nuile: Lunatic Wordsmith :smilemirunu:


Edited by Nuile: The Daft Wordbender, Jun 04 2012 - 09:06 PM.

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#15 Offline Nuile the Paracosmic Tulpa

Nuile the Paracosmic Tulpa
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Posted Jun 04 2012 - 09:08 PM

Chapter Fifteen

The Emperor beckoned to me. "You surprise me," said he. "I took little notice of you before; you never seemed--how should I put it?--significant." His words were blunt, but true; I did not mind. I was, after all, very insignificant. Even the Emperor himself, when compared to the complexities of the universe--but I digress. "I did not at all expect you to turn on your allies as you did. Tell me, what caused you to do this?""I realized something during the battle." I spoke clearly and without nervousness. Assuredly I would be killed, sooner or later, but that did not worry me as it once would have. I had understood what the consequences would be when I acted; I purely wished that so many other lives had not needed to be sacrificed for the cause. "I realized that we were wrong, that we were the villains and not you. You only strive to keep peace among your people. You might reap more benefits than is just, but you still save them from a far worse fate."Millennium stroked his chin. "You interest me, Spherus Magnian, you really do. You are so small, so simple, so inconsiderable--and yet your thoughts are deep and profound. Your wisdom impresses me. Tell me your name."The Emperor did not waste time with civility. It was a command, not a question; but I was feeling reckless."I did not hear a 'please.'" Veverka had been entirely correct when she called me mad.Millennium threw his head back and cachinnated. "You pert little...! Very well, I will indulge you. Please tell me your name, Spherus Magnian.""My name is Reise, your majesty. I am of the Agori species. There are five elements, or varieties, of Agori; Water is my own.""Well, well, it seems graciousness earns you more than you bargained for," laughed Millennium. "You must tell me more about your home--but not now. I have an offer for you. I could use a being such as you in my army. How would you like to be my lieutenant?"I was taken aback. I had been expecting to be executed--and now I was being offered a high rank in the Slizer army?Millennium continued: "Indubitably you are surprised. But you see, I desire your intelligence and creativity. My soldiers are loyal and strong, but they are little more than mindless beasts. They can be trained to fight, but they cannot develop real skill. I can create as many as I want as rapidly as necessary, but individually each is as worthless as the next. I have Dynamo, and I could not ask for a better Commander, but he cannot be in two places at once. That is why you, with your intelligence, and a little training, would be invaluable to me, especially in my approaching conquest of Spherus Magna. So what do you say?""Conquest of Spherus Magna?" I echoed. That would mean war--and death."You are concerned for your people?" Millennium asked. "Do not be. To conquer your planet, I will have to fight some of them, it is true. There will be war, but not as much as their might be, should I not step in. My motivations are to benefit Slizer, but they will benefit Spherus Magna equally. There will never be on Spherus Magna carnage the likes of what I found when I came to Slizer. Now answer me, Reise: will you become the lieutenant of my army?""Your majesty, I will always do what is best for the people of Spherus Magna," I answered. "Right now, I believe that is joining you.""An unconventional acceptance; but nevertheless, I am glad to clepe you Lieutenant Reise. Be warned, however, that I will be keeping a close eye on you until I am certain of your loyalty to me."I am sorry, but I will never be loyal to you. My loyalty will always lie with Spherus Magna.""A noble, though lamentable, sentiment. But it is of little consequence. You may yet change your mind. At present, I have an assignment for you. Many of your allies are yet unaware of your perfidy, and this can be used to our advantage. I want this battle finished; Dynamo is working to this end, but if you delude our enemies, it can be brought to a conclusion even sooner. Lead a large troop of my soldiers to a hangar near that in which the battle is taking place, and lure the revolutionists there for an ambush. That will terminate the battle inside my palace.""But what of Dynamo?""He need not waste his time any longer. Guard!" The Emperor waved to one of his Millennions. "Tell Dynamo I wish to see him. His prowess can be put to better use in the extrinsic battle. Very well then, Lieutenant Reise, you have your orders: deceive your comrades, lure them into an ambush, and have them taken to the dungeon. Now go!""Yes, your majesty," I acquiesced. "The Aliruug shall be crushed. Their intentions are good, but--"The Emperor finished darkly, "That is not always enough."

