THE GENESIS EXPERIMENT
Author's notes; In a sense this is a sequel (but not the only one in the workings of my brain) to Long Ago. The story takes place about two months after Der Wille zur Macht and approximately six months before Episode Two: Jenseits von Gut und Bose (Beyond Good and Evil) at least in my estimation anyway. Hope you enjoy.
The Isphan Darmaz had been part of the Federated Fleet for over seven hundred years. In fact, it was the oldest ship that they had, and one of the most powerful. It was as long as ten football fields, with eighty to ninety ion cannons. It was the flag ship of the Federation during the Miltian Conflict, and had won numerous battles during that harsh decade. The closest it had come to defeat was at the Battle of Cora Re, when a rag tag guerilla force leapt out of a worm hole and blasted the large battle ships immense gray white hulls for over twenty hours, crippling her cannons and twelve of her fourteen engines, before a rescue squad came in to save her. Had her captain of the time, David Ruetter not been drinking and passed an order to all crew on board to celebrate his twenty-fifth anniversary prior to the incident, the Isphan Darmaz might have survived without a scar.
Now the old ironsides was slowly drifted across the universe's path, headed toward an obscure galaxy that the Federation had almost forgotten about. The Amadore System had been a minor player in the Miltian Conflict, siding with Old Miltia and their war against the Federation. Amadore had hoped to gain their independence during that war, and now it seemed as though they were trying to do so again.
The Amadore System had eight planets, the largest called Nagas by its residents, and the smallest being the closest to the sun, Skrimsl by the Amadorians, and Ares by the Federation. With the exception of Skrimsl, all planets were populated, all but two had at least one moon.
The system grew even more complex. Instead of one seat of power, like most systems allied to the Federation, Amadore had two seats. The planet, Amadore was a very technologically backwards planet. Ninety percent of the planet was covered with forests and jungles. Its armies were what most people called a sixteenth century fighting force, living in a forty eighth century universe. The most technological weapons they had at their disposals were relics from the Miltian Conflict, before that war, they had used very rare and inefficient cannons and horses. Amadore, being so very much an agricultural society needed strong hands to gather their fields of cotton, sugar and Linear Spice. As such, in 4189 they turned to an age old evil, slavery. Unlike the slavery that populated the mythical books of millennia of old, this slavery snatched its claws into everyone, with the strange exception of women.
The Amadorians believed that sense women could have babies, and thus continue the life line of the people, they had been blessed by the gods, who most of the populace on the planet Amadore believed resided on the planet of Skrimsl. That didn't save women from the horror of human sacrifice, should the crops fail, or the population begin to dwindle. Twenty years before the Miltian War, the Federation decided to crack down on the planet and put an end to these ”barbaric” actions. Thus lead the people of Amadore to look for a greater independence.
However; the other seat of power in the system was just the opposite. Ungoliant was as technological advanced as Second Miltia was. Its cities and metropolises were vast and covered almost all of the watery world's bottom surfaces. A single metallic tube the size of a third class battle ship was the only thing that stuck up from the green blue waves of the planet, and reached up the nearly the final atmosphere, like a hand trying to reach it's destiny. It was called the Zar Road, and the only way for ships from space to enter its capital city of Zara Ungolia, ”the golden domed city of the pearl of the system”. Here one could find buildings as tall as eight hundred feet tall. From each end of the dome, you could find another tube leading to a smaller model of Zara Ungolia.
Ungoliant was the home of the androids and the cyborgs. They found their neighbors to the west as savages and outlawed anything biological. What was more, they absolutely condemned slavery, and the worship of gods. Churches were burnt, mosques, temples, whatever they saw as religious went down in flames. Skrimsl wasn't the home of the gods to them, just an uninhabitable planet, were their probes could maybe, if they were lucky, collect spices to sell. The Ungoliant's hatred of religion and religious aspects were so great that the Federation finally decided to crack down on the persecution of the faithful. Thus the only thing the two planets had in common, other than being the seats of power of the system, was their united hatred of the Federation.
It was between these two planets that the crew of the Isphan Darmaz found itself. They had reports of missing ships in the area, and had been ordered to find out what had been going on. Private Lion Crews slinked into the captain's quarters and quickly cleared his throated.
What is it now?” a ragged, harsh voice snapped.
We've reached the designated area, sir,” the young boy said with a gulp. The white haired private took a step back as a huge, obese frame stepped from the bathroom door.
Captain Lewis Reynolds was sixty-seven, eight years over the age of retirement, and despite his sloppy appearance, was a tough as nails. He wore the regular grayish blue suite of a Federation captain, which fit him so tight it almost made him look as though he was going to burst on the spot. ”Don't you mean the Bermuda Triangle?” the captain snipped.
Sir?” Crews asked with a shake of his head.
You men and the civilians have called this area the Bermuda Triangle for the last fifteen months. I may be old, but I'm not daft.” He pushed the private out of the way and walked over to his desk. Tapping a few buttons the map of the system, one dated twenty years old. ”So, we should be around this small moon here, Nestor I think it's called.” He pointed to the tiniest moon orbiting Ungoliant.
I believe so sir,” the private nodded. ”Should I inform the commander that you have given approval to continue the next phase of the mission?”
Captain Reynolds stroked his bald chin, before sighing in agreement. ”From what I've seen, Nestor is a Class M natural satellite. It has the same environment as Second Miltia. It should be an excellent foothold in enemy territory.”
Sir, we don't know if the Amadorians are really behind the disappearing ships, we shouldn't call them enemies.”
The captain reached out and grasped the shocked private from his collar and tossed him into a wall. ”Those technological freaks, and religious fanatics have always proved to be enemies of the Federation private,” he roared. ”I was here during the Miltian Conflict. Trust me when I say they are the enemy.”
Yes sir, I'll have the commander give the message to start opera. . .,” a sharp thud interrupted the private and the quarters shook with a violent force, sending the young man across the room and into another wall, snapping his neck.
What the hell?!” the older man roared, pulling himself to his knees. There was another thud, and then the sounds of explosions. Captain Reynolds pulled himself to his bed and reached for a communicator on his desk. ”Bridge, this is Captain Reynolds. What in sam hill is going on up there?”
For a few minutes there was nothing but static, despite the captain's curses for an answer. Finally he heard a small rasp coming from the other side, and a woman's voice answered, ”Halls one through nineteen are gone,” more static, ”the commander is dead, as is most of the crew.”
”I figured that out, damn it ensign,” Reynolds roared, as more blasts droned him out. ”What's causing the blasted explosions? Are we under attack?”
Negative sir, there are no signs of any hostile ships.”
Reynolds swore mentally and shook his head. ”Did that blasted fool Captain Boranez take us too close to the meteor field past the planet?”
Negative sir. . .,” more static. ”We,” another pause and then a gasp of air as the young woman screamed. ”Oh my God, Heaven help us,” she screeched.
Ensign, ensign, what the hell is going on there?” the captain roared. A minute later the ship seemed to groan, and slowly tipped to its side, knocking Captain Reynolds into a wall. ”The hell, is going on here?” he screamed. His question would be answered a second later as a bright light flooded his quarters, and enveloped him, drowning his screams of terror.
The Isphan Darmaz, the oldest ship in the entire Federation Navy, one of the symbols of the heroism of the Federation during the Miltian Conflict, was no more. It was gone within an instant, twenty five thousand sailors where now dead.
M.O.MO. walked down the hall of the Capital Building of the Federation. Next to the young red headed Realian was the cyborg Ziggurat 8. The blonde cyborg looked down at the girl and smiled. ”It'll be alright,” he said comfortingly as they approached the door leading to the committee chamber of the capital. The room was a lot smaller than the original Federation Congress that had occupied the same spot as the Galaxy Committee that Ziggy had known one hundred years prior today.
