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Strength of Arms (IC)

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Lassin Prime

Outer length of the Perseus Arm, inside Khanate Space

Lor time mark 1629.3 [December 5, 2018 (Terran Calendar)]

 

Since the Andromedan General Giirok had been sold into the gladiator circuits within the Stellar Khanate, he had participated in matches on a number of planets, moving to a new one when he had reached the pinnacle of a particular circuits’ competition.  He had arrived on Lassin Prime less than six standard galactic days ago after he had run out of challenges on the last world.

 

He had thus far spent his time on Lassin Prime training and acclimating to its climate.  Located toward the center of the Stellar Khanate, a large swath of the world along its equator had been cyberformed by the Communion.  That portion of the world was currently being mined for the Computonium created by Communion cyberforming, and then undergoing re-terraformig to return the world to something akin to its former state.  As a result, the remaining habitable areas of the world were located near each of the poles, meaning the environment was quite cold.

 

Today was Giirok's first match in the Lassin circuit, which would serve to establish him and heavily influence the direction his time here would go.  The towering Andromedan was standing in a large chamber behind two massive metal doors, the air chilled by the conditions outside. 

 

Above him Giirok could heard the thunderous applause and other sounds of the crowds, reverberating through the stone and metal of the arena.  Small bared openings over a dozen feet off the floor allowed the sound of the announcers to carry into the room as Giirok stood waiting.

 

"And now we have a special event.  Two up and coming contenders that will meet each other for the first time."  Said a male voice in Zulastian.  "Recently hailing from the Hassan System, we have a towering insectoid known as the Andromedan Annihilator!"

 

At his introduction, the two massive doors in front of Giirok began to slowly open, allowing more of the chilling air into the waiting chamber….

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Giirok hardly paid attention to the slight chill of this world's winds upon his exoskeleton. He was a warrior, no stranger to pain or discomfort, even if he shared the environmental adaptability that many of his kind were designed to have.  Besides, there were other, more pressing matters that demanded his attention. Such as heading off towards the fight that was about to occur. Battle was his very reason for being. It was quite literally what he was designed and hatched for. So why should it surprise anyone that he reveled in the rhythm of combat, the opportunity to prove his physical might and cow any who would dare oppose him on the field of battle? To prove that he was not just another warrior drone to be discarded on a whim? To etch proof of his existence into history? It was the one aspect of his current situation that he could take joy in, especially given everything that happened in the recent months.

 

He had lost so much lately. His army. His kingdom. His very authority. Contact with his people. And his beloved Brood-Queen. He had gone from a conqueror to a slave in such a short time. How far he had fallen. And he had the usurper Kekarx to blame for it. But he would gain his vengeance... eventually. After he inevitably wins the gladiatorial circuits, of course.

 

Rekindled in the will to fight, and having reminded himself of his new purpose, he unsheathed his weapons... all four of them, from the holsters on the side of his sash... and stomped out towards his side of the arena. The spectators would see him now... how massive he truly was in both height and weight. Far larger than any normal Andromedan had any right to be. Not only was he ten Terran feet tall, it was difficult for most to tell just where his thorax ended and his abdomen began. At first glance, he could be mistaken for being the Andromedan equivalent of being morbidly obese, but being almost completely round in shape wasn't so much an impediment when one was as heavily naturally armored and as strong as he. If one looked carefully enough from the crowds, they could even see the medals he had earned over his career, pinned to his very exoskeleton, proof of his experience in the art of war, and a remnant of what he once was. All these things, combined with him wielding a mace, an axe and two swords, in each of his hands, as well as the fact that he was an Andromedan, a member of a race of roving interstellar predators, almost certainly made for quite a fearsome sight. While he was more intelligent than the average drone, even he had to admit, he liked playing to their image of a ravenous insectoid barbarian warlord. Thinking of this, and the satisfaction in doing what he was made to do, General Giirok unfolded his mandibles and roared his mightiest battle cry, exposing rows of sharp teeth. A battle cry that likely sounded like a harsh, blood-curdling screech to the spectators, all while striking a pose as he puffed up his already-rotund thorax and raised each of his weapons outward and upward, clearly conveying the message that he was a monster ready for any challenge the circuits posed to him. He was eager to begin.

