Dark Angel Chapter 20
The two words made up the very backbone of Shi Kari society, made up the very essence of what they embodied. They existed as many, yet they were one. They existed for the Lavoids, yet they had no purpose. They were the creators, and they were the children.
On the tenth level of what the Hunters had come to call the Black Tower, they existed. It could not be said that they sat, nor that they stood, nor that they did anything along those lines, for they had no bodies left to them.
They were the Inner Council, the Hive Mind of the Shi Kari Fleet; they were those so permeated with lavoid energy that nothing was left but an essence. There were over fifty of them in the huge antechamber, which was the only part of the Black Tower that remained unaltered from the days when it had been a huge spacecraft. The only way one could tell their location was through the many glass tubes that laced the room, each going from floor to ceiling, and each glowing with an inner light. The colors of these lights differed slightly from tube to tube, but each was a variation on either green or red hues. Some were pleasing to the eye, soft and delicate, while others were so hideous a shade as to be almost horrifying. No matter the color, each pulsed in sync with the ones around them, the whole resulting in giving the feeling of an unheard rhythm, an inaudible melody of death.
These minds, the final remnants of the human scientists of Earth, were speaking, insofar as such things could speak. It was truly a form of telepathy, but worked in such a way that their brainwaves echoed throughout the tower.
The human challenged a full six of our Farilii and yet he lives. One voice, coming from a tube the color of blood, said.
He lives only through our commands,
Kafka. They would have killed
him in his weakened state. The
response came from across the room, with a pulse of green and light.
Either way, he came too far in his
work. He killed three of them
before he was fully subdued, despite their regenerative
All the more reason that he should be brought before us, brought
before Shi Kari.
He is dangerous. We should kill him, now. The lavoid would not want us toying with hostages.
The lavoid is no longer here. We know this, the Shi Kari know this. He is far from us, on Earth, and has been for over forty years of human time. He can do nothing to us.
That is a rebellious thought.
This comment set off a cacophony of sound and flashes of green and
red light throughout the room, as the many minds argued and fought over the
dangers that the very acknowledgement of that
brought. After several long
minutes passed in this blinding fashion, a single thought superseded itself
over all the others.
No, it is not. I merely state the facts. The lavoid would not have approved of the Doppelgangers, but they have done much good for the Shi Kari. The lavoid would not approve of this human in our midst, but properly interrogated, he too can do much good for the Shi Kari, and for the lavoid.
I believe he bears much harm for the Shi Kari, no good. There is no good in his race, in his kind. Only hypocrisy, only destruction.
And what have we against the destruction? It can be turned against his kind. It shall be turned against his kind. He will have no choice.
The pulses changed tempo then, faster, faster. What is in his mind, then? He is not of this planet, but he is a Hunter. He is young, and he is old. We cannot comprehend his being.
The voices cried out as one then, called
out to their servants, called out to the Shi
the Human before us
bring the Hunter before
us. He shall learn of
terror. We are Shi
The thrumming went out over the whole of
the tower, the pulsing wave of energy reverberating in the mind of every
Farilii, Doppelganger, and lesser servant on the
planet. The voice of the Shi
Kari as one, as a single presence of Lavoid Energy knew no bonds of
distance. Had a one of the Shi
Kari been across the very universe, he would have heard the call, would have
instantly understood it. There
was no escaping it.
Darrell Shanning, lying wounded in a cavernous
cell, could almost hear the call, lying as he was within the bowels of the
tower. It echoed in the rocky
depths that surrounded him, it bubbled up from the stony
ground. It shook the very metal
grates that held him where he was, and threatened to tear open anew his many
alive. He didnt know how
he was alive, or why. The fight
with the Farilii had gone just as hed expected, at least
initially. Hed taken a few of them out honestly, more
than he wouldve wagered and had in turn been injured to the
point of no return. But when
hed finally given up, when hed finally let sweet darkness overwhelm
his being, theyd done something.
