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Myth Galaxy Universe
This article exists only within the Myth Galaxy setting.
Operation Money Cushion
Main author(s) User:Krayfish, User:Nra 'Vadumee, User:SupcommMonroee, User:IceBite
Timeline 2142 AD
Story arcs Dark Prophecy story arc
Wordcount {{{words}}}
Operation: Money Cushion follows the GSSOC attempting to capture a Dark Warrior.

Chapter 1: The MissionEdit

A computerized voice said, "All GSSOC members, report to room F3. All GSSOC members, report to room F3."

Tholker said, "Looks like we got another mission. Let's go."

They all quickly made their way to the briefing room where they saw Grandmaster Ckeros there.

"Greetings GSSOC team. We’ve finally located what we believe to be a Dark Warrior at the galaxy famous hotel on Herit. Your mission, should you choose to accept, is to infiltrate this resort and capture this individual. It won’t be easy as we believe that Hashaeon fanatics are in the area as well."

“I don’t understand,” Etah commented. “How can there be Hashaeon activity this far away from KMF territory?”

Ckeros added, "That's why you are on this mission. To verify if the Hashaeons and the Dark Warriors are connected. I have no idea if the rumors are true of the Dark Warrior’s powers, but stay vigilant."

Galiana said, "Dark Warriors. I wonder how I would hold up against them."

“And may I also add that this will be a covert operation as our target is very elusive. As far as we’re concerned, you are all taking shore leave, and you just so happen to be nearby. Don’t worry. The finance team will cover any costs you might incur for the mission”

“Wait, what?” Ahrganot asked. “For real?”

“You mean we are…” Galiana wondered. “Oh my gosh, a vacation at a galaxy resort...for free?!” Galiana said squeeing with excitement.

“Don’t get ahead of yourself, kid,” Tholker said. “You’re here to work.”

“Oh relax, Tholker,” Etah chuckled. “This will be a covert operation. If we’re going to blend in, we’re going to have to make it look like that we’re in no rush. And that means you’ll be enjoying yourselves down there. Consider that a direct order.”

Chapter 2: Galaxy-Class HotelEdit

"Check out this new ammo! See that needle on it? It'll inject some incap agent-"

"It's a tiny sleep dart, then." Ahrganot cut in.

"Yeah, but it's not like the kind you see in all those movies. They'll go out rapid fire like any regular round, and I also have some AP in case the Imperial Police Force gets involved. Look, I got two different kinds of clips." Tholker pointed at a small, orderly pile of SKAR magazines in his open bag, on top of two shirts and a pair of shorts.

"Who needs rapid fire when you can have a gun that fires a concentrated beam?" Ahrganot said. "You'll hit far more precisely on the first try."

"Well, what if you’re surrounded by a mob of enemies? It’s better to just spray them all at once."

"Really then?" Ahrganot said drawing his pistol, changing out the battery and turning it on. “You’ll sacrifice accuracy if these enemies have special weakpoints.”

"Oh c’mon. You gotta admit. Rapid fire is so much more fun in that-"

"Ahem, you two. You've both been at it for ten minutes. I’d rather not have the rest of the team think of you as gun-loving psychos." Etah commented sternly, briefly looking away from the wheel.

"Well sorry, I just think it's rather important to know everything about the gear you're trusting your life with."

"Heh, don’t worry Tholker." Galiana chuckled twirling one of her knives in the air. “I’m probably just as crazy about blades. Like this one right here actually. It vibrates on a molecular level so that it cuts through pretty much anything.”

“Pretty neat,” Ahrganot said. “Though I still prefer my energy blades. My own daggers are interfaced with my brain signals so that I can send in Maj to produce...well...all sorts of things. Ice crystals are my favorite.”

“We should get moving soon,” Sol I Dor said. “Our ride is going to show up soon.”

The five special operatives rode in silence until the family-sized hovervan neared the grand, exquisitely-designed Natanail Beach Resort. Three marble spires surrounded a glass fountain that must've been almost ten times as tall as Etah, serving as a sort of beacon for the dropoff zone in front of the enormous structure.

"Everyone ready? Because here we go..." Etah said with a hint of anticipation in his voice as the van pulled into the circular dropoff area.

Tholker quickly zipped up the open bag sitting next to him as several other team members ensured that their gear was safely in their bags and suitcases. Almost as soon as Etah stopped the vehicle, attendants of a variety of different species flocked to the van, eager to assist in the unloading. Tholker, Ahrganot, and Galiana exited the hovervan on the right side doors, onto the brick plaza, while Sol I Dor stepped out from the left passenger door and into the road while Etah exited from the driver door. The team quickly dismissed any help offered to unload their bags, but did allow one attendant to move their van to the parking garage. They wouldn't be needing it, anyway.

"I'll go check in. Etah, Sol, Galiana, take the stuff up to... room 926 in that building over there", Tholker pointed to a tower connected to the resort's main building by a skybridge. She did not hesitate and took off right away. "Ahrganot, come check in with me, watch my back."

As three of the team left with their equipment and spare civilian cover gear, Tholker and Ahrganot approached the rotating glass doors leading into the lobby. While Ahrganot scanned their surroundings discreetly, Tholker used one of the self check-in terminals to receive room keys.

After checking in and taking a quick walk around some of the immediate shops and gardens, they went to meet up with the rest of the team in their room. A large, luxurious room with a gorgeous veranda, built for what could only be for no less than the richest noble families.

Galiana was awed at the room. "There’s nothing like this on Timari! Or heck, anywhere in Delson space!"

Ahrganot replied, "Yeah, it sure is. I must admit, it's pretty fancy."

Tholker snarkily replied. "Only downside is that there’s terrorists prowling about.”

Sol I Dor said, "What about locating the Dark Warrior? Obviously, we can’t check every room, and whoever it is undoubtedly used an alias."

Tholker replied, "That's where I come in. I can easily take control of the security system here with my mind. It'll give us a set of eyes and we can more easily navigate this place."

Etah said, "It's hard to imagine doing this mission without you, Tholker. Those cybernetics of your serve you well."

"Yes, they do..." Tholker said while having some doubtful thoughts in his head. For now, he ignored it and proceeded to get on with the mission.

Tholker began hacking into the hotel's security system using the room's terminal which opened up a holographic screen the whole team could see. He gained access to each of the security cameras. He saw many android guards clustered in one particular hallway.

"I'm sensing something rather disturbing at that hallway," Ahrganot said pointing to the screen.

"What is it?" Tholker asked. "Is it the guards?"

"Not just the guards. What's behind that door. Can you feel it, too, Sol?"

