Make Them Hear You

By Maedara Dracomir

Part Two

"Make your choice, my lady. What shall it be? The mercy of a quick death for the duck and the end of your honor, or a gruelling agonizing end for you both?"

Nosedive rolled his eyes. "Youíre gonna kill us either way. Why bother ask--rkk..." Dive struggled, caught hard by the throat in Dragaunusí grip.

"What did I warn you?"

"Not...to...talk?" Dive gasped.

Dragaunus let go and slammed a fist into his throat. Dive screamed, but only a strangled gasp came out. For a panicked moment, he thought he couldnít breathe, then began to cough forcefully. Red droplets flew out of his mouth to splatter on the floor of the Raptor. Jax looked at him in terror.

Dive wouldíve told her that he was all right, save for that he wasnít. Dragaunus looked on impassively as he tried to force down the blood threatening to choke him. Breathing was possible now, but it burned his throat and lungs.

"That was your second warning, duck."

Nosedive closed his eyes tightly and gritted his teeth. No matter what, he told himself, concentrate on breathing and donít say anything.

Dragaunus glowered at him for a few seconds longer, then turned back to Jaxara.

"You bastard," she hissed. Dragaunus chuckled.

"You can call me anything you like. But I want an answer now. Shall you die peacefully, or by the DíNai?"

"I..." It was a hard choice. If she chose to kill Nosedive, Cobran would pay the price. If she chose the DíNai, she would make Nosedive suffer until his death. Her thoughts were not on her own fate. She had been prepared for death since they had first entered the Raptor as prisoners. Beside her, Dive coughed and spat some more blood on the floor.

If she chose the DíNai, he would go through so much pain before his final rest...but the DíNai took a long while...perhaps she could buy Cobran and Diveís friends some time if she chose a slow death...Jax moaned. She didnít know what to do.

Dragaunus growled in impatience. "If you are having trouble making up your mind, perhaps I could inspire you to quicken the process."

He approached Dive and reached out for him. Nosedive tried struggling away, but it made little difference - the bonds held him tightly.

"No! Leave him alone. I have made my decision," Jax said, lifting her head.

"Which is?"

"He, then later myself, shall die by the ritual of DíNai." Jax answered quietly, then lowered her head.

Dragaunus snarled in anger. This was not what he had planned. Jaxara should have chosen to kill Nosedive in view of Wildwing and the other ducks through Drake 1ís visual communicator. Then they would be distracted by grief and turn on Cobran, not listening to anything he tried to tell them about the Raptorís layout or weaknesses. Now the plan would not work.

"Why did you choose such a horrid death for your young friend? Perhaps you do not care about him as much as youíd have the ducks believe after all."

"If youíre tryiní to turn me against her, you are more pathetic than --" Dive was cut off by a blow across the face that sent the lights above spinning crazily.

"Stop it! Arenít you going to cause him enough pain?"

Dragaunus snarled at her, then calmed down. He regarded her for a moment, then laughed. "You wish to buy them time! Thatís why you chose a long death for him and yourself. I had hoped to see Wildwingís expression as you killed his brother, but...watching Nosedive suffer would be much more entertaining. If you think youíve spared Cobran Dracomir any shame, Iím afraid youíre much mistaken. After they watch one of their own suffer at our hands, theyíll crucify him. After all, none of this would have happened if you hadnít come to earth."

"It was Dactylar that drove us here."

"Do you really think that will matter to them?" Dragaunus turned to Dive, who was still stunned by the blow. "I hope youíll give your mother my regards."

Nosedive lifted his head. "How did you know...?"

"Dactylar has told me some very entertaining stories of what befell you at the prison camp. Your motherís death...the hot brands...the flogging...whatever pain you already experienced will pale next to the ritual of DíNai. I hope you have a pleasant time."

With a snort of derisive laughter, Dragaunus left Jax and Dive alone in the darkness.

* * *

Victoria sneered in disgust. She couldnít believe nobody was listening to her. These Saurians were not their allies, no matter what Dive said. That boy was a troublemaker and if he wasnít on the team, heíd probably be a thief or gang-member on Earth. He had all the signs - he was no better than her son, Rallus.

