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The Legacy of Wes [Excerpt]

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The Lost Lands have been conquered by Chaos. Only a small resistance offers any hope of freedom from his rule-- a hope embodied by Wesley Connor. Can he fulfill his destiny and destroy Chaos forever?

Fantasy / Scifi
Willie Mejia
Age Rating:

Wesley Disarmed

Long ago in the Lost Lands, there was a war between Heaven and Hell. It was a war between two divine sisters— Soulelle of Heaven, charged with protecting the dimensions of Heaven and Earth, and Xyra of Hell, who wished for control of all three dimensions of existence. For four years, the two goddesses fought for control of the Lost Lands, as well as the loyalty of humanity, essential for either the safety or conquest of Earth.

At the gates of Imperium, the ancient capital city, the two sisters fought each other for the last time. Soulelle, with a flash of blinding light, destroyed Xyra and her dark forces, banishing her forever from the Lost Lands. As she died, Xyra drifted away into black smoke, but not before claiming that she would one day return to claim her revenge on her sister and humanity.

Victorious, the goddess Soulelle had protected her people, but at a terrible price— the Lost Lands had been decimated. Saddened, Soulelle vowed to restore the Lost Lands, but also to remove Earth from the affairs between Heaven and Hell, that it may never be caught in the crossfire again.

And so, the Lost Lands remained at peace for many years. So long, in fact, that the Dimension War passed into the realm of myth and legend. In time, even Souelle and Xyra themselves were forgotten. Their story was believed to be nothing more than a children's tale.

But they were all of them deceived, for the story was real.

The Lost Lands prospered, but time had made its people weak. So weak, in fact, that they were defenseless against the coming of a terrible new threat. Calling himself Chaos, a necromancer of terrible power, it was not known where he had come from, or why. But from the darkest corners of the Lost Lands, he slowly conquered the continent in his name. The people suffered under his rule, but were unable to match his great might.

This was some time ago, and has remained since. Only a small resistance offers the people any hope of being freed from Chaos' rule.

This then, is the story of that hope. This is the story of Wesley Connor, and the legacy he left behind.

Wesley was backed into a corner, and he knew it. The five Lieutenants and Chaos had all been pursuing him, and Wes thought he had escaped them. But he should have known better— they had maneuvered him straight into the face of a cliff. There was no way out. He looked at Erika, expecting her to say something, but her perpetual silence and forlorn gaze told him more than anything she could ever say to him.

Wesley was trapped, and this time, there was no escape. This was it. After so many years, it was time for him to confront Chaos again.

He turned around, and saw Chaos emerging from the jungle, followed from behind by his Lieutenants. It was Wes’ worst nightmare— he had heard countless stories of his fellow soldiers going up against one Lieutenant and dying. But here, he was facing all five of them, and Chaos as well. He and Lily had fought him each once before, but not like this. Wes and Erika were hopelessly outnumbered. Wes, still holding Erika’s hand, instinctively backed away, but hit the cliff wall, the shock a terrible reminder of his inability to escape.

“Wesley. It is good to see you again. I must admit, you have grown up splendidly— I can clearly see that you are no longer the boy that I chased so many years ago.” Chaos’ tone was pleasant, but Wes knew better. He looked at Erika quickly, who had grabbed his hand harder when she heard Chaos speak. Her eyes were shut tight, as if she were afraid to open them for fear of death.

“Don’t act like we’re friends, Chaos! We both know why you’re here.” Wes summoned up what little courage he had left. “Here to get your precious weapons back, are we?”

“Don’t mock Chaos, you ridiculous excuse for a soldier!” Lieutenant Red spoke up, his voice sounding mechanically synthetic under his helmet. “Chaos will tear you to pieces before he hears you talk back to him—”

“Red, silence, please.” Chaos raised his hand, and Lieutenant Red instantly stopped talking. Chaos began crossing the clearing between him and Wes.

