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Planning a novel

Journal Entry: Thu Jun 25, 2015, 8:24 PM


Exactly what the title says.

Every time I get to work on a story I lose interest when it comes to the actual part involving MAKING it. One thing that has always helped me to commit to something is a...co author of sorts, or at least a beta reader/editor who can help me improve my work through constructive criticism.

The novel is going to be in the science fiction/fantasy genre.

If anybody would be interested, just send me a note and let me know. Details will be released via note.

Mature Content Filter is On
(Contains: violence/gore and strong language)

Wrath of Irk

Xxx

Chapter Sixteen: The Subjugation Arc, Part Two

Korlon, Amboras Industrial District

Grim had been to the mobile mining world of Korlon only a few times in recent history. He had first travelled to this rogue state back in his later teen years, on assignment to track a fugitive who had escaped from the Serpent’s Circle during its first year. To keep such a humiliating error for what was supposed to be the most secure prison in the galaxy secret, Grim had been tasked with quietly disposing of this prisoner before rumours could spread. The only condition had been to bring the body back mostly intact so that the Empire could fake the convict’s death, making it seem like he had been killed while trying to escape.

The poor soul had been so terrified of the idea of even his corpse being dragged back that he’d thrown himself behind the active engines of a starship and scattered himself all over a hangar bay. Only his previous service record and some quick thinking from some higher ups had saved Grim’s neck that day. It seemed to be poetic justice that the second time Grim came here would be for the same reason and land him in the same hangar bay. Now it was sending him to the same district where he had first hunted.

This time Grim fully intended to bring his quarry back, minus all but their head after he was done interrogating them for what Wrath knew about Skullene.

Making his way through the crowded lower streets of Amboras, Grim kept his head bowed beneath a hood both to conceal his face and protect against the simulated rain that was used to clean out the alleys and fill Rain Tanks on the roof of the much smaller buildings. Aliens shuffled about with barely any room to maneuver, crowding into and out of stores and restaurants or on their way to or from work. There was no day or night time on Korlon, so people had to abide by a set schedule of when to work and sleep, how much light to expose themselves to at certain times of day and more importantly when to take time off of this mess of a moon and spend it on a real planet for a while to recover.

Merely living on Korlon often came with negative side effects, such as the godfather of Jetlag and more sicknesses and diseases than you can shake a stick at. Many people only stayed for a few months or years to work, earn some money and then go live on a real planet with sunlight, fresh air and severely smaller chance of getting sick. Only the dedicated military and administration forces truly lived on Korlon, along with any miners who ‘toughed it out’.

Grim’s travels took him to a multi level plaza outside of a structure known as ‘Sloog’s Palace’. It was built almost ten stories high from the street level, small compared to the towering sky scrapers that took up the heart of the district but large enough to stick out among the outskirts of Amboras. It was partially a summer home and partially a factory owned by an Irken named Sloog, a crime lord who was known for his shrewd business like approach to his dealings and for secretly assisting the Empire when needed.

And it so happened that even when he was not present on Korlon, his ‘palace’ had a Quantum Comm. Relay to speak to him anywhere else in the galaxy. That was Grim’s aim behind visiting this obelisk of decadence, built to look like some pretty oversized manor or castle on the outside and really a ramshackle factory on the inside with a few pretty rooms for the richer guests to relax in and laugh at the workers from.

The large mech-armour clad guards at the front were more for show than real security, a bombastic display of Sloog’s products while the real firepower lay concealed behind the outer walls. They locked their cannons onto Grim as he stepped from the shadows of the Amborasian slums and into the golden glow of Sloog’s Palace. He pulled back his hood and stared at the Mech-Guards, whose built in facial recognition software instantly pinged him in the Palace’s security system before the two stood down and the gates opened, recognizing Grim as an emissary of the Irken Empire.

Pulling his hood back over his face, Grim stepped through and found himself exiting the curtain of rain as an invisible barrier above kept the courtyard dry and rather cool compared to the moist and humid environment outside. The Invader felt a chill run through him as the first cold front slammed into him, almost making him feel like he was stepping into the middle of a winter season, minus the snow and ice. Rubbing his chest with his arms to restore a semblance of warmth, Grim walked towards the front doors where two more guards in more streamline and less bulky mech suits admitted him to the foyer where a machine mounted on several spindly limbs like PAK legs was scurrying towards him.

The interior of Sloog’s Palace could fool somebody into thinking they weren’t on some mobile moon/mining station easily enough. Marble floors and stair cases, dark and finely polished wooden walls and railing, statues and decorations laced with an assortment of fine stones from many different worlds that Korlon had visited and windows equipped with screens that perfectly mimicked a beautiful countryside or coastal view right down to the detail of every blade of grass or splash of water while blocking out the atrocious view of Amboras’ downtown area.

Every room from top to bottom was intentionally designed to give guests the feeling of suddenly being very tiny, with high arching roofs held up by finely shaped metal pillars and buttresses that could hold the structure up and intact against an earthquake or a shelling, over the top art caking the walls and ceiling to show the finesse and masterpieces of fine artists from across the galaxy, incorporating features from as many as a dozen different cultures and taken from the top tier of each...

Oh yes, Sloog no doubt had personally designed this building, and redesigned it over the years since Grim’s first visit. It was the pinnacle of decadence, every inch of it won or bought through ill gained riches to stoke the fire’s of one man’s ego...

By the gods, how had Grim not killed this man just to rid the universe of his wasteful and slothful ways?

Invader Grim!” A booming, cheery voice grated Grimrair’s antennae, causing him to almost drop the forced smile he donned while looking to the life sized image of Sloog being projected atop of the flat, mobile Holo-Transmitter that had scurried up to him like a spider, showing the bloated and deformed shape of Sloog.

...oh right, this was why, because despite being an abominable example of Irken Sloog was also too smart to knowingly place himself within ten light years of any of his enemies or potential enemies. For all Grim knew the crime lord may have heard of his impending arrival and relocated if he had been here to begin with; he certainly wouldn’t put it past Sloog to vacate one of his vacation homes simply for the sake of survival. If anything good could be said about the slug, he had a survival instinct that went well in hand with his intellect.

Sloog had once been an intelligence officer, a damned good one at that, which heavily attributed to his success in the galactic underworld. He had been noted for his insatiable curiosity and proactive learning methods, discovering new skills and tidbits of into that few would avoid overlooking. In the end he had been marked as a Defective for his obvious hedonistic habits outside of his job, and had been slated for deactivation only to escape Imperial Enforcers throughout the home system by use of an elaborate decoy escape ship that had kept the armada busy while Sloog simply caught a ride out of the system on a slave ship, disguised as the warden. That one ship had allowed him to gain the money to start his criminal empire, and since then he had either made himself too useful to the Empire or too untouchable by anybody to get rid of.

The fat Irken hadn’t gotten away from every scrape without injury, however. A good deal of his body was replaced with cybernetics, including most of his skull and one eye. He was reclined in a floating throne of sorts and had a chalice in one hand...as always.

Swallowing down his disgust at the sight of the irken, Grim greeted him as pleasantly as he would anyone else. “Sloog, always a pleasure.”

Oh do sit down my friend,” Sloog gestured with his free hand, and a chair floated over towards Grim, who kindly refused the offer with a gesture that sent the chair moving back when the camera built into the arm rest spotted him waving it away.

“I’m afraid that I can’t stay for long, Sloog.” Grim folded his arms behind his back. “I’m here on urgent business.”

Sloog snorted. “Oh you Invaders are always on urgent business. Worlds to conquer, species to enslave...” He leaned in with a gleam in his one eye, “But I’ve heard tales of the one you seek, Grimrair...I know that you are chasing the Wrath of Irk to Korlon.

Grim didn’t need to ask how Sloog knew this. “Accurate as always, Sloog, accurate as always,” He sighed and unclasped his hand, feigning a composure that indicated discomfort at what would be an awkward silence, “Eder himself sent me after him with a kill order, and it wouldn’t be prudent for me to return without fulfilling this objective to the letter.”

Sloog cackled and then downed his chalice’s contents before handing it off to something that was out of view from Grim’s perspective, perhaps a servant to refill the vessel. “Say no more! Let it never be said that Sloog cannot provide what the Empire cannot acquire itself. Wrath arrived here only a short time before you did, and was granted special clearance to retain his arms and anonymity, which is a damn shame as that’s the one thing about him that I don’t have! He’s travelling with the outlaw, Rikalo, and some hybrid boy who, if I recall, is supposed to be Tallest Candidate Blue’s slave and pet assassin.

“Do you know where he is on Korlon now?” Grim asked. “Which hangar did his ship land in?”

Now that shall cost the Empire extra,” Sloog snickered and held up his hand just as the chalice was passed back to him, full of fresh wine. “I gave you more than enough for free, my friend. What shall the Empire pay in return for further assistance from Sloog?

The bastard had an ego the size of Zim’s, but the self control and brains (and more importantly resources) to justify that flaw. This unfortunate fact was the reason why Grim would have to play to Sloog’s tune and appeal to him with a gift.

“The Empire is fully prepared to compensate you with as much currency as is reasonable,” Grim recited the same offer he had used many times before.

