Hey guys, sorry for being so late. Worked on my story Urban, been busy with my new job, been very, very stressed out over a bunch of personal stuff, and wanted to make sure this chapter was very good.

Hope you all like it and stay tuned for my other stories, Ebony and Informer.

The sequel to Alter that will probably happen once I wrap up some of those .

Chapter 32, Fall

"He's a monster... why not just end him and be done with it?" Sly asked venomously.

"You don't get it," Leo said with a lightly scared tone. "He probably has a group of Kurai somewhere on this world and if we don't find and kill them, everyone on this world is in danger."

"So how the heck do we find it?" Bryn chimed, "We can barely get two words out of him without him messing with our heads!"

"We need to find his contacts." Sly said with a calmer note in his voice. "It'll take far too long trying to break him but he's too important to just kill as well. The problem is how to find them?"

"He headed up the Attero, we can work our way up to his..." Six said and then paused, "Roth, we need to get our hands on him. Blast it all... where's Garth when you need him?!"

Kura yelped lightly as Garth's blow to his jaw actually hurt a bit. He growled and back-handed Garth.

Garth yelled and threw a right-hook to Kura's head and then a left one. He then threw a knee to Kura's belly before ducking a few swings from Kura. While he's ducking, he threw rapid strikes to Kura's ribs and sides.

The Ekon growled and threw a knee into Garth's temple, knocking him onto his back.

Kyle groaned as he started to come to and shakily started to move.

Garth grunted and groaned before he found Kura's shin hitting his head. The Informer yelped again as he was sent, spinning, into the air. He landed hard and coughed a bit, groaning and sore.

"Now stay out of this half-breed!" Kura walked over to Raz and picked him up again and flew into the air.

Kyle shakily stood up, "NO! Raz!" With Raz out of his reach, he looked down at Garth and sighed. "He's gone..."

Garth groaned and stretched as he got up. "That's the point. You do what I think you did?"

"Put a tracker on Raz? Yep." As Kyle pulled the KO'd Raz to safety, he slipped a tracker into the pocket of his white pants.

"I got one on Kura too, while we were fighting." When he was rapidly striking Kura's torso, Garth quickly shoved a sub-dermal tracking device into Kura's skin. He disguised doing so as a punch, and the device was designed to barely leave a mark. "So we'll know if they split up."

"We should find the others, he beat us easily. Even with your... newly-discovered heritage... we don't put up much of a fight on our own."

Garth nodded in agreement. "I'll give them a call and let them know what's happened. While I do that, let's get moving."

Ratchet's communicator began to ring, "Hello? Where are you guys? What happened? Alright..." He looked up, "Garth and Kyle are fine and on their way..."

"Well that's good, could use his help with..." Sly started before being interrupted by Ratchet.

"Wait, what happened? Raz? Who's... alright, yeah I'll tell them. Look things took a turn for the worse here too. Yeah, we have Shade and we're pretty sure he's looking to unleash some kind of monster called Kurai Nami, or Shadows... yes like Earth. No we have no lead on where they are. Who took Raz again? An Ekon? Named Kura?"

Mache, Tyra, and Kenovo all turned towards Ratchet and looked at him intensely, most of all Mache did. Their looks made Ratchet quite uneasy, "Yes Garth, we'll see you when you get here." He hung up and looked at them. "What's with the looks?"

"Long story..." Kenovo responded and Mache had a very grim look.

"Do you have a brief version?"

Mache stepped outside, followed by Tyra, as Kenovo sighed. "Yes, Kura is a very dangerous Ekon whose mind was corrupted by an old enemy of ours... he killed Mache's wife and daughter..."

Ratchet's expression dropped a bit, "Oh... so what's he doing here?"

"Probably on the run?" Six answered, "I'm guessing he's not to welcome in your home... realm, universe or whatever you call it."

"Precisely, and he probably ran to Shade for protection."

As they were talking, Garth and Kyle returned. Leo, along with Kenovo and Bryn, then filled them in on what had happened.

Garth rubbed his chin, "So that explains the disappearances of late... Shade's turning them into Kurai?"

Leo nodded, "That's very likely, our problem is finding him."

"We might have a way to do that," Kyle added. "While we fought Kura, both Garth and I managed to place trackers on both Raz and Kura. We need you guys to even stand much of a chance against him."