 

"SHOW ME MY OPPONENT! I HAVE BESTED ALL THE OTHERS IN THE FIELD OF BATTLE, AND TODAY SHALL BE NO DIFFERENT!!"

Edited by Sylinator
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The massive Andromedan stepped out into the cold, entering at one edge of a massive stone arena that appeared to be directly hewn out of the side of a mountain.  Circular in shape, it was well over two hundred meters across, its walls rising up close to one hundred feet before the stands for the spectators began.  Stone benches rouse least another hundred feet higher as they stretched out in all directions.  These stands were filled with tens of thousands of beings from hundreds of worlds, all cheering at the sight of the massive warrior.

 

As Giirok called out his challenge, the cheers continue, as the announcer spoke up once more, his voice magnified by some technological means to sound clearly over the crowds.  "And he is a confident one is he not?  Hopefully that confidence is not misplaced, for today he will be facing the champion of the Brii System, Vannox the Cruel!" 

 

At this announcement, two other massive metal doors along the opposite side of the arena began to open, and out of them strode an armored figure carrying a long hafted glaive.  Although shorter than Giirok, Vannox still stood seven feet tall, with a powerfully built physique.  The skin that was not covered by his armor was red, with a tough, leathery appearance.  His head was long, with a short fin on the top, his nose short with two open slits toward the front.  Long sharp teeth filled his mouth, and on either side of his jaws were long, upturned tusks almost at tall as Vannox's entire head. 

 

As the crowds above began to cheer anew, Vannox raised both arms out to his side as he glanced briefly upward, letting out a deep shout of his own.  The muscular figure then lowed his arms, gripping his weapon tightly in one hand as he strode forward towards the center of the ring, where Giirok was heading as well….

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With the beginning formalities of the match completed, the crowds quieted some, as they focused on the two combatants, anticipating the first moves in the contest.  Vannox let out a heavy breath from his slit nostrils, a small cloud of mist forming in the cold air.  Gripping his glaive with both hands, he moved forward at a cautious pace, moving slightly to one side as he did, waiting to see what the Andromedan's first move would be.

 

Over a hundred meters of open space still separated the two fighters, the rocky floor of the arena covered in patches of ice and frost.  It might take some time for the two combatants to close within range of each other, unless one of them did something to move forward quickly…

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Raising both his swords, which are being held by both his lower arms, to protect his torso, while preparing his upper arms, the ones holding his mace and axe, to attack, the General lumbers towards his opponent but also to the side of his opponent somewhat, but in another direction. The General's posture is slouched somewhat, and in an aggressive, almost bestial gait, not only to be on the same level as his shorter opponent, but also as an intimidation tactic, not that he seriously expected his opponent to be impressed. As the two circle towards one another, Vannox would surely be trying to keep track of the enormous Andromedan's movements. Now, even as he circles around and inches toward his opponent, his front end well-protected, ready to pounce at his enemy or dodge a ranged attack at a moment's notice, the hulking General wonders what his opponent's opening attack will be...

Edited by Sylinator
Grammar issue fix

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With neither opponent making any sudden movement toward each other, both began moving forward at a bit quicker pace, trying to close the distance to engage, yet still ensuring they were not rushing headlong into a disadvantageous position.  For several moments both combatants started to run toward each other, the crowd's anticipation starting to build as they closed.

 

Then, once they had closed with a couple hundred feet of each other, Vannox slowed his pace down once more, taking a more defensive stance as he focused on Giirok, griping his weapon tightly.  Giirok could tell that his opponent was once again moving cautiously, ready to counter if the Andromedan quickly closed….

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Now that the pair had reached a distance that Giirok could quickly cover with his wings, the massive Andromedan took the opportunity, quickly crossing the distance a few feet above the icy floor, readying one of his weapons to attack the Boron.

 

But Vannox had been ready for this, and just as Giirok started swinging one of his swords toward the Boron, Vannox trust the blade of his glaive out in front of him.  The heavy blade struck true, hitting Giirok just below his head, but the Andromedan's thick armored hide deflected the attack harmlessly away.

