Kitty ran up the spiral stairway to the top of the Spire. That's funny, he thought, I wonder if that's why they call it a spire.
He heard footsteps ahead and he froze, aiming his pistols. Tess appeared running down the stairs.
"Tess?" he asked.
"Is anyone following you?"
"I...don't think so."
Kitty holstered his pistols, "What are you doing down here? Did you get Zaul? Have you seen Anzok? Where are Auriel and Orville?"
"Um..." Tess began, trying to piece together his chain of questions, "Well, Auriel's still up there, holding Zaul. Orville is badly hurt, and we didn't have any Aether. Do you have any?"
"Yes," Kitty said.
Tess sighed, smiling, "Good. How's the battle going down there?"
Kitty knew that Anzok was still on the Spire somewhere, and he didn't much care to waste time. He motioned for them to start up the steps, and as they ran, Kitty filled her in, "We took care of all of the Autofficers down there. Ken and Raven are in pretty bad shape, but they'll make it. Anzok escaped, and his control gauntlet is running all of the Automatons, so we need to get him. Have you seen him?"
"No," Tess said.
They ran in silence for a few moments before Kitty spoke again.
"The Imperials down there had almost finished me, but then their fog armor died. Do you have any idea why that is?"
"Maybe. Zaul had a remote that was controlling the fog armor, and Auriel destroyed it."
"That must be it," Kitty said. They had reached the top of the stairway and turned into the interrogation room.
Auriel was lying motionless on the ground. Zaul and Masson stood over her. Kitty gritted his teeth, aiming his pistols at each of the Autofficers, "Don't move!"
"The girl!" Zaul shouted.
Masson pointed a sword at Auriel's neck, "Shoot, and she dies!"
Auriel moaned and turned her head.
Tess had run over to Orville and checked him. From her face, Kitty could tell that it wasn't good.
"The Aethermeter!" Tess shouted, "He needs it now!"
"It's in my left pocket," Kitty said.
Tess returned to him, took Raven's Aethermeter, and then came back to Orville's side.
Kitty took a few steps toward the Autofficers.
"That's far enough," Zaul warned, "Masson! Pick her up!"
Masson dragged the semi-conscious Auriel to her feet, keeping his sword at her neck. He pulled Auriel along with him, following Zaul towards the window.
Kitty's weapons were trained on them, "Where are you going?"
Zaul reached the window and jumped up to it. Now standing in the window, he turned around and smiled, "Goodbye, Kitty." Zaul took a step out the window and disappeared into the night. Masson threw Auriel to the ground and jumped out the window as well.
Kitty looked after them with horror, but then ran to Auriel's side. A few moments later, Tess was there too.
Kitty turned Auriel over gently, noting the nasty bruise on her forehead. She groaned and brought her hand to the injury.
"How's Orville?" Kitty asked.
"Stabilized," Tess replied, "We got to him just in time."
"Do you have any Aether left?" Kitty asked.
"Just a bit," Tess said, before healing Auriel.
Auriel revived and sat up, holding a hand to her head, "Ow...I think that's going to hurt in the morning," she muttered, looking up at Kitty and Tess. She smiled jokingly and gave a quick wave, "Hi."
Kitty smirked and ran to the window. Looking out, he saw a ledge after a three-foot drop. It ran off to the right, disappearing behind the outer wall of the Spire.
"Zaul's getting away," Kitty reported. Tess was helping Auriel up. "Are you okay?" he asked.
"I'm fine," she said, steadying herself.
"Good," Kitty nodded, "If he does have some kind of escape route, we have to stop him. We can't let Zaul get away with the fog armor blueprints."
"You don't have to worry about those," Tess said, "I torched 'em."
Kitty raised his eyebrows, "Good job."
"Thanks," Tess said happily, blushing.
Kitty remarked Masson's fog armor on the ground, and he counted on his hands. When he was done, he smiled, "I think that we've destroyed all of the fog armor. Without the blueprints, Zaul shouldn't be able to make any more of it."
