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Spyro: Legacy of Dragon Force - Book III


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Just when you thought the adventure was over, something else happens. Not long after the events of Book II...

Spyro:

Legacy of Dragon Force

Book Three: The Vhorson

Prologue

He wasn’t here, wasn’t there, wasn’t anywhere insofar as Spyro could tell from within the never-never land of his dreams. He couldn’t feel anything, but he could occasionally make out the shape of dragons that possessed remarkable similarities to himself. Could they be his parents? Spyro couldn’t be sure; he never met his parents. Though, given what he’d been through, he was sure that if they were alive, they’d be proud of him.

Then he saw it; the vision that haunted his dreams since coming to Dragon Shores. He saw the same two dragons – the ones that had similarities to himself – and heard them as the talked.

“Are you sure this is the right thing to do?” the mother asked.

“We don’t have a choice,” the father replied. “If what I saw is true, then keeping them together would bring a greater darkness.”

“But what if you’re wrong?” the mother queried. “What if it was nothing more than a nightmare?”

“It wasn’t,” the father answered. “I know what I saw. If we kept them together, and one of them fell, as I had foreseen, then the other would fall with him.”

“Then we should tell them the truth,” the mother protested. “Our children deserve to know.”

The father shook his head. “No good would have come from it,” he said, “Even if what you believed was true. There is still the matter of Qel-Katarr, and such truths could leave us dragons vulnerable on two fronts.”

“But they may never discover the truth,” The mother stated, “And they will never know why we split them up.”

“Then that is what we must accept,” the father stated. He looked affectionately, yet solemnly, to the two sleeping baby dragons. “Good luck, Mal and Spyro Nightscales,” he whispered.

Spyro heard a faint voice. It was maddeningly familiar. Yes, he’d heard it before. He knew this voice.

“Spyro, wake up!” the voice cried. Spyro recognized the voice now. It was none other than his darling wife, Cynder. He struggled to open his eyes, and when he did, he found himself staring into Cynder’s. She frowned. “Are you alright?” she asked.

Spyro grunted as he sat up. “I’m fine,” he replied.

“You had another one of those dreams again, didn’t you?” Cynder inquired.

“Yeah,” Spyro answered. “Same dream, different night.”

“Come on, get dressed!” Cynder exclaimed excitedly. “We don’t want to be late!”

Late? Spyro then remembered it; just one week into Dragon Force’s vacation to Dragon Shores, Kell had proposed marriage to Ember, and she was only too happy to accept. After a long time of extensive planning, they agreed that the wedding be set for today.

Spyro remembered the weddings he’d been in – his own and Hunter’s when he married Bianca. They were joyous occasions. But even so, Spyro knew that this wedding – the one that would unite Keldon’takk Assinara and Ember – would be, by far, the biggest wedding ever. The guest list was exceptional – several of Kell’s former commanding officers would be there, as well as many of Kell’s surviving platoonmates and a special detachment from Kell’s old unit, the 57th Marauder battalion.

Even more memorable were the dresses that Kell and Ember would wear: Ember had chosen a wedding dress that was as pink as her scales, and wore it proudly. But Kell picked something... different. For reasons Kell wasn’t afraid to speak, he saw fit to wear his old military uniform; A crimson uniform covered in medallions and campaign medals with three silver stars on both shoulders. His reasons for wearing it on an occasion such as this were, in his own words, “To remind him how far he’d come, and to show others that, no matter what battles you fight and what scars you incur, you can still find it in your heart to love another.”

An interesting thing to say for someone whose name meant “Merciless Assassin” in the Dragonarian tongue. But that was not for Spyro to judge. He, himself, had been down that road before – having fought through hell, and thinking that he was incapable of love. Fate works in mysterious ways, and there were times that Spyro wasn’t convinced it didn’t have a sense of humor.

During the wedding ceremony – done traditional Dragonarian-style, as agreed upon – Spyro was surprised to see all the expected guests plus more – Kell’s Uncle Retlé’tess, his Aunt Mas’krim, and his Cousin Stathl’en; All Ryukaissen Dragonarians, no less. They were as proud as can be for their kin’s progress, having not seen him since he left to join the Dragonarian military.

The first couple of hours of the ceremony were uneventful, to say the least. Kell and Ember exchanged their vows, and when the Dragonarian minister told Kell, “You may kiss your bride,” Kell smiled a big smile that only Ryukaissen Dragonarians are capable of. He cast Ember a wink, and embraced her in a kiss as the crowd erupted in a roar of applause.

Now, the wedding reception – that was interesting. The Dragonarian ceremony for weddings was considerably different than the weddings Spyro had been to. Before the dance, there was a holomatch. One where the bride and groom would work together to get out of a messy situation, and prove their undying love and care for one another. Interesting.

The holomatch was over quickly. Kell and Ember worked with the strength they both had, and ended the holomatch in just under five minutes. With that out of the way, Kell and Ember enjoyed a vigorous dance together. Spyro couldn’t help but be reminded of himself when he married Cynder. Apart from Hunter and Bianca, Spyro had never seen a couple so in love.

“Brings back memories, doesn’t it?” Cynder asked. Spyro turned to see his wife standing there, dressed in her maroon outfit.

Spyro smiled as he wrapped his arms around his wife. “You look radiant, sweetheart,” he said.

Cynder cast Ember and Kell a glance. “You know, when I first met Kell, I never thought him possible of this,” she said.

“Didn’t we all?” Spyro asked as he and Cynder started to slow-dance.

“And yet,” Cynder continued, “Here we are, at his wedding, and his wife is a woman that had a crush on you, if I recall.”

“Ugh,” Spyro grunted, “Don’t remind me.”

Cynder laughed softly. “Baby, you act as though love was a bad thing,” she said.

Spyro looked into Cynder’s eyes as he leaned closer. “And I’m glad I was wrong,” he said, just before he brought his lips to Cynder’s.

* * *

Agent Nine and the newest addition to Dragon Force – Flame – had volunteered to prep the Dragon’s Rage prior to the rest of Dragon Force’s arrival. Sheila and Byrd were already on board, with Hunter and Bianca on approach. Sparx, Spyro’s dragonfly companion, fluttered from one console to the next, using his micro-engineer’s kit as he fine-tuned everything. While Spyro was less concerned with the finer points of maintaining a starship, Kell was almost fanatical about it. The team forgave him for it, knowing he’d once served – and commanded, on one occasion before meeting his team – on such a vessel.

Sparx just finished with one console – the ops station – and was shutting it when the communications station blared the distress alarm – an alarm that sounded when the Dragon’s Rage’s sophisticated radio gear picked up a distress signal.

“I just fixed the damn thing!” Sparx complained.

Sheila hopped over to it, tapped a few buttons as she put in her earpiece, and frowned.

“It’s no joke, Sparx,” she finally said. “We’re getting a distress beacon.”

“Track it,” Nine ordered. Sheila complied, and her hands danced along the console. Finally, she answered,

“It’s... in the Doltec system – not too far from here. The ship sending the distress beacon is a... a Dragonarian passenger ship of some sort. ID transponder labels it as the Dragonarian Civil Transport Entrepreneur. Says it’s being hit hard by an alien warship of unknown origin.”

“Is Kell still at his wedding?” Nine asked as Hunter and Bianca walked onto the bridge.

“It should be ending about now,” Sheila replied. “Why?”

“Bring him and the rest of the team here,” Nine commanded.

“You know what he’ll say,” Hunter warned.

“Not if he knows that these are fellow Dragonarians in an unarmed civilian transport being attacked,” Nine countered.

Sheila nodded solemnly. She began tapping commands into the console.

Looks like the newlywed Assinara honeymoon will have to wait.

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And... Chapter One...

Chapter One

Kell had just finished packing his bags when his newlywed wife walked into the room. She was still dressed in her wedding outfit, and she smiled as Kell turned to face her. They slowly approached each other, wrapping their arms around each other.

“Who would have thought we’d reach this point in our lives?” Ember sighed.

“I didn’t,” Kell admitted, “I can tell you that right now.”

“Mm-hmm, and here you are,” Ember said. “Married to the woman who taught you to love again.”

“She did more than teach me to love again,” Kell stated. “She saved me... from myself. Many years ago, I couldn’t even imagine myself in love. Now, I can’t think of going a single day without it.”

Ember chuckled. “I love you, too, baby,” she whispered as she brought hr lips up to Kell’s and kissed him. Spyro appeared behind Ember as she was kissing her love.

“Uh, Kell--” Spyro began.

“Mmm,” Kell mumbled as he kissed his wife, motioning for him to leave.

“Sorry,” Spyro apologized with a chuckle. “But when you get the chance, Agent Nine has been trying to contact you.”

Kell pulled his lips away from his wife and asked, “What for?”

“He said there’s a Dragonarian Civil Transport being attacked by an alien warship of unknown origin,” Spyro replied.

Kell’s expression changed in an instant. Ember knew that expression all too well. It was the kind of look he got when reverting back to his Dragonarian military instincts.

“It’s time to go,” he droned.

* * *

The Dragonarian warship Dragon’s Rage dropped out of translight speed at the location of the distress call, and Kell immediately ordered,

“Battle alert. Shields up, and weapons ready.”

“Shields are up,” Agent Nine stated, “And weapons are charging.”

Spyro frowned. “Something’s not right,” he said. “Where is the Dragonarian transport?”

“Sensors indicate that the distress signal is transmitting, but there are no Dragonarian transports of any kind here.”

“Could they be cloaked?” Cynder inquired.

“Unlikely,” Kell discounted. “Only Dragonarian military warships have cloaking devices. And they wouldn’t have been destroyed, either; otherwise, the signal wouldn’t be transmitting and we’d see debris.”

“Sensors are picking up a starship in the area, headed this way,” Nine proclaimed.

“Let’s see it,” Kell ordered. Nine tapped his console a few times, and an alien ship appeared on the forward cam screen. It had an odd shape about it – one like that of a fish. It had a dorsal structure that ran above the engines, with two side panels like fins. The ship’s hull had a dull red texture to it, and it had multiple lines scattered about the hull.

