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Lithic Rune

Reset - Chapter One

Reset - Chapter One

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Title: Reset
Fandom: Jak and Daxter
Rating: PG13
Summary: Sometimes all it takes is an off-course machine to change the course of time. Jak never made it to the future of his birth. Instead Damas came to the past.
Spoilers: Jak 1, Jak 2, and Jak 3

-Chapter One-


Dark clouds filled the sky, sullen and threatening with the promise of rain. The rumble in the air was not from thunder, though, but from the engine of the car that barreled its way through the ruins. Damas grimly scanned the area for any signs of Metal Heads, but thus far he'd only found a few stragglers. Most of what he'd found were bodies.

A good sign, he noted. Maybe he wasn't too late. Years of experience, however, had taught him not to bank on such hopes. Things could easily have taken a turn for the worse up ahead, and the signal from Jak's homing beacon still beckoned. The boy hadn't turned it off.

Checking his radar again, the Wasteland king noted that he'd almost intercepted the signal. He would need to work his way around that bend up ahead, then double back-

Beep! Beep! Beep!

Damas swore as three more signals swooped in on Jak's position. Three large signals. No time! Throwing the car into reverse, he backed up and turned to face the wall. His face hardened with determination. He shifted gears again. Time to see if the Slam Dozer can live up to its name.

One booted foot hit the gas pedal hard, and as the car picked up speed, Damas hunched down - and it was a good thing he did, because the moment he slammed into the cracked stadium wall, rubble and mortar exploded and flew back over the windshield right where his head had been.

Wham! With another curse, Damas jerked the steering wheel hard and hit his brakes, trying to ignore the mist of dark eco from whatever he had just hit. There were too many cliffs in this broken stadium, and if he didn't hit the ground with enough traction to stop his momentum, he could easily go over a ledge. Wheels screeched as the car landed and skidded.

But it stopped. It stopped and the dust and eco cleared from the air, and there was Jak and his ever-present companion. Alive. Before he could stop himself, Damas smiled.

"Someone call for an army?"

Brief as it was, the look of stunned amazement on Jak's face was priceless. Shaking his head, the blond teen strode forward. "You're a long way from the desert," he said. A wry grin flashed across his face as he added, "I thought you said a smart warrior never takes his opponent head on."

Damas chuckled and tapped his head. "That depends on how hard your skull is." He was about to gesture for the other warrior to join him in his car.

But something flickered in the air.

Frowning, Damas turned his head, trying to spot what had caught his attention. At first he saw nothing - nothing but shattered walls and rubble and splatters of purple-black stains. The stains seemed to glitter with a sick inner light, but that hadn't been what he'd seen. From the corner of his eye, he saw Jak tense.

"Something's wrong."

He did not need to be told what the other was referring to. He could feel it himself, the tension in the air, the unheard crackle of energy that made the hairs on the back of his neck rise of their own accord.

"Uh, guys?" Daxter's nervous voice was edged with palpable fear. The ottsel's fingers dug into Jak's shoulder. "Maybe we should-"

Whum!

Whatever Daxter had been about to say was lost when a deep vibration tore through the air, almost deafening and intense enough to reach through his bones. Damas snarled against the intrusion and whipped his head around, trying to pinpoint the source of the sound. Jak, too, was searching, shifting his feet as he turned so he was ready to drop into a defensive position at the first sign of what this was. Daxter clutched at his ears. It was obvious the ottsel was gritting his teeth, but he stubbornly managed to maintain his position perched on his best friend's shoulder.

As abruptly as the sound had begun, it crescendoed with a peal of thunder and a literal flare of light. Damas hissed sharply and threw up an arm to shield his eyes. It was several moments before he dared lower it, and when he did...

He stared.

"What in Mar's name is that?"

-o-


"Gyah! What are those things!"

Unfortunately, the fifteen-year-old didn't know the answer any more than his best friend did. Jak stared, wide-eyed, at the swarms of flying creatures that poured out of the Precursor ring, then sucked in a shocked breath when a giant poked its head through as well. The giant wasn't like anything he'd seen, a huge head with a massive jaw, wreathed in what looked like tentacles. Two powerful arms soon joined it, until it almost blocked the portal from view.

"You cannot hide from me, boy!" the thing roared.

Next to him, Keira shrieked. "Do something, Jak!"

Eyes darting across the control panel, Jak looked for something, anything, that he could use, tuning out Daxter's panicked suggestions. Instinct drove him toward the handles that looked like they were meant to steer and inspiration struck him like a bolt of yellow eco. If this thing could move, he could ram it into the monster, maybe even force the thing back through the portal and injure it as well.

