Chapter 25 – Regent’s Wrath
“Blowing all this shit up is a fucking stupid idea! Do you have any idea how much advanced tech there is around here?!”
“Tech that’s about to fall into the hands of the Drakkars! I want all of this just as much as you, but more than that, we cannot allow the Drakkars to have it!”
“They don’t have it! The fucking shields are still up, we still have time!”
“We don’t know how much time we have. We can’t assume that we have enough to figure out how to operate everything!”
“Tch…!” Kate scowled, her brow furrowed deeply in anger as she turned her attention back to the console in front of her. “If I can just get these fucking systems to work, then we’ll have the whole fleet at our fingers! We can just crush the Drakkars then!”
Saito pursed his lips in impatience. A mere few minutes ago, he and Krick had arrived at the decision to salvage the Dreadnought’s Subspace Drive and use it to obliterate the ship yard and everything inside. After informing the rest of CSF-1 and Kate, all of whom had still been inhabiting the Dreadnought’s bridge, Kate quickly became argumentative. The Colonel agreed with the sentiment behind her points — but the fact of the matter was that they simply could not risk trying to extract all of the Aldredian ships. Between the SERRCom and Black Suns boarding parties, a grand total of zero ships had been fully activated to a recoverable state; even the Dreadnought’s main systems remained offline, despite Kate’s continued best efforts.
The Colonel glanced over at MacTavish, who was busy working at another of the consoles on the bridge. Unlike Kate, she was actually focused on the task at hand, and had been from the very start. A dozen hard drives sat in a pile next to her as she raced to download as much of the Dreadnought’s databanks as she could; it was only because of her constant work that Saito tolerated Kate’s insistence on trying to gain control of the Dreadnought, though the Colonel also couldn’t help but admit that part of him wanted Kate to succeed. The thought of controlling an entire fleet of Aldredian warships was a rather enticing one, indeed. And yet…
“Kate, listen to me,” Saito insisted, stepping toward the console she was working at. “I need you to focus on recovering data, and preparing to leave. If that shield goes down while we’re still on this ship, then the chances of us getting out of here alive drastically decrease.”
“Then just go on without me. I’m staying right fucking here!” Kate countered, never once looking up from her work. “Much as I like to see things go ‘boom’, I’d rather fight to the last fucking minute than sacrifice a whole fucking shipyard of advanced tech for no damn reason! Not while this Dreadnought remains intact!”
Saito stared at her for a moment before shaking his head wearily. She’s always so damn stubborn. Seems like I’ll have to get Mote to convince her to— …hmm, I don’t think Mote would be the best choice for that, actually. Mark or Danielle should be able to get her to budge… The Colonel turned away from Kate and MacTavish and activated his communicator. “Colonel Saito to the Genesis, come in. Colonel Saito to the Genesis…”
Silence followed, and then a few moments later, a long tone — the sound that indicated that his communicator couldn’t make a connection. With an uneasy frown, he repeated, “Colonel Saito to Captain Krick of the Genesis, please respond…”
In the continued silence that followed, Saito could feel MacTavish’s uneasy eyes on him, a sort of reflection of his own feelings. He had been in contact with Krick barely fifteen minutes ago, so clearly, something had—
The sound of gunfire ripped through Saito’s thoughts, tearing his attention toward the single entrance to the bridge. He immediately grabbed his gun and stepped forward as MacTavish dove around her console to take cover. Saito rushed toward the door just as Hackett — and then Travis — retreated through it, offering cover fire for each other the whole time. The Colonel readied his gun in preparation to open fire on what he assumed to be attacking Drakkars; sure enough, a moment later a single Drakkar burst into view, holding a gun of sorts in one hand and a mace in the other as it charged forward. Saito took aim and nearly fired, but an instant later his eyes widened in both recognition and fear.
The Drakkar in front of him was Telregina.
Without a moment to spare, Saito dove to the side, taking cover next to MacTavish as Telregina aimed her gun at his former position and fired. The Colonel scowled; she had been hard enough to face in Dead Space, but now she had access to both her weapon-fabricating and Ciei Theft abilities. There was only one person on the bridge who could possibly stand up to Telregina… and to let her do her work, Saito and the rest of CSF-1 needed to evacuate the premises.
“Come and get me, bitch!!”
