DISCLAIMER: This is a novelization-in-progress of the masterpiece Xenogears from SquareSoft. I do not own the content of this, save for maybe the way I described "how" something happened. All characters, speech, and storyline are exclusive property and copyrighted by SquareSoft.

Desert Attack

Despite the fact that it was much later than when he and Citan had first arrived, it was still incredibly hot outside. The waves of heat continued to dance off the sand. Fei had just crossed through the archways of Dazil and was already feeling a little winded. He looked upon the horizon and looked at the horizon as the sun started it's slow descent to the surface. He still had several hours left, but he couldn't afford to sit and admire the sunset.

He continued to head west toward the setting sun, when he felt the ground beneath him shake. He turned around in time to see two large Gears jumping across the desert pass over his head. Fei started to chase after them, but the Gears were way too fast. Soon, they were mere specks in the sunset, the sound of their pounding feet and hissing hydraulics growing fainter and fainter.

W, what are they!? Are they Aveh Gears? ... I'm worried about doc..." Fei muttered to himself. He turned around and looked at one of the massive holes the Gears had left in the sand. He watched them begin to rapidly disappear as the sand filled in the void. Fei thought for a brief moment that Citan might've had an accident and he was buried under the ground in this desert somewhere. He might've actually walked over him... He quickly pushed the thought out of his mind. Fei could still hear the faint sounds of the Gears in the far distance, and he turned back towards the source of the sound.

Guess I may as well follow those Gears,"

He took off at a slow pace towards the direction of where the Gears where headed. Running in the desert is hard work. You can't really get a lot of traction on the sand. Despite this, Fei picked the pace up considerably because he was starting to lose the trail of the Gears. The damn holes they made just wouldn't stay empty. Sand was just gushing into them. It was turning out in vain though, because the Gears were just getting smaller. Soon, he lost sight of them completely.

He ran out into a flat section of the desert. There were a few cacti growing intermittently. A scorpion skittered across the sand moving from rock to rock. Fei ran towards the middle of the clearing. He looked around for any sign of the Gears. He saw none. No hissing and thumping sounds. No rapidly filling holes. No nothing. His thoughts ran back towards Citan.

"How far has doc gone? ... And now I've lost sight of those Gears too."

Fei stood there for a few minutes trying to figure out what to do next. He kicked a rock and was surprised when a scorpion crawled out from underneath where the rock had been. He quickly stepped away from it. Wow, he was getting thirsty. When was the last time he had a drink of water? Fei sat down on a large rock and pulled out his canteen. He took two large gulps before securing it again. Again, he looked around wondering what to do. Where was he going to sleep? What was he going to eat for the night? Suddenly Fei felt a faint trembling in the ground beneath his feet, which exponentially increased with every passing second. It was accompanied by a rumbling noise. Fei began to look around to find where the noise was coming from.

"What's happening?" he thought.

He continued to look around to find the noise. He couldn't see anything, and the sound was starting to become deafening. A large shadow bathed him, and he looked up. He fell over on his back when he saw what it was. It was unbelievable.

A large saucerlike vehicle was coasting low over the dunes. It was huge. Impossibly huge to be in the air! The craft cast a shadow over every grain of sand that Fei could see for miles around. The vehicle must've been several hundred miles in diameter. Fei then noticed that the vehicle appeared to be composed of two parts. A large ring circled around a smaller inner core and appeared to be rotating around it. The whole thing was encircled in a reddish-orange barrier. It was unlike anything Fei had ever seen, much less imagined.

The saucer soon disappeared over a large dune in the distance. Fei took off sprinting after it. He wanted to see it again. He made it to the top of the dune and continued to watch the saucer coast low over the country.

"W, what the heck is that thing?" he wondered.

A familiar thumping sound could be heard and it grew in intensity. Fei looked to his right to see two more Gears jumping across the desert. These appeared to be different Gears than what he had previously seen. They were going in a different direction from a different location. It appeared as if they were following the large saucer.

"A different unit? Are they going toward the direction the saucer went? I'd better follow them so as not to lose sight of them..."

He took off running after them. But like before, they were slowly pulling away from him. After awhile, Fei began to feel really tired. It was getting dark out, and he was starting to have a hard time seeing in the distance. It seemed the desert seemed to go on forever.

"Does this desert ever end? It'll get dark soon, so I better hurry up and..." Fei was interupted by the sound of a motor. He looked over to his left to see a couple of soldiers ramping over the dunes on sandbikes some distance off.

"What's going on here?" Fei asked himself. "Gears, a flying saucer... and now these guys... I hope doc's alright!"

Another sandbike could be heard coming up on where Fei was standing. It sounded like a straggler. Fei decided that it would be better to have transportation than to be walking in the desert in the middle of the night. When he saw the bike ramp over a dune, he leapt in it's path.

"... Eeyah!" he screamed.

Startled, the soldier on the bike swerved sharply to his right. Unfortunately he lost control and flew over the handlebars. He flew some distance before he landed in the side of a dune. Fei watched the whole thing. It somewhat amused him, but he still felt a little concerned for the guy. He looked back to the bike. It was upside down, but the engine was still running and the wheels were still spinning. It appeared to be in fine working order. Fei ran up to the bike, righted it, and straddled it.

