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Part V
By Eric Szuminski

S1 - Homeward Bound
S2 - You Are Who You Are
S3 - Too Easy
S4 - Visiting An Old Friend
S5 - Finally, Some Rest
S6 - Chance Encounter
S7 - Secrets Revealed
S8 - Preemptive Strike
S9 - Clone Reunion
S10 - Unlikely Proposal
S11 - Gathering Strength
S12 - A Cold Stare Gone Colder
S13 - The Time To Strike
S14 - Locking Horns
S15 - Sadness And Surprise
S16 - One More Stubborn Useran
S17 - A Reason To Celebrate

S12 - A Cold Stare Gone Colder
Azak looked over his new clones like a proud parent. He had just finished their training, and in just a few days of continuous psionic knowledge downloads, the clones were ready for their first task: Infiltrate Useran command and control structures and wreck general havoc, plus sending any pertinent information back to the Nargolis shipyard.
There was no time for any inspirational speeches on Azakís part so all he could do was lead them to the Phantom Lord where they were to take his Lilí Bastard for their mission. On the way, Azak spoke to the group leader, Tamsook, about the mission and its importance to the resistance. Tamsook understood what Azak was saying, and promised not to let him down.
Marc Silco watched his captain from the back of the group leading them through the interior of the shipyard towards the docking ring where the Phantom Lord was docked. Two things were tugging at him: One, he had never seen this person, his captain, before but he knew who he was. Two, the mission they were given was going to be dangerous. That much was certain, but he knew he would succeed. Why?
Marc looked from one person to the next in his group and he knew some of them would not return. Why? He was ruthless and resourceful like a Klingon Honor Guard, cold and efficient as an Obsidian Order agent, brutal and concise like a Tal Shiar operative, and infinitely mysterious as a Section 31 agent. They all were, but something told him he would survive while others would not.
On board the Phantom Lord, Marc and his group entered the launch bay, and saw that the captainís private vessel, the Lilí Bastard was waiting for them. Azak stopped them for last second orders.
"Donít take any chances out there. We need information, not heroes." He paused and smiled. "Weíll save that for later."
The group all yelled, "Yes sir!" simultaneously before entering the large fighter.
In a few minutes, the fighter had left the Phantom Lord and cloaked for its secret mission.
Azak continued to watch from the launch bay. "Good luck," he said to himself out loud.

Colorful star lines surrounded the fighter as it sped through warp speed to the missionís destination.
"Okay, I am now authorized to hand you your assignments." Tamsook announced. Tamsook was a short man with Earth Asian features, and spoke with a deep growling voice. As he stood up from the controls, Tamsookís face was all that could be seen. His padded space-black suit, exactly to what the entire team wore, covered up all visible skin. Everything from hands, arms, necks and feet were dressed in a special heat deflective material that would block their body heat from detection. Even their faces would be covered once they made it inside the Useran main control center.
Tamsook began to handout small datapads that could be stored within one of their suitís pockets. Marc Silco was the last one to receive a pad. They all began reading their respective assignments, and were not allowed to tell anyone else in the group their assignment in case they were captured.
Needless to say it was a quiet ride to the Useran homeworld.
Tamsook was at the controls when the ship dropped from warp. The big blue-white globe of the Useran homeworld and central command was in the forward viewport with small Useran ships orbiting it. None of the huge warships were here though and that was one thing the unit would need to report. The Lilí Bastard, hidden within its phase cloak, passed through a small orbiting spacedock that happened to be in the way.
A minute went by and the fighter was making its way through the atmosphere. High above the ground, a clear view of the main control center could be seen. The center was a huge gray building with a long center spire towering a mile into the air, with the complex itself spanning an area roughly the size of a small city. Eight smaller spires reached to the sky at an even radius from the center spire like the spokes in a giant wheel.
Tamsook set the fighter down in a clearing surrounded by tall majestic trees.
"Weíll wait until dark before proceeding. In the meantime, Iíll scan the complex for any weak security spots for entrance. Once through, Iíll patch the information into the psionic link for download."
Marc heard his leader, but was curious about the surrounding area. He stood up and walked to the aft section of the fighter. Marc walked by viewport after viewport looking outside. He stopped at one noticing a small heard of herbivore creatures grazing a few meters from the fighter.
They each had long muzzles filled with flat grass chewing teeth. The creatures had a mix of brown and black colored fur covering their bodies. From his point of view, Marc figured the creatures to be about half a meter high and definitely almost two meters in length. Standing on four powerful looking legs, the creatures looked as though they were made for running and not just for grazing.
Suddenly, as if by chance, the creatures took of in a hurried dash and covered the length of the field in seconds. Marc tried his best to follow the heard by switching viewports, but lost them. So he went back to the one he was at, finding the view interesting. It showed a large part of the field, but also allowed Marc to see, through a gap in the trees, the massive Useran command complex.
In a simple description, the complex was stunning. Marc marveled at the building, seeing how the sunlight bounced off its surface making the building glow. Rising far above the planetís surface, the building was the largest structure on the planet.
Suddenly, Marc felt a hand on his shoulder. He looked over and found Jennifer Malstov beside him.
"Those scans are in if youíre interested?" she asked. Jennifer was half a foot shorter than he was, small and delicate; but she was quick and graceful, with an athletic body. She had brown hair and her eyes were sparkling blue.
Marc turned towards her. "Oh, uh, thanks."
She gave him an odd look then followed Marc back to the cockpit.

