Author Topic: End of RAF  (Read 9086 times)

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Offline DinosaurNothlit

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Re: End of RAF
« Reply #135 on: July 04, 2015, 07:22:41 PM »
Wow.  I never thought I would allow this fic to languish for so long.  And I feel a bit terrible, for posting that dumb April Fool's joke, now.  I had absolutely no idea when posting it that it was going to end up being the last thing I posted for more than a year.  It is a terrible thing, when posting in your own fic, to see the "Warning: this topic has not been posted in for at least 120 days" notice.  :'(

Assuming anybody even still wants to read this, you'll probably have to do a re-read (unless you have absurdly good memory) because there's going to be a lot of references to things that happened previously.  My stories tend to be all inter-connected-y like that.

But I think I'm finally over my writer's block (hopefully it stays that way *fingers crossed*), and so, without further ado, here is the REAL chapter fifty-two.

Chapter Fifty-two

Suddenly, several Hork-bajir backed away in different directions.  In the midst of the fearful circle they formed, stood an orc.  Richard, blinking his eyes blearily as he slowly came back to consciousness, crawled into a dark corner away from the commotion, his head swimming with barely-formed thoughts.  The movements around him were confusing and nightmarish.

"Not your concern?  These people are my friends!" Bloodbane cried out, hulking above even the Hork-bajir, as he brandished an axe that put their blades to shame.  He deepened his voice and exclaimed a booming battle cry, "For the Horde!"

Deep down in some quiet part of his mind, he knew, he was a gentle soul at heart, and hated the idea of killing.  But he would not, could not, think about that part of himself.  This was something he had to do.  He searched for a place in his mind that he could retreat, and not dwell upon what was happening around him.  Act and react.  Don't think.  Feel only the violent energy, the rhythm of battle.

It was worse after that first Hork-bajir fell to his axe, and he felt the surge of adrenaline that came with an increase in 'experience.'  Everything he killed, only made him more powerful.  Just like in a video game.

Except, of course, that this wasn't a game.

Becky briefly met Bloodbane's eyes, a look of concern upon her face.  She hated when he was like this.  He seemed little more than an animal, a creature of rage.  Later, there would be sadness, a look in his eyes, regret for his own lost humanity.  But now there was only instinct and motion and blood.

Cloak, meanwhile, took the opportunity to duck into a corner and begin to morph, while the Hork-bajir were distracted by the orc.  Nevertheless, one Hork-bajir spotted him, saw what he was doing, and swung at him while he was vulnerable in mid-morph.

But Cloak wasn't vulnerable.  He had some natural talent for morphing, it seemed.  He had focused on building his muscles and claws before anything else.  He met the Hork-bajir's swing with a deadly fast counterstrike, as fast as the tiger he was becoming.  His blow deflected the bladed arm, and ripped the alien's throat with the tiger's already-sharpened claws.

Cloak gave a cry of triumph, which abruptly trailed off as the Hork-bajir slumped to the ground, still spraying blue-green blood from the wound in his throat.  In the heat of the moment, Cloak hadn't really quite considered exactly what he was doing.  Hadn't meant to do it.

Oh, god.  He had . . . he had taken a life.  Before, he had once watched helplessly as Illim had killed Queen's controllers.  But it had never been him, never his own action, never his own hands, his own claws.

Was this what he did with his precious new gift of freedom?

He retreated deeper into the dusty shadows, letting the morph continue.  Not thinking, not feeling, only changing.

Rachel, meanwhile, was having no such thoughts.  She had seen battle before.  She knew what it was like to take a life with your own claws.  She bellowed a throaty grizzly roar, standing up to tower above the Hork-bajir, brushing her head against the dark wooden ceiling.  She slashed with her still-forming railroad-spike claws, as Hork-bajir pressed in around her.

The savage hiss of a panther soon joined the fracas.  Monica's innate aggression, her competitive nature, would not allow her to lose this fight.  She was almost like Rachel, in that way.  Even as the Hork-bajir surrounded her, they were still hesitant to press in too close.

Within moments, Cloak was fully tiger, where he could lose himself in the power of the creature's instincts.  Like Bloodbane, he couldn't do what needed to be done if his mind was right there in the heat of it, thinking of every reason why this was wrong.

But, at the same time . . . these were his friends he was fighting for.  He had to defend his friends.  No matter what.  Even if it was wrong to kill.  It was less wrong than to do nothing.

"You incompetent FOOLS!" Queen raged at the Hork-bajir around her, glaring furiously at her dull-witted minions.  "Kill the- wait, no!"  She cut herself off, seeming almost surprised by what she'd just said.  "Don't kill them.  Do not kill them!  Take them alive!  But don't let them escape!"  She looked down at the Hork-bajir that had been felled by Cloak's claws, lying on the ground, his pulse weakening.  Queen's lip curled into a disgusted sneer, as though it had been the Hork-bajir's own fault that he was now dying.  She kicked savagely at the bladed alien's body.

As more RAFians and Hork-bajir entered the fray, Terenia used the chaos to circle behind Queen.  She clutched her dracon beam, almost cradling it.  It was her only weapon, her only hope.

