September 4, 2013
Not Proofread
Written By RahXephon [847246]

Author's Notes: Just a sporadic update to show I'm not dead. I'm actually just lazy.

The Star Empire

Black of Heart

The infamous Blackguard shored up the defenses of the mansion by coordinating their incoming reinforcements. Somehow, despite its relatively barren strategic importance, the mansion symbolized the heart of Vlessing Base's defense. It was there that the illustrious Pierre Dolohov intended to make his stand, and Gloria and Harry's combined forces were willing to oblige him, if only to get some answers out of him and his supposed secret deal with Gloria.

"Engage." Gloria ordered through the commandnet, and in tandem her pirates and the Dust Devils under Harry's command crawled out of cover to assault the crystal mansion. Like a scene out of a fairy tale battle, they charged the opulent construction and attacked individual strongholds. Turrets blazed out in arcing beams of blue that scorched half-a-dozen attackers at once. Harry's well-equipped marines in turn deployed digital chaff that hardly hindered human vision but confused the hell out of the turrets' automated sensors and targeting program. This caused a short delay in their firing, allowing the besiegers to come closer and dig in while the defenders frantically took manual control over the turrets and fired back with markedly less precision.

"C'mon you dogs, overwhelm the Callistoans!" Harry goaded his own rabble on as he advanced at a more prudent gait, securely in the middle of his First Squad who kept their eyes peeled for any ambushes. He swept a quick gaze at the mansion and all of its defenses and judged that the time was right. "Gloria, it looks like the Blackguard are as fully committed as can be. Shall we bring down the house?"

A short pause. "Do so."

"Assault Squad, begin the bombardment!"

Spread out carefully along different sides of the mansion, the heavy Assault exoskeletons lumbered out of the protective embrace of structures and hammered forward with their rumbling steps. Escorted gingerly by squads of normal troopers that looked like mere ants to these great machines, the Assault suits rapidly drew notice from the Blackguard as they realized what a threat they could pose.

Instantly, a change rippled across the defensive lines as the elites adapted to this new element and began ordering their turrets to target the heavy suits. The Class IV beam laser turrets should have been able to vaporize any common infantry unit, but the Assault Squad survived the initial barrage long enough for them to deploy disposable barriers enhanced with heat and kinetic absorbing magic. The runes inscribed on their surfaces flared hot as they struggled to absorb the massive thermal energy coming their way.

Eventually, the Blackguard realized they were making no progress and that they were only pinning their turrets against an indomitable wall while hundreds of other pirates and marines were making slow headway with Pierre's overwhelmed mercenaries. One by one, they reprioritized targets while the Blackguard activated the grenade launcher modules of their customized rifles and began peppering the threats with explosive shells.

While the explosions succeeded in suppressing the escorts, the Assault suits themselves were decidedly less impressed. They stepped out of cover unheeding of the shrapnel and heat sent in their way and braced themselves firmly on the metal pavement below, which creaked slightly under the weight they supported. Twin kinetic barrels along either side of the Assault suit's helmets woke up from their standby position and made minute adjustments to their alignment as the operators inputted their targeting data.

Before the Blackguard could adapt to this new development and bring heavier weapons to bear, the Assault Squad fired in unison.

A great amount of positions simply disappeared in smoke as debris pelted in each and every direction. Naked screams filled the air as gunfire momentarily halted at the great booms and the subsequent tearing of metal and flesh. The heavy kinetic slugs had simply smashed through turrets, people and even managed to crack the hardened crystal walls of the mansion. A great cheer rang out from the attackers as they resumed their attack in spades, not giving the defenders the breathing room to reorganize an effective defense.

Despite having lost a relatively few amount of men, Pierre's mercenaries buckled under the ferocity. Losing their fixed weapon emplacements was a major loss of strength, and it affected their morale more than the Blackguard would have liked. These were not the grizzled and experienced pirates under Gloria's command, nor could they match Harry's professionally trained marine contingent bolstered by a horde of undisciplined but well-armed corsairs.

But that didn't mean that Pierre was out of options. Harry heard an alert coming his way as he casually picked his targets with his revolver. "Incoming enemy reinforcements! Gunships are on their way!"

'Shit!' Harry thought. Even he knew that his infantry force couldn't adequately deal with flying craft. 'What can we do?'

"Hold the advance but maintain position." Gloria's cooler voice commanded, taking charge of the situation in Harry's mental absence. "Harry, order your heavy suits to standby and engage the gunships on sight."

