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The Purifiers

September 05, 2015

demoIn the Millennium of Purification, a group of Elves and Dwarves join forces to purge the world of the dark magicks they themselves once helped unleash. Is there a chance to make up for their sins of the past and restore order to the world? Find out in the serial fan fic: The Purifiers.

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May 05, 2015

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September 05, 2015

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Darsh Belmont

A man walks down the streets of Las Vegas with his seven year old son.  The morning sun shines brightly upon the City of Sin.  The father holds the hand of his son to make sure he doesn't wander off or get lost.  Normally he wouldn't have liked to take his son to such a place; however that is what his corporation had ordered.  He wanted to get his appointment over with so that he could hurry up and leave.

Without any apparent cause, the boy stops and starts staring off to the south.  His eyes fixed as if staring intently at something.  The father looked at him and wondered what he was looking at.  He looked around, but didn't see anything.  A part of him was relieved.  There was a part of him that was worried that his son was witnessing something that a seven year old child shouldn't see.

The boy continued to stare off without blinking.  It was almost as if he was being drawn to something.  His father looked at him and began to become worried.  The father pulled his arm to get his attention, "Darsh."

Darsh snapped out of it and looked up at his father.  Though he was responding, he still seemed dazed, "Huh?" 

"Darsh, what are you looking at?"

Darsh turns back in the direction he was just looking; then turns back to his father.  "Um…nothing…I guess."

His father looked at him.  He had the feeling that his son was holding back on him, but he decided not to pry into it at the moment.  "Well we need to hurry son or I'll be late for my meeting."

"Okay daddy."  Darsh looked back in the direction.  He could have sworn there was something calling to him.  However, logic would suggest that he was wrong.  He tried to let it slip from his mind as he followed along with his father.

 

*****

 

Six years later, Darsh walked through the streets.  He could see a red haze all around him.  One word continued to echo in his head, "Kill."  It repeated over and over.  The words were driving him to do just that, kill.  He tried to resist, but the urge was too strong.  He slaughtered person after person.

He continued forward.  His movements were slow and awkward, almost as if he were nothing more than a puppet.  His hands clasped tightly around a victim's throat, slowly strangling the life from her.  The haze began to lift and he could make out the face of his victim more clearly.  It was his dad's current girlfriend, Claudia.  She looked at him, begging him to stop.

He tried to let go, but his hands wouldn't respond.  Tears began to streak down his face as he realized what he was about to do.  He let out a loud bellow in frustration.  The ground beneath him cracked and formed a hole.  Darsh fell through and into a pool of blood.  He tried to swim out, but there was no top, no bottom.  He was drowning in the blood of the victim's he had just murdered.

Darsh woke up in his bed covered in sweat.  He was breathing heavily.  The neon lights from the surrounding casinos shined in to his apartment.  It had been five years since he and his father had moved to Las Vegas permanently.  Since that time, he had the same dream repeatedly.  It had only started off as a nightmare one night.  However, the more time that passed, the more frequent the dreams became.  It was beginning to be almost nightly.  It was causing him to lose more and more sleep.  He tried to relax as he convinced himself that it was nothing more than a dream.

Darsh lowered his head as he began to calm down.  However, the sight he saw before him was even more disturbing than his dreams.  His bed was covered in blood.  He threw off his sheets and retreated against the wall.  That is when he noticed that his hands were covered in blood as well.  His screams of terror could be heard throughout the apartment.

His father rushed into the room.  "Darsh!  Darsh!"

Darsh sat curled up in the corner crying.  His forearms were pressed against the side of his head, though his hands were not touching any part of his body.  His father grabbed him by the arms.  It was not a harsh grab, but one with a certain tenderness that showed how truly worried about his son he was.

His father asked, "Darsh, what is the matter?"

In a whiney voice, Darsh responded, "Look."  He pulled down his hands to show his father the blood.  However, when he did, the blood had vanished.  The tears stopped as he looked upon his hands in shock.  He turned and looked at the bed, but nothing was there.  Darsh put his head down on his knees in confusion, unsure of what to say.

 

*****

 

A week later, while Darsh was getting ready for school, he could hear his father and Claudia talking.  At first he hadn't tried to ease drop, but the more he heard the closer he listened.

