Chapter 11- A New Plan
The SSAF building itself was in surprisingly good condition for something that just went through a major air strike. Aside from the west wing, which had been completely destroyed and sealed off, the mammoth building was almost as good as ever. The corridors were still intact, all the white paint in seemingly perfect condition. The elevators still functioned, and electricity was holding out. The part that wasn't normal, though, was that there were hardly any people in the halls. Normally, the corridors were full of scientists and SSAF Operatives, but now, they were almost empty. As Jack and Sarah walked through the halls, headed toward the High Commander's room, the few people that the did see looked at them like they where ghosts. Soon, they reached the fop floor, the command tower of the High Commander. It was a lavishly furnished room. The Commander himself was speaking with two of his aides. He was an older man, having held his position for a long time, almost since SSAF was founded back in the sixties. He was wearing an ornate SSAF uniform. Jack had told Rayith to stay outside and explore. She complied quickly. Jack and Sarah opened the double doors and walked into the office. Jack announced their presence.
"Lieutenants Jack McKlane and Sarah Inverse reporting in, sir!" Jack screamed, him and Sarah saluting at attention. The High Commander and his two Aides looked at the two of them oddly.
"McKlane and Inverse?" he questioned. "You two where declared MIA a week ago. What the hell happened?"
"Perhaps we should ask you the same thing, sir," Sarah said.
"At ease," the High Commander said, sitting down in his large leather chair behind his desk. The two complied quickly and relaxed. "Yes, I believe you should be briefed as to what happened." Jack and Sarah walked closer to him. "What happened was that I should have listened to him…"
"To who?" Sarah asked.
"To Commander Koren," the High Commander answered. "He told me this would happen. I laughed at him."
"Sean knew?" Jack asked. Of course he knew you dimwit, Jack thought to himself. Wasn't it obvious in the way he took you to the very site where Lavos showed up? He wanted me to see it, didn't he?
"He came to me about three hours before it surfaced," he answered. "Then he stormed out and took you two to wherever he took you. When you didn't return and we lost radio tracking on you, you were declared MIA." It was true that all SSAF members ingested a radioactive transmitter when they entered active duty. The coding on each one was different, and every operative in SSAF could be tracked by Satellite.
"Yes, well, I don't think our Satellites can track us through temporal travel," Jack said.
"Excuse me?" asked the High Commander.
"Let's put it this way," Sarah said. "We've had one hell of a week, ending in finding out that our home was destroyed by a monster that had been living inside of the planet."
"Needless to say, I'm amazed we don't need psychological treatment," Jack put in.
"Please elaborate," the High Commander said, leaning forward in his chair. Jack went into full detail as to Sarah and his past week. The time travel, being captured by Mystics, meeting up with Aragorn and Rayith, the End of Time, all up to finding out that their time had been destroyed.
"That about sums it up," Jack said after he was through. "I'll guess you probably don't believe me, but take my word for it, it's true."
"Actually," The High Commander said, rising from his chair. "It makes sense."
"Huh?" asked Jack and Sarah simultaneously.
"Jenkins," the High Commander said. The Aide on his left turned to him.
"Sir?" he asked.
"Display the Satellite tracking of "The Day Of Lavos" occurrence.
"Sir!" he exclaimed walking over to a wall and flipping a few switched. The room got dark and the wall behind the Commander slid up to reveal a video screen. Slowly, an aerial shot of the point of Lavos's surfacing and the surrounding areas came into view.
"Display thermal imaging," the Commander said. The Aide hit a button and the screen displayed the inferred view of the surface point. On the screen, three small orange colored figures stood, evidently Sean, Jack and Sarah. As the military time on the top of the video scrolled to 17:00 hours, an orange dot appeared in front of the three figures. It grew until it turned bright red. When it reached full size, the Commander spoke.
"Zoom in," he commanded. The Aide hit another button and the thermal image zoomed in closer. The video started to go again. The figure in the front's glow started to change to red, indicating the use of Force Tech, and it attacked the large red blurb in front of him. "We can see here that Commander Koren attempted at battling the monster. As you can see from the deteriorating body heat here," he indicated Sean's fallen body after the fight, "that he failed and died. This is where your signals disappeared." As if on cue, the heat sources for Jack and Sarah disappeared.
