Ultraman Daxium

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“Who said I was bluffing?” Bridge did want to do a little more digging. But not because of Brooks. He wanted to get some more ammunition to help defend Ken. “But what about you? I've hardly ever seen anybody else stand up to him like that.”



“Are you kidding?”, Reid went as they continued walking. “I was shaking in my boots.”



“Right,” Hawk said in disbelief. “I was standing right next to you and didn't even see a bead of sweat on you.”



“I'm really good at hiding it,” was his answer.



“Remind me to never play poker with you with a face like that.”



***
And he thought being alone with a brainless monster was boring. Granted that was before one of his masters stepped through the vortex to test a device to keep him stable on this side of things. It got to the point were Brooks had timed it out. Every twenty minutes, exactly he might add, the Zetton would examine his extremities just to see if they were still structuarlly stable. Then he, she, whatever the hell it was, would do a check on the device. After it did all of that then ithe Zetton would stand in place staring at the vortex until the next check. And he was pretty sure it kept doing it while he slept as well. And that's all his “guest” did, Brook sure hadn't seen him eat in the the couple of days it had been here, outside of that single eye there wasn't anything to indicate that it had it had any sort of facial features. Not any that he recognized at any point.



Out of the corner of his eye he saw it move. Brooks glanced at his watch, twenty on the dot. The Zetton went through it's usual motions before returning to it's usual standing state. Despite knowing he wasn't going to get any sort of response from the alien Brooks still went, “Everything still in working order I presume. Not going to fade away or whatever happens when out of your dimension?” The Zetton didn't even move a fraction of a millimeter than he could tell. Granted he only said something because the near silence was starting to get a little maddening. “Just assuming you're the same one in the vortex every time, you seemed much more chatty on the other side of things.” Brooks eyed narrowed a bit, maybe he was going crazy but he would have sworn it turned it's head, just a little. But that was about it as it kept up the million mile stare it had been doing.



The other major drawback was it gave Brooks more than enough time to think. Mainly about the device on it's shoulder. If they were going to use that to stay in this universe, and probably use it to invade the giant's universe as well depending on it's strength, what did that mean for him? They originally made their deal because they needed someone on this side to help stabilize their creatures as they came through. If they could do it mechanically then why would they still need him? For the immediate future he should be fine be, at least that what he told himself since given the size difference between this particular being and the creatures that were usually sent over a little tweaking would be needed to compensate for that difference given how new the technology actually was. And in some of these quiet moments he had almost convinced himself that it was true.



But the actual situation meant his days of being useful was probably coming to a close. And somehow he doubted his masters would let him keep the power they had given him as a parting gift, nor would his youthful appearance stick around much longer after that. And Charles Brooks was no match for anyone at the UNDF, someone from sanitation could probably take him out without much effort. So while he sat there contemplating how much damage he could do before they drained these abilities from him he looked over as the vortex started to do something, returning to the state it usually had when communication was happening. He stood next to the Zetton and waited for another of his masters appeared, which made him wonder once again if he dealt with the same being each time.



When one did there was no pretense, no greeting, no attempt at small talk, granted that last one may be too human for them, just a single word was uttered, “Report.” So far this one sounded the same as before.



“The device is working as designed,” his visitor replied. Paying close attention Brooks couldn't notice any difference in either voices. So as far as he knew there was no difference in the voices between Zetton to Zetton. “There has been no derogation to the test subject.”Did he just refer to himself as “the test subject”? There was cold indifference then there was that.



“Excellent,” came the reply. “Do you think the next stage of the plan is feasible?”



“I do believe it is.” Brooks raised an eyebrow. He knew there was a plan since they previously mentioned a new plan of attack. But that was about it. He had a idea what it might be with all the time he spent in his head since the experiment began. So he was curious at how close he actually got to the actually plan. “We will commence with the planning stage now.” The shadowed image faded away as the Zetton turned toward him.



“We?”, he asked. Now he had a part to play in this situation, interesting.



“Yes,” the Zetton said as it walked away from the vortex as it finally disappeared, “your knowledge of the base you used to inhabit should be extremely useful.” So far this was in line with the idea he had come up with.”



“Anything I can do to help,” he said as he followed. Holding out a hand the Zetton created a very rough image of a hallway. If he had to guess one they thought existed inside of Castle. Granted based on what was hanging in front of him that could have been any hallway in the building. Or any building, anywhere.



“This is what we believe is the main corridor of that base.” Again he had to raise a eyebrow. He vividly recalled that particular hallway, it looked nothing like this. “Any information you can provide to correct and expand on this image would be useful.”



Again with the useful. Not appreciated, just useful. He'd show them just useful. Smirking just a bit he activated his own power and took over the image without the Zetton's permission and immediately made the necessary changes, expanding the image into a small model of what he recalled of the inside of Castle. As the Zetton looked around at the adjusted image Brooks crossed his arms, “So what do you want to know?”
 
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The whole mess with Stanberry blew over fairly quickly for the most part. Just about everybody he came across on base seemed to be backing him and Jess for the most part. Even the old Jamira regulars, which surprised Ken a bit. All right it surprised him a lot. Apparently there was a rule Richardson was getting ready to try and get into place, according to rumors, and it was not sitting well with a lot of the men and woman around him. But at least Stanberry went in another direction every time she saw Ken now. Yes Hawk chewed him out for it but it was worth it as far as he was concerned.



But more importantly as far as he was concerned Jess readily forgave him for the incident. And to be honest he was more worried about that than any thing Hawk was going to do to him. Okay it wasn't his fault to begin with but he was so worried about losing her again he didn't want to take any chance to risk it. He dated a few women in the past 10 years since their first go around and none of them made him feel like she did. And the same was true for her based on some of the things they talked about since getting back together. So yeah he was making damn sure he didn't do anything to screw this up. Maybe a little too hard according to Jess. Just another thing to keep in mind. But he told himself to try and not think about so much, she loved him, he didn't have Jeff trying to push his buttons to get what he wanted at their expense any more, and, at least according to her, he was being the type of man she knew was on the inside whatever that meant. As far as he could tell he was just being himself. But if she was happy with what she was seeing he'd take it.



But those were thoughts for when he was alone, sitting in the cafeteria with her and the others he just learned a new bit of information that he never knew about. “Since when has there been a Tabitha?” Ryo looked embarrassed at the question.Bill looked just as uncomfortable for some reason.



“Sorry Ryo,” Jess told him looking apologetic. “It just slipped out “



“Okay who is Tabitha and how long have her and Ryo been a thing?”, Ken asked still feeling confused over this new bit of information. Ryo had a girl? When in the hell did that happen? He barely left Castle as far as Ken knew.



“This had to be how you felt when you were telling us about Dax,” he mumbled as he retrieved his wallet and showed him Tabitha's picture. “It's been a little over a month. And I'm surprised she didn't tell you before now.” he said indicating Jess as he put his wallet back.



“I don't tell him everything,” she said a little defensively. And that drew a look from Ken. She ended up telling him something similar to what she told Hawk, “It's not my story to tell.”



“That never stopped you in high school,” he informed her. “I knew who people I never even heard of were dating because of you.”



“I was a teenage woman back then,” she told him. “Gossip was a second language for me and my friends.”



“Oh trust me I recall how fluent you use to be back then,” he told her. Then he returned his attention back to Ryo, “But dude a month and you never said anything?”



“He didn't tell me either,” Jess informed him. “I'm pretty sure he told us to shut Bill up.”



And now he was confused all over again. “Why?”, he began.



Bill sharply answered with, “Don't ask,” before he could even finish the question.



“Okay, now I really want to ask,” Ken told the group. Ryo smirked at Bill as he started burying his face in his hands. “That's not making me want to ask any less.”



“Leave him alone Ken,” Jess told him. “There's plenty of time to hear about it later.” Bill went from looking grateful to betrayed pretty quick. Okay he really wanted to know what was going on now.



“Bill, I'll make you a deal,” Ken told him. When Bill looked interested he continued, “I'll drop it if you tell me how you convinced whomever it was back at Tower to send those barricade plans?”



“What barricade plans?”, he asked. And he wasn't the only one at the table who was confused.



“Those expanding Barricades they used during that assault back at Tower,” he reminded them. “I seem to recall you asking to get me the plans at the time.”



At this Bill perked up a little. “Dude are you serious? You got the plans?” Realizing everyone at the table was staring at him now he quickly said, “I never talked to anybody after we saw them that one time. I mean Bridge is the only person I know with any regular contact with anybody at Tower and I didn't go through him. Ask him yourself.”



“We will,” Ryo told him.



Waving him off Bill asked Ken, “But seriously they sent the plans?”



“The Chief showed them to me before I headed here,” Ken answered him. “And he has no idea why we got them either.”



“Maybe they're sending them to all the UNDF bases,” Jess offered. “Making them standard equipment now since they worked so well during that assault.”



“The Chief considered that,” Ken told her. “He's contacting the other bases to see if they got the plans too. If they didn't, and if Bill didn't pester anybody to get them, then Greenberg still trying to rntice me to come over for a bit.”



“So a little sample of what you could be working on,” Jess said while shaking her head.



“Doesn't give up easy, does he?”, Ryo quipped.



“It's literally the first time I've heard from him since Japan if it's true,” Ken told them. He glanced over at Jess, “But since we have the plans the Chief wants me to take the lead on building the first one, just to see if it'll work like people who where there said it did. He wants to get started as soon as possible, like right after dinner”



“Hey that's great,” Jess told him with a big smile. “Taking the lead on a big project like that. See I told you you had it in you.”



“I know we didn't have any plans or anything,” he started to say.



:Go,” she told him, “I know you're salivating just to build one as much as Bill is to get them. Go and have some fun, just don't make Windam jealous. Just remember I'm here once this part of your career takes off.”



He had this same exact thought several times back when the dated the first time around. Ken just never said it out loud for anybody else to hear before, “I don't deserve you.”



“You probably don't,” she said. “But I think I'll stick with you anyway.” They both leaned in for a kiss. Then both of them stopped and looked around the room.



“You see Hawk any where?”, Ken asked, standing up a little to survey the area better.



She looked around him to see behind him, “I'm not seeing him anywhere.”



“If he just pops up again than he fucking teleported,”, Ken muttered as he sat back down.and kissed her. Both of them lingered on it for a bit before pulling away. “Well teach?”



“Better,” she told him. “Much better.”



“I for one,” Bill suddenly spoke up, “can't wait until you two get out of this phase of the relationship,”



While both of them stared at him, and Ryo slowly trying to move away from Bill, Jess was the one who asked the question, “What stage are you talking about?”



“This whole touchy lovey dovey thing you guys are doing now.” Ken and Jess just looked at each other, both wondering what the hell he was talking about. “It's getting sickening. There's no way you two could get any worse.”



Ryo mumbled, “You had to say it.”



“I'm suddenly seeing why Ryo hadn't mention he was seeing somebody before now,” Ken told him, still feeling confused.


“Mr. Scott,” Jess said as she turned in her chair to face him, “I don't know about you but that sounded like a challenge to me.”



“I do believe you are correct Miss Wade,” he joined in. He took her hands in his and looked into her eyes. “Shall we take up the gauntlet snuggle bunny?”



“And here we go,” Ryo said pushing away from the table, While Bill looked at him, face full of worry.



Jess grinned at him, “Yes we should honey dove.”



“My cute little angel.”



“My big, strong hard working man.” She got in close, “I wuv you.”



“I wuv you more,” he said tapping the tip of her nose lightly.



Bill started patting the table. “I'm tapping, I'm tapping. You guys win.”



“You brought it on yourself,” Ryo told him as he brought his chair back to the table.



“Thank God,” Ken said said after Bill stopped tapping out, “I was making myself sick there.”



Still grinning Jess said, “I'm pretty sure that was you in high school.”



“No way,” he said in full disbelief. And surprised when she actually nodded. He thought hard and fast, there was no way he acted like that the first time around. Was there? Eventually he ended up going, “How did you stand me?”



“I don't know,” she answered him, “but you're lucky I did.”



“Oh I fully realize that, thank you very much.” Then he felt something from Dax. Several somethings almost all at once that made him look around. These were close, too close for comfort. And more were still popping up. What the hell was going on?
 
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“Ken?”, Jess asked. All around them communicators were going off about some sort of invasion happening. But that made no sense. Then he got another spike, one that made him whip around to face the far end of the room. A few started to back away as some sort of portal formed out of thin air. Then some sort of one eyed being started to walk through. Ken tensed up, he had seen something like that before. At Kyrie's lab not that long ago, it was one of the creatures Dax's people were at war with. He barely heard Dax's warning as he saw the creature hold up some sort of device and fire it, in his direction. Jess reacted before he did, grabbing him by the jacket and throwing both of them to the ground. Ryo and Bill were right behind them as more of those creatures came through firing at anything that moved, which was just about everybody in the room who was trying to run.



“I'm guessing friends of Brooks,” Bill said as the four of them tried to crawl toward the closest door since none of them were armed. And there were way too many witnesses to let Dax out and play..



“Did you have to ask?”, Ryo snapped at him. Before long a group of guards burst through that particular door and started firing at anything that didn't look human.That particular number was growing by the moment as the portal stayed open. The creatures started concentrating their fire at them.



From Ken's perspective it looked like both sides took hits but only the UNDF soldiers were going down. Then something caught his eye while on the ground. A light on the creature that kept going on and off. Once drawn to the device on it's shoulder his mind went into overdrive trying to figure it out. And he wasn't sure if it was because it was alien technology or the stress from the situation or both but how it worked was staying just outside his mental reach, but he understood their function right away. They were using them to stay in this dimension. He looked over to where he thought Jess and the others were but quickly realized they had moved on without him. Seeing Jess head toward one of the fallen guards he hurried up to catch up with them.



She grabbed the man's gun when he did. “You gotta aim for the device keeping them stable in this dimension.”



Ryo grabbed a weapon as well and knelt next to Jess as they joined in. Bill just looked at him as he gtabbed a gun for himswlf, “Aim for the what?”



For the love of... Taking a quick breath Ken tried to remember that despite telling them all he knew he still knew these things longer than they have. So he told him, “Shoot the blinky thing!” Jess paused just long enough to hear what he said. Then she took a quick aim on one and fired off a single shot. It hit the device and caused it to spark a bit then the creature screamed a bit as it dissolved away into nothing. Ken watched the whole thing and a couple of others as she scored a few more bull eyes. “Geez Dax was that going to happen to you if we didn't bond?”



He didn't hear a response as the invaders suddenly all turned in their direction and increased their fire. “Move!”, Ryo shouted as they made it for the door. Once in the hallway and seeing it was clear for the moment they finally stood and ran away from the cafeteria as did others who were able to escape. Toward the armory if Ken recalled correctly. Hitting his communicator Ryo kept moving as he looked around, “Watanabe to all units still fighting, aim for the blinking device on the creatures' shoulder. Damaging that will make them go away.”



“Ryo,” Hawk called out over the line, “are you absolutely sure about that?”



“Saw it happen myself Captain,” he said. He glanced back at him before saying, “Ken was the one who figured it out.”



“Understood, Hawk to all units, aim for that device.”



“You heard him Beta Team,” Reid joined in. “Sounds like the best plan we have for the moment.” There were several rounds of acknowledgement. Then another group of creatures came around the corner. They seemed surprised enough that they didn't fire right away. That didn't stop them however as they quickly opened fire on the group, with Jess hitting the target the most.



While the sound of things made it seem like these creatures were all over the place that group sudden appearance made him ask, “Dax can you sense these guys?” The others looked at him, with Jess in particular looking at his communicator then stopped, realizing now was not the time to worry about him being listened in on.



In his head he heard Daxium tell him, “No, I have no idea where any of them are after they exit those portals.”



Nodding a bit Ken said, “Probably means they can't sense us either.”



“It's a likely possibility,” he heard in his head.



Outside his head he heard Ryo go, “What are you thinking Ken?”



“I'm still piecing it together,” He answered and tried to think fast. “That's the way to the armory right?” When they said it was he tried to get out what was in his head. “That last group came from that way. Granted it was probably chance but you have to think Brooks told them where stuff was around here.”



“The stuff he knew about when he was here,” Jess took over for him seeing his line of thinking. “It's 101, keep the troops away from the weapons.”



“But we have more than one armory,” Bill said.



“Now,” Ryo said. “We added several weapon stockpiles on every level since Brooks. He wouldn't know about them.”



“So we hoof it to another floor,” he said in understanding. “So which way do we head, up or down?”



“Both,” Ryo told them. “we split up,You and me will head up, maybe try and meet up with either Hawk or Reid. Jess, you and Ken head down.”



“The garage is pretty close,” Jess offered. “I'm sure the chief has the area secured right now. And them maybe we can coordinate a pincer movement of a sort and try to trap them between the two groups. Catch them in a crossfire if we can.”



“Maybe I can get Windam involved too,” Ken offered. “His battle computer is active and we could use all the help we can get.”



“Sounds like the best play we have for the moment,” Ryo told them. “Keep you heads down and eyes wide open. Be safe guys.” They all acknowledged him and continued on until they found a stair well. After making sure both ways were clear they split up and headed toward their destinations.
 
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“Bridge do we have whatever these things are on sensors?”, Hawk said from his post. There was a lull in the attack they were facing for the moment, the invaders backing away once they realized they figured out what to target now thanks to Ken's observation. Everything in his body told him to take the breather, and many of those with him were doing just that. Especially with the wounded and fallen they pulled in here with them. But he didn't get this far by not being aware of what was going on elsewhere in a battle.



“Barely,” was the eventual answer. Right now Hawk was just grateful none of those portals had opened up in Command Room, otherwise the entire outfit would be blind and deaf to must things going on in the complex. “We have some sort of energy signature we can follow but mainly we know were they are based on the reports that are coming in.” Not ideal but it was better than nothing at the moment. As it was Hawk had barricaded both ends of the hallway that lead to the Command Room, but he didn't dare leave and talk to the man himself. “If I have to be honest Captain,” Bridge went on, “Whatever they used to get in is similar to the portal Brooks used to bring that monster down on us when we found out about him. They're wrecking havoc with our electrical systems but not on the same scale.”



“So that's who he'd been working for,” Hawk muttered, mostly to himself. Thanks to Ken he knew about this strange war that made it's way to their world. But outside of the ones like Daxium he wasn't all that versed on the combatants. Well, outside of finally getting a good look at the one Kyrie some how produced he had no idea what they looked like. “Okay Bridge, keep trying to lock in on them and keep me updated.”



“Yes sir,” Bridge replied before cutting the link. The one question he really wanted to ask the man was could the enemy listening in on them. It would be so easy to walk into the room and ask him face to face. But he couldn't leave his post in case they renewed their attack. He didn't even know what there goal was. The portals just showed up at seemingly random places so it was hard to figure out the objective they were after. So he went on instinct when he set up shop here as soon as he could, trying to guess what the potential targets could be.



