The Den Games Network Forum RPG
Page 17

Game Masters:
virtualoctopus, CKW, Wesforce


(virtualoctopus)

Koborsi felt the MUNDI fragger's weapon against his neck. Fragging hell, this was trouble. Carefully, under the impression of sweat, Korborsi began to secrete special pheromones, a kind that was genetically useless, having compatible species for it to affect.

However, the alarms in the complex HAD been set to respond to this particular pheromone. A siren began to wail, and the female assailant looked around agitatedly.

"What set it off?"
"I dunno"

They didn't suspect a thing...

---------------------------------------------
(BlueThunder)

Sorrow turned, fool. Not even Sakhar could catch him off his guard that easy. Sorrow used up the last bit of his strength to produce a great flash to appear before the figure who had tried to sneak up on him. Damocles used this moment to run off with Sorrow into the darkness, knocking whoever was trying to interfere with Polt's plans down in the process.

***

Sorrow's power was drained, he could barley stay conscious. He was just bouncing on the ork's shoulder, up and down, up and down, like some weird twisted dream. Humanity was striking back at years of Sorrow's escape of it, he hadn't felt this bad since wiping out the "Golden Village", or as it was known when he lived there, lived as a healer......healed, all so long ago. People would come sick and go away well, now they'd come well and go away dead....where had he gone wrong? What had happened to him. He was in a daze, he could hardly keep himself on the Ork's shoulder, luckily Damocles had a good grip. What on earth, sea or sky was going on now? Who knew, who cared....he killed people for a living, and loved it.....why? How? How had he gone from healer to killer? He suddenly snapped out of it, he realized something was going on around him.....people, people who looked like blurs of different colours, he could hardly see a thing. His staff was slipping from his hand, he was so near to blacking out......so near.

***

Damocles hadn't seen the guy who he'd knocked down that well, but he knew he was trouble and would endanger the mission.
He now had Sorrow on his back and they had run out of the woman's dressing room and down a long corridor. Damocles found it hard running in a skirt, but he managed, Sorrow wasn't really that heavy anyway so he wasn't weighed down too much. As Damocles turned at the end of the passageway, he saw slave.....hundreds of them. He knew not what was happening, some kind of mass riot, but he knew one thing. He could hide!

---------------------------------------------
(CKW)

You can run, little mage... But you can't escape.
Sorrow continued in his inner thougts.
"Who are you? What do you want for me?"
You have always know. You have desired my powers, and claimed them as yours. I am the darkness of your magic. I am the coldness of your heart. I am N'zar,Royal Dragon, master Necromancer.
Sorrow yelled.

***

"Awesome alarm you got guys." Slayer pulled out the gun and handed it to the centaur.
"I could not believe that the alarms were so quick. OK, chummer, sorry 'bout the gun. I am inspector Terrance, and I want to talk to your master."

---------------------------------------------
(redDawn)

Raven escorted Mary into a small room. It was apparent that it was once brightly coloured but now had decayed into awful brown tones. The small bed was tattered and smelt musky, obviously neither Raven nor Mary were at all interested in being near it let alone lying on it. As Raven closed the door behind them Mary looked around for any peepholes or concealed cameras, finding none she turned to Raven and slapped his face.

"Don't get any ideas, pal."

Raven rubbed his face shocked. After a moments pause he replied.

"I've found Remini. She's a slave girl here, she was dancing just before you entered. They took her away, apparently she is still defiant and makes trouble at every chance."

"Nice one Raven. Keep a look out for her."

Raven smiled and said:

"It's been a while, I may be good but I'm not that good. We'll head back now. Remember, you're an unwilling slave and I'm a slaver. Gotta look the part baby."

With that Raven ran his fingers through his hair, messing it up, and did the same to Mary. He then asked Mary to scratch his face, she obliged. Raven grabbed a section of Mary's dress and ripped it. Raven laughed.

"There, now we look like it wasn't all roses and sugar on the 'honeymoon'."

Mary replied giggling.

"This English rose has thorns baby!"

They stepped out of the 'love booth' and looked around cautiously. The screaming of rebellious slaves met their ears, gunshots echoed throughout the hall omniously. In one corner stood Fardel, Delori and his retinue, waiting for the emergency elevator to arrive. Fardel spotted Raven and yelled over the cacophony of violence.

