Chapter 4- The First Casualty




            By the time Tyrion got there, it was too late.  He was about half an hour’s drive to Rachel’s house.  He had been the first person on the scene, and had called the police and an ambulance, but it wouldn’t have done any good.  She was dead before he even got there. He didn’t even get to speak to her again.  When the paramedics arrived, they found him hunched over her limp body, crying.


            Tyrion was no crime scene investigator, but he knew what gun shot wounds looked like.  There were a lot of them, riddling her midsection.  Her blood was all over her bedroom, signs of a brutal murder.  Whoever had done this to her would pay.  He would make sure of that.


            Within an hour, police had the house surrounded and taped off, and people filled the place, checking the scene and asking questions.  Tyrion himself received far to many of these questions, as far as he was concerned.


            “How long had you known the victim?  Did she have any enemies?  Do you know what might have prompted this?”  Tyrion didn’t mentioned that Tristan had warned him to check up on her.  He was, however, certain that this had something to do with the people who had been after him.  She probably knew too much.  But then, how deep did their information go?  Had his phone been bugged?  How else would they have known some of the things he had told her?


            People bustled around all afternoon, as Tyrion sulked on one of the steps in the main stairway, wondering why this had happened to him, and why it had happened to Rachel.  It wasn’t until about 3:30 that things began to die down and an investigator finally came to explain to him what they think had happened.


            “You were the boyfriend, right?” was the first thing the man had said.  Tyrion just nodded weakly.  “I’m Inspector Stevens.”  He casually reached to shake Tyrion’s hand but Tyrion didn’t move.


            “What killed her, inspector?” he asked.  “How did she die?”


            “We’re trying to figure that out, son.  I can tell you what we do know.  Judging from some aberrations on her body, and some torn clothing that we found, it looks like there was definite sign of a struggle.  It doesn’t look like she died right away.”


            “What happened?


            “We found some bludgeon marks on her head and shoulders.  It looks like they hit her a few times.  She was shot five times in the midsection, and then once in the head.  She was bleeding from multiple places, so she would have died of blood loss anyway.”  Tyrion’s eyes watered up and the Inspector gave him a moment before speaking again.  “Can I ask you a difficult question?” the Inspector finally said. 


            “Okay…” Tyrion sobbed.


            “Did you have intercourse with the victim within the last few days?”  Tyrion looked at him for a few seconds before shaking his head.


            “Don’t tell me…”


            “We found traces of semen around her genitalia, and there were more aberrations on her wrists and ankles.”  He paused for a second.  “It looks like she was tied down and raped before she was killed.”  Tyrion choked.  Tears began to stream slowly down his face and he sat in silence for nearly a minute. 


            “I…” he started to say, wiping his eyes clear and halting his sobbing.  “Rather…who?”  The inspector was about to speak when Tyrion heard a familiar voice from the door.


            “My name is Agent Kallar from the FIB,” the voice said to the guard who was standing at the front door.  “I’m here on orders from the government.”


            “Go right on in, Agent Kallar,” Tyrion heard the guard say as he stepped out of the way and the familiar form of Agent Kallar walked into the house.  He was clad in all black, and wore a black military beret which he removed as he entered the house.  He surveyed the situation for a second, instantly spotting Tyrion on the stairs in front of him and walking up to the youth.


            “I think this man can answer that question,” Inspector Stevens said as Agent Kallar approached him.  “This is–” he started to introduce the man but Tyrion cut him off.


            “We’ve met,” Tyrion said, rising up cautiously, wiping the remaining tears away from his eyes.  He looked at Kallar.  “Then you really do work for Lyons…” he said.


            “I’ll leave you two alone,” Inspector Stevens said, heading out the door, back to his original business.


            “I told you so,” Kallar said.


            “And that other man that came after me?”


            “A Denegrad Agent,” Kallar lied.  “We apprehended him after you had dealt him a few blows.”


            “I remember,” Tyrion said.  “But what are you doing here?” he asked, his sudden nervousness overriding his sorrow at the moment.


