Wow! Even after 3 years with no updates, I'm surprised to see that there are still people who want me to finish my story. I had fun writing this story, but unfortunately a combination of almost constant writers block and a girlfriend broke my writing habit. I never announced this fanfiction dead, because I still wanted to someday finish it, and now I am going to try to do that. A new chapter, after 3 years of being nearly finished, is finally ready! To all of those who have waited all this time for an update... I present the long-awaited Chapter 26 of Ragnarok.

Chapter 26

Battleship Relentless, over Manhattan, New York system

Orad-Porel gingerly ran a claw over his infected wounds as he watched the monitors, their screens filled with the surrounding environment. The Invader scowled at what he saw. The damned aliens had taken him by surprise; not only did they refuse to flee, they were proving to be much more cunning and determined than the Invader captain had ever expected them to be. Their fighters, as pathetic as they were, housed superb pilots who had already learned to counter the Invader fighter tactics. This battle would prove to be a bloody one.

But as much as Orad wished to see such a fight, he knew that he needed to save his forces. With the majority of the soldiers taking the fight to the surface of 'Mehn-haht-ehn,' the battleship would more or less be running on a skeleton crew.

Orad knew from records that keeping a massive battleship such as the Relentless running with the bare minimum of soldiers was a significant risk. The smaller the crew keeping the battleship in check, the greater the chance that some minor issue would be overlooked until it grew into a serious problem. The commander could recall one such incident where an old battleship blew its engines and crashed into a moon after her particularly lax crew failed to monitor the ship's power systems. (The Invader military had quickly damned the memory of the deceased crew for such gross incompetence.)

So in order to preserve the lives of his pilots, Orad had ordered the burner ships Turmoil, Agony, and Woe to teleport themselves out of the Relentless' bay and provide assistance. Their orders were very specific: one by one, they would charge their main cannons. Since the burner ships would be defenseless while charging their clusterbeams, one of the other burner ships would guard its occupied companion while the last one would drive itself into the enemy forces and open a cone in their defenses. Orad-Porel knew that the plan was a fierce one, and he rubbed his hands together in anticipation as he continued to observe the battle.

With an air of confidence, Orad-Porel strode over to one of the display monitors that walled the deck. The particular monitor that he chose was one that provided an excellent view of the planet. The commander suppressed a smile: he had confidence in his troops and knew that they would carry out their mission. Assassin patrols had always proven to be devastating. And Rames-Une-Teral was down there. Orad took a moment to wonder what kind of carnage the leviathan was leaving in his wake.

Orad turned to the Invader at comm. station. "Communications! Give me an update on the ground assault."

The Invader gave the commander an attentive eye. "One moment, sir," he stated flatly.

Orad watched as the Invader's claws rapped sharply against various keys on the console.

"Sir, the assault is progressing quickly. It will only be a short while before the troops have cleared out an enough area large enough for us to send reinforcements."

Orad nodded. "Reinforcements, indeed," he muttered.

-----

Rames-Une-Teral took a long, deep breath and let out a terrifying battle cry before exploding out of the shadows towards the fortress-like human structure, the rest of his patrol in close pursuit.

There were hundreds of targets, each one of them a potential threat to Rames' mission. Any one of them could be trained and equipped for combat. Thanks to his military training, Rames knew this all too well, and was not one to underestimate any foe. So, instead of making a beeline towards the fortress, the massive Invader dug his bare feet into the alien terrain and made (for a being his size) a sharp right, strafing the battleground lobbing shot after shot of compressed antimatter at the fortress, the vehicles, and anything else that moved. The rest of the patrol had scattered, the smaller, more vulnerable soldiers choosing to duck in and out of the battlegrounds as they saw fit.

Rames' long muscular legs pumped, and the alien bounded a quarter of the way across the field before he chose to duck between two buildings on the perimeter. He dropped to a squat and rested his weight on his leg muscles as he eyed for another opening to charge and further wound the defense.

