Celeste walked somewhat hesitantly up the stairs that led to the tops of the nuclear missiles. Lancer and Andraia were behind her, keeping their eyes out for any sign of hostile forces. A harsh beeping sound in Celeste's ear forced the hacker into pressing the talk button on the side of her headset. She sighed as she did so, both tired of the mission and of interruptions.
"Trepe, it's Heartilly. Be advised, Almasy's group encountered an unknown monster pack that was extremely violent. My team is coming to the missile bay to help out, but stay alert just in case." Julia warned.
"All right, will do." Celeste replied. "Think that the Genome lab had anything to do with them?"
"Don't know. Just keep your eyes open. Over and out." Julia spoke on the other end, shutting down her radio.
Celeste continued her ascent up the metal stairway, the others still behind her. "Guys, sorry to say this, but there are enemy forces. Almasy just fought off some monster, and apparently it's very violent."
Andraia rolled her eyes and groaned. "No, no, no. You didn't just say that. After all the fear I felt before we knew something was here?"
"Oh, you'll be fine. You survived the Battle of Deling, why wouldn't you survive a monster? The others won a battle against a few of them." Lancer spoke for the first time in minutes.
As they reached the top of the platform, the highest one in the missile bay, Celeste noticed that they were neither high enough nor close enough to the missiles to reach the command modules. Lancer groaned in frustration.
"Well, now what? Is it time for Celeste to swing the missiles via her whip, and pull an Indiana Jones move?" He asked.
"I am not Indiana Jones!" She replied quickly and sternly. She then smiled and laughed. "But, I see another alternative so I don't have to do that."
She pointed at a hydraulic lift on the far side of the platform. She walked over, stepping into the small lift and shutting the guard-rail gate behind her. Lancer and Andraia raised their eyebrows at her action. She waved her arm in dismissal.
"What are you doing?" Lancer asked.
"I can do this by myself, and it'll go quicker with you two staying guard down here." Celeste replied, grabbing a hold of the controller for the lift. "Just keep an eye out for enemies, okay?"
Lancer gave her a quick kiss on her lips, and frowned afterwards. "I think you just don't want us up there."
"Right!" Celeste replied sarcastically. "Now be good while I'm gone. No fighting, children."
Lancer and Andraia turned around, watching the missile bay for any odd movement. Celeste pressed the controls for the lift, and she slowly but surely headed towards the command module of the first of the four missiles. She looked over the side of the lift for a moment, then severely wished she hadn't. The missile bay was very tall, and she was a good few hundred feet from the bottom. The missiles and the lift were the only solid things in the large bay, other than the platform.
She inhaled swiftly, and held her head up so she didn't have to look at the staggering heights any longer. She raised the hydraulic lift until it was level with the command module. She flipped open the cover of the module, and began to type furiously into it.
She furrowed her brows after a few moments, not being able to find the controls for nuclear warheads. Nothing mentions a nuclear warhead here. Better run a scan of all types. Biological warhead-- no. Chemical warhead-- no. Miscellaneous loads-- nothing. What the hell?
She typed another command into the module, and she looked at the top of the missiles at the warheads themselves. Those don't even look like regulation nukes... damn.
She ran a final search, using her most skilled hacking techniques to break open any locks that may have been withholding information from her. About five minutes of this searching passed, and Celeste slammed the module shut and looked back down to the others on the platform.
"Well?" Lancer asked loudly, so that his voice was strong enough to reach her.
"Nothing. These warhead are hollow, they aren't loaded with anything!" She called. "These are damned dud missiles. They won't do a thing to the capitols aside from crash into something and not explode."
"What?! You gotta be kidding me! All this way for nothing!" Andraia shrieked. "Those lying Estharian brats! How dare they tear me away from my daughter..."
"The feeling's mutual." Celeste muttered. "I'm going to check the other missiles, wait there."
"Great. Radio Julia or one of the others, will you. She's not going to be very happy, though." Lancer replied, in advisory.
"Once I check the other three missiles, I will." Celeste replied.
Julia, Edea and Zion walked out of the room that contained the now dead Gabriel. Edea rubbed her hands against the temples of her head, sighing quietly to herself. Julia and Zion were deathly quiet. Julia began the walk to the missile bay, when a call on her headset stopped her. She pressed the button and spoke.
"Julia. What's up?"
"Uh, I don't know quite how to tell you this...." Celeste began to say. "But, all this missiles... the whole reason we came out here... all four missiles are complete duds."
"What?" Julia groaned. "What's wrong with them?"
"They have empty warheads. No nukes, no bio-chemical hazards. The only thing these things will do is it the ground and skid to a halt." Celeste replied frustrated.
"Oh, great, so we came all the way out here for nothing!" Julia hissed to no one. She hit another button that would let her talk to all team leaders. "Attention everyone! The missiles are duds, and we're pulling out now. Meet back at the snow dune where we made our insertion."
