Rifts End Game.
Disclaimer: I do not claim to own any of this. Buffy belongs to Joss Whedon and RIFTS belongs to Palladium and Spiderman belongs to Marvel Comics.
Part I- The General.
Over the Avatar network a conference was taking place. Nemo was telling Mark and Xander to kicking the afterburners. They were reaching a critical point that would collapse from its own weight if they couldn't achieve their goals on time.
They had to get the NGR on board as soon as possible. They had to get the NGR Fleet in the area to agree to a rendezvous and a get them to join in the most ambitious ritual attempt ever. After getting all that done they still had to deal with the main Naut'Yll invasion Fleet.
All this, hinged on convincing an old general that his country's future would be better severed if they were to join forces. To convince him of his own free will, in the next few hours and have him do the same herculean feat and convince the Fleet to do the same thing of their own free will without the NGR and Triax governing bodies giving the go ahead.
In essence convincing the brilliant men and women commanding the NGR Fleet that their future and fortunes would be better served if they were to cement an alliance with two completely different forces. Forces that they have just met, in a matter of hours, on the word of one retired active combat general and his junior officers.
They were deep in discussion, while Nemo was playing the genial host. Buying them the time to get here before the deal gets harder to sell from the get go. They had to sell this man and sell him hard. There was no other way.
They had to overwhelm him, and pile it on and escalate from the first effort to a grand slam finish that he could sell to his government. So that his government wouldn't be forced to cut him, and all the forces they were trying to get on their side, as contaminated goods. The NGR was fully capable of doing just that. Their evidence had to be comprehensive and overwhelming.
Mark and Xander were still a few minutes out. They were about to burn out their engines from the heat. They were prepared to do just that. They had to get there on time. Like Nemo said it was getting critical. They had already exceed the speed and the structural limits, that the over sized engines had ever had to meet outside of a laboratory conditions.
As they raced through the clear blue Pacific sky, they started to hear the warning of an engine in trouble. The pinging and popping noise of metal cooking and melting under the high heat condition generated by the fusion engines. Conditions they were subjecting it to, on purpose. It was getting close to the point where they either ditched their ride or slowed down enough to allow the engines the time to cool down enough so they could continue on their way.
* Heads up gentlemen. You're just taking too much time here. These boys are here to give you a lift.* What Nemo didn't tell them was, as they saw the flight of Sea Hawks race towards them was the Naut'Yll Leaper submersible squadrons about to intercept them.
God he loved this point of view. The Avatar network had already notified him of the problem. He diverted the appropriate forces necessary to deal with the Aliens and get his late partners back to the Ticonderoga on time.
Mark and Xander were concentrating on their own efforts to get to their destination. They weren't paying the attention needed to keep current on what was going on all about them. They trusted Nemo to do that for them, and he didn't let them down.
The two Power Armor pilots hitched a ride on the supersonic fighters. As they did so they became aware of the bigger picture. While their attention was diverted they were about to be ambushed by the Naut'Yll squadrons. However turn about was fair play. Nemo used them as bait. For Xander this wasn't so unusual. As for Mark, well he blamed Xander. After all he's never been in this bait position before. However since meeting the human trouble magnet, it just seems to have opened so many more opportunities and experiences. Oh Joy.
Nemo turned the Supersonic stealth Sea hawks loose on the over matched Naut'Yl. While the Naut'Yll could almost match anything the humans could field beneath the waters aside from the Ticonderoga that is, above was another matter altogether. After all they were an underwater species that used inter dimensional magic created Rifts to travel between planets. Air power was never developed to where their technology could take it.
What they had was a solid and reliable submersible aircraft, in Rifts Earth, it was hopelessly over matched by almost everyone they've come against. A raid against a Coalition town failed catastrophically when a wing of Nightwing jets happened to arrive. The CS jets slaughtered the slow moving and relatively fragile Leapers. The South American powers in the South Atlantic. To the North and central Atlantic the Splugorth and Kittani air power put them down every time they've met. In the North Atlantic, even they weren't stupid enough to go against the might of the NGR air power.
Here, against the New Navy they were even at more of a disadvantage than anything they could come up against anywhere in the world. The Navy had a tradition of being The Power in the Pacific. From the time before the coming of the Rifts. Almost from World War II on. In fact it started from the late nineteenth century and the only time they were seriously challenged was the fighting against the Japanese Empire in World War II.
