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*Jailbreak and Discovery*

*MultiMage Chronicles, Part Kappa*

&1 week after the fireworks display in the forest

Serena was still asleep after the fourth try, so Eric just shouted into the Mic, producing a high-pitched sound loud enough to get the attention of everyone in the house, including her two Guardians. She rools out of bed and grabs the scouter, dragging it off the nightstand and to eye level near the floor. Pressing the button twice, she places it back on the nightstand, and pillows her head in her hands.

"Serena?!? What is that confounded contraption?"

Much to both Luna's and Artemis's dismay, the scouter (Which Luna thought she recognized from the Moon Kingdom) emmitted an extremely high-pitched ringing-buzzing sound that scared all three of them awake. Serena jumps up fast, puts it on, hits the button thrice, and shouts "I'm up! I'm up!" into it.

"What is that thing, Serena?" Artemis asks, arching his back to strech out. "And where did you get it?"

Serena puts it back on, hits the button, and looks in the direction of her bedroom door. "It's a trinket I got from Amy. It's a scouter. It allows you to see how powerful things are and where they are."

"What does it say about us?" Luna asks, giving Serena one of those 'I don't think you are telling us the whole truth' looks.

Serena aims it down at the cats, who were standing on the end of the bed. "5 points each, 11 combined."

"On how big a scale?" Luna queries.

"Well, It sometimes surges and blows up at about 23,000 but it is rated up to 300,000. After that, you usually don't survive long enough to get a reading." She wraps it up in a cloth, places it in her bag, and procceeds out the door.

"Have a good day at school, Serena." They both say as she steps out.

"Will try. Bye Ma!" She shouts on her way out. She runs it to school, hoping to be there before Eric got to, but she instinctively slows down and stops at the corner he has been attacked several times before, and true to her luck, they are there, just waiting for her or anyone else moving alone. She puts her scouter on, and transmits a call for Eric to haul to her location so she can get to school. The response messages is that they are at max speed, but still 3 minutes away.

Serena prepares for the worst, hoping that she wouldn't be noticed by them, but that hope is dashed. One of the punks rounds the corner, and Serena reacts faster than him, kicking him in the gut and chopping downward at his neck as he doubles over. He falls to the ground without uttering a sound.

Serena activates the scouter, and aims it in the direction of the corner, and waits. After a few minutes, someone crosses the field of scanning, headed in her direction. She jumps back, the person turns the corner, sees Serena and her fallen comrade, and runs back screaming. Serena begins backing away from the corner, hoping that they aren't to pursue, but they do, and they turn after her at only 20' from the dreaded corner. She trips. They advance, and stop dead a mere 10' from her, apparently spooked by something or someone. One of them raises his weapon to fire.

"Twouldn't, or you won't live to regret it." She glances backward, to see Eric standing behind her, a .45 in each hand. "Now, I, for one, am getting sick of this bullshit routine. Every day, I have to scare you punks off under the threat of superior arms, and I'm getting tired of it. I offer Hegira: you can leave, find another corner about five miles from here to gangbang on, or next time, I won't stop with scaring you. Got it? Leave now, and I'll do nothing to you."

"As soon as I turn, you'll shoot me!" one of the punkers says.

"That's the beauty of Hegira, though you hardly rank the honor. You can leave now, without further loss. That simple. NOW GET OUT OF MY SIGHT!!!" they run dead out in the usual direction. Eric stops by the unconcious punk, checks him, and continues walking. "Now, Serena, would you mind explaining to me why you didn't take them yourself?"

"I-I hesitated, sir. I'm sorry."

"No apologies required, but I'd recommend checking your fear when facing a group. That's what the Combat Psychology is for. By the Way, nice handywork on that one. He didn't know what hit him."

"I-I-I Killed him?" Serena stammers, shocked that she did so much in one shot.

"I'm afraid so. Don't fret about it, or you'll feel miserable all day, which'll spoil the suprise I have planned."

"But-but"

"Occupational hazard, Serena. It never feels right to take life, but it is necessary at times." Dan says from the cornerpost of the fence they were sitting near.

