Even those versed in Time Travel do not always like to use it. The ability to go back in time and alter things as they once were is an extremely dangerous tool, and even in aiming to do good, one might go so far as to undo their own existence. The slightest change, as minute as it may seem, can have catastrophic effects when the ripple is chased down the timeline. Planeswalkers, Eternals, and [for the most part] even the Lavoids all stay away from the deadly trap that is temporal manipulation. Only those who can see into the future readily and grasp the effects of an alteration should be the ones who ever dabble in the strain of time, and even those few beings should be careful...
-A guide to Temporal Manipulation, byTeclis Spelmen
Time moved funny, today. Actually, the word today never really works when talking about the flow of time, as any moment one looks at time, one does so from outside the flow of time. So there really wasnt a today in looking into time, just a now.
Now was the time of the Sol Dominion. The LEA was long since gone, as it had been for nearly 1500 years. The Dominions power, while slightly conflicted with that of the Planetary Union, had been rebuilt to the height before the war with the LEA. The Lavoids had ceased to be a major threat, as they had yet gained enough courage to come back out from hiding. The LEA had taught them that they were not invulnerable even if there were only less than two-dozen beings in the universe that could still perform a Time Seal. The Lavoids were no longer threatened, though, as they had been. They were just bidding their time.
The Galactic Power that was the Dominion had the ruling sway over about two thirds of all the planets in the Explored Sectors (it had once been all of the planets in the Explored Sectors, but that was before the Union broke away). Yet even without the LEA, the Dominion had other problems to worry about. While Jack McKlane was out of the picture, the Union was getting antsy. Cain had also never given up his desire to gain back the space he lost when the Union seceded (while the Dominion was weakened from the war with the LEA). To go along with this, there was growing motion the Senate of the Union to go to war, as well. The Galaxy, Lavoids or not, was teetering on the edge of civil war. The next few months would probably determine the fate of the Dominion for the rest of time.
Yet, despite the major powers that were verging on clashing, the fate of the galaxy really laid in the hands of maybe twenty or so individuals who possessed the power to alter the course of things on their own. It is these individuals whose actions would be the cause of the major events that would occur in the Dominion and the Union. There would be war, and there would be death, and then there would be anarchy, and all would be because of the few, not the many. Fate, it could be said, was funny in that aspect.
Regardless, time did flow funny, now. There was something on the horizon that was causing peculiar buckles in the continuum. Usually this meant that a series of events that were about to occur bore an extreme importance to the continuum itself. The kinks in the stream normally made this harder to see. True, there were very few prophets left in the world, and there were possibly even fewer Planeswalkers. The Lavoids had learned that Planeswalkers were not such a good thing, so few produced them anymore. On top of that, the blood of the remaining lines was running thin. All had gone through at least four generations since the Second Fall except for the Zealian line.
Then there was Duncan McKlane. The last remaining of the High Elijiaians: those of birth from a Planeswalker and an Epitorum. He was bidding his time as well, along with the Lavoids. He still had his own agenda. He would kill Pyriorias and find vengeance for the death of his parents. And, as he is one of the few left to sway the power of the universe on his own, he will be the focus of this tale
Duncan stared blankly out of the portal window, gazing into structure of the Multiverse itself in a manner practiced only by the gifted minority. It was the gift given to him by his mother, Sarah Inverse McKlane, the Epitorum of Elosia. He had been blessed (or cursed) with the ability to read the outcomes of things before they occurred. Again, as time was moving oddly now, this ability did not provide such clear sight, but Duncan knew that something was about to happen. Something was wobbling on the edge of the proverbial fence that was caught in a decision of whether or not to alter the entire course of history.
He a stood a good few inches above six feet, his face almost elfish in appearance; its gentle features, high cheek bones, and pale color were brought out more by a pair of deep set, dark amethyst eyes. He knew that the mark of the Zealian line was the coloration in his eyes, and sometimes it was better to hide such distinguishing features. To do this, he often hid his eyes with a pair of jet black sunglasses. His hair, the mark of his species, was spiky and blue, cut short in the back (unlike his father, he thought, who liked to let it run long).
The paleness of his face contrasted starkly to the blackness of the rest of his clothing. His clothing of choice, a black leather trench coat, (Tristan gave it to him, didnt he?) stretched to his feet, covering up his black pants and the body armor. Various straps and buckles ran around his torso and legs, the various equipment being the sign of someone who carries his entire life along with him in his never ending travels in space. This was a man who had no home.