* * *

It was easy, so easy to befool Puxe. It felt terrible."Millennium is dead!" I whispered urgently.Puxe stared blankly at me, hardly daring to believe it. I tried to keep my expression as convincingly excited as possible, until at last the Jet broke into a euphoric laugh."It is over!" he exclaimed. "It is really over! We have really won! It is too wonderful to be believe!"I truly hated myself at that moment; I have never loathed myself more. What a cruel deception, to convince one of the falsehood that their utmost aspiration has been fulfilled."Come, we must go," Puxe continued. "We must take to the ships to settle the conflict outside, and thence we may seize the palace."Two impediments I should have expected. Mind racing, I answered, "I--er--they found the control room. Yes, they're waiting there. But it's heavily guarded, so we'll need your help to get in. Then we can shut down the levitational system.""Brilliant! Then Millennium will truly be defeated. I worry where it will land--but perhaps we can guide it to the military outpost below. We may manage that trouble when it arrives." The Throwbot gestured to his companions, and--whilst keeping the artificial Throwbots at bay--we fled the room.I led them down twistings hallways, through chambers of various uses, and right into the waiting arms of my troops. Puxe registered the situation immediately: I had led him into a trap, and his forces were outnumbered four to one. There was naught to be done but surrender.I attempted to persuade Puxe that my wherefores were noble, that it was all for the greater good, that the Aliruug's goal was impure, but to no avail; I might as well have been speaking to a wall. Puxe only glared at me in virulent silence as he and most of the Aliruug's remaining members were taken away.As a Millennion led me back to the throne room, I could not have felt any more wretched; and yet, I could not have been nobler!...Or, so I opined. I had rescued Slizer and Spherus Magna from war and death, so why did I feel so awful? Was it my conscience speaking as words echoed reiteratively in my head?Then give me your solemn word. Swear your allegiance to the Aliruug; to fight for our purposes as well as your own; to follow orders without hesitation or fail; to lay down your life in this pursuit of freedom for Slizer, freedom for Spherus Magna, and for any other planet that may in future be threatened by this tyrant! Vow, foreigners, that you will do all in your power to your very last breath to rid the universe of the plague that is Millennium!Every word stung like the cusp of a Thornax for the entire perpetuity of the trek; I had pledged myself to all clauses, and then broke each promise. In vain I attempted to dispel the deprecating thoughts. At last, Emperor Millennium dismissed them with his vocalization of congratulations."Exemplary, Lieutenat Reise, truly exemplary," he eulogized. "That battle is closed; but another yet rages outside. And I think you may be able to hasten that to a finish as well.""How, your majesty?""Simple: show our enemies--the Aliruug, you called them?--show the Aliruug what happens when you cross Emperor Millennium. Drop the prisoners."My eyes widened in surprise. "D-drop the prisoners, sir? You mean--""Drop them! The floors are designed for it; at the press of a button, the floor will slide out from beneath the feet of every captive and--" here Millennium let out a prolonged whistle "--splat!" He clapped his hands together for emphasis.I winced. What a terrible way to die! I knew the prisoners would have to be executed, but this--! "But--but the winged ones? They will be able to fly away and escape. Perhaps to save one or two others.""Yes, they are a problem," agreed the Emperor. "It was a challenge that puzzled my architects. But they overcame it; before the drop, each prisoner receives an electric shock that leaves them dazed, yet conscious."How lurid! I weened with repugnance. To fall from several kio to the stone ground below; I shuddered."Now, if your curiosity has been quite satisfied," Emperor Millennium remarked with sudden brusqueness, "You have a job to do. Off with you!""Y-yes, your majesty. As you wish."I bowed and departed. I was yet unfamiliar with the complex network of hallways and chambers of the palace, and so another Millennion was recruited to guide me.I considered the gruesome task before me. I knew that Millennium would maintain harmony among his people and my own, but this--dropping innocent beings to an untimely demise--it was not right. It was barbarous! Was this what was in store for my people? Had I made a mistake?No, I told myself firmly. It is too late to turn back now. Your decision has been made, and that is that.We arrived at the dungeon and I dismissed the Millennion. I had made my adjudication; while it was a callous and violent act, Millennium had given me an order, and his rulership would benefit both Slizer and Spherus Magna. I knew what I had to do.I entered the dungeon, that long hallway flanked by rows of prison cells. To my surprise, there was, as the last time I had been there, only one guard. Perhaps, in addition to the electronic guards, one Throwbot is enough.I strolled down the aisle, in search of my teammates--former teammates, that is. The cells, I observed, were more tightly packed than usual; the captured members of the Aliruug were imprisoned alongside those whom Veverka had attempted--and failed, clearly--to set free, taking up more space than the last time I had been there.When at last I found the remnants of the Stellar Quest, they turned baneful eyes upon me. I did not try to apologize or excuse myself, for I knew they would not listen. I was not even sure I deserved forgiveness. Rather, noticing that Nagaan was absent, I inquired to her location. Wordlessly Veverka jerked her thumb at the next cell.Following her direction, I found Nagaan--and my mouth fell open in astonishment. A stream of constant lightning forked from the walls of her cell, mercilessly galvanizing the poor Skrall; this was clearly to prevent her from mustering enough mental concentration to escape. Indeed, she could hardly speak.I gasped, "Nagaan--I--I'm so sorry!"Caustic eyes filled with agony and hatred glared at me from under that black hood. She seemed ready to spew forth a tirade of ire, but in her pain she could manage only three words: "I--hate--you!" Nevertheless, the power behind each syllable buried itself in my heart like a sword.I was appalled beyond words by Millennium's cruelty. This--this--this was simply too much!Still it did nothing to alter my mind; if anything, it strengthened my determination. Resolutely I marched back to the entrance, where the control panel stood. It was a computer, with a long list of functions and stored information. After relating my orders to the Spark, I located the operation I sought, selected the activation button, and gave the final confirmation.Every cell in those two long rows opened; the energy fields blocking the entrances evaporated.The guard Spark started. "No--that is not--what have you--" A blast from my Sea Saber silenced him.That dealt with, I rushed to Nagaan's side, where Klimaat, Seren, and Veverka were already aiding the Sister of the Skrall to her feet."Nagaan," I began, "I am so sorry--I had no idea that--I can't believe Millennium--""There is no need for apology," she returned, to my utter astoundment. "You did not foresee his ruthlessness. Even so, it was a brilliant plan."I resounded, "Plan?"Before I was answered, Seren regarded the other prisoners, who were now taking cautious steps out of their cells. "No, wait, do not leave yet! We must stay together!""Why?" I did not understand. The others must have known something I did not, for they were not making any sense.""Because of your plan, of course," Veverka rejoined with a large smile. "I admit that we all believed you had really betrayed us--you deceived even us, just as last time--but as soon as you released us, I, for one, could not have felt more imbecilic. It was a great scheme, to trick Millennium into capturing the whole battle force, so we could sneak up to his throne room and take him by surprise! I'm...I'm really sorry for doubting you.""Though I still wish you could have warned us first," added Seren.I could not believe it. They doubted my sincerity! They thought it had been but another scheme! "No, no," I protested. "You do not understand! Not at all! Millennium ordered me to kill you, but I could not do it--not after all we've been through--but I cannot let you kill Millennium, either!"Veverka stared at me, her smile fading. "But, Reise, what are you--""There was no plan!" I cried. "No deception! I did betray you--I had no choice! We cannot stand in MIllennium's way! His rule will be to the benefit of us all! Surely you can see that?""So that's it, is it? Well, you little Sand Mite!" Klimaat vociferated. "So you are a traitor, but you were too big a coward to finish us off, and now you expect us to forgive you, huh?""Hush, Klimaat!" Veverka snapped. "Reise risked his life to save ours--""After he put us in danger," Klimaat argued."I know, I know he did! But Reise isn't like you, Klimaat. He thinks and considers, on a scale larger than the rest of us generally do. He cannot be told what his opinions are; no one but he molds them...even if they are wrong.""I am touched by your words, Veverka," I admitted, "But now is not the time! All of you, you must get out of here, you must escape; Millennium will kill you if you do not!""And if we do, Millennium will kill you," Veverka responded. "Come now, Reise, you cannot think that all this is best?""I have had my doubts, but--after seeing what battle and death is like, I know that war cannot be worse than autarchy," I stated firmly."Perhaps, perhaps not--but Reise, Puxe and the Aliruug can take care of Slizer when Millennium is dead. And on Spherus Magna, we have the Great Beings and the Element Lords; it is they who shall uphold peace and happiness, not Millennium. And even if, somehow, war does come around--I know, it is troubling, and I too worried about it, but Puxe was right: 'It is better to die honorably on the spear, than to be dropped from the sky and swept up by a street cleaner. It is preferrable to die of wounds gained in battle, rather than wounds gained by torture.' Surely you can see this, Reise?""I--I--do not know!" I shook my head and spread my arms in desperate uncertainty. "I do not know what to think! These thoughts and considerations--they are a curse! How I wish I had your faith and conviction, Veverka!""But you do not, Reise; you have wisdom. Just as Klimaat possesses strength, and Seren leadership and quick-thinking, and Nagaan is devoted to the Great Beings and their cause. We all have strengths and weaknesses, Reise; that is what a team is."There was not a shadow of a doubt in Veverka's mind; how could I argue? "And a team we are, Veverka. I have sworn allegiance to the Great Beings, the Stellar Quest, and the Aliruug; I was a fool to break those vows. You will fight Millennium, and I will be right beside you...if you will have me back."Veverka smiled at me. "I would like nothing better.""I guess I can forgive you on the grounds of temporary insanity," agreed Klimaat.For the first time to my memory, Nagaan addressed me by my name. "Reise, you are very wise; for an Agori, that is. This team would not be the same without you."Seren placed a hand on my shoulder. "Welcome back, doctor."The captain put his hand out; one by one, we each piled a palm above his. This time, even Nagaan put in her hand, placing it at the zenith.We all smiled wordlessly; we were a team once more. We were the Stellar Quest Team.

