12FormicThis is currently exclusive to this wiki. This is also fairly dark, rated E10+ by me. Reader discretion is advised.
Availability: The Nightfall Incident: The Rewrite is exclusive to this wiki!
Author's Notes: This is currently exclusive to this wiki. This is also fairly dark, rated E10+ by me. Reader discretion is advised.
January 30, 2012: NightfallEdit
It was January 30, 2012, 11 PM. And hour from then, the servers would be shutting down for the last time. Thousands were gathered in Nimbus Station. Rares were being given away for free. New players were still begging, even in the twilight of Lego Universe. Despite the time of night, many were still on. People were finishing up a few final missions, before their characters would be lost forever.
Shival had already sent many waves of Maelstrom, given away dozens of formerly Mythran-Only Items and features, and been using Macros like there was no tomorrow. Which, in fact, was true.
But there were still some other Mythrans around. Some who resented the fact that they would soon be unemployed. And they had a plan, to make sure that the Players and the Lego Company would pay for their decision.
Shival walked through Nimbus Station. He was sad that it had to end, but knew it was inevitable. He decided it was getting too quiet (After all, his Chat System was now showing messages that had been said almost five seconds ago). So, he decided to send in some Maelstrom. He started to type in the Macros, but then stopped. Some Maelstrom were already being spawned. He smiled, knowing another Mythran must have been thinking exactly the same thing as him.
The Players of Lego Universe fought valiantly, smashing Maelstrom left and right. But Shival noticed something strange. Players who were being smashed weren't coming back. Of course, being a Mythran, he couldn't be harmed. But he wondered why it was happening. Maybe so much lag because of the thousands here? He doubted it.
He sent a message to one of the other Mythrans, asking what was going on. Who had spawned the Maelstrom? Why weren't Players rebuilding?
The response was simple and startling clear. "We want to smash everyone. And no one is coming back. Ever."
Milligan had been on one of the new Guild Features Shival had released, with all of his friends who were on. They had been partying, telling jokes, smashing Maelstrom, and just having a good time. But suddenly, Maelstrom was coming in Nimbus Station in never before seen quantities. They kept fighting, but, one of them eventually smashed.
After a minute without seeing the Guildmate, Milligan asked in the Guild Chat where they were.
There was no response from the Guildmate, but after a moment, Hurricane said, "I see him! But he's a Stromling!"
"What?!" Exploded Milligan. "I'm coming!"
He quickly Teamed Hurricane, to see where he was, and came rushing to the race place, where Hurricane was facing off against a legion of regular Stromlings.
Milligan saw what Hurricane was talking about. Over the head of one of the Stromlings was the name of their Guildmate. Milligan drew his Daredevil Flareguns, put on his Space Marauder Jacket and Pants, laid his Sorcerer Shoulder Pads on his shoulders, and put his Sorcerer Hat on his head. All of these were Rank Four of course. (Shival had given everyone all of the Gear from every Rank of Every Faction earlier that month).
Lighting himself on fire, he charged at the Stromlings, and used his Abilities to clear out the crowd, with Hurricane's help.
"Come with me," Milligan said in the Team Chat, and then repeated the message in the guild chat, adding that he wanted everyone to go to Red Blocks.
A bit less than a hundred Players met in Red Blocks. They had fought through the Maelstrom to get there. Near the entrance, there was a small squad of guards, to protect against Maelstrom Attack, but nothing yet. They stayed out of sight of the Central Plaza, so the Maelstrom wouldn't see them.
"So, why is everyone turning into Maelstrom?" Asked GoldenCrazyDragon.
"Well, I think it happens when you smash," responded TheMachine. "Like, somehow, you become corrupted! I think the Mythrans did it."
"Well, only one way to find out," Said Milligan. "I'll go to Nimbus Plaza, using my Invisibility Stone. A few of you come to back me up. Stay with the defense guard, I'll go on alone."
The group raced out of Red Blocks, nearing where Milo Snackpigeon hid in a bush.
"Stay here," Milligan said, as he continued on, using his Invisibility Stone, another gift from Shival. Rounding the corner, he saw something amazing- It was like the Battle of Nimbus Station. A massive column of Imagination was descending from the sky, with the entire Maelstrom gathered around it, staring up. At the top was Maelstromic Energy, slowly descending to the ground.
The Maelstrom's heads followed it, on its journey to the ground. When it reached the plaza, a massive explosion of Maelstrom enveloped the entire Plaza. When the smoke cleared, the ground was leveled, nothing was left. Well, except for the Maelstrom. And the Maelstrom Nexus.
From the top of the Nexus, a lone figure hovered to the ground. It was a Mythran.
"Hello, my followers! The Baron is no longer your leader! The slumbering Ollogothis, the Spider Boss, has awoken!" The Mythran shouted.
From the sky, the Spider Boss slowly floated down.
"I leave you now!" Shouted the Mythran, and he disappeared.
Ollogothis turned, and stared towards Red Blocks. Then, he slowly walked towards the entrance. Then, he charged.
Milligan ran, and turned off his Invisibility, so the Guards could see him, and retreat as well. Glancing back, he saw the Maelstrom rushing, pouring through the narrow walkway. When the Players back at Red Blocks saw them, they put on their best battle gear, and rushed forwards. ChampionSpaceCoyote and SupaCoopa, who had been on top of the tallest pillar, were commanding, from the more beneficial viewpoint, and dropping Massive Firecrackers on the Maelstrom.
Down in the field, many Maelstrom were smashed by the powerful Rank Four Gear, but for every Player of Lego Universe, there were at least a thousand Maelstrom.
Suddenly, the Maelstrom stopped fighting, and abruptly disappeared.
"What… Was that?" Asked TheMachine.
"I can answer that," Said Shival, who had appeared without anyone's notice. "See, some of the Mythrans were… Mad about Lego firing them. So, they're making your life horrible… And great. They want the game to stay open. Forever."
"And how is summoning Maelstrom and permanently smashing players going to do this?" Someone in the crowd shouted. Everyone murmured their agreement.
"I don't know," Shival said. "But I do know how we can stop them. We'll need to just smash them. See, they hacked into the game, and made it so that being smashed in permanent. So we smash them! It's that simple!"
"Um… Sounds good, I guess…," Milligan said. He didn't think there was anything to lose. After all, Lego Universe closed in fifteen minutes, anyways. "Let's go to Nimbus Plaza!" He shouted, and everyone raced off.
The group was crowded around Nimbus Plaza when it happened. Literally millions of Maelstrom were suddenly surrounding them. Everyone started fighting, but there were only a few minutes left before the servers shut down. But this was all just for fun, who cared if they didn't smash them all? They would just disappear into cyberspace until the end of eternity.
Milligan, and all the other players, had been receiving messages from the Mythrans that servers would be closing soon. After getting the one minute message, he just ran. Up to the Paradox Vendor, and jumping on top.
Thirty seconds. Blasting with his Daredevil Flareguns, he continued to smash Maelstrom.
Twenty seconds. Maelstrom started to attack his position in earnest. Many of his fellow attackers bad been downed, and the Maelstrom would soon overrun them all. He knew it didn't matter, but he wanted to be alive when servers closed.
Ten seconds. Milligan unloaded everything he had, and cleared enough room to go on the offensive.
Five seconds. The Maelstrom came at him again. He would soon be overrun…
Four. It would be over soon.
Three. His Flareguns blazing away, he raced through the crowd.
Two. He reached the Center of Nimbus Plaza.
One. The end… So many hours, days in LEGO Universe… It would be over in just a second…
But nothing happened. Milligan's computer froze on the final frame, and then, something happened. The screen started blurring together, and then, it turned… Purple. It swirled, and twinkled.
He blacked out.
"This is an emergency meeting of the Supreme Council of the Nexus Force." Duke Exeter, his face grim, said. "We must take roll call."
"Duke, just look around, and see we're bricking here!" Vanda muttered.
"Vanda, I know. I do see you're here, all of you," He said.
Hael Storm and Doctor Overbuild chuckled. Even Exeter, who was constantly troubled by being the leader and had so much responsibility, had to smile.
"Baron Typhonus, leader of the Maelstrom, our sworn enemy, our fallen comrade," Exeter began.
"And more titles you can bricking omit…," Vanda said under her breath.
Exeter tilted his head at her, but did not lift his face, and gave her a look, not stern, but of sorrow.
"Baron Typhonus does not want to be infected, in my opinion. Someday, we will free him. Regardless, he has issued an ultimatum. Surrender or he'll unleash a new, devastating weapon. Ollogothis, the Spider Boss," Exeter calmly said.
"Yes, I see you remember that…," Exeter said. "After all, I died saving your life."
The four glanced at each other. They all remembered or had heard what had happened there, on that terrible night on Gallant V.
"Yes, but…," Overbuild replied. "We know you did that. It was a great thing to do. So brave and honorable…"
"Thank you Overbuild. But let me continue. So, what shall we do? We must do something!" Exeter said, forcefully.
"I… Don't know. Where did he say Ollogothis would strike?" Hael asked.
"He did not say. It would have been a foolish thing to say, as we could have prepared for it," Exeter responded. He continued to stare at his feet.
"Good point, Exeter," Hael replied. His usual cheerful self-had been replaced by a new, sullen attitude.
"Well, we can't surrender. Obviously. So, we wait for it to appear, and attack it," Vanda said, glancing around the bland room at her comrades.
"I agree with Vanda. I feel as if we just have to wait. Once we know where it is, we can use… Everything we've got. Meeting dismissed," Exeter concluded.
Overbuild immediately left, trembling. He felt great fear at the Spider Boss returning. It could destroy all they had worked so hard to gain. And he had almost died by its hand… Or, more accurately, leg.
Hael left almost right after him, striding out, whistling some motivational tune, trying to keep his spirits up. But he, too, knew that when Ollogothis struck, it would be terrible.
Vanda, however stayed behind for a moment, gathering her things.
"Vanda, can… Can I have a quick word?" Exeter asked.
"Alright," she replied, clearly uncomfortable.
Exeter walked towards her. "I'm… I'm going after Ollogothis. I had to tell someone. But before I go…"
"Exeter, don't. That's suicidal."
"I know. But maybe I can weaken it before I go down. I'll leave later today. But I have to tell you something else, in case I don't return."
He moved closer, and wrapped his arms around her. Their lips met. Vanda was shocked and happy, but saw what was really going on, only a moment too late. Exeter's eyes weren't their normal blue. They were a terrible purple. She squirmed, but she couldn't break free.
Still kissing her, Exeter drew his sword, and killed her.
Velocity Lane, the race master of Vertigo Loop, stood at the front of dozens of Nexus Force Soldiers, each looking for some fun during their time off. They regularly came to Nimbus Station to reunite with their families, get better gear and weapons for battling, and race a few exciting laps on the exhilarating Vertigo Loop Raceway.
"Alright, are you ready to race?" Velocity shouted. Of course, she knew their response, but it always got everyone hyped up.
"Yeah!" The crowd roared back. The tension in the crowd was palpable.
"Alright! Well, your cars are ready! Get in them, and when I say "Go!" step on it!" She shouted back.
The crowd ran towards their cars, with only a few staying behind. She noted they were mostly low ranking soldiers, as they probably hadn't raced before, and older officers, who were too old and honorable to race, but still enjoyed watching.
Sky closed the gates, as she saw the racers get into their cars. After all the racers gave her the thumbs up, she began the countdown.
The racers were off, speeding down the treacherous, luminescent track at extreme speeds. After taking the first hairpin turn, Velocity wouldn't see them again until they crossed the Finish Line.
She stepped back, and stared fixedly at the gigantic screen showing the intense race. Four had broken away from the pack, one of each Faction, with one of the four even more out in front, the a member of the Venture League.
While she and the Nexus Force soldiers and officers had been staring at the screen, a shout rang out from the Center of Nimbus Plaza. They all turned, forgetting the race. Velocity took off towards Nimbus Plaza; the other observers were close behind her. But they never reached there. Rounding a corner, they saw the Vendors, other employees of the Nexus Force, and soldiers fighting a massive crowd of Maelstrom. Behind them a trio of dragons had lit the surrounding forest on fire. The Maelstrom, being undead, were unaffected by the heat. But the Nexus Force Soldiers were. Guns went off, swords clashed, but to no avail. The fire and Maelstrom consumed most of the Nexus Force, and Velocity ran back to the Race Place, her arms over her head to protect her from falling branches and debris.
