Chapter 1: A Curious Case
"He's been going by the name of just "Dr. Sand", reportedly, but he's been identified as a man who used to work for the Ludusian government." Zachary explained. "The last that anyone heard from him was when he went on an extended vacation, and then packed up a lot of resources from his workshop. The next time the name was mentioned was the first time Dr. Sand started to attack..."
"Doctor Sand..." Revelian looked down for a moment. "I... I feel like I've heard that name before. I mean, like, before the attacks."
"I've heard of him, too." Samuel spoke up, with a bit of enthusiasm in his tone. "That was the guy who was made to work on Big Halley, after Cassiopeia roughed it up."
"Wait a minute!" Revelian's eye widened. "I remember when Koala attacked Big Halley... Dr. Sand was there... that was when Koala killed his daughter. He started scolding at me, saying that I could've saved her..."
Revelian looked down for a moment, almost as if carrying a sense of shame from the event.
"We know that his daughter died shortly after Koala's attack," Zachary explained, "and that's when he first took his long vacation. We have reason to believe that his daughter's death might have attributed to his mental state, which is... definitely not the best, considering all the stuff he's done."
"We know that he was pretty far into the government's expanse of knowledge. He knows a lot of critical secrets, and he knows the locations of a lot of bases and other areas where he can try to strike." Zachary gulped. "But, besides that... well, Sand was renowned for his genius. He made a lot of inventions that are pretty... well, they're not the most advanced technology that gridmasks have ever had, but the things he made are the most advanced pieces of technology that a gridmask has ever originally created. He's made things like airships, arms, weaponry, mech units, et cetera. If you can find a piece of gridmask technology, rest assured, Sand's made the best version of it.
"Which is part of why it's really unsettling that he's taken out all of his most recent projects. There's no copy of what he has, so it's all a surprise until the day he brings it back up and strikes with it. And he's going to have the upper hand against nearly anything he goes up against, which has been a pretty big problem.
"Currently, we don't know exactly what his motivations are, but he's made his intentions clear. Sand wants to do all that he can to destroy and upset the peace on Ludus. He's made a lot of attacks on power planets, farms, processing factories... basically any source of energy or food that's big enough to make a mark.
"What's been found the most... interesting... is exactly how he's attacked the facilities. It seems that Sand has somehow found a way to petrify objects and living things in solid sand. The weapon, or weapons, he uses to do this is unknown, because anyone who's seen it, besides him, has been petrified by it."
Zachary let out a long sigh, taking a moment to catch his breath.
"And... that's all the information we've been able to dig up on him so far..."
The room was in silence for some time.
"... Aheh, I can't say that this doesn't feel like we're dealing with Kuipter all over again." Ludicrine said.
"Though, now we kinda have more going for us, right?" Revelian added.
"Right. I guess..."
"Yeah... Sorry I couldn't lay this on you guys easier." Zachary apologized, and then coughed. "But, anyway, I think that now we should take the time to discuss the first mission we're going to..."
A light noise suddenly filled the room. Zachary turned to his computer.
"... "Urgent"," Zachary read the text he saw on-screen, "er, please hold on a second, guys."
Zachary began to focus on his computer for a moment. The room remained silent, except for the sound of Zachary's clicking and scrolling for a moment. Then, Zachary's eyes widened as he looked at the screen.
"What'sa matter, Zek?"
"It... it looks like we won't have any time to plan out what we're going to do right now, actually." Zachary explained, looking somewhat worried.
"Eh? Why the fuck not?" Revelian questioned.
"Apparently there's... an enormous airship commanded by Dr. Sand that's started attacking."
"Oh, dam." Ludicrine stared, with a bit of a blank expression.
"Sam, do you think you can contact someone to get Big Halley here in just a few minutes?" Zachary asked, with a bit of urgency in his tone.
"Uh, I'm pretty sure Big Halley's on my home planet right now." Samuel blinked. "Sorry, but it might take more than a few minutes for it to get here. Maybe an hour or so, actually..."
"Do you think we'll be able to wait that long?" Samuel scratched his arm sheepishly.
"I don't think so, sadly... apparently this airship is going to be hovering over our building in just a few minutes." Zachary rubbed the back of his neck.
"Wait, what?! How the hell weren't we informed about this before??" Revelian demanded.
"The airship was just recently spotted, and it's said to be moving pretty quickly."
"But... this is a gridmask ship, right? How can it be so fast??"
"It's like I said, Sand's technology is a tad more advanced than what we know the gridmasks to have." Zachary sighed.
"Then..." Revelian stammered for a moment. "... Let's try and board it."
"There's no way it can be flying that much higher than the top of this building, right?" Revelian asked. "Or does Sand's airship fly higher than normal?"
"N-not that I know of?" Zachary answered, a bit nervously.
"Well then, if we know this guy's not good news, we should go and stop him... and we have a chance right now to get as close as anyone's ever gotten before."
"I mean... This airship is also fitted with the kind of weapons he used to petrify things in sand. It could be really dangerous..."
"Well, no one has to go if they don't want to." Revelian stated. "But if I got the word that we can go and try, I'm going to go for it."
"Me too." Samuel spoke up. "If he's heading right for us, we're gonna end up just as petrified as we would if we didn't do anything, right?" Samuel looked around, as if for some confirmation.
"Sounds like it." Lazro answered him. Samuel smiled in response. "Count me in, too, then."
"I might as well join in on the party-and-attack-the-airship bandwagon. Zek, if you give us the OK... well, we're all for it."
Zachary stared around the room for a moment.
"... Alright. I'll be going with you guys. Come on, let's go and give this a shot." Zachary gave a shy smile.
