(I warn you now: This chapter will
get very violent.)
Chapter 19: Trident
My training's intensity increased tenfold, just for the next day, for I had a great suspicion about what could and would go wrong on a simple errand such as this. Arbiters happened to do a raid just when we were getting resupplied at Tuaxin, we could get another face-full of ambush with this visit just to get fuel. A real Onlisk presence, if not a strong one, would help us ward off the invasion with a decision of helping the lesser of two evils, but I doubt that they alone would do the trick, and in the process, we may have to 'admit' to owning weapons the Government kept a very close eye on, were going to wind up in some awkward position if the Calypso was brought up, and were beyond doubt going to get arrested unless we save everyone's rears that good. Or we got away that fast.
Fortunately for me, at least, I had obtained a new trick up my sleeve for this trip. Early on into my new training regime, my Metal-contorting powers increased. Magneto could kiss my butt at this point: Aside from simply feeling any metal for a good radius around me (and said radius extending if there was metal in the initial radius), I also found myself able to control the temperature of the metal. I could heat it up to being white-hot, or cool it to the point where if your foot wound up on it, you'd be stuck. If I was actually comfortable with wielding them, I'd probably be using this to never overheat anything like a Troika, or a Reitaus.
However, I wouldn't be straying too far from the Calypso. Mario knew that above all, Gear had his eyes out for me, and according to Karazin, getting Gear mad was suicidal. Iris’s rage and Storm’s defeat aside, I was high on Gear’s top ten most loathed list (if not the Onlisk’s top ten most wanted list) already, and counting those two incidents, those that had a lot of stock in Gear’s ability to destroy people were already considering me as good as dead. I’d be carrying both Encrypts, and disguising the reason as a precaution to an Arbiter attack. Whether they’d let it slide, or get suspicious about how I was wielding pistols with more power than a Boltok Revolver, was up to circumstance.
I was also training my Pokemon like mad. I knew that Pokemon were invaluable assets to Volteers, providing an attack option that in some cases were beyond the reach of Volteers themselves-and to train the Pokemon in the arts of Knight’s Assent would open up a whole new breed of hell. Scyez could be considered a Volteer herself, the way she took my attacks and could dish her own out. If her bones weren’t metal and her skin wasn’t infused with steel, she’d be more than a match for me. Sadly, that wasn’t the case for her, and I could easily toss her around and around as easily as I did Iris in practice rounds. The rest of my Pokemon were coming along nicely.
Mario, as previously mentioned, was finished with Knight’s Assent. That left the brief time that day to let Karazin be my last worry, and thankfully, compared to the brutal training regime I set for myself and the complications of training five Pokemon at once, the easiest.
"We're arriving in three minutes!"
A brief quip over the ship's intercom was almost unneeded. We could see the station from a mile away. It was meant to have a lot of ships come in, hundreds, of any shape and size. This was actually a small one, from what I knew: The bigger ones could hold tens of thousands. This place shouldn't have gotten as much activity as it was, and it took all of a second’s worth of processing in my head to come up with a significant result: Something’s up.
Oh, I forgot: There was one spot left, it was so packed. If there was a spot aside from that one in the bottom left corner, it was taken by some kind of ship, armed with weapons or obviously civilian. I could easily see a second ship trying to get to our spot, but we were already closer, and we parked with a rumble. The ship hovered around for a while, the driver and passengers obviously discontent with their loss of the last spot, but when another ship started getting out, the last I saw of it was it closing in on the vacant spot-we were too far into our parking zone to tell.
With a barrier popping behind the container-like passageways the ships were supposed to dock into, we got out of the ship. It was a big, roomy place in here, and we were near the back. The whole point was loaded with stuff for maintaining a vessel, including the fuel tank that Issac was heading to.
We decided on not having a system this time around, other than this: If Onlisk presence was too heavy, we'd stick around near the Calypso. Oh, and we were told prior that we were to speak of the Calypso as an old Balan model from the Shining Sailors that we fixed up. And that was it.
Mario decided to walk with me outside, commenting on what all the commotion was about. I had to agree personally: Nobody would travel with Arbiters likely to strike you between destinations unless it was something really important, right?
