Welcome guys, to the
ninth eighth(!) installment of the Nightmare series! I literally cannot believe the support I have received for this series. When I first wrote this in CW8, it was merely as a concept for a mysterious character; I mean, I did not even have the idea for Liam then. I just wanted to write an emotionally gripping story, and threw in a mysterious character as a side bonus. I had no idea that it would turn into a series like this. As it is, I believe I owe you guys some explanation.
For those of you who have not been following my Galactic Battles: The Dark Menace series, then most of the things going on in here would be foreign to you. For example, my strange formatting with the italics is something I use when I introduce an object that does not exist in the real world. However, with terms like enerblade, and defen, and vilth, these are commonly used, and so, to make it more ambiguous (I did not do it on purpose! I promise!) I decided not to italicize those.
Also, for those technical people curious about some of the terms and the way I use stuff in my stories, this includes The Dark Menace, I will give a short explanation here. The numbers in designations of objects generally is the version of that object. The letters tend to be acronyms for what that object is (ex. DAMARC Type M34: M stands for Minotaur. (M34 is a famous vilth from The Dark Menace)). The rankings in the Army are as such (From lowest to highest rank):
Sergeant leads a Unit of 4 coms
Squad leader leads a Squad of 12 coms: Three Units makes a Squad
Lieutenant leads a Platoon of 48 coms: Four Squads makes a Platoon
Captain leads a Wing of 240 coms: Five Platoons makes a Wing
Major leads a Battalion of 1,440 coms: Six Wings makes a Battalion
Commander leads a Regiment of 4,320 coms: Three Battalions makes a Regiment
Here the hierarchy splits. Commanders then advance to Fleet Leaders. From Fleet Leaders they move on to Lieutenant Admirals. Then finally from Lieutenant Admirals, they become Admirals. The reason there is a split is because here defen are also introduced as military commanders. They start as Major Generals, then move to Lieutenant Generals, then move to Generals. Generalship is the highest military rank a defen is allowed to gain. Major Generals can be considered on par with Commanders, while Lieutenant Generals are on par with Fleet Leaders. Then Lieutenant Generals can be considered before Lieutenant Admirals while Generals are on par with Lieutenant Admirals. Admirals are higher ranking than Generals, and the Advisor of the defen order is the only person on par with an Admiral. The difference between generals and fleet commanders is that generals remain in charge of the Army, while fleet commanders move on to command the Galactic Regime’s military force as a whole.
Major General leads a Regiment of 4,320 coms: Three Battalions makes a Regiment
Lieutenant General leads a Division of 17,280 coms: Four Regiments makes a Division
Fleet Leader leads a Fleet of 17,280 coms: Four Regiments makes a Fleet
General leads an Army of 86,400 coms: Five Divisions makes an Army
Lieutenant Admiral leads an Armada of 86,400 coms: Five fleets makes an Armada
Admiral leads a Military Force of 518,400 coms: Three armies and three Armadas makes a Military Force
Total amounts (in one military force):
Military Force: 1
When designating Units, Squads, Platoons and Wings, since there are so many of them, letter designations are used. However, the letters E and R are not used by the Army. E is only used for Elite Forces, and C is used for Civil Forces. For Units and Squads, both uppercase and lower case letters are used. So Unit designation goes from a1st to a255th then it moves to b and repeats. As I said before, c and e are skipped for the Army. Once it reaches z, then it moves to uppercase letter designations. Squads are exactly like Units except they go from (letter)1st to (letter)75th. For Platoons, only uppercase letter designations are used, and the same with Wings. Once it comes to Battalions and Regiments though, letter designations are no longer used.
Seldom is there more than one complete Military Force in the whole Galactic Regime. Of course not all the defen generals in the order can be actively commanding, but once they reach that rank, they maintain generalship of the Army, until another defen advances to that rank. Then they give up their place, but if they ever need command of an Army, they can use their seniority to take command of the Army.
All this is not including the rankings in the Starfleet and Elite Forces. Since I’m honestly not sure if you wanted this long and tiresome outlining of what goes on in my mind, I won’t continue, but if you do want to know about the rankings in the Starfleet and Elite Forces, then tell me in the comments, and I will work to get those out as soon as possible.
