SIM:Hadrian: The Last Warlord

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((USS Phoenix-C Corridor))

The howl distracted Dave long enough to tract his basic principles back when he was simply a new Ensign in tactical, twisting around to meet the face of darkness descending with flashing streaks of silver and the haylon of red-white distortion indicative of the trasporter system activating. David didn't hesitate, moving as he once did back at his entrance examinations reflecting on the somewhat dare-devilish aspect of the decision. ::

He seized the Ixvapyan falling from the ceiling and twisted them as the familiar tickling of the transporter system took the shocked reaction of the Ixvapyan in his hands and him as well. David’s only fear was an Ixvapyan invasion of the Independence, which would be unprepared for a small contingent of what appeared to be some kind of tribal warrior race.

((Odyssey Station))

The transporter took them out for David to hit the floor rolling, losing the phaser but reaching into his boot to trigger the compartment release. His knife was in hand by the time he rolled up and sprung on his feet. Whirling, he turned into the waiting presence of a towering black humanoid decorated with some kind of tattoos that emitted a faint glow.

Minus his phaser, armed only with a knife, David wiped a brow facing down the coal black eyes of what he began to believe was the Warlord, armed with two wicked-looking knives that were short sword-like half-moon blades. Hadrian circled Cody while the rest of the Ixvapyans who beamed from the Phoenix retreated.

David's sharp, eagle blues drew to the retreating Ixvapyans, apparently removing themselves as he refocused his attention on the one circling him like a hungry wolf. There was something tantalizingly primitive about this, as if somehow they had been transported into a hazy, humid jungle where an overhead blue and white sun was shielded by a canopy of thick trees that chirped and rumbled the sounds of wildlife.

He understood this time he stood alone. David changed his blade style, readying his blade by holding the edge backwards like it was an extension of his wrist.

Cody: I don't want to do this.

Hadrian: It is an honor to my ways, Starfleet. To die by the hand of Warlord is spoken in legend.

They assessed the mood of their observant eyes. Hadrian made the first move, a liquid form streak David barely managed to remember his martial forms, twisting to the side as their blades met to clash showers of orange flame. Spinning to meet the Ixvapyan's thrust, David backed a step, readying himself again.

Hadrian paused to examine his blade, curling a cruel smile and. . a nod?

Hadrian: You study the dance, no?

Cody: ::unwilling to show his shortness of breath:: Like I said, I don't want to do this. We can resolve this peacefully!

Hadrian screamed a sound to make David's hair stand on end as he grimaced, slashing up and across as the blackness descended. Sparks ignited fire as the blacks of Hadrian's eyes met his and danced the shadows of something even more primitive than Daniel Wood's response units. As much as David tried to make his former security officer understand, nothing ever prepared one for hand-to-hand combat, not as an art form. ::

Sun Tzu wrote once in ancient Earth history the only effective tactic against a learned solider was measured not by his strength, but by his creative interpretation of what was learned. David met the onslaught of the second blade as it tore through his forearm and screamed back, slashing a streak of green blood across the room to a howl.

Breathing hard, breathing fast, David paused long enough to examine his mutilated left arm now bleeding red. He snarled, surfacing to tower while Hadrian wiped green blood from his opposite left arm, grinning like some schoolboy who discovered ice cream for the first time.

Hadrian: You... you could be Ixvapyan.

Cody: You could be in Starfleet. Your point?

The Ixvapyan's laugh chilled him, like something out of a forgotten childhood nightmare when the darkness creeped on you and you knew, despite how illogical it was in life, that the monster lurked under the bed and if you left your arms and legs out, it “would” snatch you.

Hadrian: You are worthy... come Starfleet, dance!

With that Hadrian blurred the lines and crossed ahead of his scream. Retorting the distorted scream, Dave met the Ixvapyan halfway as they clashed once more. Chanting distracted David for a moment, glancing at the rest of the Ixvapyans who had sunk on their knees, a slow chant with a slow drumming of their hands against the floor.

It was then he felt his blood on his chin, and swore as he touched his chin and drew away a stinging pain with red coating his hand. David glanced up at Hadrian, getting ready for the next strike, and held up his bleeding hand.

Pausing, Hadrian lifted his chin.

The squelch of his combadge broke through, but the chanting and the drumming didn't stop.

Mar: =^= Mar to Cody. We're reading the Phoenix's self-destruct initiated. Can you turn it off? =^=

David held out his other hand and switched his blade, just tapping his badge.

Cody: =^= I'm afraid I'm in a really bad position at the moment, Captain.=^=

The drumming and chant continued. David wondered if Idril would pick it up and understand what his situation was during the moments Hadrian and David stood there in the middle of what looked like some kind of ten-times sized floor stretching into corridors of darkness with only blare flickers of the station's light. ::

Cody: =^= Commander, Mr. Ralik is itching to come over and help. Can you use him? =^=

He barely could even think about what she was telling him, let alone make a decision. He pleaded his eyes to Hadrian to give him a moment, which surprisingly, the Ixvapyan acknowledged by dropping into a crouch. He still let his cut over the arm flow green blood freely. Hadrian made no attempt to heal himself, which made David understand all too clearly what he was up against.