Claudia spoke, "I don't know what we are going to do with him, Max.  It's only getting worse.  He was washing his hands again last night for over 20 minutes mumbling something about how he couldn't get them clean.  It's getting to the point I think you should just ship him off to live with his mother."

His father replied, "You know I can't do that.  Besides, it's my fault for bringing him here.  I should have trusted my instincts and just turned down the job.  If I had, I probably would still have my old job instead of losing it only 4 months after taking this assignment."

"And whose fault is it that you lost that job?  Don't forget that it was the attention you needed to show that kid of yours that caused you to get fired in the first place."

"It's this place that is causing the problems, not him."

"Fine, you want to blame the place instead of the kid, be my guest.  But we still have to do something about him.  At least send him to a damned psychiatrist.  Like it or not, that kid is seriously screwed up."

"My son is not crazy."

"Max, face it.  He needs help."

Darsh listened to the whole conversation as the debate went on.  He felt guilty that he was causing his father so many problems.  If he had just been more normal, like other kids, than all of this could have been avoided.  However, it seemed it was his curse to be different.  Now that curse was beginning to affect those around him.  It was his birthday.  It was supposed to be a happy day.  However, it seemed that it was causing nothing but misery.

 

*****

 

Later that day, Darsh stood on the rooftop of the apartment building.  He had already returned from school and it was beginning to get late.  He looked out at the bright lights of the city.  His mind reflected upon the conversation he had heard earlier that morning.

From behind him, he could hear a voice say, "Beautiful view; isn't it?"  The voice was that of his father.  Darsh turned and looked at him.  His father continued, "I thought I would find you up here."

Darsh turned back and looked back across the sea of lights.  "So how did you know?"

His father lets out a slight chuckle.  "Let's just say a father's intuition."  There is a pause as neither one says anything.  Then, his father breaks the silence.  "So what brings you up here?"

In a vague and evasive answer Darsh responds, "Just thinking."

"Thinking about anything in particular?"

Darsh hesitates in answering.  However, he had always done as his father asked and answered any questions honestly.  This time was no different.  "I was thinking about what you and Claudia were talking about this morning."

His father tried to hide his shocked expression.  "So you heard that, did you?"

Darsh didn't turn and reply, he simply shook his head yes.  For the next minute, neither one spoke.  Darsh turned to his father.  There was a sad look on his face as he spoke, "I'm sorry for causing you such problems.  It's completely my fault.  If I weren't so different than you wouldn't be going through all of these problems.  Please forgive me daddy."  Darsh began to cry.

His father knelt down to him and hugged his son.  "Don't be sorry.  Don't you ever be sorry, not for this.  You didn't do anything wrong."  His father pulls back and looks Darsh in the eyes.  "Where did you ever get the idea that this is your fault?"

"Claudia.  She said that it was my fault.  My fault for being so different."

His father looks at him intensely.  In a very serious tone, "I want you to listen to me.  You may be different, but everyone is.  That is what makes you so special.  Don't ever let anyone tell you anything other than that, okay?"

"But what about what Claudia --"

Before Darsh could continue, his father cut him off.  "Don't worry about what Claudia said.  You don't have to worry about her at all anymore.  I ended things with her earlier today."

Darsh looked at his father and said, "That's good.  I never did like her much."

His father let out a chuckle.  "Yeah, I could kind of tell."

The two stood at the edge of the roof and stared out across the city at all of the lights.  Darsh spoke, "Earlier, when you were talking to Claudia, there was mention of mom."  There was a troubled look on the face of his father.  "Tell me, what does she do?  Why is it I don't see her anymore?"

His father looked down at Darsh.  He debated about not answering the question.  "I suppose you are old enough to know.  Your mot--"

Before his father could finish, an incident occurred that would change both of their lives forever.  That was the day that that everything changed for the entire world.  The day when they came and started the fall of man.  That was the day when the bugs first swarmed in and began their destruction of the human race.

 

*****

 

Darsh hid in an alleyway.  He peeked around the corner looking for any signs of the bugs.  The coast looked clear so he made a break for the next building.  He was almost back to the others.  It had been three months since the bugs first arrived and they were still swarming around the city.