Speaking of potential targets,“Stanberry,” he called out over his communicator, one more concern he had to worry about, “Location report.” He intentionally kept the question as vague as possible, not giving away where she was just in case they were listening in



“Secured,” was her reply. Whatever the issues between them were she knew her responsibilities was to protect Richardson and the board. And hopefully the men he and Reid allocated to support her were going to be enough, as it was he had Janet and the other secretaries and civilian staff on base hold up in whatever office they were in. “No sign of the enemy anywhere.” Another small favor there, if they wanted to disrupt them or get them to surrender then there was no faster way than to capture the Board. Then again that was thinking in human terms, who knew what these invaders thought. The fact none of the portals appeared in that section at least told Hawk they didn't consider them a priority, at least for the moment.



“Understood, it goes without saying but keep your eyes open for anything.” There wasn't any response as the link ended.



“Captain Hawk,” he turned around when he heard his name called, and was relieved when he saw Ryo, Bill and a few more men come toward him.



“Good to see you Ryo, Bill,” he told the men and acknowledged the others. The fear started to set in as he realized some were missing“Were's Jess and Ken?”



“They headed for the garage,” was Ryo's answer. Then he quickly filled him in on Ken's observation when he last saw him. Hawk would have to remind himself to be happy at how far Ken had come with thinking like that. Right now he had to go over his original strategy with what he knew now. If it was right they're initial goal was to try and cut them off from the main armory. And if Ken was right about Brooks' involvement in this attack then some of their information would be out of date. How could he use that?



“Hawk to Bridge,” he said suddenly. “Those reading you're able to get, how wide spread are they?”



“Not very,” came the surprising response. “Outside of the occasional burst here and there, readings and reports have them primarily around the main armory. With a group near the hanger and garage.” Hawk looked at Ryo and knew they had the same thought, Jess and Ken were headed for the garage. “They are trying to separate us from the weapons from the look of things, heavy or small.”



“Looks like,” Ryo agreed. “But how come they haven't tried to gain a foot hold somewhere else? We were caught off guard and they could have wiped us out without even trying, at least set up a base of operations before we could stop them.”



“I'm not sure,” Hawk told him. And that was driving him insane at the moment. Something like this there had to be a goal, even if it was just confusion. Then it hit him, that was the plan . “They want us confused,” he said softly. “This is a diversion. This whole thing is just a diversion for something else.”



“What could this be a diversion for,” Bill asked. “I mean there's usually a giant monster of some sort.”



“Brooks,” Hawk told him. “Brooks had to do something when that other monster showed up. Why else he unleash that massive amount of energy before it came through. He's around somewhere. They want to make sure we couldn't detect him,” he talked a little softer so only the two of them could hear him, “or Ken for that matter.”



“If this is what they're doing to distract us then.. .,” Ryo started to say but stopped. Bill paled slightly as he thought about it. Hawk couldn't blame him, after all the monsters that were sent their way what was coming up if they were going to this length to get their attention?
 
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Oh how she wished Ken was able to sense where these things were. At least it would make each corner they approached a little less nerve wreaking. She had them stay close to the wall and gave him a weapon and told him to keep an eye on their rear as they made their way to the garage. He was at least aware of how serious the situation was to reframe from making the obvious joke. Actually Jess didn't think she would have minded it that much if it broke the tension a bit. Reaching yet another intersection she motioned for him to take the other corner and check it, almost there she told herself.



Ken carefully peeked around the corner then nodded at her, all clear. She nodded in response then checked the hall leading closer to the garage. She motioned for them to keep going. They made their way then a sound made them stop and look behind them. Several of those things turned a corner a little further down an headed in their direction. “Move!”, she ordered Ken as she pushed him in the other direction. He didn't argue as they ran away from the invaders. In moments both of them ducked as they started firing at them. Jess still ran as she fired off a quick shot when she could, not even stopping long enough to see if she hit anything. They were almost to the garage she kept telling herself, almost to a fresh set of ammo and reinforcements. Almost there just a few more corners.



A shot from whatever they were using went past her and almost hit Ken. Then he dove for the floor as another one almost hit him. And that's when the thought hit her, maybe he couldn't detect them but maybe they could detect him and Daxium. And all things considered they were going to need the two of them more than they were going to need her in this mess. She stopped and quickly turned around and took aim. A single shot nailed the device as the creature began to dissolve but they kept coming, so she kept firing. “Jess!”, she heard Ken cry out when he realized what she was doing.”We're almost there come on!” But she kept firing at the invaders, seeing one disappear and more keep coming. She should have told him to get going, that she'd cover him but she was too busy concentrating on her moving targets. She should have said she loved him one last time.



When they were close enough that she was sure this was it Jess felt a hand grab the collar of her uniform and pulled her back. She was vaguely aware that it was Ken 's doing as he kept pulling as he forced her behind him and and spun toward the horde as he pointed his right hand at the invaders. He was quickly engulfed in an orb of light that finally caused the invaders to halt their advance. When the orb faded away Daxium stood where he was and quickly fired off what she recently learned was called a Flashbolt at the creatures. It hit the closest one and exploded on impact as the creature fell to the ground unmoving. Then all she could do was watch as Daxium charged at them, launching an attack they weren't expecting. They tried to swarm him but he was holding them off, not easily but he was holding them off. A few starting to dissolve made her notice were he was attacking them, at the device, either he learned through Ken or Ken was telling him where to focus his attacks. The creatures started to retreat after a bit as Daxium kept tearing through them. Then he grabbed one and slammed it against the wall. As it gripped with both hands at the hand wrapped around it's throat Daxium quickly reached up and tore the device off it's shoulder. As it faded away like the others he looked at the device in his hand.



Cautiously she stepped forward and said, “Daxium?” She took a quickstep back as he became solid light that expanded into an orb shape. Then it shrunk down again, breaking away revealing Ken once again. He looked around before looking back at his hand, he was holding the device. She saw a look cross his face that she had seen before, most recently in Japan, he was figuring it out, or trying toev. “Ken?”, she asked to get his attention, mainly because now was not the time for his brain to go into overdrive piecing this particular puzzle together. When he looked at her she went, “I thought you said he only comes out for something a bit bigger.



He looked back down the hall making sure they weren't coming back. “He made an exception given the circumstances.” Taking one last look at the device he pocketed it before hugging her, “Do not do anything that stupid ever again.”



“Pretty sure that's my line,” she told as she hugged him back.



He pulled back going, “You okay?”



“I'm fine,” she told him, although she was trying not to think about how sure she was that she was going to die before he pulled her back. “Come on, almost there.” He didn't say anything as he followed her the rest of the way. They finally turned the last corner that lead to the garage and were immediately met with a bunch of UNDF soldiers aiming their weapons at them. Both of the held up their hands with Jess going, “We're friendlies!”



“Stand down!”, they heard the Chief call out before making his way past the group to wave the two of them forward. Once past the line she finally tried to get herself to relax a little. “What are you two doing here?”,the chief asked as he ushered them into the garage.



“We figured they basing their attack on information they got from Brooks,” Ken told him as he walked away from the two of them.



Jess picked up were he left off, “ They don't know we have more than one armory station now. We're trying to use that to our advantage some how.”



“Do we have any idea where these bastards are coming from?” the Chief asked. She shook her head despite having an idea from what Ken told her. She hated keeping information from him but telling what she knew would cause more questions than what they needed at the moment.



Suddenly Ken shouted out, “Windam!” After a bit the robot came out othe lab it was in and walked toward him. Ken reached into a pocket and pulled the device Daxium grabbed a bit ago and showed it to him. “You see this, attack anything that doesn't look human that has one of these. Is that understood?” Windam seemed to study the device before nodding. Pointing at the way they just came in he told him, “Good, now guard that door until I tell you otherwise.” Again the machine nodded and took up position at the door. Ken started looking at the device again.



“Is that the thing I heard Hawk and the rest talk about over the line?”, the Chief asked.



“Yeah,” Ken said eyeing a lab before heading toward it. With her and the chief following he went on, “I'm hoping I can use this to disrupt the other ones being used, at least be able to detect them.”



“I'd concentrate on that last part if I were you,” The Chief said. “That sounds more doable with what we have down here.”



“One thing at a time Chief,” Ken told him.



“I'll let Ryo know we made it,” Jess told him before hailing Ryo over her communicator,hoping she wasn't detracting him at a bad time.



It looked like those fears were put to rest as he answered back. “Good to here from you Jess. Me and Bill made it to Hawk. What's your status?”



“Everyone in the garage seems to be in one piece if a little rattled,” she told him. “We were able to get one of the devices off the creatures. Ken has a couple of ideas for it that he's working on right now.”



“Good,” he said. “Whatever they are it better be good. Captain Hawk just figured out something about their attack that you need to hear.” She shared a brief glance with the Chief, now what?
 
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Ken and a few others carefully made their way down the hall. In his hands was something he had quickly put together using that device and anything he could get his hands on in the garage, fortunately it had labs with equipment that was comparable to the labs found on the upper levels. Still he might have been a little more confident if he threw this thing together up there than down here, but beggars couldn't be chooser in this this situation. He kept his eyes on the device in his hands, only stopping when he got a reading. He looked over to the man next to him and nodded. As he quickly went forward to the upcoming intersection the others with him drew their weapons and took up positions. Anxiously he watched the man go up to the corner and take a peek using a small mirror to see around the corner. Pulling the mirror back he looked at Ken and held up three fingers. Ken looked back at the readout on the device and held up three fingers of his own. He was getting three hits and the other guy was seeing three of the invaders. Holy **** the thing worked, it actually worked.



The other man quietly rejoined the group and they made their way back the way they came. It seemed like forever but they made it back to the garage were he immediately hit his communicator, “Scott to Hawk, the prototype worked like I thought it would. We can fully detect them now”



“That's great news Ken,” Hawk responded. “Bridge and his staff are already looking over the base's schematics to see if there's a way to connect that device to the internal sensors from down there. But get ready to haul it up here if you have too.”



“Understood Captain,” Scott said before the link ended, they still weren't sure if the enemy could listen in to their comm frequency yet so they tried to keep things as brief as possible. Going over to a near by workbench he set the device down and started undoing the straps to his wrist scanner. Once off he started to unscrew the back cover of the device.



Jess came up to him and watched him for a bit before going, “What are you doing now?”



Getting the cover off he studied the insides a bit as he told her, “It occurred to me that if we got to move this to the upper floors then it might be useful if more than one person had access to the readings, maybe get a wider field of coverage to detect them” He really wished he had something to call the invaders outside of them, even Dax didn't know what they were called. Finding the receiver unit he was looking for he turned his attention back to the device he created. Then his hand sort of just paused, hovering by it.



Immediately Jess was concerned, “What is it.”



“I'm scaring myself here Jess,”he admitted to her. “I'm a builder, a fixer, a damn grease jocky. Hell I told Greenberg that I was more of a hands on type than a think something up type. Now here I am figuring out how to use alien tech with ours to figure out where they are. Jess never in my wildest dreams...”



She immediately held him by putting an arm around his shoulder, “Hey strange circumstances Ken. This is pretty much the deep end we've been thrown into. It's sink or swim, and boy are you swimming.” She started rubbing his arm to get him to relax a little. “If anything you better hope Greenberg never hears about what your pulling off here. Otherwise your inbox is going to explode everyday.”



Despite the situation he snorted a bit. He reached out and held her closer, grateful she was there to calm him down a bit. “I really don't deserve you.”



Unlike her answer from before it all went to hell she told him, “Yes you do.” Leaning in to give him a quick peck on the cheek she looked around. “I better pick some guys to help me escort you to the command room in case we have to.”



“Actually, I better show you how to operate this first,” Ken said, just soft enough that only she could hear him. “Just in case Hawk's right and I gotta get away real fast before we get there.” What he didn't say was that he probably should have been out there already looking for him.



“You think he's out there too?”, she asked him.



“It makes sense,” was his answer. “Despite the tech they got here,” he gestured to the device he cobbled together. “it's pretty easy to take out. Going from the output it has it's not strong enough to cover something the size they usually send. They're still going to need Brooks to stabilize whatever is coming.”



“I guess you're right,” Jess told him, then quickly added, “I wouldn't get use to hearing that by the way. Okay show me how to run it.”



“Okay,” he said turning back toward the device, “I made sure the display was easy to read and figure out, I also realized that thing has different frequencies, so in case they get the bright idea to change what they're using you can use this dial to go through them. This dial can extend or shrink the sensor range...”, she kept nodding as he went over each component and what it did. After he was done and she started to repeat everything he just showed her his communicator beeped, “Scott here.”



“Ken,” Hawk said, “bad news. Bridge just told me there's no way to hook it up to the sensors from down there.” Ken had a feeling that was going to be the case but still he did sort of hoped, just so he could get away and track down Brooks. “You'rte going to have to get it up here and install it.”



“Understood Captain,” he looked around “Let us finalize a few things down here then we'll be on our way.”



“Don't take too long son.” Again the link ended. And Ken went back to work on his wrist scanner, he was going to have to work fast. Jess had already started looking for volunteers for the goup.



“Why don't we hook it up to one of the Scan Tracks?”, Ken and a few others looked over at the guy who asked the question. “They got a sensor package.



“It's not as good as the sensors installed inside the base,” Ken answered him as he went back to his previous task, “And I'm kinda doubting how many levels they can actually get through. Besides I'm not sure how far away the wrist scanners can be be away from this thing and still get the signal.”



“Windam,” Jess called out. “You're with us.” The robot nodded and walked away from the door.



Ken's mouth dropped for a moment as he watched this, “What the hell, he listening to you now?”



“Apparently,” Jess said just as stunned as the rest of them. “I didn't even think I just said it and well,” She gestured toward Windam who was still coming toward her. Everyone just watched as the robot finally stopped in front of her, waiting for further orders. Okay this day officially couldn't get any weirder.
 
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“Any sign of them?, Hawk asked as he checked with the guards he posted on either end of the corridor. The guard didn't look at him as he shook his head. That was the same response the ones on the other side had given him. He tried not to worry, they did say they had to finalize something, whatever that was, before heading in this direction. And he was pretty sure they weren't going to take the elevators so it was going to be by stairwell and that was going to take time, especially if they took a less than direct route from the garage to best avoid the invaders as much as possible. It was good strategy and it was what he would have done or told them to do if they called in to let him know they were off. That's what he told himself, still didn't calm his nerves though. And that was almost an hour ago. “Keep you eyes open,” he told the guard who nodded.



Almost as soon as he turned around Ryo called out, “Captain we have incoming!” Then he ducked a little as something by his head exploded. A few more explosions started to heppen as it took Hawk a second to realize it was incoming fire. The invaders had gotten here first.



“Make sure they don't come up behind us!”, he told the guard, who nodded although they kept looking back at where the attack was coming from. The last thing they needed was to be attacked from two different direction, which he knew was a possibility when he took up position in this here. Ryo, Bill and the others were already returning fire when he made it to them. “How many?”



“Too damn many!”, Bill quipped as he took a few shots before going back behind cover.



“Just aim for the thing Ken pointed out,” Hawk ordered as he drew his side arm. He was able to get a quick look at what was coming and found himself agreeing with Bill's not so professional estimate of the situation.



“Argh,” Ryo cried out as he took a shot to the shoulder. Bill quickly grabbed him and helped him down behind cover as he and the others laid down more fire “I'm fine,” Ryo insisted as he tried to get up.



“You're starting to sound like Civilian when he's hurt,” Bill told him as he grabbed a medkit from somebody and opened it. He quickly had the wound bandaged and wrapped and was back trying to hold off the invaders as someone else pulled Ryo back from the assault. Hawk pulled back and took a quick glance at the other end. So far it didn't look like they were coming that way, a small favor at least.



“Windam, go!”, he heard somebody call out. He risked a look to see the robot come up behind the invaders and attack. As soon as they turned to the new threat a few shots came from behind the robot, at least two hitting the device the aliens wore. As they started to dissolve away Hawk and the rest of them started firing again. He hoped this was going to be enough of a distraction. And it was as the combined attack started whittling down the invaders numbers. When the last one was gone he stood up as Jess and the others rushed forward. Ken was with them but he stopped to check on Windam along the way. “You okay buddy?”, he asked as he did a quick visual inspection of the machine. “They didn't damage anything did they?”



“Ken come on,” Jess called out to get him moving again. To him she said, “Sorry we're late Captain. Ken was able to hook his device to our wrist scanners so we did our best to avoid any conflicts we could to avoid being detected.”



“Completely understandable,” Hawk told her hiding the relief he he was feeling. “Ken hurry up and get to Bridge to get that thing hooked up to sensors.”



“On it,” he said. But he turned around first to face the robot. “Windam help guard this end.” As soon as the robot nodded he went into the control room while sparing a worried look as he past Ryo.



Just then Jess noticed him as well. “Ryo,” she went as she knelt next to him. “This is what happens when I'm not around to watch your back. “



“It's only a flesh wound,”: he grunted as he re-positioned himself.



“Let me hear that from a medic first,” she told him as she stood back up. “Henry, Phil bring the package up here,” she suddenly called out. The two men hurried forward carrying a crate. As they set it down she told Hawk, “I figured it be a good idea to bring some fresh supplies and ammo while we made our way here.”


“Good thinking,” he said. Then he got a better look at the crate. It was for an automated defense turret they had recently received. He looked at her, “We had one of these in the garage armory?”



“It was the Chief's idea,” she told him. “He remembered the armory a couple of levels up had a couple of these stored in there. We made a stop and collected one to bring up here. The Chief had a couple of men come with us to grab another one to set up down there.”



“We needed this a few moments ago,” Bill said as he an another started to undo the latches on the crate. And open it



“Better late than never,” Hawk told him as they began assembling it. “we'll set it up on this end. “Martin, Roberts get on the other end and help keep watch.”



“Yes sir,” they replied and hurried to the other end taking some of the supplies with them.



Ken came back out into the hallway, “We got it hooked up,” he announced. “It's picking up the alien devices clear as a bell. The information should be transmitting to the wrist scanners now.” Hawk and a few others did just that. So far he was only picking up a scattering of signals around the area. “The only drawback is we're getting signals from every floor at the same time. Bridge is working on it though. But if you set the scanner to this,” Ken took Hawk's arm and started pressing a few things and before too long the various readings started to fade away, most of them at any rate, “it'll put you in map mode so you'll get a hit if any of them come in this direction.”



“Map mode?”, Hawk asked.



Ken immediately jerked a thumb back toward the door to the controll room, “Bridge's idea. He and the others were working on it once they found out what I was doing. He's also texting direction to the scanners themselves so everybody on base can switch over to it.”



“Do you people even need me at this point,” Hawk muttered with a slight grin. “Good job Ken, this is going to help a lot.”



“Just make sure Greenberg doesn't find out about it, please,” was his response. Hawk chuckled despite himself. Of all the things to be worried about in this situation. But Hawk was still wondering how he was going to word it in his reports as it was. He didn't want to give Greenberg any fresh ideas to try and take Ken for his Tower staff. Then Ken got a look on his face right before his head whipped around in a certain direction.



