Federation-Apocalypse Session 137a – The Forgelight Returns

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   Amidst the usual mad chaos of a Star Wars space battle – swarms of fighters, ships cris-crossing, beams of energy blazing, explosions everywhere, as the fleet bombarded the super star destroyer they’d just left – Marty was hurtling towards the Forgelight, using judicious bursts of telekinesis to steer, to tow Kevin, and to dodge the worst of the fighting,

   A good thing that smartclothes could function as a tolerably effective spacesuit – at least for a short time. Getting killed aboard the Hellstorm, even if its internal hell-dimension was collapsing at the moment, was still all too likely to result in a wide variety of unpleasant complications.

   Fortunately, his acrobatic skills were pretty good, even encumbered by a dozen Thralls in small-animal form. He definitely didn’t want to miss and go drifting off into space.

   He had to correct for the rotation of the ships, but that wasn’t bad.

   Of course, the fighters buzzing around doing strafing runs now and the intense capital ship fire was more than a bit awkward. Near-collisions, explosions, anti-capital ship blasts, and radiation bursts – quite a few of them from the Hellstorm, given that it was the only major target left. Explosions were going off inside the ship as its internal systems malfunctioned – violently – and the internal dimensional space collapsed. They’d all need treatment for radiation poisoning after they made it back to the Forgelight, but that was a lot easier to treat than being blown to bits.

   Kevin, meanwhile, was focusing on collecting stray atoms. “Safety Beacon” might be a vital role, but it wasn’t one he wanted to remain in. Trouble was, there was a lot of metal available, and a fair amount of outgassing – but not too much in the way of phosphorous, calcium, and all the other necessary intermediate-weight elements.

   Meanwhile, Marty was busy maneuvering around a cloud of radioactive gas, dust, and debris – and associated electrical arcs – that had come fountaining out of a sudden hole in the side of the Hellstorm. He shut down the smartclothes alarms; there was no point in worry about radiation at the moment.

   Naturally enough, the cloud was between them and the Forgelight, and called for more special maneuvering – and a slightly longer route – to avoid it. Oh well, the girls had more than enough sensory enhancements to handle the navigation – and it did give them all a splendid view of the ongoing destruction of the Forgelight.

   The Forgelight didn’t seem seriously damaged at the moment – although the Hellstorm’s droids were swarming over it. Marty headed in to cut a path through them. He had more important things to do than to waste time on Droids!

   Kevin, meanwhile, had engaged multi-tracking again; there was something left unfinished – and mere physical force, no matter how great, was not going to do it. He reached out to the dark power that still raged in the heart of the Hellstorm. He might not have a physical body at the moment, but there was still the power of the Manifold to draw on… His thoughts pierced the darkness.

(Kevin) “By the power you coveted, by the darkness you have misused, and by the light which pierces you, return to the night from which you came. There is nothing here for you now.”

   His power was not as well focused as it might be – but he still had magic, dominion, and the power of the Thralls and the Manifold to back him and the Hellstorm was in no shape to resist, not now, and not so close. There was a reality-shattering clash of wills as Kevin hurled his power against the Hellstorm in a final push – and it fought back with it’s own rage, hatred, and demonic power. It resisted for a few moments before something… snapped, and the dark power faded into elsewhere – hopefully returned to the abyss from which it sprang.

   Meanwhile, Marty had arrived at the Forgelight – on the opposite side from the worst of the radiation-cloud and the ongoing eruptions as the Hellstorm began to blow apart under the fleet bombardment.

   There were several hundred droids in the way at the moment, hacking away at the Forgelight with a variety of weapons. The shields were holding for the moment, but local overloads were beginning to occur.

   Marty headed for an airlock – picking one of the ones that would be easiest to seal quickly – and started blasting away on the way in and stabbing as he closed. His knife once again powered up with a luminescent blade of energy as he slashed his way through the droids – but he had barely enough healing ability left to handle their first few strikes and it was taking multiple strikes to take out each one… Blasted war-droids!

   Could he toss Kevin in? He might be able to use telekinesis to operate the lock… Kevin’s safe healing was his top priority right now, and he was willing to suck up a death to ensure it! Could he just force the lock?

   Oh! Wait! He could just ask the thralls inside to open the door!