She closed her eyes. Sheíd loved Rallus, but heíd never appreciated her. She had been smart to turn him out of the house after he was arrested for shoplifting. There was just no working with a bad egg. Some said that she had given up too easily. Victoria believed that she had merely quit while she was ahead, just like any sensible mother would do. Rallus was no better than his traitor aunt, Lucretia. And neither was Nosedive.

It infuriated her to see how Dive could join up with Saurians and be so easily forgiven by the rest of the team. Victoria swore she would never let him live this down. Never.

"Wildwing! Iím getting a signal on Drake 1!" Tanya yelled from the Ready Room. The ducks, including Victoria, and Cobran were at her side in the next instant.

Tanya pressed a few buttons, allowing Drake 1 to receive the message. Dragaunusí face flickered on the screen.

"Iím sure your all eager to know whatís become of your young team member and the female Saurian that pretended to ally herself with you."

"Donít try that trash with us, Dragaunus. What have you done with them?" snapped Wildwing.

"Patience. Your brother is here." Dragaunus stepped aside to reveal Nosedive shackled to the floor. Wraith hovered over him, hands moving back and forth above the duckís body and chanting some strange words. Dive moaned, then cried out as his body arched in pain. His eyes opened - black as ink.

Wildwing gasped. "What are you doing to him?"

"He is suffering because of Jaxara, you know. She refused to grant him a quick death. Such a shame. The DíNai is not a pleasant way for anyone to die."

Cobran hissed in fear and stepped back. "No...oh please, Lordras no..."

"What?" Wing demanded, trying not to let his terror surface. What was happening to his baby bro?

"We have to get him out of there now."

"Youíll never find the Raptor, Cobran. And if you did manage to rescue him, he is past the point of living as he once did. He will remember and the memories will undo him if the DíNai doesnít."

"You lie! You have barely begun the ritual! There is still time to rescue him!"

"The clock is ticking, Cobran. For him and your beloved Jaxara. Youíd better find us soon so I can watch your face as Nosedive takes his last breath...spent cursing your name. Heís wishing now he died in the camps."

Cobran bristled and growled. "To think you and I share the same race...it is unbearable to even breathe the same air as you!" he hissed.

"Yes, isnít it? Now if youíll excuse me. I have other business to attend to. Oh and Wildwing, I hope your brotherís fate doesnít put a permanent stain on whatever friendship you hold with Cobran. Seeing our two races working so peacefully together is rather... inspiring." Dragaunus flashed a smug grin and the screen blanked out.

Although his hands trembled, Cobran checked the device Tanya had installed into Drake 1 to track Dragaunus. He sighed in relief as the coordinates popped up on screen.

"We have them. They are not far from here. Fifty-two longitude, thirty-one latitude.
Directly in the Monterey Bay Area."

Wildwing swallowed dryly and looked at the coordinates. "If we take the Aerowing, weíll be there in twenty minutes. Will that be too late?"

"I donít know."

"Then letís go."

"Why Cobran? I donít see why we need him anymore," snapped Victoria.

"You are wasting our time." Cobran snarled impatiently.

"Itís because of you Diveís in this mess in the first place!"

Cobran roared in anger. "Then blame me! Blame everything on me from the destruction of your world to this! But if you harry us on moment longer, it may cost Nosedive his life. Do you care more about being right than saving him?"

"He is a traitor," Victoria hissed. "Heís chosen his enemies over his true friends. We could not save him from your influence. Why do you think we can save him from Dragaunus?"

"Listen, sister of DeCoy," Cobran snarled vehemently, "Your hypocrisy and prejudice have betrayed your teammates and your people far worse than I could ever have harmed you. These precious moments may have cost Nosedive his life."

"Not that you care, you--"

"Shut up. Iím only going to say it once, Victoria," growled Wildwing."You open your beak one more time and youíll wait for our return in the brig. Letís move team!"

* * *

"Saints...please...please..." Nosedive wailed, twisting in his bonds. Jax struggled against her own bonds, trying desperately to reach his side.

"Nosedive, hold on!" Cobran, please...hurry, she prayed.

* * *

"Dad? Dad? Help me!" Nosedive called out. Silverwingís face shimmered and then disappeared, leaving him alone. "No, come back! Donít leave me!"

A hand touched him, stroking his hair. His fatherís voice soothed him - shielded him from the nightmares and the pain.