“Ken?”, Jess asked right before the lights started to flicker. “Here it comes,” she whispered. Hawk nodded, this is what happened when Brooks brought that other monster over.



“Captain,” came Bridges's staticy voice over the communicator. “We got a reading outside of the base.” Hawk looked back at Ken who was looking around before locking eyes with him. Hawk saw it in his face.



“There's a stairway to the roof that way,” he pointed down the hall he and the others came from. “Go.” He nodded and shared a quick look with Jess before running down that way



Bill who had stop assembling the turret long enough to walked up to help support Ryo as he walked up to join him and Jess to see him go. “I'm really starting to hate this part.”



“Tell me about it,” Ryo joined in.



“Get in line boys,” Jess told the two of them, having figured out that Ken was Ultraman before any of them did.



“Just keep an eye on those scanners,” Hawk told them. “And finish getting this thing together, I wouldn't put it past them to try and attack thinking we're distracted. By what's going on outside” The all complied but silently Hawk was in agreement with them.
 
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He found the door Hawk had mentioned soon enough, not even slowing down as he bashed the door open and started up the flight of stair that led to the roof. The only thing that halted his progress was when the base started to shake a bit and he held on to the guard rail to keep from falling off. As soon as it seemed to stop he headed up again. The invasion, now what ever was out there, this was going to be big. And if Brooks was still out there then this might be his chance to finish things once and for all. “One thing at a time,” he told himself, “stop the giant threat first then worry about Brooks.”



Reaching the door to the roof, again he didn't stop as he rammed his shoulder into it to bust it open. He heard a deep voice go, “Zetton”, before he actually spotted the creature. He looked up at what was sent over this time around, black with white limbs with glowing orange spots on it's chest as well as a slightly flashing orange strip going down it's face. It seemed to look right at him as Ken tried to stare it down. Then there was several small explosions that made Ken rush to the the railing and look down. Some Scan tracks got mobilized and started firing at the monster, who promptly ignored the attempted assault.



Ken looked back up at the creature who stayed in place, still apparently staring at him, almost like it was waiting.”You ready for this one Dax?”, he asked not taking his eyes off the monster. And remembering that he let his usually giant friend loose earlier to help Jess deal with the invaders that almost got the two of them. While he wasn't out long Ken wasn't exactly sure how much energy he used and how much had built back up in the meantime.



“I'm as ready as I'll ever be,” came the response in his head. “I do believe the phrase you 'be been so fond of recently is 'Let's do it'.”



Ken didn't even hide the smirk after hearing that. “I am corrupting you,” he said still keeping his eyes on the monster. Reaching into his jacket he retrieved the Spark Magnifier and held it over his heads as he activated it.
 
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Zetton looked up at the column of light that formed on top of the base. It faded to reveal Daxium who quickly jumped off in case the creature tried to attack him while he was on it. Making sure he landed to the side of the monster he quickly rushed in and pushed it away from the base. Once far enough away from Castle he didn't have to worry about it for the moment he backed up and took on his usual fighting stance, “Shiah!”



The creature barely reacted, only repeating, “Zetton,” and came toward the giant. Daxium saw it raise it's arm back and jumped back again to avoid the blow. He went for a kick the creature easily blocked and pushed back making the giant stumble slightly. Daxium went in again and tried to attack. The creature just stood there absorbing each punch that impacted it's body. After a bit, and since he was too close to dodge the blow properly Daxium was knocked to the ground by a backhand. Before Daxium could get up Zetton grabbed him by the back of the neck and hauled him off the ground.Then swung with it's other arm to knock him down again. In desperation Daxium kicked out with a foot and caught his opponent at the knee.



As it staggered a bit Daxium rolled backwards to get to his feet. Before he could do anything fireballs like objects shot out of that strip on it's face. Rocked by the multiple impacts he was able to dodge a couple long enough to start bac kflipping out of the way as more came at him. Once there was a pause in the attack Daxium landed on his feet and quickly fired off a Flash Bolt. Zetton held up both arms, bent at the elbows and some sort of field surrounded the monster blocking the bol and catching the giant by surprise. When the field dropped it fired those fire like energy balls again. Daxium dove to the side to avoid the attack and quickly fired off another Flashbolt at the monster.Just as fast as he fired it off Zetton formed that barrier again. He rushed in again hoping to catch the monster off guard as the field lowered. The creature ended up grappling with him as it seemed to be fully prepared for this change of tactics and easily threw him to the side.



The creature didn't follow up with another attack of it's own, almost like it was daring him to attack it again. Daxium held back a bit, not falling for the obvious bait, trying to go over his options, No matter what he did next one thing was for certain he had to figure out a way to disable that field before he did anything else. Then the creature turned toward Castle and fired more of those fireballs at the upper levels. Daxium quickly grabbed it from behind and tried to pull it away from the base. Again it easily shrugged him away and knocked him to the ground.



Closer to Castle Reid had stepped out of the Scan Track to watch the two giants battle and not for the first time felt like an ant looking up at something. After witnessing Ultraman battle monster after monster after he took over Beta Team he was still in awe of seeing it at this level. Even feeling the ground shake under his feet as they struggled against each other still blew his mind slightly. He doubted he would ever get use to it.



But seeing Ultraman basically on the ropes stunned him most of all. Reid was aware that one of his men walked up beside him. “That thing seems to have a counter for everything Ultraman is throwing at it.”



“Looks like,” he was forced to agree. “But get ready to get the hell out of here in case he goes red.” Which meant going in to the strong form of his and that really destructive weapon he uses in that mode. His man nodded as he went back to the Scan track, Reid slowly started to make his way back to the vehicle as well when the monster grabbed Ultraman and literally throw him further away. Reid tensed as he saw Ultraman position his arms to go into that stronger form but the monster fired those fireballs again to stop him.



“Come on fight back,” Reid mumbled as he witness the giant just stand there and take the attack. Then he set up his arms as he did when he used the main beam weapon in his starting form. Reid look back at the monster, could the beam shatter that field it could put up. Ultraman crossed his wrist and fired the beam. But the monster put both hands to it's chest as the beam hit. After a bit Reid's mind finally processed what happened, “Did it just absorb that beam?”, he asked the air. Ultraman looked easily as shocked as well.



There was a deep, “Zetton,” before he held up both arms and fired a beam of it's own. Ulteaman was hit before he could react. A pained grunt filled the air as he hit the ground. But he still got back up to fight the creature. The monster fired the beam again but Ultraman quickly spread his arms to put up his own field. It blocked one shot, and a second but Ultraman ended up taking a step back. A third destroyed the field with a minor explosion. “Zetton,” the monster fried another blast in the confusion but Ultraman was apparently expecting it and tried to move out of the way. But he wasn't fast enough as the beam hit him in side, apparently ripping him open. Reid lost his breath as he heard Ultraman cry out in pain as he was spun to the ground.



“****,” he heard some one say. He couldn't reprimand anyone since it was him as he watch Ultraman grab at the open wound that seemed to be bleeding light as that jewel on his chest started blinking red.



Daxium tried to heal the bleeding gash in his side, even if it was just a little, but he was assaulted by those fireballs before he could concentrate enough to do it. Another cry of pain was canceled out by another volly that exploded around him. He banged his forearms together and mode shifted into power mode and ran toward the monster. Ignoring the new assault he kept going forward finally punching the monster right in the face. It rocked back so he kicked it in the stomach to cause it to stumble even more. Daxium tried to keep up the attack trying to keep the creature rocked and to keep it from firing off anything else. Then it stuck one of it's hands right into the gash and twisted. A loud cry of pain came from Daxium as he grabbed the monster's wrist. With some effort he slowly pulled the offending hand out of his wound then punched it in the head again.



“Zetton.”, it said again as it grabbed him by the throat. He was barely able to pull the hands away as the side of his body with the gash threaten to give away from the pain. Ignoring it he quickly turned around and hurled the monster away from Castle. Bringing his hand close to the jewel he began drawing in energy. The monster raised it's forearms again to create the field one more time. Expecting it Daxium ran toward the monster, this Zetton. It didn't move. Just watching the giant get closer. Then Daxium reared back with the fist and punched the field with the full force of the Giga Wave. The field exploded but still saved the monster although it seemed stunned. Sent back from the explosion Daxium crossed his arms and threw them out as he rolled to his feet and was kneeling in Hyper mode. Drawing in energy one more time he flinched a bit and was suddenly behind the creature as the light whip retracted back into his fingers.



Behind him the monster had a glowing gash of it's own across it's body. It stood there for a moment before finally exploding. Daxium stumbled a bit as he looked behind him and held the gash in his side. He would have taken the time to heal it but the quick flashing of the jewel told him he didn't have the time. He apologized to Ken for the state he was about to leave him in then looked at Castle. The roof was destroyed thanks to the monster's assault, he couldn't return his friend in that mess. He apologized one more time before looking up at the sky and flying off, “Shiah!”
 
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“The creatures are disappearing back into the portals!”, Hawk announced over the communicators. “All units keep an eye out for any stragglers just in case.”



Turning to the men with him, who looked as ecstatic about the news as he felt, Reid said, “You heard the man. Let's get back in there and sniff them out of hiding” He heard them comply but didn't pay attention to it. Something behind them caught his attention first. At first he thought it was one of the invaders as his hand went for his weapon. His men seeing the motion quickly turned around and did the same. Fortunately for the individual they quickly realized the person was human and held their fire. Walking through the group as he got a better look at the individual he said, “Scott, what are you doing out here?”. Then he noticed how pale the young man looked. He stumbled to a stop and for a moment and looked like he was going to say something. Then his face twisted like he was in immense pain and grabbed his side right before he dropped to the ground.



“Ken!”, One of his men shouted as all of them ran toward him. Keeping an eye open in case this the work of one of the invaders.



“Easy Ken,” Reid said as he knelt next to the unconscious man and holstered his weapon. Carefully they flipped him to his back, trying not to cause any more damage, whatever it was he was suffering from. As soon as he was on his back Reid immediately pulled up his shirt trying to figure out what the problem was, he was just grateful he wasn't apparently bleeding. At least on the outside, who knew what kind of internal injuries he could have suffered. Lifting the shirt up he and a couple of others with him gasped at the ugly red welt on his side.



“What the **** caused that?”, one of them said. He went to touch it but Reid stopped him in case he made the situation even worse.



“I don't know,” he said then paused. He suddenly recalled Ultraman getting hit and ripped open in the same general area. Then he lost his breath again as he remembered Hawk asking his opinion about Ultraman possibly being one of them. He lowered the shirt as he stared at the man, realization quickly dawning on him.



Holy ****.



Immediately he hit his communicator, “Reid to medical. I need a team at my location now!” he ended the call then turned to his men. “Get a med kit out of the Scan Track.” One of them ran for he vehicle as he and the others stayed with Ken. “Hang in there Ken,” he said hoping the young man could hear him on some level as he ripped off his uniform jacket and balled it up to place under his head, “help's coming. Or there's going to be hell to pay.”
 
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There were some things that required Hawk's immediate attention in the aftermath of that invasion, getting repair crews in motion, making sure of the number of causalities or fatalities that occurred during said invasion was current, that sort of thing, otherwise he would have been down here already with the others. Hawk was worried when he heard Reid call for a med team, wondering if there were still more of those aliens around. Once he heard it was Ken he was calling the team for he fought hard not to panic. Particularly after he saw some of the footage of the conflict between Daxium and that monster Bridge was able to recover. Some of the content of that battle being the main reason why he hadn't shared it with the others as of yet considering Ken's current condition.. Turning a corner he saw Jess, Ryo and Bill all hovering around the door of the room Ken was in, all looking worried about him. Jess in particular as she kept acting like she was going in the door but stopped. Ryo noticed him first as he came closer, “Any word?”



“Nothing yet,” Ryo told him. “All we know is that he's still unconscious but they're still examining him.” Jess put a knuckle to her mouth as she listened and just stared at the door.



Bill stepped up to her, “Hey, he's going to be okay. Civilian's tougher than he looks. He'll be up and out of there before we know it.” Ryo looked at Hawk and seemed to read what he was thinking, but didn't say anything but joined Bill as they tried to comfort her, and ultimately each other. Hawk walked up and placed a hand on Bill's shoulder.



“Pardon me,” they all looked back to see Dr. Williams there. “Can I get through please.”



“And do what?”, Jess demanded with a particularly nasty tone in her voice. Her reaction caught the doctor off guard. Given what he heard about the “care” Richardson had given him since he was forced to join the unit Hawk couldn't exactly blame her at the moment. Although Hawk was surprised as well when Ryo and Bill turned around and essentially tried to block him from the door.



“I..”I... I,” he stammered to get out, “I just want to check on Ken, see how he's doing.” Ryo, Bill and Jess all crowded the door a little more. Hawk didn't realized he joined until he noticed Williams was looking at him funny. Now as over all leader of the forces he should be putting up a better example than trying to bully one particular man from entering a single room. But right now his man was down and he wasn't going to let anybody other than a qualified individual look him over. “I am a doctor after all,” he said, puffing up a bit.



“Hmm,” Ryo went, obviously not that impressed with William's display, “I didn't realize that being able to create something like the Alpha One meant you knew the human body as well.”



“Oh didn't you hear,” Bill chimed in, “that's the hot new doctorate right now. Everybody's jumping on it.”



Just staring a hole into the man Jess joined back in, “Yeah, well he can practice with somebody else. Ken's already in better hands.” Hawk glanced at her over the choice of words. And he didn't fail to notice that Williams caught it as well. That was probably going to cause some problems some time soon.



“I have to see him,” Williams started to insist. All of them crowded the door even more. He looked like he was going to say something when Reid walked up beind them and placed a hand on the Doctor's shoulder, causing him to jump slightly.



“I'm sure,” Reid began as he gently guided Williams away from the group and the door, “that they'll gladly let you in. Just as soon as you tell them why you need to so badly.” Williams began to stammer a bit as he squirmed his way away from Reid and stood in front of them.



Looking at each one of them before he eventually lowered his head, muttering something that sounded like, “Needed elsewhere,” and headed in another direction. While Ryo and Bill relaxed a little Jess kept her eyes on Williams until he hastily turned a corner. Then she turned her attention to Reid.



Slowly he turned around, and with a critical eye studied each of them for some reason. Looking satisfied about something he just nodded once before going, “I thought so.” And that comment made them all look at each other. Hawk in particular was starting to get a little worried at what that meant. Reid stepped up to him and said, “I think we need to talk a little more about that question you asked me.” And that's when Hawk knew, Reid figured it out. Reid looked at the others again and told them, “It's safe with me, so don't worry.” That's when it occurred to them that he knew now too



Before anybody could say anything else the door behind them flung open with somebody going, “But you shouldn't be up!”



Ken, much to his and Hawk was sure's everyone's relief, walked out of the room putting on his uniform jacket going, “I shouldn't be a lot of things.” He noticed all of them right then as the door closed behind him. “Hey guys, Captain, Commander,” he said like he wasn't just unconscious for a couple of hours. To Reid he said, “I heard you found me. Thanks and I hoped I didn't scare you too much.”



Reid looked at him like he was seeing him for the first time, “Maybe you should listen to the Doctor Ken,” he began, carefully Hawk noticed. “That seemed like a big deal he was talking about there.”



He looked back at the door and basically waved the idea off, “You know doctors,” he said, “always blowing things out of proportions...” Reid made him stop by placing a hand on his shoulder. Ken looked at the hand before going up the arm to look at him with a confused look.



Reid just smiled as he kept the hand there. After several moments he went, “If nobody has said yet, thank you. For everything you've done since joining up.” With a quick pat on that same shoulder Reid looked at the rest of them before leaving. Ryo, Jess and Bill all looked at each other, looking worried despite his assurance.



Ken on the other hand just watched him go before he looked at the rest of them. When he finally did speak it was, “All right, who told?”



“I think you did son,” Hawk informed him, “without meaning too. Granted, I didn't really help in that regard.”



He began rubbing his eyes and sighed. “Have I mentioned I'm getting really uncomfortable with the number of people who know at this point?”, he asked.



“Several times,” Jess told him. To Hawk she asked, “Do you think we can really trust Reid to keep quiet?”



“I do,” he told her and then he looked at the rest of them. “I don't really think we have much of a choice in the matter.”



“He apparently hasn't told anyone yet as far as I can tell,” Ryo offered.



“Yeah,” Bill put in, “if he did I wouldn't be surprised to see some of the guys who want to take Ultraman down hanging around. I wouldn't put it a couple of them to take a shot at Civilian here.”



“I really didn't need that thought,” Ken told him.



“They got to get past me first,” Jess told him.



Ryo added, “They got to get past all of us.” Bill nodded his agreement with that statement. Ken looked grateful for the support.



Felling like a proud father as he looked at them Hawk told them, “Come on. It's still dinner time. And if Ken can stand it he's probably a little hungry.”



“Can you stomach stand it now?”, Bill asked. “I mean it's been a couple of hours but it still has to smart if it's like last time.”



Ken wouldn't look at any of them as he went, “Uh, yeah right.”



For some reason Hawk didn't exact;y believe him for some reason. Jess beat him to the punch as she went, “Ken what aren't you telling us?” Even with Ryo and Bill staring at him now Ken didn't answer her question. Then looking as stern as he had ever seen her Jess said, “Kennith Riley Scott, you better answer my question.”



“Whoa full name,” Bill went. Then he looked confused, “Wait a minute 'Riley'?”



Ken pointed right at him, “Shut up.” With all of them basically surrounding him he eventuallygave in, mainly from the glare Jess was giving him at the moment, in that Hawk was sure of. Finally he admitted, “This one pierced Dax's skin. When that happen's I'm usually feeling it for a couple of days.” He quickly added, “But I'm good, the spot just a little tender right now. In a couple of days I'll be perfectly normal. Honest.”



“Define normal Civilian,” Bill told him.



We'll talk about it later,” Hawk told the group. “Let's get some food, if there is any left.”



They started off again. After a bit Ken started looking thoughtful and stopped, making the rest of them stop as well and looked back at him. “How come nobody thanked me before Reid did?” They all sort of groaned at the comment. Ken just grinned as Ryo pushed his head to the side as they continued on to the cafeteria.
 
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“How was this possible?!”, the voice inside the vortes demanded as energy lashed out all around him and his Zetton visitor. While he was used to such a display, even felt this particular wraith personally on a couple of occasion, Brooks tried not to enjoy the some what fearful reaction it was getting out of his visitor. Well at least not visibly, well not too much at any rate. He didn't want to be a rude host after all. “How did the giant beat this monster? We put in all the data we had collected into it! Victory should have been assured.”



“I am not sure,” his visitor said. Was that almost a stammer when it was speaking? Alright he may be enjoying this just a tad too much. “We witnessed the battle. Zetton damaged the giant and had an answer for just about everything the light being was throwing at it. There was no way the giant should have emerged victorious.”