"I guess you are right. Beryll's influence seems to be affecting more and more nowadays."

"And I guess you'd better hide that scouter before some of the approaching kids see it." Eric says, looking down the fenceline at an approaching mob from the direction they came. Serena is quick to wrap it up and place it in her bag.

"Sir?"

"Yes, Serena?"

"Why haven't you eliminated Beryll before now?"

"I haven't found ample justification to do it...untill now."

"Do what?" A voice says on the other side of the schoolyard fence.

"They let you out already, fatass?" Tiffany says.

"I'm pressing charges."

"Go ahead, moron. Just, do it on your own time, not the school's time. I'll see to it that you get an ample recompense for any pretended slights against you." He looks at the mob that is his crew. "Let's go. School will be starting in a minute."

They begin walking, but Eric stops whence Al shouts something, almost inaudible to Serena. "I know about your 'abilities'. I have friends that hate people like you!" Eric stops dead in his tracks.

"You have been listening to my sister-in-law too damn much. You don't even know the extent of my so-called abilities, moron, and you are trying to interfere in a league 100 above what you are in. See your way out of my affairs, or you will sink with them, just as fast as them. Quinneg?" He keeps on walking, oblivious to whatever Al retorts with.

Serena steps into cooking class, to find Eric, Dan, Emily, Tiffany, and Lita already in there. She grabs a seat with them.

"The suprise is this: it's on. Tonight. I've recieved the final data, and the prisoners are being slipped a note mentioning their rescue. Plus, Mal will remove the guards for some reason, when we slip in."

"Excellent." the crowds start mobbing in, ready for class like a herd of zombies (This also was beginning to show in the MultiMages; classes were getting to be either too hard or boring for them; barrack rumor pointed to FOH influence in the staff). Cooking class turned out to be more paperwork, and then a short bell ensued.

Gym class was a hype before the nauseatingly boring classes after. The teams were unfairly split between "Eric's marauders" and the rest of the class, stacking it 6-1 in the opposition's favor. The gym teacher was stunned silent whence Eric's team emerged from three games unscathed, and also silenced when he anticipated Tiffany and Amy to be complete flops; they were Eric's "aces" of the match.

In English, Eric was held over after the period for some reason unknown to all but Raye: He handed off one of the dual-pack 45s to Miss Horuna, for $550. Local law permitted concealed weapons, it was discouraged by the high price of annual licenses, which Eric financed for her out of goodwill, knowing how bad the streets were getting.

At lunch, the CIA members grouped together in their typical form around a small cluster of trees near the courtyard walls of Crossroads, to discuss "Future ops", which none could understand completely. When he noticed he was being spied upon, he switcherd to a common dialet they all knew fairly well, Russian, to prevent deciphering by Al. In response, Al picks up a rock and slings it at Eric, hitting him in the middle of the back.

"You are beginning to piss me off, Al." he says, breaking the middle of a sentence in Russian to respond to getting hit.

"And what are you going to do about it, smart guy?"

Eric smiles sardonically. "Little to nothing. You'll regret it soon enough, siding with my relatives."

************************************************************

"Artemis, Who do you know can put on a two-and-a-half hour fireworks display like that?"

"I don't know, Luna? Bill Gates?" Luna shakes her head. "Naomi Taekuchi?" Luna scowls at him. "Eric Atre-Not likely," Luna gives him a strange look.

"Well, you may be right, Artemis."

"No way! He gave up on this dimension long ago, after the moon was wrecked. He'd hate it to see it as it is now."

"But, look at the facts: We know he used to put on large fireworks displays using battlemechs, and the display we saw included Star League patterning. Besides, it's rumored that someone lives in that mansion back there, and he'd have enough reasons to keep it enigma."

"I doubt it." Artemis says cynically.

"Only one way to find out." Luna begins down the road marked "do not enter" on an old, weather-beaten sign.

*********************************************************

"Ehh, Central, can't you find me something interest-slag that, two contacts approaching, Feline, 1 white, 1 teal. Orders?"