“What is that?” Spyro asked.

“Where have I seen this?” Kell whispered. A fraction of a second later, he snapped into action. “Helm, all astern! Break off and make ready for translight jump!”

“What’s wrong?” Ember asked.

“I’ve seen that ship before,” Kell answered. “There is no ship in distress; it’s a trap!”

“Damn!” Ember exclaimed. “The alien warship is putting out a dampening field! We can’t go to warp!”

“Alert,” Nine announced. “Enemy ship is powering weapons!”

“Lock on to that alien vessel, fire Kadgeron Torpedoes when ready!”

“Target locked!” Nine announced. “Kadgeron torpedoes charging!”

The Dragon’s Rage shuddered as something impacted on the shields.

“What was that?” Spyro asked.

“Enemy weapons – unknown composition, but it did bare-bones minimum damage to the shields!” Nine replied.

“Fire Kadgeron torpedoes!” Kell commanded.

Two white arrows of Kadgeron plasma lanced from the forward launchers of the Dragon’s Rage. The torpedoes impacted on the alien warship’s hull, causing a chain reaction that destroyed the ship. However, as the ship exploded, it sent out a shockwave that enveloped the Dragon’s Rage, and it disappeared...

... And reappeared in the midst of a massive graveyard.

“Helm, status,” Kell ordered. “Where are we?”

“I... don’t know,” Ember replied. “Long-range sensors are off-line.”

“That’s not all that’s out,” Nine said. “I have readings that weapons, shields, engines... everything but short-range sensors, life support, transporters, and fighter bays are off-line. We appear to be caught in some sort of... dampening field that’s interfering with our ship’s systems.”

“So that’s it, then,” Cynder remarked. “We’re stuck here.”

“Let’s not jump to conclusions,” Spyro said. “We need to ascertain exactly where ‘here’ is – and those nearby ships are a good a place as any to obtain sensor data,”

“Agreed,” Kell added.

“The closest ship would be... here,” Agent Nine brought up an image of a teardrop-shaped vessel with a blue hue to it’s hull. “It’s shields are down, and it’s within transporter range.”

“Any life-signs?” Kell asked.

“Difficult to tell from here,” Nine answered. “Preliminary scans reveal the vessel is abandoned.” Nine frowned, then added, “But sensors are picking up... something. I’m not sure what it is, but if we wake it up, there’s no telling what it’ll do.”

“Who will lead the expedition there?” Cynder asked.

Kell and Spyro looked at each other. “I will,” they both said.

“Like hell you will!” Spyro protested.

“You went last time, remember?” Kell demanded. “That op at the Dragon Warrior Academy?”

“Boys!” Ember exclaimed with a chuckle. “Stop arguing!”

“Yeah – why don’t you both lead the expedition?” Bianca asked.

“ ‘Cause then they get into an argument over who gives the orders,” Hunter said.

“No, she’s right,” Kell stated. “Spyro and I will lead the expedition to the alien ship – Ember, darling; you will have command of the Dragon’s Rage until we return.”

Ember embraced her husband. “Take care over there, dear,” she whispered.

Kell smiled. “Of course, mekh luff,” he replied. He headed for the turbolift, and stopped. “Hunter, Nine, come on. You, too, Sparx – we’ll need you.”

“What about me?” Flame inquired.

“You stay here,” Kell said. “You’re the next-best computer operative, and I need you to monitor everything you can on this ship and the one we’re going to. If there are any survivors to this... whatever it is we’re in... I want to evac them quickly.”

“Understood, sir,” Flame said.

Nine and Hunter headed into the turbolift, and Sparx followed close behind. The turbolift doors shut, and Flame groaned.

“Man, I was hoping for some action my first time out!”

“Be careful what you wish for, Flame,” Ember said. “You just might get it.”

* * *

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Kell and Ember got married :o

Also, Admiral Ackbar's 'It's a trap!' comes into mind here ^_^ If they were indeed trapped, and they're ship couldn't move, then who is it trapping them?? Moar cliffhangers :D

And that last sentence is just there to tease us isn't it - you sly thing you ^_^

PS. As I'm sure by now, this story can only get better :)

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lol, yes, more cliffhangers. I'm cryptic like that ;) Keep reading, it gets clearer (and better) as you go.

Chapter Two

The translocator system put Kell, Spyro, Nine, Hunter and Sparx in the multicompartmented cargo bay. The air inside was hot, humid, and filled with...

... Little, flying, glowing bugs. Miniature swarms of them fluttered from one damaged structure to the next, repairing them in record time. Everyone – save Sparx – was dressed in their Dragon Force powered battle armor. Sparx had his micro-tool kit, while the others, though not expecting combat, carried a full combat load – which was, to say, Assault Rifles, shotguns for close quarters, and grenades.

“Over there,” Sparx said, indicating a vacant console. The team headed to the console, and Nine was the first to plug in. He was only on a minute before he said,

“No good. This console was recently repaired after an attack – no doubt the same kind of attack we were hit with – and it’s still severed from the main hub in the computer core.”

“Can you get anything useful?” Spyro asked. “Like a map?”

“I’m uploading one to your suits now,” Nine said. Almost immediately after he said this, a floor plan of the vessel appeared on everyone’s HUD. The little green dots represented the team, and the yellow, pulsating dot marked their objective; the computer core in the control center – on the other side of the ship.

“Nine, why did you put us on the end of the ship opposite to our objective?” Spyro complained.

“Because the objective was where I detected that presence – the one we didn’t want to get too close to,” Nine answered. “If we’re lucky, we’ll find a computer still linked to the computer core, and avoid running into whatever it is at all.”

“And if we’re not?” Kell queried.

“Then we’ll have to fight our way to the command center, get the info we need, and depart as quickly as possible,” Nine replied as he disconnected from the computer. “Needless to say, we have a long way to go.”

The team headed to a door marked on the map.

“Well,” Hunter remarked, “This should complicate things.”

“No knob, no door panel, not even a visible opening mechanism,” Spyro said.

“I beg to differ,” Sparx said. He headed into a small hole above the door frame, and the team listened as he went from one spot to the next until he said, “Aha!” Something chinked, and the door depolarized and disappeared like a portal. Sparx appeared in the door. “I have to say, this is an interesting door mechanism,” he stated, “But it isn’t a problem for me.”

“Wow – what are the odds of that?” Spyro asked as he headed through the door.

The group continued on through the door, and through a series of eerily-silent and empty rooms and corridors until Nine spotted a glowing computer terminal.

“Please tell me this thing works,” he mumbled as he plugged in. It hummed in response, and Nine got excited. “Bingo!” he exclaimed. “We’re in luck! This computer is tied in with the computer core! I’ll need... about five minutes to get the information we need.”

An alien screech sounded nearby. Spyro cocked his weapon with a metallic click-click.

“We may not be here in five minutes,” he said.

“I’ve got a bad feeling about this,” Hunter stated. He loaded an energy cell into his new E-23 Viper Plasma Rifle, and it hummed as the rifle powered up.

It was then that the aliens attacked – flying stingray-like beings. With claws and spiked tails, they attacked the team. Kell fired his AR635A2 at one of the creatures, and it dropped dead to the deck and disappeared. He fired again, and the target did the same.

Spyro fired his H40 at one of the creatures, and it disappeared. He fired again, and another disappeared.

Do these things not die? He thought.

“Almost done, guys – just hold ‘em off for a few more seconds!” Nine called out over the gunfire.

“We don’t have a few more seconds!” Hunter exclaimed as he fired a plasma burst into another of the aliens. Then, all at once, the attacks stopped.

“Got it!” Nine proclaimed.

The team felt nauseous when they were suddenly teleported to the command center of the ship.

“Nine,” Kell groaned, “What did you do?”

“I didn’t do anything,” Nine said. “Someone transported us here.”

“I trust you got what you came for?” an echoing voice inquired from above. One of the stingray aliens appeared before them, but he made no hostile gesture. “My apologies for the nausea – it is a side-effect of our transporter system.”

“Why did you attack us?” Nine demanded.

“We were not attacking – we were trying to aid you,” the alien said.

There was a pause before Kell made his apology. “We’re sorry... for killing some of your people.”

“Killed...?” the alien repeated. “You have not killed them; when injured, my people auto-transport into stasis pods – a form of regenerator, so to speak.”

“Speaking of which,” Spyro said, “Who are your people, and how did you end up here?”

“We are the Sterrilians,” the alien responded. “We traveled across the stars in search of a new world to colonize. Our world had been stricken and destroyed by a faction calling themselves the Rhinoharadan Order.”

“Rhinoharadan?” Spyro repeated.

“It would seem that there is more to the Rhinoharadan than we know,” Kell remarked.

“What do you know of them?” Spyro inquired.

“We know much of them – including the name of their leader and his motives,” the alien stated.

“We would appreciate it... if you would transmit to our ship what you know of them,” Kell requested. “They have become a major threat to our galaxy in recent months.”

“Of course – the enemy of my enemy is my friend,” the alien responded. “My name is Qin, by the way.”

“Nice to meet you, Qin,” Kell stated. “I’m Keldon’takk. With me is Spyro, his dragonfly companion Sparx, Agent Nine, and Hunter. We are part of a team called Dragon Force. The other members of our team are currently on our ship, the Dragon’s Rage. You may have seen us appear a few minutes ago.”

“How did you end up here in this... whatever this place is?” Sparx asked.

“This is the field of the Vhorson,” Qin responded. “We came to know this well. While the harvesters of the Vhorson have found little use for us or our ship, others are... less fortunate.” With a pause as he began floating around – the Sterrilian equivalent of pacing – he added, “While our ship is merely a colony ship, it is not without weapons. We were trapped here when we answered a distress call from another colony ship – one we believed lost. A Vhorsulan warship attacked us, and when we destroyed it, it transported us here. Now, the Vhorson has us – no escape.”

“What is this ‘Vhorson’?” Kell inquired.

