"How should I know? It's not like I'm waving a flippin' sign around saying 'Here I am Repike, come and get me!'." Came the retort. The medical droid finished it's work, and rolled back to its recharge socket. Steve hopped off the table and began again. "Icy, I know I'm only here for a while and that I'm freelance, but you guys should not be involved in this. If you give me the day to prepare, I can blast outta here and take Repike with me. It should give you enough time to regroup as many warriors as you can and then you'll be ready. I'll-"
"You're staying right here. Sensors tell us that there is a large contingent of scouts scanning the world. Saul thinks they're on the move. We don't have any time. I've only made contact with a couple other independents out there. Hell, Saul's at the UN right now. We're doing our best to coordinate some kind of strike but we'll need as much firepower, and transport." Steve sighed at that comment.
"Storm's fully automated. I should be fighting on the ground if I stay here."
"You're a flight leader. The rest are freelancers we've been able to find that have escaped Repike's notice."
Steve nodded his head, looking into Brian's steel gaze. "Brian, I can't lead. I've not had the training, and I can't coordinate worth a damn. You know that, I know that, and I'm sure as hell Repike knows that. Icy, imagine a man who knows your every move, who out-thinks you at every turn. Who's stalked and been stalked for the past 4 years. This is the hole I dug, and I'm not about to drag 11 other people with me."
"Then I'm sending Zeal up in your place-"
"Fine dammit." Brian chuckled at the agreement he'd just gotten.
"Good, Staff meeting for all strike-force leaders tomorrow morning." Looking up at the Stormrunner, he smiled. "She's a good ship, with a good captain. I know you're good Steve, I've seen it time and again. I've got other work to do, sorry."
"I'm glad you're convinced...because I sure as hell ain't." He yelled at the departing leader. Shaking his head, he started working on the ship again.
An hour passed when activity in the hanger picked up drastically. First, another TIE Fighter, this time, the three winged variation called a Defender, with it's advanced weaponry, and the addition of shields had been the most technologically sound idea the Empire had in their fall from grace. The large, oak covered tree-man by the name of Azenwrath that stepped out of it was an even larger surprise. Eyeing it with many questions, Steve went back to his welding when he heard another voice call to him. Looking over the mandible he sat on, Steve saw the form of martial artist type, this of a young man by the name of DK. The huge man, larger then Gasper himself, jumped up and chuckled.
"Didn't expect to see you anytime soon." Steve grasped his hand in a hardy shake.
"Bout damn time ya got here. How ya been?"
"Same old, same old. The Independents Organization has been wondering about you though. You finally hooked up with a group. Must be getting soft in your old age." DK said, laughing boisterously.
"I've found a niche, along with the fact that they have hanger support, and it's a step up from where I used to be." He replied. DK sat over the edge, looking at his welding work.
"So what's wrong with your ship? Time Dr-"
"That's not of your concern, and that doesn't exist. You know that, I know that. It's the sensor net. Been giving me troubles."
"She's a good ship, I remember that time over Algeria, saved my rear when I needed it." The two chuckled as a larger ship landed on the runway. "Well, whatta we got here?" DK commented. Jumping down, the two walked to the large red monstrosity that was slowly powering down. The two looked at each other when a burst of steam and a hatch opened on the side. By now, a small group of LOF Members and visitors had gathered around the ship to see the newcomer. Gaudy was the first word that came to Steve's mind when the colorfully dressed NeoKefka waltzed down the ramp.
"Well, well well well well well well. Isn't this a nice little audience I have here today? I'd like to know who's running this operation. Oh, that's right, Kefka is now!" A small bit of laughter followed and the crowd dispersed. The "clown" as Steve decided to label him, walked toward them, and mockingly saluted the Dragoon.
"What's this guy's deal?" Gasper said quietly.
"Don't know just go along with it." DK whispered back.
"You must be Gasper Kettner-"
"Keltner, thank you." Looking over Kefka's shoulder, Steve pointed to the ship. "What's that thing?"
"That is MY ship, Ragnarok and from what I can see, should be the flag ship in this little party you boys and girls are forming." Gasper and DK looked at each other again, and nodded. NeoKefka only smiled, and went back to the declining crowd. The tree-man walked up behind him, putting a small grouping of branches that constituted its fingers on Steve's shoulder.