"Do not fire. They may help with our mouse problems in the 'back 40'."

"Aff. Awaiting orders...still."

Oblivous to the guard Elemental, Luna and Atremis continue walking. About three miles in, the cats enter Gerard's crosshairs.

"Central, I just picked up Charles's contacts, looks like two housecats-Wait a sec! Central, those contacts are the Lunar Regents!"

"Well, let them be, they'll soon find out how big a mistake it was to come here."

"You don't get it, do you? Thos two are ROYALTY, surpassed only by the Planetary Princesses and the Emperor himself. They are not to be harmed, quiaff?"

"Aff, sir. All units, hold fire."

***********************************************************

They continue walking, making sure of their destination not being a trap. About seven miles in, they see a light at the end of the forest-a clearing.

Gerard was having a helluva time playing MechCommander Gold (It just didn't seem the same when you attend a war college for that sort of thing, but it was still fun to slag EMS for no good reason), when his computer announced a malfunction in the Chameleon-2 Panneling that adorned the outside of his MadCat.

"Damit! Central, this is PathGuard Beta, I'm coming in for repairs, those techies failed to fix the main processor for the Chameleon panels again."

"Aff. Replacement en route." Gerard fires up the gyros, spins around toward the mansion, and kicks it into high gear.

"Luna, do you feel that?"

"Not only that, I can hear it! Something BIG is coming our way!" They both look down the path at the approaching battlemech, and watch it scream by. "Artemis! This IS a MultiMage base! That was Gerard's MadCat!"

"How could you tell?"

"Grey paint, Crescent Moons on the missile packs, and a flag that says 'if you can read this, you're in AC/20 range'. That's gotta be him!"

"You're right! Look at that!" He points his paw down the path, where several Prototypes were burning hard for the end of the path. They whizz by, bowling the cats over in the eddies that the spoilers create. Luna and Artemis begin running for the gates ahead, oblivous to what awaits them, but knowing that the base is friendly to talking cars, if any of them remember them.

They approach the gate from inside the forest very cautiously. One of the guard 'mechs (Which they didn't recognize) takes a step back with is right leg, and angles his torso down at them. "Lunar Regents Artemis and Luna?" he says through the loudspeaker.

"Yes, we are," Artemis says, stepping out of the forest into the view of 2 Large Battlemechs and 2 points of Elemntals (several wearing the colors of the Lunar Guard).

"The Emperor isn't here now, but the Base Commander is in the MechBay." He shifts the foot of his battlemech onto a switchplate, which drops the gate into the ground (with the Cameron Star on it, signifying a Star League base). The regents step out onto the path, and the Elementals step out of the way, and raise their arms in salute as they pass between them into the base. Once in past the Star league Era medium walls, they saw what was so "taboo" to the locals: a full-featured battlemech facility, complete with Starport and training facilities. They continue inward, and are breezed by by a really fast unit...which stops dead with a screech akin to a car. He spins around the mech, and looks down at them.

"WHAT THE FUCK? I thought Beryll got you too!" he shouts estatically over the speaker.

"Stan?" Luna shouts up at the 'mech, another configuration she didn't recognize.

"Hell yeah! The boss just found me a few years ago, and now I'm back doing what I love to do. Hey, you need a ride in? I need to get my legs fixed. Can you still climb a battlemech?" They jump upward in several hops onto a small ledge next to the window. He opens the cockpit, and pulls them in uncerimoniously. They drop to the plush floor of a small cockpit. Stan sits back down in the seat. "Brace yourselves, this is a 35-tonner with a 350 XL in it." They hook their claws into the "factory standard" carpeting, and he jambs the throttle forward, jolting everyone. After piloting it between several assault 'mechs (much to the dismay of the other pilots, according to the radio chatter), he enters a very large structure and stops it again on a dime, leaving gouges in the concrete. Slowly he pilots it up to the first floor balcony, getting it extremely close to the platform. He shuts down and jerks the window open.