Duncan McKlane: the son of Jack McKlane and Sarah Inverse McKlane. He sometimes struggled to remember what they looked like (he had only seen pictures). Someone had told him once that he had his mothers nose, but it was very clear to him that he had his fathers eyes. They would forever be the eyes of the Zealian bloodline; the one they said was cursed. One thing that he had from both his parents, though, was his power. That was what struck fear into the hearts of those around him. Duncan McKlane. The Black Winged Angel of Death. The Knight of Chaos. The Lavoid Bane.
He inherited the second name from his father. Jack had given him that much: a reputation. There wasnt a Lavoidian Creature in the universe that didnt know his name. In fact, he had been told that there was actually a rhyme about him among Lavoid hives.
Dont be Lame
Or life hell claim
Fear Duncan McKlane
The Lavoid Bane
Duncan had never heard the rhyme, but the man he was standing with could attest to its existence. From behind, they dressed as twins. His acquaintance also garbed himself in pure black, his coat slightly different, as it was made of metal, but the shine could not be seen unless there was great light around them. Such were the properties of Shardsteel, and such was the worth of the coat that the man had killed, inadvertently or not, millions in order to get it. He had long blonde hair, tied in a pony tail that stretched down the length of his back.
Lucent Mazer was one of the few people that Duncan would privately admit to not being stronger than. His ego would prevent him from ever openly confessing that Lucent was probably more powerful, though he used his power in different ways. Other than Lucent, Duncan could only number about half of the other remaining Eternals as his equals. The only other things left that were close were the Lavoid Queens. That, ironically, was Duncans biggest issue.
The problem with Lavoid Queens is that they cant be killed by conventional means. You see, even a Planeswalker dies if you cut off its head. Not the Queens, though. They never died. Their tolerance for magical energy surpassed even the Eternals. Whereas Eternals were capable of killing each other using their energies, Lavoid Queens arent even capable of that. Magic doesnt kill them. In all essence, they are magic. They are Chaos given form.
Duncan had almost killed one in his fifteen hundred of years in existence. Granted, if assisted by the Eternals, he would have killed them all by now, but those fickle folk have certain qualms with interfacing directly with reality. Duncan, like his Father, had called them cowards for it. It is incredible that such a word as coward could provoke such powerful beings into action.
Thats how it was with Lucent. To be called a coward by a child (as that was what Duncan was at the time) was something that Lucent Mazer, the most apathetic of all Eternals, couldnt stand. The fact that Lucent trained him as a result leads some historians to think that Duncan knew what he was getting into all the time, and that for the first time in existence, an Eternal had been played to the whim of a mortal. Duncan was, after all, a prophet.
Then again, Duncan wasnt exactly a mortal. Neither was any Planeswalker for that matter. While he was as susceptible to death by harm as any other, death by age does not come to those that call themselves by that name. As such, it was death by harm that killed all the others. That was what killed the LEA, the Planeswalker Council, and all the rest. Not only that, but it was death by Chaos, and that was perhaps the worst way to go.
Duncan never knew how he survived, or even exactly what had happened. It wasnt until he grew powerful enough to peer back in time that he saw what his father had tried to do. That was before everything went to hell. He could still never clearly see exactly what Pyriorias had done to them, nor why the plan hadnt worked. It didnt matter. As long as Pyriorias still walked the Multiverse, Duncan would hunt her down and rip the still beating heart out of her chest.
It didnt help that she was possibly the most powerful of the Lavoid Queens- the first Lavoid Queen- but he would do it. Such was his quest, and such was his burden.
Lucent, it seemed, was just along for the ride. Eternals have a different thought process to humans and Planeswalkers. Their manner of thinking doesnt always make sense to species that havent existed since the dawn of the Multiverse. Maybe Lucent got a kick out the kid (kid only being a relative term, as Lucent was millions of years old as opposed to Duncans mere many hundreds) and the frenzy he sometimes got whipped into. Lucent always was slightly interested in humans. He found them funny. It was perhaps due to this interest that he became involved with the cross-bred humans known as the Planeswalkers. As his father had before him, Duncan intrigued Lucent for reasons that he strove to fight against something that seemed unbeatable.
Jack may have been on the right track when he organized a group large and powerful enough to be able to kill Lavoids and perform a Time Seal fast enough to prevent the nearest Queen from reviving them. Duncan took a different approach. He knew that as organizations grew, so did the room for corruption. Duncan would not risk that. He was a solo act, per say. He killed Lavoids on his own, as he saw fit, and he liberated the worlds that he so chose. There was no such benign motive as to free the galaxy from the Lavoids (as Jack had supposedly claimed). Duncan was simply out for their blood.