From the observations they had been able to make up to this point, it seemed that the bugs fed off of the power of the city.  Unfortunately, they were unable to listen to a radio for any official reports.  With the loss of electricity, they weren't even able to find out how many other cities were having the problem.  As far as they knew, this could have been a worldwide event.  Many had wondered if the military had finally taken action and how they fared.  But as things stood, they had no way of finding that out.

Darsh crawled through the debris of broken down hotel.  It wasn't an easy trip, but it increased his chances for making it back without running into any bugs.  It was just two more buildings over.  His heart raced.  Since the invasion of bugs, many humans had huddled together in various parts of the city and formed groups.  This increased their chances of survival as they would be able to support one another should something happen.

The group he and his father were staying with had decided to send him to get more food supplies.  It was decided that he was one of the smallest and could safely get around the bugs.  Of course, they didn't mention the part about how his size and lack of ability for doing any other type of physical labor made him the most expendable.  His father objected, but Darsh insisted upon it.  He felt it was his obligation to do his share of work.

Darsh finally made it back to the group.  It had been hard for him to make it all the way back with such a large sack.  The food made it heavy and it was a struggle for him, but determination had pulled him through.  He dropped it on the floor in exhaustion.  Canned foods rolled out.  People scurried towards him and started to gather the food.

He looked around for his father, but couldn't find him.  Finally, he asked one of the adults.  He was told that some of the adults were in a meeting deciding upon their next course of action.  Darsh walked over to the area to see his father.  When he arrived, he could hear what they were talking about.  Though he did not interrupt.  Instead, he stood quietly on the side.  The adults were so involved in their discussion that they had not noticed him arrive.

The adult who seemed in charge spoke, "So then we are all in agreement about the situation.  If we don't soon seek military help, we will soon be overwhelmed by the bugs.  Simply hiding won't last much longer.  Even if the bugs don't find us, we will run out of supplies."  There were several nods and mutters from others agreeing.  "Okay, seeing as we are all on the same page.  We should send out a few of our healthiest men here."  He points to a map.  "There should be a military base located there."

Another man replied, "Do we need to send our healthiest?  We still have lots to do around here.  We may need their help.  Besides, what if the bugs catch them.  Then we would have just sacrificed them.  Currently, they are handling most of the work load."

The one in charge answered, "It will be a rough journey.  Without the use of any vehicles, we will need strong and healthy men.  Otherwise they most likely won't survive the journey.  And let's not forget, if this doesn't succeed, it most likely won't matter who stays back as we will all be dead."

There was a bit of silence as the grim reality continued to be beat into them all.  Darsh continued to watch in silence.  The man in charge looked around at the befuddled men and asked, "Now, any other comments?"

At first, it seemed as if no one was going to speak.  But then the father of Darsh spoke up.  "I agree with your assessment of the situation.  There is only one thing I would like to request.  I want my son to go along on the trip."

The statement seemed to cause a bit of a commotion.  The one in charge looked at the father of Darsh and responded, "Max, I know we've been friends for a few years now.  But I must disagree with your logic.  Your son is only 13.  He'll never make it."

Max, the father of Darsh, looked at his friend of three years.  "Alan, I know it doesn't seem logical to you, but I believe in him."

The face of Alan, the leader of the group appeared sad.  "I'm sorry, Max.  But he can just get in the way.  The others may try to sustain him and end up hurting themselves.  I can't allow it."

One of the other men in the group looked at Max.  The man was one of the older men there.  His hair had grown white and his teeth had already begun to fall out.  To make matters worse, his dentures had been broken since the first day the bugs arrived.  With things as they were, he was unable to get them fixed.  "Wait a moment, isn't your boy the scrawny kid who we sent out for food?  What good can that kid really do?  He's barely useful even as someone to send scrounging."

Alan responded before Max could, "Don't be so stupid!  This isn't simply about how useful someone is or isn't.  This is about a life.  One that I don't want to needlessly sacrifice."  He then turned to his friend Max, "Listen, I know you feel responsible for bringing your son to this city.  I'm sure that is eating away at you even more now that this all happened.  I can understand that.  Hell, I can even sympathize.  But sending him off to get killed won't be doing him any favors."

