NIGHTFALL

A/N: This is a side story to my original horror series, Nightfall. If you really want to know more about this world of vampires that the Predator has come to, then I suggest you check it out.

As far as the Nightfall "time-line" goes, this story takes place roughly around #45-46, and it is possible that some of these characters may make the cross-over to the main Nightfall story-line.

NIGHTFALL: Predator

Ky'Reel studied the readouts on his instruments, unsure of what to make of them. It had been only two years since his people had been here, a respite ordered by the Council of Elders in light of a few of their members being bested by the "local wild life" in as many years, but there was no accounting for the readings he was getting now. Well, there would be a plausible reason if he were also detecting traces of radiation, but that was not the case. No, these readings hinted that some other catastrophe had occurred; something that had wiped out millions and millions of life forms.

Life readings were still being detected, though they were far less than the numbers reported by the last Party that had come here. Thinking the matter over, deciding that he had at least three days before a reply would be received from the Council, Ky'Reel made up his mind. He dispatched a survey reading to Home World then set a course for one of the vast cities below him, a city reading one of the larger concentrations of life, and engaged his craft's engines.

If there had been some natural disaster, something that had wiped out nearly everyone on this backwater planet, then surely the survivors were the fittest of the race. Ky'Reel felt his anticipation grow as he thought of the hunt to come.

Yes, it would be interesting to see what had become of the creatures of this world called Earth.

Captain Byron Miller stood shaking his head in disbelief at the message being displayed on the monitor before him. General Brightton, possibly the highest ranking military official left, since they had heard from no one else for months, was once again making a plea for all remaining armed forces to regroup at Solution Center. It amazed Miller that the General would continue making this announcement, day after day, in light that their numbers were so low. To Miller it seemed like utter insanity to pull all of their forces to one location, a centralized area that the vamps could easily target, and attack.

Rumors already indicated that Solution Center had been compromised twice. As ineffectual as the military might was proving in this war, Miller couldn't believe that Brightton wanted to pull everyone in, making them one big target. No, there had to be something else that the General was up to, something that he wanted a lot of backing for, and Miller wasn't about to put his remaining men in a dangerous situation without a damn good reason.

"I wish I knew what that man was up to," muttered Miller.

"Uh, Sir?" broached the Comm Officer. "I, uh, may have heard something about that."

"Oh? And how did you come by this supposed info, Airman?" asked Miller, straightening.

"I have a cousin, Sir, a Private Winger, stationed at Solution. He works in the communications center."

"Go on."

"Well, last night, we were, uh, talking…"

"Despite the communication ban," noted Miller.

"It was on the secure link, Sir. Directly through Solution's own satellite."

Miller simply nodded.

"Anyhow, he said that General Brightton's authorized a nuclear strike against a nest in Denver…"

Miller's eyes widened with surprise. He knew that Brightton was egotistical, but he had never imagined that the man would go to such lengths as using a nuclear device.

"A really big nest," continued Airman Larson. "Supposedly, it's one of the biggest nests this side of LA or New York."

"That crazed bastard," muttered Miller.

"Sir?"

"Nothing," replied Miller, a plan already forming in his mind. "Did your cousin tell you when this strike was to be carried out?"

"Twelve noon, tomorrow, Sir."

"You did the right thing, Larson."

"Thank you, Sir," beamed the Airman.

"Now, have Alpha Team meet me in staging area three, stat. I've got an assignment for them."

Ky'Reel hovered over the sprawling complex that registered a number a life forms, wondering why, since there was an immense number of buildings, that nearly all of them were gathered in just a few structures. He continued monitoring the area, taking in all of the data that he could, trying to formulate a plan for his upcoming hunt, when his sensors showed that a small group of eleven was making its way to a large building, further from the core groups.

They were moving briskly, on foot, heading towards a large, stone and metal building near a vast stretch of concrete. Ky'Reel recognized what the area was, he had seen it in several of the surveillance scans of the planet, and knew it to be a launching point for their primitive aircraft. There was a lone life form in the building that was their destination, and Ky'Reel thought it ironic.

It is a sign from the Gods of the Hunt, thought Ky'Reel.

Twelve, the number of Hunt Gods that his people worshipped.

