- 1 A Godly Visitor
- 2 Law of the Tyranny
- 3 Eyes Towards the Core
- 4 The Dire News Arrives
- 5 Prisoner of a Non-War
- 6 No More Words
- 7 Deep Core Blitzkrieg
- 8 The Trial of Angrus Mortarius
- 9 The Sightless One
- 10 The Experiment
- 11 The Engine of Fear
- 12 The Ruby World
- 13 Dark Alliance
- 14 Prison Break
A Godly Visitor
3rd January 2791
Icarlias was a frontier world on the Solonese Union. Colonised by the Ryketians mrely 30 years ago. The planet had been hit hard by the Andromedan Grox Empire during the war and with relief supplies from the Commonwealth the colony was slowly getting back onto its feet.
In a military hospital on the outskirts of Laka'retim - a large town that served as the primary colony - Captain Torith'Ertan had arrived at the hospital with his wife Torith'Viala several hours ago after she began to show signs that she was ready to give birth. As her strains echoed i nthe halls a green light emerged outside the building. A Val'kar guard looked suspiciously as a strange being emerged from it. The being strode towards the front doors and, uspicious, the Val'Kar called out to him, asking him to stop. When the being ignored him the guard resorted to grabbing him as the intruder reached the door.
Upon grabbing the creature's arm he felt an overwhelming surge of energy and the resultant surge made hi mfeel as though his brain had almost imploded. He was thrown backwards as the creature barely noticed him and he collapsed to the floor. in-patients seeing the incident through the hospital's doors panicked and ran into the hospital proper as guards armed with smg-like weapons stood forward to stop the being.
The guards shouted for the being to stop his advance but it simply ignored them. One of the guards resorted to shooting it in the legs but watched helpessly as his SMG rounds simply bounced off it's skin. Meanwhile, on the hospital's upper levels, Torith'Viala screamed as she pushed for her child to come out. her husband was with her holding herh and firmly. When screams came echoing through the halls, Torith'Ertan turned to one of his Val'kar lieutenants who had opened the door and had a panicked look on his face.
Val'kar - Captain Torith, something is entering the building. We tried shooting it but our shots had no effect.
Ertan - What do you mean? Is the intruder shielded?
Val'Kar - I have no idea. My men reported that its skin was like carbon-laced steel. Our weapons are useless so I am calling for an evacuation.
Ertan - Major my wife is several hours into labour! How are we supposed to evacuate?
Doctor - Get madame Torith onto a mobile delivery unit, we'll have to continue while we are escaping.
Panicked soldiers tried to stop the entity however their shots did nothing as it bee-lined for the hospital's upper levels. When they created barricades the entity simply teleported past them. Ertan helped the doctor load his wife onto a mobility unit designed so that she could still deliver the baby as they moved though the hospital. Ertan was panicking as they found nothing could stop the intruder. The doctor kept her to the less busy passages as she screamed in pain.
The beimg was relentless in its pursuit, however when it passed the room the captain and his wife were originally he moved on after a brief second. It had the strange feeling that something powerful had spent a brief amount of time inside.
Comm - Captain, intruder passed your delivery room, I think it's after you.
Ertan - Stop it at all costs!
Comm - How!? Bullets do nothing and any barricade we make the assailant teleports right past.
Ertan - What?
Comm - I'm not-- Ancients it's here... all units open fire it's on us!
The comm unit was cut off as the group managed to reach an ambulance. Torith'Viala was loaded inside and Torith'Ertan joined her. After they drove off the entity appeared at the same door as Ertan lookedo ut of the back window. His eyes widened when he saw it and it seemed to look directly at him as they turned a corner.
The entire settlement was alerted. barricades, diversions and ambushes were set up to protect the group. Better-equipped soldiers were now in pursuit, some of them carrying remote missile launchers, protable turbolasers and grenades. Ertan could hear the explosions from afar and comm chatter indicated that even the heavy weapons had no effect on it. Lasers were absorbed into its skin while remote rockets were thrown off course. Te sun was rising over the small colony. Small shrubs dotted the roadsides that provided life to the mostly-barren region. In the distance were atmospheric generators pumping breatheable air into the atmosphere and scrubland dotted with farms surrounded the town.
Doctor - I see a head captain!
Ertan - Do you hear that Viala. Our baby is going to be fine. Keep strong.
Doctor - Keep pushing!
Ertan - Command any sign of my assassin?
The sound of gunfire could be heard, possibly even tank shots.
Command - We're throwing everything we have at it and still it keep walking. This thing...is unstoppable captain.
Ertan - Who would recruit such a thing?
Command - Third column open fire, fire-teams Indicar and Jorit fire from above.
Ertan - Commander?
Command - We have no idea. But somoene wants you dead and they must have really hated you for sending a one-man army.
Ertan - Casualties?
Command - A few. But it does nto seem concerned at all at what's shooting it and-- Gods help us!
Ertan - Commander?
Command - It...it just waved it's hand and an entire column of tanks was tossed aside.
Ertan could not understand what was happening. He was partially distracted as the baby's body was slowly emerging from between Viala's legs as she strained, her feet wrapped themselves round a pair of padded metal bars as she panted. Eventually the being heard a high-pitched cry on a level no mortal could hear. This was a sign that Valia was out of labour and something about the cry increased the entity's resolve.
On the rooftop of a resturaunt a squad of soldiers prepared a remote rocket. Aiming directly the device locked on and they fired. Their grins turned to dropped jaws of horror as the reocket abruptly swerved away as it erached two metres from the target. The rocket realigned and headed straight for the ambulance. The entity vanished in a green light, reappeared in front of the ambulance and with but a thought the missile crumpled harmlessly before it could do any damage.
The driver was paralysed in fear as the entity walked around the ambulance and opened the doors to see Ertan pointig a pistol into it's face.
Ertan - Get back or I'll shoot!
Triam - I am the Triam, please, lower your weapon... I mean no harm to you.
Ertan - What do you want! Out with it!
Triam - I am not here to take this child from you, don't be afraid of me... I've come to protect this infant and his family.
Valida tightly held the newborn baby boy in her arms.
Viala - how can we trust you? We almost died because of you.
Triam - I don't recall using my power to harm your people Commander, though you are right, I should have opened my intentions to you in the first place... Honestly I expected to appear in front of you and your wife, but I'm afraid the child's dormant power disrupted my senses.
Ertan - If you are not here to take him what will you do?
Triam - Your child's destiny is to lead your people and all civilizations of this galaxy to greatness... I have come here to teach him in the ways of my people, so that his affinity to psionic energy may serve him well both in difficult and calm times.
Viala - Our child... leading Andromeda to greatness?
Ertan - I suppose we accept your offer. Surely there is no better teacher for such a gift, is there?
Triam - There isn't, you won't regret this decision Commander, nor you lady.
Viala lowered her guard and Ertan lowered his pistol and let the Triam inside the ambulance. As he approached the boy, who was still stained and bloody from the womb, it appeared to be slightly intimidated by the Xol'Etra's presence. He reached in and gently rested his hand on the nweborn's torso. A faint green light pulsed from the Triam's hand and the infant appeared very calm. With that, the Triam left the ambulence and vanished in a green and white light. Both parents loooked bewildered and returned their attention to their newborn son. The child appeared unaffected by its ecperience with the Triam and for the most partit appeared perfectly normal.
Ertan - What should we name him? Viala - How about...Torith'Etreiar Ertan - I like it. Despite what this 'Triam' says, I don't want us raising our son to be some 'chosen one' figure. Viala - He shall have a normal ife, we let him forge his own path as the old customs say. We jsut need to find a way to fit this being's training periods around it.
Ertan kneeled by Viala's bedside and gentl rubbed the infant's crown with his hand. Soldiers from nearby walked up to peer into the ambulance. After a few minutes Ertan walked out of the ambulance to address them.
Ertan - This situation was a simpel misunderstanding. We are to return to our normal duties.
Soldier - But commander... what happened?
Ertan - The enity called itself "The Triam". It wasn't an assassin, It wasn't after me. However I suggest that we play down this incident, perhaps it was simply a pirate raid that used holograms to scare us. With it faling, of course.
The soldiers nodded and walked away. Ertan looked back inside the ambulance and gave a loving smile to his wife and new son.
Law of the Tyranny
25th January 2791
Medusa was furious over the newly-dubbed Pariahs living within the Imperium. She stormed into her father's throneroom on Demogorgon Prime almost fuming and having lost the composure of the heir to the throne. ABaddon Heimdall looked at his approaching daughter and it was almost-intuitive that he knew why she had come to him.
Abaddon - This is about the Pariahs yes, i have a way of dealing with it. You will bring to the Draconid Imperium the law of the Tyranny, with that they will have no choice but to relent.
Medusa - How did you know? that is exactly that i was planning on doing, a tribunal on Alcanti.
Abaddon - Merely talk to Uriel and remember our code of laws, everything is a done deal.
Medusa - Father I must also request the presence of somebody.
Abaddon, for the first time in a long while, showed a rather casual expression and rolled his eyes as he slouched on this throne.
Abaddon - Angrus? He's just had a battle with the DCP in the Milky Way, in hyperspace.
Medusa - Father, I beg you, it will help me.
Abaddon - If that's what makes you feel better, so shall it be ... I guess
At that Medusa departed the throneroom onto a Subjugator class Battleship mark 2 and made way back to Invictus, the planet the Tyranny were using as a headquarters for their operations in Andromeda. This was also where Angrus would be waiting patiently for her. Prior to leaving Demogorgon Prime however, Medusa dispatched a messafe delivered via advanced communications to Uriel, saying that "because of the law of the Tyranny, the acceptance of Pax Draconica by the Pariahs needed a tribunal to decide it's legitimacy". On Invictus, she merely awaited a reply, and more importantly, her beloved Angrus.
A reply arrived from Uriel within a few days and It read "If that is what you wish then I will arrange for a tribunal within the week. However you had better make sure you have the correct proof for your claims." Almost right after the letter came, Angrus arrived as well, and although at first he was sad at having to leave the current conflicts in the Milky Way, he grew glad at the sight of his dear Medusa. The two departed on a special Kraken Mark 2, a 30 km behemoth, and only of several existing at the moment, and they set course for Alcanti.
The trip, though rather long seemed almost ephemeral for the two Dominatus. They were bound together by a biological attraction hardcoded into their genes that in a myriad of ways each expressed their love for the other. When they arrived in orbit over ALcanti they contacted space traffic control. The TNSS Dominax sailed past. ALthough smaller than the Kraken the persona lwarship of the imperium's lord-admiral was still a keen sight to behold.
After being permitted to land they arrived at Minos'Drakon's largest and busiest spaceport and were greeted by an armed escort as they disembarked. Medusa had her head buried in files on a portable device and was busy revising her argument. As the guards saluted she looekd up from her device and cleared her throat.
Medusa - I am Medusa Heimdall and this is Angrus Mortarius, where should we proceed.
Guard - The tribunal is being held at the courthouse adjacant to the grand senate. Hmm, we may need more appropriate transport.
The two of them understood without a word, being aware that they were several times larger than their escorts. The guard they spoke to made hand signals to one of his companions who headed off and arrange transport to fit the two of them. An hour later a large shipping van arrived outside the front of the spaceport and Angrus and Medusa embarked inside. One of the guards made a signal for the driver to head t othe Senate Plaza. Inside Medusa returned to her notes while paying partial attention to the guards.
Guard - Apologies that we could not find anything more tasteful. There are not many in Andromeda comparable enough to your sizes to mass-produce anything more suitable.
Medusa - It is fine, the luxury of transport is not why we came here
They were taken across the city to the senate plaza. Apart from the interior doors, the building and the surrounding plaza itself (a place clearly designed to impress all who visited of the Imperium's majesty) seemed large enough to just-about fit the two dominatus visitors. They entered the courthouse's lobby, the two Dominatus surveying the wide variety of species who were there going about their business. In addition to that, the two Dominatus collectively snarled at the presence of Renus Kantus, sitting at a nearby chair and staring back at them coldly. Acourthouse, a Terratrix named Gwidilia Roquoli and dressed in a silk robe, walked up to them.
Gwidila - His Esteemed Majesty awaits in auditorium 12. I will happily take you there. Lord Renus can you join us?
Medusa - 'Lord' Renus!? And yes.
Renus - This will not end well for you Medusa. And yes, I will happily join you.
Gwidilia nodded and guided then through the building's large hallways.
Gwidilia - Lord Renus was granted Underlordship about a month ago.
Medusa - That will be a thing of the past after this tribunal.
Gwidilia - Mistress Alessa Ultanos personally filed the request after Lord Renus displayed expetional dedication for a new provincial leader.
Medusa leaned besideAngrus and spoke harshly in High Demogorgon.
Medusa - [That harlot will perish in the most agonizing way possible, i will make sure of it.]
Angrus - [You can focus on the specifics of her suffering later, now you are here merely to serve the Tyranny's interests.]
They all entered Auditorium 12 and Uriel was already sitting with a bureaucrat and Alessa in view of the magistrate's booth. Medusa noticed Alessa and looked at her, not losing her composure but shooting her a look of such murderous intent that it could have killed. She the nturned her attention to Uriel and put on a friendly smile.
Medusa - Uriel, it is a pleasure to meet with you once again, before i read out our case, will there be any formalities?
Alessa took a quick and somewhat disdained glance at Medusa as a guard walked in and called the magistrate in. Through a door at the side a Drallivian walked in and sat in a large chair behind it. As he finished preparing himself, Medusa stood up with everyone else to welcome him.
Guard - Presenting the honourabl magistrate for this tribunal: Magistrate Serevidellum.
Medusa - May i begin my case?
Magistrate - You may.
Medusa - What would you do assembly, if your colonies started breaking off in subversive acts and starting terrorism that shook the foundations of your society. Would you not cry out in rage and want revenge against these elements that seek to discredit and destroy you? Would you not try to bring these criminals to justice? Now what would you do if these seperatists immediately, in order to spare themselves from justic, declare themselves protectorates of the Galactic Empire of Cyrannus?
The audience quietly muttered to themselves and the magistrate let out an audiable cough to bring thier attention back to the tribunal.
Medusa - That is what the situation of me now, and the Tyranny in this situation is like Would you not do everything in your power to bring these people to justice for their crimes? It is because of this that we say that because of the law of the Tyranny, because the Pariahs are rebels, that they are invalid for Pax Draconica. That is all.
Uriel - Tell me Medusa, how are these 'Pariahs' terrorists, in your scenario? What have they done exactly to feel desered of the Tyranny's wrath.
Medusa - They have taken away from the infrastructure of our nation and compromised our security as well as creating an exodus of some Dominatus, hurting our society and economy. The RIA must know that Renus Katnus had work in military intelligence inside the Tyranny and that he poses a giant security risk especially given his disposition towards us.
Alessa - Isn't that what emigration normally does to a nation?
Medusa - That may be a good point Alessa, except for the fact that under the laws of our nation, and our tradition, emigration must meet a certain set of criteria.
Magistrate - Renus. Do you have anything to say in your defence?
Renus stood up with a solemn expression on his face as Uriel sat back down.
Renus - I acknowledge the fact that everything Medusa said is completely true, i did work in military intelligence and did break the laws of our nation. However, this brings me to the crux of my point.
Medusa's grin was soon turned upside down by what Renus was about to say.
Renus - The rules would have said that i would not be able to emigrate, that i would not be able to inspire other Drakodominatus to think differnetly, that i would not be able to captain my soul.
Magistrate - So in other words, you wanted more freedom for your supporters?
Renus - Is it not supposed to be the fate of men to be able to have some measure in deciding their fate, in going with common sense instead of dogma. I knew about the Ultima serum's test resullts from my work in military intelligence, do you know how many Drakodominatus died for each Dominatus to live?
Uriel - Accoring to reports there was a 99% mortality rate, correct?
Renus - Your reports are not even close, it is 99.999%
Medusa - That's classified information!
Everyone in the room gasped in horror at the figureRenus gave out. In any situation the value of the figure would be teated as a tiny step above complete eradication.
Renus - I saw the truth, and sometimes the truth hurts, all i wanted was to save my people from genocide. Why else would the population of one of my planets be greater than that of the Tyranny?
Magistrate - Medusa. Did your government advocate this genocide of its own people?
Medusa - It was not genocide, it was merely self improvement, millions or billions of years of evolution condensed into one.
Uriel - You people are monsters! No wonder Renus wanted asylum. Self-improvement or not. Murder is murder.
Renus - She is hiding something, now first of all Medusa do you remember what was said in Stanbridge back on Demogorgon Prime?
Medusa was shaken by Renus's question however this was, unnoticable to anyone except Angrus.
Medusa - Yes
Renus - Do you remember what was said in the first modules of ethics?
Angrus - Yes, we all remember those first words.
Renus - Do you remember the opening speech, at the start of the class, it is the same for all of us.
Angrus - The most important excerpt is the "Tyranny will conquer"
Renus - Wrong.
Magistrate - Please enlighten the rest of the tribunal.
Angrus leaned forward and spoke in High Demogorgon to Renus. Someone fortunate that the universal translators did not decrypt it.
Angrus - [If you quote the sayings of Vracht Pestos at the end, you will not live.]
Renus - [My death means nothing.]
Uriel - We are waiting.
Renus stood up as the two DOminatus gave him murderous glares. he did not care what they would do, eve nhere where the Imperium was a solid shield in his favour. He cleared his throat and took a deep breath ready to recite the lecture given to all newborn Dominatus.
Renus - "Violence has solved more issues than anything else in history. Every moral system does not work, the only thing that works is Might makes Right So Long as the Mighty can Enforce it. Science, Money, and Culture are all a means to an end to subjugate other species. The strong do as they want and the weak will merely follow suit, freedom does not suit them as they cannot enforce their will. The mighty do as their hearts desire, the meek merely exist to serve. Through your years at this institution, even though you are of a very tender age, you will be taught everything from quantum mechanics to dimensional mathematics and how to kill soembody 1000 different ways"
The room was silent with shock before the magistrate regained his composure to speak.
Magistrate - Medusa.... can you confirm these words?
Medusa - The words are true, but they are utterly taken out of context. The words only seek to motivate the determination and work ethic of our children, Is that not what every educational institution does, do not listen to him pluck everything out of context into his peverted words.
Alessa - By teaching them to see the 'strong' as better than everyone else?
Medusa - An individual superirotiy complex is conducive to a better learning enviroment.
Renus - Then perhaps you forgot the last part, the closing speech.
Uriel - We Draconis may condone teaching our young how to fight because that is in our nature as hunters. But to teach that the strong can do as they please over the weak is simply barbaric.
Renus - "And remember, that the Drakodominatus", though now this is probably written as Dominatus, "are the most physically and mentally superior race in the universe, and that it is ours. Remember that every friend you make who is not part of the Tyranny is tommorow's enemy. Only keep them as they are useful and until they are a dried and dessicated corpse then take everything they have for the Tyranny and rewrite history!" That is the end of the speech, what lack of context does that have?
Uriel - Your honour, please tell me you have heard enough.
Medusa - You are nothing but a traitor and a coward Renus, you are a shrivelled husk of what you once used to be, you are a stain on the legacy of the Tyranny.
Renus - The Tyranny is nothing but a stain on me and the universe.
The magistrate sat silent as Meduca was once again furious.
Magistrate - On the basis of law, these Drakodominatus are still rebels for turning against the values of their government. However, while it is not the Imperium's place to intervene. I find a clear and logical reason that these rebels simply want an improved quality of life. Because of the conditions of the Tyranny, the right of asylum shall be deemed acceptable within reason for this situation.
Meduca was fuming and stood up once again. She was determined to win back the high ground.
Medusa - Now Renus, refute the following contention, the standard of life in the Tyranny amongst Drakodominatus and Dominatus is very high.
Renus - I cannot refute the fact that most of us had palaces each to ourselves. I cannot refute that each of us had slaves to carry out our whims. I cannot say that i did not have every physcial good i wanted. I can say this though; If the standard of life means death for 99.999% of the population, how can i guarantee my survival and that of those i love? Maybe i had a palace, but if i did not have the right to life, do i truly have anything?
Alessa - Renus, what about the treatment of offspring within education centres?
The Cost of Good Education
Medusa's face dropped - she knew exactly what Renus would tell the entire tribunal.
Renus - I cannot refute that the Drakodominatus have had steadily increasing IQ over the years. however, when the bottom 10% of the graduating class are killed for simply being the bottom 10%, is there any progess at all.
Uriel - You told me that education was important and kept to a very high standard. How true were you?
Medusa - How did i lie when education was kept to a very high standard. Our curriculum is incredibly rigorous acadmically and physically. If anything, Renus validates my point.
Uriel - It appears you forgot to mention that that did not factor in the students who die. However, I am told Zazane - a valued member of the Commonwealth - are prone to being killed by other students for the sake of growing up strong. Alessa - But Father, those Zazane children are not killed by their own government!
Angrus - Enough of this, we take pride in the fact that our education system is like this, it is through this that we prove our worth in the universe. We merely keep the conditions of survival of the fittest so less die in the real world and more are succesffull If anything, what we have done is completely and utterly philantropic. My beloved didn't tell you about the bottom 10% because she assumed that you would know one way or another that there is a way of increasing test scores.
Magistrate - Renus. Do you agree with all of the Tyranny's philosophies on education?
Renus - If the point is merely to create machines that kill and make technology to kill, then yes , it is the most successful thing in the universe.
Renus - let me tell you a story of a time when i was three before i say my point though. May i begin? Magistrate - If you believe it will help your case, proceed.
Renus - When i was three, do you know how we spent the end of combat training every day? We would be strapped down to chairs and be progressively shocked to induce torture until we could go to the maximum setting possible without even muttering a word. If one kept screaming or bawling, they would have their chairs give a lethal voltage, and this would kill them.
Uriel - What macabre treatment is this!?
Magistrate - Uriel. Dominatus culture is not in question here.
Renus - In addition to this, combat training was done LIVE! , we practiced martial arts and swordsmanship on slaves who were fighting for their lives. So back to my point; perhaps we did get better through the years, but if the purpose of school is to produce people who can contribute to the Gigaquadrant in a way other than killing and making things to kill, the Tyranny education system is a FAILURE.
Magistrate - From this information. Renus and his people have acceptable reason to leave the Drakodominatus Tyranny.
At this declaration, Medusa snapped. She could no longer hide it and sat in her chair with her lips rippling in a snarl. Her eyes har narroed and shot a murderous glare towards Renus as Nagron, wanting to calm his beloved down, spoke to her quietly.
Angrus - [If these people can't accept this, they are not worth your time.]
Alessa - Your honour these people requested asylum because they knew the tyranny would 'fix a mistake' through summary execution. Lady Heimdall personally led the warfleet and I was there when she personally threatened Renus with death.
Medusa - This is the way revolt is dealt with, they are to us as house Khavis was to you.
Uriel - Objection! I see no evidence so far these rebels of yours planned regicide, multiple assasinations or outright sabotage of loyalist infrastructure with the intent of re-conquering your homespace. In fact, your own people remind me more of House Khaxvis than the rebels!
Medusa - Did House Khavis not start with secession, much line Renus?
Uriel - House Khaxvis usurped the throne millenia ago from MY family. With the end of the Second House War they retreated into hiding, we thought them dead.
Medusa - How do you not know that Renus would have not done the same.
Medusa's face twisted into a diabolical smile. Renus was a praised man i nthe Imperium but his history was largely unknown to the powers he served.
Medusa - Do you know what the history of Renus family was?
Alessa looked to Renus, as though wondering how true Medusa was being.
Medusa - We both know what your grandfather did during the war of unification. Use the RIA, test me for a lie, Renus, your family was part of military research in the losing side of the Unification Wars, correct?
Renus sat stiffly, visibly shocked she knew this.
Renus - How do you know?
Medusa - When we deployed the first suits of powered armor, such as with Master Sergant Mortrig, you do remember what you did when we were about to take over the capital of your side?
Renus - That was a ... mistake, the sins of my grandfather.
Medusa - What you did was to make our species almost sterile Renus, our birth rates plummeted after your grandfather introduced the last ditch weapon that made it so most of our eggs die in childbirth.
Uriel - If Renus truly regrets the mistakes of his family's past then he is already diferent from House Khaxvis.
Medusa - If he will not pay for his family's past because you defend his genocide on countless trillions of unborn Drakodominatus, then i see no use in continuing this conversation.
Uriel lowered his head and rested his arms on the table.
Magistrate - It appears both sides have been in the wrong. So I will ask a simpel question to each of you. Medusa: Do you regret the death toll when your government decided to release the Ultima serum?
