Episodes 66 to 68
Episode 066: Ambush! Time Bomb Count Down
After Galveira was defeated, among the wreckage in space, the device known as the black box was discovered. It was encrypted, as expected, but with the viral hacking properties of her programming, Zelas managed to crack the code and found some interesting information. "According to this data, the location of the source of the shields is static and has been that way from the start," Zelas announced.
"That means that my parents are not with Ragudo Mezegis, or else their location wouldn't have been the same all the time," Lina concluded. "Are they with...?" She inquired in worry, hoping that their static location did not match the position that Dugradigdu had not bothered to move from.
"Not with him," Zelas confirmed and Lina let out a tense and worried breath she didn't even realize she had been holding. "It seems the theory that was correct was the one about them being held in a facility of sorts. Oh, what's this... Interesting, it seems Onyx was there as well, that explains why your instincts supposedly failed you that time, Milgazia, Onyx really wasn't in danger of getting blown up back then. It looks like their energy is being projected to the enemy lost ships. Onyx was exhausted and taken offline after her last battle. She might or might not be alive, though the Inverses were used as shields recently, so they probably still live."
The news took Milgazia by surprise and filled him with hope. Onyx was a part of his clan and he wanted to protect her and safely return her to Phythan's side. "Mr. and Mrs. Inverse are waiting to be rescued and maybe so is Onyx... No, not maybe, she has to be alive. We shouldn't delay their rescue a moment longer!" The dragon elder turned cyborg declared. Obviously, Lina and the others were in a complete agreement.
Zelas grinned as if she was in no rush to move. "You're forgetting something. I'm a monster lord and rescue missions are simply not my forte. Even if I forfeit their lives, you will still make yourselves useful to me because the fate of our world and the over-world depends on it."
Lina was filled with frustration and anger. "When this is over..." she warned, though she knew it was an empty threat.
"You'll do what?" Zelas mocked. "I thought I had made it quite obvious that I hold your lives in my hand, after all, you can't even do as much as breathe without my help in this atmosphere."
"This isn't fair," Amelia pouted and Zelgadis placed his arm around her shoulders as if to comfort her. Filia glared at Xellos, telling him with her eyes to say something, but the general priest turned AI didn't say a word. His solid holographic projection remained perfectly still as a statue with his usual cheerful expression firmly in place.
"Excuse me," Gourry spoke up, much to everyone's surprise. "Um... Lady Lord Beast Master," he did his best to sound respectful. "I humbly request that you help us in saving Lina's parents and Miss Onyx as well. I know I'm only a human swordsman with nothing special to offer, but I offer you all I have in exchange."
"All you have?" Zelas questioned with curiosity.
"Yes, you can take my very life." Gourry offered with a serious face that was an expression he rarely ever used. "As it is only the ordinary life of a swordsman, I understand if that is not good enough in exchange for your efforts, but I am willing to spend the rest of my life repaying the debt."
Gasps invaded the control room as everyone, even Xellos, stared in absolute shock and surprise. "Are you sure you understand what you're saying?" Zelas inquired.
The usual clueless Gourry looked very sure of himself now, as if he did know what he was getting into and he was willing to bravely march into it anyway. "Yes," the fearless swordsman replied. "I do not expect any mercy, nor do I expect a life of serving you to be an easy one. As I said, I know I don't have much to offer, but please consider accepting this simple swordsman's life." He went on his knees, taking Zelas' hand and kissing it as if to vow his loyalty to his new master, should she accept his offer.
"This is inconceivable!" Lina screeched so loudly that all those present cringed at the sound of her angry voice.
"Oh dear, I think we've made her jealous," Zelas teased with mocking laughter.
"This is an outrage! Don't you dare! Don't you dare!" Lina's warning went out to both Zelas and Gourry as her psy-energy waves went wild, projected in a red hot aura around her. "Gourry, never throw your life away like that, even if it's just to sound gallant. I want to save my parents and friend too, but you can't sacrifice yourself, I won't let you! I'd rather have Zelas take me than you!" She breathed heavily, the immense power of her chaotic soul still surrounding her.
"So now you're offering yourself?" Zelas grinned, gladly absorbing the energy that irradiated from Lina. "Very interesting... You might have not noticed it, but over a year ago when you died and were reborn so to speak, certain things changed. Born of chaos and cleansed by chaos into pure chaos, you are chaos itself, Lina Inverse, you are the living legend, the wild card, your potential was unlocked that time, the potential of a truly chaotic soul. I might just take you up on your offer."
"No!" Gourry, Amelia, Zelgadis, Filia and Milgazia protested in a loud and urgent chorus filled with justified alarm.
"Aw, but don't you guys want Lina to be an official part of the Metallium family?" Xellos smiled mischievously.
"Shut up, raw garbage, this is too much!" Filia screeched.
"Lina Inverse cannot and must not be controlled by a monster," Milgazia seriously stated. "I will not allow it. Leave them out of this, I'll sacrifice myself instead."
"My, my, so many want to be my minions today. I suppose enslaving the respected golden dragon elder Milgazia would be fun, especially since the dragons realized you were right all along and started holding you in much higher esteem after Luna's commandeered body situation was revealed. But still, I can't pass up the chance to have Lina the wild card on my side," Zelas decided. "So here's the deal. Lina Inverse, you are now my envoy of chaos. All you have to do is... be yourself. If you can give me your word that you'll never consider betraying me, that will be sufficient. I know you well enough to know you won't go back on it, so I will not force a pact on you." That would only make the commitment stronger. A pact, an entrapment, would encourage Lina to break it, yet if she was held only by her own word, it felt binding yet willing, thus she would be more likely to stand by it.
Lina blinked, shocked and suspicious. "That's it? You won't ask me to do anything for you?"
"My dearest pawn, I've always used you just fine before, why would I ask for anything additional?" Zelas laughed.
"Fine... So be it, you have my word," Lina agreed.
