The Mercenary: Episode 16
By Jason King
"Evacuate…" Asa said into the small communicator situated inconspicuously on her collar.
Below the building, the Milay SF Squad leader confirmed the order and rallied his men back to the dropships. "This is it guys, get the fuck outta here!" just as he gave the order he could feel the air go still and all sound cease. He looked up to the top of the building and saw a blinding sphere of white light grow rapidly from inside. In a hurried frenzy motioned for all of his men pile into the dropships. No one could hear a thing, all they knew was that history was about to take a turn. Debris fell from the sky as the healthy soldiers carried their wounded on board the ships. The squad leader was the last to climb aboard as the sphere grew larger and larger. He signaled for the pilot to "punch it." As a low rumbling became the only thing that any of them could hear. The ship lifted from the street in what seemed like and eternity as they scambled to get out of the city before they encountered the same fate as everything else fall in the sphere's path.
Just encircling the city was the Earthling Navy, with its battleships and cruisers firing volley after volley of missiles, plasma, and rail gun rounds. Everything stopped cold and detonated just as it reached the edge of the sphere. The fired and fired, nothing seemed affect the encroaching doom. The ship captains ordered a tactical retreat on all fronts. The sphere soon enveloped the entire city, and continued to expand.
"Draidin look!" Nadine pointed at it with an enchanted fear.
"Come on, we need to get out of here." He grabbed Nadine and ran to the dropship. After jumping into the cockpit and securing Nadine in the back he closed the rear bay door and prepared the launch sequence.
"Uh, Draidin!" Nadine nearly stutted as the area around them seemed to get brighter.
"Shit, there's no time!" Draidin summoned all of the will left in his body, and created the strongest barrier he had ever dreamed of making, it enveloped Nadine and the dropship. He could feel his consciousness waver under the force of what he guessed was the very same power that destroyed the Believer capital. All he could do was wait for it to pass. And it finally did, just as he was about die from the strain, the sphere receided and quickly returned to its source. The city was gone, instead there was nothing more than a massive crater which quickly found itself being filled by the sea around it.
Draidin looked up from the dropship's command console. The ship was barely balanced against what remained of the prison island. Nadine climbed into the cockpit and tapped him on the shoulder. "What was that?"
"Asa…" Draidin forced out.
Rhodison held steady against the powerful force being unleashed against him. The Earth Stone created a powereful glowing red barrier around him protecting him. Asa stood firmly in mid air as her life energy returned to her body. Only this time, when it returned it didn't leave her in a daze, instead it left her focused, ready to kill. She renewed her grip on the sword she had been harboring for so long. It was finally time to use it for what it was meant.
Rhodison looked out and around at his lack of surroundings. The city was gone, left to oblivion. All that remained were a few sinking battleships and damaged fighters. All in full retreat.
"So this is it huh?" Rhodison scanned the horizon, and then focused his glare on Asa, "so this is what it comes down to?"
Asa said nothing, she knew now that words meant little, only her actions would be able to earn her the forgiveness of countless innocent people. People she killed in her blind rage.
She knew her purpose.
The two of them continued to levitate in a silence. Neither was willing to make the first move, for they both knew that their first move could be their last. For the first time in her life, Asa had met someone of equal skill and power. Victory would only come down to who wanted it more. They both slowly began to lower themselves down to the water's level. Neither of them moving form their position. Then, in less time than it takes to blink, they both rushed at each other with more force than a nuclear bomb. The water around them was forced away with force to equal that of a Tsuinami. Whatever naval ships still were afloat were suddenly swallowed up in the massive waves. Rhodison lept backwards out of the raging torrent and prepared for Asa's next strike.
Wasting no time, Asa chased after him with speed to rival that of a starship. The Earth Stone powered up and blocked her attack with little effort. What once looked like a simple plain rock, revealed itself as a bright red glowing jewel.
Asa's sword sensed the stone's awakening and soon revealed its own true color as well. The blade begand to glow a bright white with a heavy blue corona around it. But for Asa, the sword itself became weightless, and she could feel it share its power with her. She sensed a renewed strength unlike any she had flet before. She turned around and struck back at Rhodison with unparalleled resolve. The intense power from both the sword and the stone counted each other and threw both warriors back with equal force.
Asa shook her head in frustration, how was she going to be able to beat her exact equal?
Rhodison stopped himself in mid-air, he couldn't help but wonder why ever single one of his attacks was being repelled.
Asa gathered her nerves back together and instead of continuing the fight in the air, she fled to an island nearby, in the hopes that he would follow. Which he did indeed.
When Rhodison faced her again, she finally spoke, "it wastes effort to be floating in the air all the time," she said.
"Heh, for once I agree with you." He answered, readying his sword again. The Earth Stone creating yet another red barrier.
Asa returned the stance, but began thinkng to herself, and she remember what Aracak had told her, the EarthStone was meant as a counter for the sword, and exact opposite.
Rhodison dived at her with even more force than before and delt a devastating blow. She found herself staggering against the weight of the blow, she caught her balance against a nearby tree. Only to have the first attack followed up by even more, and massive barrage of fists and kicks knocking her in every direction. She noticed her barrier failing as she felt more pain with every blow. No! Don't break concentration! She said to herself. As she withered blow after blow. Finally she gathered the strength to counter and succeeded.
Rhodison jumped back nursing his damaged right arm. Asa quickly recouped and resumed the attack upon her enemy. Rhodison in a despirate attempt to stop her, fired shockwave of greater than normal strength. The island's tiny forest was soon toppled over by the subsequent counter blasts from both parties.
