|Second Borealis Galactic War is a Historical Event
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“Watch as we become the true inheritors of the Cold Ones' legacy.”
“This timeline will never be without me!”
- - Roshisiz
“Let the galaxy burn! Let the heavens bleed!”
This is the third part of the Second Borealis Galactic War.
- 1 Legacy of the Cold Ones
- 1.1 The Gyronidium Problem
- 1.2 Battle for the Gyronidium
- 1.3 Rise of the Seagon Empire
- 1.4 The Lost Warmaster
- 1.5 Death to Lud'nev, In the Glory of the Thirteenth
- 1.6 A Shattered Legacy
- 1.7 A Killer's Soft Spot
- 1.8 Power of the Kormacvar
- 1.9 The Siege of Ikkiz
- 1.10 Consulting with a Goddess
- 2 Awkward Family Reunions
- 3 A Hellish Presence
- 4 Into the Maw of the Apocalypse
Legacy of the Cold Ones
The Gyronidium Problem
A few days after the huge battle in the Zoles Imperium territory, each of UNOL decided to hold a meeting, in which they also invited the leaders of the Indoctrinate Collective, the Zoles and the Niaka Special Forces to discuss what their next steps would be. They would presumably keep their other allies, such as the Divinarium and Apalos, informed later, though for now the Divinarium aided by helping to fight off remaining PMC activity, which was drastically decreasing after its morale had been shattered by the failed battle.
The long war was far from over, but they were much more confident now that they had pushed back against Zaarkhun's greatest attack. But with the Zoles Imperium shattered by the attack, and the Unified Nation shattered by the Vague attacks, they were unsure if they were prepared for whatever Kolossus was about to throw at them. To make matters worse, Kolossus was yet to make a move against them, and he was extremely unpredictable. Time is meaningless to him, so presumably, he could attack whenever, and they would have no way to prepare. Representing the Zoles was Grand-Commandant Vekaron, while the Niaka were represented both by Chief Minor Xeron and the leader herself, Chief Major Xerkea. The Indoctrinate Collective, predictably, was represented by Royal Captain Vyutrin.
- Tuolog - You know why I call this meeting. In light of recent events, we must discuss our next course of action. While we do have Vague helping us out, we are still left much weaker than we were when we started this war, and there still more to do.
- Vekaron - The private military offensive on the Zoleia Sector has, for the most part, been dismantled. However, we are no longer in a position to launch an offensive of our own. The attack was vicious, to say the least.
- Xerkea - At the very least, you managed to capture half of the Consortium Network's leadership in one swoop. A shame Volim escaped, however, I'd have loved to interrogate him.
- Yogtam - Yes, and our intelligence tells us the Consortium Network is now mostly in disarray. Needless to say, hundreds of their business ties have been cut now that it's clear they do work with the Wranploer Legion, and there are sources which tell us that General Volim does not even intend to free Zaarkhun from his prison cell.
- Vekaron - Volim is a ruthless warmonger who believes the Wranploer are the true "rulers" of the galaxy. As successful as Zaarkhun may appear to be, he's still an alien; I doubt Volim sees him as anything but a pawn.
- Yogtam - This comes as little surprise to me. But Volim would be foolish, as Zaarkhun is a very valuable asset to him, being a much better strategist and all. We can be thankful at least that the Consortium Network remains much weaker than it was, and pose much less of a coordinated threat to us.
- Vyutrin - The pirates are the least of our worries. What about the demons? What's the situation?
- Tralkik Commander - If you are referring to the Vyro'Ralza, or the Traffphyds, we are yet to hear from them, which is worrying. If you refer to the Devourer's Chosen, we have no reason to believe that they are stepping down their attacks. If anything, they will become a much bigger threat than before.
- Tuolog - There is one immediate threat we must worry about, however. The Loron.
- Zr'Ahgloth - lmao like frekloars lot ar an actual thret hahahahaha
- Tuolog - They are. Let me explain.
Through the holograms they were using to communicate one another, Tuolog displayed the image of the massive Chronoscopic boulder stolen from Sequencium when the Loron were brought there with the others.
- Tuolog - This is an example of a completely pure chunk of Gyronidium. It the metal all Chronoscopic structures is based on; solidified Essence, you could say. The Loron took one of these and ran off with it. Can you imagine the sheer amount of energy this chunk could generate? Or worse, if the Loron learn to manipulate the Essence, they could empower themselves to a frightening extent.
- Tralkik Commander - My calculations as to the power that this chunk possesses are immeasurable. The chunk comes straight from the Chronoscopic realm itself, so it has untold power that we are unable to harness. It is crucial therefore that we defeat the Rogue Boyz leadership and take the shard away from them as soon as possible, as a first priority. The Rogue Boyz are a much more unpredictable threat than any others we are facing.
- Vyutrin - So you're saying that little band of idiots is carrying around a nuke thinking it's a jewel. Well, can't say I'm particularly surprised about their behavior.
- Xeron - I'll be calling my fleets to take the fight to the Loron then. They've been a thorn in our side for years and they were in cohorts with Zaarkhun; they deserve to die like all the others who attempt against justice!
- Yogtam - Interestingly enough, they may actually be more likely to try and free Zaarkhun than Volim is. That just adds another reason to take them out.
- Zr'Ahgloth - i got beef wiv frekloar so dats anotha reeson
- Feldosia - You know, I find it oddly convenient how Kolossus brought the Loron to the realm and then this happened. I get the feeling he planned this from the start.
- Tuolog - It very likely that he did. We must prepare for that eventuality. As our fleets are heavily damaged, I believe it best for us to focus our efforts with a small task force of us to take out the leaders. The Niaka fleets will be helpful in fighting the Rogue Boyz too, but we best focus on cutting them off at the head.
- Vekaron - There's only one issue. Unlike the rest of our foes, the Rogue Loron use a mobile capital. We don't know where they may be hiding.
- Tralkik Commander - This is true, however Loron are still very predictable and easy to lure out with the right bait. If we attack one of their planets with a fleet led by Zr'Ahgloth, they are likely to come in with their biggest fleet, in which we can confront them head on.
- Vekaron - A fair point. I almost forgot we are dealing with idiots and not an actual empire.
- Tuolog - It is decided then. Niaka Special Forces fleets and a few ships led by Zr'Ahgloth fight Rogue Boyz, we wait for them to send their largest fleet, and then we attack the leaders with task force. In meantime, we remain on defensive elsewhere and try to recover and rebuild from recent attacks in preparation for whatever happens next?
- Vekaron - So be it.
- Xeron - I'm going to enjoy this!
Meanwhile, aboard the Propa Big Rogue Krooza, each of the Rogue Boyz Leedas and Warbosses had gathered around the Chronoscopic boulder in awe of it. Many even stared at it unblinking, their mouths drooling. However, none were able to touch it, because Rel'larutina had confiscated it from them and set up an electric barrier which electrocuted any of the Loron who tried to grab it.
- Fre'kloar - shiny...so shiny...man dis is da sikkest bling eva
- Hagto'Zhl - man dis is so much bling i dont even kno wat ta do wit it
- Grak'tona - MA ROYAL GEM I DECIDED ALREDY PUT IT IN MA THRONE
- Jol'kiar - SHUT UP YOO STOOPID KID DIS BLING BELONGS TA ALL DA LEEDAS (but mostly me)
- Grak'tona - YA MEEN MA ROYAL BODYGUARDS? LMAO YOO FREEKIN PLEBS, ONLY DA KING GETS TA HAV DA SHARD TO HIMSELF, NONE OF YOO LOWLY PEEPZ
- Fre'kloar - WANNA SLAP???
- Grak'tona - GO FOR IT YOR JUS GONNA LOOSE DA FITE LIKE YOO LOST OUR FIRST FITE LMAO
- Fre'kloar - SHUT UP MAN YOO CHEETED DAT TIME
- Grak'tona - ITS NOT CHEETIN IF DA KING DOES IT
- Rel'larutina - Ugh, how long do I have to confiscate this thing from you utter lunatics? Do you guys even know what it is?
- Jol'kiar - COURS WE DO DUMBA ITS A GIANT GOLD NUGGET
- Rel'larutina - You think it's made of gold?
- Fre'kloar - well its yellow its shiny an i want it so it must b gold
Rel'larutina sighed and walked off, meanwhile the other confused Warbosses looked at one another trying to suss out what it actually is.
- Kal'kuir - hmmmm by ma calculashons its not akshully gold. ya see its akshully made of platinum but den da reflekshons frum da ship mae it look a totally different color. derefore its a PLATINUM NUGGET
- Voa'reak - platinums betta dan gold innit? DIS MEENS ITS BETTA DAN WE THOUT
- Zalk'don - I KNO HOW TA SETTLE DIS. THROW BOMS AT IT. IF IT CRAKS OPEN DEN ITS GOLD. IF ITS STUK TOGETHA DEN ITS PLATINUM OR A RARER METAL
- Knar'gank - dont thro bomz inside da ship yoo idiot yor gonna kill everyun
- Zalk'don - SHUT UP MAN NOT MY FAULT IF DEY CANT RUN AWAY IN TIME
- Brag'klogga - EVERYUN SHUT UP. I CAN FEEL IT IN MA BONES... DA POWA OF DA GODZ!!!!!!!!!!!!! but in reverse kind of
- Drizz'pyrokirk - yeh??? lets lissen
Brag'klogga slammed his staff down and then stood on a table, for the other Loron to listen to him.
- Brag'klogga - ya see, dis fing heer is akshully in da HOLY BOOKS as one of ZR'AN'KAR'S MASSIV SHINY BLING GEMS. basically wat happened is dat Zr'An'Kar wore dis bling an decided dat whoeva can take dis becoms a MASSIV ULTIMATE GIANT LORON OF DEFF but in orda ta do dis dey hav ta gatha around a campfire. wen dey do dat dey gatha around an sing da ancient ritual campfire saying basically how great campfires an zr'an'kar is an den zr'an'kar determines who is worfy of dis gift. so we gotta do dat an den we get da ULTIMAT POWA OF ZRANKAR HIMSELF!!!! MAN I KNEW DERE WAS A REESUN HE BROUGHT US TO DAT RELM
- Hagto'Zhl - SO DATS WAT DAD WAS GONNA PROPOSE US??? SIK!!! OK LADS WE GOTTA GET A PLACE TA MAKE A CAMPFIRE DEN
- Brag'klogga - hmmm da holy books kinda contradict demselves on dis issue, som of da holy books suggest dat Zr'An'Kar had 7 different gems but deyz probably wrong now
- Voa'reak - tbh we dunt need 7 gems when we got ONE BIG ONE
- Brag'klogga - yeh exactly dis one is powaful enuff
- Fre'kloar - ITS SETTLED DEN. WE GO SOMEWHER AN MAKE A CAMPFIRE AN DO DA FING AN BECOME DA BEST
- Brag'klogga - one fing tho. zr'an'kar ONLY givs da powa ta loron whos PROPA WORTHY an who NEED IT. so basically we hav ta alredy be in a fite at da time before we perform da ritual. so i suggest we wait until Zr'Ahgloth attakz us, becuz hes a jelus prik, an den we land dere an use it
- Hagto'Zhl - ye man i bet hes plottin ta steel da gem. man i hate dat guy wat a losa
- Brag'klogga - he probz is reedin da Holy Book of Da Badass Godz: False Edishon in which it was Roz'Tah'Flok who made da gem too
- Fre'kloar - DAT MAKES ME SIK TO MA STOMACH. OK SO EVERYUN CHILL OUT AN WAIT TIL DA FITE STARTS, DEN WE DO STOOF
- Rel'larutina - Great, so I can keep this confiscated from you for a little while.
- Grak'tona - STOOPID WOMAN LET DA KING TOUCH HIS BLING NAO
- Brag'klogga - DONT DEFACE DA HOLY ITEMZ
Grak'tona crossed his arms and begun mumbling under his breath. The rest of the Loron then left, excited about the prospects of who could become empowered by Zr'An'Kar's gem, and began reciting all of their campfire ritual songs in order to ensure that their plan was successful.
Battle for the Gyronidium
Da Thugz Is Da Best
Arriving in the orbits of a planet famed for its pizza factories in this subsector of the Ottzello Sector, a large Niaka fleet accompanied by the UNO Omega Commander starship began to fire upon the orbital defences of the world. The entire planet below was mostly a large jungle with a few Loron settlements, and once the defences were breached, they would presumably begin bombing the world from orbit to target the factories once they found them, trying to lure the Loron out.
However, the Loron were lured out of hiding much quicker than expected. The Omega Commander led by UNOL was confronted by several Loron Sik Ships, with Zr'Ahgloth delivering insulting messages to each of them as he portrayed himself as the front for this battle. The Niaka had arrived in their own ships, providing assistance against the Rogue Boyz's fleet, while the Leedas of the Loron responded to Zr'Ahgloth in equal measure through communications, though they could not quite pinpoint their location yet.
- Zr'Ahgloth - YO FREKLOAR COM AT ME BRO OR IMMA BOM YOR PIZZA PLANET LMAO
- Fre'kloar - OH MA DAYZ ZRAHGLOTH YOR SO THICK YOO WANNA STEEL OUR BLING
- Zr'Ahgloth - YEH MAN AN IF YOO DONT GIV IT TA ME IMMA BOM ALL YOR PIZZA PLANETS DEN YOR GONNA HAV A PIZZA FAMINE IN YOR EMPIYA HAHAHAHAHAHAHA
- Brag'klogga - HERETIK!!! PIZZA DEFILER!!!!!!!!
- Fre'kloar - YOOD HARM DA PIZZA MAN YOR ABSOLUTELY DISGUSTIN
- Zr'Ahgloth - COM FITE ME DEN. AN BRING YOR GEM
- Fre'kloar - GET LOST LOSA WES GONNA USE DA BLING TA BECOM EVEN BETTA DAN WE ALREDI IS DEN WES GONNA BLOW UNO UP FOREVA OR SOMFIN
- Zr'Ahgloth - DONT MAKE ME LAFF DATS DA SILLIEST FING I EVA HERD. OI I DONT SEE DA ROGUE KROOZA IS YOO WIMPIN OUT??????
- Yogtam - Did you hear that? They already realized they can empower themselves with the boulder.
- Zr'Ahgloth - yeh dats kinda dum but tbh deyz probz too stoopid ta work out how ta do it yet so we mite have som time
- Fre'kloar - YA MOMS STOOPID I SWER IF WE WASNT PREPARIN OUR RITUAL ID GO DERE AN SLAP YOO
- Brag'klogga - DONT TELL DEM BOUT DA RITUAL IDIOT
- Fre'kloar - oh oops. OI GOLTHABEX GO DEEL WIV DIS PRIK
- Gol'thabex - sounds like fun. lets do dis frakboi
- Zr'Ahgloth - goltha who nao???
The communications had terminated, and neither Zr'Ahgloth nor any of UNOL could see any sign of the Rogue Krooza. However, the transmissions, though scrambled, could be traced back to the orbit, so they Leedas must have been close. While fighting off Rogue Loron, they kept looking.
As they proceeded forward, suddenly the UNO Omega Commander was shook as if a blast had hit its engines. From nowhere, the Omega Commander's engines had been disabled by what seemed to be an advanced ion blast, that had disabled the ship. Its power was now down completely, as were many other ships in the vacinity. The Omega Commander floated in space now as a sitting duck.
- Valzo - What was that?!
- Tralkik Commander - We have been directly hit by an ion strike. Ship systems reduced to emergency power supplies.
- Kralgon Emperor - Since when do these idiots have ion cannon technology? Do they even know what "ion" means?
Gol'thabex then sent a message to the Omega Commander to taunt them. It appeared that he was piloting his own starfighter.
- Gol'thabex - hurhurhur, dont undaestimat da Thugz Fer Dosh. we got da best weponz on da blak markit an dat includes da ion blasts dat made yor ship worfless.
- Zr'Ahgloth - DATS A STOOPID NAME, THUGZ FER DOSH. AN WHO DA HELL IS YOO WIV YOR STOOPID HAT???
- Gol'thabex - ma name is Gol'thabex, da Propa Big Thug Cheef. im da leeda of da Thugz Fer Dosh, da private military company of Thugz, aka da best an most veteran Loron fightas eva. wes even stronga dan da Rogue Boyz an we fite fer one fing: CASH.
- Kralgon Emperor - Get the power back on so we can blast the bastard to oblivion!
- Gol'thabex - dats anotha fing: good luk catchin me. ma starfighta is equipped wiv da fastest engines in Borealis. i also bought an installed dem illegally. catch me if ya can suckas
- Zr'Ahgloth - i like it hao he has ta tell us "oh its illegal btw". like WHAI WULD WE CARE MAN ITS IRRELEVANT
Gol'thabex then disappeared from communications, as UNOL felt their ship come under fire from more bombs launched by Gol'thabex' starfighter. While he was unable to do significant damage, he was able to destroy several of the ships' weapons, which would weaken it significantly if any of the Loron Sik Ships surrounded it. The only choice appeared to be to stop Gol'thabex' fighter and fix the ship.
- Tuolog - Any of us can pilot a starfighter? I might help you find him.
- Zr'Ahgloth - OOH ME ME ME I WANNA PILOT
- Valzo - Somehow, given how many points you have on your Pilot's License, and how it was almost taken away from you were you not a Leader, I doubt you are qualified for this.
- Zr'Ahgloth - DUM
- Tralkik Commander - We have limited data on this "Gol'thabex", but files show he is a very capable fighter and one of the most feared in Borealis' criminal circles. It will take a pilot of considerable skill to catch him. Furthermore, his ship makes frequent use of cloaking devices and he is skilled at fooling his opponents. We may need Yogtam to chase him, as I do not see a more capable fighter.
- Yogtam - Very well. I'll do my best to keep him from destroying anymore of the Omega Commander's weapons.
- Tuolog - I help you find him by tracking his location. Tralkik Commander and Kralgon Emperor, you do your best to keep ship online. Should we get it to work again, we possibly able to avoid Gol'thabex in battle entirely after that when we find where the Rogue Boyz Leedas are.
- Kralgon Emperor - I'd rather tear the idiot's ship to smithereens, but fine.
The arrangement was then settled. Yogtam quickly made for his starfighter and engaged in a dogfight against Gol'thabex, while the Emperor and Commander began working on rerouting power back to the ship's engines.
Gol'thabex' piloting skills were beyond what anyone would expect from any advanced pilot, let alone a Loron. Several times, Yogtam barely escaped with his life trying to dodge the mines that Gol'thabex placed to trap any who would follow him, and his ability to blur his opponents' view made it very hard to land a shot on his ship. Nonetheless, Yogtam was able to give him a good enough chase that he was broadly distracted from attacking the Omega Commander head on.
With several more Niaka and UNO starfighters engaging in the long-lasting dogfight against Gol'thabex, it was soon more than he could take. He was able to destroy many of their fighters, but not able to take them all on at once. While no one was able to destroy Gol'thabex' ship, they were able to buy enough time to get the Omega Commander online again.
- Tralkik Commander - I have a theory about the Rogue Leedas. I believe they have landed on the planet already to perform the "ritual" that Fre'kloar alluded to. I believe also that Gol'thabex is just here to waste our time. They believe we will be too preoccupied with him while they try to get their "ritual" to work.
- Valzo - That's deceptively cunning of Loron.
- Zr'Ahgloth - IS YOO CALLIN LORONZ DUM
- Feldosia - If that's the case then we better just go and take care of the Leedas.
- Tuolog - I look for them on planet. Once I find them, I give you coordinates and we land.
Seeing that Yogtam was pulling away from the fight, Gol'thabex was visibly irritated from the way he was flying. It was as if he took personal offense to not being considered a threat. Gol'thabex then flew up to the command bridge and fired bombs at it, knowing that he would be unable to pierce its shields, but wishing to get their attention.
- Gol'thabex - oi. OI. yoo best not run off wivout facin me. im da elitest of da elite. an i got a mishon: KILL YAS. so face me in combat befor ya face da othas
- Zr'Ahgloth - hmmmmmmmmmmmm let me fink... NO. WES GONNA GO AN SKIP YOO CUS YOR NOT EVEN A ROGUE LEEDA LMAO
Gol'thabex growled, but he remained much more collected than a Loron typically would. He terminated communications, and then within minutes, he teleported aboard the ship straight into UNOL's chamber. However, just as he landed, he landed several feet in the air and fell flat on his face. They looked puzzled, as he pulled himself up and then looked at the other Leaders.
- Gol'thabex - hm ok. dats illegal teleportashon tekk dat lets me get heer btw. anywayz PREPAR TA DIE
- Kralgon Emperor - You've made the worst mistake of your miserable life!
- Zr'Ahgloth - NO IDIOTS ALLOWED IN MA SHIP
Gol'thabex pulled up his tomahawk, and threw it towards the terminal in front of Zr'Ahgloth. Though made of extremely strong armour and a deflector shield, the tomahawk axe destroyed it completely, cutting it in half, as it was returned to Gol'thabex' arm. He chuckled a little, and approached Zr'Ahgloth, who then proceeded to knock him to the floor with a single punch.
- Gol'thabex - ...welp
- Zr'Ahgloth - IM GONNA BEET DA SNOT OUT OF YAS YOO CHEEKI PRIK
- Kralgon Emperor - As amusing as that sounds, nah. Just throw him into solitary confinement. We can make him watch his Leedas get destroyed first.
- Zr'Ahgloth - man yoo peepz can be reel buzzkillas somtimes i swer
Zr'Ahgloth proceeded to lean down and grab Gol'thabex by the throat, lifting him from the ground and carrying him away to be imprisoned.
The Commandos' Comeback
On the planet's surface, the Leedas, who had already landed on the world in a shuttle, had not paid much attention to the space battle above. Each of them had gathered around a campfire with tents set up by Rel'larutina, as Drizz'pyrokirk lit up a fire for them (since they had forgotten how to do it with sticks). They began to sing a song that Brag'klogga believed was key to the campfire ritual.
- Leedas - C-A-M-P-F-I-R-E S-O-N-G SONG. C-A-M-P-F-I-R-E S-O-N-G SONG. AN YOO BETTA SING ALONG TO DIS IF YOO WANNA PLEEZ ZR'AN'KAR. AN IF YOO DONT DO DAT DEN YOR A TWIT...C-A-M-P-F-I-R-E S-O-N-G SONG...
- Rel'larutina - This is honestly the stupidest thing you people have done, and you've done a lot of stupid stuff.
- Brag'klogga - HERESY!!! SING DA SONG IDIOT OR DA GODZ WILL BE DISPLEESED
- Rel'larutina - Sigh. Alright. C-A-M-P-F-I-R-E S-O-N-G song. C-A-M-P-F-I-R-E S-O-N-G song-
- Brag'klogga - DATS MOR LIKE IT
- Rel'larutina - And I can't believe these morons are making me sing along. When I do not believe in their stupid gods...
- Voa'reak - OI DID SHE SAY SOMFIN STOOPID?
- Zalk'don - SHES A CHIK. ALL DEY SAY IS STOOPID
- Leedas - HURHURHURHURHUR
Rel'larutina groaned some more, and then just ignored them as they got back to their chanting. She then saw a shuttle land in the distance that did not appear to be of Rogue Boyz design. She tried to get the attention of the Leedas, but they were busy chanting.
- Rel'larutina - Urm. Hello? UNO have landed!
- Hagto'Zhl - WUT??? TELL WHOEVA IT IS TA COM BAK LATA
- Rel'larutina - Yeah sure, alright, I'll just tell them that now. "Hey, UNO! They're kinda busy right now, so bomb our world later, yeah? Thanks!" Moron.
- Fre'kloar - MAN WAT IS YOO COMPLAININ ABOUT DIS TIME I SWER- OH MA DAYZ UNO HAS LANDED!!!!!!
- Grak'tona - WHAI DIDNT DA CHIK TELL US???? SHE WAS SUPPOSED TO BE MA ROYAL LOOKOUT
- Rel'larutina - I-you know what? I don't even care, you guys are literally singing a kids' campfire song.
- Brag'klogga - UNO BESTED GOLTHABEX CUS YA DIDNT SING. DA GODZ IS UPSET AT US ALL!!!!!!!!
As each of them were squabbling, eventually a tent was blown up. The Loron turned, and through the trees, they saw Vaktyl of UNOC fire his chaingun at them. Immediately after, several of the trees were taken down as Thr'aloy, with Dalverat on his shoulder, charged through them, guns blazing.
- Vaktyl - Boom, baby! Rematch time!
- Thr'aloy - Commando unit ready for combat. OI ROGUE LOSAS WES HEER TA CRASH YA STOOPID PARTY!!!!
- Dalverat - Deliver the Gyronidium and we may give you quick deaths.
- Vailisa - Haha! The Fist take Gyronidium if you not give it!
- Commandant Darwishi - Woohoo! I'm ready to swoop in and catch it from yas!
- Ray'loth - OH MA DAYZ ITS DA COPYCAT SQUADRON. OI LADS GET REDI TA FITE
The Leedas all took cover behind the Gyronidium chunk as UNOC and the Warbosses clashed; Thr'aloy and Ray'loth, predictably, charged at one another delivering a flurry of punches, kicks, slaps and gunshots which would've done quick work of any normal Loron. They decided to spar with their shankas, using them almost like swords - although very small ones - as they dueled. Despite his rage and best efforts, however, Ray'loth was struck to the side and immediately slapped across the face, being sent straight into the ground as Thr'aloy stomped on his chest, laughing and pointing at him. Vaktyl was ready to lay down suppressing fire on the rest of the Warbosses, but quickly he was thrown off his feet by an explosion that came from Zalk'don, the overzealous explosion-loving warboss that would make a perfect match for Vaktyl's weapons. Ready for the challenge, he spun his chainguns around as he fired at Zalk'don, who ran through the trees. Once his railguns overheated and he needed to wait, Zalk'don picked the perfect opportunity to strike, firing a missile beneath Vaktyl's feet. Vaktyl, luckily, was equipped with just enough shielding to absorb it. He spotted his opponent from tracking where the missile came from, and pulled out his rifle, laying down a blast that incapacitated his opponent. He was satisfied with this.
The sound of engines was heard across the landscape as Naktor'zak prepared to run over whoever stood in his way, though he was stopped when Lupercal jumped on top of his tank, narrowing his eyes as he looked down upon it. It infuriated the Loron - he was still angry over Lupercal having ruined his paintjob the last time they fought -, and immediately attempted to ram the Radeon hybrid with his tank's cannon. It would not work, however; Lupercal was not so foolish to fall for the same cheap trick twice as he jumped down and taunted Naktor'zak to follow him, and he would give chase into the distance, blinded by anger and adrenaline as he went faster and faster... until Lupercal stopped on his tracks and Naktor'zak kept going, not knowing he had just launched himself off a cliff. As Voa'reak took to the skies to try and defend his fellows, he was caught off guard by a much faster Darwishi, who flew in from the tree line and knocked Voa'reak down to crash into one of them. Voa'reak maintained his composure and soared off well above the battlefield chasing Darwishi, and fired his weapons. Darwishi simply performed several barrel rolls in the air dodging them, before swinging around in a loop and now trailing Voa'reak. Voa'reak quickly turned around to hit Darwishi up front, but then found Darwishi had already gone. Instead, he flew straight first into a tree, and crashed, eventually falling to the floor and breaking his spine and many of his bones. Darwishi claimed victory here.
As Vailisa loomed over Kal'kuir, the Loron scientist took out his largest gun, only for the giant to slap it out of his hands. With a huff, he proceeded to take out another, equally large gun from his arsenal, only for Vailisa to, again, slap it out of his grasp. This would continue until Kal'kuir realized he had no guns left, causing him to giggle shyly as he turned his eyes to Vailisa.
- Kal'kuir - well dis is awkward. brb gettin mekk suit
- Vailisa - Humour the Fist!
Running off, Vailisa would wait for a few moments later with a large Loron Battle Mekk, equally as large as the Fist; he stomped across the landscape menacingly, displaying all the awesome weapons he had installed on the suit... before Vailisa sent a punch into the mekk's torso, crumbling it and sending nuts and bolts flying across the landscape. Kal'kuir fell flat on his face and was promply kicked away by Vailisa, disappearing from sight altogether. Zelfron III concentrated on the battlefield. He knew he was mostly surrounded by trees and wildlife, and that the Loron were effective at blending in here. He would try to find the best target for his blades and chase them into the trees, and then knock them down. Luckily, he found a target who made himself obvious: Drizz'pyrokirk, the freezflama who pulled out flamethrowers and burned the forests down looking for his opponents instead. Making a calculated move, Zelfron III leapt of the trees to knock Drizz'pyrokirk down, who quickly switched his ammunition to liquid nitrogen and froze Zelfron III's feet in place. While he was impressed at his opponents' quick thinking and quick reactions, he still had the upper hand. He tossed his blade at Zelfron III's liquid nitrogen gun, destroying it, and then lifted his legs out, and hurled towards Drizz'pyrokirk with fury, knocking him to the floor. Another opponent bested.
Kalcedia Myran, who had remained hidden in the vegetation, fired a shot which only narrowly evaded Knar'gank's head, who clenched his fist in annoyance as he activated his suit's invisibility. The Zazane was far more prepared compared to their last fight and knew what to expect, and reacted by letting go of her rifle and non-chalantly opening her arms, relaxing as she closed her eyes. Moments of silence would pass until she opened her eyes again, throwing her hands to her back as she grabbed the invisible Knar'gank's arm and threw him into the ground in front of her, causing a powerful impact with the ground as she kept the Loron trapped in place by stomping on his head while twisting his arm with her own.
- Knar'gank - ow ow ow OW OW OW!! hao did yoo kno i was dere?!?!
- Kalcedia - Because... you smell really bad, sugar, hm hm.
And that left the final matchup, between the two masters of Dark Chronoscopic power. Dalverat flew over towards Brag'klogga, who had been attempting to boost the power of the other Loron. Brag'klogga saw him, and quickly pointed his staff towards him.
- Brag'kloga - YOO. HERETIK OF DA GODZ. YOO SHALL NOT PASS
Brag'klogga thrust his staff to the floor, and a puff of smoke appeared in front of him. The Dark Chronoscopic smoke began to choke Dalverat, until he instead absorbed it, and then flew over and dug his teeth into Brag'klogga's neck. Brag'klogga first yelled, but then grabbed the Katel and tossed him to the floor. He fired a beam of Dark Chronoscopic at Dalverat, but he was able to dodge it with lightning fast reactions, freeze Brag'klogga in time, and kick him to the floor. Brag'klogga at first appeared incapacitated, but then quickly turned around.
- Brag'klogga - DA GODZ IS WIV ME TODAY! I WILL DESTROY YOO BY MORPHIN INTO MA FORM OF DEFF!!!!
He stood up, and slammed his staff to the floor, attempting to conjure more weapons. Instead, however, he conjured up a hat and a bass guitar, and began plucking it to play the campfire song. He then looked back at Dalverat, embarassed, who scratched his head.
- Brag'klogga - urm...yoo didnt see dat...ok bye
He this time vanished from sight with another puff of smoke. It appeared that all the Warbosses were defeated. The Leedas looked over the boulder trying to hide the fact they were intimidated, save for Grak'tona, who was nowhere to be seen.
- Jol'kiar - OH MA DAYZ DATS NOT FAIR DEY BEET ALL DA WARBOSSES
- Hagto'Zhl - LOAD DA LAST SAVE AN TRY AGEN OR SOMFIN
Tuolog, Zr'Ahgloth, and the rest of UNOL, all arrived on scene, with UNOC behind them.
- Zr'Ahgloth - YEH WAT NOW LOSAS
- Fre'kloar - YOR A THIKO MAN LEEV OUR BLING ALON WE STOLE IT FAIR AN SQUAR
- Tuolog - You willing to give up your "bling" for anyone at all?
- Jol'kiar - GET LOST LIL MAN ITS OUR BLING
Tuolog chuckled, and then quickly slammed his staff on the floor. A puff of smoke followed, and then from it, Gratz'kaoz appeared, and roared loudly, spitting saliva in Fre'kloar's face. His roar shook the jungle from miles away and partially defeaned Zr'Ahgloth, causing all the Leedas to point and scream in terror.
- Gratz'kaoz - RAWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWR GIMME DA BLING!!!!!!!!!
- Fre'kloar - AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH ITS FLIPPIN GRATZ'KAOZ AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHH!!!!!!
- Jol'kiar - DID NONE OF DA WARBOSSES GET OUT TA COM HELP US?????
At that moment, Brag'klogga appeared in front of Jol'kiar, sitting down on a stool and playing bass guitar.
- Brag'klogga - ya called? btw dis is a good song, can ya play drums ta it as well?
- Hagto'Zhl - IDIOT PAY ATTENSHON UNO JUS SUMMONED FLIPPIN GRATZ'KAOZ TA EET US!!!!!
Brag'klogga turned around, and turned back at the Loron, surprisingly calm.
- Brag'klogga - relax, bros. i got jus da fing. HOOOOOOOOOOOOO
Brag'klogga then, as Tuolog had just done, pulled out his own staff, and disappeared, leaving behind a similar puff of smoke. This time, Fre'gritol with Badgangmanz' head appeared, ancestors from Fre'kloar's family line. However, the form that Brag'klogga adopted was the form in which both Badgangmanz and Fre'gritol shared and fought for control over their body, meaning he could not control himself properly.
- Fre'gritol - SO GRATZKAOZ. WE MEET AGEN
- Badgangmanz - IDIOT DAT WAS MY LINE
- Fre'gritol - GET LOST BADGANGMANZ DIS IS MY BODY YA MUPPET
- Badgangmanz - MUPPET? MATE IM NOT DA ONE WHO LOST HIS HED. IF YOO BORROW MA HED DEN YOR GONNA HAV TA TAKE MA WHOL BODY YA TWIT
After a brief period of infighting, Fre'gritol coughed and turned towards Gratz'kaoz, and pointed.
- Fre'gritol - YOO SHALL LEEV DIS PLAIC AT ONCE
- Badgangmanz - dats da DUMMEST way ta be thretening eva. leev it ta me. YOO BES START RUNNIN OR IMMA KNOK YA TEEF OUT YA GIT
- Fre'gritol - git???? wat kinda insult is dat???? WOW YOR A FLIPPIN WANNABE GET OFF MA BODY
- Badgangmanz - IF I GET OFF YA BODY DEN YOO DIE YA IDIOT
At this point, Rel'larutina returned, carrying with her a glass of water. She looked at the defeated Warbosses and the two bickering illusions with a disinterested expression.
- Rel'larutina - Yeah, that's about what I expected was gonna happen, I guess.
- Fre'kloar - its sik ennit? MA ANCESTORS AR GONNA DEEL WIV DIS MESS DA GODZ SMILE ON US
- Rel'larutina - That's not your ancestors, that's Brag'klogga in disguise. And this "Gratz'kaoz" is just Tuolog in disguise too.
- Fre'kloar - LIES AN SLANDA. GET YOR FEMINAZI PROPAGANDA AWAY FRUM ME
- Rel'larutina - Hmpf. Typical.
As they kept bickering, Fre'gritol and Badgangmanz eventually took turns to throw punches at their own head, until the illusion dropped, and Brag'klogga fell to the ground in front of Gratz'kaoz. Tuolog also decided to drop the illusion, as he stood over Brag'klogga and chuckled.
- Tuolog - Hehe. That almost too convincing.
- Hagto'Zhl - OH MA DAYZ YOO LIL TWIT YOO NEARLY GAVE US A HEART ATTAK SCROO YOO
- Jol'kiar - OK NOW TIME FER US TA FITE YOO. FIRST UP GRAKTONA...wait wher is he
- Rel'larutina - ... Where's the Gyronidium boulder?
The rest of the Rogue Boyz looked around in horror, as did Zr'Ahgloth and Tuolog. A short distance away, they could see Grak'tona was pulling the Gyronidium chunk away, its energies flowing into his body through his arms as his eyes turned pitch golden, an aura of great power growing from his being.
- Grak'tona - mai bling... MINE... MY ROCK
- Fre'kloar - GRAKTONA WAT AR YOO DOIN
- Grak'tona - rock... ROCK. CHRONOSCOPIC ROCK. MINE. TIME TIME TIME TIME TIME
- Jol'kiar - GRAKTONA NO
- Grak'tona - I. AM. TIME!!!!!!!
With a surge of energy, Grak'tona's body suddenly grew exponently in size, his muscles flaring and his skin turning a light shade of blue marked by massive scars of gold; pure Chronoscopic energy was emitted from his body as he transformed into a hulking creature in the vague shape of a Vyro'Narza, while retaining his Cold Loron characteristics. He would let out a roar which echoed through time itself, several layers of his past and future voices ringing through everyone's ears as he appeared to warp space around him.
- Rel'larutina - By Volzara...he looks uglier than before...
- Thr'aloy - I am unsure of what I am seeing. WAT DA HELL HAPPENED TA HIM?????
- Jol'kiar - MAN DERE WAS NUFFIN LIKE DIS BAK IN MY DAYZ
- Drizz'pyrokirk - oh ma dayz... ITS DA ABOMINABUL SNOW LORON!!!!!
- Tuolog - He absorbed too much Chronoscopic energy and was ascended by it. But he dumb. He not able to control his actions with this much power.
- Rel'larutina - Well, you seem like the smart one here. What do you suggest? We knock him down and try and stop him from causing too much damage to, y'know, space and time?
- Tuolog - Yes, he need to be subdued immediately. We will need Dark Chronoscopic to reverse effects.
- Rel'larutina - Right. I'm loathe to work with UNO, but I trust your Dalverat guy much more than I trust Brag "bass guitar" klogga here.
- Dalvarat - Clever girl. Now, prepare yourselves! This almighty idiot has enough power in one finger to undo an entire world - be hit by his blows and you may be erased from time altogether.
- Rel'larutina - Good thing I have a mech suit that I can get replacement parts for, eh?
- Grak'tona - SHINY. ROCK.
The hulking Grak'tona swooped down at the Gyronidium boulder, and his fingers twirled as he begun to shape the stone as if it were clay, transforming it into a golden crown which he placed upon his gigantic head, causing him to giggle almost childishly.
- Rel'larutina - ...wow...that's so typical. Alright, Dalverat, power up my suit's weapons with Dark Chronoscopic. I'll see if I can engage him while the rest of you people fire your weapons and keep a distance.
- Dalverat - Very well. Come, buffoon, you'll help us as well.
- Brag'klogga - YA MOMS A BUFFOON. BAH FINE
Dalverat and Brag'klogga combined their energies together. At first, they empowered Da Propa Big Rogue Smasha, Rel'larutina's gigantic mech suit that was almost as tall as Grak'tona now was. The suit engaged in melee combat with Grak'tona, as it could at least afford to have a few of its arms wiped from existence, unlike the rest of them. Meanwhile, Dalverat and Brag'klogga empowered the chainguns of Vaktyl and some of the long range weaponry to fire at Grak'tona from a distance.
- Thr'aloy - Keep firing. MAN DIS IS AS SCARY AS IT IS FLIPPIN AWESUM
- Kalcedia - Hm hm, hate it to admit it, but way, way too big for me.
- Grak'tona - I AM. KING. OF. TIME. YOU. PEASANTS. NOT. WORTHY!
With a swing of his massive hand, Grak'tona attempted to strike at Rel'larutina, though the transformation and his lack of control over it made his moves sluggish and predictable. However, with each swing of his limbs, part of the environment was transformed; without warning, meteors begun raining from the sky while a volcano was thrusted out of the earth over the distance, causing an earthquake across the battlefield which threw some of the Warbosses off their feet.
- Tuolog - He is unconsciously creating time anomalies... We must hurry.
- Vaktyl - Damn, there's only so much my guns can do against this thing!
- Darwishi - I got an idea!
Darwishi picked up Zelfron III, who empowered himself with Dark Chronoscopic from Dalverat, and flew over above Grak'tona's head. He then dropped Zelfron III through Grak'tona's mouth, as he quickly sprinted through Grak'tona's insides, and then cut a hole in his stomach which Zelfron III used to escape from. The monster was now bleeding Chronoscopic, and he held on his wound in pain as he winced, presenting his head to Rel'larutina.
- Tuolog - The Gyronidium! Destroy it!
- Grak'tona - NO. TOUCH. MY. CROWN!
Seeing the opportunity, Rel'larutina swung her mech's arm to smash the Gyronidium crown, but she was unable to do enough damage. Eventually, Hagto'Zhl stood up and climbed up her mech suit. He then pounced from the top of her suit, empowering himself with great Dark Chronoscopic power he was unaware he was capable of, and swung his fist down on the crown, cracking it in two. An echoed scream escaped Grak'tona as he was knocked into the ground, the two halves of the crown falling into the ground as Chronoscopic energy begun to leak out of his body more rapidly, causing him to slowly decrease in size.
- Grak'tona - NO... NO!! ...yoo broke... ma FLIPPIN CROWN... losa...
- Jol'kiar - yanno bak in ma dayz we didnt obsess ova who was "king" or who had "shiny crownz" an wateva. man ya need ta grow up i swer
As the power escaped him, Grak'tona lost consciousness and fell completely into the ground, flattering a portion of the forest as the Chronoscopic energy in his body escaped completely back to the fifth dimension, and after several seconds, the monstrous giant had transformed back into the old Grak'tona, who was now stark naked due to his clothes being ripped apart in his transformation.
- Fre'kloar - pfffffthahahaha dats almost funni
- Rel'larutina - Phew. That's the apocalypse averted. And all because of a freaking rock.
- Tuolog - It is quite scary what rocks can do sometimes. Thank you for help.
- Rel'larutina - Yeah, don't get used to it.
- Zr'Ahgloth - SEE MAN IF YOO HAD JUS GIVEN ME DA FINGY NONE OF DIS WOULDA HAPPENED
- Hagto'Zhl - YE SUR. YOOD HAV TURNED INTO A GIANT WANNABE VERSION OF ME I BET
- Zr'Ahgloth - DIS FLIPPIN GUY I SWER
- Thr'aloy - Mission accomplished. OI BOYZ LETS ROLL OUT
- ??? - Now look what you've unleashed.
Out of the horizon, a gigantic shadow, dwarfing Rel'larutina's mecha or Grak'tona's transformation stretched into the view, slowly taking the fierce form of Zr'An'Kar, who looked down at them with some amusement in his expression. Hagto'Zhl and the rest of the Rogue Boyz dropped down in worship, while Tuolog, Zr'Ahgloth and the rest of UNO looked on in shock.
- Tuolog - You come back to torment our galaxy?
- Kolossus - What do you think, worm? You thought I was going to let you walk away free after you defied the will of my master? Your kind deserves to be punished.
Right next to Kolossus, a new Vyro'Ralza who they had not seen before appeared. Tuolog could eventually make out who it was: his name was Antagonar.
- Antagonar - A-ha! So these are the mortals I've heard so much about! Curious that you were chosen to become Vyro'Ralza in another timeline, for I doubt you pose much of a threat in combat. Well, not to worry! I will have your heads soon enough!
- Kolossus - For defying us, we will unleash such terrible anomalies across this galaxy, you'll wish you had remained stuck in that quarantine. The stars themselves will scream in agony!
- Antagonar - And thanks to the aspiring king here tearing up the barriers of space and time, we are now able to thrust our full time anomalies across the entire galaxy unchecked! You will have to deal with so many more to come, and as we ruin the space time continuum here, you will struggle to keep hold of your lives! A part of me does want you to succeed, though, if only so you can survive to battle me, Antagonar! The mightiest swordsman of Sequencium!
- Kolossus - Indeed, I will delight in your struggle. But I will delight much more in your despair when the power of the Nightmare devours your entire empire. One way or another, you will become servants of the darkness, be it in life or in death!
- Antagonar - You will very soon regret your choice, mortals, if you aren't already!
- Kolossus - Come, Antagonar. We shall watch their first struggle of many. Let us see how well these mortals fare against an enemy they know nothing of.
- Antagonar - I do look forward to watching that, indeed. I shall have front row seats!
With this, the two gigantic Essentials disappeared from view, leaving UNO and Da Rogue Boyz equally confused.
- Zr'Ahgloth - wow dese two RELLY LIKE TA TALK YA EERS OFF DONT DEY?
- Hagto'Zhl - hmm it sounds like dad wants us ta go thru a buncha...trials or somfin??? like we hav ta go thru "struggles" ta get to da final boss at da end?????
- Dalverat - Bravado as it may be, I don't like the sound of "an enemy we know nothing of". They clearly know things we don't.
