Chapter 15: The catacombsElysium 1900 hours. Days to reality collapse: 4
It had been a grim ride back. Jasmine seemed almost to curl into herself, slumping in the back seat, just staring at the shattered crystal in her hands. Any attempts at making conversation received silence in return. Now she sat hunched over at a table in the temple, head in hands. In front of her, the Jump-gate and the crystals found so far glittered in the light.
"This is quite serious" Drake was saying. "The only other crystals of the same quality on Mukow are deep underground. It would take days to find one, days we simply do not have"
"Well, what else can we do?" replied Ratchet. "We don't have much of a choice. We need that crystal"
A group of scholars had assembled, trying to work out a plan. One of them, a delicate, ash-grey male with a whispery, husky voice, spoke up from the scroll he was reading.
"A thought occurs, esteemed Lombaxes. Maybe that exact crystal is not needed. Perhaps, a replacement can be found. What is the proper
Chapter 14 pt 2: trappedA few hours passed. In the shade of a large boulder, the three heroes quietly passed the time. Ratchet was entertaining Jasmine with some rather exaggerated stories from his past, while Clank kept careful watch, occasionally butting in to correct Ratchet when he "accidentally" got his facts wrong. Clank was starting to feel nervous. There were Blargs on this planet. He had seen them, it was likely they had released the banshee. So where were they? His optic sensors picked up a flash of green, and before he had time to call out, Drake was by his side.
"I've located a good sized crystal 3 kilometres due south"
Jasmine sprang to her feet, grinning from ear to ear.
"However, we have a small problem..."
The problem turned out to be Blargs. Lots of them. The small valley containing the crystal was packed with them, all armed to the teeth. Jasmines hackles raised as she spotted Miles, swaggering around with a retinue of bodyguards. Much to their relief, Kaos was no-where to be seen.
Chp 14 pt 1:Cry of the bansheeDay broke over the forests of Elysium. Sunlight flowed over the forests, gilding every leaf with warm gold. It shone through the temple windows, the only hint of the passing of time, and illuminating the central hall.
Where a fierce argument was raging.
"I will not leave them here!"
Jasmine was not in a good mood. Her bruises were still aching, the skin on her face felt uncomfortably tight where the nano-tech had knitted it back together, and now Drake was suggesting this!
"Listen, Jasmine, it makes perfect sense. Why bring the crystals into danger. If they are with us, there is no risk of them being damaged. They will be safe here, I promise you!"
Jasmine growled, but she could see the sense in what Drake was saying. The jump-gate equipment would be safer there, but was she sure she could trust someone who had kidnapped them? Drake seemed nice enough, but she kept getting the feeling he was keeping something from them...
"We have a room in the temple we aren't using at t
Chapter 13 : SabotagePraetorian Guard Research and Development department. 0200 hours. Estimated time time to reality collapse: 5 days.
Howling winds battered the building, rattling the windows in their panes and freezing the water in the pipes. It tore wit a savage violence, almost lifting the building off its foundations.
General Cross sighed. Just another average day, really...
The longing to feel the warm breeze of Fastoon again was all that kept him going these days. He barely ate, barely slept. He knew the others worried about him, but he didn't care, focused only on the Project, terrified that one little detail they missed could destroy the entire thing. The thought haunted him, driving out all others.
His fingers flew over the main keyboard, running yet another calculation. It would be just like Ginger to forget to carry the Y again...
He heard the distinctive clatter of Bryant's leg brace behind him.
"Can it wait, Bryant? I'm busy"
"Oh I'm sure you can find time, General"
Chapter 12 Terror on terachnos"Hmmm"
Drake studied Ratchets star map carefully.
"I can't find it"
"Ah" The Zenithi chuckled ruefully. "I apologize. I am more used to teleportation as a method of transport. These maps are strange to me"
"That's OK, I can find Terachnos with my eyes closed. You leave this to me" Ratchet carefully adjusted Aphelions course.
"Its about a half hour flight"
Drake settled back down in his seat. He had to admit, this was a heck of a way to travel. Having spent his whole life teleporting from planet to planet, he had never flown among the stars, and was making the most of this unique experience.
"I say, this is quite a pleasant way to travel" he said, shuffling his wings as he got comfortable.
Ratchets sharp eyes spotted an odd, golden gleam.
"Hey, what's that?"
He hadn't noticed before, but a leather thong looped its way around Drakes neck and shoulder, disappearing under his wing.
Drake swept his wing aside, revealing a gold disc attached to the rope. In th
Chapter 11:Allies and answers"They WHAT?!"
Miles quaked with terror. Kaos stalked her chamber like a caged wolf, hissing with fury. The unfortunate Jarv had already met a terrible end, and Miles knew that only a miracle would save him from being next.
"T-they disappeared, Ma'am" he stammered.
"How in the name of Solana could they possibly have disappeared? They had the best part of half my army and the Ishkhan after them! How did they still manage to escape?"
"I d-don't know, Ma'am. I-its like they v-vanished into thin air"
There was a little flicker of hope.
"Maybe they sank in a bog" he said.
"This part of Sargasso has no bogs, you imbecile! No, they're out there somewhere. And I will find them"
"What about Qwark, Ma'am?"
She waved a hand dismissively.
"He's a bone headed moron with no spine to speak of. He is of no consequence. But the others...now they are a different story. Find them, Miles. Bring them to me in chains or bring me their heads, I don't care. Just find them. Prove to me that you ar
Chapter 10: Kaos"Hey! Keep your hands where I can see 'em mister!"
Ratchet scowled, but grudgingly obeyed. The four heroes knelt on the floor of a transport vehicle, hands on heads. Armed Blargs surrounded them, rifles trained on their hearts. Jasmine shifted uncomfortably. The carrier smelled to much like Ishkhan for her liking. A nasty suspicion flared. Maybe the Ishkhan hadn't been on Kreeli comet by accident...
Clank gently nudged Ratchet with his foot.
"Ratchet? Do you notice something strange about our captors?"
Ratchet looked. Now he thought about it, some of the Blargs were acting rather funny. Around half were acting as expected, shoving, laughing nastily and leering at Jasmine. (But only leering. A Blarg with wandering hands had come down with a nasty case of pain, and the others were keeping a careful distance from her) But others...
Ratchet was reminded of the ancient automatons he had seen in museums. Their movements were stiff, their eyes stared blankly ahead. They looked like z
Chapter 9: into the jungleSargasso. 2100 hours.
Miles shivered. Transferring the Ishkhan from Kreeli comet to the carrier had cost him six good men and now the black-plated monstrosity lay with its head in his employers lap like the galaxies ugliest puppy. The shadowy figure gently stroked it, dwarfed by its sheer bulk.
"Poor baby" she crooned, as a very nervous Blarg dressed its wounds.
"Did those nasty Lombaxes hurt you? Don't worry, you'll get your chance soon enough"
Miles tensed as her shadow-shrouded head swung towards him. There was the jingle of unseen jewellery.
"Another failure, Miles"
He hung his head.
"Perhaps I should have taken your advice and sent some raiders with it"
He bit back an "I told you so" You don't juggle matches in a fireworks factory.
"We really have underestimated them. They are dangerous foes"
The Ishkhan hissed, and the Blarg tending its injuries froze.
The Ishkhan relaxed, No-one could figure out how she had such control over a beast like an Ishkhan (t