by That 1 Guy

Chapter 33: Retaliation

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Author's Notes:

Sorry for the wait. He's chapter 33 in all it's glory and all it's horror. Enjoy.

Despite the chaos of the ongoing battle a short distance above the heads of Warfather and his two apprentices, it did little to weaken their resolve as they made their way forward. There were few soldiers to deal with on the way to the bunker; it was likely that all non-vital forces had been reassigned to positions somewhere else in the city. Underneath flickering lights and falling dirt, the trio did not kill any who surrendered, and quickly executed all others. Time was of the essence. The emperor had not expected Long Shot and his subordinates to be present within the city, each of his soldiers tactically worth at least a hundred of the standard infantry at the bare minimum. Had they not been within the city when the Supremacy attacked, Stalliongrad would’ve already fallen. With the squad’s zeppelin wreaking havoc above, the already small eighth legion would not survive much longer than an hour, and that was rounding up.

“Hey, Boss.” Gilda addressed her master in her customary way, her voice shaking just enough for Warfather to recognize that she was unsure of the battle’s outcome. Then again, that may have just been her claustrophobia, poor girl. “I think that’s everyone. The door’s just up ahead.”

Without another word, the trio progressed as one until they came upon a large steel door that seemed more at home guarding a bank’s fortune rather than a hastily assembled group of cowards that called themselves officers of the Federation. The griffon was quite capable of slicing through the door with little effort, but he decided against such brash entry methods. Instead, he turned to his doggish ally. “Echo, how are your paws?”

The mute canine flashed his gauntlets, them being repaired long before the assault. Underneath the golden hued metal lay a blanket of cloth wraps dipped in various medicinal concoctions to help quicken the process of healing bullet wounds. Each metal claw bent in every which way to its fullest extent, though not without a small grimace crossing their owner’s snout. The fire in the dog’s eyes was more than enough to signal that he did not mind the pain and wished to serve.

With the slightest brush of a talon, Warfather signaled for his companion to slice the door’s operation’s panel. He did so with speed and efficiency, and not a moment later, the door to the bunker groaned open.

Inside was the trio’s prey, two generals and an admiral they had been ordered to capture or assassinate the moment this invasion had been conceived in the mind of the Emperor.

“Greetings, officers of the Alliance.” Warfather dipped into a graceful bow as his apprentices flanked their prey. “I am Warfather, a warrior priest of the Red Order, Supremacy, and-”

The griffon was rudely interrupted as a flurry of lead erupted from the pistol one of the generals shakily held in his forehooves. His profile, sans the bloody nose and the wounded expression, fit the description of an officer called Iron Wind. In an instant, Warfather deflected every round before separating the general’s head from his body. After wiping his sword on the corpse, Warfather sheathed his blade and turned his attention to the remaining two officers, their necks ready to be snapped by the assassins that now held their heads in expertly trained grasps. “Now then,” the griffon picked up where he left off. “I was sent here to give you all a swift death much like your friend over there, but I was also given permission to capture you three if you would cooperate with myself and my friends here.”

He paused, motioning first to Gilda and then to Echo, who both bowed briskly.

“Now, if you would be so kind as to-”

The griffon was once more interrupted as the remaining general, the one that fit the description of a stallion called Frosted Night, lit up his horn and, to Warfather’s mild surprise, wiggled halfway out of Gilda’s grasp and launched a ball of magic in his direction. Warfather expertly ducked beneath the remarkably swift blast of icy frost before signalling for Gilda to end the old one’s life. With the snap of a neck, Warfather turned to his final prisoner. He knelt before the admiral, a mare of relatively little note, though her appearance matched the files with an admiral by the name of Charnel. The griffon looked dead in the eye, his beak not five inches from the pony’s muzzle. His voice was barely a whisper, yet it rang clearer than the most expertly crafted bell. “If you wish to remain alive, I suggest you do not interrupt me. Contrary to most of my more simple minded brethren, I do not wish for you dead on the floor. May I have you cooperation?”

The admiral remained still for a long time, the only sign that he was alive being her ragged breathing and grimace of anger. “I’d sooner die than-”

Echo snapped the mare’s neck with but a flick of his wrist. “As you wish” was all his master said to the body. All three targets lay dead on the floor. Their mission complete, the trio left the bunker, Warfather trailing slightly behind. Pity that his prey was too stupid to accept mercy when given the chance. No matter, the Supremacy already knew what they likely did, and as such their deaths were not a blow to the campaign. Warfather signalled for his apprentices to halt before issuing them a brief set of orders.