Tamsook stood in front of the opened entry plank with the rest of the insertion group outside the ship. He handed each a small black device with one end tapered for the psionic link. Each clone placed the device into their links and instantly they had communication with each other. Though they did not have full telepathy, the only way to communicate was to say what they wanted to say in their mind.
"Right now we can only communicate as a group. We canít talk to each other individually. So keep everything professional." Tamsook thought-said to the group.
A unified, "Understood," echoed back.
"You each have eighteen hours to complete your assigned tasks. Not one second more or less. So, if youíre left behind find some way of returning back to the shipyard. If youíre captured, and you feel no hope of escape- you know where your lullaby pill is. The complex is lightly guarded, but there is still only the one place of entry. Weíll then split up; find out whatever you can and sabotage anything you can. Good luck to you all."
The group then began to move out. Earlier they had chosen their weapons and infiltration gear. Each had taken a small type-1 phaser and a knife. They also had the small datapad that was fit snugly in a pocket, but also some thought it necessary to take a tricorder. Marc opted not to take one, fearing the Userans might track the power signal. He had mentioned that fact, but the others felt confident they could mask the tricorderís signal.
Under the cover of darkness, the black clad group headed across the wide-open prairie to the command complex. A quick wind suddenly cut across their path rustling the short grass, making the only sound within at least a kilometer. The group was more than silent- they were non-existent.
Tamsook lead the group down a small ravine and to the side of the complex. He led them right to where the scans had reported a break in the Useran security net. An air vent covered over by tall bushes was open. Tamsook spread apart several limbs of the bush and peered inside the darkness. He took out his tricorder and started taking readings; Marc was getting ready for the entire Useran army to rain down on them.
But Tamsook then closed the device. "All clear."
Marc eased himself down. "Phew!"
The others looked back at him and smiled. One by one they entered the vent and started slithering to its unknown end. Marc and Jennifer were the last ones to enter.