The Anubis was an enormous vessel. Its size was something so great that it put any other gridmask-made planes or hot air balloons to shame. However, the ship was not impressive merely for its size. It was fitted with a number of weapons that worked to fire in many directions below and above it, which included guns, missiles, energy cannons, and even a strange bomb-like weapon that would encase anything that it fell upon in a prison of sand.
The Anubis had purposely made its course over the LDZX building. The ship's pilot had not exactly expected the building to be as large, but it was a simple matter of ascending further before approaching the building.
At the time, there were several gridmask air vessels currently flying around the great airship, attempting to damage the ship. However, with all of their might, their effort proved futile against the high-tier protective armor and energy shields that the Anubis held about it. In addition, whatever eventual effort in damaging these that the air vessels may have accomplished was not to be found, as they would eventually be shot out of the air, forced to retreat, or petrified in sand by the Anubis.
"Holy carp!" Ludicrine yelled out in surprise. "That's one big-dibbin'... thing...!"
"It doesn't look as big as Halley..." Samuel mumbled.
"You gotta admit, though, it's pretty big for a grid-made ship." Lazro gazed onward in awe. "I can't believe that gridmasks could make something that big all from scratch... That must've taken forever..."
"Oh, quit your damn gawking." Revelian hissed. "Doesn't matter if this thing is small, big, or bigger. The bigger they are, the harder they fall."
Revelian then began levitating over the roof of the LDZX building.
"Come on, it's close enough now."
"If ya' say so."
Ludicrine and Zachary began flapping their wings.
"Wait, what're Lazro and I supposed to do? We can't fly on our own..."
Lazro then pulled a small yellow hairpin out of his hair.
"C'mon, c'mon, something lucky..." Lazro mumbled to himself.
Lazro threw the hairpin against the ground. In a flash of light and a puff of smoke, the hairpin turned into something that looked similar to a skateboard, though it had what looked like "sleeves" to put the rider's feet into; it also appeared to have no wheels, and was hovering over the ground.
"Hoverboard-airpin!!" Lazro yelled out. "Sweet!"
Lazro jumped onto the "hoverboard", and then began to fly it, following the others.
"Hey... Guys, don't forget about me!" Samuel called out, a bit hopelessly.
Revelian suddenly turned around and grabbed Samuel.
"Don't slow me down." Revelian warned.
A single figure sat in the control room, staring at a monitor. The image on the monitor showed the roof of the LDZX building.
"Enhance." A strong yet smooth voice spoke. The camera supplying feed for the screen zoomed in, then showing five figures, which were coming ever closer to the Anubis.
The figure's eyes narrowed at the sight of a certain figure.
"You..." the voice hissed with a tone of distaste, "I've finally found you..."
The figure turned back to sit down, and began furiously pressing buttons.
Chapter 2: Anubis
"Looks like we're almost there." Zachary yelled out for his other colleagues, and hoped that his voice wouldn't be swept away by the wind.
"Why hasn't this thing tried attacking us yet?" Lazro asked, while struggling a bit to balance himself.
"Don't jinx it." warned Revelian.
A large tube suddenly turned and pointed towards the gang. It made a loud humming noise, and then fired what appeared to be an orb of red light.
"Damnit...!" Revelian moved out of the way, as the orb passed right by him.
Several other cannons then began changing their direction, pointing towards the gang.
"Watch out!! Revelian warned.
Several cannons began firing orbs of light in the gang's direction. The gang was luckily able to dodge all of the orbs fired at them.
Then, however, a different cannon tube turned and pointed towards the gang. It fired what appeared to be a large missile. The missile began getting closer and closer to the gang, and they then moved outward from where it appeared to be heading.
However, the missile then changed direction, and began to follow Revelian and Samuel.
"It's still closing in! Samuel exclaimed.
"I know, I know!" Revelian growled.
Revelian tightened his grip on his colleague, and then began flying away from the missile at a high speed. However, the missile persisted to follow his direction.
"It's not going away..."
"Damnit, damnit, damnit...!"
Revelian suddenly turned back to the direction of the gang. As he was flying above them, he held out Samuel.
"Heads up! Catch him!" Revelian demanded, before dropping Samuel.
"Woah-!" Samuel fell a short distance, before being grabbed by Ludicrine.
Revelian then flew back towards the missile, and drew a large, black sword with a red handle. The missile began closing in on him. Revelian held his sword out to meet it before it met him. Revelian believed that he could withstand this gridmask-made weapon, having known others, but, to be safe, he would have the sword stop it from hitting him directly.
The missile began to glow with beige light. When it made contact with the tip of Revelian's blade, it released a puff of smoke. It made very little sound, if at all.
When the smoke cleared, Revelian was encased in sand.
The sand-encased Revelian kept the pose he had before the missile struck. He then began to fall from the air.
"No!" Zachary called out, and then began flying quickly towards Revelian. Zachary felt that there was a strong wind in front of him, making it harder to fly towards Revelian. Revelian's stiff body was falling at an incredible speed. Zachary almost felt as if he wouldn't be able to make it in time, or even be able to slow Revelian down before he hit the ground.
Suddenly, the sand encasing Revelian began to glow red. He stopped where he was, and stayed still for a moment. All of a sudden, the sand around him began to crack and break. Revelian was suddenly freed.
"Woah..." Zachary slowed down.
"Don't worry about me!" Revelian called out. "I'll be fine! Just get on the ship!"
The figure stared at the monitor in front of him, mouth agape in surprise.
"How could he... no... of course." The figure ran a hand through his hair nervously. "He's a dark matter. Of course..."
