Gregor Zalo calmly walked around a dark apartment unit. He was planting various pieces of evidence. Gregor was a cleaner that had gained the trust of Percival Thane and was brought into his inner circle. He enjoyed his job as he got to work in silence with no disturbance from anyone else.
The cleaner moved to a computer terminal and began working on it. After doing some digging he found something that Percival needed to hear.
In his office, Percival opened the transmission from Gregor.
Percival: "What is it, Mr. Zalo?"
Gregor: "As I was cleaning Sterling's apartment, I found something interesting on his terminal."
Gregor: "There were a number of transmissions sent between him and a scientist on Soateria. One Ami Cardyne working at listening post Vando."
Percival: "And what is so significant about this?"
Gregor: "I looked into Dr. Cardyne. I believe she was a scientist who worked on Project Spectre."
Percival frowned, beginning to feel uneasy.
Percival: "That's not possible. Everyone who worked on Project Spectre is dead."
Gregor: "Apparently not."
The governor thought for a moment on what he should do.
Percival: "Thank you for bringing this to my attention, Mr. Zalo," he said before ending the transmission.
He then looked at Xion Corsair sitting across from him who frequently visited his office.
Percival: "There remain a few loose ends that need to be tied up."
Xion: "You're worried?"
Percival: "The truth must be hidden if I am to hold onto my power... Any word on our friend's condition?"
Two Slagtroopers patrolled the area around the wreckage of the GIS Defender.
Trooper 1: "Look there's someone there," said one of the soldiers noticing a body in the distance.
Both rushed towards a badly burned figure. The second Slagtrooper kneeled down and checked the unrecognizable body.
Trooper 2: "I think he's still alive," he said shocked. "Call in a medical pod!"
When word reached the Governor that a body, possibly William Nantucket's, had been recovered from Rerador, Thane made sure that it was brought to the IIA. Being put into stasis by the medical pod allowed William to survive the journey from Rerador back to Earth.
As soon as he was in the building, he was rushed down to Q's lab in the R&D wing. With the help of a team of doctors and a few droids, Q began working on William. Once he was stable, he was fitted with various cybernetics that Q had been building since he had acquired the Swiss Hunter armor.
William was in a daze, unsure of what was happening to him. He was conscious as the last piece of his armored suit, the helmet, was lowered onto his head. His vision wasn't clear but he could make out the glowing lights of the HUD in the helmet's lenses. There was almost a feeling of fear as his entire body was about to be sealed in whatever this thing was.
When the transformation was complete, the operating table William was strapped to raised up. Q looked with worry at his creation.
Q: "William? Can you hear me?" he asked softly.
William started becoming oriented to his surroundings. He realized he was in Q's lab. He raised his arms and looked at his hands covered by armor. When he tried moving his fingers, something felt off.
William: "What... What have you done..."
As the words came out, he noticed a drastic change in his voice.
William: "Why do I sound like that?" he spoke with a cold mechanical voice.
Q: "You were fitted with a voice modulator. Your vocal chords were too damaged."
William started recalling his fight with Dino and how he had fallen to Rerador's surface in an escape pod. He remembered crawling out of the pod just as it exploded. How was he still alive?
As he attempted to stand up, Q tried to stop him.
Q: "Slow down there, you'll need to get used to the cybernetics."
William understood what he was talking about as he awkwardly stumbled off the operating table, struggling to maintain his balance.
Q: "Unfortunately your leg had to be removed and replaced due to the harpoon. Same with... With your hands which were melted by the lava," he said sadly.
William slowly walked towards a mirror on the wall. Immediately he began to feel immense discomfort from the suit and all the things he had been stuck with. When he saw his reflection, he was taken aback by the intimidating blue helmet and the soulless black lenses that he looked out of.
William: "You turned me into a freak!" he yelled angrily.
Q: "I-I saved you."
William: "You saved nothing! You should have let me die!"
Q: "The Governor wanted you alive."
William: "You have to take me out of this thing."
Q: "The suit is your life support. You won't survive without it."
William turned to look at Q who wouldn't be able to see the look of despair on his face.
William: "I don't want to."
Q: "Will I'm... I am so sorry... I was designing the suit for wounded soldiers. I thought it would help them. I thought it would help you."
William: "You put me in a prison, Q."
William looked back in the mirror and glanced at the shoulder cape he had been fitted with. He realized that he had seen the symbol on it before. It was the same symbol that was carved into that cave on Soateria. He had seen it in a book there as well. This made William angry. Was fate playing a cruel joke on him? Everything was connected. Everything was already determined. He had no control.