Surprisingly, the air duct was just a few meters in length to the first stop. Tamsook paused at grate with an almost blinding light seeping through. He took out his small datapad and started looking at a corridor diagram. "Tolden, this is your stop."
Tamsook started inching some more, allowing room for the third man in line to go through the vent. Tolden peered back and forth looking through the grate making sure nobody would see him. Then he unlatched the metal grate and slid out. The person who had been behind Tolden moved up and reattached the grate.
Another vent up and three people got out. That just left Tamsook, Marc, and Jennifer. Again, they slithered forward and came to another.
"Jennifer Malstov, hereís you." Thought-said Tamsook.
Before she unlatched the vent, Marc touched her leg. She looked down at him.
"Be careful," Marc quietly said.
Jennifer reached down to pat his hand. "I will,"
Marc watched her graceful body slide out and out of his sight. He was about to start moving forward again, when he caught Tamsook staring at him. Neither said anything, and continued forward.
"Marc," Tamsook thought.
Marc looked through the vent and saw a small room filled with chairs and a large viewscreen of some kind. A briefing room no doubt. He unlatched the vent covering, but stopped as Tamsook grabbed his arm forcing him to shut the vent.
A Useran security guard appeared through a glass door, and walked by with an energy rifle resting on his shoulder. The guard yawned closing his eyes for a second, with his free hand stretching into the air.
Suddenly, he felt a burst of air seemingly drop behind him. The guard was just about to spin around when a pair of large black hands grasped his head and jerked it to the right. A subtle crack filled the empty air. Marc quickly grabbed the rifle before it fell to the floor letting the body fall to the cool, shiny floor. Against the sterile looking room, Marc looked like some black devilish creature that didnít belong there. Covered entirely in the black, heat absorbing body suit and equally black enhanced vision goggles, Marc began donning the ex-security guardís uniform in hopes of blending in.
All that was left was the guardís face. Marc looked down at the serene guard and stared at the manís face. A response in Marcís brain from his psionic link told him the small computer in his goggles was ready. Activate.
At the command, a holographic projection of the dead guardís face suddenly wrapped around Marcís head covering up his black covered face and the goggles. The guise was complete, except for the fact that Marc looked much bigger than the dead guard because of his body suit under the uniform. Marc then picked up the stiffening guard and stuffed him into the air vent, hoping he wouldnít have to leave that way now.
Marc bent down to retrieve the rifle when another security guard appeared through the clear door.
"Hey, Cordic, whatíd you do, drop your rifle?" the new guard asked walking up to Marc.
Marc turned around to face him, hoping the face projection was working properly. He gave the guard a second to look at him before responding, seeing if he would react negatively or positively. The guard just stared. "Yeah, I," Marc suddenly yawned and stretched out his arm. "Must have dropped it. Iím so tired."
The guard laughed. "Yeah, tell me about it!"
Marc looked down and saw the guardís I.D. tag. It read: Eighth Tac/Sec officer Regi NolíErn. "I think this day will never end!"
"Well at least itís almost over." Regi replied. Then he began looking through the glass door and around the room. "Hey, you want to cut off now? Nothingís goiní on."
Marc thought for a second. He too began to look around the room, nothing looked very important here. There were no computer terminals or anything that said "Top Secret." Of course, Marc knew nothing would actually say that, but hoped nonetheless. "Sure,"
Regi began to walk away, but kept looking at Marc. Then he stopped and looked even harder. "You look bigger to me. Have you been exercising?"
"Uh, well" Marc started but Regi cut in.
"Whereís your security badge?"
Marc looked down on his uniform and didnít see a tag. He looked back up at Regi. "Must have fallen off too."
"Youíd better get it back on!" said Regi with a lot of urgency.
Marc looked around the floor and saw the tag several feet away. Regi followed Marcís gaze to the tag.
"How did it get there?"
Marc went over and picked up the security badge. Regi followed him and looked at it.
"Itís bent!" Regi announced. "How did it get bent?"
"I, uh, dunno." Marc tried to cover. In fact, there was something else he forgot to cover. His hands. They too were covered with the black suit and still were.
Regi suddenly saw Marcís hands. "Youíre not supposed to wear gloves, itís regulation."
"I was cold," Marc replied in a pathetic way.
Regi began shaking his head. "No, no, something is not right here. Too many things are strange with you." As he said that, Regi brought around his rifle to aim at Marc.
Before Regi could though, Marc was already bringing around his foot in a lighting strike to knock the weapon out of his hands. It fell away and banged against a chair, thankfully not going off. Regiís suspicions had just been clarified, and suddenly rushed Marc.
With his head down low and arms stretched out, Regi practically flew at Marc. But Marc simply jumped up and over the charging Regi, landing behind him. In the same quick, fluid motion as before, Marc snapped Regiís neck. The same crack and Regi fell limp.
Marc looked around for a second making sure no one had seen the scuffle. He looked up at the air vent and wondered if there was still some room left. Marc grabbed Regi by the shirt and dragged him along the floor to the air vent. He stopped and took off Regiís I.D. tag. A quick compare and contrast, and Marc found out Regi was higher rank than- Marc looked at the first guardís tag- Tenth Tac/Sec officer Cordic Resterev. He donned Regiís tag and scanned his face to change the disguise.

