What an ironic title! Well at least I hope you think it’s ironic. Anyway, sorry I haven’t been posting as much, but I’ve been busy and stuff. Well, here it is. Enjoy. 🙂
Liam was waist deep in an inky blackness, an inky blackness that moved, an inky blackness that was thousands of insect-like creatures whose primary objective seemed to be to eat him alive. He used a telekinetic wave to push them all away from him, but that offered him little relief, for the horde was back on him in a second. Drawing his enerblade, Liam attempted to cut at the creatures, but this just seemed to enrage them even more.
Then Liam cried out as they bit through clothing and began consuming flesh.
“How soon before the spaceship is repaired?” Derson asked Jayna as they hurried back into the hanger.
“Not soon enough,” Jayna said grimly.
“Well we can’t stay here. These buildings have gone through enough of these cycles already. One more would bring them down on our heads. Suggestions ma’am?”
Jayna stood still for a moment, thinking, then she said: “Gather whatever remaining supplies we have.”
“With all due respect ma’am, but what then?”
“I haven’t thought to that part yet,” she said, her eyes turning flinty.
An hour later, the temperature had risen by twenty degrees and was now at one hundred and fifteen degrees Fahrenheit. The coms had long since forgone their armor and no one wore anything more than what was necessary to preserve modesty. Jayna had been working feverishly at repairing the spaceship, but the rate of progress along that line was disheartening.
Then a familiar presence filtered into Jayna’s senses like a thief; the Twin Sisters of Demise. They were coming up the tunnel. Hurriedly she gathered the party and told them of what she had detected.
“Curse you Liam!” Derson exclaimed at the end of it. “Without our weapons we don’t stand a chance!”
“Well, I can take a crash course in Symmetry,” Jayna said, taking the data-receiver from the spaceship.
“Will it work?” Derson asked, and his voice sounded hopeful. “I mean, you don’t have your enerblade. Will it do any good without that?”
“From what I’ve gathered,” Jayna said, plugging the data-receiver into her holo-projector. “Symmetry will work whether you’re armed or not. The trick is learning how to do it. Now stand back as I attempt to learn some part of the most difficult enerblade art in twenty minutes.”
Jayna’s bravado did not fool Derson for one second, and while she started the recording of Dececrator’s last memories, he began looking around for some other solution to their impending doom. Where had Liam put their weapons? Derson knew that Liam had taken Jayna’s enerblade down the tunnel with him, but there was no way he could have brought the blasters he had used to hold the coms at bay with him. After a few minutes of looking, Derson realized the blasters were not in the hanger, and the only remaining place was the original room they had found Liam in.
The com rushed out. It was no longer pitch black, but instead there was a soft glow coming from the fiery line that was dawn advancing. Then the com heard a whooshing sound above his head. He looked up in time to see a creature similar to a cougar with a wrecking ball-like tail jump over him. It had sandy colored armored plates and landing a few feet in front of the com, turned and stared. Derson slowly got into a defensive position. The creature gnashed its teeth, then with a flick of its tail, it turned and dashed away from the approaching dawn at an incredible rate of speed.
“You know it’s bad when a predator won’t even eat you,” Derson muttered, as he entered the only other building in the compound.
A look around the room showed him three locations where the weapons he was in search of could be held. A footlocker against the wall, a tall metal cabinet in the corner, and the storage room in the back; all of them were locked. The cabinet looked to be the most promising, so grabbing the top he pulled it down with all his strength, bashing it against the floor; there wasn’t a ding in the surface when he righted the cabinet again. However, as he had raised it, a rattling inside raised his hopes for finding the weapons Liam had hidden.
He located the lock, then moving the cabinet until it was in the position he wanted, Derson brought the cabinet down again. This time, the lock landed on one of the sharp corners of the footlocker and smashed. When he raised the cabinet again, the door swung open and a large, heavy, gatling-gun style repeating rifle fell out.