"Yes, I can." Strangely, it felt compelling to similar to an enemy he had encountered before. He could not put his finger on it though.

Etah concluded, "It must be him. From the mission brief, I recall that Dark Warrior’s special abilities come from manipulating dark energy, and as such, they emit a signal only detectable by certain species, including Dhragolon and Delson."

“Is that what it is?” Sol I Dor asked. “I’d always thought it was more mystical in nature.”

“Eh,” Tholker said. “Don’t think the ‘why’ matters really. At this point, tech’s gotten so far out and advanced that it’s basically magic.”

Something odd started happening on the monitor. Tholker said, "Guys, look. The guards are acting strangely as well." An Eteno was passing by the hallway. One of the guards pointed a device that looked like a gun, but was not in fact any sort of weapon. Or maybe one of those fake guns out of laser tag. And then, the Eteno vanished in a puff of smoke, reappearing elsewhere in the hotel utterly confused.

Galiana said, "What the heck was that?"

Ahrganot said, "Teleportation guns? Haven’t heard of that kind of tech."

“No, look closely,” Tholker said. He tried to zoom in as much as he could given the limited resolution he had, but could still figure out what was going on. “The gun didn’t do the teleporting. I’m reading the emission of some electromagnetic radiation...It’s probably some kind of marker instrument.”

“So that puff of smoke must be work of the Dark Warrior itself?” Ahrganot said. “He can teleport others so long as he knows where they are.”

“We’re dealing with a dangerous foes here.” Sol I Dor said, "How are we going to go about capturing him if he can teleport us at will?"

Etah stood silently in contemplation for a moment, sitting down on a nearby chair. Raising his hand to his chin, he thought for a moment.

"I think the first thing we need to do is gather more information on the area; who's here, who knows what, where can we go for what; I get the feeling that mingling about and making connections will help us here. Maybe show our presence some...

"I still don’t like that idea, Etah,” Tholker said. “We're here for a covert mission, so why would we want people to know we're here?"

"Perhaps the Colonel is willing to use us as bait...?" Sol interjected.

"Very good, Sol. Yes, I get the feeling that if we give the terrorist the scent of blood, he'll come to us. Then it's a matter of capturing him."

"Not bad, Etah. Guess your whole vacation plan will work after all." Tholker said with a smirk.

"I believe you should stay here, Tholker. You're our eyes with the security system." Ahrganot remarked.

"Ahrganot has a point, Tholker. We need someone who can coordinate our efforts and be our eyes in the skies. You will remain here." Etah said with an officer's confidence.

"But...but... alright, fine..." Tholker resigned.

"Now we should determine where the rest of us should go. We need to be spaced apart, but we need to maintain contact at all times. Tholker, which two areas of the hotel are best for mingling?" Etah dictated.

"Let me see... hm... lots of good places actually. There’s a casino and dinner room. The casino's got all kinds of gambling games, mainly cards and slots. The dinner room doubles as a theater and it has a bar in it, too. And there’s a pool, as well as a-"

“I’ll take the pool!” Galiana blurted out excitedly. “Sorry, never gotten a tan under two suns before.”

“Should’ve come to Grjdonsk with us last mission, then. That planet had three suns. You’d love it there - aside from the Kklxin trying to blow up the particle accelerator that is,” Tholker said. “Anyway, what about the rest of you?”

“Think I’ll prowl around the maintenance and restricted areas,” Ahrganot said. “I don’t do well with crowds.”

“I’ll go up on the roof,” Sol I Dor said. “My psionic senses have the broadest range out there.”

"Hmm...neither of you grabbed the casino?” Etah inquired with a slight smirk. “Oh, then it’s all mine. Who wants to see how it's done?”


Chapter 3: Funnel CakesEdit

Galiana lay down on a long chair next to the pool, positioned so that she could get a view of a large section of the resort. The suns pleasantly warmed her face gently. Herit’s main G type star took front and center while the second, smaller M-type sun was not much brighter than a supergiant many lightyears away. Even so, it still counted as a binary system.

Even at the pool, she would rather not take a dip though. Swimming among other aliens, especially those squid-like Garro would make her uncomfortable. Not that she had anything against cephalopods, but they just seemed...icky.

But she wasn’t here to take a swim anyway. Just to observe. Doing as Etah instructed, she got herself fairly comfortable to blend in. Starting to work up an appetite, she went over to a nearby concession stand where a Dhragolon vendor stood. The famous Herit funnel cakes. Using the Senate money allocated for the mission, she bought one for herself, taking it back to her long chair getting ready to sample the exotic, alien dish. But before she took a bite into it, a telepathic voice echoed in her head.

“Wait!” Sol I Dor called out to her. “Don’t eat that!”

“Oh c’mon, dad. It’s vacation. I’m not too worried about dieting right now.”

“No, I can smell something wrong.” Galiana was wondering if Sol I Dor was judging her deviation from her normal meals. When preparing for combat or high stress situations, Galiana would go on a strict diet of Delse-origin foods rich with symbiotic microbes to ensure absolute, top physical condition - and a factor that made Galiana develop to be a tad stronger than normal humans. But this time, it didn’t sound like he was criticizing her taste. “It’s poisoned. Moritzian Sephalo toxin extract.”

“Sephalo?!” Galiana exclaimed in her mind. “What the heck is that doing all the way out here? We’re nowhere near the Wollstonecraft system!”

“Perhaps it was imported on the black market. You need to act quickly before they start handing out more poisoned cakes out to the other patrons. Otherwise, we could get ourselves in the middle of a very ugly situation.”

Great. What a waste of a perfectly, scrumptious-looking funnel cake. She perked up, trying to be discrete. She headed to the concession stand to buy another one.

“Eager for seconds,” the Dhragolon casually asked. Galiana nodded her head, pretending to be excited. “I’m afraid you bought our last one. We’re going to have to make more.” And with that, the stand closed. And despite the fact that just before, she eyed the machines behind him and the gauges that indicated the levels of ingredients remaining. More than plenty. The Dhragolon was aware that his plot got foiled. At least it was a quiet day and there weren’t others crowding around trying to buy them all. It could have been a lot worse.

That was undoubtedly a Hashaeon. Most were Karnasaurs, but these were Dhragolon for some reason. In fact, she could have sworn that there wasn’t a single Karnasaur at the resort aside from Etah. Well, after all, Herit was much closer to Dhragolon space, while Karnasaurs pretty much lived on the opposite side of the galaxy. To see one out here would be exceptionally rare - chances are the Hashaeons knew that, so they recruited Dhragolon to better blend in.