Nightmare is taking place twenty years or so after the death of the famous defen Rich Hom who stars a planned trilogy, The Dark Menace being the first novel in that trilogy. So, for extremely observant/attentive readers of my Galactic Battles: The Dark Menace story, you will notice that in the introduction of this installation of Nightmare (This should honestly be Galactic Battles: Nightmare, but I am too lazy. 😛), I introduce the ATF 60 Transport. In The Dark Menace, I have the ATF 56 Transport. The ATF 60 is merely an evolved version of the ATF 56. This sort of change will occur throughout Nightmare. For those of you who are not reading my other series, Galactic Battles: The Dark Menace, I strongly suggest you read it. It will grant you the insight I am unable to give in these paragraphs of background. Anyways, enough of me blathering on. Enjoy. 🙂
Liam boarded the spaceship, followed by the ever faithful Mako, who, despite his distaste for flying vehicles of any kind, would never abandon Liam. Jayna followed close on the duo’s heels. The final people to board the ATF 60 Transport was a Squad of elite coms – the green markings on their armor designating them as such – and their Squad Leader, a taller com with similar but more complicated emblems on his armor. They were from the elite force Grennet E126th, created in honor of that valiant commander.
Inside the Transport-fighter, the coms settled down in their benches, storing their weapons in the weapon racks above their seats. Liam and Jayna had gone down the narrow passageway in between the benches and into the cockpit. Upon arrival in the cockpit, Jayna instantly sat in the pilot’s chair, and Liam wisely chose not to interfere. Instead he sat himself in the copilot’s seat.
Liam had grown used to fighting the dull throbbing sensation that hit his resolve like rippling water in a lake hits a dam. However, Jayna’s previous day’s outburst had been like a tidal wave compared to mere ripples, and he had been prostrated for the rest of the day. Jayna, of course, did not understand, and believing that Liam had deliberately ignored her out of a pride of sorts, was naturally not inclined to make friendly conversation with him.
This suited Liam all the better, as he could never be sure when Jayna would have another outburst of emotional energy like that, and the less he was around her when such things happened, the better.
The more Mako had grown to know Jayna, the more he liked her. Apart from Liam, she had been the only person who appreciated him for what he was, even after he had revealed that he was no dog, but really a DAMARC. Even before this he had seen what he knew was a naturally compassionate demeanor, and this had brought him even closer to her. He had been the observant witness the previous day, and had felt the effect Jayna’s outburst had on Liam. Of course, Jayna had not known this, and was now upset.
It was partly because of this, and partly because he wished to thank her for accepting him, that when Mako settled down in the cockpit, he chose to lie down beside Jayna’s chair. But, despite Mako’s sage reasoning, he had neglected to include one factor. Liam’s feelings on the subject.
Liam was by artificial nature, a predator, made so by DAMARS. In this way he found it very difficult to treat anybody that opposed his goals as anything other than an enemy. So, despite his efforts to rid himself of his old habits and tendencies, Liam had treated Jayna as an enemy, since she was his main problem in keeping his secret hidden and living a normal human life. Even though he did not consciously realize it, Liam’s subconscious had labeled Jayna as a threat. Thus, when Liam saw Mako shift over to Jayna’s side of the cockpit, the word ‘traitor’ came to mind, and though he struggled to fight it, his own mind was against him.
It brought up memories he had of seeing Mako affectionately lick Jayna. He recalled that Mako had been unwilling to share the information he had gained from Jayna. Furthermore, he realized, even though he had been telling himself it wasn’t true, that Mako had told Jayna he was a DAMARC. This would not have been so bad had not Mako and Liam agreed, before arrival at the Arie Outpost, to leave their old lives completely behind, and let no one know of their secret. All this piled up in Liam’s mind, and again the word echoed.
Then followed an intense battle between Liam’s soul, and his mind.
“Mako is a traitor.” His mind said, in a deep, level, even morose voice.
“No! He’s not.”
“He broke his promise.”
“He is my friend!” Liam’s soul sounded desperate
“Was your friend. He lied to you.”
“We went through thick and thin together!”
“Yet he betrayed you.
“He deceived you.”
“I can’t believe it!”
“Look at the evidence. He has opposed you. He is an enemy; a target.”