"Excuse me sir, pardon Kef, he's just a guy looking for attention. My name is Azenwrath, and I was wondering if you had a copy of your ships navigational chart and sensor data for this region of the planet." The large bark covered man let the edges of his mouth curl up in what looked like to Steve and DK a smile.
"Um yeah. DK, I've got some other work to do, but I know there some others that can show you to a guests quarters. Also, I'm eating around five with a couple friends, you're welcome to join us if you'd like."
"No problem Gasp. Have fun." And with that, the two friends parted. Turning, Steve looked to Azenwrath.
"So, you want what now?"
Repike looked at the satellite feed coming from around the globe, noticing the growing population on the Legion's Main Island. Sneering, he turned to see his four commanders, among them Boomerang and Red Mist. He was disappointed, as the many assassination attempts had not gone as planned. He was even beginning to regret his decision to appointing the Apprenticeship to Boomerang. Sighing, he turned back to the viewport.
"So Boomerang, how do you respond to the accusations of cowardice in the face of the enemy. My reports state you just let two of our greatest enemies live." The Apprentice stepped forward, looking at nothing, yet keeping his eyes on Repike.
"Your Highness, I never meant to let them go. It was for the best as we were in a stalemate, and the battlefield was unsuit-" Repike grabbed Boomerang by the neck in one fell swoop, and clenched his hand. Gasping for air, Boomerang tried to speak. "I did my ." He was thrown across the room, landing with a large thud. The others did not watch. They knew insolence and failure were not tolerated.
"Boomerang, you are hear by demoted until further notice. Please leave my sight." Boomerang looked back, then stormed off to his quarters. "Simpleton." Repike said out loud. Moving down the ranks, he stopped at his General of Water. "You will be given your chance now. I've seen the scorn in your eyes, as your Apprentice surpassed you, but I'm willing to let you redeem yourself. Go Riptide, pull them under like your name says you will." The General stepped forward, staring straight ahead, and replied.
"Yes your Lordship, I shall not fail." And with a flash of blue light, he was gone.
"So, Gasper is fighting off a hoard of Moblins we found in Argentina, spears clashing and the such. I'm doing my best trying to find the leader, and all of sudden a group of Cyber-demons teleported in." DK heard the various oohs and ahhs from his crowd.
Gasper on the other hand put his head in his hands. "I think I know where this is going." DK snickered and continued.
"So here we are fighting them off, when Gasper falls into the lead cyber-demon. It turns around, thinking that something else other then this puny-"
"I AIN'T PUNY!" The comment getting the obligatory chuckles, Steve's face turned bright red.
"If you're done interrupting so the demon turns, and starts firing off a volley of rockets at anything that moves. Moblin guts flying left of us, rockets flying at us from the right. The horde was destroyed. Finally, there's only three living things left on the battlefield. Us two, and this huge brown beast and Gasper looks up at it, with this big apologetic grin. 'Sorry about that.' The beast just looked down at him snorted and left. But between the grin and the snort, you shoulda seen the look on his face!" DK imitated it almost exactly as he remembered, and the group around the table laughed hysterically. Gasper groaned again.
"If I have to hear that story one more time, I'll find that thing and let it scare you shitless."
With most of the Elites on site, and staying in the barracks, the LOF invited long time friends into their ranks for an evening of fellowship. Games and friendly contests broke out for prizes of fame amongst colleagues. Late into the night the battles and contests raged, yet two unsuspecting people finally met.
"Do you have what the Master has asked for?"
The other shadow smiled, his face contorted with glee. "Oh yes. This data contains shield variance factors, weapon harmonics, and the passwords and encryption codes to any and all LOF controlled Mainframes and vehicles."
"Excellent. Lord Repike will commend you for your service to our cause. Now, return, and wait for the signal. Hopefully, we can destroy the core membership of the Independents Organization before the first wave."
The figure bowed and left. The Spy looked around, making sure no one saw him, then pocketed the disk inside his cloak before returning to the party.
Grabbing his cup of coffee from the Mr. Coffee 5000, Steve dropped in the cream and sugar, before departing to his meeting. Walking into main conference room, he took his usual seat at the large table. Punching a code into the data pad that sat before him, he scanned it, reading several messages of pilots reporting in for duty. Yet another worry on his mind, as his leadership skills were not wanting to be pulled out of the basement he put them in long ago.
