Chapter 6- Escape!
600ad: Denadoro Mystic Encampment
The captives searched the exterior hall. To the shock of both of them, no exit was found. The hall led into a few sub-chambers, including the one in which their equipment was found. Their TAG's were unfortunately found in another room, not quite in the best shape.
"Shit!" Jack exclaimed after trying to activate his TAG, but not getting any result. "They must have messed around with them trying to figure out how they work. It could take me weeks to get these things working again, assuming I could even find some tritanium around here."
"Jack, don't panic," Sarah said, trying to calm him down. "They weren't in the best condition anyway, and a sword would be just as good at the lower power level of the TAGs as it was. Jack stopped his fit and simply put his inactive TAG in a pocket on his thigh, and then ran back to the other room.
"Jack?" Sarah started to follow him, but he soon came back with two swords, one which he gave to Sarah, and a sheath for each of them.
"Try this thing," he said when he handed Sarah the sword. She spun it around and made a few cuts at the air before sheathing it.
"It's a bit heavy, but It'll do." She clipped the sheathed blade onto her belt holster for he TAG, which she had put in a pants pocket as Jack did.
"Good," he said bluntly. "'Cause we don't have much other choices." With that, he quickly left the room with Sarah trailing. The searched around, but it appeared to them that the hall had no exit. It was a dead end.
"This doesn't make any sense," Sarah said, arms crossed over her chest.
"Yeah, I know what you mean," Jack said, "unless..." Jack looked above him and quickly found a trap door in the ceiling. "There we go!" he said pointing to their exit. "Now let's just hope that there's some Force Technique power here." The two of them concentrated and started to glow.
"Yes!" Sarah exclaimed. "Ready?" she asked Jack.
"Set?" he answered.
"Go!" the both shouted as the glow around them transferred to their feet and they launched a jump that sent them through that trap door, landing on the floor above which was on the inside of a tent. There was a mystic siting on a chair which jumped to his feet but Jack quickly drew his sword and stabbed the mystic in the knee, crippling him. His scream however got the attention of a lot of other mystics outside.
"Jack," Sarah said. "Now would be a good time to get over that fear of killing!"
"I think I gotcha, now let's burn these oh so unkind hosts," the two of them jetted for the exit of the tent to be met by a swarm of mystics. The two drew their swords into fighting position but quickly performed as big a force jump as they could muster, landing them on the other side of the swarm. They broke into a run.
"How far do you think we have to go?" Sarah asked as they made their way through the rows of barracks which formed 'streets,' until they came to a large clearing which was seemingly a meeting place of many 'streets.' As the ran into the center of the clearing, mystics started to stream in from all of the surrounding access points.
"I think this is as far we go," Jack said, freezing in this tracks as the mystics formed a circle around the two captives about thirty yards in diameter.
"That's exactly right!" came a booming voice from behind them. "This is as far as you go." The two of them stared as the mammoth Keltar came walking into the circle, smaller mystics backing away, making a path.
"Who are you?!" Jack demanded. "What do you want."
"I'm afraid I can't let you escape without telling me how those swords of yours work. You see, my men seem to have broken them when trying to figure it out on their own."
"I asked who you were, now I demand to know!"
"You don't have to worry about me," Keltar said with a grin. "Tell me, are you a betting man?"
"Do I have a choice?" Jack asked.
"Let me put it this way: detain the girl!" on command, a bunch of mystics swarms and grabbed Sarah and dragged her away. Jack tried to stop them, but there were two many. The circle reformed as the mystics pushed Jack back into the middle, dragging Sarah to a front row seat for what was going to happen.
"Now let me explain to you the rules of this wager," Keltar boomed. "If you fight a friend of mine, and win, I'll let you and the girl go. If you loose, well...you'll be dead and I'll extract the info I need from the girl." Jack turned to Sarah who gave a simple nod.
"Okay, ass-munch. I'll take the bet. So who do I have to fight?"
"I'll call him over right away," Keltar said with a grin. "GILGORE!" he screamed. Then he pointed to two mystics. "Take his weapon." Obediently, the two ran into the center of the circle and started to grab at Jack.