“More importantly,” Nine added, “Where is it?”

“The Vhorson is what generates the dampening field that you now find yourselves trapped in,” Qin said, “however, there is hope for you. As you are able to go where we cannot, there is a place within shuttle distance of your ship that contains a wealth of a very rare, synthesizable isotope called Isoderrilium. This isotope is not affected by the Vhorson’s field; you can use it to repair your ship.”

“And yours, too, if we play our cards right,” Nine said.

“To repair our vessel and yours,” Qin stated, “you would need to take much of this isotope; how do you propose we get as much?”

“We don’t need a lot,” Nine stated. “You said it was synthesizable, correct?”

“Correct,” Qin affirmed.

“When our ship landed here, the replication system was not harmed,” Nine explained. “If we can stealthily take the Isoderrilium and get it back to our ship, we can replicate it and send it to you.”

“Indeed,” Qin stated. “But what of the Vhorson? It has numerous weapon systems that destroy any starships that try to leave.”

“Leave that to us,” Kell said. “We’ll figure out a way to deal with it.”

“Data transmission complete,” Qin droned. “You may return to your ship.”

“Thank you, Qin,” Spyro said. “We’ll get you out of here – that’s a promise.”

Qin shook Spyro’s hand before the team disappeared into translocation back to the Dragon’s Rage.

* * *

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And, for your viewing pleasure, here's chapter three...

Chapter Three

Upon Kell’s return with Spyro, Sparx, Nine, and Hunter, Flame was waiting for them with Ember and Cynder.

“Was that you that transmitted all that data?” Ember asked.

“No,” Kell admitted. “It seems we’re not alone in this field; it appears that others have suffered the same events that landed us in this field.”

“We know,” Flame said. The group began the walk to the bridge as Flame continued, “We’ve identified the source of this dampening field; a large station in the center called the--”

“--Vhorson,” Spyro finished. “What else have you found out?”

“We know there are at least a dozen, if not two or three dozen, ships trapped here – most of which have been torn apart by an alien ‘harvester’,” Flame reported. “But what caught our attention – the location of this so-called ‘Isoderrilium’ – was a station not too far from here.”

As the group walked onto the bridge, a station schematic could be seen. “This place is the base of operations of an alliance of scavengers,” Flame explained. “They raid other ships for supplies – food, weapons, whatever they can get their hands on.”

“Have we been hit?” Kell inquired.

“Negative,” Flame answered.

Kell, Spyro, Nine, Sparx and Hunter took a long look at the station; it was four ships – one Kemorainian Viper cruiser, one Terran light cruiser, one Raptorian attack cruiser, and one Vidarrian cruiser – connected to a central, tube-shaped structure that looked like an alien rendition of...

“Is that... A Russian Typhoon-class attack Sub?” Nine asked.

“A what?” Kell and Ember queried simultaneously.

“A Russian Typhoon-class attack submarine – a naval vessel of twenty-first-century earth,” Nine explained. “I know the layout of those well – I’ve been on one, the Red October.”

“Do you know how we can get onto that station without being detected?” Spyro inquired. Nine headed to his console and highlighted a structure on the dorsal area of the sub.

“That spot right there would probably be our best bet,” Nine said. “In the twenty-first century Russian navy, submarines had their entry port at the top of that structure. Because the sub is so old, there will be no sensor gear there – too large and far too advanced to be mounted there.”

“What’s the catch?” Spyro asked.

“No foreseeable catches,” Nine admitted, “But, according to the Sterrilians’ sensor data, that place is putting up a translocator inhibitor field.”

“Meaning we won’t be able to translocate in or out,” Spyro said.

“We won’t be able to translocate in,” Nine affirmed, “But... a few weeks before Spyro’s revenge op against Dakkron, I rigged a few devices that should allow us to translocate out of messy situations. They’re disposable, and after they’re used, they self-destruct.”

“So the idea is,” Kell deduced, “to shuttle over there, infiltrate a scavenger base, get the Isoderrilium, exfiltrate the base, and translocate out while those devices explode with enough force to...?”

“The bombs in those devices is enough for just one to put a hole in the hull of a Kemorainian Star Cruiser,” Nine said.

“... And we’re bringing along...?” Kell continued.

“... Three. Enough to transport a team of six operatives, two per device, if we wanted to,” Nine answered. “When those bombs go off, it’s going to split that station in two.”

“Right,” Kell said. “That just leaves the decision of who’s going.”

A moment of silence followed that statement. They all knew the risks of this op. Flame was the first to speak up.

“Do you need me here for this one?” he asked with downcast eyes.

Spyro smiled. “No,” he replied. “You’re coming with Cynder, Hunter, Bianca and I.”

Flame looked up. “What for?”

“You are the lightest of us,” Kell answered, “And by far, the most subtle. It is reputed that you once moved through a platoon of Kemorainian Faedyrs and never made a sound.”

“That I did,” Flame affirmed. “But what about Kell?”

“I,” Kell said with a smile, “Will hold the fort here. Besides,” he cast a look to Ember that made her smile. “I have a wife to look after.”

Flame snapped to a military state of mind in a heartbeat. “Yes, sir!” he said.

“Spyro, you have command of this op,” Kell said in his traditional Dragonarian military fashion. “Hunter, Bianca, Flame – suit up with Spyro. You head out in five.”

“Let’s do it!” Hunter shouted with glee.

* * *

With everyone suited up, the team took a shuttle from the hangar of the Dragon’s Rage and headed to the scavenger base. Nine piloted the shuttle while Spyro, Cynder, Flame, Hunter and Bianca sat in full battle armor on the deck below. While the shuttle flew, Flame spoke to Spyro.

“Hey, Spyro,” he said, “Can I ask you something?”

“What’s up?” Spyro responded.

“How did Kell and Ember end up together?” Flame asked.

“Their relationship started years ago, when Dragon Force first came together,” Spyro explained. “She saw him as a misfortunate ex-military warrior and stood up for him over the Dragonarian Interstellar Network. Then she met him face-to-face on a cruise ship about the same time I did on Dragonaria IV – saved his life. From then on... love came natural to them.”

“And then they got married,” Flame concluded. “Lucky guy, Kell – getting to marry Ember.”

“You sound jealous,” Cynder remarked.

“No, actually,” Flame corrected, “I had a fiance – but she disappeared in the same manner we ended up in this graveyard; her ship answered a distress call, and I never heard from her again.”

“Is that why you wanted to tag along?” Hunter asked. “To try and find a long-lost love?”

“So to speak,” Flame affirmed.

“Flame,” Spyro warned his friend, “You may find something you don’t want to see.”

“I know,” Flame said solemnly. “But I have to know if she survived... or died.”

“Attention passengers,” Nine said over the radio, “You will be jettisoned to the entry point in thirty seconds; be ready.”

Everyone loaded weapons, and Flame made sure his Twin Volcano swords, X3 sidearms and his X15 Battle Rifle were strapped down and wouldn’t come loose.

Then, just as Nine had warned, the team was jettisoned toward the entry point. The airlock hissed as they entered, cycling them through, and after the final team member was through the airlock, they shut it.

“Alright,” Spyro whispered over the team channel, “This is a stealth op – I want radio silence and noise and weapon discipline. We each need to grab at least three samples of Isoderrilium. Flame, after you collect your samples, find your fiance, but do not jeopardize the mission.”

“Got it,” Flame whispered.

“Flame, you’re on your own from here – head for the Terran cruiser,” Spyro whispered. “Cynder, with me – we’ll be heading to the Kemorainian ship; Hunter and Bianca, you two head for the Vidarrian ship. Good luck, everyone – Radio silence from here. Out.”

Flame was already halfway down a hall when Spyro ordered radio silence. He saw from the station schematics that he was directly one deck above the entry point of the Terran Cruiser. However, there was no direct hatch to that entry point – which meant that Flame would have to backtrack back the way he came. He doubled back, found a vacant hatch, dropped stealthily through it, and continued on. The hatch going into the Terran Light Cruiser was unguarded – Flame slipped through without a sound. He hooked a right past the hatch, past an unmanned security checkpoint, hooked a left into a corridor, and inadvertently stepped onto the bridge.

By chance or design, the bridge was empty – save for it’s sleeping captain in the captain’s chair. Perhaps the crew normally on the bridge was out for lunch or some other meal, and perhaps they were off-duty with the next duty shift on the way – either way, Flame didn’t want to stick around long enough to find out. He slipped past the captain, boarded the right-hand turbolift, and shut the door to descend before the opposite lift opened up to reveal six Terran pirates. The lift Flame was on descended before any of them could see him through the lift window.

The lift twisted to face the hatch at the bottom of that particular shaft, and Flame’s motion sensors painted three red dots. Someone was waiting for the lift. Before the doors could open, Flame activated his personal cloaking device, scaled the lift and hung on the ceiling as the pirates entered.

If anyone could see the slightly-visible distortion on the ceiling, no one said a word as they complained about how boring this place was. The lift halted at the bridge and opened as one of the pirates said,

“Damn!”

For a moment, Flame thought he’d been detected, but it turned out to be little more than the speaking pirate had forgotten something in his quarters. He told the other two to go on, and that he would catch up. The lift descended after the other two left, and the pirate exited the lift. When Flame was sure he was gone, he dropped down off the ceiling and exited the lift before anyone could enter. He stealthed his way down a corridor, hooked a right toward engineering, and headed down a hall when a weapon cocked behind him.

“Drop it, screwball,” a female voice said.

Flame knew this voice well. “Is that any way to greet your fiance, Amber?”

“You’re not him,” the Ryukaissen Dragonarian woman said. “My fiance was a Baurus Prime Mine Administrator – not a mercenary.”

“Don’t believe me?” Flame asked as he faced his assailant and de-cloaked. “Take my mask off – see who you’re talking to.”

Amber hesitated, then reached over, keeping her X25 Battle Rifle leveled at Flame’s head, and removed his mask. Flame did nothing to stop her. She stood there, mask in one hand, rifle in the other, trembling all over.