* * *

Every prisoner, whether or not of the Aliruug, joined us as we marched to Millennium's throne room, all armed from the closet in the dungeon in which all expropriated weaponry was stored.The heads of the Aliruug, palace map still stored in their memory banks, led the way, with the Stellar Quest Team just behind them. Any soldiers met along the way were swiftly dealt with. Presently we reached our destination.Our army lined up in the hallway; when all were prepared, Puxe flew to the door and slapped the button. The door to the throne room slid open.We had underestimated Millennium for the last time. Before us stretched a sea of Millennions; on either side of us, Sparks surged from around corners; and behind, Flares hovered outside every window; beside the throne stood the massive two-headed Throwbot, Commander Dynamo. We were surrounded; I had led the Aliruug straight into another trap!Millennium's deep, loud laughter boomed from his throne. "Really, Reise! Did you veritably trow I would be such a fool as to bestow upon you my confidence so easily? Did you veritably trow I would leave my prisoners so dismally guarded? It is an indignity!"The Electro representative exclaimed, "Do not disregard our strength and determination, Millennium! This is one battle you will not win!"Millennium's laughter rumbled on. "Fools! It is you who disregard my strength! I will crush you as the vermin you are! You are an irritation, nothing more!" He rose to his feet and spread out his arms. "This planet is mine--I am the Emperor! With my commander at my side, my bodyguard behind me, and my army before me, I am invincible!"Instantaneously, Klimaat seized Seren's Sandstorm Lance and hurled it with all his might at the Emperor. The object whistled across the room at high velocity; Millennium did naught but laugh. With astounding dexterity and swiftness his bodygaurd, Blaster, leapt around the throne, caught the spear in its flight less than a bio from the Emperor's chest, inversed its point, and propelled it back at us.My eyes, distracted during this time by the spear, had been too slow to perceive the axe that was now buried in Millennium's chest. My attention arrested by this new detail, and in awe of Klimaat's swiftness and aptitude, it was not until Nagaan screamed that I turned and observed the Jungle Glatorian.He stood beside us as normal, if with more difficulty. On his face was spread a grin of exultant triumph, in spite of the long spear that penetrated his body like a skewer."K-Klimaat," Veverka gasped. "No!"Nagaan shook her head, bewildered beyond words. One might have expected her to be indifferent to Klimaat's death, but this was not so; a deep affection she had kept hidden behind a mask of animosity revealed itself in that moment.As for Seren and I, we rushed to Klimaat's side and supported him as his legs threatened to collapse. We were speechless; no words came to our minds. We just gaped."Well, it looks like my job here is done; I told you Millennium would be mine." After a small chortle, Klimaat turned to Seren and said, "Take care of them for me, Seren. You are a great captain, whatever I've said; I cou--" he coughed. His words were growing more painful, his breathing more labored. "I could never have been a better captain; nobody could." Suddenly, he laughed, in spite of his body's painful protests. "You guys should see your faces....Oh, d-don't be s-so glum--Millennium's dead! We--we've won! The mission--o-our mission is c-complete."With that, the warrior closed his eyes for the last time, and went limp in our arms. Klimaat was dead, a grin still etched in his face.

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Word Count: 3,623

Review

Sincerely, Nuile: Lunatic Wordsmith :smilemirunu:


Edited by Nuile: The Daft Wordbender, Jun 05 2012 - 06:44 PM.

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#16 Offline Nuile the Paracosmic Tulpa

Nuile the Paracosmic Tulpa
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Posted Jun 05 2012 - 06:46 PM