“And yet he did,” Brooks said calmly. A bolt of energy lashed out from the vortex. Brooks just looked as it landed close to him. He didn't even change his expression as it happened. “No matter the amount of battle data you may have it doesn't take into account certain things that can't be properly measured. Like determination, quick thinking, how willing the person in question would be to go outside their normal behavior pattern to achieve victory. And the giant has been more than willing to do that on more than one occasion based on my observation at least.”



His visitor looked at him and demanded, “And why haven't you shared this insight before now Avatar?”



“I have,” Brooks shot back. “It's not my fault you ignored those observations.”



“What about the information you supplied about the human's base?”, his visitor demanded, getting in close. If he was human he would have sworn he was trying to get in his face and intimadate him. “The humans had more weaponry then you originally implied.”



“The information I gave was based on what I knew when I was there,” he said trying to show this one he would not be easily intimidated. He lived a full life and took on all comers in his business life before the Zettons weaved themselves into his life, gave him these abilities and allowed him to relive that life essentially. But he would not show any hint of fear to it. “That was months ago. Obviously thing were going to change since I've been gone. Perhaps you should have taken that into account, maybe followed my suggestion of taking out the Control room first instead of the armory.” Something he and his visitor witnessed through the portal. Brooks resisted the urge to release a very loud sigh when he realized what was happening.



“Then how do you explain how they were able to destroy many of us?”



He looked right at the device on his shoulder, “Well that is a rather obvious target you're sporting. Considering the human the giant bonded with particular gift, I wouldn't be surprised if he was the one to discover it.”



“Either way Avatar you failed us.” the Zetton said as he walked away from him. Brooks just watched as it strolled away from him until it stood next to the vortex. “It is time to remind you that failure in any form will not be tolerated.” The energy around the vortex grew quickly and lashed out, directly at him.



“No!”, Brooks said as he held out a hand, as he quickly drew upon the dark energy within himself to try and protect himself from this assualt. He felt the arcs of dark lightning hit the barrier he tried to put up. But it eventually stopped. He could sense his visitor's confusion, he was feeling it himself. The barrier he tried to throw up took on an unusual shape, one of part of a forearm and a hand, almost Ultraman sized if he had to guess. He studied the giant limb, wiggling his fingers and seeing the energy construct do the same. He started laughing to himself, then out loud.



“What is the meaning of this Avatar?!”, came the demand of one of his masters. He really didn't care which one it was at the moment.



“What? This?”, he innocently asked while he gestured with the giant construct. “I think it should be fairly obvious.” Dark energy swirled as it surrounded him as he saw things shrink suddenly. He smirked to himself as his visitor looked up at him. He looked on satisfied as he could see familiar markings start to adorn his arm, While the skin itself was black the markings themselves were different shades of purple, He felt his face and head and felt how the bulbous his eyes felt and the fin now adorning the top of his head. He just formed the dark energy around him to become a copy of Ultraman, a dark copy if you will. He looked down at his visitor and said, “It's a sign that we should rethink our current working relationship. I'll give you time to come up with a first offer. Until then just a reminder of who you're dealing with.” He reached out and grabbed the Zetton and the vortex and squeezed. He felt both disappear in his grasp in different ways. The vortex just ceased to be, as for the Zetton he saw what was left of it dissolve away in his hand. He looked at that hand for a moment longer before punching through the ceiling of the cavern. Standing at his full height he looked around, chuckled to himself and flew off into the cloudy night sky with a sarcastic sounding, “Shiah!”





ED – Shinedown – Fly From the Inside
 
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Episode 29








OP – Mercy Drive – Burn in my Light








In his office Richardson sat there behind his desk fuming as Stanberry stood by his side. On the other side in the chair in front of him Williams tried not to squirm too much under his gaze. Despite knowing he wasn't the main reason for Richatrdson's current state. He was just the messenger, which in this case was almost as bad. And it had nothing to do with the still incoming damage estimates from the recent attack from those things, the roof and the upper levels were going to take weeks to repair at the minimum.. The three of them were certain those beings were the species that the giant's people were at war with. The idea that they had the gall to attack them directly wasn't even the reason for his current mood. No, his mood was in response to the previously mentioned message that was delivered. “He told them?”, he finally got out.





“That what it looked like to me,” Williams told him as he tried to sink deeper into the chair, anything to get away from the look he was currently receiving. “It did seem like thet were circling the wagon as it were when I tried to see him. Wade even said he was in 'better hands'.”





“That does make it seem like he informed them of something.” Stanberry said, trying to remain the level headed one in this situation despite the recent altercation between her and Scott. “I did say he'd start pushing back eventually, apparently that time is now.” She sniffed a little, “If you don't count his reaction when I tried to tell him he had to end his relationship with Wade.” Richardson waved that last line off like it was nothing. Stanberry stiffened slightly at his action.





“This is completely unacceptable!”. He nearly bellowed. Still he slammed the palm of his hand on top of the desk, causing the good Doctor to jump in his seat. “Does he not realize that doing that will compromise everything?!”. Drumming his fingers on the desk he sat there thinking. “Well I'll show him. I warned him that our specialist will find him a biohazard to those around him. If he thought I was bluffing...”





“If,” Stanberry spoke up, again trying to be the voice of reason in this particular group, “Scott informed them of Dr. Williams' attempts at medical treatment, I doubt that he would keep that information from them as well.”





“Right,” he muttered, “the bastard probably told them about why he was assigned to them as well.” Richardson thought back to earlier when Hawk was in this office, and made that thinly veiled threat about Bridge wanting to scratch a particular itch and go hunting in the system. “We need to do something to remind him who's in charge around here.”





“The only question I have is why would he tell Commander Reid,” Williams said suddenly causing the two of them to look right at him. He flinched slightly when he noticed. “Before I left the area completely, I looked back and saw Reid talk to Hawk and the others. From my perspective it looked like he knew as well. Although they seemed surprised by this based on their reactions.”





Richardson and Stanberrry looked at each other for several moments. Finally he asked, “How close is he to Reid?”





After thinking about it for a few seconds she said, “Scott has earned the Commander's respect since he took over command of Beta Team from the look of things. But outside of that they didn't seem particularly close. So it's doubtful Scott would tell him.”





While she started looking thoughtful Richardson was still unhappy with the idea somebody else knew. “If Scott didn't inform him, “Then how in the hell would he even know Scott is Ultraman unless he told him?”





“There is a small chance he didn't tell any of them,” she said. “At least not directly. Scott and the giant are linked in a way no one ever considered when this all started..”





Williams seemed to realize what she was talking about as he started shaking a finger at the air. “The injuries. Scott has suffered the same injuries, to various degrees, as the giant.”





“Correct,” Stanberry said with a nod. “He has tried to cover them up since he's been here but somebody was bound to notice this sooner or later. Given the number of times the med team here or in the field had to look him over pieces were going to be put together, so to speak. It's very likely Hawk confronted him about the connection instead of the other way around.”





“Would that account for Hawk's action in this office?”, Richardson asked.





“If Scott earned Reid's respect,” Stanberry started, “then he's more than earned Hawk's loyalty. That much was obvious to anybody paying attention way before now.” Williams looked at her in shock and expecting Richardson to blow up. While he did glance up at her he kept his temper in check for the moment.





“Either way,” he said, “we should keep a close eye on the situation. If Scott thinks having an ally in Hawk, is going to protect him and those around him, he is very much mistaken.”
 
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Looking around the garage Ken never felt this nervous about anything, all right asking Jess out for the first time in years but that was personal. This was professional. After a week's delay after that attack the Chief finally said it was time to get on those plans and see if the “blasted thing” worked as advertised. Since Ken was still supposed to take the lead in getting those first few barricades built, it was going to be on him if this didn't work properly right out of the gate. Bill, who was giving him the thumbs up, was one of the few present who were in Japan and saw it work properly, so no pressure. He looked around again and finally found who he was looking for, Jess was near the back of the gathered group, she told him earlier that this was his moment and didn't want to distract him during this. She smiled and gave him a small nod. Ken relaxed immediately. “Okay let's do this,” he said after a bit.





Then he noticed the crowd start to react to something. When a few of them started to stand a little straighter, some of those nerves came back. The crowd parted a bit to let Hawk and Reid through to the front. “Sorry we're late,” Hawk said. “Neither of us wanted to miss this.”





“Although why the crowd?”, Reid said as he looked around. “It's just a barricade not a transformable robot.” Looking over at Ken he went, “It's not a transformable robot, right?”





“No sir,” Ken said as he stepped toward the barricade, which was already to deploy. Then he got an idea, “Commander, since this a two man operation, if you would join me for the for the demonstration.” Reid looked a little surprised but joined Ken for the demo.. “No offence Captain,” he started to say.





“None taken son,” he said easily enough. “I'm air and he's ground and more likely to use it.”





“Exactly.” Ken said. Picking it up he told the group, “As you can see it's fairly light,” handing it over to Reid, who judged the weight for himself before handing it back, “meaning it's not as cumbersome as it looks.” Sitting it back down he pointed out a few things on the device and had Reid press them, “It's now ready to go. Commander if you would grab that handle and pull that way.” Ken grabbed the other one and the two of them pulled, extending the barricade out a few feet on either side. Ken hit one more switch, which caused a slight hissing sound then motioned for Reid to back away from it. “Now let's see if this part works like it should. Somebody want to give it a good kick?”





A few in the crowd looked around and at each other. Two of the bigger garage guys started talking to each other and stepped forward. Ken said nothing but did put his hands together like he was praying then put it up to his mouth and said nothing. The two of them took up position and ran at the barricade, launching a simuitaneous kick at the device. It didn't budge an inch getting a few gasps from the crowd. Ken tried not to react, but he did pump his fist slightly behind his back. “I do believe that was a successful test run. What do you think Chief?”





He looked over as the man stepped closer to the barricade, “Could have used this a week ago,” he ended up saying.





“Amen to that,” Hawk said, which got a few nods from the others.





“But I'd say it passed the initial test,” he said looking on in approval. “Good job, I'm going to come up with a few more tests to run on the thing but we should start mass producing it right after.”





“All right civilian,” Bill said as he clapped him on the back as Hawk and Reid made they're way out of the garage. Ken grinned at him, god he was glad this worked like it was designed to, those plans were a bit more complicated than he originally thought they would be even with his particular gift. He caught another look at Jess who was letting him have his moment, but she did give him a small applause for it working. He lost sight of her as the crowd started to disperse. Then he felt a arm around his shoulders and was surprised to see one of the garage guys start to guide him away from the barricade.





“Me and the others were wondering,” he said, “after you success here and working on Windam if you thought you were too good now to work on a boring old engine now.”





“Never,” he told him as they headed for a particular Scan Track that had it's hood popped up. “Ah the trouble maker,” he said using the less colorful name those in the garage had given this particular vehicle. Which it only got because something seemed to go wrong with it every other day. Almost since the day it arrived on base according to the others . Which was the main reason it was never in the field all that much but was never fully scrapped or replaced because it would be seen as a waste of resources by the higher ups . “What's wrong with it this time?”





“Engine starts just fine,” he said, “but it starts losing power right after. Granted it's a simple enough fix since most of are sure what the problem is. But an extra set of hands couldn't hurt. Even those high class hands of yours.”





“If these hands were that high class I'd be at a higher pay grade,” Ken told him. A little piece of teasing from the others that started once he started working on Windam and word about his gift quickly got out. But in his heart he was just a mechanic, and he wasn't ashamed of it. Case in point as he was already helping remove certain bolts so they could extract the engine of this particular Scan Track to work on it better.





“I gotta tell you man,” another garage regular said as he watched Ken work, “I heard you were a genius and all, but I couldn't make any sense out of those barricade plans. Where did you even know where to start.”





“I found page one and went from there,” he said as straight as possible. Although it was the truth, he wouldn't have put it past the guys at Tower to have the beginning somewhere in the middle. Or at least the ones who used to be there, According to Bridge, who was quoting Emiko, Greenberg pretty much let go of most of the staff after that incident. He looked up to see them looking at him, “But I'll admit that it took me a few times to find the starting point on those things. Hey Chief. Did the other bases get the barricade to work too?” Ken was so glad that the other bases did get the plans, because he was slightly worried that Greenberg sent them to intice him like Ryo and the others originally thought.”





“Yes they did, but thery had their regular eggheads build it and we're one of the few to get it to work on the first try.” Somebody who worked on the project with him raised a hand so he went for the high five. “Cameron, Trevor, remember you guys are heading for that outpost by the end of the day, to do whatever it is they're doing up there.”





“What's going on Chief?”, Ken asked, since this was the first time he heard anything about a project that wasn't the barricade.





“Apparently the office has been building something the past couple of months according to rumor,” he said. And Ken was still confused. The grapevine wasn't that tight lipped around here. So the 'office' building anything should have made some sort of waves around here. “Apparently they're in a rush to get it done so they're calling for extra help from all the bases and facilities on the continent.”





“Then how come they haven't called for Golden Boy here?”, somebody said pointing at Ken. Granted he'd been called worse since he's been here, but Golden Boy?





“No idea, given what he can do I'd figured he be one of the first ones plucked out of here,” the Chief said as he headed off in another direction.





“A small favor that I'll take,” Ken muttered as he went back to the Scan Track's engine. He was also very aware of everyone working with him on the engine stare right at him. “It's not going to fix itself. Okay I sounded way too much like the Chief there.”





“You don't want to be called to work on a super secret project?”, one of them asked for the group.





“Not if it means I have to be assigned somewhere else,” he answered. Resting his elbows on the edge Ken went into a bit more detail. “I just got back together with Jess. I don't know where this outpost is and I'm sure we could survive a long distance relationship at the moment.” He started shaking his head, “I don't want to risk it.”





“I'm sure she'd understand, especially if it meant advancing your career,” another of them said. Ken remembered Jess saying something similar when he first told her the Chief wanted him to take the lead on the barricade. Still...





“Look,” he told them, “I was that smuck in high school who got lucky enough to land the girl of his dreams, but didn't realize that until after he lost her. I'm fully aware of what I have now, and I don't want to lose it again.”





“And that makes you an idiot,” he heard Jess say right before something slapped his ass. He grabbed it and turned around to see her standing there. “What exactly are you thinking?”





“I'm thinking you took a swing at me when I did that to you back in high school,” he said. “What the hell?”





“Why don't you want in on that project?”, she demanded in return. “We just got you believing that you are the genius people have said you are. You should be showing off whenever you can.” Unfortunately that got more than a few nods of agreements from those around him. “I'll still be here, just don't forget about me.”





“And I'm worried you'd think I did forget about you,” he shot back. “I never would, but I don't know how busy I'd be or how long it would take. I've seen too many people over the years try the long distance thing and break up any way for various reasons.”





“Like I wouldn't be calling you once a day to see how you're doing,” she said as she wrapped her arms around his waist. “Well maybe not once a day, that sounds a tad stalkerish. But at least once a week. And why am I not liking that look you're giving me.”





“Oh I just remembered something else from when I smacked you on the butt back then,” he told her. “You had me turn around in front of everybody because I owed you a free shot in return.”



“Now wait a moment,” she said as she quickly stepped away from him.





“Sound about right to me,” one of the female mechanics said as Ken took a rag and started cleaning his hand.





“I thought so.” Ken said as he dropped the rag. Jess backed away, noticed that the others were trying to block her in then ran out of there with Ken right after her, “No you don't.” He got a glimpse of something silver and shiney, “Windam, stop her.” The robot quickly stepped in her way with it's arms outstretched to block her path.





“Windam get out of my way,” Jess told the robot. When it did so she hurried past him.





“Traitor,” Ken said as he passed the robot and continued the chase, following her around a corner. There was a loud smack like sound a few moments later. Ken came out holding his ass again going, “That didn't go like I planned at all.”
 
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Somewhere in the ocean on a deserted island Peter Brooks sat on a rock, leaning back and absorbing whatever energy the rays from the setting sun would give in those moments. Taking a deep breath of the sea air he felt relaxed, truly relaxed for the first time since he accepted the energy his “masters” first bestowed on to him. If he was being completely honest with himself the last time he ever felt this relaxed he was basically a child, right out of college. Most of his classmates were slightly nervous about the future, but not him, he was eager for the challenge that same future would bring. Stretching he said to himself, “This would be the perfect place to just get away from everything for a month or two.”





Looking over his shoulder he studied the smoke and fires that were sporadically set in the jungle. “If it wasn't partially destroyed that is,” he finished that particular thought. He went back to watching the setting sun. Part of the reason he initially accepted that particular deal was a phrase that kept flowing through his head the past few years. One that seemed to grow stronger in truth the older he got, if I knew what I know now in the body I had back then. Charles Brooks would often just sit there, alone in the family mansion, and relive his youth in his minds, particularly things he would have done differently if he was just a little smarter. For example Charles Brook, when he was the age he looked now, would have formed the copy of Ultraman out of dark energy then immediately charged in to challenge Scott and the giant without fully understanding how he did it to begin with and what he could do. Charles Brooks would have lost that battle because he would have been “young and dumb”.





That's why Peter Brooks was smarter than Charles, yes the thought of immediately challenging Ultraman had crossed his mind. No he had to figure out how to do it at will, and more importantly learn what that form could do and how to control it properly. Which was why he had been out here on this island for the past week, learning how and more importantly, learning how to control it. One thing he learned right away was while he could copy the giant's form he couldn't copy his abilities, not exactly. So while he couldn't 'mode shift' as the giant could or fire any of his particular weapons he could use a couple of things he'd learned to do once he received the dark energy.





Unfortunately he knew his stay here wouldn't be a long one. The island was uninhabited and far away from any major shipping lanes however UNDF satellites were still circling the planet. And eventually someone was going to notice this particular island suddenly looked like a war zone if they looked close enough and send a team to investigate. Brooks had no intention of being here when they did. That would give away the surprise he had in store for Scott and the giant. Finally getting off the rock as the sun fully set he stretched one more time and concentrated. Dark energy started to swirl around him at his command and quickly expanded to form the copy of the giant. He really needed to come up with a name for this form, lord only knew what kind of inane designation those at Castle would give it. “Hmm,” his voice seemed to echo as he thought it over out loud, “we called the giant Ultraman. My masters reffered to me as Avatar. Maybe Ultraman Avatar? Yes that has a nice ring to it.” Chuckling to himself he looked up at the night sky and flew off, on to the next island to do a little more practicing.





Walking into the Command Room Hawk returned a few salutes that were snapped off when those inside noticed him. Looking around he found Bridge in his usual position and headed over. He looked extremely busy with what he was doing, as was everyone else in the room. Just about everyone on base was in one form or another. Ever since that invasion. According to the other commanders he'd talked to since then so were the people stationed at those bases. Something that was completely understandable, all things considered, even after they sent over the plans for that device Ken created on the fly that should have detected those beings, after he was able to make it work without the device they had come over with. That would have been hard to explain to the other bases. It would have been possible but hard all the same.