Auriel took a deep, happy breath, "Thank the Engineer." Tess smiled.
"But we aren't done yet," Kitty said, "We still have to find Anzok, defeat him, and get his control gauntlet, to save Nate and the other Resistors.
"Right," Auriel said, her face darkening, "I saw where Anzok went. There was a secret passageway in the next room over, on the far wall."
"Great," Kitty said, "Let's go."
"But what about Zaul?" Tess asked, "We can't let him escape."
Kitty frowned, "True...I know I can defeat Anzok. Do you think you two can defeat Zaul and Masson?"
Auriel frowned, "Zaul doesn't matter. We need to rescue our friends, by getting that control gauntlet. Sure, Zaul would get away again, but is finally capturing him as important as saving a baseful of Resistors?"
Kitty and Tess now frowned, "That's a good point," Kitty agreed, "We'll have to let them escape. We need to focus on Anzok."
"Okay then," Auriel said, "Follow me."
"Masson took my sword," Tess remarked, "And I'm not sure how much my flamethrower will help."
Kitty hesitated a moment, noticing something on the ground, "There's that," he pointed, "Masson's quarterstaff. He didn't take it when he left."
Tess shook her head, "I'm not trained with those."
Kitty frowned, "Well...I'm not too bad with the quarterstaff. You can have my sword," he passed his weapon to Tess, sheathing the long knife. He then kicked his shoe under the quarterstaff and launched it up to his open hands. He quickly twirled it around a few times, enough to kick up a small breeze.
Auriel and Tess were impressed. "'Not too bad'?" Auriel asked.
"Not bad at all," Tess agreed.
Auriel ran out the door, Kitty and Tess following behind. Kitty leaned down to Orville to check if his friend was okay.
Orville blinked his eyes, "Hey...Kitty?"
Orville smiled up at him and said, "I blew up," in the most innocent voice.
Kitty smiled, rolled his eyes, and ran after Auriel, leaving Orville alone in the interrogation room, chuckling.
The three allies made their way to the back of the other room, where they slipped into the secret passageway. The light was dim, and they could barely see a spiral stairway ahead of them, with room enough for one person at a time. They ascended, entombed by stone walls on every side. A short walk later, the dimness began to lessen and they emerged into a large chamber. It was a circular room 10 meters high and half that distance in diameter, lit with a few lonely lamps. Another spiral staircase the same size as the last one began at the opposite side of the room, spiraling around the outer wall a few times before disappearing behind the ceiling. There was no barrier between the staircase and the open center of the room. A few items were scattered around on the floor--mostly crates, tables, and research equipment. The room was probably both a laboratory and a hideout in case of emergencies. And in the very center of the room stood Anzok. He had just put on his control gauntlet and was now pickup up his hammer off a metal table. He now appeared to be wearing some kind of massive armor suit. He was tall before, but the armor made him surpass the two-meter mark. The armor flashed and activated, glowing a powerful green.
Fog armor, the last one in existance.
Anzok saw Kitty, and gave him a sickening smile.
Kitty stepped forward, holding his quarterstaff defensively. Tess was to his left, holding her sword. Auriel was to his right, igniting her own blade.
"We meet yet again, Kitty Ironcraft," Anzok spat, voice darker than usual, "But this will be the last time."
Auriel leaned over and whispered, "I heard him swear vengeance against you. He's after you. Be careful."
Kitty nodded, returning his eyes to the Imperial. He frowned, "Where did you get that armor? And how is it still working? We destroyed the control remote."
"Where do you think I got it?" Anzok barked, "Zaul made it. I asked him for one designed to my specifications." The armor was monsterous and imposing, almost looking more like an automaton chassis than a suit of armor, "As for your second question, Zaul designed my armor to be independent of any such controls. That is just one of its special features." He looked at Kitty, an evil green in his eyes, "Oh. I suppose you'll be wanting to get this," he held up the control gauntlet and eyed it, "Come and try...and perish!"