Saffa, meanwhile, wheeled away from a Hork-bajir, while it clutched its face in agony.  She noticed what Terenia was doing, and without hesitation she swooped down, flapping her wings right in Queen's face as she tried to gain purchase with her talons.  While Queen was batting wildly at the mad hawk, Terenia was in position, unseen.

"ENOUGH!" Queen roared, finally managing to knock Saffa out of the way.

TSEEEEEW!  The beam lanced directly at the back of Queen's head, point-blank.  Direct hit!

There was a smell of burning hair.  But, Terenia quickly realized, something was not right.  Where there should have been a smoldering hole in Queen's skull, there was only the reflected red glow of the laser itself.  The fact that she was a program, the multitude of images that was Queen, protected her.  And Terenia had lost her only chance.

Queen turned to face Terenia, white-hot fury in her eyes.

"You DARE," she hissed to Terenia, even as the RAFian tried to shrink back into the shadows.  "You dare to harm ME?"

Queen's anger quickly faded into exasperation, the kind of tired anger she would feel towards a particularly bothersome insect.  She sighed.  "You know, I didn't actually want to do this.  It takes the fun out of everything."  With that, she raised her arm, bringing a plastic syringe-like object to bear.  There was a noise, a 'tink' of metal, a tiny, almost amusingly harmless sound.  Seconds later, Terenia felt a sting, nothing more than a pinprick.  It was the last thing she felt, before slumping lifelessly to the floor as her muscles suddenly failed her.

"RAFians," Queen sneered.  "You really think that good will always win."  She drew back her lip in a hateful snarl.  "Fools."

Another tiny 'tink' noise.  Rachel, her reflexes sharp as ever, batted away the miniscule dart with her paw, but the needle stuck in the skin of her paw-pad.  She shivered slightly as she fell unconscious, and her hulking bear form began to recede, human skin replacing bear fur, as Queen's own Anti-Morphing Serum took effect.

That silly Ray had never quite been to her liking.

Tink.  Odret's human skin began to turn grey, glistening with Yeerk slime.  Tink.  Bloodbane could no longer hold up his axe.

One by one, the RAFians fell to Queen's darts.  Yet, across the room, something surfaced in Rad's mind.  A memory.  Long ago, when Odret was a Yeerk still in Queen's thrall.  Back before the Yeerk rebellion, when Rad was still only a minion, a foot soldier in Queen's army.

Retrieving the memory from long ago, Rad recalled Queen's pitiless words.  Queen had spoken to her, the human Rad, even though her body was not her own.  Queen had gone out of her way to make sure Rad knew that she was not a RAFian.  And she never would be, not in this broken timeline.  That she would never have friends like RAFians.  That she would never belong, as they did.  "You are no more a RAFian than I am," Queen had whispered in Rad's ear as she was forced to stand motionless before her.

And then, she remembered Tony's words, much more recent, back at the zoo.  "You're a RAFian.  I don't care what you say."

All of that flashed through her mind in an instant, as Rad suddenly charged at Queen.  She lowered her head, massive and still growing, bringing the formidable spread of her antlers to bear.

<I AM a RAFian!> she cried.

Tink.  The sound was the last thing she remembered.
« Last Edit: July 05, 2015, 07:38:49 PM by DinosaurNothlit »
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Re: End of RAF
« Reply #136 on: July 04, 2015, 07:30:12 PM »
To make up for the long wait, I've got a few chapters written up (I'm gonna see how many I can post in one go).

Chapter Fifty-three

In the steel confines of Queen's hangar, the metallic Hork-bajir quickly closed in upon Estelore, Phoenix, Shock, Russell, Seal, Underseen, Demos, Illim, and Gaz.

Two of them grabbed Estelore by the arms, their suits allowing them to utterly ignore the searing heat emanating from the star's body.  Angry flames shot off of Estelore's skin like solar flares, at random, with no attempts to aim.

Seal flinched in pain as an errant flare from Estelore brushed against her fur, scorching her.  Seal's sudden hurt intake of breath somehow pierced through Estelore's anger, and the star's flames died down as they slumped helplessly, the metal alien wardens holding them tight.

Gaz flew at the Hork-bajir, surrounding them in mist form.  Turning solid only long enough to lash out at them with her sword, then fading back into aether.  A Hork-bajir approached, carrying a long, softly-glowing metallic tube, bundled over his shoulder with the coils slung under his arm.  The tube murmured, a gentle hissing noise, like water running.

Gaz looked confused as the Hork-bajir laid out the hose in front of her.  She took a tentative step forward, trying to cross it.  But it was like there was a wall there, an unyielding force field holding her at bay.  "NO!" she cried out as the Hork-bajir continued to lay down the tube, looping it around her.  She kicked at the line she could not cross, but she was helpless to escape.  Even in mist form, she only swirled against the barrier like the powder inside a snow globe, trapped inside the portable force field.

Shock roared back at the Hork-bajir surrounding him, slashing with his claws to keep them at bay.  But this, too, Queen had planned for.  It soon became obvious that the front lines of Hork-bajir, what had appeared the main threat, were nothing but a diversion.

First one Hork-bajir, then another, hidden at first behind their brethren, brought forth strange silvery canisters, surrounding the dragon with these odd machines.  Standing back from the dragon's view, the controllers planted these devices in the ground.  Seeming to come to life as they activated, the canisters revealed claw-like struts, digging themselves in, gripping the floor.

