12Talmidhttps://community.lego.com/t5/Stories-of-LEGO-UNIVERSE/Servant-of-Darkness-Being-the-first-book-in-the-Stromling/td-p/2525720/page/12This is the sequel to Servant of Darkness.
Availability: The Search can also be found here.
Author's Notes: This is the sequel to Servant of Darkness.
Dark, forbidding shadows danced across the landscape of Forbidden Valley. Dark Ronin stalked the abandoned fields, while horsemen pounded across the landscape, always on the hunt for the next unlucky minifigure to be preyed upon by the Maelstrom. Dragons ruled the skies.
A lone Sentinel Samurai stepped out of the shadows overlooking a clearing swarming with Dark Ronin. The formerly lifeless suits of armor, now possessed by Maelstrom, closed in on the Samurai, ready to bring doom upon another person.
Brandishing a sword, the Samurai charged towards the Dark Ronin. Weapons clanged, and one-by-one the lights which gave Dark Ronin their ghostly appearance flickered out, the pieces of armor thudding the ground, lifeless of Maelstrom once again.
The sound of hooves pounding on the stone ground was getting louder. In short time, Maelstrom Horsemen were darting towards the scene of the battle.
The Samurai took out the last of the Ronin, before turning to face the incoming horsemen. The Samurai jumped to the side from the path of one horseman, slamming the Dark Ronin rider with a shield. The Ronin fell, while the Sentinel performed similar stunts against the other horsemen.
The battlefield was soon full of armor lying on the ground, with the one Samurai as the only living being there.
The Samurai pulled off her helmet, revealing long, flame-red hair. Kate surveyed her surroundings, taking in the lifeless armor littering the ground, and the dark shadows that loomed overhead. A single Dragon flew on the horizon, appearing as dark as the shadows against the setting sun.
Her mission over, Kate put her helmet back on, lowered the visor, and set off back to the mountains.
Kate awoke with a start. Light flooded into her eyes from the ceiling lights, while air conditioners hummed in the background.
She sat up from the couch, brushing her red hair from her face. The white walls of the apartment in Nimbus Station which she and her friends, Gallant Strong Cyclone, Cheerful Power Rover, and Master Blade9 were currently living in greeted her. The sound of shuffling cards and moving pieces came from a nearby table. Cyclone, Rover, and Blade sat around it, playing a board game. From where she was seated, Kate had a full view of what was going on.
Over a month had passed since Cyclone, Kate, Rover, and Blade had been uninfected. Their adventure had all started when Cyclone and Kate were infected and turned into Stromlings. They had met each other, and then decided to set out on a quest to get uninfected. Along the way they met Rover, who at first was an antagonist to them, until Cyclone accidentally infected him on Crux Prime. Rover agreed to join them in trying to get uninfected, and then they met Blade, whom Rover infected. After that, the four of them arrived at Nexus Tower where Vanda Darkflame and Dr. Overbuild helped uninfect them. Cyclone and Blade also met uninfected versions of themselves.
Apparently, as Doc Overbuild had explained, a being with a strong imagination spark would rebuild a clone of oneself if about to be infected by Maelstrom. Cyclone, Blade, and Kate had been found to have strong imagination sparks. Thankfully, Rover had a normal imagination spark, allowing him to remain whole.
Cyclone and his double had then been joined back into one person thanks to a device made by Overbuild. The same happened for Blade.
But things were different for Kate. They had still not found Kate's other self.
As Vanda Darkflame had said, "The Nexus Force is huge. There are several minifigures out there named Kate, and several of them are Sentinel Samurais. The Sentinel Faction is quite popular, anyway, and Kate is a pretty name."
Another problem was that ever since Kate had been uninfected, the dreams which used to show her what her double was doing were no longer coming, or up to date. It was always the same dream of her fighting at Forbidden Valley, repeating, over and over again. Unable to track what she was doing, it made the search for her double harder.
So now, Cyclone, Kate, Rover, and Blade were staying in an apartment in Nimbus Station, waiting for the Nexus Force to track down and find Kate's double. The wait was excruciatingly boring.
Kate leaned back on the couch, watching as her friends played their board game. The game was called Risk-a-Brick. It was a game about world conquest, with worlds such as Avant Gardens, Nimbus Station, Gnarled Forest, and other places in the Nimbus System on the board. Inside these worlds were smaller areas, and connecting the worlds were bridges. The goal was to move little plastic across the board and to conquer the rest of the worlds, with the fighting aspect determined by rolling dies. Extra pieces could be awarded by using cards.
Blade grinned as he rolled two sixes on his dies, then moved a bunch of his pieces into an area previously owned by Cyclone. He picked up a card, and passed the dies to Rover. Cyclone frowned as Rover took another of his areas, and soon Cyclone's battle for the Venture Exploerer was a lost cause. Grumbling, Cyclone retreated his plastic soldiers back to Avant Gardens, where Blade started chasing him away from the launch area and into Avant Grove.
Kate watched as Cyclone stood up, and screamed, "Alright I quit! I hate Risk-a-Brick!" before kicking the table.
"Hey, calm down Cyclone." Rover said, reaching out to stabilize the table while Blade worked on keeping a few soda bottles from toppling over.
Cyclone mumbled something unintelligible, and stormed out of the room. Rover raised his eyebrows, and Blade shrugged. They then returned to the game, and moved to start splitting up Cyclone's land.
"Wait." Kate stood up, and strode over to them. "Mind if I take over for Cyclone?"
Blade glanced at Rover, who glanced back at him, before they looked at Kate. "Sure." Rover said.
Half an hour later, Kate won.
Cyclone stepped out of the apartment building into the cool night sky. Stars appeared to be twinkling up in the sky, the atmosphere of Nimbus Station bending their light. Cyclone readjusted his jacket, and walked down the stone path. Crickets chirped, and frogs sang as he strolled through the garden.
Cyclone kept walking, not really paying attention to his surroundings. He walked on for ten minutes, until he found himself in Nimbus Plaza. The plaza was full of minifigs selling and buying stuff, choosing factions, chatting with friends, and other things. Cyclone walked around the border of the path. He stopped at the Paradox Faction Vendor, Cog Blammo.
"Hey, kid." Cog called to him. "Looking for something to buy?"
Cyclone shook his head, and continued walking. After walking around endlessly for a long time, he happened to check his watch. Cyclone's eyes bugged out. He had been out later than he had thought!
Soon he was headed back to the apartment. A cool breeze slapped his face as he stepped through a dark alley. He had just passed by a few trash cans, when someone jumped him.
The person slammed into his side, sending Cyclone tumbling to the ground. He wrestled with his attacker, but had been caught off guard. Cyclone was at a disadvantage. He rolled away just in time as a stun beam was absorbed into the ground where he had just been. He stood up, but not for long. The attacker was on him again, and Cyclone was knocked back to the ground. A low buzzing sound reached his ears, and Cyclone realized he was staring up the barrel of a Sentinel Space Ranger gun. Just it wasn't a normal Space Ranger gun.
Cyclone jerked his head to the side just as it fired. The energy seeped into the ground, and the force of the shock wave sent Cyclone flying away. He landed in a pile of garbage bags, which cushioned his fall. Cyclone quickly got to his feet, and pulled an Pneumatic Drill of Blasting from his backpack. He aimed it around, trying to find his attacker. The night was silent, and the path back out from the alley was clear. Cyclone darted out of the alley, and making sure no one was following him, he made his back to the apartment.
And back in the cover of the shadows, someone was watching him.
"Aww!" Rover groaned as he thumped his head into the table. Blade fell out of his chair, and Kate grinned as she wiped Rover's last piece off the board.
"How- did- you- do- that-" Blade gaped at her.
Kate shrugged. "Beginner's luck."
Then the door banged open, and Cyclone ran in. He glanced at them, then ran towards the bathrooms, where the sound of a shower was heard, and a minute later he came out looking more presentable.
"What happened to you?" Kate asked. "You look like you've seen a ghost."
Cyclone's face was white. "I was attacked." he stammered.
"Attacked?!" Blade exclaimed, now conscious again.
"What happened out there?!" Rover questioned him.
"Well, I had entered an alley when something, or someone jumped me. I barely escaped." Cyclone told him.
Rover jumped over to his backpack which lay by the wall. A second later, his Rank Three Venture League Buccaneer gear was equipped. He jerked his chin in Blade's direction. "Come on Blade."
Blade equipped his Rank Three Sentinel Knight Gear, and followed Rover out the door. The room was empty except for Cyclone and Kate.
Cyclone made his way over to the couch, and sat down. Kate went over and sat down next to him. "Tell me what happened." Kate told him.