Medusa - I wish that the serum was more efficient so that less lives would have been wasted, so yes.
Magistrate - Renus. Do you live with yourself with what happened to cause trillions of stllborn drakodominatus?
Renus - It was a move made by my family to help a desperate side win a war, however in retrospect it is horrible, so yes Magistrate - After careful examination. I believe that Renus is still in the right to admit asylum on the grounds that he no longer wants to associate himself with the Tyranny.
Medusa - Very well. Know this Renus, your family will always be remembered as those who betrayed the Tyranny when it's loyalty was needed the most.
Uriel - Renus and all those who inhabit the region of space under his command will remain a provicne of the Imperium.
Medusa and Angron stood up. With the tribunal over everyone filed out, with Medusa cursing in High Demogorgon. She remained in a foul mood as she returned to Invictus. She was sure she would be successful, she was certain that she could win with the law on her side. She played over the tribunal in hear head again and again, wondering waht went wrong.
More than anyone however she was furious with Alessa, who had coerced Renus to expose the darkest truth behind the Dominatus education system and it was her that Medusa cursed over the most. She swore repeatedly that one day Alessa would pay for interfering with every step of dealing with Renus and his people. In her attempts to make Alessa her puppet she had gained quite possibly an arch-nemesis. Worse still was that Alessa was nothing in Medusa's eyes - unlike Medusa she was not a warrior or a killer, she had never manipulated anyone with sinister intent. By all rights and values Alessa was a pathetic girl who's only shield was her influential father. Were she anything other than a princess, Medusa could have gotten rid of her without a thought, and this is what infuriated her the most.
Eyes Towards the Core
15th Feburary 2791
Medusa was still somewhat infuriated over the Tyranny's public humiliation. As she sat in the command centre in Andromeda a Tyranny spy entered with a waming smile on her face. She looked at her, sat up and smiled. Desperately hoping for good news.
Medusa - Report!
Spy - Lady Heimdall, it appears the AGC has been building a megastructure around the core of Andromeda, this will give them incredible energy and production, things the Tyranny will be denied, and we must take it over.
Medusa - Hmph, thank you, dismissed.
As the spy left, Medusa turned to Angrus.
Medusa - It would be stupid to declare war on the AGC as of now, we must do this in a much more covert way.
Angrus - Perhaps, if only people took it over who were enemies of the AGC and we claimed it as part of a security action.
Medusa - There are many people who dissent to the reign of the AGC among the Draconis, Radeon and Zazane, they would make fitting people to frame for this.
Medusa - It is time to contact them, to bring this monstrous birth to light...
10th March 2791
The Tyranny's insurgents were soon scattered across the commonwealth to search for potential allies. On the Imperial colony of Meridon II one spy noticed a rather suspicious-looking Khaxvis Draconis in the city's commercial marketplace. What intrigued the spy was that when approached by domestic security officers, the Khaxvis flashed a card and they smiled before leaving him to his business. Following closely behind, the spy noticed that the Draconis visited an apartment block on the city outskirts. He stood at the door and whispered the phrase Regante Khaxvis to a wall panel and the heavy door opened for him.
Feeling he was onto something, the spy shapeshifted into a Khaxvis Draconis and walked towards the door. When the panel appeared he muttered the same words and the doro opened for him. he stepped inside to a main room joined by other Khaxvis who looked at him curiously. Not fulyl reocgnising him some of them slowly reached for weapons but the spy cleared hsi throat.
Spy - Brothers, please. I come with an idea to aid the Resurgence.
Khaxvis - Alright, speak.
Spy - As you know, the AGC's key to power is the core of andromeda. If you were to take it over, you would have supremacy over Andromeda.
Khaxvis - How exactly are we supposed to do that?
Spy - We know the exact location of the core and we have already arranged a way for you to bypass most defenses for a short period of time, enough for you to get onto the central station.
One Khaxvis walked up to him and gave the spy a stern look.
Khaxvis - Oh yeah, how?
Spy - We have arranged for a special route to be struck by a computer virus that will work for 5 minutes. In that space you are to infilitrate and take over the station, defenses in the area will be disabled as well. Your only opposition will be the Guardians of Light.
Khaxvis - Yeah, you realise if we get caught we're all dead right?
Spy - You are dead if you do not do anything either, if this does not happen, you will be eroded from history. The only way is our way.
The Khaxvis in the hideout looked at each other with uncertainty. They were not sure what to think of this news or whether or not it was good or bad. One of them gained the courage to step up and speak to the group to convince them.
Khaxvis - If we take over the forges, we could amass a fleet in days.
Spy - Exactly, then the andromedan Commonwealth shall fall to you.
Khavis - There is one other issue.
Spy - Yes?
Khaxvis - As soon as we take over the station, what's stopping the whole commonwealth descending on us?
Spy - We will merely take a dignitary visiting there hostage along with all science staff. This will stop anyone from taking over the station without risking the hostages.
Khaxvis - I like it. Then we use any Divinarium hostages to block the portals.
Spy - Exactly. Amass your fleets at this staging point, the day will come where you shall rule Andromeda. Now, I have errands to run in the city.
He quietly left the Khaxvis to talk amongst themselves as he left the apartment block. When he was in a secluded-enough location deep within a nearby alleyway he opened up a communicator to an unknown contact. However he was completely unaware that a Radeon citizen was keeping a curious eye on him as he made the call. The Radeon kept to the shadows himself and as the spy finished his communication the strange Radeon disappeared into a crowd.
20th March 2791
Deep Core was working normally that day, what made the day special was the visit from Crown-Prince Maxios Telvenum of the Draconid Imperium's Drallivian Province. Joined by a retinue of four veteren guardians he was touring the control facility, he was in awe of the advanced technologies that made up the station as he was guided by the station manager. He was taken to the central control room, an enormous room filled with large computer banks using Divinarium-engineered AI technology. There were a few staff on call but the facility was largely automated.
Maxios - I must say commander I am impressed. Such a marvel of engineering the Commonwealth has here.
Commander - Do you have anything like this back home?
Maxios - To be honest... I'm still getting used to all of this modern technology. The Republics have only been part of the Imperium for two decades but our benefactors have capabilities millennia beyond what we could achieve. You know, the day I learned that a typical pocket assistant used by an average imperial citizen held more computing power than one of the Republic's AIs - one used for colonial defence no less - my jaw must have hit the floor. And now... hm, now I get to see these.
Commander - So this is all magic to you?
Maxios chuckled softly.
Maxios - 'magic' is a catch-all for what cannot be understood. I don't consider it magic, but it still confounds me as to how it is possible.
Commander - let's just say that with the right techniques, there are better ways to make a computer than nanoprocessors.
Maxios - Indeed.
Outside the perimeter sensors of the Deep Core installation, a mixed fleet of military and retrofitted civillian ships waited for the corect signal. They had been gatherign ready to make the audacious push, the spy - nwo an advisor to the fleet - stood on deck and cleared his throat to make a quick announcement.
Spy - This is the day, death or glory awaits you, the attack starts in 10 minutes.
Khaxvis - These ships are fitted with tactical cloaking fields, they should give us a chance at sneaking past the patrols.
Spy - Very well, we begin now. Give the signal then the defneses will be deactivated and your 5 minute countdown starts.
Khaxvis - Begin the infiltration, and pray to Volkarus' spirit we can pull this off.
Spy - Defenses on Deep Core will sense you, start virus now?
Khaxvis - Do it. Assault teams prepare to beam into the control room.
The ships activaded their cloaking fields and manged to sneak in past all the patrols going by with their forcefields, until they were in sight of the control station for Project deep Core itself. Under the admiral's authority the spy transmitted the virus through a back door in Deep Core's digital nework. The turrets both inside and outside the control station activated and began to fire on Commonwealth forces. Amidst the chaos the Khaxvis fire team beamed into the control room and after firing on the security personnel the soldiers aimed their weapons at the crew.
Khaxvis Soldier - Everyone on the floor now or we begin shooting at personnel who aren't armed!
Taken by surprise the AGC forces opened fire and managed to down a few Khaxvis soldiers. Some of the control room staff revealed sidearms and manged to take down a couple more witha few snap-shots. The control room however had it's own defences that had been intentinally isolated from the wider mainframe and using ion cannons they disabled the Khaxvis weaponry. The Khaxvis looekd at their now-useless weapons and threw them on the floor.
Khaxvis - ...Anyone got any ideas?
AGC soldier - Khaxvis. Cooperate and we will not kill you where you stand.
Khaxvis - Not before we slit your throats!
The assault team drew various melee weapons but the Guardians responded by unsheating weapons that were clearly superior, bearing designs from the Divinarium. What was, for a moment, confidence changed to ucnertaintly within the ranks of the assault team. Due to features in the weapons the ion cannons did not disable the clearly more advanced weaponry.
Guardian - Will you cooperate?
The spy had returned to his own chamber contacted an awaiting Tyranny assault ship. He was frustrated that the insurgents had failed and desire initiative.
Spy - We shouldn't have trusted these losers. Command, requesting to deploy a Sons of hedon task force to fix the problem these idiots caused.
Hedon and 100 of his "Sons", whos' scales were chemically tinted to resemble the bright red of House Khaxvis stood ready in their telporters. The 5.8 meter tall draconis and his 4.72 meter tall "sons" recieved orders and Hedon himself smiled with anticipation.
Hedon - Let's dance!
At that, the Draconis beamed themselves behind the AGC troops in the control room, taking them by surprise and killing them with hand to hand combat.
Guardian - House Khaxvis were fools to think they-- What the!
The Sons then turned their sonic weaponry on the other Guardians of Light. The pusles and vibrations battered their flesh and armoour, cusing intense pain. In panic tthe Guardians fired back, one of them ran for a terminal, all the while the Khaxvis raiders stood bewildered.
Khavis - What have our kin been working on?
As he made the message, the Gurdian at the terminal screamed in agony as his body was ripped apart by one of the Sons' sonic cannons.
Gurdian - Alert! d-deep c-core.... compr--
With the last of the Guardians dead, the overseers then turned some of their attention to the khavis troops. A devilish look in their eyes as they gazed down at the Khaxvis soldiers now backing up against each other.
Hedon - Leave no witnesses, we don't exist.
Khaxvis - Wh-what--
At that, they killed the defenseless Khavis. One of them barely survived as he collapsed to Hedon's feet. He looked up in horror
Khaxvis - Wh.... why do this.. wh-wh-wh...who are you?
Hedon - Ignorance is .... bliss.
Hedon stomped onto the Khavis face which obliterated the skull. Soon enough they had complete control of the station and had placed the hostages where they needed to be. By the yiem they were done the turrets returned to normal status and a new Guardian fleet had arrived. Hedon sent a brief message to medusa, informing her that 'phase 1' was complete. As he did so the admiral of the new Guardian fleet attempted to open communication. hedon opened the channel and on the screen was a Ryketian who winced at the sight of the figure on the other end. But soon he regaiend his composure.
Vitorek - This is Admiral Orel'Vitorek of the 79th Guardin fleet. You are in space reserved for forces loyal to the Light. Hedon - I believe that the Guardians of Light are rather happy having us here.
Hedon panned the moniter to show several surviving Guardians of Light being tortured by Sons
Vitorek - Who are you anyway?
Hedon - I am a Khavis, isn't that obvious?
Vitorek - A loyalist to Volkarus no doubt. I was not informed your kind would be visiting.
As they talked, Hedon ran a mind upload of all the scientists as well as scanning all the infromation he could find.
Hedon - I am a Draconis, a welcome visitor am i not?
Vitorak - Explain why the station's automated defences turned on our own ships.
Hedon - Perhaps they were just not up to the task, not good enough.
Within moments he was already in the central mainframe of the computer and had interrogated a man for instructions on how to manipulate it, his torture methods working wonders.
Hedon - What are you going to do now?
Vitorek - You can come like a civil being or we will reclaim the station by force if we must.
Hedon - Try it.
Vitorek - *chuckes* Are you serious? This fleet alone carries enough soldiers to down a legion.
At that, Hedon took up a Draconis Guardian in his hands and ripped him apart like a broken doll.
Hedon - Bring it
Vitorek - You... no wonder the Imperium spits on your kind.
Hedon then blocked the screen with the entrails of the same Draconis, which prompted Vitorek to send over a task force. he did not expect for Hedon to change the station's shielding fewquency so quickly and only a task-force was sent over. Hedon knew that he could use the mainframe to control the turrets again but he refrained from doing it, for him it would remove the fun so he merely waited in the control room for the Guardians of light, playing with the the prisoners like putty.
Several Guardians were telported aboard. Draconis, Zazane, Radeons, all plated in white armour and equipped with some of the most advanced weapons and equipment in Andromeda. They were immediately attacked by the Sons, who ripped into them like a force of nature. The guardians put up a strong fight using fusion and Shidium-enhanced weaponry to tear into the Sons. Hedon himself led the battle in a dance of death through the Guardians of Light and sonic weaponry ripped through even the advanced armor of the guardians. Far from being foused, Hedon was outright enjoying himself. CHuckling al lthe while as his weapon danced between his targets in an elegant flurry of blood, laughter and steel. He hit in places many thought were untouchable. One Draconis officer drew a power sword and charged at Hedon.
Hedon did not even use his weapon and blocked the thrusst of the officer in a move that resembled a dance. The officer was stunned and had a look of disgust on his face, wondering how Hedon managed to do it.
Hedon - Bad execution, quite sloppy Draconis.
Officer - You... I was top in my Kali'Krusi class I'll have you know!
At that, Hedon almost jokingly used his talons to slice through an adjacent Draconis, slashing his body in two.
Hedon - There is art in war no, brutality is beautiful.
The officer growled and swung his blade to briskly slash at Hedon's legs, who jumped and landed on the flat side of the blade. he weight of the enhanced Draconis was enough to crush it
Hedon - It is a shame you will never know these arts.
The officer staggared back as the blade shattered. Looking at the hilt he tossed it aside.
Hedon - Now I must end this play now, my superiors demand it.
Hedon looked at the horror stricken face of the officer as he grasped him tightly in a chokehold with one hand, he then extended a talon on one of his fingers and without a sound scraped off the face of the officer from his skull.
Hedon - Something to ... add to my collection
The sight of their officer being killed in such a sick way demoralized the remaining Guardian of Light, who were killed by the surviving Sons in ways even more horrible than before. Surprisingly, the way in which remains were spread across the room resembled a beautiful mosaic, the intertwine corpses making ... art. Al lthw while, at the back of the control room Maxios hid behind one of the computer banks, panting with fear. he quietly backed away in an attempt to hide from the gaze of any surviving Sons. he quietly pulled out a communicator and dialled an adress however Hedon heard the sounds of his fear, an emotion he loved dearly and smiled.
Hedon - Such a delicate fragrance is it not?
This intimidated Maxios who looked around for a way to escape the carnage. He spotted a vent near to him and distreetly ran for it. Hedon meanwhile moved twoard's Maxios' location in a rather delicate way, not stepping on any of the corpses as the latter managed to get into a vent and crawled until he found himself directly above the cotnrol room. As the communicator was read he quietly whispered into it.
Maxios- Yes hello. This is Crown Prince Telvenum, I--
he was interrupted when, Hedon gave up acting and pulled the shaft down, with Maxios inside it. Hedon almost killed Telvenum, with his foot merely inches above the vent shaft, Medusa interfered and ordered Hedon to not hill Maxios and ordered him to spare the Drallivian. Without a word he stopped and hit Maxios to knock him out. by then some of the Sons had figured out how to manipulate the defenses without computer virii, and the defneses thought they were authorized. At that, the defenses started firing at Vitorek's fllet and he had no choice but to fall back.
Admiral - Damn them. Fall back and secure the perim--
At that moment a shot from one of Deep Core's space-bound cannons impacted the bridge. Hedon however merely awaited phase 2, many of his Sons had died, but he knew Medusa, his mistress would be proud of his success and foward his specific program. As Vitorek gathered his composure Hedon opened the channel.
Hedon - Anybody who is in range of our guns will be attacked, this station is ours, retreat or face our cannons.
Vitorek - Urgh, you will all pay for this! Don't think that Deep Core's loss will go unnoticed by the Light. We will return and you can be sure we will come in force.
Hedon - I'll be waiting.
Vitorek - Confident, I like that. I hear your master Volkarus was the same before the guns of imperial cruisers blew him and his wretched fleet to oblivion.
Hedon merely laughed at this and shoved the face of the defaced Guardian officer in the screen.
Vitorek - Urgh. Fall back and set course for the nearest drydock. I will contact the Light about this.
The Gurdian fleet warped out of the region and while most of it regrouped at outposts and patrol routes out of range of Deep Core's weapons systems, Orel'Vitorek's ship, the Argent Blade had entered a wormhole that lead to the Imperium's core worlds. After emerging from the other side and under the escort of a dozen warships, it headed directly for Alcanti.
The Dire News Arrives
21st March 2791
The Andromedan Light had gathered to discuss the events of the day. After a request from the Solonese Union was discussed, Orel'Vitorek of the GUradians of Light, who had just returned from the Deep Core installation was called ot the floor. When he walked into view his left arm was bound in a thin silver cast and his neck bore the mark of an injury. A silver lining covered the burn marks on the neck. As he approached Tyraz stoodup and looked at him curiously.
Tyraz - What happened to you, Commander?
Orel - My lords...Deep Core has been overrun.
The hall became deathly silent. Tyraz stood with black energies erupting from his scales. His teeth bared as he growled during his response, clearly very angry and Orel stepped back with a feeling of intimidation. Uriel leaned forward and frowned, everyone in the room was anxious to know the news.
Tyraz - By what?!
Orel - H-house K-k-khaxvis, Grandmaster. Somehow they by-passed our automated defences and by the time reinforcements arrived the defences had been overtaken.
Tyraz - Khaxvis...Khaxvis?! Treacherous scum! I thought they were all dead!
Orel - Somehow they managed to gather a small task-force.
Uriel - Are there any survivors?
Orel - Anyone on the control station was either killed for being a Guardian or taken prisoner, including Crown-Prince Telvenum, my lord.
Tyraz - Shyrak, dammit...Andromeda's strongest military defeated by a group of supposedly dead Draconis traitors! This is an embarassment! And Deep Core as well! This is humiliating!
Orel - My men did their best but the house... they had something that slaughtered the assault force.
Ma'fest slowly raised his head and looked at the commander. He was deeply unimpressed.
Ma'fest - And how exactly did a group of Draconis terrorists destroy an entire AGC armada?
Tyraz - What did they have, Commander? You had better give me a good excuse or I shall demote you to mere private!
Orel - I was in contact with their leader grandmaster! I saved the recording and I shall play it now.
Orel stepped aside and several screens lowered from the centre of the ceiling. They played a recording showing Hedon with red-tinted scales as he tore in half a Draconis guardian quite literally half his size.
Tyraz - What in Andromeda...That cannot be Volkarus...
The recording then panned over to a group of such Draconis torturing various Guardians, all of them bigger even the largest Gurardian. Everyone was stunned at the creatures they had wotnessed and suddenly Tyraz's rage had gone.
Ma'fest - By the blood of Al'khear, what are these perversions of nature?!
Tyraz - They do indeed look like Khaxvis, but...something is not right. Why did I not see these Khaxvis in their main fleet before its destruction...?
Orel - We had to fall abck as they reprogrammed Deep Core's automated defences to fire on our ships. The station is now under their complete control.
Tyraz folded his arms and sighed heavily, he looked at Orel with an angry eye, who went pale under his gaze. Sitting in conemplation for long enough, Uriel sat up.
Uriel - You said Crown-Prince Telvenum was aboard, please tell me he is alright!
Orel - I-I do not know... Lord Uriel. He sent a communication but he was interrupted after what sounded like a loud clatter.
Tyraz - I shall not accept this failure. I'm taking a task force with me to Deep Core. Commander Orel, I am demoting you to sergeant until you can learn to do something right.
Orel - I'm sorry for failing the Comonwealth Grandmaster.
Tyraz - Apologies mean nothing now. There are Khaxvis in Deep Core because of your failure.
Ma'fest - If our counterattack will not succeed, the most powerful energy source in WHOLE galaxy will fall to the rebel scum! Do you understand that, sergant?!
Orel - C-completely, my lord.
Tyraz - Then you must understand completely WHY I am demoting you. From now on, I am taking full command of this operation.
Uriel - Tyraz I should go with you. Maxios is a friend of mine and the last thing I want is for him to became a prisoner of House Khaxvis.
Hidden from the Light's bug-detection systems, A Tyranny tepershoire was listening nearby and sent a constant stream of information to Hedon back at Deep Core. When they learned that the commonwealth planned to dispatch a fleet, word was sent for the Hounds of Kuzushimasu to be deployed on the station via secret portals. Gunning arrangements were also deployed.
Ma'fest - I will send whatever help I can, lord Uriel. You can count on me.
Tyraz - Join if you must, Paragon, but I advise against it.
Uriel - I have both you and Captain Davius on my side, I know I will be fine.
Tyraz - 'If you insist. But know this, Paragon; I shall hold myself responsible if I lose you.
Uriel - As you wish.
Orel left the room quietly followed by everyone else as the meeting was adjourned. Uriel and Tyraz promptly headed up to the orbiting fleet and rapidly gathered a task force together. Within hours a fleet was prepared and set course for Deep Core using a Divinarium portal.
On the station Hedon waited patiently. The Andromedan fleet was on it's way to retake the station. He waited, knowing phase 2 would swing into action soon. In his palm he held a large amulet that had once been worn by Telvenum. Hedon was curious and while the Drallivian was unconscious he had torn the gem from his chest. The large gemstone, the size of a Drallivian's fist, glistened in the light. Hedon was mesmarised by it; when he looked closely he noticed etchings in the gem's surface, intricate vine patterns that coiled over each face indicated an intricacy that few organic hands could achieve. While on Telvenum's body the gem occupied a large part of his upper torso, Hedon was so large the gem fit in the palm of his hand.
His attention darted away when an Overseer walked up to him and coughed to grab his attemtion.
Overseer - Father, the Commonwealth should be arriving within the hour. The Highlords Uriel and Tyraz are with them.
Hedon - The plan expected this, guard and prophet reinforcements are on the way. Bombs are planted as well and the Dominatus are coming. We also know exactly where they are exiting drive and exactly when.
Overseer - Yes father. We will eagerly await their arrival.
Hedon - They will approach using stealth ships at these coordinates according to our spies, blast them.
Meanwhile on the task force's flagship uriel and Tyraz were sitting in a common room when Ma'Fest's hologram appeared in the room.
Tyraz - What do you want, Ma'fest?
Ma'fest - Fellow highlords, I bring bad news. My agents discovered that our entire discussion in the Light has been observed from the beginning, and that the enemy we are facing-
As Ma'fest spoke, the AGC ships were blasted by an unknown force. Everyone was thrown off their feet by the impact. Tyraz hit the floor with an audiable smash. As he struggled to get back to his feet he heard one of the captains relaying a message. Davius was the first to stand up and walked over to help Uriel back to his feet by firmly grasping his arm.
Ma'fest - ...is something more than just mere Draconis terrorists!
Tyraz - Shyrak dammit, give me a goddamn sitrep!
Captain Nalara - This is captain Nalara Lenaro, Guardians of Light! According to the scans, the weapons attacking us do not belong to any Andromedan faction, and in fact, do not belong to any of our databases!
Uriel - You mean these guns are not the ones we set up?
Tyraz - I knew these weren't Khaxvis! Disorganize, become unpredictable, give those guns something hard to shoot at.
Hedon noticed the fleet break up into disorganised patterns. However he had a plan; while linked up to Deep Core's mainframe he used algorithms taught to him by the Dominatus to spot movement patterns even in the chaotic nature of the AGC's approach. He provided firing solutions to the guns alongside Dominatus military intelligence, he and his sons lauhed confidently as the fleet was hammered by the gunfire.
Captain - Make as many changes as you can to our course. Find a path that won't get us targeted!
The number of couse changes increased and even Hedon realised that he could not work out new firing solutions fast enough, as a result shots began to miss more and more. However he recieved an encoded message the Dominatus were due aboard the station within a few minutes.
Back on the bridge of the flagship, Tyraz stood up and pulled out his Firesword.
Uriel - Tyraz we have to get aboard that station.
Tyraz - Drive me closer, I want to strike them with my Firesword!
Captain - Grandmaster you're the only one who can get through. The last time the Guardians tried teleporting over we only managed to get a small strike team through the shields.
Tyraz - Leave this to me!