"Excellent, then I'll do you this one favor." The Great Beast started moving again. "I don't have ammunition, but it proved to be ineffective anyway so I'll just rely on the main psy-canon and my energy sources for whatever may come. Status report, Xellos."
"The damage wasn't too bad since the shielding energy was so strong, though the paint job was scratched rather badly," Xellos informed. "The self repaired system has taken care of most issues, there's nothing but a few minor scratches and chipped metal here and there left."
"This vessel is going to need a complete remodeling job when this is over," Zelas huffed. If only her ship didn't get trashed after every fight. Having a physical form to take care of was a difficult task indeed. "Well, as long as it's functional. Onward we go, the light speed jump calculations are complete, be ready for anything!" The crew braced themselves for the light speed jump that would take them near the area where Light, Labyrinthine and hopefully Onyx were being held captive.
xoxox xox xoxox
The Great Beast reappeared in front of a satellite of medium size. The space station was suspiciously unguarded as if inviting them in. "Either they weren't expecting us to find this place, or it's a trap," Xellos theorized.
A short moment of musing silence passed and Lina, Amelia, Zelgadis and Filia chorused, "it's a trap."
"But that's not going to keep you out, is it?" Zelas smiled almost teasingly with mischievous amusement in her eyes.
"Of course not!" Lina assured with great determination, as expected. "Let's hurry up and go in. Look over there; it looks like you could dock the lost ship there."
"It seems to be alright..." Zelas agreed and approached the designated docking area where she extended a small tunnel from one of the side doorways of her vessel to the inside of the satellite.
Lina didn't waste a single second in rushing into the space station. She was closely followed by Gourry, with Milgazia eagerly trailing behind. Amelia rushed in after them with Zelgadis right beside her. Filia paused to look back at Xellos who accompanied her to the tunnel but stopped with a flicker at the entrance. "It looks like there's far too much magnetism in here, holograms can't move freely inside this satellite."
"What about your android body? Can't you use that?" Filia inquired.
"It's unavailable," Xellos informed with a hint of disappointment. Who knew what fun he would be missing out on by staying behind during this excursion.
"Unavailable?" Filia questioned in perplexity.
"It was taken apart to use the spare pieces for repairs on the main vessel, most of it was melted and reshaped actually," Zelas informed.
"Oh..." Filia frowned in disappointment. "I guess you'll have to miss out, I better hurry up and catch up with the others." She rushed through the tunnel calling out, "wait for me!" But found that the rest of the group had not gone too far. "Oh, there you are."
Lina, was furiously typing on a numerical control panel on the side of a heavy closed metal door. The words 'wrong passcode' kept flashing in red on the keypad's small screen. "Filia, get Xellos over here and have him hack this thing open!"
"He can't come, there's too much interference for his holographic form to be projected inside the satellite and his android body was dismantled and recycled to repair the Great Beast." Filia regretfully informed.
"Then how are we supposed to get through here? These doors are pretty thick and I'm not looking forward to having to bring them down, especially if there are more of them ahead. Besides, that will take a lot of time and energy," Lina complained. The satellite shook violently all of a sudden as the sounds of lasers being fired was heard. "What was that?"
"There - no cau-se - alarm," Xellos' flickering hologram informed them with cut off sounds from a few feet away at the tunnel entrance. "Beast -ster destroyed - antennae, so they - not trans-mit - energy."
"I think he's saying that the big antennae on top of the satellite has been destroyed so that it can't transmit energy," Filia interpreted. "That's good, I mean they probably already know we're here anyway and if Ragudo Mezegis shows up, he won't be able to use energy from your parents and Onyx transmitted from here."
The keypad next to the door flashed in different numbers until it received the correct one and the doors opened. Zelas' flickering hologram appeared next to Xellos and signaled them to go on and get this over with. "You'll have - break any - doors, I don't - enough range - this."
Lina nodded, "gotcha, you don't have enough range to hack beyond this point. We'll deactivate the magnetic field if we manage to run into its source while we're looking for everyone." The redhead took a moment to glance at Filia, "stay here."
"Huh?" Filia blinked in confusion at the unexpected request. "But why? You don't know what's waiting in there, you need all the help you can get!" The golden dragon turned cyborg insisted on going.
"That's my point," Lina explained. "If Ragudo Mezegis shows up, and if my instinct is correct, he's probably on his way, then the Great Beast will need a battery to power the main psy-cannon. Even if Zelas and Xellos have mastered producing their own energy, they need to manage the ship's systems, pilot, handle defenses and so on. Having an extra source of energy would be a big help if the Great Beast has to fight while we're still in here. I want to go find my parents and Onyx personally and you're the only other one with the guts to be truly effective as an energy source," meaning the short fuse and explosive temper. "Thus I, captain Lina, must leave first officer Filia in charge of things until I return."
Seeing the logic behind the request, Filia agreed. "Alright, I'll stay here, be careful, all of you." Filia returned to the Great Beast where she wasn't looking forward to getting caught in Xellos and Zelas' antics that would pop up if they were left with little to do until Ragudo Mezegis showed up, if he made it to their location before Lina and the others made it out.
xoxox xox xoxox
Lina, Gourry, Amelia, Zelgadis and Milgazia, ventured deeper into the satellite. They were surrounded by metal walls with lines of light running through it, as if the entire structure was one giant circuit board. They had the strong feeling that they were being watched and remained alert for any kind of danger that decided to leap at them without warning. Suddenly, several compartments on the walls were opened and laser guns emerged from them, some silver and others metallic black. The silver guns shot lasers which the group took extra effort to dodge, rushing forward deeper into the space fortress, trying to get away from the line of heavy fire.
The black guns shot beams of dark light that affected their psy-energy. "They're using the hostages' energy to try to weaken us." They reached a closed door made of the same thick metal as before. Milgazia and Zelgadis, who was wearing his armor, projected their energy to create a shield of light around the group until they could manage to get through the door at the end of the long heavily armed hallway. "This isn't fair, how dare Darkstar and his dirty minions make them suffer like this?" Lina punched the keypad next to the door in frustrated anger and coincidentally pressed the correct numbers by accident, causing the door to open.
