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Posted by: DinosaurNothlit
« on: July 23, 2017, 07:05:02 PM »

Sorry to do this so soon after just returning from a years-long hiatus, but it looks like I'm gonna have to put this story right back on hiatus again.  I just found out that the problems my laptop has been having to an increasing degree (trouble starting up, freezing, blue screens, etc.) might indicate a hard drive issue.  And, if the hard drive fails completely, I stand to lose everything I have saved on my computer.  Meaning that I don't want to use my computer any more than I absolutely have to, until I can get my hands on either a backup drive or a whole new laptop where I can keep my everything safely.  And since most of my work on this story (outlines and scenes that I've written out of order) is saved on that laptop, this means I can't do much, except maybe hash out a few odd scenes and ideas on my smartphone while I try to get things fixed.  Oh, irony gods, you are a cruel lot.  :P
Posted by: DinosaurNothlit
« on: July 20, 2017, 07:39:27 PM »

Okay, Quaf, the second half of this chapter is for you.  ;)

Chapter Sixty-nine

Terenia's world slowly faded and blurred around her.  She could sense that it was nearly the end.  Her memories played out in her mind's eye.  A slideshow of her life.  She'd had a good run, she thought.

Through the haze of nothingness, she saw a figure.  Huh?  Did the Angel of Death wear a suit?  For that matter, did the Angel of Death carry a sword and shield?  The Angel swung his sword at a pair of nearby Hork-bajir that had been coming towards Terenia.

The 'Angel' held in his hand a tan packet of something.  Something that smelled of maple and ginger.

"Take it," Aquilai said, his voice breaking.  "I know your reasons, and I don't care.  Just take it.  I won't let you die.  I can't."

For some reason, the smell reminded her of the Yeerk Pool.  It smelled of Kandrona, and home.  She drew a sharp breath, as the tantalizing smell brought back the pain of hunger, pain that had nearly subsided as her consciousness faded away.  The hunger twisted and stabbed, radiating through her entire body.  She shivered, the vibration wracking her body in pain.

She wanted to say no.  She managed, between quivering breaths, to utter a foul curse at her savior.

But her hands seemed to act of their own accord, snatching the packet from him.  The packet rattled loudly in her shaking hands, as she desperately ripped it open.

No, no, no, she'd decided against this, hadn't she?  A long time ago, she'd said she would rather die, than this.

But hunger and pain were twisting her mind, distorting her thoughts.  She couldn't resist it, that sweet promise, an end to the pain.  She didn't care, anymore, what the future held for her.  There was only now, and the immediate need to end this suffering.

She poured the packet into her mouth, spilling half of it.  Powdery flakes covered her lips, and she licked, desperate to get as much as she could.  Oh, nothing had ever tasted this good.  It wasn't even a taste, really.  A buzzing feeling of warmth, like the entire world was made of air and joy, that's what it tasted like.

She closed her eyes, swallowing the dryness in her throat as she choked down as much of the lumpy powder as she could.  But she didn't care.  She could feel the world coming back into focus.  And yet, at the same time, a different kind of blurring was happening to her.  It was a brightness, an energy, that infused everything.  She could feel it as much as see it, but it distorted everything she saw, even the images in her own mind.

She couldn't tell what was real anymore, because everything was real.  Happiness and need were oddly fuzzy feelings, fuzzy like the world was vibrating.  She felt like she had to hold onto the ground, to keep from falling off.

Terenia giggled.  Aquilai looked sick.  The Time Lord turned, and, even though he already knew that what he was about to do was pointless, disappeared into his TARDIS, which shimmered away through time and space.  He knew where he was going, having seen himself there all those days before.  Had it really only been three days ago?

Rerin looked down at Terenia, drugged and giggling pathetically.  As much as Rerin had despised her RAFian counterpart, there was something, anticlimactic, about seeing her like this.  Rerin's lust for vengeance was gone, burned out.  Instead she felt pity for this poor creature that lay before her, in the throes of starvation that would soon turn to addiction and insanity.  "I know what you and your RAFian kin must think of us, by now.  But know this."  She raised her dracon beam.  The gun was aimed, point-blank, at Terenia's chest.

"We are not without mercy."  She fired.

Aquilai knew he couldn't stay in Egypt for long.  He did what he had needed to do, even though he had already watched himself fail, back when this had all began.  He'd still had to do it, though, because he'd already done it.  Such was the nature of time, or at least, time from the perspective of the TARDIS.  What had happened, would always have happened.

That thought played again in his head, as though his own mind was trying to tell him something, even as he sped away once again through time and space.  Something that felt important.  What had happened, would always have happened.

Despite himself, he scratched his head.  Something else was bothering him.  Well, something besides all of the painfully obvious thoughts that were weighing so heavily on his mind.  No, something else was not quite as it should be.  There had been something about Terenia's Kandrona . . .

But, what?  He had run his sonic screwdriver all over it, looking for any inconsistencies, any flaws that might be exploited, any tiny details that could be used to shield its own timeline.  He had analyzed it with all the thoroughness that his Time Lord mind afforded him.  Not one single wire or circuit had been out of place.  It was a Kandrona, exactly and precisely.

Yet, the alarm bells buzzing merrily in the back of his head were telling him, something about that Kandrona did not make sense.

Gah!  It was like looking for a plot hole in a book.  You could know that something was wrong, that things didn't add up to make the full picture you were trying to look at, but still have not the foggiest idea why.

Terenia's Kandrona . . . what had happened, would always have happened . . .

He slapped his hand to his face, as he suddenly realized what he'd missed.  "It still existed at all!" he shouted out loud.  Oh, how could he have been so stupid?  How could he have not seen it before?

It wasn't anything about the Kandrona that was wrong, it was the Kandrona itself that was wrong.  That Kandrona should never have still been there, for him to even attempt to fix!  Queen had gone back and altered the timeline to delete RAF from history, thus wiping out said Kandrona, before Aquilai would have been in Egypt.  The Kandrona should have had its entire timeline wiped clean, never existing, never having been created at all.  Right?

Nope.  Because the TARDIS's presence in that moment had anchored it to that version of events.

What had happened, would always have happened.

Which meant, at least in this one point in time, Aquilai had actually managed to go back to before RAF had been erased from time.  RAF was still there, alive and untouched, preserved in one moment.  That one precious moment, like a bastion of hope in a broken world.

He could use that moment, that intersection of fates, as a gateway back into his own previous timeline.  He could return to a world where Katherine Applegate had never died, and Animorphs had been written, and those books had pulled together a group of friends, a group of allies, more powerful than anything the world had ever seen!

He revved his TARDIS, reversing direction.  He could hear the Dalek-TARDIS skidding past outside, caught momentarily off-guard by the sudden maneuver that Aquilai's TARDIS had just pulled, a u-turn through time itself.

Aquilai knew he wouldn't have much time.  And he knew he would only get one chance.  He glanced around at the spacious interior of his TARDIS, quickly calculating just how many RAFians it would hold.  He smiled.  It could hold plenty.

"Hold on, guys," he said to those RAFians still fighting against Queen's corrupted future, even though they could not possibly hear him, so many miles and so many years away.  "The cavalry is coming!"
Posted by: DinosaurNothlit
« on: July 20, 2017, 07:23:13 PM »

I'm having waaay too much fun writing these battle scenes.  I'll get back to actual plot again soon, though, I promise.

Chapter Sixty-eight

Rad charged through a group of Hork-bajir, using her moose antlers as shovels to simply scoop them aside.  Cloak roared a tiger's roar, trying to sound more intimidating than he felt.  Rad seemed to revel in the battle, but Cloak was holding back.  He had thought he wanted this power, but now that he felt it, he could sense the danger it posed.  Too much power was a corrupting force.  He needed to be careful.