“H-how?” she finally whispered. “How did you find me?”

“It was a matter of chance, really,” Flame replied. “Though, I have to admit, this is the last place I expected to bump into you.”

“How do I know this isn’t some... scavenger prank?” Amber asked.

“Unless you gave my name to them, they don’t know about you and I,” Flame answered. “Put the gun down.”

Amber shook, unable to keep the gun level, and Flame gently pushed it away. Amber unexpectedly jumped and embraced Flame, tears flowing down her face. “I’m sorry,” she whispered. “I didn’t know it was you.”

“It’s okay, Amber – we all make mistakes,” Flame assured her. “Listen, I need your help; My friends on Dragon Force are trapped in this dampening field, and we came here to get something called Isoderrilium – do you know where I can find some?”

“Engineering level,” Amber replied. “But before we get it, I have to know – can you get me out of here?”

Flame stroked Amber’s cheek. “Of course,” he whispered. He recovered his mask, and he and Amber headed down to engineering – packed with personnel.

“The moment we open fire,” Amber explained, “they’ll clear out of here and alert security – we’d be overwhelmed in short order.”

“Be that as it may,” Flame said with a smile, “There’s more than one way to clear them out.” He spotted a vacant, isolated computer console, and whispered, “Bingo!”

He and Amber stealthed their way to the computer console, and Flame plugged in.

“Are you hacking into the scavengers’ central computer?” Amber inquired.

“Try and stop me,” Flame commented.

“Was that rhetorical,” Amber responded, “or did you actually mean that?”

Flame chuckled. “I love you, too, Amber,” he said. Moments later, alarms blared and a computerized voice announced,

“Warning: Radiation detected. Please vacate the immediate area. Level five hazard protocols enacted.”

Amber and Flame peeked over the console to see the crowd in the engine room pile out.

“Okay, Mr. Smug,” Amber inquired, “What have you done?”

“Created a phantom radiation leak and locked one of the doors open,” Flame answered. “Judging by the size of the ship, it’ll take security teams approximately ten minutes to get down here.”

“By then, we’ll have taken the Isoderrilium and left,” Amber surmised. “Flame, you are a genius.”

“Nah,” Flame responded, “I just have my moments.” Flame and Amber located the Isoderrilium, took it, and departed inside of three minutes. It was then that Spyro contacted Flame.

“Flame, I have alarms going off in your area – there’s a level-five radiation leak; get out of there!” he exclaimed.

“Yeah,” Flame scoffed, “a radiation leak about as lethal as a spent bullet casing.” Amber snorted at the comment.

“Who’s with you?” Spyro inquired.

“You’ll meet her on the way out,” Flame answered. “We have the Isoderrilium and we are currently headed to the extraction point.”

“Understood,” Spyro stated. “We have our samples, and I’ve heard from Hunter and Bianca that they have theirs and are waiting for us at the extraction point.”

“Understood,” Flame stated. “Over and out.”

Flame and Amber doubled back the way Flame had come, taking time to slip past the numerous panicked engineering personnel as the medical personnel tried to figure out why their patients were showing no sign of radioactive contamination. They crept onto the turbolift as the bridge crew stepped off – including the captain – and rode the lift to the top. As the lift ascended, Flame broke the silence.

“Are we still down to be married?”

“We were never taken off the list, so to speak,” Amber replied. “But let’s focus on getting out of here, first.”

“Out of this station, or out of this graveyard?” Flame inquired with a smile. Anna chuckled.

“Still the same old Flame that I love,” she said. The two shared a brief kiss before the turbolift doors opened, and they crept out of the bridge. They made their way through the center of the station, finally arriving at the extraction point at the same time as Cynder and Spyro.

“About time you got here,” Hunter commented.

“I... see you brought a friend,” Spyro said.

“Actually,” Amber corrected, “Flame is my fiance.”

“Oh,” Spyro and Cynder said together.

“Are we ready to get out of here?” Bianca asked.

“Absolutely,” Amber said. She stepped into the ring of translocator devices with everyone else, and as they powered up, she turned to face Flame. “In case we don’t make it,” she whispered to her love, “I just wanted to say... I’m sorry.”

“For what?” Flame asked as he wrapped his arms around Amber.

She leaned against him and stated, “I should have married you a long time ago.”

It was the moment after she said this that the Translocators went hot, translocating the team plus Amber to the Dragon’s Rage. After this was done, the use of the devices ignited a string of volatile materials, producing an explosion in the center of the station where the devices were located that sheared the submarine that the station was based around in two.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Bah, gotta keep this alive - here's chapter four.

Chapter Four

In the Translocator room of the Dragon’s Rage, five figures shimmered, opaqued and appeared on the pads. Hunter, Bianca, Spyro, and Cynder were the first ones visible, followed by a misshapen figure. But, as the figure cleared up, it became obvious that it was really two people. Flame and a Ryukaissen Dragonarian woman. Flame held her as though she was his wife, and she kissed him as they appeared.

Ember knew the spark of recognition when she saw it. Kell frowned, staring at the Ryukaissen woman.

“Stathl’en?†he asked. The Ryukaissen woman stopped kissing Flame to face Kell. She frowned, stepping off the pads, just as surprised to see Kell.

“Keldon’takk?†She whispered. In an instant, they embraced each other.

“Um... Kell,†Ember inquired, “Do you know this woman?â€

“Please, Ember,†Kell pleaded, “Just... give me a moment. I’ve not seen my sister since I joined the Dragonarian military.â€

“Sister?!†Spyro, Ember, Hunter and Bianca all exclaimed simultaneously.

“Ha – what are the odds of that?†Cynder remarked. “Flame is marrying Kell’s sister.â€

Kell whispered something to his sister in Dragonarian, and she nodded.

“It is true,†she replied. “We were going to marry on Dragonaria Prime, but... all this happened.†Tears left her eyes as she continued, “After Flame proposed, I was recalled to my ship. We answered a--â€

“--Distress call,†Kell finished. “Same here. We answered a distress call from what we thought to be a Dragonarian civil transport under attack – then got transported here. What happened to your ship?â€

Stathl’en shook her head. “Gone,†she all but sobbed her reply. “I’m the last surviving member of the Jek’ari’s Retribution.†She reached out and grabbed Flame, sobbing on his shoulder. Flame comforted her, shushing her as she cried.

Kell stood motionless, staring at his sister as she clung to her fiance. He stood, without expression, without emotion, and everyone feared his rejection of Flame’s relationship with his sister.

However, contrary to what everyone thought, Kell welcomed it. “Well,†he finally said, a smile splitting his face in two, “Since you’re marrying my sister, I guess that makes you my brother-in-law.â€

“Before you say it, I already know what you’ll do if I break Amber’s heart,†Flame said, still clinging to his bride-to-be. “But you should know that I can’t do such a thing – I love her too much.â€

“I gather,†Kell commented with a smile. “I trust you can show her to your quarters?â€

“As if I could get lost,†Flame chuckled.

As everyone filed out of the translocator room, Kell and Ember remained behind.

“Something wrong, baby?†Ember asked.

“No,†Kell admitted, “It’s just that seeing my sister again... makes me wonder if anyone else in my immediate family survived.â€

Ember wrapped her arms around her husband. “You realize that because I’m married to you, Amber is now my sister-in-law?†she asked. “And because Flame is marrying her, that makes him my brother-in-law?â€

“The family gets larger every day,†Kell said. “Who knows? Decades from now, our children will be calling Spyro and Cynder ‘Uncle Spyro’ and ‘Aunt Cynder’.â€

“Yeah,†Ember laughed lightly, “not to mention ‘uncle Hunter,’ ‘aunt Bianca’... the list goes on.â€

Kell sighed as he leaned his head against Ember. “That’s if we make it out of here with our lives and our sanity,†he whispered.

Ember kissed Kell gently and whispered back, “We will. We’ve been through many different messes before. This is no different.â€

“But getting out of here means nothing if we don’t prevent it from happening again,†Kell said.

“One step at a time,†Ember stated. “Let’s get the ship operational again.â€

Kell kissed his wife one last time, and then they both headed out of the translocater room, intent on bringing the ship back up to operational status.

* * *

While the repairs were being effected by the repair drones fluttering hither and yon, and while the Isoderrilium was being replicated, used, and the shipment promised to the Sterrilians was sent, the team had a chance to relax. But even so, Spyro felt worried. He found himself feeling... apprehensive. He felt danger. Something was wrong. Ever since he took the power from the Valley of the Dragon Lords, his perceptions had expanded. He sensed things that normally he couldn’t, saw danger – felt it – before it struck.

It was these feelings that compelled him to rise from bed and head to the Bridge. He found Kell sitting in the captain’s chair, analyzing the repair data.

“You felt it, too, yes?†he asked.

“I feel... danger,†Spyro affirmed. “A disturbance – something is wrong.â€

“I know,†Kell stated. “The sensors are back on-line, and guess what?â€

“I dare not guess,†Spyro growled as he approached Kell.

“The Scavengers’ base was torn apart,†Kell explained. “Apparently, when Nine’s devices blew, the Vhorson found them – and us.â€

“How much time do we have?†Spyro inquired. “Enough to restore weapons?â€

“Nope,†Kell said. “But, fortunately, there is another opportunity to destroy the ship.â€

“Oh?†Spyro replied. “I’m listening.â€

“There’s another ship in the area that has the tech to pull it off,†Kell explained, bringing up an image of a segmented octagonal warship. “An alien warship that’s nearby. It’s derelict, as far as I can tell – sensors can’t get a good reading right now – and I’m not at all sure how the scavengers and the Vhorsulan harvesters missed it, but it’s got a large Magnetic Accelerator Cannon, still charged, and waiting to fire, as well as a number of plasma weapons and missiles ready to fire.â€

“Obviously,†Spyro surmised, “We can’t just translocate onto the bridge and fire it at the harvester?â€

“Negative,†Kell replied. “The primary bridge is useless – got blown up – but there is a secondary bridge somewhere inside the ship that controls weapons and everything else.â€

“So... what?†Spyro asked. “Where do we translocate in and what kind of resistance can we expect?â€

“We can translocate in here,†Kell stated, highlighting a section of the ship toward the aft near the ship’s spine. “This is an isolated area, but highly-suitable if we want to get in undetected.