Luna and Atremis step out into a several-storied structure, 2 levels of battlemechs and vehicular units. Several they recognize offhand: Alacorn mk. 8 Tanks, Annihalator battlemechs, Jagermech Fire-support units, even a MadCat in hopps. They take the stairs to the ground floor, and begin touring the areas. Several more units they can see also from the Silver Millenium are included. The one that gets them, however, is the one near shouting: Gerard screaming at a technitian.

"I don't give a flying rat's ass about the repair charge, you failed to fix it the first time! Just get me a smaller power source for the Chameleon-2 unit, and I'll get the leg actuators."

"If you shrink the output, it'll give you an overcharge, sir."

"Excellent! add the extra power to the ERPPC. NOW FIX IT!!!" They catch sight of his MadCat, as well as several similarly painted battlemechs in adjacent stalls: a Mauler, Champion, and two that they didn't recognize (one looked like a Hunchback, but it had an extra barrel on it and bigger arms). Gerard was in the middle stall, with his hand up the Leg of the battlemech, fiddling with the internals of the leg.

"I thought I recognized your mech beating down the path here."

He jolts upward, hitting his head on the upper arm of the battlemech. He skids down the smooth leg surface onto the ground. "What brings you two to Delta Base?"

"We were investigating the fireworks out here. Looks like we found out who caused it."

"Well, the boss'll be in in a few. He'll be the better to explain what's going down here, and MAYBE he'd trust you with his final plans that he has been keeping secret."

"He has a plan?"

"Yeah, and he hasn't told anyone. That's why he has nearly quadrupled our presence here."

"He has?" they both chant at the same time.

"Here. Get up into the cockpit of the Hunchback 2-C and I'll show you." Gerard kicks in a toe plate on the side of the 'mech that looks like a Hunchback, and climbs up via the leg to the arm to one of the large Autocannons and into the cockpit, which is a little roomier than the 35 tonner that they just got out of. Immediately they recognize the cockpit setup of the (star League) Hunchback, with the personal modifications like a command system and a rearview mirror with a large Crescent Moon pendant hanging on it (the mirror serves no purpose).

"Computer, access internal Server, ISDN connection to Mainframe. Display history from Silver Millenium End to present on upper screen set." The cats strain to see the upper screens.

The Computer begins it's speech.

"in the year SL 995, Queen Beryll initated an inside strike and destroyed all remnants of the Silver Millenium while the Emperor was away, and disbanded the Star League. During that disbanding, General Aleksander Kerensky led the remnants of the SLDF into Exile, citing that "the feuding factions of what remained of the Star League were utterly unworthy of the throne, and would not stand by and watch it be usurped by the childish houses". A whopping 80% of the Star League jumped out of the sight of the Inner Sphere through the Draconis Combine, only to isolate themselves and evolve into multiple techno-barbarian Clans. The houses have had dealings with them, but not so as much as the MultiMages have, who remained in constant contact with them.

What of the MultiMage armies that did not exile themselves in grief with the SLDF were reassigned or retired. The Lunar Guard, what remained of it, accepted mutual defense positions on Mars, Venus, Terra, Mercury, Pluto, and Saturn. To date, only 2595 of the 6000 Lunar Guardians are still active; the rest either were killed or retired. They now bear the memories of the past with a special insignia: Ghost Bear grey paint, a Crescent moon on one or more locations on the battlemech, and a large hatred of the Negaverse.

Of Terra, it was hit just as badly as Luna. The popolus of Terra, unlike the citizens of Luna, got a large grude against the MultiMages, and literrally "deevolved" themselves overnight, back to a past that was hopelessly inferior to the technitial and political achievements that were part of the Silver Millenium. They now exist with no knoweldge of their true pasts, power capabilities, or events in the rest of the universe.

15 years ago, the Emperor instituted a series of operations, listed as Beginnings, Eisenfaust, Ragnarok and Reclamation. The final goal is unknown of these plans; the details of Ragnarok and Reclamation are still shrouded at the command level, currently we are in the middle of operation Eisenfaust, or the gathering of resources for Ragnarok. Currently, 850 Galaxies of warriors are on standby, as well as 266 regiments active in this dimension. On Terra, 15 bases, each hosting anywhere from 1 Batallion to 3 Galaxies, exist. They will play a crucial role for upcoming operations.

