A/N: Wow. This started as a Krytus/Kyburi oneshot and turned into an explanation of how the RS5 came to be. Bwahaha it's like fifty pages so far. Anyway, lots of headcannon, mixed with actual BF5 material later on (part of 'The Crimson One' comes up) and mostly from Kyburi's point of view.
Six blasted, lonely, bleak months she had been traveling from planet to planet, jumping through portals, constantly on the lookout for any sign of Sentient life forms. The Blue Sentients had bent the Reds to their will, to their ways, their idiotic customs of peace and knowledge. They were inferior, and yet without Krytus, the willpower of the Reds had crumpled under their insatiable thirst for power.
They had lost motivation. They had been blinded by false ideals of peace, the end of war, the dawn of a new era for Sentients.
It was ridiculous. They knew not what they hungered for; they were falsely satisfied by what the Blues forced down their throats. She would be the first to admit that the Red Sentients were not the more intelligent of the two, but they were certainly the more aggressive. It enraged her every day to know that her brothers and sisters had been so fooled, deceived by the lesser race. The fact scorched her with anger every passing day she fought to survive the bitter existence she now led.
It was the Rock Zone this week, pillars of stone and not much else. It was boring, and dreary, and she fed on pathetic life forms the size of Krylox's brain. She was reduced to a shell of her former huntress glory, forced to hide in godforsaken BattleZones, fighting just to stay alive. One of her inside sources had informed her that all of the respawn chambers had been destroyed. If they caught her now, that would be it. Her end. Of course, the Blues were much more interested in her banishment than her death, but she would have almost preferred dying to spending eternity in a frozen block of ice.
"They're coming for you, Kyburi." Her sister spoke gravely, red eyes boring into her through the screen of the Venikus. "They're coming for all of you." Kiry had never dedicated her life to Krytus as so many others did, but she knew what he had meant to Kyburi. Kiry didn't wish death upon anyone, and though she knew the Council believed her sister deserved it, she was determined to keep her safe. They had a communication link set up, and while the Blues had interrogated her, she had told them that she had no idea as to Kyburi's whereabouts, and made it apparent that she preferred peace like the rest of them. The second part was not a lie. Kiry was not like many of the other war-like Red Sentients, who had been put into stasis after Krytus's reign came to an end. The Council considered them to dangerous; too likely to start another rebellion. Despite Kiry being the blood sister of Kyburi she felt no burning hatred toward the Blues. She would have preferred that the two races coexist, but it seemed that could not be the case. She knew she was not helping peace come by protecting Kyburi, but what could she do? They were sisters. They had been on their own together for so long.
"I know." Kyburi said through clenched teeth. "But I refuse to allow them to defeat me."
"The human they call the Crimson One, he is combing the BattleZones, one at a time, searching for traces of antimatter. It will not be long before you are compromised." Kiry said with fear in her voice.
"Do not call him by that name!" Kyburi hissed, about to rake her claws through the screen but then thinking better of it. "Only Krytus is truly the Crimson One!"
"I apologize, sister, but you must heed my warning!" Kiry pleaded. "Come home! I can hide you from them, shield you until-"
"Until what?" Kyburi demanded. "I will never be forgiven for my crimes. The Council will banish me as they did to the rest of my team." She shook her head in irritation. Fools. All of them but Krytus, fools. Kytren and Krylox, rash and senseless as ever, had gone straight to Modulon 5 in an idiotic attempt to avenge their leader. They were imprisoned almost instantly by Borealis and his other Blue warriors, and sentenced to banishment, their icy tombs just paces away from that of their leader. Kyburi had sensed their energies fade and die, but felt only the tiniest bit of remorse. They were fools, and they should have known better. She hadn't particularly cared for either of them anyway. Her only reason for staying with that team was Krytus. Kyrosys had not lasted much longer. He was more cunning than the other two; Kyburi gave him at least that much credit. He had tried, as she had, to hide discreetly in a BattleZone, and lasted for three weeks. He was not smart enough to keep changing his position, and Borealis had tracked him down. She missed him slightly more than the others; they had been closer. That left only her; one more ice block just waiting to trap her in eternity with her team. She had been running from them for nearly four months now.
