|"Nice, except for the fact that all you chess pansies are a bunch of map hackers."|
|Journey, part 7: The Pilot and The Master|
|Date: ||06/02/02 11:06|
|Game Type: ||Other|
|Report Rating: , # of Ratings: 1, Max: 7, Min: 7|
Lifetime Rating for citizenKane: 8.2143
The journey continues.
Today, you will get a glimpse of the power which they must face.
The power which I must face...
At the end.
Haman stared down the path. Shattered, broken wheat, smashed flat by the dust storm, lay scattered around him. The ship, door open, sat uselessly about 20 yards away. Beside him was Barnes. Behind Barnes was Greg, standing close to Gerard’s car. Greg moaned.
Barnes asked, “Why isn’t Gerard coming out?”
Haman was concentrating. He concentrated best while sitting, but there was no place to do so. There were seats in the car, yes, but he found that he thought better out here in the sun.
He was trying to sense something. He had a hard time sensing what was going on the ship. There were faint traces of evil, but something drowned out everything else, like static drowning out a picture. The source of disruption was, in fact, right under him.
A powerful conduit lay buried underneath what was the clearing... but that was not important now. He would get to it later. Right now, he needed to know what was going on in the ship.
* * *
The cargo bay was almost completely dark, but they both could see.
Gerard was against the wall with nowhere to run, and the demonic long-haired spiked thing was opposite him. It sized Gerard up with its penetrating red eyes.
“Hah!” it said.
In response, Gerard delivered a powerful fist directly into its face.
The thing flew backwards an impressive distance and landed face-up among the crates and boxes in the rear. It promptly got up and raised a dangerous-looking fist, screaming with rage, but a kick to the jaw promptly closed its mouth and sent it flying. It bounced off the celing, making a sizable dent, then landed hard on the floor. Gerard attempted to kick it, but it rolled out of the way, got up, and aimed its elbow at Gerard’s face, attempting to stab him with its arm blade. Gerard, cat-like, spun out of the way, grabbed the things arm, and hurled it over his head into the ground, making another dent. He promptly picked the thing back up and pinned its armblades to its forearms. Gerard guessed that its armblades were like extensions of its elbow so that pressing them to its arms would lock them straight. Gerard was right; its arms were locked stiff as a board by Gerard’s powerful hands. To complete the hold, he planted a foot in the thing’s back and pressed hard. It was a bizzare pin: Gerard, standing upright on one leg, holding straight the thing’s arms and pressing it between the shoulder blades with the other leg.
To Gerard’s great suprise, it groaned in pain.
“You always were the stronger one, Gerard.”
Gerard almost released the creature in shock, but he caught himself. “What are you talking about?” he said quickly. “What do you know?”
The thing, pleased by this turn of events, commented, “Do you know nothing? The ritual was certianly more sucessful then we ever dreamed— ow!” Gerard pressed harder on the thing’s back.
The thing appeared to grow even more pleased. “Ha! You think I am at your mercy?”
“Damn right you are! TALK!” He pressed down with his foot, and the thing made a grimace.
“My my my, we are certianly— OW!— angry today— Damn man! Stop kicking— OW!”
“I will stop when you talk!”
“Ha! Why should I talk when I can—”
Gerard promptly swung the thing by its arms around and slammed it into the wall. He spun it around the other way and slammed it against the wall again. He then spun it around in circles, picking up momentum, then released it, hurling it into the opposite wall. As soon as it got up, Gerard was upon him, landing a powerful flying roundhouse to the thing’s face. He then picked up a crate and was about to throw it at the fallen thing, but decided better of it and tossed the crate aside. He jumped with force; ricochéd off the low celing— and halted in midair.
This took Gerard completely by suprise. He wasn’t planning to halt in midair.
Everything seemed to stop. The thing lay on the floor, glaring at Gerard. Gerard’s feet dangled about a foot above the thing’s angry hard face.
Gerard tried to move. He flailed his arms; tried to adjust his balence, but he didn’t move. He hung there.
