|Ice Age is a Historical Event
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This is Year Three of the Ice Age.
Roykor once again knocked on Warlord Vorius' door to tell him about the news. He wanted to inform him about how it had been revealed that Billig was the new warlord kidnapping people, but as usual, there was no reply. The Wranploer soldier was growing more and more worried as time passed. Vorius was acting weird, and the people around him too. As time was passing, everyone was getting quieter. More serious. Something about Vorius' fortress was giving Roykor a very bad feeling.
It all had started with that shard...since then, the warlord was never the same. The people of the fortress changed, and it seemed as everyone who set foot on the planet was changing to some extent. Tired of knocking, Roykor just entered Vorius' room, only to find it empty.
- Roykor - Boss? I know you're in there. I have stuff to report!
Roykor walked around the room, looking for Vorius, but had no success. However, it was then that he noticed the shard was on Vorius' chair. Out of curiosity, Roykor decided to grab it.
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A mosntrous voice roared through Roykor's head, launching him back. He screamed in terror as he threw the shard away and grabbed his legs, shivering in fear. As he looked around, however, he noticed a door he had never seen before. Slowly getting back on his feet, he entered this door, which led him to an elevator.
Going all the way down, Roykor was baffled as he found a completely new room, a badly lit laboratory. In the middle of two large tubes, a computer screen showed several bits of information. Roykor approached to see what they were...and as he read, he appeared completely terrorized. The text was called "His Instructions", and decipted several pieces of text which reminded Roykor a lot of Ascended-Class Dreadnoughts.
- ??? - You.
Roykor looked back to see Vorius watching behind him, apparently carrying a body. The warlord had a cold, but furious expression on his face. Roykor screamed and tried to run off, but Vorius tackled him against a wall and pinned him there.
- Roykor - What the fuck is all this?! What is this place?!
- Vorius - You bother me.
Vorius lifted his hand to show he was carrying a Levarcor.
- Vorius - You will be the first.
Vorius threw Roykor and the knocked out Levarcor into one of the tubes and turned the mysterious machinery on. Vorius let out a screech as Vorius merely watched the process.
Warlord versus Warlord
It was by this time that Billig was feeling confident, and with confidence in any crimelord, comes cockiness. Suddenly, you want to take all your enemies on at once. Suddenly, nothing can stop you. With his AI nearing completion, and with him close to getting twice as many warlords to join his cause as he already had, he decided it was time to meet his biggest competitor: Captain Torrent. So, looking smug and chubby as ever, Billig called Gyjak to get Torrent online on communicator, and then, they were speaking in video comms. Torrent looked at his screen, his alien parakeet on his shoulder.
- Billig - Why, if it ain't Captain Torrent.
- Torrent - And if it isn't...that fat guy.
- Billig - Now, that ain't an appropriate, respectful way to address your biggest competition, is it?
In response to Scallywag being on Torrent's shoulder, Billig called Gyjak up to sit on his own, and Gyjak looked as menacing as ever. But Torrent wasn't scared of her, neither was his parakeet.
- Torrent - Competitor? My only competition is the Polar Crystal Alliance...oh, I remember you now. You're that one fat Wranploer who acted as Zaarkhun's bootlick. Volim never liked your attitude.
- Scallywag - FAT! BWAGH!
- Billig - Bah, it never mattered then. I was his agent, one of 'is best, and so was my friend Gyjak 'ere. And I warn you, there's a good reason that the entirety of Borealis, 'specially the Wranploer territories, fear her a lot. But let's get back on topic. I'm your new competitor, and I'd like us to speak in person, yanno, just outta respect an' all.
- Torrent - I got more important things to do, like bringing your species back to glory.
- Billig - Is that a refusal I hear?
- Torrent - Yes. Are you as deaf are you are fat?
Billig frowned, disappointed. Gyjak hissed.
- Billig - Well, that's all right, mate. I'll just go inform your new empire that you're a coward, too scared to face up to 'is enemies. I bet your bum chum Volim would've met 'em face to face if 'e had the chance...
Torrent narrowed his eyes.
- Torrent - Am I the coward? What about you, who did not even show up to defend your own homeworld, you fat scumbag?
- Billig - That ain't cowardly. That's jus' followin' orders. I was told to go in hiding an' pull off a little backup plan. Unlike your pathetic idol Volim, Zaarkhun actually thought these things through. If you're aspiring to be the next Volim, then I can't wait til your empire's crushed with no plan B.
- Torrent - Hmpf. Fine then, mister chubbs. Time and place, now.
Billig laughed evilly.
- Billig - Meet me on Planet Gorlith, in the Jenarli subsecta of Demolidus. No soldiers, mind. Jus' us two.
- Torrent - Very well. You better not chicken out.
- Billig - I was about to tell you the same thing...
The comms channel shut. Billig turned to Yvomil.
- Billig' - Course I'm gonna bring soldiers. I'll bring a whole army, an' I want 'im dead, if possible. Get the mercenaries ready.
- Yvomil - It shall be done, boss.
A day later, Billig waited on Gorlith. A few hours of waiting and he was beginning to feel bored, to the extent where he kidnapped a couple of the mercenaries and chopped them up for a meal. He was beginning to think Torrent wouldn't show. Torrent eventually showed up, with a smug look, and Scallywag on his shoulder like always. He played with his blade, casually. In the middle of the meal, Billig tossed the half-eaten corpse aside, for Gyjak to finish, then looked at Torrent, grimly.
- Billig - You're a little late...though I guess that's me own fault for not givin' a time.
- Torrent - Are you eating on the job? That's not very polite.
- Billig - When did I say I had any intention of being polite to you?
- Torrent - Fair enough.
- Billig - Well then, now you've met me in person, let's chat for a while, shall we?
Torrent leaned on a nearby rock.
- Torrent - I'm waiting.
- Billig - I'm interested to know, well, what I'm up against. What are your ideals, what are your goals...and 'ow big's your empire?
- Torrent - Too much information for a "competitor".
- Billig - I can still tell your empire you're a coward, y'know...
- Torrent - Because it's a good idea to tell your enemy how you act. I though you were one of Zaarkhun's best.
- Billig - There's a thing Zaarkhun taught me...it's called, lyin'. Another thing he taught me, respectin' your enemy. But no matter, keep it to yourself if you must. I'd just like to inform you, though, that I have no intention of working, trading or doing anything with you but competing.
- Torrent - I can give you some insight though. So listen carefully.
Billig listened. While talking, Torrent kept played with his blade.
- Torrent - My ideals? The opposite of yours. My goals? The extinction of your ideals. How big is my empire?...Bigger than yours.
Billig smiled evilly.
- Billig - I like your style, mate.
- Torrent - I'd like say the same, but I'd be lying.
- Billig - You'll make for some fine competition. But I'd like to give you an insight meself...see, I'm not the new Zaarkhun at all. I'm no child prodigy, no big idealist planning on some new bold future, no caring guy hidden behind a murderer. The only thing I share in common with him is that I'm a businessman. Unlike him, I'm not afraid of bein' selfish, evil, or having power to meself.
Torrent only watched Billig talk, still playing with his blade while leaned to a rock. Billig decided that he was bored of the awkward silence. He spoke on radio, and several men dropped down to surround Torrent, all heavily armed, from the Soltako Armed Military PMC.
- Torrent - Now, aren't we moody today?
- Billig - Naw, jus' waitin' fer somethin' interestin' to happen.
At this moment, Torrent's own soldiers, all heavily armed from worlds and PMCs they had looted appeared and surrounded Billig. Billig laughed.
- Billig - Hahaha, FRESH MEAT!
Billig grabbed a few and smashed their heads together, causing them to smash. As the soldiers shot him, he was protected by invisible, tough armour, although it wouldn't hold for long...but would for long enough for him to cut the rest with his knives, and take a bite. The same time, Scallywag flew off and Torrent took his blade and tackled Billig's mercenaries one by one, piercing, slashing and decapitating them both. The two armies gunned each other down, the two leading warriors cutting through the enemies easily. It didn't take long until they were the last ones standing. Both a little wounded and beginning to tire, the two turned to each other. Billig smiled grimly.
- Billig - Betrayin' the rule of "no soldiers". I like your style!
- Torrent - If you knew anything about space pirates is that they don't play by the rules.
- Billig - Good. Cos rules' is borin'. Now, jus' us two left, let's fight, shall we?
- Torrent - Hmpf. Let me show how being butchered feels like.
Torrent and Billig clashed at each other, sword versus butcher's knife. Billig was considerably larger than Torrent, but the Kvargo saw him as nothing but another casual fight. Despite his size, Billig's mechanical legs gave him considerable movement speed, and he slashed at Torrent with his knives. He wanted nothing more than to discover what Kvargo meat tasted like. And Torrent wanted nothing but to get rid of this fat mess of a traitor standing in front of him. Billig pushed Torrent, stunning him, and then came down chopping into one of his arms. However, Torrent's arms were also completely mechanical, and he felt nothing as the knive got stuck on it. In retaliation, Torrent slashed into Billig, goring out his arm. The Wranploer let out a scream which sounded almost rabid. Despite this, the two kept fighting, slasing at each other for the following ten minutes.
Billig was exhausted, with cuts and bruises all over his body, and his right arm cut off, along with glitching sparks coming out of his mechanical legs...but he was still standing, clearly resilient. Torrent himself was heavily wounded, too, though it's not like Torrent wasn't used to it either.
- Billig - You're pretty good...I like your style. Tell ya what, let's leave it there, shall we?
- Torrent - Hmpf. You hit like Vekaron. And he hits like a woman. But if you wanna stop, then whatever.
- Billig - Naw, I jus' think it's borin' to end our little fight right 'ere and right now.
Torrent let go of his fighting stance and Scallywag returned to his shoulder. The bird waved its wings and let out an almost laughing-like sound at Billig.