Cyclone sighed. "Okay then," he said. "Well, I went out for a walk. I guess I got sort of lost, since I went through a back alley. Then someone dressed in black with a Sentinel Space Ranger Gun attacked me there. At first he shot a stun beam at me, but later it was a normal energy blast."
"But why would someone attack you?" Kate asked.
"I don't know," Cyclone replied. He frowned, then added darkly, "but I'm sure, whoever he was, he wanted me dead."
In all his years of being an experienced bounty hunter, assassin, put-ninja-to-shame-er, and other things, Krill Mathias had never lost his prey. Until now. He had failed in defeating, or even smashing his target, and had watched angrily from the shadows as his target had escaped. Krill had let him escape, he knew it wasn't time to attack. His prey was already cautious, so he would have to wait for him to let down his guard.
Krill pulled his holo-projector from his utility belt, and contacted his employer. The identity of his employer was unknown by him. His side and allegiance were also concealed from him, but as long as he had the money, Krill would serve him. His mission was simple, and appeared not difficult. His directions were: Bring Gallant Strong Cyclone to his master, alive, or dead.
The flickering blue image of a caped figure, his face obscured by a cloak, appeared. "You have failed again, Mathias." the cloaked figure rasped.
Krill was surprised that his caped employer knew of his predicament, but didn't show it. Even if he did, his stolen Sentinel Space Ranger Helmet would have obscured any facial expressions. "Then I assume that you needn't receive the knowledge of my upcoming plans." Krill said coolly.
His employer's hologram rasped a computery laugh, his voice distorted by the hologram. "Oh, I know your plans, Mathias. After all, I-"
Krill flicked off the holo-projector and stuffed it back into his utility belt. He had heard a noise, and within seconds had dived into a darker, more shadowy part of the alley.
His helmet's HUD showed two infrared signatures of two minifigures approaching from the apartment complex which his target had escaped into. One was a Venture League Rank 3 Buccaneer, and the other was a Rank 3 Sentinel Knight. They were headed in his direction.
Krill doubted that they knew he was there. They had probably chosen their direction by chance. Either way, Krill's instincts told him they were searching for him. Krill trusted his instincts.
Krill ducked back into the alley, and stealthily took off. He would do his job, but not right now. He would have his time later, a time when he would succeed.
Rover scanned the area thoroughly. There was no one else besides himself and Blade out there. Whoever had attacked Cyclone had made his getaway, and was probably halfway across Nimbus Station by now.
"He's gone," Rover said. "whoever he was."
"We have to find him." Blade said firmly. "We can't let someone like that escape."
Rover shook his head solemnly. "It's no use. He's probably all the way across Nimbus Station by now. We've lost him."
Blade gritted his teeth, but said nothing. Unhappily, the two turned around and made there way back to the apartment building.
Vanda Darkflame stared at the new list that her guard, Meyer Muckrake, had made for her. On the list, pictures of several minifigs by the name of 'Kate' and names just like that were placed next to their faction, age, basic appearance, and other forms of identification. Vanda skimmed the list for a second time with the same results. There were no red haired Sentinel Samurais by the name of Kate.
Annoyed, Vanda crumpled the list into a ball and through it across the room, where it landed smack in the middle of dartboard with a picture of a Stromling, with the center of its face as the middle of the board. Vanda sighed, got up, and turned the dartboard around to face its other side, with instead of a Stromling, had a picture of a smiling Duke Exeter. She returned to her desk, and began throwing darts at the picture. Thump. Thump. Thump. They all hit Duke's nose.
The door opened, and Meyer stepped in again, carrying another, longer, list of names. "Here they are, Ms. Darkflame." Muckrake said as he placed them on her desk. As he left the room, he noticed the Duke Exeter dartboard on the wall. "Excuse me Ms. Darkflame, but what is this?" he asked as he eyed the three darts which punctured the cardboard Duke's nose.
Vanda rolled her eyes, and made a shooing motion with her hand. "Oh, it's nothing. Thanks for the list, by the way." she told him as he left the room.
More random people named Kaitlyn, Katherine, Kataroombla, and other variations of the name Kate. She cracked up at a certain girl named Kimi-golapa-exmasa. That name didn't even sound like Kate. Then she stopped at one picture, taken in very low resolution, probably from a security camera, which showed a very blurry scene of a red-haired Sentinel Samurai standing in Nimbus Station. Despite the terrible picture, Vanda could just barely make out some key features exactly like Kate's. The date of the picture was just a few hours ago.
Vanda grabbed her phone and punched in the number of one of her secret Paradox Agents currently in Nimbus Station. "Hi Hu Where, yes, this is Vanda. I've got an important mission for you, yes, very important. I need you to bring me a girl named Kate. Uh huh. She's a Sentinel Samurai- yes, a Sentinel. Red hair, green eyes.... yes. I suggest you put on that picnicker disguise again, so as not to frighten her. And don't do that, 'You can't see me, so come with me' thing again. Yes. Thank you."
Vanda smiled as she hung up the phone. Hu Where was a trusted agent, and she could count on him to get the job done, even if it involved pretending to be a lowly picnicker.
The sun rose over the horizon, beginning the morning hours. Sunlight bathed Nimbus Station, as its inhabitants awoke to the start of a new day.
Meanwhile, Cyclone, Kate, Rover, and Blade were strolling through Nimbus Circle. The plaza was packed with people, as usual. As they walked towards one of the vendors, Cyclone bumped into a familiar looking ninja.
"Ow, did you have to bump into me?" Hu Where moaned.
"Hey Hu Where." Cyclone greeted him.
Hu Where squinted at him through his ninja hood, then recognized him. "Ah, Gallant Strong Cyclone. I remember you. You helped ferry quite a lot of Maelstrom cubes between me and Wisp Lee." Hu seemed to be thinking, whens suddenly he exclaimed, "Wait, you can see me?!"
Cyclone nodded. He had no recollected of ever giving Hu Where Maelstrom Cubes, but then he recalled a few memories of him doing so. He knew it was probably his double having done so, before they were joined back into one person.
"Can you really see me?" Hu Where whined, getting on his knees. "Please say you can't see me. Please please please say you can't see me...."
Cyclone stared at him. "I can see you, bright and clear."
Hu Where screamed, and pulled a Teleporation Flash Bang from his pocket. He was about to activate the TFB when he noticed Cyclone's companions. But the person he was most interested in was Kate.
"Wait, aren't you that girl who Vanda sent me here for?" Hu exclaimed, shoving past Cyclone and stepping closer to Kate.
"What? Vanda sent you to get me?" Kate asked.
"Yes. I am a Secret Paradox Agent, so of course Vanda sent me." Hu said matter-of-factly. "Just don't tell anyone that I am a Secret Paradox Agent." he added loudly.
"Um, I think you just did." Blade told him.
Hu Where seemed to be examining Kate, before saying, "Well, since you can't see me, you should come with me. I am invisible. Wait, Vanda told me not to say that."
Kate glanced at Rover and Blade, and then at Cyclone. Who was this guy?
"Oh no! I violated Master Darkflame's instructions! Oh, dear me! What shall I do!" Hu Where went back to screaming his head off.
"Why did Vanda send you here to get me?" Kate asked him.
"She said it was important that I catch a Sentinel Samurai matching your description and bring her to her!" wailed Hu Where.
"Sentinel Samurai?!" exclaimed Kate. "You mean she's here?!"
Hu stopped rolling on the ground clutching his head, and nodded.
Thoughts of confusion swirled around Kate's mind. If what Hu Where had just told her was true, then her double was in Nimbus Station!
"No, wait!" Cyclone called after her, but Kate had already gulped down a quicksickle, and was speeding through Nimbus Plaza, searching for her alter-ego. As she sped through the crowd, she noticed a few flashes of red hair, but none of them belonged to any Sentinel Samurais, and no one in the crowd had any resemblance to her.
The quicksickle wore out, and she came to a stop, panting. Kate looked around, with the same results as before. She had sped around the whole plaza, and she still had not found her double. She was about to make her way back to Cyclone and the others, when a commotion by the Avant Gardens launch pad caught her attention.
A minifig dressed in a Breastplate of Armored Inspiration, Flight Suit Legs, a Zippered Leather Jacket, a Wizard's hat of Whirlwind, and carrying a Shield of Shielding and Elite Force Blade of Lightning stood by the launchpad, while a Nexus Force commando squad surrounded him. Kate caught a few snippets of conversation. What she heard was not to her liking.
"You are not authorized to have come here." the commander of the squadron was telling the minifig, who from the looks of him was one of the Nexus Force limited recruits who battled the Maelstrom on Avant Gardens.