"Raven! get your slegging behind over here now! It's a fraggin' revolt!"

Confused, Raven looked at Mary. Fardel screamed.

"Grab her and come on you slow witted pus bag!"

Together, Raven and Mary jogged over to Delori.

"What the frag happened!? How long was I 'occupied'?"

---------------------------------------------
(Wesforce)

Badjimmy waited for the commotion to die down before opening the door a crack. He was unprepared for the sickening sight outside:

Blood was splashed up the walls. The bodies of at least two of the slaves were ground into the thick carpet by centaur hooves, trampled and broken. The rest of the slaves were still battling the centaur, who laughed as he pounded them, fighting off their desperate attacks. He was inexorably pushing them back up the corridor.

But then the Binman and Tank rushed around the corner, attacking the huge pheromone-spewing creature from behind.

Alarms wailed, men screamed, bestial cries filled the air.
Binman went in first.

"TIME TO TAKE OUT DA TRASH!" He roared, raising his pipe over head. "WAAAAGGGHHH!!!!". As the barrel chested Ork charged, the Centaur turned with surprising agility given his huge frame, to meet him, while Tank came up behind, marginally slower than his slighter comrade.

Just as the pipe was going to connect, something caught the Binman's eye.

"Wha-"

THUD.

He never knew what hit him.

Badjimmy slammed the door, cursing in French and German.

He'd been seen.

He couldn't help it. Ever since the time he'd been drummed out of Daisaka - No, before that, even, he'd had his 'problem'. He felt a need to dress up, try and become someone else. He didn't know why. It helped him relieve stress. He just liked it...

He slumped down against the inside of the door, terrified he'd caused the Binman's injury or even death.

He wiped his cybernetic eyes on the flowing dress.

---------------------------------------------
(virtualoctopus)

The Binman stumbled backwards, collapsing across the corridor. The Centaur slaver turned swatting away the last assailant, and saw the two armed slaves. Slaves with weapons were not good. Made him need some kind of firearm.

Tank advanced along the corridor, patting his pipe in one hand. He needed to take the Centaur out, before it got its hand on a gun or something.

The Centaur began to line itslef up for a charge. Without weapons, Centaurs often tried to revert to their natural equine instincts (with a few punches thrown in from their human arms).

"Slaves die! When slaves rebel, they get crushed!" The Centaur roared his challenge to Tank.

"Let's see how da slaves do now you ain't got yer slava whip!" Tank retorted. "Yoo piss-shit horsies ain't so tough without yet crappy little guns!". Tank placed his feet down firmly, and prepared to recieve the Centaur's charge.

The Binman began to struggle to his feet, intent on taking his place next to Tank against the Centaur. Tank bopped him on the head with the pipe. "Sorry matey, but you'd only get in da way in dis small corridor. Best dat you sleep it out, hur hur"

The Centaur charged, roaring, and crushing slaves under his hooves.

Badjimmy, with a sudden fit of courage, opened the door.

There was a rather nasty collision. Centaurs galloping at 40 miles per hour are not meant to hit strong metal doors in small corridors. Badjimmy was flung back across the room, into a pile of clothes. Tank watched the centaur, now concussed, fall down, off the door, and slide out along the floor.

***
Seven troll guards with machine guns flanked the lift and company. Raven looked at Fardel.

"Some fragger's started a coup. The slaves are out, and some have weapons. We've lost most of the east wing to them, and they've got at least one weapons depot under their control. We're evacuating to the control bunker until the guards get it under control"

Slave rebellion. Shit. They were just meant to get in and get out with Remini or something. Not fight against a fragging revolt

"Where's my assistant ..." oh frag, Raven had forgotten his name, what was he meant to called Dorodo... "that gobbo runt"

"Uh, I think he went out with the harem when the alarms started. They're not permitted in the bunker, so some of the guards, have taken them to the west wing. Had his eye on this weird half-elf, dunno if she was half human, ork or something else."

Silvia. At least she and hopefully Hurriacane had an armed Dorodo to protect them.

"And us?"
"You come with us, and you'd better bring that slave girl too, they've locked the doors now. We'll have to make an exception and bring her inside the bunker."

Just then, they lift began to to move down into the chamber. At the same moment, the main doors began to shake. Someone was outside them.