As far as the Navy was concerned, they owned these waters. This was a sentiment felt by every Marine and Sailor in the Fleet. They were about to prove to the Naut'Yll yet again why it wasn't a good idea to challenge the Nay for Air Superiority in their own backyard. As far as they were concerned the Pacific was just that. Their backyard. End of discussion.
The Stealth Sea Hawks led the way. Invisible to the naked eye, thanks to the nanoweave technology that has crept into almost every piece of technology that the Navy owned. Invisible as well to the to the sensors used by almost every power on the planet. These planes got close while the main strike wings started the fight with their standard long range missile barrage. As the missiles led the way the Stealth fighters got in the middle of the barrage and fired on the Naut'Yll with everything they had, from the very center of the bombardment.
As the Leapers targeted the missiles with their own mini missile barrage, the Stealth ionic energy weapons ripped into them. At the close range they were firing from, they rarely missed a shot. Along with the long range missile barrage and the unexpected energy bombardment the squadron was shattered. Unfortunately for the Stealth fighters these were only the the forward elements of a vast attack front.
Every Leaper squadron in the Naut'Yll arsenal was on its way towards the last reported position of the New Navy's First Fleet. Captain Nemo Dobson had a front seat view of it all. He was about to share that view with his guests. By the time the Sea Hawks took out the first squadron, Mark and Xander made it to the Ticonderoga's flight deck. They quickly got out of the Power Armor and made their way to the bridge. On the way their nanoweave suits reconfigured themselves into, for Mark a New Navy uniform. For Xander it was his Big Game Hunter outfit. It felt the same, it looked the same until someone shot you. That's when the difference became evident.
As they entered the bridge, Nemo had a holographic representation of the air battle underway, displayed in the center of the bridge. He had Archie reconfigure the center of the bridge into a display area. After all he couldn't leave the bridge to monitor the ongoing battles every time he had to interact with his forces in the field. He still had a ship to run.
Those not busy at their stations were observing the fight. Among them, General Smith and his nephew, the intelligence officer leading the Juicer Mercenary company, young Johan Smith.
Johan saw the two Alpha enter the bridge and smiled. " Uncle I would like to introduce you the man responsible for sharing the cure and the nano technology with us. Xander Harris. Watcher and commander of the African Armies."
That simple statement halted Xander in his tracks. Since when was he the Commander of anything but his own ragtag group of mismatched misfits and dimensional refugees.
Mark ran into Xander's back, as the young man abruptly stopped in the middle of the doorway. He had a good idea what stopped the young man in his tracks like that. After all that things he managed to accomplish since his arrival in Rifts Earth. He still had these moments, moments when the condition known only to the inner circle, or as they liked to jokingly call themselves in private the Rifts Scoobies. He still fell to the dreaded Zeppo condition. A condition when certain social situations forced him into the lime light. Conditions where he still doubted himself, his capabilities and his self worth.
Mark was reassured by that all too human failing. As it never reared its head in any combat situations. Only in social gatherings such as this. But these gatherings had their dangers as well and now as they say, 'This so was not the time.'
Xander recovered quickly, as these situation were getting to be more common it was taking less and less time to recover from the shock of still being addressed as the commander of anything bigger than his small group.
" Hey Johan, how are you?" Xander greets the younger man. " It's nice to meet you as well, but I must say, I'm curious. Why are you guys here, on the bridge?" Xander asks as he shakes the older man's hand.
"Nice to meet you as well young man. I am curious as well as to why we're meeting here as well." General Smith replies as he shakes Xander's hand and directs his inquiry to Nemo. " Captain, when will your commanding officer arrive? At the very least, one of your senior commanders should be here for this."
Mark chuckles at the general's question. He's not sure why the captain hasn't told the old man that he was the high command.
General smith bristles slightly. He wasn't used to people ignoring his requests like this. True he was on ship of tremendous power. In the middle of of a Fleet with enough manpower to field several armies. But these people already knew who he was and the least they could do was get him in touch with the admiral commanding this Fleet. Getting these people as allies was a high priority but the NGR was world power and they would not be ignored.