Twelve, the number of Kills he yet needed to achieve Elder status.

Twelve, the number that he would soon be stalking.

Ky'Reel maneuvered his craft a short distance from the meeting site of the humans, and landed, in full stealth mode, the craft's anti-grav drive keeping so much as a cloud of dust from stirring. After gathering a small selection of weapons, Ky'Reel slid on his helmet and attached the life support system before moving into the airlock. Activating his personal stealth unit, Ky'Reel stepped from his craft and scanned the horizon, activating his helmet's night vision in response to the darkening of nightfall.

It was time to begin the hunt.

"What are you doing here, Briggs?" asked Miller of the straggler tailing Alpha Team. "This is an official op."

"The people, few of us that are left, have a right to know," replied Briggs, smiling. "Come on, Byron, you remember our agreement."

"That was for info about the war against the vamps, Briggs," stressed Miller. "Not other matters."

"What other matters could there be, Captain?" asked Briggs, growing more curious. Miller had never kept info from him before, hell, the Captain had practically shoved it down his throat when it ment bolstering the moral of the civilian population. And, considering that the world had been overrun with vampires, Briggs couldn't imagine what 'other matters' could possibly concern Alpha Team. Alpha Team's entire purpose was to be an elite vampire elimination squad that did what ever was necessary to protect the population left of Robins AFB, and they were damn good at it. In the last four months, not a single human had been lost to the vamps, and it was aggravating Shannon, the Master of Atlanta, to no end.

There was no doubt that a war would soon be coming to Robins, and Briggs was thinking that perhaps Miller was finally going to go on the pre-emptive, sending Alpha Team after the Master.

Miller glanced over at his team, paitently waiting next to seven F-15 Eagles, constantly kept secured, and made his decision. He had always been honest with Briggs, had always trusted the man to do, and say, what was right for the people that Miller had taken responsibility for, and knew that this time could be no different.

"Okay, Briggs, here's the deal," said Miller, wrapping an arm around Briggs, and moving him away from his squad. "Remember General Brightton?"

"Yeah. The guy that's trying to pull all the military together."

"Correct. Well, apparently the General is a little more extreme in his desire to end the war against the vampires than the rest of us."

"How so?"

"He's planning a pre-emptive nuclear strike against Denver to see what the affects of the weapon would be against vampires."

Briggs gapped at him with wide eyes, not believing what he was hearing. During his previous life, back when things had been normal, Alan Briggs had been one of the Atlanta Star's finest reporters, and a strong advocate against nuclear weapons. He had never imagined that the threat of nuclear weapons would become an issue again, not while the vampires were the dominant threat to the human race, instead of man's petty issues.

"This can't get out, Alan," stressed Miller. "You know, as well as I do, that there are people here who would agree with Brightton, no matter how crazy the idea is. We can't let this issue become a driving wedge between our people, not after we've done so much to bring them together."

"That… That… That's crazy," stammered Briggs.

"I know. That's why I've called in Alpha Team," said Miller. "I'm sending them to place Brightton under arrest."

Briggs looked over at the gathered team, shaking his head in realization that if anyone could bring in Brightton, it was Alpha Team. Briggs had covered all of their previous assignments, and he knew how good they were, how well they worked together as a team.

"Do I have your silence on this?" asked Miller.

"Of course," replied Briggs, sounding hurt that the Captain had even thought to ask that question.

"Thank you," said Miller. "Now, since you're here, how would you like to cover the op?"

Briggs couldn't contain his smile. He had always wanted to go on an assignment with Alpha Team, but Miller had constantly shut him out, allowing him to only interview the team afterwards. He had no idea what had made Miller change his mind about this op, but he wasn't going to buck his change in luck.

"This is a military matter," explained Miller, "and it would do us good to have it well documented. In case anything comes up down the road."

"Afraid that if we win, Brightton'll have you brought up on charges?"

"This might not be an op against vamps, but it'll be just as dirty, Briggs. It's a serious matter."

"Hey, I'll have you know that when I was just getting into this field, that I covered Desert Storm."

Miller cocked an eye at him.

"Well, the clean up after Desert Storm," offered Briggs. "And I was sort of an assistant then."

"Come on," said Miller, turning back towards the team. "I've got a briefing to give."

