“I've managed to locate the Rogues,” said Leo. He was standing in front of the replacement Council, as many of the old one were kidnapped. He was very nervous; there were so many eyes looking at him. Especially from the Member in the corner who had six.
“Would you care to explain how?” the six-eyed member asked. Leo was getting the creeps.
“Er, yes, I mean, I will explain. Ahem.” Leonard pressed a button on the table. The table was long, to accommodate for the large number of Members there. After he pressed the button, the screen showed the Station and a green dot on it. “This represents the last known location of the Rogues. Here,” (he pressed the button again) “This is a sphere of possible locations. This is based upon a formula that dictates the amount of energy needed to travel a certain distance. Since the Station records how much energy is used by all devices, we can deduce how far the Rogues traveled.”
“Ingenious,” commented a four-eyed Member.
“Now that we know how far out they went, we must find where on the sphere they are. To do so, I used the fact that opening a wormhole shifts space in an almost imperceptible degree. But since our sensors around the station,” (he pressed the button) “are very sensitive, we can detect such changes. At the time of the opening of the wormhole, sensor array 0245 detected a minor force upon it. If we were to draw an imaginary line connecting the entry point and the sensor array,” (button) “The line would intersect the sphere at a point, the location of the Rogues.”
“Brilliant!” exclaimed the six-eyed member. Others agreed. Leo blushed and sat down.
“Now,” said a Member. “We can begin our plans for reconnaissance and recovery.”
After sending a probe and finding out that a frontal assault would be futile, the War Council decided upon infiltration for extraction. The Rogues' base was generated quite a bit of heat because of the giant antimatter generator it housed; the exhaust vents would be a valid point of access.
As he walked pass the Shuttle Room, Leonard saw the team readying for their mission. Aaron was calibrating his powered armor and firearm.
“Hey,” said the trooper. Leonard turned to him. “Thanks for the location.”
The scientist nodded and smiled slightly. He saw the team enter their spacecraft and leave the Station. Leonard walked on.
Dante sat with Reptilians and Tricleseans in the Viewing Room, where they watched the team's infiltration. It was going smoothly, as they were surreptitiously making their way toward the Holding Cells. Dante's attention was grabbed by a holographic banner.
“Did that say 'May the Beh'roku aid us'?” asked the historian.
“Yes, it is a common war-saying,” replied one of the Reptilians.
“Hm, wasn't there a prophecy that said that the Beh'roku would return if the Empire collapsed?”
“Well, the Beh'roku are gods most Reptilians do not believe in. The saying is a cultural artifact, nothing more.”
Up to the Holding Cells, few Reptilians were encountered and no shots were fired. However, as they entered the Atrium, they were faced with an entire squadron of Rogues. The viewers watched in horror as the troops fell one by one.
Aaron, now the only survivor, barely escaped as he retreated into a side hallway and fled the area. Suddenly, the video and audio were cut.
“What?” said Dante.
“They must have blocked all communication,” said a Triclesean delegate. “All hope seems to have been lost.”
The Reptilians and Tricleseans filed out of the room in disappointment. Dante remained, eyes glued to the now black screen.
“Hey,” said Leo, as he entered the Viewing Room hours later. “I heard what happened.”
“Well, everyone's saying it's over,” said Dante. “But it's not.”
Leo sat down next to Dante. Both stared at the screen.
“Do you want to hear something scary?” asked Dante.
Dante fiddled with the remote and put up a recording from the infiltration.
“The Rogues are putting up holographic war banners that use an old Reptilian saying, 'May the Beh'roku aid us'.”
“What's the Beh'roku?”
“Old Gods. Really old, about a couple thousand years old. Anyway, the Beh'roku were obsessed about war. These beings wanted the Reptilians to go out and expand their Empire.”
“Like what happened a hundred years ago?”
“Precisely. The King back then was really devout. Which is why most Reptilians reject the Beh'roku now.”
“But the banners –”
“The banners mean that the Rogues still believe in the Beh'roku. Which means they still believe in expansion.”
There were a few moments of silence.
“Can you fix the communication?” asked Dante.
“That's not my area of –”
Suddenly, the video feed came back up.
“Apparently,” said Dante. “I didn't need to ask!”
“Hey, I fixed the comm-link!” said Aaron. They saw that he was in some shaft, complete with fizzing steam.
“Hey! You're alive!” exclaimed Dante.
“I'm making my way toward the Cells, I'll be there within the hour.”
Leo and Dante and other USE members watched as Aaron pulled off his daring, one-man rescue, springing the officials and his wife out of the Cells. All breathed a collective sigh of relief as they reached the craft and escaped the Rogue ship.
Leo watched Audrey joyfully reunite with Sharon and Aaron, all three hugging and crying. He was surprised when Audrey beckoned for him to join in.
“What?” he asked.
“Sharon, this is the guy who made it all possible.”
“What?” he repeated.
The botanist hugged Leo, who awkwardly patted her on the back.
“Thank you,” she managed to utter.
Then, Leo became aware of a strange liquid on his neck. As it oozed upward, his vision began to fade...
Leo awoke on a medical bed, with a headache. The lights swirled around him, voices surrounded him. He shook his head and blinked several times, he lost count how many exactly. He sat up and became very nauseous; he laid back down.
“Relax,” a woman's voice said. She sounded very nice.
“What happened?” the physicist mumbled. His vision was getting better; he saw that there were four lights, not five, above his head.
“Something tried to get inside your head,” said Dante; he could always identify that slightly nasal voice. “Something gooey.”
“Ugh,” grunted Leo. He felt disgusting. And he still had a headache. “I take it it's not in me?”
“No, you're all right,” said the woman. Judging by sound and blurred vision, she walked toward his right side and then moved a beam of light across his eyes. Leo followed it. “You're ok.”
Leo blinked again and could now see that it was Dr. Adams. She looked slightly concerned, despite the comforting remarks.
“Sharon was an unwitting carrier of some sort of parasite,” explained Dante as Audrey continued her examination of Leo. He seemed genuinely excited with the idea of alien goo possessing people. “It tried to get inside your head, but for some reason, yours isn't compatible, so it jumped back out of your ear.”
“Yeah, it was icky.”
“Oh god, I feel disgusting.”
“Here's a bucket.”
“No, no thanks. How is Sharon?”
“Aaron shot her with a taser,” said Audrey.
“Yep, she's all right now, parasite free.”
“Where is the thing?” asked Leo. Audrey paused and pointed to a fish-tank on a trolley. A mass of goo was moving around inside. It had the consistency of maple syrup, the color of tangerines, and a horror level to make grown men scream. Leo screamed.
“I'll move it to the lab,” said Audrey curtly. She took the trolley out of the room, eager to examine the new specimen.
The seated Reptilian Rogue was now pacing back and forth in the room. The robed Rogue entered and the force-field closed behind him.
“Lord Ozon has failed,” he bluntly stated. The Rogue leader froze mid-stride. “He told me that if we didn't hear from him – ”
The leader hissed and lunged at the messenger, pinning him to the wall.
“The Beh'roku never fail!” he shouted. “No one shall doubt the might of the Beh'roku!”