Lina, Gourry, Amelia, Zelgadis and Milgazia rushed in, with the door closing again behind them. The next room was dark, but soon, light came on filling it with brightness. It was a rather large metal chamber with the same lines of light like a circuit board running through the walls. There were three glass chambers in the center of the room, holding the three people they had come looking for. But before they could break them out, several compartments opened up on the walls and tall black and silver battle robots stepped out. Everyone readied their weapons immediately.
"We can't risk the enemy using the hostages against us again or them getting hurt. Zelgadis, Milgazia, use your force fields to protect them and get them out of there. The rest of you, let's turn these robots into scrap metal!" Lina commanded.
"Justice will prevail!" Amelia charged towards one of the robots delivering a psy-energy powered pacifist crush with the metal knuckles of her psy-energy conducting gloves. Her fist went right through the outer armor, reaching into the inner circuitry. She received a shock of electricity, but managed to grasp several cables inside and pull them out. The robot short circuited and moved around at random before crumpling to the metal floor.
The combat robots shot lasers at Milgazia and Zelgadis, though with some extra power to their force fields, the reason why they had been given this task by Lina, they managed to deflect the attacks and prevent the glass tanks containing Onyx, Light and Labyrinthine from being hit. They quickly broke them free, removing the multitude of cables that held them in place.
Lina fired her gun continuously, while occasionally glancing at Milgazia and Zelgadis' progress in the rescue mission. Seeing as they had the hostages secured, she called for a retreat. "Back to the ship everyone!"
The combat robots were programmed to keep them there and continued relentlessly attacking. "We'll have to carve our own path!" Gourry charged forward, with his sword at the ready, cutting one robot after another out of the way, even so, there were so many that their advancement was slow. Milgazia and Zelgadis kept the unconscious Onyx, Labyrinthine and Light safe within their team work force field, shooting lasers to prevent the robots from getting too close, watching everyone's backs. Lina and Amelia continued fighting as well, with Gourry leading the way, trying to cut a path back to the Great Beast.
The satellite shook violently again and the large metal door that led to the robot filled chamber was forced open from the outside by short circuiting the lock system. "Everyone, we must hurry!" Filia appeared at the doorway. "It was a trap, we have to deactivate it!"
"You mean a trap other than these robots?" Lina called back. If that was all there was, then they could handle it, but she had a feeling that Filia's urgency and alarm had another cause.
"The Great Beast is stuck," Filia shot several lasers as she spoke. "The magnetic field trapped the ship and a lot of strong cables wrapped around it. Zelas and Xellos have a lot of interference and can't break free from the satellite's grasp. The radar's analysis finally came through; this place is a giant time bomb!"
A chorus of alarmed "what?!" Echoed through the battle field.
"We can't survive in the atmosphere of space, the Great Beast is our only way out of here, not to mention that if she gets blown up, we'll get blown up along with her!" Lina shouted. "There's no way I'm going to miss out on mom's 'thank you for rescuing us' banquet because of some trap. We have to disable the bomb mechanism!" The task was, obviously, much easier said than done as the combat robots kept slowing their progress and there were only a few minutes left before the space station exploded and ended their journey through the over-world once and for all.
To be Continued
xoxox xox xoxox
Episode 067: Crash! Don't Let The Setbacks Keep You Down
The space station shook with the vibrations of each passing second, as the time bomb neared its limit. Lina, Gourry, Amelia, Zelgadis, Filia and Milgazia, along with the unconscious Light, Labyrinthine and Onyx, returned to the entrance of the Great Beast to find it red hot in heat. The flickering hologram of Xellos was near the door, "the tunnel is stuck." His image dimmed and flickered then came back on, "cut it off along - the cables. The satellite is - melt - Great Beast!" He urged in warning.
Without a second to waste, the crew began to chip away at the tunnel, the cables and the tips of the wings and aerodynamic spikes of the Great Beast until the vessel was able to break free from the hold of the satellite bomb. As the Great Beast hastily moved away from the satellite, the crew held their breath and jumped in. However, something pulled them up from between the satellite bomb and the Great Beast. Ragudo Mezegis had arrived on the scene and was trying to steal away the whole crew. Yet another lost ship arrived, Gorun Nova, and surprisingly, he too tried to steal away the crew for his own vengeance, disregarding Ragudo Mezegis' strategy.
While the two enemy lost ships tossed the crew within their tractor beams, Zelas took the opportunity to retaliate. "Do a spin charge, Xellos, I'll handle the psy-cannon."
"But how will you aim, Lord Beast Master?" Xellos began to guide the vessel to spin rapidly similarly to how he did as a cone.
"Did I just hear you underestimate me?" Zelas focused all her energy in hitting Ragudo Mezegis despite the way her vessel was moving.
"Of course not, never!" Xellos immediately exclaimed as he guided the lost ship to spin faster.
The main psy-canon was shot, not as powerful as it would be with the crew to give it extra energy, but still powerful enough with Xellos and Zelas to fuel it. The beam hit its target dead on and as Ragudo Mezegis glowed red with heat, the Great Beast rammed into it, pushing the enemy lost ship into the satellite bomb. The explosive space station had become so hot that its metal armor fused into Ragudo Mezegis on impact. Finally reaching the critical point, it was about to explode.
The crew had been beamed up by Gorun Nova, who intended to take them prisoner. Inside the lost ship that was once the sword of light, Lina and the others gasped for air. The redhead looked around to see if everyone was there, Gourry and Amelia were as blue in the face as she was, but otherwise alright. Zelgadis, Filia and Milgazia fared a little better because of their cyborg components, though they obviously didn't like being tossed around like that. To Lina's surprise, Light, Labyrinthine and Onyx were also awake. Then again, they were tossed around so much that it would be hard not to be shaken awake by that. "Mom, dad, Onyx!"