Shannon glided over the buildings of Robins AFB, her senses picking up the life forces of the multitude of humans housed within three central buildings, and strained her skill even more. She sought out the signature of the leader of these mortals, a life force that she had encountered only once, but had committed to memory, and she was determined to find him.

Miller.

The name burned in her mind like a searing poker, driving her anger beyond anything that a mere mortal could comprehend, and she was going to see his life end. He had organized the humans of this area, had formed them into a force that was not terrified of her brood, and had even sent teams of them to strike against her family.

She had had enough. Tonight she led ten of her strongest to hunt down the man, Miller, and to slaughter him before his own brood. She was going to send a message to the humans that would be loud and clear, and one that they couldn't possibly ignore.

That the vampires were now Masters of this world, and that humans were nothing more than food.

Swooping in lower, oblivious to any threat of detection, Shannon detected a slight trace of life resembling the one she sought, and she banked westward. The sense of humans came from near the airstrip, growing in strength as she neared the scattering of buildings, and she could soon make out that there were eleven others with Miller.

It was them!

The humans that had dared come into her city and strike at her brood. Shannon smiled with rapture, already seeing their demise in her mind's eye, and she envisioned a violent death for each and every one of them. She would decorate her lair with their skins and entrails, she would bathe in their blood, she would feast on their carcasses.

And she would do it all before every human that inhabited Robins.

It would be a show of control that the Lord Bartholomew would be proud of, and one that would be forever told among the clans. No human would dare oppose the vampires once she was done making an example of Miller and his people.

Shannon called to her soldiers, summoning them to her location, and glided to a soft landing before the building that housed Miller. Her soldiers, mere vampires, were not as powerful and swift as she, and it would be a few minutes before even their incredible speed allowed them to join her.

Shifting back to her human form, crouching nude before the concrete and steel hangar that Miller and his people were in, Shannon smiled in anticipation to the slaughter soon to be occurring. So enraptured was she in the visions running through her mind, that she failed to notice the slight shimmering of darkness that drew near the hangar, hesitating a moment before finally continuing towards the heavy, metal doors of the building.

Ky'Reel studied the female for the briefest of moments, nearly growling in contempt for the life form, seeing that she would be no sport at all, then moved on to what he had determined was the only entrance to the building housing his prey.

Blasting through the door was not a viable option, Ky'Reel wanted to catch his prey by surprise, so it was gratifying to him to find that the lock to the door was a simple one. Ky'Reel held up his arm, and began punching in commands on his wrist band, the device sending out a powerful signal that overrode the codes of the electronic lock, and caused the door to slide open with a thunderous rumble.

The noise had been unexpected, and caused a brief flash of panic in Ky'Reel, but he quickly recovered and dashed into the hangar, totally invisible in the darkness. The images displayed to him within his mask showed the group of twelve humans, about ten meters from him, already moving into action in response to the door opening.

One of the humans held up a small, black device, and pointed it towards the rumbling doors. Running a passive scan, Ky'Reel determined it to be a control unit for the doors, and he watched paitently as the doors suddenly halted in their opening then reversed direction.

Weapons, primitive yet affective, graced the hands of all but two of the humans, and Ky'Reel fought down the excitement building within him. This was going to be an outstanding hunt, of that he had no doubt.

Shannon turned as her brood joined her, their silent footfalls still a noisy patter to her enhanced senses, and shared her vision with them. The vampires' blood lust growing at the sights she sent into their minds, they grew more determined not to fail their Master, and steeled themselves for the coming battle.

The group of vampires suddenly grew serious in their demeanor, their attention drawn to the large, metal doors of the hangar as they slid open with a deep rumble that cut through the silent night with an anger. The fear that Shannon felt, that they had already been discovered, was shared briefly with her minions, but she quickly replaced it with the mental order to storm the now open building.

The vampires, led by Shannon, flowed towards the hangar, desperate to gain entrance through the doors which were already resealing in response to Miller's electronic key.

Shannon cursed the fact that only four of her brood had made it into the building with her, but she was determined not to fail. She commanded her quartet to secrete themselves until she could learn their situation, and she floated up into the thick blackness that hid the ceiling.