- Torrent - You got blood all over my new armor.
- Billig - You're lucky I didn't get Gyjak to kill your little pet.
- Torrent - You wouln't want to see your partners' entrails all over the floor, now, would you?
- Billig - Already seen it before, no worries there.
- Torrent - I should tell you then that Scallywag has died already too.
Torrent turned back and started to leave, before turning to Billig again.
- Torrent - I don't have to say what's gonna happen the next time we meet.
- Billig - You're correct, coz I already know it.
- Torrent - See you around, "fresh meat".
Torrent turned, waved at Billig and left. Billig laughed, then turned to Gyjak.
- Billig - The AI, is it ready yet?
Gyjak gave him the thumbs up, and he grinned more evilly than usual.
- Billig - That's good, eh? Because things are movin' forward rather quickly...
Spores of Hatred
Karstul Sector. One of the two neighbour sectors of the Outer Core in the Arm of Knowledge. Completely unexplored by the Zoles or the Wranploer, this region of space was filled with still unknown races awaitd to be discovered. However, there was one species in there who was not waiting to be discovered. It wanted to discover the rest of the galaxy instead. And spread its spores through it.
Two travellers of the Scottera, a species of bird-like reptilians whose body composition could make one mistake them for rocks in a distance, were forced to make an emergency landing on a nearby planet. This world was inhabited by another bird-like race, the Kerpent. From a distance, you could mistake these for Wranploer due to the similar body shape, but as the Scottera didn't even know what a Wranplor was, this thought didn't even pass through their heads. The duo were approached by a group of Kerpent, and greeted them.
- Scottera - Greetings. Sorry for landing so harshly but if we didn't, we would run out of fuel.
- Kerpent - ...No problem. We enjoy visitors.
The Kerpent sent the Scotteras' ship to repairs and guided them across the city, giving them a tour. As they walked, something felt...different. The air on this would was weird. The Scotteras started to feel a headache at the same time. It was snowing, so they imagined it was the cold affecting their bodies. Scotteras were not fans of the cold anyway.
A day had passed. Two. Three. A week. The Scotteras had been in an hotel since, and they wanted to leave. But for some reason, they could not move their bodies properly since the first day. The headache had turned into an ache which went through their whole bodies. Outside, it was still snowing. One of the Scotteras had enough and forced himself up. His body moved against his will as he did his best to remain on foot. It forced himself down.
Struggling heavily, he managed to get on the window and forced it open, snowflakes entering through it. He then collapsed The friend tried to ge tto him, but could not move. What was going on? As the friend tried to move, a single large snowflake landed next to him, and he managed to take a good look at it.
It has roots on it. That was no snowflake. It was a weed. The weed suddnely started to move by itself and walked through the scottera's arm. it tried to shake its body, but he was completely immobilized. The weed made its way to his head, and forced itself through his nose. And as it did, he could onyl hear one word.
Vyatak, a genious Samilinus scientist who was well known for being adept in multiple areas of science (but particularly in both biology and artificial recreation of such), had only just really gone to sleep. Or at least, that was the last he could remember Nothing in his memory told him why he was laying on metal, in a pitch black room, with the lights slowly turning on to reveal a bloody room. And nothing in his memory told him why there was a huge, fat Wranploer yelling at him, and grabbing him.
- Billig - Come on, wakey wakey, chop chop!
Billig pulled him up by the throat, and flung him to the end of the room, where he hit the wall hard. Vyatak woke up, startled, only to see Billig in front of him.
- Billig - Well, Samilinus...you know why you're here?
- Vyatak - ...Wranploer. Should be dead. Bad smell. Blood everywhere. Concerning.
- Billig - Yeah, it is concerning, isn't it? See, there's a few things concerning me...
Gyjak got on Billig's shoulder and snarled at him. Vyatak felt uneasy. Gyjak's eyes alone dared anyone to look away and instantly struck fear into them.
- Vyatak - Psychological effect. Troublesome. What do you want from me?
Billig's evil grin contrasted with Gyjak's menacing snarl. The fat man stood tall, looking threatening, with as many knives and weapons hanging out of him as fat was.
- Billig - You're a professional in artificial intelligence technology. Fix this AI up fer me and turn it on. Then plug it in to me.
Vyatak looked around and sighed.
- Vyatak - Choices limited. So be it.
It was then that Vyatak noticed that Billig's right arm was missing. But Billig hadn't bothered to sewn it up; it was still bloodied. As Gyjak caught him looking at it, she then made a snarling sound at Billig. Billig turned to Gyjak, then turned menacingly at Vyatak and approached. Gyjak ran off Billig's shoulder and latched own to Vyatak, making screeching sounds.
- Billig - Since you're so interested in me lost arm...I'm gonna make you fix it.
- Vyatak - Get the Loktan off me!...Can't work on these conditions.
Billig looked at him angrier, then gestured Gyjak to get off by clicking his fingers. Gyjak obeyed, and glared at him as she got off.
- Billig - Question; 'ow long d'you reckon you'll be done by?
- Vyatak - Here? Never. Need a lab. Tools to work with.
- Billig - I'll take you to the lab. If you need anything, tell me...but don't cost me too much.
- Vyatak - One resquest only. Keep...it...away from me.
Vyatak pointed at Gyjak. She looked like she was about to rip his face off. And that's exactly what she was thinking. Billig simply laughed, and walked away.
- Billig - If you wish...
Gyjak looked disappointed, as she then followed Billig. Vyatak followed, nervously...
On his voyage, Vekaron recieved a message from Arkarixus.
- Arkarixus - How're things holding up?
- Vekaron - Seems good so far. We're making some great successes.
- Arkarixus - Excellent. But I'll need you to stop for a second. I have an assignment for you.
Vekaron stopped the ship, and waited.
- Arkarixus - One of our biologists, Vyatak, who has been working hard in the cybernetics department, has gone missing. Now that same department is working on some highly classified technology for the Crystal Alliance with the Kralgon's input, and we just cannot let our enemies get their hands on it. And more importantly, we cannot lose a scientist as highly valued as Vyatak. You're the only one we can trust to rescue him.
- Vekaron - I see. I'll head to the co-ordinates of where he was last spotted.
Arkarixus sent these co-ordinates, then the transmission closed. Vekaron left.
Vekaron transmitted a wave from the Penumbra, hoping to detect a signal. At first he received nothing, though a minute later, he did receive co-ordinates. To a spaceship, which looked more like a starship's space hulk that had been modified just slightly.
- Vekaron - Seems he's on that spaceship there...
- Wragot - Well then, let's go.
After a few minutes of storming the base, killing every mercenary in his way with his team, Vekaron finally arrived to the room in the station in which Vyatak was located. Vyatak was there, looking exhausted and desperate after his work.
- Vyatak - Work. Nearing completion. Tired. Not sure if able to finish today.
- Wragrot - There's our hostage.
- Vekaron - Finally. Don't worry, we'll get you out of here.
Vyatak turned to them, seeming shocked, making a kind of screeching sound.
- Vyatak - Invaders! Under attack! Need help! Oh wait. Not enemies. Recognise the middle one. Vekaron?
- Vekaron - Yes. I'm Vekaron, and this Murgur is my ally. We are here to rescue you.
Vyatak blew a sigh of relief.
- Vyatak - Hmm. Method of escape?
- Vekaron - My spaceship is outside waiting for us. We just need to leave now.
Vyatak nodded, although suddenly, Wragot was taken out, knocked to the floor by a small little creature. Gyjak had bursted through the door, throwing herself at Wragot. Billig was there, looking smug.
- Billig - Thought you could try an' disrupt me operation, eh?
Wragrot blew Gyjak away with a blast of essence and got back on his feet.
- Vekaron - '...I know you.
- Wragrot - Who's this fatso? You know him?
- Vekaron - Yes. This was one of Zaarkhun's cronies. But I though they had him killed.
- Billig - I remember you at the bar. I can't remember takin' a real likin' to ya, mind.
Billig turned to Vyatak.
- Billig - You quite finished with that?
- Vyatak - Yes. Project completed. Need input.
- Billig - ...Got an idea. 'Ow's about you put it in me new arm you made fer me?
Vyatak thought, then nodded. He picked up what appeared to be a fairly small cube, and placed it inside Billig's mechanical right arm. Billig laughed evilly.
- Vekaron - Maybe leaving Kilchárunya at the ship was a bad move.
- Wragrot - I really don't see the issue.
- Billig - Don't ya? Well...that's a shame, eh? See now, there will come a point in most of our lives when we ain't smart enough to do everythin', when we feel like we need a little 'elp with stuff. Someone to give us advice, 'eh? Someone who can help us with our evil genious plans...
- Wragrot - You go take a bath. You stink more than a Varkorus.
Billig was laughing more, but then slowly, his laughing voice changed. It was no longer Billig's accent, but now the voice was of one Vekaron recognised very well...
- ??? - Surprise!
- Vekaron - ...Eh?
Billig's eyes changed colour...to the same colour as Falrk Zaarkhun's eyes...
- Falrik Zaarkhun - Well, I'll have to adjust to Billig's body then, and sharing a body with someone. No matter...ah, it feels refreshing being alive!
- Vekaron - ...You have got to be kidding me.
Zaarkuhn laughed, and Gyjak chuckled.
- Falrik Zaarkhun - How long have I been dead for, then? Can't be too long, can it? About, say, a couple years?
- Vekaron - I expected you to have learned your lesson.
- Wragrot - What the hell is going on?
- Vekaron - That thing is Falrik Zaarkhun...
- Wragrot - Brain uploading? That's so cowardly.
Zaarkhun then walked around clumsily, trying to adapt to Billig's body. He then spoke.
- Falrik Zaarkhun - Of course I expected to have died. So I had two of my best agents, Billig and Gyjak, work on my little backup plan to survive. And I now live on through this AI!
