Written by Tanith
Even as the forces of the Dominion worked in preparation to breach the Last Free City, the resistance forces met in council near the long abandoned Arena of Khazan.
The leaders of the free worlds sat around a dilapidated table of dusty wood. Most were survivors of worlds that the Dominion had ravaged. A few were from worlds that had been saved by their obscurity, though they yet feared the day when they were to be invaded. Behind the seats of the table, standing or lounging against the walls of the rooms, were the followers of those seated therein.
At the center of the table was a small holo-emitter, which was currently showing the dinner conversation between the Meddler and HALST. As the sequence ended, it blipped out to be replaced by Ramz, who was the spokesperson as well as co-founder of HALST.
"We think the dude's trustworthy, just for this once," He said. "We really need the edge, besides."
There was a small pause around the table as everyone considered their options.
Then, Pug of Midkemia spoke. "This alliance does have merit," began the mage. "In this time of need, we should not careless throw away any chance of help."
"True enough," agreed David Xanatos with a nod. "However. However we must be sure he is not a spy working for the Overlord. All we need is one slip for the might of the Dominion to descend upon us."
In the hologram, Ramz frowned at this implied insult. "We know what we're doing. HALST is not a newcomer to this," he began hotly. Then, he visible took a deep breath and cooled his temper. "We sure as hell made sure that he's for real.... with the usual method, of course."
"HALST's word is good enough, Ramz." A figure with only one limb stood from his seat at the table. "Let no one say otherwise. And from what we have heard, it seems that this Meddler would be a asset to us. I trust everyone agree?" His eyes roamed the room, stopping on of the few females sitting around the table.
Feeling Benedict's gaze upon her, Tanith met his eyes squarely. "What has happened in the past is in the past," she said cooly. "I am willing to... work... with the Meddler if need be."
"Very well then." Benedict turned back to Ramz's image. "Lead the Meddler here. Be sure to take all the neccessary precautions."
"Of course," Said Ramz, before his image flickered out.
Written by Jaffa
Jaffa sat in his quarters on the Andromeda, contemplating. This was not what he had signed up for. Traveling through the multiverse with Tanith in search of challenges and power was one thing, but to sacrifice one's life in a fight against the unbeatable foe? Such heroism was not his thing.
And yet, he did not want to live in a universe ruled by the evil overlord, either. A superhuman of his power would either be destroyed immediately or put on a leash. No, there had to be a way out of this.
The first thing to do was to start playing a game of his own. He would not be anyone's lackey - not the Overlord's, and not even Tanith's. She had protection enough from the peons she had hired later.
Jaffa removed every piece of equipment on his body. Most of it was redundant, anyway - his powers could easily duplicate the effect. He looked at the Uru Sword with some regret. It was a powerful artifcat he had grown fond of, but it's magical qualities might make it traceable, and he couldn't have that.
Then it was done. Nothing was left that could allow anyone to detect him.
Jaffa picked up his small, personal teleporter that had been engineered to pass the Andromeda's shields. After all, he didn't wish to have to tear his way through the hull. He flicked a switch, and was gone.
Written by Z-Man
Z-man found his house standing more or less in tact on Earth 2.0. The various creatures inside had kept it well defended and managed the upkeep.
"If I'm going into war," he said to himself as he punched in the security code on the world's most powerful security system, "I need to bring some friends who can hack it."
Zen-Aku mewed as he rubbed against the leg of his master. As the security system began powering down, Z-man reached down and scratched him behind his ears.
There was a click and they walked through the doors into the living room. There were several water pokemon swimming in the pool, along with Sharkan and a water digimon or two.
Z-man called the rest of his various pokemon, medabots, digimon, and other creatures to him.
"I know I've been missing for awhile, and your all glad to see me," he told them, "But I was trapped on another world for a long time, and I've gotta go away again. There's a bad and dangerous man trying to take over the world, and I gotta go and stop him. Some of the more battle ready of you are welcome to come along, but it's going to be really dangerous, so I won't take most of you. I might not even be getting back from this."
