Author Topic: End of RAF  (Read 9217 times)

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Offline Dylan

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Re: End of RAF
« Reply #150 on: July 06, 2015, 12:20:59 AM »
Hmmmm, That's neat. They might as well be fictional characters, they haven't responded in like a million years.


Also, Saffa you're a character? That's pretty cool. ;)
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Re: End of RAF
« Reply #151 on: July 06, 2015, 12:54:02 AM »
I've been on this place for nearly three years, ya know, it was bound to happen :P

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Offline DinosaurNothlit

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Re: End of RAF
« Reply #152 on: July 08, 2015, 08:07:40 PM »
Hey, Dpsb, if you stick around for the end of the story (which, knowing me, might be anywhen from next month to several years from now), maybe you might end up being a character, too.  ;)

Managed to write one last chapter before I'll be flying off to the RAFcon.  Wanted to leave the story on a more positive note.

Chapter Fifty-seven

The frozen RAFians slowly came around, freed from their plastic-and-ice prisons by Russell's tail blade and Phoenix, Demos, and Estelore's fire.

A renewed sense of gut-wrenching apprehension jerked them awake from their cold hibernation, as they woke to find themselves all trapped together in a cell, within Queen's dark and dismal fortress.

The two groups of RAFians chattered nervously to ease the tension, bringing each other up to speed on how each of their missions had failed, how they had been captured.  Not that any of that mattered, now that they were here.

It was strange, for the ones who had been in those tubes, to think that they had traveled through time, without time-traveling at all.  Past becoming future, without them there to witness it.  It felt like they had gotten lost, and simply found themselves in another time.

Being in stasis had not been like sleep.  Not exactly.  More like, non-existence.  Unconsciousness, sure, but certainly not the easy, relaxing kind that is supposed to happen naturally to human beings at night.  More like the kind that happens when you're knocked out by a heavy blow to the head.  And so, it was with a great deal of miserable groaning that the stasis-induced RAFians were rudely roused back to the world of the living.

It didn't help that, no matter how careful Demos and Phoenix and Estelore were trying to be, some amount of burned skin was inevitable from the process of thawing frozen bodies.  It was an obviously impossible task to melt a person, quickly enough not to kill them, what with half of their body being frozen while the other half started to pump blood, but still slowly enough not to cook their skin a bit.  No matter how careful they were being, and of course they were being as gentle and as careful with their friends' lives as they were possibly able, it simply could not be done.

Seal was running around frantically, using her powers to apply ice to the burns.  Jess, the only true healer, wasn't there.  She had stayed behind, in the TARDIS, during both the first and second missions.  The tyclairecorn was, after all, a healer more so than a fighter.  So it was now up to Seal to do the very best she could.

Saffa shivered.  She hadn't quite thawed evenly, her insides still feeling far colder than they should have felt.  She was one of the luckier ones, though, having been only minimally burned by Phoenix's flames.

Seal checked on her anyway, but Saffa quickly shooed her off towards the others.  She was already morphing back to hawk to repair what damage there was.  As the little pinniped scuttled off, Saffa could hear the delicate twinkling sound of glass rubbing against glass.  There was an odd little leather pouch strapped over Seal's shoulder, which Saffa was pretty sure hadn't been there before.

Some kind of medicine?  No, if that were true, then she'd be using it now.  Was it some sort of weaponry, that Seal had brought with her to the siege on the fortress?  Maybe.  Seal was, of course, far too busy to be asked about it, so Saffa decided to leave it be.

Once everyone was thawed and awake, a feeling of dismal hopelessness began to set in.  Yeah, they were awake, and those that could morph were healthy, although Bloodbane and Terenia were both forced to endure their burns for the time being.  And they were all alive and uninfested.  But, one question remained, niggling at the back of everyone's mind.

Well, what now?  What could they possibly do about their own predicament?  They'd already tested the strength of the force-field blocking the doors, and nothing the RAFians could do seemed to have any effect on it.  So, what was there to do, besides simply sit and wait for the inevitable?

"What happened to Tony?" someone suddenly wondered, but Phoenix just sadly shook his head.  Nobody had seen Tony, not since that first mission had stormed Queen's fortress.  Nobody knew what had happened to him.

