Current Transmissions:


All Good Things...

Dan's eyes flickered open. He was covered in a cold sweat.
It was dark out and he glanced over at the alarm clock. 3:33am. His throat was dry and parched; he got up out of his bed and into the small bedroom/sitting room. The tent was hot like a furnace; his body produced a huge amount of heat and the closed flaps made it unbearable. Dan slept in a tent in the bachelor apartment, since a man shouldn't eat, sit, and sleep in the same room. And walls or barriers were needed for defining and keeping the mind focused and sharp, due to the changing environments.

Damn. It was a dream.

In the kitchen he poured water from a pitcher in the fridge. He stopped and took a couple of deep breaths to calm his nerves down a little. He was still going over the things in his minds. His skin had the feeling of a billion pins stabbing into them, like the dead weight of sleep... or were they pencils reanimating him back to this version?

No. No it wasn't - I transcended.

Was it a dream? He wasn't quite sure what the hell had happened, but it was an experience. He scrambled over to where he kept his journal and with pencil in hand began to furiously scribble down notes. He didn't bother on sharpening the pencil when it got dull, he reached over and grabbed a pen and continued to write down every little thing that his dream world had unveiled to him. It was a visionary quest, similar in nature to what the natives of North America have experienced in their sweat lodges. Whatever had happened he wanted to make a record of it before the tendrils of sleep reached out and comforted him again.

He put the pen down at 6:06am and looked over his transcript. 44 pages all jotted down like a madman's scribble. Satisfied, he decided to crawl back into bed and get at least another hour of sleep before heading over to the restaurant for coffee. Just before his head hit the pillow a cellphone rang. And Dan's eyes widened upon the realization that he hadn't bought one.

The Homecoming

Memories and realities seemed to merge for Dan. He sat down on a bench, he could hear, feel the sudden rush of wind as a subway was approaching.

"Dan," Suki said. "You might want to brace yourself."

Dan looked up as the subway pulled in. He could see Max in one car and Simon in another car. A cluster of other figures. They were all caught in some frozen 2-dimensional fight.


Between Here and There, Now and Then

He tapped the phone off and picked himself up from the ground; he felt like he was in a lucid dream. His mind swirling with images and afterthoughts that he couldn't place, what things were where. His body terraformed and his mind seemed to be sinking in the details of the phone call. A series of random waves from a voice. The Professor. Was it the Professor; a GMC come to life? Or had he always been there.

"I'm going mad," he muttered.

"Not really," Suki answered as she returned from a vending machine. She held out a chocolate bar like an offering. "You should eat."

"We eat here?" Dan said.

"We do," she replied with a smile. "You've been around the gaming table long enough to figure that out."

He had been reading psychology books about transcendation and scanning websites about the possibilities of opening doors to other worlds, other realities. That the currently real world he lived in was just a facade of imagery manipulated by his mind to offset his own desires of changes and remorse. He knew that he was either evolving or simply going mad. He preferred evolving since mad men were branded and exiled.

Dan opened the wrapper up and took a bite and it felt like heaven. His taste buds seemed to explode with flavour. Suki smiled.

"That's how I felt once I passed through into your reality," she noted. She sat down on a bench. "It's like being reborn, isn't it? Seeing worlds through fresh eyes and dimensions."

Still, something didn't feel right with Dan. It was like he was here but not here.

Reborned Askew

His brain was on fire and there was nothing he could do about it. He felt like his whole insides were being rearranged, like molecules in a transporter. Maybe this was why Dr. McCoy had refused to constantly be beamed aboard.

"Can't breath," he gasped, his voice raw and forced.

"Liar," Suki replied nonchalantly. "You spoke right there."

He was having difficulty breathing. In fact, he was sure he wasn't breathing at all. "This is strange."

"Tell me about it," Suki said as she helped him up.

She was about to say something when Dan's cellphone began to ring.

Fictionless Truths

Dan's vision had gone blurry, staticky. His vision was trying to focus in on his surroundings. The fluorescent lighting was stabbing through his eyes and into his brain. Pain was white and hot and with the ferocity of Wolverine's claws slashing through his brain.

"What's happening?" Dan asked. He looked at his hands and saw right through them. He could pick up billions of tiny pencils on his skin moving. He felt them drawing on him.

"You're readjusting," Suki said. "Your body is being terraformed to suit this reality."

"Terraformed?" Dan repeated. He sat up and received a mad head rush, vertigo grabbed a hold of him and slammed him down to the ground again.