It was worth a shot, maybe the only chance they had, and there wasn't any time to think it through. Gritting his teeth with determination, the Sandover teen grabbed the bars and shoved them forward and was rewarded when the entire machine shifted and started forward. The harder he pushed, the more momentum he gained, until he and his three companions were literally shoved back in their seats. And in front of them the monster hovered in the ring.

And laughed.

"Foolish boy!" One large arm reached out just as the machine hurled into the air, and with reflexes that belied the creature's size, it struck the side of the machine with enough force to jolt them to the side.

To the side and off their original course. Jak's eyes widened.

"Look out!" Samos shouted.

The warning came too late as the Precursor machine crashed into the ring.

-o-


Damas stared at the swirling vortex, not certain what it was he was seeing. Arcs of energy lanced out from the edges, skittering along the ground and the hood of his car before curling back in on themselves. If he ignored the edges, it almost looked like the vortex of a warp gate.

But there was no gate. Only the energy.

"Damas!"

The Wasteland king's eyes snapped away from the phenomenon and took in the worried look on Jak's face. Without prompting, he nodded and reached down to put the Slam Dozer in reverse. Whatever that thing was, he doubted it was good for his health.

"Stay back," he warned the young man. "We do not know what that thing might do."

"Hey, you don't need to tell us twice," Daxter shot back. His fur bristled as he glared at the strange energy. "Man, that thing gives me the creeps!"

Another arc of blue-purple light lashed out and danced across his car. Damas hissed as the energy almost brushed against his skin. This close, his skin prickled and tingled, and he had to resist the urge to rub his arm. Slowly, he pressed the gas pedal.

A second arc of energy joined the first. Grimacing, he did his best to ignore it as he started to turn the wheel, knowing he couldn't back straight up. If he did, he'd go over one of the very cliffs he'd been worried about before. Once he was aligned, he gave his car more gas.

The vortex shattered.

"DAMAS!"

-o-


With a groan, the teenage boy picked himself up off the ground. Pieces of the machine lay scattered around him, twisted and smoldering from the impact with the ring. The ring itself was spinning with a dangerous wobble now, and one piece broke off, then another, and another, until the whole thing fell apart and into the water below. The energy it had contained, however, did not immediately fade. Arcs of energy erratically branched out, accompanied by a bone deep hum that grated on his ears. Jak winced, but forced himself to keep moving. The monster. His friends. What had happened to them?

He remembered hitting the ring. He remembered the explosion it had caused. The monster's roar of pain still echoed in his ears, but everything had been too bright, too bright to see what had happened. His eyes went up to the vortex, which flared for a moment before winking out, as though it had never been. There wasn't any sign of the monster. Jak wondered if he dared to hope that it had gone back to the other side.

"Ungh..." A soft moan of pain caught his attention and Jak stopped thinking about the missing monster. He staggered, still feeling somewhat disoriented, but managed to make his way around the remains of the machine. That was where he found Samos and Keira, the Green Sage already sitting up while his daughter lay sprawled on the ground. Jak glanced a silent question at Samos before dropping down next to his friend.

Samos shook his head. "I'm fine, Jak. What about Keira? Is she...?"

Jak let out a breath of relief as his fingers found a pulse, and though Keira didn't open her eyes, her chest rose and fell steadily. He nodded in response to Samos's question. Just knocked out. Just to be sure, though, he checked her over for any obvious injury. There was a knot on her head and a few scattered bruises, but otherwise she was all right.

"Uh, Jak? Buddy? Little help here?"

Jak's ears pricked up at the sound of Daxter's voice and he looked around. Huh. Where was he? Frowning, the teen crawled to the edge of the formation that Samos's hut was built on. Peering over the side and toward the water below, he found his friend clinging to the side of the cliff. Another wave of relief washed over him, and he grinned. Daxter. Carefully positioning himself, he reached down to offer the ottsel a hand, which Daxter gratefully used to clamber back up to the ledge.

"Wow," the ottsel remarked, dusting himself off. "What in the world was that thing?"

Samos's expression creased into a frown, but for a moment he didn't answer. Finally, he shook his head. "Bad news, I'm afraid. Now come. We need to get Keira into the house. After that, I want you boys to check on the village. I'm worried about those... creatures that flew through when that portal opened."

At the mention of the village, Jak's eyes darted to the simple structures that lay just across the bridge, and now that Samos had mentioned the possibility, he was worried, too. Sandover was the only home he'd ever known. If anything happened to it or its people...

"Ah, don't sweat it, green stuff," Daxter said dismissively. "Me an' Jak can handle a few flying bugs. Right, Jak?"

Jak gave the other a distracted nod even as he bent to pick Keira up. He was very careful not to jostle her too much while he carried her inside. Even if she hadn't been hurt badly, he didn't want to make it worse by accident. Once he set her down in her bed, his hand lingered on her arm. She'd been so enthusiastic about the machine, and now she was injured and there were those flying creatures - whatever it was they were.