The other strike team leaders walked in, DK sitting across from him, and too his surprise ZP took a seat at his right. Looking at her, he dismissed the thought, when he could feel her probe his mind.
You seem surprised that I'm here. Why's that? Afraid I'll usurp your position on this war council? She said to him.
Not quite. Just surprised you're up this early.
She sneered at him. Baka! With that, the last stragglers came in. Brian took his usual seat at the head of the table, picked up the data pad, and began.
"Satellites have picked up movements in Sector Five, and from what we can tell, the invasion will be underway in less then a week. You all are the best we have at this juncture in time. Thus each of you is being given strike teams. We'll start with ground defense." Icy pressed a spot on the touch screen of the data pad, and transmitted his assignments. Steve looked at the incoming data, and sure enough, he was a leader. "First team is Standing Defense here at the base. Minmei, Jerm, and JWolf will be heading up the defense here. Jerm will co-ordinate from the security center; Minmei, you will be taking care of outer defenses, and Wolf is lead on any ground assault against invaders. Any questions?"
"Yeah, I'm not a one man army," Said the gunman. "Will I be given any sort of help? Or is this a solo job. Not that I'm unwilling to take the assignment, I just want to spread the fun."
Icy Brian nodded his head. "Take a group of five, give them limited access to the armory. Just make sure you don't use anything nuclear. We don't need another Three Mile Island. Next team is Nanaki and DK; I want you guys on call in the North American continent. If anything, Repike will hit the United Nations. If not, he'll go for NORAD. We all know that's going to be a hot bed of activity if the UN or the States figure out what's going on."
"Agreed." Came the growl from Nanaki.
"Next up Loren," He indicated towards the former Lady Marrah. "NATO will probably wonder what's going on, so take small contingent with you. Use any force necessary, but don't let Europe fall. We can't afford to lose them. When Saul gets back from the United Nations, I'll send him your way." Loren Leah agreed. Icy looked over his data pad, and then looked at Gasper.
"Our key defense is going to be the air cover we provide." Steve put his head in his hands and shook it, getting that bad feeling. "I know Gasper, but you and your squadron are the only defense we have from the invasion forces, which I assume Repike will be landing them with Dropships. Squad Leader is Gasper, Second Flight leader is Zeal, and Third Flight is Alek Highwind. You three are the most qualified for the job. Take your pick from the pilots, and train them hard. We need you if any counterattack is gonna work." Icy switched off the data pad, and looked at his team.
"I know it sounds bad. Believe me, it is bad. I don't want to sound sappy, but this is Earth's Last Stand, and if we don't succeed, you can bet that we won't be around to see what happens. Put your teams together as best as you can. Any questions? No? All right, lets get to work." And with that, the meeting was over.
Under heavy fire, a pair of TIE's swooped up and over the enemy, approaching the firing ship from behind. Locking on to the first fighter, given the slang term as a knife for ease of identification, the pilot of the first TIE hit a button on her steering yoke. Orange bolts drilled in to the knife's wing, shearing it off, and setting it into a spinning motion of doom. The TIE's wingman stayed by its side, wavering slightly in the atmosphere, when it was suddenly riddled with bullets from an approaching vessel. From behind them, a large, red, dragon shaped ship fired its twin machine guns. Diving at the injured machine, it opened its "mouth" and shot a large red beam of superheated energy. The beam moved through its cockpit, destroying the pilot, along with the fighter that held him.
Seeing her comrade destroyed, the pilot pulled back a lever on the side of her seat, and heard the cloaking device activate. Cloaked, she plunged into the lower atmosphere and cut the throttle back by half. The tri-winged fighter was suddenly hit with a beam of the same make as the one that had destroyed its wingman. Searing through the top wing, and straight into the cockpit, killing ZealPropht instantly. Her vision went black, and she heard a clanging sound. Unlocking her safety belt, she climbed out of the simulator cockpit and looked at the eleven pilots that were watching her flight data and recorder.
"So what did I do wrong?" She sighed, looking at the screen that replayed the entire scenario.
"Cloaking. Can't be done in atmosphere." NeoKefka replied. "You were burning ozone over your shields. If you would have taken the battle into space though, you could have taken me easily."