"Hiding here would still be better than jumping amongst countless BattleZones!" Kiry protested. "Kyburi, it is only a matter of time before they discover your location! You antimatter would be easily hidden among the thousands of Reds that live everyday lives here! Why, we could modify your exoskeleton so that you were nearly unrecognizable! Sister, I beg of you, you must return home!"
"And how might I do that?" Kyburi accused. "The Blue Sentients monitor every portal that opens to their planet or ours." She said bitterly.
"We could find a way!" Kiry exclaimed desperately. "Kyburi, you must know…they are using Solara to find you."
"What?!" Kyburi hissed in hatred.
"She visits the Council's headquarters for hours on end, attempting to amplify her mental link enough to pinpoint your coordinates." Kiry nodded grimly, and Kyburi snarled, baring her pointed teeth. Solara was her Blue twin, her equivalent, but hardly with power equal to that of Kyburi. Solara and Sage had played together as young Sentients, and when she discovered Kyburi's allegiance with Krytus, she had been furious.
"I severed my mental link with Solara years ago." Kyburi hissed quietly, suddenly feeling as if she were being observed.
"Yes, but she still can access it. The Blue's technology has become far more advanced since their minds were restored." Kiry said gravely.
"Kiry, I—" Kyburi paused. The spikes that protruded from her skull almost seemed to quiver in warning. "I must go." She said quickly, resuming her guard.
"Kyburi—" She had to cut her sister off. As the video connection closed, she gripped the controls of the Venikus, scanning all around her for—
"Your vehicle betrays you, huntress." She snarled in menace at the tiny glimpse of green vehicle showing from behind a rock mountain. This Zone was full of the things, full of places to hide. They were helpful in concealing her but also aided her enemies in sneaking up on her.
"And your failure to check all of your surroundings betrays you, Kyburi!" She heard the voice of the human she so loathed, but it did not come from the blasted emerald vehicle. Instead, the green-suited human landed on the hood of the Venikus with a jarring thump, perfectly balanced. Kyburi snarled as she quickly put it together that the vehicle had only been a decoy, and that the human had ambushed her by jumping from one of the taller rock monuments.
"If it's a fight you're looking for, human, it's a fight you'll get!" She snapped, in no mood for games. She had to eliminate the creature quickly before her team could follow. The human jumped back from the Venikus just seconds before Kyburi absorbed it into herself, so that they were on the rocky ground, face to face.
"Where's your backup team, human? Hiding in the cliffs like cowards?" She taunted. They circled each other distrustfully, waiting for the first move.
"I came alone." Her adversary replied coolly. "Thought it would be more fair considering you don't have a choice."
"Aghhh!" Her words infuriated Kyburi, and she lunged forward to strike that stupid smirk right from the human's face.
Her foe just dodged her attack, flipping gracefully to land a blow to Kyburi's stomach. The Red Sentient flew back with gritted teeth; her core couldn't sustain this much damage, and the human had grown stronger. She would never admit it to a living soul, but the human was a skilled fighter, almost as capable as herself.
"I'll make you regret that!" She threatened, although it was somewhat weak. She rose to stand, but the human was there again, tackling her to the ground and pinning her in a position that made it impossible to retaliate.
"I have a name, you know." She gritted her teeth with the effort of keeping Kyburi on the ground.
"I am well aware of that, human!" The Red hissed furiously. "But we have never cared to learn any of your names! You are as insignificant and numerous as ants, and distinguishing one from the other is as pointless as counting the stars! You disgust us, human, and we could not possibly care about you any less!"
Her rival laughed, an action that infuriated the helpless Red.
"Don't you get it, Kyburi?" The human looked down in condescension. "There is no 'us'. There is no 'we'. Your team is imprisoned. Frozen. Any of your former Red supporters have either been placed in stasis or rehabilitated. You're completely unaided in your struggle, and yet you still continue to fight. For what? Even if you could make it to the Red planet, none of them would listen to you. You're an outlaw. A fugitive. You're alone."