She wasn't a fighter. Her sister, Sky Lane, was. Still, Velocity wasn't ashamed to be running. She raced towards the race place, just in time to see Dragons breathing fire on the track. While the racers were still racing. Screams came from the track, and then silence.
Velocity gasped in the horror of what the Maelstrom was doing. Such needless killings… She glanced over at the surging Maelstrom crowd, and saw just a few soldiers and residents of Nimbus Station holding them back.
An Ape grappled with Xeno Blueblade, the Sentinel Vendor, and then threw him to the ground at Velocity's feet. His mangled body was a gruesome. Velocity vomited. She knew she was going to black out in a moment from the human death, so she scrambled to hide behind a wall of tools. But before she reached it, a fireball from a Dragon left it a smoldering pile of iron and plastic.
An enormous Maelstrom Dragon rose up from behind the gates of Vertigo Loop, a stream of fire pouring from its mouth. Velocity gasped, and darted into the forest, flattening her body against a tree. Glancing back at the main Maelstrom Army coming from the plaza, and the carnage it was creating, she threw up again. Her head was going light.
She had to stay awake, just long enough to hide. The forest would soon be burned, so she couldn't hide there. She staggered towards a pile of rubble that had been knocked over by a shot of Maelstrom.
She got behind it just in time, as a few fireballs hit the ground in front of the pile. It shielded most of the force. Velocity, horrified by the carnage, explosions, and death, passed out.
Milligan awoke, from when he had passed out at his computer screen, when it turned purple. Slowly, the world around him took shape. The Vendor Stalls, the grass, the brick pathways, flowers, lampposts, benches, everything that was Nimbus Plaza. Except for the trees. They were on fire. And then he remembered where he was. Nimbus Station. He wasn't wearing Lego Universe clothes though. He was wearing the clothes he had left in. He wished he had a sword. Or anything. It would make him feel more comfortable, stronger, even if he didn't know a thing about using it.
He got to his feet, and glanced around at everyone else. They were standing in the center of Nimbus Plaza. But they were really there. Not staring at a Computer Screen.
"How… Are we here?" He asked. "This is… Crazy!"
"I don't know," Shival replied. He was glowing like a Mythran, and had no visible features.
"I guess we're… In Lego Universe?" Murphy said, startled. "How does this work? I mean, is it a real place?"
"But where is everyone?" LegoCastleBuilder asked. "The new players begging, Vendors, and the power's out… It looks deserted."
Everyone started walking around, the plaza, calling out names, "Nexus Jay?" "Cog Blammo?" But no one responded.
Eventually, someone realized what was going on. It was too quiet, too dark, too… Abandoned.
"It's a trap!" Milligan suddenly shouted.
"What?" Shouted GoldenCrazyDragon.
Proving Milligan's point, the ground shook. Everyone ran, but chasms opened, sucking most in. Walls crumbled down, killing more. Lamps, vendor stalls, signs, everything was crumbling to the ground.
The shaking stopped.
"What was…," Milligan began.
What followed was a moment of calm, during which the survivors glanced around at each other. They slowly approached the gaping chasms to see where their friends were, calling down to them. It seemed impossible that they had survived, but until they saw the bodies, there remained hope. And then…
Compared to what had just been unleashed, the next quake was even worse. More cracks appeared, everything crumbled, and when the dust cleared, no one remained.
Then, a small object descended from the dark clouds in the sky, and hit the ground. It bathed the ground in purple fog, and reached into the cracks, like tendrils of a many-armed beast.
Up from the cracks, newly born Stromlings climbed slowly upwards.
Exeter had called Overbuild and Hael back to the conference table.
"Vanda has gone to kill Ollogothis. She told me after our meeting, but I couldn't stop her." Exeter explained.
"What? Why would she do that?" Hael asked, startled.
"I don't know," Exeter said.
Suddenly, Exeter lifted his face, which had been down the entire conference, and the previous one, and they saw that his eyes were no longer the blue they had been, but a horrible shade of purple. He quickly drew his sword. "No one make a move. Or else you're dead."
"Exeter, my friend, please!" Overbuild pleaded. But it was no use. Exeter slowly walked towards him, and killed him in a single, immensely powerful blow.
Hael reacted immediately, drawing his sword and gun, and saying, "Exeter, I may be a pirate, but I don't kill unless I have to. I don't want to kill you. But I will if you are a pawn of the Maelstrom."
"Hael, you fool. Killing isn't always the answer. We in the Maelstrom believe that. We know. The Nexus Force is worse than the Maelstrom. You rule through dictators that don't hold elections, just because they found the Imagination Nexus," Exeter said in a voice that was calm, considering what he had done.
"Exeter, give me one good reason to attack you, and I swear…," Hael said, loudly.
"The Maelstrom rules through those who are smart and powerful. The Baron and I are at a higher echelon than you are. You are fools. You don't know what must happen for order. Because only through destruction and chaos can a new world order emerge! The Maelstrom is not inherently evil. It is better than the Nexus Force. Think about it, Hael. You know it is true," Exeter said, again in a calm voice.
"You're… Bricking mad!"
"Hael, there's no need to fight. I don't want to kill you."
"Then why did you kill Overbuild?"
"His Imagination was too strong. He wasn't a fighter, but his Imagination could be troublesome. But I did not kill him. I simply made him pure energy with this blade. Now, his soul rests in it. I can call it back when I wish to do so."
"And I suppose you did the same to Vanda?" Hael raged. "I'll kill you!"
"I did kill Vanda. She… She had to go. But, see, this proves my point. You only want to kill; I want to make a new world. Together." Exeter held out his hand.
"How can you believe this?" Hael asked. He was shocked at what had happened to his old friend.
"Our world is horrible. Defeat the Maelstrom, and later, you'll just be fighting among yourselves. You're destroying the environment of all the planets, inventing more and more terrible weapons of destruction, and can't get over the political disagreements for your lives. The Maelstrom's purpose is to help. Destruction will eventually help, by forcing humans to rebuild. Maybe we aren't perfect, the Maelstrom. But if we look at it on a scale from good, which is light, and dark, which is evil, you're dark, and we're grey. If you don't believe me, fine. But the Nexus Force will fall." Exeter said.
"It will not!" Hael shouted. "You and your kind will never rule! We shall fight for freedom, democracy, and justice!" Hael then held out his sword, touching Exeter's.
Exeter held out his to counter. They weren't fighting, but they were a breath away from doing so. Hael made the first move. He lunged forwards, but Exeter knocked away his blow, spinning away. Hael pressed his advantage. It took all of Exeter's skill to counter Hael's deadly onslaught.
"I do not want to fight you," Exeter began. Suddenly, he dropped to the ground, and rolled away. He stood near a window. "I am leaving! Please, do not try and stop me!"
With that, Exeter leapt out of the building. Hael ran over, and quickly glanced out the window.
Exeter had grabbed a ledge, and was dangling from it, looking below. Hael stepped on his fingers, causing him to fall. Exeter executed a rapid series of mid-air flips to slow his fall, Hael shooting his gun at him all the while. Exeter grabbed a flag pole, and halted his descent. Up above, Hael was down to one last shot.
Exeter didn't respond with words, instead, he leapt off, and slammed his sword into the side of Nexus Tower, again stopping himself from falling. Hael, deciding he had to be closer to get off an accurate shot, jumped as well, grabbing onto a ledge fifty feet above Exeter. He aimed his gun down, and was about to fire, when…
Exeter was gone, he had slid down to almost the ground, and Hael realized he was about to escape. How could he let him do this, when he had just killed two of his friends? He had to get his revenge.
Hael pulled himself back in, put away his weapons, and raced down the stairs, vaulting the rails to make better time. He shoved aside secretaries laid down with excess paper, assistants who were dutifully following their bosses, soldiers armed to the teeth, and guards taking a coffee break, without bothering to say sorry. But he couldn't let Exeter get away.
He reached the doors of the tower just as Exeter was rounding the street corner. Hael redrew his weapons, and took off after him, in hot pursuit.
The ground shook, and Velocity snapped her eyes open. She had no idea how long she had been sleeping. And she couldn't tell from the sky, because dark clouds with purple tints covered the sun. She decided she had to at least get up, and see if anyone remained. In front of her, all the trees were either incinerated or burning to the ground. No escapes through the forest. She reached into her coverall, and drew out a heavy wrench. At least is she saw a Stromling, she could stun it. She hoped, at least.
Velocity peered from behind the pile of rubble she was hiding behind. She gasped, and then covered her mouth. She had just put her hand on the dead body of Nexus Jay. She glanced out again, but there were no Maelstrom coming to drag her away. She sighed in relief.
But she couldn't shake away the feeling that the Maelstrom would come and kill her. It was a fate she never thought she would have to endure. Her sister, Sky Captain of the Venture Explorer II, however, faced that every day.
Then, Velocity realized she should call her sisters. Sky was the oldest, at twenty four, Velocity next, at twenty-two, and Peppermint the youngest, at twenty. They were very young for their high posts in the Nexus Force, especially Sky. Captain of one of the best ships in the fleet at twenty-four was very impressive.
Peppermint lived in Frostburgh during the Winter Season, but during the rest of the year, she raced and lived on the planet of Avant Gardens.
Velocity pulled out her heavy duty cell phone, and dialed Peppermint first. Sky couldn't always get reception on her ship. But nothing happened. Not even static. Wondering what was going on, she tried Sky's number. Still nothing. Not even a, "This person is not available," message. Not even a dial tone. Nothing. She tried Sky's number, but she hardly expected it to work. It didn't.
Maybe it was the Maelstrom clouds in the sky. Yes, that was probably it, she decided.
But she couldn't sit here forever. She figured her best option was to get to her car, which was parked nearby, and escape. She put away her phone, and grabbed her keys. Steeling herself, she took off from behind the pile, after checking to see if all was clear.
She never made it. Out of Nimbus Plaza came a group of people who were cautiously moving.
"Hello! Hello over there!" Velocity shouted. She ran towards them, tears streaming from her eyes. Someone had arrived. She was saved.
The moment she reached them, they grabbed her. One drew out a knife, and she screamed.
"What are you doing? I'm on your bricking side!" She screamed. They didn't let go. She noticed something about the people. Their eyes were purple. Behind them, more were coming. They were all in varying stages of becoming fully corrupted Stromlings. Some looked no different than being fully corrupted, with ripped shirts exposing bones, and others looked entirely human except for their purple eyes.
She tried to break away, but couldn't. The Stromling with the knife came at her, others moving to make way, but then, out of nowhere, a young boy ran through the crowd. He was holding a burning tree branch, smacking Stromlings out of the way to get to Velocity.
He punched the Stromling holding the knife with a well-placed uppercut to the jaw. He grabbed the knife before it hit the ground with his free hand, all the while holding Stromlings at bay with his torch. Evidently, the boy didn't know that they couldn't feel heat. But the non-fully corrupted ones were being forced back by it. They, Velocity figured, could feel heat, and therefore, be burned.
The Stromlings holding her had loosened their grip watching the boy. She was able to free herself, and then started fighting with her fists.
She did a short hand sweep at waist height, followed by an upward kick, visibly shattering a Stromling's bones. She turned, and saw the boy surrounded. She ran at the group, punching wildly. The boy slipped away, and ran, closely followed by Velocity, who took off towards her car.
"Come here!" She shouted. The boy diligently followed, as she ran towards her car. She miraculously still had her keys in her hands, and jumped in.
"Get the brick in!" She shouted, but the boy stood outside her car. "I… Can't. Those are my friends back there. They're… Infected. I have to save them."
"I'm sorry, but they're lost forever. There is no cure. I'm sorry. But if you don't get in here soon, you're going to become one of them!"
The boy didn't answer. Instead, he jumped in through the open window, not bothering to use the door.
"Step on it."
Velocity obeyed. She drove her foot into the floor, and the car rocketed forwards, plowing through the legions of Stromlings. She didn't let her foot up until she reached the highway heading out of Nimbus Plaza City, and couldn't see any Stromlings behind her.
