STF

Tick Tick Boom The Promenade - Zala Tsu...when the past doesn't match the future or the present

Posted Dec. 5, 2022, 12:09 p.m. by Lieutenant Commander Gravel Mardusk (Chief of Security) (James Sinclair)

Posted by Lieutenant Commander Gravel Mardusk (Chief of Security) in Tick Tick Boom The Promenade - Zala Tsu…when the past doesn’t match the future or the present

Posted by Lieutenant Commander Gravel Mardusk (Chief of Security) in Tick Tick Boom The Promenade - Zala Tsu…when the past doesn’t match the future or the present

Posted by Civilian Jessa Novar (Child) in Tick Tick Boom The Promenade - Zala Tsu…when the past doesn’t match the future or the present
Posted by… suppressed (7) by the Post Ghost! 👻
Zala Tsu opened her eyes and took a second to figure out what had just happened. One second she was fighting the security forces and now she was in what looked to be a shopping complex. She was also alone with no sight of her companions. What are you doing Pet, she said to herself. The light slide weapon these aliens possessed was formidable. The uses were endless and one day it would be in the Elder’s arsenal instead of these barbarians. Until that day came, however, Zala Tsu would have to show them what happens when they used it on her.

Almost as soon as the lights from the transporter beam faded, so did the slight sensation of falling. It was replaced with sounds of confusion and chaos. The klaxons and red lights were only adding tension and fear to the situation. Closing her eyes, Zala Tsu let the emotions consume her. Anxiety and trepidation were useful tools to control a population. Opening her eyes, Zala took in her new surroundings. It looked like a rejuvenation area with plants, fountains, and large glass windows to shops with all things that pampered one. Translate and scan she spoke within her armor. Numerous holo displays began to process her request as data appeared indicating the probability of weapons, the makeup of the humanoids in the space, and her surroundings.

Weapons - absent. Females 78% of the population. Males 22% of the population. The estimated age of the population sample is twenty-nine with 10% of the sample being juveniles. Environment - rejuvenation complex. Threat assessment- minimal.

“Quad report,” she spoke into her helmet trying to ascertain where the rest of her group was.

Communication systems are currently disabled. Unable to translate written alien language at this time. Armor at 72 percent. Repairs in progress. The AI system of her armor responded.

“Drak it,” she cursed to herself. The weapons of the security forces on the ship had not disabled her but had weakened her shielding. Given enough time the systems would repair themselves. For now, Zala just needed to buy time. Touching the side of her neck the helmet appeared to melt back and be absorbed into her suit. Zala Tsu looked around taking in the situation. There were only a few males with most of them being children. Her sudden arrival had stopped the individual from milling as all eyes settled on her.

It was clear she was trapped for now. Standard protocol dictated for each Elder to secure their space and wait. At least she was in a pleasing area. “I,” she stated loudly to leather voice carry over the alarms ringing out. After her first word, however, the alarms suddenly were silenced. “Well, that is better. I am Elder Zala Tsu. Who is in command here?”

Her question caused most to look around as if even they were not clear on how to answer it. This section of the promenade was filled with cosmetic services like hair and nail salons, a spa, a yoga studio, and several wellness stores. Most of the individuals within this area were either civilians or off-duty personnel. The promenade was broadly patrolled by security however the bulk of the patrols tended to concentrate on the bars and casino section. One of the few men in the area stopping by for a quick haircut stepped forward. “I am Lt. Blackwell. Put your hands in the air and drop to your knees.” His voice was commanding as he stepped through the crowds ignoring the locked turbo for now. No one protested his assumption of command. As a security officer, he was the most senior officer in the space related to the situation.

Raising her fist, Zala Tsu released a bolt of energy from her armor which impacted the man square in the chest. His body flew back impacting an invisible forcefield three feet away causing Zala Tsu to frown. “Wrong answer. I am.” Taking a few steps over to the forcefield, she ran her fingertips over it. Letting out an irritated sigh she spun back to the crowd that was now moving farther from her and back into the presumed safety of the shops. Reaching into her pocket she pulled out several small metal balls and scattered them on the ground. The metal balls clinked several times before melting into metallic droplets that seemed to spread like oil and double in size exponentially. “There are fifteen juveniles here. Prepare them for re-education.”

The oil seemed to react to her voice. A small dome began to rise out of the center of each metallic pool as if it were a ghost. The final shape resembled that of an elongated bullet. Once its final shape was achieved, it darted seeking out each child. There was no way to stop it once it reached its target. Like on Mischwald, Halston, Belkadan, and countless other worlds that had been re-educated, the Mech only needed a single point on the target to start the enveloping process. No one longer cared about the woman in the armor. All their attention was focused on trying to stop the fifteen children from being encapsulated by alien technology. Screams and curses, threats, and pleas echoed in the confined space that was almost louder than the now silenced klaxons.