Garth then looked at Kenovo, "Kura said I was... half Ekon?"

Kenovo nodded in a mundane fashion that didn't seem to treat the revelation with much surprise. While everyone around, save for Kyle, gave looks of either confusion or intrigue.

"You knew didn't you?" Garth responded, "You knew the second you looked at me."

"I did."

"Why didn't you say anything?"

"Did not think it was my place."

Garth's brow furrowed and he did not look pleased in the least. Bane also didn't look happy either, though he wasn't quite as upset as Garth was.

"Anyways," Torz's voice cut in before anything could happen. The odd lombax Bonded was sitting/crouching as he ate a candy bar. "We have far more pressing issues at hand. For one, we need to track Kura and Raz down, with any luck, they will lead us to the Kurai Nami. Once we have them for sure, we can execute Shade."

Garth held up a small device, "This will lead us right to them."

As Garth spoke, Mache and Tyra came back in and Mache spoke up. "Kura is mine..." His voice held as much venom, anger, and pain as it could. "Who else is coming?"

"Of course I'm coming," Garth stated firmly, "I'm getting Weiss and Raz back..."

"Me too," Bane said with just as much determination as Garth.

"Count me in," Kyle added.

Rance stepped forward, "Count me in, you'll need a good set of eyes and someone good at stealth."

Bryn chuckled, "Same here, Snake, Brick, Luka, we'll go. Slick, Breach, Shooter, you three stay here and help guard the prisoner." His team nodded in agreement with each of their assigned roles.

Leo raised his hand, "I think I'll stay, I know Shade more than anyone here. If he tries anything, I'd be the most likely to notice."

Torz looked up, "It is entirely possible Shade is waiting for there to be less protection for an opening."

Rykk nodded, "That's true, though, I think I'll go after them too."

Sly looked torn at what he should do until Carmelita took his hand. "We should stay here. Make sure Shade doesn't do anything."

He sighed before looking at her, "Yeah... for Murray. He does anything before we find these monsters, I'm putting him down."

Six looked at Michelle and Lance and sighed, "I want to stay and make sure you two are safe..."

Ratchet put a hand on his twin's shoulder, "Then do that, I'll go with them in your place."

"And I'l help guard the prisoner," Kaden added. "Family comes first."

Six smiled and hugged both Ratchet and Kaden, "Thanks you two... so much."

Garth, Bane, Kenovo, Tyra, Mache, Rykk, Bryn, Snake, Brick, Luka, Kyle, Rance, and Ratchet all quickly geared up before heading after Kura.

Kura landed at the lab with Raz, who was still out, and took him to a cell and locked him in it. Roth was standing nearby as Kura locked Raz up.

"Smooth grab?" Roth asked as they started walking back to their planning room.

"For the most part, some annoyances but nothing I could not handle."

"Think they're tracking you?"

Kura shrugged, "Does it matter?"

"Not really," Roth responded with a sly smirk. "Vause is coming along well. His rapid growth and development is extraordinary. He's already strong enough to take on most anyone in that pesky group. Flint's been teaching and training him furiously for quite a bit and he just absorbs it like a sponge. Don't think he even looks tired."

"That lombax really knows what she is doing I take it? Along with my own contributions to his much faster development anyways."

"Yes, once Garth and Bane are disposed of; then we do the same to her. Not before that, last thing we want to do is enrage both of them."

Kura nodded, "It would seem Garth has some of my kind in him."

Roth raised a brow, "Is that so? How?"

Again, Kura shrugged, "Some Ekon must have come down, disguised themselves as a lombax, and made a child."

"Interesting, so he is a bit more dangerous than we thought?"

"A little, not much though. The big problem is the trio of Ekon siblings. No doubt they know about me being here by now."

"Ah yes..." Roth grinned, "I have my own surprise for them that should even the playing field."

"You are talking about the personal project you requested of Shade?"

"Precisely... I have my targets set as well..." Roth pointed to pictures of Ratchet, Kaden, Lance, Michelle, and Six, with Six's picture being the last. "He killed my son... so I am going after all of them."

Kura smirked and nodded. "Vause should be ready by the time they get here, provided they actually did trace you or Raz."

