|Second Borealis Galactic War is a Historical Event
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“He is here. He has always been here. Now, you shall understand the truth.”
This is the fourth part of the Second Borealis Galactic War.
- 1 Heart of the Swarm
- 2 Knowledge of the Ancients
- 3 The Borealis Grox War
- 3.1 The Ascended
- 3.2 The Broken Warmaster
- 3.3 A Growing Alliance
- 3.4 Origin of Horror
- 3.5 The Grox King of Ottzello
- 3.6 The Support of the Blyro'Tralzica
- 3.7 Kormacvar Legacy
Heart of the Swarm
The Fallen Gardeners
It had been three months since the destruction of Nirosia and the fall of the Devourer's Chosen. Time had passed and allowed the forces of the Borealis Galaxy to heal some of the wounds they had sufferened in their battle against the forces of darkness; not just the maddened servants of the Corruptus, but the tyranny of the Seagon Empire and the chaotic rampage of the Grand Troopers of Foreign Origins had also come to an end thanks to their combined efforts. However, to say the galaxy was at peace was naive; the time anomalies instigated by Kolossus and Antagonar grew more fierce over time, in no small part due to the former going into a rage at the sight of the Chosen's downfall. While they needed time to recuperate, they could no longer stand idle.
To make matters worse, sightings of the much feared Alvino Brood were growing more numerous over the past few weeks. The alien locusts, who were formerly content to simply prey on those who approached their space, were actively attacking the outer colonies of the Zoles Imperium in what seemed like an offensive unlike any seen in history. Thus was called a conference between the forces of Order, those who allied against those who would threaten the galaxy; Arkarixus, the last Kormacvar, stood at the helm of this conference, alongside Commandant Vekaron of the Zoles and Chief Minor Xeron of the Niaka Special Forces. Royal Captain Vyutrin of the Indoctrinate Collective, Legate Olcinius of the Paladians and Sergeant Trastius of the Seagon Cryptocracy were alos there, as were those representing the Unified Nation of Ottzello: Tuolog, Zr'Ahgloth, and the Kralgon Emperor. The Mechanic arrived late, and through his hologram could be seen bursting through a door looking exhausted, before saluting towards Arkarixus, who acknowledged him silently before speaking.
- Arkarixus - While we have rid Borealis of scum, it is still unsafe. The corrupted Gardeners swarm the back of the Zoles Imperium in great numbers.
- Vekaron - Indeed. Through most of our history, the Alvino have never done such things. They always tended to just... keep to themselves, eating whoever got too close to their planets. But this? It's a full-scale invasion.
- Tuolog - There a chance that they have been egged on by the time anomalies?
- Arkarixus - A fair assumption. The Zoles are at their weakest in what I can only presume centuries. However, I do not see what they gain from this.
- Xeron - They're mindless beasts! All they care about is killing folks!
- Kralgon Emperor - Mindless beasts can easily be controlled... by a figure operating them from behind the scenes. Something to investigate? I suspect our friends Kolossus and Antagonar are playing a part.
Arkarixus let out a low growl at the thought of the Vyro'Ralza's involvement, though Vekaron would speak next.
- Vekaron - We don't have great records of how the Alvino operate, but we are led to believe they do possess some sort of collective consciousness. A hive mind, if you would.
- Arkarixus - This was never the case during my time.
- The Mechanic - Yeah, it wasn't! That's a new development! They started behaving like this recently, in fact! In, uhhh, uhhhhh... I can't remember actually...
- Arkarixus - Head Caretaker... The fact you cannot discern what happened to your sibling race is perplexing.
- The Mechanic - Tell me about it...
- Olcinius - How exactly are we do stop a hive mind? There are no leaders to take out, no hierarchy to shatter.
- Zr'Ahgloth - YO ITS OK LADS I GOT A PLAN: WE EET DEM
- Olcinius - That's... probably not very healthy.
- Zr'Ahgloth - ITS GOTTA BE HEALTHIA DAN DA PIZZA I ORDERED LAST NITE. MAN DAT WAS DISGUSTIN
Arkarixis became pensative, passing his hand over his chin as he pondered. Eventually, his eyes narrowed; those who saw his expression, particularly the Mechanic, could see he almost seemed to grieve.
- Arkarixus - ... If there is someone behind the Gardeners, it can only be...
- Vekaron - Yes?
- Arkarixus - ... My mother.
- Zr'Ahgloth - PLOT TWIST
- Tuolog - Your mother?
- Xeron - Okay listen here, if this is some joke I'll-
- Arkarixus - Tell me, Head Caretaker. Surely you must remember her. She was essentially your sister. Floridarixis, the Brood Mother.
- The Mechanic - Uhhh... now that you mention it, the name is familiar... I, uhh... nope, that's all I got.
The Kormacvar seemed to grow exasperated as he passed his hands over his head. The subject seemed to affect him deeply.
- Arkarixus - ... The Gardeners are a sexless species. Their sole means of reproduction lies with an individual deemed the Brood Mother; she births all other Gardeners, from the ancestral homeworld of Viniaris.
- Kralgon Emperor - In that case, Olcinius, we've found your hierarchy to shatter. All units, search for the Brood Mother and destroy her.
- Arkarixus - If Floridarixis has been corrupted, she will most definitely be the source of this hive mind... I...
