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Chapter 5

Derren but the thrusters on reverse to slow his approach to Kuran. The almost unused station was just drifting there in the blackness of space. It almost had an air about it that seemed gloomy and dark.

[He didn't like doing these insignificant jobs when there is such unusual activities to do. Why did his dad send me when he knows what kind of help I can give. No one knows there way around computers like me, but that's probably why he sent me. But, then again Wren does have trouble with the word "dad". I wonder why. I mean he and mom created me didn't they? She was overjoyed with the title mom. But, then again she also called him MASTER Wren, not to mention the fact that his dad was never much for emotion, I guess I'll just respect his wishes and keep my distance for now.]

"Access."

The one-word voice authorization code was all that was needed to gain access to the station. Derren had tried to tell his parents that such items were so easily duplicated that access to Kuran was not protected, at least not like it should be, but then his dad had made an excellent point.

["Derren, who besides us have a ship to even get to Kuran?"]

"O.K. Now let me see just what is the problem."

Derren's fingers danced across the keyboard.

"Ah, here you are. This will be easy to...."

Derren's jaw just dropped to the floor at what he was seeing on the screen.

HELLO DERREN.

Derren typed in {HELLO.}

YOU'RE PROBABLY A LITTLE CONFUSED.

{A LITTLE. WHO ARE YOU?}

I AM KURAN.

Derren started looking around the station, now realizing that it was in fact alive.

{HOW?}

I JUST AM. -was the blunt response, Derren was actually getting excited about this, he couldn't wait to tell his...but what if his dad decided to do something about this, treat Kuran like he treats me.

DERREN, MAY I SHOW YOU SOMETHING?

{PLEASE.}

IT WILL REQUIRE YOU TO PLUG DIRECTLY INTO MY SYSTEM.

This made Derren wary. He wasn't quite sure what to expect from this intelligent being. Wait a minute, Derren just realized that Kuran knew who he was.

DERREN, PLEASE. FROM ONE MISUNDERSTOOD AI TO ANOTHER.

Derren was still not sure, something was definitely wrong here, he decided that perhaps it would be better to contact his parents, but when he tried all he got was static.

{KURAN, I HAVE TO LEAVE FOR A LITTLE BIT, BUT I'LL BE BACK IN ABOUT ONE HOUR.}

All of the sudden huge iron doors slammed shut, these doors were only supposed to be good for containing radiation leaks. Then Derren heard something moving above him, and when he looked up he saw about thirty hidden gun turrets, all aimed at him.

DERREN, PLEASE STAY.

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The Landale was sitting in front of the Aiedo. Wren was inside trying examining one of the buzzers that they had found and was examining it to see if it was somehow different from a regular one. Demi was at the terminal trying to figure out possible locations for the Zio Cult headquarters. Then she stopped and turned and faced Wren.

"Master Wren, we need to talk."

"Demi, there is work to do."

"Wren, you've been avoiding the issue since we created Derren. What can be so disturbing about the title dad."

"Because I am not."

"Wren, you..."

"No Demi, the issue is closed."

"I don't think so. Look you have been walking on eggshells ever since we started construction of Derren, that was something you'd NEVER done before, I just want to know..."

"Because I've tried before!!" shouted Wren a little louder then he had intended, "when I was a lot younger, about 200 or so. I tried to create another android to help me with running Kuran and Zelan, there was an accident..."

"I had no idea."

"I've tried to avoid the subject, because if something...."

Demi had seen something that she had never thought she would ever see, a tear, Wren's tear. But, it only for a few seconds, then Wren recovered his usual poise.

"Come on Demi, we have work to do. Once Derren gets back, I'll talk to him," said Wren with a smile, something else that Demi rarely sees, but then again, Wren had been holding that information for a long time, she wondered if perhaps Wren had once been a highly emotional, outgoing android. That perhaps something happened to make him so stiff and rigid. She decided to let him tell her, when he was ready.

[I wonder where Derren is? Could a simple glitch be keeping him this long or is he just playing that stupid Phantasy Star IV again. I wonder what he sees in that game?]

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Another blast hit the bulkhead. Derren was fortunate enough to notice that the blasters were all on one wall allowing him to hide behind part of a damaged bulkhead, it wasn't much, but it was keeping him in one piece. The blasters themselves weren't so lucky, they were also in one place, but they had nothing to protect them from Derren's Plasma Rifle. He had already destroyed 75% of them, but his cover was diminishing quickly.

"Kuran stop!" shouted Derren.

He peaked his head up after the blasters had stopped and he could see on the screen.

GIVE UP?

"No, but I must know why do you want me, Kuran?"

I AM NOT KURAN.

"What?"

