Episode 06: Magog

They split up into their groups and headed off into different parts of the Andromeda. StarSinger, StarFire, and Terazed Kamen headed towards the gym while Dylan and Beka headed to the observation deck. Rommie and Harper went to the Slipstream core, and StarLove, Sailor Vedra, and StarLight patrolled the area near the docking bay.
StarFire lagged behind Singer and Terazed, wanting to be as distant from him as possible. Bad enough that she had to work with him so soon, but she’d be damned if she was going to like it or get any closer than this unless absolutely necessary.
Of course, now that I’ve even thought that, it will soon become necessary, she told herself glumly. If I’ve ever been in a worse situation than this, I can’t remember it. I’ve never hated any of my fellow senshi before. Granted, I don’t think I’ve ever gone into things like this knowing who they all are before hand either. A group of Magog came around the corner. Right on cue.
“Alright you two. Stay calm and focused. That goes double for you, StarFire. You know what you’re capable of, but you don’t have anywhere near your old level of control. Don’t overdo it. I’d rather not have to deal with one of your power drain headaches.”
“Don’t treat me like a child, StarSinger,” Fire snarled. “I can handle myself.”
“That remains to be seen.” Singer turned to face the Magog.
StarFire came up to stand on the opposite side of StarSinger from Terazed. “Bring it on, fur balls,” Fire snarled at them, dropping into a fighting stance. Shrieking, the Magog rushed at them, aiming for their stomachs. In the vicious fighting that ensued, Terazed kept a close eye on StarFire. StarSinger looked busy with her own group. She was doing well for someone who claimed to be the weakest member of her group.
“Water Wall Surround!” StarSinger called out, stalling another group of Magog trying to come around the corner.
StarFire turned around, having finished off her batch. Seeing StarSinger still struggling with hers, she pointed at one with the least amount of contact with her friend and said, “Flaming Circle Rise!”
The Magog in question went up in flames, shrieking. StarSinger jumped back as the other Magog started bursting into flames. They ran around, crashing into each other in confusion. The heat around the first flaming Magog was so intense that one of the panels on the wall exploded in a shower of sparks.
Terazed made his way over to StarSinger. “Is this supposed to happen?”
“No. Water Rise!” Columns of water rose up around the Magog, extinguishing the flames. They collapsed to the ground, dead. “This is why you’re with us, StarFire.”
StarFire wasn’t listening. She fell to the ground, her uniform vanishing, replaced with a set of clothes unfamiliar to Terazed. Black pants and a short sleeved t-shirt with an image of a large red bird on it. She was unconscious.
StarSinger cursed under her breath. “Great. Power drain. Andromeda, are you there?”
The hologram appeared in front of her. “I am always here.”
“Great. Could you send me some back up? StarFire is exhausted.”
“Dylan is on his way.”
“Thank you.” Turning to Terazed, she asked, “Could you take her back to her quarters? She needs rest. If she wakes up, tell her I told you to do this.”
“Somehow I don’t think she’ll buy it or stay put.”
StarSinger grinned wickedly. “Tie her down if you have to, but make sure she stays put. She’s going to have a nasty headache when she wakes up. When she’s settled, come find me. I want to see what you’re capable of.”
He nodded and picked up Jen’s unconscious form, carrying her away. She wasn’t light, but it wasn’t hard to carry her either. Unconscious, her face was completely relaxed. In his opinion, it vastly improved her looks. Awake, she tended to always have a grumpy expression.
Jen’s quarters weren’t far, so he got there quickly. He lay her down on her bed and took her boots off. She whimpered a little and rolled partially onto her side, one hand curling up over her chest. StarSinger had asked him to come back, but he was torn between going and staying to try and learn more about this odd, angry, young woman. It was with a fair amount of reluctance that he left, figuring that Jen would likely try to kill him if she found him in her room. Given her current state and the headache StarSinger mentioned, she was in no condition to be doing any sort of moving, so she’d likely hurt herself in the attempt.
