With almost everyone safe, Marty’s attention snapped back to the fact that his skin was burning off – and that the Thralls attempts to drain off the excess power were not helping all that much. It wasn’t like throwing in more power was going to help either damn it…
(Kevin) “Do… some… pleasure… spells…”
Hey! That was right! He had learned some of that!
That – and the ongoing efforts of the Thralls to drain off the excess power – got things under control shortly.
After that, they went to more direct healing.
(Marty) “Thanks, kids. Let’s get the hell out of here!”
Unfortunately, even his companions had no idea where Ryan had gotten to.
Kevin hoped that he hadn’t been sucked into the abyss again. Still, if he hadn’t wound up with them, he probably hadn’t wound up with whatever was left of the ship and it’s demonic power either; probably somewhere in between… They’d have to try and trace him later – but he was fairly good at taking care of himself. No time to get into that now; he needed to heal – and the Thralls on the bridge were calling.
(Bridge) “Umm, the Imperial Fleet is requesting that we dock with the Command Ship Algalon immediately. What do you want us to do?”
(Marty) “Tell them we’re on our way.”
That might not be anything good, but they were in need of repairs and were in no shape to argue with an imperial battle fleet. At least Kevin was beginning to look vaguely humanoid again, even if he WAS still a glowing thing drawing in occasional bits of junk – and a fair part of the masses of bacta that the thralls were bringing.
That reassured Marty, who let Kevin have priority call on the bacta (although the Thralls were bringing plenty). Kevin was still alive, after all!
The ship docked with the Algalon a few minutes after the initial treatments began.
Marty called in medically infirm so as to not have to walk out of the ship in a pained shuffle. It would just be too embarrassing after what he had to count as a pretty good victory! Even Menthas was doing well; she was injured, overloaded, and exhausted – but the wards and circuits had kept the demonic feedback from reaching her directly. The drain on her holy energies had hit her hard, and she’d need time to recover and recharge her powers – but she’d be fine (and judged it a small price to pay for a victory over the Hellstorm; matters had turned out even better than she’d hoped, and she was most pleased!).
That pleased both Marty and Kevin; they would have hated to see her permanently damaged because she’d volunteered to help them.
Once they were docked, a team of officers and an inquisitor requested permission to come aboard. The inquisitor will like to speak with them regarding what happened aboard the Hellstorm – and was willing to offer medical assistance too.
(Marty) “Yeah, we’ll speak with you. And Kevin’s situation is… touchy. Think you can handle that?”
(Inquisitor) “We can manage. I will have medics tend to you all immediately. In the meantime, would you please share with us what happened aboard that vessel?”
(Marty) “We boarded the Hellstorm after ramming into it. It was like hell once we were in, with blood and freaks everywhere. Had to make a sacrifice to the local avatar of punishment to get to the command room. I think there was a dimensional pocket in there.”
(Inquisitor, rubbing his nose) “Sounds like one of the Retribution Hells or a manifestation of it I think.”
(Marty) “Then we faced Revan. He said that he was doing this to keep outsiders like me and Kevin out of the galaxy. Kevin poured some holy energy into the ship while I kept Revan off his back. Not sure how well that worked. Kevin had to blow himself up protecting me, but I think he managed to suppress a lot of the Hellstorm’s darkness. I think Ryan damaged its engine core while we were dealing with Revan. There was a lot of lightning coming from below near the end there… I’m not sure what happened to Revan. I tried to chop his head off, but he just… vanished. Nothing but robes left behind. Then we escaped, since the ship was breaking up. I’m not sure Ryan made it out.”
(Inquisitor) “A common occurrence once you reach a certain level of power.”
(Marty) “What happened? Did he just go Force ghost?”
(Inquisitor) “The disappearing bit, I mean. As for Ryan, that is unfortunate, but the man has proven himself resourceful in the past.”
Marty felt guilty about that already. He was really hoping that his attempt to help hadn’t done the exact opposite.
(Inquisitor) “Basically he did voluntarily give up the Force ghost in the moment of death rather than try to hold onto life. It can mean that he had a clone somewhere that he was swapping to, but more likely he was working to maintain his individuality instead of becoming one with the Force.”
(Marty) “Well, he better not have a clone then. When Kevin stops being made of plasma, he won’t be happy with him.”
(Inquisitor, looking askance at Kevin again) “Yes… that is an unusual trick. Care to explain how it is done? Most of us are unable to turn ourselves into miniature stars.”
(Marty) “I don’t know, and I’m not sure Kevin’s able to explain right now.”
(Kevin, diverting a little attention from rebuilding his body to telepathy) “Drained… Revan’s… Full… Potential… And… Neutralized… It… Waste… Energy… Having… To… Maintain… Psychic… Construct… As… Host.. While… Rebuilding… Physical… Body… From… Available… Atoms… To… Avoid… Infection… Diverted… To… Physical… Rather… Then… Absorb…”
(Inquisitor) “Riiigggghhhhttt…….. That is a rather – disturbing – level of power. I will make note of it in my reports, along with the various spells that were cast during the battle. Any particular statements you would like given to the Emperor as part of the report?”