Towering out of the Nexus Force controlled area of Crux Prime, Nexus Tower stood as the symbol of freedom, democracy, and justice, everything the Nexus Force stood for. Around the Tower were some smaller streets, leading to defense walls. Though, in fact, Nexus Tower was the only building in the small city. Everywhere else was entirely composed of only streets and parks. The city was a perfect circle, with a force-field dome covering the entire city. The force-field was emitted from the top of the tower, and went to the walls, being constantly absorbed there. It could withstand anything the Maelstrom could throw at it. By now, the Maelstrom had stopped wasting forces, weapons, and bombs on attacking. They just maintained a constant watch on the Tower, and had forces surrounding it. Ventures outside of the city were only done by squads of highly trained Nexus Force Soldiers.
Inside the Tower, however, life was monotonous. Vendors sold gear for soldiers, who were constantly training and gathering for launching to other worlds. Inside one stall in the Sentinel Area, Nikolai Gammapulse, a top ranking Sentinel, waited for a customer. It had been a boring day so far, with only a few customers. As he waited, he contemplated how weird the Nexus Force military system was. Having a stand nexus to Achilles Plutarch had taught him much about military history. Achilles was a nut about it, and Honor Accolade knew a fair share as well, from his old days as an Admiral in the government before the Nexus Force.
The Nexus Force gave its recruits basic equipment when they joined, depending on their Faction. Each Faction had many kits, which followed different philosophies on how to win in a fight. Each kit had different weapons, gadgets, and gear. After the initial gear was given, the Nexus Force left soldier's choice of gear entirely up to them. They could spend their salary on gear in Nexus Tower and Nimbus Station, among other worlds. They could also use gear they found on dead Stromlings. They often carried useful weapons, and sometimes had gear of fallen Nexus Force soldiers.
Nikolai was the supplier of higher ranked Sentinel gear. Like the other official Faction Vendors, he made the high quality gear himself. Currently, he was wearing his own Samurai gear, his personal favorite. His bow was slung over his back, along with his arrows. His katana and Wakizashi were on his belt on his hip. He wore a tunic and leggings, shin-high boots, and gloves which left his fingers exposed. For armor, he wore more lightweight chainmail all over, and a classical designed Samurai helmet.
"Hello, Nikolai!" It was Sutoro Hatto, the official Paradox gear vendor. He was dressed in his signature Shinobi outfit.
"Hello, Sutoro!" Nikolai called back. "Slow day today?"
"Yes, not many people strolling through Nexus Tower today, are there?" Sutoro answered.
"Yeah, I've noticed that too." Nikolai wondered why that was.
His phone went off.
"Sorry about this," He said to Sutoro, who curtly nodded, as Nikolai turned his back.
"Nikolai! Maelstrom invading Nimbus! Got to go! We're going to try to stop them!" It was Xeno Blueblade. Nikolai tried to talk to him, but Xeno ignored him. He heard grunts, shouts, and screams of terror, before Xeno the connection was suddenly lost.
Nikolai was startled. That was why not many people were in Nexus Tower today. He turned back to Sutoro, but saw that he wasn't there anymore. Suddenly, a blur of shadow came out of nowhere, knocking over Nikolai's desk, and momentarily stunning him.
"What the brick, Sutoro!" He shouted. The Shinobi was standing in front of him, swords drawn.
Sutoro slashed with his swords at Nikolai's feet, which caused him to jump over the blades, drawing his katana and Wakizashi in midair. He landed, and was instantly assaulted by Sutoro's twin Katanas. Nikolai glanced around, buy Achilles and Honor were gone, probably eating.
He and Sutoro were an even match for each other. Darting around the room, Nikolai had to keep the battle close, because his ranged weapon, a bow, while more accurate and more powerful than Sutoro's shuriken, would took longer to set up. But Nikolai did have lighter armor, and as a result was more nimble. He was glad he was wearing his Samurai gear today. The Knight and Space Ranger would be too heavily armored to allow him to move quickly.
Following Sutoro, Nikolai leaped onto an air vent. They flew upwards, swinging their swords wildly, not hitting each other. Nikolai grabbed the edge, flipping up. Sutoro tried to grab it as well, but missed, leaving him in a defenseless position. Nikolai quickly drew his bow, and aimed.
Looking down the sights of his bow, he saw Sutoro's eyes. They weren't their normal black. They were purple. Nikolai gasped, and recovered himself. He then let go of the bowstring.
The arrow flew straight and true through the air. It pierced Sutoro's elegant armor over his heart. He was dead. Nikolai had killed him in the most honorable way, leaving the least amount of damage. He put away his bow, and grasped his katana and Wakizashi tightly. He reached for Sutoro's body, and laid it on the platform, taking back his arrow.
Then, he jumped off the edge, feeling the air vent slow his fall. When he was near the bottom, he gracefully stepped off, glancing around.
No one was in sight in the hallway. Nikolai started walking away from the sight of the battle, after checking all his gear. He now had a very important decision to make. Run, or turn himself in?
Turning himself might get him jailed for years. Running would look bad, but he was highly trained, and definitely could survive in the world. Even if that world was Crux Prime.
He decided to run. It was against a Sentinel's philosophy to run, but he wasn't a normal Sentinel, someone stupider than they were strong, had armor weighing more than they did, and were always considered the least elite of the Nexus Force.
He took off down the hall, his boots making a constant clunk against the floor. Behind him, however, he heard someone else running. He turned around, but no one was there. He ran a few more steps, then abruptly turned around, swinging his katana in an arc.
Nikolai glanced all around, even at the ceiling, but decided it had to be his imagination playing tricks on him. Before he could continue, however, a quiet hum pierced the air. Nikolai ran out onto one of the balconies of the Tower, and glanced around. It wasn't what was there that surprised him. It was what wasn't.
For the force-field that had protected Nexus Tower ever since it had been built was gone. Waiting outside of the walls were… Millions of Maelstrom. The moment they saw that the force-field was gone, they changed. They surrounded the Tower. There was no escape for anyone. It was a perfect plan. Nikolai glanced up, and saw Dragons destroying rockets that had tried to escape. The soldiers in them fell, thousands of feet, to their deaths.
"Brick!" He muttered. How was he going to get out of this now?
He glanced back at the Maelstrom army. They had all stopped a few yards away from the walls of Nexus Tower. Two figures walked towards the gigantic doors.
But out of everything that had happened today, from Sutoro attacking him, to the force-field being destroyed, who the two figures were was what shocked him most of all.
Hael Storm ran towards the walls of the city, reaching them just as Exeter did. He slashed at Exeter, who dodged, rolling away.
Hael then noticed something. The force-field that protected the city was gone. And then, the walls shook, as Maelstrom poured in. He ran, scrambling up the Tower.
Exeter saw him go, but decided not to give chase. After all, where was there that he could escape to?
The Maelstrom army advanced to within a few yards of the walls of the Tower. Exeter stepped forwards with Ollogothis, the Spider Boss.
He knocked on the doors. No answer. "It looks like they don't want us to come in, does it?" Exeter called out.
Exeter pulled out his sword, and plunged it into the door. It shattered into miniscule shards. Exeter walked forwards, holding his sword out before him. The Tower was dark.
Out of one hallway ran a group of new recruits. "Duke Exeter! You've saved us!"
Then, they saw the Maelstrom behind him. They froze, shocked. On Exeter's command, Ollogothis fired a death blast at them. They fell to the ground, dead.
"Onward, as conquerors!" Exeter shouted, continuing to walk through the halls. Where they found any resistance, they killed them. Exeter did feel some regret at having to kill. But it was for the greater good. Only by forcing humans to rebuild could the world become a better place.
Up above, Dragons destroyed any rockets that tried to escape. Eventually, after killing anyone still alive in the building, Exeter led the Maelstrom army out. He then ordered the Dragons to torch the Tower.
He watched the flames consume the Tower, weaving upwards. But what followed was worse. The Imagination Nexus, without anything holding it, exploded. But this time, it didn't unleash Imagination upon all the worlds in the Universe. Instead, it crumbled, like the building that had housed it.
He reached into his pocket, flipping over and over a small piece of the Nexus that he had taken after he had killed Vanda.
He smiled. He now had the only source of pure Imagination left in the Universe. And he was an agent of the Maelstrom. It seemed so… Ironic.
January 31, 2012Edit
"So, what's your name?" Velocity asked the boy.
"Felix. And I know who you are, as well. You're Velocity Lane," replied the boy.
"Well, Felix, where do you come from?"
"Not from around here. See, I come from Earth…" And Felix continued to explain how, back on Earth, Lego Universe had been a video game.
"Well, that's amazing!" Velocity exclaimed. "But, I've never heard of Legos. But we do say swears by saying, "Bricks.""
"That's weird. So, where are we headed?"
"I need to find my sisters. Sky's on the Venture Explorer II, Peppermint in Avant Gardens. They're still alive. I know it."
Felix realized that Velocity wasn't as much telling him as making herself believe that. "I'm sure they're fine. Don't worry."
Velocity averted her gaze from the road for a moment, staring down. Then she lifted her head.
"Hey, you don't look well. Want me to drive? I'm sixteen, I have my license," Felix asked.
"No, it's fine. I can manage."
"So, how do we find them? I have a feeling the whole planet is being controlled by Maelstrom. It seems unlikely that they'll want to let us off this bricked up world."
"We're headed away from the Maelstrom. We're just trying to survive for now."
They drove in silence for a few minutes. Velocity tried to get some music, but couldn't get anything.
On either side of the deserted, multi-lane highway, there were forests. These evidently hadn't been burned yet. But they would be soon enough.
"I think we should head for a city. Then, we can hide there," Felix said.
"Alright. Sounds good to me. We're actually approaching a city now. We'll also want to get some food and weapons there."
Felix and Velocity stayed silent until they saw the city. There were some fires, but were burning out. It looked like the Maelstrom had come and gone. Velocity drove the car closer, and pulled over.
"We'll get out her, and approach on foot. Still got that knife?" Velocity asked. Felix held up the knife. "Good. We'll need that. Come on."
Velocity got out of the car, followed by Felix.
"We should be able to find a hotel to sleep in, along with at least some fresh food. Get your fill of that now, because we're not going to get much of that for a while. We'll also want to stock up on canned and bagged food, gas, some medicine and bandages in case we get injured, and, of course, weapons."
"Let me write that down," Felix said. He reached back in the car, grabbed a pencil and paper from the glove box, and wrote down two lists. He handed one to Velocity, and then snapped the pencil in half. He sharpened the ends with his knife, and gave her one half.
"Cross out the items when you get them," Felix said. "We don't want to grab anything twice."
Velocity looked at the list. It read:
- Fresh Food
- Canned Food
- Bagged Food
- Lots of Weapons
- Find a Place to Sleep
"Alright," Velocity replied. Then, she saw the last item on the list, and asked. "Why do we need clothes?"
Felix just pointed to himself and smiled.
"Oh…," Velocity said. Felix, along with his pants and a shirt, was only wearing a hoodie to keep warm.
"As you can see, it's winter on this planet," She explained.
"And here I was, thinking that it was always so cold around here," Felix replied with a smile.
"Thinking about it, I should leave this here. It slows me down. It's flame proof, heat and cold resistant, and has more pockets than you can count, but I won't be able to run very fast with it on," Velocity said, gesturing to her baggy coverall.
She unzipped it, and put it in the car. Underneath, she had on the more form-fitting outfit that Felix had always seen her wearing in the game.
"Alright, let's go," Felix said, and took the lead, Velocity behind him.
The first non-burnt store that he found was an enormous one, which reminded him of the Earth stores Target and Wal-Mart. He wondered if any Maelstrom were waiting in ambush there, but he shook off the thought. He gripped his knife harder, though.
He slowly pushed open the doors, and was greeted by a pitch black store. It wasn't surprising, considering that the Maelstrom had been there.
Nothing jumped out at him. That had to be a good sign.
Felix grabbed Velocity's hand. "Whatever you do, don't let go, at least until we get weapons. If one of us is attacked, we'll feel the other go limp. OK?"
"Alright," Velocity replied.
"Do you know where anything is in this store?" Felix asked. It felt awkward clutching her hand. And he felt even stupider that he didn't ask if she knew before they went in. It would save a lot of time in the store.
"Nope, never been to this city before," Velocity answered.
"Brick," Felix muttered, and slowly walked forwards, reaching for anything. He quickly ran into a rack of something, and grabbed whatever it was. It was a small display of pocket flashlights. Felix grasped one, and turned it on. A small beam of light erupted from the tip.
"Yes!" He said to Velocity, handing her one. He then grabbed many more, stuffing his pockets with them.
He then saw the clothes section, and found a coat to wear.