That's when things began to get even more confusing. The Captain was obviously not amused by his subordinates actions. He wouldn't be happy himself if a junior officer showed his amusement at a visiting General's confusion.
" General Winters I believe that you owe General smith an apology." Captain Nemo Dobson tells Mark without letting his irritation at the former SEAL commander show.
" General? since when. I'm retired. You cannot make me a General. I'm too young." Mark protests.
" Hey congrats, on the undeserved err... that's uh what I meant to say, unwanted promotion. Yeah that's it. Heh, just kidding. Its deserved as well I'm sure." Xander says as he ducks a swat from his irritated friend.
" May I ask. What is going on here?" The German commander ask in a polite but clipped inquiry.
" General that, expletive deleted, comedian is Captain Nemo Dobson. The commanding officer of the Ticonderoga and by extension the commander of the Navy's First Fleet and to top it all off, The Leader of the Navy's Fleet Command. Or if you prefer the High Commander." Mark tells the incredulous German General.
" That means the buck stops right there. If it's an alliance you want to discuss, he's the man. The civilian government will follow his lead in these situations. If you want an alliance, convince him." Mark explains the situation to the old man. He's always been a direct man and in this case it was better to be as direct as possible.
" Thank for clearing the atmosphere General Winters. I am in your debt." Kurt tells him.
Mark however, waves that notion away. " There's not debt here Kurt. Call me Mark by the way. Do you mind if I call you Kurt? I've been a fan of your work for some time now. Always a pleasure to work with a professional."
" Yes, you may, but I have to ask how do you people know who I am?" The commander of the NGR intelligence section asks.
" Don't take this the wrong way Kurt, but we've been watching you guys for years. We've also been keeping an eye out for your naval forces as well. We've even lent out a hand now and then but until you and us as well, were ready for an alliance, we weren't about to announce ourselves just yet. The situation however has gotten quite serious as of late and the more friends one has at the moment the better." Mark explains again.
Kurt nods his head in acknowledgment. He understood the security concerns very well indeed. He was in the business himself. You had to confirm your facts before you rush in. These were prudent people. It would be good to finally work with professionals. Not at all like the human kingdoms that depended on the NGR for security. Like the Russian collectives and the Polish kingdom.
" General I do apologize for the slight misdirection. I just wanted to see first hand your reactions to different situation. I wanted to know what kind of man I will be dealing with. No hard feelings?" Nemo says as he extends his hand in offering a fresh start.
Kurt sighs. ' Finally the masks are coming down. If he didn't so enjoy this game he would have retired long ago. But oh, the challenges.' Kurt takes the offered hand, for the peace offering that it represents and shakes the young man's hand firmly.
" I have to ask. Are you not a little young to be given such a high command position? no offense intended to your abilities, but usually one sees more seasoned officers in such positions of responsibility." Kurt asks.
This time the answer came from his nephew. " Uncle I think that you should ask the good captain for his age." When Kurt looked at his nephew he saw that he had that smirk that reminded him of the look he still got when he was up to no good.
' I am surrounded by children. God if we didn't need them to fight our wars I would strangle every single evil one of them.' Kurt again sighed internally and asked.
" Captain how old are you?" He then thought about his question and added " Are you human?" one never knew these days.
Captain Nemo Dobson looked at the man in front of him. He still looked powerful, unbent by the pressures of the hard life he had endured. He well knew the bio for this man and what has lived through.
" General I was born to Nemo Dobson on this planet. My parents were human and when I was born the Rifts were less las two years in the making. My Father was the original captain of the Ticonderoga. We are the survivors of the what was left of the American Navy in the Pacific. At the age of twenty I was placed in command of this ship for the first time. This was not due to my brilliance alone but due mostly to the fact that the navy had by this time had suffered so many losses from the constant strife that was and still ever present with us to this day, that I was the most qualified to lead from my age group. This means that I am three hundred years of age and have been in command of the Ticonderoga for over two hundred and eighty of those years." Nemo falls silent to let the general digest the bomb shell that fell into his lap.
' God if what he says is true he must have gone through the almost every traumatic event of our age. How is this man still sane?' . " So. What's the secret of your longevity? You don't look a day over twenty five from what I can determine" He asks trying to too show any confusion.