Chapter Sixteen

There were mingled cheers and cries of astonishment. I was torn between the two myself: Millennium was dead, a great victory; but Klimaat's quietus would be a great loss.Seren respectfully removed his Sandstorm Lance from his fellow Glatorian's body. Repelled, he immediately discarded the object by hurling it out the nearest window, striking a Flare in the process.My feelings were a confused tangle. I felt ecstasy, woe, excitement, horror, guilt, and loss. Thoughts whirled about in my brain, concerning Millennium, Klimaat, and the two planets whose fates hung in the balance. The imbroglio of feelings overwhelmed me to the point of numbness.In this state I was able to observe with my usual precision. The Aliruug, I perceived, were itching for battle, held back only by their leaders. They kept their troops calm, waiting to see in what way the army of the former Emperor would react.Dynamo's voice boomed out: "Emperor Millennium is dead!" A firm, commanding hand kept the soldiers silent. "I am Emperor now! Slizer is mine! I order you all to--""Prevaricator!" accused Blaster. He had knelt beside the body of the Emperor to examine it himself, and jumped to his feet in fury a moment later. "The Emperor is not yet dead--he can be saved!"The Commander--or Emperor now--narrowed his eyes. "He is as good as dead. There is nothing we can do.""Dynamo is a treacherous liar! Seize him!" Blaster ordered."Blaster is disloyal to his new Emperor--kill him!" Dynamo countered."My loyalty--and the soldiers' loyalty--is to Emperor Millennium," Blaster declared. "Not you, traitor! Soldiers--Dynamo attempts treason--kill him!"The simple minds of Millennium's creations were torn between the claims of the Emperor's subsidiaries. Blaster and Dynamo disputed, until at last the soldiers fired: some followed Dynamo's order, some Blaster's.A barrage of discs and light rays rained upon the two beings. Neither stood a chance against the onslaught. Blaster and Dynamo died by the hands of Millennium's own army.My soldiers are loyal and strong, but they are little more than mindless beasts.Millennium's own words. Without loyalty to their Emperor, the Slizer military had nothing. Without their leader, their unity was shattered. They were left with nothing but their own incompetent intelligence, which resulted in chaos.Some fought among themselves; others attacked us, the Aliruug; others still ran for the sake of ensuring their own pitiful lives.It's madness, I thought; but worse, I realized, it is anarchy! Was this what would happen when the populace of Slizer discovered that they were without a leader? In general, they were not loyal to Millennium, but they were at least obedient. Would their unity shatter?I had no time to further ponder the subject before I was shoved by a Ski behind me, urging me to follow and assist as the mass that was the Aliruug fought their way through the confused ranks of Sparks. Seren--Klimaat upon his shoulders, and armed still with his Thornax Blaster--Veverka, and Nagaan were aiding in the fight; I joined in halfheartedly, motivated only by loyalty to my teammates, as we fought through the mayhem. At last our opponents thinned, and we emerged, as it were, into an empty hallway.The eight leaders of this renegade band led us forth until they decided we had reached a safe distance. After a swift conference, they addressed their troops at large--the Scuba, Jegoia, as their spokesperson."We have cause to rejoice, honor and mourn," she began, "But that must wait; our mission is not yet fully complete. There is still the army to deal with. Puxe tells me foreigner Reise suggested that we may deactivate the palace's levitational system, dropping it to its destruction in the same way Millennium has destroyed so many of our race. We may even steer it to the miltary outpost below and liquidate two enemies with one disc."There was a murmer of approval; I shuffled my feet. It had been my idea, yes, but I had not invented it for this purpose. As a matter of fact, I was not even certain I was happy with it. What death and destruction it would cause!Will I ever be certain of anything? I wondered in despondency.Jegoia went on, "Lotu and Puxe will lead a small team to the control room to this end; meanwhile, the remaining Throwbots will return to the hangar. From there I will take a troop down to the city to evacuate as many civilians as possible from the area surrounding the outpost, while the rest of you secure as many ships as possible--if a battle yet rages in the skies outside, you are to help draw it to a close, and terminate any attempts to escape by military soldiers. Now then--let's move!"The party split up. Puxe and Lotu chose one Jet, two Electroes, one Amazon--the one that served us at the café, I think--three torches, Veverka and myself to accompany them; ten in all.With Lotu and Puxe and their mental maps, we made our way to the control room at a rapid pace, which left me quite exhausted and rather out of breath when we arrived. Puxe gave a signal to hush, but my lungs did not listen. In an effort to silence me, Veverka clamped her hands around my breathing appliances, which I must say did not aid my troubled lungs.After what seemed to me a few thousand years, our leaders and their underlings surged around the corner to attack the guards that waited there. Veverka released me and followed; I trailed after them, breathing in deep gasps.A small battle already raged in front of a closed doorway, in which I had little chance or ability to partake. A single blast of water, knocking from his feet the Spark whom was preparing to zap Veverka with a beam of light, was about the size of my participation.We entered the control room to find, somewhat to my surprise, a small group of true Throwbots guarded my Millennium's mutants. The guards, in their own surprise, were swiftly defeated. A moment of silence followed, as the two groups surveyed one another suspiciously.At last the question came: "Who are you?""We were wondering the same thing," Veverka responded."We are the Emperor's engineers," explained one of the Throwbots--a Jet. "We manage the support systems of the palace: air, levitation, overall electricity, and so on.""So who are you?" added a Granite technician."We are insurrectionists," Puxe explained quickly. "We need your help to deactivate the palace's levitation systems, and to direct it at the military ground base.""We cannot help you," responded the Jet. "You must be mad. Emperor Millennium's forces will arrive any minute and kill you. And if they find you here, they will kill us as well!""There is no need to worry," Lotu assured the troubled engineers. "The Emperor is dead, along with his Commander and bodyguard."Another mechanician pronounced this to be nonsense. "Emperor Millennium is invincible," she said. "No mere Throwbot could kill him."I perceived for the first time how truly frightened of the former Emperor the Slizerians were. They could not believe the almighty tyrant who had oppressed them for so long could be dead; indeed, we could hardly expect them to. It would be as if a complete stranger walked up to an Agori and proclaimed the Great Beings dead.We attempted to convince the engineers of the veritability of our claims to no avail; presently we heard the sounds of many footsteps approaching. We immediately quit the room, just as the first Millennion appeared from around a corner in the hall. A troop of soldiers, it seemed, had managed to organize themselves, and were now