Gyjak snarled, and then hopped on Zaarkhun's shoulder.
- Falrik Zaarkhun - And soon, my revolution will begin again...
Mercenaries then burst through every door and aimed weapons at Vekaron, Wragot and Vyatak. Zaarkhun turned to Vyatak.
- Falrik Zaarkhun - You've done well, but I won't be needing you anymore. So I will kill you.
- Vyatak - Will I die? Craftier than I look, mister.
Vyatak took out a grenade-like object and threw it at the room, which caused sleeping gas to pour out, causing the mercenaries to fall asleep. Though Zaarkhun and Gyjak weren't affected.
- Falrik Zaarkhun - What!? Gyjak, after them!
Gyjak snarled as she jumped at them, her claws ready to cut them to bits. Vekaron, Wragrot and Vyatak used the opportunity to run off, as they sprinted the fastest they could. Gyjak tried to chase them, although Vyatak threw another grenade-like object, this one hitting Gyjak back. Billig's body changed back, and once again Billig could talk.
- Billig - Leave 'em, Gyjak. We got we wanted. An' let that be a warnin' to 'em all that Zaarkhun's back...
It ws time. Vorius had awaited for this moment for months. His tests had been a success, and now it was time to bring enlightment to himself. With the shard of Regnatus on his hand, he entered the great machine he had built. The shard had ordered him to. The shard had ordered everyone to. The entire population of the planet had fallen under its unfluence. How could such a small piece of metal be so powerful?
Vorius didn't care. What mattered is that the shard opened his eyes. It had whispered to him. The goals and ideals of Volim Thrava...of Falrik Zaarkhun...they were nothing but nonsense. The true path to follow was the one of ascension. Leave this pathetic mortal shell behind. Succumb, and become part of the plan. As he entered the machine, he out an impatient growl, getting the attention of his servant: a horribly mutated, malformed hybrid between a Wranploer and a Levarcor. An abomination of decaying flesh who suffered from the fact it was alive. It obeyed and operated the machine, closing Vorius inside it.
Once upon a time, that monster was called Roykor.
The machine operated, pumping Vorius' chamber with genetic code of all species who had ever been part of the Wranploer's society. Levarcor, Zí-Jittorám, Varkorus, Borealis Zazane, Minchar, Chronodrake...even Galotian, Goblot and Heeyorian. No exceptions. He was to become the new herald of ascension. The new herald of the shard's demands. And the shard itself merged with the genetic material, becoming one with the maddened Wranploer warlord who once wanted it as a souvenir.
After several minutes, an abominable mass of almost plasmatic, goo-like matter exited the machine. Tentacles formed out of the monstrosity's body and extended across the room, grabbing the mutated Roykor and literally shoving him into its own mass. Roykor was dissolved by the liquified mass, who let out a groan. It wanted more. It wantd to expand. It wanted to claim what was its by right.
P̀̿̋͑̓̑ͨ͛͏̧̞͍̞̦̺͠e̻̝̙͈ͣ̍͑ͣa͗͐̈́͆ͣ͟҉̝̘̹̦̗̹͍ċ̵̨͈͉̥̈͛͗̃̒ͅe̪͙̠̪͈͓ͥ̓̏͂́͡͠ ͖̪̱̯̍̈́́͂͆͡ͅͅt̤̦͔̥͙̙̯͔͑̓̈́̂ͪ̕͠h̢̞̜̘̬̃͘r̜͉̈́̿̒͗ͣ̂̀͡o͈͚̻̙̎ͭ̿ͨ̐̉͡u̡͖̦̤̫̳̫̗͕̐̓͊͐ͧ̀͘g̪͎̦̥͍̯̭͇͇͊̍̀ẖ̪̝̜̮̿̏̎̐̒́ ̢̧͓ͨ͑̈͠ė̴͍́̚v̯̗͛̑ͯ͛̿̀͆͢o̥̪̮̪͎͒̊̾̓̓ͬ̚l͚̫̭͓͐ͫ̏ǘ̵̺͙̜̙̘̙̱̊̅̏̈́̋͢t̪̺͈̄͒̀́ï̛͈̜̤ǫ͉̼̺̋̍ͨ͂ͣ͑̚̕n̸͗̃̃̋ͧ̐̊̀͏̴͈̖̰̭̞̣͓̩.͈̟̺̘̋
G̷͚̬̗̟̩̼͓͍̥ͦ̇̒̏a̸̰̣̜ͪ͐͜͡l̶͚̝̻̯ͩ̐ͦ̊͋̍͘a͖͎̤̪̮̬ͪ̇̃̀͡x̸̘̳̯̦̠̱̮͎̂̇̋ͤ̓͂͑̉̀͜y̡̙̙͑ͨ̊ͭ̆͟ ͔͙̣̭͇̦̲̾͐̑͋̒s̥̲̳͉͔͎̃̆ͤͥ̑̍̋ͧ̚͘h̠̳̙̆̽͋͋̇̇͋͋a̟̫̺͔͈̭͑ͥl̬̻͔͖̓͐ͤ͘͢lͤ̃͛ͥ̍̇̽̉ͤ͏͕͓͖̣ ̼̼͍̬̹̥̥̅̏͊͋͗̉́f͉̭͎ͣͪ̈́ͭͤ͛͡ḛ̡͚̖̹̫̣̣͍̓̑ͩ͗͐̀͘a̫̙͇̗̦̠͙͛̌̓ͯͯ̐̒̆͠rͭ̍̋̍ͨ̑̈͋͏̴̨͙̟.̵̢͇̘͓̺̼ͧ̐́̍̐̒͗̚͢ͅ
G̬̬̙̘̪͔̳̞͍͋̄̀͂̒͑̅͘A͈̱̾L̝̫̯̜̪͎̜̼͋̍͋̐̈́Ã̤̲̳̪̝̍́ͮ͛̀́X̴͖͓̼̼̦͌̔͊̓͞Y̷̼̙̼̠̜ͯ̿͑͛ͨͦͯ̕ ͉͕̹͕̟͖̉ͩ̓ͥ͑̑W̧̦͎̝̽ͥͥͩͦ̋̚I̛͈̋̍ͪ͑͝͡L̴̛̗̣̥̗̥ͩ̈͛ͫͮ́ͅL͖̹͖̯̓̈̑̓ͮ̔̀ͬ͢͞ ̷͉̘̲̘̱ͤ̑ͧ̒F̧̻̻̘̗̬̰̳ͫ̎͑͊̔̚ͅĘ͇̪̯͈̙̰͐ͯ̊ͣ̾̑ͥ͐͟͞A͍̟̹ͥ͋ͧ͆ͯ̃̚͡R̷̯̹͍̥̝̥͗ͫ̄̍͡.̳̳̪̖̰̠͒ͣͪ͑́̔ͤ
Ţ̲̹̩͙̲̘͈̬̓͡ͅḧ́̂̋̏̎҉̡̭̜͙͍̹͡e̦͇̬͍̜͂ͅ ̸ͧ͋ͨ̔̎ͣ҉̶̮̩̻͙̪̲gͧ̃̈́̄ͯ͐̇̊͏͚̫͎͔̠̱̠͈͟o̴͕͎̹̹̦̬̥ͬ̋ͮͪ̈́ͅͅd̶̥̦̥̟͙̱́̅͋̐͋̇ͮ̊́ ̵̸̛̖̤̳͉̫̮͍ͭͨ̇ͅį̵̘̼̙͉ͤ̄͐́͘ŝ̵̙̫̩̥̜ ̶̨̝̟̥̇̅ͧ̒ͦ̕g͕̩̼͇̻̦̭͊͛͞o̧̘̪̩͚͖͌ͩ̇ͪ͌͜n̫̰͍̟̖͉̲̱̾͊̀͝ͅe̘̪͍͈̲̻̞͇͌̉̂͂́
b̘̬̭̭͇̱̣͎ͭ̓ͦ͂͐ͬͫ̀͞u̸͇̎̃̋͘t͍̹ͮͬ̆̋̃̾ͤ̇ͣ ̴̺̲̱͓̹͕̘̆̐̈̓̾ͮͅt̬͔̳͙͙̟̤͚ͭͥ͋h̨̲͓̭̳͉̪̩ͤ̂́ę̪̯̪̮̟͓̘͛̍̔̈ͫͭ̕͜ ̩͍̮͍͓̟̳̳͗̍̓͠c̵̩̳͇̠̤͕͉̈̌͝h̹̺̭̬̪̉ͯͩ̆̆̀i̬̠̫͍͚̬̹͎͛͛̋̎̓̂̔l͚̜̯̬͆͆̃͘ͅd͖̳̦͎̥̉̌̏̓͆͒ͬṟ̴ͨ̔̿̀̃͐̈̚͢ē͍̤̮̳̓̔́̿ͬ͗͐̉͞n̵̨̻̻̣͔͇͕͇̳̔̒̐̄ͫ ̯̥̦̠͔͇͙͑ͫ́ṛ̰̳̀͒̈͂͆͐͋̕e̻͖̪̹͔̺͇̐ͭ̋̇̈́͋m̛͎͈̟̗ͦͮ͒̐aͧ҉̧̰͖̳ì͚̲̣̫̠̬̺̃̿̓̀ͅn̲ͬ̈́͋
T͐̐̚͝҉̸ͅh̶̛̘̥̗̩̹̜͑̏ͮ̐̎̾ͯ̅̚e̵̖̱̞͉̻ͣ̔̓͗̀ͨ ̴̼̞͇̜͚͕̑̇̑C̡̡̪͈̬̲̈ͥ̍́h̦͓̘͚̹ͧ̓̽ͣ̑ĭ͇̠̜̟͕͈̝̒ͨ͆̊̐̊l̢̝̰̮̹ͮ̆̀͊ͦd̴̹͙̮̗͇̼̤ͧ̈͊̓̔ͧr̸̴̜̥̹̱̬̰̪̮ͧ̽ͦͩ͌̔̂̚é̛̦̰̙̫͓͓͓̀̉̅̄̑̓ͅn̡̛̦̠̫̹͉̔͐͋͐ͮ̉͑ͅ ̵̱̟̪͙͔͈͇͓͆̂ͫ̌ͬo̵̲̪̓ͪ̓̊̈́ͫͅf̭̳̘̹̺̼̿͒̃́͑͞ ̧̱̬͚̥͇̰̬̥̞ͫ̅̃̅ͨ̑̎̈͟͢S̡̼̘͙̮͔̓͋ͥ̅ͯ̀̓y̷͈̜̮̗̳͓̙͋̒̃̔̈́͒͋ͮ̎̀n̴͔͈̝̞̤͍̳̯̮̏̊̓ͭ͒̾t̵͕̩̻̭̞̹̝͈͕̓ͦͪͦͪ͘h̺̋̔̀ͤ͛̇͒͊̈́̀͘ĕ̢̪̫̙ͧ̉̃ͣ͑̔s͌ͤ̏ͬ͏̦͍i̊͑ͯ҉͕̻͙̮̻͓͘s̢̺̠̼͉̙̟͆͋ͣ̇̔̃ͥ̌ ͕̣̪̹ͩ͛͊ͬͦ̈́ͤͪ̽ͅr̷͓̭̩̯̂̓͂͌ͤ̕e͓̙̘̘̗͈ͤ̽̋ͨ̍ͫm̥̠̣͚̠̥̤̱̑͑̄ͬͥͯ̈́͝ạ̸̱͇̣̀̂̑͗͘͞i̛͚͎̟͓̺̪̟ͥ͗̒ͣ́̽ͯ̚n̯̼̼̙̭͛̋ͭ̑̽̽̅̏ͦͅ.̗͈̲̤͓̝͆ͧͬ́ͅ
Once upon a time, that monster was called Vorius.