Zeal raised an eyebrow. "How do you know so much about cloaking? The technology is too new to understand."
Alek Highwind, leader of Three Flight nodded to the monitor. "Back about a year ago when we started testing it on the bigger ships like the Stormrunner and Ragnarok, we couldn't use it except in space combat. We've found that in the stratosphere, ozone burns off your shields at high-speed descents. You have to have the shields on to avoid burning up. And until we can find away to avoid this problem, cloaking still isn't a reality unless you're in an ozone free environment."
"For example space."
Steve nodded. "Yup. Well, from all the tests, it looks like we'll take two flights up in to space, while another will stay and take care of escorts or Dropships. Flight One; Earth Defense is MH-001, Baker, and Carmike. Gunners are Mercutio and Nicholai with me on the Stormrunner. Flight Two; Space Defense One is ZealPropht, Azenwrath, Garvin, and Kovisky. Flight Three; Space Defense Two is Alek, Kef, Sirus and Mullins. Report to your leads, and get in some flight time in. You're on your own, but make sure you stay around, considering that reports from our agents say Repike may strike anytime. Dismissed."
He sat as his desk. When first arriving to his old desk in the conference room, he blew the dust off the seat, and then eased into the leather chair. With a sigh of depression, he swung around to look out the ornate window that looked out over the countryside, and onto the mountain range not far from them. Closing his eyes, he rubbed his temples, contemplating whether or not they'd have a chance. Speaking to no one, he started.
"What do I do now? Obviously, I'm not cut out for this job, and if I were, I'm still undermanned and outgunned." The depressive air continued to hang over him, when a memory came up from the inner recesses where he kept them locked away from everyone, including Zeal. It wasn't long when he actually realized he was asleep, and dreaming of the past.
~The brown haired girl sat at the table in her dark green dress. Looking across the dance floor, she saw her date writing something down on a clipboard by the DJ's table. She sighed and watched him walk back. Sitting next to her, he looked over, and smiled.
"Don't want to dance?"
"I'm not a good dancer. You know that." She replied.
The young man shrugged his shoulder. "I can't dance either, but I figure the next slow song that comes up, we should try it."
"Whatever." She replied. He could feel the tension. He'd wanted to try out a serious relationship, but she never seemed to pick up on the fact, or so he believed. The music stopped, and the DJ turned on his microphone.
"This one is dedicated to Andrea from Steve, hoping you haven't lost the lovin' feeling." And with that, the Righteous Brothers began their slow, romantic balled over the large speakers. She looked at him, a mix of anger and admiration for his gall. He smiled and shrugged. They stood up from their seats, and walked to the side of the dance floor and started a slow dance, though not communicating the closeness that some of the other couples were. It was too formal, he thought. It was more a waltz that stood in one place, and swayed from side to side. They danced for minutes, then went back to their seats and sat again. They left about an hour later, changed and went to the after party. And the next day, after about five hours of sleep, he got up, woke her up, and said good-bye. She was tired, and quite groggy, but hugged and thanked him for a wonderful time. Saying he'd call later, he walked out the door, got into his car and left.
The met three weeks later, for his junior prom, and by then, he could feel that he'd never have her as his girl. She would always be out of reach. From his eyes, he saw her have a rotten time, while their friends got along quite nicely. Though Steve never saw it, there was a man in the shadows of the commons, smiling at his victory over the unknowing Dragoon. ~
Gasper was roused from the dream by Zeal, who tickled his ear lightly with a magic feather. Growling in his sleepy state, he looked up at her as she walked around from the side of the chair to face him. Smiling, she jumped in his lap and kissed his cheek.
"Time to wake up sleepy head."
"Why? I was having such a good dream." He replied, lying through his teeth. Zeal looked into his eyes, fully knowing what was going on, and sent a small probe into his mind. Instantly, his mental barriers were up, blocking her from reaching the intended goal. "Don't."
"You never let me have any fun. Saul called while you napped. He told me to tell the war council that the UN has decided to support us in whatever capacity, that is, if we fail."
Turning his face, he looked away. "Pardon my French, but their fucking nuts. If we can't do it, what chance do they think they have?"
