Dark Angel Chapter 24
Why dont they just kill us and get it over
with? They know what were
they have to know. Kayla shook her head, sighing deeply
as she tried fruitlessly to convince herself that the death-grip on her sonicpike
Think about it, Kayla. Mathiu
said, looking the perfect figure of
calm. He wasnt, for multiple reasons not the least
of which the fact that Kay was sitting next to him on his very own bed, though
there were more pressing concerns but he tried to make an effort for
his partner. What would
happen if they killed us with no evidence or crime to convict
The young Hunter-woman thought for a
start an all-out rebellion in the younger part of the
organization. The entire group
would fall apart. She shook her
head. But even if they
wait for us to act, thats still probably going to be the
case. No matter how many charges
they trump up against us, our friends are going to make us into martyrs
and it probably wont be for the best.
Theres truth in that, but
theres less of a chance for rebellion if they wait until they have
proof of a crime. Matt sighed, and looked down at the floor
of his cluttered room. But
you know the Council.
Theyre all desperate
and, like they say, flimsy logics
as strong as steel to desperate
The two sat in silence for a
moment. It wasnt a hard
thing to do it was nearly midnight and the darkness proved
a bit calming. Mathiu could
think of something more calming, though, and tried to act on
it. Slowly, he started to slide
himself closer to Kayla
And was abruptly cut off when the woman decided
to go down a new line of questioning.
Do we really need to do this?
she asked. Mathiu blinked, almost
embarrassed for a moment, until he realized she was referring to helping
Cynewulf and Meryl out of prison.
Why are you asking
that? Of course we need
Matt. I feel as bad about this
as you do
and I want to believe we can change things
here. But what if the
Councils right, in its fears? I mean, Talon Creed tried to storm the Black Tower once
and look what happened to him.
These two arent any more powerful than he was
as hell arent. a single tear slipped down the girls
Mathiu, in an unusual act of boldness
for this type of situation reached over and wiped the tear from her
cheek. Thats not the point,
Kay. We cant just give
up hope like this
if we do, well be just like the
Council. A bunch of cowards,
scared to fight the reality of their
world. We cant just
give up, no matter the odds.
Kayla looked over at Mathiu, not making any
comment of the fact that Matts hand hadnt moved from her face
since he wiped away the tear.
of course youre right,
Matt. You always seem to be. She allowed herself a small
smile. You arrogant
shrugged. Hey, if I can
save you the trouble of having to act like you know anything, Im doing
The woman cocked an eyebrow at him, an expression
that faded quickly enough, and left them staring into each others
Suddenly, Mathius hand felt very awkward
on Kaylas face.
He moved his hand back to his lap and focused
his gaze firmly on his shoes, wishing with all his might that he could prevent
himself from turning red. After several long moments of silence, he dared a glance
back up to see if the moment had passed.
He was very shocked to see Kaylas eyes
still staring at him, deeply, intensely
he dared after a moment, trying to sound macho and in control
of himself. He came out weak
and nervous, but pressed on. Um
howd you like to go on a date with
me? Like, say, to the Black
The young woman smiled, and shook her
head. Not exactly the
location Id imagined youd pick for the first time you managed
to work up your nerve to ask me out
but a good a place as any, I
guess. Why not? Ignoring
Mathius subsequent exclamations of shock/joy, she stood up and
stretched. One condition,
I think we need to double date with a couple friends of
Well, I hate to have attention taken
off of me, but why not? he glanced down at his
watch. And, as late as
it is, nows as good a time as any to do this thing.
On with the show, then. Kayla
said, the mood turning solemn again.
God help us.
Shall we begin the energy exchange
process, sir? the voice belonged to a scuttling blue insectoid-type
one of the lower forms of life, as far as the Shi Kari hierarchy
ran. The non-humanoids tended
to be less powerful, for the most part, and were stuck in what few menial
positions the lavoid beings had available.
It spoke to one of the higher forms of Shi
Kari life, and one unique to this particular
fleet: a Doppelganger, specifically
Taloncreed, insofar as the Shi Kari had names for the individual.
not. The female has already
been injected with a small amount.
It will have to be removed to insure proper balancing before we can
go on with a full exchange
this takes more time than the other, and
is secondary. The important
thing is the male. We need a
thought analysis scan run
you know the will of Shi Kari, our will,
your will, my will. The secrets
of this human run deep, and dangerous.