“Clear a path to the Mithril Factory and await my arrival. Kill only those you must, leave the rest to the mutts. I’m going to take a walk around the city while the streets are still traversable. Understood?”

With three nods, the trio of trained killers went their separate ways.

A terrified shriek, followed by a storm of wild gunshots, tore Clockwork’s mind from the hellish bliss of half-death. His vision cleared somewhat, though still ringed with black, and the pegasus found himself trapped. His prosthetic wing had been caught and pinned underneath a large chunk of what used to be a house, and try as he might, Clockwork could not free himself. Sadly, the boulder did little to block his view of the surrounding torment.

All around him, it was chaotic, bloody, and filled with the screams of warriors and the dying. No matter what words Clockwork’s mind brought forward, they all fell short of the exuberant hell. Screams of fury and death slathered the field as commonly as the rubble and blood shared by the two major factions that fought over said rubble.

Clockwork regretted not bringing his concerns to his superiors earlier. Had he done so, perhaps his uneasy feelings might have gone without merit. Instead, diamond dogs were pouring through some faustforsaken hole in the ground and their griffon allies rained death from above. Small groups of unprepared city militia, caught between two hostile forces, were barely surviving as they gradually retreated back to the Behemoth Engine. In the middle of it all, innocent, harmless civilians were perishing like thoughtless lambs forced to the slaughter.

For a brief moment, Clockwork prayed to the royal sisters that his parents were safe behind some makeshift barricade or wall of tempered steel, and if not, he wished that their deaths had been painless.

Another shriek tore through the air, judging by its pitch it had likely come from Quick Fix. This time though, it was followed by a hollow, eerie groan. The stallion’s desperately tried to wrench himself around to get a better view of the most immediate situation. For a moment or two, Clockwork wished that he had been born blind or not at all.

Wetwork, Haywire, Gearbox, and Quick Fix were all scattered and cowering against various portions of the same wall. It was what they were cowering from that truly scared Clockwork. It was some kind of amalgamation of rippling flesh and wheezing, coppery metal. The. . . thing was horribly disfigured to the point where its silhouette was barely recognizable as doggish. It was immense in size, almost to the point where it seemed to defy the square cube law. Old history lessons passed through Clockwork’s memory in a heartbeat, and he recognized the profile as belonging to an ancestor of its creators, a rock wolf. In all of Clockwork’s life, it was by far the most unholy perturbation of science he had ever witnessed.

Haywire and Wetwork continued to fire their pitifully small concealed-carry revolvers at the beast, but to no avail. Round after round after round, the mechanical rock wolf thing did not slow as it crept in for the kill. What it did next terrified Clockwork beyond a point he thought impossible to surpass.

The beast did not kill Haywire or Wetwork, instead choosing to lazily swat the two scientists aside like they were overgrown flies. The fact that the monster did not outright kill the mares, and that it quickly turned its attention on Clockwork’s unarmed parents, led Clockwork to a horrid conclusion.

The beast was sentient, and it was going for the easiest kills first.

Clockwork screamed as he tried once more to remove himself from his makeshift prison. Even if it meant a blown artery or the loss of the prosthetic he far too often took for granted, the pegasus struggled to free himself. Alas, it was all for naught and, after conceding defeat, he felt for his radio. Maybe somepony nearby would be able to help. No matter how many times the pegasus clicked the transceiver, there was never a reply to be heard.

Clockwork cursed himself as he pounded a hoof into the ground. Time slowed as he watched the mechanical dog monster thing lift its right leg with the intent of crushing both ponies with a single step. Clockwork quickly found a moderately sized rock, took careful aim, and threw the chunk of rubble as hard and precisely as he could. If the sisters smiled upon him, maybe he could buy his parents a few vital seconds to escape.

The makeshift projectile fell just short of its target, the beasts head, instead glancing its exposed spine and ricocheting to hit the ground with a sharp clank!

As Clockwork prayed that his parents would experience a swift and painless journey to the infinite pastures of the afterlife, he was shocked to see the doggish beast stall in its execution, actually glancing behind itself to determine from where the attack had originated.

That was all the time Gearbox and Quick Fix needed to make their escape. They did not escape death, at least, not without the sacrifice of another.