"Errh, sorry about that! Just let me borrow this for a while!" he called to the fallen soldier.

Fei then gave it a couple of revs of the engine, and then took off on one wheel. The soldier had recovered by this time and was chasing after the bike, although a little clumsily.

"Hey, wait!" he wailed.

Fei rode the bike for what seemed like hours. He found he enjoyed ramping it over the dunes, as he did it almost non-stop. He was enjoying the air flying through his hair. It was getting late though. The sun had already gone down, and the moon was well on it's way up. The night air was starting to get a little chilly. He came to a clearing where the dunes were minimal. He started to gun across it when the ground underneath him exploded in a cloud of black smoke. Both Fei and the bike were blown into the air. Luckily, the bike took the blast. It landed some yards out a smoldering, wrecking heap, whilst Fei landed safely.

Then something crashed down behind him. He turned around and it was one of the Aveh military Gears. It was decked out in armaments. Shoulder cannons, ether guns, wrist blades, etc. Slowly the head turned and looked right at him. Fei almost had a bowel movement right there. He didn't stand a chance against this monstrosity. He turned around to run, and only got about 40 meters before another Gear landed in front of him, looking right at him. He was caught in a pincer motion. He turned around to run a few steps, but stopped cold because the first Gear had closed the distance between him and it. Frantically he looked between the two.

"What's with you guys?" he asked. "Aren't you overreacting a little for just stealing a motorcycle..."

One of the Gear's reply was to raise it's gun arm. Fei saw the bolt cycling in the chamber as a round loaded. He closed his eyes, waiting for the impact of dozens of 70mm rounds driving themselves deep into his chest, and tearing his body into little pieces as they tore through and detonated. When the sound of gunfire came, he felt nothing. He thought he was already dead when he opened his eyes and saw one of the Aveh Gears crumping into a heap, followed in close suit by the other. Fei looked at the two smoldering ruins in wonder and turned to where the source of the gunfire came from. He never thought he'd be glad to see what he saw. Standing about 70 meters away was Weltall.

"Ah...!"

Weltall kneeled down and rested it's hand on it's knee. Citan Uzuku stepped out of the cockpit and stood on the hand. He gave a little wave, and then crossed his arms as if looking at a disobediant child.

"Fei! I was looking everywhere for you," he said.

"Doc!" yelled Fei, as he ran over to Weltall. "You're alright."

"Yes, of course..."

Citan looked over to his side and a combination of concern and suprise painted his face. He continued to stare at it forever. Out of curiousity, Fei looked in the same direction as Citan. The two Gears that were supposedly smoking ruins were actually up and back on their feet, and looking as if nothing were wrong with them.

"Looks like we do not have time to chat," said Citan. "Fei, hurry!"

Fei gave him a puzzled look.

"Hurry and do what...?" he asked.

"I cannot use Weltall very well! Only you can use its full potential..." said Citan. "Hurry up and get on board!" He jumped off the hand and landed on the ground next to Fei.

"... A, a, alright," stammered Fei.

Fei jumped into the cockpit, and strapped himself into his seat. The hatch secured itself automatically. Again, the computers went through their self-diagnostic and began communicating with one another. The external sensors began to collect data, and all his cameras blipped to life. Fei cautiously reached for the control stick. Warning klaxons blared in the cockpit. One of the Gears had fired it's ether gun at Fei's forward sensors. Instinctively, Fei ducked in his seat. To his surprise, Weltall also ducked, and the ether blast flew overhead. The other Gear lunged forward to smash the pilot compartment with it's fist. Fei parried the blow, locked in his opponents wrist, and began twisting it until he could hear the sound of tearing metal and hyrdraulic lines being suddenly released. The fluid went everywhere as the Gear stumbled back minus it's arm.

The first Gear launched itself into the air and began firing it's 70mm gun in fully automatic mode. Fei simply turned his shoulder plates to the enemy and the rounds simply deflected off of it. Meanwhile, the one armed gear was prepping it's ether gun again. Fei dashed forward and punched the enemy Gear in it's hand, and with the follow-thru, his fist continued to travel through the enemy Gear's arm, shredding it up. The other arm, and most of it's shoulder was gone now. Fei spun around and kicked it's head off, and finished off the Gear by driving his fist into the chest compartment, and crushing the pilot.

He turned around to face off the last remaining enemy Gear. The enemy gear was dodging left and right trying to keep from getting hit, but it wasn't any good. Fei rushed forward, charging his ether gun in the process. He slammed it into the enemy Gear's chest and detonated the ether gun. With a series of explosions, the Gear went down for good.

Fei looked at the damage he had done. He couldn't believe that he had just done what he had done.

"I don't know how... but I beat them!" he exclaimed.

"HA, HA, HA, HA, HA!"

Fei looked out his side camera trying to find the source of the menacing laughter. Standing on top of a stone pillar was a very sinister looking black Gear with it's arms folded. Fei suddenly realized that this was the same Gear that had overseen the attack of Lahan. A man wearing a purple and black cloak was standing on it's shoulder, and he continued to laugh that evil menacing laugh. It looked as if he and the whole Gear were giving off red and black flames, an aura of pure evil. The moon was visible behind them and the flames made it look blood red, adding to the sinister look.

