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   Chapter 3 Of Ancient Sin & Stardust

Dark Bandit Sun By Rian Torr Characters: 33571

Updated: 2018-10-22 12:02


Kyle pushed through the brush to see a clearing where the ship had landed. The massive red beam pulsed in a throbbing rhythm that boomed through the bushes—setting the eerie trees aflutter as the owls and cats scattered—and crickets reached crescendo in tempo with the collosal column of light.

Standing fast out in the middle hulked a huge female Sasquatch, surrounded by a dozen Greys. The short and skinny, big-eyed, slit-mouthed aliens stalked about her slowly. Some of them had electric prodding rods. One had an electric net and was readying to toss about the creature, presumably to shock it into unconsciousness, Kyle guessed. Even being half-dead seemed tame to seeing this.

The Squatch suddenly roared, as the net was flung—and it just tore through it—ripped it apart with her massive hairy warms—even as it shocked her a hundred times. She barely flinched a bit.

The Greys seemed intimidated. Perhaps they were not prepared for finding this on planet Earth.

They talked amongst themselves, perhaps debating what to do next. The Squatch was not striking out any one, just luring them closer. It almost seemed as if she was doing it on purpose.

One Grey suddenly lunged in, thrusting his electric rod at the Squatch's back. Then two more did the same—and she screamed in agony—then fell to her knees. They had adjusted for her tolerance level, pushing their charge levels into space. Smoke literally drifted up from where she was singed.

Kyle was not sure what to do. He had mixed feelings about the whole situation, like maybe he should forget the whole idea about finding himself and go try to find his truck again. But he knew that was only wishful thinking, that his new mission was real—and he needed to complete it, no matter how dangerous it might seem. He did not want to die. He had been a fool—but one chance remained.

His only thought was that he was not sure who he wanted to see left standing by the end.

The Grey with the net had upped the charge as well now and roped the bigfoot up so she could not move. The Squatch now lay unmoving at the feet of Greys—who then lifted her up, carrying her toward the boarding plank of their flying saucer. All Kyle could think was that if the Greys were alien, they might be more trouble than the Squatch herself. He had heard theories that Squatches were Earth's keepers by birthright—sentenced to roam the world waiting to protect her from extra-terrestrials. Perhaps she ate men for food—but guarded Mother Nature like Earth were a sacred paradise in space.

But if the Greys were government, then they might be the better bets, for who to befriend, if Kyle's presence was outed in the ensuing moments. Kyle was not sure what to do. He needed evidence, some kind of proof for later, so he could show others after he had returned to full mortality—but the Greys were too far now—he would have to run closer, get a better angle through the long grass. On a whim of courage or craziness, he pulled out his camera and darted into the clearing—furtive on feathered feet, bouncing along on the Soulfyr—two soles dancing through the reeds, skipping across the stream—bringing up to a ridge much closer to the Greys as they reached the boarding plank.

He pointed his camera and started snapping—but forgot he left the flash on and panicked.

The Greys stopped and looked around. Kyle froze and fell to the ground, hiding under foliage.

The full moon was out again, from behind ghoulish clouds—as the stars myriad shimmered.

Kyle breathed heavily, pulsed pounding. He felt faint. He fumbling with his camera, daring himself to take another pic This was his chance at fame. His site could rake it in. Once click was all it took, to take down the hits and get rich. That's all he ever really wanted, to be a famous ufologist. Kyle Kane, Greyhunter. But he was not the natural daredevil. He loved mystery but detested risks. He popped his head up, only to see the plank folding up into the ship. The red beam of light fed back into the sky, disappearing once more—then the saucer began to spin, hurdling a hundred strings of red and blue light about until it fired aloft, twisting toward the moon—and out of sight. He stood up, cowering under the stars in the middle of the clearing. He looked down at his camera, flipping through the finder to see the image he had caught. He zoomed in on the Greys closer—and then to the Squatch face. Her eyes were rolled up into her head. He wondered what they planned on doing with her and shuddered.

