Well guys, here’s the next installation in the Nightmare series. In this one we have some interesting developments, and I hope you enjoy. 🙂 And apparently both equal signs and semi colons are guns. Here’s what the title was supposed to be:
Demise=Bad; Double Demise=Terrible
A com walked to an intersection in the hall and looked around him. Satisfied that there was nobody around, he turned right and continued patrolling. Two shadowy figures emerged from a little cove in the wall. Their cloaks constantly rippled in a distracting pattern, keeping any observers from focusing on any one point. Neither made a sound as they swiftly advanced down the hallway. They reached the intersection the com had turned at, and then both cringed as a loud voice permeated their minds.
So is he there?
Yes master, he is, one of them said mentally. But we have no idea how to get him.
The mental voice laughed, a deep, throaty laugh. Why my dearest assassins, that is the easiest part. All you have to do is this…
Five minutes later, the com guarding the heavy door to the archives straightened and saluted when he saw the General walking towards him. He didn’t have time to make a sound as Cassie passed him, and the enerblade handle she held activated and cut him neatly in half. The security door opened and a com captain peeked out.
“What’s going on here?” he growled, then he saw what appeared to be his general turn into a cloaked apparition. He leveled his blaster and fired, but the enerblade flashed and absorbed his first five shots. Then another cloaked assassin appeared beside him and ran him through with an enerblade. The Twin Sisters then entered the archive room.
Three minutes and alarms were blazing, while coms all hurriedly headed to the archives.
Liam awoke to the sounds of alarms blazing. Mako got up the instant his master woke, and after hurriedly shrugging some clothes on, Liam stepped out of his room and rushed in the general direction that everybody else was headed. He arrived at the archives where Jayna and Cassie were examining the dead bodies of the twenty odd coms who had been assigned to guard the archives.
Cassie hurriedly sent coms out to make a perimeter around the Outpost and make sure that none escaped. She then motioned Liam over. “Can you handle a computer?” she asked, but it was more of a command then a question. “The tech officer was killed, and I want you to go and see what has been stolen.”
“Excuse me ma’am,” Liam said. “But aren’t these top secret?”
“Yes, and you never looked at them, now go! I must figure out what they got.”
Liam entered the archives room, followed by Mako. The two did not notice Jayna slip in after them.
Finding a computer terminal, Liam sat down and turned it on. He began scrolling through the file hierarchy, when he realized that there were thousands of files on the system, he realized that he would have to do it another way. He set up a program that would find the most recently accessed files and cross check them with the most important ones to rate their importance, then give him a list of the top ten. He was about to turn away from the computer terminal and let the program run when a filename caught his eye: “Rich Hom”.
Quickly he plugged a data-receiver into the terminal’s dataport and copied the file onto it, then he removed data-receiver. He was congratulating himself when Mako gave a warning rumble. Liam quickly scanned his surroundings with his enhanced senses and realized that he was not alone. He focused in on the presence and realized it was Jayna. Why would she be in here?
He turned back to the terminal to pretend studying the program as Jayna came up behind him. “Oh, hi,” he said, turning long enough to face Jayna, then he faced the screen again. He felt a tugging at his pocket, and before he could stop it, the data-receiver flew out of it and into Jayna’s hand.
“Now what have we here?” she asked icily, taking the data-receiver and plugging it into another terminal. “Oh, so you dared to copy a defen secret onto this data-receiver? Rich Hom– now why in the world would you be interested in Rich Hom?”
“Just curious,” Liam muttered, almost shamefacedly.
“I’ve seen you Liam,” Jayna said, stepping closer to him. He involuntarily stiffened as she approached, and the tendons swelled in his neck as he struggled to stop from letting out what he knew would ruin him. “You would not do something illegal like this just because you’re ‘curious.’ Why did you do it?”
“I– Well, I saw him in a dream alright?” Liam said, scrolling down the list the computer had brought up.
“And however did you know the person you saw in your dream was him? There are no pictures of him floating around. You’re not saying that you have stolen information from us before this have you?”
“No! I haven’t,” Liam said vehemently, turning to face Jayna. “I– Well, I’ve met him before.”
“You? Met Rich Hom? That’s impossible. You must be at least as old as the General to meet Rich Hom and still remember it.”
