The Endeavor made its way to Crelima City, a Naga dwelling like the Regatim Oasis, only much larger. Topping off supplies was going to take some time. Endea drummed her fingers at her new workstation in Main Engineering. Her assignment was to monitor the progress of the spare mana tanks as they filled. It was a long, tedious assignment, one where people nearly fell asleep at their station. Endea’s eyelids drooped a few times before she started slapping herself in the face. When she finished, she stared at her screens harder with eyes more widely open. A futile effort as her eyelids were drooping again. “Dull assignment?” asked a voice.
“You have no…” Endea’s sleepiness vanished as she trailed off. The voice didn’t belong to any member of the crew. She turned her chair to see a genie that seemed to have an affinity for purple, right up to the bow in her hair. “How did you get in here?!” demanded Endea.
“I’m Maska Launidar,” replied the genie.
“That doesn’t answer my question!” barked Endea.
“Sure, it does,” giggled Maska.
“No, it really…why am I still talking to you?” Endea grabbed her communicator and made a call. “Security, report to Main Engineering! We have an intruder!” Dalengor and her security team wasted no time in getting to Main Engineering. The team leveled their wands at Maska.
“Surrender your vessel, Genie!” snarled Dalengor.
“I’m unbound,” replied Maska. “Besides, I need to speak with Arsha at once!”
“You can do so in your brig cell!” growled Dalengor.
“Peace, Lieutenant Commander Mardem,” called another voice. A portal had opened and allowed Rellmeer and Rokalla to step into Main Engineering. “Ms. Launidar is here at our behest,” continued Rellmeer. “What she discovered is grave indeed.”
Arsha drummed her fingers on the conference room’s table. Her hairpiece was removed and just sitting on the table. “My guest has a quest to complete,” she grumbled. “I would have preferred that I suffered no interruptions.”
“I’m afraid your quest for the Scale Sword must be completed with all haste,” urged Rellmeer.
“Why?” asked Arsha. “Haste will only bring us into the path of Reb and her ilk and I’m still not over the Galthar incident.”
“I don’t think you need to worry about her intercepting you,” replied Rokalla. “What Dr. Borg is doing to her is far more horrible.”
“…Is Reb being held hostage by her?” quizzed Arsha.
“Dr. Borg is currently holding her for ransom,” explained Maska. “She demands the burial torpedoes you launched after your first encounter with Reb.”
“What kind of ghoulish experiments would she want with them?!” gulped Arsha.
“Revenant creation,” replied Rellmeer.
“But…but that research was destroyed long ago!” argued Arsha.
“From what I overheard, when Reb and Melgem encountered Dr. Borg and her new Revenant,” continued Maska, “one you and Denstra should be familiar with. Tell me, does the name ‘Yulduk’ mean anything?”
“Galthar’s former Collector!” gasped Arsha. “He’s Dr. Borg’s Revenant?!”
“And she intends to make more out of those five that died last year,” finished Rellmeer. “Maska needs a map.”
“Computer, pull up a map of the Under-realm,” Arsha commanded the computer. A map appeared on the screen and Maska got it to zoom in on an island.
“Right there,” she declared as she pointed to the island. “That’s where Dr. Borg’s base is.”
“But that’s where the Scale Sword’s supposed to be!” yelped Arsha. Just then, Penshek ran into the room.
“Captain, my spies in the Imperium have terrible news!” he called. “Dr. Borg’s beaten us to it! She’s arranged a deal with the Imperium! She’ll deliver the Sword if the Imperium joins her!”
“I’ve just heard other bad news related to that,” muttered Arsha. “All right, the long way is no longer a viable option. We need to leave NOW!” She then activated ship-wide communications. “All hands, duty uniforms on. Assume battle stations. We’re going to the Scale Sword’s resting place at once.” The alert rang through the ship as various crew members teleported themselves to their quarters and changed their outfits to their duty uniforms. When Arsha arrived at her quarters, Gorfanth and Foresna immediately started asking questions.
“Aren’t we taking the long way around?!” asked Foresna.
“What about Reb’s pirates?!” quizzed Gorfanth.
“They’ll be too busy trying to free Reb and Melgem from Dr. Borg’s clutches,” replied Arsha as she ducked behind a changing screen. As her dress was draped over the screen, she continued talking. “Dr. Borg’s taken them hostage and found the Scale Sword before we did. She’s using it as a bargaining chip to gain the Imperium’s loyalty.”
“She’s only, what, three strong?” asked Foresna.
“Four, since she’s been reported to have a Revenant,” corrected Arsha.
“…I’m sorry, a WHAT?!” yelped Foresna.
“I thought that research was destroyed!” continued Gorfanth.
“The people on that project backed up their research for someone to find,” explained Arsha as she retrieved her duty uniform from the table near the screen. “And this particular Revenant was Galthar’s collector. You know, the one that got greedy and helped, in a twisted way, bring Endea into the world.”
“Well, I don’t know about you,” muttered Foresna, “but I seem to recall that Revenant creation requires talking to Oyed the Dark Father.”
“I’m not letting his evil influence spread over the Realms!” growled Gorfanth. “”When we hit the island, I’m hitting the Revenant! I’ll dash his head against the…!”
“You two,” interrupted Arsha, “are civilians. This is a Realmfleet matter. You’re staying out of the inevitable fight.”
“With all due respect, Arsha,” argued Gorfanth, “no, we’re not.”