Wetwork had recovered enough to break into a dead gallop. She catapulted herself into the path of the rock wolf, knocking both of Clockwork’s parents aside with the intent to take the blow herself. Clockwork’s heart stopped.

Alas, Wetwork did not die that day. A minute mare, one that Clockwork would never learn the name of, came soaring out of the sky, the pegasus’ rifle firing continuously as its owner spat insults of every fathomable kind at the mechanical monstrosity. The beast lowered its foot to the ground as gently as it could, the tree-trunk like appendage setting itself down far from its intended mark. As Wetwork scurried away with the help of a heavily bleeding Haywire, Clockwork had an unhindered view of the painfully one-sided conflict.

The militia soldier was barreling toward her target far too quickly to avoid a head on collision, but it appeared that she already knew that. There was blood streaming from several wounds across her body, and if anything this was her one last great act of defiance, Clockwork would’ve considered saluting her had it not been for subsequent events staying his hoof.

The soldier impacted the mechanical beast with enough force to actually send it hurtling to the ground, but where there should’ve been blood and bone, there was only bits of stone as the minute mare was petrified upon contact with the beasts’ head. One stray piece of rock had the audacity to actually impact the imprisoned stallion right in the head, but that was all it took.

Clockwork heard his heart restart with a single beat, and the world turned red.

It was both deathly quiet and painfully loud at the same time. Clockwork couldn’t help but laugh as he finally tore himself from the rock, looking to find that his wing was bent out of shape but otherwise undamaged. The arcane metal had even protected Clockwork’s pistol from utter annihilation, and the pegasus chose to abuse this revelation to this fullest extent. As he brought his weapon to bear, Clockwork let loose something from deep within his vocal chords. Be it a cowardly shriek or a hellish roar, it mattered little, for it did the job. The monstrous rock wolf stood and turned its attention to the pegasus, and Clockwork had nine rounds of .44 magnum waiting to greet the beast.

The alchemical dog yelped in excruciating pain as all nine rounds from its adversary’s pistol impacted its face at various points, one even going so far as to forcefully plant itself in the monster's left, glowing violet eye. After firing his shotgun round just to piss the beast off even more, Clockwork utilized what little sanity he had left and holstered his weapon. Once again, he couldn’t stop himself from laughing, which devolved into a frenzied roar that mixed with the beast’s furious own.

The pegasus charged.

The monster before him was ready for the apparently suicidal attack, or so it believed. With the loss of an eye, the demon lost its depth perception as well. It swung long before Clockwork was close enough, leading the beast to embed one of its massive fists in the street whilst it swung wildly with the other. Clockwork continued forward, not daring to slow as this was likely his only chance to kill it. Just as he closed within striking range, the rock wolf freed itself, but it had very little time to relish in its escape.

Clockwork took one final step, angled himself, and leapt.

Like a knife through water, Clockwork’s wing shot upwards through its monstrous target with zero difficulty, splitting it in two from groin to skull. As the division became complete, vast amounts of thick fluid sprayed forth from the immense wound, the liquids turned a painful red from the searing light of Clockwork’s gem. The screams heard at the sight of the demonic conflict were not the beast’s own, but Clockwork’s as he set himself on the floor with a soft thud. The screaming continued until Clockwork’s throat ran hoarse, and only then did he flick the horrid sludge that he could reach off himself and turn to his companions.

Everypony looked horrified by what Clockwork had done, Wetwork especially. Their faces were priceless, but this was no time to laugh or thank them for his saving of their lives. He had a second objective, one that called to him. “Stay here.” he ordered. “get somewhere safe if you can. I’ve gotta make sure a certain somewhere doesn’t fall to the enemy.”

Without another word, Clockwork was off, rocketing across the rubble-strewn roads that crisscrossed the city like the mesh nets he was forced to crawl under during basic training.

The chaos of the invasion had grown significantly. Diamond Dogs were almost as common as the ponies who desperately fought to hold them at bay, though this effort was hampered by griffon air superiority. Szary had certainly made a noticeable dent in the enemy fleet, but it was a long way from eradication. Clockwork did his best to kill or dodge everything blocking his path, and it felt like the desperate race was going to last forever. When the pegasus saw the trail of bodies though, he realized the journey had been much shorter than expected, and what lay within was far more dangerous than anticipated.