Then, with a noise like shaking cables, they all fired at once.  Hooks shot out like javelins, trailing ropes behind them.

Shock cried out in pain, as the hooks bit into his skin.  He thrashed, but every movement dug the hooks deeper and deeper, while the tightening ropes restrained and restricted him.  The Hork-bajir set another volley of canisters, firing more hooks, and soon Shock could no longer fight.  He couldn't move at all.  He cried out again, this time in frustration, but there was nothing he could do.

Russell, for a time, managed to dodge the same hooks that had ensnared Shock.  But more shot out around him, again and again, a maze of ropes, and before long the Andalite fumbled, his hooves tangled in the snares, and he fell.  He lashed out with his tail.  A tiny shard of bone went flying as the indestructible Adamantium cord stopped his blade.

The RAFians were beaten.

The Hork-bajir gathered the RAFians up in chains, knowing there was nothing left they could do.  The controllers laughed in cruel glee as they lead their prisoners away from the relative light of the hangar, and into the dank, gloomy corridors of Queen's castle.  It felt like they were descending, even though the floor seemed level.  But some force like a sinister gravity drew them onward, down into the depths of the earth.

As they walked past, the RAFians noticed an inscription on the wall.  It looked like it had been written long ago.

Don't give up.  Help is coming.

Your friends are here.

Their Hork-bajir captors made no effort to hide the words from them.  In fact, it almost seemed the opposite.  The Hork-bajir seemed to be moving out of the way of their view, almost intentionally displaying those words of hope.  But, mockingly.  They laughed as they gestured at the inscription.  Like they were laughing at a joke that only they knew.

The RAFians, bound in chains, were jostled and yanked ever onward.  Still there was that feeling of descent, yet still they felt no downward slope of the floor.

Finally, in the darkness barely lit by flickering lights, they came to a cell.  The door creaked as it opened, the sound echoing off of the stony walls.

There was a smell of mold, the damp rot of forgotten dark places.  Phoenix held up a hand, casting a flickering orange light across the dungeon, as their Hork-bajir captors closed the door behind them, locking them in.  The controllers' voices sounded hollow and eerie as their taunts receded away through the caverns, finally leaving the RAFians in cold silence.

Phoenix tried to reach between the bars of the cell, only to touch an invisible, solid surface.  A nasty jolt ran up his arm at the touch, and he yanked his hand back.  An electrified force field.  Of course.

He looked around, raising the hand that was casting his light.  Most of the room was a dungy greenish black, which turned into the color of dried blood under the orange light that Phoenix shone.  Chains glinted in the light, flickering an oily sheen.  There was the angry squeak of rats disturbed by the light after so long in the darkness.

But then, Phoenix's light played off of something that was at a stark contrast to the dark stone walls of the dungeon.  Something bright white, leaning against one of the walls.  Wait, no, several somethings.  As he played the light across the wall, he could see there were nine of them.  Nine frost-white tubes.

Curious, but wary, Phoenix crept closer.  The white was frost, he quickly realized, as he felt the intense cold coming from the tubes.

Was there something inside?  Impossible to tell.  Years of frost had caked over the glass, obscuring anything that might once have been contained within.

Slowly, carefully, Phoenix played his flames across the icy surface.  Just enough heat to start melting the frost, just enough to see.

"Are you insane?" Shock hissed, in human form in the small enclosed space.  "We don't know what's in there.  It could be dangerous."

"If Queen wanted us dead, she's already got us," Phoenix countered.

As Phoenix continued to melt the ice off the tube, the outline of a face soon appeared.  Hazy at first, still distorted by the frost.  Was it even human?  Phoenix's heart was beating fast, as he slowly scoured away the frozen buildup.  Pale skin, closed eyelids, dark hair.  It was a human, hibernating in the ice.

With a jolt that almost knocked him over, Phoenix realized it wasn't just any human.  He tried to speak, but his voice was gone.

Seal came forward, wondering what Phoenix could have seen that would have had such an effect on him.  She gasped.

"Rad."
« Last Edit: July 04, 2015, 07:36:53 PM by DinosaurNothlit »
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Re: End of RAF
« Reply #137 on: July 04, 2015, 07:35:48 PM »
I will now have written as many chapters of this book as there are Animorphs books!

Chapter Fifty-four

Queen held up a clipboard, smiling as she looked down at it.  There were pictures of RAFians, held by the metal clip.  Some photographs, some drawings.  Some showing human faces.  Some were other species, creatures.  But with their human souls still visible in their eyes.

Most of the pictures had angry scrawls cut through them in thick lines of pen.  Crossed off of a list.  Richard, check.  Estelore, check.  Terenia, check.  Shock, check.  Rad, check.

But there were others, and when Queen turned her gaze to each unblemished portrait, her triumphant grin became an angry scowl.

Bear.  Aquilai.  Lumy.  Jess.  Tony.  Too many RAFians were still out there.

Queen slammed down the clipboard, making a nearby Taxxon jump in alarm, its multitude of legs skittering on the stone floor.  A mouse darted by, unnoticed in the gloom by Queen or the frightened Taxxon.

"Too many times I have underestimated Richard and his sycophantic brood," she muttered to herself.  "No, no, these loose ends, they won't do."