Claws retracted, he swung a paw at a Hork-bajir, hard enough to knock the alien down.  Whirling, he rounded on a Taxxon that was getting too close to the wolf that was Odret.  No matter what, he had to protect his friends.

For the most part, the four of them, Rad, Cloak, Odret, and Illim, were able to keep the Hork-bajir and Taxxons away from the RAFians.  The four were fighting on the outskirts of the battlefield, whereas the battles between RAFians and Reverses were going on in the center.  Bloodbane and his group were accomplishing some similar success on the other edge of the battleground.

But Noelle and Winter had been close to the periphery, and four Hork-bajir had slipped past Cloak while he was defending Odret.  Cloak roared in frustration, but by that point the Hork-bajir were too far away for him to reach in time.  Fortunately, he noticed Jess headed that way, so Cloak refocused his efforts on deflecting the group of Hork-bajir that were headed towards two marshmallow-like creatures that looked like they were having a pillow fight.  Underseen, still fighting his Reverse, was safe.

Somehow, in the midst of the fighting, something ineffable compelled Cloak to look up, craning his somber feline expression towards the sky.  He could not possibly have known, that behind those legions of Bug fighters and Blade ships which now seemed content to patiently observe the battles from above, and behind the blood-red clouds of Queen's future, in a night sky that none on Earth could see . . . a single star had just gone out.

Across the battlefield from where Cloak was, Estelore fell to one knee, weak.  Their human avatar was never meant to survive on its own, without the will of their star to keep the body alive.  But somehow they managed to cling to some last vestige of consciousness, even with their true body now swirling deep into the event horizon of a black hole.

Loraest laughed.  They raised a hand, and a wave of darkness pulsed forward.  Estelore clenched their teeth and tried not to scream, even as the 'skin' was pulled off their 'body.'

There was no blood.  Estelore's human avatar had never needed blood pumping through veins.  Instead, when Loraest tore at Estelore's 'flesh,' firey light poured forth, jets of white-hot plasma.  But even as Estelore was dying, they realized something that made them smile.  "The Marks . . . deactivate . . . when we die," they managed to gasp.

Loraest's expression showed a sudden flash of horrified realization, just before both they and Estelore vanished.

Seal slowed, watching Estelore's last moments in awed reverence, her face lit by Estelore's last burst of white light before they had vanished.  But Seal didn't have time to worry, or to wonder, or to grieve.  She had finally caught up to her Reverse.  Orca seemed barely interested in the fires she was starting.  As though burning this battlefield was just an assignment, something she merely had a duty to do.  Nevertheless, Seal thought, as she steeled her focus, Orca had to be stopped.

Seal cradled a bright green bottle in her flipper, already regretting what she was about to do.  She'd seen what this liquid had done to those Hork-bajir, that Taxxon.  But she had no choice.  It was either this, or murder.  Orca had to be stopped.  Seal hurled the bottle, arcing it through the air at her Reverse.

The bottle hit the other seal in the back of the neck, hard enough to shatter the thin glass against Orca's fur.  Orca scrunched her shoulders, instantly realizing what Seal had just done, the moment she felt the sticky liquid run down her fur.  She turned, slowly, towards the RAFian.

"I am sane," she said coldly, her voice betraying almost no emotion.  There was no change in her voice or demeanor, the liquid seeming to have had no effect.  She raised a flipper to her neck, scraping up a few drops of the green goo.  It hadn't absorbed into her body like it had with the Hork-bajir and the Taxxon.  "So very sane."  Wordlessly, she flicked her flipper towards Seal, a few green droplets arcing through the air towards the RAFian.

Seal rolled to the side, her breath catching in her chest.  The droplets missed, but only just.  Her frantic dodge, however, had brought her into the path of a familiar figure.

" . . . Po?" she whispered.  Surprised to see the strange little child she had somehow grown to care for, so very suddenly matured into a young man.

"Not Po," he spat, as if disgusted to even utter the name.  "Never again.  Call me by my real name.  Unless you're afraid.  I am Pootang, the monster."  He swept his fingers through the air, long reddish bolts of electricity trailing his fingertips like a ghostly afterimage.  "Unique.  A one-of-a-kind monster.  I am the only one of me.  My name is my kind.  I am the Pootang."

Suddenly, he crouched, slamming his hands to the ground, curving and moving his fingers like he was playing an invisible organ.  Red lightning bounced across the ground, jumping and arcing its way towards the RAFians.  Seal, thinking quickly, threw a shield of ice around her, not even realizing that the ice would act as a faraday cage, allowing the electricity to wrap around her by passing through her shield, leaving her unharmed.

One bolt suddenly took off into the sky, like a lightning strike.  With a resounding crack of thunder, it pierced Arctix and Phoenix's battle.  The RAFians, those who were still alive, turned their heads to the sound, a dozen battles pausing for just a moment.  Phoenix fell out of the sky, unconscious.

At least, the RAFians all hoped he was only unconscious.

But, as he hit the ground, all could see that the color had been drained from his body.  His skin was a deathly pallor.  His eyes were open, but unseeing.

He was dead.

The Pootang crowed with savage glee as he held up his own hands in wonder.  "So that's what the red lightning does!"  He barked a giddy laugh.  "It kills!"

Arctix streaked down from the sky like a blue comet, gracefully coming to a landing on the barren earth.  He knelt over Phoenix's lifeless body, grinning savagely.  That terrible cold arrogance burned in his eyes, as he whispered, "It was us, you know.  It was us, your shadows, who killed your families."  He leaned in close, whispering his secrets with a terrible intimacy.  "I watched your parents die."

And he laughed.  But his laughter was suddenly cut short by a burst of flame, so close it forced him to jump back in terror and pain.  Phoenix's body had caught fire, and even as he was burning, Phoenix jumped to his feet, grabbing Arctix by the throat, his hand crackling and sizzling where he touched his Reverse.

"I'm half-phoenix, ****."
Posted by: DinosaurNothlit
« on: July 19, 2017, 08:54:25 PM »

Chapter Sixty-seven

Aftran padded away from her former prison, still controlling Monica's morphed body, a panther.  Bear quickly left her behind as he rejoined the battle, eager to help his fellow RAFians.  Aftran, meanwhile, crept behind shadows of rocks, watching the battle, but hesitant to actually engage in the fight.  She still considered herself an ally of Queen, but she had no personal grudge against the RAFians.  And as she watched them losing ground against their enemies, she couldn't help but feel a slight tug of pity for them.

<Please,> Monica moaned in her mind.  <Let us end this.  We have to go after . . . her.>

Aftran considered for a moment, but then picked up another thought from Monica's mind that Monica had opted not to voice aloud.  <We could run,> Aftran said.  <We could be safe, far away from this place.  Forget her.  Forget the RAFians.  You know they mean nothing to you.>

Monica snarled.  <This isn't about the RAFians.  This is about freedom.  I would rather die, right now, on my own terms, than be her slave for one moment more.  I will not spend my life cowering in that specter's shadow!>

Aftran winced.  Even though Monica was talking about Queen, Aftran knew that it was only through her that Queen now had power over Monica.

She had once thought that the other Aftran, the one from those books that Monica remembered, was a naive fool.  But, she considered now, was it really so naive to value freedom over oppression?  Aftran had spent so long in darkness, in fear.  It had been so very long, since she'd had any opportunity to decide her own fate.

Aftran and Monica had that much in common, it seemed.  Both of them had long-since been slaves to Queen.

Aftran turned Monica's feline head towards Queen's fortress, eyeing it ponderingly.  Deciding, for herself, what to do . . . it was a strange and yet powerful feeling.

A burst of flame erupted from a nearby stunted tree, catching the attention of the panther's instincts.  But that could provide an advantage, Aftran realized.  Ignoring the part of the panther's mind that feared the fire, Aftran plunged into the billowing black smoke.  From one fire to the next, she slipped, unseen, through the battlefield.  A shadow.