A rough column of equine bodies lay upon the blood-soaked earth, the deathly pathway leading up and into Clockwork’s destination, the Mithril Factory. Upon brief but close inspection, the pegasus found many of the dead to have sustained precise wounds to vital areas, leading to a quick and hopefully pain-free death. He reloaded his pistol, ensured that his wing would not fail him in his time of need, and galloped inside.

The inside of the Mithril Factory was anything but comfortable. The factory’s base production lines were filed to the brim with molten metal, boiling jets of steam, and massive flames that occasionally licked the ceiling. Clockwork’s brow was practically drowning in perspiration. Whether or not these severe inconveniences were the result of the war going on outside was a debate the stallion forced to the back of his mind; he had a far more pressing matter to attend to. The hellish conditions did little to sway the practiced eye of a pony whose special talent happened to be engineering, and those eyes noticed a long string of remarkably precise sabotage throughout the facility. They looked to have been made with blades with the likely intent to disable the various machines used to harvest, purify, and temper mithril. However, the strikes were not used to outright destroy. Rather, they had been inflicted where no individual would be put in extreme danger, and they looked easy to repair if given the correct tools. Whoever Clockwork was pursuing (or vice versa), they knew what they were doing and had come equipped for the job. Clockwork suddenly realized that this confirmed Long Shot’s suspicions. The enemy was here to capture the city, not atomize it. He reached for his radio to report his findings, but was interrupted by three certain individuals.

Warfather stood near a small clearing in the carnage, a smaller female griffon at his left and an emerald-cloaked dog, the one Clockwork thought dead at Appleloosa, at his right. Realization hit the pegasus like a sack of bricks, nothing but a diamond dog could’ve made a hole that deep that quickly. Given the canine’s obvious loyalty to his master, he had taken the griffon with him. “It is quite obvious that this war has dulled your senses, more specifically this battle in particular. Tell me, how many talons am I holding up?” the head griffon asked

“I see two talons you’ll be without in about that many seconds!” Clockwork drew his pistol and charged forward, firing all nine rounds in quick succession. Unfortunately, he did not have enough time to down the leader with the shotgun round. He barely had enough time to block the griffon’s own disarming sword strike. Through gritted teeth, the pegasus realized that he was completely open to attack from Warfather’s cronies. “So why haven’t you finished me off yet?” he spat.

Warfather smirked, not a single hint of effort on his beak as he kept the stallion trapped in blade lock. “You have survived this long in the war at such a young age. You also have that wing of yours, which would make for a most excellent trophy if the Emperor’s cravings will not be satiated by this city I believe you are an opponent worth my time.”

The griffon signalled for his underlings to leave the area, and they did so with haste. In an instant, Warfather shoved Clockwork far enough away that the griffon was able to backflip and sheathed his blade. Great, he was going to toy with his prey before chopping it into tiny pieces, or so he believed.

Clockwork scoffed at the eagle-lion. “Flamboyance will get you nowhere. Nor will the strength of a god or that fancy sword of yours.”

Warfather chuckled in amusement at the insane pony’s words. “You know nothing of my god, the true god that deserves the worship of an entire world and more.”

Clockwork shook his head. “There are only two gods I’m sure that exist and they happen to rule my country.”

“Au contraire, young one. Carniferous is not a pony granted the abilities of all three species. She is in herself not a being, but a sapient force. There is a very specific reason your people turned to mine during the Uprisings. We were bred to make war, and the Emperor is the pinnacle of our species, and so she granted him his mask so that he may walk amongst the living to ensure that we shall not stray from the path of greatness. She created my kind, gave us the strength to prevail in the cruel world we had been born into, survive, and conquer it. She even granted me my blade.”

The griffon drew his sword and swung it about as though he were displaying it to every pair of eyes in the world. Admittedly, the weapon was of expert craftsmanship. Its blade was a pure ivory-white, and from this distance it did not seem to bear any sort of flaw in the metal. Its hilt was a powerful shade of red, and a small chain of feathers hung from the end of it. “Tell me, do you truly know what this sword is?”

“Just that, a sword and nothing else.”

"Far more than that, young one. It is called the Feather of Carniferous, fittingly named for its was forged from one of her own. It has slain many an enemy and has yet to dull. You will not be an exception, even with that wing of yours. Tell me before I end you, for it has drawn the curiosity of many in the Empire, myself and our many spies included. What exactly is that admittedly magnificent creation?"

"Mithril, a metal only present in the world’s core. Hoof-forged and bonded to my flesh. Powered by my mind, cast through this fire ruby. Near incapable of being damaged, and no god-sword is going to change that."

