So, I've really wanted to do another BF5 fanfic for a while now, because this section needs more love. I had originally started out trying to do fluff, but ended up with this instead, which came out more amazing than I expected. It turned into a look at how the final battle against Krytus might play out, with an ending that, to me, is open to a few different interpretations (even I'm not totally sure which one I think I was going for). Oh, and in case anyone was wondering, Perorate is a verb meaning to bring a speech to a close with a formal conclusion. I think that's everything... Constructive Criticism is always very welcome, feedback is greatly appreciated, and I hope you enjoy the fic!

Acrid black smoke billowed into the air, thick yellow flames licking at its base and illuminating the area all around the burning garage. One of the building's side walls groaned and began to buckle, the fire's immense heat weakening it. Window panes shattered as the wall crumpled inwards, and the building let out a squealing groan as it listed to one side. More over-heated glass shattered, exploding out into the desert, where it landed scattered across the sand, glittering as it reflected the firelight.

With the screech of metal scraping metal, the building lurched even further to the side. A long, low groan followed as the building struggled to settle, even as the flames continued to devour it, sounding as if the building itself was sighing in pain. Eventually the sound petered off, and the building's shifting settled. It was then that the roof collapsed in, sending burning embers swelling into the sky, swirling up along with the smoke. The squeal of twisting metal and crash of toppling cement supports filled the night air.

And then the building's front door was blasted open, and a tank like vehicle came hurtling out of the inferno and into the desert. A few flames continued to cling to its scorched sides, illuminating the vehicle as it bounced across the dunes and away from the burning building.

A few dozen yards away the vehicle swerved into a turn, rocking up onto two wheels before crashing back down, spraying up sand as it came to a halt. Atop the vehicle a heavy hatch door opened, and a young man lifted himself halfway through the opening. His face and his suit, like his tank, were covered with soot and scrapes, but his only injury seemed to be a wide gash running across his face, from above one eye all the way down to below the opposite ear. It oozed blood, which covered the man's face and neck.

The man lifted himself as high as he could without actually getting out of the vehicle, his brown eyes wide as they scanned the dark desert. It seemed as if, no matter what direction the man looked, the burning building reflected in his eyes, turning his dark irises golden and causing the wet blood on his face to shimmer.

He continued to search the desert, until one of the corners of the building across from him erupted with a sudden, fierce explosion. Sucking in a harsh breath, the muscles around the man's jaw tightened, his teeth grinding as he lowered himself back into his vehicle. Putting the tank back into gear, the man allowed himself one final look at the building through his windshield, before turning to look at the person slumped in the seat behind him.

"Hang on, bro," he whispered, gaze skimming across the bloody patch on the side of the crumpled figure's head. The man turned back to his controls, eyes trained away from the building as he hit the gas. The vehicle turned with a spray of sand, swerving about to face the opposite direction and then taking off into the desert.

Out in the desert, the ground began to open, revealing a dark passage leading deep below ground. Sand, pushed by the wind, tricked down the passage's side, vanishing down the unlit slope. The rest settled at the opening's edge, peering cautiously into the dark unknown. Then, suddenly, the ground began to shake, beginning with an imperceptible rumble that grew quickly into a dull roar. The sound continued to grow and grow, and it seemed as if it might just continue on until it was loud enough to shake apart the entire desert.

But then, with a sudden flash of lights, the rumble reached its peak. A second later, and a car exploded out of the opening. It flew through the air, wheels spinning against nothing, as if the driver was planning to simply take off and fly away.

Crashing back to Earth, the tires kicked up a cloud of grit as they regained traction, and the car lurched forward, rocketing across the sand. The driver's one good eye stared straight ahead, either unwilling or unable to look at the car's mirrors and see the flames and smoke reflected there. But it seemed that the driver wasn't truly looking forward either—he failed to turn his car away from the cliff face approaching on his left side. With a painful jolt, and the horrible screech of metal against stone, the driver scraped the side of his car along the high sandstone, a shower of sparks comet-tailing after him.

The friction and the angle of the cliff face forced the car to a stop, although the engine continued to whine, the driver still staring straight ahead and his foot still pressing the gas pedal to the floor. He was panting, his breaths rough and labored. The car's interior lights revealed the reason, casting a soft blue glow that did nothing to hide the gruesomeness of the driver's injuries: the skin on one side, from his hairline all the way to his fingertips, was burned raw, blistered and oozing blood. The driver's eye on that side was swollen shut—the reason he hadn't seen the cliff coming towards him. His hands, still clutching the steering wheel, were beginning to shake violently, and he was starting to hyperventilate.

Slumping limply against his seat, the driver scraped together just enough of himself to look over at his passenger seat. His gaze, which was growing hazier by the second, landed on the blue, glowing cube lying in the seat beside him.

She's safe, he thought, the blue light reflecting in his green eye which, after a moment, slowly slid shut.

