"Jake here, again, I've been insane my whole life, that's never gonna change. I see things that nobody else does, and I interact with them like I shouldn't be able to. I can pick up the rock that isn't there, I can feel it, see it, but nobody else can. Sometimes there are other things, people, monsters, and animals I've never seen outside of the real world. I can touch them as well, and sometimes I have to fight them. I don't know how, but they interact with me as well. I can get thrown into a wall, tossed off a building, whatever happens in my insanity happens here as well. I don't know how to stop it but lately they've been getting worse and worse, more real and dangerous. Last night I had to sword fight, and I woke up on the kitchen table with this, bleeding everywhere. " I pulled up my shirt, showing a red scar with some blood still around it. "But they always heal in a few days, way too fast for normal people. And when these insane spells come, I can't stop them. I feel them coming, and I know that I only have a few seconds before I go crazy and who knows what happens. My parents keep sending me to every psychiatrist they can find, but nothing helps. School starts tomorrow, and I'm really scared that I'll hurt someone. Too many people in one place, too crowded for me to feel comfortable, but at least I'll get out of the house and away from my parents. They're sending me to a small school, a satellite campus a bit farther away from the large school. All the teachers already know about my condition, but I don't think it's enough. Since the first year of these visions, if you want to call them that, I've learned way too many dangerous skills. I can kill in twenty different ways without a weapon, wield ten different types of swords with ease, fire guns like those guys in the movies that never miss, and a bunch of other things I shouldn't ever know. " I put my head in my hands, pressing my eyes and trying to stay awake. "I'm a bomb waiting to go off, I just hope when I do nobody is around to get hurt. " I looked up at the camera. "See you tomorrow. " I ended the recording, then uploaded it to my private server. I was 'borrowing' it from some large company, another skill I learned from being insane. If I didn't log on at least once a month then every video would be released publicly onto my blog and emailed to my parents. Maybe then they'd realize I couldn't be helped.
I shut the laptop and got in bed, not able to sleep despite being exhausted and 2 in the morning. I managed to fall into a half sleep and get some rest, waking up at 6. I got ready for my first day of my junior year, eating breakfast and getting ready for the day. In my backpack I had standard school stuff like binders and paper, as well as a few other things which included MREs, rope, first aid kit, flashlight, emergency flares, and a few other things you shouldn't have at school. Or anywhere, if you were insane. I liked the quiet and spent most of the drive staring out the window, which helped me focus on trying to detect my insane spells. If I could sense them far enough in advance, I could get away from people and fight my invisible demons alone.
The school was very small, a few rooms connected to one hallway in a larger building. I sat down in the class I was supposed to be in and stayed quiet. Other students began to trickle in, talking loudly and laughing as old friends met each other after the summer. I stayed quiet through it all, trying to concentrate. Somebody sat down next to me, obviously not picking up on my 'leave me alone' vibe which I had perfected a few years ago.
"I'm Riley, are you new here?" she asked.
"Yeah, I got kicked out of my last school for throwing a desk out the window, " I said.
I sat up and spun the seat around to look at her. "You don't want to be near me, I'm legally insane and am extremely dangerous, so stay away if you want to stay alive. " I let that hang in the air for a bit.
"You don't need to be so rude about it, sheesh. " She got up and left to join another group of students. I spun back around to the desk and went silent again.
The teacher came in a few moments later, setting down the ground rules and handing out get to know you sheets. The teacher was constantly dodgy around me, trying to figure me out I guessed. After I got fed up with it, I got up and approached them.
"At the moment I am perfectly sane. I'm fine, and when I'm not fine you will be able to tell. You don't need to make special exceptions for me. " I guess the teacher understood, and the rest of the class he was normal. The second class of the day was actually the first class, the one I was in earlier was a sort of homeroom. About halfway through this class I excused myself to the bathroom, where I went insane.
Going insane was something I hated doing because I lost track of the real world and was subject to this other one. I stood in the middle of the room and steadied myself for the change. The world I saw began to fuzz into little dots, and then come back into focus as something entirely different. Every time I would have different surroundings, and sometimes I would even be holding something I wasn't before.
This time, I was in a coliseum, just me in the middle with hundreds of dead bodies around me. I was wearing leather armor and holding a bow. I had a small knife in a belt and a few arrows in my quiver, leaving me rather exposed. The stands were packed, the audience booing me which I didn't quite understand. A metal gate began to open opposite of me in the arena and the crowd began to cheer. I knocked an arrow, leaving four left in the quiver. It was dark through the gate, and I had no idea what was going to come out. I took up a shooting stance, aiming for the door and waiting with the bow drawn. There was a chorus of yelling from the gate, and then a half dozen horses ran out. No, not horses, centaurs. Each was armed with a spear and bow, and they charged me, clearly intent on killing me. I loosed my arrow at the lead centaur, hitting him in the chest. I fired one more shot, but then had to run. Two centaurs began to fire with their bows while the other two chased me. I spun around to face them, realizing they were a lot closer than I had thought. No time for an arrow, so I jumped as high as I could and drew the small knife. One centaur tried to stab me with their spear, which I grabbed and used to pull myself up a bit higher. I swung the knife at his neck, getting a hit and then landing on the ground. I turned to face the other centaur, and an arrow hit my left arm.
I yelled in pain, and decided that a moving target was harder to hit. I jumped over the dying centaur I had just attacked towards the other, which was just standing and slowly knocking an arrow. I knew that I would reach in time and with an arrow in my left arm I wasn't using a bow any time soon. I jumped over a dead body and landed with both feet on the edge of a curved shield. It flipped up and I slid my right arm through the straps and held it in front of me as an arrow thudded into the metal. I spun to the right as another pair of arrows hit the shield, and charged the centaur in front of me. He drew his spear and charged me as well, and I knew I couldn't block with the shield, the impact would break my arm. I held it up anyway, but when the spear hit I jumped up and angled the shield down. The spear slid off the shield and embedded itself into the ground. The shield slid up the shaft and I stabbed the knife into the centaur's heart. I flipped off the spear onto the ground as the centaur stumbled a short distance away and died. I blocked another pair of arrows on the shield, but knew I couldn't keep this up. I picked up a small sword from a dead soldier, covered in blood from whoever he had stabbed with it, and began to charge the last two centaurs.
Arrows bounced off the shield, and when I was about a hundred yards away they drew their spears and circled to either side of me and charged. I dropped the shield, knowing it wouldn't help, and stood in the middle of them, legs bent and ready to move at a moment's notice. When the both were close, I lunged to the right. I went over the centaurs spear and slashed him in the chest, then landed hard on the dirt. I got up as the other centaur was turning around and took another fighting stance. I had known that one of them would peel off to avoid skewering each other, and I guess I had guessed correctly. The other centaur charged with his spear, and I just waited. When he was close enough I ducked and leaned to the right, too close for him to react. I brought up the sword and sliced along his underside. He fell down a few feet away and died. I stood up, breathing heavily. The audience was stunned, and barely anyone was speaking. The world began to fuzz, and I was back at school in the bathroom.