Under cover of smoke provided by those demonic fires, Aftran and Monica prowled towards the woman who had ended the world.

"Hmm," Claw muttered to himself, looking around for Bear.  "Wasn't there another me, somewhere?  Hello, me, where are you?"  He looked at a bewildered Andalite, who was staring at him.  "Have you seen me?" the bear asked Russell.

<Uh . . . > the Andalite said.  <Wait, where is Bear?  What did you do to him?>

"I, the other one, am gone," Claw said sadly.  Then he held a paw up to his nose, and sniffed.  "Oh!" he said, sounding surprised.  "I'm me!  That's what it was.  I thought I was somebody else."

Suddenly, the Andalite seemed to wince in pain.  <No, no, not again!> he yelled, and took off at a gallop.  Another, similar-looking Andalite, this one with orange-tinted fur, arrived at a leisurely pace.  He glanced at Claw with one blank blue stalk eye, turning his other towards the nearby battle between Cody and his Reverse, before he ambled along after Russell once more.

Broken was casting spell after spell, but almost every spell was absorbed by the nanites that streamed from Restored's wand.  Broken, himself, didn't use a wand.  As a sorcerer, he had an innate magic that he could direct simply with his words and the motions of his hands.

"Petrificus totalus!" Cody uttered, a paralyzing spell.  Only part of the magic made it through the swarm, slowing Restored's movements, but only for a few moments.  "Aaah!" Broken yelled, as a stray nanite touched his skin, paralyzing him at the ankle.  He stumbled, limping urgently away from the rest of the swarm.

The nanites weren't just absorbing magic, Cody suddenly realized.  They were able to redirect it!

"Finite incantatum!" he yelled, hoping that a magic-nullifying spell might have some effect on the tiny robots' abilities.  But, as the swarm of nanites surged up his leg, he could suddenly feel his own magic ebbing away, even as his joints locked in place.  Petrified and powerless.

"That was the wrong spell to use in this situation, wasn't it?" he berated himself.  Broken was helpless, now.  Restored grinned, flashing his silvery teeth in a predatory smile.

Despite himself, out of the corner of his eye, Cody noticed the two dinosaurs, Dino and her Reverse, right at the moment when they both blinked out of existence.  What the . . .

Slowly, realization dawned on him.  The Marks were designed to deactivate upon the death of their wearer.  There was no point protecting the timeline of a corpse, after all.  But, without the protection of the Mark, instead of simply dying, the RAFian would be erased from existence, their parents already having died before that RAFian had been born.  The Mark was the only thing that currently tethered them to existence.  Without it, they would vanish.

But . . . their Reverse selves wouldn't exist, either, if the RAFians themselves didn't exist.  They had been created by RAFians, so . . .

They could be unmade.

Restored stalked away from Broken, unconcerned about the fallen sorcerer.  Broken was powerless, and killing him would be a kindness, one that Restored would not give him.  Instead, he would make Cody watch, as his friends died in his stead.  With a gesture of his metal wand, he summoned his nanites away from Broken, towards Russell, who was on the ground, shaking, with his hands over his ears, blood streaming down the sides of his face.  Ellruss stood above him, watching his suffering with a strangely childlike curiosity.  The nanites streamed in a silvery river towards the prone Andalite.

Broken weakly lifted his arm, bringing his Mark into his field of vision.  That soothing blue 'R' in front of him, wrapped comfortingly around his wrist.  There was nothing else left that he could do, and he could not allow Restored to attack his fellow RAFians.  And maybe, just maybe . . . if enough of the other RAFians could survive . . . if they could manage to wrest the Time Matrix back from Queen . . . they could still fix this.  They could fix everything.

In this timeline, he could die.  So that, in another, he might live.

With a wistful sigh, Broken reached for the strap of his Mark, and yanked.  There was a thin, sharp, pulling pressure.  Like an IV was being drawn out of him.

After that . . . nothing.  No sensation, no consciousness.  No existence.

Broken was gone.

But Restored, and his deadly horde of nanites, were gone, too.
Posted by: DinosaurNothlit
« on: July 17, 2017, 08:54:33 PM »

I'd personally prefer to play a large part in a smaller mission, but that's up to you.

Well, yeah, I know it's up to me, I'm the writer.  :P  But I like to try to allow as much input in my stories as possible.  These are stories about RAFians, after all.  It wouldn't be as much fun if I was the only RAFian deciding things.

My computer just exploded from an overload of time travel awesomeness :D

Not to spoil too much but . . . hoo boy, you ain't seen nothing yet.  ;)

Chapter Sixty-six

Noelle warily eyed her doppleganger, a strange version of herself with coarse fur and slitted eyes, yet she couldn't help but be intrigued.  Watching Winter morph wasn't the grotesque process that morphing normally was, but neither was it the carefully controlled morphing of an estreen.  No, this was so fluid and organic that it looked almost natural.  It was like watching evolution, sped up.  Every moment, from start to finish, looked like a viable creature, a product of nature, not a mishmash of parts.

And she wasn't even morphing a true creature, Noelle realized, but a Frolis maneuvered hybrid of species.  Part bird, part blade.  A hawk-bajir.

Realizing she'd allowed herself to become distracted, as a burst of flame kindled to life so close to her left flank that she could feel the heat, she struck at the gracefully-shifting creature with her tail.  Hoping to catch her vulnerable in mid-morph.  But Winter was already in the air, dodging Noelle's attacks, slashing at Noelle with bladed wings.  To make matters worse, a group of Hork-bajir was pressing in on Noelle's other side, trapping her between flames and blades.  Noelle struck with her tail, over and over again, but she was pushed back by her attackers until she could smell her own singed fur.

Noelle stumbled, her right front leg suddenly gone.  She was dimly aware of the missing limb lying on the ground next to her in rapidly-growing a pool of purple-black Andalite blood.  Unable to balance on three legs with the battle pressing in around her, she fell.

Winter hissed in thought-speak, a sound of savage triumph, as she slashed across Noelle's neck with one of her oversized talons.  The Hork-bajir laughed, moving on to other battles, giving her up for dead.  Noelle believed she was dead, too, her consciousness fading fast.  She'd lost too much blood, too quickly, and her vision was already darkening.  But then, a bright but soft light seemed to touch her body, and a voice told her, "Hold on!"  And, with that, she found the strength to morph.  A kafit bird, she decided, from her all-too-limited arsenal of morphs.  She began to shift and change, her body repairing itself.

Jess galloped across the battlefield, as fast as her hooves could carry her.  She was the one healer the RAFians had.  But, there were too many injuries, too much blood.  She didn't know what to do.  So, she ran, from RAFian to RAFian, doing as much as she could.  When a RAFian fell, she would be there, giving them just enough strength to carry on.

From Hork-bajir gashes, to burns, to a strange sort of sickness that looked eerily like radiation poisoning, she absorbed it all into her horn, panting from the exhaustion of running nonstop from victim to victim.  But it wasn't enough.  It was never enough.

Unbeknownst to Jess, another tyclairecorn was following her every move, like a distorted shadow.  Tess's fractured horn allowing her to undo much of what Jess had done.  And, what was worse, as Tess absorbed that healing energy back away from Jess's patients, the edges of her angular horn refracted that bright white magic, scattering it.  The beams then hit those creatures that the RAFians had been fighting, rejuvenating them, making them stronger, even as the RAFians grew weak with injuries that re-opened after having just been healed.

It was like a game, Tess thought, laughing a high-pitched valley-girl giggle that Jess would never have uttered.  How long could she keep this up, before her hateful twin realized what was really happening?

Jess, meanwhile, rushed frantically towards Dino's enormous, fallen form.  But she was too far away.  Jess didn't know if she would make it in time.

