Saturday, November 29, 2014


The Thrilling Conclusion to the Arena of Xarxes

In our last episode, Rugen and Tee, with assistance from a Federation spy posing as a guard, escape from the arena.

Our trio of heroes rushed through the crowded streets of the city, anxiously looking behind for signs of pursuit. Fortunately, they saw no one chasing them, yet.

"Where are we heading?" Rugen asked, confused because they were heading away from the starport.

Their friend replied, "I have a ship on the outskirts of town, where the authorities won't think to look."

Shortly thereafter, they approached a dilapidated junk yard. "In there," the spy pointed. Just then, they noticed a pair of police patrolling the street among the crowds moving to and fro.

"Let's cross casually. They may not notice us," stated their rescuer. Rugen nervously nodded agreement. They hid their weapons and as nonchalantly as possible they crossed the road. As they approached the entrance to the junkyard, they heard a man call to them to stop. It was one of the patrolmen.

"Inside!" yelled the spy as he opened the gate. Rugen and Tee rushed in while their friend pulled out his blaster and began shooting at the police. Winged by a shot, the officer went down, calling for assistance. The trio began running for the scout ship hidden in the yard. The second officer pursued, and began shooting at the fleeing Federation operatives. Bolts of energy whizzed by them but they safely made it to the ship, ran up the open gangplank, and closed the hatch behind them. The spy jumped into the pilot's seat and began flight preparations. Rugen manned the mini-laser turret and returned fire on the Xarxes officer, who fled for safety. The engines roared to life and with a jolt the ship catapulted into the sky!

Soon they were in orbit with no hint of pursuit.

"It won't be long until they are after us." stated the spy as he began making calculations for hyperwarp.

"Let me," stated Tee as he settled into the navigators spot. Tee then began making calculations to take them back to Federation space.

Their respite was not long. Within minutes, an Imperial fighter flew into view, rapidly gaining on them. Rugen yelled a warning, then opened fire. His shots were true, and the fighter spun off into space. Another fighter rushed by its stricken comrade. Laser bolts lanced from its cannons, tracers whizzing by our trio's scout.

"Almost got it," stated Tee.

The spy began evasive maneuvers. The enemy fighter could not get a lock on the scout. Rugen returned fire, but lacked his earlier success. Then, without warning, the scout bucked and the stars seemed to spin. Hyperwarp! They were free from the Arena of Xarxes and headed to Federation space!


Saturday, November 22, 2014

A Chance to Escape!

Part 3 of the Arena of Xarxes

For weeks, Rugen and Tee were forced to fight, taking wounds and suffering the incessant mocking of the Inquisitor. Once again they were heading to the arena.

As Rugen and Tee entered the gates to the arena, they were met by a familiar face, the Inquisitor. He gave them his mocking smile and spoke. "This may very well be your last chance. Will you give me the plans?"

"Save your breath, Imperial stooge. You will never break us."

The Inquisitor's smile faded at the jibe. "You will regret your decision. Today will be the day." He then strode off.

Their guard then spoke. "He is correct about one thing. Today IS the day."

Rugen looked at him. It was the same guard who encouraged them to have courage many weeks ago.

"You will know when it is time to act," the guard continued, looking around warily as he prompted them to head in to the killing field.

Moments later, Rugen and Tee stood in the middle of the arena, clubs in hand. The doors opposite them opened and out rushed a gargantuan, insectoid creature with large, slavering mandibles - an ankheg!

Rugen's eyes widened, but then he screamed defiance and charged. Tee followed his comrade. They circled the monster, trying to avoid its mandibles while finding an opening to strike. Alas, when they hit, their clubs did no damage to the hard exoskeleton. Fortunately, they were faster than the creature and managed to avoid its jaws. Then, it reared back and spewed a stream of acid from its mouth. The potent liquid struck Rugen in the leg. He went down. The ankheg rushed forward, eager to finish off his prey, but Rugen rolled to the side, scrambled to his feet, and got out of range.

Puffing with exertion, Rugen called over to Tee: "What can we do?" Tee could only shrug. But then a voice called out. "Here!" They looked, and from the crowd two thrown objects spun through the air and landed near the heroes. Rugen smiled - one was his stun sword and the other was Tee's blaster.

Rugen dove for the weapons, tossed the blaster to Tee, then reached for the stun sword. The ankheg rushed forward, its slavering mandibles slashing at Rugen's wounded leg. Rugen rolled and struck upward, his sword set to full power. The laser-like blade thrust deep into the creature's jaw. It screamed in pain and recoiled, green blood spewing over Rugen. Tee opened up with the blaster, scoring more hits on the insectoid.

The crowd roared with delight, believing that the new weapons were merely part of the entertainment. One of the guards looked at the Inquisitor. He scowled, but then shook his head. "Let's see if the ankheg can finish them off. If not, open fire."

Meanwhile, Rugen and Tee circled warily while the thing periodically rushed them. They managed to get hits in while avoiding more wounds. The ankheg seemed to be weakening, but it maneuvered Rugen into a corner. With a blood-chilling screech, it charged. Tee opened fire - his accurate shots severed the beast's front leg. It fell and slipped forward, its mandibles reaching for the cornered Templar. Then, with an agile spring, Rugen leaped over the creature's head, landed on its back, and struck with his blade, severing the ankheg's head from its body.

"Fire!" yelled the Inquisitor, and a hail of laser bolts pierced the air around the duo. Then they heard their friend call out: "Over here!" He was guarding one of the exits. Rugen and Tee rushed toward him, laser shots streaking by. One shot clipped Tee and he fell for a moment. He scrambled back to his feet and they made it to the exit, with their friend providing cover. Cheers from the crowd echoed in their ears as they ran down the corridor, and directly into a menacing figure.

"So you thought you could escape," the Inquisitor mocked, "You will see how wrong you are. You will wish you had died in the arena."

"He's mine," ordered Rugen, and he stepped forward, his stun sword at the ready. The Inquisitor likewise readied himself. They began a series of lightning strikes and parries, their swords sending off sparks in the gloom of the corridor. Rugen's wounds leaked blood and he seemed to weaken. When he slipped, the Inquisitor struck. Rugen was ready. He parried and then counterattacked; his blade slicing into the Inquisitor's arm. The Inquisitor howled and struck back. Rugen felt the force blade stab into his leg. He fell. The Inquisitor rushed forward, but Rugen lunged from his knees. His blade sunk deep into the Inquisitor's stomach. Blood spurted out and the Inquisitor collapsed. Rugen fell on top of him.

"Let's hurry! I have a ship waiting." yelled their friend. Tee and the guard picked up Rugen and they rushed into the streets of Xarxes. Soon, the were lost in the crowd.

Stay tuned for the final episode!