From Unofficial Handbook of the Virtue Universe
“This is Donna Wheeling reporting to you live from Steel Canyon where just moments ago an unknown ship attacked the hero called Crimsonstar. As you can see behind me the entire station platform for the green line train has been destroyed. Reports from witnesses tell us that the ship fired upon the station and that Crimsonstar himself was buried in its collapse but not before all the waiting passengers were able to evacuate.” The reporter for Paragon 6 Action News turned and the camera zoomed in on the rubble but her voice continued. “It’s been several minutes now since the station was destroyed, and at present there has been no sign of the hero Crimsonstar…..”
The reporter’s words were cut short as the pile of collapsed concrete and steel erupted and Marsius flew out of the wreckage. “Get you and your news crew out of here!” he screamed as he streaked overhead into the sky. “Janus, care to take another shot?” he yelled and the starslider again uncloaked in front of him. “Why don’t you come out of that ship and fight me directly Janus. That is why you’re here, isn’t it, to get revenge on me?” Marsius yelled and he launched himself at the starslider. He collided with the front of in and strained against it with all his might. He had to get this fight out of the populated areas. The war walls of Baumtown glowed several yards behind the ship and he slammed the ship again and again, closing the distance between the ship and the wall.
The ship collided with the war wall, it’s energy crackling and sputtering as the cloak on the starslider also blew out and both the starslider and Marsius fell through it and continued falling into the Baumtown area. Marsius let go of the ship, watched as it crashed into one of the many empty and dilapidated buildings in the ravaged district. He dove after the starslider following it through the huge hole it had just crashed through in the building. He stopped short of landing on the ship and hovered above it. “Janus, come out of that ship and fight me like a man, or did you lose that along with your honor?” Marsius yelled.
The hull of the ship opened and Janus flew out of the ship full of rage and hate and headed upward to Marsius. He slammed into him and they became entangled in the air, trading blows, falling and spinning from the sky.
There was a huge explosion waking her from her slumber. She flew out of the building and saw a strange ship crashing by the edge of the war walls, and there hovering above it Marsius. Then another man she didn’t recognize rose out of the ship and attacked Marsius. They locked in combat and started to fall. “Marsius?” She said and took a step forward. “He needs help, my help.” and she started to fly toward them.
The two of them crashed to the floor of the empty building, the floor buckling under them. Marsius thrust his knees into Janus’ stomach kicking him off and sending him crashing into the side of the starslider that had come to rest just a few feet from them.
“Janus, stop this, let’s try to talk this out!” Marsius yelled getting to his feet.
“The time to talk is long gone Marsius. You could have talked to me the entire time I was on trial back at the Star Brigade command, or when I was escorted to my dismissal proceedings when they wiped my service record and Black Holed me. You even could have come to talk to me while I was held in detainment on Andromeda 3 waiting to be moved to one of the other Andromedan worlds, and you never did.” Janus screamed and fired a solid black beam of energy from his hands that smashed into Marsius’ chest. Marsius was thrown backward by Janus’ dark blast into a half collapsed stairway.
“Were you too ashamed of my failure to come and offer me any sympathy, or was it shame in yourself, that one of your officers had failed you?” And Janus fired another of his dark energy beams. Marsius could feel coldness and his own energy being depleted with each blast that Janus fired. His star implant had taken all his feelings of hate and betrayal and manifested them into a dark life draining power. “You were supposed to be a friend as well as a superior officer, and you never even came to see me off when they finally shipped me to Andromeda 9.” He screamed and unleashed still another dark, life draining blast.
Marsius leapt, the blast barely missing him, ripping a chunk of the stair debris and hurling it back towards Janus. Janus fired a blast at the block of concrete and it flew away over his head and crashed into the side of the starslider. He turned and inspected the damage and then laughed and gazed back at Marsius. “I told you Marsius, you’ll want to be careful about damaging my ship.”
Marsius dove down slamming into Janus, his fists hammering into his face. “I don’t care about getting home, just stopping you.” He said
Her vision was blurred from blood that was trickling into her eye from an open cut on her forehead. When the ship crashed her chair had been broken free of its harness and sent her flying across the deck. One of her wrists was broken and she grimaced in pain when she tried to push her weight off the floor with it, but the good news was that with the chair having broken, she was free of the restraints Janus had used to tie her to it. She forced herself to stand and almost succumbed to the vertigo from the effort, falling against the bulkhead, using it to steady herself.