            “We have reason to believe this may be an international crime,” Kallar said.  “Please, follow me.”  Kallar walked up the stairs into Rachel’s bedroom, where all the commotion was.  There were still a few people bustling about, scraping blood samples off the walls and collecting small samples of whatnot into plastic bags.  Kallar walked over to a small table where there were some bullets contained in said plastic bags.  They were shots that had missed their mark, having been discovered in various locations that didn’t include Rachel’s body.


            “Have a look,” Kallar said, removing one of the bullets from its bag with a pair of tweezers that he took from the table.  He held it up to the light and showed Tyrion.  “Do you see these markings?” he asked.  “The small gold tinted ring around the base of the bullet and the small streak down the side where the seam is?”


            “Yeah,” Tyrion said, “What about it?”


            “These bullets are Denegrad issue,” he said.  “And the marks in the carpet?” he pointed to the impressions in the carpet that had been circled in tape.  “Those are made by boots that are standard issue to the Denegrad military.”  Tyrion looked at him for a moment.


            “What does that mean?” he asked.


            “My guess?” Kallar said.  “They were looking for you.  She probably got in the way.”


            “Watch your mouth,” Tyrion said bitterly.  “Her name was Rachel.”


            “I’m sorry,” Kallar said.  “Rachel probably got in the way,” he corrected himself.  Tyrion was silent again.


            “So you think the Denegrad military was responsible for her death?” he asked, biting his lip.  Kallar nodded.  Tyrion furrowed his brow.  “How do I get back at the sons of bitches?” he asked coldly.  Kallar started to grin, but held it back.


            “Do you want to get back at them?” Kallar asked.


            “I do,” Tyrion said bitterly.  Kallar closed his eyes and pulled a small card out of his coat.


            “Be here tomorrow at 12:00,” he said, handing him the card.  The card simply said Garden Skyport, Terminal 8.


            “And then what?”


            “And then you can get them back,” Kallar said, as he started to walk away.


“What did you come here for?” Tyrion asked him quickly.  He turned back.


“To give you what you want,” he said cryptically.  He eyed Tyrion before spinning around and going back down the stairs, exiting the house.


            “How odd…” Tyrion said out loud.  “How odd indeed.”






            With nothing to do but more reading, Tristan had retired to his ship, hoping that Tyrion would call eventually.  He knew it probably wouldn’t happen, and that he would have to intervene some other way, but there was no hurt in hoping.  Explaining to people that they are actually the son of an a species that spends its free time nuking planets isn’t easy.  In fact, he had never actually had to do it before.  This was the first time he would actually have to explain the truth about the Planeswalkers to someone. 


            Normally, recruits from the LEA came from planets that were classified as L3, meaning that a Lavoid had landed, hibernated and then surfaced, making it’s attack.   In fact, recruits always came from planets of this classification.  There were two beneficial parts to this.  Firstly, there was no doubt that something had happened, as a Lavoid Surfacing is not something that you miss.  People were looking for explanations anyway, and so the intervention of a Watcher was most welcome at this time.


            The second reason was that they were already psychologically prepared to go to war against the Lavoids.  Simply because the average death rate of a Lavoid Surfacing is about 90% of a planet’s population, it is a statistical improbability for one to not lose loved ones in the event of a Lavoid attack.  Therefore, the desire for revenge is always there.


            So, the Watchers provided an explanation and a means to deal with the problem.  In times of distress, this is what people are looking for, and so recruitment had never been that complicated before.  Now, there was nothing to really explain, and there was no problem to deal with.  All Tristan could really hope to do was give him a means to deal with whatever problems he had.  It would come down to the Lavoid eventually, and then things would be clear.  But, in the mean time, he needed to be merely a Guardian.  Tyrion would need help eventually, and he would be there when it happened.  Then he could worry about recruitment.


            In the mean time, though, he would have a field day with this new genetic material.  This was the first time that any of the LEA’s scientists had access to the Lavoid Factor from two different Planeswalkers, and so it was something to be excited about.  Not only that, but he had already discovered an interesting difference between the two sets of Lavoid Factors.