Suddenly Gaz looked up.  She could hear something.  Faint, but it was there.  She shifted to bat form, turning her large and sensitive ears towards the far wall, scuttling forward awkwardly, using the claws on her wings to pull herself along.  A dull, repetitive, thudding noise, punctuated by what seemed to be a human voice.

"Bom-----da---axim----" was the extent of what she could make out.  It was a voice, but far away, and muffled by the walls of their prison.

The other RAFians were now looking at Gaz intently.  It was obvious that she was listening for something, but nobody else could quite hear it yet.

Then, after a few more moments, Seal heard it too.  The booming sound, like distant fireworks.  Then, the voice.  "Bomba---da---axima," the voice was saying.  Over and over.  Each time, it got a little clearer.  Whatever it was, it was getting closer.

"Bombarda, maxima!" Gaz could hear the full extent of the words now.  And the booming sounds were distant explosions, Gaz realized.  She could faintly hear the clatter of rubble after each blast.

"Bombarda!  Maxima!"

Boom.

The RAFians could all hear it now.  It was a powerful voice, shouting at the very maximum volume that a human voice could project.  Straining for every ounce of force behind the incantation he was shouting.  Still muffled behind the walls, but every explosion made the voice a little clearer.

"Bombarda!  Maxima!"

BOOM.

No, wait, it was two voices.  They were uttering the spell in such perfect unison that they only sounded like one voice.

"BOMBARDA!  MAXIMA!"

BOOM!

"BOMBARDA!  MAXIMA!"

With a deafening shock-wave, a cloud of rubble and dust flooded into the cell.  The RAFians coughed, and squinted against the dim light that was now piercing the dust, having become accustomed to the darkness.  Those who had been in stasis, had not even seen light for what seemed like years, to them.

"BOMBARDA MAXIMA!" came one last cry, and with another explosion, the hole was now big enough for the trapped RAFians to see their rescuers.

"Well, come on," Cody said, urgently beckoning the others out of the cell.  "We aren't quite out of the woods yet."
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Offline Dylan

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Re: End of RAF
« Reply #153 on: July 08, 2015, 08:13:58 PM »
Hey, Dpsb, if you stick around for the end of the story (which, knowing me, might be anywhen from next month to several years from now), maybe you might end up being a character, too.  ;)
Yayyyyy! I'm gonna totally stick around and read the end. :)
« Last Edit: July 08, 2015, 11:10:12 PM by Dpsb5 »
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Re: End of RAF
« Reply #154 on: July 09, 2015, 12:24:39 AM »
Great, I got to be Captain America. :P

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Re: End of RAF
« Reply #155 on: July 10, 2015, 10:56:01 PM »
My computer just exploded from an overload of time travel awesomeness :D
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Re: End of RAF
« Reply #156 on: July 21, 2015, 08:52:14 PM »
Chapter Fifty-eight

A dim ray of light pierced Monica's lonely, pitch-black cell.  A deep fissure, barely a crack in width, opened up by an explosion far above.  A tiny puff of dust wafted down, dancing in the newfound light.  The glimmer was barely visible, but it was nonetheless the first light Monica had seen in years.

Or, the first light she would have seen.  Had her mind been present to witness it.

She was having a flashback.  Reliving that fateful day, so many years ago.

The day she had last been free.

These flashbacks were the only way Monica could still remember what it felt like.  To be able to move her own arms and legs.  To see where she commanded her eyes to look.

These flashbacks, were the only way she could stay sane.

<So fragile, the human mind,> a voice in her head commented with curious interest, watching her own flashback along with her.  The voice did not mind the dark, the stillness, the monotony of this existence.  It was not so different from the Yeerk pool, after all.

But Monica didn't hear the voice, or even if she did she didn't care.  She was deep in her own memory.

After the battle with Queen's forces in Marie's old school, Monica had suddenly awakened with her head underwater.  Except, it wasn't water.  She gasped for breath as the sludgy liquid lapped over her face.  She was being held down, and something was moving, pushing its way into her ear.

"NO!" she'd cried, horrified, struggling against her captors.  But she couldn't escape.  The Hork-bajir held her arms in an iron grip, and for all her struggling, she could not budge so much as an inch.

Why was this even happening?  She had seen the stasis tubes, before Queen had shot her with the dart that had knocked her unconscious.  Why did she even need to be infested, if she was only going to be put into stasis anyway?