But Hawk was certain Ken had another worry on his mind, he shared it. There had been no sign of Brooks anywhere. Not during or after that invasion. While it was possible he and his allies were regrouping it was still unsettling. Yes, there had been quiet periods even before they knew Brooks was involved. It seemed different this time around, like something big was coming, they just didn't know what or when. “Anything?”, he asked Bridge when he was close enough.





“Nothing so far,” Bridge answered. “Even with Ken's detector, not even a blip on the radar.” He adjusted a few dials and looked disappointed with the results. “Where ever he's hiding he's making sure to stay off the grid.”





“He was able to hide himself in plain sight,” Hawk said, which got a slight nod from the man. “So that's not that surprising. Hopefully the board will hurry up and approve those satellites with those detectors installed. That should make the job easier, Brooks knew the limits of our equipment so I'd bet he's outside of our range. We have to make sure any information he has is as outdated as possible just so we'd have an edge in the situation.” Looking around he turned back to Bridge and softly said, “Any head way on that particular problem you discovered?”, in all the chaos and searching he didn't want Ken being listened in on to be forgotten.





“I know the cause,” Bridge said just as softly, which meant he knew who Richardson went to to establish that link to Ken's communicator. “Fixing it is going to be an issue,” based on the look Bridge was giving him it was going to be hard to mess with the program without being noticed. “But I'll keep working at it.”





“Please do,” Hawk told him. “The fewer worries we have in the field the better. Keep me informed on either front.”





“Will do Captain,” he said. Hawk looked at him briefly before leaving. 'Will do'? That had to be from hanging around the others as much as he had recently. He guessed it was a good thing, the man was opening up after all. “Oh Captain,” Bridge said before he had gotten too far, “Have you warned Ken yet that's Greenberg is coming?”





Smirking a bit Hawk said, “Not yet, I'd figure it be for the best to wait till the last possible second before I tell him. Just to give him less of a chance to find a place to hide.” Although if Hawk was right he'd probably be better off helping Ken find a place to hide if not get him off base entirely while he was here. As best as he tried word still got out that Ken was the one who came up with that detector. If Greenberg was anything like he was in Japan he wasn't going to leave Ken alone while he was here, if the emails haven't started already. No, he was fairly certain Ken would have said something if that was the case, either him or Jessica. Then he stopped and turned back to Bridge, “Do me a small favor, could look into this project the Chief brought to my attention that has personel being relocated to another outpost. Even if it's not military by design it still sounds like something I should have been aware of.”
 
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Walking quickly to the cafeteria Jess greeted a few people that she passed, but didn't stay any longer than that. Most of them probably figured she was off to meet up with Ken, and they would have been right. She wasn't late, they didn't even set a time to meet up, just when either of them could get there. But unless the Chief grabbed him for something he was usually there first, already at a table. It wasn't the diner or any place fancy but it was better than nothing, and at this point most of the people on base stopped staring at them, like they did with every one who got together. Even if she wasn't technically late, she didn't want to keep him waiting longer than necessary either. If it was something official he would have understood, it was just the idea to her. Besides she was looking forward to a nice, quiet, as quiet as you could get in a loaded cafeteria, lunch with Ken.





Then she entered the room and immediately heard Reid chewing out a couple of people with everyone else trying not to stare at them. Okay quiet might have to wait a bit. Looking around she saw Ryo step up to her. All right her curiosity was getting the best of her. “Why is Reid reading those guys the riot act?”





“There started talking about how they wanted to take down Ultraman again,” he said. She noticed that Ryo was getting between here and them. It was a sweet thought, but after all the time she'd over heard morons like that say something similar after she figured it out, and not once did she argue back. She wanted to, but kept it to herself.





“He just risked his life defending this place, again!”, Reid's voice carried over to them. Jess watched the scene with a little amazement. Reid was true to his word and kept Ken's secret to himself, but he also seemed to be doubling down on stopping any sort of talk of attacking Ultraman. Jess doubted Jamira, may he rest in peace, would have done that much. Actually she wouldn't have been surprised if he would be the one leading the attacks.





Then she remembered why she came here to begin with and looked around, getting confused when she couldn't spot him. Turning to Ryo she went, “Where's Ken?”





“He was here,” he said. “But when those guys got started he got this look on his face then left. Honestly I couldn't really blame him. Having to listen to that the entire time he'd been here. I would have exploded a long time ago.”





“Thanks Ryo,” she said as she went to go look for him. Ryo was right, Ken had way more patience than anybody had the right to have listen to that **** the entire time. And if it was finally starting to get to him then he had to be feeling it bad at this point.





Now where to find him? Before she might have headed for the roof, seeing how that had become his favorite mooping spots recently, but that was currently impossible since it was still being rebuilt and off limits for the time being. Which left the garage, an old habit of his since they were dating the first time, Tearing something apart and rebuilding it always seemed to calm him down back then. So the garage it was. Hopefully nobody down there wasn't going to think she was the cause of his current mood. She wouldn't put it past most of them to hold her for that free shot from the other day. Granted she was fairly sure Ken wouldn't actually take it, she was still getting ready to run out of there again.





Then she looked down a hall and stopped as she spotted him. He was leaning against a wall that had a row of windows and was just staring out them. Even from here he looked miserable. She walked over to him, Going, “Hey,” when she was close enough to be heard. When he looked back she said, “Are you okay?” He turned back away without saying anything. Oh yeah, this was bad all right. Standing next to him she looked out the window with him. After a bit she told him, “I heard what happened, don't listen to those idiots.”





“It's fine,” he finally said. Although the tone said it was far from the case. She'd seen this before, when his brother Jeff would get to him. And much like then it look like he was going to internalize it and put it wherever he put things like that.. Jess wanted him to open up to her about it, but knew pushing the matter would just make him turn in more. He had been trying to change, or at least not fall into old habits. Jess took in a quick breath and said nothing, trying to remember what he was trying to do wasn't going to happen over night, it was going to take time. So she rubbed his shoulder slightly as she started to walk away. “It's just fucking frustrating,' he said suddenly.





She was taken a little off guard by the sudden admission. But she went up behind him and wrapped her arms around his waist as she rested her chin on his shoulder. He went on, “I mean those assholes still want to take Dax down after all this time, and he's been putting his life on the line every time a monster shows up. Not to mention mine,” he added looking at her, “because he doesn't know what'll happen to me if anything happens to him. I don't even know why we even bother half the time.” He looked back out the window, that was something that hadn't crossed her mind before, what would happen to Ken if anything happened to Daxium?





“Because it's who you are,” she told him as she held him tighter, trying to ignore that possibility. “I won't speak for Dax but even in high school you'd help in whatever way you could. I'd be surprised if you didn't. But don't try to shoulder this by yourself any more, do you hear me?” Ken didn't say anything but he did reach up a hand and place it behind her head in a makeshift hug of his own. “You have me and the others backing you up now.”





“I know,” he said softly.





“Well try to remember it more often now,” she told him. “You've always had a support system, you just need to use it when you need to.”





“I'm still getting used to the idea,” he admitted with a lopedsided grin.





“You've been getting used to that idea since high school,” she gave him a quick peck on the cheek as she finally pulled away. “But there is something I have to tell you that Hawk wanted you to know.”





“Is this a good thing or a bad thing?”, he asked looking confused.





“Well that's going to depend,” she told him. “Greenberg is due to arrive in a hour or so.” And that mood turned to a look of mild panic just like that. “It's Windam related,” she told him. Now he started to look worried, “He's not taking him back,” she said figuring that was going through his mind. “He wants to see what kind of progress you made with him. Apparently Bridge and Emiko have been talking.”





“He's going to bug me about that detector,” he said. Ken showed her the emails that been gathering electronic dust in his inbox since the other bases received those plans.





“More than likely,” she told him. “But do you really think me and Hawk are going to let you go that easily?” He started to answer then he got a strange look on his face right before he looked back out the window. Her first thought was that those invaders came back but he didn't tense up like she thought he would in that situation, no he looked confused. “Ken what is it?”





“I'm not sure,” he said walking away from her but keeping his gaze on the horizon. “It's something Dax had been picking up on for the past couple of days. I already told Hawk about it but he said to not say anything until Bridge could look into it more since I don't have a clue what it is, just a vague direction.”





Despite herself she asked, “Is it them?





Slowly he shook his head,” No, this feels different tham them. It feels familiar and foreign at the same time. It's not even regular, it'd just coming and going at random. This is the first time I've felt it in a day.”





“Why doesn't that sound good,” she said.





“Probably because it doesn't sound good at all,” he said. “Guess it's too much to hope it's just me sensing Greenberg was coming.” he added with a slight smirk.





“Probably,” she said as they walked away from the window. “But you still owe me lunch despite the assholes.” He took her hand as they walked. Although he did take one more look behind them at the window, which made her look back too. She gave his hand a quick squeeze, no that didn't sound good at all. But she was certain they could handle whatever was thrown at them.





Ken tried not to squirm too much as he stood in the hanger waiting for the jet carrying Greenberg to arrive. Flanked by both Jess and Hawk, who were making sure he wasn't going to run, Hawk's words, he kept his eyes on the hanger door. His only relief was the idea that Bridge was there as well looking almost as nervous as he felt. More than likely for an entirely differr\ent reason than he was. “I didn't know Emiko was coming along,” he said to Jess, mainly to stop thinking about his own set of nerves.





Ken wasn't expecting an answer, at least not from Hawk who said, “As fas as I know she's not.” He glanced over at Bridge and studied him for a moment, “Although that would explain why he's here.”





“The long distance thing is kinda hard,' Ken commented, “Or so I've heard. Can't imagine what it's like after you first get with someone. Bridge,” he called out. When he looked his way way Ken said, “I'll make you a deal. You calm down and I'll calm down.”





“I'll believe you actually calmed down when I see it,” Jess told him.





“You're not the one getting headhunted,” Ken shot back.





“Nobody is getting headhunted,” Hawk informed him. “At least not on my watch.”





Any reply that Ken might have had was cut off when an alert went indicating a craft was coming in. Ken almost gave in to an urge to start backing his way to the door. But he decided to be better than that. Well that and Jess getting a grip on one arm while Hawk grabbed the other one to keep him in place. On the other side of the room the wall opened up and a runway extended out as a private jet, with the UNDF logo painted on the side come in for a landing. Ken tilted his head slightly when he noticed that the came to a much faster stop than he expected. Several crewmen quickly approached the plane to help secure it as the door opened up and a small boarding ladder lowered to the floor. Before long Greenberg, in his UNDF Tower uniform emerged and gave Hawk a quick salute. Behind him Emiko looked around and gave a small wave at Bridge who returned it.





“Captain Hawk,” Greenberg said as he approached. “It's good to see you again. Hopefully this visit won't be as interesting as your trip to Tower.”





“One can only hope,” Hawk said as he took the offered hand. Then looked behind him to see Ken staring at the jet engines and Jess trying to get his attention.





“I see he noticed,” Greenberg said suddenly as he stepped past Hawk to Ken. “Have you figured out how they work yet?”





Despite himself Ken answered, “Almost. Some sort of instant reverse thrust on landing?”





“That would be in the ballpark,” Greenberg said looking pleased with the answer. “Please excuse me Captain, but we did just create this particular piece of technology not that long ago. I wanted to show off to someone who would appreciate it. No offence of course.”





“Of course,” Hawk told him. “You still can't have him though.”





“It's still early in the trip,” Greenberg said. Then Ken remembered who was standing next to him and started looking a little wary. “Just joking Ken, just joking. But we must talk about that detector you whipped up if there's time before we have to return to Tower. I was just astonished when I heard that you originally used technology from those invaders to create it, truly astonishing. I doubt even Kyrie could have pulled that off.” Ken was embarrassed right before he locked eyes with Bridge who was greeting Emiko. When both of them started to look embarrassed, he knew where that bit of information leaked from now. Greenberg decided then to move this conversation toward the door, “Is the original still around, I would love to take a look at it. I've often wondered what alien technology would look like.”





“I'm surprised you haven't seen it already,” Ken muttered as he looked back forward again. Although it did earn him a quick kick to the shin from Jess. “Hey,” he said in protest.





“Don't be rude Ken,” she said. Greenberg seemed amused by the quick exchange between the two of them.





“Although I do admit I do have an unofficial pipeline of news about you Ken,” he admitted as he looked back at Emiko and Bridge as well. “I do apologize for the intrusion of your privacy Ken. And if it helps she was reluctant to do so. So don't think too badly of her, my curiosity about what you would do with Windam did get the better of me after all. Oh Captain Hawk, I must apologize if I haven't already, for not informing you beforehand that you were going to have an extra passenger on the way back.”





“Given the results I can't complain too much,” Hawk said.





“Ken has come into his own,” Jess quickly agreed. “Windam has come a long way as well.”





“And I can't wait to see it demonstrated,” Grerenberg said. They made their way to the garage Windam was kept. Grrenberg looked around as he was introduced to the Chief while Bridge helped Emiko set up the lap top she had brought with her. He didn't seem confused that this was were Ken was usually working on Windom. When Ken came into his field of vision he gave him an appreciative nod. After a few more pleasantries the demonstration started. Ken did the usual things most people would expect, raise a certain arm go to a cetain person, perform a certain task that sort of thing. Greenberg looked mildly impressed, but it did look like he wanted to see something more. So Ken decided to give it to him. “Windam, go grab your favorite toy for the man to see.”





“Here we go,” Jess went as Greenberg raised an eyebrow as Windam turned around and headed back to his usual room. Before long Windam came back out holding that figurine that seemed to be his favorite and showed it to Greenberg.





“And that's his favorite toy,” Ken said as Greenberg looked at him.. And that smile on his face was infectious as Ken started grinning as well. “Would you put it back please.” Windam nodded and headed back to his room. Greenberg followed him and stood outside the door as he watched the robot put the figurine back in it's place.





“Now I'm impressed,” Greenberg commented as Windam came back. The robot held out a fist that Ken quickly bumped in return, then both pulled it back to blow it up. Jess just face palmed herself that he just did that in front of the man but Greenberg was highly amused by the display. “Now that was what I was looking for when I let him go with you.”





“Then why did you put him in a case then?”, Ken asked.





“Ken,” Hawk barked.





“It's quite alright Captain,” Greenberg told him, “and completely understandable. Truth be told I wasn't made aware of the adaptive program until after you left. Otherwise Windam would have never been put into the display.” He looked over to Jess, “I've heard Windam listens to you now as well.”





“Yes he has,” she answered. “We're not exactly sure why.”





“I could understand it if I told him to,” Ken spoke up. “But she gave him some instructions during that invasion and Windam did as she said.”





“Could it be because he realized it was a highly volatile situation?”, Greenberg offered.





“That was the first thing that I thought of,” Ken said. “But we've been testing him and he's still listening to her.” Out of the corner of his eye he saw Jess look around and cover her backside and smirked slightly.





“I'm figuring it's because I'm usually down here visiting Ken when he's working on him,” Jess offered.





Greenberg nodded as he thought about the situation. “That might be the reason,” he said. “But we can find out for sure now. One of the reasons why Emiko came along is because she developed a program that should help us communicate with Windam here. Windam could you sit in that chair please.” Everyone looked on expectantly waiting to see if Windam would react, he didn't. Ken just shrugged his shoulders when just about everyone was looking at him. “Well it was worth a shot,” Greenberg said.





“Windam sit in the chair please,” Ken said. And Windam did as he was told.





“Nathan”, Emiko said as she and Bridge started removing various plates from Windam's head then started attaching various cables from that computer to him. In moments they were done and she offered Bridge the seat at the keyboard. “We'll be ready in a few moments,” she announced to those of them watching.





Ken walked up closer to Windam, looking at where they connected to him. “You okay bud?”, he asked. Windam just nodded in response. “Okay but let us know if something feels off.”





“It's perfectly safe,” Emiko informed him. “None of Windam's systems should be harmed by this.”





“I've gone over the program myself,” Bridge told him. “It's completely compatible with Windam's programing.”





“If you say so,” Ken said as a new set of nerves started to hit him. Greenberg started gesturing to himself. It took a moment but Ken got the idea. “Windam, answer Dr. Greenberg's questions.” Windam nodded again in response.





“All right let's start with something simple,” Greenberg said as he addressed Windam, “Who am I?”





From the speakers on the computer, in something that sounded like a child's voice, came, “Dr. Greenberg.” Ken's jaw just dropped as everyone else looked on in stunned amazement.





“Excellent,” Greenberg said. “It's so nice to be remembered. All right Windam, can you please say the name of the person I hold my hand over?”





Picking the Chief at random the speaker went, “The Chief.” This went on a few times with various people in the garage. “Phil. Bridge. Alexandra.” When he put a hand over Emiko's head the computer was silent.





“Well that's not surprising. I do believe this is the first time Windam has even seen Emiko.” He walked over to Jess with Windam's eyes following him the entire time. “Now let's find out why he seems to be listening to someone other the Ken.”





He put a hand over Jess's head. Then from the speaker came the word, “Mama.” Ken's eyes bugged out a little when he heard that. Everyone stared at Windam.





Slowly Jess looked at him, “Ken?”





“That wasn't me,” he quickly said, “I never taught him that. Bridge that better be your idea of a joke.”





“I didn't do anything,” he said. “Emiko?”, he looked at her but she was already shaking her head in the negative.





Greenberg quickly went over to Ken and placed his hand over his head. “Papa,” came the response.





“Well that's very interesting, it looks like Windam imprinted on the two of you,” Greenberg said. “I didn't even know that was possible. I wonder,” he trailed off as he walked over to Hawk and placed a hand over his head.





“Captain Hawk,” Windam said.





“Ken if he said anything other than my name,” Hawk told him in a warning tone.





“I was already out the door,” Ken said as he kept his eyes on Windam..





“Mad?” Everyone turned back to Windam when they realized how he said that word. He just asked a question. Ken just looked on in amazement, Windam just asked a question.





Snapping out of it Ken walked over to him, “No bud, nobody's mad”, he shot a quick glance over to Jess to make sure of that. “You just took us by surprise is all.” To Greenberg he said, “Maybe now is a good time to end the demonstration.”





“Yes,” he agreed, “This seems like the perfect place.” Emiko and Bridge started to unhook Windam from the computer. “Well that was interesting, and completely unexpected. I'm not even sure how to explain it to my staff back at Tower. Ken whatever you're doing please keep it up. I want to see where this leads in the future.”





Ken just stared at Windam as he stood up and walked over to him after the panels from his head were put back. A little absentmindedly.he reached out and rubbed off a slight smudge on his outer shell with his thumb. “You're not exactly the grandchild my mom is expecting from me bud.” Then he got that feeling again and looked in that direction.





“Again?”, Jess asked as she stepped closer to him.





“It feels a little closer this time around.” Bridge who overheard immediately went to a computer and started a search in the general direction Ken was loking in when Emiko wasn't looking. Obviously he hadn't shared everything with her, something he was extremely grateful for at that particular moment. He looked over at Hawk who nodded then made his way over to Bridge. “Windam go recharge for a bit,”he said as he looked back in that direction. What in the hell was he feeling exactly?
 