"The slaves!" Fardel whispered. "Why haven't the guards stopped them".
"'ere", grunted a huge grey-skinned troll, passing a machine gun to Raven and Fardel. "da lift needs ta take two trips, and da master gets first.Ye'll have ta stay here and help da slaves don't break in before da lift gets bak. Some of uz trollz will stay, but you'll have ta last 5 minutes wiv dem. Hold off da slavez"

Raven gulped. Hopefully Tank, Badjimmy and The Binman weren't amoung the revoltees.

---------------------------------------------
(Wesforce)

Crystal shivered mentally, although her exterior showed no sign of movement despite the London cold.

She knelt by the chain-link fence outside the small Kilburn Neuwerke Facility, splicing minute wires from a detonator into a length of Det-cord. Though she was supposed to be having a break from 'running, Crash had come to her with an offer she couldn't refuse.

That was where her anxiety came from. The young decker had changed considerably in the last few days. No longer the care-free slacker of a old, he seemed to have found a driving purpose behind his life.

He'd offered Crystal 5,000 to help him break into this small facility. It was too much for such an easy job, but...

She didn't know why, but she trusted the guy. He had helped her in the past, but since his change...

Stop jittering bitch, and get on with it! She told herself. She had to be harsh on herself sometimes. Well, a lot of the time.

Eventually, she'd made her preparations. She crawled back from the fence, into the cover of some rancid plasti-boxes. From there, she opened the trapdoor down into the basement where Crash awaited her.

In the dead of night, the flashing lights of London traffic roared by without a care.

Using the ice-cream tub bombs left over from the previous 'run, she'd set up a chain of explosives to go off in sequence and flatten the mono-wire-topped fence of the small re-transmitting station

"It is done?" Crash said, his voice tinged with excitement.

"You got it. Tell me when, I press this button, and no fence, no sentry posts. But, ahh, better be quick because the bombs are small but still big enough to setoff alarms."

***

On the roof of Aldous Huxley luxury apartments, the man once known as Peter Stevenson sighted down the length of his SA-126 sniper rifle. The massive 12.5mm calibre weapon was his most prized possession. He hunkered over it, smoothing back his dirty, blonde, unkempt hair with his free hand.

He saw through the rifle's eyes with the smartlink.
The inbuilt circuitry calculated windspeed, bullet drop and target movement. He felt the wepon become a part of him, as natural as an arm or a leg. He could feel the heavy round in the chamber, eager to be fired with but a thought.

He waited.
Cars drove by under the lip of the building. A heli buzzed overhead, spotlight aimed at another street.

***

Four small cracks in prefect sequence, sprays of mud and shards of metal. Crystal's charges did their job.

Jolly Roger security Corporal Edgar Boland fell off his chair. His mug of soy-kaf stained the wall of his small security hut.

"What in the name of all thats fragged?"

He checked his tiny, dirty holoconsole. No readouts from the fence or the sentry posts. He put on his cap and strapped on his uncomfortable skull & crossbones Jolly Roger chestplate and ran out into the rain-sodden compund exterior.

He stared at the Aldous Huxley apartment building acroos the street. There was an odd sensation of his legs crumpling. Edgar was on the floor, the world darkening around him. He saw something lying on the floor next to him.

His headless body, with the shattered stump of a neck where his head had been, before it had been torn off.

He tried to scream.

***

The one guard neutralised, Crash ran from his building while Crystal kept watch with her IWS70. Crash keyed in a signal to Deadeye, and ran, jumping the wrecked fence, tinto the small retrans shack.

He popped an access panel with a crowbar, and spotted a whole bank of dataports.

"Eeny-meeny-miny-mo." He chose one, slammed a cable from his cyberarm datajack into it.

Ahh, back home again.

In the Matrix, he stood in an idyllic futurustic London, half mediaeval castle, hald futuristic utopia. Dta lines wheeled and danced around him.

No time for sight-seeing...

He went straight up, up past the digital clouds and the Neuwerke data-fortress in the sky. He found a satellite, breezed past the IC and jumped at lightspeed to another section of the matrix entirely.

Here, the grids were patchy at best. The whole thing looked at least twenty years behind the SOTA. Dangerous. Many datalines were down, leading nowhere.