"Remember the armor's weak point," Tess reminded them.
Anzok ran at them yelling, the fog armor fueling his rage. Kitty charged as well, his friends at his side. Anzok jumped and smashed his hammer down. Kitty flipped backward, avoiding the attack. Anzok swung his hammer to the left at Auriel, which she blocked. The strength of the blow was so overpowering, it knocked her backwards with explosive force into the stone wall. Tess was directly behind Anzok, bringing back her sword to stab at the weak point. Anzok swung his hammer overhead with the speed of lightning, smashing down at her. She was only barely able to dodge. Kitty charged in, jumping and striking Anzok in the side of the face with the staff. The Autofficer growled and his armor burned with a dark light. Kitty contined striking and kicking, forcing Anzok back. Anzok was now more than a head taller than Kitty, but he was still fast--courtesy of years of training and fog tech. Anzok caught the quarterstaff and rammed his forehead into Kitty, knocking him away. Tess attacked from behind, but Anzok spun and deflected the sword with his arm. He punched hard with his left hand, sending Tess down hard. Auriel had recovered and was behind him, attacking. He turned on her and brought down furious strokes upon her. Auriel avoided these and raised her blade to block. Anzok swung a massive blow, and Auriel deactivated her sword. Anzok's hammer cleaved empty air. Auriel smiled, reactivated her weapon, and sliced Anzok's chest plate. The damage was superficial.
She had been doing this as a distraction, for Kitty was approaching Anzok from his flank. He jumped and rammed the quarterstaff into the weak point with great force. Anzok staggered forward a bit, but otherwise nothing happened.
Anzok turned on him, growling, "My armor's reinforced, fool!"
Auriel moved to attack. Anticipating this, Anzok kicked backwards, blowing Auriel into the wall again. Anzok came fell upon Kitty, striking blow after mad blow with his hammer. Kitty was barely able to make a hasty retreat, but Anzok kept on top of him. The hammer fell again and again, and Kitty couldn't dodge fast enough. He raised the quarterstaff to block and the hammer smashed into it, sending Kitty sailing into a table and knocking it over. He groaned and looked at his quarterstaff--broken in half! Anzok advanced towards him, sneering. He raised his hammer to smash down. Kitty rolled backwards, dodging to his feet and holding one half of the quarterstaff in each hand. Tess and Auriel ran in behind. Anzok looked back and growled; he was surrounded. His armor shimmered and he jumped. Upgraded leg servos sent him rocketing some distance above the ground. He flipped foreward once and fell, slamming his hammer into the stone. The floor cracked from the force, and a shockwave knocked all of his foes down. Before they could get up, Anzok leapt to the stairway and began running up it.
Kitty was the first one up, "After him!"
Auriel helped Tess up, and soon the three of them were on Anzok's tail. Kitty threw down the broken pieces of the quarterstaff and drew his pistols, firing at Anzok across the expanse of the room. He missed, and the massive Autofficer reached the visible top of the staircase and disappeared behind the ceiling. Kitty continued running, along with those with him, because they needed to defeat Anzok--no matter how powerful he now was.
They finally reached where Anzok had disappeared, and they found that the staircase continued into the dark. Why not make it open? Kitty wondered. There must be a room here at the top of the Spire.
But they found no room. The stairway ended and they saw the starry night sky. They were now at the very top of the Spire--a circular platform five meters across. It was completely uniform throughout except for the hole from which they had come. Looking over the edge, one would be able to see the open-air middle level of the Spire a long way below. Anzok again stood in the center, breathing hard and snarling at them.
Kitty aimed his pistols, "Surrender the gauntlet!"
Through Anzok's hatred, a smile appeared. He ran at them.
After escaping through the window, Zaul and Masson had skirted the ledges around to the opposite side of the Spire, where there was a metal ladder built into the wall, surrounded by a metal framework meant to prevent climbers from falling off backwards. The ladder ran upwards two dozen meters, nearly to the top of the Spire.