- Vekaron - Are... Are you okay, sir?
- Arkarixus - I was being literal... when I called her my mother. Floridarixis raised all Warmasters from youth. Though I was not born from a womb, she was my mother all the same.
- Tuolog - Though the timelines around Kormacvar era are clouded and hard to see, I see her name a lot. She quite revered among your people.
- Arkarixus - She was one of; no, she was the greatest creation of the Kormacvar. A goddess, by all meanings of the world.
- Zr'Ahgloth - shame wes gonna hav ta kill her then lol soz bro
- Vyutrin - Well... I take this means she'll have powers befiting a goddess then.
- Arkarixus - Casualties will be heavy.
- Tuolog - But if she so powerful a foe, then she could also make a great ally. We should not assume that all those who begin as our adversaries cannot join our cause. The Vague prove that.
- Vekaron - Though I admire the sentiment, the Alvino don't seem even capable of communication. I wouldn't get my hopes up.
- ??? - Speaking of "adversaries joining the cause..."
All the allies quickly turned to the source of the voice, which they all recognized. Many of their stomachs turned and their mouths were filled with disgust as Falrik Zaarkhun himself of the Borealis Consortium Network entered the holographic conference completely uninvited. Zaarkhun showed up with a confident and smug demeanour, which the others reviled, as he stepped forward. And the shock grew as, behind him, the massive frame of General Volim also appeared before them, though his expression was more difficult to read; it was hard to tell whether a Wranploer was angry or not, and Volim more or less seemed perpetually so. Arkarixus, whoever, remained unmoved.
- Falrik Zaarkhun - If you're after the Brood Mother, then you might want the help of a certain arms dealer who has made a killing trading weapons to systems that have had a problem dealing with a little Alvino infestation. I would hook you up with him, but of course, you're talking to him.
- Vekaron - You...! Volim!
- Vyutrin - Who invited this thing? It was the Loron, wasn't it?
- Falrik Zaarkhun - Oh, none of you invited me. I invited myself.
Zaarkhun pulled up a computer terminal. None of them could read the text exactly, but it was clear what he had done: he had hacked their encryption, once again, and joined the call.
- Volim - Yes, yes, all fine and good. You should all be grateful of even receiving this opportunity, after you left my fleet to die!
- Falrik Zaarkhun - Of course, we're bigger people than you. So we're willing to overlook that, in exchange for, I dunno... Maybe a huge shipment of weapons courtesy of the Zaarkhun Consortium.
- Xeron - No.
- Vekaron - Why have our encryptions not been improved exactly?
- Arkarixus - Is it not obvious? Because I expected them to come to us.
- Falrik Zaarkhun - I knew you would. So, how do you view this, Arkarixus? A supply of anti-Alvino weaponry for your fleets?
Arkarixus raised an eyebrow as he kept his arms crossed behind him. Volim seemed to grow angrier at the sight of the unmoved Kormacvar.
- Volim - You are the "Warmaster" then? I heard much about you, you know. About how you instill fear on others to make them obey you. Really, you have no reason to stand in such a high ground; you and I are practically the same.
- Arkarixus - ... Good that light years separate us. Your breath must be dreadful, creature.
- Falrik Zaarkhun - Gentlemen, we can take this outside. Or maybe consider what we have to offer. Because I'm taking a look at the battle statistics for your fleets... and needless to say, they're not looking good.
- Arkarixus - You will have a role to play in my war effort. Should you prove helpful, this collaboration may grow stronger.
- Vekaron - Are... Are you quite serious about this?
- Arkarixus - There are more than simply the corrupted Gardeners to fight until this war comes to an end. Extra bodies are never useless.
- Falrik Zaarkhun - I'm glad one among you has a sufficient number of brain cells.
- Arkarixus - However. I will not barter with you like you are a merchant. You shall fight like a warrior, and only when the war comes to an end, will you be rewarded, if it is fitting.
Zaarkhun raised a hand and began to open his mouth to object, until he noted Volim's expression. Volim was hungry for combat, while Zaarkhun only thought about how best to profit from this encounter. He reconsidered, before he replied:
- Falrik Zaarkhun - If warriors are what you want, then warriors are what you'll get. But you'll not get them for free. I want full access to any salvage and debris left over from the conflict.
- Xeron - Filthy scavengers.
- Arkarixus - Acceptable.
- Volim - It may surprise you goody two-shoes, but I also have much to gain from exterminating those locusts from the galaxy. They can't be reasoned with, can't be bargained with, only serve to get my scouts killed. They're a plague that needs to be cured. With violence.
- Falrik Zaarkhun - Oh, one last thing:
- Falrik Zaarkhun - They're coming too.
- Zr'Ahgloth - WAT DA HELL NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
- Fre'kloar - SUP JAKASS
- Vyutrin - Ugh. Great. And I had finally forgotten the sound of their terrible voices recently.
- Jol'kiar - YO POINT US TO DEEZ AL'QAEDA WATEVA FINGZ AN LETS ROAST DEM
- Volim - Yes, these creatures do have a role to play in this fight. After all, the fact the Alvino were roused into activity was their fault!