"They weren't designed to fight flying craft."

"Then deal with it!" She yelled back, not even attempting to hide her stress this time. "Lure the gunships to lower ground or something, just take care of them before they bombard out firing lines!"

'Merlin, why am I supposed to be the one to take care of this shit.' Harry wondered as he shook his head. He let Sergeant Castia relay his intention to the Assault Squad as he cycled through his magic for ways to take the gunships down.

It got worse as the mansion's garage opened up, pouring a small formation of armored hovercars that cleared away at the exposed invaders. Fortunately, the cars were not so formidable to be a continued threat and the combined volleys of beam lasers and pulse fire promptly chewed them up. Still, it bought the defenders enough time to reorganize and for the gunships to come in close.

The gravitic attack craft took advantage of Vlessing's Base open interior and made swift strafing runs at their enemies. Rapid pulser fire spat out from their front hitting empty ground and defenseless attackers alike in a shower of deathly sparks. Harry counted six of them, all flying amock and never staying still enough for his Assault squad to get a bead on them. Their kinetic barrels simply couldn't track such speeds and the gunships skillfully dipped behind other structures to break line of sight. The devastating airpower completely stalled the advance and many of his soldiers kept their heads down in helpless terror.

Harry let out a furious grunt. They had come in light and fast, bringing in relatively few support on what should have been an infiltration strike. "Gloria! My units can't track those flying bastards!"

"This operation is going to Mercury if we don't do something in the next couple of minutes!" She yelled back with equal frustration. "I know you've got more tricks in your bag. Don't fucking hold back or we'll all die!"

He tensed at her words, but considered them more closely. 'The time for secrecy is beginning to pass. I've already decided that I want to reintroduce magic to society.' Still, revealing his powers in front of a hated rival and possible enemy sat ill with him. However, he just needed to glance around to remind him why he needed to end this threat swiftly. Each time one of the nimble craft zoomed in, they fired hundreds of deadly pulse projectiles in an unbelievably rapid succession that tore more and more of his men and women apart. He couldn't let the people who depended on him die on his watch when he had the power to stop the aerial threat.

'But can I stop them?' At the height of his power, he imagined he had several ways to stop the gunships. With just half power, and the prospect of more battle ahead of them, he needed to keep his restraint. 'I need an efficient solution to this problem.'

With his choice set, he holstered his useless revolver and extended the arm with his wand embedded to his wrist. Taking aim at a gunship about to close in near his position, he uttered an almost-silent incantation that left no visible effect.

Harry waited.

The gunship suddenly ceased its approach towards its juicy prey, having lost all control of its flight. Instead, the craft shot up almost vertically as if launched by a Gravitic Catapult. It continued its meteoric rise until it crashed against the armored upper dome of Vlessing Base with a remorseless blast.

Almost no one had time to wonder how the gunship lost control before Harry switched to his next target, incanting another Wingardium Leviosa along the way. It took a lot of strength to affect such a large and heavy target, but it was worth it as the craft tumbled into another upside-down crash.

"They're retreating!"

Either the pilots were more cowardly than Harry thought, or they were just redeployed elsewhere. Whatever the case, it wasn't his problem anymore, allowing him to focus on the siege. He noted with mild irritation that the defensive lines had been reinforced with fresh reserves. Aside from the destruction of the fixed weapon emplacements, it brought the battle right at the beginning. 'Fucking assholes.'

Frankly, he lost his patience at that moment. He turned to Castia. "Where's the nearest Assault suit? Bring me to him."

"This way, sir." She replied, signaling his escort to move alongside him as he made his way to the heavy metal contraption.

"You." Harry said, pointing at the suit. "Stay still and open your left magazine. I need to access your next round."

The man in the suit obliged, first stepping back behind his mobile barrier before lowering himself and exposing the magazine segment of his left shoulder-mounted railgun. Despite the confusing mechanical components, Harry had worked to enchant enough of these things to reach the pocket dimension that stored hundreds of kinetic rounds. He carefully retrieved one of the heavy cylinders and poured a powerful charm onto it, this time consciously using one of the powers bestowed on him by the Elder Wand. He did not do so lightly, as each particular application of the Hallows came at a cost, but compared to the lives of his men and the success of this attack, it was a price he was willing to pay. After he finished the application, he carefully returned the round into the pocket dimension, and then finally signaled the Assault suit to close up.