Suddenly he heard a snapping twig behind him and to the left. He ducked again for cover—espying back through a stand of saplings, only to see two Greys still stood in the clearing. It did not seem that they had seen him. He took a few more pics and circled about, down the stream a ways.

The two were talking to each other, too far off to hear if it were english or some alien tongue.

The one pulled out some kind of hand-held receiver and began chirping into it, high-pitched.

Then they marched into the wood and Kyle followed, creeping along behind them in the dark.

He followed them deep below the forest crown, into rainforest untouched by the mind of man.

Parrots squawked from hanging vines, as starlight twinkled between a canopy fathoms dense.

Monkeys screamed in staccato—as crocodiles bellied up to green swamps and waded under.

He trailed them around the foot of a great cliff—until he came to a great canyon pass bridge.

They were already on the other side—so he stepped up to edge and looked down—spinning.

It was a sturdy wooden bridge, but heights were his enemy—and there was only fog far below.

He looked back but buffered himself and braved it onward. He just needed to get a better pic.

He could not help but think he was an awful far way off from home already—getting farther.

Half-way across, he made the mistake of looking over—but the fog distorted depth perception.

He felt faint and faltered, dizzy from not seeing bottom, teetering side to side so light-headed.

Looking up, he saw the sun break dawn—heard birds for the first time—drew in sharply once.

The cold air threw a slug in him and his mind snapped back to reality—feeling eyes on him.

He looked side-to-side, seeing a Grey at each end. The one spoke into its receiver unit.

The other unrolled its electric net and prod. They both began down the bridge closing in.

He could not move. He did not know what to do. The moment was too much to handle.

His hand suddenly let go of his camera—and he watched helplessly as it plummeted down.

It sailed into the fog far below, getting swallowed up by the misty abyss, his dreams dashed.

This was both his greatest chance yet at getting a good pic of one of their faces and he blew it.

He climbed up on the rail, causing the two Greys to stop in their tracks. "I'll jump, I swear!"

He was just grasping at straws in his panic. He had no reason to believe they cared if he did.

But they did care, apparently, to his great relief. He felt for his gun in the back of waistband.

It was there and either fully loaded or less one bullet, depending whether his suicide was real.

Since there was no hole in his head from where he had shot himself out on the lake, for his body had been given reprieve during this time in between lives, he assumed that the last bullet was still left in its chamber. There was only one, for he had only loaded up one, not intending to need more. It occured to him, however, that if the Wynderelves were right, like in quantum paradoxes, whether there were one bullet or none in the gun, was wholly dependent on whether he believed he deserved to die that day—whether he had killed himself or it was all just a vivid dream—as he observed the chambers.

He pulled the gun out, but he was afraid to look. The Greys did not blink, but the one put its prod away and produced a gun, which it aimed, firing—hit him right in the chest, punching him back over the edge—and the other Grey dashed in to catch him but he was plummeting into the gorge.

As he fell, he could see them climb up onto the railing themselves. They jumped together.

All three of them plummeted through striations of fog faster than light but they could not tell.

It felt like slow motion, as he observed the Greys surfing the air. They had zipped down their sides and between their legs, then sported kites between splayed limbs like flying squirrels or soldiers.

So their descent slowed up—and he watched them seemingly climbing higher, as he crashed.

Flipping over, to face down, he started to try to manage his descent with stiff arms and legs.

Suddenly then the fog disappeared and he was a hundred miles up over open ground, over the farmlands just north of New London—and falling fast. His heart started into an instant panic mode.

Arching his neck, he saw the Greys far above, swooping after him. They had apparently come right out of the clouds in the sky, as if slipping between dimensions or space—putting him in peril.

It was then that this fists first lit up, in the Soulfyr—and he realized he could light up his whole body in that icy flame. He learned to fire it from his feet and push himself closer to the city. He was learning to fly, but not fast enough. He punched it right over New London and zig-zagged in a downward spiral, desperately attempting to get his power under control, but unable to master it then.