Before Lina could get to her feet and approach her parents to make certain beyond a doubt that they were indeed uninjured, several compartments opened in the walls of Gorun Nova and cables shot out to try to entrap the crew. However, they were swift to fight back with their psy-weapons. The battle didn't last long, as the explosion from the satellite sent waves of energy rippling across the area. Ragudo Mezegis was blown to pieces by the trap that had been set up for the Great Beast, while Gorun Nova and the Great Beast only withstood the aftershock of the explosion, having put some distance between themselves and its core.
While Zelas took control of the Great Beast's defenses, Xellos linked with Gorun Nova, using his viral properties to force the exit hatch open, then Zelas quickly beamed the crew back to her vessel. However, all of that happened while the aftershock of the explosion was still going on in waves, with pieces of the space station bomb and Ragudo Mezegis being thrown throughout the area. As a result, both the Great Beast and Gorun Nova were thrown back and caught in the gravity of a near by planet. The two ships crossed the atmosphere with Lina, Gourry, Zelgadis, Amelia, Filia, Milgazia, Onyx, Light and Labyrinthine being tossed around inside the Great Beast.
Since Gorun Nova was considerably less damaged than the Great Beast, he managed to take control of his trajectory and decided to retreat for the time being. Even though the Great Beast had been heavily damaged, she had the whole crew within her to power her systems and Gorun Nova knew that was very dangerous. As for the Great Beast, the lost ship plummeted towards the planet whose gravity had captured her and crashed into a mountain forest area.
"Ow..." Lina complained painfully. "Did anyone break anything?"
"I would guess not, the anti-gravitational system kicked in at the last minute and cushioned your fall." Xellos cheerfully informed; he was just as chipper as ever despite the poor condition of the ship.
"It's too bad the main engine couldn't go back online," Zelas voiced with an eerie calm. Everyone was quiet, observing with worry the light twitch that they had never seen the ever nonchalant Zelas present. "Why does my vessel have to get trashed after every single fight? How do you creatures even stand having physical forms when they're this troublesome?!" She yelled, then after her little outburst, she took a deep breath and once again adopted her usual cool, calm and collected demeanor.
"You can't go charging in recklessly when your body's not made of pure energy," Lina robbed a sore spot on her head. "Just so you know, mine isn't either!"
"Oh well, at least we're in one peace and the horrible nightmares are over," Labyrinthine breathe. "By the way, Lina, I'm definitely making a big dinner for you when you're done with your latest adventure!"
"Alright!" Lina cheered, instantly feeling much better upon the thought of food. "Thanks mom!"
"I never doubted you for a second, Lina, I knew you'd save us and your sister," Light congratulated.
Lina went pale. "Luna? But she's not here; we didn't find her, only the three of you." A frightening thought occurred to her that Luna's soul might have been contained deeper inside the space station and destroyed along with it and Ragudo Mezegis.
Light picked up the mysterious cube that they had found before with the pictures of crescent moons on it. It had fallen out of the compartment where it was kept and been tossed around inside the Great Beast along with everyone else. "Your sister is right here, safe and sound. Can't you tell it's her?"
Everyone stared in disbelief. "Luna?!" Lina loudly exclaimed, then laughed nervously as the crescent moon cube glowed. "Of course I can tell it's her, she is my dear sister after all. I knew it all along, that's why I did such a great job keeping her soul safe. Anyway, as soon as the Great Beast is up and running again, we can drop you off at our world and you can restore Luna's soul to her body."
"Or we could tag along with you and I can relive my days as a mercenary," Light suggested.
However, Labyrinthine was quick to disagree, "honey! We have a store to manage and besides, who will water my garden while we're gone? Then there's grape harvesting season to get ready for. I'm afraid Lina will just have to do without your sword and my magic, but that's okay, she's a big girl and can take care of herself, plus she has all her friends and her beloved Gourry to look after her."
Lina felt a deep pain in her heart when her mother assumed that she and Gourry were together. Though he made no comment to deny her assumption, it might not matter much because he probably missed it altogether. "Oh... alright," Lina's father agreed, reaching the same conclusion as her mother in terms of their youngest daughter's relationship. Yet all of that also made Lina think about how Gourry had always been there for her even after their break up and never once deserted her. She had to fix things with him, she simply had to and she had finally mustered up the confidence to bring up the subject... sometime soon.
Zelgadis had gotten curious about a certain aspect of the story that didn't quite fit and asked. "How did all of you get captured anyway?"
"I got sucked into a portal that appeared at Dragon's Peak and was caught before I had time to react. Not a very interesting story," Onyx grumbled.
"As for us, a monster called Erosnum has been rounding up minions in our world," Light revealed.
"He attacked Zephilia and though we fought him, he managed to send us to the over-world where we were captured by Darkstar's minion," Labyrinthine elaborated.
"Wasn't Luna's body in Zephilia?" Milgazia recalled with worry.
"Don't worry about that, when we sensed danger we prepared for it. I had the alchemist from down the street make a copy of Luna's body," Light explained.
Labyrinthine continued, "since her body was an empty vessel, no copy of her mind was created, only an empty homunculus."
"Your little friends, the pink haired young man and the polite shrine maiden agreed to hide the real Luna in his kingdom, while we kept the homunculus at Zephilia, pretending it was the original. Erosnum destroyed it, but Luna's real body is still safe at Taforashia," Light finished.
"That sounds like... Pokota and Sylphiel!" Lina realized. "I guess we have them to be thankful to. Somehow, even if I wasn't there, Luna would have totally blamed me if anything happened to her body. Ah well, we better get going then."
"We're not going anywhere," Zelas informed with a serious face.
"Another ultimatum? What more do you want?" Lina frowned.
"Not something you can give," Zelas replied with annoyance. "I want to be astral again and not have to worry about having a vessel that's constantly in need of repairs. According to Canal's stories, she didn't even get into a state like this until the final battle and it's been get fixed and get broken constantly all the time since I got here!"
"I guess it's a good thing you weren't turned into a human, they're not this easy to repair." Lina sighed, though she did get Zelas' point and as she was their only mode of transportation, the pattern was getting frustrating.