Spino was chewing at Dino's neck, desperate to get to her jugular vein underneath her thick Ankylotyrannus skin.  Already, Dino's blood was pooling around her body, as she lay helpless and weak from the loss of so much blood.

<Please, stop this,> Dino was begging.  <I know you're still in there, somewhere.  I can see it in your eyes.>  In reality, of course, she knew no such thing, and she was only grasping at straws.  A hunch, based on how much she and the other RAFians looked like their Reverses.  <You're still human, deep down.  You're . . . me.  Do you remember?>  She searched her own mind for a memory, something she could use.  <Remember your very first RAFcon?  Remember meeting Bear, Shock, and Pokey for that first time?  You crashed your car from sheer exhaustion, after you'd driven eight hours straight without stopping once, just because you were so excited to meet RAFians.>

Despite herself, Spino had tilted her head, looking at Dino with curiosity.  Blood still dripped from her teeth, but she didn't move.  < . . . Kill?> she wondered softly.

<No.  You're stronger than that,> Dino said firmly.  She tried to get up, but fell heavily back down, splashing in her own blood.  <I know.  I have to fight those instincts, too.  Every day, the instincts inside my own nothlit mind tell me to hunt and hurt and kill.  But->

<Kill!> Spino suddenly interrupted, as though excitedly agreeing with what Dino had said.  Whatever tiny human part of her mind had managed to wrest control, it was gone, the moment Dino had uttered that one fateful word.

Spino plunged her teeth into Dino's neck.  Dino's blood sprayed, and she let loose a pitifully weak growl of pain.

Jess recklessly ran between the two dinosaurs, praying she'd gotten there in time, as she touched her horn to the ragged hole in Dino's neck, narrowly dodging Spino's teeth.  Fortunately, the Spinosaur was far too busy with her prey to notice the insignificant mammal.  "Hold on, Dino, just hold on," Jess muttered.  Her healing powers could barely keep up with the damage Spino was still inflicting.  But, slowly, painstakingly, Dino's skin was knitting itself back together.

Skin or no skin, though, she had lost so much blood.  Her amber eyes fluttered.  It was so hard to keep them open.  And, besides, what was the point?

Then, another figure appeared, behind Jess.  A darker tyclairecorn, fur tinged pink, with an angular, almost blade-like horn that looked like it was broken, angular shards jutting from the tip.  Tess skirted around the Spinosaur, angling herself out of Jess's view, and went to work, siphoning off white wisps of healing energy which peeled off of Dino's skin like ethereal scabs revealing wounds beneath, and refracting the magic towards Spino.  Spino's own deep bite-wounds and talon-gashes, which the Spinosaur had simply ignored in her desperation to hurt Dino, were covering over with skin.

Jess screamed in frustration, as she began to lose the battle against Dino's injuries, the scaly skin ripping back open now much faster than she could knit it back together.  Blood gushed out in torrents.  Dino's eyes slowly closed.

<It's okay,> Dino said gently to Jess.  <I had a good life.>

Suddenly, Dino was gone.  But not gone, like dead, instead she was actually gone.  She had simply vanished, blood, body, and all.  Her Mark was all that was left, a simple wristwatch that clattered to the ground as the lights on its buttons and face flickered out.

Jess was bewildered.  Spino was gone, too.  Both dinosaurs had simply blinked out, at that exact same moment.  "What the . . . " she commented, sheer confusion temporarily keeping her grief for Dino at bay.

But, now that the dinosaurs were gone, she could quite clearly see her own Reverse, sitting on her haunches and clapping her hooves together, like a little kid applauding at a magic trick.  "Oh, my, what fun this is!" Tess said, and the bubbly girlish lilt to what would have otherwise been Jess's own voice, made Jess want to scream with rage.

"That's it!" Jess said, lowering her horn.  She had never before used it as a weapon, but she was ready to see just what kind of damage it could do.  "Now you die."
Posted by: Quaf
« on: July 17, 2017, 06:20:53 AM »

Wow I remember reading Enter RAF and this aaaaages ago it was so good

and yeah what gh said pretty much

My computer just exploded from an overload of time travel awesomeness :D

a bit over 2 years ago XD
Posted by: gh, King of Birbs
« on: July 16, 2017, 11:21:46 PM »

I'd personally prefer to play a large part in a smaller mission, but that's up to you. I gotta get around to reading this at some point, but for now, Dark Souls 2 is almost done downloading :P
Posted by: DinosaurNothlit
« on: July 16, 2017, 11:03:19 PM »

*blows dust off thread* *coughs* *tries to blow off some more dust* *coughs some more* *gives up and grabs a shovel*

So, I had thought it had only been a year, but no, it has been nearly TWO YEARS since I've written anything for this fic.  My profuse apologies to my faithful readers, if there's any of you still left with any interest in this whatsoever.  If not, though, I still want to finish this story anyway.  Even if I am the only person who will ever read it in its entirety, I just need to know that I'm actually capable of finishing something I've started.  As for the long hiatus, I think I was actually on a medication that had writer's block as a side-effect?  I'm finally off those meds, hopefully permanently.  Let's see if I can finish this story before I drop dead of the thing the meds were for!  Whoo!  :D

On the off-chance that there IS anybody still reading this, I also have a question for you.  The fact that I put this story on pause for so long, now puts me at a bit of a conundrum.  There are several RAFians who, at the initial time of writing, were new members.  But now they are not.  Whether or not these folks should be considered 'new' RAFians in the continuity of my story or not, pretty significantly changes the course of the story itself.  Dpsb, Quaf, Xeno, gh, and YeerkSalad would fall into this category, so if any of you are reading this, please weigh in.  If you decide to be treated as established members, you will get a somewhat minor role in an epic badass fight scene that will take place among pretty much all RAFians.  I will try to give each of you as much screen time as I can, but you are going to be sharing the limelight with a LOT of others.  If you do decide to remain 'newbies' for purposes of the story, however, you will get your own side-quest specifically featuring your group, and it's worth noting that this side-quest will be written out of the story entirely if you decide against it.  In short, do you wish to play a small role in a big mission, or big role in a small one?  The choice . . . is yours.  Well, you'll have at least a few more chapters to decide.  Hopefully you'll see this by then, if you're going to at all.  And if not, I dunno, I'll flip a coin or something.  :P

To any new readers, welcome!  You might want to start from the beginning, though, because I'm going to dive right in where I left off, and there's going to be a lot of stuff that won't be explained (heck, I'd even recommend reading the prequel first, just to make extra sure you don't get lost).  Also, it's worth noting, since a lot of you are probably readers of Memoirs of a RAFian (who isn't, at this point?), that this story occurs in a somewhat different universe than Memoirs does.  Think of it as a neighboring Realm, a couple doors down from the Prime Universe.  ;)

Chapter Sixty-five

Orca had quickly bored of fighting the other seal.  Why should they only have to fight their own counterparts, after all?  Sure, that's what the other Reverses were doing, but that was dull.  After thinking about it for a few moments, Orca decided to focus on spreading her fires instead, teleporting through each new flame as it kindled, out to the edges of the battlefield.  Teleport and ignite and teleport and ignite.  Slowly, but inexorably, drawing a ring of fire around the combatants.  Queen's forces and RAFians alike.  Orca would burn them all.

Seal looked around after her little experiment with the 'sanity' liquid, anxiously wondering where Orca had gone.  It suddenly occurred to her how odd it was, that her Reverse would just suddenly leave her alone like that . . .

There!  At the edge of Seal's vision, she spotted a burst of flame flare up, behind Noelle and her feral-looking Reverse, pinning them in with four Hork-bajir on their other side.  Noelle was trapped, now, between the bladed aliens and the fire.  Seal bounded as quickly as her flippers could carry her, trying to catch up to Orca in time to stop her from doing any more damage.  She only hoped she wasn't too late.