- Jol'kiar - its ok guys i got dis. we did dis bak in da old dayz. basically ya gotta collect 5 crystals frum da different warp rooms an fite a boss. den ya gotta collect 5 moar. eventually ya fite Dr. Neo Cortex at da end
- Voa'reak - woah
- Brag'klogga - tbh da holy books do menshon dat but akshully nope. GUYS ITS PART OF DA TESTS DA GEM WANTED US TA DO APART FRUM DA RITUAL. WE GOTTA BEET DA ENEMIES AN DEN GET TO DA BOSSES AT DA END
- Dalverat - These creatures are a special type of idiotic.
- Rel'larutina - Tell me about it. I have to endure this every day of my life.
- Tuolog - Well, Rel'larutina, I believe we able to strike deal. I know your people and ours not get along, but it sounds like your people very prepared to help us combat whatever Kolossus and Antagonar trying to throw at us. Can we form a brief alliance?
- Rel'larutina - I wouldn't want to oppose Zr'An'Kar in flesh, but I'm not a fan of the idea of him and his friend messing the galaxy up. I guess we have a deal.
- Tuolog - Great. Now, Zr'Ahgloth, take your offer up with Fre'kloar.
Zr'Ahgloth groaned, and then spat on the floor, before walking over to Fre'kloar, clearing his throat and then making a deal.
- Zr'Ahgloth - so urm...lets go fite dese trials an den we can fite da evil boss at da end? like if we work togetha itll make fings easia?
- Fre'kloar - ehhhhhhhhhh...i guess so BUT IMMA BETRAY YOO LATA. not now tho i need som rest
- Zr'Ahgloth - sik. OK LETS GO REPORT TO DA ZOLES AN DA NIAKA AN DEN WE CAN WORK OUT WATS NEX
- Rel'larutina - Good. If I had to listen to anymore of that stupid campfire song, I don't know what I'd do.
The Loron and the Ottzelloans returned to their shuttles. They had found an unlikely ally in one another, but there was no telling what Kolossus and Antagonar had planned for the galaxy.
Rise of the Seagon Empire
Through the entirely of the Borealis Consortium Network's dealings with the War Economy, their allies of the Seagon Empire remained largely uninterested with their goals, being much more focused on internal affairs. During Falrik Zaarkhun's planning, he was unable to convince the Seagon to prove more than the most basic support through the March of Liberty, something which was considered off-putting; it was clear they had absolutely no interest in his goal of galactic anarchy, though General Volim, who had dealt with their race since the First Great War, assured his partner that it was nothing out of the ordinary for them. It nonetheless left a bad taste on the Heeyorian's mouth, and he would not be wrong to assume the Seagon were not dedicated to the goals of the Consortium.
In fact, the Seagon actively opposed the Wranploer. For the two thousand years of partnership they had, the Seagon thought the Wranploer to be nothing but primitive savages, serving only as meat shields against their enemies of the Zoles Imperium and especially the Niaka Special Forces, their most hated nemesis. For years, predating even the invasion of the Xi'Arazulha, the Seagon had worked in secret, using the funding they amassed from dealing with the Wranploer savages and their Ottzelloan cohorts to build a fleet which they would use to fulfill their interests.
Simultaneously with the defeat of Da Rogue Boyz, the skies of the Consortium Network colony of Karuvron were covered in the shadow of a fleet made up of sleek, shining ships, unlike any they had seen before, though they would recognize their iconography as belonging to the Seagon. The Wranploer planetary defenses, somewhat confused over the aliens being there and requested an explanation, though they were met only with death as the ships opened fire upon the defenses and the ships over the world; the Consortium Network's precious illegal upgrades were absolutely torn apart by the mighty power of the Seagon fleet, who failed to take on even their smaller vessels. But the Seagon were not interested in this world, no; it was merely a test drive of their greatest creation yet.
Spear-heading the fleet was a massive dreadnought, its design compared to that of the galaxy's Cold Relays, with a massive cannon which made up a significant part of its front; this cannon proceeded to fire upon the world, and almost instantly, the entire atmosphere was frozen, the crust of the planet quickly transformed into little more than ice as the population of Karuvron died instantly. At the bridge of the flagship was Emperor Rothneld Vhezari, supreme leader of the Seagon Emperor, his arms crossed as he watched the destruction unfold with a fanged grin across his face; his project was a success.
Now that their guinea pigs had been experimented on, the Seagon had no more use for the Borealis Consortium Network. Soon, the outer worlds of the Niaka Special Forces and the Old Niaka Order begun reporting attacks from the so-called Will of the Emperor, a fleet of Seagon spear-headed by World Ender, a ship denominated "Armageddon-class Star Destroyer" helmed by the Seagon emperor himself. Rothneld's own march of domination was about to commence.
The Lost Warmaster
The Loron had heard about the increase in Seagon activity, though for the time being they were mostly apathetic to it. As long as their worlds were not being attacked by the Seagon, they thought, they had no incentive to react. And with Falrik Zaarkhun no longer being in charge of the Consortium Network, and Volim mostly uninterested in asking the Rogue Boyz for help, they had yet to be involved.
What preoccupied them, as they sat together for their usual meeting aboard the Rogue Krooza, was how infuriated they were that they had made the decision to work with UNO. They still couldn't get over it, and giving out the orders to their Bosses beneath them to stop attacking UNO worlds or launching pirate raids was not only painful, but it left their boyz frustrated and bored. They chose this meeting as an opportunity to complain about it.
- Hagto'Zhl - well i dunno bout yoo but not fitin UNO is propa BOOOORIIIIN. can we start a war wiv somone alredy?
- Drizz'pyrokirk - lets go kill dem... idunno. dose imalmah dombus? dey look ugly
- Grak'tona - too week. i demand we kill a TUFF enemy alredy. DA KING IS BORED
- Zalk'don - i dunno whai non of yas lissened ta me wen i sed we shuld jus kill da seegon. deyz propa dum an even tho dey got propa advanced alien tekk we got moar numbas dan dem an we neva lost a war so far
- Kal'kuir - whil yoo guys figure dat out im gonna go download noo software for da kroozas ai cus lately its been actin weirda dan usual
- Rel'larutina - You mean that useless thing that you never even finished properly? Actually, you...kinda would have helped a lot better if you mentioned that you still have that thing earlier.
- Kal'kuir - eh? hao dis
- Rel'larutina - We all totally forgot about it (hell, including me), and it's made of, urm, the same technology that the Seagon Empire use to power their weapons? Would've been pretty crucial to mention to, y'know, our new allies?
- Fre'kloar - UGH. DONT RUB IT ON OUR FACES. STILL DISGUSTS ME
- Kal'kuir - OH MA DAYZ DA SEEGON DUMBOS IS COPYIN MA TEKK
- Rel'larutina - Believe me, I'm loathe to call them that as much as you...but nonetheless, if you're not gonna mention this to them, I will.
Rel'larutina, without consulting the other Leedas, opened up holographic communications with UNOL.
- Rel'larutina - Hey, folks. I just thought I'd let you know, because dimwit here failed to mention this, that we actually possess some working Cold Ones technology. It could maybe help us fight back the Seagon, even if I still can't convince any of these idiots to help out with that fight.
- Kralgon Emperor - You've been sitting on top of Cold One technology all along? ... But I've never seen any reports of Loron weapons with Cold One technology.
- Kal'kuir - AKSHULLY ITS JUST MA KROOZA DAT HAS IT
- Rel'larutina - Right, and the fact that he's too much of an idiot to actually get it to work, yeah.
- Kal'kuir - STOP INSULTIN ME WOMAN I SWER
- Rel'larutina - Anyhow, you have any experts who can analyse this?
- Valzo - The Tralkik Commander should be able to do that. Perhaps he can find some design inscriptions or weaknesses of these "Armageddon-class" ships.
- Tralkik Commander - Indeed, although I believe that we should instead request support from the Caretakers. Perhaps The Mechanic will want to analyse it himself.
- Tuolog - Ah yes. I call Mechanic to give a hand. This will surely interest him.
Tuolog brought the Mechanic into the conversation. The Mechanic was at present working with Cold Relays, and was stunned to receive a message, falling off his chair entirely before straightening himself, coughing and then responding.
- The Mechanic - Ahh, sorry about that...been busy working on..."his" plan. Ahem. So, what do you younguns have for me today, eh?
- Tuolog - Hello, old friend. We could use your help with one thing. Have you heard of Seagon attacks recently?
- The Mechanic - Tuolog! Anything for you, pal! Yes, I have..."he" is not too happy about it, but there's not much I can do being a non-combatant and all...love to stick it to those darn bugs that are trying to deface the Cold Ones' technology...
- Zr'Ahgloth - "he". whos yoo talkin bout eh?
- The Mechanic - Erm, nevermind that. Strictly classified. Like a lot of the crap on these machines. What do ya need, pal?
- Tuolog - Rogue Loron have found piece of Cold One tech. We think you could decipher it and find some means to combat the Seagon fleet.
- Kal'kuir - ITS MA SUPA COOL AND-IT-TOTALLY-WORKS-SHUT-UP COLD ONE AI FINGY DAT I STOLE ONCE
The Mechanic looked stunned once again and alarmed as he turned towards Kal'kuir.
- The Mechanic - Whaaaat? I don't believe you! Those things are too rare for a stupid bug like yerself to get hold of one! You'd have about a one in ten billion chance of doing so! Only way you could grab hold of one of them is if a Vyro'Ralza showed you where the darn thing was!
- Kal'kuir - eh i dont reely rememba hao i found it but it did involve som time travellin mumbo jumbo wher ref'kolar got punched off da oonivers or somfin like dat. found in som stoopid cave
- The Mechanic - Cave? Time travelling?! Oh, holy Volzara, I think I know the one you mean...how the hell have you kept hold of it for so long?????? Why didn't you inform me?????
- Rel'larutina - The ape never actually managed to turn it on.
- Kal'kuir - STOP TELLIN DEM MAN I SWER YOR SUCH A JERK
- The Mechanic - Good thing too...alright kids. I got a super secret Caretaker hideout that I'd like you to bring the AI too. I'll send you the coordinates to it, but I can't guarantee it's super safe. I mean, even I haven't visited it in a few million years, to be honest...
- Tuolog - We will all be there. I will also invite Zoles to come with us, they should be informed of all this.
- The Mechanic - Sounds good, but you better not bring the space bugs! I swear, they give me a headache every time I'm around them...
- Kal'kuir - DA FUTUR IS NAO OLD MAN
- Rel'larutina - Hate to break it to you, old geezer, but "the space bugs" have exactly the AI you need...
- The Mechanic - Oh, they do, don't they? Awww fine, bring them then, but they better keep it down!
Tuolog sent a message to the Zoles Imperium informing them of what happened, and the Leaders, along with the Rogue Leedas and Warbosses, each sent their ships off to the destination that the Mechanic had sent to them.
The coordinates the Mechanic had given them led to an area of space which, as far as they knew, was the intergalactic void; it led straight to the area where the Northern Arm was once located, and as far as they knew, there was nothing but galactic dust there. The Mechanic himself appeared unaware of what exactly the coordinates led to, but he was confident it led to a place where he would be able to understand the Cold One AI, and Tuolog in turn had confidence in his friend's decision. As they passed through the Tristezas Sector to reach their destination, Da Rogue Boyz realized they were close to the place where they had found the Cold Loron years before.
Eventually, the group arrived to a Cold Relay which was not present in any of their galactic maps; compared to all the others they used through the ages, this one was, in comparison, in a state of disrepair. As they ventured through it, they were launched into hyperspace, unsure of what exactly they would find at the other side, but as they arrived, they were met with a spectacular sight;
Orbiting a white dwarf star, enveloped in a thick nebula, was a space station of truly gargantuan size; the scans of the Tralkik Commander put it at over 650,000 kilometers long, split into five "arms" which were closed like a budding flower. The Mechanic's mind was struck by vague memories - he knew this place, and it was extremely important, but he could not put his finger on what exactly it was. Commandant Vekaron, who had followed them there, had his eyes widened in awe at the sight of a formidable construct, the only technological marvel he had ever seen comparable to it being the Vida'Rranlora planet-computer he had visited months prior.
- Yogtam - Well, I have to say, this probably puts Grenzaar to shame.
- Vekaron - What... is this place?
- Grak'tona - LADS I FINK I JUS FOUND MA NOO VACASHON SPOT
- Rel'larutina - Oh good. He hasn't claimed it's his new castle yet.
- Tuolog - This sight is far more impressive than many that I have seen...and I have seen some amazing places.
- The Mechanic - Well, folks, I knew this was going to be an impressive place, but I didn't know that it'd be this impressive. Damn...did we really build that billions of years ago? I have no recollection at all. I can't even remember what it was called. I, I remember being here before, but...hey! Kal'kuir! Turn the damn AI on already!
The Mechanic had already warped inside the Krooza as he had awaited them, much to the Loron's dismay. The Loron groaned as he turned the AI on, though he had no confidence that the Mechanic would be able to make it work if he, the smartest being alive, was not able to. Eventually, the AI began whirring around, and though it was unattached to anything, it was able to speak and recognise those around it.
- AI - Oh. These people again. You can almost hear my eye rolling right now.
- Fre'kloar - oh ma dayz nao i rememba it was cheeky an a total losa when we met it too
- AI - I wasn't referring to you, though I am not happy to see you either. I was referring to the Caretaker here. I grew tired of waiting for one of them for so long.
- The Mechanic - Ah, keep it down, willye? Just tell us what you're supposed to do and how we're supposed to get into this place!
At this moment, the normally feminine tone of the AI changed as it turned into an imposing, booming, masculine voice. The mere sound of it caused more foggy memories to returning to the Mechanic.
- AI - For too long have I waited, surrounded by these primitives and forced to share consciousness with this defect intelligence. Return me to my body this instant, the second coming of the Empire is long overdue.
- The Mechanic - You're...I don't remember who you are, but you're a Cold One! I know you are! Don't worry, master, I'll get you back to your body! Just need to find it first.
- AI - Have you also gone defective over time, Head Caretaker? You would forget the voice of your Warmaster and the home from which you were born?
- The Mechanic - A lot of my memory has been erased! I don't remember any of this stuff anymore, I'm so sorry...
- AI - Hmpf. Very well, then. Behold, primitives; gaze your eyes upon Hyperborea, home of the true rulers of Borealis. In there, you will find my body and that of those cryogenically preserved. Return me to my body!
Each of the Loron Leedas and UNOL gazed upon Hyperborea once more in awe. Then, the Mechanic spoke.
- The Mechanic - You heard the master! Everyone, head to Hyperborea! And Kal'kuir, bring this AI with us in the shuttle. We'll meet Vekaron and UNOL there!
- Grak'tona - I ENT TAKIN ORDAS FRUM A STOOPID TINY ROBOT FING
- AI - Silence yourself, animal. You are nothing more than a laboratory experiment to my kind.
Even in spite of Grak'tona's own arrogance and his typical reaction to being talked down to, the voice that came from the AI gave him the feeling that he should quieten down and show some respect. Grak'tona did not raise his voice at the AI, much to the surprise of the other Leedas.
The rest of the Leedas each headed to the shuttle, though Grak'tona was slower to do so out of embarassment. Were it not for the AI's directions, they would surely get lost in the truly massive extent of the space station, which, for the most part, appeared run down and abandoned, much of it covered in vegetation, though its energy resources were clearly all still working. As they walked through the immense halls of the station's center, they would hear noises coming from the walls as small creatures, vaguely resembling Caretakers but not quite, emerged into view; like the Mechanic, these creatures had traits of cyborgs and toothed jawless maws, though they appeared to be some sort of animal-plant hybrid.
Vekaron and his Zoles marines would take out their weapons and aim at the creatures in case they were hostile, though they would not react in any way; instead, one of them simply approached the Mechanic and opened a palm, pressing it against his chest as it let out electronic barks at him - a language none of them save for the Caretaker himself could understand. He knew these were actually Naombur, creatures he had not seen in five billion years.
- Tuolog - It appears Mechanic make friends here. Or rather, he meet old friends for first time in billions of years.
- The Mechanic - These... these are Proto-Caretakers! They were here even before me! And look, they managed to keep the place in check all by themselves for so long... well, for the most part, anyway. It seems like they're expecting us, but I don't remember for what reason.
- AI - Is it not obvious? They await for the reawakening of their lords and the second coming of the Empire. The Lackeys will have their part to play yet.
- Vekaron - ... Lackeys?
- Valzo - This AI doesn't seem like the friendliest type to me...
- Feldosia - I'll admit, "second coming of the Empire"? Doesn't strike me as the noblest thing in the universe...
- Vekaron - We'll see. The Cold Ones were paragons of justice. They can't be that bad.
- Brag'klogga - NONSENSE. I RED DA HOLY BOOKS. DA COLD ONES IS SOMFIN YA CRAK OPEN WIV DA BOYZ AN DEYZ STOOPID
As the Mechanic communicated with the Naombur and they realized the presence of the AI, they immediately became agitated, crawling through the walls of station in seemingly millions as they all went for the same direction as the AI was ordering them to go. Having no other choice, they proceeded, going deeper into the forgotten walls of Hyperborea until they eventually reaching a massive chamber; stasis pods littered the walls, with various, more decorated pods in the center and a machine where the AI would fit; an awakening device. At the sight of it, the AI grew more and more restless.
- AI - My body... So close. You primitives should be in awe; you stand before the pods holding the corporeal forms of my people's leadership. When we awaken, we shall lead you all to glory, as it should have always been.
- Kralgon Emperor - Just a question, mister Cold One. It sounds to me more like you shall lead us to your glory, and we will all become slaves to the second coming of your empire. Can you reassure us, before we do you this huge favour, that that is not the case?
- AI - All of you will have a part to play in the second coming of the Empire. And if you hold back now, the pretenders you call Seagon will make quick work of your precious "Niaka" allies. So I suggest you hurry.
- Fre'kloar - fine by me lmao lets throw da geek in da ditch
- Rel'larutina - Dude, c'mon. Grow up already. They're our allies now.
- AI - Awaken your lords, Head Caretaker. Now.
- The Mechanic - Yes, sir!
The Mechanic grabbed the AI from Kal'kuir, and ran over to the awakening device faster than any of the others could question if this truly was the right move. He placed the AI in the machine and begun operating it, causing the lights of the chamber to turn on... revealing the pods, save for one, to be all empty. However, both the Mechanic and the AI were too distracted to notice the fact as the awakening of the Cold One begun; the Naombur crawled into the room, chipping and barking in their mechanic tone and moving across the chamber like a swarm of termites, as if eager for the awakening of their creator, while the stasis pod slowly opened, unleashing a blast of frost mist as the body of the Cold One was revealed to them.
He was tall, comparable in height to a Loron, his body covered in light blue scales as well as scars while a pair of great flexible limbs grew out of his back. He gasped for air as his shining blue eyes opened, falling one knee into the ground as he coughed out loudly, breathing pure oxygen for the first time in five billion years. He struggled to get on his feet, groaning and growling as his eyes darted across the room, noticing none of the other pods were opening. He would turn to the group and speak in a tongue their universal translators could not comprehend, limping his way to them in apparent annoyance.
- Vekaron - Cold One? What's the matt-
The Cold One suddenly lunged at Vekaron, causing the Zoles marines to all prime their weapons and point at him, though he would not harm him; instead, Vekaron's head was caught in between the creature's webbed fingers as he stared into his eyes, remaining in silence for several moments before he let go and spoke again; he was now speaking fluent Zoleish tongue.
- ??? - My kind... is named... Kormacvar. Not "Cold Ones".
- The Mechanic - Ah, of course! "Kormacvar"! I had that name floating around in my head, but I never knew what it meant! Now I remember!
- ??? - Why have the rest of the pods... not opened?!
- Feldosia - Urm... Hate to break it to you, but I think they're... empty.
- ??? - What?!
The Kormacvar, having now regained his strength, walked up to one of the pods and, with a swing of a hand, opened it without as much as touching it; the Essence-sensitive members of the group noticed a great aura of power growing within him. He would look into the pod to find only dust, and his eyes widened in horror as the Naombur continued to crawl around them, each opening one of the pods; all containing nothing but dust inside.
- ??? - They're... all dead.
- Tuolog - ...It true. I just look through timelines. They been dead for thousands of years it seem. If not much longer than that.
- ??? - ... You miserable Lackeys! You allowed the systems to fail! It was your task to protect your masters!
With another swing of his hand, the furious Kormacvar blasted many of the Naombur with a blast of psychic energy, causing them to be flung across the room and die on impact with the walls. The rest of the aliens, even the Loron, all cowered in fear, while Tuolog tried to step up, slammed his staff against the floor, and then stared at the Kormacvar, while humming under his breath to calm him.
- Tuolog - You not know that this their fault, Kormacvar. We find who did this, but you not blame them.
- ??? - ... Tell me at least he survived. My brother.
The Kormacvar, almost as if he had ignored Tuolog's words, rushed to the closed pod which was close to the one he had been awakened from. He would quickly realize the open was completely broken from within, as if it had never even been used. The sight caused him to place his hands on his face in despair as he paced around the room.
- ??? - No... No... Regnatus, not you too...
- Tuolog - I promise you. We find who did this.
- ??? - ... The Grox. The damned Grox found us. They killed us all in the end.
- The Mechanic - The Grox? But how could they get here? They don't know this place exists either!...I don't think so, anyway?
- ??? - The promised second coming of the Kormacvar Empire was a failure. My people is gone... But I will not falter. I will avenge every single one of them. The Grox will be reminded of the name of Warmaster Arkarixus Vhiktus, and they shall know fear.
- Tuolog - We help you do this, Arkarixus. But please tell us, what happened to your people? I not able to see far back in the timelines enough, because Zargoth tamper with them.
The Kormacvar rose one hand, as if presenting the chamber.
- Arkarixus - You stand at the heart of Hyperborea, homeworld of the Kormacvar Empire. Five billion years ago, my kind ruled this galaxy; all races who accepted our dominion became part of it, and all those who refused were eradicated. We were firm, but fair. But then, the Grox arrived, and after 500,000 years, crippled us. Me, my brother, the leadership and a number of our greatest scientists were to be cryogenically frozen until the threat of the Grox passed as to rebuild the Empire... but they-
Arkarixus pointed at the Rogue Loron;
- Arkarixus - -evidentially caused the artificial intelligence which held my consciousness to lose its original functions. I was meant to have awakened millions of years ago.
- Fre'kloar - I DIDNT DO SUCH A FING I SWER
- Rel'larutina - You did, moron. Remember when you were taken back in time and then you smashed the AI to bits for no Zr'An'kAr-damned reason?
- Fre'kloar - i meen kinda but STILL NOT MA FAULT I BLAME GRAKTONA
- Arkarixus - It, however, still does not explain how the Grox found Hyperborea and ruined the cryogenic sleep of my people. It was a miracle that my body did not turn to dust as well.
- Tuolog - I know that Zargoth do something to your people. He claimed that he take your species for part of his experiment which he call the Vague. Perhaps he take the Kormacvar here?
- Arkarixus - I know not who that is.
- Tuolog - I explain it in full detail later, but I do know that he harmed you people. It possible that he responsible for killing the other Kormacvar here, even if it not explain why you able to survive.
- Arkarixus - Then he must suffer. He must pay for the deaths of my people and feel the combined pain of all of them. Let him and the Grox know their worst nightmare has returned to the living world.
- Tuolog - Zargoth is fifth dimensional time god. He also not able to "feel" anything. We help you avenge your people and fight Zargoth, but it no easy task.
- Arkarixus - Then I will teach him pain. But for now, there is the threat of the pretenders to deal with. Filthy primitives believing themselves worthy of my people's technological marvels.
- Vekaron - So you're going to help us against the Seagon?
- Arkarixus - I will lead you to victory, and you will follow. The pretenders will pay for their transgression.
- Zr'Ahgloth - aw nice we got a Cold Geeza on our side. lmao wes gonna totally rek dem
- Arkarixus - Now, take me away from this place. I wish not to be haunted by the sight of my dead brothers any longer.
- The Mechanic - Arkarixus, sir...I will do everything I can to help you seek revenge. I...I wish I could remember everything, but I...
- Arkarixus - Find the means to regain your databanks, Head Caretaker. I have no use for defective units.
The Mechanic swallowed his pride, as he looked back at Arkarixus in shame, then sighed as the Kormacvar walked off towards Vekaron's ship. Before they departed, Arkarixus looked at the stasis pods one more time before clenching his fists and making his way to their shuttle. The forces of Order had just gained a formidable asset, but it would not be one who would cooperate easily.
Death to Lud'nev, In the Glory of the Thirteenth
Soon after its formation during the second year of the Dark Times of the Cyrannus Galaxy, the Cognatus Empire began to expand it's territories outside of Cyrannus, away from the terror of the Galactic Empire of Cyrannus. One of the first galaxies on their list to colonize was Borealis, quickly setting up the colony of Glorious Pinnacle, one of the countless ice worlds within the galaxy. Within a month of their arrival, their presence was detected by the Eaglartin, who quickly sent out a Eaglartin to attempt to convert the new arrivals.
When they landed, they were approached by the cautious Cogsangui shipmaster, Thel'Helmanee, who listened to their introductions. However, when the Eaglartin mentioned Lud'nev, Thel's anger exploded. The Cogsangui ignited his energy sword, much to the Eaglartin's fear and confusion. Not wanting to become a victim, the Eaglartin began to run toward his ship, closely followed by his helpers. However, Thel' was faster, jumping in front of him and decapitating the Zealot, finishing off his followers with well placed plasma bolts to the head. Taking offence to the Azure Theocracy's nerve, Thel' pledged a holy war against them.
In the weeks that followed the abysmal first contact between the Empire and the Eaglartin, the Cognatus invasion fleet scoured through Eaglartin space at a frightening pace, glassing planets as they went. Particularly brutal were the actions of Warlord Xarn Senakh'tenre, who destroyed the heretics with a fury rivalled by few through the Cognatus' holy crusade. Eventually, the CAC-class assault carrier, Resplendent Penance, commanded by Thel'Helmanee happened upon a major civilian colony on the planet Dofugha, home to approximately six billion Eaglartin colonists and pilgrams, who settled on the world in order to bask in Lud'nev's light.
As soon as the assault carrier entered the system, it was immediately spotted by the Ealgartin's planetary defense fleet but not before cloaking. Under the command of Captain Hal'Di, the Ealgartin engaged the Cognatus' mighty fleet. At first, the battle was going well for Hal'Di, who managed to destroy at least three Cognatus corvettes. However, the battle quickly turned when the Resplendent Penance decloaked directly over Hal'Di's flagship, destroying it with a single energy blast. With the Eaglartin fleet in disarray, the Resplendent Penance entered the atmosphere, taking position over the planet's single metropolis, before proceeding to glass it, killing all of it's inhabitants. Within the next twenty minutes, most of Dofugha's surface was glassed, rendering it uninhabitable for thousands of years.
Like wildfire, the Cognatus extermination fleet approached Fanaticus, with no end in sight.
Weeks passed, and with the use of advanced hyperspace technology, the Cognatus managed to slip behind the Eaglartin's defenses over their homeworld of Fanaticus. Beneath the very noses of the Eaglartin military, their civilisation was already finished. For an entire hour, the Cognatus fleet managed to evade damage as it began to systematically glass Fanaticus, killing billions. After two hours of this carnage, the Zealot Commando officially surrendered, sending the Cognatus a plea of peace and mercy.
- Jaharala - Please, no more! All we did was try to share our culture... we meant no harm for you! We will accept your gods. Just, no more killing. I beg you.
Jaharala waited around his throne room nervously for fifteen minutes, looking out onto the capital city, was was being burned by impossibly strong heat. Soon however, he would get his response. For the first time since the initial crusade began, the Cognatus responded directly to the Zealots, specifically, Jaharala personally. The new leader of the Cognatus' fleets, Vos Adamae, made his presence clear.
- Vos Adamae - Remain in your palace. Summon your people. I am coming for you.
Not one to risk the future of his entire species, Jaharala felt he had no choice but to agree. Soon, a huge crowd of frightened Eaglartin began to congregate outside the Palace. To their awe, massive Cognatus warships began to appear overhead, one of which launched a small shuttle which landed on the Palace's landing pad. A hulking Cogsangui stepped out and made his way to the Throne Room, where he met with Jaharala for only a few moments, before the two enemies walked onto a balcony overlooking the Eaglartin people. Jaharala began to speak. He looked exhausted, horrified and spoke with a quavering voice.
- Jaharala - In order to preserve our very species, I have decided to surrender our beliefs to our new... masters. I do this with a heavy heart, but I feel it is the right choice to protect our... future. I hope to remain as your leader to help guide our people into this new... era.
The crowd murmured among themselves, with looks of confusion on their faces. None of them were prepared for what happened next.
- Vos Adamae - Pretty words, heretic.
The massive warrior ignited his plasma sword and ran it through the Eaglartin Leader's chest, before lifting up Jaharala's corpse by its head and flinging down unto the streets below. The crowd were shocked and terrified, many shouted out words of deviance, with others declaring their lasting devotion to Lud'nev, only to be shot by Scavenger snipers. Adamae's voice boomed throughout the city.
- Vos Adamae - Let his death be an example to those who would defy the will of the gods! Your primitive civilisation has found salvation in our conquest, and you shall take honour in it.
Over the next few weeks, nearly all resistance within the former Azure Theocracy was crushed. The Eaglartin were now the newest members in the growing Cognatus Empire.
A Shattered Legacy
Having allowed Arkarixus time to rest up and become reacquainted with the modern world, the Unified Nation of Ottzello Leaders hosted a meeting with him and Vekaron to explain more to them about the Kormacvar. They choose not to invite the Rogue Boyz, as the Rogue Boyz were unlikely to listen anyway, though Grand-Commandant Vekaron and Chief Minor Xeron were present.
Feldosia did not attend the meeting, as for reasons they could not understand, she was more tired than usual. The chamber was far cleaner than usual, with the Tralkik Commander cleaning out Zr'Ahgloth's usual mess of half-eaten pizza slices and trying to polish the place to appease their Kormacvar guest. However, the room's walls were even more reinforced than usual, as they knew from their few interactions with him that the Kormacvar had a rather short temper.
The Kormacvar Warmaster was already present alongside the Mechanic, with him looking over a holographic map of the galaxy with narrowed eyes and a serious expression. He passed his fingers through the hologram to analyze it, having already done so in silence for several minutes. However, he would finally speak, breaking the feeling of awkwardness in the room;
- Arkarixus - So, you aliens say you hail from the Ottzello Galaxy, the stars of Volzara. In my time, we believed it to be devoid of intelligent life.
- Tuolog - Five billion years ago? It mostly was. Intelligent life not really exist, or it not really spacefaring at time. It was not until Blyro'Tralzica that that happen.
- Arkarixus - My kind respected Volzara and her Vyro'Narza. It was said they helped guide the greatest inventors of the Empire in the creation of the Grid.
- Valzo - Ah, yes, we did know that the Vyro'Narza had some relationship with your people, but we were not sure to what extent. They did not typically get too involved with the third dimension, due to restrictions placed upon them. Which is why they are not able to fight with us right now: if they got involved fully, then that would allow the Vyro'Ralza to be fully involved, and that kind of conflict could destroy the entire universe.
- Arkarixus - But by your reports, the Vyro'Ralza are already here, plaguing my galaxy with their time anomalies.
- Tuolog - They able to do this through a loophole. The Loron, when misled by Zr'An'Kar, created mass time anomalies which Zr'An'Kar and his accomplice, Antagonar, exploit and spread further. Those two involved directly, but no more Vyro'Ralza are.
- Arkarixus - Unacceptable. The Grid was created exactly to keep threats of this magnitude out. Why is it no longer working?
- The Mechanic - Sir, the Grid has not been weaponised for at least a few billion years...not to my knowledge at least, it's another thing that has been erased from my databanks.
Arkarixus let out an annoyed grunt as his fingers passed over the Western Arm, pointing at the Mirianis Sector in particular.
- Arkarixus - What of the Gardeners? If you Caretakers have lasted this long, surely the Gardeners have survived as well. They would make fine assets in this war.
- The Mechanic - Uh, the "Gardeners"? My memory banks don't have anything on them either.
- Arkarixus - What has happened to you these last billions of years? Have the Grox wiped out the databanks of every Caretaker?
- The Mechanic - Yup. All of them. We don't even remember your kind at all. I imagine that if you approached several of the Caretakers, they'd not be able to recognise you at all, and unlike me, they have no ability to think for themselves and work that sorta thing out.
- Vekaron - The region of space you're pointing at is Alvino territory, Warmaster. They're a race of rabid locusts, bent on nothing more than devouring everything that provokes them.
- Zr'Ahgloth - howeva dey hav been a massiv annoyanc fer da rogue boyz so we sorta didnt do anyfin about it
- Tralkik Commander - The Alvino Brood poses a significant threat that very few civilizations have dealt with effectively. With that said, there have been more active combatants in this war that we have had to deal with as a first priority.
- Arkarixus - "Alvino"? I require images of these.
The Tralkik Commander, above the hologram of the map, portrayed holographic images of Alvino Brood attacks upon BCN and Zoles territory. As he looked upon them, an expression of mild horror grew on the Kormacvar's face as he brought a hand to his face, his voice indicating disbelief.
- Arkarixus - Our Gardeners... corrupted.
- Xeron - "Your" Gardeners? ... Did you Cold-macvar create the Alvino?!
- Arkarixus - They were not like this in my time. They were protectors of biospheres, ensuring the safety of colonies and the prosperity of our worlds. While the Caretakers maintained the Cold Relays, the Gardeners maintained our planets.
- The Mechanic - Certainly don't seem like protectors right now...I wonder who could've done this?
- Tuolog - It not like Zargoth to worry about these details. It must have been Durzhan?
- Arkarixus - They were harmless. The most gentle of beings. And now I awake to find them forcefully transformed into abominations... Has none of my people's legacy survived the stains of time?
- The Mechanic - Sir, we tried to keep your legacy intact. But there's only so much we can do when our memory was wiped. And when someone has deliberately tried to sabotage your legacy.
- Arkarixus - I expected the awakening to be problematic, but the galaxy is in complete disarray. Primitives, savages, supernaturals... Grox scum. Everything must be returned to how it was.
- Tuolog - I suggest we ask the database that knows all of this, Vida'Rranlora, however I believe even they been tampered with.
- Vekaron - I've visited the Vida'Rranlora, and they're under control of a hostile race of machines called Lanatharch. We have reasons to believe they're linked with the Grox too.
- Arkarixus - The Grox are the universe's greatest mistake. We Warmasters were created to combat and destroy them, and I will see that done no matter the cost.
- Yogtam - With all due respect, the Grox in other galaxies are far weaker than the ones in this galaxy. I don't think the Grox are the only thing we're dealing with here.
- Arkarixus - Hmpf... For now, we must focus on the pretenders. My kind has prepared a space station stashed with technological devices which we would use to begin the rebuilding of the Empire. I must access it in order to find the means to disable the Armageddon-class Star Destroyer.
- The Mechanic - If it hasn't been tampered with too...alright, we'll help you find it, sir.
- Kralgon Emperor - Why did your kind focus so much on an eventual "second coming of the Empire"? It's like you always prepared for the unlikely event of your kind being obliterated.
- Arkarixus - When I was born, the war with the Grox had already been going for 500,000 years. I was one of the last of my kind even then. My time was one of preparing for the second coming, for the first empire was already doomed.
- Kralgon Emperor - I see. I can relate. I too am from a kind that was doomed for destruction, and I was frozen for an eventual reawakening of my people. Of course, I awoke as the only Kralgon alive as intended, whereas you seem to have planned to be awakened with hundreds of other Kormacvar.
- Arkarixus - Correct. We were to repopulate.
- Zr'Ahgloth - yeh yor boff reely similar cus YOR BOFF BIG JERKS
- Kralgon Emperor - The difference is, the "reawakening" of my people was a last minute preparation. We hid our technology in the final days of our kind. You seemed to have planned this for thousands of years, as if you were always preparing for this eventuality. Plus, with the Grid and the Cold Relays set up around your galaxy, it appears to me your kind was rather insular.
- Arkarixus - Our preparations begun shortly after mine and Regnatus' birth. We were nearly seven hundred when the cryogenic sleep was turned on.
- Kralgon Emperor - Interesting. As well as masters of technology, your kind were biologically supreme.
- Xeron - You've mentioned the name "Regnatus" more than once. Who is that?
Arkarixus' expression turned somewhat grim as he turned away from the hologram.
- Arkarixus - My younger blood brother and fellow Warmaster. We were to lead the second coming of the Empire against the Grox menace.
- Tuolog - Blood brother? It sound like he mean a lot to you. I recall that he, like yourself, had his own separate stasis pod in Hyperborea.
- Arkarixus - We Warmasters were created from the genetic material of the Warmasters who predated us. Me and Regnatus were born from the genetics of the legendary Kholduitanus, the most powerful Kormacvar in history. We were not true siblings, more like clones, perhaps... but we were family all the same.
- Yogtam - Were your kind the only kind to dominate the galaxy at the time? Or was there other intelligent life? And if so, does any of it still exist, aside from the Carteakers and the "Gardeners"?
- Arkarixus - During our Golden Age, we were the sole rulers of Borealis. Those who accepted our rule were added to the fold, and those who refused were eradicated. There were those who would defy us, like the Zarkhator devils of the Eastern Arm, but they all fell to the might of the Kormacvar Empire. We were unstoppable... at least, until the Grox arrived.
- Kralgon Emperor - It appears you had prepared for every kind of outsider threatening to attack your galaxy...but were less prepared for an attack from within. Still, you held them at bay for 500,000 years.
- Vekaron - I can't imagine a war lasting that long. That's longer than my kind has been sapient.
- Arkarixus - It was the longest and bloodiest war in our time, and I doubt any other has come close since then. Perhaps outside of Borealis, but what happens beyond these stars is none of my concern.
- Zr'Ahgloth - i dunno i had a rap beef wiv Hagto'Zhl da wannabe dat lasted quite long
- Valzo - That lasted about 2 years at most.
- Zr'Ahgloth - still quite long far as im concerned i dont hav da attenshon span fer wars lastin longa dan a month i get bored of dem
The Warmaster proceeded to walk up to Vekaron, who showed some unease as he approached. He still found Arkarixus somewhat intimidating to behold.
- Arkarixus - Seeing as your species has taken the mantle of protectors of the galaxy, I will be joining you in your space vessel for now on.
- Vekaron - Urm... Alright.
- Arkarixus - We depart to the technological stash in three days. I shall provide you with the coordinates.
- The Mechanic - Mind if I hang around your ship too? Beats these Caretaker shuttles anyhow...
- Vekaron - I suppose so. Just... watch out not to break anything.
- Arkarixus - Then give me no reason to do so.
- Tuolog - Wait, Arkarixus. I have one last question, if you may. At some point, we need to speak to Blyro'Tralzica again, perhaps after we defeat Seagon. If we do, I get you in contact with Volzara?
- Arkarixus - I do not see how that could benefit me.
- Tuolog - I believe she wish to speak to you. She have message.
- Arkarixus - Hm. So be it.
- Tuolog - This good. Perhaps she tell us Zargoth's role in all this. You truly not hear of any role Zargoth have in your peoples' downfall? He claim to have taken them for his Vague experiment, so I expected you may have heard of him before. Unless he attack your people after you frozen. I should get you in contact with Vague too.
- Arkarixus - We shall see.
- Tuolog - Alright. I get you in contact with them after Seagon defeated. For now, we proceed to your coordinates.
A Killer's Soft Spot
While the military leadership of the forces of Order dealt with the Seagon problem, there were other matters that needed to be attended. Namely, the fact that Falrik Zaarkhun had been arrested during the battle against the Zoles due to the intervention of Zargoth. It had been weeks since then, and so far, he received no indication that Volim intended to free him. It was too soon, perhaps; he did not know his location and needed more time to find him. Or he was content to leave him to rot in jail. That possibility always existed, but in his eyes, it was unlikely. He was too valuable to be left to his fate.
Truthfully, Zaarkhun himself did not know where he was, as his captors were not exactly cooperative. He was in fact at the fringes of the Niaka Special Forces, having been handed over to them so that they could question his involvement with the Wranploer. He was not restrained, as the Niaka did not consider him dangerous, though they did unarm him of all equipment. Likewise, Genrai Nal had also been disarmed, though his case was more extreme; Chronoscopic shackles around his arms disallowed his use of his own Essence to just teleport them out. Meanwhile, Sollow was kept in a cage of reinforced glass like a fish in an aquarium, as the Niaka were afraid he could use his nanomachines to somehow worm his way out of a normal jail. Sollow was particularly distressed by being stuck in glass and repeatedly scratched it with his claw-like nails while whining, much to the chagrim of everybody else.
A trio of Niaka guards entered the corridor, two of them adorning their mech-suits while the third remained on foot, though he nonetheless held a rifle in his small hands. As they walked over to Zaarkhun's cell and gazed inside, the Niaka on foot tapped the bars with his weapon to get his attention.
- Niaka - Hope you're enjoying your stay. Only the best accomodations for our guests of honour.
Zaarkhun said nothing in response. He merely raised his head a little to look at them, acknowledging their presence, and otherwise remaining entirely silent. A smill grin formed on his face.
- Niaka - All you need to do is tell us what we want to know and maybe we'll think of improving your situation. We want details on your links to the Wranploer Legion and the whole 'war economy' fiasco. And let me assure you, you ain't getting out of there until we get what we want.
In response, Zaarkhun merely chuckled slightly under his breath.
- Falrik Zaarkhun - You can't con a professional conman. I know a lie when I hear one. You'll do nothing for me even if I give you all the information you need. All you Niaka are the same, you only want to try and break me further after I give it all away. Try different tactics.
- Mech-suit - Hm. He's smug. Shall I break his teeth?
- Niaka - Not yet. Let him be smug for now. Maybe his friends would be more open to "dialog"?
The Niaka turned his attention to Genrai Nal's cell and tapped his bars.
- Niaka - Come on, he can't be paying you enough to just stay there like that.
Genrai was actually inclined not to respond at all. However, the Niaka's notion alone insulted him enough to raise his head and glare.
- Genrai Nal - That you believe our comradery to be based on any monetary value shows how little you know of us. I will speak nothing to you. You will sooner hear from Zaarkhun himself.
- Niaka - Comradery among thieves? That's rich. Not literally, of course.
- Mech-suit - Suppose that leaves us with the weird one in the glass prison.
Sollow's gaze turned to the Niaka as he pressed his entire body against the glass of his prison, causing him to slobber against it.
- Sollow - When I get out of here, I am going to tear you apart limb from limb and then make you eat them!
- Mech-suit - Hm. Perhaps not.
- Niaka - I heard from High Command this thing would be a problem. No wonder they put it in a jar.
As the Niaka were attempting to get a word from Genrai and Sollow, Zaarkhun's mind only raced through the possibilities of all of his possible responses to the Niaka in this situation. Should he toy with them further? Should he try to intimidate them? Should he possibly say something misleading, but sell it as genuine, to lead them into a trap? Eventually, he settled on his desired response.
- Falrik Zaarkhun - You are all so hypocritical. You look down on anyone who does not follow you laws as beneath you, as scum of the galaxy who need only be removed. But your pretentious ways are catching up to you. You think when your kind changed their criminal ways to become this new police force, you became a force for good, but you did not change at all. Don't you see? By locking me up here, I've already won. The entire galaxy will turn against your ways, as they already have been. Government will be abandoned as a concept of the past, and to replace it, only true liberty will remain, under a total anarchy. Now, let's try this again. You tell me why I should spill the beans, and if I am satisfied with your reasoning, I will tell you what you need to know, and also why knowing it will not help you.
- Niaka - Oh, lecturing us, aren't you? Alright then, pal. You tell us what we want to know or we're going to break every bone in your body. How's that sound?
- Falrik Zaarkhun - Pain can't intimidate me, because I know when my life is in danger and when it is not. I know that you will not kill me, only try to harm me until I respond. But instead, I will give you the pleasure of hearing more. Yes, Volim and I have been linked for years prior to the beginning of this war. The Borealis Consortium Network also includes the Wranploer Legion within it. He is my enforcer, while I am the businessman. Does that satisfy you yet?
- Mech-suit - We got a confession, Chief. Recorded loud and clear in my suit.
- Niaka - Good, that'll suffice for now. We'll be taking this with us for now, but don't fret, you'll see us again very soon.