The figure let out a sigh. "I could've hoped dealing with him would've been that easy... oh, well. Time for plan B."
"Here! There's an opening!" Ludicrine called out to the others.
Ludi quickly flew over to it, and dropped Samuel. Samuel landed on his feet, and then stretched out a bit, having been restricted during all the being carried. Ludicrine, meanwhile, feebly flapped his wings and floated to the ground, panting.
"I... need to work out more." Ludicrine mumbled to himself.
Shortly after, Zachary followed suit, and landed with the others. Then, Revelian followed suit.
"It's about damn time we got here." Revelian then popped his neck. "Now, let's get this mission going."
"Wait!" Samuel suddenly yelled. The others turned their heads to him. "Where's Lazro?!"
"What?!" Zachary sounded worried.
The group then looked over and saw Lazro, holding on to his hoverboard for dear life, with a fearful expression. Lazro's hoverboard began speeding into the area where the others had boarded.
"LOOK OUT!" Lazro called out.
Lazro let go of the hoverboard, which sped forth, slammed into a nearby wall, and then turned back into a hairpin. Lazro fell onto his feet at first, but then slid, skidded, rolled, and bounced slowly to a stop.
"Oof..." Lazro groaned.
"Are you alright?"
Lazro jumped up. He had a scratch or two, and was a bit dusty, but he otherwise seemed unfazed. Lazro then shrugged and said "I'll walk it off."
"You better." Revelian glared at Lazro. "We don't have the time to drop you off at a hospital, and I doubt that we're gonna stumble across one here."
"Don't be like that. If anyone wants to head off for their own safety, they can do it." Zachary stated. "It's like I said. We don't have to do this if anyone's not feeling up to it."
"No, no, I'm good." Lazro quickly stammered. "I don't wanna miss out on this."
"Erm... if you say so." Zachary scratched the back of his head.
"Let's get goin', then." Ludicrine blinked. "I found a door over there."
Ludicrine pointed to a large door with a button near it. Revelian approached it and pressed the button. The door opened.
"The image of hospitality." Revelian remarked. "Come on."
Revelian walked through the doorway, and the others followed him. They found a hallway through there, and decided to travel down it together. After some time, they passed a corner. On the other side, they saw two figures, near an elevator.
The figures appeared to be adult, male gridmasks, in beige soldier uniforms. They wore grey masks over their foreheads and eyes, however. They appeared amazingly similar, as well. It was noticeable that they both had a caramel skin tone and jet-black hair, that they were a bit taller than the average gridmask, and that their arms were not human, but rather, they were trails of sand.
"Intruders!" one of the figures called out.
"Stop right there!" the other demanded. Their voices sounded identical, with a bit of a robotic tone to them.
"Henchmen..." Revelian hissed.
The group all took out their weapons, preparing for a fight.
The henchmen began running towards them. Samuel quickly skated forward, and kicked the closer one in the face. The henchman reared back for a moment, and Samuel landed back on his feet. The other henchmen turned and extended his sandy hand at Samuel. Suddenly, the arm grew, releasing a blast of sand that pressed Samuel against the wall.
Zachary then ran forward, and slashed the arm of the henchman. The limb of sand faltered, but it did not dissipate. The other henchman then stood back up and extended his arm towards Zachary, firing a similar beam of sand towards Zachary.
Revelian then swiped his arm upward, almost as if delivering an uppercut to the air. A dark arm then appeared from the ground underneath one of the henchmen, lifting him up, and ceasing the beam of sand that he was attacking Samuel with. The dark arm tightly gripped the henchman.
Lazro fumbled around with his hairpin for a moment, waiting for it to change into something. Ludicrine glowed with a green aura, and held his arm out in front of him. A lightning-like bolt of energy then shot out from his hand, and hit the henchman who wasn't within the grip of the dark arm.
Lazro then held a long, yellow metal pole. "Hair-pole-in!" Lazro exclaimed, as he ran towards the henchman who had been dazed for a moment by Ludicrine's attack. Lazro then swung the pole with all his might towards the figure, with his eyes closed. He hit the henchman right in the neck.
The henchman's head jumped off of his shoulders, leaving a mess of wires and metal in its place. The henchman's body fell to the ground, and the head eventually followed suit. Ludicrine, Zachary, and Samuel gazed on in horror as they saw what they believed to be a gridmask being decapitated, before they saw that it was a machine. The sand coming from the henchman's arm then fell simply to the ground.
"It's a machine..." Revelian remarked. The dark arm gripping the other henchman then squeezed tightly, causing several mechanical parts to fly out. "They're both machines."
The dark arm dissipated, and several pieces of machinery fell to the floor with a loud noise.
Lazro turned around, looking interested at the scene. "Huh... they're all machine. I... I've never seen pure robots that look so human." Lazro picked up the machine's severed head, and looked it over. "No blood... it's not even made of skin, but... it looks like it."
"This is some pretty neat tech, sure, but we better focus on taking this ship down."
"Right... So, should we take the elevator?" Zachary asked, as he wiped sand off of his clothes.
"Sounds good." Samuel stated. "Though, we should be wary of elevator action."
"Whatever." Revelian coldly said. "If we get anything ten times as strong as the things we just faced, we'll still have smooth sailing."
The five of them then waited for the elevator to come by. When it did, they all squeezed into it together.
"What floor are we headin' to?" Ludicrine asked.
"Top floor." stated Revelian. "I could see windows on the highest point on the front of the ship, so I'm guessing that the cockpit and the pilots are gonna be on the top floor."
"Top floor it is." Ludicrine whistled while pressing the button.