- Hagto'Zhl - BRUH I DID NUFFIN DEY JUS SHOWED UP LIKE "YO WES GONNA EET YAS" DEN I WAS LIKE "DATS MY LINE" DEN DEY CAME THROO ONE OF OUR SHIPZ AN ATE ALL DA BOYZ ON IT WHIL DEY WAS IN DA MIDDLE OF A POKA GAME. RIDICULUS I SWEAR DATS WEN YOR SUPPOSED TA LET DEM FINISH DA GAME FIRST ITS TRADISHON
- Grak'tona - ALSO I WAS ABOUT TO WIN LOL
- Volim - I do not care, just get ready to battle the locusts! Go and get out of here, your stench is unbearable!
- Rel'larutina - Trust me, I tried to get them breath mints and they just crushed them and tried to sniff them.
Vekaron looked at Arkarixus with worry in his expression, though the Kormacvar appeared unmoved; in truth, he was just good at hiding his disdain.
- Vekaron - Are you sure this is a good idea, sir? The King is gonna flip when he gets my report...
- Arkarixus - If Floridarixis is behind this, then we will require all the bodies that can be thrown at her. I was not exaggerating; we are about to face a goddess, the one and only goddess I know for a fact has the power to end an entire fleet.
- The Mechanic - Yeah, and we'll need all the cannon fodder, uh, I mean "help", we can get!
- Hagto'Zhl - wats dis bout food? im hungry lets get sum pizza lads
- Rel'larutina - You know I just ordered you one five minutes ago, right?
- Hagto'Zhl - yeh well it eint heer yet and IM HUNGRY. OI DOES DIS SHIP HAV A FOOD PLAZA OR SUMFIN?
- Volim - Get out of my ship!
- Rel'larutina - Off we go, boys.
Into the Belly of the Beast
Over the course of the next weeks, the forces of Order and their new 'allies' of the forces of Disorder begun their counter-offensive against the Alvino Brood. The locusts were not an enemy to be underestimated; their technology, while primarily biological in nature, was far more advanced than anything they had encountered yet, surpassing even the reverse-engineered Kormacvar weaponry of the Seagon Cryptocracy. It came to no surprise, however, now that they had Arkarixus with them to provide his own thoughts on the matter; the Alvino were Kormacvar creations, and as such were using technology and displaying power comparable to that of the Kormacvar Empire itself.
With numerous skirmishes between their forces and those of the locusts, it became increasingly clear that direct warfare against the creatures was not an option; in a fight of attrition, they would trounce even their combined effort very easily. The Alvino Brood Mother had to be found before the Brood was roused to muster all of its forces, or all of their victories against their former foes would had been for naught, for the ravenous tide would sweep over them like a tsunami.
A strike of luck hit them, however, upon news of a skirmish between the Zoles Imperium and an Alvino scout fleet; the Imperials had successfully captured an Alvino vessel and secured its docking bay, potentially allowing an exploration team to venture within. The forces of Order agreed that this was their best chance at studying the Brood's movements and, hopefully, find out the location of the Brood Mother. As news arrived that the crew in charge of securing the ship had seemingly confirmed all hostiles were dealt with, a group of specialized soldiers was sent to venture into the bowels of the monstrous Alvino vessel; Commandant Asraels would command said crew inside, alongside Zr'Ahgloth and Tuolog, Falrik Zaarkhun, Genrai Nal and Sollow along with Fre'kloar and all his Leedas and Warbosses. Arkarixus was, of course, present; he needed to be there to make sense of the Kormacvar-like technology of the locusts, and he wanted to see them for himself.
The Alvino vessel itself was immense for a scouting ship, and it was clear the entire vessel was completely organic in nature, almost resembling a floral hive of some sort, though it appeared to be completely dead. It did not make it any less dusturbing for some of the men, who were unnerved as they ventured through its corridors.
- Trooper - What a revolting construct. I feel like I'm inside of a gargantuan animal.
- Asraels - That is because we are. Keep your guard up.
- Fre'kloar - man i hate da atmosphere heer. YO SOMEON PUT ON SOM RAP MUSIC TA LIVEN DA PLACE UP
- Sollow - Oh, please, don't. Your music is positively dreadful...
- Fre'kloar - WHO INVITED DIS JAKASS ALONG? YO I SAY WE EET HIM
- Sollow - Oh, I've been devoured plenty of times before. Always cut my way out soon after though...
- Genrai Nal - And for the record, I will also cut you in half if you turn on a comrade during this battle.
- Fre'kloar - BUZZKILL
- Arkarixus - Silence. Look for whatever this ship's equivalent of a command center. If it holds any precious information, it would be there.
- ??? - ... Someone say something 'bout food?
As they heard an unfamiliar voice creep out through the shadows, they turned to find a large Wranploer with several cybernetic implants, including a large hook on his right arm. Were it not for the foul stench of the vessel's interior, or how distorted everything else appeared to them, they would probably be revolted by the Wranploer, who had blood dripping from his mouth and down his clothes. As it was, he was yet another unpleasant individual that most wished had never gotten involved. Zaarkhun coughed under his breath to introduce the Wranploer that joined them:
- Falrik Zaarkhun - Ah, my apologies. I'd like to introduce a friend, and a very powerful associate, of mine. This is Billig Oltauris. He'll be helping us here.
- Billig - Not much you can do without me, 'ey? But venturing into dangerous places like this is kinda me thing. Stay close and I'll make sure a few of yers survive. If ya don't, well, my stomach's always got place fer a few limbs.