Will you be off again, soon? Lucent asked him as they stared out of the portal window. Off to kill again?
Theres a Class A nearby, Duncan said, taking off his sunglasses and putting them into an inner pocket in his coat. Maybe only a few hours travel in sub-space.
Any reason why this one in particular? Lucent asked. Duncan remained silent for a moment.
Im worried about Celes, he finally said. Theres been too much exchange of control over the planet. The Dominion is up to something. Crystain mining is increasing, and that means there are more things in the galaxy that can kill me. That I do not like.
I guess you wouldnt know what it feels like to have nothing in the Multiverse that can kill you? Lucent jibbed sarcastically. A smirk grew on his face. Slowly he removed his glasses, revealing a pair of deep green eyes that sparkled with the essence of Lifestream infusion.
I cant simply end the mining of Crystain, Duncan said. I need it myself, after all. It does worry me, though, when any provisional police force can have Crystain weapons for dealing with something like me.
Youre getting paranoid in your old age, Lucent responded. Even without manipulating Chaos, youre faster than anything Ive seen in awhile. He looked at the blue haired man. Dont complain so much.
Thank you, I guess, Duncan said, closing his eyes. The substance still worries me. The market for it is growing too quickly. That means that weapons manufacturers are finding more uses for it. Uses that even I dont know, perhaps.
Ill speak with Lucia for you. Shes the weapon woman, after all. Perhaps she knows something. Lucent paused, then looked at Duncan. Youre not actually scared, are you? Duncans eyes wandered to the ceiling.
Theyve killed Hyrial, Duncan said. They have two of the Eldarion, now.
No. They still only possess that one which they recovered one of the 4 that we gave them in the War.
The Dominion, then? Duncan nodded.
They want to kill me, Lucent.
Id want to kill you too, after what your father did to Cain.
He certainly had a way with things, didnt he? They both chuckled.
So Cain has two, the Lavoids have one, and you have one. Duncan nodded, reaching behind his back and grabbing the hilt of the sword that rested there under his coat. As the sword left its sheath, a dim red glow surrounded it. He brought the blade in front of him and examined it. The metal work, which had been redone so many times over the years, was still perfect. The intricate runic carvings glowed red as he held the weapon, illuminating the single edged blade. The simplistic hilt bore the Zealian Coat of Arms on one side, and the Crest of the LEA on the other.
Yes, Duncan said. This one is still safe with me. There are, though, twelve others. Duncan paused. I shall have to meet with them, he said. I shall have to inform them that all of their lives may be in danger. Lucent nodded in agreement.
Will they really be able to hold back the Dominions forces on their own, however?
We all have allies, Lucent. No single one of us is ever alone.
Ah, that code of the Brotherhood, Lucent said with slight scoff. Ive forgotten the all for one, one for all mentality of your race.
Its simply because you dont have it with yours, Duncan said offhandedly. Lucent frowned. Funny how our remaining numbers are about the same, but the level of caring is so different.
Some of us care, Lucent said. Just not most of us. You should maybe take a lesson in that, kid. Watch out for number one. Duncan did not respond. Instead, he gazed around the room that they were in. It was an estate room that was used for important guests visiting the Hardavek Embassy on the Planetary Union boarder. Thats where they were now, at the moment. While Duncan had been simply looking into the time stream as he gazed out of the window, what actually lay below was the planet Hardavek IV of the Harkavek System in the Third Quadrant. Duncan had some friends in high places in the Union.
The room was quite lavish, though neither man really demanded such opulence. In truth, both had commented that some of the rare metals used to adorn the various pieces of furniture, cigar boxes, fireplaces (yes, there were more than one) and coffee tables were a waste and should be used for more practical matters. The rugs that covered the floor, expensive imports from Dominion Craft Worlds, were mixes of dark reds and yellows, probably worth over five hundred grand apiece. The walls were given an artificial finish to make them look like stone, as was the ceiling, and the room was lit by dim lights that were designed to mimic candles.
What about other plans? Lucent asked. How did things go with your little transport project? Duncan smirked.
The logistics were daunting. Not only was the amount of energy difficult to come by, but I wasnt even sure if I could work out things to match how they happened originally. Oh, and do you know how difficult it is to cut the stream connections of something that size? And, after all of that, Im not even sure how my little pawns will play out their game after they find the pieces I left.
