The Convoy and the Exiled Child
As the convoy of hovercrafts made their trek across the lonely desert, the nervous junior Admiral Tileena Alkai, a female raccoon, stood upon the bow of the lead craft. Her gaze pierced into the sandy wild, not a hint of her familiar civilization in sight. She had recently tasked herself with watching over this convoy, which was mostly against her. Her reasoning simply had to do with a connection to her recent past.
This was her childhood home.
Tileena sighed as she attempted to relax herself. Looking back on the soldiers behind, she could tell what they felt just by noticing their breathing patterns. She could tell that a far number of them didn't trust her. "Why should I blame them," she asked herself, for it was she who abandoned her family values and turned her back on the true principles of life. Deep down inside; however, she knew she couldn't turn that life away. Her heart called her to a different life; an alien life. Still, she knew where she came from.
Positioning her tail, she sat on the edge of the craft. She adjusted her uniform, which was in stark contrast to the simple cloth garments that heavily clothed the soldiers around her. These weren't soldiers under her command, and they rather die than take commands from this exiled child.
The convoy itself was fairly large, consisting of two large craft and several smaller patrol craft. The larger hovercraft were the two home bases where the residential and business aspect of the community resided. All of the men, women, and children of this tribe lived, worked, learned, played, and prayed there.
The culture placed prominent importance on the values of tradition, religion, and family. Tileena noted this: even though she's held onto the beliefs of her people, she is still considered an outcast by the far majority. Even as such, she loved her people enough to hopefully guide through the most dangerous part of the desert.
As she watched the sands pass by below the craft, she overheard one of the men talking behind her.
"What's out here again," asked one nervous horse. "That black comet landed here, right? Why must we take this dangerous route?"
"Hush," quipped the male cat just behind Tileena. "Do not question the elders. Our path was not chosen by them alone, but by the hand of the Great Spirit. Whatever is out there, we will meet head on." He then paused and turned his head toward Tileena. "Unless our fearless 'admiral' has any objections."
She remained silent. She was used to the taunts by now.
"Maybe you should call that dragon boyfriend of yours, you whore," yelled one of the female soldiers.
"Hold your tongue! At least she had the courage to come back," countered one of the older warriors. "If you took her path, I'd bet you be looking for work in the streets of Saurius rather than show your face here."
"At least I-"
"Enough," yelled a commander. "Focus on the task at hand. Admiral Alkai has graciously lent her support, unlike rest of the Aquiterrian fleet. Be grateful her blessed insight is on our side."
With just his words, the rambling silenced. Tileena knew she should be comforted, but knew that silenced mouths never quell lingering doubts. Even more troubling was the feeling that they were being watched.
The convoy continued on for hours. The anxious admiral look into the sky, but saw nothing. She was hoping he would be here soon.
"Where are you Draconius," she asked herself, growing more concerned by the day. She requested an Aquiterrian patrol to look out for the convoy, but it was denied. The military officials stated that no harm should befall the convoy and that to divert resources to the nomads would be irresponsible. Just the thought of being told that felt as though she was being scolded. Her dark gray and black fur stood in anger, but she quickly calmed herself. Through her connections, she was able to get ahold of a close, personal friend of hers.
That friend, Captain Draconius "Spyro" Draken, was a captain in the Draconian Federation, which bordered the Aquiterrian Alliance. She knew that she risked treason and a permanent exile from the military command if she personally requested assistance from a foreign military. With that in mind, she had left word through an outlaw, who had ties to the Draconian captain, and hoped something would come from it. Though, she knew that there would be barriers for him to cross as well, and wouldn't hold it against him if he couldn't come...or didn't come. Still her heart yearned...
If worse came to worse, she had to rely herself, and the strength of those around her. Regardless of any differences, they all had a duty to protect the colony.
As Tileena's gaze wondered, she noticed something that seemed out of place. Beyond the dunes west of the convoy, she noticed movement. There was no wind in this area and very few members of the local fauna could survive in the in the heat this far from the outskirts. She wasn't the only one who noticed.
"Buggy 1-1, buggy 1-1, come in," came in a voice on the radio.