Arkarixus paid little attention to Billig, though while Commandant Asraels appeared mildly disturbed by his appearance, some faint giggles escaped his troopers at the sight of the clearly legless Wranploer, forced to use prosthetics to move.
- Fre'kloar - MAN WHOS DIS LARD??? HAOS HE GONNA HELP US????
- Falrik Zaarkhun - You'll see what he's capable of soon enough.
As the group moved forward, there was an eerie silence; while Asraels' men were convinced whatever crew this ship may have held died when it was captured, they all could not help but feel something was not quite right. The place was truly strange to behold; it was made of immense chitin-like material where one would expect metal, with numerous fleshy pods along the walls, presumably where Alvino drones would rest. The sight caused Arkarixus to clench his teeth in apprehension as he looked around in high alert. Tuolog also appeared very curious about the place, seemingly incapable of sensing any of its history. Normally, he was used to being able to perceive information about the past and future of a location to have some context, but here, he was utterly blind to anything.
- Tuolog - This place not appear natural at all. It appear very distorted from what I would think the Alvino like. Arkarixus, you know anything?
- Arkarixus - ... No such vessels existed during my time. The Gardeners did not travel through space. They resided solely in our colonies, where they maintained our worlds' biospheres.
- Tuolog - This what I thought too. It make me wonder how this sort of place come to exist. But I not able to view any history for it at all... In fact, I not even see if any of its timelines were clouded by Dark Chronoscopic.
- Sollow - This place stinks. It reminds me of the days of the Hostile Xenoform Threat but... with more plants. Or at least I think those are roots on the walls.
- Jol'kiar - yanno fer a minut ther i was like "yeh yor rite somfin does smell disgustin" but den i realized it was YOO
- Sollow - Hey! I might be a walking corpse but I'm a clean walking corpse. Billig is the stinky one.
- Billig - You on about me breath or me bloodsoaked clothes? Because, uh, both are pretty bad, 'ey?
- Arkarixus - ... We must press on. I must uncover what happened to the Gardeners. This is not natural; it was not meant to be.
At this moment, one of the Zoles troopers under Asraels rose her weapon and aimed behind her, causing the others around her to turn to face her. Asraels himself looked around in confusion, as there was nothing out of the ordinary in the vicinity.
- Asraels - Soldier?
- Trooper - Forgive me, Commandant. But I could swear I heard something whispering behind me.
- Tuolog - I warp in Tralkik to scan area?
- Asraels - It could be helpful. Do so.
Tuolog hummed a little, before a small Tralkik Hunter scout appeared before him. The scout nodded, and climbing across the wall, headed on much further than the group, while they continued to press on. He could not receive any signals from the scout, however; and he noticed soon that the scout was not returning at all. As time passed and they continued, the Zoles commandant prompted a response.
- Asraels - Any response from your drone? It has been a while.
- Tuolog - I not even able to detect it on the System anymore. It appears to have vanished.
- Zr'Ahgloth - YEH NORMALLY DEY MAKE AN ANNOYIN BEEPIN SOUND WEN DEY GET DESTROYED BUT DIS IS JUS GON
- Kal'kuir - HURHUR YOO UNO TYPES MAKE CRAPPY ROBITS
- Zr'Ahgloth - SO DOES YA MOM AN IF YA DISS MA ROBOTS AGEN IMMA SHOV ONE UP YA ASS
- Sollow - Ooh, interesting mental image! I'll have to keep it in mind...
- Genrai Nal - We must remain cautious. Whatever is in this ship is capable of disrupting our communication signals completely. Stay alert and stay close as a group.
- Falrik Zaarkhun - Not offering to look for yourself? That's how I know you're scared.
- Genrai Nal - I said nothing about fear. We would be unwise to simply throw away any lives needlessly, however. To split up would be a fool's errand.
Finally, after many more minutes of exploration, the group finally arrived at a large, circular chamber, where biomechanical equipment rose from its center. The team assumed this was the Alvino's equivalent of a commander room, as it seemed to be the only one of its kind in the vessel. As they approached and took defensive positions around it, they could look around the walls and ceiling; the chitinous pods covering them easily numbered in the hundreds, though there was no sign of life as far as any of them could tell.
Arkarixus moved up to the 'machinery' and begun manipulating it, trying to make sense of it.
- Arkarixus - I can only barely recognize the tongue on this apparatus. It is like the Kormacvar tongue but... feral. Primitive.
- Asraels - We shall ensure the area is secure while the Warmaster works.
- Hagto'Zhl - not gonna lie im gettin REEL BORED HEER. DERES NO ONE TA FITE MAN
- Billig - Oh, believe me... there'll be somethin' ta fite 'ere.
As Arkarixus fiddled with the Alvino equipment, a door opened to the group's right - seemingly out of nowhere, revealing itself as if an entire chunk of the wall had been consumed by the rest. It revealed an extremely dark chamber - unnaturally so, which caused the Zoles troopers to grow apprehensive and ready their weapons. The Kormacvar turned his eyes to the newly revealed entrance and huffed.
- Arkarixus - I did not do that.