Connecting to Outside
After so long of being a rather isolated galaxy, it struck the Polar Crystal Alliance that trading with each other over time may be nice and all, but there was so much more success to be had if they traded with people outside their own galaxy. But, of course, the Cold Relays didn't connect outside. So the Council got in touch with The Mechanic, asking if travel outside was possible.
- The Mechanic - Yes? Hello? What's up?
- Arkarixus - Hello, Mechanic. This is Arkarixus.
- The Mechanic - Aw, hey, Ark!
- Semirian - Greetings, Head Caretaker. We of the Council want to know if you could help us with something.
- The Mechanic - Sure, I'm listening. What do you need?
- Xeron - We'd like to expand our trading routes with our extragalactic allies but...you know, we can't actually leave the galaxy.
- The Mechanic - Awww, heck! I figured one of you'd mention the idea of having the Cold Relays take us outside Borealis...and the only reason I haven't consulted you about it is because I'm too scared of doing it!
- Xeron - Scared?
The Mechanic sighed, then looked at Xeron.
- The Mechanic - Y'see, the Cold Relays work particularly well because they connect with each other inside the Grid. And having the Relays blast a ship off outside the Grid, who knows what could happen? We've been isolated for a while and...I'd rather keep it that way than let people come in and trash the Kormacvar's work.
- Arkarixus - No one will thrash our work because I got the best Caretaker of all keeping everything in check.
- The Mechanic - I sure hope not...guess I'm just being overly paranoid. Well, I could get to work. What're you planning to do with extragalactic travel?
- Valzaria - Right now we are discussing about making trade routes with Andromeda, since most of our extragalactic allies come from that galaxy.
- The Mechanic - Oh! Trade routes! That'll make things easier...hmm...
The Mechanic blabbered on to himself as he entered things into a terminal.
- The Mechanic - Calculating distance...blablablabla...appropriate point for reception...calculating trade values...linking to stock market exchange...
- Semirian - Calculating values? This fast?
- The Mechanic - Well...yeah. I was programmed to do that. And so was the Kormacvar Stock Market Exchange. But it's not used to operating with foreign currency.
- Arkarixus - It is still functional, even after all these years? Impressive.
- Valzaria - Stock Market what now?
The Mechanic - Stock Market Exchange. It's a little computer in Hyperborea that calculates all the values of the Borealis Credit, how much everything should be worth and whatnot.
- Xeron - ...We were not aware of this.
The councilors looked at Arkarixus, confused.
- Valzaria - Ark, why did you never mention this?
- Arkarixus - No one asked. Besides, I was born during the Grox war. Economy was hardly relevant at that time.
The Mechanic - I, uh...honestly didn't feel like it was a big deal either. There's flaws in the system, though. A computer can't dictate what everyone prices their products at. So extortion still exists.
- Semirian - Well, it is still a big step forward. It'll make things much faster than we had expected.
- The Mechanic - It should, at least in theory. But I've always been scared of it. Imagine if Zaarkhun ever got his hands on it...he could have, in theory, twisted it. You know, somehow spread anarchy by overvaluing some people and undervaluing others... Heh, good thing he's not around anymore, right?
- Xeron - Even the mention of that name gets on my nerves. Thankfully the Wranploer are nothing but headless chickens right now.
- The Mechanic - Yep. And no one else was smart enough to use it properly. Anyone destroys it, sure we'd have a short economic crash but I can remake it in no time. Well that's all, I'll get to work right away. Anything else?
- Semirian - I believe that is all. Thank you for your time, Head Caretaker.
- The Mechanic - Anytime!
The transmission was closed and both sides returned to their usual activities. Having the Stock Market Exchange around was a big upside for the Alliance, and thankfully for them, there was no Zaarkhun to mess up with it...right?
Into the Carvious Sector
Vekaron's ship drifted into the direction of the nearest Cold Relay as him and his crew prepared to be the first Polar Crystal Alliance men and women to leave explored territory and enter an unknown region. The first chosen unexplored territory was the Carvious Sector. This region was located between the Demolidus Sector, home of well known aliens such as the Borealis Zazane and Zí-Jittorám, and the Tristezas Sector, home of the Cold Loron.
Due to its location, being sandwiched between two sectors dominated by pirates, the crew of the spaceship was already expecting the worst. Vekaron watched his galactic map patiently while his crewmates remained on their quarters. Wragrot and Kilchárunya shared the same level of the ship but their quarters were on complete opposite directions, they obviously not wanting each other's presences, while Vyatak remained on the medical bay, studying. Vekaron had to find ways of uniting his crew.
As the ship hit the Relay and travelled, Vekaron stood nervous. What to expect? What would happen next? As his ship arrived into a new star system, natives of the region detected it and quickly surrounded it.
- Crewmember - Alien ships detected, commandant.
- Vekaron - Any position?
- Crewmember - They don't appear hostile. But they also don't appear friendly.
At this moment, a request for communications was sent to Vekaron's ship and appeared on his screen. Before accepting, Vekaron called on his crewmates to the captain's bridge, so they could meet the natives too. Vyatak ran up to the bridge first, being more eager to meet the aliens, while Wragrot and Kilchárunya arrived last.
As Vekaron accepted the transmission request, his screen showed the face of the alien. It appeared rather tall in size, with a bright brown skin and a white armor. It had an insectoid appearance, with three pairs of limbs and two pairs of very large wings.
- Kilchárunya - What the hell is that?
- Vyatak - New alien. New species. Fascinating.
- Wragrot - Looks like what you get when you cook a Brogarnus for too long. That's a kind of Murgur cattle, mind you.
- ??? - Unknown vessel. You are not under any of our follow-ups. Identify yourself and state your intentions.
Vekaron let out a quiet sigh of relief. It appeared that the aliens were not hostile. In a situation like this, a spaceship battle would be impossible to win.
- Vekaron - I am Vekaron of the Penumbra Unit, Polar Crystal Alliance. I come from the Arm of Knowledge and all we wish is to explore and map this region.
The aliens talked among themselves, then turned back to Vekaron. Their originally stoic expressions had changed into something more visibly welcoming.
- ??? - We have heard of this Alliance. You are in Shrakanal Empire territory. I am Shor'karn, military commander of this subsector.
- Vekaron - It is a pleasure to meet you. If your empire means no harm to us, then perhaps your diplomats and ours can talk about partnership.
- Shor'karn - Not until your species has been catalogued and we confirm you bring no chaos with you. The Shrakanal have worked for several centuries to keep the sector free of criminals, slavers, whatever you wish to call them.
- Vekaron - You do? The Alliance's goal is to end all of that in the entire galaxy.
Shor'karn smiled, or at least gave out what appeared to be a smile, as it was difficult to determinate thanks to his double-jaw.
- Shor'karn - If that's so, then I will inform my superiors. You are allowed to travel through our space as long as you remain pacific.
- Vekaron - Understood. We will stay and explore the sector and then we will move on.
- Shor'karn - Very well. I believe you are good to go now. Goodbye, Penumbran Vekaron.
With this, Shor'karn's fleet allowed Vekaron's ship to move on and leave the system. First contact with the Shrakanal went much better than the crew had expected. The Niaka crewmembers of the ship even joked how the place already had their own equivalent of the Special Forces.
Not all inhabitants of the sector were this welcoming, though...
Horror at the Corps
Borealan Adjudication Corps ships were all that the eye could see if one was to look into the skies of this world. An urban world within the Corps' protection, they had lost contact with the Corps for some time. Corps troopers and soldiers packed their energy weapons as advanced air vehicles patrolled over a city, though all they could see was ruin. Captain Tigra Hosfur was with his elite squad of Corps soldiers waited nearby the perimeter for their next batch of orders. Vehicles and advanced cybernetic units patrolled outside the city, in case of any rebellion against them.
- Tigra - Still no contact established within the city's border. Judging by the state of the architecture, I'd be surprised if there was.