 

Vannox tried to dodge aside as Giirok's blade continued toward him, but he was unable to get out of the way completely.  Giirok managed to land his attack as well, but the Boron's armor took the brunt of the attack, the force of the blow pushing him across the icy floor of the arena a few feet, but otherwise leaving Vannox unharmed.

 

Up in the stands there were some cheers and yells from the crowd as both fighters landed their first attacks.  But tense silence quickly followed, as the audience focused on the two combatants, waiting for their next moves…

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Vannox quickly righted himself once more, turning back to face Giirok and readying his weapon once more.  The Boron's eyes narrowed slightly as he studied his larger opponent.  Tightening the grip on his glaive, Vannox suddenly leapt a few feet into the air and straight towards Giirok, bringing his glaive up above his head and then swinging it back down with increased force.

 

"RRRRAAHHH!"  Vannox yelled as he swung the glaive down towards Giirok's head, but the large Andromedan was ready, bringing up one of his swords and his mace and crossing them together to block the attack. 

 

His attack stopped completely, Vannox landed on his feet near Giirok, pulling his glaive back away as he backed up slightly, quickly regaining his footing as he prepared for Giirok's counterattack…

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"PATHETIC-*KIK*!" In shouting this, his mandibles would unfold and all of his razor-sharp teeth, as well as some of his green drool, would be visible as he swung his axe-wielding hand in a horizontal direction to his smaller opponent's side... right into the armor, which blocked the very worst of the blow, even if it staggered Vannox to the side a little bit, temporarily making him lose his balance, though he would quickly regain his footing before the General ever got the chance to capitalize on the opportunity. The General would examine his opponent with his green compound eyes, crouching a bit and raising his weapons at the ready and hissed, making him look less like distinguished military veteran and more like a vicious, spherical spider-like monster pretending to be a person. The appearance wasn't helped by his next taunt. Now... play to your character, General. Let us see how Vannox here... and the audience... will react.

 

He pointed his mace at his enemy. "WHEN I AM *KIK* FINISHED WITH YOU, VANNOX, THERE WILL NOT BE ENOUGH OF THE *KIK* REMAINS TO FEED ME... *KIK* OR MY SPAWN!"

 

Just as there is a certain theatricality in the game of generals, so too is there a theatricality in making others think he wasn't much more than a savage warrior of a race known to pillage whole worlds. Luring one's enemy into underestimating him is the surest path to victory...

Edited by Sylinator
Grammar issue fix

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Vannox did not appear fazed by Giirok's brash declarations, remaining on guard as he started to slowly circle the massive Andromedan.  The crowds were cheering, anticipating the next moves by both combatants. 

 

"It will take more than words to accomplish your boast!"  Vannox snarled back, bellowing it loudly enough for the crowd to hear. 

As he yelled, the Boran stepped forward, jabbing with his glaive at his foe.  This time the attack got past Girrok's guard, but was deflected away by the thick chitin armor that covered the Andromedan general. 

Even as his strike was deflected, Vannox stepped back, bringing his glaive back into position to guard against Girrok's next attack…

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The giant Andromedan hissed as he raised both his axe and his mace above his head to strike down at his smaller opponent, only for Vannox to catch both weapons with his glaive almost perfectly. Vannox would push the weapons back and dodge just as Giirok would swing both his swords, which would miss. Even if he could block the attack, the Boran likely knew the Andromedan Annihilator had the advantage in size and sheer weight, so making the insectoid lose his stability would prove to be something of a challenge, to say the least. Even so, General Giirok was no fool. He knew that, no matter what size you were, to assume something cannot seriously injure you simply because it was smaller than you is, more often than not, a fatal mistake. So he raised both his swords in a guarding position to protect his torso as he continued to circle Vannox, which left his mace-wielding and axe-wielding claws free to protect other areas of his body as he awaited his foe's next attack.

