Tempo Trigger Chapter 27
Lion's Story: In The Beginning
Lion almost caught Ty as he rounded a corner in the hall, but his younger brother ducked out of sight at the last second. He was getting fed up with running in a circle on the 354th floor of their apartment building, but his mother didn't want them playing out in the street. As Lion rounded the corner, Ty was already gone, only a slight yellow energy residue remained in the air. Up at the next corner, Lion saw a foot start to come into view. Jaguarena must have doubled back on him again. Well, she wouldn't get away with that this time. Lion launched himself into the air, and crashed head on into the person who had started to come around the corner.
Upon slamming the person hard into the ground, he was disappointed to find that it was not Jaguarena, but a man in his early twenties, dressed in a business suit. "Ow...!" He groaned, then sat up. "Wow, you're pretty strong, for a kid."
"Well, looks like you've already run into one of our prototypes." Lion looked up to see a man in his fifties behind them, looking amused.
"Who are these guys?" Ty asked as he came running back to see what had happened.
"I dunno." Lion shrugged, then decided to find out. "Who are you guys?" He asked the elder of the two.
"We're from the Photosynthesizer station." He replied. "We need to talk to your parents."
Lion stood up, and suddenly assumed a dignified stance. "Follow me." He stated in an authoritative voice, and quickly marched down the hall. Ty observed him, perplexed, and then did his best to mimc his march. The younger man stood up and whispered to the elder, "That kid is really twelve years old? He looks six, at the most..."
"I told you," the older man sighed, as if he had repeated this often, "they only age at half the speed of a normal human."
"That's right." The two turned around to see an absolutely adorable little girl hurrying up the hall toward them. "We get double the fun." Jaguarena smiled, but only briefly. "Once we grow up, that is. It sucks having to be a kid twice as long."
"And how old are you?" The younger man asked.
"Sixteen." She replied. "And there's nothing "sweet" about it when you look like you're eight."
"I really am eight!" Ty chimed in.
"You sure are, short stuff." She agreed, hoping he wouldn't feel the need to share any more.
"We're here." Lion announced solemnly. A section of their apartment wall dematerialized, and the two men walked in, peering around. As Lion closed the wall up again, he suddenly smacked Ty on the back of the head. "You're it!"
"Hey, no fair!!" Ty shouted. As an afterthought, he whirled around to tag Jaguarena, but only a yellow energy residue remained where she had been. Ty growled and flew off in pursuit.
Lion's mother was the first to see the new arrivals, and she gasped slightly. "I take it then that you know why we're here." The elder nodded his head.
"The second coming..." She whispered. She shook her head, and then walked toward them. "I suppose it's good to see you again, General Tarquin." She turned to the younger man, and offered her hand. "Pleased to meet you, I am Pantheraia."
"Uh... Thomas. Thomas Stevenson." He drifted off a bit as he shook her hand. He could almost feel the energy flowing into him.
She smiled a little. "Don't worry, we seem to have that effect on people." She turned around as Lion's father entered the room, and instantly narrowed his eyes.
"Tarquin." The man nodded.
"Leopardano." Tarquin responded, and let the silence linger for a few moments. "You know we wouldn't be here if it wasn't necessary."
"Of course." He nodded, not looking any friendlier. "And what "necessary" excuse do you have for taking our children away?"
"This." Tarquin held out his hand, palm up. He pushed a button on a small device in his hand, and a holographic image of the planet sprang up. It slowly rotated for a minute, then a huge, yellow beam of energy erupted from the surface, flying off into space. Tarquin froze the image. "One month ago, this tremendous energy blast was observed in the southern hemisphere. From our intelligence reports, the Komodaera investigated, but could find no clue as to what caused it." He rotated the image some more, still frozen. "As you can see, it's diameter is over one fourth that of the planet's."
"It looks like 'synth energy." Pantheraia observed.
"It does look like it, yes." Tarquin nodded. "But, do you think it's even remotely possible that a 'synth could generate that much power?"
"I didn't think anything could..." Leopardano peered closely at the globe. "How do you know that a living thing caused it?"
"We don't..." Tarquin admitted. "But if anything could..."
