The Story of Tata Chapter 14
Nothing But Death...
By The Man
"So," said Lucca from her sitting position at the table that sat in the middle of the kitchen. "Grendel's still out there with the intention to kill us, and we have no way of calling in our friends."
The party had stationed themselves in the dining area of Lucca and Robo's house. Robo stood against the wall right next to the hallway that led to the living room. Tata sat at the table with Glenn and Lucca and had a cup of hot chocolate, which he sipped unconsciously from time to time as he thought. Lucca leaned forward and looked at the two. Glenn not wearing his armor, and had on some underclothing. But he still had the Masamune propped up against his left leg.
"Again I ask: 'What do we do now?'" she asked tiredly.
The team had been pondering their next move for hours, but still had not gotten off of square one. It was about four o'clock and had gotten nothing.
Robo bleeped a few times. "It is hard to say, Madame Lucca. We do not know enough about our enemies' strategy, or his behavior patterns. We can't be sure of what he's going to do next and one wrong move on our part and "
Robo emitted a howling scream that made Lucca and Glenn jump in their seats. They both stared at the robot with questioning stares.
"A recording." He answered their unspoken question.
"I know." Lucca said. "I just wasn't expecting something so sudden out of you."
Robo made a few bleeps and blips. "I am just as apparent to the danger as you, Madame Lucca. I may be a robot, but I know when fear is present."
Tata wasn't even listening. He was off in his own world. He was thinking about his own things. He was the defender of life: Beowulf, sent from the ruler of Eimla to combat the dread creature known as Grendel.
So, Tata thought to himself. I am different. I am the eternal fighter Beowulf, destined to fight Grendel forever. I can never enter the afterlife. I can never be a complete person, for I will always be fighting. I will never love.
No. That wasn't right. But I did love! I loved Minka, who was slain by Len. I don't hate the being that stalks me now because we are supposed to fight. I hate him because he killed Minka! He made her hurt. He made her scream!!
Then he knew. He looked up at his comrades, who were still talking.
" He wants to kill Tata." Glenn was saying. "He will be aiming for Tata the entire time-"
"I know what he's going to do." Tata said suddenly.
Everyone silenced instantly and stared at Tata. He continued.
"He wants me to suffer, but he knows that death is meaningless to me. All it does is earn him a victory."
Glenn leaned in a little closer. "What's he going to do, Tata? How is he trying to hurt you?"
"Simple." Said Tata. "He wants to hurt me through you; my friends."
Glenn slowly nodded. "Yes, that's true. He will."
"Um, I hate to be the one to bring this up, but we still don't know how to find him." Lucca said.
"We won't find him." Tata said. "He'll find us."
"As far as we know, he doesn't know where we are right now." Robo said. "This could be our chance to take advantage of the fight."
"No." Tata responded. "He knows where we are. He's just waiting for the right time to pounce on us when our guard is down."
The rest glanced around at that thought. Glenn looked back at Tata. "We could seek asylum at Guardia Castle uh, or whatever it's called nowadays."
"The entire legion of the Knights of the Square table still watch over the world in this era." Lucca said. "I think they could help us hunt down this monster."
"No." Tata said simply. "Grendel could go through this town and destroy every living thing in it and no one there could touch him. To ask the Knights for assistance would be asking them to sing their death songs."
A heavy layer of depression had set in now. It was a hard question; What to do? Their foe was supposedly watching them that very moment, making it impossible for them to express a solution. He had them at every turn now, and would soon close in for the kill.
Suddenly Tata started coughing uncontrollably. Everyone eyed the youth even as he got up and staggered to the back door. It was opened and he walked outside, still coughing like crazy.
"I will go check on him." Robo said over the muffled sound of Tata's mad coughing. The robot started for the door.
"Is he alright?" Glenn asked.
"He's probably fine. Maybe a little spit in his windpipe." Robo said as he reached the door, which was still open. Then he walked outside.
The crickets chirped off in the distance and the moon was full, slightly illuminating the ground. It was a calm, peaceful night. That it is, except for Tata's loud coughing.
"Tata, are you all right?" Robo asked.
In response, Tata grabbed Robo and slammed him against the house in one lightning-quick motion. He put one strait finger to his lips, indicating for Robo to silence.
"Where is Epoch in this era?" he asked barely above a whisper.
"W-what?" Robo asked, astounded by Tata's incredible strength.
"Epoch. I know it still exists here. Where is it?" Tata asked again.