- Soldier - Captain, where are all the people? We didn't even recieve a welcome or greetings, nor permission to land.
- Tigra - I think in times like these, permission is unnecessary. Commander, this is Captain Tigra Hosfur of the 81st Regiment. Preparing to set out.
With that, the squad entered the city's borders. The city was ruined and destroyed, with no sign of life. The stench of death and destruction filled their nostrils, they abandoned their warrior lifestyle long ago. They carried customized energy weaponry, designed for intense firefights and close situations. Walls were filled with body fluids, including blood and other oozing substances of unknown origin.
- Soldier - Looks like a cultist sacrificial ritual to me...
- Tigra - Cultists within our territory? I doubt it. Probably pirates.
- Soldier - Pirates don't do this sort of thing, Captain.
- Tigra - You have a point.
As they moved on, they came across a dead body, completely multilated, and next to it, a holographic messager. Tigra kneeled down into a filthy pool of blood and examined the corpse, before picking up the messenger. The messager started to play a recording.
- Message - Looks like things are going to improve now. This newly arrived company built a huge hospital at the plaza, made of some really advanced tech. They said they're handling cybernetic enhancements for free for the first two weeks. I might get myself one...there's something really compelling about that building.
Tigra stood and examined the message, the soldiers looking at each other in a confused fashion.
- Tigra - The only legal cybernetic companies within our territory are those sponsored by the Adjudication itself. I don't recall any new company emerging within our space.
- Soldier - I say we should check it out.
- Tigra - Hmph, whoever committed this massacre will pay for their crime by Adjudication's will. Come on, don't let the dead die without avengement.
The hospital in question was visible at a distance. It was fairly small in size, but had an ominous feel around it. It was also the only building at the city still intact.
- Soldier - I have a bad feeling about this.
- Tigra - Shut your trap before I shut it for you. You'd better have your weapons ready, we're heading in.
The squad slowly approached the hospital, although their nerves were definitely being wrecked by simply just standing in its direction, let alone heading towards it. Upon entering the hospital, the squad felt a complete change of view. It was clean, intact and calm. The building's diminutive size was also explained, as they found several stairs leading underground.
- Tigra - Underground staircases. Hmph, but why down unless they are storing something of significance?
- Soldier - Perhaps cryogenic storage.
- Tigra - Nobody says they cannot have that on the upper levels. They're hiding something, if "they" are still around.
A nearby screen showed a recording. It showed two Zazane male patients, chatting while waiting for their own chance of seeing the doctors.
- Zazane 1 - I'm gonna be tough enough to impress my wife all the time once this is done.
- Zazane 2 - Wait, you're married?
- Zazane 1 - Yeah. To Sorika.
- Zazane 2 - What? Sorika is my wife!
- Zazane 1 - Huh? Since when?
- Zazane 2 - Since we painted our scales together, 12 years ago! I remember using golden paint because it was her favorite colour.
- Zazane 1 - But I did that...
- Zazane 2 - Do we...have the same memories?
- Zazane 1 - How weird...
- Tigra - Same memories...? It could be a genetic malfunction in the brain, but...it's too much of a coincidence. I want somebody to stay here and analyze this data, I want the rest of the team to join me downstairs.
- Soldier - Downstairs? Do you have any idea of what might be down there?
- Tigra - Hopefully the answer to this mess.
As they went downstairs, the calm atmosphere of the surface was soon gone. Walls were bloodied, as were the ceiling and floor of the corridors, with what appeared to be signs of battle. The squad continued downward. Normally such a sight wouldn't disturb them, but something made them feel uneasy about all of this. Something wasn't right. As they moved on, they could see writing on the wall. "We become more. We become more. We become more."
- Soldier - Captain, there are signs of--
- Tigra - I see it. You may have been right about your cultist theory.
In one of the rooms of the corridor, the squad could hear a voice humming. The squad aimed their weapons towards several rooms, getting into a battle position.
- Tigra - Which one of you is making that sound?
- Soldier - None of us, sir. We thought it was you.
The squad identified the sound coming from a specific door. As it opened, they could see the silhouette of what appeared to be a female Zazane, with her back turned to them.
- Tigra - Miss, are you alright? Adjudication forces are here to find out how we lost contact. Could you answer a few of our questions?
The Zazane did not respond.
- Tigra - Everything's going to be alright, there's nothing to be afraid of.
The Zazane slowly turned to Tigra...and her face was swapped to that of a Varkorus, and her right arm and left leg were also of Varkorus origin. The Adjudication squad jumped back in shock and fired their weapons towards her as they yelled out curses and exclamations in their shock. The mutant Zazane screeched madly, tried to attack back but was decimated by the shots.
- Tigra - What in the name of Zazane was THAT thing?!
- Soldier - I-It didn't look like any Zazane I've ever seen and I've seen some scary guys in my time!
The squad moved back away from the room and panted in relief. On a nearby desk, another holographic messager was visible. Tigra slowly approached the table, keeping his rifle primed before reaching out and grabbing it quickly. It played out a new message.
- Message - It's in our head. Since we arrived at this place, it whispered at us. It made us volunteer ourselves for this. But it was a trap. This is a nightmare factory. If anyone hears this, run. Run while you still can. The whispers...the whispers are unbearable...gods can't die...
It was followed by static. Tigra placed the messenger along with the others he had collected and looked back to his team.
- Tigra - What do you want to do, men...?
- Soldier - I don't think we should go any further, captain.
- Tigra - Alright, prepare yourselves to go back to the upper levels. We'll send another squad down here soon.
Loud roars were heard coming from the lower levels. The ssquad could hear a large number of creatures making their way up.
- Soldier - Oh god...captain, they're coming.
- Tigra - Ready your weapons! We can't have them getting out of here, they would break the quarantine!
Another nearby wall had writing, but this time in blood. "EVEN DEAD GODS MAY DREAM", repeated several times. The monsters, various Zazane mutated themselves with other Borealis races, started to appear at the end of the corridor. The squad began firing at the monsters, although the darkness hid them rather well. They began to feel incredibly unnerved and started to lose their aim. As the monsters went down, the squad could hear whispers on their minds. "Do not resist. We are your future." A louder roar was heard as a monster, much larger than the others, appeared in the shadows.
Tigra's eyes widened when he gazed upon the beast and the squad really lost their nerve. Their aim grew worse as more monsters appeared, they hadn't seen anything likt this. Leaving the shadows, the monster revealed itself to be a huge Zazane-Loron hybrid, who pushed the other monsters aside to charge at the squad. Members of the squad abandoned their formation and ran while they could. Tigra and a few soldiers stayed behind, mainly because they had not noticed, and continued to fire at the beast.
The hybrid ran up to Tigra's men and punched them aside while enduring their shots. Meanwhile, the other mutants were still making their way up. Tigra growled and leaped to punch the abomination, while the few surviving soldiers left got out their blades and tried to cut down the monsters. The hybrid felt little damage from Tigra's punches, displaying a combined endurance of both Loron and Zazane, and then punched Tigra across the corridor. The whispers became louder.
"Stop resisting. Accept ascension."
Tigra looked around and all he could see were the hideous hybrids. He grabbed his Shidium pistol and began to fire at the crowd, yelling in an attempt to scare them off. The monsters seemed completely mindless, ignoring Tigra's yells. One of his soldiers was overwhelmed, immobilized, and taken by the monsters to underground. Tigra stood and slammed his blade into one of the attacking monsters, turning himself round to try and shoot at another.
- Tigra - Get away from me, filthy creatures!
As the monsters died, the whispers suddenly became a roar. "Succumb, and ascend." Tigra fell onto his back and released a cry for help, holding his head as the words pounded inside of his head, he became too distracted to kill more of the beasts. The Zazane-Loron grabbed Tigra and lifted him to his eye level. It then departed back to underground while the rest of the monsters prepared to attack the surface.
The last thing Tigra could see before losing consciousness was a large machine, operated by an orange, tentacled Wranploer...
Worshippers of Corruption
Due to the contact of the Shrakanal, there was not much else to be done in the Carvious Sector. The Shrakanal had full databases of the empires and species in the region, so there was not much exploring to do in it. Vekaron thought the next location they should go should be on the other side of the galaxy, to the Geriamias Sector. However, before they left, they decided to pay a visit to a space station located within Carvious to see if they could find out anything interesting. And so they did.
The team composed of Vekaron, Wragrot and Kilchárunya made their way through the station. It had an unusual feel in it, and they were being watched by several tall, slim, blue, reptilian aliens which were seemingly the only inhabitants of it.
- Kilchárunya - Pfft. It would be even more unnerving if they were Kicathian females. Heh, for me at least.
- Wragrot - Well I'm not liking the look of their faces.
Vekaron approached one of the aliens.
- Vekaron - Excuse me, where can I-
- Alien - Stand back, filth. You are not supposed to be here.
Kilchárunya pointed her blaster at the alien.
- Kilchárunya - Excuse me?
Several aliens around the area pointed their guns at Kilchárunya. She growled and grudgingly put her blaster away.
- Vekaron - I must be missing something here.
- Alien - We will not deal with one of the responsible for the fall of the Emperor.
- Kilchárunya - ...Eh?
- Vekaron - ...I have no idea...I've never seen any of these people before.
The team moved on, the aliens being unresponsive or outright hostile to them, until they arrived in what appeared to be a plaza. In the middle of it, there was what appeared to be a bloodied altar.
- Wragrot - Alright, now I have a really bad feeling about all this.
- ??? - Well, look what we have here. A Zoles, a Murgur and a Kicath. Are you lost? Because you are very far from home.
A group of more of the aliens approached the group. These were better armored, and their leader had a grin on his face.
- Kilchárunya - Define home, Ka-sataí (Alien scum).
- Wragrot - And you are?
- ??? - You may call me Vonderschan. I am the head priest of this station. It is quite convenient for you to be here, Zoles commandant.