Everything was back to normal, except that I had a giant hole in my arm where the arrow had hit me. I washed all the blood off I could, bandaged it up rather well, and went back to class. I was wearing a coat, so I pulled the sleeve over my arm and nobody noticed that my left arm stayed against my chest the rest of the day. I knew that it would be fine by tonight, and tomorrow it would be like it had never happened. I got lucky that day, avoiding other insane spells until I got home from school. The next day, things began to get worse.
Homeroom hadn't even started yet, and I didn't sense it coming at all. I was sitting one moment and the next I was in an aircraft. This one was different though, I could still tell where I was in real life, as well as in the plane. I took stock quickly, noting that I was the squad leader of two more planes against two dozen enemy fighters. My plane was badly damaged, as were the other two and we were flying towards the enemy planes at full throttle. I knew that I couldn't win this fight, even with a whole squadron of my own. Suddenly, I was back in my seat at school, and I heard a large explosion from outside. I ran towards the window, and saw a small piece of flaming debris fall from the sky and land in the parking lot. I ran out and picked it up, recognizing it as a few links of an ammo chain, .50 caliber. A small bit of oil was flaming on the ground, which I stomped out. I didn't see anything in the sky, and was confused as to why the insane spell had ended so abruptly. I put the ammo chain in my pocket and walked back into school. I sat down, and then another began.
Now I was on a boat of some sort, sitting in the shadows with a sword. I was below decks, and a half dozen of what I guessed were pirates were searching for me. One passed by me, and I stabbed out at him. I grabbed his pistol and shot another across the ship. The other four converged on me, swords drawn. I stabbed one easily, and then the fun began. I jumped over one blade, parried another, swung around a beam and kicked the third in the chest, who fell on his own sword and died. I parried for a while, and then once I got bored quickly stabbed the other two. I turned to go to the top of the ship, and then was back in school.
I was standing in the middle of the room, breathing heavily. Everyone was looking at me, and I guessed they were confused about what I was doing. "Insanity. Happens all the time. " I turned to go back to my seat, and realized that I was still holding the sword. I dropped it quickly, stepping back a few paces. I had never, never before taken anything from my insanity except injuries and knowledge. "You, boy, when did that get here?" I asked someone next to me, referring to the sword.
"I don't know, I thought it was in your backpack. "
"Did anybody record that?" I asked. Nobody did. "I-I have to go. " I grabbed my backpack and ran, leaving the sword behind.
I had known that eventually I would get too dangerous to be around, and if I ended up pulling an entire star cruiser from my insane spells I was in huge trouble. I hadn't planned on having this ability, but I had planned on becoming too dangerous to be around people. And I planned well.
I ran all the way home, never stopping and arrived panting hard. My parents were both out, which was good. I grabbed all my cash, got rid of unnecessary stuff from my backpack, and a few sets of clothes. I was about to leave, but then I decided to make a short video. I logged into my computer and started the recording. "I don't know what's happening to me, I can't control it, or even stall it like I used to. The visions are getting more and more real, and way too frequent. At school today I ended up with a sword, and this, " I held up the ammo chain link. "I need to get away so I won't hurt people, which is what I'm going to do. I have a spot set up, hidden away from people. " I stopped the recording and uploaded it to my server. I scribbled a short note of 'please don't try to find me' and set it on the table, then left.
I went out to the curb, then dumped my laptop into my neighbor's garbage can, where it would be picked up by the trash truck and crushed. I took the battery out of my phone for the time being, and started running again. I ran to an old building on the outskirts of town, all the windows were boarded up and the doors locked. I didn't need to go inside, just around back. I got into an old truck that I had been keeping here, and drove away. I went west as fast as I could without getting pulled over, only stopping for gas and food and to sleep a few hours at night. Two days later, I was in Nevada. I had tossed my phone out the window at the end of the first day.
I ditched the truck a few miles in, leaving the keys and all the legal papers on the driver's seat. Finders keepers, I mused. From there I ran farther west, there was an abandoned mine I knew about twenty miles from here. My cousins lived by Reno, and I had found the mine exploring once. It was empty except for the spiders, and I had left a pack of stuff there. I arrived at the mine as the sun began to set, and I set up camp. I put an old piece of sheet metal over the entrance to block the wind, and unrolled a sleeping bag and pad. I barely slept, trying my hardest to keep from going insane. In the morning, I kicked the metal over and stepped out into the sun. I knew I was going to die out here, and I was fine with that as long as nobody got hurt. I drank some water and ate some food, and then let myself go insane.
The world blurred, and when it came back into focus I was in the desert, a soldier based on my uniform and gun. There were ten other soldiers with me, walking through a deserted town. There was an explosion and three of the soldiers died instantly, and then the gunfire began. I jumped through a window into a house, shooting the two enemies in their. They weren't dressed for battle or in bullet proof armor, but they had plenty of guns. I swung the gun out the window, focusing my fire on roof snipers. The rest of the squad was fighting the best they could but were pinned down. When I had finished with the roof snipers, I leaned out the window to fire on the rebels in the street. I reloaded my rifle to take out the last few, and then I was back in Nevada.
I looked around to see if there was anything else I had somehow taken from my insane spells, and found a pistol. It was an M9 Beretta, the magazine full with 15 cartridges. I brought out an old crate from the mine, the contents stolen a long time ago, and used it as a seat. I just watched the landscape, enjoying the sun and breeze. I ended up going through two more insane spells that day, ending up with a pair of sandals and feather quill from them both. After four days I ran out of water, and the next day I ran out of food. I didn't mind, I wasn't hurting people. I ended up spending most of my time in the mine, too weak to go outside anymore. I slept a lot during the next few days, and just sat thinking.
The fifth day after running out of food, I heard a car approaching. I didn't have much energy left, but I grabbed my pistol and rolled over, pointing the gun towards the entrance. I heard someone walking outside, and then the sheet metal began to move. I hadn't seen the daylight in two days, and the afternoon sun blinded my eyes. I blinked rapidly, trying to focus so I could see whoever was there. Before I could see who it was, they picked me up and set me in the back of the car. I was too weak to resist, and dropped the pistol in the mine. Whoever it was, they gave me some food and water and then took me away from the mine, driving back towards the road and away.
I fell asleep quickly, the car humming as it drove down the interstate. When I woke up, I wasn't in the car anymore, I was in a bed in a house. I was still weak, but somebody had left some food and water on a nightstand. The room was small, with a window looking out into a field with sage brush scattered about. There was a desk and dresser in the room, and it was rather clean. A closet was next to the door with some coats hanging off of it. I guessed I was still in Nevada based on what was outside the window. I was wearing different clothes than I had been when I first entered the mine, a gray shirt and jeans. The desk had some books, mostly fiction, and a bunch of paper and pencils in the drawers. The dresser had clothes, as well as the closet. Not much to use as a weapon. I left the room, which led into a hallway. I heard voices coming from what I guessed was the living room and headed that way.