"Don't worry about Keira," Samos assured him, his footsteps heavy on the wood plank floors. "Need I remind you that I am the Sage of Green Eco? I will devote myself to healing her while you two take care of the village."

It was a reminder he shouldn't have needed, but it was still a relief to hear. Jak nodded to his mentor and met his eyes steadily. I'll do my best, he silently promised. He knew that Samos would know what he meant. Of all the people in Sandover, the short, portly man with the green-tinged skin had known Jak the longest of all. Gesturing to Daxter, the youth headed back outside of the house. C'mon, Dax. Let's find out what's going on.

Daxter followed, of course, bounding to keep up with his friend's longer strides. The two had been nearly inseparable since Jak had come to the village, and though Daxter sometimes complained about the trouble they managed to land themselves in, he was never very far behind. In fact, since the dark eco had changed him into an ottsel, his friend often took to riding his shoulder - even when Jak had to fight. It was a companionship he would always be grateful for.

The trip to the village was short. The boards of the swing bridge creaked under his feet, but held firm, testament to the skill of whoever had first built it. He passed the stone fountain, close enough that he could feel a light mist of water carried on the salty ocean breeze. To the left was his first destination, the plaster and stone house that also served as a windmill and the receiving end of the blue eco beam that powered the rest of the village. It was also the house where the mayor lived, and if anyone knew what was going on in the village, Jak expected it to be him.

He'd barely taken two steps through the door before the man in question darted into his path.

"J-J-Jak, my boy!" the man cried out. "Oh, thank goodness! There you are! This is t-terrible. You have to do something!"

Far from being alarmed by the mayor's flustered state, Daxter just crossed his arms and gave the short man an unimpressed look. "Look, if this is about the power again-"

"No no no," the mayor cut him off with an indignant scowl. "This is much more serious than that! Strange creatures have been seen flying over the village. Several of them attacked one of the farmer's yakows and made off with it - just like that!" He pulled his purple hat off his head and ran his fingers through his thinning gray hair. "The sculptor's muse has vanished, and we can only hope that it was scared away and that it wasn't eaten, too! I h-haven't heard from the fisherman yet, and the bird lady was out checking on another rare bird, and- Jak, you need to find her first, before those creatures find her!"

Jak frowned as he listened, trying to sort the real information from the mayor's usual flair for dramatics. The only concrete thing there was was the yakow the farmer had lost. The muse could just as easily have run away again, and the rest was just the mayor worrying. Still, he had a point. The bird lady was getting old and frail, and it wouldn't take much more than nudge or a startle at just the wrong time for her to fall and injure herself. Then, too, there was the fact that they didn't know what these creatures were. They didn't know what they might do next.

"So where is the old bird?" Daxter piped up, saving Jak from having to ask. That was another thing Daxter was good at, often finding the things Jak wanted to know before Jak could raise a hand to form the question himself.

"The last anyone heard, she was at the temple in the Forbidden Jungle. Ooh, I've tried to warn her not to g-go to that awful place, but she just wouldn't be dissuaded. She just had to see that yellow-bellied whatever-it-was, and now I've likely lost a valuable supporter for my next reelection campaign!" Stuffing his hat back on top of his head, the mayor wrung his hands. "Hurry, Jak. Find her before it's too late!"

Whether or not the mayor was blowing this out of proportion, Jak nodded seriously, then gave him a confident thumbs up. Pausing only long enough for Daxter to jump up on his shoulder, the teen turned around and immediately left the mayor's house. The Forbidden Jungle was down the beach, past the farmer and his yakow pen and up on the cliffs just beyond the waterfall. They could check on the farmer on their way to the jungle, see what he had to say about what the creatures did.

As soon as his leather-wrapped feet hit the grass, he picked up his pace - not running but definitely not taking his time. Maybe it was because those creatures had come with the monster inside of that ring, but somehow, he had a bad feeling about this.

-End Chapter One-
Next chapter.
  • Oooh, I love the idea of this! I can't wait to see what happens when Damas meets TPL Jak.

    As always, your writing it brilliant, moving the story along at a reasonable pace without it feeling at all rushed, or with any sacrifice in regards to detail. You have the personality of the Mayor spot-on, and reading this has made me realise that I don't think I've ever read fic with the Mayor featured before. Bonus points for you!
    • Considering how little you actually get to interact with the mayor, it's not surprising that he isn't featured very often.

      I'm really glad to hear that the pace is starting off well. That tends to be one of my weaknesses when writing the initial setup. That whole "let's get this done so I can get the story going!" idea.

      Thanks for dropping me a note! Glad you're liking it so far.
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