We walked inside the more human-hospitable point, and both of our mouths were briefly agape. The place was nearly filled to the brim with people of all sorts. It wasn't just humans: I could identify Pokemorphs from their half-Pokemon appearance, Hylians from their pointed ears and tall, slender bodies (the word "Elves" came into mind), and several other races aside from the overly-common homo sapiens were all present, including a bunch of tough-skinned, muscular humanoids colored mostly pale with reddish leather clothing, nearly no metals, obviously meant for some kind of war, looking at two men arguing, and above me, odd floating creatures with a balloon-like structure for a body and tentacles coming out in several places. Several people were talking in languages I couldn’t grasp, but using telepathy revealed what they were saying. If one is telepathic, one will hear every last thought in their own native tongue-why, I don’t know, but thank god it’s that way.
With the exception of the balloon-like aliens and the pale-skinned tough-looking humanoids, who were busy with their own thing, one thing generally surfaced time and again: Some rare treasures recovered from Kaiot and Optu were being taken through this station before being dropped off at Cavix. I wasn't sure if high-ranking Onlisk officials would be present, but I wouldn't doubt that there were Onlisk officials present. I'd rather avoid having precious artifacts being stolen, if I had to take care of them.
We continued to walk on, and I could really start to grasp what Karazin said during all those training sessions I had with him. The social niches of a Volteer were hard to pick up upon at first, and I could never understand what the hell they were talking about whenever they mentioned something pretty basic in the terms of Volteer social knowledge. However, Karazin's tidbits and simple yet awkward interactions with the rest of Eon Sky finally made the whole of what the Volteers were talking about outside of Pokemon make sense, at long last. It wasn't confusing, I just wasn't aware. Obviously, I don't think it's necessary to mention such common social nitpicks, outside of how popular Pokemon were at the time (you could find a million clothes dedicated to the things), and Gear's impact on society simply by him being such a d**m bad***: From where I come from, the equivalent of Gear Pesse was Chuck Norris, and (just so you get the picture) according to those overly-exaggerated rumors that circulate around him, Chuck Norris had roundhouse kicks that matched force with a Big Bang.
The stores were vibrant and sold many things. Among them were clothes and souvenirs from planets that I still don't get the joke about. However, weapon-smiths and gun shops were oddly just as common, and one could see shelters for abused/lost Pokemon every now and then. A lot of it was food-based. If you ever say "food" to a Volteer, here's a likely response: "where?" Yep, we like our food. I've probably already mentioned this, but we will eat a ton, and it's rare to find a food we hate.
After staring at a burger joint, I realized that another weapon-smith’s store popped up right next to it…I had a burning question inside me. One thing Karazin never answered to me…Maybe he assumed?
"Mario, I've been meaning to ask you something...Why does everybody have access to weapons that easily, and yet nobody seems to stand a second's chance against an Arbiter?"
I asked. I wanted to know how in hell they were that good when civilian Volteers carried around guns and swords, for crying out loud. "And why hasn't everything gone to all hell, with everyone carrying around weapons all the time? I'm amazed we're not already in a state of anarchy."
"For the first question...I guess it's part of that Relic of theirs. It's not just a revival of Loyalists-It also keeps the Arbiters in general safe from attacks. It's not really efficient: fast or strong attacks generally get through without much fuss. It's not strong enough to take the stronger weapons and Volteer techniques that the Onlisk Republic's armed forces use, and guns always work, it's too fast for the barrier...But most Volteers are in the Minor rank, meaning that they don't have enough strength to pierce the barrier on most cases...The Arbiters just come in too many numbers, too. They don't seem to have any bit of fear, either. They'll die to carry out the tasks they've been given, no matter what. I don't know where they get these kind of guys from..."
Mario said, as we walked along further stretches of people.
I didn't tell anybody about the brainwashing thing. None of my Eon Sky acquaintances know that until later. I feared they'd be afraid to find their loved ones, brainwashed by those b***rds, willing to die to kill them.
