Guardia's Finest Chapter 6

By Captain Gaul

The ceremony already seemed under way. Since the information we had lent us to believe that the spell could not be cast without Dalton, this was disturbing. We ducked behind a convenient statue and listened.

“I warned Dalton about how important it was that he be here on time....”

“Indeed, Your Majesty. He seems to be waylaid. It is fortunate that I took the opportunity to learn his skills, so this ceremony may continue to proceed.”

“Enough chatter. Now we begin.”

Magus cursed quietly. “I’m sure Belthasar’s intentions are for the best, but....”


Crono took charge. “On three, we disrupt the Mammon Machine. One....”





Leap, fly, and slash. The incantation wasn’t finished, that’s for certain. Still, for good measure, Robo linked with the Mammon Machine and caused a general overload using ‘spiritual power’. In the havoc, we fled.

We heard Zeal screaming for Dalton to eliminate the intruders. Dalton, however, wasn’t moving. It looked like it hurt for him to breathe—which it probably did. Out the door of Zeal Palace, through the Golden Portal in record time. On the distance, though, magical energy was gathering near the Land Bridge, probably an attempt at blocking our escape.

“Blast! Now what?”

As I considered the situation, a grin came to my face. “Simple. We take Blackbird.”

For some reason, my suggestions always seem to get odd looks. “What? It’s not like it’s that well-guarded.”

Magus looked doubtful. “I don’t think it’s operational yet.” I countered by pointing out that we had nothing to lose.

For a ship of such size, you’d think it’d be better defended. It was a rather short matter to do away with the two guards and board the vessel. The crew didn’t seem to be present, and finding the bridge wasn’t a challenge.

“Do you know how to fly this thing?”

“No more than you. Here, let’s check the owner’s manual.”

Yes, there was an owner’s manual. I was doing real well with it up to the point that it mentioned that the bare minimum crew size was nine...that was disturbing. Still, when you’re in a hurry, you don’t bother to stop for minor details. Positions were taken, and somehow I managed to find the activation button. Lucca, a little frustrated, took the manual from me and started reading.

I wish I could say that flying that monstrosity was easy enough, but it wasn’t. The controls were complicated, and required the coordination of several people. Still, speed we wanted, and speed we had, while Magus ciphered on a spell to get us to the End of Time, where the Gates could be accessed for a little longer. Until....

“We’re hit!”


We were not the only bearers of a flying machine in the area. Dalton apparently had a smaller craft, and unfortunately, faster and more maneuverable. He was close enough for us to hear his shouting:

“Steal my Blackbird, you sons of wolves! I’ll make you pay for that!”

Shot after shot fired. We couldn’t evade and we couldn’t flee. And we sure couldn’t take much more of this.

“Lucca, where are the weapons?”

“Aft! Far aft! And it takes at least six to operate them!”

“Six?! It takes five just to keep this thing from nosediving!”

“I’m sorry, but there’s nothing I can do!”

Another shot fired. Magus turned to me and said: “If you can keep him from blowing up the ship, I can cast the spell. Just buy us time and don’t let him shoot an engine.”

Not knowing a whole lot about the placement of engines, or even exactly how they worked, I decided just to find a way to take out Dalton now. Watching from the window as he fell behind a wing, opened fire, than fell back and came up to the other wing, I figured out how. “Robo, come with me. Lucca, fly this thing.”

“Now who put you in charge—”

“No one, just do what I tell you.”

We went back to the area where the wing and body connect. A series of rivets were visible, Robo and I set about removing most of them, and while we worked, I explained.

“You see, Dalton had a pretty obvious attack pattern. If we release this wing just as he comes behind to fire, I think we can get him off our backs.”

“A risky solution, Captain.”

“But the best I can come up with, unless you want to try and activate the weapons while maintaining a crew at the bridge.”


One rivet remained. Robo’s built-in wire cutters were placed to remove it, waiting for me to signal. “!”

CHUNK! The wing released, and I only wish I could have seen the look on Dalton’s face as his target suddenly grew much, much closer.

BAM! The smaller flying machine flew no more; it now was a falling machine.


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