S

scikaiju

Guest
It wasn't Scott and the giant that he had been sensing, that much Brooks was certain of. Being around them for so long that feeling was pretty much imprinted onto his cells at this point. But whatever this was was almost sickeningly familiar, he just couldn't place from where.. If he was sensing whatever this is, then there was a chance Scott was as well. Brooks wasn't a gambling man in any respect, but he would have bet money on it. Which made this little jaunt back to the states particularly dangerous, just because they might cross each other's path.





It was a possibility he had to remember as he tried to track the source of that sensation. Not that he thought Scott would just drop everything and follow it too. But as he witnessed not that long ago Scott did turn into the giant right in front of Hawk, so one way or another the man knew now and somehow Brooks doubted that Scott would keep these random sensations from the man now. No, it was more than likely not only could Scott be around, but at the very least Hawk's personal unit, the aptly named “Monster Squad”, would be there as well. And if Hawk knew Scott's secret it was possible that unit knew as well. Hawk never seemed like the type of person to keep the men in his unit in the dark about something like that, at least in his experience with the man.





So Brooks kept every sense he had as open as possible as he slowly floated over the barren landscape he was in now. Well that was a tad too dramatic, he was over a stretch of dessert. Still he kept close to the ground, they were aware of what he could do now, did know that is, he was able to upgrade what he could do after all. Still they knew he had powers now, and could fly. Only an imbecile wouldn't tell the people he worked with to keep an eye on the skies, and the glow he emitted while in flight was more than noticeable. More so in the late afternoon sun. And walking would leave a highly visible trail.





He paused in his path as two things happened at once. One he started sensing it again, it was strong enough that he could get a stronger sense of it's location now so he knew he was heading in the right direction. The second thing made him lower himself to the ground and pull in his power to be less noticeable, the way too familiar sound of Razor Wing engines. Brooks looked up to see two jets fly over head and head toward the same area as that sensation. Brooks watched them, anticipating when they were going to open fire on whatever it was. But they didn't, in fact it looked like they went in for a landing. Brooks looked around, “No,” he said to himself, “They wouldn't just send two Razor Wings to attack something, they'd send an entire squadron. So they landed.” But that didn't make any sense either if this was some sort of exploratory expedition those Wings would have escorted a bigger jet carrying the scientist or whomever they thought was necessary to properly examine whatever it is. “What is going on?”





Risking the chance of being spotted he flew off in that direction again, but still keeping low to the ground. Seeing a valley he slowed his approach and landed a few yards from that edge over loooking it, were the sand was making way to rock, and cautiously made his way forward after waiting to make sure guards weren't going to try and swarm him. Getting on his knees when he was just feet away from the edge he made his way over and looked over the side. “What in the hell?”, he asked as he saw a base of some sort. Looking a little closer he was certain some of those he was watching were wearing UNDF uniforms from various branches including one he didn't quite recognize. Then he spotted a hanger open up and saw a row of Razor Wings right before one was rolling out to a massive run way of sorts.





This was a UNDF base, one that had been there a while from the look of things. But as part of the board, when he was part of the board that is, he knew the location of every base and outpost in the organization. But he had no idea this was out here. And if he didn't know then the other members didn't know either. Richardson more than likely knew, but the other probably didn't know this place even existed. Then he got a better look at that runway, no that was a hanger door, a massive hanger door. What was out here? Backing away from the edge he finally stood and held out a hand forming a vortex. It took a moment but a shape was soon inside it.





“Avatar,” came the usual voice. Brooks smirked a bit, This was the first time either side had contacted the other since he announced that they needed to rework their working agreement. Generally Brooks would have waited for them to make the first move. But this was a special circumstance. Besides that more respectful tone in that voice was oh so satisfying.





“Greetings my 'masters',” he was heavy with the sarcasm on that last word. “I don't suppose you felt some sort of strange sensation on your side of things? Because I believe I found the source of it. If you have a creature ready I believe we can work together to discover what it is.”





Walking the halls of Castle Hawk was in a slightly better mood than usual. Partially because Richardson, Stanberry and Dr. Williams were currently elsewhere so he didn't have to worry about that potential headache for a while. Passing one of the break rooms he saw the men of his unit just relaxing and enjoying the quiet moment. Part of him wanted to join them but he still had work to do that couldn't be put off because he wanted it to. Although he did catch Ken's eye without meaning to. They just nodded at each other in acknowledgement before Ken returned to their conversation and he went on his way.





Hawk smirked to himself as he realized how much more relaxed Ken seemed after Greenberg's brief visit. Luckily for all of them the man didn't try to recruit Ken once while he was here. But Hawk's mood slipped back into confusion again briefly as he remembered Greenberg asking why he wasn't allowing Ken on the project, and how fast he changed the subject when he realized Hawk had no idea what he was talking about. So that made one more person who was aware of this project that he had no clue about. Apparently this project was so secret Bridge couldn't find any sign of it anywhere,which made the man look as frustrated as Hawk felt. As the one in charge of the military side of things he hated being out of the loop. And like he told Bridge this sounded like something he should know about. If he had to bet he would have laid down money that Richardson and company were there right now.





“Gabe,” he heard. Looking behind him he saw Reid catch up with him.





“One of the people I was looking for,” Hawk commented when he did so. Which got a appropriately amused look from the Commander. “I'be been getting a few complaints that you're cracking down on the anti Ultraman talk,” he said as they both started down the hall.





“Just anything about wanting to open fire on him, nothing else,” Reid said defending himself a little. Reid glanced around before saying, “Everyone is entitled to an opinion and those people can be as anti Utraman as thery want. But I'be always had a slight issue with the attacking him talk even before I figured out...,” he trailed off. Hawk nodded in response so Reid went on, “At some point you have to figure he's just going to say '**** it, you're on your own'.”





“I don't disagree,” Hawk told him. “But we do have to be careful at how we react to situations like that now. I'm still kicking myself because I'm sure that question I originally asked you helped lead you in that direction.”





“I know,” Reid said as he looked around again. “I see it in their eyes, wondering why I'm so insistent about it lately. How did he do it for so long, and not raise more suspicion than he has?”





“You would not believe how many times I've asked myself that,” Hawk said with a slight smirk. “I'm not even sure he knows how he did it.” Their conversation was interrupted by Hawk's communicator going off. He hit it immediately and tried to not think the worst, “Hawk here.”





“This is the control room,” Bridge said. “can you come up here? We have an alert that doesn't make any sense. I'd rather not say over the link.” At first Hawk was concerned that Richardson started listening to the rest of them. But Bridge was monitoring that situation and would have informed him that was the case before now.





“I'm with Reid, we're on our way Bridge.” They both looked at each other, both wondering what would make this alert any stranger than any of the others. They hurried off despite their confusion, strange or not an alert meant that they would be needed soon if not immediately. Members quickly got out of their way as they made their way up. As soon as he entered the command room Hawk was going, “Now what's so strange about this particular alert?”





Bridge didn't even turn around to look at them as he focused on his station, “Two things Captain, one it's roughly eighty miles west of this location.” walking up behind the man Hawk looked over his shoulder at the screen he was looking at. The distance didn't classify this as strange in his book, They had to deploy on distances that long, if not longer, away before. Then Bridge pulled up the alert for him. “The second is that it's a UNDF emergency signal.” All right, now that classified it as strange.





Coming closer Reid asked the two of them, “Do we even have a base in that general location?”





“Not that I'm aware of,” Hawk told him as his brow furrowed as he studied the signal. He knew the location of every base and outpost in the organization, so what in the hell was this? “Bridge how authentic is the signal?” It was the only thing that made any sense to him, somebody was faking a signal as a prank. And Hawk was going to make sure the hammer would be brought down as hard as possible the moment they found out who was responsible. As many times as possible if he could.





“I've tripled checked it,” Bridge told him, “it's the current emergency signal. It just went into effect a couple of weeks ago.”





“”But there's no base or outpost out there,” Reid said. “So what and who is giving off the signal?”





“No clue Commander,” Bridge told him. “We're going over any report we can locate in the system to try and explain it.”





“Bridge we;re getting an audio transmission from the same location now,” somebody called out.





“Put it on speakers,” Bridge told him. The man didn't even nod an acknowledgement, he just went to work doing just that.





Soon they all heard,””Repeat we are under attack! A giant creature just appeared out of nowhere and attacked. We are requesting assistance...” Static soon followed.





“Bridge, that creature?”, Hawk asked. The monster, if there was one, should have set off the alarms before now if it was that close.





“I've already checked,” came the reply, “It's a dead zone as far as the sensors are concerned.”





“What?”,” Hawk went as he leaned in closer to get a better look at those readings. Granted he was no expert at reading these things like Bridge was, but even he could see something that looked like an obvious hole in the sensor net. “How long has that been there?”





“It looks like almost since the beginning of the organization,” Bridge told him. “As far as we're able to determine based on some older records we found.” Now that was disturbing, why would there be a dead spot in their sensor grid? And how come no one noticed it before now? Trying to think a bit more logically it more than likely it had something to do with that mysterious signal they were receiving.





“Well one good thing,' Reid said suddenly. “At least Brooks wasn't aware of it otherwise he could have launched any of those monsters from there. Or hide out there to begin with,”





“Bridge, let's get them launched,” Hawk said. “If it's one of ours or not we have to respond, especially since there's an apparent monster attack Let's go Commander. Bridge, have Monster Squad board the Alpha One. Ken can catch a ride with you.”





Reid nodded as they rushed out of the room. Meanwhile Bridge was already making the deploy announcement over the intercom and communicators, “All units, get ready to scramble. Hanger crew prep the Alpha One to launch!”





Sitting behind Reid in the Scan Track Ken looked out the window, not even seeing the scenery as they passed it. According to the Commander they received an emergency transmission from a UNDF location not that long ago that it was under attack from a giant monster. Ken had a feeling the attack on Castle wasn't going to be the end of it. Apparently it was far enough away that Dax couldn't even sense it, which wasn't that unusual. As Ken estimated his limit was a couple of miles at best. The fact that nobody knew this particular base even existed before now, yeah that was a head scratcher. Most of the short bits of conversation in the Scan Track and over the line was about this mysterious location. Although Ken did notice they were going in the general direction of whatever that feeling Dax was getting ever so often was coming from. He briefly wondered if the two was connected somehow. If it was would he be able to get away somehow to look for it? Since Reid was in the loop now, depending on what Hawk told him, he might be able to confide in him about it, after this battle was over that is.





Any thought he had about doing some unauthorized exploring was interrupted when he got a feeling from his giant friend. This one was very familiar, He looked through the windshield and a little further ahead, granted he wasn't the only one who noticed the dark smoke rising into the sky but that wasn't where he was looking. Ken noticed Reid was looking at him. This he did know the Commander was aware of and nodded his head slightly.Reid snorted a bit and looked back forward as he hit his communicator, “Reid to Alpha One. It looks like the report was right so far. Do you have a visual on the target?”





Hawk was the one who answered, “We just got a visual on it right now. Razor Wings follow our lead and run in with the initial attack. Scan tracks break whatever speed limit you have to and get into attack position. Our job is to keep it distracted long enough to make sure that base is evacuated before we really hammer it.”





“Understood,” Reid called out among the other confirmation. Then he added, “I want each Scan Track to send out a man to help with evacuation. They're still our people and we need to help as much as we can.” Cutting his communicator he looked back at Ken.





He quickly got the message. “Guess I'm the man from this Scan Track,” he said with a smirk. There was one good thing about Reid knowing, now he didn't have to figure out an excuse to get out of the vehicle now. He just had to worry about where he was going to let Dax out, so far he wasn't seeing anything he could hide behind and keep out of view. Worry about it later.





“Just don't get stepped on,” the guy next to him said. “We don't want your girl beating us up later.”





“Jess wouldn't beat you guys up,” Ken told them as he kept his eyes focused on the destination ahead of them. Keeping his face as straight as possible he added, “She'd snipe you from a distance.” He stared at him while Reid and the driver paid them no attention. Before long the grin he was holding back finally broke through and the guy punched him in the shoulder. “I've been dodging these things since that first one popped up from that lake. I've gotten pretty good at it by now.” Most of the people he worked with knew he was at that lake when the first one showed up by now so he wasn't revealing anything by saying that.





“Up ahead,” Reid called out, basically him telling the two of them to keep quiet and get ready. The guy next to him was already shutting up as they finally saw what the guys in the air had already spotted. The first thing Ken noticed was how skinny it looked compared to the other monsters Dax had faced since that first time. It still had a fairly big gut but was skinnier in the limbs, at least it looked like that way from here. Then he noticed the big crooked looking horn on the top of it's head and spikes going down it's back. Then they saw the angry looking red and yellow eyes that were focusing on the incoming Alpha One as it turned around as the Razor Wings open fired on it. The monster thrashed around, it's club like tip of it's tail pounded the ground as the missiles and rockets exploded against it. Then some helmet like panels on the side of it's head flipped up as it opened it's mouth and launched fireballs at it's attackers. The Alpha one and Razor Wings easily dodged the attack, which on some level made Ken so happy he wasn't up there with the rest of them at that particular moment. His stomach was threatening to flip around just watching them.





Long spikey, claw like fingers took a swipe at the Alpha One as it passed by. Ken nearly grabbed the Spark Magnifier right there and then when he saw that but had to trust Ryo and Bill's piloting skills to keep them all safe. The Scan Tracks came to a stop at the opposite end of the valley the monster was standing at. Getting out Ken looked around, trying to get any sense of Brooks because he just had to be out here somewhere. A roar from the creature quickly stopped that line of thinking and returned to the task at hand. Then he got a good look into that valley. He felt better at just staring at what he was seeing since the others were doing the same thing. They looked at each other right before they all headed for the base. Reid was righ,t secret or not, they were part of their organization and they needed their help.





Seeing someone he recognized from Castle Ken grabbed her arm and asked, “Were are we on the evacuation?”





“Most of the staff retreated deeper into the base,” was her answer. Well that was either going to be good or bad. Right now Ken was leaning toward bad, especially if that thing decided to step down here. It looked like it could fit easily but he wasn't sure if what he was seeing could handle the weight. Then she grabbed his arm, “Richardson and Williams are still in there!”





“You've got to be kidding me,” Ken muttered. He quickly hit his communicator, “Scott to Hawk, the situation just got a little more complicated. We have people still inside the main base, Richardson and company are among them.”





“Son of a *****,” Hawk muttered over the line. “Ken keep doing what you can to evacuate the others not in the base. Hell get them in that base if you have to. I'll try and get in contact with Stanberry, chances are she's with him right now. We'll figure out where he is and go from there. Hawk out.”





Pushing the one he recognized toward the side they came from Ken made his way toward someone else and helped him up. Then from the piece in his ear he barely heard Jess softly tell him, “Try and destract the creature if you can.” Ken clicked the device around his wrist once to confirm that he understood. The tone was because of the one currently sitting in 'his' chair on the Alpha One's bridge. This particular circle didn't need to get any bigger. Helping a few others Ken soon saw an opening and some sort of machine big enough to hide him momentarily, he looked around to make sure no one was looking at him and ran for it. Getting behind the machine he pulled out the Spark Magnifier and held it over his head and activated it.
 
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The creature known to its creators as Kelbeam backed up in surprise as a column of light appeared on the other end of the valley. As it faded away revealing Daxium in the base people were running scans and studying anything to figure out where the giant came from, all but Richardson that was. On the outside those who weren't familiar with this particular sight stared on in awe at what they were seeing. Onboard the Alpha One Hawk looked back to see Jess look like she was looking at the screen right in front of them. Lowering one hand from the field of view of the other person in the room he gave her a quick thumbs up. She nodded slightly and turned back around to her station as they all heard the usual “Shiah!” the giant usually shouted before a battle.





Leaping over the valley Daxium grabbed the creature and started pushing it back. Kelbeam tripped on it's tail and fell back. The giant quickly jumped on top of it and started pounding away at it's head. Then those panels flipped up again. Daxium tried to avoid it but got hit by one of the fireballs that it fired out of it's mouth and fell to the ground. Kelbeam got up and started toward the base in the valley again. From his knees Daxium lunged at the creature and grabbed it's tail. Planting his feet and bracing himself as best as he could he pulled back. Kelbeam yelped in surprise by the sudden pull and tried to move forward despite the new resistance he was was feeling.. With a grunt Daxium started pulling back harder to keep it away from the base. Slowly the creature was being pulled away from the valley despite the monster fighting and struggling against it.





Getting a better grip on the tail the giant grunted again and threw Kelbeam further away from the valley. It fired off another set of fireballs. Daxium spread his arms forming the energy shield to block the barrage. He dropped the field as the monster charged him. Daxium grabbed hold of Kelbeam and held his ground as the monster tried to push him back toward the valley. Suddenly Krlbeam stepped back making the giant stumble forward, trying to keep his balance. Those claws quickly swiped across his body several times before he was grabbed and thrown to the ground. Daxium got to a knee as quickly as he could to stop it from going at the valley again, but the monster was waiting for him. Spinning around and bashing that tail against him.





The monster started stomping on him. Daxium grabbed the foot as it came down again. “Give him a hand,” Hawk said as Jess quickly fired off another round of missiles that impacted against the creature's back. Kelbeam looked back to see where this new attack was coming from, but it was enough for Daxium to push on the foot to knock it down. Getting to a knee he fired off a Flash Bolt as the creature got up. Running in he started pounding on it once again. Picking Kelbeam up he threw it to the ground with a thud. Kelbeam caught the giant off guard with a point blank fireball attack that knocked him to his back. Writhing on the ground in pain the crystal on his chest started to blink.





Krlbeam reached down and grabbed Daxium by the throat and hauled him up and started thrashing him around the head. Then it stopped and looked at the valley. It was feeling the same thing Daxium was currently getting, that sensation was definately here. Using the distraction Daxium pounded the hand away from his throat then punched the monster in the face. With another grunt he threw it further away from the valley. He looked over at the Alpha One and pointed at the creature. On the ship's bridge Hawk was confused by the gesture until he looked back at Jess who was already doing something, then he got the notification that the main cannon was deploying and understood. “Captain!”, the man at the engineering station started to say.





“She knows what she's doing,” was all Hawk told him.





One the ground the Alpha One got into position behind the giant and to the side as both of them faced the monster. Daxium set up for the Dimensional Storm Ray at the same time Jess was powering up the main cannon. When Daxium crossed his arms at the wrist Jess called out, “Main cannon fire!”. Under the Alpha One the main cannon fired at the same time Daxium unleashed his destructive beam at the creature. Both beams hit Kelbeam and it fell down and exploded. Ryo and Bill both high fived each other in celebration.





“I was hoping we would do that one of these days,” Bill said overjoyed at the situation.