But it was done?
Yes, I managed to move them fine. See the little puffs along this part of the time stream, here and here? He pointed to something that Lucent was not able to see. Thats the remnants of the Time Wave working itself out. The one called William Shard will find the first one rather soon, and the one called Valiod will find the second.
What about this Darrell Shanning character? Lucent asked. While I cant understand why, Lucia seemed to have some interest in him.
Darrell is not up to maximum power, yet, Duncan said. In fact hes not even close. I sense horrible things coming from his stream, though. Something terrible is going to happen, and he is going to be a big part of it.
Do you think you can manipulate him?
No, Duncan said. Not only is his will too powerful, but his potential is enormous. I didnt think normal humans ran that powerful not since Rakin, and Ertai, anyway. Regardless, his place in the continuum is too important to try and sway at the moment. Nor would I want to, I think. He will be up there amongst the great killers of Lavoids, eventually. Hes worth more to me alive, than dead.
But is he normal? Come on. Get with it, kid. You know as well as I what he looks to be doing.
Hmm I dont want to believe it, and yet there is a part of me that does. We will cross paths, though I do not know if we will cross blades. Our goals seem to lie somewhere in the same place. As long as he doesnt pervert his motive too heavily, I dont foresee us becoming enemies.
You sound like your mother, Lucent said with slight hint of indignation.
Haha . Duncan mumbled. He gazed around, staring for a moment at the planet below and thinking about his mother. Her face was a vague imprint on his mind, at this point. Memories of over a thousand years had the effect of washing old images out of ones head. He dimly recalled her hair and her eyes not much more, though. He became sad for a moment, realizing maybe fully now, that he never knew his mother.
She died before I was born, as weird as that sounds, Duncan said. I still dont know how it happened. But, she used to speak to me while I was in her womb. She used to say, Whatever destiny we have lies in our dreams, because when she started to see into the time stream, she did so when she was asleep. She was haunted by nightmares he paused. I think she knew what was going to happen on Terra the entire time. She never tried to stop him, my father, though.
So now its all your moms fault? Lucent asked.
No, not at all, Duncan said. I I just wish I could have known her. Thats all.
A Planeswalker getting sappy? Lucent said, raising an eyebrow. This is unlike you, Duncan. Wheres that I kill Lavoids because its what I do best, and thats the way it is attitude? Duncan chuckled.
Maybe it got lost along with my soul he said tentatively. I dont know. You tell me. Where did it go?
Youre not going soft on me, are you, kid? Lucent said. I cant have any protégé of mine be flimsy.
Bite me, Lucent, Duncan said. The two men looked at each other for a moment, then laughed.
You still havent explained why you want to kill this Class A you spoke of, Lucent pointed out.
Its one of Pyrioriass hive Duncan said. Ill take any information I can wretch from the things brain.
Havent you been doing enough of that already?
None that Ive read really know much of anything. Im just going to continue to look into the upper class ones. Maybe I can find some information. That, and I need to make some repairs on my ship, and it should provide a nice stash of Lemange for awhile.
But what exactly are you looking for?
I dont know, really. Just something.
You hiding something from me, Elijiaian? Lucent asked.
What do I have to hide? Duncan responded. Lucent shrugged.
Your people are tricky. Its a shame there arent more left in the Multiverse. Duncan looked at the blonde man and smiled a thin smile.
Its been good to see you again, Lucent, he said, holding out his hand. Lucent paused for a moment before taking it. As he did, Duncan clasped his other hand around Lucents forearm and they shook.
You sure youre not going soft? Lucent asked, grinning slightly.
Ill let you know the kill time on this next one, Duncan said, smiling. Then you can wager on your own if Im going soft. He released his grip on Lucent and reached into his coat, drawing out his sunglasses and putting them on.
In the mean time, Kyrie is probably getting antsy all by herself. I told her Id only be an hour or so before I got back to the ship.
Whats an hour between friends, then? Lucent asked. Duncan shrugged.
Ill see you around, Lucent, he said. Probably sooner than either of us would expect. I have a funny feeling from the streams. Something is about to awake. I only hope were all ready for it when it does. He turned and walked towards the exit.
And Duncan? Lucent said. Duncan paused and spun around.
Take care of yourself, Lucent said, putting his own sunglasses back on as well. Duncan nodded, but Lucent wasnt around to see, as the Eternal had already disappeared with a flash of ethereal energy by the time the sound waves got to Duncans ears.