William: "To be... Is not the way to be," he muttered.
Q walked towards a comm unit on the wall when it emitted a noise and listened to the message.
Q: "The Governor has arrived," he said turning to William. "He wants to speak with you."
William's anger boiled. It was Thane's fault he was in this freakish contraption. Thane and his insane plan for galactic domination had caused him to be in this scarred and disfigured state. William's reasoning had been off before but now he was going berserk.
He looked around the room for a weapon before spotting a pistol on a nearby countertop. He hobbled towards it, trying to get used to the cybernetic leg. After grabbing it he headed for the elevator.
Q: "What are you doing?" he asked with concern. "William?"
But William ignored him.
The elevator brought William up to the Director's office which Thane was borrowing. Upon entering he saw the Governor looking out of the window.
Percival: "Ah, there you are-"
When he turned around Percival was surprised to see William walking forwards with a gun pointed at him.
Percival: "Corsair!" he quickly yelled.
Suddenly William's arm fell down. He found himself unable to move. William fell to his knees and dropped the gun. Besides the respirator, all of the suit's functions had been shut off.
William shifted his eyes as much as he could without turning his head and saw Xion walking to Percival's side with a small remote in his hand.
Xion: "I thought this would come in handy," he smirked handing the remote over to Percival.
Percival: "Leave us."
Xion nodded and then left the room to let the two talk.
Percival: "I expected a little gratitude for saving your life. But instead you try to kill me?" spoke the Governor with slight anger in his voice.
William: "I would rather die then live like this!"
Percival paused for a moment. He realized he needed to say the right things to get William back on his side.
Percival: "The fact is, we need each other. I need you just as much as you need me."
William: "You need me to lead your armies on the other planets. I don't need you."
Percival: "But you do. Like it or not, I am all you have. I know you are upset with this recent incident but nothing has changed. Our quest is still as important as ever. And don't think I've forgotten my promises. You will have unimaginable power after we have conquered the galaxy together."
Percival pushed a button on the remote returning power to William's suit and allowing him to stand up.
William: "I will not be your slave."
Percival: "No, of course not but precautions had to be taken. And a wise decision it would seem... But now, my friend, I want you to see this as an opportunity. William Nantucket was a symbol of hope. It's not a time for hope anymore. You have been reborn as a symbol of strength and fortitude."
William was confused and somewhat concerned.
William: "What do you mean William Nantucket was a symbol?"
Percival: "William Nantucket is dead. He died a hero on Rerador. You... Your name is... Romulus."
Romulus: "What?" he said through gritted teeth.
Percival: "Have you heard the tale of Romulus? He and his brother built the city of Rome. Romulus planted the seeds that would eventually sprout into the great civilization that was the Roman Empire."
Romulus: "After I thought there was nothing more for me to lose, you take my name."
Percival: "You are a survivor. You will use what you have lost to make yourself stronger."
Romulus stood there silent. This was his life now and he had to accept it. He deserved this pain and suffering for all of his dark deeds anyway.
Percival: "Now we must return to business. I need you to go to Soateria. There is a listening post there where we've been developing certain computer programs. It is where our version of the Kepler Neos virus is kept. We need it to disable the space station so that we may enter System 55 without being attacked."
Romulus: "Soateria, you said?"
Romulus didn't like the idea of being Thane's errand boy but he was somewhat glad for the chance to go to Soateria. He needed to make one more visit to the Ratha village to get answers about the Scourge and the symbol on his cape.
After leaving Percival, Romulus returned to Q's lab.
Q: "William, I-"
Romulus: "I am not William."
Q: "Yes, right, you're... Romulus. I thought it might be more comfortable for you if I..." Q trailed off. While he couldn't see his face, he could sense Romulus' frustration.
Q: "You should know that you have a friend here. You're not alone."
Romulus ignored Q's babbling.
Romulus: "I am going on assignment. I need a weapon."
Q: "Yes, of course. I have actually designed something specifically for you," he said as he went to retrieve Romulus' weapon.
Q came back with a large rifle in his hand. It did not look like anything standard issue.
Q: "It's an interchangeable rifle. It fires laser bolts and can be converted to a smaller sidearm as well as a grenade launcher."
Romulus grabbed the rifle and analyzed it before holstering it. It was an impressive weapon but he was not yet satisfied.
Romulus: "I want a sword."
Q: "I'll see what I can do. There's also someone you should meet. A3, could you come here?"
Romulus turned to see a droid with a slender gray colored frame walking over to them.