            While the LEA had originally expected more to differ between the sets, the minor difference still proved to be most interesting.  In total, there were two genome structures that differed from Jack’s Factor.  At the moment, Tristan only knew what one of them meant, though.  This four gene set was isolated as that governing Magical Ability through determining the Base Energy Stock modifier that seems to be present in all Lavoids.  Partially responsible for the tremendous amount of tolerance for Ether-type energies, it also seemed to have a bearing on general aptitude with Magic.  Tyrion, however, did not have the same gene set.  While the meaning of this could not be analyzed before Tristan received combat data, he expected a difference between the magical abilities of the two Planeswalkers.


            The second gene set that differed served one of the many unknown functions that the Lavoid Factor presented.  Tristan had hypothesized that is had more to do with energy tolerance, or was part of the much larger genome which controlled the Black Wings, but it was mostly just guesswork.


            While trying to decipher the exact differences between these two gene sets, Tristan was rudely interrupted with a phone call.  Nearly answering the phone with a curt, ‘I’m busy,’ he was pleasantly surprised when he found that it was Tyrion who called him.


            “Tristan,” he said.  “I…figured I should call you.”


            “What’s up?” Tristan asked, trying to stay casual.


            “They…” he stuttered.  “They killed her.”


            “Oh God…” Tristan mumbled.  “Rachel?”


            “Yeah,” Tyrion said.  “They think it was the Denegrad Military.”


            “Did they tell you why?” Tristan asked.  “Who told you that?  Who came to speak with you?”  He quickly rummaged through his coat and took out a pen and paper, ready to get a hold of whatever was going on.


            “That Agent from Lyons.  Kallar.  He came.  He really does work for the Lyons Government.”


            “What did he tell you?”


            “He pointed to the evidence showing that it was a Denegrad crime,” Tyrion said.  Something about that sounded odd, though.  Tristan had read up on Denegrad.  Judging from battle reports, their military was way to smart to make something obvious like that, unless they wanted it to be seen.  But, why would they want it to be seen?


            “Tyrion,” Tristan continued, still formulating ideas.  “Did Kallar come to offer you something?  A position in the military perhaps?”


            “Actually…yeah, he did,” Tyrion said.


            Crap, Tristan thought.  Lyons is after him.  I bet they planned the murder themselves.  Or at least, this Kallar guy is bad.  I wonder who he really works for.


            “Are you meeting him to discuss it?” Tristan finally said.


            “Tomorrow,” Tyrion said.  “I’m going with him tomorrow.”


            “Tyrion,” Tristan said.  “This is of utmost importance.  Tell me where you’re meeting him.  If we can trust him, it’s okay, but if it’s a trick, I’ll need to be able to protect you.”


            “I can take care of myself,” Tyrion said, somewhat superciliously.


            “Don’t be naïve, Tyrion.  This isn’t a game.”  There was a pause.  Tyrion sighed deeply.


            “Garden Skyport,” he said reluctantly.  “Hanger 8.”


            “I’m just going to be there to watch your back, Tyrion,” Tristan said.


            “Just don’t get to close,” Tyrion responded.  “This might be what I want.”


            “And assuming it isn’t, you’ll need my help.”  Again, Tyrion was silent.


            “…Thank you,” he finally said right before he hung up the phone.


            Silly kid… Tristan thought.  Don’t let your pride get the best of you.  Don’t let revenge get the best of you, either.  It’s funny, though.  It didn’t surprise me that they would go to her.  I mean, hell, that’s what I would have done if I was in their shoes.  It’s the way the game is played.  It just sucks that someone had to die.  But, in a terrible way of thinking, this might have been just what we needed…




Garden City Skyport, the next day,


            The Garden Skyport was probably one of the most architecturally interesting buildings in Garden City.  It hugged nicely along the edge of the western wall, where a large bulge in the wall protruded to accommodate it.  It was comprised of a series of large circular buildings, numbering three in total, each housing a number of terminals.  It wasn’t that there were many airlines to choose from.  In fact, there were only three, all of which were government sponsored.  Two existed for national flights, and the other for international flights.


            Hanger 8 was one of four sets of five launching points within the International Flights building.  It was different, however, because it was normally used for private affairs, segmented somewhat off from the rest of the building.  This way, the hanger could basically be sealed off, making security tightest for keeping out unwanted guests.  Even more typically, though, because it was for international flights, it was used under military supervision.  After all, Lyons Citizens didn’t normally go sight seeing in Denegrad.  Most of the civilian flights were to points outside of the three superpowers of Lyons, Denegrad and Ithilmar.


