Volume III of Legacy: Black Star, Part 1 - Cover

Volume III of Legacy: Black Star, Part 1

Copyright© 2023 by Uruks

Chapter 32: The Werewolf and the Dragon

More test subjects were grown. More test tubes were filled with the biofluids that they swim in. I repeated the process with the rodent. However, as the test subjects grew, so too did their appetite. A single live food source was not enough to sustain them for long. The more test subjects feeding off the brainwaves of a single food source, the faster it disintegrated. It came to the point that I had to keep a constant supply of live animals in the test tubes much greater than the typical meat volume for creatures of their size. If they didn’t have enough hosts to infect, the test subjects would begin attacking the glass to get at the researchers.

Mozar prowled along the ventilation ducts of the Prowler. He recalled that strange little half-breed boy that Torsha had befriended, and how the child would probably get a kick out of that statement. In some ways, Mozar envied the youths. The trust and comradery they showed for one another, it rather reminded him of days when he was only a pup hundreds of years ago. He had been brought up in the Fire Ministry as well, even serving in the famous Squad 99. That was where he met Kormal, Eramar, and Hannah. He even remembered Ryan’s father, Richard. The boy was much less disciplined than Richard, but that warrior spirit that ran in their bloodline was as thick as ever. Squad 99 was also where Mozar met his mentors, his two teachers, Zanderius and Zorron, one of which became like a father to him. It was Zorron who took him in after Mozar’s parents were killed on a hunt. Zorron who saved him from starvation and the cold of that frost-covered world. Zorron even took him on his first hunt and introduced Mozar back into the Packs. And before he raised Mozar like a son, it was Zorron who once saved the entire universe. And how was Zorron repaid for his kindness? He lost everything and fell into darkness, just as Mozar eventually lost everything and did much the same.

This one really is getting old, Zorron. We all do eventually. Makes this one wonder if there’s any point to pursuing strength at all. Is there even a point to the great hunt itself? Mozar paused, considering something he hadn’t before. Could that be the reason? Is that the reason you did what you did? Did you come to realize the pointlessness of it all? Was there anything any of us could’ve done to make you change your mind?

Mozar quieted his thoughts. Now was not the time for such foolishness. Now was the time of retribution. At long last, this rivalry between him and Savine would be put to rest. Mozar took great strides to board the Prowler. The Lurranna pup had been true to his word. He had found Savine’s ship, allowing Mozar to infiltrate her vessel before the beginning of the battle using his Fang Ship. After years of fighting Werecats, Mozar knew their technology well. He knew how to jam their sensors and board from their blind spots. He might’ve not been able to do so if Savine still thought him alive. She would’ve prepared her defenses better if she knew Mozar still lived. Mozar suspected that she, like him, was slipping in her old age. That wouldn’t be a problem for either one of them before long. With Savine’s death, Torsha would be safe. Then there would be only one task left for Mozar, last Alpha of the Night-Stalkers.

Mozar crawled on all fours through the ventilation shaft. He used a special disruptor field embedded in his golden staff to mask his scent and even his sound. Mozar’s own invention. Only another seasoned Werewolf would be able to sense his presence now, and Werecat senses weren’t quite as acute as Werewolves.

Mozar could smell her. He’d recognize that scent anywhere. The scent of the cat that slaughtered his family. Their bond was one of hatred. Given what they had both done to each other, Mozar honestly didn’t know which of them deserved to die more. But Savine would die first, that much was certain. He could hear through the thin metal of the ventilation shaft. She was on her bridge giving orders, overseeing the battle to aid Brocktree. Mozar was in complete darkness within the ventilation shaft, yet with his sense of smell and his hearing, he knew the position of every Werecat below him now. He could hear their heartbeats. He could smell their blood. There were roughly twenty Werecats gathered around the bridge working on consoles surrounding Savine. If this ship was anything like other Werecat ships Mozar had infiltrated, then Savine now stood on a dais at least five feet above her pilots and technicians as she oversaw their work. They would be in a crevice of some kind that made a circle around the dais, typing on panels along the walls. There wouldn’t be any chairs. Like the Saurians, Werecats put no value in comfort. If they needed to secure themselves to the hull and brace for impact, they would simply dig their claws into the metal plating. The floors of a Werecat vessel were always full of puncture holes created when the felines would hold themselves in place during times of turbulence. Werewolves did not use any capital ships, only their Fang Ships, so they never had to solve such a problem.

