It was a seemingly peaceful night in the territory of Tyrass. Men and women still strolled through the lamp-lit streets. Above the Cathedral of Tyrass' steeple, the highest point in the territory the sound of a squadron of Hellfire and Dragon-Breath fighters could be heard blazing through the darkened sky. They left trails of white smoke, barely visible against the starry night sky.

Throughout the streets the late night food vendors and other businesses continued running as though oblivious to the lack of sunlight and rapidly decreasing temperature. Food and drink and booze still needed to be sold, no matter what the hour or the temperature.

In the alleys and dark streets there lurked the less scrupulous characters of the territory. Silent deals were being concluded. In the darkness a gunshot rings out. Another deal gone sour. No one hears the muffled screams of the dying mobster. No one cares either.

The territory of Tyrass is a territory of people who care only about getting food on the table and not getting on the wrong side of those in power. For anyone caught on the wrong side of the power-holders or on the wrong side of the law there was a terrible consequence.

Above the territory there floated the enormous Shardnay Variant Prison. The prison was originally built for the Variants, enhanced humans, the scum of the Realm, but now the prison was used for anyone who had fallen on the wrong side of power.

Tonight was not to be a good night. In the centre of the territory in the Ascension Square was the Platform of Ascension. Any criminals caught were taken there and placed on Platform. From there they were lifted, by means not understood by any of the humans inhabiting the territory, up into the centre of Shardnay Variant Prison. What happened from there on was unknown, for anyone who was sent there never returned to tell of the tale. Even the guards of the prison never left.

Tonight there was to be a late transfer to Shardnay. The security forces marched their prisoner forward. Their boots stamping down in unison, their left arms swing to and fro sharply and their right arms cradling their plasma-pulse rifles, standard issue of any of armed forces under the command of Exalted master Tyrass.

The prisoner was of average height and over his head he wore a black hood over that kept him from seeing anything around him. Around his wrist were Electro-plasma cuffs that prevented him from using his hands in any way. His feet were bare and bloody. Blood was also dripping from the underside of the hood and on to the concrete road. He stumbled about, occasionally getting a nasty push from the guards escorting him to the Platform of Ascension.

As the quad of guards and their prisoner entered the Ascension square spotlights from several guard towers turned towards them and followed them to the plasma fencing that surrounded the Platform of Ascension.

The guards halted in front of the plasma fence. One of the guards took a step forward and a holographic display appeared in front of him. The display scanned the guard and then flashed green letters which said 'ENTRY CONFIRMED'. The plasma fencing shut down and the guards marched their prisoner forward.

The hooded prisoner was walked up the steps towards the Platform of Ascension. By now every single one of the dozen guard towers had their spotlights fixed on the party of guards and their charge. At the top of the half-dozen stairs there was a platform and in the centre of the platform was a large indentation. Within the indentation there was a glowing pool of light.

The same guard stepped forward again and a holographic display appeared, once again confirming entry. The two rear guards took the arms of their prisoner and shoved him forward into the indentation. With a smirk, the leading guard pushed a button on the display and a beam of intense white light shot into the sky and up to the Shardnay Variant Prison. The prisoner began to rise and rotate slowly. The guard pressed another button on the display and with a flash of light their prisoner disappeared and the white light with him. Their work completed, they left the platform to continue with their other duties.

Almost one thousand feet above the ground in the centre of the prison there was a bright flash of light as the prisoner rematerialized in the centre of the Retrieval Platform. Immediately the prisoner was surrounded by guards. The prisoner rose slowly as the guard's weapons were turned upon him.

The hood was ripped from the prisoner's head. His face was revealed to be bloodied and bruised. His dark curled hair was matted with blood. As he turned his head to survey the surroundings he cracked a thin smile, showing that several of his teeth had been broken. Apparently he had not been captured without a fight.

As the prisoner took in his surroundings he marvelled at the simplicity of the operation around him. He was simply standing in a completely white room with nothing but the Retrieval Platform and the guards.

A door at the far end of the room opened and a tall, fearsome man stepped into the room. He clearly commanded the respect of the guards because they turned to salute him before turning their weapons back on to the prisoner. He walked forward towards the prisoner, his well-polished boots clapping against the ground rhythmically. He stopped before the prisoner and unclipped the button on his hip holster, allowing for easy of his sidearm if he should need it. He leaned forward, his face mere inches away from the prisoners.