“As for resistance, I really can’t say – I’ve detected weapon discharges, but I’ve no clue who is on that ship. For all we know – pirates or worse.â€

“I shudder to think what could be worse on that ship,†Spyro commented.

“I know,†Kell said. “But that ship is the only working ship within range to destroy the harvester, so finding another ship is out of the question.â€

Spyro sighed. “Well, if we’re going over there, we’ll need to assemble a team.â€

“I know,†Kell stated, “I was thinking you, Cynder, Flame and Amber head over there, try to ascertain who is doing what there, and use that ship’s weaponry to destroy the Vhorsulan Harvester.â€

It was then that Amber appeared on the bridge. She noticed the alien warship and frowned.

“I know that ship,†she said.

“Any intel would be much appreciated, femm’sibblus,†Kell stated.

“Too much to explain now, but I know the internal layout of that particular ship,†Amber said.

“How?†Spyro asked.

“I’ve been on it before,†Amber answered, “Shortly before the Harvesters found my ship.â€

Kell and Spyro exchanged glances, then looked at Amber. “Good,†Spyro said, “You’re on the team. Wake your fiance, I’ll wake Cynder – we’re heading over there.â€

* * *

Chapter Five

All was quiet in the olive-drab-colored halls of the alien ship. Gunshots of various racial weapons could be heard in the eerily-empty halls of the ship, and occasional thumps marked grenades detonating. No one was in the vicinity when four columns of golden-yellow light appeared, and four armored dragons appeared.

The golden columns of light disappeared, leaving Spyro, Cynder, Flame and Amber to scan the immediate area for hostiles. When they were sure the immediate vicinity was clear, Spyro began giving orders.

“Okay, Amber – you know this ship well, you have point; Flame, cover her; Cynder, you and I will be watching our flanks.â€

“Copy,†Amber radioed.

“Affirmative,†Flame reported.

“Ready when you are, Spyro,†Cynder said.

“Let’s move out,†Spyro commanded.

Amber took point, leading the team down adjacent hallways, through half-slagged doors and across combat-scarred decks. As they moved, Spyro noticed that Amber was looking intently at walls and stopping at any computer station she came across.

“Looking for something?†he asked.

“I am, in fact,†Amber affirmed. “I’m trying to locate a... ha, there’s one.â€

Amber approached a map of the starship they were in. According to the map, they were still very far aft of the ship they were on – labeled the UNSC Eisenhower-class Battleship UNSC Eisenhower. According to the map, there were exactly fifty-five decks on this ship, and they were on the uppermost aft deck. Their goal – the secondary command center – was buried in the center of the ship, on deck twenty-six.

“Our goal is here,†Amber said, pointing to deck twenty-six. Pointing to their current location, she continued, “We’re right about here. We need to find our way down to the command center, bring the ship around, and blast that Vhorsulan Harvester before it tears the Dragon’s Rage apart.â€

“Easier said than done,†Spyro commented. “The Dragon’s Rage would be long gone by the time we get there if we go by foot.â€

“That thought had already occurred to me,†Amber said. Pointing to deck nine, she continued, “There’s a turbolift here that goes directly to the bridge – if we can make it, we can get to the command center and bring the weapons to bear long before the harvester gets too close to the Dragon’s Rage.â€

Spyro paused, staring at Amber, then replied, “Alright – let’s do it.â€

Amber scanned the map into her armor’s computers, then led the team through the adjacent hallways. They moved through the halls until Amber stopped at an intersection. She knelt down next to the corpse of an armored human wearing ballistic armor and an olive-drab uniform.

“Scavenger?†Flame asked.

“No,†Amber answered. “This was one of the crew. This man was killed recently.â€

“What does that mean for us?†Spyro asked.

“Means that there may be more of the crew that survived,†Amber replied. “And that’s good for us because we can get them to help us.â€

Gunfire came from down the hall. Three more men – wearing the same kind of ballistic armor the corpse wore – fired on the team with BR-55 Battle Rifles.

“Hold your fire!†Amber called out. “We’re here to help you!â€

“Flash!†One of the men called out.

“Ferry!†Amber responded. After a moment, the two teams came out of hiding.

“Sergeant Harrison,†the man in charge stated. “The two men with me are Private Cobb and Private Willis. UNSC Marine Corps.â€

“I’m Spyro,†Spyro said. “This is Cynder, Amber, and Flame. We’re part of Team Dragon Force.â€

“You’re those guys that came in that big ship that appeared just recently, right?†Sgt. Harrison asked.

“Yeah,†Spyro affirmed, “That’s us.â€

“We came here in hopes that we could use your ship’s weapons to destroy a Vhorsulan Harvester that’s headed for our ship,†Amber said.

“If we can get to the bridge, we can bring the ship around to take it out,†Sgt. Harrison stated. “But we have a screen of scavengers to go through. They came here after their station blew.â€

“They repaired the ship’s weapons and engines with a shipment of Isoderrilium they brought with them,†Pvt. Willis said, “we also have word they attacked an allied ship nearby – the Sangheili Marauder Warrior’s Hammer. Same scenario, but the Sangheili are holding their own.â€

“Let’s not waste any time here,†Spyro said. The teams bolted down the hall, following Amber and Sgt. Harrison as they headed down twisting hallways of blackened metal, pock-marked bulkheads and half-slagged doors. They found a service ladder, descended it, and emerged onto deck nine. Nearby, a gunfight was already in progress. A band of scavengers was trying to advance on an entrenched group of UNSC Marines and Naval personnel. Spyro tossed a grenade into the scavengers’ midst, and the team ducked behind cover. The grenade detonated, and half of the scavengers went up in the blast. The team emerged and iced the stragglers and survivors, and met with the allied soldiers.

“Sarge!†a PFC exclaimed. “We thought you were dead!â€

“Stow the hellos, marine,†Sgt. Harrison barked. “Is the turbolift serviceable?â€

“Affirmative, sarge,†the PFC replied. “Just down the hall.â€

“Good, let’s go,†Spyro commanded.

“Hang on – who the hell are you?†a noncom asked.

“Spyro Nightscales, team Dragon Force,†Spyro responded. “We’ll head down that turbolift first – are there any others?â€

“No, that’s the only serviceable one,†the PFC stated. “Why?â€

“Never mind,†Spyro said. “We’ll go first – you get in after us ASAP, got it?â€

“Yes, sir!†Sgt. Harrison said.

Spyro, Cynder, Amber and Flame got onto the turbolift and simultaneously reloaded weapons.

“When those doors open, we won’t have a lot of time to find cover,†Spyro said. “Let’s do this quick.†The turbolift doors parted, and the four-person team moved in, greased the skeleton crew of scavengers, and started securing the area. It wasn’t long before Sgt. Harrison and a team of marines moved onto the bridge, and a group of naval personnel followed that. In less than two minutes, the bridge was secure, and reports from scattered teams of marines indicated the Engine room was also secure.

And just in time, it seemed. No sooner than the ship was secured, Kell contacted Spyro. “Spyro, that harvester is getting a little too close to home – tell me you’re training weapons on it!â€

“We have the ship secured,†Spyro reported. “Weapons are hot, and we’re locking on.†Spyro looked to a naval officer at the weapons console, who flashed a thumbs-up. Spyro looked to the Helmsman, who also flashed a thumbs-up as he brought the Eisenhower around to firing position. “Correction – we are locked on.â€

“Fire when ready,†Kell ordered.

“Weapons,†Spyro commanded, “Lock whatever weapons are operational on that Vhorsulan Harvester and fire at will!â€

A loud thump rocked the hull as the ship’s MAC gun fired, followed by a flurry of missiles and two plasma torpedoes. The harvester – a fish-shaped vessel with large, clawed arms tucked away to the port and starboard sides – took the MAC blast first. The MAC slug holed the ship from the port-bow to the starboard-aft. The missiles – enhanced Archer anti-ship missiles – lit the harvester up like a Christmas tree, and tore chunks of already-weakened hull off. The two plasma torpedoes impacted next, boiled off layers of armor with the first impact, and burnt the ship to a crisp with the second. The harvester billowed smoke, and was generally inoperable – except the engines pushed it forward still. The ship extended a boarding tube that attached to the Dragon’s Rage.

“Kell to Spyro – if you have any friends on that ship, get ‘em over here! We’re being boarded!†Kell exclaimed.

“No worries, Mr. Kell,†said a UNSC Naval Captain as he stepped onto the bridge. “We’ll be there in short order.â€

“Who are you?†Kell inquired.

“Captain Jonathan Oxford,†the captain said. “Captain of the UNSC Eisenhower. We also have a Sangheili warship near you – the Warrior’s Hammer. They will also help if possible.â€

“Understood, Captain,†Kell stated. “For the record, I’m Keldon’takk Assinara, commander of the Dragonarian Warship Dragon’s Rage and head of team Dragon Force.â€

“Sit tight, Kell,†Spyro said. “We’re on our way.â€

* * *

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Don't get too attached to him - he's just a temporary char. Anyway, seems how I posted chapter four AND five...

Chapter Six

The trip to the Dragon’s Rage was uneventful. The Sangheili Marauder Warrior’s Hammer – a Sangheili CCS Battlecruiser Refit equipped with Autocannons, plasma weapons and a turreted, dual-barreled Siege Magnetic Accelerator Cannon (SMAC) mounted on the ship’s spine – was seen launching tear-drop-shaped Seraph fighters and elongated Boarding craft towards the Dragon’s Rage. The Sangheili Marauder itself was shaped in an interesting way; apart from the autocannons and the SMAC turret, it held a manta-like shape, with a silvery-glinting hull that shined like a beetle’s carapace.