Max stood up.  "Listen, I know you don't understand my logic.  To be honest, even I don't.  I just know that he needs to go."  He looks at Alan in the eye.  "Try to have faith in my judgment my friend."

With a sigh, Alan reluctantly shook his head in agreement.  "Very well, Darsh can go.  I just hope you are right about this."

Darsh watched as the meeting finally came to its conclusion.  He couldn't help but wonder why his father seemed so determined to have him go on this journey.  If Alan was right, then he probably wouldn't survive it.  However, despite his doubt, he decided that his father was right.  The comment his father made to Alan held true to him as well.  He was going to have faith in his father's judgment.

 

*****

 

The group of seven men left from the city.  Darsh looked back and thought about his father.  Without the influence of his father, he wouldn't be on that journey.  If luck held out, they were going to reach the military base in just over a week.  That is of course if they did not run into any of the bugs or any other unforeseen instances.  If the military helped, they would be back even quicker.  However, there was always the chance that the base had been overrun as well.  That was a stark reality he was not overlooking.  If that was the case, it would take even longer to return.

They were several miles outside of the city limits when they heard military jets soar overhead.  The group looked up at the jets above.  Smiles lit up their faces.  The military had finally arrived without their trip being necessary.  At long last, their city would be saved from the bug menace.  However, the sight they would witness next was like none they had ever seen before.

As the jets soared over the city, they unleashed a volley of missiles.  The missiles exploded and demolished everything they hit.  The jets were not there to help save the people; they were there to simply destroy the bugs by any means necessary.  And that meant carpet bombing the entire city, destroying both bug and human alike.

Darsh began to run back towards the city.  However, the others in the group held him back.  He looked at the city as it was being destroyed by his own people.  Tears filled his eyes.  He let out a scream, "Father!  FATHER!"  He continued to weep as the others held him at bay.

The others were not exempt from sorrow.  They all felt the pain of losing loved ones, but they knew there was nothing they could do.  All returning would accomplish is in getting themselves killed.  It was their job as the survivors to carry on.  The others tried to put on a brave face for the sake of Darsh.  They knew that Darsh would now look to them for guidance so they needed to be strong.

The group looked on and watched their homes be destroyed for the second time.  Before the jets finished their job, a few of the flying bugs that had not yet been destroyed took flight.  A battle ensued within the sky between jet and bug.  In the end, the military was able to defeat the few bugs that offered resistance.  The jets completed their mission and reduced the rest of the city to nothing more than rubble.

 

*****

 

Darsh drove the cross made of wood into the ground.  It wasn't much, but it was all he could manage under the circumstances.  Though not what he would have liked, that was the only marker for the grave of his friend, Sanjay.  When they were attacked by the bugs only a few days ago, Sanjay risked his own life to save that of Darsh.

Sanjay and Darsh were the only survivors of the attack.  The others were all killed.  Darsh shed a tear thinking about those lost.  Buddy, Ervin, Jed, Medwin, and Winfred had all died trying to hold off the bugs.  Sanjay had been badly injured and was the only one of the adults to survive.  However, that morning his body finally gave in to all of the injuries he had sustained.

In the three weeks since their homes were destroyed, he had gotten close to each of them.  They were all each other had.  Now, he was alone.  He had taken the time to put a marker for each of them.  After the bugs left after the initial assault, he had returned to bury them.  Much to his dismay the bodies of Jed and Medwin were nowhere to be found.  He buried those he could and left the cross marker for the other two.  Those he could not find the bodies to, he placed something significant to each of them on the crosses.  Now, he had been forced to repeat the process for Sanjay.

Darsh knelt and said a prayer over the grave site of his friend.  When he was done, he stood and turned.  He was determined to live.  In their time together, the others had installed the strong belief that it was their duty to survive and carry on the memories of those lost.  Now, this was his burden alone.  But he was prepared to carry it on.

 

*****

 

Darsh stumbled through the Nevada desert.  The heat beat down upon him.  It was three days since he buried Sanjay.  He tried to continue, but his youth and inexperience made it difficult to know where to look for food and water.  He had a difficult time trying to find proper shelter during the cold nights.  All these factors had tasked his body and pushed him to his limit.

