The wookie immediately charged at me with a scream and a leap. The blaster rifle shots I fired into his torso didn’t seem to have much of any effect though as he continued that arc to collide with me. Too late I realized there wasn’t enough time to dodge the attack as I attempted to block with the rifle. The wookie’s overhanded blow snapped the rifle in half in my hands as I barely managed to knock that blow aside. The impact of that blow still resounded through my arms, my chest, and even my legs as the pavement cracked under my feet.
Ungh, even with the Force reinforcing me, that was going to leave me sore.
I didn’t have time to be playing around with this wookie given the chaos unfolding around me. I needed to finish this now so that I could help the others. The rifle was now broken in half, but I still had other means of fighting. Using Hypertime to boost my speed, adjusting the interface for inertial boosts, and then using the Force to enhance my strength, I unloaded rapid series of punches and kicks onto the wookie. The final kick to the side of the head caused him to fall to the ground unconscious a number of meters from my feet. Whether he was dying or not was hard to ascertain at the moment, but unfortunately for him there were bigger priorities.
It looked like my earlier telepathic broadcast had distracted all those berserkers not immediately trying to kill someone. That still left thirty or so still running around attempting to kill everyone. I looked down at the broken remains of the rifle and considered my options. Tackling them all in personal combat was going to result in me getting overwhelmed soon enough. Individually they weren’t a problem and even as a group, my speed and agility made me near impossible for them to catch. The real issue was keeping them from attacking and eating everyone else. Any weapon I could think of large enough to get them all would also get the rest of the population too. Plus there was the issue of all the jellyfish floating about eating people and turning the rest into these berserkers.
The best way to handle the jellyfish was find somewhere defensive until we could build a hypertunnel and escape this world. Getting all the people somewhere safe was the real trick though since all the berserkers were making life difficult. Outsmarting an enemy that simply charged the first thing it saw was both incredibly easy and pointless at the same time. I mean ideally I would just announce myself a target and let them all chase me all day. I could probably get a few of them to chase me that way, but all of them was not just feasible. As amusing as the thought might be, I really doubted that smothering myself in sauce would really work to get them all to focus on me.
Wait a moment.
I could get them to focus on me using another telepathic broadcast associating myself with food. I could certainly keep them all on a merry chase for some time once I got them all on me. With that plan in mind, I pulled as hard as I could using the Force as I sent out a telepathic command making me food in the eyes of the berserkers. It was only when they all stopped to look at me that I began to question the wisdom of the move. Too late now I think.
The mob came quickly and more arrived every moment. I used a brief bit of Hypertime to get outside the encirclement and then used the Force to enhance my speed from that point onwards. With the main mob running behind me, I reached out with my senses to find any stragglers that I missed so that I could add them to the pack. Grabbing them, I saw that those people not affected by the berserker toxin were staring at amazement as I ran by followed by the horde of feral nuts. Stupid idiots, this wasn’t the time to be standing and gawking. They need to take the opportunity to find shelter somewhere defensible.
Hmm, where was there somewhere defensible? The feral berserkers were going to be easy enough to defend against given weaponry and time to prepare. The real problem was going to be the jellyfish when they inevitably swarmed the place en masse. The typical building or vehicle wasn’t going to cut it in this case. Somewhere deep underground would be nice, but I wasn’t aware of anywhere nearby that could hold nearly forty thousand people. About the only place nearby that I knew of that could conceivably hold that many people and have any sort of defenses was the space port I arrived in weeks ago. It was a military port and so had all the appropriate equipment and supplies needed. Hell, it probably was one of the few locations on this planet with a large power supply we could use to run a trans-temporal hypertunnel.
Well, best to be pointing this out to people then. I imagine it must have looked ridiculous to everyone to see me run past yelling for people to evacuate to the space port while being chased by an angry mob of blood thirsty people. At least this was buying everyone time.
Meanwhile, Alys and Ben were getting things organized. The students needed better weapons, organization, and some strategy. Pulling out a section of the floor with phasing and merging it with the walls where the door had been had cut off the influx of human zombies (a good thing they weren’t all Kreedath! The half of the one that was sticking out of the floor was STILL trying to reach out and kill someone) – but the situation wasn’t good; their opponents were just dumb zombies, so there was no need to panic (even if they were incredibly strong and durable) – and Kira was leading a lot of them on a wild Kira chase (a galactic idiom that was rapidly becoming synonymous with “snark hunt”), but capturing the “zombies” without killing them was difficult – and they might still be treatable. Neither Ben nor Alys wanted innocent blood on their hands.