But just who was this Hashaeon working under? Who was this Dark Warrior? She heard rumors of them being able to teleport on command without any wormholes. Like magic almost. But no. Ahrganot always insisted that there was no such thing as magic. It was always one of three things: Psychic energy. Maj. Or something to do with quantum physics.

Galiana turned to Sol I Dor, whom she could see perched atop one of the resort’s buildings where the higher elevation enhanced his psychic sensory abilities.

“I think they might know that someone’s looking for them,” Galiana whispered using Sol I Dor’s telepathy. “We better start acting quickly.” Galiana returned to her long chair to keep watch of her sector, but even though she was still hungry, her appetite was now spoiled. At least for the duration of this mission.

From the top of that building, Sol I Dor looked to see where the terrorists would go next. Eying him carefully, trying to learn where he would go. Sol I Dor pulled out his communicator - he knew Tholker wasn’t a fan of that whole telepathy thing. And it didn’t work too well with him anyway given his cybernetics.

"Got a possible target,” Sol I Dor said eying the Dhragolon that was at the funnel cake stand earlier. “I’m watching his movements time now.”

Sol I Dor continued to scan the area. The terrorist was headed straight for the casino, moving with a very determined purpose as if he knew exactly where he was going. Knowing that they would soon find Etah, Sol I Dor stretched his bat-like wings and lifted off. He then glided down towards the Casino, ready for when Etah would need help.


Now this was annoying. Tholker had just breezed through five layers of security, only to find that if he wanted complete access to the resort's servers, he would need to be at a security office. The resort had three, one of which was in the same building that the GSSOC unit established as their headquarters. Unfortunately, it was on an isolated level nearly thirty floors down, accessible only by staircase. It took Tholker only a short time to conclude that entering through a most-likely guarded chokepoint was not smart. There'd be fighting, and fighting would mean noise and the possible alert of other guards. That would mean trouble, and undoubtedly, the attentions of the team's target. Unacceptable.

Fortunately, there was another way. Like all rooms in the complex, the security office level had windows. With a SKAR in his hands and his most basic training backing him up, this would be a cinch. The hardest part would be evading any civilians who just happened to be looking out their windows, or standing on their verandas. Even that was a plus. Tholker'd get to do some cool maneuvering.

He synthesized the best possible route to weave through on his way down as he disconnected from the room's sole computer port and carefully opened his one large bag. They may have been tough, but it was a good habit to take care of your weapons, lest you ever find yourself stuck with a second-rate weapon in a fight for your life and you break it. His SKAR 41 sat on top of an orderly row of rifle magazines, above a stack of clothing. Beneath the clothing was another weapon, a high-power anti-material rifle. That thing could burst through pretty much anything short of a heavy tank. If everything went according to plan, shit would hit the fan and that thing would be a savior.

After acquiring his rifle and clipping his magazines to his belt under his shirt, Zhevhyit walked out onto the veranda. He looked down, seeing if he could spot any of his team. Sol was perched atop one of the taller buildings, scanning patiently for anything of interest. Ahrganot was far below, making his way from one building to another on a cobblestone pathway.

"Hey, Sol, turn your head around." Tholker said over the team's radio.

"What are you planning to do, jump?" Sol replied.

Ahrganot stopped, and looked up at the GSSOC's veranda in the distance, and the Eteno crouching on its railing.

"If you intend to leap, at the very least, don't attract any attention." Ahrganot chimed in.

"Who said anything about leaping? An Army Colonel named Orlovski came up with this one, just watch!"

With that, Tholker turned and attached a grappling hook from the under rail of his SKAR to the railing of the veranda before vaulting backwards, flying out about fifteen feet before gracefully landing against the side of the complex a good twenty feet below the team's room. From there, he casually walked down the wall to the security office's single great, black-tinted window.

After clipping his rifle to his belt, Tholker used tiny laser cutter to slice open a hole in the window, before kicking off from the window and flying in.

"Security can't even handle me right now," He chuckled over the radio over the distinct sound of darts being fired, "And now, I can offer whatever resources the resort security team has to offer to you, instead. The things I do for my friends, I tell you."

Ahrganot said to Tholker over the radio, "Well, good job. Can you get me a view from down here?"

"As you wish."

Ahrganot could now see in third person thanks to Tholker. He wore a piece of headgear on his left ear that transmitted such images. He volunteered to sneak in through the backdoor - go through the restricted areas and into the behind-the-scenes of the hotel.

Chapter 4: Casino Battle RoyaleEdit

Etah head straight for the poker tables with no hesitation. The plan was to sweep around, then rendezvous with the rest of the team in two and a half hours for dinner.

"What version is this?" Etah asked the human card dealer.

"Texas Hold 'Em, sir. You know the rules?"

"Yes, I am familiar. Buy in?"

"20,000"

"High Stakes?"

"Yes, sir."

"My favorite." Etah said with a devilish grin as he slipped on his shades and paid his credits.

Sitting down, he shut down all neuroanalytic cybernetics. He would neither want nor need them. He looked around at the table. There seemed to be three pros; These were the ones he'd have to watch for. Two of the players were rich new guys; They were just giving the game a whirl since they had money to lose. Easy pickings.

Hours later, Etah was half-drunk, smoked half a pack of cigars, and the last man at the table with the Eteno pro. Both players were against the wall. A crowd gathered to watch these final moments.

The dealer dealt out the hands. Etah took a peek and put on a grim face.

"All...in..." The Eteno said, pushing his chips to the center of the table.

"...I call." Etah replied.

The dealer dealt out the river...

...Ace of Hearts...

...Queen of Hearts...

...Queen of Spades...

Then the flop...

...Four of Diamonds...

Etah's heart pounded. 120,000 credits were on the table.

Finally, the dealer dished out the showdown:

Jack of Hearts.

Smiling devilishly, the Eteno slammed his cards on the table. Four of Hearts and Four of Spades. With the queens, that made a full house. He laughed as he took the chips. Etah looked aside, ashamed.

"You know, you really should wait until I show my hand. Be a good sport at least..." Etah mumbled. "When you get a load of this. READ IT AND WEEP, BOY!" Etah shouted, suddenly filled with vigor.

Slamming his own card down, it showed a Ten of Hearts and King of Hearts. A Royal Straight Flush. The single best hand in the game.

The crowd roared violently with enthusiasm as they cheered the newly named Poker Champion. Etah chased out and left the casino, realizing he would be late for dinner.

"Damn Etah, and I thought I was good at bluffing..." He heard Tholker say over the radio. But only mere moments after Etah got up, he heard a telepathic message in his head

"Etah, we’re going to have to put dinner on hold. A few Hashaeons are headed your way," Sol I Dor said.

