Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Episode 8: Tactical Maneuvering

Episode 7 Recap:
          After a defeat from Crawn, David and Jenny were alerted to the reemergence of a signal of the Elite Stone in the city. Deciding to check it out, the youth approached the location. However, the stone Neocyx found was a fake to lure him to a new challenger, the Wolf. The Fox knew from the beginning he had no chance against this new Mega Form but being forced to fight, he gave it his all, including a new technique called a neocard combo. This technique allowed him to combine the power of multiple neocards into one strong attack, but it failed to do anything against his opponent as the youth fell in absolute defeat.

EPISODE 8: Tactical Maneuvering

            When David told Jenny and Prof. Lokaf what happened, they decided that there was no point to staying in Plotarch any longer. They left the city and drove to the city of Felosville, where the second signal disappeared. The city was a suburban paradise. Obviously filled with upper-middle class people, Jenny pointed out how many fancy cars there were. The city was filled with stuff like that. There were also some four story buildings gracing the side of the road. Parks were carefully planned about and scattered. Yet, there was always some eyesore or another. In this case there was some construction.
            Thinking back on how Mr. Whealtor said he found the Elite Stone of Night, Jenny suggested that they search the park. It was a nice park, plenty of greenery but no luck on the Stone. However, they did find two old ladies gossiping on a bench.
            “Did you hear about those boys the police arrested in San Eduardo?” one of the gossipers said to the other.
            “The ones that tried to rob the museum? No. What happened?”the other asked with utmost curiosity.
            “Strangest thing. They all committed suicide. The police have been trying to keep it under cover, especially since it seems to be a common now. The same thing happened to that one guy who was behind the kidnappings of young girls. All happening before the police could gather any information.”
            “The poor youth. They have everything to live for and they just waste it” the other stated with presumption.
            “And that’s not all!” the first woman declared. “Remember that story in Plotarch about the fellow who was going to kill some people? The police couldn’t do anything. They had bulletproof armor. What they did do is act a stupidly and tried to arrest the one who stopped him. And then another came and killed the poor soul.”
            “If you ask me, he deserved it!” the second woman pronounced with no regret. “But what is up with all of this? Just last night there was a rascal who robbed a few stores. The cops couldn’t deal with him either and he was only running!”
            “Hey wait!” the first gossiper called out. It was to the professor. They recognized him from the news and began talking to him.
            Hearing enough, David takes a walk around the park with his phone to his ear. “Zel, do you think it’s a Daelian that’s doing the robberies?”
            “It’s possible, but there might also be a third party involved. It’s also possible that this thief is Knaidow” Zel expressed as his opinion.
            “Nah,” David dismissed the idea. “Knaidow wouldn’t escape using a skateboard. He can vanish at will. There wouldn’t even be a chase.”
            “Either way, it might be a good thing to capture this guy and see what he’s up to. If he’s Daelian, then we might learn something about their operation.”
            “Good idea.”
            That night, David found a high rise building that looked over a good part of the city. Perching there as Neocyx, he watched.
            “Are you sure you’re up for this, David?” Zel asked with concern. “I know you haven’t gotten over your fear of heights and you barely kept your composure the last time.”
            “Y-yeah…” David responded, considering Zel’s perfectly valid point. “Well, I’ve done it before so I should be good.” He said all of this with a little uncertainty in his voice, but at least he knew that forms would protect him if he screwed up.
            Soon, he heard burglar alarms. The culprit had struck a nearby jewelry store and was now running for it. Using the scope feature on his visor, Neocyx was able to see the perpetrator was a red and white form. The overall design was reminiscent of a racecar.
            Convinced this guy was the culprit, the fox took his leap of faith, that is, if last time did not count. The glider came through and David took to the skies.
            Due to the lack of practice on David’s part and the lower than optimal altitude of his drop, He was only able to make down the street, but it placed his target in range. He lowered himself to the ground level and then his cloak became loose again. The jetpack, on the other hand, popped of his back and became a hover-board with a booster. Feeling much more comfortable on the ground than the air, the Shadow Fox continued his pursuit.
            Glancing back, the racecar-like form took note of his hunter and accelerated. The chase had just begun.
             Despite the time of night, there were still plenty of cars and a few pedestrians to avoid. Luckily, cars were not an issue at first. The thief kept on running on the sidewalk at a lower speed than the average car, but still fast. He would glance back at his pursuer only to find him still on his tail.