Tileena grabbed the speaker. "This is buggy leader, over. What's your status?"
"We've picked up some bodies on the radar and request permission to check it out."
She looked at the area he was speaking of, and then looked at the troupe commander. "Your call," was his only response.
She thought for a second, and then responded, "Permission is granted. Buggy 1-1 will assist over."
"Over and out," as the radio clicked off. Tileena then readjusted the mic to pick up over the fleet.
"This is Admiral Alkai, buggies lead and 1-4 will split and check out anomaly. All others are to protect the home bases. Over and out." She put the speaker down and directed the craft pilot to follow the other buggy.
As the buggie flew across the sands, Tileena grew ever more anxious. She could tell something wasn't right. She saw the black comet that crashed into the desert beyond the dunes. Her inherent gift, which makes her more aware of what's around her, among other things, told her that it wasn't natural.
"Could it be Dante," she asked herself. She knew of the maniacal tyrant, the immortal dragon who once ruled an empire that stretched across most of this half of the galaxy.
She also knew of others. Dalmatia being among them, but given here lack of experience with either of Draconius' rivals, she could only guess. She wouldn't have to guess for long.
The craft came to a still hover just away from the dunes. Tileena and the soldiers jumped out of the hovercraft and approached the dunes with caution. She readied her blaster pistol while the soldiers had they laser rifles. Even though their weapons dwarfed hers, she knew the gun in her hand was handy, even though she preferred to not use it.
They steadily climbed the dunes. When they reached the top, they all froze in amazement and fear. What lay before them was unlike anything they ever saw before. Before them lay a crater of black mist.
As Tileena looked on, voices rang with question around her. "What sort of devilry is this?" and "By the gods, what is this?" were repeated in various fashions around her.
The troupe commander from the second buggy crept closer to the crater, against better advice.
"I advise you to go back where you were," warned the lead commander.
"Whatever this is, we must kill it. It is an abomination to the Spirit," yelled the other commander. He continued on till he was at the edge of the sand.
Like a light going off, Tileena shouted, "Get back! This is nothing like you've fought before! Hurry!"
He was about to silence her when he noticed something happened. Like a dancing snake, mist was beginning to form right in front of him. Enchanted, he reached his hand out to it.
The lead commander shouted, "Commander! Step away from that!"
"You're playing with our lives! Run," screamed Tileena, although she knew it was useless.
At that moment, like a hand, the now frightened commander was ensnared by the mist. His struggle was short as a misty spike popped up from the crater and through the meerkat's chin until the sharp end popped out of his left temple.
After his death the ground began to shake. Tileena and the others backed away slowly as something new was forming. Like two ghastly lights, two beady eyes appeared with in the mist as it began to rise. Like a blackened hill, the mist now had form and was look straight at the group. Tentacles sprang from the base as creatures resembling four-legged ghosts jumped from the hellish mist.
"Everyone, retreat," was all Tileena shouted as everyone ran back over the dunes and jumped onto the awaiting hovercraft. As they made their escape, the demonic creatures sprinted forth from the dunes jumped for the hovercraft.
"Fire at will," shouted the commander as the soldiers began firing their rifles, mostly to little avail. While the laser hits dissipated their victim, more creatures kept appearing. Tileena just concentrated on reaching the other buggies. Before she could call for help, the craft suddenly lost power and crashed into the sand, spilling it's complement of passengers.
"Hurry men, stand your ground," cried the commander, who appeared as he was nursing a pain in his chest. The dog-like creatures quickly surrounded them, quickly engulfing a few of the helpless soldiers.
Considering the situation, she clenched her fists and concentrated. A purple aura began to circle her, collecting at the hand. When one of the creatures jumped at her, she waved her hand at the hound, who was immediately hit by a beam of purple light. She continued holding off the hounds as the remaining soldiers gathered around her, firing as quickly as they could. Knowing the convoy was likely doomed, she said a small prayer. The raccoon of the desert, as some of her friends called her, was left with asking for divine help.
As a wave of misty hounds jumped for the group, it was quickly hit by a barrage powerful laser fire.