He had never expected to awaken when his eyes shut on the twisted
ruins of that fallen building, yet he
had. His wounds were still just
as they had been, but no more had been added to them, and they did not
They had kept him alive, and even with the
half-heard call, he could not understand
He heard his visitor before he saw him, so
absorbed was he in his pain, and in the faint remnants of the
Click-clack. He wore black boots, and they beat harshly against the
ground as he walked. Those were
the first things that Darrell saw, laying as he was on the
ground. With a struggle, he lifted his eyes, expecting death,
Instead, he was greeted with a strangely
human figure. The man who stood
before him was no older than twenty-one, with stringy black hair that fell
about his face in unkempt clumps.
His skin was incredibly, unnaturally pale, and his eyes were
Human. The things mouth
opened with these words, yet the deep basso tone that gave the sound almost
seemed to come from somewhere else.
It didnt fit the mans appearance at
all. Can you
Darrell would have shut his eyes, almost
wanted to, but he knew that it would not end
anything. He would awaken, probably
very abruptly. He would not
escape this insanity, this confusion.
he started to push himself
up. His temples throbbed with
the effort, and cuts along his thighs and forearms opened and bled freely,
but he did not let himself fall.
He would not let this thing before him aid
him. Yes, I can.
He said finally, struggling to keep his balance as he finally gained his
convenient. You shall accompany
me. The being was not asking, yet there seemed no threat behind his
words. He held no weapon, and did not appear to have a spell
ready. He just expected Darrell
to obey. The young man was
completely unwilling to do that, not without some sort of fight, and prepared
to tell him so.
No words came
out. The young man walked, and
Darrell followed. It seemed
a foregone conclusion. As they
came to the grates that held Darrell in the cavern that was his jail cell,
the being simply kept walking.
They bent back before him, allowed him to
pass. Darrell, fully intending
to study the things at least briefly, walked straight past them without so
much as a glance.
are you.. taking me..
the words were forced, and his voice sounded as though it were coming from
deep underwater. It was very
disturbing for Darrell, so used to being completely in control of himself
and his surroundings, but he couldnt concentrate enough on it to figure
out what was happening.
The pale man didnt even turn around,
though his words had the slightest tone of surprise at the
question. He obviously hadnt
expected Darrell to say anything.
You will see the Shi Kari.
It is their will, it is our will.
You are Shi Kari? Darrell asked
again, the words little more than a ragged
The being did not bother to respond, indeed,
he saw no need. It was
They walked on through the bowels of the
tower, dark stone eventually giving way to ether-lit steel and
glass. They walked on through
narrow hallways that twisted and turned every few feet, that almost seemed
to writhe like a thing alive as Darrell passed through
them. Every once in a great while, they would pass a Farilii,
or some other lavoid soldier. They
regarded Darrell with open hatred, if they even gave him a
glance. To his credit, the young
Zionite managed to at least return their bloodthirsty stares, though he could
not make himself speak, though he could not make himself stop walking.
Click-clack. That was the only audible noise in the whole of the tower.
None of the Farilii spoke, none
of them walked from place to place in the
tower. Most of the ones that
Darrell saw were simply standing there, as though at
guard. They did not move; indeed,
they didnt even seem to breathe.
It was a very sobering experience, and as Darrell noted their human
features, he began to think of a reason that he might have been kept
alive. And that reason shook
him to the very depths of his soul.
Eventually, after they had walked
long had it been? Perhaps they
had walked but seconds, perhaps they had walked for
hours. It was impossible to
gauge. However long it had been,
their journey came to an end before a huge door wrought of the same black
stone that the lower areas of this strange facility had been composed
of. The strange almost-human before him knocked once upon
it, surely unnecessarily. The
noise from it reverberated throughout the hallway, and surely from
Darrells perspective throughout the rest of the building.
And then, most shockingly, a thought penetrated
his brain, laid itself over his thoughts like a
voice. But no one had spoken.
Enter, Taloncreed. Bring
the Human with you.
And, with that almost-voice, the huge stone
door swung back, revealing behind it a huge chamber filled with twisted beacons
of glowing glass. They ran from floor to ceiling, glowing hideously as they
arced in bizarre designs.
Thankfully, the black stone that made up the rest of the room absorbed
much of the light, but it gave the one Darrell assumed to be Talon Creed
a sickly sheen, and no doubt did something similar for
Talon pulled Darrell to the forefront of
the room without laying a hand on him, and thrust him upon something of an
inclined bit of ground. As he
stepped upon it, the tubes glistened brightly, and began thrumming as if
in beat with some unheard song. It
was almost painful to watch, but the young scientist couldnt shut his
Tell us your name, Humanhunter.
