On the fringes of the Rah solar system a small personal freighter arched its way through the mine-like asteroid belt to slowly line itself up with the illuminating light of the red star, inside a young girl stared through the multiple view screens at the distant planets of the Rah system considering all aspects of the life she hoped to gain from the system, staring aimlessly at planets she thought.
The 4 planets circled the red star ominously, each a world to many and home to few, comets streaked past on their course for their distant beyond showering the system with their radiance but not as magnificent as the crown planet New Rah.
New Rah was a fine pearl few and far between in a sea of galaxy-wide distress; its great spires pierced the heavens while the luxuriant ecosystem was virtually unharmed by the light ambience of the cities and districts. Animals and Men coexisted peacefully to bring the inhabitants of New Rah their very own paradise.
It was an old fairy tale.
The real Rah was a planet no different than its neighbouring sisters, a grime infested cesspool with no hope for those dwelling there, the once peaceful ecosystem rebelled and revolted panic spread and with panic disaster soon followed. The great spires pierced the heavens in the vain attempts to hide the truth, to shy others away from the truth it clutches within itself. It was not unusual or uncommon, more like a cruel fact the plagued the galaxy.
Hope, trust, love and many other virtues were sundered into ash when they came, it was like peace was a concept no longer understood. All were affected and none escaped.
New Rah and its nearby systems were not spared...no one was, there was no discrimination just cold-blooded ruthlessness.
The thought hung heavy on Millie-an earthen name she took up-as many other thoughts came and went, focus was never one of her strong points so she desperately scanned each view screen for her destination a hint or sign she was on the right track because this was the last leg, everything she had was nearly exhausted and it was not difficult to know what will happen if she didn't find Gondoris, but the last sprinkles of hope rained on her as alert signs and klaxons flared to life and screamed away, instantly multiple holo-screens and 3D visuals popped-up with Gondoris in full view.
Gondoris was a gargantuan sized space station.
A flying planet, as some refer to it, Gondoris was one of a kind, a space station that housed millions of people, a home for those with none. Drifting in the emptiness of space with massive solar sails and revolving disks around its aft sections it raced at and incredibly slow pace, creeping out from behind the red star.
It glided along the vastness of the space powered by several giant rotating discs running along its long glass midsection that never broke the unison of their rotation, purple sails lined the prow of the station reflecting the myriads of light emanating from its body in all directions as if beckoning for someone to notice its magnificence. Glass domes protruded from the rear mimicking planet wide atmosphere, temperature, pressure and even rainfall before sharply arching downwards ending in an egg shaped ball peppered by a multitude of tiny arrays, sensors and darts facing every direction possible.
There it is! , the words rung through her mind as a wave of relief washed over her, now that her goal was in sight and her purpose clear Millie jumped into life and action.
Her exhaustion dissipated and her mind was clear, fingers raced to the controls of her ship switching off the sirens and klaxons Millie set her ship on a straight course for Gondoris and punched the engine drive to full throttle.
The personal Star ship shifted slowly to adapt to its new course then shot off like a bullet across the vacuum of space out running the nearest comet, the Star ship whined and groaned at the sudden intense acceleration and even in the deck Millie could feel the strain but thankfully the ship compensated and soon the groaning eased itself into a low quiet hiss. The view screens closed up and the cockpit was sealed shut by the screen gates, ETA wasn't until 7 hours at current speed but she knew that her ship couldn't maintain that speed for the full journey but it doesn't matter now, Gondoris was within her sights and she will get there no matter what...it was only a matter of time.
So she simply slept to pass the time, no use pondering needless details and philosophy.
Right now sleep is what's needed for those deprived of it.
Across the vastness of the Rah system another ship, unwanted, let itself in and hid on the fringes on the other side, its massive hull coming to a slow halt staring down at the still bigger form of Gondoris, held within it the self appointed Liberator of Rah, Devon'Rhos.
It was chaos aboard the vast vessel, the battle cruiser unwanted thought it was had itself been host to unwanted visitors, deep within the chambers and open corridors two men ran fast and hard.
One a tall, lithe and skinny creature ran slightly behind the other fighting for breath that never really came while the other ran without pause or even the slightest sense of fatigue, he ran, ducked and weaved his way through the maze of a ship they both were in when they came to a small archway with a small underpass on either side and a dead end right in their faces.
"Drake a dead end" the lithe alien blurted out exhaustion and fear tinged in his voice
"Not quite" he replied confidently, then walking purposefully to the dead end he placed his gauntleted hand on the cold red steel of the wall apparently searching for something that wasn't there.
A few minutes passed.
Tension sparked across the air, the lithe alien paced up and down as the rumbling of heavy armoured footsteps echoed more loudly with each minute.
"Drake! What are you searching for here!? Let us turn back..."
"Quiet Rin" the cold slow reply ran down the spine of Rin, he stepped back unsure of where his fear is coming from, the pursuers or the Arcani standing in front of him.
"This wall, its hollow, there is something behind it." Drake said calmly, his hand stopped steadily and began to push.