Her derision stung Kyburi to the core.
"As are you, human." She finally recovered enough to say. "What gave you such courage as to face me unaccompanied? Did you think you could defeat me, bringing home the spoils of war like the horn of the Magmatrox?" She watched as the human grew more agitated at her mockery, watched her doubt herself, and pressed further.
"Or was it because of the Council? Did they not think you strong enough to take on such a mission? Was it Sage? Or even your own leader, so great, fearless, and powerful, didn't trust you enough to let you embark?" She said snidely, and could see her rival quivering with rage.
"Vert trusts me more than anyone else on the team!" The human snapped, and in her outburst, Kyburi made her move, throwing the human off of her and lunging at her before she could react, so that their roles were reversed.
"Your emotions betray you, human." She hissed coldly, watching her foe's expression try to remain strong. "You care too much for your team and leader especially, and it will be your end. I will see to it. After all, do you see where being loyal to Krytus has gotten me?" Kyburi allowed a bitter laugh to escape her dark lips. "You may be right, human. I may be an outlaw. I may be alone. But at least I am still able to defeat you!" She raised her hand to slash her claws down the human's cheek, but her target rolled just inches out of her reach. Kyburi howled in frustration, plunging her claws down fruitlessly onto the rock, but the stupid subspecies evaded her again and again, and the rock surface was dulling her prided claws with every attempt.
"You wish, Kyburi!" The human retorted, slipping out from underneath her and springing back into a fighting stance. "And the name is Agura." She lunged at Kyburi and they fought vigorously, each just about to pin the other but then the tables would turn again. It was exhausting, and Kyburi was out of practice, but she refused to be defeated by this pitiful human. Kyburi's skills, once so honed, had deteriorated slightly in the past weeks of running and hiding, without much time for fighting. Even her kills had to be made quickly and in secret, and she no longer received any pleasure from them. Thinking of all this only amplified her rage, and she directed all of it, at that moment, towards her foe.
"You will pay for what you and your team did to my mate!" She snapped as they brawled, and the remark almost caught the human so off-guard that she lost the advantage.
"Krytus was your mate?" She demanded in shock, and Kyburi cursed for letting such a private piece of information slip.
"It is no concern of yours, human!" She said angrily. The fight seemed to last an eternity, and neither could gain an upper hand for more than a second. Kyburi had quickly come to realize that she had a massive advantage; the human was not only averse to killing, but wished to only disable her long enough to show off her prize before her banishment.
Kyburi was the total opposite. She thrived on killing. At that moment, in the heat of battle, she craved nothing more than to sink her sharpened claws into the human's flesh and suck every last drop of life from her body. She shivered in pleasure at the thought, and invigorated by the image, fought much harder. The human was tiring. After all, she was merely an organic creature. Kyburi felt that she could end the battle, and with a final massive effort, pinned the human down. She raised her claws as if contemplating them, torturing the pinned prey before the final strike. She swiped her fingers down and buried them in the rival's shoulder, watching in delight as her life force slowly slipped away, absorbed into her own core. It had been so long since she had truly hunted, truly killed. Yes, she had stolen energy from lesser creatures in order to stay alive, but that was dull work. This was wholehearted revenge, and it was wonderful. The human huntress fought her every step. Even the energy pouring into her felt rebellious, but Kyburi kept her claws planted firmly, and soon her struggling grew weaker.
"You'll still be alone, you know." The green-suited human choked out. "I hope you don't consider this a victory."
"Oh, I do, human." Kyburi grinned wickedly. She loathed this being more than any of them, more than even the one who dared call himself the Crimson One.
"You know it's…one for my team too." Her fading rival choked out, lifting her wrist to display the com-link all Battle Force 5 members wore. It blinked blue, the pulse becoming more rapid with every passing second, sending out a signal to her team like a beacon.