"Really? Oh, well, and I thought this day wouldn't get any more fun!" Etah replied.

A Hashaeon approached Etah. He seemed normal looking enough, save the pistol he tried and failed to hide on his hip.

"Colonel Etah?"

"Aw, you've got to go and spoil it all by coming up to me first? Look at you, you've got a gun. That's it? Just a gun? And you're not even just gonna shoot me? Oh, but you know it won't help, me being who I am, and all. So you've just, caroused on over here, like all stupid hitmen do, and asked if I was the guy you were being paid to kill. Because the point, usually, is that they answer to their name, look around, and that's a big sign saying, 'Go on, then! Shoot me!', and you do just that; you shoot them! But then there's me, oh, by the Angels, I've done this so many times... Unlike the standard fare, I don't just turn, but I turn and just go on yapping away! And you're stuck there, ready to shoot, as I'm talking, and for some reason, you never shoot! It's like you're being courteous to the man you're trying to kill! I mean, really! In the amount of time I've spent talking and identifying all your cohorts, all 49 of 'em, all with hidden but military-grade weapons, and planning exactly how I'm gonna kill you all, or at least incapacitate, you could've shot me a dozen times over, giving the signal for the rest of them to start shooting! Then, you could run off as I start to bleed out, and detonate that big-ass bomb you've got stored in the bar. Judging by that damned scent, that's not alcohol over there, is it? It's necronis. You're lucky I’m the only Karnasaur here, else there'd be a panic. The bomb'd go off, spilling necronis everywhere, including on me, and I'd melt away, leaving nothing but a bloody soup and my clothing to say I was killed. The whole fiasco gets blamed on terrorist bombing, and you get away scot free! But, no. Instead of getting the honor of killing the 'Immortal Colonel', you had to go and spoil it all for yourself and your friends by going and spoiling it all... by coming up to me first. Shame you won't learn from your mistake. Give Cain my regards, I guess."

And with that, Etah moved with more speed than any normal Karnasaur could ever achieve and snapped the hitman's neck. The rest started to pull out guns.

"Oh, I LOVE MY JOB!!!" Etah exclaimed.

Chapter 5: Breaking InEdit

Ahrganot walked into the building he was headed towards and immediately saw a chain link gate labeled "Restricted Access". A guard was stationed at the door. He would attract too much attention if he were to confront him.

Instead, Ahrganot pulled out a custom device of his that made sounds appear from other locations. He set the setting to footsteps. After getting close, he activated the sound, playing footsteps from the opposite side of the gate.

"What was that?" the guard said readying his rifle. He quickly looked around for a little bit and then tried to perk his head over the gate trying to spot. "Is someone there?" Not being able to see anything, he unlocked the gate and stepped inside while Ahrganot stealthily followed behind. Then he did a front roll into a shadowy area nearby and took a stance where he placed his hands against the walls to keep hidden.

"Hmmm...must have been my imagination. Better get back to my post."

Ahrganot continued sneaking about quietly relaying messages to Tholker about his current position. Ahrganot snaked his way through tangled bunches of pipes. He eventually arrived in a gigantic boiler room.

"Okay, see that up there?" Tholker said through radio pointing at a ledge about 300 feet from the ground. "That's where you are going."

"Hmm...I don't see any ladders. No problem. I can climb up there."

"You sure?"

"This is just like training. I can handle this." Ahrganot said. The twisted pipes were just like the trees of Oasis Cavern, a large underground jungle buried within the frozen reaches of Aggateya. Climbing these pipes would be just like climbing the vines.

Ahrganot leapt up and grabbed a vertical pipe connected to the ground. It was like climbing a tree. At the top, he balanced himself on pipes, going on all fours. He could see a few workers below. Soon or later, he was close to the top.

Ahrganot could see the ledge ahead as well as a metallic door. The jump was a bit far. He looked down. If he were to miss, he would fall down 300 feet. Even if he were to not break a bone, he would still draw attention. Regardless, he closed his eyes and took a leap of faith.

As he leapt through the air, he reached out to grab the ledge, but he didn't jump correctly. He found himself grasping with just one hand. True, he was a Dhragolon and could take the fall, but that would draw the attention of the guards.

In one quick, swift motion, he hoisted himself upwards, pressing on to hack his way past a nearby metallic door to continue following Tholker's directions. To Ahrganot's right, he saw an opening leading to the ventilation. While it was not exactly practical, it was a shortcut. Luckily, the hotel was not a military compound or secret base. An architect of such a place would have been smart enough to make the vents too small for anyone to crawl through to prevent exactly this kind of thing.

Ahrganot slithered his way into it and eventually found himself just over the room they've been looking for. There were no guards around. Etah's diversion had worked. Ahrganot dropped down from the ceiling. He located the room.

“So...what about that dinner?” Ahrganot asked. “Don’t really want to go all the way back downstairs. I’m already here. Didn’t take as long as I thought.”

“That was actually pretty fast,” Tholker said over the comm.

“Dinner’s on hold for now,” Etah said. “I’m having a bit of fun with these Hashaeon goons. Go on and move in for the capture.”

Chapter 6: The Dark RoomEdit

Ahrganot picked the lock using some codes Tholker sent him, and he opened it up. The room was almost pitch black dimly lit by some candles. Markings of blood were all over the walls and there were some skulls on the nightstands. He saw a Dhragolon wearing crimson robes sitting at a chair not even aware Ahrganot had stepped through the door. Ahrganot quietly hid in the shadows. Then, he got right behind the crimson-robed Dhragolon. He quickly, put his left hand to the Dhragolon's mouth then put his knife to his throat.

Ahrganot said, "Don't move. You're coming with us." The Dhragolon suddenly vanished into a dark cloud, then reappeared a few feet away.

"Geez, don’t sneak up on people like that," the Dhragolon said. “It’s creepy.”

"And these occultish decorations aren’t creepy? You must be the Dark Warrior," Ahrganot said. “Skilled in the forgotten art of dark energy manipulation. Capable of pushing yourself through the universe to instantly move from location to location. Locking yourself in time to prolong your life. The very art that also messes with your brain causing you to go mad with power - the reason why your kind was hunted to extinction.”

"No shit, Captain Obvious.” Umbra slightly squinted his eyes and tilted his head. “Hang on.. You’re that Ahrganot dude, right? Yeah, back on Eska. I was totally gonna kill you, but no. You just had to go and reveal my face."

Ahrganot replied, “I wasn’t finished beating you to a pulp. You ran like a coward, so now let’s end it."