Alpha Team moved into action the instant the doors to the hangar began to open, weapons and night-vision goggles coming into play in a matter of seconds, and took up a defensive parameter to protect Miller and Briggs.

"One. What do we got, Three?" called Gabe Trent, leader of Alpha Team.

"Three. Door's clear," replied Dillon, scanning the door, and its surrounding area.

"One. Do a sweep, people," ordered Trent. "That door didn't open on its own," he added, casting a glance at Miller.

Miller shook his head in confirmation that he hadn't opened it accidentally.

"Seven. I'm coming up empty," reported Julie, scanning the rear of the hangar through green-lit goggles.

"One. Do it by the numbers, people," ordered Trent.

Alpha Team began moving out to perform a full sweep of the massive hangar, vanishing from the small circle of light given off by the portable lamps they had brought with them, and entering the darkness that enveloped most of the building. Miller hadn't deemed it necessary to fire up the generator for the hangar, a choice that he now regretted, and it was proving to be working against them.

"We need lights in here, Trent," said Miller. "If the building's been breached by vamps, then we're at a serious disadvantage."

Trent nodded, then called out, "One. Get us some illumination, Five."

"Five. Roger that," came a voice from the darkness.

"One. Go to whisper mics, people," added Trent, activating the communications unit built into his vest. He pulled the ear piece form its pouch and slipped into place, then checked his throat mic.

"One. Check in, people," he called, quickly getting confirmation that his entire team had gone to whisper. "One. Keep it focused, people. I want to know if there's so much as a cockroach in this place."

Ky'Reel sat perched a top what his sensors told him was a power generator, though not a very efficient one, and monitored the progression of the one called Five. The human was nearing his position, moving carefully, constantly scanning the surrounding area, and Ky'Reel pondered whether or not the humans had detected his presence. Even if the human knew that he was here, Ky'Reel knew that they would not be able to locate him, they simply did not have the technology to penetrate the stealth.

Or did they?

A number of their Hunters had been bested by these creatures of limited intelligence. Perhaps the humans were smarter than even the Council believed.

Ky'Reel tensed, ready to pounce at the slightest indication that the human was aware of his location, but it was a move he did not have to make.

The female that Ky'Reel had seen outside, the one that he had deemed harmless, dropped from above, moving more silently than a Hunter. She landed on Five in a blur of movement, twisting her body to deaden any noise that his fall might make, and tore into his throat with glistening fangs.

Fascination was not an emotion that Ky'Reel had often felt, but it was what he was experiencing now, as he watched the female drink the blood of her victim. Curious, Ky'Reel began running every scan available to him, and let out the equivalent of a gasp as streams of data told him of the differences between the female and the other humans. The female's DNA had been rewritten, completely changed from its original structure, and her body had been enhanced by the process, becoming far more superior to that of the basic human.

Bringing his scanners to full power, Ky'Reel made a complete sweep of the hangar, and learned that four more of the enhanced humans were in the building. Noting that the enhanced humans were apparently hiding themselves from the basics, Ky'Reel suspected he now knew what had become of most of the population of this planet.

The rules of the hunt had suddenly changed.

Ky'Reel's field of vision shifted as he quit focusing on the data being displayed within his helmet and concentrated on the female. For the first time since he had been a Suppling, Ky'Reel felt fear as he realized that the female was starring at him.

Impossible, thought Ky'Reel.

Shannon was not about to let the humans gain any advantage, and set herself to tracking the one called Five. She moved silently through the web of support frames that covered the ceiling, dropping down on the man only a few feet from his destination, and tore into him with abandon. She drank from him hungrily, and relished the sweet, coppery taste as his blood flowed down her throat, setting her body afire with ecstasy.

Her senses burning with renewed strength, her perceptions heightened to their maximum threshold, Shannon was suddenly aware of another presence near by, watching her silently though her eyes saw no one. Sniffing slightly, letting her surroundings talk to her, Shannon knew that there was someone…something…perched on the generator.

Starring just above the machinery, letting her mind drink in every single detail that was there, Shannon saw the barest glimmer of something in the blackness. Nearly invisible, and deathly silent, was the hulking form of something that was far more than human.

For the first time since she had awakened to having been given the power of a Master, Shannon felt fear.