He shot into alley dumpster like rocket, instantly vaporizing the garbage, singing the metal bucket to a crisp so that four sides fell over, leaving him lying in tatters, naked and yet liberated. His clothes were burnt off but his body was perfectly intact but for a few cuts and bruises.

He felt free for the first time in as long as he could remember, his greatest phobia shattered into a million shards of doubt, leaving only confidence in himself again.

Then through the grogginess he heard a smack as something hit.

It was his camera, landing in the middle of the alley, fully intact.

He went and picked it up. It was still working, like he expected.

He did not know why, only that epiphanies were now dawning.

He checked the skies and all around for Greys but saw nothing.

It did not matter. He knew they were here, coming after him.

So he would draw them. He went out into the street for a cab.

He took it across to the bay, giving himself time to think.

All he needed was that shot and his life was changed.

A few good stills of anything off-world would do it.

It was the proof that he was not crazy all this time.

Ever since he was abducted by aliens so long ago, he had struggled with the memories, being told they were fabrications of his subconscious, not real.

He knew they were too tangible to be just fantasy.

He knew humans were not alone but had to prove it.

He had to show it to others so he could be normal again.

For once in his life he would walk tall and proud once more, no longer letting this weight around his ankles drag him down, ruining his relationships in real-time.

It was a crutch from the past, a cross to bear and a crisis to resolve, but all of the consequences stretched out through the present and beyond as far as the mind's eye could see.

He saw now how everything he had ever loved had vanished for this cause, everything he had ever cherished had been dashed to bits by this plague—all that he ever wanted was lost for this mission.

In trying to save himself he had been damning himself all along, yet this one final chance at reaching end of his quest was too tempting to resist—and he felt like he had already past the point of no return long ago—so there was no point in turning back now--and despite his regrets he must finish it.

He directed the cab to Heather's apartment, where he let himself in with the key and crashed in her bed, deeply inhaling her scent. She was at work but he was happy just to be with her sheets again.

His eyes fluttered shut as he succumbed to the sandman and sunk deep—deeper than dreams.

Mystix the Squatch struggled under straps. "Where am I ...?" she hissed long, sizing up the Greys before her with disdain. Her kind were sworn against them, foreigners from another plane. Earth was her land, not theirs—and she would do everything in her power to eliminate the cancer.

The lead Grey stepped forward, dressed in crimson robes.

"Perhaps it would be better to ask where you are not."

He pointed to the opaque glass wall before her, which suddenly turned transparent, revealing a rocky landscape stretching out before them—and a vista of starry space—with the Earth above.

"You are on the hidden side of the moon."

"What do you want with me foul thing?"

"You will be returned when we are done."

"What in the blazes does that even mean?"

"You will find out and then you will forget."

The Grey leaned in, inspecting her up close.

She yanked against her straps, snarling hard.

He smirked, with his slit mouth—eyes bulging.

"Do you know how long we have been after you?""What? After me? For what reason you demon!"

"Well, not you, just one of your kind. Forever."

"You will die before you are done wicked one."

"I have no doubt, if you were free."

"Do not mock me, " she roared.

The Grey flinched, unsure.

It almost looked as if she could break those straps.

But he relaxed again and turned back to the vista.

"It is such a shame, that we may have to destroy it."

"What are you talking about?" she barked, aghast.

"Got too much at stake, to let the humans win."

"We only help the good humans, " she argued.

"The good humans, " the Grey said and paused. "They are the ones we are against of you mangy dog of earth. We are the Ancients—and this is our land not theirs. We come from the swamps—and we walk among you—but you cannot know our name.

"This is the Endgame that we have engineered.

"Man is the Squatch we infected with our DNA.

"But that was not enough to eradicate your filthy genes from our planet Earth. Even by possessing these evil bodies, we have not been able to contain the humans. They yet persist with their dreams of individual rights, love and free will. Too many of them still cling to their spirits, despite our best efforts to strip them of religion, to deny them access to the esoteric—to chain down their hearts."

"What are you?" she intoned, toning it down a bit.

The Grey paused. "You already know do you not?""No, tell me ... at least give me that for my trouble.""Very well, but you will not remember tomorrow."