"Alright, I want you to aim carefully at the main entrance over there. Wait for my command to fire."

The Assault suit acknowledged with a wordless nod of its ominous helmet before stepping just enough to expose the barrel and nothing more. Harry took a few steps back in case something went wrong and scanned the battlefield as projectiles flew back and forth. He used his artificial eye to assess the condition of his men, and compared their morale to the mood of the defenders. 'Our men are more solid, but Pierre's mercenaries aren't exactly pushovers. Still, I don't think he has a lot more left in reserve.'

That was just a hunch, but one which Harry felt confident enough about to gamble his next move on. He opened a channel to all nearby ground forces. "This is Commodore Harry. Mere moments from now, I will create an opening. As soon as the dust is cleared, charge forward and overwhelm the defenders with the force of our ferocity!"

Of course, Gloria instantly objected. "Don't listen to that dumbass! I'm in operational command here! Stay put and—"

Ignoring her screeching, Harry turned to the Assault soldier and nodded. "Fire."

The kinetic cannon let out a resounding boom as the enhanced slug left its barrel with unimaginable speeds. In a fraction of a blink of an eye, the round traversed the short distance over the battlefield to land squarely against the highly reinforced gate. While the Class IV round failed to penetrate the incredibly sturdy crystal material, It did set off Harry's charm.

The Elder Wand represented the might of magic and the tyranny of death at a level beyond its base appearance. It was never just a stick. To think of it as a piece of wood centered around a few minor reagents was missing the point of it entirely. While Harry admitted to himself that he hadn't been the best at being the Master of Death, nor actually coming even close to figuring out what it meant and what the nature of death represented, he still figured out plenty of things along the way. It all had to do with the intertwining of death, a natural process undaunted by time, with magic, a hidden force of the universe that welled untapped beyond mortal eyes.

It was an unnatural union. The two forces of nature twisted inside-out at their forceful union, producing unnatural results that should never have existed in the first place. It was such an irony that Harry held the title of Master of Death when he couldn't even master this process of bending reality to the whims of his magic. He was more of a.. passenger, so to say. Sure, once in a while, he learned a new trick now and then, but they came at random and always at a significant cost.

So when his charm atomized an globe the size of a hovercar into dust, all without warning, Harry practically collapsed, doing his best to keep his insides from disassembling in the same way. Whereas the nearby gate guards promptly disappeared or worse, lost only part of their bodies, Harry had to contend with a missing liver of all things. He bit back a silent scream and scrambled to unlatch the torso portion of his armor, all the while silently crying out in pain.

At least the rest of his men weren't wasting the opening he gave them. One of his marine subordinates sounded out a charge, and they all welled up from their cover to close in on the bewildered defenders. Gloria, realizing that they were committed to this tactic, sent out her shock troops with them while ordering her regular forces to maintain covering fire. 'Damn that stupid brat, it's too early to charge.'

Indeed, despite the intensity of the massed charge, the defenders were killing their vulnerable opponents by the score. The Blackguards were reaping their fill by using their grenade launchers to great effect, killing half-a-dozen enemies with each high-explosive blast. Yet they carried only so many grenades. After finally running out, they pulled back at an unseen signal, leaving the mercenaries well and truly alone at the mercies of their emboldened invaders.

They broke. It couldn't be described in any other way. They all abandoned their defensive positions. The lucky ones fell back inside the mansion before the remaining doors closed. Others pushed outward, trying to escape the envelopment. But without cohesion, the individuals fell against mass attacks.

Amidst the screams and blood, the command group moved up the opening Harry created. The wizard had expended a lot of effort into making it and he had to waste even more magic to accelerate his healing process. Limping along was all he could do at the moment.

Gloria glowered back at him. "You're lucky we managed to take over the parapets at all with that dumb-as-fuck charge. We still lost a good number of men."

"No more so than if we had let this siege muddle on."

She grunted sourly. "At least the fights at the beam turret emplacements are going well. Pierre must have recalled all of his forces back here to save his hide. That said, it won't be easy dealing with reinforcements."

With plenty of mercenaries along with the Blackguard held up inside, Harry and Gloria had to split up their forces. Harry left the assault squad along with the majority of his pirates to take up the abandoned battlements while leaving him with a smaller force that consisted of his First Squad and his Ioan marines. Gloria for her part brought along her elite shock troops, all well-versed in cramped combat conditions such as ship boarding and facility assaults.

