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bright_ephemera
07.24.2012 , 07:44 PM | #32
CHRONICLES PAST, 2: In which Nalenne saves the world

Cross-posted from the Short Fic Weekly Challenge.

Time period: Early to middling period of Quinn being dead


Pierce caught up with Nalenne in the marketplace of the village the crew was passing through. “Milord. Word on the street is there’s a big lab outside town. Mad scientist stuff. Could have some interesting items.”

“Science is boring,” said Nalenne.

“The other word on the street is that it’s overrun with zombies in need of being killed. Again.”

“Now you’ve got my attention,” said the Sith.

Pierce led the crew to the lab, a huge grey building surrounded by dozens of uncommonly angry zombies. The resulting killing spree led them, slowly but thrillingly, into the lab itself, and down a staircase into a large subterranean room.

Just inside was some kind of apparatus involving a prodigious number of pipes, levers, glowing jars, and ominous-looking gauges. Nalenne and the crew sailed right past, laying waste to the zombie horde. Nalenne finished off the last zombie and looked around for more. But there was only one unfamiliar humanoid left upright: an old man cowering behind a barrel in the far corner.

“Oh, thank you,” said the old man. “I wasn’t sure how I was going to reach the flamethrowers to clear this place out.”

Pierce and Broonmark exchanged hopeful looks. “You’ll have to show us these flamethrowers before we go,” said Pierce.

“I was just going to test the zombie plague a little bit to be sure it worked before I shelved it with the other superweapons,” said the old man. “I’m Doctor Nasan Godera. Thanks again for saving my life.”

“Anybody who develops superweapons is a friend of mine,” said Nalenne. “Darth Nalenne, Emperor’s Wrath. Nice little operation you’ve got here.”

Before Godera could answer, a booming voice sounded from the entryway. Everyone turned to see a large man in a cape, flanked by small hunchbacked minions.

“Godera,” said the stranger. “I’ve found you at last. And,” he looked at the big apparatus, “the project you left clues about on a dozen worlds.”

“Ooh, a scavenger hunt?” said Jaesa. “That sounds like fun.”

“It all led me here,” smirked the stranger. “To the DREAM.”

“The what?” said Vette.

“The Delirium Reverie-Eating Annihilation Machine,” explained Doctor Godera. “It induces hallucinations in everyone within a ten-kilometer radius, feeds on the resulting wild emotion-induced Force fluctuations, and then blows up the planet.”

“Wow. Stylish,” said Nalenne.

“But that’s terrible!” protested Jaesa. “Godera, you’re a monster!”

Godera looked uneasy. “I didn’t think anybody was going to use it.”

“Minions!” said the stranger. “Initiate the DREAM sequence!” He cackled wildly. His minions got to work on the levers and buttons of the apparatus.

“Did you listen to the part where that’s going to kill us all?” said Vette.

“I’m fine with that. It’s a long story,” said the stranger. “I’m mostly just spiting Doctor Godera.”

“An admirable motivation,” said Nalenne.

“Except for the part where it’s going to kill us all,” reminded Vette.

The machine was purring and whining, a thousand small lights flaring to life. Quinn was looking around, evaluating escape routes. “Doctor. How long do we have before it takes effect?”

“Um,” said Doctor Godera.

“Whoa,” said Pierce. “Pretty colors.” He dropped cross-legged on the floor and fixed his eyes on nothing.

“Bbborblogggg!” squealed Broonmark. He started clawing at his own fur, scratching and shaking in an effort to get an invisible something off of him.

Jaesa started conversing quietly with nobody. She seemed upset about it.

Vette, looking suddenly cheerful, started hopping in place.

Nalenne looked to where Quinn had been standing. A large winged nekghoul grinned toothily at her. She felt a warm rush of hatred.

“My lord,” said Quinn, “Being dead and incorporeal, I appear to be immune to the delirium, but I cannot deactivate the machine. I need you to work with me.”

“Silence, beast!” She drew her lightsaber, flourished it, and attacked.

“My lord! Are you listening?”

Nalenne, not comprehending in the slightest, kept up her attack. Her lightsaber passed harmlessly through him.

“This planet and everyone on it will be obliterated if you don’t listen to me for once in your life, my lord.”

“Hey, Nalenne? I think you should listen to him,” said Vette.

“Wait,” said Quinn. “You can understand me?”

“Well, yeah. I mean, you look like a big kitten, but otherwise you make total sense.”

“You must help me. We need to deactivate the machine. I can talk you through what’s likely to work, I just need your hands.”

Vette giggled happily. “I don’t have hands, silly.” She waved her hands. “See?”

Pierce, smiling dreamily, pointed at invisible things floating in the air.

“Die already!” yelled Nalenne. She shoved Vette out of the way and commenced another vicious offensive against Quinn. He looked put upon.

Broonmark rolled around on the floor, swatting wildly. “BBBRRRRRRBZZZ.”

A while later Nalenne stilled her lightsaber and glared at the big nekghoul she was seeing. “You just don’t die, do you? You kind of remind me of my ex-husband.” Then, snarling, she redoubled her efforts. “I will end you.”

“I thought we were on better terms than that by now,” said a concerned Quinn.

“So…pretty…” said Pierce happily, and commenced some kind of one-person clapping game.

Jaesa was in tears, still arguing with nothing.

“I really can’t reason with you, can I,” said Quinn.

“I’ll kill you, monster!”

“Right,” said Quinn resignedly. “I am a scary monster and I need killing. Rawr.” He led Nalenne across the room and stepped into the great plexisteel heart of the machine.

“Don’t taunt me! You won’t get away so easy!” Nalenne gave chase, carving into the machine with singleminded fury. “I hate you! I hate you!”

Vette giggled. “Just like old times, huh, captain?”

“Oh, shut up,” said Quinn.

Some critical power conduit in the machinery finally blew. Quinn moved slowly, continuing to lead Nalenne’s frenzied offensive through the guts of the machine. There was a burst of light, a shower of sparks, a long sad powering-down sound, and then everyone blinked and looked around.

Jaesa sniffled and wiped her eyes. Vette stopped distractedly waving her lekku. Broonmark sat up and grumbled. Pierce stood up and looked unaccountably guilty. Nalenne hopefully jabbed at Quinn, but her lightsaber still had no effect on him.

“A kitten?” said Quinn, frowning at Vette.

“Hm. Let’s never speak of this again,” said Nalenne.

“Oh, I’m speaking of it,” said Vette. “The look on Quinn’s face the whole time was beautiful.”

Quinn scowled. “Listen to your master.”

“Or you’ll, what? Rawr me to death?”

Nalenne blinked. “He said ‘rawr’?”

“Yup.”

“Okay, you can speak of that part again. Otherwise let’s all just forget this.”

“Master, we need to bring Godera to justice before he can unleash another superweapon,” said Jaesa.

“That’s no fun,” said Nalenne, but she looked around. Both Godera and his mysterious enemy were gone.

Broonmark’s four eyes winked a pattern equivalent to a frown. “Rrrrrglorble.”

“Can we go?” said Quinn.

“We loot the flamethrowers first,” said Pierce. “He definitely said something about flamethrowers.”
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