The gang then rode the elevator quietly upwards, accompanied to the sound of muffled rock music.
The figure glared towards a monitor that seemed to show a diagram of the Anubis. A certain point showed a flashing red dot, next to several blue dots. Scattered among the ship were several green dots, recognized as the mobile machines. In the pilot room, there was a single grey dot.
"Alright... now I have my chance to separate you." The figure spoke, giving a slight grin.
The figure waited until the red dot and blue dots arrived at the highest point of the ship, before pressing several buttons.
"Here's our stop!" "Here's our stop!" Samuel and Ludicrine gleefully stepped out of the elevator. The others followed suit, though in a less gleeful fashion.
Right as they stepped out, several areas of the walls opened up. Outside of them stepped many beings that appeared identical to the two henchmen they had seen earlier.
"Get them!" Yelled a fourth of the henchmen. "Get him!" Yelled a different forth of them.
Suddenly, several of the henchmen extended their limbs into sandy blasts towards the gang. Many of the streams hit their mark, and were accompanied by lots of screaming and flailing. After a moment, the blasts of sand ceased.
"HEY!" Revelian yelled, as he slashed at a henchman. Zachary, Ludicrine, Lazro, and Samuel saw that, in the blasts of sand, they had been separated from Revelian.
Suddenly, a loud alarm sounded, and two large walls slowly came down towards the floor, closing Revelian off from the others.
"Damnit," Zachary swore, "Revelian!! Hold on! We're coming for you!"
"Oy, we might have to worry about ourselves first..."
The four were then hit by several blasts of sand.
"That's right, bring them in here." The figure commanded. "Get the dark matter as far away as you can. Send all forces to stop him. Seal doors behind him as you make distance from me."
The figure ceased pressing the button.
"Guys, run!" Zachary commanded.
The gang then began retreating from the waves of robotic sand henchmen that followed them.
"Hey! There's door!" Lazro exclaimed, looking into the window attached to it. "It's a blue room!"
"Sky blue! It's the sky!" Samuel gleefully exclaimed.
Lazro and Samuel ran off towards the end of the hallway.
"Hey, wait up!" Zachary called out. "You don't know what's--"
The door opened as Lazro and Samuel approached it. The two exchanged glances at each other, then walked in. Zachary and Ludicrine slowly followed, trying to keep up with them.
The group looked around the room. Much of its form was made up by the large, thick window that was there. The room itself was also littered with monitors, screens, chairs, and operating devices. However, several cell bars that lined from the ceiling to the floor cut the group off most of the room.
"Woah..." Lazro gazed around the room.
"This is the pilot's room... So where's the pilot?" Zachary asked.
"Why, I'm glad you asked." The gang's attention was suddenly brought to the figure who had just spoke."He's right here."
The figure appeared very similar to the robotic sand henchmen, though he was clearly older, and stouter. He wore a beige labcoat and pants, a blue tie and a white collared shirt. Instead of a mask, he wore glasses. His hair was a greyish black, except for on the edges, where it was much greyer. He held a confident and strict aura about himself.
"Greetings. I am Doctor Sand..."
Chapter 3: Sand Doctor
The four gazed in surprise at the figure that observed them from the other side of the bars; it was the terrorist who had petrified many in sand, and the very person who they had all come here to find. Dr. Jekyll Sand.
Perhaps they had been expecting something different of his appearance. Perhaps they thought him to be something more monstrous, messy, or angry-looking. But the man before them looked perfectly normal, clean, and calm.
"... So, I'm guessing you're all here to try to kill me, right?" Dr. Sand spoke, breaking the silence.
The others failed to respond before Dr. Sand spoke again. "Or, capture, incapacitate, subdue, whatever it is your intentions are, but I know whatever it is, it means you're against me."
Dr. Sand sighed, and began moving closer to a terminal.
"See, though, it's not just by luck or fate that you got all the way here. I wanted you all here specifically so that I may try to convince you otherwise." Dr. Sand faced the gang. "Join me..."
The bars suddenly lifted up, and Dr. Sand extended his arms, as if to try and embrace whoever would come to him.
"... What? No way!" Lazro exclaimed.
"Just, why in the world would we join forces with a terrorist like you who's trying to destroy our home?"
"Yeah!" Samuel joined in.
"You just tried to kill us with your robots." Lazro added. "And out there, too, when we were getting shot at with cannons and missiles."
"Hey," Dr. Sand angrily started, "first of all, I wasn't trying to kill you. If I was, it would've happened. No... my henchmen were only supposed to keep you still and direct you all to where I wanted you to be. And my cannons? They were meant to incapacitate you, so that I could bring you in with tractor beams if necessary. I thought it would be easier than having you roaming about the Anubis wildly."
Dr. Sand rubbed his head.
"Aren't they brilliant, though? He suddenly asked, giving a bit of a chuckle. "I've had the idea to make androids that appear similar to me... well, obviously I had the idea years ago, which is why they look like a younger me..." He grumbled for a moment. "I'm guessing I could've made them back then, but I just never had the motivation... It's the same with the cannons. Now, those are a much more recent idea, and not as original, as the use of aether gem weapons were inspired by that inventor Masa... but they're still a great improvement from the simple "power bullets" and go more into the practical and intended use of the gems themselves."
Dr. Sand smirked.
"Gee... It's pretty interesting, the kind of stuff you can make when you know it actually will serve a purpose, isn't it?"
"... H-hey..." Zachary suddenly spoke, "you said you brought us here on purpose? Why didn't you bring Revelian here, then?"
Dr. Sand seemed to be upset at the mention of Revelian.