He collapsed.  The warm and dry desert wind blew dust and dirt into his face.  He felt too weak to move and do anything about it.  Though he lay there for less than an hour, it had felt like an eternity.  He was drifting in and out of consciousness when he heard a jeep pull up.  His eyes moved trying to look, but he lacked the strength to move his head and couldn't get a good look.

The voices over him spoke, "Colonel, it's just a young boy.  He looks like he's on the verge of death if he isn't dead already."

A second voice began, "Daniels, get the boy.  We'll take him with us."

Responding, a third voice said, "Yes, sir."

Darsh could feel someone lifting him off of the ground.  For the first time, he was able to see who was rescuing him.  There were three men in military uniforms.  Almost as if instinct, Darsh pulled away from the man helping him up.  Though he was unsure where he got the strength from, he was able to stand.  He stood as if he was prepared to fight.

The man standing in front of him looked at him, "Easy kid.  We're here to help you."

Memories of his home, those he cared about, his father, all of them being killed in the missile assault flooded through his mind.  Anger filled him.  Without thinking, he attacked the man before him.  The man tried to avoid the attacks from Darsh without retaliating.

As Darsh continued to attack, one of the other men had gotten out of the jeep.  He attempted to hit Darsh in the back of the head with a rifle.  The blow was not intended to really harm him, but more to subdue the out of control boy.  Before the rifle made contact, Darsh moved to the side of the attack.  The speed and accuracy he did this was almost as if he saw the attack coming before it ever happened.  Darsh responded by throwing his elbow back and into the man's throat.

The soldier fell to the ground grabbing his neck and gasping for air.  The first soldier Darsh had been attacking quickly punched Darsh in the face.  There was little chance for him to avoid as he was already distracted by the man who had attacked him from behind.  In his weakened state, even though not very powerful, the punch knocked him out.

 

*****

 

Darsh woke up in a hard and uncomfortable cot.  His head ached.  He tried to get up, but found that he was strapped down to the bed.  There was an I.V. in his arm.  He was still feeling weak, but he was clearly gaining his strength back.  A nurse walked up to him, "So you are finally awake, Mr. Doe.  Colonel Farrell will be glad to hear it.  He's been checking on you everyday."  She spoke with an English accent.

His head still spun as tried to get his thoughts clear.  "Mr. Doe?  Are you talking to me?"

The nurse giggled, "Yes.  We didn't know what your real name was so we called you Mr. Doe.  Though I didn't think that name really fitted you.  Perhaps if you tell us your real name, we could start calling you that instead."

Darsh put his head back on his pillow and stared at the ceiling.  He did not speak.  The nurse frowned as she saw that he did not wish to answer the question.  She continued, "Very well, Mr. Doe.  I will be back to check on you later."

The nurse turned to leave when he responded, "Darsh."

She looked back at him, "Pardon me."

"My name, it is Darsh."

The nurse smiled at him.  "I don't think I've ever heard that one before.  I like it.  However, would you mind telling me if that is your first or last name?"

"Darsh Belmont."

She shook her head in recognition of the name.  With a smile, "Okay then, I'll just go get the colonel."

"Wait," Darsh hurried from his lips.  However, he hesitated before continuing.  He looked a bit nervous and uncomfortable.  He finally asked, "This colonel…who is he and why does he want to see me?"

"Colonel Farrell is the man who found you.  He brought you in four days ago, but you hadn't regained consciousness until just now.  He has checked on you at least once each day.  To be honest, we were all a little worried about you."

Darsh lifted up his right arm as hard as he could.  It was stopped as the restraints held his arm firmly down.  "Is he the one who had me strapped down?"

"I'm sorry about that, but when you first came in you were moving around a lot.  It seemed like you were having a nightmare.  We had to strap you down in order to treat you."  She looked away from him.  "And…when we were done treating you, we were told you attacked them when they found you.  So they ordered us to leave them on.  We didn't have much choice."

Darsh turned his head and looked at the wall.  "There's always a choice.  My father…"  He stopped as he started to cry again.  Up until that point, he hadn't had much time to think about it.  But for the first time since it happened, his mind was free to think about him.  He wasn't weighed down with thoughts of staying strong for the others or simply trying to survive.  Normally, he would have thought that was a good thing, but the pain he felt in his heart made him wonder.