Rhodison resheathed his sword and grabbed a fallen palm tree and attempted to knock Asa over with it. Asa sliced it in half and gracefully lept upon the half that Rhodison still held, she ran down it's length and swiftly kick him square in the face. The blow knocked him backwards but not out. He flipped backwards and faced Asa again, this time with his sword back out and prepared to resume the fight. He thrust his blade towards her abdomin, she dodged and countered with a roundhouse kick into his back.
Draidin and Nadine scowered the ruined landscape for any sign of continued activity. All they could see were ship after sunken ship.The sea was littered with them. Nadine pointed to a small island near where the city used to be. Even from the sky they could see dust and debris rise from what appeared to be a huge stick forest. Being that by that time most of the trees were stipped bare from the force of the two combatants.
"I can't believe they're still fighting…" Nadine said.
"I can." Draidin countered, as he began to bring the dropship down to the battle below.
Rhodison looked up at the sky for one of the few fleeting moments that he could check up with his rapidly changing surroundings. "Oh, it looks like your friends want to join in the fun!" he laughed.
Asa stopped and saw the tiny dropship circle around the island. Asa's rage went from red to boiling, "Don't you dare bring them into this!" she yelled out.
"Ah, but what guarantee do I have they won't do it themselves?" he mused as be brought a hand up to bear on the tiny ship.
"Fucker!" Asa lunged at him and found herself caught in a devious trap. Rhodison brought down the elbow of his raised arm and sent it upon her back. She crashed into the ground nearby where Rhodison kicked her like a soccer ball into the rocks. She felt her sword slip from her hand as consciousness was losing her. But not before the devastating whirring barraige of 66 millimeter rounds came down upon the ground next to them.
"See? I said they would get involved on their own." Rhodison returned his attention to the dropship and brought an arm up to follow it's relative position, then he began to clench a fist.
On board the dropship Draidin could feel its armor begin to give way to an unknown crushing force. "Fuck, I think I know whose winning down there!"
Asa knowing she had to do something, used all of her remaining strength and grabbed the soiled blade from the ground and thrust it under Rhodison's armpit. Upon shoving it in with all she had, she pulled it down and out in front of him, causing his intestines to spill out from this belly.
"No." was the only word to leave his mouth as all strength left him as quickly as it came. His body dropped to the ground and fell lifeless as his blood and innards left him for dead.
Draidin felt the ship come back under his control, and with what little control he had left, attempted to land it nearby the battle site. What ever happened, the fight was over. As the ship drew closer he saw two bodies lying motionlessly in the epicenter of the destruction.
Asa looked up and saw the ship come down next to where the battle started. Two familiar figures came running out from it towards her. She attempted to lift herself up from the ground to greet them but soon found herself unable to move. Nadine stopped instantly upon the sight in front of her. She couldn't believe it, she didn't want to believe it.
Asa tried again to get up, and finally decided to look and see why her stomach and back hurt so much. And just as quickly as she saw, she wished she didn't. She was impaled by a large piece of wood which had earlier been sticking out from the rocks. Draidin kneeled down next to her, and attempted to help sit Asa up to a comfortable position. She looked upon him with unwavering affection. "You made it." She said against the pain.
"Shhhssh." Don't talk, it'll make it worse. "Nadine, go back to the ship and get a bandage and some Nanoclone."
Nadine turned around the ran back into the ship.
Asa winced in pain as Draidin looked over the wound. "It isn't too bad, if we remove it and give you some nanoclone, you should be able to heal up nicely."
"Please, don't try to down play it," she said again, "you and I both know how bad it is."
"Don't say that," Draidin replied, "you can still make it. You've suffered worse."
"I wish I have." Tears began to roll down her cheeks again, "but at least its over now."
"The fight may be, but we still have plenty of time left." Draidin tried to sound optimistic.
"Oh, why didn't I fall in love with you sooner. Just promise me one thing," She while fighting the losing battle with death, "look after Nadine from here on out, and keep the sword with you for the rest of your life, and continue to pass it down your family."
"Damnit Asa! Stop talking like that!" he shouted and soon regretted it.
Blood dribbled down from her mouth as more tears welled up from her eyes. Draidin couldn't stand to see her like she was. "Oh baby, please don't go now, not after all we've been through, not after we've finally won."
She struggled to bring her hand up to his face, he grabbed it and held it firmly. Nadine ran up to them both, she couldn't stand to bring them the bad news. But she knew that it was too late anyways. She sat down next to Draidin, tears already in her eyes, and whispered to him "the ship has no medical supplies left."
He silently brought his head down to Asa's, if it was going to end this way, he wanted to at least kiss his love one last time. Nadine turned away in an attempt to hide her grief. How could it have ended this way she asked herself.
Draidin brought his lips down to Asa's, trying to ignore the taste of blood from her mouth, she returned it with all of her final strength as the last ounce of life left her body. Draidin flet her lips go cold as he finally let it all out of his system, tears poured from his face without anything stopping them. He lifted her body and carried aboard the ship, motioning for Nadine to follow.
Hey laid Asa down upon a stretcher on the ship and began the lift off sequence. He knew what to do next. Nadine handed him Asa's sword, he took it and sheathed it. He would do everything in his power to keep to his lover's last words. The dropship lifted off just as Beleiver and Milay warships began landing on the planet. Draidin didn't want anything to do with war any longer. Not at all.
"Where are we going?" Nadine asked.
"Away from here, far away."