The Colonel didn’t need to look to know that Kate was grinning, fueled by adrenaline and a hint of bloodlust. Drakkars were one of the only enemies that the Eximius Vir were allowed to go all-out against, and Kate always reveled in that opportunity — moreso than any opportunity to get a glimpse at advanced technology. Two explosions resounded from the bridge behind the Colonel, signaling that the fight had started — so he immediately shoved MacTavish toward the doorway. She stumbled as she attempted to grab as many of the hard drives as she could, but Saito simply scooped her up into his arms and began charging for the bridge exit.
Once outside, he set her down and glanced back, where Hackett and Travis had retreated out of the bridge as well. Several more explosions, coupled with the sounds of heavy gunfire, resounded from within the bridge as Saito looked over his team.
“W-we left behind some drives—!” MacTavish started, but Saito cut her off.
“We’ll have to make do with what we have,” the Colonel insisted. “Even with our armor, we don’t stand a chance against a full-powered Drakkar Faction Leader. Kate is our best bet to hold her off until we can get back in touch with the Genesis and tell Krick to beam us all out of here, but until then, we need to clear out—!”
He was interrupted as Telregina came flying out of the bridge, launched by another explosion. She impacted the wall just to Saito’s right and dropped to her knees, just in time for Kate to charge forward and attempt to drop-kick her.
“The hell are you guys still doing here?!” she shouted, “get the hell out, or I’ll fucking blow you up, too!”
“CSF-1, scatter!” Saito shouted, prompting the team to split in two — Hackett and Travis down the hallway in one direction, and Saito and MacTavish in the other. Saito charged headlong through the curved hallway, MacTavish hot on his heels as a hauntingly familiar voice invaded his thoughts.
((You can try to run! But there is no where on this ship, or even in this yard, that you can hide! On this Dreadnought, on the other Aldredian ships, on your own craft — I will find you, and I will claim for my own all that you know!))
“Eee…!” MacTavish reeled and stumbled under the sound of Telregina’s “voice”, but Saito quickly stooped down next to her and yanked her back to her feet. Another explosion sounded from down the hallway as the Colonel ushered MacTavish through a doorway and then down a sloped hallway, toward the Dreadnought’s docking bay. The next half minute progressed uneventfully, with the sounds of combat disappearing into the distance, and MacTavish gradually slowing down as the exhaustion from the pair’s fast pace caught up with her. Saito slowed himself and placed his hand on her back in an effort to help her keep up, but it quickly became clear that she wouldn’t be able to keep going for long.
Just as the Colonel thought to allow her a brief respite, another explosion rocked the bulkheads around them, followed immediately by the ceiling just behind them bursting downward. Smoke and debris came pouring through the new hole, obscuring the entire corridor; Saito reached out to grab MacTavish’s arm and drag her away despite her tiredness, but just before he could reach her, a massive projectile emerged from the smoke cloud and slammed into the Researcher at hypersonic speeds, flinging her dozens of meters down the hall. Her armor’s energy shielding protected her from physical harm, but after she rolled to an unceremonious stop, Saito didn’t see her moving.
((There you are!!))
The Colonel whipped around just in time to see Telregina charge at him, her hand raised and prepared to slam a giant mace down on top of him. He immediately dived out of the way, allowing the weapon to come crashing down on the metal flooring and completely smash through it. The Drakkar then released the mace and spun around, materializing a new one into her hand as she swung wildly at Saito. Quick movements allowed him to dodge the next attack, but Telregina simply discarded the weapon after the swing and then swung her arm back toward him, fabricating a new mace as she did so. Unable to properly evade this time, Saito reflexively held his gun up as a shield, successfully blocking Telregina’s next swing — but she immediately began pressing down against him, forcing him gradually lower.
((Wait…)) The Drakkar’s eyes narrowed. ((…You! You’re from Dead Space!))
Saito scowled; being recognized by a Drakkar Faction Leader didn’t exactly bode well for his chances of survival.
((You worthless Aldredanoid…!)) Telregina continued to glare at him and force him down with her mace as she held out her other hand, into which she materialized a massive cannon — a cannon similar in appearance to the one she had used to destroy the Rhino tank. ((Forget taking your Ciei. For being so bold as to think that you bested me, the only punishment is a slow, brutal death!))