But before she could quite decide what to do about the RAFians that had managed to slip through her fingers, she heard fumbling human footsteps.  She looked up, to see Iniss, stumbling slightly from nervousness, yet grinning like a fool.  He pushed past the Taxxon as it was beating a hurried retreat from Queen's presence.

"Queen, there's something you need to see," Goom's voice said quietly, but triumphantly.  He beckoned her to follow, flinching slightly.  Queen grinned back, a predatory smile.  Good.  The underlings still remembered to be afraid.

<You can't do this,> the real Goom whimpered helplessly, unheard except by the Yeerk in his head.  <NO!>

It wasn't far to the security monitors, which was where Iniss had retreated to, during the earlier chaos when the RAFians had first arrived, once he had realized he was going to miss the big battle anyway.  He looked at Queen fearfully, wondering if she was going to punish him for that.  It wasn't his fault, of course, that he only had a weak human host, nearly useless against RAFians and their powers.  But Queen, hateful tyrant that she was, often didn't seem to care what was or wasn't the fault of one of her minions.

Fortunately, the capricious monarch was too busy looking straight ahead, intrigued by the monitors, scrutinizing them, already looking for whatever it was Iniss had wanted her to see.  Iniss quietly exhaled the slightest sigh of relief he could manage.

The screen in question was seen from above, the view moving along at a lazy pace but staying focused on the same spot as it went.  The footage was coming from the visual feed of a hunter-killer robot on patrol, high above the wasteland.  "I back-traced the flight path of that Bug fighter the RAFians took," Iniss explained, wringing his hands to ease his nerves.  "And I found something interesting."  He pointed at a piece of rusted wreckage on the screen.

"That's just a car, you blithering idiot," Queen scowled at Iniss.  But she kept her eyes on the burned-out wreckage that Iniss had pointed out on-screen, anyway.

"Wait for it," Iniss said, quietly but smugly.  "Just, wait."

After a few seconds, there was a subtle blur, so quick you wouldn't have noticed it unless you were looking for it.  But, in that fraction of an instant, the car was replaced by a pile of scorched cinderblocks, which then became the stunted remains of a fallen tree.  Then, just like that, the car was back again.

"Hologram," Iniss said, pointing triumphantly at the screen.

"No," Queen practically purred.  "Not a hologram.  Chameleon circuit."

"Cha- chameleon circuit?  You mean . . . ?"

Queen nodded.  "Something crashed into our teleport-deflection systems, right before the RAFians got here.  Something that could travel through space and time."  Her human eye was shining with excitement, like a hungry predator watching its helpless prey.  "And it looks like their TARDIS is wounded, now."  She licked her lips.  "Excellent."

Iniss looked at Queen nervously.  "So what should we-"

"We throw everything we have at them!" Queen interrupted, clenching her fists in triumph, her eye still glinting with predatory interest.

" . . . Everything?" Goom wondered, tentatively.  The corner of his mouth tugged itself into a hesitant half-smile.  "The . . . fleet?"

"Yes," Queen agreed.  "The fleet."

Her eyes darted towards another one of the security monitors, this one displaying the captive RAFians in their cell.  She counted their bio-scans, and then counted them again, making sure the RAFians were all still there.  She was paranoid that one would escape, and from there her entire scheme might unravel.

But, no, all that had been captured were still captive.  And, Queen noted with some amusement, the nine she had captured in the attack on the fortress were trying to set free the nine, of the original ten captured from the past, that she had frozen in stasis.  The last one, of course, was not to be found in this cell.

A little strange, though, that there was a group of nine and one of ten.  As if one RAFian might have been missing, escaped before they were even captured.  But she brushed off the thought, certain she was just imagining things.

No matter, she thought, as she watched Phoenix, Estelore, and Demos.  The three pyrokinetics were concentrating on controlling their fires, like little propane welding torches with just enough flame to get the job done.  Heating the cryo-tubes only just enough to free their friends from their frozen vaults.

Let them free their friends.  Let them all be awakened, so they could be aware of how truly hopeless their situation was.  Let them all be a nice, happy little family together, in their cold, dark cell.  Didn't matter.  After all, they weren't going anywhere.

"No, you will stay right where you are," she cooed, caressing the screen.  Saffa shivered, almost as if she had sensed Queen watching her through the camera.  But, then again, she was probably just shivering from the lingering cold.

"You will not go anywhere," Queen continued mischievously, but firmly.  "No, at least, not until I have collected the set."  She laughed.  "Then, my little RAFians, then we shall play."
« Last Edit: July 05, 2015, 07:11:14 PM by DinosaurNothlit »
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Re: End of RAF
« Reply #138 on: July 04, 2015, 07:52:25 PM »
Chapter Fifty-five

Tony scurried through the corridors, still in mouse morph.  He was getting close to his two hour time limit, but he could sense he was getting close to his true goal, too.

There!  A panel, recessed slightly into the wall, but far newer, shinier, more high-tech-looking, than the stone walls surrounding it.  A small concave circle was indented into the wall at human eye level, far above Tony's head, contrasting the surrounding featureless steel.  That could only be an eye-scanner.  The kind you see in spy movies.

That extra security had to be protecting the Time Matrix.  This was where it should be, and what else would Queen need an eye-scanner for?  This was it.