The insectoid its specific caste name
was Polymicite nodded with its almost spherical head, its white hexagonal
eyes glittering against the dark metal of the tower
walls. The extraction room was
unique in the Black Tower in this
respect. Every other location
in the huge spire was dimly lit, with only the barest necessities of light
provided for purposes of travel.
The energy extraction chambers, on the other hand, were lit much like
any human facility, with white and blue and red and green lights powered
by lavoid energy; condensed Chaos
energy. It had been found that
these lights radiated the power source, and thus inundated anyone unfortunate
enough to be in the room with it.
This immersion, as it was, in lavoid energy proved to make a subject
more tolerant to injection with the stuff in large
And thus it was, with a quick bit of spellwork
and a flip of a bio-mechanical switch, that the Shi Kari gazed into Darrell
That was the first thought that ran through the combined minds of
the Hive, through the mind of Doppelganger Taloncreed, as the entrance
began. The spell used to read
minds was deceptively simple.
Rather than attempt to draw thoughts out through audible means
this was next to impossible, given that thought impulses were visually rather
than sonically-induced it simply drew ones mind into
mind had, however briefly, been connected with
Darrells. And it was a
As the darkness lifted, there was a black
field, made red with blood. This
blood was not as Talon was used to seeing it, though, as often as it was
spilled by his own hands. It
writhed and twisted in an unfelt wind like a thing possessed, and it cried
out with the voice granted those who have felt the cold hand of injustice
cast down upon them.
And their words
if anything could strike
fear into the black hearts of those who were controlled by the Lavoids, those
Murderer murderer murderer youve killed us you are not death you are not worthy of us
Why to us you created us you cannot destroy us
Why Why why
You are just a child yourself you are not the masters you are pawns in the game
Look upon your death look upon it death death death
All your fault were dead all your fault all your fault
We will destroy you we will we will we will
A single thought rose above all of these,
like a beacon pointing the way toward a single
thing. Talon followed this thought
to the center of the blood red field, unconsciously flinching as he waded
through the screaming pool.
Covered to the neck in the blood stood a
single man. His grey hair was
matted red with the ichor of his surroundings, and his eyes were an aching
hazel. His fists, their scarred
features obscured by blood blood red blood all your fault all your
fault, were clenched tightly and
immovably. He was Darrell Shanning,
and the thoughts that surrounded him were the most horrifying of all.
My fault my races fault my peoples fault all my fault all my fault all my fault. All this death, the screams of Zion and of Earth and of a million million million other planets all my fault all humanitys fault all all all
Everything must be brought to its end the Lavoids will die they will die they will be destroyed And I start with You with You with You!
A change in the
vision. At the edge of the field,
seemingly the edge of consciousness so distant was it, a beautiful spiked
creature arose from nothingness.
It was a lavoid, a Class B, the Shi Kari could
tell. Talon would have fallen
to the floor and worshipped it then and there, but a feeling of hatred jolted
through his very being, strange and
unnatural. It was supplied by
the consciousness he now inhabited, supplied by the vision of a
human that now screamed angrily before him, by the voices of the crimson
blood that engulfed him.
G R E N D E L is the name the name of destruction of death of Lavoids of hell and pain and sin. G R E N D E L grendel grendel lavoid hatred death death death murder MURDER MURDER!!
The illusory Darrell swept forward with
surprising speed through the dead field, silvery daggers appearing in his
hands as he did. The only thought
in his mind was to kill, to kill, to kill and it swept through the Shi Kari
like a shockwave in its intensity.
Their awe and sense of unease was but compounded when the lavoid screamed
out angrily, then allowed its shell, inexplicably, to unravel as though it
were nothing more than gossamer.
Darrell slowed to a stop at the sight, but his gaze didnt soften
in the least as he saw the blue humanoid step out of the smoky remains of
the travel armor.
Its eyes were completely white and void of
pupils, and its hair had been replaced with tendrils that spiked out from
the beings head and down its back. It wore a simple black-red suit designed to ease travel,
and its fists were bereft of any visible
weapons. The Shi Kari knew better,
knew much better, though. Even
in the vision, the power of their master, of one of the Lavoids, was
You destroyed my homeland and my life and my being and my soul and everything
and everything and all that is came the distorted thoughts of Darrell, magnified to a deafening
crescendo in the minds of the Shi Kari.