Limited Recruits were the unlucky minifigs who could not pay the fees required to join the main portion of the Nexus Force, and thus were very limited. They were confined to the world of Avant Gardens, and could not join a faction. The Nimbus Station launchpad was blocked to them, and Kate wondered how he had even gotten this far to land in Nimbus Station.
"But I want to join a faction and serve the Nexus Force like I should! It's not fair that we are limited to only Avant Gardens! We should fight alongside our brothers and fight the Maelstrom where we are needed!" the Limited Recruit was saying.
"Get him out of here." the commander said gruffly. Two of his men moved forwards and grabbed the recruit's arms. The recruit glared at them as they placed energy shackles around his arms, and guided him into a transport shuttle. The shuttle took off back towards Avant Gardens.
As Kate was watching the scene happen, a Sentinel Samurai walked by, and accidentally bumped into her arm.
"Sorry," the Samurai said, as she headed to the Avant Gardens launch pad as well.
"No problem." Kate replied, before realizing what just happened, and who she had just spoken too. She lunged towards the Avant Gardens launch pad just as the Samurai climbed into a Sentinel rocket and took off. Kate quickly produced a rocket out of her backpack, and took off.
"Noooooo, Kate!" Cyclone yelled as he charged towards the launch pad which Kate had just taken off from. He set his rocket on the launch pad, and called to Rover, Blade, and Hu Where, "Come on!" before climbing into his cockpit and taking off.
Rover and Blade climbed into their own rockets and took off as well, leaving Hu Where standing in the dust.
"I hate this job." Hu Where grumbled as he set his Paradox Darkwarp rocket on the launch pad and took off.
Just after Hu took off, a dark figure stepped over to the launch pad and produced his own rocket. Krill Mathias took off after the group, and once he was out of Nimbus Station's atmosphere, homed in on Cyclone's rocket. He would have blown Cyclone's rocket into oblivion if his employer's instructions hadn't been to bring Cyclone to him.
Krill set his rocket into a position behind Cyclone's, Rover's, Blade's, and Hu Where's rockets where he would be in their blind spots. He activated a cloaking device, and pulled down the blinds on his rocket's windows, blocking out the glare of nearby stars as he set his rocket on autopilot, before taking a nap.
Kate guided her rocket into a descent over the oceans of Avant Gardens. She passed by the area where the waters flowed off into space and turned to ice, producing rainbows and distorting the light. Her rocket skimmed over the vast oceans, and the Avant Gardens launch area came into view. She guided the rocket an into a climb just near the platform where the vendors stand, and jumped out of her rocket, landing on the ground face-first with a thwump. The rocket spun around as it quickly shrunk in size, before flying into her backpack.
Kate stood up, and surveyed her surroundings. The Sentinel Samurai was no where to be seen. She looked over to the Nimbus Station launch pad, and noticed the rocket used by the Nexus Force commandos take off. The recruit whom they had forcefully left in Avant Gardens stood near the vendors, explaining his predicament to a few other Limited Recruit minifigures. They stared at him in awe at how he had got to Nimbus Station, but were angry when he told them what the commandos had done to him.
"And then they had hauled me into their rocket, and left me here!" the recruit finished.
"That's so unfair. I can't believe how they would do that." one of the minifigures snarled. "Why are we even fighting for an organization that acts that way?"
"Yeah! After what they did to SergeantGhostMustache, why should we help them?" another minifigure said.
Kate stepped over to them. SergeantGhostMustache had most likely arrived at Avant Gardens before her double did. If that was so, he might know where she went, and maybe even help her find her.
"Excuse me?" Kate asked. "Did you happen to notice a Rank 3 Sentinel Samurai?"
The minifigures stared at her. "Rank 3 Sentinel Samurai?" Sergeant asked, scratching his head. He shrugged. "If the Nexus Force actually accepted us into their main ranks, I might be able to recognize what a Rank 3 Sentinel Samurai looked like. What about you, Intrepid? You say you're pretty knowledgeable in the main parts of the Nexus Force."
The minifigure called Intrepid wore Bat Lord gear and had a Black Owl perched on his shoulder. Through the eye-holes in his helmet, Kate could see Intrepid scrunch his eyebrows together in thought. "Yeah, I saw a Sentinel Samurai head up that way to Vector Longview." he said, pointing up the road.
Sergeant suddenly raised his eyebrows in recollection. "Oh yes, I remember now. Yeah, I saw a Sentinel head up that way too." he told her. "She had long red hair, just.... like.... you...." he added slowly.
Kate immediately tried to think of an excuse. She doubted Sergeant, or Intrepid, or anyone else there would believe her if she told them her story, and it would take too long for her to tell it anyway. "Oh, she's my twin sister," Kate said quickly. It actually was sort of true, since her double was sort of like a twin.
"Okay." Sergeant replied, accepting her excuse.
"Hey, want us to help you find her?" Intrepid offered sudennly.
"You got to be kidding me!" Sergeant exclaimed. "Why should we have to help find someone in the Nexus Force, after what they did to me?"
"Aww, come on." Intrepid assured him. "You can't blame the rest of the Nexus Force on the actions of a bunch of commando dudes."
Sergeant slumped his shoulders. "All right, Intrepid. You win." To Kate, he said, "We'll help you."
Cyclone leaped out of his rocket over the Avant Gardens launch area. He landed lightly, and quickly sprinted towards Oliver Sudden hoping for directions when he heard a thump from behind him. He turned around and found his rocket, now shrunk in size and no larger than a BBQ Blast Hot Dog embedded in the ground. Cyclone gingerly picked it up and dumped it in the models section of his backpack.
Rover, Blade, and Hu Where arrived instantly after he did. Their rockets all collided with each other, sending the three of them tumbling out of their rockets and onto the ground, causing Rover and Blade to smash on impact. Their rockets then flew into their backpacks.
Hu Where climbed out of the pile of minifig pieces and made his way to Swabby Bilgebarrel, his picnicking partner. Hu Where normally disliked talking to pirates, but Swabby Bilgebarrel had earned his trust and friendship. "Swabby," Hu greeted him, "Have you happened to notice a girl with bright red hair near here?"
"Oi, yes I have, Hu." Swabby said, before erupting into a sneezing and coughing fit. He rubbed his nose with his sleeve, and then pointed in the direction of the road. "She wint with two uthers, mate."
"Thank you," Hu said, about to head up the road.
"I jest have one quistion for ya Hu." Swabby called before Hu left. "If ye wanted to get here quickly, why didn't ye use your Teleporing Flash Bang?"
Hu Where did a facepalm. "Oh, ninja-cookies. Why didn't I think of that?"
Cyclone glanced at Rover and Blade, who had just rebuilt themselves. He gestured to the road, and they walked up the road towards Vector Longview, leaving Hu Where to whine with Swabby.
"Why did Kate have to just run away like that?" Blade asked once they were out of Hu Where's hearing distance.
"No idea." Cyclone replied.
"It seemed like something Hu Where said triggered Kate's interesting response." Rover theorized.
"But what did he say that caused her to do that?" Cyclone pondered.
"Well, the last thing Hu Where was talking about before Kate took off was about her double." Blade said.
A light-bulb appeared above Cyclone's head. Blade and Rover looked at it, startled. "I got it!" Cyclone exclaimed. "She went off in search of her double!"
"How- did- you-" Rover stammered.
"The- light- bulb-" Blade stuttered.
"Huh?" Cyclone stared at them, and then the light-bulb disappeared. "Light-bulb?"
"It's gone now." Rover said.
"Yeah, it is." Blade agreed.
"What light-bulb?" Cyclone asked.
"Phew, I thought it was something really terrible." Rover said.
"Me too." said Blade.
"WHAT LIGHT-BULB?!?!?!?" Cyclone screamed.
Rover and Blade exchanged glances, before saying, "Hey, it's nothing to shout about."
The trio continued walking, until they arrived at the end of the road, where they jumped off. Just as they touched the ground, Cyclone grabbed his companions and pulled them under the overhanging part of the road. Cyclone covered their mouths so they wouldn't make a noise and spread a camouflage blanket over them. They watched tensely a dark figure jumped down from the road ahead of them. The dark figure looked around, but didn't notice them, before continuing on. Cyclone slowly took his hands off his friends' mouths.
"What- who was that?" Blade asked.
"That was the person who attacked me in Nimbus Station." Cyclone said slowly. He, Rover, and Blade all shivered. "I'm sure of it."
"What do we do?" Rover said, just as frightened as the rest of them.
"I don't know, but we'll have to think of something." Cyclone replied. "Fast."
Kate, Sergeant, and Intrepid ran around the Avant Gardens Monument. They had formed a team, and currently were searching the different paths of the monument. Kate had taken green path, while Intrepid took yellow, and Sergeant took orange. They had asked Rusty Steel, the engineer in charge of the monument, if he had seen Kate's 'twin sister'. Rusty had said that he had seen her up in the monument.