"Here's the interesting part," the Commander said. "Switch to Temporal imaging." The Aide followed command the screen showed the scene in various shades of blue. Around where Jack and Sarah had stood, there was a rather large circle of pure black. "Notice the immense temporal charges coming from your area around your disappearance. We came to the conclusion that you had been crushed by a temporal gate, or had been effectively sent through the fourth dimension to an unknown location."
"Wow," Jack said. "Isn't technology great?"
"What?" asked the Commander.
"Oh, nothing," he said. "Anyway, what happened after that?"
"Normal view," he said. The Aide switched the display to normal view. "You can see that the monster fired off more a series of super heated energy beams. They came down again like a missile attack, pretty much frying everything. The SDF defense mechanism (device for protecting against nuclear strikes) blocked out the beams for the most part, but the rest of the city was almost completely destroyed by the blasts.
"And what of SSAF," Sarah asked. "Do we have a count of how many operatives were killed?"
"That's the worst part," the Commander said. "Other than those receiving medical attention in the building, almost every agent was in training sessions on the outskirts of the city."
"So your saying…?" Jack started. The Commander continued.
"We have a total of eight combat capable operatives that survived the attack, not including you two. With the lack of man power in SSAF, all sorts of Terrorists groups have been acting up and we have no way of stopping them. Oh, and by the way, due to the lack of surviving SSAF Operatives, Jack, you have been promoted to Commander and Sarah, you are now a Colonel."
"You're kidding, right?" Jack said, to surprised to be happy.
"I wish I were son," the Commander said. "Congratulations, Commander McKlane and Colonel Inverse." Sarah didn't say anything. "Is there anything else you wish to say?" There was a pause before Jack stepped forward.
"Yes, sir," he said. "We're going to take it out." (cue up Chrono Trigger theme music!)
"Excuse me?" the Commander said.
"You heard me, we're gonna take it out," Jack said, now confident. "With the magic that we were given at the End of Time, I have the ability now to control time gates. We intend to travel through time and kill it before it can destroy this era."
"Son, we don't have the man power to take on something that gives off power reading like that," he said.
"Don't worry sir," Sarah said. "We can do this. With our technology and our magic, we can beat this thing, and if anyone can do it, I think Jack can."
"We are requesting for the full support of SSAF in this operation," Jack said. "We need all the resources we can get." The Commander put his hand to his chin in thought.
"Do you really think that you can beat this thing?" he asked. Jack nodded. The Command jumped from this chair. "Then by God, let's do it!" Jack and Sarah both nodded, containing their excitement. "Never before has SSAF been part of something this big, saving the world, I mean. But, if any there was a group who could do it, I'd like to think SSAF can. Now, what do need to do this?"
"First," Jack said. "I need a list of battle ready operatives. I can probably only pick one due to the limits of people that can travel through time. Second, I need to get two people basic instruction for use of Force Tech." Aragorn and Rayith would be happy with this. "And third," he paused and smiled. "We need, weapons. Lot's of weapons."
"You've got it," the Commander said. "If you need anything else, I'll get it. This mission take top priority. We'll also get going on that temporal research again. With the recent activities, we should have some new knowledge."
"Oh by the way," Jack said. "Can I see the papers that all of that stuff was based on. I have an idea."
Time Unknown, Location Unknown
"Yes! He's gonna do it!" shouted Topik. There were unanimous cheers of excitement among the others.
"Let's just see how long he accepts his destiny though," came a previously unheard voice. "We have to look at the bigger picture here."
"Stop being such a pessimist," came Hal's voice. "Anyway, we called for him. When he returns to the end of time, he can go through the training."
1999ad, SSAF HQ-
Jack was read through some old papers, worn by age, but preserved for the sake of science. The original memoirs of the scientist from the year 1000ad had been copied over so many times, that it was hard to tell if they had been altered or not. Jack did suspect, however, that information regarding the 'gate stabilizer' that the old man had mentioned would be in here. He had been reading through the files for almost an hour, trying desperately to make sense of the complicated physics equations that existed in the notes. He had put Sarah in charge of picking one person from the list of candidates for coming on their mission. There were only eight operatives still alive, it couldn't be that difficult.
"This doesn't make sense," he said scratching his head and staring at the paper in front of him. "This looks like the device for the temporal stabilization, but the positronic re-colator quadratics don't line up properly."