"This is better," He said. "It's cold here."
"We should try to find some larger lights. And some weapons before we leave," Velocity noted.
They walked to the center of the store, and found a map on the floor. Finding their location on it, they saw the Nexus Force section. "That would be where we'll find all the good stuff," Velocity explained.
"But we'll go through the Camping section. We'll want some backpacks, a tent, and bigger lights," Felix responded. He quickly memorized where the two sections were. Fortunately, they were in the same part of the store. He took off, Velocity beside him.
Reaching the Camping section, they each took a backpack and a large lamp. Then, Felix also grabbed a small stove and a tent.
"Good idea," said Velocity, smiling. Felix looked up, and smiled back.
Setting off to the Nexus Force section, Felix wondered what he would see there. It seemed odd to have weapons and armor available for purchase in a store. But when they entered the aisles, Felix was surprised. They really did have swords, shields, chest plates, anything he could think of, just hanging from hooks and laid on the shelves.
"I'm just getting a gun and a sword," Velocity said. She grabbed an energy gun, like the Daredevil ones, and a medium sized sword, along with a sheath, holster, belt, and watch.
"I will too," Felix said, grabbing identical gear.
After he and Velocity had put on their new gear, they decided to leave the building.
"But first…," Felix said, trailing off, as he darted into a nearby isle. He came back out carrying an armload of games and books, which he promptly stuffed into his backpack. Velocity grinned.
Figuring they could get a refill on energy for the car in the morning, when the sun had risen, they concentrated on finding food and a hotel.
A short ways down the deserted road was a small store, which looked like the center of town, general stores many small towns on Earth had. Felix drew his sword and gun, pushed open the door, and jumped in. Velocity followed, darting her flashlight's beam of light across the room.
There was no one in the store. They both went around the store, gathering chips, bread, peanut butter, jelly, soda, and water.
Felix met up with Velocity at the back. He reached to a display of bananas, and picked up two.
"Velocity, how long do you think it will be until we get to eat more fresh food?" He asked her, keeping his voice quiet.
"A month or so, in a few weeks, we'll be off the planet. The Nexus Force will come through, they'll send aid from Nexus Tower," she responded.
"Velocity… Somehow, I have an odd feeling that the Nexus Force is gone. I… I don't think there's going to be any rescue for us," Felix said. "Maybe we'll meet up with some other survivors, possibly even get off the planet. But to return to our previous lives… I doubt that very highly.
Velocity looked at her hands, and started crying. Felix put his arm around her, but there wasn't anything he could say to cheer her up.
"We'll stay together, we'll manage," he said after a moment.
Velocity started walking out, and Felix followed her.
"I see a hotel," she said, pointing at a tall building. She wasn't looking at him. He wasn't sure if he had offended her, or what, but he was saddened that he had hurt her feelings.
He set off, Velocity trailing behind.
The city was even worse that he had seen from a distance. Windows shattered, doors hanging off the hinges, but what were worst of all were the bodies. They littered the ground. He looked back, and was glad to see Velocity was handling herself well, even with all the dead around them.
He reached the hotel doors, which were open. He pulled one open, held it for Velocity, and let it close behind them.
They again turned on their flashlights, scanning the room.
"We'll want a room on a high floor. That way, we can jump to the next building if we need to, and if they come in, we'll have time to pack up and escape," Felix explained, as he led the way up the ornately furnished stairs.
He turned off at the thirteenth floor, and opened the first door he saw, which was surprisingly unlocked. He figured someone must have been cleaning it when the Maelstrom had attacked. Felix ignored the features of the room, two beds, a table, a television, a refrigerator, a freezer, a stove, a toaster, and a microwave, and immediately went to the door leading to the balcony. He went out for a moment, glanced around, and reentered the room.
"I was right about the floor, a leap off the balcony will be safe, but not too far, to the next building," he said.
Velocity simply nodded, and put down her backpack on one of the beds. Felix set his down on the other bed, and noted, "We'll want to sleep in shifts. It's…" He glanced at his watch. "About six right now. So after dinner, we'll split the time until morning. We should be out of here by eight, and out of town by nine."
"Alright," Velocity agreed.
"Time for dinner first," Felix said, striding over the table, where Velocity had set the food.
"We'll want to eat the fresh food over the next few days," he said, as delicately as possible, aiming to not set her off again. Felix took the bananas, and handed one to Velocity from the bunch of eight, and took one for himself. They also had a box of clementines and a bag of carrots, from each of which he took a portion for each of them.
Felix also made two peanut-butter and jelly sandwiches, one for Velocity, one for him.
"We'll hold off on the chips and snack food, we'll be eating enough of those in the days to come!" Felix exclaimed, with a small laugh, Velocity smiled, got up, and sat down at the table.
Felix picked up the two plates he had been working on, and set one down in front of Velocity. He then sat down himself.
"Dig in," he said, and Velocity did so.
Melodie Foxtrot hid behind a stack of Nexus Force Crates. Beck Strongheart had been acting very strangely, and she wanted to avoid him, who she had seen passing by recently.
Maybe it was because earlier that day; the Maelstrom Scanner had received a reading unheard of. Even the Spider Queens were only a 1% on the Scale. But the reading had disappeared after a few moments.
Or possibly if was because communications with Nexus Tower and Nimbus Station were down.
But, it was probably the fact that the Maelstrom had gathered in enormous quantities around the Base Camp. The entire Base was on full alert.
It was only a matter of time before the Maelstrom charged. And it would all depend if the Nexus Force could fight them off.
Melodie peered out from behind the crate. Despite the danger, she still wanted to avoid Beck. She darted back behind the crate, but he wasn't there anymore.
In fact, almost nothing was there anymore.
A gigantic bomb had gone off in the center of the Camp.
Melodie raced there, as there were screams of falling defenders as the Maelstrom surged forwards.
She saw Beck Strongheart's limp body on the ground. She kneeled down, and picked up his head.
"Beck! Are you ok?" She asked. Despite how strangely he had been acting, she owed him a peaceful death.
"My… Eyes… Look…," He said.
She looked at his eyes, which he struggled to open.
They were purple.
"I… Set… Off… The… Bomb… I'm… Maelstrom… I'm… Dying," He said those words, and he spoke no more.
Melodie pushed herself to her feet, and looked around. The defenders were quickly retreating, but they were closed in.
Nowhere to run, nowhere to hide.
The Maelstrom was brutal in their killings. Melodie was able to hold her own against many Stromlings, but even she, a highly trained warrior, had her limits.
Finishing off a Ronin, Melodie quickly took in her allies with her eyes. There were only a few left, mostly Knights in their heavy, metal armor, among who Melodie felt awkwardly out of place with in her much lighter, chainmail armor.
She backed towards a still standing wall, flattening herself against it. Momentarily out of the fight, she looked towards the sky- Maybe, just maybe, someone had called for help in time. The Venture Explorer II had been in orbit around the planet…
A glint of green came from the sky. Melodie gasped, and followed the gleam with her eyes. A massive shape came over the horizon.
The Venture Explorer II.
Melodie looked back at the battlefield, to see a Horsemen thrust his spear through the last visible defender. He crumpled to the ground, as the Horsemen withdrew his spear.
Melodie readied her twin blades. They were different than normal swords or knives, as they were designed to be held backhand, with the blades pointing downward. They could be extended and retracted, allowing them to range from a few inches to a few feet.
The Horsemen turned, raised its spear, and charged.
Melodie danced away from its first thrust, and made a quick slash at its steed. The Horse collapsed, and in that time, she closed in on the unseated Horsemen, killing him. She back flipped over the head of an Admiral who had been running towards her, slicing it in half while in midair.
There was an opening in the crowd ahead of her, and she raced towards it, scampering between the Maelstrom on her way towards freedom. She looked up, to see the Venture Explorer II boring down on the Camp.
It started firing its blasters, taking down the Maelstrom. Despite the massive size of the Maelstrom Army, it was soon depleted in size so much that they retreated.
The massive ship set down in the ruins of the Camp. Melodie turned and jogged back. The only person out of the ship was Sky Lane, who was running towards Melodie.
"Run! Don't turn back!" She shouted at Melodie, who complied, turning and running off, down the mountain that the camp was built upon, down to the Launching Area.
It was in flames.
"Oh, bricks!" Sky shouted. She sat down on a rock, just as an enormous explosion came from back where they had come from. "And that'll be the ship." She continued.
"Sky, what's going on?" Melodie asked.
"To tell the truth, I'd like to know that too," said a man, who darted out of the flames. He was wearing a three piece suit, sunglasses, and carrying a gun. "Mr. Ree. Melodie Foxtrot and Sky Lane, I presume?"
"Um…," Said Sky, who was looking nervously at Ree. "Your eyes aren't purple! Melodie, we can trust him. We're all free from infection."
"Thanks you. Now, can we all tell each other what's going on. What we've learned. How we've ended up here," Ree said. "I was here on business. A few people set the place on fire, and started killing everyone."
Melodie told her story, and then turned to Sky.
"My ship was in orbit around the planet. I got a message from the camp, saying they needed support, so I piloted the ship there. But then, my crewmates started destroying the ship. I opened the door, and saw they had purple eyes. They rushed towards me, but I closed and locked the door. Then, I destroyed the Maelstrom on the planet, landed, and blasted open the window to get out," Sky explained.
"Well, where do we go?" Asked Melodie. "How do we get off the planet to Nimbus Station or Nexus Tower?"
"I can't get communications to either of those worlds," said Ree.
"Well, it's probably just the clouds here. Those worlds must be fine," said Melodie.
"I sure hope so. But how will the Nexus Force find us here?" Said Sky. "Fortunately, I have an idea for getting away. The crashed, original Venture Explorer!"
Nikolai ran back into Nexus Tower. He glanced around, as the Tower shook. He ran, trying to stay on his feet.
Suddenly, a voice rang through the halls, "Nikolai! Please, help me!" It was a female voice, and Nikolai turned around, to see the projection of Nexus Naomi.
He walked back to her, and asked, "How can I help you? I've got to go, or I'm dead!"
"Take me with you! Take this." She held out her hand, and a solid shape appeared in it.
Nikolai reached out and took it. It was a small shard of Pure Imagination. He clutched it in his hand. Naomi's projection then said, "Put the shard in your pocket. I will be with you, as long as you keep the shard. Do not tell anyone you hold this shard, or they will kill you for its great power. Guard it with your life, as it is the Universe's last hope for Imagination!"
Nikolai nodded, and the projection disappeared. He put the stone in a pouch dangling from his belt, and set off down the hall. He had to escape.
The lights flickered, and went out. As he pressed on, he heard sounds of battle from floors farther down.
He hit someone. They had both been running opposite directions, and with no lights on, hadn't seen each other.
Nikolai jumped up, and saw the stranger lying face down on the floor. Nikolai picked him up, and saw, to his surprise, Hael Strom.
"Hael! Hael, wake up!" He whispered, shaking him. Hael's eyes opened slightly, and he mumbled something that Nikolai couldn't hear.
What he could hear were sounds of thousands of feet tramping in the halls, probably just a floor or so down.
He had to save Hael, but what was the use if he died trying? He thought for a moment, and then pulled out the shard of Imagination. Naomi abruptly appeared. She looked different than the projection. She was a solid person, dressed in an ornate white robe, with blue trimmings.
"Help me wake him up!" Nikolai whispered. Naomi reached out her hand, and Hael suddenly snapped to life, as she disappeared, being swallowed by the shard.
"Nikolai, right?" Hael asked. "And why are you holding me? This is awkward. We'd better get going!"
"Never thought you'd ask," said Nikolai, smiling. "But where do we go?"
"Just get to the top of the Tower, then I have a way out. An old friend owes me a debt," Hael said.
He and Nikolai took off. Fortunately, neither of them was wearing heavy gear. Nikolai was in his Samurai gear, and Hael was dressed in dark brown pants, a dark green jacket, and a belt with his sword and cutlass dangling from it.
Every so often they heard a scream, and then silence. Finally, they reached the top of the Tower. The roof was an incredibly small area, with only the pillar that used to project a force-field rising above the area.
Hael suddenly fell to his knees, and gazed at the purple and black clouds in the sky, mumbling something.
Suddenly, they had disappeared.
"What… Hael, what's going on?" Nikolai asked.
"Hello Hael! And I see you've brought a friend!" A voice said. It was jovial, and the sound of it made Nikolai happy.