“Hmph. We shall see if your boasting proves true, for only so much can happen when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object. Tell me, do you have any last words?”

“Actually, yes. I’m no good with cooking, so mind telling me the serving temperature for a turkey dinner?”

Warfather actually seemed genuinely pissed off by that, and his rage only increased as he shouted four painfully familiar words. “Carniferous! FREE. MY. SOUL!”

Where there should’ve been great waves of crimson and fury, there was nothing but silence as the griffon stood there, practically naked without his mythical armor. Even after repeating the call twice more, nothing happened. Warfather took several steps back from the pegasus, a look of utter bewilderment across his beak. “But. . . how?” he asked.

Clockwork couldn’t help but laugh at the pitiful sight. “Oh this is priceless. Where is your god now?!” he screamed.

Warfather looked at his adversary in slight terror. “But. . . Carniferous only bestows her blessing upon the warrior she deems greatest on the battlefield!”

Clockwork couldn’t help but laugh at this explanation. “Heh. Looks like she doesn’t think so highly of you anymore.”

Warfather angled himself for the first strike. “No matter. I shall end your life so I may regain her favor.”

Clockwork took a deep breath and readied himself for the most difficult fight of his short life. “Good luck, scuzzy.”

The sound of metal crashing against metal drowned the sounds of all else, as though each strike of the blade was an individual crack of heavenly thunder. The damaged machines loudly struggling to function, rounds after round of cannonfire falling upon the torn streets, and the painful groaning of flaming griffon zeppelin, it was all but a whisper in comparison to the battle of metal from above the sky versus metal from the earth’s heart. Neither blade gave way, nor did their wielders’ energy drain as they continued on in the furious duel. Clockwork spat insult after insult in an effort to distract his opponent and vent his careless rage. Even with most of his sanity gone, Clockwork remembered that, if he let his anger get the better of him for more than a second, he would-

The pegasus’ train of thought was jarred from its tracks as Clockwork was struck in the head by the hilt of Warfather’s sword. After a brief moment in free-fall, the pegasus readjusted and regained lost altitude, barely succeeding in parrying another of the griffon’s many attacks. He shook his head to clear it of stars and quickly glanced about his surroundings.

The duo had taken to the air during the conflict, both warriors now a significant distance above the ground. Despite both species’ enhanced durability and hollow bones, a fall from this height would undoubtedly kill them. However, it did next to nothing to lessen the sheer amount of machinery. Truly, the factory was huge in every sense of the word. Machines of every kind were present in the facility, and by circumstance a large amount of coal was required to power them. Coal produced heat, heat produced steam, and it was his steam that made Clockwork feel like he was slowly being cooked alive. Undoubtedly, Warfather must've had it worse after relying on his spiritual trump card for so long. Clockwork couldn’t help but giggle as he searched for his adversary, seemingly retreated for the time being. Perhaps he wouldn’t need to learn the correct temperature at which to cook a turkey, The factory would do it for him!

The faint rustling of feathers caught Clockwork’s attention, allowing him just enough time to turn around mid-air and send his attacker hurtling through the air with a single great sweep of his prosthetic. “Whew. Seems like Carniferous’ chosen is losing touch! Need a breather, gramps?”

“With age comes wisdom, experience, and the knowledge of how far to push yourself.” the griffon panted. “You have yet to age, and so you must rely on blind stupidity and your bountiful energy reserves to succeed. I can tell you were not trained for such encounters as this. Perhaps it is you who needs the break?”

Clockwork smirked. “The best way to learn is through experience, and thanks to you I may have my own fighting style in about ten minutes.”

Warfather paused. “It seems we can agree on one thing. However, if you truly expect to last that long-” the griffon winced and placed a telon to his chest. A thin, red streak was present on his matted chest, and for a moment Clockwork noticed a powerful violet light glimmer from beneath the wound before it sealed itself shut in an eerily short period of time. The only other time he’d seen a light like that one, the very same color as the rock wolf’s eyes, was. . .

“Shit.” the pegasus cursed. “So that’s how you survived. Before you die, mind telling me what you monsters intend to achieve through those perversions of science?”

Aside from a remark about Clockwork’s powers of observation, the griffon said nothing as he launched into a relentless stream of fluid blade strikes. Clockwork had no time to react, and by the time he was able to dodge or deflect incoming blows, his flesh had been criss-crossed every which way by lacerations that went no deeper than the uppermost layers of skin. The steam that poured into the various wounds made Clockwork feel like he was being bitten a hundred times over by a thousand fire ants, and the sheer pain alone was enough to knock the pegasus from the sky.