Weiss sat in her cell, waiting to hear anything about Raz or Vause. She sighed as she couldn't stop thinking about, not only them, but Garth and Bane. Her feelings and thoughts practically tormented her as she yearned to be free. To be able to make things up with them, as slim a chance as they'd do that, she still desperately wanted to try. She looked up as the door to her cell opened.

"Raz is here," Roth said.

Weiss' eyes lit up as he said those words. "Let me see him!"

Roth nodded, "Sure thing." He then helped her up and led her to Raz's cell. "Believe it or not, I too am a parent, so I understand how you feel."

"I made Vause... what more do you all want?"

Roth looked at her, "We'll need you in case Vause is hurt. Don't worry, you do as we say and you and Raz will be okay." He said as he unlocked Raz's door and handed her a syringe. "He's unconscious, read the label, this will wake him."

Weiss looked it over before being satisfied with its contents. She rubbed Raz's head in a loving manner before she gave him the injection.

"uuh... wha?" Raz said as he yawned.

"Shh... shh... it's okay..."

Raz's eyes lit up upon seeing Weiss. "Momma! Momma!" He quickly embraced her and was beaming. "I've missed you so much!"

Weiss let a few, happy tears fall as they embraced. "I've missed you too baby... it'll be okay..."

Sly stood in the observation room that looked in on Shade's cell. Slick and Leo both joined him in keeping watch, though it was quite evident Sly's patience was dwindling. It also didn't help that their enemy seemed quite calm about being imprisoned. "He's restrained, collared, and in the most advanced holding cell on this planet, and he doesn't even seem phased..." Sly also held onto Shade's Sai and looked at them with disgust and pain in that they claimed his friend's life.

"Which is even more of a reason we can't kill him yet." Leo responded. "This is quite indicative that he's planned this."

"Meaning he has some kind of escape plan." Slick added.

"Precisely, question is, how? Like you said Sly, from every angle he's covered. I don't see how he could escape."

"Well how about we ask?" Sly suggested before storming into the interrogation room and sitting across from Shade.

"Perplexed about something?"

Sly's eyes narrowed, "What are you doing here?"

"Excuse me?"

"You planned to get caught... why? What are you scheming?"

"You claim that I am a villain. Yet you could not be further from reality."

"You killed my friend in cold blood!"

"I am so sorry about that. I didn't want to, but I had to."

Sly snarled lightly but tried to keep from exploding. "And why... is that?"

"People need to die for there to be a change."

"What kind of change are you wanting?"

"World peace and unity, isn't that what everyone wants?"

"Depends on how it's done."

Shade nodded, "You like to play chess?"

Sly had to stake a second as the question was unexpected but he smirked lightly. "I do, one second, I'll go get a board."

Six led his family to a hotel in Velocity that wasn't too far from the prison. They rented a room and got settled as sundown began to occur. The yellow sky began to be lit up with blues, reds, and purples as the sun started to go down. Due to the tiring nature of the day, both Michelle and Six flopped down on the couch and Lance did the same in a chair.

"This day was crazy..." Six stated as he stretched his arms.

"Sounds like it..." Michelle rubbed her belly, "At least we still have this child on the way." She smiled happily and eagerly.

"Aw hehe," Six looked practically giddy.

Within a short time; Garth, Bane, Kenovo, Tyra, Mache, Rykk, Bryn, Snake, Brick, Luka, Kyle, Rance, and Ratchet all arrived at the compound where Kura's signal came from. It was composed of five, multi-story buildings that were surrounded by a wall. There were armed guards stationed around it and automated turrets and other kinds of defenses.

"How should we do this?" Ratchet asked as he looked over the compound. "You Ekons could probably blast through these guys no issue."

"They should come in after us," Bryn added.

"That sounds good," Garth said, "Rance, Bryn, you two get in quietly and make a big distraction." He looked at the tracker, "Kura and Raz are both in that building." He pointed to it. "So do it away from that building. Here" Garth summoned a grenade-like device. "This should help."

Rance took it, saluted and slipped his mask on, "No problem." He looked at Bryn, "Let's see your old-style stealth."

Bryn chuckled as he and Rance headed out to do their task.

"Ratchet, Brick, Luka, Snake," Garth continued, "You all go around to the far side of the complex and open fire once the explosion happens. Bane, myself, and Rykk will come in from the other side. Once Kura is seen, then you Ekons come in."

"We ought to call you Brains," Luka stated with a grin.