Given that information, the trio had begun searching the monument.
Kate jumped onto a platform, but landed at the very edge. Her feet slipped off, and she shrieked as she fell off the platform. One of her arms reached out and grabbed the edge just as she was about to plummet to the stones below. Kate panted, and as she pulled herself onto the platform, she came face-to-face with a bird.
The bird stared at her, and ruffled its feathers in her face. Kate swiped her hand at the bird, and it took off, cawing as it went.
Kate climbed the rest of the way onto the platform, and once she was securely on, looked around. She recognized Intrepid by his Bat Lord Gear all the up near the top of the monument, and she could see Sergeant being chased by birds over at Orange Path. There were no Sentinel Samurais in sight.
Intrepid's Bat Lord gear was interesting to Kate. From what she knew, Bat Lord Gear was rare and only found on Crux Prime. When Kate had asked Intrepid about it, he had answered her saying that a friendly Mythran had given out Bat Lord gear a while back.
Kate looked around once more, and was then certain that her double was no longer on the monument. She called to Sergeant and Intrepid, "She's not here!"
"Oh well!" Sergeant called back. "Where should we look next?!"
"How about the Sentinel Base Camp?!" Intrepid called a suggestion.
"Good idea!" Kate replied, and the three of them made there way down the monument.
Cyclone, Rover, and Blade roamed around the Avant Gardens battlefield. They still had not found Kate, and had pretty much searched almost every other part of Avant Gardens.
"She has to be here somewhere!" Cyclone exclaimed. "She can't just disappear like that!"
"Maybe she's invisible, like Hu Where." Rover suggested. When he said this, Blade cracked up and started laughing.
Cyclone found himself laughing too, when he noticed a bright flash of red run by. Cyclone turned, and found himself staring at Kate.
Just it wasn't Kate, it was Kate's Sentinel Samurai double.
"Whoa." Cyclone mumbled.
Rover was the one who broke the silence. "Hey, Kate?" he called at the Samurai.
Kate's Samurai Alternate Ego turned towards them, startled. "Who are you? How do you know my name? I don't know you!" she exclaimed.
"Um, well, if you'd come with us, we can explain." said Cyclone.
Kate's double just stared at them strangely. "Listen, I don't know who you are, or where you came from. I don't really like talking to random strangers, so just leave me alone!" She ran off, and soon Cyclone couldn't see her anymore.
"Well, Kate's going to smash us when she hears that we scared her away." Cyclone joked. Nobody laughed.
Kate solemnly walked through the Sentinel Caves which connected the Sentinel Base Camp and the Monument, with Sergeant and Intrepid behind her. They had searched the entirety of the monument and its surrounding areas. Avant Gardens was a large world, though Kate doubted much of it would be of much interest for a Sentinel Samurai. Sentinels were good for battling, so a Sentinel Samurai would probably be somewhere on the battlefield.
"That's it!" Kate exclaimed. She ran towards the exit of the caves and entered the Sentinel Base Camp. From there she darted under the bus and into the battlefield. But the peculiar sight of the battlefield made her stop in her tracks.
There was an evident lack of Stromlings in the battlefield. The only Maelstrom objects out on the battlefield were Stromling Mechs and a few of the mindless Hammer Stromlings- wait, Hammer Stromlings?
A few Hammer Stromlings noticed Kate and charged, swinging their obnoxiously large hammers into attack position. Kate cringed as they rapidly closed the distance. She at least hoped that having once been infected would make the Maelstrom actually think twice about smashing or infecting her.
The Hammer Stromlings were about to fling their hammers on her when Sergeant and Intrepid dove into them. Three of the five Hammer Stromlings instantly smashed, and the other two engaged in hand-to-hand combat with Sergeant and Intrepid, since their weapons had either fallen to the ground or had smashed.
Sergeant punched at his Hammer Stromling, but the Stromling dodged out of the way. Sergeant then delivered three upper-cuts to the Hammerling, which smashed.
Meanwhile, Intrepid jumped around while his Hammerling started punching at him repeatedly. Intrepid transformed one of his into a flying kick which stunned the Hammerling. Sergeant ran over and picked up his Elite Force Blade of Lightning, landing the final blow on the Hammerling. The Stromling never saw it coming, and never saw anything again after Sergeant made the fatal blow.
"Thanks Serge." Intrepid said as he retrieved his Bat Lord Staff. He turned to Kate. "How come you didn't assist in fighting or anything? Do you even know how to fight?"
Kate didn't answer, but instead asked her own question. "What happened to all the normal Stromlings around here?" she asked.
Sergeant and Intrepid shrugged. "I don't know. One night they all vanished, and were replaced by these guys." Sergeant said, gesturing to the Hammer Stromlings madly chasing a bunch of recruits around.
Kate raised her eyebrows, but then heard someone calling her. She turned, and saw Rover running towards her. "Rover?" she called.
"Kate!" Rover called as he ran over to her.
Kate glanced at Sergeant and Intrepid. "Hand on guys," she said, before walking over to Rover. "What it is? How did you get here?"
"Kate," Rover panted. "we found your double."
"WHAT?!" Kate shrieked. "And you didn't tell ME?!"
"Well, how were we supposed to know where you were? You just ran off without telling us anything." Rover retorted.
Kate didn't answer. Instead, she said, "Where's Cyclone and Blade?"
"Well, they went off after your double. In the meantime, I went off and found you." Rover explained. He looked past Kate's shoulder and saw Sergeant and Intrepid standing there. "Who are they?" he inquired.
"Oh, they're Sergeant Ghost Mustache and Intrepid-something." Kate replied.
"I see." said Rover.
Kate turned to her other two friends. "Come on over guys. This is Cheerful Power Rover." she said, gesturing to Rover.
"Hi!" Intrepid said. He pulled a Retro Movie Camera out of his backpack, and aiming at Kate and Rover, he activated its ability. "Hahahaha! I made you guys wave." he said, giggling as he watched Kate and Rover confusedly wave at him.
Sergeant shrugged. "He got it from a Survival Achievement, and has been doing that ever since." he informed them.
Using a lot of willpower, Rover wrenched his hand out of its waving position and clamped his other hand over it. Kate still seemed to be caught in waving her hand, so Rover grabbed hers and jerked it down. "Owwww!" she cried.
"Sorry." Rover said.
Intrepid was still giggling, so Sergeant said, "Well, what shall we do now?"
Kate glanced at Rover, Sergeant, and at the maniacally giggling Intrepid, before saying, "Well, Rover. Mind leading us to where Cyclone and Blade are searching for my twin sister?" She said the last words in a "don't ask any questions" sort of way. Rover replied by raising his eyebrows, and silently led the other three to where Cyclone and Blade were.
Krill Mathias watched from the cliffs as the person named Rover led three other minifigures to where his target was. He had lost track of Gallant Strong Cyclone, and now was going to use his friends' skills to find him.
He made his way across the clifftop plains, using his radar to help him follow where Rover and his group were headed.
He passed by a bomb crater which he estimated was about a month old, and also by the remains of an old campfire, all the while checking his radar to make sure he was on course.
After following the group on a parallel course for about five minutes, they stopped, and Krill could hear snippets of a conversation from the edge of the cliff. He leaned over the edge of the cliff, and could see Rover, his group, Cyclone, and another person down there. Cyclone and a girl had stepped away from the group, and now were talking quietly. The girl seemed unhappy by the way she waved her arms around, and stormed off, leaving Cyclone alone.
Now is the chance, Krill thought, and he swung his customized rifle off his back. He placed a silencer on, and aimed it at Cyclone.
His target was still. Krill's pulse quickened as he cocked the rifle, and placed his finger on the trigger. The time had come, for him to complete his mission, and earn his bounty from his mysterious employer, which would give him enough money to lead a more, normal life. He pulled the trigger.
Cyclone stepped out of the way just in time, whether it was deliberate or purely coincidental, Krill didn't care. "What the Maelstrom!" he cursed, as he prepared for another shot. He fired again, but Cyclone chose to move ever so slightly at the same time that Krill pulled the trigger. The bullet ricocheted off a rock, and Cyclone whirled around, now aware that someone was shooting at him.
"Wha-?" Cyclone mumbled a bullet thudded into the ground in front of his right foot. He spun around and ran jaggedly in the marginal direction of Rover, Kate, Blade, Sergeant, and Intrepid, screaming as he went.
May as well end this a lot easier, Krill thought, as he produced an extremely modified Wormholer from his massive array of weapons. He aimed at Cyclone and unleashed a storm of energy bolts which impacted the ground around Cyclone, who was doing something that looked like a chicken dance to avoid the deadly bolts.