Using the diversion, Zala stepped onto one of the metallic pools which transformed into a disc that let her rise above the crowd as if she were on a dias. As each of the fifteen Mechs returned to her position with a child encapsulated within it, Zala Tsu pointed her fists at the ground and shot out bolts of energy that scorched the metal plating of the deck. “Your weapons will not free your offspring but my weapons will destroy them. Use your light slide weapon on me again and,” she let the threat hang in the air as she turned her hand to the side she targeted one of the Mech’s holding a child. “I command you to bend at the knee and accept the path to enlightenment. If you do not, your children will pay the price.”

Zala Tsu

“Yeah… that ain’t gonna happen lady.” a deep and firm voice boomed out from somewhere and echoed throughout the Promenade. “But what is gonna happen is you’re gonna let those kids go… right fu<&ing now… or I’m gonna feed you your own feet.” The crowd at the back of the Promendae began moving and a massive figure strode purposefully towards Zala. Phaser rifle in hand, but not aimed at her, he glared daggers the likes of which would make a Klingon battle-cruiser melt. “If there is one thing I despise more than anything, its a gods-be-damned coward who picks on kids to make a point. Now…” and he stopped twenty meters from her position, “… get your armored ass down here before I bring you down. And…” and he cracked his neck and his free hand went into a fist, “… Let. Those. Kids. Go.

Mardusk, CoS

The Elder watched as a mountain of a man stepped through the huddling and mewling masses. The man would be a formidable opponent but the Elder had little concern or worry. They were in control. Apparently, one death was not enough for these people to see it. The alien’s eyes drift to the weapon for a half second before ignoring it. He might have thought it would strike terror and fear forcing immediate capitulation yet this was not the first time someone had refused to follow orders. Lowering the dias to the ground, it melted from a floating chair into a black inky pool around the alien’s feet. If this man wanted to through around brute strength, he would pay the price for it.

“Such language to use around a woman,” the voice said in a silky timber as the Elder closed the space between them. “Lucky for you I am not a woman.” Touching a button on the armor, a digitized image melted back revealing not the icily beautiful woman that had presented herself to the crowd but a strikingly rogueish male. Rogan had hoped the ploy would have bought him more time. No matter how enlightened a civilization was, it always did want a fair fight. Striking the weaker sex in hand-to-hand combat was generally frowned upon and yet, here was just another example of the barbaric nature of the people from the Milky Way. “You were going to hit a woman,” Rogan’s voice held the charismatic drawl of someone who couldn’t quite believe what he was hearing. “Tsk tsk. That is just bad form and behavior my friend. However, it does present us with an opportunity to hose this deck down with testosterone before we start though… Mech inspection,” the voice ordered as they flicked open their hand. The command altered the front of the Mech changing the surface from opaque to transparent. Now the parents could individually see each of their children trapped inside appearing as if asleep but with a small breathing mask on their face.

“If I make a fist, like you are,” the voice slightly curled the tips of their fingers as they spoke, “the Mech’s will cut off the synthasleep being pumped into their lungs. Your children will suffocate and the parents can watch.”

There was a slight pause as the alien looked at Mardusk. “What is your name friend? I ask this because while I care less about these kids or your people I just like to know who will be groveling at my feet.” Rogan was ready to crush some heads. This area distinctly lacked any real opponents.

Rogan

Mardusk smiled slightly, but didn’t say anything. Instead he gave Rogan a wink and tilted his head slightly to indicate Rogan should really look down just a bit.

As the would-be kidnapper’s eyes moved, Mardusk tapped a small icon the side display of his rifle. The ship’s computer’s voice filled the Promenade. =/\= Attention. Attention. Decompression of sector immanent. All personnel evacuate area immediately. Emergency decompression in two minutes. =/\= and Mardusk smiled as people began running to the exits, save for the parents of the children who were scambling trying to save their kids. Over the din of yelling voices and stampeding feet, Mardusk said “See, asshole… there’s three things about me you really should’a known before you tried this crap. First: if my people are gonna die, they’re gonna die my way. And second: As long as you go with me, I don’t care if I die.”

As the people who could scatter ran for the exits, they would impact an invisible forcefield closing off the space like a gigantic pie wedge. Civilians began to claw at the only turbo lift in the spot however the controls to it were disabled.