"We lost three more yesterday alone, this is getting out of hand. If we don't stop it soon this world will be part of it too, " said a voice.
"I agree, we must stop this before they figure out where the maggies are, it's only a matter of time, " said a second voice.
There was some commotion, but it was quickly quieted. "I know the dangers we face, but until Jake gets his powers back completely we have nothing that can win this war, " said a third voice which I thought sounded familiar.
"Well you found him, how long will that be?" asked the second voice.
A pause. "I have no idea, " said the third voice, "He's still in there, I can sense him, but he thinks he's insane. He has no memories of what he used to be. "
"We need to fix that. Kardavesh, have you had any luck with memory stuff?" asked the first voice.
"Limited success, but I wouldn't want to test it on a maggie, " said the second voice, "Their biology is rather different than ours, it might have bad effects. "
"Keep one on standby please, it may be our only option later. "
"Jake will remember, he's already intervening across worlds during what he calls his insane spells. I saw him in action once, he's starting to get his powers back but he has no idea how to control them. I think he's afraid of himself, " said the third voice.
"Well he better get used to it, there's too much at stake here. We need him in this war. "
I stepped into the doorway. "What the heck is going on?" I looked over the room occupants, rather surprised at what I saw. There was a cyborg, a soldier with a flag I didn't recognize, and Riley. They were all surprised to see me, and Riley recovered first.
"Jake! You're awake! Come on, we've got to explain a lot to you, " she said.
"Who're you?" I asked everyone before entering the room.
"I'm Kardavesh, I lead the techies, " said the cyborg.
"They call me Hawger, I lead the normies, " said the soldier.
"And I'm Riley, for now I represent the maggies, " said Riley.
"And from what I overheard you need me for something?" I was still in the doorway.
"Yes, just come sit down it's a long story, " said Hawger.
I entered slowly and sat down at an empty chair, wary of everyone. "Alright, so what's going on?"
Kardavesh took a breath and began to speak. "About two hundred years ago we fought the first Worlds War, and won. Barely. You don't remember it because at the end you sacrificed yourself and the other two top maggies to send them away for a very long time. Now, they're back and stronger than ever. "
"Wait, who were we fighting against?" I interrupted.
"Oh, sorry. We were fighting against the trolls, a race of short ugly people who used twisted logic to build extremely dangerous weaponry only they could use. Anyway, you and the top two maggies did some big magic blast thing and sent their entire space fleet and army several galaxies away. Now they're coming back, more advanced than ever and are taking over worlds. Riley was one of those maggies in the big blast, the other we're still trying to find. "
"And how come I'm still alive if this was two hundred years ago? "
"I honestly don't know, somehow you were reborn I guess. Probably you had some magic token that saved you three. Hawger and I weren't alive when the first Worlds War began or ended, but we've all seen the recordings. "
"Alright, continue. "
"Our alliance is made up of three main clans, I guess you could call them. There's the techies, we have lots of advanced guns and spacecraft, we take care of a lot of the space battles and some support positions. The normies are what you have on this world, lots of soldiers lacking tech but making up for it with numbers and training, they do a lot of the assaults where our big guns are too big. Then there's the maggies, not as many of them as the rest of us but very powerful, you guys were used for small infiltration missions or as shock troops. We may have our conflicts with each other, but the trolls were a big enough threat that we put our differences aside and banded together to defeat the trolls. Us techies took care of the space battles and logistics, the normies fought on the ground, and the maggies helped all over. Without the maggies, we probably would've lost that war.
Now the trolls have come back, and short of ramming their ships at light speed with our own, we have no way to destroy them. They've already started ground wars on several planets and captured a few as a stronghold. We've got normies on the ground doing all they can, but their army is too strong. We need the maggies to help, but they refuse to fight without you leading them. When you blew yourself up to send the trolls away, you basically prophesied you'd be back with the trolls, and the maggies seemed to think that meant you would be ready to lead them into battle by then. But until you get your memories back and master your powers, there's no way the maggies will follow you. "
"So your saying that I'm the leader of a bunch of wizards, but don't remember anything because I blew up a bunch of trolls two hundred years ago and now need to remember whatever happened before and master powers I didn't even know I had so that the wizards will follow me into battle to save the world?" I asked.
"Worlds, plural, but yes that's basically what we need. "
I thought for a moment. "You said you're still looking for the last wizard who blew himself up?"
"Well, you blew him up but yeah we're still looking for him. "
This was a lot to take in. Intergalactic warfare? A giant space faring civilization? Some enemy I didn't even remember? I didn't really know what to think. After a long pause, I said, "And my insane spells, what are those exactly?"
Riley spoke up. "That's you taking over for other normies or techies, getting them out of a tough spot when they need help. If they need help bad enough and you hear them, you fight for them and take a small token. "
I remembered the pistol. "But the tokens only started appearing when you saw me do it, why?"
"Your powers are still developing, before you couldn't drag objects across several lightyears. By the time you reach your full potential, you should be able to crush troll ships with ease. "
"And how long will that take?"
"Uh, last life it took a few years. "
"And I'm guessing we don't have that kind of time?"
"Nope. The trolls will invade earth in a year, tops. "
I heard a faint explosion, and Hawger paled. "They've found me, the trolls are breaching the compound, I am evacuating everyone to the aircraft immediately. I hope to see you soon, " He said. He vanished in a burst of blue light, and instead a message hovered in the air saying 'connection lost'. A hologram.
"I must help him, I am close enough that I can get there in time to gather any escape pods that make it into orbit. Riley, Jake is our only hope at winning this war. The techies and normies will stall as long as we can, but we need the maggies if we are going to win this time. " Kardavesh also disappeared in a flash of light, replaced with the connection lost message.
"Are they gonna be okay?" I asked.
"I sure hope so, Hawger has a bunch of soldiers with him that will fight to the last man, and Kardavesh has a giant fleet with him. If the trolls don't have a large space presence then Kardavesh can help evacuate the soldiers off-world. "
I felt an insane spell coming. "Riley you better step back, " I managed to say before I was in a different body. I took a quick look around and knew where I was instantly. Hawger was running besides me, headed down a hall towards an air strip. Another dozen soldiers were running as well, and I could hear a firefight in the distance. The doors at the end blew open and two soldiers backed in, firing into the open. One was barely alive, and the other was hit in the head by a bullet.
"Keep going, we have one chance of getting out of here!" Hawger yelled.
"Kardavesh is bringing his fleet, he should be here soon, " I said.