It was a difficult climb. Zaul was in front and Masson followed. They were nearly to the top when they heard gunfire.
"What was that!?" Masson asked.
Zaul looked up and saw Kitty and two other Resistors standing at the top of the Ebony Spire. Kitty was firing at someone, and the other two were charging out of Zaul's view. There was only one person they could reasonably be fighting: Anzok. I hope he was able to get into his fog armor in time, Zaul thought.
He looked down, "Keep moving!"
A worry possessed Zaul's mind. Anzok now held the one control gauntlet that was running the automatons. If Kitty got control of that, then the battle in the lower levels would be lost. Anzok also had the only remaining fog armor suit. If that didn't survive, Zaul didn't know how he would be able to recreate the armor. It was imperative that Anzok not lose either. Zaul knew Anzok was a powerful warrior, but could he defeat three Resistors? Zaul didn't know, and for that reason, he needed to hurry. He and Masson needed to engage the escape plan to make sure that the control gauntlet and the fog armor remained out of the Resistance's hands.
They reached the top of the ladder and entered into a small room at nearly the top of the Spire. Anzok now fights for his life just above this ceiling.
Masson gazed in confusion at the large machine piled in the center of this dark room.
"Help me get this working," Zaul ordered.
Masson nodded and smiled.
Anzok was charging and Kitty fired a few rounds from each pistol into Anzok's chest armor. The Autofficer staggered backwards. Auriel and Tess charged, baring their swords and aiming to surround their foe. Anzok roared, and in the blink of an eye spun once around and slammed his hammer down. The blast it created threw both Resistors back with great force and knocked Kitty off balance. When he regained his footing, he saw that both Auriel and Tess had lost their weapons and rolled off the edge of the Spire. Fortunately, both reacted quickly and found a grip on the stone.
Kitty turned to help them up.
Auriel shouted, "Watch out!"
Anzok was running at them again. Kitty emptied both pistol clips into the Autofficer, but they only seemed to deflect off the armor. Anzok merely raised his arm to protect his face and kept moving. Kitty threw the pistols to the ground. With his left hand, he drew his long knife and with his right hand, he reached for Tess's dropped sword. Dual-weilding, he charged. Anzok raised his hammer high and slammed it down; Kitty flipped backwards and then jumped on the hammer. He sliced diagonally upward. To protect his head, Anzok to let go of the hammer and dodged backwards. Kitty continued his advance, never ceasing the assualt of blades.
Auriel hung onto the edge, every pain from the past few days screaming to life. She looked to her right at Tess, "Are you all right?"
Tess was bleeding from her forehead, but she looked over at Auriel and nodded weakly.
"Good!" Auriel tried pulling herself up. It took tremendous effort to even get her chin above the level of the stone, "Let's get up and help Kitty!"
Anzok was able to block most of the strikes with his armored gauntlets. Kitty changed his tactics and jumped, spinning over Anzok and angling his weapons to slice at his opponent's back. The blades arced closer to the weak point, and then Anzok knocked him out of the air with a heavy metal arm. Kitty tumbled to the ground and rolled a few paces, at the opposite side of the platform from Auriel and Tess.
Anzok smiled at him sadistically and then looked back at his friends, hanging for their lives at the edge, "Do you know what, Kitty?" his darkened voice taunted, "I'm not going to kill you. That wouldn't be nearly as satisfying. First, you will watch your friends plummet to their doom, and then you shall be slain!"
Anzok turned and ran for his hammer. Kitty jumped to his feet, stretched his left arm back, and threw his long knife at Anzok. It twirled end over end as it moved toward its target--the weak point. Closer. Closer! Anzok swatted it away and the weapon embedded itself in the stone ground as the Autofficer kept moving. Kitty was already running with his other sword poised to attack. He jumped and slashed downward. Anzok caught the blade with his left gauntlet. He twisted his hand, wrenching the blade out of Kitty's hand. Anzok threw the blade behind him and threw his right fist in Kitty's face. The blow was immense and terrible. A second blow came from Anzok's left hand; hit Kitty in the gut and doubled him over. Reaching down with his right hand, Anzok picked Kitty up by the neck and held him a foot above the ground, choking him. He slammed the boy onto the ground.