"Then for today alone I will know what it is I hunt."

The Grey approached her side, looking in her eyes.

"You have the universe in there, Earth deep in tune. You were always the sun, while we were the moon. You were the fire, while we were stone and ice. We waited below, biding the millenia, prehistoric brains bent on breaking our eternal foes mammals."

"This is a suit, isn't it?" she hissed. "Show yourself!"

"Kyle ... Kyle, wake up, " Heather whined, pushing him. "You're taking up the whole bed, " she complained, snuggling in next to him. "Where've you been lover? I've been missing you." Kyle slowly came to, remembering everything. It was nearly day two and time flew.

"I took a ride to the lake."

"Because of our fight babe?"

"No I just needed some space."

"Did you find what you wanted?"

He sat up, breathing out long.

"No, not yet. Unfortunately."

"Then what will you do today?"

He pulled gun from under pillow.

"I've got a few loose ends to cut."

"Asshole, " she croaked, rolling.

He turned. "What's with that?"

"You don't even know do you."

"Know what? Honest hun, what?"

"It's my birthday, stupid. Gawd."

He winced. "Babe, I'm so sorry."

"But you're going to go anyway."

"I've just got this one thing to do."

He checked his camera, recharged.

"That's always the way with you."

"I promise I'll be back before dusk."

"And if I wait forever then what?"

"Then I'll make it up to you forever."

"You're damn straight you jerk. Go."

She pushed him out of bed.

He put his pants on, splitting.

Grabbing a coffee, he planned.

The Greys would be around his haunts.

He would make himself available at once.

Then he would unmask the little villains.

Today he was calling the shots in order.

First, he won back his self-respect.

Next, he got home to his girlfriend.

Finally, the good life would resume.

First, he headed over to his own pad.

The Grey refused to remove its suit.

Mystix returned to fury, losing faith.

"What you see before you is not us. The Greys are but our puppets, very old men we have twisted into our eternal servants, while we control them from beyond visible light. We are the Lizards of Old, that reptile that only you Squatches do not know intimately. The humans at least have us alive in their minds, but you, pure of Earth—you were never turned. We came to this world before you ever lived, but you were sprung from it, not us. We come from Sirius."

"From the Great Black Pool?" Mystix gasped. "In Squatch legend, you are known as the Scaled Death. We believed you to have retreated into the Hollow Earth."

"Indeed we did—and to the Moon—awaiting the return of Nibiru--"

"--when your Ancestral Annunaki might reunite with you, " Mystix finished, quoting from her childhood, when she was taught of the Lizard Kings and their old rule.

The Grey nodded. "Your traditions preserve the truth in whole. We are the Ancient Sin, the dark side of humanity, the profane light and the subverted providence. You and us are all just stardust, to be sure, but when it comes to matters of mind and heart—ever we part.

Mystix nodded gravely. She was told the Scaled Death had no empathy, which made them merciless, impossibly powerful enemies. She could feel this Grey's cold pall all over her.

An old version of the Devil's Fable occurred to her, which included some rare verses at the end about how some 'Serpents were saved from themselves, for while their greatest weapon was owning the mind of man—what they never knew was their hearts once beat in love.' She found it hard to imagine, from what she had heard that day, that any Reptilian could ever turn good—but she clung to the hope.

"Then what is your purpose with me? Surely I am of no use."

"Oh, on the contrary. We must prepare the Earth for our Elders return—which means wiping out the good humans en masse. But ever we loathe to reveal ourselves, so first we will use you."

"How? I will have none of it. My people will fight you."

"Actually, you will kill for us, doing our bidding on cue."

"Impossible, you could never make me if time stood still."

The Grey flipped the window into a screen of Mystix's brain.

"We are nearly done mapping every node, then we own you."

Mystix's jaw dropped. She knew she had to escape or die trying.

"Once we've programmed you to hunt good men not bad, then we will return you to Earth to begin your killing spree. We will also then begin re-programming your brothers and sisters by the thousand, until every last one of you is turned into a soldier of death against everything you love."