But, wait.  No, something about that scene, wasn't quite right.

That's when it had hit her.  There had been nine stasis tubes, in that little wooden shed on the college campus.  But there had been ten people who had gone on the mission.

There had been no stasis tube for Monica.

Why?

The truth, unbeknownst to Monica back then, was that Queen had been afraid.  Afraid of her.  Afraid of a possible link between them, and what such a link could do.  Their timelines interconnecting, one branching off of the other.  Interdependent.

Queen had been born from Monica.  That fact scared her, on some deep and instinctual level that even the multi-dimensional monarch could not quite fully understand.  But she sensed something, unsettling, about Monica.  And whatever unsettled Queen, must be locked away, protected, hidden.

 . . . forgotten.

The cryo tubes were far too risky to be used on Monica, Queen had realized.  There was a risk of death that would always come from holding a body lifeless.  Queen didn't mind taking that risk upon mere RAFians, of course.  But not her own progenitor.

And so, instead, Queen had had Monica infested, to keep her complacent, keep her powerless.  Then, she had locked her own 'creator' in a deep underground passageway, beneath what had still been nothing more than a school back then.  The place was an old forgotten maintenance tunnel.  Nobody remembered what it had even been used for.  Queen had sealed the long-abandoned room with concrete, leaving only the tiniest slit in the ceiling, for food to be dropped through.

Queen couldn't use the Time Matrix.  Not for this.  Not on her.  Another risk that could not be taken, lest Queen's greatest advantage be somehow wrested from her.

So Queen left her various servants, the Banned, the Reversed, the Yeerks, in charge of feeding the prisoner.  Being sure to stress, that death was not the worst thing that awaited any who forgot.  With that, Queen had simply jumped forward in time.  Leaving Monica to take the long way.  The slow way.  The drudgingly long, agonizingly slow, way.

<Have you not enjoyed my company?> the Yeerkish voice sniffed, reading Monica's thoughts even as she had them.  <I'm actually a little hurt, Monica.>

Monica immediately loosed a barrage of insults and hatred at her Yeerk captor.  Words and thoughts that couldn't be repeated or described in polite company.  The Yeerk sighed sadly.  It was all too used to this, at this point.

Nevertheless, hearing that voice had already sent Monica spiraling back into her flashback.  Back to the moment that same Yeerk had entered her mind.

No matter how much she had tried to deny her fate, deep down, from the moment she had felt that cold slime move against her ear, she had to have known all hope was lost.  As the Yeerk pushed its way deeper and deeper, Monica began to feel a creeping paralysis overtake her.  She lost control of her arms, then her legs.  Her desperate thrashing was quelled.

Last to go were her eyes, which grew dead and cold as the Yeerk effortlessly paralyzed their darting panicked movements.  It was over.

But, even then, and even though on some level she still knew this was only a memory, she always thought, maybe, if she had just struggled harder, pushed back with all her strength, maybe this day would have turned out differently.  Maybe she could still get away, before the Yeerk could fully take hold.

She couldn't really be this weak, could she?  No, she could still fight back!  She had to!

<Please, don't,> the Yeerk had said, pityingly.  <You can't win.>

The Yeerk, now fully in control of her body, opened Monica's memories.  There, in a corner of Monica's mind, a deep and buried memory, it saw . . . itself.  A character in a fictional book series?

Impossible, it had thought.  No, I could never have been that naive.  Humans were to Yeerks as pigs were to humans, after all.  Just meat.  A means of sustaining life, nothing more.  To think otherwise was foolish.

Yet, Monica had also been surprised, when the Yeerk told her its name.  But, thinking about it in retrospect, it now made sense to her.  The Yeerk in her head was not the same Yeerk as the one that had been in the books, after all.

That Yeerk, the one the Animorphs had met, had only become what she became because of the Animorphs.  They had reached her, somehow.  Touched her.  Changed her.

But, the Animorphs had never existed in this timeline.  They had never encountered this version of this particular Yeerk.

Aftran.
« Last Edit: July 21, 2015, 08:54:16 PM by DinosaurNothlit »
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Offline DinosaurNothlit

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Re: End of RAF
« Reply #157 on: July 21, 2015, 09:02:31 PM »
Chapter Fifty-nine

The RAFians gratefully climbed out of their dank cell, following the lead of their rescuers.  It was obvious that it hadn't been easy to get through.  The wall had been several feet thick, and it seemed there might even have been other rooms in the way, judging by the length of the tunnel the others had come from.  Most of the tunnel was jagged, like a cave, but every now and then it smoothed out a bit, like the floor might have been flat underneath the rubble that now covered it.