A3: "I am at your service, master," it said in a high pitched voice that would likely get annoying soon.
Q: "He'll accompany you on your missions."
Romulus: "I don't need a babysitter."
Q: "The Governor insisted."
A3: "Don't worry, master. I'll protect you from those Aurelian scum!"
Romulus shook his head.
Eventually he and his new companion, whom he was reluctant to work with, got in Romulus' new personal starfighter and headed for Soateria.
The journey had been filled with incessant chatter from A3 to which Romulus had to respond with threats of destruction.
Finally they landed on the planet surface. A3 looked at Romulus when he started walking in the wrong direction.
A3: "Master, the listening post is that way."
Romulus: "We are not going to the listening post."
A3: "But our orders-"
Romulus: "Since you call me "master", I believe you take orders from me."
A3: "Well I'll have to report this to the Governor."
Romulus: "Report all you like."
Romulus continued and A3 hesitantly followed.
A3: "So where are we going if not the listening post?"
Romulus: "There is someone I must see."
A3: "Ooh mysterious..."
Romulus: "If I have not destroyed you by the end of this, I am returning you to Q for diagnostics. There must be something terribly wrong with your code."
Soon Romulus and A3 approached the Ratha village. When the villagers saw Romulus, they stared in disbelief. Many started kneeling while chanting a word.
Romulus grabbed a random villager.
Romulus: "Where is your leader? Where is Nula Bocca?!"
The villager, shaking with fear, pointed to a nearby hut.
Romulus barged inside and saw Nula look up stunned from something he was writing.
This time Romulus was not accepting riddles as answers to his questions.
Nula: "So the time has come."
Nula: "The gods have tired from ruling in the skies."
Romulus remembered that the symbol on his cape was coincidentally a symbol of one of their gods.
Romulus: "You know who I am. I am no god."
Nula: "Yet you have played as one."
Romulus: "Last time I was here, you told me that my story was ending. Well it's not finished yet. But it turns out that I am the villain. I am the villain of my story."
Nula: "You believe you are the Scourge?"
Romulus: "If not me, then who?"
Nula: "I told you the Scourge would be your greatest challenge. It is up to you to find the light."
Romulus: "There is no light. And do you know why? Because of you. Your people can see into the future. You knew what would happen to me! You knew what would happen to Claire! And you chose not to tell me!"
Nula: "We cannot choose how our fate plays out."
Romulus was silent for a moment as his rage was building. Then he saw someone standing behind Nula, someone he hadn't noticed before. A young woman with golden hair. He realized it was Claire. But how was that possible?
Claire: "They failed us. Because of them I'm dead. They deserve to die."
Romulus agreed with the ghost whom he was still surprised to see.
Romulus: "But perhaps we can choose the fate of others. You said that your own story was also ending. I think I know why."
Romulus pulled out his gun and pointed it at Nula who was hardly even fazed. However, he was slightly hesitant.
Claire: "Kill him. Punish them."
Nula: "Show us peace, my friend. I hope you find it yourself one day."
And with that Romulus pulled the trigger and killed Nula.
The sound of the blast led a couple other villagers to investigate. Romulus walked out of the hut to meet them. Before they could react, Romulus pulled out a sword and cut them down. He then moved on to slaughter the entire village.
A3: "What did you do?" asked the droid as Romulus approached him after he was finished.
Romulus: "Come on," he said grabbing A3 by the neck and pushing him forward.
A3: "Where are we going now?"
Romulus: "To complete our mission."
In a conference room on an Aurelian Cartographer class vessel, a group of high ranking Aurelian officials bickered amongst one another. The topics included their defeat on Rerador and the future of their rebellion.
General Oberon Tarsa had had enough.
Oberon: "Silence!" he shouted.
The other officers all shut up and looked at him.
Oberon: "Isn't it obvious that command is mine?" he asked in a whiny voice.
Officer 1: "All due respect, General, but you've spent the entirety of this war hiding in some hole on Fuyoria. What do you know about leading the Aurelian forces?"
Oberon: "So we're just going to throw chain of command out of the window? After Convo and Drake, who are both dead, I'm next in line!"
Commander 1: "We don't know that Convo's dead!"
Oberon: "There is no doubt that fool's arrogance killed him. If he had surrendered to the Imperials on Rerador, he may have walked away with his life. But he thought he could be a hero. He thought he could fight a black hole."
Commander 2: "Where's the proof? Have you found a body?" asked an older Commander.
Oberon: "No one can survive a cruiser falling on top of them."