(Kevin) “How… About… Later…”
(Marty) “Yeah… we both got banged up really bad. At least I kept my physical body.”
(Inquisitor) “Fair enough, I can see that you are having difficulties at the moment. Please do give some thought to the matter though.”
(Marty) “Thanks for understanding. I’ll definitely get back to you.”
The doctors arrived and begin treating everyone after dragging them all to the Algalon’s medical bay. Within a day most of their injuries were treated – although Kevin had his own issues; the doctors were both appalled and mystified as to how any treatment could possibly help complete vaporization.
They were even more appalled that Kevin actually recovered from it in about twelve hours.
Kevin was more certain; once he had some sort of body assembled, he could simply transmute it back to normal; it would revert to “him” anyway over time – or once he got back to Kadia.
The Inquisitor stopped by once they were feeling a bit better.
(Marty) “Thanks for your help. Do you need anything else, or are we free to go?”
(Inquisitor) “Please let us know when you find Mr O’Malley. This new ship design of his could prove lucrative to his company should it go into mass production.”
(Marty) “It’s a beaut, isn’t it? I’ll keep an eye out for him. For now, though, he (pointing to plasma-Kevin) needs to get home.”
Kevin had the Thralls provide a fairly accurate report, although not mentioning that the power of that level of magic was hard to control – that was his business, and the Emperor would probably assume it anyway. He wanted to get back to Kadia.
(Inquisitor) “Fair enough. And thank you for your assistance to the New Imperium.”
(Marty) “You’re welcome. I’m sure this won’t be the last time you need us.”
Kevin was pretty cranky about his “you’re welcome”. He was still more than a bit out of it.
Marty took Kevin and the Thralls and made a beeline back to Kadia. He’d used abilities that he didn’t know he had back there! He needed to check out what Kevin was giving out!
Besides… He knew that no one would actually expect it of him, but he actually – and for almost the very first time – felt a need to spend some time contemplating how he was doing things.
And he couldn’t even blame Kevin for that. Heck, after he resolved his regrets, he’d have to put on a part in Kevin’s honor!
Hm. Did getting told “Thank You” – which hardly ever happened – really annoy Kevin, or was it just that his last nerve had already gone up in smoke? Well Marty, at least, had no problems with being told “Thank you,” – although he could understand how that might reduce Kevin’s Dark Lord reputation. Oh well, knowing Kevin, he would simply claim that he’d been protecting Ryan and company since he didn’t want Revan stopping them from finishing off the Hellstorm.
(Marty) “Feel like a vacation, Kevin? We could head to the Anthropomorphic Realms again.”
(Kevin) “Yes! One of these days that’s going to work! And I have a promise to Ryan-Feanor to keep! I’ve got to insult him!”
(Marty) “Okay! You can be a dragon! Or a werewolf! Maybe I’ll turn into a parrot again.”
(Kevin) “And collect some werewolf girls! I told Feanor I’d do that too! Ergo, Werewolf! Besides… I keep winding up that way anyway…”
(Marty) “YEAH! Let’s do this!”
(Kevin) “And you can bring your pirates!”
(Marty) “Oh yeah! I never seem to use those guys. Let’s ALL be pirates! Hmm… If we’re going to be pirates, we need to hunt treasure! Any good leads?”
(Kevin) “We’ll find something! So lets see… A couple of ships, some swords, a crew – mostly wolf-people for me and pirate birds for you… We can think about it!”
The conversation flagged after that burst though; Kevin was REALLY needing some time to finish recovering from energy-overload, and – although he didn’t yet entirely realize it – was heading for a week or more of massage, therapy, and recovery before he even got to the classical post-combat stress relief – parties, drinking, eating, chasing girls, and fathering more kids.
Besides… well, Kevin was really starting to wonder why he wasn’t getting more reactions. He’d like to see if it was the computers and the House running interference, and it seemed like the Anthro worlds would be free of that kind of interference.
Back in Core, the computers had finished up with their survey-studies – and had concluded that Kevin’s contract was indeed fair, if not recommended for everyone. It was, however, one of the best recommendations available for kids who wanted to go out and adventure, or study magic, or otherwise get involved with the Manifold.
All Kevin would have to work on now was their legal status; that hadn’t been a part of the survey / debate. Still, he could now openly recruit in Core – and the legal status shouldn’t be too big a step; If they were admitting that Kevin’s contract was fair, the Thralls legal status was just a matter of semantics after that – and Core was too reasonable to resist on those grounds for long. In a way, it would even be a step up for them: once they were legally property, Kevin would be responsible for them – and for what he ordered them to do or to consent to. As it stood… they had to “consent” to whatever he wanted to do with them – but it wasn’t as if they were capable of refusing.
Back in the New Imperium – and in certain other places – certain unnerving reports on the level of raw power that Kevin and Marty (but especially Kevin) had displayed during the battle were working their way through channels. Like so many other things, that would have consequences later on.
- Federation-Apocalypse Session 137a – The Forgelight Returns from Emergence Campaign Weblog (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- Federation-Apocalypse Session 136 – Sunheart from Emergence Campaign Weblog (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- Federation-Apocalypse Session 135 – The Clash of Blades from Emergence Campaign Weblog (ruscumag.wordpress.com)