Darrell shuddered at the way they had run
the two words together, completely perverting the meaning of the
latter. He didnt intend
to respond, wanted desperately to keep his
silence. Talon Creed cast him an emotionless glance.
Darrell Shanning. He said.
Who are you, Darrellshanning,
The words echoed in his mind, and it occurred
to him that they were coming from the beacons of light that surrounded
him. He had not read of this
in his book.
I? I dont understand your
question. He was amazed at how calm he sounded, when every fiber of
his being urged him to panic, urged him to attack.
Why are you on Riven, Humanhunter?
Darrell tried desperately to keep his mouth
shut. He could not,
would not betray his mission to these
he choked off the
words, amazed that he had nearly said them
anyway. He looked over at Talon,
who was staring at him intensely now.
He felt his mouth open.
I seek a way to
NO!!! he shook his head violently,
and with a burst of energy, stepped back from the black altar of stone.
This action didnt seem to affect the
tubes of light in the least.
We have all the time required for your words to pour forth,
Darrellshanning. You will tell
us, but the longer it takes, the less you will like
Darrell opened his mouth, this time to spew
words of defiance, but suddenly felt his body wracked with
pain. He fell to the ground
instead, thousands of watts of electricity coursing through him.
Darrellshanning. We are Shi
In a great exercise of will, Darrell showed
them what he thought of that. He spat on the
ground. This led to another
jolting of electricity, but he just spat again in response.
I will not bow to you lavoid dogs
you murderers. He whispered, almost
inaudibly. But this was the
chamber of the Hive Mind; no spoken word went unnoticed.
You are a hypocrite and a fool, Darrellshanning. What have we done wrong? What have the lavoids done wrong?
The lavoids have killed billions
and you helped them do it.
The lavoids have killed billions,
Darrellshanning? This is the
cycle of life. They have done
nothing immoral. They
created you yes, we recognize your inner energies, Darrellshanning
of Riven, whose parents were of Draconus VI and it is their right
to destroy you. You were born
for the harvest.
Who gave them the right to
harvest us, answer me that!! Darrell yelled, struggling
back to his feet. He ignored
the now constant thrumming of electricity down his spine, though it set him
Hypocrite. What they
have created, they may also destroy.
You are the same way, Human.
You raise plants, you raise
animals. You treat them well,
cultivate them to prosper. And
then, when you hunger, you slaughter
them. This is no
We do not kill our very equals, other
thinking, feeling, intellgent beings!! Darrell pushed out, forced back
to the ground by the constant pain.
Ha! the pulsing of the tubes quickened momentarily, in a cacophony of flashing light. You are nothing more than an animal, Darrellshanning. Your people are no more than animals. The animals fight each other at but a whim; how many wars have your people had? How many times has brother fought brother, over your worthless monies, over your worthless sense of property? The lavoids do not fight amongst themselves, Human, and in this they are the only true sentience, the only true things above animals.
Darrell said between clenched teeth, an especially vicious blast of lightning
setting his hair on end and his conscious state to the very edge.
No, Shanning. You did
not create the
Lavoids. We are among the final
surviving creators of the Lavoids, we who recognized their place as the next
step in evolution. It does not
matter how they were born; do you pay homage to the apes from which you
sprang? All that matters is that they are the true masters, and
we are their servants. You humans
are on a lower rung of the evolutionary ladder, and can but weep impotently
as you realize youve become
Darrell tried to respond again, wanted to
curse every one of these beings, wanted to force the fact that they were
making sense from his mind. All
he got out was one word.
and with that, he passed
He was lucky in this; he did not have to
hear the Shi Karis response.
You shall have no such blessing,
Terra beat against the metal grates of her
underground cell, seeking some way, any way, to get them to open in they
that shed seen them open for Mishra
lavoid-loving scumbag. Shed
thought something strange about him, but had been powerless to do anything
but follow him, straight into the Black
Tower. It was most bizarre how
it had happened. Theyd
stepped straight up to it, and just as Terra began to think they were going
to be teleported to the other side by the shield spell, the surroundings
And when their impromptu teleportation spell
had ended, shed been here, in this cavernous
They hadnt taken her Kaiser Knuckles;
they obviously didnt see her as any sort of threat, even
armed. The sad thing was, they
were probably right. She
wouldnt let that stop her, though.