Kitty groaned and coughed, fighting the blackness at the edges of his vision. Anzok laughed and turned away. He took a few steps to his hammer, retrieved it, and walked to the edge of the Spire. Auriel had pulled her elbows up and was working to get the rest of her body. She froze when she saw the massive form.
"Which of you should go first?" Anzok asked. His eyes went from the exhausted Tess to the defiant Auriel, "How about you?"
It took everything Kitty had to drag himself closer to Anzok.
The Imperial raised his hammer above Auriel, "Any last words, Kitty?"
Kitty saw Auriel looking at him. He grunted and pushed himself to his feet. He shouted as he jumped on Anzok's back. He held on with his legs and used his arms to hold back the hammer hand. Anzok struggled against the extra weight and force, and his armor whirred. Kitty pulled, and Anzok had to backpetal to avoid toppling over. Kitty dodged the Imperial's left arm as he continued to pull Anzok away from his friends. Anzok's hand found him, grabbed his shirt, and threw him hard into the stone. Kitty groaned in pain.
Auriel watched in dismay as Anzok smashed Kitty into the ground. She grunted, trying to fight gravity, but it was difficult to find handholds in the cobblestone. She slipped for a moment before catching herself and then fought harder. No! I need to get to Kitty! Anzok was dragging her friend toward the edge a few meters to her left.
Kitty saw stars, those real and those that danced before his eyes, as Anzok pulled him over stone. He was thrown, and when his head didn't hit the rough ground, he realized he was partway over the edge. He sat up to meet another gauntlet to the face. He collapsed to his back again, not possessing the strength to move. Anzok raised his left foot and let it fall onto Kitty's chest. The crushing blow knocked the air out of him, as well as a long, pain-filled groan.
Anzok raised his hammer, "I had wanted to get the others first, but perhaps knowing that your friends will be crushed at your death will be just as crushing to you."
Kitty frowned, trying to focus on Anzok.
"Such is the foolishness of friendship," the Autofficer growled, "If you allow yourself to connect with others, they can drag you down with them when you fall. Friendship? Love? They will destroy you."
"You're...wrong..." Kitty moaned, "Love...love will hold us up...keep us from falling...the Great Engineer loves all of Aethasia!"
"I've already said that I'm not going to listen to any more of your spouting," Anzok said, glancing at the two Resistors to make sure they wouldn't interrupt, "Your life ends now, Ironcraft."
The hammer raised.
Kitty struggled against the weight on his chest, but in vain. "What about...what you said? About...winning...fighting fairly? No fog in my system...no fog in in yours?"
Anzok laughed, fog armor shimmering in the dark sky, "If I have learned anything tonight, it is that honor is meaningless. You may think I'm cheating," he smiled, "Well, whatever it takes to win," he held the hammer with both hands, "And who's going to stop me!?"
A gunshot echoed through the night; the hammer flew from Anzok's grasp, landing behind him. The surprised Autofficer looked around for the source, but a second shot blasted into his chest, knocking him down as well.
Kitty struggled to see who had fired the shot. It wasn't Auriel--the shot had come from behind Kitty. He looked behind him. At first he saw nothing, only the night air. But far down below on the base's outer wall, a scarlet figure stood, staring up at him, a pistol in each hand. Watching.
Kitty felt the power of the Great Engineer within him, and he knew that the same power was protecting him. He had the hope to endure.
He reached for his Aethermeter and found that it was full. No power was stronger than the light.
He healed himself, and the Aether swirled around him and through him and into him, powerful like a storm, but soft like a breeze. He stared ahead, confident in his hope that no power of darkness would ever have victory. The Great Engineer had already won.