After composing a rudimentary plan, the two were about to invade Pierre's personal domain. But before they could make the first step, Gloria opened a private channel to Harry.

"Make sure you keep Pierre alive. He might not have betrayed us yet. If so, we still need him."

Harry scowled at that. "If he's still on our side he has a weird way of showing it. I won't make any promises, Gloria."


"Fine, as long as he's not shooting at us I'll hear what he has to say for himself."

With that, Harry slammed the comm link and took the first steps inside the crystal palace.

The mansion's interior had changed since Harry's only visit. Instead of open spaces and opulent decorations, he was met with the sight of complex mazes and other confounding obstructions. Crystalline mirrors snaked out in many random directions, making direct passages towards the interior a nightmare. A few demolitionists have tried to blast the crystals apart, only to spend an obscene amount of explosive ordnance for just a few cracked surfaces. Whatever they were, the materials were nearly as tough as the outer layers of Pierre's mansions.

But the worst of all was that they reflected beam lasers. A few elite soldiers tried to melt them with sustained bursts, but only caused the beams to bounce instantly in many different directions, inevitably bisecting a few friendly troopers.

"Hold your fire!"

"The walls reflect beam fire." Harry noted with curiosity. Why hadn't he seen this elsewhere?

Gloria recognized it immediately. "Only extra-solar grade armor should be able to achieve that. This much.. is worth hundreds of millions at the very least. In any case, it's best we holster our beam lasers and rely on kinetic armaments."

That left his elite bodyguard without an effective means to fight. Harry sighed and gestured at his First Squad. "You're no use to me here. Go outside and coordinate the encirclement."

Castia along with the rest of her men saluted him and reluctantly left his side. That left only a score of less well-equipped men and women to delve within the bowels of Pierre's mansion.

"So what now?" The suddenly less well-armed wizard asked, still slightly exhausted from his earlier exertion.

"We have to find that bastard quickly before he does any more damage to the station." Gloria stated, readying a kinetic rifle a henchmen threw at her. "He could do loads of things to stymie our effort, from ejecting all of the station's coolant to overloading the power reactor."

A glimmer appeared in the corner of her vision, and the veteran pirate turned around immediately and fired a shot. The accelerated projectile bounced off harmlessly, leaving Pierre's image unscathed.

"Pierre." The woman growled. "Finally you come to face me."

The man, as ever, wore an extravagant suit of translucent crystal. It appeared as a faux-business suit with all the shapes and buttons, except his was totally transparent, hiding nothing from the outside world, including his waist. To say that Pierre was excited to see Gloria again was very visibly evident, though her thick battle armor did spoil some of his anticipation.

"Must you be such a prude?" The governor lamented. "The least you could do when you invite yourself into my house is to dress appropriately. I recall your last visit with very fond memories."

Gloria was in no mood for games right now. "The only fond thing you'll experience today is my heel crushing your balls if you don't start explaining yourself!"

"Alas, things are more complex as they appear. I'm quite literally at my back here."

The smooth crystal's viewpoint then expanded to show that Pierre was surrounded by a cadre of surviving Blackguards, half of whom were lazily pointing their weapons at him. "As you can see, I am in the company of some very esteemed guests."

"We had a deal, you bastard. Did you invite them or did they come to you unannounced?"

Pierre was about to reply, but a Blackguard rudely cracked the butt of his rifle against the man.

"I'm sorry Gloria, but time's up. It was a pleasure knowing you."

The image winked out, putting everyone on alert.

"Something's happening." Someone said as a strange sound began to hum in the air.

A large beam laser instantly shot out from a random direction and reflected off the stationary mirrors, turning the chamber into a deathtrap. Seven crewmen instantly lost their lives as the laser ripped right through their flimsy body armor and vaporized their very flesh and bone.

"This entire mansion is a trap! We've got to retreat!" Gloria yelled as she hit the deck along with everyone else with a brain. "We'll call in heavy artillery and blast that mansion to bits!"

"No!" Harry yelled back, not wanting to give up after coming so close. "Pierre's the key to all of this! We have to take him down now before he does anything stupid!"

"There's no end to this!" The pirate captain shouted back as another array of lasers pierced above their heads. "Unless you've got more of your special gizmo's, we can't push forward!"

There were actually several things he could do to mitigate this disaster, but all of them involved revealing his abilities even more. 'Shit. I can't hide anything from this bitch.'