Jennifer found herself among a whole group of uniformed officers, and she looked like one of them. She had been assigned to examine the Useran tactical arrangements: fleet movements, troop deployment, and other strategic plans. Jennifer sat with the group looking at a screen showing the Nargolis shipyard and the fleet; a man stood at the front pointing out key starships that "needed to be eliminated." One of the starships was the V.T.F. Phantom Lord, Captain Vencorís flagship.
The man in front began taking questions and comments from the assembled group. One officer asked if the shipyard had any starships under construction. The answer was yes. There were some nervous murmurs echoing the answer, when someone asked when the ships might be completed.
The answer was, "I donít know."
More nervous murmurs.
"Theyíre worried about our ships." Jennifer thought, but let it out to the others.
"Find out where their fleet is." Jennifer heard in her thoughts from Tamsook.
"I know my assignment, Tamsook."
"For our sake, I hope so."

Marc could hear the banter erupting between Jennifer and Tamsook while he rummaged through a computer bank. Another dead Useran lay across the room, Marcís knife still in her throat. He noted some important files and downloaded them into his padd; communication logs from war vessels. Marc hadnít the time to see the information, but most of it was centered around on star system. And there was a lot of traffic at the system.
He knew this would back up any information Jennifer might find.
A noise came from down the hallway. Marc perked up- listening; he looked towards the glass door into another small communications room. A shadow was making its way toward him. Marc looked around the roomís walls looking for the light switch. He found it and turned off the lights. The room darkened, with only light from computer screens glowing casting odd shadows on the walls.
Marc crouched and moved toward the dead Useran female communication tech. He ripped his blood-drenched knife from her throat and sat silently, waiting.
The door clicked opened, and a cautious figure moved slowly into the room. With the lights off the person couldnít see properly, but Marcís vision goggles allowed him to see perfectly. Another female Useran was gradually making her way to the roomís light switch.
He could hear her quick nervous breathing like a gale wind in his audio pickups. Marc silently began to make his way toward her. A few feet was all it took and he was right behind her. The lights were still out and he stood up.
She didnít notice him behind her and reached out to the switch. The room instantly lit up like the Fourth of July, and Marc pushed her hard against the wall hoping to break her nose. But the Useran managed to stop herself and back kicked Marc in the gut, sending him backwards. She yelled out a battle cry as she kicked him, drawing in all her strength. The tech saw her attacker, and recognized him.
Marc remembered the knife in his hand, and saw the woman pause to call out Regiís name. With a flick of his wrist, Marc threw the knife. It slid into the womanís forehead with ease dropping her to the floor. Her unconscious body thumped to the ground, sending what she had in her arms sprawling across the floor. Data tablets and information cards skittered and clanged against the highly polished floor making a terrible racket. If the womanís battle cry hadnít aroused any guards, maybe this noise wouldnít either.
"STOP!" A voice yelled from behind Marc.
Marc didnít hesitate and flung himself across the room to the floor as an energy bolt suddenly flew by, missing Marc by inches and burning a hole in the wall. The armed guard ran into the room and turned right expecting to catch the intruder. But when the guard appeared, Marc was nowhere to be seen. The guard saw both of the communication techís bodies; he bent down to check their pulses. Finding none, the guard stood up and went out the other clear, glass door.
Outside in the hallway, the guard went room to room looking for Marc. The hallway had six doors; the guard was at the sixth one. As he began to open it, the door denied him. It was locked.
This shouldnít be locked. He reminded himself and pulled off his I.D. tag. A slot reader was in the door handle, which the guard used and entered his security code. The doorís locking mechanism unlocked and the guard pushed open the door. Once inside, the guard could hear the hum of computer machinery and see computer screens flickering with light. Three Useran techs sat at their computers at the far end of the room.
"Did anyone come in here?" The guard asked.
Without turning around, one of the techs answered, "No, only we have been in here."
"Why was the door locked?"
There was a short hesitation. "We didnít want to be interrupted. We have a lot of work to do."
The guard nodded and left the room. Before he disappeared, "Keep the door unlocked for now on."
"Yes sir."
The guard was gone.
From the center console, Marc appeared still wearing a guardís uniform, but his face disguise was back to just his vision goggles and black covered face. He had his type-1 phaser trained on the techs.
"You," Marc gestured to one of the techs with his phaser. "Your uniform- now!"
The frightened tech looked at the others, another male and one female. She blushed right away, but was too scared to look away. The tech complied and removed his uniform, at the same time Marc took off the old guardís uniform and started putting on the communication techís uniform as he was handed his pieces.
"Thanks, and since I canít have any of you announcing my presence-" Marc began then shot each of them with the phaser on stun sending them to unconscious land.
Suddenly the guard from before appeared. He hadnít left, just disappeared from sight, and listened from the hallway. With his rifle coming to bear on Marc, the guard began to fire. Marc tried to get out of the way, but caught one in the chest.
Smoke began to rise from a motionless Marcís chest. The guard walked toward Marc, who was sprawled on the floor with the tiny phaser spinning slowly around from Marcís grasp.
The guard could smell the residual traces from the energy shots and some chemical like odors, but nothing that smelled like burnt flesh or hair. The guard bent down to examine Marcís hole. With a finger, the guard poked and pulled apart Marcís body suit. The guard saw nothing but melted black material and a partially dented pad that covered Marcís chest.
The energy rifle pointed away from Marcís face, which was good for him as he grabbed the rifle away from a startled guard. Marc then kicked the guard away and shot him once with his own rifle. The guard crashed and slid along the floor against a wall.
Marc paused for a second, listening for any more guards running down the hall. Nothing was approaching; Marc smiled within his facemask. He walked over to the half naked, unconscious communication tech and stared at his face. The goggles reproduced the face and wrapped it around Marcís head. But now he needed another uniform. The other male techís uniform was sufficient.
Marc took out his datapad and marked off the locations he had been at. While he looked at the diagram, Marc took the techís I.D. tag and inserted it into a reader at a computer station. The computer began to display another communications log database. More of the same that Marc had already collected, but this time the traffic was from the complex to the same star system. And the communiqués were from Azak Vencor!
Marc brought up one of the messages.