"Well, maybe you forgot to re-align for the neutronic conversion factor," came a vaguely familiar voice from behind him Jack. Jack spun around to find Sarah standing behind a blond young man in a black trench coat with a cigarette hanging out of his mouth. He was wearing piece of body armor on his chest and his hair was messy without becoming spiky.
"Well grab my sac and call me Sally…" Jack said, trailing off at the end, now recognizing the voice. "What the hell are you doing here?" he asked the young man.
"This is Tristan," Sarah said. "And he's the one who'll be helping us out. I take it you've already met?"
"Yeah," Jack said, walking over to Tristan. "Me and Tristan go way back. We trained together for a while. You look pretty good, but are you still smoking those things?" Jack asked, flicking the cigarette out of Tristan's mouth. If Jack was almost a genius, Tristan was clearly a genius. He had a collage degree at age 14, but still persisted in smoking. Jack never really understood that.
"Well, with all the threat of being killed by this beam firing monster, smoking doesn't seem to bad, huh?" He asked with a smile.
"Anyway, why him?" Jack asked Sarah.
"Simple," Sarah said. "Besides being he's only combat operative with a degree in temporal engineering, I'd say he's definitely the most qualified." Sarah smirked a little and tossed Jack a clipboard. Jack found a profile on Tristan, and read it out loud.
"Name, Tristan Tenser," Jack started. "Age, 16. Height, 5'8. Blah, blah, blah." Jack skimmed down to the bottom. "Ah, here's the good stuff: Expert marksman in all military arms. Specializing in sniping and military small arms. Fluent in four languages including Mystic. IQ of 172. Holds degree's in Quantum Physics and Temporal Engineering. Force Tech Degree: 9.5," Jack made a small whistling noise, referring to the entire thing.
"Impressed?" Asked Tristan lightly.
"Yeah," Jack said. "I have to say I am. You've been busy the last two years, haven't you?"
"Well, I was out of commission with a shoulder injury for a few weeks so…" he said, both cockily and jokingly at the same time.
"Oh, shut up," Jack said.
"Well, I'm amazed you didn't show us your profile," Tristan said sarcastically. "Anyway, Sarah already filled me in on the whole mission and the back round. What's our first move?"
"After we get done here," Jack said. "We're going to the End of Time to gather information from an old man there that seems to know a lot. We can also get a thing named Spekkio to teach you magic," he indicated Tristan.
"Yeah I heard about him," Tristan said.
"We also have to explain the situation to Aragorn. Knowing him though, he'll probably swear himself to helping us."
"We should probably pick up some new equipment while we're here," Sarah said. "Other than that, there's not much SSAF can do right now. We're going to have to come back here after the End of Time anyway to get Rayith and Aragorn some Force Tech basic instruction."
"Speaking of Rayith," Jack said. "Were is she?"
"I'll go find her," Sarah volunteered. "I'll meet you guys at on the SOE (special operations equipment) floor.
"Right," Jack said, waving as she left. Tristan walked to Jack.
"So what's the deal with her?" he said, after Sarah had left.. "Come on, man to man. You banging her yet?"
"What?!" Jack asked, embarrassed and angry at the same time.
"Oh come on," Tristan said. "I know you've wanted to screw her for as long as I've known you."
"I ought to kick the crap out of you right here for saying that…" Jack said. He raised his fist but then slowly lowered it. "But we should probably put old rivalries a side for now."
"Deal," Tristan said, sticking out his hand. Jack took the offer with a small grin before going off to find the scientists he needed for his plan.
Sarah stood with Rayith impatiently in the SOE development lab. Jack wasn't normally one to late. In addition to that, Rayith had been continually nagging about the whole Force Tech thing. Tristan had apparently followed Jack to wherever he had went as he had not showed up either. A bunch of scientists were mulling about, working at computer stations or fiddling with various devices both big and small. It excited her somewhat that she'd finally get to use some of the equipment that she had heard about since childhood, but she couldn't get going without everyone here. Suddenly, a wind started to pick up in the middle of the room. Slowly, as swirling blue vortex began to form in the clearing. It grew bigger, throwing all sorts of papers around the room from the wind. As it stopped growing, three figures stepped out of the blue sphere. It closed behind them, leaving Jack, Tristan and Aragorn in a dying out storm of flying papers.
