172 Driven To Fury
Zoey stared out of the Stella Tenebris bridge windows at the Kreppelin flagship barely 200 meters away. All she had to do was give the order and her crew would do the rest. One command and the noble that had caused her so much trouble would be shredded like his armada had been. So why was she hesitating?
She looked at Max who had not left her side through the entire battle, seeing once again his grey eyes calm and steady as if he trusted her no matter what she decided to do. The others at the table in the back of the bridge were slumped exhausted in their seats, and Zoey knew that the gun crews were even more exhausted after what they had been through.
The echoes of the battle they had finished only moments ago flashed through her mind again; fireballs and lightning smashing into the hull as her guns thudded in a steady rhythm, airships falling from the sky surrounded by clouds of debris and people…
Her hand had been forced. She had been backed into a corner and had no choice but to fight back… Yet she wished now that she had put more effort into finding another way. She had seen enough death already, an entire planet's worth of death in fact, not to mention the universe that had been consumed.
She was no saint. No, she was a fighter, a survivor, but that did not mean that she had to kill and destroy her way out of every situation she got into. Zoey thought about it for a moment longer, then decided that she would put more effort into finding ways to avoid senseless bloodshed if a better opportunity presented itself.
But that would have to come later. She had a noble and his flagship to deal with. She ordered one of her aerial drones to deposit a spider drone on the enemy flagship. Once the spider drone was in place, she ordered her gunery crews to stand ready, and activated the link to the holo-projector in the drone.
Her vision darkened, then brightened to show her the rain drenched upper deck of Cornelius Rellen's flagship. Her sudden appearance caused a commotion as the crew suddenly realized there was an intruder on the deck. Zoey ignored the shouts of alarm and the threatening orders bellowed at her as she looked around for Cornelius.
It didn't take long to find him. The comotion on the deck grew silent as Zoey and Cornelius faced each other in the rain, a confrontation that caused tension to run high among the witnesses.
Zoey looked immaculate. The rain had no effect on her holographic form, passing through her with a shimmer that only accented her beauty.
On the other hand, Cornelius looked like a drowned rat. His normally perfect hair was a mess and his uniform soaked. His eyes were practically alight with fury and humiliation, and his breathing was ragged and heavy. Watching his armada being destroyed was not something he had ever anticipated even in his wildest projections, yet it had become his reality.
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Now that BITCH had the audacity to show her face on HIS SHIP?! All the while she was safe aboard that deadly craft that even now had its weapons pointed at his flagship! The sheer humiliation of the situation was like trying to swallow a fistfull of nails.
This was a side of him that he never showed to anyone, yet she had brought out the worst in him and displayed it to his crew. If he allowed them to live, the rumors would start to spread and his cultivated image would be destroyed! He hated her even more for that. She had caused all this mess, crippled his armada and left him vulnerable.
"You! You had better have come here to surrender yourself to me!" Cornelius yelled out as fury choked his voice.
Zoey sighed as she wondered if a stray piece of shrapnel had hit this man's head. She had decimated his fleet while sustaining negligible damage. Now she had his flagship at her mercy, and he was demanding her surrender?
Zoey's one word response was quiet, yet was clearly heard by every member of the crew. To the unfortunate members of Cornelius's flagship she was a deity that held their lives in her hands. They dared not speak out, but they were all praying that their commander would not push this embodiment of destruction in female form any further.
Cornelius however, was nearly apoplectic with rage from the woman's response. His mind was no longer forming coherent thoughts, and as consumed with anger as he was, he was prone to do things that no functioning human would consider.
"Y-you leave me n-no CHOICE!" he stammered out, spittle spraying from his mouth as he held up a crystal glowing with a blood red light.
Zoey did not know what the crystal was, but she recognized madness in a man's eyes when she saw it, and the aura she sensed bleeding out of the crystal was that of carnage and blood.
Her comlink suddenly activated as 704 informed her that Markus Rellen was desperately trying to contact her from his confinement aboard the Stella Tenebris. Zoey had not restricted the feed from the holo-projector, so anyone on her cruiser could watch what was taking place, and Markus had obviously been watching.
She allowed the connection through and in an instant, Markus's voice came through her commlink.
"...ot let him break that!!! DO NOT LET HIM BREAK THAT CRYSTAL!!!"
His voice was filled with terror, pure terror that rang with primal fear. Zoey did not know the cause of his terror, but she felt its authenticity. Whatever that crystal was could not be good.
But as her mind raced to find a solution, the entire flagship beneath their feet suddenly shook violently! TIme seemed to slow to a crawl as Zoey watched Cornelius lose his grip on the blood red crystal. In his eyes she saw a moment of realization and panic as he watched the crystal fall to the deck. There was a sudden, ear-splitting 'CRACK' as the crystal hit the deck and Zoey's vision went red.
She jolted to her feet as the connection to her spider drone was severed and immediately got up and dashed to the bridge windows.
She peered out into the rain at Cornelius's flagship, and what she saw chilled her blood like ice in her veins.