Krill cursed again as Cyclone kept evading his weapons-fire. He was not used to his prey being this durable. No matter, he thought as he ceased firing with the Wormholer. He instead produced his rocket launcher, and aimed it at Cyclone. He fired two missiles, which streaked down towards his target. Finally, you smash! he thought, as the rockets neared Cyclone.
Of course, all attempts at killing the main character in a story always fail. Just as the missiles were about to obliterate Gallant Strong Cyclone from the story, a hail of arrows flew towards the missiles, sending them off course and instead flying into the ruins of the Paradox Lab, creating a tremendous explosion and unleashing a bunch of strange Maelstrom creatures into the wild.
"Aaaaarugh!!!!" Krill growled at his last failed attempt at destroying Gallant Strong Cyclone. "I will end you, Gallant Strong Cyclone! Mark my words!!!" he screamed into the air, before turning on his heel and running into the plains at the top of the cliff.
Down on the ground, Cyclone turned to see his saver, and found himself staring at a familiar Sentinel Samurai. "Well, you're back." he said to Kate's double.
Kate's jaw dropped. Cyclone quickly got to his feet.
"Yeah, guess I am." Kate's double was saying. She was mostly staring in Cyclone's direction, which was a good thing, because if she had happened to turn and see Kate standing there looking petrified, well, something bad would have happened.
"Well, erm, uh, *cough* there's something we need to explain." Cyclone said.
Samurai Kate shook her head. "Sorry, but I've got to run. You see, I've got a full time back there waiting for me at the Spider Caves. I'm on a smashing spree." She quickly turned on her heel and ran off towards the entrance to the Spider Caves. "See ya' around!" she called, before disappearing behind the entrance.
Cyclone turned to Kate, and stormed towards her. "Why didn't you SAY anything?!" he shouted at her. "You led us all the way here, and then you just freeze up?!"
"Hey, it must be pretty shocking seeing oneself." Rover said. "I'm lucky I've got a normal imagination spark."
Kate mustered enough courage to speak. "You're right Rover. Cyclone, it's that, well, seeing yourself the way other people see you is.... unnerving." She shuddered.
Sergeant and Intrepid looked at each other, at Kate, and then at everyone else. "You got to be kidding me!!!" Intrepid exclaimed. "I thought we were looking for Kate's twin sister, and now you're all talking about meeting yourself! What's going on?!"
"Yeah, tell us the real story!" Sergeant agreed.
"Fine." Cyclone said. He then went on to tell Sergeant and Intrepid the whole story, from the very beginning. All the while, Sergeant and Intrepid had their jaws dropped, and stared in awe at Cyclone as he told them everything that had transpired.
"Wow." they both said, when Cyclone had finished.
Avant Gardens planetary rotation had turned it in a position so that for Cyclone and the rest of them, it was now evening. The sky was darkening, and Avant Gardens entering its nighttime stage.
"Well, it's dark now." Blade pointed out. "Why don't we get back to the Sentinel Base Camp, and wait out there till the morning?" No one objected, and they went back to the Base Camp for the night.
Sergeant huddled around a campfire with Cyclone, Kate, Rover, Blade, and Intrepid, while they ate dinner in the Sentinel Base Camp. Stars twinkled overhead, and the tireless Sentinel Guards occasionally fired at an unlucky Hammer Stromling who attempted to enter the base.
Sergeant had a lot of trouble believing Kate's story, but he knew it was true. He sighed, and snuggled into a sleeping bag. Just as he was about to fall asleep, he felt hands grab and shake him.
"What now?" he asked sleepily.
"Your double is back." he heard Cyclone's voice saying. "Let's see how this plays out."
Sergeant raised his head, and saw a Sentinel Samurai entering the base camp. He turned and saw Kate asleep inside her own sleeping bag. "Why did you wake me up, and not Kate?" he whispered to Cyclone.
"What? Oh wait, you're not Kate!" Cyclone exclaimed. "Sorry, woke up the wrong person. Go back to sleep."
Sergeant lowered his head, and went back to sleep. Cyclone crawled over to Kate's bag, and began shaking her.
"I dno wah wake uhh...." Kate mumbled.
"Come on," Cyclone grumbled. "Wake up."
"WHAT?!" Kate jerked awake.
"Yay, finally." Cyclone said sarcastically. "Your double's back."
"WHAT?!" Kate repeated, and she squirmed out of her sleeping bag.
"So, what are you waiting for?" Cyclone asked her.
"Waiting for what?"
"The big confrontation." Cyclone replied, spreading his arms.
Kate looked around wildly, before setting her eyes on her Sentinel Samurai alter ego. She turned back to Cyclone, with a look of dread in her eyes. "I'm nervous."
"Listen," Cyclone gripped his hands on her shoulders. "you brought us here all the way to Avant Gardens in search of her. And now it's time for you to do what you were planning on doing when you first came here. You've got to do this."
Kate shivered. "Fine." she grumbled, and she got up, pulled on her backpack and walked over to behind some trees. When she stepped out again, she was dressed in a face concealing helmet and bunch of other gear. Cyclone ran over to her.
"What are you DOING?" Cyclone hissed.
Kate didn't answer, and slowly zigzagged her way to the Sentinel Samurai standing by the cliff wall.
Cyclone rolled his eyes. "Do it!" he screamed.
Kate jumped, and then quickly said, "HiI'mKateandIamyouralternateegowhichmeansyouarereallymebye!" and ran back to the campfire. On her way there, Cyclone intercepted her.
"Seriously, can't you actually DO anything?!" he snapped.
Kate stared at him through her helmet's visor. "I can't do this."
"Well, you have to, and will." He gripped her and half-dragged her back to the Samurai.
"Did you say something to me?" Kate's double asked when they got there.
Kate didn't answer, so Cyclone said, "Yes, she did." To Kate, he then hollered, "DO IT!!!!!!!!"
When Kate didn't answer, Cyclone grabbed the helmet she was wearing and tore it off. The other Kate gasped.
Cyclone stood there, looking proud. "Okay, now you both know the truth. So now, why don't we get back to Nexus Tower?"
Both Kates just stood there staring at each other. Then one smashed.
The one who had smashed was the real Kate. Both Cyclone and the other Kate stood there staring.
She screamed, and fled back out to the battlefield.
Cyclone stood there gaping. "Uh, that's not what I expected."
Kate rebuilt near the back of the Base Camp, and Cyclone strode over to her. "Um, er, sorry about that."
"Ow. That hurt." Kate groaned, and she shoved Cyclone aside before she slung her backpack on and headed towards the path to the monument.
"Wait, Kate! Where are you going?"
Kate didn't answer, and broke out into a run. Cyclone watched miserably as she jumped onto the bouncer and disappeared from his view. He shook his head sadly, and made his way back to the campfire.
Kate ran faster than she had ever run before. She kicked up gravel as she tore up the monument. She chose the fastest path, Yellow Path, and quickly built the moving platform. When she arrived at the top, she jumped down to the bouncer below and was sent flying to Vector Longview, where she resumed running down the road to the Launch Area.
She hurried to the closest launch pad. Her fastest rocket available, a pod rocket, appeared over the pad. Kate climbed into it, and quickly launched into the air. The rocket picked up speed as the atmosphere thinned. The retractable glass canopy slid over and pressurized the cockpit, just as it left Avant Garden's atmosphere and roared into space. Stars zipped by as Kate set the rocket on autopilot, and took her hands off the flight yoke. They were wet, and Kate realized she was sweating. She turned on the air conditioner, and reclined her chair before setting the rocket on a course to Nimbus Station.
Kate sighed, and looked back at Avant Gardens as it rapidly grew smaller behind her. Soon it was nothing more than a speck behind the roaring engine module, and Kate turned back to stare out the front window at the stars.
The morning sun began to rise over Avant Garden's horizon. Krill Mathias was completely awake, and gripping his rifle, made his way to the entrance of the cave hidden among the rocks. The Sentinel Base Camp lay below, the Sentinel Guards repelling the constant stream of Maelstrom attackers, and Commander Beck Strongheart staring over his map, like he always did day in day out. Get lives, thought Krill with annoyance, as he shifted the rifle.
Cyclone lay sleeping by the remains of an old campfire. Krill was about to fire his rifle and silence Cyclone's incessant snoring once and for all, when his holo-projector vibrated, announcing that someone was attempting to contact him. Krill sighed, and pulled the projector out of his belt. A blueish hologram of his mysterious employer appeared, and Krill grunted.
"Well well well, Krill." he rasped. "It seems you haven't succeeded yet."
