Dark Hunter's resolution.
Chapter 1: Rogue agent, reminisce.
2nd July 2901
Vra'nam system, planet Kuhalra, Nal'harran city, central sporting complex.
The rumbling of the swarms of Kro'nogri and Leg'hrul exiting and entering the main arena echoed across the complex plaza, mixing the sounds of voices of excitement and disappointment at the outcome of each sport game with the sound of the city's traffic.
Ascending up the side of the largest arena were many elevators, glass capsules ascending the large, 100 metre tall complex with a spectacular, panoramic view of the cityscape. Inside one elevator, a few significant individuals stood. Their identity allowed them access to the city, with little hassle from security. Inside, Sha'krii Herensk gazed out at Nal'harran city, admiring the rather dated but functional Kro'nogri architecture. Beside her, La'kias and Kirth stood rather passively, apparently disinterested in the sight before them. 2 cloaked figures, hiding their faces with bodyguard outfits, looked to be Kro'nogri, but beneath their masks the two human clones stood by. Despite this being an NKI controlled city, it helped to disguise Xale and Lexa in what appeared to be Kro'nogri body guard outfits.
Sha'krii and Kirth had jointly decided on La'kias, Xale and Lexa, mainly due to the others being unsuited to the task, or being busy. Norstith, Morthas, Ja'hail, Se'rie, Alex, Aru'san and Azula were busy, leaving Shockwave and Raxler to act as backup to them on this operation if it went wrong. The Cybertronian mech and AI until would be disguised appropriately, and would monitor them, intervening if things got too dangerous.
The guard outfits built in DNA signals, masking the human signatures that Xale and Lexa emitted. To the scanners, they would appear as Kro'nogri. Though this was an NKI controlled world, caution was a priority, as every non-UIP human known was a well known NKI high ranking official.
Reaching the top of the elevator, the doors opened, and the five walked out, reaching a secluded area of the stadium's corridors. The five huddled within whispering range, and went over the plan. La'kias brought up a 3D scan of the stadium, while Kirth went over the strategic layout:
"Our Underworld Guild official is further around the stadium, in one of the private boxes. He's given us clearance to enter his box and any other private box, posing as security guards, and only he knows our actual identities. We need to send someone to meet him first, to find out the non-disclosed details first." The 3D map zoomed in, showing a highlighted dot on a stadium section, where the private viewing 'boxes' were.
Sha'krii spoke up: "I'll meet with the Underworld official. I'm the best skilled negotiator here, and I'll radio the details when I find them from him. I'll make sure he cooperates as he promised. The four of you split up, and regroup when I've got the information."
It was set, and now the first stage depended on Sha'krii's role.
In the VIP box, the gathering was only five: 2 male Kro'nogri bodyguards, and one male Leg'hrul bodyguard, and a Kro'nogri male and female couple, of roughly 50 year old age each. The bodyguards absently watched the stadium's centre, the preparations for the next match still underway, while the couple enjoyed the wine they had ordered to be left in the box.
At the sound of the box doors opening, the guards turned, only to see a rather cloaked Kro'nogri, a female, but with only her mouth and eyes uncovered, the rest hidden under a dark veil of sorts with the cloaked outfit. The Leg'hrul guard, the leader of the guard trio, asked her:
"Who are you?"
"I have an appointment with Tharlos Nilori, under an anonymous title." Sha'krii said, keeping calm.
"Wait. Let her through Saralin, she's who I'm expecting now." The male Kro'nogri stood up. As the Leg'hrul guard nodded in compliance and returned to his post, Tharlos Nilori got off the couch, his wife following, and grasped Sha'krii's hand in greeting:
"Good, you made it. Did the others make it?"
"I've got the other four I told you about here in the stadium, and 2 others outside ready, in case we need to make a quick escape after the job's done." Sha'krii said. This time, Tharlos's wife, Lei'hatra Nilori, spoke:
"The contacts we have within the Gare'nan's group are ready. They'll hold up their end of the deal if he is killed, and the intel he would have sold to someone else will be yours for free."
Sha'krii was gracious, but also interested: "Good. We can make out next big plans with this intel. But, I'm curious, are you involved in the Underworld Guild too?"
"My wife and I met in the Guild. Had a kid even, he's off on his own now. But enough about us. You need to hit the target before the end of the next game, he'll begin to leave as soon as the final timeout is called. If you get him on time, we'll take over the contracts of any non contact guards you don't kill, and seal their silence with raised pay, initially at least." Said Tharlos.
Shaking Tharlos's hand in gratitude, Sha'krii said: "Thank you for the help. This can go a long way to helping end the war."