"It would be what caused Armageddon." Leopardano finished for him. "Still, do you really believe that the second coming will happen now, when the planet is still suffering so much from the first?"
"We have no real proof." Tarquin shrugged. "But we feel that it wouldn't hurt to start training your children. And don't worry!" He held up a hand to silence Pantheraia's as yet unspoken protest. "It won't be training in the traditional sense of the word. You'll still get to see them. We obviously can't be as tough with them as with more mature 'synths either. We just want them to know how to really unleash their power, if they ever need to."
"Soultech would freak out if they heard you say that." Leopardano finally smiled.
Tarquin grinned in response. "That, my friend, is why we are not Soultech. So, do we have your permission?"
"Yeah." He resigned himself and nodded. "But you know that if we receive any word of them being mistreated, I'll level your whole base to get them back."
"I know." Tarquin nodded. "They'll be just fine, you have my word."
Thomas warily searched through the hall, looking for the kids, carefully peering around corners before stepping anywhere. Tarquin couldn't help but laugh as Ty bowled into him, knocking him onto his back. "Yeah!" The little boy shouted enthusiastically, before looking down. "Oh, sorry."
"It's... all right..." Thomas wheezed, the wind knocked out of him.
"Where are your brother and sister?" Tarquin asked politely.
"Right heeeeeere!!!" Lion and Jaguarena came from opposite directions, blazing through the air with a brilliant yellow light, and slammed hard into Ty. Tarquin was surprised that the two would use such force in a mere game, and also that Ty seemed to have no problem raising an energy shield that was more than enough to keep them off of him.
"No fair!!" He shouted once they were all standing still, yellow steam rising into the air. "I was already it!"
"We were trying to get you triple it." Lion dusted off his hands. "Nice block, by the way."
"Uh, well kids." Tarquin began to get their attention. "Your parents and I have talked, and you're going to be coming with us for a little while."
"What for?" Lion asked.
"So we can show you how to use your powers."
"We already know THAT." Jaguarena said boredly.
"I mean, for more than just a game. In case you ever needed to really unleash them to their fullest extent."
"You mean we'll be even faster? Even stronger?" Lion asked.
"Well yes, that's part of it."
"Sounds good to me!" Lion declared, and began walking toward the lift that led to the ground floor. "I'm going." Jaguarena and Ty shrugged, and followed him.
Tarquin regarded the three youths as they stood in the center of the training facility, or the "battle arena," as it was more popularly known by. As usual, Jaguarena and Lionello looked absolutely fearless, and as usual, Tigered did his best to follow their example. Their attitudes puzzled him. They did not seem nervous at all about leaving their parents, or about coming here, a place they had never been, full of people they had never met. Perhaps the most puzzling thing was that they didn't have a superior attitude either, at least not that he had noticed. They didn't comfort themselves in the knowledge that they were better than everyone here. The hundreds of armed guards simply didn't worry them. Tarquin switched on the intercom in his booth above the arena. "All right..." he was about to say "kids," but changed his mind, "lady and gentlemen. We're going to do a preliminary exercise to see just how much you can do. You don't need to be worried. None of the stuff in here will seriously hurt you, but you will get roughed up pretty bad if you don't try to defend yourselves. Okay?"
"Let 'er rip General." Lion gave him a thumbs up. He and Jaguarena remained in their same, impassive poses, while Ty put on what would best be described as a "game face." He growled, and scanned the various recesses in the metal walls, trying to determine where the first threat would come from. Suddenly, an orb shaped robot raced out of the wall, heading straight at him. Ty yelled in surprise, then held up his right hand. A blazing beam of energy vaporised the orb, and continued on into the recess it had come out of, completely destroying all the orbs that were stockpiled inside.
"Shit!" Thomas belatedly pressed the button to shut the door, which now scraped along its track and only closed halfway. "Looks like we're going to have to try harder."
Tarquin scratched his head. "Are you sure these kids have only had minimal exposure to the sun in the last three days?"
"All right." Tarquin sighed. "Abandon the sniping routine, and go straight to strength in numbers."
"Will do." Thomas pushed about thirty buttons at once.