The Eisenhower’s boarding craft landed in one of the hangar bays of the Dragon’s Rage alongside several Sangheili and UNSC boarding craft. Spyro, Cynder, Flame and Amber exited first, followed by Sgt. Harrison and several UNSC marines.

“Spyro Nightscales?†a throaty voice asked. Spyro turned around and saw an eight-foot-tall, gold-armored Sangheili. He was extremely muscular, had double-jointed legs, four-fingered hands, an angular snout, and a quadruple-hinged jaw with mandibles lined with razor-sharp teeth.

“That’s me,†Spyro answered. “Who are you?â€

“I am Captain Voro ‘Zamamee,†the Gold-armored Sangheili answered. “We have heard much of you and your team’s exploits in battle, and it is an honor to meet you face-to-face.â€

“Well, we have no time for introductions right now, Captain,†Spyro said. “We need to repel the enemy... and find a way out of this mess.â€

“Where is the bridge of your ship?†Voro asked.

“Follow us,†Spyro said. “We’ll take you there.â€

The team moved out of the hangar and into the halls of the Dragon’s Rage. Almost as soon as they did, they came under fire from a group of Vhorsulan warriors – aliens armored in turtle-like shells with weapons integrated into their armor, fired from their wrists. The troops fanned out, taking cover, and returned fire. Spyro and Amber were the first to fire, and drilled the same Vhorsulan warrior. He took multiple rounds to the chest and head and dropped dead. The other warriors fired again. One of the energy pulses glanced off of the energy shields of Voro’s armor, and Voro fired a plasma rifle. The plasma pulses melted the warrior’s face, and he dropped dead. The remaining warriors were cut down in a hail of bullets. The team followed Spyro, Cynder, Flame and Amber as they moved from one hallway to another, mowing down Vhorsulan Warriors and their small, subservient, crab-like slaves, dubbed “Crabs†by the UNSC Marines.

It was a full fifteen minutes before the boarding party was eliminated and Spyro, Cynder, Flame, and Amber walked onto the Bridge with Voro and Captain Oxford.

“Captain Oxford,†Kell said, shaking the UNSC Captain’s hand, “Keldon’takk Assinara.â€

“Jonathan Oxford,†Oxford replied. “The Sangheili with me is Captain Voro of the Sangheili Marauder Warrior’s Hammer.â€

“Sir,†Voro said, shaking Kell’s hand.

“So,†Kell said, “With this threat neutralized, where do we stand?â€

“We took the Isoderrilium from the scavengers, and we are nearly finished repairing our ship,†Voro responded.

“Our ship’s systems are being restored as we speak,†Oxford added. “ETA ten minutes.â€

“Well, our engines and shields are back online, and weapons just came back,†Kell explained. “But getting out of here doesn’t mean a thing if we don’t prevent this from happening again.â€

“What do you suggest?†Spyro asked.

“Since that Vhorsulan harvester isn’t completely destroyed, we need to take it, fly to and infiltrate the Vhorson, and shut it’s defenses down,†Kell explained. “After that, we need to board and sabotage it so it can’t resist us when we finally destroy it.â€

“With the Vhorson gone, the dampening field will disappear and other ships trapped by it will be able to leave,†Spyro surmised. “But how will we get back to Avalar?â€

“With respect, sir,†Voro stated, “We know of Avalar. Captain Oxford and I were originally going to warn Avalar of an impending attack by a faction known as the--â€

“Rhinoharadan,†Spyro finished.

Oxford frowned. “You know of them?â€

“Too much to explain now,†Kell said, “But we’ve been trying to combat them for a while. It would seem we are allies against this enemy.â€

“So it would seem,†Voro admitted. “By now, the Rhinoharadan will be preparing their assault. We must move quickly if we are to escape and save Avalar.â€

“We will gather a fleet and meet you at Avalar,†Oxford said.

“Negative,†Kell and Spyro responded simultaneously.

“We’ll stick with you,†Spyro said. “If we are allies, the Rhinoharadan will come after you, too.â€

“Very well,†Voro sighed. “But we must first escape and destroy the Vhorson.â€

“So it begins...†Kell murmured.

* * *

It took a full hour and a half to clean up the messes left by the Vhorsulan and scavenger boarding parties on the Eisenhower, Warrior’s Hammer and the Dragon’s Rage. During that time, the techs of all three parties made an interesting discovery on the Vhorsulan harvester; it had an automated system that wasn’t damaged at all when the ship was bombarded. This system automatically piloted the harvester back to the Vhorson’s docking bay. Because the ship was too badly damaged to send a full boarding party, it was agreed that a small squad would ride the harvester back to the Vhorson, disable the defenses, and call in the cavalry.

Spyro, though ready to strike again, agreed to let Kell go to the Vhorson with Agent Nine, Sgt. Harrison, Pvt. Collins, and two Sangheili Rangers, Zuka and Soha ‘Mortumee. With the team selection out of the way, the requested team met in the Briefing room of the Dragon’s Rage.

“Okay,†Kell said as the mission briefing began, “We all know why we’re here, so I’ll be brief.†He brought up an image of the Vhorson. “This is our objective; the Vhorson. It’s been generating the dampening field we’re all trapped in. More importantly, it seems to have ship-building facilities. We need to infiltrate it, disable it’s weapons and defenses, sabotage whatever is generating the dampening field, and finally destroy it.†Kell highlighted a small, circular docking bay. “This is our entry point,†he continued. “It is large enough to accommodate the Harvester, but it is in an area on the exterior of the Vhorson. From this dock, we need to find a way into the Vhorson itself, where air is breathable.â€

“What if the Vhorson detects us on board?†Sgt. Harrison asked.

“If they do,†Kell explained, “they will, at least for a while, think of us as material brought back by the harvester. But we will not be able to keep our infiltration of the Vhorson a secret for long; once the alarm has been raised, they will do everything they can to stop us. We’ll be up against the Warriors, Crabs, and whatever else is on that station. We can expect heavy resistance, so we’ll need to take some heavy firepower – I would advise loading up at our armory.â€

“So how do we destroy the Vhorson?†Zuka asked. “Once the defenses are down, can’t we just send our ships in to finish the job?â€

“We could,†Kell admitted, “But there are dozens of ships in this field. We will disable whatever on that station is generating it. When we do, and we attack the Vhorson and those in this field see it, what ships haven’t already been torn apart by the harvesters will not hesitate to join in the attack. Once the station is gone, we can travel to your particular dimension, get a sizable force together, and head to Avalar and save them if it isn’t already too late. Any questions?â€

No one said a word. They were ready for this. “Very well,†Kell said. “Load up. We head out in ten.â€

The group got up to leave and as they did, Ember walked into the room. Kell was busy packing up when Ember spoke.

“Nervous?†Ember asked.

“Not at all,†Kell said. “I have been on many different ops, my love – this is no different.â€

“But you were never married during any of those ops,†Ember said.

Kell could detect the concern right away. He turned around, gently embracing and kissing his wife. “I’m coming back, Ember. I’m not going to put you through the misery of my death.â€

“I know,†Ember said. “I would tell you to be careful, but you are Ryukaissen Dragonarian – and you do not need to be. You have survived countless battles, pulled off many incursions behind enemy lines, and have seen more combat than any of us. So I will simply say... good luck.â€

“Who needs luck,†Kell said, leaning over to kiss Ember, “When I have you?â€

Ember kissed Kell, and she cherished every second of it. “I’m coming back,†Kell said. “I promise.â€

Leaving Ember to guide her thoughts to her husband’s safe return, Kell picked up his effects, and left the briefing room. He made a promise to his wife – he would return to her...

... One way or the other.

* * *

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Don't get too attached to him - he's just a temporary char.

Thought as much ^^

And interesting story developments! I don't think my fanfic has enough, but let's not bring that up in your story thread :) ( :offtopic: )

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lol that's okay. Anyway - time to move on to the next chapter...

Chapter Seven

Kell, Nine, Harrison, Collins, Zuka and Soha sat in wait. For the moment, they were in a part of the ship that had atmosphere. Not only did this conserve oxygen in their suits, it maintained the illusion that they were just material being brought by the Harvester. Given the fact that this op was in the confines of a space station, the team carried a full combat load – which meant assault rifles, shotguns, and grenades, all of which were lethal in this environment.

Sgt. Harrison and Pvt. Collins were both veteran UNSC Marines, and carried UNSC-issue M90 8-gauge Magnum Shotguns. But they did pick up some nifty weaponry in the Armory of the Dragon’s Rage. Harrison had an RX Predator H16, while Collins nabbed an RX Mauser KA75. Both of the Marines had UNSC-issue grenades.

Zuka and Soha both carried Sangheili-issue Plasma Carbines, plasma grenades, and plasma swords. Moreover, they were trained to operate in zero-gee as well as high-gravity and normal-gravity environments.

Kell carried his new AR635A2, Dragonarian-issue Frag Grenades, plus his dual Nanoswords and an X215 Shotgun. He carried a bandolier of shells for the shotgun, a materializer pouch for AR635A2 Ammo mags, and the grenades were clipped to his belt.

Agent Nine, having upgraded his loadout prior to this op, was equipped with his AI-housing armor for hacking the computer systems of the Vhorson, dual disruptor pistols, four Kemorainian Plasma Grenades, and an X700 Multi-Purpose Assault Rifle.

“We’re approaching the docks,†Kell announced. “Space suits on.â€

Everyone got into their space suits and sealed them. There was a slight shudder as the ship docked, and Kell said over the radio, “We’re in. Let’s find a door, people, and find one fast. We only have about four hours of oxygen.â€

The six-man team moved onto the perimeter of the docks, heading along the exterior scaffolding. The docks looked almost as if they were still under construction. Perhaps the work crews were on break? Kell didn’t know; and he didn’t want to stick around to find out.

The team moved onto an area still under construction. There was a clear path into the Vhorson, but the only way to get there was...

“Hey, Collins – are you afraid of heights?†Nine asked.