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Vannox tracked Giirok's movements as the massive Andromedan began to circle, his glaive held out in front of him, blade toward the General.  After Giirok had made about a quarter circle, the red hued Boran bolted forward, slashing towards Girrok's left shoulder with his glaive.  But as the Andromedan brought his swords up to block the slash, Vannox pulled back the haft of his weapon, bringing the blade away from the swords.  Then, in a flash, he thrust the blade forward once more, this time aiming lower, getting below the axe the General tried to bring down to block and slashing the glaive against the Andromedan’s right leg.

 

This time, Vannox found an opening in the General's chitin, the blade biting into the softer under tissue of the General's leg, causing the leg to give way slightly and dropping him to one knee. 

 

Vannox had already pulled back, weary of Giirok's many weapons and not wanting to risk a counter attack by pressing the advantage too hard…

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The wound would cause the General to double over, leaking green blood. The General hissed, "I WILL... *KIK* TEAR YOU APART FOR THAT!Still, he was no stranger to pain... pain inflicted, and pain received, so after a moment of using his mace as a crutch to stand back up, he unfolded his wings and took flight, charging at Vannox by attempting to slash him with his axe and one of his swords. Vannox would likely have seen the attack coming, so he would have dodged to the side as Giirok landed from his short burst of flight a short distance away. He would then turn to face his opponent as he prepared his guard stance once more.

Edited by Sylinator
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After ducking away from the General's flying attack, Vannox quickly spun to continue facing the Andromedan as the insectoid flew a short distance away and landed back on the floor of the arena.  Vannox then started forward in a run, but in a surprising move, the Boran then leapt into the air, covering the remaining distance airborne.

 

Though Giirok attempted to reposition some of his weapons to block any attack from Vannox, it turned out making a leaping strike was not what the Boran had in mind.  Brining his glaive down to connect with the two swords raised by Giirok, Boran’s momentum carried him over those weapons, taking him toward the Andromedan’s head. 

 

Vannox slid over one of Giirok's shoulders to the Andromedan's upper back.  With a quick move, the Boran pulled the shaft of his glaive across Giirok's throat, catching it on the other end with his other hand.  While the Andromedan tried to resist Vannox's grapple, the suddenness of the move caught Giirok of balance and Vannox was able to pull tightly against Giirok's throat with the shaft of the glaive.

 

But, while Vannox clearly had achieved the upper hand, he did not fully capitalize on his advantage.  Giirok was an experienced enough combatant to know Vannox had purposely not pressed his advantage, instead just choosing to put himself in a position where he had some control over Giirok and was momentarily safe from attack.

 

Then Giirok heard the Boran whisper something into his ear canal.  "Tell me Andromedan, do you only exist for mindless battle?  Or would you prefer to be free from doing the bidding of others?"

 

There was a brief pause before Vannox continued.  "If you prefer freedom, fly us over towards the arena wall to our right, like you are trying to use the wall to scrape me off.  A means for both of us to escape will present itself."

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The General, for a few brief moments, considered Vannox's words, giving him the insectoid equivalent of a scrutinizing stare. What is his game? Does he truly intend to help me break free of these confines? Still, this may be the only opportunity that will come in a great long while, so I must take advantage of it. But first, let us test if he is speaking truth, because if not... The giant General suddenly unsheathed his huge insectoid wings from their shells, lifted off the ground, and heaved his massive bulk to the side, flying towards the arena wall their right, as Vannox had requested. He began to make a show of his action, to maintain plausible deniability until the very last possible second, by shouting, "*kik-kik-kik* UNHAND ME, PEST!Still, he secretly readied one of his swords to strike in the event Vannox was lying.

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As Giirok started flying toward the wall as had been suggested, he felt Vannox loosen the pressure from the shaft of the glaive on his throat.  "Be ready."  The Boran whispered once more.

 

Once the Andromedan reached the indicated wall, he made a show of trying to shake Vannox by slamming him into the wall, actually conducting the maneuver, but without the amount of force or velocity he truly could have generated if he had been seriously attempting to deal with his opponent in this way.  Vannox released his hold on Giirok after the slam, dropping of the Andromedan’s back and landing of his feet and moving a short distance away.

 

"You are large and powerful, but even the largest foe can be brought down!"  He yelled as he made a swing at Giirok.  Again, while Vannox was putting force behind the attack to make it believable, it was also one that Giirok had little trouble blocking, as the Boran clearly intended.