"Take it easy, Dan," Suki told him. "It might take awhile."


Station Nation

"You okay, Dan?" Suki asked. She was standing over him with a bottled water. The orb had stopped orbiting around her and was perched on her left shoulder like a parrot waiting for a cracker. "I forgot to mention the side effects."

"What happened?" Dan asked. He was staring straight up at Suki. The fluorescent light made her features seem soft. He tried sitting up but vertigo hit him hard.

"You blacked out," she told him. "We shifted. It's a side-effect from shifting."

Dan was lying on a subway platform.


There was a knock on the door. Dan went over and answered it. He opened it a crack and saw a gangly looking kid in a huge trenchcoat standing there. He should know this guy; in fact the kid had a look of familiarity about him.

"Darius?" Dan asked. That was the first name that came to his mind.

"Huh," the kid replied. "I thought I'd drop by to see how you are doing."

"I'm fine," Dan replied. The kid was waiting for the invite in. Dan stood there, the door opened just a crack, trying to obscure the view inside. He didn't want to reveal secrets. He couldn't explain it either and as if on cue he could feel pressure in his temple; it was a sign that another headache was coming on.

"Well, you didn't seem yourself the other day," the kid said. "I just wanted to know that you were okay. And wanted to talk about what's going on next in the campaign, if you don't mind."

"Honey?" Suki said coyly, from behind the door. She was still at the computer. Her fingers dancing away on the keyboard. Her vision focusing on a certain page and a huge smile on her face.

The kid smiled and nodded. "Ah. Oops, my bad."

Dan awkwardly smiled and shrugged, his face tinting red like a log as the flames died down.

"I see that you are entertaining," the stranger said. "Give me a call later, okay?"


The Carousel Effect

The kitchen floor was tiled, all white and polished. Dan grabbed a cup from the counter and poured hot water over a tea bag. His head was fuzzy, feeling more like an arm after having lain on it for awhile.

"What do you take in your tea?" Dan asked to Suki.

"Just a little sugar," she replied without taking her eyes from the screen.

Dan looked around at his kitchen; it seemed bigger than usual. The walls were tiled and had taken on the look of Danforth Street platform.

He brought the two cups into his living/sitting/bed-room. Placed one on the table beside the laptop. The little metallic orb was still circling her head, every now and then a small click would be heard. Like a wasp trapped in a glass.

"I know," Suki answered.

Dan turned his attention to the television set. He had turned it on earlier as a background noise to help drown out the drunks that were in the apartment next to his. He thought it would be only decent for his guest not to hear the ramblings of several alcoholics that cry, sing, yell, scream and cry about nothing in particular. On the tv screen Michael York was dressed in a black tunic and was screaming at the people of the city, "You don't have to die! You can live! LIVE!"

Dan knew this movie. He had it in his collection, but there was something quite not right. He didn't know what was wrong. Just that the movie seemed off; heck, his whole evening was off so he shouldn't let a classic movie bother him.

Both Dan and Suki stopped and looked at the screen as the announcer's voice came on:

"We will return to Max Cube's Plight right after these messages."

Designer Dreams

The sound of a subway shuttling past made him do a double-take. He was used to hearing trains shunting back and forth but the sound of a subway on a platform seemed a little unnerving. When he looked around the room the image had taken on a blurry kind of static feel to it. Like trying to tune in a station on the UHF channel. His mind was trying to comprehend a million things now and nothing was making sense.

"I found something," Suki said aloud. It was aimed at the metallic orb. She was going through his mac, scanning through various websites and reading; every now and then she would jot a few things down on a piece of paper. "I think we're close."

The kettle in the kitchen began to whistle. It sounded like a subway train stopping.

Station 23: Tea & Crumpets

Dan sat there and took a sip of his coffee. Suki was scrolling through the orange-coloured mac laptop on the table. She was pausing now and then to see something and then continued to scroll down the pages. The little metallic-insect creature hovered around her head like a moon orbiting a planet. It continued to change colours every so often as it clicked. Dan kept an eye on it. He wasn't sure, his head was pounding again. Like a wave on a distant shore.

"Headaches," Suki told him. "You're out of phase at the moment."

"Really," Dan replied dryly. His tongue felt like fuzz.

"Honestly," Suki said. "I haven't the foggiest, but there are several factors at work here."

"But how?" he wanted to know.