Ben was wondering (while doing a distracted and not-too-effectual pep talk… How did Alys make that stuff look so easy? At least they were ONLY zombies!)… how could the blasted things possibly be FLYING? And through space yet! They HAD to be generating a repulsorfield somehow… which meant that they had to be partially crystalline… could he use a laser to trigger a lightsaber-like discharge inside them?
Oh well! It was for this sort of thing that he had armor! AAARRRGGGHHH! His armor was on his ship in orbit! Surrounded by Jellyfish!
OK, never mind, he could deal with this… To the spaceport! There couldn’t be TOO many jellyfish around yet, and he could use the equipment there! Lasers would save them!
Alys was wondering if Ben had gone crazy (on top of her other problems), but quickly got a local exodus to the spaceport organized to clear the way for the mass evacuation.
Unfortunately, the port defenses were active, both against the jellyfish and against the zombies. Worse, a zombie had smashed up the communications equipment (oh of COURSE). Even WORSE, a Jellyfish was coming in to attack them while Ben was fixing the communicator!
Ben added “Zombies” to the list of things he HATED HAVING TO DEAL WITH!
Alys had the students try to hold off the Jellyfish with lasers – and the thing… absorbed the energy and fired it back?!?!
(Alys) “Ben? What the hell is going on?!?!”
Ben swore, nursing his new laser-burn… The DAMNED JELLYFISH HAD SHOT HIM! That was SO WRONG! How the HELL could a DAMNED JELLYFISH SHOOT HIM? The damned things were… made of Zandramas Goo! Able to absorb and discharge energy… That explained the normal-space travel capabilities – but it also meant that they could generate basic energy-weapon effects and that they could – given time – blast their way into structures and penetrate shields! Shit! And those ships out there were… armed with turbolasers! And likely to use them! That would make things SO MUCH WORSE!
He needed to get in there! He needed to make some liquid nitrogen weapons for short range and to warn all the idiots in the spaceport NOT to use energy weapons against the jellyfish!
Unfortunately, the first idiot to respond to the comlink was panicked, and was afraid that they were zombies.
(Ben) GET OFF THE CHANNEL YOU IDIOT! ZOMBIES DO NOT USE COMMUNICATORS! THEY DON’T EVEN TALK!
Alys sighed. It was true enough that Zombies would NOT be calling in to request a way in, but screaming incoherently at some frightened crewman was NOT going to help either. She got on the link and started providing some information on the limits and capabilities of the jellyfish while carefully NOT suggesting that all they needed to do was to take off and get out of local space.
Alys got someone less panicked on the line soon enough and got them inside the defenses at least – although not aboard a ship as yet. Still, that let Ben get his mind off of being eaten by Jellyfish (again!) and back onto weapons and hypertunnels. All he needed to do was to wait until the Jellyfish were exterminated in the local area and a secure zone was set up and he could work freely! It wasn’t like the damned things had any kind of…
Zandramas Goo could run droid programs! And communicate! Even if their normal-space drive was relatively slow, it was no WONDER that they’d shown up so fast, and that more were appearing all the time!
They HAD TO GET OUT OF HERE! In hours to days there’d be enough firepower here to overwhelm any defense the port could put up!
Across the galaxy, Lazlo had completed his “investigation” – such as it was. It hadn’t taken all that many interviews or even approaches to discover that the locals were all terrorized farmers, who were permitted to live to produce other crops for the Yeveetha simply because they tasted really bad to the Yeveetha.
The Yeveetha still ate any who acted up – or one out of any group that failed to meet their quotas – out of “principle” though.
Some “principles” they had there.
The Yeveetha seemed to regard this planet as under complete control – which said that this might have been going on for generations, and that the locals had no weapons, no resources, and no way of standing up to their overlords; he wasn’t going to be sparking any revolutions here.
Fortunately, that also meant that they took few precautions save for operating in pairs; they simply took skimmer-trucks out, let the droids handle the routing, and spent a few “pleasant” days intimidating farmers and occasionally killing people before letting the droids haul back the produce and unload it into the hold.
Well, at least there was an opportunity there to get them to focus on him instead of on the poor locals.