Azak Vencor to Useran Fleet Admiral Nocktan: Second Star Feeder has been destroyed. My clone has taken several of my tertiary clones hostage and has destroyed the research station. The second support fleet should arrive at your position in three days. However, the fleet will hold its position until I give the word.
I know my cloneís thinking. He is worried about what we will do next. His resistance intelligence teams are ineffective to give him information, so he will attempt to send his own intelligence gathering force. When he does, we will be ready.

Marc suddenly looked up from the screen. "Oh, my god! Tamsook! Tamsook, can you hear me?"
There was no answer.
"Jennifer! Jennifer!" Marc tried again.
He bolted out of the room. Marc ran down the hall, turned left and darted down another. Marc realized he was entering a more heavily populated section of the building when more and more Userans began appearing. He ignored them as he ran down the hall, ignoring their confused glances.
Two guards stood down the hall. They both saw Marc running towards them, his arms pumping back and forth gaining speed.
"Hey! You! Stop!" The guards started saying. Then they brought around their rifles and aimed at Marc.
Marc continued to charge; he saw the muzzles of the energy rifles beginning to point directly at him. Suddenly Marc jumped. The guards followed Marcís form rising into the air. Marc crisscrossed his legs to gain momentum; the right foot caught the guard to his right in the face, snapping his neck in an instant. The other guard caught Marcís left foot also in the face, but he just fell down.
Marc finally landed, and the left guard was beginning to stand again, when Marc kicked him in the gut. A hoot of air escaped the guard and he went down again, but Marc didnít have time to finish the job when he took off again. Sweat began to build and slide down his face.
Where was he headed? He wasnít sure.
Marc took out the datapad and found where Jennifer was supposed to be. Just up ahead and into an open area- another briefing area, but for the top brass.
Marc rounded a corner and came to the open area; it was full of overturned chairs with black burn marks on the walls. A small fire was raging, and Marc coughed once at the unexpected acrid smoke. Long shadowy forms littered the ground, hidden by the smoke.
He knew they were bodies. "Jennifer?"
There was still no answer.
"Jennifer!" Marc yelled.
A dark figure appeared in the smoke. Marc looked at the figure. Suddenly a green lance shot through the smoke and past Marc. Marc dodged easily and found his small phaser. A return golden beam shot at the figure with deadly accuracy.
Marc leaped over some overturned chairs and climbed up a set of steps to the fallen figure that turned out to be another guard. He was still alive.
"Where did you take her?" Marc yelled grabbing the guard by the lapels.
Groggy from Marcís phaser blast, the guard mumbled something.
"Interrogation room 3."
Marc released the guard, and then brought out his datapad again. From the diagram, there were a series of small room just down a corridor and to the left. He took off again.
He came to the long arrangement of rooms, much like the hallway of communication rooms Marc had been in. Marc counted the numbers on the doors and came to the third interrogation room.
Marcís hand paused over the door handle. He suddenly looked back the way he came. The smoke had followed him and was beginning to fill the corridor. But he noticed something else- no one was here putting out the fire. No other guards, no base personnel, nothing. Marc still had the phaser in his hand and the communication techís uniform on, but the face disguise had been turned off and he was nothing but a black-faced insertion agent with big goggles on. The ruse was over; Marc removed his head coverings and shook loose his short blonde hair.