Tony managed to find a small side-corridor to demorph.  He looked back and forth, twitching his whiskers as he sniffed for the scents of human or Taxxon or Hork-bajir.  Nothing, or at least no recent smells.  He was safe.

He didn't have much time left in morph, so it was with a slight sense of relief that he resumed his human form.  But his expression quickly turned from relief to triumph to fear, as he realized what he needed to do now.  How he would get past the Time Matrix's security.

He could do it, of course.  But the very idea of it was terrifying.

Tony closed his eyes, recalling back to when he and Queen had struggled for the Time Matrix once before.  He had held onto her as she had struggled to throw him off, the two of them jumping erratically through time and space.  There, touching her skin, he had focused, briefly, on absorbing her DNA.  It'd had no notable effect on her.  She must have been one of those rare examples of those who are immune to the acquiring trance.  Which was unfortunate at the time, since he had only been trying to break her concentration.

As Tony had acquired her, though, he had actually felt her DNA pass into his own blood.  It was like a feeling of pinpricks swarming across the cells in his body.  All of the stabbing, burning pain of a bad case of frostbite, only without the cold.  This DNA, it was wrong.  Profoundly wrong, and his body had known it.

Nearly shaking with fear as he drew upon the memory, Tony focused on that same DNA again now.

He began the morph, and the faint twinges of pain he could even now feel in his blood, immediately multiplied a thousand-fold.  His own body fought against him, torturing him.  His bones and organs made a terrible grinding noise as they changed, like a worn-out and overheating motor.  He could actually feel that unnatural grinding, inside himself, things inside him catching and skipping, like a scratched CD that was still trying to play.

"Aaah!" he cried out in agony, doubling over.  His body was going fuzzy, not his vision, his body, as it diverged into the split-image of Queen's program.  It shouldn't even be possible.  How could this strange creature that was Queen have DNA at all?  But, somehow, she did.

The pain was unimaginable.  It was almost as though Queen somehow knew what he was doing, right now, at this moment, and sought to punish him for his transgression, reaching for him across time and space.  He could feel in his bones the utter wrongness of it, like a raging wildfire burning in his blood.  He could feel the pain, and it was like hatred, like anger, like an uncontrollable vitriol, in every ounce of his body.  It was somewhere between sensation and emotion, spreading through his blood and his brain at once.

All that hatred, it was like a fire burning inside him.  But, in some corner of his mind, so subtle that he initially wondered if he was imagining it, he thought he could feel a slight fraction of that howling rage slowly starting to direct itself inwards, wavering somewhere between that raging anger, and a sort of predatory curiosity.  As if wondering what force could be fighting it for control.

The new morph's bright green eyes suddenly looked up, inner hatred flaring.  They were the eyes of someone who wanted pain.  Who wanted suffering.  Not their own pain, no, never that.  But suffering and misery to be inflicted upon everything and everyone else.  Yes, yes, the pain that would be felt by every living creature that dared to draw near.  Only that would soothe this terrible fury.

Everyone who had ever wronged her should be made to feel how she felt, a thousand times over!  Those traitorous RAFians needed to suffer for their impudence, their foolish arrogance!  They would suffer, and they would be made to serve her, and then they would die.

<Wait, no, that's not right,> a tiny, insignificant mental voice said, sounding confused.  Queen ignored it.  Pathetic insect that it was.  Hardly even worth her consideration.

The new Queen approached the silvery panel protecting the Time Matrix.  She lined her left eye up to the scanner.  The eye scanner flashed several times in succession, but then it seemed to be waiting for something.  So she looked into it with her right eye, and the scanner flashed again, only once this time.

"An error has occurred," an androgynous robotic voice said.  "Artificial eye not detected."

But Queen didn't waver, waiting instead for the next prompt.  "Voice command override required to proceed," the computer said.

"It's me, you fool," she snapped impatiently, her words dripping with contempt.

"Command confirmed," the voice answered quietly, almost meekly.  Even the machinery knew to be afraid.  Good.

The door opened.

<Wait, what the heck's going on?> that same insignificant voice said.  The voice wavered in and out, barely audible over Queen's own thoughts.  <This shouldn't be possible.  It's just a morph!  Humans don't even have instincts this strong!  It's just a morph!>  A pause, then, < . . . Are you even human?>

Queen still didn't answer.  She passed through the first door.  There was another panel, this one with a near-horizontal black pad next to some number keys.  Queen put her fingers on the pad to be scanned, and it beeped to confirm that her fingerprints were correct.  Without hesitation, she typed a number into the second keypad, and the door opened.

<No, no, this doesn't make sense!> the insect in her head raged impotently.  <Morphs don't have memories!  How could you possibly have known the code?!>

Queen walked through a long hallway.  Every few feet, there was a ring of machinery, an interconnected series of circuits and scanners lining the walls.  Tony, barely holding on to his own thoughts in a deep corner of Queen's savage and overpowering mind, managed to recognize them as Gleet Biofilters.  He counted five.  He would have shuddered, had he been in control of his own body.

Finally, Queen entered a dark, featureless room, and the doors slammed shut with an ominous, echoing boom.  There seemed to be no other exit.  A dead-end.

"Fool of a RAFian," she said out loud, addressing Tony for the first time.  "Did you really think I would allow you to morph me?  Do you take me for a fool?"