"Get your grubby hands off of me!" he said, tossing his blade on the floor. The mystics picked it up and ran back over too their master. Soon after, a big booming was heard as mystics on the far end of the circle started to scatter in a panic. Through the path the scattering created came a nightmare that Jack immediately knew he had to fight, and without a weapon. He stood in shock as he started at the eight foot tall, monster of a creature with armor-like brown skin and two horns sticking out of it's hear. It's eyes had bright red pupils which stood out against his black face.
"This is the latest thing our chimera lab whipped up," Keltar said. "I can't even begin to think about what it's a mix of, but I think you'll have fun with it. Now, If you'll excuse me, I have to report your death to master Magus." Keltar turned and left down a quickly forming path that the mystics created as he walked. As if on cue, Gilgore let out a roar and charged at Jack.
"Shit, it's friggin' fast!" he exclaimed as he jumped out of the way with little time to spare. He cycled through his limited options of fighting, considering his hand to hand close combat skill probably weren't going to be of much use on this thing. He quickly did a few back handsprings, leaping away from the another set of attacks. The beast let out another roar and then put both of his hands together in a giant fist and swung them at Jack. He dodged the first blow but was slammed by the second, flying about twelve feet before skidding along the ground. The monster came again but Jack leaped off to the side to avoid the attack. I can't run forever. If I don't do something, he's gonna kill me! Suddenly, Jack immediately flashed back to what Sarah had said not more than a half hour ago. 'You either kill or get killed, that's the law of the jungle.' If I get killed, can I honestly face Sean without avenging his death? If I get killed, I can't protect Sarah, and that was one of Sean's last wishes. He soon concluded the obvious. I have to survive, he thought. "I will not die!" he screamed out loud. He started to draw some energy and glow green. Then with a battle cry, he nailed the beast with a shoulder tackle. It didn't send him very far, but he was knocked on the floor. Much to Jack's dismay, he quickly got up and charged at him again.
"Gonna need more than that," he said out loud to himself. He charged up again and gave Gilgore and uppercut followed by a spinning leg sweep. Jack's opponent hit ground hard but climbed to his feet again. The Crowd of mystics was yelling so loud that it was almost defining. He tried numerous sets of attacks, but none of them were making a dent. He still needed more so he resorted to his last option: maximum draw. He had to take in about all the Force Tech that he could absorb, effectively doubling his combat potential. Normally, drawing over what you can hold can have some pretty ugly effects, often ending in death, but Jack was almost out of options. The beast started to charge him again, but Jack countered with a massive combination finishing in a jumping uppercut that sent his opponent flying into the air. He hit the ground with a boom, but got up again quickly, seemingly unhurt. Jack came at it again with a flurry of kicks finishing with a short hop into a leg drop. It didn't even make a dent. Jack was panting hard and his enemy was unharmed.
"I…I'm not strong enough," Jack said somberly. The beast charged him again and Jack was almost ready to accept defeat when a voice screamed out from behind him.
"Jack!" The whole fight seemed to freeze as Jack spun around to see the figure of a knight standing on top of one of the barracks. As the figure walked out of the shadows, the image of Aragorn came into view.
"Aragorn?!" Jack screamed back in puzzlement.
"Catch!" Aragorn screamed, tossing to Jack what soon became clear was a sword.
"Yes!" Jack yelled, catching the sword and performing a quick routine of expert sword twirling. After his little bit of showing off, he hit the sword tip against the floor and slowly raised his head to the puzzled monster not ten feet from him. "You're in my world now, bitch," he said coldly. Before the beast could even make a roar, Jack leaped at it and stabbed the blade deep into it's thigh. He withdrew the blade and made a spinning cut at Gilgore's stomach. The monster batted away the blade and tried to swipe at Jack, but with a quick parry, Gilgore was missing a hand. While it was distracted, Jack took another cut and rammed Gilgore into the stomach, this time connecting. In one motion, Jack ripped the sword out of it's flesh and flipped over him, bringing the sword across the armor like skin on his back. Blood started drip from Gilgore's back as he clutched his stomach in pain. Jack slowly walked to where Sarah was being held with her hands bound behind her back, about fifteen feet in front of him.
"We're going home," he said to her. She gave a short nod and then Jack turned around and walked a few feet toward the beast.
