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Chapter 23

Chaz looks outward. All around him, there is nothing but red. An aura. He can't feel anything. His paralysis suddenly coming to the surface, along with a sudden panic. But, he couldn't move. He couldn't talk. He wasn't even sure if he was breathing. But, he was. All he could do now was wait.

Chaz's sister always kept an ever vigilant watch over her brother. Well, her half-brother, but it didn't matter, this was the first shot at family that she has had, and she didn't want it to end. Not like this. Whatever THIS was.

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Rune, in the meantime stayed with the orb that contains all the memories of the many Lutz's of before. There had to be a clue. There had to be some sign, or signal, or ANYTHING that could tell what had happened to...wait a second. He then decided that he would try and find the simplest of things. A memory of smell, taste, or something of that sort.

"I should have known." growls Rune and he gets up to leave.

"Any luck, Reverent One?"

"Actually yes." he says in a slightly colder tone.

"Dare I ask?" asks the old Guardian to the Ancient Room.

"That is not the Telepathy Ball at all. It's a fake. A nice copy, but I should have known that memories can't be just erased like that. Even from a device like that of the Telepathy Ball."

"Why?"

"First, to prevent us from and finding out about Chaz, and second, to buy them some time to allow whatever is happening to Chaz, happen."

"And it worked." says the old man grimly.

"I'm afraid so."

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"GASP!"

Rika sat up suddenly in bed. She was covered in perspiration, and breathing heavy as if running from something, or having some kind of terrible nightmare. But she couldn't remember a darn thing. It was always the same.

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"Master?"

"I don't have time for this, Forsha."

"It's Rika. She's been having some nightmares, and some of the Dark Espers have heard her talking about wanting to go home. The spell is wearing off."

"I've never heard of the spell wearing off this quickly."

"Master, she is a Numan, but she has a good heart unlike Neifirst. And her even higher metabolism..."

"Damn, When one thing goes wrong, they go wrong in groups. She would have made some good leverage, but I don't have the time or patience to subdue her mind again. Kill her."

"With pleasure, master." says Forsha with an evil grin. Who then spins on his heels and signals with a simple hand gesture for five other Dark Espers to follow.

"Master." says an Esper underling named Yamotaro.

"This better be good news." growls the master, but the small Esper stands his ground. Meaning that it was good news indeed, or the little guy has got guts of Laconian. "Well?"

"The Zelan virus is ready, master."

The master grins a dark smile. "Transmit." he says in a cold voice.

The small Esper smiles, spins on one heel and heads to the nearby computer terminal.

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Tom gets up from the ground, his strength slowly coming back to him. He wanted to get back at this Forsha for what he was doing, but he wasn't about to stop now. He brushed himself off, as best he could. His arm burned quite a bit, and he found out that low and behold, his arm was bleeding a bit. So, he tore up his robe, as best he could with his feet and his one good arm, and made a few makeshift sling for his wounded arm. At least he got the bleeding to stop, for now. He looked at the metal door. Normally an easy obstacle to bypass with a simple magic blast, but with that magic suppression forcefield, such was an impossibility. Then, he heard the scream.

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"But, Chaz wants you dead, my dear." says Forsha with an evil smile.

"CHAZ!" screams Rika, not quite sure what to make of what is going on, her head throbbed. "Chaz help me!"

"Apparently, you just don't understand. hee hee hee" laughs Forsha with a just a touch of evil. He was enjoying this far too much.

"Forsha, let's just get this over with."

"Now, now, my dear man. You have to have a little bit of fun in life."

"Forsha." thinks Rika, "Now why do I know that name?" She then lets out a scream as a Flaeli burns her, quite badly, on the shoulder, scarring the skin, and burning her hair and clothes there. She then decides to act, and with some very quick fluid movements breaks several ribs on each of the Espers and clocks Forsha in the jaw several times before bolting down a nearby corridor.

"After her!" orders Forsha casting NaSar on the group, helping their injuries, but their bones will still have to be reset. They had underestimated Rika. The Master won't be too happy if he were to find out.

"Help!" cries out Rika, not sure if anyone out there would even be willing to help her.

"Rika?" calls out an unfamiliar voice, "Is that you?"

Rika, not sure what to make of this new source. It could be a trap set by her attackers. After all, they had underestimated her before, it is doubtful that they would be stupid enough to do so again. Having little choice, and few options available, she decides that she is going to have to trust this stranger. She finds herself in a prison area of sorts. Which had surprisingly little security. Actually there was nobody here, and she was now trapped, as there was only one way in or out. "Oh no."

"Rika?"

Someone was in one of the cells. Could she trust a prisoner? He was probably desperate, but then again, if he was imprisoned, then he was an enemy to her apparent enemy. That makes him a potential ally. "Who are you?"

"It's Tom! Rika, you have to get me out of here!"

"How do I know you?"

"Damn, what have they done? What's wrong with you? Nevermind that. They won't be gone long, and I don't want to be here when that Forsha returns."

"Forsha...OK, what kind I do to get you out of there, I don't have any keys, and this door is too big and heavy for me to do anything about."

"There should be a generator nearby. It is suppressing my ability to do magic. If you find a way to deactivate it, or destroy it, then I could simply blast it off its..."

There was a sudden explosion, as a flash of red nearly hits Rika, but explodes, as it hits the outside of the anti-magic bubble just ten feet in front of her. Down at the end of the hallway, she sees a generator of sorts, bolting down towards it, she grabs a large unused pipe en route.

"Wait!" shouts the dark Esper firing another spell which again hits the barrier, he then runs after her, but he knows that he won't reach her in time. And halfway down the hallway, he gets caught in a flying door, thanks to a NaFoi spell used by Tom. He steps out and runs down towards Rika who stands defensively.

"Easy Rika. I'm a friend." He places a hand gently on her forehead, and the clouds started to clear from Rika's mind. Slowly at first, then very quickly dispersed. "There."

Rika looks up, and drops the pipe, "Tom." she says with teary eyes, and embraces him. Tom yells out, and Rika notices the blood stains on his Esper Uniform, she quickly uses a NaRes on him.

"Thanks. Now let's get out of here."

"With pleasure."

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Wren yells out as sparks fly from him and the circuitboards.

Demi is there instantly, "Wren, what is it?"

Wren gets up gingerly, "Some kind of power overload. I was just kicked off the computer outlets. What's this?"

"Looks like some kind of power relay."

"Yes, it is. It's the booster rockets. But, this station wasn't designed for light speed travel. It would tear apart...oh no."

"Someone is going to wreck it into one of the planets? Why?"

"I'm more worried about how."

"Wren!"

"Look, if we find out how, then maybe we can stop it."

"The systems are being reset. I'm getting locked out. I think it's a virus."

"I'm never seen a virus like this."

An explosion rocked the station.

"Now what?" growls Wren trying feverishly to hack into the system.

"It was the shuttle bay." says Demi, "And communication is down, we're stuck here, and we have no way of warning anybody."

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