“Captain!” Jorgan rumbled, his deep voice cutting through the noise of the gathered Centauri.
Reeanth’s cold eyes didn’t shift from the object of her desire, endlessly searching the vast depths of the liquid surface of the gate. She remembered her grandfather telling her about discovering the old thing buried in their family’s abandoned ruins, and how frustrated the old retired space wizard was when he couldn’t get it to work. Any gate outside the Union’s control was simply beyond valuable, from smuggling goods to sneaking troops anywhere in the universe. The grey stone structure was anything but ordinary even though it looked like a primitive human’s attempt at making a gate. The finest weapons of the Centauri Empire couldn’t scratch it. Reeanth knows because she’s tried, several times. Unbidden, her right hand went to her left shoulder, rubbing the long scar that traced from her collarbone to her elbow, reminding her of the last time she tried to put a dent in this gate with her brother’s top of the line plasma knife.
All gates are generally built and carefully accounted for by the Integrated Teleporters Union, but not this one. This one was opportunity, pure opportunity. The only problem was, it only went to one place. The runes were locked by a power greater than hers to the coordinates of a planet long thought to be lost to the ravages of history. The runes lining the outer ring hadn’t been lit for thousands of years judging by the dust encrusting the sharp lines of the runes, but they had come to life a couple weeks ago allowing Reeanth’s team to explore the other side.
“Yes Sergeant?” She said, staring at the void in the gate with her teeth grinding at the memory of the primitive sorcerer with far too much power.
“We’ve gathered the weapons you’ve asked for and the twins are eager to put the sorcerer in his place,” Jorgan said, “Also, we have a backup squad as well, all vetted by the family. I too, am eager for this conflict.”
“Will it even work?” she asked, “Wizards tend to be a poor test for weapons against sorcerers, but we cannot chance using voidling weapons yet. That’s our ace in the hole for the Hegemony.”
“They worked well enough against the dragon half-breeds, and all they do is spit magic,” Jorgan grinned, holding a large double-sided axe with runes carved along the blade and handle. “I even had the armorers edge one blade with platinum just in case I got the chance to use it.” He tossed it in the air, it flipped twice before coming down and being caught by one giant hand. “I think the twins love their new toys.” He gestured behind him to where Gerone and Gerome were tossing silvery blades back and forth like an old Earth circus.
“Why are we going back to Earth?” Gerome asked, adding another blade to the mix. “Yes, what does the backwards land offer to the great Centauri Empire?” Gerone clarified, adding yet another knife to the performance.
Reeanth turned her head towards the twins and said, “Chaos.”
Jorgan almost dropped his axe in surprise. “Do you think, could it be true?” he stuttered out.
“Yes,” she said, grinning like a satisfied cat, “Areas that were previously devoid of magic and Chaos radically change in strange and new ways when they are brought back to it, but it rarely happens. Almost as rare as a dying god. There is a chance that we could find shards of Chaos or new and powerful MAGIK.”
“We could be sorcerers!” Jorgan roared, veins popping out of his massive arms, almost gripping the axe hard enough to bend the magically enhanced steel.
“Calm yourself,” Reeanth cut in, her cold voice putting a lid on her team’s excitement. “The mana levels are almost dense enough for our race to survive on the surface, but we could beat the other heavy hitters to Earth if we take enough mana batteries in our suits.”
“But what about the Ripples?” Gerone asked. “Yes, what will that do to us?” Gerome finished.
Jorgan grumbled, “Not much. It may make our souls a bit stronger, but it has the greatest effect on those untouched by magik, such as the primitives we rescued from Earth. Not many have the agency to truly grasp for power like the sorcerer, and even fewer manage to survive once they do have it.”
“But what if he was our friend?” Gerome asked. “And what if we helped each other?” Gerone finished. “We could help each other,” they both said in sync.
“Stop fucking doing that!” Jorgan yelled at them, pounding the butt of his axe into the ground. “It’s creepy enough that your twins and constantly in sync, but it’s worse that you never truly separated your mental bond from birth.” He turned to Reeanth, “I’m getting food Captain.” Then stomped off muttering to himself, “Fucking twin magic, disgusting. No clue how to have an original thought or stand on your own two feet.”
The twins raced after him up the stairs out of the ruin’s basement, “Awww, is the big man lonely?” Gerone teased. “Can’t find a woman big enough for the giant?” Gerome chimed in.
Reeanth turned back to the gate, ignoring her subordinates. They were the best team she’d ever had, the only team really. Wizards tend to be raised in teams per the order of the Wizard Most High of the Centauri Empire. This allows them to form powerful close-knit teams with enough variation to handle any situation. The only thing they hadn’t counted on was the damn sorcerer. Rubbing her jaw to relieve the tension of gritting her teeth, she thought to herself that maybe the twins did have an original thought for once. What if they worked with the sorcerer instead of the usual tactics, which of course was grinding all opposition to dust beneath the inexorable might of the Empire.
If only she could get this damn gate to work though! Everything had been tried, from rearranging the runic coordinates to pouring pure mana into the control base. Stepping forward, she pulled off her glove and traced some runes on the side with her bare hand. “Dimensional settings, mana density, number of passengers, energy levels, but no real filters for the space folding set,” she muttered to herself. “If grandfather couldn’t figure it out, then I don’t have a chance in Hell.” The gate’s runes along the circular frame began to softly glow and gradually get brighter as the voices of her team faded in the distance. Reeanth tried to pull her hand back as the frame of the gate as the liquid center changed to show another area of Earth instead of the pitch blackness of the void from just a minute ago.
“No damnit! Let me go!” She yelled, pumping mana into the runes of her combat suit, bolstering her strength and fortifying her boot’s grip on the earth beneath her. Her other hand was gripping the stuck arm, pulling with all her might. “Jorgan! Twins! Get your ass back here!” she screamed as the gate sucked her in and shut off.