“Wes, I am feeling merciful today. Despite what my Lieutenant seems to believe, I will not kill you, not if you return my weapons. You have my word on that. Return the weapons to me, and I promise you that I will not harm either you or your friend.”

Wesley found himself seriously considering his offer. He was the last survivor of the 72nd Legion, and news of his survival would be welcomed by the Resistance. He hesitated…

“How do I know that you won’t order your Lieutenants to kill me after I return them to you, instead?” Chaos was genuinely surprised. He hadn't thought that Wesley would actually consider his offer. Still, if he did accept, things would proceed much more smoothly.

“Because they follow my orders to the letter. If I order them to NOT do something, they will obey. Isn’t that right, Lieutenants?” The five saluted Chaos and nodded, although Red muttered under his breath, “Even if we neither agree nor like it…”

“Should I receive my weapons back from you, you and your friend will live. Think carefully Wes,” said Chaos.

I want to see Lily again….Wesley thought. He hadn’t seen his mother since the 72nd Legion was decimated. Bringing Erika to the Resistance would also be incredibly helpful— more people were always needed. But Wesley shook his head. No. If I return empty-handed, Mac's death and Erika’s loss of Zaha will have been for nothing. I’d rather die. His eyes shifted to Erika, who was now shaking with fear. Sorry, Erika. I can’t surrender. I just hope Chaos spares you.

“Sorry, Chaos! I don’t think so. I will never surrender anything to you! You want the Quantum Sabers from me?” Wes let go of Erika’s hand and pulled out both of the Quantum Sabers, one in each hand. “You’ll have to pry them from my cold, dead fingers!”

Erika whimpered behind him. He said “Don’t worry, Erika. I’ve taken him once before, and that was when I was a kid. I should be able to take him now…”

Chaos said “Your proposal is acceptable. I suppose I will have to take the Sabers from you by force. But Wes, I do not want to hear you complain about this later. I gave you a chance, and you threw it away.”

“Complain? You don’t want to hear me complain?! I’ll give you something to complain about!” Wes shifted his feet and prepared to rush at Chaos. “You’re going to pay for all the people that you’ve killed today, Chaos!” He charged towards him, the Quantum Sabers held high. Behind Chaos, Lieutenant Blue thought, Big mistake.

Chaos casually pointed his left index finger right at Wes, and fired a stream of black lightning at him. Wesley was caught completely by surprise, and his screams of agony were the worst sound Erika had ever heard. For a moment the electricity arced around him, causing him to spasm uncontrollably. Then it stopped, and Wes dropped to his knees, gripping onto the Sabers for support as he gasped for air.

I didn't know he could do that... that was the most intense pain I've ever felt! He struggled to get air in his lungs as he tried to get back on his feet. Chaos began to circle him.

“Back down, Wesley. I know my power far outclasses yours.” He fired another stream of black lightning at Wes, but this time, Wes blocked it with his Saber, the bolts striking the blade like a lightning rod. Wes was barely able to hold the block, but he had no desire to ever be hit by that again. Chaos, seeing Wes block his lightning, ended the attack.

“I… don’t think so…” Wes said, his voice hoarse. He finally found the energy he needed, and stood once more, his blades on guard. He turned to meet Chaos, who summoned his own blade, Malice, from seemingly out of nowhere. Malice glowed with a ghostly green light.

For a moment, everything stopped. The five Lieutenants held their breath, looking forward to seeing their master in action. Erika opened her eyes, just for a moment, to see Wesley in front of her, ready to attack. It was a sight she would never forget: Wesley against Chaos, with only her and the five Lieutenants as the sole audience to this clash.

Chaos made the first move. He made a small thrust with his blade, which Wes quickly parried, but did not counter. Wes was pensive; he had never been in a sword fight before, much less had any training. He would have to be careful if he intended to survive.

Wes held the Quantum Sabers tightly, wielding them in a fashion Chaos thought strange— holding both Quantum Sabers in one hand, rather than one in each hand. I would imagine he has little experience in the art of swordplay, Chaos thought. This match is mine, then.

