PROLOGUE

Planet Zi had been forever changed the fateful day the Empire fell to the unstoppable power of the Chaos Saurer. The Death Wraiths swarmed the continent, destroying village after village in a campaign of terror the likes of which had never been seen by the residents of Zi. Any colony too powerful to be defeated by the Wraiths was met by the burning breath of the Chaos Saurer, easily crushed under its shadow in a bid to destroy all resistance and claim planet Zi as its own. Zi turned into a post apocalyptic planet, ever fighting for its freedom against an age old terror with power beyond comprehension. Lead by the Peace Paladins, a large underground resistance fiercely fought against the rule of the Chaos Saurer and the Death Wraiths, vowing to cleanse the land of the Evil that had swept across it. The Death Wraiths, unable to completely quell the uprising, began harvesting warriors of their own. Children were taken from their homes and trained to be cold and ruthless fighters against the Paladins and their Freedom Fighters. Fueled by the power of the Chaos Saurer and the promise of immortality the Spawn of Chaos, as they were called, fought against their own kind. This is the tale of the fateful war between the Resistance and the Spawn. A tale of corruption and death, of rebellion and righteousness.


CHAPTER 1

A Life On the Run

Ten years after the fall of the Empire . . .

Gambit sipped the warm tea he had prepared, staring down at the fire he had started, watching the flames dance and bathing in the heat they released. The sun had just begun to come up, peeking over the horizon and revealing the landscape around him. The boy had lived a rough life, a life on the run. His young face seemed more aged then it really was, evidence of the hardship he had endured. His nose, which had been broken numerous times, was slightly pressed to the side. His eyes were racy and ever alert, their lime green color piercing the darkness in an eerie glow as they paced from side to side. A large scar ran down his face, going from the left side of his forehead all the way down to his right cheek. The warmth of the fire made the scar burn a little more than the rest of his body so he pulled back his strawberry blonde hair and put his hand over it, blocking out the heat of the flames.

The desert around him was full of craters, the sand inside still charred black though their source had long since passed by. Gambit took another quick sip of his tea before setting it down at the sound of boosters in the distance. He quickly dumped the remainder of his drink and a bucket of water he had next to him over the fire and scrambled behind a large rock beside him. Ever since he was eight he had run from the Death Wraiths, trying to escape their cruelty and torment, though it never really left him. The Death Wraiths haunted his dreams, manipulating his mind until all he saw were shadows and zombies. The effects had nearly stripped him of his humanity, turning him into a wild animal whose main instinct was to run and hide. The pockets of humanity that existed told him to fight and with every step his two instincts fought against each other. As the boosters came closer and closer Gambit feared more and more for his life.

The boy took a chance and quickly peeked around the corner of his hiding place. The Spawn were near, ten years of running had given him the gift of sensing their presence, yet his eyes saw nothing. He took a deep breath and looked around for a newer, bigger hiding place. He caught a glimpse of some ruins not too far away and decided to go for it, picking up his hover board from the sandy ground and getting on. Using the remote controls he started the board and sped toward the ruins as fast as he could. The sudden amount of noise brought a familiar response, the sound of a Rev Raptor growling. Suddenly a pair of the raptor type Zoids exploded from behind a pair of rocks and roared as they gave chase. Gambit nervously looked behind himself at the approaching terrors. Inside the cockpits two tortured souls sat, tainted by the darkness of Chaos, the Spawn ruthlessly pursued him. But if the Rev Raptors had no boosters equipped, where had the sound come from?

Gambit pushed the question out of his head as he neared the ruins, glancing back to see the Rev Raptors gaining on him. The boy clenched his teeth together and flipped backwards off his hover board, tapping a button on the controls for a sudden boost. The boy landed on the ground perfectly and kept his feet moving as the hover board pulled him up the side of the mountain that held the ruins, his only chance of survival. The Raptors behind him clawed up the side of the mountain as well, their hardened alloy talons tearing at the ground as they gave chase.

The hover board pulled the boy up to a metal door protruding from the mountain face. Instead of continuing upward Gambit launched himself forward, kicking the door roughly with the steel toe of his boots. The slightly rusted door caved in from the impact and the hover board pulled him the rest of the way through. Once inside, the boy took a moment to gain back his breath. He peeked out and watched as the Rev Raptors continued on up the hillside, completely ignoring the small opening he had made in the door. Gambit set his hover board to the side and pulled out the small flashlight he carried, turning it on and looking around.

The room he was in was filled with broken Zoid parts and discarded weaponry, but what piqued his interest the most was the door on the other side of the room with a small control console next to it. Having hidden in many a ruin, Gambit approached the console with much confidence, pressing a few buttons in a special sequence. The old door hissed as it slid open and lights from the room inside it flickered on. The boy strolled inside and looked around. More consoles rested against the walls and in the middle of the room a single tube filled with green liquid rested. Gambit stared at the tube in a trance, almost hypnotized by the liquid inside as it bubbled. He had seen tubes like these before, but they had been broken, glass shattered all over the floor. This one was still in tact.

Gambit reached down and pressed a small blue button at the base of the tube, on the mount that held it to the ground. The tube slowly began cracking, releasing steam and liquid as it opened like an egg. The green liquid inside quickly drained and a small metal body hit the glass that encased it, breaking the tube the rest of the way open. Gambit stared in awe at the creature before him. One word came to his mind: "organoid". The metallic creature resembled the Rev Raptors that had been chasing him or at least it shared their basic body shape. The organoid was maroon in color, with a small crest of horns on the back of its head and a single horn on its nose. Gambit bent down and shook the organoid slowly, ever aware of the danger it could pose to his life if it was violent.