There didn't seem to be any guards, though.  That was odd.  Where had everyone gone?

As Terenia clambered out of the cell with the others, stumbling along the rocky tunnel, she felt a brief, slight pang of pain.  Hunger pain.  But it wasn't coming from her human stomach.

 . . . No, no.  Oh, god, no.  Had it already been three days?  She must have lost track of time, as the RAFians had bounced back and forth from one time to another, throwing off her circadian rhythm.  Or, maybe, it was the years she had spent, frozen in stasis.  Had time still passed, only slowed down by the cold?

She shook her head.  The pain had passed.  She told herself she must've imagined it.  She was fine.

Terenia was mercifully distracted by a clatter of hooves.  Jess cantered from Bloodbane's direction, towards Terenia, reaching for her with her horn.

Oh, right, Terenia remembered, the two of them still had burned skin leftover from being thawed from their stasis by fire.  Jess touched her horn to Terenia's scars, healing her as they walked.  Feeling rejuvenated, Terenia wrote off the twinges of 'hunger' she had felt before.  It must've been the burns she'd been feeling, not hunger.  Yeah.  That was all.

"How did you know where we were?" Richard asked, blinking blearily as he stumbled forward.

"We guessed," Myitt admitted.  "We knew something had gone wrong.  You guys were gone way too long.  We figured you must have been captured.  From there, we had to just guess where Queen would have put her dungeon."  Myitt laughed darkly.  "All villains are at least predictable enough, in that way."

"In other words, we got lucky," Jess muttered.

"Wait.  How come the fortress wasn't protected against magic?" Seal wondered, as she clambered awkwardly over boulders of concrete.  "It was protected against teleportation, wasn't it?"

"Magic is different," Cody explained, a touch of pride in his voice.  "Nothing non-magical is magic-proof.  And Queen, for all her powers, is still a muggle."

Seal laughed a bit at the thought.  But her laughter caught in her throat when she saw what lay in front of her, through the still-distant exit of the stony passageway Shade and Cody had carved out of Queen's fortress.

Bug fighters.  Blade ships.  Legions of them.  A few on the ground, most in the air.  The ones on the ground were disgorging their contents, Hork-bajir, Taxxons, humans . . . and other things.  Monstrous things, too far away for Seal to see clearly what exactly they were.  She could tell only what they were not, and they were not human.

Shade was holding up his wand, some kind of iridescent stuff flowing forth, like a bubble around the RAFians that moved with them as they walked.  But it seemed like an awfully flimsy shield against such powerful forces as those that lay ahead.

After what seemed an eternity of stumbling over the concrete rubble left behind by Shade and Cody's explosions, the RAFians finally emerged into the hellish light of the outside world, and were greeted by a clearer view of Queen's forces.

The monstrous things Seal had seen were now lining up in front of the rest of Queen's army.  All of them were twitching with nervous and eager energy.  Like they had been waiting for this moment their entire lives.

There was a sickly greenish-scaled dinosaur, with a long and gnarled snout like a deformed crocodile, a sail on its back, limping along on all fours.  It had Dino's eyes, but they were filled with ferocious hunger.

There was a bear, its fur black and wiry.  It seemed to be muttering to itself, its mouth constantly moving, as it tilted its head rhythmically back and forth.  Yet, the odd creature was somehow disturbingly reminiscent of Bear.

An android walked among the others, its body dull and tarnished, with a strange radioactive green glow highlighting its features.  But the basic design was familiar.  It was the exact same make and model as Lumy.

A great-horned owl flew purposefully overhead.  It locked its laser-focused gaze upon Saffa, their sharp eyes meeting even across the vast distance between them.

A distorted and dark-furred tyclairecorn galloped along, the jagged edges of its broken horn glinting menacingly in the reddish sunlight.  The RAFians had never seen another tyclairecorn, other than Jess.

There was a wolf-like but humanoid creature, grinning proudly to show off its cruel fangs.  A twisted remnant of Gaz's smile.

