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 Mythic

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Poppy Bill

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PostSubject: Mythic    Sat Feb 05, 2011 3:43 am

The ship flew out of hyperspeed, coming to a quick stop. The engines groaned, then eventually died, the fires receding back into the ship.

"What happened to the engines?" the man in the pilot's seat asked. "Computer, run a diagnostic."

The port and starboard engines have overheated and are currently inoperable. the ship's computer replied.

The man scratched his goatee. "Anything else I should be aware of?"

The ship's hull integrety is critically damaged. the computer said. Deflector shields are down, and engines are offline. We are drifting, sir.

The man blew out a small sigh. "How long until the engines cool down?"

Estimated cool down time: forty standard minutes.

The man blew out another small sigh. "The secondary thrusters are online, yes?" he asked.

Affirmative. the computer said.

The man turned and stood up out of the seat. "Try not to crash us into anything." he said, stretching slightly. "I'm gonna try to get some rest."

Shall I plot a course to anywhere specific? the computer asked.

"Yeah...the Asteria Space Station." the man said. "My contractor said to meet him there for payment."

I shall plot a course for the Asteria. Have a pleasant rest, Captain Ebonheart.

William Ebonheart slowly walked out of the cockpit, making his way over to his quarters. He reached the door, entering the four digit security code, causing the door to slide open. The captain's quarter's were really no different from the crew quarters. They both had the same metallic beds, and were roughly the same size, though the captain's room may have been slightly bigger.

The mercenary sauntered into his room and threw himself on his bed. He ran his hands across his face, rubbing his eyes. That last job had been close. Too close for Bill's liking.

About a week ago, Bill had been hired to take out some rich big-wig. Bill didn't know why his client wanted this man dead, nor did he care, really. Bill learned a long time ago to never ask questions.

Bill had successfully infiltrated the man's home, and even had silently killed him. It was only afterwards that he had been discovered by the man's wife, who raised the alarm around their estate. Bill had just barely made it back to the Chronos in one piece.

He chuckled to himself. "And the Chronos just barely made it out of there in one piece too!" he laughed, referring to his rickety freight ship.

The mercenary closed his eyes. He had almost been killed, but it would soon be worth it. His employer had promised him twenty-thousand credits upon completion of the mission. Yes, he thought as he began to drift to sleep. It would soon be worth it.

*****

Target destination has been reached, Captain. the computer said. Captain Ebonheart? Are you awake?

Bill's eyes slowly opened. He sat up and stretched. "Yeah, yeah," he mumbled. "I'm awake."

We have docked with the Asteria. the computer reported. The docking fee of two hundred credits has been paid.

Bill nodded and made his way to the Chronos' exit. He stepped outside of his ship, glancing behind him. Behind the Chronos was the forcefield that separated the interior of the station from the black void of space. In the distance, Bill could see the ice planet Ymir, it's sun shining brilliantly across the darkness of space.

"Quite a ship you got here!" a man's voice whistled. "She looks like she's seen better days."

Bill turned to face the man. He was an older man, perhaps in his early forties, with well kempt hair and a beard, and bright blue eyes. He wore the standard issue Asteria engineer uniform.

Bill turned to the Chronos and patted it lovingly. "Yeah, she's been through some tough times."

The engineer approched and extended his hand. "Name's Vic." he said, shaking Bill's hand firmly. "Victum Solum."

Bill returned the shake. "William Ebonheart." he said. "Just call me Bill though."

"Pleasure to meet you, Mr. Ebonheart." Vic said. "If you'd like, I'll get to work right away reparing your ship."

Bill was just about to say something about how expensive that might be, but Vic beat him to the punch.

"Don't worry about the price, Mr. Ebonheart." he said. "You don't write my paycheck, your docking fee does. You pay the fee, you can use my services."

"Oh. Well, good deal, then!" Bill said. "Feel free to start whenever you have time."

Vic nodded, pulling out his plasma cutter and pulling his protective mask down over his face. The engineer wasted no time getting straight to work, using his cutter to repair damaged parts of the hull back together.

Bill nodded appreciatively to the engineer, then walked off. Bill glanced all around him, taking in the sights of the docks. Engineers and maitenance droids rushed about, administering repairs on damaged vessels. Merchants and traders loaded goods onto their freighters. Above Bill, holographic signs urged newcomers to come to the market section of the station and buy a quick drink at the cantina, or to check out the Asteria's fine droid and weapon selections.

Across the docks was the platform to the tram, the Asteria's means of quick transportation from section to section of the station. Bill walked to the platform, and waited patiently for the tram to arrive.

He didn't have to wait long. Less than five minutes later, the tram slid into the station, coming to a quick, but smooth stop. Most of the passengers that disembarked appeared to be traders, wheeling a few crates of supplies to their ships, although Bill did take note of a much younger man disembarking the tram. This man had dark brown hair, and couldn't have been much older than seventeen. What a kid like that would do in the docks, Bill had no idea. He stepped onto the tram, and held on as the transit system suddenly took off.

*****

It only took Bill a few minutes to reach the Market section of the ship, thanks to the tram. Once he had disembarked, Bill had begun looking for the cantina that he was supposed to meet his client in. He passed several shops on his way through the marketplace--The Delicate Kwickli'an, Bane's Techs and Machines, The Reliquary--until he found the sign he was looking for:

Xex's. The local bar.

The atmosphere within the bar was much different from the Asteria. The people were loud, and music blared over the light conversation. Behind the counter, serving some type of alien alcohol, was Xex. He was an odd creature, with four bulbous black eyes, and a body covered in short, black hair. Bill always thought Xex resembled a sort of humanoid spider. Despite his appearence, there was perhaps no one friendlier on the Asteria.

"Well, well! If it is not Ebonheart!" Xex called out, his voice sounding warbly and jumbled as usual.

"Xex!" Bill called back. "It's been too long."

"Indeed, my squishy friend!" Xex replied as Bill drew closer. "Too long! Can I get you anything?"

"Nah." Bill said, waving away the idea of a drink. "I'm here on business."

Xex's mandible twitched excitedly. "Good business I hope! Perhaps reason to celebrate with Xex's galaxy famous juice!"

Bill chuckled. "Have you seen a small man enter the bar? Wears glasses, hair is balding?" Bill asked.

Xex nodded, and pointed to a small man sitting in the corner. Bill turned. Yep, it was his client all right. Small man, glasses, and a balding scalp. Bill thanked Xex and made his way over to the table.

"You're back." the small man said.

"I told you I'd be back in a week." Bill said. "The deed is done."

The small man's eyes gleamed evilly. "He's dead?"

"As a doornail." Bill replied.

"And his wife and kids?" he asked.

Bill's expression changed visibly. "Wife and kids?" he echoed. "You hired me to kill the man, not the woman and the child."

The small man's face twitched slightly. "You were supposed to take them out as well!" he whispered harshly.

Bill leaned forward. "Our deal was twenty thousand for the man." The mercenary said matter-of-factly. "Besides, do you really think I'd shoot a defenseless mother and child?"

The small man sighed. "I suppose it doesn't matter." he mumbled. "Just as long as that bitch of an ex-wife can't run to her secret lover anymore."

Bill's eyebrows lifted slightly in surprise. "She was your wife, huh? I'm a little surprised you wanted her dead. Now, about that payment..."

The man stared directly at Bill, his arm shifting slightly under the table.

Bill's eyes narrowed. "You think you're pretty hot stuff, don't you? Bringing a blaster with you."

"Now, here's what you're going to do." the small man said. "You're going to get up, and-"

Bill shot forward, grabbing the small man and smashing his face into the metal table. The blaster clattered as the small man dropped it to the floor.

"You think you're the first guy to try and cheat me out of my pay?" Bill growled, smashing the man's face against the table once more. "We agreed to twenty thousand credits!"

The smaller man was in a panic. "I-I'm sorry!" he spluttered. "I don't have twenty thou-"

Bill roared in anger and smashed the man's head into the table a third time, knocking him out cold. He reached into the unconscious man's pocket and pulled up three thousand credits.

"A lousy three thousand." Bill muttered. He turned, just realizing that the music had stopped, and all eyes were on him.

"What are you all looking at?" he barked, causing everyone to return to their original activities.

As Bill made his way out of the bar, he dropped twenty credits to Xex. "Sorry about that." Bill muttered angrily.

"It is all right, Ebonheart." Xex said shakily. "Have a good day!"

Bill stormed out of the cantina, fuming. He had been cheated. With three thousand, he could fix the Chronos up some, and buy some supplies. But how would he pay the-

Bill shook his head. "I'll find a way." he whispered to himself. "I'll find a way."
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PostSubject: Re: Mythic    Sat Feb 05, 2011 7:53 am

Nice starting chapter Bill! Can't wait for the next one :)
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PostSubject: Re: Mythic    Sat Feb 05, 2011 9:42 am

Great introduction Bill! Can't wait for the next chapter :D Way to subtley introduce some characters too!
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PostSubject: Re: Mythic    Sat Feb 05, 2011 2:03 pm

Rule 1: never cheat bill out of his pay. It will end badly if you do.

Great chapter bill. ^_^
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PostSubject: Chapter 1: Pariah   Sun Feb 13, 2011 10:25 pm

"Allen, are you ready to begin?"

"Yessir." Allen replied.

Allen sat in a small room. The room was practically empty, except for a small stool on which Allen now sat, and the large viewing window on the other side of the room. Allen could see two silhouettes behind the glass, though he couldn't make out their features. He knew who they were well enough, though.

"All right: Initiating test." a man's voice said over the intercom.

A small prod extended from the ceiling, coming down to touch Allen's shoulder. As the device touched Allen's skin, a small brrzt! sound could be heard.

"Ow!" Allen cried in shock, hopping out of his stool. He turned to the viewing window. "What the hell was that?!"

"Allen, remain calm." a woman's voice cooed over the intercom. "Just relax."

"No! We need him to act naturally." Allen heard a second voice (the man's voice) say in a hushed tone.

"Please sit back down." the man instructed.

Allen took a deep breath, and sat back in the metal stool. As soon as he did, however, the prod immediatly touched him once more, emitting that distinctive brrzt! sound.

"Ow! Damn it!" Allen yelled, hopping out of the stool again. "Knock it off!"

"Allen, sweetheart, please calm-"

"He shocked me!" Allen yelled over the intercom. "THIS is the test? You're just gonna keep shocking me?!"

Allen's right arm suddenly tingled. He could feel his scales breaking through his skin, reshaping his arm. Allen looked down, his mind suddenly growing hazy. His right arm was completely covered in jet black scales.

Allen spun around, grabbing the metal stool and swinging it around, throwing toward the viewing screen. The stool smashed into the screen, cracking it, but not shattering it.

"That's it!" the woman's voice said. "The test is over! I'm going to get him."

"Aura, wait a minute!"

The door to the testing chamber swung open, and a woman dressed in a scientist's coat rushed in to Allen's side. Allen glared at her, the scales on his arm raising in a threatening display.