"Pfft, you can't be serious, can you? The two of us battling each other like this in my own room? That's not a fair fight is it?" Umbra sarcastically replied. "You know what? Let's make it even. I'll bring your friends over here, too." Umbra snapped his fingers. That instant, Etah, Tholker, Galiana and Sol I Dor appeared in the room out of thin air. A quick headache passed across Umbra - teleporting others especially multiple people at the same time was exhausting. Ahrganot noted this - a possible, exploitable weakness. Or just at least the fact that his teleportation had limits, and he couldn’t say, toss everyone into the planet’s core at a whim.

Each of them were just as surprised. Etah was crouched on the floor, his arm positioned as if he was trying to choke someone or use them as a living shield, while his other arm held his plasma revolver out as if he were in a firefight. His eyes were filled with excited vigor while his mouth was in a large grin that seemed to say 'I LOVE MY JOB!'. In fact, he even shouted "COME ON, YA LITTLE PUNKS! COME AT ME! I...", until he realized where he was now, and stood back up in surprise as his teammates looked at him curiously

"How the heck did I get here?!” Galiana shouted.

“Dark Warrior sorcery I presume? Whatever the case, I was a little busy when this fellow brought me here,” Etah said.

"Little fellow? The name’s Umbra Castra, you know. I’m like a disciple for these Hashaeon dudes or something like that, but who cares? I’ve got these sweet, awesome superpowers."

This was not really the type of guy Tholker, or rather any of them, were expecting to have a leadership role in a deadly terrorist organization. “It wasn’t very smart of you to bring the guys trying to abduct you right inside of your room,” Tholker said. “Not to mention, you even had the courtesy to bring in all of our equipment and weapons, too.”

Umbra turned to the side dumbfounded at such a basic mistake. Desperately, he resorted to his own pride and taunts to justify it. “Well, it’s not like they’ll work against me or anything like that.”

“Just say goodnight, kid. You’re coming with us,” Tholker said, firing his incap shot at Umbra hoping to knock him out quickly. To the GSSOC's shock, it just passed right through him, not even leaving a scratch.

Tholker said, "Impossible..."

Sol I Dor was equally shocked, but something about the power Umbra used was eerily and sickeningly familiar to Sol I Dor.

"These clothes are expensive you know. Eh, whatever. I got them for free anyway. Being able to cheat physics has a lot of perks. You get a following of people who believe you’re a god."

"Typical," Ahrganot said. "You gave in to your own greed to attain those powers, didn't you?"

"...So?" Umbra replied. "There’s no downsides, really. I’ve been enlightened, dudes."

“We can make this very simple if you’d like,” Etah demanded. “Do you work for Renr Gron?”

“Screw you, piss face,” Umbra said rather immaturely. “I don’t answer questions.”

“What were you doing at Eska at the time of the Genodraco attacks?!” Etah asked. “I know you were there. You had a sparring with Ahrganot!”

“What was your mother doing in my-”

“Childish bastard,” Tholker muttered. A brief moment of silence came up. Tholker, realizing that Umbra was not being reasonable, readied his pistol. "Let’s teach this guy some manners," That instant, Umbra snapped his fingers causing Tholker's cybernetics to disable temporarily. He cringed in pain as dropped to the ground, his vision turning black. Tholker struggled to stand up again as his cybernetics turned on once more. Already, he was panting hard as his life flashed literally before his eyes.

“Ha, look at that,” Umbra said. “I also got control over machines, too.”

"Those powers you have are evil!" Galiana said.

"You jealous or something? Go cry on your mommy’s shoulder,” Umbra sarcastically paused. “Oh wait, she’s dead. Or what about your daddy’s? Nope. Dead, too. Any living relatives at all? Nope. All dead. Smoked in a barbecue by those Harbingers. No, wait. Harbingers were the guy that torched Gaea. Harvesters torched Ashadra. Either way, you hairless monkeys got burnt up. So go cry on the shoulder of that spiky bug freak father of yours. No, take that back. You’ll puncture your face.”

“Shut up!” Galiana gripped her blade harder about to strike down. “You sick, deranged, mentally insane, despicable son of a-”

“Galiana! Just ignore this loser,” Etah turned to Umbra and stared him down cold. "He’s probably so insecure about himself that he has to resort to saying hateful things about others to boost his own ego. Nothing but a filthy little troll." Etah discreetly reached for his revolver.

"Ouch, that actually hurt my feelings,” Umbra said with a subtle hint of sincerity. “I bet you must be fun at parties, Etah.”

“Oh believe me,” Etah said fondly recalling his session at the casino. “I am.”


Chapter 7: One Against FiveEdit

Etah clicked the trigger of his pistol, firing a shot, but Umbra only teleported away easily dodging it. Tholker kept firing his guns at Umbra, Galiana pulled out her energy pistol and fired. Ahrganot sliced Umbra up a bit and so did Sol I Dor. Nothing seemed to work. After an exhausting battle, Umbra burst out laughing.

"Wow, you guys don’t learn. I’m a freakin’ Dark Warrior. We don’t die! We can’t be killed!"

Ahrganot said, "Then explain how the Dark Warriors got driven to extinction at all. They were defeated once, by primitive Dhragolon no less."

"What do I know? Or care?" Umbra said, "Alright, I'm not going to even try to dodge any of your guys' moves. Just hit me. Come at me, bros!"

Galiana let out of intense fury from Umbra's insults took advantage of the opportunity chopping up Umbra. If it had been a fleshy Dhragolon, he would have been cut up in at least one hundred pieces. "Why won't you die!" Galiana shouted. Umbra stood there tapping his foot.

Ahrganot intervened, “We’re not doing anything to him at all. His powers allow him to phase in and out of existence. He is literally warping reality itself."

Tholker paused having no idea what he just said. “What?!”

“Sol I Dor,” Ahrganot said. “Try out your psychic attacks.”

Sol I Dor said, "Well, it's time you get a demonstration of the true power of a Delson Psykeeper!" Sol I Dor charged forward getting ready some psychic blasts of energy. As Sol I Dor's face tensed up, Umbra instantly went from being cocky and arrogant to mere coward.

"Oh shit...I wasn’t counting on this..."

Umbra cowered as he got hit straight on. It was enough to knock him over.

"Argh!" Umbra shouted rather wussily. Umbra quickly teleported away to another corner of the room. "No, no, no, no. This isn't supposed to happen. I'm supposed to capture you guys, not the other way around!"

Tholker shouted, "Get him, Sol I Dor!" Sol I Dor went after him infusing his hits with psychic energy.

"Umbra, stop running away like a coward!" Sol I Dor said.