“I thought so,” Sloog chuckled, “Now...I have eyes on Wrath that have spotted him in this very district, and he was last seen in the vicinity of the Psi-Irken Hive.”

Xxx

Many miles from Sloog’s Palace, Risk observed the Psi-Irken Hive from a high perch on one of the sky scrapers close enough for a clear view wand far enough for him, Kid and Rikalo to remain undetected. The Hive was formed by several adjacent buildings with guard towers constructed at the perimeter of what the Psi-Irkens had claimed. There were no physical barriers to divide this sector from the rest of Amboras, but Risk could spy blockades down in the streets and sky-sleds hovering overhead with armed troops aboard.

“Why would the Psi-Irkens hire mercenaries to protect their home?” Risk lowered the binoculars away from his eyes and passed them to Rik, who took a look for himself.

After a moment of observation the older Irken tossed them to Kid and turned to face Risk. “They wouldn’t, but they aren’t against enthralling them.”

“Enthralling?” Kid asked, “As in mind control, Mr Cowboy?”

“Right on the money, kiddo,” Rik nodded, “They might be powerful, but they’re vulnerable without their powers. So they find a few likely candidates or weak minded morons to use as cannon fodder and mentally reprogram them to drop everything and obey whoever holds the mental leash.”

Risk shuddered to imagine the horror of being rewritten into some mindless drone. “So there’s no chance of us releasing their thralls?”

Rik shook his head and gestured with one arm for his two companions to follow. “I didn’t say that. Walk with me.”

Their perch had been a wide, curving landing platform on a tower primarily used to host restaurants, auctions, stores and business offices, lit up by tall screens that produced images of advertisements that could be seen all the way from the ground level. The platform hugged about one half of the tower’s circumference, and their sky car lay parked near one end of the platform, safe from the downpour by the platform above while they were still thankfully dry after their drive. Rik lead the two out of the glaring red light of the advertisement screens and into a darkened end of the curved platform.

“So what’s our plan?” Kid asked immediately as they stopped.

“Well first you know how we intended to avoid ending up like one of them thralls,” Rik reached into his PAK and produced a circular device that had a metallic casing and a single screen on it used to read finger prints. “This is a Vor-Tec disruptor, others call it a Vortex disruptor. They were built by the Vortians, but put to use and mass produced by the Empire to counter races like the Meekroob, races that possess powers that would put them at an advantage.”

He set the disruptor on his bicep, and a series of metal strips clipped together extended around his arm and locked together, securing the disruptor in place. “These ones aren’t Imperial Issue, but they get the job done. I’ve coded our bio signatures into them so that only we can take off our own disruptors. I’ve also set up a link between all three so that they work in parallel and strengthen the intensity of the disruption field when we’re close enough together.”

“So that way instead of having three individual disruptors it’s more like we have a dozen of them,” Risk nodded, appreciating Rik’s thinking. “Good plan.”

“That’ll keep us them from taking over our minds or from using telekinesis to just crush or rip us apart,” Rik continued, patting Kid’s head, “So no worries about being brainwashed, kiddo, but they can still throw things at yah, so be on guard.”

Kid nodded and accepted a matching disruptor that Rik held out to him. “Okay, so we’re safe from their creepy mind powers. What about their guards?”

“Well I have a second solution for that,” Rik answered. “To answer your question from earlier Risk: there is a chance to free those mercs and maybe get them on our side. You see, the Psi-Irkens have to be particularly careful when they screw around with a mind. Try to adjust something too much and they break it entirely and are left with a vegetable that can’t even be made to do anything without years of intense therapy and reconditioning. It’s easier and more effective for them to simply ‘shackle’ their thralls with a telepathic harness of sorts.”

“And I’m guessing that could be disabled with a disruptor like ours.” Risk said, strapping his own disruptor into place.

“So we have to slap a disruptor on every one of them?” Kid asked. “No, we don’t have that many...”

“True, but we don’t need that many,” Rik nodded as he handed both of his companions an extra disruptor. “These ones aren’t bio-encoded. Just hold it to one of the thralls while it’s on and they’ll be freed. The mental harness is used to keep the thralls loyal to their masters even from a distance so that they don’t have to expend energy keeping every one of them under control at all times. It’s efficient, but if a thrall is released while far enough from the Psi-Irken who controls them then they’re home free if they just stay out of range.”

“Oh!” Kid nodded. “So we just slap every one of them that we find with one of these and they’ll go back to normal! Cool.”

“But don’t take any chances, Kid.” Risk added. “We’re mainly there to defeat their leader, if you have no choice but to kill some Thralls then nobody will blame you for it.”

Kid nodded again, pocketing the second disruptor in his coat. “Sure thing Mr Cuddly, I know the stakes. Oh, and I also remember that when we’re in the field I call you Wrath, and you call me Runt so nobody can identify us.”

Risk smiled and rubbed Kid’s head. “That was perfectly done, Runt.” He looked back up to Rik. “What about our entry plan?”

“Got all sorts of options to choose from,” Rik set down a holo-projector that displayed a three dimensional representation of the Psi-Irken Hive. Different entry routes were highlighted with red arrows and lines. “We can go by ground, by air or even by underground; as long as we’re inside before they detect us we’re golden. They won’t risk taking their thralls off the perimeter, so we’ll just have to worry about any that are left inside.”

Risk nodded. “I think I have an idea...it’ll involve at least one of us being outside when they detect us though.”

“Well, you’re the Irk Damn Wrath,” Rik shrugged. “So it’s your call big guy.”

Xxx

In ten minutes the trio had their half assed plan laid out and recited in their heads until they remembered every detail. Every signal, contingency and escape route was mentally mapped out and they were ready to begin the operation. With the CyberIrken infiltrators given partial details and Rothan and the crew back on the Defiance instructed on what to do if things went south, they were at least confident that any damage to the plan could be minimized or contained.

After a brief drive to get everybody into position, Wrath initiated his phase of the plan first. He remained perched on the same tower where the group had conducted its meeting, on the uppermost platform where the rain continued to pour down on him. He had something added to his usual suit of battle armour that hung on his back and fit perfectly over his PAK, acting as an extension of the device wired to his anatomy.

This is Wrath,” He spoke after turning on his voice modulator to distort his true voice. “Phase One is a go.

He then rushed forward and leaped from the edge of the tower, not knowing or caring if anybody on the platforms below spotted his figure as he plummeted downwards. At almost five hundred feet over the streets he engaged the device mounted on his back and unleashed twin sets of fire from ports that propelled him through the air faster than his regular manoeuvring thrusters would. The ‘Rocket Pack’ addition to his armour had been the result of some supervised tinkering by a CyberIrken who had quickly adapted the system to his armour and promised that it would allow for travel up to ten miles in an atmospheric environment at maximum speed, and for at least an hour’s worth of hovering with a full fuel tank.

Rain drops splattered against his visor as Wrath dropped down below the minimum altitude that permitted air traffic, not wanting to end up being reduced to a stain on the front of some taxi. Some people glanced up as his rocket pack briefly illuminated them in white light and left behind a trail of smoke behind the armoured Irken.

At the perimeter of the Psi-Irken Hive, an enthralled mercenary took notice of the approaching shape and raised his rifle, peering through the scope for a better view. Upon confirming that the shape was an actual person flying through the air and that this person was flying towards the perimeter at high speed the mercenary responded automatically by lining up a shot, only for a green bolt of light to lance out from a nearby roof top and strike him in the chest, knocking him from his perch and making him tumble to the roof below where two more sentries were camped under a tarp. They shot to their feet and grabbed for their weapons only for a second shot to strike one in the back and another in the chest as he spun to aim at the unknown shooter.

Rik, posted on a roof top he had discretely moved to by foot, gave his rifle several moments to cool down as he heard the roar of Wrath’s rocket pack. The older Irken was crouched on one knee and had erected a bipod to help steady his aim. The rain made it difficult, but he had executed more difficult shots in the past. All three sentries would live, although the first one would have some broken bones for a while-a suitable payment for being freed from the control of the Psi-Irkens.

“Gunslinger here,” He said into his radio, raising his voice so they could hear him over the rain. “Your approach vector is clear on the western perimeter, Wrath, but they’ll notice my handiwork in a minute.”

That’s all I need to get into position,” Wrath replied as he angled himself towards the warehouse that Rik had targeted. He glanced down at the group that was blockading the street and took note of at least one glancing up towards him. “Neutralizing the western blockade.

As he began to pass over the blockade Wrath dropped a grenade down that bounced and rolled to the feet of the guards keeping people out of the several blocks of space claimed by the Psi-Irkens. One glanced down, taking a moment to recognize the neural shock grenade as he picked it up. Just as his telepathically conditioned mind registered the threat the device exploded in his hand and rendered all six Thralls blocking the street unconscious. It didn’t generate a loud explosion like a regular grenade would, so it wouldn’t let half the district know about what was happening.

A nearby patrol spotted the crackling energy wave that had neutralized the blockade guards, but were too slow to react to Wrath as he slowed and descended, angling his body into an upright position. Wrath unholstered two blasters and rained down a spray of blue energy bolts on the four. He quickly mowed them down, each stun round that hit making their bodies convulse and left them unconscious on the ground in moments.