"Inventrius! Nikolai, this is my friend, the Mythran Inventrius. I once saved his life, and ever since, we've been friends," Hael explained.
"Pleasure to meet you," Nikolai said, sticking out his hand, which Inventrius shook.
"So, I see you two had some… Problems," Inventrius began, smiling. "So, Nexus Tower has… Fallen." His smile faltered.
"Yes, it has," said Hael.
Nikolai, meanwhile, was struck by a sudden thought. He gripped the shard in his pocket, and a voice in his head said, "Yes, Nikolai?"
He thought, "Is it safe to share with these two this shard? I will still keep it on me at all times, though."
"I calculate an eighty five percent chance that it would be safe," the voice said.
"Excuse me, I have something to say," Nikolai burst out. His entire exchange with Naomi had taken an instant.
"Yes, Nikolai?" Inventrius replied, looking in his direction.
"I… I have the last shard of pure Imagination," said Nikolai.
"But, Nikolai, with the Tower destroyed, the Nexus is gone! No Imagination remains!"
"Before we left, I picked up a shard of Imagination. Nexus Naomi found me and told me to. Now, I also carry her soul within the shard," Nikolai explained. With that Naomi exploded out of the shard, forming. She looked at Hael and Inventrius.
"Nikolai, guard this with your life," Inventrius exclaimed.
"So I've been told," said Nikolai with a grin.
"We have to get you away from here. Maybe we should go to Nimbus Station…," said Inventrius.
"Wait, before we go, can I just find out a bit more about what's going on here?" Asked Nikolai.
"Well, I can explain, partially at least, but not why we should go to Nimbus Station," said Hael. "See, it begins with a planet called Earth…"
"See, a few years ago, something amazing happened- We were contacted by an alien intelligence. Amazingly, they looked exactly like us. Only one of them visited. I found him when he landed in an archaic spaceship, and greeted him. I took him into Nexus Tower, and we, the Faction Leaders met with him. He said he was from Earth, a planet far, far away. He was head of a massive corporation on the planet, and he had bought his own spaceship-Which, on his planet, was amazing. Almost all spaceships were owned by government programs. He had just wanted to fly around Earth, but had been mysteriously teleported to our planet. His company was making a video game, and wanted to base it on our world. We said yes, of course, in exchange for him keeping secret the fact that we exist. But, of course, who would believe him?" Hael started his story, explaining what Nikolai had asked to understand.
"So, he had no idea how to get back to his planet, but the moment he got into his spaceship, it vanished. So I guess he got back to Earth. We never had to worry about the man again, and we decided to never tell others about the incident. But, I told Inventrius, and he went to Earth, to work for Lego for a while, just to see what was really going on. Lego was the company the man was from. He found out the game was shutting down, and he returned to our world," Hael continued. "But… Inventrius, can you take over here? I think you know something we both don't…"
Inventrius nodded, and said, "Well, earlier today… Well, you first have to understand that, being a Mythran, I can sense things that happen. Well, earlier today, I sensed countless deaths. I estimate that, now that the Maelstrom has withdrawn, out of the about hundred billion population of our twelve worlds, less than a million remain. Now, I can't be too certain. It could range from a billion to just us three. See, unlike the First Builders, I'm not omnipotent. Sure, I'm neigh invincible, very powerful, and a bit knowing, but not like them. I'm not infallible. But, I also sensed many people in Nimbus Station who don't belong there, people from… Earth. And that's why I want to go, even though I did feel the death of many, if not all of them."
"Well, alright!" Said Nikolai. "But why not go to Earth?"
"We owe our fellow citizens of the Nexus Force our help before worrying about another planet," Inventrius explained.
"So, Nimbus Station?" Hael asked.
"Yep, get out your weapons, Naomi, get into the shard. We're leaving my home on Crux Prime," Inventrius said. He stood, staring skyward, with Nikolai and Hael clutching his shoulders.
"On three," Inventrius began.
They vanished, and a moment later, appeared in Nimbus Plaza.
It was deserted, but massive cracks were in the ground. The forest was on fire, and everything around was destroyed. The sky was dark with black and purple clouds, making it impossible to tell the time of day.
"Oh my bricks… What happened here?" Asked Hael, glancing around.
"I don't know…,"Inventrius began, when thousands of Stromlings suddenly raced out of the burning forest.
"Run! Get the brick out of here!" Inventrius shouted.
The trio ran, Inventrius rupturing the ground behind them as they ran, to slow down the Stromlings. But they just leapt over the cracks, continuing to gain on them.
Suddenly, Inventrius stopped. He quickly formed a shield around them. They Maelstrom surrounded it, but couldn't break in.
"Hael, take this," he said. He reached out for Hael's left hand. On the back of it, a small blue symbol appeared.
"What is this for?" Hael asked.
"In case you need help," Inventrius said. "Just touch it. And, you'll need this."
Inventrius grasped Hael's right hand. On the back of it, a small red symbol appeared.
"This summons the Koi to you. I know it used to be your ship, and you'd love it back. Of course, Exeter always forbids you from making it again, but now that he's infected, why not?" Inventrius laughed. "But I must go. It's me they want. I've realized what they're doing. I can't tell you, because it would ruin the entire plan. Just survive, find others who can survive, and stick together to survive. For you, it's all about survival. You two will eventually realize what I have, as you two both carry magic with you. Now, I leave you. During their distraction with me, use the ship, and get the brick out of here."
"Inventrius! No! Stay with us! We'll need your power!" Hael said.
"I can't explain. I'm sorry, Hael."
Nikolai held out his hand. Inventrius grasped it, and shook it.
"Good meeting you, Inventrius."
"And you, Nikolai! Remember; guard that shard with your life."
Reluctantly, Hael held out his hand, and Inventrius shook it.
"Thanks, Inventrius," Hael said.
"Now, I leave you. Remember, survive. And get out of here. Survive!" Inventrius said, as the bubble disappeared.
As Inventrius lifted himself off the ground, Hael touched the red mark on his hand. The Koi, in all its brilliance, appeared. Inventrius was rising off the ground still. The attacks from the Maelstrom were absorbed by his body. Hael raced in to the Koi, closely followed by Nikolai. He closed the door before any Maelstrom got in, and raced to the control room.
He stared out the window, and saw Inventrius soaring higher and higher into the sky. Then, he fell. The moment before he reached the ground, his body went limp. He was suspended above the ground for a moment, and then, his body radiated such immense light that Hael had to cover his eyes. The Maelstrom reeled as well.
When the light subsided, Inventrius's body was gone. The Maelstrom was regrouping, and prepared to charge the Koi.
Hael thrust the anti-gravity boost to full, and the ship rocket up, narrowly avoiding the pulses of energy from Horsemen. He then angled the ship downward, and started firing at the Maelstrom, mowing down the ranks.
After decimating enough Maelstrom take out his rage at Inventrius's death, he lifted the Koi off the ground more, and turned to Nikolai who was strapped into a passenger's seat, his eyes wide.
"Where do we go from here?" Asked Hael.
"Get some food and supplies before getting the brick off this planet," Nikolai responded.
Hael simply glanced at his map, saw where the nearest city was, and headed off in that direction at top speed.
Hael was beyond shocked, beyond rage, beyond anything. He was amazed. And he wanted to know what Inventrius had meant by, "You two will eventually realize what I have."
What did it mean?
His future, and the future of the human race, depended on the answer to that question.
Forbidden Valley, Gnarled Forest, and the Kingdom had taken some time to fall, with the elite ninjas, pirates, and knights holding out for a long time, but eventually the Maelstrom had won.
Pet Cove had gone with almost no fight, as the only Nexus Force forces there were visitors, getting their own pets, and the small staff that worked there.
Nimbus Station had been a bit more troublesome, but had been taken.
Nexus Tower had, obviously, fallen. Now, the entirety of Crux Prime was under Maelstrom control.
Avant Gardens had proved very troublesome, with the Venture Explorer II destroying much of the invasion force, but only after all resistance had been defeated, and, even then, the Venture Explorer II's crew had been infected, so all was well.
The five other worlds with substantial population had also been conquered, with almost no resistance.
And the numerous other, smaller worlds that were other major battlegrounds between the Nexus Force and the Maelstrom, but with almost no population, had all been reported conquered.
Finally, Earth had been invaded, and fallen, not surprisingly, because they were not as advanced as the other worlds, and weren't backed by the Nexus Force.
Duke Exeter went through all of the reports, and smiled at a job well done.
Phase one of the plan was complete.
Now, it was time to launch phase two.
When Velocity and Felix finished their meal, they decided to go out on the balcony for a bit. It was getting dark, but not too dark to see just yet.
"So, how was your life on Earth?" Asked Velocity, tentatively.
"Well, I was half way through high school, you know what that is?" Velocity nodded, answering Felix's question.
"I had gotten my driver's license about a month ago, but I was still mad that Lego was going to close Lego Universe. I had invested a lot of time into the game, even with all the homework in high school."
Velocity nodded, as she gazed off into the distance. The sun was setting over the horizon. It was beautiful.
"As you probably know, I was race master in Nimbus Station. My two sisters…" Velocity broke off, staring down.
"Never mind," she concluded, staring off into the sunset again.
Felix felt very sorry for her. She had to deal with the fact that one, or both, of her sisters, might be dead.
Then, a small red dot came out of the sky. It slowly grew larger, until Velocity shouted. "Felix! It's a ship!"
"Yes, but is it friendly?" Felix wondered aloud.
"Well, it's red, so probably yes!" Velocity shouted. "Come on, we've got to see who they are!"
"Velocity, wait!" Felix said, grabbing her arm as she tried to run inside. He pulled her in, and locked all the doors.
"What was that for?" Velocity asked, hurt. "They're probably on our side!"
"We don't know that for certain!" Felix said. "Get your weapons. We're leaving now. They'll find us here, if it's the Maelstrom coming for us. If they're on our side, we'll meet them.
After grabbing their gear and putting on their backpacks with their other items in it, they set off down the stairs, Felix leading the way.
The exited the hotel, and hid behind a pile of rubble.
They peered over it, and saw that the ship had landed, and three figures were walking around.
"Recognize them?" Asked Felix in a whisper.
"Yes! That's Hael Storm!" Velocity replied, also whispering.
Felix drew his gun, grabbed Velocity's, stood up, and pointed it at the three figures, saying, "Hands up! Drop your weapons!"
The three figures glanced around, and immediately located Felix.
"Kid, we're on your side, as long as you're not infected," said the one in green.
"Come here then! Let me see your eyes!" Felix shouted, and then, to Velocity, he quietly said, "Stand up."
Velocity stood up, and the three figures head's turns flicked in her direction for a moment.
"Don't try anything!" Felix commanded. "I'm now going to approach you, with Velocity here. We'll all examine each other's eyes, and make sure the others are not infected. If we're all safe, then we'll forget about this incident."
"Alright," said the blue clad figure.
Felix started walking towards them, not moving his gun's sights from their hearts.
When he was a few feet away, he looked at all of their eyes. The ones in blue and green were fine, but the woman in white robes had…
"Blue eyes?" Felix asked, looking at the woman. It wasn't just her irises that were blue, but here entire eyes.
"Yes, I am a personification of the Imagination Nexus," she responded.
"So… you're Nexus Naomi!" Felix said. "And… You're Nikolai Gammapulse, and you're Hael Storm!"
The three nodded.
"So, satisfied with us? We're not Maelstrom?" Asked Hael. "Actually, I must comment you for your bravery to talk to us, and your wisdom to check us.
"Yes. Now, we have to get off this planet. The Maelstrom must be coming for us," said Felix. "I'll get the car, you guys get some food and anything you can fit on the ship."
"Alright…," Said Nikolai. "Wait. What's your name?"
"Felix. I'll explain once we're the brick out of here!" Felix said, as he ran off to the car with the keys Velocity had given him.
Getting to the car might be challenging, as there might be Maelstrom there. But it would be worth it to have it when they got to another planet. Possibly Earth might still be safe…
He saw the car about fifty feet away from him. He readied his sword and gun, and slowly approached it.
No Maelstrom had attacked yet. But when he was only ten feet away from it, a Stromling dove out of a ditch in the road, tackling, and pulling him to the ground.
Felix slashed with his sword, trying to connect with it, and, miraculously, he hit it, killing it.
He pushed its dead body off himself, and got to his feet.