"As for the other one, well, the Onlisk is smart. They've got one hell of a police force, and they've got some nasty punishments."
Mario said. "Insurrection Groups are hard to find, just because. It was so complicated to get into our base at the Iron Goblet just because the Police were good at finding other group's hideouts."
I nervously shot around. There wasn't a kind of guard anywhere...I was getting bad feelings all over. Ambush was written all over this place.
Every now and then, windows were revealed on the walls of the otherwise windowless place, revealing the traffic issues that were making life so difficult for ship parking. I almost swore one ship opened fire on another, but we walked by too fast for that.
Eventually, we reached the source of all the commotion, and upon looking at it, me and Mario exchanged gulps. On display for just hours (according to an electronic billboard above the exhibit), there were rare objects I knew I wasn't the only one to not know about until I saw it. All of it was protected by well-armed guards, signs that said "Don't touch the glass," and of course, the glass that kept it from being stolen that easily. Karazin would whip out a dozen facts relating to these odd objects if he was here. The objects in question ranged from odd mysterious gloves that instantly killed the wearer, to mythical statues of deities made from only the most precious gemstones and metals, to weapons made for local heroes of planets used to slay great evils that were sometimes given absurdly funny names-"Buttster," for instance, was a massive bejeweled war hammer that was used to break the spine of some kind of evil monster tyrant.
I kept my eyes sharp, after the brief yet irresistible distraction of briefly looking at these rare items. I looked at everybody there, looking for Onlisk in disguise, as they obviously were. For some reason, outside of reading simple surface thoughts, my ability to read minds was malfunctioning. Must have been something they had around here. My eyes repetitively fell on a Pokemon that was the same species as the Pokemon the Shadow Triad tried using, said Pokemon staring intently and angrily at me. I didn't really focus on that.
Then, at last, I noticed the signs of a trap me and Mario had stepped into. The sign was in the form of two large Loppuny ears, and their bearer.
OK, I'll give you credit for guessing this time. Loppuny Pokemorphs aren't that uncommon, but I knew only one. It was the same one as before, too, and unlike our first and vastly more friendly meeting, she was staring at me with an equal loath about me as the fox-like Pokemon. And she was armed. And a second later, the gun-an AR with a chainsaw bayonet (As if guns alone weren't enough)-was pointed straight between my eyes. Looking around, several other civilian-clothes Onlisk forces were positioned likewise, albeit with different guns. It was a trap, a true-blue trap that we fell for like lead balloons. If it wasn't for a lucky/unlucky circumstance, we'd be very much dead.
"Mad'm! Our ears show Arbitarian Interceptors ready to pierce the ship in thirty seconds!" Yelled an Onlisk Soldier.
All of the ship went to hell instantly. Panic, shoving, trampling, any motion was necessary to get to the transports and get out of there-the ones that were cut off from the lockdown, somehow quickly short-circuited. These civilians, with no other option, would join Onlisk forces in a massive and desperate attempt to fend off the Arbiters, in what would be one of the very few victories against the Arbiters in a defensive posture by the Onlisk, and proof that the Arbiters did indeed raid refueling stations for their mobile HQ...Sound familiar?
I wasn't just going around putting "Trident" as a chapter title for nothing. It wasn't just for memorial, nor was it just a reference to a potential three-way battle. I visited there, but I'd never put down anything as long as a chapter that doesn't bear much weight...And the events at Trident went down hard. As many of Eon Sky's members would tell you, I like surprises, and expect them when things get confusing. It'll all make sense, eventually. I think.
But, either way, you're all in for a major treat. As the Gov't have unwittingly declared all files relating to me to be Declassified, they've got several files relating to battles in the war left unsaid, personnel that had died and were left to be forgotten, and other things that they thought were best left unsaid...All to be able to be told to by me, of course. They can't do anything to stop me from telling you how the Battle for the Trident Refueling Station went down (among other things).
"What the f-Get everybody off Trident, now! Onlisk soldiers, stay put!"
Anne yelled, over the panic. Her eyes shrunk with total fear when the doors to the cargo holds slammed shut of their own accord. An unwitting lockdown glitch, she thought...Probably wasn't. You don't lock down with Arbiters nearby, you run.