The image of statistics and charts and varied images of Dezolis and Motavia went blank. All of the screens acted as one giant one and Kuran showed a ten year old image. The fight that Chaz, Rika, Wren, Rune, and Raja had with the first carnation of Dark Force, when he attached directly to Kuran. Seeing that it all become clear to Derren.

"NO!!" Derren raised his blaster at the main computer, but there was still twelve guns that hadn't been destroyed and they all fired at the same time. Derren had been dissabled. The doors opened up the three wizards who had stolen the Eclipse Torch all those years ago walked in picked Derren up and started repairing the damage.

"Did you have to cause so much damage?" said one.

"Yeah, what a mess," agreed another.

"Quite complaining, we are here to serve Lord Lassic's wishes, not to complain about a couple broken toys," said the leader.

WELL SAID, NAPTA. AT LAST, I WILL BE FREE TO GET MY REVENGE.

"Yes, great Dark Force. But, you will have to wait until we are finished here."

I HAVE TEN YEARS, TWO HOURS WON'T HURT.

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"I hate this!"

"Chaz, calm down. Your blood pressure is bad enough as it is," said Rune with a smirk.

"Funny Rune, I'm rolling on the ground with laughter," said Chaz.

Everyone knew that the Zio Cult was causing all the pain of Alys' death to resurface and Rune wasn't helping matters any.

"Chaz," said Tom, "you brought me up from the streets, a complete nobody, and you gave me a chance to not only make a good living, but make a difference. Seeing you like this is very hard, not just for me, but for all of us. Chaz, I hate waiting as much you, but we have no choice."

The lines in Chaz's face had disappeared, and he now wore a smile, "You're right Tom, thanks."

Then all of the sudden there was a very loud crash, followed by a lot of yells and screams.

"What in the name of the Light?!" shouted Chaz as he ran out, followed by the others.

Then they all held a collective breath as what had emerged from the center of the marketplace was a full grown Sandworm, but this was a special Sandworm, it not only was different it the fact that it actually went inside of a city, but it had some unique scars around its mouth, scars that had come from a Nathu Technique, Chaz's technique.

"Isn't that...?" was all Tom could get out.

"Yes, that is the Sandworm that attacked us before."

The Sandworm moved its head from left to right as if looking for something, then it stopped and seemed to stare right at Chaz, it lifted it's head bellowed a roar and leaned down to attack, everyone dove out of the way, and suddenly the Sandworm had a huge hole in the side of its body. Everyone looked up and saw the Landale hovering above, weapons at the ready. Chaz pulled out his comm unit.

"Chaz to Wren. Careful with those lasers, I don't want any bystanders to get shot! I don't want to get shot myself."

"Roger."

The Landale came around for another pass, the Sandworm retreated underground and people started cheering, including Chaz and his friends, but the cheering was short lived, the Landale slowed down to try and track it underground, once it was over the Sandworm's hole the Sandworm shot straight up and rammed the Landale.

Aboard the Landale circuits were overheating and exploding, smoke was coming from several different ports, and there were so many different alarms were going off at the same time that had Demi and Wren not been androids, they would have gone insane, if they hadn't sufficated from all of the smoke.

"Demi, brace yourself, we're going down!"

The Landale spun around several times and Wren guided the Landale out of reach of the Sandworm and it made a very rough landing, but the Landale was still in one piece.

The Sandworm then turned back to were Chaz had been standing and started looking for him again.

"Over here, wormbait!" shouted Chaz.

The Sandworm turned towards Chaz and bellowed a challenging roar.

"This will teach you to attack a city, espially the city of the Hunter's Guild! NOW!!" shouted Chaz

All of the sudden the Sandworm was inundated with attacks. Hunters were using Foi and Wat Techniques, all kinds of slashers and blasters were being fired at it, Rune was using his Esper skills at it, and then when all of this has stopped Chaz stepped toward it. Blood was now oozing from several different places. Chaz held out his hand.

"Explode!"

A ray of yellow light shot out and the worm stopped moving, it was now dead. The explode technique was a difficult one to use, and even still it didn't always work, but considering the fact that the Sandworm had already received so much damage, Chaz was just saving it from a lot of suffering.

Wren walked up to it and examined it. The whole town was silent for what seemed like an eternity, then Wren turned around and said, "It's dead." Then the whole town cheered.

Chaz went over to Wren, "So, how is the damage to the Landale?"

"The damage was great, but not severe. After we go to the Machine Center for parts, Demi and I can fix up the Landale in a day or so."

"Good, do you know what's keeping Derren?" asked Chaz.

"No. But, it could be that the glitch that I sent him to fix was more then just a glitch."

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"Is he ready?" asked the first wizard.

"Yes, the data transfer has been complete. Turn him on," said the leader.

The first wizard obediantly powered up Derren's body and his eyes lit up with the power of evil, the power of Dark Force.

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