            Tyrion didn’t really know this.  He had never been in Hanger 8 before, mostly because of these security features.  Thusly, he was a little disturbed when he had to pass through not only the standard metal detectors, but x ray security systems.  There were armed guards everywhere he looked, lining the cold, white corridors. 


            There was one feeling of openness in the building, which was the large circular room that spread out into the five launch points within the hanger.  It was a multi-terraced room with large quantities of plant-life adorning a central feature of a large fountain.  Around the edge of the room, there were the typical fast food joints found in any such a place, accompanied by various shops.  The armed guards were still all there, though, and there were security cameras abound.


            Tyrion met Agent Kallar at the designated time on Sunday, in the main check in room for international flights.  Kallar had been clad in what looked to be his standard black, this time in a suit and tie. 


            “Right on time,” Kallar said as Tyrion walked up to him carrying the sole bag that he had packed for his ‘trip.’


            “Can you tell me where we’re going yet?” Tyrion asked, somewhat impatiently.  “You’ve yet to give me a destination.”


            “All in time, Tyrion,” Kallar said.  “Just follow me.”  He reached into his jacket and withdrew a ticket, handing it to Tyrion.


            “Okay,” Tyrion shrugged, not really caring.  That was just how he felt since yesterday.  He just didn’t really care.  A sense of apathy over everything seemed to be consuming him.  He just wanted to release his anger on someone, and those responsible for Rachel’s death seemed like the best idea.  What Tristan had told him only loomed in the back of his head.


            Taking the ticket, Tyrion began to follow Kallar down a series of corridors, speaking to him as he went.  “You’re looking for a chance to enlist, correct?”


            “I want to fight, yes,” Tyrion said.


            “Well, then you’re going to enlist with the best of the best,” he said, as they continued walked.  “What do you know about M-1?” he asked.


            “Not much.  I know they fight with Lyons against Denegrad, and that they’ve helped change the course of the war.”


            “They’re a mercenary group,” Kallar said.  “They are basically a group of elite mercs that showed up and offered services to Lyons, the side which needed the help.  Their military abilities turned the course of the war, Tyrion.”


            “Are you saying that M-1 wants me?”


            “Haven’t I told you that from the beginning?” Kallar asked.  “That your country needed people like you to fight for them?”


            “But why?”


            “What does the ‘why’ matter?” Kallar asked.  “Isn’t the ‘how’ more important.  It’s a means to an end, Tyrion.  It’s the means to the ends that you want.  Don’t worry about the ‘why,’ but the ‘how’ and the ‘when.’  That’s what I’m giving you.  A ‘how’ and a ‘when.’”  Tyrion was silent.  They continued their walking without conversation until they came to a waiting room for Gates 12 through 16.


            “Our flight leaves in about two hours,” Kallar said.


            “Then why did you make me come so soon.”


            “The time delay is required for international flights.”




            “You didn’t notice?  This is an international hanger.”


            “Where are we going?” he asked again.


            “All in time,” Kallar said before sitting in one of the many chairs, crossing his arms and closing his eyes.


            “My ass…” Tyrion mumbled under his breath.  “This better be good…”




            “I’ve got a trace on that plane,” Tristan said into the phone.  “I’m probably going to go after it.”  Tristan was standing on the corner of a main avenue in Garden City.  In the distance, the large Skyport loomed into the horizon, and an image of a plane taking off or landing could be periodically spotted.


            “Do you know where it’s going?” the voice of Jack asked, though some static due to unusual disturbance clouded the clarity of his speech. 


            “I’m hacking the information as we speak,” he said, hitting a few buttons on his hand held computer.


            “Why not just track the ship and follow it in your own?” Jack said.  “Wouldn’t that be the most effective way?”


            “This is why…” Tristan said, finally getting the information he needed.  “Because of their course.”


            “What do you mean.”


            “It looks like they pass through some sort of image shielding device about an hour after take off.  It’s marked here on the map I have.”




            “Meaning I wouldn’t be able to follow them.  Judging by the readout on the shield, tracking them would be difficult afterward.  Also, I’d rather not get into a dog fight yet.  I’m going to put that off until later.”