Grendel looked puzzled at this. I gave you your life and your society. Your soul came to be from my manipulation, from the Lavoids. We are your gods, can you not see, and we hold the cards of life and death before you. I took what I saw fit from you, and discarded you when you were no longer of use. This is life.
Darrells mind screamed in an incoherent anger that the Shi Kari found almost painful to listen to. NO NO NO NO You are not my god no man is my god no thing is my god I am my own master you are not judgement you are not the Reaper you cannot destroy us like cattle who gave you the right
Grendels eyes flared with Chaos, a humbling and reassuring sight to Taloncreed. I was born with the right. You humans lost the keys of life and death the moment you created our race. Evolution has left you kicking and screaming as nothing more than fodder. It does not benefit me, or any other, to view you as anything more; you are nothing more.
NO! Humanity has something
that you can never have, killer without compassion bloody murderer
destroyer. The human spirit
can never be crushed. Our potential
is limitless; we can achieve anything we set our minds
Grendel would have laughed at this, but laughter required more emotions than the lavoid possessed. You are incorrect. Humanity is weak, changeable. All you are capable of is corruption and destruction. You can never be what we are, and you will never be strong enough to destroy us. No human will ever achieve that.
we Darrell tensed visibly, shifting
into an attack position. will simply
He casually tossed his daggers to the
become more His brow furrowed in concentration, and silver light began to pour
from his body than
That was the only way to describe the sensory overload that flooded
the Shi Karis consciousness at that
point. Light upon light upon
light shifted and jumped and threw itself here and there and
everywhere. As it hit the field of blood, the viscous liquid dissolved
and became one with the light, giving the aura of energy an almost sickly
And when it cleared, Darrell was no longer
Darrell, but something more. His clothes, previously a worn black pilot suit, had been
metamorphosed into a smoky grey cloak.
The cloak was apparently magical; something about it made Talon want
to look away from it, to not notice it.
It had a hood, but that was currently down, to reveal the face of
that which had been Shanning. His
hair, formerly totally iron in hue, had been streaked with blue at intervals,
and ran a fair distance down his back in a tight
ponytail. And his eyes
those once ordinary hazel orbs now glowed green, an obvious sign of lifestream
manipulation. His face was totally
bereft of any emotion, and was as smooth as a sheet of
stone. It was bone-chilling
to the Shi Kari, and possibly even to the false Grendel.
I will kill every single one of your damned race, Grendel. I do not care of the cost.
Grendel backed up a
step. An aura of power poured
off of this new being before him, an unsettling mixture of Chaos and Order
and every manipulation in-between.
The melding of energies had created an entirely new sort of power,
and it was so formidable that the Shi Kari felt a fear that they had never
felt since their existence had been claimed by the Lavoids.
You do nothing I have not said humanity was capable of, human. The illusory Grendel said, his tone almost sounding desperate. This you is merely corruption, merely an amalgamation of energies you could only accomplish through death and murder and destruction such as the Lavoids could scarcely dream of.
Darrells eyes mako eyes, the
Shi Kari noted silently narrowed at
this. Damn life,
then. Damn every single piece
of creation in the Multiverse, if it will destroy you and your
The new Darrell closed his mouth with that,
and raised a single, black-gloved hand at a ninety-degree angle from his
body. Energy began to gather
in his palm, so quickly that the Shi Kari found themselves cowed, and they
felt more than heard the name of a spell spoken.
The Shi Kari knew that spell well, knew exactly
what its use prophesied. It was a spell formerly thought only castable by the twisted
children of the Lavoids, the fallen Planeswalkers of the forever cursed
LEA. It was magic that drew
directly on the Chaos energy outside of the Multiverse, and it was infinitely
And any who could even dream of this form
of life, that could cast it out of a life created entirely by willpower,
was infinitely dangerous to the Shi Kari, to the lavoid race as a whole.
Talon felt himself beginning to be pulled
out of Shannings mind as the incredible power of the spell again overloaded
the abilities of his mind to visualize.
He was relieved at this, until he felt something
else notice his
Shanning had noticed the intrusion on his
mind at long last, and he was angered.