Meanwhile, the two dragons, Shock and Cloud, fought one another high in the sky above the melee, just beneath the ominous ceiling of blood-red stormclouds.  Shock's muscular green and black frame clashed against Cloud's sinuous red and gold.

Shock had to flap his wings again and again for lift, each powerful stroke lifting his light-boned body upwards, while Cloud had only to weave through the air, wingless, staying aloft as though by sheer will.  Cloud sensed the slight disadvantage Shock was at, and aimed his attacks at the other dragon's vulnerable wings.

Shock was able to keep Cloud at bay with his firey breath, which the Oriental dragon didn't seem to possess.  Instead, Cloud breathed a strange blue mist, which left Shock feeling oddly calm.  It tingled where it touched his skin, and made him want to sleep.  Like contact-poison laughing gas.

Shock tried to be careful, tried to avoid the strange mist, which the other dragon couldn't project long distances the way Shock could shoot his own flames.  But the mists persisted in the air, and that translucent blue was hard to see.  Every time Shock's wings passed through a wisp of the stuff, his muscles shuddered.  Each wingbeat became a burden.  Despite himself, Shock began to dip lower in the sky.

His eyelids fluttered, and for a brief moment he couldn't quite think straight.  Within the fractions of seconds that it took Shock to realize he had inhaled Cloud's 'zen breath' and recover his wits, it was already too late.

Darting like a striking snake, Cloud wrapped his eel-like body around Shock's wings, binding them tightly to his body.  The wingless dragon's strange levitation was not enough to hold them both, and they began to plummet towards the ground.

In a different part of the sky, Saffa and Fassa were willfully diving towards the ground, racing one another in a mad spiral downward.  Both birds of prey were trailing droplets of blood from their wings as they swooped.

They both needed to morph, to heal themselves, for they both were badly wounded, blood streaming from the gashes inflicted by one anothers' beaks and talons.  But they both knew that morphing would leave them vulnerable.  Hence, the race to the ground.  Whoever could finish the morph first, would have the upper hand against the other.

Saffa was slightly out-pacing the bigger, bulkier owl, her smaller hawk body allowing her to fall faster in a dive.  She would have smiled, if she could.  She would win!

But, no, wait, suddenly the ground was too close!  Way too close!  Saffa flared her wings, but too late, there wasn't time to slow down!

WHUMPH.  She landed and rolled, beak over tail across the dusty ground.  But, she couldn't wait, couldn't stop, if she paused for even a moment, she would lose.  And losing this race meant death.

Upside-down, her neck bent uncomfortably against a rock, she began to morph.  She willed the changes to happen faster, trying to right herself even as her bones began to shift, making her movements awkward.  The owl had landed more gracefully, and was coming towards her, walking on talons even as they began to shift into feet.  Fassa fell forward, her morphing legs giving out beneath her, crawling now on knees and wings toward Saffa.

<What the hell is your problem, you-> Saffa's thought-speak voice cut off as she became more human than hawk.  Deciding against saying what she was about to say, she instead picked up the rock that she had crash-landed into, gripping it with still-forming fingers and throwing it with all her might at the half-morphed creature, which now looked more and more like herself with each passing moment.  The rock hit Fassa in the sternum, knocking the wind out of her, and Saffa took the opportunity to run.  At least far enough to manage a remorph to hawk before her psychotic twin could catch up to her.  Berating herself, even as she ran, for never acquiring a proper battle morph.  But at least Fassa was no better off.

Another red-tailed hawk, identical to the one Saffa had been just a few moments ago, shrieked from the sky towards Fassa.  Rose knew she couldn't do much, but she could at least try to slow the imposter down so her sister could get away.

Nearby, two androids battled, impervious to the flames that were even now beginning to lick around their metallic bodies.  Back and forth they teleported around each other, whirling to block each others' punches and kicks with ninja-like skill.

But Lumy felt himself gradually slowing, weakening.  It was like he was rusting, but of course aluminum doesn't rust.  And there was a faint clicking noise coming from somewhere within his own gears.  The clicking grew in intensity every time the other android drew near.  When the two androids' metal bodies connected, the clicks grew so rapid they seemed almost continuous, like an electronic scream.

It was his own geiger counter, Lumy realized.  A thing he'd long-ago installed inside himself for really no other reason than because he could.

"You're radioactive," Lumy said, almost accusingly, as he ducked a spinning kick that set his geiger counter hissing with clicks.  A near miss.

"Welcome to the new age," Ury replied coldly.

Not satisfied with this answer, Lumy decided to press him.  "Why?" he asked.  "Why, any of this?"

"You don't know, do you?" Ury said condescendingly.  "We are the things you made.  You made us because you were afraid to die.  You didn't know that we lived, so we lived a life that was worse than death.  It was a hell of . . . nothing.  No sight, no sound, nothing.  We are nothing, but the echoes of despair you caused in the name of immortality."

Lumy made a gasping sound, but of course the sound was artificial; Lumy didn't have lungs.  He looked at Ury with pity and sadness somehow showing in his mechanical eyes.  Yet, he now felt that much more terror, knowing the truth behind why these creatures hated the RAFians as they did.

 . . . Perhaps the RAFians deserved it.

Aquilai landed his TARDIS, trying to summon more courage than he felt.  He didn't know where he was, or when.  But he knew that he could not keep flying.  The strange other TARDIS, the Dalek-TARDIS, as he was beginning to think of it, had been ramming his own TARDIS as he flew.  Over and over, the crashes drowning out the metallic-wind sound of time slipping by.

His poor TARDIS was already being held together with not much more than hope and a prayer.  It couldn't take any more abuse.

Aquilai stepped out, onto a grass-and-dirt field surrounded by tents.  Mostly dirt, the grass having been long-since trampled into nothing.  Walking here and there were, knights.  Actual knights, in actual armor.  Preparing for some historical battle, Aquilai had no idea which.

Aquilai didn't really have time to take in the sights, however.  As several knights stared at him, he made a grab for a sword and shield that were laying nearby.  "Sorry, I have to borrow these," he said apologetically, over the sound of the approaching Dalek-TARDIS.

The door of the Dalek-TARDIS opened, and for the first time, Aquilai laid eyes on his pursuer.  It was, himself.  Looking at the other Time Lord was like looking in a mirror.

The other Aquilai raised his left hand.  There was something strange about that hand, a little hollow metal rod sticking out of the palm, with wires arrayed around it like a whisk or an egg-beater.

Aquilai absorbed the sight in a fraction of a second, and immediately and instinctively raised his newly borrowed shield.  Right as he did, a burst of green light flashed from the other Aquilai's raised hand.

The light reflected off of Aquilai's shield, and hit an unfortunate passing squire.  The green light lit him up from the inside, illuminating his skeleton for all to see.  The squire evaporated into ash.

Aquilai recognized that light.  It was Dalek technology.

Aquilai didn't wait for Dalkorai to take another shot.  He was already back in his TARDIS, praying that the battered craft might hold together just a little longer.

Lumy fell to his knees, the strange radiation that Ury emitted taking its toll on him.  His own gears were now making the same clicking noises as his geiger counter was, as the slow corrosion ate away at his metal body.  He realized it didn't really make sense, of course.  Radiation didn't normally affect metal in this way.  But then, Lumy supposed, this was probably no ordinary radiation.

Lumy's bright aluminum skin darkened to a dull grey, and his movements slowed, his gears worn down by the bombardment of energy radiating from Ury's body.  The withered fragments of metal caught against each other inside him, until it became excruciating just to move.  Even those pained attempts to keep going, keep fighting, became slower, more halting.  Until Lumy was frozen completely in place.