"Why would I...? Tch..." Dr. Sand muttered through clenched teeth, "this isn't just about some simple power-grab tactic. Is that what you thought? I bring you here and ask you to join me just to get your help in destroying things? If you think that's supposed to be my big goal, you're dead wrong."
The gang was silent for some time.
"No, no, that's not it... I'm trying to stop Revelian from taking over Ludus."
"What the hell are you on about?!" Zachary demanded. "Revelian wouldn't try to take over Ludus..."
"Bullshit!" Dr. Sand slammed a fist into a monitor, breaking it. "What happened to all those murders? The blue bodies?! The government might've just looked the other way on it, but how can anyone with a soul let him just live that down?!"
Zachary felt his heart sink. He looked to the others.
"No... Revvy wouldn't try to take over Ludus again. He wouldn't betray us. He's changed..."
"Change?" Dr. Sand exclaimed. "Some things never change... Revelian included."
"Shut up!" Zachary demanded. "Why the hell would you know more about him than we do? And why the hell should we trust you? After all that we know you've done?"
"Don't you get it?! I'm doing it all so that he can't win!" Dr. Sand yelled. He then took a moment to steady his breathing. "He's a dark matter... a being with the instinct to conquer every planet possible. Just like the dark matter Kuipter before him, he's trying to sap all the energy he can from the planet Ludus in order to feed his dark star."
"No... he wouldn't..."
"I saw him with my own eyes... Right after I restored him from two beings to one..."
"Wait, what...?" Ludicrine asked. "Are you saying that you fixed his two souls back into one?"
"I don't know what he told you all about how he was restored, but I know I'm the one who brought him back."
The gang was silent. Revelian had yet to give them any explanation as to why he had been restored from Raserai and Verlassen.
"It was in the base that one of his two halves directed me to... that's where I found everything. There was a machine that he'd use to revive himself, and I activated it, not knowing what it was... that's when I saw him come out of it. And that's where I found all his plans to try and take over Ludus."
"I... I don't believe this..." Lazro managed.
"That's also where I found the plans for a certain unfinished project..." Dr. Sand smirked, and then pressed a button. "Called the Medusa Generator..."
Suddenly, from above, a large spherical machine came out from a trapdoor in the ceiling, and began floating downwards. It appeared to be floating of its own ability. The machine had four other spheres floating around it, and a large red circle on the side of it, which almost appeared like a single red eye.
"It was a device planned to be able to petrify matter in sand..." Sand explained, with a smirk. "It can transfer its properties over to other weapons, too. Like missiles, bullets, blades... it's the kind of stuff I use to trap anything I wish in sand. I don't just use it as a namesake, though... every device that can petrify things in sand also can cure them. It's what I intend to do if I can ever truly stop Revelian's plans... but in the meantime, I'm going to make it impossible for him to reap the benefits of conquering Ludus.
"And that's just what I've been doing. Surely you don't think I'm targeting resource facilities and power plants just for shits and giggles, right? Power and resource is exactly what the dark matters are after when they conquer planets. They use it to feed the energy of their dark star. Without it, conquering a planet would just be a waste for them, wouldn't it?
"Yeah, that's the idea! ... even if I can't dissuade him from going after the planet, I'm sure as hell not going to make it an easy ride for him. The death throes of my vengeance will echo throughout the history of Ludus and Revelian Zeronius for as long as the names will be spoken by the living."
Dr. Sand then pressed another button, and turned on a monitor. It then showed Revelian, fighting wave after wave of Sand's henchmen robots. Revelian seemed to be doing very well on his own.
"See... I can't defeat him with what I have. I can't even petrify him in sand, because he made sure his own contraption wouldn't lead to his demise. So that's why I want your help... we can take him down, together. Weaken him and defeat him, if not shame him beyond any recognition. The people of Ludus needs to know the threat that's living among them and being given the glory of a hero..."
The gang stared at the monitor for some time longer.
"... do you want to know something interesting? The five of us, we all have something in common. We're mortals... not mythical deities or legendary demons. That means something... it means we're not bound by fate and prophecy, no matter what. Prophecies can be made, but mortals don't have to abide to them. We have the power to change our destinies, in knowing the future... so if you join me here, we can do it now. We can change the fate of Ludus..."
"I... I'm sorry, but, no... I can't join you. I can't trust you more than I trust Revelian. Not after I've seen you do much more harm than he's done."
"Me neither." Ludicrine spoke. "I know Rev. He wouldn't go on in his brother's steps, not even for a second. Nothing you can say is gonna convince me otherwise. I wouldn't believe it unless I saw him with my own eye."
"Revelian trusts us, and we trust him... He's a member of the team. No, even more than that... without him, I don't think there would be any team at all."
"I... I don't think that the stuff you were on about really happened." Lazro said. "I think... you're just a man who's taken his daughter's death way too badly. I know, Revelian pretty much was the same about his bro dying... but he's gotten past his grief, and we all saw that."
"Tch... How simple minded." Dr. Sand hissed. "You're all no depth and all naivety..."
Dr. Sand then turned, and began walking away.
"If you're not going to join me, you're of no use walking around. Medusa Generator, take them out."
The Medusa Generator then began to glow and hum.
"Don't worry... if you get petrified, you'll be freed after Revelian is defeated. Or at least you won't see the "friend you trust oh so much" betray and kill you." Dr. Sand turned around again. "And if you manage to survive... I have plenty more Medusa Generators where this came from."
Dr. Sand then walked off. The Medusa Generator, meanwhile, charged up energy in front of it, and then fired a red beam.