He saw a decker's Icon floating by - A neon scorpion. It fell as the dataline it was on collapsed in on itself, into oblivion.

Typical Ork grids. The decker snorted.

He found what he wanted easily enough, though:

Vladistok/Hyrkann Bullnek national Space facility.

***

Peeking out from his pile of clothes, Badjimmy wondered if the coast was clear. He got up, dusted himself down...

An Ork appeared at the door. It was Tank. Badjimmy hurried to turn away.

"Dredfully sorry ladee. I wuz tol' sumwun elz waz in her. I leave now."

The door closed.

Did he really hear right? Did the Ork actually not recognise him? He knew being an Elf, he could make a pretty convincing woman...

He waited at the door, hoping everyone would go away and just leave him with his fractured mind... Maybe he could escape during the fighting, without being seen.

---------------------------------------------
(BlueThunder)

Damocles threw Sorrow on the floor.
"I am sorry my friend" Sorrow stood up, shaking a bit "My humanity took over me. Damocles looked at him, decided he was ok to walk and ran on.
Sorrow could see the world perfectly now, as if that annoyance of the greater dragon had restored his strength. He could see the slave running wild, he could see the troll guards trying to keep things under control. Perfect for grabbing the half dragon and getting out of here.
"DAMOCLES!" he yelled into the sea of people "If you find the she dragon, let me know. We can finally get out of this dump...."
Sorrow shook of the disturbance of the greater dragon, great as he was Sorrow worked only for himself. And his services were already in use. He followed Damocles though the crowd, no idea where they were going....... and not really caring.

---------------------------------------------
(virtualoctopus)

The elevator whirled, and moved away, upwards. Raven and Fardel kept their guns pointed directly at the door, their eyes fastened on it. The four remaining trolls did the same. Mary was thrust behind Raven, and tripped over the dais that Delori's now empty Centaur Couch was on. Several glasses of vintage wine had been spilt in the rush to leave the throne room by his 'loyal' attendees.

wheeeeeoooo whistled Raven. "We're in deep shit now".
His mentor turned to him, smiling oddly " 't's all part of the job, my boy, all part of the job"
"Will they be armed?"
"You bet"
"How many?"
"From the vidfeed "- Fardel pointed at the large security screen at a terminal in the corner, now focused by a troll on the mod of slaves busy hurling themself against the doors - "at least a hundred and fifty"
"A hundred and fifty? Shit."
"Against two men, four trolls, and an unarmed slave"
"Yup. All part of the job"

Just then, the doors finally burst in, in a cloud of smoke. Someone had obviously found a grenade, and used it to good effect. The doors were splattered with blood - the grenade may well have taken out some of the slaves as well.

Scrawny figures with mismatched weapondry began to step through the smoke. A huge troll, slave uniform in tatters, moved menacingly through, stepping on several bodies and brandishing what looked like a shoulder-mounted machine gun under one gigantic arm. It was flanked by several smaller Orks, Elves and Humans, all looking murderous and savage, and armed with various machine guns, brooms, pistols, and knives.

Damn Delori. Why da hell did e tell uz ta put gunz all ova da place, muttered one of their allied trolls. It was a standoff.

"Alrite!" Boomed the troll, waving the shoulder mounted weapon in one hand. "Yoo, Nort, were'z Delori! We av a bone ta pik wiv I'm". Several other slaves laughed.

At least they were trying diplomacy, Mary thought, although in a very crude way. Maybe no-one would get hurt...

---------------------------------------------
(CKW)

"frag. What the...!"
The centaur ran into building. Apparently they had problems with a riot.
"The disguise is no longer neccesary. I'll remove this appeareance. NOW!" blurted out Draco.
"Don't do such a thing, we had better stay unnoticed in this confusion, and search for our friends"
And so, the two entered the madness of the base, with crowds everywhere.
"Stop Here." said Draco. "I feel Silvia very close."
A centaur stepped in.
"DJO bitch, you gotta go with me!" the centaur firmly held Draco, mistaking him by a girl of the harem.
Slayer made a expression. "Calm down, and follow the play". He whispered to Draco.
And so, Draco infiltrated where the harem was.

