The land was ruled by a great and powerful king, who showed no mercy to anyone who dared to oppose him. His true name was lost to the wind and time, and the people of his kingdom knew him only as Dualscar Ampora, and that was how he liked it. The king was a formidable opponent, who was said to have only been injured in battle once before, which was how he had obtained the two gnarled scars running across his face that served as his namesake. King Dualscar was cruel, but he was an excellent tactician, and never lost a war; the people that served him did not need to fear any outside forces, and were safe for as long as they remained loyal.

When other kingdoms began to grow in size and strength, King Dualscar had gone out of his way to recruit the subjects that showed any kind of special power. These humans were few and far between, and a true rarity, but he sought them with a fervour.

There was a small section of his army reserved for members of this elite blood, and after many years, Dualscar had actually gotten himself a surprisingly large amount of these gifted humans. Many believed that he had taken any he found in the conquered armies and somehow had them brainwashed to follow his orders; others believed that he offered them treasures beyond comprehension, or maybe even hope for a better life than what they had been receiving.

The Ampora family was gifted with two princes; one valued power and muscle, and above these, sexual partners. He was selfish, but also incredibly gifted in the arts. The other prince valued power too, but also saw the importance of tactics, intelligence and books; unfortunately this prince also has a weakness for riches and treasures. Despite their talents and power, neither had yet been married off.

Everything was wonderful for the Ampora family, and their lands grew and thrived, that was until the mysterious illness started. This had happened only a year ago, and to the dismay of the people in the more powerful positions, the king also happened to succumb to the illness. His death was mourned by many, but also celebrated by few. His two sons quickly vanished into what appeared to be thin air, and rumours surrounding the Ampora name began. Most notably that either both of the sons had also succumbed to the illness and died, or that they had actually killed their father for the throne. With the king dead and the sons missing in action, the throne was taken by another great and powerful man; this king was far crueller than Dualscar had ever been. He killed not out of necessity, but for entertainment.

The new king did not help the civilians that had been struck down with the illness, he was far more busy trying to conquer and destroy. The one thing that he continued from Dualscar's reign was the recruitment of anyone with special blood abilities; he had children dragged away from their families to train them and force them into unquestionable loyalty.

The past year had been difficult for many, and the illness had never been cured. Most doubted that there was any kind of medical research going on to even attempt to fix it, afterall, it did not appear to be something that the new king deemed too important, especially when the other kingdoms were suffering with it, too. For the new king, the illness meant that he could conquer the other kingdoms that were weakened by it, and as long as he didn't have it, he didn't seem to care.

One of the things that had sprouted up in the year since King Dualscar's death, was the special force group of thirteen gifted, and ruthless, individuals that the king had put together personally. They ravaged and conquered anything they were commanded to, and they appeared to follow the king's orders blindly, using their powers to fulfil his wishes. Thankfully for the innocent civilians, a resistance group of nineteen young humans, most of whom appeared to be gifted with the coveted blood abilities too, had formed to protect them. They worked together to try and help any and all who needed them.

The small resistance group were desperate to do what they could to protect the civilians, and they used their very few scientific minds to begin work on a cure. Unfortunately, this was proving to be a near impossible task to accomplish. Hope in the group was dwindling, until one day, their lead codebreaker infiltrated a message, and successfully decoded it.

The king's own special force had someone who came from an extremely well-educated background, who happened to specialise in the sciences. This person had only been named the Scientist, and as far as anyone in the group was concerned, this person would help cure the illness whether they wanted to or not.

-.-.-.-.-

Sollux rolled his eyes as he listened to the small group squabbling. How was it that even though there was only a small portion of the group there, it was so fucking noisy? He groaned loudly and pressed his forehead against the table in front of him.

The leader of the group was an extremely loud and volatile young man. Most people would argue that his bark was worse than his bite, but these people were usually the ones who had never seen him in combat, as his skills with his two sickles were nothing but devastating. Currently he was screaming at a girl who was a few inches taller than him; his face was a shade of red that was almost as shocking as her bright orange hair.