Everyone smiles at that final question. " That's why you're here uncle. You are about to receive something very similar to what the captain went through. It is after all part of the cure." Johan says with his little boy smile.
Part II-The Alliance.
After a couple hours Kurt felt as if his head was about to burst. He'd been brought up to date on almost ever issue he asked about. The only information he didn't have was either not worth having or too sensitive to give out. After all, no one gives everything on the first date. As far as he was concerned this looked like the start of a solid alliance between equals. As far as the New Navy was concerned. The African league on the other hand was another matter altogether.
The African's main contributions came from the Time and Dimensionally displaced Watchers and the people they've picked up along the way. The cure came from them. As did the nanoweave technology. They were also staunch supporters of the human race and monster hunters of renown, both here and in their home dimensions.
The African people on the other hand were contributing the people. Which in its own right was a major contribution. People were the greatest assets this world had to offer. There were so darn few of them compared to the reset of the demon and monster populations trying to take over.
At best, he would be able to sell the Africans as a junior partner nothing more. For now, at least until the full measure of their contributions asserts itself. You cannot predict too much with out information. Especially information you don't have.
He took a break and looked out from the what at first glance might look like a window. What it was however, a real time view of the world outside the ship. Troops were still converging on the Ticonderoga. The rest of the marines were still filtering in from the continent. This time there were enough ships to handle them. As he looked at the busy scene displayed in front of him, he couldn't help but feel proud to be part of the human might gathering.
The New Navy's Second Fleet and the NGR's own Fleet had both rendezvoused with the Ticonderoga and its attached Fleet. The Fourth Fleet was still trickling in. Almost seventy percent of the Capital Ships and most of the Power Armor troops had made the rendezvous. He knew that there was a Third Fleet out there but that Fleet's job was to defend the Home islands and other bases.
He couldn't blame them. No one puts all his eggs in one basket. Should the Fleets gathered suffer a catastrophic defeat. They would still destroy enough of the enemy forces to set them back for the next century. However, all this effort underway was to make sure that nothing like that would come to pass.
The sight of another flight of the giant X-2700 Dragonwing Transformable Robot off the NGR Posidon Submersible Carrier filled him with pride. The Dragonwing was the only giant infantry robot that could fly. He watched as the robots jumped into the air. Their legs flipping back into the tail section and the feet and rear thrusters are activated. The bot could go from hover to over Mach One in five seconds, Mach Two in eight seconds. It could hug the tree top or ocean surface while flying at supersonic speeds, preventing radar detection and making visual identification difficult. The stealth technology incorporated makes invisible to most radar systems.
The flight made its way over the Ticonderoga as they have been ever since the Fleet arrived. It must have been humbling for Karl Wagner the admiral of the NGR Fleet to have seen the Ship with its attending Fleets. The NGR still though that it had the best technology that humans had to offer. This Pre Rifts vessel and the technology treasure that it represents must have looked like the unobtainable Holy Grail.
So far he had to be content with the Dragonwing flybys and the scans from every ship in the fleet. He wasn't going to tell Karl that he had already been given the plans to build more of the updated Ticonderoga class vessels as part of the deal for alliance between the two Human powers. It was the a video of the Gathered New Navy's assembled might that convinced the Government to jump at the chance for an alliance with a human power that could and was indeed in the process of helping them out. The technology exchange program and the plans for the Super Carrier sealed the Deal.
It was also a no brainer for the High Command to quickly analyze what someone like the New Navy meant. A Human power established in the Pacific. A human power able and willing to help out. Unlike the Coalition States that were so paranoid they were dragging their feet even after they've been given total access to the NGRs bases to assess the situation for themselves.
Only Free Quebec out of all the Human powers in North America was even willing to go ahead with a full alliance. Unfortunately to go ahead openly would alienate the Coalition States, even though Free Quebec was a member of the Coalition themselves. It was enough to give someone of his age ulcers. It was no wonder that the Government and the High Command jumped at the chance for alliance with someone who had proven their intentions and good will.
It didn't hurt that they've come to the NGR's aid unasked in the past and were doing so again in the present. In the present, one of the biggest selling points was the attack by the Alien Naut'Yll would soon over take the NGR Fleet almost by surprise and most certainly wipe it out. The New Navy was about to save this Fleet again for a second time.