- Vekaron - And you know me...how?
- Vonderschan - You were there when the Chosen fell. You were there when the Corruptor was destroyed. We know much about you.
- Kilchárunya - Ah crap. You're Legion?
Vonderschan laughed and clapped his hands, turning more lights on the plaza. Above the altar, there was a Corruptus Shrine.
- Wragrot - Shit.
- Vekaron - Oh you have GOT to be kidding me!
- Vonderschan - We of the Hseraelna follow the guidance of the Devourer. You stopped his coming, and now we will be glad to repay you with the same coin!
- Kilchárunya - Yep. Legion. Times like these you actually want Kicath Agents to be around, you know.
- Vekaron - Not the crazy ones, at least.
Vonderschan's men put out their guns and fired at the group. Vekaron jumped to behind the altar to use it as cover, while Wragrot fired his shotgun at the Hseraelna soldiers. Kilchárunya teleported out of the immediate area and found a vantage point, shooting at the Hseraelna with her blaster.
- Vekaron - You can teleport?
- Kilchárunya - Yeah. Kicath tech.
- Vekaron - I don't remember the Agents having that...thank the ancestors Nu didn't have that.
- Kilchárunya - ...Nu?
Kilchárunya was distracted from hearing Nu's name. One Hseraelna soldier took the opportunity and fired at Kilchárunya. The shot bounced off her armor, but bruised her. Kilchárunya looked at the Hseraelna, enraged, and jumped down to him. The soldier's eyes widened and he tried to jump out of the way, but was hit.
- Wragrot - Wait. I got an idea.
Wragrot turned around and began firing at the Shrine. Vonderschan let out a roar.
- Vonderschan - How dare you defile the Shrine?! Men, concentrate on that brute!
- Wragrot - Heh. You're just like the Minga. Attack the "holy" relics and they get all peeved up.
The soldiers concentrated on Wragrot, giving room for Vekaron and Kilchárunya. Kilchárunya grabbed the barrel of her blaster and whacked a soldier in the head with it. Suddenly, the gunfire began to stop. Around the group, the Hseraelna began to cough and splutter, before shrieking out and vomiting up blood and other materials from inside them violently. They dropped their weapons and collapsed to the floor, dying in pools of their own vital fluids.
- Kilchárunya - Ew.
- Vekaron - Eh?
- Wragrot - Fun stuff.
- Vonderschan - Grrr, this coughing...Vansenk!
The armoured Hseraelna weren't safe either as they appeared to collapse to the floor, convulsing and shaking violently.
- Vonderschan - I know you're there, heretic! Show yourself!
- Wragrot - Reminds me of one time I saw a bar competition, a bunch of thugs challenged each other in drinking Zí-Jittorám acid. No idea where they got it, but needless to say, everyone died.
- Kilchárunya - They what?!
- Wragrot - They were drunk, and stupid. Mostly stupid.
From behind Vonderschan, a figure wearing a rather long overcoat and a hood appeared. In his hand, a sharp sickle. He was silent. Vonderschan's eyes widened as he noticed the figure. He immediately ran into the altar's direction.
- Vekaron - What's going on here?
- Kilchárunya - Hooded figures with sickles. Never a good thing.
The figure slowly raised an arm, pointing his finger towards Vonderschan. He appeared to be one of the blue, tall aliens that resided here, yet he was fighting against them. Vonderschan could feel pain inflict upon his head; the group could see his skin rippling and bulging.
- ??? - Your demise won't be so hasty, zealot.
Vonderschan fell into the ground, but still forced himself to reach the altar, pulling a dagger out of his pocket.
- Vonderschan - I got the Zoles and you...the Devourer will bless me in the afterlife for this...
Vonderschan managed to reach the altar. He put the dagger up, and then sliced his own neck, spilling his blood in it.
- Vonderschan - Feel...his wrath!
- ??? - He shall feel mine.
As Vonderschan succumbed to his slice, and Corruptus Shrine began to emit a purple glow, and a loud growling sound could be heard. Kilchárunya sighed heavily.
- Vekaron - Ngh. Please not another demon. I've had enough of this already.
- Kilchárunya - I thought we'd be fighting pirates, not demons.
- Wragrot - Demon? Hmm. Never had the chance of fighting one. Should be interesting.
Outside of the dead priest's body, a black fog emerged and started to take shape. From it, appeared a Malcaeum. Except it was much larger, and with a much sharper blade.
- Alpha Malcaeum - Blood to be spilled.
- Kilchárunya - Well...that's pretty damn scary.
- Wragrot - So much dark power, it's making me cringe.
- Vekaron - I've fought Malcaeum before and they were certainly NOT like this!
- Kilchárunya - Run? Don't run?
- Wragrot - Running is for cowards. We fight, and take the thing's horns as trophies.
- Kilchárunya - Well if you haven't noticed you're a giant whatever-you-are with psychic powers.
- Wragrot - I thought your people liked fighting!
- Kilchárunya - Have you seen that thing?
The hooded figure glared towards the Malcaeum and stepped forward towards it, his sickle in hand.
- ??? - Come, child of the egocentric being. Let me show you why the Universe's laws prevail over your gods.
The Alpha Malcaeum stared at the hooded figure and then tried to slash at it with its blade. The figure managed to catch the blade with its sickle, designed to capture and counter strikes. He raised his hand to the Malcaeum, shortly before the demon's skin began to ripple and bulge. The Alpha Malcaeum groaned in confusion and launched a blast of entropic energy around itself, sending the entire team flying back. The hooded figure was launched back, although he landed without stumbling. His hood had been knocked down, revealing that he was a sickly green and yellow rather than blue as the group had expected. Vekaron watched the fight and put himself back on his feet, followed by Wragrot and Kilchárunya.
- Vekaron - ...I don't know about you two but I'm gonna help him.
Vekaron ran up to the Alpha Malcaeum and striked at it with his blade. The Malcaeum retaliated by slashing at him, but missed. The Alpha Malcaeum's skin continued to ripple and bulge unnaturally, with several of these fleshy mounds exploding although not causing as much harm as it did to the Hseraelna earlier. Kilchárunya let out a long groan and grabbed her blaster, firing it at the Malcaeum's eyes. The insides of the Malcaeum were visible, showing that below their skin, they had nothing but masses of entropy. Kilchárunya's shots caused it to become disoriented and flail his blade around.
- ??? - No organs.
- Kilchárunya - This is ridiculous!
The figure raised his sickle, shortly before its handle and blade began to grow and change shape somewhat. Within the space of 10 seconds, the sickle had transformed into a scythe. The figure proceeded to slash at the Malcaeum athletically, striking at it from a distance with his scythe, causing deep gashes and cuts into the Malcaeum's flesh. Entropic energy blasted out of the wounds. Wragrot charged at the Alpha, causing it to stumble, and Vekaron kept slashing at it. The Malcaeum let out a deep groan and breated a purple fire out of its mouth.
- Wragrot - Okay, that's new.
- Vekaron - Watch out!
The figure's scythe embedded itself into the Malcaeum's cheek after several more slashes. Now hooked, the figure, with a large amount of effort, proceeded to throw the demonic creature over his head with the scythe, launching it at the alter. The impact destroyed the altar and caused the Corruptus Shrine to fall on the Alpha, crushing it. The demon exploded into a purple blast, which once dissipated, revealed a normal-sized Malcaem among the debris.
- Malcaeum - ...LOST POWER! LOST POWER!!!
- Kilchárunya - Riiiight. No need to try narcotics now.
- Vekaron - You think this is bad? I had to fight armies of those things.
The figure approached the Malcaeum, raising his hand again. The group could see the now weakened Malcaeum's head beginning to bulge violently, as well as spasm unnaturally fast. The Malcaeum screamed until it itself also exploded, its remains evaporating away into more black fog.
- Vekaron - Woah...
- Wragrot - Aw! No trophies! Now I can't call myself a demon slayer.
- Kilchárunya - Heck I don't even know what's going on.
The figure dropped his hand, his scythe transforming back into a sickle. He turned towards the group, a blank look on his face to reveal several scars.
- ??? - You shouldn't be here.
- Vekaron - We get it. Demon worshippers. Still, thank you for the help, mister...erm...
- ??? - Vansenk.
- Vekaron - Yes. Thank you, Vansenk.
- Wragrot - This guy is good. We should get him on the team.
- Kilchárunya - I dunno. I don't want him stealing the moment every time.
- Vansenk - It was clear from your expressions you are not experienced in fighting demons. At least, not the Murgur or the Kicath.
- Vekaron - Yeah, I fought the Chosen. Seen their Corruptor up-front. Seen it die...and yes, I think you'd make a good addition to the team. We are in a mission to explore the galaxy, and more help from experienced warriors are always a plus.
- Vansenk - What benefits would your journey offer me? Or you, in fact?
- Kilchárunya - Not getting our asses handed to us by gigantic abominations is one, I guess.
- Vekaron - Well, I'm a member of the Penumbra Unit, so being with me means you'd get access to a lot of benefits, as well as a place to live on my personal spaceship.
- Wragrot - And you get to eat whatever poor sap who thinks he can get on your way without giving any satisfaction.
Vanserk shook his head.
- Vansenk - That is not what I meant. I have no interest in what food you eat, liquids you drink, money you spend, or beds you sleep in. That means nothing to me. What I was referring to was would you find me good company and vice versa?
- Vekaron - I don't see why not. You seem like a good person. Being among squadmates is good, being among friends is better.
- Wragrot - That's the pettiest thing I've ever heard.
Kilchárunya hissed. Vansenk approached Vekaron, his blank expression still vacant on his face. After leaning in, he smiled - revealing his sets of rotted, damaged teeth.
- Vansenk - The pact is made. Friends it shall be.
- Vekaron - Great. Welcome to the team, Vansenk.
- Wragrot - We need to get the new guy a dental plan asap.
