Star Ghost I: Annihilation

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Chapter 7 The Exodus

Chapter 7: The Exodus

Fara makes back to the Spectra first. She finds Daniel there waiting for her or his father. Daniel runs to Fara and hugs her. It catches her off guard. Fara is not used to Daniel acting to her like this. But then again, she is the closest thing that Daniel has to mother. Fay and Katt fly in next, followed by Katrina and Miyu. All of them appear to be looking for an answer to something.

"Hey Fara, who was that Gideon dude?" Fay asks.

"An ex – boyfriend of mine. I dated him not long after I joined the Wild Cats Squadron. But I broke up with him because of his attitude. Gideon believed that he was the best pilot and the Genesis System. It made him very rude to everyone, especially Johnny. The two of them never got along. Gideon even treated me wrong." Fara explains. "A week after I broke up with him, Gideon was shot down over Romani. We all believed that he was dead. Somehow he joined the Zaldon Rebellion."

Johnny arrives a moment later. Daniel runs to him but Fara stops him. The look on his face is enough to tell her that he needs to be left alone. Fara knows that Johnny is absolutely furious by looking at him. Then Johnny blows a fuse and punches the wall. His fist leaves a huge hole in the wall. Fara has only seen Johnny this angry once, and it terrified her. Everyone just stands there looking at him. Johnny doesn't say a word and just walks to his room.

"Ok, WHAT IS HIS PROBLEM?" Katt shouts.

"Triton is his problem." Fara answers.

"Who's Triton and why would he piss Johnny off so badly?"

Fara realizes that Katt, Fay, Miyu, and Katrina are not wearing the Wild Cat headset. It is the latest and most advanced piece of communication hardware there is. It was designed specifically for pilots and soldiers to communication. It allows the pilots to know exactly what is going on the ground. To the pilot it feels like they are side by side the soldiers. It also has a tremendous range. A pilot can communicate with a soldier on the ground if they are on the other side of the galaxy. The Wild Cats Squadron is one of the few units in both the Lylat and Genesis systems that have the headsets. From her headset Fara was able to listen to Johnny and Triton's conversation as if she was there. She was just as surprised as Johnny was to hear that Triton was the Wolf.

"Triton is Jonathan's older brother." Savannah answers. Savannah's known Johnny and Triton since they were kids so Fara lets her explain. "They are both Cerinian princes but Triton was the heir to the Black Wolf clan throne. But their nobility didn't bring any hostility between them. They were once best friends. They backed each other up when things got bad. They even trained side by side. Johnny looked up to Triton. Triton was the better and wiser fighter. Everyone looked up to him, especially Johnny."

"So what happened?' Fay asks.

"Triton got them both banished." Fara answers. Savannah looks at Fara very surprised.

"How do you know?" Savannah asks.

"Johnny told me everything." Fara answers then turns to the others. "Ten years ago, Triton got into a fight and Johnny backed him up. But Triton surprised everyone when he killed one of his opponents. Triton was banished as a result. Johnny was banished because he could have stopped Triton but didn't. All Johnny had to do was reach over and grab him. But Johnny didn't because he assumed that Triton wouldn't kill him. He thought that Triton would just severely injure the guy. But he was wrong."

"What was the fight about?" Miyu asks.

"It's a little difficult to explain. Johnny told me that Triton attacked the group when one of them didn't return his nod."

"Are you serious?" Miyu replies shocked.

"Yes, you see honor is very important to their people. Greetings between wolves, especially noble wolves, is not something to joke about. So when a noble wolf like Triton and Johnny waves or nods at someone, it is considered very dishonorable. But Triton definitely took it overboard by killing the guy." Fara explains. "Johnny was partially banished, meaning that he could go back, he'd just have to earn it. Triton, on the other hand, was banished without possibility to return. He could be killed if he returned. The banishment ruined Johnny's life, especially his relationship with Jasmine. As a result, Johnny built up a lot of anger towards Triton. But Johnny didn't let it slow him down. He joined the Zaldon Military as a pilot and became a war hero in the Zaldon Civil War, which earned Johnny his way back. Triton joined the Zaldon Rebellion. They fought each other during the war. Near the end of the war Johnny was forced to kill Triton, which he did. But now we know that somehow Triton was able to survive and become the leader of the Zaldon Rebellion."

Katt, Fay, Miyu, and Katrina just look at each other. None of them has any idea what to say. The silence quickly becomes awkward. Katt finally breaks the silence: "Well that explains a lot. No wonder your boyfriend was so pissed off."