"This is a weird thing to be happening," Suki said. "I sought you out because it was the only factor I know."


Station 23

He fitted the headphones on and pressed play on the walkman. One of the mix-tapes made for him by the man behind the cardboard screen. KLF, 3am Eternal. Walking home, past the baseball diamond, over the tracks. After tonight's session - they had called it right when the gunfight was about to start on the subway. Leave it at a cliffhanger, keep them all excited for the next session.

He might be gone by then. Didn't know how to tell them yet. That he was likely going to be moving. Felt like he had just got here. New Order, Touched By The Hand Of God Remix.
It had been a strange few months. Tonight too, the way playing had started to feel. Like something more was happening than just a game.

Dan unlocked the front door to the small brownstone. Up the stairs quietly, the walls between apartments were thin. His room, number 23 on the door. He remembered the day the landlord first showed him the bachelor apartment and he knew it was where he was going to live.

Clicked off the walkman as he opened the door. Turned on the light and saw someone standing in the room, waiting for him. A Japanese woman in her early 30s. For a second he had the strange thought that she was supposed to be a kid.

"Hey Dan," Suki said. There was a clicking noise.

Dice & Demon

Dan dropped the pencil onto the table and it danced, hit both the positive and negative dice on top of his character sheet. He rubbed his temple due to the sharp pain in his frontal lobe. His eyes opened up and he was sitting at a table with several others.

"Headache?" someone asked.

Dan looked over and saw a fellow sitting there with thick black hair, glasses, and a goatee. And a sense of deja vu hit him; he recognized the face but couldn't put a name to him.


"Did you make it?" another fellow asked. Dan looked over and saw a huge native looking at him over the cardboard screen.

"Wha..what?" Dan repeated.

"Did you make your saving roll?" the fellow asked. "Simon is having a splitting headache and I asked you to roll the dice to see if he could figure it out."

"Simon?" Dan said. "It's... supposed to be Max."

He glanced around at the others at the table. Other than the native and the dark-haired fellow, there was an athlete who was wearing a rugby shirt, a blonde haired girl that was sitting there with a smile on her face wearing a cowboy hat - she seemed to be in her teens, another fellow with dark and curly hair who looked like he could be related to the goatee fellow. And there was a young lad with dirty blonde hair and glasses sitting there looking at him.

"This is wrong," Dan said.


A Word From Our Sponsor

It's a trap. 

Simon looked around. The voice in his head went off, sounding like a freight train. He had a sense of vertigo, a strange feeling of deja vu. His vision was askew.

"They're moving," Donnelly said. "I think they are onto us."

"Element of surprise is over," Scorpio said.

Don't do it. 

Simon's head was on fire, like a phosphorus flare burning white. Like the sound of dice rolling across the table, echoing in his mind.

Scorpio brought out his gun and stood at the door to the adjoining car.

Make a saving roll.


Goner leaned out into the aisle, staring. "Hey Frank?"

Frank was looking in the other direction; Akimoto seemed troubled by something that Tatter had said to him. The big man was strange even by their standards. Suki knew the most about him, but she had been gone for so long...

"Did we pick up any other passengers at the last stop?" Goner asked.

Frank tried to remember... Things weren't always clear on the subway. "I don't think so... It was a long time back, wasn't it?"

He saw what had caught Goner's attention. People moving in the car ahead of theirs.

"Angst," Frank said calmly. The cheerleader was toying with her pom-poms while Aqua braided her pigtails. "Get your guns."

Underground Dramatis Personae

STONE - detective turned conspiracy theorist
RIVETA - detective turned metaphysical investigator
DONNELLY - ex-principal or maybe a priest
SCORPIO - geek turned double-agent
SIMON - mystery man

AKIMOTO - temporally-displaced norse samurai
TATTERDEMALION - strange girl from another planet
AQUA - teenage tiger-fist
FRANK - reformed LEGACY hitman
GONER - ex-mercenary
ANGST - cheerleader avec uzis 

Logo Hunter

Logollos put the phone down on the receiver and cracked a vicious smile and said to no one in particular, "'And that's how the game is played."

"Don't you know that in games you can bend the rules here and there?" said a voice from the shadows, which startled the hell out of him. Logollos scanned his office and couldn't find the form. He had to have the bio-detectors checked once again; this was the third time in a month they didn't scan anyone out of the ordinary. He didn't panic, instead quickly moved his foot over to the alarm switch underneath his desk. All he had to do now was stall the intruder for thirty seconds.