- Mech-suit - The other one talked about "comradery", perhaps in our next session, we should beat him up in front of his friend. See if his attitude improves.
The trio of Niaka proceeded to turn back from where they came, and the lights in the prison were shut off, leaving the three prisoners in the darkness. Sollow started jumping around the walls of his glass cell in annoyance, hissing constantly.
- Sollow - Get me out of this jar!
- Genrai Nal - Why tell them anything? It will merely encourage them to return until they have more information from you.
- Falrik Zaarkhun - Precisely, Genrai. Which is why I will keep feeding them information until they begin to trust I am telling the truth. And once that happens, I throw in a few falsehoods. We can keep this up until Volim eventually finds and breaks us free of the prison.
- Genrai Nal - Hm. Perhaps that is wise.
- Sollow - Why don't either of you use your so-fancy smart plans and cunning to get us out of here?! I don't belong in a jar! This is humiliating!
- Falrik Zaarkhun - I've escaped over thirty prisons in my lifetime, Sollow. This one will eventually be no different, but the Niaka are not foolish. They know how to tighten their security up against a foe that can tear said security apart bit by bit. You only need to wait until they reveal their hand, at which point, an escape route becomes increasingly obvious. For now, none of our lives are in danger. The Niaka know that even in here, I have the ability to end their precious forces within days.
Sollow huffed in annoyance as he sat down with his arms crossed. Minutes would pass, and it seemed the guards would not return anytime soon; no doubt they were reporting to their superior and they would not see light again until it was feeding time.
That is, until they heard the blasting sounds of sirens in the distance. Explosions and screams filled the air, though they knew not of what was happening.
- Sollow - Wasn't me, even though I really wish it was.
- Genrai Nal - It does not appear to be the work of the Wranploer either. Nor is it one of our PMCs.
- Sollow - And how can you tell exactly?
- Falrik Zaarkhun - PMCs don't leave these kind of screams of terror in their wake. They inspire calls to arms, not fleeing in fear. And the Wranploer are the kind to sieze control of a facility through brute strength, and not to merely leave explosions where they go. This came from someone else. Brace yourselves: it may be an attempt on our lives.
Sollow's eyebrows raised as he pressed his ear against the glass, continuing to listen. Paying closer attention, they really could tell the screams were coming from Niaka guards, seemingly desperate as something tore through their lines with little effort. Sollow had thought this was just another cell doing a prison break, for no doubt that was not an uncommon occurrence in such a vile place, but something about this sounded far worse than the works of some escaped criminals. Eventually, a sharp stench filled the trio's chambers, and even Sollow within his glass prison could feel it; it was like charred flesh and brimstone, of burned rotten flesh and decay.
Eventually, the walls themselves were torn from their foundations as a duo of Niaka mech-suits were launched across the chamber, allowing them the sight of them flying in the air and crashing against the other wall, killing the pilots instantly. The lights coming from outside were blot out as a malevolent fog started entering the area, with a single, dark sillhouette slowly walking across the destruction it caused.
- Falrik Zaarkhun - Fascinating. What is this? Hmm... I recall vaguely seeing something like this before, when...
- ??? - Ah. I have found you at last.
- Sollow - That voice!
Emerging from the fog was an Inalton who wielded a pair of blades on each arm. He greatly resembled Genrai Nal, though the monstrous visage and the pulsating bulbous heart he sported made it very clear he was one of the Corruptus' ilk. Zaarkhun smiled, recognizing precisely who it was.
- Falrik Zaarkhun - Murangon Nal.
- Sollow - I thought his name was Genrai like ours?
- Murangon Nal - I am Murangon. In the tongue of primordials, it means "Killer".
- Genrai Nal - Fitting. I approve of it.
- Falrik Zaarkhun - And I approve of seeing you once again, old friend. What business have you here?
Murangon Nal watched Zaarkhun for many moments, though he would instead turn to face Genrai Nal - his clone.
- Murangon Nal - I trust you are taking good care of Falrik.
- Genrai Nal - But of course. To do any less would besmirch your name.
- Sollow - Pffft. His name. Look at him... He looks like a demon now...
- Genrai Nal - Your battles with the Corruptus fare well?
- Murangon Nal - ... My battles for the Corruptus have led to many of your worlds being burned to cinders.
- Sollow - Oooh, look how mean he is now... Have you missed good old Sollow, hmm?
- Murangon Nal - I have most certainly not. In fact, let it be known that you revolt me greatly.
- Falrik Zaarkhun - Though I may not approve of the side you fight for, or your goals, I nonetheless approve of your success. What is your goal here? To eliminate me? To eliminate your clone, perhaps? If so, I trust you will give us a fair fight as you would have always done, rather than kill us in our sleep.
Rather than respond with words, Murangon Nal swung his blade across the bars of Genrai Nal's cell, shattering them, before doing the same to Sollow's glass prison, with the Heeyorian hissing gleefully as he crawled out of it. Finally, he sent a foot at the bars of Falrik Zaarkhun's cell, easily smashing them open.
- Murangon Nal - Leave these cells. I must speak to you.
Genrai Nal nodded in appreciation, but before he left the room, turned to Murangon one last time.
- Genrai Nal - It is appreciated. Perhaps one day we will meet on the battlefield as foes. I look forward to facing such a worthy opponent.
- Murangon Nal - You will not leave until I have spoken. With that said...
The demonic Inalton rose one arm and struck at the Essence shackles restraining Genrai Nal, freeing him from them. Once the trio had left their cells, they realized the outside of their corridor had been charred by nightmarish essence, many Niaka bodies littering the halls as they were literally burned to death.
- Murangon Nal - I hope you realize, Falrik, what you shall face for now on. Look at the faces of terror of these corpses. Do you see their expressions? These are the expressions which will befall your own men when the Devourer's Chosen's march begins.
Zaarkhun looked upon them, and saw that Murangon's words were very sincere. Though he had seen many battlefields in his life, and as such seen many of the victims of war, he had truly not seen the sense of terror that Murangon had imposed upon them. The way their faces looked out in fear for final moments of their life, a look that would forever remain on after their life had ended. He then looked back at Murangon, and his next words pained him greatly.
- Falrik Zaarkhun - Murangon... Old friend. You know that I must oppose you in this endeavor. When we meet again, it will be as foes.
- Murangon Nal - The might of That Which Devours will scourge across this galaxy. All, from the noblest Zoles knights to the scummist Wranploer pirates, will bend the knee or be damned to eternal torment. We will unmake all you have created. And we will do so in the name of the gods.
- Falrik Zaarkhun - It is my duty to oppose the gods who seek to rule over us as beneath them. Your new god, as you are aware, is my enemy, and shall always be so. I am grateful for you releasing me, but know that I am unwavering in my quest. I trust that you expected this of me.
Murangon Nal brought a hand to his mouth and lowered his head. He almost seemed to whimper.
- Murangon Nal - It is why, faced with this reality, I have decided to seek you and free you. So that you would flee this galaxy, before the great march. So that you would be spared. I would hate for my old friend to rot away in a cell.
Zaarkhun's smile in response was one that most did not see from him. It was not a smug smile bemeaning those who viewed as beneath him, nor one of his usual fake smiles to business partners before shortly backstabbing them. It was a genuine smile of gratitude and of thanks to his old friend, as he nodded in response. He had no words left, but he knew what he must do.
- Murangon Nal - ... It surprises me not that you will not heed my warning. It would not be like you to flee. Let it be known; he will meet as foes. But when we do, I know you shall grant me a good fight.
- Falrik Zaarkhun - And you the same.
- Murangon Nal - Now use your Dark Chronoscopic powers and return to Volim... Do so before I change my mind and slaughter you. The voices in my head make the temptation strong.
Without a moment's hesitation, Genrai grabbed Sollow and pulled him towards Zaarkhun, as he used his teleportation to travel to the Iron Fist. While Zaarkhun perhaps wished he had more time, he knew that any more moments wasted would risk his own life. Moments later, they noticed their equipment being teleported to their feet, no doubt a final gift from the Killer. Upon landing in the Iron Fist, Sollow stretched his arms and looked at the other two with a look of disappointment.
- Sollow - You're a pair of fools. Should've just killed him then and there, not have to deal with him later...
- Genrai Nal - It is not so simple to face such an opponent. Murangon knows every technique I do, but has demonic strength to empower him further. And maybe you do not know this, as you have never had to face a life-threatening situation, but fighting on a space ship that is about to be destroyed is unwise.
- Falrik Zaarkhun - At times, we are talking to a child... Where is Volim?
- Sollow - Probably on his throne, ranting about killing Zoles... Really, that throne should be mine...
At that moment, Zaarkhun looked around to his surroundings, and found that Genrai had teleported him into the throne room. Much as Sollow had expected, Volim was sitting on his throne, unaware of their arrival. Zaarkhun approached and coughed loudly, causing the General's head to turn to them. Upon the sight of the trio, the massive Wranploer yelled.
- Falrik Zaarkhun - General, I have returned.
- Volim - What the hell?! Where did you come from?!
- Genrai Nal - We were able to flee the Niaka prison, and I teleported back to this ship.
- Volim - Ugh, you scared the hell out of me... So, you were in a Niaka world then. Makes sense.
- Falrik Zaarkhun - Their primitive torture methods are entirely flawed. They cannot gain information out of us. But no matter: the entire prison was destroyed on the way out. And likely, they will be dealing with a prison break too.
Zaarkhun knew it was best not to mention that it was a member of the Corruptus that had helped him leave, as it would easily arouse suspicions in Volim. Until now, however, he had dodged the question of why Volim had not attempted to rescue him, but he instead decided to ask it in a straightforward way, without too many accusations.
- Falrik Zaarkhun - I suppose we are yet to map the location of all Niaka prisons yet? I should have my spies do this at once, in case we ever have another issue of a high profile member being locked up.
- Volim - Hm, yes, probably. Niaka have tons of worlds, each with tons of prisons. I'd have never guessed you were in one of them.
- Falrik Zaarkhun - They only locked me up in an attempt to gain more information from me. Little did they know, I gained more information from them. They do not yet know the extent of the crimes I have committed thus far. They also, until now, did not know how long we had been allied, or how deep the alliance was.
- Volim - Well, since you're here again, time to make yourself useful and help me deal with the fallout of the failed attack on the Zoles. The "Network" part of this Consortium Network is in absolute shambles, and the Seagon are launching a full-scale assault on my planets.
- Falrik Zaarkhun - Very well. I will do so at once. Until things are in order, it would be wise to remain on the defensive. Let the Zoles and their Ottzello allies take care of the Seagon threat. Perhaps I could even get my good friend Fre'kloar to help clean it up for me.
- Volim - We'll see. I hear they have some sort of new ally. Supposedly someone vary important, but my agents have failed to identify him.
- Falrik Zaarkhun - A new ally? Intriguing. Of this galaxy or no? My spies will have to learn more.
- Volim - I don't know. All I have heard is his title. "Warmaster".
- Falrik Zaarkhun - I know of no civilizations in or outside of this galaxy that use such a title. The term is also rather ancient. This could prove very interesting... I will start the logistical cleanup of our forces around the galaxy at once. In the meantime, my spies will look into this... "Warmaster".
Power of the Kormacvar
Following coordinates provided by Arkarixus, a small fleet was sent through a Cold Relay to find the technological stash he had mentioned, though it was not exactly what they expected it to be. In truth, it turned out to be a derelict space station, and not just that, one guarded by Seagon vessels. It was no surprise that the creatures had found this palce; they had evolved around Kormacvar ruins, used technology based on theirs and rumours said they even spoke their language. The sight of the intruders caused the Warmaster to frown in disdain - these aliens were usurpers, and they were standing in ground which should only be walked by his kind. The fleet, which was made up of Zoles, Niaka, UNO and Collective ships engaged the Seagon defenses and, thanks to their greater numbers, were able to carve a path for Arkarixus and his ground team to venture into the space station itself.
Because the Seagon were clearly using the facility, it was not in complete ruins, though the group nonetheless had to use space suits to avoid being exposed to the vacuum of space. Arkarixus led them, though unlike any of them, he carried no weapon on his person. Vekaron knew the Warmaster had a rifle of some description among his posessions, but he had not brought it with him. The Zoles commandant and Xeron were quite alert, with their own weapons raised in order to ward off any potential ambushes, while Vyutrin and Hachiman watched their rear. Zr'Ahgloth and the Kralgon Emperor were keen for battle, with Tuolog perched on Zr'Ahgloth's shoulder, while Yogtam remained on guard. The Tralkik Commander sent its own remote form, while the remaining Leaders stayed on the ship. The Mechanic trailed behind slightly, still slightly uneasy around Arkarixus even if he felt obliged to be subservient to him.
- Vyutrin - No sign of hostiles so far, all clear.
- Hachiman - Oh boy, we're on a fancy place! Look at all the fancy lights!
- Zr'Ahgloth - its quiet. too quiet. i kno how ta resolve dis problem
Zr'Ahgloth pulled out a large boom box and began to play music before the Kralgon Emperor slapped his arm and demanded he put it away.
- Vekaron - Hm. May I ask you a question, Warmaster?
- Arkarixus - You have done just that.
- Vekaron - Hmpf. What exactly are we looking for? What is this "stash", exactly?
- Arkarixus - A piece of machinery; a data disk, to be exact, possessing schematics of my race's technological marvels, including its fleet. We were to use it as blueprints for the second coming's navy, but alas... I now require it to study the usurpers' weapon.
- The Mechanic - Blasted Seagon... They insult the weapons that they use! They don't have a shred of respect for the ones that came before them, I say!
- Xeron - You tell me. These fiends have been my people's worst enemies for hundreds of years. Wish we could just wipe them out.
- Kralgon Emperor - I like how this guy thinks...
- Hachiman - Umm, excuse me, big guy, but... where's your gun?
- Arkarixus - ... I require no weapon against these vermin.
- Zr'Ahgloth - ta be fair i respect dat
At this point, sirens begun blasting across the facility as Seagon troopers arrived at their position, their weapons readied to fire. Seagon weapons were feared across Borealis for their deadly power, and because their makers were careful not to allow others access to them, they were particularly valuable across the black market. However, before even his own allies could react, Arkarixus' body radiated an aura of green energies as he thrust his arm upwards, causing the Seagon troopers to immediately be launched violently against the ceiling; the impact was such that their bones were broken instantly, killing them before they had the chance to even feel it.
- Vyutrin - ... What was that?!
- Yogtam - That... that was beyond anything I've even seen Tuolog do...
- Arkarixus - Behold, the mana which a Kormacvar Warmaster commands, given to me to destroy the most powerful supersoldiers of the Grox. These usurpers are unworthy of my weapon; they shall die by the power of my mind alone.
- Tuolog - Ah, yes. I see powerful energy in you. I not know that this was the strength all Warmasters could reach in your people.
- Hachiman - To be fair I've no idea what he just said but, wow!
- Tuolog - It hard to see the Kormacvar history much. But I have to know how versed your kind were in Essence at height of your power? If you all this strong, the Grox' strength must be very extreme to overcome it.
- Arkarixus - Have you ever heard of a Dronox Commander?
- Tralkik Commander - UNO have no relevant files on Borealis Dronox Commander.
- Arkarixus - Then know this: Warmasters were created to fight them.
- Tralkik Commander - Beginning their file now. Note to file--
- Zr'Ahgloth - STOOPID FREEKIN OP AN SHULD BE NERFED. START DA FILE SAYIN DAT
More Seagon forces were dispatched to attack the group, though they did not even need to use their own weapons as Arkarixus killed them within an instant. With mere thrusts of his hand, the troopers were launched into walls, strangled, or downright eviscerated before they even have the chance to scream; the Warmaster was quick but extremely brutal in his executions.
- Kralgon Emperor - I wonder if Tuolog would be capable of reaching this power were he not so reserved in his brutality.
- Tuolog - It entirely possible, but I not willing to test theory.
- Arkarixus - There is no room for mercy. These vermin must be purged.
- Xeron - Damn straight!
- Kralgon Emperor - You should be more like them, Tuolog.
- Tuolog - I think not.
- Zr'Ahgloth - lmao could ya imagine tuolog like dat? ya gotta be purged grrrr!!! it dont fit him
Tuolog chuckled slightly in response. As more Seagon troopers arrived, he began to hum a chant slightly, and then held out his staff. The arriving Seagon troopers were frozen in time for a brief period.
- Tuolog - I can do that, though. Do with them as you please...
- Xeron - I'll not go through an entire Seagon base and not fire a single shot! That'd be an insult to the Chief Major!
- Arkarixus - Not a "Seagon" base. This is a Kormacvar installation, and never forget that.
- Xeron - Um, s-sorry Warmaster.
Eventually the group arrived to the heart of the station, where its master computer laid. It was quite vast in size, though its screens were comparatively smaller; normal for a creature the size of a Kormacvar, but large to everyone in the room except Zr'Ahgloth. As Arkarixus studied the machine for a moment, he turned to the Mechanic and spoke.
- Arkarixus - Head Caretaker. Extract the files of this databank and put them in a data-disk.
- The Mechanic - At once, sir!
The Mechanic skuttered over and obliged. While they waited for him to be done, however, a larger Seagon squadron arrived from behind. Leading them was a particularly imposing figure, and the sight of him send Xeron into a rage. This was the figure known as Sergeant Manulin, a much maligned individual across the Friura Sector as one of the greatest military leaders among the Seagon, and one who had attacked the Niaka Special Forces countless times over the past decades. Arkarixus, however, glanced at him with indifference.
- Xeron - You! Seagon scum!
- Manulin - So what is this, huh? You aliens come into my base and carve your way through my troops? And you expect to get away with it?
- Zr'Ahgloth - lmao dats a supa bad mood. watch man yor gonna trigga arkarixus
- Arkarixus - ... Who are you, alien? Are you the commander?
- Manulin - Commander? Oh please... Have you never heard of Manulin, the greatest of Emperor Vhezari's sergeants? You should be in awe for standing before me!
- Hachiman - Wow, this guy's a bit of an ass.
- Kralgon Emperor - There's something admirable about his arrogance, I admit.
- Arkarixus - I see. Then you are the one in charge.
Arkarixus fully turned his body to face the Seagon; Manulin was easily half his size, and as the sergeant and the troopers analyzed the Warmaster, a feeling of dread begun growing on them. Arkarixus would lean down and speak out a sentence which the rest of the group's translators could not quite identify except for the Mechanic; he was speaking the Kormacvar tongue itself, a language too old for translators to pick up, but the Caretaker could easily tell what it meant. It was a threat. Manulin and his men took a step back as their faces displayed fear.
- Manulin - No... No, it can't be! You can't be a Cold One!
- Arkarixus - I am Kormacvar, you filthy vermin!
With a wave of his arm, Arkarixus launched the troopers away while Manulin stood in place, and then thrust his arm up, sending him into the ceiling before sending him down into the ground. The Warmaster had a large frown as he started bashing the sergeant against the walls many times, except this time around, the room was filled with his screams; he slammed him hard enough to break his body and armor, but used his energies to keep him alive and conscious. Eventually growing tired of simply doing that, he started dragging the Seagon's broken body across the floor, smearing it in his blood as Manulin agonized under him. Vekaron and Vyutrin both recoiled back at the sight, and even Xeron, who hated the Seagon, had his eyes wide open in astonishment. Tuolog himself twitched at the sight of the violence, while the rest of UNO watched in sheer awe and bewilderment.
- Vekaron - Is... Is that really necessary?
- Hachiman - Ngh, I can't look... I can feel my breakfast coming up my throat.
- Zr'Ahgloth - urm i dunno about yoo lot but i get da feelin we shuld be glad dis geeza is on our side an not da enemy
Eventually, Arkarixus held the bloody and battered Manulin in the air before clenching his fist. The group watched as the Seagon's body was crushed into itself, becoming smaller and smaller until it was reduced to a very bloody pulp, no bigger than Hachiman's own head. Letting out a loud huffing sound, the Kormacvar turned over back to the group.
- Arkarixus - This is the fate of all those who stand before me. This is the fate of the Grox.
- Zr'Ahgloth - ... so im guessin dat im not challengin yoo to an arm wrestle any time soon
- Arkarixus - Are you done, Head Caretaker?
- The Mechanic - Uh, uhh, yes sir! All complete!
The Mechanic, having finished his download, pulled the disk out. Initially, he stumbled a little, and eventually tripped up and dropped the data-disk as he fell flat on his face, before quickly picking himself back up and presenting the data-disk to Arkarixus, with an extremely worried look on his face. He was already in fear of the Kormacvar, but this had only heightened his anxiety.
- The Mechanic - ... Ta-da?
Arkarixus had his eyes narrowed as he bluntly snatched the disk from the Mechanic's hands and put it on his own armor, before turning away to face the exit.
- Arkarixus - I will require time to study the contents of this disk. We have nothing else to do here.
- Tralkik Commander - Dispatching drones to perform a scan of the area and search for remaining threats or items of interest. We will relay the reports of this investigation promptly.
- Xeron - Huh, well, at least the Chief Major will be happy to know Manulin is dead. Though I don't think I'll be bringing the 'body' with me... I don't want to touch that.
- Yogtam - Believe me, we have a recording of everything that took place here. They'll know exactly how Manulin's death unfolded.
- Tuolog - And I also check five hundred timelines to see if there any death less brutal than this. Spoiler: no. There not.
- Hachiman - Sheesh, now I'm starting to feel bad for that guy. He gets no chill.
Having sent out his spies to conduct investigations and gather more information for his arrival, Zaarkhun was growing impatient on the lack of any reports of this new "Warmaster". However, the spies had learned that Da Rogue Boyz had recently entered into an informal pact with the Zoles, UNO, and the Niaka. Though he initially balked at the idea, Zaarkhun soon began to ponder on ways to profit from it. He then sent out a transmission to Fre'kloar, to see if Fre'kloar had any information about this mysterious threat. His screen open to him watching the Loron all stuffing their faces with food.
- Fre'kloar - WHO DA HELL IS IT CANT YA SEE IM EETIN
- Falrik Zaarkhun - Ah, good day, Fre'kloar, old friend!
- Fre'kloar - woah YO ITS ZAARKHUN. WHATS UP HOMIE
- Jol'kiar - urm isnt zaarkhun unda arrest or somfin? herd da niaka was all celebratin ova dat
- Brag'klogga - YEH TA BE HONEST IVE KINDA LOST TRAK OF DA CHRONOLOGY. ITS ALL MESSED UP. ALMOST LIKE DA WRITAS HAVE BEEN ASLEEP FER TWO YEERS
- Falrik Zaarkhun - Yes, I have recently escaped captivity, as one would expect. There are no more surviving prisoners. I thought it best to catch up and see how you have been doing lately. I gather you recently lost a battle to UNO and have decided to put aside your differences for the common good?
- Rel'larutina - Yeah, we kinda had to do that, after Grak'tona almost tore a hole into spacetime over a stupid rock.
- Grak'tona - IT WAS A REELY GUD CROWN SHUT UP
- Falrik Zaarkhun - I see. In any case, Fre'kloar, I am curious to know if you have heard of a certain individual known as... the "Warmaster". He intrigues me. Perhaps you know more?
Fre'kloar scratched the side of his head, slobbering himself in junk food in the process.
- Fre'kloar - no no no man its WARBOSS. when da lads start leedin dey become WARBOSSES not stoopid WARMASTAS
- Hagto'Zhl - FREKLOAR MAN YOR DUM HE WASNT TALKIN BOUT LORONZ OBVS
- Fre'kloar - YA MOMS DUM SHUT UP HAGTO CANT YA SEE IM EETIN
- Jol'kiar - BAK IN MY DAYZ DERE WAS ONLY WARBOSSES. DEEZ DAYZ I HERD SOMFIN ABOUT A... "WARCHEEF"??? WAT DA HELL KINDA CRAZY STUFF IS DAT NONSENSE HONESTLY I SWER YOO YUNGSTAS DONT REALIZE HOW DUM YOO AR
- Voa'reak - lmao yall are bein dum hes obvs talkin bout da supa scary... WAR... uh... war... idunno where im goin wiv dis
- Zalk'don - i know wat he ment. he ment da BOSS ON WORLD OF GANGSTACRAFT DATS LEVEL 99. MAN I SWER I CANT BEET DAT BOSS ITS SUPA FREEKIN DIFFICULT. WISH DERE WAS LIKE A CHEET CODE FOR IT
- Drizz'pyrokirk - GIT GUD YA IDIOT I SWEAR
- Brag'klogga - well idunno what any of ya is on bout but IM DA BEST SHAMAN AAAAAAAAAAAAAH
Falrik Zaarkhun sighed a little, before talking to Rel'larutina directly, who was also rolling her eyes.
- Falrik Zaarkhun - I gather you know who I am referring to, right?
- Rel'larutina - Yeah, yeah. You're talking about the Kormacvar we awakened. Warmaster "Arkarixus" is his name.
- Fre'kloar - HE SEZ HES ONE OF DA COLD ONES. BUT DATS DUM. COLD ONES IS SOMFIN YA OPEN WIV DA BOYZ
- Falrik Zaarkhun - A Cold One? Fascinating... So the Cold Ones' true name is "Kormacvar".
- Rel'larutina - Yeah, as it turns out, this guy has been asleep for five billion years. He's the only one left though.
- Falrik Zaarkhun - I see. So he survived whatever befell their kind five billion years ago when they were extinct. Now that would mean that any black market shipments of Cold On- sorry, "Kormacvar" weaponry is now under threat from him. But what I'm more curious about are his motives.
- Fre'kloar - hes all like "hurr im gonna remake da empiya and ya all gonna help me and ya all best be sik at it". tbh hes kinda a prik im not a fan
- Falrik Zaarkhun - Volim won't like any threats to his power, so he'll want to know right away. Do you happen to know the power levels of this individual? I imagine they are beyond what we have faced in the past.
- Rel'larutina - We haven't really seen him fight, but we saw him blast away some Caretaker-like creatures with Essence. Killed a couple dozen of them instantly.
- Brag'klogga - HES GOT DA GOD JUICE IN HIM I CAN TELL. WHICHS DUM, ONLY LORONZ SHULD HAV DA GOD JUICE
- Falrik Zaarkhun - That is intriguing indeed. But like anyone, a weakness in him will reveal itself in time. For now, though, with such an individual on their side, I believe it is best for us also to call off any feuds with this Warmaster and his allies. Until we know more, such a confrontation would not be wise.
- Hagto'Zhl - I BET I CULD TOSS HIM OVA HIS HED
- Fre'kloar - NO WAY I CAN YA CANT EVEN BEET ZRAHGLOTH IN A FITE LMAO
- Hagto'Zhl - YA MOM
- Grak'tona - WELL IM DA KING. SO DAT MEENS I GET FIRST DIBS ON WHO FITES HIM. AN ITS ME OBVS
- Rel'larutina - Hey, be my guest. At least we won't have to hear you talk anymore, since you'll obviously die.
- Grak'tona - OFF WIV HER HED. oh wait shes a chik so shes basically a hed wiv legs. OFF WIV HER EVRYFIN DEN
While the Loron continued to bicker amongst themselves, Zaarkhun had sat quietly, paying them no attention, as he went through thousands of different possibilities in his head, eliminating each as he went through. When he arrived on his preferred option, a grin formed on his face, before he simply spoke the words:
- Falrik Zaarkhun - You all just stay out of trouble for now. I have a plan.
And with that, he terminated the transmission.
- Fre'kloar - man i swer peeps alwayz call me when im eetin. OI WHICH OF YOO IDIOTS STOLE MA LAST PIZZA SLICE
- Knar'gank - l o l
The Siege of Ikkiz
Over the course of the next weeks, Arkarixus and the Mechanic worked together to figure out the intricacies and weaknesses in the designs of the Armageddon-class Star Destroyers. While inspired by Kormacvar design, they were not literal Kormacvar ships, and as such the duo had to improvise and figure out how exactly a race like the Seagon operates. It was a difficult process, mostly to the Mechanic, who had to endure the Warmaster's persistent foul mood and to Vekaron, who was forced to share his ship with the two of them. In the meantime, however, the Seagon offensive continued through the Eastern Arm; since they begun their attacks, hundreds of planets across the Niaka Special Forces, the Old Niaka Order and the Borealis Consortium Network had fallen, alongside whoever was unfortunate enough to get caught in Emperor Vhezari's path.
However, they had no more time to spare. An urgent transmission was sent to the allies of the Special Forces when the Seagon Emperor's flaship had been detected approaching the homeworld of Ikkiz.
Immediately, the forces of Order sent whatever fleets they had available to counterattack. Losing the Niaka homeworld would be a devastating blow and could not be allowed to happen. Led by the Zoles, the allies travelled through the Cold Relays to reach the lush world of Ikkiz to find a great battle above its atmosphere; the planetary defenses, led by Chief Minor Xeron, held the line against the Seagon offensive while the dreaded Armageddon-class Star Destroyer which served as the Seagon Emperor's flaship loomed omniously in the distance. Analyzing the vessel from this closer distance allowed them to see it was far larger than any of the ships in their own fleets, its main weapon located at its front in the shape of a gigantic laser, and if reports were to be believed, a single shot was all they needed to turn Ikkiz into a frozen wasteland.
- Vekaron - It seems we arrived in time. They haven't fired their biggest gun yet.
- Zr'Ahgloth - lol dats funni. we all kno who got da biggest guns heer
Zr'Ahgloth stood in front of the rest of UNOL's members on the hologram and flexed his muscles, expecting to receive some adoration, then sat back down disappointed as they all shook their heads.
- Hachiman - Not gonna lie, it looks like they're overcompensating for something.
- Vyutrin - A big mistake to make, kid. The bigger the ship, the bigger the firepower it can hold. That thing can destroy entire worlds.
- Tuolog - We not let that happen. Make sure that ship not able to fire.
- Baptarion - Hm, I gotta wonder though. Why haven't they fired yet? I mean, it's not like they can't.
- Vekaron - A weapon that big probably has a long charging time. That, or Vhezari wants to savour the deaths of the Niaka... Probably a bit of both.
At this point, they received a transmission from Chief Minor Xeron as Arkarixus and the Mechanic joined Vekaron in his captain's bay.
- Xeron - Finally, some reinforcements! We're being torn apart here!
- Arkarixus - Fear not, insect. The counter-weapons are prepared.
- Xeron - Great! ... Wait, what did you-
- Kralgon Emperor - Then why do we wait? Fire!
- Arkarixus - Fool, you do not yet even know what they are. I do not intend to destroy that vessel.
- Kralgon Emperor - Ah, I see. We storm their ship, take its weapons apart, and then sell the rest for scrap metal?
The Kormacvar Warmaster growled, causing Vekaron to glance over his shoulder in some apprehension.
- Arkarixus - My counter-weapon comes in two parts. First, the Zoles will require an opening - which you will provide by clearing the lesser ships -, and then we shall fire a special EMP strike which shall disable the usurper's ship. Once we are in, we will destroy their leader, and I will use a special hacking device to claim the ship as my own.
- Vuytrin - Ah, yes! A weapon like that would be quite good on our side for once.
- Yogtam - A good strategy. Our forces will fire on the lesser ships and create a diversion.
- Zr'Ahgloth - ya meen we fite da CANNON FODDA??? LAAAAAME
- Hachiman - ... Actually yeah, that's pretty lame! I wanna fight the real bad guys!
- Vyutrin - Shut up and wait at the shuttle.
- Baptarion - Heh.
The Zoles and Collective vessels moved onwards in order to flank the Seagon fleet, followed by UNO. Their fleet comprised of Tralkikianoe, Kralgon AI weapons, and Ottzelloan Grox fleets, all sending forward large starships capable of taking the brunt of the Seagon fire as they scattered their weapons and missiles around to take apart the smaller ships. The fleet, led by the UNO Omega Commander and a few UNO Warships, charged on ahead in a straight, armada line, initially aiming towards the largest Seagon ship, before then diverting and moving just to the left of it. Coming from the rear was also the fleet of the Paladians, who offered their support by taking out many of the enemy's smaller fighters.
With the largest chunk of the enemy fleet distracted away from the Dreadnought, Arkarixus ordered Vekaron's ship to fire. A luminous blue blast was launched from his cannons, quickly travelling through the vacuum and striking the Dreadnought's shields, and before the eyes and radars of the allies, they were effectively shut down instantly - as were any ship caught in the path between it and Vekaron's ship.
- Arkarixus - This EMP will not last long. Board the Dreadnought at once.
- Tuolog - If you find safe ground, I able to teleport in with Zr'Ahgloth.
Taking their shuttles, the allies sought an entrance on the gigantic ship, eventually finding one at what they believed to be the cargo bay. With a safe place to teleport pinpointed down, Tuolog then warped Zr'Ahgloth in while perched on his shoulder. As the group gathered their forces to advance, a shuttle belonging to the Niaka themselves also arrived, and when its doors opened, the large mech-suits of both Xeron and Chief Major Xerkea marched to join them.
- Xerkea - The Seagon think they can take my homeworld from me? Today they shall face justice once and for all!
- Vekaron - Ah, Chief Major. An honour to fight alongside you once again.
- Hachiman - Oooh, she's cool!
- Arkarixus - If you lead the planet below, then your presence will be a boost to morale. But make an effort to not perish, as that would bring the opposite effect.
- Xerkea - Hmpf. Charming. I take this is the "Kormacvar" I was told about.
- Arkarixus - Indeed. I shall lead you to victory today.
- Xerkea - Ahem. I will lead you to victory. This is my people's fight above all else. I don't care how ancient you are, but you're my turf, and you follow my rules, got it?
- Tuolog - This not time to squabble. We protect Niaka people as first priority regardless.
The Kormacvar raised an eyebrow at Xerkea's tone; normally this would be the part where he would berate them again. However, he instead relaxed as he pointed for the Niaka to lead on.
- Arkarixus - Be my guest then.
- Xerkea - Alright, you lot! Today we kill the Emperor of the Seagon! None of you will leave this ship until I have his head! March!
- Zr'Ahgloth - afta yoo hav his hed can I eat it
- Xeron - No! He's ours!
- Zr'Ahgloth - hm fair enuff ya deserve it tbh
The group moved onwards, and it would not take long for Seagon reinforcements to close in into their position. A hail of gunfire blazed from both sides as they fought their way into the command room. While Vyutrin, Xeron and Baptarion provided ranged support, Vekaron, Hachiman and Xerkea charged into the fray in melee, slashing and crushing any trooper would was caught in their way. Zr'Ahgloth did the same, though Tuolog managed to warp him in behind enemy lines where he could lift two Seagon troopers and smash them together, before biting the heads off of those nearby. Tuolog himself returned any enemy fire back towards them using his Chronoscopic powers, and sped Zr'Ahgloth up in time. Arkarixus did not aid them like he did previously; he was content with merely watching them fight. They could hear the voice of the Emperor across the ship, though despite the situation, it was clear by his tone that he was not worried.
- Rothneld Vhezari - That is quite enough. Surrender and I may grant you a bit of mercy.
- Zr'Ahgloth - LMAO LIKE WE NEED MERCY FRUM YOO
- Xerkea - I think he's forgotten who he's speaking to. The Special Forces neither needs nor provides mercy to those who threaten our galaxy!
As they moved closer to the command room, corridors of automated turrets blocked their path. Switching into his heavy ordnance equipment, Vyutrin smirked confidently as he fired missiles to destroy them, while both Xerkea and Xeron activated their suits' rocket launchers, creating a barrage of explosions which not even the Seagon's advanced shielding could protect from. Tuolog once again warped Zr'Ahgloth above the turrets, for him to land down and smash them from behind enemy fire. At this point, he then dropped off Zr'Ahgloth's shoulder and spoke directly to Xerkea.
- Tuolog - There two options for how I can help in next battle. Either I can use my power to extend length of EMP to stop Emperor from firing weapon and buy us more time, or I use it to empower your own suit and cause you to attack faster and toz reflect damage against it. Choice is yours, but I not able to be everywhere.
- Xerkea - Hm. Extend the EMP. The bastard thinks he can savour killing us slowly, how about we do the same to him?
- Tuolog - Understood. Zr'Ahgloth, you on your own while I do this.
Tuolog then floated in his meditative stance, as he hummed a tune slightly, causing time outside the ship to slow to a crawl. This meant that the ship would have less time to recover from the EMP, buying much more crucial time for them to defeat the Emperor before he could recharge the ship and then fire the cannon. Once that was done and the defenses were destroyed, the group finally reached the command elevator which would take them to the command center; upon arrival, they were greeted to the sight of several dozen heavily armored Seagon and turrets aiming directly at them, while Rothneld Vhezari sat upon his throne. The Emperor had a glass of alcohol between his fingers as he looked down at them with a look of annoyance.
- Rothneld Vhezari - You try my patience. This is your last chance to stand down before I send Ikkiz back to the Stone Age.
- Xerkea - Bah! You think that scares me?! I'd go through Hell and back just for the chance to strangle your little fish neck between my fingers, Vhezari!
- Rothneld Vhezari - Ah, Xerkea, Xerkea... Always so stubborn. That is one reason I hate your little species; so stubborn, so unwilling to bend the knee to their betters.
- Arkarixus - Usurper. You stand before a Kormacvar. It is foolishness to make demands.
The Seagon Emperor drank from his glass as he glanced at Arkarixus; he remained unimpressed.
- Rothneld Vhezari - Truly? You are Manulin's killer? ... It may have impressed him, but to me, you are a corpse. I don't take orders from extinct cultures.
- Zr'Ahgloth - well in dat case yoo stand befor a LORON an moar specifically da PROPA BIG BOSS so DUNT MAKE DEMANDS OR IMMA SLAP YOR DUMASS
- Rothneld Vhezari - Hah. The Loron. Of course... Volim's new pet hounds. They are amusing distractions, but I intend to rid Borealis of you too. I don't want vermin in my doorstep.
- Zr'Ahgloth - wat did yoo say??? WE DONT WORK FOR VOLIM YA LOSA
- Vekaron - ... He's too confident. He has something planned, I can tell. Keep your eyes open.
- Rothneld Vhezari - Oh well. Dispose of them.
At this command, the Seagon forces opened fire. Vekaron and his men took cover as quickly as they could, as did the Collective forces and the Niaka who returned fire, though they were outgunned at this point. Zr'Ahgloth took the brunt of a lot of the fire also as he foolishly stepped out to block it, though he was unprepared for tanking the damage without the help of Tuolog to reverse the majority of it. Though his nanotechnology armor helped him heal and recover from a lot of the blasts, he nonetheless had to retreat quickly. Vyutrin launched explosives over cover in order to open a path to his men, allowing Baptarion to keep firing his pistol and Hachiman to get enough to engage the Seagon in melee; with his kanata, he pierced the armor of a soldier and struck him down before he could reach for his combat knife. Vekaron directed his men to focus on the turrets in order to buy his allies time, while Xerkea charged straight at the Emperor.
Rothneld watched the battle while drinking more from his glass, keeping an eye on Xerkea. He then hovered a hand over a button in his HUD, a smirk growing on his face.
- Xerkea - Vhezari! Your head is mine!
- Rothneld Vhezari - So, so stubborn...
And then he pressed it.
From the ceiling, emerged a weapon; a much smaller version of the Dreadnought's main cannon. After a brief charging moment, it blasted out a ray of silvery white energy directly at the Chief Major, who had no time to react as she was struck from above. Before their eyes, Xerkea's mech-suit was completely and literally frozen, being reduced to an ice statue before the Emperor.
- Xeron - Chief Major!!
- Hachiman - Cool lady!
- Zr'Ahgloth - BUG CHIK
- Rothneld Vhezari - Did you really think I only had powerful guns on the outside of the ship? Do tell, Kormacvar, did you calculate this possibility?
- Arkarixus - I did. However, I would not have placed such a weapon so close to the commander; too risky... You have guts, usurper.
- Rothneld Vhezari - Hah. You keep using that word, "usurper". I think it's time you understood I am merely claiming what is mine. Your time is long past, ancient; now is the day of the Seagon.
It was at this moment, however, that the Chief Major's mech-suit's front opened, revealing a visible frostbitten Xerkea who beat her insect-like wings furiously as she leaped at the Emperor. Rothneld gasped; how could she have survived a direct hit from the freezing ray? Was she really so stubborn not even death could slow her down? He had little time to react as she grabbed onto his head, causing him to panic as he tried to get her out of him. Unlike the rest of the people in the room, he was not a combatant, and his emergency gambit had just failed. Taking out a combat knife out of her personal outfit - which was about the size of a kitchen knife to everybody else -; Xerkea stabbed Rothneld's throat and pressed the blade as he screamed and fell, until life left his body at last.
As the Seagon troopers still standing watched their Emperor fall, they found themselves surrounded by the Zoles, Niaka and Collective's own forces, forcing them to raise their hands in surrender. Xeron immediately rushed to Xerkea, his mech-suit opening to reveal the Niaka himself as he jumped out to approach his leader.
- Xeron - Chief Major! Are you okay?
- Xerkea - S-s-s-so c-c-c-c-cold...
Having ended his meditation at the point he knew that the Emperor would be killed, Tuolog walked over to Xerkea and hummed under his breath, causing his staff to light again as he provided warmth to Xerkea. He accelerated her body's blood warmth and allowed her to recover in time just as she was inches away from freezing to death. The Niaka leader breathed heavily as colour returned to her, while Arkarixus approached, his arm crossed as he looked down on them.
- Arkarixus - A bold move. You could have perished... You should have perished.
- Xerkea - The Special Forces are my life. If I have to die for it to survive, then I will without a second thought.
- Tuolog - There too many bright futures in your potential timelines for me to let that happen. What you did to save your people today was brave. They shall remember it for millennia.
- Arkarixus - Hm. You have earned my respect, alien. You understand much more than I expected of you.
- Xerkea - Still hurt like absolute Hell, though. To think billions upon billions suffered this fate these last few weeks... The galaxy will be a much better place without Rothneld.
- Tuolog - Indeed it will.
- ??? - How touching.
A familiar voice was heard across the room. The troopers belonging to both the allies and the Seagon panicked as they looked upon the windows, as the eyes of a pair of massive creatures looked at them from the outside. It was Kolossus and Antagonar.
- Xerkea - What in Ikkiz's name are those?!
- Antagonar - Fighting to the death. The only fitting way to end one's timeline! You have earned my respect too, Xerkea. One day I wish to face your people in combat, perhaps!
- Arkarixus - What... What is this power? This... incredible power which radiates from these creatures?
- Kolossus - Ah, see, Antagonar. They have awakened the last Kormacvar as I said they would. An interesting creature, is it not? Much more pleasant to the eyes than when we turned them into the Vague.
- Antagonar - Fascinating indeed! I look forward to see how our team fares against their next adversaries. It will be a joy to watch the events unfold, and see where exactly this timeline leads!
- Arkarixus - What? Turned my people into what?! What do you speak of, creature?!
- Antagonar - Oh, you've yet to hear? Your kind were particularly crucial in the creation of the Vague. Have you yet to encounter them? Unfortunate, I say! Touching reunions are always a delight.
- Tuolog - Enough, you two. What you want here?
- Kolossus - Oh, we're just watching your progress while the time anomalies worsen. It makes for an entertaning passtime before the great crusade happens.
- Antagonar - That it does! Until now, we've seen only possibilities, but we had to make sure where precisely this timeline led, so we can stop it from thwarting Zargoth's plans!
- Baptarion - ... Crusade?
- Kolossus - You'll figure it out soon enough. But for now, I believe certain family reunions are in order... Though sometimes, family members are not particularly pleasant to speak to, hah.
- Antagonar - Oh, this next reunion won't be a touching one at all. It'll be very awkward... What with all the gunfire and all that.
- Zr'Ahgloth - sounds like ya usual loron reunion tbh
With that, the two giant Vyro'Ralza disappeared as quickly as they had arrived. While the rest of the group was busy figuring out what to do with the surrendered Seagon, Arkarixus walked over to the command panel and begun his hacking procedure. Now that Vhezari was out of the equation, he could commandeer this powerful vessel for himself; it was the closest thing he could get to a Kormacvar ship at this time, so it would have to make do. Eventually, he spoke out to Tuolog, beckoning him to approach.
- Arkarixus - You told me once the usurpers were defeated, you would call your goddess Volzara to speak to me.
- Tuolog - That is correct. I able to do this whenever you like now.
- Arkarixus - Once all others have left this chamber, do it.
- Xerkea - Well, I'll be taking a certain dead emperor's body and parade it across my capital. I'll speak to you lot about getting more Niaka support in the near future.
- Xeron - Victory for Ikkiz! Victory for the Niaka Special Forces!