He found StarSinger and Dylan surrounded by Magog. They were coming at them as fast as Dylan could cut them down with his force lance. StarSinger was keeping them off him. Both were starting to wear down, as was the power cell in Dylan’s force lance.
“Dylan!” Terazed shouted, tossing the older man his force lance. Dylan caught it and turned it on a Magog locked into a struggle with StarSinger.
“Thanks!” he called back.
“Your powers would be most helpful right now,” StarSinger panted, exhausted.
Selecting a target, he shouted, “Terazed Serious Laser!” feeling incredibly foolish as he did so in front of his captain. The attack burned a hole directly through the chest of a Magog.
Dylan turned to him, impressed. “Nice work.”
“Could be better,” StarSinger told him, “but not bad for your second fight.”
“Dylan behind you!” Dylan turned just in time to shoot the snarling Magog in the chest. Holo-Andromeda appeared beside the fallen body. “That would seem to be all of them. I’m getting reports from the others that their areas are all clear.” She frowned. “Magog always attack until they’re either destroyed or their target falls.”
“They didn’t send nearly enough to take us out,” Dylan commented, looking at the bodies on the floor.
Terazed’s uniform fuzzed and returned Rhade to his original clothing. “Why would they send insufficient forces against us?”
“Testing the waters,” Okami said, joining them with Yumeko and Trance in tow. “It’s a common strategy. Find out what numbers your enemy has, test their skills.”
“You’ve seen this before, Okami?” Rhade asked her.
“Every single time. We should have seen it coming.”
“It’s my fault,” Tenshi said, detransforming. “I didn’t think they’d attack this soon.”
“Well, we beat them,” Dylan said.
“For now. We should meet with the others, see if they noticed anything odd about this.

“So first off, I’d like to point out that I have a good feeling about this. Rhade’s senshi powers are strong. A little unfocused, but that’s easy enough to fix,” Tenshi began. They met up with the other groups on the obs deck and were now all seated around the tale.
“Good to hear,” Rhade said, folding his arms.
“Trance’s gifts are also promising,” Okami added. “She’s also had the benefit of previous training.”
Tsuki looked up from her spot in Trance’s lap. “Not that I did her much good.”
Miocci rolled his eyes. “You’re quite hard on yourself. Vedra wasn’t needed, so there was no need for extensive training. Enough said.”
“So what happened to Jen?” Yumeko asked.
“She lost control of a flaming circle and it drained all of her energy,” Tenshi explained. “Rhade took her back to her quarters to sleep.”
“I hope these people have enough drugs powerful enough to keep her out until she recovers from the headache we all know she has.”
Trance shook her head. “I know the kind of headache Tenshi is talking about. I don’t know much about Jen, but I doubt we could keep her out for more than a couple hours.”
“So how did the Dragos do it?” Harper asked.
“We don’t know, nor will we until Jen decides to be more forthcoming about her time there,” Yumeko told him.
“I have a few very wild theories, but much of it gives them more credit for knowledge than they likely have,” Okami added.
“Nietzscheans are very smart,” Rhade told her stiffly.
“It’s not a slight against the Nietzscheans as a whole, but you’d never heard of a Nomaien before you met Jen. Frankly, you know very little about her.”
“Besides the fact that she’s a bitch,” Beka muttered.
“Hey!” Harper protested. “She’s not a bitch. She’s just had a really rough few months. Underneath all of that, she’s really quite a nice person.”
“Pardon me if I don’t believe you.”
“Don’t worry about it. This happens every time she wakes as a senshi,” Yumeko assured the very annoyed looking Harper.
“Doesn’t like it?” Dylan asked.
“No, but it’s better than the alternative.”
“We’ve had this talk before,” Rhade reminded her. “What is this alternative? Don’t tell us about it being herself. We don’t even know what that is.”
Tenshi, Okami, and Yumeko exchanged a look. “There isn’t a lot we can tell you without her permission. What we can tell you is that, back home on Nomaie, she would be her mother’s daughter, subject to all the rules and restrictions that implies. She would have no freedom whatsoever,” Tenshi said hesitantly.