"I was about to bring an end to him, if you hadn't distracted me." Krill snapped.
"End, you say?" his employer chuckled. "In case you do not recall, I gave you clear instructions to bring him to me alive."
"I figured it would be a lot easier for you if I just brought him to you dead. He's brought me enough strife already." Krill replied.
His employer stared at him under his hood. "We shall see. I want Gallant Strong Cyclone with me before the next night ends."
"You will have him, master." Krill said, before turning off the holo-projector. He placed a 5-hour-less-energy dart into his rifle, and aimed it at Cyclone.
Just Cyclone wasn't there anymore.
Krill muttered something, and looked around for Cyclone. He was not in the Base Camp. That was when Krill sensed someone approaching him from behind.
Krill rolled to the side and quickly was on one of his feet. His other leg had kicked out and slammed into the person behind him. Krill stared down at his opponent, and found Gallant Strong Cyclone unconscious at his feet.
And his friends, Cheerful Power Rover, Master Blade9, Sergeant Ghost Mustache, and Intrepid behind him.
"Bonus," Krill grunted, and he swung into action. They engaged him, and Krill knew he was outnumbered. He knew if he was going to win this fight, he would need to tip the odds to his favor. He gripped his Wormholer and swung it around, causing them to retreat from his extended chainsaw. Energy bolts slammed into the cliff as they scattered to avoid them.
Krill felt a presence to his right, and swung his Wormholer. Intrepid, dressed in full Bat Lord Gear, ducked and swiped at him with his staff. Krill double jumped over him, and received a Bat Shield to his head. His helmet protected him, but it still hurt.
A gunshot rang out, and Krill ducked just as a bullet flew over his head. He saw out of the corner of his eye Rover preparing to fire again with his pistol. Krill evaded a swipe from Intrepid's staff, and slammed an armored fist into the Bat Lord's chest. Intrepid fell off the edge of the cliff towards the Sentinel Base Camp far below.
There was no time to celebrate. Krill was back in action parrying blows from Blade and Sergeant, while constantly moving so that Rover couldn't shoot him. He spun a cleaver he held in his left hand, sending Blade's sword flying, and kicked out at Sergeant. Sergeant raised his Force Blade, and Krill just barely jumped out of the path of a huge lightning blast. He sent a shuriken in Sergeant's direction which knocked his shield away, before turning his attention to Rover.
A bullet slammed into his armored chestplate and bounced off. Krill charged at him and slammed Rover into the wall. He was about to land another blow when he heard a low droning sound from behind him. He turned to see Intrepid floating just over the edge of the cliff, a weird device on his back.
"Jetpack." Intrepid stated, before using his Shield Slam ability. He slammed into Krill and sent him flying up into the air. Intrepid was about to give chase when he realized his jetpack was gone. He looked up again, and saw Krill flying away on his jetpack.
"Hey!" Intrepid screamed. "That's my jetpack!"
"He's an assassin and a bounty hunter. There's no way he's going to give you your jetpack back." Rover said, grimacing, as he picked himself up from the ground. Blade ran over to help him, and they all looked up to see where Krill was going. He was nowhere to be found, but then they heard a scuffling sound from behind them.
They all turned to see Krill holding the unconscious Cyclone. "Farewell, we will meet again. No one fights with Krill Mathias and lives." he sneered, before flying away.
"Oh no!" Blade shouted. He jumped into the air, and missed grabbing Krill's boots by inches. He fell face first with a splat in front of Rover's, Intrepid's, and Sergeant's feet.
"Cyclone!" they all yelled, as Krill carried him away to who-knows-where.
"Quick, we've got to do something!" Rover said, taking charge. "Intrepid, do you have any more of those jetpacks?"
"Yeah, follow me." Intrepid replied, and he led them down a path to the bottom of the cliff. Once there, he broke out into a run using his Bat Lord Speed Boost ability, and arrived at the mailbox in the Sentinel Base camp. He pulled out four jetpacks, and handed them out. "Here, take these. There's an extra for Cyclone."
"You got to be kidding me!" Sergeant exclaimed as he tried to put his on. "How are we supposed to fly these?"
"Just jump, and you'll start flying." Intrepid instructed.
Rover strapped his jetpack on, and tried jumping. Suddenly he was floating in the air above their heads. "Whoa!" he shouted as he tried turning, and ended up flying all over the place.
"Be careful!" Intrepid called as he began flying as well. "Flying these is like moving in a zero-gravity environment! One move and you're bouncing all over the place!"
Rover tried to turn and ended up banging into the wall. He fell down on top of one of the Sentinel Guards, who didn't make any movement as Rover slid off.
"Owwww." Rover groaned as he stood back up.
"AAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" Blade shrieked as he flew up into the air. He rotated around and ended up slamming into the wall too, where he fell on top of Rover.
Meanwhile, Sergeant quickly mastered flying, and giddily flew through the air. "Wow, this is awesome!" he cried as he zipped around the sky.
"No time to lose, guys!" Intrepid called. "We'd better hurry if we're going to catch Cyclone's kidnapper!" Intrepid rocketed into the sky, and Rover, Blade, and Sergeant followed him. Soon they were flying over Avant Gardens, the mountaintops whizzing by underneath them and the clouds just overhead. A few parrots intercepted them and flew alongside them, before diving back down to their trees.
Intrepid guided them to the launch area, where he could see Krill loading the unconscious Cyclone into a creepy looking rocket. Krill placed the rocket on the Nimbus Station launchpad, and took off. Intrepid landed and quickly pulled out a strange looking rocket that resembled a pencil, and launched after Krill. Rover, Blade, and Sergeant followed suit, and soon they were in space, pursuing Krill.
Hu Where had happened to look and see the rockets launch. "Hey, those guys look familiar. I'd better follow them. See you, Swabbie." he said as he pulled out his teleporting flash bang. He lifted it up, but it accidentally slipped out of his hand. He juggled it for few seconds before it flew through the air to Eekums' and PRDX-4's table.
"V15ual 53n50r5 p1ck1ng up fly1ng 0bj3ct. Pr3p4r1ng t0 0bl1t3r4t3 fly1ng 0bj3ct." PRDX-4 computed. "F1r1ng."
PRDX-4's sensors were pretty jumbled, since he began firing pancakes at the flash bang as it soared through the air, and due to his being all mixed up, firing in the first place. "Noooooooo!" Hu shouted as he lunged at it, but ended up getting shot in the face with a pancake.
One pancake hit the flash bang and wrapped it up like a burrito. The pancake, and flash bang inside it, landed in front of Eekums, who always looking for a snack, picked up the flash bang burrito, and ate it.
Hu Where pried off the gooey pancake from his face, and watched as Eekums made a lunch out of his flash bang. Hu sighed, and stepped over to the launchpad, taking off as well in his Paradox Darkwarp Rocket.
It was nighttime when a pod rocket landed at Nexus Tower. The tower's lights blinked on and off to signal approaching rockets and starships. Kate climbed out of her rocket's cockpit, and headed towards the hanger's exit. A few minutes later, she had exited an elevator and was wandering the halls. It was time to talk with Vanda Darkflame.
Vanda lay sleeping on her couch when a knocking sound abruptly forced her from her dream of her and Duke Exeter standing on Hael Storm's pirate ship in a lake, looking at the stars. She stood up, and opened the door. Kate stood there. "Come on in," Vanda told her, and closed the door behind her. The way Kate looked told Vanda that something serious was going on. Kate's face was pale, and she seemed shocked. She could tell something was wrong.
They sat at the couch. "Tell me what's troubling you." Vanda started.
Kate breathed deeply, before responding. "Well, you see, we found my double."
Vanda stared at her thoughtfully. For a whole month, Vanda had her most trusted agents searching the whole Nimbus System, and then Kate comes and tells her that she has done what Vanda has been unable to accomplish.
"And? Why isn't she here now?" Vanda asked.
"Um, something strange has been happening each time we meet," Kate told her. "The first time, I had a strange feeling, I can't explain it. The next time, I actually began to feel weaker. And, well, the most recent time, I smashed."
"Smashed?" Vanda questioned.
"Involuntarily," Kate answered. "I don't know what happened, I thought it was just the strangeness of meeting oneself, but I'm beginning to think different. One minute I'm standing there, the next I'm smashed and rebuilding myself. I have, multiple times even, been smashed, either by falling off a cliff or getting blown up by a Stromling Mech. Each time, I just rebuilt with no trouble at all, but this time, it felt, harder. More painful."
