Part 5: Panzer Dragoon Orta

Chapter 9: Showdown

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The battle rages on above the Imperial capital.

The battle rages on above the Imperial capital.

As Orta watched the destruction of the Bacharsuha, the Cradle finally burst free of the cables that had held it down, and the mammoth facility began to ascend into the clouds. Hordes of newly-awakened dragonmares swarmed out of its walls, monsters that had not been fitted with control units, and which the Empire thus had no power over. When these dragonmares opened fire on the unsuspecting Imperial ships around the Cradle, it became clear who was really in control: Abadd.

While Orta surveyed this new chaos, she was surprised to hear a friendly voice calling out to her. It was Mobo; it seemed that her friend had survived after all, and now he had finally caught up with her, bringing all the warriors of his clan with him. The Wormriders dived into the battle between the Empire and the dragonmares, giving Orta the chance she needed to go after the Cradle.

The dragon unleashes his lasers on the Cradle.

The dragon unleashes his lasers on the Cradle.

The upper part of the Cradle remains intact.

The upper part of the Cradle remains intact.

Reaching the Cradle proved to be no simple task however, as waves of dragonmares were still bursting free of its walls; although these undeveloped creatures were much weaker than the adult dragonmares that Orta had fought in the past, their sheer numbers threatened to overwhelm her dragon. Weaving between the bodies of the dragonmares and their fiery attacks, the dragon eventually got close enough to the cradle to mount its own assault: focusing its energies, it released a great salvo of lasers towards the floating structure. The Ancient walls of the Cradle began to crumble away, leaving only the upper part of the facility intact.

However, the strain of war had taken its toll on the dragon; by now the noble creature had exhausted much of its power, and it struggled even to stay aloft. Unfortunately, the battle was not yet ended; another group of dragonmares rose up around Orta and her dragon, their throats glowing with a terrible green light as they channelled their attack.

The Cradle absorbs the dragonmares.

The Cradle absorbs the dragonmares.

Orta’s fate seemed certain, but without warning, beams of light erupted from the Cradle’s core and wrapped around the dragonmares, then dragged them back into the furious energies of the facility’s heart. A moment later, the core itself crumbled to nothingness, revealing a strange, embryonic life form that floated amidst the dark clouds. Abadd’s voice emanated from within the mass of living tissue; he spoke with contempt of his premature awakening, of how he had found only a world of filth and destruction. In his eyes, the only way this world could be saved was for drones to rise up as its masters, inheriting the mantle of the dead Ancients who created them. To make that race of drones, Abadd still needed Orta, and the secret that resided within her. Now, a final battle between the two drones would decide the fate of the world.