Kilchárunya shuddered and walked back to the ship. Vansenk's breath smelt incredibly putrid, although it was clear he would pose no threat to them. He placed his sickle away and walked with the group back to the ship. As they walked back, they witnessed many dead Hseraelna lying in twisted positions.
Everything seemed to be going very well for old big and slimy, as Billig wandered around the palace of his secluded space station. He'd just had his dinner - arguably his favourite part of the day - and figured it was time to check how his project was doing. He contacted Yvomil.
- Billig - Hey, 'ow's it all goin'? Tradin' all right? Business all right?...empire conquerin'...all right?
- Yvomil - Everything is going well, boss. Things are actually going better than we expected.
- Billig - That's what I like to hear, missy. I 'ope you's gettin' comfortable with becoming increasingly richa, increasingly more powerful...
- Yvomil - Working under you has made me richer than ever, boss. And our profit is only increasing.
- Billig - That's great, eh? Round 'ere those of you lucky enough to be powerful can live by one philosophy: grow rich, and grow fat.
Billig chuckled, as he then deactivated the communications.
- Billig - Now all I need is another ally to get things workin' 'round 'ere...
Billig pondered, then his eyes changed, as did his voice, as he was now Falrik Zaarkhun. He then contacted Fre'kloar. On his screen he could see the Loron Leeda juggling with several pizzas.
- Falrik Zaarkhun - Ah, Fre'kloar, old friend!
Fre'kloar threw the pizzas up and ate them as they fell. He looked at his screen, pondered a little, and then started to scratch it with his finger. The other Leedas and Warbosses all approached the screen.
- Fre'kloar - OI DERES SOM HUGE ORANGE BALL ON MA SCREEN SUMONE GET IT OFF
- Falrik Zaarkhun - Relax, relax!...I'm Falrik Zaarkhun. I may have a new, well, rather plump body, but it's me.
- Hagto'Zhl - eh wat?
- Fre'kloar - wat. YOR TOO FAT TA BE ZAARKHUN
- Jol'kiar - yeh an zaarkhuns ded
- Falrik Zaarkhun - I did die...which is why I had to get myself a new body. I got this one.
- Grak'tona - WES NOT STOOPID OK YOR JUS...A FAT WRANPLOA
- Hagto'Zhl - NOT EVEN ZR'AHGLOTHS DAT FAT OH MA DAYZ
Falrik Zaarkhun was clearly getting tired.
- Falrik Zaarkhun - Do I not SOUND like him at least?!
- Fre'kloar - meh who cares for wat ya sound anyway zaarkhun was dum goin all "da galacsi needs ta b strong i like ta suk volims dik all day"
- Falrik Zaarkhun - ...
Zaarkhun was now clearly irritated.
- Jol'kiar - yeh an going all "ma moms ded weeeeeh" SUK IT OFF I KILLED MA MOM AN YOO DUNT SEE ME COMPLAININ
Now Zaarkhun was very angry.
- Fre'kloar - yeh and also he wus all "genrai man yor da best eva so musculous so strong can we b a couple foreva an eva"
- Grak'tona - OH YEH DEY WER TOTALLY A COUPLE HURHURHUR
Falrik Zaarkhun slammed his hand into the console. He then spoke in a foreign language, ancient tongue that very few people spoke. At that moment, Gyjak appeared in the room and pounced on Fre'kloar, screeching. Fre'kloar screamed in a girly voice and ran around in circles as the other Leedas all jumped back.
- Fre'kloar - GET IT OFF ME FUK SAKE
- Jol'kiar - BAK IN MA DAYZ WE WERE NEVA SCARED OF SOMTHIN TINY BUT HOLY PIZZA DATS CREEPY AS FUK
- Falrik Zaarkhun - This shows you that I AM Zaarkhun. She was my one of my greatest agents, and I'd always send her to strike fear into your hearts whenever you decided to be less than loyal...
- Fre'kloar - OK FINE YOR ZAARKHUN NAO GET ITT OFF ME NNNGH
Falrik Zaarkhun clicked his fingers. Or at least, tried to, taking many attempts. He sighed, and then just slapped his own flab, to make the same noise. Gyjak then left. Fre'kloar panted loudly then looked at the screen again, with a worried look.
- Fre'kloar - ...we wus jus kiddin
- Falrik Zaarkhun - Yes. You were.
- Gol'thabex - ta proov it we can do whateva ya want...as long as yoo pay me of cours
- Falrik Zaarkhun - Oh I've got a few things in mind. I'll need you, however, to attack a certain few Wranploer warlords.
- Hagto'Zhl - oh. dats eesy
Falrik Zaarkhun then changed into Billig.
- Billig - Oh, an' if I ever talk like this...then think nothin' of it.
- Grak'tona - dats yor fat voice? cus it sounds fat. cus yor fat
- Billig - Attack a few of 'em Wranploer warlords who ain't been very co-operative. Attack the warlords themselves, or attack their shipyard productions...dependin' on their offense. I'll give you a list of names.
- Rogue Geek - I suppose I'll have to memorize that, since everyone else in this ship has the attention span of a peanut.
- Fre'kloar - hurhurhur yeh...I meen wat
- Billig - No worries. Jus' as long as it's done, eh?
Billig then quit the comms chat. His Consortium had a new quirky ally.
Return of the Cursed One
"What are your orders?", a harsh, deep voice said to his master...or maybe employer.
The jungles of planet Diyari were never asleep. Even at night time, they were merely half awake, with one open and the other shut. Even in their quietest, the sounds of the many creatures that lurked in the jungle, just waiting to prey on whatever dared to traverse through its dangers. One jungle, the Forbidden Jungle, in particular was the deadliest of all. It is said that no one should ever traverse it in groups of any less than twenty to survive.
"Your task," spoke a voice on comms chat, "is to assassinate the Niaka Chief of this region of space. The chief has hindered my expansion to this territory, and I have a loathing of Niaka. Murder him, and try to destroy whatever centre of operations he has."
When an even deadlier warrior of greater strength, agility, and cunning traversed the jungle, the creatures of the jungle all collectively rethought their plans to feast. They may all plan to kill each other, but when something new contests their territory, they team up, all taking a slice of their new meal, and warning everything else to stay clear. Diyari, next to Groodrub, was among Borealis' most dangerous planets. And among the Niaka's most powerful strongholds, largely due to it being so difficult to contest.
"What can you tell me of the chief?", the voice spoke.
"Fairly tall for a Niaka," replied the comms chat. "I believe he's missing an eye, too. He's old, brave, and he's always well prepared. And that is why I came to you. A little cranky in his old age, but always constantly aware of danger. He's the enforcer type, very strict about how he controls this region of space. With him out, I don't see anyone replacing him in contesting my growth. And with him down, a few more warlords my join my cause..."
Of course, no matter how many cloaking devices or silencers you brought, the jungle knew you were there. A plant would have felt it, and the other plants and animals knew that a plant had, whether through letting off some sonic wave at a frequency only the jungle knew, or making a quiet rustling no one would associate with a cry for awareness, it was almost like a co-ordinated hivemind. Someone could have plotted the layout of this jungle.
"And his location?"
"A base," the comms voice resumed. "Some well-defended fort that so many have tried to sneak into and failed. So many assassins have targeted this irritating man and at every attempt he locates another security hole and plugs it. The fortress is impenetrable, with so many hidden sensors, so many defenses, so many guards that there's almost no way to sneak in."
And the jungle had found its prey. They'd heard it, sensed it somehow, but now everything was moving in. As a reptillian creature was on guard, slowly crawling down one of the trees which it could tell its prey was walking past, it knew what to do: pounce, and howl, signalling the attack. The ferocious beasts licked their tongues as they prepared to strike this target. They could tell it knew what it was doing, though. It had blent in so well, making so little sound, and upsetting so little of the jungle. Like it was a master of camouflage.
"And I am to sneak into the jungle, locate the fortress...and somehow sneak in?"
"You should find a way. I do know that the old man being cranky is probably prone to distractions. Also that no assassin has snuck through the jungle, what with it being so incredibly deadly, before. You'll have the upper hand."
"And if I have no means of creating a distraction?"
"Make one. Or I could, if you're desparate."
And the creature's heart beat fast. Slowly, its paws left the tree, as it pounced. The entire jungle waited for the howl that was to come mere seconds after it found its prey. But no howl came. Not even a cry of pain from the beast, and its species had never been slain before by a wandered. As slowly, all the other creatures looked, they saw the beast dead. But little blood came from it. The trespasser had culled it with a blade, but done it so swiftly and been so aware of it that it had never had the chance to cry out. The senses of this warrior were greater than any they had come across.
"Very well. It shall be done...Captain Torrent."
As the warrior left the jungle, blending in with new surroundings, a few seconds later, the jungle could hear an explosion. It was coming from the fortress. An alarm was sounded. Millions of Niaka in their titan suits rushed towards the source of the explosion, as the centre of operations had exploded. No longer would this fortress be sending any messages again, or keeping track of anyone.
The curious creatures looked at the fortress, perhaps seeking to make a home of its ruins. It was almost as if they themselves had done it. Whoever had been here had barely made a sound themselves, the only sound they made being the destruction of the communications dish. Everyone in here had died without knowing what had hit them, with their blade being aimed so well it hadn't even made a sound. That old cranky Niaka had been killed, and so had everything that breathed. Time for some fungal growth here, and a new territory to expand on, perhaps.
"Torrent, my target has been neutralised."
"Excellent..."said Torrent, clearly pleased. "And reports also say that their centre of operations has been destroyed. Good. With them blinded, we can take over some other critical points and they will be forced to back off, or to simply leave me alone. This kind of intimidation could force them to make a pact with me that means we leave each other alone...or it could hurt them so badly they'll at least know who the real boss of this place is. I am very glad that I hired you...Genrai Nal."