<But, how->

"I've written my memories into my own DNA," Queen scoffed proudly.  "A little trick I learned from the Goa'uld.  With a little help from the Arn, of course.  Anyone who morphs me, becomes me.  Body and mind.  And no one, no one, can control me!  I am AlmightyQueen!  My mind is legion!"

Suddenly, she smiled, like a cat who knew it had cornered a rat.

"This room is on lockdown, by the way," she mentioned, almost casually, gesturing to the featureless black walls around her.  "There is no way in, or out.  No cracks, no crevices.  And it will stay locked for two hours and one minute.  No less.  There is no override, no little computer-y backdoor that your friends might hack, absolutely nothing on this earth or in this universe, that will make those doors open before that time is up.  If the airtight seal inside this room is compromised in any way, even just a crack, the chamber will flood with flesh-eating acidic gas, killing anything inside, instantly.  There is also a Gleet Biofilter here, programmed to accept my DNA and mine alone, and it can sense and kill anything, in any corner of this room, no matter how small it might be.  Two hours.  One minute.  Then, and only then, will those doors open."

<What?  But that means . . . > Tony whispered, trailing off as he put it all together.  He didn't want to believe it, but he could sense that Queen was telling the absolute, infallible truth.  There really was no override.  No way out.  It was a trap, from which there was no possible escape.  His heart fell into the pit of his stomach.  He was a rat in a cage.  <NO!> he cried out.  <NOOOO!>

"Yes, my little RAFian.  You will either be trapped, as me, forever, nothing more than a voice inside my head.  A tool to be used to further my greatness.  Or, you will die.  Your choice."

<That . . . is no choice at all,> Tony answered, with a sudden strength behind his words.  Queen felt her breathing deepen, but it wasn't her that was doing it.  Something within her mind began to concentrate with all the force of its will, overpowering even her own.  Slowly, then faster and faster, her multi-layered body began to fuse back into one, a picture coming into focus, her skin gradually lightening.

BrrrrEEEEET!  BrrrrEEEEET!

"WHAT?!" Queen screamed over the Biofilter's alarm.  She willed the morph back towards herself.  But she had already lost the fight, as Tony's mind grew stronger with each passing moment, and hers withered.  Within seconds, she was gone.

Tony was alone.

He tried to take a deep breath, but his lungs were shaking, as he waited for the end.  Those final few seconds seemed to stretch for a lifetime.  As if time itself was trying to save him.

"Unauthorized life-form detected," a computerized voice intoned.  "Shut your eyes tightly to protect against retinal damage from the Gleet Biofilter."
« Last Edit: July 04, 2015, 07:54:28 PM by DinosaurNothlit »
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Re: End of RAF
« Reply #139 on: July 04, 2015, 07:58:01 PM »
So many stories here on Raf! Gotta find time to read all of them, but I'll probably read this one next.
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Re: End of RAF
« Reply #140 on: July 04, 2015, 08:16:30 PM »
Always good to see a new reader!  Especially after all my old ones have probably given up hope on me, lol.

I'd recommend starting with Enter RAF, at least if you want to read everything from the start.  You don't necessarily have to, but there might be a few things you won't get if you don't.

Chapter Fifty-six

Aquilai rubbed his arm, trying to soothe his knotted muscles while still being careful not to disturb the delicate machinery he was working on.  It was almost done.  His precious TARDIS was so close to being whole again.  Yet, he looked up and around, pulling himself out of his daze for a moment.  How long had it been since he'd looked up from his work?  He no longer knew.  Time seemed to be standing still.

But then, he noticed something moving.  Was it the reason he'd looked up?  Had the motion caught the corner of his eye, even as he was immersed in his work?

Or had he just, somehow, sensed that something was about to go horribly wrong?

It looked like dust, at first.  A grey-black dust that filled the air, like ash billowing forth from some unseen volcano.  But then, there was a humming sound, coming from everywhere at once.  No, not quite from everywhere.  It was coming from the dust cloud itself.

It was the sound of engines, Aquilai realized with a stomach-wrenching jolt.  Bug fighter engines.  But, far worse, layered underneath the drone of the fighters, just barely audible, was the bass, sinister purr of Blade ships.

Blade ships.  Plural.  And, if Aquilai was able to hear them at all, stealthy as an individual Blade ship was . . . they were very plural.  His blood ran cold.

"Move!" he yelled at the other RAFians, but not quite knowing where anyone should go.  Just knowing that they had to get out of there.

Shade looked up and paled.  He looked back down at his work, knowing they weren't finished.  "But, Aquilai, your TARDIS . . . we just need a few more minutes!"

"I know," Aquilai said, his voice breaking.  "But we don't have a few more minutes.  We'll have to leave it."  He gritted his teeth in sadness and anger.  "Come on, we have to LEAVE!"

The RAFians bolted from the TARDIS, running all-out across the barren, lifeless plain.  They didn't know where they were running.  There was no shelter.  Nowhere to hide.  They were just, running.  Tremors rippled through the barren ground as Dino charged forward amidst the stampeding RAFians, shaking the others to their bones.

Suddenly, Shade stopped, and raised his wand.  Cody nearly barreled into him from behind.  "What are you doing?!" Cody hissed.  Shade didn't answer.  He was muttering something, and seemed to be focused on something else.