"Look out!!" Zachary yelled.
The gang all ran out of the way of the red beam, managing narrowly to escape it. As the four looked back, they saw the metal behind them slowly grow a layer of sand where the beam had hit it. It appeared as if no damage had actually been done to the floor.
"Woah! Ludicrine exclaimed.
"Let's try and stop this thing! Samuel called out.
Samuel then summoned a blast of lightning to strike the Medusa Generator. It shook a bit, but then fired a laser at the ground. The laser did not dissipate after impact, but rather, it continued to be fired at the ground as the Medusa Generator moved to face in different directions, making sand out of the floor where it crossed over.
Zachary followed suit similarly to Samuel's attack, and breathed balls of fire at the Medusa Generator. Ludicrine acted similarly, conjuring up bolts of his auric energy to fire at the Medusa Generator, making dents in the metal sphere. The Medusa Generator then began to focus its beam in coming closer to them. In fear of being petrified, the two then began to fly off in different directions to try and avoid it, ceasing their attacks in the meanwhile.
Lazro's hairpin then transformed into a rusted shovel.
"Hai-rusted shovel-pin!" Lazro exclaimed enthusiastically, before his expression became confused, upset, and slightly disappointed. Lazro flung the shovel at the Medusa Generator, where it left a small dent, before plummeting to the ground.
"Guys!!" The gang's focus was suddenly brought to down the hallway they hand entered through. There was the sound of many alarms going off, followed by loud pounding on metal. The gang could then see Revelian's form striking with all of his might through the doors that blocked his way to them. And then, Revelian's form burst through.
"Revelian!" Zachary called out. "You're alright!"
Revelian, however, brought his focus to the Medusa Generator. The Medusa Generator ceased paying attention to the others, and then concentrated its laser in Revelian's direction.
Revelian quickly flew around and dodged the laser it fired, coming ever closer to the Medusa Generator itself. Before the Medusa Generator could truly react to his presence, Revelian then flew through its core, leaving a large hole in the sphere.
The machine's laser then faded, and its red glow faded. Its loud humming then slurred and slowed to a stop. The smaller spheres orbiting around the machine then fell to the ground. Along with it, the Medusa Generator then plummeted downwards, hitting the floor with a loud clunk that shook the ship itself.
Revelian slowly floated to the ground.
"Revelian!" "Revvy!" "Dude!" Revelian was met with smiles and calls from his friends.
"What did I miss?"
"Revelian! The Medusa Generator!" Zachary started, with a smile. "That's the machine that Dr. Sand uses to petrify things in sand, and he said that it could also reverse it."
Revelian's eye seemed to widen. "Ya' mean this thing?"
"Well, I'm sorry for breaking it, then."
"But it might still be salvageable! We could reverse the process of it." Zachary smiled widely.
"Hey... hey, yeah! That's a great idea!"
"Well, I think I'd call this mission a striking success. Now all we need to do is get this thing back to HQ, and-"
The Medusa Generator then exploded.
Chapter 4: Restart Command
Revelian looked around the mess of the area.
"There's not a machine here we can actually fucking use... everything was either blown up or covered in sand, damnit..."
"Damn..." Zachary looked defeated. "I guess it was too much to hope that Sand wouldn't make sure we couldn't get a way to reverse his petrification process. At least no one got hurt in that thing's self-destruction, though..."
"What about Sand?"
"He's gone." Ludicrine said, pointing at a monitor. The others looked and saw a side-view of the ship, with several coloured dots. In the room they were in, there was a red dot and four blue dots. Around the ship, there were very few green dots. "I saw this thing earlier, and when Sand was in here, it showed a grey thingy in this room, with a bunch of blue thingies next to it. I'm guessing that we were the blue thingies, and that he was the grey thingy. Since there's no grey thingy on this thing anymore, I'm guessing he's gone now."
"Shit... well, there goes that." Revelian sighed.
"The ship is still attacking, though..." Zachary stated, worriedly. "Even if we can't get Sand or the cure for petrification, we still need to stop this thing from causing any more harm."
"Then we gotta blow this thing up." Revelian said. "Or try to deactivate it. Whatever we can do to stop it."
"Yo!" Lazro stepped up. "I can probably hack into the computer system. If this thing has a self-destruct function like that Medusa thingy, then I can probably trigger it. If not, then I'll do my best to deactivate all the functions this thing has."
"There's no computers here that we can use, though."
"Engine room? I can deactivate those manually if we need to. There might also be terminals on the way that I can hack."
"If this thing's gonna go down with us on it, though, we might not all be able to get off on time. You and Sam can't fly on your own, and it's a long way down if you're having someone carry you. I doubt you'll be lucky enough to get something that allows for a safe landing from your hairpin, and I know that it'll be hard for Ludi or Zach to carry one of you guys down there without jeopardizing their own safety. And that's even thinking that they can get away from this thing fast enough on their own if it's going down or blowing up."
"If too many people is a problem, then any liabilities should get off here, then." Zachary said. "I'm guessing Ludi, Sam, and me, then. You and Lazro can go through the ship and bring it down, then you can fly Lazro out to safety. We'll be safe where we are, too."
"Just me and... him, taking down this whole ship?" asked Revelian, as he shot a glance in Lazro's direction. "Oh boy."
Samuel looked out over a window. "I think we're just over the Submarine Shrine right now, or we just passed it... this thing should be going over the desert, next. If we jump ship now or soon, we'll end up close to one of three homes of people we know." Samuel smiled. "I'm guessing Mori, Delinius, or Ivan have automotives, yeah? If we can use one or two of those, we could meet up after you guys down this thing."