Staring into the barrel of the laser cannon, Saito could see it begin to glow with energy. He clenched his teeth and struggled against Telregina, fighting to free himself, yet it took all of the effort in his body to hold off her one-handed mace with his gun and both hands. But a moment later, the pressure on his gun disappeared as Kate tackled Telregina to the ground, allowing the laser cannon to fire harmlessly into the bulkheads — and burst a six-meter hole through not just the adjacent bulkhead, but also the next three over.
The Colonel wasted no time gawking; he dropped his gun to make running easier and bolted for MacTavish, leaving Kate behind as she fabricated a rocket launcher and fired it into Telregina’s face. The resulting explosion showered the corridor in both directions with debris, but Saito still didn’t stop as he stooped down, scooped MacTavish into his arms, and took off again at a full-tilt sprint.
She’s still alive. Good. Saito glanced down at the Researcher’s face as she looked up at him, her eyes wide with fear and unease. “…We’ll be fine,” he commented curtly, just as more explosions sounded behind him and he rounded a corner. Feet pounding against the flooring, Saito sprinted through the corridors of the Dreadnought as fast as his legs could carry him — but Telregina remained on his tail. Kate’s constant stream of explosive interruptions only slowed the Drakkar down slightly, her vengeful rage targeting only Saito as she tore through the bulkheads with all manner of weapons, both melee and ranged.
“Damn it! Colonel!!”
Saito glanced behind himself in response to Kate’s call, only for his eyes to grow wide as Telregina closed to within a meter, both her hands raised over her head while wielding a massive hammer that ripped through the bulkheads around her. Seeing her rapid approach, the Colonel immediately threw MacTavish forward — just in time for Telregina’s hammer to smash down on his back, instantly dropping him to the floor. His armor’s shielding absorbed the blow, but he still felt dazed and confused for a moment before fighting to regain his bearings. A blow like that… shields can only take a few more…! He slowly pushed himself off of the ground and looked behind himself at Telregina, who was preparing to bring her hammer down on top of him again — only to suddenly recoil, as though she had been shot in the face. Continued gunfire against the Drakkar in the moments afterward told Saito all he needed to know; he quickly scrambled to his feet and dashed forward, taking cover just behind Hackett and Travis as they laid down covering fire against Telregina.
“Sorry for being late, Colonel!” Hackett shouted over the noise.
“You were just in time!” Saito shouted back as he whipped out his sidearm. He glanced sidelong at MacTavish, ordering, “get going! Reach the docking bay!”
The Researcher glanced between Saito and the scene behind him in a panic. “B-but—!”
“Just go!” the Colonel insisted, turning back toward Telregina to fire on her just as Kate leaped out of no where, grabbed the Drakkar by her neck, and chucked her down the corridor away from CSF-1. “We’ll cover you! But you need to get in contact with the Genesis and tell them what’s going on! Now!”
The moment after the words left Saito’s mouth, Telregina fired a massive missile down the hallway. Kate immediately summoned a rocket launcher in response and fired it at the missile, detonating both and generating a giant smoke cloud. Saito, Hackett, and Travis all focused their weapons forward in preparation to fire the moment they spotted Telregina; another explosion promptly cleared the smoke, revealing Kate standing in the middle of a broken and charred corridor while the Drakkar picked herself up from the far end. CSF-1 immediately opened fire, but Telregina simply ignored the bullets and charged forward, materializing a massive cannon as she did so. Kate quickly fabricated a grenade in her hand and threw it toward the barrel of the cannon, but mid-throw Telregina fired her weapon, launching a large projectile that slammed into Kate and threw her past Saito and tumbling down the hallway. Shit—! Saito barely had time to think before the Drakkar was upon them, her cannon discarded in favor of a smaller laser gun in her left hand and a warhammer in her right. A warhammer blow to Hackett, a laser blast to Travis, a kick to Saito’s gut — Telregina’s movements were slow enough to visually track, but she was still able to attack faster than any of the three could react, showcasing a combination of skill and raw power as she mercilessly beat down the three officers of CSF-1. She attacked Hackett, giving Travis room to fire on her, only for Telregina to whip around and blast the Captain’s gun out of his hands and follow up by slamming the warhammer into his head. Hackett and Saito immediately opened fire as well, but their bullets were ignored as the Drakkar spun around with her hammer outstretched, flooring both of them. One more laser blast at Saito later and his armor’s control unit began chirping frantically, indicating that the shields were down to ten percent.
