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Mortal Kombat: Annihilation is a novel based on the second Mortal Kombat movie. It was written by Jerome Preisler, and was released by Torkids in November of 1997. It serves as a movie tie-in and contains images from the movie.
The novel starts off with the evil emperor Shao Kahn illegally opening a portal from Outworld to Earthrealm and reclaiming his once reluctant Queen, Sindel, who is also Kitana's long-dead mother. With the portal open, Earthrealm is in danger of being absorbed into Outworld within seven days, a fate which Liu Kang and others must fight to prevent...
During the initial encounter at the Order of Light, the Earthrealm fighters face off against Shao Kahn’s Extermination Squads, who they easily defeated before facing off against his generals: the martial artist and Mortal Kombat champion, Liu Kang, takes on the Shokan female Sheeva. Kitana is attacked by her mother Sindel, before battling the mysterious red-clad ninja Ermac. The American Special Forces soldier, Sonya Blade], fights the mutant Tarkatan general, Baraka. Hollywood action actor Johnny Cage goes head-to-head with the massive Centaurian, Motaro. The Earthrealm fighters prove no match for Shao Kahn's generals and are quickly subdued. The God of Thunder and protector of Earthrealm, Rayden, challenges Shao Kahn to single combat, but is easily defeated. Shao Kahn grabs Sonya Blade and holds her hostage. Johnny Cage attempts to rescue Sonya, but proves no match for Shao Kahn and is brutally beaten. To force Rayden into recognizing his claim on Earth, Shao Kahn holds an unconscious Cage hostage, which Rayden returns by holding Shao Kahn's generals hostage. After offering to spare Johnny Cage if Rayden bows before him, Rayden releases his hold on Shao Kahn's generals. Shao Kahn then brutally throws Johnny Cage aside, breaking his body, and finishes Johnny Cage off by claiming his soul as a helpless Sonya watches. A massive monstrous statue tears from the ground and lifts Johnny Cage's corpse, holding it high atop. As Shao Kahn and his generals depart through an interdimesional portal, Rayden and his friends are forced underground in a cave when Shao Kahn orders his Extermination Squads to destroy them.
In an ancient cavern thousands of years old, Rayden realises that Sindel is the key; Shao Kahn buried and resurrected Sindel in Earthrealm, therefore giving him access to the realm. Rayden summarises that by reuniting Kitana with Sindel, Shao Kahn's spell will be broken, thus closing the portal. Liu Kang and Sonya remains skeptic, but Rayden suggests that they split up and regroup in two days atop the Mount of Gaia. Heading deeper down into the cave, they find and use velospheres; Sonya, Liu Kang and Kitana are to search for allies to their cause, while Rayden will go and ask the Elder Gods why Shao Kahn was allowed to break the rules of Mortal Kombat.
In Outworld, Shao Kahn is berated by his father, the powerful Elder God Shinnok for not destroying Rayden when he had the chance, and warns Shao Kahn that Rayden and his Earthrealm, fighters could jeopardise their plans. If the other Elder Gods were to learn of their treachery then he and Shao Kahn will be severely punished. Shao Kahn reassures his father that Rayden and his champions will pose no threat, and plots to kill them. Shinnok warns Shao Kahn not to underestimate the power of the human spirit. Later, Shao Kahn vents his frustrations out on his Extermination Squad general for not killing Kabal and Stryker, and kills him by smashing him into a wall. He then appoints Sindel as his new general, much to the chagrin of Motaro and Sheeva.
An emotionally guilt-ridden Sonya heads to her headquarters. As she breaks in, she finds that it has been overrun by Extermination Squads led by the cyborg Cyrax, who is searching for Major Jax Briggs, Sonya Blade’s superior. While Cyrax is busy interrogating a resistant Sergeant Joseph C. Taylor, Sonya is able to find Jax, who has fitted himself with external robotic prosthetics for his arms to enhance his strength. Before they can leave, they are ambushed by Cyrax and an Extermination Squad. After defeating them, Sonya notices a Griffon symbol peeling itself off of Cyrax's shoulder before vanishing. Cyrax then enters self-destruct mode, and Jax and Sonya escape just before the headquarters complex is destroyed, though Sonya injures her leg and is knocked unconscious.