"And thank you, for easing up the harsh marshal law this planet had under the Alliance. Business is booming, both for other businesses and the Guild."
Walking out of the box, Sha'krii was not sure what to feel, having been so interactive with those criminals. The Underworld Guild was technically a crime organization, but it also helped provide people with the supplies they needed that the Alliance was limiting them of, including some food, clothing, manly consumer goods. As drugs and drink were not illegal, but limited in Alliance space, the trade of these was high too. The Guild was only illegal in that it operated outside the law, a black market.
It was still better than the Alliance. The Guild was strictly business, whilst the Alliance was fiscal and military control.
Radioing in, Sha'krii said: "Sha'krii here, intel has been received from the Niloris. Gare'nan is in VIP box 11, on the west side of the stadium stands. You have clearance, but he has many bodyguards. The contacts are loyal, but Gare'nan has many guards in there, and only 3 are contacts at least. Best if you all go in at once, swarm them."
"We can disable the guards with stun fire, and kill Gare'nan. We can sort out whose a loyal guard or a contact later. The first game round is starting." Lexa said over the radio.
Xale and Lexa regrouped with Sha'krii, leaving Kirth and La'kias to go it alone to Gare'nas's box. As the second game round began, the door opened, revealing a server and an empty food delivery cart exiting.
Before the box doors shut, 2 dark matter concealed figures snuck into the private box.
Now inside, Kirth tapped La'kias lightly on one shoulder three times, the signal to begin. It was simple, decloak, stun fire all 8 guards, and kill Gare'nas as cleanly as possible.
Kirth snuck into the centre of the box, while concealing La'kias, who circled around to stand in front of Gare'nas, who was now engrossed in the game below. In position, and it began.
Dropping out, Kirth pulled out his dark matter, and formed multiple tendrils to bind the guards arms to their sides, and gagging them temporarily. Immediately, La'kias decloaked, and slammed his foot into Gare'nas's body, pointing one submachine gun plasma pistol at the Leg'hrul's face, while using a smaller plasma pistol's stun fire setting to stun 3 of the 8 restrained guards. 5 bursts from Kirth's own plasma submachine gun pistol stun gun solved the rest of the guards.
"Gare'nas. The Underworld Guild sends us to teach you about how traitors are rewarded when they decide to try and go into business themselves, and drive their own guards to plot against them." La'kias said plainly. He had researched, this Leg'hrul was far from innocent, having authorized many killings and much dirty work of the Underworld Guild.
One shot, and the Leg'hrul crumpled, his head now marred by a single burnt hole into the brain. At this point, La'kias thanked the two way mirror windows and soundproof doors of the private boxes in the stadium. Also, in his foolish obsession for security of any deals he cut, Gare'nas had the sensor networks to this room disabled for privacy. No one outside the room knew of what just happened.
Lining the bodies along the wall, Kirth spoke in a tone of light anticipation: "The stun rounds should wear off within a few minutes. We'll bind and gag them, interrogate them with specific information regarding the contacts, to tell who shall lead them now, and who we need."
"I suppose that means the others will need employment elsewhere then. I'm to also assume that their employment, and silence, is taken care of?" Asked La'kias. Bending down, both of them set about using multiple handcuffs and mouth gags they brought to bind and gag the 8 guards. Kirth continued: "The non contact guards and contact guards are promised raised pay under employment by the Nilori duo. Their payment will ensure their silence."
Sure enough, a few minutes later, all 8 guards were awake and alert, not responding well to awaking bound and gagged. Kirth and La'kias individually interrogated one each time, asking specifics about the deals with the Nilori duo. One managed to answer correctly, and they at least un-gagged him.
Breathing heavily, the Leg'hrul guard, a male, responded: "The information is on Gare'nas's data device. I can get the information you need, and I'll make sure the others get to the Nilori couple without any trouble." Warily, La'kias unshackled the Leg'hrul's talons, and as the Leg'hrul guard stood up, popping his wing joints with a light groan, he went to untie the rest of his men.
Like many hired guns, they were not paid to think much. They knew the deal, and the better pay at first, then the same, was enough to ensure their silence. The Leg'hrul contact walked over to Gare'nas's data tool, and took it off the body, and handed it to Kirth after toggling the settings briefly:
"There, no more security measures. You have access to all his data now. That's all." With a gesture of a wing, the other 7 guards departed, led by the Leg'hrul guard. Turning to La'kias, Kirth gave a light smirk of success, holding up the data tool with glee.
Then, a burst of radio chatter came in, with Lexa's worried voice on the line: "Kirth, La'kias! You've got patrol guards headed your way!"