            “Will your own ship be able to trace you?”


            “I’m going to try to board their ship.  This data says it takes off in about half an hour.  As for if I can get the Intrepid to trace my own location after I pass the shield, that’s a different story.  I’d be a better of judge of that after I’m passed it.”


            “So how are you going to get on their plane?”


            “The same way I do everything.”


            “Oh no…” Jack muttered.


            “Yup.  I’m going in head long, guns blazing.”


            “Don’t get yourself killed, Tristan.”


            “Hey, have I ever in the past?”


            “No,” he admitted.  “But good luck only lasts so long.”


            “Gotcha.  Over and out boss.”  He hung up the phone, replaced his computer in his coat, and scanned the area in front of him to get a visual lock on for teleporting.  Then, it was only a matter of time.




Inside the Garden City Skyport


            Tristan walked into the main registration building of the Skyport with a confident surveying of the scene.  It was simple enough.  There was one long set of counter space, broken only in three places where passengers walked past the check in to one of the other three main sections of the air port.  Past each gate, there would be a few short passages before one entered the main hanger area for each of the three main hangers.


            The main problem, of course, would be getting past the metal detectors that flanked each of the three gates.  In truth, it wouldn’t actually be a problem, as Tristan merely stepped into a phone booth and activated a cloaking device.  Then exiting the booth, he strolled casually up to the gate.  With a burst of Force Tech energy, he quickly sped through the gate in a blur, lucky that no one was in the way.  While the detector went off, the guards only provided Tristan with a few moments of entertainment as they tried to figure out why the machine had gone off ‘without anything going through it.’


            Chuckling to himself, he continued forward, maintaining his invisibility.  His chuckling quickly ceased, though, when an alarm began to go off through the entire compound.  Red lights began to flash and the strident cry of a bell started to wring.


            “Shit…” Tristan muttered.  “So much for subtle…”  Keeping his cloak on, he reached into his coat and brought forth his pair of silver magnums and went into a sprint towards the hanger that Tyrion was supposedly in.  He was miserably surprised, however, to find that the armed guards, that were everywhere once he entered the main circular area with the fountain, must have been using some sort of inferred goggles, as the hail of fire in his direction signified that they saw where he was.


            Tristan growled again, turning off the cloaking device after he dove behind a large pillar for cover.  He checked the chambers in both of his guns before readying them.  Deeply concentrating, he stretched his consciousness out to sense where the guards were.  There were about 20 of them, all over the three levels of the main concourse.  As statistics dictated that the ones on the lower levels would have a better angle of fire and therefore a better chance to hit, so they would have to go first.


            Before he could do anything, though, his cover had to be secured.  He sensed out all electrical equipment in the room and sent a blast of lightning magic through them.  Explosions ran throughout the room as all semblances of cameras and most other forms of electronics blew up.


            Spinning out from behind the pillar, he leveled the two guns toward the group of three guards that was across from him.  He ran sideways toward the pillar on his left firing four rounds and hitting once.  As he reached the next pillar, he began to run up it sideways, loosing more rounds, downing another guard, and beginning a side flip to the right.  As he was upside down, he finally locked on to the last guard, felling him with two shots to the head.  He landed on his feet again and looked to his right.


            There were a group of four more guards, readying their guns at him.  Above him, guards were beginning to rush down to the lower levels.  Tristan made a break for the fountain in the center, firing four more rounds, one for each of the guards on his right.  While unable to kill them all, he managed to disable two of them and kill a third as he finished off the ammo in his magnums and slid into cover using the fountain.


            Crouching behind the fountain and looking back towards the main entrance, he could see more guards coming his way down the hall.  He drew an automatic rifle and stayed behind the fountain.  From a crouch, he aimed the rifle and sprayed fire down the hallway at the oncoming men, aiming at the legs.  Still under cover from the rear, he managed to disable the coming swarm, at least for the moment anyway.