"Indeed," Kenovo agreed, "It is a good strategy."

"Thanks, now let's get into position."

A few minutes later and everyone made it to their positions and they waited for their cue.

After finding a blindspot, Rance fired a line from his Saver into the wall of one of the buildings that over-looked the wall. He put his free arm around Bryn's waist and retracted the line. Bryn forced himself not to yell as they zipped up and over the wall. Rance quickly cut the line once they were over and they landed in an alley between the wall and building.

"Remind me to never do that again!" Bryn whispered in an exasperated tone.

"Don't like heights huh?"

"Not really..."

Rance snickered lightly, "Fine, let's get this done. Just gotta find the right thing to blow up."

The two of them looked around for the right target. They ducked in and out of hiding places and moved in such a way that kept them hidden from the guards. Both were quite limber, flexible, and agile in their movement but they were also silent.

After a few minutes, they came across a storage shed near the back of the compound. It was near the corner opposite to the building that Raz and Kura were in. Getting into the shed was no challenge and the looked to see what was in it.

Both Bryn and Rance grinned as they saw a couple gallons of Atmo fuel.

"Got our exit?" Rance asked as he pulled out the explosive charge Garth had given him.

Bryn opened the door of the shed a crack, just enough to look around before nodding, "...now."

Rance armed the explosive and let it roll against one of the jugs before following Bryn's tail out the door.

The ground shook as the shed erupted into a fiery explosion. The flames were blue due to the fuel and it turned every guard's head.

Ratchet, Brick, Luka, and Snake charged the guards from the far side while they were distracted. They pummeled, stabbed, and shot them. Ratchet used his wrench to pummel or blast any guards near him. Brick used his hammer to smash his way through them, while Luka used a short sword and a pistol in tandem to cut and shoot his way. While Snake mainly used a Vector shotgun too blast a path into the compound.

Bane, Garth, and Rykk attacked from the front. Bane used his telekinesis and energy blasts to take out any guards in his sight. Garth used his silenced pistol a great deal and was quite accurate. Rykk dove into the ground and grabbed guards from underneath and dispatched them with his Alter.

The guards yelled and fought quite hard, but they simply didn't have the power to take them on and the ones patrolling outside the buildings were quickly taken out. Garth rushed over to the building that Raz and Kura's signal came from and kicked in the door. He, Luka, Bryn, Kyle, Rance, and Bane ran in to search for Raz and Weiss. As they ran, he then touched the communicator in his ear, "No sign of Kura, Raz, or Roth yet... you guys see anything?"

"Not yet," Brick responded as he and the rest stood outside the building. "Et's quiet out 'ere now."

"We're looking in the other buildings," Rykk said as he, Snake, and Ratchet broke into a different building.

After a few minutes, Garth, Luka, Rance, Bryn, Kyle and Bane arrived at a cell block and they scanned the area. It was mostly empty, save for a lone figure at the far end opposite them, it was Kura.

Sly returned to Shade's cell with a board and pieces and set it up. "Why play a game of chess?"

Shade smiled a bit in a welcoming manner, "Because you can tell so much about a person from playing a game with them."

"Do you wish to learn more about me? Or I learn more about you? Because I don't think you need to know more about me."

"There's always more to learn about someone. Besides, I think it will be interesting."

Sly knew Shade was simply playing with him mentally and was tempted to give into his anger. However, his curiosity and desire to possibly see some flaw or see if Shade slips up somehow. "You want white or black?"

"I think black."

Sly nodded and turned the board around, "Your move is first."

Shade thought for a second before taking his turn. "Did it hurt?"

Sly looked at the board and thought what his first move should be. "Did what hurt?" He grabbed a pawn and moved it.

"Being Bonded... did it hurt?" Shade thought for a second before taking his move.

Sly's expression dropped a bit but not too much. "A bit... was more mental than physical." He took his turn.

Shade rubbed his chin as he thought, "Once I heard about Bonded, was curious as to what it's like, your move."

"I see, you know, while we're on this type of subject, what's it like being Kurai or Shadow?" Sly retorted calmly and took his turn.

"It is great, and I just wish everyone could be just as enhanced." Shade said with a wishful tone as he took one of Sly's pawns.

"Shouldn't they have a chance to decide for themselves?" The raccoon asked as he moved one of his knights.