Outside the ship she heard voices, screams of rage. Janus and who, Marsius? She remembered seeing him fall to the ground outside when Janus first hit him with the weapons he had installed on the ship, but couldn’t remember what happened next. There was a loud crash accompanied by buckling metal and the ship lurched wildly as something hit it, sending her tumbling back to the floor.
“They’re going to kill one another. I have to stop them.” She groaned and started to crawl toward the door of the ship.
Marsius grabbed Janus swinging him around and flinging him into one of the remaining walls. “You shouldn’t have come here; you should have just stayed on Andromeda and made an effort to live a happy life with Tanna.” Marsius growled.
“Tanna! Tanna left me Marsius, left me for YOU!” and he jumped across the room flying straight into Marsius, his hands landing on his chest as he collided with him and crashed down on top of him. “She broke our engagement Marsius. She has feelings for you still, said that seeing you alive made her question her commitment to me.” He held on tight to Marsius’ chest and let his dark energy fire out of him and kept firing directly into Marsius over and over. “You weren’t even in Andromeda and still you managed to take my livelihood away from me! First you took away my life, my service in the Brigade and then you took the woman I love!”
Marsius looked up at him. “I didn’t take anything that you didn’t throw away yourself first.” He replied and felt his strength ebbing away slowly. For every blast that Janus fired that robbed him of his life, it only fueled Janus’ hatred, making him stronger. He desperately lashed out, succeeding in knocking Janus away into pile of steel and mortar from the ceiling. He couldn’t stand, he was too weak. He opened his gauntlets, praying to Kairin’s spirit that he had time.
Grace and Major Britain were clearing the debris from the tram station, turning over each large slab of concrete, each time not finding him.
“He’s not here!” Major Britain shouted. The newswoman and her crew were still in the area and she approached them both. “Crimsonstar? He flew out about fifteen minutes ago.” She offered.
“Where, where did he go?” Grace shouted running up to the woman. The intensity of her eyes and the flames from her magical shields dancing across her body intimidated the reporter. An alarm on her PDA went off loudly and she pulled it out A map was displayed with a small red star flashing on it, Marsius’ symbol. She heard a weak voice emanate from the speaker.
“Binary……Grace…….I..need you….hurry.” Grace looked at the map, it was Boomtown, and he was close to the Steel Canyon wall. She looked up and noticed the hole in the war wall. It was closing as the energy generators that powered it were slowly repairing it. “Marsius!” she yelled and flew away passing through the momentary gap in the war wall field seconds before it closed.
Jessica was nearing the building and she was close enough to hear the screams of the combatants inside. “Marsius, hold on my love, I’m coming, and then you’ll see we belong together.” She yelled. Her eyes caught a figure, clad in purple surrounded by flames, burst through the protective field that separated Baumtown from the populated areas and watched it dive into the building. “No, not her! I’m to save you, me!” and she too dove down to the building.
Marsius was crawling along the floor, trying to use the steps to force himself up. The starslider sat in the middle of the large floor, a large dent in the front and side of it. On the far side she could see another man dressed in black, long flowing blond hair, dark black pupilless eyes, also trying to stand, the debris sliding and slipping beneath his hands and feet. Janus.
Grace flew straight to Marsius grabbing his arms and standing him up letting him rest his weight on her. “Can you stand? Marsius, damn you, I begged you not to face him alone.” She said, but there was no chance for him to reply as a dark beam of energy hit Marsius knocking him away from her. She spun to see Janus standing and walking toward her. He grinned maniacally as he spoke “You must be the Binary I heard he had taken. Too bad you’ve chosen to die with him.” Grace flung herself at Janus, her hands enveloped in orbs of fire and she landed a strong right cross into his jaw. “Not today!” she hissed
The fighting was getting louder and now she heard a third voice, a woman. Was it Marsius’ Binary, the woman he called Grace? This was getting out of hand and it was all her fault. She had to stop them. Tanna forced herself to stand, screaming in pain and noticing a shard of metal had impaled in her leg on her last fall to the ship’s deck. She gritted her teeth and yanked it out with one swift jerk. She clenched the metal in her hand, used the pain of it cutting into her palm as motivation to stay awake and move to the ship’s hatch.