attempting to halt our endeavor.An electric barricade was swiftly set up in the middle of the hall as fighting recommenced; reluctantly, I joined in. In mere moments, rays of light, fire, water and discs rent the air.I ducked a laser beam and struck my attacker to the floor with an orb of hydration. I went down once more just in time to avoid a volitant disc before rising to release another water missile. I dodged and retaliated, hating every minute of it. My heart was beating rapidly, I felt alive and excited, and I despised myself for it. Battle was aggravatingly thrilling.The din of explosions and roaring flames rang in my ears as the battle wore on. I restrained my attacks in an attempt to prostrate, but not maim or kill, my opponents. Each time a floored soldier rose again, I felt a twinge of guilt; I was doing nothing to aid my teammates in the battle, yet I could not bring myself to inflict serious damage upon an enemy.At one point, Veverka snarled at me, "Reise! Stop holding back!" As I met her gaze, her eyes softened. "Remember," she whispered, "They aren't natural; they don't deserve to exist; they aren't real!"Encouraged in spite of my accursed doubt, I let loose a stream of water from my Sea Saber, felling a Flare. I dodged a light ray and directed a fresh attack at the Spark. Our foes yet outnumbered us, but slowly we were overpowering them. They were weak-minded and unskilled, and we had superior defenses.At length the final soldier fell, and a wave of triumph swept over me. It was, I realized, the first real battle the Aliruug had won that day. I turned to my teammates, grinning, to have my expression inverted.Veverka was crouching on the floor, clutching a wounded arm with a grimace. Puxe lay beside her, unmoving, while the others crowded around the pair.Lotu beckoned me unnecessarily as I hurried to the stricken. I began by checking Puxe. To my relief, his heart was beating, and his body rose and fell slowly as he breathed.I breathed a sigh of relief. "He's alive. What happened, anyway?""A disc struck him and exploded, knocking him out cold," Veverka explained through teeth gritted in pain. "While I was distracted by checking on him, I got hit by one of those Sparks' light beams."During her narrative I made a concise examination of her lesion. "It's minor," I assured everyone. "I'll have these two patched up in no time.""Well then," Lotu said to the Aliruug agents, "Let's leave the doctor to his work and see about deactivating the palace."The seven of them departed into the control room while I began tending to Puxe. I pulled off my rocket pack and removed from its compartment the Pain Imbiber, two chemicals--one for healing scalds, one for incisions--and a roll of bandages. Veverka watched in silence as I rubbed the former chemical carefully on Puxe's burns.During our silence, I heard one of the palace engineers say, "That was--amazing! You fought brilliantly!""Perhaps...perhaps it is possible you have defeated Emperor Millennium," said another."At the very least, you can clearly defend yourselves--and us if we help you.""Your assistance would be greatly appreciated," said Lotu. "If you could just show us how to--""On one condition will we help you," interrupted a fourth technician--I thought I recognized the Granite's voice. "If you can guarantee our safety, if you will promise to protect us against Emperor Millennium's forces, we will help you.""You have my word: no harm will come to you," Lotu asserted."Then we shall help you."Following a murmer of assent, Lotu spoke again. "I am glad to hear it. Now then, how do we deactivate the levitational system?"A Torch technician answered. "It will not be easy," she said. "Emperor Millennium is--or was--no fool. He had three backup generators built throughout the palace, each of which holds enough power to sustain the palace for years. If the main generator received damage or ran out of power, it would deactivate and the first backup generator would take over. There would then be ample time to repair the main generator, even if the second or third were to shut down--an extremely unlikely circumstance. And the possibilities of all four deactivating is astronomical...on their own, that is.""But if we shut them down manually?" Lotu pressed."Then they would all slowly cease, and in less than an hour the palace would crash to the ground below. But we cannot shut down so much as one of them without the password.""Ah--a password. We have had our share of hacking before; I am sure we could crack it." Lotu turned to his agents. "There are seven of us, excluding the doctor and two wounded. The six of you will separate into three teams--I am sure three machinicians would be kind enough to lead the three teams."As these details were arranged, I finished dressing Puxe's burns--which, thanks to the chemical, were healing swiftly. But for one groan, he had not stirred since he had been struck by the disc; I felt uneasy, but his breathing and heartbeat were regular, so I was sure he would regain consciousness soon.The three teams departed, an engineer at the head of each; Lotu turned his attention to the password; and I turned my attention to Veverka."This will sting," I warned. "The beam tore a gap clear through your arm; consider yourself lucky it didn't go through your heart. This will be simple to mend, but rather painful. Here, hold the Pain Imbiber over your wound to ease the pain." I snatched the second chemical and poured it carefully on her injury. She winced as the chemical hissed and bubbled, doing its work. Already I could see the organic tissue regrowing."S-L-I-Z-E-R," I heard Lotu say. "No luck--but I must try everything. M-I-L-L-E-N-N-I-U-M. E-M-P-E-R-O-R. No....""Reise," Veverka whispered suddenly. "I--I have a feeling.""I told you it would be painful. But don't worry, it--"She laughed. "No! Not about that." Her tone became serious once more. "A-about the password."I looked up. "Yes...I think the same idea occurred to me. It seems so--so--but it can't be true, can it?"Veverka shrugged, which caused a wince. Silently, I wrapped her arm gently in bandages and hung it from her neck. "Try not to use the arm for a few hours," I instructed, aiding her to rise to a standing position. "Keep the Pain Imbiber, because it's going to hurt--very much. Healing wounds like that is not a pleasant ordeal. But it will be as good as new when its over."Veverka nodded. "So, are you going to try it? The password, I mean."I sighed. "It's worth a shot; I almost hope we're wrong. But I can't deny, I had the same feeling."I walked into the control room and requested of Lotu a chance to try an idea."By all means," he assented. "Put it forth."I walked up to the computer and entered the theoretical password, with some aid to find the buttons I desired. Lotu said nothing, only waited for me to submit. I did such, hoping for the message "password is incorrect" to be returned."I AM A GREAT BEING: password is correct," read the on-screen announcement."But--it cannot be possible!" Lotu gasped. "He could not really be--surely it is mere conceit.""So I hope, very strongly. If that were true--" I shuddered."Surely it cannot be.""But--wait. Have you heard of the Great Beings?" I asked, somewhat surprised by the Turbo's reaction. How did he know what a Great Being was--what it would mean if Millennium was one?Lotu responded, "Why, of course I have; but it surprises me that you have as well. Everyone here knows the Great Beings, naturally; they created Slizer, after all."