- Tuolog - A victory well won. Though, you may want to watch out in future. I have to freeze Zr'Ahgloth in time before he able to beat the Emperor's head off, hehe.
Consulting with a Goddess
As the rest of the forces of Order left the ship, and Zr'Ahgloth had been warped back to the Omega Commander, Tuolog began to float in the center of the room and begin humming a little under his breath. Arkarixus was not yet used to Tuolog's behaviour, and was initially confused why he was doing this. Tuolog's process to reach out to Volzara was a long one, but the room remained almost entirely silent, save for Tuolog's own humming and Arkarixus' breathing. It was as if everything outside the room had stopped. In reality, it had: as Tuolog was making his call, time around the chamber had frozen completely.
Later, the Mechanic made his way into the room, having been invited by Tuolog. Though time had been frozen outside, the process was still long, as Tuolog went through several different chants. The Mechanic then coughed slightly as he spoke to Arkarixus, breaking the silence.
- The Mechanic - So, ready to meet the god-lady? Got any questions for her?
- Arkarixus - I may have some.
- The Mechanic - Cool. I don't think I've ever spoken to a Taldar before in my life... Let alone the goddess of the Taldar...
- Arkarixus - It is very bothersome. We created the Grid to keep such beings away. Now we seek them out willingly...
- The Mechanic - Ah, the Taldar aren't so bad. There are some gods that are pretty malevolent. But I know that Volzara's not. At least, that's what Tuolog told me.
- Tuolog - She is arriving now.
Just as he spoke, the room went alight completely. In the place of the window overlooking space, a large, bright light shone, as a round portal opened. On the other side of the portal, only blinding light shined through, but in reality what they were seeing was not a blinding light; rather, it was fifth dimensional matter that such three dimensional beings could not hope to comprehend with their minds. Through it, the imposing figure of Volzara walked through. To grace the other three dimensional beings, she once again chose a form that would act like one, as a large being who walked along the ground as if she was of this dimension and had to follow the laws of its physics. Though Arkarixus had had his obvious reservations if not discontent, Volzara's very presence put the rest of the three dimensional mortals at ease. It was as if her demeanour alone had an effect on the rest of the beings that made them feel at content. This was not Volzara at the height of her power, though. In order to speak to mortals, she had always felt it polite to act as if she were mortal herself.
While skeptical before, Arkarixus was taken back to the sight of Volzara; the Kormacvar gasped with eyes widened, and found himself unable to do anything but to fall on one knee before the goddess. Volzara smiled a little at the gesture, though she did not feel it necessary.
- Arkarixus - Amazing! This power... it is too great!
- Volzara - Arkarixus, the last of the Kormacvar. I am so thrilled you survived in this timeline, for there are many in which you do not make it this far. I am only sorry that your people had to perish in it. But there are almost no timelines left in which they survive, for most of those have since been removed by Zargoth.
- Arkarixus - Goddess, I must ask you for information. Who is this Zargoth? What has he done to my people? The primi-
He was unable to continue. The Kormacvar found himself unable to maintain his condencending tone around Volzara.
- Arkarixus - ... The younger races have not given me clear answers.
Volzara's warm smiled remained for a few moments, before it turned to a look of sadness as she had to speak about Zargoth.
- Volzara - Zargoth is the leader of the Vyro'Ralza. As the Ottzelloans have learned, the Vyro'Ralza are a race he created using their consciousnesses combined into one godrace that would watch over space and time for time anomalies and eliminate them. In trying to create a trial run for the Vyro'Ralza, Zargoth first used the Kormacvar, and took away half of your kind in every single timeline that exists. This tragedy helped your people collapse as they no longer had the numbers against the Grox.
- Arkarixus - During my training, I was taught of a catastrophe my people called the Great Vanishing. It happened many thousands of years before I was born. ... I had no idea it involved gods meddling with my people.
- Volzara - Zargoth is not like me. He has repressed all of his emotions, to the point he no longer understands what it means to be Taldar. He has no regard for mortal life, for he is indifferent to their deaths. This is how he was able to pull off such a massacre of an entire race without shedding a single tear. How he was able to rip families apart without feeling the slightest remorse.
- Arkarixus - By Vyro'Ralza, do you mean the creatures who taunted us moments ago? They did not come off as watchers to me.
- Volzara - That is correct. The people you spoke to were Kolossus and Antagonar, new allies of Zargoth. In the past, Zargoth worked alone, unlike other gods, having few underlings beneath him, for he believed that it was more efficient to have his own single autonomy controlling his people, though this changed as he saw the success of his peers, such as Shu'rimrodir. Antagonar and Kolossus are to help Zargoth achieve his next vision, which he believes is perfection. Few know what this vision means, but those who do refer to it as the "Perfect Fate".
- The Mechanic - That's the thing Tuolog and his pals avoided when they told Zarogth to shove it, isn't it?
- Volzara - No, I'm afraid not. That fate they avoided was becoming the Vyro'Ralza. It had already been achieved in another timeline, meaning avoiding it was inconsequential. Some of Zargoth's followers referred to that believing it to be the "Perfect Fate", but it was a misinterpretation. The "Perfect Fate" he intends to achieve is not a malevolent goal, but a noble one. However, his lack of any emotional feelings means he cannot see the harm he causes in trying to enact it.
- Tuolog - I had my suspicion Perfect Fate was not over... It seem even Durzhan was duped.
- Volzara - Indeed. Durzhan had been lied to for thousands of years and used merely as a puppet. Zargoth's behaviour towards others is reckless in this regard. He is not the man I once knew when we were both mortal.
Tuolog blinked as he listened.
- Tuolog - Mortal? I thought that was just a legend...
- Volzara - It was the truth from a timeline that has long since been erased. The Taldar were a race that once fared the stars of an entirely different universe, and who had been obsessed with the idea of time travel, wanting above all to erase the atrocities in their history. For thousands of years, the only methods of time travel they knew were ones that could create new timelines. This indeed follows the laws of physics: travelling to the past does not change the past, it merely enters an entirely different point of reality, and as such, can only create a branching timeline, rather than altering a different one. The Taldar were not content with this: they wanted to change their own timeline. As their time was limited to thirteen million years before their universe would be destroyed, they would travel back in time and create new branching timelines, just to buy them more time to find a solution to their problem.
- Tuolog - This when they discover the fifth dimension? Holospace, where all information about third dimension is stored?
- Volzara - Yes. No longer did they have to create new timelines, they could use it to alter the course of history by changing the information it contains. In doing so, they were overzealous in its use. Zargoth was the emperor of the Taldar at the time, while I was merely a scientist. Zargoth knew that the use of time travel would eventually bring the species to ruin, and fought a civil war with his people to prevent any further damage. But this civil war almost led the species to extinction, as it caused a rift in space and time that could tear apart reality. It was then when the Xhodocto intervened.
- The Mechanic - I gotta say, it's hard to believe a being like yourself could've been a lowly mortal like us. But I'm hearing it from the mouth of the goddess herself, so I gotta believe!
- Arkarixus - Once there was an emperor among my kind. Kaius Pertannar, known in history as "the Mad". He once claimed among his inner circle he could use the Grid to achieve godhood...
- The Mechanic - Oh I vaguely remember that guy! A total jerk, without a shadow of doubt. Pfft, using the Grid to become gods... He was nuts.
Arkarixus raised back up, looking at Volzara's eyes, even though he felt himself unworthy of doing so.
- Arkarixus - I must ask, goddess, that you aid us. Borealis is in danger because of Zargoth and his minions. They plague my-... our galaxy with anomalies and consort with fiends.
- The Mechanic - Yeah, literally, Kolossus is buddies with the Corruptus! Tuolog's told me that much.
Volzara smiled warmly at them again, as she knelt down towards them to stand at the same height as Arkarixus.
- Volzara - You need not feel fear in my presence. Truly, it is I who also needs your help. I wish, too, to save your galaxy, which my children now call home. But at the moment, I am afraid my intervention will only cause its certain doom.
- Arkarixus - How can this be? I can feel the light you radiate. I feel no fear of you, only awe.
- Volzara - There is an individual alive in this galaxy whose mind contains something that could destroy the universe. His presence threatens to destroy the fabric of space and time here, and he has made it abundantly clear that should I return, even to save his universe from Zargoth, he will pull his metaphorical trigger and everything will collapse. I do not ask this lightly, for I value mortal life... But his life must be ended for me to intervene.
- The Mechanic - Damn, disrespectful whippersnappers! Tell us who it is and we'll get rid of him! We'll throw him off an airlock for old times' sake!
- Arkarixus - Hah.
Volzara's smile turned to a sad, concerned look, as she looked down to the floor. It was now clear the form she was presenting them wasn't too close to a mortal form, as if it was, she would perhaps shed a tear.
- Volzara - ... I am afraid that in every timeline in which I tell you the answer to this, you do not survive. But there is a timeline in which you do. One in fourteen million possible timelines.
- Arkarixus - Hmpf. If that is the case, then we have no choice. Can you at least provide us some advice on how to deal with Kolossus and Antagonar? Or any other information which could prove valuable?
- Volzara - But of course. Kolossus and Antagonar's time anomalies at present are bringing back an old foe of my children's: Roshisiz. He is the next threat you will have to defeat if you wish to stem to creation of more time anomalies, for his existence is an anomaly itself.
- Tuolog - Roshisiz is back? That means his Grand Troopers are coming... a family reunion with the Kralgon Emperor is what they meant.
- Volzara - Indeed. Should you be able to defeat him, you will fare much better against the demonic threats that Kolossus and Antagonar will continue to throw at you after that. The two are trying to extend this war as long as possible, to prevent you all from reaching the point at which you could prevent the Perfect Fate. This is why they may not attack you directly, but they can send enough of the threat your way that the Vague will not be able to help you further, and that you will not be able to defeat the greatest foe the galaxy has ever seen. One that Arkarixus is very familiar with.
- Arkarixus - You speak of the Grox.
- Volzara - I do. Though I can say no more, as even the leader of the Grox is hidden from time. They are hidden from the fifth dimension itself. I only know that they must be destroyed or else there will be no hope for any of us. And there are very, very few timelines in which they are defeated.
- Tuolog - Curious... If they hide from fifth dimension, they must be extremely powerful. Though that means not even Zargoth knows of them.
- Volzara - He does not. I suspect had he known of them, he would not have conducted his plan in this universe, or in this timeline. In truth, I know little myself. I only know of certain events relating to them that occur outside the center of the galaxy.
Arkarixus clenched his fist as he gazed at Volzara.
- Arkarixus - We will bring them all down. The demons, the Grox, Zargoth, all will fall. Borealis will stand so long as I can still fight.
- Volzara - I pray you are right. I have seen a very bright future of Borealis. Following the time you will come to know as the "Ice Age", your galaxy will become the most peaceful in the universe. You will have overcome every obstacle. It is truly heartwarming to see considering what your galaxy used to be.
- The Mechanic - Man, I heard the outsiders stereotyped our galaxy as the "ice" one but this is nuts, even the gods do it!
Volzara let out a slightly pleasant chuckle as she smiled at the Mechanic.
- Volzara - Oh, I only use the terms that you mortals coined. I don't know any of my own!
- Arkarixus - Hm. This has been enlightening. I do not know if my people still watch over me, but I intend to make them proud nonetheless. I will lead this galaxy to victory as I was meant to.
- The Mechanic - Bit self-centered there, sir.
- Volzara - Please protect my children, Arkarixus. I am counting on you. Oh, and Caretaker, the one known as "The Mechanic". Soon, you will have a very hard choice to make. I pray you choose wisely, because that choice alone determines the fate of the universe.
- The Mechanic - Oh! Uh... Little old me, determining the fate of the universe? Oh geez... I'll have to keep that in mind!
- Volzara - Remember these words when the time comes. And Tuolog... Thank you once again for everything. You are the best shepherd that my children could hope for.
- Tuolog - The pleasure is all mine.
- Volzara - Should you need to talk to me again, you know how to do so. Until then, I bid you farewell and good luck.
Volzara then walked back through her portal, which disappeared behind her. As she did, time around the chamber began to flow once again, as they were able to hear the whirr of the spaceships' machinery and watch starships outside the window move around them. The air, lacking Volzara's presence, was less calming than it was before and had returned to neutrality. Tuolog took his staff and stood upright.
- Tuolog - It was good talk. I return to Omega Commander now.
- Arkarixus - Yes, do so. It appears you must speak to your peers about this new threat to come.
Tuolog then teleported back on his own, content that they now had a new sense of purpose. The Mechanic departed to return to his role in the Cold Relays while Arkarixus remained at the bridge of the Armageddon-class Star Destroyer; sitting down on the commander's chair, now stained in Rothneld Vhezari's blood, he had much to consider.
Awkward Family Reunions
The Time Anomaly Forces
Having reported back their conversation with Volzara to the rest of the forces of Order, Arkarixus, The Mechanic, and Tuolog arranged a meeting to occur within the hour in order to address the next crisis. If what Volzara said was true, then defeating the forces led by Roshisiz would stem the creation of a large number of time anomalies. This was necessary in order to focus on their true enemies: the Grox threat that she had hinted at, the mysterious figure preventing Volzara from intervening in the war, and the Devourer's Chosen that threatened to destroy all life in Borealis.
It was also clear that Antagonar and Kolossus revelled in the chaos of the war. Therefore, the best solution was to take out each threat one-by-one. The Grand Troopers of Foreign Origins under Roshisiz themselves should not be too great of a threat considering that their technology was outdated Ottzelloan technology that the Unified Nation already knew how to deal with. The real threat would instead come from the unpredictability of the rifts caused by time anomalies that occurred in their presence.
With the leaders gathered in a holographic meeting, the group decided to assess the threat level and discuss the best path forward. Vekaron was there to speak to them, as was Admiral Vyutrin, though the Niaka were not present; they were too busy watching over their homeworld, cataloguing casualties and repairing the damage caused by the Seagon invasion. However, Da Rogue Boyz responded to their call this time, despite their long absence beforehand.
- Rel'larutina - Hey, sorry we couldn't help you guys out with the whole Seagon debacle. The Loron were busy on a miniature golf course which lasted 6 weeks...
- Hagto'Zhl - im tellin ya dat hole was WAY TOO SMALL for da ball. dat was a total cheet
- Zr'Ahgloth - AR YOO FREEKIN KIDDIN ME
- Tuolog - Regardless. It crucial that we defeat Roshisiz in order to stem the increase of time anomalies across galaxy. From what I can tell, many time anomalies exist because he should not be present in this time. He is supposed to have been killed.
- Kralgon Emperor - And the very knowledge that he is still alive makes my blood boil...
- Vyutrin - Hold your horses, pal. Who or what is Roshisiz again?
The Kralgon Emperor growled under his breath, unwilling to bring up the traumatic memories. Tuolog hummed slightly, calming him down, before he then spoke.
- Kralgon Emperor - Roshisiz is my father. He was the last emperor of the Kralgon, who mistreated me and cast me out. He even refused to give me a name.
- Fre'kloar - oof. ruff pal
- Hachiman - Yeah that sucks! ... I don't know who my dad is, but I bet he's a jerk too.
- Vekaron - You mentioned this individual is meant to be dead, yet he is here now? Please elaborate.
- Kralgon Emperor - Roshisiz was killed at the end of the Great Blyro War, after his alliance with Durzhan fell through. The war ended with Durzhan and the Tralkikianoe destroying much of the galaxy, thousands of years ago. I was the only surviving Kralgon. That he is still alive is a time anomaly. By all accounts, he should not be here, causing what you experience as "glitches" in the spacetime continuum.
- Hachiman - Uh, if it makes you feel any better, you don't have the face of a thousand year old to me!
- Kralgon Emperor - It does not, but I appreciate the gesture nonetheless. Regardless, Roshisiz was responsible for starting the Great Blyro War that defeated the old civilization, the Federal Government of Ottzello, and the great warriors of the Taldar known as the Blyro'Tralzica led by Kaltogo, an Ioketa chief whose power rivals Tuolog. That he is alive suggests that he is working for Durzhan. Though, we do not know Durzhan's motivations now that he failed to transform us into Vyro'Ralza in this timeline.
- Vekaron - So, he's part of the time anomalies the greater demons have brought to our galaxy. How exactly are we meant to fight that?
- Kralgon Emperor - That is entirely unclear at the moment. He is from another time, so his existence itself is an anomaly.
- Fre'kloar - MATE JUS PUNCH HIM SO HARD HE EXPLODES
- Zr'Ahgloth - YEH WAT HE SED... oh wait frekloar sed dat? STOOPID IDEA AR YOO DUM
- Fre'kloar - YA MOM
- Brag'klogga - well i for one fink dat dis is da responsibility of me an tuolog an da otha experts in dark chronoscopic stoof. derefore i wuld like ta propos da solushon to dis time anomaly menace dat thretens our galaxy.
- Tuolog - ...You would?
- Brag'klogga - indeed. my many yeers of flashie history tell me deres one fing to do in dis scenario: PUNCH HIM SO HARD HE EXPLODES
- Tuolog - ...Fascinating. Thank you.
Joining UNO's side of the transmission was Count Dalverat, who had his arms crossed in annoyance.
- Dalverat - Despite his idiocy, he has a point, Tuolog. We will require much Chronoscopic energy to fight a time anomaly. Especially one so persistent as the Grand Troopers.
- Tuolog - Indeed. We will need many Chronoscopic users available to create safe space for our ships to attack the Grand Troopers' ships from. Only real concern is how to defeat him. I believe it possible to temporarily tie him down into our time and pin him down to then defeat him. It is my belief that with Roshisiz dead, the rest of Grand Troopers also disappear.
- Vyutrin - Ah, like how we dealt with the Loron'Kikra back in the Plazithian Massacre then. Makes sense.
- Hagto'Zhl - oh ma dayz DONT GO TALKIN BOUT DAT MAN ESPECIALLY NOT WHEN ZRAHGLOTHS LISSENIN
- Zr'Ahgloth - HAHAHAHAHAHA GET REKT PLEBS WE DESTROYED YAS
- Hagto'Zhl - SHUT UP COPYCAT DUMBO YOO BROUGHT HOMIES TA FITE ME DAT TIME
- Dalverat - Hm... Now that you mention it, I'm reminded of something.
Dalverat turned to Tuolog.
- Dalverat - Whatever happened to Mac? He could be an useful asset in this war.
- Tuolog - I not able to detect his location. There must be something stopping him from using his ability.
- Dalverat - You too, then? Strange.
- Tuolog - I certain we able to find him before we finish this war. But he seems to be cut off from fifth dimension entirely. A technology I not think even possible.
- Brag'klogga - OI YA MEEN DA GOD OF BLING? OBS HES BAK IN DA ABODE OF DA LORON GODZ THROWIN BLING AT PEEPS FROM HIS MANSHON IDIOT
- Tuolog - Truly the best insight you have to offer.
- Brag'klogga - YEH CUS IM DA BEST SHAMAN
- Kal'kuir - by ma calculashons dere shuld be no tekk available dat can compleetly hide peepz from spacetime. dat doesnt seem ta make sense. an we kno dat da junkshon SUPPRESS peepz ent behind it so da only fing i can fink of is if da grox hav it or somfin idk
Arkarixus, who had remained silent so far, huffed under his breath.
- Arkarixus - One problem at a time. Where are these "Grand Troopes" now? Have they arrived yet?
- Yogtam - A few starships of Tralkik and Kralgon origin entered our space recently with hostile intentions. Their signatures did not match any of our own. They were able to destroy thirty planets within the space of a day, which does not seem possible within the capabilities of our outdated technology. However, it does seem plausible if they instead used a time anomaly to cause chaos.
- Vekaron - Then they are already here. We must make haste.
- The Mechanic - Sir! I have a suggestion. I don't think the Grand Troopers should be able to get around without the use of Cold Relays, right? Why don't we disable one as soon as they land in Ottzello space, and while they're there, spring the trap and surround them, using Tuolog's spell to keep them in our time and prevent their anomalies?
- Vyutrin - Huh. You aliens and your need for "Cold Relays" for transportation.
- Kal'kuir - OI I BETTA NOT GET TRAPPED INSIDE A RELAY AGEN OK DAT WAS SUPA BORIN
- Tuolog - Hmm. The Grand Troopers from a time in Ottzello long before Cold Relays. But then again, if their technology is based on ours, then their methods of faster-than-light travel from their time not work with the Grid.
- Tralkik Commander - Indeed. Grand Trooper activity is only detected in areas immediately adjacent to Cold Relays. Their vehicles, while their signatures do not match any of ours, do seem to be using a variant of our current technology to travel around the galaxy and cause harm. Trapping them by disabling a Relay would work.
- Vekaron - Very well then. Let's follow your plan and make this short, we have too many problems to deal with at once already.
With not a moment to spare, as the plan was indeed to make this short, the forces of Order gathered at a Cold Relay in close proximity to several Ottzello worlds, once the Tralkik Commander ran an algorithm to calculate where exactly they would attack next. Their fleet only waited a mere few minutes before the Grand Trooper fleet arrived. UNO's fleet comprised of several UNO Warships, with one being made up of an entirely Ioketa crew, focusing their energy along with Tuolog's in holding the Grand Troopers down. The Zoles were led by Vekaron in his ship alongside Arkarixus, followed by a sizeable fleet of Imperial, Niaka, Paladian and Collective vessels with Admiral Vyutrin watching over the rear. Da Rogue Boyz's sole contribution was Da Propa Big Rogue Krooza, because according to them, "we dont need more dan dat ta win lmao".
The Grand Troopers of Foreign Origins' fleet was, as UNO had warned, made up entirely of old Ottzello technology. It comprised of Tralkikianoe warships alongside old versions of Kralgon AI Weapons. The fleet seemed to be completely automated, and as far as anyone could detect, the only life form on board was Roshisiz himself. Their starships did not seem to move as one would expect, however. The ships phased through asteroids and space debris, and occasionally disappeared before warping to another location. Nebulae and remnants of destroyed stars would appear around them, confusing the allies, until they realised what was taking place: the presence of these ships was warping time around them, causing catastrophes in space that had either occurred millions of years ago or would occur millions of years in the future to happen now.
Roshisiz seemed thrilled at the sight of the large space force awaiting him. He sent out a transmission to the fleet, which they accepted.
- Roshisiz - So, you've finally come to hunt me down? I was wondering how many more of your worlds I would have to destroy to grab your attention.
- Vekaron - Alien, you invade the worlds of the Zoles Imperium's allies. Stand down and surrender at once.
- Fre'kloar - like hes gonna reely do it man. DEY NEVA DO.
- Roshisiz - Haha! All my life I sought out immortality. But only now has it been granted to me. My existence itself is a fault in the spacetime continuum, because I have learnt to beat its rules. You can try and strike me down, I dare you. You won't succeed. In this chaos, nothing makes sense!
- Grak'tona - OH MA DAYZ DIS GEEZA ACTIN LIKE HES DA KING WHEN IM DA KING. FIRE FIRE FIRE FIRE FIIIIIIIIIIRE DA GUNZZZZ!!!
As Grak'tona did indeed fire the cannons of the Rogue Krooza, along with the rest of the fleet, several of the Grand Troopers' ships were destroyed. But others simply faded out of existence. And after the cannonfire stopped, all of the ships returned, along with several more. In some cases, the Troopers' starships seemed fully functional in spite of appearing half-destroyed.
- Roshisiz - See? The only thing that makes sense is that nothing makes sense. Ah, brilliant. Throughout my life as the Kralgon's greatest scientist, even I could not achieve this level of power.
- Vyutrin - We'll see to it that you and your demonic cohorts are purged from these stars!
- Roshisiz - Demonic? No... No, we are not demons. Don't you see, my idiot son? I am what you always wanted: the master of an automated army of puppets, ready to destroy all of Ottzello! I achieved the dream you could not!
- Kralgon Emperor - Hmpf. You say that, yet you are nothing more than a puppet yourself. We got you figured out, you work for Durzhan now, don't you?
Roshisiz laughed hysterically at the notion for a good few moments, before snapping in rage, insulted by the notion.
- Roshisiz - For Durzhan?! No! I hated him even in life! Durzhan is not my superior, he never was! And he has no control over me now! No, I work for my own free will, son. I will finish what you started in the Second Ottzello Galactic War and lead this army to destroy your kind of my own free will!
- Tuolog - Own free will? Or what he assumes to be...
- Fre'kloar - oi dat war was sik cus i made da rogue boyz durin it hurhur
- Zr'Ahgloth - SHUT UP FREKLOAR I SWER STOP RUININ DA MOMENT
- Roshisiz - You were a fool, son, for allying with these Loron. I would never stoop to such a low as to have these inferior beings insult my presence. They, too, will be annihilated!
- Kralgon Emperor - Allied? Hah! I enslaved them, as beasts of war! Don't think yourself so superior.
- Zr'Ahgloth - I EINT NO SLAVE i fink
- Roshisiz - Everything you did insults my name! Well no matter, I will merely erase you from this and every timeline for good!
- Tuolog - Hehehe. Don't be so sure of yourself.
At that moment, the entire Ioketa group all began meditating at once. As it happened, the Grand Troopers' fleet stopped phasing, the time anomalies froze in place, and those starships that appeared as if they should not be able to function did indeed stop functioning. Time caught up to them all, and the ships were ready to be destroyed as normal. Roshisiz looked around and grew furious.
- Roshisiz - You... What have you done?!
- Tuolog - Time anomalies may work on those unprepared for them, but we not unprepared.
- Roshisiz - Graaaargh! This timeline has existed without me for too long... Why should it? That's not fair! To exist without the greatest scientist to ever live! After I've destroyed your pathetic Ottzelloan friends, I'll destroy your galaxy and each of your worlds! None will stop me!
- Fre'kloar - dose dis geeza EVA stop talkin????
- Arkarixus - Silence him, for eternity.
It would be pointless, they thought, to try and enter his ship and kill him as they were forced to with the Seagon emperor. Instead, the ships all fired on Roshisiz' final vessel, unleashing a bombardment of cannons. Their technology was far more advanced than the old starship that Roshisiz was using, and it took very little to blast through its shields and eventually destroy its armor. The ship was quickly destroyed, and the debris floated around in space. Roshisiz' transmission initially cut out, with them only hearing his screams.
But before they could celebrate their victory, just as the Ioketa stopped their chant, the space debris left by the destroyed Grand Troopers' ships all vanished, as if it had never been there. And moments later, Roshisiz appeared on transmission once again.
- Roshisiz - You will never defeat me! This timeline will NEVER be rid of me!
- Fre'kloar - HES STILL TALKIN EVEN THO WE BLOW HIM UP WAT DA HELL
- Roshisiz - You didn't blow me up, because I'm wherever I want to be! I don't have to follow your laws of space or time anymore! Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to destroy a few more of your planets! Maybe I'll even destroy Durzhan and the Blyro'Tralzorca, just for old time's sake. Who was their new leader again? Zelfron, wasn't it? Oh well. I hope to destroy you shortly!
And with that, Roshisiz' transmission terminated. It was clear that whatever they had tried to destroy him this time was not enough. Something else had to be done to correct the time anomaly and stop him from appearing in this time again. While the group attempted to assert what to do next, Dalverat approached Tuolog once again, his arms crossed behind him.
- Dalverat - It would seem Zelfron lives as well. Another known ally of Zargoth.
- Tuolog - Indeed. I think I know what happening with Roshisiz though. He stuck in the timeline from before he was destroyed in the Great Blyro War. That means he still enemies of both Blyro'Tralzorca and us, not knowing that he being used by gods the whole time. However, if that the case, maybe Zelfron know how to defeat him.
- Dalverat - Hm, possibly. Though I would imagine Zelfron is the kind to remain loyal to his masters.
- Tuolog - Actually, that remain up in the air. We not know if Zelfron is loyal to Durzhan or to Zargoth directly. If he loyal to Zargoth directly, then he likely not give us any information, and we have to destroy him. But if he loyal to Durzhan, that remain uncertain. Durzhan was just betrayed by Zargoth recently. It may be I able to get through to him somehow.
- Dalverat - We'll have to see. I suppose we should return to the Blyro'Tralzica, they are likely our best lead to find Zelfron if he truly leads the Blyro'Tralzorca.
- Tuolog - That a good plan. We consult them at once.
The Vyronician Warriors
Travelling with the rest of the forces of Order, Tuolog led the way to the planet where they had recently found the Blyro'Tralzica. However, as he arrived on the world, he knew that not all was as it seemed. In fact, he could not get off any signal to Kaltogo or the leaders of the Blyro'Tralzica at all, neither through a transmission nor through a Chronoscopic message.
As they arrived in the golden city that they had once passed through, they found it to be entirely destroyed. There was nothing left of it but ruins, and nothing to suggest that any of the Blyro'Tralzica had even survived. The allies turned to one another with a concerned look. Whoever had conducted this attack had clearly hidden it from time, as Tuolog was not able to look through the history of the planet and find any attack that took place.
- Tuolog - I... I not able to tell what happen here...
- Vekaron - This wasn't a simple assault, it was a massacre. Not a single lifeform in sight anywhere.
Vekaron was correct, though just as he spoke, from behind them was a blast of Chronoscopic energy. Tuolog jumped out of the way quickly and turned to the source, seeing an old Ioketa blasting energy from his staff. He then froze time to converse with them.
- Tuolog - Wait, Kaltogo! It us!
- Kaltogo - ... Tuolog?
Kaltogo fell at ease, before he then collapsed on the floor, barely able to stand. As the group approached him, Hachiman ran ahead of them, bringing his hands out as they started shining in a blue light.
- Hachiman - Hold on, teacher taught me how to do this!
- Vyutrin - Get back here, you damn twerp!
The young warrior knelt before the old Ioketa and hovered his hands over him. Soothing dream energy weaved from his arms into Kaltogo's body, granting him back some stamina, though given Hachiman's inexperience, it would not be enough to fully heal him. Kaltogo was then able to lift himself up by his staff. He smiled at Hachiman, appreciating the gesture, before he then turned to Tuolog with a concerned look.
- Kaltogo - I wish I was able to warn you sooner. But the attacks came quickly, and they were able to hide themselves from space and time, so that they could attack without warning.
- Tuolog - Who did this? Was it Zelfron?
- Kaltogo - No, we know how to reveal Zelfron's presence by now. It was Roshisiz. He attacked us quickly, just before he went to your worlds.
- Tuolog - We attempted to destroy Roshisiz but he escaped us. He say he wants to destroy Zelfron too, so we think he may know a way to defeat him. Would you be able to help us find him?
Kaltogo nodded his head, and then turned behind him and held out his staff. He muttered something, before the body of Zelfron, frozen in time and locked behind bright green shackles, appeared. Kaltogo then turned back to them.
- Kaltogo - Our warriors were able to track down and defeat Zelfron quite recently. When Roshisiz attacked looking for him, we made sure to hide him.
- Brag'klogga - hol up ya defeeted him alredi?????? DATS NOT NAO DA GANGSTAPEDIA GOES MAN YOR SEQUENCE BREAKIN
- Kaltogo - Yes, Zelfron was captured as a prisoner of war. The Blyro'Tralzorca are already defeated, and he was the last of them. Roshisiz does not know this, however. He is still stuck in a different time, where they are still his enemies.
- Kralgon Emperor - Hmpf, that's one less annoyance to deal with, at least. He should be kept in chains to ensure he doesn't escape, and we can always destroy him when we're done.
- Kaltogo - Yes, though I fear I won't be able to watch over him for much longer. I don't know how many, if any, of my allies survived Roshisiz' attack. But I know that once he figures out Zelfron is no longer around, he is more likely to simply destroy this planet outright.
- Tuolog - We have no time to waste then.
- Kaltogo - Tuolog... My son...
Tuolog blinked for a moment, then turned to Kaltogo, visibly stunned.
- Tuolog - ... P-Pardon?
- Kaltogo - I was your father, Tuolog. In your future, I saw so many possibilities, and I had to make sure they came to fruition. Your future is far greater than any I could ever live up to.
- Tuolog - I... I had no idea...
- Brag'klogga - awww look da STINKY OLD MAN found his dad whos also a STINKY OLD MAN. I HATE IT.
- Kaltogo - I did not recognise you at first, but I know now for certain that the Ioketa who leads the Unified Nation must be you. Now, you may speak to Zelfron.
At that moment, Kaltogo coughed again. As Tuolog knelt down to try and help him, he held his hand out to stop him, knowing he would have enough energy left. He then turned to Zelfron's inanimate body and cast his staff against it, causing Zelfron to move again, though he was still shackled. Zelfron looked around him, and growled once he had realised what time he was in as the group all aimed their weapons at him.
- Zelfron - So, you are working with my captors, I see.
- Zr'Ahgloth - YA GOT A LOT OF NERVE BEIN ALIV YA STOOPID BIRD
- Tuolog - Zelfron, we want only to speak. If you cooperate, we may be able to show mercy. So please answer questions.
- Zelfron - Bah. Why would I? Durzhan's Perfect Fate failed, thanks to you. I don't have any reason to continue. You had better give me a good reason to answer any of your questions.
- Tuolog - So you with Durzhan then. Are you aware Roshisiz is rampaging across sector now, and he wants to destroy you and Durzhan both?
- Zelfron - Of course I am. Durzhan was the one who unleashed him. He wanted Roshisiz to ravage this planet to prevent you all from learning about the Vyronicia Fleet. And he wanted to stop the Blyro'Tralzica from ever mounting an attack on the threat that lies hidden from the fifth dimension.
- Tuolog - Was this before or after the Perfect Fate reveal? Is Durzhan behind all this now?
- Zelfron - It occurred just after I was captured, which was just after you last left this planet. I knew once I was captured that if the Perfect Fate succeeded, that I would no longer be here. I would be a Vyro'Ralza by now. The fact that it hasn't succeeded suggests that you all denied your fate.
- Zr'Ahgloth - YEH UNLIKE YOO CRAZY CULT LOSAS WE DONT WANNA BE DEEMUNS OK
- Zelfron - Thousands of years... Millions of preparations... Only for you to deny our true purpose. Truly sickening that you would turn it down after all we have done for you. We only wanted the best. But if I am to remain alive, then I suppose that I have no purpose anymore. I guess there's no harm in taking pleasure in destroying that arrogant twit one more time. In order to defeat Roshisiz, you need to defeat him under similar circumstances under which he died in his original time. Only then can space and time correct itself and remove him entirely.
- Arkarixus - And how did this creature die the first time?
- Zelfron - At the end of the Great Blyro War, he was killed by the Tralkik. So that is what you must do. Your Tralkik Commander, he must land the killing blow on him in person.
- Fre'kloar - MAN DAT SUKS WE GONNA LET DA GEEK LAND DA KILLIN BLOW??? HOW BORIN
- Tuolog - If that is what we must do then we will do so. Otherwise he will just keep returning.
- Zelfron - Yes, yes he will. Anyway, I don't have any reason to exist anymore. Do me the pleasure of killing me.
A grin grew on the Kralgon Emperor's face.
- Kralgon Emperor - Ah, I think I know just the way to deal with people like you. Tell me, Zelfron. Were you ever aware we had your genetic material with us?
- Zelfron - I wasn't. You cloned me? Perhaps it is good that a clone of me exists with a true purpose.
- Kralgon Emperor - Yes, you did betray your beloved allies once, did you not? They thought you were dead and cloned you back to life because they missed you so. And now, I'm going to let you meet the second of the two clones, given it's the one we still have. Bring Zelfron III here at once.
Teleporting down from the UNO Omega Commander, Zelfron III appeared before them. Zelfron III landed on his knee first, before standing up properly and facing his clone. The original Zelfron smiled a little at seeing a superior clone, before closing his eyes.
- Zelfron III - I will honour your wishes. A defeated warrior who wishes to accept his end rather than remain in the captivity of his enemy. And now, I grant you your wish.
The clone raised his sword, before cutting the original into several pieces. The shackles holding him together deactivated, as the original Zelfron's pieces fell to the floor. As they watched the scene unfold, Hagto'Zhl shoved the other Loron out of his way as he raised a hand.
- Hagto'Zhl - man yoo uno is losas. not only did ya make a copycat dumbo vershon of me, ya also made a copycat dumbo vershon of da deemun boyz??? I SWEAR YA AR OBSESSED WIV COPYIN PEEPS
- Grak'tona - ENUFF. DA KING DESERVES HIS ROYAL FEEST. I WILL EET DA CORPSE
- Hachiman - Ok but why though?
Before listening to any naysayers, Grak'tona grabbed Zelfron's severed parts and shoved them in his mouth, loudly gobbling them all, before burping slightly All of the group showed several states of disgust, save for the other Loron who did not really care.
- Grak'tona - DA KING HAS FEESTED
- Hachiman - Ok but why though?!
- Kralgon Emperor - An undignified end, not that he didn't deserve it. Good riddance, really.
- Kaltogo - My people are not safe with Roshisiz around. I do not know how many survivors there are. If you would allow it, I wish to search the planet for any remnants. I wish you good luck in defeating him.
- Tuolog - Worry not, father. We will end this threat as soon as we able. Then, we finally have the chance to catch up.
- Kaltogo - Yes... But I fear he has already achieved his goal. I do not know if the Vyronicia Fleet is still within reach.
- Kralgon Emperor - We'll have to worry about that later. That was just a side goal of his; he won't rest until I'm dead, that's his true goal.
- Kaltogo - That is wise. Go now, and make me proud, son.
- Brag'klogga - DISGUSTIN I SWER
- Kaltogo - And you, Brag'klogga, should know there are a great many possibilities in your future, too.
- Brag'klogga - I KNO DAT IM DA BEST SHAMAN UNLIKE YOO LOSA SHAMANS
- Kaltogo - Indeed. In one timeline, you explode into flying pigs. In another one, you explode into unicorns and fairydust. All rather peaceful, really.
- Fre'kloar - hur dat sounds funni tho
- Brag'klogga - WANNA SLAP????
- Kaltogo - Not especially. Goodbye.
Decisions Among Criminals
While the forces of Order prepared to defeat Roshisiz, the Borealis Consortium Network were already focusing on who their next threat would be. The Consortium Network had been having an easier time since the defeat of the Seagon, as fewer of their worlds were under threat by their weapons. Rather, it presented new business opportunities for the Consortium Networks' scavengers to take the abundance of Kormacvar technology that was now up for grabs.
With that said, it was not all easy going for them. In their arm of the galaxy, the biggest threat at this stage was now the demonic threat of the Devourer's Chosen. Each of them had a personal beef with the demons: an attempt had been made on Volim's life by them, and they stole Zaarkhun's best friend from him. It was clear there was little time for them to recover, and they must now focus their efforts on boosting the private military corporations they were affiliated with and their own mercenaries in order to combat this demonic threat. The question, though, was how much damage they were willing to do, and how much they were relying on allowing the Zoles and their allies to take care of instead.
- Genrai Nal - Though the Devourer's Chosen represent the greatest imminent threat, it appears beneficial if we instead allow the Ottzelloans and their allies to take the brunt of the damage. The time will come when we need to defeat the forces of the Western Arm ourselves, so to allow the Devourer's Chosen to deal a great amount of the damage first would be helpful.
- Volim - You speak true. Though I'm doubtful the Zoles and their pet aliens can deal with it themselves. These damned cultists absorb those they corrupted. I have lost many worlds to their ilk in the last two years.
- Genrai Nal - For this reason, it may be best for our own Wranploer forces to focus on the defensive, rather than offensive. I am sure that placing suitable bounties on Chosen targets will cause some of the PMCs to swoop in.
- Sollow - What targets? I don't even know who's in charge there... Who do I stab?
- Genrai Nal - Targets are not limited to individuals. They must have strategic planets worth recapturing, or fleets worth destroying.
Volim grunted as he flicked an interface built into his throne which displayed a map of Borealis. Since the coming of the Chosen, the sector known as Aasatser had mostly been lost to the forces of the Corruptus, save for portions of space belonging to the Murgur Warbands.
- Volim - Can't even send any ships in that hellhole to scout it. There's some nebula that makes them lose all contact and they never return.
- Genrai Nal - I suggest that we instead place a bounty on this. Allow a PMC to take care of it.
- Falrik Zaarkhun - No reasonable bounty is worth the risk to any of our PMCs. The price they would charge would be too high for such a task. Rather, it is better that we mount the forces against the Corruptus ourselves, rallying said PMCs to the cause. A domino effect, if you will.
- Volim - Well, put them on the front line regardless. They are expendable.
- Falrik Zaarkhun - Indeed. But we need to make fighting the Corruptus into a profitable business. Encourage more weapons manufacturers to develop the kind of weaponry that can combat them effectively. Eventually, it will become a gold rush.
- Genrai Nal - I will gladly lead a few battles against the Corruptus myself to victory, and spread the word of our conquests against them.
- Sollow - You just want to take all the glory to yourself... You want to goad Murangon Nal into coming after you, huh? I can tell you're itching to fight him.
- Genrai Nal - You are more than welcome to lead a battallion in my stead.
- Volim - You will both go. No warrior under my wing sits around doing nothing when there are scum to destroy.
- Genrai Nal - It is important we send scouts to conduct a thorough investigation of their fight patterns first. Plus, when demons are involved, and Ottzelloans are also involved, the Taldar will surely follow, as they have done in the pa-
- Falrik Zaarkhun - They won't. The Taldar will be inconsequential in this war. I know of it.
Genrai was confused at first, but knew better than to question Zaarkhun on this specific issue. He now allowed Zaarkhun, who had been pondering pensively while the conversation took place, to take the floor.
- Falrik Zaarkhun - Sollow will lead a battle against the Devourer's Chosen which shall encourage more PMCs to follow. We shall hire mercenary forces to accompany him in doing so: the greater the victory, the better. Our priority in this case is to encourage more of our closest PMCs to take arms against the Chosen. Genrai, meanwhile, will conduct another task for me. The Seagon worlds that have recently been abandoned or subdued. You will search them for specific Kormacvar technology that is of value to us. We will need it.
- Volim - Hmpf, good luck with that. The Seagon don't let anyone but themselves even land on their planets. If your friend is spotted, they'll gun him down on sight.
- Falrik Zaarkhun - Which is precisely why I don't trust any other scavenger to find what I'm looking for. Genrai is capable of sneaking around without being seen, and is also capable of fighting his way out of such situations. He will be necessary.
- Sollow - Hehehehe... I'm gonna steal all the kills from you, Genrai...
- Genrai Nal - I was not aware it was a competition.
- Volim - Why send him scavenging now? We don't have time for that when the cultists are spreading like parasites. We need men on the front.
- Falrik Zaarkhun - And we'll have them. But Genrai needs to find something for me, something that I need, and we will both need, coming soon. After the Devourer's Chosen are defeated, we'll have a lot more on our hands. Remember that there is a greater threat than them which continues to occupy the galaxy's core.
Volim growled and clenched his fists on his throne's arms.
- Volim - We'll deal with the Grox when it's time to deal with them. They are not a problem now, nor do we have any reason to believe they will be. We deal with everything else first.
- Falrik Zaarkhun - Volim, there's no need to act with such an urgency against a threat that the Zoles and the Unified Nation will take the brunt of the damage from. I know that the Grox will become a threat, it is an absolute certainty. And I know that what Genrai is trying to obtain is something that will be absolutely necessary.
- Volim - And what exactly is this?
- Falrik Zaarkhun - The technology in question is classified--
- Volim - You do not classify anything from me.
- Falrik Zaarkhun - --but I will explain it nonetheless. The Kormacvar, when they were at the height of their power, had much the same goal as me once: to be hidden from the gods and to follow their own rules. To this end, they were developing a technology to hide oneself from the fifth dimension entirely, to exist as a separate entity from holospace. I didn't believe this technology existed, but I have strong reason to now suspect it does. The quarantine that they placed on the Unified Nation was a mere primitive version of this which I believed had gotten no further. But now I have seen evidence that such a thing does exist. I need Genrai to find it for me.
Volim scratched his head, an eyebrow raised.
- Volim - Hold on. How do you even know all of this? You couldn't possibly discern it simply from watching the quarantine.
- Falrik Zaarkhun - Years ago, when Zargoth took over my mind, I saw many glimpses of space and time in this galaxy. Zargoth would often return to this point in time, for it was relevant to his "Perfect Fate". But there was one piece missing entirely, which he glossed over. I, too, glossed over it, but now that I am physically present in this timeline, I simply cannot believe that the missing piece was coincidental. The activity that my spies have seen from watching certain spaces in the galaxy and from the sightings near several Grox territories suggest to me that something does not add up. I believe the only possibility is that the Kormacvar technology that they were trying to develop years ago does, in fact, exist, and is operating as we speak.