The others are already in there, right?” the girl asked, blinking her huge brown eyes. She fidgeted with her hair, playing with her two mini buns that her father, the famous mad scientist Joachim had given her, just as his biological daughter had, had. Her mother, Yuri held a very powerful position on that committee. A committee that had now called MOMO and her companions to come to a private meeting.
It had only been two months since the maniac U.R.T.V., Albedo, had tried to use another of Joachim's inventions the Proto Merkabah, to try and blow up Second Miltia. If it hadn't been for Momo's group's bravery and heroics, he might have succeeded. The young Realian had hoped to have a little bit of peace after that, but the month seemed to fly so swiftly. On the other hand, at least I'll get to see mommy anyway.
The chamber was definitely different than the one a hundred years ago, just as Ziggy had remembered. Then it had at least a thousand different chairs, the room was so large it could fit three blue whales, if they even still existed, and still have room for four hundred people to sit comfortably. This new chamber was circular in shape, and in order to enter in it, one had to ride a platform up two levels after he entered the main doors of the hall. There were two windows on each side of the room, where they could see the glorified sites of Federation City. The other parts of the wall shone with a winter white, silvery gleam. Sometimes the floor of the chamber would be pasty gray cement, other times, in special honors cases it would be covered with a bright red. M.O.MO. was tickled pink, and a little embarrassed to find the red carpet out for her and her friends.
””On the far side of the quarters, were the council members sat in their chairs, in a semi-circular shape. Yuri Mizrahi sat in the middle of the Committee and nodded politely as MOMO and Ziggy took their seats, next to Jr., the vice-president of the Kukai Foundation, and a U.R.T.V. himself. Then there was Shion, KOS-MOS, chaos, and off to the right sat the entire crew of the Elsa, Captain Matthews, Tony, Hammer, and Allan, Shion's fellow Vector Inc. Science Corps co-worker. To the very far back of the room, almost in the shadows, resting his right leg over his left was Jin Uzuki, the older brother of Shion.
I want to thank you all for coming on such short notice,” Yuri said bluntly. Her eyes scanned the room and she leaned back against the chair. ”As you can probably imagine, the main reason, or at least one of the main reasons is not to congratulate you for your victory against the renegade U.R.T.V. Albedo and his insane ambitions. I'm sure every one on Second Miltia thanks you as well.” She shifted her weight and cleared her throat as she looked down at her electric notepad that she held in her lap. ”However; the true reason we have called you here is to ask you to go on a secret mission for the Federation.”
Chairlady Mizrahi,” Ziggy began, speaking on behalf of the group, as they all decided that he should, ”might I ask what kind of mission the Galaxy Committee wants of us?”
Before she could speak a screen appeared over her head, and the whole group saw the picture of a large black man visualized. Helmer smiled at the group and then nodded at Yuri. He turned to face Ziggy and stiffened his body. ”Ziggurat 8, to answer your question,” he began.
You can call me Ziggy, Mr. Helmer,” the cyborg said, looking down at Momo, who smiled at him approvingly. He was actually starting to like being called Ziggy, and even though he had not quite yet had his memory swiped clean, as he planned to, he could deal with it so far. In a deeper part of his mind, Ziggy was quietly beginning to question his desire to have it wiped at all.
Ziggy then,” he said with a laugh. ”As I was saying, to answer your question, it's not just the Galaxy Committee, who is asking this of you, but the unanimous decision of the Federation Congress.”
His words made each one of them jump. The Congress almost never agreed on anything, and the last thing that they unanimously approved of was the outlawing of cloning back in the year ”T.C. 4609. Over one hundred and fifty years ago.
What has happened?” Shion asked, standing in disbelief.
Unfortunately a number of merchant ships have been disappearing around the Amadore system,” Helmer said with a sigh. ”Over ninety different ships have left open space without any trace at all, once they get passed or even near the planet Ungoliant.” There was a sad glint in Helmer's eyes as he spoke, though it didn't seem to come from the fact that so many people had died. Yet no one seemed to want to say anything. And yet, Jr. seemed to known why it was there.
Why doesn't the Federation do something about this?” Ziggy asked, ”Why do you need the help of a group of civilians?”
Unfortunately, with the Gnosis attacks at an alarming growing rate, and Albedo's attack with the Proto Merkabah, sixty percent of the Federation Navy is either gone or busy trying to keep the citizens of the Federation safe,” Yuri said.
We did have a battleship try to investigate the incidents, but it disappeared just as all the other ships have,” Helmer continued.
What the hell makes you think that we'll have any better luck?” Jr. demanded.
With your group's track record, the Gnosis attack on the Kukai Foundation, the rescue of Momo from the U-TIC organization, the battle against Albedo on the Proto Merkabah, need I continue?” Helmer said, with a hint of laughter in his voice.
Oh well, I guess he has a point, we did really survive all of, hey wait a minute!” squealed Allan, ”You expect us to go to a galaxy that swallows ships whole? How are we going to survive that?”
It doesn't swallow ships,” Helmer sighed, ”we do not know what has happened to them. It is believed they were destroyed by some kind of weapon.”
Oh, ”in that case I guess,” Allan jumped and shrieked so hard his lungs almost burst, ”wait a minute, how do you expect us to survive a weapon that we have no idea how to defeat?”
Allan, be quite,” Shion snapped.
Allan turned, his eyes wide with as saucers and he began to pout. ”Fine chief, whatever you want. I know how much you enjoy these kinds of missions.”
Jun cackled from behind the shadows, and grinned as his sister bitterly turned and shot him a look that would have sent icy waves down any man's back. Jun was around two years older than his sister, and knew exactly what Allan meant. His sister had a knack for getting herself and others into a lot of trouble with her since of justice and rosy colored optimism at certain other times. Shion could very well be a character in Victorian novels that were popular millennia ago, novels which she very openly despised, as she did with all books. If one wanted information, you turned to the computer or hardware as far as she was concerned. When they had visited him after the Merkabah incident, he and Jr. had a very insightful dialogue about the subject of this century's hatred of books. Laziness is all it amounts to.
Grow up Allan, and stop whining,” Shion snapped when she turned her attention back on her subordinate.
Enough,” another voice roared from off of the sides. The group turned and looked at one of the committee members standing to his feet, his fingers clenching into tight fists, his brown eyes burning with a dark fire. The light in the room flickered down softly on his red hair, making it look like a bronze wave of fire. Committee member Lupin Tres stood staring at each member. ”That's God damn enough,” he howled again. ”This is the group who saved the planet and half the galaxy from destruction and the Gnosis? This is ridiculous, why ask them for help? Most of them are children.” He looked at Shion, and the ”older” members of the group and smirked for a second, ”And the little ones are more than fewer babies.”
I'm a lot older than what you might think, councilman,” Ziggy growled, glaring at the other man intently.
You'd be surprised how many of us are older than what you think,” Jr. snarled.
This pointless bickering is stupid,” Yuri said abruptly. ”Needless to say, we need to have them help us at all costs.” She turned to each one of them and looked at them with cold steel eyes. ”The Federation needs you again; your family and friends need you again. Please, for the sake of humanity, help us.”
Ziggy looked over to Shion, who sighed and nodded at him. He turned back and almost groaned the words from his lips, ”Very well. When do you expect us to leave?”
Shion began backing her things from her room in the Durandal apartment complex and looked at her brother. ”I don't know why you have to come with us.”
I have a little knowledge of the Amadorian System, so I should be of some help,” Jun said with a smile. He bit his lip as his sister groaned in disgust about the prospect of her big brother coming with her to help out.
I suppose you'll want to bring your books along too?” she asked, rolling her eyes.
Only the important ones,” he said, this time allowing himself a slight laugh.
