Chapter 1 - The Scientist

Another morning sun rose over Forsaken Valley. One of the most dangerous places in the world, thanks to the invasion. It only gets worse the more you go inland. And yet, despite all of the constant battles, this morning seemed somehow peaceful. Nothing disturbed the silence. And now, this prehistoric, monster-infested jungle looked beautiful. Especially if you were looking at it from the giant airship, high in the sky (courtesy of Mandark Industries). This was the final peaceful morning the people on the ship would get.

Shala heard dull knocking. He tried to ignore it and go back to sleep, but he knew that the knocking wouldn't stop and he wouldn't be able to fall back asleep anymore, so he opened his eyes. Samurai Jack was standing in his doorway, knocking with the hilt of his sword on the wall to wake Shala up. "Oh, Jack, it's you. Why'd you wake me up so early?"

"It is already noon. You have had more than enough sleep. A mission awaits you."

Jack looked around Shala's room. Besides the bed, there was a small table with a laptop and a couple of disassembled weapons on it. Weapon and computer parts were all around the room - on the chairs, on the table and on the floor. There were several empty soda cans on the floor as well, and chocolate wrappings too - near the laptop, sticking out of the pockets of clothes, a couple even in Shala's bed. The clothes were also thrown around the room untidily, even though Shala had a wardrobe. Jack looked at a book on the chair next to the bed.

It had a cracked green clock on the cover and the title - "Future's End". Jack turned to Shala.

"Demongo has a mission for you. I do not trust him. Complete his mission then inform me of his activities. Understood?"

"Yeah, yeah, I get it. Why me though? Couldn't you have woken anybody else up?" - answered Shala and yawned.

"No, Demongo specifically wanted you. You must leave immediately, you have wasted enough time. And when you get back, clean up your room. This is no place for a warrior to live in." - said Jack and left.

Shala pressed a button next to the door and it closed automatically. Then he got up, put on his favorite jacket and looked for a pair of pants among the mess. After he was ready, he got out of the room.
He was in a dark hallway inside the airship. This was the living quarters - several people who took residence on the ship stayed here. He went into the room at the end of the hallway - the communal bathroom. He washed his face and looked up in the mirror. The face of a black haired 17 year old guy stared back at him. He thought "I'll brush my teeth later, when I get back" and went outside.

The S.C.A.M.P.E.R.s had arrived hours ago and brought people from the mainland with them. Lots of them were on top of the airship, some talking to each other, some trading items. Shala moved away from the mass towards the vending machines which distributed food and snacks. After breakfast, he couldn't think of an excuse to stay on the ship any longer, so he started getting ready for his mission. He rented a Dexlabs hovercar because he wanted to get the whole thing over with soon, then he checked the message Demongo sent him over the NanoCom - "Meet me at Huntor's Crest". Thinking he should go before Samurai Jack notices he's still here, Shala went to the edge of the spaceship and jumped off.

Mid-air, he summoned the hovercar and instead of crashing to the ground, the car hovered several inches above it and headed north at full speed. Shala put the autopilot on and relaxed in his seat. He looked through his NanoCom while the hovercar drove through Forsaken Valley, Dinosaur Pass, the Fireswamps.

At the Firepits the car turned west. Shala crossed into Huntor's Crest. He was still looking through his items and Nanos, and didn't even look at the road. Something rammed the car. Shala fell out of it, rolled on the ground and hit a tree.

"AAAH!" - he shouted as he tried to get up. he saw a huge Wooly Behemoth, the hovercar was still stuck on its tusks. The Behemoth lifted the car up, tried to shake its head and remove the car with one of its feet, but before it managed to do that, Shala ran up to it, jumped on the car and then on its head and shot its neck with his Chill Caster. The head came off and fell on the ground, with the car still on its tusks. Shala was still standing on it so he fell down next to the wreckage.

"Come on, this car was a rental! You know how much I've gotta work now to pay this off for Dexlabs? Man, this sucks."

The remains of the Wooly Behemoth turned into Fusion Matter and Shala absorbed it through his NanoCom device. Then he continued west, on foot. In half an hour, he reached the camp at Huntor's Crest.
After the SACT agents, who were functioning as the area's guards, let him through the barricades, Shala went to find Demongo. "What took you so long? I demanded your presence hours ago!" - asked the demon in his high-pitched voice.
"It doesn't matter, do you want the mission done or no?" - answered Shala.
"You will not speak to me that way, mortal. You mu-"
"Listen, the sooner you tell me what I need to do, the sooner it'll happen, so you wanna tell me, or do we stand around here talking all day?"
Demongo squinted his eyes. There was a moment of silence. "You must go to the coordinates I'm about to send you. There, you will find Fusion Mandark's lair. He has stolen some dangerous technology he should not be allowed to use."

"So what is it?" - asked Shala.

"You wouldn't be able to understand it if I told you."

"Try me."

Demongo squinted his eyes again. "An overrider cortex."