"W, what the...?" started Fei.

"Your hot blooded desire for battle has not been tamed, I see," said the hooded man. His voice was raspy and old sounding.

"Who are you!?" demanded Fei. In the darkness of night, his face appeared to turn blue as realization showed on his face. His whole world became encompassed in the cloaked man's shadow. He heard several voices at once, but mostly his own. "Huh? Right...I know you. You killed...her." He was in a dark place, looking up and confused. "Her?" He looked at the ground and the pendant lay there. Broken. He heard giggling. He looked up to see the kid that looked like him...blood...all over his face.

"No." said the kid. His world became engulfed in flames. "It wasn't! Not me!" he screamed. He covered his face with his hands and kneels down. "I..."

"You coward." A low, resentful voice.

The little boy removed his hands from his face. The evil faced red-haired kid was standing before him.

"It was you!"

Fei snapped back to reality.

"You're the one from...Lahan...!!" he shouted.

Citan was standing at Weltall's feet. The wind was starting to pick up and dust devils were swirling about. He could hear the whistling of the wind as it wove between Weltall's legs. He was watching the exchange between the two Gears, and he noticed Fei spacing out.

"Here we go again..." he muttered.

"My name is Grahf... The seeker of power," said the sinister man as he introduced himself. "You certainly showed how much power you had back there in Lahan, didn't you, Fei?" He laughed cruelly.

"How much power I had? What are you talking about!" asked Fei.

"A greater power... is what I need to fulfill my mission," said Grahf. "I sent those Gears into that land as a catalyst to awaken the power in you... To make contact with you."

"As a catalyst!? You mean you caused that intentionally!?" Fei's hand immediately reached for the controls of his Gear. He was about to tear into this guy.

"That's right. The death of your loved ones..." said Grahf. "And you powerless against it happening... The grief, the screams from your heart born out of the tragedy...

There! That was the catalyst for triggering your power."

"You mean you attacked my village just to get me in that Gear!?" Fei felt himselft start to choke as the emotions came back. "Why!? Why did the villagers have to die...?"

"Who cares why! It does not matter how many of them died... They were wretched vermin, only living from day to day without ever fulfilling their prescribed destinies! And have you forgotten? You were the one who destroyed the village. I did not lift a finger." said Grahf.

"No!! I was just trying to save the village and its people! I never intended to destroy it!!" screamed Fei.

"Is that really so? Surely you have heard it? It is the very essence of you... the voice of desire from within you that craves destruction."

"Shut up! Even if that were true, aren't you still the one who caused it!? If you hadn't come, the village wouldn't have suffered the way it did!"

"Ah, so now you resort to blame? I see... That sounds like something 'you' would say. That's good. Your basic nature remains unchanged."

"Crap..." muttered Fei. "You said you need my power? What were you intending to do with it!?"

Grahf didn't reply for a full ten seconds.

"You know very well... It is to destroy... mother god..."

"D, destroy god?" Fei couldn't believe his ears. This whacko wants to destroy God?

"Yes, we will destroy god. That is our purpose... That is our destiny!"

"Don't be ridiculous! I won't get involved in such a thing! If you want to destroy your god, or whatever it is you're on about... do it by yourself!!!"

Grahf started laughing at him. It was a deep, throaty laugh.

"Hah, hah, hah... You resemble your father." he said.

"My father?" Fei couldn't believe his ears. Grahf just said he resembled his father. The father he never knew. "You mean my dad? You know my father!?"

"That was... a most delightful scream. I was enthralled by it," said Grahf. "Nothing is more beautiful than a scream of death."

"What did you do to my father!?" demaned Fei. "What happened between you two!?"

"Hmph, do you really wish to know? There is no use in you knowing it now."

"What!?"

"Your power is still beneath that needed for my purposes," said Grahf. "Anything unusable must be tried until it becomes suitable."

"What?"

The ground began to tremble under Weltall's feet. It had been happening so much though, that Fei was hardly caught off guard by it. He simply wondered what was happening now. But even with all the events that had unfolded today, he was stlil not prepared for what burst out of the ground.

"What the hell is that!?" he shouted.

It was a worm-looking creature. It was about 35 meteres long with pronounced ridges in it's carapace. It hundreds of teeth on the outer edge and inside of it's mouth. It appeared to be looking right at Weltall, and its drool started to run in streams out of it's mouth. Apparently it saw Weltall as a source of food.

"What will you do, Fei?" asked Grahf. "If you die here, then so be it. You may indeed gain some happiness from not knowing. But surely, that is not what you truly want...? If you want to know the truth... and that is what you want, isn't it Fei... then this is what to do... You must show me that you have attained the level of strength I require...

To do that you must destroy others by using your own strength! Then you will gain all that was lost in exchange for that scream of death! Ha, ha, ha, ha!!"

And with that, Grahf ascended into the night sky, still standing on his Gear's shoulder. Fei called out to him and watched him rise soundlessly until he couldn't see him anymore. Who the hell was that guy anyway? How did he know his father? And why has he taken this sudden interest in him?