He returned to the present.
"Kitty!" Auriel shouted.
He turned his eyes toward her and saw that she was up and throwing him his sword. He held out his hand and caught it, and then ran at Anzok.
The Autofficer had only just struggled to his feet, and he now had to meet Kitty's blade. It only glanced off his armor. Anzok sneered and threw another heavy punch. Kitty raised his arm and absorbed most of the blow, although he still was knocked backwards. He rolled with the momentum, arriving at his knees.
What happened? he wondered for a split second, Isn't the Great Engineer with me?
He erased the hopeless thought from my mind. He is with me. I believe.
Kitty looked to the side and saw the Scarlet Man's knife in the stone next to him. He smiled and pulled the blade from its resting place as he rose.
Anzok picked up his hammer and was running at him. He ran as well. Anzok swung twice, first horizontally and then down. Kitty dodged both by flipping sideways, as though turning a cartweel without touching the ground. When he landed, he leapt at his foe, spinning around and slashing several times in the air.
Thank the Great Engineer for giving me such power and ability. May he be honored because he is always with me.
Auriel watched Kitty grab her thrown sword, and then watched him as he fought Anzok.
She suddenly remembered that her other friend had not yet climbed up onto the surface.
Auriel spun, "Tess! Let me help you up."
Tess hadn't moved, "I...can't," she said, "I..." she was slipping.
"Tess!" Auriel grabbed Tess's hand before she fell. The other girl was barely conscious after that blow to the head.
Auriel fought to keep them both from falling to their demise, but the weight was bearing down on her. Auriel was slipping toward the edge.
"Tess, you have to stay fighting! Grab onto the edge! Help me pull you up!"
No reply came.
Somewhere, Tess must have found the strength to go on, because her free hand reached up and grabbed the edge again. Four hands were working to pull Tess away from the precipice.
Kitty sliced, spun and kicked, moving faster than Anzok was able to parry. He jumped and slashed down, spun, cut, drew back his blades and stabbed them into Anzok's armor. The Scarlet Man's knife penetrated, warranting a cry of pain from the Autofficer. Kitty remembered what he was fighting for--the control gauntlet! He left the knife in the armor and dropped the other sword, freeing both of his hands to pull off the gauntlet. Anzok fought back, and the struggled for a few moments before Kitty threw a left uppercut into Anzok's jaw. That slowed the Autofficer down a bit, which afforded Kitty the time to pull, pull! He freed the gauntlet from Anzok's hand! With a hate-filled roar, Anzok swung his hammer. Kitty jumped and kicked against the hammer, which launched him backwards and caused him to drop the gauntlet. Kitty crashed to his back.
Anzok glared at the gauntlet which was halfway between them, "I'd rather the gauntlet be destroyed than allow you to have it!" He ran for it.
"No!" Kitty jumped to his feet and ran for it as well. It was the only thing that could save the Resistors on the lower level.
They both ran at equal speed toward the gauntlet. Anzok jumped high into the air and began a hammer slam. Kitty leapt for the gauntlet. He reached for it and grabbed it, and directly above him was Anzok's hammer falling rapidly. Kitty rolled, moving fast enough to avoid the blunt weapon. The hammer struck the ground, sending out a wave of kinetic force that blew Kitty toward the edge of the Spire, and blowing the gauntlet away from his grasp. He reached for it. He landed on the edge of the Spire, grabbing the gauntlet and holding it above empty air. He pulled it onto his left hand and entered the control code he knew from his time as an Autofficer. He finished, and every automaton in the Spire suddenly shut down. He smiled up at Anzok, who was walking towards him.
Anzok growled, filled with rage, "Fool! You have left yourself defenseless!" He ran, holding his hammer high, and he smashed downward toward Kitty. A pair of plasma bolts zapped by, one hitting the hammer and knocking it off course. It fractionally missed Kitty. Anzok recovered quickly and turned. He saw Auriel running towards him, dropping her pistols and igniting her sword. Tess was lying motionless on the ground behind her.