Derson bent down to pick it up but with a grunt dropped it back down again. There was no way any of the coms would have been able to use it effectively. This left the footlocker and the storage room. The storage room seemed like the most likely container for the weapons, but it was also the most difficult to open. He did not want to call the remaining coms over to help because he never knew when the Twin Sisters might appear, and he did not wish to leave Jayna with any less defense than was necessary.
The footlocker was not locked. However, when Derson had broken open the lock on the cabinet, he had twisted up the corner on the footlocker so badly that the lid was stuck fast. After a few minutes of straining at the lid, he had to give up, panting. He swiped his hand across his forehead, removing the sweat that beaded it.
“Need some help?” a voice asked from behind Derson. The latter whirled around to find himself facing Liam.
“What happened to you?” Derson gasped, for Liam’s bodysuit was in rags and his flesh was lacerated in numerous places.
“I had a run in with some ants who didn’t take to well to my visit,” Liam said, reaching a bloody hand past Derson to pry open the footlocker. This motion brought Liam’s cut arm uncomfortably close to Derson, and he backed away.
“What’s wrong?” Liam said. “Scared of a little blood?”
“Your arm,” Derson gulped. “It’s– healing– by itself.”
“A little thing called enhanced regeneration,” Liam said, as the lid on the footlocker popped open, and he removed a new bodysuit. “Now if you don’t mind, I have to change.”
A few minutes later, Liam and Jayna walked into the hanger. Jayna looked up upon their entrance and seeing Liam, stood up and threw the data-receiver at the latter in a rage.
“You good-for-nothing miscreant scum!” she fairly screamed.
Liam just raised an eyebrow quizzically.
“You’ve spoiled the recording!”
“No I haven’t,” he said. “It’s a Grand Imperium scrambling cipher. You enter the right code and the image unscrambles.”
“Well how am I suppose to use it then?” she asked, though her voice was calmer.
“Break the code,” Liam said, with a shrug of his shoulders.
“Well I have a couple of assassins coming up that hole and they’ll be here in less than five minutes. You’re asking me to break a code in that time and still leave space for me to learn the art? You got to be kidding.”
“There’s more than one way to kill an assassin.” Liam said.
“What do you mean?” Derson asked, while the other coms gathered around.
“Well, day is coming, and there’s a goodly sized lagoon under the ground. I have a plan, but it will take all your coordination.”
“Well?” Derson asked. “What are you waiting for?”
Derson may not have liked Liam, but he knew when to recognize a need and was able to push aside his own preferences to meet that need. Right now, Liam held all the cards, and he was their best chance to get out of the situation they were in alive. So he deferred to the DAMARC, but that did not mean he watched Liam any less closely.
“The idea is this,” Liam said. “They come up, I push them out into the day and keep them at bay, you enter the hole, I enter, then you, Jayna, pull the corner of the wall back over me. They’ll burn to death, and,” here Liam’s voice turned cold. “They won’t survive.”
“And you think you have the mental capabilities to do this?” Jayna asked incredulously. “You got to be kidding. If anybody’s going to do any telekinetic pushing and shoving, it should be me.”
“Would you like a demonstration of my mental capabilities?” Liam said quietly.
“Come on Liam,” Jayna said, putting her hands on her hips. “This is no time for ‘who’s the better defen’. We need to be decisive and come up with a feasible plan.”
“Try snatching your enerblade from me,” Liam said, holding Jayna’s enerblade in the palm of his hand, but without wrapping any of his fingers around it.
With a sort of shrug and sigh, Jayna reached forth mentally and seized hold of the enerblade. It moved slightly in her direction, and Liam’s eyebrows raised fractionally. With a smile, she continued to apply mental pressure, but to her surprise, the enerblade moved no more towards her, but slowly returned to its original position. She concentrated harder and once again the enerblade moved in her direction, but then Liam shifted his weight slightly, and the enerblade glided back into his hand. From then on it was as if her enerblade was sealed in stone, and she could not move it anymore than she could move the planet.
“Alright, fine,” she said, panting. “You do it then.”