"I don't know who you are and how you came in here," he said with all the charm and charisma of a snake-oil salesman. "But it's the last thing that you'll ever do."

"Precisely," Mayganne said as she stepped into the light, holding one hell of a handgun. It looked like an arquebus.

Before Logollos had a chance to reply she pulled the trigger and a blue ball of energy shot out of the barrel.

The top ten floors of the Legacy Tower erupted into a brilliant ball of light which could be seen for miles around.


Open File

The clatter of the tracks suddenly got louder as the car entered a tunnel. Riveta grabbed a railing and stood up.

"Where's Mayganne?" she asked, her voice panicked.

Stone glanced around, blinking. "Ok... calm down..." he said softly, maybe to his former-partner, maybe to himself.

Riveta had the truth of it, though: Mayganne wasn't with them. Scorpio's cell-phone was ringing.

Donnelly turned to them, looking disoriented. "There's some people... in the next car... strange..."

Riveta turned, checking for her pistol under her jacket, relieved at the feel of the steel. Looked past the Father, through the window in the door at the end of the car.

A girl in a tattered sweater talking to a huge man, his blond hair tied in a top-knot. A cheerleader and another teenage girl in a cowboy hat. Two other men.

Simon put a hand out to steady Riveta. "It's okay," he said. He looked exhausted. "We'll be okay."

Scorpio snapped his cell-phone shut, ending his quick call with Greg Logollos. From LEGACY.

"That was the Professor," Scorpio said. "We're supposed to kill the people in the next car."


The Mind Eyes

Tatter opened her eyes and looked around the car. Her breathing was shallow and she was in a cold sweat. Her eyes adjusted to the dim fluorescent light. She glanced around and noticed everyone resting, sleeping. Trying to catch a few z's before the next stop, whenever that would be. Her eyes drifted from the blur of the world through the windows to the back of the car, where Akimoto was sitting lotus-style. Eyes closed, finger and thumb pinched. She got up and moved toward the rear of the car.

"Aki," she said after she sat down on a seat facing him. "You up?"

Aki cracked an eye at her and smiled.

"Bad dream?" he inquired. He didn't move from his position.

"Kinda," Tatter replied; she looked up at the ceiling. Her eyes looking at the ads and posters as they melded into other eras and styles. "What do you remember of Citadel?"

Akimoto's eyes opened wide and he looked at her.


Lost in Thunder

As the small ship finally broke apart beneath her, Kitty imagined what things would have been like if she had never followed Maus off their homeworld to Citadel. Conditions there had been improving since Chem and Vlad had overthrown the Lich-King who had forced her people into poverty. Magics hoarded away in the Castle were being shared, bringing healing and hope to the lands. Opportunities for work, and even adventure, were many. 

Maus had left with them, though. Joined the world's saviours aboard the Nexus Wave and flown for the stars. And, later, to her death. 

And now Kitty was adrift amongst those stars, the final battle raging around her. Rand unconscious, floating away from her, bleeding into the ether. She couldn't see if Drake had escaped from the wreckage. She spun, aching from the wounds, dizzy from all the combat, trying to see... There it was. The Nexus Wave. 

Only it wasn't swooping in to rescue her; it was charging straight for the very ship she had been undercover aboard for months. The key she had stolen from Vixx was sealed in an enchanted case, now adrift with the remains of the escape craft. Without it he wouldn't be able to unlock his dark and murderous prize. Maybe Chem and Vlad could do it after all. So she wished them well and tried not to wish they were sailing towards rather than away from her. 

She knew that wishes sometimes came true - she had wished to join her sister in the stars, and though Maus had fallen by the time Kitty reached Citadel, well, she had fallen in battle against foes of peace. And so Kitty had found her, in a way, after all.

Questions Aske

Aske picked up his pace a little more as he walked through the halls. About him men were scurrying back and forth, grabbing armaments, reloading cannons, and taking the wounded to sickbay.

He stepped over one body and disappeared below. A battle was raging and all he had was the look of a gentlemen who was searching for a quiet place to have a spot of tea. 

"Sir?" a mage said as Aske entered a room. "We lost the scry. They must of done something to it." 

Aske frowned; he leaned forward and said, "Inform Vixx." 

"I thought I would leave that to you, Sir," the young wizard said with a hint of nervousness in his voice. 

"The commander would like to know," Aske said. "And the sooner the better so he can decide the next course of action." 