Vanda was puzzled. She knew that someone with a weak imagination spark would find it extremely difficult to rebuild after a smash. They even had trouble with quickbuilds, or building at all. Someone with such a low imagination spark that it pretty much was none-existent would never be able to rebuild after a smash, and any type of building was impossible. What Kate had just told her was consistent with the symptoms of someone with a weak imagination spark, but when Kate had been tested, the highness of her imagination spark level was off the chart, even higher that Dr. Overbuild's, which itself was nearly off the charts as well, and deemed the highest level known.
Vanda brushed some of Kate's red hair away and felt her forehead. It was hot.
"I need to run some tests on you, okay?" Vanda said, as she picked up an Imagination Spark Level Reader, or ISL Reader, from her desk. It had a metallic rectangle on the head, and she pressed it onto a certain part of Kate's arm. Vanda gasped as she watched the reading.
"What is it?" Kate asked, panicky.
Vanda took a deep breath, and as calm as she could, said to Kate, "You're losing your imagination spark."
Rover sucked in his breath as Krill's rocket vanished from the space in front of him. Not vanishing as in disappearing as it moved so far away, but as in just disappearing. Like with a cloaking device. Or is it called a cooking device? No, that would be a refrigerator. Cloaking device.
"A cloaking device!" he shouted into the inter-rocket communications device. "He has a cloaking device!"
"Great." he heard Intrepid moan. "Now how are we supposed to rescue Cyclone?"
"Well, was it a visual cloaking device, or a sensor cloaking device? If both, then we are facing a major problem." an uninvited voice said.
Rover face-palmed. "Hu Where?!!?? What are you doing here?"
"Eekums ate my teleporting flash bang, so I have to use my rocket to follow you instead of meeting you in Nimbus Station, if that is where you are going. I still have a mission to complete for Master Darkflame." Hu Where said matter-of-factly.
"Then why didn't you just use Eekums as a teleporting monkey?" Sergeant asked.
Rover heard a sound like someone smacking his face from Hu Where's comm. "Oh, ninja-cookies. Why didn't I, the most stealthy ninja ever, think of that? I am, after all, invisible."
Rover snickered. He turned and saw Hu Where's rocket out from his canopy glass. He could see inside Hu's rocket, and see Hu Where himself. The selfish ninja was certainly quite visible.
"Actually, I can see you bright and clear." Blade said.
"Oh no!" Rover heard Hu Where scream. "If what you said is true, then I am doomed! I have to be the most stealthiest ninja in all of the universe!" Hu wailed.
Rover jammed his finger into the mute button. The last thing he wanted to hear was a crying ninja. "Get out of here!" he shouted, before turning off his radio entirely. He gave the engines some extra power, and then checked his sensors. Whatever cloaking device Krill had used, it was invisible to both visuals and sensors. It was more invisible than Hu Where would ever be!
Rover shivered. He knew that he and his friends were at Krill's mercy. With his cloaking device, he could just pick them off one by one. Rover knew that he was taking a great risk going after him, a risk to his and his friends' lives. But Krill had Cyclone, and whatever he wanted with him, Rover wasn't going to just let him disappear with his friend.
Determined, Rover gunned the engines of his rocket, and headed towards the Raven's Bluff properties which surrounded Forbidden Valley. Dark and mysterious, Raven's Bluff was bound to be the most likely place for a dark and mysterious bounty hunter to have set up his HQ. After signalling the others, Rover set his rocket on autopilot, and following his reclining his seat, Rover fell asleep.
Krill contacted his employer as he neared the rendezvous point. The rendezvous point happened to be on a deserted Raven's Bluff property. His pursuers were far behind him, and having used his cloaking device, they were probably all the way on the other side of the Nimbus System by now. He cut the engines, and guided his rocket into an unpowered descent. He landed by the launchpad, and hopped out.
Krill cautiously crept over to the edge of the clearing. A large group of Dark Ronin Invaders stood surrounding a swirling purple cloud. No problem, Krill thought as he raised two of his customized Wormholers. He held both in his hands, and opened fire on the Dark Ronin horde.
The Ronin were quickly dispatched. Krill crept over the cloud, which parted, to reveal a dark, mysterious, caped and hooded man. His hood cast a shadow on his face which hid any features. His black cape and scepter added to his mysteriousness.
"I see you dispatched my escorts." his employer rasped.
Krill felt his heart pounding in his chest. Never had he expected his mysterious employer to be affiliated with the Maelstrom. He gripped his wormholers. He didn't care for the Maelstrom as much as he despised the Nexus Force, but he still disliked them both. However, as long as his employer had the money, it didn't matter. He was in it only for the money, and the experience.
Krill didn't reply. He wasn't about to say, "I didn't expect you to be affiliated with the Maelstrom." since that would expose a weakness. Instead, he said coldly, "I never cared much for Maelstrom. What I want is my pay."
"Bring me Gallant Strong Cyclone, and I might consider paying you." his employer countered.
Krill transferred one of his wormolers to the other hand, and with his free hand, pressed a button on his wrist armor. The cargo door slid open on his rocket, and a hover-bed floated out with Cyclone lying unconscious on it.
"Ah, I see you have finally succeeded." the caped man said. He waved his hand, and a huge dragon descended from the sky. "You may leave." he said, before walking to the dragon.
Krill couldn't believe his ears. This Maelstrom man was just going to leave without paying him! "You forgot my payment." he said coolly.
"There is no need for that," the caped man answered him. "and I have no need for you. I have spared you your life, and given you the chance to leave."
Krill stood his ground.
The hooded man turned to face him, and suddenly seemed more menacing than before. "Then we will have to do this the hard way." he said coldly, before whipping off his hood. Clouds of Maelstrom surrounded him, and he grew ten times in size. Under his hood had been a black top hat, and the face belonging to this menace was red and skeleton like.
It was the Darkitect.
Kate couldn't believe what Vanda had just told her. Her words still rang in her ears. "You're losing your imagination spark." Vanda had told her.
"O-okay," Kate said shakily. "w-what- happens because of this?"
Vanda shook her head sadly. "Your imagination spark is slowly becoming weaker. Each time you smash now, your imagination spark will become more depleted, and the rate of its decreasing will increase."
"Is there any way to reverse the process?" Kate asked.
"Not that I know of," Vanda answered her. What she hadn't added was that once her imagination spark was completely gone, Kate would smash. Forever. "I'll have to ask Dr. Overbuild for some help with this. I seriously don't know what to do."
Kate stood up. "I guess I'll head back to Nimbus Station," she announced, as she headed to the door. Just after she opened it, she paused, before saying, "Oh yeah, if you plan on getting you-know-who, then she's at Avant Gardens."
"Thank you," Vanda replied. "If you ever want to see me, I'll be here." she called.
Kate left, closing the door behind her, revealing a Duke Exeter dartboard. With a sigh, Vanda picked up a dart, and launched it. Duke swallowed the dart.
Meanwhile, Kate climbed back into her rocket and took off, heading back for Nimbus Station. As her rocket soared through space, her HUD suddenly displayed that an urgent message from the Nexus Force had been received. Kate played it, and a computery voice was played through.
"This is a Code Black warning involving all rockets passing by and leaving Forbidden Valley and Raven's Bluff property worlds. The Darkitect has been sighted at Raven's Bluff. Repeat, Code Black, the Darkitect has been sighted at Raven's Bluff. This is not a drill. All available Rank 3 plus Recruits report to Raven's Bluff. Valiants recommended. Code Black, this is not a drill."
Kate's eyes bugged out. The Darkitect? On Raven's Bluff? What was he doing there?
Kate overrode the autopilot, and set a new course for Raven's Bluff. She may not be a Rank 3, and she certainly didn't have a valiant. She hadn't even joined a faction! But still, if the Nexus Force was headed to Raven's Bluff to smash the Darkitect, they would need all the help they could get. And they would need help fast.
The Darkitect towered over Krill, and raised his staff. Maelstrom lightning conjured from the sky, and descended to the ground. Krill dove out of the way of the lightning, firing his Wormholers. They had no effect on the Darkitect, as he laughed at Krill's failing to even bother him. The Darkitect was invincible.
More lightning shocked into the ground. The property shook, and the Darkitect's red dragon rose into the sky, disturbed by the quakes.
Krill knew he was no match for the Darkitect. He took off towards his rocket, and ran faster than he thought he could. With the help of a few quicksickles, he just managed to outrun the lightning which descended behind him, scorching the ground.
Just as he neared his rocket, a bolt of lightning smashed it, spewing flames and bricks into the air. The force of the explosion sent Krill flying back to the Darkitect. The Baron laughed. "You fool, to believe you could fight the Darkitect, the master of chaos and the Maelstrom, and live. I shall enjoy smashing you."
The Darkitect raised his foot, ready to crush the bounty hunter. He was about to end his life when a missile slammed into his chest. The Darkitect reeled back, clutching his heart, saving Krill from certain smash. Taking this chance, Krill rolled out of the way, and found himself face to face with a Maelstrom dragon.