"Progress isn't a choice... nature doesn't care about what you think." Shade slid one of his bishops.

"What you say is progress is simply your opinion, it doesn't mean it's true." Sly responded as he claimed Shade's bishop.

The half-Kurai, half human chuckled, "From every angle I see, the Kurai are the superior to every race and species."

"How so?"

"They don't tear each other apart." Shade took one of Sly's knights with a smirk.

"That's all you have been doing though."

"It's a temporary pain that I do not enjoy to inflict, but once it is gone, everything will be so much better."

"Temporary to you..." Sly said bitterly and glared a bit.

"Quite the contrary, I remember the pain I've inflicted to get this done... and I said, I don't enjoy it."

"Could've fooled me."

Shade didn't respond and the two continued to play quietly for a bit.

Garth glared and aimed his pistol as those with him got into combat stances. "Where are they?!"

Bane growled and didn't wait for a response, he charged Kura and tried to blast him with his telekinesis.

Kura quickly leapt to the side and threw a quick jab with a concealed blade.

Bane yelped lightly as he evaded the stab, but was lightly nicked on the side.

Kura then shot out his arms and a blue-gold concussive blast knocked Bane back.

Bane snarled and used his abilities to catch himself before he crashed and hovered in the air. He drew a red, energy blade and charged as fast as he could and swung it at Kura's head.

A loud, electric blast rang out as Bane's energy blade collided with another. The blade's silver color would've fooled at first glance that it was made of metal, but it was an energy blade. Vause held the silver-energy sword's curved hilt and shoved Bane's blade back.

Bane tilted his head a bit in confusion, "Who are you?"

Vause stepped in front of Kura and held his blade up. "Why are you here?"

Not being in the mood for a conversation, Bane focused to read Vause's mind. However, he looked perplexed as his mental probe hit a stone wall and he grunted.

Vause smirked and tapped his forehead, "Can't get in here I see? They said you can't do that with my brother either. Well, I suppose you're my brother too aren't you?"

Bane snarled and flew at Vause with his blade and swung it hard and fast.

Vause's blade was fast and his curved hilt allowed him to be quite precise as he parried and slashed at Bane.

Luka and Bryn joined Bane in the attack against Vause with their blades.

Vause was quick and smooth in the fight. His attacks with his blade were interspersed with black bolts of energy or lightning.

Bane yelped in surprise when Vause fired his first bolt of the dark energy. It missed his head by an inch and he began to block Vause's bolts with his own energy.

Rance turned to help them but looked over and saw O'Bannon looking to snipe them. He rolled to the side and fired at O'Bannon as he took cover behind a pylon.

The pylon started to explode as rounds from O'Bannon's rifle hit it.

Garth and Kyle took cover behind a pillar opposite Rance's and returned fire as well. As they joined the fight, so did a bunch of guards. They all started exchanging fire rapidly, orange bolts of Vector rounds flew from both sides and every now and then, a guard would fall. As he was firing, Garth caught eye of Kura running through a door and leaving the fight. He growled and quickly charged in the direction. "Cover me!"

Kyle and Rance nodded and started rapidly firing, forcing O'Bannon and the guards to duck for a short time.

With his window, Garth sprinted after Kura.

Kura quickly made his way through a back door and into the area Weiss and Raz were in. He glared as he looked over his shoulder at Garth as he sprinted through a doorway. As he ran, the Ekon sent an energy pulse into the door's controls and it shut tight.

Garth yelled and pounded on the door. He briefly examined the control panel but saw that Kura had fried it. So, he took a look at his surroundings to find a different way in.

The Ekon smirked lightly as he quickly got to Raz and Weiss' holding cell. He opened the door and grabbed both of them by the arm. "We're going now."

Weiss yelped and struggled, "Get your hands off of me!"

Raz too wasn't too happy, "Bad man! Let go of mama!" He snarled and bit Kura's hand.

Kura grunted a bit and scowled before smacking Raz across the face. "Blasted furball..."

Raz yelped and whimpered a bit.

"Raz! Here!" Weiss shouted before tossing Raz a small razor blade.

Raz caught the blade and made a straight cut across his fingers. Deep, red blood began to pour from the wound as Raz cut the fingers on his other hand the same way. The blood began to move on its own and formed claws at the tips of his fingers and Raz slashed at Kura's leg.