- Kal'kuir - wtf nor did i
- Voa'reak - man yor not doin anyfin ta begin wiv
- Kal'kuir - dats not tru im orderin pizza but I CANT GET SIGNAL HEER
- Asraels - Hmpf, it might be the sign of an ambush. We will need to investigate.
- Tuolog - I not able to sense possibilities. I cannot tell what happen here.
- Sollow - Here's an idea! Billig, go check on that room so I don't get your stench in me any longer...
- Billig - Gladly, ya deathly bastard...
As instructed, Billig approached the entrance with seemingly no apprehension. From his back hopped a small Loktan that hissed at the group; a companion of his, who scoured the area around the entrance clawing at the walls trying to rip them apart while Billig walked through. Whatever light came from the group's room almost seemed to be devoured in this new chamber, and Billig could barely see a few feet ahead of himself. However, as he inspected the place, something caught his attention; at the very center, a silhouette appeared to sit on the floor and slowly turn its head at his direction.
Closer inspection made it clear to Billig that this was a Wranploer.
- ??? - ... Hello? I hear footsteps.
- Billig - I don't see any footsteps...
- ??? - Oh! That voice! My friend, how lovely it is to hear your voice again.
- Billig - "Friend"? That can't be right. I ain't got any.
- ??? - Now now, Vorius. I know it's been a while, but you do remember your friend Nookrul, right? We used to be ship mates not just too long ago!
- Billig - "Vorius"? Never 'eard of 'im. You best start being specific and stop being vague.
One of the Imperial troopers, hearing Billig speaking, approached the entrance of the chamber. From his position, he could not see a thing.
- Trooper - What's going on here? Who're you talking to?
At that moment, Billig's Loktan associate who hung from the wall hissed ferociously at the trooper, initially catching him off guard, before Billig waved his hand downwards a little to calm the Loktan down.
- Billig - Easy now, Gyjak. We're not enemies with 'em... at the moment. Now, to answer yer question, there's a Wranploer stuck in 'ere. Seems to fink I'm 'is mate.
- Trooper - A Wranploer in an Alvino vessel? ... A prisoner, perhaps?
- Nookrul - Oh, the bugs got me, they did. You remember, don't you, Vorius? They came to our space station and took me away. Now it's real hard to see... and my face hurts.
Meanwhile, at the main chamber, Arkarixus seemed to make progress at the Alvino biomachinery. Before the group's eyes, a hologram manifested displaying the Alvino's territory in the Mirianis Sector, which the Kormacvar proceeded to zoom into a star system in particular.
- Arkarixus - I have found it. I... I can barely believe it still exists.
- Asraels - Pardon?
- Arkarixus - Viniaris, the ancestral home of the Gardeners. ... Where I spent my childhood.
- Tuolog - I know a little of the place, but not much. You know what is left of this world?
- Arkarixus - When you woke me from my cryogenic sleep, I assumed the planet to have been destroyed by the Grox. Yet, it seems it still exists... and Floridarixis is most definitely there.
- Hagto'Zhl - OK COOL WE FOUND DA BUG PLANET. LADS WE GOTTA GET A LOT OF PESTICIDE CUS WES GONNA GO FITE DA EVIL MANTIS MEN NAO
- Fre'kloar - YEEEEEEEH LETS GO EET DEM ALL
A voice rung behind Arkarixus' ear. He turned his head around in confusion, though it seemed none heard it. Before he could say anything, however, he heard it again.
You fight a lost cause...
You fight for a dead empire...
Mother awaits you at Viniaris...
Tuolog could tell Arkarixus was becoming increasingly wary, as the Kormacvar begun looking around himself in what looked like distress, while Asraels and his men raised their eyebrows in confusion. Meanwhile, at the dark chamber, the mysterious Wranploer begun to slowly crawl at Billig's direction, into the direction of the light; it became apparent to him that this Wranploer was missing both of his eyes. As Gyak, Billig's companion, noticed this, she let out a huge hissing sound as Billig looked to her and nodded.
- Billig - Yeah, I hear ya. Let's get outta here...
Billig threw his right arm behind him to activate a wrist-mouted hook, with the hope of latching into something and pulling himself away. The eyeless Wranploer, however, was unflinching.
- Nookrul - Oh, Vorius. Did you hear it as well? The voice says it's time for me to finally leave this place! However, I need to ask a favour of you... And it's very important.
- Billig - I don't cook for your kind, mate.
- Nookrul - Oh, no, nothing like that. You see...
Arkarixus turned his eyes back to the biomachinery, and his eyes widened as he begun glancing over its contents. A growl came out of the Kormacvar as his apprehensive expression shifted into full rage.
- Arkarixus - ... The Grox! The Grox did this!
- Nookrul - ... Kill the Kormacvar. Kill him kill him kill him kill him kill him kill him KILL HIM KILL HIM
- Billig - Yeah, no can do. He wouldn't taste all that good, 'ey?
At this moment, the darkness dissipated before Billig's eyes. He was met with the sight of an immense mass of bloated and mutated flesh which connected to Nookrul through a tendril in his back, and the Wranploer lift himself from the ground, letting out a terrible shriek. In response, Billig clutched onto his hook to swing out and escape, joining the rest of the group. Around the main chamber, the sound of scratching almost deafened them as the chitinous pods begun being torn open from the inside; Alvino drones, numering hundreds, suddenly begun forcing their way out of them. Arkarixus' rage only subsided when he realized what was happening, and Asraels' men shuddered at the sight of the horde.
