Dispatch #19: The Cold Truth

The head of Brazorian security walked down the slipway and leaned into Tylea’s ear, trying to keep the conversation’s volume to a minimum.

“She’s crystal clear, sir. Not even the slightest sign of tampering of any of the communication equipment within the ship. Maybe Destiny’s Fortune was telling the truth after all…”

Tylea was beside himself. Trying not to explode in public for the third time that evening, he kept his gaze straight ahead at the slipway and into the ship, his eyes darting every which way as if to manifest a solution out of thin air.

“Someone has to pay for the outrage that has happened tonight. I will not go down for this.” The casino leader continued to mutter under his breath but was quickly drowned out by an alarm that came from all the security guard two-ways still inside the hangar.

“WHAT IS IT NOW?!” yelled Tylea, unable to hold back his hot headed temper any longer. “WHAT COULD IT POSSIBLY BE NOW?!”

“Looks like an escape pod carrying a few life forms managed to slip out of our tractor beam, sir.” said a security guard through his two-way. “We haven’t authorized any departures during the lockdown, but our security cameras picked up evidence of a scuffle between some dark-hooded figures and a few Destiny’s Fortune members in the suite we put them in. During our sweep of the area we recovered some kind of communication chip. I think this baby should lead us to what we’re looking for.”

“Thank you, officer.” said the Brazorian security head. “Bring it on down here asap and we’ll decipher it before fully clearing Destiny’s Fortune.”

Tylea faced the Commanders and smirked. Finally, someone would pay for ruining his night and reputation. Commander Sean made eye contact with the casino leader for a brief moment, only to have his concentration broken by Commander Von who was beginning to unbutton his shirt.

“Scan me, give me a lie detector test, put me through all the security protocols — I ain’t got NUTHIN to hide!” said Von, growing impatient by the minute. This had the makings of a distraction of some sort, he just knew it.

That…won’t be necessary, Commander. We shall have the answers we seek momentarily.” said the security head. “You can, uh, keep your clothes on.”

“All good all good, we’re vibin’.” said Von, clearly not happy with the answer given to him. Sean, JB, and Ringbolt all shook their heads in embarrassment.

After a few extremely awkward moments, the security team responsible for sweeping the coliseum suite had arrived at the hangar, handing over the chip to Tylea.

“Wonderful work, gentlemen, absolutely wonderful.” said the casino owner, clapping his hands vigorously out of pure spite. “Now what are our human friends here really up to? Let’s find out.”

The Commanders and members of Destiny’s Fortune who were outside the ship looked on curiously as Brazorian security forces worked on the communication chip. Several seconds of silence passed before the machine transcribing the chip projected upward to reveal a hologram message. The face that was revealed cast a low rumble of gasps and fear throughout the hangar.

“Ahhhh, yessssss. The great Brazorian Casino! It has been quite some time since I’ve visited your poor excuse for a money-hungry cash grab. While your pathetic coliseum event didn’t go how you had wanted, what did go exactly according to plan was the diversion my henchmen created this evening. Not only did your feeble event get ruined, but we also managed to destroy that diminutive excuse for a planet…who even wants to live on an ice rock anyway? Loborio was not meant to survive. Its lack of hospitality and mindless race did not meet the guidelines for the future of the Arederan Galaxy.

What you have witnessed tonight is only the beginning of a long and painful journey towards enlightenment. The Legion of Wen is back. The Ten Moons of Ilsendor will once again belong to darkness.

Oh, by the way, it’s probably about time that you found out that the Wen have taken a few of your precious Captains. They are now en route with our Legion to Vizenfall. We will keep them safe.”

The hologram continued to run after the recording had ended, with the Wen symbol rotating slowly in place of Nifty’s face. A minute or so went by before anyone had the courage to speak up and say anything. All life and purpose had truly been sucked out of the hangar. It was almost as if Nifty and the Wen had given the speech in person to them; imposing fear and hopelessness to all who listened.

“So it is true,” Tylea stammered, the blood draining from his face as Brazorians, Thealuvians, and humans alike tried to process the hologram statement.

“The Legion of Wen is officially back.”

- — -

“That’s what we were trying to tell ya!” yelled Von. “We’ve been fighting Nifty and these dudes all this time and now we’re wasting even more precious seconds here as sitting ducks while half of our captains, pilot, and payload specialist are all who knows where!”

Realizing his mistakes, Tylea stepped backward and convened with his security team. Commander Sean attempted to calm down Von while JB rallied the recruits to make sure everyone was okay after what they had witnessed tonight. With Flight Engineer Riemer, Payload Specialist Risk, Captain Brian, Captain Wolfpup, and Captain Th4 Monst4 all taken hostage, morale around Destiny’s Fortune had never been lower.

“As hard as this is to say, Brazoria gives its most sincere apology.” said the head of security. “Our accusations were out of line and incorrect. On behalf of Tylea and casino security, Destiny’s Fortune has been cleared for departure.”

“About fricken time.” said Von, still pissed about the Brazorian misdiagnosis. Commander Sean had to hold him back and give him a nudge to not fire back any more than he already had.

“Thank you. We will be on our way.” said Sean. “We appreciate all the support and hospitality that Brazoria has given Destiny’s Fortune. We will never forget it.”

The head of security exchanged a nod of respect with the Commanders. After surveying the room and gathering their surroundings, both Sean and Von noticed that Tylea was nowhere to be found.

“What a petty piece of shit, dude can’t even admit and man up to his own mistakes.” said Von under his breath, heading back towards the slipway to prepare for takeoff. Commander Sean and JB rallied the recruits back to the ship to move on from the stunning last few hours.