"Shhh, Iím here."

"Dad...where are you?"

"Right here, Dive."

"No...no! Where are you? Are you...dead?"

"Iím not dead." Silverwing answered, after a momentís hesitation.

"Then why? Whyíd you leave us?"

"Nosedive --" Silverwingís tone was gentle, but stern and a little sad. "If Iíd been able to return to you, do you really think I wouldnít?"

Nosedive shook his head. "Why canít you?"

"Always full of questions. Just like I remember. Iíve been watching over you, Dive. To the best of my abilities. I helped you get through the camps. Iíll help you get through this."

"What about --"

"Your mother? And Wing? I look over them too. I...I wish..." Silverwingís voice wavered.

"I know, Dad...I couldnít save her either." Dive swallowed. He had grieved, but when he remembered Juliannaís face, so kind and forgiving, his heart still constricted painfully. "Dad, where are you?"

"Iíll tell you what happened. Itíll take your mind off what theyíre doing to your body."

* * *

"Itís impossible, I tell you, impossible! No-one is this unaffected under the DíNai - even the

most stoic Saurian fears it!" Wraith hissed. Nosediveís eyes were closed peacefully as if he felt no pain - either that or as if he didnít care.

"Then maybe youíre not doing it right!" growled Dragaunus.

"I know what Iím doing," Wraith replied. "Itís not my fault."

"Then what is going on?" Dragaunus raged.

Jax also looked upon Diveís figure with awe. Ducks had a much lower pain level than Saurians - they were more fragile and their skin was not as thick and certainly not armored. Even pain inflicted on Diveís mind didnít seem to be affecting him. So still did he lay, that Jax would have feared Dive was dead if it werenít for his chest rising and falling with each breath he took.

But why? What was going on?

"Perhaps I should stop now? I do not wish to waste my time. If the DíNai is this ineffective at making him suffer, it will most likely be even less likely to kill him."

"No, Wraith, continue. Whatever strength he possesses will not last him very long."

Jax shuddered as she realized that Dragaunus was right. Cobran, please...please hurry, my love...

* * *

"Dad, I-I think itís getting worse..."

"Donít think about it. Focus on me. Take my hand."

Nosedive numbly lifted up his arm and wrapped his cold fingers around his fatherís hand. Silverwing tenderly caressed his sonís cheek. "Thatís a good boy. Now close your eyes."

"Iím afraid of the dark, Dad...please, Iím scared." Silverwing nearly shuddered. The effects of the DíNai were beginning to affect Diveís mind as well as his body.

"There wonít be any dark. Youíll see what happened to me. Youíll see where I am. And youíll see a lot of things youíve forgotten."

Nosedive obediently closed his eyes and what he saw made him gasp.
* * *

"Why-Wing!" yelled a young duck, about two years old. "No!" The young golden-haired duck struggled with his brother who was trying to take away his sidewalk chalk.

"This is my chalk! Nosedive! Give it!"

"No! I draw!"

"Oh fine! Take it." Angry, Wildwing let go of his end of the chalk-tug-of-war argument, sending Nosedive falling backwards.

"Ow!" yelped Dive as he landed on his tailfeathers on the cement. Wing grimaced and waited for Nosedive to start bawling. Dive, however, started drawing instead.

Wing was thankful enough, at least, to let Dive use the green chalk for a little. Wing heard his friend Halin call him from across the street and skated off to go visit with him.

Nosedive continued drawing, forgetting all indignation and soreness at Wildwing - perhaps even forgetting he even had a brother, so absorbed he was in this task.

Dive watched his younger self drawing. Silverwing began to walk closer to the drawing and as he was still holding his fatherís hand, Dive walked alongside him. Looking down, he saw himself drawing a very strange, intricate, and somehow very familiar symbol.

Dive grinned. He was a pretty good artist for a two-year-old...heck, even for an adult. But why couldnít he remember? And why, upon entering his fifth year, had his drawings been only stick-figures and half-hazard box-houses?

"What does the symbol mean?" he asked his father, in a whisper. Silverwing chuckled, amused. "You donít have to whisper. Your younger self cannot hear or see us." He did not answer Diveís question just yet.