Tyraz's bodd wuickly turned to vapour along with Uriel, Davius and an elite squad of Guardians. On board his ship, Nalara felt his ship shaking from pure energy. In horror, he looked to see the walls of his starship falling apart. In a second, the Guardian's life ended in a flash of light - mercifully. Countless more of his comrades died in much more gory way as the ship was torn to pieces with strange energies.
Hedon - My mistress will be happy at the end of this, for our lady.
Hedon and his Sons stood at the ready, prepared to repel any invasion and hold them off for the next few minutes. Tyraz, uriel, Davius and a group of elite soldiers soon found themselves on board the station, armed and ready to kill. The automated turrets inside the station sprung up around them, firing a flurry of projectiles at them. While Tyraz swung his Firesword to destroy the projectiles and soem of the guns, shots aimed at Uriel bounced off his and davius' personal shields. Some commonwealth soldiers were not so fortunate and were cut down by the gunfire.
Davius - Using our own guns against us. Cowardice.
Hedon's smile dropped when he saw that Uriel was unafffected. Deep inside the station, the overseers Nosferatu, Akemainyu and Dra'erath patiently waited for the word.
Hedon - Every second son, modify frequency and wavelength of the weapons to the wavelength of that shield.
Akemainyu - The guardians shall taste my sword.
Dra'erath - They will know the true power of gods.
Hedon - We only have to hold for 10 more minutes till they come in, steady men!
Tyraz - Something isn't right. Something tells me we're in for a surprise.
Radeon Soldier - Who are we fighting? I don't understand...
Uriel - Some strange Draconis-like creatures, peversions of those loyal to the Light.
One of the Guardians, a young female Radeon, visibly shivered as they cautiously made their way down the empty hallways.
Hedon - All forces, wait for them to enter the main plaza of the station, then phase in! Do not engage Tyraz, he is merely going to waste time.
Tyraz - Guradians, prepare yourselves outside the entrance of the main plaza. Reload your guns and have them primed.
After waiting at the door patiently, the strike team charged in only to find, with surprise, the central plaza was empty. The Plaza, it was a concentric circle that went lower and lower in altitude as it reached the center, culminating in a small circle at the bottom. Davius primed his power axe and cautiously made his way towards the middle while the Radeon girl, looking at the circles, gulped. Fear filled her heart. The Sons of Hedon waited until all of them were at the middle of the plaza, until the door they entered in closed. At the same time, four other doors opened and Sons entered the room laughing and ear-piercing noise blaring from their sonic cannons at the AGC forces.
Tyraz materialized in front of a group of Sons and sent a sharp, clawed hand slashing across their faces.
Tyraz - Give me all you have, Khaaaaxviiiis!
The son he had hit soon hit the floor motionless However the sons remembered their orders and didn't bother firing at Tyraz. The sons near Tyraz merely spread out and continued visitng hell on the AGC forces in the middle. Tyraz raised an eyebrow and was confused as to why they didn't fire on him, but he continued his assault no less. At that, the prophets of Dra'erath also phased in, bombarding the AGC forces with hellfire
Tyraz - Don't you ignore meee!
3.76 meter tall Radeon following the 4.7 meter tall Dra'erath entered the room, pouring in more long range fire The baleful lightning and hellfire helped add to the almost hopeless engagement. After recovering from the exploding mines, Davius stood up and with a fierce, vocoder-enhanced roar he swung his axe and cleaved through several targets. Nosferatu's forces entered the fight as he phased in right behind Davius, landing a giant punch that knocked Davius forwards. Teh servos in his armous struggled to keep him balanced and he fell over. The weapons of Nosferatu's forces flayed apart the armor and flesh of the Guardians layer by layer, killing many of them. As Davius stood up Nosferatu towered above Davius and looked down at him with piercing, yet completely pitch black eyes.
Davius - Drakon's arse you're ugly...
The battle was fully joined when Akemainyu and the Eternal Guard entered at the center of the AGC forces, destorying any semblance of order. The Radeon soldier continued to fire at the udark creatures, horrified beyond reason. Nosferatu responded to Davius's comment by grabbing his arm and twisting it round, the sound of breaking bones filling the air alongside a pained roar by the arm's owner. he then threw Davius against a wall. Uriel frantically swung his greatsword at the legs of several Sons. Panic was slowly entering his mind, however the sons he struck went down, however they went down laughing in bliss. The fire continued pouring through the room as the sounds of things that should not be filled the atmosphere
Hedon meanwhile smiled within the control room as he gripped the gemstone.
Hedon - 3...2...1
At that, the Dominatus themselves burst through the doors and "killed" all of the overseers in a well choreographed display that had been practiced many times before. The overseers however had all simply been phased out and replaced with flash clones that were designed to be killed by the Dominatus shock troops. The survivors stared in surprise as the dust settled. Overseer bodies littered the floor and their lader, Anfrus Mortarius himself, approached the Commonwealth survivors.
Tyraz - Who in the name of Umbrux are these people?
Uriel - Dominatus, Tyraz.
Angrus - I am Angrus Mortarius, Sovereign Executor, and as of today, your savior.
Radeon - I don't understand...
The radeon stepped back slowly in fear. Uriel lifted his sword and glared from behind his helmet at Angrus. Unknown to the AGC strike team, the prisoners, Maxios included, had been phased out alongside the overseers.
Uriel - I remember you.
Tyraz - Saviour my backside! You have no right to call yourself a saviour!
Angrus - Would you not like this event to be broadcast all around the AGC as a symbol of the order you have brought to the galaxy? Especially you, high and mighty Uriel
Tyraz - Save us the attempt to humiliate us? Let me remind you who it was that saved Andromeda, alien!
Uriel - There is always the possibility that the people of Andromeda do not know of this incident at all.
Angrus - You admit that I saved you no, finally you see reason.
Tyraz - Hmph, I need no saviour.
Angrus - How ironic it is that the commonwealth was almost defeated by it's constitutent races.
Uriel - Do you know who these monstrosities were?
Angrus - How should i know where they came from, i only did this... from the goodness of my heart.
Uriel - After the way your partner acted the other day I am finding that difficult to believe.
Tyraz - I have no idea who you are or where you came from, but you had better know whose ass you are trying to lick, alien.
Angrus - Perhaps next time you encounter these aliens i should leave you alone.
Angrus rather patronisingly patted Tyraz on the head. In an instant, Tyraz used his strength and knocked Angrus to the ground with a swift blow of his arm. Black energy leaked from his body as he grew in size and pressed his foot against Angrus's face.
Tyraz - You do not EVER touch me!
Angrus laughed as biomass tendrils began to rise and engulfed Tyraz. uriel scoweld and helped davius back onto his feet who was weakened on the other side of the room.
Angrus - Perhaps you should show respect for the ones who have guaranteed your life.
Angrus managed to move Tyraz off him and the latter growled rather angrily and grabbed his Firesword. As they argued, a group of soldiers entered the room, fresh from searching high and low through the facility for any sign of the hostages.
Tyraz - My life is not of your concern!
Angrus - Perhaps you want another enemy for the AGC?
Tyraz - I would be prepared to kill you here and now!
Angrus - THEN DO IT
Uriel - I warn you, he has faced worse.
Tyraz - Don't tempt me, you poor excuse for an abortion!
Angrus - Now that i have saved your life, perhaps we should take our talks to a more civil location rather than a battlefield.
AGC soldier - Highlords we've checked the station twice. There is no sign of the crown-prince or the other hostages.
Tyraz - Hmph! You have achieved nothing, Dominatus!
Uriel - Angrus, since you saved us, what do you want to discuss?
Angrus - Come, let us discuss it on a different world...Or merely a different place. Follow me to my ship.
Uriel helped Davius up and carried him with his arm sluung over his shoulders. Uriel looked at Tyraz to see dark energies leaking from his scales. he hadreturned to normal size but he was no-less furious.
Tyraz - Be lucky the Paragon is here, alien! Otherwise you would be nothing but ash under my foot!
Everyone eventually entered the bridge of the massive Kraken Mark 2, which was mostly automated due to the low Dominatus population. Chairs made from shaped diamonds had been placed for everyone to sit on.
Angrus - Now all, please take a seat.
To his surprise, Uriel and Tyraz stood there, Tyraz had folded his arms. Ma'Fest's hologram appeared out of nowhere and he looked about at the Kraken's bridge.
Uriel - How very elegant, but I would rather stand.
Angrus - Would you like anything to eat or drink?
Uriel - We would both like to know why you want to talk to us.
Angrus - It is quite a simple matter.
Ma'fest - At last we managed to- What is happening?
Angrus - It is quite simple, due to security issues, Project Deep Core is now the Tyranny's.
This prompted negative reactions from the delegates. Uriel narrowed his eyes with disdain while Tyraz threw a punch that shattered one of the chairs. The force of the punch also flipped the table and he stood panting as his eyes glowed red.
Uriel - ...What.
Angrus - Do i have to repeat myself?
Tyraz - I DARE you to repeat yourself!
Angrus - Due to security issues, Project Deep Core is now the Tyranny's. Is there anything wrong with this?
Uriel - This is an outrage, what right do you have to take over this facility.
Tyraz's scales begin to blacken and yellow scars appeared on his body, this was an all-too familiar sign to Uriel.
Angrus - We did not take it over from you, we took it from whichever aliens had previously occupied it.
Uriel - Deep Core belongs to the Commonwealth. The commonwealth secured the site, the commonwealth constructed it.
Angrus - Argue with their dead bodies over the right to take it. The Commonwealth also lost it to the Aliens and they then lost it to us.
Tyraz - Then I shall have it back!
Ma'fest - What?!
Angrus - [Have Cruciatus come here]
Uriel - Check your star-charts. This entire region is a restricted zone of the Andromedan Galactic Commonwealth.
Angrus - The offenders did not seem to care about that very much, we come simply to police it.
Tyraz - And now we're requesting our territory back!
Angrus did not back down from his claims. In the background he had a Thousand Dominatus scientists including 10 omegas on the station, surveying it while setting the production mode to overdrive. The accretion disk's nanomachine sea was gradually eating up the material in an unsustainable way and the many automatic shipyards that orbited the facility were being used to construct entire fleets of Mark-II warships.
The commonwealth's only saving grace was the difficulty the Dominatus had in operating the AIs, who had been programmed to obey the AGC. Even with it being fooled to recognise the Tyranny as its' masters, the AIs questioned the nature of what the Tyranny were doing and, unknown to them, secretly prevented the shipyards from completely consuming the entire disk in the space of a few days.
As Angrus stalled the Highlords, Medusa Heimdall made her way to Epicuriam, the main world of the Sons of Hedon. Mere hours ago they had reported a cuccess of the operation. When Medusa disembarked her ship in front of an elegantly-designed fortress, she was greeted by an army of Hedon and his Sons. All of them kneeled in the presence of their patron mistress and hedon himself kneeled directly before Medusa herself.
Hedon - We are all honoured by your presence, my lady.
Medusa - We now have control over the Deep Core installation and are learning how to create it, and are putting it on overdrive to increase ship production.
Medusa - This is in no small part because of you, Hedon.
Hedon - Yes my lady, thank you very much.
Medusa - Because you have been the first overseer unit to prove itself on a Gigaquadrantic scale operation, you will be the first to scale up. Your numbers will grow, and soon the Tyranny - not the Andromedan Commonwealth - will be Andromeda's masters!
Hedon - My sons and I will gladly serve by you as we bring the Tyranny's law to that frontier. I feel certain that Andromeda will one day be ours.
Hedon - Keep up your efforts, Hedon, and it will be.
Both of them smiled at this prospect. Medusa's smile slowly became a bellowing laugh and she was gradually joined by Hedon and in turn the other Sons. heir laughter echoed from the fortress's exterior and created a sound that chilled for anyone within hearing range.
Prisoner of a Non-War
25th March 2791
Maxios Telvenum had remained unconscious for five consecutive days. Whth his head throbbing he pulled himself up and found himself in a strange room. He looked about and winced from the oxygen rush. This caused him to stop and hold his head for a short while and after a few minuts of taking several deep breaths, Telvenum leaned to his side in the hopes of lifting himself from the bed and looked around in apprehension to survey his surroundings.
He called out to see if anyone was in the room but he heard no response. As he called out a large door opened but no-one came through. Maxios looked about and cautiously made his way to the door. He peeared out of it and down both ends of the adjacant corridor to find that the walls were all made in solid gold, and in shapes that twisted and writhed. Maxios felt nervous from this.
Telvenum - ...Uriel did you refurbish a new wing of the palace? hello?
Tevenum frisked himself for his communicator before he stepped out of the room to find it was missing. The jewel he wore on his torso was also missing and this frustrated him. With a deep breath, Maxios cautiously stepped out of the room and made his awy down the corridor. His mind could not help but stare at the patterns in the walls but he had to stay vigilant.
After travelling down several rather spacious hallways and entering another large door, he reached a place where he saw the start of the cloning process. he saw an assembly line where Sons of Hedon babies were being produced; What seemed to be draconis babies on steroids hung on racks and were carried about throughout the facility. Telvenum stepped back in horror at what he saw.
Maxios - Lifefather's breath... where am I?
Hedon - You are on the world of Epicuriam.
Maxios gulped and hesitated as he backed into Hedon. he tried desperately not to turn around out of fear.
Hedon - You are a guest, not a prisoner, now follow me to the dining table.
Feeling helpless and hungry from his predicament he cautiously agreed.
Hedon led him to a large dining hall with walls covered in gold. They both sat down while two of the cloned overseers entered the room, bringing rather succulent food with them. Maxios felt small both in the presence of Hedon and his other overseers in the roosm that were clearly built for creatures much larger than himself. Biologically engineered alien dancers, made for beauty, started gyrating in the background while soft, psychidelic music started playing. Telvenum looked at the large plates of food and his scomach growled. he was uanware that he had not eaten in days. He was hesitant, but he could not resist for long and soon found himself shoving some of it into his mouth. It tasted very good, he took a few mroe bites as Hedon smiled.
Hedon - It's good isn't it.
Maxios nodded as he continued eating.
Hedon - The music and the dancers are good too, correct?
Telvenum - Strangely...satisfying.
Hedon - Now tell me, what do you think the food is made of, what is doing the singing, and who are the dancers?
Telvenum - Uhh... Krann meat? I don't think I know the dancers.
Hedon - The food is made out of your Guardians of Light, the sining is done by captive Guardians being tortured, and the dancers are female Guardians on psychotrophic drugs. Knowing this, does the food in your mouth taste better?
Maxios's eyes widened and he dropped a chunk of meat he was holding in his hand.
Telvenum - You.. tricked me into eating my own allied soldiers?
Hedon - You wouldn't have cared had i not told you. Your primal urges, your lust for food and pleasure is greater than your so called dignity.
Telvenum - I am a crown-prince of the United Drallivian Republics. I must set an example I--
He stared back at the food with hungry eyes. He wasn't sure why but he wanted more and found himself cramming another piece of meat into his mouth. He then swallowed before he spoke again.
Telvenum - What are you? You look barely Draconis but no Draconis I know would be so depraved.
Hedon - I am something more than the Draconis, the morals of petty civilizations cast aside.
Telvenum - No, Morals and tradition make us what we are, they advance us... Why does this food seem so good?
Hedon - It is your most base sentiment that drives you foward.
Telvenum - No.. No no. By my standards you are an animal.
Hedon - Feel free to have all that you want, and then feel free to elope with one of the dancers later. Aren't we all animals, isn't all civilization based on the statement "might makes right so long as the mighty can enforce it?"
Telvenum - ...No?
Hedon - You may hold that sentiment now, but that may change through your time here.
Maxios sat silently. His eyes stared hungrily at the food on the table. He reached out for more but after a moment's hesitation he swept his arm across the table, sending what he could reach clattering to the floor. Hedon gave him a curious look but continued to sit somewhat unfased. he secretly enjoyed watching his guest's senses collapse surrounded by such luxury.
Hedon - What is the matter?
Telvenum - ...I will not become your plaything...
Hedon - I never said you were, did I?
Telvenum - You tempt me with this; you feed my own allies to me, force me to watch them dance before my eyes and treat me to their screams of torment as music. I'm not like you... I-I don't want to be like you.
Hedon - Are we all not the same in our basest sentiments?
Telvenum - That doesn't mean we have to explore our deepest depravities.
Hedon - If we can do something, why not?
Telvenum grasped the edges of the table and opened his wings out. His pupils had dilated and he felt like he wanted to stuff his face with even more food.
Telvenum - Enough! When Uriel learns I am gone he will worry. He will search all corners of the universe for me, he will not rest until I am safe under his wing. And when he does he will burn you and this depraved fortress to the ground!
Hedon - Feel free to leave any time you want, this place will always be with you.
Telvenum - What is the catch.
Hedon - You must merely go through The palace of pleasure to reach your ship. I will not stop you, but you may remain entranced by what you find.
Maxios retracted his arms and sighed. He still leaned on the table but a feeling of discomfort rested in his eyes.
Hedon - Merely go.
Telvenum - That's it? You think I will be stopped by wahtever depravities you consider pleasures?
Hedon - That is your decision, not mine.
Telvenum sat up. he did not want to give himself a sense of false hope but this news was simply too enticing to pass up.
Hedon - Have fun.
Hedon stood up out of his chair and alked out of the room with a cunning smile on his face, which Maxios didnt' see. After a few minutes on his own, Telvenum stood up and got out of the chair. He turned to see the food on the floor but turned away, dreading what he would do if he stared any longer. Somehow he did not feel himself ready to brave the 'palace of pleasure' and quietly returned to the room he woke up in.
No More Words
June 5th, 2791
It had been three months since the Drakodominatus Tyranny first took over Deep Core. The accreation disk had been severely depleted; an estimated volume of four solar masses had been devoured by the nanomachines and were converted either into materials for ships and equipment or transported back to Tyranny space. More could have been consumed had the AIs not deliberately set back production due to a logic algorithm that foudn the Tyranny's methods to be unethical.
meanwhile, at the Seat of Light, the council had gathered to discuss the Tyranny's actions. Tyraz, Iovera and Uriel sat as the din of angry representetives filled the room. Feeling as though he had had enough,Tyraz stood up and cleared his throat
Tyraz - Deep Core is not lost! We fought for the Core before and we shall do so again!
Solonese representetive - And unless we were decieved, these dominatus are depleting the accretion disk. Unless we do something by the time we do retake the core we would have to wait centuries for the core to restore itself!
Tyraz - I assure you that if talk does not give us back our Core, as your Grandmaster, I shall declare war upon the Tyranny.
Councillor - These dominatus have no care for the communities they disrupt. Surely diplomacy is an impossible proposal?
Reta'nyan - Retaking it or not, Highlord, the very event did shake the faith of the galaxy in you. It is a sign of weakness. And weakness. Weakness is unacceptable.
The Artharon shook his fist as he spoke his last few eords. Tyraz growled and clenched his fist as Reta'nyan, the Coalition representetive, spoke out. Uriel stood up as well.
Tyraz - Tell me, Artharon, where were you when I was fighting Br'klakkon?!
Uriel - Councillors please. None of you here recognise the Tyranny as the official owners of Deep Core. They have no rightful claim whatsoever to its capabilities. If they understand thissurely they would see reason.
Tyraz - Paragon, I am tired with words!
SolU rep - Highlord Uriel, if they are capable of reason they would have returned Deep Core the moment they secured it!<br Tyraz - Exactly! I shan't bother with words any longer! It is a hopeless pursuit that can only end in conflict and as your Grandmaster, the leader of the mightiest army in Andromeda, I shall reclaim Deep Core!
Ma'fest - We are fully aware of the Dominatus' nature, representative. And we won't hesitate.
Uriel - Perhaps, councillors, we issue an ultimatum to the Tyranny?
Tyraz - An ultimatum, yes! Return Deep Core, or die!
Uriel - Perhaps we could use less harsh terminology?
Tyraz - Alright, annihilated! Destroyed! Reduced, eradicated!
Ma'fest - Hold your sanstads, lord Breek. We do not know the Dominatus military strength yet. And neither do we know their allies and allegiances.
Tyraz - You, Ma'fest, disappoint me! Of all people, I expected you to be the one to help me lead the charge! The Tyranny cannot be bargained with, the Tyranny shall not have another chance! They dare TOUCH and INSULT me and the galaxy! They are a stain on Andromeda's honour and pride!
Ma'fest - I merely speak the words of reason. I am fully for an ultimatum... but I don't want the Divinarium to get into a full-scale war. We need to study our enemy first.
Uriel - Hmm... Ma'Fest, the Divinarium helped provide the electronic infrastucture for Deep Core. Is it possible at all for us to access the computers?
Ma'fest sat back down and thought for a few minutes on this.
Ma'fest - It is possible.
Tyraz - May I make you all aware that the Brood of War are ready to exercise a full military assault upon Deep Core if necessary and I shan't hesitate to involve the Guardians of Light.
Uriel - All those who oppose the use of the guardians in the event of war?
SolU rep - Your logic is sound Highlord Uriel. We can retake the station using the same faults as them, only this time they will not be as aware of how we can infiltrate their systems.
Uriel - It is settled then. We shall converse with Medusa Heimdall and if a conclusion cannot be reached, we give forth an ultimatum to return the station under penalty of reclaiming it ourselves.
Ma'fest - We could indeed take over the station from within. A bloodless strike. Elegant and deadly.
Tyraz - I demand blood! What makes you think we should spare their hides for defiling our beloved station with their foul touch?<br Uriel - What's to say the stations internal defences don't 'accidentally' start shooting at Dominatus?
Councillor - Or the oxygen recyclers stop working, let them choke on their own audacity!
Ma'fest - Sense, lord Breek! Nothing but common sense.
Tyraz - Who are you to say I do not speak sense, zealot?!
Councilor - Highlords, we are able to access the camera aboard the station.
SolU rep - Good.
At Tyraz's orders, a hologram materialised in the centre of the room and a livestream began in the control room, where Angrus was talking with Gravius, who had just returned from the Milky Way
Angrus - We have depleted a sizeable portion of the accretion disk, putting it on overdrive is quite inefficeint and unsustainable, however we must deny it's use to the AGC.
Gravius - However the amount of battlefleets it is building is simply staggering, the Mark 2 armadas are rolling out.
Angrus - The overdrive however is wearing down the infrastructure, but our science teams are learning more every day.
Angrus - I do wonder if the AGC plans to decalre war on us over this.
Gravius - Probably not, they are still reeling over the recent war they had and don't want to be embroiled in another one.
Gravius - They will seek a more diplomatic approach to it.
Angrus - They believe they must rectify this as it is a sign of weakness for them.
Gravius - They won't do a surprise attack before a formal declaration of war.
Angrus - We just must keep this station for a bit longer to know it's secrets, deplete the disk, and make ships.
Gravius - I must return to Installation 2 now to supervise on weapons construction, goodbye.
Angrus - Goodbye
The livestream panned to other areas of the facility, which showed the fleets being built while the nanite sea worked at an unsustainable rate. In a few months the accretion disk had become a shadow of its former self.
Uriel - It appears they do not desire diplomacy. I say we issue the ultimatum and give them one last chance. Ma'Fest, the moment they decline I suggest we start sabotaging theri efforts.
Ma'fest - Indeed.
Tyraz - They do not desire words, they take us for fools! Sons and daughters of Andromeda, we shall show these invaders their place in our galaxy! There is NONE!
Tyraz - All those in favour of taking immediate action against the Tyranny, say AYE!
Most of the hallway roared in support of Tyraz and he sat down with a broad smile on his face.
Uriel - I withdraw my suggestion of an ultimatum. If they knew we were preparing for action they would only commit scorched eath tactics, we would lose everything!
Tyraz - The Divinarium shall use Deep Core's own computers and defences against them while we shall charge at the front! Surround them! Make the Tyranny weep! Kill EVERY member without mercy!
Uriel stood up sharply as the entire hall chanted with support. He stood forward proudly and opened his wings to make himself look impressive.
Uriel - Andromeda Eternal!
A Tyranny spy outside saw an AGC fleet assemble outside the assembly as ships warped in from all corners of the commonwealth to create an enormous armada. The spy attempted to contact Angrus but was unaware that Deep Core's AIs - working under orders of Ma'fest - had instated a communications blackout and ativated the gravity wells that isolated the station from any form of FTL travel. Angrus never recieved the word, but with no way to contact the outside he instantly realised something had gone horribly wrong.
Deep Core Blitzkrieg
Angrus did not know anything from the spy however with the sudden bout of white noise coupled with no word fro mthe spy he2 and 2 together and realised the AGC were onto the Tyranny's operation.