“I am older than the General,” Liam said quietly. “I am telling you, I met Rich Hom once, and I saw him in a dream, and so I was curious about him. You caught me, do what you will. My life is of no consequence anyway. In fact, it would be best if you killed me now.”
“Defen don’t kill people in cold blood. And why in the world would you want to be killed? Surely you can’t hold your life as worthless? And, not that I’m saying you should do it, but if you want your life ended so badly, why don’t you do it yourself? That is, unless you were bluffing about not caring about your life.”
“I never bluff. And, you defen have a law against ending your own life don’t you? Well, I try to model my life after the life of a defen. So I will not kill myself.”
“Why in the world would you want to model your life after the life of a defen?” Jayna asked curiously. “You don’t want to become a defen do you? Because if you do, then I’m afraid I’m going to have to say you can’t do it. If you’re as old as you say, you’re much too old to begin the intensive training required to become a defen.”
“You would be surprised at my physical capabilities,” Liam said quietly.
“Oh?” Jayna asked with an arch smile.
Liam got out of the chair he sat in. “You’re a fairly well trained defen right?” he asked. “You have good control of your enerblade?” Jayna nodded.
“Okay then,” Liam said. “Switch your enerblade and try to cut me down.” Jayna looked hesitant, but drew from underneath her cloak her enerblade and switched it on.
“Yellow, nice. Now cut at me.” Jayna swung halfheartedly at his head and he dodged easily. “Come on,” he egged. “Surely that’s not what you learned. If this is how a defen fights, then I might change my mind about becoming one.”
Without warning, Jayna swung a quick backstroke at Liam’s waist. He stepped back just enough so that the enerblade passed in front of him, then dived forward, his hands coming up in time to stop Jayna’s downstroke. Then his knee came up to knock the enerblade out of her hand, but she was faster, and tossed it to her left hand. She swung a side cut at Liam, who ducked his head under it, then used a leg sweep to try and take Jayna’s legs out from under her.
She easily jumped over his leg, breaking his grip on her right hand as she did so. She tossed her enerblade back to her right hand and faced him, taking up a Shockwave stance. In one smooth motion, Liam removed his cape and held it in front of himself, using it to cover his body, then he charged and tossed it at her. She cut his cape down only to realize that he was halfway around her.
Her sidestroke was stopped as he stepped in and grabbed her arm. Then he put his other hand out and grabbed her enerblade handle. She reached back to punch him with her left hand when a sharp voice cut them off.
“What do you think you are doing?”
Liam looked up. It was Cassie. Hurriedly, he disentangled himself from Jayna and picked up his sliced cape from the floor.
“Jayna was showing me how defen fight,” Liam said, his sharp eyes catching a flash as the data-receiver unplugged from the terminal and flew into Jayna’s hand.
“Oh?” Cassie said. “Well, last I remember, Liam, you were supposed to be figuring out what they stole. Jayna, get out of here and tend to the coms. I need to talk with Liam.”
As Jayna passed Liam, she slipped the data-receiver into his hand and whispered. “Until next time.” Then she left the room. Liam hurriedly pocketed the data-receiver and showed Cassie what his program had brought up. Cassie studied his results without comment, then she straightened and turned to leave, but Liam stopped her.
“What is it?” Cassie asked, though she had a pretty good idea of what Liam wanted. She had seen Liam and Jayna fighting, and had heard Liam mentioning that he wished to be trained as a defen.
“Would it be possible for me to um, be trained as a defen?”
Cassie turned with a frown on her face, but her eyes were sparkling. “And what makes you think you’re qualified to be a defen?”
“Well ma’am, I noticed you up there as I was fighting Jayna. You can judge for yourself.”
“You’re observant of your surroundings, even as you fight,” Cassie said. “That is good. But to become a defen requires a certain mental power, and I cannot detect anything of the sort around you. In fact, I cannot detect anything about you.”
“How can I show my mental power?” Liam asked, though he knew very well what the answer would be. He saw Cassie searching the room for something small. Then he realized that something was different about her. He could not place it, but he knew for certain that she was not the same as she had originally been. Her voice cut into his reverie.