Nonchalantly, Marc opened the door. It swung open on hydraulically assisted hinges revealing two-dozen people. Most of them were guards, and some of them were pointing rifles at him, while more pointed their rifles at a group of similarly black clothed insertion agents. Two of the agents lay dead on the floor, pools of crimson blood surrounding them. They had been repeatedly shot, with all traces of their former identities morbidly melted away.
Standing behind the kneeling captured agents was a shocking man. A man with dark brown hair and a stone chiseled face. A long scar ran down from his forehead down to his chin. Big and imposing, covered in glistening armor, the man looked like Captain Vencor.
"Finally, the last one. And caught with no further loss of life." Vencor said.
Marc looked at the remaining agents: Tamsook Sintheponthai, Tolden Reeves, Jennifer Malstov, and Sito Koss. They all had their hands on their heads and were looking at Marc with submissive expressions.
"Itís a trap Marc. You should have left while you had the chance." Tamsook said sounding defeated and too tired to scold Marc. His face was covered in bruises and cuts. The rest were relatively untouched.
"I know." He replied to Tamsook. "I saw the transmission, Vencor, to your fleet in the Barvez system."
Vencor looked confused. "You knew about my trap? And yet you still came?"
Marc nodded.
Vencor began to laugh. "And here I was worried about my cloneís chance of victory. Itís impossible to think he could win by sending incompetent fools such as yourselves."
"Donít underestimate Captain Vencor, yet."
"Oh, really! Why shouldnít I?" Vencor asked.
"Because he might not even exist." Marc replied.
Vencor squinted his eyes closed turning over the statement, but didnít ponder for more than a nanosecond when Marcís form began to fizzle out of focus, then totally disappeared. Nothing but a pair of black goggles occupied the space where Marc had just been.
Vencor was about to yell out some orders, to the effect of finding Marc, when the lights cut out. Just as the room plunged into darkness, the pitter-patter of heavy footfalls echoed in the silenceófollowing that, the sound of body hits and men gasping at an unknown attacker. Bodies began to fall, their forms hammering against the ground.
Then there was silence again.
Jennifer heard some voices behind her.
"Iím going to save you for the captain."
"Go ahead, there are plenty more of me."
Then Jennifer heard and felt as one last body fell against her. But before she could either complain or do anything, she was suddenly grabbed by the arm and stood up.
"Head for the door, Jennifer." She heard Marc tell her.
The door had been directly a head of her and slightly two degrees to her left. She began to walk, but suddenly stepped on something- rather somebody.
She finally reached the wall, and began to feel around for the handle. She found it and opened the door, which flooded in bright light from the corridor. Jennifer looked back to the room and saw that all the guards were on the ground unconscious. She couldnít believe it; it was impossible. But it wasnít, an ancient Earth martial arts had given Marc and the rest of the agents the skills necessary to accomplish such a feat. Ninjitsu.
She also saw Vencor on the floor, where she had been. Was that the Azak Vencor, or just another clone? Jennifer didnít have time to discuss such things with herself, because the rest of the agents were walking toward her.
"Has everyone gathered the intelligence they needed?" Tamsook asked while leaning on Tolden for support.
"I managed to secure some fleet movements, but not the whole thing." Reported Jennifer.
"I was able to take a look at their current supply lines." Tolden announced.
"There were no more technology reports." Sito added.
"Yeah, most of the Useran army has been sent to a resistance world, and most of the marine battalions transferred to the fleet in the Barvez system." Said Tamsook.
"How many ships?"
"About fifty."
"I hope they have enough."
"Yeah, I hope we do too."
Tamsook unhooked and unzipped a portion of his black uniform, pulling phaser padding away from a concealed communicator. He tapped the silver and golden device. "Tamsook to Lilí Bastard. Seven to beam out."
The five remaining and the two deceased agents disappeared from the complex and reappeared in the small transporter room aboard the fighter.
Tolden quickstepped to the cockpit and reactivated the fighterís engines. Marc followed, while Jennifer and Sito put Tamsook onto a biobed for treatment of his wounds.
Tolden was looking over the impulse engine readout when Marc looked up from his scanners. "We have three Useran wedge fighters coming at us."
"Have they detected us?" asked Tolden.
"I donít think so, but they might have traced our transporter activity."
Tolden nodded. "Well, weíd better be on our way then."
The cloaked fighter lifted off from the ground, itís wings folding out from underneath the fuselage. Marc pointed at three luminous blips rapidly approaching from over the command complex.
Tolden plotted a course back into space and rocketed the fighter to full impulse. The three fighters passed them at high speed. Suddenly, the fighters began to strafe the ground where the fighter had once been, hoping to destroy them.
The fighter finally shot into warp leaving the Useran world behind.