"Allen, it's your mother." Aura said, moving closer to her angered son. "You have to calm down. Remember what we talked about, Allen?"

Aura closed the distance between her and her son. She put her arms around him. "Breathe in, and breathe out." she whispered. "In, and out..."

Allen obeyed, taking deep breaths in, and exhaling. He felt himself calm down, felt the anger fly from him. The black scales quickly receded back under Allen's skin, returning his arm back to normal.

Aura held her son out at arms length, smiling at him. "Better?" she asked.

Allen looked down to the floor, a little embarrassed. "Y-yeah...I'm good now."

Aura looked to the cracked viewing screen. "We're done doing tests today, right, Dr. Mckinney?" Aura asked, although the irritation laced in her voice could be heard clearly.

"Yeah, yeah...we're done for today." he agreed over the intercom.

Allen snorted at Mckinney's tone. It was like he didn't care.

Aura looked back to her son. "Well, we're done." she said. "What are you going to do today?"

Allen shrugged. "I'll probably just head back home. I'm reading a really cool story about a group of knights fighting off some insane lich guy. It's pretty neat."

Aura stared at her son intently. "Allen..." she said. "You're going to go home? Straight home?"

"Uh...yeah." Allen said a little sheepishly.

Allen's mother narrowed her eyes. "You're not going to go to the docks, are you?"

Allen rolled his eyes. "Mom, please-"

"Don't 'mom, please' me, young man." Aura said. Allen sighed a bit. He could recognize when his mother was talking in her authoritative voice. "You know how I feel about you using a pulse weapon! It's a dangerous piece of technology!"

"You don't have to worry, mom! Vic knows what he's doing." Allen retorted.

"But what if something happens?" Aura shot back. "What if you end up slicing your arm off, or something like that?"

Allen rolled his eyes again. "Really, mom?" he asked.

Aura's face grew stern. "Look, I don't care if this Vic guy knows what he's doing." she said. "I don't want you to hurt yourself, and I don't want all that violence to go to your head. I don't want to have to turn on the news one day and see your face at the top of the Galaxy's Most Wanted!"

Allen snickered at the remark, but immediatly stopped when he caught sight of his mother again.

"Just promise me you'll stop using a pulse blade." Aura asked, an almost pleading tone in her voice. "Please, for me?"

Allen sighed. "Yeah, yeah..." he mumbled.

Aura wrapped her son in a quick hug. "Thanks." she said, a smile splayed across her features once more. "Now, go on, we're done for the day. I'll see you back home."

Allen smiled and nodded, then left the research center.

*****

"It's interesting." Dr. Mckinney mused to himself, not registering Aura entering the room. "Subject Epsilon changes only when he enters a state of anger, fear, or sadness. It's almost like the transformation is a defense mechanism of some sort..."

"'Subject Epsilon' has a name, you know." Aura spoke up, causing Mckinney to turn around in his chair. The scientist smiled at her, showing off his pearly white teeth, and scanned her with his dark, brown eyes.

Aura was immediatly repulsed. She didn't like Dr. Mckinney in the least. She didn't like it when he smiled that awful smile, or when he oogled her with his eyes, like he was mentally undressing her.

"Dr. Caelum!" he said, still grinning. "I didn't hear you come back in. How is Subj-"

"Allen is fine." Aura interjected. "He's gonna go home to cool off and read."

Mckinney nodded, then swiveled around in his chair to face the cracked viewing screen.

"You shouldn't provoke him like that." Aura said, also looking to the cracked screen.

Mckinney chuckled. "My dear, dear Aura..." he said. "You knew that when you signed up for this experiment, that we would have to run tests on the product, right? We have to test him, learn what strengths he possesses, and what weaknesses he has."

"Shocking my son isn't experimentation, it's just plain cruel." Aura retorted. "There's a part of me that thinks you actually enjoy seeing Allen in distress."

"We had to provoke your 'son' somehow, Aura." Mckinney replied. "Subject Epsilon seems to only change when he is in distress! I can't get results if all we ever see is his human form!"

Aura glared at Dr. Mckinney. He didn't see Allen as anything other than an experiment. To him, Allen was not her son. To him, all Allen would ever be is Subject Epsilon.

Mckinney turned around and stood up. He walked a little closer to Aura, scanning her once more with his dark eyes. Aura unintentionally flinched as he drew closer.

"Don't look at me like that, Aura..." he cooed. "You know that I don't like having to hurt the little guy..."

Aura backed up to the door. "Dr. Mckinney, please-"

"Walter." he said, moving closer.

"No! Dr. Mckinney, enough!"

The door suddenly swung open. revealing a young woman dressed in laboratory garb. Aura and Mckinney recognized her as the xenoscience department's latest intern, Sarah Wells.

"Uh, Dr. Caelum? Dr. Mckinney?" Sarah asked, a puzzeled look on her face. Mckinney immediatly withdrew.

"What is it?" Mckinney asked, regaining his composure.

"I have those lab results you wanted." she said slowly, handing over a small stack of papers. "Is everything all right?"

"I was just leaving." Aura said quickly, before Mckinney could say anything. "I'm going on my lunch break. Sarah, would you like to come?"

"Yes ma'am!" Sarah said, a smile breaking out on her young face. "I'm starving! Let me go hang up my coat, I'll meet you at the door."

Sarah turned and walked off, humming to herself. As Aura was leaving, she shot a warning glare at Mckinney.

The lead researcher just chuckled and sat back down.

*****

The pulse blades struck one another, causing small sparks to fly off their blades. Allen hopped backward, dodging one of Vic's quick strikes. Vic shot forward, slamming his shoulder into Allen and knocking him over. Allen fell to the ground, his pulse blade flying out of his hands.

"You've gotta remember to keep moving, Allen." Vic said, helping Allen back on his feet. "That's the third time I've knocked you down with the same technique."

Allen nodded. He could never get his feet to obey him while he was fending off Vic's furious strikes.

Vic checked the large holo-clock hanging above the docks. "Sorry to cut this lesson short, Allen, but I gotta get back to work. Great job today, though."

Allen nodded. He remembered when he had first met Vic, a little over a year ago. Vic saw something in him (potential, he had said) and immediatly had taken him under his wing.

"Thanks, Vic." Allen said, handing his pulse blade back to the engineer. Allen looked just beyond Vic to the ship he was supposed to be repairing. He laughed. "Look at that pile of scrap!" Allen chuckled.

Vic laughed and turned back to the ship. "Yeah, she's aged. Appropriately named 'The Chronos'."

"Should've been named 'The Trash Heap'." Allen snickered.

Vic set the pulse blades down and got back to work with his plasma cutter, pulling his protective mask over his face.

"Who owns the ship?" Allen asked.

"Said his name was William Ebonheart." Vic called over the sparking of the plasma cutter. "Seemed friendly enough, but he looked like one of those mercenary types. I think you might've passed him on your way here. He had dark hair, a goatee and blue eyes."

"Eh, I might've seen him." Allen said.

"Do me a favor and steer clear of him." Vic called out. "Those mercenaries are nothing but trouble."

"But I thought you said he seemed friendly enough?" Allen asked.

"He did, but looks can be decieving." Vic said. "Maybe he's genuine, and maybe he's not. I'd rather not find out, to be honest. I served with a lot of deceitful people in the military..."

At the mention of the military, Vic immediatly clammed up. Allen didn't mind. He had stopped pestering Vic about it when he had gotten no answer from him.

From what Allen knew, Vic was a deserter. Said that he saw something he shouldn't have, or that he knew the wrong people, but he'd never go into detail. When it came to the military, Allen knew to simply let sleeping dogs lie.

"I should go, Vic." Allen said, turning and walking toward the tram. "I'll talk to you later?"

"Of course, Allen!" he said. "See ya tomorrow!"

Allen grinned as he stepped onto the tram. He liked Vic. He was perhaps the most genuine and polite person on the Asteria (some people had said Xex was, but Allen had never met the creature). Allen knew that if he ever got into trouble, Vic would be right there at his side, ready to help him out. Although he would never tell anyone, Allen saw the engineer as a sort of father figure.

The tram suddenly started up and was moving, speeding towards the merchant sector of the station.

*****

As Allen disembarked the tram, he could see a smal crowd of people gathering at Xex's bar. Allen shrugged and kept moving. Likely just some drunken idiot got into trouble again.

"Look, there's the freakshow." Allen heard someone whisper. He turned, to see two teenagers pointing and giggling at him.

"I heard that he likes to eat baby Baliwogs, just like a Pravile!" the other teenager laughed.

Allen just blew out a sigh and kept walking. Part of the reason he liked Vic so much was that Vic never judged him because of what he was.

Seventeen years ago, Allen had been born a genetic wonder, with the genetic makeup of a human and a Pravile. When he was little, Allen had transformed in front a crowd of people. That little act had marked him and continued to follow him to this day.

He was seventeen years old, and all ready a social pariah. None of the other kids his age would have anything to do with him, and all the older people on the station seemed ready to condemn him whenever possible.

"Hey stranger!" a girl's voice called out.

Allen turned all around, his eyes finally resting on a young Toranian girl standing behind the counter of Bane's Tech and Machines.

"Yeah, you!" she called, pointing to Allen. "C'mere a sec!"

Allen shrugged, and strode over to greet her. As he drew closer, he gulped nervously. She was a pretty thing. She had tan skin, and the green hair that her race was known for. Her hair was tied back into a ponytail. And her eyes! Her eyes shone gold in the light.

"Are you all right?" she asked.

"Huh?" Allen asked.

"Are you all right?" she reiterated. "Those guys over there..."

"Oh. Those guys?" Allen said. "I ignore them. I'm used to it. They just make fun of me because I'm different."

"Really?" the girl asked. Allen nodded.

"Those jerks!" she exclaimed. Allen chuckled at the girl's sudden fire. "Hey, don't listen to them." she continued. "If you ever wanna talk to someone or just hang out, you're welcome here anytime."

Allen laughed. "But I don't even know you!"

The girl blinked in surprise, then laughed at herself. "I'm sorry! I guess I was thinking faster than my mouth could keep up with." she extended her hand. "My name's Zahannah Bane."

Allen gave it a firm shake. "I'm Allen." he said. "So, you related to the owner?"

Zahannah chuckled. "Not unless being the owner counts."

Now it was Allen's turn to be surprised. "you're the owner?" he asked. "But you're so young!"

Zahannah was just about to say something when a rough voice split the air.

"So that's the lizardman over there?"

Allen turned around. A group of teenagers had formed behind him, and the biggest one had stepped out in front.

The brute laughed. "Figures he could only be accepted by one of these alien scum."

"Hey, screw you!" Zahannah called out.

The teenagers let out a feign "Ooo" and began laughing.

Allen sighed. "I'll just go, Zahannah." He said.

As Allen was making his way back, he could hear the brutish teenager continue mocking him.

"Probably has to go shed somewhere!" he laughed.

Allen could hear some of the other kids in the group try to quiet the leader, fearing that Allen might retaliate. Obviously, this new teenager hadn't been here very long.