"This is it," Ury sang, as he walked through Orca's fires, towards the other RAFians fighting their own battles.  Bringing his deadly radiation with him as he went.  "The apocalypse."
Posted by: theyoungphoenix
« on: August 06, 2015, 11:22:59 AM »

I caught up again, awesome writing Dino!! I'll have to peek in every now and then to watch for updates. ^^
Posted by: Saffa
« on: July 25, 2015, 09:42:44 AM »

Alright then. :P
Posted by: DinosaurNothlit
« on: July 25, 2015, 09:26:58 AM »

It's happening! The thing where Aquilai met the other Aquilai. :D

Won't be long, now.  ;)

And I thought Mars was the god of war?

According to "Introduction Randomness" (which I was re-reading to get some background on Orca, incidentally), Mars is also the name of an angel that comprises half of Demos.  Yeah, I'm not sure how or why, either.  But Demos wrote it himself, so it would have become part of his character.

. . . In other words, it's RAF don't question it.  :P
Posted by: Saffa
« on: July 25, 2015, 03:31:08 AM »

It's happening! The thing where Aquilai met the other Aquilai. :D

And I thought Mars was the god of war?
Posted by: DinosaurNothlit
« on: July 24, 2015, 11:37:43 PM »

One more, before I must leave this isolated oasis of internet (my internet's been flaky, lately).  :P

Chapter Sixty-four

Bear shook the lingering electricity from his fur, looking around to try to gather his bearings after the unwanted teleport.  However, looking around was pointless, as he found himself in complete and total darkness.  He blinked, trying futilely to see.  But it was like being blind.

No, wait.  The darkness was not quite total.  It took him several long minutes, but as his eyes adjusted, he could see the merest sliver of dim light.  A crack in the dark space above, faint reddish sunlight peeking through.  Ironically, he thought to himself, the light coming through the crack looked a bit like a lightning bolt.

He moved towards the light, his claws scraping against the concrete floor beneath him.

"Hello?" a skittish voice said, having heard the sound.  "Is someone there?"

"Aaah!" Bear yelled, startled by the voice that had so suddenly pierced the quiet darkness.

"Aaah!" the voice yelled back, just as startled as he was.

With a start, Bear realized that he recognized the voice.  " . . . Monica?" he said wonderingly.

" . . . Bear?" Monica wondered back.

"What are you doing here?" they both said, almost at once.

"Got struck by lightning, which makes me teleport," Bear said, as he continued to make his way towards the crack.  "You?"

"Queen," Monica said bitterly.  Her voice was little more than a croak.  Like it hadn't been used in years.  "She locked me down here."

Bear hung his head, as it suddenly struck him that nobody had even noticed that Monica had been missing.  He knew he shouldn't have felt bad.  After all, he hadn't been on that mission in the first place.  But, still.  It was a hard thing, knowing someone had been trapped all alone, with nobody out there to even worry about them, nobody who cared enough about them to notice they were gone.  Even Monica, after all the terrible things she had said and done, never deserved that.

Bear tried to shake off these thoughts, as he contemplated a way out of this prison cell.  He pawed at the concrete around the crack where the light was coming from, and to his surprise, discovered it was loose.  He might be able to shift it.

"Rrooaghrr!" he roared in his bear voice, as he bodily shoved his full weight against the stony barrier.  It moved, the harsh scraping of concrete against concrete piercing the silence of the dark tomb.

And once it started moving, the concrete quickly gained momentum.  It cascaded downward, an avalanche of stone.  Bear narrowly dodged out of the way, as the rubble came tumbling toward him.  Finally ending the work begun by Shade and Cody's explosions far above.

The two of them clambered onto the slope formed by the concrete landslide.  They climbed and climbed, Monica morphing to panther as she went, her clawed paws finding better traction on the rubble than her human feet.

They finally stepped out into the light, and Aftran couldn't quite suppress a gasp of shock.  She had seen Monica's memories of this strange sense called 'sight.'  But she had never truly experienced it for herself.  For no sooner had she first gained control of Monica's senses, all those years ago, than she had been cast down into the eternal darkness of that prison.

<This is wonderful!> Aftran exclaimed to Monica.  Monica, of course, replied with a disturbingly detailed description of what she would do to Aftran's eyes if Yeerks had possessed such things.

Bear, unaware of Aftran's existence, simply assumed that Monica was gasping at the sight that lay before them as they came into the light.

An Andalite that looked like Russell was clashing his tail against another Andalite, this one a split-image program that Bear immediately recognized as Aloth.  Of course, the Andalite that looked like Russell, was not Russell.  But neither was it Ellruss.  No, this Andalite's inexperience with his own body was too obvious.  He slashed his tail like it was a hack-saw, cleaving it through the air powerfully but erratically.

However, that show of inexperience was confusing Aloth, who was much too used to opponents who acted more predictably.  Michael Grant, who had chosen Russell as his battle morph, had managed to nick one of Aloth's ears, which was bleeding.

<RAFian scum!> Aloth raged.

<Not quite,> Michael shot back.  Then he sighed.  <But, at this point, that's close enough.>

Chimi tried to creep up on the inexperienced 'Andalite' from behind while he was distracted by Aloth.  But Richard, in lion morph, easily headed off the chupacabra.

Nearby, Kyris and Bloodbane fought back to back, alongside Becky and Shade.  They were surrounded by Hork-bajir, but they were keeping them at bay.

Becky had picked, of all things, a panda, for a battle morph.  But it was serving her surprisingly well.  She had sharp teeth and claws, and seemed to have a slight advantage because none of the controllers could take her seriously.

"She's a panda.  You're a panda.  What're you gonna do, sit on-" one Hork-bajir laughed, right before she plowed into him with her shoulder, knocking him sideways.

But it was Bloodbane and Kyris, who were truly a sight to behold.  Bloodbane roared as he plowed his axe through the ranks of controllers.  Finding the rhythm of battle.

Kyris, meanwhile, was using some kind of grappling hooks, to swipe at the Hork-bajir who were rightfully keeping their distance.  Her wrists were adorned with wood-and-bronze canisters, which hissed with steam every time the grappling hooks would shoot out, and made a clanking noise when they were retracted again.  But instead of the hooks that an ordinary grappling hook would have, the apparatus at the end of the yarn-thin chains had been hammered out into a set of barbed bronze knives, which still somehow folded neatly back into the device on her wrist.

Kyris whirled around in an intricate ballet, tripping some of the Hork-bajir in the chains while neatly dispatching others with the sharp-edged instruments at the end.  None could approach her.

"Dang, girl," Shade commented, briefly pausing his casting of spells, as the Hork-bajir now nearest to him had to clamber over their now-petrified colleagues to get to the dark wizard.  "I always thought your character was just a steampunk 'airship technician' sorta thing."

"Well," Kyris answered curtly.  "How did you think my character got around the airship's rigging?"

"Like a boss, apparently," Bloodbane commented approvingly under his breath.

Meanwhile, Terenia and Myitt fought back to back, against their counterparts.  Terenia's Reverse, she noted with some confusion, was the only one who did not look at all like herself.  No, this was just a plain-looking girl, a total stranger to Terenia.

Suddenly, Rerin's harsh mask dropped, and a look of fear filled her face.  "Help me," she whispered.

That was her host, Terenia realized.  The Reverse Terenia didn't have the advantage of a Mark, to keep her human form.  And Rerin's host was involuntary, controlled against her will, just an innocent girl dragged into this fight.

Still holding her dracon, Terenia hesitated, unwilling to kill someone who had never asked to be here.

Rerin, resuming control of her host, showed no such hesitation.  Terenia narrowly dove out of the way of the beam of red light that sliced across the battlefield.

"Pity," Rerin said.  "All that potential, and yet you are weak."

As they traded shots with their dracon beams, Terenia suddenly felt it.  The beginnings of what some Yeerks called 'the fugue.'

The pain reached every corner of her body.  It wasn't like feeling hungry, the way humans do, where you only feel it in the pit of your stomach and nowhere else.  This was every cell, every fiber of her being.  Everything was starving.