Anzok moved to engage the newcomer. Auriel swung her blade and Anzok blocked with his hammer. He spun and backhanded Auriel. She fell.
Kitty was up and running for his sword. With the automatons down, the only thing left to do was destroy the last of the fog armor. He rearmed himself and ran, jumped and slashed at Anzok, ducked under the counterattack, retrieved his knife from Anzok's armor, and slashed upward again at his massive opponent. He retreated, pushed forward again, deflected the hammer into the ground, caught Anzok's left hand with his blades and threw it to the side. Another swing from the hammer, Kitty ducked and spun under it. Another fist, Kitty grabbed it and twisted, spinning Anzok around. He kicked Anzok away, ran, jumped, and plunged both of his swords into the weak point. He jumped off of Anzok and landed in front of him. Electricity spurted from the wound in the armor for a handful of tense seconds, and Anzok looked back.
The Autofficer released a short laugh, "It seems like you dented my armor. You were almost good enough. Care to try again?" he smiled wickedly, hefting his hammer.
Kitty's face was set as he held his swords in a ready positon. Anzok brought back his hammer. They stood at the center of the Spire.
Suddenly, the floor split between them and began sliding backwards, moving the combatants away from each other. From the gap that opened up between them, a small metal-reinforced hot air balloon issued forth, powered by fog and aided by a quartet of propellers. Zaul was on board, ordering Masson to pilot the ship closer to Anzok. Zaul then aimed a gatling gun at Kitty and fired. Kitty ran to the side, dodging the fog-powered bullets. The the secret doorway at the top of the Spire had finished opening, and half of the platform was now a circular hole. Kitty and Anzok were now on opposite sides of the platform.
"Get on!" Zaul shouted to Anzok, and Masson threw a rope ladder overboard.
"What are you talking about!?" Anzok retorted, fog armor still growing sinisterly, "I almost have him!"
"Your armor is more important than your revenge!" Zaul shot back, "If you lose that armor, then I won't be able to recreate it!"
Kitty broke into a run, dodging another barrage of fire from Zaul.
"I am tired of taking orders from you!" Anzok growled and he began running for Kitty.
"If you do not board this airship right now," Zaul said, "Then I will consider you an enemy of the Empire and shoot you down!"
Anzok watched Kitty run closer and then duck to the side as another line of gatling fire rained down on him. Anzok shook his head and roared, armor pulsing along with him. The airship was now some distance above and to the side of the Spire.
"Come now!" Zaul ordered, "Jump!"
Anzok shook his head and began walking toward the airship, increasing speed to build momentum for the jump.
But Kitty was faster. He ran and caught up with Anzok just as Anzok jumped off the edge of the Spire. Kitty jumped after him, spun in the air and sliced, cutting a deep gouge in the fog armor. It burned and sparked, causing Anzok to scream as he flailed through the air. He grabbed onto the bottom of the ladder with one hand as his fog armor overloaded.
"NOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!" Zaul roared, and he fired the gatling gun directly at Kitty.
Kitty was off balance from his jump, and he knew it was impossible to dodge in time. Still, his mission was complete, and that gave him joy. The Resistors were safe, and the fog armor was no more. He was sure that the Scarlet Man was proud of him. He felt peace as the first bullets approached. Something hit him from the side, knocking him hard to the ground. Auriel! Zaul roared again and turned the gatling gun. Auriel aimed her pistol and fired. The plasma bolt burned into the center of the gatling gun, destroying it. Zaul continued yelling, trying to get the weapon to work.
"It's destroyed, sir!" Masson shouted.
"I KNOW THAT!" Zaul replied angrily, smashing the weapon with his fist, "Get us out of here!"
The airship hovered away into the night, Anzok climbing the rope ladder as all three Imperials disappeared into the distance.
The Battle of the Ebony Spire was over. The Resistance had won.