The ensemble cast of darko rogues is back. The smuggler mercenaries. The psychic archaeologist aristocrat. The cyborg super-spy. The space navy fleet gone off the rails, and the syndicate warlord pirate assassins. Maneuvering them all: an inscrutable ancient alien, and a mad Transhuman Overlord. Directing them toward the Hercules cluster for a showdown with an ultimate Evil swarming to our galaxy for a harvest of insanity and death. Hell Rides Phlegra Station. Echo Hercules Cluster Rage destructions fury above the glittering rings epochal Rage, flying fierce, riding high-high riding the hyperstreams-rage speed and blood, fire and fury no retreat, we go to meet Valhalla-ride! We will go down with these ships Rage into breach with me, our guns singing their deaths songs Rage, the music of the spheres our chorus of angels Rage and speed, fire and ice Fire and fury No terms no surrender We will go down with these ships And going down raise our horns full of mead In the hall of Valhalla! Cutting the Dimensional Barrier Chowder Head Boo Boos, Starky Barky Holos Unlimited Twenty-three attack ships. Fanning, as I said. Mazak put all twenty-three ships up as holos in an array. At this distance the holos were little more than fists of wrinkled grey, with tails of fire, shimmering. Mustafa looked them over each with a quick disdain. Typical Marauder junk. Magnetized and cemented panels of raw ore propelled from giant blast shields with antenna that manipulated anti-mass rip shots. Harry smiled. Effective for surprise attacks on civilian shipping. Let's see how they like the Riptide. Wormhole behind them now, he said. The rest of the convoy remained back. Mustafa fired a short stream of a worm hole, and the Riptide leapt through the space-time. It was then suddenly behind the Marauder front. Mazak didn t need to know the next call, but dutifully waited. It came: Distortion wave. The Riptide bent space in a savage, rippling shockwave. They hadn t fired a shot and all twenty-three of the Marauder ships had just been given a smack down from Hell. They responded with a volley of anti matter orbs which came in from all directions. Mazak did a little dance in his seat as he guided the Riptide between and around the volley. Standard anti mass shots. He drawled. Okay. Harry began. We re on a diplomatic mission here, so let's send them a message. Cut their blast shields from their main engines. Then, engrave Hello, kitty-cat with laser blasts on the side of each vessel. Mazak was splining his flight plan hard and wild, while a second gunner popped the blast shield of the first ship. Anti matter fire was coming in, but Sanfillipo edged their bent space wave such that by the time it rounded the curve it went past harmlessly. The first blast shield went spinning off taking a piece of the Marauders magnetized panel in a grinding splash of metal, rock, and light. In a blinding flash the lasers of the Riptide engraved. Hello, Kitty-cat.