You too, old friend, Duncan said. You too.
The Planeswalker walked down the halls of the embassy, heading toward the large hanger bays where his ship was being stored. The corridors and all the main rooms were just as elaborate and over done as the estate room that he had been in a few moments ago. He glanced at the walls in the hall and examined the turquoise and gold trims that ran along the moldings. Everything was designed to make the embassy feel more like a mansion and less like a space station.
The station itself was in the shape of a wheel about four hundred yards across. The main docking area was in the lower section of the hub of the wheel, which was where Duncan was heading now. As the station was designed as reception point for foreign guests and other such diplomats, it was quite the five-star establishment. Every now and then, a baggage boy in a red suit with gold buttons would run past Duncan, on his way to some task that would no doubt not earn him a large enough tip.
He passed through the halls, knowing where he was going. He liked this particular embassy. The food in the restaurants was good, and the service men in the space yard were cordial. He generally liked the Planetary Union. They were far more down to earth than those in the Dominion. Ah, how he will love toppling those Dominion bastards from their throne and finally get back at Cain for all the problems that he had caused. Yes, revenge would be sweet. Maybe after he killed Pyriorias, anyway.
Dwelling on the thought of Pyriorias never got him anywhere, though, as killing her was still out of his capacity. Then again, as a Planeswalker, he had nothing but time on his hands, so he would eventually find a way. The question of when wasnt even so important. It was a question more of how. He would kill this Class A to get his mind off of things. The thrill of the fight always calmed his soul.
As he came closer to the ship bay, a buzzing rang in his ear. He pushed his finger against his lobe and began to speak, answering the phone call that was being delivered.
Yeah? Duncan asked.
You almost done? came a female voice from the other end. It was his partner in his dubious Lavoid Hunting, Kyrie.
Yeah. Im on my way, he responded. Anything worthy to report?
Not much, Kyrie said. Nothing of note, though the ship parked next to us has been using some sort of internal scanner on us for the past twenty minutes. The ship is unmarked, and slightly smaller than ours.
It looks like two G-235s and a Series Discharge Grouping. Also, their missile stocks, Heat Seeking and Image Recognition, are running at about a third.
Got the make on the Heat Seeking missiles?
Hmm She went silent as she browsed through some readouts. Theyre made by Vector Corp, which means
Inquisition. Damn. Dominion bastards.
Should I hail them?
Dont be foolish. If they were here to fight, their missile payloads would have been refilled. Theyre probably just watching us.
So what do we do? Duncan thought for a moment.
Ill be back on board in a few minutes. Well just try to lose them. I dont have time to deal with the Inquisition. I have a Lavoid to kill.
The one in the Ygral System?
Ygral VII, Duncan said. Did you get the numbers that I asked for?
Uh-huh, she said. I hacked SolNet while you were busy with Lucent. Its a lower level, Class A. The magical residue on the planet is high, though. The fight wont be so hard, but it should be a nice take of Lemange.
And we could use it. We still havent repaired all the damage from our little skirmish with the Kzagadrah Hive Fleet.
Well, they wont be repairing any of the damage you caused, Duncan, she said. Since you pretty much wiped them out.
Bah, he said. They were led by a weak Class B, and the fleet was small, to boot.
The Union Still wants to repay you for that. Senator Hale has been trying to contact you.
You can tell him that Ill meet with him within the week. I have some matters to attend to on Ygral VII at the moment.
Im almost out the ship now, Duncan said. Ill talk to you once Im on board. Over and out. He cut off the communication and entered an elevator that led from the main hub of the embassy. When he exited the elevator, he entered one of the places that still retained that good old feeling of the generic space stations throughout the galaxy: metal walls, florescent lights and nothing on the floors save for air ducts and piping. This particular hanger bay held about 20 ships (though there were only six parked here at the moment) that were arranged around the circular building. There were two other increasing larger hangers below this, but Duncans history with the Union allowed him to park in the more exclusive hanger.
His ship, the Vendetta, was quite near the exit to the elevator, another advantage coming with his status. It was a long and sharp, the wing structure not really existing until the very aft of the ship. He could see the large structures that housed the various space drives, as well as the auxiliary Chaos Drive. He didnt like to keep it active at all times because it gave those looking for him something to lock on to, mostly because he was the only one who even used a Chaos Drive. No ships used Chaos Drives anymore. It was simply not done. His standard sub-light drive was a heavily modified Dominion Vector Corp. Ether Over-Drive. For faster than light travel, the ship was equipped with Union-Eldar Hyperion Sub-Ether Drive, again heavily modified for his own purposes.
