Chapter Twenty-Six

The sound of an explosion, followed by a trail of heat passing his cheek, had Bankotsu swearing under his breath. Though, it in no way stopped the grin spreading over his face as he delivered a debilitating blow to the Baasratu he had been fighting off for the past few minutes. The sickening crunch, that reached his ears as his opponent was finally downed, had his hands tightening around his weapon.

Eyeing its body for further movement, he was satisfied when it remained still. Glancing up the corridor, he took quick stock of his teammates activities. Not far from where he stood, Jakotsu and Renkotsu were giving back as good as they got, trading blows with the Baasratu in much the same fashion he had been. Both looked to be alert and in one piece, but he imagined they were tiring, much as he was.

Suikotsu had dashed off as soon as he was set loose, and from what Bankotsu could catch glimpses of from where he was, the man had already lost himself to his berserker persona. The huge grin and wild eyes a telling indicator.

Not far behind Suikotsu was Ginkotsu, moving at a steady pace and mowing the enemy down with each shot fired. He fired another small missile, burning a hole in the first Baasratu and taking out another two standing behind it as the blast-range widened.

Farther down the corridor, and out of harm's way, crouched Mukotsu. The brief flashes coming from him let Bankotsu know he was firing off bolts coated in a special brand of toxin he had been experimenting with. The periodic screech of the Baasratu told him they were hitting their mark, but as for what it was doing to the alien race, he couldn't say. The battle was moving too fast for him to stop and really see.

Just as he was thinking this, and as if summoned from his thoughts, a new opponent was before him and he was fending off red glowing claws. Side-stepping another slash, he brought his pole up into the Baasratu in a sharp jab, knocking it off balance and providing him with enough time to swing the pole out and catch it in the back of the legs. He wasted no time in driving the pole down into the alien's head, again crushing the skull and leaving behind small sparks of electricity.

In the beginning of the battle, he had paused to admire the splattered remains of the aliens he had killed, though now it only reminded him that he would probably never get the orange stains off his armor. Rolling his shoulder back, he shot a glance to the door in front of him and the numbered plaque beside it.

About an hour into the fight, Bankotsu had noticed that the Baasratu weren't invading like he had thought they were. They weren't targeting anything that moved with the intent to exterminate, but were rather marching forward, only contending with those that had stood in their way. The Baasratu were on a mission, and while a fascinating thought, it wasn't worth he and his team's lives for them to figure out what that was.

He had decided then that they would withdraw to the hanger. After all, they weren't soldiers. And they damn sure weren't militia! They had no reason to put themselves in danger if the Baasratu weren't interested in killing them. Just as he was about to issue the command for his team to fall back, a thought struck him like lightning.

The Baasratu were heading down the northern residential sector. That stupid cultist's room was down the northern residential sector. The chip was in the cultist's room. Who's to say it would be improbable for a poor defenseless door to be blasted off its tracks by a wayward missile in all the chaos? Congratulating himself mentally, he had sidled up to Renkotsu to discuss the specifics.

Taking note of the number by the door they had finally reached and counting that the door he was looking for was just ahead, he slid passed a few soldiers hacking at a cornered Baasratu, and made his way to Renkotsu's side. Though no words were exchanged, Renkotsu got the message. Pushing the alien he had been grappling with back forcefully, he allowed Bankotsu to take his place as he turned to look for Ginkotsu.

Spotting the hulking cyborg, and reaching his side, were going to be two completely different things. The rebuilt monstrosity was surrounded by screeching Baasratu, as if he had aggregated his own following. Considering the heavy damage his ballistics were doing to the enemy, it was highly likely that was exactly what had happened.

Raising his arm, he sent out a sharp whistle, thankful for the enhanced hearing Ginkotsu had been equipped with. The swift turn of his head, followed by the slower lumbering turn his body made, told him the cyborg had heard and was heading back his way. Another blast was issued and suddenly the enemies between he and his mechanical creation were gone. He made a quick motion to the door they wanted blasted and watched as Ginkotsu set his target.