Shion groaned as she looked at him and shook her head. ”We might have to get into a fight.”
I'm a decent swords man and a pretty good marksman too,” Jun said as he sat on his sister's bed.
”When did that happen?” she asked, giving off a pseudo squeal of shock. She smiled as he rolled his own eyes.
Things change.” He stood up and poked her in the ribs, frowning as he was rewarded with nothing but a blank stare. Odd, Shion used to be very ticklish on her ribs.
Things change,” she said with a smile.
”Jun frowned and then smirked for a second, and reached for his little sister's knees, which rewarded him with a squeak of a giggle as Shion pulled away from him. ”Not that many things change.” ”
Shion frowned and shook her head. ”Anyway I got to call my boss, and let him know what's going on.”
Ah, the famous Mr. Wilhelm,” Jun said frowning.
You don't like him,” Shion shot back. It wasn't a question.
He seems too slick to be real, little sister, I get a chill every time I hear his name or look at his eyes.”
You're too paranoid big brother. You should get out more, instead of reading all those musty books of yours.”
This comes from the woman who spends her time looking at a computer screen eighty percent of the day,” Jun snapped back.
Shion sighed and rolled her head. ”This will just take a moment.”
Of course, I do understand Ms. Uzuki,” the youthful CEO of Vector Industries, Wilhelm said. The light of his office flickered down on his white hair, flowing down his circular face, gleaming in his dark brick red eyes. He smiled at the image of the chief of the KOS-MOS project on the monitor and nodded. ”If the Federation has that much faith in you, then they're learning what I've known for three years now.”
Thank you Mr. Wilhelm, that's very sweet of you to say,” Shion said with a blush.
Just come back to us safe, Ms. Uzuki, that's all I ask,” Wilhelm said with another smile. The screen flashed and Shion's image disappeared.
Don't you think that's going to be a little hard for her to do, when she's going against operations we've set up in that system?” a voice from behind him asked. A shadowy figure, dressed in a scarlet cloak stepped forward.
Virgil followed the cloaked man and nodded narrowed his eyes and shook his head. ”I've never trusted that self righteous witch.”
A minor concern for us,” Wilhelm said, with a sly smile. ”True the operations in the Amadorian System is important to our cause, but not necessarily that important. Both of them are equally important to further our cause.”
So you're just going to let them clash?” Virgil narrowed his eyes and took a step back from Wilhelm. ”Are you sure about the sanity of that plan sir?”
Wilhelm rose and eyebrow and smirked. ”Are you questioning my sanity, Virgil, how very unique of you.”
I, apologize sir, I didn't mean to question you.” He turned to the cloaked figured and grit his teeth as the other's voice echoed in his mind. Idiot.
Of course you did, that's what I like about you Virgil. You have an ability to keep my feet grounded in common sense, the same is true of my advisor here. Unlike Albedo, who tends to lead our cause off course into wildness. But then that's why we're bound to be the victors in history's pages. With sheer scientific abilities, and nature's wildness, we were preordained to be the vanquishers.”
Of course sir, is there anything else?” Virgil asked, looking at his watch.
Who are the operatives in that region?”
Captain Margulis, sir,” the cloaked figure said as he looked at his notes and sighed, ”Albedo is also scheduled to be there too.”
Should I board one of ships and go to Amadore to make sure he doesn't muck anything up?” Virgil asked. He frowned and grimaced as his the dried reddish gray skin along his face began to burn again. Damn this DME addiction. He looked back at the past and wished that he had never heard of the new, supposedly non addictive drug of Realian flesh.
No, I don't think that will be necessary. I have another operative that I plan on sending there. She should keep things well within hand for the time being,” Wilhelm said with a sly smile.
With all due respect sir,” the cloaked figure said, ”if the operative is who I believe it to be, then she might make things even worse.”
Wilhelm leaned forward and rested his chin on the back of his hands with a smile. ”I said, she'd keep things within hand, for the time being.”
Of, course sir,” the cloaked figure said hesitantly. The two attendants looked at each other and turned and left Wilhelm to the droning sounds of Wagner.
The Elsa and the Durandal soared passed the stars as it reached the Amadore System finally after nineteen hours in flight. At the present hour the ship was orbiting the planet of Deistical, and already the crew had changed tactics than what the military and merchant ships had done. Instead of sailing blindly into the area, KOS-MOS activated the Hilbert Effect. Shion figured that if there was anything invisible out there that was destroying ships, the Hilbert Effect might find it. They also kept in close radio contact with the planet as they slowly drifted past it.
I assure you, captain,” a static laced voice came over the communicator, ”that absolutely nothing illegal is taking place in our system.”
Captain Matthews grit his teeth and sighed. ”Sure, there isn't. Then why the hell have you been 'assuring' us that you're not doing anything illegal for the past hour?”
For your own safety,” the voice snapped back. ”Although there haven't been an illegal doings in this system, ships have been disappearing at an alarming rate around the Delta Belt, between the planets Amadore and Ungoliant, perhaps of a Gnosis attack.”
Matthews pulled the brim of his cap over his eyes and groaned. ”Well, we thank you for the hour long warning, but I think we'll take our chances.”
Have it your way,” the female voice snapped harshly, and then clicked off.
Someone's going to have to be careful that her nose doesn't grow tonight,” Hammer said as he worked his instruments.
First rule of politics,” Jr. said standing on the bridge, watching the stars race by them. ”If you're defensive before you're actually accused of something, you're usually guilty of something.”
Allan looked up from his computer board and blinked. ”Do you think that it could really be a Gnosis attack?”
Hard to say, but I doubt it.” Jr. said as he rested his chin in the palm of his right hand. He closed his emerald eyes and ran his left hand through his thick red hair. It made him look closer to his actual age than the external twelve year old looking body he was forced to live in. ”But I doubt it. Gnosis don't normally simply stay in one place for too long, even if there's enough to pray on in that place for a long time. And I've never heard of them even attempting an ambush in or near an asteroid belt, ship wreckage, yes, but only if other ships are close by, and they've caused the ship wreck.”
And you have two planets not too far away from the belt on either side,” Matthews said thoughtful. ”You'd think that they'd be quick to attack at least one of them sooner or later.”
So you either have Gnosis who have gotten extremely intelligent, and are using different war tactics, or you have a rebellious system that somehow has acquired a massive new weapon that can tear ships apart without being detected.” Tony narrowed his eyes as he pulled the Elsa away from Deistexa's orbit, and headed for Chronos, the seventh planet in the system. ”Either way, I don't like the looks of things.” He groaned as Matthews kicked the back of his chair.
Moron,” his captain snapped.
Shion sat down at the cafeteria, looking down at her plate of food. Around her the crew was busily enjoying their breakfast. She looked at her watch and sighed as she played with her eggs.
Penny for your thoughts?” chaos came up from behind her and sat down with his plate. The young copper skinned man, with winter white hair smiled brightly at her and blinked his ice blue eyes.
I've just been worried about KOS-MOS,” she sighed. ”Except for a few hours of sleep, and a few bites of food, which I almost had to shove down her throat, she's been scanning the Amadore System, since we came here four days ago.” She looked and stared at a bright planet, with crystal white clouds circling the lime green orb, Ungoliant, the home planet of androids. Androids much like KOS-MOS and Ziggy. It was then end of the world so to speak, in this sector of the universe. No ship that ever passed this planet was ever heard from again. ”I'm just afraid that's she's going to burn herself out.”
You mean, burn you out, don't you?” chaos said, laughing. ”Shion, you really shouldn't worry so much.”
Why shouldn't I?” the young girl asked him, her eyes dark and distant.
You just shouldn't. KOS-MOS is a big girl; she can look after herself, despite what you think. You may not agree with her actions, but you can't do anything about them.”