“Trying moving this mentally,” Cassie said, telekinetically picking a pen from the floor. Liam pretended to concentrate on the pen very hard, then the pen moved an inch. He pretended to strain himself even more, and slowly the pen stopped moving in start-stop inch-steps and moved smoothly towards his hand.
“Is that demonstration enough?”
“Yes,” Cassie said. “Though I still find it strange I cannot detect your presence. Meet me in my chambers tomorrow. As for this situation, I will have to figure out what I need to do about it.”
The next day found Liam with Cassie as she assessed his skills. He did not wish to go through all the basic training, so he showed her more of what he could do than he had done previously. He explained his redoubled mental powers by saying he had been nervous and tired the day before. At the end of it, she said that he was surprisingly well trained, and that she did not need to train him in the base. What he needed was some field experience, she told him, and dismissed him for the day.
Liam headed straight back to his room and plugged the data-receiver into his computer console. Excitedly, he opened up the file on Rich Hom and began scanning it. He found what he was looking for when he came across the paragraph where Rich Hom told of his encounter with the Twin Sisters of Demise.
‘They are vicious foes, and take full advantage of the throwing art Yestrr, only they have expanded it for two combatants. One of their favorite openings is to charge with both enerblades drawn, The enerblades on the insides they will constantly swap, holding them there with mental powers that would take a lot of focus to break, and making a scissor-like effect. It is extremely hard to counter, and single-wielders would be hard pressed to fight the twins.
‘Another art they used a lot was Phantom. It is an extremely deceptive art, and had I not known its quirks and caprices, would have been taken complete by surprise. You never know which blade will be in front, and since they have four, they can use Phantom to great effect.
‘Only my complete mastery of Symmetry saved my life. Their coordination is excellent and I had little time to absorb their technique and take advantage of it. However, I managed to figure out something. The move “Fountain of Blades” in Symmetry is an extremely good defense, provided that the defen is capable of the physical stress it puts on the body. Combine “Fountain of Blades” with “Quick Snap” and it is possible to fight back slightly. These were the two main moves I used when fighting Dececrator, the six armed robot. Though never was I more pressed to use those two moves than when I was fighting those two.’
Liam pulled the data-receiver out from the computer and called out, “Come in.” just a second before Jayna would have knocked. He turned around in his seat as she came in.
“So,” Jayna said. “What did you find out?”
“Well, apparently these Twin Sisters–”
“Wait,” Jayna cut in. “You know about the Twin Sisters of Demise?”
“I’m a devout student of history,” Liam told her.
“Well this is just great,” Jayna said, throwing her hands up in frustration. “Everybody knows stuff I don’t. Tell me, when will I know something nobody else does?”
Liam gave her a minute to cool off, then he continued. “The Twin Sisters are apparently almost invincible. Their favorite arts are Yestrr and Phantom. And apparently Richard was harder pressed when he fought them than when he fought Dececrator.”
Jayna whistled through her teeth. “Yestrr and Phantom you say? And they’re better than Dececrator? Wait, how did you even know we were looking for the Twin Sisters of Demise?”
“Well, there was enerblade damage in the radio room, and I was certain it wasn’t one of you who did it for enerblade practice, and you hadn’t detected anybody strange yet, so, as a student of history, it was not to difficulty for me to figure out what you were up against.”
Jayna was silent form a moment, then she spoke up. “I heard you became a defen.”
“Yes,” Liam told her.
“You don’t have an enerblade though.”
“Being a defen is not all about owning an enerblade. There is a lot more to a defen than his or her enerblade.”
Jayna would have replied, but her holo-projector beeped. She clicked it on, and the familiar form of General Vahn appeared.
“What is it Cassie?” Jayna asked.
“I have decided on our course of action,” the General said. “You and Liam will lead a party in pursuit of the Twin Sisters. I will notify the Head of our situation.” Then the General disappeared and Jayna returned the holo-projector to her pocket.
“Well Liam,” Jayna said, a wave of exuberance flowing out from her. It hit Liam like a forty mile an hour gale wind, and his nostrils flared inside his mask while his muscles trembled as he fought himself. “Your first mission,” Jayna continued, unaware of Liam’s condition. She raised her hand to give him a hi-five, but he pretended not to notice it and turned away.