"W, wait! We're not finished talking yet!!" It was no use though. Grahf was gone. Now all that was left was this monster. Fei looked at his computer and was surprised to see information about the monster come up. Apparently it was called a Wyrm, and that it normally was a peaceful creature. They hardly ever come to the surface and they are vegetarians.

Regardless, this wyrm was not looking very friendly, and showed it by charging at Fei. Fei had just barely put his arms up to shield himself when the wyrm closed in on him and had it's jaws open to swallow him whole. Fei caught the edges of the wyrm's mouth. This was going to be a battle of strength, and Fei couldn't afford to lose. Not after learning what he had just learned.

With all his might, he pushed into the control stick, trying to push the wyrm's jaws away from him. He kicked at the sides of the creature while his arms held off the menacing jaws. Soon,he had several small holes punched in the side of the wyrm where he had visciously kicked it. But the worm still didn't seem to be giving in. Warning lights and klaxons were going off in the cockpit. The servos in Weltall's arms were overheating and about to give out.

Fei noticed a flashing red number one on his console. Not quite sure what it was, he pushed it. The lighting in his cabin dimmed a little bit, but the results of the button press were dramtic. With a gigantic heave, Weltall had broken the wyrm's jaw. Fei continued to pry at the jaws while simultaneously firing his 82mm shells into the wyrm's throat. Finally with a sickening ripping noise, the wyrm's body became two pieces. Blood and other bodily fluids were everywhere.

Immediately, the gear began it's shutdown sequence. The cockpit hatch opened up and Weltall kneeled and helt it's hand so that Fei could walk out. He looked over to his right at the wyrm's carcass. What a bloody, needless mess. He sighed and shook his head. He was looking at Weltall's knee. It was busted again. Fei began curse himself. Citan snapped him out of his reverie.

"Fei!" he yelled. "Are you alright!? Fei!"

Fei looking glum, said, "... I'm fine... The Gear seems to be broken though..."

"I am so glad that you are unharmed, " said Citan. "The Gear had only temporary repairs made on it. They were not made to survive an outright battle like that."

Fei said nothing. It appeared he was spacing out again. Citan waved his hand in front of his face.

"Fei?"

Suddenly, with a loud thump, two Aveh military gears landed on either side of Weltall. Their weapons were trained on the two.

"Oh no! The Aveh Military! Not now...!" exclaimed Citan. "Fei, I think we should remain calm... ...?" Citan looked at Fei. He wasn't even paying any attention to what was going on. "Fei?"

The sand cruiser trudged through the desert sand. It was huge. About 300 meters long, and very loud. The exhaust blowing sand everwhere as it plowed towards it's destination. On top of the cruiser, there was a large black Gear strapped to it. Weltall. With nothing stopping it, the cruiser continued it's noisey voyage to Aveh.

Citan sat on a crude looking bunk and looked at his surroundings. The walls were metal, but rusty and covered in grime. A rat skittered along the paneling where the wall met the floor. Fei was lying asleep on the bunk in front of him. Every once in awhile, he would groan. He was sweating profusely. Partly because of the intense heat, and partly because he was having a nightmare. Citan watched him, wondering what it was that Fei was dreaming about. He watched him groan and toss again.

His world was a thunderstorm. Rain pounded on his shoulders relentlessly as the lightning crashed, the thunder rumbled. The wind was blowing torrentially as it whipped through the grass. He could vaguely make out three figures standing some distance away from him. He squinted his eyes in the darkness to see who they were. He watched as two of the figures erupted into red flames, while the third burned a blue color. Lightning struck, and he could see that one of the men was Grahf, the other was a red-haired man who resembled the kid that Fei thought he had seen in the cockpit of Weltall before Lahan was destroyed. They both seemed familiar to him, yet different. The third man was someone he didn't recognize at all, but yet he seemed to know him. Something about him was very familiar...

"Let us join together." growled Grahf. His eyes began to glow red, and then turned white.

"I never thought we'd meet again like this. It must be... fate," said the man that Fei couldn't place. "How ironic. But... I'll never let you have him." The red-haired man just made an evil looking smirk, and giggled. The other man just closed his eyes for a moment, as if contemplating something. Finally, he said, "Even if it kills me."

His world turned pitch black, and then turned into the inside of a cell. He was lying on a bunk. Sitting on the bunk across from him was Citan. Fei got up and moved over to the corner of the filthy room.

"How are you, Fei? Did you sleep well?" asked Citan.

Fei only glanced at him a moment before looking down at the floor. His depressing mood just emanating from his very being.

"Huh? Ahh... well... sort of..." came his reply.

Sorry I messed up... I was careless," said Citan. "That Gear is a top secret experimental model from Kislev... It was only natural that Aveh would also be madly searching for it." Citan gave Fei a once over. "Fei? Are you hurt? You do not look so well."

"Well... I suppose you could say I was hurt..." said Fei. He shuffled his feet, kicking a piece of lint across the floor.

"That man in black...spoke of your father's fate... Is that what is wrong?" asked Citan.

Fei shuffled to the other side of the room, and leaned up against the wall, staring at the floor.