As the fighting in the barracks started, Rykk, Ratchet, Snake, and Brick were exploring another building in the compound.

"Let's go help!" Snake shouted as he heard the loud exchange of gunfire and clashes of energy. He turned to leave when Rykk stood still and looked to be listening. "What?"

Rykk's ears turned slightly as he sniffed the air. They stood in the entryway of a warehouse that looked worn by the harsh elements of the world. There was a lot of darkness but rays of light shone through holes in the roof that cut through the blackness.

"Whatcha smell Roikk?" Brick asked as he drew his hammer.

The Bonded's eyes went wide as he grabbed Brick and Snake and flew out the door with them. He also grabbed Ratchet with his Alter and threw him out the door as well. They all yelped from the sudden motion as dark jeers came from the ruined warehouse.

Exploding out of the main entrance like a swarm of insects were dozens of monstrous, humanoid creatures. They all had skin darker than the night sky, pale-white, thin hair (in some cases fur), glowing white irises set in black eyes with blue, glowing, slit-shaped pupils in the center. Their skeletons glowed lightly from underneath their skin. They were Kurai Nami and they swarmed around the frightened trio.

After a few minutes and moves in silence, Sly looked up at his otherworldly opponent."You know, you were right." Sly made a move that he hoped would soon lead to Shade getting a checkmate.

"What about?"

"You get to learn a lot about a person when playing chess with them."

"What have you learned?" Shade responded as he watched Sly take his move.

"That you never make a move carelessly, that you always have a plan. So I have to ask... why are you here?"

Shade took the piece that Sly hoped he would and Sly made his move. "To have this pleasant conversation and get to know those who oppose me."

"Aren't you worried about, you know, being executed?" Sly took his move, "Checkmate."

Shade smirked, "Nope... as you said..." Moves his rook and simultaneously gets out of check and puts Sly in checkmate. "I always have a plan."

A loud, electrical buzz rang out and everything went dark.

Kura yelped as Raz slashed as his leg, the cut managed to get some gold blood to appear but wasn't all that serious. The Ekon leapt back and away from Raz as Raz pounced at him. The lombax's fury was something to see, he was like a wild animal as he slashed and snarled at the Ekon.

Shocked by the ferocity of Raz's attacks, Kura was forced on the defensive and backtracked. He dodged and ducked Raz's slashes and threw energy bolts and tried to knock him back with concussive blasts. His defenses bought Kura just enough space to form a pair of swords and he began to parry Raz's blood claws.

As they fought, Weiss looked around desperately to find a weapon to help Raz in his fight. While looking, her gaze fell upon Garth and he wasn't alone. With him stood Kenovo, Mache, and Tyra and they all focused on Kura.

Kenovo lifted his hand and Raz was lifted away from Kura. He kept slashing at Kura furiously even as he was brought close to Weiss. It wasn't until Weiss put her hand on his shoulder did Raz calm.

Upon seeing the other Ekons, Kura's expression dropped, especially when he saw Mache. "N-NO! Stay away from me!" He yelled as he flung a barrage of flame and rock from the walls and floor at his opponents.

Mache silently charged at him as red flames surrounded him and blasted through Kura's attack.

Kura yelped and scrambled to flee.

Garth fired at him with Alacrity rounds as he ran over to Raz and Weiss.

Mache, Tyra, and Kenovo all flew after Kura.

A knock on the door alerted Six and Michelle and both looked suspicious. Six held his knife's handle as he approached the door. "Who's there?"

His answer came in the form of the door being broken down by a masked figure and the person charged him.

Michelle jumped and ran to Lance's room to protect him.

Six yelped and threw a slash with his knife.

The unknown assailant ducked it and rammed him to the ground.

Six yelped and threw a knee, trying to kick him off.

As the was pushed off, the attacker landed a punch to Six's head, making him grunt. The attacker leapt to his feet and felt Six's foot hit his face as Six both kicked and got up.

"Who are you?!" Six shouted as they stared each other down. The mystery man pulled his mask off and Six snarled loudly.

It was Roth and he grinned widely. "Miss me?"

Six yelled and threw his knife at Roth in the blink of an eye.

The psychopath ducked the blade but was still nicked by the edge. The shallow cut was on his cheek but something else caught Six's eye. Instead of bleeding normally, his blood was white and the sight even made Six feel a bit sick.