- Sollow - Well... I lost track halfway through that. I just know I'm going to bathe in demon blood, hehe!
- Genrai Nal - If this technology does exist, it is crucial we obtain it for ourselves. Not only will it help us defeat the Grox, it will also help us achieve our true vision of a universe free from gods.
- Falrik Zaarkhun - Precisely. Obtaining that, and making sure that no one else learns of it, is what Genrai will do. He will assassinate anyone that publishes an article even musing about its existence. He will chase any leads, and leave no tracks behind as he does. This is of urgency. Meanwhile, Sollow will help us deal with our demonic infestation.
- Volim - Hm. Fine. If it means no more of these "gods" invading my galaxy then so be it.
- Falrik Zaarkhun - That it does, Volim. With the gods defeated, nothing will be able to stop us.
- Sollow - Except me! When we're done, I'll take over and eat you both, hehehehe.
- Volim - Don't make me throw you into the garbage disposal again.
With renewed purpose, the forces of Order now sought to engage Roshisiz once more. In contrast to the unpredictability of the time anomalies that Roshisiz created, his behaviour was extremely predictable. Roshisiz was a very simple minded individual, and easy to track to a location where he could be encountered once more. But this time, the Unified Nation of Ottzello and their allies knew exactly how to put him out of commission for good. Once again, the UNO Omega Commander appeared with several UNO Warships, alongside the Zoles, Collective, Niaka and Paladins, waiting at the Cold Relay for Roshisiz to arrive. Despite it all, Da Rogue Boyz once again brought no reinforcements, because "reely we dont need more shut up".
Roshisiz' fleet was larger this time, as he had awaited an ambush. Having ravaged fourteen more worlds since the last encounter, Roshisiz became ever more gleeful at his destruction of everything in his path. Once again, he sent a transmission to the group.
- Roshisiz - Back for more! I was just waiting for this moment. You know, it's a nice time loop. We can kill each other, over and over and over, and I won't grow tired of it, for this timeline will never be without me again.
- Arkarixus - I am already tired of you.
- Fre'kloar - OI BEAN MAN WES TOTALLY GONNA BEET YA UP AN BLOW YA FLEET UP NAO
- Roshisiz - Maybe. But I'll appear once again, with an even larger fleet! Hahahahahahahaha!!!
- Arkarixus - We will speak no longer. Act according to plan, do not allow him to escape.
Once again, a warship filled with Ioketa began using its powers again, disabling the time anomalies created by Roshisiz' ships. Every ship was destroyed except for the flagship that Roshisiz himself commanded. With his fleet turned to rubble, his ship was the only one that remained. To his surprise, however, they did not destroy it. Instead, they destroyed its engines and each of its weapons systems, disabling it, and then did no further damage. It was time instead for a boarding party.
- Roshisiz - Oh, you want a confrontation in person this time? Hmm, fair enough. I look forward to it also!
- Fre'kloar - man dis guy REELY wont quit ennit?
- Zr'Ahgloth - jus so ya kno YOR EXACTLY LIKE DIS EVERY TIME YA ATTAK ME
- Fre'kloar - SHUT UP MAN IM NOT ANNOYIN LIKE HIM
- Kralgon Emperor - Oh, you are. Completely. Tuolog, prepare to teleport me in.
- Tuolog - But- what?!
- Kralgon Emperor - I will face my father as well.
- Arkarixus - You may lend your hand, but the Tralkik machine must go with you.
- Kralgon Emperor - Indeed. It will be him, but I wish to face my past rather than run from it.
- Arkarixus - Unfortunate that I cannot accompany this mission. I do wonder how much pain a time anomaly can sustain before it breaks.
- Kralgon Emperor - From you, probably not a lot. Tuolog, warp us in. Will anyone else accompany the three of us?
- Hachiman - M-
- Vyutrin - Don't even think about it.
- Hachiman - Aw.
- Zr'Ahgloth - none of us reely got much beef wiv roshisiz (beyond him blowin our planets up like a dumbo) so ya shuld jus go an kill him befor he does somfin weird
- Kralgon Emperor - Very well.
The Tralkik Commander sent out its remote body along with the Kralgon Emperor, sent in a small starship with a large group of Tralkik Deathbots and Hunters, as Tuolog stayed alongside them. Tuolog would be restricted to preventing any time anomalies inside that they had not accounted for, while the Deathbots would eliminate any of the forces inside Roshisiz' warship. The Kralgon Emperor carried his own weapon, but was surrounded by Deathbots to provide security for him.
As they entered the starship, the Emperor began to feel uneasy already. Roshisiz' flagship was a large Kralgon warship, with a regal interior design. The Emperor had not previously remembered it, though stepping foot in it, many memories came flooding back to him. Memories of his mother protecting him as his father tried to beat him. Memories of him watching thousands of Kralgon troops gather for battle, hoping one day they would be his, being told instead that he would never have command over them because Roshisiz aimed to be immortal and rule over them forever. He even saw vague flashbacks of said events occurring, until he realised that these were not flashbacks. These were anomalies, the events repeating himselves over and over in loops. Tuolog was keeping some of them at bay, but on every other corridor, a new memory popped in.
Eventually, the Tralkik forces' massacre of the Kralgon clones that Roshisiz had sent to defend him were looking familiar too. He had watched these exact events unfold before in the Great Blyro War as the Tralkik took over the ship and sent him into hibernation for thousands of years. It was a memory he had long since repressed, but now it came back to him.
Finally, they reached a large, imposing throne room, with Roshisiz sitting atop it. The Emperor had always hated that throne. He resented it, knowing that it would never be his. The tall chair sat above several wires and pipes of machinery, all connected to the System, a Kralgon network that commanded all their machinery, and could even control the thoughts and minds of their people by controlling the release of endorphins in the brain that would alter their emotional state. It was the kind of power that the Emperor now saw was too much for one man to control. And yet he knew that he, when he had started the Second Ottzello Galactic War, was responsible for the same thing himself.
Roshisiz saw in the Emperor's eyes the fear and disgust, and knew exactly what the Emperor was thinking. He grinned as he spoke, while the Tralkik forces aimed their weapons at him.
- Roshisiz - The true power that I had aimed to obtain was one beyond your grasp. I would control an entire species, an entire empire, through my own commands, and they would be unbending. My power would be unrivalled, my empire would expand across the universe. For they would know I had brought peace and justice to the universe under my iron fisted rule for all eternity. And to think, even when Durzhan allowed you to live and follow my legacy, you squandered it by sharing it with inferior species!
- Kralgon Emperor - You are wrong. This power must not rest in the hands of one person. It must be shared by all, for the common interest! Your inventions may have been great, father, but your intentions were evil, simple minded, and simplistic!
- Roshisiz - WEAKNESS! That is what I always hated about you! I knew that you were WEAK! I never desired immortality because I wanted to live forever, no, it was because I could not trust any of my children with this absolute power!
- Tralkik Commander - Acquired power, and yet failed. The Tralkik have returned to fulfill their task once more.
- Roshisiz - Go ahead! Strike me down, I will only return once more! This timeline will never be without me! I am eternal!
- Tralkik Commander - An eternal failure. Fail again and again.
- Roshisiz - WRONG! I will exist until all is destroyed! How dare this timeline exist without me?!
- Tralkik Commander - Realize you are unwanted. A mistake. We already have a Kralgon leader to follow. You are not him.
Roshisiz lashed out in fury, arming cannons nearby his throne to fire on the Tralkik in front of him, who dodged as they could while firing back. The Commander's taunting was working, however. In order for Roshisiz' death to be similar to that within his original time, it had to be filled with a defiant rage first. The next step now was to make Roshisiz doubt whether or not he was truly acting of his own will, or an unwitting puppet of the gods.
- Kralgon Emperor - It's funny, you always taught me that you were the strongest being to ever exist, and you would take over the Ottzel and rule the stars. You said that no one would be above you. And yet here you are, doing the bidding of the gods!
- Roshisiz - Quiet! I care not if my goals align with them! I will destroy this timeline! Destroy it! It cannot be allowed to exist without me!
- Tralkik Commander - Zelfron has revealed it to us. You were sent here by Durzhan, to serve as his tool. You exist to fulfill his whims.
- Roshisiz - SHUT UP!! I fulfill NO ONE'S whims! Only my own! I will shred this pathetic timeline down to its last atom!! This timeline will NEVER exist without me, do you hear me?! NEVER!!!
- Tralkik Commander - We did fine without you. After we killed you.
- Roshisiz - This timeline NEEDS me!! I will always exist!! Go ahead... defeat me! Try it!! TRY IT!!!
Roshisiz then deactivated the shields around his throne, opening himself up to defeat. This move would render him entirely vulnerable. While the ship ran on old technology, the shields were much newer, and more difficult for the Tralkik to simply whittle down.
- Roshisiz - Strike me down!! I will return once more!!
Leaping onwards, the Tralkik Commander landed in front of Roshisiz, towering over him. With a flick of its arm, it revealed a long vibroblade which he then stabbed straight through the mad Kralgon's torso, while using its other hand to grasp onto his head, holding him in place. As it did so, though, it turned its body over so that the sight could be shared, specifically to the Kralgon Emperor.
- Tralkik Commander - This will be your final vision. Him, surviving.
- Roshisiz - Final... Hahahah! There is no finalty to this!! Go ahead... Do your worst!
- Tralkik Commander - Then allow me to show you a familiar sight. How you died, and how you will die again.
The Commander forced its arm harder into Roshisiz, until it fully skewed his body with its blade. As it did, Roshisiz' body fell entirely lifeless, slumped against the throne, bloodied. As the Commander had calculated, it was the exact death that he had succumbed to in his original time.
The corpse of Roshisiz then vanished quickly, before a phased out, larger Roshisiz body then appeared before them. The Emperor was initially concerned, until Tuolog appeared and gave him an assured look, telling him that this was to be expected. Roshisiz appeared defiant at first, but then looked on in fear. By this point, Roshisiz would normally have rematerialised in another part of the galaxy with a new body, but he had not.
- Roshisiz - What... Why am I not reappearing???
- Tralkik Commander - As dictated by history, the Tralkik have destroyed you, as it should be. You are now destroyed.
- Roshisiz - No... No! I refuse! This timeline cannot exist without me!!
With that, Tuolog then stepped before the Commander, ready to send Roshisiz off completely, with his final words.
- Tuolog - It exist without you, but this better for you. You prefer to stay stuck in time loop, at the will of the gods? To be a pawn used by Zargoth over and over?
- Roshisiz - No! I exist... of my own free will!
- Tuolog - You not. You exist because they demand it. But now you in charge of your own fate. You can leave this timeline.
Roshisiz' fearful face then turned to one of determination, as he sighed, his form dissipating. He then said a few final words.
- Roshisiz - ...Very well. I accept my end, for I will not be a puppet of the gods. Son... I despised you in life, but now it is your goal to carry on the Kralgon's vision. Do with it as you please. Perhaps another timeline exists in which I got to carry out mine. For now, I will be gone from this timeline, and I will not return.
Roshisiz' form then vanished entirely. He had no desire to stay attached to the timeline, and there was nothing pulling him towards it any further. Spacetime could now correct itself. Tuolog then warped the three back onto the Omega Commander.
- Tuolog - Good work team. We now defeat them.
- Arkarixus - Status report.
- Tralkik Commander - Target neutralized.
- Kralgon Emperor - Hm, perhaps it is fitting of my father that he dared to try and give words of wisdom at the end of it. His ego would not allow him to carry on with no final words of "wisdom". As if he had anything left to say to redeem himself after all he has done. Bah! I am rid of him now, for good.
- ??? - And good riddance too!
Watching them from outside the UNO Omega Commander were the familiar faces of Kolossus and Antagonar, who had seemingly appeared out of thin air. The rest of the allied fleet turned their weapons at the giant Vyro'Ralza, though they ignored them entirely.
- Kolossus - I was growing quite tired of that little man's voice.
- Antagonar - Indeed! Though it was a good trick for a short while, such tricks go old, quite fast. Though, he accomplished his mission!
- Zr'Ahgloth - OH MA DAYZ DO YOO TWO WEIRDOS HAV NUFFIN BETTA TA DO DAN STALK US AS WE KILL BAD GUYS????
- Antagonar - Funnily enough, no we don't! That's our entire purpose in this timeline at present.
- Kolossus - Yes, we are just a pair of gods watching our favorite show: the struggle of the mortals. Quite the fun one.
- Antagonar - I'm on the edge of my seat!
- Hagto'Zhl - oi hol up. OI LADS ITS DAD
- Brag'klogga - ZRANKARS HERE YA MUPPETS START DOIN DA GOD OF WAR RAP NAO
- Antagonar - Aww, how sweet! They made a chant in your na-- wait. Why don't I get one of those?
- Kolossus - Believe me, you don't want one.
- Antagonar - Hm, there has to be some timeline where they think I am part of the god's panthe--oh. Oh no. Yes, on second thought, better not.
Kolossus then turned his eyes to the Omega Commander. His face turned deathly serious.
- Kolossus - This is our last encounter. Soon enough, you will all burn in the infernal maws of lord Shu'rimrodir.
- Antagonar - Technically speaking, you already have! In about ten million, three thousand, five hundred and eighty-two timelines. Isn't time so confusing? Or fascinating! I so enjoy playing with the minds of mortals!
- Kolossus - I will watch as the crusade of the Devourer's Chosen scourges this galaxy of your filth. You may have bested them once, but the Corruptus will prevail. And when your souls are damned for eternity, I will be there. Waiting for you.
With this, Kolossus and Antagonar disappeared just as quickly as they had arrived. The Rogue Boyz interrupted their rap, while UNO's leaders all looked to one another in fear.
- Yogtam - Then this means that the Devourer's Chosen aim to mount another attack.
- Vyutrin - Ah, about time. This is the part where those damned cultists finally kick the bucket.
- The Mechanic - Hey, uh, Tuolog buddy? Those two mentioned something about timelines... Just how many possible timelines are there, exactly?
- Tuolog - Of this war... There at least forty million.
- The Mechanic - I, uh, don't suppose there are any in which we win the war?
- Tuolog - ... No. There are none.
- Fre'kloar - yor havin a laff mate. LORONZ NEVA LOOS. WES GONNA BEET DA DEEMUNS UP even tho we probably shuldnt cus zrankar likes dem BUT WE WILL CUS WES DA BEST
- Yogtam - None? There are no timelines at all in which we survive?
- Tuolog - There are no preordained events in which we all survive and defeat every threat in this galaxy. No timeline exists yet, for there been too much tampering with. In order for us to win... We need to create a new timeline entirely. I cannot say what events are needed for us to win, for I not know them.
- Vekaron - Well, us Zoles don't exactly believe in fate. We will keep fighting to the very end.
- Arkarixus - You would regardless, I would make you if you tried to stop.
- Tuolog - The Devourer's Chosen are one of the big things standing in way of our victory. There are very few possibilities we survive. But I know of at least one individual who able to help us beat them.
- Vyutrin - Oh? Do tell, I'm all ears when it comes to killing Chosen filth.
Tuolog sighed, knowing what the others would say in response.
- Tuolog - You not like it. You probably not even agree to it. But we need the help of Falrik Zaarkhun and his team to beat them. We need cooperate.
Vekaron and Vuytrin both frowned as the name was spoken, though Arkarixus retained his air of arrogant indifference.
- Vekaron - Only if it involves using him as cannon fodder. We do not collaborate with Wranploer.
- Tuolog - We not have another choice. Zaarkhun's strategic intuition is rivalled by none in this galaxy. And we are all between us hopelessly outmatched and outgunned by Devourer's Chosen. For us to come out of this intact, we need his wisdom to win battles.
- Vekaron - I... I must speak to my superiors. I cannot give an answer to this.
- Fre'kloar - ooh sik we get ta fite wiv zaarkhun. safe hes our homie he givs us pizza
- Kralgon Emperor - I object entirely to this, as does the rest of UNOL. We will not be making this call. Set up another meeting in future if you want, and see if any minds have been changed.
- Vyutrin - Yes, we should all return home and think this over for a while. I for one am loathe to work with terrorists in any capacity, but we did it once when times were desperate... to fight the Corruptus as well.
A Hellish Presence
It had been a few weeks since the deaths of Rothneld Vhezari and Roshisiz, and a tenuous moment of peace briefly fell upon the forces of Order. The Seagon Empire had fully retreated back to their worlds without a world, and while the Niaka Special Forces were tempted to give chase, now would not be a good time as they needed to focus their attention elsewhere for the time being. The looming threat of the Devourer's Chosen, the mad cult of the Corruptus, made it difficult for them to sleep; in many cases, literally, as the warriors of the Indoctrinate Collective were reporting a disproportionately high cases of nightmares in the last few days. Many of them were veterans of the Second War of Black Fog, and they knew this was the work of the Corruptus.
Having watched the Chosen's activity from afar, the Collective started to make certain conclusions which needed to be discussed with their allies. Admiral Vyutrin was not the one in charge this time, but rather the cyborg Radeon, Baptarion, who appeared visibly sleep-deprived.
- Baptarion - Uh, yeah, hello. We have a problem.
- Fre'kloar - WHEN DO WE NOT SRSLY
- Kralgon Emperor - Then point me in the direction of whichever demon I have to nuke from orbit.
- Vekaron - I'm going to assume it's not going to be so simple.
- Baptarion - Not one bit.
The allies were presented with a stellar map of the so-called Corrupted Sector which the Devourer's Chosen had largely taken over by that point in time. Marks on the map indicated the presence of numerous detected time anomalies, no doubt created by Kolossus and Antagonar, though they were clearly situated within what could be Chosen territory.
- Baptarion - The science teams have detected these time anomalies, and the Chosen are all around them. They're led to believe they're actively using them.
- Tuolog - Interesting. It possible that they feeding off the time anomalies directly? Or rather the time anomalies bring back Corruptus forces from War of Black Fog?
- Hachiman - Demons using time travel huh? Sounds like an old cartoon Baptarion let me watch in my offtime.
- Kal'kuir - I FINK I SEEN DAT UN. ISSAT DA ONE WIV DA WEIRDO WHO SCREEMS AN STOPS TIME DEN EXPLODES CUS DA WORLD GOT HIS LEG KIKKED?
- Jol'kiar - BAK IN MY DAYZ WE AINT HAV CARTOONS well akshully we did but BAK IN MY DAYZ OUR CARTOONS WERE AKSHULLY GOOD LIKE DIS ONE CALLED "GANGSTA TUNES" ABOUT DIS CHIK DAT RUNS SUPA FAST DEN DIS GEEZA DAT TRIES TA BLOW HER UP ITS FUNNI LOL DEN WEN IT ENDED IT WAS LIKE "DATS ALL FOLKS" LOL DAT WAS GOOD
- Baptarion - Spode's sake, shut up. We think it's something a lot more insidious than just bringing dead demons back from the dead.
- Arkarixus - Elaborate.
At this point, Admiral Vyutrin himself entered communications. Like Baptarion, he too appeared sleep-deprived, though not as much.
- Vyutrin - Readings have just been done on the area. The time anomalies are causing civilians - our civilians - from before the rise of the Chosen to being brought to this timeline. And when that happens, the Chosen flock to them and proceed to brutally sacrifice them to their gods... Then the anomaly brings them back, and the cycle repeats.
- Yogtam - They're offering sacrifices up to their gods through the time anomalies... The ones created by Antagonar and Kolossus.
- Vekaron - This is sickening. Does this not mean these cultists are sacrificing alternate versions of themselves to their demons?
- Vyutrin - Yes. Yes, it does.
Hachiman turned red in the face. Although it was complicated for them to understand, from what they could make out of what was being said, it angered them to know such an unfair and insidious tactic to hurt innocent people was at play.
- Hachiman - But... B-But that's not fair. That's not fair! It's bad that they're killing random people today, but like, killing other versions of themselves?
- Grak'tona - well idk about yoo lot but we used ta hav sacrifices to da king bak in da day cept dey was sacrifices of animals so it dont count
- Tuolog - As a vegan, I object to this.
- Grak'tona - YA MOM
- Arkarixus - Why does this matter? What good does this information does to us? We require no incentive to destroy them already.
- Baptarion - I fear the implications. If the Chosen wanted people to suffer or grow their numbers, they wouldn't do it with time travel, they're way too proud for that. I think the reality is a bit worse than that.
- Hachiman - Hey, Bap? Does this mean... Does this mean that they've killed me? Not like, me, but... another me. And another you, too?
Baptarion looked at the young man with a raised eyebrow.
- Baptarion - What? No, I said they're bringing in people who already lived in those worlds. You never did.
- Tuolog - Hmm. Then we not sure their motivations for sacrificing to the gods. Though... It may be that they intend to summon a larger god.
- Baptarion - I don't know their reason, but I know what they're doing... They're farming souls. Gathering them by the thousands.
- Kralgon Emperor - Regardless, I agree with Arkarixus that it doesn't matter what or why they're doing it. We know our objective: destroy them. So, what was wrong with the "nuke the demons" from orbit plan again?
- Tuolog - I can tell you what wrong with that. We dealing with demonic energy here, and thus, our own material weapons not have the same effect against them. The Corruptus are a much less simple threat to combat than the Seagon or the Grand Troopers were. This require different tactics.
While watching the map, certain points begun to spread out; in particular, six large fleets appeared to be spreading away from the Corrupted Sector. Vyutrin, Arkarixus and Vekaron all watched with worry.
- Vekaron - They are moving about. They'll leave their sector soon.
- Fre'kloar - DEY BEST NOT TOUCH PLANET PIZZA. DAT PLANET MAKES MA PIZZA. IF DEY TOUCH IT I SWER TA ZRANKAR DAT IMMA FIND DEIR GOD AN RIP HIM IN HALF
- Voa 'reak - urm which planet pizza?? we got like... tons of dem
- Hachiman - Six fleets... Um, maybe it's a silly idea, but maybe they've got like a single person looking over all of that right? Like, uh, I think it's called a "snake's head" or "hydra's head" or something, but, someone in charge?
- Tuolog - Not sure what you mean, but it very likely that each fleet has its own individual leader.
- Vyutrin - The Corruptus works by having an overlord leading an army of puppets. Destroying the overlord causes all puppets to retreat. The problem is, we have no information on who may lead the Chosen.
- Vekaron - The only individual in a position of leadership we have encountered was that acolyte who we killed back when the Nation summoned the Taldar to deal with the Xi'Arazulha, and that was quite a while ago. No leads to who else could be involved.
- Fre'kloar - i akshully got a leed. SEE IM BEIN HELPFUL FER ONCE. i fink dat i herd rumors dat ma own COPYPCAT DUMBO, known as Ref'kolar, is involved wiv da chosen geezas. so yeh if hes around im cool ta batta him
- Arkarixus - As if a member of your imbecile species would hold power within any serious organization.
- Fre'kloar - COM SAY DAT TO MA FACE BLUD IMMA KNOK YOO OUT AN SMASH YOR BONES TA PIECES DEN USE DEM AS DECORASHONS ON MA SHIP
- Hachiman - ... Whoa, might wanna cool it on the speciesism, grandpa. Those are ugly things to say.
- Baptarion - I mean, he's not wrong... Anyway, yes, we should probably be on the lookout for these fleets. They are likely attack forces.
- Hagto'Zhl - no offense mate but even i culd work dat out dats like somfin a two yeer old culd kno. REEL QUESTON IS WEN DO WE GET TA PUNCH REFKOLAR IN DA FAIC
- Hachiman - What are we actually going to do? There's six fleets and, uh, one, two, three... six... however many of us. I can't be in six places at once... unless I can get my mom to teach me how to do that.
Tuolog sighed as he went to make his proposal once more, knowing that it would be shot down instantly.
- Tuolog - This why I believe it crucial to recruit the help of Falrik Zaarkhun against a common enemy. He knows how to turn situations in his favor against insurmountable odds, and make efficient use of fewer resources against a foe with many more.
- Vekaron - My people has discussed the matter with the Niaka, the Paladians and the Collective, and we have concluded the risks outweight the benefits. We will not work alongside the Wranploer.
- Tuolog - The risks of coming underequipped against the Corruptus outweigh this too. We should not underestimate them as a threat just because the Seagon and the Grand Troopers fell so easily in comparison. I not think it likely we win without Zaarkhun.
- Vyutrin - You are wrong to assume the Collective would ever underestimate the Corruptus. But we have concluded the Wranploer are too treacherous and too hostile to be worthwhle partners; they would betray us at the first sign of weakness.
- Tuolog - Zaarkhun not stupid enough to betray us when there is a common, greater threat.
- Hachiman - To me it sounds like Tuolog's the only one making ideas here. No one else has proposed anything good.
- Kal'kuir - OH YEH? WELL LISSEN DEN. HERES AN IDEA: A CANNON, OK? CEPT DIS CANNON HAS LEGS, AN IT WALKS AROUND SHOOTIN PIZZA IN DA AIR. ... wat yoo didnt say it was a SPECIFIC kind of idea
- Rel'larutina - Before you laugh at what just said, he already built it a couple years ago from scrap metal. It actually worked, too, but we got rid of it after a day. So in other words... laugh even harder at what he said.
- Kal'kuir - HAO DARE YOO. AS PUNISHMENT IM FIRIN YOO OFF A CANNON WHEN I MAKE ANOTHA ONE
- Vyutrin - Opening our backs to this galaxy's most famed terrorists is not a "good" idea. You're a fool if you think your Zaarkhun is anything but a pawn to the Wranploer.
- Tuolog - No... If anything, the Wranploer are pawns to Zaarkhun.
- Hachiman - So what's your alternative then? You haven't actually proposed anything else except saying "no".
- Baptarion - Perhaps because we're still working on it? This kind of stuff doesn't come up overnight. Dumb child.
- Hachiman - No offense but the longer we think on it, the more people are dying. I know we're a long way away from all those people that're getting killed, but it's happening.
- Tuolog - Regardless, I see more timelines in which we succeed against Devourer's Chosen with Zaarkhun's help than in which we fail. I not like it either, and I propose we eliminate Zaarkhun as soon as this ends, but we need his help for this.
Arkarixus growled and shook his head in response.
- Arkarixus - Cease this talk of timelines. You yourself admitted not a single one ensured our victory. They are not reliable.
- Tuolog - While we not have one in which we succeed yet, they still provide good indicators for how to be successful in creating a new timeline in which we win. Reliable, perhaps not, but they are very important indicators. However, I see that this argument has been lost. We have to make do on our own.
- Arkarixus - I will not be a slave to fate. I need hard facts, not mere speculation. For the time being, we must find the identify of the leader of the Devourer's Chosen and eliminate them at once.
- Tralkik Commander - Data on the Devourer's Chosen is slim, but we do not have any indicators suggesting that their leadership is identical to the Corruptus forces fought in the Second War of Black Fog. Therefore, it will be crucial to identify the leader of each individual fleet. Given the speed at which the Chosen are taking over worlds, the question pertinent to this conversation is thus: do we wish to divide our forces and tackle each fleet separately, or to attack the fleets one-by-one prioritizing those that are in closer proximity to more strategic planets?
- Hachiman - Maybe I'm a "dumb kid" but I think splitting ourselves up is a bad idea. We've already lost a lot of people and by going in half-assed we're just going to lose more.
- Hagto'Zhl - i meen yoo IS a dum kid. isnt yoo like, 8???
- Vekaron - We don't even know where they are going. For all we know, all the fleets will jump onto Zoleia, or Vijaha itself all at once. Or they might attack six different targets all the same time. I'm afraid focusing on a single location is simply impossible at the moment. We must remain on the defensive until we have gathered more information about the enemy.
- Tuolog - Well, if you object to recruiting help of Zaarkhun, then I know of one individual that can help us who you not object to.
At that moment, Tuolog tapped something into the terminal, which the rest of those present at the meeting could not understand. What he was actually typing in were not space coordinates, but Chronoscopic coordinates, as he was delivering a message to someone outside the third dimension. Within a few moments, Dakster, the leader of the Vague, arrived in a holographic form. Arkarixus' eyes widened at the sight of the creature, and perhaps for the first time, he appeared visibly disturbed.
- Dakster - Greetings. I hear that you want my help.
- Vekaron - The Vague? I was not aware they were still around.
- Arkarixus - What matter of creature is this? The mere sight fills me with an overwhelming feeling of doom.
- Dakster - A live Kormacvar. I am pleasantly surprised that one still exists. It is good to meet you, Arkarixus.
- Hachiman - Awkwaaard.
- Fre'kloar - VAGUE DUMBOS AR YOO BAK TA VAPORIZE PLANET PIZZA AGEN??? IM NOT GONNA LET YOO I SWER
- Voa'reak - no rly WHICH one
- Dakster - We have no intentions of harming your worlds, now that Zargoth's original Fate was avoided. We intend to avoid the true Perfect Fate now, and that means cooperating with you.
- Arkarixus - So you are the famed "Vague" then... Creatures made of my people's souls... What a disgraceful display. How much has he tortured my kind? And for what?
- Dakster - Zargoth's ways are reckless and callous. He is unfeeling, as he has no emotions. This means he also has no empathy. What Zargoth did to us in his experimentations is unthinkable, and we shall ensure that it shall not go unpunished.
- Baptarion - Well, I recall you guys having really good guns. I'm up for you using them to vaporize demons instead of us.
- Dakster - You will need it. The Devourer's Chosen use extradimensional matter and energy, which we happen to specialize in.
- Hachiman - Does this mean I get to use a really cool gun?
- Dakster - You lack the strength to wield such a weapon as ours. For a third dimensional being to use a fourth dimensional weapon would cause your body to crumble as your mind collapses.
- Hachiman - Geez, you could've just said no.
- Vyutrin - Hah.
Arkarixus shook his head in some disbelief - he had a hard time accepting the Vague as being his people - before turning his eyes to Dakster once again.
- Arkarixus - If you are Kormacvar, then show me your warrior spirit in this war. Aid us in purging our galaxy from this filth.
- Dakster - Gladly. We may never truly restore the galaxy to what it was in the heights of Kormacvar power, but we will do all we can to bring back the utopia they envisioned.
- Vyutrin - Very well, then. For now we play the defensive game. Get ready for anything, and good luck.
- Arkarixus - Luck will not bring us victory. Overwhelming power will.
- Jol'kiar -tbh i respect dat
- Kal'kuir - yeh me too coz DATS DA NAME OF ONE OF MA GUNZ
Hrothis, the Fotoriz homeworld, was one of the most important farm worlds of the Unified Nation of Ottzello; it produced resources which fed hundreds of space stations around its vicinity, and was home to billions of innocents. Should it fall, it would not only cause indescribable damage to the Fotoriz people but would lead to mass starvation in the sub-sector. Perhaps it was unsurprising then that one of the fleets of the Devourer's Chosen had appeared there, like a malign tendril through space, terrorizing the minor worlds and space stations along the way as they made a bee-line to Hrothis. And to combat the Ottzelloans, no one else but the Blothnos were at the helm, for the creatures' affinity with Dark Chronoscopic energies made them the best soldiers to fight the Unified Nation.
As the Chosen and their summoned demons arrived to Hrothis, the leader of the fleet watched the planet in utter disbelief; some say this world was once a wasteland which was transformed into a lush paradise via terraforming, and this beauty caused the Champion great distress; these heretics did not deserve it! He would turn this world into a wasteland even deadlier than before if they did not surrender to the Great Devourer. Stolithik the Sorrowful was by this point familiar with the Ottzelloans, having encountered them numerous times before through the course of this war, but now was the time for him to make his mark.
- Stolithik - I weep! I weep for these heretics, who know not what they do! Who know not what they fight for! I shall teach them the greatest lesson there is to be learned: to oppose the coming of the Chosen is to ensure one's destruction!
When the alert of the Devourer's Chosen attack on Hrothis was sent to the UNO Omega Commander, their reaction was immediate. Feldosia, who had been mostly absent from the war as she focused on domestic matters away from war, appeared in the Leaders' room immediately to make the call.
- Feldosia - I don't understand. Hrothis is normally safe from war. It has little strategic value to most of our enemies, as aside from its vast farmlands, it has nothing to offer our enemies. That the Chosen would attack it is extremely concerning.
- Kralgon Emperor - Indeed. Well, it's fortunate that we put together a team capable of combatting such a threat!
- Tralkik Commander - That it is. Deploying the Unified Nation of Ottzello Commandos to the battlefield at once.
- Zr'Ahgloth - MAN I CANT WAIT TA SEE THRALOY REK DEM LOL
Landing on top of a hill in a large patch of farmland, the Commandos appeared from a shuttle that was dispatched to the planet with haste. The Skull, otherwise known as Thr'aloy and Dalverat, landed first, with Thr'aloy landing on his right knee and Dalverat floating just behind him. Followed by this, The Spitter, also known as Vaktyl, landed just behind them to their right, his rapid fire cannons ready to unleash on the Chosen, while The Muscle, otherwise known as Zelfron III, appeared just to the left of them. The Talon, known otherwise as Lupercal, landed in front of them, with The Eye, otherwise known as Kalcedia Myran, carried on his shoulders. Finally, Commandant Darwishi, otherwise known as The Backbone, flew in, just as The Fist, Vailisa, landed behind the group.
- Dalverat - Once again, we must deal with the annoyance that is "Stolithik".
- Thr'aloy - Threat must be neutralized. MAN I HATE DIS GEEZA YO VAKTYL SOON AS HE SHOWS UP FIRE ALL DA CANNONS
- Vaktyl - Aw, hell yeah! My weapons haven't been put to a use this good in a long time! Time to barbecue them!
- Vailisa - The Fist look forward to quash puny bugs in battle. Wait for them to arrive, then let me at them!
- Kalcedia - I do hope we are done with this soon. I don't want the creep to force me to tear up and ruin all of my make-up again.
- Lupercal - I'm sure there'll be plenty more chances for you to do that... Ugh, these legs can be cumbersome sometimes.
- Darwishi - Target acquired.
Taking flight ahead, Darwishi alerted his comrades of the enemy's position. Stolithik watched their arrival in distress, or at least what looked to be the case, as he rose his arms up. The very skies of Hrothis began to darken as a malevolent black fog covered the sun.
- Stolithik - The supersoldiers have come for me! Do they not understand this is a futile effort? Do they not comprehend That Which Devours is inevitable?
- Vaktyl - You talk to much, Sorrowful! Now, how'd you like some of this?!
As soon as he locked onto Stolithik, Vaktyl began firing each of the subatomic chaingun cannons attached to his chest, each blast from which would vaporize a single trooper in seconds. However, the Champion was no mere trooper, and the blasts stopped from hitting him by a shield of combined nightmarish and Dark Chronoscopic energies which enveloped him. The Champion let out an anguished cry as he threw his arms at their direction, and from behind him, a horde of Blothnos charged, carrying weapons in their hands.
- Vaktyl - Aw, hell! My weapons won't be any use against this thing! You focus on Stolithik. I'll take care of these Blothnos hordes.
Vaktyl then took point, firing his chaingun as well as his portable turbolaser against the Blothnos, functioning almost as artillery for the group. Meanwhile, with Dalverat providing him flight, Thr'aloy flew up to Stolithik to land a few punches and also fire blasts from his wrist-mounted lasers, though The Skull found it difficult to hit him; Stolithik was almost as small as Dalverat himself and much more agile than he looked, and he ran between Thr'aloy's legs to evade his attacks. Before he could counter-attack, however, a beam of Dark Chronoscopic energies came from Dalverat's arms and struck at the Champion, leaving him immobilized.
- Dalverat - I will devour your essence!
- Stolithik - Aaah! Aaaah, that causes me great grief! You would do well to cease at once!
- Dalverat - Now, Thr'aloy, while I immobilize him!
- Thr'aloy - LOL GET REKT PLEB AN STOP CRYIN
Thr'aloy then threw a barage of punches at the Champion, and at one point, even tried to bite his head off. The rest of UNOC coordinated their attacks alongside it. As Thr'aloy kicked Stolithik away from him, Vailisa was ready to land one punch that knocked Stolithik down to the ground. The Blothnos screamed as he was pummeled, being sent flying by Vailisa before skidding across the landscape, only to stop from gunfire fired from above by Darwishi, who finished it off by diving down and kicking the Champion's back as he was floored, letting the sound of his small bones breaking be heard by all of them. And before he even had the chance to retaliate, Stolothik was launched away as Lupercal struck him, letting out a flurry of blow so quick none were quite able to tell what he was even doing; with a final strike he sent the Champion into the air again, only for him to be expertly shot many times from a distance by Kalcedia. As Stolithik was flying upwards, Zelfron III ran towards him, and jumped up in the air matching his height, and then slicing him into bits with his vibroblade, making sure to time his attacks just right to allow Kalcedia's shots to still connect.
- Thr'aloy - Congratulations team. MAN WAT A CURBSTOMP
- Darwishi - Target terminated.
- Kalcedia - Mhm, good job, boys. Should teach the little man not to try and mess with the likes of us.
- Lupercal - That was... easy. Too easy.
- Stolithik - Aaah... AAAAAAAAHHHHHH!!!
Stolithik, who was only barely more than minced Blothnos meat by that point, begun to scream loudly as an aura of dark purple energies manifested. The more essence-sensitive among them like Dalverat felt incredible power radiate from the Champion as it then enveloped his entire body, which begun to grow before their eyes; his hide turned charred in demonic darkness, his bulkt growed to the point he now towered over both Thr'aloy and Vailisa, and perhaps most strikingly, a pair of eyes grew on each side of his formerly eyeless head, weeping what appeared to be black blood. A Null State unlike anything anyone had seen since the days of the Second War of Black Fog.
- Stolithik - We will never end.
- Thr'aloy - Emergency. DA HELL IS DAT MASSIV FING
- Vaktyl - Looks like our celebration'll have to be delayed a little bit. Vailisa, think you squash this clown?
- Vailisa - The Fist ready for fight, but think this thing a bit stronger than he is!
- Stolithik - Despair! Drown in fear and terror! You will now learn your place, heretics!
- Zelfron III - We know our place, demon. It is here. On the battlefield. And this is where you will be destroyed for trying to take the lives of innocent men.
Letting out a madded roar, the demonic Stolithik charged at them, trampling the landscape beneath him as he did so. His aura of Dark Chronoscopic energies had by now vanished, all but replaced by a fiery purple nightmare power which made the creature appear like it was ablaze. His back-limbs, turned into razor-sharp blades, were sent down as he collided with Vailisa. Vailisa's colossal strength allowed him to push back against it slightly, though he was not used to fighting anything stronger than he was, and the blades began to pierce through his partially metallic skin. Thr'aloy flew up and punched the beast some more, with Dalverat enhancing his speed and strength, but once again was not making much headway. Vaktyl and Darwishi changed their ammunition to use Chronoscopic essence, as they now focused all their fire on the beast in front of them. Zelfron III tried to cut away at the beast's flesh, though he was unable to pierce any skin.
The Chronoscopic attacks seared the Champion's flesh, though any other wounds closed as quickly as they were dealt. Vailisa found himself lifted off the ground by massive tentacles growing out of Stolithik's back as he hurled him at Thr'aloy, flooring the two of them, before the monster turned his head up and launched blasts of nightmare energy at Darwishi from his mouth, forcing the Marinox to fly away to defend himself. However, the creature let out a sharp howl and turned away as Kalcedia fired a shot directly at one of his eyes, though this appeared to do little more than stun him momentarily.
Lupercal, who had watched more battles with the Corruptus than his companions, pointed at the bulbous organ at Stolithik's chest as he was distracted.
- Lupercal - The Heart! Go for the Heart! That's their weakness!
- Stolithik - Our crusade is unnending! Our black fog will blot out the stars! I cry for you, for you shall be eradicated to make way for my god's glorious return! So sad that you will not be there to see it!
Swooping a hand down, Stolithik managed to grab Zelfron III, squeezing the Telzoc into his massive grasp before throwing him directly at Kalcedia; the Zazane's eyes widened as he collided with her, knocking both of them back. Dalverat attempted to devour more of the demon's essence, but the nightmare energy caused the Katel to choke out in agony before the Sorrowful slapped him away with a tentacle, knocking him out cold. Lupercal used his agility to strike at the Corruptus Heart, searing-hot blood gushing out of the wounds and causing Stolithik to roar out in anguish as he let out a powerful shockwave of essence, sending the Radeon hybrid flying back into a tree and crashing his back against it. Just as Stolithik turned to then face Thr'aloy, from the sky, Feldosia landed down, though she was empowered by Dark Chronoscopic energy. The powers that seeped through her now morphed her into a larger, dark being of pure essence, with her eyes looking at Stolithik enraged, while the Champion looked at her curiously.
- Feldosia - You will not take this world from us and starve our people.
- Stolithik - So, one of your Leaders could not bear to watch you die... and has come to join you in the grave? Truly a saddening display! Very much so, considering the timelines I have seen...
- Feldosia - Which timelines do you speak of, fiend?
- Stolithik - You! You are the one the Allied God Zr'An'Kar cursed, no? I have seen your future! A truly saddening one indeed. You will perish without being able to conceive the life you and your loved one seek to create...
In fury, Feldosia then threw both of her arms at Stolithik, clawing away at him, before kicking him back. Her attacks were far more brutal than even the Commandos had provided, and the Champion found himself unable to defend himself as he screamed in anguish. She then rose slightly in the air, as two large meteorites appeared beside her, summoned by her time essence, as she threw both of them directly at the Champion's heart, causing it to explode. Stolithik shrieked as his body burned away, slowly being reduced back to his original form, now battered and broken.
Coughing out blood, the Blothnos struggled in an attempt to rise to his feet as he spoke.
- Stolithik - So... saddening... that you will burn... you and him... and your child... will not live... to see the crusade...
- Feldosia - That's where you're wrong, fiend.
Feldosia then dropped to the floor as she returned to her normal form. Behind her, a large mass of floating purple energy left her as it seeped into the remnants of Stolithik. It appeared she had cast aside all the Dark Chronoscopic inside of her, in performing an act in defense of her own people that would save lives, and not an act of aggression.
- Feldosia - What Zr'An'Kar gave me was a curse, and that is why I stayed away from the battlefield. I knew my place was with my people. And now, thanks to you, I have cast aside my curse. I will stand by the innocent Ottzelloans, and not stand aside as you kill them.
- Stolithik - Aah... Aaaah! No! Dark Apostle... Save me! I don't want to die... before I see the master! ... This is too saddening!!
- Feldosia - I am sorry for the sadness you feel, Stolithik. But now, I can relieve you of it by ending you here. Your existence is an unfortunate one, trapped in this form, disposable, and used at the whims of the Devourer's Chosen. Now, in the afterlife, you are free.
Feldosia simply stood and watched as the Dark Chronoscopic essence floating above her all dissipated as it burned away at the remnants of Stolithik. She knew that there was no way to spare his life, and the only thing she could do now was to end his existence. In doing so, she cast away the curse that Zr'An'Kar had placed in her by tossing it out. She then turned away from the sight of it, looking pensive at her feet. Stolithik howled out as his flesh was burned away until he was reduced to nothing but ashes, marking his final death. The Sorrowful was no more.
With the threat gone, the skies of the world begun to clear, and the Commandos were able to rise back to their feet to rendezvous with Feldosia.
- Feldosia - Thank you, Commandos. You have helped me rid myself of this curse.
- Dalverat - An interesting display. It seems you have no more Dark Chronoscopic in your soul after that.
- Feldosia - The curse that was placed upon me fed off my aggression. Had I fought Stolithik in rage, I would still have the curse. But I know now I don't fight for vengeance, but to protect.
- Kalcedia - I've had men try and tackle me down for a good time, but not quite like this... Good riddance.
- Thr'aloy - Victory achieved. MAN DAT HURT. STOOPID CHOSEN DUMBOS. AT LEEST HES DED THO DAT WAS SIK
- Vaktyl - Mission accomplished! That should stop the whole fleet now. Alright, team, let's head back.
- Dalverat - Indeed, but before we do; I take you listened to the wretch's final words? He mentioned a "Dark Apostle".
- Thr'aloy - I listened and acknowledged it. lol jokes i was asleep fer dat bit
- Feldosia - Yes, I recall. The "Dark Apostle" might be their leader. I trust you can report this to the rest of the Leaders? Doesn't look like I'll be seeing battle anytime soon now.
- Dalverat - So be it. We must discuss this matter at once.
- Kalcedia - After a rest. I feel more sore than usual...
- Vailisa - The Fist also ready for break.