End History."

"Well. I do say. So much has happened." Artemis says, and his neck creaks as he looks downward at Gerard.

"Indeed. You are in base Delta, which plays host to 3 Galaxies: The Valley Girls, Milenko's Juggelows, and The Emperor's Elites. We also have earned a reputation that was unexpected and desirable: this forest is almost NEVER entered by the locals."

The radio cracles. "Gerard, come in."

"Go ahead, Central." he speaks into a Microphone.

"The boss has arrived. Operation StarStrike will commence in +5 minutes."

"10-4. Send the boss in, I have two someone's he'd like to speak to." Gerard steps out the back hatch of the Hunchback, and takes a ladder down to the base floor. The cats take a winding staircase down at the end of the platform. Gerard and someone meet about halfway in the floor, next to a stormdrain.

"New GF?" the warrior says as they near the pair.

"Neg, sir. Someone from Way back there." Gerard's eyes betrayed a lot of grief from memories. He jerks his thumb in Luna's direction. The warrior, unrecognizable from sun glare behind him, looks high in their direction, and then turns back to Gerard.

"Nice joke, Comrade." They thought they recognized the voice.

"Look below 36 inches, sir. No Bullshit."

He looks in their direction, and down at them. He kneels on one knee and looks them dead on. "Took you this long to find the biggest secret that everyone knows about?" They immediately recognize him as he alters position out of the sun.

"Eric! We though you gave up on us long ago!" Luna all but screeches at him.

"I did-sorry-untill Chaos was destroyed and the Gods power was broken. Then I knew that the Royal court was not eliminated, and that at least two of the Imperiums still existed here. Now, I'm back, and I'm here to set this scenario right. What brings you here?"

"Uhh, we were investigating the fireworks, and we found all this, sir." Artemis says, trying to sound professional, though he was extremely happy to see the Emperor.

"I haven't changed THAT much in a thousand years, Artemis."

"What is Operation StarStrike? The Radio just announced it was getting ready to happen."

"Jailbreak in Beryll's vaults. Attempt to rescue the Star Lights and a prisoner Baron of mine."

"WHAT??? The Scouts...Alive?" they chant.

"You didn't know? They are all outside." They exit via the bay doors, and almost run into the Scouts, in battle uniform and waiting for something.

"What's the word, sir?" Venus (Mina) asks.

"Solo. There isn't enough room in the area for more than one warrior."

"Drat!" Jupiter shouts.

"Sorry, Lita. I will, however, require the services of the Silence Glaive, if you don't mind," and he looks at Saturn. She draws it from a holder on her back and presents it to him. "Wish me luck. I'll be back ASAP, hopefully sooner." He disappears in a *gate* spell.

****************************************************

Sailor Star Healer was having a thoroughly boring day (as if she'd not had plenty of those as of late). Today was her turn for the bed, and she was laying on her side, staring at the card table the guards used frequently, when she saw the most peculiar thing possible: a "jump gate" in the middle of the room. Steps through is...Eric.

"Hey, look who just stepped in." she says to the others, not caring about stealth.

{would you mind not speaking, or do you like that view better than Terra?} he sends telepathically, and steps up to the door. The polearm he draws out of the holder on his back shocks them: why would Saturn just give it to him? He thrusts it forward into the lock, and pulls their door open. A second jail he busts into is that of the MultiMage soldier that Star Fighter loved to exchange unpleasentries with. He busts the lock in a similar way, and the soldier rushes out.

"Now, why are you rescuing us?"