Chaos attacked again, with a quick series of three thrusts that Wesley also managed to parry. Still, neither of them had managed to close the distance between them. They circled each other, wary, although Chaos could see a smile forming on the edge of Wes’ face. Wesley's overconfidence will be his undoing.

Holding the dual blades in front of him, Wesley braced himself. Chaos again took the initiative, and pushed the Quantum Sabers out of his way with his blade. Taking advantage of the opening, he pressed forward, moving his blade forward in attack. Wes blocked the blow, but Chaos was quicker and attacked once more. Wesley brought his dual blades to block, and then, seeing an opening, he struck against Chaos’ chest, lightly cutting him and instinctively making him jump back. Wes found enough confidence for a small boast.

“You’d be best careful, Chaos. I hear these things are sharp.” Chaos resisted the urge to smile, keeping his face clam and emotionless. Behind him, Lieutenant Red held back a laugh. Yellow, standing next to him, quietly said “Wesley thinks he’s doing, well, doesn’t he?” Red nodded in affirmation. “He’s being toyed with,” he said.

Chaos again attacked, but this time, when Wes blocked, he moved to lock their blades together. The blade lock didn’t last long, but it was enough time for both of them to switch positions. Now, they were reversed, with Erika behind Chaos. Wes didn’t waste time— he slashed at Chaos from the right, but Chaos avoided the move by ducking, and parried Wes' next strike. Chaos stood up once more, and altered his stance ever so slightly. It is time for Wesley to realize that he is out of his league.

He waited for Wes to move, and he wasn’t disappointed. Wes tried hitting him again, but with a speed that betrayed his prior moves, Chaos knocked one of the Quantum Sabers out of his hands (landing some feet away), and took advantage of Wes’ momentary surprise to slash Wesley across his shoulder. Wesley gasped, and quickly backed away, grabbing his shoulder with his free hand. It bled slightly.

“Well, this isn’t going to take long, is it?” Lieutenant Black said to himself, but in a tone just loud enough for Wes to hear. Irritated, Wesley ran forward and swung his blade, but Chaos dodged the strike. They traded blows, and when Wes tried striking him with an overhead move, he blocked it, and redirected Wes’ momentum back at him, forcing Wes to turn around and back away again.

Wesley stopped for a moment to catch his breath, and to think. We haven’t been truly fighting right now… It’s been too slow, too defensive. He grimaced. He must be toying with me… Still, both of us have each inflicted a wound on the other, so it’s time to press the offensive!

Wasting no time, Wesley ran towards Chaos, spinning his remaining Quantum Saber in his hand. His first blow was parried by Chaos, and his second was redirected. Wes spun with the momentum and came back with another strike. Still, his priority was being overridden, and now Chaos was leading the fight— he blocked the blow and pressed forward, forcing Wes to crouch in order to block Chaos’ next three strikes. Chaos’ fourth strike was powerful, and Wes was forced to hold Chaos’ blow at bay. Not wanting to let Chaos take the next move, Wes moved his sword to strike under his opponent, but Chaos simply jumped over his swing. Separating away from each other, Chaos finally spoke.

“Wesley, you're disappointing me.” He walked towards Wes, closing the space between them. “The Resistance holds you in such high esteem, and this is the best that you can do?” Chaos was well aware of the reputation Wesley held with the Resistance. He was their savior, their last hope against him. He had expected more of a fight from him. Chaos swung his sword around him and struck, but Wes turned around and blocked the blow from behind, while swinging forward with an attack himself. Chaos parried, but rather than withdraw his weapon, he held it there, his face very close to Wes’ own.