A serpentine, oriental dragon flew above the scene, its scarlet-and-gold ribbon-like body somehow gliding through the air without the benefit of wings.  It roared.  But it was Shock's roar.

A seal bounded along, darting between the legs of the larger creatures.  It was perfectly identical to Seal herself, but with red eyes.  DemonSeal's eyes.  But, no, this wasn't DemonSeal, either, since Seal could still feel her demonic counterpart within her own mind.

Seal couldn't suppress a shiver, a strange feeling about this other seal.  Could it be?  The Reverse of herself that she had once written stories about, long ago?  Orca?

<What are you?> Noelle asked of a distant creature that looked vaguely like her, but a feral Andalite, with shaggy fur and slitted eyes.  The strange Andalite didn't reply, except to utter a savage thought-speak hiss.

A single human came forth from the ranks.  As he got close enough, the RAFians recognized him.  They looked at Cody, and then at the other Cody, and back at their own Cody again.

They were not the same, not quite.  They wore the same face, but this was not Cody.  This version of him resembled a zombie, with jagged chunks of his body looking like they had rotted away, exposing bits of arm bones, a few skeletal fingers, and perhaps a third of his rib cage.  But where pieces of his flesh were missing, the hollow places were coated with a metallic luster.  Like someone had poured liquid mercury into his wounds.  His bones were not white.  They were the color of steel.

He wasn't a zombie at all.  He was a cyborg.

"Who are you?" Cody asked fearfully.

"I was Broken," the doppelganger replied cryptically.  "Now I am Restored."

'Restored' lifted a small metal rod that looked like a wand.  From the tip of the wand, more metal poured out, shiny grey ooze cascading down like a fountain.  It flowed purposefully, like a living thing, pouring across the ground like a swarm of army ants.

When it reached Shade's shield, the two forces began to react with one another, the metal eating through the iridescent spell.  Like an acid, or a fire, it spread up and up, destroying the silvery fabric as it went.  Looking closely, you could see individual, dust-sized pieces of metal.  Swarming, seething, each insectoid automaton somehow ripping and tearing the incorporeal material as they moved across it.  Tiny robotic bugs.

Nanites.

"Like it?" Restored asked, grinning a savage grin.  "Technology, with just a touch of magic.  It's a powerful combination."

The RAFians looked on in fear as their last layer of defense dissolved before their eyes.  There was now nothing at all standing between them and the full might of Queen's forces.

Queen's army, with those twisted parodies of RAFians, charged forward, surging like a tidal wave.

Restored howled a savage battle cry, his voice distorted, more machine than human.

"It begins!"
« Last Edit: July 21, 2015, 11:35:13 PM by DinosaurNothlit »
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Re: End of RAF
« Reply #158 on: July 21, 2015, 09:14:06 PM »
Chapter Sixty

Queen slammed her fists against the monitor, cracking the glass.  The image on the screen flickered, but remained.  The footage around the crack was offset slightly, flickering differently on one side of the crack than the other.

It was outrageous.  She had them!  She'd had them in the palm of her hand, those RAFians.  But she'd tried to grasp them too tightly, too quickly, and in that moment, in that one lapse of judgment, they had wriggled free.

Blinded by the sweet taste of victory, she had forgotten one simple but critical fact.  RAFians, wily creatures that they were, could exploit the smallest misstep, the tiniest chink in her armor.  That was all it took, one little oversight, and they would always have the upper hand again.  How many times, in various plots and storylines, had she learned this?  Too many to count.

But, no!  It was impossible!  She'd had them!  They were hers, all hers, and now they were being taken from her!  It wasn't fair!

Down the hallway, interrupting her thoughts, she heard the clopping of Andalite hooves, accompanied by the scratching of chupacabra claws against the concrete floor.  Perfect, she snarled to herself.  Those two were just who she needed to see.

She spun on her heels, before Chimi or Aloth could react.  She grabbed for the nearest of the two, which was unfortunate for the chupacabra.  With superhuman strength and claw-like nails, she clamped her hand around his scaly neck like a vise.

"The RAFians have escaped," she said to the struggling, writhing creature.  "This is not acceptable.  Do you hear me?  You, and every sorry creature who can hear these words, will do everything in your power to fix this error.  And perhaps you may live to see another sunrise!"