He looked around once more and spotted the double arched stairways to the upper floor. "We have to reach upstairs."

"And how do you propose we do that against this withering fire?!"

"Just watch." He said, and opened up the commandnet. "All men inside the mansion, retreat outside. I repeat, to everyone who is currently inside the mansion, get out and wait for our return!"

"Hey wait a minute kid! What are you—" But before she could say anything more, Harry jumped on top of her armored body and then side-along apparated them both.

"Aahh!" Harry yelled out as they both landed at the top of the stairs, feeling almost all of his nerve endings burn in trying to bring along his nEMP-negating armor. It felt as if he had tried to drag a truck from one end of the world to the other end. "Shit shit shit!"

Gloria for her part didn't blink twice at the apparent technological impossibility of teleportation, and instead recovered quickly in order to secure their immediate surroundings. A couple of Blackguards who were overlooking the balcony below were so surprised at their appearance that they reacted far too slowly against Gloria's accurate shots to their vulnerable necks.

"Get up you bastard!" She said as she dragged Harry to his feet. "I don't know what you just did, but we must be close. The control center must be up ahead."

While Harry would have liked to do nothing but drop dead, he shrugged his pain as best as he could – with the help of some potions – and followed the more experienced captain forwards.

"I've been to Pierre's mansion plenty of times. He never showed me where his center of operations was located, but I have a feeling it's here, next to his bed chambers."

It was almost eerie how they encountered no further resistance. Pierre must have known they were there through his observation systems.

"Will we find another trap inside?" Harry asked, though given his rotten luck he knew the answer.

"At the very least, there's a full squad of Blackguards inside." Though Gloria's helmet revealed no expression, Harry keenly felt her eyes on him, expecting another rabbit out of his hat.

"My body is aching all over and my insides feel like mush. I can't do much more."

"It's either that, or we sit here like sitting ducks to anything Pierre might throw at us."

He sighed yet again. "Maybe I have one more trick up my sleeve that won't suck me dry."

"Let's hear it, kid."

If there was one thing Pierre Antoine Dolohov hated, it was when his prey didn't follow the script. He let out a frustrated grunt as he tapped the floor with his diamond slippers. 'What are those two up to now?'

While most of the Blackguards took up strategic positions behind cover, one with lieutenant bars approached Pierre. "Sir, we're ceding the initiative by waiting for them to come in. I highly suggest we storm out and take them by surprise."

A nasty scowl grew on the governor's face. "Don't forget who Admiral Black put in charge around here. This is my station, and you're under my command."

"Understood, sir." The voice had an obvious edge to it but Pierre paid it no further mind. Such lesser creatures were beneath his attention.

The only thing that mattered now was to cut off Harry and Gloria's heads and send them to Admiral Black on a platter. While he regretted turning back on his word and abandoning Gloria's cause, she should have known she was way over her head. The impending rebellion against Black and the Callistoan Maffia could have led to success if given a few more years to prepare, but with the haste Gloria was insisting upon they had no chance of success. She cornered him and Pierre really had no choice but to go over the other side if he wanted to maintain his status and wealth.

'Don't hate me for what I've done, my dear. This is how the game is played, and you've been losing it ever since you refused to be patient.'

In the highly dangerous world of piracy and mercenary work, patience was a quality not often found among the undisciplined. So many pirates made their mark by taking daring risks that they couldn't contemplate that they could have lost much less by waiting for a weakness to appear. That was how he moved up in this world. Pierre had worked under the previous governor of Vlessing Base for many years, only pouncing when a situation presented itself where he could pin the death of the governor to another faction.

Now Pierre hoped to do the same with Admiral Black. 'I'll just have to earn his trust and prove to be his most loyal subject. It might take decades, but when he finally lowers his guard, Trindebal Base and all of his assets shall finally be mine.'

But first he had to take care of the current speed bump in his way. The entrance door finally slid open, and all of his Blackguard readied their weapons.

"Be sure to leave one of them alive." Pierre reminded the Blackguard as he retracted his custom crystalline pistol. "We have to gain at least some leverage in order to force their formidable space fleet to pull back."

Seconds ticked by, yet nothing appeared. Pierre switched his focus from the entrance to a console, yet it stated that his security systems detected no intrusions of any kind. "What..?"

A gout of purple flame flared out of nowhere from behind, engulfing a trio of Blackguards at once with searing heat. Pierre turned quickly and fired off at the shadow that appeared out of thin air, but the only thing he saw was a shimmer that glided from his eyes. "There's something here!"