When he contacted Karl and gave him the full details of the invasion underway and their Alliance Deal with the New Navy, he wasn't sure if his old friend was happy about the situation or not. He was however grateful that he wasn't about to loose another Fleet like the Two previous Fleets that had been sent and lost recently.
He was also happy about wealth of information he was about to receive about the Pacific he would get from the New Navy. Information that would take decades if not centuries to compile.
As he watched the Dragonwings make another flyby he saw Commander Harris' command vehicle, a Hover craft of unusual design, make its way beside the Ticonderoga. From several hatches throughout the ship opened and several vehicles and Power Armor flew out and made their way to the giant carrier. They were soon joined by a fight of six Pegasi.
The Hover was a large vehicle, but not that large. Where they got the room for all the Power Armor and the Flight of Six Sand Skimmers and the the six Pegasi, well that was something he would have to look into. He increased the magnification on the display and the view zoomed in on the Pegasi. The riders were as unusual as the mounts themselves.
Five very beautiful females of various ages. Ranging from early teens to a young woman as the oldest of them. Their beauty was breathtaking. As they landed on the giant and crowded deck he saw the Marines make room for this welcome addition to their company. The young woman in the lead dismounted and rushed into commander Harris's arms. he returned her fierce hug and kissed her to the loud approval of the Marines around them.
He felt like a voyeur, but as he was about to change the view he saw the surprised look on Xander's face. " Computer, is it possible to get some audio with this view" He asked like he would have on any display he had at home. The sound and noise of a deck full of Marines in Power Armor and the crashing waves made it impossible to hear what was being said.
" Please eliminate the sounds made by the ocean and the Marines in the vicinity." he asked. It took a moment for the computer to comply but in that time Harris had already said something that was drowned out by the noise. The next statement made it clear what the topic might have been.
" You're Pregnant! Why didn't you tell me?" Xander asked Katrina with grin that covered his whole face. " When did you find out? Because you sure weren't pregnant three days ago when I left.
Katrina smiled at his happy reaction and Kurt heard her say " Today. Dr. Pilani confirmed it for me just a few minutes ago before we arrived. I wanted it to be a surprise.
He could see Xander look at this beautiful woman with wonder in his eyes and smiled at what he did next.
Xander got on his knees in front of Katrina and from somewhere he pulled out a simple golden ring. He then proposed in front of everyone. If he hadn't muted the ambient sound around the couple he would have heard a hush descend around the couple. All of a sudden he noticed a giant display on the side of the bridge. It had the same view he was looking at. The background noise from everyone on deck and all action for that matter came to a stand still.
This was a live soap opera being played out for real in front of their eyes. One of their commanders just proposed to one of the most beautiful women on the planet. No one moved as all human activity on the ship came to a stop.
" Katrina Sun would you do me the honor of giving me your hand in holy matrimony? From now until the end of Time." Xander asks on bended knees as he holds the hand of the woman who he wanted to spend the rest of his days with.
The universe stopped. Waiting for her answer. It was as if this was the most momentous thing to happen. With everything else going around them, the universe felt that this was it.
" YES!" Katrina answers with a warm smile.
It was the signal for the universe to start again. It was the signal for every watching Marine and Sailor on every ship in every fleet to give a cheer. To voice their approval. The sound was deafening. It was enough to mask one sound which was a wail of anguish and another which was of malicious laughter. That however is a tale for another time.
Xander slipped the band around Katrina's finger and surged from his knees and grabbed his bride to be in a bone crushing hug to the continued approval of everyone watching.
That affirmed in everyone heart that no matter what happens, life goes on. The moral in the fleet after this simple display of love between man and woman was enough to float the ships they were in.
At this point the moment was broken when Captain Dobson made his way to the deck and congratulated the happy couple. This reignited the applause and cheers. Their commander just showed his approval. This meant that this omen had the gods blessing.
Xander shook Nemo's hand and whispered something in his ear. Nemo smiled and nodded his head in affirmation.
The Captain raises his hand for silence. Again a hush falls all over the ship." Ladies and Gentlemen, we have a wedding to perform." Nemo says as his voice carries to every person in the Fleet.
Again the response was all out of proportion. The noise was almost loud enough to be heard all the way to the continent.