- Arkarixus - What? H-How? There was no life in these pods!
- Hagto'Zhl - oh urm ok dats akshully a lot of bugs
- Zr'Ahgloth - hagto i neva thought id say dis eva but WANNA HELP EECH OTHA SMASH DEEZ BUG LOSAS?
- Hagto'Zhl - I HATE TA SAY IT BUT FINE JUS DIS ONCE
- Asraels - What are you saying? We must retreat at once! There are too many of them!
- Falrik Zaarkhun - They're rig- hm. No, go fight a few of them. Hold them off.
Asraels' men prepared to make their back from where they came, while Arkarixus clenched his teeth in rage as he used a datapad to download as much of the content in the Alvino biomachinery as he could. The monstrous Wranploer mutant of the dark room begun shambling forward, quickly getting the group's attention as well as Billig used his hook to evade his advance and rejoin the others.
- Nookrul - KILL THE KORMACVAR KILL HIM KILL HIM KILL HIM ONLY ONE KORMACVAR ALLOWED IN THIS UNIVERSE YOU ARE NOT HIM
- Voa'reak - OH MA DAYZ WAT DA HELL IS DAT??????
- Falrik Zaarkhun - Curious... "only one allowed"...
- Genrai Nal - Zaarkhun, we must move quickly.
- Arkarixus - Abominations... You are not Floridarixis' children. How dare you usurp the name of the Gardeners?
Arkarixus stood his ground, his body glowing in energy as he unleashed a wave of his essence at the advancing horde of Alvino; before their eyes, the monstrous locusts were struck by his energy, only to respond by going into a frenzy, completely unharmed. The Kormacvar's eyes widened and he took a step back.
- Arkarixus - ... They are immune to my mana!
- Zr'Ahgloth - BUT DEYZ NOT IMMUNE TO MA FIST
Zr'Ahgloth and Hagto'Zhl threw themselves at the horde, punching and kicking the swarms around them, while the rest of the Loron stayed back. While it slowed down their advance, the Alvino were relentless in their assault, and both Loron soon felt the sharp pain of their claws, talons and teeth rending into their flesh as if it was paper. Tuolog quickly withdrew them as they both ran, cursing as their flesh bled.
- Zr'Ahgloth - DATS DA LAST TIME I LISSEN TA DA STOOPID ADVICE OF HAGTO "COPYCAT DUMBO" ZHL
- Hagto'Zhl - DIS WAS YOR IDEA ZR "WANNABE LOSA" AGLOTH NAO DA BUGS TORN MA CLOTHES TA PEECES also i reely hurt
- Grak'tona - wow is dis wat deelin wiv me is like
- Fre'kloar - more or less tbh
- Arkarixus - Retreat back to the shuttle as quickly as you are able. We cannot face this horde in such low numbers.
- Sollow - You don't have to tell me twice... I'll get there first and leave you all behind!
As the group continued to sprint back towards the exit, another lone pod in the ceiling burst, with several Alvino pouncing at them. As they did, a mechanical trap sprung, suspending them in the air, before a set of bombs exploded on them. The group looked to the source of the trap, and found it laid at Zaarkhun's feet.
- Falrik Zaarkhun - Hm, useful. I had that trap laid out for if any of you betrayed me. Good to know it came in handy.
- Asraels - Pat your own back when we are safe!
The ravenous horde continued to pursue them, and it seemed like the more they progressed, the more Alvino emerged to join the chase. Zaarkhun created holographic projections of the team to misdirect the Alvino, but this did not thin their numbers nearly enough. Asraels' men fired back and took down as many as they could, though they were quickly picked apart by the Alvino one by one. Voa'reak was barely able to escape five drones leaping at his direction by quickly using his jetpack to jump up, while not even all of Zalk'don's bombs managed to cull the horde in any significant manner. However, they were eventually able to reach the docking bay once again, where their shuttle awaited for them. As they arrived, the Unified Nation of Ottzello Commandos waited by the ship, having seen that Tuolog and Zr'Ahgloth were in distress. Vaktyl, leading the group in the mysterious absence of Thr'aloy, beckoned to them.
- Vaktyl - C'mon! Get in! Our blasters can only hold them off for so long!
- Sollow - This is the first time I am glad to see a Grimbolsaurian. Not sure if I like it!
- Vaktyl - Yeah, well don't get used to it. The Skull is down. A bunch of them tore through him. We're sending the parts back to get him repaired.
- Zr'Ahgloth - OH MA DAYZ DIS IS DA WORST DAY EVA. OR AT LEEST A FAIRLY BAD ONE
- Ray'loth - idunno sounds like gud noos ta me lol
- Vailisa - The Fist try protect the Skull, but too many bugs hold his arms down! The Fist smash puny bugs in retaliation!
- Zelfron III - It appears many of you have barely escaped with your skin intact. You must've had to deal with even more of them than us.
- Asraels - We can talk about it when we are safe. Everyone to the shuttle!
Once all of the group entered the shuttle, the Commandos joined them and quickly departed the Alvino vessel, though not before hearing the claws of the Alvino drones scratching against the surface of the shuttle's doors before it took off. Many of them breathed heavily as they were finally able to sit down and rest, with Asraels looking around himself in grim realization that he was the only Zoles who managed to escape with his live. Arkarixus clutched his hand onto the datapad as he clenched his teeth in anger, finally speaking.