“Commanders, it is now time for a few of us to head back to Simia for reinforcements.” said Ringbolt, a look of concern draped over his normally calm demeanor. “The King has been beside himself since learning of the magma scarring used to destroy Loborio. I think the best thing to do here is to let him try to rectify this however he sees fit. Trespassing on Simia is one thing, but using sacred magma from the moon itself to inflict destruction on another lifeform is a travesty unlike any of us have seen in this galaxy in hundreds of years.Aras must ask The High Protectors about the vast meanings and powers within the Seal of Ilsendor. I believe that seal is the only real chance we have of even coming close to defeating what lies in front of us.”

The wise Thealuvian turned his back towards the Commanders and softly whispered under his breath just loud enough for them to hear.

“I feel we are in over our heads at this time. Let’s hope that I am indeed wrong when this is all said and done.”

As Ringbolt headed towards the rental ship that Brazoria had lent to their party, another voice came chiming in to wish condolences.

“Very rarely is he ever wrong, so for all of our sakes, I hope this is one of those rare moments.” Link stuttered as he bowed to the Commanders and Recruits. “We shall see you soon Destiny’s Fortune, stay vigilant in these trying times.”

- — -

The desolate landscape of the northern side of the Obinabwe sector was as far away from the Arderean sun as any area of the galaxy the recruits had been thus far. While the temperature stayed comfortable inside the airlocked escape pod, Risk, Riemer, and the Janitors couldn’t help but shiver at the emptiness in front of them.

“How much further until we hit Loborio’s relative location?” said Risk, choosing his words carefully to avoid causing any more pain towards their guest and his long, lost home.

Riemer adjusted his readings on the directional pad of the pod.

“It should be showing up annyyyyy minnuuuutteee n –”

“N-now, you normally w-would be able to see it now.” whispered LaRoyo, holding back the tears as he arrived back home with no remnants of Loborio in sight. Not a single ice shard nor a single asteroid could be found — just a pitch black hole of nothingness lay in front of the pod.

“Let’s all have a moment of silence for the people of Loborio.” said Riemer, trying to resolve an impossible situation the best way he knew how. “For the lost civilization of Lobos and all of its vast wonders as part of the Arederean Galaxy, we pledge to honor your sacrifice and refuse to forget the powerful part you played in this moment in history. Loborio may now be gone, but it will never be forgotten.”

LaRoyo sniffled as the crew remained quiet, paying their respects to the lost civilization was the least they could do. The silence was broken by a loud noise coming from behind the pod.

“What was that?!” said Janitor Pro Erik.

“We’re not alone,” said Riemer. “Far from alone.Strap in where you can.”

“They’ve found us, we’re d-d-d-doomed!!!” shrieked LaRoyo.

Cutting through the nothingness at what seemed like lightspeed was a dark,needle-like ship, a signature Wen aircraft. Riemer knew the build from anywhere, he had spotted it during their escape on Brazoria — Vyolco had come to finish the job he started.

“Hold on tight, this thing could get a little bit hairy.” said Riemer as he rigged the controls to fit a manual pilot approach. The escape pod had no chance in a firefight compared to a starfighter, so the crew had no choice but to hold on and pray that they could slip through the Wen’s grasp once again.

Vyolco dove underneath the pod, barrel-rolling all the while as a means of ‘playing with his food’ before he kills it. Riemer continued to shake off the Wen, doing everything he could with the limited lack of controls at his disposal. He felt Vyolco locking on to their vessel with his blaster cannons and prepared to try one last maneuver to potentially save them.

Before he could carry out the last ditch effort, his jaw dropped as he saw a spear-shaped ice dagger launch from the back of the escape pod. LaRoyo had rigged one of the engines with his ability to create ice with his own two hands. Turning the propelling engine into a chemically fused ice spear, LaRoyo launched the chunk of ice with all his might back at the Wen ship. The starship didn’t have any chance to react, flying straight into the spear like a piece of wood getting split in half by a metal ax.

After the massive explosion had settled, Riemer, Risk, and the crew all held their breaths to see if they really did in fact take down a Legion of Wen member. A few seconds later, there appeared Vyolco, frozen solid in an encased sheet of ice as a result of the impact.

“Th-th-th-that’s for my friends, family, and wolves of Loborio you scum.” said LaRoyo definitively. The rest of the crew paused, taken aback by the stuttering ice wolf.

“I had no idea you had that in you, I’m sure that one felt good.” said Riemer, trying to find the words to describe what they all just went through.

“The Lobos are a harmless species, it is only when provoked that we show our true colors. The Legion of Wen have it coming, and there’s nothing that’ll stop me from avenging all the loved ones I’ve lost.” said LaRoyo, calming down from his heroic efforts.

“Very well, definitely can’t blame you for that. Just give us a heads up if you’re ever going to do that again, I have to get it on camera next time.” said Riemer, trying to finally make light of the situation.

“Where are we off to next? There isn’t much fuel left in this pod and we’re down to only one propelling engine.” said Risk, attempting to get the crew back on track.

“The closest stopping point for fuel is nearby, on a skyscraper-filled metropolis called Zolturia II.” chimed LaRoyo. “Once inhabitants of the luscious wildlife planet of Zolturia, the civilization that lived there treated the environment and its resources so poorly that they had to relocate the entire planet and rebuild it on a nearby moon half its size. It is home to the largest city of this sector of the galaxy and also is host to the biggest armory Ardere has ever seen.”

“Sounds like the exact rendezvous we need.” said Riemer, plugging the coordinates into the control deck while simultaneously wiring the location to Destiny’s Fortune. “To the city we go.”

As the escape pod changed course and made its way towards life, the Janitors were able to get one last look at Vyolco’s frozen corpse as it floated away into the cold, dark beyond of the outer rim of Obinabwe.

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