It took a while for Rames to find an opening; there was so much activity. Nevertheless, his war-trained eye found an opportunity on the other side of the grounds – a loose cluster of the pale bodied humans. After a quick tap on the trigger of Rames' antimatter mortar, the massive alien once again forged a path of destruction through the battlefield, firing his weapon as he crossed the terrain. An unoccupied vehicle was parked in the path of Rames' carnage, and debris exploded upwards and outwards as the Invader firmly planted a massive foot on its roof, flattening the vehicle as he pushed off. The crushed metal and debris cut into the alien's foot, but the soldier was too caught up in the battle to notice.

Rames-Une-Teral reached the other side and ducked between two buildings. His weapon had become significantly lighter, indicating that the battery was almost empty. Rames took a moment to release the near spent battery of his mortar cannon and quickly obtained new one from his satchel, slamming it into the weapon's port and locking it in place. Obscured in shadow, the Invader carefully eyed the fortress, as he tried to make out the smaller details of the structure (the intense sunlight still somewhat obscured his vision).

It was then that the soldier noticed that there were no guards. None at all. None on the walls, and even from this distance, Rames could see that the only humans exiting the structure were terrified things, their short legs pumping as they attempted to flee.

So far, Rames-Une-Teral had found the humans to be very pathetic and confusing. They were obviously ill-prepared to handle ground based attacks. And why, as Rames was attacking this fortress, were the humans running out into the open when they would obviously be safer if they just stayed behind the walls?

The Invader scowled, taking a moment to wish that the humans would put up a decent fight.

Rames was pulled from his thoughts when a black transport suddenly flew into the area surrounding the human fortress. Rames, with his somewhat obscured vision, analyzed the craft. He determined that it was not an Invader ship; he had never seen a ship like it in his military. The Invader watched as the thing's whispering engines quickly guided the machine to the front of the white structure and dropped like a rock. Rames expected the craft to crash, but was surprised when it halted its fall and hovered a few feet off the ground as several small black dots fell out of it. The black ship then climbed into the air and began circling the human fortress, as if guarding it.

Rames eyed the ship warily, waiting to see what it would do. After about three laps around the fortress, the ship suddenly veered off course and opened its guns. Flares of light poured out of the weapons, and the massive soldier watched as another Invader was pierced by the flares, folding in the middle. The ship then returned to the fortress and began circling it again.

Damn.

Rames-Une-Teral knew that he was not equipped to tackle an enemy aircraft. The projectiles from his antimatter mortar, while devastating, flew too slowly to be of any real use against flying machines, especially at long range, where Rames stood now. If he fired on the black ship, the human craft would have ample time to dodge the attacks. Even worse, the antimatter's thick contrail would give away his position.

But Rames' battle hardened mind screamed at him to take the fortress. He needed to find a way to counter this new threat.

The titanic soldier quickly glanced at the alley he was in. It was a small, narrow thing, completely covered in shadow. Small pieces of litter were dotted here and there on the ground. Rames glanced behind him to see that a vertical slit of light at the other end; the alley continued for a long way before it opened again.

Rames-Une-Teral took in his surroundings before made a decision. With a low, disappointed growl, the armored Invader took three steps back and fell forward, catching himself with his free hand. Then, bringing his mortar cannon to bear, Rames lowered himself onto his belly and lay still.

Rames tracked the black aircraft with angry yellow eyes, thoroughly frustrated by its presence. There was nothing he could do about the thing. He would have to stay hidden until an opportunity presented itself. So, the soldier tensed his leg muscles and prepared to spring from hiding when that opportunity arose, and kept his eyes and ears open for any changes in the fight.

He waited.

-----

True to Juni's word, it wasn't long before the Manhattan skyscrapers gave way to residential neighborhoods. Houses of varying size and shape whipped by the windows as Juni continued to push the pedal to the metal on the wounded skiff, easing up only to make turns, and cursing the design of the craft as she went. She had almost completely shut herself off, responding to any physical or emotional support from her fiancé with a nod or a short sentence, leaving Trent with little to do but worry about her and hope that she didn't wreck the skiff – the stress that she was under was making her driving somewhat erratic.

Finally, Juni turned into a cul-de-sac and parked the skiff to the left side of the street in front of a small one-story white house with an attached garage and a gently sloping roof - the house that her mother lived in. Juni moved with swift determination, shutting off the engine, unbuckling the safety harness and exiting the vehicle before the craft had completely settled onto the pavement. Juni ran for the house.