I'm the head of the Vector Program that helped create her. With the exception of Allan, I'm the only Vector official of that program on this ship. I know you can't understand how I feel, but you also don't realize what damage she can do if left unchecked.” The young woman's thoughts turned back to her old boyfriend, the first chief of the KOS-MOS project, Kevin. That night, during the thunder storm, when the paramilitary group or perhaps the U-TIC Organization burst through those doors and prematurely activated KOS-MOS.
She shivered at her memories, at the site of KOS-MOS going berserk and tearing through the flesh and armor of the people in the room, the military and the scientists both. She would have killed me to, Shion thought, if Kevin hadn't stood between us and tried reasoning with her. Shion fought back tears as she watched in her mind as KOS-MOS thrust a hand forward and right through Kevin's chest. Shion had held him then, as he lay dying, held him, ignoring the screams of terror and pain. Ignoring the scent of blood as it scattered the walls. She ignored everything but the fading light in Kevin's eyes and his last words of apologies and love. Then she remembered KOS-MOS coming back into the room, coming back for her. Shion darted out of the dark room and into a balcony, where she saw a distracted KOS-MOS slaughter a military person. She turned and stared at Shion, before walking towards her menacingly. Shion knew she had no choice. She lifted the gun, and fired, just as a flash of lightning and the boom of thunder boomed overhead. KOS-MOS' head exploded, and the decapitated body fell to the ground, lifeless.
Shion blinked back tears and looked at chaos. ”You don't know what she's capable of,” she said softly.
Maybe not what she was capable of once,” the young man said gently, ”but I know that she's changed. If you stopped worrying about the past, you would see it too.” chaos smiled and put a hand on Shion's shoulder.
Shion opened her mouth to say something else, but was interrupted by a loud crash as the Elsa rocked back and forth as another explosion could be heard.
The hell is happening out there?” Captain Matthews' demanded as he and the pilot crew raced towards the bridge. ”Where the hell are those explosions coming from? Who's firing on us?”
”The radio began to break into static, and then came into life, ”Elsa, this is the Durandal,” came a small, harsh voice. It was the voice of Randall Fairweather, the Durandal's new chief science officer. Though he was thirty-four, he was only four feet four inches. What would have been called a dwarf in ancient times, now considered just another human in the days of the Federation and the Gnosis. He had long blonde hair, and a small mustache. ”We're detecting enemy fire coming from the asteroid field.”
We all ready know that,” Matthews' roared. ”Who the hell is firing at us? The Gnosis?”
No,” Fairweather's voice came over a mass of static. ”The Gnosis weapons are organic. This is something man made.” Over the radio they could hear the sounds of explosions. The Durandal was being fired at too. ”I've traced the ion blasts coming from the attacks, but the make no sense, they're coming from the Planet Amadore.”
Amadore? Are you nuts, they don't believe in using technology,” Matthews swore and grit his teeth. ”Where the hell is Gaigun?”
He was knocked out when the attacks started,” the voice began to break up, ”Had to. . ., over ship. . ., going to try something.” The voice crackled and then boomed back, pushing its way past the static for one last second. ”We're going to warp, hold on.” The voice died under the waves of static, and Matthews kicked the radio so hard he nearly sent it flying back to the manufactioner.
Tony looked back at the captain and shrugged, ”Should we follow them?”
Yes,” chaos said so quickly it made all of them jump. ”I've known Fairweather for a while now. He's a pretty good scientist and a very good pilot. If he thinks he can pilot us through the fields to Amadore, then he probably can.”
Are we still sure that the Gnosis aren't involved?” Tony asked, gritting his teeth as he steered the Elsa past a massive asteroid, and nearly into the rays of the enemy fire.
He's right,” Hammer said, typing at his console. ”The Gnosis only use organic weapons. This is very manmade.”
The intercom beeped and Shion's voice echoed through the receiver. ”Captain, KOS-MOS just re-entered the ship. She's confirmed that there is no presence of the Gnosis.” She squealed as the ship rolled under the enemy fire.
Damn, just great,” Matthews' groaned.
On the bridge of the Durandal, the grim determination etched on Randall Fairweather's face was all that the remaining conscious crew needed to know. The small man was sitting in the pilot's seat, having struggled to get the dead young woman who until then had been the pilot, from it only minutes before. ”Oh shit,” he snapped, as another blast of enemy fire came razor edge to the engine of the ship. ”Don't we have any weapons or shields still working?” he screamed, as he through the steering device as far left as he could.
Sir, all weapons have been damaged beyond repair, and the shields are only at thirty percent,” cried a panicked young Realian, who squeaked as another blast connected to the ships hull. ”Shields are now at twenty-five percent, sir.”
All right, all right, fine,” Fairweather snarled. ”Don't panic on me just yet lieutenant.” Randall's body froze as he turned to the main screen and he nearly pulled the steering device far right as he could as a continent sized asteroid flung itself in the Durandal's direction.
Randall, I really must protest this reckless decision,” Shelley's voice came over the intercom. After the first attacks happened Shelley had fallen off of her command chair and broken her arm. Right before he had been knocked out, Gaigun had ordered her to go to the medical bay of the Durandal and stay there.
Have a little faith Ms. Godwin,” Randall said. ”I didn't put myself through the Federation Academy just to be blown to bits by bits of rock that wished they were planets, or an enemy who was supposed to have not even had this kind of weaponry.”
Still, I think going through an asteroid field to avoid enemy fire is not the best solution to the problem. Our mission was to find out what happened to the ships that came this way. We've obviously done that.” She screamed as an asteroid and enemy fire hit the ship on both sides at one.
Damn it woman, stop being a fucking back seat pilot,” Randall said with a scowl. ”Let me do my job.” His eyes narrowed and he grit his teeth so hard he could hear them crack as a mammoth sized space rock came flying at them. A second later it exploded as the Elsa came side by side with it. Out side of the Elsa, a tall woman with light blue hair stood standing, holding a ridiculously long gun. He'd only seen her once before, but never had been introduced to her. After this is all over and done, I'm damned sure going to make sure that we meet.
KOS-MOS looked over to the Durandal and tapped her head, near her ear. Randall frowned for a moment, and then realized that she wanted to communicate with them. Although that seemed odd to him, since communications were out between the two ships, he nodded and ordered the monitor screen to be flipped on.
Durandal, my name is KOS-MOS of the Elsa,” she began as an enlarged picture of her face flashed across the screen.
Gee I would have never guessed,” Randall said with a snide chuckle.
The android frowned and shook her head. ”Are your optic nerves working alright? I was ninety-eight percent sure that you had seen me.”
That was a joke,” Fairweather said with a tired sigh. It was true, everything about this android that he had heard about was absolutely true. ”What is it you need?”
KOS-MOS turned and fired at a couple more asteroids, and managed to dodge a few enemy fire. It was then that Randall realized all enemy fire had been diverted to the Elsa and no longer the Durandal. She turned back and blinked. ”The situation has grown too dangerous. By my estimation, we have a one in twenty million odds of surviving combat in the asteroid field to make it to Amadore.”
We're not going to Amadore,” Fairweather said bluntly.
What?” KOS-MOS blinked and shook her head.
”Randall's skin had grown tight and gray. ”We're being taken to Amadore. I just realized what's happening. It's ancient war stratagey, fifteen hundred years ago, before the Federation, a warlord was known to bomb unsuspecting ships. Some he could destroy, and other's he'd blast so long that they were unaware that they had steered themselves into a tractor field.”
So you're saying that,” she began.
We're nothing but fish, chased into the fisherman's net by the fisherman himself.”
On the Elsa the entire crew heard what had been said and each dropped to their knees. ”Damn,” Captain Matthews said with a low sigh.