"Right away sir," the mage said. He got up and scampered out of the room. As soon as the mage left, Aske sealed the door shut and went to the cabinet. Bringing out a key.


Falling Into

The deck lurched and Vlad casually adjusted his posture to avoid slipping. Torvel cranked the wheel and the Nexus Wave evened out. The space around them was exploding in rainbow colours and glittering eruptions. The Vlaniqk fleet was deploying their dreaded Thaumotropic weapons. The arcane energy was tearing apart the vessels of the Citadel fleet, warping the very ether itself and shredding the nearby ships that sailed on its currents. A number of crimson Vlaniqk ships were themselves destroyed in the surge; everything was at stake in this battle and everything had to be risked. 

And so the Nexus Wave was sailing directly into the churning storm of magic, towards Vixx's flagship. Vlad held the gemstone in his hand and could feel the warmth flow from it, like a wind. The Breath of Ranadunn. When the Guard began planning this final strike against the enemies of Citadel, they knew of Vixx's discovery of the Thaumatropics. They knew few powers in all the worlds could withstand them. The divine protective magic bound inside the gem, the ancient spirit of an ancient goddess, had been only a legend. Vlad had volunteered immediately to seek it out. The blood of the dragon who had guarded it still stained Vlad's mighty sword - as a tribute to the gem's guardian the barbarian warrior swore he would only wash it clean with the blood of Vixx himself. 

Shielded in the Breath of Ranadunn, the ship sailed through the strands of toxic energy, weaving over and under enemy battlecraft. Vlad kept his eyes focused on Vixx's massive cruiser ahead. First though... 

Chem patted the Golem's huge steel leg. He called up to Dakk as the armour-suit sealed around him and the gems inside the helmet began synchronizing with Dakk's mind. "Grab them and get them out of this mess!" 

"Will do," Dakk said softly inside the Golem. The first three gems, for sight, for sound, and for warnings, were active. And then, thanks to Stryker's discovery, the fourth gem awoke as well. Dakk smiled. "Let's go, Bekki," he said, and piloted the Golem over the
edge of the ship.

Cry Havoc

Serisia stood in the control room overlooking the scene. Her hands were clasped behind her and hidden by her wings, which were folded over her like a cloak. 

Did I know this is how it would end? Did I sense it all those years ago, that night in Pleasuredome when I first met Chem? I was searching for something, and I found it... And now we could all lose everything...

"Your highness," Admiral Stryker said as he approached. He was dressed in the regal uniform, looking more of a magistrate than the commander he was. It was the second time in his life that he had worn this uniform. It only seemed appropriate to don it now. 

"Is everything set?" she asked as she turned. Then she looked him over and gave him a smile. 

"Yes, milady," Stryker replied as he held his composure. "Let's see this through to the end." 

"It's about time," Serisia replied, turning her attention to the battle unfolding.


The Breach

The Vlaniqk ships swarmed the small vessel, grapples firing and snaring like spider-webs. Rand winked at Kitty and drew his sword. The first wave of the Vlaniqk commandoes, in their sleek black and red armour, leapt from the railings of the battleships and dove towards the deck of the battered star-skiff. 

Below-decks Drake dropped the key Kitty had stolen into a glowing case and snapped it shut. In case the plan failed. 

Kitty grinned back at Rand and sprung into space, directly toward the nearest commando, arcing her body past his spear-blade. Crashing into him, sending him off-course and away from their ship. Ricocheting toward another commando, thrusting her own blade out to impale him. Pivoting off his corpse to kick another in the jaw, stunning him so that as he neared the deck Rand easily cut him down. Kitty yanked her weapon free of the body, floating in the space between the Vlaniqk fleet and the escape ship. More commandoes descending around her, cannons being trained on her. She had decided months ago, deep into the undercover mission that would eventually lure Vixx off course, draw him out of the shadows, that when the final battle came she would fight it as if it was her last.

Suddenly, a line tightened around her waist and she was being pulled back toward her team's vessel. Drake called out to her as he reeled her in, over the whispering etheric winds, "Don't you go showing off until the rest of the Guard get here!" Beside him Rand slashed at a Vlaniqk; the bard was singing softly as he swung his blade, the melody lending his attacks and parries and lethal rhythm.

As Kitty touched down on the deck, ducking the spear of a commando, her eyes widened. "That would be now then." 