It took Cody a moment to notice the silvery, almost iridescent material that was emanating from Shade's wand.  The strange substance, or force field, was spreading horizontally in waves, unfurling like sheets of silk.

Recognizing the spell, Cody held out his own hands, palms facing towards Shade's wand.  Ripples of force, like shock waves, coalesced with Shade's spell, amplifying it.

"Keep moving!" Cody grated at Shade, pushing him forward even as he chanted.  He raised his voice so that the others could hear him.  "EVERYONE!  We have to get to the fortress!  It's our only chance!"

Those who heard him, echoed the message to those who didn't, and the panicked herd began to shift direction.  They had a purpose now, rushing towards the ominous black cloud.

Shade ran at the head of the crowd, his wand held high, with Cody right behind, their spell billowing out in front of them like waves in the wake of a ship, covering the crowd of RAFians in its iridescent shelter.

The Bug fighters blotted out the reddish sun, as they flew over the running RAFians, now running in darkness.  Thinking they had the RAFians cornered, the fighters dove towards their prey in a swarm.  Some fired their Dracon beams, but the beams stopped at Shade's shield.

The first few to hit Shade's force field instantly disintegrated, withering into ash, which fluttered down onto the RAFians below.  The next several Bug fighters saw this, and tried to pull up.  A few of them made it.  Others screeched in metallic agony as they tried to change direction, but it was too late, too much momentum, and they plunged through the field anyway, dispersing into more of the same steel-grey powder.

One Bug fighter nicked the field, dissolving almost a quarter of the ship, before managing to turn towards the sky.  But it was too late for that one, too.  Three-quarters of a ship cannot fly.  The surviving upper part of the ship, trailing smoke and flames, plunged back down through the silvery surface, vanishing completely.

"That's RIGHT!" Shade crowed triumphantly to the remaining Bug fighters.  "Come at me!"

A Blade ship descended through the cloud of hesitating Bug fighters, dwarfing them like a whale among dolphins.  It hovered before the RAFians, just above the barrier, seeming to be nearly touching the deadly surface with the point of its dagger-like bridge.  The running RAFians slowed, then stopped.

The Blade ship stared them down across that divide, so close, the RAFians could see through its window, onto the bridge.

There stood . . . Tony?

The man looked just like Tony, but with bright platinum-silver hair instead of Tony's black.  And his face was twisted into a crazed expression that Tony would never wear.  Something between a predatory smile and an angry scowl.  Distorted so he was somehow expressing joy and anger at once.

Had he been captured?  Infested?  No, even a controller would express more restraint than . . . whatever that was.  A Yeerk would not allow such madness to be evident on its host's features.

But, if not, then what was Tony doing on one of Queen's Blade ships?  Who, or what, had he become?

"Tony?" Bear wondered worriedly, voicing all the RAFians' fears aloud.  "What's happened to you?"

The RAFians were so preoccupied with worry, that they almost didn't notice the Andalite who had stepped into view in the Blade ship's other window.

It was Russell.  Except . . . not.  Just like Tony, he was only almost Russell.  This version of the Andalite had blank, robin's-egg blue eyes.  He had no pupils, no irises, only a slightly lighter color in the middle of the eye where the iris should have been.  All four eyes were that same, soulless blue.

His fur color, too, was slightly off, although that took longer to notice.  There was an orange tint, layered over the tips of his otherwise blue fur.  The orange seemed to flicker as he moved, like he was lit by firelight.

The man who might or might not have been Tony grinned a mad grin.  He opened his mouth to say something.  But then, suddenly, he was gone.  No sound, no light.  He was simply there one instant, and in the next instant there was only empty air where he had stood.

Had he teleported?  Was that something that Tony could do?  Was that something that this new, strange version of Tony, could do?

But, of course, unbeknownst to any of them, the Reverse Tony had not teleported.  He did not reappear somewhere else.  The twisted thing that called himself Ynot (because well why not) had, in fact, been erased from this timeline.  The point by which he had been anchored to this reality had just been broken.  And so, his own existence, at least from the perspective of this warped version of events, had been severed.

He no longer existed.  As if he had never been.

The Reverse Russell turned a stalk eye towards where Ynot had been, his expression unreadable.  If he was concerned about the sudden and inexplicable loss of his friend, he didn't show it.  Instead, he smiled that Andalite smile, made all the more sinister by his featureless blue eyes, and began to turn the Blade ship away from the RAFians, breaking his brief contact with them.

As he turned away, he spoke a single word, in a thought-speak voice that somehow seemed louder than it should have been.  Almost as though he was standing right next to the RAFians, instead of in a Blade ship far above their heads.

<SOON.>
« Last Edit: July 04, 2015, 08:23:19 PM by DinosaurNothlit »
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Re: End of RAF
« Reply #141 on: July 04, 2015, 08:32:44 PM »
Sooooo many chapters to read, so little time :P.

Two: TRIGGER WARNING.  This story will contain torture scenes, both described and implied, of several different RAFians.  If the idea of reading about yourself in that situation bothers you, please do not read.
lol, That actually made me want to read the story more. ;)
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Re: End of RAF
« Reply #142 on: July 04, 2015, 11:27:41 PM »
Oh, man! I had almost given up hope for new chapters on this, so this was like Christmas came early. Now I really need a re-read, too.