"So how long will it take for him to cool down?" Fay asks.

"It'll take a few minutes before he's calmed enough to talk to. I'll talk to him and try to calm him down." Fara replies then turns to Timothy. "Tim, I monitored the conversation between Johnny and Triton. Triton said that his men had located the Exodus on Jeremiah."

"Ok, I'll set a course from Jeremiah."

"Wait a minute." Katt interrupts. "Don't you need permission from your leader first?"

"Johnny would want us to head there as soon as possible." Fara replies. "Trust me, I know Johnny, it's what he would want. If he is pissed off I'll calm him down."

"Are you absolutely sure about that Fara?" Fay asks cautiously. Johnny's outburst scared everyone.

"Yes, I'm the only one that can." Fara walks off to find Johnny.

Fay leans in close to Savannah and whispers: "Fara is a very lucky women."

"How do you figure?"

"Well for one, her father is a business tycoon so he has a lot of money. And now her boyfriend is a prince. How lucky can a girl get?"

Savannah just shakes her head in disappointment. "Fara is not marrying Johnny because of his nobility that much I can guarantee you. When Johnny returned to Cerinia his father offered him Triton's birth right, but he refused it. He gave it to his little sister. Johnny didn't see himself as a clan leader, although he is a good military leader."

Savanah's comment shuts Fay up. She doesn't say another word to Savannah for a long time.

Ten minutes later, Fara walks into Johnny' and her room to talk to him. Fara finds Johnny sitting on the edge of the bed. He looks like he is deep in thought. Fara slowly and cautiously approaches him. Johnny doesn't even look up at her.

"Johnny, I told Timothy to set a course for Jeremiah. We'll be there in half an hour."

Johnny looks up at Fara. Fara can tell that Johnny's anger has gone. His anger has been replaced with confusion. "Thank you for telling me."

"You're welcome, now why don't you tell me what's bothering you Johnny?"

"I don't know. Since I saw Triton, I can't stop thinking about how he got us both banished. I know that was ten years ago. I put it behind me after Daniel was born. But seeing him again brought back all the anger. It just pissed me off so much. When I saw him today I wanted to kill him so badly."

Fara sits down on the bad next to Johnny. She gently grasps Johnny's hands in hers and plants a kiss on his cheek.

"John, I can't pretend to know how you feel. I don't have any brothers or sisters. No one has wronged me like Triton has wronged you. But I do know that you need to let it go. It happened ten years ago. Besides, a lot of good has happened because of your banishment. You and I would have never met for one."

Fara sees a small smile make its way across Johnny's face. Johnny grasps Fara's hand and kisses her, gently at first, but it comes stronger and more passionate. Fara feels Johnny's tongue roll over hers. Fara places her hands gently on Johnny's chest then pushes him on the bed. Fara practically jumps on top of Johnny and kisses him passionately. Johnny feels Fara's soft fur on his. Her body feels light on top of his. Johnny is about to start taking off his clothes when he remembers their promise. He grabs Fara's shoulders and forces her to the side.

"Sorry Fara, but we can't do this, at least not yet. Remember the promise we made to each other." Johnny can tell by looking at Fara's glare that she is very upset. He knows that he'd better say something or get smacked. "Fara, I desperately want to go all the way with you. I love you so much that when I'm around you my heart wants to explode. But from my experience with Jasmine, it's better if we wait."

"You mean if we wait till we're married." Fara says, trying to bring the subject to Johnny asking her to marry him.

"Uh, yeah that's what I mean." Johnny replies, scratching the back of his head.

Fara can tell that Johnny is getting nervous and the situation is getting awkward. She knows that Johnny is going to ask her, he's just waiting for the right moment, something sentimental. This is not it. Fara's response is a gentle kiss. "It's ok Johnny, I love you to, with all of my heart. I know that you are not ready yet. But I am willing to wait till you are."

Johnny looks a Fara a little confused. "So are you saying that you're willing to wait or that you're breaking up with me? I'm having a hard time telling which one you mean."

Fara laughs and pats Johnny on the shoulder. "John, I can promise you that I'm not breaking up with you. I love you too much for that. All I'm saying is that I won't bug you about it anymore."

"Great, it was really starting to annoy me." Johnny says sarcastically.

Fara punches Johnny in the shoulder as hard as she can. The blow does hardly anything to Johnny but he acts like it does. "Now I regret teaching you Maui Thai."

