Agent of the Sway: Resistance - Part Four
Ylana Skyfire arrived a few minutes after the Garoo squadron secured the area, lazily lounging around until the commander noticed her.
"What do you want, Ylana?" he demanded.
"I'm looking for a certain Cybunny," she answered. "The master is very... anxious that she be found. I need to inspect each prisoner closely before they are loaded."
"Agent Rook," Grimilix came over the radio in Clayton's hiding place. "The Resistance have just passed the maintenance cameras on the other side of the deck - they are massing for a counterstrike, along with Gorix and that Cybunny."
"Who is she?" Clayton asked.
"Don't recognise her..." Grimilix said. "I can run her through the facial recognition program and see what that throws up... Hold on... Here. Cylara. She's a tourist, arrived on a transport with her parents a few hours ago. Nothing about her in the files."
"Mistaken identity then," Clayton said. "Scout's pretending to be her, it must be Cylara's parents she's with."
Back outside, Garoo was waving his hand dismissively at Ylana.
"Just don't waste too much time," he ordered, marching off.
"Now!" came a yell from behind the far wall.
The air vent blew off, and at least a dozen members of the Resistance ran through, blasters firing wildly.
They made their way straight for the Garoo troopers, distracting them while Gorix and Cylara gathered the prisoners and helped them towards the doors that would lead back down to the hangar and the safety of evacuation shuttles.
Cylara reunited with her parents, and Gorix finally made contact with Scout, but at the cost of her leaving her disguise behind.
Ylana noticed her, firing off a blaster shot that forced Gorix and Scout into cover. Cylara, noticing the fight, forced her parents through the airlock and sealed it behind them, turning back to help her new friends. She knocked into Ylana from behind, forcing both to the floor and buying the others time. Gorix managed to fire off a few blaster shots, downing Ylana for a few moments and giving the three of them enough time to escape. The other agents of the Resistance were also doing the same, leaving the surviving Garoo troopers alone on the deck.
"Are they heading back to Resistance HQ?" Clayton asked.
"Seems that way," Grimilix answered.
"Give me the location," Clayton said. "I need to follow."
Resistance Headquarters was hidden in the maintenance tunnels between decks - it required a passcode and retinal scan to access, but Grimilix had the inside line. There were air vents that ran above the bunker, normally with electronic trip wires but the little Grundo had disabled them. Clayton was able to peer down through the vent and learn exactly what was going on.
Scout was given her report, details of Sloth's involvement on Kreludor.
"He has placed a traitor - or perhaps more than one - among the Grundos. The traitor's sole task is to play off the pre-existing tension and pit the two factions against one another."
"So Sloth wants the Kreludan Grundos busy and out of his way... But why?" Commander Valka, leader of the Resistance, was saying.
"I believe his aim is in the mines, sir," Scout answered.
In his hiding place, Clayton gave a little chuckle. Perhaps once, he had wanted something specific. The Space Faerie's Token had been hidden there by the Sway - Sloth had been provided the location and infiltrated the moon to recover it. Now, all he wanted in the mines was the raw resources.
Scout was offering to explain by way of a data disk, the one the Sway had arranged for her to find. It would fill in the blanks for them.
"Sloth's had his scientists experimenting with Kreludite," Scout said as the disk loaded. "Judging from the large amount of data he has, he's got high hopes for it. There's a lot of information about the 'unstable' properties of Kreludite. Now, I'm no scientist, but if you look closely at the details of the experiments, Sloth is hoping to turn that unstableness to his advantage. Countless test subjects have been exposed to Kreludite in various forms."
A call was coming in, and Valka took it. A familiar JubJub appeared on the viewscreen - Werther, the Fairweather's assistant Clayton had met the year previously.
Valka briefed him on the situation, hoping the scientist would be able to give more information.
"Hmm... Kreludite?" Werther said. "That's a Sloth toy for you, dangerous but powerful."
He went on to relate how it was going to radioactively decay, mutating those around.
"He plans to make an army," Gorix gasped.
Valka was quick into action, deciding that eliminating Sloth's supply of Kreludite was a new priority. He tasked Gorix and Cylara with heading to Kreludor, while he began preparations to retake the station from Garoo.