"All the more reason why we have to win. Alek wants to go over some flight patterns and data he showed me earlier. Truthfully, you were right about him, he has a good head on his shoulders. We're meeting in about forty-five minutes for dinner, and we figured that you should join us." She looked deep into his eyes, peering again at the uneasy man she was fond of. Thinking for a moment, he nodded his head up and down once.
"Fine. I'll meet you there." Jumping off his lap, she admired his features in the fading light one more time, then left. Nanaki padded into the room, passing her. ZealPropht stopped and sniffed the air before wrinkling her nose in distaste. She looked down at the quadruped with a raised eyebrow. "And just where have you been? Did you go outside and roll in something?" Nanaki growled and bared his teeth at her, his legendary temper sparking. This was one cat people feared to anger. Zeal, however, ignored it and placed her hands on her hips. "I'm waiting," she said, tapping one foot.
"I've been training hard for the past few days," was the only explanation he offered, turning his back on her and flipping his tail from side to side in irritation.
"Oh, really now." Nanaki froze, not liking the menacing sound in the woman's voice. Cautiously, the cat looked over his shoulder at the Prophet of Zeal. Grinning evilly, she materialized a bar of soap in one hand and a scrub brush in the other. "We can't have you smelling all sweaty and nasty, now can we?" Rolling up her sleeves she started to chant in a singsong voice "Gotta wash the kitty! Gotta wash the kitty!" Nanaki stared at her, too stunned at her intentions for him to think of an adequate rejoinder, and immediately ran for the door.
"Aw, sweet merciful crap!" He growled, quickly turning the corner down the hall, frantically searching for somewhere to hide from the madness that was about to befall him. Zeal calmly followed him the door. Let Nanaki think he was safe for the time being. But when he chose to emerge his fuzzy head...she laughed at the thought, tapping the bar of soap on the scrub brush gleefully. Gasper watched her go and could only laugh as he thought how much fun it would have been to see Nanaki get a bath. Sighing again, he slumped back and watched the sunset, when out of the blue, he heard an alarm klaxon, and Icy's voice come over the public address system.
"Red Alert! Red Alert! Invasion force spotted over the United States and Europe! All strike teams report to your ships immediately for drop-off. Repeat! All strike teams report to the main hanger bay." Gasper jumped out of his chair with one thought in mind. Running down the corridor, he was joined by Loren Leah, who already had her Henshin Stick out and ready to morph into her other form of Sailor Parma. Other joined them, and by the time they got to the hanger, most were there strapped into their transport and waiting for lift off. Gasper saw Zeal and Alek, and yelled out.
"THERE GOES DINNER!" With that said, he bounded up the ramp, and made for the cockpit.
To Be Continued
Chapter Notes: Well, another chapter done. Sorry this took long, life is getting complicated, but the summer months will be nice for writing. A few notes:
-This chapter takes place about a day after chapter 5.
-Most of the people in this chapter are real, and for the next couple, you might see a couple names you know.
-I've come up with a partial Soundtrack for LegionQuest: Apocalypse. More later on this.
-Reference work for this chapter came from the following sites.
-Seems I added two more games into the LQ continuity. Moblins, of course are from Legend of Zelda, and Cyber-Demons, from the Doom series. Don't ask my why, but this will probably be a one-time shot for them.
-Comments, Flames, and other such mails should be directed to email@example.com
-LucasFilms, id Software, Dragon Ball Z and many other elements are copyright and trademark of their respective companies. This story was never meant to infringe said copyrights. Original Characters (i.e. Gasper S. Keltner, ZealPropht, Icy Brian, Legion of Fantasy, et al.) are property of each individual who created character, and are used under permission.
-LegionQuest: Apocalypse is ©1999-2000 "Gasper" Steve Keltner, please do not post without letting the author know. Events depicted are fictional, and any person, living or dead who is related is purely coincidental (or something like that . I think you get the idea.)
Author's Notes: Another chapter done. Damn it feels good. Wanted to make a shout out to the test readers that gave this chapter some good reviews, and most of all, I'd like to thank ZealPropht, Saul, Krazy Sam, Nanaki, Wolf, Loren and the rest of the LOF for their help, time and patience with me. BIG Shout out to Icy Brian for hosting LQ. Brian, I don't know where'd I be without ya.
Start: January 30th, 2000
End: May 8th, 2000
Gasper S. Keltner's Fanfiction