The green ATV climbed steadily up the cliff-side, its thick tires opened, the metal claws easily digging into the hard rock, creating grips across the nearly flat surface. The going was slow, the ATV's shocks having been damaged by the fire's heat, limiting the pistons' range of motion. The woman at the ATV's controls had to move carefully—should she attempt to compress the shocks too much by moving too quickly or extending her reach too far she could damage the mechanism completely, sending herself toppling back down to the dunes below.

Dark eyes narrowed, she kept her eyes trained on the cliff, carefully choosing and calculating each new grip and foothold. Occasionally, when she strained her vehicle's weakened joints just a little too much, the ATV would groan or tremble. Each time her shoulders tensed just a little more, and she ground her teeth just a little flatter.

Such as now, when the wheel she was extending groaned ominously. Sucking down a deep breath, the woman grit her teeth, waiting a moment to make sure her vehicle wasn't about to fall apart before slamming the clawed wheel into the cliff. Lifting the rear tire on the same side, she latched it onto the section of churned up rock that the previous wheel has left behind. She then moved the opposite front wheel forward, allowing its rear counterpart to take its place.

It was by using this very careful method that the woman, slowly but surely, came to the top of the cliff. Despite her perilous situation, she allowed a small grin to cross her face at the knowlege that she was almost there. Carefully coordinating her pedals and joysticks, the woman reached her open tire towards the cliff top, preparing to latch on and drag herself the rest of the way up—but then, as the wheel latched onto the edge, a loud bang sounded, startling the woman. A second later and the wheel's grip failed, causing the ATV—which was using that top grip to support most of its weight—to suddenly lurch downwards, rock crumbling out from beneath its wheels as it began sliding down the cliff.

Shouting wordlessly, the woman's hands few across her console, activating switches and buttons before she even had time to think about it. The ATV's cab shuddered as the vehicle's front cable launched, soaring upwards and into a wide arc. It landed a dozen feet from the cliff edge, and for a few seconds the grapple on the end slid across the rock, bouncing as it struggled for purchase. At the press of a button it twisted around, its spikes extending and lodging into the stone.

The ATV's fall came to an abrupt halt. The sudden change of momentum dropped the woman painfully into her seat, knocking the wind roughly from her lungs. She sat, blinking in surprise and struggling to regain her breath as the thick cable below her began to retract, hauling her vehicle up onto the cliff.

A heavy sigh of relief escaped her lips as her vehicle finally made it onto the cliff top, its shocks groaning softly as the weight of the cab settled back across the wheels. At the tap of a button the grapple loosed its hold on the stone and finished retracting. Tapping another switch, the woman's seat lowered, allowing her to step out of her vehicle. She rose from her seat slowly, favoring her right leg, which was bloody and swollen, and looking unwilling to bear much weight. Limping, one hand holding her leg, she made her way over to the tirethat had given out on the cliff, eyes scanning the hardware for damage. She was relieved to find it in better condition than expected—it didn't look like it would support another marathon climb, but it would hold up under regular driving, at least until she could get a chance to replace it.

Stepping away from the ATV, the woman allowed her gaze to shift out over the desert. Immediately her eyes began to water from the smoke being blown in her direction. Blinking hard, she forced herself to keep looking out, searching the sands.

Her gaze eventually landed on an unexpected oasis of light, pressed up against the side of the cliff she was on. It was about half a mile out from where she stood. They're car headlights! she realized with a jolt. Turning back to her vehicle, she returned to her cab, quickly strapped herself back in, and then pressed the pedal to the floor, turning her tires towards the light.

Starlight glinted off of twin inky irises, highlighting the pair of eyes staring out across the desert. Dark hair, whipped about by the cold wind, fell across those eyes, where it went mostly ignored. The wind roared in the boy's ears, the sound under laid by that of four rotary blades spinning together, forcing drafts of air downwards and keeping the boy's vehicle airborne.

The boy didn't have any specific destination in mind as he flew. Meet up with the others—that was his destination. Not a very good one, he thought absently, since it wasn't really a place to go—not that he didn't think they wouldn't meet him, of course they would. They would never just take off and scatter. That would be silly. How would he meet up with them if they did that?

The boy blinked hard, shaking his head slightly when he realized the strange, round-a-bout trip his thoughts had taken. Sighing, he tried to once more focus on his flying. It was difficult, with the way his thoughts continued to swirl. The backdrop of throbbing pain wasn't much help either, emanating from the bloody wound on the back of his head—a wound he was still struggling to remember acquiring.

The boy blinked hard again. Once more forcing his attention back to the desert, he allowed his gaze to trail the dunes below him. He was searching not only any sign of the others, but also for an area ahead that would be safe to land in. Even with his currently scrambled thoughts, he remembered that his vehicle wouldn't stay in the air forever—already he could feel it slowly dropping downwards, moving ever closer to the ground below.