Wrath landed and disconnected his rocket pack. “I’m on the ground, western perimeter breached. Proceeding to phase two.

Rik folded his rifle up and left his position. “Gotcha. I’ll meet up with you in a few minutes.”

Xxx

As Rikalo and Wrath waged their two man assault on the surface compound and dozens of enthralled soldiers rushed to repel them, Kid made his way past all of the chaos and violence without so much as being noticed. The young hybrid was moving through maintenance tunnels beneath the streets of Amboras, following the directions he had memorized.

“Junction 1109,” Kid muttered, marking the checkpoint off on his mental list as he recalled the next step. He crawled out of a smaller tunnel that forced him to crouch and stood up in a more open chamber containing power cables and energy cells contained in boxes to protect from any rain water that dripped down. Kid was able to step out of the ankle deep water and onto one such container so that he didn’t have to soak his socks anymore than he already had.

“And now the way up should be...” Kid tilted his head up as he spoke, setting eyes on a square hatch overhead. “There!”

Kid pulled back the sleeve of his coat and examined the gadget that Risk had provided him. It was basically a gauntlet that covered everything between Kid’s wrist and elbow and had a number of handy functions, including a thin but very sturdy grapple line which he fired up into the metal next to the hatch. The end of the filament was magnetically fixed into place, and Kid was tugged upwards with a ‘yipe!’

Once he was close enough to the hatch Kid reached out and gripped the manual release lever built into it and tugged, causing the hatch to split apart and allow a cool breeze to wash over Kid as he reached up and grasped the edge of the open passage. He pulled himself up and peered into the dimly lit room, watching for any movement in the shadows while climbing to his feet and shutting the hatch behind him.

“Junction 1109, up the hatch, into the closet and...” Kid pulled his goggles down over his eyes and let them adjust to the darkness, giving him a view of the supply room he had entered. “And then onto the main floor.”

The hybrid knelt by the only door in the room and pried open the control panel next to it, fiddling with the wires a bit before making the door open just a bit instead of all the way and giving him a view of the hall outside. Kid peered through the crack and had the door slowly open enough for him to slip through to find that the coast was clear. The corridor of what used to be a fancy club had been converted into something like a museum, with statues of Irkens that he would usually find in his master’s estate and art that looked like it cost more than all of his belongings put together and multiplied by a thousand.

His boots clanged softly against the metal floor, which had been cleaned of almost any trace of dirt or wear and had carpets covering some sections. If not for what little of the original architecture that stuck out through these decorations Kid would have thought that he was on some fancy cruise liner.

“These guys sure like their fancy furniture.” Kid said aloud, pulling his goggles back up before he remembered his objective. He didn’t have time to sit around and admire the decor; Mr Cuddly needed him to do his job! The boy held his spatula in one hand, keeping it collapsed into its smallest form and held a digital map in his other hand to guide him as he moved in a half crouch, trying to minimize any noise his footsteps generated.

He didn’t notice a shape floating after him, silent as the wings of an owl and gliding smoothly like it was made of air.

Xxx

Back out in the artificial downpour, Rikalo was back on ground level and covering Wrath as they moved between side passages and alleys to avoid the main force. While the armored rebel leader focused on the Thralls closest to them Rik kept his eyes on their six and watched the roof tops for sharpshooters, already stunning over a half dozen just like the sentries from earlier. Crouching behind a half disassembled vehicle left out on one of the roads, Rik leaned out from cover and lined up a shot with another sniper who had been too focused on trying to get a clean shot on Risk and quickly hit the shooter between the ribs with a bolt of green energy that surged through his nervous system, leaving him unconscious.

Wrath in the meantime finished up with the last three Thralls present, leaping up and swinging his leg forwards in a frontal kick that struck the knife from the hand of one Thrall and then swiftly delivered a bone breaking punch to the enslaved mercenary’s jaw before even landing back on his feet. Twisting, Wrath brought out one of his blasters and landed a shot to one of the other two Thralls, but the third got in too close and tried to wrestle him for the weapon only to receive a knee to his ribs, followed by a crushing grip on one of his wrists that tightened until the pain overrode any mental programming and caused the Thrall to scream in pain and release the gun. Wrath quickly struck the final mercenary across the face with the butt of his gun, and put a stun round into him before he even finished falling to the floor.

“Well,” Rik stepped out of cover and folded his rifle back up. “That was exciting.”

Ignoring the older Irken, Wrath tapped into their team frequency. “Wrath to Wrench, the storm is bad out here but we’re maintaining course.” He reiterated one of the code phrases that they had gone over earlier. “Done sightseeing yet?

They were being slowed by armed resistance, but were still on schedule and sticking to their objective.

After a moment Kid responded. “Wrench here, just getting to the good part, I’ll let you know when the star of the show makes her debute.

He was closing in on the main floor of the Psi-Irken hive and would keep them posted on when Jolin’ae revealed herself.

“Try not to piss off the locals,” Rik intruded on their conversation, “They’re always eyein’ us tourists up for good reasons and we wouldn’t want a lonely stranger to run into them while they’re in a bad mood.”

Be careful not to engage the Psi-Irkens alone, but be aware that they probably know you’re there.

Okay Mr Gunslinger.” Kid answered. “I’m at the good part, but it looks-” Kid’s sentence was cut off, but both men heard the boy gasp before the link went silent.

Wrench? Kid?!” Wrath shouted, breaking into a sprint with Rikalo right behind him. They were deep enough into the Psi-Irken territory that most of the Thralls were too far away manning the walls or were searching for them tirelessly, but surprisingly they didn’t run into any of them on their way to the main structure dominating the blocks around it.

“Hold up,” Rik placed a hand on Wrath’s shoulder as they reached the mouth of an alley across the street from the club/headquarters of the Korlon Psi-Irkens. It was lit up with screens displaying the name of the place in bright blue letters: the Psi-Hive. “You know that a Psi-Irken couldn’t have got him even in there without him getting enough time to warn us, something else must have happened and I think we might want to go about this cautiously.”

Wrath knew that Rik was only using common sense, but the idea of Kid being trapped in there with ‘something else’ that had attacked him made the younger Irken impatient. “We don’t have time for that. Sync up our Disruptors and we’ll be safe from any psionic attacks, and anything else probably isn’t something we haven’t already handled.

Rik frowned, but knew that Wrath was determined to get in there as soon as possible. “Fine,” He synced up his disruptor to Wrath’s, strengthening the field around them so that it was more like over a half dozen disruptors were protecting them instead of two, “But if he didn’t complete his part of the plan, you know we’re both likely screwed, right?”

Wrath didn’t respond, charging forward across the street. Rikalo rushed after the armoured leader while pulling a bulky pistol of some kind from beneath his coat. He lined up a shot with the doors while Wrath shot into the air, kept suspended by his armour’s built in thrusters as Rik fired a single breaching round that tore through the metal doors and the shutters behind them in a red explosion, producing no shrapnel but enough heat to make the area around the breach glow brightly as Wrath angled his descent and glided through the breach, blaster in hand.

The inside of the Hive was seemingly abandoned, showing evidence of some party judging from the overturned seats and tables, the puddles of alcohol and the scent of too many different types of Herb Sticks being lit in the same room. Multicolored lights were still flashing down on Wrath as he scanned the room for life, but besides that there was only an eerie silence so deep that Wrath managed to hear a single foot step on the far side of the room where a set of stairs split apart to lead to the upper floor.

On the stairs, stepping down towards him, was a single Irken woman clothed in an elegant green robe that matched her eyes and had a serene smile on her face.

“Welcome, Wrath of Irk.” She said. “My name is-” A shot from Wrath’s blaster cut her off, but she deflected the round into the ceiling without even so much as a hand gesture to form the psionic bubble shielding her. “Now that is just rude.”

Wrath expected her to try and tear the gun from his hands, but instead she surprised him and flung a table at him from the side with a single gesture of her head. His armour protected him from any damage, but Wrath was still knocked off his feet and lost his grip on his blaster.

“Much better,” The woman said, setting the table back on its legs, “As I was saying, I am Jolin’ae, leader of the Psi-Irkens you have been hunting all the way from Outer Irk.”

Wrath pushed himself back into a standing position, staring warily at the Psi-Irken before him. “I already knew that, that’s why I took the shot.

“Of course, I’d never accuse you of being uninformed like that.” Jolin’ae sat on the table, elegantly crossing one leg over the other and folding her hands on her lap. “I am simply one for common courtesy, hence why I am about to give you a way out of this situation that needn’t result in your slow and rather uncomfortable demise.”

If it keeps you in the middle of a monologue, I’m all ears.” Wrath shrugged.

Jolin’ae summoned a glass to her hand and had it filled from a bottle from half way across the room. “I’ll be blunt with you then. Surrender yourself, deactivate your disruptor and embrace my control and you may live to perhaps be freed in the future; or don’t and my men will handle removing you from my home.”

A moment later Wrath realized what had happened to Kid. Three figures stepped into view from behind pillars lining the first floor of the club.