Ty whirled around as the arena was suddenly filled with sixty of the orb shaped drones. They all hovered unsteadily in the air, making an ominous humming noise. Ty looked up at Lion. "It's still all you, kid." He smiled down at his brother. Ty nodded. He slowly stretched out his arm again, and instantly, ten of the drones were engulfed in a large yellow explosion. He slowly turned around, and the explosion spread as he turned. The remaining drones rushed in, trying to avoid the blast as much as get Ty, but he put out his left hand, and a huge yellow wave took out all of them that got in close. Sixty molten heaps of metal fell to the floor.
"Good God!" Tarquin exclaimed. "He doesn't even know how to tie his shoes, but he can do THAT?!" He put his hand to his head in disbelief. "All right, time to up the ante. Send out the fighters."
Thomas turned around in surprise. "Are you sure?" After seeing Tarquin's face, he decided that was a stupid question. "How many?"
"All of them!"
"Y-yes sir." Thomas whistled uneasily. He could feel a lawsuit coming on.
Lion and Jaguarena glanced at each other as the arena was filling with hundreds of humanoid robots. "Is it go time for us?" Lion asked.
"Yeah, we shouldn't drain the kid." She replied, looking at Ty, who didn't seem tired in the least. Then, her voice took on a more authoritative tone. "Power up!" All of them began to yell, and their volume and pitch increased as the yellow glow around them grew. Tarquin could tell that they were doing it for FUN more than anything. If they weren't even worried about the robots then... then... he wasn't sure what would happen. The robots advanced around them, forming a tight circle. Then each front robot held both hands forward, and an energy shield sprang up. Jaguarena hunched down, as if getting ready to start a race. "Ready... go!!" The three literally blasted outward, shattering the robots' energy shields with ease. They flew through the crowd, fists held forward, simply barreling through anything that got in their way. The robots' attempts to hit them were in vain, as their limbs vaporised when they touched the yellow glow. In less than a minute, all of the robots were just piles of scrap on the floor, a few of them sparking. The three 'synths settled back into the center of the arena.
Tarquin sighed in defeat. "Have you ever seen anything like this before?"
"No sir." Thomas replied quietly. "Uh, looks like they're waiting for you to say something."
Tarquin smiled, and turned the intercom on again. "That was very, very good. I'm actually not sure how much more we can teach you..."
"But you haven't seen our best move yet!" Ty protested, sensing that because Tarquin had started talking again, the fight was over.
"Ty, we don't need to do that." Jaguarena reprimanded him.
"But I wanna!" He shouted.
Thomas turned to Tarquin. "After what we saw them do, is it safe?"
"The arena's outer shield is more than enough to contain any attack of theirs." He nodded confidently. "All right kids..." He paused as Jaguarena glared at him for the use of that word. Oh well, too late now. "You can if you want to."
Jaguarena turned to Lion. "What do you think bro? You up for a fusion?"
Lion shrugged. "Sure. I can handle it."
Ty grinned. "Yeah! Fusion! Fusion!"
"Okay, okay!" Lion smiled, putting a hand on his shoulder. "We're doing it. Now get ready." The three backed apart until they formed an equilateral triangle, each about five feet apart from the other. Ty and Jaguarena began to glow. Lion didn't, but two ragged yellow beams came out of his torso, and slowly fed into the other two. A glow began to appear from the floor, and a yellow bubble began to rise up, growing bigger by the second.
Tarquin began to have a really bad feeling. He whipped out the projector he had shown Leopardano, and turned it back on. He froze it at the beginning stages of the energy beam, and then looked back at what was happening on the floor. "It... It isn't the alien..." He whispered. "It's them..." The bubble on the floor grew bigger, and the kids began to raise their hands into the air. "It's THEM!!!" He shouted. "Evacuate the base!! Right now!!"
"Sir?!" Thomas whirled around in surprise. Tarquin's face paled, and speech failed him. The bubble on the floor burst, and a brilliant burst of light raced upward and outward, vaporising everything in its path.
Once again, a beam of energy with a diameter equal to one fourth that of the planet's raced into space...
"I've never heard of anyone gaining this much power..." - Vegeta
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