Symbol of Pact
Captain Torrent, who had been ordered to come alone, traversed the dark, barren rocky hills of the planet he had been told to visit. Many had been far too frightened to cross these paths, which the natives declared forbidden. Though there was little that would frighten Torrent away. As he came to the destination he had been ordered to go to, he was confronted by Genrai Nal.
- Genrai Nal - So you have arrived?
- Torrent - There better be a reason I was called here. I am not one to be "ordered" around.
- Genrai Nal - Good. I like an employer with that attitude. Time has not worn you at all.
- Torrent - Is that how you see me as? Just an employer? Hmpf.
Climbing the hill, was the beast Fostrak, along with Kithana, who hopped off his back. All the Guild of Shadows soon followed, circling Torrent and surrounding him.
- Genrai Nal - You have utilised the services of the Guild of Shadows, like you would any mercenary group. We are not "any" mercenary group, however.
Torrent picked on his teeth with one of his fingers.
- Torrent - Your point being?
- Genrai Nal - We do not offer our furthered services to the uninitiated. A pact is what I desire if you wish to continue working with us.
- Torrent - Pact, eh? Alright, I'm listening.
Genrai Nal pondered for a moment.
- Genrai Nal - We have debated amongst each other how to symbolise the 'pact'. Some suggested carvings in the employer's skin. Others suggested he speak a certain tongue. I am fine with offering a medallion to symbolise our pact. It can be worn on the neck, wrist, or belt.
- Torrent - Medallion sounds good to me.
Genrai nodded, and turned to another member. A floating robot - Death Bot 99 - then passed the medallion. Torrent wore it on its neck...but it was much heavier than he anticipated, almost pulling him into the ground. It also glowed when he wore it.
Genrai Nal - Should you need our services again...the proof that you have come to our hideout, and worn the medallion, is proof that you are more than worthy an employer. And that we are not like other simple PMCs. I did not doubt that, given our history together, you would prove worthy, but I needed proof for the rest of our Guild.
Torrent - Given our history together I'd expect you to see more more than just an employer. But whatever, I'll use your medallion, and I expect no failures from you when I call you.
Genrai Nal - The pact is proof that you are more than just an employer. You are now an affiliate. No matter how much I am paid, given this pact, we cannot act against you.
Genrai made a warrior's salutations to Torrent.
- Genrai Nal - It is good to work with you again, old friend.
Torrent smiled slightly and saluted back to him.
- Torrent - I have big things in mind, and the Guild could be of good help.
- Genrai Nal - We are listening.
- Torrent - I need you all to get me scientists. Not just from the Alliance, not just from Wranploer remnants. I need scientists from all over the galaxy, and I need many of them.
- Genrai Nal - Kidnapping missions? That...could indeed work.
- Torrent - Preferably those from the area of biology. Something...will return, and I need it to be perfect.
- Genrai Nal - As curious as I am as to what that thing is, we respect our affiliate's rights to privacy...so long as it does not harm the Guild and its affiliates.
- Torrent - I'll tell you more as it progresses. For now, just get me those scientists.
New Ways of Life
Life on Borealis was getting tough for the Wranploer. Between being conquered by Torrent, manipulated by Billig or consumed by Vorius, many Wranploer only wanted to go on with their lives like they did back before their species was shattered. The standard Wranploer citizen didn't care for the goals or ideals of their power-hungry warlords. All they wanted was to stay alive in a galaxy that wanted them dead.
It were not just the Wranploer, too. Some of their former slave races were having an even rougher time. Back when the Consortium Network was first divided, the Polar Crystal Alliance had already "rescued" thousands of Minchar and Levarcor out of their hands and took them to Alliance territory to give them a new life. At this point, the idea of having Levarcor soldiers was becoming increasingly popular in the Niaka Special Forces, and the rescued Minchar were receiving education and homes, after serving as slaves for nearly 1,800 years.
Some groups of Wranploer were meeting and organizing a movement unlike one not seen ever in galactic history. They were the nemesis of the Polar Crystal Alliance and its member empires since its very origins. But now, their leader was gone, their society laid broken, the War Economy made growing back extremely risky and difficult...these Wranploer made a choice which would be considered a war crime years ago.
A Wranploer, chosen by the movement, spoke. On his screen, it were several Polar Crystal Alliance diplomats.
- Wranploer - ...We surrender.
Semirian was the kind of woman who didn't make mistakes. Firm to her work, always studying the histories of the Alliance and its members, always on the lookout, she was also very careful herself. She almost never left a room without her bodyguards, and Hyperborea was the most secure world ever. What were the chances that some fat Wranploer and his pet could kidnap her? None at all, right? I mean, it's not like his pet can crawl through ventilation shafts so easily without detection. And the Wranploer never invented teleporters, did they? And she was always on the look out, so no one could sneak up on her, stun her and then beam her away. Impossible! Many attempts had been made on the lives of the councillors. And of the 350 different elaborate attempts, each more cunning, every single one had failed. So nothing could catch her, right?
Apparently not. And when Gyjak sneaked through the ventilation, having put every guard on her way to sleep, Semirian soon found herself knocked out, and beamed all the way to Billig's space station. Of course, it hadn't been easy. Several agents were needed to jam the thousands of sensors at the time, and Gyjak had plenty of guards. She was the most feared and more revered agent of the BCN, and only she could have pulled this off. The plan was too well co-ordinated for it to have been Billig's doing. No one could've seen this coming.
Semirian woke up, finding herself in the horrid slaughterhouse that had been described to her. She knew that, if she got back, Billig would be raised in her list of threats.
- Billig - Why, hello there, miss Semirian! Please, make yerself comfortable.
Semirian was not amused.
- Semirian - You will not get away so easily...
- Billig - Ahahaha...
Billig's eyes changed colour, as did his voice. Falrik Zaarkhun.
- Falrik Zaarkhun - I think I just might, actually.
Semirian was startled. What the hell was going on?
- Semirian - Zaarkhun...?
- Billig - You're correct. Me and my ol' boss, we're sharing bodies now.
Zaarkhun and Billig could now rapidly switch, it seemed.
- Falrik Zaarkhun - And I frankly wish I hadn't shared THIS body. This brute hasn't showered in years!
- Billig - Yeah, yeah, an' you're the best at lookin' after yerself, ain't ya? D'you even know what deodrant is?
- Falrik Zaarkhun - I do. It's something you never use. And go on a diet, for heaven's sake, I hate your fat body.
- Billig - You're crossin' the line...
- Semirian - ...Are you two quite finished fighting one another?
The two snapped out of it a second, and then Billig looked at her.
- Billig - Aw now, we ain't started the meal-
- Falrik Zaarkhun - INTERROGATION.
- Billig - ...yeah, that. We ain't begun yet.
Gyjak then hissed, as she pulled out what looked like a saw blade, and passed it to Billig. Semirian's eyes went wide with immense fear.
- Billig - Scared yet?
- Semirian - You're a monster! And according to my reports, you're a cannibal too. My men will arrive and take your life!
- Falrik Zaarkhun - Ah, but will they?
- Billig - Gyjak's jammed yer communications. You ain't talkin' ta no one.
- Semirian - Die! Abomination!
Billig chuckled, as he took the saw blade from Semirian. He then grabbed her by the jaw, and pulled the blade closer to her neck. She was about to scream.
- Billig - You wanna know how I turned out like this little sack of cannibal meat? Well, lemme tell ya a little story. There's a soldier in the Wranploer army. 'E's a commander, and he leads his troop into battle against the Zoles one day. But this same day, he's part of the army that loses the battle, as the Zoles take over another Wranploer world. An' all 'is troops get blasted, as the Zoles decide they won't kill 'em, but instead, they'll throw 'em into a pit where they can place a few machines on 'em an' study 'em. Now, see, being stuck in a pit full of corpses with no food, with all the men starving and running out of rations, becomes a bit of a problem, y'know?
Semirian continued to listen. She didn't even try to hide her disgust.
- Billig - Now, see, these Wranploer soon learn that, to survive, they'll have to eat, eh? But what is there to eat when all the rations are out? Imagine being starved for days in a little pit like that, pretty hard, eh? So they ganged up, they got the smallest of the soldiers, beat him to death an' ate 'im. They shared it between 'em, of course. And they'd 'ave to keep doin' that, or they'd be hungry foreva. So, the next smallest in line was the next to die. And so it goes on. But when there were five of us left, we of course were at a stalemate, as each of us knew what'd happen next. Now this one Wranploer I'm talkin' about, this commander, 'is name's Billig. An' he decides that he'll smash their skulls against each otha, beat 'em all to death, and then eat all their meat. An' then he'll pile up the corpses and climb outta this little pit, an' proceed to find the nearest Zoles pilot an' kill 'im. But because 'e's still hungry, 'e'll eat this Zoles.
- Semirian - You disgust me...
- Billig - It was pretty inhumane of those Zoles, eh? But see, now this Wranploer, when he leaves that planet an' goes home, 'is diet is no longer typical Wranploer meat diet. It's jus' Wranploer Meat...without the diet. See, 'e's now used to eatin' 'is own kind. An' he's of course not accepted for 'is little eatin' habits, eh? So a guy, named Falrik Zaarkhun, finds this perculiar guy, looks up 'is record, an' is impressed. Then, 'e recruits Billig. Quite a story, eh?
Semirian felt sick inside. Billig then moved his saw blade away, and Gyjak hissed once more, clearly wanting her blood.
- Falrik Zaarkhun - We'll keep you here for questioning. The Polar Crystal Alliance knows something I don't. I don't like when people know things I don't. We'll squeeze what information we can out of you, before the PCA get too worried about your absence. Then, we'll send you back home. And you won't remember a thing.
- Semirian - Bah...fine. I'll tell you what you want.
- Billig - That's good, eh? Because we figure you'll rat about us to the PCA anyways, make it quick.