A faint sound had come across the comm units, almost like a cry of surprise that had been cut off, and Trent called out for a check-in. The numbers rattled off in order, stopping at Four, and silence reined on the comm channel as the remaining team members paused a beat before Six continued the check-in.

Five was down.

"One. Listen up, people, we've got company," voiced Trent, though the team was well aware of the fact. "Regroup on my twenty. Stay frosty."

As Trent waited for his team to reconverge, he slipped three clips from a pouch on the side of his pants leg, and handed them to Miller. The Captain took them without question, and quickly replaced the clip in his own gun with one of the new ones.

"Remember Father Del?" asked Miller, seeing Briggs' questioning glance.

"Of course," replied Briggs, recalling the Father with sadness.

Father Del had been a Priest that had, to his shame, hidden what he was, since the vamps had targeted Holy persons with extreme prejudice, and had only revealed his true calling shortly before his death. God had apparently called the good Father home, the Priest dying in his sleep only a few days after confessing his sins to the group.

"The day before he died, Father Del began blessing our ammo."

"Uh, he what?" asked Briggs, surprised.

"He blessed our bullets," repeated Miller. "It was a very involved process, not one that he took lightly, and it took time. He didn't manage to get a lot done, but what he did… Let's just say that the rounds are highly effective."

"Sort of like a .45 caliber stake," added Trent. "We've been conserving them, saving them for special ops."

The last of Alpha Team finally rejoined the group, and Trent laid out his plan. They were going to move, all together, and make their way to the generator so that they could get the power on, then they were going to systematically search the hangar and clear it.

Trent turned to lead them in the direction of the generator, confident that his team could pull this off without losing another member, and recoiled, along with the others, as an explosion ripped through the far end of the hangar.

Then all hell broke loose.

Ky'Reel remained motionless, unsure if the female could see him or not, and waited for her to make the first move. She did, but it was not as he had expected, and he had been caught off guard as her four underlings pounced upon him, knocking him from his perch to slam onto the floor with a bone jarring thud.

The strength of the enhanced humans was fantastic, and Ky'Reel found it impossible to free himself from their grip. Pushing the panic from his mind, Ky'Reel concentrated on the battle, and brought his weapons into play.

With a flick of his wrist, Ky'Reel fired off his meshnet, the highly dense, highly durable net capturing the closest attacker and pinning him to the side wall of the hangar. The meshnet began constricting almost immediately, slicing into the vampire and rendering it into tiny pieces that fell about the floor in bloody chunks.

With his arm now free, Ky'Reel extended his twin blades, and buried the twelve inch long pieces of metal into the neck of another attacker. With a sharp twist and tug, Ky'Reel separated the head from the body of his victim, astounded when the body blew apart in a semi-moist cloud of dust.

What manner of beings are these enhanced humans? wondered Ky'Reel.

That question was driven from his mind as his neck suddenly felt as if it were on fire, one of the creatures having latched onto his throat. His entire body felt electrified, pain raining upon his senses as the thing drank of his blood, and Ky'Reel let loose with a blast from his plasma cannon. The bolt of energy completely disintegrated the head of the creature, its body dusting in the next instant, and continued on to strike a shelf laden with plastic containers.

The numerous gas cans, their fuel intended for the generator, went up in an orange and red ball of flame that stretched clear to the ceiling. The flames leapt over Ky'Reel and his remaining assailant, the enhanced human bursting into his own fireball of green and blue, and Ky'Reel caught a quick glimpse of the female, leaping away, before the wall of flame enveloped him.

Though she couldn't see it, Shannon knew that the invisible thing was holding its gaze with hers, and she sent out a call for her soldiers to come to her aide. She remained motionless, keeping her eyes fixed on the location, and she knew that she had its complete attention, distracting it from the approach of her underlings.

The pride that Shannon felt at how swift her underlings took down the invisible creature was replaced by rage out how fast the thing responded, killing the four in mere moments. The last was obliterated by a strange blast of energy, the beam continuing on to strike the shelf of gas cans for the generator, and Shannon knew what would happen next.

Shannon leapt with all of her might, shifting into her monstrous, vampiric form as she did, and screamed in rage as the flames of the explosion licked at her fleeing form.