"There is that too, but..." said Fei. He paused, as if to think about what he wanted to say next. "It's the other stuff he said... What happened at Lahan... was all planned to get me to ride in that Gear... Or so he claimed. That's got me worried..." Fei looked up at Citan and walked across the room to him.

"To get you to ride in that Gear...?" said Citan, as Fei was walking to him.

"Doc, before the village was destroyed, I lived without doubting myself." said Fei. "But it's different now. I don't... know who I am. I've never felt like this before..."

"Well we cannot do anything as long as we are prisoners... even if we wanted to." Let us rest a little. Maybe it will sort your feelings out a little."

Fei lay on the bed for a few minutes. He turned over a few times as he tried to find a comfortable position. Eventually he gave up and sat on the edge of the bed.

"No, doc, let's talk a little more about this," said Fei.

"Are you worried about your father?" asked Citan.

"All I know is what the maids at my home in Lahan told me..." said Fei. "One night a strange masked man carried me to Lahan. I was heavily wounded at the time... In my delirium I called out for my father... That's all they could tell me about my background. I don't remember anything of my father or my past... So I guess I'm not really all that lonely or sad..."

"Let us rest a little," pushed Citan. Fei ignored him.

"Doc, why didn't I notice that I had no memories up until now?" asked Fei.

Citan didn't say anything except, "Let us rest a little. Fei glared at him for a moment, but resigned himself and trudged back over to the bed. He lay down on it, and fitfully messed with the blankets before turning over to face the wall. Citan watched him for a few moments before retreating back into his thoughts. He mulled over the last few day's events. It was all too obvious.

"It was him! No mistake... That was no coincidence," he thought. "Could it be that we are approaching the -Time- of the -Gospel-...?"

In his mind he was in a dark room, debris floating everywhere. He was standing on a makeshift platform in front of a throne. On the throne sat an emperor, his face concealed by a mask. In the backround, he could hear a clock ticking the time away...

"Yes, the -Gospel-," said the Emperor. "We are the people expelled from paradise and forced to live on the cruel surface of the earth. We who fill this land will once again return to the presence of god in paradise and live there eternally. That is the -Time- of the -Gospel-. That -Time- is at hand."

Shards of light erupted from his throne as the clock continued to tick away somewhere in the darkness.

"We, the Gazel, must find god's resting place by then and resurrect him," he continued. "That is our final prayer..."

"Our final prayer?" asked Citan.

"Our final prayer is to escape from the - Fate- that was determined by our genesis."

Citan looked over his shoulder to see that Fei had gotten out of the bed and was sitting in the corner, pondering over something in his mind.

"Majesty...is this the end...?" he thought. He turned around and walked over to the edge of the bed. He sat on it and continued to think about what was going on.

Out in the desert, someone was watching the sand cruiser through a scope. It pored over the details of the cruiser and finally resting on Weltall, still strapped to the top.

"Bingo! Just as the report said. An Aveh transport. And look what we have on top..!" said a voice behind the scope. "No mistaking it! That's a new Kislev model! It has to be the stolen Gear everyone is after!! Whatever the case... There's no way we are going to let that Shakahn guy have it..."

The scope retracted back under the sand and sealed back into the bulkhead of the underground sandcruiser that it had been attached to. A pirate had been looking through it. He was wearing a patch over his left eye. Dressed in white slacks, and a red, sleeveless jacket, he looked very much the part of a pirate.

"Gunner!" he shouted.

"Turret A 'Anton' and Turret B 'Belta' can initiate their ectropometers twenty seconds after opening their hatches," said the gunner.

"Franz!" shouted the pirate.

"I don't hear anything other than the flowing sound of the sand... No suspicious radar activity detected!" came the reply.

The pirate strutted over to helm of the ship. He looked over at his crew.

"Marseilles!"

"Maitreya's units are on standby at the catapults," said Marseilles. "They'll all be able to launch one minute after we resurface!"

"Good! Let's do it! BattCon level 1!" shouted the pirate.

An alarm goes off in the bridge flashing a light and making a brief buzzing sound. After awhlie the buzzing stops, but the light remained on.

"Surface-combat, ready!"

"Torpedo room, ready!"

"Anti-Gear guns, ready!"

"Navigation and Engineering are also ready!"

At the back of the bridge, the door opened up and an elderly looking man with white hair and glasses walked in. He looked concerned.

"Y, young master! What is happening? What was the alarm all about...?" he asked.

Behind him, the door opened again, and the First Mate walked onto the bridge. He was taller than the elderly man, but was much younger. He was wearing a white uniform. He too had white hair, but was wearing a patch over his right eye.

"Not again...? Young master! Hold on a second!" he called.

The young pirate wasn't listening though. He continued on with his assault.

"Battle stations, everyone! Surface navigation, begin operating the sand pump! Prepare to fire starboard cannons upon surfacing!"

"Young master!" shouted the First Mate and the elderly gentleman in unison.

"Trim to the right! The wind is strong up there and we may be blown off balance!" shouted the pirate. "... Jerico! Hand the helm over to me!"

Back in the cell, Citan was still sitting on the bed. He glanced out the window, and noticed something strange. Both him and Fei rushed over to the window and looked out.

"Look! What is that...?" he said.