- Thr'aloy - Commandos, move out. LETS GET DA HELL OUTTA HEER MAN I DESERVE PIZZA FOR KILLIN DA CHOSEN BOSS DOOD
- Feldosia - Oh, I'm sure some of the Fotoriz farmers here will be generous in their pizza donations.
- Thr'aloy - Good. SIK
The rest of the Commandos returned to their ship, while Feldosia remained behind to coordinate the cleanup effort of the planet.
Da Rogue Boyz never really kept track of their planets, as they were usually just "planet where da boyz liv" or "planet where da boyz get pizza". But the Devourer's Chosen's arrival was quick to get their attention as it swept across many worlds, causing many Dark Loron to fall to corruption and turn against their former allies. The world had become infested with corrupted Dark Loron and demons who looted everything they could, including all the food resources (that is, pizza) they could get their hands on. The Rogue Boyz had for the most part dismissed the Devourer's Chosen attacks up until now, even those on their own worlds. They were ready to dismiss this one also, as most of the Loron were either asleep on the floor, laying on the couch, or otherwise eating.
- Rogue Geek - I must inform you that the Devourer's Chosen are attacking their fifth planet this week.
- Kal'kuir - LAME. i shuld hav turned off ya notificashons agen. BRB PLAYIN WORLD OF GANGSTACRAFT IM IN DA MIDDLE OF A DUNGEON
- Grak'tona - DA KING DEMANDS YOO STOP DA GAME AN LET HIM PLAY NEX
- Kal'kuir - SHUT YA MOUF LOSA
- Rogue Geek - This planet designated as... "Planet Pizza XVIII". Seriously, let me do the names next time.
- Rel'larutina - Are you people actually serious? I thought you'd be thrilled for the chance to go and smack some demons?
- Fre'kloar - NORMALLY I AM but it gets kinda repetitive tbh since deyz all da same an-- wait wat planet did yoo say was unda attack agen
- Rogue Geek - Planet Pizza XVIII. So-named as the eighteenth planet that produces pizza.
At that moment, any Loron who was asleep instantly opened their eyes, while the rest of them turned to face the Geek, all with their eyes widened and their jaws open in shock. Jol'kiar then sprung into action and stood up at once.
- Jol'kiar - BAK IN MY DAYZ WE DIDNT SLAK OFF WHILE SOM DUM INTRUDAS WAS INVADIN DA PIZZA PLANETS. NOW ALL DA WARBOSSES GATHA IN FRONT OF ME AT ONCE
- Ray'loth - wat da hell im da warboss boss not yoo. but fine den ill do it too
All the Warbosses proceeded to stand in front of Jol'kiar. They were all quite angry at the thought of the Chosen stealing their pizza. Before any other Leedas could step up to it, Jol'kiar rounded them up and gave them the mission, taking it upon himself to lead them.
- Jol'kiar - ALL OF YAS IS COMIN WIV ME TA FITE DA CHOSEN DUMBOS AN BOM DEM AN STOOF. YO BRAGKLOGGA IM GONNA NEED YOR SHAMAN POWAS AGENST DEM. AN KALKUIR YA BEST HAV SOME SIK INVENSHON AGENST DEEMUNS EVEN THO BAK IN MY DAYZ WE HATED DEM
- Fre'kloar - oi hol up am i not comin too??
- Jol'kiar - dis is a job fer da warbosses. tho akshully yeh com along too an leev da otha leedas heer
- Hagto'Zhl - BORIN. AT LEEST BRING SUM PIZZA ON YA WAY BAK TO DA SHIP
- Rel'karutina - Well, if you boys screw up, I've got my mech ready and waiting to save your hinds.
- Voa'reak - shut up stoopid chik we wont scroo up agenst sum losa deemuns. lets go lads lets stomp dem
- Grak'tona - DA KING DEMANDS YOO WIN
With Jol'kiar and Fre'kloar leading the pack, the Warbosses all charged towards a shuttle. Said shuttle was barely able to fit them all, as they had chosen the wrong size, much to the frustration of the Norol pilot, but they each managed to land on the surface of Planet Pizza. The planet was mostly a jungle world similar to many Loron planets, with huge amounts of deforestation making way for their pizza industry. The Loron arrived just in front of one of the lone buildings, placed around a wide patch of deforested land. The building, of course, was a pizza delivery place, and was a large, two story building with a few starships used to deliver to nearby stops. They were confronted to the sight of the place infested with corrupted Dark Loron and lesser Corruptus demons, who immediately attacked them when they arrived.
- Corrupted Dark Loron - OI LADS DERES DA HERETIKS!!! KILL DEM IN DA NAME OF DAT WHICH DEVOUAS
- Drizz'pyrokirk - I DUNNO WAT YOOS ON ABOUT WIV YOR "DEVOURIN" FING BUT IF YOO MEEN DEVOUR DA ROYAL PIZZA DEN YOR IN FOR A SHOK. PREPAR TA GET FROZEN SOLID
Jumping ahead of the other warbosses, Drizz'pyrokirk fired his Freezflamas on an ice setting with the intent of freezing their legs to the ground and easily doing so. Kal'kuir took out a large machine gun with ridiculous attachments and laughed gleefully as he started firing wildly at the enemies, while Voa'reak flew up to stomp down at the lesser demons. Zalk'don started firing bombs everywhere, quickly blowing up many of the fallen Loron.
- Zalk'don - MAN DESE DUMBOS DONT EVEN LOOK LIKE DA COOL PEEPS WHO WORSHIPPED DA DEVOURA DOOD BAK IN DA FOGGY GEEZA WAR. PROPA LAME DEY ALL DESERV TA BE BOMBED
- Voa'reak - UP IN DA SKY FRUM DIS VANTAGE POINT I CAN SEE DAT DEEZ DUM WANNABES DONT EVEN LOOK LIKE DA COOL PEEPS WHO WORSHIPPED DA DEVOURA DOOD BAK IN DA GEEZA FOGGY BLAK WAR FING I FORGOT DA NAME
- Zalk'don - mate i just sed dat stop bein dum
- Voa'reak - WAT? IVE GON DEFF
- Zalk'don - typical
- ??? - AHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!
A terrible laughter echoed across the landscape as a new figure appeared over the building, the skies darkening over his head. As they glanced better at the new arrival, they realized it was none other than Ref'kolar himself.
- Ref'kolar - HURHURHUR DUMBOS!!! IM BAK!!!!
- Fre'kloar - YOO??? DA COPYCAT DUMBO???? OH MA DAYZ IM GONNA LOOK FORWARD TA SMASHIN YOR FACE IN
- Brag'klogga - OI HAO DA HELL IS YOO ALIV WE THREW YOO OFF DA SPACE TIME CONTINUUM OR SOMFIN GEEKY LIKE DAT
- Ref'kolar - YEH YA DID (SCROO YOO BTW) BUT DA DEEMUN BOYZ SAVED ME ENNIT? NAO I GOT SIK DEEMUN POWAS AN EVERYFIN IS FUNNI TA ME
- Kal'kuir - BY MA CALCULASHONS YOR A LOONY
- Ref'kolar - SHUT UP YA NERD IM GONNA MAKE YA ALL SURRENDER TO DA DEVOURA AN SERVE MA MISTRESS. CEPT FREKLOAR HE DAIS
- Kal'kuir - YEH???? WELL GOOD LUK WIV DAT. YOO HAV JUS ACTIVATED MY TRAP CARD!!!!!!
With that moment, Kal'kuir pulled out a small remote button, and pressed it. However, he pressed the button so hard that the remote broke, and he had to toss it away in disappointment. The corrupted Dark Loron looked confused for a second, before immediately afterwards several traps sprung from the ground, as blue electricity shot up and caused all their weapons to explode, while magnets pulled their armor to the floor. This made them easy pickings for the Warbosses, and Ray'loth started murdering them violently while they were stuck while Knar'gank started stabbing their throats.
- Ref'kolar - DATS DUM MAN YA CANT BE DOIN DAT I SWER YOR SO STUBBORN JUS SURRENDA AN LET ME SHOW YOO DA DARK TRUFF DATS SUPA FUNNI
- Kal'kuir - I TELL YOO WATS FUNNI. YO WATCH DIS
Kal'kuir then tossed a small device in the air, which immediately expanded into a portal above Ref'kolar. From the portal, Da Propa Big Rogue Tank appeared, with Naktor'zak yelling out in glee as his tank blasted its way through at top speed. However, as the portal had been positioned above Ref'kolar, Naktor'zak instead drove his tank straight into the floor below, crashing it at the front, and completely missing Ref'kolar, causing the tank to then fall over as it fell on its bank. Naktor'zak now cried in disappointment.
- Kal'kuir - ...well it seemed like a good idea at da time
- Ref'kolar - HAHAHAHAHA DATS SUPA FUNNI AN ITS NOT EVEN DA VOICES IN MA HED DOIN IT IM GENUINELY LAFFIN AT YOO IDIOT. ANYWAY IM GONNA SHOW YOO LOT MA OWN SUPA SEKRIT WEPON
- Fre'kloar - kalkuir see me afta dis misshon so i can slap yoo upside da hed
- Ref'kolar - OI FREKLOAR YOO COPYCAT DUMBO. YOR MENTA IS A COPYCAT DUMBO VERSHON OF MA OWN PROPA SIK MENTA. ITS TIME YA MEET HIM. OI RAJ'LIKO GET IN HEER MAN
With another group of Loron showing up, a corrupted dark version of Jol'kiar showed up to lead the pack. It was indeed Raj'liko, whose appearance and attire was identical to that of Jol'kiar. He then stared at Jol'kiar, rolling up his sleeves, ready for a fight.
- Raj'liko - SO YOR JOLKIAR. I HERD YOR STILL HANGIN AROUND DA INFERIOR FREKLOAR
- Jol'kiar - hm so dats hao it feels to hav a copycat dumbo vershon of yoo. I HATE IT. MAN LOOK AT YOO ACTIN ALL TUFF WAT DA HELL DID YA SAY BOUT MA PUPIL???
- Raj'liko - DAT HES INFERIOR. BAK IN MY DAYZ WE DIDNT HANG AROUND INFERIOR WANNABE DUMBOS LIKE DAT. WE WAS TUFF ON DEM AN MADE DEM BETTA
- Jol'kiar - GET LOST LOSA MA FREKLOAR IS WAY BETTA DAN YORS HES A COPYCAT DUMBO VERSHON OF MINE
- Raj'liko - YOO BEST FITE LIKE DEY DID IN DA OLD DAYZ. DA NEW FITIN STYLES AR BORIN
- Jol'kiar - YOO MITE BE RITE BUT YOR STILL A LOSA. COM HEER IMMA BATTA YOO
Raj'liko roared and charged at Jol'kiar, who made a battle stance as he prepared himself. The Dark Loron sent a punch which the old Loron easily evaded, before launching an uppercut of his own which sent Raj'liko flying back, instantly knocked out cold.
- Ref'kolar - HURHURHURHUR... wth NO
- Kal'kuir - i wish i had a gun dat did dat
- Knar'gank - wow dat was... embarrassin??? like reely da dark jolkiar is a flippin wimp lmao
- Jol'kiar - YOO STOOPID IDIOTS WIV YOR DEEMUNS CANT FITE WORFF NUFFIN. YA FITE WIV YA SKILLS AN YA FAIFF IN DA 30 GODZ. I SWER YA FORSOOK DA 40 GODZ DAS HORRIBLE HAO COULD YA DO DAT MAN DA 50 GODZ IS DA BEST
- Brag'klogga - ALL 60 OF DA GODZ SMITE YOO TODAY!!!!!!
Brag'klogga then prepared his own war stance as he raised his staff up the sky, humming a dark tune under his breath. The sky turned black as clouds surrounded it, with Brag channeling his essence to create a storm out of time that would strike Ref'kolar down. As he did so, he lowered his staff before raising up one last time and pointing it towards Ref'kolar, only for the lightning bolt to hit him instead and knock him out cold, as he collapsed and fell to the floor and the skies cleared. Meanwhile, some corrupted Loron grabbed Raj'liko and quickly took him out of the battlefield, while the mad Champion both growled in anger and kept giggling maniacally.
- Fre'kloar - awkward
- Ref'kolar - YOO... YOR GONNA PAY FER DAT FREKLOAR. HURHURHURHUR IM GONNA MAKE YOO SUFFER SOOOOOO MUCH
- Fre'kloar - FACE ME COWARD
- Ray'loth -EVERYUN ELSE GO BATTA DEM CORRUPTED DUMBOS OK
- Jol'kiar - YEH. ITS AGENST TRADISHON IF WE GANG UP ON REF
- Drizz'pyrokirk - yeh ya wait til hes knokked out. DEN ya gang up on him
Ref'kolar roared as he leaped from the building, his fist glowing in demonic energies as he attempted to strike at his nemesis, who avoided just in time for Ref'kolar to collide with the ground; it exploded in a blast of essence, making it evident he was far more powerful than the last time they met. Fre'kloar, however, was not afraid as he took out his shanka and charged at his counterpart, and the two begun battling out, blood and demonic energies being thrown about with abandon.
- Fre'kloar - YOR A LOSA HAVIN TA USE GOD JUICE (WHICH YOO DONT DESERVE BTW) TA FITE ME
- Ref'kolar - FLIPPIN HILARIOUS MAN JUS STAND STILL SO I CAN EET YOO
- Kal'kuir - YO FREKLOAR USE DEEZ
Kal'kuir then tossed Fre'kloar what appeared to be a pair of oversized boxing gloves. Fre'kloar looked back in confusion before Kal'kuir explained:
- Kal'kuir - DEY MAKE YOR PUNCHES HIT WIV DEIR OWN GOD JUICE. DA GREEN ONE. DAT SHULD BE MOAR USEFUL AGENST REF
- Ref'kolar - MAN DATS CHEETIN
- Fre'kloar - YEH WELL YOO CHEETED FIRST CHEETA SHUT UP
Fre'kloar quickly put his shanka away and put on the gloves before Ref'kolar could snatch them, and started letting out punches of his own. Surely enough, they were charged with Chronoscoic energy which burned away at Ref'kolar's nightmarish essence, causing him to yell out in pain before the Big Boss sent out a great punch which sent Ref'kolar flying back, crashing into a wall.
- Fre'kloar - get absolutly DESTROYED DUMBO
- Knar'gank - hur nice
- Zalk'don - WOOO SIK PUNCHES MATE HES A TOTAL TOSSA AN HAS NO WAY OF COMIN BAK FROM DAT ONE
- Voa'reak - urm somfin tells me yoo shuldnt hav sed dat
- Zalk'don - wat whai tho
- Ref'kolar - AH... AHAHA... AAAAAAAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!
Suddenly, Ref'kolar's body flared with energy as an aura of malevolent essence enveloped him, and his body started to grow in size as monstrous mutations took place; a new pair of arms sprouted from his sides, his visage changed into one reminiscent of the old Loron'Kikra and his skin changed, turning charred in pure concentrated evil. He let out a terrible combination of roar and laughter as he almost seemed to burn in seething hatred. His Null State.
- Ref'kolar - WE WILL NEVA EEEEEEEEEEEEEND!!!!!!
- Fre'kloar - oh
With a nightmare-infused swipe, Ref'kolar struck at his counterpart, rending his armor like butter and leaving a large wound across his chest as he was sent flying himself. He stared at the Warbosses in maddened fury as he laughted out loudly.
- Ref'kolar - NAO YOO SEE. DA TRUFF OF IT ALL. IS DAT ALL IS NUFFIN COMPARED TO DA BEST GOD EVA: DA DEVOURA!!!!
- Brag'klogga - man i jus had a weird nitemare wher ref'kolar turned into a deemun an started chantin apocalyps stoof at us... OI WAT DA HELL ITS STILL GOIN
- Naktor'zak - MAN DIS IS TRASH I CANT RUN OVA HIM NAO HES TOO BIG
- Fre'kloar - OI. IM NOT DON WIV YOO YET
Ref'kolar growled as he looked forward, and Fre'kloar came back, visibly angry as he swept some blood from his mouth.
- Fre'kloar - UNLIKE YOO LOSA I HAV A MUCH BETTA WEPON DAN JUS MAJIK POWAS. I HAV HOMIES WATCHIN MA BAK. YOO THO YOO DONT HAV ANY FRIENDS I BET NOT EVEN DA DEEMUN BOYZ LIKE YOO. SO NAO ME AN MA HOMIES IS GONNA GIV YA HELL
- Ref'kolar - DATS NOT TROO I HAV TONS OF HOMIES!! SCROO YOO DIS ISNT FUNNY AT ALL!!!!!
Fre'kloar rushed forward, signalling to Voa'reak as he did so. The Warbosses quickly nodded and flew up to him, grabbing him from behind as Ref'kolar was about to strike him, before taking him to the skies and then dropping him; from that height, Fre'kloar yelled as he aimed a powerful punch from above, landing it squarely at Ref'kolar's forehead and causing the gigantic Loron demon to scream in pain as he stumbled back, only to find his rear also assaulted as Knar'gank stabbed his shankas into him and allowed gravity to slide him back, leaving large wounds across it. Fre'kloar then whistled out to Zalk'don, who laughed as he threw him a hand grenade which was then redirected at Ref'kolar's face, exploding directly at his monstrous three eyes and causing him to scream again while Ray'loth charged at his legs with his bladed knuckles, hacking at them to keep him in place.
- Ref'kolar - AAAARGH FREKLOAR YOO LOSA DIS IS AGENST TRADISHON
- Fre'kloar - TRADISHON ONLY MATTAS WHEN YOR FITIN OTHA LORON. AND YOR A LORON NO MOR MATE
Brag'klogga laughed manically as he cast his essence, causing what looked like an unicorn to manifest beneath Fre'kloar, who immediately mounted it and charged at Ref'kolar, striking him at his crotch with his Chronoscopic-enhanced punches. The demon shrieked out in pain as he retaliated, kicking the unicorn's head and killing it instantly while Fre'kloar jumped back at Da Propa Big Rogue Tank's position, using his great strength to lift the machine back upright before climbing on top of it. With a gleeful howl, Naktor'zak charged at Ref'kolar, who used his monstrous strength to stop the tank in its tracks while Fre'kloar passed his hand over its dirtier side and threw oil which spilled out of a tube at the demon, who was too distracted to notice. The Big Boss then jumped out, signalling at Drizz'pyrokirk to fire his flamers at Ref'kolar, igniting the oil and setting him on literal fire as opposed to essential demonic flames.
Amidst the confusion, Fre'kloar charged one more punch with all of his might directly at the demon's Corruptus Heart, causing Ref'kolar to roar out in pain as he fell backwards, slowly reverting back to his original form, now weakened and battered from their combined efforts.
- Fre'kloar - DA ROGUE BOYZ IS DA BEST!!!!!!!!!
- Jol'kiar - NOW DATS HOW YA FITE PROPA. GOOD WORK LADS
- Brag'klogga - DA 70 GODZ SMILE ON US TODAY FOR SUCH A SIK FITE. YA ALL HAV MADE DA 80 GODZ PROUD
- Kal'kuir - yanno i feel like we learned somfin profound today. by defeetin da laffer wiv our frendship maybe we lerned somfin about how important it is ta hav homies agenst clowns dat only laff at yas an not wiv yas. but den agen wat da hell ref mightve jus hit me reel hard on da hed LOL GET REKT PLEB
- Fre'kloar - nah ya hav a point dere. anyway IMMA FINISH YOO OFF NAO REFKOLAR SO YA DAI FOREVA AN NEVA DISTURB ME AGEN
- Ref'kolar - hurhurhur... HUR!! NOT SO FAST!!
At this point, a group of corrupted Loron Flashiez teleported in, standing between the Rogue Boyz and Ref'kolar, who struggled to get back up.
- Brag'klogga - HERETIK!!!! YA GAVE MA BOYZ DA DUM!!!!
- Ref'kolar - I LAFF AT YOO. I LAFF CUS IMMA GET DA HELL OUTTA HEER NAO SO YOO CANT KILL ME. I WILL RETURN ONE DAY TA KILL YAS
- Fre'kloar - NOOOO STOP DEM
The Warbosses charged at the Flashiez and made short work of many of them, but before they could get to Ref'kolar, one of them managed to teleport the Champion away to safety. In frustration, Fre'kloar quickly killed the last Flashy with his fists as the skies were cleared of demonic corruption over their heads.
- Fre'kloar - DAMMIT HE RAN OFF DAT COWARD
- Jol'kiar - eh dont worry yoo get ta kill him in da nex Loron story so its fine
- Fre'kloar - wat. anyway i guess we shuld go bak to da krooza an tell da othas dat WE WON AN HE LOST CUS HES AN IDIOT
- Jol'kiar - YEH WE CAN SAY DAT WES DA BEST
It would take a long time to repair the damage done to the planet, though the Loron were not really concerned with the logistics. As their ships chased down the last of Ref'kolar's fleet, they joined up again at Da Propa Big Rogue Krooza, with Fre'kloar telling those left behind of what happened.
- Fre'kloar - AN DEN I DIVED IN LIKE WHOOOSH AN PUNCHED HIS HED SO HARD IT CRAKKED
- Rel'larutina - Wow, how exciting, I guess. Is the pizza planet still intact?
- Drizz'pyrokirk - well its a bit burned of deemun stink but dats ok surely
- Rel'arutina - Oh good, because I'm hungry. Order me one with vegan cheese, please.
- Grak'tona - VEGAN CHEESE? WEEK. YA NEED PROPA CHEESE
- Rel'larutina - Right, because we could totally do with more space for cow farms after you demolished the last fifty and replaced them with your "royal golf courses" because you keep forgetting where the last one was.
- Hagto'Zhl - WHICH BTW STILL HAV HOLES WAY TOO SMALL. MAN YOR A CHEET
- Rogue Geek - There is something which must be noted about all this. I have watched the battle unfold, and Ref'kolar provided some information which could prove valuable.
- Rel'larutina - Oh yes, he did. Something about his "mistress". You know what? Why don't I go report that to the "Order" guys now before Fre'kloar inevitably forgets to?
- Fre'kloar - OI SHUT UP I HAV DA BEST MEMORY
- Rel'larutina - Right, okay, so what did you have on your pizza before the battle today?
- Fre'kloar - ... urm i forgot but it tasted nice
The forces of the Devourer's Chosen attack Praetoria, the capital the Draconid Imperium in Borealis.
Led by Capastrus the Emotionless, a fearsome tank-bred Iowroi Ast'ut who is numbed of all emotion, the Chosen cause great damage to the world. The defense is led by High Inquisitor Arsac, leader of the Inquisition of Drakon.
While he achieves his Null State, Capastrus is eventually defeated by the Draconis. Rather than being killed, the Champion is arrested by the Inquisition and taken away for study.
From Capastrus, the Draconis confirm the existence of a "Great Corruptor" within the Chosen, who Arsac recognizes as being Emperor Marigrax. This information eventually reaches the ears of the forces of Order.
The forces of the Devourer's Chosen attack the territory of the Divinarium.
While he achieves his Null State, Indricarron is eventually defeated by the Radeons. Acolyte Finkaron is killed in the battle. The fate of Indricarron is unknown.
From Indricarron, the Divinarium confirms Geltastra is the Dark Apostle of the Chosen. This information eventually reaches the ears of the forces of Order.
The Niaka Special Forces were used to being kicked while they were down, but the recent months had been particularly rough. Not only was Ikkiz, their homeworld, assaulted by a full Seagon armada, now it also fell prey to a fleet of the Devourer's Chosen, an enemy perhaps even more insidious. The fact the homeworld had been attacked twice in such a small span of time infuriated the Niaka to no end; they would fight with a ferocity generally reserved for their worst foes.
The skies of Ikkiz darkened as the monsters of the Corruptus sieged their cities. Cultists corrupted innocents and mercilessly slaughtered any who attempted to oppose them, while the likes of Malcaeum demons eagerly fed on their rage; this invasion was particularly well organized for the likes of the Chosen, who generally did not employ much strategy. Though the Niaka responded in kind, and showed no mercy as they destroy any and all intruder they could reach. Led by Chief Major Xerkea and Chief Minor Xeron, the mech-suits of the Niaka were more than able to gun down any cultists or withstand the nightmare demons in melee.
- Xerkea - Kill them! Kill them all! Let none escape our righteous wrath!
- Xeron - Filthy cultists! Get out of our homeworld!
The Niaka's display of violence quickly caught the attention of the Champion in charge of this invasion. Kernax the Striker, a cruel and devoted Empahreen minion of the Chosen, quickly moved his way to meet up with the leaders of the defenders. They quickly caught glimpse of what seemed to be something teleporting their way in quick bursts, until it stopped a safe distance ahead; Kernax closed his large wings around himself like a cape as he let out a smug smile.
- Kernax - Ah, so you must be the legendary Chief Major, leader of the famed "galactic police"? Quite the interesting sight, you are.
- Xerkea - What the hell are you?
- Kernax - Ahah... I am Kernax, the Striker Champion of That Which Devours, and I have been tasked with bringing your people into the fold, or kill you all if you refuse.
- Xeron - I recognize the species, Chief Major. It's an Empahreen. They're creatures from Aasatser who can teleport a fair distance... Well known for their piracy and crimes.
- Kernax - Indeed, my people have been plagued by your "law officers" for many years. I shall do them a favour by ridding you from existence.
- Xerkea - Pah. The demons at least provide a challenge to our mech-suits. You, though, look like something I could crush on my fist like a fruit.
Kernax smiled once again. It was true that he was not as physically impressive as his brethren, but where he lacked in muscle, he had military tactics. The Champion raised a hand in the air, and above their heads, swirling masses of nightmare essence begun to manifest before he then threw his hand down; from these masses, blasts of energy begun raining down across the battlefield like a meteor shower, killing numerous Niaka and forcing their leaders into a defensive position.
- Kernax - Multiple, simultaneous, overwhelming strikes of essence at specific locations to maximize splash damage among numerous enemies. Deep strikes, if you would.
- Xeron - It's raining fire!
- Xerkea - Damnit all, gun the bastard down!
The Niaka forces opened fire at Kernax, though the Champion avoided their shots by what seemed to be teleporting away. It was not quite teleportation; Empahreens were naturally able to move faster-than-light thanks to an organ in their bodies which were functionally tachyon drives, though as Xerkea watched her enemy, it was clear to her he was only able to do so in bursts and only for a specific distance before he reappeared in the flesh again. Using her mech-suit's internal communicators, she begun relaying orders to her men so that the Champion would not hear her, though she found it difficult to do so as he continued to rain down essence at them.
- Kernax - You Niaka are an interesting species. You are made of weak flesh, blood and bone, yet endure with determination and skills which allow you to survive the harshness of this galaxy... You will make capable acolytes of my master's crusade indeed!
- Xerkea - We'll see about that. Charge!
At this point, the Niaka all stopped firing as they charged at Kernax from various directions, their arms poised in what were obviously attempts to engage him in melee. A scoff came out of Kernax as he begun to evade them at every turn, his speed making it exceptionally easy to do so as he blasted them with essence for their troubles.
- Kernax - Hah! Boldness! Foolishness! I expected far more of you than such... simple tactics!
As he evaded them, however, the Champion eventually came to a halt. Reappearing one more time, he suddenly felt a massive force clench around him as Xerkea's mech-arm trapped him within her grasp, strangling his small neck and causing him to scream and thrash in a mix of pain and surprise.
- Kernax - W-What?! H-How did you-
- Xerkea - Having studied your moves, I could tell how much you can teleport and how much time I'd have to grab you by hiding in a blind spot while my men led you to me. You think yourself a strategist, huh? Well, I'm one too!
With a heavy swing of her hand, Xerkea slammed Kernax against the earth over and over again, causing the Empahreen to scream as his bones were broken in the pressure she forced upon him. The Chief Major's disdain made her drag it out for as long as she could, and she dragged the Champion's body across the floor, smearing it with his black blood to make sure he suffered for as long as possible. None of her men were particularly fazed by the sight; in fact, they welcomed it, and Xeron watched his mistress with admiration as she punished the scum who dared attack the homeworld.
- Xerkea - This. Is. For. Attacking. My. World! I. Will. END. YOU!
- Kernax - ... End me? End me?!
Xerkea was suddenly struck by a large explosion of essence, her mech-suit's arm being obliterated as she was launched back into her troops. The Niaka gasped at the sight as the broken body of Kernax suddenly rose again; he grew massive, as did his wings, and his intricate armor was replaced by charred flesh and bony protrusions as he glared at them with blood-red eyes. A Null State powerful enough to make the Niaka's mech-suits look like toys in comparison.
- Kernax - You mortal filth. We will never end!
- Xeron - Take cover!!
Letting out a roar, the skies burned in fire as massive blasts of essence rained down, much greater than before and much more numerous. The cities of Ikkiiz burned as the sky fell upon them, and Kernax extended an arm to grab at their mech-suits and crush them on his massive grasp, in a mockery of what they had done to him. Xerkea and her men took cover and attempted to fire at the demon, but he merely shrugged off their shots as he slowly walked at their direction. However, the Champion suddenly stopped on his tracks as he looked up to the skies, which were followed by the Niaka.
Ships were entering the atmosphere. Seagon ships!
- Xerkea - What the... Don't tell me they're back for revenge at a time like this?!
- Kernax - How curious... You have called for reinforcements, Xerkea? I would have thought you would have understood the futility of it by now.
The Seagon ships opened fire immediately, though much to the Niaka's surprise, their weapons were all aimed at Kernax; leaving the Niaka forces untouched, the Seagon started to bombard the Champion, who screamed as their extremely high-grade weaponry tore his flesh and sent him back. A shuttle would land at close proximity of the battlefield, and out came a squad of Seagon troopers carrying assault rifles; Xerkea and Xeron, together with their forces, all aimed their weapons at the new arrivals, though they did not appear to be fazed by it. It was to be expected.
- Xerkea - What trickery is this, Seagon?! How dare you-
- ??? - We knew we would not be welcomed here with open arms, but I ask you to direct your weapons at the Corruptus Demon for the time being. I will answer each and all of your questions when the Devourer's Chosen lie ruined and defeated.
- Xeron - This is madness! We can't trust them!
- Kernax - You will pay for this affront, mortals!
- Xerkea - Ugh... We have no choice. Let them in!
Nodding, the Seagon troopers charged forward, firing their weapons at Kernax while the Niaka provided them what support they could. The trooper who spoke to Xerkea, clearly their leader given the intricacy of his armor, carried in his grasp what appeared to be a hand grenade as he approached the massive demon, who used his wings to shield himself from their gunfire.
The Seagon leader then threw the object in his hand, with it rolling across the ground until it stopped beneath Kernax's massive body, where it then clicked open. Suddenly, a massive vortex blasted itself into existence, causing the Striker's eyes to widen as he was sucked downwards, his legs being crushed into nothingness as he threw his arms into the ground in a desperate attempt to escape.
- Kernax - What?! What is this?! What have you done?!
- ??? - Reverse-engineered Cold One technology. Known as a "spacetime crusher grenade". Quite expensive to create, and so only reserved for the most unkillable threats...
- Kernax - Curse you, mortals! Curse you all! I must live! I must see the Overworld's first breath!!
Kernax desperately attempted to use his tachyon drive organ to escape, but desperation grew into the demon's face as it was crushed by the force of the vortex under him, and he screamed as he was completely sucked in. It was a little more complicated than a mere vortex, however; Kernax had, in fact, been crushed into an incredibly small point in space, before the object then exploded, causing the giant demon's foul blood and giblets to be blasted across the landscape, before they all turned to dust, utterly destroying him.
The skies cleared as the Champion was destroyed, and the Niaka mech-suits approached the Seagon troopers, who all stood down. Their leader took his hands to his helm and removed it, revealing his face to them; he was not any Seagon they had ever seen before, and his look was stern.
- ??? - As promised, I shall now answer your questions, Chief Major. I am Sergeant Trastius, sent by my superiors of the newly formed Seagon Cryptocracy to wrong the misdeeds caused by the likes of Rothneld Vhezari.
- Xerkea - Cryptocracy? Not Empire? Hmmm.
- Trastius - Indeed. The monarchy is gone, and we are now led by shadow lords whose names I cannot disclose at this time. However, our mission is a clear one; we have been ordered to provide our full support to you and your allies.
- Xeron - We can't be just working with our ancients foes overnight! Sure, you helped kill the demon, but I don't trust you!
- Trastius - It is understandable that you would not trust us, but I assure you my men and I are ready to die for you. I do believe we deserve a chance to prove ourselves; after all, you are an offshot of a pirate empire yourself. You were not immediately trusted either.
- Xeron - Why you little-
- Xerkea - Enough, Xeron. He has a point.
Xerkea pointed at Trastius with the sole hand remaining on her mech-suit.
- Xerkea - We shall test your mettle in the battles to come, Seagon. When we call, you shall answer.
- Trastius - So be it.
Might of the Corruptus
It was quite the contrast; for the first time in years, Hachiman found themselves in the confort of another person's arms. They were cradled like a small child by a figure who hummed calmly under a pleasant clear blue sky. It gave them a feeling they had not felt in a long time; it reminded them of home. Of a time without worries. Their vision was blurred, though they had no doubt they were in the arms of Thea'Nhirara, as after all, none could replicate the same gentle feeling of care for them as her.
Hachiman snuggled closer into the embrace, reaching out to touch soft feathers of light. So calm they were they closed their eyes, believing they could drift to sleep at any moment - it had been a sensation that they dearly missed. Their childhood was strained, barely remembering any of it before becoming acquainted with the angel that would become their mother and mentor, although they knew there was no affection as tranquil and calming as now. They had to struggle not to cry. For all the hardship and blood and death that has hardened their heart, the tragedies and horrors of war and those dark hands that guide it, that coarseness gave way to something gentle and reaffirming and euphoric. They leaned their head against their mother's chest, waiting to hear the resonating pattern of her heartbeats.
- ??? - Oh, you sweet, little destined child...
That was not his mother's voice.
In the blink of an eye, the blue skies turned black. The feeling of gentle softness was replaced by coarse, spiky itching. The warmness was replaced by a deathly cold. And perhaps worst of all, there was no heartbeat to be heard at all.
Hachiman's eye opened, although their movements felt slow. A creeping terror worked its way up their spine like claws and they forced their vision to clear, shaking their head and struggling to flail and push themselves away as the world shifted around them. After having been exposed to the aftermath of numerous battlefields, Hachiman knew this sensation felt like coming close and intimate with death. Like they were being cradled by a corpse. And staring down at them were a pair of glaring, radiant green eyes, with a horrible grin under them as the young warrior found themselves unable to free themselves.
- Geltastra - Destined... to die.
And then Hachiman woke up.
While the Champions of the Devourer's Chosen fought their battles across Borealis, none of their fleets compared to the great armada which assaulted the skies over Kurithora, the Indoctrinate Collective's capital of the galaxy. It was to be expected; after all, the Chosen considered them their greatest enemies and as such took them the most seriously. The soldiers of the Collective were growing incrasingly tired and frustrated, for many were going days without proper sleep due to demonic-induced nightmares or insomnia which was typical of a Corruptus invasion, leaving them more vulnerable to an all-out assault. Baptarion and Hachiman, who were plagued the most by these dark dreams, had little time to collect themselves as they were called to the front by Admiral Vyutrin in the defense of the capital; while a terrible battle raged in the atmosphere of the planet, hordes of Corruptus Demons manifested in the ground to take on the defenders. Baptarion was armed with his pistol as usual, though the great scowl in his face showed he had long lost his patience with the Corruptus' constant tormenting of Borealis and his people - that is, the Collective.
Hachiman, meanwhile, felt a concoction of fear and dread. Although their memory was vague, almost completely washed away by the time spent with Thea'Nhirara and the fresher memories of atrocities and battles committed in the current war, the day Hachiman first encountered the starving monsters that lashed and hungered in the shadow of reality resurfaced to the forefront of their mind. Whitened knuckles gripped the handle of their sword and while they had grown more than used to cutting down cultists, to finally grasp the power and strength to fight these daemonic monstrosities and put it to use against them was both exhilarating and immensely terrifying.
As Vyutrin's men fired their Pseudothoi weaponry, many demons were taken down before they could reach the frontline. However, masses of Malcaeum charged fearlessly through the gunfire and butchered those who stood in their way.
- Vyutrin - Kill them! Kill them all!
- Baptarion - Demon scum... I won't let you take my home from me. I won't lose my home again.
- Hachiman - They're c-completely different... It's not like fighting people at all.
- Malcaeum - KILL. SLAUGHTER. SLAY.
One of the beasts leaped at Hachiman's direction, its blade held in two hands as it sent it down at them in a violent frenzy. Hachiman was almost overwhelmed, evading although they felt their body quivering in the presence of these creatures. They had not encountered such an inhuman thirst for blood before. Mustering their strength, they swung their katana - its blade coated in a shimmering light - in wide sweeping arcs to attempt to cut down whatever came close and dissuade anything else from going for the offensive. A feeling akin to a cornered animal.
- Malcaeum - RREEAAAAAHHH! KILL DREAM!!
- Hachiman - Back off!
From the flank, Baptarion shot at the monster, now distracted by Hachiman enough that it would not see him, and took it down by blasting its head. Its vile burning blood spilled across the child's own face, as black as the void and feeling like acid against their fur.
- Baptarion - These aren't people, kid. They're animals - no, even less than animals. They're vermin. Treat them like so.
- Hachiman - That... T-That doesn't make sense! None of this makes sense! I thought they'd back down if they saw my dream power... but they don't fear it at all! They don't fear anything!
- Vyutrin - Incoming!
A barrage of artillery fire blasted the enemy line, destroying numerous demons among their horde, though their numbers kept coming. The group was forced to keep fighting for many minutes more until a new figure emerged in the battlefield; carrying an immense blade and radiating an aura of nightmarish might which caused even the Malcaeum to give him a wide berth, a humanoid creature wearing an ornate suit of black armor slowly walked into view. It was not a species any of the defenders recognized at first glance, but it was clear by its effect on the enemy forces that this was their leader.
- ??? - Even with your world in ruins and your skies in flames, you resist. This determination would be put in better use under the Devourer's Chosen's wing.
Hachiman stepped close to Baptarion, who pointed his weapon at the new arrival with apprehension. Something dwelled deep in their chest at the sight of the monstrous warrior, something familiar. The mere presence of this abomination, the nightmarish black aura that swelled and twisted around it, brought Hachiman pause as their mind flashed back once again to the day they first encountered the Corruptus and their fiends - the serpentine wormlike harbinger that had attempted to drag their soul and dreams into the dark from which it and the rest of its ruinous kindred spawned from. That was what this presumed commander over these demons reminded the young boy of.
Something else stirred in that emotional concoction, but Hachiman could not yet determine what it was. Hachiman gripped their sword tighter.
- Hachiman - ... What the shit is that?!
- Baptarion - Hell, whatever it is, it's ugly.
- ??? - I am Nai-Ar'natl, Acolyte of Might and right-hand of my Dark Apostle. My Auatorom kin have lived in these stars for far longer than the likes of you know, and we have been enlightened by the dark truth of That Which Devours.
- Vyutrin - A high-ranking leader, eh? So good of you to come to our world, so we can dispose of you before destroying the rest of your scummy cult!
- Nai-Ar'natl - You are naive. That Which Devours cannot be avoided. You will learn it one way or another.
Hachiman then knew what that something stirring within them was. Fury. A raw, intense fury seated on the throne of their heart, roused by the mere presence of the Acolyte. Like a moment of clarity, the revelation of what they were dealing with struck Hachiman like thunder and their soft features, now stained with abyssal black blood, contorted into a scowl with gritted teeth. They stepped away from Baptarion, both hands now clenching the hilt of the katana as embers of white fire danced along its edge.
- Hachiman - ... I remember your kind. One of you came to me in a nightmare made real long ago. Your "dark truths" are lies! You only call them truth because you're too far gone to turn back now and you make other people suffer for your stupid choices!
- Nai-Ar'natl - I know not what you speak of, but I see the loathsome aura of dream essence within you - you are the one my mistress wants disposed of. And I shall do so.
- Baptarion - Oi! You want to go out of your way to kill a child? Just cause of their essence?
- Nai-Ar'natl - The child sealed its fate when it delivered itself to the Great Enemy.
- Hachiman - I'm not a child! Stop calling me that! You don't get to belittle me just because I'm younger, I've bled and I've killed just like the rest of you!
- Nai-Ar'natl - Silence.
The massive acolyte leaped forward, thrusting his blade at Hachiman's direction as he did so. Just from the weight of his movements, they could easily tell he was far more potent than any demon they had fought until then. Hachiman, a white flame burning in their eye, lept to meet Nai-Ar'natl in their attack and clashed swords - yet even in their anger, dream essence coursing through their spirit like a crashing tide, they were still a boy and found it more difficult than any trial before to meet the Acolyte in combat. The Auatorom skillfully parried any and all blows Hachiman attempted to deliver, his own aura of malevolence swelling and overpowering the young warrior's own aura of radiant light as his blade was wreathed in purple nightmarish flames. Vyutrin and Baptarion attempted to fire their weapons at him, though their gunfire fizzled out harmlessly before it could touch him.
- Nai-Ar'natl' - I am the greatest of my kind, with over eight centuries of experience and mastery over the power of nightmare. What are you? Little more than an inconvenience.
- Hachiman - I'll kill you!
- Nai-Ar'natl - Pathetic.
Using his free hand, the acolyte delivered a forceful palm across Hachiman's face to stun the young warrior before delivering a powerful slash across their torso, with enough momentum to send them flying back, rolling across the rugged battlefield like a ragdoll. Blood spat from the wound and there was a horrific crunching of bone as the boy was dashed across solid debris, before eventually coming to a stop in a cloud of dust and bloody mist. By some miracle the boy had not been completely bisected, although they bled profusely and it would take very little effort to force Hachiman's innards to be drawn out of their body from the gaping slash.
Nai-Ar'natl slowly walked at the young warrior's direction to finish the job, though he was stopped on his tracks as a powerful impact hit his back, catching him by surprise and leading him to stumble forward. As he turned around to find the source, he saw Baptarion, with his mechanic arm extended forward and his hand clenched in a fist.
- Baptarion - Hey. You don't get to kill the kid. Their mom would kill me if you did.
- Vyutrin - Keep him distracted while I fetch some heavy ordnance, will you!
- Baptarion - Yeah, well, hurry the hell up, please. Spode's sake, this wasn't a great idea.
- Nai-Ar'natl - Such strength, especially coming from a weak species like yours. No doubt from your augmentations. You would not need such contraptions if you simply joined us; we can grant you the gift of true flesh.
- Baptarion - Hell no.
Focusing his own powers, Baptarion blasted Nai-Ar'natl with elemental energy, causing the acolyte to bring a hand up to shield his head as it forced itself against the nightmarish shield which enveloped him from ranged fire. However, the Radeon knew this would not be enough to take the enemy down; rather, he made sure to keep his distance as the acolyte swung his blade in an attempt to strike him down, each swing leaving a trail of dark flame which poisoned the air and killed the earth under it.
As Baptarion struggled with the Acolyte, Hachiman rose their head from the blood-smattered dirt. Whether it was their own or someone else's did not matter at this point, so long as Baptarion secured time for the warrior to channel their dream essence into knitting together the flesh and tissues divided by Nai-Ar'natl's strike. It was a swift job, sure to leave a nasty scar as Hachiman knew they did not have the time or the precision in those moments to heal the wound properly. They watched the battle unfold, spitting blood as the world burned around them and baring their teeth. Their entire body felt like a bruise from broken bones and torn flesh.
- Hachiman - J-Just a little longer... I won't let him get the best of me again... That was so stupid of me, shit. I can't take him in a one-on-one fight and he's tanking all of Bap's attacks, that ordnance isn't gonna do anything unless... U-Unless...
Then their eye widened, the spark of an idea igniting into being in their mind and setting fire to the dark horror that attempted to creep in. Struggling to their feet, barely able to hold themselves together through the use of their dream essence, they glared at Nai-Ar'natl in the distance and reached for their katana again before making the effort to muster a weak sprint. The acolyte was busy dealing with Baptarion, growing annoyed by his essence until he managed to get the Radeon by surprise, clenching a hand around his neck and lifting him off the ground. Baptarion attempted punching at the Auatorom's arm, though even his mechanic arm's immense strength was not enough to make him let go.
- Nai-Ar'natl - Spode... The weakest of all weak gods. The Dark Apostle was abandoned by this deity and left to her death, until That Which Devours granted her new life. And now it has abandoned you too... Where is Spode now, when your life is literally within my grasp?