"Welcome to Shardnay Variant Prison," he hissed.

The prisoner's eyes shifted up to defiantly meet his.

"I am Commander Reznot," he continued, straightening up and straightening the military green overcoat that he wore. "I can guarantee that this place will be the last you will ever see."

As he spoke the guards pulled away and formed a straight line with their weapons pointed down at the prisoner who dropped his gaze to the floor.

"Some powerful people have paid so that you'd have a nasty end when you got here," Reznot said with a loud sniff. He reached and pulled a small flask from a pouch on the back of his belt. He popped the cap off and took a quick swig before recapping the flask and placing it back in its pouch.

"And as you can so clearly see now, I am not in the business of disappointment." Reznot pulled his sidearm from its holster. He flicked a small switch on the side of the bulky pistol and it made a whirring sound as it powered up.

He levelled the pistol at the prisoner's head, placing the square barrel right between his eyes.

"Any last words?"

The prisoner raised his head again and cracked another smile. His mouth moved as he spoke barely audible words.

"What did you say?" the commander asked, leading forward.

With a wheeze the prisoner said a little louder, "You should have had me searched first."

The commander's eyes bulged as the prisoner raised his arm and his sleeve fell back, revealing the barrel of a wrist-mounted plasma-pulse cannon.

The commander cursed loudly before the prisoner fired the weapon, blasting Reznot across the room and against the wall.

Immediately the other six guards opened fire but to their amazement/horror the prisoner leaped from the ground almost four metres into the air, evading their high-powered energy blasts which charred the floor where he had been moments earlier. With their energy magazines expended in less than a few seconds they struggled to pull the clips from the undersides of their rifles and slot a new one in.

The prisoner landed in front of the guards. They froze with their weapons in desperate need of ammunition. The prisoner smiled again before spreading his arms out to the side with his palms facing up. From the space between his wrist and elbow two rectangular pieces of metal sprang up into the air. The prisoner snatched them from the air and from the front of the rectangular pieces of metal and purple plasma blades blazed from them.

With several quick and expert swings the guards fell dead with a series of cauterised burn marks through their bodies. They were dead before they hit the ground and without a single word.

From across the room the commander began to crawl across the room towards his fallen sidearm. The prisoner spotted him from the corner and spun around, hurling one of the plasma swords across the room which struck Reznot in the shoulder and pinned him back against the wall.

The prisoner slowly walked across the room, spinning the other plasma sword expertly around in his hand. He stopped right in front of the commander and yanked the blade from his arm. The commander still did not make even a whimper of pain. He was in too much shock to even speak.

The prisoner grabbed Reznot by his neck and lifted him so that he was standing on his own two feet with one of his arm dangling uselessly.

The prisoner leaned close. "My name is Martin Kore," he said, drawing in a deep breath. "I can guarantee that my face will be the last thing you see before meeting Satan."

He turned away and took two slow steps. "You see, some powerful people have asked me to make sure you meet a nasty end," he chuckled as he turned back around with his plasma swords ignited in his hands. "As you can see, I'm not in the business of disappointment."

Seeing his end so close Reznot defiantly shouted, "Screw you, Variant piece of…" he never finished his sentence as Martin Kore hurled both of his blades, one piercing his right lung and the other stabbing through the left lung and into the heart.

Martin smiled for a few seconds as Reznot gargled blood for a few seconds before he died. Martin grabbed the hilts of his blades and sliced them across, leaving an X mark through Reznot's body.

He deactivated the blades and turned away. He heard the thumps as the four parts of Commander Reznot fell to the ground. His mission complete he walked towards the door that the commander had entered through.

As he neared the door it opened and two laughing guards entered. They saw their dead colleagues before they saw what had caused their deaths. Before they could raise their weapons Martin dashed forwards and smashed his fist into the firsts guards face, knocking him on his back and out cold. He ducked under the swing of the second guard's rifle and then spun on his heel, lashing out with his other leg to catch the guard in the knee and felling him too. Martin finished him by smashing his heel down on to his face.

However, he did not manage to finish him before he pressed an alarm button on his vest.

"Damn it!" Martin shouted with aggravation in his tone. He angrily kicked the guard in the ribs, knowing that he had at least broken three of them.