Outside an incredibly large, dark colored craft began to emerge from under the surface. It had a yellow 'Y' inside of a circle painted on the bow. It was rocking back and forth as it surfaced and it was keeping pace with the cruiser.

"A sand cruiser... It must be those desert pirates!" yelled Citan. He watched as the cruiser disappeared behind a dune briefly.

The cruiser was all the way out of the sand now and easily matching the speed of the sand cruiser that Fei and Citan were in. Two double barreled guns began to rotate and bear down on the other cruiser. A few seconds later, they both fired. Citan watched as the rounds flew through the air and collided into the side of their cruiser. The impact nearly knocked both him and Fei off their feet.

Back in the pirate cruiser, voices were shouting over one another. The pirate was standing behind the helm, his arms crossed with a smirk on his face. Behind him, the elderly gentleman and the First Mate were still fussing about what was going on.

"Alternate firing between A 'Anton' and B 'Belta'! Calculating adjustments!" shouted a voice over the din.

"Aww yeah!" shouted the pirate. "Switch modes over to salvos after the initial shots! Let's slow 'em down. Get ready to give them a spankin' they won't forget!"

The elderly gentleman ran up beside the young pirate and tried to get his attention.

"Young master, please wait! It may just be a requisitioned ship, not a warhip..."

"Let me handle this!" interupted the young pirate. "Whether it's a warship or not, it's carrying a new Gear! Gunner! Let 'em have it!"

Fei and Citan were having a hell of a time. The floor beneath them was twisting and contorting and the whole ship was rocking back and forth as the rounds impacted on it's side. Fei was wondering what was going on. He looked out the window again just in time to see another salvo of rounds impact on the bow of the cruiser. He looked over at Citan to see that he was holding onto the bed to keep himself steady. They had to get out of here, or else things wouldn't end very well for them. Citan glanced out the window briefly before ducking down again.

"Oh-oh!" he shouted.

The craft shuddered again, and the room began to tilt to the side. Explosions resounded throughout the ship, and they could hear the soldiers outside the door running back and forth and shouting to one another. Citan looked out the window again.

"Judging by the angle...it seems as if a gun blast has made a hole in the hull..." he said. "We will probably sink within minutes."

Fei couldn't believe his ears. "A few minutes..." he said. "Doc!!" Citan walked over to the door and peeped out the porthole. He tried to open the handle, but it wouldn't move. He grabbed it with both hands and began to wrench on it.

"It is locked...somebody free us! Argghh!!"

Another round impacted on the ship. The ship began to list even more noticeably. Citan back away from the door as it began to make strange ceaking noises. A few seconds later, it blew off the hinges and sand flowed in. Both Fei and Citan were knocked off their feet momentarily as the sand swept them to the back of the room and pinned them to the wall. After several moments of struggling, they managed to free themselves. Fei ran over to the open doorway. Sand was still piling in in volumes.

"Let's get out of here, doc!" he shouted. The both of them ran out the door. Sand was flowing in torrents all over the place. It was hard to move anywhere without losing your footing. It was almost as if they were trying to walk through river rapids.

"There is a switch for the sand barrier door on the ride hand side of the wall there!" yelled Citan. "But be careful... Once it is closed it cannot be opened again."

Fei struggled against the sand and managed to get a hold on some piping overhead. With some carefully times swings and jumps, he got over to the other side of the room to flip the switch. The sand door closed, and the flow momentarily stopped. Fei ran back over to where Citan was standing and the two began to make their way over to the hold. Pipes and electrical boards were bursting and sparking everywhere. In some areas they could look outside into the desert through the holes that the rounds had made. Soldiers were everywhere, running amidst the chaos. Finally they reached the hold.

"Whew, that was close," said Citan. The two continued their uphill struggle to reach the top of the cruiser. More rounds impacted on the bulkhead, throwing debris everywhere. One of the soldiers that was hiding behind a set of pipes was blown out of the side of the ship.

It was a few minutes before Fei burst through a bulkhead door and made it to the top. He looked behind him to check if Citan was still with him, but he was gone. Wildly, he looked around to see if he could spot a trace of the doctor.

"Doc!? Where did you go, doc!?" he called frantically.

Somewhere above and behind him, he could hear the good doctor's reply. He looked up to see Citan sitting inside of a crane, moving the arm around. Fei wondered briefly just how the hell he got up there.

"Fei! Can you hear me? I am moving the crane towards Weltall's cockpit," he called. "Hurry! Go up the crane to Weltall! We are goinig under fast!"

"... I got you, doc! But when you're done, you hurry up there too, okay!?"

The crane shifted to where Fei was standing. Quickly, he scurried up it and made his way across it to the cable to the end. He muttered a quick prayer and slid down the cable just above the prostrate Weltall. He looked at the Gear wondering if it could overpower the straps that were holding it down.

"Here we go again..." he said. "You and I seem to have a fated relationship!"

Once again, he sat in the cockpit and all the computers powered up and began to take in information from the sensors. The moniters all around him flicked to life to show him all the views around him. He jerked the control stick forward and the Gear surged to life, ripping the restraints apart like toilet paper. He stood up and looked around. He spotted Citan standing on the deck next to the crane. He walked over to where he was standing and held out his hand.