"I-it might be at Lab 32." Robo responded in an equally quiet voice. "Lucca and myself confiscated the jet bike a few days back to make room for some big project a company called B.R.C. or, "Bionational Reseach Co." is setting up there. It's a top secret project."
"It's Epoch." Tata said in a tone that said he was certain. "They want to research Epoch."
Tata looked back at the open back door, then back at Robo. "Call the others." He said as he let go of Robo.
"You said you and Lucca had the jet bike, right?"
Robo bleeped a few times. The robot knew what the youth was planning. "Tata, the jet bike is hardly a safe vehicle for public roads. It is only a prototype-"
"It won't matter." Tata said with a grin. "Have the others meet me in the garage."
"How do you know where it is?" Robo asked in a surprised tone.
"Just have them meet me there." Tata said. "It's time for speed."
The jet bike was sitting in the brightly-lit garage, gleaming like a million suns. It was a one and only vehicle that had belonged to Doan in times past. Not even in 2300 AD were their vehicles of this perfection. Tata stared at it admiringly, his reflection clearly visible in the shiny titanium plating.
"Almost rivals the epoch, doesn't it?" came a voice behind him. Lucca's.
Tata turned and saw the trio in the doorway to the garage. He smiled slightly.
"The official name for the 'jet bike' is 3-923Jetter." Robo said in his usual flat, mechanical voice. "It was named after its inventor, Alfred Jetter. He was originally planning a whole assembly line of these, but it simply never happened. It was a totally secret project, and only Jetter and his family knew about it. When he died, he passed it down to his son, Doan. But later the government confiscated it, for it wasn't patented. When they realized it was merely a vehicle that could easily break the sound barrier, they stopped studying it."
Robo stepped forward and a plate in his chest opened to reveal the key to the Jetter. He plucked it out and handed it to Tata.
"I'm still wondering how we will keep it from hitting other civilians, Tata." The droid said. "The handling is excellent, but there is still a danger-"
Tata grabbed the key from Robo's hand and jammed it into its holder. With a small twist, the engine roared to life. Tata hopped in behind the wheel. He looked down and saw the pedals; the accelerator on the far right, the brakes on the far left, and a few extras in the middle. He sat up and grabbed the wheel. Pushing down on the accelerator lightly, he eased it out into the driveway. The house was about twenty miles away from the city, with a big, long road with absolutely no one on it.
Tata looked back at the others. "Is there enough room in this thing for all of us?"
Indeed, to the dismay of Tata's companions, there were only two extra seats in the Jetter. They knew they couldn't leave one of them. Grendel could easily take one of them out.
"It would seem, since I am merely a droid," began Robo. "That I could activate my natural body magnetics and place myself on the back of the Jetter. I doubt I would fall off, even at this vehicles maximum speed."
Glenn stepped forward. Tata never stopped being amazed at the resmblance that Glenn's new armor had to that of Cyrus. He thought that was intentional, as that Glenn had been Cyrus' squire. He was now following in his friend's footsteps.
"I'm not a scientist, but I'd imagine a sonic boom to be incredibly loud to the human ear." He said, running his hands over the shiny metal. He looked back at Lucca and Robo. "Yet this thing has no top. What if we pierce the time barrier?"
"Then we all go deaf." Tata said tiredly. "Look, while we have wasted these precious minutes chattering about well-known facts, Grendel has closen in on us. He is coming this way right now. We can go on debating this, or we can get the hell out of here. What's it gonna be?"
No verbal responses came. Just actions. Robo got on the back, facing the rear. The rest seated them behind Tata.
"Tata, again I ask: how are we going to avoid other civilians?" Robo demanded.
In response, Tata chanted a few words and moments later the Jetter rose twenty feet into the air.
"That ought to be high enough." Tata said in a satisfied tone.
"How did you-" Lucca started to say.
"Oh, shut up and let me drive." Tata said.
He pressed the pedal down only halfway, but in seconds they had reached 400mph. Tata howled with delight as they sped along.
"I have got to get me one of these!!" he shouted over the roar of the engine.
It was indeed thrilling. The vehicle called the Jetter was an incredible machine meant for one thing: speed. It flew like a comet through the early morning sky, roaring like a thousand explosions at once. It was absolute freedom. And as Tata powered the machine to go faster, he forgot his worries, his troubles. They all faded away with the roar of the engine, the wind screaming in his face, and the sheer thrill of traveling faster than anything alive.
The excitement was short-lived, however. For at that moment, a streak of black energy slammed into the road behind them.
Tata didn't even look back. "It's him." He said darkly.