Liam awoke from the conversation as he would have waken from sleep. He did not realize his eyes had been closed, but now, as he looked around the cabin, he realized that what his mind had been telling him was true, and that it was not just a bad dream. Mako was indeed laying beside Jayna, and as she reached down to pet him, he even licked her hand!
Liam’s outside demeanor did not change, but Mako realized that mentally, something was different about his owner. Mako tried to reach out to Liam with mental communications, but realized that Liam had closed them. Why though? For a moment, Mako could not figure it out, then he realized what Liam must have thought, and silently rebuked himself.
Even thought the spaceship was making its unsteady way off the ground, Mako got to his feet and trotted towards Liam, licking the hand that hung limply in the air. But Liam simply retrieved his hand and put it on the throttle. Mako curled up beside Liam’s chair, but then a quiet voice permeated the former’s mind.
Go to your new master. You are no longer my dog. Then mental communications was again closed.
These quiet words hurt Mako more than any shouting could ever have done. He looked up pleadingly to Liam, but the latter never looked down, instead staring immobile at the viewscreen. Mako slowly got to his feet, and walked to Jayna’s chair, his head hanging low and his tail between his legs. If anybody had seen him then, it would have appeared to them as if he had gained ten years.
To Liam’s distorted perception however, he merely saw his former dog obeying the one command that long ago, Mako would not have done. He saw Mako turn from Mako into just another dog; Jayna’s dog. And worst of all, he saw only friend turn into enemy. Liam’s heart felt like it was rent in two, and had his hands been uncovered, all would have seen that his knuckles were white from the way he was gripping the joystick and throttle.
“I have done as you requested master.” This phrase was spoken on a planet. A planet so far from any light that it could not be seen. And on that planet was a temple. An ancient temple, made of giant layered disks covered in strange runes, as if made by a depraved mind. And inside that ancient temple, in the upmost disk were two cloaked figures. One stood while the other knelt, and it was from the mouth of the one who knelt that those words had come from.
“You have done well, apprentice,” the standing figure replied, in a deep, friendly voice. The kneeling figure rose, and together the two began pacing the room. One was much taller than the other, and it was he who spoke again, in the same deep voice.
“The trap is set then? My assassins are ready?”
“Yes, lord, it has been done as you have said,” the shorter figure said, making a deep obeisance.
The taller man began clapping. It was not the kind of clapping an audience uses to applaud. It was not the kind of sharp clapping one in authority uses to summon a lesser. Instead it was a slow, rhythmic clap, almost as if he was sounding a beat. Yet it was not monotonous. The claps seemed to carry with them the same resonance of power the relaxed demeanor of this man carried. Then suddenly the clapping stopped, as did all sound with it.
“You see, my apprentice,” the taller of the two began again. “The problem with you, and the reason you could never achieve the same potential that your old master could, was that you were always too focused one one thing.
“Take, for example, my clapping. So focused were you on it, that you did not notice the more important thing.” The second cloaked figure began to turn as if to look around, but before it had turned more than a few degrees, a giant, six legged metallic object dropped down behind it. Before the cloaked human could do anything, the cuffs on four of the robot legs seized its victims hands and arms, and pulled them apart, holding the apprentice immobile, and knocking back its victim’s hood. At this point, the robot would have tipped over backwards had not one of its two remaining legs extended backwards to support itself. Then its final leg cuffed its victim’s neck, and a giant sort of belt extended from its body and encircled the person’s waist.
The final result was the shorter of the two people was now unable to move at all, and was held in a position similar to that which a piece of paper takes on an artist’s easel.
“You see, my dear dear apprentice, even as I said you were too focused on a single thing, you were too focused on my words, allowing this dear little robot to get above you.”
“B–But what have I done wrong, master?” The other occupant of the room stuttered nervously.
“Oh, nothing wrong my dear.”
“Then why am I tied up like this?”
“Because I am about to give you your reward for your faithful service to me, and your reward hurts.” At the end of this, the taller man drew back his hood.
“Yes indeed. It is I! The reincarnation of Imperetor Malvolent! His biggest hope, his biggest dream, I am DAMARC Type UD1. The ultimate DAMARC!” Then as suddenly as his voice had risen, it dropped in volume. “And you, my dear apprentice. You served me once, when I was my old self. Then you betrayed me. Now you shall serve me again. Take the pain that comes from this as punishment for your betrayal, and the power that comes afterwards as the my gift of welcome to you.”