There were disappointed groans on all channels. Jesse swore aloud. "Damn it! I knew something was wrong with this place. Fuck.... See you all at the insertion point. Now, how the hell are we going to get back?"
"I know!" Julia shouted, hitting away various rubble from a desk in the room she and her team was in. She pulled out a metallic object that was about the size of a cereal box. "I just found a radio. Celeste and Corin can get it to work once we reach safety."
"Will do." Celeste replied.
"Okay, let's regroup outside. Over and out." Julia said, signing off from the conversation.
Edea and Zion looked at her with fallen faces. Zion rolled his eyes. "This had all the Galbadian generals worried. A bunch of metal rockets that won't blow up. God damned Satori..."
"Let us go. I do not want to be left behind." Edea said, anxious to get out of the god forsaken labyrinth that was the Ganymede Artillery base.
Julia nodded but didn't say anything. She walked behind the other two, head down. They turned to the hall that led to the staircase, when Julia's nose caught scent of something she really didn't like.
"I smell something again." She warned them, all her senses going on alert.
"More blood?" Edea asked. "If it's anything I don't want to smell, you or Zion did it."
Julia rolled her eyes and took a few steps in the direction of the smell. "No, it's down the hall. In the opposite direction that we were going. It's not blood, it's... I don't know. Animal like?"
Edea took a glance down the hall. "You smell an animal? I see nothing down there."
Julia drew her staff and raced down the hall, adrenaline filling her body with energy. The door was still open, not having been shut since the last time the team passed through. She got to the side of it, hugging her body to the wall so nothing coming in the door could see her. The other two Wolves look on at her curiously, unsure of whatever it was she was doing.
A seven foot tall jet black demon lumbered through the door, ducking down in order to step through. It bared it's fangs, as it too smelt Julia's presence. It turned around quickly to bite or claw her, yet it was too late. Her bladed staff cut into the demon's cranium, blood pouring out of the wound. Julia practically growled at it as she sunk her weapon in deeper.
A clawed armed reached out for her, despite the demon's howling and wailing. Before the claws could sink into Julia's shoulder, they fell, and the demon went limp. It fell to the ground, convulsing. She stepped over it, and Zion and Edea came running to meet her.
"What the hell is that?!" Zion asked, alarmed.
Edea looked at it closely. "It's the kind of beast the Jesse's group found earlier. If they are still present, it could be difficult withdrawing."
"No it won't. I can smell them all over the place." Julia said. "The way we were heading was clear, let's get back to the ground level, quick."
The trio sprinted towards the stairs, and bounding up them, they noticed the ground floor completely empty. Not another Wolf or an Excalibur was in sight. Edea figured that they must have gotten out already, being closer to the entrance than they had been. Even Celeste's team was closer, and they had probably been heading to ground level since Celeste found the missiles to be duds.
They continued sprinting to one of the exit doors, their best bet the cargo room where they had come in. Julia and the other two Wolves skid to a halt as a voice interrupted their evacuation.
"I should have know. Of course Heartilly would be able to smell out the demons I sent after you, those lovely little gifts from Hyne." Satori sneered, standing behind them in the company of three of the demon beasts. "The demons are his spawn you know, from his private army on loan to myself. Actually Virados, yet he didn't need them back during the war."
"It's no wonder Heartilly could detect them, being a spawn of Hyne herself. Better to look at than some of these foul creatures," Satori said, tapping one of them on it's shoulder, "yet she's just as evil and has their same senses and strengths. I bet you feel better now that you've drawn blood, huh Heartilly?"
Julia did feel more relaxed now that she had, but she wasn't going to admit it. "Satori, what the hell is the big idea here? Making bombing threats when all you have are duds? Were you really that lonely and desperate?"
"Quiet, demon spawn." Satori hissed out, and Julia gave her a nasty glare. "My plans are different now, with some support from Esthar's rebellious faction still loyal to Adel."
With that, she raised her arm, and the three demonic monsters next to her charged out with amazing speed, one of them taking to the air with it's leathery wings. Julia followed that one, her own angel wings spreading and giving her lift. Edea and Zion were left on the ground to fend off the other two.
Julia and the flying demon clashed together, each grabbing on to each other's shoulders and clinging for dear life knowing that if one let go the other would attack. Julia's eye darkened as she looked into the neon eyes of the demon she was holding on to. Her eyes went red as she summoned her Tyraduna strength, magic filling every pore of her body.
"You may be spawned from Hyne, but you aren't one of his biological children. That makes you weak and pathetic, you little runt." She hissed.