“I am, why do you...†Collins replied. He stopped as he looked at where they were headed. “... Oh.â€

“Kell, man,†Nine said, “there’s no way Collins is going to make it down there – you need to find a safer way down.â€

“Zuka, Soha,†Kell asked, “Can you two get down there and find any sort of bridge mechanism?â€

“We can,†Zuka answered. “Come on, Soha – let’s go.â€

The two Sangheili activated their anti-gravity thrusters, and moved with impunity. Yellow energy pulses shot out for them, and the reason was plain to see; three crabs were milling about on a structure below, and when they spotted the Sangheili, decided to take them out. Zuka fired his Plasma Carbine at one, and one of the crabs died with a hole burnt into his head. Soha fired next, nailing the other two.

Perhaps the crabs were just out on guard duty, but their position and the fact that there was three of them seemed to suggest otherwise. The two Sangheili rangers floated to the dead crabs, looked around, and Soha brushed something. Zuka was ready to rail his younger brother when a stairway extended out from the side of the station, giving the team a direct line to the entrance. The stairway was spaced out enough to allow Collins to overcome his fear of heights, and wide enough to fit a large tank.

“Nice one, Soha,†Kell commented. The team moved down the staircase, into the Vhorson itself. The halls in this particular area were dark, the only ambient light coming from the stars outside. It wasn’t long before the team came to a dead end with a hole in the floor. Small particles of dull-orange light slowly floated down into the stygian abyss below.

“What is that?†Nine asked.

“It’s an anti-gravity beam,†Zuka explained. “We can ride it deeper into the station.â€

“Into the abyss we go,†Kell commented.

“You know, I wonder; does your team get Hazard pay for situations like this?†Harrison asked.

“Any team with you on it should get double, sarge,†Collins laughed.

“Har-har, marine,†Harrison growled. “Stow the BS.â€

Kell was the first one down the beam. The little orange lights seemingly carried Kell to the bottom. His feet touched the deck in short order, and he found a light. The room was illuminated, and he swept his weapon around. “Clear,†he said over the radio. Nine was next, followed by Harrison, Collins, and the ‘Mortumee brothers. The team moved into an airlock, letting the door shut behind them. The room hissed as it pressurized, and the door before them opened. They moved into a massive room with a catwalk up above and a view of the graveyard.

“Atmosphere is breathable in here,†Nine reported.

A low growl sounded from the catwalk above. The team looked up, and saw two Vhorsulan Warriors staring down at them.

Why didn’t they see us before? Kell mused. He had no time to ponder, though – Nine brought his X700 up and fired the attached 12-gauge shotgun. The buckshot shell greased both of them, and a squad of crabs came swarming out of the woodwork. The team scattered, firing as they went, and stretching the crabs’ formation thin as they tried to chase all six intruders at once. While determined, they weren’t particularly bright. The team had little difficulty dispatching the crabs. Two warriors came to investigate the disturbance, and were greased by Nine’s shotgun attachment. With the immediate threat neutralized, the team moved up the ramp and onto the catwalk where the dead Vhorsulan welcome wagon was stationed. Nine interfaced with the computer terminal, and said,

“We’re in luck; this terminal is tied in with the station’s defenses...â€

“... But...?†Kell asked.

“I can’t shut down the defenses from here,†Nine responded. “Power to defenses is six levels above us.â€

“What if we ran an endless feedback loop?†Collins asked.

“A what?†Harrison asked. “Make sense, marine!â€

“An endless feedback loop,†Pvt. Collins explained. “If we ran a loop of current sensor data, it’ll extrapolate the station’s data and blind the sensors.â€

“And the station’s defenses and computers will think that anything moving out there is just floating normally,†Nine finished as he set to work. “Their guns will be blind and useless, and stay that way if I hot-wire it in.â€

“A sound plan, Private Collins,†Zuka said, slapping the marine’s back. “I would not have thought of that.â€

“I need two minutes to do this,†Nine said. “Hold off the enemy.â€

As though to prove Nine’s implication that the enemy was on the way, a fire team of Vhorsulan warriors appeared in a nearby doorway and started shooting. Because the team had the high ground, they had the immediate advantage. Kell fired and dropped one warrior as a swarm of crabs flooded in. Collins threw a grenade, which detonated with a resonant whump and blew a hole in the oncoming mob. Kell fired a 40mm grenade from the launcher of his AR635A2, and several more crabs were blown apart with another warrior. The last warrior managed to get onto the walkway, and Collins shot him with the disruptor of his KA75. The grotesque took the white bolt to the chest, fell off the catwalk, and landed on his back on top of a crab. The remaining crabs tried to get up the ramp, but fell short as the team mowed them down. After a minute and a half of blasting hapless crabs, they retreated. The room was filled with numerous crab corpses.

“Okay, finished,†Nine said.

“Okay, people – let’s call home,†Kell said.

* * *

Spyro was on the bridge of the Dragon’s Rage with Captain Oxford and Ember when Kell made his call. Spyro answered, and Kell said,

“Kell to the Dragon’s Rage.â€

“Dragon’s Rage acknowledges,†Spyro responded. “Go ahead.â€

“The Vhorson’s defenses are down,†Kell reported. “Bring the rest of the teams in.â€

“Understood,†Spyro said. “Helm, ahead full; bring us within translocator range of the Vhorson.â€

“Ahead full, aye,†Ember said. The Dragonarian warship moved ahead, the Eisenhower and the Warrior’s Hammer following suit.

A tactical map appeared and Kell commanded, “All boarding teams, make your way along this route; we’ll set up Forward Command Post at my location. Once we’re set up, we’ll move on. Kell out.â€

It was another five minutes before the three warships were in range of the station. Consistent with the report, the station showed no sign of detection. It was as though the station couldn’t see them.

“Who goes on-station?†Ember asked.

“I’ll lead that expedition,†Spyro responded. “Cynder, you’re with me.â€

“Try and bring my brother back alive, if it’s not too much trouble,†Amber said.

“I will,†Spyro responded as he left with Cynder. They loaded up at the armory – Spyro grabbing his usual H40 Assault Rifle and an MRS138 Combat Shotgun, while Cynder nabbed her favorite SG30 Sabot Cannon and Kell’s old MP340A2 Dual-Purpose Assault Rifle. They both grabbed five frag grenades each, plus all the ammo they could fit in the materializer pouches, and headed to the Translocator room. Flame was already there, having acquired the destination long before they got there.

“Do be careful, Spyro,†Flame warned his friend, “And bring back my brother-in-law alive.â€

“I intend to,†Spyro commented. Two separate columns of golden-yellow light engulfed Spyro and Cynder as they disappeared through the translocator pads, reappearing on the ground level of the control room Kell and his team occupied. Outside, several UNSC Pelican dropships could be seen with Sangheili Phantom dropships, all of which were heading to the station. Spyro spotted a few of them leaving as the first of the UNSC marines and Sangheili Rangers appeared in the room.

“I thought you were staying on the Dragon?†Kell asked Spyro.

“And let you take the glory for this op?†Spyro laughed. “Hell no.â€

“There’ll be plenty of glory to go around, old friend,†Kell chuckled. “For now, let’s get the CP set up.â€

Spyro helped the Marines and Rangers set up the CP while Nine and his AI – Wes – kept digging around in the Vhorson’s computer systems. Harrison, Collins, the ‘Mortumee brothers and Kell watched for any enemy attacks. Apart from a couple of scouts every now and again, the Vhorsulans were completely inactive, something that bothered Kell and Spyro greatly. It was as if they were content to let the UNSC, Sangheili and Dragon Force operatives set up their CP while they tended to something else – in which case, neither Kell nor Spyro could determine what that something might be.

It was as the CP was nearly finished setting up when the Vhorsulans attacked. The first hint that they were under attack was when a roving patrol exclaimed, “Contact! Enemy engaged!â€

“Okay, people,†Kell said, “We’ve got company coming; let’s set the table – engage enemy forces on sight. All roving patrols, fall back to the Forward Command Post.â€

The patrols filed into the room, squad after squad, until the last one came in, shooting at the Vhorsulans behind them. As soon as they cleared the doorway, the mobile turrets opened up on the Vhorsulans. They fell by the dozens as the turrets – manned by UNSC and Sangheili personnel – drilled into them. A fire team managed to get through the fusillade of flying bullets and stuttering plasma fire. They were cut down almost as soon as they cleared the turrets.

Another doorway opened up nearby, and Vhorsulans poured from the works. Since these hostiles were too close for guns, the Sangheili Rangers unlimbered their Plasma Swords. Kell and Spyro activated their Nanoswords, engaging the Vhorsulans with the Sangheili Rangers. Dozens of Vhorsulan bodies fell as they were cut to pieces by the rangers and Dragon Force operatives.

After a battle that lasted only five minutes, the Vhorsulans retreated. Because the UNSC personnel were up on the catwalk manning the turrets and cutting into the Vhorsulan assault from one direction, they had little-to-no casualties. The Sangheili Rangers, being the ones that were on the deck fighting the enemy in melee combat, had few casualties – only one dead and two lightly wounded, a result of the energy shielding in the armor they wore.

With the FCP set up, the boarding parties pressed on...

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And here's Chapter Eight...

Chapter Eight

Kell led Spyro, Cynder, Zuka and Soha through the eerily-empty halls of the Vhorson. Nine remained at the FCP, providing what tactical information he could. With Nine’s in-depth knowledge of computer systems and Wes assisting him, the Vhorson’s computer systems and techs could not stop him. While the other boarding parties went about sabotaging what they could and causing as much chaos within the confines of the station, Kell and his team were on their way to neutralize the Dampening Field Generator of the Vhorson – near the center of the scepter-shaped station.

As a surprise bonus, the Sterrilians were also on board, aiding the boarding parties by helping hold the FCP. While not especially violent, they proved effective fighters. In any case, the job was that much easier.

After what seemed to be hours of wandering the station, Kell’s team came into a room with what looked to be stasis pods lining the perimeter. Inside each one was a Vhorsulan warrior.