And then he swung the rifle like a club directly at Rogan’s chin.

“And three? The name’s Mardusk… and I don’t fight fair.”

Mardusk, CoS

Rogan took a step back and rubbed his chin looking at the large green alien. Putting enough space between them, Rogan let his eyes take in the masses now piling up at the invisible barriers. “Seems your superiors already planned to sacrifice you and their masses. You think like the Supreme Commanding General Vyce. Accept no loss no matter the cost. I can respect that. I will make sure however your broken and bloodied body will remain alive until the last one of your people has died. Decompression is such a nasty way to go.”

Raising his fists, Rogan unleashed a barrage of weapons fire at the large man. It was not enough to kill him but would speed up his journey to the next life. As the first bolt reached close enough to singe the hair on his arm, Mardusk would feel a rush of icy coldness as a black inky oil coated the front of him. The weapon’s fire impacted the substance allowing Mardusk to feel the sting of the impact. It was as if twenty bees all stung at once but then evaporated away.

Mardusk tensed at the impact and gritted his teeth. But rather than having to try and stay conscious… he giggled slightly. “Heh… that kinda tickles. Do it again. I like it.” and he flipped the rifle in his hand to hold it by the barrel and began advancing on Rogan.

Rogan’s body went tense with rage. “Mech’s disable civil defense mode,” he thundered out.

The mic in the armor responded to Rogan’s query. =/\=Command protocols must come from the user to which the Mech’s were assigned=/\=

He swore in several languages unfamiliar to the security chief when it was confirmed what Rogan had suspected as he watched the Mech shield Mardusk from the attack. Killing this man was going to be harder but not impossible. “Where is the girl,” Rogan said in a low growl. The reasons why he needed Jessa were numerous. The way he was going to get her was simple. Either the man before him would bring him to Jessa or Rogan would use the man to get to Jessa.

Rogan

“Beats me.” Mardusk said and suddenly lunged forward with a speed wholly remarkable for a being his size. The arm holding the rifle drew back to swing… but then his left hand shot up and a fist the size or Rogan’s head aimed squarely for the soft spot under his jaw.

Mardusk, CoS

Rogan took the blow and stepped back blinking as he spit out a tooth with a mouthful of blood. The splatter hit the floor in a glob of blood mixed with spittle. If it were not for the nanites immediately repairing the damage to his jaw and the ensuing concussion, Rogan would have been lying on the ground slipping into the blackness of unconsciousness. As Rogan found his feet, his armor immediately went up covering his body in a blink of an eye. “You will pay for that.” The battle drug increased Rogan’s rage and dimmed his rational thought at the moment. Snapping the sides of his fist together a new weapon appeared. As he drew his hands apart, a rod that appeared to be pure energy grew between them until it reached the size of a sword. Wrapping both hands around what could be assumed to be a hilt Rogan let out a loathsome growl.

“I am not going to let you die easy. I will cleave your head from your neck and put it on a pike.” As Rogan spoke he spun and lunged forward swinging at Mardusk’s neck. Instead of it rolling from his body, however, the Mech slipped between the blade and the Orion’s green skin stopping it. Mardusk would feel the blade press against his skin for as long as he stood there but no physical damage could occur with the Mech set on Civil Defense mode. As long as Mardusk was not actively branching his weapon, the Mech would protect him. The battle would be a game of feints and blows with Mardusk having to time when he was being the aggressor to attack and when to be passive so the Mech provided protection.

Rogan the Elder

Mardusk grasped the intricacies of the situation quickly. He looked at Rogan, down at the tooth on the floor, and back at Rogan. “Smile, chuckles. I’m gonna start a fu<€ing collection.” He stepped forward, but didn’t throw a punch or swing the rifle. He grinned, and then did the one thing that insulted enemies the galaxy over…

He yawned and turned his back to Rogan. Rogan’s own anger combined with the battle drug dulling his more rational thoughts cause him to take the bait. With a scream barely held back behind gritted teeth, he drew back and aimed a swing designed to cut the giant Orion in two.

But suddenly, the Orion wasn’t there. Mardusk sidestepped just out of reach of the blade, twisted, and grabbed Rogan’s wrists just below his grip on the sword. Using Rogan’s own momentum and his own undeniable strength, Mardusk spun Rogan off his feet, around in a full circle adding to the soldier’s inertia… and sent him flying forcefully through a stand of art supplies and into the bulkhead.

Mardusk looked at the now paint covered Elder and cocked his to the side slightly with a thoughtful expression on his face. “Huh… lavender really is your color. I woulda thought you’d be more of an earth tone.”