The Dark Warrior looked at him. "Oh? You want some of me? Fine. It's my turn now!" Umbra formed two spheres of dark energy in his hands and threw them towards Sol I Dor who promptly dodged them. Umbra's movements were much faster. This time, he was trying to appear behind Sol I Dor, but Sol's quick reaction time allowed him to dodge them. Then, with one swift blow of his mace tail, Sol I Dor knocked over Umbra on the ground disabling his teleporting abilities. Umbra was physical now. Sol I Dor put a foot on Umbra's chest and held an arm blade to his jugular while the Dark Warrior begged. "Okay, okay. I give up! I give up! Now, can you get off me, I can't breathe."

Tholker said, "You're coming with us." Tholker shot Umbra with a tranquilizer dart knocking him unconscious. Etah got his communicator. "Batra, beam us up. We got him."

Chapter 8: Plan BEdit

Just like that, four out of five GSSOC team members plus Umbra vanished into pillars of light, safely nestled within the bowels of Batra. Tholker however, stood perplexed, still in Umbra's candle-lit room of magic.

"Batra... Why am I still here?" The hum of helicopter rotors appeared in the distance, growing louder and louder with each passing second.

"Hang on, this doesn’t make any sense! You’re not even showing up on sensors!" Sol I Dor replied, surprised and worried.

"What do you mean, I don't exist?!"

"Umbra must have done something to your cybernetics. I can’t get a signal lock on you."

“Crap…”

"That's it, then. Listen, we need you to go to-" The comms were cut off by the guns of an HV-17 shredding apart the walls. Now these Hashaeons were getting serious. They probably didn’t take too kindly to GSSOC capturing their Dark Warrior demi-god. No wait. A Kklxin sat in the pilot’s seat. They must have been tipped off by the Hashaeons. Now they were here to exact revenge over that whole particle accelerator incident.

Gun and laser fire flooded into the chamber, prompting Tholker to throw himself into the old, metal door, veiled by the obscene concentrations of smoke, fire, and debris behind him. The door put up no manner of resistance, and merely popped off its hinges, sending Tholker rolling into the boiler room that Ahrganot had snuck through before. Eteno and Kklxin alike rushed across the catwalks and weaved throughout the massive boilers, packing rifles and machine guns. Zhevhyit was no difficult target to spot in his current position, and gunfire was expediently opened up on him.

The Eteno commando side rolled into the wall, drawing a particular amount of relief from the brief lull in people shooting at him. Nearly breaking its sling, Tholker tore his rifle from his back and into a firing position. A brief check of the magazine showed that he had wasted a significant amount of ammunition on Umbra, and promptly swapped out the magazine for a full one hanging from his belt. He slowly crept forward, and poked his head around the corner ever-so-carefully. Dozens of guns simultaneously let loose entire magazines of ammunition, pelting where Tholker's head had been a split-second before with hot lead.

So they were waiting for him to come out. That made escape a little bit more complex. From his position, there wouldn't even be a gunfight, just a hail of enemy fire with one or two blind shots from around a corner mixed in. From the broken iron door behind him, Tholker heard the HV-17 touching down. The only reason it would do that would be to deposit men. It was time to act.

Mustering every last scrap of power afforded by his cybernetics, Tholker bolted out of his cover, and into the depths of the boiler room. His attackers were quite unable to land even a single hit on him, their vision blocked by boilers and heavy machinery. A mad dash ensued, with many of the pursuers abandoning their positions on the catwalks to chase Tholker on the ground.

It was exactly what he wanted. He could react exponentially faster than any of Umbra's goons, and wasted no time in placing a single dart right in the neck of each one he came across. Recalling the schematics of this particular section of the resort, Tholker navigated his way out of the humid chamber and out onto a precarious ledge. A steel stairway led to a security checkpoint, where a new sight caught Tholker's attentions.

FRAU teams, armed and ready to charge up the stairs. Beyond them, in an employee parking lot, Were dozens of IPF trucks and cars. The hoverjet that had originally shot at Zhevhyit swung around from the other side of the complex, and trained its guns on him. There was only one way out. Tholker crouched, and slung his rifle over his back, recalling the schematics of the HV-17 loaded into his skull.

Just as Umbra's goons began to spill out onto the metal ledge, Tholker leapt into the air, his arms outstretched to latch on to the hostile jet. Two panicked Kklxin pilots fumbled for their sidearms as the Eteno plopped onto the front of the cockpit, before swinging himself around to the left, face-to-face with the co-pilot.

"Lights out, bastard!" That was all the co-pilot heard before his head crunched against his control panel and control stick. The helo lurched forward, but the pilot abandoned his sidearm and clutched his own stick, just barely managing to avoid crashing into the complex before him.

"You're next."

Tholker crawled over the co-pilot, and tore off the pilot's harness. Through his victim's helmet visor, Tholker could see nothing but pure, unadulterated fear as he was pushed out of the HV-17. Now influenced only by the co-pilot's stick, locked forward by his unconscious body, the hoverjet lurched forward and sped towards the boiler complex.

Just as Tholker leapt out, Umbra's goons on the metal ledge tried to squeeze themselves back inside the complex, but it was no use. The helo would crash right through the wall, and it was full of armed ordnance.

Zhevhyit landed more-or-less gracefully, rolling into a short tree. He wasted no time rushing into the jungles cut oddly close to the perimeter of the resort, basking in the warm glow of destruction behind him. Sirens rose from the parking lot adjacent to the demolished boiler complex. The IPF was giving chase.

Two light hoverjets combed the jungles from above, supporting the dozens of FRAU personnel hacking through the jungle with heavy equipment. Small patrol boats hugged the shore, some aiming searchlights into the thick green, while others fired light deck guns and machine guns blindly into any of Tholker's possible paths. He was in relatively little danger, however, as he had pulled a fair distance ahead of his pursuers, deep into the bowels of the hot jungle. Mindlessly, he barged through whatever nature put in his way, paying no heed to the damage done to either him or his environment, nor the trail it would leave behind.

"Batra! Can you hear me?"

"We read you loud and clear. We have a helo on standby to pick you up, where are you!?"

"The jungle. You keep that helicopter on standby for me, and I'll let you know exactly when I think I've lost the IPF, and am in a clearing."

"Wait, the IPF? Captain Zhevhyit, what are you-"

Tholker turned off his ear radio. He'd told them all they needed to know.

Chapter 9: Changed ForeverEdit

...aboard the Batra...

The mission was a success. Umbra was captured, but not without a great cost. Tholker had finally joined up on the Batra, just in time for them to start interrogating Umbra. He was binded and stuffed inside a brig protected, closed by a forcefield. Umbra was attached to a device that prevented him from using his Maj powers - typical protocol for holding a Dhragolon captive.