            One thing that the thief deserved credit for was the ability to stop almost on a dime and then reach high speed again. In order to keep up with that, Neocyx would have to improvise by grabbing a nearby pole and rotate around it to maintain his speed.
            “Where are the cops?” David thought to himself as he continued his full speed chase.
            “That is a good question. We should have heard sirens by now,” Zel affirmed.
            David would have continued thinking about what could be going on if not for his Asen yelling, “Stop!”
            Surprised by the sudden outburst, the Shadow fox stopped just in front of the intersection and a truck just shaved by him. Even, if he had made it past the truck, he would have been knocked by the deluge of cars driving by and none slowing down.
            “That was close,” Zel sighed with relief.
            “But we lost him!” David yelled at himself, looking past the moving cars and not seeing his target.
            “Keep calm. He hasn’t disappeared. Look carefully.”
            The boy ended his self-punishment and looked around. “You’re right!” he exclaimed, starting his chase again alongside the road. “He just turned!”
             Spec was across the street, but still running. Using his board, Neocyx continued to chase after him but knew he would be impossible if he couldn’t get to the other side. Unfortunately, cars were still driving down the street and preventing any opportunity to cross.
            “I’m surprised he’s not further ahead,” said the youth, starting to realize something.
            “The women said he was able to outrun the police, but his speed has been about the same as ours. Not only that, as a Neostriker, he doesn’t need to run from the police,” the Asen commented.
            “And with his ability to shift directions so easily, he must already have the Elite Stone, probably of something to do with speed…Wait! Does that mean he’s just doing this for the thrill of the chase?!”
            “It would appear so.”
            The boy’s feelings were mixed. Still not everything was clear. It’s helpful to understand the opponent, but it doesn’t bring up nice emotions to realize you’re being played with; that the whole thing was a game. Add the frustration at the idea of the cops not doing their duty but combine it with the relief that they are not getting in the way, and that pretty much summed up David’s mindset.
            “David, there’s construction equipment ahead,” the Asen informed.
            The boy understood the idea. He found a ramp and boosted up it. Wings popped out of the boards sides and turned it into a small glider. Thanks to the boost, Neocyx was able to jump over the street above the incoming cars.
            But now, things appeared to have changed. David could see the thief turn at the next intersection, but it was unlike the others. Those had the finesse as if they were planned. This one appeared to have been unexpected. Neocyx looked across the street but could see nothing. He continued the hunt.
            Before he could turn the corner, he heard car horns honking. As he made the turn, he spotted the culprit making another cut like before. The Shadow Fox spied another ramp and used it to get air and cross the street. This time, however, he decided to switch up his game and take to the roof tops, since the closest one was flat and low enough to reach.
            By running across the roofs, David could get a better view of the situation and his target while cutting the distance between them. He then realized they were heading toward the park.
            The chase continued, but it appeared the thief was less concerned with Neocyx and was no longer having a thrill. He sped up and continued to run without any care, but still making his way the park, but it did not appear to be his goal.
            Neocyx finally reached the park, a bit behind his target but still within range. However, as soon as he arrived, he saw the thief get shot a couple times and he de-formed. Out of the shadow of the trees, another Neostriker appeared.
            This one had camouflage colors. In his right hand was a high quality rifle with a scope attached which made it an effective sniper rifle. His helmet had a retractable antenna and his visor was a transparent red. On his back, he carried an army-style pack. The thing that told David that he was in trouble, though, was the circle crest of a mega form. His success against those had been nil.
            The Shadow Fox was just about to hide when the mega form called out, “Don’t leave, Neocyx. I have something to talk to you about.”
            Meanwhile, cops also appeared from the bushes and trees and arrested the neofied speedster. One picked up the Elite Stone from where he fell. The distinguishing feature of this crystal was a miniature sundial. This was the Elite Stone of Speed. The camouflage-armored Neostriker called to the officer.
            “Alright, you have your criminal. Now fulfill your promise. The stone.”
            “Why should I hand this to you, bounty hunter? If it’s so valuable, then I need to take in for evidence and examination.”
            The mega form sighed. “Don’t be a fool, officer. If it’s one thing I hate it’s police you can’t trust. Don’t be one of those stupid cops complained about all the time.”
            The policeman still resisted, even pulling up his gun. The Neostriker shook his head.
            “Don’t bother. You already tried shooting me last night. It didn’t work, remember?”
            One of the cops attested to the form’s remarks, but it did nothing to change the officer’s mind.