***

You have NO idea of what are you saying, little mage. Alive or dead, you will serve my purpose, as human... or as Lich.
Sorrow shattered when he heard the word "Lich". He remembered the skeleton in the road, a while ago.
And now... You will always remind this. I put a curse on you. From now on, you are bound to sap the life of others to maintain yours... Vampire
The dark energies crackled, and Sorrow felt intense pain, then nothing.
Sooner or later... mortal...
And the voice faded out.

The wanderer stood outside.
"Rage the winds of storm, let the frozen and harsh north elements manifestate!"
A blizzard started to shatter the base, engulfing everything with the white snow, attempting to suffocate the life with its coldness.

---------------------------------------------
(BlueThunder)

Sorrow knew what had happened, and he'd prepared for this day. All the tomb raiding, going though various ruins, all for this. The world stood still as he battled with the forces of N'zar. All his hard work, all the artifacts. All to stop this. Slaves running everywhere, so tempted to take a bite. So tempted to seal his fate as a lap dog for an egomaniac. But no, he reached for the container around his belt. The container that he had put the remains of Mugen Ra in, he knew now what this was all leading up to. He wasn't gathering powerful artifacts to kill, no. He was gathering them to fight! To fight slavery.
"You underestimate me you fool of a dragon!" he thought, hoping N'zar will hear it "My body shall not belong to you!"
He tipped the remains into his hand, which was all the time trying to grab the nice.....juicy.....tender.....oh how wonderful it would have been to bite one of the warm blooded creatures running around him. But no, he fought N'zar's control with all his will. He WOULD NOT become a slave to no man or beast! Let alone a low life bully like N'zar. No, slavery was not an option. He HAD to be free, he WOULD be free!
He lifted his hand to his mouth with all his will and swallowed Mugen Ra's remains. He felt them travel down his neck. And as they reached his stomach and were dissolved with the rest of the contents, Sorrow felt a great calm, and a great strength, return to him. It was as if he had steeped outside after being in a stuffy room for days. He had more focus then ever before, he finally fully realized what was happening around him. Slaves everywhere, a few guards too. All trying to shoot each other down.
He smiled, "How nice to finally wake up to some good, clean, honest carnage." he thought. He decided he'd show what kind of Necromancer he was to N'zar, "Mage indeed!" he thought in anger "I'll show him who he's calling a mage!" then it hit him. Damocles! No time to celebrate his calmness, but there was once last thing to do.
He checked his mind for any of N'zar's unwelcome thoughts, none were there. The remains had set him free. "Sorry N'zar" He thought "You underestimated me and you lost out fool!" with this last thought, he cleared his mind of N'zar and with his new found willpower blocked N'zar from his mind FOREVER.

---------------------------------------------
(CKW)

Very well done. You have got initiative. I'll see you again... Heh heh...
How could it be? He tried to ban him from his mind FOREVER.
Do not be surprised. I have walked this world for eons. I know how to counter these mind blocks. In fact, I am using not your mind, but your heart.We are much like the same. Fighting against forces that can overhelm us... Honestly, weak minded fellas that cannot pass this trial cannot be considered my servants.
And so, the voice left Sorrow, wondering how insignificant yet great was the fight for life.

---------------------------------------------
(virtualoctopus)

Damocles watched sorrow reptilianly. What was going on? What was the idiot doing, muttering and eating in the middle of a riot?

He swatted another slave, keeping Sorrow safe, as the tide of beings moved past again. Suddenly, the Necromancer staggered up.

"Done?"
Sorrow was shocked, this was one of Damocles' more human moments - he was actually making conversation.
"Yes. Let us now find the half-dragon, and get out of here. I need to talk to Polt"
Damocles grunted, and pointed to another duct.

"Where does THIS one lead?"
"past big room. Big room has big fight, lots of slaves, lots of guns. Stupid go that way. Clever crawl a bit more"

Damocles dissapeared into the vent. Sorrow followed.

***

Ten minutes later, they heard voices. Female voices.

Damocles peered through the celing grid, looking for the half-dragon. Was she here? There were many females here. Maybe she was one of them...