"C'mon doc! Over here! Hurry up!"

Citan jumped onto the outstretched hand just as it closed around him. Fei manuevered the Gear around and jumped into the air. The jet's on Weltall's back flared to life and and they flew off.

They only flew a few klicks out before they landed on some hardened sand. Fei turned around and focused his cameras on the sinking cruiser. It was pretty much gone now. A few explosions rippled out the side of the ship as more piping and fuel tanks burst.

"Wooh..." said Citan. He jumped down onto the ground and paced around a bit. "Whoops..."

"Are you okay, doc?" asked Fei.

"Ha ha ha... Well, Doctor Citan Uzuki!" he said. "Feels like you have sacked your saccules and tickled your utricles enough for one life time! Wow, dizzy!"

"Sorry about that, doc! I didn't have time to open up the cockpit..." apologized Fei. "Are you really okay, doc?"

"Fei, I was only joking," said Citan. "Ridiing in the hand was not so bad. I can see what is so good about this top secret experimental Kislev machine."

"Yeah," agreed Fei. "When I started it up, it began doing all kinds of stuff by itself... The enviromental response system and weight-reduction hovering kicked in straight away...automatically!" Apparently Fei had been studying on some of the components of his Gear.

"Really...? Amazing...!" exclaimed Citan.

"Save yourselves but leave your friends to sink in a sea of sand... Don't you believe in comradeship?" said a voice.

Citan and Fei both turned to find the source of the voice. Some distance away a large red Gear with a plume on it's head. The Gear had a patch welded over it's left eye, and plume extended from it's forehead. Two other, smaller red Gears of a different design were flanked behind it. Behind the trio, the pirate's sand cruiser was stopped a distance away.

"It's not very manly of you two to leave your platoon to die while you run away in a Gear, you know?" said the lead Gear. It surged forward and slung out a long chain whip. The whip smashed a nearby boulder to pebbles. Apparently it had every intention of attacking.

"Wait one moment!" shouted Fei. "We're not Aveh soldiers!"

"Hm. Can't you make a better plea for your life?" taunted the Gear. "You come jumping out of Aveh ship and claim that you are not Aveh soldiers! Stop trying to fool me!" It swung it's chain-whip at Fei, but he managed to catch it.

"I tell you, it's true!"

"Tsk, How pathetic are you?! Even if you're the pettiest of soldiers, how's about showing a little spine... ... and put up a decent fight!"

The Gear continued to attack Fei, but it wasn't having much luck landing a blow.

"Stop it! I'm telling you I'm no soldier! I don't want to fight!" insisted Fei.

"How nauseating! Why don't you stop grumbling, leave the Gear and run away?" With a quick flick of it's weapon arm, it finally managed to land a double-combo attack. However, the attacks were somewhat weak and didn't do any damage at all. "For someone who doesn't want to fight, you're quite powerful... I see, an all-enviromental model... so that's it, huh? Now I want it even more!"

Fei sighed and decided that there was no backing out of this fight. He took up his fighting stance in time to catch the chain whip as it streaked toward his head. He wrapped the chain around his wrist and jerked the enemy Gear towards him. This threw the other Gear off balance and it staggered toward him. Fei jumped into the air and planted his foot into the chest of the enemy gear and kicked it in the head as he did a backflip. He landed some distance away, and with the whip still in his hand, he gave it another jerk and the enemy gear face planted onto the ground.

Thrusters on the Gear's chest fired and it righted itself within a few seconds. It charged forward again and it lashed out with it's other arm. It caught Fei off guard when another chain whip streaked out. It caught him in the shoulder and made a dent in the plating. Sparks from the impact showered onto the sand below. While Fei was still paying attention to this, the other whip came out and around his ankles and swept him off his feet. Now he was staring at the sky. The enemy gear cruised over and planted a foot on his chest and waggled it's forefinger at him.

Fei smirked, and with both hands, he grabbed the Gear's foot and with his left leg, he wrapped it around the enemy's leg. Pulling with his hands, and pushing off with his leg, he swept the gear onto it's back. Fei sprang up and mounted himself on top of the Gear, and began bashing the chest plates on the Gear. The other gear lashed out one it's whips and wrapped it around Fei's neck. It pulled him off and somewhat threw him off to the side. He sprang back up, mostly unharmed, but the other gear was hurting. Unsteadily it stood back up, sparks shooting out of it's chest and hip zones.

Suddenly the ground began to shake beneath them. The sand began to part under the enemy's feet, and despite the hovering thrusters, it began to sink into the sand. A few moments later, Fei too, began to sink.

"Oh-no! This is not good!!" shouted the pirate. "In the heat of battle, I go get caught in quicksand! Damn. Me of all people!"

Slowly the two began to sink into the sand. Soon they were completely immobile and steadily sinking beneath the surface.

"Damn! It's all your fault!" accused the pirate. "Boy are you going to get it later. So be damn ready!"

"Why!" shouted Fei.

