Agent of the Sway: Resistance - Part Five
The craters of Kreludor offered little in the way of shadows or cover, so it was difficult for Clayton to move unnoticed.
Thankfully, the communication from the Resistance had got through. The Grundos were busy gathering what arms they still had, allowing Clayton to slip into the moon base brig without being noticed.
"Sloth's fleet will be here any moment," Gorix was saying. "It will be a tough fight; he has air advantage, greater numbers, and superior technology."
"But we have our pride!" Zorlix insisted.
"And our courage!" Xarthab added.
"Pride and courage will only get you so far against a fleet of battleships," Gorix said. "My advice is you remain mostly on the defensive."
"He speaks truth, brother," Xarthab said. "At present, the most we have are some worn-down blasters and mining tools."
"I myself will attempt to get to Sloth's ship," Gorix added. "It's a long shot, but we might be able to cut this battle off at the source."
"If only we had something to combat the ships with..." Xarthab said.
Cylara suddenly sprang to life, something outside catching her attention.
"I have an idea!" she said.
The four of them went outside to discuss it, leaving Parlax alone in the brig.
Alone, that is, aside from Clayton, who stepped out of the shadows.
Parlax was being held in a prison lined with energy bars that pulsed with blue power. He had a look of rage on his face which quickly subsided when he spotted Clayton.
"I don't recognise your face," he said. "Who are you, and what do you want?"
"I represent a group with certain... interests," Clayton said. "Once upon a time, that interest was the destruction of Sloth's fleet."
Recognition dawned on the Grundo's face.
"You're one of... them?" he asked.
"Ah, I see Dr. Sloth told his minions about his dealings with us," Clayton said with a smirk.
"He was very angry after the Lost Desert," Parlax said. "Shouting a lot about an organisation on Neopia... But you haven't told me why you are here."
"To free you," Clayton said.
Parlax thought this over for a moment.
"What's the catch?" he asked.
"You have two choices," Clayton said. "You stay here in this cell and I help the Resistance destroy Sloth. Gorix seemed to be quite angry with you... You two have history, yes? I don't doubt that after Sloth falls, he'll come back here with questions. Painful questions. And that's if the Grundo brothers of Kreludor haven't taken their revenge on you by that point."
"Sounds tempting," Parlax said dryly.
"Your other choice is that I let you out of this cell," Clayton said. "You flee back to Sloth on his flagship and begin working for him again. His fleet will still fall, but Sloth, in one form or another, he will survive, and he will think you his loyal servant."
"Only I won't be," Parlax said. "You're asking me to betray him, to serve you instead."
"No," Clayton said. "I am demanding it. Spare me your false dilemma, you have already once betrayed one master for another. You left the Resistance because Sloth appeared to be the stronger side, did you not? Well, now you have encountered a stronger force still. You are either with us or against us, and we destroy those who are against us."
"You make a compelling argument," Parlax said. "Alright, you have a deal."
Clayton stepped forwards, punched in a code to the panel, and the bars of energy disappeared.
"I trust you have an escape craft stashed somewhere?"
"Then I suggest you take it."
Clayton stowed himself back in Gorix's ship, just as Parlax's escape was noticed. Thankfully, Gorix didn't give chase, recognising the greater need to stop Sloth. As the Grundos began to convert mining equipment into catapults as per Cylara's suggestion, the ship lifted off, heading towards the approaching mass of Sloth's fleet.
"I have an update," Grimilix's crackling voice came over the radio. "Valka and his troops have engaged Garoo, but he has reinforcements, Sophix, another bounty hunter. She's come with robots."
"Will the Resistance hold them?" Clayton asked.
"They should do," Grimilix said. "I can try and interfere with the processing units inside the robots via the station's wifi, that should speed things up a bit."
"I'm on my way to Sloth's flagship - this should be over soon," Clayton said.
The flagship was the largest of the ships in the fleet, and looked like a horrible, imposing bird of prey, looming down on Kreludor, at least half the size of the moon. Countless decks lay between them and their prize - the Space Faerie's Token. Thankfully, there would not be a lot of resistance. Sloth was that strange type of egotistical mastermind. Though he fortified his front lines with hundreds of troops, he didn't believe anyone would ever reach his inner sanctum. The flagship would be relatively unguarded, giving them a free hand to move.
Gorix and Cylara located the testing facility in the heart of the ship quite quickly. Unfortunately, that was the easy part.
Sloth hadn't just been attempting to dispel the magic of the token, he had been attempting to replicate it. Hundreds, if not thousands of stations were set up over an entire deck, each with its own token.
A robot Yurble who seemed to serve as the deck's overseer bleeped and greeted the pair as Clayton watched on.
"We currently hold 652,491,337 tokens onboard."
Clayton sighed. This was like that fiasco with the graves in the Haunted Woods. It could take hours.