With a flash and a metallic crunch the door had been blasted, but Renkotsu was perturbed to note the missile hadn't done near enough damage. While it was certainly off its tracks, the door was only partially ajar. Clearly the cultist had reinforced his door as well as his security. Tricky bastard.

Bankotsu, noticing the same, scowled as he shifted and squeezed through the opening, Renkotsu quickly following him. Jakotsu had time to take in the fact that their plan was in progress and that they could soon leave, before he was again swept up in the tide of battle. Putting down another set of flashing claws, he let out a dignified huff. It was about damn time! He was exhausted!

Shooting another glance at the destroyed doorway, he turned and began a quick and stealthy trek towards Suikotsu. Someone needed to reel the crazy bastard in before they were ready to leave.

Inside the room, Bankotsu was tearing the drawers in the only dresser out and dumping the contents on the floor. Renkotsu had started in the closet, looking for any kind of unusual panels or some kind of safe. Finding nothing, he moved onto the desk beside the closet.

"W-what the hell do you think you're doing?!"

The loud shout preceded a soldier as he scrambled into the room, staring at the mess the both of them had made and putting two and two together.

Impatient and more than a little pissed at not yet finding the chip, Bankotsu stood from the last drawer he had been rifling through and turned to face the defensive soldier.

"Well, this just isn't your lucky day, is it?" He gritted out, garnering the young man's full attention. Behind him, Renkotsu lifted his weapon and brought it down hard against the back of his head. By the squishy connotation of the blow, Bankotsu surmised that Renkotsu hadn't held back. The soldier's body dropped lifelessly to the floor, blood pooling below him almost immediately.

Bankotsu turned to the nightstand beside the bed and began looking through the first drawer. "Did you kill him?" He asked almost disinterestedly and Renkotsu nudged the side of the soldier with his foot.


"We better hurry then."

Renkotsu let out a similarly disinterested grunt and turned back towards the desk he had been checking. His hand slid all the way to the back of the drawer and he let out a curse. Bankotsu, who had been inspecting a very interesting pair of lacy black underwear, turned a raised brow to the taller bald man.

"Shit. Guy's got a stack of vid-chips here."

"Just grab 'em all. We don't have time to be picky."

Renkotsu clicked his tongue and shoved the handful into a pocket on his suit. The both of them turned to leave and Bankotsu shoved his pole into the crack, wedging the door further from its tracks and allowing them to exit the room with ease.

While they hadn't been in the room long, it was long enough for the fighting to have shifted farther down the corridor and around a corner. Seeing as none of their teammates were standing there waiting for them, they could only guess the four of them had been drawn farther down with the battle.

"God damned useless bastards." Renkotsu cursed as they both turned to follow after, when another voice hailed them from behind.

"Hey! Are the both of you alright?"

Bankotsu turned and stifled the urge to curse himself. Trotting up to them were four soldiers in front-line armor. Correction: three soldiers and a medic. Dredging up the last of his energy, he hoped he looked innocent enough to fool what looked to be hardened military personnel.

"Uh, yeah. The battle just carried us into this room." He stopped himself from saying more, unsure exactly what these people had seen.

"Into a room you had to pry the door open to get back out of?"

Kouga narrowed his eyes onto the two suspicious men in unknown armor in front of him. While the bald man looked to be a man at the end of his rope, it was the shorter, dark-haired man's innocent half-smile that got the hairs on the back of his neck to stand up.

'Something ain't right here, bro.' Hakaku murmured as he focused his energy on the two in front of the wrecked doorway.

'No shit.' Kouga thought back as his hands tightened into fists, the metal plates clinking faintly. His eyes darted into the room, taking in the haphazard mess as well as the soldier lying prone just inside the door.

Seeing the direction Kouga's eyes had taken, Bankotsu grit his teeth and tried for one last lie. "Ah, that poor guy was…injured in the blast that knocked us through the door."

Kaede, who had remained behind Ayame and Kagura the whole time, slid slowly to the right and peered into the room herself. Looking over the downed soldier, she straightened and resumed a position behind her team.

"There aren't any burns and the injury to his head looks to be caused by blunt-force trauma." She looked up towards the two men in front of them and jerked slightly as her eyes met with a pair that didn't look totally sane.

