Johns loved a good fight and this, although strange, had all the makings of an enjoyable confrontation. The demons were a welcome relief, although Alana’s new allies disturbed him. They reminded him of a previous battle and one which had not ended well. It was confusing as they looked as though they should be on the side of the demons, not helping Alana.
He swerved, using his armour to soak up punishment, and returned the demon’s blows with gusto. His HUD wavered and then refocused causing a momentary disorientation; hills became plains, then forest and finally a city scape. Magic? What was it?
“Alana, are you seeing this?” he asked on his helmet communicator.
“Yes,” she replied, “is it trickery?”
“I think not,” said Johns, “the plains we flew over on our way here, yet the city is unfamiliar. It reeks of Tauran sorcery.”
“Something else, I think,” commented Alana, “the control of this world belongs to those on the ship we saw on entering the system.”
“Probably,” agreed Johns, “but there is something else here. It reminds me of Viker. It smells wrong.”
Alana tried not to laugh. Johns was reverting to type, his time with Walters overpowering Viker’s influence. Smelling wrong may well be a euphemism in this case, but overall she could not doubt the veteran’s instincts.
“In that case,” she said, on open channel, “it’s time to beat feet…or wings if necessary.”
“Agreed,” said Johns, activating his own general communication, “strategic withdrawal, ladies and gentlemen. Things are about to get even more interesting.”
Shan shook the Ori but received only the blank look of one of his mindless followers in return. Haste had always been his downfall, and in this case it could be taken literally. Whatever the idiot had done, none only collapsed the containment fields, but was causing portals to open and close in random succession. The control module itself danced with light and data, which Shan supposed could not be good. At least the game console showed that the Flagship’s shield was holding, even though everything else was strange.
He moved to a secondary console and tried to achieve an inventory of his remaining resources. If nothing else, he could perhaps confuse the dwarf with more foes. What he saw caused him to turn, pulling a pistol from his belt, and shoot the slack-jawed Ori in the face.
“Idiot!” he screamed, “how could you let him leave?”
There was of course no reply. The data banks showed the missing ship and inventory clearly. There were a few miscellaneous pods remaining which he launched more in a fit of pique, than in the hope of anything positive coming from his action. All he could hope for now, was that the mayhem below took care of his enemy. Anything else would mean that his was time for a strategic withdrawal or a plea for help from his Master. That was the last thing he wanted to do. Perhaps, things would resolve themselves. He could but hope.
The lights in the bridge began to oscillate in tempo with an ever increasing whine and Shan scurried back to the main board. The shield was failing and someone was coming. Not from the planet itself, but from Fold Space. It was time to go.