---------------------------------------------
(BlueThunder)

Even though Sorrow had regained focus and was happy to see that Damocles was more then some grunting half machine made by Polt to do his dirty work for him, he was still extremely pissed.
How dare that dragon make him look a fool! He followed Damocles, but to say his thoughts were entirely on the mission at hand would have been a lie.
"LICH? VAMPIRE! What games does he think he is playing with me" Sorrow was angry, he'd used Mugen Ra, his one chance of becoming more powerful then he had ever imagined ruined by the prank of some scaly maniac!
But still, N'zar had left him a clue to getting rid of this dragon infestation and the "mind block" did work to an extent, it meant that he could hide his own thoughts from N'zar, and that in it's self was priceless.
Sorrow needed to wrap this mission up, and fast! The sooner he got to Polt, the sooner he could rid himself of this pest.....once and for all!

---------------------------------------------
(CKW)

Draco could barely control himself. She was there! Slightly pissed off, and dressed like a bitch, but there was Silvia. He could not reveal himself in that state, though. He was disguised as a girl, and everyone would probably mock him.

---------------------------------------------
(Wesforce)

Vladistok/Hyrkann Bullnek natiol Spaze fazility.; read the sign in cluttered, unclear letters.

A sleek, aerodynamic van jounced over the potholes and past the sign into the former Soviet missile base, waiting patiently at the guard hut.

Before them, behind the clusters of prefabricated modular buildings bearing the Vladistok Aerospace logo, was the control tower. Beyond that, the orange-painted gantry where the huge, sleek silvery rocket waited patiently in the darkened sky, awash with floodlights. Amplified voices could be heard even here. Orange-painted drones swarmed up and down the gantry and the rocket, fuelling and making last-minute adjustments.

A guard in Vladistok security uniform and his Orkislavian military guard came out to see the van.

Although this was the Orkislavian national space centre, there was no way the impoverished Ork nation could afford to run it. It was a Vladistok facility in every way, and they knew it. The only Orkislavian presence were two under-strength battalions of Orkislavian army troops: 3 Battalion 21st Gorka Rifles and The first Black Ork Mekanized Gunnaz, two of the toughest units in the Orkislavian military. (In fact, two of the only units that could be counted as any kind of cohesive fighting force).

The van driver rolled down his window. Four occupants were inside, two men, two women, one man dark-skinned with green hair, one oriental, one female european dwarf and one female south american elf. All wore orange pilot's overalls. All had solid deep blue cybereyes.

The elven woman spoke to the human guard.

"Hi. We're the probe final engineering crew. Here's our authorisation." She handed over four credsticks, fluttering her eyelids. She actually meant she was the probe's actual crew. However, only a select few peopel actually knew the probe would be manned. As far as the general public knew, it was to be an unmanned flight.
"There must be some mistake, the final engineering crew are already here." The Vladistok guard replied, not accepting the credsticks, keeping his face set in stone.

The elven woman nodded to the dark-skinned man, who in turn affixed the guard with a gaze. He was looking through him.

Great spirit of Hyena, trick this one-who-serves-the-despoilers. Let none stand before nature's great work...

The guard shook his head. Then he laughed. A shrill, iunsettling laugh. His Ork military copmrade scratched his head, but knew not to piss off the Vladistok man. He laughed along, too, chuckling in his tusky Ork way.

"HUR HUR HUR..."

The laughing guard accepthed the credsticks and let the van through. Still laughung, he walked to his console in the security hut and fed the credsticks in - Launch HQ wanted security tight. They were checking everyone who came through the gate.

***

The digital form of Crash hovered around in the Vladistok Aerospace sub-matrix, waiting for his cue. It arrived.
Swiftly, he switched the personnel records for the crew to the credsticks the intruders had handed in.

***

"Commander Joseph Forge and his crew have arrived." The well-spoken comm-sec operator ted, his clear classically-trained voice cutting the thick atmosphere in launch control like a laser.

"Are you sure?" His superior said, paling. "Standard procedure says they should have been here 24hrs prior to launch!"

"I just clocked them at the gate sir!"

The officer went to his comm-link, ligting a narco-stick as he did so, a sign of the stress he was under.

"This is comm-sec. Where are the probe engineering crew?"

***

In the matrix, Crash watched the flurry of calls back and forth between the tower and the security forces with interest, occasionally intercepting them and modifying them to sow confusion. Eventually, he had to concede that the infiltrators would be found out eventually.

Launch control activated an alert.

Crash cancelled it.

Another alert popped up.

Time was running out.