 

The crowd above the pair did not seem to notice the combatants were no longer attacking each other with full force, as the cheers and cries intensified in volume.  Up on the wall above, many of the beings closest to the edge were now leaning over for a better view of the action that was taking place directly below them.

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Once Vannox was close enough, the General would continue the ruse by quickly sheathing his swords in his sash's handles for them so his lower pair of arms can grab him in a tight embrace. Almost immediately after, holding Vannox, he unsheathes his wings once more and beats them a dozen or so more times to make a short, wing-boosted leap further away from the walls... only for the General to use his fat, massive bulk to simply fall on top of him in a body slam-like maneuver. If Giirok were doing this for real, several of Vannox's bones would have been crushed... but since he's not, Vannox simply has a huge, heavy weight bearing down on top of him. The large Andromedan began to move his mandibles to talk into the Boran's ear in a more hushed tone than is normal for him, considering how shouty the big bad bug can get. "Now that I have you where I want you... *kik* you'd better have some manner of *kik-kik* escape stratagem. *kik* Explain yourself."

Edited by Sylinator
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Vannox seemed initially surprised by Giirok's maneuver, but kept with the ruse, not resisting the attempt to grapple him.  When the Andromedan simulated the "body slam," there was still enough force in the maneuver to cause the Boran to grunt slightly.  As Giirok asked his question, Vannox scowled slightly at the Andromedan.

 

"I have associates that will provide us a means of escape, we just have to be ready."  He grunted quietly in reply.  Then, the Boran managed to get his arms braced up against Giirok and lifted the Andromedan off of him before rolling out from underneath and quickly getting back to his feet, continuing the ruse of the two still being locked in moral combat.

 

But just as Vannox retrieved his glaive from the ground, a portion of the wall near where the two were suddenly exploded, sending fragments of rock flying that glanced harmlessly off Giirok's chitten hide and Vannox's armor. 

 

The Boran wasted no time, glancing over at Giirok.  "Now is the time."  He hissed, still not quite loud enough to be heard by those up in the stands, but not really feeling the need to whisper any longer either.  Vannox then turned and ran towards the smoke filled hole that was now present.

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With that, axe and mace in claws but swords in their sheathes, Giirok stood up and charged towards the hole in the wall, only stopping to scan the interior of the room for a moment before having to close his shell and duck down to fit through the hole. The massive Andromedan grunted as he barely squeezed through the hole in the wall, cracking the knuckles on his lower claws as he followed Vannox, ever on the lookout for potential enemy soldiers... and something that belongs to him as well. Now then... if we manage to escape, I will need to locate my bioship if I expect to get off this rock. Assuming they have not dissected it already. "So, Boran, *kik-kik* how, exactly, do we *kik* identify these associates?"

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Giirok's question was almost immediately answered once he and Vannox were through the opening in the wall.  Just inside the chamber beyond the wall were a group of humanoids.  One was another Boran, holding a large energy weapon, the others were a variety of normal sized humanoids carrying a variety of blasters.

 

As Giirok appeared behind Vannox, the other Boran and the other humanoids began to aim their weapons.  But Vannox quickly raised a hand to stop them.  "No, he is a fellow prisoner."

 

The other Boran raised his weapon so it was pointed toward the ceiling as he studied Giirok for a brief moment.  "We should not delay, it will not be long before the guards will respond."  The Boran then turned and started to lead the group out of the chamber and into a wide hallway that stretched to either side, appearing to wrap around at least part of the exterior of the arena floor.

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General Giirok weighed his options almost immediately. He could either wander in a completely different direction and start striking down anyone unfortunate (or stupid) enough to get in his way until he found his bioship, but that carried the risk of being captured again. He could take command of the escaping warriors himself, order them to strike back against their oppressors, and make them pledge their services to his cause of regaining his world, but who is to say that none of them would attack him for attempting such a coup? As much as he hated the idea of being subservient to anyone, he knew his best chance of survival, and escape, was to follow the dedicated party of warriors. The large Andromedan began to follow them, a short distance behind all the others. But make no mistake, he had no idea how to get off this world, and he did not believe for a moment that those large, strangely-shaped hunks of metal would allow him to travel the cosmos. "After this is over *kik*, I must find my bioship. Without it, how am I to leave *kik* this world?."