"NOOO!!!!" Mystix screamed, once more testing strap strength.

"Say good-bye to your old self forever, beast from the garden."

"I ... will ... NEVER ..! SERVE ..! YOU ..! DIE ... ... !!! !!!"

The Grey turned away then back, shrouding Mystix's head in a hood.

Blackness fell over her eyes—as she whipped about roaring high.

She felt the Grey whispering in her ear: "Kill a few for me okay."

She felt herself being lowered back onto a table then pushed along.

She felt a hot beam pass over hear—and her mind went black blank.

Then she heard her orders, including to forget everything that had happened since first seeing the Greys land in their ship—and to go forward henceforth and kill good men.

She repeated her instructions, slipping in and out of consciousness.

But she was not wholly under their spell, for they were careless.

She was their first experiment with mind-forming a Squatch.

What they did not know was since Squatches' R-complexes were not switched on the way humans were, they were even less easily controlled, without that Achilles heel.

One minute she would be intent on death for good men—then the next she would emerge as if from a fog and remember everything, including all that the Grey had told her.

Finally, her hood was removed and she was rolled out on a gurney.

She was pushed down a long corridor as she slowly surfaced.

Urgency tugged at her mind to pull itself together, to escape.

But then she would flip back again, into the zombie mould.

Finally, her eyes snapped open fully and she had a moment.

With all of her might, she broke free of her straps and ripped her hood off. The Greys in charge of her jumped back—as she climbed off the the gurney and grabbed the closest one, throwing it against the wall, crumpling its small frame. The other one took off running.

She chased, unable to refrain from roaring after it in the hunt.

She caught it, but just as she snapped its neck, ten more came.

She turned and ran the other way, desperately seeking a hatch.

She found a vent, but it was too small to fit her hulking rack.

At the next cross-corridor, she spun right, praying for a break.

Sliding doors opened up down at the end revealing Annunaki.

The lizard men wielded guns, setting sights squarely on her.

She stopped, raising her hands slowly. The lizards grinned.

As they approached her, the Greys also closed in behind.

At the last minute, she jumped up, grabbing a ladder above.

She climbed into a shaft the led upward, as the lizards fired.

The photons shot all around her, a few ripping into her hide.

Just in time she reached the next level and left the shaft.

The Greys were now climbing after her, but she did not stick around to watch. She raced down the corridor, hoping perhaps to take a hostage or set the place ablaze. Anything she could do to disrupt the operation up here would save her spirit in the eyes of her kin back on Earth, but she was running out of time. The lizards were forming flanks on levels above and below—and shafts either side. They entire ship had been alerted—and one Squatch was not going to be enough to hold them all off. But even as the Greys caught up to her, she never gave up. They swarmed on her—and even as she ripped them to shreds, wailing like a banshee—more came, more piling on—until it became a bloodfest with bodies of Greys strewn about everywhere, before the second wave, of lizards came.

The Annunaki also met with similar rage--and similar fates, for they had orders to take the Squatch alive—so they were forced to engage her at arm's length—and she was their superior in strength, agility—and drive. She had the force of right on her side and would not stop, even in the face of certain death, while the Scaled Ones were cowards at heart, deep down inside, who ultimately faltered when so clearly out-challenged. She pounded and flailed, clawed and crushed, mangled and scalped and skewered. She finally seized one of their guns and mowed them down by the dozen. They were sliced up by the automatic fire of her photons, until every last one of them was also dead—and she stood huffing and puffing over a graveyard of Greys and Annunaki—unsure where next to turn.

Kyle's place had been visited. Clothes were strewn everywhere, drawers pulled out—everything laying in disarray. It felt chill, like a footprint they left behind. It was the Greys.

The door had been left open and his cats Cain and Abel were gone.

He picked up the phone and dialed Heather but she did not answer.

"Damn it!" he cursed, slamming the receiver down. He wanted them in his sights, but now they were playing games. They wanted him dead simply for being a witness to the Squatch's abduction, so they could afford to be coy and cunning, perhaps torture him for awhile first, much like cats do mice.