“Surely you can do better!” Chaos taunted. Knowing this fight was becoming more intense, Wes pushed Malice aside, spun around and tried hitting Chaos from behind— but Chaos was faster, maneuvering his sword above his head and behind his back, blocking the blow, and bringing Wes’ sword back towards his front. Wes realized that he was far too vulnerable in this position, so he broke off his assault and ran away from Chaos, ending up in front of Erika once more. She backed away slightly, to give Wes more room to move. Her eyes were fixed onto the other Saber that Chaos had knocked away earlier. It wasn’t too far from her reach…

Chaos wasn’t letting up. Slashing from the right, he followed up with two more blows, both of which Wes could do nothing about but block. Chaos’ next move forced Wes to spin to avoid losing his sword, but when he came out of it, he found himself in another blade lock with Chaos. With Chaos’ blade on top of his, Wes tried to move Chaos’ sword onto his left side. His opponent was strong, though— he grit his teeth, trying his best to overpower Chaos. But his effort was in vain. Finally allowing himself to smile, Chaos removed Malice from Wes’ Quantum Saber and cut Wesley's arm. Wes screamed at the sharp pain, and as he fell, Chaos cut his thigh as well, coating his sword in a thin layer of blood.

Wes fell onto his side, the wounds painful. But this was it. He was finished. He looked up at Chaos’ face, and saw the look of victory upon him. I lost… There was nothing he could do now. But Chaos, rather than finishing off Wes then and there, walked towards Erika instead. Wes’ eyes opened in horror.

“Chaos! What are you doing?!” he yelled.

“I noticed your friend was going after the other Quantum Saber. That is something I cannot allow.” Chaos raised his sword over his head, and Erika, shocked that Chaos had noticed her, was paralyzed like a mouse facing a cobra. “Your foolishness in challenging me, Wesley, will lead to her death.” She screamed as Chaos brought down his sword in a fatal strike.

Wes screamed and in a sudden burst of energy, he jumped in front of Chaos and blocked the blow. Erika’s tears flowed down her cheek; if it hadn’t been for Wes, she would have been killed.

Chaos was impressed. Their blades locked, he said “Very impressive, Wesley. But I would have thought you had by now learned the difference between bravery and idiocy.” Seeing her chance, Erika quickly reached for the other Quantum Saber. If I could just give it to Wes somehow!

“I couldn’t bear to see anything happen to her pretty face.” Erika allowed herself to appreciate Wes’ comeback for a split second. Wesley pushed away Chaos’ sword, and with renewed determination, prepared to attack Chaos once more. Once Chaos was forced back, Erika saw her chance.

“Wesley!” she yelled, throwing the other Saber at him. Wes caught it with his off hand, but rather than try to wield both swords in the same hand like before (which nearly got him killed), he opted to try wielding each one independently.

Wes took the initiative and, wielding the Quantum Sabers in an impressive fashion, spun to allow each of his blades to strike Chaos. Momentarily surprised, Chaos blocked the first few blows, before regaining control. This time, he pressed Wesley, making him move back. Fighting with the two Sabers the way they were always supposed to be used, Wes was holding his own. Still, his inexperience showed, and after only a few more seconds of blows, Chaos knocked a Saber out of his hand once again, leaving him back to where he started.

So much for my advantage, Wes thought. But at least Erika’s safe. He wouldn’t be able to keep this up much longer, though. His arm and thigh were still bleeding, so unless he finished it soon, he would almost certainly lose again. Lieutenant Blue, noticing Wesley’s fatigue, said “This match is almost at the end.” The other Lieutenants nodded in agreement, with Pink saying, “Let’s see how good Wes really is.” Chaos advanced on Wesley with a quick one-two, but Wes parried the blows and backed away.

With blood leaking from his wounds, Wesley realized that the next few moments would be the hardest of his life. Chaos knew he was weakened, and inexperienced. Wesley braced himself for Chaos’ assault— because if he wasn’t careful, Chaos’ next move would be Wesley’s last. Holding his remaining Quantum Saber high, Chaos replied in kind.

This is it. Facing each other, the world seemed to hold its breath in suspense, and after a seemingly endless pause, their terrible duel resumed.

