All's Fair, Part Eight: The Dark Side

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(March 4th)

Heran Kyall swore at length, stalking up and down the length of the meeting chamber. “How dare you let them escape? How dare you let a pair of humans interrupt our victory?” He rounded on his new allies, eyes blazing with fury. “How were we not informed about them?”

“We didn't know!” Lanto Jeho cringed, taking a step backwards. “I swear to you, Patron. None of us were told that the Carath boy's friends were even on-planet, let alone that they were observing the negotiations. Even Jo'an seemed shocked. The Carath must have set it up in secret.” He swallowed heavily. “As soon as they appeared, they started speaking in Human with him. We don't know the language.”

“This is a disaster.” Turning from his new follower, Kyall paced to the window. Bringing up his wrist, he triggered his comm. “Warthread Jtan, have you found them?”

“If I had found them, I would have told you. Let me work.” The answer was curt, and the link was abruptly cut off. Kyall twitched as he glared down at it.

“Do not fear, my friend. Everything is still under control.” The silky voice came from the side of the room, and everyone turned to look as a gold glove opened the door. “I admit, I did not expect that the Nexus would bring the other Champions here, but it is to be expected. I warned you that your ambush might not succeed.”

“Clockwork.” Kyall took a deep breath, and then nodded. “You did, at that, my friend.” He shook his head as the Oligarch approached him. “What is your advice?”

“They only have one option – make for the psigate. I estimate a 96% chance that is the direction they will take, but there are dozens of possible routes. We need to block as many as possible off, and move towards the psigate ourselves. If you do not confront and defeat Jhim directly, you will not take his fragment of the Nexus, and our participation in this will be defeated.”

“I'm not stupid, Clockwork. I know the plan.” Kyall turned, nodding to Jeho. “Go and organize the capture of the city. My men have all been informed that Lanto is on our side, but you may wish to change into Varnn colors.” As the Lanto delegates all but fled from the room, he shook his head. “You can never trust a traitor… but I need them. You think that this will still work?”

“It will. Varnn will rule Sayleen, and any problems you may have had on Earth from these actions will fade once the Oligarchs take control there. You simply need to be patient.” Clockwork smiled broadly. “Warzone has done his part, training your soldiers and arranging for these Yocanu mercenaries that are so helpfully taking Adar for you. I have done my part by organizing your strategies and preparing for this day. We have left the nations divided against one another, poisoned relations and ensured that we have an array of the traitors that you so despise.” He stepped up to the window, looking out. Plumes of smoke rose in the city below, as squads of Yocanu and Varnn supersoldiers marched almost unopposed, forcing the Adari forces back along a few paths of retreat. “By this time tomorrow, the nation of Adar will have fallen. The other nations will react, but your allies will give you the power that you need to turn the tide. I estimate a 92% chance that you will control the planet by the end of the year.”

“You mean that the Oligarchs will.” Kyall said sourly.

“You are one of the Oligarchs, my friend. It is no shame to accept the help of your friends when trying to change a world.”

“I suppose not.” Kyall nodded slowly. “I would have liked to do it alone, but that was always impossible.”

“Quite. The Adari ensured that.” Clockwork said. “Never fear. We know that you do not want to exchange them for human overlords. We trust that we can rely on your friendship and alliance, as one of us.”

“Very good.” Kyall turned back to the city. “I wish I'd been able to kill Jo'an, though. Spot of bad luck, her falling when she did.”

“That sort of luck dogs the enemies of the Champions.” Clockwork shrugged. “Rest assured, I have long since accounted for it.”

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