Ext. Nevada Spaceport — Day
“Come on,” said Shadow floating above the abandoned cars and tour buses. He had been floating around the Nevada Spaceport. One of the hundreds built during the great expanse of a commercialized Sol system. Many were used as an escape from when the Raliksi invaded. But now, they were all empty. Only rust, decay, and dead dreams laid scattered.
Shadow’s bright blue eye shot a light down onto a rusted car, scanning its exterior and interior. After a minute, he shook his orb body in disapproval. From there, he floated to another vehicle and then another and then a bus. Scanning as he moved through the highway. It looked as if everything was rushing towards the center of the Spaceport, where seven towering rockets stood. Each with sphere compartments stacked on top of each other, like lollipops with stacking bulbs. The ships were large enough to be known as arks for the mass exodus during the days of the Raliksi Invasion but never used. Now without power, they stood alone. Shadow glanced over to the rockets. “Maybe. Maybe there,” he said before something caught his eye.
He glided over the cramp roads till he found a bridge. A skeleton was perched over the edge like it was running from something from underneath. Shadow scanned the bones and decided it wasn’t what he was looking for. So he moved over the bridge and lowered himself onto the dried river. It was once a beautiful source of water, but now it was nothing but piles of mud and trash. Shadow spun around, hoping that whatever the skeleton was running from would be enough to surprise him. And he was.
Underneath the bridge was bones, but it wasn’t all bones. A being stood in front of a group that Shadow counted to be fourteen. There was more, but the rest didn’t petrify like the fourteen. Which were turned to dust, stone, ash, and melted metal. Their limbs were frozen in place with the atoms shifted that you could no longer tell if they were female or male. The petrification had a rough and brittle texture but strong enough to last the test of time. There were small beings that Shadow assumed to be children among those petrified, but it was the being that stood in front of the group. The feeling it gave snatched Shadow’s attention in a way that not even he could comprehend. An unconscious feeling that one could say was fate.
Shadow floated above the bridge and looked back to a massive wall opposite the seven rockets. Above the wall, blotting out the sun and casting an everlasting shade, was the Wayfarer.
Shadow moved back below the bridge, hovering in front of the being. There was an old sewage tunnel with its grate melted off. The shadow didn’t need a map to tell him that it would lead him back to the Wall and then to the Last Bastion. “Good,” said Shadow. “This is the one.” He scanned the being standing in front of the group, confirming his decision. “Such a strong light.” Shadow unravelled himself, exposing his eye. His body, now rings of stone, started to spin around the eye. As the ring gained speed, a translucent energy began to form from the eye, reflecting all the colours of the rainbow. He let out a pulse of light enveloping the being. A roar from behind sent Shadow back to his normal form. He turned down the dry river trail and noticed a small squad of Raliksi. Two Ints and a Warrior.
“Oh no, oh no, oh no. Please wake up,” pleaded Shadow. He could sense the three Raliksi rushing his way. “Anytime now.” The petrification started to crack as light poured from the wounds. Shadow bounced up and down in the air, “Just break out already!” He bounced faster as the cracks spread as more light began to leak out. “Now is not the time to have a dramatic entrance — ,” a hand snatched the shadow from the air. “The sewage,” order Shadow ripping free and leading the way.
The new human followed behind, tripping over the bodies of the people it once protected. Unchained from the memory of its deed.
Once inside, Shadow lead the way with his eye lighting up the corridor.
“Hurry, they’ll be on us soon. I would hate for you to experience death so soon. Just a couple of miles now, and we’ll reach the Wall!” Without even asking, the human followed behind. Surging with new strength. It didn’t get tired or feel sore as its sliced-up feet bled behind it from jagged stones. It just needed to follow the light to the end of the tunnel.
Int. The Wall — Day
The three Raliksi emerged from the sewage tunnel into a room with pillars of metal and stone reaching up to sixty meters into the air. Above them was no ceiling but the open sky with the metal wall reaching twenty meters higher than the pillars. They could see a part of the Wayfarer floating above. The Raliksi wore leather and metal armour in the way of the samurai of old. The Warrior gripped his flame sabers with two of his four arms while he suggested with his free arms to the Ints to scan the room. They followed suit, searching around abandoned storage containers. The room was vast and curved. It was part of the Wall which encircled an air force base from times before the Golden Age.