“And as if that wasn’t bad enough, there’s her siblings to consider,” said Okami. “Her brother isn’t so bad. He’s a senshi as well, but her elder sister…” She shook her head, the light glinting off her copper earring. “Hihana is a stuck up, self-centered, vain bitch. If you think Jen’s a bitch, you should meet Hihana. Even Tenshi would have bitchy tendencies if she’d grown up with her.”
“You can’t give us anymore details than that?” Rhade asked. “Not even her brother’s name?”
Yumeko shook her head. “For some reason, his name is as closely guarded a secret as Jen’s real name. This is odd, considering that in Nomaien society, women have all the power, and so I can’t see any need for the secrecy.”
“Except for the fact that Jen’s very close to her brother. He took a lot of the heat from Hihana to protect her,” Tenshi reminded her. “If people knew his name, they’d be able to figure hers out.”
“Couldn’t they do that knowing Hihana’s name?” Dylan asked.
“Hihana is a fairly common, if lovely, name. Jen’s name isn’t so common. Her brother’s is even less common.”
“If any of you want to know more, ask her about it,” Miocci interrupted. “Jen’s past is if no importance right now.”
“Wouldn’t it help us relate to her better?”
The grey cat simply shook his head. “She doesn’t want to relate to any of you. She may talk to Harper, but she knows him. Admittedly, she met him before she remembered who she really was, but that’s beside the point.”
“She can trust me,” Harper said smugly.
“Trust is a strong word, too strong a word for this situation. She’d talk to you. Nothing more.”
“You’re being very pessimistic, Miocci,” Yumeko scolded.
“Optimism isn’t going to help us out here.”
“Nietzscheans don't believe in optimism. It inhibits survival,” Rhade said.
Okami gave a short, barking laugh. “If you were optimistic about Jen, you’d probably be dead by now.”
“That aside, we all did well today. Okami is right. This was just a test. I for one would very much like to know how they knew we were after them. This is too soon for this kind of strike.”
“It could just be random,” Beka suggested. “The Magog attack without rhyme or reason. This could all just be one giant coincidence.”
“Our luck has never been that good.”
“Personally, I don’t believe in luck,” Jen said, staggering in to the room.
“You should be in bed resting,” Tenshi scolded.
“Do you honestly think that I could rest with a headache this bad?” Jen asked, wincing as she walked towards the window. She leaned her head on the glass. “Besides, I am, or was anyways, a fully trained senshi. I still have all my knowledge of things.”
“Do you have anything to add to this?” Dylan asked her softly.
She looked at him. “Not that it means anything to you, but while I was out cold, I dreamed.”
Tenshi, Okami, and Yumeko jumped to attention. “What now?” Okami groaned, cupping her head with her hands.
“Just tell me you didn’t see the Andromeda going up in flames.
Jen made a face. “No, nothing like that. Not this time, unfortunately.”
“Unfortunately? How could not seeing my ship going up in flames possibly be a bad thing?” Dylan demanded, jumping to his feet.
“Careful, Dylan,” Miocci warned. “Until her retraining is complete, she’s a loose cannon.”
“Time bomb is a better word,” Okami told the cat.
“We could prevent that. What I saw was this glowing red person surrounded by those Magog things. On the ground in front of them were our broken bodies, ripped to shreds. It wasn’t pretty.”
“By our bodies, you mean all of us, right?” Harper looked sick.
Dylan laughed, getting up out of his chair, walking towards her. “It was only a dream, Jen.”
“Oh boy,” Yumeko muttered under her breath.
Jen spun around, grabbed Dylan by the throat and slammed his back into the window. “You know nothing of dreams,” she hissed before she let him drop to the floor.
Dylan rubbed his throat. “What the hell do you think you’re doing?”
“Did you miss the part where they tried to warn you all that I’m unstable or do I need to drive the point home again?”
“I don’t think that will be necessary. Rhade, would you mind taking her to the brig?” he asked, getting up.
“Don’t even try it, Nietzschean.”
Tenshi got up and put herself between them. “Dylan, this is not the wisest course of action.”