"Good, he can help evacuate once we get off the ground. " We reached the doorway and charged out. There was a large cargo plane in the runway, the back open with soldiers firing from within. I got a good look at the trolls, short creatures, mainly green, wrinkly, and very ugly. They were armed with some sort of glowing rifle that shot green globs of acid that hissed on impact and dissolved pretty much any material. The plane began to taxi forward, the soldiers still firing. The back door began to close very slowly, rising a few inches off the asphalt.
A soldier next to me fell down, his leg being eaten away by the acid. "We're not gonna make it, " I muttered. I fired a few shots at a larger troll, scoring a hit between the eyes. The door continued to rise, the soldiers waving us forward. There was an explosion, and acid flew everywhere. I fell to the ground, covering my head. When the acid stopped falling from the sky, I realized that none of it had hit me or Hawger, but I didn't have time to wonder about it. I helped him up and we kept running, only two other soldiers with us. I jumped onto the cargo ramp, now three feet in the air and stuck my hand down to grab Hawger. He took it, and I hauled him into the plane. The other soldiers climbed in as well, and just in time. The plane lifted off of the ground and into the sky, the cargo door closing. I found Hawger and sat down next to him. Before I could tell him I was Jake, I was back in the house in Nevada.
"Jake, what did you see?" Riley asked.
"Hawger. He got onto a plane and took off, I think he's safe now. Can Kardavesh get him from there?"
She nodded. "His ship can drag it up into space and dock it inside, Hawger will be fine. "
"How long until the techies and normies are overrun and the trolls kill everyone?"
"A year at most, if we're lucky. Maybe longer if we find some random space anomaly that the trolls can't get into. "
Not a whole lot of time. "You better start training me how to use these powers then. "
"Alright then, we'd better go outside. Can't have you blowing up the house on accident. " I followed her outside, where the backyard opened up to...nothing. There were no other houses as far as the eye could see, and a dirt road led out of sight, probably to a nearby town. There were a few targets set up, as well as a large pile of rubble off to the side. "You've already managed to borrow a body, the next step up from that is to share with another a mind. This is a lot harder because you have to work with the other mind and stay balanced, but very beneficial because you have the expertise, knowledge, and extra set of eyes of the other mind. Since you can borrow bodies, sharing with a mind shouldn't be too hard. " Riley took a step back. "The hard part is balancing the two minds, if you take over then you're just borrowing a body. "
I felt something, not really feeling it, but I could sense it was there. It was in my head, just watching through my eyes. "Are you in my head?" I asked aloud.
Yes, this is sharing a mind. Also I don't think Carol really liked you either. I tried to push her out, but wasn't exactly sure how.
"You can see my memories?"
Some of them, they flash by on occasion but most of the time too quickly to see. She vanished out of my head "When you're mind sharing, you don't have to speak either, you have a sort of telepathic link or something between the two minds. I mean, you are in the same head as them anyway, so it makes sense. "
"So how would you recommend I do a mind share?"
"Just focus. Try it on me, I'm used to it and can help you balance out. Imagine entering my mind and seeing everything from my perspective. "
I closed my eyes and focused...and focused...and...nothing. "I don't think it's working, " I said. I opened my eyes, and I saw myself, still standing with my eyes closed in the yard.
It worked. You just missed the transition, I guess. You did rather well for your first time, but you need more strength for if you're sharing with a less willing participant.
And how do I do that?
Practice. I was shoved out of her mind, stumbling back a bit in my own body again. "Keep trying, Try to stay in my head as long as you can. "
I nodded and focused again. This time, I felt the resistance. I could tell it wasn't her full potential, but for my level of expertise it seemed extremely hard. I tried focusing harder, mentally shoving against her wall. I felt her toughen up under my small assault, teasing me and just barely keeping me out. I kept it up, trying to get in over and over. Finally, she let me in and I would've taken a big breath if I was in my body. Was that good?
For now, but you will need to practice a lot. Not just entering minds but protecting as well, which will take a while to learn. Let's do four more and then move on to another skill for now.
She shoved me out of her mind again, and I tried again. I was still weak compared to her, and didn't get in unless she let me, but it was good training. I guessed the more I did it the better I would get, so I understood why she had me try a few more times. On the last time, I saw a memory flash past. It was just an image, a fleet of green space ships were headed directly towards you, and a few gun emplacements nearby were firing on the ships but had little effect. There was a single figure on a rock outcrop in front, silhouetted against the stars. I knew instinctively that this was the end of the last war, and that the figure was me, about to blow the fleet several galaxies away. Before I could try and figure out more about that memory, Riley kicked me from her head.
"What happened there?" I asked. "At the end of the last war. What happened?"
Riley sighed. "You, me, and Wade were the only maggies on that outpost, just a small asteroid floating in space. The techies had set up a small atmosphere and the normies had some artillery as well. The top leaders of the normies and techies were there, trying to come up with a strategy for a final push. Somehow, the trolls found us in the middle of the nebulae. They had sent every ship, disappearing from the front lines and converging on us. By the time the ship captains had figured out where they had gone, it was too late. You knew that if the three of us all sacrificed ourselves and pushed the trolls away, we could save everyone, at least for a little while. We knew you would only suggest a plan like that if it was the only way, so we agreed without a second thought. We all focused, joined our powers, and then sent the trolls away for a long time. But before you did, you said that you'd be back again when you were needed. From what I gather from old records, after that fight the maggies refused to accept a new leader since they knew you would be back. The techies and normies went back to their worlds, and then there was peace without the trolls for two hundred years. "
I could tell she was glossing over it some, but that was good enough for me. I thought about it for a moment, then decided I should get back to training. "Alright, what's next then?" I asked.
"Huh? Oh! Right! I guess we could go with your object transportation that you seem to also do sometimes. It's rather useful, but has limitations that can really be annoying sometimes. As long as somebody has it with them, you can take it, or you can give them something. But, you also have to get into their head to do it, which is why we're practicing your mind sharing. " She picked up a rock. "Once you get good enough at it, you'll be able to give and take with ease. " I felt her presence in my mind again, and then it quickly left. I looked at my hand, and I saw the rock. "You try. "
I did the mind sharing, and this time Riley didn't resist much. I mentally dropped the rock into her hand, and then left back to my mind. "Did it work?"
"Yup, good job. Now just keep doing it and you'll get faster, and eventually you'll be able to take objects as well. " She returned the rock, and I practiced sending it a few times until I got faster. "Good. Now try the mind sharing again, I think you'll do a bit better now. "
I tried to get into her mind, but she had set up her wall already. I pushed as hard as I could, but still couldn't get through. After a bit, she let me in. Was that better than before? I asked.
Yeah, a little. I'm pretty sure you won't blow up the house now, so we can move inside and continue practicing there.
Alright. I left her mind and walked into the house. Riley followed, holding a rock for transporting between us. The rest of the day we just passed the rock back and forth from around the house. I was getting pretty good at it, and after a few hours Riley had me start taking the rock as well. I also got better at trying to get past her mental wall. I still was nowhere strong enough to get past her when she had it as strong as it could go, but I was getting stronger. When it was getting late, Hawger and Kardavesh showed up again.