For a moment everyone paused. Kitty, Rand, Drake. The commandoes. The captains and crews of Vixx's fleet. Staring in shock as all the stars and swirling etheric clouds above the battle began to churn, spin, melt away. A spectral cloak on a scale unheard of, an enchantment against the senses and against all the known scrying and divining spells. It had drained almost all of the Battery Mages' power; a last desperate ploy to force a battle with Vixx. The illusion of empty space falling away, revealing the gathered fleet of Citadel, the Nexus Wave at the head. And behind the dozens of ships, Citadel itself.

Like Pawns on a Board

"Now?" Torvel asked. 

Chem had his hand held up in the air, unmoving. His eyes closed and counting away seconds in his mind. He was visualizing the battle and what was unfolding. Vlad stood off to one side and glanced out the window; his suit seemed to shimmer like distant stars in a twilight sky. 

"This has got to look good," Chem whispered. "Too soon and the jig is up."

"What if we get there too late?" Torvel inquired. He was restless, his huge frame huddled over the wheel of the Nexus Wave. He lived for the battle and he seemed to be missing it. 

"We won't be," Vlad said. He turned around and looked at Chem. "Let's do it."

Rockin' the Boat

The little ship rocked violently as a cannonball hit the side. Chunks of wood ripped off like a scab and floated away from the ship. Kitty cursed under her breath as she hit the deck and grabbed onto a line; her arm automatically reached to her scabbard and took out the dagger as well. It wouldn't be too long before the pursuit ships were on them and boarding and she wanted to be ready. 

Inside the pilot's room Rand returned from below-deck. 

"Where the hell are they?" Drake inquired of Rand. He knew this little ship was faster than the pursuing vessels. "Why aren't they here now, they should be here." 

"Playing by the book," Rand replied. "We have to make this look good."


Blind Anger

Vixx slammed a metal fist onto his desk. 

"The vile wench," he said. "How could we be so blind?" 

Lt. Aske stood there with his hands behind his back and replied calmly, "She is just a child, milord, and her thoughts are still in a chaotic state. It's hard to read them when they are that young. Wisdom and experience set the patterns which entrenches them in the mind, and they are easier to read." 

"Spare me your mumble jumble crap," Vixx said as he spun around. "You of all people should have read her deeply." 

"Well, there were fleeting thoughts," Aske replied. "But she was trained well. Too well in fact." 

"What do you mean?" Vixx whirled about and faced Aske. "Do you mean that we have a traitor in our midst?" 

"No," Aske replied. "Just that she had inside knowledge." 

"Tear this ship apart," Vixx stated. "I want everyone questioned. I want to know exactly what everyone else knows." 

Aske nodded and left with a smile.

Ramming Speed

Kitty stepped into the cockpit and looked at Drake. She glanced at the charts on the wall and then looked up at the stars. Drake was spinning the wheel about, trying to evade the incoming cannons that the pursuing ships had volleyed. 

"Can't you make this bucket of nails and wood go any faster?" she asked. 

Drake looked at her and flashed a smile and a wink. "Any faster and she'll fall apart." 

"I hate to rain on your parade but one more hit from the pursuing ships and we will be falling apart," she replied.  

"Always the optimist," Drake said to her. "They should be here any second now."


Vlad hunched to fit his wide shoulders through the small door below-decks on the Nexus Wave. The candlelight shimmered over the smooth, fitted silver of the warrior's enchanted armour. He frowned when he straightened inside the quarters. 

"What are you doing?" he asked his old friend. 

Chem looked up from the stack of parchment. Notes and diagrams scrawled in different inks, corners torn and crumpled, stains from wax and drinks. Chem shrugged and looked back to the writings. 

Vlad took a deep breath. His voice had an edge to it, a mix of anger and concern. "Every member of The Guard has been working towards this day for over a year. All of our spying and hunting and fighting... The discovery that the Vlaniqk were behind the troubles plaguing Citadel, the discovery of Vixx's plans... We wait now for Kitty's return and the beginning of the final strike against our most dreaded enemies..." 

Chem sighed, interrupting Vlad. "And yes, I'm here reading old journals about memories that may not even be true." 

Vlad sat on the bunk beside the smaller, leaner man. Once Chem had been a rogue adventurer and Vlad his barbarian ally, wandering between the walled cities of an untamed world, seeking risk and reward. Over the years they had somehow become so much more. Champions of a mighty fortress in the dark beyond the sky. Heroes of a hundred worlds. The Commanders of The Guard. Yet whenever peace dawned on the horizon Vlad would leave on one of his nomadic walkabouts, returning as he did almost two years ago when the horns sounded the call. And whenever that call went out, when it was time again to become saviours, Chem would always return to these journals.  