Grace spun around and landed a solid kick to Janus’ head sending him falling back against the wall. He recovered quickly and fired at Grace as she was closing in on him. His blast hit her in the chest and she screamed out falling to her knees. It was pain like she hadn’t felt before, as if something was ripping her power away from inside of her. “Belisama, grant me strength!” she prayed and leapt up grabbing Janus’ hands even as he fired another blast missing her by inches. She found her energy renewed and flung Janus into the middle of the room. She started after him, hands raised above her head when suddenly something or someone rammed into her slamming her back. She looked up to see a creature, obviously female, but resembling a horror movie reject. It’s body was covered in red scales and large demon wings spread out from it’s back. It’s tail snapped wildly back and forth and a long tongue flicked in and out of his fanged mouth, green glowing eyes stared down at her. “No, he’s mine. You’ll not take this from me. I kill him and Marsius will love me.” The thing hissed.
“Not very damn likely.” Grace snapped back at it. “That’s a face not even a mother could love.” The thing screeched at her and swung it’s arm, her talons slashing Grace across her stomach, ripping her uniform. Grace countered by kicking out and slamming her foot into the creature’s stomach. It spit out a thick green mucus that melted the floor where it hit.
Janus stood from the floor laughing “Well, well Marsius, you have been busy here, haven’t you? You have two women fighting over the right to save you from me, except the one doesn’t look quite like a woman you’d go for. Too bad they’re too concerned over killing one another that they’ve forgotten me.” He said.
Marsius’ strength was returning slowly but he forced himself to continue against Janus. “Grace, try not to hurt her, that’s Jessica, we need to get her help.” He yelled as he closed the distance between him and Janus.
“This is Dr. Sheppard? What happened to her?” Grace yelled back, dodging a slashing attack from Jessica’s tail.
“She made a deal with the Thorns.” Was all Marsius managed to get out before Janus and he exchanged blows. Janus caught him off guard and knocked him into the side of the ship and he fell to his knees.
Grace had both of Jessica’s arms clasped in her hands keeping her claws away from her, only it wasn’t enough. She again spit her dark mucus and Grace managed to twist her around to keep it from hitting her. Seeing her deftly avoid her venomous spray, she used Grace’s strength against her, rearing up with her legs, her taloned feet slashing at Grace’s face and scratching her cheek. “You don’t deserve him! You can’t love him the way I do. I’ve seen the papers, you only care for yourself!” Jessica hissed as she kicked Grace away. Grace lost her grip and found herself flailing wildly in the air back towards the starslider and Marsius. Her fall was stopped by Marsius who sprang up off the floor and caught her moments before her momentum would have crashed her into the ship.
“Are you okay?” he asked holding her steady. Grace spit a small puddle of blood on the floor and wiped her mouth. “Marsius, I’m know you said to not hurt her, but I’m going to flatten this bitch.” She said and took off back toward Jessica, her fists landing a solid hit to the side of her head as she landed on her. She started to pound on Jessica, landing punch after punch on her torso and head. She spun her tail around to try and lash at Grace, but she grabbed it in both hands. “Not this time sister.” Grace said, jerking Jessica off the ground by her tail clutched in her hands and swung her around, smashing her into the wall.
Marsius turned to Janus who was rushing towards him, his hands glowing with his black energy blasts about to fire. Janus raised both hands and fired and Marsius quickly leapt into the air, the blasts missing him and hitting the ship behind him. Suddenly Janus yelled in agony and Marsius heard a startled cry of pain from behind him.
He turned and saw Tanna lying at the open hatch of the starslider. She was holding a hand out to him, her lips moving but he couldn’t hear her. “Tanna! No, Janus what have you done?” Marsius yelled and flew to her side quickly falling to his knees beside her. Grace spun around from Jessica’s unconscious form, her hand covering her mouth in shock at seeing Marsius kneeling beside a woman she hadn’t met, but knew immediately who it had to be. Janus started to run to Tanna as well but Grace intercepted him and knocked him away. “You’ve done enough, bastard.” She said and she flew to join Marsius and knelt down on the opposite side of Tanna. Grace looked at Marsius as he held her hand, trying to fight back tears.
“Tanna, hang on, we’ll get you some help.” He looked up at Grace. “Grace, get her out of her, take her to the hospital.
“No….” Tanna whispered weakly. “Marsius, it’s too late, I can feel myself dying. This is all my fault, I should have never….”
“No, don’t say that, you did nothing wrong.” Marsius pleaded. Tanna looked over at Grace, reached out with her other hand to take hers. “You must be Grace. You are as beautiful as he said you were. Take care of him.” she said and then her hands went limp in theirs. Grace looked away as Marsius slowly stood and turned.