The stallion only had enough will left to angle his descent so that he didn’t break his neck on impact, leading him to come crashing down on an immense, scorching cauldron of what he believed was molten mithril.

Only two desires remained in Clockwork's mind at this point. He wanted to travel to the realm of the unconscious and stay there for a good long while. The second desire, which in turn stayed his accomplishment of the first, was that he wished to halt Warfather's existence. As the warrior approached, Clockwork barely had the energy to notice that his vision did not fade to crimson as it so often did in these situations.

The pegasus was lifted by his throat without struggle, his adversary keeping him just above the sea of liquid metal. "Well. . . go ahead!" Clockwork choked. "DO IT!"

"No. Not yet."

Warfather's voice had become a whisper amongst the sounds of war, though is tore through the air like it was the strongest of gales. Needless to say that Clockwork was terrified. "You would welcome a quick death. I can tell that you have witnessed terrors of war a pony like you couldn't even fathom. You wish for the sweet embrace of death, the truest escape from this hell called reality, but. . ." the griffon trailed off. "There is still a reason you wish to live. Still a reason you want to leave this place with your life. Before you die, I wish to know the reason behind such tenacity uncharacteristic of your kind."

Clockwork hung motionless. Truth nor lies would spare him his fate, so his last words could be anything he wished to say. He could lament over his unrequited love for a certain mare, the love he felt for his kingdom, his homeland, or even his most base desire of simply wishing to see tomorrow's sun rise. He reached his decision quickly.

"Ndingng. . . rrs."

Warfather tilted his head to one side, his grasp trembling. "What?"

"Nding. . . Rrrrs."

Warfather pulled the pegasus a bit closer and loosened his grip. "One more time."

"I said. . ." Clockwork took a single gasp of breath. "I wish to keep my life, so that I may end yours!"

The pegasus wrenched himself around, bringing his prosthetic to bear and sending the impromptu blade clean through Warfather's right arm, sending the talon careening into the molten sea below and instantly freeing Clockwork from his grasp, allowing him to land once more upon a solid floor. He struggled to gain his footing, screamed as he stood and charged, but something occurred to him just as he lunged in for the kill.

Warfather was not right handed.

Warfather, his wound cauterized by the immense heat, deflected the blow, knocking the stallion far enough off his balance for him to fall a great distance to some machine below with a heavy thud.

Clockwork shook his head, finding it much cooler here and detecting the sound of running water below him. He gazed upward, waiting for Warfather to finish him off, but that moment never came.

The griffon's figure appeared over the ledge, Clockwork barely able to make out some kind of device held in his remaining talon. With the press of a button, a great hole was torn through the roof of the roof of the facility, accompanied by equal parts rubble and metal fragments from a cannon round. Without another word, the griffon clumsily took to the air and disappeared out of sight.

"That 's right. Run away you scuzzy bastard." Clockwork exhaustedly taunted his opponent. "Give up and flee, only to be killed another day. . . Hehehe. . ."

Clockwork felt himself begin to nod off, but something kept him awake as his ears flicked at the sound.

"Kid? KID! Do you read me? I still haven't given you permission to die!"

Clockwork fumbled for his radio, clicking the switch to remain on. "I'm here, commander. I read you."

"Sweet Faust, colt. You sound like death incarnate!"

"You should see other guy."

"What's your position. Wetwork and Haywire said you just left 'em."

"I'm in the mithril factory, on top of some cooling plant I think. It sounds quiet out there. . ."

"Yeah. The enemy fleet's nothing but rubble and the city's safe. The Fury got away though."

"About that, commander. I had a little skirmish with its captain. Three guesses as to who it was."

"Son of a broodmare. . ." the commander trailed off. "We've got a medical shuttle inbound to get you back to Szary."

"Permission to speak freely, sir."


"You sound troubled, like, really troubled. Aside from the obvious, what's got you scared? The city's still ours and the fleet's gone. Warfather's running scared minus a limb-"

"Just sit tight." the commander interrupted. "Conserve your energy. I'll tell you everything once you get back to the ship. This day just keeps getting better and fuckin' better."

Next Chapter: Consequence Estimated time remaining: 1 Hour, 10 Minutes
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