She gripped Chimi's throat tighter, as though inflicting more pain might force him to pay attention, even as he struggled to breathe.  "Everything in your power, pathetic though your powers might be!  Rally the troops, dispatch the Reverses!  The RAFians must be retaken.  Do you understand this?  Does your pitiful brain grasp the severity of this situation?  They.  Must.  Be.  Retaken."

Aloth was beginning to tense.  Not because he was worried for Chimi, but because he realized that even if Queen actually killed one of her own minions, she might not be satisfied.

But, just as Chimi's green face was beginning to darken to a bluer shade, Queen released him.  He fell to his knees, gasping for breath, then skittered away like an injured animal.

Queen glared at Aloth.  Contemplating all of his possible reasons for standing there like a buffoon rather than following her commands.  "Was I not clear?" she snarled.  "Or are you simply too useless to do anything at all?"  Quickly, Aloth made a curt but formal half-bowing motion, and practically ran from the room.

The last member of the Banned remained behind, leaning against the doorway as Chimi and Aloth blew past.  "Surely, this was not unexpected," Yorick said, almost casually.  "Did we forget who we were dealing with?"

Queen snarled again, but didn't lash out as she had before.  She knew that Yorick was smarter than the others.  Queen trusted his judgment in a way that was reserved only for him.

He was right, of course.  She had underestimated her opponents.  She'd had them, and thought the battle had already been won, so she'd done the very most expedient thing to bring about her assured victory.  She'd thrown the full blunt force of her army at them, certain that that would be enough.

Not considering that she might still need the element of surprise.  Forgetting that they were RAFians, creatures so dastardly clever that no rash action on her part could ever have gone unpunished.

But . . . the very idea of it, that this was her own fault . . . that thought stung deep inside her.  No, it couldn't be her fault.  If it was her fault, then that meant she was not infallible.  That she was . . . human.

It meant that she was weak.

She snarled again, pacing like a lion in a cage.  She wasn't weak.  She wasn't stupid.  It was preposterous.  Those RAFians, they were just cowardly little-

"My Queen, you should put more faith in the Reversed," Yorick said calmly, interrupting her thoughts.  "They will win this fight, you'll see.  This moment in time, these exact circumstances, this is what they were made for.  What we made them for.  They are stronger than the RAFians.  Smarter.  Crueler.  They are everything the RAFians are, and far more that they are not.  The RAFians cannot win."

He gestured at the monitor, showing the barren plateau outside her fortress.  "Just look at them now.  Tell me if you think I'm wrong."

Queen looked at the screen in the cracked monitor.  In the flickering image, she saw her armies, all the might of the Yeerk Empire and the twisted abominations that were the Reverse RAFians.

And, in that moment, it was true, the RAFians did look very small.  The lot of them, those last RAFians to survive the erasure of their beloved forum, could fit inside a single shard of glass within that broken screen.

They were surrounded, hopelessly outnumbered by Queen's own forces.  And as the battle ensued, the RAFians seemed to be swallowed up, enveloped, by them.  They were gripped in the maw of an unstoppable monster.

Already they were stumbling, weary from unending battle, lack of sleep, and hunger.  Queen's armies pressed in, unforgiving, unyielding.

A few RAFians were already running from their Reverse selves, even as Queen watched.  Terrified by the specter of fighting their own broken reflections.  The Reverses were RAFians, after all.  RAFians, but twisted and warped into monsters.

Of course, even those RAFians who had become desperate enough to make a run for it, were still surrounded by countless Hork-bajir and Taxxons.  Controllers beyond number.  It was the full might of Queen's Yeerk army, the unstoppable invading alien force that held the entire world in its thrall.

There was no escape for the RAFians.  Evil was everywhere, and good was on the run.

Despite herself, Queen flashed a sly grin at Yorick, glad for his cunning wisdom.  "I knew there was a reason I kept you around."
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Re: End of RAF
« Reply #159 on: July 21, 2015, 09:34:04 PM »
One more chapter, for the time being.  Although I've pre-written a lot of material for the Reverse battle (been looking forward to this for a loooooooong time), so the chapters should theoretically come as quickly as I can stitch the disconnected scenes together, at this point.

Chapter Sixty-one

The two sides clashed with primal force.  The RAFians, tired, scared, but ready to defend themselves.  The Reversed, angry, hateful, full of a yearning and hungry kind of fury, unable to be restrained.