Surrounding him were about a dozen Stromlings. And they were cutting off him from the car.
He charged towards the one opposite from the car, and dove for its feet, tripping it up. He slid for a few feet, during which he plunged his sword into the downed body of the Stromling.
He turned around, and ran to the left. The Stromlings tried to adjust for this, but Felix continued going, and led with his shoulder, hitting the Stromling on the edge, causing it to fly a few feet, and land, its head hitting a rock. It didn't move again.
The car was only a few feet away, and Felix ran towards it. He leapt onto the hood, jumped off, and climbed in; with the Stromling hardly aware they had just lost their target.
Felix started the car, and drove straight back to where he had left the others, flattening some of the Stromlings in the process.
He found the ship, with the others carrying food, weapons, and other survival items on board.
"Stromlings attacked me! We've got to go! Now!" Felix shouted. The other four looked at him, and raced for the ship. Felix drove the car up the ramp, and into the cargo bay.
From behind buildings, rising out of ditches, and leering from piles of rubble, came the Stromlings.
They ran towards the Koi.
Felix stayed in the car, waiting for Hael to close the cargo hold. But he wasn't. Instead, the Koi started lifting off the ground.
Some blasts from Horsemen hit the ship, but were stopped by the ships shields. A few hundred feet off the ground, the door started closing. Only when it was fully closed did Felix get out of the car.
He looked around at his surroundings. He was in a large room, about twenty by a hundred feet, by about ten feet tall. It was the bottom floor of the Koi. He found the stairs, and climbed up. The top floor was composed of a long, narrow hallway, with ten doors leading off to the sides. The door to the stairs, like the one on the bottom floor, was had a tight seal around it. At the opposite end of the corridor, another door lead to what Felix assumed was the command room.
He walked down the corridor, and entered the room.
Naomi, Nikolai, and Velocity were gathered around Hael. He was sitting in the control room, making the ship rise through the atmosphere. The control room had gigantic windows in one hundred eighty degrees, offering a full view of space, with a small control section for the pilot, and other seats for the copilot and gunners.
"Hey, after we get away from here, I'll give you all the tour of the ship," Hael said.
"Where are we going?" Asked Felix.
"Well, we figured… We know Nexus Tower and Nimbus Station are gone. We can't get a signal from any other world. So, we think the best place to go would be… Earth. It might be a sanctuary where we can live in," answered Velocity.
The other three nodded in agreement.
"Hey, Hael, it OK if I go and check out all the rooms?" Felix asked.
"Alright. Why don't you all go? If you're wondering what anything is, don't hesitate to ask," Hael said.
Everyone except for Hael and Naomi left the room, Naomi saying she already had learned everything she needed to know about the Koi from reading Hael's mind.
Felix opened the first door, finding a bedroom. The next five doors yielded identical results, with each room containing a bed, a desk, and a closet.
The next door opened to reveal an armory, with weapons and gear that had been gathered by Hael in his old days as a pirate.
Behind the eighth door was a large room. One It contained many shelves and a long row of cold devices, which were probably refrigerators and freezers.
"I'm guessing this is for food," Nikolai said, closing the door as they exited the room.
The ninth was a bathroom, complete with working facilities.
The tenth was a room filled with plants, which Nikolai explained, "All ships carry some plants for oxygen, food, heat, and all sorts of things, I'm not sure of the uses. But their really useful!"
"We should probably all choose a room," said Velocity, as they left.
"Well, we're in orbit!" Said Hael, leaving the pilots room. Naomi came after him, gracefully walking in her long robe.
"I agree, pick your rooms. I'll take the pilots room, as I'll need to be as close as possible to the controls. How about males on one side, females on the other side?" Suggested Hael.
"Alright," said Velocity, as she moved towards one of the doors, the one closest to the control room, Naomi taking the one next to her.
Nikolai shrugged, taking the one opposite Naomi, leaving Felix the one across from Velocity.
No one entered their rooms, however, as Hael said, "You know, we'd better go down to the cargo area, and organize everything we've got."
The other four followed him down, and Hael quickly gave instructions.
"I've got to go and check on the ship. But try to move up some food, and bring up any gear and weapons you'll want. Also, if you want some entertainment, don't hesitate to get something. The rooms have computers, though, in the desks," Hael explained. "Now, I've got to go!"
He ran off, leaving the others to carry everything up to the upper floor.
Felix glanced around. Along with the car, there were numerous boxes, each labeled about what they contained.
"Ah, here's some food!" Said Nikolai, who had, like Felix, been scouting the boxes. Felix went over to Nikolai, and they stared at the box, wondering how to get it down. Every box was stacked two high, so they couldn't try to get another one.
"Here, let me help," Said Naomi, who approached them. She stared at the box, and it floated up, over, and down to the ground.
"Thanks," said Nikolai, with a nod. He opened the crate with his Wakizashi, and started taking out items.
Cereal, bread, peanut butter, jelly, cookies, chips, water, juice, and all sorts of other food items.
Nikolai grabbed an armload of items, and started going upstairs. Naomi, using her powers, made items fly upstairs. Velocity also started bringing items upstairs, but Felix grabbed the two backpacks that he and Velocity had gotten in the city.
He carried one with each hand, and put them in their respective rooms.
As he was leaving Velocity's room, he saw an end to the stream of food and other items coming upstairs. He walked to the door, just in time to see Velocity, Nikolai, and Naomi walking up the stairs.
"Sorry I couldn't help, I was just getting our backpacks. That didn't take long!" Felix said.
"Naomi here did it all, really," explained Velocity.
"Alright. You brought up the weapons and gear too, right?" Felix asked.
"Yes, we did! Not all of it, of course. It's in the armory. By the way, we stacked the empty crates, flattened, over there," Nikolai gestured with his hand, as he continued walking.
"Alright, thanks," Felix said. "But, I also think… Velocity, Naomi, and I need to get some gear. Nikolai, you and Hael are probably all set, right?"
The three had reached the top of the stairs, and nodded.
"Alright, so, are we going to do that?" Repeated Felix.
"I have no need for weapons," said Naomi.
"Alright. We could use something, after all, the Maelstrom might try to attack us in space, and possibly once we land," Velocity said, as she walked towards the armory, Felix behind her.
Felix was amazed by everything that had been brought up. Numerous swords of all lengths, guns of all calibers, bows and arrows, and armor for any part of the body.
Felix grabbed some leather armor and boots. Following this, he took a bow, arrows, and a sword, even though he knew nothing about them. He figured he'd ask Hael and Nikolai for the how to use them later.
He turned to look at Velocity. She had also taken leather armor, and the identical gear he had.
She smiled at him, as he almost laughed at the fact they had taken the same items.
"Happy with your gear?" He asked Velocity, his eye brows raised.
"Absolutely," she responded.
Felix nodded, and left for his room.
He took off his armor and weapons, and set them aside.
Turning off the light, he laid down on his bed, and, after a few minutes, fell asleep.
February 1, 2012Edit
"So… Any idea where it is?" Ree asked.
"No idea. We all ejected before it crashed," answered Sky.
"Help! Sky, help me!" A voice shouted from the flames.
"Peppermint?" Sky shouted. "It's me, Sky!"
"I know! I'm trapped!"
Sky quickly picked up a fallen tree branch and tried to put out the flames.
"Never mind that!" Ree shouted. He ran through the flames, his suit somehow repelling the fire, and tried to locate Peppermint's shouts. She was nearby, but pinned under some fallen wood.
Ree pulled out his blaster, shot, and sent the wood flying. He then grabbed Peppermint, and carried her out, through the fire.
She was still burning as Ree set her down.
"Roll!" He commanded, and pushed her over. After a few times, the flames were put out.
"I'm sorry, but, I had to do that to save your life," Ree explained in a tone that suggested he felt no regret for his actions.
"Thank you," Peppermint said, as she blacked out.
"I'll leave for a bit, if you'd like, so you can treat her burns," Ree offered.
"No, I'm sure she'd rather you be there to help than dead," said Sky.
"Good, I know a bit about medical practices," Ree said, as he knelt down. He gazed at Peppermints face for a moment. It was almost unharmed, as she had instinctively shielded it with her arms when the fire started.
It only took a moment for it to look like a horror.
A bullet had entered her skull. She was dead.
Ree pulled out his blaster, and, calculating the angle of the bullet, shot in the general direction. He turned in time to see a Stromling ducking behind some burning bush. He fired a few more times, until the bush blew away.
But by then, he had more pressing matters to attend to.
More Stromlings were walking through the fire, revealing themselves from behind trees, fences, pushing themselves out of trash cans, and bursting through the few remaining buildings.
It was then Ree realized that this was where he would die.
It wasn't that he wanted a more peaceful death, or that he wanted to die with his friends. His only friend had been Rutger Hemoglobin, and he had, he assumed, died in Nexus Tower. Ree had simply wanted to live longer, and die in a more useful manner, saving another, or sacrificing himself to detonate a Maelstrom Stronghold.
Nevertheless, he pulled out his blaster. Beside him, Melodie, who was tired, bloody, and scarred, pushed herself to her feet. Her armor was missing in a few places, her clothes torn, but her weapons still worked. Sky was pulling out her blaster with one hand, clutching Peppermints lifeless body with her other hand. She was still so shocked by her sister's death that she wouldn't be much use in the battle.
The Stromlings stopped a few yards away.
"Well, what are waiting for? Kill us already!" Ree roared. He kept his blaster steady, slowly pivoting around in a half circle, Melodie doing the same, back to back.
The ring around them parted, and a blue figure walked through the opening. He pointed his sword to the sky, and then plunged it into the ground. A blue light radiated from it.
In that instant, Ree died.
A few hours later, he lived again.
He woke up in a windowless, wall less room. He was still in his suit, but was missing his weapons. Beside him, Melodie and Sky were still out, their bodies draped across the floor.
Then, the walls and floor disappeared, and they were floating in the clouds.
Out of the distance, the same blue figure as before walked towards them.
He was dressed in the same clothes as before. It was, on closer examination, mainly blue with small purple bits. The hue of the blue did not change from his boots, pants, shirt, or jacket. He wore bits of purple armor, carried a dazzling silver and gold sword with a blue the color of Imagination running down its center, and his blonde hard was neatly combed.
Ree quickly drew his blaster.
"Don't move, or I shoot!" He shouted in warning.
The figure stopped.
"It is I, Duke Exeter! I saved you from those Maelstrom!" The figure responded.
Ree lowered his blaster, and motioned for Exeter to approach.
He stopped a few feet from Ree.
"You are Mr. Ree." It was a statement, not a question. "Every world we know of has fallen, but there is still hope. We can defeat Baron Typhonus."
"I'm all for it, but what are Melodie, Sky, and I doing here, why do we feel fine, and where is… Here?" Ree asked.
"I created this. I hold the last piece of pure Imagination in the Universe. The rest was destroyed when Nexus Tower fell. I cured you using my powers, and I need your help to defeat Typhonus."
"Exeter, I want Typhonus dead as much as you do. But I sense something beyond this. How did you get this last piece of the Nexus? How did you escape? Why did no one escape with you? Why didn't the Stromlings attack you when you saved us? And your eyes are purple." Ree said all of it quickly, giving Exeter no chance to respond.
"Fine, it's true. I am Maelstrom infected. But, I still want Typhonus dead. See, if I wanted you dead, you'd already be dead." Exeter put a slight emphasis on the word "you" that worried Ree slightly. Did he want to kill one of the others?
"Why should I trust you?" Ree asked.
Exeter leisurely walked over to Sky's lifeless body, raised his sword, and brought it down through her body. She was dead in an instant.
Ree gave Exeter a sharp look full of hate. Exeter returned it with an expression of mild sympathy. He then plunged his sword into the clouds beneath his feet. The same glow as before filled the area, and, once again, Ree died.
Felix awoke. The clock showed a bit before ten o'clock. He was normally an early riser, but after a day where he had had to fight for his and other's life multiple times, he didn't feel guilty at all for oversleeping.
Speaking of others, he wondered how Velocity was doing. She was probably up already.
He pulled himself to his feet. He was still wearing the same clothes, but there was nothing else to wear, so he put back on his armor and grabbed his weapons. He then exited his room to the hallway, and seeing no one else around, went to the pilot's room.
Hael was there, as well as the others.
Felix then saw what was outside the window. Earth. It truly was a beautiful sight from space.
"Good morning, Felix," Velocity said. She looked wide awake.