"The other buggies," she thought at first, but realized these bolts were too powerful for that.
"Starfighters," exclaimed a soldier.
Tileena quickly turned a look up. She smiled a group of brownish-gold fghters streamed down from the atmosphere and fired at the hellish mist. The creatures quickly scattered and began to be picked off by the soldiers. More creatures began to appear, but the fighters continued their fire. Like angels coming from the sky, Draconian soldiers immediately descended on the area.
Things appeared to look up when the face of the mist began to grow and expand, swallowing the dunes that it originally surrounded.
"W-what the hell is that," yelled a Draconian soldier, who looked to be a gryphon.
As the starfighters fired, it was apparent their energy was only helping to strengthen the beast.
"We'll have to evacuate the area. Prepare the convoy," yelled a Draconian commander.
"No," exclaimed the wounded cat. "This is our home and I'll be damned if we sacrifice it to this demon."
Tileena continued her fight. She concentrated until a sphere formed around her hand. "I will not quit." She pointed her hand at the best and unleashed a striking beam of pure spirit energy.
As it struck the mist, it shrieked as visible evidence of damage showed itself. It then concentrated it's gaze on her.
"You made it mad," remarked on soldier.
Not paying attention, she attempted to strike again when a hound leapt for her again. Before it could pounce on her, it was blasted by one of the nomads.
The male skunk held his rifle over his shoulder and grinned at Tileena. "We stand together, for the spirit," he said.
"For the spirit," she replied.
The nomadic and Draconian soldiers began to gather as the hounds pushed for a new offensive. Tentacles shot out of the formed head of the mist. It was about to strike when it was rocked by heavy laser fire. Amazed, Tileena noticed a large shadow beginning to cover the area and also saw the mist being looking upwards. She turned a looked as well.
Out of the clouds a Draconian starship fired again at the beast, blasting right through it.
"Direct hit sir," exclaimed the weapons control officer on the bridge.
A young griffin with glasses remarked, "It seems we've delivered a substantial amount of damage to this thing."
"That won't kill him Darwin. It didn't even hurt," said a blue fox-like being, who was leaning against the wall, seemingly out of place.
"What!? Just look at him, it can't even...," he stopped when he noticed the creature reforming. "By Draco's will."
With a look of concerned curiosity, the young dragon captain stepped pass the tactics console and looked the creature straight in the eye. "Well, hurt or not, we brought them some time. Bring us about and continue fire. Blue, ready your men."
Blue, with an emotionless, but concentrated gaze, got up from his leaning position. "Of course." He then quietly left.
"Comm, can you reach anyone down there?"
A young female firebird was busy at the communications console, doing just that. "I have not been able to establish contact with the ground forces. I alerted the convoy, which thankfully hasn't been noticed yet."
"Tileena, you're a genius," he remarked to himself. "Keep at it Flia. We have to get in touch."
"Yes sir," she replied, continuing her work.
"Helm, remain steady. We must kee-." He tried to finish, but the ship was violently rocked as it was caught by the tentacles of the creature.
"We're caught! I can't break free," yelled one of the helmsman.
Flia then yelled, "Captain, engineering!"
"Put it through," he responded.
She switched the console to audio and a loud voice beamed from the speakers.
"What the HELL was that!? Most of my crew here were hurt by that jolt," screamed an angry D'lara, chief engineer.
"Calm down! What's the condition of the engines?"
"Oh, they're just FINE! Just give me a few more bumps like that and you'll get a nice crash landing too," she sarcastically remarked.
"Cut the crap," yelled Darwin through the loudspeaker back to her.
"Calm down you two. D'lara, do what you can with what you have. We have to hold together," he said.
Sighing, she answered. "I will, but remember, this is what we get with atmospheric flight." She ended the radio conversation.
With a sigh, Darwin remarked, "You know she's right."
"Of course, but in the line of duty, you have to take risks."
"I know," he responded.
And so, the battle raged
I apologize for the cliff hanger ending and the lack of any character development. This was merely a sample and an attempt to actually use Tileena in an idea.
Anywho, thanks for reading!