Isn't there anything we can do?” Momo asked, looking up at Ziggy.
No,” Hammer and Allan answered in unison.
They couldn't have us tighter if they were using a noose,” Hammer groaned.
Damn,” Jr. snarled.
On the thick, rugged planet of Amadore a masked woman approached its ambassador and smiled under her mask. ”How long I have waited for this moment,” she gasped, as she looked up into the night sky.
We should fire the main weapon now, finish them off,” Ambassador Klick said, his eyes oval shaped and dark blinked as he turned to her. ”I'll instruct them to do just that.”
No you won't,” another voice snapped from behind them. Albedo walked up to them with his usual flair, accompanied by a small 100- series Realian. This Realian was much different than the Kirschwasser that normally accompanied him. Although her hair was as gray as steel it was twice as long as any Kirschwasser or even Momo's. Her skin was dark blue, and her eyes were pink. She wore a long yellow sleeveless dress, and freckles covered her nose and cheeks. Most eerily of all, she seemed much more aware than of any of her sisters, perhaps just less aware than Momo herself. ”You will not deny our fun.” The 100-Series Realian smiled and the ambassador shivered to see that she had filed her two front canines to be small vampire like points.
These people could be dangerous,” Ambassador Klick snapped. ”If they found out what the Genesis Project is, my people, my whole planet could be ruined.”
He that strives to touch the stars, oft stumbles at a straw,” the Realian said in a low pitched giggle.
What the hell is that supposed to mean?” the ambassador snapped.
Albedo chuckled and put a hand around the girl's shoulder. ”Isn't she just the most precious thing?” He chuckled again and looked down at her. ”Ma peche is a straight arrow, but ma fraise, she just has a certain little charm about her, no?”
Ambassador Klick sighed and swore in his native tongue. ”You people are too reckless,” he finally managed to say.
Then you should have thought about that when you accepted our offer for an alliance,” the masked woman said with a snarl.
When you came to us with offers of a chance for our independence, you never mentioned anything such as the madness that's unfolded. I had no idea you were going to use your little project to fire upon the Federation.”
Spare us you little 'morality plays' Klick,” Albedo snapped, you were one of the first to order it fired.
Of course, if your people want to resign our contract, we'll be more than happy to do so,” the masked woman said. ”But then we'd have to kill every element of our operation on this planet.” She smiled behind her mask and turned her back on him. ”I do mean every element of our operation, if you get my meaning.”
Klick swallowed, his rusty brown eyes growing wide. He was out of shape, and he knew it. He could have tried to fight them off, but he was no match for either of them. Even if he had been twenty and lifting weights again, he would have still been no match for either of them. ”What should I do?”
They probably already know where the beams have come from, and they no doubt know their being pulled in a tractor beam. So convince them that it was all a misunderstanding. That your planet has accepted some help from the Federation to protect it from the Gnosis, and that you thought that their ships were enemy vessels,” the masked woman said. ”Within time, we'll take it from there.”
Within time?” the ambassador said, raising an eyebrow as the three walked away from him.
Read, whenever we feel like it,” cackled Albedo as he entered the building, and turned around the corner.
Klick did just as he was told. As the two ships settled down on the pine forest green planet of Amadore, he greeted them with apology filled sentiment, and assured them that within the next two weeks, he would have their vessels ship shape. He denied knowing anything about the other ships, suggesting that perhaps they might have suffered the same fate as the heroes' ships, or worse, were attacked by the Gnosis. He even gave them bogus documents ”proving” the Gnosis were behind the vast amount of the ”so called attacks”. To make sure that they wouldn't be too much a burden, or a threat he divided them into four groups, keeping a fifth group of ”regulars and other civilians” stuck in the living quarters of the Durandal.
Shion wasn't sure about what they had been told. What was even odder, they were not allowed to contact the Federation, despite promises by the ambassador that he'd take them personally to the embassy. Something always came up. The Amadorians were rebels to be sure, but in a certain stretch of the imagination; they were superstitious, cowardly rebels. This uncertain bravado that the ambassador was displaying was unique for this sector.
The young Vector science officer turned to Ziggy and her brother and crossed her arms. ”What do you think is going on here?”
A conspiracy,” her brother said with a smile. ”Everyone is lying through their teeth. Everyone jumps the minute they think you're going to catch them doing something they shouldn't be doing.”
That's the way it's always been here,” Ziggy said thoughtfully.
You've been here before?” Shion asked.
The android nodded and closed his eyes. ”The last time I was here was forty years ago. A friend of mine, Greg Anderson, was here for his father's funeral. Two weeks later, he died of pneumonia.”
Shion bolted to her feet, almost knocking over a large pine dresser with a lime green alarm clock resting neatly on it. ”Greg Anderson? The Head of the Federation Police Force, and Galactic wide famous poet, you knew him?”
Ziggy smiled for a moment, and leaned back against pale white wall. Greg the famous poet? Even his old friend would have wet his pants after hearing that. ”I knew both Greg and his predecessor Into Ro.” The minute the words came from his lips, he knew he had made a mistake.
Really, I didn't realize you were that old,” she said with a bit of excitement in her voice. ”What was Chief Ro like?”
Ziggy bit his lips and turned away, visions of a little boy falling deep into a dark pit, crying for his father and hero to save him, as a madman cackled at his adversary's fatale mistake. Emotions that he had thought buried, which had resurfaced when he took on the job of rescuing Momo, and of the political police chief, who Ziggy had for some time blamed for the whole situation. ”I'd rather not talk about it.”
She opened her mouth to protest, but then thought better of it. After all there were things that she didn't want to talk about. Not just yet anyway.
Things have never changed here then?” Jun asked, guessing that part of the subject was still up for discussing.
No. Well, somewhat. There were demands for revolution, and a few attempts forty years ago, but nothing this smug. They are definitely hiding something.”
Well I say we go exploring, a little anyway,” Shion said.
And how can we do that when the planet constantly has us under observation,” Jun demanded. ”I feel like I'm a rat under a microscope, being forced to run a maze.”
The U-Tic Organization thought they could keep us under control when we were at the Kukai Foundation two months ago. We managed to get away and find a little information then,” Shin countered.
”””That's because we had inside help,” Ziggy reminded her. ”If Captain Roman hadn't been working for Helmer, we wouldn't have made it very far.”
Not to mention that you were all together, with the exception of KOS-MOS,” Jun continued for him.
Shion frowned and leaned against her oak wood bed, watching the sun's rays filtered slowly through the window. Her frown grew deeper as she studied them, stroking her chin. Suddenly she bounced to her feet like a cheerleader from Bormeo University with a smile that matched the power of the sun's light. ”Have you ever noticed that the Amadorians never go out during the night?”
The two men looked at each other and frowned. ”What are you getting at little sister?” Jun asked his voice so cold that it made the polar caps seem like twin tropical paradises.
If we sneak out during the night, we have a better chance of exploring around here, and finding out what's going on. The Amadorians never seem to out during the night. There would be very little resistance.”
Jun rolled his eyes and sighed. ”And later we could take our dates to make out point and neck, behind mom and dad's backs,” he said in mock sincerity. ”We're not kids anymore Shion, sneaking out at night?”
The chances of our success would be greater Shion, but gathering us all together and letting them know what's going on, that slices it all in half, if not more.” Ziggy looked at her and shook his head. ”The Amadorians are superstitious, not stupid.”
We have to do something,” she snapped harshly, stomping a foot. ”While we stand here, discussing this in a 'committee' more ships could be fired upon. More lives could be lost.”
If we act recklessly, whatever it is the Amadorians are hiding is likely to be buried deeper, or destroyed all together,” Jun snarled as he waved his arms in the air, his voice growing louder to match his sister's. The two of them had always argued, almost all of their waking moments were spent bickering, with the exception of a few cases when their parents were still alive, but they very rarely raised their voices in their arguments. In fact, both could count on both their hands, and it would still not add up to more than four times they screamed at each other.