You have seen a future that you will not live to, Shi Kari. The voice of the being that had been Darrell declared. You have seen a future that I cannot imagine in my waking hours. It shall come to pass, the death of your entire race. I shall bring it about if I have to tear apart the Multiverse bit by bit. And I begin the destruction of the lavoid race
Talons eyes snapped open, back in the
Black Tower. He was safe again,
safe from that accursed voice, safe from Darrell Shanning, who was still
laid in restraints
He glanced around himself as his ability
to think came back to him. The
room had been torn apart. The
polymicite worker that had been manipulating the equipment lay dead on the
ground, decapitated. Talon gasped
sharply as he looked about himself wild-eyed.
He felt Darrell Shanning before he saw
him. The young man was just
a human, not that horrible being from the vision, but his eyes still held
just as much hatred. His daggers
(which had been on Talons belt, he thought, he knew!) were gripped
tightly in his hands, pointed straight at the Doppelganger in a sort of
With you. he said simply, finishing
the statement hed sought to
before. There was something
in his eyes that told Talon the man wasnt fully awake yet, wasnt
really Darrell Shanning right now.
There was something dark and hateful at work here, something clearly
evil even to the Lavoids typically apathetic views on the subjects
of good and
evil. But he could not think about it; that something was ready
to kill him.
Snip here, and there
should do it. Mathiu wiped a bit of sweat from his brow as he glanced
nervously about himself for the umpteenth
time. As it had been for the past fifteen minutes, the cavernous
engine room that powered various things in Terisiare was
empty. Hed been spending
his time here desperately trying to cut off the anti-Order fields that were
dispersed throughout the jail level of the huge
facility. It hadnt been
an easy task; the main generator that powered all the slave generators throughout
the building had been made by physicists and other such scientists far more
intelligent than Matt, and the little thing was packed with so many hundreds
of wires that the young Hunter was almost afraid to breathe, lest the wrong
wire be manipulated and screw up the entire
That would have been rather destructive,
had it happened; rather than cutting off the fields, he would have simply
altered the way they worked, and probably scrambled the cells of anyone
unfortunate enough to be in the AO fields
namely Cynewulf and
Thankfully, it had gone painlessly enough,
and now all that was left was to cut some choice wires in the main power
grid. In the confusion of the
power outage though some people damn Sien and damn the Council
be all that confused, Matt knew they would probably be able to slip
into the jails with relative ease and get the two Seekers out of the
building. Of course, there would
probably be battle involved, and that wasnt something that the teenager
was looking forward to. As bad
as the situation had gotten here on Riven, humans hadnt spilled each
others blood in nearly twenty years
here. It just seemed
to even think about it.
He thought about Kayla, vulnerable as she
had to be at her position near the cells that held Cyne and Meryl, and shivered
involuntarily. The thought of
their fellow Hunters hurting her, maybe even killing her
him with rage he wasnt sure what to do
He set to work on the power grid systems,
muttering all the while, If they harm so much as one hair on her head,
what? Die? the voice was
mocking, cold. More importantly
than this to Matt was the fact that the voice was not his
own. He leapt up from his position,
pulling his mace into a ready hand as he did, and looked up straight into
the cruel eyes of Sien Taggart.
I didnt hear you come in.
Matt said, trying desperately to keep his voice level and calm.
Sien smirked without much
amusement. I didnt
really expect you to, child.
Youre but an infant when it comes to the ways of the
If you mean in the ways of murdering
my own kind, then yeah, I dont have much experience. Matt said
frostily, tightening his grip on his mace until his knuckles went white.
You flatter yourself. Sien
commented. You and the
girl are not my kind. You are
nowhere near my level, boy, and you never will
be. Tonight, even as I kill
you, your precious friends will die, and so will that sickening little girlfriend
Mathiu could scarcely contain his rage at
that point, as it threatened to overwhelm what remained of his reasoning
abilities. He managed to force
out, between clenched teeth, What makes you and the Council think that
the younger Hunters will tolerate this?
Youll start a rebellion.
On the contrary, Sien chuckled,
one hand on his still-undrawn steel.
the younger Hunters will never have a clue that you have
died. The message will be put
out that you all managed to escape with the
off-worlders. No one will be
all that surprised when they never hear from you again; you are, after all,
seeking the Black Tower. He
see? All we have to do is sacrifice
a bit of pride, and we can kill you at our leisure.