The first of them was covered from head to toe, head capped by a wide brim hat and everything else below the neck concealed by a flowing cape with a high collar that showed only a mask and red goggles that concealed any indication of what species this person was. Wrath’s scanners picked up no less than five guns and a knife through the cape, and he still couldn’t get a fix with the bio-scanner.

The second was a planet jacker with pale skin, green eyes and dark hair tied back tightly. He wore a battle suit with white plating and green cloth, bulkier than what the first mercenary wore but  built for enhancing the user’s mobility and protecting them from heavier attacks. His suit had some sort of power source that was reading off the charts, generating enough energy to run a ship. Wrath could not discern any weapons through the armour, but he deduced that this planet jacker was more armed than the first mercenary.

And the third was another planet jacker, female, pale skin and albino hair, red eyes. She had Kid in a head lock and was holding the hybrid off of the floor as he kicked and struggled. She wore black and purpled body armour that protected her from Kid’s efforts to free himself, easily overpowering the hybrid. A shotgun hung on her back, and Wrath was picking up explosive signatures and signs of other weapons on her person along with a jet pack built into her suit connected to a chemical fuel tank.

All three of these individuals were categorized as some of the deadliest people in the galaxy, and Jolin’ae had them in one room and poised to attack. In the eyes of the two planet jackers Wrath could see a glazed over expression shared by anyone in the enthralment of a Psi-Irken, and he didn’t doubt that the dark clad bounty hunter was in the same condition. How Jolin’ae had gotten ahold of this many heavy hitters in the mercenary community Wrath would never be able to guess, but if he lived long enough he might look into it.

Tall dark and scary was known mainly among Imperial circles by several names: The Black Recluse, the Desert Merc, but many identified him specifically as Strelok. He was a pro-imperial bounty hunter known for rarely speaking and turning the tides of entire battles without being seen.

The second was not as well known, but had earned his own infamy among mercenaries. Emkol Vassa was a former soldier of the Planet Jackers who had gone rogue years ago and was still wanted by his own people for defection in addition to sabotaging their planet collection operations across thirty systems over the past few years. He was known for his martial arts abilities and use of ‘hard light’ weapons.

The third was most famous from starring in a recent death tournament of sorts, and bore the scarring from the event on the side of her admittedly attractive face. Vaelka was not technically a mercenary, but she possessed the suitable skills and resources for the profession and could compete with people like Rikalo or Kei for the title of ‘deadliest person in the universe’.

Wrath suddenly found himself taking Jolin’ae’s threat much more seriously than he had a few moments ago.

Xxx

End of chapter

Wrath of Irk C16
Our group of...um...brilliant heroes now are taking on the fearsome Psi-Irkens, but is there a twist? And in the meantime Grim is still trying to just do his job without losing his head.

I do not own Invader Zim

Grimrair belongs to :iconzimsmostloyalservant:

Kid belongs to :iconprojecthalfbreed:

Vaelka belongs to :iconcorrupted-mooch:

Strelok belongs to :icongvozdi:

Emkol, Risk and Rikalo are mine
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(Contains: strong language)

Kei’s Crew Entry

Risk Gamble and Rimak Rikson are both children of infamous renegades and outlaws against the Empire, and both are in desperate need of employment. When they find such an opportunity, they must endure travelling across the cosmos to find the legendary Pirate Queen: Kei.

Xxx

The Ranger

Irken Galaxy, currently adrift in dark space

The room was dimly lit, illuminated primarily by the blue glow of several computer screens scattered across several tables and counter tops. In the corner were several bins overflowing with crumpled paper and even a smashed computer, signs of how the owner’s irritation had reached new levels after enough setbacks in their work. Three of the walls were caked with papers showing diagrams and rows of formulas while the fourth had been thankfully spared, save for the very edges where they shared corners with two of the covered walls. All of this chaotic mess centered around a device the size of a car engine resting on the floor, encased in an ovular metal shell with numerous wires trailing out of it to connect to every individual console in the room.

Only two individuals currently made use of this room, both behind one of the counters circling the strange device.

“And you just found an advertisement for a pirate crew with known anti-Imperial sentiments hanging...where again?” A young Irken boy in his mid to late teens asked, glancing up from his computer’s monitor to fix his roommate/co worker with a suspicious stare.

The other Irken, a few years older than the first, offered what he thought was a trustworthy smile as he responded. “Oh, hangin’ up on pretty much every street corner.”

The first Irken, known as Riskellion Gamble (Risk for short), sighed and stood up, holding out ah and for the flyer in Rimak’s hands, “And you seriously believe that the Empire wouldn’t already be all over this? I mean if what you’re saying is true...” He trailed off, reading over the contents of the flyer. “Then why wouldn’t they take a chance to arrest one of the most wanted women in the universe?”

“Oh c’mon Risky, you know the Empire couldn’t find its own head if it were jammed up its ass...which it seems to always be, given the current administration.” Rimak Rikson dismissively replied with a chuckle as he sat down on one of the hovering chairs scattered throughout the room that Risk had claimed as his lab. The young bounty hunter made the chair slowly spin to pass the time as Risk finished looking over the seemingly ordinary sheet. “Besides, don’t we need the money anyhow? Your experiments and keepin’ this ship in the air are a real drain on both our bank accounts.”

“The Tallests may be incompetent, but they have more capable underlings.” Risk insisted, setting the flyer down. “I mean, any incompetent fool could tell that this flyer is clearly referring to one of our usual fuel stops in the Zimeron Galaxy, more like our ONLY fuel stop there.” He snorted. “I mean seriously, is this supposed to be a clever deception?”

Rimak snatched the flyer back up. “Wait now, we’ve been to this place?” He examined the coordinates. “Since when?”

“Since a week ago,” Risk replied with a deadpan, turning his attention back to his current project. “Now if you don’t mind Rimak, I’m close to unravelling one of the more stubborn algorithms involved with the sentience integration program-”

“Yeah, yeah, science stuff, gotcha.” Rimak mumbled, backing out of the lab with his eyes fixed on the coordinates.

For several moments Risk believed the matter to be done with and began to get back to work, inputting new commands to alter the seemingly nonsensical sea of equations occupying the screen...

...and then he remembered that this was Rimak he was talking about.

“Shit.” Risk shot out of his seat and ran towards the cockpit. “Oh he’d better not be doing what I think he’s doing!”

Xxx

Zimeron Galaxy, Asteroid Body Codenamed ‘Edge of Nowhere’

Long Shot Bar, Exterior

“You’re a bastard, did you know that?” Risk asked, now standing outside of the parked Ranger with Rimak, who was paying off the docking master to erase any record of their arrival in the local databanks.

“Known it my whole life, but thanks fer rubbin’ it in again,” Rimak answered, not sounding at all upset about the statement. He finished paying the alien and shook hands before returning to Risk’s side to stare at the Long Shot Bar just a few dozen feet away, surrounded by several parked ships and featuring a huge neon sign with its name emblazoned over the image of a hand gun.

Risk shuddered as they approached the front doors, hearing the crashing of furniture and bodies withi. “Such a charming place as always,” He muttered just before the doors opened and a wave of alcohol and spilled intestines slammed into them both, making the young former Science Drone gag while Rimak practically drank in the atmosphere of the bar.

The doors had opened to allow two rowdy patrons to be ejected by a purple skinned Vortian with bare and very muscular arms marked with different colored tattoos which seemed to stand out and glow in the dim lighting inside. “And don’t come back!” He barked at the two Irkens he’d kicked out, shouting at them as they scrambled to their feet and fled before looking to the two newcomers and smiling a bit, his eyes travelling over Rimak’s more noticeably built form. “And come on in, sir...” His eyes moved over to Risk. “You too, Junior.”

Risk bit back a retort, not wanting to wind up on the receiving end of this Vortian’s fury as those two drunken fools had been only moments ago.

“Thank you kindly, sir.” Rimak nodded, tilting the brim of his hat up with one hand as the Vortian stepped aside and held the door open for them both.

The bar was admittedly of fine quality despite not being the wealthiest business on this rock. It was kept clean, save for the messes being caused by patrons, and those were handled quickly by cleaning drones anyways. The bar counter top glowed a purple colour, and behind the counter were numerous screens broadcasting from different channels, ranging from sports events to news of distant battles.

As they both pulled up a stool at the counter they took note of the purple Vortian moving in behind it and stopping across from them. “What can I get you fellas?” He looked at Risk again. “No alcohol for you, Junior; got plenty of juice though.”

Risk forced a smile. “Actually, my good sir, we would each like a Blue Moon. We’ve heard good things about it from a very trustworthy source and since we were in the neighborhood we thought we’d just pop in and give it a try while our ship is refueled.”

The Vortian’s smile faded as he looked between the two. “You sure you wanna be gettin’ tangled up with that, boy?” He asked. “You seem a little young to be requesting a Blue Moon.”

“He’s good for it,” Rimak said, taking off his hat and deactivating his visor. “Risky here may look young and naive, but he’s infinitely more responsible with his drinks than I am.” He leaned forward with a half lidded look and a smile he usually saved for women. “Whadda’ya say, gorgeous? If not, is there anythin’ I could do to...persuade you?”