"Grimilix," Clayton whispered in the air vents. "Send a message down to Neopia, for my leader's attention. Tell her of the situation so far and request further orders."
A few minutes later the answer came back over the radio.
"The message says that you are to follow Cylara and Gorix," Grimilix said. "Your leader seems to think they have more chance of failure without assistance, I can use the station's systems to help out the Resistance. I'll send regular status updates down to the planet, and I'm bouncing our communications off a satellite so we should still be able to contact each other over the distance."
"Good," Clayton said. "I'd better get to the hangar."
Clayton managed to reach the hangar first, and stowed himself away in the cargo hold of the ship that Grimilix identified as Gorix's Resistance shuttle. Soon, they were off, the sleek blue ship skimming away from the station and off towards the moon.
"What's the Grundo fighting all about, anyway?" Cylara asked Gorix.
"Control of the mines," he answered. "An old Grundo once ran the operation smoothly. But when he passed away, he left the responsibility to his two sons, Xarthab and Zorlix. Both were young, however, and a long history of sibling rivalry existed between the two. With Zorlix's fiery temper and Xarthab's hot-headed stubbornness, it was easy for Sloth's infiltrator to ignite the spark of tension."
The shuttle touched down on the surface of Kreludor. Gorix didn't bother to find them a concealed place to hide - which proved to be a mistake. The pair were surrounded by armed orange Grundos within moments. Thankfully, Clayton had remained in the ship, and escaped the same fate.
Gorix seemed to be trying to reason with the Grundo leader, Xarthab, and was getting through to him until the Grundo's adviser butted in. Clayton recognised him from the files - Parlax, Sloth's viper in the nest.
He was a split Grundo, who used a face mask to disguise one half of his face, allowing him to pretend to be both adviser to Xarthab and his orange Grundos, and the purple Grundos under Zorlix.
Clayton understood Parlax had once been an agent of the Resistance in the early days, before switching sides to serve Sloth.
Unfortunately for Parlax, Gorix had served in the Resistance for just as long, and appeared to recognise him, calling out his name in surprise.
There was a brief scuffle which ended in Xarthab's Grundos restraining both Parlax and Gorix. Clayton watched with some amusement as other Grundos crested the crater they were in - Zorlix had also been drawn there by the sight of the landing shuttle.
"What is going on!?" Zorlix demanded when he caught sight of Parlax. "He looks like my adviser, but orange!"
Shaking free of his captors, Gorix reached out for Parlax's mask.
"Perhaps this will help clarify things," he said.
He ripped the mask away, revealing Parlax's dual nature to gasps all around.
"You have both been deceived," Gorix added. "This traitor was sent by Sloth."
Rage replaced shock on the faces of the gathered Grundos.
"Ignominious falsehoods have been played upon us both, brother!" Zorlix shouted.
"We have been so blind, brother!" Xarthab agreed. "Take this traitor away, we shall deal with him later."
Meanwhile, Clayton was getting another message.
"I'm picking up serious movement in deep space," Grimilix said over the radio. "Just thought you should know."
"Sloth?" Clayton asked.
"Seems like he's mobilising his entire fleet," Grimilix confirmed.
"The station could be in danger, I suggest diverting power towards shields," Clayton said.
"No need, the scans are saying they aren't heading in this direction," Grimilix said. "They have set a course for Kreludor."
"Here?" Clayton asked. "Why would Sloth be so stupid as to commit his entire force to such a small target? Are the mines really that important to him?"
"I doubt it," Grimilix said. "He's been mining for a decade, more or less. He already has enough Kreludite for whatever he wants and a tip."
"Then he's just being big headed," Clayton said. "Unable to allow the Grundos to live freely, he's choosing to crush them instead."
"There's more," Grimilix said. "There was a transmission from the Space Faerie not long ago to Resistance HQ. She's back in communication range but there's no way she'll back in time to stop Sloth's plans. But she did tell them about the Token, and the fact that Sloth likely has it. Scout's just relayed the information on to Gorix."
"No doubt he'll make for the flagship of Sloth's fleet to try and find the thing," Clayton considered. "Any word from Neopia?"
"A message just came in," Grimilix said in surprise. "You're to free Parlax - seems he might prove a valuable double agent within Sloth's hierarchy."
"Great," Clayton said. "That means I have to go outside."
To be continued...