The Onlisk were caught in a moral battle, one I swear would be unanimous in our favor: Just let us live and we'll help, dear god! They let their guns down, if not their gazes.
That being said, one specific Fox-like Pokemon could no longer wait. To be denied revenge, sweet, sweet revenge, at the absolute last second?! No, that didn't fly with her. She pounced, regardless of Anne's unspoken order to stand down.
I punched the poor Pokemon in the nose, totally unwitting as to how fast I was. It's forward motion stopped, it fell down flat on the floor. "Seriously? This isn't helping you."
I said to Anne.
The Pokemon jumped back up, ready to bite my neck, regardless of Anne's now spoken order to stand down. I kicked it between the legs, giving it too much height, and did a back-flip to kick it again, now landing stomach-up.
"Uhh, can somebody restrain it?"
"Iris, stop NOW!"
OK, now I was confused. Unless it was total circumstance, the black fox Pokemon that had once again came straight back up at me for another attack was the same sentient being as the raving mad Iris who I had dealt massive humiliation on Povinal. And I actually decided that it wasn't coincidence, for I knew full-well that Iris had me higher on her to-kill list than Arbiters. For shame, Iris, for shame.
Oh, and Iris seemed totally deaf to Anne's commands, considering that her claws were now Arbit-Burning and were now piercing my skin. The attacks were dealt in a rapid and lethal manner, but thankfully failed in actually killing me, and as I stepped back to prevent further bodily harm. How’d she turn into that, I had no idea.
Mario stepped in at this point. Before I could counter the next incoming barrage of attacks, one of Mario's balls and chains came crashing down upon the head of Iris' fox-like form, destroying the top half of her skull and letting her brains spew out in a fashion I was both disgusted by and pleased at: that should have been a death blow.
Then the half-spilled brains and missing skull pieces suddenly crawled back up Iris like a worm...That was creepier and grosser than you realize. The destroyed brain reassembled itself where the other half was, and where the parts were totally destroyed, new parts grew fast. Meanwhile, the skull had repaired itself, needing more re-grown pieces than her brain, but ultimately still doing the job. That left Iris in a totally healthy state of affairs, like she never got hit at all.
The only person not visibly affected by that was Iris herself.
"What the f***?!"
I said, nearly ready to puke at such a disgusting display. Anne and several Onlisk members, as well as civilians who caught sight of it, were puking on the spot. That was wrong, wrong in so many ways.
Iris' sharp-toothed grin and evil snickering wasn't helping. "What, are you scared? Hee hee hee hee..."
I realized it was in pure English, as Civilians reacted with more fear. And probably more vomiting.
"Seriously?! You're more intent on killing Avalon than, oh, I don't know, ARBITERS?! For our sakes, think bigger. That, or I'll see whether or not you'll repair yourself after I tear your whole body to shreds after I'm done using the air conditioner to shred you to pieces..."
"I probably am going to survive that...Worthless attempt at my life...Go ahead, try it..."
said Iris, still acting as evil as she could attempt. The way she held herself wasn't like herself at prior sightings...I didn't like it at all. She was trying everything in her power just to make my hairs stand on end. That, or it was just the Pokemon form.
"You're only convincing me to do worse."
I said, now drawing the Illicit Blessing. That little episode was cut short quite quickly, with multiple crashing noises from the higher levels of this place, and the Arbiter's interceptors crashing into the bottom level. The seal, bearing the Arbitarian Eye, quickly opened up after these rude intrusions. One could barely register that there were front-row crossbow-wielders, ready to fire.
After that, the chaos truly unfolded, as several arrows pierced civilians and Onlisk troops alike. The last time, me and Karazin were more focused on getting to cover...But there weren't any interceptors directly nearby, and they had to shoot from inside those cylinder-like spaces. From those first arrows, me and Mario were safe...
I wish we were firing back at them. People were dying, worse than dying. I was visibly impacted. I almost puked, but every last feeling I associated with vomiting instantly vanished when one thought came into my head: Destroy them!