"Then don't make those comments and I won't have to hurt you." Fara replies jokingly. She knows that she could never hurt Johnny, he is too highly skilled for that. "Now I expect to see you outside in a few minutes. Daniel wants to see his father."

Johnny smiles and tries not to laugh. "Ok babe, I'll be out there soon."

"Of course you will." Fara replies sarcastically. Fara flaunts herself as she walks out. Johnny watches her tail sway back and forth.

"Dang, she's got me under her spell."

Thirty minutes later, Star Ghost arrives at Jeremiah. They can see Jeremiah's brown, deathly glow from the Spectra. The planet has been uninhabitable for years. A hundred years ago, Jeremiah's inhabitants were divided into two powerful clans. A war broke out clans, which last a decade. The war ended with both of the clans nuking each other. The planet became a nuclear waste land (similar to Chernobyl). There is not a single living organism on the planet because of the radiation. After a hundred years, the radiation levels are still dangerously high.

"Tim, radio the rebels. Tell them we've arrived." Johnny orders.

"Yes Captain."

Timothy radios the rebels but gets no response. They immediately know that something is up. A dead silence falls on the group.

"The Crocodiles couldn't already be there." Fara finally says, breaking the silence.

"I hope not. But let's not rule it out as a possibility. We experienced the same thing on Moldova." Johnny replies.

At that moment, a static voice comes over the radio. "Hello . . . anyone out . . . there. We need . . . help. We were . . . attacked by an . . . unknown enemy and . . . had to flee. Can anyone . . . help us?"

"Tim, trace that signal." Johnny orders.

"Yes sir."

Timothy quickly pin points the signal to a small ship fleeing Jeremiah. The screen indicates that it is a rebel ship. Johnny orders Timothy to fly close enough to get a clear radio signal. Once they are, Johnny contacts the rebels. "Rebel ship, this is Captain of the Star Ghost team. We are here to help. What happened down there?"

"Our base came under attack by some Crocodile people. We were busy excavating the Exodus when they attacked. We fled because they outnumbered us. But before we retreated, we destroyed our base, burying the Exodus underneath it. The Exodus is out and ready to move. All we need to do is find it in the rubble."

"Thank you for your help. We'll take it from here."

Johnny turns off the radio and turns to Timothy. "Hey Tim, is the Destroyer protected against radiation?"

"Yes, I designed it for these types of missions. I even got a few radiation suits you can use."

"Good, I'll take the Destroyer down to the surface. Fara, Savannah, I want you two to cover me from the ski." Johnny orders then turns to Fay, Miyu, Katt, Katrina, and Timothy. Everyone else, provide a distraction. Attack the Crocodiles and lead them away from here. That should buy me enough time to retrieve the Exodus. Any questions?"

There are none.

"Good, then let's go get some Crocodile ass."

Ten minutes later, the Spectra is flying towards a small Crocodile squadron of eight battleships and 25 fighters that is hovering over the former rebel base. Timothy flies the Spectra, while cloaked, up to the battleships. He flies it right between two of the battleships undetected.

"Ok, Captain, Star, and Flash, now is the time to deploy."' Timothy radios down.

Johnny, piloting the Destroyer tank, drives out of the Spectra and hovers safely down the ground. Fara and Savannah follow him in their ships.

Timothy then opens fire on the two battleships with the 105mm cannons. The cannons rip the two battleships apart, destroying them. Timothy then fires the two front laser cannons are the two closest battleships. The lasers hit the battleships and blows them up. Timothy then deactivates the Ghost Program revealing himself to the remaining Crocodile battleships. He then turns around and flies out to space with the four battleships close behind him. The entire squadron chases after Timothy. Unbeknownst to them Katt, Fay, Miyu, and Katrina are waiting to ambush them.

Down on the surface, Johnny finishes activating all of the Destroyer's weapons and devices. He's going to need them. Before the mission started, Timothy performed an enemy analysis from the Spectra. It indicated that an entire battalion was at the base. Fortunately, most of them are foot soldiers and possess light guns, posing hardly any threat to Johnny. But the Crocodiles do have a few combat fighters and tanks at the base. Fara and Savannah's job is to take out the Crocodile's air forces, any anti – air forces they have, and provide Johnny with support when he needs it.

"Alright, it's two miles to the base from here. We need to hurry and get there fast while the element of surprise is still on our side. Star, Flash, you two get there before I do and take out anything that poses a threat to me." Johnny orders.