The Vortian now seemed more interested in Rimak than his concern over Risk’s age. “Well if you put it that way, I could be persuaded to part with this.” He reached under the counter while leaning forward until his face was inches away from Rimak’s, producing a small data card which he slowly slid across the counter...while kissing Rimak full on the lips.

Risk blushed, staring at the two as Rimak kissed the man back and let the card slide into his palm before gently breaking the lip lock-the kiss itself was just to disguise the act...for the most part. “Seems I’m very persuasive today.” He winked at the Vortian and reached into his coat pocket, sliding a slip of paper back across the counter. “Hold onto that, if yer interest holds up. In the meantime, I think my young friend could use some juice, and I’ll take some Vortian Fire Whiskey.”

“Coming right up,” The Vortian replied, pocketing the slip of paper as he went to fetch their drinks.

Risk looked up at Rimak. “I didn’t know you were into...uh...guys...”

“I ain’t,” Rimak replied bluntly, his smile gone. “But I saw him eyeing me up at the entrance, and I give that same look to enough women to know when somebody’s undressin’ someone with their eyes. I know how to act, Risk.” He deposited the data card in Risk’s hands. “And you know how to handle the computer stuff, so get to findin’ our next location.”

Risk pulled a data pad out of his PAK and inserted the card into the side. “On it, just give me one minute.” He looked over the text appearing on the screen before him as the Vortian returned and continued to have some idle chit chat with Rimak, clearly flirting with the young man.

Irken Galax, Irk 90 Degrees L 50 Degrees B

Back to our roots. Look for the pink light in the darkness. Inside you’ll see.

These were planetary coordinates this time, and located smack dab on Irk itself...the last place Risk wanted to go willingly, but now that he knew that this offer of employment seemed to be legitimate Risk couldn’t deny his own fascination in meeting the legendary Kei...for more than just the money involved.

“I have it,” Risk said, ignoring the glass of juice and rising to his feet.

Rimak immediately followed after the boy as the Vortian leaned in for another kiss, leaving without a word as the Vortian watched them go with a disappointed frown, both drinks going untouched on the bar counter.

“Dicks.” The Vortian, Hel, muttered. “Hope Kei chews ‘em up.”

Xxx

Irken Galaxy, Irk

Warehouse District

“Now I’m convinced that the Empire is setting this whole thing up.” Risk said, peering down at the darkened streets below where Imperial patrols marched in the open. “There are way too many enforcers here for this to be a regular patrol route.”

“Maybe they’re just here because somebody with enough brains somehow figured out the second clue.” Rimak muttered, scanning the nearby buildings. “We’re lookin’ fer a pink light...”

“But how could the Empire figure it out? We had to fly all the way to the Zimeron Galaxy to get it.” Risk shook his head and stepped away from the edge of the warehouse that the duo had chosen as their perch. “This might be too dangerous, Rimak, let’s just go and-”

“There.” Rimak pointed off towards the east, spotting a pink light over the door of a warehouse that seemed otherwise inconspicuous. “Just three hundred meters away.”

Risk groaned, knowing that now nothing he said would convince his older companion to turn back. “Craaaaap.”

Rimak’s PAK opened up unfolding a pair of thrusters built for atmospheric flight. “Grab on Risky.”

By ‘grab on’ Rimak seemed to mean ‘let me grab you under the arms and carry you in a very uncomfortable way’. The two Irkens flew through the air, Risk trying not to squirm or look down while Rimak tried to avoid passing too close to any patrols in case his Jet PAK made too much noise and gave them away. In thirty seconds they landed on the roof of their target, reaching the edge of the roof right above the pink light indicated in the clue.

“Well, I suppose we’re already this far in,” Risk sighed, straightening out his coat. “We may as well continue with this little quest and see if it really leads us somewhere.” He looked around the roof and spotted some ventilation ports, one of which he opened with his PAK legs and gently set a metal sheet down before gesturing for Rimak to follow him down the metal tube.

Luckily the building seemed to only be running on the basic power needed to keep the exterior lights on, as the ventilation systems seemed to be inoperable. This allowed the two companions to take their time climbing down and unscrewing a maintenance panel. Rimak lifted it while Risk slowly slid the panel out of the way, careful not to make any noise in case the building was still occupied. Rimak grasped the ledge of the new opening and leaned down, easing his upper body out before slipping his legs out and flipping over as he let go, managing to land on his feet ten feet below.

“Looks clear, c’mon.” Rimak waved Risk down and drew one of his blasters, just to be safe.

The warehouse was utterly abandoned, stripped of anything save for a few boxes left strewn about here and there either in the few office rooms or on the main floor. Rather than turning on a light and giving away their presence to anybody inside or outside, Rimak turned on his visor and utilized its alternate vision modes to see clearly in the dark.

“So, if I were a clue, where would I be?” The bounty hunter wondered aloud, checking the walls and floor. “Maybe some secret vault or somewhere in here most people can’t reach.”

“Um...Rimak?” Risk spoke up, picking up one of the random slips of paper left lying around.

“Not now, Risky, I’m onto somethin’.” Rimak said, staring up at the main office overlooking the central floor of the warehouse. “I bet it’s in there, the head cheese’s office.”

“Rimak.”

“Shh!” Rimak began to make his way up a rickety metal stair case. “I’ll be right back in a sec-”

“RIMAK!”

Rimak cringed and looked back down at Risk. “What?!”

Risk held up the paper he’d picked up, showing Rimak that the text on it...was a set of coordinates followed by the third clue.

Neoptera Galaxy, Blattodea 70 Degrees L 40 Degrees B

That ugly plaid suit will be the death of him. Find my fence.

“I’m not slowing you down, am I?” Risk asked, cracking a smirk.

Xxx

Neoptera Galaxy, Blattodea

Jimbo’s Pawn Shop, Exterior

Rimak may have embarrassed himself in the factory, but when it came to tracking down a fence, it paid to already have connections to the black market who could point you to the exact location and spare you some searching. Within an hour of landing on Blattodea, a mostly swamp covered world populated by insect species for the most part, the two Irkens found themselves in the largest city on the planet and across the street from a seemingly inconspicuous pawn shop.

“So this guy really sells to the black market?” Risk asked in a hushed tone, crossing the street with Rimak.

“Yep, and my contacts say that the best way to make him talk is flash some money his way.” Rimak nodded, reaching the door first. “So let me do the talkin’ here.”

A computerized chime announced their entry to the crowded and dusty pawnshop, lined with all sorts of good sold for a few quick credits to a roach like alien sitting behind the counter at the back, counting the money in his till box.

Taking notice of the two, he quickly shut the box and stood up. “Welcome to Jimbo’s shop! Please, look around, take your time, let Jimbo know how he can help-”

“Actually Jimbo, let me show you how I can help you.” Rimak said, leaning on the counter and making the much shorter alien cringe away instinctively. The Irken reached under his coat, causing the quivering Roachman to rest one hand near the silent alarm button beneath the counter...only to pause as he saw Rimak produce a stack of credit chips.

“We hear that plaid suit will be the death of you,” Rimak said, sliding the credits over to Jimbo. “But, if you could tell us the next set of coordinates, you’ll have the other half of this payment, which I’m sure is more than enough money to buy yourself somethin’ more...fittin’ of a fine and honest businessman such as yerself.”

Jimbo’s eyes lit up. “Oh! Jimbo sees, yes, yes. Irken very wise man, Jimbo take advice.” He reached beneath the counter, moving past the silent alarm trigger for a cupboard where he stored a stack of data cards, one of which he set on the table. “Jimbo very good, discreet and trustworthy, especially for nice Irken wise man!”

Pocketing the data card, Rimak handed Jimbo another thousand credits worth of chips. “That’s what I like in a business deal, Jimbo.” He tilted the brim of his hat down over his face. “Quick, discreet and no complications.”

As he turned away, Jimbo suddenly waved his arms. “Oh! Wait Irken wise man. Wait! Jimbo do lot of good work, keep Empire off back of clients. Jimbo could do same for wise man...for a price.” He grinned.

Rimak’s mouth curled into a smirk as he looked over his shoulder at Jimbo. “Do tell.”

“In return for slight fee, Jimbo can make fencing process soooo much simpler, special deal, not given to all customers!” Jimbo said eagerly.

“Really now...?” Rimak turned towards Jimbo. “Tell me, Jimbo, did you give this offer to one...Rikalo?”

“Rikalo?” Jimbo scratched his head for a few moments and then snapped his fingers. “Oh! Yes, Rikalo, big customer, very generous, haven’t seen in a long time though.” He realized that he hadn’t answered the question. “Oh uh...nope, did not even give to him.”

“Well, that’s a shame.” Rimak glanced towards Risk, passing him the data card so the boy could decode the next set of coordinates for them while he dealt with this. “And my father spoke so highly of you.”

Jimbo froze. “Fa...ther...?”

“Rimak Rikson,” Rimak took off his hat and held it to his chest. “At yer service.”

Immediately Jimbo paled upon hearing Rimak’s surname. “Uh...on second thought, services free!” He sputtered. “All free! No cost! Jimbo good friend of Rikalo, good friend of Riksons!”