“Engage the fighters around Platform 181, but do not fire upon the platform itself. Have the Prowler focus its weapons only on the airborne targets,” Savine ordered, and several Werecats gave growls of acknowledgement.

“My Matron,” spoke up the voice of a male Werecat. “Our reinforcements have just arrived out of warp around Nirvana. They’re engaging the Fire Fleet now.”

Mozar suppressed a growl. So Savine did have Werecat reinforcements on the way as suspected. Killing her is ever more critical now. When their Matron is dead, the Werecats will no longer have any stake in this battle, and they will retreat.

“What’s the status of Brocktree’s fleet outside the station?” Mozar heard Savine ask.

“They’ve sustained heavy losses, their forces already down to fifty percent fighting strength. The Fire Elementals took them by surprise,” replied the same male from before.

Savine growled softly to herself. “I tried to warn that idiot Dwarf. Placing the fleet where he did left them in perfect flanking positions. He thought he was being so clever, but he played right into the Elementals’ hands. And now it’s up to us to clean up his mess.”

Mozar could feel her agitation due to the battle. Her frustration had left her distracted. It was now or never. Using his claws, Mozar slashed himself through the duct directly above Savine. As he fell, he drew his golden staff, extending it to its full length. Mozar aimed for her head, intending to end it all in a single strike. This was for his family. This was for Mearza. This was for little Tilona, and all the others. This was for...

Savine suddenly spun around, catching his staff with her mechanical hand. At the same time, she lashed out with a weapon tied to her belt. A long rod with spinning circular chainsaws attached to the end. The weapon was called a Flayer, a Werecat armament employed by their chieftains. The sawblades of the Flayer buzzed, hummed, and whirled loudly as sparks flew from it as it activated. Mozar barely avoided dismemberment as Savine aimed for his head. He kept his head, but his shoulder was gashed by the spinning blades. He kicked Savine in the chest while in midair, wrenching his staff from her grasp. When Mozar landed to the ground, he rolled to his feet just as Savine attacked again, using the claws from her cyborg hand, the blades from the Flayer, and the spikes from her mechanical tail. Mozar blocked most of her attacks with his staff, but the speed of her assault left him with several more wounds before he forced her back with a powerful thrust of his spear that she only barely defended against as she used her mechanical arm like a shield.

At least a dozen Werecats jumped up to the circular metal dais, surrounding Mozar as he and Savine circled each other. The dais was small, only about fifteen meters in diameter, and the Werecats surrounding Mozar left no openings for him to escape. He had been caught. Since creating his special clone, he no longer had enough psions to make Psionic Doubles, so he couldn’t even try to distract them with a decoy.

Savine stood her ground, not feeling the need to hurry as both she and Mozar knew that he had no way to escape. She grinned wickedly at him, showing her fangs. She didn’t seem surprised to see Mozar alive. Though, to be honest, Mozar wasn’t too surprised that things had turned out this way. Both of them were too old to be surprised by much of anything at this point.

“I had a feeling you’d be making a house call, old friend. I think you and I can both agree that this hunt between us has gone on for far too long. It’s time we ended it once and for all.”

If she loses interest in Torsha, I suppose I could accept dying this way, thought Mozar to himself. He had no doubt he would die now, but perhaps he could still take Savine with him. That outcome, he would not only accept, but embrace fully.

Mozar took a quick survey of the young pride members surrounding him. Their expressions were grim as they bared their fangs and claws at him. They knew his reputation. They knew they’d likely win in the end, but they also knew that the first to attack him would be the first to die. Perhaps Savine would have mercy on her subordinates and keep this a private affair.

“There probably isn’t any point in asking you to fight this one in single combat,” Mozar said, eyeing the Werecats surrounding him. “Neither one of us are stupid Saurians. Honor doesn’t mean much on the hunt. Only who eats, and who dies.”