Allen breathed deeply. "In and out." he said to himself as he walked on. "In and-"

"Aw, it's no fun if he's just gonna run home to his whore mother." the kid called.

Allen stopped dead in his tracks. He slowly turned around, eyeing the leader directly. He walked back over and stared at the kid.

"What did you say?" Allen growled.

"I heard a rumor a few minutes ago." the leader said in a cocky manner. "Heard that your mother is sleeping around the science department."

"Shut your mouth." Allen snarled.

"It's not my fault your mother is a grade-A bit-"

Before he could finish the sentence, Allen threw his fist towards the kid's face. He felt his knuckles connect with the teen's jaw, felt the kid go sprawling across the floor.

"Oh, you just made the worst mistake of your life!" the teenager roared.

The other kid rushed at Allen, grabbing him and turning him toward the ground in an attempt to smother him.

Allen could feel the rage boiling within him. He could feel the scales breaking through his skin.

"Oh my God!" one of the other teens screamed, seeing Allen transform. "Run!"

The leader didn't see the transformation until it was too late. Allen grasped the kid's throat with his claw hand, throwing him against the wall and squeezing his windpipe. Allen's mind was growing hazy again.

"Allen?!" Allen could hear Vic's familiar voice. "What in God's name are you doing?!"

He didn't care. He could feel the kid's neck just about to snap...

Suddenly, a large pulse of electricity rocked Allen's entire body. He dropped the kid to the floor and fell to the ground, just noticing the two security guards that had shown up, wielding stun rifles.

It was the last thing he saw as the blackness overtook him.
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PostSubject: Re: Mythic    Mon Feb 14, 2011 2:24 am

great chapter bill. poor allen, today just wasn't his day, first the tests, then the verbally and physically abusive teenagers, and lastly being electrocuted by the security guards. his mother is going to have something to say about that no doubt. people can be so mean. mean and unaccepting people suck. and to the teenager who called Zahannah "alien scum" i am not alien scum you twit! >=( Dr. Mckinney reminds me of hojo from FF VII i think....ew... *twitch* so yeah, well done. =)
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PostSubject: Re: Mythic    Mon Feb 14, 2011 1:31 pm

I don't like that Dr. Mckinney at all, kudos to Allen for holding his temper for that long, I would of reacted earlier.

Nicely done Bill, got emotions going and the quick pace of the action is great. NEED MOAR!
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PostSubject: Re: Mythic    Mon Feb 14, 2011 4:46 pm

Holy two tons of awesomesauce that was awesome! I love it! I think you've really captured Allen's character really well so far Bill! I like the pace too! Quick, but still deep into the characters! Great start! I can't wait until the next chapter! :D Keep it up man!
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PostSubject: Chapter 2: Consequences   Sat Mar 12, 2011 1:19 am

Allen awoke with a sudden start. His entire body ached.

"I just don't understand!" Allen could hear his mother's voice clearly. "How in the world did Allen get into a fight?"

Allen slowly sat up and examined his surroundings. He was no longer in the Merchant Section of the Asteria, but he was in his room, sitting on his bed.

"Aura-" Allen heard a second voice try to speak.

"Just explain to me what happened!" Aura said, cutting off the second voice. "Please, I just want to know on what grounds you had the right to shoot my son with a stun charge!"

Allen gasped as he suddenly remembered how he had lost consciousness. He had gotten into a fight. He had transformed.

In public.

Allen placed his face in his hands. His mother was going to skin him alive.

He slowly slid out of bed and creeped over to his doorway, trying to listen what his mother and this mysterious other voice were talking about.

"Aura, people were shouting and screaming. There was a panic."

"So you just shot him, then?" Aura asked, though the contempt in her voice was obvious. "Well, thank God you weren't using live rounds!"

Allen peeked around his doorway. Aura stood at the door, still dressed in her lab gear and with her arms folded over her chest. On the opposite side of the door was the Asteria's Head Security officer, Tom Orwill.

Tom sighed. "Look Aura, Allen was strangling the life out of the other kid, what choice did I have?"

Aura placed her face in her hands. "Is Allen in serious trouble?" she asked.

"Well, we're gonna conduct a small investigation to determine which one is at fault." Tom replied. "We'll just ask the shopowners, or eyewitnesses. If Allen is charged, the worst he'll probably end up with is house arrest, since he's a minor. I wouldn't be too worried, Miss Caelum."

Aura took a deep breath, then recomposed herself. "All right, then." she said. "Thanks, Tom."

Tom tipped his hat. "No problem, ma'am." he said, turning and walking down the hall. As soon as he left, the door automatically slid shut.

"And how long have you been awake?" Aura asked, turning toward her son.

Allen's heart was beating with a nervous vigor. "Uh...just a few minutes..." he answered.

Aura glared at her son. In response, Allen aimed his eyes to the floor. He couldn't ever look his mother in the eye, not when she did her "Basilisk Stare".

"You are in serious trouble, Allen!" Aura fumed. "I'm on my break when suddenly I get approached by two members of the ASF, saying that you nearly killed someone!"

"I didn't 'nearly kill' anything." Allen said.

"So you weren't in a fight, then?" Aura asked, though she already knew the answer.

"Well..." Allen muttered quietly. "I never said that..."

"Goddamn it, Allen!" Aura growled. The scientist tore off her lab coat and threw it on the sofa, taking a seat next to it in the process. "How? How did it start?"

Allen was silent, unsure of how to explain what happened without his mother absolutely exploding on him.

"Please don't keep me in suspense." Aura said, folding her arms once more.

"Well..." Allen began. "I was in the Merchant Section and-"

"Hold it right there." Aura said, suddenly cutting in. "You were in the Merchant Section?"

"Um...yes?" Allen said.

"Really?" Aura asked, cocking an eyebrow toward her son. "That's funny, because didn't you say you were heading home to read, last I saw you?"

Allen closed his eyes. Yup, he was in deep trouble now.

"You went to the docks, didn't you?" Aura asked.

"Yeah." Allen muttered.

Aura blew out a sigh. "Allen, you know how I feel about that!"

"But mom-" Allen protested.

"I've told you time and time again!" Aura said over her son. "I didn't want that violence to go to your head! I didn't want you thinking that all your problems could be solved through hitting someone, and now look at what's happ-"

"Mom, he called you a bitch!" Allen exclaimed.

Aura blinked in surprise. "What?" she asked.

"When I went to the Merchant Section of the station, there was a group of kids who were taunting me. I would have ignored them, like we practiced," Allen emphazied that last part. "But their leader, that other kid, started calling you a whore and a bitch and I...I just lost it."

Aura went silent, her temper suddenly vanishing.

"I'm sorry." Allen said after a few moments passed. "I shouldn't have disobeyed you."

Aura blew out a sigh. She glanced at her son, an almost apologetic look on her face.

"Here, come sit with me for a second, Allen." Aura said, patting the space next to her. Allen obeyed, taking a seat next to his mother.

"Y'know, when you were born, I didn't think you'd face the problems that you do." Aura said. "I didn't realize that people would be so harsh to you."

"Yeah, well, you know..." Allen chuckled a bit. "The whole half-human half-reptile thing is probably just a little off putting for some."

Aura smiled and hugged her son. "But!" she said suddenly. "Just because people make fun of you doesn't give you the right to get violent with them."

"All right, mom." Allen said.

"I mean it, Allen." Aura said, her voice taking on a stern edge again. "I don't care if someone has just insulted you OR me. If they do, you just keep on walking. I'll let it slide just this once, though." Aura said, winking at her son. "Don't think you're off the hook that easily, either. You still have to answer to the ASF."

"Right..." Allen muttered.

******

An hour passed uneventfully, an in an uncomfortable silence. Allen could tell his mother was still a little ticked at him. She had turned on the television, saw what was blasting on the Asteria's news channel, and immediatly shut the device off. Allen, of course, would have done the same. He, along with the punk who had goaded him into the fight, were among the top stories of the local news. Allen decided to spend the rest of the evening in his room, watching holotapes or reading (Though he would have preferred going to the docks, he decided against it, given his mother's feelings on his recent disobediance).

Aura sat on the sofa, an old page book perched on her lap. She slowly flipped page after page, not really reading. She was too consumed with her own thoughts. Allen had transformed in public, and had caused a small panic in the Market District. True, Allen had been goaded into the fight, but even if the ASF absolved the charges against him, Aura knew he would face other problems.

He would become a total social outcast.

Aura snapped the book shut and tossed it to her side. She knew Allen already had a hard time bonding with others his age, but now...now he would find it near impossible to integrate into society, as much as Aura hated to admit it.

People hate and fear what they don't understand, and unfortunatly, the people of the Asteria didn't understand Allen.

A sudden knocking at the door shook Aura from her thoughts. As Aura stood up to answer it, the room's computer terminal suddenly blinked.

"Security override accepted." the computer said.

The door slid open, and two members of the ASF swept in, their weapons raised threateningly. Both were wearing specialized ASF Riot Armor, with helmets that covered their faces. One of the officers appeared to be human, and the other looked like a Sek'Turokian, a bipedal, reptilian-like species (although his face was covered, his orange and green scaled tail swung freely behind him).

"What the-" Aura's shock was evident.

"Stand down, ma'am." the human officer commanded, aiming his Pulse Rifle at Aura's chest. "We're here on direct orders from the Asteria Council."

"The Council?" Aura echoed.

"What? Who are--" Aura could hear Allen exclaim. "Hey! What are you doing?!"

The Sek'Turokian came back into the room, dragging Allen by his arm. Allen broke the officer's grasp and slammed his elbow into the creature's gut as hard as he could. The Sek'Turokian doubled over, stunned. The human quickly spun around, whipping his rifle around as he did, smashing the butt of his weapon across Allen's face.

"Allen!" Aura cried. She tried to go to her son, but the officer turned his rifle back onto the distressed scientist.

"Get back, ma'am!" he ordered.

"What right do you have?!" Aura demanded. "Who sanctioned this?!"

"The Asteria's council sanctioned the action, Aura." a familiar voiced echoed from the doorway.

Aura turned. Standing in the doorway was Dr. Walter McKinney, dressed in his usual lab garb, with his hands grasped casually behind his back.

"Dr. McKinney?" Aura asked. "What's going on?"

McKinney looked to the ground, then off to the side. "Perhaps I should explain in private." he said.

Aura looked back to the riot officer and shoved the gun away from her. "Point that somewhere else!" she growled.

"She's fine, gentleman." McKinney said coolly. Let her pass."

The riot officer held his aim for several seconds more before lowering his weapon and checking his partner. Aura stormed toward the door, her fists clenched tightly at her side.

"What the hell is this?!" Aura barked. "Has Allen been charged with anything? Why didn't the ASF say something? Why did they just barge in?!"

McKinney grabbed Aura's arm and pulled her off to the side.

"What's going on?" Aura asked, the anger from her voice replaced with a pleading tone.

McKinney looked at her. He looked almost sad.

The lead researcher sighed. "Project Minotaur has been shut down." he said quietly.