But he had no time for such ploys. He was not interested in this involving his loved ones or anyone for that matter. He loaded his gun up and retrieved a cleaver from the kitchen. He checked the weather on the net and found that a stormfront was blowing in fast. It was going to be a dust up.

Afternoon was waning as he made his way through the busy streets.

He could walk to Heather's faster than take a cab in this traffic so he did.

He found her door open and bed in a mess but she was gone and coffee was hot. He found an envelope with his name on it lying on her pillow. He grabbed it and bolted downstairs.

He left her building in a haze, unsure where to go next but needing to get there fast.

The security guard in the top hat at the front door frowned at Kyle's earnest expression.

Kyle almost got hit by a black sedan while crossing over toward Black Palace Theatre.

A white van cut him off--stopping. The back opened and four men in blue jumped him.

As they pulled away, one of them unbuttoned his work shirt, showing his glowing heart.

They were the Wynderelves checking in on his progress. Deodorph was up front driving.

'How is everything going, Kyle? Have you found out what the Universe is trying to say?.'

"Are you fucking kidding me? I've been too busy dealing with these Goddamn Greys."

'Maybe the Greys are a part of the story, what do they have to do with you? Think Kyle!'

"I don't know, alright, none of it makes any sense. I've always wanted to catch an alien. It's all my website needs to really have a shot, then Heather and I can retire to a tropical island and get away from this city that's the problem. It's the traffic and the gas prices and the rest driving us so crazy we forget to love each other. I'm sick of it it—and this is my big break, what I've been waiting for—but somehow I feel like I'm supposed to be doing something else. Heather didn't want me to leave this morning—she's been so sick of the ufo sightings taking me away from her. Christ, guys, you gotta help me—they've got her and I don't know what I'm supposed to be doing. Just tell me what to do, okay?"

'We don't know, Kyle, this is your trip. You gotta decide what the answer is before time is up, that is all we know. We've seen some join us—and some figure out the lesson and go on up higher. But it's up to you, we're just here for ... let's say, moral support.' Deodorph pulled into a parking lot.

"Well, alot of Goddamn help you all are, " Kyle spat and let himself out of the van.

'Please, Kyle, ' Deodorph pleaded after him. 'We need to talk soon, we want to help you work it out, think it through.'

"I don't need you, I'm done! I can do it alone! By MY rules this time."

'Kyle, what are you talking about, ' Deodorph inquired, now at his side.'

Deo had ditched the van and was following Kyle now, tugging at him.

"Leave me alone, " Kyle cut back, slapping Deo's hands off his elbows.

'Kyle, let's not be rash, you have to use this time to learn the Three Keyes.'

Kyle stopped for a moment. "I know ... 'The first cross is a crisis of heart—where crush turns to crutch—and you learn what you've lost. Her name is not Heather—nor goes by any name at all—for it is in you who you love and leave.'" He tapped his temple. "I'm on it, dude."

'Kyle, we hear those words on the wind, we do not know what they mean, anymore than you do ... Do you think it means you should stop hunting ufo's? Is that the First Keye?'

"I think it means you're stalling me ... Why? Who are you really?"

'We're the Wynderelves--'

"BULLSHIT!" Kyle hissed, shoving Deo against a brick wall. "Who are you?"

'Kyle, I promise you ...'

But Kyle had had it. He grabbed Deo by the throat.

Deo's body lit up in the green glow of his heart chakra, "Listen to me, whatever you are, I do not care why you died, nor why I did. I am here now, with this same power as you, but I also have my body—I also have my head and heart—and so I'm good to go. I'm sorry for your problems, but I got problems of my own. I got some Greys to catch and a girl to save and I'm going to do it without your help because so far you're just getting in the way!"

'You need us!' Deo begged. His bioelectric essence was surging into overload—green crackling energy leaping and dancing about his body in arcs of light.