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Word Count: 2,652

Review

Sincerely, Nuile: Lunatic Wordsmith :smilemirunu:


Edited by Nuile: The Daft Wordbender, Jun 16 2012 - 07:07 PM.

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#17 Offline Nuile the Paracosmic Tulpa

Nuile the Paracosmic Tulpa
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Posted Jun 16 2012 - 07:01 PM

Chapter Seventeen

A wave of astonishment nearly bowled me over. I should not have been very surprised, really, considering the numerous similarities between Slizer and Spherus Magna; but it came as a great shock all the same."The Great Beings created Slizer," I echoed. "And they--abandoned you?""Nobody remembers exactly how it happened," Lotu answered. "All we know for certain is that by the time the Dark Era--the endless wartime--began, they were gone."The Great Beings had relinquished Slizer. Later they had created Spherus Magna--but how much later? How many other planets might they have made in the intervening time? Suddenly the size of the universe came crashing down upon my shoulders once more, clogging my mind, encompassing my thoughts....Where was I? What was I supposed to be doing? Why did I even care? Of what purposiveness, of what consequence, could any act effectuated by the inane, meaningless beings such as myself and those around me be in the grand panorama of the omneity?I was futile, they were futile, our planets were futile! I was small, insignificant, unimportant. I was less than a speck of dust, participating in doings that were unheeded and irrelevant to infinite greater beings.I sunk to the floor, burying my face in my hands. What was the point? My existance had none. I was merely one member of a species made up of millions of beings; a species that was only a science experiment among a great many others. I was a toy to be studied and tested, ready to be put down at the drop of a helmet.A warm hand was placed gently upon my shoulder, and a lovely, high-pitched voice spoke my name; a ray of light piercing the depths of the darkness that engulfed me. I turned, and from within the eyes that gazed into mine everything returned to me: my location, my purpose, the importance of my mission."Reise," Veverka said slowly, "It's confusing and perturbing, I know, but what does it change? The happiness and even the lives of immeasurable beings depended upon us--and we have not let them down. Now we have to finish the job, and then--well, then we can go home. Home, Reise--where a hero's welcome awaits us! What does it matter if the Great Beings have created other planets and species? It would be vain to presume Spherus Magna was their only creation. The Great Beings created us, nurtured our species, founded our civilization, and gave us wise leaders. 'Meaning' is inconsequential. Our people live happy lives, and we have preserved that. Now it is time to complete our mission."I stared at her, drinking in her words, her tone, her touch, her beauty. At length I spoke. "Veverka--I--I--I thank you...very much. None but you could have raised me from the depths of my despair--my illogical, absurd despair. You were right, as always; I was just being foolish--"Here she stopped me. "No, you are no fool. On the contrary, you are very wise, as I have told you before. You question the unquestionable, you ponder the unponderable, and despair over that which is too grand and complex to despair over.""And it is only you and your faith which roused me from my despair.""That's why we're a team."My eyes fell, and with sudden bitterness I exclaimed, "A broken team!"The Agori of Fire flinched. "I know, Reise, I know; but we are not shattered. However, now is not the time to discuss this. There will be time to mourn later.""She is right," said a voice behind us. We turned to see Puxe standing in the doorway. "In the meantime, perhaps the two of you should prepare a ship, so it may be ready for a rapid departure.""An excellent idea, Puxe," Lotu concurred. "Meanwhile we may position the palace to fall upon the military base, and when the three teams report in to announce their arrivals, we may check on the evacuation and initiate the deactivation as soon as all is in ripeness."With Veverka's and my acquiescence, Puxe related a long list of instructions, which we memorized to the best of our ability. There were a great many turns, flights of stairs, and lifts to be remembered, but after a few minutes we managed to recite them all between us.With a final analysis of Puxe's singes, which were practically disappeared, we Agori departed on our mission.We traveled through the palace in an awkward silence. It was the first time the two of us had been alone since the battle had begun. How long ago that discussion, among the trees and flowers of that beautiful park, seemed now."Reise, can I ask you a question?" Veverka said suddenly, interrupting the hush."Of course, Veverka.""What is it that made you change your mind about following Millennium's orders? You believed that he would keep Slizer and Spherus Magna safe and peaceful. Why didn't you help him?"After a long moment of consideration, I answered: "Well, for one, I had my doubts about him and his command; I always have doubts. I do not think I will ever be certain of anything again. And perhaps I knew, deep down, that Millennium was wrong, that he was, after all, a villain and not a hero. But most importantly, I could not bring myself to execute my teammates. It was loyalty, devotion and friendship that prevented me from following his orders, Veverka. All that--" I beamed suddenly at her "--And maybe more. Yes; that is one thing, at least, that I will always be certain of."Veverka returned the smile. "I've said it before and I'll say it again; you, Reise, are very wise."We shared a laugh, that warmed my heart better than anything else could. She said nothing more, but it was unnecessary that she should. As we walked along, side by side, hand in hand, we fell into a voicelessness that was easier to appreciate than any words could possibly be.The journey continued, and we were simply enjoying the relative peace in one another's company, only interrupted by the occasional encounter with a befuddled soldier. All too soon, we reached our destination: the first hangar.We stepped into the empty room, gazing in renewed wonder at the voluminous space, emphasized by the complete lack of transports. The hangar had been successfully emptied by the Aliruug, the vehicles now hovering in the sky outside the expansive threshold, guarding against escape attempts by military soldiers.In a neighboring hangar there remained a few ships. A Spark was sneaking toward one, but as soon as he caught sight of Veverka and me, weapons unsheathed, he turned and fled."They aren't so brave when they're alone," Veverka observed, leading the way to the nearest spacecraft.I added, "Or when they're without their leaders."As we entered the vessel, Veverka wondered, "Are they really, though?"Her contradiction took me by surprise. Skepticism was unlike her--that worried me. "I-I don't know," I admitted. "But Millennium's dead, Dynamo said so. Then again, Blaster said he was not....""Could it really be that easy to kill a Great Being?""Could he really be a Great Being?" The words felt odd coming from my own mouth. Suddenly our positions were reversed. Veverka was the confused one, and I was faithfully reassuring her, despite my own doubts.Veverka sighed. "I don't know...I just really don't know."I searched for words to console my companion. Ontically, I found myself wondering what she would normally say. "Well...does it matter, anyway? I mean...shortly, a large portion of Millennium's army will be destroyed....And besides that, Dynamo and Blaster are dead. Even--even if Millennium is still alive, he isn't Emperor anymore.""Yes...yes, of course." She lowered her eyes cogitatively--then laughed suddenly. "I sound like you, Reise.""And I like you.""I hope I don't hesitate as much as that when I talk, though," she giggled.A sudden beep made us jump. I felt a strange sense of déjà vu as Veverka and I fished our communicators out of our rocket pack storage compartments and activated them."Reise? Veverka?""Hi, Seren," Veverka responded. "Is anything wrong?""Not at all; in fact, everything is right. We've evacuated the dwellings around the military station. Puxe contacted Jegoia to check on us as we were leaving the last home, to ensure that we were prepared for the deactivation of the palace generators. So now we just need the word of readiness from you, and the palace will fall.""I can have our escape prepped in moments," Veverka replied. "So tell Jegoia to tell Puxe that he can begin the deactivation process.""Glad to hear it! I'll tell Jegoia. You get to work, Veverka. We'll be finishing up down here. See you two soon!" Seren signed off with a click.Veverka leapt to her feet. "Time to get to work, then!""Not so fast," I said, halting her. "You can't use that arm, remember?""Oh--but Reise, I need it! I'll be careful--"I shook my head firmly. "No. I'll do everything, you just tell me what and how."I abrogated Veverka's protests, forcing her to concede. Reluctantly, she led me through the process of launch preparation, which was more complicated than I had expected. Patiently she answered all my queries and elaborated upon her jargon when requested. She explained between instructions that the Slizer mechanics were somewhat different, but still highly similar, to that of the Unreachable Star--the Great Beings' technology. It was a worrisome connection, considering that the technologies on Slizer had been introduced by Millennium. But I did my best to resist meditation of that conundrum, keeping my mind on the task at hand until at length it was completed.Full of her usual vivaciousness, Veverka asked, "Wasn't that fun?"I hardly thought so, but made no comment. Instead, I asked, "We're entirely ready for lift-off, then?"---REVIEW FROM HERE---"Entirely." She nodded in affirmation. "Nothing left but to fill the ship with her passengers. Until then, it's time to sit back and relax."We sat back, we relaxed. There were a few moments of silence, until I introduced a topic for friendly, unworried conversation. "So, what do you think we'll do when we get back home?"Veverka shrugged. "I don't know. Go back to our regular lives, I suppose....""And disband the team?""Needless to say, we won't all disappear from one another's lives. But Nagaan is certain to return to the Sisters of the Skrall, and Seren's a Glatorian. They both walk paths entirely different from that of Agori.""True." It would not be pleasant to disband, but it did seem inevitable. "I will miss them, though.""Of course you will. I will too. They--or Seren, at least--will miss us as well. But I am sure we will see him again, on occasion.""We've all been together for so short a time, and yet it is painful to think I will never see Nagaan again. It's even worse to think--" I halted. I did not want to bring that woe back to mind. Klimaat had died honorably, sacrificing his life for the greater good. That was that. "Well, nevermind."Quiet settled down once more, rather to my disappointment. I would have preferred that distracting conversation continued. As it was, it left my mind to drift back to unwelcome worries. How I regretted the loss of that peaceful life I had led so short a time ago, when I had enjoyed peace and happiness, interrupted only by trivial cares.But then again, I thought, You would not have met Klimaat, Seren, Nagaan, and Veverka. Perhaps it would have been better, in the case of the former three, not to have met them; but Veverka's acquaintance is one I will never regret.As my eyes turned on her, I noticed a tear drift down her face. Simple deduction told me of what she was thinking."He will be missed." I sighed. "He was an invaluable and amusing teammate. The team won't be quite the same without him--but I suppose it would not have been the same much longer anyway. What he did was noble, and he is the biggest hero of us all."Veverka made no response, but rather than console her I think I made it worse. She turned away, and the silence wore on awkwardly. Presently footsteps were heard in the hangar outside, somewhat to my relief. As a precaution I readied my Sea Saber, but it was not needed.The footless Lotu was the first to enter the ship. "The generators are deactivating, and we must evacuate. Soon Millennium's empire will be reduced to rubble.""All is ready here, sir," Veverka responded, leaping to her feet. "Who will be our pilot?""There is no better pilot in the Aliruug than our Puxe," Lotu stated. "Not that his skills will be needed in this instance. But the honor will yet be his.""I thank you, Lotu," said Puxe. "Now then, take your seats, everyone, and prepare for launch."The eight Throwbots boarded the vessel, and before much time had passed we were in the sky. And so began the rather anticlimactic wait for the palace to fall. The air crackled with tensity as we hung on every moment, awaiting the final blow to be struck against the former Emperor.Slowly but surely, the palace descended, progressively gaining speed as it lost altitude. At last, the structure was visibly sinking at an increasingly fast rate, a gigantesque stone plummeting to the earth below. This was it, the moment we had awaited! Millennium's palace was falling!Downward it moved, lower and lower, until it collided with the outpost below, with a crash that was more like a boom. The ground shook distinctly. The impact disturbed the dirt and the metal with which it was surfaced, lifting the immediate structures outside the military station; more distant houses were struck by debris, and more than a few collapsed.It was an amazing sight to witness, especially from our vantage point. A more marvelous and yet terrifying event I could not imagine. Words simply cannot manage to capture the awe, the fright, and the exhilaration inspired by that moment.The ground stilled, the dust cleared, and everything halted. For a moment, none of us even breathed. And then everything erupted. Both citizens of Slizer and visitors erupted into cheers, cries of triumph, and sobs of joy. The ultimate victory, against all odds, had been achieved. Millennium's palace was destroyed; it was over at last. We had won the battle!...But had we won the war?There would be other military bases spread across the planet which the Aliruug would have to deal with, and of course establishing a government and keeping harmony among the people of Slizer would not be easy. But the first, and perhaps largest, hurtle had been overcome. The people of Slizer had been liberated. With the Aliruug and a little luck at the head, all else would follow.At that moment, however, only one thing mattered: Millennium was dead, along with his subordinates, and his palace was destroyed. We had won!