Vlad could not judge him; they each had their own quests and their own questions. "Do they yield any more clues?" he asked. 

Chem shook his head. "They never do." 

A call came from above-decks. "Flares sighted!" 

The two friends climbed quickly and joined the others. Dakk was perched on the shoulder of his Golem, Bekki, giving her a final polish before suiting up. Torvel, the captain, strode over to meet Vlad and Chem.  

Torvel was a minotaur, huge and hoofed and horned, but only a few inches taller than the massive Vlad. "It's Drake's vessel, on course. Carrying both Kitty and the key." 

Vlad grinned. "She did it." He looked down at Chem. "We will have battle soon."

Child's Play

The wood of the wheel was rough under his slender fingers. He let it remind him of tree-bark. The feeling of climbing trees in the forests of his homeworld. He let the memories of the movement echo through his arms, his chest. 

Rand watched as the elf slipped into trance. He looked over his shoulder to check the sail; it was taught, slicing and dragging through the invisible etheric winds. The rudder on the arcanium drive twitched back and forth as Drake's hands gently shifted the wheel one way then another. 

Drake's memories carried him back through battles against goblins, perched in the trees, firing arrows down upon the savage enemies. The tension of draw and release rippling through his arms.  

Rand saw the rudder shake, the ship tilting slightly. He glanced at his long-time partner and friend, hoping the trance took him where he needed to get to soon. 

Farther back still, the long years and years of an elfin life, the swirling fugue of memories, ebbing and flowing in his mind and his body, streaming from the feel of his hands on the wood. Before the battles, play. Childhood games in the treetops with his kin. Running along branches and throwing... yes, the movement surging in his arms... throwing and catching a dagger... A game, a test of skill.

The right memory of balance and precision and focus. 

Rand saw Drake's eyes snap open.  

In the vast sky of stars and darkness and shimmering waves, Drake focused on the three bright stars, shining like the glint of a blade spinning through the air. He grasped the wheel and let the memories of ancient movements run through his arms. And steered the ship towards the place she should be falling...

Cosmic Queen

She drifted into the air, arms open to guide her. She was free like a bird in the sky but she had no control. She moved her arms to guide her like a swimmer in a vast sea. Trying to gain as much distance as her momentum could carry her. Kitty was glad to be free and out in the solitude of space. She had spent thirteen months working her way around the Vlaniqk's command ship and gaining the trust of its captain and crew. 

She kicked with her legs, wishing now that she had brought the flippers with her. An alarm began to echo in her ears; she didn't glance back at all since that would only slow down her pace and she wanted to get as far away from the ship as possible.


Star Swimming

Kitty twisted her waist and slipped through the narrow bars of the vent, one arm hooked through, holding tight. The hull of the massive ship was dented and scorch-marked, the crimson paint chipped and scratched. There was a cannon bay to her left and to her right the hull curved upwards to the foredeck. She had kept her grey tabard on; if anyone saw her she might be able to keep her cover for a few moments. If her timing was right, Drake would be sailing the small escape vessel into position right now. Out there in the softly glowing dark of space. 

Kitty got her bearings, found the three bright stars that marked her route. Vixx would be discovering his missing belongings any moment. She listened back through the vent for sounds of alarm. 

The ether tickled her throat and lungs as she tried to keep her breathing steady, like Maus had taught her when they were little... She was doing this for Citadel, for the Lady Serisia, and for Chem and the kindness he had shown her; but the deepest reason she was risking her life, the real reason she did everything, was for her sister.  

Kitty heard shouting echo down the vent. She checked the three stars once more, hoping that the elf was still as good a pilot as he once was. 

And then she pushed off the hull of the ship and into the sky.

The Stain

Kitty stood in the hallway looking up at the ceiling as Vixx came walking past. Vixx stopped and looked to the ceiling where Kitty was looking. 

"What do you see?" Vixx asked. 

"Ummm," Kitty replied. "Don't you see it?" 

Vixx stared harder at the ceiling trying to locate what she was looking at. A crack or a hole or even a stain. Nothing. 

"What is it?" Vixx inquired, hinting that he had seen it. 

"You're the expert," Kitty said. "You tell me." 