Revelian sighed. "I guess if you think it's a good idea... Sure, whatever."
"Alright, it's decided. Best of luck to you both." Zachary nodded.
The three managed to make their exit from the ship, followed by a descent towards the land. Though the task was long and tiring, when they finally landed, they were greeted by an automotive when they finally landed.
"Hey... who's...?" asked Ludicrine.
He was interrupted when the automotive stopped, and the driver's door was opened. Then, a familiar face popped out of it, giving them a coy smile, which was met with their smiles in return.
"It's a good thing I've been watching that ship for some time, or else I wouldn't have seen you three jumping from it."
Lazro cradled a laptop in his arms, as he walked down the corridor of slightly rusted metal and sand.
"... If we can find any terminals on the way, I can try hacking into them." Lazro mumbled. "It'd save us some time."
"I'm crossing my fingers." Revelian said.
They realized this hope had been in vain, after a lengthy walk through the ship.
"Here's the engine room, then." Lazro walked over to a computer terminal. "So, let's see if we can't shut these down..."
Lazro began furiously pressing buttons. Revelian looked onward for a moment, trying to keep track and comprehend what Lazro was doing, but it was a confusing blur to him. Revelian decided to just look around instead.
After a while, Lazro yelled, "Eureka!"
"You done now?" Revelian asked.
"Almost. Just through this last firewall, and I can shut down everything." Lazro replied, with a smile. "Now, here we goo..."
Suddenly, an image popped up on the large screen.
Lazro hadn't been prepared for this to come up, as it was made clear. Lazro saw a text that said "PASSWORD", and a blank line underneath it.
"What?" Revelian asked, after seeing Lazro stand unmoving for some time. "... Is this a problem?"
"No, no, uh, I got it... Er..." Lazro was sweating bullets, though he slowly began typing. "Eight-letters... S, A, N, D, -, M, A, N."
Lazro pressed enter. The screen suddenly flashed red, and emitted a loud, unpleasant buzzing noise. A number of security alarms then were triggered, filling the halls with their shrill, loud blaring.
"CRAP!" Lazro swore, jumping back from the computer.
"I thought you said this wasn't a problem!"
"No, I can fix this-"
"WARNING. INTRUDERS DETECTED IN "ENGINE ROOM". ACTIVATING DEFENSE SYSTEM."
"It sure sounds like a problem to me!"
Suddenly, a hole in the wall opened up, and a spherical machine that appeared similar to the Medusa Generator slowly floated out. The machine fired a large laser at the two intruders, and Revelian managed to push Lazro out of the way in the nick of time. Revelian was petrified in sand for but a moment, and then the sand cracked, releasing him.
Revelian then flew forward and slashed the machine with his sword, causing it to vibrate wildly, and leaving a large gash in it.
Lazro fiddled with his hairpin for a moment, and it transformed. "Hyper cannon-airpin! Lucky break!" Lazro shouted, as he then held a large, mechanical cannon-like object in his arms. He fired a blast into the gash left by Revelian's sword, and it left a larger hole throughout the machine.
Similar to how the Medusa Generator had been destroyed; the spherical machine then powered down, and plummeted to the floor with a loud noise.
"We did it!" Lazro exclaimed, shooting his arms up and smiling.
"We still have to shut the engines off!" Revelian yelled.
"Right! The password!" Lazro frowned. "Er... I have no idea..."
"Ugh... Let me give it a go."
Revelian walked over to the computer terminal, typed in an eight-letter word, and pressed enter. Then, the screen returned to normal, the security alarms ceased blaring, and the text on the screen read "password confirmed".
Then, all the lights began to shut off.
"That's all the power off..." Lazro stated, surprised. "How did you know what the password was??"
"I typed "Mercedes"." Revelian said, simply. "That's the name of Sand's daughter. And it's eight letters."
"Ohhhh..." Lazro blinked. "H-hey, we need to get off the ship now! It's going down!"
"That's right. We gotta bust out..."
"But... how are we gonna do that?"
Revelian held out his arm. "Just hold on tight, and I'll do all the work."
Lazro slowly grabbed onto Revelian. Revelian grabbed Lazro, too, and then he began to fly at a high speed. Revelian smashed through the metal walls of the airship, and didn't stop until after he could see daylight.
Revelian then stopped flying, causing Lazro to shake a bit. Revelian then slowly began to levitate downwards, towards the sands of the desert below.
Meanwhile, the Anubis continued its flight forward for a moment, and its continued momentum propelled it a bit more as it lost its position in the air and began to descend. The Anubis plummeted downwards like a dart, as an explosion coming from the engine room propelled it slightly. The Anubis crashed downward into the oasis, creating a large splash of the water.
"Nice landing," Revelian remarked, with a smirk.
"That was a pretty lucky break, there!" said Lazro. "If you think how big and fast that ship was, it could've left a crater the size of the whole desert if it hadn't landed in the water."
"Huh... you might be right. It's a good thing it did, then..."
"Moo." Lazro leaned to the side slightly, motioning for Revelian to let him go now. Revelian released him to a short, soft landing onto the desert sands.
Revelian sighed. "So... should we go off and try to find the guys, now?"
"Not if they're gonna come to us."
"What? Why would they..." Revelian looked into the distance, and spotted an automotive coming towards them.
"Wait a minute, what??" Revelian demanded. "Is that really them?? How did they know where we are?"
"That probably has a reasonable explanation... but I wouldn't really care either way."
Revelian scoffed. "Real helpful."
The automotive eventually made its way to them, and stopped nearby. The passengers exited the vehicle, while the driver stayed inside. Ludicrine, Zachary, and Samuel now greeted Revelian and Lazro once more.