The vampire Master landed in a tumbling heap, pain lancing through her, and she rolled to a stop before the startled group of humans, some fifty feet from where she had previously been. Shannon looked up at the humans, and roared in defiance as they brought their weapons up to bare.

Trent gasped in shock as the form catapulted from the darkness, hitting the ground and rolling to a stop before them, and he instantly recognized its twisted, brown, leathery form to be that of a Master. He raised his sidearm, as did everyone else, and thumbed back the hammer as the thing let loose with a soul chilling roar.

The creature ceased as Trent pressed the barrel of his gun against its forehead, and just glared at him with all too human hatred. Trent was about to pull the trigger, when he noticed three pin points of red light settle on his hand, much like that of a laser sight.

"Holy shit," exclaimed Trent, casting a glance to his right.

Other exclamations rose from the rest of the team as they turned to see a huge, burnt form come stomping out of the shadows, its body dancing with tiny blue sparks of energy as it faded in and out of visibility.

When it finally became fully visible, and remained as such, the humans stared at it amazement. Yellow-green, reptilian-like skin covered its body, which stood nearly eight feet tall. Breathing deeply, the thing slowly removed the dull silver helmet that it wore to reveal a scrunched up face that sported four mandible-like fangs which folded over its inner mouth.

"She's mine," gargled Ky'Reel, using some of the bits of language that it had learned from the observation tapes.

"What the hell is that thing?" asked Briggs, watching, along with the others, as it grabbed a thick, foot long tube that had been hanging from its belt.

"Back off, people," ordered Trent, lowering his weapon.

Shannon looked at the humans, her expression a pleading one, but she saw no compassion in the faces backing from her. Her entire existence had been for the slaughter of humans, and now it was coming back on her, and she thought it incredibly ironic. She would have laughed if the thing hadn't roared a challenge to her just then, drawing her mind from the thought.

"I won't be as easy as the others," snarled Shannon, launching herself from the floor.

Ky'Reel had been expecting the attack, and brought up the tube he had been holding, pressing a stud on its side as he did. The ends of the tube telescoped outward, turning the tube into an eight-foot long, blade tipped spear, and Ky'Reel held it firmly.

Shannon twisted, trying in vain to alter her trajectory, and screamed out as she became impaled on the spear. Shannon had propelled herself with such force, that her body slid nearly three feet down the metal shaft, stopping just short of the original tube, which Ky'Reel held with both hands.

Bloodied, bruised, and burnt, it took all of the strength that Ky'Reel could muster to hold the spear upright, keeping Shannon in place. Pressing a second control on the spear, Ky'Reel sent a wave of energy coursing through Shannon's writhing form, rendering her unconscious. Ky'Reel swung the spear around, placing it over his shoulder to better bare the weight of Shannon's limp body, and turned towards the hangar door.

"Open," gurgled Ky'Reel, fatigue threatening to overwhelm him.

"What are you going to do with her?" demanded Trent, standing before the Hunter.

"Trophy…lives," replied Ky'Reel, as if that simple statement conveyed vast meaning.

The fire from the gas tanks was beginning to die down, the flames having finally devoured the fuel, but the smoke was getting thicker, threatening to choke the humans, and Miller knew that they didn't have much choice. They were going to have to open the door whether they wanted to or not.

"Cover it, people," barked Trent, stepping out of Ky'Reel's path.

"Targets!" cried Julie, sighting the six vampires still outside.

The roar of gunfire echoed through the confines of the hangar as Alpha Team opened up on the creatures, decimating them in seconds. The Blessed rounds tore through the vamps, dusting them instantly, and Ky'Reel felt a tinge of respect for these humans surrounding him. Perhaps he had been wrong in his assumption as to which group of humans were the enhanced ones.

The humans trailed behind the Hunter, constantly scanning their surroundings for any indication of more vampires, and came to an abrupt stop as a patch of air suddenly began shimmering. A craft like no other solidified a short distance from them, and they gapped in wonder as they realized what the Hunter was.

An alien.

"You can't let it leave," said Briggs, his mind racing with dark thoughts of horror.

"What do you suggest we do?" asked Miller.