"You are strong, but so is the enemy, so it can't be helped," Milgazia quietly voiced.
"Frankly, I can't wait to get my revenge on Darkstar done and over with so I can go home and take out my frustrations on all the people of the world," Zelas growled. "And that traitorous Erosnum is going to get it too!"
"After this is over, we're going to spend the rest of our lives going out of our way to appease Zelas' wrath, aren't we?" Filia sighed hopelessly.
"Yes we are," Xellos happily chirped.
Just as they were trying to figure out what to do next, a man with wild black hair, wearing an orange martial arts outfit, peeked in through the opened hatch of the Great Beast. "I knew I sensed living people in here. Your energy is pretty unusual. Are you guys okay? It looks like you crashed pretty badly." His obvious question reminded everyone of Gourry, which was not exactly a good start if they were hoping to find skilled mechanics to hire towards the repairs of the Great Beast. The mysterious man paused as he looked at Zelas and Xellos with curiosity. "Why is it that I can't sense your energy?"
"Must be because we're machines," Zelas informed. "You seem to have quite a bit of energy in you, though it's a tad too innocent for my liking. Something fiercer in the same volume might suit me better."
"Huh?" The man in orange blinked in confusion. "Wait a minute... Are you here to take over the planet?"
"Not really," Zelas informed, curiously sensing how the man's energy level increased at the thought and settled down again at her negative reply. He had quite a deal of hidden power in him, though it was different from the power of her world. 'If he was in my world, he'd have a tremendous pool and bucket capacity, but he'd probably be too dumb to know how to use it to cast any complex spells,' she mused. "Are there any engineers familiar with space ships in this planet?"
"Oh yes!" The man happily exclaimed, generally in a better mood now that he had confirmed that the strangers didn't want to take over the planet, or at least they claimed they weren't interested in that goal. "My friend Bulma is great with space ships. I'm sure she can transport your ship to her place and fix it up. Oh, by the way, I'm Goku, what are your names?"
"I am Beast Master Zelas Metallium, a monster lord from another world, this is my general priest Xellos Metallium and my crew," Zelas introduced each of them in her own way. "Lina Inverse, the dragon spooker," Beast Master ignored Lina's protests at the name and continued. "Gourry the clueless sword genius." Missing the ironic insult in the introduction, Gourry only smiled. "Amelia the obnoxious princess of justice, Zelgadis, alias Mr. Pouty," Zelgadis tried not to pout in annoyance, but he was too late in stopping himself. "Filia the clumsy," Filia expected such an introduction from Zelas and held her tongue. "Milgazia, the dull, Onyx the wallflower. The bringers of chaos and destruction Light and Labyrinthine," though it was a reference to their status as Lina's parents, the Inverse couple actually thought their introduction sounded cool. "Last and certainly least, Luna, the paperweight wonder!" The crescent moon cube vibrated as Zelas mocked her current form.
"Wow, you even named the paperweight," Goku stared at the odd bunch in amazement. "I'm not sure if I can remember all those names," he admitted.
"It's okay, I forget people's names all the time," Gourry voiced sympathetically.
xoxox xox xoxox
The Great Beast was transported to Capsule Corp. which was located in a large city. There, a woman named Bulma with blue-green hair, who was the president of the corporation, seemed to be having fun working on the lost ship's repairs. An explosion from near by caught Zelas attention while her crew and Xellos seemed to be entertained enough playing golf with Bulma's father or baking cookies with her mother. She investigated to find a blond man and two blond boys. Yet their hair changed, and in seconds, it was no longer golden. From the two boys, one was a nearly identical, albeit smaller, version of Goku and the other had lavender hair. A man with spiky flame shaped black hair seemed to be angry at them over the explosion which occurred around them, although they barely had a few scratches and bruises. The man was saying something about his gravity room and training.
Zelas got the impression that if Val and Palou got together with those two boys, they could double or even triple their chaos. The two boys were surrounded by auras of energy and, after hastily making apologies; they flew off as if carried away by a Raywing spell. The man huffed and walked off, paying no mind to Zelas, whom he assumed was another of Bulma's guests from that ship she was working on. Zelas detected his energy signature, it was like Goku's in magnitude, but different in consistence. It wasn't pure darkness, but it had its dark side and, given the vast amount of energy he possessed, he could be useful. He had said something about training, which gave Zelas an idea.
The cunning hologram disappeared and reappeared right in front of the man's path. "Hello, you were saying something about training?"
"Unless you have an advanced gravity chamber in your ship that's still functional, I have no interest in talking," the man informed.
Zelas grinned, "straight to the point I see. She focused her senses on him. You have quite a fighter's instinct that's almost wild and the desire to compete; there is a rival you want to beat."
The man looked at the strange woman curiously, though his expression didn't change, remaining serious and uninterested. Even if she could sense his energy, she could tell a whole lot just with that. "And?" He challenged. He couldn't sense any living energy from this creature, yet somehow his instinct told him she held an immense power.
Zelas chuckled softly. This was not a human, but he was similar enough. His pool capacity was immense and he was smarter than that other one, though still more of a physical fighter than this world's equivalent of a spell caster. She could very easily tap into his wild side and desire to fight, creatures such as this one made very useful pawns for Beast Master. Yet she was not a monster now, she was a lost ship and things worked differently with that condition. She still felt the limitations of being a digital creature confined to the functionality of a space ship. Even so, there was something she could do to put his energy to good use. "I have a proper room that you can use to train in within my ship, even while repairs are going on in other areas of it." It was the training chamber the crew used to practice with their psy-weapons, fortified with extra defenses and inner armor. Since it was inside the ship, it wasn't really damaged as the outer areas were. "I can control the gravity and atmospheric conditions in it to make things more challenging, high gravity, thin oxygen..."
"Sounds good," the man grinned.
"Very well, follow me then, and just out of curiosity, what is your name?" Zelas inquired as she led the way back to her vessel.