The Ints search for hours before giving up. Finally, together with the Warrior, they went to one of the many massive steel doors and slid it open. The Warrior made one more glance back at the room, adjusting his respirator over his mouth inhaling a large amount of aether. The fur on its head started to vibrate as the aether surged throughout its body before flickering his eyes blue and then returning to a muddy yellow. With a final grunt, he turned away into the Wall.
On a platform on one of the pillars, our shadow hovered with the being next to him.
“That was a close one. Good thing most Raliksi don’t bother to look up,” said Shadow. He turned to finally face the creature he brought back from the dead. It was a woman with short black hair and eyes of emerald green. Her skin was soft pink with a hint of Asian descent. She wasn’t beautiful or perfect, but she had a certain charm with how she gazed at Shadow. “Oh no,” Shadow proclaimed as it hovered down to her feet which were infected and still bleeding. It took him less than a second to pulse out a wave of healing, returning the woman’s feet back to normal. “There you go, good as new. But we don’t have a lot of time. I’m sure those Raliksi will come back through here sooner or later. There’s nothing in there for them. Quick, climb down and find what you can to get dressed.”
The woman leaped from her platform, making a hero’s landing, and then stood up. She was fine, and without a single second missed, she rushed to a storage container and peered inside. Quickly she found clothes. She grabbed what she needed and then glanced over to Rangruff 4k-70, which laid on the ground against the furthest most wall the way they came in. After getting dressed, she snatched the rifle up and slotted in an empty magazine as if it was instinct.
“Don’t worry about bullets,” said Shadow. “The light will provide,” and almost as if it was on cue, the magazine was filled with ethereal light. “As long as you’re connected to the light, the Wayfarer will help. There should be a door — ,”
The woman fired a couple rounds in the room that the Raliksi had entered. The two Ints from before fell out dead.
“What? They were waiting?” Asked the Shadow before turning to the woman. Her gaze still on the room. The blazing sabers ignited, casting light on the Warrior’s face. He roared and rushed into the room. The woman’s rifle rang as more shoots soared out of the barrel, the sound bouncing from the metals wall. The Warrior, with ease, dodged a few rounds, but when the Rangruff went full auto, he activated a solar shield. The bullets dispersed on impact, and the shield dimmed in strength. The rifle didn’t have enough time to pop the shield, and it didn’t take long for Warrior to reach the woman.
He swiped at her with one blade, and she rolled towards him just off to the Warrior’s left. Another blade came in swinging, on its way to cut the woman, in mid roll, in two. She fired a couple of shots launching her up just a bit for the second blade to sweep right underneath, singeing some hair. She went into a dash. Now out of the Warriors range, she headed for the exit. Firing back at the Warrior blindly.
“Are you trying to wake the whole place up?” Questioned Shadow following close behind. Once in the room, they were met with a dark hallway. Shadow flew ahead, lighting the path. “Follow me!” And the woman obeyed, leaping over boxes and steel beams that had fallen from the Wall.
The woman glanced up to see a spider web of metal crisscrossing from the walls that made up the hallway. She could see more paths and closed doors hidden away among the web. All rusty and painted over with logos and sigils of a time before.
“Watch out,” Shadow warned as Ints began crawling from holes in the floor. The woman fired quickly, head-shotting one Int barely out of his hole. It exploded, geysering black blood onto the walls. She glanced down where it had emerged from and found that it went down deep. Yet she didn’t have time to explore, as more Ints started to emerge from above. She looked behind her briefly and saw the Warrior gaining speed. His shield recovered in strength as it glowed bright.
The woman jumped over dangers and fired blindly behind her. She needed to do everything she could to slow them down. A shotgun laid rusty on a crate, and she snatched it up, immediately firing a buckshot into an Int that had caught up. Blasting its body into chunks, blinding her pursers. They roared in disgust, wiping pieces of their friend from their faces. The woman’s rifle dematerialized into thin air.
“It’s not gone! Just placed into your dimensional inventory. you’re fine. If you think, it will appear,” said Shadow. The woman reached behind her and pulled the Rangruff from thin air, swapping it with the shotgun. She swapped back and forth a couple times. “Stop playing with it!”
Above in the rafts, hidden away, sleeping, a man peered down at the ruckus below. He watched as the woman fought for her life.
“I didn’t expect to see another Sentinel in the Wall,” said another shadow floating by the man.
“She fights like she knows what she’s doing. How would you rate her, Stacie?” Asked the man.
“I’d give her slightly above average. She’s doing a lot better than most of the trainees,” said Stacie. Her design was different from Shadow, with her shell more like a frozen comet with shards of ice pointing behind her like hair. “You going down?”
