See part one for previous here.
A few minutes later…
Fim was recovered and brought to the bridge to debrief Carmarthras.
“… so they set me down when they tried to force the door open, and that’s when I escaped through an access shaft. I manage to sneak back to Ops pry open a wall panel and trigger the lockdown.” Fim finished his report with one last gasp of breath. The experience must have been quite troubling to him. He kept looking around in a nervous and twitchy manner (even by Imp standards nervous and twitchy).
“You have served the Legion well Fim. My crew will handle the situation from here.” Fim didn’t seem any more reassured by the Dreadlord’s words but he didn’t have time to address the Imp’s fears further.
“Strike team has found the escapees they’re engaging now.” Klekshak reported.
“Good! Tell them to make it quick. How are the recovery teams doing?”
“Lead team has a live feed, I’ll patch them through.”
The main screen flickered then showed a Fel guard standing in a dimly lit hallway. The Illidari were littered on the floor, some of them twitched and reached for passing demons, but with the suppression field active they lack the will to stand much less fight. The Jailer demons were caging and transporting them via portals into the hold below deck. “Zero resistance…” The Fel guard reported, “We should have them all on board in a few minutes.”
Carmarthras snorted. “Those fools thought they could escape. Keep me posted.”
The Fel guard nodded and the image flickered away.
A chirping alert sounded. “Report!” The dreadlord demanded with a roll of his eyes. This should be a simple mission, but that alert indicated something had going wrong, which meant further delays until they reached Argus.
“The… the attack team has been wiped out… they were fine one second then… dead!”
Carmarthras scoffed. “So they were useless after all… Call Tinale, her team, and a portalmancer to the bridge. I’ll hand this personally.”
“Um…” Fim’s voice squeaked up. “Not that I doubt you Ship Commander, but if that asteroid blows up we’ll be safe … right?”
“Of course!” The dreadlord replied in an annoyed declaration. “At worse the blast wave might set us adrift but this vessel has top of the line armor plating we’ll be safe from debris and the stabilizers will automatically right the ship as soon as the blast wave passes by us.
“Um does that armor plating work if we’re standing on top of the ship like we are right now?” Fim gestured out into the open space around them.
The dreadlord sighed as Portalmancer began his work. Timale, three of her best Succubi, and a squad of Jailers were nearby ready to go. “Fim we’re on the side opposite of the asteroid. Any debris would have to fly clean through the ship to get to us. Now silence yourself! I have work to do.”
Fim shrunk back and made a closed mouth zipper gesture.
The portal began to form, at first as a small green twisting sphere, then it slowly grew and flattened into a vertical disk with a dark hole in the center. With a bright flash and burst of demonic energy the portal stabilized creating a connection between two points in space. The very instant the portal was transversable something came through it. How that was possible was an interesting question. The four beings rushing through the portal must have already been in motion and managed to be at the threshold the instant it appeared. The portal should not have been visible on the other side until it was fully formed. Logically the only way they could have managed this feat was if they somehow knew the exact time and location the portal was going to be and were able to time their charge to that exact moment. Of course, Carmarthras didn’t have time to think about any of this.
By reflex he brought his arms up just in time to use his gauntlet to deflect a glave strike from a far too large, far too fast, and far too strong Illidari. The attacker followed up the first blow with three more. Carmarthras managed to deflect two more but the final one scored a painful hit to his mid-section. The attack continued, the Illidari’s movements becoming blindingly fast, no doubt this was the ‘Blade Dance’ technique, blow after blow struck inflicting minor damage. Any dreadlord could easily take a hundred of these attacks and keep fighting. The attacker’s true intentions became clear when he realized the Illidari had used the Blade Dance to move past him to engage other targets. The dreadlord spun around just in time to see the Demon hunters down one of Timale’s agents and the big one one make a leap at Timale herself. They were smart, knew to target anyone capable of turning them on each other first.
Kleksa slammed on the button for the ship wide alert calling for additional re-enforcements. He turned lifting his weapon to attack, only to catch a glaive to the chest killing him instantly.
The big one took a swing at Timale and missed as she nimbly danced out of the way, creating an opening that Carmarthras quickly seized upon with a fireblast. The Illidari was hit hard, the blast sending him crashing into the wall.
The first to fall was shorter female Kaldorei, a pair of voidwalkers manage to grab her by the arms and hold her long enough for an Jailer to trap her. As she was pushed into a pocket dimension she screamed, “NO! The goddess promised me victory!”
The second was the other female, Timale overwhelmed her mentally. The Demon Huntress screamed as she dropped her weapons and fell to her knees clutching the sides of her head trying to block out whatever the Succubus was doing to her. The Jailers trapped her shortly after.
The Sin’dorei put up an excellent fight. Using defensive tactics he managed slay scores of demons: slicing, bashing, and spewing fire using every technique and trick he had until he was finally tackled to the ground by Carmarthras himself and held down until he was caged.
Only the leader remained now, and he was fiercer than the other three combined. He impaled demons with his glaives, he tore them apart with his bear hands, he drained them of their energies with his gauntlet, when he started getting desperate, he threw demons clear off the ship or used one demon as a weapon against another.