The size of the ship was rather large: about the fifty yards in length and twenty in wingspan. The fact that there typically was no more than himself and Kyrie traveling in it made some tell him it was a waste of space. No one considered he had had most of the living area stripped out to make room for larger space drives and more weapon systems. He did, after all, have a habit of engaging multiple ships in combat at once. Plus, when being chased by the Dominion, it never hurts to be able to fly faster than them.
He strolled up to the cargo entrance to the ship, a ten foot ramp which extended from the ships underbelly and was currently being used by two maintenance men to push a cart of supplies on board. Walking up the ramp and past them, he entered the ship. He was quickly met by the ships onboard computer greeting him.
Good Evening, Dr. McKlane, the ship said. How was your meeting with Mr. Mazer? Duncan continued walking as he answered.
You know, I really have to program you with a personality that isnt so formal, he said. Then, deciding not to spend too much time talking with a computer, he walked towards the sub-bridge, where he found Kyrie waiting for him, her hands on her hips.
Her name was short for Kyrial Arthian Rydia, though no one actually called her that. She was tall, though that was a given for an Elf (her race preferred the name Eldar), though her features were rather soft for that of one. Typically, Elves had high cheekbones and ears that came to sharp points. Even though her bloodline was pure, her ears were slightly rounded at their tips and her facial structure was soft. She had claimed that it was actually a sign of genetic superiority, but Duncan had never looked into it.
Her hair was long and blonde, let down and tucked behind her ears. Her eyes were greenish blue, which indicated that she came from a bloodline originating in the Dominion. This was only odd because the Dominion had driven out most of the non-humans a long time ago. She herself didnt know where her family was at this point.
She and Duncan were partners in the employment of killing Lavoids. She was the Whistler to his Blade, in a manner of speaking. He never considered her a sidekick of any kinds. She was more of the behind-the-line support. That, and she was a wizard with technology, which was perfect if you needed someone to construct weapons to fight something that conventional blades dont kill. It was she that had actually performed the latest modification on the Dreamblade, and honor which only two other people in history could claim to.
Welcome back, she said. How is Lucent?
Bitter and sarcastic, as always, Duncan said, walking past her. She turned around and followed him up a ladder which led up to the bridge. Though he actually expressed some concern over our situation with the Dominion. He climbed on to the floor of the bridge and stood there for a moment.
About the Weapons?
Are you worried? she said, looking at him. He didnt answer for a moment.
Yes, he said at length. I dont like being vulnerable.
No one does, Duncan, she said. He remained stiff.
Come on, he said at end. Lets make headway out of here.
Right, she said. Duncan climbed into the pilots chair, which was above and behind the navigators chair. The bridge itself quickly came alive and the walls became filled with a video representation of what was going on around them. Lights flashed throughout as the onboard computer (which Kyrie had named Lyris) began to run through the preflight checklists.
The bridge of the Vendetta only had seating room for two, as Duncan had modified it to not require any more personal in order to pilot. It was positioned towards the front of the vessel, though there were no portholes to the outside. All the imaging was done via a series of cameras that were wired to high definitions screens, projecting a 360 degree horizontal and 180 degree vertical display of the outside of the bridge.
The functions of the bridge could be completely handled by Duncan and Kyrie, and the ship was still about 80% operational if one of them was not present, due to aide of the exceptional artificial intelligence system that Kyrie had designed a good while ago. Frequent upgrades kept Lyris on the top of his game.
Vendetta to Launch Control, Duncan said into a communications unit as he began to activate the various engines and drives of the ship. The bridge began to buzz with excitement as Lyris started to read out the checklist as he went down it. Positron Collision Drive, check. Particle Accelerator Stabilization, check.
Launch Control to Vendetta. We hear you. Sub-Ether drives, check. Laser guiding, check. Primary navigation system, check.
Requesting permission to launch, Duncan said. He looked to the left. The Inquisition ship was full of activity as they prepared for their own launch. Linear Accelerators, check. Weapons systems, check. Missile stores, full.
You are currently second in line for launch, the voice from Launch Control said. Estimated time is one minute, thirty seconds. Secondary navigation system, check. Sub space navigation system, check. Magnetic repulsion generators, check.
Acknowledged, Launch Control. Vendetta, out. Duncan eyed the other ship again and began to give the engines power. Exhausts, check. Emissions, check. Life Support, check. Ether drives, check.