Aura blinked. "What?"

"You heard me, Aura." McKinney replied. "Project Minotaur has been shut down. After today's fiasco, the Asteria Council began to question the benefits that would come from genetic splicing. They've deemed Allen a threat to the public."

"B-but today's...thing...was just an accident!" Aura said, hysteria entering her voice once again. "They don't need to throw him in a detention facility for a fistfight, do they?!"

"They aren't putting him in a detention facility, Aura!" McKinney said. He stared her directly in the eyes. "The project has been cut. Cancelled. Research has been terminated."

Aura's eyes widened in fear. She could feel moisture begin to form on the rims of her eyes. "No..." she whispered.

"Protocol dictates that all research must be terminated." McKinney said. "ALL research."

"But he's a boy!" Aura cried. "A living, breathing, seventeen year old! He's more than just research, he's my son!"

"Try telling that to the council!" McKinney yelled, his patience for Aura's denial wearing out. "I tried to explain that to them, but they said Subject Epsilon was dangerous! A threat to all races on board the Asteria. 'What if he transforms again?' they asked. 'What if he had killed that boy?' they asked. To them, he is an experiment!"

Aura glanced back to their room. The two riot officers were carting an unconcious Allen out of his living quarters.

"Allen!" she cried, trying to rush after him.

Dr. McKinney's strong hands caught her by the shoulders and brought her back. "Aura, this must be done!" he growled, throwing her back against the wall. She hit the wall and sank, overcome with grief.

"I tried to explain..." McKinney said. "They're breathing down my neck, threatening the entire xenoscience lab."

Aura didn't move, her face was emotionless.

"I'm sorry." McKinney offered, turning and walking after the two riot officers.

As McKinney, the officers, and Allen disappeared around the bend, Aura did the only thing she could do:

She burst into tears, and cried.
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PostSubject: Re: Mythic    Sat Mar 12, 2011 2:22 am

:o oh no. poor allen and aura. =(
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PostSubject: Re: Mythic    Sat Mar 12, 2011 7:44 am

D: D: D: Poor Allen and Aura!!!!!
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PostSubject: Re: Mythic    Sun Mar 13, 2011 11:00 pm

:D LOL, I mean, D: Nooooooooooooooooo! Poor peoples!
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PostSubject: Re: Mythic    Tue Mar 15, 2011 4:47 pm

Oh noes!
Allen's only way out it seems is with the Chronos... :-)
Keep em coming!
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PostSubject: Chapter 3: Assemble the Crew   Wed Apr 20, 2011 8:15 pm

Bill finished scraping the sharp razor blade across his face. He tapped the blade against the metal of the small sink, then rinsed the blade in hot water. He set the razor down, then wiped his face with the nearby towel. Now, his face was clean shaven...except, of course, for his goatee. Bill tossed the towel aside and turned back to his small room. The room was nothing fancy, essentially just containing a bed, T.V., and bathroom, but it was cheap at the price the mercenary had rented it for. He didn't plan to stay long, either. He would spend the night, wait for his ship to be repaired, and then, he would set off on another contract or bounty.

"Same old shit." Bill muttered to himself, falling onto his bed. It wasn't until he hit the soft bed that he realized just how tired he really was. It had taken him several days to track down the target of that last contract, and even then, Bill had been discovered during his escape. The Chronos had taken a beating flying away, and the engines had burnt out when they came out of hyperdrive. Bill was lucky that his attackers didn't have the Chronos' Identification codes, otherwise, his face would have been plastered all over the Galactic Federation News Stations. Of course, his luck had turned sour near immediately when his contractor had tried to hold out on paying him.

Bill looked to the small nightstand next to his bed, to the three thousand credits he had been able to pull off his contractor. It wasn't enough to pay his debt. Not enough by a long shot.

The mercenary shook the troublesome thoughts from his head and forced himself to sit up. He turned to the small television.

"Let's see what's going on in the rest of the galaxy." Bill said to himself. "T.V. on."

The holo-t.v. responded by flicking on.

"Show me galaxy wide news." Bill instructed.

The t.v. obeyed, switiching over to the nearest galaxy news network.

"...In other news," a female reporter's voice said. "After nearly two weeks of radio silence, the Galactic Federation has sent a small squad of soldiers to investigate the experimental research colony Erebos, which is currently hovering several miles above the surface of planet Silvam, a dense forest world full of unusual plant life."

The screen shifted to another scene. "Also in the news, Toranian Royalists were shocked after successfully raiding an Anarchist warehouse, only to discover that the warehouse was filled with modified Power Suits. These suits augment strength and reflexes when worn, but they do require special training."

The screen jumped to a Toranian soldier. "Well, we just weren't expecting this." he said. "We thought that the Anarchists were just some small time terrorist group, but this...I mean, look at these suits! They've been modified with built in weaponry and enhanced servos. They'll let you hit harder, and they'll free up your hands because the armorsuit can shoot."

"According to officials, these modified armorsuits look promising, but are also incredibly glitchy." the reporter's voice said. "Royalists believe that these armorsuits were merely prototypes, and that the people should not be alarmed."

"I've heard enough." Bill said. "What's on the local news?"

The t.v. jumped channels, coming to a halt on the Asteria News Feed.

"What would you like to hear about?" an electronic voice from the t.v. asked.

"The most interesting thing on right now." Bill replied lazily, lying back on his bed.

"Yes, sir. According to reports, a fight broke out in the merchant section of the Asteria. According to ASF reports, the fight was between seventeen-year-old Allen Caelum and nineteen-year-old Riley Simmons. According to eyewitnesses, Allen Caelum 'transformed' into some kind of beast and attacked Riley Simmons."

Bill sat up, suddenly intrigued. "A beast, huh?"

Allen's picture was posted next to Riley's. He looked like an average teenager. Pale skin, dark brown hair, bluish-green eyes. The only thing that seemed out of place on him was the odd crescent shaped scar on his shoulder.

"Asteria News reporters were on scene with Ms. Zahannah Bane, who witnessed the argument before the fight."

"I don't know if you could call it an argument." Zahannah said. "Allen was walking off, and that other kid said something about Allen's mother. Allen turned right around and gave him what-for. That kid got what he deserved if you ask me."

Bill chuckled at the Toranian girl's response. She definetly had an attitude about her.

The screen suddenly flickered. "Mr. Ebonheart, you are recieving a message from the front desk. Would you like to answer?"

The front desk? he wondered. "Yeah, put it on screen."

The screen flickered again, this time the face of the concierge came up. "Hello, Mr. Ebonheart. We hope you're enjoying your stay. We recieved a message from a Mr. Slater, asking you to join him down on the docks."

Bill's heart nearly stopped. Slater was here? But how?!

"If there has been a mistake in any way-"

"No, there's no mistake." Bill said, suddenly wide awake. "I'll meet him there in ten minutes."

The screen shut off. Bill jumped out of bed and grabbed his trusted blaster. There was a good chance this meeting could get heated real quick. If it did, Bill wanted to be prepared.

*****

The tram came to a quick stop, jolting several passengers forward a bit. Bill jumped off the tram and looked around. No sign of Slater. Of course, Bill knew that. Slater wouldn't go beyond his ship, unless it was serious Syndicate business. And Bill...well, he was just a merc with a debt. Nothing new to the Syndicate.

Bill steadied himself and calmly began to examine each docking platform. He hadn't got Slater's dock number, but he knew Slater's ship well enough. Slater would come in an ordinary grey transport ship. His real ship, the Shadowrunner, was likely hovering several miles outside of the Asteria.

After wandering past several docks, Bill stopped. To his right, he could see Slater's transport ship. Standing in front of it, Bill could see Slater himself, dressed in his usual formal attire. Bill took a deep breath, and forced himself forward.

As Bill approached, Slater grinned, revealing his impossibly white teeth, which only accentuated his dark eyes. Physically, Slater wasn't much to look at. He only stood around 5'9'' or 5'10'', and he was unusually skinny. Bill imagined that there were likely twigs that would be harder to snap than Slater. But Bill knew better. Even if Slater wasn't a raging Kair'n, he was just as dangerous, with his present connections.

"Bill Ebonheart!" Slater greeted, grabbing and shaking the mercenary's hand. "It's been too long."

Bill snorted. "Not long enough, in my opinion." he muttered.

Slater grinned. He either ignored or just didn't care about Bill's disposition towards him. Most likely the latter.

"Let's just skip the formalities, Slater." Bill said, pulling his hand from the skinny man's grasp. "I can't make my payment today, because my contractor just stiffed me. I've only got about three thousand and-"

"Whoa, whoa, slow down there, Ebonheart." Slater said, putting his hands up. "You think that's why I'm here? To collect?"

"Isn't that how this usually goes down?" Bill asked.

Slater laughed. "No, no, Bill, you've got me all wrong!" Slater paused for a moment, looking back to his ship. "Why don't we talk somewhere a bit more private?"

"Why?" Bill asked. "What's this about?"

"A job." Slater said, moving toward his transport. He motioned for Bill to follow.

*****

Two minutes later, Slater's transport was out of the hangar and flying through the black void of space. Bill glanced around him. The inside of Slater's transport was like a room out of a fancy mansion. It had a couch, a bed, a bar, server droids, and a few other cool gadgets that Bill wasn't even sure what they were!

"I like to travel comfortably." Slater said, taking a seat. "Don't you?"

Bill didn't respond.

"Of course you do." Slater said. "Who doesn't? After all, that's why we're here. That's why we're talking."

Bill cocked an eyebrow. "We're talking about comfort?"

"Your comfort, Mr. Ebonheart. What I will propose will make living very easy for you."

If Bill didn't have any interest before, Slater had hooked Bill now.

"Tell me, Bill..." Slater asked. "How long have you worked for the Syndicate?"

Bill scowled. He didn't work for the Syndicate. He had been caught in their debt, and was simply paying them back. He would never work for their filthy crime organization. But he had to play the game here. If he said that, Slater would likely turn him loose.

"You know, Slater, that I don't really work for you." Bill said as calmly as he could.

"Oh, of course, Ebonheart. In that case, how long have you been a merc?" Slater asked.

"Long time." Bill said. He had been a merc for years. "Around ten years now."

"That's good." Slater said. "And how much do you know about my group, the Syndicate?"

How much did Bill know? The Syndicate was founded at least two centuries ago by the mysterious and enigmatic "Grey". In no time, Grey had organized a criminal society that almost had a monopoly on any illegal trade in the galaxy. Weapons, drugs, slaves...if you wanted it, the Syndicate likely had it. The Galactic Federation had tried to shut down their operations, but had only succeeded on a very small, very slight scale. If one Syndicate runner got arrested, another took his place in the blink of an eye. Only once had the GF succeeded in bringing down a large chapter of the Syndicate, but word in the galaxy was that it was already on the mend.

"Just about as much as anyone else." Bill said. "You dabble in all types of illegal activity. And the GF can't bring you down because they can't catch your leader, Grey. The guy's a ghost...literally, if you believe the stories."