Meanwhile, Kitana and Liu Kang search for a Native American shaman named Nightwolf</span>, who they have been told knows how to defeat Shao Kahn. On the way to meet up with Nightwolf, however, they are confronted by a large Extermination Squad. They defeat the Extermination Squad with the aid of Sub-Zero, the younger brother of the orginal Sub-Zero, the one that Liu Kang defeated in the previous tournament. Sub-Zero aids the two warriors further by reforming an ice bridge over a large chasm, but before Kitana and Liu Kang can cross over, Scorpion appears and kidnaps Kitana. Knowing that Liu Kang is not yet strong enough to face Shao Kahn, Sub-Zero exhorts Liu Kang to continue onto Nightwolf before pursuing Scorpion and Kitana. Sub-Zero then vanishes into the darkness.
In the Himalayas, Rayden meets with the Elder Gods, and is allowed to ask them three questions, but the answers he receives are sparse and ambiguous. He asks why Shao Kahn was allowed to break the tournaments rules and force his way into Earthrealm. The Elder Gods reply that they do not control the destiny of mankind, and that every man has the power to decide their own fate. Rayden then asks whether they will stand by and watch. The Elder God Shinnok replies that reuniting Kitana with her mother, Sindel, is the key to breaking Shao Kahn's hold on Earthrealm. Finally, Rayden asks how he can be sure whether the reunion of Sindel and Kitana will truly work. The second Elder God insists that the defeat of Shao Kahn himself is what is needed. With no more questions, the Elder Gods then ask Rayden three questions about his feelings and obligations towards the mortals, and what he would be willing to do to ensure their survival. Ultimately, Rayden sacrifices his immortality, becoming human and gaining a new look.
Later, Sonya Blade awakens to find herself being carried by Jax through a cave. As she takes a look through the cave entrance, she sees that their headquarters have been completely destroyed, and that they are both still being pursued by the surviving members of the Extermination Squad. After explaining to a bewildered Jax what is going on, who Shao Kahn is and how the world ended up this way, she climbs into a velosphere with Jax and escapes just as the Extermination Squads surround them.
Heading through a desert, Liu Kang finds Nightwolf, who teaches him about the power of the Animality; a form of shape shifting which helps utilize a person's strengths and abilities. It is essential if he is to defeat Shao Kahn. To achieve the mindset needed to acquire this power, Liu Kang must pass three tests. The first is a trial of his self-esteem and focus. Liu Kang awakens to find himself trapped neck-deep buried in sand. Nightwolf releases venomous spiders all over Liu Kang’s head and face. The bites render Liu Kang unconscious and he finds himself in a recurring nightmare mounting up all his past failures. He is surrounded by thousands of demons, and as they get closer and closer, Liu Kang summons up his inner strength, morphs into a massive dragon and drives them off as he breathes fire. He then morphs back into human form and finds himself in a snowy desert lying face up. The second test comes in the form of temptation, which manifests itself in the form of Jade, who attempts to seduce Liu Kang and make him forget about Kitana. Liu Kang resists Jade's advances, which impresses her. She offers her assistance in fighting Shao Kahn. Liu Kang accepts Jade's offer and takes her with him to Mount of Gaia, where he and his friends are to meet Raiden. As they depart, Nightwolf, watching from above, expresses his disappointment in Liu Kang to Rayden, for Liu Kang doubts his own abilities.
