First off, I just want to say that I am sorry about the month delay this has seen. It's even longer than a month if you consider the original estimated release was meant to be December '17. There's a few personal issues I'm suffering, and as such I'm in a weird motivational limbo. Everything except final checks is now complete, so a firm date of 7/May is set.
As for this preview, if you looked at the preview of the first episode, you'll know that three people for a Secondary Elemental Unit were in the process of being selected for the Elemental Division of the Ballart Police Force. That selection has happened and the unit has seen some action. In the second episode, there's a bit more exploration into the elements, as well as the current mission of the elementals.
“You’re picking up experience with that weapon fast, but you shouldn’t have come at all.”
Kieron didn’t want to be hearing any more about not being wanted, and so said, “You need the help. And if we’re to be working together, now is as good a time as any to know how to work with each other – instead of against each other, like what you seem to be doing.”
Terrance didn’t reply to that, but used the power of the rock element to turn the ammunition in his guns to stones. Firing upon the dredders with them proved effective, and he cut a path through to the entrance that some of the regular units had alerted them was where two drastic knights had entered earlier. Kieron was about to follow, but the ranks of dredders closed again.
I need to get through, Kieron thought. But I don’t know how to activate the element’s powers.
While fending off an attack from one of the dredders, he scrolled through on his wrist panel for anything that might help. His ability list showed him a few new ones, and he hoped that it was the same as using normal abilities.
Flicking the energy whip upward, he caught another of the dredders as it made an attack. It was then that he noticed the whip’s energy colour had changed to a purple-black. Launching himself forward, spinning the whip around himself, he passed through all the dredders as though they weren’t there at all.
He flipped forward to land on his feet and turned around. Those dredders he had passed through had turned the same purple-black as his whip, and were frozen. After a second, they disappeared – the one point of energy they had drained from them.
He allowed himself a second of self-congratulation before heading inside to find Terrance and the drastic knights who had previously entered.
Within the training room, Gary and the other four watched as Kieron performed the ghost drill attack. The two of primary didn’t look impressed, but the two of secondary looked amazed.
“The powers are great,” Brandon commented.
“Don’t be easily impressed,” Robin scolded. “Dredders get took down by anything.”
Gary gave him a slightly stern look, but said, “While true, it can still be used to great effect for larger enemies – especially when powered-up some more.”
“And we’ll be training to gain experience in powering them up?” Emma asked.
“That is the idea. Head to a panel and go inside the simulation zone.”
The two did so, and were stood on a smaller plaza area much the same as the one they were currently watching. Emma drew the elemental baton, and Brandon had his arm cannon attached.
A few dredders appeared in front of them, and both stood waiting.
“Elemental powers are like your usual abilities. Activating them is just the same. Be aware of your charge power, as that will show how strong an attack you can use. Begin.”
Emma held out the baton in front of her, and an icicle shot out of the front end. Smaller ones broke out all around it. Upon seeing that she now had a longer weapon, she jumped straight into the dredders and attacked.
Brandon took a bit longer to figure things out. The first thing he managed was using his arm cannon to fire gusts of wind, knocking over those dredders closest, and unbalancing a few others. He had used up most of his charge power, so backed off.
Emma had swapped from using the baton as a sword to scattering small icicles from it as she span on the spot. A number of dredders despawned, leaving just a few that Brandon cleared up with another blast of wind.
“So how did we do?” Emma asked.
“For a first-time use of the elements, that was good,” Gary replied. “Though you both wasted the elemental power on smaller attacks. You need to save that energy for the more powerful stuff.” Not telling them that had been a test. New to their powers, he had wanted them to test the elements in a way that suited them. With the first play test over with, the proper training with them could now begin.
“It’s going to take some getting used to, but I’m sure we can. Just one thing, though. How am I meant to not use elemental power with this thing?”
Emma held up the baton, and seemed to be ready to change to the longstaff she so wanted.
