Author Topic: End of RAF  (Read 8723 times)

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Offline DinosaurNothlit

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Re: End of RAF
« Reply #165 on: July 25, 2015, 09:26:58 AM »
It's happening! The thing where Aquilai met the other Aquilai. :D

Won't be long, now.  ;)

And I thought Mars was the god of war?

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

. . . In other words, it's RAF don't question it.  :P
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Offline Saffa

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Re: End of RAF
« Reply #166 on: July 25, 2015, 09:42:44 AM »
Alright then. :P

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Offline theyoungphoenix

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Re: End of RAF
« Reply #167 on: August 06, 2015, 11:22:59 AM »
I caught up again, awesome writing Dino!! I'll have to peek in every now and then to watch for updates. ^^
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Offline DinosaurNothlit

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Re: End of RAF
« Reply #168 on: July 16, 2017, 11:03:19 PM »
*blows dust off thread* *coughs* *tries to blow off some more dust* *coughs some more* *gives up and grabs a shovel*

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

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

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

Chapter Sixty-five

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 . . . Perhaps the RAFians deserved it.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Aquilai recognized that light.  It was Dalek technology.

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

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

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

"This is it," Ury sang, as he walked through Orca's fires, towards the other RAFians fighting their own battles.  Bringing his deadly radiation with him as he went.  "The apocalypse."
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Offline gh

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Re: End of RAF
« Reply #169 on: July 16, 2017, 11:21:46 PM »
I'd personally prefer to play a large part in a smaller mission, but that's up to you. I gotta get around to reading this at some point, but for now, Dark Souls 2 is almost done downloading :P
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Offline Quaf

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Re: End of RAF
« Reply #170 on: July 17, 2017, 06:20:53 AM »
Wow I remember reading Enter RAF and this aaaaages ago it was so good

and yeah what gh said pretty much

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

a bit over 2 years ago XD
« Last Edit: July 17, 2017, 06:25:15 AM by Quaf »
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Offline DinosaurNothlit

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Re: End of RAF
« Reply #171 on: July 17, 2017, 08:54:33 PM »
I'd personally prefer to play a large part in a smaller mission, but that's up to you.

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

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

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

Chapter Sixty-six

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"That's it!" Jess said, lowering her horn.  She had never before used it as a weapon, but she was ready to see just what kind of damage it could do.  "Now you die."
« Last Edit: July 17, 2017, 08:58:32 PM by DinosaurNothlit »
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Offline DinosaurNothlit

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Re: End of RAF
« Reply #172 on: July 19, 2017, 08:54:25 PM »
Chapter Sixty-seven

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

They could be unmade.

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

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

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

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

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

Broken was gone.

But Restored, and his deadly horde of nanites, were gone, too.
« Last Edit: July 19, 2017, 11:41:55 PM by DinosaurNothlit »
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Offline DinosaurNothlit

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Re: End of RAF
« Reply #173 on: Yesterday at 07:23:13 PM »
I'm having waaay too much fun writing these battle scenes.  I'll get back to actual plot again soon, though, I promise.

Chapter Sixty-eight

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He was dead.

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

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

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

"I'm half-phoenix, ****."
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Re: End of RAF
« Reply #174 on: Yesterday at 07:39:27 PM »
Okay, Quaf, the second half of this chapter is for you.  ;)

Chapter Sixty-nine

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"We are not without mercy."  She fired.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What had happened, would always have happened.

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

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

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

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

"Hold on, guys," he said to those RAFians still fighting against Queen's corrupted future, even though they could not possibly hear him, so many miles and so many years away.  "The cavalry is coming!"
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