"Good morning. That's Earth. Are we going to land there?" Felix asked.
Hael, who had been gazing at Felix, averted his gaze. "Yes, we will land there."
"If there's anything wrong, please tell me," Felix said politely, but he was a bit angry that they weren't being straight with him.
"I told them we should have told him," said Velocity in a slightly annoyed voice.
"I calculated a 65% chance that we should have," said Naomi.
"This is my ship, fine, sorry Felix, we should have told you," Hael conceded.
"So, what is it?" Asked Felix.
"Well, we took a reading of activity on Earth, and found about ten thousand intelligent life forms. According to Naomi, who read your mind, there are almost a million times more humans than that on Earth. We figured that this meant that… Earth has been attacked too," Nikolai explained.
"Alright," Felix said. He was surprised at the calmness in his voice, but he was glad he wasn't breaking down. It wouldn't look good to Velocity. "So, will we still land here?"
"Well, as we're already here, and can't think of a better place to go, why not?" Asked Hael. He started piloting the ship towards Earth, and added. "Felix, help me pick a landing spot. I've got a map of the planet here." He pointed to a holographic globe of Earth.
"Let me see. Let's land in Washington, DC. It's the Capitol of the United States of America," Felix suggested.
"And, may I ask, where the brick is that?" Asked Hael.
Felix pointed on the globe, and Hael nodded. "Got it," he said. "I'll take it from here. We'll be landing in about half an hour."
Felix walked out, and went back to his room. He lay on his bed, staring at the ceiling. He was surprised that he had no sorrow for Earth being decimated, or at least most of the population being dead.
He heard a knock on his door.
"Come in," he said in an indifferent voice.
"Felix, it's me," Velocity said.
"Hello," He replied.
"Listen, I'm really sorry about what happened to Earth…," she began.
"Don't be. You couldn't have done anything."
"I know. But still, I wish it hadn't happened."
Felix suddenly shot up. "Do you want the truth?"
"Yes." She said in a quiet voice.
He laid back down. "I'm not that depressed about it because we deserved it. We had enough bombs to destroy the world many times over, a growing gap between the political parties who wouldn't cooperate to save the world, and good portion of the world was controlled by dictators. Is that the sign of good?"
She was silent for a moment. "On our worlds, the Faction Leaders were dictators. They wouldn't cooperate either. Sure, we did it to defeat the Maelstrom, but might it have been better to do it in a dignified way, where people got a say in what happened?"
"That's just what I mean. Maybe… Maybe the Maelstrom has a purpose, after all…"
"We're landing in five minutes!" Said Hael over the Koi's intercom. "Everyone, below decks!"
Felix lay there for a moment, and then pushed himself up. "We'd better get going."
"Alright," Velocity said, and followed him down the hall, the stairs, and exiting out into the cargo hold.
Nikolai and Naomi were already there.
"Felix, Velocity, hello. Hael thinks that taking the car will be safest. Unfortunately, it only seats two. Hael thinks you guys should go, so we can all cover you if the Maelstrom attacks, we'll try our best to get rid of them. If we fail in that, get the brick out of there. We'll find you using the Koi," Naomi explained.
"Sure, sounds fine," said Felix. "Velocity, let's go."
They got in the car, Velocity in the driver's seat, Felix in the passenger's, and drove towards the doors. Nikolai hit a switch, and the doors opened, to reveal collapsed buildings, crumbling, formerly magnificent monuments, and right outside, a golden eagle. The one that used to reside on top of the Capitol Building. Felix shuddered. As much as the government wasn't exactly purely good, it kept the peace. This just showed how bad the world was now.
Behind them, the doors closed. Felix started looking around for Stromlings, anything suspicious, or even a landmark to travel by.
The word road no longer applied. Everything was gone, but thanks to the tough tires, they weren't popping. The kept driving, and Felix recognized an oddly short Washington Monument. Nearby was the Reflecting Pool. It was filled with debris. Across from it was the Lincoln Memorial- With the head of laying in the Reflecting Pool, the stone eyes gazing skyward.
They had been driving for half an hour when Felix noticed something odd. A purple mist was following them. He pointed it out to Velocity, and she started driving faster.
The mist kept pace, in fact, it was gaining on them.
"Brick!" She muttered. It was tough to drive fast at all, for risk of crashing. But if they didn't, they'd be devoured by the purple mist.
Suddenly, the mist condensed into the form of none other than Baron Typhonus.
The Baron held up his staff, and fired a blast of Maelstrom energy at the car. By the time Felix saw it coming, it was too late. But at just the last second, the blast fell short.
"What the bricks!" Typhonus shouted. He readied another blast, and was prepared to let it go when he flew up into the air. He landed, sprawled on the ground, with Duke Exeter ten feet away.
"I thought Nikolai had said that Exeter was being controlled by the Maelstrom," Felix whispered to Velocity.
"Well, I'm not complaining," she replied, as the car took off. Felix watched the battle unfold behind him, as Exeter leapt forwards, and plunged his blade into Typhonus. The Baron went limp instantly, as Exeter walked away. He didn't even pay any attention to the escaping car.
"Exeter won. It was a beat down," Felix reported.
"I have no idea what just happened," she said, in shock. "Why would they fight, if they're both Maelstrom? And Exeter must have seen us, as he saved us. Why not kill us next?"
Two people jumped in front of the car.
Velocity slammed on the brakes, and looked them over.
"Who are you?" Felix called out. He figured he already knew, though. One wore a business suit, with sunglasses, and was carrying a blaster. The other was wearing chainmail armor, with strawberry blonde hair, and was holding twin blue blades. It was odd that everyone wore the same clothes they had in the game, but it seemed to make sense.
"I am Mr. Ree! This is Melodie Foxtrot! We are uninfected. But we'd like to check if you are safe before we team up," the man shouted.
Felix and Velocity got out, their weapons drawn. Mr. Ree and Melodie were uninfected, and they obviously though the same of Felix and Velocity. They all shook hands.
"Well, we can't drive you, but you could follow us on foot," Felix began, but the problem was solved for them.
Behind them, the car exploded. And from the Washington Monument, a purple light began to emanate.
The Maelstrom was rising.
Duke Exeter had accomplished what was needed in phase two.
Phase three was about to begin.
He stopped radiating the light from the Washington Monument, as the Stromlings were finished rising. As no one was now alive on any other planet, the entire army was being summoned to Earth. In that instant, Exeter plunged his sword into the ground again. This time, with Maelstrom occupying the entire planet, the whole world was enveloped in the glow. If anyone had been alive on the International Space Station, or in space at all, Earth would be glowing a brilliant blue. But the moment Exeter stuck his blade into the ground, everyone went unconscious.
And was teleported to the same sky dimension that Mr. Ree, Sky Lane, and Melodie Foxtrot had been in before.
This time, a few hundred people were there. Exeter had made himself invisible, and he watched the people there begin to communicate. They were the last humans alive in the Universe, but they weren't sure of that yet.
Exeter began to speak. He made his voice sound as if it were coming from all sides, which he could, as this was his realm. "You are the last survivors of the human race."
A small gasp went through the crowd. That was all, though. It was also all Exeter had expected.
He went on. "In one day, the Maelstrom will attack again. Beat back this and you will be permitted to survive. Fail to do so and every one of you will be hunted down. You have one day."
He awaited the shocked voices from those who had no idea what the Maelstrom was, to those who had been fighting it their entire lives. Indeed, the voices came. But he began speaking again, silencing them.
"Felix, Ollogothis, the Spider Boss, challenges you to single combat. He is enraged that you escaped his trap on Nimbus Station."
He stopped speaking, and before anyone could say anything, they were back in Washington, DC. The Koi was a few feet away from the edge of the crowd, and no one had any idea what had just happened, or what to do next.
Hael immediately walked over to Felix, who was nearby.
"Felix, you're going to fight Ollogothis in the middle of this battle. And I'm sorry. No one alone could have a chance. I don't know what to tell you. Except that, in all likelihood, you've got a day to live," Hael said.
"I know," was Felix's simple reply. He had something more important to do than accept condolences. "Hael, get me into your ship. I need your loud speakers."
"Sure, Felix, but why?"
"I need to address everyone. We need to prepare. And even if I'm dead, not everyone else is."
Hael shrugged, and led Felix to the pilot's room in his ship.
As Hael was turning on the speakers, Felix noticed a strange mark on his hand. "What's that?" He asked Hael. "This? Oh, something Inventrius, a Mythran gave me. It allows me to use the Koi." Hael gestured with his other hand. "This mark is supposed to do something helpful if I'm in trouble. No idea what, though."
Felix nodded, and Hael finished turning on the speakers.
Felix sat down, and started speaking. "Alright, everyone, quiet down, please!"
In a few seconds, everyone had done so. "Can everyone understand me? Please clear room for anyone who doesn't, so they can come up to the Koi. And check with anyone standing next to you, if they understand me."
He waited, and no one came forwards. It was odd, he thought, that everyone could understand him. Based on the percentage of speakers of English, and this many people, some shouldn't be able to understand him. But if it was helpful, why question it?
He began speaking again. "You heard what he said. The Maelstrom, those things that have been destroying this world, is going to attack in a day. We need to fortify this place, and then defeat the forces of evil."
He said it with conviction, because he knew that they'd have to. At that moment, he felt like a leader. And it appeared everyone else agreed. Someone else shouted, "What will we do?"
Felix thought for a moment. "Well, everyone will need to grab weapons from the ship. Anyone who knows how to sue them will teach the others the basics in no more than fifteen minutes. As this is going, on everyone else will be working on getting bits of rubble to set up walls with. Anyone who knows how to shoot a gun, bow, or use any weapon, step forwards please. Felix saw that about a quarter of the crowd stepped forwards. That was good. It would only take an hour, at the most, for training. Felix then said, "Hael will show you to the armory." Hael diligently left, and Felix started speaking again. "Alright. Everyone, we'll want to surround the ship with walls. This will be our main base of operations. Start getting anything you can."
He got up, and went out of the ship, hearing Hael showing the weapons to everyone in the cargo hold.
When he looked out, he saw that almost everyone had left. The one remaining person was Velocity, who stood, arms crossed, looking at him. "What is it?" He asked, with a small laugh.
"You got everyone to work. You gave them a plan. Despite our imminent doom, you inspired them," she replied.
"No, I didn't. Everyone just needed someone to take charge."
"Then that's good. And… Listen. Do you have a plan to deal with Ollogothis?"
"Not yet," he replied. "Come on, let's get to work."
She nodded, and they set off. Felix could see a few people in the distance. Some had already returned with smaller stones. Others were rolling and shoving gigantic pieces of rubble towards the ship. The walls seemed to be taking shape about fifty feet away from the Koi. It would work out perfectly. With walls of a bit over three hundred feet in circumference, each person would contribute to one foot of it. It would be large enough, but not too large to defend or complete in time.
He and Velocity in a direction no others had so far, and from the sky, carried by the brisk breeze, floated a one dollar bill. Felix caught it, and examined it. He almost laughed at its worthlessness now, and stuffed it in his pocket. Just as a simple reminder of the world he had once lived in.
February 2, 2012Edit
The sun was breaking the horizon. In little more than two hours, the Maelstrom would be coming.
Felix had awoken on the ground outside the Koi. Fortunately, the night had been warm for the first few days of February, and it was in Washington, DC, not farther north, so no one was too uncomfortable.
He stood up and began to walk around the wall that had been built. It was really nothing special. There were countless holes in it, and it wasn't very strong. But it would do to help defend the place when the Maelstrom attacked. Their plan was simple. Stay in the fort until it was absolutely necessary. They had thought of using the Koi for support, but the idea had been scrapped when purple clouds began to descend so much, that flying more than a few feet off the ground would reduce visibility to zero.
So they had decided it would be the place to retreat to incase of emergence, and they'd flee. To where, no one knew. Just get the brick out of there. It had to be better to die than to become Maelstrom infected.
Felix fingered his gun and sword. They had been taught how to shoot without killing themselves, and that was it. He had no idea how to fight with a sword, but the Maelstrom didn't seem overly intelligent about anything, so he hoped that might help.
But he still couldn't escape the hopelessness of the situation. His death would soon be upon him, and possibly everyone else's, as well.
"The end is nigh!" He said to no one.
He almost laughed. Almost.
He walked on, and continued to run through the plan in his head.