Mardusk, CoS

Rogan stood looking at the smug expression on Mardusk’s face. The man was a powerhouse of muscle and strength. The move was a classic battlefield strategy that worked brilliantly because no one ever dared to try and touch an Elder. The fact this man had reached out so effortlessly to grip him had momentarily stunned and confused Rogan. Armor integrity 71% the heads up display in Rogan’s helmet announced. While inferior beings, they were starting to peck away at the strength of their armor like a bird eating a crumb of bread.

Rising, Rogan felt his blood boil and his anger flash to a blinding red. His own tech was going to save this man’s life unless Rogan could time a strike perfectly so the Mech’s saw his aggression with a weapon and therefore would not attack. It was going to be a game of cat and mouse. Staring around the space it was clear who was in power. The simpering masses that huddled and cried behind him like scared sheep just needed a sheppard. Panicked masses had turned the tide before in numerous battles. While there were only half a hundred individuals trapped with them in this space, Rogan only needed to spark the riot and they would tear the man limb from limb.

“To see the true power and nobility of an individual judge them not on how they defend their own life and possessions. This they will fight to the bitter end to preserve. Judge them on how they defend the weak and the innocent, the poor and downtrod for these are the ones who seek protection in a storm. So come to me ye lambs that have forgotten the true way out of darkness for I am the path and not the monster that stands before you.”

Instead of attacking Mardusk, Rogan deactivated one pod holding a child. The face shield slide back and the child blinked as if waking from a dream. “Mommy,” the voice called out hesitantly at first but them with more urgency as the child realized they were awake and immobilized in the unit. “Mommy,” the child screamed out as a woman sprang from the spot she was huddled in.

“Jaxs,” she screamed not caring what was happening between the men in the space. Her hands instantly moved into the helmet-like structure still holding her son but not releasing him further. As her fingers explored him, she felt a small device attached to his neck like a metal tick that was buried half under Jax’s skin.

Rogan ignited his sword and held it pointing towards Mardusk at a distance. “Come to me and bring your lamb for I am your own salvation and path to enlightenment. The only other path is darkness and despair.” The key to any battle was knowing what one was fighting for. Civilian populations made this easy. They only cared for their selves and not the greater good. Give them whatever hedonistic or self-serving want they were desiring and they gave up any aspect of altruism. “Come to me,” Rogan extended his hand as the armor began to alter slightly from the cold gunmetal gray to a more white and opalescence color. “I will head all your pain.” Rogan felt a surge of power fill his soul. This woman was going to do whatever it would take to save her offspring from the metal casket like pod Jaxs was enclosed in. The look in her eyes showed she would bow down to Rogan on bended knee. Where one sheep led the others would follow. With all the Mech’s currently encapsulating the dormant children, Rogan needed some sort of human shield and she would be the first of the flock to provide it.

Rogan the Elder

“It’s going to be okay baby,” Marialla looked at her son and pushed the hair off his face. Jaxs was awake but appeared to be groggy as if waking up from a deep slumber. “Just hang on. We are going to get you out of here. We need to get you out of here,” she voice held a slight waver of panic as her hands alternated between his face and searching for a seam in the capsule.

“Come to me lost lamb in the pitch of night and I shall bestow the grace of God to shine up you and those you hold dear.” Rogan locked eyes with the woman. If she defied him he would kill the child. One less child in the vastness of the universe meant nothing except to the people it belonged to.

Mardusk looked at Jaxs, then at his mother, Marialla. He then looked at Rogan and shook his head. “You just don’t get it, do you? You really don’t… thats a shame.” Mardusk slowly closed the distance between himself and Rogan. Slowly, methodically… As he did, he spoke. Not to Rogan, but to Marialla and Jaxs. But his eyes stayed on Rogan. “Marialla… do you remember when Jaxs was sick a few months ago? Jaxs, you remember? You got that bug those Defrilian diplomats brought on board with ‘em.”

Marialla felt a wave of calm starting to course through her body. Mardusk invoked a sense of safety and security. She pulled her eyes off Rogan and focused them on Mardusk.

“Buddy, you were so scared. I remember, because I came to see you. And your mom was there every day, sitting by your bed. And I’d come and we’d play ‘Guess Who’ and pretend the person we were looking for were Orion smugglers. And the CMO was making sure you were safe and getting better?” and he chuckled and spoke to Rogan. “I’m Orion, by the way. My people tend not to be the most law-abiding folks.” and he went back to talking to Jaxs and his mom.