Muscles tensed and the air fell still as Drake continued to push harder and harder with each second, Rin watched on mesmerised by the Arcani strength, mettle and alloyed steel buckled and moaned under the intense pressure, one thing was certain, one would break first either the alloyed steel or Drake's hand.
It was the steel that lost.
With a thunderous crash the wall caved in and crumpled with pain flying a few feet backwards into an open cross-road. The large space was filled with dust that danced in the air painting the room in an endless stream of black and white, the floor was a giant mosaic of a hero standing proud and aloof, staring deep into the eyes of it onlookers.
Drake walked cautiously in, his eyes hidden behind goggles darted back and forth from every crevice and area not fully lit up by the dust, Rin walked in not far behind him apparently just as cautious.
"Drake, Rin looks like you two truly are impossible to hold on to, but it is best that you stay...for your own good" the voice echoed throughout the cross-road, a deep innocent tone yet every bit the killer Drake knew him to be.
"Nah, I've got some business to finish up with" Drake replied, utterly calm.
"YOUR! Business is here with me" the voice was louder this time.
"Why don't you stop hiding in the darkness!" an evil smile played across the Arcani's face "I still owe you one from the City of Iron"
A grating laughter plagued the room, Drake looked across hoping to see something that wasn't there.
Footsteps echoed throughout, then from the darkness a tall silhouette came into sight, Drake continued to smile unnaturally sharp canines' almost predatory like bared themselves against the dark silhouette.
"So Drake, looks like you remember...if not only fragments" the full figure of Devon'Rhos was now before them, a tall powerful alien with deep blue eyes his robes flowed effortlessly across his shoulders, muscles tensed and ready he walked arrogantly at Drake with a certain surety of the outcome.
"Not much to remember" Drake walked towards him, almost meeting the challenge like two alpha predators ready to fight to the death.
"There is, and I can help you IF you stay with me"
"And if I don't want to remember?"
"Of course, always with the stubborn attitude, like a true Arcani. You do your doomed race proud" the reply was laced with every bit the venom Drake expected, but not with what he sought.
"Drake let's get out of here, before the rest of these zealots get to us" Rin pleaded desperately but it was too late, two armoured behemoths crashed through the broken wall widening it in the process and destroying part of the mosaic with each step.
Even with the spectacular entrance of the two giants it did nothing to faze the two battle ready predators.
Now they were right up to each other, Devon'Rhos a good head taller than Drake looked down into the jet black goggles and in turn Drake met his gaze with his own.
If the eyes of men had the ability to kill, well, a single round of decapitation would see both put down with the glare of predators.
With a calm strange like the sea Drake said to Rhos "Why don't you pack your mutilated toys and get out of my way!" only to be met by his continuous glare.
"Like I said, you have to stay for your..." but before Rhos could finish Drake boorishly interrupted him
"For what! My benefit? I think you're mistaken...or maybe you didn't understand me before. Get out of my way or I might just be inclined to prove how much I can make my doomed race proud by breaking you right here."
Devon'Rhos looked on at him, there was nothing he could do to keep the Arcani on the ship so he simply stepped aside.
Rin breathed a long sigh of relief; the situation was miraculously resolved without any conflict, a little too good to be true but you take what you get. The Iron Behemoths flexed and jerked uncontrollably as the fusion of man and machine brain struggled to comprehend the situation.
Drake walked on past Rhos not looking back and Rin was thankful for that as he too rushed past him trembling slightly from anxiety, then the worst possible outcome took place.
"Drake" Rhos called out to him "Is it true that the leader of Brotherhood once risked his life to save a young Serianite girl in the City of Iron?" Drake stopped "Apparently he suffered a serious case of amnesia and is currently running wild in the Galaxy to make up for his pathetic failure to protect her...quite saddening really"
The words drove home deep within Drake like the sharpened edge of a surgical blade tinged with mockery, Rin stopped breathing and instantly knew what was coming.
Drake turned around slowly, purposefully, his goggles slid down his face and rested on his neck to reveal his eyes, the only of its type; pupils and irises abnormally white and clear, retina black as the pitched space.
His eyes portrayed his inner cold and his words came out like the frost in the winter blizzard
"Devon'Rhos...you've signed a death wish"
The room soon became a battlefield.
Rin ducked straight to the dark corners of the room, fear propelling his very thoughts and movements, Drake on the other hand moved with unnatural speed. Darting straight past Rhos in a black haze he stopped right before the first Behemoth and looked into its swollen eyes.
The Behemoths jerky movements struggled to keep up with the speeding Arcani, it flailed its thick-muscled arms randomly but each potential hit was swiftly dodged.
Soon the Behemoth stopped and backed away slightly and roared its challenge, Drake looked on at the towering creature eyes carefully trained, body tense and mind clear.
Moving suddenly Drake hung low from the Behemoth hand tightly gripped on the stressed red skinned neck and swung around in a circular arc around the Behemoths neck landing on the back of the metal monster, still holding tightly with one hand he drew back his long sleeve and revealed the gun-metal black gauntlets.
Spiked fingers and fiendishly hooked knuckles were poised in the air momentarily, Rhos' eyes widened in realisation but he was too far away to make a difference, the speed at which it all happened was astounding at the least to the point where even the other Iron Behemoth that was no more than 7 metres away couldn't react fast enough to prevent the inevitable.