Slight problem in your plan,
Taggart. Matt said, readying his mace
arm. For that to work, you have to be able to kill me
and Im not ready to die just yet! he cried out in anger and
frustration as he took his mace and smashed it into the power grid that sat
right behind him. Electricity
poured visibly from it as bits of it began to explode, and it would have
disabled the young Hunter entirely if he hadnt withdrawn his weapon
hurriedly. As it was, the lights
went out immediately, until the only thing that Matt could see were still
raging fires of the huge energy core.
And then a slender silver blade flitted at
his throat from the darkness, and he had to roll away even from that unsettling
When the lights went out in Terisiare, Kayla
Narube found herself being assaulted by half a dozen older Hunters of
Riven. It had been quite a shock
when a blaster bolt had nearly separated her head from her body, and even
more so when it was revealed that these Hunters were members of the recently
disbanded Shi Kari Death Squad.
These were the top killers of the farilii in all of the Hunter
organization, and their weapons had been designed to not just destroy, but
incinerate. And as soon as
shed gotten a good look at them, Matt had apparently finished his job
on the power generator and left them all in darkness.
It wasnt a complete gloom, though;
there were emergency lights that were battery-operated flickering faint reds
on the edges of the hallway that surrounded
her. Considerably more frightening
than that were the laser targeting systems that centered on her from the
various high-powered rifles and pistols the SKDS carried, and the occasional
and potentially deadly flashes of light when a blast was fired at her.
She held her sonicpike close to her, and
manipulated a small switch on it until the tinny, muted sound it generated
flew so far into the ultrasonic range that it probably could have shattered
glass, had there been any within a few
yards. Then, ducking out of
the sights of a few more rifle scopes, she slipped on a pair of infra-red
goggles. Immediately, her
antagonists positions became awash in a pale crimson glow, their limited
cover blown. Grinning, she
stealthily pulled her way towards them, careful to avoid their scopes while
trying to hurry before they pulled on some sort of equipment to aid their
She barely made it to the first one in time;
she could see his hands rummaging through a pouch on his belt even as she
gritted her teeth and punched her pike through him, the ultrasonic force
that surrounded the weapon slicing through the mans armor like a lettuce
leaf. He let out the most sickening
cry as he fell limp on her weapon, and she barely had time to push him off
before what felt like a hundred blaster bolts came in her
She ducked and rolled and dodged, but knew
there was no way shed be able to reach another one in the same fashion;
theyd obviously donned infra-red wear themselves by now their
aim had improved considerably and scattered mutterings about the room
told her there would likely be attack spell-based light coming her way
Grimacing as she rolled her way into a narrow
side corridor, she began work on a spell of her
own. Better to take the initiative,
she thought, than to let God-only-knew-what come flying her way.
It wasnt easy to concentrate on her
magic as bolts came flitting by, some so close as to singe her skin, and
while fully expecting the five remaining guards to come running into full
view any second. Thankfully,
the spell shed chosen had a low casting time, overall, and it went
off without too much trouble.
Thundara! she yelled, whirling
around the corner with one hand outstretched toward a group of guards who
had been expecting an ambush after
they worked up the nerve to come after her, not
The hallway was awash with lightning, tiny
bolts of it stretching out to embrace Kaylas former
allies. A few of them
who happened to be positioned rather conveniently managed to roll
out of the way into adjacent hallways, but that left three to feel the full
onslaught of a mid-level bolt spell.
As the light faded, Kayla saw a few shapes
fall to the floor, obviously
unconscious. She allowed herself
a small grin at that, and began running towards the one that hadnt
with an intensity that surely surprised the guard.
She was more than a bit surprised when the
two guards that had escaped her attack, momentarily forgotten, popped back
into view and fired off a few bolts straight in her
direction. The young Huntress
tried to duck out of the way, but there was only so much evasive action one
could take while running towards the things one needed to
dodge. One bolt caught her full in the ankle, knocking her forward
to the ground and causing a second and third bolt to fly harmlessly over
her head. She cried out in pain
as she fell, but managed to keep a hold to her
lance. She mouthed a few cuss
words as she considered how bad the damage to her leg
was. Of course, if she had time,
a quick curative spell could fix that there was an abundance of ether
in this area of Terisiare but she hardly had the time for any such
thing as that.