They each struck at the same time, blades meeting in between them. Allowing instinct to take him over, Wes did whatever he could to disarm Chaos, striking from every angle he possibly could. Chaos blocked and countered every blow, and soon, they each fell into perfect symmetry— when Chaos struck overhead, Wesley countered below, and when Wes struck below, Chaos countered overhead. Moving with the flow of the battle, the two warriors were like the eye of a hurricane— each calm inside themselves, with furious force outside. They moved with such speed and precision that Erika had a hard time keeping up with their movements— they didn’t even seem to be fighting so much as dancing. The clash of their weapons was like thunder, the blood from their wounds the rain. Wes and Chaos never stopped looking at each others faces, each surprised at the others skills— Wes, for Chaos’ swordplay; Chaos, for Wes’ endurance. Their duel was so close that they weren’t even five feet apart. Spinning and backing away in perfect imitation of each other, they met once more. Their blades struck: a high block, a low block, a high block— Passing each other, their blades clanged with terrible force. Turning, they fought as fluidly as one counts from one to three.

And then, with a simple mistake, their perfect symmetry was gone forever.

Chaos dodged Wesley’s attack, but Wes, rather than block what he knew would be Chaos’ next move, instead continued to attack. Blocking Wes’ blade, Chaos took advantage of the huge opening Wesley had left for himself. And with an almost elegant upswing—

Chaos severed Wesley’s right arm from the rest of his body.

His scream was beyond words, as was Erika’s when his now bodiless arm landed near her. Finishing, Chaos pushed Wes’ body away from him, and he landed by Eirika, who instantly ran over to him and cradled his head in her lap.

“Wesley! Wesley!” she cried out.

And with that the Lieutenants all thought the same thing. That’s it— the duel is over.

Wes moaned in pain, as he grabbed the pitiful stump that was all that remained of his right arm. Chaos vanished Malice, the blade disappearing with green smoke.

“Last man standing, Wesley. You are all that remains of the legendary 72nd Legion. You fought well, especially in light of your lack of training. Unfortunately, like the rest of your legion, this is the end for you.” Chaos raised his left hand, palm open. “Still, I am not completely without mercy. It is not too late to save your arm. I can put it back for you— if you return the Quantum Sabers and the X-Paralyzer to me, now. I will not ask again.”

Erika glanced down to her belt, seeing the X-Paralyzer still hanging there from earlier. She had completely forgotten that it was there. She mentally cursed herself for not having used it earlier when Wes was fighting Chaos— she might’ve done some serious damage. But she had no more experience with the X-Paralyzer than Wes did with the Quantum Sabers, and unlike Wes, she had no fighting training. She could have been killed the instant she even tried to attack. Could I still try, right now? Erika contemplated attacking Chaos for a moment, but decided against it. If Wes couldn’t win, neither could she. Erika slowly reached over, and grabbed the other Saber that Wesley had lost. She unclipped the X-Paralyzer from her belt, and was reaching for the Saber Wes still had when he spoke.

“No… I’m not going to give them up, Chaos… I’d rather… die.” Wes’ voice was weak, and hoarse. He stubbornly held the Quantum Saber in his left hand harder. “Erika, take the weapons… Run… before he gets you too…”

“I wouldn’t listen to Wes, if I were you.” Chaos wagged his finger. “We never lost sight of you in the first place, when we attacked Zaha. If you run, we will simply find you, as we did this time.” But Erika wasn’t going to listen to Wes anyway. I have nowhere to run to, anymore. Everyone I know is dead… and Chaos will likely kill me anyway. I’ll just… stay here with Wes.

“No, Chaos… I’m not running.” Erika’s voice was surprisingly calm. “But I’m not giving these weapons to you either, not if Wes won’t. You’ve already destroyed everything that I’ve ever known. If you want them… then you’ll have to kill us.” This wasn’t what she had imagined her death would be like. Not at all. But it seems she would die by Chaos’ hand, with her rescuer, a boy she hardly knew, dying in her lap. I suppose there are worst ways to die… She closed her eyes and started to cry. She gripped Wesley's head harder, as they prepared for the inevitable.