- Baptarion - Nngh! ... Y-You Corruptus blokes t-talk way too much...
- Nai-Ar'natl - Hmpf. Such stubbornness. Perhaps not too unexpected. You really believe your weak weapons will be enough to defeat me? The mightiest of acolytes?
The Auatorom then threw Baptarion into the ground before stomping on his torso; blood spilled out of the archaeologist's mouth as he screamed in agony, the strength of Nai-Ar'natl almost being enough to crush his entire ribcage in one blow.
- Nai-Ar'natl - Heresy will be punished with death.
Then Nai-Ar'natl felt a breeze. It was not particularly strong, nowhere near potent enough to damage him to any capacity, but he could feel it nonetheless. Some form of wind or force had blown gently through the thick smothering dark aura surrounding him from behind, causing the smog of nightmarish essence to be blown gently with it and flicker for a moment. The stench of the antithesis of the Devourer's dark gift followed suite, punctuated by Hachiman calling out from some distance behind while keeping their sword sheathed and their stance combat-ready in spite of their wounds. The acolyte immediately stopped on his tracks, turning his head to face Hachiman as a growl came out of his mandibles.
- Hachiman - H-Hey... Y-You know, my mom has taught me a lot of really good... r-really important lessons. I don't always listen, sometimes I get bored... o-or I'm tired... but there's one lesson that I think has really kinda stuck with me...
Their legs parted, widening their stance as dream essence pooled through their body into the sheathed blade. Hachiman had no hope to best such a powerful swordsman in one-on-one combat, so they ensured to stay some distance away from the Acolyte while maintaining an intense eye contact. At first they were smiling something cocky, but it soon dropped and gave way as the boy's split lips twisted into a scowl.
- Hachiman - I can't solve all my problems by attacking people... I can't win every fight by cutting people down... Sometimes, instead, what you've gotta do to win is really find a way... to make them vulnerable, soften them up, get past whatever they've set up to keep other people from getting inside... I can't beat you, I know that much, but I know a surefire way I can get through to you!
The sword was drawn quick, faster than a bullet. There was a bright and fiery wind sweeping across the battlefield in Nai-Ar'natl's direction, soon followed by several more speeding ribbons of dream energy. As they struck, once again the Acolyte felt no damage as none of these attacks charged with the antithesis of his own essence seemed potent enough to cut - perhaps they were merely for show, some last desperate attempt to distract him from killing the young boy's friends. The ribbons of blazing light soon fizzled out of existence as they blew through Nai-Ar'natl harmlessly, only managing to kick up dust. The acolyte's eyes narrowed as he begun walking at Hachiman's direction, unsure of what they were doing but clearly not intimidated by the display; he was a renowned warrior, he had no reason to fear a little child.
And then the aura surrounding Nai-Ar'natl wavered. At first it swelled and writhed, flowing with nightmarish essence, before it began to fold into itself. As it folded and withdrew it burned, darkness set alight and transformed into blinding golden light as Nai-Ar'natl, deprived of his supernatural defences, suddenly became all too aware of the details of his surroundings. The wind, the vibrations of ordnance billowing through air, the dirt beneath his feet. Things that had once been blocked out by his shield of darkness seemed overwhelming now that he had no control of what got through to him. The Auatorom stopped on his tracks, stumbling in place as he was taken by surprise.
- Nai-Ar'natl - What... What is this trickery?!
- Hachiman - I... I noticed that Bap's attacks weren't having much effect, a-and I realised something. You weren't really tanking them... Your aura is like armour, w-with focus you can meld it and shape it... so I cut that down instead of you to finally get through to you. You can't rely on nightmares to defend you anymore... y-you loser!
- Nai-Ar'natl - You filthy child, how dare you-
Before he could retaliate, the sound of explosives being launched roared across the battlefield as Vyutrin returned, now followed by an entire squad of Collective troopers carrying the heavy ordnance he talked about; missile launchers, charged with Pseudothoi technology. Nai-Ar'natl's eyes widened as a barrage of missiles were launched at him, and his roars of pain deafened all other sounds as he was dismembered, his right arm and left leg being completely obliterated while his body was flung away by the explosions. Baptarion coughed out some more blood as he rose to his feet before stumbling his way to Hachiman, who huffed and panted as they watched the Acolyte's trajectory across the length of the battlefield and struggled to remain on their feet.
- Baptarion - Heh. Not bad at all.
- Hachiman - T-Thanks... B-But it's not over yet. I think he might be strong enough to heal himself... s-so we'd better make sure to finish the job before we call it a victory, huh?
- Baptarion - True. C'mon.
The acolyte's damaged body stumped in the distance, and he cringed and struggled as he attempted to drag himself across the ground, trying to reach his sword again. However, Vyutrin and his men quickly arrived to his position, switching to assault rifles as they surrounded him, with Baptarion and Hachiman joining them soon after. Vyutrin kicked the sword away before pressing the barrel of his weapon at Nai-Ar'natl's head, causing the acolyte to growl and stop moving.
- Vyutrin - Tough bastard, you ARE still alive even after that. That's why I hate you demons, you take way too long to kill.
- Nai-Ar'natl - Gah... Spare me, Spinker... A warrior like me does not deserve such a humiliating defeat.
- Vyutrin - Oh, I think you do. I think you deserve to be humiliated to the entire damn Gigaquadrant, you piece of crap! You and all of your filthy demon kind!
- Hachiman - W-Wait, please...
- Baptarion - What now?
Hachiman approached Nai-Ar'natl's damaged body, struggling to breathe as they looked the Auatorom up and down. They furrowed their brow at the sight of the monstrosity, although they swallowed what hatred was lashing to get out and took another step forward while the Acolyte was incapacitated. Nai-Ar'natl growled at the sight, though he did nothing to stop him as he bled profusely from his wounds.
- Hachiman - Y-Your Mistress... She appeared to me in a nightmare. If you tell us about her... I can make sure your death is quick and not quite so embarrassing...
A grunt came out of the acolyte as he pointed a clawed finger at Hachiman.
- Nai-Ar'natl - I... will tell you nothing... You will meet her soon enough. All of you... Realize you have merely delayed the inevitable. The Corruptus is eternal.
- Hachiman - P-Perhaps... But my mom always said that there's a balance in everything. Light and dark, life and death... earth and sky, hot and cold... Where there's the Corruptus and the dread they bring, there will always be light and hope to meet it... As much as I hate what you are, it's upsetting to know no one ever taught you that.
- Vyutrin - Enough chit-chat. Kill him!
- Nai-Ar'natl - The Great Corruptor comes. We will never end.
Hachiman huffed. A searing pain erupted through Nai-Ar'natl's body as the blade of the boy's sword slowly plunged into his chest, filling every vein and nerve with a flow of dream essence that burned away at the nightmarish corruption as it slunk close to the Auatorom's heart. It was not a swift end by any measure, nor was it a painless one, but to Hachiman it seemed the natural conclusion to prevent a branch of darkness from growing back was to ensure it burned to ashes. One Dracogonarious trooper then grabbed Hachiman by the shoulders and forced them back as the rest of them, including Vyutrin and Baptarion, unleashed fire at point-blank, utterly destroying Nai-Ar'natl before he had any chance to retaliate. The Auatorom's torn body slowly disappeared, turning into a black dust which dissipated in the wind, until there was nothing left.
- Hachiman - ... That was a person once. Someone like me, I think. I can't understand why somebody would give themselves to something so... evil. It... feels weird that we'll never really get to know what drove them to do it. That wasn't somebody who was possessed, they had to make that choice.
- Baptarion - When you live as long as me, you realize some people are just... bad.
- Vyutrin - Well, definitely didn't look like the friendliest alien to begin with. Regardless, his death means his forces will fall in disarray, and no more innocents will die today. A job well done, all of you.
- Baptarion - Yeah, well, my body hurts. A lot. I think he broke my ribs.
- Hachiman - Y-Yeah... I'm barely hanging on myself. Nearly cut me in half. I uh, I think I might need a lay down.
- Vyutrin - You can both retreat and take care of your wounds while me and the troops clean up this mess. You earned it.
Hachiman glanced to Baptarion and shuffled close, before wrapping their arms around him. Although they seemed to be trying to keep it quiet, Baptarion knew that Hachiman was sobbing and whimpering almost uncontrollably into the embrace. The Radeon raised an eyebrow at the sight before letting out a sigh, leaning down and taking Hachiman in his own arms.
- Baptarion - Let's go home.
Into the Maw of the Apocalypse
A Coming Scourge
The defeat of Acolyte Nai-Ar'natl and the Champions of the Chosen took a heavy toll on the forces of Order, but it would quickly prove to be worth it. Days after the attacks, after allowing their empires time to secure their borders and ensure the fleets had been completely defeated, they encountered contact once more in order to discuss what happened and what they had learned. The nightmares were spreading more and more, affecting many more nations across the Western Arm, but perhaps for the first time, the mood was optimistic; or at least, it would be the case, were it not for the discovery the Indoctrinate Collective had made and intended to reveal to their allies. However, first of all, the pieces of the puzzle needed to be put in place.
Joining them this time was the newly introduced Sergeant Trastius of the Seagon "Cryptocracy". It was somewhat difficult for them to believe they were willingly allowing the Seagon to take part of their conference, though the Niaka Special Forces vowed for their participation. Despite his disdain for the 'usurpers', Arkarixus remained surprisingly indifferent about Trastius' presence, and merely directed his words to Admiral Vyutrin.
- Arkarixus - Stand report.
- Vyutrin - We have learned much from the Champions and their leader. The Devourer's Chosen is led by two individuals; the first is a Radeon named Dark Apostle Geltastra Sheol'rephai, a former war hero of her people who fell to corruption and who is the direct master of the Champions, and presumably the rest of the mortal flock of the cult. But beyond her is a figure they call the Great Corruptor, the one who created the Chosen to begin with and enlisted Geltastra into her role; none other Emperor Marigrax, the former drone-lord of the Plazithian Marinox and later leader of the Marinoxidiz during the Plazithian Massacre.
- Olcinius - Given your tone, I take you have history with this Marigrax then.
- Vyutrin - History? I watched him die! I was there when the Dracogonarious bombed his big demon ship into oblivion! Heck, ask the Ottzelloans, they were there too during the great battle of Primorgius.
- Yogtam - Some of us were, that is...
- Kralgon Emperor - Indeed. What a glorious battle!
- Zr'Ahgloth - I LIKED DA PART WHER I PUNCHED DEEMUNS IN DA FACE
- Vyutrin - Yeah... and that's where the good news end.
- Xeron - Those were the good news?!
Vyutrin's expression shifted into discomfort as he let out a sigh.
- Vyutrin - ... The reason they're making all those sacrifices is because they're using souls as fuel to create a Corruptus Overworld. A new one.
- Trastius - Pardon, but the term is new to me.
- Fre'kloar - YEH ME TOO but tbh i wasnt listenin to anyfin dat anyones said so far
- Baptarion - Overworld? Like... the ones from the stories?
- Vyutrin - Yes. Just like that. A Corruptus Overworld is a living, demonic planet that can birth entire armies of Corruptus Demons in instants. They are the most calamitous of their kind by a wide margin.
- Kal'kuir - WOW BY MY CALCULASHONS DAT WULD CREATE OVER A DOZEN DOZEN DOZEN CORRUPTUS A MINUT. OH MA DAYZ WE BETTA STOP DIS NOW
- Xeron - They're... making a demon the size of an actual planet?! What?! Surely this is some fantasy you came up with!
- Vekaron - Really, after everything I've seen in this conflict so far, the idea doesn't sound that impossible.
- Tuolog - Indeed. In this line of work, the term "fantasy" become meaningless for just how much is actually reality.
- Olcinius - Do we even possess the means to kill this... planet demon?
- Vyutrin - That's the problem; I'm pretty sure we just don't have enough firepower to pull that off. Back in the Plazithian Massacre, we had extradimensionals helping us create weapons to kill these things, and they're not around anymore. So we need to stop this thing from being born to begin with.
- Kralgon Emperor - But we still have extradimensionals. We have the Vague, right? As long as we have the Vague, this should all be a piece of cake, right?
- Arkarixus - Underestimate these Essentials at your own peril. I will not do the same mistake.
- ??? - Nor will I.
An audible gasp could be heard by the rest of the conference as a mysterious figure entered immediately. At first, they could not make out the figure at all, as only a pair of eyes were visible. However, they could quite distinctively make out the voice as he began to speak: it was none other than Falrik Zaarkhun.
- Falrik Zaarkhun - You really need to get more secure channels, by the way. It was not too difficult for my spies to hack into this one. Nonetheless, all your concerns you have raised here are entirely valid, which is why you will need my help.
- Xeron - What?! How... How dare you, you filthy terrorist! As if we'd believe a word you say! Begone!
- Falrik Zaarkhun - The Corruptus Overworld, remember? You'd really turn down help now?
- Trastius - You are not trustworthy help. I know this better than anyone else here, Wranploer slave.
Zaarkhun chuckled a little under his breath, before he burst into outright laughter at the suggestion, hiding how insulted he felt by the statement, before he proceeded to speak, ignoring everything else they had said.
- Falrik Zaarkhun - In order to defeat the Corruptus, we'll need to ensure each of our forces are prepared well against them. This means not only the use of Essence-empowered weapons, but also knowing how to pick our targets. The Corruptus may be an extreme threat, but they like any other have weaknesses. In this case, their weaknesses are their leaders. Targeted strikes against each of them should cause an entire force to disperese.
- Vyutrin - Don't tell me how to fight the Corruptus, I've been doing it longer than anybody else here.
- Falrik Zaarkhun - Really? And just how successful have you been?
- Vyutrin - Considering we won the Plazithian Massacre? Very.
- Falrik Zaarkhun - You barely won. You were within inches of defeat, and you relied upon the Vyro'Narza for help. We cannot afford the same luxury this time.
- Arkarixus - Silence.
Arkarixus' voice boomed at Falrik Zaarkhun. It was the first time he had the chance to meet the Kormacvar, and it was clear by his tone alone that he made Volim look like an infant in comparison.
- Arkarixus - State your intentions at once.
- Falrik Zaarkhun - Put simply: I wish to provide the support of the Borealis Consortium Network, and also tell you how to stop the Overworld. I believe you will need my strategic intuition more than my weaponry.
- Arkarixus - To what end? How does this benefit you?
- Falrik Zaarkhun - I can't run a business when the entire galaxy is devoured by demons, can I?
- Arkarixus - ... You are weak. You cannot lead any strategy worth salt. You shall obey my instructions.
Once again, Zaarkhun snickered at the very notion, before he retorted.
- Falrik Zaarkhun - So, tell me, Kormacvar, what experience have you against the Corruptus?
- Arkarixus - Enough to know they can be destroyed. You and your forces shall follow my orders if you are to aid in this battle. Any case of treason will be met with annihilation.
- Fre'kloar - man whais is all so rude ta zaarkhun man hes safe hes a homie of mine chill out
- Falrik Zaarkhun - Oh, is that so?
Zaarkhun then displayed a numerical graph in front of them. On one part of the graph, he showed the success rate of each of the forces of Order against the Corruptus, and on the other, he showed the Borealis Consortium Network's forces. While the rest of the Order took the time to see what it was, Arkarixus did not even bother eyeing it.
- Falrik Zaarkhun - As you can see, your operations have led to, at best, a 45% success rate against the demons. With only 30% of all forces who face them having returned to see another day. On the other, the Consortium Network and associated PMCs? A much more impressive 58% success rate. With 40% of those facing them surviving. So tell me, Kormacvar, whose orders have had a greater success against the Corruptus?
With a flick of his finger, Arkarixus dismissed the graphs. His expression remained stoic.
- Arkarixus - Mine.
- Tuolog - No. We need follow his.
- Arkarixus - I do not follow orders. I provide them. He shall obey, or his business will burn in the depths of whatever hells the Chosen crawled out of. If he is truly smart, he will understand this.
- Tuolog - I understand apprehension to listening to Zaarkhun, but Zaarkhun has better intuition than any of us here. We would be wise to listen to his instructions once in while. And besides, there mutual benefit to this one. He hates demons as much as us.
- Falrik Zaarkhun - Bingo. So, I say to the so-called forces of Order: it is your choice. You can listen to the last of his kind here who has never fought Corruptus before now, and whose race was led to destruction. Or you can listen to the brightest mind in the galaxy. I leave the choice to you.
Arkarixus' expression changed into a frown; Tuolog's comment had in fact insulted the warrior, for he dared to compare Zaarkhun's intuition to his own.
- Arkarixus - No, primitive. The choice is yours. You shall follow my commands, and then I may consider what you have to say. But know this; I have fought, and killed, much worse than Essential rabble. I was born by battle, forged to destroy the greatest supersoldiers of the Grox Empire, and so I am 100% certain my strategy is more sound than yours. I lead. You obey.
- Falrik Zaarkhun - Well, I believe I have said my piece. I will forward a plan to you all tomorrow. It is your choice how much of it you wish to abide by. But I strongly suggest you look at the numbers.
- Xeron - They're probably faked, to be honest.
With that, Zaarkhun vanished as quickly as he had arrived.
- Tuolog - That not go well.
- Arkarixus - How dare you insinuate this mortal is a greater warmaster than me? In the times of the Kormacvar, I would have thrown you out of the airlock for this.
- Tuolog - All I know is the outcomes I have seen. The time-
Tuolog stopped himself before he mentioned "timelines" once again, and cleared his throat.
- Tuolog - I only suggest that we follow advice, not that we follow orders.
- Arkarixus - Whatever advice he has to say, I will no doubt have already considered it. I will make use of his assets, you can be sure of that. He shall be the cannon fodder.
- Xeron - No complaints from me!
- Tuolog - It unwise to be so combative at this time of all times. Plus, Zaarkhun will consider himself to be the one in charge regardless. I suspect it more likely that neither of you follow each other's orders.
- Arkarixus - Then pray he does not meet me in person. For I will destroy him.
- Yogtam - None of us have met him in person, actually.
- Fre'kloar - I HAV. hes a shorta dan he looks
- Jol'kiar - yeh in da original vershon we all met him an he had dis ovapowered device dat ment no bullets can hit him. lazy writin tbh
- Olcinius - ... What are they talking about?
- Brag'klogga - i wuldnt expect non-loronz ta undastand tbh
- Arkarixus - Regardless, now that the vermin has left - though I would no dubt be surprised if he were still listening, like the coward he is -, I have something else to ask.
Arkarixus turned his tone to Trastius.
- Arkarixus - Seagon. I demand you elaborate on the weapon you used to destroy the Champion at Ikkiz.
- Trastius - The spacetime crusher grenade? We based it on designs we found at a space station long ago. There were schematics for a weapon capable of such properties.
- Arkarixus - I know this weapon you speak of. It was long lost by the time I was born, but we knew it was once used to destroy powerful enemies like Dronox Commanders. It was known as "Project Void".
- Vyutrin - Charming name.
- Arkarixus - Seagon, you shall take us to Project Void at the first opportunity. I believe it will serve us well in the battle against this "Emperor Marigrax".
- Tuolog - From what little I know of weapon, I know that it more than capable of combating the Corruptus. We need technologies like this if we are to fight them.
- The Mechanic - Sir, if I might interject, the Caretakers may know where a lot more of them are stored. Perhaps we should arm the Seagon and anyone else capable of wielding such devices.
- Arkarixus - Do so. However, Project Void was not something that could be simply carried from its installation by a non-Kormacvar. I will have to see to that myself.
- The Mechanic - Understood!
Having closed the transmission with the forces of Order, Zaarkhun returned to his chamber with Volim. Though he knew that he had persuaded very few in this encounter, he nonetheless walked away quite pleased with himself, as he returned to sit down on his throne. He then informed the others what had happened.
- Falrik Zaarkhun - I, of course, heard everything they said after I had left, too. They were none too pleased of the idea of me commanding their entire military against the Corruptus, but they'll come around.
- Volim - Hm. I have my doubts, particularly about the Kormacvar. I could hear his voice all the way from here.
- Falrik Zaarkhun - Arkarixus will never be convinced to follow orders from anyone, I've no intention of convincing him to follow him. Such an effort would be futile. What I can do, however, is plant the seeds of doubt in the eyes of the others to eventually undermine him. And once it becomes clear that they are dependent on me, there'll be nothing he can do.
- Volim - Caution, Zaarkhun. If there is one thing I learned in my almost two thousand year lifespan is to know when someone can prove a match to you. And that thing is no joke.
- Falrik Zaarkhun - Of course. But he came to the same conclusion I did: that if we want to battle an extradimensional threat, as a force of mortals, we need weaponry beyond what we have come up with. His plan therefore is to arm his new Seagon allies with Kormacvar technology. Little did he know, it's the same technology I've had Genrai investigate this whole time.
Volim grunted and bashed the arm of his throne with his fist.
- Volim - What are the Seagon doing with them anyway? First they betray me, then they join the Zoles' little alliance?
- Falrik Zaarkhun - It makes sense. With their emperor defeated, they were but leaderless. The Seagon are followers. Whoever their new leader is, they are giving them strict instructions to work alongside these Zoles. Even my spies haven't figured it out yet.
- Volim - Double their efforts. I must know who their new leader is and teach him how it works in this galactic arm. The Seagon are meant to be mine, not the Zoles'!
- Falrik Zaarkhun - There's little reason to suspect their new leader is anyone other than another Seagon who simply disagreed with the empire the whole time, and was biding their time to take over. That's the current theory, anyway. Nonetheless, when these forces of Order see that their Seagon allies aren't the only ones armed with spacetime-warping Kormacvar technology, it'll become clear to them who really knows how to stop this Corruptus threat.
As ordered by Arkarixus, Sergeant Trastius took the forces of Order to the space station where his people had once discovered this rumoured Project Void. It was the first time any of them - save for the Niaka - entered Seagon space, and as such this was new, foreign territory for them. Many were still rather apprehensive of Trastius and his people, but given Xeron's rather consistent threats and crushing him under his mech-suit if he fell out of line, their minds could be a bit at ease.
The station itself was fairly small, much more so than the previous Kormacvar installation they had visited earlier. It was also in significantly better condition, as it was clear the Seagon actively inhabited it. Taking shuttles inside, Trastius led the representants of the empires across the station, passing by many Seagon scientists on the way, who eyed them with suspicion.
- Vekaron - I must say, this is a rather awkward visit.
- Fre'kloar - yo man dis place is too quiet. WHO WANTS TA PLAY SOM RAP MUSIC
- Baptarion - Can you not? This place is fascinating to me. I've studied this sort of thing for years, though in my case, it was mostly with rocks.
- Kralgon Emperor - I admit, Kormacvar technology never fails to impress me.
- Arkarixus - This is but a taste of the Empire's marvels. So unfortunate that much of it is lost to history.
Trastius took the group across the station until reaching an area clearly restricted even to the scientists, requiring him to use his handprint to open the sealed doors barring the way onwards. Minutes more of walking revealed a large, circular chamber where Project Void itself was hidden: it resembled an enormous silver-plated sphere, which gently floated some centimeters off the ground. By its appearance alone, it looked completely harmless.
- Trastius - I present to you the object we studied to create our grenades.
- Arkarixus - It is Project Void indeed. I can recognize it from my people's databanks.
- Fre'kloar - dats a ball tho
- Baptarion - So, like, is it a bomb or what? It doesn't look like a weapon.
- Arkarixus - Not a bomb. It is a highly specialized wormhole device.
- Fre'kloar - LOOKS BORIN. BET I CULD PUNT IT AWAY. STOOPID LOOKIN BEECH BALL
- Kal'kuir - BY MA CALCULASHONS DATS BASICALLY A WORSE VERSHON OF DA BANANA GUN
- Arkarixus - You cannot.
- Fre'kloar - WATCH ME
Fre'kloar ran over to the sphere and immediately kicked it with all of his strength; his toes were bent back and he yelled in pain while the object gently wobbled in place before returning to its original position.
- Fre'kloar - OWWWW MA FOOT MAN
- Arkarixus - I warned you, primitive.
- Zr'Ahgloth - HAHAHAHA GET REKT
- Arkarixus - Weapons like this cannot be moved, not even by Caretakers or Gardeners. It requires a true, pure-blooded Kormacvar to operate.
Arkarixus then walked over to the object, raising a hand before gently touching its surface. Before their eyes, it quickly shrunk in size until it fit into the palm of his hand, which he brought over to his eyes to inspect closer.
- Arkarixus - There we go. It remains functional even after five billion years.
- Tuolog - Unsurprising. Kormacvar technology has a lot of longevity to it. The Kormacvar were nothing if not good at playing it safe.
- Baptarion - Cool but still, how does it work?
- Arkarixus - When we encounter this Marigrax demon, I will launch the weapon at him, and he will be compressed into the size of an atom until he is erased from existence. But assuming he is greater in strength than his mortal rabble, we will likely be required to weaken him before using the weapon. This is a one-time use object, it will be destroyed when it is thrown.
- Kralgon Emperor - We've fought Grox before. In fact, we have Grox within our own alliance. I think we know how to weaken something like that.
- Arkarixus - From my understanding, this Marigrax was once a minion of the Grox, but this is no longer the case. Caution is adviced regardless; if this creature is powerful enough to corrupt an entire galactic sector into madness, it is a threat to us.
- Fre'kloar - OK SO WE BEET DA DEEMUN UP DEN WE THRO DA BEECH BALL AT HIM AN DEN HE EXPLODES. COOL ENUFF
- Jol'kiar - BAK IN MY DAYZ WE USED OUR FISTS AS DA ONLY WEPUN. WE DIDNT USE BEECH BALL FINGS. WAT A DISGRACE DIS IS
- Arkarixus - You are free to engage the demon lord with your fists. Whoever perishes, we all win.
- Jol'kiar - man has anyon noticed how dis blu ark geeza is such a massiv twit??? hes all "YOOO LISSEN TO ME COZ IM FRUM DA PAST AN IM AN ANCIENT OVAPOWERED GANGSTA WHO LED DIS ARMY cept dey died but we dunt talk about dat but YEH DAT MEENS I KNO MOAR DAN YOO AN IM BETTA". MAN I SWER YOR ATTITUDE STINKS AN I WULD KNOK YOO OUT IF IT WERE ME
- Arkarixus - At least it is only my attitude that stinks, as opposed to my entire person.
- Jol'kiar - RITE DATS IT
Jol'kiar charged towards Arkarixus and threw a punch at him, only for the Kormacvar to grab his hand in his own and twist it down to meet him in the eyes.
- Arkarixus - Obey. Or die.
- The Mechanic - Yeah, baaaad move...
- Jol'kiar - ok fine ill shut up
The Kormacvar then forcefully threw Jol'kiar back at the rest of the Loron, flooring a couple of them in the process, though at this time, sirens begun sounding out across the station. Trastius turned his head back to where they came from and took out his assault rifle.
- Trastius - Intruders.
- Fre'kloar - LEMME AT DEM
- Baptarion - Man, we can't have a peaceful stroll in a space station, can't we?
- Olcinius - Clearly not. Let us move on.
Heading back, the group was confronted to the sight of the Devourer's Chosen shooting at the Seagon troopers defending the station, while scientists took cover within reinforced rooms spread across the facility. Their leader, a corrupted Dracogonarious, noticed their arrival and pointed a clawed finger at their direction.
- Dracogonarious - There, brothers! The Ancient and his lackeys! They must not be allowed to interfere with the Dark Apostle's plans!
- Arkarixus - You hunt me? That is rich.
- Vekaron - Seems to be a mundane commander rather than a Champion... Shouldn't be that difficult.
- Xeron - Kill them all!
Arkarixus stayed back as Vekaron charged ahead, his blade in hand as he cut down many cultists while Xeron gunned others with the arms of his mech-suit. Trastius provided them cover fire while Olcinius joined the Zoles commandant with his own vibroblades. Zr'Ahgloth, empowered by Tuolog, charged forward at supernatural speeds, warping all over the place to fight the Corruptus. Feeling jealous, Hagto'Zhl demanded Brag'klogga do the same, only for Brag'klogga to try and perch on Hagto'Zhl's shoulders and instead cause them both to fall over. A frustrated Fre'kloar and Jol'kiar charged towards the enemies with their fist, while Grak'tona sat their watching his "bodyguards" do the fighting. Finally, a shot from Baptarion's pistol hit the commanding Dracogonarious across the throat, killing him off as well.
The Seagon defenders took down the rest of the invaders, until the sirens stood silent, signalling their defeat. Arkarixus, who still had Project Void in his hand, walked into the front of the group as he spoke.
- Arkarixus - We have learned a valuable lesson here.
- Baptarion - ... That the Seagon defenses suck?
- Trastius - Hmpf.
- Arkarixus - No. We learned that the Chosen see us as a threat.
He turned his head at them, a mildly twisted grin growing into his scarred face.
- Arkarixus - The Chosen fears us.
- Kal'kuir - id jus like ta point out dat deyd feer us even moar if dese losas agreed ta buildin ma nex wepon i had planned but NOP dey was all "I REFUSE TA FUND DA PIZZA BLASTA 90000 COZ ITS USELESS". IT WULD REVOLUSHONIZE WARFARE NOT EVEN KIDDIN
- Baptarion - I mean, if you're trying to turn it into an eating competition, maybe.
- Kal'kuir - EXACTLY. IT TURNS DA ENEMY INTO PIZZA AN DEN MAKES DA NEARBY ENEMIES TRY AN EET DEM. SIK IDEA
- Zr'Ahgloth - stoopid geek nao ya made me hungry
Ending the Nightmare
Piercing the Black Fog
With their forces prepared and their plan coordinated, the forces of Order sent their fleets through the Cold Relays to reach the heart of the Devourer's Chosen, led on by Falrik Zaarkhun's own fleet of mercenaries and lackeys. There was much reluctance around the allies. Warmaster Arkarixus was at the helm of their own forces, watching it all unfold from the bay of the Armageddon-class Star Destroyer which they had taken from the former Seagon Empire, and there was no telling what he had in mind at that point; he claimed to have taken Falrik Zaarkhun's words into consideration, though there was something about his tone which led the likes of Vekaron and Tuolog to believe he was either lying or twisting the truth in some manner. He was not exactly the easiest individual to read. Zaarkhun, in his arrogance did not seem to suspect any defiance, given how closely they seemed to be following his instructions.
Their reluctance was replaced by surprise, then dread, as they emerged from subspace at the star system they had identified the Chosen's headquarters to be in. Vyutrin's expression changed into a grimace, while Baptarion gritted his teeth in apprehension and the young Hachiman gulped at the sight; according to the Indoctrinate Collective's records, this colony was once known as Nisoria, and it was relatively unremarkable as far as colonies could go. It was a calm, temperate world inhabited by workers and tourists hailing from the Milky Way, with blue skies and lush forests. Yet now, they saw it reduced to a wasteland, immense oceans of boiling lava covering its surface and its cities reduced to charred ruins, its skies covered by a terrible black fog and its atmosphere swarming with ships.
But nothing was worse than the fact the planet had an eye. And it spasmed rapidly and violently as it gazed straight at them, immense black tendrils erupting from the earth and piercing the skies as a quiet hiss could be heard at the back of their heads. Nirosia was alive. And it knew they were coming.
Many of the Collective's forces under Admiral Vyutrin were veterans of the Second War of Black Fog, and they had seen Corruptus Overworlds before. Yet Nirosia brought upon them a feeling of dread like it was the first time again. Such monstrosities were so wrong to the order of the universe that even the most battle-hardened among them felt their stomaches turn at the sight. Even among UNO's forces and the mercenaries affiliated with the BCN, who had each had taken different forms of artificial chemical endorphins to suppress their sense of fear and anxiety for battle, felt uneasy, though they nonetheless felt compelled to destroy it. Many of the Rogue Boyz Loron, who'd had no such chemical enhancements, were biting their nails in dread, while others were hiding their own fear. Even Arkarixus himself bit his own lip in a mix of fear, disgust and awe at the sight.
- Vekaron - It... It's really alive... The planet is alive...
- Kralgon Emperor - I've not seen something like this since the Fog War. And I have a feeling that the Corruptus will be more prepared than last time.
- Baptarion - I thought you guys were exaggerating about it. By Spode...
- Hachiman - T-That's not right. Things like this don't exist... They shouldn't exist.
- Fre'kloar - YOOOO DIS IS NOT OK AT ALL MAN. DIS IS PROPA FREEKY I DON LIKE IT
- Zr'Ahgloth - WELL IF YOO WAS DERE BEIN USEFUL DURIN DA FOGGY WAR DEN YOO WULD KNO WAT DIS IS
- Xeron - It... It must die! W-We can't leave this monster in our galaxy!
- Vyutrin - Oh, we'll kill it alright. Not one of you is leaving this star system until that monstrosity is dead. This is where this whole fiasco comes to an end!
A voice roared across their spaceships. It did not come from their communication channels; it pierced their very minds.
- Nirosia - BEGONE.
- Arkarixus - ... It speaks.
- Fre'kloar - oh ma dayz WAT DA HELL MAN IM FREEKIN OUT EVEN HARDA NAO
- Brag'klogga - DIS DAYZ COMIN!!!!!!
- Jol'kiar - dats STILL not yor catchphrase yet dumass (tho yeh dats pretty scary)
- Vekaron - I do hope our plan works. That if we kill this "Marigrax", this nightmare can come to an end.
- Falrik Zaarkhun - It will work. Trust me.
- Baptarion - Yeah, about that.
- Arkarixus - Before we can confront the Chosen leadership, the planetary defenses must be breached. No doubt the Chosen will fight with greatest ferocity in the skies over their precious demon-planet. They must be dealt with so we may land.
- Falrik Zaarkhun - Agreed. You all know your positions. UNO, your Blastships. Aim the cannons first to provide suppressive fire. We'll launch ballistic missiles from a distance too. Slow them down on approach. Vague, you're up to intercept their incoming fleet from the sides.
- Vyutrin - In the meantime, we'll be scanning the monster to try and assert Marigrax's location. I'm gonna assume he's close to the eye, but from this distance it's hard to tell.
- Vekaron - Hm. Here goes nothing then. Advance.
- Nirosia - I RISE -- I LIVE -- I -- AM -- CHOSEN.
Per Zaarkhun's instructions, the UNO Blastships prepared a formation to fire their long ranged, single-target cannons at any incoming Chosen ships, focusing one at a time, while the UNO Destroyers, along with long-ranged Seagon warships and Zaarkhun's affiliated mercenary groups, fired a vast scattershot of missiles from a distance before the Chosen ships could get closer. In the confusion, the Vague formed a pincer group around the Chosen fleet, attacking them from both sides. The chaos caused confusion amongst the Chosen, scattering their fleets while breaking through before any ships were able to reach the allies. This allowed the allied fleets to progress further into the range of the Chosen's planetary defenses, covered at a great distance by the ranged warships.
As they did so, the ranged UNO vehicles and the mercenary ships then changed their focus to fire on all planetary defense systems, targeting the orbital cannons and space stations guarding the Overworld below. The Vague continued to attack from both sides, swarming the Chosen defenses, while the fleets from the forces of Order approached in an armada formation to attack the fleets from head on. From an entirely different direction, several more fleets of mercenaries arrived seemingly out of the blue, having just used illegal hyperspace technologies to warp in adjacent to the defenses and ram through in what appeared to be a suicide bombing; these were unmanned ships deployed by PMC groups precisely to explode after ramming in. This hit the Chosen out of nowhere, too overwhelmed to deal with a wide variety of attacks from different forces.
Spearheading the armada were Wranploer and Loron ships. As both forces were used to attacking their opponents head-on, equipping them with black market shielding Chronoscopic technology, amplified further by UNO's Ioketa, made for a nasty suprise for the Chosen fleets that thought they were fighting a familiar foe, when in reality, the Wranploer and Loron ships were absorbing most of the fire, while the Indoctrinate Collective and Zoles Imperium's ships from a short distance behind were focused on the Chosen's defenses. Though the world had been well-guarded, the defense systems were ultimately unprepared for this coordinated attack on so many fronts and the weaponry used in question.
With the mercenary fleet fully taking the attention of the Chosen armada, things were going as planned. However, the mercenaries quickly realized the Order fleets had stopped their advance, now merely firing their long range weaponry from quite the significant distance. Meanwhile, their minds were briefly wracked by a terrible roar as the Overworld's tendrils extended outwards, stretching across the vacuum and striking at ships, destroying them almost instantly with their sheer strength; those out of their range were blasted by enormous beams of nightmare energy which not even the Vague's powerful dreadnoughts could sustain for long. Many of the mercenaries and Wranploer forces began to look at one another nervously, with some ship captains calling Zaarkhun frantically to ask what to do next. In response, he simply ordered them to continue onwards, though he himself grew suspicious.
- Falrik Zaarkhun - There's no use falling back now. Our plan is predicated on the idea that we make a charge at this moment. Fleets, prepare the kamikaze bombers to attack the world now. UNO needs to launch its pods. The Niaka will then send mech forces first, backed up by Loron from both Rogue Boyz and UNO. Just as we planned...
Zaarkhun, however, did not receive any response from the forces of Order. Though not even they expected the voice of Nirosia as it spoke once again.
- Nirosia - FALRIK. ZAARKHUN.
Zaarkhun froze in fear, unable to collect himself enough to respond defiantly.
- Nirosia - MURANGON WARNED YOU -- YOU -- SHOULD -- HAVE -- FLED
- Falrik Zaarkhun - It's not in my nature to flee! Your gods have no business here, and we shall no longer bow to you!
The battle between the Wranploer and mercenary fleet against the Chosen's ferocious defense continued while the forces of Order seemed to simply watch. Together, they were an even match to the demonic cult's forces, but on their own, the mercenary fleet was quickly overwhelmed and torn apart by the Chosen's own weapons and Nirosia's tentacles. Only after their fleet was damaged to the brink of destruction did the forces of Order make their own push, now unleashing their full arsenal against the weakened Chosen defenses. The Indoctrinate Collective, being the most familiar with the Chosen's fleet - as it was essentially the same as theirs - took the lead and tore down their battleships while the Niaka and Seagon aimed at the Overworld's tendrils to keep them at bay.
Zaarkhun's face of horror turned to a stern face of rage. He was furious as he watched the Wranploer and mercenary fleets, which had been set to be the vanguard of this operation, be torn apart without backup coming. The Rogue Boyz warships offered a symbolic support, but it did little. Zaarkhun twitched a little, and tried to contain his fury as he messaged the Order fleets.
- Falrik Zaarkhun - You had instructions. Clear instructions. This assault was predicated on our fleets serving as the vanguard while yours provided covering fire!
- Arkarixus - The instructions were followed... as I ordered. You have fulfilled your role as the cannon fodder well enough.
Zaarkhun began to twitch even more irritably, before clenching his fist and slamming it onto his terminal, while the Kormacvar simply smiled.
- Falrik Zaarkhun - You're more of a fool than I took you for! In doing this, you have significantly weakened our hand against the demons, and we need all the firepower we can get! You have wasted countless ships for your mere ego display! You have jeapordized this entire operation based solely on your own prejudiced feelings!
A grin grew upon Arkarixus' face as he eyed the destruction unfold.
- Arkarixus - And I would do it again.
- Falrik Zaarkhun - You are a loathesome individual, Arkarixus. To waste lives to satiate your ego like this...
- Arkarixus - Hm. Lives? ... Your lives are worthless to me. Obey my commands, or die. It is simple.
- Falrik Zaarkhun - I'll not obey the commands of a callous fool stuck in his ways. You are fortunate I plan for every eventuality, including this.
- Fre'kloar - oi tbh i wasnt aware of dis eetha MAN YOR A JERK DID YA JUS LEEV US TA DAI DERE
- Arkarixus - Nothing of value would be lost.
- Hachiman - What are you doing?! I thought we were all in this together from now on! Why're you letting them die?!
- Tuolog - I understand your dislike of Zaarkhun, Arkarixus. But not all of the mercenaries who died here were bad people. They have families to feed. Why let this happen?
- Arkarixus - Better the worthless lives of criminals be wasted than my proper forces, by which I mean you.
- Olcinius - You have gone too far, Kormacvar. This was entirely unnecessary.
- Vekaron - Hmpf. And back when I was little, they always talked about the Cold Ones being paragons of justice and righteousness...
- Arkarixus - Reality hurts.
- Hachiman - Sometimes I think you're no better than some of the people we fight against...
- Yogtam - We could have the Tralkik Commander lead an operation taking no lives into account, and it would still be less cruel than what you've done here.
- Xeron - Well.... I don't really care either way, honestly. Dead Wranploer sounds good to me.
- Yogtam - You abide by this?
- Tuolog - Enough infighting, Yogtam. We all need defeat Chosen. We put this aside for now.
- Vyutrin - Everyone shut up, I found it! I found where the demon is hidden!
Sending a map of the world's surface to them all, there appeared to be a large ruin near the eye of Nirosia, one which radiated incredible essence power. It was clear this was where the Chosen's leadership made their residence.
- Vyutrin - Get your mightiest warriors on your fleets and land here. Time to put an end to these fiends once and for all.
- Falrik Zaarkhun - Why? So the Kormacvar fool here can let them all die in vain? Forget it. From now on, my forces are withdrawing from this battle, and I am conducting my own operations. Begone.
- Arkarixus - How unfortunate. I was hoping we could meet in person.
Zaarkhun closed off communications as he went to regroup with his own forces, setting forth in motion his own contingency plan he had put in place should talks with the forces of Order break down. His contingency plan was a mere skeleton, however, as he'd still be improvising a lot. Fre'kloar and Da Rogue Boyz looked very confused as to who to join forces with, but ultimately before making a decision, Rel'larutina took over.
- Rel'larutina - Well, I may prefer Zaarkhun over you people, but I happen to believe in a thing called "strength in numbers". So it looks like I'm leading the Loron operations from now until Fre'kloar and the others can get their act together.
- Vyutrin - So long as they can fight, I don't care which of you looners is in charge. Get on your shuttle and meet us on the surface.
- Vekaron - Indeed. Today, we end the Chosen. Forever.
- Kralgon Emperor - I do like the sound of that. Orbital bombardment at once! Destroy everything on that Overworld and purge it!
- Tralkik Commander - Negative. Orbital bombardment would be unlikely to defeat the main targets, which are their leaders on the surface.
- Kralgon Emperor - Ugh. FINE. Send in the troops!
- Nirosia - COME -- TO -- ME -- THEN.
Taking the shuttles into the surface of Nirosia, the forces of Order prepared to face the Chosen at their own homeworld. They were unable to reach the eye itself, for the monstrous demon-planet's tendrils shielded it too heavily, forcing them to land in the outskirts of what was once a city of the Indoctrinate Collective; it was clear to them nobody lived in Nirosia anymore, not even the Chosen's cultists, for it had become downright uninhabitable. The planet's surface was searing hot and its air was venomous, forcing them to use suits better suited for extreme conditions over their conventional armor.
Vekaron led a squad of elite Zoles knights who were flanked by Niaka soldiers commanded by Chief Minor Xeron, with Arkarixus walking in close to them both. The elusive Seagon were led by Sergeant Trastius, who commanded a full squad of troopers, while the forces of the Paladians were directed by Legate Olcinius. Da Rogue Boyz brought many of their Troopaz with them, led by Da Leedas and Warbosses both, while the Unified Nation were commanded by Tuolog, Zr'Ahgloth and the UNOC unit, all readied for combat. And at the front was the squad of the Indoctrinate Collective, led by Vyutrin, who was followed by Baptarion Light and Hachiman.
According to Vyutrin's readings, the structure housing Marigrax was a ruined temple; perhaps fittingly given what the Chosen were. What sounded like a heart-beat rung across the landscape as, from the earth itself, abominations started digging their way into the surface, revealing themselves to be Corruptus Demons.
- Vyutrin - This is bad. If this Overworld is already birthing monsters then it must be close to maturing.
- Dalverat - No doubt the Chosen have used the time anomalies to rush the process.
- Vekaron - Are... Are we too late?
- Vyutrin - No, we can still do this. Move on!
Moving ahead, the armies of Order engaged the demons up-front; the likes of Malcaeum, Kheora'Errr, Sarungerak and Raviegaurii birthed out of the earth in great numbers, though their combined gunfire was enough for a match to allow them to proceed. Before they could proceed through these ruins, however, a terrible battlecry was heard as a corrupted Bonio leaped into the fray, slaughtering a party of Niaka, Zoles and Paladian warriors in moments and forcing the group into a halt. Pointing his blade at them, Arberkul the Cruel bellowed out in fury; the sight of the Champion, who was once a prestigious commander of the Indoctrinate Collective, caused Vyutrin to grit his teeth.