***

"Two figures in bulky pressure-suits stood in their ready-room. Tension was high. They were due to board their comet probe in the next two hours. They were to be the first (meta)humans to ever set foot on Halley's comet, although no-one would know about it until they were there.

Three figures stepped into the room behind them.

"Well its about time, Joe - "

The first man froze.

There were two short zaps of magiacl energy. The manabolts ionised the air as they passed, like ripples on the surface of water.

The spacemen slumped to the floor, their auras destroyed, dead. Blood dtreamed from their noses.
They weren't going anywhere now.

"Get their suits." The Blue-eyed elf woman said. Her Hyena Shaman partner did so.

Just then the alert sounded.

***

Crash did waht he did to slow down the Vladistok security. The Ork military, however, dure to their low-tech communications gear, were actually beyond his ability to affect. He watched dismayed through cameras as five hge Ork troops chased down the Dwarf and brutally butchered her.

***

"CHRIST! We're reading movement on the gantry!" The com-sec operator screamed.

"SECURITY ALERT! ALL PERSONNEL! INTRUDERS DETECTED AT LAUNCH GANTRY!"

***

"Whats the situation, Colonel?"

A 3DTV vid-com screen popped up in front of the Colonel commanding the Vladistok facility. The middle-aged officer regarded the elegant woman on the comm with awe. He knew who she was...

"Miss Tyadoron, I-" He gasped. Already, he knew he was lost. He had shown weakness in front of a dragon, albeit one in human form overa vidcom. His life was forfeit. But damn, she's beautiful... Maybe I'll see her again before I die.

"Well, Colonel?"

"Intruders have gained access to the probe. We killed one of them, but..."

A pause. The woman pursed her lips. A trace of what might have been amusement flickered in her violet eyes.

"See you tomorrow morning, Colonel."
Click.

***

Commander Joseph Forge stood over the bodies of his two comrades. Dead, murdered in cold blood by magic for their pressure suits.

The astronaut had known death, but only death in the course of huamn advacncement. Now two of his colleagues, among the bravest men he'd ever known, dead, by an act of petty sabotage.

As the outside of the complex was filled with blinding white light, the all-encompassing, devastating roar as rocket engines began their short life, tears fell down his cheeks.

---------------------------------------------
(Nyerguds)

Silvia noticed the guard bringing in another woman.
That's odd... I really thought I sensed him...

She tried to access the newcomer's mind.
Hehe... it is Draco!
You may be able to shield your thoughts to me... but not your identity.

She grinned.

Suddenly, one of the air vents was kicked out of its frame, and two men jumped out.
Uh? That's that strange Ork that followed us!

She didn't have time to react. The Ork jumped towards the door and broke the neck of the guard that was holding Draco, while Sorrow took out the two other guards in the room by boiling their brains with an illusion spell.

Moments later, the Ork grabbed Silvia and kicked down the door.

"Hey! What do you think you're..."
"Silence, Half-dragon." the Ork hissed at her, and began running down the corridor.

Silvia immediately shapeshifted her hands and put the dragon claws in the arm that was holding her.
Nothing happened. The Ork didn't even react; he kept running.
Uh? What is this thing?!? And why the sleg doesn't Draco help me? Unless this place is too small to shift...

---------------------------------------------
(CKW)

"Darn it. She discovered me. Oh well."
Draco said to himself.
He went out. Silvia had been kidnapped by an ork.
"Guess It's time to use a bit of my magic..."
But he did not use it. He sensed another Dragon, a big one. And he was right.
A dark, huge dragon appeared of nowhere, in the middle of that magical blizzard.
The ork grinned, and ran. But he couldn't do it. He was sent backwards with a punch of the dragon. The dragon landed over the confused Silvia.
"I said I was coming, Hybrid"
N'zar.
Draco knew he was no rival for such a creature. But he did reveal himself. For Silvia. He shapeshifted into a dragon.
"You, crazy sleghead! Leave the girl alone!"
N'zar seemed surprised.
"Draco, I was not expecting you... However, It is nice to see that you are flirting with a halfie."
He laughed.
"Leave...Her...alone!"
He burst out a bunch of flames.

---------------------------------------------
(virtualoctopus)

Draco began to shift into a Dragon, expanding and beginning to fill the corridor. Suddenly, he felt his scaly hide begin to press against the wall. Sleg. He couldn't do that in a place as small as this!