“I suppose I should not be surprised. I knew Wes would fight until the end. Very well. I am finally putting an end to the pesky problem that is the 72nd Legion. Lieutenants! Fall in.” On hearing their master’s order, Red, Black, Blue, Yellow, and Pink all lined up besides Chaos. Each raised their right arm up with their hand spread wide, just like their master.

“On my mark. Three… two… one…” With a sharp hum, the six hands glowed with an ethereal light, all glowing with the respective color of their wielder, with the exception of Chaos, whose green light sparkled with black lightning. Wes, seeing what Chaos was about to do, instinctively tried backing away, but he lacked the energy to do so. He could feel Erika restraining him from moving too. He stopped trying, as a dark thought came over him. I guess we both know that there isn’t anywhere to go…

Closing his eyes, Wesley allowed himself to drop the Saber from his hand, and it fell to the ground softly. Clearing his mind for a few moments, he allowed himself to appreciate the feeling of Erika holding his head in her lap. He felt something wet fall onto his lip. Tasting it, he was surprised to find it salty. That's when he realized that Erika was crying, her tears falling down her cheek and onto his face.

“I'm sorry that it turned out this way, Erika. I would have liked to have saved you and everyone else,” he said. Erika gently stroked his black hair back, even as she shivered in fear. “It's okay, Wes. You did all you could,” she said softly. She brought Wesley's head to her bosom and clutched him closely.

“Now!” Chaos shouted. At once six bright bolts of concentrated energy shot out of their palms towards Wesley and Erika. With a loud hum they crossed the distance between them in less than a second. Just before the energy blasts enveloped them, Wesley found himself imagining a destroyed city, black smoke rising from destroyed skyscrapers.

With a loud explosion and a bright light, the six blasts found their mark and blew them and the clearing away.

Putting their outstretched arms down, Chaos and his Lieutenants observed their handiwork. The clearing was destroyed, a giant crater blasted into the ground where the two had been. Smoke, dust, and bits of rock were everywhere.

Scanning the area, Red said “There's nothing here, Chaos. They've been completely destroyed.”

“Thank Soulelle for that,” said Black, relieved that an immense thorn in their side was finally removed.

“Maybe now our operations will start to actually do something,” Pink added.

Approaching the crater, Chaos eyes shifted back and forth. There was no trace of their bodies, which was to be expected. But after moments of searching, he could not find either the Quantum Sabers or the X-Paralyzer. “Lieutenants!” he barked.

They stood at attention. “Yes, Chaos?”

“Spread out and search the area. Find me our weapons.”

“As you wish,” they replied in unison. Each one ran off in a different direction, and began searching for the weapons. Chaos himself stared at the crater, noting the feeling of uneasiness rising within him.

After several minutes, Red came up to him from behind and said “Master Chaos, none of us have found the stolen weapons. They do not appear to be in the area.” When Chaos didn't reply, Red said “I fear we may have destroyed them.”

Chaos frowned and turned to look at Red. “Those weapons were the result of years of research. They could not have been so easily destroyed by blasts like that.”

Red's head titled down. “What are you suggesting, Chaos?”

“Those weapons, if they were thrown about by our blasts, would be here. But you tell me they are not. If that's true, then what does that imply?”

Red was unsure of what to say. “I'm... not sure, Master Chaos. Wesley and the girl are dead, which means those weapons must be here—“

“But they are not!” Chaos said, raising his voice. “Nor are there any remains here. Our blasts may disintegrate flesh and bone, but those weapons were designed, among other things, to resist energy blasts. If neither the weapons nor their bodies are here,” he turned away to look at the crater, “then that can mean only one thing.

Wesley isn't dead.”

Red took a step back. “But Master Chaos, that's impossible. You defeated him in battle, and then we— not just you, but us— we destroyed him. There is no way he could have escaped!”

“But he has, Red! Believe me, I know. Wesley and I are cut from the same cloth. Had I been in his position, I could have easily survived and escape. I do not know how he could have, but I've no doubt that he has.” He walked towards Red and stopped inches from Red's helmet. “New orders, Red. Find him. And do not come back to me until you have located him. Let the others know as well.”