{I believe I just said Quiet, no? There are random sentries in this area. FUCK!} He spins around, and throws the Glaive like a javelin through a wall. He draws it back through, smearing blood and drywall powder on the blade, and a body falls into partial view of the occupants. "I wasn't counting on this, but..." He spins the Glaive back into place, and begins a spell. The spell conjures up another gate, just as someone steps in. They shout something, and rush at the Scouts and Eric, where the latter draws a .45 and fires right through the monster's neck, leaving a big blood splatter on the opposite wall. "GET IN!" He roars at the Lights conventionally, and he fires again through the thin wall and into another monster. He swaps fire with the Negamonsters using the .45 and an arm-mounted cannon. During the fight, he aims it at the deck and fires, blowing them in to the portal from just staring at the oncoming masses of enemies.

**************************************************

The scouts were waiting for Eric to come back in the front lawns of the mansion, hopefully with their friends. A portal opens, and a pause ensues. Then the Stars fall through in a pile on the ground, bruised, but not severely injured. Then the attention focuses back on the portal, and Eric jumps backward out of it 30 seconds later, firing a Light AC/2 through it at someone in the room beyond. It seals fast.

"Too damn close." he says, hunched over and gasping. The Tek armor he was wearing disappears again.

By now, the Lights were up, and looking pissed. What she thought was a vulnerable shot at hitting him, was a mistake by Fighter. She punched him in the shoulder, only for her fist to meet the flat of his hand. He leans up from his doubled over position, looking her in the eyes.

"What are you going to do now? Beat us up some more?" She tries a gut-punch, only to strike the back of his mailed fist.

"If I sought to injure you, i'd've run you through with the Glaive while you were in the cell, not loosed you. And that shot was into the ground to get you into the portal. I'm going to release my grip now; don't continue the melee." He does, and she staggers. He hits the button on his scouter. "tek armor, level zero." the flak vests and suit he was wearing disappears, revealing jeans and a mechwarrior's cooling vest.

"Think we are gonna trust you?" Maker queries.

"Cut the crap, quinneg? We're on the same side. They," and he jerks his thumb over hsi shoulder at the cluster of the Sailor Scouts, "have already figured out that Beryll is the local common antagonist, not me."

"I don't buy it." Healer says, eyeing first Eric, and then the Scouts.

"I don't expect you to BUY it, I expect you to figure it out for yourselves. Saturn," and he looks back at her.

"Sir?" she says, almost frightened.

He spins the glaive from a backholster, and hands it to her. "I'm not conducting any lessons in the 'great art' of fighting today, mainly to let your guardians think this through. Dis-"

"*Star Serious Beam*!" Fighter fires at him, hoping that being turned, he couldn't react. When the dust settles from the shot, Eric was just standing there, utterly unscathed. He disappears, and there is a lot of looking around on all parts, only to find him 15' in the air, sword drawn and falling directly at Fighter. They cover their eyes, expecting the worst, and their minds almost guess the result of him landing with an uncharasteristic thud. All they hear is a light chuckle, and Eric resheathing his sword. They open their eyes, slowly at first, fighter included, and she drops to her knees, scared and almost sobbing.

"Had I have been one of Beryll's minions, I wouldn't have stopped. It's your choice, but think about it: I've had at least four decent opprotunities to eliminate you, and I haven't done so. Second, I was shooting at them, not you. Third, if I was evil, they'd be-"

"They could be brainwashed!" Healer shouts loud enough to interrupt him.

"I don't think so!" Raye shouts in a very sulky voice.

Maker, who had been real quiet for some time, had a very puzzled look on her face. "Fighter, I think he's right. He could have killed us while we were in that cell, He could have cut you in half, and he can easily blast us at any time he wanted to."

"Give me a break!"

"Not untill you stop and take an objective look at this. We are outnumbered 6000-3 and outclassed 600,000-1, and he isn't pressing the matter. Get it?"

"But I don't like it," Healer mutters, watching a patrol Diashi walk past.

"Again, I never asked you to LIKE it, I merely asked you to-" His scouter lights up, and he presses the button. "Scouts, Stars, you are dismissed for the day. I have to quell an attack by my sister-in-law." He disappears.

"Well, now what do we do?" Luna asks of Pluto.

"I guess go home. He's out beating on someone." They exited via the forest road, and split, not knowing that the next time they'd see each other was at gunpoint.