The two-year old Dive had finished his drawing and was standing up, looking down upon it. He picked up some snow lying in the street and made a pile of it next to his drawing.

"What is he, I mean, what am I doing?"

"Shhh, watch."

Nosediveís younger self stared intently at the symbol, as if seeking to memorize it. Abruptly, he shuddered, and shoved the pile of snow onto the drawing, making sure it smeared and dissolved the chalk markings beyond all recognition. Then he stomped on it once or twice for good measure and walked to the front door.

Wing was right, Dive thought. I was a weird little kid.

"Mom! Mom! Me in!"

Dive tried to swallow past a lump in his throat as his mother came to the door to let two-year-old him in. "Come on, sweetie, itís getting a bit cold," Julianna picked little Dive off the ground and carried him inside. "Daddyíll be home soon."

Silverwing put a comforting arm around Nosedive. "I know you miss her, but you must look to what I need to show you. We havenít much time. Do you recognize the symbol?"

"Itís familiar...but I canít remember what it means."

"That symbol is the emblem of a Saurian bloodline. Dragaunusí bloodline, to be exact. By drawing his symbol and then striking out at it the way you did - you sought to rub it out - to extinguish it. In your own way, you were trying to get rid of Dragaunus before he took away anyone you held dear."

"But how did I know?"

"You dreamed...no, they werenít dreams. They were night terrors. Youíd wake us up screaming in horror - horror no child should ever have to experience. In the morning youíd remember nothing. Only your mother and I knew what you had said, and only I understood any of it and I understood too late...much too late to prevent your gift from disappearing into the past along with your second year of life. Maybe you can still reclaim it. But I cannot help you as much as youíll need it."

"What...what did I say? What gift?"

"You screamed his name...although because you were so young, you pronounced it a different way. You cried out ĎDracansií and we did not know what you meant. I knew, but I knew a good time after you had despaired of ever seeing me again. You knew, Nosedive. You knew about the Saurians going to attack our world. But because I was blind, your gift of foresight slipped away."

The words hit Nosedive like a blow. Suddenly, he was spinning into a black void. His father called his name and reached out for him, green eyes wide with alarm. Dive opened his mouth to cry out and couldnít hear a thing.

* * *

"Heís showing some signs of pain now, my lord. I believe he was in some sort of trance... itís the only explanation for his stoicism," Wraith was telling Dragaunus.

Dive opened his eyes and found Dragaunus kneeling next to him. Although he could barely move due to the pain that lanced through his whole body, he turned his head to meet Dragaunusí gaze. "Dracansi...you bastard," he hissed brokenly.

Dragaunusí eyes flickered from astonishment, to horror, to disbelief. "What did you call me?" he rasped.

"Iím not quite sure, my lord...whats the matter?"

"Get out, Wraith."

"But-"

"NOW! And take Jaxara to the lower cells. No arguments, just go. I need to be alone with him..."

The doors hissed shut behind Wraith and Jaxara who looked back over her shoulder despite Wraith shoving her forward.

Dragaunus gripped Diveís face and forced him to sit up. The movement caused Dive to groan as cramps seized his body. Nosedive suddenly twisted away from Dragaunusí claws and retched painfully to one side. The Saurian gave a snarl that was a mixture of annoyance and disgust.

"Are you quite done yet?"

"No..." Dive wiped his mouth. "I need to get that portrait of your mother framed and matted. Know any good places?"

Dragaunus easily lifted Nosedive and slammed the teenager against the wall, pinning him there by his throat. "Why did you call me that?"

"What, you mean bastard? Cause I hate you."

"No," he hissed, impatiently. "The name -where did you hear that name?"

"Why you so upset?" Diveís vision was getting bleary. He wanted down. "Itís just a name."

"It is important to me - my secret and mine alone. I can be harmed by magic so long as anyone knows that name. Where did you hear it from? Who else knows?" Dragaunusí voice was agitated now, on the very edge of wheedling.

"I thought you only believed in technology, Dragaunus..." choked out Dive.

"Tell me!" the Saurian roared.

"Aagh...let me down..." Diveís body was suddenly seized with more cramps - this time much more severely."Please, please..."

"When you tell me."