"Oh good, I haven't missed anything yet," Tholker said.

"What happened to you down there?" Ahrganot said.

"It's a long story. You can read the mission report later," he said. "And where's Etah and the others?"

"He's in a meeting with the rest of the Senate right now," Ahrganot said. "He can't be here. Sol I Dor is there, too, discussing Galiana's status on the team. So he left us in charge of the interrogation."

"Okay, guys," Umbra said. "Can you just get this over with? I don't like spaceships."

"Then start talking," Tholker replied.

"What if I don't want to talk?" Umbra replied. "Can't I just sit here all day and insult you?"

"Let's cut to the chase," Tholker sternly replied. "What were you doing at the hotel?"

"I was gonna take over the whole thing as my very own place before you GSSOC party poopers showed up."

Tholker stood there utterly baffled. He had difficulty figuring out if he was joking. “You became in league with a fanatical terrorist organization known for mass murder, the slaughter of innocent people, and for worshipping what equates to absolute evil in Karnasaur holy texts...to own a hotel?”

“Oh, c’mon who doesn’t want their own private resort?” Umbra said. "Not to mention, all the exotic alien ladies are active this time of Herit's year. There was this Garro that I was going to-"

“I’m sorry, but you are really dumb,” Tholker abruptly cut off not wanting to be indulged in whatever perverted fantasy this idiot had conjured up. “I am genuinely surprised at how someone as utterly stupid as you came to pass in the gene pool. You don’t even qualify as Kklxin stupid - and those guys are just mindless clones who know little more than eat, crap and kill.”

“Wow, that’s low,” Umbra snidely remarked.

”Okay, next question: How did you even get those magic, teleporting powers anyway? After what you just said, I really doubt you're smart enough to learn them yourself.”

“I got them from your mom.”

Ahrganot put on some protective earmuffs as Tholker played a sound above the frequency range of most species. To a Dhragolon, listening to this sound was pure torture. Umbra began to cringe and shriek. "Hear that?" Tholker slyly asked. "That's the bullshit alarm. It plays whenever I don't get the answer I want to hear."

"That's childish," Umbra said. Physical torture was considered ineffective against Dhragolon as they rapidly healed themselves. Obnoxious sounds were far worse, boring into into their minds like a drill.

"Okay, so why do you have a following of Hashaeons?"

"They think I’m connected to the gods or some crap like that," Umbra replied. “I don’t know. They’re a bunch of hokey, religious nutcases if you ask me.”

"But you willingly joined them. Where do you fall in the hierarchy? Clearly, you have some sort of superior. Is it Renr Gron?"

"It’s your mom’s boyfriend," The buzzer sounded again and Umbra shouted as the sound plagued his ears. "Stop it! Please, I beg you!"

Tholker said. "Now, I'll ask again. Who is your superior?"

Not wanting to hear the buzzer again, Umbra said, "It’s Renr Gron. I met with him on an uncharted planet in the Karnasaur Frontier Worlds. He hired me because the guy who gave me my powers was their god. Saying that I was annointed a Dark Warrior through destiny or something."

"And who is this god you speak of?"

”That’s Cain. Cain as in that Karnasaur legend they’re all swooning about.” Tholker reached for the buzzer. “No, no, no! I swear it! He’s absolutely real!”

“But you said you didn't believe in the Hashaeon cause.”

”No, but this Cain guy really was the one who gave me my powers! He doesn’t go by that name anymore though. He’s taken on the form of...wait, what his name...it was...it was…”

“What’s the name?” Tholker asked impatiently.

“I’m sorry, but he keeps changing his name all the time! He’s gone by Altus Banya, that dead Dhragolon king. And hell, even a master at that Dhragolon ninja academy. Falan Rusit.” He noticed a distinct look on Ahrganot's face which flared to restrained rage. "Umm...is there something on my face?"

"Alright," Ahrganot said. "This is personal now. Why do you work for Falan Rusit!?"

"Umm...uh...what?" Umbra was too scared to say anything coherent.

"Do you even know what you have gotten yourself into you little punk? Do you have any idea who you are working for?!" Ahrganot raised his knife and held to Umbra's jugular.

“Err...no?” Umbra whimpered.

“You’ve signed a contract with the devil himself, the man that took everything from me. You’ve crossed the threshold of absolute, irredeemable evil. It’s a long trip to hell, and you are going to burn in the fires of Brunikor and scream in agony, unable to escape the torment.”

"Damn, man," Umbra said. “That’s dark. Not my kind of funny dark, but dark as in not funny at all shit your pants kind of dark.”

"Yes, you won’t be finding it funny," Ahrganot said. "But I will find it hilarious. Tell me, one thing: What does Falan Rusit want?" His eyes widened and stared upon Umbra as if he were a great predator glaring at its frightened, cowered prey.

"I...I don't know..." Umbra said. "He doesn't tell me anything."

"Don't test me!" Ahrganot said slightly raising his voice. Tholker took a step away from Ahrganot. This was not the casual, socially awkward assassin he once knew. As if his very own soul slipped away.

"Okay...okay," Umbra said apprehensively. "He’s been following the Dark Prophecy!"

"Dark Prophecy?" Ahrganot said. “Elaborate.”

"I don’t know the details, but it has something to do with the Harbingers being reborn again and destroying all civilization, just like they did tens of thousands of years ago! That's the truth! I swear it! I only got involved because I wanted the sweet superpowers! Nothing else!" He paused for a moment and whimpered. “Please don’t kill me!”

That pathetic creature which acted as an elite, now on the bottom rung. Ahrganot raised his knife about to plunge it into Umbra's head before Tholker interrupted him. "Ahrganot, we still need him alive!"

"Tholker!" Ahrganot said. "He’s told me all I need to know. It’s time I punish the wicked."

That moment, sinister voices echoed even louder in Ahrganot's head. The booming of both of his hearts roared like thunder and his ears rung. Reality seemed to slip away as darkness clouded his mind. He no longer had a grasp over himself. Tholker could see the look in his eyes - something unnatural and rather frightening.

Ahrganot let out a bestial hiss then charged at Umbra raising his knife - icicles suddenly jutting out, generated from Ahrganot’s Maj. Without his Dark Warrior abilities available, Umbra could only watch defenselessly as the Dhragolon raised his icy dagger and plunged it into his heart. The stab didn’t kill him. Ahrganot smiled with sinister glee as he plunged the dagger into Umbra again and again, carving him out like a pumpkin as Umbra writhed and screamed in agony until life left his corpse. Umbra was now dead, but Ahrganot's rage continued. More ice crystals jutted out from Ahrganot's scales like spikes. This was something no Dhragolon or any species wanted to see - a Maj frenzy, something that happens when a Dhragolon loses control of his emotions.