Angrus - All ships at the ready, Space Transatic Analyzers on(things that track them in hyperspace), dismantle all of the guns that we didn't install, divert as many actions as possible to our computers, pLant bombs as well on all shipyards, they are coming in Force! Send for the Scions of Crogki and the Hounds of Kuzushimasu and give them a BCN inscription. Physical contact must be made though, comms do not work!
The AIs made it difficult for the Dominatus to transfer everything, acting intentionally problematic to stall the Tyranny's evacuation. Meanwhile the AGC alongside the Guardians of Light arrived in full force around Deep Core's vicinity. Tyraz stood at the bridge of the Ghost of the Warrior accompanied by Tanaris and holograms of Larnus and Uriel who were aboard the TNSS Dominax.
Tyraz - Niddan Ho Tanaris...They have possibly planted self-destruct mechanisms onboard the station. I want you to go in and dismantle them.
Tanaris - Aye, Lord Councillor. It shall be done so. My sons shall not fail you.
Larnus - All Andromedan ships blockade the Deep Core vicinity. Let none escape!
As the fleet approached the AIs activated gravity wells at strategic locations around the region, preventing either side from using FTL drives. Special Niddan Ho ships speed past defences while cloaked, their presence completely invisible to radar of all sorts, their presence being hidden by jammers and other elite equipment.
Angrus - Gravity Generators turned on, no one can get in, all overseer forces we have are the 4 that we had when we took this station...This will surely mean war then. Tyraz, though brash, is not an idiot, overseers ready for phase in at all locations. Primary station weapon systems are still ours, they are controlled by the Krakens that we produced. Begin detonation of shipyards now, the outcome does not matter
The fleet had anticipated ascorched-earth tactic. Both the Brood of War and the Draconid Imperium had deployed the Niddan Ho and Wraith Legion respectively to preserve the shipyards. For some of the bomb teams, the were set upon by Wraith Legion operatives. At that, each of the shipyards, now cleared of Dominatus ships, began the detonation procedure, in a sequential pattern and the the AI teams were subsequently attacked by Wraith Legion operatives and Niddan Ho but whereever that occured, some sons of Hedon deployed.
Aboard Shipyard 23, Tanaris himself joined the fray, opposed by Hedon and Nosferatu. The latter launched himself at Tanaris only for the giant Zazane to look down at the smaller Overseer and shunt him into a wall with a swift kick.
Uriel teleported into the command station, flanked by Davius and a dozen Blood Dragons and further backed up by Wraith Legionnaires who picked off DOminatus and Overseers along the way to the command deck. A Divinarium Templar squad joined nerby, led by an Imperion commander. As he did so, Larnus contacted everyone with news on the terror attack that xaused the station's loss.
Larnus - Commanders, can you confirm that these 'terrorists' we originaly encountered are on board?
Uriel - They are Lord Admiral. If our suspicions are correct the Tyranny. WIll. Pay.
Commander Vrainath - Radeons? On Dominatus side?
Larnus - Radeons, Draocnis, Zazane, they have made abominations of us all.
Tanaris - These Zazane are nothing more than the shadow of Niddan Ho.
Vrainath - Huh. More reasons then... to crush them!
As Vrainath spoke he unsheathed a war glaive and aimed it at Dominatus warriors. Pressing a trigger on the shaft a pulse of energy sent the dominatus flying backwards. Angrus phased in with a cunning smile on his face.
Angrus - I see you know how to deal with a flash clone, but how will you deal with the Dominatus?
Seeing Angrus, Uriel glared and aiemd his rifle, in the blink of an eye Angrus vanished and reappeared behind Uriel.
Angrus - What cause do you have for war Uriel - Me? Your kind started this!
Uriel was prepared and a Blood Dragon drew a blade and thrusted it towards Angrus, fury turned to surprise as he let the blade go through a part of his armor he deactivated. His biomass then extended down the sword and punched its way through the armour. Swelling up inside the mass crawled up and into the Dragon's mouth, suffocating the soldier inside. Angrus then formed a puppet out of the soldier in order to taunt uriel, he resultantly triggered the dead Dragon's partner to seethe with rage and enter Dragonfury. Rather than being shocked, Uriel smiled.
Uriel - Do you know waht happens when a Blood Dragon sees his or her partner die in battle? Angrus - He gets enraged and enters a berserk fury, i know.
The second dragon threw himself at Angrus only for the latter to slash him apart and play down his abilities. He then launched a massive sift at the puppet and caused the entity to explode.
Angrus - Now, the fun is over. I have not even laid a finger on you yet Uriel, yet you are covered in your servants blood!
Uriel vigilantly drew his greatsword, which self-assembled as he pulled it from the sheathe on his waist. As his hand passed over a sensor, a blue disruption field sheathed the blade. Angrus laughed and pulled out his own 10-metre long greatsword. The Greatsword was engraved with the names of all those he had killed with it and was literally covered in microscopic inscriptons.
Uriel - I am about to show you, Angrus, why raw strength is not the only measure of power.
Angrus - Go try it. Another name to add to my collection.
Uriel confidently swung his sword at Angrus' legs, only to see the Dominatus sidestep and for the strike to miss.
Angrus - A fine slash Uriel, though i still doubt it's execution.
Uriel followed on with the swing, he twisted the blade upwards and hit Angrus's side. Once again Angrus let the sword penetrate through the armour's shields. Once the blade was lodged in Angrus he merely laughed and gave a punch that sent Uriel flying backwards. Uriel smiled as the energy field surrounding his blade slowly dissolved flesh surrounding it. Uriel himself hit the wall.
Angrus gripped the sword handle, as he did so the energy field deactivated and through sheer brute strength he tore it from his body and smashed it asunder. After a few minutes, Uriel stood up, aided by the servos in his armour and he pulled out a fusion pistol.
Angrus - I give you one last chance to stop this.
Uriel - Yes. Surrender the station to its rightful owners and I won't have to send Medusa your corpse.
Angrus laughed at this
Angrus - Such a sad story when i send Septis your maggot infested face.
Uriel fired several shots in Angrus's direction. His armours' rangefinder systems woudl have compensated for attempts for Angrus to dodge but he merely advanced through the withering fire as glasma went through parts of his body, though the area was partially dissipated by the forcefield, gaping holes in his flesh were formed as the beams passed right through. As he advanced, some of the explosives were detonated, bringing the Light's investmant to a ruinous end.
Tyraz telported inside the room Angrus was using as personal qurters apartments. Rather than finding the Dominatus general, Tyraz was instead faced with Cruciatus Infernus; Director of Occult Operations and a descended individual who appered right in front of him. Tyraz looked up at the director with a confident smirk.
Tyraz - So, Angrus left his lap dog in his place while he operates from somewhere else? A true coward, he is no warrior.
Cruciatus Infernus - I am Angrus' superior in a sense, Angrus has to deal with Uriel.
Tyraz - Angrus shall not be given a chance to dare touch Uriel.
Cruciatus - I am Cruciatus Infernus, or the Director.
Tyraz - Well, Cruciatus, I am Tyraz Breek of the Brood of War.
Cruciatus - I have heard about your debacle Tyraz, we are still cleaning up the remains.
Tyraz - Oh this will be fun, Director. If you know of the incident then I am sure you know that you cannot win this.
Cruciatus - If not for the doomstone that is. 'Twas a good day for all, except for the world.
Tyraz - A man who required an object to gain his power, while I Descended myself!
Cruciatus - With the help of Umbrux.
Tyraz - Grah! I grow stronger without Umbrux!
Tyraz could feel Uriel's presence on board the station and he growled angrily as he fought Angrus. Tyraz's eyes narrowed towards Cruciatus. His scales blackened and yellow scars began to burn from his body. The rage within him began to seethe and gnaw at Tyraz inside. Cruciatus merely laughed at this as runes all across his body activated, the Demon smirked at Cruciatus and summoned his Firesword, at 13 metres. Cruciatus merely laughed and showed that he did not even have a weapon.
Demon Tyraz - A man confident in his ability to sew the strings of Essence, I see! A man whose overconfidence proves his downfall, I see!
The Demon then unleashed a demonic roar, the Firesword burning before he leaped at Cruciatus. he did not hit Cruciatus as the latter expected. Instead he had appeared behind him, with Cruciatus now having a long, burning Firesword sticking through his waist. Cruciatus laughed endlessly from this and Demon Tyraz smirked as his rage burned further, his aura beginning to cause the room to burn. The Firesword also quickly began turning Cruciatus' wound to ash.
Cruciatus - A very fine stroke.
At that, demonic biomass tentacles emerged form Cruciatus, imbued with demonic energies and started a flurry that started hit Tyraz, who allowed the tentacles to hit him as the pain merely amplified his power. The two of them engaged in a frenzied duel extended by the nigh-inexhaustable nature of both parties. Tyraz's method of duelling was wild and frantic, his speed and strength increasing with every swing of his Firesword whole Cruciatus merely kept his cool practiced form, made to perfection in the schools of Demogorgon Prime. Tyraz laughed at Cruciatus'and allowed himself to get impaled on a lunge of the Soulsword.
Cruciatus - Returning the favor I see.
As Uriel drew his sword the familiar blue shimmer engulfed it and he prepared for the worst Angrus would have thrown at him. He was surprised to see Nosferatu abruptly colliding with Angrus. He turned to see Tanaris who held Hedon by the throat.
Tanaris - ...Really? These are the best the Tyranny can come up with?
Angrus - My beloved would not be pleased at that.
Tanaris - Shyrak your beloved.
At that, Akemainyu tackled Tanaris to the ground, the Mahanyan's strength being only a bit greater than that of tanaris and the Mahanayan himself stood at 8.5 meters tall Tanaris laughed as Akemainyu tackled him, Hedon all the while was still in his grasp and he proceeded to batter the Mahanayan with him. Akemainyu and Tanaris simoulatenously punched into each other, which caused intense trauma in both of them.
At that Cruciatus and other Dominatus except Angrus teleported to their other ships which were escaping, the station's gravity wells had disspapted after the destruction of parent shipyards and AGC ships flew on intercept courses to stop the ships from escaping. The overseers were then teleported to the Dominatus ships, who exited through the way in which they came and soon only Angrus and the AGC's forces remained on the now wrecked station. Tyraz appeared near Uriel, albeit a little tired.
Angrus - Perhaps now i should show you what i do when I try...
Grasping firmy of Uriel, Angrus used his sword to rip the paragon apart in a single fine stroke. The resulting blows destroyed all of his limbs as well as his wings, but leaving him alive nonetheless. he laughed as one of the time bombs far beneath him exploded, and his armor took the brunt of the impact which knocked him unconscious. Tyraz's body blazed as Uriel roared in intense pain and he jumped on top of Angrus, driving his claws deep into his flesh and beginning to tear at his organs.
Tyraz - I shall KILL you!
To his surprise he found out that all of Angrus body was rather homogenous, having no distinct organs. Tyraz growled again, but Tanaris threw Tyraz off.
Tyraz - I shall burn his body to ashes!
Davius - Uriel is still alive. I suggest we take this oppertunity to take the monster alive.
Davius put his arm in front of Tyraz to bar him. They all stood amid the wrecked station, the pride of the AGC now almost smoking ash
Davius - He's more valuable to us alive!
Tyraz looked angrily at Davius and threw him to the size. Uriel gasped for air as he still reeled in pain.
Tyraz - WHO MADE YOU GRANDMASTER?! I need...to Descend him...
Dragon - Tyraz that might not be necesary. He's crippled but his armour is keeping him alive.
Tyraz looked to Angrus and spat a burning wob of spit at him.
Tyraz - Get it out of my sight.
Several soldiers dragged Angrus's unconscious body away. As they did the Dominatus stirred but did not open his eyes, not giving any sighn he was alive.
Uriel - Tyraz...Tyraz. how bad is it?
Tyraz looked at Uriel and groaned.
Tyraz - Uriel...can you feel your limbs?
Uriel - No. No I can't.
Tyraz - Good, then your mental state is still intact.
Uriel - I could still hear you... y-you wanted to descend me?
Tyraz - A majority of your limbs and body are in a state of...being non-existent...
Uriel - I-its nothing an extended period under stem cell treatment won't solve... although I suppose there is always the option of implants.
Tyraz - Uriel...
Tyraz leaned down and picked Uriel up in his arms. Uriel was somewhat weary from his fight with Angrus and he struggled as he held his own head up.
Tyraz - Do you wish...for immortality?
Uriel - I-i thought you always called such thing a curse?
Tyraz - I can't bear seeing you in pain! Everytime, I see you get hurt and I can't stand it!
Uriel - Are you sure giving me your power is the answer?
Tyraz set Uriel down again and cried as he held Uriel tightly, he turned his face away from everybody else.
Tyraz - I can't stand it! I can't! I see you get hurt too often, Uriel!
Uriel - Such is the nature of battle. If I was not prepared for pain do you think I would continue throwing myself into such danger all the time?
Tyraz - Uriel...If I lose you...I'm forced to spend an eternity without you...DO YOU KNOW HOW PAINFUL IT WOULD BE?!
Uriel - Tyraz. You knew long before this day, be it from age or battle, that I would one day pass on.
Tyraz continued to cry, he broke down into tears in front of everybody. Uriel leaned closer to comfort his friend.
Uriel - You will always have my family Tyraz. We will always be there for you.
Tyraz - But Uriel...you are the first man...who accepted me for who I am...If I allowed you to die...how would your family ever forgive me...?
Uriel - Because they would know I either died in battle to protect my empire, or I was ready to pass my seal to the next paragon and continue to Drakon's garden.
Tyraz - I guess...you're right...A man such as yourself does not desire immortality...I was selfish...
Uriel - You feared for my safety, as any friend would.
Tyraz nodded and stood he passed his arm by his eyes and wiped his tears away.
Tyraz - Uriel...just heal up quickly...It pains me when I see you like this...
Uriel - I'll be fine. You might not trust doctors but I know a few miracle-workers.
Tyraz - Trust in me Uriel...I shall have Angrus' head for this. I shall destroy him and his whore!
Uriel - Thank you. You don't have to but I am grateful.
Tyraz - Uriel, do you honestly expect any less of me?
Uriel - I know you too well.
Tyraz smiled at Uriel and spoke into a communicator.
Tyraz - All fleets, destroy what Dominatus you can, but allow some survivors. I want Angrus' bitch to know what happened.
Deep Core returned to the hands of the Commonwealth. However with the accretion disk depleted, the command station in ruins and several shipyards now clouds of scrap metal, it was clear that it would take a long time without dedication for Deep Core to return to its former glory.
At that, the fleet returned to Alcanti and left the station's automata to restore the damage. Uriel was admitted to a high-quality infirmary once he was returned to the Imperium.
The Trial of Angrus Mortarius
August 15th, 2791
The Andromedan Light had gathered this day for a grim task. Since the assault to retake Deep Core, Angrus Mortarius had been kept in the custody of the Commonwealth and on this day he was taken to stand before the highlords in a court of law. He had a smirk on his face as he walked to the trial area. He was dressed not in his armor, that of a Drachon, but instead prison attire that he had been wearing since his incarceration. He had studied intensively in the fields of xenolaw before this tour of duty to familiarize himself with the customs of the Andromeda Galactic Commonwealth and had prepared all his arguments in his head. He also knew that eventually, Medusa would give Telvenum for him at some point, and that he could go back, and the attack on the AGC could commence. He eventually made his way to his assigned place and did things in accordance with AGC legal procedure. Angrus sat down and faced the arbiters as he prepared for the trial.
After a few minutes, the arbiters had arrived: Uriel, Iovera and Tyraz due to the nature of Angrus's crimes. They gathered in a booth that would have looked down on Angrus were he not so large. Iovera had returned from her coma. Before Deep Core, Angrus had taught himself high Dracid, and planned to use it to spite Uriel. A Razzit stepped forward with a datapad that contained a list of Angrus's charges.
Baliff - Angrus Mortarius and the Drakodominatus Tyranny are guilty of the following: Kidnapping, conspiring with known terrorists and insurgents, mass-murder, torture of Commonwealth officials, deliberately insulting the Highlords, unlawful use of Commonwealth property, destruction of Commonwealth property and disregard for galactic conservation regulations.
Angrus - Isn't that quaint?
Uriel glared at Angrus, isntantly realising what language he was using. Luckily for everyone else there were universal translators.
Iovera - Speak, Dominatus.
Tyraz - I do not see what is quaint about it.
Angrus - Chaos is the only universal constant.
Tyraz - I do not see how this has anything to do with the current court case.
Angrus - The constant flux i brought about edifies all of us. I find the chaos caused to be quite entertaining and I am amused by this spectacle.
Tyraz - Even more reason why I should have reduced you to ashes.
Angrus laughed at Tyraz.
Uriel - Hundreds, perhaps thousands died, because of your policies. Deep Core was a symbol of progress and you took it as your own and abused it. Not only that but when you realised that its original owners were coming you decided to break it as much as possible!
Angrus - What do the deaths of thousands mean to an empire of quadrillions?
Tyraz - Thousands die to protect Andromeda, but that does not mean we forgive their killers.
Iovera - There is indeed one thing that is universal... but it is not chaos: All life is sacred, Dominatus. Your species needs to learn that.
Angrus - Then teach me wench.
Tyraz's eyes flared. Iovera remained calm, but it was evident - for a member of her own species, at least - that there was anger within her.
Angrus - So unrefined in a court of law, halfbreed.
Tyraz - I'd say I am quite refined considering I haven't turned you to dust.
Angrus - Bring it you dog.
Uriel - We are to judge your actions and here you sit, berating and mocking us.
Tyraz - Your arguements are getting you nowhere, Dominatus. You would have more success accepting what you have done as a crime in our region and facing consequences.
Uriel - "Respect must always be given to he who holds the hammer of fate".
Angrus - What argument have I to make? It is clear that the only law here is what flows from your mouth, Worm King. Even the wench and the halfbreed are subservient to you.
Iovera - The only reason I don't is you are living, too... even though your species does not deserve that high title.
Iovera's hands began to spark with energy. Tyraz placed his hand on Iovera's to calm her. Uriel sat quietly.
Tyraz - You have committed heinous acts which are seen as crimes in our galaxy. Whether you are a foreigner or a native, you must abide by our laws nonetheless.
Iovera - Perhaps my species'... facilities could be used to punish this Dominatus?
Tyraz - I would rather have him dead, Mistress.
Uriel - The Commonwealth will not tolerate your imposure of chaos on our realm.
Iovera turned to Uriel and Tyraz
Angrus - Go tolerate the Xhodocto.
Tyraz - We already do, or I do at least. The Xhodocto are a Universal constant, you however are not.
Baliff - Sir, if you are going to continue aggrevating the highlords then we may as well take you to an isolation unit.
Iovera - My species never executes criminals. We correct them.
Angrus - Do it then.
Iovera looked at Angrus.
Iovera - I won't subject you to such a torture. Nor would I like the sight of you walking through the streets giving candies to children.
Uriel - A human author once suggested that the wicked were punished by living out their sin without any sign of relief. Imagine it, an eternity where you are a slave to your own vices?
Angrus - I have no vice nor sin.
Tyraz - I doubt he cares much, Uriel. I would rather erase this waste of space.
Uriel - Yes, give us a reason why your life should not be ended.
Iovera - Tyraz has a point.
Angrus - Arrange for a firing squad then.
Tyraz - Who mentioned a firing squad?
Uriel - A firing squad is too good for you.
Tyraz - I have played executioner before and I shall again if I have to.
Angrus - If I die ... Telvenum will know pain.
Uriel - Maxios...
Uriel froze with anxiety.
Tyraz - How can you assure us Telvenum is not already deceased?
Angrus - You are more shortsighted than i thought.
Iovera - ...No. You won't.
Angus found himself being lifted in the air.
Angrus - Hmph, you've lifted 100 metric tons of mass. Quite impressive.
Tyraz - Again, how can you assure us that Maxios Telvenum is not already deceased?
Uriel - They know his value to me... they know how much he means to me...
Angrus - You won't be assured. Angrus - In fact, perhaps I'll order his torture to start right now.
Tyraz - Be aware that I have not met this "Maxios". He has no value to me and I am your executioner if you play your cards right. Uriel - Tyraz the threat does not relate to you... it relates to me.
Angrus remembered his lessons on game theory and smiled deviously.
Angrus - You will now get me out of this trial as of now, free me of all charges, or he dies.
Tyraz - Hmph, you shall remain here until his freedom is assured.
Angrus - Telvenum will suffer until I am freed.
Tyraz - For all we know, you will walk out of this court and order his execution with no consequence. I won't allow such.
Uriel - You lie! Uriel - I wish to remind you that wireless communication within this room has been jammed.
Angrus started to cough, feeling that some force strangled him - Iovera did not like being blackmailed. The contingency plan that Angrus had plotted with Medusa took effect, as Medusa told Hedon to ready the now corrupted Telvenum to play being tortured. At that, Angrus, having placed a bug within the room started transmitting Telvenum's torture
Angrus - Impressive as well.
Iovera's eyes flashed.
Angrus - Does it look like i lied!
Iovera - Stop this.
Angrus - Telvenum will suffer so long as I am here.
Telvenum - Uriel ... help me!
Uriel - You bastard! This is blackmail of the highest order!
Tyraz - Uriel...give me the order and I shall do it.
Angrus used his biomass to create a variable shape that made Iovera lower him. He then stormed to the podium of Uriel, Tyraz, and Iovera. Uriel was now speechless, a ccross between fear and anger.
Angrus - If I am here for the next minute, Telvenum will die! I will make sure that your name is written upon his lips as he suffers mortal agony!
Tyraz kept his Firesword at the ready. He looked to Iovera and Uriel.
Angrus - NOW REACH A VERDICT!
Tyraz - What shall you have me do...? Release him or execute him?
Uriel panted out of anxiety. The screaming from Telvenum grew even more heavy.
Uriel - ...Kill him, burn his foul body to ash...
Tyraz nodded and drew his Firesword. He looked down at Angrus and stood up from his chair.
Angrus smiled at this and did not even put up any resistance. Hedisabled all regenerative capability as well as he waited for the blade to fall. he already had something planned. Uriel could not bear to look and slouched in his cahir, he covered most of his view. Tyraz spread his wings and slashed downwards with his Firesword. An intense wave of burning black fire was unleashed from the blade, slicing Angrus in two vertically, Anfrus laughed as Tyraz sliced through him. The body did not reknit itself together and fell in both directions, the searing heat from the firesword burned away his remains. Angrus' body began to quickly turn to ash and dust as Tyraz withdrew his Firesword. The Zazane looked away from Angrus as he sighed and walked back to his podium.
Uriel slouched in his chair, he could be heard visibly crying within his hands. He then saw the staged death of Telvenum. Replaced with a flash clone, maxios was literally ripped apart by the whirring buzz of metallic blades. But maxios himself was fine. In horror, Iovera momentarily slipped into speaking Radessic
Iovera - ...Draath'draathai.
Uriel was overwheled with what he saw and buried his head into his hands eeve nfurther. Angrus disembodied conciousness, between life and death made it's way to a special apparatus Cruciatus had made prior to the trial.
Uriel - Bastards... All. Of. Them.
Baliff - Oh err... this tribunal is adjourned, justice has been served.
Out of view, Angrus underwent a painstaking process on installation 13, being both descended and revived by Cruciatus, laughing ash e was reconstructed.
After the tribunal, Uriel and the others had gone to the Imperial palace. Uriel was still overwhelmingly upset. His wings sagged and he looked away from the others as he slouched against a wall. Blubbering all the while as eh spoke.He could not believe it, he could nto believe his firend was dead.
Uriel - Twenty...five...years...and...he's...gone.
Iovera - Malthi craath'na.
Tyraz - Uriel, I'm...sorry.
Uriel - We had...such ambition. WHY DID THEY TAKE HIM FROM ME! No... it's okay... he was just in... the wrong place... at... the wrong... time.
Iovera - You couldn't do anything, Uriel. Don't blame yourself.
Uriel - What choice could I make? Either both of them walk freely or both die. The monsters turned a trial into a blackmail session! I need to be alone right now...
Uriel stormed off and headed to his personal chambers to grieve.
However, when Uriel enters his personal quarters, he sees Telvenum who has snuck in. Telvenum was all the same, yet he was different. Hedon's techniwues made him more amoral, more proen to self-indulgence. he greated uriel wearing the liquid gold outfit he had been given.
Telvenum - Hello, Uriel!
Uriel - Maxios... Is that?