"Took you guys long enough." Revelian remarked.
"Sorry, I guess." Zachary rubbed his head.
"We got the job done."
"Yeah, we could see. Thanks, you guys. You were great."
"Did you see that ship go down?" Samuel exclaimed. "That's like, some stuff straight out of an action movie! Cool!"
"Aw, gee..." Lazro smiled.
"So, what do we do now?"
Zachary sighed. "Well, Sand did escape without a trace... and there is still the matter of getting the ship and trying to get whatever we can out of it."
"Why do we have to do that?"
"Well, that's not actually our job, that's just what needs to be done."
Revelian sighed. "So, we've lost our leads on Sand? Great..."
"We'll just have to wait until we can do something more, Revelian. Until then, we should all just go home and rest up... and be thankful that we're all alright."
"Oy, should we call an early day off for the rest of the company? I mean, it feels like there's been enough casualties for today, right?"
"Yeah... To be honest, I kind of don't feel that into going back to work after all that. And I'm guessing you guys all feel the same."
"If it's alright with you guys."
"Alright, then. You guys can all go home. We'll make it back to the company and tell everyone they can go off."
"Man, I wish we could go off work early every day."
"We kind of have to be sparing with this, though. We've already had a few of those this month, and our anniversary is coming up pretty soon, so not much work is gonna get done, then."
"Ughh..." Ludicrine sighed.
"Suits me just fine. Later." Revelian then flew off.
"I'll call Ecast to get me home." Samuel blinked. "Lazro, how are you gonna get home?"
"Uh..." Lazro looked back to the automotive's driver. "I guess I'm getting a ride home. Hey!" Lazro waved.
Samuel returned to his home, and was met with the unfortunate event of a blackout. Though upset, he was able to put up a few candles, and pull some luminescent pets into his house.
Samuel tried to take some particular note of the reason for this, though. The power plant nearby had been completely destroyed. Samuel wondered if it had been because of the Anubis, though found it somewhat illogical, since the airship hadn't even come nearly close enough to the area to have fired weapons at it. However, there were a number of odd-looking figures nearby, who Samuel believed to be workers. Therefore, he was calmed under the belief that it was being repaired at the time.
To a later dismay, this was not the case.
Bonus Chapter: Dead
It was an image.
It may have been a memory or a figment of imagination brought to fruition. But it was there: Mura and Revelian. There they were, together, smiling, laughing, and playing together.
Their images were timeless. It was impossible to tell what age they were. This may very well have been an iteration of them as young children, or one from centuries ago, or one from recent years, or them in the present, or perhaps in the near future, or even in the far future. Of course, it was all impossible to tell.
Oh, but it was clearly the two of them. And the Revelian who was watching on knew it all too well.
And he wished that the Revelian he saw could have been him right now.
"You see... you were happy before." A familiar voice spoke to him. The voice didn't seem to come from any particular direction.
"But you keep convincing yourself that it was only with me."
"Revelian... I'm gone."
"Yes! I'm gone!"
The image of Mura suddenly disappeared before him.
"Revelian, I'm dead!"
"Look at this!"
Revelian looked forward.
The image only had one difference. Mura was gone... but Revelian was still there. And Revelian was still happy, playing, and smiling. Even when Mura wasn't there.
"This is what I want... I want you to be happy again. With yourself, with the world, with some other friend, brother, whoever I was and maybe even more than I could've been, or whatever... but I know you're never going to get there if you're still just... upset over my death..."
Revelian appeared entranced by the image before him. It was... something hard to consider for him, if he could be truthful. It was something that he'd thought and wanted to accept a while ago, but it had faded from his mind when he'd been in dreary thought and disdain still over Mura's death.
Perhaps, he thought, it could come to be.
"There's others who care for you... just as much as I do. Maybe even more! And if not, there's going to be plenty more."
"How can you say that...?"
"People who care for you when you're sick or sad... people who want to stay by your side and help you through any challenges that you'll face."
"But they're not..."
"These people are alive! They're here, with you now!"
"Not a single one of them is my brother... my family..."
There was silence for some time.
"Please... just... move on..."
Revelian awoke with a start. He looked around frantically, wondering why the images he had just seen were no longer around him. He struggled against the covers of his bed for a moment. He then threw them off and jumped out, faced with unfamiliar surroundings.
"Woah!!" A voice suddenly exclaimed. Revelian saw a small gridmask figure dressed in a blue suit suddenly jumping out of his bed as well, standing to attention. "Sir!! What seems to be the matter?!"
Revelian paused for a moment. He started to slowly look around, and began to remember... he was in the seashore base, sleeping on a bunk bed. He'd been staying there for the past few days.
Standing before him was the commander of the Sado forces, Thomas. Revelian thought for a moment, and realized that the things he had just seen and heard were all figments of a dream...
"... S-sir, are you alright...?"
"... Yeah." Revelian feebly managaed. He then cleared his throat, and spoke with a louder, clearer voice. "Yeah. Yeah, everything's alright. Just... a bad dream. That's all."
Thomas chuckled. "Whuu! You had me worried there for a second, sir. Aheheh..."
"Yeah, uh, sorry..."
"No hard feelings, sir." Thomas saluted.
"You should... return to bed, I guess."
"Are you gonna do the same, sir?" Thomas asked.
"N-no, I... I'm gonna go out and try to get some fresh air."
Thomas chuckled again. "Are you a bit spooked by the dream, sir?"
Revelian sighed. "Kinda..."
"Aheh... I never pegged you to be the type for having nightmares."