S13 - The Time To Strike
Azak Vencor pulled himself up from the ground, his head throbbing. He lazily looked around the room, seeing others starting to regain consciousness as well. Heíd been made a fool of. The abomination had made some sort of intelligence group to infiltrate the compound. He didnít give the abomination enough credit; this war was going to be interesting.
A helpful guard came over to help Azak Vencor up.
"Get away from me!" Vencor shouted, and threw the guard against the wall. He then composed himself and stormed out of the room.
Azak Vencor immediately headed for the main control station high in the central spire.
"Contact the Dinnteppo, have them send down a shuttle to pick me up." Vencor ordered to a pitiful looking creature, whose body was ravaged by Vencorís own hand.
"Yes, my master," it replied.
Minutes later a small blocky shuttle appeared hovering close to the spire, a boarding tube emerged from the ship and attached to a docking port. Vencor was soon aboard, and the shuttle sped away back into space.
A large Useran war cruiser sat motionless in orbit around the planet, the tiny shuttle nothing more than a silvery speck against the cruiserís hull. It soon disappeared inside, and the cruiser then disappeared into warp.
Vencor strode to the front of the bridge. Officers and slaves occupied stations all around him with a single center chair where Vencor stood facing the viewscreen. "Contact the fleet in the Barvez system, tell them to plot a course to the Nargolis shipyard and engage at full warp speed."
"Yes, my master,"
"What of your trap, master?" asked a slim officer coming to take his place beside Vencor.
"It has failed. I underestimated the abominationís cloning skills." Vencor replied. "But it will not matter soon. We will destroy his fleet and kill all those who oppose me."
"Of course, my master."

Captain Azak Vencor watched his Lilí Bastard land in the shuttle bay of the Phantom Lord. He then saw four agents walk out, but carried Tamsook on a stretcher. Medical teams were around them in seconds to take care of Tamsook.
The team assembled in a straight line with Marc at the end.
"Sir, weíve managed to pin point the location of the Useran armada. Theyíre in the Barvez system, sir." Tolden reported.
Vencor didnít waste time. "Vencor, to Admiral Hodge." He said into his communicator, the device sticking out like a star against his civilian clothes, and waited for the response.
"Hodge here, captain."
Azak smiled. "Set your course for the Barvez system, admiral. Weíre taking the initiative."
"Understood, Hodge out."
Azak turned to his insertion team. "Good work. Iím sorry about Rivers and Matoka. Theyíll receive a heroís burial."
"Captain," Marc spoke up.
Azak turned to regard Marc. "Yes, Mr. Silco?"
"Azak Vencor was there, waiting for us." Marc reported.
Azak squinted at Marc, as if he had just said something incomprehensible, and walked closer to Marc. "What?"
"I believe it was him. Your original."
Azak began shaking his head. "He was probably just a clone."
Marc considered the statement, but something within him told him that wasnít true. "No, sir, I believe it was him."
"How do you know?" Vencor wondered.
"Iím not sure, sir. I just do."
Azak placed a hand on Marcís shoulder. "If it was him, then weíll just have to kill him a second time."

Continued in Part VI >>

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