"Vegeta, prince of the saiyans," the man replied.
"A prince, eh?" She chuckled, not that it mattered in the end. "I am Beast Master Zelas Metallium, a supernatural creature known as a monster lord from an alternate world."
Vegeta laughed slightly, "I've seen so many strange things I'm not even going to doubt your word."
As they entered the lost ship, they passed Bulma, who was adjusting some circuitry. "This ship's got a killer CPU," she commented to Zelas. "Although I have to work around some things since it can't be shut down completely, only in limited sections at a time. It's as if it was alive..."
"I am," Zelas replied.
"Oh, yes, of course, although I mean in more ways than only being sentient." Curious, the scientist inquired. "Where you originally a human who was turned into an AI?"
"I was originally a monster lord, a creature of pure energy from another world," Zelas truthfully informed.
Bulma paused as if debating what to say, then decided to take her word for it. "That's pretty interesting."
"What's more interesting are her claims about her training room, which I want to see for myself sometimes today. Oh, and the gravity room is broken again," Vegeta impatiently informed.
Bulma placed her hands on her hips and glared as her temper flared and Zelas detected it. "I told you to be careful!"
"It was the brats," Vegeta argued.
To be Continued
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Episode 068: Energy! A Heart That Can't Forgive
Bulma showed no fear in presenting an argument against a creature who had much more energy than she did, it kind of reminded Zelas of Filia. "You should have taught Trunks and Goten to be careful, so they wouldn't get into the habit of blowing up the gravity room like you!" Vegeta only grunted in response, while Bulma continued, waving her right index finger back and forth in front of his face, her left hand still on her hip. "You'll just have to wait until I'm done fixing this fascinating space ship. For all I know I could have stumbled upon one of the legendary lost ships! They say that at full power these things could destroy a whole galaxy!" Bulma's eyes shone with delight because of the technological advancements, rather than the destruction, or at least that was what Vegeta assumed.
The saiyan prince grunted, "a legendary lost ship, ha! I'm surprised you've even heard of them in this planet. I guess it's a pretty far reaching legend, but there's no such thing. Those ships, although capable of blowing up a planet, had a different way to destroy galaxies. The legend says that they could drain away the life force of all of a planet's inhabitants in a day or two, leaving a whole galaxy desolate in little over a week, without damaging the planet's resources and structures, targeting only sentient life forms. Such a ship would have been very effective in conquering and trading planets, even more effective than sending mercenary squads to clear out civilizations. The ships of legend could attack from afar, they wouldn't miss any life forces that could sneak away from scouters and the purge would be done very neatly. Freeza spent a good deal of time looking for one of those, but never found it."
"Well I could have!" Bulma pouted.
"As I understand, you didn't even find this ship, Kakarot introduced you to the crew," Vegeta pointed out.
Bulma huffed, "oh, go train and quit bothering me, I'm busy." She turned back to her ever fascinating repair work.
Vegeta grunted and followed Zelas to another area of the ship. The lost ships were said to have lost power after the first war, which resulted in vast injuries to Dugradigdu, the banishment of his minions to an alternate world where they became weapons of light and the general decrease in power for both the light and dark lost ships. If only there was a way to recover the power of legend the talks of which reached out to areas so far away from the main conflict. Well, at least Zelas had a vast energy source to get started with as she and Vegeta entered the training chamber. "Here we are."
"Doesn't look all that special," Vegeta commented, the inside of the room reminded him of his gravity chamber, except it didn't have the gravity device in the middle, instead it was completely empty.
"We'll see..." Zelas grinned like a jungle cat with her prey just where she wanted it. "Shall we begin with the gravity at five hundred Gs? Oh, and I'm lowering the oxygen output a little and draining a portion," a rather large portion, "of your energy, just to make it more of a challenge."
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Later, at Capsule Corp. "Vegeta!" Goku called out to the other saiyan as he hurried towards the lost ship parked in Bulma's yard.
"Goku?" Bulma blinked, curious about what he was rushing for, just barely able to tare her eyes away from her ever interesting work.
"Bulma?" Goku had been so focused on Vageta's energy that he didn't even realize Bulma was there until he saw her. "Are you okay?"
"I'm more than okay; you wouldn't believe the technology on this ship. I doubt I could ever build anything like it, even if I had the full detailed blueprints. This is indeed more than just a sentient machine, it's so much more," Bulma squealed with excitement. "But what about you? You looked a bit alarmed for a minute there."
"Oh..." Goku laughed lightly, placing a hand behind his head. "Well, it's just that Vegeta's energy felt weird, like it was being drained away, so I thought our guests decided to take over the planet after all and I came to fight, although I don't sense them being evil, the ones I can actually sense at least. Anyway, if you're so calm, I guess that I worried over nothing. Looks like Vegeta is doing some kind of training. I got to say, this would be a super tough fight if it had really been a fight."
"But it's training, Zelas, the main AI of this vessel, is letting him use her training chamber. Maybe it's just as a thank you for my hard work, but I got the impression she was getting something out of it too. Now that you mentioned Vegeta's energy being drained, maybe Zelas can do that and store the energy to use it herself. It wouldn't be the first time we encounter technology capable of that and the Great Beast is a lot more advanced than anything I've ever seen before," Bulma mused.
Goku pouted, "that's not fair! I want in on the special training too!" Following Vegeta's energy source, Goku rushed to the training room.
Bulma rolled her eyes, "well, if the Great Beast can be powered with energy, she'll get plenty out of this." 'It shouldn't be bad though,' the scientist added as an after thought. 'Goku said he didn't sense any evil from our guests. He can't sense the AIs, since they are mechanical, but if their companions are not evil, neither should be the AIs, right?'