Slater chuckled. "That's true." he said. "But I'll bet you didn't know the Syndicate has another interest, did you?"

"Nothing I've heard of." Bill said.

Slater leaned forward. "Mythic artifacts."

Bill blinked in surprise. "Mythic?" he asked. "As in, those magical trinkets that people can't get enough of?"

"They're hardly trinkets, as you casually call them." Slater said. "They're--Ah, we're here."

Bill glanced out his window. The transport ship was pulling into the hangar of a much larger star cruiser.

Slater's ship, The Shadowrunner.

As soon as the transport touched down, Bill and Slater quickly exited the ship, with Slater leading.

"Come with me, Bill. Let me show you something."

Bill followed Slater, glancing all around him. To the left and right of him, soldiers dressed in full body recon gear scoped Bill out, their faces hidden behind the tinted black of their visors.

It wasn't long until Bill and Slater reached a transport elevator. The elevator doors slid open, and the two stepped inside. As soon as they were in, the elevator closed, and began to descend. A few moments later, the doors opened, revealing a museum of sorts. To the left and right, on pedestals and on the walls, were Mythic artifacts. Scrolls, stones, tomes, rings and other trinkiets...they were everywhere.

"Grey likes to collect Mythic artifacts." Slater said, walking through his collections. "It's a hobby of his."

Bill walked all around. Each object seemed to resonate with a forgotten energy. Bill grabbed a small red stone from its pedestal. The stone began to resonate and glow a bright red.

"The sun stone." Slater explained. "It lights when you touch it. Come along."

Bill set the stone down and followed obediently.

"Collecting these things...it's a hobby of Grey's, and of mine." Slater said. "This is the job."

Bill cocked an eyebrow. "You want me to find a Mythic artifact for you?"

"Not just any Mythic artifact! THE Mythic artifact." Slater said. He walked back to his Mythic collection and grabbed a weathered old scroll. "I've had dozens and dozens of translators look at this scroll."

Bill glanced at the parchment. The writing looked like some sort of arcane symbols with runes.

"I couldn't decipher the whole thing," Slater continued. "But there were several words that kept popping up in the translations, the most recurring one being...'The Heart'".

"The Heart?" Bill repeated. "What does it do?"

"I'm...not sure." Slater said. But it must be powerful, for this artifact was not lost, but hidden! The scrolls mentions a great energy, power, source,-"

"What do they say about finding it?" Bill asked impatiently.

"The scrolls do mention something about 'milestones' or 'mapstones'. My theory is that they'll lead you to the Heart."

Bill was just about to say something when Slater cut in. "You've done well for the Syndicate in the past, and it's time we've done well for you. Upon completion of the assigned task, your debt to the Syndicate will be forgotten, and you shall be rewarded with one hundred MILLION credits. How does that sound?"

Bill's jaw nearly dropped. One hundred million credits?! He'd be set for life!

"This sounds too good to be true..." Bill said.

Slater laughed. "Yes, it does, but this artifact is worth every credit."

"Where do you suggest I begin?" Bill asked, suddenly filled with new vigor.

"First, I suggest you gather a crew. A pilot, and maybe some muscle." Slater said. "Then, your next guess is as good as mine. Don't you have contacts who can help you out?"

"I've got a few good reliable contacts left." Bill said.

"Good. Oh, and take these." Slater said, handing Bill thirty thousand credits. "For supplies and other expenses."

Bill nodded and turned to leave.

"Oh, and Ebonheart..." Slater said.

Bill turned.

"If the Syndicate stops you along the way, tell them you're working for me. But don't mention anything about the job I gave you. That is between us."

Bill nodded, then stepped into the elevator.

Slater turned toward the window. "Everything's going accordingly. If Bill succeeds, I win. If Grey hears that someone is looking for the Heart, he'll waste Ebonheart, not me. And then I can just resume the hunt where Ebonheart left off!"
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PostSubject: Re: Mythic    Thu Apr 21, 2011 6:34 am

:O Awesome! Can't wait to see his new "crew" :P Hmmm...Grey, leading an organization, and map/milestones to lead to an ancient artifact? Sounds kinda like a Sci-Fi G.U. :P
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PostSubject: Re: Mythic    Thu Apr 21, 2011 3:48 pm

Hehe, new crew? More like a new ragtag group of misfits! Can't wait now, well written chapter PB :-)
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PostSubject: Re: Mythic    Thu Apr 21, 2011 8:42 pm

Great chapter bill, I have a feeling that things are really going to start rolling now. :D
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PostSubject: Chapter 4: Containment   Wed May 11, 2011 7:48 pm

Slater glanced at the departing transport, grinning ever so slightly. He was fortunate that one of the Federation's most noted mercs was easily suaded by the promise of cash. With time, and possibly a little luck, Bill would recover the mysterious artifact, or clues leading to its location.

And all of this right under Grey's nose. Grey wouldn't suspect anything until it was too late, and by that time, Slater would all ready have a major advantage over the Syndicate's supposidly immortal leader.

"Slater, sir!" a soldier called out.

Slater turned. "Yes, what is it?"

"We've picked up a video feed transmitting from the Asteria." the soldier said. "It's the Doctor, he says-"

Slater's eyes widened. "The weapon?" he asked. "Is it finally ready?"

The soldier nodded. "Seems like it."

Slater's grin widened. Today was just his lucky day.

"Grey's waited for this weapon for at least seventeen years, if memory serves correct." Slater said aloud. "Send the feed to me. I'll talk to him personally."

*****

Allen's vision swam. He sat himself up, and grasped his throbbing head. How many times had he been knocked unconscious today? Twice?

Allen blinked the grogginess away, and glanced around him. Surrounding him was a shimmering field of light. Allen reached out and touched the field. As his fingers made contact with the field, a small brzzt! sound could be heard. Allen withdrew his fingers immediately, cursing.

"Don't worry about the cage, Epsilon." McKinney's familiar voice could be heard. The scientist stepped into view, a look of superiority stamped on his face. "The force cage only causes mild electrical burns."

Allen glanced all around him. Why was McKinney here? Wasn't he in the Asteria Brig?

As Allen glanced around him, all he could see was science equipment. He was in the Xenoscience Containment Sector.

"I'm sure you're confused, Epsilon." McKinney said. "But all will be revealed in due time."

"McKinney, what's going on?" Allen asked, just a hint of anger in his voice.

The Scientist ignored him, moving over to the nearby monitor and entering a security code on the screen.

"Don't want the Asteria Director to listen in on this." McKinney said.

The screen was blank for a few moments, but it suddenly flickered to life, a helmeted soldier on the line.

"Get me Grey, or Grey's closest associate." McKinney said. "This is Walter McKinney."

The soldier disappeared for several moments. Allen was in shock. Grey? As in, the infamous one? The one that led the largest crime organization this side of the galaxy for several centuries? That Grey?

A small, skinny man stepped onto the screen. He smiled at McKinney (which Allen found very unsettling), then turned his gaze toward Allen.

"Subject Epsilon, I'm guessing?" the small man asked.

"Indeed." McKinney replied.

"What took you so long, Doc?" the small man asked. "Grey's been waiting for this thing for seventeen years. What was with the wait?"

Allen's face showed his confusion plainly. Seventeen years? But then that would mean-

"You have to understand, genetic splicing is not a perfected science." McKinney said. "All attempts to speed up the maturation process wound up killing or mutating the fetus in some way. We tried several times, each ending with failure."

"But not this one?" the small man asked.

"No." McKinney replied. "Subject Epsilon's birth was natural."

"Natural?" the small man asked. "Explain that to me."

"One of our younger researchers at the time, Dr. Aura Caelum, pointed out the problem. She believed that the accelerated maturation of the spliced fetus was interfering with the chromosomes in some way. Altering them, or rendering them useless. She believed that the only way to create a perfect hybrid was through natural birth, allowing the chromosomes to come together naturally. She offered herself to carry the subject."

"And it looks like she was right." the small man said. "That explains why it's taken seventeen years to get here."

"Yes." McKinney said. "Aura carried the child for seven months before giving birth to Epsilon."

"Seven months?"

"Yes." McKinney explained. "Praviles usually carry their young for four months, while humans carry theirs for about nine."

"And is Epsilon...functional?" the small man asked.

McKinney smiled. "Observe."

The doctor clicked a button, sending a powerful electrical shock into the force cage. Allen's body went rigid and he cried out. He felt the black Pravilian scales burst from underneath his skin, felt his hand reshape and grow itself, growing large claws.

"Incredible..." the small man said, breathless.

"Yes, and the mutations will only grow stronger with time." McKinney added.

The small man cackled to himself. "While I'm sure Grey would've wanted soldiers he could easily mass produce, I'm sure he'll be pleased with this. I'll send a team over to pick up the subject tomorrow. We'll have your payment ready. Make sure he is ready as well."

Allen took deep breaths, forcing himself to calm down. He felt the mutation recede back under his skin.

"Soldiers?" Allen asked. "Grey? What is this all about, McKinney?"

The communicator went black, and the scientist turned around. "What it's always been about, Epsilon. What you were always destined to be."

"My name is Allen."

"Your name is Epsilon!" McKinney shrieked. "Allen is the name Aura gave to you because she got attached! You...you aren't even aware of why you were created, are you?"

Allen stared daggers at the doctor.

"You think it's because we were looking for some practical use for genetic splicing?" McKinney asked. "That's the lie we fed the science department, that we'd be exploring a brave new realm of science. That was a lie, my boy!"

"No, that's not true!" Allen said, though his voice seemed to lose conviction. "I-I was created...to explore a deeper scope of genetics..."

"Bullshit!" McKinney roared. "Project Minotaur, the experiment which created you, was trying to find a way to mass produce hybrid super soldiers! You were created to be a weapon, Epsilon!"

Allen was silent.

"Why did we combine your mother's genetic material with something as savage and uncivilized as a Pravile? Don't you think we would've used something a bit more intelligent if we were really looking for the deeper scope of genetics?" McKinney asked.

Allen remained silent. This was all true, wasn't it?

"Project Minotaur was funded by the Syndicate to create weapons. You were the project's only official success."

Allen slumped to the floor of his cage. Funded by the Syndicate...this had to be--

Allen looked up, suddenly registering something. "Only 'official' success?" Allen echoed.

McKinney smirked. "You should get some rest, Allen." he said. "You've got a big day tomorrow."

And with that, McKinney walked out the door. Allen could hear the magnetic clamps latch into place. Even if he could escape the containment field, there would be no way he would be getting out of this room now.

McKinney's last words buzzed inside Allen's skull. What had he meant, only official success?

*****

The tram came to a quick stop at the station, jolting a few passengers forward a few steps. Vic took a quick mental note of that. He'd probably need to fix that before some poor tram rider seriously got hurt. He stepped off the tram, unhooking his helmet from his RIG suit, and placed it underneath his arm. He had wanted to check on Allen. After he was dragged away by the ASF, Vic had wanted to make sure Allen was all right.