Red saluted. “Yes, master.” Waving Red away, Chaos turned back to scanning the clearing. Still nothing, he thought. He was growing frustrated— Wesley had gotten away with the weapons again, which meant that not only would he have to hunt him down again, he would have to also—


Off to one side, obscured in some bushes, he spotted something. It was so well hidden he wasn't surprised he had missed it. Walking towards it, he saw the bush was smeared in something red. Blood, he recognized. Parting the bushes away in excitement, he looked at it. He reached out and grabbed it.

How about that.

“Lieutenants!” He cried out. “You should come look at this!”

Instantly the five appeared behind him. Yellow said “What is it, Master Chaos?”

“Just take a look at this,” he said. Turning around, they could see that in Chaos' hand was Wesley's severed arm.

“How in the world did that get over here?” asked Pink.

“It must have been moved over here by the force of our blasts,” Chaos replied. He tilted the arm slightly, and blood rushed out from where it had been cut.

“By Xyra, that is disgusting,” said Lieutenant Black, putting his hand to the mouth of his helmet.

“Perhaps,” said Chaos, “but this is most fortuitous. This could very well be a game-changer.”

“How do you mean, Chaos?”

Chaos ignored the question, and instead spoke to Red. “Contact Infinity. Tell her to prepare the Project Kuroune files and to locate Dr. Locke.” Looking at his Lieutenants, Chaos held the severed arm up.

“Wesley may have escaped somehow... but this time, he left something important behind. Something very important, indeed.”

And Chaos smiled.

Erika opened her eyes, and saw that she was still holding Wesley. She was confused. Shouldn't I be dead?

She became further confused when she saw that not only was she not blown to pieces, she wasn't even in the same place. Chaos and his Lieutenants were gone. In their place there was— well, there was nothing. Literally nothing.

Looking around, Erika didn't know where she was. It looked like she was in the middle of an abandoned war zone. Buildings were torn apart, or blasted away. The pavement of the road was cracked and had buckled. Even the tall buildings around her were in disrepair, smoke rising from several of them. She couldn't even read any of the signs— they were written in a language she didn't understand.

Where are we? How did we get here?

Seeing that Wes was still breathing, she said “Wesley! Wes, we're okay! Something happened, I don't know, but we're okay! We must have—” And that's when it hit her. They may have been alive alright, but Wesley wasn't going to be for much longer. His blood was pooling around them, soaking her knees in red. Erika began to panic.

“Oh my god! Wesley! Wes!” She slapped him around a bit, but he was unresponsive, and his breathing was starting to become more than a whisper.

“Wesley! Dear god, Wes!” Erika began screaming hysterically. “Someone! Please, help! Anyone, please! Wesley!” But Erika screamed in vain, for no one, wherever she was, was around to hear. “Someone help! Help!”

Wesley started to moan. “Erika...”

Her eyes darted to his face. “Wes! Wes, your arm, I don't know what—“

“Erika...” he said again. “My data...”

“What? What data?”

“My data...” She could barely hear what he was trying to say.

“Wesley, I don't know what you're talking about!” she screamed at him.

“Datalog... on my... belt..." he said, his voice scarcely audible.

Erika's eyes went wide. Now she knew what he was talking about. The datalog on his belt! She remembered back when he was recovering at Zaha. He had shown her his datalog and how it worked. It seemed like forever ago, but it had really been only a few days.

“Okay, I understand! That might work! Hang on Wes, please!” she said. This time Wesley didn't respond at all.

Grabbing and unclipping the datalog from his belt, Erika said “Stay with me, Wes! Don't you dare die on me!” Looking at the datalog in her hand, she became frightened when she realized she didn't remember how to use it. But suddenly she remembered how, the memory of Wes teaching her rushing back. Flipping it open, she scrolled through the menu options until she found the appropriate icon. Clicking it, Erika saw her own face on the tiny monitor, with a red dot in the upper right corner. Then an electronic voice said “Start transmission.” That meant it was recording, she remembered.