Actually, four Maelstrom Dragons. Butterscorch and crew had arrived.
The named Dragon Invader, normal Dragon Invader, two normal Dragons, and the Darkitect's personal gigantic Red Dragon took up defensive positions around their master, ready to face the Darkitect's attackers.
More missiles collided with the Darkitect, and then a bunch of rockets roared out of the sky. The Nexus Force had come.
Imagination Machine-gun rounds clattered out of the first few rocket's wing guns, which peppered the Baron. More missiles launched into him, knocking him off balance. Two larger rockets soared above the Darkitect and dropped bombs on him. The Darkitect moaned loudly, and raised his staff. All of a sudden his wounds disappeared, and the Darkitect was back to full strength.
The Baron raised his staff again, and lightning swirled around the orb at its tip. It glowed bright purple, and after a bright flash of white, half of the rockets were crashing to the ground.
No one could defeat the Maelstrom.
"Whoa! Is that who I think it is???" Sergeant called over the comm.
Rover's eyes bugged out. "I can't believe it! It's the Darkitect! AND HE'S GONNA SMASH US! AAAAAAAAAA-"
"Stop screaming and land!" Blade snapped. "We've got to rescue Cyclone. Wherever he is."
"I see him," Intrepid said. "He's in a cage on the back of the largest dragon."
"-AAAAAHHHHHH!!!" screamed Rover. "AND HOW ARE WE SUPPOSED TO GET THERE?????!!!!!!! I'M SCARED OF THA DARKITECT!!!!"
"We get there like this," Intrepid replied, and he spun his rocket into a barrel-roll headed straight for the dragon. His pencil rocket swooped by the Darkitect and narrowly missed a swipe from his staff as heskimmed over the red dragon's back. As he passed by the cage, he noticed Cyclone inside, coming too, before roaring off back into the sky. "Cyclone's waking up."
"Oh noooooo!" Sergeant cried out. "The Darkitect is blowing up the Nexus Force rockets, so how are we supposed to survive this?"
"We'll think of something," Blade said. "Rover, can you stop screaming?"
"NOOOOOOOOOO!" Rover screamed to him.
"Okay." Blade replied. "Does any of our rockets have a tow cable? We might be able to get a hold on Cyclone's cage."
"No." said Intrepid.
"No." said Sergeant.
"YES!" screamed Rover.
Blade face-palmed. "Why did if have to be you?" he groaned.
"FINE! I WILL DO IT!" Rover yelled, as he opened the cargo bay doors on his rocket's underbelly. A hook connected to a long rope retracted from inside the cargo bay, and it trailed behind Rover's rocket. "SO, WHAT DO I DO?"
"First," Blade instructed him, "STOP SCREAMING!!!! Second, try and fly just over Cyclone's cage so that your tow cable can latch on! Third, get ready, and...."
"AND WHAT?!" Rover shouted.
"Four, go man go!" Blade finished. "SO GO!"
"Okay, okay, and okay!" Rover said, now not screaming. He swung his rocket around so that it was headed straight for the red dragon. A burst of fire streaked towards him, and he dodged it just barely. Some of the flames caught onto the rope which connected the hook, and Blade maneuvered his rocket alongside the flaming hook. He retracted his canopy glass, and blasted the fire with a water gun. The fire sizzled out.
Rover's rocket roared towards the cage at a speed faster than it normally should go. The tips of its wings began to disintegrate slightly from the abnormal speed, just as the hook latched onto the cage. The rocket abruptly slowed down, and the cage flew off the dragon.
Cyclone, who had just woken up, nearly passed out again from the immense g-force of being in a cage that was just wrenched off a giant red dragon. He slowly opened his eyes again to find himself staring from one end of the cage all the way to the other end, with a hook connected to one of the opposite bars connected by a rope to a fast moving rocket. He smiled weakly when he recognized Rover in the cockpit of that rocket.
As Rover decreased his speed, Cyclone's cage began to plummet. It landed with a bone-jarring bump near the launchpad, and Rover's rocket soon landed afterwards, after disconnected the hook of course.
"Well, you're free." Rover said as he sawed away at Cyclone's bars. "Any idea what the Darkitect wanted with you?"
"THE DARKITECT?" Cyclone yelped. "He's here?"
"Yep." Rover said, jerking his chin the direction of where the Darkitect stood with his dragons, fending off the attacking Nexus Force rockets. Cyclone turned and nearly passed out again.
Rover sawed through the last bar, and reached in to help Cyclone out. Cyclone grasped his hand, and Rover helped him out. Just as Cyclone cleared the edge of the cage, Rover sensed a presence behind him. He turned, sword out and pistol at the ready, to face a weathered and beaten, his helmet cracked, armor shattered, and exhausted bounty hunter, Krill Mathias.
Kate's rocket descended into that Raven's Bluff property's atmosphere. As she passed through the clouds, she noticed a large, lightning spewing, purple cloud of Maelstrom. Stromlings, Mechs, Spiderlings, Ronin, and Horsemen were plummeting from it to the property world below. The Maelstrom's aim wasn't perfect, as a few of the Maelstrom creatures that descended fell off the edge into the depths below.
Nexus Force troops had deployed tanks and soldiers on the ground, while rockets continuously buzzed around and fired at their main target: The Darkitect, who stood in the center of the property, swinging his staff and using Maelstrom Magic.
A bunch of artillery vehicles rolled up near the launchpad, and sent huge balls of energy flinging at the Baron. A swing of his staff and the missiles disintegrated. Another swipe and the tanks smashed.
Kate landed her rocket by the launchpad, and just after she jumped out, it was blown off the edge by a burst of wind. She clutched at the ground, just managing to hold onto a rock to avoid being swept off herself. The wind died down, and she stepped over to the edge of what would have been the property's build barrier. She prepared to step into the battle, when she noticed a cage and three familiar minifigures standing by it.
"Cyclone!" she called, and she ran over to him, Rover, and Krill Mathias.
"You!" Rover shouted at Krill, and he jabbed his sword into Krill's shattered chest-armor. "You're the cause for all this! Don't try any tricks here, since I wont hesitate to poke Hesevalintes into your chest any further, after what you've done!" He looked ready to throw Krill off the edge of Raven's Bluff, but Cyclone restrained him using the limited strength he still had.
"Wait," Cyclone said. "Why don't we at least hear what he has to say?"
Rover gritted his teeth, but still with his trusty sword poking at Krill's chest, muttered, "Fine."
"I'm here to make a proposal," Krill said. "But first, take that sword away."
Cyclone nodded to Rover, and he unhappily lowered his sword. "No one makes me lower Hesevalintes." he grumbled.
"The Darkitect has betrayed us all, and I am ready to propose a temporary alliance between us." Krill told them. "Don't take this the wrong way, I despise the Nexus Force, and my allegiance is with no one. I'm an independent bounty hunter, but after what the Darkitect has done, I'm ready to give him a taste of my revenge, but I can't do it alone."
"Great," Rover said sarcastically. "So you're just going to use our strength and our abilities and of course, yet again, us to give Darky over there some payback. I'd sooner plunge Hesevalintes's nice sharp blade into your-"
"I thought you were with the Nexus Force." Krill interrupted. "Isn't it your goal to defeat 'Darky over there'?" he questioned.
"Yes...." Rover stammered.
"Good." Krill finished. He stuck out his hand, and Cyclone shook it. "Now how do we smash him?"
"WHAT?! You mean you don't even have a plan?" Cyclone yelled.
"Hey, what about me? You're all practically ignoring me." Kate said, announcing her presence.
Cyclone turned to her. "Kate! What are you doing here?!"
"What are you doing here?" she retorted. "It's not like you have to take care of me and everything."
Cyclone sighed, and Rover said to Krill, "So, what are we doing?"
Just then, a loud roaring sound was heard. They all turned to see the Darkitect floating into the sky, and his Maelstrom army being sucked up into a purplish vortex above him. Several rockets were sucked into the vortex as well, and Cyclone, Kate, Rover, and Krill held onto a few rocks for dear life to try and avoid being sucked into the vortex as well.
They failed miserably, and among a few other minifigures, were sucked through the sky into the vortex.
All Cyclone saw was darkness inside the vortex, the only light coming in purple waves from the hole which they had entered from, now so far away. Wind tore at him, buffeting him this way and that through the vortex, as the entrance closed ahead of him, blotting out all light and plunging the wormhole in darkness. The wind was the last thing Cyclone heard, before he was slammed into cold, hard ground, and falling unconscious.
TO BE CONTINUED IN THE NEXT STORY