In some distant corner of her mind, she realized how little sense that made.  This was only a simulacrum of a human body.  A fake human body that wasn't even hers, anymore.  Why did it still hurt so much?

"Help me," a small voice said again.  But this time, Terenia wasn't at all sure who it was that had spoken.
Posted by: DinosaurNothlit
« on: July 24, 2015, 11:08:42 PM »

Chapter Sixty-three

Seal looked fearfully back over her shoulder as she stopped running.  Orca was nowhere in sight.  And the fires Seal had been running from, now did not seem so overwhelming as they had seemed before.  The fire was still growing, still spreading to new plants to burn.  But, slowly.  Tentatively.  As if it had lost its way.

And Seal suddenly remembered her secret weapon.  This brief respite from the battle, would be an excellent time to test it.

Seal held up a small glass flask of green liquid, turning it curiously in her flippers.  The viscous liquid clung to the sides of the glass, a consistency somewhere between syrup and snot.

She'd almost forgotten that she had brought these bottles along, all those long days ago, when they'd first left RAF.  But, having since remembered that she controlled the supply of what was perhaps the most potent substance any RAFian possessed, she now wore a pouch under one flipper, full of these miniature flasks.

Seal tensed her pose and brandished the bottle like a weapon.  She knew full well the danger this substance posed, and was careful to pick a target as far away as she thought she could throw.  Fortunately, while there were still a few of the metal-clad Hork-bajir on the battlefield, those impervious bio-hazard-suited things that Seal had dubbed 'Indestructi-bajir,' they were few and far between.  Queen didn't have the resources to make all of them that way, it seemed.  Which was excellent news for Seal, since she didn't think her makeshift weapon would work on them at all.

She spotted a Hork-bajir moving predatorily towards what appeared to be a pair of dueling marshmallows in the distance.  "I've always wondered what this stuff would actually do," she whispered thoughtfully to herself as she let the vial fly.

She watched the flask as it arced through the air towards the oblivious Hork-bajir.  It broke upon impact, and even though it had hit the ground, it still splashed the bright green goo all over him.  The goo clung to his skin, fizzling slightly, as wisps of purple-blue smoke drifted upward from where the ooze seemed to be absorbing into his body.

"Eww," Seal commented.

The Hork-bajir slumped to the ground like the weight of the world had just crashed down upon his shoulders.  He staggered away on all fours, suddenly desperate to escape from the fight.  He looked back at the marshmallow-creatures he'd been eyeing earlier, and shivered with revulsion.

Everything was clear, now.  Utterly and perfectly clear.  The Hork-bajir's memories were sharply defined, like someone had remade them in high definition.  Every detail cast in harsh relief.  Total and absolute clarity.

He was completely and thoroughly . . . lucid.  Like everything before had been mere hallucinations of reality, the raving thoughts of a madman.  His senses seemed magnified, every sensation multiplied a hundred-fold.

In this hyper-focused state, he could no longer endure the keen and chaotic thrill of battle.  It was enough, more than enough, simply to exist.  He did not need that strange adventure, that he had been part of, before.  Even the memory of that much excitement, those disorganized flashes of movement and adrenaline . . . it was too much to bear.

A nearby Taxxon had also been in the path of the vial's splatter, and as the substance touched its skin, it immediately vomited.  It looked around, bewildered, before simply curling its centipede body into a tight spiral, hugging itself with its many pairs of legs.

Everything that had made it what it was, was gone.  Food was meaningless.  It was still hungry, of course, its raging hunger had not abated in the slightest.  If anything, the hunger had intensified, now that the Taxxon's stomach was empty, its former contents lying steaming on the ground.

But it knew it no longer could do what needed to be done to feed itself.  How could it?  It was monstrous.  It could see that now.  It could now see the sheer monstrosity of everything about itself, in utter and perfect clarity.  So it just curled itself against its own slimy skin, and shook.

Seal, intrigued by the effects of the first vial, decided to throw another.  For science.  Another Hork-bajir, this one female and somewhat closer to Seal than the first one had been, presented a target.  Seal threw another bottle of the strange green liquid, which the Hork-bajir saw just in time to try to deflect with it her blades.  But the bottle shattered as she swung at it, splattering the ooze.

The Hork-bajir scowled, but her vile expression was not directed at the goo on her skin.  Rather, she wrinkled her beak as she turned her attention towards the battle around her.  As if she had only just now noticed that fighting was occurring nearby.

Awful, wretched creatures.  How could they not see that what they were doing was childish?  Her mind was clear, now.  Utterly and perfectly clear.  But instead of looking inward like that first Hork-bajir had done, she focused her newfound clarity outward, towards those who lacked her own enlightenment.  Angry that they could not understand.

"I don't have time for this crap," she said disgustedly.  She turned and stalked away, apparently suddenly having much more important things to do than to fight.

"Cool!" Seal exclaimed, looking around at the three combatants she'd already eliminated from the fight with only two vials.  "So that's what 'sanity' does.  It makes you hate anything exciting or interesting."

Meanwhile, now far beyond Seal's line of sight, the first Hork-bajir that Seal had hit was still lost in his own memories.  Memories that had suddenly become sharpened like daggers.

He wanted to believe he could not possibly have done all the things that he knew he had done.  It seemed impossible.  Yet, he had done all those strange and unbelievable things.  Why?  He knew the reasons for his actions, but those reasons seemed so insignificant now.

It was too much for his mind to comprehend.  It was far too much.  Too . . . strange.

It had to end.  This creature that he was, a creature of chaos and weirdness . . . he could not be that creature anymore.  He had to make sure he would never again become that fierce being that he had once been.

He picked up a piece of concrete.  He positioned his wrist, which was shaking.  Then he slammed the rock down on his wrist blade.

He cried out in pain.  Hork-bajir blades were not dead keratin, but living bone, with a core of blood vessels and nerve endings.  But he didn't care.  He would not, could not, allow himself these weapons.  He looked at the other Hork-bajir, the ones still fighting their thrilling battle against those strange creatures called RAFians.  No.  He would never be, that, again.

He smashed the rock down again, shattering the blade completely.  Blood splattered from the splinters.  One of the cracks in the exposed bone dug into the flesh of his arm.  Like a hangnail, but so, so much worse.  Every movement shifted the shards of bone, sending flashes of searing pain shooting up his arm.

Nevertheless, he lifted the stone again, positioning his other wrist beneath it.  The madness, he thought to himself, not even daring to speak his thoughts out loud.  It must end.
Posted by: DinosaurNothlit
« on: July 24, 2015, 10:48:30 PM »

Heh, you mentioning Aquilai inspired me to answer your curiosity in the story.

Chapter Sixty-two

Aquilai ran across the battlefield, forcing himself to ignore the strange creatures attacking his friends.  Only one thing mattered, now.  The only thing that should have ever mattered.

But, it wasn't just his affection for his TARDIS that drove him.  In the back of his mind, he wondered if, maybe, the TARDIS could give him an edge in this fight.  As much as he hated to think of her that way, she was a weapon.  And he sorely needed a weapon, right now.

Time Lords, for all their cunning cleverness, were really no more powerful than humans, after all.  The TARDIS was all he had.

Aquilai nimbly ducked and dodged around whirling Hork-bajir blades, skirting away from hungry Taxxon mouths.  He had to move quickly, or the hordes of controllers would easily surround him. 

There it was!  Unguarded, even, which was a bit strange.  But, no, on second thought, it really wasn't strange at all.  The entirety of Queen's forces were occupied with recapturing the renegade RAFians.  Their escape, had been the diversion that had saved the TARDIS.

Besides, Queen already had a time machine.  What did she need another one for?

Counting his blessings, Aquilai whipped out his sonic screwdriver, hastily finishing the repairs that would make his TARDIS time-worthy again.  He'd almost been finished when he'd been forced to make a run for it, but even so, he had to hurry now.