Before the other could protest, a long tube shaped tongue with inward facing teeth emerged from the mouth of the master and attached itself to the neck of the apprentice. Half an hour later, the screams of the apprentice were gone, and she slumped in her bonds, unconscious. There was only a star-shaped scar on the side of her neck, showing where Imperetor Malvolent’s tongue-like appendage had attached.
“So beautiful,” the Imperetor said, gently drawing a finger along the side of his apprentice’s face. Then he turned abruptly, telling the robot to notify him when his apprentice awoke.
The ship swerved slightly as Jayna suddenly put a hand to her forehead.
“Did you feel it Liam? Somebody just used an extreme amount of mental power.”
“No,” Liam lied.
“Maybe it’s just me. Take over for a minute will you Liam? I think I’ll go lay down for a bit.” Jayna then left the cockpit. Mako stood for a moment, undecided. He looked pleadingly at Liam, but received no response. Then he whined entreatingly, and nearly gave a yelp of joy when Liam reopened mental communications. However all Liam said was this:
What are you still doing here dog? Go and follow your master.
Then communications were closed again, and Mako left the cockpit, his head hanging even lower than before.
Liam could feel himself slipping back into his past. Emotion was slowly leaving his mind and body, and as he felt his heart’s rest rate rise to its former one hundred fifty beats per minute, he could feel his senses sharpening. He shook his head, trying to clear the bloodlust from it – for a tiny piece of his heart still believed in the promise he had made Mako so long ago – and was partially successful. However, his success only came from the fact that his survival instincts told him that whoever caused that wave of mental power was more dangerous than Jayna and Mako, and that he had to take the origin of that mental strength out first.
His mind instantly zoned in on the task and began searching his memories for any clue that might assist his search for this mysterious enemy. He knew the Twin Sisters were key in his hunt, and realized that the only way to find his opponent would be to defeat the Twin Sisters and force them to reveal their master’s hiding place. But how to defeat them? He knew something had clicked that day when he read Rich Hom’s file, but at first, he could not discern what it was.
Then it came in a flash. Rich Hom had used the same moves he used to fight the Twin Sisters to battle Dececrator! Dececrator’s robotic memory would have memorized every move that Rich Hom made, and having that would be essential. After the death of Malvolent, only one person would know where that memory was, and that was Liam himself. After all, he was the one who had destroyed Dececrator.
Jayna entered the med room at the back of the ATF 60 Transport. She gave a sigh as she searched the cabinet for some pain relievers. Her head had started throbbing painfully after that wave of mental power, and she really needed to clear her mind. A sound from behind her caused her to turn around, and she saw Mako enter the room, looking for all the world like a dog ready to draw his last breath.
“What happened Mako?” Jayna asked, putting the pain relievers aside. Being so concentrated on piloting, she had not noticed Mako previously, and this was the first time she had seen him like this. Mako looked sorrowfully up at her, then pushed forward into her embrace.
A few minutes, Jayna gently pushed Mako away and repeated her question.
“Liam and I had an argument,” Mako told her.
“Well, surely it cannot be that bad?” Jayna said.
“No, it’s really bad,” Mako said. “He disowned me.”
Jayna was still for a few moments after this. She had encountered so much grief recently, yet found herself unable to help, and it pained her kind heart extremely. So, while trying to think of something to say, she unconsciously sat down beside Mako, who put his head on her lap. Jayna began automatically stroking Mako’s soft fur, and before she knew it, he was asleep.
Quietly, she stretched up and took the pain relievers from the bench she had put them on. She removed the cover from the tubelike object, then finding an artery, she pressed the uncovered end firmly against it, grimacing a little as hundreds of tiny needles injected the medication into her bloodstream.
Then she had to put a hand up against the bench as the ship suddenly swerved. Mako awoke the instant the spaceship swerved, and both he and Jayna headed to the cockpit.
“What’s going on?” Jayna asked. “Are we being attacked?” She looked at the scanner and saw no signs of enemies. Then she noticed that they were headed along a new trajectory. “Where are we going?”
“To Terraan, unknown planet and final resting place of Dececrator, the robot who killed Rich Hom.”