As he looked at the ground his vision began to slowly blur, although he didn't realize something was wrong until he started to tip sideways, causing his grip on the controls to shift. His vehicle responded accordingly, suddenly dipping to one side.

"Whoa," the boy muttered as he quickly corrected, "tha's not good." Still blinking owlishly, he decided that now would probably be a good time to land before his addled brain decided it was going to do the landing for him.

Unfortunately, with his thoughts in such disarray, the boy's attempt at a landing was really more of a controlled plow into the ground. He'd come in at too steep of an angle, causing the front end of his rotors to catch in the sand. This jerked the vehicle to too abrupt of a stop, which in turn catapulted the boy forward, over his controls and into the sand. And it wasn't until he was lying on the ground, staring at the dune that the side of his face was currently pressed against, that he realized he needed to return his vehicle to its wheeled form before he landed it.

"Oops," he mumbled, the word slightly slurred. Sighing, he rolled limply onto his back, his gaze shifting up to the sky above him. The sand felt uncomfortable against his head wound, but the boy ignored the feeling, the majority of his attention captured by the stars. They looked a lot brighter than usual, which had him oddly mesmerized.

He sighed. Here was really as good a place as anywhere to wait for the others, he decided. They could just come meet up with him here, under the stars.

He stared down at the figure crumpled before him, the tip of his sword pressed against his nemesis's throat. Despite the fact he was no longer capable of fighting back, the Red Sentient laughed.

"So, this is it?" he asked through his fang bearing grin. The swordsman scowled at the Sentient. He certainly couldn't see whatever humor the alien was finding in the situation—his team was lying around him, all of their cores destroyed, and he was trapped beneath the blade of his archenemy inside a building that was literally burning to the ground around him. No, the swordsman couldn't see in any humor for the alien in a situation like that.

"You're done, Krytus," he whispered, and somehow, even over the roar of the flames, his voice carried.

"Yes," Krytus agreed, still grinning, "But so are you." His red gaze traveled pointedly to the wound in the swordsman's side.

"It won't kill me," the swordsman said. He wasn't being cocky; he was simply stating a fact. "And if it was, I wouldn't be dying alone—unlike you."

"Ha," Krytus barked. "You think they'll be out there, waiting for you?" Hardened blue eyes stared down coldly at Krytus, who continued without waiting for a response. "You saw what my men did to them. My men may be dead, but their deaths weren't in vain—my team will take yours down with them yet." The Sentient's expression was triumphant, although it slowly shifted to one of rage when he realized that the swordsman was failing to look terrified by his announcement. Rather, the swordsman's expression was almost pitying. "What?" Krytus hissed.

"I almost want to let you live," the swordsman whispered, "if only to show you how wrong you are."

"I am never wrong," Krytus snarled.

"Oh?" the swordsman asked. "You were wrong tonight."

"What are you talking about?" the Sentient snapped.

"You thought you would win," the swordsman said. "You came to Earth, believing that all you would have to do was walk in here, defeat us, capture Sage, and you'd have won. You believed you actually could defeat us. You believed we would ever let you take Sage." The swordsman knelt down at the fallen Sentient's side. "You were wrong. You couldn't defeat us. You couldn't capture Sage." The swordsman leaned in close. "You lost, Krytus."

"No!" Krytus snarled. "I have not lost! You will all die, and I will remain, I will be the victor!"

"And how do you figure that?" the swordsman asked. Krytus's grin returned.

"Because I know you, human," he hissed. "I know that when it comes down to it, you won't kill me." His fangs flashed. "You're much too soft for that." Blue eyes blinked in surprise, and red eyes glowed with triumph. Their message was clear—I know you, I'm right, and I win.

Looking away from Krytus, the swordsman slowly stood, his weapon now held limply at his side. Krytus's triumph spread slowly across his face, every inch of it saying clearly I've won, I've won.

The swordsman's blade slid easily through the Sentient's chest, freezing the expression in place forever.

"Krytus," the swordsman whispered, as he slowly withdrew his weapon. He watched as the red light slowly faded from the Sentient's eyes and body. "You were wrong."

The red vehicle's blades sliced easily through the collapsing walls, made flimsy by the flames. The Saber quickly left the burning garage in its wake, the building crumbling, collapsing once and for all, to be reclaimed by the desert. Up ahead, maybe three quarters of a mile away, Vert could make out the headlamps of Agura's Tangler over at the base of the cliffs, along with the purple car and the Blue Sentient sitting in their pool of light. A ways off to the right, the Buster Tank's outline was visible where it sat out in the desert, more likely than not stopped beside Zoom and what was likely his less than graceful Chopper landing.

A small smile flickered across Vert's face as he pressed the pedal to the floor.

"I'm coming, team," he whispered, as his gaze shifted to the battle key affixed to the Saber's hood, its golden light reflecting warmly in Vert's eyes. "I'm coming."