Vixx straightened up and looked at Kitty. "Maybe we should get maintenance down here and look into it." 

Kitty nodded and smiled. "Glad to be of service." 

Vixx smiled and winked at the girl. "Nice work kid!" He turned and continued down the corridor. 

As Vixx disappeared around the corner, Kitty brought her hands out from behind her. In one of them she had snatched Vixx's key and in the other she had taken his money pouch. She smiled a wicked smile because she hadn't lost her touch.

Citadel Book Two


The Nexus Wave


Taking the Stand

Serisia listened as the voices in the Council Chamber began to rise, to overlap, then to shout and clash. The fear over the Batteries, the concerns over Lt. Stryker, ongoing complaints from the greedy Merchant houses, word of increased crime within the fortress, and now the reports of Chtakan forces mustering on at least seven worlds. They hadn't even addressed the issue of the Prophecy yet. And all the while the cries of her daughter echoed in her mind; the poor child was sick this morning. 

She rose from her seat. Her white-feathered wings snapped open. The debate ceased. 

"Our first response to these growing troubles," she said, her voice both stern and soothing, "will be to reform The Guard."

Encounter at Turncoat

Chem clenched his teeth. He maintained his breathing. He was in a lot of pain but years of battle had taught him not to cry out. Even though the pain felt white hot, he did not dare let any sound escape through his lips. There would be time to curse and swear later, but now wasn't the time nor the place to be doing so. Sweat poured down from his forehead and he wiped his brow with his left arm. His right arm was useless at the moment until he found a cleric. 

His ears picked up the sound of a crunching leaf. So they weren't as stealthy as everyone thought they were. 

He blended in the shrubs and lay there trying to become one with the woods. Like an elf hiding in plain sight as the Chtaka predatory party passed. He knew his chances were pretty slim, but he figured he would try and blend with the surroundings before going out in a blaze of glory. It might work.

Citadel Portraits II

Rand & Drake


Bekki & Dakk


Barroom Encounter

Rand dropped down from the stage. The crowd had gone silent and  all eyes turned to him as he made his way through the throng of patrons in the bar, over to the corner where the barbarian sat. 

"You care to repeat that?" Rand asked of the burly fellow. 

You could hear a coin drop on the counter, it was that silent. 

The barbarian turned to face the thin fellow walking towards him. He just shrugged his shoulder and turned back to his tankard. 

"Get back to your job, little man," the barbarian said. "Someone is going to get hurt." 

"You're damn right someone is going to get hurt," the bard said. "You take back what you said and I just might forget about it."

Tales of Yore

Chem stood with his hands clasped behind his back staring out the bay window, watching the ships come in and out of the harbours. He was dressed in formal grays, his hands in white gloves. He would give anything to be on one of those ship heading out to who-knows-where and exploring the other dimensional settings that the ribbons had to offer. But at the moment some other matters were more pressing. 

The door chimed as it opened; he didn't turn around to see who had entered the quarters. 

"Commander Finder," a young ensign said. "You ready, Milord?" 

Chem looked at his reflection in the window. He saw a reflection of a man who had seen so many friends come and go. 

"Commander?" the ensign said after a several long seconds. 

Chem snapped around and picked up his cap on the edge of a chair. "Sorry. I was just remembering a time when matters like these were rare." 

"I gather he was a close personal friend," the ensign inquired.  

"He was like family," Chem replied and followed the young ensign out into the hallway.

Citadel Portraits


Chem Finder



For What of a Better Term

Dakk chomped on the cigar butt, while adjusting the bolt on the Golem. 

"Hold still, Bekki," he muttered to the big bucket of bolts. "Just a few more turns and you'll be ready for action." 

His hands strained against the wrench, he heard the rust of the screw grind with the metal. This baby had been motionless in the water for several decades. 

"Dakk, you still working on the piece of crap?" August asked as he walked into the workshop. "With all the gold that you got you could buy yourself five or six armour suits; why are you sticking with that crap!" 

"You don't know the whole story, Auggie," Dakk said. "This girl is just getting warmed up." 

"Looks like she's waaaaaaaaaaaaaay past her prime," August said with a chuckle. "Just scrap that rusty eyesore before you get ill." 

Before August knew it a huge wrench zinged past his head and clanged against the wall. 

"What?" August stammered. 

"You watch what you say about a lady now," Dakk told him in a stern voice. "She may be old and rusted but still it doesn't make her useless!"