As Sonya and Jax head to the Mount of Gaia through a dying, mist-filled jungle pursued by Extermination Squads, the two are ambushed by the cyborg Smoke, and Kitana’s half-sister Mileena, who Sonya initially mistakes for Kitana. Though Smoke makes good use of the surrounding mist to his advantage, Jax makes short work of Smoke and Sonya kills Mileena. Mileena is also shown to have the same Griffon tattoo that Cyrax had, and hers, like Cyrax's, disappears after Sonya's victory over her. Before they can investigate further, Sonya and Jax are forced to retreat as the Extermination Squads draw closer.
In Outworld, in the cobalt mines near a Shokan prison Baraka cruelly punishes the prisoners who begin falling behind. Shao Kahn pays a visit on his winged mounted steed and attempts to reconcile with a captured Kitana who is trapped in a massive. She flatly refuses his offer for it was Shao Kahn who destroyed her family and she is now forever his eternal enemy. She spits the water Shao Kahn offers her back in his face. Angered, Shao Kahn muses that she is better bait if she is alive then dead. As he departs he sadistically amuses that if Kitana doesn’t want water then neither shall the slaves get any.
Meanwhile, in the night, Sonya and Jax still are pursued by the Extermination Squads as they reach what appears to be the Mount of Gaia. They run into Liu Kang and Jade, and Sonya is angered that Liu Kang lost Kitana. Liu Kang is angered that Sonya and Jax have led the Extermination Squads, including Shao Kahn and Sindel, straight to them. Before things get out of hand, the warriors reunite with the newly-shaven Rayden, who they are shocked to discover has sacrificed his immortality to freely fight alongside them. When Shao Kahn and Sindel attack the Temple of the Elder Gods, the Earthrealm warriors are forced to retreat. Using whatever powers he has still left, Rayden is able to open a portal to Outworld. Together, they head for Outworld to rescue Kitana and reunite her with Sindel. However, they are unaware that Shao Kahn has set for them a trap.
Arriving in Outworld, the heroes are ambushed by Sheeva, Sindel and some more Extermination Squads. Liu Kang attempts to fight her as Sonya, Jax, Jade and Rayden take care of Sindel and the Extermination Squads. However, Liu Kang is defeated by Sheeva, so Rayden finishes Sheeva off while Sonya, Jax and Jade capture Sindel. With Jade's help, the heroes sneak into a Shokan prison to rescue Kitana while Rayden keeps guard over the unconscious Sindel. While Jax and the others take care of the guards, Liu Kang rescues Kitana, fending off an ambush by three Tarkatans led by Baraka. Baraka is finally killed when the cage that was holding Kitana falls atop of him and crushes the Tarkatans. Lord Shinnok and Shao Kahn learn from one of the surviving Tarkatans that Kitana has escaped. As Shao Kahn prepares to kill the Tarkatan for his failure, Shinnok intervenes and berates Shao Kahn for his incompetence and idiocy. He also states that Shao Kahn's attack on the Temple of the Elder Gods could have potentially put their plans in jeopardy.
Meanwhile, the heroes reunite Kitana and Sindel. Unfortunately Sindel remains under Shao Kahn's control, and she escapes. Jade also steals away, having revealed her to be a mole sent by Shao Kahn to disrupt the Earth warriors' plan. A furious Jax accuses Rayden of leading them on a wild goose chase, at which point Sonya sees on Rayden's shoulder the same Griffon tattoo she found on Cyrax and Mileena. The tattoo is revealed to be a family crest which allows Rayden and his family safe passage through portals between different realms. The tattoos on Cyrax and Mileena were only temporary, which explains their disappearance when the two were defeated. Rayden then makes the shocking revelation that Shao Kahn is his brother, and that the Elder God Shinnok is their father. Years ago, Shinnok searching for his heir to the family throne would be strong enough to defeat his brother in combat and kill him. Though Rayden defeated Shao Kahn, he could not kill, and as punishment, Shinnok banished him to Earthrealm. He realizes that Shinnok had lied about reuniting Kitana and Sindel in order to keep him from pursuing Shao Kahn. Although Rayden makes it clear that the death of Shao Kahn is essential, he refuses to do the deed himself. Rayden, having lost all hope, seemingly abandons them. Left on their own, the rest of Earthrealm's warriors make their way to the final showdown with Shao Kahn and his generals.