Rimak chuckled softly and set his hat back on his head, rotating it by the brim a bit. “And Riksons never forget a good business partner, Jimbo.” He assured the Roachman before turning to leave, adding once he was outside: “Or where they live.”

Risk glanced up from his data pad, which as already displaying the next set of coordinates. “Your dad knew that slug?”

“My old man did business with lots of people,” Rimak nodded, lighting a Herb Stick and plopping it between his teeth. “And one of the few good things he left me was some pull with said people.” After blowing out a puff of herbal scented smoke Rimak looked to Risk. “Where to next?”

“Back to the Irken Galaxy,” Risk answered, showing Rimak the data pad.

Find a hidden place on Irk’s own soil

Which helped to cause Irk’s own foil

Pass through the wall with no door

And keep your eyes on the floor

Xxx

Irken Galaxy, Irk

Lower Districts

“Sending us across three galaxies on a wild goose chase,” Risk grumbled, “This Kei has a sense of humor, I can say that much.”

“If everythin’ were easy, this wouldn’t be much of a test,” Rimak reminded the boy, walking through one of Irk’s less populated regions. “Now, these are the general coordinates, so we just need to find a wall with no door...”

The area that they had been lead to appeared to be run down, abandoned years ago for the most part. Many buildings were condemned or in poor condition, and illuminated by the larger sky piercing towers closer to Irk’s Imperial District. There were few inhabitants here, which meant few patrols if any at all, so the two were able to move about undisturbed unlike their last visit to Irk.

“Which could be any wall without a door here,” Risk sighed, “Which likely means an alley way without any alternative exits.” He reached into his PAK. “But maybe I can speed up this scavenger hunt a bit.”

Rimak nodded. “Make it happen, Risky.” He had learned long ago that when it came to producing results from out of thin air Risk could always be depended on.

Producing a hand held scanner, Risk waved it around slowly, scanning the electrical systems of the nearby buildings on both sides of the street until he stumbled on an anomaly. “Hello hello...” He peered at the scanner’s holo-display and pulled a cord out of the side. “Rimak, turn on your visor and link up.”

Rimak did as he was told, activating the red tinted holo-visor and inserting the end of the cord into a slot in the side of one of the two circular projectors fixed to his temples. Instantly his visor received the same visual data as the scanner, allowing him to see a void in the area of one building just a little ways down an alley. “There are...no power lines in the walls there.”

“Correction,” Risk handed Rimak the scanner and walked down the alley towards the void. “There are no power lines connected to the city’s grid here, nor is there a door.” He held out one hand and pressed it to the wall. “And when I move my hand between the area covering this void and the area still showing links to the power grid, the material feels ever so slightly different, so much that I wouldn’t have noticed if I wasn’t looking for it.”

Risk grinned at Rimak. “It’s a hologram cover. Here is our wall with no door.”

Rimak mimicked Risk’s expression and clapped the younger Irken on the shoulder. “Risk yer a florpin’ genius!”

“Oh no,” Risk blushed a bit and shook his head, “I’m just good at what I was trained to do, nothing more.” He held both hands to the hologram cover. “This may have some sort of remote or on site deactivation, but I think a simpler approach is required.” Risk surprised Rimak by unholstering his blaster and firing it into the wall once, causing the hologram cover to distort and warp. “While this was clearly designed to prevent somebody from accidentally stumbling into whatever this place hides, the shielding is weak enough that I’ve just temporarily disrupted the construct.”

“Fer how long?” Rimak asked as Risk grasped his forearm.

“A few seconds. Jump!” Risk leaped through the distorted hologram cover with Rimak just in time. “Eyes down.”

Both of them had landed in a crouch, and remembered to keep their eyes facing towards the floor as the previous clue had instructed. Rising to their feet, they both tilted their eyes up enough to get a bit of a look ahead at the hideout they had just stumbled onto. It still had furniture and objects in it, but the hideaway clearly had not been occupied or used for a while, judging by the layer of dust forming in all but a single area of the floor...

Retinal scan complete. Welcome back, Master Zor.” A synthesized voice made both Irkens reach for their guns, only now noticing a camera like device attached to a metal extension reaching out of the ceiling.

“Retinal scan-” Rimak began to look up, only for Risk to grasp the brim of his hat and keep his eyes covered.

“Eyes down, remember?” Risk hissed, glaring out of the corner of his eye at Rimak. “The security system must have a glitch or something, let’s not question it.”

“Fair enough,” Rimak looked back down, his eyes wandering over the one area of the floor not coated in dust. “...and I think I found the next clue.” He pointed to text that had been carved into the floor itself, showing the next clue and set of coordinates.

Irken Galaxy, Conventia 77 Degrees L 50 Degrees B

Find the TRUE Pirate Queen

“Conventia,” Rimak mumbled, “Well, at least we ain’t travellin’ between galaxies again, this whole scavenger hunt has been playin’ murder on my bank account with how many fuel ups we’ve had to do.”

Xxx

Irken Galaxy, Conventia

Convention District Cosplay, Pirate Theme Convention Center, Exterior

“...well, this may complicate things.” Risk said, staring up at the huge electronic sign floating overhead as hundreds of aliens pushed past him and Rimak to get inside. All of them were dressed in various costumes, many of the women choosing to go with revealing outfits mixed with leather and many of the men wearing long flowing coats and topped with hats on their crowns.

“Nah,” Rimak held up a copy of the clue typed on his own personal data pad. “Find the true Pirate Queen...if this means what I think it does then we might finally be at the end of the road.”

Risk nodded and began to make his way towards the convention hall, “Hopefully you’re right, I don’t know how much longer even my own curiosity can drag me along on this little adventure.”

The two, lacking any pre-paid tickets or desire to wait for hours in line to pay for their way in, elected to sneak in through a back entrance that Risk managed to hack without triggering any alarms. Thankfully security was not as high as it should have been on account of this being a simple convention for fans of a recent and popular interstellar TV show about a crew of space pirates lead by some fancily dressed Captain named Esmerelda...neither of them watched the show, but after a few minutes inside they heard enough chatter about the stupid show to get the gist of it.

“Okay, so we’re looking for the big boss herself,” Rimak said as he and Risk forced their way through crowds of pirate themed aliens from across several galaxies. “Tall, red eyed, drop dead gorgeous and accompanied by somebody tall, dark and scary lookin’.”

“Wait, are you saying you’ve seen what Kei looks like?” Risk asked, trying to keep up with his partner. “And how would you know if she is with somebody?”

Rimak grabbed Risk by the shoulder and rotated him to the right a bit before pointing off in the distance to where a tall figure clad in a hooded robe of some kind stood out among the shorter aliens...right next to a woman wearing a hat with a red feather attached to it. The woman was easy enough to keep track of once you had eyes on her, the red two piece outfit that covered only the essentials made sure that she stuck out among the throng of pirate fans.

Dark exotic skin, piercings on the tips of her long antennae, the signature smirk...these features made Risk have flashes of memory that were not his own, memories belonging to his deceased mother.

Groaning, Risk put a hand on his head and tried to fight back against the images as they popped up in his mind, focusing himself on the here and now. “Ugh...”

“You alright?” Rimak glanced at Risk while guiding him through the sea of bodies.

“Yeah, just...real loud, minor headache.” Risk nodded, releasing his wrist from Rimak’s grasp and moving alongside him until they were practically in the path of Kei and her escort.

Kei almost seemed to expect their arrival before they’d even entered her sight. She smirked as she pushed aside some large Planet Jacker, making him drop the various trinkets he’d purchased with a cry of despair, and walked over to the two with her cloaked escort falling in behind her.

“About time you two found your way here,” She said, tipping her hat up a bit and looking over them both for a moment, pausing as she set eyes on Risk. “Shit, you look even younger in person. Sure you’re up for this?”

Risk frowned. “Why does everybody ask me that? I’m seventeen, most Irkens are in battle by the time they’re ten.”

Kei shrugged. “Well, your funeral, kid.” She raised one firmly toned leg, baring her smooth thigh as she pulled a slim data card from her knee high leather boot. “Here you go, now kindly get the fuck out of my way.” She pushed her way past them both after handing the data card to a stunned looking Rimak.

...

“That’s it?” Rimak asked as the cloaked individual seemed to hover past him. “There’s still more steps to this dance?”

“Figure it out yourself, Brokeback Irken!” Kei waved one hand without even looking back at them.

“Gold plated b-” Rimak cringed, his father’s repeated lectures about never insulting a woman (even if it was a little warranted by their behaviour) set in. He growled and turned away. “C’mon Risky, we ain’t quittin’ yet.”

Risk raced after Rimak as they made their way to the exit. “What are the coordinates?”

“See fer yerself,” Rimak shoved the data card into his younger partner’s hands, and Risk immediately inserted it into his data pad.

“It’s on this planet, and not too far from here!” Risk said eagerly. “In fact...” He frowned. “It’s almost like it’s taking us right back-”

Xxx

Irken Galaxy, Conventia

Central Starport

Five minutes later

“-to the fucking place we started!” Risk blurted out, once again surprising Rimak with his use of foul language-usually the boy kept such a cool head.

