390 Chasing Seibel part three

    Nix joined hands with the rest of the group and activated Deep Blue.  A moment later they stepped onto the gating platform in Inferno City. "I need to head to the infusion chamber.  Given me a few minutes and we'll be standing in Icaraphet."

    [Whisper: Nix to Halla] Bring a Spectrum pellet to the Inferno City platform. We are bringing up Icaraphet.

    [Whisper: Halla to Nix] Right away!

    /Qi Family: Pon: Are you sure he is in Icaraphet?

    /Qi Family: Nix: It's a hunch, one that will only cost us half an hour if I'm wrong.

    /Qi Family: Pon: Your hunch is good enough for me.  I want to thank everyone for helping me.

    [Whisper: Nix to Tai'Qui] Something interesting happened recently. The Ain'Dhassi woman I enchanted into a dragon egg started communicating with the outside world.

    [Whisper: Tai'Qui] How is that possible?

    [Whsiper: Nix to Tai'Qui] Physical contact with the egg and lots of talking. Del said the more she heard the voices, the easier it was to focus on them.  Worth a try.

    [Whisper: Tai'Qui to Nix] Yes!  I will start immediately.

    Nix stepped into the infusion chamber after running all the way from the platform.  He opened the familiar interface.

    [Inferno System Operations]

    1. Security

    2. Power Grid

    3. Transportation

    4. Master Key

    "Display Master Key Menu."

    4. Master Key.

    a) Annonymous (Disabled)

    b) Intercity Communication (Enabled)

    c) Direct Control (Enabled)

    d) City Links (Disabled)

    "Display Direct Control Menu."

    [Direct Control Menu]

    a) Inferno: Nix

    b) Chyanama: Nix

    c) Alliance City: Nix

    d) Goralpri: Nix

    e) Filamina: Nix

    d) Icaraphet: Tharaka

    f) Verynzai: Unaqoir

    "Change the city name Goralpri to The Arena."

    [Goralpri has been changed to The Arena.]

    Nix knew that Jun Li and Breach Commander Mtui were in discussions regarding a large arena for the new city.  "Might as well get a jump on it. Access Icaraphet."

    [A message has been sent to Tharaka regarding the start-up procedures. He has three minutes to answer.]

    Nix activated his Nether armor and focused on Leva's office in Chyanama. A moment later he appeared in front of the Fallen Chancellor.

    Leva's dark eyes were unreadable, but her lips wore a slight smile. "What may I do for you, Nix?"

    "Need you to open gates again and then stand ready with a large force." Nix watched as she removed a Nether rat puppet from her desk and walked to the couch.  A moment later, the Nether rat was perched on his shoulder.

    Nix activated the return feature on his Nether armor, bringing himself and Rat-Leva back to the infusion room. "How did it go with Priestess Xia?"

    The rat chittered on his shoulder. "Didn't you read my report?"

    "No," Nix admitted.  "Been too busy."

    "I didn't feel that she would respond well to the threat of exposure in the long term. So I made her your minion."

    Nix didn't comment, Leva was exceptionally good at subterfuge. "Need another vial of my blood?"

    "Yes.  I used it all on Xia."

    "The whole thing?  That was a big vial. "

    Rat-Leva nodded, thankful that Nix couldn't see her face.  She had actually only used half and drank the remainder.  His blood tasted very sweet for some reason.

    "Fine.  Start taking reports from Xia. From now on, she reports directly to you."

    [Icaraphet: Remote Controller Recognized: Nix]

    "Open Icaraphet Security Menu."

    [Icaraphet System Operations]

    1. Security

    a) City Controller (Nix)

    b) City Shields (Enabled)

    c) City Gating Platforms (Disabled)

    d) City Gun Points (Disabled)

    "Enable City Gating Platforms between Inferno and Icaraphet."

    [Gating Platforms between Inferno and Icaraphet have been enabled.]

    Nix stared at the hud.  "The shields are still enabled.  Tharaka did say he put the city down while he still had strength."

    When Nix arrived at the platform a few minutes later, the group was waiting for him.  "I'll take the gating platform to Icaraphet.  Immediately after, Leva will open a breach."

    Halla held up the spectrum pellet. "Who gets to hold this?"

    Nix pointed to Ducky who was busy stroking Rat-Leva's black fur. "Everyone stealth up."

    Ducky accepted the pellet with a nod. "Thanks, Halla."

    /Qi Family: Nix: Be prepared to swim.  The shields have been enabled all this time, there's no telling if they failed yet.

    /Qi Family: Chiba: Everything else was shut down?