Back on the ground Daxium looked back at the valley since he was still feeling whatever was in there. Knowing he couldn't do anything about it without drawing the ire of others in the organization he was currently aligned with he looked up at the sky and flew off, “Shiah!”





Closer to the valley an orb of light appeared before shrinking down to something human shape then broke away revealing Ken. He came out of his hiding spot and made his way to the others. Then an alarm went off and they heard an announcement saying, “Everyone clear the launch pad. The Icarus is about to launch. Seeing the ground slowly start to split Ken and the rest of them headed for high ground of the valley once he got to the lip he finally stopped as the rest of them kept going and watched, that sensation being stronger than ever at this point.





Hawk looked at his controls as a light indicated that they were receiving an incoming transmission. Hitting the switch a small screen by him showed Richardson's face looking back at him. “Mr, Richardson,” Hawk said. “Are you and the rest all right?” He had questions that needed answers but right now certain ones needed to take priority over the others.





“We're all fine Captain,” he said. “Thanks to you and the men's timely arrival. I guess the proverbial cat is out of the bag now. Welcome to the Dungeon, the UNDF's secret development base.”





“Which does beg the question,” Hawk told him. “Why is there a secret base to begin with? So close to Castle no less.”





“Let's be honest with each other Captain,” he said practically rolling his eyes. “Every organization with any type of power has a secret, under the table dealings, from governments to business operations. This is where we develop our more powerful weapons.”





“Funny, I thought that was Tower's position in the organization,” Hawk said, and since Greenberg knew about this place what did he think of it?





“Tower is where the dreamers create things Captain.” Now how would Greenberg react to that particular statement? “Yes most of what they create is useful but the real work is done here, away from prying eyes and any potential moles in the organization.”





“Is that why personal have been taken from Castle and the various outposts for the past week?”





“Given the threat level of what we recently faced Captain,” Richardson went on, “it was felt that it was in the UNDF best interest to get this particular project off the ground as soon as possible.” Looking at someone off screen he said, “Launch the Icarus.”





Back on the ground Reid and a few others joined Ken as they watched as a giant vessel of some sort slowly rose from the formaly hidden hanger. Reid pointed out the UNDF logo on the side. That feeling was stronger than ever now. There was no doubt in Ken's mind now, that was the source of it. There was no doubt in his or Dax's mind.





At Richardson's insistence the Alpha One landed and Hawk and the others, minus the person in his seat, got off as a replacement crew took over. All of them watched the Alpha One rise up and as it and the Razor Wings returned to Castle. Reid did the same as the Scan Tracks drove off returning to base as well. “I can't speak for Commander Reid,” Ken said as they all stood there, “but I'm not walking back to Castle.”





“I don't think that's the plan son,” Hawk said while looking up at the massive vessel. They all did and saw a smaller craft deploy and come closer to the ground near them.





Ken blanched a bit as he watched it get lower and lower, “On second thought I'd rather walk.”





“Not until after the tour,” Hawk told him.





As the shuttle looking vessel started to land Reid asked, “I understand you lot going up there but why me?”





“Richardson's order,” was Hawk's answer. “He wants both of us to be familiar with it. Apparently a detail of Scan Tracks can be loaded and launched from that thing, as well as the Razor Wings.”





“So it's basically a mobile version of Castle,” Bill asked.





“From the sound of it,” Hawk told him. “We'll find out once we're aboard.” The shuttle landed and a ramp lowered to allow them entry. A couple of men greeted them as they entered it and saluted. Hawk and Reid returned before continuing on. Ryo lead the others in returning the salutes. One of them held out a open box, inside was a hyperthermic gun. Hawk saw it and looked at Ken, “I think that's for you.”





“I wonder who's idea that was?”, Ken mumbled as he took it in hand and studied it. A vail was already loaded into it so he placed it next to his neck. Taking a deep breath and bracing himself he pulled the trigger. “Mother fu...”, he quickly held his tongue and stopped himself from finishing that particular statement out loud. As he held his neck he handed the gun over to Jess, “Am I missing some sort of pressure control on this thing?”





She took it with no problem, but she was staring at him the entire time, “Are you asking for help?”





And she had no idea how old that was getting, “Are you going to ask that every time?”





“I'm not used to this yet,” she shot back.





“It is a bit weird civilian,” Bill put in.





Ryo added, “He ain't lying.”





“I'll be in the back feeling miserable,” Ken said as he made his way to the rear of the vehicle before Hawk stopped him.”I'm not looking for another way out.”





“I'm not taking the chance,” Hawk told him. “I think we're ready for take off,” he told one of the men who greeted them. To them he said as that man went to the cockpit, “Now let's see what's going on exactly.





Despite knowing the stuff he just injected himself with would work he still held his stomach as they each grabbed a loop hanging from the ceiling as directed. Jess was the only one who stood by him as they got ready to launch. The slight lurch from take off made Ryo and Bill look at him with some concern. “I'm good,” he told them right before there was another bump in their flight, “As long as that doesn't keep happening.” Not to mention this was going to be the longest short ride he'd ever taken in his life. His only comfort was Jess rubbing his back slightly as they got higher in the air. Well one good thing, now he didn't have to worry about sneaking into that base to find that source. He still wished it was on the ground though.
 
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Welcome aboard the UNDF battleship Icarus,” Stanberry said in greeting as Hawk led them off the shuttle. All of them looked around the hanger as several people, some in the uniform he was familiar with but most having grey were there was supposed to be red, saluted him and Reid. Hawk returned the salute out of habit more than anything. He kept reminding himself that they were all part of the same organization, despite the slight uniform differences. Yet he had no trouble when they were at Tower investigating the King Joe robot, then again he knew about the base in Japan, as well as the ones in Russia, Great Britain, Mexico, Canada and so forth. It still irked him that there was a base, practically a stone throw away from Castle and he had no clue it existed, much less they were building this blasted thing. He returned his attention to Stanberry as she continued, “As members of the UNDF, in various capacities that is,” none of them failed to notice she looked directly at Ken when she added that last part, Jess put a hand on his forearm to keep him from saying anything, “You have free reign of the ship. Everything from the bridge to the mess.”





“Just one big happy family,” Bill commented. Which got him a quick elbow from Ryo. “You're gonna break a rib one of these days.”





Like he didn't say anything she went on, “However, Mr. Richardson does request yours and Commander Reid's presence in his office before an official tour can be given. If you both will come with me.”





“This should be good,” Reid grumbled as he followed her.





Before following he turned toward his people, “I'm sure this goes without saying but be on your best behavior until I get back.” When most of them sort of turned toward to Bill he added, “We're not taking any souviners back home this time Ken.” He opened his mouth to protest but kept whatever comment he had to himself, still he shot a look toward Bill when he started grinning at him. Without another word he hurried to catch up with Reid and Stanberry.





A quick ride in an elevator took them to the floor Hawk guessed Richardson was on as the doors opened. A few more guards saluted as they passed. Then Stanberry stood by one door in particular at the end of one corridor and motioned for them to enter. Seeing a room that seemed a step or two down from his office back at Castle even with the giant window right behind him “Mr. Richardson,” he did say in greeting.





“Captain,” he said a little curtly, not even bothering to stand, “Commander. Granted this wasn't how I wanted either of you to learn of the existance of this particular project. But we can't always get what we want. I'm sure you have plenty of questions.”





“I have a few,” Hawk said. “Cheif one being when did this get the green light? Nothing about this vessel says that was a recent order.”





“I have to agree,” Reid put in. “The Alpha One took a few months to complete as I understood it.”





“You both would be correct,” Richardson told them. “Construction of the Icarus started shortly after the first giant monster appeared. Given it's size this was pretty much started the next day.” Given how Joe's funeral was done in the same time frame he couldn't help but wonder which decision was made first.





“The size of it,” Hawk commented. “I'm seem to remember Dr. Williams using that to try and get the Alpha One built originally. And it still took a while for the board to give the okaty to build that.”





“Yes he did,” Richardson said as he leaned back. “He even brought that up when he first heard what I just told you this morning. But honestly the Icarus being built had nothing with the Alpha One being built or not.”





“So why build either one?”, Reid asked.





“The Icarus, just to be prepared,” Richardson answered. “As for the Alpha One, well it occurred to me that this vessel might be too powerful for some threats, or too destructive if you would prefer. Some of Ultraman's weapons have proven that point long before now. So it was decided that the Icarus would only be used in the most desperate situations. In the meantime it would be a mobile base of sorts. Used to get the men to a situation faster. In fact I've already made plans for the Icarus to be stationed next to Castle. The proper parties have already been notified of this of course.”





“The rest of the board wasn't aware that Dungeon or this ship exssted before now, were they?”, Hawk asked getting right to the point.





“Given Brooks ended up being tied to the enemy it was probably for the best, don't you think?”





“That's going to depend on what the rest of the board is going to say about it,” Hawk told him. But even he had to stifle a shudder thinking about the mess Brooks could have caused if he knew this Dungeon base was a thing.





Before he could respond all of them saw a light start blinking on the desk. A second later Stanberry entered with her phone in hand. Richardson made a face that he quickly covered up. “Speaking of the board that should be them now. If the two of you will excuse me.”





“Of course, we can continue this discussion later,” Hawk told him. This time he didn't even bother to hide his expression this time as they exited. Stanberry pointed out the direction of the elevator. He thanked her and they took their leave.





Reid waited until they were a few yards away, and Stanberry entered the room, before speaking. “That's a conversation I don't even want to be a fly on the wall for. How upset do you think the other board members are going to be about this thing?”





“It'll depend on how well he spins it to them,” Hawk told him. “But there's going to be some sort of fallout over this. Of that I have no doubt.” The floor under them lurched slightly. Hawk had been on enough air crafts in his time to recognize what was happening.”We're moving. Think we're headed toward Castle?”





“I wouldn't bet against the idea,” Reid told him. “You know, forget about the board for the moment. What's the general public going to say about this thing? People are grumbling about our budget as it is.”





“Fortunately that's not our problem,” Hawk said as he headed for that elevator. “Let the PR people handle that headache. As far as I'm concerned we have more important,not to mention much larger, problems to worry about.” Reid nodded as they arrived at the elevator. Hawk briefly wondered where his people currently were considering they were given all access to the massive vessel. If he knew his people like he thought he did he figured Ryo and Bill were somewhere on the bridge looking at the controls. Jess was more than likely examining the weapon situation. Ken, well with Ken it was a question of how soon he was able to break away from the others to check out the engine on this thing.





On the decks below Hawk would have been surprised to discover that they didn't split up like he thought they would. They pretty much stayed as a group to explore the ship. He would have been down right shocked that they found themselves in what would have been the Scan Track launch bay. Right now they were examineing one of the vehicles that would have helped launch those ground vehicles. “So it doesn't land and deploy the Tracks then,” Jess commented as they circled one of the massive dropships.





Ryo looked back at the other two dropships that were behind the one they were looking at, “Doesn't seem like it. You seeing any weapons on your end Jess?”





“Not at the moment,” she called back. “At least nothing visible, looks there might be a couple of ports some guns might extend from. No, it doesn't look like they open up at all it's a solid panel.”





“So either they deploy further away from the target or they're counting on the main ship to provide covering fire in addition to the armor on these ships,” Ryo mused. “either way it's not a detail I think I'd want to be assigned to.”





On the other side Ken and Bill were doing their own inspection of the bay in general. They found themselves by the launch hanger door and Ken's mind was already at work figuring out where everything went and was connected to.





“Seems pretty basic for a ship this advanced,” Bill commented next to him as he tried to study the door as well.





“Sometimes basic is better,” Ken told him as he looked around. “Less of a chance that something's going to screw up at the wrong moment.”





“What do you mean we're still getting a red light on the main door?”, somebody said that got their attention. “That light's been green all day!”





“Something must have come loose during launch,” somebody else called back. “We just have to find out where it is.”





“Richardson wanted this vessel fully operational by the time we reached Castle. We're not going to have time to figure out where it is.” Ken looked over the shoulder of the person who had announced that red light to begin with. Getting a good look at the schematic on the screen he looked around, using his fingers to trace some lines from the diagram and located an access panel. Making sure nobody was paying him too much attention while he walked over, he opened it and studied the diagram on the inside for a second and reset some breakers that had tripped.





“Now it's green,” the person called out. “All systems are operational.”





“Still better mark it for a closer inspection, if it's going on and off on it's own it's probably something electrical.”





No one noticed Ken as he closed that panel and walked away from it. No one but Bill who just gave him this look as he said, “Now you're just showing off.” Ken just shrugged his shoulders as they rejoined Ryo and Jess. “You guys want to hit the Razor Wing hanger next?”





“Might as well,” Ryo said. “The three of us are going to spend more time up there than down here any way.” Then he remembered Ken was still there, “Sorry man I meant you too.”





“I plan to be on the ground as much as possible,” Ken told him. “It's going to have to take a major emergency to get me back aboard this thing.”





At the door somebody stood there and called out, “Any body in here good with machines? They need some help in the engine room.”





Jess, Ryo and Bill looked at the man then immediately turned their attention right at Ken. He sighed a bit, “Can I at least get a chance to volunteer first before being signaled out?” He raised a hand to get his attention, “I'm pretty decent”





“Decent?”, someone else said.It happened to be somebody from Castle. “If I knew Ken was here I would have pointed him out myself.”





“Works for me, follow me,” he said with a wave.. Ken was right behind him with Jess and company in tow. “The engine has a slight hiccup they can't figure out. “





“Not sure,” Ryo spoke up, “I want to hear the words 'engine' and 'hiccup' in the same sentence when we're this high in the air.”





“The engineers and scientists are swearing,” he continued, “that it's nothing major. But being new technology they just want to make sure. But it is the first time the engine has had any problems.”





Ken grunted,”Is that what they're saying?” This wouldn't be the first time he ever heard somebody claim some issue just popped up after they were working on any sort of engine. He heard it plenty of times during his time at the garage.





“I've been working on this engine almost from the beginning,” he informed them. “And I can confirm it's never done this before. Nobody can explain it. We wanted to do some test runs before we officially launched. But Richardson was pretty insistent about launching when we did. You guys deal with him more than we have, is he always that pushy?”





“You have no idea,” Ken said.





When he looked at Ken Jess quickly stepped in, “What Ken's trying to say is... You've been lucky.”





Ryo leaned in and told her, “That wasn't much better.”





“I was under pressure,” she said defending herself.





“Right, pressure.”





“I'll take that as a yes,” the man said in response. Things were quiet the rest of the way, several people got out of their way as they passed. Ken caught a look ar a side section map of the ship on the wall, it looked like most of the floors lead to the engine room in the back of the ship. Their impromptu guide radioed ahead that they were coming as a door marked “Engine Room restricted access” came into view. He opened the door and held it open as they all entered. “Here we are.”





Ken took one step inside before he came to a stop. The others stood with him as they looked around at the sight before them. Ken wasn't sure exactly he was expecting when he first heard the words 'engine room'. Maybe a more high tech version of what you see on a naval battleship, at most a bigger version of the one on the Alpha One. But this, this was something he'd only seen in science fiction movies. And like with the tech the invaders used his brain was going into overdrive trying to make sense of what he was seeing. “How did you guys even begin to build this?”, he ended up saying, voice full of awe..





Next to him Bill said, “What's that genius brain of yours telling you civilian?”





“That it wished it discovered that genius thing a couple of years sooner.”





“Ken,” Jess told him, “You figured out how to use alien technology. You'll get this”





“Why does some of this look familiar?”, he muttered to himself, not really hearing what she said. But still appreciative of the encouragement.





“Hold it,” someone standing next to their guide spoke up, “that was this guy? He doesn't look the type.” Ken finally turned away from the room and stared at him. He quickly back tracked. “I didn't mean anything by it. But most of the eggheads I'm around look like the guys down there.”





Ryo pointed at one in particular saying “There's Dr. Williams. Let's go see what he has to say.”





“It just hit me,” Bill said suddenly. “Scott in Engineering.”





Ken kept going for the stairs that headed down, “You shut up.” With the others right behind him they made their way to the main floor. Then Ken got a good look at what they were calling the 'engine'. It was roughly the size of a two story house and took up most of the room with the various tubes and cables coming off of it, connecting it to other things in the room. Ken was convinced more than ever of two things, he had seen this before he just couldn't place from where at that particular moment, and this was the source of the feeling Dax was still getting. And right now he was so close he was starting to get a headache from it.





“Ah Ken,” Williams said as he came up and shoved a datapad into his hand, “I'm glad you're here. Can you jump into that Jefferies tube over there and check the electron flow for me?”





Feeling Bill just stare at him with a full on smirk on his face, he pointed at him and said, “Still shut up.” He made his way over to the opening, tucking his ponytail into his jacket and made his way inside. This was his best chance to figure out what was going on.





She was surprised they let her, Ryo and Bill just hang around while everybody else worked on the problem. Because if there were three less qualified people to be in here it was the three of them. But they tried to stay out of the way as best they could as they hung around the tube Ken went in minutes ago. His head popped out as he looked around the bat before pointing at something, “Could one of you hand me that?”





Bill was the closest as to the area he was gesturing at. After making sure he was grabbing the right thing thing he passed probe looking device over to Ken. “Here you go.”





“Thanks,” he said as he went back in. Jess smiled to herself, he was in his element all right. She wouldn't assume to think for Ryo and Bill but it was obvious to her at least that Ken was having a blast at the moment.





“Ken,” Ryo said into the opening, “Any idea how long this is going to take?”





“No clue,” he answered from somewhere inside that tube. “Go ahead and keep exploring the ship if you want, I'll catch up later.”





Jess started shaking her head, “We do that and we'll never get him out of here.”





Speaking in a slightly softer tone Ryo said, “I'm going to report this to Hawk in case he doesn't already know about that hiccup.”





“We'll watch after Ken,” Bill said. With a nod Ryo walked away and hit his communicator. Looking over at her he asked, “How hard do you think it would have been to get him out of here before this happened?”





“We might have had to club him on the head and drag him out of here,” Jess told him. Both of them shared a quick smirk over the image.





“I can hear you,” Ken said as he came out of the tube. “I assure you violence would not be necesary to get me out of here.”





“You want to try saying that to somebody who doesn't know you like I do.”





He started to say something but then he got a vacant look in his eyes as he tilted his head slightly. Jess recognized the look almost as soon as he got it. So did Bill as he moved to block Ken from view of anybody who might look this way. Daxium was talking to him, but about what? Her first thought was there was another monster, Bill's as well as he looked down at his communicator. “Are you sure?”, he suddenly said in a low voice.





Stepping closer to him to keep this conversation as private as possible Jess asked, “Ken what's going on? Is it another creature?”





“No,” Ken told her looking confused. “Dax says he's fully recharged now. It takes him at least a day to get back to that state.” Jess looked over at Bill who looked as confused as she felt. Since neither of them fully understood how their particular union works they didn't know what to make of this particular development. He walked past the two of them and stared at the reactor powering this ship. “It that thing,” he said. “It has to be. Dax has been feeling that thing since we've been on board. If I can figure out why some of it looks familiar maybe we can figure out why.”