"Yes! It works!" Jack scream, holding up a device that looked like a small sphere with a piece of mettle coming out of it's base. Sarah and Rayith ran up to the three, both confused as to what had just happened.
"What worked?" Sarah asked over the panic of scientists trying to grab some of the papers still flying. "What did you do?"
"This," Jack said, holding the device. "I made it from the information in Lucca's notes." Tristan made an *ahem* noise in the back of his throat before Jack corrected himself. "Oh yeah, Tristan helped a bit. But anyway, it's like that gate stabilizer thing that the old man at the End of Time mentioned. It controls gates without needing my time magic. Plus, we improved on the design a little. Now, it let's us create a gate to the End of Time anywhere!"
"So now," Aragorn started, "We can travel in time without Jack's help and while only three can go in a gate at once, we can use the same gate multiple times after Jack goes in. We can now travel in groups of up to six." (three with Jack, three with the key)
"What are you doing here, Aragorn?" Sarah asked.
"Jack told me everything," Aragorn said. "I want to help. Anyway, he also tells me that Rayith and myself will be receiving instruction in Force Tech." Rayith started to get excited.
"Well it's about time!" she exclaimed.
"Relax," Jack said, motioning to Rayith. "Here's the plan: myself, Sarah and Tristan will travel to the End of Time and ask the man there for any information he has about Lavos. While we collect info, you and Aragorn will receive that Force Tech instruction. By the time we come back you'll be ready and we'll plan our next move."
"So why are we here?" Sarah asked. "I mean, are we getting some of this stuff?" One of the scientists walked up to the group and addressed them.
"You may help yourselves to anything here. I have been informed to equip you with anything that you deem may be helpful on your mission."
"So we get anything we want?" Rayith asked, rubbing her hands together. The scientists nodded. Rayith thought for a moment before jumping up. "I want one of those laser swords!" she shouted. The scientist shook his head.
"Sorry," he said. "Those are for SSAF use only. You should be happy we're actually teaching you Force Tech."
"Damn…" Rayith muttered. "Oh well, I'm sure you've got some other good stuff." On cue, the scientist hit a button on a nearby desk and three of the rooms walls slid up into the ceiling, revealing walls of weapons.
"You can take your pick from any of those," he said. "I believe Mr. McKlane wanted 'weapons, lot's of weapons,'" he quoted Jack. Jack smiled and nodded.
"Wow," Rayith said hopefully. "Melee weapons of the 21st century. Very cool…" The walls had an assortment of arms, from guns to all sorts of cleaver, bladed weapons. The five of them almost ran to the walls, examining the mother load. Jack found an fast friend in one of the blade weapons. It was a four point shuriken with heavy blades on he points. As he fiddled with the center point, he found that the object came apart into two short sticks with blades at the end. Accidentally pushing a button on one of the sticks, the halves of the stick shot apart but remained connected by a chain in the middle. He did the same with the other stick.
"A shuriken that transforms into nunchaku," Jack said, reassembling the thing into the shuriken and folding it into two sticks that laid side by side. "Interesting." He then started loading up on all sorts of devices from daggers to smoke grenades. He wanted to be ready for anything. As Jack looked around, he saw that the others weren't too enthusiastic about getting new weapons. Jack himself didn't want to replace his new sword without at least trying it our first. He was sure that they would offer him and Sarah military grade TAGs, but something in him didn't want to use them. He had a feeling inside that preferred the actually blade whose weight was still slung on his back. The only one that he could see was definitely making a pass for the weapons was Tristan, who was taking various guns off of the rack and placing them in numerous holsters concealed by his trench coat. Jack walked over to the scientist that had talked to him before.
"Excuse me?" he asked. "Do you have any non-weapons that might be useful. I don't think my team wants to stray to much from the type of weapons that they know."
"I know exactly what you mean," the scientist said. "Why don't you follow me." The man walked to a small equipment rack about ten feet away. Jack followed, the rest of the group soon ending up with him. The scientist reached for a small device that looked like a glove with a mechanism on top of the wrist.
"Put this on," the scientist said. Jack slipped the glove on as told and then awaited further instruction.
"Now what?" he asked, the rest of the group watching with anticipation.
"Hit the small button on the wrist," the scientist said. Jack did as he was told. He jumped up a little when the room filled with light and a he felt like he was being touched by some unseen force. When the light abated, Jack examined his body to find himself fully decked out in SSAF Force Tech Armor.