"The hell you trying to say, bitch?"

Bankotsu closed his eyes briefly as Renkotsu finally snapped. While fighting off three primed military frontline soldiers definitely wasn't in their favor, it looked like they had no choice. He hated it when there were kinks in the plan and it looks like that's all he'd gotten since he had stepped foot on Eden. Clearly, this place was cursed.

By the time he had reopened his eyes, Renkotsu was already in motion, lunging past the three soldiers and aiming for the medic.

Kouga spun in place, reaching for the bald man, but instead got a nasty shock as an electrified pole slammed down on the top of his hand. The metal plates absorbed the blow and his armor was able to diminish the electricity, but it still felt like an angry buzz had settled into his knuckles. A rather annoying feeling that got Kouga's anger up in an instant.

'Careful, bro! They modified those weapons of theirs! These aren't standard issue!'

"Now, now…can't we just pretend we never saw each other and go our separate ways?"

Kouga nearly growled at the dark-haired man that had blocked him from grabbing the bald man. "Yeah, 'cause that's gonna happen."

Ayame and Kagura fended off the bald man's attack, both silently reeling from the overwhelming strength this guy seemed to have.

'If you can't handle him, just let him have the medic, puppet.'

'Shut. Up. Hadani.' Kagura gritted out to her partner mentally even as she finally shoved the bald man back a step, giving Ayame the chance to attack his exposed side. Both were astonished when, with a speed they couldn't match, the man swung his weapon, catching Ayame in the stomach and Kagura in the chest, flinging them both into the wall and floor, respectively.

Kaede watched as the bald man straightened from his half-crouch and turned to face her with a single-minded intensity that scared her witless.


Kouga's fist came crashing down into the back of the bald man's head before he could finish whatever it was he had been about to say, and Kaede slid down the wall she had been huddled against. Her eyes swung to Kouga in gratitude, but her mouth dropped open in horror as the dark-haired man was in mid-swing at the captain's head with his own weapon.

Before she could utter a sound, a blur appeared between the captain and his assailant, effectively blocking the attack. Kouga turned in time to catch Ayame as she fell back into him, still blocking Bankotsu's pole with her own saber.

"Now this isn't fair." Bankotsu grunted as he gave another shove and pushed the two soldiers back from him. "Renkotsu! Get your ass up!"

Renkotsu was already climbing to his feet, one hand clutching his weapon the other clutching his head. "Fuck. You'll pay for that." He promised darkly as he shook off his double vision and lunged for the male soldier.

Kouga grinned savagely as his fist connected with Renkotsu's face, but he lost it abruptly as the electrified pole slammed into his gut, knocking the breath from his lungs.

Ayame was now fencing with the dark-haired man, although the sparks from his pole were starting to concern her. Exactly how high was the voltage on this thing?!

'Well, little puppet. It seems you are only as good as cannon fodder.' Hadani chuckled darkly in Kagura's head and she let out a small groan.

'And it seems you are shit when it comes to reinforcing armor, Hadani. Match made in hell.' Her sarcasm was lost in the laughter still coming from the psychic, but she figured it was her win anyway. Stumbling to her feet, she looked down to check the armor on her chest, disturbed that it looked like it had been charred.

'It seems they are using personally modified weapons. Better not get smacked with them again.'

If it weren't for the fact that she knew he was saying it only because they were linked and he would get fried along with her if they were hit again, she would have thought it was the most concern he had ever shown for her.

Preferring to only give a disdainful sniff in answer, she turned her attention to the fight in front of her. While Kouga looked to be holding his own against baldie, Ayame was starting to struggle with luscious-locks. Her saber was knocked away with a particularly strong blow, so Kagura took that as her chance to step in.

"Why am I always saving your ass, Shiro?"

"Because you don't want to be left alone with Wolfe." Ayame wheezed as she stumbled over to her saber. Slightly alarmed over how drained she felt, she turned her question to Ginta. 'What's wrong with me? That was hardly even a spar and yet…'

'It's the electricity!' Ginta sounded slightly panicked, which caused Ayame to gasp out loud. 'He's been hitting us with it with every blow! I don't know what the hell they modified those weapons with, but prolonged contact with it is lethal!'