Unfortunately, his own temper – and a bit of distraction – got the better of him there. Instead of zipping up behind their lumbering produce-transport and leaping aboard dramatically, he wound up smacking into the back of it and hurling himself into forty tons of two-foot-across balls of green leafy vegetables.
Not too surprisingly, they noticed and investigated – and Lazlo arose from the cabbages with some quip about condiments and an announcement of his mission as a spy.
The Yeveetha really were big on this “when in doubt, attack!” routine weren’t they?
Lazlo shoved enough vegetables into the first one to rupture his throat and stomach, but the second one managed to stun him with a lucky blaster shot – and then unloaded five or six less fortunate (and thus totally ineffectual) shots into him to “make sure”. Luckily, the creature was then Imperceptive enough to be sure that Lazlo was dead, and turned his attention to laughing at (and then dispatching) his mortally-wounded companion and preparing to gut and roast the “corpses” for transport back to the ship.
Bludgeoning him into unconsciousness worked well enough – and eventually yielded the information that there were at least two hundred Yeveetha in the main ships crew, since that was how many the Yeveetha said would kill and eat him.
The droid-autopilot was more helpful; it knew all the routes – which revealed that most of that crew would be out driving trucks.
Hm. That gave him an idea. He had a truck, and there were LOTS of fertilizers around, and they WOULD be expecting the truck to come back…
Meanwhile, back with Kira…
I was about to make a turn down another street when another berserker of some purple species I didn’t recognize leapt out from behind a store stall in front of me with his arms wide open in a grapple. My momentum was too great to allow me to simply sidestep him and there wasn’t time to stop and pick another direction. So I jumped up, planted a foot firmly in his face, and used him as a springboard to propel myself further down the road. I missed the turn I wanted to make, but figured I could circle back around the block in a few moment anyway.
The second ambush (not that I thought these guys were actually thinking enough to set up a trap) caught me in the middle of pedestrian walkway with berserkers ahead of me and of course behind me. Judging by the relative speeds involved, I figured the two groups were going to collide with me in the middle near that light pole. I could probably jump to the roofs of the nearby buildings, but that would put me out of the reach of the nuts following me and my hold on them was tenuous at best. To make this work I had to stay just out of reach. Time was growing short, and I could think of only a single option.
Adjusting my direction slightly I ran haflway up the light pole and then pushed off it to go airborne. That flung me backwards over the heads of the group that had been following me. A number of them tried to jump up and grab me. One or two came a lot closer than I really liked as their hands tore rents in my clothing (blast it! Why did so many species have to come with effective natural weapons? I got along with fingernails, why couldn’t they?). Still I managed to land on the far side of the mob and on my feet as I took off running again in the direction I had just come. That only left a few pockets of these berzerkers on the outskirts of town near the farms.
I thanked Valerie for all the endurance lessons as I could tell my legs were getting the point they should have stopped responding to commands to run. So far I had only managed to work up a light sweat with all this running and leaping around town. I was covered in blood and dirt but the blood wasn’t mine and the dirt was from the explosions still going off around me occasionally. This wasn’t bad considering I had no weapons or armor to speak of I figured.
The third ambush occurred when I found that the end of the alley I was rushing down was filled with the remains of jellyfish goo. Skidding to a halt, I realized there wasn’t a lot of options to get out of this one. The buildings were simply too tall to just jump straight on top of given my skill and I wasn’t keen on trying to use levitation under these circumstances. Looking at the walls and then the mob quickly catching up, I figured it was time to try something I have only seen done in the holos.
Leaping up towards one wall, I planted a foot against it and timed my kick to propel me upwards and backwards. Spinning around I was able to orient myself in time to land my other leg against the opposite wall and do the same thing again. Thus I jumped from wall to wall in an upwards climb until I finally reached the top, flipped over, and landed on my feet. Below I saw the first sections of the mob stop to stare at me as the center and rear sections collided with them. The whole mess then proceeded to get pushed into the jellyfish goo. Fresh flows of the stuff and made the air reek as more membranes tore open.
Ungh, I thought they smelled terrible before.
I stood there watching the slippery mess unfold when I saw that a number of children were part of the mob. And unfortunately that was when I started to see these as people and not just more monsters and nutjobs out to kill me. There was no way we could get adequate medical treatment to all of these people in time before the effects of the chemicals killed them. Well, I guess since they are going to die anyway, the only chance they had for survival was for me to try something stupid.