All right, you two stop this minute,” Ziggy uncharacteristically hissed. ”Whatever it is we're going to do, we can't let the Amadorians get suspicious, because if they do,” he turned and glared at Jun, ”they'll do worse than just bury or kill their little project, they'll kill us.” He blinked and felt his emotions slowly slip back into the soothing darkness from which he had kept them locked up for years. If only I could just erase them all together. Laina, I'm so sorry. I thought I was beyond that rage.
Okay, little sister,” Jun said with a sigh. ”I've learned it's no use to argue with you when you make up your mind like this. We'll try things your way. But how are we going to communicate with the others? The only time we see them is when it's time for lunch. And even then, we're being watched.”
”””Shion smiled and pulled her shoe off of her left foot. As quick as she had done that, she pulled out a knife and slit the inside corner, until she could see a little silver wire. She tugged on it for a moment, and pulled it out, revealing a small communications device. ”Jr. gave it to me when we were brought here. He gave it to the other two groups too,” she said. She turned to Ziggy, ”If you can ask Mary and Hammer to join us please, we'll begin.”
Ziggy nodded and walked out of Shion's room. The rooms the four groups were separated in were like small houses. Each of the four or five people in the ”houses” each had his or her own bedroom, which was connected to the other bedrooms by a corridor, brownish in color. To the far right hand side of the last bedroom was a large bathroom, and beyond that was a medium sized kitchen, where the ”guests” could eat breakfast and dinner. With the exception of the bedrooms and the bathroom, there were surveillance cameras everywhere, all though Ziggy imagined that there were hidden cameras in those places too. It sent a shiver down his back to see a so called self professed ”technology hating” society, with so much technology. Something was definitely wrong. He shrugged the feeling off, and gathered the other two housemates. The three of them walked back to Shion's room, and they began to call the others, when Mary frowned and looked down at Ziggy's foot.
Ziggy, what on earth is that?” she asked, pointing to a piece of paper, stuck to the android's foot.
Ziggy frowned and tore the paper from his foot, glaring at it for a moment. A second later, his body froze his glazing over. The image of David falling down into the abyss played over and over in his mind, and he nearly collapsed. ”No,” he said with a low whisper. ”David.”
Shion frowned and rushed over to her friend's side. ”Ziggy?” She looked down at the piece of paper, and tried to pull it from his fingers. She screeched as an enraged and probably deranged, android shot forward with an animalistic yell, his sword springing from his arm as he tried to bring it down on her. All the while, he yelled over and over the name of a man, or perhaps a boy. Jun was quick to pounce to his feet and pull the android from his sister. ”Ziggy, what's wrong?”
Ziggy glared at Shion, and frowned. A moment ago, he had been looking at Liu Raystorm, at the bastard who had caused, or set into motions, the cause of his son's death. Now he saw clearly that his blade was pointed at the young Vector science officer. ”Shion, I'm. I'm sorry.” He turned and walked quickly out of the room before anyway could say anything.
Shion picked herself up and took the piece of paper from the floor that Ziggy had dropped. On in she saw a black background with a seraph, a six winged angel, carrying a machete in one hand, and a machine gun in the other. Below the angel was a small planet, with what looked like Fifth Jerusalem in the middle of that, burning to a crisp.
”What is this?”
Jun frowned and looked at it. ”If I remember my history, that's the symbol of the Black Heaven Unit, a terrorist organization from one hundred years ago. But I thought they became extinct so to speak when their leader, Liu Raystorm was killed with a confrontation with a Federation police officer.”
Who was the officer?” Shion asked.
That information was never released for some reason,” her brother said with the shake of his head.
Do you think we should put this thing off for a night?” Shion asked looking in the direction Ziggy went. Whatever had happened, it had really affected Ziggy in a bad way.
No,” the android said, walking around the corner. ”You are going to go tonight.” He turned to Shion and sighed. ”I'm sorry again Shion. But this, this piece of paper is just proved to me that something very sinister is going on here. I won't risk putting any of you in danger, which is why I'm keeping Momo here while the rest of you do some exploring.”
Ziggy?” she asked with a frown. Shion removed her optic glasses and glared at the android.
I mean it. My emotions when I saw that piece of paper, the sign of the Black Heaven Unit. It's been the first time in a very long time since I experienced them. If I were to go with you, I might put you in danger. And if a New B.H.U. is behind this, then Momo might very well be in danger the most, best if I were to stay here to protect her.”
Momo is stronger than you think,” Shion countered. Mary nodded her agreement.
Not nearly strong enough to face these people,” Ziggy said. ”Trust me, this is for the best. We'll be here when you get back. And if you need help, you can always call us.”
Shion knew better than to argue, although, she also knew that Momo would like what Ziggy had planned. ”Okay, like my brother the bookworm says, we'll do it your way.” She put the electric device over her ear and dialed Jr.'s number.
Do you really want to spoil our fun this soon?” Albedo said in a back room, watching the group of heroes gather and sneak out of the small holding cell that had been redecorated to look like an apartment complex. Amazing what you can do with some bamboo wood and a few holographic chips.
Ah but the fun is just beginning. You notice dear sweat Jan has not gone with his friends,” the masked woman said with a smile.
Who did you say?” Albedo frowned and looked at her as if she were as crazy as he was.
The android, Ziggurat 8, that's his name. His real name anyway. And look, he has his foster daughter with him.”
She is not to be harmed,” Albedo snarled, ”at least not until she connects to the U.M.N., and then she's mine to finish.”
She's my sister,” the other Realian snarled as she stood behind Albedo.
Of course ma fraise, I'll remember to save you some for your own enjoyment,” he said with a chuckle.
The Realian smiled darkly, ”You should keep your appointments with the rest of them. I left the clues you told me to, that will lead them right to the Canon. He should be more than a match for them after a round with you.”
Of course, my dear, always thinking of me, how sweet,” he turned and left the two women.
Well, of course we can't harm your sister, but nothing says we can't cause a little mayhem.”
I think I'll wait here, for not to go back, is somewhat to advance, and men must walk at least before they dance.” She smiled as the older woman looked at her with a screwed up face.
What the hell does Albedo see in this Realian? ”Whatever turns you on sister,” the masked woman said with a shrug. She turned and walked in the opposite direction that Albedo went.
Just as the Dark Realian had said, the clues she left in the emerald fields, and pine green forest, lead the small band of heroes' right to a seemingly abandoned bunker from the Militian Conflict. It was old, grey and falling apart. Its windows were blasted open, leaving ragged sharps of metal jutting out, as if they were the toothy mouths of a large Gnosis.
The inside of the bunker was a different story. It was neat, cleansed of debris. To the far back center of the bunker there were massive engines lined up like a vast army. Up above the engines there was a hole in the roof the size of a giant's footprint. It was obvious that, that was where the Amadorians were firing whatever it was they were firing into space.
Holy crap,” Jr. said as his eyes rolled from each of the engines.
Guess this kind of proves our theory that the Amadorians were hiding something from the Federation,” Shelley said. ”Should we go to the room and try to tell the Committee what we found?”
Oh, don't go yet,” a voice cackled from behind them. The group turned around and glared in unison as Albedo stepped around from one of the engines, and grinned like the Cheshire cat. ”Not before you see what our arts and crafts department has cooked up in this little camp planet.”
A strong red glow filled around Jr. as he glared at the psychopath. His breath began to become labored and his eyes filled with hatred. ”You bastard, what are you doing here?”