Where they stood. Before god and everyone present Captain Nemo Dobson married Alexander Harris to Katrina Sun in a simple ceremony. The Techno Goddess Isis helped in the ceremony that would marry her Now Immortal Avatar to one of her least favorite humans. But she couldn't deny Katrina her happiness. She above all others knew how much this meant. She could feel the finger claws of a certain Wolf Headed God all over this situation. Now was not the time for this. Later she would exact the price for the meddlers actions. For now it was Katrina's moment and when all becomes clear under the light of truth and understanding there would be hell to pay.
Part III- The Aftermath.
Night fell on the celebrating couple as they held each other in a private embrace in their own suite in the Hover. They had finished their private celebrations and they were getting ready for the ritual. They were about to perform the power up ritual to unite over seventy five thousand humans in almost four Fleets and over twenty five thousand Dolphins, Whales and Cetaceans of all kinds.
The ritual would have the entire party at its core. They would be on the Hover in the center of the Fleets. They had located a nexus of Ley Lines that would intercept both air and water. The runes for the ritual were raised from the very surface of the Hover. The first circle would be projected on the forcefield surrounding the Hover. The second would be generated by a wing of Manta Ray air subs hydroplaning on the surface to create a small wall of water about three hundred meters from the the Hover. The fourth circle was created by a living wall of Dolphins and Cetaceans swing at high speed to form an underwater current around the Fleets.
The fifth and final circle was the wake of the Capital ships of all the Fleets as raced towards their paths of unity. The spell started on time and everything went according to plan. The final word was done and all the energy was channeled from everyone linked into the ritual, with the help of the energy funneled by the Whale singers and their ocean magic. It all went according to plan. The ritual did its thing and the promised power up went to every Marine and Sailor and Dolphin who was the recipient of the gifts provided by the Pack.
The disaster didn't occur until the feed back like the last time went back through the casters and from there it had nowhere else to go. Nowhere to ground itself like it did with the Techno Tree that was planted the first day they arrived in this world. In this case however, the energy followed the path of least resistance. Right back into the Ley Line Nexus they were on.
Underneath the Hover a Rift started to open. It started slowly at first, but as the more energy was poured into it, the bigger it got and the faster it formed. The circle that opened up was just beneath the waves and through it a battle in space could seen through the water that was pouring into the Rift a whirlpool was forming and the warning went tout but for those who were to close it was too late.
On the other side as the force of the water poured into the Rift the pressure was forcing the water to jet through the other side. It was too much for the Hover and the Manta Rays. They were pulled in slowly as they tried to escape. But it was to no avail. The Rift stopped expanding at two hundred meters. However the damage was done. The Manta Rays were caught first and they were sucked through the Rift. The Hover was right behind. Its passage slowed the water as its force field expanded in an effort to block the Rift but it didn't have the power to expand fast enough to block it completely.
The Hover was ejected to the other side like a seed through a fire hose. As the water got father and father from the Rift it rapidly froze from the absolute cold that could only be found in space. Half the Manta Rays were able to escape into space before they were trapped in the rapidly forming ice. The reset however were trapped by with the Hover.
On the other side the Rift stayed open and slowly and more and more water poured in it started to freeze on contact. With a few minutes a new body composed of ice was formed and on one end it had a Rift. Inside the ice trapped like bugs in amber the Hover and the Manta rays were stuck waiting for someone to free them. The Manta Rays that were able to escape were taking up guard positions around the new asteroid. Half their wing was still in side and damed if they didn't do their all to get them out.
On the other side the icy cold temperatures of space did what the Hover couldn't. They froze the water and prevented any more water from escaping into the alien space, but a new island composed of ice started to slowly form, as more and more water came in contact and the new island the ice island grew and was anchored by the Rift itself. A Rift that didn't show any evidence of closing anytime soon.
Inside the Hover the force field was dropped and the vehicle landed inside the new Ice Cavern. Here and there vehicles or Power Armor could be seen trapped in the ice. The only thing that saved them were the force fields they activated as they were sucked in.
Inside the Hover Xander turned to his wife and said " You know this whole thing started out with a Rift and now we're stuck through another. I hope this doesn't become a habit." He hugged his new bride and together the crew went about rescuing their trapped pack.
However that will have to be a story for another time.
End Chapter 100.