“And do you two remember when the ship was caught in that ion storm? And Captain Kelly came down to the emergency shelter and checked on y’all? Made sure you were safe? And Marialla, remember when your husband was caught in the Jeffries Tube in Engineering? The whole damn Engineering section ripped out an entire bulkhead just to get to him. And they did, and the medical team made sure he recovered. Im sure you both remember that. So remember that now. Keep in mind how we all stand up for one another. We watch out for each other. We fight for one another. This f^<king guy? He’s nothing. He hasn’t been here. He hasn’t stood by anyone. Us, though… us… we’re shipmates. We’re crew. Tell him.” and Mardusk looked at Jaxs and Marialla. “Tell him why he doesn’t win here today. Because he’s just him.” and the hard as stone emerald eyes swiveled back to Rogan and the hands curled into fists and the chisled jaw set in defiance. When he spoke, his voice echoed through the Promenade like thunder.

“And we’re goddamn family. And nobody f^<ks with our family.”

Mardusk, CoS

“Interesting that you phrase it that way because you not only triffed with family but also stole my child. Why should I give you one of yours?” Flicking his hand the tube sealed up trapping Jaxs, “until I have mine back.” This green alien was dangerous. He was able to control the room with only words.
That needed to be dealt with.

“What are you talking about,” Marialla yelled at Rogan.

Without speaking, Rogan lifted his arm and fired a bolt at Marialla’s chest. If they would not bow by choice, they would by force.

Rogan.

As the arm came up, Mardusk moved with a speed wholly unnatural for a being his size. He didn’t dive in front of the blast.. this wasn’t some science fiction movie where crap like that actually did anyone any good. No, instead he stepped between them and braced for the impact but kept moving forward, his eyes locked on Rogan.

Mardusk

The bolt impacted Mardusk’s shoulder clipping him like a battering ram. The power behind the weapon was not like a phaser that dropped one in place. Instead, it seemed to transfer the kinetic energy of an old-fashioned bullet propelling its target back. The impact spun Mardusk like a top backward and into a rack of garments. Clothes flew off their hangars as bottles and tubes from display tables crashed to the floor emptying their contents among the glass shards ricocheting in all directions. The air took on a sickening sweet aroma as the Jasmine, musk, and florals from the perfumes mixed with the sweat from the fear of those trapped in the space.

Rogan had aimed for Marialla. Hitting Mardusk was not intentional but irrelevant. The reaction from the crowd was the same. Terror streaked through the crowds as Rogan’s gaze settled on a familiar face. The sound of his footfalls echoed like a mentronome punctuated by the occasional crunch of glass below his boot. The dark uniform of his prison jumpsuit made Rogan appear almost wraith like in appearance. The image was all the more unsettling with his rogueish good looks and smug smile curling the edges of his lips.

Walking past the bodies of the individual he shot when he first exited the transport here and now the security chief, he moved with the precision of a predator to a dark-haired woman in blue he had spied among the faces in the crowd. “Della, Della, Della,” he said in a soft tone before fisting her hair and dragging her back to the open space he and Mardusk just occupied. Her hands and feet scrabbled between trying to pry the man’s fingers from her hair and grabbing something to stop Rogan from pulling her to wherever it was that he was taking her.

“Rogan....Rogan you need to calm down,” the junior counselor tried to use reason and logic to satiate the sociopath dragging her away from the safety of the huddled masses. Her feet kicked out as she tried to find leverage to stand but failed at each attempt.

Snapping his wrist around, Rogan turned her from the cave man style he was dragging her to facing him as he lifted her up using her hair. “Do you remember sweet Della what I said to you when you sat smug behind your invisible wall and I was caged like an animal?” He felt a primal stirring in his body looking into Della’s eyes. She was terrified and it fed his soul like a fuel.

“We talked a lot,” she pushed the welling knot down in her throat attempting to keep her voice steady.

“I promised to kill you slowly. I promised you would die but not before you watched everyone you loved suffer and die before your eyes. I however am feeling magnanimous. You bring me my child and I will let you pick one person you love to survive to remember you by.” Pulling her close to him Rogan inhaled the scent of her perfumed skin and hair. Inhaling deeply he whispered. “I am only the monster you are forcing me to be.”

In the far back of the room however there was another surprise. Rogan’s brash and destructive distraction had pulled everyone’s attention away from the small enviromental vent that was now slowly sliding down. “Chief,” one of Mardusk’s men whispered seeing thier commander lying face down. Pulling his body from the hatch he moved with the precision Mardusk had drilled into them until he was inches from the security cheif.