            “Maybe guns won’t work, but we can still overpower you. There’s more than enough of us here. You are coming to the precinct.”
            “Fools. Don’t you remember I have plenty of resources? How do you think I forced  him to come here? But officer, since you really seem to desire a vacation…” The form raised his gun and shot the cop’s service weapon out of his hand, followed by kneecapping him.
The other cops instantly reacted by firing on the Neostriker, but with no effect. After the form glared at them and they realized it was futile, they stopped, tossed the stone, and left taking their prisoner and the injured cop. The mega form reminded them not to bother trying to track him since he could jam their devices, and already had.
With the police force gone, the sniper Neostriker focused on Neocyx.
            “Nothing against them. Too bad they needed a reminded to keep their word. They were just doing their duty. Except for that guy; he was a dirty cop with no intent to follow protocol.”
            “Who are you?” David asked, not coming any closer.
            “I don’t plan to keep you at a disadvantage. I’m Cepos,” he introduced himself.
            “I take it you want to fight me for the stone?”
“No,” the sniper replied. “I already know of your skills and you would lose. What I want to see is how you think.”
David’s eyes focused harder on Cepos. He lowered his gun but the air around him was still alert. His aura also revealed some confidence in his procedure.
            “What do you have in mind?”
            Cepos pointed over to a table. “Someone forgot a chessboard here. I say we settle the stone’s owner in match.”
            David felt reluctant to take this challenge. It had been a while since he had touched a chess set. Good thing about the game though, is once you know the rules and how to play, it’s simple to pick up again. The difficulty really lies with how good the opponent is and how well you concentrate. The Fox at least knew that the sniper’s evaluation was correct: he would not be able to win in a battle.
            Cepos dismantled his gun and put it away efficiently. They sat at the table with the sniper Cepos choosing the black pieces.
            “Are you a Daelian?” David inquired of his challenger.
            “What do you think?”
            The Shadow Fox took a careful look at Cepos and said, “I don’t think you are bounty hunter. That was just a cover to keep the police from asking too many questions.”
            The sniper nodded but said nothing. They played their opening moves without any pieces being taken. As the match reached the middle game, the challenger started to speak, still playing.
"You know, not everything is as simple as black and white."
"Yeah, so?" Neocyx responded to opponent’s move.
"Even the things that appear to be black and white can be more complicated. Take this chess board for instance. White always makes the first move. So technically, it could be said White is the one to declare war and Black is just defending itself."
"You're using chess to establish morals?"
"Why not?" The mega form moved his bishop.
"Sometimes things are simple and the danger is to make them seem more complicated. For all we know, Black is the one to declare war and White is just able to move faster. Just like you did." David moved a pawn up, threatening the aforementioned bishop.
"Or maybe it's just a game,” Ceops replied, retreating the same bishop. They continued to play as they spoke.
"So why bring it up?"
"Do you really think the Daelians are evil?"
"I think the attempt to conquer the world and kill innocents would justify that reasoning."
"Do you know why they evil?"
"I've just assumed they always were."
"Too bad they weren't."
"What do you mean?"
"You really don't know? Fine. I'll tell you. The Daelians were actually part of the Nellenion kingdom."
"That's right. What happened was that the Daelians revolted against the rightful and just king. The king had come and offered peace and freedom. Those who accepted the king became Nellenions."
"So the only Daelians left were the ones who rebelled."
"That's right. Generally they were the ones who had power in their evil realm, but they were able to drag others with them through lies and pressure. However, the Daelians could not compete with the Nellenion power, so they turned to the Dark Power for aid and it consumed them. And that's how the Nellenions got the reputation for being good, and the Daelians for being evil. It emerged from the same group of people having a choice."
"Okay. But I ask again, why bring it up? You've just established that the Daelians are the bad guys."
"I told you before. I just wanted to see how your mind works." Cepos continued to explain, “We’re building a Nellenion army to fight the Daelians. I wanted to know personally if you were up to the challenge. However, I know your fighting skills are lacking and it’s the same with your mental game.
“You can see some of the results of your actions, but not all of them. Sometimes the things you hope for to happen actually are against you. You remember how I manipulated our Daelian friend to come here?"
"Yeah, like a rat in a maze, you forced him to turn at certain spots."
"Mhmm. You need to know when you are supposed to make them move. For example, if you did not make me move my bishop, you could have won a few moves back, but now it's checkmate." And with those words, he moved his knight. Neocyx looked at the board and saw it was over.  
"You still need some practice," were the soldier's last words as he took the Elite Stone and disappeared.

Episode 9: National Plan

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