"Don't worry," he said to the roaring Gilgore. "This will hardly hurt." Jack started to glow green with Force Tech energy and then he jumped up and back, hovering in the air. "Nisetsu Ryuhi!" he screamed, starting to spin the sword around over his head before 'jumping' down from his hovering point bringing the sword across Gilgore's neck. The blade ripped easily through the bone and sinew, lopping off the head which hit the floor with a clunk. The clunk was followed by a bang as the monster's decapitated body hit the floor just as Jack landed from his maneuver, kneeling five feet behind his fallen foe. Jack immediately thought about what he had done. She was right. That was easier. The mystic audience went silent as Jack slowly rose and walked over to Sarah. To his surprise and delight, the mystics around her backed away from him, full of fear for their own lives. Jack decided to play with this new found power.
"Release her," he told the relatively mystics who had been guarding Sarah. Sure enough, one of the small mystics whipped out a knife and cut the ropes that were binding her hands. Once free, she to take a place besides Jack.
"That's two I owe you," she whispered.
"Don't worry about it," he said. "Let's just get out of here before someone comes and takes control of the situation." As if on cue, Aragorn jumped down from wherever he had watched the fight from and ran to Jack and Sarah.
"Shall we?" he said, motioning towards the exit.
"You know how to get out of here?" Jack asked.
"I got in didn't I?" Aragorn started towards one of the 'streets' with Jack and Sarah following. Although no movement was evident for Aragorn's presence, as soon as Jack came up to the wall of mystics, it parted and formed a path, much like what had happened for Keltar. The trio walked along the freshly forming escape route until the rows of barracks and tents finally started to dissipate. After looking back, Jack saw that there were no followers, or at least, not yet.
"Did we do it?" Sarah asked seemingly no one.
"I have a feeling not," Jack said bitterly. He listened closely and heard that there was a lot of yelling going on and the mystics were starting to come after them.
"Run!" Aragorn screamed, realizing that they had just begun to be pursued. Jack and Sarah didn't need to be told twice as the three broke into a run. They seemed to be keeping good distance from the mystics, but all of them knew that they couldn't run forever and that another option would have to be found. Facing the obvious, Jack decided that it was time to come up with another plan.
"Okay, listen up," he to the others mid-run. "When I stop, I want you two to keep going, I'm gonna slow them down."
"Are you nuts!" Aragorn screamed over the pounding of his own feet hitting the ground. "What do you plan on doing?!"
"Jack, you can't be serious," Sarah said, trying not to get to excited. "You'll be re-captured."
"Sarah, so you trust me?" Jack said, breathing hard.
"What?" she answered.
"I said do you trust me!?" he said getting louder. Sarah didn't need to think anymore.
"Yes," she paused. "Just don't get yourself killed okay?"
"I already told you," he said with a grin. "We're going home, and we're going home together." Almost right after that, he stopped and Sarah and Aragorn kept running. They didn't run long before they stopped however, and watched what Jack had planed.
Jack concentrated as hard as he could. He started to glow green and the blue. The blue got brighter until it turned from purple into a dull red, which was getting brighter.
"Oh shit!" Sarah screamed, running back towards where Jack was standing.
"What's happening?!" Aragorn yelled, quickly running after her.
"No time to explain!" she yelled back. As she said this, the glow around Jack became bright red he raised his hand up into the air. As Jack's hand started to rumble with power, time seemed to slow to half time.
"Jack, no!" Sarah yelled at him. He ignored her. Instead he let loose his plan.
"Burning Rave!!!" he screamed, slamming his hand into the ground as the earth opened up like a fault line, surging toward the oncoming mystics. As it reached the mystic line, the fault line exploded an explosion creating chasm with an immense length, longer than the front line of the oncoming foe. Many mystics were swallowed in the explosion and the rest were blocked off be Jack's first attempt at terra-forming. Sarah and Aragorn reached Jack just as the explosion cleared, the mystics remaining completely blocked off from them. Jack was trying to stand up, but he suddenly collapsed to the floor.
"Jack!" Sarah screamed, getting down to help him. "You could have killed yourself! Where did you learn that move anyway?"
"I…" Jack struggled to speak, weak from the last attack. "I think I saw it in a video game once…" Jack then passed out and went completely limp. Sarah examined him and seemed relieved to see that there were permanent effects on him.
"Ummm, can someone explain what just happened?" Aragorn asked, once again puzzled by the young man with blue hair.
"He just saved our lives," Sarah said softly. "I'll explain what happened later, for now, just pick him up and let's get the hell out of here." Obediently, Aragorn bent down and hoisted Jack's unconscious body over his shoulder. Sarah gave him a nod and the two set out into a run, leaving the puzzled mystic army in the dust.