Pulling out a knife he slid it along the ground to Gravel as he nodded his head to the right indicating the extraction process from the civlians. Crawling from the hatch two men took up positions next to the hatch as a third began motioning for the civilians to slowly exit the space the way they came in.

Rogan

As the knife slid near, a big green hand stopped it’s momentum and the Security Chief’s eyes flicked back and forth for a moment. “Get ‘em out. I’ll keep him busy.” Mardusk sub-vocalized. He didn’t move for a moment, letting Rogan admonish the Counselor long enough for the security team to begin the evac of the civilians.

The man nodded at Gravel. Only his training and confidence in the chief prevented him from an act of insubordination. He wanted to open fire on the man like the other security officers were doing in the restaurant area of the promenade. “Chief,” he touched his earpiece and looked at his boss. “They just ordered a permanent takedown order on the child in the group.” Kids could be just as deadly as an adult. While the forcefields were up sectioning the space into quarters, that did not mean sound did not travel. The puhlunk, puhlunk, puhlunk sound of some sort of weapons fire echoed along with the more familiar pew pew sound of the Federation phasers.

He then slid the knife up the cuff of his sleeve and then yelled loudly as he extracted himself quite dramatically from the display debris, throwing bits of clothes and tables and glass in seemingly every direction at random… but all directing looks away from the vent.

“You arrogant. Conceited. Ignorant. Crass. Pompous. Misogynistic. Racid little excuse for a coward!” Mardusk yelled as he stood up. His right shoulder screamed in pain, but the Orion gritted his teeth and fixed a truly hate-filled gaze upon Rogan.

“You forgot charming, handsome, and dashing,” Rogan looked back at Gravel as he fisted Della’s hair and snapped her around so she was between him and Gravel. “Isn’t that right Della?” Rogan felt excitement course through his body. Every man on this ship just wanted to talk and Rogan was looking for a little action. He watched the man stand, frowning briefly as he saw his weapon had only nipped at his shoulder. The shot had never been intended for the man but that did not matter to Rogan.

“First, you attack children. Then, you attack a weapon-less woman. Now… another weapon-less woman. All smaller than you. All weaker than you. So are you just a coward? Or are you impotent, too? Because you have had me here to fight this entire time. And you only go after the small women. So either you are a coward… less than a man… or both.” and he extended his pinky finger out straight; and then slowly let it droop. “Look familiar?” and he laughed at Rogan as he set his bulk between Rogan’s point of view and the Security team’s efforts and began to walk towards him.

Rogan’s attention was laser focused on Gravel. Jerking Della’s head to the right, he licked up her neck long and slow before placing a soft kiss on her jugular as if they were lovers. “Wait for me. I never break my promise but I need to do something first.” Flinging his hand, Rogan tossed Della aside with a strength only possible because of his armor. Her arms and legs flailed as she hit the forcefield wall partitioning up the promenade. If Gravel was not aware the field existed, he would now as a sickening impact of Della’s body crashed into it. The sound was similar to that of a wet towel being dropped to a title floor. It was thick and resonating producing a chilling sensation to anyone that heard it. A slight twitch by Della’s hand as she tried to push up showed she was still alive. Looking up she saw the slight frown on Mardusk’s face. His point was to find a way to take away Rogan’s human shield. If she had just pretended to be dead, it would have been better.

“C’mon, big boy. You think you are so tough? Prove it. Because so far all you’ve shown is how you can scare women and children. You say you are so freakin’ superior, then show me. Let’s settle this. You and me. You put her down, and you and I fight the way the gods intended. No guns. No machines. Just my fists and your face. Hell, you kill me and she’s still gonna be there. You can kill her afterwards. And she and I are friends. And I know she’s got a thing for me. Right, D?” Mardusk said with a glance at the Counselor. Mardusk knew she was smart. He just hoped she wasn’t so scared that her smart was overshadowed.

Her head ached but she blinked slowly processing what Gravel said. “Don’t. I can’t let him hurt you?” She knew what Gravel was trying to do but worried about the result.

Rogan snapped his wrists together making his sword disappear from his hand. He took a few steps in a circle taking in the challenge almost salivating at the chance to face a real enemy.

“So you’ll be doing what you said… for a change. Killing the ones she cares about in front of her. I mean… if you think you can. ‘Cause otherwise, you’re just proving me right.” and Mardusk stopped a few feet outside of Rogan’s reach. He put up his fists, visibly flinching as he used his left shoulder. “C’mon. Let’s dance one time and see who really is better… coward.”