Ygral VII, Duncan? Kyrie asked. Auxiliary life support, check. Primary weapon guidance, check. Drive chain, check. Energy stores, full.
Set a course, Duncan said, flipping on the switches for the primary Ether Drive. The turbines in the rear of the ship roared to life as the ship began in the intake of Ether Winds. Duncan had altered the engines to include a turbo induction system, which when combined with intercoolers and filters, increased the amount of Winds going through the system by anywhere from two to five times. He activated the turbo inductors, as well. Real Space course set, the computer echoed as Kyrie imput the coordinates. Sub Space travel calculations underway. Environmental conditions normal. Energy shields activated.
Deactivate the front shields, Duncan said. Divert energy to the rear, for now. Well be beating the Dominion bastards out of the hanger.
Affirmative. Shields redirected. Energy chains normal. Ether collectors activated. Turbo systems on.
Launch Control to Vendetta. You are cleared for take off. Temperatures normal. Engine functions normal. Pre-flight check-list complete. Ready for takeoff.
Thank you, Launch Control, Duncan said, pressing one last sequence of switches on the right side of the panel. The computer began the launch countdown. 10 9 8 6 5 4
Have a nice day, the voice of the Launch Controller said as the engines of the Vendetta began to run faster and faster. Ignition of Ion Thrust drives was cued. 3 2
Next stop Ygral VII, Duncan murmured. 1! The computer finished his countdown and Duncan slammed the throttle control forward. The ships engines flared and the Vendetta blasted out of the hanger. Duncan and Kyrie felt about 5 Gs before the internal compensators took over, and the ship rocketed towards their goal. A small trail of blue energy was remained on the path of their travel, leaving the Dominion Inquisitor ship far behind. They were off to the hunt, and no one was to stop them.
Nova, Capital of the Sol Dominion
On the Planet of Nova, Capital of the Sol Dominion, a Council was meeting. Even though one man, Emperor Cain, basically ran the Sol Dominion, he did employ the advice of eight other high ranking officials. This Council, called the Elder Gathering, would meet from time to time in the Imperial Palace to discuss pressing issues dealing with the State. It would just so happen for the sake of our story that their current issue was dealing with the Black Angel of Death himself, Duncan McKlane.
The Council room was a large circle, the ceiling being an elaborately carved dome that sat four stories above the floor. On the inside of the dome, pictures depicting a battle over a bright star were etched into the marble ceiling. Six support arches traced their way down the dome to form into six pillars that stood equidistance apart on the edge of the circle. Nine tall, gray chairs sat around the room, all about five feet from the center and a similar distance from each other. One chair, the one for Cain, was wider and had gold trimmings. In the center of the room was a slightly raised area that housed a holographic projector.
Our problem currently at hand, Emperor Cain began, is in the form of the blood that weve had trouble with before. Duncan, son of Lathain of Zeal. He has recently come out of the hiding that he was in and the power he displays is frightening. In addition, recent history has led me to suspect that he is engaging in activities that might be shall we say, detrimental to our affairs?
He is just one man, though, someone said. What problems can one man cause?
Watch Cain replied, hitting a small button on the arm of his chair. The holographic projector in the middle of the room came to life, displaying with crystal clear vividness a battle scene. The camera focused in on a blue haired man that was wearing a black trench coat. In his hand was a single edge sword that glowed a dim red.
This scene is taken from a video recording just a few months ago on the fifth planet in the Jejujum system. There was a reasonably powerful Class C infested there As Cain drifted into silence, the image of Duncan began to move. He drew his sword back and ran forward. Ahead of him, the outlines of several Farilii charged forward, but they were all cut down in a blur as Duncan momentarily disappeared, then reappeared behind them, his sword stained in blood. Duncan continued running toward the large spiked object that was in the distance: the Lavoid.
Dodging the occasional attack and eating through the Lavoids ground forces like a lawn mower, he finally came up to shell of the Lavoid. Without pause, he stabbed his weapon into the eye of the beast and brought the blade in a circular motion, carving out a cone shaped recess. Drawing the blade out again, he pulled the eye module out of its socket and the Lavoid screamed. The movie paused.
Now, that was being played at about one third speed, Cain said. So you can guess the speed at which he moves. Then perhaps even the bigger problem comes when we fast forward about thirty seconds. He entered into the Lavoids shell and made his way to the biological center of the being. We werent able to film this with standard means, but if you look here, you can see the thermal imaging scan we took. The movie skipped ahead and the image appeared as one of reds, blues, oranges and purples.