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Meanwhile in the living quarters of Capsule Corp., Lina and Gourry were enjoying the food Mrs. Briefs was cooking. Ever the kind host, she kept serving dish after dish of delicious food, much to Lina and Gourry's delight. Labyrinthine had taken to helping her in the kitchen and they were merrily exchanging and combining recipes, with Lina and Gourry having volunteered to taste them all. "Lina, Gourry, there you are!" Amelia rushed in wearing a peculiar costume consisting of a tight black body site with a long pink martial arts shirt over it and a band around the waist, boots, gloves and a helmet. "Miss Briefs, Miss Labyrinthine, hello!" The Seyruun princess cheerfully greeted the others as she took off her helmet, though her cheer was easily recognizable to her friends even with her face hidden.
"Hello dear," Labyrinthine greeted.
"Oh my!" Mrs. Briefs clapped her hands together. "It looks like Gohan's little crime fighting group got some new members, how lovely!"
"Join us in our crusade of justice!" Amelia raised her fist in the air in excitement.
A similarly dressed man stood next to her, looking rather embarrassed and shifting uncomfortably. Lina and Gourry watched with curiosity, with a chuckling Lina inquiring, "is that you, Zel?"
"Who else?" Zelgadis admitted, still hiding his blushing face under his helmet. He had to admit his armor was better than this costume, but Amelia insisted that they should all dress similarly and her new friends, Gohan and Videl, agreed. He too was wearing a costume like Amelia, except his shirt was gray instead of pink.
"Will you join us?" Amelia hopefully requested.
"I think I'll pass," Lina decided not surprisingly.
"Me too, I mean, we're already very busy helping out as taste testers, we can't just leave with our mission unfinished," Gourry agreed.
"Aw, but Gohan was teaching us how to levitate without casting spells!" Amelia whined.
Lina blinked in surprise. "We can do that?"
"Justice can accomplish anything!" Amelia happily declared.
Gohan stepped forward with a bit of an explanation. "Amelia told us about the magic you can use in your world. It sounds like all you need to do is focus and command your energy with your mind to get it to do what you want there. Here you have to synchronize your mind and body and bring out your energy, coax it out so to speak, rather than command it to react."
"That's fascinating," Lina looked as if she was considering going with them, but it was just an act, as she soon smiled and concluded, "but culinary research is calling my name!"
"But you'll be able to learn how to use levitation in this world!" Amelia insisted. "Plus you'll get your own costume too!" Though the Seyruun princess thought the costume was a fine motivation, it was all the opposite.
"No thanks..." Lina replied flatly.
"Your loss..." Amelia turned away in disappointment, though she soon cheered up and valiantly declared. "It's okay, my comrades, we can defend the city ourselves. For justice!"
"For justice!" Gohan and Videl cheered along with Amelia.
"I didn't hear someone," Amelia hinted, clearly referring to Zelgadis. "For justice!" She cheered once more.
"For justice!" Gohan, Videl and this time also Zelgadis joined in, though he was no where near as enthusiastic as the others.
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Eventually Lina was dragged to the levitation lessons and did get the hang of staying afloat. Although that whole coaxing her energy to carry her concept was difficult and she wondered how Gohan could so easily wield his massive bucket capacity without as much as a concentration chant. Obviously, he was no ordinary human. Overall, the redhead felt that the lesson did somehow help her understand how to wield her energy better in the over-world, which would prove to be useful as the battles weren't getting any easier.
After the repairs on the Great Beast were finished and Zelas had stocked up on energy drained from the two sparring saiyans, who actually enjoyed the intense energy draining training, the Slayers were once again ready to be on their way. Everything seemed to fall into what had become their normal routine from there, chaotic, yet not strange for them. But of course, any semblance of normalcy with that peculiar group couldn't last too long.
"I have received reports of a portal we can use to make a stop at our world." Zelas informed as they traveled through space.
Lina, Gourry, Amelia, Zelgadis, Milgazia, Onyx, Light, Labyrinthine, Filia and of course, Xellos, were all there. "A message from Canal?" Lina curiously inquired.
"No, a message from one of the humans allied to me, he and his gang originally came from a planet in this world, having fallen through a portal that formed as a side effect of the energy shockwaves during the previous Darkstar battle. They have returned to the place from where they came, a planet filled with strange animals capable of wielding elemental magic. The leader knew of what was happening and gathered information for me, though future business transactions will be difficult, as we'll be in different worlds, our dealings were overall mutually beneficial. The portal is actually on the atmosphere of the planet and it is quite large. The energy waves around it are massive so the radars can't pick up much else except it; albeit a regular ship wouldn't be able to accurate tell what the portal is. Prepare for a jump, we'll be there in just a few minutes," Zelas announced.
The Great Beast made a short light speed leap that caused the vessel to reappear close to the portal. However, what they found was not only the portal but also Gorun Nova. "Is that Gorun Nova?" Gourry asked as he stared at the image displayed on the large main screen of the Great Beast's control room.
"Yes it is," Zelas replied with a defiance that was directed at her foe rather than the one who asked the question. "I was warned about this, but here I am. There is no need to wait until we're caught in a fight. Bodigar, Nezard, Galveira and Ragudo Mezegis have all been defeated. The only one that remains on Darkstar's side is Gorun Nova."
"I was waiting for you, I knew you'd come here." Gorun Nova sent a transmission, which was surprisingly not voice only. His image was similar to Gourry, with the same face, eyes and body, but his hair was blue. Zelas found his eagerness to fight suspicious after having run away before. Surely he was plotting something.
Milgazia stared in surprise at Gorun Nova's human projection. "Why... Why do you look like this?"
Lina snapped her fingers and pointed at the screen as the image clicked in her mind. "You look like a grown up Rowdy!"
"Rowdy?" Gourry mused on the name for a moment. "That sounds familiar..."
"Maybe because he's your ancestor!" Lina reminded.
"Oh yeah, grandpa Rowdy, now I remember!" Gourry finally recalled. In a sudden burst of logic he realized something else. "If Gorun Nova is the sword of light, then he must have traveled with grandpa in the past before he traveled with me."
"That is true, I did travel with the human called Rowdy Gabriev," Gorun Nova confirmed. "However, this appearance is not because of him."