Reaching out with the Force I tried to feel what enzyme it was that was causing the berserker rampage. My initial scan was showing nothing but the symptoms being created, what the stress was doing to their hearts, and the agony they were feeling. Finally I had to stop, wipe the dust out of my eyes, and steady my breath for a moment. With that, I tuned out the rest of the world around me as I sunk deep into a trance scanning the disruptions of their metabolisms deeper and deeper until I was aware of individual bits of barely living nothingness floating around and interacting with each other. One in particular stood out as foreign though as I felt it interact with the others in what I could only say I felt was a disruptive manner. I reached out to that bit, felt it with my powers and got a good idea of what it “looked” like.
With that image in hand, I spread my awareness as far as I could to the point it was almost painful. Quickly I became aware of a “cloud” of the stuff surrounding the area, with some large concentrations and a lot of little bits moving about. I grabbed a hold of all of it that I could, disrupted the connections holding it to this universe, and meanwhile did what shifting I could to ensure that reality reassembled itself in a positive manner. Balancing all of those techniques at once and trying to use them over such a large area was quickly becoming exhausting as I made one last shove.
At that point I became aware of my own existence in this universe was beginning to fade badly. The light around me went dim, sound became muffled, gravity felt inconsistent, and the presence of the lives around me became hard to detect. Well crap, I’ve pushed too far and now I was about to drop out again. That took even more straining of my abilities as I sought to grab a hold of what few connections remained and tried to anchor myself to the local reality. While I didn’t doubt that I would survive dropping out of the universe, I really had my doubts that this whole fiasco would end well if I wasn’t around to intervene.
I wasn’t quite sure how much time had passed there when full sensation returned. I was sore from the tremendous effort I had made, but I reflexively pulled on the Force to compensate against the aches fatigue. Looking over the edge of the roof towards the alley below, I saw that all the feral people had collapsed to the ground. Reaching out with the Force, I could tell that they looked to be alive and stable though. With that verified, I dropped to the street below with a gentle telekinetic landing. A few of the people that had been hiding in houses were now cautiously peeking out windows and doors to see if the danger had passed. I used the Force to amplify my voice a bit.
(Kira) I have neutralized the toxin. They shouldn’t be in any danger of losing their lives, but they are too exhausted to move on their own. Get a transport, load them up, and make for the spaceport. A defensive position should be forming there.
Whether it was fear, mistrust, or sheer shock, none of them made to move. I was too tired to really be frustrated though as I sent out another telepathic wave reinforcing their courage.
(Kira) DO IT!
That got them moving. They were rather cautious about retrieving the ones stuck in the mass of jellyfish goo at first until I made a show of wading in, grabbing someone and dragging them back out to no ill effects. Once they saw that, the people started collecting the exhausted and injured and loading them into transports. With that started, I reached out again with the Force and took a survey of the area around the city. I was burning power fast as did two intensive scans of the area looking for injured and trapped people. That list of locations I then fed to my precognition and probability analysis to find an optimized route to hit them all in as little time as possible with priority given to those in most need of medical care.
The zig-zagging pattern I got from that was more than a bit dismaying to say the least. There was no way around this except to burn a lot of Hypertime to move as quickly as possible. At least I had some “credit” on my lifespan stored up from all that time in stasis in the Droid Galaxy. I “stole” the keys to one of the nearby parked bikes from one of the bystanders with a show of telekinesis. He started to protest at first, but then realized that the keys had leapt to my hands telekinetically and lost his resolve to dispute the matter. I turned the ignition over and drove the bike to the first point on my route.
First location found a wall partially collapsed on a man and his two children. Flinging the debris away telekinetically, I stayed long enough to verify that they could get to the spaceport and went on. Second location had a woman holding the remains of her left arm trying to stop the bleeding of the partial amputation. That was resolved with a tourniquet and putting her on the seat behind me. I dropped her off at the first group of people I came across and continued on. Next it was a man with a pinned leg, then three children trapped in a basement, and on and on it went for what seemed like hours.