"Hawger! Kardavesh!" Riley said. I stood up from the couch, setting the rock on the table beside me. "Are you okay? Is everyone safe?"
Kardavesh coughed. "We took heavy losses on the ground, but we are both safe. The normies did well in evacuating, and the small troll fleet in space was easily distracted while we rescued the survivors from the ground, " he said.
Hawger didn't look so good. "The normie chain of command has been shattered, my top lieutenants were killed in the attack and many of the soldiers stationed there. For the next few days we will be in disarray for large scale coordination, but for each individual planet we can still put up a fight. "
Based on Riley's reaction, this was really bad news. "Have you found a way to counter the trolls' space fleets?" Riley asked Kardavesh.
"Yes, we can take our old light speed engines and put them on asteroids and shoot them towards the trolls. The impact and the sheer force of energy decimates all of them close by. Hopefully we can start pushing back but we have a limited supply of these engines. How is Jake coming along?"
"He's advancing rather quickly, we're starting with the powers he seems to already be able to tap into and working from there. "
"Good, we need the maggies in on this as soon as possible. I've already sent a few transports to start taking them to safer worlds, away from the front lines. Even though they refuse to fight they know that they need to be alive if they want to follow their leader. "
"Good luck guys. " Hawger and Kardavesh vanished from the room, and I was left alone with Riley again.
"I'm guessing that the chain of command is going to take a while to fix?" I asked.
She nodded slowly. "Yeah, and the normies will be at a rather severe disadvantage. Kardavesh is probably busy transporting the maggies, but he should also try to evacuate the normies as well. Better to lose a few worlds and save the soldiers when you'll be able to take them back later. " She walked over to a drawer in the kitchen and rummaged about. "But I have all I need now, I know where the maggies will be and I can wipe them all out. "
"What are you-" I started to say. She took out a gun and pointed it at me. I held up my hands, and a shock wave reverberated around the house, knocking her off her feet. Very quickly I found the mind of a normie on guard and grabbed his rifle, then jumped back to the house and vaulted over the couch. I rounded the corner of the counter, gun ready to fire and saw Riley laughing on the floor.
"Seriously, don't shoot me, " She managed to say, "It's a lot easier to activate your powers when you're in danger. " She got off the ground and brushed herself off. "You can put the gun away now, I'm not gonna kill you. It wasn't even a real gun. " I still didn't lower the rifle. "Jake I'm not a spy, if I wanted you dead I would've left you in the mine. " She was getting really worried now. "Jake, what are you doing?" I didn't know the answer to that myself. I was remembering things, my training from my last life and meeting Riley when I was about the age I am now. Weird how living twice really messes with your timeline. When the flashbacks ended, I knew Riley wasn't a spy, and that she hadn't just been a comrade to me.
I stepped back and lowered the rifle, then returned it to the normie I had borrowed it from. "I remember, I think. Up until I was sixteen and met you. "
Riley stood up, still a little scared. "Jake?" she asked tentatively.
I held out my hand palm up, and almost without thinking a flame appeared. It didn't hurt or anything, but I could feel that it was warm. I stopped the flame, extinguishing it. "It's confusing, having two lives. One that I'm living and one where I died. I don't really know how to make sense of it all. " Already the memories were starting to arrange themselves, and I was having trouble separating the two lives. "I need to sit down. " I stumbled over to the couch and sat down heavily with my head on my hands, feeling like my brain was tearing itself apart. I tried keeping everything in line, but it just fell apart quicker. I started to shake uncontrollably.
"Start with the simple things, and work from there. What is your name?" asked Riley. She had followed me over and was sitting next to me.
"Jake, " I managed to say.
"How old are you?"
"Where are you?"
"How did you get there?"
"I left to keep people safe. You found me, and brought me here. "
"And who am I?"
"Riley. " I was starting to feel better, and the shaking began to slow. I slowed my breathing, and after a few minutes I was back to normal. Riley put her hand on my back and began moving it in slow circles. I could tell she was using some sort of magic, but wasn't sure what it was.
"It's gonna take a few hours to get used to the memories, " she said softly. I rubbed my eyes, realizing how tired I was. I guess learning magic was really tiring, or maybe Riley was just doing something to me. "Just lie back, relax, and go to sleep. In the morning you'll be used to the memories and have another day of training. " She took her hand off my back as I leaned against the couch. "Just sleep. " I closed my eyes, and did just that.
My dreams were confusing and conflicting snippets of my memories, all jumbled up and random. I had no idea what happened after what, but when I woke up I had a better idea of who the other maggie was. I was still on the couch, and Riley was no longer next to me. I got up slowly and went to the room I had first woken up in and put on some fresh clothes. I came back out, and Riley was making some food in the kitchen.
"Good morning, " I said groggily.
"Morning, " Riley said over her shoulder. "Did you sleep well?"
"Yeah, dreams were crazy weird though. "
"I did put a sort of sleep spell on you last night, did I overdo it a bit?"
"Maybe, normally I'm awake by now, but normally I don't try to starve myself to death in an old mine shaft. "
She brought over a plate of eggs and handed it to me. "Eat up, you'll need your strength, especially after trying to starve yourself to death in an old mine shaft, " she joked.
"Thanks Riley. " I ate the eggs, grateful for the food. After breakfast, we headed back outside for training.
"Alright, let's open up with some mind sharing and object transportation. " She picked up another small rock. "Try and get in and then take the rock. "
I closed my eyes and focused, pushing against her mental wall. I noticed it seemed a bit weaker than before, but I still couldn't get through it. I kept pushing, not giving up or weakening the attack. I felt her wall weaken, buckle, and then fall. Once in her head, I grabbed the rock and then jumped back to my own mind. "How was that?" I asked.
"You did good, you've definitely gotten better. I think the memories helped increase your power. Try a few more times. " I did, and managed to get in almost every time if I just kept pushing. After fifteen minutes of this, Riley stopped me. "Alright, I think you've gotten pretty good there. Let's move on a bit. " She held out her hand in a fist face up. "You did a little bit of this yesterday, and I think you'll be able to up size it rather easily. " She opened her hand, and a small flame appeared. "You do need to be careful though, the flame itself can't harm you while you hold it, but in an enclosed area you might suffocate yourself as the flame uses all the air around you. Another thing you might run into is the flame after it leaves your hand. It can spread easily in this dry area, and you aren't fireproof. " She threw the fire like a baseball, the flame expanding after it left her hand and igniting a shrub. "It also catches the first thing on fire rather quickly, unless it's soaked in water or something like that. Your turn. "
I opened my hand and focused, successfully creating the initial flame. I turned towards another shrub and hurled the flame as hard as I could. There was a *whumph* as the flame enlarged, sailing through the air and then splattering against the ground into a bunch of tiny flames that died out quickly. "I guess I need to work on my aim, but other than that it seems easy. " I threw a few more fireballs, finally scoring a hit on the shrub I was aiming for.