He was just knitting together the final wires, when he heard a sound, right next to him.  A familiar whooshing sound, like a metallic wind.  But this sound, it was higher, more grating, more electronic, than the sound his own TARDIS made.

Appearing next to his own, was another TARDIS.  But this one . . . the familiar police box was distorted into an octagon.  And the light on the roof, was mounted on a jutting metal rod that pointed forward from the center.  Like a Dalek eye-stalk.

Aquilai swallowed his fear, and frantically finished his work.  His TARDIS would be fragile after such hasty repairs, but it would fly.  He leaped inside, and immediately took off.  When or where he landed, he didn't care.

No sooner had it appeared, though, than the other TARDIS flickered out of reality once more.  Somehow following after the first TARDIS, even as Aquilai vanished into space and time.  A hungry predator, that had finally found its prey.

Demos panted as he fought the angelic creature that looked so strangely like himself.  It wasn't an actual angel, he knew that much.  Not without wings.  And not with those horns, elegantly curved though they were, so unlike his own gnarled adornments.  Yet, it had most of the same powers of a true angel.  The holy fire, the paladin's touch, the incantations that burned Demos's ears like a Howler's howl.

But, even though its powers affected him the way an angel's powers would, his own demonic powers seemed useless against it.  His hellfire, which normally sent angels running for their lives, only seemed to scald this creature.  The false angel was in pain, so Demos's attacks were not completely ineffective, but at the same time, it was so much stronger than an ordinary angel could ever have been against the son of Satan.

Demos stumbled, as yet another barrage of holy fire burned his skin, making him cry out in pain at the white hot light.  He wasn't going to win this fight.  Not like this.

But, he suddenly realized, there were forces he could call upon for help.  Beings he had long forgotten.  Other minds lying dormant inside his own.

Don't give up hope, a gentle, reverberating voice in his thoughts said.  You have more power than you know.

Turn me loose, you weakling excuse for a demon! a far more hostile creature howled.  I'll kill that angelic filth!

There was a flash of grey light.  Suddenly, standing where Demos had stood, were two distinct figures.  A hulking, hunchbacked demon carrying a battle-ax.  And a regal, feminine, winged being, carrying a sword and a kite shield.

"Phobos," the false angel that called itself Lumos said knowingly, looking at the demon.  He remembered these two characters, for they had once been part of himself, before he had been Reversed.  "And Mars," he said, with an acknowledging nod to the true angel.

Demos could still feel his own mind, overlaying those of Phobos and Mars.  His consciousness was split, like that of Rad and Ma'at, or Seal and DemonSeal.  It was still his own mind, but his mind felt different now.  When he acted as Phobos, he felt ruthless and angry, willing to take any life that he could.  But when he acted as Mars, he felt kind and gentle, yet motivated to defend and protect his friends.

Even so, those two, the good and the evil halves of him, were connected.  They were the same.  Through him, through Demos, they could act as one.

Mars flapped her wings, landing and balancing delicately on the flat side of Phobos's battle-ax.  In one fluid movement, Phobos swung, and Mars used the extra momentum to swing her sword at Lumos with deadly speed.  Two blades, hitting as one, bit into Lumos, and bright red blood sprayed from his celestial white skin.

Lumos gritted his teeth.  But he was smiling, despite the pain.

There was another flash of grey, and two figures now stood where Lumos had once been.  An angel with cold blue-tinted skin, her feathered wings glinting like ice.  The corresponding demon was smaller, almost imp-like, with scorched-black pockmarked skin.

"Polaris," the new angel introduced herself.  "And Noctis," the demon croaked.  They wore identical grins as they stared down Phobos and Mars.  "Anything you can do-" Polaris sang, "-I can do better!" Noctis merrily finished the song.

The battle resumed.  Each pair fighting as a single unit, striking and countering now at twice the speed, with twice the fury.

Somehow, Demos thought bitterly to himself from within the minds of Phobos and Mars.  I don't think this really helped much at all.

Gaz stared warily at her Reverse through the growing smoke.  A fire had been started nearby.  Right where Seal and Orca had been fighting, Gaz noted worriedly.

But Gaz decided to use the smoke to her advantage.  She went into her mist form, solidifying to strike at her opponent, then vanishing again.  Hidden, in fact almost completely invisible, in the swirling ashes.

But the wolflike creature that was her Reverse didn't look like it had even noticed the change.  It continued to strike with its claws and teeth, ripping and tearing into the mist that was Gaz.  It found purchase, slashing through the ether, and Gaz gasped in pain.


Nothing had ever been able to hurt her in mist form before.  And, yet, a few drops of blood dripped down from the vapor that was her body, like rain from a stormcloud.

Zag grinned.  The vapor that was Gaz swirled away, putting distance between herself and the wolf, before condensing into the form of a bat.  The bat flapped through the smoke, trying to regroup her thoughts before she tried another tactic.  But another bat, this one with grey fur and a distinctively canine muzzle, followed.

Underseen shifted into the form of a dragon, clawing at Overseer with teeth and claws.  But Underseen's Reverse had shifted into an identical dragon, at that exact same moment.  Matching Underseen precisely, in strength and size.  How did he do that, Underseen wondered briefly, but couldn't really ponder the question too long, as he was forced to defend himself from his draconic mirror-image.  The two dragons battled, but neither could gain headway against the other, they were so evenly matched.

Thinking quickly, Underseen landed and became a Lerdethak, that strange creature made of living vines, hoping to ensnare the dragon from the air.  But Overseer mirrored him again.  The two of them wrestled each other with their dozens of tentacles.  Once again, it was obvious that neither could make headway against the other.

Underseen turned into a Stegosaurus.  Overseer did, too.  That's when Underseen noticed that every time Overseer changed, he flinched.  As if the Reverse RAFian was not expecting the switch.  As if he wasn't in control of his own changes.

That's when Underseen grinned.  They might be perfectly evenly matched, one incapable of becoming stronger than the other.  But he could use this.

The willful shapeshifter then shifted into a small, adorable creature that looked like a marshmallow with stubby arms and legs.  It was a creature made up of nothing but fatty tissue, no bones, no real muscles to speak of.  It was called an Adipose, a creature from the Doctor Who universe.  And it was quite perfectly useless in combat.

Nevertheless, Overseer was forced to become a perfectly identical, tiny cuddly marshmallow-creature.  "Oh, you mother-"

Underseen headbutted Overseer in the stomach, forcing him to exhale a tiny squeak.  Their 'battle' resumed, but neither one was really able to harm the other anymore.  Which was quite alright with Underseen, who hadn't even been sure why they were fighting in the first place.

From far across the battlefield, Dino roared in pain.  The Reverse Dino was madly biting into her flank again and again.  A single bite would have been easy enough to ignore.  The Spinosaur's teeth were razor sharp, but so thin that they were not strong enough to penetrate Dino's armor.

But this brutal creature was far more determined than that.  Over and over and over the Spinosaur bit the Tyrannosaur, doggedly determined to gain purchase against that bony armor.  It was a frantic frenzy of attacks, the Spinosaur pushing and biting and clawing, never giving Dino an inch of space.  A thousand tiny cuts in her skin (for her armor was actually underneath a slight layer of living tissue) were taking their toll.

Several of the Spinosaur's knifelike teeth were now lodged between the bony plates that covered Dino's back, the remnant jagged edges where they had broken only making Spino's bites sharper.  Even a blow from Dino's club-like tail only gave her a few seconds of respite, before the other dinosaur leaped right back up and continued its crazed onslaught.

<Kill!> the Spinosaur said excitedly.  Dino shivered with revulsion, as she realized that that was her own voice she was hearing.  <Kill!  Kill!  Kill!>

That tiny distraction was all Spino needed.  Drool gleaming on her broken teeth, the Spinosaur lunged at Dino's neck.