"Are you actually using that seemingly useless piece of shit brain that's supposed to be sitting between your ears, or has it left your head to go on a fucking day trip somewhere it might actually get used?" He shouted, squaring his shoulders and clenching his fists in an attempt to seem tougher, "because I swear, if I have to tell you one more fucking time that you CAN'T come with us, I'm going to flip out on you worse than anyone has ever flipped out before!"

The girl merely pursed her lips, and pushed her red glasses up the bridge of her nose before speaking in a naturally slightly gritty voice, "well I don't see why I can't come along, I think you just don't want me to show you up with my magnificent swordsmanship."

"No, actually. Funnily enough, it's because this is supposed to be a fucking stealth mission, and I can't have a blind girl bumping into shit and tripping the fucking alarms!" He threw his hands up in the air, "Terezi, trust me, if you would actually be an asset to the mission, I'd send you, but you won't be any help. Seriously, I'm only taking the bare minimum of people, so do me a fucking favour, and just stay here, okay?" He seemed to be calming down a little, but only marginally.

Terezi ran a pale hand through her orange hair, and huffed, "fine. In the meantime I'll go hang out with the cool-kid, at least he knows how to be fun, unlike someone." She turned to leave, tapping her cane along the ground, as she reached the door, she added, "but if I find out that you're taking Vriska, I will end you." She left the room, and Sollux heard the cackling continuing down the corridor.

The short man dumped himself into a chair next to Sollux and picked up a pen, launching it across the room, half-aiming at a boy with bright blue eyes and glasses. Once the pen bounced against a wall harmlessly, he turned to Sollux, "Psychic, I hope you know that I'm counting on you to be my fucking right hand man for this thing. We'll probably need you to subdue this Scientist person."

Sollux groaned again. He hated the fact that the only time their leader used their birth-given names was when he was pissed off at them, he would much rather be called 'Sollux' than 'Psychic', but according to their leader they all had to use codenames to prevent any harm coming to their families. Afterall, you don't just start up a resistance group and expect to keep your name and your old life.

He was 'lucky' enough to warrant having two codenames, and he could always tell what someone wanted by which one they used when trying to get his attention. His first name was Codebreaker, simply because he was the best person on the team to decipher any messages and codes that they were able to intercept. His second name was Psychic, and this came from the fact that he had been born with a psychokinetic blood ability; he could move things, and levitate using thought and energy, which manifested itself as a glowing red and blue light. It had taken years to master, but he had honed this ability into a highly weaponised force, and could use his energy-lights to rip apart and destroy targets. The only downside was that he couldn't effectively move when he used them, so he had to be smart about how he fought, that was, unless he had one of the team's gun users to watch his back for him.

"Yeth, KK. I know. We've been through thith already, in fact, I fucking helped you come up with thith plan. Remember?" Sollux turned his head, and glared into his leader's bright red eyes, "theriouthly, I'll end up kicking your ath if you make me thit through another one of your athinine plan dithcussionth again. I know the fucking plan, Karkat." If there was one thing that Sollux hated, it was the fact that he found it difficult to sound threatening with his lisp.

Karkat narrowed his eyes, "Sollux, seriously, this isn't the fucking time to be getting all pissy. This is the first time we've actually gotten close to possibly curing this bullshit, and I won't have anyone fucking up because they're too stubborn to admit that they don't know the plan completely." He tapped his fingers on the table in front of him, "we have to get this person out of the King's group, and that means that we need to stop dicking around, and playing with our arses, and get fucking serious!"

"I don't know what you get up to in your thpare time, KK, but my fingerth are well and truly away from my arthehole." Sollux couldn't help himself, he laughed and leant back on his chair. Sometimes arguing with Karkat was amusing, but other times, it was just fucking tiresome, and this argument was beginning to feel like it would take far too much effort and energy to uphold.

The face of the shorter man reddened, "are you kidding me right now? Are you making a fucking joke?"

"Yeth, KK. Yeth I am." Sollux leant back far enough to warrant having to use his psychic energy to keep his chair from tipping over, "you thee, a joke ith a thing that you do when you want to be amuthed, and I think I thucctheeded in my aim conthidering the fact that I am laughing. Though I couldn't give leth of a shit whether or not you found it funny."