A second spray of flame emitted to the side, taking two more Blackguards and practically halving the men guarding Pierre. This time the flames didn't end, spraying all over the floor and cutting off Pierre and his men from moving elsewhere. Kinetic rounds then started to shatter against the surprised and confused Guards, the many accurate hits piercing even their vaunted heavy armor.

In a minute, it was all over. Between the uncatchable flamethrower and the withering kinetic assault, Pierre had shut down completely and cowered under his console while Admiral Black's personal guard did everything they could to survive. Yet in the end, they just didn't have enough.

Pierre laughed pathetically when Harry's armored form finally revealed itself from a no-doubt highly advanced piece of stealth technology. 'It's just like my bed sheets… except those are meant to hide rather than reveal.'

"Put down the gun." Gloria requested levelly as she marched over the bodies of burnt and bloody corpses to arrive at the center of Pierre's operations room.

Of course, he did as she asked. "Okay, okay. Here, my gun's away. I don't have any other weapons on me, as you can probably see."

Gloria shouldered her own rifle and popped open her helmet to reveal a smirk. "Your usual attire does make it rather easy to see what you're carrying around."

He shrugged. "I have nothing to hide, my dear captain."

"Good, then can you tell me what the deal is with these Blackguard? Why are they here? Are you in league with them?"

The current governor of Vlessing Base knew that Gloria was watching him closely for any lies. Sweat trickled down his back as he prepared to bluff his way out of this mess. "C'mon Gloria, you know how Admiral Black is like. He's paranoid. The instant this dreadful war erupted, he started to beef up his security, and sent some of his men to his allies in order to insure their compliance."

"So you never intended to betray us? To betray our cause?"

"Do you take me for a fool? The Callistoan Maffia is a disease that must be purged. I've been with you all the way since I first met you when you were a young, lost girl washing up these shores."

The woman's features softened a little. "Very well. I knew I could count on you. Now, can you call off your men? I'd like to take control over this station without any further bloodshed."

He did as she asked without any fuss. All throughout the station, Pierre's mercenaries laid down their arms in vague confusion while Harry and Gloria's men neatly entered fortified positions they had earlier thrown away many lives in order to penetrate. All of the station's outer defenses were put offline, guaranteeing the safe arrival of the Immortal Marauder and her fellow ships.

"There's too many wounded in the field." Gloria said as she analyzed the data coming in through the commandnet. "We'll have to coordinate our rescue and relief efforts with my incoming fleet. I doubt your medical facilities have enough capacity to treat all of our casualties."

"Regretful business, this battle." Pierre commented.

"One that could have been prevented." A voice said from behind as a revolver jammed against the back of Pierre's vulnerable skull. "Goodbye, you fucking lunatic."

A loud bang echoed throughout the command center as Pierre's skull quite simply blew apart from the sheer amount of concussive force behind Harry's magical sidearm.

"What the hell is wrong with you Harry?!" Gloria called as she instantly dove behind cover and armed her rifle.

As Harry looked down on Pierre's naked form, whose clothes hid absolutely no modesty at all, he finally deigned to answer his partner. "Pierre was lying out of his transparent ass. He was in league with Admiral Black when we invaded this base."

"Is that another one of your fucking tricks?"


They stood off against each other for thirty seconds, each waiting for an impending move. With Pierre out of the picture, they were all alone, with nothing but corpses and a few remaining flames to keep them company. Both Harry and Gloria were keenly aware that if they managed to kill the other, they would have the opportunity to take command over the combined fleet, gaining an unimaginable amount of power and prestige.


"Commodore Harry!"

And in an instant, the tension disappeared as reinforcements arrived from below. Harry's First Squad and Gloria's elite entered the chamber and checked for any threats.

"All clear."

With the standoff over, Harry loosely holstered his weapon, while Gloria smoothly hauled herself out of cover while making it look like she was tired.

"About time you lazy asses showed up. Take over the controls and secure the entire station. Give me a damage report and tell me if there are any instances of resistance among the mercenaries or the local population."

"Looks like you have your work cut out for you here." The wizard said as he made his way out. "I'll head back to the docking area and await the arrival of our ships."

Both of them turned their backs towards each other, wondering what might have been if either of them pulled their trigger any sooner. Soon enough, they put it out of their minds, focusing instead on other pressing matters.

End Notes: No comment.