The walk from the tram to the Living Quarters wasn't so far. Vic passed by several science officers, who certainly seemed surprised to see an engineer up near the Science departments. They were probably concerned that Vic would shut down their department while he made repairs. The scientists on the Asteria could be a touchy bunch at times.

As Vic neared Allen's quarters, he could see the lone frame of a woman, sitting underneath the door to Allen's apartment. She hardly moved, with her legs pulled into her chest and her arms wrapped around them. Her head rested on her knees, and the woman trembled slightly with each breath she took.

"Ma'am?" Vic asked. He dropped his helmet to the floor and knelt beside her. "Ma'am are you all right? Are you injured?"

The woman shook her head, but said nothing.

"Is something wrong?" the engineer asked.

The woman looked up, and brushed her fingers across her eyes. It was obvious that she had been crying recently.

"I just lost my son..." she said. Her voice was barely above a whisper. "And, I'm afraid that he isn't going to be coming back."

The woman clenched her hands together. "Damn it, Allen!" she whispered, tears forming around her eyes. "Why did this have to happen?"

Vic gasped.

"Are...are you Aura Caelum?" Vic asked.

The woman looked up. "Yes, I am..." she said.

"Allen's told me a lot about you." Vic said. "It's a pleasure that we can finally meet...but, perhaps it would've been better under different circumstances..."

Aura turned her full attention toward the engineer. "You...you know Allen?" she asked.

Vic nodded. "Yeah. He comes down to the docks to spar with pulse blades with me. He's quite gifted with them."

Aura's expression suddenly turned sour. "Victum Solum?" she asked.

"Yes, ma'am." Vic said.

Aura slowly stood up. Vic mimicked her movement, standing as well.

Without warning, Aura reached out and slapped Vic across the face as hard as she could.

"This is your fault!" Aura cried. "I told Allen I didn't want him practicing with those...those weapons! And...and you just...just let him anyway!"

Vic rubbed the side of his face, which had turned bright red. "Wait, what?" Vic asked, confused.

"I told him I didn't want that violence to go to his head!" Aura sobbed. "I..he.." the distraught woman slumped to the floor, suddenly at a loss for words.

Vic knelt back beside her. "Miss Caelum," Vic began. "I'm sorry for going against your will. Allen didn't tell me that you didn't approve. But ma'am," Vic placed his hand on Aura's shoulder. "I don't think it was the training that made Allen fight. From what I've heard, Allen was trying to defend your honor."

Aura gave a forced laugh. "That was pretty dumb of him." she muttered, though there was a slight smile on her face. It disappeared almost immediately.

Vic paused for a moment. "Allen doesn't deserve death..." he thought to himself. "Not for a fistfight, and not because he's different!"

Vic stood up and walked over to his RIG helmet. He scooped it off the floor, and placed it over his head, locking it in place.

"What are you doing?" Aura asked, standing up.

Vic didn't answer her. He walked off, toward the tram, but turned left, heading for a nearby security station.

"Hey!" Aura called out, following him. "What are you doing?"

The security guard glanced at Vic.

"Got a complaint about a faulty camera." Vic said. "Mind if I can check to see which one?"

The ASF guard simply nodded and stepped aside. Vic stepped forward and brought up the camera system.

Aura walked up and gave a quick glance at the security officer, who seemed to pay her no mind. "What are you doing?" she asked.

Vic glanced up. "Working." he replied curtly, glancing back at the cameras.

Several minutes passed uneventfully, with Vic scanning camera after camera.

"Seems fine." Vic said. "Let me know if something goes wrong, okay?" the guard nodded.

As Vic stepped away, Aura was beside him in an instant. "What was that all about?" she asked.

"Your son isn't in the brig." Vic said. "He's in Xenoscience Containment."

Aura blinked, surprised. "What? Wait, are you talking about--"

"He doesn't deserve death, you and I both know that." Vic said. "I'm gonna spring him."

"How?" Aura asked. "There's cameras, guards, passwords..."

"Cameras and passwords can be hacked." Vic said. "Guards can be rendered...indisposed."

Aura blinked in surprise once again. Was Vic serious?

"What about the DNA scanner in the Xenoscience department?" Aura asked. "It's got a failsafe on it. Any attempt to tamper with it will notify the Director of Sciences and the ASF."

Vic was silent for a moment, thinking. "Maybe I could-"

"Use my help?" Aura offered.

Vic looked at the scientist. "Aura, what I'm doing is extremely illegal." he said. "If we get caught..."

"We won't." she said.

"Are you absolutely sure you want to do this?"

Aura steeled her gaze. "Allen's my son. If it means his freedom, I'll do whatever necessary."

Vic smiled under his helmet.

"All right then. Time for a little containment breach."
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PostSubject: Re: Mythic    Wed May 11, 2011 8:27 pm

:O OMG Allen's a bioengineered weapon! Awesome! Can't wait for the big jail break! :D
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PostSubject: Chapter 5: Breach   Tue Aug 02, 2011 8:28 pm

The shuttle touched down at the docking station, lurching ever so slightly as it did. Bill quickly hopped out of the ship, making his way over to the nearby transit station. The first thing he needed to do, as Slater suggested, was to find a pilot. Although Bill could pilot his ship just as well as any other spacefaring mercenary, a skilled pilot's touch could be necessary. No doubt Bill was going to visit some dangerous locations during his mission. If he needed to leave quickly for any reason, he wanted a skilled pilot at the helm of the Chronos, not himself.

The tram pulled into the station quickly, jerking as it slowed to a halt. The mercenary stepped on board and held on as the tram sped out of the station, towards the Merchant sector.

*****

Zahannah sat behind the counter of her shop, blowing out a small sigh. Ever since the incident with Allen earlier, business had slowed nearly to a standstill. The Toranian girl reached under the counter and pulled out a small droid shaped like a sphere. She pressed a button on it's side, and the droid suddenly came to life, hovering out of Zahannah's hands.

"Mistress Bane!" the droid squeaked excitedly.

Zahannah smiled at the small recon droid. She had picked it up a few years ago, and refurbished it. Now, instead of recon, it's primary directive was to assist Zahannah with the shop.

"Hey Rex." Zahannah said smiling. "I'm going on break. Can you man the shop for me?"

"Of course, mistress!" Rex squeaked, shivering with excitement. "Leave it to me!"

Zahannah gave the droid a small pat, then turned and walked to the back of her shop. Inside the back of Bane's Tech and Machines were numerous droid hulls, motherboards, and spare parts galore. Zahannah made her way past the parts and inoperable droids, moving toward her private workshop in the back. Once inside, Zahannah shut the door, and turned toward her latest project.

Placed in the center of the workshop was a droid...or rather, a droid hull, as the actual droid was not yet complete. Zahannah slowly walked around her creation, marvelling at it's unique design. The droid stood around six feet tall, and it's hull was a bright silver. It's face did not possess a mouth, but it had two eyes that would be able to change color depending on what situation it was in (and as an aesthetic addition, Zahannah had installed the ability to give the droid varied expressions with its eyes).

Zahannah took a step back and grinned at the droid. "You are going to help put me on the map." she said to the droid hull. The Toranian turned toward a small desk littered with notes and blueprints, glancing at the design for her droid. She had drawn up her design almost four years ago, when she first arrived at the Asteria. Using money from her shop, Zahannah had been finally able to buy the necessary materials she needed for her "vision". So far, the most expensive venture had been the droid's adamantite hull. Adamantite was one of the most resistant (yet light) metals known in the galaxy, but it was by no means easy to acquire.

Since then, Zahannah had been able to purchase other necessary systems, but now, her project had come to a halt. The last thing Zahannah needed to complete her droid was a semiconducter. Not just any semiconductor either, but one made of ruby. Ruby was already a valued mineral, but there were very few ruby semiconductors in the galaxy. Shaping ruby into an electronic component was a difficult and expensive process. And unfortunately, Zahannah didn't have the funds.

As Zahannah was contemplating how she might acquire a ruby semiconductor, the door to her workshop flew open, and Rex hovered inside.

"Mistress Bane!" the small droid squeaked. "There's a man looking to purchase a pilot droid!"

Zahannah stared at Rex, then sighed. "So...go sell him one then..." she said, looking at the droid expectantly. But the droid didn't move. It just continued to hover in place and twitch excitedly. Zahannah sighed again and gave a small chuckle. Looks like Rex still had a few bugs to iron out.

"Okay, tell him I will be with him shortly."

Rex gave another twitch, then turned around and hovered back toward the main counter.

"Miss Bane will be with you shortly!" Rex buzzed. "In the meantime, please feel free to browse our fine wares!"

Bill nodded and glanced behind the small droid, to the numerous droid models occupying the walls. Some were broken down, some were missing pieces, some looked completely brand new. Bill scanned the droids. A pilot droid should be reliable...but at the same time, until the completion of the mission, the mercenary would be on a budget. Hopefully, he could get something reliable and affordable.

It wasn't too long before Bill could see the shop's proprieter making her way from the back of the shop.

"Hello sir!" she greeted, making her way up to the front counter. "Welcome to Bane's Tech and Machines, the best source of weapon and droid tech in the solar system! What can I get for you?"

"A pilot droid." Bill replied. "Something that will be able to fly my ship with expert precision. Got anything like that?"

Zahannah thought for a moment, then turned to the back of her shop. "I might..." she began. "I used to make them for travelling merchants and the like, so, the high end ones are pretty much gone."

"That's fine." Bill said. "If it can fly my ship, I'll take it."

"I think I've got a few older models in the back, if you're interested." Zahannah said. "Wait here for just one second..."

The Toranian girl moved to the back of her shop. She re-emerged a few minutes later, slinging a rustic droid hull over her shoulder. She set the device down, then reached behind it and activated it's power cells.

The gears and other machinery began to buzz and whirr. The droid lit up, raising itself off the ground to stand on its own two feet.

"Greetings!" the droid said. "I am an--" the droid gave a small spark. "Am an-an-an X niiiiine twoooooooo..." The droid suddenly shorted out, falling on the floor in a heap.

"Aw, damn!" Zahannah cursed. She turned to Bill. "I'm sorry sir, believe it or not, that was my only pilot droid." she apologized. "I'm working on another project at the moment that would create a droid unlike any other, but unfortunately, I'm lacking some crucial pieces."

Bill nodded, but didn't say anything.

"I'm terribly sorry." Zahannah apologized again. "I would gladly fly your ship for you, but I have to stay here and man the shop."

Bill's ears suddenly perked up. "You have flight experience?" he asked.

Zahannah nodded. "Well, yeah." she said. "I flew from Toran here on an Anarchist Recon Stealth Flier." Bill raised an eyebrow in suspicion. "Which I commandeered." Zahannah added.

"Do you think you could fly a small freight ship?" Bill asked.

"Easily!" Zahannah responded. "But, it's kind of moot. I can't leave the shop."

"What if I pay you?" Bill asked. "Once I complete my contract, I will receive a very large sum of money. I'll give you ten percent of the cut."

Zahannah snorted. "Ten percent?" she asked. "No. No thanks."