Uriel wrapped his arms around Telvenum and hugged tightly.
Uriel - I thought you were dead!
Telvenum - I escaped, all of that was computer generated.
Uriel - And Angrus was completely fooled?
Telvenum - I believe so. His coordination with Medusa didn't go as planned it seems.
After a few minutes Uriel let go and felt slightly awkward. Feeling Telvenum's presence, Tyraz and Iovera had rushed to Uriel's chambers. The psychic laughter of Angrus permeated the area, causing distrubances to Iovera.
Uriel - You seem a little...different. I'm not sure how but... there is something different about you.
Iovera - Shadows loom.
Telvenum - Those bastards put me through a lot.'
Tyraz approached Telvenum, his Firesword drawn once more.
Tyraz - Uriel. Step away from him.
Uriel - Tyraz it's okay, this is Maxios, I have known him for years.
Tyraz - No, it's not.
Tyraz shoved Uriel away and glared at Telvenum. uriel staggered bck from Tyraz's strength, comletely confused as to what was going on.
Telvenum - I'm sure you understand that I might have changed from my time there. Torture ... every day.
Iovera - Darkness is around him, Uriel.
Tyraz - You have my suspicions raised, Telvenum. Be careful with your next few words.
Telvenum - Understand I am still the same.
Uriel - I can see why that might have changed him, Drakon forbid what they put him through in there... but darkness? Really?
Iovera - I... I can't really explain.
Uriel - ...please tell me he's not a sleeper agent.
Eventually, as Angrus form was built up, even Uriel could hear some laughter.
Uriel - Does anyone hear... laughter?
Tyraz - You just noticed?
Uriel - Well...yes.
Iovera - It is worse than that.
Uriel stepped away from maxios, he suddenly gained suspicions and became doubtful of his friend.
Uriel - Maxios?
Telvenum - Uriel...
Telvenum then fainted as per protocol. Uriel rushed over and attended to Telvenum's body in order to comfort him..
Uriel - I don't care what either of you say, this man needs a bed.
Tyraz - I half expect him to explode in a moment or so.
Uriel - When I first saw him again I could not believe it.
The laughter eventually died down into a single phrase.
The Sightless One
October 20th, 2791
In the lower levels of a civillian transport bound for the Mathist-8 colonies, two security officers, oen a Val'Kar the other a Sankana were patrollding the deck. They walked causally, they were not expecting much action and made passive glances about. Everything appeared to be normal on board. Upon reaching one of the bunkrooms, the Val'Kar leaned against the door as the Sankana typed a code to open the door.
Val'kar - D'ya hear that Commander Sovlikorol hasn't been seen for three days?
Sankana - Not a word. Why ask?
Val'kar - Idunno, she was never late for work before.
They wre interrupted when they thought they could hear something in the ventilation.
Sankana - You hear that?
Val'Kar - Probaly some slikkids scurrying about. We can give the call for engineering to spray the ducts later.
Sankana - Hope that all it is.
Val'Kar - Look if it was anything else we'd know, right?
Sankana - I suppose. See you next shift.
Val'Kar - Yeah, have a good one.
The Sankana went inside the room. The Val'Kar nodded to himself and walked down the hall. Humming to himself to keep his mind occupied.
He headed down a floor and was apooked as he heard another rattle. Cautious, he pulled out a plasma pistol and kept walking, holding the pistol tight and his finger close to the trigger. In the middle of the corridor he spotted what appeared ot be a dead slikkid. He lifted his pistol to point at the dead creature and leaned down to check it.
Behind him, something large moved into position from above. The Val'Kar picked up the slikkid by the tail when he felt something breathing down his neck. His eyes widened, he turned around slowly and in horror he foudn himself lookingi nto the face of a freakishly large Zazane with pink skin, a stunted snout and two rows of razor-sharp teeth. What startled him more was the creature's distinct lack of eyes as it gave him a tooth-filled grin. He stepped back, the Zazane launched its tail and wrapped it around his neck, pulling him into the vicinity of its jaws. It tossed him through an open door and jumped in, sealing the door behind itself before it attacked and devoured him, quickly halting his screams from behind the door.
With its hunger satisfied it opened the door, looked around, and headed deeper below the decks.
7th November 2791
Tarsus was walking through the maze-like corridors of the New Dawn, ecstatic. For months, the mystery of the Brotherhood's weapons was puzzling him; it was akin to a worm, gnawing into his mind, never leaving his thoughts. How could a small group of terrorists with no apparent connections get their hands on such advanced weaponry... and who had created that weaponry in the first place? The first officer's remark that the weapons reminded him of the technology used by the Inheritance only made things worse... but today, all questions were going to be answered.
Having arrived to one of the New Dawn's laboratories, Tarsus took a deep breath and opened the door. The bright light that illuminated the laboratory blinded him for a second; when sight returned to the Draconis professor, a group fo scientist dressed in white coats appeared him, nodding to Tarsus in respect. Their faces had the expression of awe in them, and yet in that awe there was a glimpse of uncertainty, doubt, and fear of the unknown.
Sepherah - Ah, greetings, professor! You have arrived just in time. We are on the brink of a scientific breakthrough.
Tarsus nodded at Sepherah with a smile.
Tarsus - What has your team discovered so far?
Sepherah - Do you remember the battle with the Brotherhood, professor?
Tarsus - All to well. What have you learned exactly?
Sepherah - After that battle, we have managed to recover some of the weapons the terrorists were using... to be precise, the drones.
Sepherah waved her hand at the white, silvery orbs lying on the examnination table: these were the same drones that had nearly destroyed the New Dawn a few months ago. Tarsus walked over to the table and looked at them using the optical device over his left eye.
Sepherah - Our worst expectations have been confirmed, professor. This is indeed Inheritance technology.
Tarsus shuddered, he remembered the Inheritance attack in the Tholfame-18 sector several years ago and was hesitant to move closer.
Sepherah - Attotechnology. No evident power sources. Anomalous behaviour. There can be no coincidence.
Tarsus - Impossible... They couldn't have copied the desigs...could they?
Sepherah remained silent to the professor's question. She didn't have an answer.
Sepherah - I have no idea... but one thing interests me. What if we could find the way the Brotherhood managed to reverse engineer the Inheritance designs... what if? We could achieve a scientific breakthrough!
At that exact moment, something sparked in Tarsus's heart. Was it truly happening before his eyes? Another technological revolution?
Tarsus - This could be the beginning of something. If we can replicate the technology of the precurors....we could one day soon match their technological prowess!
Sepherah - And this something begins now.
Wasting no more time, the Radeon weapon scientist activated the laboratory's machinery. The science team closed their eyes as the air around them started to spark from the radiant energy; the dissection had begun. Sepherah, however, kept staring at the scene without blinking, not caring about the blinding light; she was too excited by the upcoming revelation to fear it.
Tarsus - Sepherah. You and I are witnessing the beginning of something truly wonderful.
Sepherah - Oh yes. It begins.
And it began indeed.
Suddenly, the drone that was being dissected flashed, springing into activity. The light it radiated was different, dissimilar to the rest of the Inheritance drones: it was cyan like them, but at the same time had a slight, barely noticeable tint that made it different: brighter, more harsh and far, far more malevolent. Being experienced with Andromedan technology, professor Senvinus was the first to notice that unnerving difference; his face slowly dropped from a smile when he suspected something was not right.
Tarsus - Sepherah...I thought you said it was disabled...
Awakened from its slumber, the drone started turning around rampantly, as if it was scared; its single cybernetic eye twitched, observing the environment it didn't recognise, analysing the situation. And then, to everyone's surprise... it simply melted. Like snow subject to sunlight. Melted into a puddle of silvery liquid that absorbed the other drones and grew larger.
Sepherah - Oh no. These drones must have a safety mechanism or something.
Tarsus - Flood the room with an EMP. Now.
Slowly, the mass of attomachines began to take form, a massive form. Four long legs, a lithe, mechanical body, a skull-like head adorned by several eyes which radiated a malevolent cyan glow; the amalgamation of drones resembled a monster more than a machine now. Letting out a primal, cybernetic howl that shattered the glass that held it previously, the demonic contraption leaped at the scientists with cold, mechanical fury.
Tarsus - Security breach!
As the laboratory was being destroyed, fear engulfed the Draconis professor. What went wrong? What happened? Why did the event that was meant to bring about a technological revolution for the galaxy create such a monstrosity? Tarsus attempted to escape the laboratory, but as he ran, a large table landed on top of him and he found himself trapped inside what appeared to be the living hell. His tympanic membranes literally torn by the loud howls of the monster, Tarsus simply watched the robotic creature thrashing against the walls, awaiting for his demise...
And then, he saw a sillhouette. The fire had nearly blinded him, but he could still recognise it... it was a Radeon. Sepherah.
Sepherah - Run away, professor! I'll distract the creature!
Sepherah's eyes glew with energy and Tarsus found that the table seemed to be lighter now, light enough for him to breath comfortably and with the aid of Radeon telekinesis, the Draconis professor finally managed to get back on his feet and then ran, ran away as fast as he could. Behind him, he could hear the high-pitched screams of Sepherah whose selfless sacrifice had saved him, the loud thumps of the mechanical abomination and the howling of the sirens, but it did not matter to him, his only desire being to run, to flee, to escape. The New Dawn was about to face a terrifying foe.
The Engine of Fear
Later that day
Tarsus Senvinus arrived to the captain's bridge, breathing heavily. It was as if some kind of a demonic force came and took his soul: his scales were pale and in his eyes there was primal, pure dread.
N'rai - Professor?
Tarsus - S-sirs...there has been erm..something of an...accident i-in the science labs...
Arnas - ...Accident?
Beltharon raised his eyebrow.
Beltharon - And? How much gun will I require?
Tarsus - Well...I'd reccomend lockdown protocols on the three decks surrounding lab 8C...
Beltharon stood up and grabbed his combat knife, grunting and approaching Tarsus.
Beltharon - What did you do?
Tarsus - We were dissecting the drones recovered from the recent attack. As we prepared to cut one open with a laser it... melted.
Baka'niju - But there is no reason to fear then.
Tarsus - Before it melted its eyes were red, it was spasming everywhere and then it... conglomorated.
Beltharon - So what's the problem?
Arsac looked at Tarsus nervously.
Tarsus - It broke confinemant after it melted - Tarsus spoke morbidly, with no emotion but fear in his weary voice - and conglomorated into something large and very angry...
As Tarsus finished speaking, a silvery silhouette appeared from the corridor, as if it was summoned by all the chatter. An animalistic mass of living, flesh-like metal: it was the Inheritance droid.
Inheritant - BROTHERHOOD ETERNAL.
Arnas' eyes widened and she became petrified with fear.
Tarsus - ....Krandung.
Beltharon - Oh, that's the problem.
Beltharon shoved Tarsus out of his way and he clenched his fist, before running forward and slamming a powerful punch against the Inheritance droid.
Inheritant - Resistance: insubstantial.
The droid's massive clawed hand turned into a white blade which cut Beltharion's hand off: black Shidium blood of the Niddan Ho splattered across the room.
Beltharon - You cut off hands like a woman!
Beltharon grabbed the massive claw with his other hand and threw it to his side, slamming his crested head against the droid. Uncertain, not sure what to do, Arnas joined in the fray, pulling a pistol from her thigh holster and firing several bolts of plasma at the monstrosity too as it was distracted.
Inheritant - Question: irrelevant. Servants have no gender.
The Inheritant, seemingly unaffected by Arnas' attacks, grabbed Beltharon and threw him away. The Zazane officer groaned out in pain as he hit the metallic wall of the captain's bridge; no longer distracted, the machine turned its single eye towards the rest of the crew.
Tarsus - ...this was not the revolution I had in mind!
Inheritant - Resistance: insubstantial. Surrender.
Beltharon - Fuck off!
Beltharon got back on his feet and bared his sharp teeth at the Inheritant, slamming the bloodied Shidium-layered bone of his wrist into the droid... and with no success. The wristbone only made a loud "clang" sound, making the Inheritant laugh emotionlessly with its synthetic voice.
Inheritant - Resistance: absurd. Information: primary goal. Destruction: secondary goal.
Arnas - Not good.
Tarsus - It adapted to our EMP.
Suddenly, the Inheritant stomped his feet, crushing the floor of the captain's bridge and creating a massive shockwave which threw the New Dawn's crew in the air.
Inheritant - INFORMATION: PRIMARY GOAL. BROTHERHOOD ETERNAL.
The robotic monstrosity turned its arm into a tentacle and thrusted it into the ship's main computer; Tarsus struggled to stand up and instead crawled, watching as light surged into the Inheritant.
Inheritant - INFORMATION ABSORPTION IN PROCESS.
Beltharon - You're really starting to piss me off!
Beltharon, with much more force behind it this time, slammed his wristbone even harder against the Inheritant's side, who simply ignored it.
Inheritant - Resistance will result in termination.
The droid continuing draining information from the computer; its colour promptly changed to gold, then to red, then back to cyan.
Inheritant - INSUFFICIENT INFORMATION. MORE COMPUTING POWER REQUIRED.
The robot's voice ringed across the room, its sheer cold malice heard in every single word. Horrified, Tarsus pulled out a knife strapped to his thight and attempted to plunge it into the Inheritant's ankle; however, it simply went right through the synthetic creature's metallic skin and then was absorbed by it. Tarsus let go with a look of horror and then anger. He tried to climb up the creature...
Tarsus - Give me back my knife you alloy freak!
... but it didn't like it. Quickly turning towards the crew - fast enough to send Tarsus flying - the Inheritant turned its mechanical tentacle back into an arm, now with a cannon on its end. The monster's eye's colour shifted to blood red.
Inherirant - REQUEST: DENIED. TERMINATION: PRIMARY GOAL. COMPUTING POWER: SECONDARY GOAL.
Arnas - Everyone...Perhaps we should perimt engaging lockdown protocols?
N'rai - Are you sure it will stop this... thing, sir?
Arnas - I hope it will. Those bulkeads were designed to contain anything as srtong as a rampaging Koda.
Inheritant - Inheritance: superior. Koda: inferior.
The Inheritant started marching towards the crew, crushing the floor's machinery under its metallic feet, the thumping of its feet a music of horror. Slowly, trying not to provoke the monster, the Artharon security officer turned to Arnas and whispered to her.
Baka'niju - There is a saying amongst my people, lady Arnas.
Arnas - Yes?
Baka'niju - To die without gaining one's aim is a rat's death and fanaticism.
N'rai - And that means?
Baka'niju - And that means RUN AWAY!
Arsac - Couldn't agree more!
Beltharon - You go ahead! I'll keep Rusty here occupied!
Arsac - Fight with valiance, Beltharon.
The New Dawn's crew fled the captain's bridge, leaving Betharion alone to face the mechanical abomination.
AI - Lockdown of bridge level is in effect. Bulkheads closing. Magnetic seals engaging.
Beltharion was relieved to hear the sound of the AI and made sure the doors in the room were closed and locked, before turning to the Inheritant drone.
Inheritant - SUBMIT OR PERISH.
Beltharion - It does not matter how much information you consume! I think, therefore I am!
Inheritant - Think...
The Inheritant froze.
Inheritant - Adaru, adaru, adaru...
Beltharion was confused for several moments, but disregarded it. He roared out as he slammed the entire mass of his body against the Inheritant, using all of the strength available to him in an attempt to knock it over. The battle began.
The remaining members of the New Dawn's crew assembled in the ship's cargo bay. They panted and breathed heavily, looking around paranoidally; one could easily see fear in their eyes - the emotion that every single sentient being had, and the strongest and the most primal one. All New Dawn crewmembers, scions of ancient, advanced civilisations, felt the same emotion their ancestors felt millenia ago. Of course, the source of their fear was not a wild beast but an ancient rampaging droid... which was somewhere here. Prowling. Hunting.
Tarsus - Cowering from a terrorist monster aboard our own ship. What has this expidition come to?
N'rai - I don't know either. When I first came to this ship, I expected our mission to be a chance to meet new species, not... not eldritch robots.
Arnas - Well..at least this eldritch robot is not some temple guardian.
Baka'niju - Hmph. All we need is a plan. The metal beast can't be invincible.
The Artharon officer took a deep breath, trying to maintain a cold exterior. To doubt and to fear was to betray one's ideals of honour for an Artharon... or at least, to show fear.
Baka'niju - Hm... - he turned to Tiny, the Cheurith the New Dawn's crew found in the Tertamian vault - perhaps our new friend has an opinion?
Tiny was picking on his nose, and turned to them.
Tiny - Hmmm...oh! Hi, friends! Didn't see you come in.
N'rai - Okay, big guy. Let's put it simply so you could understand: there's a huge robot in our ship that wants us all dead.
Tiny - Robot? Enemy robot?
N'rai came closer to Tiny.
N'rai - Eeeyup.
Tiny - Won't let robot harm friends! I kill robot!
The Cheurith roared loudly, his guttural voice resonating across the room.
Arnas - Tiny may be big, but I fear even his strength may not be enough.
N'rai - Indeed... to stop the robot, we need something like-
N'rai paused for a second and then suddenly smiled.
N'rai - Captain, do we have a map of the ship?
Arnas nodded and walked to a touchscreen panel, after borwsing she discovered a map of the ship. N'rai came closer and looked at it, continuing to smile.
N'rai - The robot talked about getting information, didn't it?
Arnas - Yes, I fear it will try and access the ship's databanks.
N'rai - Which are located- N'rai extended an appendage from her cybernetic body and pointed at the red square on the map - here. A dead end.
Baka'niju started to laugh.
Baka'niju - Huh. I understand your proposition.
Tarsus - And in case your plan fails, I have a different idea... waybe we can provide Tiny with a little... aid?
Tarsus walked up to N'rai and offered her a capsule of silver liquid.
N'rai - ...Hm. What do you mean?
Tarsus - I'm suggesting Morphis.
N'rai - Sure, it could work, I guess...
Tiny - Morphis? Is that food?
Tarsus - Morphis is this special... serum. We Andromedans use it to make ourselves stronger. The idea is that with a simple thought your body can be changed to suit a situation.
Tiny scratched his head.
Tarsus - Hmm, Guardians, if any of you have been given a Morphis injection I want at least one of you to step forward.
Tiny - Injection? Ngh, not like needles!
Tarsus - Don't worry Tiny, we can give you a form you can swallow.
Tiny - Where is Zazane friend?
Crewmember - He... wanted to keep the robot busy.
Tiny - ...Robot will feel the worst pain.
Tarsus - Guardians, can one of you demonstrate to Tiny what Morphis can do?
A Terratrix stepped forward to Tiny.
Terratrix - Tiny, I was given Morphis, I shall show you.
Tiny leaned down and watched the Terratrix.
The Terratrix was given a metal bar, he hit the ground to show how solid it was. It barely bent. He then took a deep breath and his arms swelled, he then grabbed both ends of the bar and managed to bend it.
Tiny - Tiny can do that already. With bigger bar.
The Terratrix handed the bar to a New Daw Terratrix crewmemebr who tried to bend the same bar with no luck.
Terratrix - Morphis made me much stronger than I naturally would be. Also, crewmember, hit me in the chest.
Crewmember - Eh?
Terratrix - Just do it.
The crewmember shrugged and lifted the bar, he slammed it lengthways into the Terratrix's torso only for it to break upon impact, the Terratrix on the recieving and coughed a bit and took a couple of steps back, otherwise unaharmed.
Tiny - Give Tiny this Morphis. Robot needs lesson.
Tarsus took ahold of the pill and backoned to get closer to Tiny's mouth.
Tarsus - Take this pill but don't chew.
Tiny opened his mouth, looking as Tarsus tossed the pill into it and the pill dissolved into his tongue.
Tiny - Is Tiny stronger yet?
Tarsus - Now, it will take a short while for the Morphis to take effect. it will reinforce your bones and regulate your immune system automatically.
Tiny - Can't wait! Zazane friend in danger!
Tarsus - It will also harden your body against incoming impacts. Everything else must be triggered by thinking about it.
N'rai - Excellent! Now, we just need to-
As N'rai was speaking, silvery liquid poured from the doors of the cargo bay, forming a floating puddle, which then took form of the Inheritance droid. The entire team stepped down upon seeing the monstrosity, drawing their weapons and preparing to fight.
Inheritant - RESISTANCE IS FUTILE.
N'rai - We just need to RUN!
Tiny - Robot! I will break you!
N'rai - No! Tiny has to go with us, we'll need him! Follow me!
Hearing N'rai, Tiny backed away and started to follow them.
Tiny - Will still break you!
Tarsus - Remind me what your plan is N'rai?
N'rai - No time to tell! Just get to the databanks!
Inheritant - INFORMATION.
Tiny - Shut up!
Pursued by the nameless fear, the New Dawn's crew ran through the mazelike corridors and passageways of the ship, having forgotten about fatigue or fear. Their only goal was to survive now.
N'rai - I'll go this way!
N'rai pointed at the small, narrow corridor and then quickly jumped into it, followed by Baka'niju.
Arnas - N'rai I sure hope you know what you are doing.
N'rai - As for you... - N'rai pondered - You go there. That large passageway. Tiny, there's a large... computer in there. Protect it!
As N'rai vanished in the corridor and the team split up, the robotic monstrosity returned to its original form, analyzing the situation, and then followed Tiny, staring at him with its single cyan eye.
Inheritant - ...INFORMATION.
Tiny ran up to the computer and clenched his fists.
Tiny - Come to Tiny!
Inheritant - THE COMPUTER WILL BE MINE. RESISTANCE IS FUTILE.
The droid turned its hands into long, curved blades glowing with malevolent energy and charged at Tiny, who used his arms to shield himself. When the Inheritant's blades were stopped by them, it froze for a second, apparently confused by its opponent's strength. Utilising the moment, Tiny then grabbed the Inheritant's head and started to punch into it several times.
Inheritant - Fermotechnology: primitive.
Tiny - You primitive!
Inheritant - Incorrect.
Suddenly, the Inheritant's blades became even longer , and it continued its assault with even greater strength, thrusting them right into Tiny's stomach. The Cheurith was about to prepare for his imminent death... and then, he realised that the robot's weapons simply broke upon touching his skin. Morphis worked wonders with one's body.
Surprised and motivated by his survival, Tiny smashed the Inheritance robot with his fists, which left deep dents in its metallic hull. The machine screeched in pain, but Tiny did not intend to stop and continued to attack it with all his energy, his strength magnified many times by Morphis implants: that was vengeance, for his friends, for his crew, for Betharon.
Inheritant - Mission... must be... completed...
Tiny - You get nothing!
Tiny, trying to imitate his enemy, used his nanomachine injections to grow long blade-like claws on his wrist and punched the Inheritant in the face, making it fall on the ground. The light in its eye started to fade... but then, something strange happened. The Inheritant's entire body started to flow like water, taking a new, even more monstrous form. Massive mechanical tentacles protruded from its hull, ended with razor-sharp spikes, which surrounded Tiny's body like snakes.
Inheritant - INCORRECT.
The robot's tentacles started to construct Tiny with vicious abandon, their spikes tearing his flesh apart. The mighty Cheurith roared and tried to resist, but not even Morphis could help him now, and Arnas and Tarsus watched as he, slowly but inevitably, was losing his battle with the mechanical beast. Finally succumbing, Tiny let out a scream and, released from the Inheritant's grip, fell into his side, agonizing.
Tarsus - Tiny, you can do this! Will those wounds to vitality!
The Inheritant - Terminated.
The Inheritant pushed the unconscious Tiny away and walked closer to the computer, inserting its tentacles into its machinery.
Inheritant - INFORMATION IS MINE.
The droid's eye turned blue.
Inheritant - Information found. Coordinates calculated. ASSUMING DIRECT CONTROL.
Suddenly, the entire ship shook from the roar of engines; its warp drives were activated.
Inheritant - Sending coordinates.
Arnas - Now what!?
Helplessly, Tiny watched the droid fulfilling the purpose given to him by his masters. With the ship AI's information and computing power, it now knew the coordinates... but of what? Tiny did not ask himself these questions, simply watching the droid, hoping for a miracle...
N'rai - We're here, Tiny!
Tiny could barely recognise the figures that appeared before him. Was it the N'rai?
Arnas - Can someone please enlighten me as to waht is going on?!
N'rai - Baka'niju, do it!
Immediatley complying to the Imperix's command, Baka'niju tossed a glowing blue sphere - one of the New Dawn's engine cores - into the room, and then took Tiny out of it.
N'rai - Now, everyone, get out!
The Inheritant disconnected itself from the AI and turned its eye towards the engine core. It was about to explode.