"Flagoon..." Milgazia suddenly voiced.
"So you do remember that name..." Gorun Nova commented.
"Of course I remember," Milgazia affirmed. "You look like Flagoon, except for the obvious gender difference, but why?"
"To remember her..." Gorun Nova vaguely explained. "She was the only one who acknowledged me, she was..." He stopped and glared at the group through the visuals on the screen. "My past is none of your business. You weren't there, you wouldn't understand."
"I was there," Milgazia reminded.
"You still wouldn't understand!" Gorun Nova growled. "Not you who encouraged her to abandon me and didn't even take her for yourself."
Gorun Nova's bitter accusation brought back a memory to Milgazia. There had been a time when Flagoon asked him something peculiar. "Do you think it's strange that I love this sword so much? He's not just a powerful sword to me, he is my closest companion. Is it wrong of me to love it?"
Milgazia, not realizing just how far Gorun Nova's feelings and sentience went had laughed in good humor. "I have heard that knights often get attached to their swords. But a sword is just a sword, no matter how powerful it may be. You should find companionship in people." Remembering his own words, Milgazia felt that he had sounded cruel for not counting Gorun Nova as a person, even if he didn't mean to say anything out of malice. "Gorun Nova..." Milgazia returned to the present, speaking with sincerity. "I must apologize for treating you as a mere sword. Flagoon was the only one who could understand, who could feel, that you are much more than a weapon, that you're a living and sentient being. I didn't know, I didn't understand and although saying this now may be too late, I am sorry."
Gorun Nova huffed and disregarded the dragon elder. "You were but an ignorant sheltered creature at the time, trying to be a leader though you still had so much to learn. Flagoon taught you a lot, but you never learned completely. However, it is not your ignorance that I cannot forgive, Milgazia; it is Gourry that I hate the most!" Gorun Nova glared at the stunned swordsman. "You mastered all the sword techniques of Flagoon, even going as far as being capable of standing up to powerful magic users with my strength combined with yours."
Lina was inevitably reminded of when Gourry had been taken over during their struggle against Fibrizo and how they had such a hard time fighting against, even before they discovered his true identity when they had no known reason to hold back. Yet right now the look in his eyes was, if possible, even more lost and it made her worry about him.
"You, Gourry Gabriev, dared to live up to Flagoon in skill but not in honor," Gorun Nova accused. "You dared to set out on a journey to improve your skills and be a hero, just like the warrior of light of the stories you were told as a child. The stories were a tad far from the truth at times, yet they still held the essence of Flagoon. You wanted to be like her while not being able to grasp who she really was. For so long you traveled without a word to me as if I was nothing but an unworthy companion, I who had watched over Flagoon's descendants, even if I could not have her to myself. You hid my true blade and wielded me with the iron of an ordinary sword, as if I was a thing to be ashamed of. Then you called upon my power when you were in desperate need of it and always without a single word of thanks. I was lost, I was nearly destroyed and you never tried so hard as Flagoon to recover me when we were apart, even if it was just as a mere family heirloom."
Finally waking from his pained shock, Gourry's face was filled with the deepest sorrow. "I'm sorry! I can never explain how sorry I am, Gorun Nova. I understand if you can't forgive me because I treated you so badly, but please understand that I really mean it, I really do regret the way I acted. I was a fool, I was cruel, I was ungrateful, I was terrible!"
"I can never forgive you, Gourry Gabriev. You are unworthy to be Flagoon's heir, only your death will satisfy me!" Gorun Nova shouted angrily. "It was you who sent me back here, it was you who set things in motion for me to eventually be forced to serve under Darkstar again in this meaningless existence away from Flagoon's world. Don't you know where she went after her passing? To the Sea of Chaos, to where it all begins and ends. She would have been reborn into that same world and I could have reunited again with her. It was but a small chance, but you stole that away from me. She would have known me somehow; she would have treated me with care and acknowledged me and next time... Next time I wouldn't allow anyone to steal her away or give her away to be stolen. It would only be the two of us journeying together as in the start. Only me and my Flagoon..."
A tense pause hung in the air as Amelia whispered a realization. "He loves her..."
Gourry's face was downcast for a long moment, until he finally looked up with tears in his eyes. "I understand, Gorun Nova. I understand that you can never forgive me and I truly can never ask you to. I treated you terribly and I-"
"No, Gourry!" Lina interrupted. "You didn't know! Gorun Nova, you're being unfair. Gourry didn't know how you felt. He would have treated you differently if he even knew you could feel."
"Lina, stop," Lina was shocked into silence at Gourry's command; he had never used such a forceful tone with her. His eyes softened and he added, "please, Lina, don't defend me, I don't deserve it and it'll only make me feel worse. Gorun Nova, it is true that I didn't realize how you felt, but then, no one was there to tell Flagoon about your true nature and yet she knew, she sensed it. She had a kind and open heart that I lacked. I understand that I am beyond forgiveness because I separated you from the one you love and poisoned her sweet memories with my cruel ignorance. Please, Gorun Nova, take only me and let the others go."
"Unacceptable," Gorun Nova snarled, "you will all die!"
"No we won't!" Lina yelled back. "I won't let you hurt Gourry or any of my friends. The captain is ready for combat, energy output at maximum! I won't let Gorun Nova keep hurting Gourry. Take my energy, Zelas, Xellos, take it all, take all my energy and turn that chunk of scrap metal into space dust!"
To be Continued
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Episode 066: Amelia quotes L's (Death Note) "justice will prevail."
Episode 067: Goku, Vegeta, Bulma, Trunks and Goten are from Dragon Ball Z.
Episode 068: Mrs. Briefs, Gohan and Videl are also from Dragon Ball Z. The terms of pool and bucket capacity are based on the explanations for the Slayers novels. The pool capacity is the total amount of energy and the bucket capacity is the maximum amount of energy that can be used at a time. The gang who returned to its own world was Team Rocket, which was mentioned and made cameos along with several Pokemon characters in Slayers: Alive.