Finally it seemed like I had gotten everyone that it was possible to save as I turned the bike to follow the mass of refugees fleeing the city to the spaceport. By this point my appearance was drawing recognition as people would point and gesture in my direction while muttering something among themselves. As we got within sight of the port though, my sense of foreboding kick in again. Whatever the source was, it was either well shielded or going to cover a wide area. I didn’t sense any jellyfish in the immediate vicinity though. Then my comlink chirped.
Back at the spaceport, the conclusion-jumping was in full swing. The RDF commanders had decided that they knew what was going on; the infamous Kira Keldav had called in his ship-eating jellyfish creatures to zombify the population – making them easy to turn into a deadly army that he could use to overrun all remaining resistance on the ground while his jellyfish prevented any escape to space! Probably assisted by Ben Therus, who’d been building planet-moving superweapons for a “resistance group” on Gruenn.
Ben was too busy throwing speciality weapons – most notably a subspace lance based on Smooche’s original design – to pay much attention to the building wave of irrationality (bombard Kira? Why would anyone think that something like that would work? All it would do is kill a lot of people in the course of failing!), but Alys was finding that – in the face of so much panic – there were times when people simply didn’t even hear you any longer, and then it no longer mattered how reasonable and persuasive you were.
She called Kira to warn him.
(Alys) Kira, they are planning to fire on the refugees as a desperate bid to kill you!
(Kira) Who they?
(Alys) The RDF Port Authorities!
Damn it. This was not what we needed right now. While I was fairly certain I could survive simply by dropping out of the universe, that wasn’t necessarily going to stop the Port Officials from firing just to make sure I wasn’t invisible or some nonsense. Staying in the midst of this exodus was not going to work, and fleeing into the woods would just result in them focusing enough firepower to force me to drop out. That would in turn likely strand these people here. The city wasn’t any better an option in that regard. It wasn’t like there was any place deep underground I could hide in either. Sigh, that left one choice.
I stepped into hypertime and phased myself as I ran forward through the crowd towards the port shields and walls ahead of me. I could see weapon turrets turning to try and target me but they weren’t going to be able to swivel in time given my speed. I saw a section of the shield that contacted a small hill and aimed for that. As I reached the hill, I took a deep breath and dove into the hillside. There I used levitation to direct me through the hill to the inside of the shield. A second later I reentered daylight on the inside of the shields and inside the port proper.
At which point it seemed like the entire place freaked. Shuttles immediately powered on shields, took off, and started pointing weapons at me. The port defenses also turned inwards at me. Those people out in the open started screaming, pulled out large amounts of heavy weapons and aimed them in my direction. Precognition more or less shut down after informing me that Hypertime was going to be the only way of surviving this.
These guys can’t be serious….
They were serious unfortunately as the weapons fire began. Pushing myself hard into Hypertime, I immediately started dodging incoming shots. All too soon I realized this was a fool’s game likely to end up with someone getting a lucky shot while destroying the port and with it all chances of escape for these people. Attempting to reason with these morons was probably out of the question given their shoot first and ask questions later policy. I needed to start disabling shuttles and defenses now. Luckily the port shields were keeping the shuttles from getting too far off the ground. All of them were close enough to the ground that their shields were actually contacting the surface.
Time to rehash a recent tactic again.
I phased through the ground again and used the Force to guide me as I levitated beneath the ground to underneath one of the shuttles. Surfacing, I then leapt on top of the shuttle in front of the cockpit window. The people inside the shuttle panicked even further upon seeing me there. As dramatic as smashing my fist through the window would have been, that would simply have broken every bone in my fist regardless of any Force enhancement. Nonetheless, I simply phased through the window into the cockpit itself. The pilots immediately tried to resist the intrusion, but simple blasters weren’t enough to threaten me with harm these days. I slammed one face first into the dashboard and the other went unconscious after a fist to the temple. That took care of the crew, and initiating an emergency shutdown of the main power core took the shuttle itself out of service.
On their part, Alys was busily keeping the panic from escalating to the point where they deployed suicidal amounts of firepower, calming those she could, and letting the refugees get inside the outer shields, since those controls had been more or less abandoned in the rush to get Kira when he’d bypassed the outer defenses.
Ben was shutting down the power to as much of the major weaponry as he could, while finishing up a few more weapons… Still, he needed SOME form of life support! This place was a spaceport, surely it would have some suits?
- Recordings from the Holocron of Kira Keldav – Session 71b (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- Recordings from the Holocron of Kira Keldav – Session 68a (ruscumag.wordpress.com)