He rolled up the sleeve on his right arm, revealing the wrist-mounted plasma-pulse cannon. He pushed open the door to the outside. The door opened to a large open area which was rapidly filling with guards who were attempting to surround the building where Martin was.

With a loud cry he ran from the building, he raised his plasma-cannon and blasted waves of concussive energy at the guards, throwing them backwards. However, the guards began to open fire too. Blue globules of energy were flying towards Martin who did all he could to outrun the aim of the guards as the energy blasts splashed against where he had been as he sprinted across the courtyard. Suddenly he stopped, he was at the end of prison and he was staring down at the land below. He had reached a dead-end.

"Put your hands in the air, you Variant scum," one of the guards shouted as they began to surround Martin with their weapons aimed directly at him.

Martin cracked a thin smile and raised his hands into the air. One of his fists was closed around an object which could vaguely be seen flashing red. With a flick of his wrist he tossed the device forward at the guards which were surrounding him. A few of them managed to squeeze off a few quick shots before the device erupted into blinding white light.

When the light was gone and the guards regained their vision there was no sign of the prisoner.

The guards immediately spread out across the courtyard, hunters searching for their missing prey. The alarm loudly blared still, its waxing and waning tone sounding across the prison and far down into the homes and businesses hundreds of feet below. The guards searched but there was no sign of the prisoner.

Suddenly there was the sound of the plasma-fuelled jets of a Hellfire jet. To the guards surprise a Hellfire jet rose into view. On the sloped wing of the fighter crouched the prisoner, his wrist-mounted plasma-pulse cannon glowed as the weapon powered-up as a pulse charged and readied to blast away. On the undersides of the wings the rocket pods of the fighter opened up, preparing to launch a salvo.

"Consider this a message from the Seekers!" Martin Kore shouted. "We will not rest, we will not stop until every last Exalted has been slain and all those who follow them. For every one of us who dies there will be one hundred of you who will die as vengeance. But for all you who think as we, either join us or get out of our way."

There was a pause for a few seconds before the guards raised their weapons and opened fire on the Hellfire jet and its impromptu passenger. Around the Hellfire jet there appeared a shimmering silver bubble of energy which surrounded the jet and its passenger. The energy blasts from the rifles splashed against the shield and then the energy dispersed uselessly. Within a few seconds the energy magazines had been depleted and the guards began to reload.

Before the guards could begin to fire again though the rocket pods began to spit fiery death on the guards. The miniature rockets exploded, spraying shrapnel all over the guards who had not been killed by the initial shockwave of the blasts. It was over in a matter of seconds.

The opaque cockpit of the Hellfire slid back, revealing its helmeted pilot. Martin jumped into the spare co-pilot chair and pulled on the spare helmet in the back. As he pulled down the misty visor a heads-up display illuminated right before his eyes feeding him information about the Hellfire jet: ammo and fuel, shield strength and other essential systems.

"Let's go home, Steve," Martin told the pilot.

The pilot gave him a thumbs-up and then pushed forward the control sphere and the Hellfire jet blasted forwards through the sky, leaving a white streak in the sky. The inertial dampeners built into the jet made it feel like the jet was not moving at all. They were flying at nearly six-thousand miles per hour, yet neither pilot nor co-pilot could feel the strain of any G-forces.

Suddenly a voice blasted through the communications system of the jet. "Unidentified Hellfire jet, state your allegiance and your purpose in the territory of our lord, the great Tyrass," a loud male voice demanded.

The pilot, Steve, turned back and looked at Martin before answering. "I serve no one," he replied. "My purpose in this territory is to further undermine the power of the Exalteds. Also I heard its nice down here at this time of year."

There was no reply. Instead there was simply the sound of two Starfire missles flashing past the cockpit, barely missing the jet. Immediately Steve pulled up and blasted thousands of feet into the sky.

Then came the verbal reply. "This is Centurion Gerak Sythus of Tyrass' Dragon-Breath Elite squadron," came the reply. "You are an enemy of our lord, Tyrass and you will be destroyed."

The pilot turned back to Martin and pushed up his visor, a wide smile splitting his face. "There're only six of them," he chuckled. "Not even a challenge."

Steve twisted the control sphere and the jet spun around, its forward rail guns whirring. From the ground below there could be seen were six small explosions and then a streak of smoke as a Hellfire jet blasted away from the scene.

DEFIANCE - Revolution