At the last line, his voice cracked a little. "If you don't come with me, I want you all to go into the special supervillain shelter in the basement. There's a one-way escape tunnel into a special subspace dimension there, if someone gets to you there. As a last resort, you'll also find a device which will take you all to a random dimension. I won't be able to find you then, but at least you'll be safe."
All of his friends began volunteering.
"Zen-Aku, you can come because I need transportation," He said. "Dragonite, we've been through a lot together, I'm not gonna leave you behind now. Same with you, Kadabra. Houndoom, you're one of my best and most ruthless fighters, you can come. Peppercat, we'll need your speed. Sharkan, if we have water to get through, you'll be best. Renamon, it's time to see the results of your training." With one final look at Leomon, he said, "I think that's enough."
The chosen went to get equipment for Z-man, while the rest went into the basement. They left Z-man standing there alone, grief stricken at what he was taking his friends into.
Seddenly, Leomon's paw landed on his shoulder. "You know what you're going into, don't you?" Leomon asked. "And you're not taking me, though I'd be perfect for it. Am I right?"
"Pretty much, yeah," Z-man replied.
"I remember when you rescued me from that gladiator arena," Leomon told him. "You promised me that you would never ask me to kill, ever. Is that what this is about?"
"Pretty much," Z-man said again.
"And yet you didn't promise the others?" Leomon asked again.
"Pretty-" Z-man said before he was interrupted.
"This must be pretty important, then," Leomon said. "You would never ask any of them otherwise. Am I still correct?"
"Yes," Z-man responded, tears making his eyes bright.
"If it's so important," Leomon went on, "Then I'd better go with you. This is my home now, my dimension. And this has always been my multiverse. I can not let it fall because I didn't try. And you will not have to ask me to do anything."
"Thanks," Z-man said, smiling. "Don't worry about me, though. I need you to protect the others. Please."
Leomon smiled. "Of course. Now you go get ready. I've got all I need already." Leomon patted his broadsword as he said that.
The group teleported back to HALST island soon after that, courtesy of Kadabra.
Written by Ramz
When the meeting was over, Ramz prepared for their trip to Khazan. He learned long ago to never go anywhere unprepared for battle, so putting on his culture enhanced sayjin armor, a jedi robe, Two lightsabers, and some magical artifacts he walk to the main bridge of the battle cruiser, where Meddler was currently being held. Seeing everyone else prepared, he told the helmsmen to lay in the long course to Khazan to meet their friends....
Written by Z-Man
"Thanks for giving me that time, guys," Z-man said to KrispyKreme, the nearest HALST member to him.
"It was no problem," Krispy said. "We had to get ready too, after all."
"Are we all ready now?" The Meddler asked. "Can we go meet Tanith now?"
One by one, the various assembled members signalled their readiness.
"Would you like to do the honors?" Nobody asked Z-man.
"Sure, let's go," Z-man answered.
And with that, they embarked on an unusually long string of ports.
Written by Tanith
As Benedict sat down in his seat once more, and the Council prepared to move onto the next topic of discussion, gasps suddenly rang out in the room. Several of the precognitives either fell forward in vertigo, or put their hands to their temples as if in pain.
As the rest of the council went to help their friends, Rune suddenly burst into the room, with her guardian Metaphysician on her heels. With unsteady words, she spoke the words that drove a spike of fear though everyone in the room.
"The... the ENEMY... they're coming... sphere ships... they're going to attack..."
Confirmations from the rest of the precogs in the room drove the point home. Immediately, people in the room began to panic, but were halted mid-word by a mental command of 'SILENCE!'.
A white robed man nodded at the young telepath who had intervened. "Thank you Thian." He then turned to Rune. "How long do we have, little one?"
"Only about ten minutes, Clef-sama," answer Rune solemnly. "Fifteen at the utmost."
"Then we should get started with our contingencies," said Isthian Lyon, the aforementioned prime telepath. "Perhaps luck would be with us yet." With that, he teleported out of the room, followed quickly by his brother Rojer and his cousins.