"Yes Captain" Fara and Savannah answer in unison.

Fara and Savannah fly full speed towards the base. They use the same tactic that they used on Moldova. Savannah flies in first and gets everyone's attention. All the fighters take off after her and try to take her out. All the anti – air guns open fire on her. But Savannah flies too fast for them to hit her. But Savannah looks back and sees 15 Crocodile fighters on her tail.

"Hurry up Fara, I got a bunch of guys on my tail."

Fara flies in behind Savannah. She sees there are five anti – air guns. They are all positioned close together. Fara locks onto the middle one and takes them all out with a Nova bomb. She then concentrates on the fighters chasing Savannah. Fara locks onto as many as her Ghost Arwing's system will allow her and fires a charged blast at each of them. Fara takes out ten of them. The remaining Crocodile fighters separate and fly towards Fara, taking their attention off of Savannah. Savannah u – turns and flies towards the fighters. She ends up behind two of them. Savannah rapidly fires as many blast as she can. Her shots are not very accurate but she is able to take them both out.

"Dang it Flash, try to aim before you shoot." Fara scolds Savannah.

"Sorry, I got a little carried away there."

"Well don't, not paying attention is how you get shot down."

"You mean like how you're not paying attention to the three fighters behind you."

Fara looks behind and sees three Crocodile fighters on tail. She tries to shake them but can't. These guys are determined to take her out.

"Hey I hate to ask this but I need help, now."

Fara's computer suddenly starts beeping. She knows it means that one of the fighters has a lock on her. But before the Crocodile can fire, a laser comes from nowhere and takes him out. Two more lasers appear and take out the remaining two Crocodiles.

"Was that you Flash?" Fara asks Savannah.

"No, it wasn't me."

"Then who was it?

"You're welcome Fara." Johnny's calls over the radio. Sorry it took me so long to get here. The terrain wasn't flat at all."

"Thank you Captain. Sorry you had to see such bad flying."

"It's alright, you're still alive, and that's all that matters. Now let's get this over with."

Johnny drives the Destroyer right up to the base. He is immediately spotted by two Crocodile tanks and several soldiers. Johnny blasts both of the tanks with the Destroyer's laser cannons and takes out the soldiers with the Gatling gun.

"Holy crap, this thing has some powerful lasers." Johnny shouts, referring to the fact that the Destroyer's laser cannons were almost twice as powerful as the double hyper beams on the Phantom.

Johnny gets the attention on the entire Crocodile battalion. The Crocodile soldiers take cover behind anything they can. The tanks fire at Johnny but the Destroyer's shields are too powerful. The blasts hardly do any damage. Johnny concentrates on the tanks first. He fires a concentrated blast at each of them. When the blasts hit the tanks, they not only blow the tanks into a million pieces, but they also leave a huge hole in the ground and take out any soldiers that are nearby. In less than thirty seconds, Johnny has taken out ten Crocodile tanks. He then concentrates on finding the Exodus. The rebels provided him a map that indicates the exact location of the Exodus. Johnny hardly pays any attention to the Crocodile soldiers as he drives. Their weapons aren't powerful enough to cause damage. But some of them do have rocket launchers. The Destroyers has a device on it that detects any rocket launchers within a five hundred yard radius. Johnny is able to easily take them out. As he drives, Johnny rolls over everything in his path. The Destroyer has a battering ram on the front that is designed to run through buildings with ease. This comes in very useful. There are several buildings in the base and Johnny doesn't feel like driving around them. He drives straight through them, occasionally running over Crocodile soldiers.

It takes Johnny a minute to find the building that the Exodus is under. Johnny drives the Destroyer right to the center of the building. He then puts the Exodus in automatic defense mode. If any Crocodile soldier comes near the Gatling gun will take them out. Before he jumps out, Johnny makes sure that his radiation suit is ready and safe to use. He grabs his blaster and HPC and jumps out.

Johnny uses the map the rebels gave him to find the Exodus. It leads him to a small room. Johnny finds himself staring at a large pile of debris at least ten feet tall. The Exodus is underneath it.

"This is where all of my explosives training comes in."

Johnny quickly builds a small but powerful bomb. He places it at the bottom of the pile in a crevice and walks a good distance away. Johnny aims the HPC at the bomb and fires. The blast is so powerful that it knocks Johnny (who is standing fifty yards away) on his back. The explosion knocks the wind out of him. Johnny slowly gets up and walks towards the pile. The pile is gone. All that is left is a large hole and a small, glowing object.