Mardusk, CoS

Rogan closed the space between him and Gravel still in his armor. It allowed him an advantage because Gravel would not be able to get through it without a full-on phase barrage. Gripping Gravel’s uniform shirt he pulled the man towards him. Flicking his neck to the side, the armor felt back so that Rogan was now without his armor. “I am going to kill you slowly,” he whispered into Gravel’s ear as he dug a finger into the wound on Gravel’s shoulder. As he dug his finger into Gravel’s shoulder, a trace amount of the battle drug seeped into the wound. It was not a lot but enough to spark an increase in aggression, the feeling of invincibility, and power.

Rogan was only about six inches shorter than Gravel but had considerably less mass. This allowed Gravel’s punch to land squarely on Rogan pushing the man back. While the punch was into his torso, the impact caused a spray of spittle and blood from the broken tooth to fall on Gravel’s shoulder. Along with this was also a few nano’s from Rogan’s blood that immediately began to heal the damage on a cellular level.

Rogan took a step back coughing slightly. The man probably broke a few ribs but the nano’s would fix it. Assuming a traditional boxing stance, Rogan looked up at Gravel. “Let’s dance,” he nodded at the man.

Gravel would almost immediately begin to feel something different. First his shoulder was burning less and feeling like he had more movement and less pain. Gravel would also notice that his anger was spiking far faster.

Rogan.

Mardusk felt the changes and quickly shunted the thoughts aside. Focus was key. “Orions don’t dance with cowards.” he growled and he prepped to throw a wicked uppercut with his right fist, telegraphing the blow like a cheesy Earth police sitcom from the mid-twentieth century…

And then his left fist shot forward, faster than even Mardusk anticipated, and he jabbed Rogan squarely in the face. SMACK! Mardusk’s eyes went wide in surprise at the force and speed of the blow.

Rogan blinked twice feeling the blow impact his face. The MECH’s immediately swiveled around. Their red senor eye glowed a firey red as their sensors took in the data. The weapon Mardusk has spirited away was detected but not being used. Based on the civil defense programming, the MECH’s were not permitted to interfere or attack. That did not mean however they weren’t constantly scanning for a weapon to be brandished. As long as the fight was equal, it would continue.

He jabbed again. SMACK SMACK!! echoed in the space as Rogan’d head snapped backwards from the first blow, then twice more at the repeated shots. Blood spread from his nose and dripped onto his lip.. and Mardusk grinned.

The next shot was a right fist to the solar plexus, doubling Rogan over. Two large, green hands took hold of the back of his head, much like Rogan had done to Della. “Not quite as fun to be on the receiving end of this, is it?” Mardusk asked and then a right foot rocketed off the ground, driving the Security Chief’s knee straight up and into Rogan’s face with a sickening crunch as bone cracked and broke under the amplified strength of the Orion’s attack.

The wound from Gravel’s knees allowed Rogan’s blood to smear along the chief’s uniform. As he lifted Rogan’s head, small droplets fell into the shoulder wound Rogan inflicted earlier. While it was healing, it still was seeping blood.

Mardusk paused a moment. He felt good… really good. And something was pushing him to keep at Rogan. To hurt him. To make it brutal and painful and…

Mardusk shook his head and took a steadying breath. He looked at Rogan and said “Physics lesson for the day.

Raising his head, Rogan noticed a change in the large green alien. He seemed slightly confused or disoriented but not enough to make him an easy target. Was he confused at how easy it was to attack the Elder or was it something else?

An object in motion- my fist- will stay in motion until acted upon by an outside force- your face. Stay down and surrender. I’m not going to tell you again. This is your only chance to live through this, Rogan. If you stand up… you will die.”

Mardusk, CoS

Rogan lifted his head and wiped the blood off his face with the back of his hand. A smile formed on his face as he looked at Mardusk. “Your arrogance will be your downfall.” Moving from his spot Rogan ran at him until he was inches away before dropping into a slide and running a blade along the Orion’s leg just above his ankle. The cut was not deep enough to cause any issues with combat but it was just centimeters away from the man’s achilles tendon. The slice was too clean and too precise to be haphazard.

Mardusk winced and stifled a sharp cry as the blade slid through his skin, but he stayed standing.

Standing up out of the Orion’s reach, Rogan brought the blade to his tongue and slicked the smear off with a smile. “So close to taking you out of the game and yet…I did not. Why do you think that is?” The look in Rogan’s eyes was not fear. It was a sadistic gleam with hints of euphoria only expressed in those with clinical psychopathic disorders. On some twisted level, Rogan was enjoying this interaction with Mardusk as evidenced by his verbal banter with the man.

“Because you’re a dumb ass.” Mardusk replied flatly.