Liam nodded his head slightly in her direction, then turned to face the corner. They waited, and waited, and waited. The room grew increasingly stuffy, and the heat intensified to enormous magnitudes. Everybody had a puddle of sweat beneath them, and nobody said a word. Liam was sitting with his eyes closed Jayna’s enerblade held floating in the air before him.
Then an enerblade cut through the concrete. Jayna sort of started while Derson and the coms brought the guns they carried to bear on the corner. Three more enerblades cut through the concrete and they slowly began revolving. Once they had cut a circle, they stopped, and the corner of concrete began moving away. The Twin Sisters crawled out from the hole.
Upon seeing Liam, one of them spoke. “We’ve been looking for you, Nightmare.”
Jayna did not fully comprehend what happened when her enerblade was tossed back to her and Liam charged forward. Then Jayna saw a sight which nobody had seen since the end of the Imperetor.
“The black enerblade!” one of the Sisters cried. “He wields the black enerblade!”
Then the enerblade Liam held arced through the air and struck the weapons that the Twin Sisters held. They went flying hundreds of feet back, and Liam held them there, with a mental grip of steel.
“Get in the hole!” he grunted, as the Twin Sisters, upon realizing the fate cut out for them, began pushing back with as much mental power as they could muster.
The party hurriedly rushed into the hole, but not anticipating the steepness of it, they all slid down about twenty feet. Liam leaped in after them, and Jayna managed to pull the corner of the wall across the hole just as Liam’s head crossed the edge of the opening. Liam had lost his grip on the Twin Sisters when he had leaped into the hole, but then a piercing scream broke the air, and then it was cut off sharply.
“They’re dead,” Liam said. “Come on, get down the hole, we got to keep moving.”
They arrived in the cavern that Liam had first entered, and upon Liam’s slight pause, Jayna accosted him sharply.
“Where did you get that enerblade from?”
“It was given to me by the owner,” Liam said. “Willingly, as it should have been.”
“That’s impossible, Richard died by falling from a height of eighty feet, there’s no way he could have survived the fall to pass you the enerblade.”
“Richard survived the fall because I saved him,” Liam said quietly. “I stopped him from hitting the ground, but he was so wounded from his battle with Dececrator that he was dying anyway, so he passed me the enerblade, and I killed Dececrator.”
“Who in the world are you with anyway?” Derson asked, stepping in. “You’re obviously not from the Galactic Regime, but I don’t think you’re from the Grand Imperium, yet the Twin Sisters said they were hunting for you. And what is with the name ‘Nightmare’?”
“Nightmare was the name I was known by a long time ago, when I worked for the Grand Imperium as the Imperetor’s personal bodyguard and agent. I worked completely undercover, nobody knew about me. With his mental power, the Imperetor controlled my mind, dominating it, and forcing it to submit to his will. But his encounters with Richard left him weak, and in that last battle, it was I who put the killing stroke through the Imperetor, not Richard. He brought the Imperetor to submission, but I killed Malvolent before Richard could receive his surrender. Richard saw me, but I left before he could catch me.
“Afterwards, I was interested in somebody who could best Malvolent, so I followed Richard. He always had a feeling that he was followed, but never could place it as me. Then came the day I saved him from the fall. I could not bear to see such a great warrior die in such a wretched way. But he died anyway. I tracked Dececrator to this planet, and destroyed him here, then I put myself into hibernation for I no longer wished to live in that world. Recently I awoke, and my path has brought me here.
“I am neither your friend, nor your enemy. The only reason you remain alive is because I require your help. You are a liability, so make sure you prove your worth.”
“But we have weapons now,” Derson said, pointing his gun at Liam. Liam’s masked face slowly pivoted to face Derson, then his gun crumpled into a useless piece of metal.
“Not anymore,” Liam said.
Derson was quiet for a moment, then, as Liam was about to guide them into the tunnel that led to the underground lagoon he had previously discovered, the former spoke up again.
“What happened to Threk?”
“I couldn’t find him,” Liam said. “Now come on, we still have to get off this planet.”