Cody: =^= Negative. If the Phoenix is set to destruct, I have no idea what the Ixvapyans might have done to her systems. Anything we do might trigger something else they've done. Get our people out of there. =^=

He didn't answer. It didn't matter suddenly, because even if they got the Independence crew off the Phoenix to let it go up in flames, the Ixvapyans were still a threat here on the station, with gods only knew what at their disposal. LtCmdr Rogers would have to deal with the solution of the Phoenix. Blinking, David knew what had to be done.

He peeled off the top of his uniform and ditched it. He didn't need to be encumbered with constricting movement. Shirtless, he nodded for Hadrian to stand, confronting each other. Stretching his arms, he beckoned his empty hand.

One of the Ixvapyans paused to withdraw their half-moon blade and crossed to slap it in David's arm. It retreated to resume the drumming and the chant. For a hazy moment, David felt he knew their song as a sharp smell of tree sap and moss penetrated his nostrils. Still extending his hands, he breathed, feeling the steam of the locomotive he had a rare opportunity to witness back at that planet the former Independence came to, right before the onset of the Gorn War.

Screaming, David hurled himself after Hadrian as the black-midnight Ixvapyan met the charge with one of his own. Twin lighting danced the floor as the two danced forms ancient as their cultures, meeting somewhere between the line of the future present and their cultural histories blending together as the chant intensified with the beating hands of deck drumming.

Several white flashes consumed the pair.


Hadrian howled as he met the tri-colored fur of the Grindalcat. One with the blade... one with life... one with the forest, the planet, the stars and universe. It tore into him with giant claws and ripped his chest two ways sideways while Hadrian threw the beast off and turned, snarling into and stopping to gape.

Where the Grindalcat would land stood a smaller man who was pink and had brown-red for hair. Sharp, hunter-like flying bird blue eyes screamed his purpose. He was assassin! Hadrian knew and bristled, roaring a challenege to this invader. They came. They always came! Why could not the races of Ithassa leave the Ixvapyans alone?!

Hadrian: :: leaping :: Die!

The pale-faced intruder had a smaller knife, one Hadrian used for skinning, and he also possessed one of the Ixvapyans' grooved, swirling scythemii daggers. He screamed his defiance as Hadrian struck, using every cunning borne of his training and Trial.

Fire ignited as the blades met, and Hadrian knew this one was some kind of Blade-Master. There had not been a Blade-Master on Skrizypai's training world in over five hunded Suns and Moons. THIS was a challenge he felt honoured by. Had the gods truly blessed Hadrian by sending a Blade-Master to test his ability?

Joyous with his sudden newfound friend and adversary, Hadrian roared a challange to the heavens as the sensation dawned on him. Neither he or the Blade-Master were supposed to be here. The knowledge crashed home as the image waivered on a planetary scale.

The lush, rich jungles of Skrizypai faded to a barren red landscape of burnt scorch marks. No more trees. No more life. No structures, or ships that watched from the heavens. A barren, scorched rock of howling, bitter and acid winds tore at him and singled his green blood oozing from a cut on his left arm. Hadrian remembered. The Blade-Master did that to him. He tore away from his cut and met the sight he found when he returned to the Ixvapyan homeworlds within Ithassa.

All of them, black scorch marks of nothing, no life. They came, the Confederacy of Core Worlds came, led by those nasty Incectoids, and decimated his family, his friends, everything he had ever loved and held to the Great Hunt the Ixvapyans lived by.

Uncharacteristically, Hadrian fell on his knees and screamed, thrusting his scythemii daggers to the heavens.


The pink-skinned Blade-Master turned, lowering his knifes as he took in the decimated landscape. A wave of profound sadness and understanding flooded the Blade-Master as he nodded to himself, as far as Hadrian could tell.

Blade-Master: This was your home. What did this?

Heaving, Hadrian stood as the burning tears tore his flesh open. The tears of the Ixvapyans were lethal, which was why they learned as Infants not to cry.

Hadrian: Other races... your races. Those you defend and welcome. They fear us. They hunt us. There are no more Ixvapyans. I am the last Warlord.

Hadrian could not decipher the expression on the Blade-Master's face, but he knew this man, he was sure it was male, understood their pain. All of their proud history, their culture, their people, wiped out in some manner of Suns and Moons before Hadrian returned from his Journey.

Blade-Master: End this confrontation. The Ixvapyans don't have to perish into Ithassa history. You can rebuild your culture. We can help find you a place where something like this will never happen again.