Then the doors opened.
The doors slid open, revealing two guards, sent here. It only took them a few seconds to see the unidentified, very pale blue, whitish, red tipped Leg'hrul, and the pasty green scaled Kro'nogri, and to also see the dead, head shot body of Gare'nas, propped against the wall.
One of the guards, a female Leg'hrul, began to yell, but before the word could leave her beak, she and the other Kro'nogri male guard were seized by twin dark matter tendrils, and thrown towards the pair. Twin stun shots rang out, hitting the two guards in the head.
With the two guards crumpled unconscious now, Kirth saw a brief glimpse of something on the data tool they had from Gare'nas. A blinking signal, a last second emergency transmission to two stadium guards, deep in favour to Gare'nas. Now, with those two stun shots ringing out, the alarms began to sound in the stadium area, an emergency alarm for erupting violence. Only stadium or authorized military firearms shots would not trigger the alarms there.
"We have to go, before more guards show up!" Said La'kias. Looking out, Kirth said: "We can cut through the stadium, blend in with the crowds as they move! The alarms will sound only for the local area, so the main stadium should be fine."
"The main stadium is fine because this area is locked down! It's a good thing we have military grade equipment." Said La'kias, as the pair began to run down the corridors, Kirth cloaking them with dark matter. Sure enough, they reached an end, a section door, like a bulkhead in a ship, but for security.
With the data tool they acquired, La'kias used his adept hacking skills to override the security lockdown at this door for 10 seconds, lifting the door for that time. By the time they reached the main stadium emergence stairwell, the door closing echoed through the corridor, mixing with the roaring of the crowd out the doors.
Not one hour later, and the Leg'hrul/Kro'nogri duo had regrouped with the others in the stadium entrance plaza. With the data tool safely in hand, they headed back towards where Raxler and Shockwave waited.
But as soon as they reached the last corner, they saw that the local security had locked down the landing pads. Apparently the man they just murdered was of significance, and even though the Nilori duo promised a quick calming, the ties that Gare'nas had to security meant that his murder had them lock down the passenger ports, checking anyone going out.
If they wanted to get off the planet, they needed to divert the security away from the area. That was where the humans came into play, and Raxler.
"Security! I need backup! I have a hostage situation! Three humans have taken a pair of civilians, and are holding them at knife point in the street!" Yelled a Kro'nogri female security member. As she dropped the communicator, the dark haired male human, his face covered by a cover beneath the eyes, pressed the blade of the knife slightly harder into the Leg'hrul female's neck. Beside him, the brown haired male, his face also concealed, like the darker male and the dark haired female, by a cover beneath the eyes, pressed the Leg'hrul male harder into the pavement, stepping on the right wing hard enough to prompt incapacitating pain.
As the Leg'hrul female struggled, her suppressed screeches and caws of terror forcing themselves lightly from her throat, Xale leant in close, and whispered in a oily tone, drenched in malice and enjoyment: "Watch it little birdie. This knife might slip into your neck if you keep struggling like this. Besides, consider yourself lucky. Most women would kill to be this close to a guy like me." He lustfully whispered the last part in a sick tone, making the Leg'hrul female shudder with despair.
Lexa knew perfectly well that Xale was playing his part, and he played it well, as it came natural to him. He had said he would act like this to portray a serious situation to the security. Meanwhile, with Raxler pinning the Leg'hrul male, in his left hand a sword pointed at the male avian's back, she held the security at gunpoint with her rifle.
Hopping inside the attack craft, Sha'krii, Kirth and La'kias relaxed a bit, the data device in their possession. Sha'krii then spoke to the dashboard: "Time to pick up our diversion team."
"The security forces have them surrounded. I shall fire in non lethal patterns to dispel them, then extract." Shockwave's voice echoed through the passenger area. The attack craft form of Shockwave was ill suited to carry 6 people a long distance, but he need only transport them to the Dawnbreaker frigate, waiting only half a light year away.
Taking off, Shockwave armed the heavy cannon he carried as his alternate form's main weapon. The heavy railgun was ready with non explosive rounds made of iron, kinetic impact weapons only.
With a quick burst of thrusters, the antigravity lightened attack craft rocketed low over the city, beginning to descend as it neared a street intersection.
"I would recommend refraining from struggling, otherwise you will force me to take measures to physically incapacitate you for a longer period of time." Said Raxler, as he pressed down harder on the male Leg'hrul's wing and now back, earning a cry of pain from him. Behind the AI, Lexa's eyes snapped above, just as the security force and Xale looked up, to see an approaching, purple grey attack craft.