- Arberkul - Invaders! How dare you set foot upon this GLORIOUS world?! This is HEEEREEESYYY!
- Baptarion - Geez. You sound like a caricature of Jaharan.
- Vyutrin - Arberkul Mozuli. I have found you at last.
- Arberkul - And just WHO are YOU, misguided mortal, who speaks to me in such a tone?!
Vyutrin turned to face the rest of the army. His expression was stern.
- Vyutrin - Continue onwards, all of you. This is my fight.
- Xeron - You want to fight that cultist on your own? Why?
- Zr'Ahgloth - oi is ya tryin ta steel da kill fer yaself?? LAME
- Vyutrin - I'll buy you all time to proceed, you need to get to Marigrax before it's too late. All of you but my troopers, go!
- Baptarion - Wait, does that include-
- Vyutrin - Yes, you and the kid, move out! That's an order! ... I'll catch up with you all once I'm done here.
- Vekaron - Hm. So be it. We shall meet up ahead, Admiral. ... Good luck.
- Hachiman - ... Try and stay safe, please. Remember that we need you.
There was clear reluctance among the armies, particularly in Baptarion and Hachiman, though they accepted the Admiral's command and proceeded, gunning down any demon who attempted to slow down their advance. The Collective's forces who stood behind with Vyutrin opened fire at the bulk of the demons' forces while Arberkul used a shield of essence to defend himself, though he quickly realized this was a bad idea; his foes were packing Pseudothoi ammunation and quickly tore through his defenses, forcing him to take cover.
- Vyutrin - Arberkul! I am Admiral Vyutrin - your successor! And today I will release you from your torment.
- Arberkul - Heresy most foul! I am the greatest of the Chosen's Champions! I will tear you APART!
The Cruel leaped out of cover, an aura of malevolent essence around him as he sent his blades down at a trooper, instantly killing them on the spot before the others opened fire; tearing through his energies like glass cutting through exposed skin, Arberkul screeched out as he charged at Vyutrin, even though he struggled to sustain their gunfire. The Spinker took out his combat knife and begun parrying his blows; for all of his power, arberkul was consumed by a frenzied hatred which made his blows clumsy and easy to predict to a well-versed combatant like Vyutrin, and it became clear his own knife had been imbued with Pseudothoi technology in order to endure the Champion's blows as he took the opportunity of an opening to stab Arberkul in the side, forcing the Champion down and then back up as to allow his forces to concentrate their fire upon him.
Arberkul let out a terrible roar as a blast of essence exploded around him, and his form grew in size; assuming his Null State, the Champion's feathers burned away to reveal a dark blue leathery hide covered in spikes, while a mass of extra tails grew alongside the one most Bonios sported. His wings grew massive and a crown of horns grew around his helm, and he let out a terrible roar as he swung an arm, which extended onwards like a tendril and crushed a trooper into paste before battering others away like ragdolls.
- Arberkul - You cannot kill me! HERETIC! WE WILL NEEEEEVEEEEER EEEEND!!
- Vyutrin - No matter what monstrosity you turn into, you can't intimidate me, fiend! Heavy ordnance, come!
The troopers backed away, aiming their weapons at the monster's chest - at his Heart - as a backup squad carrying missile launchers entered into view, having taken cover from Arberkul's onslaught and waited until Vyutrin called for them. From the Champion came blasts of nighmarish essence which knocked Vyutrin and other troopers away, though his single-minded hatred being directed at the Admiral allowed the heavy ordnance team to focus their fire on him without him noticing; massive explosions of Pseudothoi tore through the massive Null demon's form, knocking him down as one of his arms was utterly destroyed when he attempted to shield his Heart with it. Arberkul roared out in fury and agony as a loathsome mass of tendrils started growing out of the wound, and he leaped at them again using his other arm to swing his blade.
Vyutrin clenched his teeth as he watched the heavy ordnance team fire once again, sending the Champion down a second time. The Cruel screeched in rage, but before he could get up, they had already reloaded and fire yet again, destroying more of Arberkul's body, disemboweling him further with each volley of explosives. His energies escaping him, Arberkul reverted back to his original state, his body missing the wings and an arm as he struggled to crawl up to their direction. It was clear Vyutrin had prepared for this battle ahead of time and treated it with utmost prejudice. The Admiral forced his foot down on Arberkul's head to stop him in his tracks and looked down on him in a mix of disgust and pity.
- Arberkul - Gaahh! ... Aaaah! Y-You... c-cursed beings!
- Vyutrin - I am deeply sorry for the true Arberkul Mozuli; he was a renowed soldier who had done much for the Indoctrinate Collective. But you? You're just a demon wearing his skin...
- Arberkul - I'll... kill you! I'll DESTROY your C-Collective!!
- Vyutrin - When I'm back to Plazith Rim, I'll make sure to inform Gavakar that her old friend's death has been avenged.
The Spinker admiral then aimed his rifle down at Arberkul and opened fire, being promptly followed by his men; much like they dealt with Acolyte Nai-Ar'natl earlier, they gunned him down until he was little more than a smear to ensure he would not rise back up, and the Cruel's remains disintegrated into black ashes as his fury finally came to an end.
Vyutrin would look down at the small crater that had formed around Arberkul's final stand to notice the Champion's blade still remained. Walking up to it, he leaned down and took the sword before placing it in his belt, and then turned to face what remained of his men.
- Vyutrin - Come. We must rendezvous with the others at the temple. Our job's not done yet.
Warrior and Killer
While the main bulk of the demon forces were busy with Admiral Vyutrin's forces, the rest of the armies of Order continued making their way to the temple housing Emperor Marigrax. They split up in order to cover more ground quickly, though by a certain point, many of their troopers seemed to be killed by an unseen foe. The main group led by Vekaron and Arkarixus found themselves in a large, open field; the ruined temple was over the horizon, and a single individual walked on their direction. As they primed their weapons expectantly, a closer view revealed the single Chosen warrior to be a corrupted Inalton wielding a pair of large blades, leaving an aura of darkness and ruin behind him as he walked.
- Vekaron - Contact. One individual... Suspicious.
- Baptarion - A new Champion, perhaps?
- Hachiman - Urgh, there's so many of them. So much dark power here...
- Xeron - Hmpf, never heard of an Inalton Champion, though.
- Fre'kloar - hur dat dood looks like an uglia vershon of genrai nal
- Tuolog - It is. That is Murangon Nal.
- Hagto'Zhl - OH MA DAYZ DID DEY REELY MAKE A COPYCAT DUMBO VERSHON OF FLIPPIN GENRAI NAL TOO????
- Vekaron - Hm. Is that like... a brother? Cousin?
- ??? - Clone.
At that moment, the other forces turned, to see Falrik Zaarkhun, Genrai Nal, Sollow, and several accompanying elite, heavily armored Wranploer soldiers appear to have landed. Zaarkhun turned towards them, with a feeling of fear and also of sorrow.
- Falrik Zaarkhun - We would like to handle Murangon Nal. Each of his know his moveset better, we are far more familiar with him, and we will be leading the fight against him.
- Arkarixus - Ah, so you have not quite retreated then, as I would expect. I see now this battle holds personal importance to you.
- Falrik Zaarkhun - I'm not so arrogant as you as to turn my back on a fight so important as this for something so petty. I simply know when to work alone, instead of cooperate with bad faith actors. No, I'm here to rid my galaxy of demons. And... Yes. I have a score to settle here.
- Xeron - Hm, I'll have to update the Most Wanted list with this turn of events, gotta tell the Chief Major the bandit has a clone... Pfft. Your galaxy.
- Murangon Nal - You.
The corrupted Inalton pointed one of his blades at their combined army. He did not appear fazed by their numbers.
- Murangon Nal - You stand in hallowed ground. The punishment is death.
- Falrik Zaarkhun - Hallowed ground? What happened to you? There is no hallowed ground in this galaxy, we do not adhere to your gods!
Murangon Nal clenched his teeth as he looked at Falrik Zaarkhun, his aura of demonic energy flaring for a moment.
- Murangon Nal - Falrik. I warned you.
- Falrik Zaarkhun - You know better than to think I adhere to the warnings of a demon.
- Murangon Nal - Then today, you shall die by the blade of one.
The demonic Vanguard then pointed his blade at his clone, Genrai Nal, who in turn drew his blades and entered a battle stance.
- Murangon Nal - Come then. Today, we shall see which of us is strongest.
- Genrai Nal - I look forward to it.
- Arkarixus - Hm. So be it. We shall continue onwards from the flank.
- Sollow - Ahahaha! Sollow steals the show now! I'll take your kill, Genrai!
Sollow immediately leaped forward, launching knives at Murangon Nal's direction. However, a frown grew on the demonic warrior's face as he leaped forward himself, shrugging off the attacks as he slammed his blades into Sollow with enough force to send the Heeyorian flying backwards, screaming as he collided with the earth.
- Murangon Nal - Do not interfere, you horrid aberration! You have no honour! You are little more than a mindless drone!
- Falrik Zaarkhun - It ends here, my old friend.
The forces of Order took the chance and proceeded forward in the direction of the temple, while Falrik Zaarkhun aimed his guns towards Murangon, knowing what would happen next. Murangon teleported straight behind Zaarkhun and thrust his blades to stab him, only for them to pass right through him entirely. It seemed Zaarkhun was not actually present here. It was only a holographic illusion. The demonic warrior huffed in annoyance at the realization.
- Murangon Nal - Not unexpected. But know that I will find you, and I will offer your soul to Marigrax.
Just as Murangon was speaking, Genrai himself then appeared and stabbed Murangon Nal in the side, having used Zaarkhun as a distraction. The Killer frowned as he reacted by swinging his two blades at the clone's direction, alongside a mass of tendrils which grew from his back, causing Genrai to jump back slightly to dodge, and then crouch down for a roundhouse kick followed by a slash of his own blade towards Murangon's leg, forcing the demon to dodge back. A wicked grin formed in his fanged lips as he looked down on his own wounds.
- Murangon Nal - I see you are indeed a capable warrior. Any other would not have the speed to dodge my blows.
- Genrai Nal - Thus far, you have not disappointed me as a truly formidable opponent.
- Murangon Nal - It would be a waste for you to perish here. When you lie defeated, I shall show you the dark truth of the Corruptus, and you shall serve by my side.
- Falrik Zaarkhun - We'll never bow to gods!
Zaarkhun then appeared in front of Murangon, who initially ignored it, believing it to be another one of Zaarkhun's holograms. To his surprise, Zaarkhun was in fact present, and fired his antimatter pistols. Murangon was able to dodge just in term with his arm, though the antimatter bullets caused significant damage and knocked him back slightly. These pistols would easily kill a mortal man, though Murangon was able to sustain the damage thanks to his demonic endurance, and he reacted by lauching a blast of nightmare essence from his blade at the direction of Zaarkhun. None of these shots landed. In fact, the real Zaarkhun had cloaked and disappeared after firing the shot, leaving behind a holographic image in the place he was just standing.
- Murangon Nal - Think! An eternity of battle! No more shall you be slaves to Zargoth when you lie under the wing of my master. Cease this struggle.
- Falrik Zaarkhun - We are not slaves to Zargoth, or to your god! We'll defeat you both! You could rejoin us!
- Murangon Nal - ... No. My soul is forfeit. There is no coming back.
- Falrik Zaarkhun - Then we've no other choice!
At that point, Zaarkhun fired his pistols again, this time from behind Murangon. As Murangon turned to retaliate with nightmare essence blasts, once again Zaarkhun had left behind a holographic image of him, which simply vanished. Siezing the opportunity, Genrai made another strike for Murangon's sides and kicked him once again, though the demonic warrior retaliated with strikes of his own. He was becoming visibly frustrated; not because Zaarkhun was fooling him, but because he was there. Deep inside him, he wished he did not have to be doing this, but it was too late for second thoughts by that point.
Genrai parried many of Murangon's strikes, but one managed to pierce his shoulder, causing him to fall for a second. Knowing his own fighting style, he knew that Murangon would then take the opportunity to cut his throat and kill him there. In a split second, he instead teleported away and made another jab at Murangon's leg before teleporting away immediately to jab his torso on the other side, and then disappear entirely, making an opening for Zaarkhun to fire his pistols directly in Murangon's face. The two of them knew that the only way to defeat Murangon Nal was through relentless attacks, not allowing Murangon the opportunity to retaliate at all, for it was his reactions that were truly deadly.
However, the demon's eyes turned away from Genrai Nal at that moment as he suddenly rushed to the opposite direction, sending an arm forward as he seemed to try and grab nothing. Rather, he clenched his hand around Falrik Zaarkhun's throat, with the Heeyorian decloaking as he was discovered and lifted off the ground by Murangon. Zaarkhun appeared to choke, reaching for his pistol, though Murangon knocked both of them from his hands as Zaarkhun struggled to breathe.
- Murangon Nal - I know your tricks, Falrik. Nobody knows them better than I do.
- Falrik Zaarkhun - You don't... have to do this... Neither of us... Want to... Don't be a slave... To their fate!
- Murangon Nal - I gave you the choice to flee and avoid this, but you stubbornly refused. This is the end for you, I am afraid.
- Falrik Zaarkhun - You knew... That I would...
Wasting no time, Murangon stabbed Falrik several times in the chest and then tossed his body down. Looking at the lifeless body to mourn the death of his friend, he instead saw that Falrik's face appeared to flicker away. In fact, he had not stabbed Falrik at all. It was merely Sollow, using Falrik's face as a holographic camouflage, who healed instantly from Murangon's attacks. Once again, the real Zaarkhun appeared to the right of Murangon, and fired two pistols aiming squarely for his face, causing the warrior to grunt out in pain and stumble away, letting go of Sollow who promptly rushed away from the area. Murangon would turn his head back to the direction of the shots, and it was clear he was now furious.
- Murangon Nal - The time for reluctance is ended... I will enjoy your death.
- Falrik Zaarkhun - Good. Now I won't have to hold back either.
Murangon had been holding back up to that point, but now his demonic fury took over as his body transformed. He grew in size, a long tail growing behind him as a faint plumage appeared across his body, and his face deformed into a hooked beak; a form resembling that of his master as he then rushed at Genrai Nal once more, leaving a trail of energies as he seemed to float across the battlefield. Genrai prepared to parry Murangon's attacks, though they were now far stronger than before, meaning that a single blow would knock Genrai to the floor. Once again, Genrai spared no time teleporting to the side to attack Murangon, but the blades did not pierce Murangon's flesh any longer. Instead, Murangon simply sustained the attacks before cutting at Genrai's knee, forcing him to teleport away once more.
Falrik Zaarkhun fired his pistols, once again leaving holographic images behind to fool Murangon as to his location. Having successfully tricked Murangon the last time, Murangon was now less confident as to what Zaarkhun was planning next, feeling Zaarkhun could still outsmart him; rather than attempt to strike him directly, he instead charged his fist with a combination of nightmarish and Dark Chronoscopic energies and slammed the ground beneath him, unleashing a powerful shockwave in order to destroy anything in his close proximity.
- Murangon Nal - I am Murangon Genrai Nal, Killer of That Which Unmakes! I am the greatest warrior of the Gigaquadrant!
- Falrik Zaarkhun - You do not deserve to retain the name of "Genrai", or "Nal". You're an abomination of the gods! The same gods you once pledged to stand with me against!
- Murangon Nal - You abandoned me! Left me to my own devices! These gods you despise gave me a home when you were nowhere to be seen!
- Falrik Zaarkhun - I gave you freedom! As I gave all people freedom! You were misguided, Murangon! And now, I will bring you to your end!
As the hologram of Zaarkhun was speaking, the real Zaarkhun appeared once again to fire at Murangon from a safe distance. This time, Zaarkhun was aiming for the heart, and he was no longer firing his antimatter bullets; instead, he was firing Chronoscopic explosives. The massive demon roared out in pain as the energy burned through both of the essence coursing through his own body, leaving him vulnerable as he staggered back. Genrai took advantage of the opportunity to swing both of his blades at the same heart while kicking Murangon's legs down. Murangon was able to swipe Genrai away, knocking him away. He then approached Genrai, but before he did, Falrik appeared in front of him, holding out his arms defensively.
- Falrik Zaarkhun - I'm here, Murangon! No illusions, no trickery! Here I am! If you wish to strike Genrai down, you get through me. I won't lose him the way I lost you!
- Murangon Nal - And why should I believe you this time? If you are Sollow again, know that I will take immense pleasure in reducing you to cinders.
- Falrik Zaarkhun - I, unlike your gods, stand by my words. To those I trust, I do not tell lies. I trusted you once, Murangon, but no further. And now, behold.
As he spoke, four devices circled Murangon from the floor, and dispensed a large, Chronoscopic bubble. The devices appeared to be Kormacvar technology taken from the black market, which made use of a Chronoscopic alloy in order to drastically slow down time. Zaarkhun had managed to place them while cloaked, and primed them while briefly distracting Murangon. Catching Murangon offguard, Falrik then pulled out both of his pistols and opened fire at the corrupted figure's heart, unloading twenty shots from his pistol in rapid sucession while Genrai swooped in to stab him from behind.
Murangon Nal roared out from their attacks and fell to one knee once the onslaught came to an end. His monstrous form slowly dissipated as he reverted back to his true form, and he breathed out heavily, black blood pouring from his wounds as he pierced his swords down into the ground, not to attack them, but to hold himself from falling over. He spoke out again, and both Falrik Zaarkhun and Genrai Nal could tell his voice was noticeably clearer now; as if he had regained a moment of lucidity he was missing.
- Murangon Nal - Ah... Yes... You are truly... a worthy successor to the name "Genrai Nal"...
Genrai then approached Murangon Nal, and bent a knee respectfully. Falrik simply stood there with his hand across his chest, also a sign of respect among the Consortium Network.
- Genrai Nal - You, too, are a truly honourable warrior. I am proud to have fought against such an opponent. The thrill of this battle is not one I have felt in a long time.
- Murangon Nal - If you can best me... Perhaps you may best even her too? ... No, I do not believe so. But you have at least earned the right to try.
- Falrik Zaarkhun - And we will. Thank you, Murangon.
- Murangon Nal - Falrik... This is not the last we shall meet. I cannot be killed by conventional means. I will return yet.
- Falrik Zaarkhun - I see. I understand.
- Murangon Nal - I know you hate my gods, but I pray for them that we do not cross paths again. That way, neither of us needs to go through this a second time.
- Falrik Zaarkhun - I feel much the same way as you. Perhaps there is a place for you in this universe. A place for demon worshippers. Just not in my galaxy.
- Murangon Nal - You misunderstand me, Falrik... I am not part of Geltastra's cult. I follow the Corruptus because they have granted me eternal war. And their war against this universe will never end. We will never end.
Falrik Zaarkhun sighed a little, and then nodded out of respect.
- Falrik Zaarkhun - I'm afraid we'll never see eye to eye. But I'm glad to have met you again. Old friend.
- Murangon Nal - Indeed... Now, you would do well to finish this... before I am healed.
Without a moment's hesitation, Genrai Nal sliced Murangon's head off, and kicked the rest of his corpse aside. To be certain, Falrik fired several bullets into his corpse, each of which exploded after penetrating the flesh, until there was little left which proceeded to be reduced to black ashes. Such was Murangon Nal killed, though it would not last; he would be reborn from his master's flesh one day, but at least for the foreseeable future, he would no longer interfere in Borealis' affairs. At that moment, Sollow walked up to them, cleaning off the dust from his body.
- Sollow - Ah, good riddance. He hit me hard that one time...
- Falrik Zaarkhun - Your coordinated trickery was very good, Sollow. Thank you for your assistance.
- Sollow - I hoped I could steal the kill but alas... Perhaps next time...
- Genrai Nal - ... Hm. Yes. You have earned the next one.
- Sollow - Wonderful! Now, I must know... What next? Are we going to help the goody-two-shoes group out or are we out of this awful place?
Zaarkhun stopped for a minute. He hadn't actually considered what he was doing next, having allowed Volim to command the rest of his forces while he was busy dealing with Murangon. Instantly, his mind wondered to a different place, now considering the scale of the battle and running through several possibilities in his mind, as if mapping out multiple battle plans and deciding for himself which made the most sense. Eventually, he reached his conclusion.
- Falrik Zaarkhun - Yes, we'll stay here a little while. Perhaps they could use our help.
- Sollow - Bleh, I hate this place. It smells of burnt Varkorus flesh.
- Falrik Zaarkhun - It's because that's mostly what it is. I'll send a few strike teams from our allied PMCs to help the team out, before the rest of us join on. Genrai, make sure to report back in with Volim before clearing the next path for us. Oh, and Sollow, feel free to use your "me" disguise a few more times along the way if it'll distract the enemy to focus their fire in the wrong place again.
- Sollow - Heheheh, I'm gonna kill Vekaron and show his head off to Torrent... Can't wait to see his face.
- Genrai Nal - No.
- Sollow - Gah. The demon you had a funnier disposition.
Dark Apostle Ascendant
As the skies above their heads raged with the battle between the fleets and the fire storms of Nirosia itself, the armies of Order finally arrived to the footsteps of the dark temple. By that point, the groups had all met up and prepared to make their way inside; the entrance was gigantic, dwarfing even the likes of Arkarixus and the Loron, and the troopers commented with one another that they would have to blow their way up inside, as there was no way they would be able to move the doors open. Instead, however, they witnessed the doors opening on their own, revealing the interior of the temple itself to them.
It was grandiose, radiating a red and purple light, intricate carvings dominating the walls and the setting sun further illuminating past the glass windows. Spread across the walls, standing a good distance above the ground level were countless robed figures, their faces obscured until they each revealed themselves; all of them were Radeons, sporting faded dark fur and glowing eyes, their faces stoic and judging as they looked down at the new arrivals. Flanking a set of steps leading onwards were a quartet of enormous, monstrous idols, each in the form of one of the four lords of the Corruptus; a dark dragon, a fearsome bird, a furtive monster and a toothed mass of tendrils. It was a particularly disturbing sight to Baptarion; this was clearly Ecclesial-inspired architecture in every way, but twisted to honour the dark masters of the nightmare. Sitting at the very end of the chamber upon a throne was a Radeon of much more demonic appearance than the others; she dressed in green robes, with a pair of large leathered wings and a long tail resting behind her, and a pulsating Corruptus Heart grew out from over her bosom.
The Radeon's eyes, closed until then, opened to reveal a terrible green glow. She had an aura in her which resembled greatly that of Murangon Nal, though hers flared brighter; her essence was clearly superior. She brought a hand to her chin as she observed the army - clearly not worried by their arrival - and spoke in a sultry voice unsuited for a creature so monstrous.
- Geltastra - Ah, welcome, welcome... Allow me to introduce myself: I am Geltastra Sheol'rephai, Dark Apostle of the Devourer's Chosen... and most devoted Vanguard of That Which Unmakes. I have been waiting for you.
The Dark Apostle had fallen, but at a great cost. Much of the allied force was wounded or incapacitated after the dark temple fell upon them, leaving only a few of them able to move forward. Even Arkarixus, a warrior akin to a demigod, was utterly overwhelmed by the dark energies Geltastra had unleashed upon him, forcing him to walk with a heavy stagger. That, combined with the sight that laid before them, caused a great feeling of hopelessness to fall upon the forces of Order; beyond the ruins of the temple, shielded from above by the dark tendrils of Nirosia was the edge of the Overworld's eye.
Spanning several hundred kilometers in length, it could only truly be described as an eye when seen from space, for from this perspective it looked like a gigantic pool of magma instead. The path descending to the edge was flanked by massive hills, and a monstrous figure loomed within in, who then erupted out of the lava; a monstrous combination of living nightmare and rotting carcass, an undead behemoth in the twisted image of a Marinox with a gaping hole where his right eye would be, with a pulsating bulbous heart at the center of his chest which beat at a rhythm which Nirosia itself seemed to follow. He turned his head to their direction, watching the broken army of Order with a growing grin upon his monstrous expression; Marigrax, the Corruptor, lord creator of the Devourer's Chosen and Prime Nightmare of the Mari'verao delighted in their struggle. Geltastra, Murangon Nal, the Champions, the entire cult - they were means to an end. Tools he had used to their full extent to fulfill his true goal: birth a Nightmarish World Soul which would pave way for a new War of Black Fog.
Vekaron had lost most of his men to reach this point, and looked at the monstrous creature in the distance with evident fear in his expression. The Niaka forces were also depleted, as were the soldiers of the Indoctrinate Collective; Vyutrin could count the troopers who had survived in two hands. Falrik Zaarkhun's reinforcements were practically depleted, and no Seagon beyond Sergeant Trastius was left. Most of Da Rogue Boyz were knocked out cold, while Legate Olcinius only had a handful of his Paladian warriors left, and he too watched the monstrosity who awaited for them with great apprehension.
- Vekaron - ... Do we stand any chance against that creature?
- Trastius - The battle with the cult leader was too costy. We do not have the manpower required to continue... We must retreat.
- Xeron - Retreat to where, exactly? The way back is blocked by several tons of stone, the path only leads forward and the damn demon planet is covering the sky!
- Arkarixus - I could have fought that demon... if that wretched woman had not been in the way... Urk. We cannot use Project Void unless he is weakened, and I stand no match to this power.
- Olcinius - I'm afraid this battle is a pyrrhic one. I... I do not know how to proceed from here.
- Tuolog - I not able to provide much aid. Dark Chronoscopic presence strong here; no doubt Kolossus is providing indirect aid to Marigrax. I not able to even teleport us away.
- Zr'Ahgloth - DIS STINKS
Hachi grit their teeth as they eyed the blackened horizon. They were weakened and tired, much like their companions, yet the grip on their sword did not relinquish at the sight of the monstrous abomination that festered before them. Fear coursed through their blood, crawling up their spine like tendrils, yet they took a step forward regardless.
- Hachi - I'll do it then.
- Vekaron - ... Pardon?
- Hachi - I said I'll do it. We've come too far to just do nothing at the last hurdle. If we do nothing, everyone dies. I'd rather go out fighting if it turns out we can't win this thing.
- Baptarion - Get real, kid.
The Radeon was slumped into a nearby rock, his mechanical arm covered in the blood of Geltastra after he punched through her chest moments earlier. He was clearly incapacitated. The young warrior continued walking ahead, cheeks flushed red while a fire - or rather, a flickering ember of light - burned in their eye.
- Hachi - I don't see you trying to stop me.
- Baptarion - Now's not the time to rush ahead... We need a plan. Or do you intend to fight that thing on your own?
- Hachi - ... What else was I raised by mom for? She gave me these powers, taught me everything I know. I can't explain it, but it feels like... like I'm fated to be here. Like everything I've done up to now has led me here. I'm scared, but... I can't turn back now. What was the point if not for this?
- Vekaron - You're saying you were given your Essence... specifically to kill that thing?
- Xeron - I hate this entire war and all of its nonsensical revelations!
- Hachi - Not just that thing... All of those things. Those... monsters from that nightmare place. I don't even know if I'll win, if I can win. But trying has got to be worth something rather than hanging back and doing nothing, right? I'll go ahead, maybe I can distract it for just a moment - gives everyone else time to come up with something.
- Olcinius - This is not wise. Perhaps we should-
- Baptarion - Leave it. The kid's weird like that. If they wanna go then let them... I can't even stop them, even if I wanted to. Arm hurts too much.
Hachi stopped, before turning into a dash. Baptarion felt the young boy's arms wrapped around his chest, Hachi's face nestled under his chin, and could feel that the young warrior - a blooded child soldier, witness to horrors both of this world and those beyond - was shivering.
- Hachi - If everything goes wrong... I'll miss you.
- Baptarion - Ugh... I never liked kids... But at least try not to die, okay?
- Hachi - I pinkie promise.
With that, Hachi stood and wiped their eye, sniffling. Never before on any of the battlefields they marched on had they felt more vulnerable than now. The sensation of what it meant to be a lone fish in a storming dark sea, surrounded by sharks. Giving everyone a nod they bit their lip and rushed towards the clearing, kicking up dust in their hurry towards the monstrous demigod corrupted by that insidious darkness from between the stars and the shadowy recesses of the sapient mind. Their heart was in their mouth, beating wildly, and fear and uncertainty bubbled in their stomach like a churning pit. They continued on, feeling as if they were dashing through eternity, before they came to a stop. To meet the monster responsible for this entire mess. Their reason for being.
Marigrax looked down at the small warrior with a narrowed eye; though Hachi had lived among the Marinar since they were rescued by their mother, this creature which resembled them had no true expressions in its undead state. All it appeared to have was a constant scowl. As he spoke, it seemed like Nirosia itself was roused by it.
- Marigrax - The "Destined One" has arrived.
- Hachi - That's right... Your destroyer. I'll set everything right, back to how things were.
- Marigrax - I am curious, Tā. How much do you know of the shackles which bind you to this false contract you have signed with the Lord of the Dream? How much are you aware of the slavery you are under?
- Hachi - That's rich! Coming from you, a monster that corrupts and enslaves and... perverts everything it touches. I want to be here, nobody could stop me if they wanted. Not even you.
The massive Mari'verao leaned forward, glaring down at Hachi as he clenched his teeth in what seemed to be amusement.
- Marigrax - You want to be here? You are not here by your own choice, mortal; you are here because you are a piece in the Lord of the Dream's game. You are a pawn; your "destiny" is a lie.
- Hachi - And what? This... thing that you are, what you and your cult are doing. That's what you call freedom? You know jack shit.
- Marigrax - I pity you, creature. For I too was once a slave; a slave to a weak master. But That Which Devours has shown me the truth, a truth I have shown to all those who call themselves Chosen. A truth which this entire universe must learn; that the Corruptus will never end.
Hachi sniffed again, wiping their nose. As Marigrax spoke, the young boy cracked a nervous smile. A chuckle escaped their lips.
- Hachi - Wow... You're even more insane than I thought. Maybe the Corruptus won't ever end, but you've forgotten something important. Something I thought someone so big and so old and powerful would've remembered. Your... nightmare demons are a shadow. Shadows don't exist without light. It's always gonna be there, it has to be. That's just how things are. It's how it's always worked.
- Marigrax - The essence of my master is not equal to the shackles you wear, "Destined One". It is not light and shadow; it is truth and falsehood. You obey an order of lies and manipulation, and I will show this universe the truth of the Corruptus.
- Hachi - ... Yeah, is that right? Go ahead, if you think you can get through me.
- Marigrax - Creature, creature... You are not in my way. I do not require to move from this spot; in mere hours, Nirosia shall mature. Then my work will be finished.
Hachi broke a sweat. They rolled their shoulders, their shaking body assuming a stance as they glared towards the nightmarish titan before them. They attempted to muster what they could of their essence, forcing its remnants to roil to the surface, but their battles had left them tired. An exhaustion, a tiredness, arose with whatever miniscule power they could amass. There were blade strokes, sending cutting ribbons of dream energy towards Marigrax, yet they dissipated weakly before even touching the monster's dread-woven flesh.
Marigrax relaxed as he leaned back, though he brought a hand forward as he pointed down at the warrior.
- Marigrax - When you are reunited with Alaromáryvaklarah in death, demand her tell you the tale of Cairaovén. Then you shall understand how futile your mission has been from the start.
- Hachi - Hrngh... F-Fuck you! Fuck your cult, fuck everything I've had to go through because of you! I've seen too many people die, too many people suffer, too many worlds fall just to stop here! You know, usually, I can understand why so many of the people we fight end up on the wrong side - a lot of the time, they're hurting or they're lied to or both! But you? Whatever made you think this... whole thing was something good? This isn't truth! This isn't what people want! What the hell... is wrong with you?!
The massive demon leaned back, opening his maw to reveal he was channening a fiery storm which he would soon breathe upon Hachi. The area around them shook as Nirosia itself was truly roused.
- Nirosia - DESTINED -- TO -- DIE
Hachi's eye widened at the black, swirling vortex of fire within the titan's maw. Tears burned away, the air in their lungs swallowed by the sheer overwhelming power being gathered before them. They felt the marrow within their bones beginning to burn as the wind caught aflame, their flesh and muscles screaming in agony. In the instant they witnessed that brewing firestorm, every good and wholesome and inspiring memory stored in Hachi's heart was wrenched away to be obliterated. The only thing they would remember before their very existence was reduced to ash was the unparalleled agony and sense of utter defeat simply standing before the immovable force that was Marigrax, who leaned forward as he let out a terrible blast of nightmarish flame at the child; in the distance, the group watched in terror as the monster engulfed the area in a scorching blaze which could be felt all the way where they were, and Baptarion closed his eye and turned his head away as he clenched his teeth.
- Baptarion - D-Damn it, kid...
The blast was an eternity in mortal minds, the planet trembling in fury as an unbound darkness swallowed the earth. Spasming, clawed tendrils of smoke ascended to the blackened sky when Marigrax relinquished their wrath, the land forever scorched by the touch of a hellish otherworld. There was no trace of the boy in that all-consuming plume of smog. Naught but rogue shimmers of fleeting light where Hachi was surely obliterated, their very soul incinerated and torn asunder by Marigrax's barrage.
And after what felt like forever, the smoke and fire cleared. Hachi was no longer standing before Marigrax. In Hachi's place, within the heart of a smouldering crater of melted fiery rock, stood something else. It was tall, taller than any of the champions of the nightmare or any of the boy's companions who watched the battle unfold from afar. Golden armour encased its form, an ethereal, terrifying angelic light radiating outward to cut the darkness wherever it may be found - a brilliant sun. Tendrils of essence flowed softly outward from its back, forming a vague impression of bright impressive wings and a flowing cloak of intertwining appendages, while sharp claws ended the fingertips of the gold-clad warrior of light. Much of its head was obscured by some form of helm, yet Marigrax could see its eyes burning with the fury of a hundred thousand supernovae. In its grip, wild energy was forced into the shape of a long curved blade.
Sat at its heart Hachi, their eye beaming with the light of the Realm of Dreams, glanced towards their adversary with an almost expressionless visage. They were quiet, yet the air exploded around them as light burnt away the darkness like fireworks. Marigrax let out a howl as he brought his arms to his face to shield himself from the light, while the remnants of the army of Order watched in spectacle unfold.
- Baptarion - ... Oh.
- Vekaron - W-What?
- Tuolog - Aha. I knew this not the end of them.
- Arkarixus - This power...!
- Marigrax - What.. What is the meaning of this!?
As Marigrax shielded their eyes, particles of light swirled in orbit of the golden warrior - more swords were forced into being, spinning around the radiant presence to gather momentum before being sent forth, one after the other, into the nightmare entity's flesh at breakneck speed. His rotten hide was seared and burned by the dreamy essence which composed them, causing an agony to the demon which normal weapons would be unable to ever inflict. Marigrax, however, retaliated by launching his back tendrils at Hachi, engulfing them in nightmarish energies as he attempted to disembowl them with them.
- Marigrax - You have made a terrible mistake!
Hachi was sent to a knee, bleeding light from their manifested astral form as the black tendrils shredded past their armour. They were quick to retaliate, however, as their own tendrils coiled and entrapped around Marigrax's to keep them from withdrawing. Nightmare flesh burned, followed by the air once again exploding; Hachi's radiant projection gripped its sword for an iaijutsu cut, too swift for even Marigrax's eyes to register as his tentacles were undone and the world exploded with burning sunlight. There was a ringing sound, like a choir of dream entities, that echoed across Nirosia, as Marigrax roared out in reaction to his tendrils being destroyed, and the magma under him boiled as the Corruptus Overworld itself reacted to the explosion; a combination of disgust and hatred. The Mari'verao lord clenched his fangs in rage as he attacked again, leaning forward as he sent his nightmare-engulfed fists down to crush the warrior into nothing.
Tendrils of light swarmed over Hachi's fists as they glanced upward, watching Marigrax eclipse their radiance. Layers upon layers of light intensified around the warrior's arms and hands, like reinforced gauntlets of shimmering destructive essence, as Hachi met the overlord in a hand-to-hand flurry of flying punches. Light and shadow erupted after each collision, shaking the earth at their feet, and Marigrax could see that Hachi's expressionless demeanour was gone. There was only rage now. A pure, unbridled and unparalleled hatred. After exchanging blow after blow, the radiant warrior was able to strike at Marigrax with much more force than his smaller size would indicate, as the mosnter found himself launched back until he was sent back first into the magma, almost fully submerging before he was able to regain his composure. His corpse-like expression almost seemed to force itself to show a look of confusion and apprehension as he emerged back to his original position, launching blasts of nightmarish essence at Hachi in an attempt to stop them.
- Marigrax - What is this? I am not the target of your contract; for what reason do you awaken before me?!
- Radiant Hachi - ... Die.
Light armour tore apart and came undone as the blasts of nightmare met with the warrior's astral form, liquid sunlight bleeding from its wounds and causing Nirosia's darkness-encrusted flesh to burn and melt. In this state Hachi's voice rang like the roaring of a thousand exploding stars, unbound and untempered like a solar storm. Swords of energy formed from the particles of shredded armour, manifesting from light, as they shot into the darkness to cut away Marigrax's blasts. Clenching its fists and rearing into a low stance, the land shuddered as Hachi's astral projection shot itself like a bullet towards Marigrax with fists clenched.
Yet another flurry of blows, yet this time it was Hachi that eclipsed the demonic overlord. They were faster, more mobile, more unbound by the surge of power that flowed through them. The overlord's bones cracked and shattered with every blow the warrior could land, an onslaught of gleaming fists. A hailstorm of light. Repeated, savage blows to the torso and face, causing the monster's corpse-flesh to burn and cinder. Yet even under this merciless barrage, there was an unshakeable feeling that Hachi was swiftly depleting what power they could muster. Like light, the radiant astral state that Hachi had awakened was fleeting. There was hope, perhaps, if they could wear the boy down.
Marigrax let out pained roars as he was unable to retaliate, and his rotten flesh seared with golden light as he fell forward, colliding with the earth with a heavy thud. At that moment, a small, spherical ball of metal was thrown into the demon lord's direction as Arkarixus was revealed to have approached the site of the battle.
- Arkarixus - Get away from him, quickly!
The radiance glanced towards the downed Marigrax and the metallic sphere, registering them both. It was silent and still, before bending down to clasp the overlord by his throat. Its claws burned into the demon's neck, raising Marigrax's face to meet with its own so it could witness its opponent one last time. Then, swiftly, it reached for the ball Arkarixus had thrown and clasped it in its grip. In spite of its magnificent form, it held the object delicately, like a plucked flower.
- Radiant Hachi - ... Die!
A fist drove itself Marigrax's jaws, shattering his teeth until it reached the back of his skull. When Hachi's fist reeled back, they were swift to deliver several more unrelenting punches into the demon's face, breaking their jaw, while the ball had been lodged firmly and violently into the rear of Marigrax's cranium - corpse-flesh melted and seared around it, sealing it in place so as to be irremovable no matter how much control over his own body the overlord may yet retain. Throwing him down, the radiant presence launched one last kick into the side of the demon overlord's temple, launching him back like a ragdoll before it threw itself away from the mass of burning daemon-hide.
Before he could even collide with any surface, Project Void activated; a wormhole opened within Marigrax's skull, causing the demon to let out a terrible shriek as his entire body was sucked into the orb and utterly atomized before violently exploding a blast powerful enough to send even Arkarixus back. Nirosia, the Overworld, begun to scream as the tendrils which shielded the sky spasmed uncontrollably. Marigrax was no more.
The astral radiance was on its knee as it watched its nemesis become little more than shredded molecules - if even that. It witnessed the overlord's death in silence, the wild chaotic energy of shining light forced into a sword resting at its hip before the weapon began to dissipate. The warrior groaned, seeming to struggle to retain its balance, before the world around it collapsed and it fell onto its side. When its magnificent form touched the shattered earth it erupted into shards of crystalline light, much like glass. Hachi, their veins burned white beneath their fur and steamed through their flesh, lay sleeping amongst this mess of glittering crystal that, much like the sword, also soon began to dissipate. They remained there unconscious, unable to be roused even as the Overworld around them moved into its death howls.
The sound of medical equipment was the first thing Hachi could heard as they opened their eye; they found themselves in a bed, with Baptarion looking down on them from above. They stirred, groaning at even the slightest trace of movement, as their body seemed to decide against cooperating.
- Hachi - ... E-Everything hurts. Feels like I died. Oh d-damn, I'm dead, aren't I?
- Baptarion - Sure seemed like it. You've been out for three days, kid.
- Hachi - Three days, huh? ... W-Wait, three days?! W-What about Marigrax? I... I've gotta get my sword-- agh!
- Baptarion - Ease up. He's gone. Dead.
Hachi looked surprised, glancing at Baptarion. For a moment they were speechless, almost disbelieving him as they tilted their head.
- Hachi - ... Dead? Like, dead dead? As in, for real dead?
- Baptarion - Yeah. After you did... whatever in Spode's name that was and Arkarixus used his fancy grenade, he's 100% dead. Add it to the fact all the ships proceeded to bombard the planet until it was a pile of rubble... Yeah. Dead.
- Hachi - Wait, what I did? I can barely remember any of it... I remember he was gonna breathe some of that weird fire at me, then everything else after that is kind of a blur. Like... there's fragments I guess. I remember his tentacles hurting me, maybe a few blows here and there, but not much else.
- Baptarion - You don't remember? That's a shame. It was fairly impressive... and terrifying, to be honest.
- Hachi - Wait, you're serious? That's sounds like I did something cool! You should tell me-- agh! Yep, everything still hurts!
- Baptarion - Yeah, you're staying there for a little longer. But at least you know now that the fight's over. All the Chosen who survived seem to have fled the galaxy, and with the demon leader and that apostle witch gone, they're probably not gonna bother us again anytime soon.
Hachi slunk back into the bed, groaning. Even after three days of sleep, they still seemed tired. Their head spun and every joint and muscle in their body stung in unison if they made even the slightest of movements. They sighed, glancing up at Baptarion with a soft smile on their lips.
- Hachi - So... we did it then, huh? We can go home, finally.
- ??? - You are too valuable an asset to this war yet.
Entering Hachi's field of view was Arkarixus, and given by Baptarion's reaction to his arrival, it seems he was not aware of his presence.
- Arkarixus - You have far exceeded my expectations, Hachiman Shinha. However, the question still lies unanswered: what manner of creature are you? You are no common mortal.
- Hachi - What? Oh... I'm what they call a Tā. It's like a form of uh, human, I guess...
- Arkarixus - No. You are something much greater than whatever species you belong to. And I believe what we have witnessed was merely a glimpse of your true form.
- Baptarion - I'm pretty sure the kid has no idea what that was either.
- Arkarixus - Hm. That power... It rivalled my own. You are no common 'human'.
- Hachi - Hey, old man... I'd appreciate if you didn't talk about me like I'm an 'asset'. I'm a person, my own person. I don't have any clue what happened out there and whatever it was I did... I'm not sure I can do again anytime soon.
Arkarixus glanced down at Hachi for a moment before his expression relaxed somewhat. They could make out what almost looked like a smile in the Kormacvar's expression.
- Arkarixus - Your idealism reminds me of my own brother. He too had that purity of heart on him.
- Hachi - You have a brother? ... Whatever happened to him? Why's he not out here fighting this war?
- Baptarion - That's the "Regnatus" guy you mentioned before, isn't it?
- Arkarixus - Correct. ... Hm. Young one. You are free to return to Plazith Rim if you decide so. Though know that I could use your strength in the coming battle against the Grox.
Hachi contemplated for a moment. They glanced towards Arkarixus and Baptarion, a look of uncertainty about them, before they shuffled into the bed and pulled the cover over their head.
- Hachi - I'll think about it. I need to talk to mom first about a few things, first thing being what the hell whatever... "that" was. But I'm not a pawn, or a tool or whatever. I go and fight back evil and protect people because I want to, that's my choice. If the Grox are hurting people, then you can count on me to be there... Well, when I'm all rested up that is.
- Baptarion - Yeah, leave all that crap for later. I want a damn break.
- Arkarixus - Hm. So be it.
As Arkarixus turned to leave, Hachi piped up once again. It was clear they were sleepy, yet there was an underlying serious tone veiled beneath it.
- Hachi - Before you go... Everyone will remember what you did to those people, Ark. There's a war going on, sure, but people aren't going to forget so easily what happened with Zaarkhun's people. They're not going to want someone like that causing trouble when it's all over.
- Arkarixus - ... They are not meant to forget it.