“Dr. Borg’s probably building an army of Revenants,” continued Foresna. “She’ll use them to attack our homes. We’re joining you in a preemptive strike against her.” Arsha finally stepped out from behind the screen in her duty uniform.
“There’s no talking you two out of this, is there?” she muttered as she set her hairpiece on the table. Gorfanth and Foresna shook their heads. Arsha sighed. “…There are civilian duty uniforms in my closet. Go put them on, then join the other civilian fighters on Deck 36 for combat preparations.” With that, she left her quarters and made her way to the bridge. “Report,” she called.
“All reserves are topped off,” reported Thangred.
“All decks are standing by,” continued Shalvey.
“Nazay,” commanded Arsha, “get us out of here, all available speed.”
“All available speed,” repeated Nazay as the Endeavor left Crelima City.
“Pirate fleet inbound,” Jansha reported to Dr. Borg.
“Hail them,” ordered Dr. Borg. Jansha complied and a channel opened. Rochak appeared on the screen.
“We have your burial torpedoes,” he called.
“Then Reb and Melgem shall be released into your care,” declared Dr. Borg.
“Actually, the members of this fleet have a better idea,” interjected Rochak.
“…I advise against double-crossing me,” warned Dr. Borg.
“We’re not doing anything like that,” assured Rochak. “Weltam and I would like to talk to you in person.” Dr. Borg considered her next move for a bit.
“…Meet me and Yulduk at the beach,” she finally decided.
“See you there!” promised Rochak.
Dr. Borg and Yulduk came out of the jungle and found Rochak and Weltam standing by 13 burial torpedoes. Only five were of Realmfleet design. “What’s all this?” asked Dr. Borg.
“We have more people for you to make Revenants out of,” purred Weltam.
“I DO need the numbers,” remarked Dr. Borg. “Few things come without a price. What do you want of me?”
“Positions in your empire, that’s what our little fleet wants,” explained Rochak.
“…Has Reb wronged you in any way?” asked Yulduk.
“Every time one of us raises an objection, she just shoots us in the head!” snapped Weltam. “This has been going down since Galthar!”
“We want our friends back and we want a new boss!” continued Rochak. “You seem to be able to provide on both counts!”
“…We DO need the soldiers now,” mused Yulduk.
“And having pirates like these on our side,” considered Dr. Borg, “WOULD give us supply routes.”
“Well?” asked Rochak.
“…You’re right,” chuckled Dr. Borg. “Your deal is sweeter than mine. Let’s talk about your positions in my empire.”
Reb’s arm was finally healed after chanting healing spells for over an hour. Her cell was separate from Melgem’s, just directly across from his. The stumps that were once his limbs still had their burns from Yulduk’s fire blades. The bleeding from his now empty eye-socket had stopped. Reb finally moved towards her cell door. “Melgem, sweetie?” she called across the hall.
“You never realize what a gift depth perception is until you lose it,” sighed Melgem. Reb’s heart stung. Her husband was feeling deeply sorry for himself and feeling utterly useless.
“Maybe…maybe I can get a message to Realmfleet,” suggested Reb.
“In hopes of asking someone for help?” muttered Melgem. “They won’t help pirates.” Just then, Reb’s communicator chimed. “…I thought they confiscated that,” muttered Melgem.
“Handy having a most DELIGHTFUL symbiote slime on your person,” chuckled Reb. She checked who was calling and her eyes widened in surprise. “It’s Arsha!”
“How’d she get your number?!” yelped Melgem.
“Does it matter?!” argued Reb as she accepted the call.
“Greetings, Admiral Rojam,” came Arsha’s voice.
“‘Greetings’?!” snapped Reb. “Arsha, what kind of VILE menace did you bring to the Realms?! First, you make me lose a chance to get a most HANDSOME profit on your safe return to Realmfleet! Then, you cause Mechanicas to spread everywhere, filling their heads with the most DREADFUL lie that they’re NOT servants! Now, Dr. Borg’s got my husband and I as her hostages! Who does that CLOD think she is?! She’s not acting like a member of Realmfleet if she’s making Revenants!”
“She’s not a member of Realmfleet, I promise you,” assured Arsha. “She has some sort of plan in the works that will bring down Realmfleet. I’d wager it involves talking to Oyed in some fashion.”
“She’s threatening to start the Final War,” replied Reb, “and managed to get a group of MY men to her side half an hour ago! MY OWN MEN!”
“We’re preparing an attack plan,” Arsha went on, “and will try to stymy her efforts as best we can.”
“More to the point,” interjected Reb, “can you break us out and get Melgem medevac’d so he can have his GRIEVOUSLY missing parts replaced? Dr. Borg’s prototype Revenant, Yulduk, HEINOUSLY robbed my husband of an arm, leg, and eye!”
“There’s nothing we can do about your men,” replied Arsha, “but we can certainly get Melgem the necessary prosthetics so he can help you deal with them while we deal with Dr. Borg and her compatriots.”
“Then we have an accord,” declared Reb. “I’ll deal with my men; you deal with that LUNATIC cyborg sprite!”
“We’re 10 minutes out,” finished Arsha. “Try and hold out for that long.” The call ended.
“Well, it looks like I was proven wrong,” chuckled Melgem. “Realmfleet IS helping us, after a fashion.”
“Now, you and I, my GORGEOUS hubby,” purred Reb, “need to plan how we’ll hold out for about 10 minutes.”
“I’d argue the ‘gorgeous’ claim, given my current appearance,” mused Melgem, “but we’ll debate that AFTER we get out of this.”