“Not yet,” said the man as he watched the woman run beneath him.
Int. Horkiko’s Chamber — Day
The woman and Shadow burst from the hallway into a giant dome chamber. White panels covered every inch of the dome walls, reflecting a foreign blue code of letters and numbers. Four pillars of silver foil connected from the floor to the ceiling. Among the pillars was an old spacecraft hanging from the cables stretching from the top of the ceiling. The floor was hidden by a pile of white monitors gathered at the center and fanning out. The woman quickly slammed the door to the room shut, lodging her shotgun through the door’s crack, keeping it from sliding open.
“Why are there so many Raliksi so close to the Bastion?” Asked Shadow. He wasn’t looking for an answer but more of thinking out loud. “And what’s wrong with you? Why did you attract all of them to our position? How did I end up with a defected Sentinel? Do you know how long I’ve been searching for one? Of course, you don’t. You were dead only an hour ago!”
The woman rolled her eyes and shook her head. She smacked the shadow on the head with the butt of her rifle.
“Ouch, what was that for?”
She pointed to the panels and then the room. Gesturing to the shadow to explain. The area felt almost like a holy alter.
“You want to know about the room? Well, I don’t know. Give me a second.” Shadow floated up to the panels. “It looks like old Raliksi code, being repeated. I don’t know what it says. I haven’t downloaded a Raliksi Lexicon, but all I’m getting is Saints. Saints? Oh no,” said Shadow come to a realization. “Oh no, oh no, oh no. We shouldn’t be here. Find an exit quick!”
The woman pointed to the ship.
“We don’t need a ship! We just need to find an exit,” said Shadow zooming around the room, scanning for doors. “Over here, there’s a small shaft we can climb through.” He glanced back to the woman, her gaze set on the ship. “Ignore the ship! We don’t — ,” The woman readied her aim, her attention now on something else. In the back of the room in the shadows covered in a cloak of black. A large Raliksi stood up.
It was two times taller than the Warrior, hitting a peak of about twelve feet. It had all six arms, which were dressed in armour plates with wires stringing to each other like nerves. The Raliksi wore no mask, revealing its fanged teeth that hide behind its lips. The hair of the Raliksi was pure white, almost as if it was cybernetic fibers. It flowed longer than a male Raliksi.
It took a step forward, throwing back its cloak with all six arms. The panels on the walls started to flicker as more code began to cycle on the screens. Electricity sparked revolving around the pillars before launching towards the Raliksi. Its six hands shaping the power into a small ball of lightning. As more electricity flowed into the ball, it grew as the code from the panels started to blend in. It was making the digital, made physical.
The Raliksi placed five of its arms behind its back and with one hand grabbed the ball, squeezing it, and a sword of digital code erupted. Then, lifting the weapon high, she took aim at the woman.
“Impossible,” whispered Shadow, then realizing that his Sentinel was the target of such an ungodly weapon said, “Run!”
The woman fired a couple of shots into the large Raliksi only to have the bullets stopped by another solar shield, much stronger than the Warriors. She accepted that the Rangurff stood no match against the shield, sent the gun away. Posing herself into a brawling stance, she tightened her hands. She could feel a surge of energy flowing through her as parts of the room’s electricity started to gather around her hands. It was barely noticeable, but the woman felt she could win this fight.
The Raliksi threw the sword, and it flew like lightning, discharging around the room, shattering the panels on the walls, and ripping the foil from the pillars. As the weapon reached the center of the room, a lance of purple light shot down from above, ramming the sword on impact and sending the pile of monitors flying in all directions.
The woman shielded herself with her arms but was still launched back into the door she sealed, breaking it inward and into the hallway. Shadow flew high enough to avoid the monitors. As they sparked and shattered against the pillars. The clash of the weapon sounded like crying birds as the electricity sang.
The woman groaned as she struggled up out of the metal door to see the lance of light rammed into the floor. The lance was detailed with runes on the shaft like the ones found on Shadow. It pinned the digital sword to the ground. After a couple seconds, the sword disappeared, and the lance did the same. From above, the man from before landed in the middle of the room.
“I think that’s enough, Horkiko. Back the way you came. I wouldn’t want the emperor to lose his wife,” said the man. His voice was clear and clean.
The Raliksi growled. “Your time will come, Scout.” With that, she left the room through a massive hole in the wall that she guarded with her body. Disappearing deeper into it.