“They could be frozen for a journey,†Cynder commented.

“Those aren’t mobile pods, nor are they cryo-stasis pods,†Kell corrected. “They look more like incubation chambers.â€

Spyro spotted a window, moving to it and peering outside.

“Uh, people – you might want to see this,†he said. Outside the room, there was a massive circular chasm lined with hundreds of pods, maybe even thousands. It was difficult to tell.

“An invasion army,†Spyro murmured. “There’s enough troops down there to take over a whole planet.â€

“Not just a planet,†Kell corrected him. “An entire galaxy. Now it all makes sense.â€

“These Vhorsulans have been bringing in ships from all over the galaxy for this,†Spyro surmised. “They’re taking tech, ships, materials, and people from across multiple dimensions, combining and manipulating their DNA and everything else to breed the ultimate army.â€

“And we are all that stands in their way,†Kell finished.

“Isn’t that always the way?†Cynder asked with a hint of humor.

But there was no time to laugh. As soon as this revelation dawned, Vhorsulan warriors found them and started shooting. The team took cover behind a convenient barricade of crates. Kell fired as he took cover, drilling a warrior in the face.

“Nine, we’re under fire!†Spyro screamed into his radio. “We need reinforcements ASAP!â€

Spyro rose long enough to ice an overly-ambitious crab and a warrior, then ducked back down. “Screw this,†Spyro growled. He unlimbered his MRS138 Combat Shotgun, rose from cover, and fired. Two warriors and a crab got blown off their feet. “Everyone, switch to scatter guns!†Spyro ordered. Kell grabbed his X215, Cynder unlimbered her SG30, while Zuka and Soha kept their plasma carbines. Kell, Spyro and Cynder fired almost simultaneously, and the overlapping fields of shotgun fire took down warriors and crabs by the dozens. But more of them kept pouring in.

The ‘Mortumee brothers kept firing their plasma carbines as the three dragons reloaded their shotguns, the high-density plasma beams easily able to punch holes in the warriors’ armor. Soon as the dragons finished reloading, the ‘Mortumee brothers reloaded their plasma carbines and re-charged them while Kell, Spyro and Cynder blew holes in the oncoming mob of Vhorsulans. Their bodies – crabs and warriors alike – piled up in the room. Even with effective fighting room for the Vhorsulans rapidly shrinking, still they fought, climbing over their fallen comrades and dying, sometimes falling just inches from the team’s position.

When grenades detonated in the hall and automatic weapons could be heard, the Vhorsulans retreated. Sgt. Harrison came over the piles of Vhorsulan dead and commented, “Wow. You guys really laid into them.â€

“They asked for it,†Spyro chuckled. “What’s the situation?â€

“We have the station’s vital defenses and power systems rigged to blow,†Harrison explained, “and Nine has almost complete control over the station. All that remains is to knock out the dampening field.â€

“Can’t nine just shut it down?†Cynder asked.

“Negative,†Harrison replied. “He can’t access the system.â€

“Then we’ll blast it to bits,†Kell said.

“Let’s not waste any more time here,†Spyro added.

With that said, the team moved out of the room, past halls and rooms that had seen recent combat and were littered with Terran, Sangheili, and Vhorsulan corpses. The team came across a battle already in progress – apparently, the Vhorsulans were trying to hold off the UNSC and Sangheili personnel trying to get into the control station for the Dampening Field.

“Let’s give ‘em a hand!†Spyro exclaimed. They moved down to the allies’ position, and Kell spoke to the NCO in charge.

“Keldon’takk Assinara,†he said, “Dragon Force.â€

“Gunnery Sergeant Thomas, UNSC Marine Corps,†the NCO responded.

“What’s the situation here, sarge?†Kell asked.

“We’re trying to get into the main control room for the dampening field,†Sgt. Thomas responded, “But it’s a tough slog! Every time we get close, they lay into us! We sent the Sangheili to find a way around, but we haven’t heard back!â€

An energy pulse missed Kell’s head. “We’re gonna have a chat with these bastards,†he said. “We’ll throw a few grenades. When they go, lay down covering fire!†Kell loaded a grenade into the launcher of his AR635A2, then primed a hand grenade. Spyro, Cynder, Zuka and Soha primed theirs. After a three-second countdown, they all rose and threw them down the hall. The grenades bounced once, then twice, rolling and stopping just shy of the Vhorsulans’ positions, and detonated. Five deafening booms echoed in the hall, and the UNSC marines laid down suppressing fire as Kell, Spyro, Cynder, Zuka and Soha advanced on the enemy positions. The Vhorsulans tried to return fire from the cover of the doorway, but Kell fired his grenade launcher and blew them away. With the path clear, they moved through the door, mowing down the resistance as they tried to retreat. From the control room, the dampening field generator could be seen. As the marines secured the area, Kell, Spyro and Cynder moved out toward the generator. It was massive, with two domes – one below and one above – connected by a large, yellow-orange energy beam.

“Any idea how to shut it down?†Spyro asked.

“I doubt there’d be a switch to...†Cynder started to reply. While Cynder and Spyro discussed possible options on shutting down the generator, Kell spotted the power conduit, loaded one of his last three grenades into the launcher, aimed, and fired. The grenade flew straight and true, struck the conduit, and blasted it apart. The orange beam flickered and crackled, then fell silent.

“Dragon’s Rage to boarding parties – that did it! The dampening field is down!†Ember exclaimed over the radio. “More good news; we’re not alone. I have six UNSC Cruisers and four Sangheili Warships nearby – all of them untouched. Get to the extraction point and I can get you all outta there!â€

“Acknowledged,†Kell responded, “Are there any more survivors?â€

“Affirmative,†Sheila affirmed, “we’re picking them up. We have... hang on... we have a lot of survivors, plus several ships that managed to avoid detection from the Vhorson, apart from the UNSC and Sangheili ships – reading two Klingon K’vort-class Birds-of-Prey, two Romulan D'deridex Warbirds, four Klingon Negh’Var Battlecruisers, three Romulan Birds-of-Prey, one Venator-class Star Destroyer, three Providence Destroyers and two Lucrehulk Battleships. They all stand ready to support us.â€

“Good – have them make best speed to out location, and once we’re all off, we blast this damned station out of the stars!†Kell growled with glee. The trip back to the FCP was more eventful than the task of finding the dampening field generator. With their station falling apart, the Vhorsulans did everything in their power to stop the boarding parties. But the boarding parties, having completed what they boarded the Vhorson to do, were leaving – all they had to do was follow the trail of dead bodies out. Kell and his team made it out, with Zuka and Soha leaving with the boarding parties to their ship and Kell, Spyro, Cynder and Nine translocating back to the Dragon’s Rage.

“The Eisenhower and the Warrior’s Hammer both report their parties are off the station,†Ember reported as she surrendered the Captain’s chair to her husband.

“Detonate the explosives,†Kell ordered, “And ready on the guns. Battle alert.â€

Several explosions ripped holes in the Vhorson, and the UNSC and Sangheili ships, working in conjunction with the Dragon’s Rage, fired MAC guns and Mass Drivers at the station. The Klingon and Romulan warships fired next, discharging disruptors and photon torpedoes at the station that blew divots out of the hull. The Providence Destroyers, Lucrehulk Battleships, and the Venator Star Destroyers fired a volley of lasers at the station, tearing more out of it. Sangheili ships discharged plasma torpedoes, UNSC vessels fired Archer missiles, and the Dragon’s Rage launched Kadgeron Torpedoes as the other ships present fired a volley of laser cannons. The resulting light show was both spectacular and awe-inspiring. The station, incapable of fighting back and unable to withstand this assault, fell apart. The main reactor ruptured, and as the mixed fleet pulled back, the station exploded...

... And so ended the threat of the Vhorsulan invasion. But there was no time to celebrate now. Even with Flame marrying Amber in the aftermath, there was still much to be done. Avalar was under fire, and Spyro moved quickly to save his home. After visiting several parallel dimensions, Dragon Force had amassed a massive fleet – code-named the Marauder Corp – and set their sights on Avalar...

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  • 2 weeks later...

Ah, yes - the final chapter of Legacy of Dragon Force Book III. Don't worry, though - this isn't the end.

Chapter Nine

The long-range sensor post near Avalar detected it, and Dragonarian military intelligence confirmed it. The Rhinoharadan had amassed a colossal fleet, and were headed straight for Avalar. Dragonarian and Kemorainian fleets were sent to Avalar, but the enemy fleet was simply too large. They needed more time and more ships, and they were short on both.

The Commander of the fleet over Avalar – Vice Admiral Doth’lee – was nervous. Though a seasoned veteran, he knew that there would be heavy losses in this battle. He just didn’t have enough ships. Whoever the Rhinoharadan were, they had spent years building their fleet. How they kept such a fleet a secret remained unknown, but what was certain was their leader – Lord Malkorr – had intentions of galactic domination.

“Sir,†Admiral Doth’lee’s Ops officer chimed, “I have incoming translight sigs – but they’re not those of the Rhinoharadan!â€

Doth’lee’s heart stopped cold. “They’re headed here?†he asked.

“Aye, sir,†the ops officer replied.

“Prophets of Dragonaria protect us,†he mumbled.

But the fleet that appeared wasn’t what he expected. There were ships from factions he couldn’t even begin to imagine. And at the head of that fleet...

“Sir,†Comms proclaimed, “We’re being hailed... by the Dragonarian warship Dragon’s Rage!â€

Doth’lee frowned. The Dragon’s Rage went missing in the Doltec system – no one had heard anything from them in days!

“Kell, old friend,†Doth’lee asked, “What are you doing here? Everyone thinks you’re dead! We saw the report of how you went missing!â€

“We’re hard to kill, Admiral,†Kell responded. “With us are factions willing to aid us against the Rhinoharadan – because they, themselves, have been attacked by them.â€

“If Lord Malkorr and the Rhinoharadan want a fight,†Spyro added, “Then we’ll give ‘em a war.â€

To Be Continued...

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