Thanks for reading!

Word Count: 2,547

Review

Sincerely, Nuile: Lunatic Wordsmith :smilemirunu:


Edited by Nuile: The Daft Wordbender, Jun 16 2012 - 07:07 PM.

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#18 Offline Nuile the Paracosmic Tulpa

Nuile the Paracosmic Tulpa
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Posted Jun 19 2012 - 01:31 PM

Chapter Eighteen

And so it was that Emperor Millennium, tyrant of Slizer, was defeated. So it was that, between the combined efforts of the Throwbot rebellion and the Stellar Quest team, the greatest battle ever fought in Slizer's long history was won for, what I hoped to be, the greater good. So it was that the Light Era of Slizer began.And now my narrative nears its end. The days intervening Millennium's defeat and our departure, passed swiftly; or perhaps it simply seemed so, after the two fully packed days that followed our arrival on Slizer. It was--or rather is, at this very moment, difficult to believe that it has been little over a week since the Unreachable Star took off for the first time, and our quest officially began. So much has happened--in so little time. The whole of the time that we spent on Slizer was so small in comparison to the training we had had in preparation, and yet seemed so much longer. Yet if it had not been for those months of training, we would never have succeeded. In any case, I look forward to returning home to Spherus Magna.On Millennium's Downfall Day, little time was spent in celebration. The surviving members of the Aliruug had met once more in the park, where they had given a speech, honoring what we had all done that day. They expressed gratitude to the Stellar Quest team for all they had done to help, and for the great sacrifice their leader had made--Seren took this confusion with amusement, probably thinking, as I did, that Klimaat would have appreciated it.After the speech, we placed Klimaat's body upon a pedestal. We honored him with a moment of silence, followed by a round of applause. Words were said on his behalf by the Aliruug leaders and the entire Stellar Quest team, thanking him for his bravery and his short friendship. The Throwbots showed no remorse; but I had not expected them to regret the loss of a being they did not know. For giving his life to take Millennium's, they would always be grateful, but they would never be sorrowful. But I think Klimaat would have preferred to be honored in death as a hero than to be lamented as a friend. As it was, many a tear was shed by the whole of the team over our lost teammate, giving the Jungle warrior both honors.Klimaat: a brave, strong, skillful warrior, a good friend, and a great hero. So will he be remembered always, on both Slizer and Spherus Magna.After the ceremony, Aliruug doctors, under my supervision, preserved the body so that it could be taken back to Spherus Magna, where it would be buried in Bota Magna. Klimaat is to return home with the rest of us.Meanwhile, the Aliruug got busy. Throwbots signed up by the thousands to aid them. Establishing a government, eradicating the remnants of the military, and tidying up the crash-site were the most pressing matters at the time, though none would be easy. Also of importance to the Stellar Quest team was the reparation of our ship. The Aliruug assigned a small team of mechanics to aid Veverka in this task, as thanks for our assistance in securing freedom for the people of Slizer. Meanwhile the rest of the Stellar Quest team, having naught else to do, participated in the restorations of Slizer. While Seren and Nagaan joined the attacks on the remaining military stations, I--by special request--was assigned to assist in the neatening of the palace's crash-site. This act spanned several days.The first part of the job was to remove the rubble. Flying ships carried away the larger pieces of debris with their antigravity beams, transporting them to factories where the metals and other substances would be melted down and reused. Meanwhile, we ground workers shifted the smaller detritus to ships designed for carrying large loads in their metallic bellies. This task, difficult on the face of it, was made easier than I had expected by the use of handheld antigravity beams. These amazing devices were capable of making one or more objects, depending on the size of the adjustable beam, as light as air. Much to my gratitude and excitement I was allowed to keep one to bring back to Spherus Magna. The object, I knew, would be very helpful there--if not in my particular profession. Ah, but then again, it would eliminate the need for stretchers, and render myself capable of transporting immobile patients alone. What a magnificient device!As I was saying, however; after the wreckage had been cleared away, and all undamaged machines, equipment, food, and whatever else salvaged, the next step was to rectify the disturbed soil. Large hovering machines, each bearing a single wide, solid metal wheel, were brought in for this. Meanwhile, other workers began sweeping away the destroyed dwellings and buildings, while others still began the restoration of the damaged structures.I regret being unable to see the whole task through to its end. But by the time the Unreachable Star had been mended, and I was preparing to leave, much headway had been made. I am glad I had a part in the activity.During this time, I learned much of the technology, the customs, the people, the whole culture of Slizer. All I learned would, probably, be enough to fill a whole book! Another time, perhaps.At last the day came when Veverka summoned the team to the hangar in which the Unreachable Star was being repaired. Our transportation, she said, was back and better than ever. I, via a hired vehicle paid by the Aliruug, was the first to answer the summons.Upon my arrival, I found Veverka waiting, along with the typical feeling happiness she inspired. As soon as she laid eyes on me she ran forward and bestowed upon me an embrace. I returned the gesture jovially."Reise!" she greeted me warmly. "I've missed you so much over the past few days! The rest of the team, too, of course.""I feel the same," I returned. "We haven't been apart long, but then again, we haven't been together much longer. Strange how swiftly we have become fond of one another; how swiftly we became a team."Veverka nodded thoughtfully. "I hope the others get here soon. I'm looking forward to seeing them again."Was it just my imagination, or was it intentional that she did not express a desire to return home?It was then that I observed my surroundings. The hangar was much like the ones I had seen in Millennium's palace, only smaller, and it was the roof that opened rather than a wall. In that way it rather resembled the Aliruug's former headquarters, though it was still smaller and the roof did have the ability to close.Various aerial and spatial conveyances dotted the expansive floor, but my eyes sifted through them for the one I wished to see. However I was subject to be disappointed, for the ship I sought, though it was recognizable in shape, was hidden beneath a white cloth--without a doubt the biggest cloth I had ever seen."Setting up a dramatic unveiling, I see," I observed with a grin. "You're so cruel. I'm anxious to see it!"She giggled deviously. "I know it! But I have to be allowed a little fun. Besides, she deserves a spectacle. So do I, I think, and the engineers who helped fix her.""Are they here?""Yes. But they desired an unobtrusive vantage point--they're watching from the control room."My eyes roved the walls, searching for a box of spacious capacity in a high position, or windows, or