Grendel flew like a black missile across the sky shooting black bolts at their vehicle. His speed was incredible, as was his aim. He was already no more than twenty-five feet behind them and still closing.
"He's gaining Tata!" Glenn shouted over his seat.
"You think I don't know that?!" he shouted hastily. He pushed the pedal down further and the Jetter sped up. The wind whipped at his face, throwing his hair back and causing his eyes to water. He could just barely make out the road in front of him, even as the morning sun began to shine its first light onto the land. He could make out the lights of buildings, buildings that grew larger as they approached at break-neck speed. They were already at the city.
Tata didn't even slow down as they entered the city. The few cars that were still out at the time stopped to stare in awe at the incredible chase that was taking place.
"Don't just sit there!" yelled Tata, keeping his eyes forward. "Fire back!"
"Acknowledged!" Robo responded. Robo's optic sensors saw Grendel, who could only be seen as a black figure in the dark morning sky. His targeting system locked onto him, and without further ado, he lifted his arm canon and opened fire on Grendel.
His shots were more accurate than any human could concieve. Yet Grendel manuevered away from each blast, each time returning a shot of his own. One of them lanced across the Jetter's back, shredding the metal like paper.
"It's no good, Tata!" Robo yelled back even as he continued to fire. "He is too accurate!"
In response, Tata yelled back; "Hang on!" Almost immediately, the Jetter veered around the next corner, catching everyone else by surprise. Robo's last shot went awry and shattered a hole in a building. Still, Grendel followed.
"Lucca!" Tata shouted, this time looking behind him for a minute. "Glenn! Help Robo out back there!!"
"Agreed!" cried Glenn. He looked back at Grendel's black form. His right arm wound back even as it began to take on a blue glow. Then he threw his arm forward and from it a stream of water magic followed. His shot was lucky and caught Grendel in the chest. Grendel began to fall, but was already getting over the blast.
Tata was so wrapped up in the fight, he had let his eyes wander from the road or, flight path. He looked back in time to see a building nearly right in front of them. He shrieked, then shut his eyes and concentrated. The Jetter now pointed strait up as it raced along the side of the building. Tata opened his eyes again, this time determined to keep them on the flight.
A cry sounded from the back. Lucca's. The sudden vertical ascent had caused her to fall out of her seat. She had nearly toppled off, but Robo had grabbed her and now held her suspended just out of the blast of heat from the Jetter's rockets.
"Pull me up, dammit!!" she screamed with tears in her eyes. "Pull me up!!"
"I can't!!" Robo hollered. "The force of gravity is pulling much harder due to our speed and angle!"
Glenn actions were instant and fearless. Reaching over Tata's head, he grabbed the ignition key. Tata had time for one scream of protest before Glenn twisted it and the engines went dead.
For a moment all was still. Lucca stopped screaming, Tata stopped yelling, and the engine stopped roaring. It was a single moment of sheer terror as the riders of the Jetter realized what was coming next. They began to fall. Now the screaming began anew.
Glenn was the only one who did not scream. Even with the ground rushing at them faster and faster, he kept his calm.
"Pull her up!" he hollered above the others.
Robo was quick to obey, and without the extreme pull of gravity on her, she was an easy lift.
But then came the one in black.
He charged at them from a vertical angle, streaking right at them even as the Jetter fell. Tata saw him coming and stopped screaming, his anger resurfacing over his fear. He looked at his enemy and his enemy looked back. And for a moment, the two most powerful fighters ever looked into each other's eyes, seeing the seething hate each had for the other. They saw fear, loathing, and more hate. More hate than anyone could concieve, a hate that was such a palpable presence that seemed to burn the air around them like the sun.
Then, it was gone. Grendel's right hand began swirling with a dark energy, seeming to suck in all the darkness around them. Tata realized the Jetter was facing Grendel; it had been slowly twisting around in the breeze. Quicker than any eye could follow, Tata turned the ignition key and the Jetter came alive again. It rocketted at Grendel at incredible speed. Grendel was quick too, firing his dark blast the split-second before colliding with the face of the Jetter. The shot went a good two feet over Tata's head, but the blast made the back of his neck turn cold for a second.
Now the Jetter screamed strait towards the ground at over one thousand miles per hour, nearing the ground even quicker than before.
"Glenn!" shouted Tata. "Take the wheel!"
Glenn did and pulled it up into a horizontal position, desperately weaving them around the dark buildings that rushed at him like giant indescribable monsters trying to grab them.