They were standing in front of the Ranger, parked on a landing pad in the midst of dozens of other ships. The entry ramp was still up and there were no signs of any foul play with the vessel, but the question both Irkens wanted answered was how Kei could have known where they had landed when they had been on Conventia for less than half an hour...and what they were supposed to do now.

“Maybe we should just go inside and...wait.” Risk suggested.

“No, really?” Rimak rolled his eyes and tried to remotely lower the entry ramp. “What the...it won’t accept my code!” He frowned. “Override Code...” Rimak sounded pained to say the following. “...Fren, Ouri, Rimak, Lania, De Rien, Janie, Skloo.”

Override code accepted.” The ship’s AI responded as the entry ramp lowered itself down, and at the top the entry hatch hissed open to show a familiar and completely unexpected sight.

“...no fucking way.” Rimak muttered as he and Risk stared at the form of Captain Kei leaning against the side of the open door, a smirk still plastered to her attractive face and her pirate hat now hanging in one hand at her side.

“Well, what are you waiting for?” She asked. “Get on board already so we can get to the important part.”

“Im...portant?” Risk hesitantly asked, stepping up the ramp cautiously.

“The interview, kid.” Kei grinned evilly. “You came this far, now let’s see if you two are what we’re looking for.”

Xxx

The End

Resisty Uprising: Like a bat out of hell

Rimak always operated by avoiding any personal connections, and this day would prove just why he shouldn’t make exceptions.

Xxx

Conventia, Star Port 17

The star port had been locked down as soon as the Control Brain’s forces struck. The few security guards were easily dealt with, and soldiers were systematically destroying civilian ships to keep them from escaping the planet, supposing anybody got through the perimeter set up around the star port. On one of the upper floors in a lounge, one of these soldiers had decided to take the opportunity to sample some of the fine beverages stored for some of the VIP passengers who passed through. He sat back and watched as pillars of smoke rose from different points out in the vast city through a wide window.

Tilting his head back, this soldier lifted a bottle of wine that cost more than most middle class citizens could make in a year and tipped it towards his mouth. As the burning liquid spilt into his mouth a shadow began to stretch over him.

He looked back at the window just as it shattered into hundreds of pieces, and then the soldier would only see the flash of a blaster discharge before his unprotected head received a hole clean between the eyes. The soldier toppled over as Rimak lowered himself and Aayan into the lounge and disengaged his Jet PAK.

“I shouldn’t be surprised,” Rimak muttered as he released Aayan and holstered his blaster. “The Control Brain was moronic enough to hire on Lard-Nar, makes sense that it’d have a poor choice in grunts too.”

Aayan cracked the doors open and peered out into the corridor. “Those grunts are still taking over the whole city.” She muttered.

Somebody rushed into view down the corridor, just within Aayan’s view. They were an Irken dressed in a pilot’s uniform, and he was fleeing from two of the armored soldiers. One of them stopped and took aim with his rifle, which spat a green beam of energy that struck the Irken between the shoulders. Before he could even scream his entire body vanished in a single flash of light without leaving any scorch marks or body parts.

Aayan swallowed and was about to close the door, only for Rimak to step past her and swing it wide open while pulling both of his blasters free of their holsters. Before the soldiers could even turn their weapons on him Rimak unleashed a barrage of red energy projectiles, four or five directed at each of the duo. Most would see this as a hasty and ill planned counter attack, but the target assistance software in Rimak’s visor and the lack of recoil from the blasters ensured that all but two of his shots found their mark and tore through the soldiers before they could react.

As their charred bodies collapsed to the floor Rimak holstered his guns and gestured with his head to Aayan. “C’mon darlin’, we’re almost home free.”

Aayan sighed and shook her head as she followed Rimak. “Don’t jinx it Rimak. And let’s keep the gun play to a minimum unless we need it, there could be plenty of these guys nearby.”

“Aw darlin’, you know I am the epitome of caution, a paragon of safety.” Rimak drawled, lowering his voice as he peeked around the first corner and spotted a sign pointing to the public hangars where his ship was waiting. “For example...” He added as another patrolling soldier stepped into view, stopping near a wall compartment marked as a fire suppression drone compartment. “I know that you should always watch where yer standin’.”

Rimak looked up and saw a fire sensor fixed to the ceiling overhead. He pulled out his lighter and raised himself up on his PAK legs to hold the lighter close to the sensor, flicking it on and waiting as some of the metal began to melt from close proximity to the little flame.

A loud alarm began to ring, and the compartment next to the soldier suddenly sprang open as several drones shot out. The soldier spun and was slammed by several of the drones, which prioritized getting to the source of the fire alert over anything else and had no qualms about knocking the poor man around. This gave Rimak the chance to dive out into the open, passing under the swarm of drones, and take aim with his blaster held tightly with both hands.

One shot later and the soldier’s left leg was blown out from under him. A strangle scream escaped from the man as he fell onto his side, and Rimak put the second shot clean through his exposed neck.

“Go.” Rimak said, and Aayan crept past the drones as they circled beneath the fire sensor that Rimak had set off. Once she was running down the hall towards the hangar he got up and took off after her.

Xxx

In the public hangar, several of the soldiers were planting charges onto freighters and personal craft that had been parked at the time of the invasion. Several had tried to get close to a sleek looking vessel only for a pair of security turrets to pop out of the sides and mow down anybody who tried to get too close. The squad assigned to ensuring nobody would be escaping the city via star ship waited patiently for some heavy weapons to be brought in, occupying their time by placing charges on the other ships.

“About time!” One of them called as a second squad stepped out of the hangar’s main elevator, dragging several crates with them on hover gurneys. “That tin can cost us three guys, so just hurry up and blow it so we can get out of here.”

“Keep your helmet on, we’re not on a time limit.” The leader of the second team replied gruffly as they popped open the crates and began to assemble a single heavy plasma repeater that could melt through thick hull armour easily.

Rimak and Aayan watched all of this from the alternate entrance they’d used on the far side of the hangar. They knelt behind the landing struts of a freighter and counted off the number of enemies present in the hangar. The ship that the second squad was preparing to demolish was Rimak’s personal vessel and the couple’s mobile home: the Ranger. It had been inherited from Rimak’s father, and he’d be damned before he allowed these toy soldiers to wreck it.

“Fourteen, too many to take on,” Aayan whispered, “Any ideas?”

“Just one,” Rimak nodded, “I can remote activate the Ranger from here and get her moving towards the exit door. With the turrets covering us I can lower the ramp and we can get aboard while it’s pulling out, but that heavy repeater will rip through the shields and armour after enough shots and there’s no room for manoeuvring in here.” He glanced around the hangar, seeking anything that could offer a better plan...he found none. Nothing in the hangar could help them both to get onto the Ranger

Aayan had come to a similar conclusion. “We need a distraction, or they’ll blow us or the Ranger to hell, maybe both at once.”

“That’s why you’re getting on first,” Rimak drew out one of his blasters. “I’ll hit the repeater and get the Ranger moving, and while I draw their fire you hop aboard and get out of here.”

Aayan glared at Rimak. “Rimak, I’m not some fragile damsel.” She pulled out her own blaster to emphasize this statement. “And I’m not leaving you.”

“Yes, you are.” Rimak replied with a firm tone. “It’s not just you and me that are at stake here.” He gestured to her belly. “We need to think about the smeet, and that means that you are getting your very nice ass inside the Ranger and flying out of here with or without me so that smeet will have a chance to be born.” His own glare made Aayan’s defiance waver. “Don’t argue with me on this darlin’, you know I ain’t one for noble sacrifices and the like; I’m fully set on joinin’ you, but right now I’ve gotta worry about gettin’ you the hell off’a this rock.”

Aayan exhaled. “...if you die, my dad will dig you up, clone you and let me shoot you fifty times.”

“And you’d keep the fifty first,” Rimak grinned, and planted a kiss on her cheek as he passed her. “Be ready to move when I get their attention.”

Xxx

The first squad had gathered around as their companions finished constructing the repeater, which was drilled into the floor on several stands to keep it stable as two members of the second squad adjusted its angle and a third gripped the firing controls on the back.

“It’s ready, hook up the power cell and let’s make this quick.” The leader of the second squad nodded his head to one of his subordinates, who began to attach a cord extending from the repeater to a bulky power cell resting on one of the hover gurneys. However, before he could twist the end of the cable and lock it in place a burst of three energy projectiles slammed into his torso and melted through his armour.

“Shots fired! Get down!” The soldiers scrambled for cover as Rimak ducked behind the landing struts of a nearby yacht. Several beams of green light struck the metal construct, but did not seem to leave even a mark against the material.

Rimak took this opportunity to remotely issue a command to the Ranger, which had been set to ‘Perimeter Mode’ ever since the soldiers had tried planting a charge on it. The turrets now locked onto all of the soldiers in sight and opened fire, catching several by surprise and giving Rimak a chance to dart from cover and engage his Jet PAK to land him atop another ship. With another remote command the engines flared to life and several secondary thrusters lifted the Ranger into the air as its turrets rained down plasma on the troopers.