The nurse looked at him.  She felt bad for the young boy.  Though she did not know the source of his pain, she knew it had to be terrible.  She walked out.  A part of her wanted to give him time to rest, but that wasn't part her job.  She left to find the colonel despite her personal feelings.

A few minutes later, Colonel Farrell walked into the room.  He was one of the three men who found Darsh, though he had stood in the jeep the whole incident.  The colonel looked at the still crying Darsh.  He didn't show any reaction to it as he started to speak, "Finally awake."  He started to remove the restraints from his right arm as he continued to speak.  Sorry about these.  I don't think they will be necessary."

The moment the colonel finished taking off the first strap, Darsh punched him in the face.  The colonel barely moved with the hit.  He looked into the eyes of Darsh.  "Do you feel better now?  You're still crying so I doubt it."

Darsh looked at the colonel, his eyes still filled with tears.  "You killed my father!  You killed him and all the others just to kill the damned bugs!  All you of are just cold hearted bastards that the world would be better off without!"

Colonel Farrell showed no emotion to the words of Darsh.  "So what are you going to do about it?  Are you going to take action or just sit there and cry?"  Darsh looked at him, stunned at the man's words.  "Crying won't bring them back.  But if you must grieve, do it now and get it over with."  Darsh sniffled as he tried to hold back his tears.

The colonel continued.  "From the sound of it, I take it that you survived the Las Vegas incident.  I'm impressed a boy as young as you survived so long on your own.  Though I must confess regret in the fact that it is also your youth that makes you so naïve.  That incident stains all of our hands.  It was authorized by one man.  And I assure you that he has been punished for his actions."

Darsh turned his head away once again.  "Why should I believe you?  Isn't it all just statistics to you people?  You killed the enemy so that makes it worth it."

"If you want to hate the military then that is your decision.  But don't judge us all by something you see on T.V.  Like it or not, in real life we're the good guys.  We don't just sacrifice anyone in our way to get the job done.  So if you really have the need to hate someone, I suggest you hate the bugs."

Darsh tried to ignore the words of Colonel Farrell, but he could not help but listen as the colonel continued, "The bugs were the ones who invaded your homes.  And though it was the decision of an insane general, they are still the cause of its destruction.  And despite whatever you may think, the bugs in your city where just a small number.  This is a much bigger problem than just one city.  Also, though we may not admit it publicly, the war is not going very well on our side.

"So you have a choice, you can continue to lay there feeling sorry for yourself.  Or you can get up and come with me.  I'll help train you to fight them.  The latter may not be the easier of the two choices, but you will have your chance at revenge."

Darsh stared at him and thought.  He reached over with his right hand and freed his other arm.  He then removed the straps from his legs.  With a look of determination on his face, "I want to learn to fight them.  What do I need to do?"

 

*****

 

 "Darsh," said the man walking with him.  The man was Captain Charles Irons.  "There is something I want to show you."  He leads Darsh to a sealed door.  It had been over four years since Darsh first started his training to fight the bugs.  It had been going well up to this point.

The captain pushed a certain order of buttons on the control panel next to the door.  A light flashed on the keypad as the doors began to open.  The two walked in.  Captain Irons flicked a switch on the wall and the lights began to come on.  One by one, the lights revealed the large storage room.  It was empty except for one suit of armour that looked almost futuristic.

The captain walked up to the suit.  "Look at it, Darsh.  What do you think?"

Darsh looked at it with amazement.  "What is it?"

"I'm not sure of the entire story.  However, I can tell you that it is a mecha we found over 60 years ago.  Whether they are some type of alien machines or some sort of lost advanced technology remains to be seen.  Another mystery is what happened to those who created them.

"The military couldn't figure out how to activate them for the longest time.  Then when the bugs first invaded, it was discovered that they had the ability to merge with these machines and completely control them.  They were cursed by those few of us who knew about them.  It seemed that all they were good for was to make our enemies even more powerful.

"But just recently, it was discovered purely on accident that humans could pilot these machines as well.  Now we feel they may be our only chance to defeat these bugs.  There are those who possess a natural 'psychic' ability that allows them to pilot these mechas.  Before Colonel Farrell died --"

Darsh cut off the captain, "He hasn't been confirmed yet that he is dead.  All we know is he is missing."