"No, please...put me down..." Dive pleaded. "Hurts so bad..." The pain was so horrible, he was surprised he wasnít bleeding. Diveís gaze shifted to the ground which was smeared with blood. Ah, so he was bleeding...

After another childish cry to be let down and left alone, Dragaunus dumped the teenager unceremoniously onto the ground where he drew his knees up and buried his face in his hands, sobbing from pain and fear.

"Now, the name...where did you hear it?" Dragaunus tried, unsuccessfully, to make his voice sound coaxing.

"I dreamed it...long time ago...I dreamed of you coming to kill us...but I didnít remember...not till now...D'Nai making me remember everything..."

"What else do you remember?"

"Nothing...you woke me before --" Nosedive screamed in anguish as his body doubled over from the torment of his myriad injuries.

Dragaunus dragged him away from the wall and began to reshackle the young duck to the floor. Nosedive trembled in fear, but he made no struggle. As much as he didnít want to, he had to go back. He had to find out what had happened to his father - and what he himself had lost so long ago.

"Wraith! Come back, old one. It is time to begin again."

As bidden, Wraith materialized before the Saurian Overlord who towered above Nosediveís cringing body.

"Where is lady Jaxara?"

"In the lower cells where traitorous scum like her belongs."

"Itís time to begin again."

"Did you find out what you needed to know?"

"Yes. No. It doesnít matter. Donít stop the ritual until he is dead. Do you hear me?"

"My lord," Wraith bowed his head, accepting his orders. He turned back to Nosedive who closed his eyes and waited.

* * *

"Duke, Grin, Tanya, follow Cobran. Heíll take you to the cells."

"He knows where they are?" Mal asked, a bit sceptically in Cobranís opinion.

"Yes. The Raptor is like any other ship Iíve been in. They should be that way." Cobran pointed down one of the corridors.

"Victoria and Mal, youíre with me. Whoever finds them first, contact us as fast as you can. Weíre taking the right corridor."

"Where are you headed?" asked Cobran. He still didnít quite understand why they were splitting up.

"If Nosediveís hasnít been moved to the brig to get the rest of this DíNai stuff done to him, it means heís in the main communications room. Jax might be with him there, or she might be down here, nobody knows."

"Perhaps Jax is down here, but I doubt they would have moved Nosedive. I wish you well - you may be headed into a trap."

"Iíll keep that in mind. Good luck to you too. Letís go."

* * *

"Dad? Where are you?" Nosedive hoped his father could hear him. The world was dark red around him - the kind of color you see when you close your eyes in pain.

"Dive, Iím here. Iím sorry. I didnít mean to let you slip away." A hand rested gently on his shoulder. "Dracansi knows that you know his real name."

"Dad, Iím sorry. I shouldnít have --"

"Itís all right. We have little time - your body is beginning to die."

"Dad, what happened? You donít have to show me anything, just tell me. Will I ever see you again?"

"You will. In dreams. I will try my best to come when your heart calls out for me. It is what I was meant to do."

"What?" Dive wasnít sure he understood what Silverwing meant, but he was afraid that he did.

"Remember Canard? When he became Dactylar in your eyes?"

"That was you?"

"It was you too. It was your gift. You can foresee things - but you canít control what you foresee. Your mind can either unbend truths, or twist them into what you want to see. But for you alone does this gift serve. You cannot make anyone else see the truth, neither can you deceive them. Others, unfortunately, do have that power, and you must beware of them. You will know them when you see them. And as your guardian, I will help you against them as best as I can."

Nosedive looked into his fatherís eyes. "My guardian? Who made you my guardian?"

"That is not important yet. But my body is in this dimension and I am here to stay. If I were to leave, I would die - both my body and my soul would be vanquished."

"By whom?" Diveís eyes were narrowed. A sharp fear was in his heart - sharper even than the pain attempting to jar his mind out of connection with his father.

"By one you will come to know soon. I have to help him cross to where you are. I have no choice."

"Why?"

"Because one of his allies will become your ally. I am not sure of which one. I was not told."

"Told? So...thereís someone else helping me?"

"Yes. Thereís a higher force than me looking after you." Silverwing frowned and looked to the side - as if someone was whispering and he was trying to listen. When he turned back to face his youngest son, his eyes were full of sorrow, love and something that may have been helplessness. "Tell Wildwing that I love him very much. No matter what happens, I will always love him. I am very proud of you, Dive. Always remember that."