"Ten million credits." Bill said.

Zahannah froze. Ten million credits? That'd be enough to start her own droid manufacturing company. Perhaps even enough to buy a ruby semiconductor!

Zahannah turned to the mercenary. "Bullshit." she said, chuckling a bit. "Who would pay a run-of-the-mill mercenary one hundered million credits? And why, for that matter?"

"Someone who knows I have a knack for tracking things down." Bill responded. "And someone who has a deep interest in Mythic artifacts."

"Mythic artifacts?" Zahannah echoed. Bill nodded. "And who exactly hired you?" she asked.

"That's not something you need to know." Bill said.

The Toranian girl laughed. "Look, I won't lie. The money sounds promising, but also too good to be true."

"Are you in or not?" The mercenary asked impatiently. "Here," Bill reached into his pocket and produced ten thousand credits that Slater had given him. "As a sign of good faith, I'll give you ten grand just for saying yes."

Zahannah looked at the money in surprise. She was sure there were other pilots on the Asteria. This man must be in a big hurry to leave. Zahannah couldn't help but feel a small twinge of danger around this man...but...that money was enticing. With it, she could finally complete her greatest droid ever.

"Okay, I'm in." Zahannah said, taking the money. "But on one condition!"

Bill cocked an eyebrow.

"Let me take my latest design with us. If I can complete it, It'll be a droid like no other!" Zahannah explained.

"Done." Bill said, though Zahannah could tell he didn't really care. He really was in a big rush to leave. Bill turned and began to walk off. "Bring anything you need to the docks!" Bill called. "The ship is the Chronos. Don't be too long! I'd like to leave within the hour!"

*****

Vic and Aura walked down the long stetches of hallway, giving passing nods to the people and guards that walked by. Vic reached under his arm for his helmet and placed it on his head, securing it.

"Are you sure about what you're doing?" Aura whispered.

"Not really, no." Vic replied.

Aura rolled her eyes. They didn't really have a plan. Vic was willing to rush in guns blazing, but Aura knew if they did that, ASF would be all over them in seconds. They needed a stealthier approach.

As they turned the corner, the entrance to the Xenoscience labs could be seen clearly. Standing outside the front door were two armed security guards, both armed with plasma casters.

"Pretty heavy weaponry for door grunts." Vic remarked.

"For keeping Allen inside." Aura said quietly. "If he escapes..."

"Zap." Vic finished.

"Yeah,...zap..." Aura whispered.

As the two approached the door, the Sek'Turokian guard nearest to them turned. "Halt!" the reptilian creature called out.

Aura and Vic stopped immediately. "By order of Head Xenoscientist Mckinney, no one is permitted into the labs at the moment." the creature hissed.

Vic pointed to the plasma caster in the guard's hands. "Pretty heavy weapon for a simple guard post." he said.

The Sek'Turokian looked to the gun in his hands. "Indeed." he agreed. "Mckinney authorized the use of heavy force if necessary. No idea why."

"Mmhm." Vic said. "Listen, I was just notified that one of the systems in the lab has shorted out. I need to get in there."

"Yeah?" the guard asked. "Mckinney told us that no one may enter. What exactly broke?"

Vic scratched the back of his head. "Uh-"

"The containment security system." Aura piped up.

The Sek'Turokian cocked a scaly eyebrow. "Did that just go down recently?"

"About an hour ago, yes." Aura lied. "I tried to fetch an engineer over the comm, but no one responded. I went to Engineering myself and retrieved an engineer." Aura patted Vic on the shoulder.

"Look, ma'am, Dr Mckinney's orders were to-"

"I'm well aware, but we might have a serious problem on our hands if we can't fix that containment systems!" Aura interjected. "Experiments might spoil or live subjects could escape! Need I remind you that we have been experimenting with Praviles? LIVE Praviles?" Aura emphazised the "live" part.

"But ma'am-"

"You know, maybe I should pay a visit to the Director." Aura said offhandedly. "I'm sure he'd be interested to know why several experiments are running amok on the station. I'll be sure to let him know who exactly was responsible."

Aura turned to walk away (Vic mimicked her actions), but as she did, the guard called out.

"Wait! Okay, okay, you win. Enter, repair the system, but you are to leave as soon as the job is finished, understood?" the guard said.

"Good." Aura said, swiping her ID card on the scanner. The doors opened with a small swish. As Aura and Vic walked inside, they could hear the guard mutter something under his breath in his own language. Whatever it was, it didn't sound too flattering.

As the doors shut, Aura turned and locked them. Vic moved about the room, eventually moving over to a small panel in the wall. Vic gripped the panel and tore it off, exposing the wiring underneath. The engineer reached his hand up in the wiring, gripping several wires and yanking down hard, tearing them out. The security cameras in the room suddenly went inert.

"That was brilliant, by the way." Vic said. "Fooling the guard like that."

Aura chuckled. "Wasn't too difficult." she said.

"Still," Vic laughed. "Very clever."

Aura chuckled, then turned to look around. The door to containment was locked in place with heavy security clamps. They couldn't break the door down, and it would take hours to cut through it with Vic's plasma cutter.

Aura walked over to the small hand scanner next to the door and placed her hand on it. A small light scanned her palm, detailing Aura's handprint.

"Print confirmed." a computerized voice said. "Voice authorization required to lift security lockdown."

Aura leaned next to the small microphone, praying that Mckinney hadn't locked her out of the security system. "Aura Caelum." she spoke it slowly and clearly, so the system could read it accurately.

"Voice recognized. Welcome Dr Caelum." the computer greeted. "Lifting security lockdown."

Aura breathed a sigh of relief as the clamps unhooked and the door slid open. Sitting in a force cage, slumped to the ground, was her son.

"Allen!" she cried out.

Allen lifted his head and turned, eyes in shock. "Mom?!" he asked, clearly surprised.

Aura moved over to the force controls and typed in the command to shut the field off.

"Command not accepted." the computer said.

"What?" Aura asked bewildered.

"Must be Mckinney." Vic said. "Too much work to change all the login IDs of the DNA scanner. It's much easier to set one master code to the force cage."

"Vic, you're here too?" Allen asked.

Vic smiled. "Of course, Al."

"What do we do?" Aura asked. Vic gently moved her out of the way.

"Step aside, ma'am." he said. "Allow me."

Vic reached under the control panel and tore out the panel that kept all the wires hidden. In a flash, Vic began to connect wires to other wires, looking to bypass the system.

The control panel shorted, then spoke. "Force cage offline..."

The cage shut off instantly. Aura turned and rushed to her son, who wrapped her in a hug. Vic touched Aura on the shoulder.

"Come on. He said. "We're not out of this yet."
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PostSubject: Re: Mythic    Wed Aug 03, 2011 2:09 am

Now Aura, Allen, and Vic need to escape undetected. good luck to them. ^_^ Great chapter.
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PostSubject: Re: Mythic    Wed Aug 03, 2011 8:03 am

Wewt, great chapter! Now, for the next one! :P
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PostSubject: Re: Mythic    Wed Aug 03, 2011 1:58 pm

Awesome :D
Good ol' break out coming up next!
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PostSubject: Chapter 6: Escape!   Wed Oct 12, 2011 12:56 am

"Come on," Vic said. "We're not out of this yet."

"What exactly is going on?" Allen asked, breaking free of his mother's embrace and standing on his feet. "What do you mean, 'we aren't out of this yet'?"

Vic snorted. "Allen, its no secret to you that your mother and I didn't turn you loose with the proper authorization codes." he said. "If McKinney gets word of your escape...when he does...he's gonna come after us hard." the engineer explained.

"So what's your plan?" Aura asked.

Vic grabbed his plasma cutter from his toolbelt and armed it. "Plan?" he asked quizzically.

Aura's eyes widened. "Oh God..." she muttered.

Vic turned to her and grinned. "We're gonna get Allen to the docks, find a departing ship, and get him on it somehow."

Aura's jaw dropped in disbelief. "You want Allen to stow away?" she asked, a hint of anger in her voice. "Where will he end up? How will he survive?"

"Doesn't matter." Vic replied. "He can't stay on the Asteria, not with McKinney and the ASF hunting him. He needs to get off the station."

"Then...then send him on one of the escape pods!" Aura said. "At least that way we could know where he is!"

"No." Vic said, his voice adamant.

"But-" Aura protested.

Vic slapped the plasma cutter, making sure the power cell was placed properly. "Emergency pods have automated distress signals that are programmed to play once the pod lands. McKinney will be listening on emergency frequencies for just such a thing." He looked to Allen. "I'm sorry to do this to you, Allen, but if you want to live, you need to disappear."

Aura's mouth twitched, almost like she was trying to formulate a response or another protest, but nothing came out. She stood there, silent and unmoving.

Allen blinked in shock and surprise. Of course, Vic was right. If Allen wanted to survive, he needed to vanish. He needed to be exiled.

Aura turned to her son, and embraced him again. Allen returned the hug, hearing his mother's sharp, almost pained breathing.

"I don't want to lose you again..." Aura whispered. "But...I have no choice."

Allen was silent, unable to think of anything to say to that. This was it. He was leaving, possibly forever. He would never see his mother, or Vic, who had become so much like a father to him, ever again.

Vic sighed quietly. It wasn't like he had wanted to send Allen away either, but to ensure Allen's survival, he needed to leave.

*****

Vic knocked on the exit with his free hand. The Sek'Turokian guard blew out an irritated sigh. "Finally!" he muttered, pushing the door lock button. "Took you long eno-"

Vic rushed out, smashing the guard across the side of the head with his plasma cutter. The guard stumbled, dazed by the unexpected hit. The other guard gasped and tried to react, but Vic proved faster, swinging his cutter around and blasting the guard's chest piece with molten plasma. The guard howled in pain and collapsed, the melted piece of his armor clung hotly to his skin.

"What?!" the first guard sputtered, fumbling for his plasma caster. Vic took a step forward, aiming the plasma tool at the guard's head. The guard, taking the hint, placed his hands feebly above his head. On cue, Aura came out next, grabbing the plasma caster and shakily arming it.

"I don't really know how to use one of these..." Aura admitted, holding the weapon in her hands.

"You won't need to." Vic said. "The appearance of a weapon can sometimes be more effective than the actual use of the weapon."

The subdued guard suddenly rushed forward, smashing his head against Vic's gut. The air flew from Vic's lungs as he fell to the floor. The guard grabbed the stun gun on his belt and took a shot at Aura. The scientist shrieked and dropped, barely dodging the blast.

"We have a situation at the Xenoscience lab!" the security officer barked into his comlink. "Armed civilians have just attacked and wounded an officer! We need-"

Vic grabbed his plasma cutter and swung it at the guard's ankles, melting the muscle and bones.

The guard roared in pain, and dropped, unable to sustain himself on his feet any longer.

Aura stood shakily up, and quickly helped Vic up. "Come on, Allen!" Vic called. Allen obeyed, slipping out of the shadow of the door and following closely behind his mother and the engineer.