N'zar's magical flames raced towards him. Draco reacted. Flinging his head, in dragon form foreward, he spat another fireball, which sped in the opposite direction. The two fireballs exploded in a hail of heat between both Dragons, that scorched the walls and washed over Silvia's body.

"I see you have improved considerably, Draco" hissed N'zar, as he began to conjure another fireball. Draco didn't reply - it was far more important to beat N'zar and save Silvia rather than fling insults at each other. And not to hurt Silvia with any fireballs.

"Too scared, little one?" mocked N'zar. "Why don't you give up?" Arcing lightning burst from his hands, and ripped a huge gouge out of the celing.

Silvia groaned, having been winded by the fall, and began to stirr. Another fireball whizzed over her head, exploding apparenlty harmlessly against the celing.
"Wha.... whats happening? N'zar! What are you..."

At that point, the body of the bio-engineered Ork on the floor of the corridor twitched, and flung itself at N'zar in one fluid movement. A look of total suprise flitted across the human face of the shapeshifter, and then the full force of the Ork barelled into him, sending him tumbling backwards, crashing together against the wall.

"Silvia! Run!" screamed Draco, and began to shrink back into human form to allow movement in the corridor. A beam which he had been supporting after he buckled it out of shape began to move, and bits of plaster began to fall from the celing.

"What the hell is going on!" Damocles heard Sorrow's voice, from behind the shrinking dragon. "Who's thi...." Sorrow grunted as he tried to squeeze past Draco's dragon form. "Get outta my way you stupid lizard!"

Draco flickered into human form, and Sorrow slipped past him. "What the sleg is going on... oh!"

Damocles was still rolling on the floor, with the smoking and winded N'zar, each trying to get their hands around the other's neck. N'zar threw a firey punch, leaving a scorching scar against Damocles's face, to which the Ork replied by headbutting the Dragon. N'zar groaned, the fight continued.

"Damocles!" Sorrow kicked N'zar's head, and pulled the Ork off him. "We've got to get out of here, before the corridor falls in!"

"I agree", piped in Draco, "but where?"

"This way," whispered Sorrow, and began to move down the corridor towards Silvia. Damocles followed, and picked up the half-elf again.

"Hey, that's..." began Draco, just before the roof collapsed. Several tons of fermacrete tumbled in, blocking Damocles, Sorrow, and Draco, with Silvia's unconcious body, from N'zar. A huge beam smashed across the chest of the shocked greater dragon's human form, pinning him to the ground, while dust began to rise from the remains of the corridor shattered during the fight.

---------------------------------------------
(Wesforce)

N'zar lay in the ruins. Dust clogged his human lungs. If he were a normal man, his chest would be mush from the tons of concrete now pressing down on it.

He giggled.

He couldn't move his arms and legs, but then again, he didn't really want to.

Let Draco and the Half-bitch run a while longer. They are getting... Amusing. I'll wait a while, then teleport out.

***

Far beyond the Earth, Halley's comet approached ever-closer. Powering it's way through vaccum, the celestial body's long-foreseen approach was only beginning to make it's presence felt. Its trail blazing behind it, only now were the astral ripples of its passing beginning to make themself felt upon he Earth, washing into the manasphere like the first waves of high tide... In more ways than one.

***

Right, now to shift bac... Urrggghhhh...

N'Zar lost consiousness as a huge wave of mana hit him.

He woke again a split-second later. His astral vision blazed mercilessly into the back of his head, giving him a headache the likes of which he'd never had in 5,000 years.

5,000 years ago, when...

Frag. The comet must be nearing. I have to get out of here...

He willed himself to a spell, to shift the rubble.

Nothing happened.

He tried a spell to shift himself back to human form.

The magic wasn't working.

N'Zar understood what was happening: He'd been through it before.

A creature of such extreme magic as a great dragon (like himself) naturally felt the fluctuations in the manasphere more readily than anything else on - or in - the Earth. The power was over him. The power was in him. The power...

None of his magic would work until the comet's passing. Exactly a month from now.

Heh. Never mind. I can still do what I need to do. That's why I own that Corporate empire after all! Now to fly back...

Fly?

He was in human form... With no magic... For AN ENTIRE MONTH.

He screamed.




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