“It’s powerful on its own,” Gary instructed. “Yes, you need to get up close to attack, but one-handed strikes with it can be effective against multiple enemies. Remember, as Robin said, dredders get taken out by anything. Even smaller attacks can wipe them out.”
“And the cannon is able to fire regular attacks?” Brandon asked.
“Of course. Now, when the dredders appear again, conserve elemental power to use against the second wave.”
Both affirmed, and Gary set the simulation zone to spawn two waves. The first appeared, and the two launched their attack.
“Thanks for waiting,” Kieron stated with sarcasm, having spotted Terrance up the corridor.
It had taken three levels of searching to find him, and down here was less lighting. It was emergency red only. It caused eerie shadows nearly everywhere.
“You aren’t needed,” Terrance said as Kieron walked up to him.
“I think you do need me. You just don’t want to admit it. Just like you don’t want to admit that the only reason you are here is payback.”
Even in the small amount of light, Kieron could see that Terrance’s eyes had sharpened. He didn’t step back from it, wanting to show that no matter what he wasn’t leaving.
“You think I won’t admit to that?” Terrance said, starting to walk away. “Of course I admit to it. That’s the only reason I’m here.”
“Then it’s something else,” Kieron persisted, following. “Do you think it your fault? If so, you shouldn’t.”
“It isn’t that. Something similar has happened to me before.”
“Losing a fight happens to everyone.”
“Not that. The not coming back part.”
“Are you sure they-”
“Of course they aren’t! They are gone, and there is no point trying to think anything else. But by being back in the action, I can make sure I’m not thinking about them and continue the fight they left behind.”
“Everyone is trying to stop… whatever’s happening.” It was that which made Kieron realise the only thing he knew was to stop this. Nothing else. No history, no names, no anything. Of course there was something greater – some main objective to this – but he had no idea. The only thing he knew, was that this place was important in that.
“You have no idea what you’re fighting for, do you? Haven’t you ever heard about the ongoing battles?”
Kieron thought on it for a bit, then replied, “Trainees don’t really hear a lot. I’d never heard of the elemental division before Gary came along.”
Terrance stopped before another set of stairs, and looked at Kieron. “How far had you got?”
“We were ready to graduate, in case you were thinking we were new to the force.”
“Well, now you have graduated, you’ll be hearing stuff soon enough.” He then started down the stairs. "Or at least you would if you were in the main division."
“And what’s that meant to mean?”
“You haven’t heard of the whispers that go around the regular force. I have. Friends within the regular units were happy upon my promotion, but were quick to distance themselves from me soon after.”
Kieron was curious. He wanted to hear more.
“You don’t need to know more. Just know that some within the force feel our division isn’t needed.”
That was confusing to Kieron, but he didn’t press on. They needed to listen out for any voices that were around. However…
“That doesn’t explain how you’ve been through this before.”
They had descended two more levels, and were slowly making their way down a corridor when Terrance spoke again.
“Two of those friends I had mentioned were also elevated to the elemental division. It didn’t take long before a patrol got a bit out of hand, and the two were caught out. Despawned, but never returned to their pods in the elemental division. Next I know, they’re back in with the regular units. When I asked them about it, they said they’d given themselves demotion. Didn’t want to be a part of some special unit.”
“So… Why didn’t they just fail the test?”
“It was different back then. It was the first time a full unit for the elemental division had been formed. We were taken based on success rates. Three units had been split to form that elemental unit.” Terrance let his head fall, Kieron waited to hear what was coming. “In a way, I feel the bonds of the unit weren’t tight enough then. In a way, it feels like my fault. I was leader, and failed to bring them together.”
That's all the previews that will be appearing for now. Look out for the post upon release, which will be the only non-Star Wars post aside from the monthly update.
Seven episodes/chapters that tell the story of the police force and their battle against an evil force within the city of Ballart. Hope you enjoyed the preview, and the full book when it releases.