Thankfully, Gorix seemed more adept and Cylara more lucky than their planet-side counterparts. It was only a few hours of testing the tokens until they found one which magically resisted their efforts.
Clayton could feel the magic coming off it - it would be enough. Not to kill Sloth, the Space Faerie would never condone such a thing. But it would contain him.
With it in hand, Gorix and Cylara made their way through the bowels of the ship. They briefly came across one of Sloth's lieutenants - Gormos. The tall Kougra towered over them, but let them pass all the same. He was no agent of the Sway, that much was sure - internal bickering within Sloth's empire appeared to have claimed this particular minion.
Finally, they reached the bridge of the ship - Sloth's personal quarters, guarded by robotic clones.
Parlax had made his way back first, and was busy apologising to Sloth for his failure like a good servant.
Gorix interrupted proceedings by blasting the Sloth clones.
"That was... unexpectedly easy," he commented.
"They're more for show anyway," Sloth replied. "These kids are supposed to stop me? I'd be insulted, but I'm too amused to care."
He stood from his desk, Parlax falling into line beside him.
"You are privileged to be in the presence of the greatest genius the universe has ever known," Sloth added. "Your antics have been fun to watch, but completely futile. This pitiful group you call a 'resistance' will be crushed before you can return to them. Not that you will return to them. You shall be disposed of-"
Gorix cut him off with a warning shot from his blaster.
"How dare you interrupt my 'resistance is futile' speech!" Sloth bellowed.
"Speech time's over," Gorix told him.
"I tire of your presence," Sloth sneered. "Parlax, take care of them."
From the doorway, Clayton caught the split Grundo's eye. He provided a meaningful shake of the head which Parlax understood - don't kill Gorix, but play along.
The Grundo took out a sword, charged with energy.
"I'll handle this, Cylara," Gorix said. "You worry about the token. It's long overdue, Parlax, but I'll still take my revenge."
The two ran forwards, meeting in a clash of blaster fire and metal.
Cylara, meanwhile, inched closer to Sloth with the token in hand.
"What have we here?" Sloth sneered.
Crouching, Cylara began to chant the spell to activate the token, but she was scared. Her words stammered, preventing the spell from taking effect.
Sloth merely laughed at her.
"This kid is supposed to stop me!?" he boomed, grabbing her by the ears and lifting her up. "She can't even speak!"
"Cylara!" Gorix shouted from across the room.
Parlax held back at just the right moment, allowing Gorix to fire a blaster shot at Sloth. It missed, but it caused him to drop the Cybunny.
Lightning quick, Sloth took out his own blaster from beneath his robe and fired - his shot connected.
"Gorix!" Cylara shrieked. "No!"
This seemed to be the shock to the system Cylara needed.
"You have just made a terrible mistake," she growled. "Anadate perlaxus cosmos noten fertulitum benevact."
"More childish babbling?" Sloth cackled. "I'm disappointed, I expected mo-"
He stopped mid sentence as he realised what Cylara was carrying.
"Anagio maleire abiec anadate..."
"The token!" Sloth spat. "How did you get that!?"
"Perlaxus cosmos... Sloth!" Cylara finished the incantation.
Clayton felt the wash of magic as the token activated, levitating out of Cylara's hands and filling the room with a strange pink and purple light.
"Gorix!" Cylara shouted, running over to her friend. "Are you alright?"
"I'm fine!" he replied. "Keep down!"
Sloth's form seemed to be warping somehow, drawn back towards the token against his will.
"Nooooo!" he screamed. "This can't be happening! You haven't seen the last of Dr. Frank Sloth! You'll never see the last of me!"
As he was drawn back into the token, he pressed a single button on his control panel. The token's magic was spent, it fell back to the floor like an innocent trinket.
The button Sloth had pressed appeared to be an emergency self destruct - a mechanical voice sounded a countdown of three minutes.
Parlax was already off down a corridor, and Gorix was about to follow until Cylara held him back. Together, they made their way back to their ship.
Escape pods were launching from the few personnel aboard the ship evacuating. Clayton crept out of the shadows and approached the token. Two red eyes glowed briefly in the crystal formation - Sloth was a prisoner within.
And now, as Clayton pocketed the thing, he was a prisoner of the Sway. To be controlled and returned according to their whims from now on.
Searching around the control panel, Clayton found what he was looking for - Sloth's personal escape pod. A door opened in the wall to a small shuttle, which Clayton took, speeding away from the flagship as it exploded.
"Grimilix," Clayton said. "Sloth is down."
"We can see!" was the reply. "That's a big explosion! The rest of the fleet is retreating and the forces onboard the station are standing down."
"Monitor the situation, give regular reports to the surface," Clayton instructed. "I'm on my way back down to deliver a package - have someone meet me to take delivery."
To be continued...