She whirled around to warn Kagura, but almost swallowed her tongue as Kagura's saber bit into Bankotsu's side, going deep.

"Bank!" A high pitched shrill, that sounded vaguely familiar, echoed from down the hall and all eyes snapped to stare at a horrified Jakotsu.

Running the last of the length between them, Jakotsu shoved the shell-shocked Kagura away from his team leader as the both of them fell to the floor.

"Kaze, you bitch!" He shrilled again, even as he was checking Bankotsu's wound, placing his hands over it to stop the blood flow.

"J-jakotsu…?!" Kouga had enough time to murmur before a strange gurgle followed by loud booms and vibrations drew their attention to down the hall once more. Two more men were running towards them, but it was the gargantuan thing behind them that was making the noise.

"Oh shit. There really is a cyborg!"

Midoriko could admit; if she were a psychologist writing a paper on human emotion, and key incidents that trigger said emotion, the past hour would have been a gold mine for her. Sadly, she was not a psychologist so all she could really feel at this moment was an extreme sense of discomfort and overwhelming embarrassment. If there could have been a hole she could have crawled into, she would have done so.

As it was, she was doing everything in her power to drown out the emotions flooding her system from Captain Taisho.

She had noticed when they had first boarded Eden that he had been irritated, but wholly focused on what they were doing. His irritation had spiked along with impatience when they had reached the division in the corridor. Splitting the team had changed his mind-set. His focus had shifted: from exterminating the invading Baasratu, to finding the person still on ship that he wanted.

As soon as his goal had been locked in, Midoriko had been slightly alarmed as he seemed to completely sink into his own instincts. His speed had increased dramatically and she was mortified to realize she couldn't keep up with him. His speed, combat tactics…everything. It had taken her all to keep his energy flowing in the right circuits.

It was as if she had never even been trained for partnering with an assassin in the first place! Dimly, in the rush and panic she had been experiencing, she felt something change in him the moment the doors to the medical ward had fallen. A savage excitement that had her trembling in more than a little bit of fear. As she was trying to balance both of their emotions, a familiar wave of energy had brought a stillness to the tsunami she had been embroiled in.

Clarity had then taken a hold of her current partner and another wave of focus had sharpened his intent. He had moved through the enemy fluidly, never even pausing in his forward movement. She had felt the impact, same as he had, when he had finally caught sight of the one he had been searching for. Kagome Higurashi.

The emotion that had come from Taisho then had Midoriko blanking out. If she had had a body, she was sure she would have passed out from what she was getting from him. With no possibility of escaping, she had tried to turn her attention to their surroundings and enemies, putting as many barriers in their link as she could without dropping it.

So, she felt it was reasonable that she had been completely floored when he had grabbed Kagome into a world-shattering kiss. Through all the emotions she could feel coming from him in that moment, she was rather surprised that the one that she felt the most was relief. Hearing a commotion, and desperate to focus on anything that wasn't her temporary partner kissing her former student, Midoriko subtly nudged at Taisho.

Kagome distantly heard the loud exclamation in the background, as well as the decrease in fighting, but for the life of her, she could not focus on anything past the hot sensation of tongue and lips dueling with her own. The feel of his hands sliding along her neck and shoulders, as well as the knowledge that this was Taisho, had her releasing another small whimper and clutching his suit tighter.

With a last rough slide of his tongue against the roof of her mouth, their lips parted and his forehead came to rest against her own. His hands tangled in her hair kept their faces close as they both just breathed.

"You are unharmed."

His not-quite-asked question had her letting out a breathless laugh. "Yeah."

"Alright! That's enough of that shit!"

The loud, gruff, exclamation had Kagome jerking back to reality. Sesshomaru scowled briefly as they both straightened from each other and his eyes met with those of a similar shade. The expression on his half-brother's face, however, gave him pause. The boy looked particularly green and shaken.

"I don't know who the hell you are, but I demand you bring the bastard's mind back!"