Hadrian: :: shaking his head :: You do not understand, Blade-Master. It will. We are a warrior race. We know war. It is what we are born to do. They condemn us for it, but they used us too. When they want to make war. The Insectoids use us to destroy their enemies, then turn and burn our worlds. The Ramdii, always hunting us for trophies. The Gungua, the PhaLassaex, the Ylentra... they all come to wipe out Ixvapyan. We do not know your peace.

A grim sadness took the Blade-Master, who pleaded with his so extraordinary blue color eyes at Hadrian.

Blade-Master: Please reconsider. You alone can end this. You are the last Warlord. I would not see you or your race perish. Change is possible. Join Starfleet and the Federation.

A snort of disbelief. Join? Hadrian did not know the meaning of such a word until reading the Starfleet records. He shook off the Blade-Master's words and studied the man before him. Yes, he was certain. This man, this Terran man, should have been Ixvapyan. ::

Ixvapyan: Tell me your name now, Blade-Master.

Blade-Master: :: sighing regret :: It's Cody. Commander David Cody.

Commander. Well, not as impressive as Warlord, but Hadrian made the connection. A good ranking officer on one of those Federation starships. He crossed his scythemii daggers and gave Commander Cody a short bow.

Hadrian: Come, Commander Cody. Let us dance our names into history.

One final scream sent Hadrian hurling at the man named David Cody, who did a curious thing then. He did not run forward. He did not fall back or twist and turn to the sides as Hadrian expected. This David Cody went into a crouch, as if somehow balling up to make himself smaller.

David Cody set himself up for a killing blow. Triumphant, Hadrian descended with a flash of grinning jagged teeth and roared victory, slamming his scythemii daggers down---

---as David suddenly reared up and punched his lone scythemii dagger and the small knife upward. A flash of understanding rippled through Hadrian's black eyes, hurling himself to his end. Abandoning his scythemii, instead Hadrian took David into a death roll as those knives ripped into Hadrian's innards. Pain tore through them as they rolled---

((Odyssey Station))

---to stop as David regarded Hadrian pinned on the floor. Tears streamed from his eyes as David balled his lips, unable to stop the needless killing. He suddenly seized Hadrian's body and lifted the Ixvapyan to him and screamed.


Awareness flooded Hadrian's milking eyes as he reasserted his glance. A cruel smile played on the Ixvapyan's cruel, black lips.

Hadrian: It is our way, Blade-Master.

Whiplashing, Hadrian slapped Cody hard and fast before he could react and clamped one black hand on David's cheek. His vision blew as David watched the sleek silvery ships of the Insectoids descend and screamed into oblivion as the genocide of the Ixvapyans and their history began.

Hadrian: :: hissing :: Remember, David Cody. Remember Ixvapyans.

War tore through jungles and met the screams of newborn babies. Liquid laser scorched the skies and shot down streaking ships struggling to escape planets. David watched, frozen and unable to sound, as scores of black skinned Ixvapyans fell to a screaming death into the land and oceans. He watched the space surrounding the seven systems rip apart under the onslaught of ships he both recognized and had never seen before.

Ithassa tore through Ixvapyan space and left nothing behind. Nothing left behind...

The chanting had stopped. David blinked into Hadrian's eyes. The Ixvapyan's hand still cupped his cheek. Removing it, David laid the Caed Ixvapyan to rest and closed the Warlord's eyes as he stood. The tears still burned his cheeks. He had never killed until now. Death was never a solution. Hadrian died locked to his fundamental beliefs of what his culture thrived on.

David turned to face the living Ixvapyans... who lay felled, dead on the floor. Instead, a single green beam of light for an eye met David in the form of Odyssey Station's robotic movers. A shimmering occurred as a holographic Greeter materialized, offering a forlorn sadness to the death littering the floor.

Greeter: You came and did what must be done. The Wayfarer's Code is restored.

Heaving, David let the dagger and knife fall as he hid his crying. Crying... he didn't remember the last time he had cried so hard. Falling on his knees, all he could do was let the torrent of emotion seize him and raze through, leaving spams until he was done. Looking up, the Greeter was done as was the robot. Searching around, David finally picked up the scythemii dagger again and stood.

After a moment, he crossed over to pick up one of Hadrian's. An Ixvapyan did not fight with just one scythemii dagger. An Ixvapyan always fought with two scythemii.

Retrieving his shirt, David activated his communicator.

Cody: =^= This is Cody to Independence. What's the status of the Phoenix?

Mar: =/\= Looks like the ship's under control. Self-destruct's turned off and it appears the away teams are in good order. Good work, Commanders.

Cody: Then tell Commander Rogers to get everything in order. It's time to go home.

Mar: =/\= Agreed. Secure the ship and meet me in my ready room in 15 minutes for a debriefing, Commander Cody.