"Dad, wait, where are you going---"
* * *

The young duck jarred awake with a scream of agony. Wraith paused to relish in the Puckworldianís suffering, and Nosedive tried to catch his breath. His throat felt raw and parched and he felt nausea rising up from his stomach. Desperately, he fought it back down.

"One last rite, my lord, and he is done for."

"Stop, Wraith."

"But, my lord --"

"Kill him, Siege, and quickly. I grow tired of his screams. The DíNai is working too slowly for my taste." Dragaunus glowered down at Nosedive in apathy, but Dive could read fear deep within the Saurianís eyes.

Siege raised his blaster and made sure it was loaded before pressing the cold nozzle against Nosediveís throat.

Dive was too weak to struggle but he was fairly alarmed, here. Silverwing wouldnít release him back into the waking world just to die, would he? Or was he indeed helpless against the force that seemed to tug both them and the world on puppet strings?

Siege grinned. "Iím gonna enjoy this," he growled, putting slight pressure on the trigger.

Why is it, Dive thought sardonically, do villains always gloat over killing you before they actually do it?

* * *

Jaxara pressed against the bars, shivering. It was cold down here - too cold for any Saurianís comfort. Or perhaps she was cold from fear?

She had heard Dive crying out earlier, but she was more afraid now because of his silence. Was it done? Had they killed him?

Jaxara turned her face to the side and began to weep. A hand caressed her face and she looked up. "Cobran!" she hissed, grabbing his wrist with both hands. "Up there! They havenít moved him --"

"Shhh, Wing is going after him then. We thought he might be down here with you."

"No. I fear the worst for him."

"Hey, donít worry, sweetheart," Duke assured her. "Letís get you outta this cell first. Then we can help Wing."

"I only hope weíre not too late," Tanya said softly as Grin began to pull apart the bars.

* * *

"Say goodbye, duck." Siegeís finger began to pull back on the trigger. A bolt from a pucklauncher grazed his shoulder and he roared, stumbling backwards in pain and surprise. The Saurianís blaster went off above Wildwingís head and left a good-sized dent in the wall. The rest of the team dodged away from the sparks and readied their weapons.

"What? How did they find us?" Chameleon yelped.

"It doesnít matter, destroy them!" cried Dragaunus. "Iíll deal with Nosedive." The Overlord took out a dagger and knelt beside Diveís prone body.

"No!" screamed Wildwing lunging for Dragaunus. Both crashed into the ground, Dragaunusí knife skittering across the floor out of his reach.

"Dactylar! Finish him!" Dragaunus howled.

"What are you up to Dragaunus? Why are you after my brother?"

Dragaunus smashed Wildwing across the mouth and kicked him away. Agilely, he leapt to his feet. Dactylar had raised his sword above Nosedive, but before he could finish his downward stroke, a shape was upon him, fighting desperately to protect Nosedive.

Cobran gave a cry of pain as Dactylar slashed his arm with his talons, but kept fighting. Cobran was a low ranking soldier in his world and Dactylar was much more prepared in hand-to-hand combat skills. Nevertheless, Cobran seemed to be able to hold out on his own.

Weakly, Dive found himself getting to his feet. He had no more strength - however it was not strength forcing him to stand. It was the knowledge that there was something he had to do...something wrong that he had to right. He opened his eyes - as much as he didnít want to - and saw it almost immediately.

* * *

To Victoria, they both looked like wild beasts and she sneered in disgust. She ought to wipe them both out. They were moving too fast to get a clear shot - if Victoria pulled the trigger, it would kill without discrimination. She didn't really care. Grimly, she prepared to fire.

"Victoria, no!" Dive yelled, attracting her attention. She looked at him annoyed, then aimed again at Cobran and Dactylar. Her momentary distraction had been the perfect opportunity for Chameleon to strike.

Victoria cried out as the muscular-morphed Saurian seized her and tossed her carelessly across the room, where she slammed into the wall and lay there in a groaning heap. Dive winced. He was never gonna hear the end of this.

One final blow sent Cobran reeling backwards to crash at Diveís feet. Nosedive turned to see Dactylarís triumphant leer as he stalked toward them both, blood running heedlessly down his face and arms. Dive gulped. He still felt weak and he hurt, but something deep inside would not let him collapse into the comfort of sleep and darkness.