The two continued to sink into the sand. Soon, Fei felt his legs get free. He kicked them back and forth for a few minutes before he noticed that he was sinking a hell of a lot faster now. He soon realized why when he found himself free-falling through a cavern. They have sunk through quicksand and fell into cavern. With a few button pushes and a few quick flicks of his control stick, Fei managed to land the Gear safely. He looked over to his right and saw that the red Gear was already on the bottom. It probably sank faster because it was so much heavier. He could see that the pilot was dismounted and walking rapidly over to where he had landed his Gear.

"Hey, come down here now! I'm not gonna kill you. All I want is for you to leave this gear... Huh?" Fei had jumped out of his cockpit and landed at the pirate's feet. "Hey!? You're not an Aveh soldier?" This just appeared to piss Fei off. He began to close in on the pirate.

"I told you that in my intercom transmission earlier. You're the one who refused to listen to me, right?" He looked as if he was about to punch the pirate in the jaw.

"Ha, ha, ha. Sorry, sorry. Yes, I remember you were saying something like that," said the pirate. "I went off half-cocked and thought you were the enemy. Uhh, ahem... My name is Bart. I'm the pirate that works this territory."

"My name is Fei. I was arrested for no apparent reason, shoved into that Aveh transport ship... ... And was nearly going to be sent to a concentration camp until you went and blew the thing to blazes. Anyway... I'm glad to have been able to survive."

Bart walked back towards his gear a bit, and then stopped to look up at Weltall.

"I see... Well, I'm glad I at least helped you out a little," he said. "But I didn't expect a civilian like you would be riding in a military Gear. Besides, this Gear is a brand new model. I've never seen this type before.

Fei turned to look at Weltall himself. There were some dents here and there, and some scratches all over the place.

"Let's just say that a lot of things have happened... It wasn't like I wanted to pilot it!" he said. He turned to look at Bart. "Where are we anyway? Looks like we fell into one wierd place. I've never heard of huge stalactite caves such as this existing under the desert before."

"What? You don't know anything, do you? Where are you from?" asked Bart. "The desert only covers around 1,000 sharls of the outer layer of the earth. The stratum underneath that consists of igneous rock."

"From a sea of trees to a sea of sand... and now a stalactite cave... What's next...?" murmured Fei.

"What are you talking about?" asked Bart.

"Oh, nothing... Never mind..."

We're in trouble... Look, the hole we fell through has disappeared," pointed out Bart. "We'd better find some other way out... So, you wanna call a truce for now? ... At least until we find an exit and get out of here."

"Yes... agreed," said Fei. "First, we gotta find the way out of here. So, let's get going."

Back on the sand cruiser, numerous Aveh soldiers were standing on the dock. Some were visibily shaken, while others had soiled themselves. Still, there were others who were unaffected by all the crazy events. They were being watched over by several members of the pirate ship's staff, including a nurse, and an overwatch.

"Phew, thank god... I didn't wanna dry up and die in the desert..." said one soldier. He got up and started to move towards the open hatch at the back of the dock. He was quickly stopped by one of the pirate workers, who rebuked him.

"Hey, you! I know you're tired but don't go any further than there!" he said.

"Shut up! You sunk our ship! Don't you forget that!" came the reply.

"No, you shut up! Just be thankful that you were saved!"

"Excuse me..." said the nurse. Everyone looked at her. She didn't normally speak up about anything. "Is there anyone who is almost dead, with no arms and legs, or in need of an abdominal operation!?" She looked around fleetingly over the faces of the crew and captured. "No one...? Well that's depressing..."

The First Mate looked down on the squabble from below. He was standing next to the outside helm. A few feet behind him, Citan was also watching the small chaos.

"I see... So your 'young one' has not just been shooting at anything and everything then, Sigurd." said Citan.

"Yes, he actually calculated this attack... ... or so he says!" replied the First Mate, Sigurd. "As you can see... no one has died this time, either."

A red gear, similiar to Bart's gear, Brigandier, strode up to the side of the ship. It was making a lot of noise, as if it needed a lube job and a tune-up. It addressed Sigurd.

"Sigurd, sir! The collection of the goods and soldiers from the Aveh transport is almost complete. We still can't locate the young master... General Maitreya's platoon will scout around again."

"Okay. I'm counting on you," said Sigurd.

"Yes, sir! Since I'm part of the unit I'll also excuse myself." And with that, the gear turned around, and flew away.

"So what happened to the 'young one' you call 'master'?" asked Citan. Sigurd turned to him.

"He fell into an underground cave with that other guy in a Gear," came the reply. "It's near an old excavation site, and he is riding in a Gear, so he'll probably be able to come up somehow. We'll try to find him for a while, and if that doesn't work, then we'll wait for him at our meeting point."

"You seem to trust him a lot..."

"Trust him... Yeah, I trust he'll get us into trouble," said Sigurd. "But I never thought I would meet you here, 'Hyu'..."

"It is not coincidence. It is an inevitable consequence... I assume."

"... Hyuga... Are you saying something is about to happen?" asked Sigurd.

Citan said nothing, and simply stared out into the desert.

It's been over a year, I think. I finally resumed my novelization of this great RPG. For those of you still waiting to read my work, thank you for being patient. This particular chapter may be edited for creative purposes in the future, but for now I don't have much time. I'm currently serving in Iraq.