Tata fired a blast of white energy right into Grendel's face. He couldn't move, for he was being sucked into the large exhaust pipe on the Jetter's face. Tata realized his foe was helpless. Slowly, he stood up, the full force of the wind nearly smashing him over. Still, he held his ground and ever so cautiosly he climbed over the small windshield and crawled along the top of the Jetter. Grendel was still straining to keep himself away from the exhaust pipe, but still managed to take a swipe at Tata with his black blade. The blade chipped a few hairs off of Tata's head, and Tata's sword was in his hands. The two swords crashed together, each stroke as graceful as if they were on level ground.
Then, with a strong blow from Grendel, Tata's sword flew out of his hands. He looked back in time to see it smash into the windshield. Glenn ducked down and covered his head with his arms, shielding himself from the glass shards. Tata looked back to Grendel in time to have his face meet Grendel's fist, moving in a swift uppercut. The blow hit hard and Tata lost his grip on the Jetter's blue plating. He flew back into Glenn, much in the same fashion as his sword.
The Jetter flew on it's own now, soaring strait ahead without anyone at the wheel. Grendel continued to attempt to pry himself off of the exhaust pipe, but to no avail. The suction would have sucked an ordinary man in quickly, but Grendel was nothing close to normal. Then, something dawned on him. He looked behind his shoulder, only to see the large, glassy building rushing at them. At six hundred miles per hour. He heard Tata yell; "Down!"
Grendel was a hard-shelled killer with almost no heart and certainly no fear. But this situation left him muttering one, small phrase.
The Jetter plowed right through the glass building, using Grendel as a battering ram. Small, barely noticeable screams sounded from inside the building as people scattered or were rammed by the speeding piece of blue metal. They carreened out of that one and right into another. And another. And another.
And for a change of pace, another.
Tata suddenly leapt forward into the passenger driver's seat and hit the brakes. The Jetter stopped immediately and utterly and everyone except Tata flew forward. Without looking, Tata reached up and snagged Glenn's arm as he came hurling over him, instantly stopping him. He fell right next to Tata in the passenger seat. The Jetter did not fall. It hovered in midair like it was held by a string from above. Grendel wasn't so fortunate.
With uncountable numbers of glass shards sticking out of his back and blook soaking his black garments, the dark warrior fell silently to the pavement below. A small thud sounded the end of his fall, but because of the dark, early morning light and his dark clothing, he could not be seen.
It was the end of a very wild chase, with the victors shook up. The Jetter was smasshed up with many pieces a glass sticking out of it. Not very handsome anymore, but like a piece of blue and gold twisted metal. Tata leaned over the side, trying to find Grendel, but to no avail.
"We've gotta find the body." Tata said frankly.
"He's dead, Tata." Glenn responded. He felt something warm and wet run down his head. He wiped it away with a cloth, which he pulled out from under his chest plates.
"I've got to be sure." He said simply.
"Tata," Glenn said, stuffing his kerchief back where he got it. "No one could have survived being rammed through about ten buildings at seven hundred miles per hour. We're lucky none of us got killed-"
Both Tata and Glenn looked back at Robo, who had a few large glass shards stuck in his armor. He held the silent, still form of Lucca in his arms, his eyes on her.
"Oh, no." Glenn said in a shaky voice as he rushed to them. Tata was slower to follow.
What was left of Lucca was not pretty, to say the least. The blast from Grendel had made a charred mark in her chest, in which the point of a sharp piece of glass potruded from it, spilling a small trickle of blood over the rest of the wound. One of her arms was only a stump. A pulpy, bloody stump that dripped onto the Jetter's battered plating. Her legs were still there, but were caked in blood from multiple wounds from glass. Her face was spotless, however she had lost her helmet and her glasses. Her eyes were open and were already glazed with the film of death.
"Damn in Hell." Muttered Tata.
Glenn took her from Robo's arms and discovered one of them had been taken off, leaving an array of wires loose from the stump. He held her in his arms and on his knees, stroking her purplish hair. Then, he lightly pulled her eyelids down over her blank eyes.
"I tried to protect her, Glenn." Robo moaned. "I tried. I tried so hard "
"We know, Robo." Tata said understandingly, resting his left arm on his golden shoulder.
Glenn sighed. "Drive, Tata." He muttered without looking up. "Drive us to this facility. And go slowly."
Tata silently obeyed and hopped into the driver's seat. He didn't start the engines quite yet.
"Nothing comes easy in this damn world." He said to no one in particular. "Nothing but death. Maybe that's why it's so commonplace."
On that note, the battered Jetter sped away to the facility, the morning light spilling onto them, at a solid forty miles per hour.
End of Chapter 14
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