This was most definitely not the right thing to say, as Karkat began gritting his teeth as he spoke, "Sollux, do me a favour and try using your bulbous head, you dick-wrestling piece of primordial shit." He didn't even notice that the few people in the room had begun watching their spat with an interest, "listen to my words, read my lips, I don't fucking care which, just make sure that you understand this. We are trying to cure an illness, we need this person, and we are risking our lives to get them. This is not a fucking game, or some kind of pissing match, now screw your head on right, and focus, because I will not lose any of my team members because you want to act like the big man, do you understand?"

Sollux's lips twitched downwards momentarily in distaste. He hated it when Karkat spoke to him like this, and wanted nothing more than to punch him, "yeth, thir." He muttered darkly, feeling his blood boil.

Karkat stood up slowly, glaring at Sollux, "good. Now stay here while I gather up the people who are coming on the mission, hopefully this'll be a one time event, and we won't need to come up with another strategy."

-.-.-.-

Karkat had chosen a small team to try and break into the gigantic ship-fortress that served as the King's Special Force's base. Their hope was to break up the group of thirteen people that served as their enemies, by causing distractions in the neighbouring towns and cities; this was done by attacking the regular army, or by allowing people to witness them using their powers, which would cause the Special Force's to be notified, and make them come out to capture them.

A small blue light flickered on Karkat's watch, and he nodded, "right guys, it's starting. Stay out of sight until I give the signal."

The small group was hidden on the dock, with the ship in sight. It was already getting late, and the sun had nearly vanished over the horizon; this was the perfect time to do it as a midnight distraction would look far too obvious, and would put the Special Force's on high alert.

Sollux watched the ship intently, and glanced down at Karkat's watch as a red light flickered, "AA'th in pothition." He murmured, more for his own sake than anyone else's.

A tanned boy with a shock of bright blonde hair stared at the ship through his dark glasses, "this guy had better be wearing some kind of nametag or something, because somehow, I don't think going around asking any prisoners what their names are is going to work, do you?" He pulled his jacket off, and tied it around his waist, revealing his bare back; his shirt had been cut in a way that only the collar, sleeves and very bottom of the shirt remained of the back panel.

Karkat shot the boy an annoyed look, "well obviously not, Dave, but hopefully they'll be willing to come to us to get away from this bullshit place, you know?"

Dave shrugged and continued staring ahead.

A dark skinned girl pointed at the watch as a lilac light lit up suddenly, "I believe that is our cue? Once Rose has begun wreaking havoc hopefully we will have enough time to complete this little search and rescue." She smiled slightly at the group; her jade green lipstick matched her bright eyes.

Dave pressed a finger to his own lips, "shh, Kanaya, this shit's about to hit the fan like a Christmas morning when no one bothered to buy Junior a present." Just as he snapped his mouth closed, the ship erupted into life, and a group of ten people left it, splitting into pairs, and running off in the various directions that the distractions were being made. It was always so strange to see just how organised they were, and the tiny group of resistance fighters didn't even dare to breathe.

Karkat glanced down at their smallest team member. It was nice to see that the darkly tanned girl has left her cumbersome, olive-green trenchcoat back at their base, and was instead wearing a black short-sleeve shirt that clung to her lithe and muscular frame. He was a little concerned that she hadn't been as verbal as usual, but maybe this was a good thing, "Nepeta, tell us when." He murmured, as quietly as possible.

They all sat in complete silence, frozen like statues, until Nepeta finally nodded, "no one else is leaving," She looked up at Karkat with her wide green eyes, that somehow seemed to glow, "we should get mewving."

The sky was rapidly darkening, and Karkat nodded, "right guys, from here onwards, only use the codenames, okay? Don't fuck this up."

The five of them quickly made their way to the ship, and Sollux use his own energy to lift Karkat, Nepeta and Kanaya onto the deck with a shroud of flickering red and blue light. Once they were safely on-board, he turned to Dave, "alright, let'th do thith."

Dave gave a brief nod, and rolled his shoulders before grimacing. A second later he sprouted a pair of the most beautiful golden-orange wings from his back, which seemed to contain the dying light of a thousand sunsets. He flexed his leathery talon-hands, then wrapped them around both of Sollux's upper arms, and took flight.