Time unknown: Location unknown
"He's definitely an interesting one," came a voice
"But the question remains, is he ready, and is he qualified," said a second voice
"He's got the courage, the attitude and the potential, I can say that," the first voice said again.
"I don't like his attitude," said a new voice. "That one that doesn't talk as much looks like a better choice."
"I think his attitude his is edge," came a forth voice.
"But what about that girl," said the second voice. "His feelings for her make him weak."
"Are you a fool," came another new voice. "Did you see the power he was able to tap because of her. She will help him reach his potential."
"Either way," said the fourth voice, "it's amazing that there are potentially two of them on the same planet. What are the odds of that?"
"What about his magic?" asked the second voice.
"We'll see eventually," said yet another voice. "Not that time even matters in this game..."
600ad: Northwest of Mt. Denadoro
The trio of travelers had found shelter in a small forest after their escape from the mystics. Jack had regained consciousness but he was still weak. Jack sat against a tree in clearing with a small fire blazing in front of him. It was getting dark, but even worse, it was getting cold. Sarah and Aragorn were sitting around a fire, Sarah trying to explain what had just happened.
"In SSAF, we're ranked by our abilities with Force Tech," she said. "Your ability is based on how much energy you can absorb to increase you power. The stronger you become, the more you can absorb, therefore becoming even stronger. Jack is about 8th degree Force Tech user, that means he can take in enough energy to effectively double his combat strength. I'm about a 7th degree user. For every four degrees you absorb, your power is multiplied by a number one higher than the previous. For example, if you absorb eight degrees, your power is doubled and if you absorb twelve degrees, your power is tripled.
"Is that good?" Aragorn interrupted, thinking hard to contemplate the arithmetic that Sarah had just done. "I mean, almost doubling your power is something that I wish I could do all the time."
"Well, it may seem good, but in our time, it's really not that high."
"Remember our friend Sean?" Jack jumped in, his voice very weak. "He was about a 32nd degree user. He could multiply his power eight fold. He was good, probably one of the highest ranking Force Tech users in SSAF. Sarah and I are about average for our age and experience."
"What does all of that have to do with why you freaked out over what Jack was doing?" Aragorn asked. Jack started to explain but Sarah put her hand up, gesturing to silence him.
"It means that this jerk over here scared the hell out of me because he probably took in about eleven degrees of energy to do that move, judging by the color he emitted," she said in a very motherly fashion.
"And?" Aragorn asked again.
"And if he had held that much energy in to long, it would have been an ugly sight. Taking in more than your abilities let you hold can result in some pretty nasty deaths. When you take in as much as you can, you feel a sort of tingling in the back of your neck, that's how you know when to stop. When you go over, not only does it hurt a lot, but you can end up frying your internal organs, making your brain explode, short out your nervous system or a bunch of other equally unpleasant things.
"Nothing happened did it?" Jack said, defending himself. "It was all I could think of."
"Next time, don't risk you life in the process," Sarah said. "There would have been another option if we took the time to look."
"We were out of time," he shot back. "Anyway, it looked pretty cool right?"
"Well..." Sarah paused. "Yeah, it was a cool looking move. Where did you learn it?"
"I told you, I saw it in a video game once. I always wondered if I could do it. I guess it worked, at any rate. Anyway, I think we ditched the ass hole brigade for now. We should probably worry about getting back to human territory. Also, Aragorn promised to take us sword shopping."
"I guess I did," he said, thinking back to when he said that. "As soon as we get back to truce, I'll show you a great little store."
"While we're on the subject of Aragorn," Sarah started. "How did you find us?"
"Mystics aren't very smart at hiding their tracks," he said simply. "After I woke up by myself, I figured you could use my help. I did swear myself to your service, didn't I. Anyway, tracking you wasn't very hard. I have a lot more skills than one would guess."
"I'll believe you," Jack said. "But let's try to score some sleep before we set out tomorrow. I'm exhausted."
"No argument here," Sarah said, propping herself up against the tree as comfortable as she could get. They didn't have any camping equipment, so they would have to rough it until they could get some. "Good night."
"Good night," Jack and Aragorn said in almost unison. The three tried to sleep as the fire burned away on it's last bit of fuel.
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