((I would tell you to remember this humiliating defeat,)) Telregina growled as she raised her hammer over her head, prepared to attack Saito with both weapons simultaneously, ((but I have no plans to let you live long enough to do so—!))
The Drakkar suddenly disappeared from Saito’s vision, having been tackled to the ground by Kate. With an enraged shout, Kate ripped the hammer out of Telregina’s hands and slammed it into the Drakkar’s head at the same moment that Telregina fired her laser into Kate’s face. As Kate recoiled back, Telregina leaped to her feet and materialized a spear in each hand before diving forward. The spearheads rebounded off of Kate’s energy shielding, but Telregina went in for another attack — which Kate responded to by fabricating a chunk of C4 in each hand and holding them forwards, allowing them to be impaled by the spears. She then leaped back, materialized a detonator, and flipped the trigger, all in one single fluid motion — causing the Drakkar’s weapons to explode in her hands and fling her backwards. Kate then crouched down and fabricated a dozen armed claymore explosives, quickly yet deftly planting them all along the floor as Telregina jumped to her feet and charged forwards. Kate promptly backpedaled, prompting the rest of CSF-1 to do the same; Telregina continued to approach, stumbling as she set off the claymores but continuing her charge regardless. In response, Kate fabricated another rocket launcher and fired off several rockets, but Telregina immediately materialized a pair of hammers in her hands and managed to deflect the explosives — before snatching one out of the air and lobbing it straight back at Kate and CSF-1. A second later, the rocket exploded, throwing the four to the ground as Telregina descended upon them with her hammers, prepared to strike while they were down. Saito rolled over onto his chest and attempted to climb to his feet in an effort to flee, but just as he began to lift himself off of the ground, he felt a heavy blow against his back, forcing him to the floor again… and dropping his shields down to three percent. Damn it! Just what the hell are we up against?!
He then glanced up, catching sight of Telregina mid-swing, her hammer about to slam into his back once more — but then a spectacular burst of light filled the wrecked corridor as a blast of lightning flung the Drakkar backwards. Saito immediately leaped to his feet, just in time to see Mote lunge forward, summon his massive battlehammer out of thin air, and bring it crashing down on Telregina’s position. The Drakkar quickly jumped backwards to evade the blow, her eyes wide as her attention fell on Mote.
((You again…!)) she growled, and then crouched down, as if preparing once more to attack… only to materialize a massive gun and fire it at her feet, generating another burst of light and a hail of debris. By the time Saito returned his attention to her position, she was gone.
“Again!” Mote scowled as he prepared to give chase.
“Wait, Mote!” The Colonel quickly grabbed his shoulder to stop him. “We can’t kill her, so there’s no use in chasing her. We need to focus on getting the hell out of here!”
Mote stared at him in what seemed to be irritation, but a moment later he nodded. “…Alright, sir. It’s good to see that you’re okay, at least.”
“Did you run into MacTavish? Do you know if she’s fine?”
“She’s fine. She’s the one who pointed me in your direction.”
“Damn it, now what are we going to do?!” Kate kicked a nearby wall in frustration, drawing the attention of CSF-1 and Mote. “That fucking bitch wrecked the bridge! It’ll take fucking forever to do anything with the ship, now!”
“If I recall correctly, the plan all along has been to bomb the shipyard,” Hackett countered. “I’m sure we can do that just fine without the bridge.”
“Says you, but you’re not the one who’s going to be forced to reverse-engineer a fucking alien Subspace Drive on the spot! It took at least a month to reverse-engineer the Genesis’s Drive, and that one was at least of similar design to the other shit SERRCom made at the time! Figuring out how an Aldredian Drive works would take fucking forever by comparison!”
Saito eyed Kate uneasily. “What are you saying, exactly?”
“I’m saying that, without an Aldredian control system, there won’t be a way to control a fucking Aldredian Drive! Not soon enough to use it as soon as you and Captain swears-a-lot want to, at least!”
“Why didn’t you say that sooner?”
“Because I thought my plan would fucking work!” Kate scowled. “I didn’t expect to get into a brawl with a fucking Faction Leader and obliterate the bridge!”