"You seem to be picking up on this rather quickly. Get better at your aim and then we'll move on. '' After fifteen minutes of lobbing fireballs, I managed to get better at my aim. "Good job, now let's move on to your shock wave ability. " She stomped a foot on the ground and I felt the shock wave travelling through the earth. "This one is a pretty standard skill for maggies, really useful for sparring because it doesn't kill or really hurt, but it does knock you off your feet. You'll probably master this one pretty quickly as well. Just think about it hard enough and you should be able to do it. Motions really help when you first start out, but most maggies will still do them even if they don't need them because it looks cooler. " She stepped back with her left foot and planted it firmly in the ground, and then thrust out with her right hand towards a target. The air rippled, and the dummy skidded backwards a few feet before toppling over on its side. "Pretty useful for just stunning somebody, but not very deadly. " She got back into a more natural stance. "Go ahead and knock over a few of the dummies. "
I mimicked her movements and concentrated, successfully rippling the air but not with enough force to knock over the target. I tried again, a bit stronger but still not enough. I tried once more with both hands, launching the dummy several feet into the air until it fell back to the ground several feet behind where it had been. "Definitely need practice. Should I just keep doing the fireball, mind sharing, and shock wave for the rest of the day?"
"Yes, but I also want to try and teach you one last thing. Wait here. " She walked into the house, returning a short while later with a pitching machine.
"No, object deflection. " She pointed the mouth of the machine towards me and turned on the motor. "Without moving from there, deflect the objects. " She dropped a baseball into the chute and sent it streaking towards my head. I barely had time to flinch, but when I realized I hadn't been hit in the face I lowered my hands and looked around. The baseball was lying on the ground twenty feet away, and Riley seemed happy. "Good, You've got that one too. Pretty easy, and just like all the other ones concentrate. Once you get better at it you'll almost subconsciously create the protective field and be protected rather well. " She lifted a bucket of baseballs and dumped them in the hopper. "Good luck!"The pitch spacer seemed to be turned off, and two dozen baseballs came streaming at me in rapid succession. I raised my arms to protect my face, but none of the baseballs ever hit. They all bounced off an invisible wall off to the side. Riley switched the machine off and walked over. "Well that looks promising, good job. If you can keep up the pace then we should have you back in a month. "
"Yeah, about that. I saw quite a bit when I remembered last night, and I noticed that you and I were...pretty close. But from how you've been acting around me, I think something happened between us. What is it I'm not remembering? Did I do something you didn't like?"
Riley clearly hadn't been expecting this, and took a moment before responding. "No it wasn't you, it was me. When the first Worlds War broke out, we were sent to the front lines right away. This was before we became the maggie leaders, of course. I wanted to stay away from the fighting, but you convinced me to come along. While onboard the techie transport, I sabotaged the engines to try and keep you safe from the fighting. You eventually found out when a repair crew arrived, and we argued for a while. You were still the same selfless person back then you are now, trying to save lives even if it cost you your own. Eventually I ended up going back, joining the maggie outpost on a world that was away from the fighting. You went right to the fight, and excelled wonderfully. You took out a group of troll ships trying to flank a techie supply convoy, saved a normie legion from an ambush, and many more major accomplishments. I kept tabs on your accomplishments, and decided to go to you. When I did get there, the base was under a massive assault by the trolls. The maggie leaders were there, and when I finally found you, you and Ben were fighting right next to them, trying to keep them alive and get to a transport ship. I ran over to help, but a troll artillery round caught you off guard and killed the leaders. Something happened with the blast and the magic, and when we woke up the battle had ended and we were the most powerful maggies in the worlds. We were quickly put in charge of the maggie forces, and although you and I worked well together we were never quite the same. The war had changed you from your fun and enthusiastic personality to something a lot deadlier. Now seeing you like you were before the war, I don't really know what to think. I have you back for now, but if tomorrow you get the rest of your memories back and change, I don't want to have so much to lose like I did last time. "
I nodded, taking it all in. After a few moments of silence, Riley went into the house. I stayed outside, lobbing fireballs and shock waves and blocking baseballs. When night fell, I was tired but a lot better than I had been before. I took a shower and ate a short dinner, then went to sleep. I woke up in the morning to shouting, I recognized Riley's voice but another one I didn't recognize. I got up quickly and ran into the living room, where Riley and another boy were fighting each other. Each were well trained maggies, I could tell that much, and nobody seemed to be giving up. I blasted the guy into the wall with a shock wave, and Riley took the opportunity to knock him out with a vase from the coffee table.
"Who was that?"
"Ben, the other maggie we were trying to track down. I guess he found us and taught himself to use his powers. Pretty impressive how far he's gotten on his own. " She grabbed a pair of handcuffs from under a couch cushion and put them on Ben. "The techies made these well before the first Worlds War to help us deal with criminal maggies, they'll pretty much negate his powers. Here, grab his legs and drag him into the other bedroom. " I helped her carry Ben into the other room onto the bed, where Riley did a sleep spell to keep him out for the day. "Hopefully he'll be better when he wakes up. Anyway, I think I better teach you some good combat skills. Ben could've beat you easily if he wasn't bust with me, and that's not good. " We went outside again, standing in the open.
"Are you sure it's okay to just leave Ben in there?"
"Yeah he'll be fine, even if he does wake up he's handcuffed and powerless. " I still didn't like leaving him unattended, and I guess Riley could tell that. "If he wakes up I'll know, I'll do a mind share every few minutes to check on him. Speaking of which, go ahead and try one on me. "
I nodded and pushed against her mind wall, which wasn't yielding and very strong. After a few unsuccessful minutes, I stopped the assault. "How do you make your wall so strong? Can you teach me that bit?"
"Sure! You just focus on one thing, and if you can maintain that focus during the mental attack, then you keep the attacker out. It's pretty easy, I should've taught you that a few days ago. "
"Okay, let's try it out then. " I focused on a song I listened to a lot, letting it repeat over and over in my head. I felt something trying to push into my thoughts, but I kept focusing on the song. I managed to put up a good fight, but Riley managed to get in my head eventually.
You did good for your first time, you should be able to master this quickly. Try and stop me a few more times, and then we'll switch around.
Sure, give me a bit to collect my thoughts first. I focused on the song again, trying to resist her probes and attacks. She still got in, but I lasted longer this time. Fifteen minutes later I was really getting good at this and could resist most of her attacks. Then we switched roles, and I tried to get into her mind. I could never quite get in, but I could tell I got close several times. Once I had advanced a bit, we moved on.