With a series of consecutive, loud bursts, the main cannon fired, and between the hostages and the humans/AI, and the security, the ground was ripped apart. Continuing to fire at the same spot, the attack craft flew through the dust cloud the shots were throwing up, rotating 180 degrees, and opening the cockpit compartment entrance to them.
Over the sounds of the sometimes firing main cannon, Xale yelled to the female Leg'hrul: "Nice talking with you birdie, but I've got to be places." He shoved her to the ground, causing her to hit the ground with some degree of pain, as he leapt into the cockpit. Nearby, Raxler seized the Leg'hrul male by the ankle, and threw him around, sending him colliding with the floored female Leg'hrul, and shortly after leapt into the craft as well.
With a last burst at the ground near the former hostages with her rifle, Lexa yelled with some degree of aggression, for the sake of their survival: "Get out of here!" As the couple scrambled away, trying desperately to get airborne, but the pain proving to much, Lexa leapt in. As soon as the female human clone was aboard, and the cockpit canopy was shut, Shockwave fired one last, long burst at the ground, and fired his thrusters to rocket away into the sky, punching towards orbit.
By the time the dust cleared, and security was beginning to call for the tracking of the craft, Shockwave was already in orbit, clear enough for FTL transit. With a flash of light, the craft jumped to FTL, heading for the Dawnbreaker, a mere half light year distance away.
Now in FTL transit, the successful members of the scouting mission retired to their set quarters, tired from the day.
Numbly, Shak'rii sat down at her small cabin's work desk, turning on the Alliance news networks channel. What she saw only added to her worries about the fighting.
Riots were spreading out across the entire Alliance, and supply lines to many worlds were being cut off or cut down, leading to further poverty and discontent. The Alliance government seemed to not heed this, or seemed to be unable to appease easily. Their resources were too thin to deal with riots of this size, scale and occurrence. Surprisingly, both Vaerakin and Tarihhis, the Leg'hrul and Kro'nogri homeworlds, and the most populated worlds, had been little hit by the riots. Konurich station, the designated capital of the Alliance, was lost to constant violence, and the station had become a nest of anarchy and civil war. The councils and monarchies wouldn't dare meet or travel to their own capital, sticking to their homeworlds instead.
Her brother was vocal, stating that this war would be won within half a year, claiming his utmost faith in the Dreadnought programme, with a total of 6 out of a planned 9 up and running by now, with 2 already in the enemy territory, wreaking havoc on many key routes and outposts and bases of the UIP. King Lo'rath was adamant of this war ending by the guns of the dreadnoughts, and if anything, some of his council were even more vocal and supportive, none more so than male Kro'nogri councillor Velaran, who constantly emphasized the need to force the UIP species to submit to their superior race, emphasizing how the UIP, with so many more species than the Alliance, still seemed to be losing once more to the pure might of the Alliance.
King Rho'kis on the other hand was mildly supportive, but there was an air of uncertainty, perhaps unwillingness, when he asserted his support of the war, particularly the dreadnought programme. Many of the Leg'hrul councillors, like the Kro'nogri, were unsure, and two individuals stood out among the councillors. Councillor Dae'karya, a female Leg'hrul, with her policy on using experimental means to win the war, what she called unorthodox warfare, and was also the one who drew up the original KI alliance branch as a plot, and also had a legislative hand in the Varya station project. It was also her recommendation to give Kal'sik a second chance, and give him a security posting for the dreadnought construction site.
Meanwhile, Leg'hrul councillor Zai'aran, a younger, more peace seeking male. He knew the plight of the citizens, and often gained their favour as he constantly protested against more and more desperate Alliance military bids, asking for an end to the war. He gained much abuse from the more loyalist councillors for this, being called a traitor, and aligning with the NKI and the UIP.
Sha'krii would keep an eye on Zai'aran. His similar cries to her own might be a way in swaying at least Rho'kis into considering ending the war. She knew that unlike hr brother Lo'rath, Rho'kis was not prideful, and knew to think things through fully before acting. He also loathed unnecessary violence, and she could see Rho'kis's disgust at the war's destruction of the alliance.
And yet, at night, she found herself sometimes staring at any picture of Rho'kis, longing, feelings she had tried to bury, and almost succeeded in burying, for just over 15 years resurfacing. She knew she still loved him, but she knew that he was lost to her. He had a wife, and a child, and he loved her dearly. That was why Shak'rii prayed for a peaceful end to the war, where Rho'kis would be unharmed, in power and in personal life.
She loved him too much, and if it meant for him to be happy she had to let him live with someone else, she would live with it, and anesthetize the pain of loss with the assurance that the one she loved was happy.