“Maybe you saw the plans years ago or something,” Bill offered. “Like back at the academy or something. That professor guy that visited you sounded like the type to think this up.” Jess quickly slapped him on the arm, that was still a sore spot with Ken and they all knew it.





“Prtoffesor Kyrie,” Ken said with a hint of sadness in his voice. “No, he showed me a lot of the plans he was working on back then. This wasn't one of them.





“Sorry Ken,” Bill said as he remembered what happened with Kyrie not that long ago, “I didn't mean to drag up any bad memories.”





“Do we have a working monitor down here?”, Ryo asked as he came back. “If you do get us an exterior view of the back of the ship.” Somebody went to a station and pulled up the requested angle. The sky right behind the Icarus seemed to have warped, almost like a trail following the ship as it flew across the sky. “Captain Hawk said they spotted it a few moments ago. It just started a half mile back or so.”





“Is the sky returning to normal?”, Bill asked as he was just as transfixed at the sight as the rest of them.





“A Razor Wing just reported back while I was talking to Hawk,” he said. “It looks like it's going back to normal right now, if that's going to be the case later nobody can say. But this isn't good, they can't even explain the readings they're getting from whatever that is.”





“Pulling up those readings,” one of the engineers said. When he did he looked concerned at what he was seeing, “What in the hell? More people crowded around the screen and looked at what he was seeing. Jess did so as well, but she was no scientist, she had no clue at what she was seeing. Even Bill was scratching his head.





Ken, on the other hand, leaned in a little closer, a look of recognition on his face. “I've seen that reading before,” he said loud enough that only she could hear him. “At Kyrie's after he was...”, he trailed off as his eyes went wide. She looked over at Ryo, he apparently overheard and was looking concerned. Both of them were there looking for Ken and he told them what happened. Ken's head snapped toward the reactor. It looked like he was finally putting the pieces together and grabbed William's arm, “Doc how did they get the idea to build that?”





“Well from my understanding they didn't think of it,” he answered, “not exactly. They found some plans in the database while they were trying to find a source to power the Icarus fully. They weren't exactly for this but they were able to modify what they were doing in the engine they have been working on.”





“Who's plans Doc?”, Ken said getting insistent on the matter. “This is important!”





“A group that died mysteriously a while back. I think one of them was named Kyrie.” Jess went to steady Ken as he went white as a sheet almost immediately upon hearing that.





“Doctor Williams we need to turn that off as soon as possible,” Ryo said cutting into the conversation, and looking concerned as well. “It's causing damage on a level we don't fully understand at the moment.”





“****,” Ken said as he bolted away from the group and toward the stairs.





“But we have to land first,” William said looking back between Ryo and the retreating Ken, obviously confused at what was going on.“Richardson has to authorize it's shut down.”





“I deal with Richardson,” Ken yelled from up top. “Just shut that fucking thing down before before it's too late.”





“I don't understand what's going on,” Williams said before he disappeared from view.





“I'll make sure he doesn't do anything stupid,” Bill said as he went after Ken.





“Watanabe to Hawk,” Ryo said into his communicator. Even she knew Bill was going to need help in that task, so did Ryo. Hopefully Hawk would be enough to curtail that head of steam Ken was building up.





“Dr. William,” Jess said as she watched Bill and Ken leave the room, “you really need to keep up on our mission reports. But we need to start shutting that reactor down now.”
 
S

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He was already out the door when Ken realized something, he had no clue where Richardson was on this ship. And he wasn't sure there was time to hunt him down. Where would he be? Nowhere near the engine room that was for certain. “Is there another one of those maps around here?”, he asked no one in particular as he looked around for anything similar to that cross section from earlier. Hell he wasn't even sure he was on the same floor, he just went up a few flights of stairs and went out the door.





“Civillian hold up,” he heard Bill call out as he hurried to catch up.





“Don't try to talk me out of shutting that thing down.”





“I'm not,” Bill told him as he grabbed his arm and dragged him along. “I just got the info on where Richardson is from Ryo after he got done warning Hawk that you were coming. Follow me.” Ken didn't argue as Bill lead the way. He pointed out an elevator and they got in and Bill pushed the button for the appropriate floor.





As they waited to reach their destination Ken kept an eye on the floor indicator as Bill leaned against the wall. Eventually he said, “So what happened to keeping me from doing anything stupid?”





“Heh, you heard that?”, Bill smirked. “Don't get me wrong I still plan to do that because if you ever were this is going to be it. I doubt even Hawk could get you out of that hole. But you're like the only guy on this thing that has a clue about what that engine is doing. I'll take your word over the people who built it any time.”





Ken looked over at him for a moment, “Wow, to think there was a time I didn't think we could stand each other.”





“I remember those days,” Bill said. “Both of us would be pretty miserable right now if that was still the case. I'd probably just let you put your head in that noose and wipe my hands of the situation. On the other hand Hawk would be lecturing us about getting along regularly. I don't know about you but I don't want to go through that.”





“Again,” Ken added since they did get that talk fairly regularly when he was first assigned to the unit. ”Good thing we got past that.”





“Amen buddy,” Bill said as he held out a fist. Ken bumped it as the door opened and they got out. Bill pointed out the way to go and Ken headed in that direction. They were was pinpointed even more when they spotted Richardson's assisstant guarding the hallway. They ducked behind a corner before she spotted them. “You think Hawk or Reid told them you were coming?”





“I'm pretty sure both of them would be right there with her,” Ken said. He definitely didn't have the time for this. “That feeling is getting stronger. There's no way that can be good.”





“I was really hoping you weren't going to add that last part,” Bill said. “Wait here until I give you an opening.”





As he walked around him and into the hall Ken looked at him, “What are you going to do?” He felt a different wave of panic come into existance as he realized Bill was heading right toward Stanberry. “You are an idiot.” There was a quick conversation between the two of them, Ken's jaw nearly dropped as they started to walk away from where she was standing. Bill looked his way and gave him a thumbs up, Well it was an opening. Still Ken slowed slightly as he reached the spot where she was and saw them turn the corner, “What in the hell did you say to her?” Something he'd try to remember to ask later. Then again maybe not, because that felt like it would leave mental scars if he found oud.





Finding the only door down this particular hall he tried it and opened it. Richardson was inside shouting at whomever was on the other end of that line he was on. “I don't want to hear excuses, just fix the damn problem!” He looked up as Ken entered the room and closed the door behind him. For Bill's sake at least he promised himself he try to resist the urge to punch this bastard in the face since he found himself alone with him for the first time ever But after everything this particular individual had done to him, from having his future team mates track him down to blackmailing him into joining, he was going to have to do a little more than try. Just remember why you came in here to begin with he told himself, over and over. “How did you get past Patricia? I don't have time for any nonsense from you right now Scott. Get out of here.”





Oh that nose was so tempting right now. Stay on target, “We have to shut that reactor down now. Before the damage it going to cause will be irreversible.”





“You have no idea what you're talking about,” he snapped.





“The hell I don't,” he shot back. “I'm the only one here who has any idea what's going on outside and why.”





“Let's get something straight right now Scott,” he said walking over to meet him in the center of the room. “I don't need you. I can get ride of your sorry ass just like that!”, he snapped his fingers for effect.





And he seemed a little surprised Ken wasn't reactling to that little show. He just stared him down, forget the video, he was fucking sick of this bastard in general. “No, you get something straight I don't need you. On the other hand you need Dax, which means you need me. And right now you need to listen to me, that reactor needs to be shut down before it's too late.”





“I'm not sure what you think you're seeing Scott,” he practically spat out his name, “but I had the top scientist in this organization modifying the machine Kyrie's group to the engine powering this vessel. We discovered the perfect clean energy source. Once we fix that little problem it will be the perfect clean energy source for all of us.”





“Of all the idiotic,” granted he probably should have stopped before saying idiotic, but hopefully Hawk would have been proud at his restrant from throwing in a few of the more colorful adjectives that were floating around in his head at that particular moment. “Tell me how a device designed to unite the three universes is suppose to be a power source?”





His expression went blank as he looked at Ken. Finally Richardson went, “Three universes?”





“You know, The three universes, ours, Dax's, and the dark one the creatures are coming from. All inhabiting the same dimensional plain? Just out of phase with each other?” Richardson still looked confused at what he was saying. “You have no idea what I'm talking about, do you?”, Ken said as he realized why he looked so confused. “If you have no idea then Doc has no... damn it.” Ken bolted out of the room, right past Bill and Stanberry, “Gotta get to Doc!” he said in passing.





Ignoring the elevator he hit the stairs and ran down them as fast as he could. “You're people never told him?”





Inside his head he heard Daxium say, “I was unaware that my superiors kept him in the dark on this matter.”





Hitting the right deck he burst through the door and ran straight toward the back of the ship. “Outta the way!” he shouted as he ran past a group of people coming his direction. Why did this hunk of junk have to be so big? Finally He reached the Engine Room door and went through it. “Doc we really have to turn that off right now!” He jumped the last couple of steps and rushed over to Williams. “You guys had no idea what Kyrie's group was trying to do.”





“Granted it was an unusual set of diagrams,” Williams began.





Ken grabbed him by the arms, “Listen to me, they discovered something nobody else knew about, something they didn't share with antbody else in the UNDF. They learned that our universe shares the same dimensional plane with two other universes. And he was trying to unite them.”





“That's theoretically impossible,” one of the engineers scoffed.





Ken snapped at him, “Theorectically work with me!” Returning his attention to the Doc he said, “A really tall friend of mine told me about it first.”





“A tall friend,” Williams mocked. And Ken had never wanted to slap some sense into anybody in his life. Luckily the Doc seemed to pick up on his growing hostilty, since he gripped his arm tighter and pulled him closer.





“A really, really tall friend,” he said through his teeth. He was trying to say anything sort of mentioning Dax by name for him to get it.





Ken saw something in his face that made him hope he finally got it. “Really, really tall?”





“Really, really tall,” Ken confirmed and glanced up. Now it looked like he fully understood what he was saying. Only one way to find out. “Come on Doc work with me here. You have a machine that was designed to make three universes into one and turned it into a engine for this hunk of junk, what's it going to be the affect?” William thought it over for what seemed like forever, but finally it looked like he came to a conclusion as he went wide eyed he looked over to the other scientist and engineers, they looked like they came to the same conclusion. Ken pushed it, “It's going to look a lot like the trail we're leaving outside ain't it?”





“But that's... that's not possible,” he almost stammered out. Before long an alarm went off and the lights started going red.





“Now what?” Ryo asked as he and everyone who wasn't an engineer looked around. Ken and Williams both looked at the wave pattern for the engine. It was way more erratic than it should have been. Dax was getting alarmed as well at what he was feeling.





“Doc come on,” Ken said as he ran toward the control station, “we got to try and stop this.” They were joined by the other engineers. Everybody worked frantically trying to stop this new issue before their worst nightmare comes true.





On the Icarus' Bridge Hawk and Reid looked around as an alarm went off. He had been in the military life long enough to understand that any alarm was never a good thing. But the way the people around him were reacting to it made this one feel particularly bad. “What's going on?” he asked the one person who looked like they were in charge of the ship despite his youth.





“The reactor looks like it's about to explode,” was the answer he got. “People are working on it now but they don't know if they can stop it.” Reid looked at Hawk, like he was expecting him to take over the situation. He wanted too but he wasn't the captain of this particular vessel. The person who was looked like he was about to panic, very possibly this was his first command If the roles were revereed Hawk might have been too. But this wasn't the time to panic so he let instinct take over, stepping forward to where the man was and getting everybody's attention.





“I don't mean to step on any toes,” he told the man who looked grateful most of this wasn't on his shoulders any more. “Alter course away from Castle and any populated area. Somebody contact the closest airport and have them divert any aircraft away from our flight path. Have all personnel get ready to abandom ship.”





“Only Richardson can issue an evacuation order,” the person suddenly said. He withered a bit when Hawk and Reid looked at him. Yup, this was his first command all right, and hopefully not his last.





“He can take it up with me,” Hawk informed him, “Right now this is an emergency situation and we don't have time to haggle with technicalities.”





“Yes sir,” he said and hit his communicator. “All hands prepare to abandon ship. Get all lifeboats prepped and load who you can on the drop ships.” He seemed to gain more confidence with each order he gave. With that problem out of the way he turned toward Reid.





“He said people are working on the problem. What are the chances Ken isn't one of them?”





“I'll make sure he gets on one of those lifeboats,” Reid said and headed for the door. The one thing he learned about Ken in the time they been teammates was he could get a little single minded in the right situation. Reid knew this as well. And given how familiar this situation was feeling, well hopefully they wouldn't have to drag him away from here.





“Come on!” She heard Reid say as they tried to herd the engineers out of the room. Jess was doing what she could to help with the evacuation, the thing that caught her off guard was Ken trying to push people out of the room as well. But she caught him looking at the reactor every so often. Hopefully he was just getting something from it and not still trying to figure out how to fix it like she feared. She wanted him to live up to that genius label like he'd been trying to but now was not the time to prove it.





“Come on Doc,” he said grabbing Williams and pulling him away from the console. “All hands are abandoning the ship.”





Jess took him from Ken and he hurried over to grab someone else, “Ryo just outside the door Dr. Williams, follow his directions on where to go.” She waved anybody Reid and Ken had pushed this way out the same door. They kept at it until was just the three of them in sight.





“Is that everyone?”, Reid asked as he joined her at the door.





“I don't see anybody else,” Ken announced as he hurried back over.to them. “Outside of us that is.”





“Watanabe to Wade,” Ryo's voice said over her communicator. “The last dropship and shuttle has left the hangers. Direct everybody else to the remaining lifeboats.”





“Understtod Ryo,” she answered, “See you on the ground, Wade out. I ready to get off this ride if you two are,” she told them and they hurried out of the room. Although she had to go back and pull Ken, who was looking back at the reactor, away from the door. “How bad is this going to be?”, she asked him.





“Bad,” was all Ken said.





“The suits back at Castle are probably worried about an international incident,” Reid said as he took the lead.





“We're going to have an interdimensional incident,” Ken told them as they kept going. “They're thinking too small. Who the **** decides to try and turn something they don''t understand into a reactor?”





“This one time we can't blame the suits on the board for,” Reid said. “They weren't even involved from what I understand. But we got a ship about to blow and we're not sure what the blast radius is going to be. I don't think 'bad' exactly covers it. I'm not sure what else you would call it “





Ken slowed and fell behind. As she went to get him again she thought she heard him mutter, “My white whale.” But he started walking toward the lifeboats again with out any prompting from her or Reid. When somebody made one last announcement over the speakers for a everyone abandon ship order they reached the sections on this deck that had the life boats. Ken pointed out one that wasn't used and they hurried toward it.





Jess and Reid entered the boat first, the hatch closed right behind her. She looked back and saw Ken look at her from the otherside. She should have known he was going to do that. Jess hurried back and tried to open the door back up but the controls were locked. “Ken what are you doing?”





“Saving you,” he told her. She started pounding at the door as she saw his arm move toward the controls on that side. “I love you Jess.”





“Ken, don't do it, don't you dare do it!”, she told him right before the lifeboat launched from the ship. “Ken!” She stared out the glass as the ship started to get smaller.





Not even waiting for the shuttle's ramp to lower all the way Hawk jumped to the ground and looked up at the Icarus seeing more lifeboats eject from the massive vessel. He looked around to see if he could locate any of his people and spotted Bill running up to him. Standing behind him was Stanberry and a extremely peeved looking Richardson. “Bill have you heard from the others yet?”





“Ryo's on the dropship that's landing right now,” he said. “Last I heard Commander Reid, Jess and civilian were still getting people out of engineering. So they should be on one of the last boats.” Glancing briefly behind him he stepped a little closer, “Justs a heads up Captain, but it was not a fun ride down. So watch out.”





“Captain!”, Richardson bellowed as he stormed past Stanberry. “You had no authority to order any one to get off the Icarus!”





“Lives were potentially at stake with a ship equipped with a power source that began doing things nobody could explain,” Hawk said walking past him. “That alone gave me the authority.”





“Do you have any idea what the cost was to build that ship?”, Richardson said as he followed him. “We can't afford losing the cost just because you got worried about a tiny defect.”





“That tiny defect was warping the sky!” Hawk snapped as he whipped around to face him. He wasn't sure what his expression was at that moment but it was apparently enough for Bill and a couple of others to try and step between them. “And the engineer I talked with seemed pretty certain it is going to blow, that goes beyond a 'tiny defect'.” He looked at Stanberry, “Get him out of here before I have him detained on one of the shuttles.”





“You can't do that to me!” Richardson screamed. Stanberry said nothing as she struggled to get Richardson away from him. “Let go of me! I'll fire all of you!”





“Hawk to Reid,” he said hitting his communicator. “Please tell me everybody is off the Icarus.” Because right now he was considering every option he had at the moment. The most prominent one floating around in his head was bringing in the Razor Wings or the Alpha One to shoot it out of the sky before the reactor exploded. Neither idea sounded all that particularly good but destroying it couldn't be any worse than letting reach critical mass.





“Gabe,” Reid said. Hawk was confused why he would use his first name at a time like this. “Ken's still on board.” Hawk stopped where he was. Bill looked shocked as well as he heard from where he was. “He launched the boat before me and Wade could stop him.”





“Hawk to Scott! What in the hell do you think you're doing?”





“Trying to save lives,” came the reply, “like I was trained to do. I don't know if I can do it so you might want to get everybody as far away as you can. This boom is going to be massive according to these readings.”





“Ken this isn't the simulator, if you fail....”





“I can kiss my ass goodbye, I know.” Things were quiet for a few moments, “Captain, if I get out of this so you can strangle or court marshail me, but if I don't I wanted to tell you, thank you for believing in me this entire time and it's been an honor to serve under you and with the others. Scott out, pray it's not for the last time.”





“Can we get the shuttle back up there?”, Bill asked.





“I just heard what's going on,” Ryo said as he joined the two of them. “Williams and the others were able to establish a link to the Icarus' mainframe. They can't do anything about the situation from here but monitor the sensor readings. That engine is giving off some sort of interference they can't figure out. It was messing with the dropship I was on electronics while we were trying to land. It's going to make getting back up there and dock almost impossible. Captaiin,” he started looking a little distressed, “all the lifeboats were launched. The Icarus is going to either explode or crash and Ken's stuck up there without a way off either way.”





“Take me to that ship with the link,” Hawk told him urgently.He didn't know what he could do from there, but it had to be better than just standing here waiting for whatever to happen. Ryo led the way.





“But can't Ken just you know,” Bill raised his right hand a bit, enough that Hawk and Ryo understood what he was getting at, “and get out of there?”





“It's going to raise a ton of questions,” Hawk said as they approached the shuttle, “but hopefully he'll think of it before it's too late. Dr. Williams give me an update on Icarus' status. I need to know how massive a explosion this is going to be if we're going to get everyone far enough away.”
 

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