"NONSENSE! I need no one—and NOTHING, " Kyle said, letting go of Deo. Deo's electromagnetic vortex settled down again, reducing further shock and suspicion by passerby. "Who is in charge of you? Who do you answer to ... when you go back up there?"

'Kyle, we never go anywhere, we're always right around the corner watching you ... We're not allowed to ... go back up there, as you say. That's the whole point, don't you get it? We're trying to redeem ourselves, while you are in the process of needing redemption. You can still stop yourself.'

"Yeah, well just watch me not stop myself. Not this time."

Deo grimaced as Kyle stalked away into the throng.

He was never very good at this, hence his damnation—but being the Wynderve Highyn meant he was next for Passing On—if only he could get Kane in line.

The van pulled up. He jumped in and it sped away.

Kyle cut through an alleyway and across a parking lot.

Opening the envelope, he found it read: Lizard Lounge.

He headed for the pub he knew so well. They watched.

He found a dark corner—and soon Heather stopped in.

She appeared to be alone and she came right over to him.

He got up, but she waved him back down. She sat down.

"Kyle ... Did I just daydream or something I'm lost ..."

"Heather, what's going on ...? What did they do to you?"

"Nothing, Kyle ... I'm fine ... What are you talking about?"

"What do you mean, you just came here out of the blue?"

"One minute I was ... in bed ... the next I was walking in."

"You ... don't remember anything else beyond that—at all?"

"No ... not really ..." she sighed. "I must be losing it, really."

"Heather ..." Kyle said quietly, looking all around the bar.

"Did you see ... anybody odd when you walked in here?"

"No, " she said, rubbing her eyes. "I knew to look for you."

"How? How did you know I would be here right now?"

"I thought you would know ... I feel tired, honestly."

"Okay, we're going home--"

"What? But we just got here."

"Not if I can help it, let's go ..."

He grabbed her arm and helped her up.

She followed him out but in confusion.

Kyle was not interested in the games.

He would not play into Grey hands.

This was his day to take command.

He could feel the Soulfyr burning.

To Hell with the Three Keyes, he thought. To Hades with the Windereves. To Death to the thought of Passing On—but to Hell with going back to mortal flesh. He liked how the Soulfyr felt. He would be Damned if he had to give up the best proof he had ever had of the supernatural. He could not guarantee he would catch a Grey, there was no chance he would see the Squatch again—but he could keep his power given—defy the Fates and take the third road on purpose. He would remain in between worlds, just like the Wynderelves, but he would not seek absolution. He would savour every sip of sin.

If it was the sin in suicide, then so be it, he would acquiesce, but nothing could make him spend infinity trying to learn how to forget the past. He could do that in a heartbeat—and then set about making up for lost time, taking the world by storm—restoring Heather into his arms—and much more.

Mystix paced down the corridors, taking out random Greys and Annunaki as she went. She found a great glass bridge that gave her a good view of the moonscape. The tower stood tall over a network of tunnels and buildings, all tucked away in the corner of a giant crater.

She crossed over to the next building, but the door was locked—and her presence detected.

Greys soon swarmed in from back over the bridge—and she saw lizard men other side the door.

She would lure them all in, then in a final blaze of glory, shatter the glass bridge with photons.

But as the Annunaki reached out for her—she fired and the glass did not break—but the photons reflected back, ricocheting five times a second slicing them all up. They all hit the floor, but not before most were dead. Mystix herself was shot right through the chest and she bled hard.

She stood up again, only to be clubbed in the face by an Annunaki mace.

She returned the favour with a monstrous upward crush to the lizard's face.

She spun around, smashing down two Greys that had snuck up behind her.

She roared in victory, call echoing down the glass bridge in both directions.

She had won again, served odds back to the Gods and gone and gotten mean.

She had had enough of the pussyfooting around the throne—and wanted blood.

She was heading back to the main deck, where Grey Vedek had held her.

She wanted answers—and she would have them. Revenge was over target.

Her killer instincts were now kicking into overdrive and she was loving it.

"Bring it on, " she hissed. "Time to shed some light on the Scaled Ones."

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