Slowly, the thing got up. In the stillness, Gerard got his first good look at it. It was about the size of a normal human, but it was completely black and wore some sort of ring mail armor that blended well with the skin. Long blades protuded from its arm, leg, finger and shoulder joints. They didn’t stick out, but they stuck forward, like extensions of the bone. It had long hair, tied up in a ponytail behind its head, black, scarred, tough leathery skin, and ferocious red eyes. Those red eyes were now only inches away from Gerard’s face. Gerard looked down, and saw that it, too, was floating.
The thing glared at him with anger. Then, slowly, its lips curved into a smile.
“You never were the magic user, Gerard. Quite strong, yes, but no magical abilites.”
Gerard regained his assertiveness. “What are you talking about?”
“Hah! The great Gerard, the Guardian of Atlantis, one of the Nine, does not even remember who he is.”
“I’ve lived longer than my memory. Refresh me.”
“But surely you should remember ME! Or if not me, my master! He goes by many names, he does. Everyone on Earth knows at least one of them! Surely you have heard of—”
There was a crash. The cargo bay door burst open, and Haman ran through, catching his breath.
“I came as fast as I could, Gerard. I sensed... magic... being... used...” His eyes drifted from Gerard, hovering in midair and, Haman could see, bound by magic; to the thing, eyes glaring, levetating on its own power.
For an instant he paused. He saw the scene, but his mind had not yet registered the full gravity of the situation.
Then his brain kicked in, and he struck— trailing spiraling bolts of blue hurled from either hand. It deflected the shots easily with its wrist blades, but it was distracted long enough for Gerard to land a back kick. It was knocked down; tumbled toward the Magician in the doorway. It got up and raised a nasty fist, but as soon as it did, Haman speared it with a bolt of magic directly through its heart. It only hesitated a moment, though, before hurling the fist at Haman. At the same time, Gerard screamed “Duck!” and Haman ducked, narrowly dodging the fist. An instant later, Gerard gave it a flying kick to the back, sending the whole thing flying dangerously over Haman’s head. Gerard followed, leaping nimbly over the Magician.
The thing made a direct dash toward where the clearing used to be, now strewn with flattened stalks and clearly marked by the small, dust-caked car and a shocked-looking Greg. Barnes and Greg watched the thing dash toward them, Barnes ready to fight, Greg ready to run. But the thing ran past them and simply ignored them, stopping in the middle in the clearing. Then the two saw Gerard exit the ship and Haman come close behind, and promptly ran to the pair for protection.
The black thing turned. Gerard’s sprint slowed, stopped. He stood there, momentairily alone, in his dusty black suit and shining sunglasses, his mouth slightly open. Haman came up from behind. The breeze kicked up, making his robes wave and billow. Barnes, in uniform, joined the Magician at his side, and Greg joined last, fear in his shining blue eyes. The four stood there.
And that thing watched them. It looked to its side, where the car was parked. It gave it a hateful look, then extended its hand and with a blast of magic blew the car far out of the clearing. It landed upside-down several yards away. Then the thing turned back to the four.
Haman could sense evil. He sensed evil in it, yes, but he also sensed waves of a dark foreboding force eminating from under it. The two seemed to resonate with each other. The conduit under the field also gave off an aura. They joined with the forces of that dark creature and grew stronger; and the strengthing of it served to amplify the energy of the conduit under him. It was a feedback reaction. Like a microphone placed too close to a speaker, the two fed off each other; grew off each other. The energy grew darker, more powerful, more irresistible. They were a thousand times greater than what Haman had felt back on the spaceship. To the Magician they were a vicious repulsive force, trying to push him back. It was like nothing he’d ever felt, and he could barely hold them off. They threatened to enter his soul and consume his mind. They threatened his very being.
Haman could sense a magical barrier, walling the thing in— or walling them out? He probed it with his mind. It was inpenetrable.
None of them knew what to do. They stood there, facing the thing opposite them. Something rumbled, and it began to glow. Faint, red aura surrounding it. But the aura grew.
Oh, did it grow.
* * *
Travesdain walked into the cockpit. The plane was a massive 747, and five of the six pilots’ chairs were occupied.