- Arkarixus - The Grox... The Grox did this. I have found their work within their databanks... The Grox transformed my race's Gardeners into these monsters!
- Falrik Zaarkhun - That's not all. The beast mentioned something about "one Kormacvar may live". I'm paraphrasing, of course, but I distinctly remember...
- Arkarixus - One Kormacvar? ... Tuolog. Did you also hear it? The voice which spoke to me?
- Tuolog - No. But I could tell that you were hearing voice when it happen.
- Arkarixus - ... The Grox were not content to merely destroy my people. They went a step ahead and corrupted our legacy... And now I am not even sure of my own sanity anymore.
- Falrik Zaarkhun - Such behavior is not typical of Grox at all. Normally, they only crave destruction. They destroy their foes and any remnants of them. For them to be behind this suggests that these are very different Grox from those in other galaxies.
The Warmaster took a heavy breath as he made an effort to calm himself, though his success was dubious at best.
- Arkarixus - ... Once we are far enough from that vessel, Zoles, order your forces to destroy it. Erase it from this universe.
- Asraels - You do not have to ask, Warmaster.
A New Polar Crystal
As news spread of the connection between the Alvino Brood and the Grox, the leadership of the galaxy's empires was shaken. There was never any reason to suspect such before, though the information gathered by the group in the Alvino vessel could not be wrong. Among the Zoles Imperium in particular, it was becoming clear that the Alvino's attacks were not simply an invasion; it was a vanguard. The Grox themselves were planning something, using the Alvino as proxies. The aged King Rebaris studied the situation carefully and, considering his options, did something unprecended for this war; he invited the leaders of the Niaka and UNO to visit him in person at his palace in Zoleia, away both from the eyes of their allies and the eyes of the now-involved Wranploer.
Arkarixus, Chief Major Xerkea and the leaders of UNO (barring Zr'Ahgloth) accepted his invitation and sat alongside the Zoles king in his royal chambers. Alongside him was his wife, Queen Aldaren, who barked orders to the palace's servants in order to bring the guests food and drink. The UNO leader Valzo, who was normally absent from military conflicts as his role was solely in the realm of diplomacy, spoke up for the rest of them, with the Tralkik Commander and Tuolog at his side. Another was Feldosia, whose involvement was normally in domestic matters, though she wished to attend this meeting also.
- Rebaris - I must apologize for asking you to come all the way here in a time like this, but a conference through communications is too... open to ears I would rather not listen right now.
- Valzo - No apology is necessary. We understand why we would not want Zaarkhun listening in on us again.
- Rebaris - The threat of the Alvino proves far greater than we could've expected. Never in my almost four hundred years would I think of them as tools of the Grox. A race of machines making use of animal-plant hybrids? Unthinkable.
- Valzo - We believe there's something very different about your Grox from those seen in other galaxies. The Unified Nation has our own Ottzelloan Grox, and they are much more simplistic in their methods. So it is very curious they would seek to use the Alvino as their pawns.
- Xerkea - I do want a status report on that. Xeron's not given me much useful information.
Taking his cue, Arkarixus spoke.
- Arkarixus - The databanks of the Gardener vessel allowed me to glimpse at its history. It appears the Grox have used some sort of malicious, psychic effect to force them into obedience, causing them to mutate into weapons of war over the course of five billion years. The moment I was told your galaxy faced them as foes, I knew something unnatural was at work, and now we know the cause. Still, the fact they are immune to my mana confirms they are Gardeners, for only they would be able to resist my own powers.
- Tralkik Commander - Our information on the Grox does not suggest they are capable of this. Such a thing would be unique to the Borealis Grox.
- Xerkea - Damned monsters. So they've enslaved the Alvino for so long and we never suspected a thing.
- Rebaris - It is clear to me the Grox intend to make an advance on us very soon. The Alvino were roused by the Rogue Loron, but they only truly begun an assault on my people's borders when the Devourer's Chosen were destroyed; they were waiting for the perfect moment to strike.
- Feldosia - Indeed, we noticed the same. The attacks on our worlds from Alvino skyrocketed around that time. Some of us thought it was Kolossus and Antagonar's work, but I'm not so sure anymore.
- Arkarixus - I do not believe the Vyro'Ralza are involved with the Grox. None of us could feel any trace of their essence when we explored the Gardener vessel. And, as Tuolog mentions, it appears something about it disrupts his view of time. It would logically affect them too.
- Tuolog - I not able to sense anything down there. Though... When Volzara speak to us, she mention of one who manage to hide themselves from space and time entirely. I wonder if it the Grox.
- Rebaris - Well... There are tales of a leader among the Grox. Supposedly, they have a king.
- Arkarixus - Grox possess kings. During my time, I fought against the forces led by a King Mirras. Though I would not know if this would be the same king of the current day.
- Valzo - We had a Grox king within UNO, but they have long since vanished. Another of the Grox leaders was merely a machine, an AI that leads them. Much of the Kralgon technology was based on this leader. As for the king, his whereabouts are unknown.
- Arkarixus - Mirras was very much of flesh and blood. It was my mission to turn him into a bloodied smear. Unfortunately, I never had the chance.