Inheritant - No...
N'rai - Close the door and run as fast as you can!
Arnas nodded and filed everyone out, setting the blast door to close to contain the explosion. The ship's crew, carrying Tiny's body, fled as a massive blast roared behind them like thunder: the nameless fear was gone at last...
On the next day, the New Dawn's crew assembled once more in the captain's bridge. Tiny was still recovering, lying in the medical bay, and as such couldn't attend. Beltharon, at the other hand, had successfully recovered from his encounter with the Inheritant, looking at his chopped hand, disappointed.
Beltharon - Hmph, wish it could've chopped a bit more meat off.
Arnas - I want a full report on how this entire incident started.
N'rai - Are you referring to professor Senvinus or to me?
Arnas - Both of you.
Tarsus - We were preparing to dissect the machines when one of them restored to full functionality. I did not expect it to react the way it did.
Arnas - And who was responsible for the drones to be disabled?
Tarsus - That would have been N'rai and her team.
N'rai - This robot always talked about information, so I thought... what if we could lure him?
Arnas - You wanted to lure him to our central data matrix and nwo we are in Drakon-knows-where because of your hunch.
N'rai - But... we're alive, aren't we?
Beltharon - If I had the right state of mind, I'd put you as a risk to the ship and its crew. Oh wait, I do.
Arnas - Tiny is in the infirmary while the droid got the information it wanted, we have at least three confirmed science team casualties and the entire crew is shell-shocked.
Arnas - What's more, power cores like that are not so easy to come by out here.
Beltharon - And what about my hand?!
Arnas - Yes...
Beltharon - So, N'rai, you are the cause of three confirmed casualties, two major injuries and the demotivation of the entire crew.
Arnas - You allowed a hostile droid to access our archive, who knows what the Bortherhood could ahve had access to.
N'rai - But it wasn't me who activated the droid, ser. I only destroyed it.
Tarsus - These Inheritants have a habit of faking shutdown, no matter how often we disable them they have this innate ability to restore themselves.
N'rai - I don't think anything could have survived being in direct proximity to an exploding power core.
Beltharon - If it has survived, I'll make sure to change that.
Arnas - Hm. Where did it take us anyway?
N'rai looked at the screens. Before her was a carmine world surrounded my thousands of asteroids, which circled around it in rings. It seemed to be an average planet to N'rai at first - but then, she realised. The asteroids weren't just rocks. It appeared as if they were made of metal - strangely similar to the metal of Inheritance drones and Tertamian relics.
N'rai - Well... let's find out?
Khanjar stood alone on the captain's bridge of Traxus and watched the map of the Andromeda Galaxy spinning slowly. Stars twinkled on the map, appearing, sparkling and then again disappearing, but the Brotherhood's leader's eyes, unseen underneath his helmet, remained fixed at one, single point. He had been waiting, waiting for a certain signal, a call, unmoving, silent. Nothing interfered with his concentration; nothing interefered with the eerie silence that permeated the entire room. Not a word, not a sound.
Until suddenly, a bright, deep blue dot flashed on the galaxy's image, pulsating as if it was alive. With his right clawlike hand, Khanjar touched the dot, and the image of the galaxy zoomed in, coordinates appearing from it. A slight, barely noticeable smile appeared on his scarred, disfigured face, making his visage even more threatening. He recieved the information he needed, and he came one step closer towards his ultimate goal. Captivated by daydreams, Khanjar did not notice a lone figure entering the captain's bridge - one of his most trusted commanders, Althron.
Althron - Yet another victory, illustrious leader! You continue to amaze me. You used the slaves' own foolishness against them... did you? Was that your intent?
The "illustrious leader" remained silent as always, not even moving his head to answer Althron. For all his loyalty, power and competence, Khanjar did not like him. Maybe he did not like zealots and sycophants - and Althron was both - or maybe he reminded him of someone else... it's not that Khanjar knew himself.
Althron - Shall I lead our fleets to claim the next part of puzzle myself then?
Khanjar simply shook his head disapprovingly and made a few barely noticeable gestures with his hands. It was a secret language that all Brotherhood members knew - a language of silence, of winks, whispers and gesticulations. To fight in shadows, to wage a hidden war against the entire galaxy, one needed to be silent and discreet, but Khanjar never spoke. Not since... well, the Brotherhood's formation.
Althron - Understood. I shall prepare the ships then. Under your command, our enemy shall know our wra-.
Althron was interrupted by Khanjar's inquisitive gaze, which seemed to pierce his very soul. As his master looked at him, the Radeon commander bowed, understanding what question was he supposed to answer.
Althron - The boy will come with us. We have prepared everything: he will be a useful asset to our plans.
Khanjar grinned, allowing Althron to leave the captain's bridge. Once again alone, in silence, he turned back to the map of the galaxy, thinking of the past, the present and the future. With noone to hear him, the Brotherhood's leader took off his heavy, face-concealing helmet and, breaking an unspoken vow of silence, muttered to himself.
Khanjar - You think you're in control, old friend. But I'm one step ahead of you. I'm always one step ahead of you.
Meanwhile, yet another force had discovered the coordinates of the mysterious world, intending to claim it as its own too. Three forces were about to meet.
The Ruby World
8th November 2791
Gliding softly on the solar winds, the New Dawn neared the surface of the planet. The planet's atmosphere was extremely thick, as if it was surrounded by carmine fog, but apparently, it was still habitable: the entirety of the world's surface seemed to be covered in jungles, which were blood red, too. The ship's crew watched at the planet with great curiosity. What secrets could it hide?
N'rai - Looks beautiful, isn't it?
Tarsus - Such vibrant red jungles... reminds me of Southern Miminas.
Tiny - Tiny likes trees. Could use them as club.
Betharon - Hmph, replace it with concrete and bricks and I'll be happy.
Arnas - Why would the Inheritant program the ship to bring us here?
As if it was answering Arnas's command, the screen showed a silvery structure jutting from the forests. Arnas dropped her jaw in surprise at the structure.
N'rai - Civilisation. But how old, exactly?
Tarsus - The architecture is remeniscent of the old Tertamian alliance.
Geelum Korrupo, the New Dawn's chief engineer, walked to the rest of the crew, holding a bunch of respirators in his froglike arms.
Geelum - By the way, the atmosphere seems to be pretty toxic, so you ought to be careful if you are going to land.
Arnas - Right. Respirators everyone.
Betharon - Hmph, my systems are designed to block off all methods of air intake in case of a situation like that. Instead, I get supplied emergency oxygen for 48 hours.
Tiny - Will sneeze if nose hurts.
Tarsus - Commonwealth rebreathers shouldn't hurt.
Geelum handed the respirators to the crew, who looked at them suspiciously. Small and compact, they were light as feathers, and as such, somewhat hard to put on. As Tiny was tinkering with his respirator trying to put it on his massive face, the New Dawn landed.
N'rai - We're here.
Arnas - I will keep an eye on the ship. Betharon, Baka'Niju, keep the team safe.
Betharon - Who the hell do you think I am?
Baka'niju - A warrior with a weapon that will pierce the heavens.
Tiny - You speak funny.
The crew, all with rebreathers, left the ship, stepping on blood red grass that lied under their feet. The land replied to the newcomers by a symphony of noises: leaves rustled, birds (or whatever was living on that planet) screeched, animals howled and ran in fear. N'rai, first to leave, looked at the forests, captivated.
N'rai - I never saw anything like that in my life. So... vibrant.
Betharon - Everything's noisy and alien here.
Betharon lifted his gun and aimed at a few bird creatures.
N'rai - Hmph. You can't appreciate nature.
Betharon - What is there to appreciate? It's noisy, messy and an eyesore.
Tiny - Nature is tasty.
Baka'niju - Noisy, messy, beautiful, tasty... the first thing is dangerous. We have to beware.
Betharon - Hmph, sure. "Dangerous".
Tarsus - Who knows waht predatory creatures lurk in these jungles.
Betharon - We could always bait N'rai and see.
Tarsus gave a dissapointed look to Betharon.
N'rai - I'm not even a carbon lifeform!
Slowly, not to draw attention, the crew marched into the forests, searching for the silver structure. All forms of life were lurking there, creatures big and small; black legless reptiles, similar to serpents, slithered on the trees, while small insects swarmed over corpses. There was another thing that drew the crew's attention, though: massive carmine crystals that were growing out of the planet's soil like bushes. Tarsus's keen eye of a scientist was the first to notice the formations.
Tarsus - Fascinating. We need samples.
Betharon - You dare and your head will be little more than fertiliser. Remember the last time we had "samples"? You know, the whole reason why we're here?
Tarsus - Those were machines, these appear to be natural formations.
Marine - I'll take a few.
An Imperion marine, wearing red armour, came closer to the crystal mound.
Betharon - Those machines can shapeshift, remember? What if all these crystals are machines?
Tarsus - Then he'll have to be careful.
The marine carefully touched the crystal, which responded by starting to glow brightly. Scared, he tried to put his hand away, but it was too late: in a moment, all thar remained of the marine was a small pile of ash and his red armour.
N'rai - Ouch.
Betharon looked towards the pile of ash and lifted an eyebrow. Tarsus flinched, he looked at the mess looking shocked.
Betharon - Collect samples, you said. It'll be important, you said!
Tarsus - Science is never a certainty!
Betharon - You sent a man to his death!
Tarsus - At least we know for certain the red crystals are dangerous.
Betharon - Hmph, sometimes I feel like the crew doesn't listen to me.
Tarsus - Alright the next time I want a sample I'll send a probe shall I?
Betharon - No, no, it's fine. Feel free to use your bare hands!
Tarsus - Hrmph, like I would ever do that.
Betharon - Yeah, just get some other poor sod to do it for you.
N'rai - Be quiet, please. We are not alone here.
Baka'niju - The diplomat is true. I hear something.
Sounds of weapons firing rang from afar, making N'rai shudder.
Tarsus - Now that isn't good.
Betharon - I hear the sound of sweet, sweet music. I mean gunfire.
Tarsus - I will hazard a guess those sounds are coming from Brotherhood soldiers. But I could be wrong.
N'rai - Well, if it is the Brotherhood, then WHO are they fighting?
Marine - Wild animals perhaps?
N'rai - Let's hope that it's just animals and nothing worse.
As time passed, the sound of gunfire was slowly replaced by another sound, which was more primal and wild: the roars of predators.
Tarsus - Knew it.
N'rai - Excellent. Seems that our bickering has attracted unwanted attention...
Betharon - Are you kidding me? I was starting to get bored.
As Betharion and N'rai were speaking, ground shuddered beneath then; large, raptor-like creatures appeared seemingly out of nowhere, running in direction of the crew relentlessly with their twisted mouths opened wide.
N'rai - Here, unwanted attention.
The New Dawn's crew prepared their weapons and lined up in a circle; the battle began. The feral denizen of the mystical world were fearsome, their black razor-sharp claws tearing Commonwealth marines apart, but their opponents weren't mere rookies either: the New Dawn's crew only accepted the best of the best. Betharon and Tiny fought valiantly, crushing the raptors into bloody mush with a blade and a tree, respectively, while Baka'niju and Arnas shot them from afar. Their flesh seared by advanced Commonwealth weaponry, the raptors roared in pain and died, green acidic blood dripping from their wounds, but those who survived attacked again with redoubled fervour, leaping at the interlopers.
Tiny - Morphis makes Tiny invincible!
Seeing that Tiny is a greater threat, the reptilian creatures targeted him first, tearing his flesh apart with their black, bladelike teeth. Though raptors died in large portions, there weren't less of them: new animals seemed to appear out of nowhere.
Tarsus - Now might be a good time to pick up the pace.
Tiny grunted in pain as he was attacked but kept clubbing at the animals with the tree, the Morphis on his body regenerating his wounds. The rest of the crew rushed to protect their teammate: Baka'niju incinerated those raptors who attempted to jump at Tiny, while Betharon snapped the necks of those that didn't with his muscular arms. Smiling, the Zazane commander took one of the raptors' body as a club, smashing the rest of the animals with it. Tiny laughed as he thought Betharon was imitating him.
N'rai - Ugh... - N'rai looked at Betharon, scared and disgusted equally - now that's freaky.
Tarsus fired his pistol at the raptors. As one jumped for him he drew a knife and stabbed it in the chest as it landed on him.
Baka'niju - Why are there so many?
Tarsus - Security measure?
Betharon - Don't know.
Betharon slams the corpse into the ground and it explodes across the area, before picking up a bone and jabbing it into the eye of another creature.
Betharon - Don't care.
Baka'niju - Let's just move on. They won't-
The Artharon commander was interrupted by a thundering screech of another creature, which appeared to be the raptor alpha. At least six meters tall and much more in length, it towered above its pack members like a mighty tree towered above small bushes. The massive raptor let out a loud roar and stomped. Tiny roared back at it, holding the battered tree on his hand.
Betharon - I think we pissed off the daddy!
Tarsus - That's... big.
Tiny - Tiny is bigger! Tiny will crush you!
The mighty raptor opened its jaws and attempted to swallow Betharon, only to be stopped by Tiny, who tackled the raptor and bit him himself.
Tarsus - Nice work Tiny!
Angered, the monstrosity growled, striking Tiny with its foot.
Betharon - Go on! Rip his head off and suck his guts out!
The strike caused Tiny to shout in pain, and he grabbed the monster's neck with the intention of breaking it. The massive howled in pain and fell down, scaring the other raptors off...
But not because of Tiny.
N'rai - Victory- wait, what's in its torso... Not looking at the ecstatic Tiny, stomped on the creature's neck and beat his chest cheerfully. N'rai came closer to the monstrous raptor's body and then gasped. A large portion of its back was charred and burned; thrusted into it was a large wooden spear... with a red crystalline tip.
??? - Invaders! Invaders!
Tarsus - We have company...
Tiny - Uh?
Strange green creatured appeared seemingly out of nowhere, grimaces of anger appearing on their distorted radial faces, clad in golden armour decorated with feathers and carmine crystals. In their small arms, they held the same spears as the one that murdered the raptor.
Betharon - What the...what?!
Tiny - Ugly green thingie!
??? - Invaders! Invaders! In- them! It is them! They have arrived! They have arrived!
The creatures's voices suddenly changed from feral anger to... awe? Slowly, in a ritualised manner, they approached the New Dawn's crew, bowing before them.
??? - We'll take you to the structure you're searching for. The High Priest saw you in his dreams. You are the Ones. The Third Ones of Ardenta.
Tarsus - Third ones of Ardenta?
Betharon - They're hurting my eyes, can I kill them?
Tarsus turned to look at Betharon.
N'rai - No, you don't.
??? - Yes, the third ones. Please, come with us. We need you, as much as you need us...
Tarsus - Third ones third ones third ones... What if they refer to the eras of the galaxy's rulers?
Tiny - So...friends?
??? - Yes, friends.
With much hesitation, the New Dawn's crew followed the mysterious creatures. However, little did they know that they weren't alone...
Althron coughed as he led his squad of militants through a large, purple marsh. The mysterious planet was a nasty place, even for him... not to mention his battle brothers.
Althron - By Spode... where is brother Iarhin?
Militant - He's... gone. A toad bit him and...
Althron - What? By Spode, he was one of our best. I swear, I shall give the toad that killed him a gift of a long and painful de- oh wait, nevermind.
The Brotherhood's militants continued to pass through the marsh, looking for the same ancient structure the New Dawn's crew was searching for. Among the soldiers was its former member, Quendor Telnhao. He neither talked to his new comrades nor to his commander. He was thinking.
What was the source of the vision he saw on Traxus? What caused it? Was it truly a vision from the past? Who were the creatures he saw? These were the questions he was asking to himself, for his vision kept gnawing his brain, appearing to him in his dreams, dominating his mind... well, not entirely. There were other questions in Quendor's head, related to his mother. Which role did she play in the Brotherhood? What was she working on? There was one thing he had realised for sure: she was far too important for the Brotherhood to execute. They could have threatened to kill her, but ultimately, it had been nothing but a ruse, a way to manipulate him. And he didn't like being manipulated...
Althron - Brother Quendor, are we near?
Quendor - Yes. The structure must be somewhere here, in a few standard distance units.
Althron - Excellent... wait, did you hear that noise?.. - Althron's ears twitched, his acute sense of hearing detecting that something was not right - Someone has found the signal too...
Althron's team passed through the marsh and climbed on a small cliff, looking at the jungle below. Alien figures walked through it.
??? - Useless piece of waste material. Look harder! It cannot be too far from here!
Althron - These are not the AGC... but not our brothers eithe- Althron became mute for a split second and then, a single word came from his lips. - the Gros.
The Gros captain looked up and noticed the Brotherhood. His eyes narrowed.
??? - ...Dangit.
Althron - Victory or death, brothers! Attack!
The Brotherhood's militants activated their jetpacks and descended upon the Gros exploration force, smashing it with sheer momentum. The captain jumped to behind cover, where more Gros soldiers were hidden, and they fired at the group. A small device extended on the captain's wrist, which he pressed, causing the slaves with the force to roar in anger.
Gros Captain - Set aggression level to high. Take out those invaders, we cannot lose this planet!
Panicked, the militants stepped away from the slaves, who dashed at the Brotherhood's soldiers with wild fury. Vricine slaves jumped into the Brotherhood soldiers' direction, cackling wildly while releasing venomous gas out of their backs.
Vricine - Have some poison! Hahakaka!
Althron - Ready your blades, brothers!
The militants drew their blades and engaged the slaves in melee combat, using their agility and superior armour to prevail over their foes; however, the Vricine venom was still extremely toxic, and several militants, unable to endure the gas, fell lifeless and motionless on the forest floor. The Gros captain laughed as they died.
Gros - That is what you receive for challenging Karnagtah!
One of the Vricine ran into Althron's direction, trying to grab him. However, the Radeon commander was well prepared for the attack, and at the moment the poisonous beast tried to attack him, he thrusted his sabers in the Vricine's heart, killing it instantly.
Althron - And this is what you recieve for challenging us.
Loud steps were heard as a Cheurith slave appeared behind the Gros soldiers, roaring.
Althron - Take out that beast, quickly!
The Brotherhood's militants drew their Inheritance guns which crackled with energy, and attacked, making the Cheurith's flesh's burn. The monster shouted in pain and charged into the militants to crush them under its feet. Meanwhile, the Gros soldiers kept firing at them. Realising they were being under fire, the militants fled, hiding under a pile of crystals.
Gros Captain - Hmpf. Cowards. The secrets of this world belong to the Stratocracy.
Althron - Cowards? Cowards?
Althron laughed maniacally, yet still retaining a certain air of arrogance.
Althron - You Gros are the most cowardly species in the galaxy. You hide behind slaves. Send them to die, while keeping your precious blue skin safe... Simply disgusting.
Gros Captain - Hmpf. Call it slaves if you wish, but we are doing them a favour for allowing them to live under the Stratocracy. You, on the other hand, will not have such privileges.
Althron - Shall we fight then? Like gentlemen. One to one.
Gros Captain - Bhahahaha! You? Against me?...So be it. This should get me in a good mood.
Althron stepped from the rest of his militants and drew his blades, baring his teeth. The Gros captain, too, got out of cover, drawing his own blade. He slowly walked over to Althron, towering over him, with a smile on his face. A glorious fight was about to begin.
Gros Captain - Try not to break so easily. I heard you Radeons are very frail.
Althron - Frailness does not matter if you can't hit me.
Althron leaped in the air and striked the Gros captain with all his strength, his sabers glowing with energy as they tore through the air. The captain defended himself with his own blade, then threw the Brotherhood witness away.
Althron - Arrrgh. Think you're strong, aren't you?
Gros Captain - Stronger than you, for sure!
Althron - Allow me to introduce you to elemental energy then.
With a dismissive gesture, Althron threw the Gros captain in the air, making him smash against a tree.
Althron - I am not a Prime-level psychic, of course... but still stronger than you, that's for sure.
The Gros captain shouted in both pain and surprise as he fell on the ground, shaking his head.
Gros Captain - Filthy creatures with your magic or however you call it.
Althron - Essence.
The Gros captain ran into Althron's direction, with the intent of slashing him. The Radeon commander responded, striking with immense speed. The captain screech in pain as if a thousand of blades struck him; to an outsider, it seemed as he was attacked by several warriors, appearing and disappearing around the slaver leader.
Gros Captain - Arrgh!
The Gros captain panted in frustration and charged into Althron again. However, the tendrils on his back started to wave around, and he stopped on his tracks.
Gros Captain - ...More outsiders.
Althron - The Commonwealth! It must be here too...
Gros Captain - Great. First you, now them. This day is only going downhill.
Althron and the captain looked into each others' eyes. Suddenly, a thought appeared in their heads.
Althron - Wait. You Gros don't like the Commonwealth. Right?
Gros Captain - The Commonwealth is an obstable to the Stratocracy's expansion. That's a no.
Althron - Then why do we fight while the Commonwealth scum search for the structure themselves?
Gros Captain - Hmm. You have a point.
Althron drew his blade back, offering the captain a hand as a sign of friendship.
Althron - I propose an alliance.
The Gros captain's tendrils all aimed at Althron. He stared for a second before drawing his blade back and shaking Althron's hand.
Gros Captain - So be it. Between you and them, I'd rather get rid of them.
Althron - Perfect! Now, be fast. Lest the Commonwealth will be first to find the ruins.
The green creatures strolled through the vermilion jungles of the mysterious planet, followed by the New Dawn's crew. While walking, the strange aliens looked around, listening to the noises of the forest. N'rai could hear their quiet, almost silent muttering, which seemed to be a form of a prayer.
Creature - By the Watchers, by those who came before, by the first ones and the second ones and the third ones...
Beltharon - It's too quiet!
N'rai - Tsst! We might alert the predators.
Tiny - Could sing you a song, but not know any lyrics.
Tarsus - Can I ask something? Who are the first and second ones?
Creature - First came the first ones; wisdom, madness, ascension. - the creature's voice was greatly distorted and melodic - Then came the second ones: war, bloodshed, domination.
Beltharon - What's this about Zazane?
Tarsus - What if the second ones were Vartekians?
Creature - No! The deceitful kin are the third. As are the war kin.
Tiny - They speak funny.
Tarsus - What does that make our group?
The creature looked over the New Dawn's crewmembers. There were members of all Commonwealth species, coming from all corners of the galaxy and beyond; a complex tapestry of various cultures, civilisations, nations. The alien watched them inquisitively, analysing every single crewmember with intelligence far beyond the norm for such primitive species.
Creature - I see the wyrm-kin, the war-kin, the slave-kin, and many more... but someone is missing. The mind-kin.
Tarsus - Quendor...
Tiny - I am wyrm-kin! Big great strong wyrm!
Tarsus - Actually if I can guess right... I represent the "wyrm-kin" because of my appearence. Beltharon is the "War-kin" due to Zazane bloodlust and Tiny is the erm... "slave-kin". For his former life.
Tiny - Awww.
As the crew continued walking, they saw various ancient structures jutting from the surface of the planet, covered in carmine vines and foliage and yet still untouched by rust, preserved for future generations. Not all of them were Tertamian, though. Some of them were azure, metallic and at the same time, bony, almost organic: it seemed to an observer that those structures were in fact living, breathing things, just frozen. Others were more ornate and silvery in colour, their extravagant architecture defying normal laws of physics: as if in a silent rebellion against gravity, their openwork, delicate spires ascended into the skies, reaching the planet's thick white clouds. There were also structures that were so alien they couldn't be described at all: it seemed that the very act of observing changed their shape, making them twist into impossible, incomprehensible structures. The natives, however, weren't concerned with such anomalies, and merely continued walking. The same couldn't be said, though, for the visitors of the mysterious world.
N'rai - Hm. Looks interesting.
Beltharon - This place looks old, time for reconstruction I think.
Tiny - Give hammer and can do wrecking job.
Tarsus - No not yet. The royal academy would adore studying all these structures.
Creature - They came. - the creature spoke mostly to itself, barely concerned with its guese - Left a sign. And perished.
Tarsus - Truly fascinating.
Thoughts ran wildly in the New Dawn's crew's heads. Who were these creatures? How old were they to remember the most ancient civilisations of Andromeda? And why did they, primitive natives, know so much about them?
Beltharon - What the hell are you green ugly creatures?
Tarsus - It surprises me they live so simply but it appears their knowledge is of billions of years.
Creature - Observers for the observers. Strakh, in their language.'
Tiny - They don't look tasty.
Strakh - Indeed we are not. - the Strakh stopped, pointing at the massive, stony gates that stood before him: the entrance to his people's city - Now we're here.
