Roleplay - The Invaders Attack:
Written by various players.
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Chapter 22: Final Showdown!?


Finally he managed to reach the bridge, and felt tired. Due to his age, his stamina wasn't what it once had been. He wasn't the man he was sixty years ago, no, now this was a real challenge for him. He took a moment to catch his breath, straighten his uniform and wipe the blades of his swords clean, using part of a uniform of one of his opponents that he had cut off just before.

Suddenly that pain was back, he arched over, grabbing his left leg. Softly the old man groaned. The pain was more intense then ever before: the one that had inflicted that wound upon him was closer now than he had been in over seventy long years. It was time to end this.

He massaged his leg for a moment, then stood up straight again, and slammed his fist against the scanner next to the door to the bridge. This scanner had to identify the person behind the DNA it read and analyzed, thus selecting the very few that were allowed upon the bridge. Off course, Howard would not be able to pass this door the usual way, so he smashed the scanner, ripped it out and rearranged the circuits to open the door manually. After a few minutes the door unlocked, and Howard pushed it open.

The bridge was large and quite heavily defended. Six officers made a dash for him, trying to run him over or to knock him down. A few quick movements made those plans fail, as some of the officers slammed into the walls, the railing that was placed to separate the back of the bridge from the front and even each other.

At the same time Howard was drawing more gunfire then he liked. He unbuttoned his throwing knifes while running for cover behind a console. Using his knifes and their reflective surfaces as mirrors, he scanned the bridge and memorized the exact spot where all of his opponents were standing. Seeing as that he did not have any guns with ammunition at the moment, he would have to use his knifes to take out the nearest Invader armed with a usable gun, which turned out to be the one to the left of his hiding spot.

He faked a move to the right, causing the defenders facing the console from there to open fire on him and focus on that part of the bridge long enough for him to rise up on the left, and throw his knifes with deadly accuracy. He hit his target in the eyes, in two of his hands and right in the middle of the neck.

Quickly ducking down again, he saw the giant figure slowly crumble down, falling towards the floor. Then the President made a run for it; again a rain of gunfire: laser beams and bolts of energy crashing into the wall, floor and nearly everything around him. Somehow they all managed to miss their actual target, and Howard - now in the possession of a gun - positioned himself again behind a console. Repeating the same actions as before, he again memorized where everyone was. He noticed Bob standing in the middle, and a few Invaders directly to the left and right of Bob's position. Howard lay down on his stomach, holding the gun, which was luckily substantially lighter then the one he had used in the cargo hold.

Bob yelled something about him not leaving this ship alive, and it seemed the Bloodred Death was still putting up a fight, because the impact of a missile could be heard.

Howard positioned his gun right next to the console, and fired twice. Both Invaders went down, leaving Bob isolated. Response to that was the now usual rain of gunfire, which had substantially been lessened with those two gunmen down.

The last officer had been sneaking around the bridge while all this happened, and attempted to attack Howard from the sides. Howard however, had noticed him moving during his last assessment of the situation, and was ready. A few clear shots to the chest made that ambush be listed as one of many failed ways to kill the legendary Captain.

Now Bob and Howard were alone, because the Invader commander had sealed off the bridge the moment Howard entered it. It seemed that that mechanism was separately controllable from the scanner that Howard had destroyed earlier.

Dylan dared Howard to stand up and fight, one to one. He seemed to want to finish what he had started several decades ago.

They agreed to dump their guns, and Howard made sure that he saw Bob throw away every gun he had upon himself. That mistake had been made once, and would not be made again.

The two old nemeses then stood opposed to each other, now in the front end of the bridge, and started circling each other, their blades drawn.

Bob said something in his own language, and to Howard it sounded as a command directed to his ships computer. He turned out to be right, because all the sudden the ship seemed to move, but not in a regular way. Howard quickly figured it out: Dylan had activated the Wormhole Drive, something that the Races in the known Galaxy had not yet mastered.

This drive made it possible for the Invaders to move almost instantly from one Galaxy to another if needed, but it worked on shorter distances as well.

"Does that seem familiar to you?" Bob asked, as an image appeared upon the screen. It was the system of Mizar. The Klakanid Homebase was clearly shown on the background, and all around it ships were flying, fighting.

The Allies were fighting the Union and the Egaran. The system was filled with all classes of ships: from Slah'ke Zealots, Orfine Warhounds and Plexxan Paladins to Egaran Cruisers, Matrix Starpoints, Terran 'G66' Eliminators and Brood Death-Helixes were fighting. Left and right ships exploded, debris drifted throughout the entire system.

All the sudden two Kolari Rift-class vessels decloaked right on top of a Tosaga-Blade, firing their missiles at its shields. The weak shields lit up and seemed to hold, but soon the second volley came and the first explosions on the hull became visible. The powerful Nexus-built guns tore into the hull of the Support Cruiser. Out of nowhere a Spectre uncloaked, and the in-vision sensors made it clear that the Support Cruiser was being boarded by Pirates.

The advanced sensors of the Invader Mothership registered the life signs, and seemed to be able to identify the people on board of the ships. The Captain of the Tosaga-Blade - Churchill_bur - faced a superior opponent on his ship: Reaper, the once Terran, now Pirate martial arts-expert. Within a matter of seconds the ship was overrun, and Reaper activated the hyper drive. As the Support Cruiser prepared for its journey towards Wolf 359 in hyperspace, and the Spectre raised its cloak once more, several ships in the system seemed to notice the Mothership.

Bob was able to monitor all communications, and they could hear the frightened voices of the crews, the requests for backup from all Captains.