“There has to be a way around this,” Travis insisted. “What about the Corvette? Mote could remotely activate the other ships with it, right?”
“I can’t control them, though,” Mote quickly corrected.
“…No, no, the Captain’s got a point.” Kate held a hand to her chin in thought, nodding slowly. “…Yeah, yeah, that’s fucking it! We’ll use the Raenaros!”
“How?” Hackett questioned.
“We hook the Dreadnought’s Subspace Drive up to the Raenaros and have Mote just sling the thing like a missile at the shipyard. Blammo! Instant destruction!”
Saito frowned warily. “Is it really that easy?”
“Yes, that sounds a lot more complicated than you’re making it sound,” Mote commented.
“Well of course it’s fucking complicated.” Kate rolled her eyes. “We’ll need to beam the Drive to the bay where the Raenaros is docked and give me some time to work with it. But it’ll be way fucking faster than trying to interface the Drive with our own control systems, that’s for goddamn sure!”
“Are you really certain?” Saito pressed, “how they hell are you going to connect the Drive to the Corvette in the first place?”
“Actually, sir…” Mote turned to face the Colonel. “While fighting the Drakkar fightercraft, I discovered that the Raenaros seems to have some kind of… object fabrication system, I guess you would call it. I might be able to use it to create an interface system between the Corvette and the Drive.”
“That sounds pretty convenient,” Travis remarked.
“I’ll say so…” Saito muttered. He then glanced over at Kate. “Why are you so suddenly willing to do this? Not too long ago, you were adamant about how much you disliked Krick’s Drive Bomb plan.”
“Well yeah, it fucking sucks,” Kate retorted. “But I’m also not fucking stupid, you know. I know when it’s no longer possible to do something. And aside from that, if we act fast, we might be able to catch that Drakkar bitch in the Drive Bomb blast! That’ll fucking show her!”
“Will that kill her, though?” Travis questioned.
“Who fucking knows? No one’s ever tried to use a Drive Bomb on a Faction Leader. Maybe we can do something the whole damn galaxy has never done and shove a Faction Leader six feet under!”
“…This plan sounds reasonable to me,” Saito commented. “Is there a catch?”
Kate turned to look at him in surprise, only for her expression to collapse into a scowl again. “Shit, yeah. I might’ve already said this; I know where in this ship the damned Drive is, but… in order to hook it up to the Raenaros, the Genesis will need to beam the Drive to where it’s docked.”
“Which will require dropping the jamming field for a second…” Saito sighed uneasily. “…How fast do you think you can get the Drive hooked up?”
“I can’t fucking know until I actually get a look at it. It could be five minutes, it could be five hours!”
“We don’t know if we have five hours!”
“Well it’s a bit fucking better than the five fucking days I’d need to hook the Drive up to any of our SERRCom-style control systems, and then the five weeks to make it actually work!”
The Colonel sighed again. Kate was making good points, but her suggestions bore significant risk all the same. After all, there was now a Drakkar Faction Leader lurking around the ship somewhere, so working with the Dreadnought’s Drive could give her a chance to ambush Kate or Mote. And that wasn’t even considering the possibility that the Drakkar fleet could knock out the shipyard shield before Kate could finish working — or that the Drakkars might be able to beam in another fighter squadron in the moments that the beam jamming field is down to allow Genesis to move the Dreadnought’s Drive.
Saito glanced over at Mote, then looked Kate square in the eyes. “Are you confident you can do this?”
“Hell yeah I am!” Kate grinned eagerly. “I wouldn’t have fucking suggested it if I wasn’t!”
The Colonel turned back to Mote. “Are you on board with this?”
“It does seem like our best course of action, given the circumstances,” he replied. “If anyone can do this… I’m sure Kate can. And I suppose I’ll need to stick around to fly the ship…”
“And to fend off that flat-faced bitch,” Kate interjected. “As much as I’d like to, I can’t exactly fight and do tech work at the same time, you know!”
“Then it sounds like we have a plan.” The Colonel nodded resolutely. “Let’s hurry back to the Corvette and get in contact with the Genesis, then we can put everything into action.” He then spun on his heel and broke into a sprint, with the rest of CSF-1, Mote, and Kate quickly following suit. “Alright! Move out!”