Meanwhile, Shao Kahn kills Jade for failing by feeding her to an unearthly creature, and orders his remaining generals to prepare for one final showdown around his temple. Shinnok appears and explains to Shao Kahn that with destruction of their temple, the Elder Gods have grown suspicious and are searching for answers. Shinnok cannot participate any further, so Shao Kahn must destroy the Earthrealm warriors himself. Liu Kang and his friends openly challenge Shao Kahn and his allies, only to be interrupted by a battered Rayden, who had led the Extermination Squads away from the heroes. Shinnok asks Rayden to submit to him and restore their broken family, at the expense of his mortal friends. Rayden flatly refuses, and is hit by an energy blast from Shao Kahn. As Rayden lies dying, he praises Liu Kang for passing the final test of faith and courage; Liu Kang remained faithful in Kitana despite Jade and has finally mounted up the courage to face Shao Kahn himself. A victorious Shao Kahn then unleashes his generals upon Liu Kang and his friends.
In the final battle, Jax takes on the Centaur Motaro, Sonya fights the ninja Ermac, Kitana squares off against Sindel, and Liu Kang faces Shao Kahn. Things begin to look bleak for the Earth warriors; Shao Kahn and Sindel simply overwhelm Liu Kang and Kitana, Motaro tears off of one of Jax’s cybernetic prosthetics, and Ermac double-teams Sonya with his shadowy counterpart, Noob Saibot. Suddenly, Jax rids himself of his prosthetics and gains the inner strength and confidence to beat Motaro naturally. Sonya, for the first time in her life, shouts for help, which Jax is more than willing to give. Sonya, with Jax's help, is then able to take out the two ninjas. Kitana manages to fake out Sindel and subdues her. Liu Kang manages to taps into his Animality (a dragon) but he is barely able to hold his own against Shao Kahn's Animality (a six-headed hydra), though he does manage to slice one of Shao Kahn's many hydra heads. Shao Kahn begins to gloat and taunts Liu Kang, unwittingly making him angrier and realizing the Earth warrior enough to give him a second wind. Liu Kang then gains the upper hand.
Realising he's losing, Shao Kahn asks Shinnok for help. Shinnok prepares to wipe out Earth's warriors and complete the merger of Earthrealm and Outworld, but the other two Elder Gods appear, having uncovered Shinnok's treachery. They banish Shinnok to the Netherrealm for his deceit, and declare that the fate of Earth shall be decided through lawfully agreed means; in other words, through Mortal Kombat.
In the following fight, Liu Kang defeats the Outworld Emperor once and for all, and Earthrealm and Outworld are separated. Shao Kahn's hold over Sindel is finally broken, allowing her to reunite with her daughter and pledge her kingdom allegiance to Liu Kang. Rayden, however, remains dead. Dead, that is, until the other Elder God resurrect him and bestow upon him his father's former position as an Elder God. Before he leave to join the other Elder Gods, Rayden tells his friends that must be there for one another as they are a family now, and leaves to join the Elder Gods by telling them to stay out of trouble for he will be watching. The Earth heroes, still in Outworld, decide to return to Earthrealm, though Liu Kang jokingly considers staying in Outworld with Kitana.
Differences with the movie
There are some changes and additional scenes in the novel that were not present in the movie.
- The scene in which Shao Kahn first invades Earthrealm is much longer in the book than it is in the movie. Instead of ninjas first appearing from the skies, it is Shao Kahn instead who the first to appear from the skies is. When he does he "announces" his generals: Sheeva, Motaro, Ermac and Baraka.
- Johnny Cage has a larger role and more lines. More emphasis is placed on his romantic relationship with Sonya Blade. For example, when the ninjas first start appearing from the skies, he grasps Sonya's hand, though to his surprise, she doesn't mind.