Gaignun put a hand on his shoulder and gently pulled him away a little bit. ”Jr. don't listen to him, he only wants to make a fool out of you. Don't do anything stupid.” The taller U.R.T.V. turned and stared at the other, with the look of a basilisk in his eyes. ”I should have known that you would be behind this. Only a maniac could convince the Amadorians to give up their hatred of technology long enough for you to build some type of weapon here.”
You big ol' bully,” Mary added. ”You better just back your bags, and leave Little Masta alone.”
Albedo smiled at the blonde woman and waved a hand in her direction, flinging the girl back towards the exit of the bunker, and cackled as her back crashed into a heavy metal box. A sick crack echoed through the bunker, as her companions called out to her, and Mary collapsed like a rag doll, moaning weakly. ”Oh dear,” he said with mock sincerity, ”I think I broke your friend.” He threw his head back in the air and screeched with laughter, his body shaking with hysterics.
It was more than Jr. could stand. First he kidnapped Momo, and tortured her to get some kind of information from her body, now he had possibly broken Mary's back. The small U.R.T.V.'s body shook and his eyes grew darker. ”Shut the fuck up, you god damned bastard,” he roared. He flung himself at Albedo, but the madman simply flipped his hand in the air, and Jr. found himself on his rear end. Shion, Jun, and chaos rushed to his aide, and each found it increasingly hard to move.
Despite everything I really am glad to see you alive, Rubedo,” he said in dead seriousness. ”I would have hated to see you die at the hands or rather claws of the Sophie Peithos,” his own eyes grew darker as he looked at his rival. ”Not when it's my destiny to destroy you myself!”
Albedo rose into the air and glared down at the heroes like a pagan god, ready to pass judgment on them for committing some kind of pseudo sin against him. ”Foolish weaklings,” he said, his voice echoing through the bunker, ”prepare to taste the flames of hell.”
Gaignun turned and suggested that they run, that the bunker was not a good place to fight for them, but as he did, the doors of the bunker slammed shut, as Ambassador Klick, and a number of Amadorians pushed the doors closed.
Did we really have to stay here, Ziggy?” Momo frowned and paced back and forth in the room as the android covered the last of the cameras. ”Jr. and the others may be in danger.”
Ziggy felt his emotions pull him in separate directions. If the Dark Heaven Unit, or a new version of it was behind this, then the others were probably very much in trouble. But after his emotional outburst when he had seen the symbol of the terrorist group, he'd be a bigger threat to their safety had he gone with them. And he wasn't about to let Momo get hurt by the terrorists hands. He looked down at his gun and sighed. Not like I did with David.
Still, a small smile spread over his face. He remembered the first time he had meet his group of friends. As he and Momo had been fleeing an attack force of U-Tic fighters, how those fighters had almost had them, until they foolishly opened fire at the Elsa, and brought Captain Matthews and the rest of them down the U-Tic's throats. I think these guys like trouble, he had told Momo as the Elsa interfered with the chase. ”They'll be fine. Remember we survived both Albedo and Sophie Peithos. I think they can handle anything the Amadorians throw at them.”
But,” Momo said, wringing her hands as she looked at her protector.
They'll call us if they need help,” Ziggy interrupted. He turned toward the small Realian and smiled as he put his hands on her shoulders. ”We should have faith in them. As long as they keep from over reacting to the situations around them, as long as they keep cool heads, they'll come back.”
Cool heads?” her thoughts turned to Jr. ”That's what I'm afraid of,” she said with a sigh.
”Ziggy knew what she meant, and laughed. ”Maybe there's reason to be concerned after all, just a little anyway.” The little Realian looked up at him and giggled.
Isn't this just such a sweet scene,” a woman's voice laughed from behind them. Ziggy and Momo turned around and looked at a medium sized woman wearing a dark red mask, shaped in the form of a skull. Behind her mask, a flowing wave of black red hair flowed down to her waist. Around her shoulders she wore a red cloak that flowed down to her bare ankles. Her feet were bare, except for certain computer chips and wires circling around her heels and around her toes. The same wires could be seen around her right hand and wrist.
Who are you?” Ziggy demanded, releasing his blade from his arm. Although he knew that she was an android. The way she stood, the wires around her body, but she was definitely not a Ziggurat series android, nor was she anything like KOS-MOS.
The heaven's are aflame, aren't they detective?” she asked, smiling behind her mask.
Ziggy felt his mouth drop and he frowned as he took a step away from the other android. Those words, I've heard them before, but from where? ”Who are you?” he snapped again, raising his blade higher in the air.
Let's just call me Zefonith III, or if you prefer, you can just call me Zeffy,” once again she smiled under her mask. ”And you and I have a score to settle.”
But why do you want to do this to us? What have we done to you?” Momo asked, taking a step forward. Ziggy held out his hand to stop her. ”Ziggy?”
People like Zefonith III are incapable of listening to reason,” he said with a tired voice. ”We're going to have to fight.”
Well Jan, it looks like you finally seem to have regained some of your backbone over these hundred years after your death,” Zefonith said with a giggle. ”This should make things very fun.” She pulled out a large vicious looking blade, and glared at them, ”For me.”
In the bunker the heroes were doing no better. Though they fought well against Albedo, only Jr. and Gaignun were still standing, with chaos resting on a single knee, his breathe hard and painful as it left his lungs. Albedo, was slightly better, but he was growing weaker under the combined pressure of Gaignun and Jr. who had been healed one last time by chaos' powers.
I suppose I should congratulate you Rubedo,” Albedo said, groaning under the intense pressure of Jr.'s energy waves. ”This is the second time in less than a year you've shown me that you're more man than boy.” He turned to Gaignun and grinned. ”And Negredo, I'm surprised you've kept some of your powers. I would have thought you'd have gone soft after becoming just a business man and a lover.” He looked over to the crumpled body of Mary and smiled, ”Although perhaps I've unleashed the tiger after getting rid of the leash.”
Shut the hell up and turn to ash, you freak,” Gaignun snarled, sending a blackish grey wave of power into the madman's chest. It caught Albedo off guard, and sent him flying into one of the engines.
Albedo pulled himself to his feet in time to be hammered down by a rain of lightning as Shion unleashed one last desperate attack. Her brother was quick to pull his blade from its handle and thrust it at Albedo, stopping at his neck.
It's over,” he said with an exhausted sigh.
Ah, contraire,” Albedo said with a weak grin. His hand reached over and quickly pushed a button on one of the engine, right before Jun sliced it neatly off. Albedo screamed, and grabbed his wrist, his eyes clenched as he stumbled towards a hidden door. He looked up, and smiled at them. ”A pain, sweet pain, such a delicious feeling it is. As for my part of the theatre tonight, I bid you a sweet farewell.” He slipped halfway out of the door before turning, showing off a newly created hand, ”After all, I did promise to show you our arts and craft project. I'm sure Canon will amuse you for a while. And if you happen to survive that fight, then I feel we'll meet again.” He slammed the door shut and locked it quickly.
They heard the sound of gears turning and the floor under the engines dropped as an elevator was revealed. The door of the elevator opened, and a medium sized boy, whose appearance looked a lot like chaos walked through. His eyes were dark purple, his hear was just as white as chaos' but his skin was darker in color. A strange energy filled around him, much like the energy surrounding the Gnosis.
Jr. knew who it was right away, it was a U.R.T.V. his ”father's” had called him Gresiedo, because at the time his hair had been a strong grey in color. ”My God, they've merged him with a Gnosis.”
It's worse than that,” KOS-MOS said. ”My scanners have picked up the same kind of energy that I have been built with.”
A U.R.T.V. unit, merged with a Gnosis, and given the powers of KOS-MOS,” Jr. said. Damn, I think we're in trouble.”
Canon smiled viciously and raised his clenched fists, purple energy surrounding them. He pointed at the heroes and narrowed his eyes.