A tracking device. The words hit her like a blow.
"Aghhhh!" Kyburi screamed in rage, ripping her claws out of the human's shoulder. With it, she tore bits of flesh, but this pathetic creature had denied Kyburi her murderous revenge. "You'll pay for this, human!" She hissed, leaping into the air and forming the Venikus. Her revenge had distracted her from her surroundings, but she heard the sound that meant her end now: the distant roar of engines.
They were coming.
She gave the human a final, bone-chilling glare before the Venikus roared off.
"We will meet again, Agura." Kyburi hissed. Her foe was still lying on the ground, drained of all energy and too weakened to even stand up. Another minute and she would have been finished. Kyburi thought furiously. She watched through her mirrors as the four other vehicles screeched to a stop around their fallen teammate. The leader in red, the one who had the audacity to even consider himself the powerful Crimson One, was the first out of his car. He ran over to the fallen huntress and picked her up, and Kyburi felt a pang of loneliness in her core.
Krytus would have been there for her. He always had been.
She tore her eyes from the mirror and accelerated towards the looming portal.
"Kyburi! Thank the heavens you're alive!" Kiry exclaimed as her video screen popped up on the Venikus.
"For now." Kyburi said quickly. She had an important question for her sister. "Kiry, I need you to do something for me."
Kiry's face darkened. "What would that be?"
Kyburi produced in her hands, from pure energy, a glowing red figurine. It was no more than a few inches tall, and resembled a pyramid except in the fact that the base was pentagonal. "I need you to assist me in cutting Solara's mental link to me." She said gravely, and Kiry's eyes widened. "If you can get this artifact near enough to her, it will sever the connection."
"But, Kyburi, for me, your Red sister, to get close enough to Solara?" Kiry reminded her. "That would be nearly impossible! The Council barely trusts me enough to allow me to live on Modulon 5 as it is, and if I were caught the very minimum sentence would be deportation to the Red planet! I wouldn't be able to update you with information regarding their search for you, and removal to the Red planet would only be the most moderate consequence!" Kiry protested.
"Kiry, if Solara continues to search for me, my location will be compromised!" Kyburi said desperately. She was too prideful to beg, but the situation was dire. "All you have to do is get near to her. Within twenty paces. You should be able to steal away in the back alleys, no?"
Kiry bit her lip.
"Sister, you know I would do so many things for you, and that I want you to remain alive, but I beg of you, simply come home! We can move to the Red planet, you could hide! It would be so much easier—"
"No!" Kyburi said harshly. "I cannot return to that planet!" She did not give her reasons to Kiry, but that place reminded her too much or Krytus, a memory that was too painful to bear.
"Kiry." She said gravely. "I implore you. Take the artifact. Try to reach Solara." Kyburi shrunk it in her hands and, using her mental powers, pushed it across the Multiverse and into her sister's.
"I…I will try." Her sister said fearfully. "But I can make no promises."
"I understand. Contact me in two days' time." Kyburi said, and Kiry nodded. She lifted her palm to the video screen as if to share a synapse with Kyburi, who did the same.
"Farewell, sister. I wish you luck."
"Same to you." Kyrosa said grimly, and cut off the connection. Kiry surveyed the bleak BattleZone she had ended up in, and the blasted human huntress's words rang in her ears.
You are alone.
What frustrated her most was that the human, Agura, had been right. All of her hope lay in Kiry. No matter what she tried, they would always find her eventually. Even the huntress on Battle Force 5 had been able to track her down. It was in these dark times when she wondered what the point of it all was.
Her team was gone.
Her planet was dominated by a mixture of Blues and Reds.
Her people allowed themselves to be ruled by the Council of Five.
She had nothing to return to.
Why did she fight so badly to continue this bleak existence? Running from Zone to Zone, feeding on the lowest of creatures, and so weakened that she could not even defeat a human?
It was pitiful, and yet, she fought on.
But for what?
"Krytus." His name touched her lips and brought with it a flood of memories.
They had met so long ago…