It was then that Juni gave Trent her attention, looking over her shoulder at the man as he exited the vehicle. "I'll get my mother," she shouted. "You stay here and watch the skiff!"

Trent started to protest. "But, don't you…"

"Just do it, Edison!" she snapped back, the tone of her voice effectively silencing her partner.

Juni reached the front door, rang the doorbell and started fumbling with the security device. After a few seconds, it was unlocked, and Juni bolted into the house, tearing through the entryway and taking a right down a hall.

"Mother?!" Juni called out as she ran towards the bedroom. She was certain that her mother would be there – after all, she slept during the day. Juni ran past a few closed doors before stopping in front of the last door at the end of the hall: the bedroom. Without hesitation, she grabbed the handle, turned, and pulled the door open.

"Mother?" she called as she took a hurried step inside the bedroom.

The room was a quaint one, with walls painted a soft, light green with thin hazel borders, and a carpet tinged blue. Furniture aside from the bed, consisted of a desk and a wardrobe/hall tree, which sat at the far end of the room, and were both adorned with pictures of family and friends, among them images of a nine-year-old Jun'ko smiling alongside her parents, a portrait of the late Mr. Zane, and a recent addition: Juni being hugged by Trent from behind, both of them smiling.

Juni saw none of this, however, as she swiveled her head to see her mother sleeping soundly in her bed.

But there was a problem: Ms. Kumiko Zane wasn't there.

-----

From what Captain Greyson had seen so far, the enemy ship imposed an intriguing problem. In offensive terms, the weapon technology that the vessel carried was intimidating, with ordinance capable of lobbing highly destructive projectiles of energy farther and faster than the weapons onboard the Michigan, and with decent accuracy. Fortunately, so far there had been no signs that the ship carried missiles or torpedoes, or any other type of guided weapon. But defensively, the ship was lackluster. Aside from the aforementioned blind spot in its weapons systems, it seemed that whoever or whatever had created the ship had designed it to absorb any kind of attack on it, instead of countering or blocking them. It was the ships sheer size that employed this idea; any critical components that it had were bound to be buried deep within the ships innards, making a critical hit near impossible, and allowing the craft to take a tremendous amount of punishment before failing.

Taking all of this information in, Captain Greyson's strategic mind had hatched a plan to get both the Michigan and the Omaha into the massive blind spot above the enemy mothership. It was dangerous, yes – but it was the only thing she could think of.

"Omaha, the enemy ship has a very large blind spot in its defense systems, located directly above it. Here's what I want you to do: I want you to position yourself approximately 4K away from me, and when I give the signal, were both going to put our ships into overdrive and use our bow and port thrusters to put the ships into a tight clockwise corkscrew, heading towards the blind spot. I believe that this is the best guarantee that at least one of us will make it into that blind spot if it tries to throw us off by rolling. And since the target is currently facing away from us, it's actually presenting a small target, meaning that the chance of a collision is minimal." Grayson had by this time produced a small handheld computer and had entered the details of her plan onto it.

"I'm sending you the specifics," she said as she handed the computer to Officer Smith, who copied the information and sent it to the Omaha.

There was a long pause from the Omaha before Captain Anderson finally spoke up. "You know that my ship wasn't made to pull a stunt like that," he said slowly. "The Gs could damage the framework. And your ship is the same design, so that includes you as well."

Greyson had already thought of that. "I know that, Captain, but unless you've got a better idea, I suggest that you get into position and tell your crew to sit down, lie down, or grab hold of something, and prepare themselves for one hell of a ride."

Anderson sighed over the comm. channel. "Fine," he said resentfully, "have it your way. I'll be in position shortly."

"Thank you, Omaha. Michigan out."

Captain Greyson returned her attention to the battle, her eyes flicking to the small red pinpricks – the unidentified ships – as they lazily drew closer to the battle zone. "What the hell were they doing?" she thought as she watched them with an attentive eye.

Greyson grumbled and shifted her footing, seemingly already preparing for what she was about to put her ship through. She barked a few more orders to get the calculations for her daring move, and waited for the Omaha to move into position.

There's chapter 26! wish me luck on the next chapter.