Kagome stiffened slightly, mindful of Sesshomaru's hands still lightly gripping her upper arms; thinking, for a moment, that the soldier with the same silver hair was talking to her. That is, until she realized his eyes were trained on Sesshomaru as he pointed at him in an accusatory manner. Brows furrowing, Kagome turned to take in her partner's expression only to realize it was the first time she'd be setting eyes on the man.

Her breath left in a whoosh as she felt like she'd just been sucker-punched in the stomach. From his profile alone, she could tell he was a stone-cold heartbreaker. When he turned to face her at her sudden movement, she found she was again being devoured by golden fire. Before she could remember to blink, let alone breathe, she felt hands clamp onto her shoulders and jerk her sharply backwards.

"I find I am in agreement." Miroku's voice, hardened to something she barely recognized, reverberated over her head as she bumped into his chest. "It is hardly ethical for a soldier to lay his hands on a lady in the middle of battle."

Sesshomaru's gaze snapped from startled blues to shadowed amethyst. His hands tightened around Kagome's arms for a moment before he loosened his grasp. The man standing behind his partner looked dangerous, but his grip was protective, not possessive.

"Miroku!" Kagome hissed slightly as she tried to shrug off his hands. She opened her mouth to refute the barbs he had growled only to pause in mortification.

Oh, holy shit.

She had just been making out with a man in the middle of a Baasratu attack! Her hands covered her eyes as she groaned in embarrassment. Judging by the overall silence in the medical ward lobby, they had had a rather large audience too.

"Yeah! What he said!" Inuyasha piped up once more and ignored his half-brother's piercing glare. Instead he swung his gaze to the petite girl currently trying to hide her red face in her hands. So…this was Kikyo's cousin…

Feeling a burgeoning tide of emotion welling up from his partner, Inuyasha scowled and crossed his arms over his chest. He knew what she wanted him to do, though he didn't really want to.

"Oi! Wench! You're alright, right?"

Kagome stiffened slightly and raised her face from her cupped hands. Her eyes met with Inuyasha's scowling visage and she returned it in kind.

"What did you call me?"

Sango had jerked slightly as the man holding onto Kagome-chan was called by her linking partner's name. She had been frozen, as the rest of the soldiers in the lobby, by the sight of her captain wrapped in a passionate embrace. Regardless that it was in the middle of a Baasratu invasion, the fact the captain was kissing anyone was a shock.

The shout from the younger Taisho seemed to shake everyone from the frozen tableau they had been, only for things to still once more as the dark-haired man had angrily approached the pair. Now hearing that that was Miroku, Sango felt something deep inside clench and her stomach drop to her toes. Clearly, this man was in love with the woman who had been kissed by another.

Why else would he be clutching onto her and glaring so heatedly at the captain?

Finally tearing her eyes away from those on center stage, she was distracted from the miserable thumping in her chest by the sight of someone hobbling toward her at great speed.



Sango grabbed a hold of her younger brother and staggered back a few steps in order to keep them vertical. Ignoring the excited chittering coming from the annoyance she was linked to, she tightened her arms briefly and pulled back to inspect the sibling she hadn't physically seen since she had left for her first assignment. Splatters of orange denoted he had been in the thick of things, a red stain near his side gave her pause for concern, but it was the memory of his limp that made her brows furrow.

"Are you alright? Why are you limping?"

Though she didn't sound hysterical, Kohaku knew it was only a matter of time before she worked herself up.

"No. I'm okay! This was from something else."

"Something else?!"

Kohaku winced. Wrong word choice. The nearly shouted words, at the decibel they were voiced, had the effect of drawing the attention of those nearest to them, including the previously gob smacked teens that had been standing on the lift, watching the drama. Both Rin and Shippo swung their gazes to see what else was happening.

"Who's that?" Rin whispered quietly to Shippo, who shrugged in turn.

"I don't know…his sister maybe?"

The relieved sigh and small "oh" that Rin had let out caused Shippo to scowl.