The demon growled back at her, and she copied it's growl exactly. Julia let go of the demon's shoulder and fell down a bit from the air. The demon prepared to dive after her yet Julia wasn't going to allow that. She shot a Flare directly into the chest of the opposing demon, and it flung into the air and it the ceiling without much grace. Blood poured from the impact wound, and it's chest burnt with the flare.
While the aerial battle was heating up, Zion and Edea were running to and fro, taking turns dodging and attack the two demons on the ground. The first attacked Zion, lashing out with it's fangs. Seeing a key moment to attack, Zion fired off a wave of plasma shots from his Estharian gunarm, which plowed into the beast's head and shoulders.
It howled in pain, but ran up the side of the wall to dodge the rest. While his gunarm was reloading itself, the demon leapt down and batted Zion to the side of the room like he was nothing. He skid to a stop before he hit wall, yet his arm was now bleeding. His gunarm finished it's reloading, and he charged back into the battle.
Edea was taking a more hesitant approach, and it was easy to see that she was fearful of the tall creature before her. The demon attacked once, swinging it's claws at her forehead. She leapt back out of the way and countered by throwing a high-powered Firaga back at it. The fireball hit, and the demon flew back. It growled and launched a Thundaga in return, which Edea was barely able to dodge. She fired a few rounds from her pistol, through the bullets had no effect on it.
Zion jumped out of the way of yet another attack, and fired another round from his gunarm. This time, the demon was hit in the chest, and the plasma bullets passed through it's protective skin and wore a hole leading into it's flesh. Zion fired again, threatening to overload his gunarm, yet this time the blast entered the hole and hit the demon's heart. The demon choked for life, yet it stumbled to the ground and fell down dead. He rushed over to help Edea, his wife too far into the air for him to do a thing.
The aerial demon flew to the other side of the room to dodge Julia's Flare attack. Julia hissed and flew after it. To her, it seemed like the demon was trying to run rather than fight, and she took it as a sign that it was afraid. She lashed out with her staff, swinging it several times at the demon, yet it was too fast for her to hit.
She used her Tyraduna speed to catch up, and she grabbed the demon by it's shoulder. It struggled to get away, yet her grip was too good. It screeched for help from it's sole surviving comrade, but it was too late. Julia casted an Ultima on it, sending the demon to fall into the ground, it's flesh burnt and charred. There was no way it was still alive. Julia swooped down, sinking her staff into it's body just to make sure.
Edea casted two consecutive Flares into the last demon, singeing it's skin and causing it to roar and growl in pain. It ran through the flames, hitting Edea in the side of her ribs. She fell down, but held her gun right to it's eye. She shot it, finding that it's eye was the only real weak spot to handgun bullets. It fell back, clutching it's now blown apart eye with it's hands.
The sorceress casted a final spell on it, a Blizzaga, which terminated it's life by sending ice crystals flying into it's flesh. Satori ran up behind Julia as the staff user poked her staff into the demon's carcass, not paying attention to the general. Satori clamped a metallic device on to Julia's arm, and as she did so, Julia didn't scream like she usually would have. Instead, she roared.
The pain was great, and she felt as if her life force was being sucked out from within. Blinding pain surged through her arm, and she didn't even see Zion tackle Satori from the left. Satori shoved him off, and tried to slice him open with her sai as Julia convulsed behind her. Zion leapt back, and Satori snatched the device from Julia's arm.
When she removed it, her Tyraduna symbol was gone, and her eyes had turned from red back into their normal brown. Julia collapsed on the floor, but looked out with one eye as Satori back away from the other two very angry Wolves.
"Odine makes such wonderful devices, you know." Satori smirked. "Like this one. This one drains the Shaduna or Tyraduna power from it's host and puts it into this little necklace here."
Satori held up a red medallion which contained Julia's Tyraduna magic. She quickly placed it around her neck and pressed the medallion to her chest. Satori went into her own Tyraduna trance, stealing Julia's might. She leapt out of the room, out into the snowy fields where the other teams were meeting. Edea ran after her for a bit, until she hit the doorway.
Zion grabbed a hold of his wife, cradling Julia in his arms softly. "Julia, are you all right? Talk to me."
That bitch... she stole my power! Now I'm going to be weaker! Julia thought angrily. "I'm all right, just tired. We need to go after her. Quickly. I need that power back again."
Zion picked her up, Edea following behind him, and they ran out into the snow fields, yet Satori wasn't in sight. The Wolf Pack and Excalibur were nowhere to be seen, and Zion ran on top on one of the dunes in order to get a better look. He placed his arm over Julia's face, and the woman hid her head behind him in order to shield herself from snow.
In the distance, near the entrance where the sniper team had entered, he spotted the team. Yet, at the same time, he heard gunfire and the deep roar of Ifrit. They were involved in their own battle, yet Zion did not know how severe. He looked at Edea, and the sorceress nodded. He and Edea quickly sped off towards the other teams, hoping to aid them.