"Combat comes down to two main things, your offense and defense. You already did the main defense most maggies use, the invisible shield from yesterday. other than that, there's not a whole lot besides trying to dodge their attacks which I'll go more into later. As for offense, you know a non-lethal method now but you'll need something a bit more dangerous if you encounter trolls. Your fireball is good for scaring people or giving one person a painful end, but it has it's limits. For a quick, clean kill better suited for stealth missions, I'd recommend the shards. " She took a small bag out of her pocket and tipped a few small crystals into her hand, nearly invisible. "These are a rather common magic item, and rather popular for all skill levels. Once you link with them, they listen to your thoughts to the best of their ability. " The shards levitated off her hand and enlarged from small pieces to eight inch daggers. "They're practically invisible to the eyes of any non-maggie, although they'll still show up on IR and stuff like that. Another thing you'll want to know is that they are actually rather fragile. Sure they're good for stabbing, but against other weapons or defenses they shatter easily, so best used on unsuspecting targets in a weak spot. They also can't carry things, so try anything sneaky with them. " The shards shrunk back to their smaller size and returned to the bag. She grabbed another bag and handed it to me. "These ones aren't linked to anybody yet, and you should be able to control them easily. "
I put one on my hand, and instantly knew I could control it. I levitated it up a few inches and it grew in size. It zipped around a little bit before I put it back in the bag. "That's neat. And for not stealth missions?"
"That's where you use a magic relic, rather hard to find but pretty powerful. Most of the time, one will find you when you need it. These range all over, from an old slingshot to a javelin missile. Somebody even got a techie space craft once, so the results can vary a lot. I have an old six shot revolver as mine. The range is pretty much line of sight and the ammunition never runs out. " She grabbed her pistol from seemingly midair and pointed it towards a distant mountain. She fired once, and a small landslide tumbled down the hill. "Oh yeah, and they come with their own storage compartment in some sort of extra-dimensional space so you can get it past security and stuff. The techies have been trying to figure that out for ages but haven't found a way to replicate it. Until you get a relic though, you've just got the shards for now. Next up would be your group attack, for if there were a bunch of trolls together and you needed them gone. This is a rather dangerous move because you could very easily hurt someone if you aren't careful. Basically what you do is create a gravitational anomaly in the middle, and depending on the strength will pull them off balance or implode them. Rather quiet as well, but if you judge the distance wrong you could very easily kill yourself. Go ahead and try it on that target. "
I saw the target she was referring to, an archery block a hundred yards away. I focused on the center of it, and suddenly it disappeared. "Was that it?"
"Yup, pretty easy once you get used to it. On a larger scale, this is also what you'll be using to take down troll ships or tanks. "
"Good to know. "
"Yeah, just keep trying those out and you should be good. I'm gonna go check on Ben. "
"Alright, see ya. " I practiced with the shards and gravity anomalies for a while, then tried a few fireballs and then started getting fancy with some mock combat moves. After a few hours, I had gotten pretty good and headed inside. Ben was still out, and Riley was talking with Hawger and Kardavesh again.
"...very close, I just need more time, " Riley said.
"The normies are still in disarray, we will not be able to help much until I can repair the chain of command. The trolls have separated us from the techies, it's not looking good for us, " Hawger said wearily.
Kardavesh spoke up. "The techies will attempt to stall as long as we can, but we are going to begin our fail safe evacuation to ensure the techies continue past this war. "
"Kardavesh, that's practically half your fleet you're sending away, we need those ships!"
Hawger nodded slowly. "I agree that the resources it requires could be very useful in this war, but I respect your decision. Riley I can give you another month at most, if Jake cannot lead the maggies by then I will be forced to follow Kardavesh out of the galaxy. "
"We're going to need every unit we can get when Jake leads the maggies. We all know that together we are stronger, and by running away we're basically dooming each other!"
Kardavesh raised his hand to quiet Riley. "Which is why we will only be sending old unarmed transports with minimal military escort. Most of the ships are retired models on display, the impact on our combat fleet will be minimal, although our transport division will suffer. "
"Did you miss the part about how we need every unit? The maggies can't travel between planets, we need your ships here!"
"Riley, " Hawger said sharply, "Kardavesh has every right to turn and run if it seems the only way to save the techies. We should be thankful that he is trying to keep every ship he can on the front lines. His personal fleet was badly damaged even before he picked me up, he's trying to juggle a lot of responsibility right now and taking unnecessary risks for us. "
I could tell Riley knew she was defeated. "I- uh- we- just need more time!" she said finally.
"Kardavesh and I are already doing everything we can, there's not much else to do. A month is as much as we can give you, make good use of it. " They disappeared from the room, and Riley sat down heavily.
"You good?" I asked.
"Oh hey, didn't see you there. " She sighed. "No, I'm not doing too good. You probably heard most of that so you know we're running low on time and resources. "
"Yeah doesn't sound so good. " I sat down next to her. "How's Ben coming along?"
"Still out, I must've hit him pretty hard. Have you remembered anything else yet?"
"No, nothing yet. Maybe you should try to shoot me again?" I joked.
"Oh yeah, that reminds me, do you want to try sparring a bit? See if you're any good at fighting against a maggie. "
"Sure, let's go. " We went outside, and Riley grabbed a pair of clear glass balls on the way out.
"Hold this for a bit, " she handed me one of the orbs. "These are useful for training, as you can use them to make an avatar of yourself that will only interact with other avatars, creating a very safe training environment. You can do whatever magic you want with these, and the only thing it will affect is other avatars. "
"How do I turn it on?"
"Oh yeah, just toss it into the air and it'll take over from there. "
"Okay. " I tossed the orb into the air, which expanded into a figure that looked exactly like me. Riley tossed hers up, which did the same thing as mine had.
"You might want to step back a bit, and once you're out of the way you can control the avatar just by mind sharing with it. " I did what she suggested, and I began to see from the avatar's point of view. Riley's avatar stepped forward and a few shard replicas floated out from the side of it, hovering near her. "You ready?"
I tested my powers, and satisfied that they worked, nodded. Riley began the attack right away, launching a dozen shards my way which I blocked with a shield. I countered with a fireball, closing the gap while her vision was blocked by the flames. I had thought that taking away the range advantage would help even the odds since I knew less magic, but Riley was still good at hand to hand combat. I managed to land a blow in the initial surprise, but Riley was quick to react. She blocked my next three punches, and then jabbed me in the stomach. I stumbled back, and Riley took the opportunity to hit me with a shock wave and knock me down. As I got up a shard stabbed itself into my avatar's neck and I was back in my own body. The avatar shrunk back into the glass ball now that it had died, and I rubbed my neck to make sure there was no shard there. Riley's avatar shrunk back into the small ball as well, and she walked over.
"Good try, you just need more practice is all. Best of three?" she suggested.
I tossed the ball back into the air and tried again, this time instead of going offensive, I tried to block her attacks and launch shards when I saw an opening. I managed to last a bit longer this time and even stick a shard in her arm, but lost when a fireball turned out to be a distraction for a shard to stab me in the chest.
"All or nothing?" I asked when I was back in my own body.