Not even when Dactylar gripped him by the throat, squeezing hard enough to block all air from entering his lungs did Nosedive faint. Dive wanted to close his eyes and wait for the end, but he couldnít. He looked back into Dactylarís stony gaze and much to his amazement, saw through Dactylarís very soul.

Dactylar frowned as he felt Diveís cold gaze run through him like a steel blade. "What are you doing?" he asked, suddenly afraid. He let go of Diveís throat as if he was loathe to touch the Puckworldian.

"I know you now," Dive spoke. It was the strangest thing, really. The voice and the words were his, but he somehow felt very detached, as if he was outside of his body, watching what was going on. "I know who you are, Arsanis."

"My name...no, no, you canít possibly...no!" Dactylar looked so horrified, it was almost funny. Dive turned and saw that Wing and the rest of the team, including Jaxara were subduing Dragaunus and his henchmen. Victoria was out of the game however, last Dive had see---

Dactylar suddenly screamed and his body twitched around like a rag dollís. He collapsed to the floor, eyes still open in affixed horror. Nosedive shuddered and looked for Dactylarís killer. He found her standing not ten feet away, calmly gazing down upon the Saurianís corpse.

"I canít believe you," he whispered in anguish.

Victoria looked at him in surprise. "Iíd though youíd want him dead. He killed your mother."

"And youíre no better than he is."

Victoriaís face darkened. "I will not be compared to a killer. You can defend your two friends - whoíve betrayed their own race as you claim, for your sake. But now you defend your own motherís killer? Was his life truly worth saving?"

"It is not for me to decide," Nosedive said, coldly. "Nor is it yours. Or anybodyís."

"Whatís done is done. I have no regrets."

"Of course not. You might as well be made of stone!" Dive cursed. It was then he lost hold of whatever had held him upright in the first place. Cobran, barely recovering enough to sit up, watched in alarm as Dive fell.

As Mal, Grin, Duke, Jax, and Tanya guarded Dragaunus and his three henchmen from making any sudden moves, Wing rushed over to his brotherís side. As he cradled Nosediveís body in his arms, he looked up at Victoria, then glanced at the body of Dactylar.

He felt his heart tighten into a knot as he surveyed his brotherís injuries. At the same time, he remembered the wounds he had seen on his brotherís body sustained from time spent in Dactylarís camp. And he remembered Diveís tears of loss when his little brother had told him of their motherís unjust death.

Although part of him rebelled against killing, another part - the darker half of him - wanted to congratulate Victoria and praise her for having the guts to do away with Dactylar as coldly as he would do away with any of them. Torn as he was, Wildwing refused to say anything to her, for that moment and for the whole ride back to the Pond.

* * *

Dragaunus actually cowered when Wildwing passed him by with Dive in his arms. "Take them to the cells," Wildwing ordered Duke and Mallory. They nodded and began to lead the four Saurians away.

"What are we uh, you know, gonna do now, Wildwing?" Tanya asked as she helped him set Nosedive down on the medi-table.

"After we make sure Dive is okay, weíll use Dragaunusí gateway generator. Weíre taking Dragaunus and the others with us. Their fate will be determined by our leaders."

"What about Cobran and Jaxara? Surely we canít let them get away with their crimes," spoke Victoriaís voice from the doorway. It was empty of malice, but it was still hard and unyielding.

"Iíve heard enough from you, Victoria. You will answer for killing Dactylar. It was completely unnecessary and against everything our people stand for. As much as I would love to tear that bastard apart for what he did to my family and countless other innocents, I know that at least I am above that kind of hatred. I feel sorry for you, Victoria, that you are not above it."

Wildwing was trembling with rage as he spoke, but his voice was as cold and smooth as the ice on the rink.

He felt a small hand creep into his and when he looked down, he swallowed his anger and tried to smile reassuringly.

"Is he gonna be okay, Wildwing, sir?" asked Sparrow, looking up with fear in his eyes.

"Letís pray to the Saints he will be," Wildwing said, and he was surprised he said that. It had been a long time since he had prayed to the Saints. Perhaps it was time he started again.


The End
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