Officer 1: "I say we wait until Convo returns or we have confirmed his death before finding a new leader."
Oberon: "Wait?! Without leadership, this whole movement crumbles!"
Commander 3: "The boy's right," spoke a commander. Everyone turned to look at the man who had been silent up until now.
Commander 3: "We have to respect the rules. General Tarsa now holds the highest rank. Give command to someone else and anybody at all will start claiming their right to lead. We can't fight each other right now."
Everyone thought about the man's words. While they didn't like it, they knew the commander spoke the truth.
Oberon: "Thank you... Commander. Then it's settled."
After a while Romulus and A3 arrived at listening post Vando. They noticed two Imperial guards were stationed outside.
Guard: "That's far enough," said a guard as he and his comrade walked towards them.
Romulus: "He didn't tell them I was coming..." Romulus said quietly.
Guard: "Lets see some identification."
Romulus: "Certainly," Romulus replied before shooting both of the guards.
He and A3 stepped over the bodies and moved towards the base entrance.
Romulus: "Open the door."
A3: "As you wish."
A3 went to a control panel and raised his arm. His hand transformed into a pin shaped device that allowed him to interface with the panel. After a few seconds the door slid open.
When they went inside, they were met with a shocked Imperial soldier.
Soldier: "Red alert! Intruders on the premis-"
Romulus gunned him down but was not fast enough. The soldier's message had already been sent over his helmet comm.
Immediately Romulus and A3 were surrounded by Imperials, all aiming their guns at them. Romulus fired the first few shots and took down a couple soldiers causing the others to retaliate.
A3: "This is not good!" The droid yelped.
Romulus kicked the droid towards the soldiers to give them a target while he dived behind a stack of crates.
A3: "Master, no-"
The droid stood no chance.
Romulus knew his position wouldn't be good for much longer. He unhooked a small device from his belt and began attaching it to his rifle to put it in the grenade launcher configuration.
Once the rifle was ready, Romulus fired a grenade at his enemies. Their bodies flew around the corridor from the explosion.
Romulus then advanced further into the base, determined to find the Kepler Neos virus but also annihilate everyone in his way.
On the other side of the base, a soldier rushed into a room.
Soldier: "We're under attack, ma'am. We must get you to safety."
Ami Cardyne looked at the soldier and then looked down, coming to a realization.
Ami: "He's here for me."
Soldier: "Come on we need to move!" he said grabbing the doctor's arm and leading her out of the room.
Soldier 1: "What the hell is that thing?!"
Soldier 2: "Shoot him!"
Romulus sliced into a nearby soldier and with his free hand, pulled out his gun to shoot another. He had more or less adapted to his suit fairly quickly and was cutting down the Imperials with ease. It was as if he was swatting away flies. The fact that his armor was bullet resistant helped.
Ami and the trooper protecting her ran down a corridor. The soldier turned to his left and saw Romulus coming. Luckily Romulus had not yet seen them.
Soldier: "This way!" he said leading her away from the fighting.
The two of them then arrived at a steel plated door.
Ami: "No, we need to get out!"
Soldier: "We'll be safe in here," said the trooper as he used a key card to open the door to a server room.
Eventually after Romulus had finished off most everyone in the base, he too arrived at the server room. The remaining soldiers in the base had gathered in front of it.
Soldier: "Protect the data, don't let him in!"
Romulus: "I will not be denied!"
Romulus walked through the barrage of bullets. Many of the soldiers' aims seemed to be off as most bullets didn't even hit him. When he was close enough, Romulus used his blade to finish them off.
Using the enhanced strength his suit had given him, he pried open the door and entered the server room.
He saw the soldier and Ami cowering against a wall. The soldier attempted to shoot Romulus but Romulus was faster. He fired his gun from his hip and killed Ami's protector.
Ami yelped when she saw the man fall next to her. While trembling in fear, she crawled backwards away from Romulus who slowly approached her.
Ami: "Percival Thane sent you here, didn't he? He sent you to kill me."
Romulus was confused though his helmet hid it. Yes Percival sent him but his mission was to retrieve a computer program. Killing everyone had just sort of happened.
Romulus: "What makes you say that?"
Ami: "Because I'm the last one who knows."
Now Romulus was curious.
Romulus: "Knows what?"
Ami: "Project Spectre! I know what caused the Shift! I know because I was a part of it."
This situation and Ami's words were becoming suspicious.
Romulus: "What are you talking about?"
Ami: "Christopher Sterling is missing, right? Ask Percy what happened to him. He's been trying to cover up everything with the Shift because we can go back now. But he doesn't want to."