    Nix nodded and activated the platform, instantly disappearing from sight.  The smell of moisture and decay hung stagnant in the air of Icaraphet, there was water beneath his feet but only a few centimeters.  "It seems a bit damp. Something tells me we should hurry."

    Rat-Leva opened a breach between Icaraphet and Inferno, allowing transport for the entire group. Nix grabbed the pellet from Ducky and ran towards the entry grate, his feet splashing the entire way.

    /Qi Family: Chiba: Follow you, apprentice?

    /Qi Family: Nix: Everyone but Ducky needs to stay in place for a moment while I get systems up.

    /Qi Family: Ducky: What do you want me to do?

    /Qi Family: Nix: Find Ayla immediately and take her to Haven.

    /Qi Family: Ducky: I'm on it.

    Ducky placed a hand on the old mage's shoulder.  "Don't worry Pon.  I'll get her out of here."

    After opening the grate, Nix discovered that as he walked downward, the water level climbed above his knees.  "Makes sense I suppose. If there's a leak, the lowest part of the city floods first."

    Nix waded into the infusion chamber and inserted the Spectrum pellet.  According to the control panel, the shields were at 3 percent and would have failed sometime in the next three weeks.

    /Qi Famly: Nix: Powering the city up.  That was a close one.

    /Qi Family: Rabi: How close?

    /Qi Famly: Nix: Less than a month.

    /Qi Family: Pon: Sometimes being lucky is better than being good.

    /Qi Family: Sasi: Old man is wise.

    Nix set the cities defenses to active and established an energy link between Inferno and Icaraphet.

    "I'll take that."

    Nix froze in place for a moment and then turned around slowly. A Fir'Dhassi man wearing black leather armor stood at the back of the chamber. "You must be Siebel."

    "Indeed.  Are you looking for this?"  Siebel held out a large wicker basket with a small blanket draped over the top of it.

    "Is that the Aquarion baby you stole?"  Nix's thermal vision picked up the heat of an infant.

    "I like new things. If your friends come down here, I will kill this baby." Siebel smiled slightly, his fangs protruding over pale bloodless lips.

    Siebel's laughter filled the room. His light brown hair was worn in a short topknot. He moved like a swordsman, his cold eyes seemed devoid of any human frailties.

    Nix stepped away from the console but did not remove the spectrum pellet.  "My friends won't bother us."

    Siebel's grin was filled with malice. "You want to fight me?  Like you did Khione?"

    Nix shrugged slightly. "The thought crossed my mind."

    "She told me all about you.  All about the fight you had." Siebel's dark eyes moved toward the entrance, he looked directly at the approaching Water Witch, but she flowed gently past him without his notice.

    Nix kept his focus on the Sun Devil, aware that any glance at Ducky might give her away.  "Who told you?  Khione?"

    Siebel nodded, the triumph visible in his eyes.  "She said there was a city here and that sooner or later you would come for it. You are predictable."

    "I agree.  There are times when I am very predictable." Nix reached into the interface, a moment later he held the tiny ball in his hands for Siebel to see.

    "She actually told me about both fights... her memory about that day is hazy to her.  It's causing her doubts."

    "I don't care. Put the baby down and I will give you the spectrum."  Nix rolled the pellet in his fingers, his yellow eyes boring into the Sun Devil.

    Siebel continued as if he didn't hear. "In the first fight, she was defeated.  However, somehow she ended up winning."  The Dhassi laughed loudly, the sound echoing in the chamber.

    "She's obviously crazy.  Do you even know how to use this?"

    Siebel shook his head. "Our deal was that I'd bring it to her.  I only know that it will increase her strength manyfold.  Can you imagine that?  Something that increases the power of a goddess."

    Nix frowned at words. "Now you want it for yourself?"

    "Of course.  If someone like you can defeat her..."  Siebel paused for effect, "then what could  Sun Devil enhanced by spectrum accomplish?"

    "Nothing.  It doesn't work like that." Nix advanced a few steps and then stopped.

    "I would rule everything.  First Oasis, then I'll go back to that rathole that humans crawled out of and raze it to the ground."  Siebel held out the arm holding the basket.  "What would you give me for this baby?"

    "Anything," Nix admitted.

    Siebel's expression was unreadable.  "The Spectrum?"

    "Yep."  Nix held up the spectrum and placed it on the flat console next to the interface.  "Put the child down and we'll exchange places."

    "You think you're fast enough to stop me from taking it?"  Siebel placed the basket on the water where it floated gently.

    The two men watched each other, both taking teasingly slow steps toward their objectives.

    Siebel put on a sudden burst of speed and snatched up the pellet from the console.  "MINE!  THE POWER IS MINE!"
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