Roth reached up and yanked off a mask. While his face was the same shape, his skin was as black as night and he removed the contacts he was wearing. They revealed his Kurai eyes and he grinned widely. "Like my new changes? I think it's more fitting.

"What are you?! You know what? I don't care! I'm gonna kill you!"

"This will be fun! So let's get this party started!" Roth charged Six and fired a black energy blast and both of them were knocked out of the apartment's window.

Six yelled as he and Roth fell six stories onto the street below. The lombax focused and made himself grow. Due to being in the city, he only grew to about twenty feet tall, enough to survive the fall. He also twisted and caught himself from crushing any civilians. He looked up and saw Roth hovering in the air and he snarled at the demonic figure. "I'll crush you!"

"So sure about that?" Roth grinned and began to quickly morph.

Six took a step back, the streets were quickly cleared of civilians the instant Six grew. The angry lombax watched as Roth's form grew and twisted into a dragon-like form. It was only a bit taller than Six, was thicker in muscle and covered in black scales. It had glowing, white eyes and black, energy fangs and horns and spines. It had a longer neck and the beast growled as it looked at Six.

Rykk, Ratchet, Snake, and Brick all stood up as the mass of Kurai charged them.

Ratchet yelped and swung his wrench at the closest Kurai, hitting it in the head. The Kurai shrieked as it crumpled and its body dissolved until only the skeleton remained. Ratchet swung furiously, spinning and kicking and blasting them with his wrench's energy blast.

Brick was also swinging and smashing any Kurai that got too close. Despite his huge size, the lombax was quite fast and agile, dodging multiple bolts of energy.

Rykk used his Alter to dive in and out of the ground as he slashed them with his claws. He also used his Bonded energy to hurl rocks and boulders at them. He also did the most to protect the three others from the Kurai's black energy bolts.

Snake held a short-sword in one hand and a sawed-off shotgun in his other. He would rapidly alternate from blasting them with Vector rounds and slashing them with his sword.

The four of them stood together and started to whittle down the numbers of the Kurai. The demonic beasts swirled around them like angry insects, looking for any opening to cut, blast, or burn. Their jeers, shrieks, and other inhuman sounds echoed as they attacked and were killed.

In a matter of minutes, the fifty or so Kurai were reduced to a pile of bones. Brick, Snake, and Ratchet were all breathing hard and looked both relieved and terrified.

"That... was the Kurai?" Snake asked as he loaded his gun.

"They looked... quite... fearsome..." Ratchet stated as he tried to catch his breath. "But we... got them..."

"Dat was too easy though... Oi mean, ef tey're all loike dat, den et's a good ting."

"But they're not..." Rykk responded. "One of two things happened here, one, we stumbled upon a group that was meant to infiltrate a city and turn it. Or this was a distraction."

"Let's get to the barracks," Snake said and the others agreed.

Sly groaned as he realized he was on the ground and had no idea how he got there. He looked around and shakily got up as his head was throbbing and he felt a rush of pain. He yelped as the pain came from his shoulder and he was knocked back. He quickly came to realize that Shade has the blade of his Sai jammed into his shoulder and threw him against the wall. The raccoon came to and managed to teleport a short distance away. He summoned his cane and, ignoring the pain in his shoulder, he got in a combat stance.

The entire holding cell was dark, Shade's collar lay on the ground and devoid of any power. The immediate area looked to have been blasted apart and charred. Guard lay on the ground, most were dead though some were just wounded or unconscious. Carmelita and Shooter were laying on the ground and was obvious that they had been knocked-out.

Shade twirled his Sai as he looked at Sly. "Ah, I see you just got up." He quickly flicked his wrist and one of his Sai flew at Sly.

The raccoon's staff was quick and knocked the Sai aside. Though, Shade just shot out a thin, energy tether that retrieved his weapon.

Sly's foe charged with a cool precision and started throwing rapid slashes and jabs. Shade danced around Sly, trying to inflict as many wounds as possible.

Sly's adrenaline was rushing as he quickly parried and/or dodged Shade's attacks. He also tried to teleport around, though the area wasn't that big so he could only teleport so much.

However, Sly was worn and the wound on his shoulder slowly drained him. It was quite evident that Shade was toying with him as Sly began to slow. He began to feel dizzy from the loss of blood and being blasted back. He growled as his rage and adrenaline fought the slowly lowering blood levels in his body.