She continued to pick at the grate with her clawed fists, looking
for a corner, anything that would let her pull back on them.
After several minutes of rather aggravated
effort, she thought she found it. She slipped her clawed glove into a space just below the
door, and started to pull on it.
To her great satisfaction, it started to give way almost
The reason for this became apparent as the
door opened up, throwing Terra backwards and revealing several Farilii, carrying
an unconscious figure in their arms.
Before she could react, they tossed the body in, and let the door
slam shut behind them. As it
did, she cursed for but a moment, then realized who they had thrown in with
Darrell? Darrell! she
knelt down next to him, and noted with a wince the many cuts that laced his
body. Thankfully, none were bleeding at the moment the
dried blood on the surface was blackened, as though someone had dried it
with heat or a blast of electricity but he still seemed to be in rather
She pressed her ear up against his chest,
and noted with relief that his heartbeat, at the least, was
strong. She shook him slightly,
trying to see if he could be woken up.
So help me, if I can get my hands on these things
her eyes narrowed, and she continued to shake him.
Ack, geez!! Darrells voice startled her to no end, and
she realized that shed been squeezing his arm with her gauntlets as
she shook him. What in
the young mans eyes fluttered open, and he looked up
right at Terra. Immediately,
he closed them again, and rubbed them with his
When he opened them again, she was still
there. Dear God
Darrell couldnt recall ever invoking any higher powers name before,
but it seemed an appropriate phrase at the moment,
yeah. Im not really sure
but how did you end up
here? Did they catch Cyne and
Meryl, too? Did they
Darrell pressed a single finger to her lips,
struggling to sit up. No,
I dont think so. As far
as I know, Cynewulf and Meryl made it off with those
Hunters. They should be
Terra cocked an
eyebrow. Well, what happened
to you, then?
the young man trailed
off for a moment, seeming embarrassed to say.
Darrell sighed, shrugging in a nonchalant
manner. After you got
knocked off the building
how did you manage to live through that,
anyway? Not to say that Im
not glad you did, Im ecstatic, it just seems that
Hey! Terra put her hands on her
hips and stuck out her lower lip.
No fair trying to change the
subject. Ill tell you
about that in a minute.
Saw right through that ploy, did
you. The young man ran a hand through his hair, noting with some annoyance
that it ran down past his neck now.
unkempt. He considered telling
Terra about it, but realized that wouldnt get him out of telling her
you got knocked off the building, I kinda lost
it. Told our friends and those
Hunters to get going, and I fought with the Farilii.
To say that Terras eyes widened would
be an understatement. They opened
so much that Darrell though he could see the entire white of them, which
didnt strike him as something someone should be able to
see. Are you
Dar?! There were at least four
of them there!!!
SIX?!?!! Darrells best
friend jumped to her feet, and looked for a moment like she was going to
cuff him. But it faded after
a moment, as tears started to stream down her
was really stupid of you. You couldve gotten killed, and then what would I
would I have
Hey, Terra, its okay. Darrell
stood up and looked at the young woman in
cry. Im okay,
he looked down at his bruise-covered body, No permanent
damage, anyway. Dont cry
he looked at her pleadingly, and, after a long moment
of hesitation, pulled her into his arms.
Dont ever do something that stupid
dont you ever. Terra whispered, still
crying. I couldnt
make it without you.
Darrell had a million things he could have
said at this point. He decided,
after but a split-second of thought, that saying something would ruin the
whole moment. For once in his
life, he kept his silence, just let himself hold Terra, and be
held. And in that moment of
time, the whole of the Black Tower slipped away; indeed, even the thoughts
of Grendel went away.
You ARE aware shes got a thing for you, right?
What are you talking about?
You dont see it?! Cant you hear the way she talks to you? The way she looks at you? Tristan Tenser and Jack Mcklane, Chrono Trigger: The Planeswalkers.