As if suddenly spurred out of their panic-laden stupor, the people in the room moved into motion as well, each hurrying to their assigned task for the evacuation. Soon, it seemed the entire city of Khazan had surged briefly into life once more. Equipment was either beamed away or destroyed. People teleported in and out of control rooms, archives, and factories.
As precious minutes passed, fleets of ships laden with precious cargo of people and information slowly began to leave the safehaven of Khazan, each under the direction of a slipstream-enabled lead ship.
Tanith hurriedly ducked out of the room where she had just finished helping secure several magi-crystals. Upon exitting, she almost tripped over a large trunk scurrying across her path on hundreds of tiny feet. Dancing around the Luggage, Tanith nearly collided with another man.
As she steadied herself, she looked up to find herself staring at a very familiar being. Violet hair, perpetually smile-squinted eyes, long black robes, a long gnarled staff.
"Xellos," she hissed. "How did you get onto Khazan?"
The smiling trickster priest cheerfully replied with the answer she expected. "That.... is a secret." He seemed unaffected by the turnmoil around him. Indeed, he was probably enjoying the emotion of fear and trepidation that overlay the people in the city.
Undaunted, Tanith tried once more. "Were you the one who gave our position away?"
"Now why would I do that?" There was no way to tell if the Mazoku was speaking the truth or not. "It's not as if I needed to."
Tanith gritted her teeth. "Then if you have nothing to say to me, LEAVE."
"As you wish," acquiesced the seemingly oblivious priest. "I just thought I should warn you that you might not want to wait and beam up at the last moment. Wouldn't do to be left behind, after all." Then, without waiting for a reply, he disappeared.
Looking at the space Xellos had just inhabited earlier, Tanith's eyes narrowed in suspicion. Before she could shake his warning off, though, she caught sight of Rune standing next to Pug and his friends, evidently having just finished with a complicated rift spell. Try as she might, she could not get Xellos' warning out of her mind.
"Rune!" She called as she neared her sister, giving a nod to Meta at the same time. "I want you to go up to the ship now."
"Wha? But it's too dangerous for you to be down here by yourself." Rune bit her lip, and seemed to want to speak further, but stopped herself.
"Which is why I want you up on the Andromeda, where it's safe."
"It's not that safe," Rune pouted. "They're going to try and attack it especially, you know."
Tanith paused to consider for a moment, then turned to address Mg_knt. "You go up with them too. Just in case."
Mg frowned. "I'm supposed to protect you, Tani."
Tanith smiled reassuringly at him. "I'm hardly defenseless by myself. And I know when to beam back up." Ignoring Rune's mumbled protests, Tanith picked up her comm and called the Andromeda.
Yeoman, who had been in charge of the vessel in her absence, answered her communique. "Yeah, I just beamed back up from doing my part of the evac.... Uh-huh... yeah, Rommie's handling the evac of the folks we're supposed to pick up... Yeah... I'll bring them up." With a few buttons, Rune, Meta, and Mg_knt appeared on the bridge.
Yeoman, making sure everyone was accounted for, spoke to Tanith again. "Also, I've tried to call HALST and tell them what's going on, but I can't get through. I think they're going to non-comm security route again."
Tanith sighed. "That can't be helped. We can only hope that they'll be able to turn around as soon as they arrive."
Yeoman continued, "By the way, it's strange, but Jaffa's not on board anymore. Rommie said he used his personal teleporter, so he must be somewhere on the planet, probably Khazan City itself. I dunno what he's thinking of, but Rommie can't pick up his transponder."
Down on the planet, Tanith frowned. "That's strange. Well, if he's in the city, then I can go look for him. Who else is planetside?"
"Just DK," replied Yeoman. "I think he's working on his... uh... 'paint job'. I just spoke to him earlier."
"Good. He knows when it's time to leave. I'll be looking for Jaffa now." With that, Tanith turned off her comm and moved into the streets of Khazan once more. Using her probability powers, she slowly picked away through the city. As climbed over a small mountain of debris near the industrial area of the city, she thought she could see his favored transformation form just a few buildings away.
But, before anything else could register...
...the skies went mad.