Travesdain thinned the membrane of space-time. The five pilots didnt feel anything when they and their chairs dissolved. They didn’t feel anything when their quantam particles dissolved into the membrane of space-time like drops falling into water. In less than an instant the cabin was empty.
Travesdain extended a hand, and without looking, the cabin sprang to life. Lights flashed. Switches flicked by an invisible hand, knobs twisted by an invisible wrist. The needles on gauges sprang to life, and the planes engines let out a roaring yawn. The control stick, steering wheel and steering pedals all turned in unison, and the plane entered its taxi 30 minutes ahead of schedule. The gate, which had just attached itself to the plane, now pulled away.
Joni was halfway through the walkway when he felt it move. He broke into a dash without thinking. Down the hall, toward the retreating plane. Past the controls. He hurled himself from the gate to the plane’s open door, and caught it with both hands. He hoisted himself up and closed the door behind him.
Travesdain heard the door close, and Banon saw it close. But they both pretended not to notice.
* * *
The ground was shaking. The wheat on the ground bounced and scattered like grain over a tresher. The sky was grey but the wind was warm.
A red point of light appeared on the ground, behind the thing. Gerard and Haman stared intently, and Greg and Barnes just stared. The point of light split in two and went off in opposite directions, tracing a line on the ground. No, an arc. The two points of light traced a red circle that didn’t fade but grew stronger. The two points met in front of the thing and vanished, leaving only the disc.
It was exactly where the clearing used to be.
The red circle of light started to radiate— not outward, but upward. It grew in intensity, forming a focused pillar of red that surrounded the thing in some earthly power. The power seemed to overwhelm Haman, an irresistible force that pressed against him like a vicious riptide.
The thing was almost completely engulfed by the all-consuming light, now. It laughed, a roaring amplified disproportionate laugh that filled the air.
“This!” it declared. “This, it is the power of the Master!”
The wind howled and everything seemed to glow in the red light. Gerard’s hair was blown back and his suit flailed. The wind was strong, but Gerard stepped forward into it.
“What are you talking about!?”
The thing laughed again. “You do not know the Master!”
“The Master!” Gerard’s voice was empty, small, nearly drowned out by the wind.
“Yes, the Master! You do not know him, but you do, really! The whole world knows him!” Its voice seemed not to overpower the wind, but to work with it, resonate off it.
“That you will find out in the afterlife! When He takes possesion of your soul!”
The ground heaved and the wind roared like a passing train, but amplified a thousand times. Haman was backing away. The red pillar of light was almost solid, nearly completely engulfing the thing, and it filled their vision.
“When you are screaming for mercy, remember what I said! When the Master is burning your soul down to its very coore, remember me! You dared to make a fool of me! Vengeance is mine, in the end!”
Haman was backing away quickly now, and Greg and Barnes, though transfixed, were unconciously following Haman’s lead.
The roaring was unbearable.
“Remember me! Remember my vengeance! Remember my words! Remember, now, the price of opposing the Master!” It threw its arms up high.
Instead of backing away, Gerard stepped forward.
“Who! Who is this bloody master—”
A blast of wind, and the pillar of light was completely solid now. A blast of wind, and Gerard was blown off his feet. The ground heaved and stuttered. The wind blew like a hurricane, throwing dust and crops. Throughout it all was a rising tone, a loud, pure, resonant sound, ever rising. Something painful to hear.
They all looked to Haman.
“Run.” It was a whisper, inaudible. But they did not need to read lips to understand the message.
Haman, Barnes, Greg: They turned and ran.
Gerard straightened out his glasses, took one glance back at the pillar of light, and followed.
Thunder crashed, and lightning flashed. The sky was in turmoil. The clouds rolled in.
* * *
The 747 was empty. Its prolific ranks of seats were unoccupied, and the isles were devoid of activity.
The engines roared.
Joni was aware of the 747 speeding up. Faster, ever faster. He was almost thrown off his feet, and had to grab an empty chair to break his fall.
He looked out those tiny windows and could see the scenery rushing past.
Suddenly, the floor tilted. The plane nosed upward into the air. And despite protests from the control tower, Flight 687 took off thirty minutes ahead of schedule, Travesdain as the pilot.
The journey continues June 9, 2002.