"What the?" Jack asked himself.
"Well holy crap…" Tristan muttered. "A molecular transport device."
"Exactly," the scientist said. "With our molecular transportation technology along with the technology from some of those notes you were reading earlier, we have the ability to transport Force Tech Armor through time to the current location of whoever is wearing these indicator cuffs." He held up a few more of the gloves type things.
"We all get one?" Aragorn asked.
"You're going to need all the help we can give, right?" the scientist said, handing the gloves everyone. "People like me try to help in the only way we can, inventing stuff."
"Cool," Jack said, lifting his had to examine the device. "I like these." He thought for a little bit before speaking. "Well, I can't think of anything else we need right now, so…" he pulled out the gate key. "We'll be going. Make sure that these two get the info they need," he indicated Aragorn and Rayith. Sarah and Tristan walked over to him. "And if you'll excuse us…" he hit a button on the key and a portal started to open. "We have an evil planet killer to destroy." Jack jumped into the gate followed closely by Tristan and Sarah. The gate closed behind them and the winds died down.
"I have to get them to do that somewhere else," the scientist said to himself. "Anyway, please, follow me," he said to Aragorn and Rayith. He walked towards the exit with the other two in tow.
End of Time
Jack and Sarah both managed to land okay this time. They also managed to get out of the way as Tristan hit the ground with s thump, not fully prepared for his first trip through time.
"You could have told me about that," he said, rubbing his head.
"If we had to learn it for ourselves, then so should you," Jack said, walking over to the main room. Gaspar was standing in his usual spot against the lamp post. Jack walked up to him confidently.
"Oh," Gaspar said, "so you're back."
"Yeah," Jack said. "I'm back. Everything you said before makes sense now."
"You saw it?" Gaspar asked, careful of not striking an emotional vain to hard.
"Don't be," Jack said. "Cause I'm gonna fix it."
"You heard me," Jack said. "I'm taking it out. I don't know how I'm gonna do it, but I'm gonna. I'm not letting my world, our world be destroyed like that. I need you're help though."
"How?" Gaspar said. At this point, Sarah and Tristan had gathered around to hear.
"I need as much information about Lavos as I can get," Jack said. "I figured you might know a thing or two about that."
"Why me?" Gaspar asked.
"I…I don't know," Jack said. "I just feel like you can tell me."
"Please," Sarah said, stepping forward. "You have to help us save our world. Do you know anything? Anything at all?"
"Hello sir," Tristan said, stepping forward. "I'm from their time also." He took the cigarette that he was smoking out of his mouth to speak. "I saw what that thing did and it wasn't pretty. It's a miracle that I survived and I'm not letting that miracle go undeserved."
"Well," Gaspar said. "This is all a lot of information, but it can wait. Jack, there is something that is very important that you must do."
"Besides kill that thing?" Jack said.
"Right now, yes. You have been called. There is a group of people that I would like you to meet." As if it was cued by something Gaspar said, a gate, similar in shape but different in color opened up behind him. The gate was more black than a normal gate, but at the same time, it was more light too. In fact, it shifted through the colors of he rainbow, and Jack felt it calling to him.
"You want me to go in there?" he asked.
"Don't worry, everything out here will be fine. In fact, it will be like you never left." Gaspar said.
"What do you mean?" Jack asked.
"Just trust me," Gaspar said. Jack felt he gate calling him, pulling him in. He tried to fight it at first, but knew he wasn't going to win. He looked at Sarah who simply nodded. He took this as the approval he need before slowly reaching for the rainbow gate and being sucked in. Then, just as the first time he traveled through time, he blacked out.
"We need guns. Lot's of guns." -The Matrix
Author's Note- this is only sort of important, but it has to do with the color that are created with using the various degrees of Force Tech. Apparently (hey, looks like chemistry class does come in handy) when a color is created, it has to do with the energy level of the light source. I'm not going to give the complicated explanation as to why, but a lower level of energy would be in the red and orange range while a high energy level would be in the blue and purple range (that's why ultraviolet rays are so dangerous). Therefore, when Jack or Sarah (actually the whole party soon) uses Force Tech, it would start with a red glow, not a green glow. I'll make corrections for chapters after this one, so no one mail me saying "I thought Jack glows green when he does Force Tech," after you read that he glows red. That's it for now. This is Mox, signing out.
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