"Was that really necessary?" Allen asked. "I mean, you sliced through his bones! I could hear his muscles melt!"

"Yes, it was." Vic answered quickly, checking down the corridors. "We need to get you to the docks, and time is not a luxury we have!"

Suddenly, the three could hear an emergency alarm go off. The intercom came to life, a familiar voice filling the halls of the science department.

"Attention, people of the Asteria." McKinney's familiar voice rang out on the PA system. "We have received a report that armed individuals have just stolen dangerous technology from the laboratories in the Xenoscience wing! Should you see these terrorists, please alert ASF security at once! These two individuals are Victum 'Vic' Solum, Engineer, and Aura Caelum, Xenoscientist."

"Great." Aura mumbled.

"Remember, you should not in any way approach these two. Please alert the ASF as soon as you see them."

Aura suddenly growled. "How are we going to get to the docks now?"

Vic was silent for a moment, in thought. "There are maintenance ducts and shafts all over the Asteria."

"So?" Allen asked, hoping that the fear he was feeling wasn't reflected in his voice.

"The shafts interconnect." Vic explained. "In case engineers need to reach locked or depressurized sections of the station. McKinney can't lock those down, not without some kind of internal sabotage. It would definetly take longer than the tram, but it would be worth it. We could get around, completely undetected."

Aura nodded. "Okay." she said. "Where could we find one of these ducts?"

"This way." Vic said, pointing down the hall.

Aura and Allen followed obediently and silently. Surprisingly, they ran into very little in the way of resistance. That is, to say, none at all. This puzzled Allen. Hadn't McKinney broadcast an alert to the entirety of the Asteria? Or had he just focused on the labs? Either way, there should have been more of a police presence.

*****

The tram came to a slight jerking stop, jolting Zahannah out of her seat slightly. She gripped her droid's hull tightly, not wanting it to go crashing around on the floor. As the tram stopped, an automated voice filled the car (and the rest of the docks as well).

"Attention, Asteria Docks." the voice said. "An emergency lockdown has been placed in effect. For the duration of the lockdown, the tram will be rendered inoperable, and all departing ships will be subject to search of any suspicious contraband. Thank you for your understanding, and please, have a pleasant day!"

Zahannah cocked an eyebrow at the message. A shipwide lockdown, huh? Zahannah found it mildly amusing that ships were still allowed to come and go during a lockdown, so long as they were "screened" by security personnel.

As Zahannah neared the ship titled "The Chronos", she could hear it's captain muttering swears under his breath.

"Damn it to hell." Bill growled.

"What's going on?" Zahannah asked as she neared.

"Damn security quarantine, that's what's up." Bill muttered. "Something got out of the science wing or somewhere and now the whole damn station is under a damn lockdown! Damn it."

Zahannah had to suppress a chuckle at the captain's string of "damns".

Bill eyed the droid chassis slung over Zahannah's shoulder. "Doesn't look like much." Bill remarked.

Zahannah grinned. "Maybe not, but that's because it's not active. If you could only see it, it could outperform any other droid on the market!"

Bill chuckled. "I'm sure it could." he said, with just a hint of sarcasm in his voice.

Zahannah furrowed her brow. "I'm being serious." she said, irritated.

"Get it on board then, and work on getting it operational then!" Bill said. "We're gonna be here for a while longer, so you'll have some time to tinker with it."

Zahannah muttered something unflattering under her breath and proceeded to board the old freighter. She never liked it when people doubted her skills as a mechanic or an inventor. She calmed herself, telling herself that she would have the chance to show the captain just how wrong he was about her droid.

*****

The maintenance shaft was slightly larger than what Allen expected, but still small enough where he, his mother and Vic all had to move on their stomachs with their elbows. It was originally dark, but Vic's helmet light illuminated the path. The going was silent except for the slight thumping of elbows moving against metal.

"How much further?" Aura asked.

"Not too far, I think." Vic answered. In truth, he didn't really know. He had been in the maintenance shaft once before, but that was about it. The Asteria had never suffered anything as major as a hull breach or pressure loss. At least, not in the time he had worked there.

They crawled through the dark metal tunnels for about thirty more minutes before Vic spotted a suitable exit.

"There!" Vic said, moving toward the hatch. He placed his palm on the panel, which responded almost instantly. The hatch slid open, allowing light to fill the shaft. The three squinted against the light, then hastily climbed out of the tunnel.

Allen glanced around. They were out of the tunnels, but they weren't on the Docks, as far as Allen could tell. The area that they were in was a long, metallic hallway. Every several feet or so, Allen could see what looked like old fashioned Tesla Coils, surrounded by thick glass.

"Where are we?" Allen asked.

"Under the docks." Vic replied. "Hangar Shield Controls."

"Why?" Aura asked.

"Well," Vic began, looking around cautiously. "It's stealthier this way. McKinney's not an idiot, either. He probably knows we're making our way to the docks. Likely sent most of the ASF here. But he wouldn't think to look down here..." Vic mumbled the last part to himself. "I hope..."

"What now?" Allen asked.

"Now, Aura will wait down here. I'll take you up and find a ship you can stow away on."

"Wait, what?" Aura asked.

"If McKinney finds us, he'll arrest us both." Vic said. "I'll take the blame for Allen's escape. Use the maintenance shafts to get back to the living quarters."

"What?" Aura asked, shocked. "But-but I helped you get into the Xenolabs! They know-"

"They know you got the door open, yes." Vic said. "You were a hostage. Being used against your will."

"That story will never work, Vic!" Aura argued. "McKinney knows-"

"Yes, he does." Vic interrupted again. "But Walter is also very influential, and a co-worker of yours. I'm sure you could persuade him otherwise."

Aura wanted to laugh at Vic's logic, but unfortunately, he did have a point. McKinney was very influential, and unfortunately, he seemed to have an...interest...in her. She doubted McKinney would even scrutinize her story.

Vic looked to Allen. "Take a couple of minutes to say goodbye." he said. "Once we leave, you aren't comin' back for a while."

Allen nodded, surprised by the brashness of Vic's words. He turned to his mother, who seemed lost in her own thoughts for a moment.

"I...I guess this is goodbye." Allen said meekly.

Aura looked to her son, then wrapped him in a tight embrace. "I love you." she whispered to him.

"I love you too." Allen said.

"Behave yourself." Aura said, wiping a tear from her eye. "Like I told you, I don't want to see you on the galaxy's most wanted!"

Allen gave a slight chuckle, then tenatively pulled himself from his mother's embrace.

"Ready?" Vic asked.

Allen breathed out a heavy sigh, his heart pounding.

"Yes."

*****

Vic threw the hatch open, motioning for Allen to climb out first. Allen obeyed, stepping onto the familiar platforms of the Asteria Docks. He noted this with some sadness, realizing that this would likely be the last time he would set foot on these docks.

"Watch for ASF." Vic warned. "I need to check shipping manifests for departing ships."

Allen nodded, keeping close to Vic and spinning around to make sure they hadn't been spotted. Unlike the Science Wing, the docks seemed to be crawling with ASF. Vic had been right in his assumption. McKinney had expected them to come to the docks.

"Found it." Vic whispered, moving near a shipping terminal. He punched in his access code, then heard a small buzzer respond. The words *Not a valid A.S. ID* flashed on the holoscreen.

"Lock me out, will they?" Vic said with a smirk. He replaced his helmet on his head, then bent down next to the terminal, and yanked a panel loose. After diddling with some wires for a minute or so, the screen flickered, then immediately showed the shipping manifest.

Allen glanced around. Soldiers were looking their direction, but none of them had approached.

"Hurry, Vic." Allen whispered. "I think we might be found out..."

"Hmm..." Vic mumbled, glancing at the entires.

"Vic!"

"Found one." Vic said. "The Chronos. Slated to leave today."

"The Chronos?" Allen asked. "That merc ship?" But you said-"

"Forget what I said. You're just hitching a ride out of here." Vic took off his helmet, and smiled at Allen. "I know this is sudden, Allen, but I think you were always meant for this. There's something important about you." He placed a hand on Allen's shoulder. "You're gonna do great things."

Allen would have responded, but Vic looked up, noticing soldiers coming their way.

"Shit." Vic mumbled. "Get to the Chronos. Get on board somehow, and get out of here!"

"Hey, you!" one of the ASF called out.

"Go. Now!" Vic commanded. Allen obeyed, running past the soldiers. Vic steadied himself, then ran full speed at the soldiers.

"Stop him!" they cried as the engineer barreled into them.

Allen could hear the fighting behind him. He wanted to turn around, to help...but he couldn't. He felt his mother's and Vic's words in his mind, forcing him to run ahead, to find the ship, and get out of here.

*****

"That'll do." the ASF soldier said. "No contraband here."

"Like I told you earlier." Bill replied gruffly. "Do we get clearance to leave now?"

The soldier gave a curt nod as he jotted something own into his datapad. "Thank you for your cooperation." he replied offhandedly as he disembarked the ship.

A moment later, the hangar shield returned to it's ordinary light blue color, allowing objects to pass through without being fried.

"Bout time!" Bill snorted. "All right, let's get this ship flying." Zahannah nodded as she seated herself in the captain's seat. "You can fly this thing, right?"

Zahannah laughed. "This? A baby could fly this thing. Hell, a Pravile could fly it! Don't insult me like that." she finished with a smile.

Bill chuckled. He stopped, however, when he could hear a banging sound coming from the hangar doors.

"Christ, what now!" Bill growled, climbing out of his seat and leaving Zahannah alone.

"Look, we already recieved clearance to fly!" Bill shouted as he opened the hangar door. "We don't need another one...of..."

Bill stopped as he regarded the young man standing in front of him. He blew out a small sigh.

"Whaddya want, kid?" Bill asked. The young man stared at the ground, seemingly lost in concentration. "Well?" Bill barked. "Spit it out!"

Allen's heart was beating rapidly. Should he just tell the truth? Maybe lie, say he was an engineer. But what good would that do him?

"How much for a ride?" Allen asked on a sudden impulse.

Bill gave a hollow laugh. "You're shitting me, right?"

"No..." Allen said. "A ride to the nearest habitable planet."

Bill laughed again. "Sorry, kid, I'm not selling ferry rides today. Check back when I dock here again. Maybe I'll have changed my mind."

"Wait, wait!" Allen said. "It's incredibly important!"

"What's going on back here?" Zahannah asked, walking into view. "Another inspec...Allen?"

Bill looked at her. "Allen?" he echoed.

"Zahannah!" Allen breathed a sigh of relief. "Thank God! Look, I need a ride out of here!"

"What's going on?" Zahannah asked.

"There's no time! Please, just-"

"Get in." Bill said, walking back into the ship.

"Wait, what?" Allen asked.

"Get. In." Bill repeated. "I'm going to help you out."

"Thank you very much!" Allen said, rushing onboard.

"Better be worth it kid." Bill said under his breath. "Let's get going, Zahannah."
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PostSubject: Re: Mythic    Wed Oct 12, 2011 1:29 am

And they are off! this shall be fun. ^_^
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