Settling down in his bed, Xale kicked off hit boots, deciding to sleep in his light under armour. Laying back, he felt something flat beneath his back, and turned around. On his over armour arms were some blue feathers, from the female he held hostage.
He picked up the feathers, about a dozen in all, and moved to throw them in a waste bin. But, he looked at them again, seeing the red flecks on the ends, and the slight speckled white patterns on them he only noticed now. An idea came to mind, not one with a purpose, but merely a kind gesture for later.
He knew they were heading back to the Solaris base within the next 2 weeks, as the planned raid on a selected UIP prison facility to free high priority information carrying Alliance members would be useful. He also knew that there he could easily find the supplies he needed to finished a gift for Azula.
Opening a small box, part of the supplies he kept with him, Xale placed the feathers carefully in one compartment by themselves, making sure they wouldn't be bent.
Setting down for a sleep, Xale dreamt of the hostage situation he had proposed to carry out. As guilty as he should be, Xale felt no guilt for it whatsoever. They needed to escape, and those two Leg'hrul happened to be nearby as he planned out a location for a distraction. All that mattered to him was that he had some sort of enjoyment out of watching the Leg'hrul female squirm under his grip, which he knew was malicious, and he did not want to enjoy things like that, but somehow, he just did. He couldn't help it, and he knew that he could put such sadistic tendencies to a use if he served a noble goal.
Whoever said heroes had to be role models anyway? Xale was happy enough, he could use his mental instability and insecurity in a useful way, he had a fulfilling job, and he also had the loyalty of many allies, the respect of many friends, but he only loved two people actually, his sister Lexa, and of course, his fiery princess, Azula.
Next door, Lexa had already fallen asleep, her black hair reaching halfway down her back, but sprawled beneath her now in a messy long flow. She could sleep soundly, for she had no issues with the mission she had just come from.
And it would be nice to get back to Solaris soon, to regroup and relax a bit in a more permanent area. However, the memories of seeing Xale and Azula hook up revived a slight, nagging pain in Lexa's chest. She was alone, while others had the satisfaction of a love and or work, she still felt the need for someone to love, someone to comfort and back her up, or to be backed up besides her brother.
But such desires were trivial in times of war like this. The only comfort was that if they ended the war, she might be more recognized, and she could have some people come to her. Then, there might be a slim chance she would find someone she liked.
In the meeting room, Kirth and La'kias had just finished a decryption of the data tool. The data pointed to many potential weaknesses in many UIP prison facilities, but only two of them were worth exploiting. Of those two, one had significantly more important people they could acquire than the other. The ideal target was selected.
The Garonth system, namely the orbital Garonth VII prison ship Tartarus.
The plans were set, and requests for some dispatched ships for a small fleet to raid the facility were sent out. All they needed to do now was wait.
Down in the cargo hold, Shockwave was jolted from his recharge once more by the snoring beast lightly kicking his side as she slept.
How he ended up agreeing to share the same cargo hold as Zirleth again was beyond his processing ability. The 130 foot long repto-mammal was a thunderous snorer, and her breath caused his olfactory sensors grief. She also had a habit of kicking while dreaming.
In his laid back bipedal mode, Shockwave dimmed his one optic again, slipping out of a conscious state for the 4th time that hour.
Not 10 minutes later, a shifting of his entire frame awoke him. His optical ridges forming a single optic scowl, Shockwave barely restrained form taking his right arm cannon and firing on Zirleth there and then as she had pulled him into a hug, like a mother mammalian animal would do to its cub.
Apparently, Zirleth had formed a subconscious like of the warm metal a Cybertronian body. If she could see the look on the 40 foot mech's face, his mouth ridges bristling with restrained murderous intent, and his optic narrowed dangerously, she might let go.
All Shockwave could do was disable his body sensors, and thus ignore the feeling of the Aree'lathor smothering him.
It was going to be an irritating flight, one he would not wish to repeat. If Lord Megatron could see him now, wherever the tyrannical mech had been sent to nearly 900 years before, he would collapse form laughter at the state his most loyal scientist and assassin was in, being smothered by an organic beast.
Shockwave had only ever been voluntarily close to a large animal once, his pet Diller bot, who died the same day himself and Megatron did in Chicago. No other animal would come close, certainly not Zirleth if she continued this subconscious behaviour.
At least the Driller didn't drool in its sleep.
Hey guys, first chapter up, continue reading and review please, for feedback y'know?
Also, it helps to have read my previous stories: Into the Darkness, Redemption of the Dark Kind, and Dark Hunter, Dark Saviour. That way, you know the story before reading this one.