Shade was in much better condition and got his opening. He threw his Sai and Sly yelled as the blade embedded itself in his chest and he felt his lung deflate. Sly gasped for breath and collapsed. He looked up as Shade approached him and yanked the Sai from his torso and he gasped even louder.

"You were quite good in our little game of chess. I have to concede that..." Shade said in a passive-aggressive manner. "Still, needed to buy some time. Alas, our time is over and I must go... can't have you coming around and causing problems." Shade raised his to deliver the killing blow.

Sly winced a bit and glared into Shade's inhuman eyes as he waited for it.

It didn't come, Shade instead flung both of his Sai. This was in response to Leo, Kaden, Breach, and Shooter all storming in. Leo had drawn his short sword and parried one of the Sai.

Kaden ducked the other and started firing his pistol.

Breach had drawn his shotgun and tried to fire at Shade as well.

Shade leapt up off of a wall, evading their shots, and flung small, but a fast series of black bolts.

Leo grunted as he formed a purple energy shield that blocked most of the bolts.

Yells from Kaden rang out as one of Shade's bolts struck his upper leg and he fell backwards.

Breach yelled and kept firing his shotgun as Leo swung his sword at their enemy.

Shade parried Leo's sword and at the same time ducked Breach's gun. He shot his arm at Breach's torso and multiple tendrils of black lightning coursed into Breach's body.

Breach shrieked as the torturous lighting pushed through him and he was shot back into the wall.

In turn, Leo shot dozens of small, energy bullets from his palms in a similar fashion to a shotgun blast. He quickly followed it up with multiple slashes and strikes.

Shade was forced on the defensive for a short time from Leo's attacks. Leo's combat style was the most similar to Shade's and Leo had history with Shade so he managed to put up a bit of a better fight. He managed to hold his own long enough for Torz to run in and join.

The lombax Bonded had a cut on his head, evidently he had been knocked out and had came to. Torz held onto what looked to be a metal cane with the hooked grip. He swung and twirled it quite quickly and his fighting method threw Shade off a bit.

Not wanting to stick around, Shade started to go more on the defensive as he looked for an escape path.

Rykk, Snake, Ratchet, and Brick rejoined the others in the bunker. They looked over and saw Rance, Kyle, Garth, Weiss, and Raz. The firefight with O'Bannon had ended as O'Bannon had fled. In the course of the fight, Kyle had taken a hit to his shoulder and Rance was fixing him up. Garth had taken a hit and had been grazed, though he had been too focused on Raz and Weiss to notice. Weiss was patching his wounds when Ratchet and the others had returned.

Boon and Vause's fight had driven them into a different part of the barracks and their fight could be heard in the distance.

"We need to go!" Ratchet said as he helped Rance. "We just fought off a bunch of Kurai and we need to make sure there's no more!"

"We also need to alert the cities," The Law Man said after he finished working on Kyle's arm.

"Everyone, pile into my Atmo!" Garth exclaimed and they headed out.

As they took off, Rance tried out the radio but a flash of worry crossed his face. "Got no signal..."

"We are in a remote place, wait until we're a bit closer." Garth advised as the engines revved up and the craft took off.

The fight between Leo, Torz, and Shade had led outside the holding building. All three were moving acrobatically, bouncing off of walls, slashing, jabbing, and parrying each other's blows.

Leo yelped and whimpered as he found Shade's Sai embedded in his lower chest. Blood began to pour from the wound and Leo groaned as Shade kicked him off of his blade. Leo tumbled and crumpled to ground in a pool of blood.

The half-Kurai then leapt up onto a tall ledge out of Torz's reach. "You all have a choice... convert into a Kurai... or die!" Shade roared as hundreds of Kurai flooded into Velocity. Civilians yelled in terror as they were shot with bolts of energy and almost instantly transformed into Kurai.

T.S. Eliot wrote:

"Between the desire and the spasm, between the potency and the existence, between the essence and the descent, falls the shadow. This is the way the world ends."

Hey guys, hope you liked Alter and let me know what parts you didn't like.

Don't worry, this isn't the end. I'm planning on continuing it in the next story.

For now though, think I'm gonna work on, and finish up Ebony and Informer but stay tuned for more!