"No!" yelled Briggs. "You don't understand. You have to stop it! Think about it. An alien being, with the ability to travel to other planets, taking a Master vampire with it as some sort of trophy. No matter how remote the chance, if she should escape and change them, then we'd have a race of intergalactic vampires!"

Ky'Reel sluggishly made his way up the ramp of his craft, eager to get the female secured so that he could place his ship on auto-pilot, and slip into the Rest Chamber for the journey home. He was becoming more disoriented, his very blood feeling as if it were on fire, and he wondered if he had contracted a virus from the human that had bitten him.

The members of Alpha Team traded looks with each other, the horror of Briggs' statement sinking in, and they turned towards the alien craft as they brought their weapons up. The rounds pinged harmlessly off of the craft's armor, but a number of shots caught Ky'Reel in the back, nearly dropping him.

Moving on by sheer will alone, Ky'Reel half stumbled, half fell into his ship, slamming his fist on the control panel to seal himself in. Dropping Shannon to the floor, Ky'Reel stumbled out of the airlock, and decided to just lock her in there, knowing that he was not going to survive much longer unless he got to the Rest Chamber.

"Keep firing," yelled Trent, turning to run back towards the hangar.

"Where are you going?" cried Briggs.

Trent vanished into the hangar, pouring on the speed as he heard the unmistakable whine of engines powering up. He didn't know how much time they had left, but he doubted it would be much. He had to get to the weapons locker if they were to have any hope of stopping the alien.

Blackness threatening to overtake him at every step, Ky'Reel lumber down the main hall of his ship, uttering out commands to the computer. He would let the ship do all of the piloting, now hoping that he would make it to the Rest Chamber before it was too late.

Trent emerged from the hangar as the alien craft began to rise from the ground, waves of an unknown energy rippling beneath it as if pushing it from the earth. It was an incredible sight, this piece of alien technology rising upwards, and Trent wished that he had another option.

But he knew that he did not.

Dropping to one knee, Trent lifted the rocket launcher to his shoulder, and sighted on the raising craft. The HUD display on the clear, over-sized targeting screen showed that the weapon had locked onto the craft, and was followed by a steady beeping that confirmed it.

Trent gently pressed the firing stud, and the area around him was briefly lit in a red glow as the rocket's thruster fired it from the launcher. The projectile left a thin trail of smoke as it shot on a direct course for the alien craft, connecting with it in a matter of seconds.

Ky'Reel fell into the Rest Chamber and surrendered to the blackness as the door began to seal behind him. His mind had nearly shut down, the numbing affects of the chamber already at work on him, when he felt a violent shudder through the ship. Ky'Reel tried to force his eyes open, but his body had been through too much, and his spirit could resist no more.

"Yes!" cried Trent, though it was lost to the cheers of the others, as the alien craft listed to one side in response to rocket's impact.

The humans continued to watch as the alien ship banked slowly around, dropping from the night sky as a second explosion ripped through it. It was with disbelief that the humans suddenly realized that the craft was spinning wildly back towards their location, trailing flames and smoke as it headed directly for them.

"Take cover!" yelled Miller, though it was unnecessary.

Miller, Briggs, and Alpha Team bolted further into the darkness, away from the hangar, as the alien craft came screaming down from the sky. The craft careened into the top of the hangar, tearing through the roof of the structure, and smashed down within the building.

There was a series of small pops, and then the sky lit up as the entire hangar exploded into a mushrooming fireball. Pieces of debris rained down on the area, some as big as a jeep, and everyone rose from where the shock wave of the explosion had knocked them down, seeking new cover.

Within minutes it was all over, a smoldering crater all that was left of the hangar, and everything that it had contained. Alpha Team's equipment, vehicle, and weapons were all gone, wiped from existence by the explosion of the alien craft.

"I guess we won't be going to Colorado," said Dillon, joining the others as they gathered before the ruins of the hangar.

"Kinda looks that way, doesn't it, Three," said Trent, his voice thick with sarcasm and disgust.

"We'd better get back to the main building," said Miller. "If there's any vamps around, they'll becoming to check out the explosion."

"If the Master was killed in the explosion, won't her entire nest be wiped out now?" asked Briggs.

"Not something I feel like checking out right now," replied Miller, turning and starting to walk back towards their main stronghold. "Maybe in the morning."

END