anything. But I saw nothing I would call a control room."Which is where?"Veverka's eyes twinkled. "Trade secret."I was forming a reply when a voice spoke, reverberating in the open space. "So? Where's the welcoming committee?"I recognized the voice immediately to be Nagaan's. She did not often joke, though the occasional wisecrack was not below her. I wondered if she was what the Sisters of the Skrall would label a comedian, considering how far from comedy most Skrall are.These thoughts crossed my mind as Veverka and I returned to the entrance, where Seren and Nagaan waited."Seren!" Veverka cried gleefully. She hugged one of Seren's legs, which was about as much as she could reach.I greeted Nagaan with a wave, and she responded with something like a friendly smile and a pat on the head. At that moment I wondered if she had ever condescended to touch me before.Veverka released Seren. "Nagaan!" she greeted, embracing a cloaked leg. "I've missed you both so!"The Skrall flinched, but did not move away; she simply patted the Fire Agori's head, her face twisted with a slightly horrified mien that said, "I can always burn the cloak when I get back to Spherus Magna."Seren and I repressed laughs as the former said, "I've missed you two as well. It's great to be back together again!" He added, "Strange how fond you can get of friends in so short a time.""Yes," Nagaan agreed, feigning a smile as she gently removed Veverka. "It is quite strange how fond I have grown of you all. Even--" she hesitated as her voice faltered "--even Klimaat." Regaining composure, she went on, "Consider yourselves lucky."A laugh escaped my grasp, slipping out as a snort which I did my best to cover up as a cough. Nagaan shot me a suspicious glance before Veverka came to my rescue."It'll be a shame to part so soon," she remarked."It almost makes you feel as if you don't want to go home," Seren added."You think your life will seem a little boring after this?"Seren chuckled. "I suppose that's part of it.""We'll probably all feel that way for a while," said I. "Discontent. But I'm sure it won't last.""Well--there are still a few days for that yet," said Seren. "Right now, let's see our beautiful Star, shall we? I've been looking forward to it ever since I heard her repairs were complete!""Yes!" Nagaan agreed, perhaps desiring to dispense the sentiment. "I contemn the memory of the state she was in, last time we saw her.""Well, that's all it is now--a memory," Veverka responded joyously as we weaved our way to the Unreachable Star. "Just wait until you see her!""Come on, then!" I egged when we stood before our ship. "I can't stand the suspense!"Veverka nodded. "Without further ado, then, I present the our ship, a fallen star that has risen again, the Unreachable Star!"With one swift movement, the Fire Agori seized the white cloth and gave it a vigorous pull. The cloth seemingly split as what actually turned out to be two separate cloths fell apart, gliding to the floor to reveal our beautiful Star. It was good as new; the legs had been repaired, the dents reverted, the dirt removed, and the hull polished to a shine. It was more awe-inspiring even than the first time I had seen it! If only Klimaat could have been there! Then again, perhaps he was. Perhaps he did watch, only from a different location.We might have taken off in the ship then and there if Veverka's team of engineers had not stopped us over the hangar's sound system. They told us that we were to have an official seeing off, if we would only wait a few hours. Our protests were ignored--though we could not be sure there were ever heard--so we resigned to boarding the Unreachable Star simply to revel in being within it once more.After settling into the ship once more, our time was spent in idle conversation, concerning our grand adventure, the future, and so on and so forth. Ere long there was a knock at the door. Through the windows we saw Puxe standing on the platform. We allowed him inside without hesitation."Puxe!" Veverka greeted eagerly. "Good to see you again!""You as well, foreigner Veverka," Puxe replied. "And all of you. I had to come see you myself before your departure. I wanted to give you a word of thanks. If it was not for all of you, I would likely still be in Millennium's dungeon, and he would likely still be ruling Slizer.""We owe a lot to you as well," said Seren. "Even more. We played a small part in Millennium's Downfall.""But a vital one," said Puxe. "And foreigner Klimaat played the most vital part of all." He glanced at me suddenly. "And you, foreigner Reise...you played an important part as well. You are strange, and I do not understand you. Your betrayal was shocking, but you amended yourself by leading us into a position even closer to victory. You have my thanks."I simpered. "Er--you're welcome. Thanks.""You will all be missed here on Slizer," Puxe proclaimed. "Your bravery and assistance will forever be remembered. And I personally will remember you especially. You rescued me and trusted me, and I a complete alien to you." He bowed his head. "You have my thanks."Veverka shattered the formality and wrapped her arms around Puxe. "We'll miss you too, Puxe," she whispered tearfully. "I'll never forget you."The rest of us spoke similar sentiments, and with a final vale he exited the ship, leaving us with the instructions to follow him out shortly. After less than a minute, we did as we were bidden.Cheers erupted all around; the hangar was filled with Throwbots, shouting, jumping up and down, waving their arms and throwing discs that exploded into multi-colored sparks, all amidst the playings of a band. We smiled self-consciously and waved; even Nagaan, as she basked in the glory, was a little timorous."Come on," Seren said at last to his teammates, raising his voice to be heard over the din. "This has been a touching farewell. But we had better be getting along home."To a renewed tumult of cheers, we each gave a final wave and reentered the ship, leaving the grateful Slizerians behind us. By the time we had seated ourselves at our stations the noise outside was dying as the Throwbots were ushered away, clearing the hangar for launch. With consent from the control room Veverka began prepping the engines. I set my computer to display the view from the two cameras, and watched as the hangar doors opened above us."Engines ready, captain!" Veverka announced presently."Commence countdown."Nagaan complied readily. With none of the scorn she had shown on our last launch, she began, "Ten....Nine...."Our mission was complete."Eight...."Now it was time to go home."Seven...."But was that what I really wanted?"Six...."This was no time for doubts"Five...."Of course I wanted to go home; how dearly I missed Aqua Magna!"Four...."Life won't feel the same there, that is true, but I will get reaccustomed."Three...."I will miss the others...but I will always have Veverka."Two...."Besides, after sharing an experience like this, we will never forget one another."One...."None of us will ever forget; the Stellar Quest, and everything included therein, will always be in our hearts."Ignition!"

Thanks for reading!

Word Count: 2,566

Review

Sincerely, Nuile: Lunatic Wordsmith :smilemirunu:


Edited by Nuile: The Daft Wordbender, Jun 19 2012 - 01:32 PM.

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When I know I can't live without a pen and paper, when I know writing is as necessary to me as breathing . . .

 

tumblr_meb7408mTy1r4ejnio1_1280.gif

 

I know I am ready to start my voyage.

 

A Musing Author . . . Want to read my books?





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