Scales and claws and teeth and skin and fur and feathers, colliding and gnashing and whirling and dodging.  It was mayhem.

A comet of firey red, and a comet of icy blue, blazed through the sky, swirling and weaving around one another.  Every time they collided, or even passed too close, there would be a sudden loud crackle, their opposing energies violently mixing.  Fire melting ice, ice freezing fire.  They looked and sounded like fireworks in the sky.

Seal and Orca's battle on the ground, seemed to be a reflection of Arctix and Phoenix's battle above.  Fire and ice flared against each other, waves of frost met with waves of wildfire, as each pinniped pushed their element towards the other, splashing it across the ground like water.  The heat and cold hissed at one another, fighting their own battle as their masters dueled.

A spear of ice glanced past Orca, its sharpened edge drawing blood from her fur.  Outraged, she threw a fireball straight down, flames dancing around her.  She disappeared in the flames, but the fire spread.  Somehow burning the withered plants that shouldn't have given it enough fuel to burn.

Seal summoned a stream of water, trying to put out the fire, but the blaze exploded into a cloud of sparks.  Each ember grew into another fire as it touched the ground.

"You can teleport through water," Orca said, her voice now coming from behind Seal.  Seal whipped around, but Orca was not there.  "And, well, I am your opposite," said the voice, speaking from another of the fires that had sprung up from the sparks.  Seal turned again, but only saw a flash of fur as Orca once again disappeared into the flames.

A demonic laugh seemed to come from everywhere, as the flames spiraled outward, with nothing Seal could do to stop them.  Seal recoiled from the heat, as the smell of her own singed fur filled her nose.  Not knowing what else to do, desperately hoping she could outrun the wildfire and with it her Reverse, she bounded away as fast as her flippered body could carry her.  The flames closed around where she had been, mere seconds after she had made it out.

The owl and the hawk swirled and darted around one another, always keeping their outstretched talons pointed towards the other, even as they both tried to fly behind the other and gain the advantage.  It was like watching an intricate airborne dance, set to high speed.  The owl was slightly bigger, but the hawk had the advantage of experience.

Saffa knew she could not afford to let her Reverse out of her sight, even for a moment.  The owl was silent, deadly silent.  If she couldn't see it, then it might as well not be there.  But it was fast.  Almost too fast to keep it in view.

Saffa made a grab for the owl, and the two birds locked talons.  They kept circling each other, but now it was a more powerful dance, two spinning pendulums, each lending force to the other as they rapidly built up speed.

The wild force of their flight spun them like a feathered pinwheel in the wind, around, and around and around-and-aroundandaround.  Sky and ground blurred together until it was hard to know which was which.

Dizzy, they let go, the force of their momentum propelling them away from each other like a slingshot.

Saffa would have smiled if she could, because the owl had ended up below her.  She dived.  She picked up speed, and hit the owl from above before it could gain its bearings, tearing a jagged bloody hole in its wing.

<Aaaah!> the owl screamed, in Saffa's own voice.  Saffa faltered, bewildered.  How could she bear to fight, she thought to herself, when the thing she was fighting was herself?

"Who are you?!" Bear yelled at his own Reverse, even as the two of them traded blows with their powerful, ursine claws.

"Name?" the black bear said wonderingly, still countering and lunging at Bear even as he mused.  Of course, neither of the bears was actually 'talking' in the usual sense.  Merely thinking loudly enough for the thought-translators on their necks to pick up their thoughts and translate them into words.  Like thought-speak, but processed into audible sound.

"Yes, yes, it wants a name," the black-furred bear went on.  "Oh, but there were many names.  Many, many many names, to pass away the nothing.  But, I think . . . yes.  Claw, it was.  Claw was the best name.  Hmm, mine?  Was it my, name?  Yes.  I think so.  I am Claw."  He suddenly fell silent, as if surprised by the thought.  As if he hadn't quite expected those exact words to come out of him.  "Claw," he mused, muttering the name quietly to himself.  He had already forgotten that he'd picked the very same name for himself, long before.

Bear was silent for a moment or two.  Bewildered by this strange creature that spoke in his own 'voice,' but whose mind was clearly broken.  He redoubled his focus on the fight, panting, as he threw his weight against the bizarre other bear.

"And, what, are you?" Bear asked hesitantly, between grunting breaths.