Savine gave a deep-throated chuckle. “You are correct. Saurian honor doesn’t mean much on the hunt. Victory is its own honor. Still, you and I started this together, Mozar. It’s only fitting that we end it together.”

Mozar allowed himself a satisfied grin that slowly turned into a growl, his teeth bared as he snarled at his enemy. “Then together, we shall end.”

Tork did not like fighting. Tork did not like space. And he most certainly did not like fighting in space. Meteors, metal hulls, and flames all intermingled together before his eyes. It was a battle without sound, a battle in the void. But Tork could hear sound on the intercom as the Fire Fleet relayed orders and coordinated their efforts. One other thing they didn’t quite cover in space battles. In space, when ships exploded into flames nearby, the resulting shockwave was deafening. Tork may not have been able to hear the explosions, but he felt them all the more violently as they rocked his body. He could hear the screams of rage and fear of his comrades through the intercom. The battle had started out well, but the enemy was regrouping, and they had allies now.

The square and rectangular brown pirate ships were now being reinforced by slick, gray and black colored Werecat fighters. The Werecats used fighters called Claw Ships. They looked like two pointed claws curved together to form a pincher shape. Depictions of felines decorated the hulls. With the Werecat fighters bolstering their forces, the pirate defenders regained much of their courage as they fired upon the Fire Fleet with wild abandon born out of desperation. The Fire Fleet was losing their momentum. Things weren’t looking good.

“On your left, Second!” screamed Commander Zax.

Tork only barely swerved out of the way of a laser barrage from a box-shaped pirate fighter, the bolts decimating a large asteroid behind him. Tork reared back his head and fired a condensed jet of orange flames from his mouth as he dodged. The pirate vessel exploded shortly after, but Tork knew he had only barely escaped death. He felt so tired. It was difficult, continuously creating flames powerful enough to destroy starships. He’d never had to maintain this level of power for so long. He’d always been afraid about loosing his flames at their full power, but now that he was forced to do so long-term, he found his stamina quickly depleting.

“Get your head out of the gas clouds, Second! This battle is far from over!” ordered Commander Zax.

Tork caught sight of the commander on occasion. He was one of the stronger Elemental fighters, and his flames were more powerful than most, even a match for Tork’s own flames at times. Commander Zax led a contingent of a dozen Elemental Astronauts, or Astros as some called them, all using nothing but space-faring Psionic Armor to navigate, as they destroyed a large pirate frigate. The vessel was built like a small fortress, but the combined firepower of Commander Zax and his squad of Elementals in space suits soon left it in ashes. Several Werecat fighters peeled off from their pursuit of a Flame Battlecruiser, taking aim at commander Zax with lasers and missiles. The Commander lost a couple of his escorting Astros to enemy fire, but he made a motion with his hand, and his troops scattered. Then he dodged or blocked the incoming fire with his sword, drawing the fighters in. Suddenly, his troops teleported to the sides of two of the three fighters, slicing them to pieces with their Psionic Weapons. The third ship, Commander Zax destroyed himself with a single slice of his flaming sword that sent an arc of fire that cut the vessel in half.

Tork observed all this while dodging and blocking laser barrages with his shield. He tried to act as a decoy, drawing fighters away from the main battlecruisers so they could continue their bombardment of the station with their heavy weapons. They were hoping to punch a hole in the station’s hull so they could send fighters in to help Leon and the others. They were making good progress and almost got through, but then the Werecat fighters showed up. Tork could see from the shimmering light surrounding the station that Nirvana’s shields had recovered, and were reinforcing the breach in the hull the Elementals tried to make. If they could get a clear shot at the station for a few minutes, they could take those shields down, but the Werecat pilots were making that difficult.

Huge pillars of flames poured from the Fire Fleet Battlecruisers, bathing the station in hot plasma. Those pillars of flames powered by the Elementals inside were so hot, entire continents could get glassed in minutes from continual bombardment. However, the Werecats would target the main guns of the big flame ships, forcing them to draw off or risk serious damage. The pirates were no slouches either. They were good pilots, having spent their whole lives in space. More than once, Tork saw the flash of a battlecruiser exploding as it was overwhelmed by Werecat fighters and Space Pirate frigates. This wasn’t going well at all. Tork needed to do something. He needed to...

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