Moving around the space, Mardusk would notice a sharp contrast in the way Rogan attacked him versus Jessa. Jessa had been sloppy without form or grace. Rogan moved like an assassin. His comment showed he was hiding his skills and waiting like a cobra to strike. “Where is the girl,” Rogan asked him flicking his wrist. A small circular like blade shot out spinning much like a boomerang sinking deep into where the Orion’s kidney was. The blade had an uncanny precision as if it was seeking a spot on remote control versus a lucky throw by the assailant.

The pain Mardusk would feel would be equivalent to a knife wound in the kidney however with the battle drug coursing through his veins, the pain would be lessened tenfold. The infusion of Rogan’s blood into Gravel’s wound had also given him more nano’s which were already speeding through his bloodstream and repairing the delicate parenchyma tissue that was damaged. Gripping and removing the blade impaled in his lower back would produce blood yet it would not cause him to bleed out as would be expected with the injury.

Rogan

Mardusk did just that, yanking the blade free and looking at the copper colored blood drip off of it. Already he could feel the pain subsiding and the blood flow stopping. The Security Chief grinned and put his hand on the wound, feeling the skin knitting under his fingertips. He looked at Rogan and held up his fingers showing just a few specks of blood now. “Huh… imagine that. I guess you shoulda tried harder.” Mardusk crossed his arms on his chest and shook his head at Rogan, subtly slipping the knife in his sleeve into his covered hand. “I’m really sorry, Rogan. I tried to let you come out of this intact. But I guess we have to do it the hard way. So c’mon big boy… let’s get this over with, you sorry excuse for a warrior.” Mardusk knew that impugning his abilities as a fighter was the sure fire way to get him to commit to another attack.

Mardusk, CoS

“Get this over with,” Rogan looked at Mardusk as if he said something humorous. “Now what makes you think this is just going to be all over with?” Rogan’s gesture with his hand would have appeared almost casual as if they had been dining and he paused to reply waving about his knife. Keeping his distance, Rogan moved with carefully placed steps as he spoke.

“Education time,” Rogan clapped his hands together. “So I am going to guess based on the size of your pissant backwater galaxy you have about 40 or so billion planets capable of life. Now that it is life but not intelligent life. I am going to give you the benefit of the doubt and say you have 500 thriving civilizations.”
Rogan spat out facts that were in line with basic knowledge of the universe due to physic principles. He walked about as if lecturing only pausing to wipe off a bit of blood using the back of his hand. Like Mardusk, he was healing at an exponential rate however his wounds were a bit deeper and needed longer to treat.

“So tell me how many planets do you have in this Federation of yours? One hundred? One fifty? Tell you what… I am going to give you two hundred planets in your grand Federation,” Rogan shouted out like it it was a negotiation raising his knife and pointing it at Mardusk as if it was an extension of his hand.

Instantly his face stiffened and his eyes took on the blackness only the psychotic possessed. “The Union is composed of two hundred’s galaxies with one united goal…enlightenment. You may see us as only four people but we are just the first. Whether you strike me down here is irrelevant. We will come and we will take over your Federation and crush it like a can of ale before moving on…simply because we can so tell me…how again how you expect this to just be over with?”

Rogan

Mardusk watched Rogan as he strutted about, letting the man lord his ‘intellect’ and grandstand as he lectured Mardusk on… whatever-the-hell he was talking about. Mardusl was only half listening. He was watching past Rogan as his security team moved people out and to safety. It wasn’t until the last one was inside the vent that Mardusk’s attention snapped back fully to Rogan.

As the last word of his question dripped from his lips, Mardusk moved… and moved fast. Covering the ground between himself and Rogan in two long strides, Mardusk first telegraphed a strike with his left hand, just as he had done before. But for all of his bluster, Mardusk knew Rogan was a trained combatant. He wouldn’t fall for the same truck twice.

Which is why it wasn’t a trick.

The massive left fist of Mardusk slammed solidly Into Rogan’s right temple. At the same time, Mardusk’s right hand flicked and the knife in his sleeve fell into his hand. As Rogan staggered, Mardusk grabbed him by the throat and lifted him bodily off the floor and choke-slammed him into the bulkhead. The knife shot upwards, into Rogan’s stomach once then twice then three times. Mardusk looked Rogan in the eye and said “I told you… I cheat.” and then the bloody blade was dragged hard across the suspended figure’s throat right above the hand holding him up in the air. As gouts of blood began to flow down, Mardusk drew the blade back, reversed his grip, and drove it into Rogan’s left eye.

Mardusk, CoS

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