"They put me in a room," Claw moaned to himself.  "A room full of lightning.  Electrons everywhere, buzzing beneath my skin.  Each bolt was a flash of infinity.  I felt myself moving but not moving, teleporting to myself.  I was everywhere and nowhere.  Infinite, and nothing."

But then, he seemed to remember something, and grinned, tilting his head at Bear.  "The bear doesn't like lightning, does he?  Yes, he doesn't like it.  Because the lightning tastes like places.  So, so many places."  With that, he raised a paw, and a bolt of yellow-white electricity fired towards Bear.

Claw was too close, mere inches away, and the lightning was far too fast.  Bear had no hope to dodge.  Not that he could have, anyway.  He knew from experience, lightning was drawn to him like a magnet.

Suddenly, his RAFsona teleported by the bolt of lightning, he was gone.

Meanwhile, Ellruss, the Andalite with dead blue eyes and fire-lit fur, was clashing blades with Russell.  Strike and counter-strike, they danced an intricate dance of whirling scimitars.  Yet, Russell could sense that the other Andalite was toying with him.  Holding something back.  But, what?

Suddenly, Russell gripped his head in pain, wincing against a sound that only he could hear.  A private thought-speak scream.

<KEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE-row!>

It was the howl of a Howler.

But instead of a physical sound, this was inside Russell's mind.  Inside his mind!  He put his hands over his ears, but the gesture was utterly futile.  His very thoughts were filled with that horrible cry.  It was a thought-speak sound of terror and pain, pure unadulterated anguish, dumped directly into his brain.  Images of harsh light and rushing blood and sharp edges, translated into that all-too-familiar howl by his own traitorous mind.

Russell only narrowly dodged Ellruss's poised tail blade, as he galloped at full Andalite running speed away from the source of that howl, blinking blood from his eyes as he ran.  A few other RAFians and their Reverses paused, curious, wondering what unseen and unheard thing could have made Russell run for his life like the hounds of hell were after him.

Estelore, and their Reverse, stood out from the battle, the only ones not actively fighting one another.  No, their human bodies simply stood, their faces turned upwards, facing the sky.  They each glowed faintly, just a blurry mist of a glow.  Estelore glowed white.  Loraest seemed to 'glow' black, a reversed glow, an emanation that drew light into itself.

Their real fight, of course, was occurring many thousands of light-years away.  Deep in the depths of space, where the earth's sun was only a faint pinpoint of light among the distant stars.

A star and a black hole wearily circled each other.  They drew close and then away again, an intricate dance across the emptiness of space, caught in each other's gravitational pull, orbiting around one another.  The black hole would approach, and a flare of fire would shoot from the star.  But the fire wasn't an attack.  It was more like a wound, as though the darkness of the black hole had drawn fire out of the star, like blood from a cut.

The star was nervous and afraid.  A feeling that was almost unfamiliar, after so long unused.  Estelore knew that they could not win this fight.

Why do you wish us harm? Estelore asked fearfully, in the language of the cosmos.  It was a voice that could only be heard by the stars and their kin.  A soundless sound that reverberated not through air but through the fabric of space-time itself.

We hate you, because you are, Loraest replied.

Because we are . . . what? Estelore wondered.

No.  Because you ARE.  You exist.  And your existence is all that we despise.

But . . . why?

Because we are NOT you! Loraest raged.  We are not you and yet we are.  We were, once, just as you are.  And yet we cannot be.  We can never again be as we once were.

We do not understand, Estelore said sadly.

We did not think you would, the black hole mocked, as it closed the distance between them.
« Last Edit: July 21, 2015, 11:45:33 PM by DinosaurNothlit »
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Re: End of RAF
« Reply #160 on: July 22, 2015, 12:46:12 AM »
Quote
"I was Broken," the doppelganger replied cryptically.  "Now I am Restored."

This is so meta. :P

I assume the Aquilai-Dalek will show up later when he does.

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Re: End of RAF
« Reply #161 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.

Impossible!

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.
« Last Edit: July 24, 2015, 10:50:17 PM by DinosaurNothlit »
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Re: End of RAF
« Reply #162 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.
« Last Edit: July 24, 2015, 11:13:03 PM by DinosaurNothlit »
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Re: End of RAF
« Reply #163 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.
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Offline Saffa

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Re: End of RAF
« Reply #164 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?

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