Glancing towards the end of the hangar where the doors were located, Rimak spied Aayan glancing out and directed the Ranger in her general direction before turning his full attention to the remaining soldiers. He leapt down, driving his foot down onto the head of a single soldier who had been standing below him and quickly shot him twice while he was down. The Ranger kept most of the soldiers’ attention as it moved towards the doors, but several turned back towards Rimak-two of them receiving a swift end as he strafed to the left to avoid their clumsy and panicked shots.

Aayan stepped into the open, firing her blaster at the troopers pursuing the Ranger and picking off two of them. “RAMP!” She shouted.

Rimak ducked behind the power cell for cover and quickly punched in another command to the Ranger, causing a ramp to extend from the belly and a hatch to open for Aayan. She fired off a few more shots as she rushed up and into the ship, sealing the hatch behind her.

“Transfer control to bridge,” Rimak uttered a voice command, and climbed back to his feet to exchange fire with the soldiers as they tried to cut off the Ranger’s escape.

Upon reaching the cockpit of the small strike ship Aayan vaulted into the captain’s chair and seized the controls. The main cannons mounted on the front unleashed a salvo that tore through the hangar doors, clearing a path large enough after a few good hits. As she gunned the Ranger forward the young hybrid glanced at a screen showing footage from one of the aft cameras, which was catching Rimak gunning down several more of the troopers to divert their attention away from her.

“You’d better survive this,” She whispered, resting a hand on the barely noticeable curve in her belly.

The Ranger shot out through the destroyed hangar doors and arched upwards. The main engines lit up brightly as the ship accelerated, surpassing the sound barrier with a resounding explosion of sound which was heard for miles and escaping up and away from the city with Rimak’s mate and future child safely aboard.

Meanwhile, Rimak was mopping up what was left of the team, letting loose four bolts into the back of the final soldier as he tried to flee. With the hangar now silent and deserted, Rimak slid his guns into their respective holsters and tilted the brim of his hat with a smirk. “All accordin’ to plan.”

Now all he had to do was get the charges off one of these ships and he could meet up with Aayan a long way from this crappy planet...or he would if not for the sudden arrival of a whole swarm of the black armoured soldiers from the elevator. They spread out, moving in squad by squad formations and locking onto Rimak where he stood in the middle of a mess of their dead comrades, in the open and almost thirty feet from any kind of cover.

“Shit.” Rimak took a step back, reaching for his blasters again. “You guys breed like florpin’ Shadow Furies in heat!” He turned and engaged his Jet PAK, lifting off of the ground as beams of green energy lanced past him. Rimak swerved to the sides and altered his altitude to evade their shots, but just as he was closing in on a freighter that would have provide him with a good vantage point he was hit right in the back, a few inches below his PAK.

He felt no pain, but he saw darkness rushing in from all sides...

And then he slammed into a wall and crumpled to a metal floor.

...

“Ow.” He muttered, suddenly aware of the lack of rushed footsteps and bright lights that had graced the hangar.

The Irken climbed to his feet and took stock of the room he had suddenly appeared in. It was dimly lit, had only a bench bolted into a wall as furniture and a cracked video screen hanging off another wall. A window took up the third wall, showing a view of the starry void of the cosmos outside, passing by in silence. And something was speaking to him...

All who attended the farce put on by the Tallests has been captured, including those two imbeciles themselves. There is no use praying for rescue,” The voice of Control Brain Number One taunted him. “You may be wondering who it was that stormed the streets of Conventia and captured you. They were more of my proxies, my servants, my own army. As for what is to become of you, your destination is a planet known as Rexant, and in regards for what awaits you there...

A cold chuckle escaped the insane Control brain. “Let us just say...the same rules as before apply.

Rimak folded his Jet PAK back up and glared at the speaker. “You florpin’ tin plated-” He let loose with a slew of curse words that would have made his mother gasp in shock and his sister shake her head in embarrassment, but they were the last thing on his mind right now.

He was about to go through the exact same thing that Lard-Nar had put dozens of Irkens through already: a death tournament. This mentally ill excuse of a Control Brain was just looking to take down as many as it could before dying, and it seemed to want some entertainment in the meantime.

This meant no food or supplies until he killed whoever he was paired up against...

“Alright,” Rimak said after catching his breath. “So be it then yah dumpster humpin’ harlot.”

He was a killer for hire; this task was no different than what he did for a living. Kill, and receive a reward; simple and easy. All that Rimak had to do was the thing which he was best at, and he could hopefully return to Aayan after it was over and done with.

It might mean killing innocents though, children maybe...

Rimak hardened his mind against any thoughts of hesitation or mercy. This tournament left no room for such things, and he would always choose himself over some stranger if it meant getting back to his family...

He refused to let his smeet grow up fatherless.

He refused to fail as his own father had.

And gods help whoever got in his way.

The video screen flickered to life, showing a blurry image of the newest object of his hatred. For a moment the control brain was silent, staring at him with sightless synthetic eyes.

And then it said four little words.

Time for round two.

Xxx

The End

Planning a novel

Journal Entry: Thu Jun 25, 2015, 8:24 PM


Exactly what the title says.

Every time I get to work on a story I lose interest when it comes to the actual part involving MAKING it. One thing that has always helped me to commit to something is a...co author of sorts, or at least a beta reader/editor who can help me improve my work through constructive criticism.

The novel is going to be in the science fiction/fantasy genre.

If anybody would be interested, just send me a note and let me know. Details will be released via note.

Thinking of going for the second season Resisty Uprising. Who do you think I should use? 

25%
3 deviants said Risk (he's yet to be in one)
25%
3 deviants said Lenia (her husband already went and joined a tournament, she might as well get suckered into one too)
17%
2 deviants said Emkol (My first PlanetJacker)
8%
1 deviant said Skullene (she's won every other oct she's been in)
8%
1 deviant said Rik (he lost at Bloodsport but is ready and willing to fight)
8%
1 deviant said Envon (he definitely needs to be brought out of the closet of lost OCs)
8%
1 deviant said Daelias (She'd be right at home with killing her fellow prisoners/opponents)
0%
No deviants said Paneece (she needs her time in the spotlight)
0%
No deviants said Rimak (just as ready as his dad and a lot younger)
0%
No deviants said Connor Carroway (a tribrid of Irken, human and a DNA parasite who could do with some time in the spotlight)

deviantID

Thinking of going for the second season Resisty Uprising. Who do you think I should use? 

25%
3 deviants said Risk (he's yet to be in one)
25%
3 deviants said Lenia (her husband already went and joined a tournament, she might as well get suckered into one too)
17%
2 deviants said Emkol (My first PlanetJacker)
8%
1 deviant said Skullene (she's won every other oct she's been in)
8%
1 deviant said Rik (he lost at Bloodsport but is ready and willing to fight)
8%
1 deviant said Envon (he definitely needs to be brought out of the closet of lost OCs)
8%
1 deviant said Daelias (She'd be right at home with killing her fellow prisoners/opponents)
0%
No deviants said Paneece (she needs her time in the spotlight)
0%
No deviants said Rimak (just as ready as his dad and a lot younger)
0%
No deviants said Connor Carroway (a tribrid of Irken, human and a DNA parasite who could do with some time in the spotlight)

Groups

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I'm looking to get a subscription, but at the rate I spend my points I will have some trouble. For now...I'm just hoping anybody who likes some of the stories I put up might donate a few. I am in no way pressuring anybody to, I'm only saying it would be appreciated-plus I can still collect points the old fashioned way...though for some reason I can't access my badges page to give away badges for points. I managed to get to it using my computer's history, but I'm honestly not sure if that was supposed to happen or if it's another error. Either way, I chose to open this.

The only thing I could offer right now would be a written entry with one of your own characters in it. If you would like one in return for points, just say so.

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:iconcommanderhurtz:
Commanderhurtz Featured By Owner 4 hours ago  Hobbyist Writer
Heeeey! How are ya doing?
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:iconirken-risk:
Irken-Risk Featured By Owner 3 hours ago
Doing pretty good. Didn't expect you to contact me out of the blue but I'd call that a pleasant surprise. ^_^
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:iconcommanderhurtz:
Commanderhurtz Featured By Owner 3 hours ago  Hobbyist Writer
Yay! Good to hear! And haha, I was sitting here like 'Huh I need to contact some people I know'. Just felt like it. Yay for pleasant!
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CosAce Featured By Owner 5 days ago
I keep forgetting to ask this but what do Guss's antennas look like? I want to do something with him and Nathanel but I have no clue what they look like. 
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:iconirken-risk:
Irken-Risk Featured By Owner 5 days ago
They actually just look like the basic female Irken antennae, only more rounded in how they curl instead of being jagged. This can be explained in his backstory if you want more info on that.
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:iconcosace:
CosAce Featured By Owner 4 days ago
Aahhhhhh alrightie, thank you! 

As for his backstory I think I'll put that for another time ;D;'
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ToaDeathax Featured By Owner 6 days ago
Thanks for the faves
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:iconcosace:
CosAce Featured By Owner Jun 19, 2015
Poking Mashiro Icon 
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Dragonious Featured By Owner Jun 11, 2015
happy bday`
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Irken-Risk Featured By Owner Jun 12, 2015
Thank you! ^_^
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