“Come now, she’s all gone. It’s safe for now,” said the man.
The woman stood up and glanced back down the hallway, which was filled with Raliksi, only to find them all dead. The Warrior hung from the wall with its flame sabers sticking out of its chest. She turned from the man and headed to the dead Warrior.
Back at the room, the man stretched his arms high above his head. Then tapping a switch on the back of his helmet, it dematerialized. Revealing a head full of black hair shaved up to an almost fohawk. He glanced over the woman returning with a flame saber in her hands. “Took a fancy to it. Can’t say I blamed you. It’s a smokin’ hot weapon. It’s nasty,” said the man placing his hand underneath his chisel chin. He grinned. The man reached out for a handshake. “Aztecross, but everyone calls me Cross.”
“Shujinko,” said the woman.
“You can talk!?” The two glanced over to Shadow as he hover down between them. “Why didn’t you say anything before?”
“You were annoying.”
“Excuse me,” roared Shadow. “After all I did for you?”
“Shadow?” Said Stacie floating from behind Cross.
“It is Shadow.”
“Seriously,” said Cross with an astonished smile on his face. “So, this one is a fledgling,” Cross pointed at Shujinko. “From the way she fought, I thought she might have been a new graduate. Damn, and you tried to square off with Horkiko. That’s some balls of steel. Les is not gonna believe this.”
“Horkiko?” Asked Shadow. “The large Raliksi?”
“Yup, that was Horkiko. Horkiko, the Priest of the Exalted Saints. An old big gorilla lady,” said Cross; there was a hint of pain on the last thing he said. “Good thing you made all that noise from before because if I wasn’t around, you’d be digital code by now.”
“I could have taken her,” said Shujinko.”
“No, you couldn’t. You reckless fool” yelled Shadow. “You are new to all of this. You don’t know anything. You need to trust me. I’m the leader.”
“You haven’t given me a reason to trust you.”
“I brought you back.”
“In a hell zone.”
“Alright, alright,” interrupted Cross. “You guys can argue back at the Bazaar. For now, grab your ship and get the hell out of here.”
“It’s a stupid ship,” said Shadow, floating up and transmatting into the metal husk. After a couple minutes, it sprung to life, freeing itself from the cables and hovering.
“It’s not a stupid ship. It’s my ship,” said Shujinko stepping up.
“Hey, Shujinko?” Asked Cross.
“Did you really think you could take on Horkiko?”
“Of course,” she finished and was transmatted onto the ship. With that, it smashed through the ceiling and up to the open sky. Leaving Cross and Stacie among the rubble.
“Wasn’t that the ship you came in here looking for,” said Stacie.
“Was looking for. It’s just one of the many things I’m looking for,” said Cross. “Just one of the many things Ziya Amazir left behind.
Ext. Mid Sky — Day
The two sat quietly as the ship made a circle around the Wall. It was massive, with the center holding an enormous hexagon building. Just off the right of the Wall was the Wayfarer casting its large shadow.
“It’s not that big, is it,” said Shujinko.
“The Wayfarer is just right. A small moon for quick space travel.”
“Listen. I’m your shadow; you need to trust me. I know this world inside and out. I’ve been around a lot longer than you. You should’ve run like I told you to.”
“And you should’ve trusted me.”
“That’s not how this works.”
“It is how it works,” said Shujinko. “If you want someone to trust you. You need to prove it. You revived me and told me to run. From my angle, you put me in a dangerous situation, and instead of trusting that I could fight my way out, you decided to run.”
“Because you — ,”
“The light will provide, remember? I know how to fight, I know how to kill, because light taught me that. This is not a slave and master situation. We’re partners. Equals.”
Shadow nodded and looked out the window. The ship cruised through the air, letting the wind carry it. “There’s a port just on the edge of the Wall. It overlooks the Last Bastion.”
Shujinko looked out, and just below the Wayfarer was a large city with skyscrapers and apartments. Life was there. It was thriving under protection. A force that saved them from the Raliksi and whatever dangers lie out in the wilds. “Sentinel,” Shujinko said. She noticed a red shard at the bottom of her boot. She bent and picked it up. It was crimson, and the texture was rough, but underneath the shard was a black shine. Shujinko figured that it was no shard but a scale.
“Yes, that is what you are, Sentinel,” said Shadow. “A hero for the Wayfarer, for the people, and for the world.”
“A hero, huh,” said Shujinko bringing the scale up to her ear.
Shujinko dropped the scale.