Jerking his eyes from the dramatical interlude that had abruptly shattered the intense battle beforehand, Shippo looked down at his screen still displaying the active currents. He was relieved to see that on-ship communication had also been restored, because there were numerous messages flashing by. Taking out the small earpiece he always had on hand, he synced it up to the communication channel. At first it was just about of racket he couldn't make heads or tails of. The volume of it alone had him cringing back against the lift's wall.

Rin, standing beside him, put her hand on his shoulder in concern. "You okay?"

Shippo nodded and waved his hand in the air, distracted by trying to decipher the mess of voices talking over one another. Drowning out loud requests for back-up and panicked questions from what seemed to be civilians, Shippo caught hold of the calm undertones of someone highly trained. Placing his hand over his ear his eyes narrowed as he stared a hole into the floor of the lift.

"-repeat that?"

"This is Fleet Commander Taisho, aboard the battleship Armageddon. We are nearing your proximity."

"Ah…Fleet Commander Taisho…? You said you are aboard the Armageddon?"

Rin jostled his shoulder and he abruptly lost the communication. Turning a wild gaze to the slightly older teen, he had to stop himself from shaking her.

"What the-?! Dam-dang it, Rin! What the he-?!"

"Your nose is starting to bleed, Shippo!" Rin squeaked in concern, slightly alarmed over the crazed look he had in his eyes.

Blinking at her for a moment, he scowled and roughly wiped his nose with his sleeve. "That doesn't matter! We gotta get going!" Turning from the bewildered girl, Shippo clicked his tongue as he realized the drama was still going on.

"Kagome! Come on! We gotta get outta here!"

Before Inuyasha could reply to Kagome's growled question, Shippo's shout had reached her ears. Turning to face the small engineer, she finally shook off Miroku's hands. "What?"

"He's right." The quiet voice came from her right and Kagome looked over to see a familiar face. Of course. Sesshomaru was here, so why wouldn't the rest of the team? Sango gave a small smile seeing the recognition blooming over Kagome's face, but continued with what she was saying before she had a chance to open her mouth. "I've got a report saying that more enemy battleships have appeared above Eden. We're going to be swarmed in a matter of minutes. It would be best if those not trained for combat retreated to a protected area. Right, Captain?"

Sango looked over to Taisho, staunchly ignoring the stare she was receiving from Miroku. She didn't think she could look at him right now without losing the composure she had gotten when she had received the rushed communication from Lydia. Sesshomaru straightened further and turned to face the other soldiers in the room. From what it looked like, out of all that had assembled, he had the highest rank.

"We have limited time, then. Inuyasha, round up those with enough stamina to face the first wave directly. Taijya, see to those that are wounded."

Inuyasha huffed at the order, but was slightly relieved the ice-prick seemed to be back to normal. Sango gave a sharp nod and took out the small field kit she took with her on every mission. Though only capable of rough patch-jobs, it was better than nothing. Turning to her younger brother first, she frowned at the stubborn expression on his face.

"I know what you're going to say, and the answer is no."


"Sango, I'm perfectly fine. My leg is fine! I didn't even get any other injuries when we fought off the Baasratu!"

"Kohaku, I would feel better if you went with Kagome-chan." She held up a hand to stop him from arguing. "Your leg could become a liability and I won't be able to concentrate on the enemy if I am worried about you."

Kohaku's shoulders slumped. Even he knew that was true. Not to mention he was only militia, not even a soldier. He didn't have a psychic partner and of all the others in the room, he was the only one with a mobility problem.

"Fine. Kick ass, sis."

Sango grinned. "Of course! Who do you think you're talking too?"

Shaking his head, he left it at that and made his way to the lift. He was slightly startled when his eyes met with a large brown gaze.

"You alright, Miss Inoue?" He asked the previously forgotten girl as he got on the lift and watched as she nodded.

Miroku watched as Sango went about checking up on the soldiers. She hadn't met his eyes, let alone looked in his direction since he had discovered she was there. While it was a cause for concern, unfortunately he didn't have the time to remedy the situation. He turned to get Kagome's attention, only to find she was already staring at him with a raised eyebrow.

"What did you do to Sango-chan?"