The captain nods to Darsh, "Okay then, before he went missing in bug territory, he believed that you were one of these 'psychics.'  All that is left is to test you and make sure.  If he was right, you will have your chance at revenge that he promised you."

Darsh continued to look at the mecha standing before him.  "So is this the one that you want me to pilot?"

Captain Irons turned his attention from the mecha and looked at Darsh.  "That completely depends on you.  Most of them resemble some sort of god from mythology.  However, this one is different.  It doesn't look like any god of myth that we know of.  The exact reason for this is still not known.  Perhaps that god was lost through the ages or…or this one is completely different."

The captain put his hand on it.  "As of yet, no one tested has been able to pilot her.  This girl seems to reject all the pilots who have come close to her.  However, Colonel Farrell seemed to think you had what it took.  So let me ask, do you think you have what it takes?"

Darsh walked up to the mecha and looked at it.  He looked at it with a sense of sadness.  As he continued to stare at it he said only one word, "He."

"What?"

"This mecha, it's not a she, it's a he.  And he's in such…pain.  I can feel it."

Captain Irons looked at Darsh as if he was crazy.  "This is a nothing more than a machine.  It doesn't--" he stopped and stood in awe as he saw what happened next.

Darsh put his hand on the mecha.  Then, without any other motion, the suit opened up.  It was almost as if it was accepting him into it.  As Darsh looked at it, he pulled back and screamed in pain.  "No!"

The captain braced Darsh as he stumbled back.  He asked, "Are you okay?"

Darsh clutched his head.  It seemed as if he was still in pain.  "I--I think so.  It was a flood of thoughts all at once.  I couldn't handle it.  But I think I'm okay now."

"What do you mean a flood of thoughts?"

"It's as if he was talking to me.  I think he was…in a sense at least."

The captain continued to look at Darsh as if he was insane.  "I think we should see the medic to make sure you are okay."

Darsh did not notice the way the captain was looking at him as he was focusing solely on the mecha in front of him.  He placed his head on it and said low enough so that no one could hear him, other than possibly the mecha, "You are the one who has been calling me, aren't you?  You even helped me find this place.  Thank you."

He pulled away from the mecha and turned to the captain.  "Very well, let's go to the medic."

 

*****

 

The voice of Captain Irons sounded over the speaker in the cockpit.  "Okay Darsh, bring her back in."

Darsh responded on the radio, "Roger that."  He turned off the radio and said aloud, "That was great Zalgallas."  He shifted the controls with little ease and guided his mecha back into the hanger bay.  It was done with such control that it seemed as if he had been practicing for years as opposed to a couple of weeks.

He pushed a button and the cockpit opened up.  Mechanics rushed to the mecha to overlook it.  Darsh knew in his heart that they wouldn't be able to do much in the way of assistance considering the true nature of his mecha, but did not say anything to them as he headed to the control room.

When he arrived, Captain Irons was waiting for him.  "Darsh, follow me."

Darsh followed as the captain lead him into his private office.  Captain Irons closed the door before continuing, "So how do you feel about the EGL-0 suit?"

Darsh responded without thinking, "Its working great.  I think we will be ready to go out in the field soon."

The captain sat in his chair and stared across his desk at Darsh.  "Are you sure about that?  Doesn't it even bother you in the slightest that the EGL-0 doesn't have any weapon systems?"

"I'm confident that when combat arrives Zal--the EGL-0 will guide me."

Captain Irons sighed.  "So you are still insisting that the EGL-0 is alive?"  He paused for a moment.  Then he continued, "No matter.  There is a mission coming up soon.  It seems that General Marques wants you and the EGL-0 on that mission.  So make sure you are ready.  I don't want any casualties, understand?"

Darsh nodded his head slightly, "Nor do I.  But I understand."

"You may have faith in some sort of divine knowledge, but I don't.  Before you head off I want to make sure that you are equipped with some type of weapons on that thing.  See Corporal Erams.  He will supply you with the SR-13.  It's a long range rifle that packs a fairly good punch.  So if there isn't anything else, you're dismissed."

Darsh salutes as he responds, "Yes, sir."  With that, he leaves the room.