(Marty) “Hey, Kevin’s in bad shape. Could you let us in?”

   The Thralls told the computer to open the door – and Marty leapt through, whirling to avoid the Droid attacks and pushing Kevin and Thralls through as well. He had the Thralls inside shut it as soon as everyone was in.

   For once Marty was too concerned about Kevin to trash talk the Droids as he landed – but the blasted things disabled the automatic closing mechanism on the door; it was only halfway closed and the droids were moving in.

   Oh yeah! Telekinesis! He closed the door. Maybe it would stick long enough for a takeoff and escape… Oh BLAST. They needed to pick up Ryan and company first! And the idiot hadn’t taken any Thralls along! It was that “don’t endanger children nonsense! The Thralls were almost impossible to endanger!

   He asked the ships computer – but Ryan’s currentl ocation was unknown, and the alarms were going off. Radiation – although the shields are holding. Scans indicated that the final structural collapse of the internal dimensional space of the Hellstorm was commencing. There were only about ninety seconds left until the final catastrophic failure and hull implosion.

   As much as Marty hated to say it, Ryan might just have to help himself. He’d had enough trouble getting the thralls and Kevin back to the Forgelight – and ninety seconds was just NOT enough time!

   He had the Forgelight start pulling back; they needed to be out of range of the final blast.

   The engines roared to life and the hull shuddered as – with the sound of groaning metal and something tearing – the Forgelight began to break free of the Hellstorm.

   Kevin tried broadcasting a warning to Ryan – and had the thralls do a real broadcast to warn the other ships and possibly Ryan if some of his aides were listening.

   The fleet, and the Forgelight, began falling back – as someone started opening a gate to the Forgelight. It looked like… a normal Opener-type gate. With any luck, Ryan. Still… somebody was pouring quite a lot of power into it, and it wasn’t stable. He’d try to help – but it looked like adding mana to the gate was likely to destabilize the link. The only thing that was holding it even partially stable at the moment was the high degree of resonance between the opener creating it and the ship itself. It wasn’t going to hold through the coming dimensional implosion though. If they got out before that, it would be all right… perhaps he could haul people through physically?

   He couldn’t see any way to increase the resonance quickly.

   Could he open his own gate? That might work – although it could also lead to…. “interesting” shorts in the Manifold. It could short-circuit his own powers and Ryan’s, overlap the two locations, swap the two locations, fuse them, swap his location with Ryan’s, open a permanent gateway to Hell in the middle of the New Imperium, create another hyperspace-subspace rift, or cause any of a thousand other things. It would all depend on how well Ryan and he could control the gateways and keep them from merging in an unstable way.

   Well, Ryan had died nearly as often as he had anyway!

   He took a crack at it. Hopefully nothing would go seriously wrong – and it was going to look bad if Ryan didn’t make it back.

   The gateway opens revealing Ryan’s team crawling through another gateway behind you. Looking through that, he could see himself through the two gateways. That was a disconcerting feeling… People started rushing through the gateway to escape as crackles of energy rippled back and forth before forming a complete circuit through the two gateways. The massive holy potential of the Forgelight and the remaining demonic potential of the collapsing Hellstorm were beginning to short out – and he could hear Menthas screaming. Suddenly one of the arcs of power grounded itself into Marty – and everything went white as everyone was blinded for the moment. Ryan had been almost on top of the main power core – which wasn’t exactly in the Hellstorm, and which had apparently still had a lot of residual power.

   Kevin made sure that the Thralls made every effort to protect poor Menthas; they had dragged her into this mess.

   Marty had never felt pain like that before; it was like his entire body wanted to explode with the force of a nuclear blast.

   Sensations beyond pain returned after a few moments. At first everything seemed pitch black, and then the lights turned back on – although Marty was leaking electrical discharges and light like one of Telsa’s experiments.

(Marty) “Ow… That was worse than when I fell in the vat of acid. That was on fire.”

   At least it looked like he was the only one who was about to blow up – or at least he was crackling and his skin was burning off – and it looked like the structure of the universe had survived intact. Marty cringed as his skin started peeling and looked for the nearest airlock? If draining didn’t work he might need to toss himself out. It wasn’t like he wouldn’t return tomorrow.

   At least everyone was accounted for save… Ryan. Blast it!

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