There were many small holes in the walls, through which the defenders could shoot the Maelstrom was they came. When the Maelstrom destroyed the walls, though, it would be time to just fight for everyone's life.
And he would have to face Ollogothis.
He had walked the entire loop of the wall, and walked to the ship. No one had slept on it, so no one would feel superior or inferior to others.
He found Hael, who was already up, and was in the ship. He was walking through the Koi, with no real purpose.
"Good morning, Hael. What are you doing?" He asked.
Hael shook his head. "Nothing. Just planning to remember this, so when I die, I'll have it fresh in my memory."
"Don't say that!" Felix said, encouragingly. "You'll survive this."
"You don't know the Maelstrom very well, Felix. Stromlings are easy to kill. But many are much more powerful. And this won't just be a few Maelstrom coming for us. This will be millions, possibly billions. And everyone out there thinks a little wall and knowing how to not kill yourself when shooting a gun is going to save them. It won't!"
"And so what?" Felix shouted. "Who gives a brick. We have hope! And that's all that matters!"
"You don't understand, do you?" Hael responded in a quiet voice. "We have hope, but no chance."
"Normally, we wouldn't. But this isn't normal, is it?" Felix replied. "We've got things we shouldn't have, like magic. We've got a chance."
Hael shook his head, and said, "We don't, but I'll fight. I want to live as much as you do."
He followed Felix to the cabin. In a few moments, everyone was up, and they stood outside.
"Well, I don't know what to say," said Hael. "Fight hard. Remember, we're the last humans alive. If we fall, the world falls."
Hael raised his hand to the sky, in a fist. Everyone copied the gesture. But Felix noticed the mark on his hand again, and by thinking of magic, was reminded of the one dollar bill he had plucked from the air the day before. He pulled it out of his pocked, and glanced at the pyramid with the eye on it.
He suddenly realized he had to do to defeat Ollogothis.
He realized everything. It all clicked into place. Exeter, the fall of society, the final battle, Ollogothis challenging him to combat.
He turned and sprinted towards the ship, just as bits of Maelstrom energy started to clatter against the impromptu walls.
He raced into his room, dropping his sword and gun on the floor. He lunged for his backpack that he had gotten on Nimbus Station, and reached inside.
His sword, gun, and knife were still there.
He put on the belt, set the gear in it, and went back outside.
The walls hadn't fallen yet. But parts were shaking violently, as if they would collapse any moment.
He stood, sword and gun out, waiting for the walls to break.
In less than a minute, they had.
The defenders immediately retreated a few feet, shooting wildly with their guns. Some Stromlings crumbled to the ground, but there was no end to them.
Felix stood his ground, but no Stromlings had attacked him yet.
He was waiting for Ollogothis.
And at last, the spider came.
Ollogothis scuttled forwards, letting lose a blast of Maelstrom energy, which Felix sidestepped.
He aimed his gun, and shot. It hit the Spider Boss in the chest. Nothing happened. He tried again and again, in the leg, eyes, blasters, but to no avail.
He threw his gun at Ollogothis when it ran out of bullets. The Spider Boss blasted it out of the air. Felix held his sword in two hands, and ran at Ollogothis. He parried a blow by the Spider Boss's leg, and moved in, under its body. He thrust upwards, and it released a scream. But in that moment, his sword disintegrated, from the Maelstrom energy in the spider.
Its power was leaking out of its underside, but it was still going. Felix pulled his knife out of his belt. It was his last weapon, but he felt that it would come down to this.
Ollogothis lunged forwards, and Felix dived under it. He skidded for a few feet, his clothes dragging on the ground, covering them in dirt. He quickly got to his feet, and turned around, jumping at the spider's backside. He brought down the knife while in midair, slicing through its armor. It roared in pain again, and released a powerful blast from its cannon. Felix had no time to dodge, but slashed at the blast with his knife. Amazingly, it stuck on his knife, and he flung it back at Ollogothis.
This time, it was the last time it would be injured.
It crumpled to the ground. But it was down, not out.
Felix edged close, and then ran up to it. He took his knife in both hands, and plunged it into the spider's body.
It went limp.
He had slain the most powerful Maelstrom enemy. Not just in the game, like he had always imagined fighting the Spider Boss, not just the Spider Queen. He had done it in real life.
The Maelstrom suddenly began to retreat. Despite its huge advantage in numbers, it was retreating.
Felix raised his knife to the sky, and the light of a new dawn gleamed upon it.
This was it. They had won. They would live.
A few hours later, only a few over a hundred humans remained alive. Over two hundred had died in the battle against the Maelstrom.
Felix was a hero to everyone. He had defeated Ollogothis.
And yet, they still had to survive in actuality. Not in a fight, but a day to day struggle to find enough to eat.
But they weren't at that stage yet. The celebrations for winning and the remembrances for the dead were still going on.
Felix excused himself for a moment, and walked off for a bit. He knew who he was looking for, but they weren't with the celebrators and mourners. In fact, he wasn't even sure if who he was looking for still had a body.
He had blue and purple clothes, but his hair and sword were what distinguished him.
"Exeter," Felix said quietly, and walked forwards.
Neither drew weapons, even though, if they had met a few hours earlier, Felix would have tried to kill him on sight.
They shook hands.
"Congratulations," Exeter said. "You have done well."
"Thank you," Felix replied. "I figured out your plan."
"Very good. I choose you for that very reason. But, let us sit. I have a tale to tell, and it will not be short."
Exeter walked to a large piece of rubble, and Felix sat next to him.
"Your society was broken," Exeter began. "Corruption was everywhere. A third of Earth's population were being denied basic human rights. And in the planets under the Nexus Force, citizens lived under dictators. Benevolent ones, but dictators, none the less."
"Yes, but does that really warrant the mass killings of most of a species?" Felix asked.
"That is all the Maelstrom can do. We evaluated, and decided that no small war, or even a large one, could help the balance of power between people and government."
"Then you should have let us continue our own way," Felix stated. "Is it your business to interfere with us?"
"It is all our business. The Maelstrom is fueled by chaos. Chaos is when government does not decide everything for a group of people. So we must always have free societies."
"So you did this to help yourself." It wasn't a question, it was a statement.
"In truth, yes. But also to help you. See, destruction isn't always bad. That is where the Baron was mistaken. He was fighting just to spread chaos, with no real plan for afterwards. I, however, the real leader of the Maelstrom, am not misguided in that way. I have been leading it since the dawn of humanity. I am not only Duke Exeter, but a thousand other guises."
"Cool story, Exeter."
Exeter gave him a look, and went on. "The best option was to start fresh."
"And how is this present world going to be that? Look at it. There are the ruins of civilizations everywhere. Our descendants won't be able to live off the land like this."
"Yes, they will. When you return to the Koi, all will return to as it was before. No cities, all minerals back. Trees will be populating the land in countless numbers, some fully grown, others new saplings. You can start anew in the world."
"So the past thousands of years of world history have been wiped out. Great. We'll regress into cave people, losing everything."
"You won't. You know all of the inventions of your ancestors. In about ten years, heavy metals will be rediscovered, and you will have plows. By the time you die, life will be lived at the same level as the fourteen hundreds. Some guns will exist."
"Alright Exeter. I don't agree with your methods, but I agree with what you said. But how can we prevent wars, oppression, and corruption in the future?"
"Try not to become separated. Keep together, under one government. Let the people decide, not the rich. Always give power to the people when possible."
"That will just further the Maelstrom's interests. How do I know that I can trust what you're saying?"
"You can't. But what other source will you go to in order to receive information about how to proceed?"
"My own thoughts."
"Felix! You don't get it, do you? I know what will work. Thousands of years from now, your descendants, if they knew, would be… Maybe thanking me for getting them to where they will be then! But you must lead from here. Using my plans!"
"Why would I be the leader of the soon to be village?"
"You are charismatic, and can lead them. These first few years will be very hard. You will be living purely off the land. You'll have to grow all your own food. There won't be books or video games like Lego Universe. It will be hard."
"You sound as if you don't care. That you doomed us to this. What if we fail, and we don't rebuild? Then what? Neither the Maelstrom or humans will exist!"
"I am sure! It is for the best. If you don't trust me, don't. But know that you're dooming yourself and your descendants to death."
Felix stood up. "Fine! What do I need to do?"
Exeter explained, and Felix listened. He had to admit, it made sense. But still… "Exeter, I think I understand." He said, when Exeter had asked if he got it. "Now, before I go off, I'd just like to ask you about how this all happened. According to the deceased Shival, some people on Earth were planning on rebelling against the Lego Company. I assume that they were your people? And where does Ollogothis fit into all this?"
"They were my people, yes. Ollogothis is simply a, embodiment of the Maelstrom. When you killed it, you were killing a part of the Maelstrom. The Maelstrom can never be defeated as long as humans are alive."
"And I recognized that magic cannot be used to defeat it. That's why I had to find the only weapons that weren't from the Koi, as they all were from Inventrius."
"Correct you are. We have kept trying to give humans access to magic, but they just… Do not use it for good. That is why, this time, you will not have magic on your side."
"Alright. And are you going to come with us, Exeter?"
"No. I will stay with the Maelstrom. I must control it, so it does not control humans. And I will be watching, waiting to release the Maelstrom if you fail."
"You mean… You will do this again if we are doing things incorrectly?"
Felix got up, and there was anger etched on his face. "Exeter, that's… Terrible. How will humans ever progress if you keep knocking us back?"
"You will not progress unless you learn how to do that. And it will happen. As it has happened countless times in the past."
Felix looked sick. "You have killed billions Exeter! How is that right? It's terrible! You're terrible! You have no idea what is right and wrong!"
Exeter sat there, silently. Felix would have been happier if Exeter had jumped up, and started shouting. But he wasn't. "Felix. I know what is right and wrong. Why would I do it otherwise?"
"Well, we obviously have very different ideas about that. And whatever I do to you won't help at all, will it? You're invincible. I can't kill you. But know this. If I could, I would. In a heartbeat."
"That's great. And maybe you're right. But you're probably wrong."
Those were the last words Felix ever heard from Exeter. In that moment, he was back at the outskirts of the camp. Nothing remained. He and a hundred others were staring at each other in a clearing of trees. A river flowed nearby.
They were on their own.
February 3, 2067Edit
Felix stood, his back to the village. He gazed off into the setting sun.
A tear fell from his eyes.
He was in his sixty's now. A bit over fifty years had passed. And now, he would also pass away.
All who he had known already had. Nikolai, Hael, and all the others. Only a few months ago, his wife, Velocity, had died. It had been heart wrenching, and yet… He lived on.
He was leader of their village assembly. His title was speaker, and that was all he really did. Give the sides of each issue, and allow the assembly to vote. It was compromised of every one of the bit over thousand villagers.
He wondered what would happen after his death. He had been able to keep everyone united. And oddly, no one but him remembered what had come before. Everyone seemed to think that they had just appeared in the forest. They did all remember things that had been around before, though, like plows, saddles, and swords.
The village had lived peacefully all this time. No Maelstrom. Nothing.
But Felix was the only one who was still looking out for them. After all, no one else remembered.
He was constantly going back to his last conversation with Exeter. Was what Exeter had done morally right? Did the ends justify the means?
And Felix still had not decided.
The sun was dipping below the horizon. Felix took one last breath, heard the sounds of workers, families, everyone talking.
And he fell to the ground, dead.
In the morning, his absence was discovered, and his body found. A funeral took place, and one man was there that no one knew of. A man in blue and purple robes, with a hood pulled over his face. He had walked up the Felix, and touched his body with his sword.
In that moment, his consciousness was in the man's blade. The man bowed, and was gone in an instant.
After the funeral, the village went back to their day to day duties. All the while, Felix, Exeter, and the Maelstrom watching them struggle through the thousand year night.
The views expressed in this story are not my own. No one could wish the death of billions for some unreachable goal. But that is what Exeter did.
This story, unlike my original, does not have as clear a protagonist and antagonist. Is Exeter right, or wrong? Of course, his means are complete immoral, but what about his reasons? He is, in fact, correct in those. So many of our fellow human beings are denied basic human rights while we spend the more leisure time then we have ever had before on video games. Why? Because we can.
Am I suggesting what Exeter did as a solution? Absolutely not. Even the thought of it is terrible. But something must be done. What, I do not know.
I hope you have enjoyed this story. I, personally, do not like it as much as my original, but, that's just my honest opinion.