“Need I remind you that she attacked my captain?” Rommie asked angrily.
“I saw what she did. Trust me, the brig isn’t a good idea. She’ll just get out and you’ll be back to square one. If you want to punish her, turn the Andromeda around.”
“And go where? Earth?” Beka asked.
“Nomaie.”
Jen’s face went white. “That’s not funny, Tenshi.”
“Nor was it intended to be,” she replied calmly.
“Seriously,” Okami said, standing. “That’s a little extreme.”
“From our current position, it would take a week to get there. Doing so would help with Rhade, Jen, and Trance’s training. It would also stabilize Jen.”
“Yes, but at what cost?” Yumeko jumped in. “You’ll have a stable senshi, but there’s a high risk that she’ll be useless at best, taken from us a worst.”
“Say no more, Yumeko. It would be best for her, and you know it. You, too, Okami. If not Nomaie, the Ha’ven for the healers there to have a look at her.”
“No, no healers,” Jen chocked out.
Dylan looked at Tenshi. “How do we get to Nomaie? I don’t want to have to lock your friend up in the brig, but I can’t have her attacking people.”
“She only attacked you because you mocked the dream,” Tenshi told him bluntly. “Never mock a Nomaien for having a dream, especially not if that individual is a senshi, as those dreams tend to precognitive. Now that she’s told us what she saw, we can take steps to make sure it doesn’t happen.”
Beka looked skeptical. “You trust her dreams?”
“We’ve never had reason to doubt it before. I remember well the first time we didn’t listen to her.”
“What happened?” Rommie asked, curious.
“We all died,” Okami said shrugging. “Lucky for us, we weren’t the only senshi there at the time. They were able to pick up where we left off.”
“That’s still no reason to have attacked Dylan.”
“Again, did we forget to mention that I’m unbalanced, possibly irrational?” Jen asked, exasperated.
“That explains a few things,” Rhade said. “Like your hatred of me.”
“No, that’s one of the more rational things going on right now. At any rate, message delivered. I’m going to go find something to eat.”
“You can actually eat right now?” Okami stared at her.
Jen shrugged. “I don’t want to, but I know if I don’t, I’ll pay for it for the next three or four days.”
“Nomaiens have a very high food need to make up for the lack of water on their planet,” Tenshi explained when Jen was out of hearing range.
“So we head for Nomaie, “ Dylan said. “Any objections?”
Trance broke her silence. “I do, actually. We don’t know how to get there, or if it will help.”
“It’s a risk we have to take,” Tenshi told her gently. “Even had she not attacked Dylan, I would have suggested it after the battle. If the Magog are attacking us this soon, then we don’t have nearly as much time to prepare as we thought. Don’t worry Trance. Your abilities will still work in our galaxy. Ours work just fine here.”
“That’s no what I was worried about.”
“Also, won’t the Commonwealth miss us?” Rhade asked.
“We won’t be gone all that long.”
“You said it will take a week and a half to get there. Same transit time back, say a week or so there to get this done. We’ll have been gone almost a month.”
“It will take less time to get back here, as once we’re there, we’ll have access to our modes of transportation. They aren’t as versatile as slipstream, but they work and will be able to get us back faster. Okami, if you could give Andromeda the coordinates that would be appreciated. Dylan, I would like to speak to you about our home worlds a little more. Preferably in private.”
“That can be arranged.”
“One more thing. Rhade, I know you put out a lot of energy fighting today, but if you could run through some exercises as well as spend some time meditating. Don’t worry about doing too much. You know your limits as far as exercise goes.”
“Might I ask why?”
Tenshi sighed tiredly. “Because I’m going to need your help tomorrow burning Jen’s energy. We need to give her something to do to keep her mind off the fact that we’re going to the one place she doesn’t want to go.”
“I think I can handle spending more time with Jen, even if we’ll be beating on each other.”
“I didn’t think it would be a problem. Now, Rhade, Rommie, if you two will excuse us, I’d like to have that chat with Dylan now.”
The two nodded and left.