She pulled her head up, and saw three forms
walking towards her, one staggering as it
came. Apparently, they wanted
to kill her the old-fashioned way; with their melee
weapons. Either that
or they want to do something else to me before I
she shuddered at the thought,
and tried to shut it out of her mind.
There was only one chance, then, and it wasnt a great one.
are you doing this?
Kayla asked in her best pitiful little girl voice as the three
came close enough for her to hear them breathing, which they were doing rather
The question obviously surprised the hell
out of the squad members, who, while theyd been expecting some sort
of plea, hadnt been expecting such a question as
that to come
Youre a traitor,
Narube. The Council briefed
us, big-time. You want to go
out for the Tower, and screw us all over like Creed did all those years
ago. One of the death squad members sounded very, very ready to kill
her, at the least.
dont! We have a chance
this time, with the off-worlders
and even if we didnt, does that
mean that humans should be killing humans? she pulled her head up and
gazed into what she figured was the general location where the mans
eyes would be. The Shi Kari have already won if we do
One of the men seemed to be honestly thinking
about that, and muttered something to the other
two. There was a brief, and
hushed conversation between them.
Kayla say her moment had come, and threw her plan into motion.
We have our orders, Tain! the
earlier speaker muttered furiously.
We cant just disobey them!
Tain made a negative motion with one
hand. If we obey them,
were destroying all the ideals that the Hunters were founded
The third, short of breath and aching all
over from the lightning attack, managed a word or
two. If we
the Council, the Lavoids have already
won. We cant have a
The guard Tain seemed to digest this for
a moment, then lowered his head. Very well.
She diiIEEEAGH!! The man couldnt stop screaming, and as
he looked down to see a sonicpike protruding from his chest, he realized
just why. He didnt even
have time to curse his own indecision, though, before he fell to the ground
dead, the pike left embedded in his chest.
Kayla had managed to sneak around the guards
as they questioned their morality, and had grabbed a blaster rifle off of
one of the unconscious soldiers nearby as she
did. It had taken more than
a bit of thought to manage to kill the man before her, especially since
hed been the only one against killing her, but he was the only one
in the correct position to be snuck up
As the two remaining soldiers glanced about
themselves in fear and amazement, Kayla forced herself upright directly before
them. Shed been using
the body of one of the soldiers to mask her own heat signature, but she knew
there was only so long such a tactic could possibly
work. Sighing deeply, she aimed
quickly with her stolen weapon and squeezed the trigger, almost immediately
sending the lightning-blasted soldier still standing to his
That left her with just one man; the one
whod been so eager to kill her. He had temporarily retreated into a side corridor to avoid
getting shot himself by the impromptu sniper, but she knew that hed
come back out momentarily, likely with a lethal
plan. She used the moment she
had to cast a quick healing spell, which sealed the bleeding wound in her
leg, though it didnt knit back together all the torn ligaments in
it. This fact became obvious
as she forced herself to her feet and felt red-hot fire radiating through
her body from that point, but it wasnt more than she could bear
or at least so she told herself as she bit her lip hard enough to draw
As she tried to stumble her way over to the
nearest wall, all while keeping her rifle pointed this way and that
in the confusion, shed lost track of where the remaining soldier was
the lights flickered momentarily.
It was confusing, and she nearly lost her footing entirely in shock
at it. That shouldnt have
happened, unless someone was trying to repair the power grid, whether by
magical or menial means. And
if someone was trying to repair the power grid, then that meant Matt was
A sob cut through her body, sounding so strange
to Kayla that she barely realized it came from
her. She shut her eyes tightly,
and just let herself fall to the ground, glad that the lights hadnt
stayed on so that she could let the darkness embrace
her. Was he
he? If Mathiu was gone, everything
that Kayla believed in didnt
matter. Nothing mattered, and
She cried out in a very different way right
after that, as she felt a strong arm pull her roughly to her feet and put
a pistol to her head.
Youre dead, little girl. The last surviving member
of the Shi Kari Death Squad whispered furiously in her ear, kissing her viciously
there as he did. At least,
youll be ready to be by the time I finish with you.
It was all death when I found them
God, it was
horrible. Meryl Sara, Final
History of the Seekers.