We are definitely in trouble,” Jr. said, bracing for the worse.
Zefonith III tossed Momo onto a bed and brought her leg down to crush the small Realian's chest. She would have succeeded had it not been for Ziggy's quick action. He brought his blade over the Realian's chest just as Zefonith's leg came crashing down.
The evil android smiled despite the pain and limped away for a second. ”I've always pictured you fighting in your prime. As you fought that last fight on that mud ball of a planet, to save your son, wondering what was going through your mind as you fought him.”
Him who? Who the hell are you?” the male android demanded for the umpteenth time. The two of them swung their swords, clashing metal bouncing off of the walls of the room as the young Realian watched.
They were equally matched. Both of them had the same speed, the same strength. Somehow they both knew each other's moves, and had a direct counter for each attack the other launched. To Momo it was terrifying, and yet somehow very beautiful, like a ballet of war. She wanted to help, but she knew she was no match for Zefonith III. When she could she'd toss a potion or two in Ziggy's direction, but now that she had no more motion, or ether to use, all she could do is watch.
Zefonith pinned Ziggy to a wall for a minute or two, and stared at him in the eyes. ”Come now, Jan. You can't tell me that all of your memory from your previous life has been erased. Surely you remember the Black Heaven Unit?”
Ziggy gasped and shoved his way free, watching as Zefonith lost her footing and fell onto the bed Momo had been sitting on. The Realian screeched and rolled for the safety of a corner. In all the action, Ziggy had forgotten she was still here. Earlier had ordered her to run, but to his dismay the doors had been locked shut. He knew without a doubt, that the Amadorians had indeed been behind the attacks on the ships now.
You were the one who left that paper here,” he said. It wasn't a question. ”I will not ask you again, who are you? How do you know about my,” he stopped and looked at Momo, ”about David?”
Zefonith rose to her feet and glared at Ziggy. Before she could answer, and alarm went off. The ”civilians” under the leadership of Randall Fairweather had freed themselves and the Durandal from their quarantined statues and was now firing upon the bunker holding the Genesis Project. All ready six of prototypes had been destroyed, and something called Canon had been knocked unconscious. What was worse, the Federation representatives trapped in the bunker with Canon were know aboard the Durandal and were headed for the capital city of Amadore.
Zefonith III bit her lips and scowled. This was not how she wanted to end the fight. But there was always another time. She turned and smiled at Ziggy. ”We'll have to cut this dance short I'm afraid,” she cooed.
The hell we are,” Ziggy roared. ”Who the hell are you, tell me!” He rushed towards her, but the evil android had already leapt into the air and smashed a window out with a single kick.
Next time, perhaps,” she laughed as she disappeared into the darkness.
Ziggy screamed and railed at the darkness, his body tightening with every second. Who the hell was she? He was torn from his thoughts by a tug on his arm.
Ziggy, we really should get out of here,” Momo said, pleading with him. ”Please?” He looked at her, his breathing starting to become normal again, and with eyes closed, he nodded his head.
Three weeks had passed since those events. By now the full force of the Federation was down the throat of Amadore, as more then twenty bunkers were confiscated with over three hundred enhanced U.R.T.V.'s, which was strange, as the Federation hadn't created that many to begin with, perhaps seven hundred or more, but with the exception of Canon, who had mysteriously disappeared, non of these enhanced U.R.T.V.'s looked like anything the Federation had.
Ambassador Klick and his faction of dissenters where quickly arrested and most were found guilty before the first week. Once again, Amadore reverted back to its primal roots, and those had just started to consider accepting technology decided that the fall of the corrupt ”pro-technology” government had been the hand of divine retribution. Once again, Amadore was anti-machinery, though very few dared to openly say anything while the Federation was still here.
Helmer stepped off of the shuttle and looked around. A strange sense of pride, and yet revulsion hit him in the gut. Although he himself had been born in Fifth Jerusalem, like his father before him, his roots belonged here. His great grandfather had been a high priest who ordered the sacrifice of over one thousand Federation settlers over one hundred and twenty years ago. Amadore was Helmer's ancestral home, but it was also his shame.
He spied Ziggy and Gaignun sitting on stone steps of the capital's Council house, and he walked over. ”I just want to say good job, to both of you. If you hadn't done what you did, we would have never discovered this threat to the Federation.”
Unfortunately, Canon is still missing. We thing that although the shock of the Durandal's blast took him by surprise, it didn't wasn't enough to actually finish him off,” Gaignun said softly. ”He must have found his way back to the people who are behind this.”
This whole set of events. Even those of the last three months, I doubt we've done hearing from any of these people.” Ziggy said. ”This is just the beginning of the tip of the iceberg.”
Do you think this Canon's real mission has anything to do with U.DO?” Helmer asked, with a shiver down his back.
I hope not, but we can't rule it out,” Gaignun said. ”All we know is that we have three fugitives on the loose right now. Albedo, Canon, and the android who fought Ziggy and Momo, Zefonith III.”
And I have the feeling their all working for the same people,” Helmer said with a sigh. He looked at Gaignun, ”Speaking of Albedo, how is Mary doing?”
Gaignun's head went down to the ground and he looked like for the first time in his life, he was about to cry. ”The doctors don't know. She'll live, but as for walk, that may take some time. Right now Shelley, chaos, Shion, and Jun are taking her to Ungoliant, where she might have a better chance of medical recovery.”
We'll be joining them just as soon as this judiciary procedure is over,” Ziggy said. That should be tomorrow.”
Helmer nodded his head and patted Gaignun on his shoulder. ”Take care of yourself. We're going to need all of you in the coming weeks. If a storm is coming, the people are going to need you as an anchor. I know that sounds hard, and cruel right now, but it is a fact.” Gaignun raised his head and nodded with a smile.
In his private office Wilhelm glared at the paperwork in front of him. ”All in all, not a complete loss. We still have Canon after all, and I'm sure he won't mind being cloned again.”
True sir, but don't you think that because we've lost Amadore to the Federation, we have more liabilities now than we do assets?” his cloaked advisor asked, with a little bit of concern in his voice.
I said in the beginning that Amadore was a minor concern for us, did I not?” Wilhelm asked, glaring at the advisor. His hooded aid lowered his head and nodded. ”Well then, let's just leave it at that.”
Where do we go from here sir?” Virgil asked.
To Ungoliant,” Wilhelm said with a smile.
”Both men gasped at that statement. ”But sir, Shion Uzuki and most of her friends are already on that planet,” Virgil said with horror in his voice.
He's quite right sir, and we have more important operations on Ungoliant than we did with Amadore, we can't afford liabilities there,” the cloaked advisor added with a bit of shock.
Wilhelm sighed and placed his papers down on the table. ”It's time we tested our Shion and her little friends,” he said maliciously, ”and it's time we see what they are really capable of. The key rule to combat is to know how strong your enemy really is.” He smiled and folded his hands together, fingers laced. ”And should they somehow find out what's going on in Ungoliant, which I doubt they will,” he picked up a glass of wine, glanced at it for a second, and smashed it between his fingers, ”we'll crush them.” ”
Author's end story notes; Okay, this one was a bear to write at first, mainly because of some of the history of the systems and ships at the beginning, plus the entire political interfuse. I'm not very good at writing that type of thing. But I must say, I did surprise myself with how well it went. I kind of wanted to do more fighting scenes between Albedo and the group, as well as Canon and the group, but we'll save those for the next group of stories in this series. I almost didn't get this story done on time, but thanks to the encouragements of a fan letter, I was TOTALLY inspired, and finished a month a head of schedule. If not for her, I'd still be writing this thing. Thanks Ms. Shoeless One this story is dedicated to you. I hope you like it. Okay guys, that's it for now. Seriously, get out of here, how can I write part two with all of you staring at me? :).