Miroku held up his hands in a placating gesture. "Nothing! I swear!"

"Uh huh. That's why she's treating you like a leper?"

Before he could say anything in his defense, Shippo was again shouting at them from where he was on the lift.

"Come on! Let's go! Talk later!"

Kagome and Miroku spared each other another glance then sighed and headed for the lift. Before Kagome made it very far, a hand was at her elbow, again spinning her around in a similar manner as earlier. Though he didn't say anything, the look in his eyes was enough. Unable to stop herself, she reached up to lightly caress his cheek.

"Stay safe, Taisho."

His hand curled about her own on his cheek for a moment before he lowered her hand and she was turning to get on the lift. Their eyes remained connected until the door shut with a soft ding.

"Ugh. Do you have to be so clichéd mushy?"

Kagome turned a patronizing look on the young engineer. "How did you know that there were incoming Baasratu ships?" She chose to ask instead.

Shippo frowned down at the floor. "No. I overheard a different transmission." He paused to look at those on the lift. "The Armageddon has entered the battlefield."

Miroku stiffened, immediately understanding the implications. Kagome frowned and her brows scrunched in confusion, but it was Rin who voiced her thoughts.

"But…that's a good thing, right? The Armageddon is our battleship."

Shippo scowled down at the floor and Miroku was the one to answer.

"Yes, the Armageddon is ours, but it's different from other ships. It's the only ship in the Western Fleet that has energy cannons." Though Kohaku looked like he was starting to understand, Kagome and Rin still looked confused. "If they brought Armageddon here, they knew there were more Baasratu warships inbound. They plan to use the cannons on them."

Kagome gasped as she grasped the whole picture. "If they use the cannons…and with the close proximity of the Baasratu warships…"

Shippo nodded. "Eden could be destroyed in the process. Or at the very least damaged by the discharge."

"Why…why would they do that?" Rin murmured, shock and terror streaking over her face.

"Sacrifice the few to save the many." Miroku muttered back, his hands clenched into fists.

"So, what's the point of continuing down?" Kagome asked, suddenly angry at the situation. "It's not like we can hide from the blast!"

"We aren't hiding from the blast." Shippo said quietly and turned to stare Kagome in the eyes with an intensity she was uncomfortable with. "You can stop it, Kagome."

Kagome raised both brows, wondering for a moment if she had heard him wrong. "I can stop it. And…exactly how would I be able to do that?!"

"I can't explain it. It's just what I was told."

"Just what you were told? What? Told by who?!"

Miroku was watching Shippo quietly. He was curious who this mystery person was too. "The person we are supposed to meet in hull of the ship?"

Kagome shot a glance to Miroku and then back to Shippo.

"No! Well…yes…kinda…" Shippo faltered and then waved his hand in the air impatiently. "Look it will all be explained when we get there!"

The soft ding as the lift finally reached its destination sounded out and Shippo let out a breath of relief at the excellent timing. As the doors opened and before anyone could step out, what looked to be a broom handle came down at Miroku's head. Twisting sharply to the left, he avoided it as it came down to the floor with a crack.

"Huh. Whoops. Thought you were Baasratu."

Standing in front of the lift door, still holding onto the broom used to attack Miroku with, stood a grinning Anderson. Behind her were what looked to be an array of botanists armed with strange things, and geared up for a fight.


Ah. Ehehe…hehe…heh. I AM SO SORRY! A lot of stuff happened to me and I was forced to take a small break from writing. And after all was said and done, I found it incredibly hard to write this chapter. I think it's because I have to incorporate so many different individual points of view. This is, and probably will be, the only chapter where I have to focus on so many things at once. To the point it feels like this chapter is choppy.

I apologize for that. I read and reread and deleted and rewrote this chapter so many times I got nightmares about it. Still not completely satisfied with it, but I'm not sure if that's just because I've dismantled and rebuilt it numerous times.

On a different note: THANK YOU SO MUCH to all of you who reviewed and pm-ed me! I promise I will try to answer all those pm's and other messages sent to me. I apologize again for my absence, and as always:

Thank you for reading and please review!