"The Exodus"

Johnny picks it up. The Exodus is small and light enough for Johnny to easily lift with one hand. It is a little bigger than the HPC he is carrying. The Exodus is round and smooth. It glows a dark, blood red color. It looks like a large, red ruby. Suddenly, Johnny is knocked down by another explosion. Johnny lands hard on his back. The blow knocks the Exodus out of his hand. It slides right to the feet of a large Crocodile. Before Johnny can get up, four Crocodile appear and pin his arms and legs down. The large Crocodile picks up the Exodus and stares at it like he has been searching for it his entire life.

"Hard to believe that something so small could possess so much power. Isn't that right Cerinia?" The Crocodile speaks.

Johnny tries to strike the Crocodile but the others hold him down.

"Such defiance, even when you are defeated you still don't give up. It amazes me how resilient your people are."

"What are you going to do?"

"Destroy Cerinia of course. They denied my people the right to rule the galaxy. You see, this galaxy is nothing but chaos. It needs one powerful ruler to bring an end to all this chaos."

"And let me guess, that someone is you?" Johnny asks, sarcastically

"Of course, who else than the king of the Crocodiles."

"So you're the retard that's behind all this madness."

"Bringing peace to an unstable galaxy is not chaos."

"That's not what I was referring to. The fact that you think that the entire galaxy will willingly agree to be ruled by you is madness. You must realize that there will always be people who refuses to be ruled over."

"Then we will destroy them. For such people are nothing more than the scum of the world."

"No, you have a backwards. People have the right to be free. Those that stand up and fight, and are willing to die for it are heroes. People that was to control are the real scum."

"No, freedom is an invitation to chaos. So it must be eliminated. That can only be done with the power that the Exodus possesses."

"So now the truth comes out, it not control or peace you seek, it is power."

"Peace is obtained through power. Without power there can be no peace. It cannot happen the other way around."

Johnny laughs so hard that his sides start to hurt. King Croc and the others look at each other confused. King Croc strikes Johnny in the face as hard as he can. The blow stuns Johnny but barely hurts him.

"Why are you laughing? What is so funny?"

"I just remembered something my father told me years ago. He said that men like you are quick to talk about peace, but slow to relinquish power. Men like you love power too much to give it up."

Johnny's comment infuriates King Croc. He strikes Johnny in the stomach with the butt of his staff. It takes everything Johnny has not to fall to his knees. King Croc turns to the four Crocodiles holding Johnny. "When I'm gone killing the bastard. Make sure he suffers."

"Yes your majesty."

King Croc walks out of the room with the Exodus, leaving Johnny with the four Crocodiles. Two of the Crocodiles grab his arms and hold him back. Another wraps his arms around Johnny's neck and starts chocking him. The fourth walks in front of Johnny. This Crocodiles looks both mad and happy at the same time.

"One of my close friends was killed by your fellow Cerinians during the invasion. So killing you is going to bring me lots of satisfaction." The Crocodile smiles and glares at Johnny's sword. "I think the best way to kill you would be with your own sword."

Johnny hides his smile. He knows exactly what is going to happen. This Crocodile has just unknowingly given him an escape route. As soon as the Crocodile grabs Johnny's sword, it starts sucking the energy from his body. The Crocodile tries to scream but nothing comes out. Within moments, Johnny's sword has drained all of his energy, killing him. The Crocodiles holding Johnny are so shocked that they accidently let him go. Johnny quickly elbows the two holding his arms sending them flying backwards. He then grabs the Crocodile that was choking him over him shoulder and onto the ground. Johnny throws the Crocodile down with such force that he leaves a dent on the concrete. Johnny finishes him off with a chop to his throat, crushing his windpipe. The other two Crocodiles rush at Johnny. Johnny kicks one of the Crocodiles, sending him flying backwards and clotheslines the other. He stomps on the Crocodile's face crushing his skull. The other Crocodile jumps up, picks up a piece or rebar and rushes at Johnny. He swings it at Johnny's head but Johnny blocks it. Johnny delivers an upward elbow to the Crocodile's nose, sending it into his brain. Johnny then throws the Crocodile on the ground headfirst, cracking his skull. He finishes the Crocodile off by stomping his face in.

"Everyone, mission is a failure, I repeat, mission is a failure. The Crocodiles have the Exodus. There was nothing I could do to stop them."

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