The black gauntlets pierced through the dense, muscular neck of the Iron Behemoth and went straight through the skull before finally popping out, with a revolting crack in, the visor.
The Behemoth fell to the floor.
The silence was deafening.
Drake stood up slowly, pulling his bloodied hand from the Behemoth and turned to Rhos, seeing that a fellow kin was felled the other Behemoth roared in rage.
Charging like an enraged bull the Behemoth went straight for the kill, Drake spun effortlessly on the spot ducking the pipe-like arms aimed for his head all the while pulling out a long jet black handgun from his back pouch.
Training it at the hidden face of the Behemoth he fired, twice.
The first plasma coated bullet smashed into the visor utterly melting it away along with the metal while the second found its mark in the face of the towering monster. The plasma burnt the already mutilated face as the solid bullet punched clean through the skull.
It all happened in, an almost pre-planned, motion.
Rhos looked on, an emotion ran down him, he hadn't felt it in years and soon found himself taking small yet large steps back. What was before him was no doubt the son of Kain, an incarnation of the long gone genocidal Arcani leader.
Drake turned to face him and Devon'Rhos felt helpless before the endless gaze of those eyes, they searched his very core and found fear in him.
Lost in his emotions Rhos never realised when Drake left, or when Rin left he just stood there
"So, this is what you've become 5 years on, Kayera...be careful" he whispered to himself.
The Lonely Home crawled across the Rah system, on-board were two aliens, both silent as the Star ship drifted with no assigned course. Inside the large main room was empty with no source of action, everything was still. Rin was unusually anxious, he tried to remain calm by twiddling his multi-jointed fingers in endless positions but found no respite he had to break the silence.
"What now?" He asked, an open question
Drake was lying down on one of the six hard-mat beds, arms crossed behind his head and totally relaxed. Lifting one eyelid slightly he looked at Rin and replied
Rin was taken aback by the callous reply
"What do you mean 'Who Knows', Devon'Rhos is sure to come after us and with our reputation no doubt bounty hunters!"
"My reputation" Drake said almost proudly
"Does it matter!? The fact remains we have no clear plan for the future and it is imperative that things are thought through now that we have this opportunity of quiet." Rin's voice reverberated around the metallic walls of the Star ship.
Drake fully opened one eyelid to look at him and simply said
"Don't worry about it, Rhos won't come after us anytime soon and with everything the way it is now a band of outcasts like us are the least of the galaxy's problems."
Under his breath Rin replied "I wish I could believe that"
Drake now got up to look at Rin
"Look, I know it seems bad now but I've got everything planned out to an extent" Drake stopped to make sure Rin was listening to him "Wanna hear it?"
Rin nodded fully listening.
"Firstly, what do you know about the relations between the current Lords of Oz'Sharra?"
Rin was slightly puzzled "Sour at best, I guess"
Drake laughed out loud further puzzling the young alien "C'mon you're smarter than this" tapping Rin on his head he continued "A 3 year old can say that, I'm looking for a deeper answer"
Rin thought for a moment, it was a surprisingly hard question to describe relations in the Lords of Oz'Sharra fully, what used to be an honourable correlation of the 3 greatest races at the time is now a political network of dishonesty, corruption and high-minded zealots.
"Well considering the rise of the Needo Alliance in recent years, and the rapid downfall of the Arcani the Lords are in dire straits and this is having a ripple effect on the rest of the Galaxy." Rin looked to Drake and carried on "The 3 shadow wars, death of the Grand Master, deaths and disappearance of 2 out of 3 of the supreme counsellors the Arcani are a mess, their hierarchy has been demolished way beyond repair at this point and with them controlling 60 % of the galaxy all of us are feeling the strain. Especially with people taking pot-shots at Arcani borders and archaeological ruins things are becoming tense but no one takes a bigger pot-shot than the Needo WO and their Needo Alliance. Constantly harassing the Arcani politically and militarily they've become candidates for Lordship but everyone knows it was through their close ties with the GFI and if they wanted to the Arcani can wipe them of the star maps like nothing"
"But why don't they?" Drake asked
"Well who knows? It seems like the Arcani don't want to overstep their borders as if they're protecting something but again who knows. Their strict control of in and out information and Galaxy-Gate use means that us the general society are left in the dark."
Drake smiled satisfied with Rin's answer this time "Exactly my friend" Drake got up from the bed and walked over to Pilots Interface.
"For now let's leave it at that, what we need is to get to Gondoris"
"How are we going to do that?" Rin asked
Drake looked around the holographic image of the Rah system, given their reputation simply flying into the hanger would never work, they need a diversion or disguise.
"There" Pointing at a small ship travelling at speed to Gondoris "We'll just hitch a ride with whoever they are."
Rin walked over to see exactly what Drake meant, a Personal Space Ship of relatively small size, maximum crew size of 4 the ship would reach Gondoris in just about 6 hours at constant speed.
"And you're expecting them to willingly help us?" Rin asked almost sarcastically
Drake replied "I don't, I'm just hoping that it will be a meeting of minds.