Carmarthras stared at the beaten and bruised Illidari. He was surrounded by literal piles of dead demons, the deck was slick with fel blood. The dreadlord had to admit… he respected this one. If they were all as powerful as he was, the Legion would have a real fight on their hands. “It’s over hunter! You’re the last! Everyone of your allies has been captured, and brought aboard this ship. Give up now, and perhaps I’ll be able to find you a place within the Legion.” He knew the Illidari wouldn’t accept, others might, others in fact already had, but this one… no this one was going to fight to the death. He could tell by the look in his eyes, he could see it even through the mask. The offer was just a distraction to let one of his Jailers get close enough.
But then something happened, something that Carmarthras had not anticipated. His gaze shifted, first from Carmarthras himself, then to his captured allies taking time to look at each one noting that they’re in the banish cages, and finally to the portal. They hadn’t had a chance to close it during the battle. Perhaps the Illidari was thinking about running, but that was pointless even if he got back down to the asteroid there was no place to go. The Illidari that fought so hard, far harder than any other demon hunter Carmarthras ever knew of, raised his hands and surrendered.
The dreadlord was very much taken by surprise. He was certain this one would keep fighting no matter what, he could see it in his eyes. The look of defiance and hatred, the raging fire burning within them. An unquenchable, insatiable fire… even as the Jailer trapped him in the cage they still burned. Something was wrong.
“Timale!” He barked and glanced to the succubus. She had been injured during the fight, she kept a tight grip upon a nasty gash on her side with fel blood oozing out. “Read him… he’s up to something.”
She gave him a confused look then stood up and did as ordered, extending her hand outward to dig into his mind. “He’s… he’s letting me in,” she reported.
A smirk formed under the scarf.
Timale shrieked in fear and exclaimed “CLOSE THE PORTALS NOW!!!”
But it was too late.
Silysa watched as Ryo worked. Apparently the goddess had sought fit to bless him with a considerable talent for machines. According to Fim he was making some sort of remote device that would act like a ‘still alive signal’. She found the concept amusing. Illidari took from demons that which granted them strength, or to put it another way the best tools a demon hunter could have were the ones they stole from the Legion. It seemed Ryo took this idea to heart by stealing their idea for the ‘still alive signal’.
It had been difficult to decipher Ryo’s plan, as a conversation with him was a sequence of asking questions and deciphering one or two word answers, but Silysa understood. It was as the goddess told her ‘Victory lies in defeat’.
“Alright, let’s go over this one more time.” Valencia suggested.
“I hath concerns about this plan. I see its method but it seems like madness.”
Silyas did the talking, knowing Ryo simply wouldn’t, but he nodded in agreement as she explained each point. “We can not hope to defeat the enemy by force, so we must defeat them with intelligence and their own weapons. Ryo is creating a device that will cause the asteroid to self destruct once the signal it gives off has been silenced.”
Fim nodded. “Right just like the ‘still alive signal’ except with more exploding.
Silysa continued. “The destruction of this asteroid will be carried onto the ship through their own portals.”
“That is my concern, how shall we survive then?”
The oracle smiled. “Patients Thorn, all shall be made clear. We must allow everyone to be captured, Ryo being the last to be caged.”
Fim chimed in. “Right, that’s why I need to convince them supression lock down is engaged, and why we told everyone to lie down and not fight when the demons show up. That way the Jailers will banish cage them.”
Silysa nodded. “We four will fight our way onto the ship in order to buy some time and keep the enemy distracted so no one catches onto our plan. Once everyone is on the ship and caged, Ryo will be captured and that will set off the self destruct.”
Valencia nods, “Right and the destruction of the asteroid will be carried through their own portals wiping out everyone on the ship…”
“Except us… their own cages will keep us safe. Anyone banished is unable to do harm AND be harmed,” Silysa explained with a smile.
A wave of fire burst from the portal, like a volcano erupting. It didn’t last long, putting that much fire and force through a portal would collapse it in seconds, but that was all that was needed. The demons that weren’t vaporized outright were blown off the deck into space. Down in the hold were the other Illidari were brought onto the ship, the fire spilled in through the portals there engulfing the demons in cleansing fire. The force of the explosion slammed into the ship causing it to be flung away into space sending into a stomach turn spin until the stabilizers kicked in and righted the vessel.
Once the heat and noise passed Fim emerged from his hiding spot in the floor panel. He managed to slip away into a safe spot as the fight started. “Big guy?!” He called out as he tried to peer through the smoke. “Illidari babes? Not as big guy?” He called out in a slight panic, he began to fear the plan hadn’t worked.
“Here!” Ryo called out as he managed to force his way out of the dimensional pocket and break what was left of the heavily damaged cage.
Fim raced over and tried to help him out, but due to the sheer size difference there was little he could do.
“I remain.” Thorn reported triumphantly, he struggled a bit to break out of his cage. Ryo came over and assisted him.
“The goddess still wishes me to serve it seems,” Silyas’ way of saying she was okay.
“I can NOT believe… that insane #$#*ing plan actually worked!” Valencia declared with an angry yet somehow joyful yell.
Once everyone was free, the smoke cleared, and the initial thrill of celebration wore off, the team was left with a question. “Sooo… now what?” Fim inquired.
“Clear remaining.” Ryo responded in his usual Ryo manner.
“Verily, it is likely at least some demons remain aboard ‘our’ ship. I shall rally the troops below and seize the remaining enemies.” Thorn still eager for a fight headed below deck.
“Don’t kill them all! Save some for food… and possibly fuel.” Valencia called out after him.