Shala had never even heard of overrider cortexes, but he said "Alright, I'll get your cortex.
No problem." and took off. He heard Demongo's laughter behind him. "It looks like a shining ball of energy" - he heard Demongo say. "Guess he didn't believe me when I told him I knew what it was. Eh, whatever" - Shala thought.

He went to the vehicle vendor, because he didn't want to walk all the way to the other side of Huntor's Crest, but the wrecking of the hovercar already put a considerable dent in his finances. He didn't want to wreck two cars in one day so he settled to rent a hoverboard instead. It was considerably slower, but at least it was cheap. Shala took off north-east, towards the coordinates Demongo sent him. He could fly in the air over the treetops, which would make the journey faster, but he would undoubtably get spotted by Fusionflies and Shala didn't want to get into any unnecessary battles, just get the mission done as soon as possible. So he took the slower path, maneuvering around the trees.

This time, he was paying attention to his surroundings. Huntor's Crest was a lot darker than Forsaken Valley. Shala thought it was because of high concetration of Fusion Matter in the atmosphere above the area, which absorbed the sunlight, but he wasn't entirely sure. There were lots of trees, and some of them were mutated by Fusion Matter. Especially the ones near Terrafusers. The wildlife around here was very dangerous, besides the Wooly Behemoth that Shala already met, there were also swarms of Fusionflies flying around and Skull Bashers roaming the area. Shala saw another Wooly Behemoth in the distance, but passed it without the monster noticing.

Finally, Shala arrived to the east border of Huntor's Crest. To the east, there was only the mountainy side of the island. Not a lot of people went up there, so Shala supposed it would be the perfect place for a Fusion to hide a lair there.

Soon, Shala found a cave. He was finally where he needed to be. Soon, he'd be back on the Mandark Industries airship in Forsaken Valley, free of all trouble. He entered the cave.

There was no light source, so Shala pressed a button on his NanoCom and a flashlight in it lit up. "Strange. For a fusion lair, the level of infection is unusually low." He went deeper into the cave. Suddenly, he came across a metal door.

It had a keypad next to it, so Shala assumed it was locked. He shone the light on it and looked at the numbers. Several numbers - 2, 0, 9 and 7 looked worn out, so Shala knew these numbers made up the password. "Alright, 4 different numbers can be positioned 24 different ways,
so there are 24 possible combinations to figure out. Let's start with 0279..."

It was the wrong answer. Two laser turrets appeared from the top corners of the wall. Shala realized what was about to happen so he rolled to the right, got his Aerial Slicer mid-roll and threw it at the turret on the left. It got seperated from the wall, fell down on the ground and deactivated. Shala was right under the right turret, which couldn't aim directly below itself. Shala got the Chill Caster and shot it at the turret. After several shots, it finally came off and fell on Shala's head.

"Ouch! Since when do Fusions rely on automatic security anyway?" He picked up the weapon and looked at it. "Doesn't look like anything made on Earth. Strange. How does this thing work?" He disassembled it. "The aiming system... hmm... I wonder what's the power source of this thing?" Shala looked at the empty holes from where the turrets came out. He climbed up the wall to see what was inside the hole. "Bingo!" - he found the power source. He tore it out of the wall and put it in his pocket.
"This might be useful." Then he picked up his Aerial Slicer and got back to the keypad. Now that the turrets were destroyed he could have all the failed attempts he wanted.

On the 9th attempt, he got it right. "2709. Easy." - Shala muttered as the door automatically opened. He was inside.

"What the hell? This doesn't look like a Fusion Lair at all! Although, who knows what kind of stuff might Fusion Mandark be up to?" There was a single, small, cube-shaped room. There was no Fusion, not even a monster. There were several big crates, which didn't look like any design Shala's ever seen. The walls, floor and ceiling were all made of metal. "Alright, let's see. A shining ball of energy." He opened the first crate. It contained animal parts - horns, teeth and a skin. "This is a vulmpinancer skin. Are all those alien horns? What is Fusion Mandark doing?"

He opened the second crate. it had two spare turrets, just like the ones Shala destroyed outside. The third box had what Shala needed - a small white ball that was glowing with blue energy.

"Alright, I have what I need. Time to skidaddle until some more turrets activate."

He got out of the cave, activated the hoverboard and flew towards the camp. "Well, at least I got this alien energy source I'm gonna take a look at later, so the day wasn't a total waste."

A figure entered the cave. It looked at the destroyed turrets and the open door. "Dammit, I'm too late!" - the person muttered. He entered the metal room, checked every crate. After realizing that the ball of energy was gone, he kicked one of the crates in anger. Then he spoke into his wrist. "Fusion War Journal, entry 693. May, 11th. After tracking the tachyon sygnal for days, I finally located the chronoton particle. I entered the cave it was hidden in, only to find that someone already took of with it before I got there. My only hope is to try to locate its signal while the trail is still hot, but if it's on the move for a long time, I'm afraid I might lose it. I'm gonna chase that chronoton particle all over the Darklands if need arises, I'm not letting anyone mess with the timeline to tip the war against Earth's favour."

End of Chapter 1.