This is inside of the Lavoid?
Yes. Now, watch what happens. Here, we presume that they are arguing over something, or he is explaining something to him. This is a higher level Class C, mind you. Now, watch as if on cue, the recorded Duncan wound up and smashed the figure of the Lavoid in the head with his fist. There was some splatter of brain matter that left the back of the skull, then the Lavoid fell to the floor. Duncan lowered his hand towards it, and the image of the Lavoid on the thermal scan became nothing but dark blue and purple. The Counsel sat in silence for a moment.
Dead? someone asked.
Stone cold dead, Cain replied. One punch. The sword never even left its sheath.
What makes you think he would be a threat to the Dominion? His father displayed a great deal of power, as well, and he never attacked us until that incident.
It is because he thinks I am trying to kill him, Cain answered.
And are you? There was a long pause.
Of course, the old man finally responded. Ive been trying to end his line for hundreds of years now. There is still dishonor in his existence.
You still hold that feud? a new voice said, the one from the man to his left. This was Multani, his highest advisor.
It isnt so simple as a feud, Multani. This is a vendetta.
Then let me handle him, he said, rising from his chair. You have yet to give me the opportunity.
You couldnt even stop his father, and you expect to stop him? Cain said in a condescending tone. Are you aware that his father was never able to kill a Class C with such a simple attack? Duncans readouts are far more impressive. Multani took offense and leaned back down.
I have them, Emperor, someone across from Cain said. Would you like me to read them to you?
Please, enlighten the Council as to his threat, he said, motioning with his hand for the Councilman named Ilitiar to proceed.
Duncan McKlane, son of Jack McKlane, aka Lathain of Zeal, is perhaps the most powerful manipulator of Chaos Magic in the galaxy, he began. And, with nearly 1500 years of battle experience, he is probably one of the greatest swordsmen as well. He rose and waved his hand, causing the image projector in the middle to begin to run through a slide show of various battle pictures taken of Duncan. His Wing Index, which the LEA used to measure proficiency with the Black Wings, is a staggering 24.6. His fathers, to note, was about 10.2.
As you would assume, he had a rather impressive operation record before he left the mercenary and professional circles to act on his own. He served in our own Inquisition for some fifteen years under a fake name. In that time, he met his tasks with 100% success, and recorded kills of over 1600 heretics. His position, when he finally left the organization, was one of very high rank.
Why would he have helped us? someone asked. Cain sighed.
Because Im sure with that rank came an awful lot of security clearance, he said matter-of-factly.
Exactly, Ilitiar continued. After leaving the Inquisition, he left the Dominion and served for a Union Special Forces unit called the Night Stalkers, bounced around in the Union military for a while, ending up in another unit codenamed Death Lance. We dont have records of his kill count or mission information in these units. We know he served in Death Lance for about fives years before again moving on.
He turned up about thirty years later in the employ of MysPol in the Mystician Empire. We think it was around this time that he acquired his ship, the Vendetta. Again, we dont have records of his services in this agency. We have a feeling, though, that his knowledge of all three major GPs is rather large, due to the extensive time he has served in each ones military. The equipment he uses in range from Mystican TEARS weapons to Dominion military star-drives. This guy has been all over the place. He turned off the slide show and continued talking.
Were not sure what happened to Duncan next. In fact, for about five hundred years, he drops completely off the records. He may have been in the unexplored sectors, or he was possibly just purposefully avoiding detection. He turned up again about twelve months ago, taking a Lavoid Hive of four Class As, forty Class Bs and an innumerable amount of Class Cs with him. We dont know what means he used to do this, we just know what we could find from the remains.
Basically, he is extremely powerful, and wields magic which can decimate biological and geological matter on very large scale. We reckon him to be stronger than his father, and we all remember how much damage Lathain caused when his wrath was incurred.
So why dont we learn from our mistakes? someone asked. Why try to fight with this man? When we tried to take out Lathain, half of the Dominion was laid to waste by his forces. Why would we attract attention of something so powerful when it is again clear that he wishes us no direct harm?
Because, Cain said, he, unlike his father, has reason to want to destroy us. Nods went around the Council. There was momentary silence as Cain considered the options.
It is his magic that makes him so powerful, Cain said. And his magic is a combination of years of training, as well as his genetic makeup The room was silent until a man on the left side of the circle name Yral (who had yet to utter a word) opened his mouth.
Emperor he said slyly, rising from his seat. I have a good idea
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