Tholker shouted, "Schoslung! That was a bit overkill."

"Out of my way!" Ahrganot fired a telekinetic blast slamming Tholker against the wall. He wasn't injured, but the sound of him hitting the wall alerted the other two GSSOC members at the Senate meeting. Galiana was sent by Etah to check on the racket, trying to stay in his meeting.

"Ahrganot!" Galiana said. "What's going on?!" Only moments later, Ahrganot drew his knife out and attempted to strike her. Galiana quickly jumped out of the way in panicked surprise. "What are you you doing?!"

Hearing the sound of the racket, Etah left his meeting and hurried to the brig. He shouted, "Ahrganot, what the hell is wrong with you?" Etah managed to grab Ahrganot by the back of his neck, then pinned him against the wall. "Pulling a knife on your comrades?! Explain yourself!" Etah shouted.

"Let go of me, Etah!" Ahrganot replied condescendingly. "My business is my own!"

Etah shouted, "Ahrganot, you’ve stepped out of line! You are on the verge of betraying my trust in you as a fellow team member, so you better damn well calm down or I’m going to have to toss you out the airlock!"

That moment, Ahrganot came to his senses. His tenseness faded and he lowered his dagger. "Where am I? What’s going on?"

“Ahrganot?” Etah said eying him suspiciously.

“Oh Jamzeze, what have I done?” Ahrganot said. “Is anyone hurt?”

Etah elected to release his grip by removing Ahrganot from the wall and letting him drop to the floor. “No one except for that Dark Warrior who you just gutted to paste.”

“I failed you, Etah.” Ahrganot stood up once more slowly. "I let myself get emotionally compromised. I...I need a moment to collect myself. Maj frenzies are mentally exhausting." He trudged away, opening the door to the cargo hold then closed it behind him.

Galiana stood up, still frightened from what just happened. Curiously, but later regretting it, she headed over to the brig to where the incident began. Her stomach churned at the site of the utterly lacerated remains of what was once the Dark Warrior. Actually, it was barely recognizable as a Dhragolon at all. More like just a collection of body parts. She had seen Harvesters chopping up corpses and stitching them together to form other things, but the fact that Ahrganot - the very same Ahrganot that rescued her from a POW camp years ago - had done this was far more sickening than anything the Harvesters could ever do.

“Forget that Umbra idiot, Galiana,” Tholker said. “That guy really had it coming. I would have killed him, too, just not in such a needlessly violent way.”

"I...I always thought the Dhragolon suppressed their emotions just to be all prim and proper...I guess there's a-a real reason for it now..."

"You cannot fathom the power of things like hatred, wrath, and envy... but at the same time, Ahrganot has yet to learn the three things which are even more powerful, and that is why I fear for him" Etah said.

"Wh-What three things?" Galiana inquired.

“I'm certain you'll learn, young one. It's Ahrganot I fear will learn them too late, if at all..."

After a short pause, Tholker said, “Okay, I’m getting one of the bots to do cleanup. The corpse is really starting to stink up this place.”

Chapter 10: Peace and ChaosEdit

"Ahrganot, you've been sitting there for the past few hours now," Etah replied as he was passing by. "Are you alright?"

"Etah, I'm fine. I feel serene in places like this. All the boxes and pipes cluttered together. It makes me feel safe. I've been meditating here ever since we left Herit's system," Ahrganot replied.

"Are you...sure you won't go into another outburst?"

"Well," Ahrganot replied. "You know that blood haze you experienced back on Eska? That frenzied, hyper adrenaline feeling?"

"Yes," Etah said. "Only a handful of Karnasaurs are like that."

"Well, for Dhragolon, everyone has it. We’re all forced to bottle up our feelings to the point where they become explosive. Not a single moment goes by where I am not restraining my own rage and hatred towards Falan Rusit. The moment I slip, I get frenzied. All the things he did to me: turning my brother against me, murdering my master. For reasons only a madman would chase."

"I've felt the same towards Renr," Etah said. "I saw what happened to him. He was implanted by those damn Harbingers, his mind warped and twisted. If the Harbingers are coming back, then we’re going to be see more and more people implanted - turned into those things."

“But Umbra was never implanted. He was just some conniving bastard who joined their cause at his own free will,” Ahrganot said. “He chose to follow their schemes for the wealth and power. And I suspect my brother gave in to the same temptations.”

“What are you talking about, Ahrganot? Is that why you-”

“Took it so personally,” Ahrganot said finishing Etah’s sentence. “Yes, as a matter of fact. Back during the Dragonslayer mission, I got a message from my brother. He told me to go to the moon of the brown dwarf Telossia to end the conflict between us once and for all. And perhaps then I can find out who Falan Rusit really is. Perhaps to find out the true reason why the Hashaeons worship him.”

“The galaxy is a big place. Let us help you! This is what GSSOC is here for.”

“No, Renr poses a larger immediate threat. You need to go after him because that’s your mission. Consider me taking leave to resolve family business.“

Etah paused for a moment. He couldn’t turn him down. Ahrganot’s brother. Just like another Renr in a way. ”I know you should come with us to go against Renr, but if your brother is a Dark Warrior, we could hit two birds with one stone. It’s the only other lead we have besides Renr in uncovering this conspiracy.”

“Thank you, Etah,” Ahrganot said. “I’ll make use of my time wisely.”

Etah paused for a moment and turned his head aside as if he was reminded of some distant memory that occurred long before any of his teammates were alive. “Ahrganot, do you know why I follow the principle of chaos?” Etah asked. “It’s because when you are 5,000 years old, you start to see things repeat. You outlive everybody you care about, and even among those you do, you forget them. I’ve dated and loved so many Karnasaur women, but now I can no longer remember their names. Not even those sweet, tender feelings I had towards them. But chaos incites change and diversity. It helps me remember things and adds meaning to my experiences. I’ve never worked with so many different aliens at once, even in all my years, so even for me, GSSOC is a new experience.”

Ahrganot nodded. “I see. I just simply seek harmony and inner peace. Taking control of my own feelings and shaping them to forge and improve myself. My mind is constantly scattered and disorganized, and I must work hard to keep everything in check. I learn to control it, and then I can channel my powers to use for good.”

Etah nodded. “A fine worldview to have. We come from different planets, but we face a common enemy. And for that reason, we are allies and friends.”



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