Romulus: "You're lying."
Ami: "I'm not! Everything I said is true."
Romulus thought about it for a moment.
Romulus: "Even so, you are a witness."
Romulus: "No one can know I attacked a GI base."
Ami: "No, please-"
Romulus plunged his blade into Ami's abdomen. She may have been useful alive but he couldn't risk her talking. The people would rally against him knowing what he had done.
Tired from all the fighting, he slowly moved towards a computer terminal. He inserted a drive and loaded the virus onto it. Then another file caught his eye. It was another program called "Phantom". After reading the description it seemed useful. Romulus took out the drive with the virus and inserted another one to load the Phantom program onto it.
Now the mission was finished. Romulus left listening post Vando and the bloodbath inside to return to his starfighter.
General Convo began to regain consciousness. He blinked hard to orient himself to his surroundings. He was in some cold room flooded with red light. He looked to his left and saw, to his surprise, an Imperial admiral sitting next to him. When Convo tried to move his arm he saw that it was cuffed to a bar on the wall, just like the admiral.
Convo heard footsteps and turned to look at who was coming.
Stranger: "Ah, the General has awoken."
Convo: "Who are you? Where am I?" he demanded.
Azreal: "You can call me Azreal. And you're prisoner aboard my ship."
Convo: "You will release me at once!"
Azreal: "I don't think so," he chuckled. "That was some nasty business on Rerador. Very profitable, however."
Tyden: "He's a bounty hunter," Gallius said to Convo.
Azreal: "Indeed I am. Now who do you think will pay a bigger ransom for you two, Aurelia or the Imperium? Eh, I'll figure it out. But until then try not to kill each other. Would hate to scrub blood off the walls again," chuckled the bounty hunter as he walked away.
New York City
Xion and Percival had both returned to New York.
Xion: "What can I do for you?" asked Xion walking into Percival's office.
Percival: "Mr. Corsair, I require the services of some mercenaries."
Xion: "I have a few contacts in Qoter's underworld. Why, who's the target?"
Xion: "I... Don't understand," he spoke with a look of confusion on his face.
Percival: "I want to know if he is still as capable as he once was in that suit. For this I want to conduct a test. Hire some bounty hunters to try and kill him."
Xion: "That's a very devious plan."
Percival: "Yes it is. And Mr. Corsair. You will go with them."
Xion's face fell at the notion of him having to go near that animal he had helped create.
Rochester, New York
Felix Loiter lay in a hospital bed with Mercer Bowen sitting in a chair by his side. It appeared William's assassination attempt on him months ago had failed.
A doctor then walked into the room.
Mercer: "Hello, doctor."
Doctor: "Mr. Bowen. I see you in here a lot. Were you close with him?"
Mercer: "I didn't know him that well but I admired him. And he doesn't really have anyone else. He's gonna wake up, I'm sure of it."
Doctor: "He's been comatose for nearly nine months. I'm glad you're staying optimistic."
Mercer: "There's too much he needs to do."
Suddenly as if by some miracle, Felix's eyes opened. Mercer stood up, as astonished as the Doctor. Felix was awake. He was alive.
So that is the season 3 opener! We will now be seeing Darth Romulus, er, just Romulus, primarily. But as a bit of a spoiler I will say that this is "just a phase"... We haven't seen the last of William Nantucket (still possessing skin)...
If you didn't see my post in the group, Azreal is a character made by a now inactive player, Timothy. I may try to revive a couple more characters like this if there are any opportunities in the future so that they don't go to waste.
I had originally intended Convo to just escape Rerador and rejoin the other Aurelians off screen but I thought maybe I'd do some more with the character since we don't have too many Aurelia contributors. Hope this isn't an issue. I also wanted Gallius to survive but wasn't sure how to show him again so this kinda worked out.
More stuff with the Shift is coming since it looks like it's kinda up to me to move that storyline forward lol.. Unfortunately the number of characters in the know is small but I think by the end of the season it will be public knowledge. Still figuring out how I want to do that.
DARTH ROMULUS! Rommy needs to get control of that controller ASAP.:p Wow, the whole village? Not just the men, but the women and children too? Ew! This new Aurilian makes my skin crawl. "The escape pods are ready your highness, but let's hide in this room full of Christmas light computers instead." :P Kidnapped? Sounds like the beginning of a begrudgin- I mean beautiful friendship. :p Ooh, bounty hunters - ooh, Felix issa alive!:D
Great segment Cap!