“My name is Eirika!” she began. “Wesley, the boy who normally records these, is badly hurt. We barely escaped from Chaos, after he and his Lieutenants sacked my town of Zaha. They arrived— huh?” She was interrupted by a moan from Wesley.

“Wes, please. Hang on, I'm trying... Um, my town was destroyed when the Necromancer and his soldiers arrived, chasing after Wes. Wesley hasn't yet told me what his mission was, but he arrived at my mentor's med station, bleeding terribly. Soon after my mentor and I treated him, Chaos arrived and began attacking my town, searching for Wes... They killed everyone. Zaha is destroyed, and my mentor is dead... I would have been killed too, if it hadn't been for—” Another groan from Wes, which sounded more painful than the last.

“I, I don't want you to die, Wes, so stay with me!” She continued with the transmission. “Uh, Wes saved my life, and we fled before they could find us. Still, eventually they did, and Chaos had Wes and I cornered. There was no escape. But Wes decided he'd rather be killed than simply surrender, and he... he challenged the Necromancer to a duel. Wesley fought Chaos with the weapons he apparently stole from the Necromancer, but it was no use. Wesley... Wesley lost one of his arms.

Wes, I'm sorry... If you hadn't tried to protect me, you, you wouldn't be dying now...” For a moment she just looked at him, and then realized she had stopped talking. She hastily continued.

“When Chaos was about to finish us off, there was a bright flash of light, and then... Then we were here. I don't know where, but we're far away from Chaos... I'm not sure what happened, but Wes is too injured to say anything. We're alive— that's all I know for sure. But not for much longer. Wes is bleeding fast, and I- I don't know what to do!”

Suddenly Wesley began to breathe very, very rapidly. Turning to look at him, she saw that his eyes were blank, and his pupils dilating. She recognized instantly what was happening to him.

“Wes? Oh god, he's going into shock! Wes! Wesley! Oh my god, Wes, no! Please, just a little longer!” Erika started to panic again, and then realized she was still holding the datalog in her hand. Turning back to it she hurried up with her message.

“Wes told me how to work this thing! He said that any entry he makes in it is automatically forwarded to a central server, where it's cataloged and saved, and can be accessed later. Wes said that if you can backtrace the GPS signal encoded into the video entry, you can send help to our location!”

For a frozen interminable moment she forgot the name of the person Wesley told her about, but then she remembered.

“Commander McCartney, if you can hear this, Wesley's dying! Please, I— we need you to send rescue immediately! My mentor was a doctor and I was his nurse, but I don't know how much longer I can help Wes. Please, hurry, or he'll die!” Snapping the datalog shut, she heard the same electronic voice say “End transmission.”

She clipped the datalog back to his belt and said “Okay Wes, I called for help, so they'll be here soon!” But there was no reply from him. She began to shake him back and forth in a frenzy, desperately trying to get him to say something, but she failed, succeeding only in panicking further.

“Oh no. Oh, no no no...” She started to cry again. And then the words of her mentor came to her.

What's the first thing you do when someone is bleeding?

What's the first thing you do?

The first thing...

“Stop the bleeding!” she said aloud. Standing up, she quickly tore off a portion of her shirt, exposing her midriff. Bending down again, she began tying the white piece of cloth around his arm. Making sure the it was secured, she saw the white cloth began to turn red with blood.

Now what? She thought. Indeed, after a while nothing came to her. And that's when Erika realized that she was in the middle of nowhere with a dying boy, and that there was nothing she could do to save him.

She began to cry, putting her head onto his chest, her sobs echoing everywhere.

“What are we going to do?!” she cried out.

Wesley said nothing.

Transmission successfully saved to Wesley's Datalog.

Uploading to central server now.

Uploading. Uploading. Uploading...

ERROR. Reattempting to upload.

Uploading. Uploading...

ERROR: Code E209: The central server cannot be found. Server may be down. Please attempt uploading at a later time. Datalog entry successfully saved locally.

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