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"What is this bioship of which you speak?"  Vannox asked, turning back slight to look at the towering Andromedan as they ran down one of the passages away from the breach to the arena.  The sound of alarms could now be heard echoing in the stone hallways, a likely sign that someone would be seeking to recapture them.  "We would be willing to provide you transport off this cursed world if you wish."  The Boran then offered.

 

Up toward the front, the other Boran with the energy weapon stopped at an intersection and looked back with what appeared to be a skeptical expression on his face.  He then spoke in a language that Giirok did not understand.


However, Vannox did not reply in the same language, instead speaking in Galstandard.  "The Andromedan was a prisoner, just as I was, I would not leave him on this world to be possibly recaptured and forced to be entertainment for the cursed Khanate dogs again.  He is a mighty warrior, I would expect Prince Dovox might be interested in trying to recruit him to his cause."

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Prince? Is that some kind of caste or rank? A cause? A conflict? This bears looking into, if for no other reason than to discover what transpires beyond Churrux. I need answers if I expect to navigate this strange world-collective and survive. Before the giant Andromedan and the Boran escapees could proceed, Giirok straightened and pointed his axe at Vannox as if he were issuing a command to one of the drones under his old command structure, back when he was still in his rightful place, and straightened his posture, striking a pose that would look dignified, disciplined, and undaunted, a pose that looked like it could have been used for a statue glorifying a military commander, if not for the fact that he was a gigantic mutated Andromedan. He then spoke to Vannox in an authoritative tone, "I am *kik* familiar with military campaigns! I have conquered and unified *kik-kik* my entire home world *kik* and brought all its broods under my rule! Tell me what this cause of yours is, *kik* then! Well!? I expect answers!" No need to bring up the exile yet, you old drone. I must convince them of my prowess and make a good impression. 

Edited by Sylinator
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As Girrok stopped and issued his demand for more explantion, the Boran with the large energy weapon in the lead stopped at turned back around, again stating something in a language the Andromedan did not understand.  This time he began to raise his weapon slightly, but again Vannox held up a hand to stop him.  Still holding his glaive in his other hand, Vannox stood up straight as he looked back at Girrok as well, a slight scowl on his face.

 

"I respect your strength and your skill in the arena Andromedan," he finally stated, "but I am not one of your underlings to be commanded."

 

"But still, I understand your wishing to know more.  We do not have time to explain in full, but suffice to say, we follow a great warrior who is currently involved in a conflict with the Stellar Khanate."

 

Just as Vannox finished, several Khanate soldiers appeared at the hole in the wall nearby.  A group of others appeared around one corner of the hallway they were in, moving toward them.

 

"The fool has already delayed us too long."  Muttered the Boran with the large energy weapon, turning to aim at the group approaching from down the hall.

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The Boran with the large energy weapon was the quickest to react, turning his weapon and firing at one of the approaching Khanate soldiers.  A wide beam of energy struck the soldier squarely in his chest, causing him to cry out in pain as the blast knocked him off his feet and back to the ground a short distance behind. 

 

The various other beings that had been involved in helping the breakout all reacted next, turning their weapons towards either of the directions the Khanate soldiers were approaching and opening fire a volley of energy blasts.  Amid the hail of fire, another four Khanate soldiers went down.

 

Vannox reacted next, rushing over toward a Khanate soldier coming from the arena.  The Boran's glaive stabbed out, piercing the soldier's chest and killing him instantly.  Vannox then pulled his weapon free, backing up slightly to give himself some space for any counter attack.

 

Though their numbers were depleted, the Khanate soldiers did not hesitate to return fire, one firing at Giirok, but the blast going wide even of such a wide target.  Vannox likewise managed to duck underneath a blast aimed at him, but two of the other individuals assisting in the breakout were not as fortunate, as they were struck by beams of energy that stunned their nervous systems, causing them to fall to the ground unconscious.

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