Tarsus' eyes widened as the strange creatures howled and screeched in awe.
Strakh - Sanctum sanctorum, the Nexus of All.
Beltharon - Ngh, shut the hell up!
Beltharon placed a hand on his pistol, aiming it at the Strakh. The alien, however, didn't react at all, instead remaining strangely serene, even calm; it simply moved on, walking through the city as the New Dawn's crew was taking a look at Strakh buildings. They were... strange. Not exactly like Venhokwe buildings. Not exactly like Tertamian complices. But instead, something alien, simple and yet ancient, very ancient...
N'rai - What is this?
Tarsus - This... all this... this could revolutionise our understanding of the galaxy's history!
Beltharon - Looks foreign.
Tiny picked his nose.
Strakh - The temples. Destined for us. Not for you. For you, the Hall of Ages.
Tarsus - The ones who arrived before us. Did they visit the Hall of Ages as well?
Strakh - All did. She Who Seeks did. As did the Scholar.
Tarsus - She who... seeks?
Strakh - She searched for revelations. Found them here. He searched for revelations. Found them here.
Beltharon - Lose the cryptic speech! Tell us who came here!
Strakh - They had many names. None of them would tell you anything.
Tarsus - Hm. We may as well look inside this... Hall of Ages.
The group's "guide" led the group forward, deeper through the Strakh settlement, until they were at its very center, the sanctum sanctorum, the Hall of Ages. It looked... unimpressive. A simple building, made of carved stone and crystal, did indeed look magnificent for a tribal creature, but there was little, if anything, interesting in it for a member of an advanced civilisation such as the Commonwealth. Neverthless, it still radiated a sense of purpose and a certain grandeur, and the New Dawn's crewmembers found themselves slowly attracted to it. The large Strakh that stood next to the Hall of Ages, measuring at least 3 meters, looked at the crew with eyes filled with curiousity. It appeared to be old, almost ancient, and its floral skin was discoloured and mottled, having a shade of a deflorated, dying plant; yet it still remained alive and quiet well, smiling at the newcomers with its radial, many-toothed mouth, which sight was more unnerving than friendly.
Nvari - Ah... the third ones. So their time has come as well. My name is Nvari, the Sage. And this is the Hall of Ages.
Beltharon - This feels awfully fishy.
Tarsus nodded respectfully.
Nvari - Follow me.
One by one, the crew members walked into the Hall of the Ages, stepping into its blood red crystalline gates. Inside, the Hall looked completely different. It was grand. Beautiful, even. Its walls, as well as the pillars that held the building, were made of clean, chalk white material that resembled marble or ivory, so strikingly different from the primitive Strakh themselves used... and yet somewhat similar. Strangely, although the building seemed to be small on the outside, it appeared to be much larger when they entered it: as Tarsus spoke, he could hear his voice resound and echo against the walls.
Tarsus - I could have sworn this building was smaller from outside. Spatial compression? Holographic imagery? Pocket universe?
Tiny - Tiny has headache.
Beltharon - ...Fishy.
Nvari - Throughout the eons, They have existed. They have no beginning, no end, they simply are. I measure my age in billenia, and yet I am but a child compared to them.
N'rai - Them being... what exactly?
Nvari - You might know them as... the Artifacts.
Beltharon - The what?
N'rai - Erm... ever heard of the Andromeda War, Beltharon?
Beltharon - I was involved in it!
Tarsus - The artifacts...are you suggesting they are some form of hyperintelligence?
Nvari - The truth is unrevealed for you as of now. Perhaps you will be deemed worthy... I definitely hope so.
N'rai - Worthy?
Tarsus - Perhaps our society is not advanced enough to understand?
Nvari - I am sincerely impressed by your kind. Although you have not reached the power of the First Ones or the Second Ones yet, you show surprising... self-control. Still, although They are known to you, you are still yet to understand their true potential.
Beltharon - His riddles are beginning to piss me off.
Nvari - Perhaps you will pass the trial...
Tarsus - I think what he means is he is impressed by the AGC's advancement. We're not close to the power and extend of the precursors but from what he's suggesting we're doing well so far.
Nvari - Indeed.
Beltharon - Oh, right. Thanks, I guess. You still piss me off, though.
Nvari continued walking through the corridor; as he did, decorations around him changed. Among the massive pillars, statues appeared, made from the same marmoreal material that composed the rest of the hall but of different hue. Their mighty platinum bodies, adorned with angelic wings and long, elegant horns, were clad in what appeared to be ceremonial robes; their very poses, lordly and magisterial, suggested that they were, to modern Andromedans, gods. Their mouths were, like the Strakhs' ones, circular, somewhat clashing with their divine appearance.
Nvari - The First Ones.
Tarsus - I've seen records of these beings before. Very ancient. Very powerful.
Nvari - They were powerful. Especially Her.
Tarsus - To one day match them. Hrmph. Not in my lifetime.
Slowly, other figures started appearing in the hall, different from the rest; smaller than the previous statues, they appeared to be servants, bowing to a robed, crowned being similar to the platinum creatures but more elegant and, in a sense, feminine. At least one of them was avian and four-handed...
Tarsus - You mentioned a trial, sage.
Nvari - Indeed I did. She and her followers was the first. First to claim Them. First to be tested.
Nvari sighed, as if the very act of remembering brough him pain.
Nvari - She failed.
Beltharon - Stupid bitch.
Tarsus - What happened to her?
Nvari - You see... They are poweful. And power... absolute power... it corrupts.
Tarsus - The artifacts...do they have anything to do with the trial?
Nvari - They are the trial.
Tarsus suddenly looked with apprehension at Beltharon and N'rai.
Tarsus - I understand completely what happened...
Beltharon - Spit it out, Tarsus!
Tarsus - Cathamera. An entity that called itself Br'klakkon -it used the artifacts in unison. In doing so it became... well... all-powerful. This trial. it is one that could turn mere men into gods. In every sense of the word. This woman... she coudln't take the pressure it seems.
Nvari - Yes. Br'klakkon - one of the First Ones. But you have not passed the trial... yet.
Tarsus - Suddenly I feel apprehensive about partaking in it.
Nvari kept on walking; it seemed that the hall was endless, and yet the group didn't seem to get tired either, as if some mystical energy kept them on their feet. Given the nature of the hall, it was actually a possibility.
Nvari - And here come the Second Ones.
Four statues appeared before Nvari, staring hatefully at each other, their visages twisted in primal anger despite their imperious postures. A centauri creature clad in aristocratic clothes exuding arrogance and an air of superiority. A fishlike humanoid in black armour. A Grox-like mammal, covered in mechanical implants and smiling malevolently at the rest of the statues, its dagger-like teeth bared to bring dread. A short Radeon-like creature with a massive cranium clutching a planet in its hand. In other words, before him stood the Four.
Beltharon - What's their problem?
Nvari - War. Bloodshed.
Tarsus - Near the end of their existence there was some... event. It wiped them all out and most life in Andromeda.
Nvari - Their hatred did. Much like Her, they didn't pass the trial.
Tarsus - I'm beginning to see a pattern.
Nvari - Perhaps... perhaps...
Finally, the crewmembers found themselves at the end of the hall, surrounded by yet another set of statues... and the most mysterious one. A Radeon, a Draconis and a Zazane.
Beltharon - What...is this?
Nvari - We knew about you long before you came.
Tarsus - I'd say prophecy but... well I don't tend to believe in that sort of thing.
Nvari - Deep in your subconscious is a pervasive need for a universe that makes sense. But the universe is one step beyond logic.
Beltharon - Deep in my subconscious is a pervasive need to make you shut the hell up unless you start making sense.
Tarsus - Mind if I ask. If the Venhokwe or the Four did not pass the trial, what chance is there in us prevailing?
Nvari - There are things that even I do not know.
Tarsus - And that's one of them, right right.
Nvari came closer to the statues, which formed a right triangle, and chanted. A strange, flying cube appeared seemingly out of nowhere, ancient scriptures etched upon it. The cube shone; it's light was soothing, peaceful, and yet in it was a certain aura of malevolence and temptation. It was as if the cube called to them. Tarsus looked at it and stared blankly. His jaw shuddered.
Nvari - I assume that's what you seek? She searched for them. He searches for them. The cube hides wisdom inside: how to use Their power. For ill purposes. Or for good.
??? - It's a nice cube you have here... shame if something happened to it...
Suddently, seemingly out of nowhere, strange figures appeared, their faces concealed by dark armour: Brotherhood and Stratocracy soldiers. At the head of the squad stood a Gros captain covered in scars, Althron... and Quendor.
Beltharon - What the hell are you doing here?
Tiny roared angrly at the sight of the Gros.
Althron - Oh, here we meet again. I have overheard your speech and I assume that for the interests of the entire galaxy, the best course of action for you would be to give the cube to us.
Gros Captain - Indeed, such item would be a good way of consolidating this...partnership.
Tarsus - WHAT!
Beltharon - I see you brought a little runt with you...wait, Quendor?!
Quendor - Erm, uh... I'll explain everything.
Tarsus - No. Don't!
Baka'niju - We will not give it to you! I have sworn to the Commonwealth. I am a warrior with a blade that pierces the heavens!
Brotherhood and Gros militants drew their weapons and surrounded the group.
Althron - I am afraid you don't have a choice.
Beltharon - Even with one arm, I'll crush you all to dust! Just you try and attack me!
Tarsus gripped his pistol tightly.
Tarsus - Althron, listen to me. Power is not the answer! If the Four did not survive their mistake what makes you tihnk you can?
Althron - Surely we will be make better use of them than those Highlords of yours. Now, if you excuse me, I believe that it is within your best interests to follow me. One wrong move, and my soldiers will turn you into dust.
Tarsus - You have a GROS with you. Power and strength is all they crave. Whatever this thing did to reject previous users will happen to them.
Gros Captain - Now that's not very polite.
Beltharon - Quiet, midget!
Gros Captain - I didn't know Zazane had problems determinating height.
Tarsus - Althron, I am not leaving the cube.
Althron - Well, then...
Commanding to their commander's gesture, Brotherhood militants fired at the crew, leaving it stunned and unconscious. Althron's scarred face changed into a facsimile of a smile as he came closer to the cube, watching as it shifted form and became smaller, enough for him to hold in his hand. The knowledge of the Ancients belonged to him and the Brotherhood now. One more step towards the great plan.
Althron - Take them. They might prove useful...
Brotherhood soldiers took the bodies of the New Dawn's crew and walked from the hall. Nvari, and indeed all the Strakh, however, didn't do a thing, remaining impartial to the invasion. They merely watched...
Nvari - Seems that I was wrong. Yet another civilisation to fall from grace...
9th November 2791
Althron watched as squads of Brotherhood militants marched into Traxus, taking their prisoners with them. A smile appeared on his face. It was right. It was just. A just punishment for Commonwealth scum, he thought, for all they'd done... for all evil it had brought into his life... The Divinarium, in particular. He saw the Holy Empire at its finest, during the times of Jaharan the Tyrant; he saw the regime that stamped out all who who would dare to question it with an iron boot. He became a rebel back then, when his home planet was punished for disobedience. For years, he had been fighting the Church, the Crusade and then, the Divinarium and the AGC: he had become merciless, even heartless... all to avenge. To avenge the fallen.
Sometimes, Althron wondered: why was he still struggling, still fighting a secret war against the government, even though Jaharan had been long since deposed? Most of the time, however, he wondered instead why didn't he care anymore. The Commonwealth was a rotten, tyrannical husk. His goal was to change that.
Althron - Brother Khanjar... the cube is mine.
A small hologram of the Brotherhood's silent leader appeared before the Radeon commander, greeting him with a traditional Brotherhood salutation: his left arm was placed near his heart while his right arm was stretched forward, the hand clenched into a fist, and then pushed down, as if crushing one's skull.
Althron - Yes, indeed. The hour of destiny will soon follow. And what of the Gros?
Khanjar waved his hand slightly: it was a sign for Althron that they weren't enemies. Right now, at least.
Althron - I understand. Glory to the Brotherhood!
Khanjar's image on Althron's holoprojector vanished, replaced by a Gros clad in golden, royal clothings: Grand Admiral Gnorvi. The Radeon forced his face into a smile to greet his newfound allies... not that he liked him. Tyrants and slavers, no better than the Commonwealth. They were to be destroyed... just not at that exact moment.
Althron - Erm... Greetings, Grand Admiral.
Gnorvi - Greetings. Am I correct to say you belong to the Brotherhood?
Althron - ...what? No such organisation exists! You're a respected politician and shouldn't believe such... rumours. I represent an organisation that should remain nameless, and I propose an accord...
Gnorvi chuckled and and shook his head.
Gnorvi - Of course I don't, I'm just playing with you. Now, what accord is this?
Althron - Let's say that our... organisation does not agree with the Commonwealth's... policies. We'd like to see it... removed from power.
Gnorvi - Hmmm. The Stratocracy is not a fan of the Commonwealth either. I'm all ears.
Althron - We are also currently working on a certain... piece of technology that could potentially change the face of the galaxy. It is within your interests to join us, if you want to be an important part of the new political map of Andromeda: otherwise, I'm afraid your influence will diminish. Don't be afraid: we won't forget you. Imagine this: Highlord Gnorvi, reigning over Elysion...
Gnorvi - Your words are big, but I must be sure I can trust you.
Althron - We could share some of our technology with you. And believe me, it is truly beyond your wildest imagination.
Gnorvi scratched his chin for some seconds, pondering.
Gnorvi - ...Very well. We may cooperate.
Althron - Excellent...
Gnorvi's image disappeared from the screen, replaced by Khanjar once again. Althron coughed and cleared his throat, as if his mouth was full of dirt, and spoke.
Althron - My liege, our mission has been a success. We now have the Gros at our side; yes, an entire empire. Their industrial capacity will make them excellent allies... for now.
14 November 2791
Quendor strolled through the corridors of Traxus, humming a sad melody to himself and searching for the central chamber of the ship, the one where his mother was working. How ironic was it that now, when he found Geroniel, he could hardly see her: she was always working at something: a weapon, a starship, he didn't know. But that wasn't the thing that gnawed his mind, no, it was the fact that he left his friends. Betrayed them. They were prisoners of a secret war now, somewhere inside Traxus. Who knows what is the Brotherhood doing?, Quendor thought. The professor would be of use to them, Tiny, too... and what about the others? Will they torture them? Send them to Gros to serve as slaves?
Geroniel or the New Dawn. Family or friends. It was a sadistic choice indeed.
Or maybe there was a way to save them both?
Quendor - Deh-Kih-129-To-Dh. Let me in.
Responding to the password, the door of the ship's laboratory opened, and Quendor saw Geroniel once again. Fully immersed in her work, she didn't notice a visitor coming to her and simply continued studying a massive cube that stood before, which glowed as she touched it. Finally hearing Quendor's loud footsteps, Geroniel finally turned her head and smiled.
Geroniel - Oh, Quendor? I didn't expect you... what are you doing?
Quendor - Mother... - Quendor looked around, realising that they were being watched - I have to tell you something. We must get out of this room, quickly!
Somewhat uncertain, Geroniel followed Quendor, who took her in one of the more dimly lit corridors where the cameras were broken and thus, it was safe to talk. She could barely understand what's going on, but she had faith in her son and listened to him.
Quendor - Mohter, I don't have much time, but you have to believe me. The Brotherhood you are working for isn't a benign organisation it pretends to be - they are terrorists. I don't care what lies did they feed to you, but do not trust that bald Radeon with cybernetic eyes! The Brotherhood has taken my friends hostage in order to secure the very artifact you are currently studying, but we can escape! If you help me to save them, you could join the New Dawn's crew... and I won't need to wear that cursed Brotherhood crescent anymore...
Geroniel - Well, well...
Althron - Oh, what a scene. The return of a prodigal son. So... heartwarming.
Quendor - Eh... yes, brother? - Quendor greeted Althron with a Brotherhood salute - Librana etranus! Death to our foes.
Althron - Ah, yes. You're very loyal, don't you?.. - Althron shook Quendor's hand, then clenched it forcefully - Don't you even dare to think of rebelling. Don't you dare.
Quendor - Of course I won't, my lord. Of course I won't...
Satisfied but with a mysterious smile on his scarred face, the Witness left, leaving Quendor alone with his mother again. Quendor smiled, too, for in while his right hand was in Althron's grip, his left hand took his key card. A card for the prisons of Traxus...
N'rai, Beltharon, Baka'niju, Tiny and other members of the New Dawn's crew sat in their cells aboard Traxus's prison - save for Tarsus Senvinus and other New Dawn scientists, who had been taken to the upper levels to work for the Brotherhood. Sitting idly, they chatted with each other through the force fields while thinking of the old days... all but Beltharon, who was definitely not content with the fact that he was taken hostage.
N'rai - ...Anything else, 'Niju?
Baka'niju - I could tell you the tale of the Emerald Tusk-beast of Paho'malaphi the fifth time... but I would rather remain silent...
Beltharon - Guys, I'm not one to panic you but...I'm claustrophobic. And I react very badly to claustrophobia.
N'rai - Any idea of what could we do to escape?
Baka'niju - ...No.
Brotherhood Militant - Quit your chat, Commonwealth scum!
A small squad - half of a dozen - of Radeon Brotherhood militants appeared from the door, armed with plasma rifles. At their head was a young Radeon commander in white armour and an older Radeon woman with several cybernetic implants and wearing a lab coat.
Beltharon - Come in here and say that, rat-kisser!
Tiny - Don't tell Tiny what to do, bad man!
Quendor - Yes, yes! Let me... punish this one. - Quendor pointed at Beltharon.
Militant - As you decree, commander.
Beltharon - I may only have one arm, but it's enough to belt you, scum!
Quendor and his squad came closer to Beltharon's cell, their weapons primed and ready. By a smile on Quendor's face, however, the Zazane commander could realise that he didn't bear any ill intentions (or perhaps he was just brainwashed, Beltharon thought). Quendor neared the cell's force field and then... opened it and turned to the rest of the militants, slashing one of them nigh-immediately.
Quendor - For Andromeda!
Militant - Traitor!
Quendor - Beltharon, help me!
Beltharon slammed forward, screaming at the loudest he could as he rammed into the Brotherhood squad, obliterating and breaking the bones of most of the soldiers in his panicked charge. Quendor finished the rest of the militants by shooting them wih his plasma pistol and then opened the rest of the cells; unsure what to do, the prisoners left their cells cautiously.
N'rai - Wow, I didn't expect that.
Beltharon slammed Quendor against a wall and growled at him.
Beltharon - You'd better have a good explanation!
Baka'niju - The tactical officer is correct.
Tiny - Can Tiny eat him?
N'rai - Wait! He rescued us, let's listen to him first.
Quendor - Okay, let me start. ...Do you see her?
Beltharon - Huh? You mean the Radeon bitch? Yes, I see her quite clearly.
Geroniel stood scared, uncertain, looking at the militant corpses with fear embedded in her dark brown eyes.
Geroniel - I still don't understand what's going on...
Quendor - Don't you dare to call her bitch! She is my mother, and the Brotherhood's goons kidnapped her to work on their scientific projects! I worked with them so I could save her... which is what I am trying to do right now!
Tiny - Tiny not know what "mother" means.
Beltharon - Geez, talk about selfish Quendor! While you were saving your mother, we were all locked up here!
Quendor - And I rescued you! All we need now is a way to get out of this ship...
Beltharon - Well look at that, Quendor's a mama's boy.
Tiny - ...So Tiny can't eat her?
Geroniel - Of course you can't!
Tiny - Aww.
Geroniel - At the other hand... - Geroniel came closer to Tiny and cuddled him - You're kinda cute, big boy. Is he an animal or a tribal or something?
N'rai - A former Stratocracy slave.
Tiny blushed, giggled and hid his face.
Beltharon - Oh come on, Tiny! I thought you were a man!
Tiny - Tiny shy around girls.
Quendor - Alright. As I've said, we need to find a way out...
Beltharon - I'll make one with my head!
Quendor - Can you breathe in outer space?
Beltharon - Real question is, can you?
N'rai - I think there are other members of the crew you HAVEN'T rescued yet, Quendor.
Quendor - Oh, yes! The professor... where is he?
Beltharon - Probably dead, now let's go!
Geroniel - I think I saw a Draconis scientist earlier this day. He was working in the laboratory.
Tiny - We make way to labobratots!
Quendor - Okay. So we go to the labs first and THEN find a way to escape.
Quendor sheathed his sword and prepared to run, but was immediately stopped by Beltharon, a wicked smile on his face. He had a plan.
Beltharon - How about while we're up there we cause a few "mishaps"?
Quendor - Well... - Quendor laughed - Why not?
Geroniel - I've studied Traxus while in captivity. It has a couple of fighter ships in its hangar... we could hijack one of them.
Beltharon - Bitchin!
Beltharon smiled at the mention of the fighter ships.
Geroniel - Alright, I don't know who you are, but you sure are better than these Brotherhood maniacs... - the scientist took a small holomap from her pocket and pointed at a huge red dot at its watery surface - the laboratory is over... there.
N'rai - No time to wait then! Let's go!
Beltharion charged through the wall, missing the door, followed by boisterous Tiny, who turned the hole left by the Zazane officer into a gaping aperture. The rest of the crew slowly walked through the hole, trying not to draw unwanted attention.
N'rai - I can't make holes through walls so I'll just follow.
As the former prisoners walked through the labrynthine corridors of Traxus, sirens started to transmit a loud cybernetic voice which screamed through the corridors and pathways, announcing the New Dawn's crew arrival; utterly emotionless, artificial and yet filled with cold, undying hatred, it inspired dread, making Geroniel (and N'rai as well, had she not been an Imperix); the rest of the crew, however, were seasoned warriors and as such didn't care much about it.
Voice - COMMONWEALTH PRISONERS OF WAR HAVE ESCAPED. COMMANDER TELNHAO HAS BETRAYED US. SHOOT ON SIGHT.
Quendor - Looks like we're going to do this the hard way.
Beltharon - What did you say?! I can't hear you over the voice!
Voice - COMMONWEALTH PRISONERS OF WAR HAVE ESCAPED. COMMANDER TELNHAO HAS BETRAYED US. SHOOT ON SIGHT. COMMONWEALTH PRISONERS OF WAR HAVE ESCAPED. COMMANDER TELNHAO HAS BETRAYED US. SHOOT ON-
Having enough of the screaming, Quendor drew his plasma pistol and shot one of the sirens, making it explode violently. The corridor became silent and a smile appeared on Quendor's dirty face.
Quendor - Shut up.
Brotherhood Militant - Stop right there, criminal scum!
Tiny - You scum!...Whatever that is!
A group of Tertanai Brotherhood soldiers appeared seemingly out of nowhere, aiming at the group with their heavy blasters, which shone in the dark like stars.
Beltharon - I hope you all brought sandwiches, otherwise you are all royally fucked.
Quendor - We kinda are.
Tiny tore out a piece of the wall and threw it at the soldiers; panicked, the Brotherhood's militants were crushed under the massive piece of metal the Cheurith threw at them. Some of them, however, managed to dodge it and regrouped, continuing to fire.
Quendor - Run away!
Beltharon - Aaaaagh!
Beltharon ran forward and slammed the remaining militants with his arms, before punching them or slamming them down. He was still panting out of pain though.
Quendor - But wait- your armour is- wait, what?
Beltharon - My armour didn't pierce! ...I stepped on some shrapnel.
Quendor looked with a suprised expression on his face as Betharon ripped the militants apart with one hand.
Beltharon - They'll be putting you back together...in Hell!
N'rai - Speaking of which, I could use one of these guns...
N'rai jumped to one of the militants' corpses and grabbed his plasma rifle with her metallic tentacles. Her cybernetic eyes shone brighter, showing her happiness.
N'rai - Just because I'm a diplomat doesn't mean I have to be defenseless!
Following N'rai's example, Baka'niju took one of the rifles for himself as well. Tiny, however, did not pick a gun as they were all too small for him to use.
Quendor - What about you, Beltharon?
Beltharon - Omnomnomnom!
Beltharon didn't hear Quendor over the sound of him ripping the head of a militant off with his teeth,
Quendor - Ew.
Voice - Well well well, Quendor...
Quendor - Where is that voice coming from?
Beltharon - He better have brought me a sandwich!
Tiny - Can I eat him?
The siren's voice, no longer cybernetic and emotionless, started to ring from the corridors once again, this time filled with disdain and hatred. It was Althron.