All this took only three seconds to unfold, and then Bob Dylan opened a system wide channel, overriding all other communications: "Today you are the spectators of the show of the Era! Today you will all sit and watch how your Saviour - at this point he pointed into the direction of Howard, who was clearly visible for all who were watching - will meet his demise!!"

With that, and with the channel still open, Bob charged at the President. Sparks generated an orange glow over their faces as their blades met. Both were excellent swordsmen, and this battle could take forever to finish.

Out of precaution nearly all ships took a safe distance. The fighting had seized, since both fleets had new priorities: cheer on their leader and hope and pray that that would be enough to have him claim victory over the enemy.

The two nemeses fought, jumped, crawled and lunged at each other for what seemed to take forever.

Bob managed to hit Howard in the right leg, just beneath his kneecap, and the old Plexxan was brought to his knees. Everyone in the system seemed to hold their breath. Just as it seemed that the fight was over and Bob was about to kill his old enemy, one of the Plexxan blades shot up and penetrated the natural armour of the Invader, giving Howard time to get back on his feet. He did not waste one moment of his bought time, and his second sword flashed through the air, landing into the flesh of the Invaders left upper arm, severing it from the rest of the body, continuing down to the second left arm and doing serious damage there, and causing litres of the yellow-brown blood to be spilt.

With his left side barely useful, Bob took his left blades into his right hands, so that he now held two blades in both hands, in opposite directions.

Howard saw the attack coming, and crossed his swords while bending one of his knees and kneeling down. The blades of his opponent came crashing down and caused a rain of sparks.

One fast move made Howard manage to break loose out of this position, and he prepared for his next attack. After successfully evading the defensive movements of the Invader the Plexxan-forged steel again entered the alien body, cutting through the flesh, making its way to the inner sanctum: one of the Invaders three hearts. The steel ripped through the tissue, and the Invader fell to his knees, caused by the combination of severe loss of blood and now one of his hearts being struck. Fortunately, his hearts were designed to function together as well as separate, and quickly his two remaining clockworks took over the duties of their fallen brother, however Bob would be less able then before.

Howard turned around the sword, just to cause even more extensive damage to his opponent and failed to notice the sword en route to his upper thigh. He was struck with force, but the Invaders muscles were weakened and he didn't have the strength to cut through the bone of the Plexxan leg.

Howard roared in pain, as if he were a lion struck by a falling tree branch. Both of the old warriors were severely wounded and crippled, but still they went on.

They moved over the bridge, slowly, but they moved, leaning on consoles and against the walls along the way.

Dylan made his way to a console, typed in a code and suddenly the lighting on the bridge changed. When Howard finally managed to drag himself into the vicinity of the console he saw it: the self-destruction sequence was activated, and there was no way to stop it.

Several Kolari vessels that were close to the Mothership noticed that as well, and moved in closer, in an attempt to beam the President over to their ships as soon as the battle had ended, or in the final few seconds before the destruction of the ship. The Kolari were the only ones that dared to come this close at this moment to the Mothership, because they had found a way to combine their cloaking devices with their shielding, making it possible for them to have their strong shields raised during the times they were cloaked.

Dylan was leaning against the console, smiling as Howard slowly approached, and leaned against the opposite console. Both elderly warriors were exhausted by the wounds they suffered as well as the toll this duel was taking on their physiques.

Howard lashed out one more time, with both his swords held horizontally and moving in the opposite direction right at the height of Bob's neck. They struck with all the power the old man could still muster up, and severed his head from his body. Blood was spilling everywhere, and together they plummeted to the floor: one dead, the other completely exhausted.

One of the cloaked Kolari ships tried to get a lock on Howard, and for a moment they managed to get one. Their time was running out, the countdown was closing the moment of detonation fast, but unfortunately they were not aware of that.

A fraction of a second before the ship exploded, the Kolari transporter was energized and the transport of the old Plexxan was started. A shockwave erupted from the Mothership as it was exploding, throwing nearly all ships in the vicinity back with great force. The Captain of the Rift that was attempting to transport Howard to safety had anticipated that however, and activated the engines at full speed forwards the moment before the shockwave hit, causing the Rift to manage to stay more or less on the same position.

When the shockwave had passed, the female Kolari Captain informed about the transport: "Do we have him? Is Howard aboard our ship?". The Operations Officer searched the ship with the internal sensors and hesitated to respond.

"What is it?" "Ma'am, I do not believe we have President Howard aboard the ship at this moment…"

The Captain was disappointed. She had tried and failed. This would be a shock to not only the Kolari leadership, but also to the Federation, as well as a big blow to the morale of the Allies.

The Union ships in the system had also scanned the explosion, and had managed to isolate the life sign of the old Plexxan just before the explosion. They now could however not pick up the sign anywhere, much to their delight.

"Check again" the Kolari Captain was not willing to accept that Howard was dead, that his life had been so easily lost. She also had been told the stories of his deeds, the amazing tales of the battles he had fought, and the amazing victories he had achieved against all odds.

"Hmm, this is strange", the voice of the Operations Officer gave her just a little bit of hope. Maybe, just maybe… "What is it?" "There seems to be something stuck in the buffer Captain, but I cannot isolate it, nor am I able to make it materialize it. I need more advanced equipment for that. May I suggest that we move back to Deneb at once?"

"By all means!! Set a course for Deneb! Activate the hyperdrive!! We have no time to loose! Engineering, I want every bit of speed that you can get out of out of those engines, and I want it now!!"

And thus, the Rift pulled itself into hyperspace, en route to Deneb, travelling as fast as possible.

Arriving there, the Captain heard that the battle for Mizar was lost, and she knew why…

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