“You killed her.” He said to Janus who was crawling across the floor. Marsius’ hands started to glow brightly.
“No Marsius, you did. I did warn you about attacking the ship. Were you too stupid to realize I had brought a present for you?” Janus said, slowly getting to his feet.
Marsius’ body was now glowing brightly as he crossed the floor to Janus. “You brought her here, you put her life at risk, you fired those shots, the fact that I avoided them doesn’t change the fact that it was your power that killed her.” He said.
Janus’ eyes grew black as he started summoning his own power. “Fine, once I kill you then I’ll have my revenge on both of you. You both betrayed me, both of you can die.” He said and he fired at Marsius. The dark energy from his hands hit Marsius in the chest, but he didn’t show the slightest sign that it affected him. Janus’s eyes went wide. “My power, it isn’t affecting you, how..”
“A little trick I’ve learned since I’ve been here. I’m directly accessing my star matter implant, taking power directly from it instead of it simply letting it fuel me. Go ahead, fire away, you won’t stop me.” He said and he closed the distance between them hitting Janus with a solid uppercut knocking him off his feet. He picked Janus off the floor, hitting him with a cross punch sending him crashing into the wall.
Janus crawled along the wall, his arm outstretched. “Then if I can't kill you how about your Binary. I’ve taken one woman from you Marsius, care to try for two? What’s more important to you, defeating me or saving your Binary.” Janus said and started to aim his hand at Grace who still knelt by Tanna’s body. Marsius slammed his foot down on Janus’ wrist, shattering the bones. Janus shrieked in pain as Marsius picked him up and held him against the wall with one hand and raising his fist, his power now shining brightly enough to light up the room.
Janus looked at Marsius and laughed. “You’re going to have to kill me Marsius, or I’ll definitely kill you and all you love. You’ve taken everything from me, and now it’s time I take it all from you.”
“If that’s how it has to be.” Marsius said, drawing his fist back.
“You don’t have it in you Marsius. You’re a Star Brigade officer, the legendary Marsius Denthar, youngest officer to make the rank of Crimsonstar. All of Andromeda looks up to you as the shining example of the Kairin Empire. You above all people fight the hardest for protecting life, or honoring it’s passing, like the Talexians. You won’t kill me because it goes against what you believe is right as an Andromedan and Star Brigade officer. You won’t kill me , Tanna will be dead and you’ll have let me, her killer live, and I’ll still have my victory over you.” And he grabbed frantically at his arm, trying to free himself from Marsius’ grip.
Marsius looked at the body of Tanna, Grace watching patiently, and he slowly lowered his fist. “You’re right.” He lowered his head briefly, and then looked back up at Janus. “Only we’re not in Andromeda.” And he slammed his fist fully into Janus’ chest, letting the full force of his built up star energy pass into his body. Janus convulsed and Marsius let him go watching his body drop to the floor. Within seconds Janus too was dead. He stood silent for a long moment looking down at his lifeless form then finally turned and looked at Grace still cradling Tanna’s corpse.
“There should have been another way.” He said softly. Grace nodded and laid Tanna’s head gently on the floor and ran up to him grabbing him and hugging him. “There was Marsius, but Janus wasn’t going to let you find it. You weren’t left with any choice.” She whispered. His fight over, Marsius let his power ebb and he collapsed to his knees. Grace knelt down in front of him, running her hands over his arms and chest checking him for injuries. “Are you okay?” she asked him.
“I think so.” He said.
“Good.” She said and then smacked him on his chest. “Marsius Denthar, don’t you ever do that to me again! I told you Janus was going to be too dangerous to face alone. I said take me with you, but no, you had to give me this crap about how it wouldn’t be seen as an honorable battle in his eyes…..”
“It was just more stupid male pride making you think you could do it all yourself. Too dense to just admit from the outset that you might need help…”
“What good is being your Binary if you’re just going to push me away so you can rush off and die alone. I’m not going to stand for it, you hear me? I mean it Marsius from now on you don’t take on anything like this without me by your side.”
He reached up and took her face in his hands to make her look him in the eyes and with a soft, affectionate tone in his voice said; “Grace….shut up.” and he pulled her to him and kissed her deeply with the sounds of sirens and voices of the rest of the Dawn Patrol approaching the building.