"If you really want to try your luck, sure. " I went full attack this time, putting the pressure on right from the start. I caught her off guard in the first bit, but I was being reckless and a shard impaled me rather quickly. "Fighting isn't just about who can hit harder, although it does help, it's more about when and where you strike. If it's going to leave an opening in your defense, try to wait until an ideal opportunity arises where you can hit without getting hit back. Where you strike is also important. If I stick you with a shard here, " she poked my chest on the left side, "You'll probably have a minute or two until you bleed out. If I hit you just a bit higher and to your right, it pierces your heart and you die pretty quickly. There's a lot of strategy involved, and each maggie can have their own unique fighting strategy that you might have to counter. "
"I thought I would be fighting against trolls, not maggies. "
"For the most part, yes, you will fight trolls, but maggies are still human. We might panic, turn on each other, or just be plain bad. Eventually, you'll have to fight a maggie. It's rare that someone doesn't. "
"Okay, makes sense I guess. " I picked up the glass balls and took them inside, putting them back on a shelf where they had been before. Riley came in shortly after, headed to the room where Ben was. I felt a presence gently pushing against my mind, and I let it in, knowing it was Riley.
*Ben's waking up, come on over. *
*Be right there. * I stood beside Riley in the room, Ben stirring. He looked fine, probably Riley had done some healing spells on him after she hit him with the vase. A few seconds later he woke up, immediately trying to remove the cuffs.
"Ben, calm down, we don't want to hurt you, " she said soothingly.
He looked at both of us. "Who the heck are you two?"
"I'm Riley, this is Jake. Do you remember anything from the first Worlds War?"
"What?" I could tell he was thinking quickly, trying to figure out what was going on. "Oh, I see it now. Uh, un-cuff me and I'll tell you what I know. "
She cautiously unlocked the cuffs, which fell onto the blankets. "What do you remember?"
Ben took a deep breath. "First off, I'm not Ben. Not the one you're looking for at least. At the end of the first Worlds War, the relic that brought you two back only worked for two people. The Ben you fought besides isn't coming back. No idea what happened to that relic after you blasted the trolls away or if there's a way to get Ben back. "
"Why did you come here and attack us?"
"That was... not my decision. The maggies were getting restless, so they sent me to kind of check your progress and make sure that you at least had powers. " H glanced at me. "Looks like you got Jake as well, but you know the normies and techies can only hold out for another month until there's no hope of winning, even with the maggies helping. "
Riley rubbed her eyes, clearly stressed about all this. "Yes I know, they told me. Well not-Ben, I guess you can go back to wherever you came from. "
"Thanks. Good luck on getting Jake to remember. " He walked out of the room and out of the house, and just kept walking down the road.
"Jake, are you sure you haven't remembered anything else? Anything at all?"
I shook my head. "Nothing other than the first time. "
She sighed. "Well if you remember anything else let me know. "
"Alright. " I left and ate a quick dinner, then got ready for bed. As I was about to lie down, I felt something just click inside me, everything falling into place, but I was still confused. I stood for a few moments, trying to make sense of what had changed, when the memories flooded in. It was like a wave of water had suddenly hit me, and I stumbled back into the wall. I sat down quickly, clutching my head as the memories kept coming. There was graduation from school, the transport to the front lines, a fight with Riley, a bunch of fights, another transport to talk with the rest of the leaders, and then the end, where I defeated the trolls. I was sitting on the floor, shaking for a long time. When morning came, I was tired, exhausted, and still getting new memories, although they had slowed to a trickle. When They stopped completely, I knew what I had to do.
"Kardavesh I need a transport to the maggies, how soon can you get one over?" I said. Riley was still asleep, and I felt a little guilty for doing this behind her back, but last time she had sabotaged the transport, and right now that was the last thing I needed.
"I've had one in orbit for a few days actually, it can be down in ten minutes. Five if we let these stupid humans think its aliens. "
"I'll take the five, they'll just think it's got something to do with area 51 or photoshop. "
"It's on the way down, good luck Jake. " Kardavesh knew why I hadn't told Riley, and agreed not to tell her where I had gone. As soon as I got to the maggies, I would be able to take control and lead them into battle. I waited in the front yard for the shuttle, which arrived quickly. It was a small ship piloted by an AI, with a small space for maybe three people to fit. Since it was just me, the space was plenty big and the shuttle lifted up from the earth. Once past LEO, the main engine engaged and I shot towards a distant star. The engine was clearly faster than light, and I landed just an hour later. I stepped out of the shuttle into a crowded plaza with hundreds of people looking at me.
"Where is the vault?" I asked a nearby person.
"Uh, in that building right there, why?"
"Thanks. " I ignored his question and walked towards the building, a large three story white building that looked like a government building or maybe a bank. I entered and walked right towards the back, where a large safe was. I pressed my left hand on the surface, which was slightly warm to the touch. Using my right hand, I reached through the combination spinner to the interior of the safe. I grabbed a cylinder from inside, and brought it back out through the lock. It was a light gray glass tube, with a short message engraved on it. 'Welcome back', it said. I smiled, knowing that only I could have grabbed the tube, because I was the maggie leader.
I turned to the audience, which had grown bigger since I had landed, and held up the cylinder. "Prepare for war, tomorrow we will board every shuttle we can get our hands on and head to the front lines, the worlds need us!"
The audience shouted their approval, and quickly dispersed to spread the word and prepare. I grabbed both ends of the cylinder and twisted, the cylinder disappearing from my hands until it was needed again. I went back into the shuttle and turned on the communication device, trying to contact Kardavesh and Hawger. They answered quickly, appearing as smaller holograms than they had been in the house. "I am now leading the maggies and we will be ready for deployment tomorrow. kardavesh, please send every spare shuttle to transport the maggies. Hawger, just hold out until we can help. "
"Good timing, the normies are getting pounded out here, we could use all the help we can get. "
"I'll make sure to send plenty of help, Hawger, just hang in there. "
"Our shuttles are low since we sent them away, but..they are close enough that I can redirect them. With the maggies fighting now I think we have a much better chance of defeating the trolls. The techies will send all they can. "
"Thank you Kardavesh and Hawger. Good luck. " I closed the stream and exited the ship, which three maggies boarded and then left the planet for the battleground. I felt that we had a fighting chance against the trolls, but it would still be a long and bloody war. The maggies had switched from standing by to full war machine in less than an hour, they had obviously been waiting for a long time. I held out my right hand like I was shaking somebody's hand, and closed my hand around something smooth. I pulled gently, and out of extra-dimensional space I pulled a round shield about three feet in diameter and light as a feather. I knew that this was my magic relic, an impenetrable lightweight shield. The art on the front of the shield was simple, a circle divided into three equal sections with an M, T, or N in it. The letters and divisions were white on a red background, which gave it an ominous look without being too fancy. I put the shield back, and walked towards the nearby landing area where the techie spacecraft would land to pick up the maggies, and waited.