EDIT: While backtracking through the chapters for my copy-paste for the PDF, I noticed that Saffa was in Cloak's group, and wasn't mentioned there in the new chapters. Or am I confused? It's been a while.
« Last Edit: July 05, 2015, 01:03:39 AM by Saffa »

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Re: End of RAF
« Reply #143 on: July 05, 2015, 02:14:15 AM »
Two: TRIGGER WARNING.  This story will contain torture scenes, both described and implied, of several different RAFians.  If the idea of reading about yourself in that situation bothers you, please do not read.
lol, That actually made me want to read the story more. ;)

I like the way you think!  :D

Oh, man! I had almost given up hope for new chapters on this, so this was like Christmas came early. Now I really need a re-read, too.

EDIT: While backtracking through the chapters for my copy-paste for the PDF, I noticed that Saffa was in Cloak's group, and wasn't mentioned there in the new chapters. Or am I confused? It's been a while.

Yeah, that's correct, Saffa, you're in Cloak's group.  I just can't quite mention everybody in every chapter.  Too many RAFians, and I'm trying hard to balance all their screen-time.  But I think you are briefly mentioned in chapter . . . *checks* 54.  And you'll get a bit more screen-time soon, I promise.  ;)

Whether or not that's a good thing, considering how dark my stories sometimes get . . . well . . .
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Re: End of RAF
« Reply #144 on: July 05, 2015, 02:37:51 AM »
Yeah, well, if I ended up in a tube that's a bit crucial, because otherwise I could be anywhere at any time. :P

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Re: End of RAF
« Reply #145 on: July 05, 2015, 03:23:14 AM »
Nope, sorry, you got tubed.  :P
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Re: End of RAF
« Reply #146 on: July 05, 2015, 03:47:23 AM »
Yay. :P Did you make the edit? Or I could just add that to the PDF doc.

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Re: End of RAF
« Reply #147 on: July 05, 2015, 06:59:58 PM »
 . . . Oh, sh*t.  :facepalm:  I just now went back to count mentions of characters, and it very suddenly hit me that Saffa was the ONLY character not mentioned in chapter 52.  I swear to you, I never meant to snub you like that.  So, yes, I will most definitely be editing that chapter.

My deepest apologies, to my most faithful reader.  :-[

I will also be editing chapter 54.  I apparently can't count how many cryo-tubes vs. how many characters there were.  Uh, I mean, there is a character who didn't get put in a cryo-tube and I totally planned it that way all along.  Mm-hmm.

Hopefully I'll be able to get around to these edits sometime tonight, but, just so you know, my life suddenly got super-busy and will probably remain that way until after the RAFcon.  So, enjoy the chapters, but there probably won't be much more coming just yet.  :P

EDIT: So, I did have time to make the edits.  Quoting them below with the added parts bolded, to hopefully make it easier on Saffa updating her PDFs.

As more RAFians and Hork-bajir entered the fray, Terenia used the chaos to circle behind Queen.  She clutched her dracon beam, almost cradling it.  It was her only weapon, her only hope.

Saffa, meanwhile, wheeled away from a Hork-bajir, while it clutched its face in agony.  She noticed what Terenia was doing, and without hesitation she swooped down, flapping her wings right in Queen's face as she tried to gain purchase with her talons.  While Queen was batting wildly at the mad hawk, Terenia was in position, unseen.

"ENOUGH!" Queen roared, finally managing to knock Saffa out of the way.


TSEEEEEW!  The beam lanced directly at the back of Queen's head, point-blank.  Direct hit!

Her eyes darted towards another one of the security monitors, this one displaying the captive RAFians in their cell.  She counted their bio-scans, and then counted them again, making sure the RAFians were all still there.  She was paranoid that one would escape, and from there her entire scheme might unravel.

But, no, all that had been captured were still captive.  And, Queen noted with some amusement, the nine she had captured in the attack on the fortress were trying to set free the nine, of the original ten captured from the past, that she had frozen in stasis.  The last one, of course, was not to be found in this cell.

A little strange, though, that there was a group of nine and one of ten.  As if one RAFian might have been missing, escaped before they were even captured.  But she brushed off the thought, certain she was just imagining things.
« Last Edit: July 05, 2015, 07:39:20 PM by DinosaurNothlit »
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Re: End of RAF
« Reply #148 on: July 05, 2015, 08:28:25 PM »
Hey Dino, I have one question about both RAFictions.
Oh, and some notes for anybody reading this who might not be familiar with some of the RAFians involved.  Tony = Unknown User, Jess = Kit Cloudkicker, Parker = Darth Revan, Cody = Capt. Jack Harkness (or Broken), GazStalker = Giggle Tumor.
So are these characters based on these various users? Or are these characters actually these users? (For example Is Tony actually Unknown User or is he based on Unknown User?) Other than that, I like Enter Raf so far.   
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Re: End of RAF
« Reply #149 on: July 06, 2015, 12:05:27 AM »
They are the actual users, yes. ;) I like to think of the worlds of Enter/End of RAF and Memoirs of a RAFian as different universes, like comic books do. Saffa has a different backstory/origin story in both.

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