The organoid's eyelids slid open, revealing the golden orbs inside that served as the creature's eyes. Surprised, Gambit jumped backwards, causing the organoid to jump to its feet scared as well. The two stared at each other across the room with startled looks on their faces. Gambit gulped and took a step forward. The organoid let loose a low growl as the human approached it but remained still. The human then held out his hand, allowing the shy creature to sniff it. The organoid then quit growling and relaxed a bit, Gambit responding by relaxing as well. The boy came closer and the organoid allowed him. For a moment Gambit stroke the creature's head, then pulled back cautiously. The organoid stepped closer to him, sensing his familiar shyness and thrust its head under his hand. Gambit smiled and began petting the organoid, the most relaxing feeling he had ever felt. "Predator" Gambit said softly. The organoid growled in acknowledgement of the name it had just been given.

Suddenly the blissful moment was ruined by the sound of a Rev Raptor roaring and an explosion rocking the room. Gambit and Predator turned to see the Spawn and their Zoids looking through the massive hole they'd just blown into the side of the mountain. The Rev Raptors hissed and took a threatening step forward. Predator roared in defiance and stepped in between Gambit and the Zoids, protecting its newfound friend. "Foolish little organoid, none can resist the power of Chaos" one of the Spawn soldiers said over the Zoid's megaphone. Predator roared again and the Rev Raptors charged.

A stream of bullets ran up the ground just in front of the Raptors, cutting them off. The Spawn turned their attention to the ground below, seeing a single Zoid slithering toward them. The Zoid was serpent-like in appearance, with an unusual albino color and outstretched retractable wings. "It's Vengeance!" the other Spawn yelled. The Rev Raptors charged down the mountainside and toward the approaching Stealth Dragon. The pilot inside the Dragon smirked and pushed his long black hair to the side as a bolt of green energy slammed into the Zoid, sending a wave of green power along its serpentine body.

Gambit and Predator raced out of the room to watch what happened next. The Stealth Dragon launched into flight, meeting the Rev Raptors head-on, its claws reaching out. The Gripper Claws grabbed onto each Raptor and pulled them to the ground, the Zoids hissing in resistance. The Stealth Dragon bellowed a mighty draconic roar and fiercely bit into the first Raptor's head with its hardened alloy teeth, activating its AZ40mm machine guns as well. The shots and teeth tore through the light armor of the Zoid and pierced the cockpit inside. The Spawn screamed in horror as his body was crushed by the armor around the head as it caved in.

The remaining Rev Raptor managed to kick the Stealth Dragon off of it and get to its feet quickly. The Dragon threw its tail forward like a whip, catching the Raptor in its leg and bludgeoning it in half. The Raptor stared down at its lost appendage and roared, jumping forward using its remaining leg. The force of the impact sent both Zoids rolling down the mountainside in a ball of crashing metal. The Stealth Dragon managed to roll on top of its opponent and pin it down once again. A hail of bullets from the Dragon's mouth finished off the Zoid and its pilot once and for all.

Gambit watched in awe as the cockpit to the Stealth Dragon hissed open, revealing the pilot inside. The man was tall and slim, with ocean blue eyes and black, spiky hair. The pilot's organoid appeared from inside the Zoid and picked up its partner, boosting toward the boy and his organoid. Predator growled as the two unknown figures approached. The dragon-like green organoid dropped the pilot just in front of the boy and landed beside him.

"Don't worry," the pilot said, "you're safe now." Gambit stared at the man, preparing to make a run for it. "No, don't leave," the pilot said, "I'm here to help you. My name's Crow." The man reached out, holding out a hand. Gambit did the same, cautiously shaking the stranger's hand. "Whose your friend?" Crow asked.

Gambit turned to the organoid he'd just found and said "Predator." Crow nodded.

"Why don't you come with me, I'll take you to a safe hiding place where neither the Spawn nor the Wraiths can find you" Crow said, motioning for the boy to follow him. Gambit looked at Predator for a minute, then turned to follow the man. The organoid curiously followed them as well. "So, what's your name friend?" Crow asked.

"Gambit" the boy answered, looking around for anymore signs of the Spawn.

"How long have you been out here Gambit?" Crow asked as the Stealth Dragon bent down and allowed both men into the cockpit. The organoids growled back and forth in casual conversation as well, hopping up on the Stealth Dragon's head.

"Ten years" Gambit said nervously.

"You've been able to elude the Spawn that long? I'm impressed," Crow said, "but you don't have to run anymore. I'll take you to my base, more friends will be waiting there." Gambit nodded in acknowledgement as the cockpit to the Stealth Dragon closed and the Zoid mobilized. "How long have you and Predator been partners?" Crow asked.

"I just found him" Gambit said, getting used to talking with another human for the first time in a while.

"Drake and I have been a team for a long time now," Crow said, reminiscing, "it's been a hard life but we do what we have to in order to survive." A few hours and some small talk later, the Stealth Dragon landed just outside a mountain face. Gambit watched as a piece of the mountain slid open, revealing a long tunnel going down beneath the mountain. "Well," Crow said, "we're here."


A/N: How do you like it so far? Please review, I respond to all reviews with equal thanks whether or not it's a flame.