- There is also an extensive battle between the Earthrealm champions and Kahn's generals. Liu Kang fights Sheeva, while Sonya and Johnny Cage battle Baraka and Motaro respectively, while Kitana gets double-teamed by Ermac and Sindel.
- The death of Johnny Cage is also different. Instead of attacking Shao Kahn head on with a shadow kick, he attacks from behind while Shao Kahn is holding Sonya Blade hostage. However, Shao Kahn evades his attack and pummels him unconscious. Instead of breaking Johnny Cage's neck, Kahn holds Johnny Cage's limp body above his head and smashes it to the ground. As Sonya Blade comforts a bleeding but still alive Johnny Cage, they trade a few words before Shao Kahn approaches and kicks Sonya Blade in the chest, before claiming Johnny Cage's soul, killing him.
- Rain is also notably absent. In the opening scene, Rain is replaced by Baraka, and in the scene in the movie where Rain meets his demise, he is replaced by a generic general, who meets the same fate, but instead of lighting on fire, he smashes into a wall.
- The scene where Sonya first finds Jax is longer. Instead of Cyrax and the Extermination Squads ambushing Jax and Sonya after Sonya has broken into the headquarters, they are already there and searching for Jax. There is a small scene where Cyrax is interrogating a resistant Sergeant for information regarding the whereabouts of Jax. Also Sonya does not immediately find Jax, but has to find a file with his name on it showing his designated room.
- After escaping the exploding headquarters, Sonya Blade injures her knee and hits her head, knocking her unconscious. Later, she awakens to find herself being carried by Jax through a cave where the velosphere is.
- Smoke doesn't appear when Liu Kang and Kitana are walking through the chasm. Instead they just fight a large Extermination Squad.
- Sub-Zero and Scorpion do not fight. Instead Scorpion just appears and grabs Kitana.
- The scene in which Liu Kang faces the first of his two tests is different. Although he is still knocked unconscious, instead of entering a dream trance straight away, he first wakens to find himself buried neck deep in sand and is bitten by venomous spiders. After that, he dreams of being surrounded by millions of demons and actually taps into his Animality and morphs into a dragon to fight them.
- When Liu Kang rejects Jade's advances, she doesn't attack him, but instead openly offers her assistance.
- The scene in which Sonya fights Mileena is different. Instead of a desert, she and Jax are being pursued by Extermination Squads through a mist-filled jungle. There they are both ambushed by Smoke and Mileena. Mileena also reveals that she is the half-sister of Kitana and she scissor-locks Sonya's neck. Sonya kills her by using Mileena's own Sais to crush her windpipe, while Jax battles and defeats Smoke.
- There is a small scene that shows Rayden losing his hair and gaining new clothes after he has sacrificed his own immortality. He then explores his new abilities by jumping cliff to cliff.
- When the heroes first go to Outworld, they are not ambushed by a trio of Reptile warriors. Instead, it is Sheeva. Rayden fights and defeats her after she has defeated Liu Kang.
- The other heroes accompany Liu Kang when he breaks into a Shokan prison to save Kitana.
- Baraka dies by being crushed by a falling cage (similar to how Sheeva died in the movie), instead of a pit of fire.
- Immediately after Jade's betrayal, the heroes are surrounded by Shao Kahn's army (this is the trap Kahn had planned). Rayden distracts the army, allowing the heroes to escape.
- Interestingly, the third test that Liu Kang must face is revealed. Right before he dies, Rayden reveals that the final test is a test of Liu Kang's faith in Kitana and courage to face Shao Kahn, both of which he has conquered.
- Shinnok is immediately banished when the Elder Gods first arrive in Outworld, instead of after Shao Kahn has been defeated.
- When all has been restored, the heroes still remain in Outworld, and Liu Kang considers staying there with Kitana.
- The book has some errors related to character names on some pictures' descriptions.