Althron - You're trying to save your mother, aren't you? How... delightful. She is indeed a woman of great beauty and intelligence... yes, darling?
Geroniel stepped down, blushing.
Beltharon - Don't call me darling!
Tiny - You a woman? Then you talk about Tiny!
Quendor- Shut up, Althron!
Althron - Oh, yes... Of course I will. So... predictable.
Quendor shot the siren that was transmitting Althron's voice.
Quendor - Seriously, do they have sirens everywhere? It's getting annoying.
Tiny - Move to labobratots already!
Quendor - You have a point.
The crew dashed through Traxus's many corridors and pathways, followed by the vengeful Brotherhood militants and Althron's mocking taunts. As they neared their point of destination, they were leaving a long trail of corpses behind them, either chopped, burned, shot or mauled by Betharon and Tiny.
Quendor - Hah! This is getting fun!
Althron - Sure it does. For me.
Beltharon - You'd better have fun making MY SANDWICH!
Tiny - Yes!...This means Tiny will eat you!
As the New Dawn's crew reached the laboratory's entrance, they found that they weren't alone: before them stood an entire squad of elite Zazane Brotherhood militants, led by Althron personally. With a wicked smile on his face, the Radeon commander greeted his enemies and drew his twin scimitars, laughing.
Althron - Brothers... tear them apart.
The Zazane militants rushed into the battle, wielding wicked chansaw blades and plasma pistols in their hands.
Beltharon - Get back, all of you!
Althron - You wish.
One of the militants charged at Beltharon, intending to throw him against the wall.
Militant - You... you Niddan Ho did it! Back on Zaal IV!
Beltharon grabbed his own healing arm and tore off his lower half, revealing his sharp, pointed bone from his bloodied stump. He proceeded to slam it into the militant's body sharply, while Quendor charged at Althron, slashing his minions along the way. Tiny tore out a piece of the wall like before and threw it at at the militants.
Beltharon - How you know of my existence is dangerous to both you and me.
The Brotherhood soldiers, however, didn't run away like the rest of their brethren, and instead attacked Tiny and the rest of the crew with cold fury, blades shining in the artificial light of the ship. One of the militants, the largest of the group, spoke to his enemies, his voice growling and distorted.
Militant - My planet... we refused to join you Brood scum and then you did wage war against us! Called us traitors! That's why we are here.
Tiny grabbed one of the militants that was speaking and squeezed him, and then chomped his head off.
Tiny - Not hurt Tiny and friends!
Beltharon - Tiny, get back! They'll slaughter you faster than you can heal!
Beltharon stood in front of Tiny and spread his arm out, roaring at the militant Zazane and absorbing the full force of being shot and slashed at.
Tiny - Friend, don't get hurt for Tiny!
With his dying breath, the Zazane militant roared and fell on the ground, defiant to the end. Althron watched his soldiers die, greatly annoyed but at the same time, strangely serene.
Althron - You're stronger than I thought. Hmph...
Beltharon growled as the chainswords and plasma shots struck against his skin, mutilating his torso where he stood. However, Beltharon didn't fall. Instead, he continued to stab and mutilate militants with his bone and other, still intact hand.
Quendor - Monster! You send them to die for you like cattle! You brainwash them!
Althron - And what is the difference between me and those... Highlords of yours?
Quendor flew into a rage and leaped at Althron, Baneblade in his hand. As he reached his target, though, Althron disappeared with a flash, making Quendor slam against the wall and leaving the remaining militants to die.
Quendor - Arrgh... Still, wasn't that hard.
Beltharon glared at Quendor with his torso almost slashed completely open from multiple angles, bleeding rather profusely.
Beltharon - Aye, all I gained was a mere flesh wound.
Quendor stood up, sighing, and looked at the door to the laboratory. The moment later, he also heard the monotonous but increasingly loud thumps of the militants' boots, realising that reinforcements were about to arrive. Quendor cursed to himself.
Quendor - Open the door, Tiny! Quickly!
Tiny's eyes widened and he hammered the door with his fists. The metallic door, not prepared for Tiny's tremendous strength, shattered from the impact and fell on the ground. Smiling, Quendor rushed in the Brotherhood's laboratory. Vastly different from the rest of the starship, it was white and clean, almost sterile, filled with all kinds of scientific equipment and machines.
Tiny - Door is no match for Tiny!
Beltharon - Nice place...let's trash it.
N'rai - Wait! Professor Senvinus is somewhere in here!
Tarsus was working on a disabled drone within the lab. he jumped as there was a loud crash. His guards continued to pry. Despite their insistance he kept pushing them away. Demanding breathing space.
Quendor - Surrender, maggots, and you will not be harmed!
Quendor aimed his pistol at Tarsus's guards, while the scientist himself was looking away. Trying to separate himself from the commotion.
Tarsus - I swear if another boulderhander manhandles me I'll...
Brotherhood Militant - You are in no position to make demands! One move, and I'll shoot him.
Beltharon - Time for Plan B. Quendor's mother, remove your bra!
Tarsus - Shoot!?
Quendor - Beltharon! You-
Tiny roared loudly at the militants.
Tiny - Leave friend alone or Tiny will eat you!
Quendor - ...Fine! We surrender.
Quendor and the rest of the crew raised their hands and the militants came closer, intending to apprehend them...
Quendor - Here's a little trick my father taught me.
With great force, Quendor kicked one of the militants, a Solarite, between his legs, making him cringe in pain. Surprised, the militants attempted to regroup, but were met by the crew's fire and were soon put down, along with the rest of the laboratory guards.
Quendor - Yeah, it runs in the family.
Tiny - If Tiny did that, bad man would probably explode.
Beltharon - Why do it with your foot when you have teeth?
Tarsus - Must you all make such RACKET!
Tarsus turned around baring his teeth, when he saw the group his scowl lessened slightly.
Tiny - Ew, you don't bite there! That's nasty!
Quendor - Professor Senvinus... are you alright?
Tarsus - Of course I am. A little demeaned but I am fine.
Quendor - Good. Now, we have to go! We are chased by an army!
As the guards were killed, some the scientists that worked for the Brotherhood ran away in fear, fleeing from the laboratory.
Geroniel - Speaking of which... what should we do with
Beltharon - You could try seducing them so I can finish them. It is a hard offer to turn down for such primitive creatures.
Tiny - Can Tiny eat them?
Tarsus - Killing scientists?
Beltharon - Got a problem?
Tarsus - Yes actually I do. Seeing as how scientists are often not killers...for the most part.
Geroniel - I mean... if I and... Tarsus, am I right? - were kidnapped... then should we leave them?
Beltharon - I'm going after them.
Beltharon picked up Geroniel and placed her on his shoulders.
Beltharon - They'd better have sandwiches!
Tiny - You make Tiny hungry with that.
Tarsus - Has he grown delirious from blood loss?
Quendor - Seems so.
Geroniel - So, we don't take the scientists with us?
Beltharon - ...Never thought about that.
Tiny - They bad men. If they taken they should be in prison!
Tarsus - Give me a few minutes. We're in a laboratory so I may as well take waht information I can.
N'rai - Try doing it faster, professor. Time is against us.
Tarsus nodded and pulled a concealed storage unit from inside his outfit and plugged it into an earby terminal. He began working ot extract wahtever data he could from the Brotherhood.
Tarsus - One other request. That cube. We have to get it back.
N'rai - You do realise we can't stay in the laboratory for long?
Tarsus - That cube is far more valuable than any of our lives. I can't let the Brotherhood have it. Get down there but hand me a pistol - I can handle myself.
Geroniel - I'll remember where did the Brotherhood hold it. Allow me.
Tarsus - Beltharion, defend Geroniel with your life.
Geroniel ran into the center of the laboratory, grabbing the cube with a shaking hand, seeing it shrink in her hand.
Tiny - We leave bad place now!
Tarsus had managed to extract what he could from the terminal and disconnected it. He nodded and followed the group out of the laboratories.
Beltharon - Allow me, Mrs. Telnhao!
Beltharon lifted Geroniel under his arm and began to run quickly. Having saved all the information they coud, the New Dawn's crew left the laboratory... as one of the scientists started to follow them. A relatively dimunitive Korkonid, he appeared emanciated, almost tortured, and looked at the crew with eyes full of sadness.
Beltharon - Leave him! He's not with us!
Tiny - Can Tiny eat...you will not answer Tiny. Will not bother asking anymore.
Tarsus - I say he goes with us. The Brotherhood treated him a lot worse than they did me.
Scientist - My name is Karz... you have to save me. Take me with you, please...
Beltheron - He is a risk to OUR SECURITY!
Tiny - You better not be hidden bad man!
Karz - I has never been a bad man.
Beltharon - Ugh, fine bring it with us! But I'm not looking after it! Come on Tiny!
With a new guest in their team, the crew continued walking through the corridors of Traxus, now aiming for the ship's docking bays. Althron's voice started to ring once again; it, however, started to become more annoyed, angered, an emotion which had seemed to be alien to the sadistic Radeon before.
Althron - By Spode... are my soldiers THAT incompetent?!
Quendor - Seems so.
Althron - Arrrgh...
Tiny - Bad man is getting angry, heheheheh!
Althron - But don't delude themselves. The Brotherhood is stronger than you think...
Squads of ex-Imperium Brotherhood militants appeared from doors and gates, armed with fusion rifles.
Beltharon - Hey look! They look like Arnas!
Militant - At last, vengeance is outs! Remember Voytrad!
Tarsus - Take cover.
Quendor - In a corridor... actually, wait. Tiny? Make cover for us.
Tiny tore out a piece of the wall and put it in front of the group as a shield. Baka'niju, Tarsus and N'rai hid under it, firing at the Brotherhood's soldiers, while Quendor rushed into the fray, tearing the militants with his sword. They responded, searing the air with their weapons and leaving large holes in the barricade.
Quendor - How many of them are here, anyway?
Quendor chopped the militant's head off and finished the other with a plasma round.
Tiny - One bad man is too many!
Baka'niju - I have lost count.
Baka'niju continued shooting Brotherhood militants; their corpses kept piling up to the point the floor was littered with them. Karz stayed away from the battle, watching it patiently.
Militant - You killed them all... again... like you did on Voytrad...
Tiny - Shut up, bad man!
One of the last militants, upon seeing his comrades dead, flew into a rage and started firing aimlessly at the crew, shouting incoherently. One of the fusion beams hit Baka'niju, burning his skin and leaving a massive hole in his body.
Baka'niju - Arrgh!
N'rai - Niju!
Tarsus panicked and poked his pistol out from cover. He fired the fusion pistol at the militant, aiming for the head. The militant's body stood for a few moments, as if his defiant spirit persisted even in death, and then fell on the floor, along with Baka'niju. Tiny lifted the "shield" he was carrying and crushed the militant's body under it.
Tarsus - Niju. Niju can you hear me?
Beltharon - If I had two arms this wouldn't have happened! I blame Quendor!
Tiny - This no time for blaming, we must heal friend!
Niju - I... I do. The wound is heavy... but not fatal... I will... carry on.
Baka'niju attempted to stand, but fell nigh-immediately. Tarsus grabbed the Artharon and lifted him up.
Tarsus - Stay with us. We're not leaving you behind.
N'rai - Just don't die... Tiny, could you take him?
Tiny took Baka'niju with one of his four hands and put the shield in front of him.
Tiny - Don't worry friend, Tiny protects you.
Quendor - Don't stand at the same place, team! We have to get to the bay as fast as we can!
Beltharon - Well lead us there then!
Quendor led the crew through the corridors of Traxus, fighting Brotherhood militants along the way. Eventually, they reached their point of destination: a massive room filled with smaller starships, it was adorned with Brotherhood symbolics, bringing awe to its followers and fear to its enemies. At the center of the room was a large pit from which vehicles arrived.
Quendor - Yeah. That is the place.
Althron - Yes it is, my friends. Yes, it is. Right, doctor Karz?
The crew turned to the Korkonid scientist they took with them, who was trying to hide his face from their vengeful eyes.
Tarsus - He was a lure...?
Tiny - Tiny no longer going to ask permission to eat people.
Karz - You enslaved all of my people, you Commonwealth rats! What did you expect me to do?
Karz stared at the crew now, enraged despite his weak appearance.
Beltharon - ...Now I know what to put in my sandwich.
Karz - And now, I will have... my revenge.
Beltharon put Geroniel down and approached Karz.
Tarsus - Karz, that was a long time ago. I want you to think. Is becoming like the Sons of Urzgov really the answer?
Beltharon - Screw thinking! I'm angry, pissed, hungry and angry!
Karz - I fight for freedom! For a new future for my species where they are not oppressed! And this future... begins... now!
Karz took a small sphere in his hand and pressed it, making the room shine with light. Around the crew, numerous Brotherhood soldiers appeared, led by a massive Zazane cyborg; covered in white mechanical implants, it seemed to be or at least, look like a Kordalu: cold, heartless and utterly merciless.
Althron - Say hello to the Devastator.
Tiny roared loudly at the sight of the cyborg, while Beltharon stepped back, his eyes widening for just a few seconds.
Devastator - I comply. Death to all who oppose us.
Beltharon - Well fuck me sideways!
Quendor - Tiny. You can eat anyone now. Save for us, of course.
Tiny - Huhuh! Good...
Quendor charged at the militants, ripping them apart with his sword, while N'rai, barely able to hold a gun, tried to shoot them. Beltharon roared and with his one arm he headed straight for the Devastator alongside Tiny.
N'rai - I wished I learned how to fight back when I left Erix. Turns out, diplomacy can't save the day ALL the time.
Tiny put Baka'niju down and tackled the Devastator, bashing him with his "shield", while Tarsus gathered Geroniel and Baka'niju behind him and spread his wings, firing his pistol at the militants. Although the ordinary soldiers fell quickly, the Zazane cyborg didn't seem to step down, continuing to fight despite being in considerable pain... which he apparently didn't even feel.
Devastator - I am invincible. The power of the Second Ones flow through me. I will not bow.
Tiny - No! Tiny is the invincible one!
Beltharon - I will make you bow!
Tarsus - Althron how in Drakon's gaze did you manage to replicate prcursor technology?
The Devastator responded to the attacks by firing at Tiny and Beltharon with a gravity cannon that replaced his arm, throwing them aside.
Althron - We have our own methods...
Tiny was blown back, then concentrated to enhance his strength with his Morphis. He then charged at the Devastator and hammered it with his fists.
Beltharon - Ngh! Fuck! I wish I had those Institute upgrades!
Devastator - Morphis cannot prevail over Inheritance.
Tiny - Inheritotors is dumb!
The Devastator responded by hitting Tiny with strength equal to his own, making the floor shake from the sheer force of the impact. Tiny growled in pain but kept hitting the Devastator.
Tarsus - Alright I have a better question.
Tarsus aimed his pistol at Althron.
Tiny - Inheritorors dumb! Devastatoter dumb!
Tarsus - Who are your contacts in the Royal Academy!
Althron - I had a plenty. Naturally, the Commonwealth's power-hungry ways attract many of them to our cause.
Tarsus - Expert archeologists no doubt.
Belthron thought for a moment, before approaching Tiny.
Beltharon - Tiny, lift me up and throw me!
Tiny - Why Tiny do that?
Beltharon - Just do it! Throw me at the Devastator in a spinning motion!
Tiny - Umm... Tiny will try.
Having finished fighting the militants, Quendor turned to Betharon, watching him.
Quendor - Huh. I see what you're going to do...
Tiny lifted Beltharon and roared as he threw the Zazane towards the Devastator, packing much force behind him. Beltharon was indeed spinning, as if like a drill, with his intact arm stretched completely out. He was travelling at jet speed towards the Devastator.
Baka'niju - A drill... that pierces... the...
Beltharon - THE HEAVENS!
Tarsus - So tell me Althron. How much of this innovation came from the IMPERIUM.
Althron - All in due time, professor, all in due time...
Tarsus - Kranndung. You exploited the Imperium's findings. I know it.
Althron - Only brother Khanjar knows the whole truth...
Beltharon's arm dug into the Devastator's armour in an unpredictable manner that the latter could not prevent. Beltharon's armoured arm dug itself deeply into the Devastator's torso, although at the same time it destroyed itself as Beltharon span, leaving both with heavy injuries. Eventually, his arm was reduced to an armoured bone that poked from his torso. Silently, without speaking, the Devastator froze, the lights of his cybernetic implants going out, and fell on the floor with an audible "clang" sound.
Tiny - Whoa, friend killed Devastatoter!
Althron did not seem to be enraged at all, simply continuing to smile and making a slight, barely noticeable gesture to the cyborg.
Althron - Killed? Not yet...
Beltharon panted heavily as now he had no arms to fight with and his body armour was heavily damaged. It was clear he was pushing his limits as a supersoldier of the Zazane kind.
Tarsus - ...Everyone brace yourselves. This is Inheritance tech.
Suddently, the Devastator's seemingly dead body sparked with electricity, and light engulfed his body, activating its circuits. Slowly, the massive cyborg was brough back to life; first, one arm, then, the whole torso, then, the whole body. In a few seconds, the Devastator returned back to life, his cybernetic eyes glowing violently, with blood red tinge.
Devastator - You cannot escape your fate. I am invincible.
Beltharon - You're pissing me off!
Devastator - The forces of the universe bend to me.
Tiny - But friend kill Devastatoter! How it come back?
Tarsus - Inheritance technology has a habit of coming back from destruction.
Beltharon - Well come on then, you walking pile of scrap and shit! I'll kill you with no arms!
The Devastator turned his arm cannon towards the crew, and its malevolent radiance was brighter than ever, burning violently.
Devastator - There is no escape.
The Devastator fired, incinerating a good portion of the hangar and making the entire crew shriek in pain and fall on the ground, effectively incapacitating them.
Althron - Excellent! Now, give me the cube.
Devastator - As you wish.
The Devastator came to Geroniel and took a glowing cube from her unconscious body and then gave it to Althron. The Radeon commander smiled victoriously and teleported back into his quarters, but not before leaving a final order to his servant...
Althron - Now, finish them.
Maintaining his consciousness through sheer willpower, Quendor watched as the Devastator laughed at his victory, its laughter the very essence of dread, while charging his weapon systems for his final attack. All he wanted now was a quick, painless death...
??? - Here you are, bastard! Attack! For the Commonwealth!
Quendor couldn't believe his own eyes. Was it an angel? A Messenger? He didn't know what it was, but it was radiant. Wounded severely, he could barely discern a sillhouette of his saviour, as it shone so brightly Quendor's eyes hurt, but as he recovered from the noise and the light, he saw it... a Commonwealth frigate? It took the Devastator a moment to react to the threat, but even he couldn't escape the mass that approached him; with a thunderous stump, the cyborg was thrown into the air and fell into the pit.
Tiny - What...? W-Who there?
Quendor - I don't know...
Beltharon - Ngh! Whatever it is, shut that goddamn light off!
??? - So here you are.
Tarsus - What just happened?
A small squad of Guardians of Light disembarked from the golden starship. Their sight was fearsome and magnificent: their white and gold armour glistened in the light, and to the New Dawn's crew, they were angels, angels that saved from from their inevitable fate. At the head of the squad was a large Sankana with a stern face, who looked at the crew with great interest.
Sankana - Hm. This Zazane has a little... arm problem, don't you agree, 'So'Ra?
Beltharon - F-Fuck you! I lost my arms fighting the enemies that WE are protecting YOU from!
Tiny - Huh? So bright and shiny...
Beltharon stood up, a mix of electricity and blood escaping from the wounds where his arms used to be attached until they were destroyed. He growled angrily.
Val'So'Ra - Mission first, banter later. Find me a target.
Quendor - Well, you just... killed one.
Quendor pointed at the pit and then stood up, relieved.
Beltharon - I could have handled it!
Quendor - Well, thanks for saving our asses. My name is Quendor Telnhao, first officer of the New Dawn.
Thaoparosatl - Pleased to meet you. - the Sankana officer saluted Quendor - The name's Thaoparosatl, pilot of the Emberwing.
Tarsus - Geroniel how are you holding up?
Geroniel - ...I think I am fine. But we have to escape the ship as soon as possible. Traxus's a huge vessel, filled to the brim with crazy terrorists, and you're just a small team.
Tarsus - Guardians, is the New Dawn in contact range?
Thaoparosatl - I don't think so. They're not on our scanners. As of now... - Thaoparosatl pointed at his frigate - You'll have to go with us.
- New Revelations
The New Dawn's crew walked around on the Emberwing, getting used to the lack of space and preparing to find out their old vessel. Thaoparosatl gathered the most important members of the crew with him, a stern expression on his face.
Thaoparosatl - Do tell me. How exactly did you happen to end up on a Brotherhood vessel?
Beltharon - Don't look at me, I told them not to. By the way, I'm the FUCKING HEAD OF SECURITY.
Tarsus - We were captured, investgating a planet we had inadvertantly discovered.
Quendor - Which happened because... eh...
Beltharon - N'rai brought a hostile Inheritance machine on board, thus resulting in the loss of my right hand. The droid directed us to the planet where conflict ensued and we eventually were taken to a Brotherhood vessel, where now both of my arms are gone. Oh, and Quendor is a traitor.
Quendor - You... you...
Beltharon - He abandoned protocol and crew to pursue his captured mother without authorization and total disregard.
Thaoparosatl - What?! First officer, explain yourself.
Quendor - I am not that kind of a person that does everything by the book. But you have to admit, I DID manage to save Geroniel.
Beltharon - I. LOST. MY. ARMS.
Tarsus - We also have an article I'd prefer to be classified on a need-to-know basis.
Beltharon - Oh and not to mention you allowed a Korkonid scientist directly serving Althron to TAG ALONG WITH US.
Thaoparosatl - Don't worry, security officer. You'll recieve prosthetics in due time. What of you, however...
Thaoparosatl glared at Quendor.
Beltharon - Forget about prosphetics! I need upgrades from the...uhh...it doesn't matter. I just need to be returned to Brood territory as soon as possible to recieve upgrades.
Tarsus - I could always arrange for a Morphis administraation.
Thaoparosatl - After the whole thing is over, you're going to be given a court-martial, first officer
Thaoparosatl - What's more important, however, is that the Brotherhood continues securing more artifacts. Have you taken the cube from them?
Tarsus - That is the mentioned classified article- wait... how did you know about it?
Theoparosatl - I have connections with the Chancellor himself. He has been monitoring your communications... which is why I am here.
Tarsus - You know the Chancellor? Apologies. For I was unaware.
N'rai - We have kinda... forgotten about it during the battle with the cyborg... so THAT'S why he was laughing! Althron! Althron took it while we were fighting!
Tarsus - What!? Are you sure?
Theoparosatl - WHAT?!
Beltharon stood up in rage and stomped towards N'rai with his teeth bared.
Beltharon - I LOST MY ARMS FOR NOTHING?!
Baka'niju - Seems so.
Tarsus - Sir, the Brotherhood posesses an article that directly links to the artifacts. With it they could... they could be unstoppable.
Theoparosatl - We need to stop them before they learn how to use it then. Especially that now we have a scientist of theirs now. Right, lady Telnhao?
Beltharon - How can we even trust her? How do we know she's not one of Althron's indoctrinated whores?
Quendor - Shut your trap, Beltharon!
Quendor used his telekinesis to raise Beltharon in the air; the Zazane security officer responded by slamming the chair angrily with his head and knocking Quendor over in a fit of rage, preparing to head butt him.
Tarsus - There is some hope. I attempted to transfer what information I could to a holographic storage unit. Research notes, hypotheses, theories, observations, whatever I could find I downloaded it onto a unit on my person.
Beltharon - You don't DARE tell me what to do! From now on, I am assuming DIRECT control of New Dawn protocol and no ill word shall go against it! Do you understand, you little shit?!
Beltharon - Next time you speak ill against me, delinquent child...I'll shoot you. Without second thought.
Theoparosatl - I think I am the highest authority in here right now. And I'd like to hear Geroniel first. Begin, lady Telnhao. Don't be shy.
Geroniel - I have overheard Althron talking about the Brotherhood's plans. They want to build... a weapon of some sort. Or a starship. I've heard it name once, when he was talking to that oversized cyborg Zazane - they rarely even speak, really.... Adaru.
N'rai - Adaru? The Inheritant was muttering this name...
Geroniel - I don't know what does this name mean, but according to what Althron was saying, that weapon, once completed, will be able to lay waste to entire sectors...
Tarsus - Drakon's breath...
Quendor - Entire sectors? Superweapon? No, this... this cannot be...
Quendor fell from his chair, unconscious.
N'rai - Seems like trouble...