            As he finished with the eight or so guards that had been making their way down the main tunnel, he dropped the emptied machine gun on the floor and flew upwards.  Pulling out the fusion gun, the familiar device morphed in his hands into its full form.  Then, aiming at the set of pillars buttressing the upper levels on his right.  Pulling the trigger, the heat beam shot forth and he waved it from left to right, vaporizing each of the supports.  The upper levels came crashing down, taking the soldiers on them down as well.  He then turned back to the main entrance and fired a shot at the area above the gate.  As the heat tore through the concrete wall, it crumbled to the floor, blocking the main entrance.


Turning his attention over to the left, he re-sheathed the fusion gun and brought out another set of pistols.  He flew over to the second level on the left side.  Landing behind the group of men there, he caught them off guard and quickly dispatched them.  Up the stairs to his left came more assailants, but he sped towards them in a serpentine blur, sheathing his pistols.  Smashing the first one across the face with a spinning kick, he sent him twirling to the ground as he snatched his rifle from his hands.  Spinning around and confusing the remaining guards with the upward flare of his trench coat, he fired the gun on them, felling them all with a 15 round burst.


Throwing the empty gun over the side of the terrace, he sprinted in the other direction, up the stairs, towards Tyrion’s gate.  Two more men spotted him and level their guns in his direction, but they were to slow for his super-human reaction time.  He cast a phase spell, a distortion of magical fields so that his body ‘skipped’ to another location nearby.  He phased-in in front of the guard on the left.  Swinging his right hand upward, he knocked the gun out of the guard’s hands and grabbed it out of the air, aiming it into his back and firing.  Looking at the other guard, his right leg shot out in a kick to the mid section, causing the guard to double over.  Then, he brought the right leg around the guard in a circle, bringing his heal down on the man’s back, snapping it outright.


He brought up the pistols again, aiming them upwards as he reached the third terraced level, but it looked as if the conflict had ended for the time being.  He wasn’t sure what he would do now, though, as he exited the main circular room, leaving it crumbling apart behind him.


The next passage was long and straight and soon opened up into the waiting area that Tyrion would have been in, if he hadn’t been hurried onto the plane mere minutes before.  The red lights were still flashing and he could see out the window that a plane was leaving the gate and taxing onto the run way.


“Oh no you don’t!” Tristan yelled, powering up his Force energy and ramming through the wall with his shoulder as he flew out towards the plane.  He could now see it turning to reach the strip of runway it would use to take off.  Speeding forward, he flew towards it, glancing into the cockpit.  Grinning like an idiot, he waved at the startled pilots.


In response, the plane banked to the right and began to speed up, but Tristan was not to be shaken that easily.  Looking into the cockpit he gained a quick visual reference before teleporting into it.  Then there was a short click as he cocked a pistol and held it closely to the back of the pilot’s head. 


“If you want to keep your brain, just keep flying,” he said coldly.  The guard reached for a button to alert the people in the plane, but Tristan would have none of that.  He slapped him across the back of the head.  “Didn’t you hear me, moron?” he said, laughing and replacing the gun against the pilot’s head.  “I’m gonna fucking shoot you if you screw around.  It’s not that complicated, and you certainly don’t need a college degree to handle it.  Just fly the fucking plane.”  The pilot, beginning to sweat profusely, shakily nodded his head.  Tristan shot a glance at the copilot.


“And don’t you try anything either, Skippy.  I’ve got more than enough ammo in here to kill you too.”  The copilot merely sat back in his seat nodded his head over and over.


“Now,” Tristan said.  “I want you to just fly this plane where you were going to fly it and don’t worry about me.  If you understand, then nod.”  The pilot nodded and Tristan grinned in victory.  “Good, and then if you’re lucky, I’ll let you live!”


“You’re gonna kill us even if we do what you say?!” the copilot whimpered.


“Calm down, Skippy,” Tristan said, laughing.  “I’m only kidding.  Jesus Christ, relax, will you?  Can’t anyone on this plane take a joke?”  Both pilots were silent, and they continued to fly, leading the Watcher to wherever Tyrion was being taken.




“Tristan’s problem was that you can only fool so many people for so long.  It’s a mistake to think that you can allude such governments for an extended period of time, especially after you've killed so many people.  In looking back, though, I think it was just his own ego that he was looking to satiate.” –Sarah Inverse McKlane, in regard to the Celes Incident




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