Rebaris let out a sigh as he spoke once again. His expression turned stern.
- Rebaris - If we are to survive, then there really is no other choice. Tell me, Ottzeloans, have you ever heard of the Polar Crystal Alliance?
- Tralkik Commander - We have little knowledge of it, as our data on Borealis history prior to our arrival is limited. Tuolog may, though.
- Tuolog - I do. I know of alliance that once formed to fight Wranploer. You suggest we reform it?
- Rebaris - Yes. The Polar Crystal Alliance was something my ancestors did to fight off Volim's Wranploer Legion during the old war. The more we learn of the situation with the Grox, the more I believe we will only be able to fight back if we reform it and unite the galaxy under it.
- Yogtam - Alone, our nations are strong. But not nearly strong enough to fight against the threats we face. But united, together, there may be a much greater chance.
- Valzo- The Unified Nation of Ottzello was founded on this very principle, in fact. For us, in Ottzello, the time for division had to come to an end. We could no longer stay as separate people who feared one another. Only as a unified bloc could we truly overcome the challenges our galaxy faced. UNO will gladly take those principles, and that which we learned in forming our unified nation, into a new Polar Crystal Alliance.
- Xerkea - Well, well! I do like the sound of that! Unify this galaxy and we'll finally be able to impose to order. Particularly once we deal with the Grox, we can turn our eyes to the Wranploer and wipe them out for good!
- Arkarixus - One step at a time. The bandits are, for the time being, useful cannon fodder. They pose an insignificant threat in comparison to the Grox.
- Kralgon Emperor - I like the way the Kormacvar thinks... and agree with it wholeheartedly.
- Rebaris - We will require more allies. The former Alliance fell apart due to its members losing contact from having no common cause, and I would like to avoid it. We must build something that can endure past this war.
- Valzo - If I may, there are many smaller organizations in the rest of the Borealis Galaxy that we have occasionally come into contact with. We could certainly bring them into the fold.
- Xerkea - Oh yeah, we'll get the allies in this. Get the Paladians. Hell, maybe even let the Seagon in. I think they're proving they actually changed their ways, as much as it baffles me to say.
- Tuolog - Even former foes can become great allies in some cases. The Vague are proof of that.
- Arkarixus - And what of the matters of leadership? We will require a hierarchy these members can look up to.
- Rebaris - For the time being, I think the people standing in this room right now can serve that purpose. We can discuss on how to go forward from that later on.
- Kralgon Emperor - Hahaha, Zr'Ahgloth will not like the sound of that...
- Arkarixus - Should he whine, I may have to silence him.
- Xerkea - Yeah, as much as that'd amuse me, don't actually kill the Ottzelloan guy.
- Rebaris - I do think, however, that the Kormacvar should take the lead in military affairs. After all, your title was of 'Warmaster', correct?
Arkarixus turned his head to the Zoles king and blinked with some surprise.
- Arkarixus - ... I would relish the opportunity to lead the war against the Grox once again, with an actual army and navy behind me.
- Yogtam - The Kormacvar has our full support as leader.
- Xerkea - Works for me.
- Rebaris - Then, unless there are any questions or things to add, I believe we have all we need to recreate the Alliance of old.
- Tuolog - I have but one thing to add. In terms of fleet, maybe I speak to leader of Blyro'Tralzica again. They mention an old Taldar fleet that we could use to bolster the Alliance. If this true, they prove very helpful.
- Arkarixus - Yes, that would be useful. Your ships are, frankly, too primitive to stand a chance against the Grox. We will require all the support we can get.
- Kralgon Emperor - You didn't have to say it like that...
- Feldosia - He's right, though.
Over the next few days, many rumours begun spreading across the Zoles Imperium, the Niaka Special Forces and the Unified Nation of Ottzello following the meeting; none were aware of what exactly had been discussed there. However, news begun spreading that King Rebaris himself had an announcement which was of concern of all three factions, and on the marked day and time, the image of the Zoles monarch appeared in monitors and communication devises across all worlds of the three nations. The Zoles was accompanied by the Niaka Chief Major and the Ottzelloan Leaders, who stood back and allowed him to take over as he begun speaking:
Citizens and residents of the Borealis Galaxy. I gather all of you have heard the news of the latest developments with the Alvino Brood and the Grox, and believe now is the time for fear and anxiety of the looming threat that faces our galaxy. Perhaps the presence of myself confirmed those fears, and you expected to hear the worst. But I do not come to you with messages of despair. No; today, I deliver a message of hope for our future.
The Borealis Galaxy throughout its history has been wrought with war, with poverty, and with conflict. Much of it stems, in fact, from a deeply rooted sense of xenophobia within many of our kinds. A sense of division, and of fear of the other. It is this that has divided our galaxy and prevented us from uniting as one people under a common cause of protecting our galaxy.
We saw this just a few years ago, when we condemned the Ottzelloans to a quarantine. Our people allowed the fears of the other and the division to create a rift between our peoples. In doing so, we gave into what those who seek to destroy our galaxy have always wanted. But today, that comes to an end.
Our galaxy is a great one. We are home to brilliant minds, to inventors, to warriors, and to some of the most interesting cultures that can be seen across the Gigaquadrant. Those outside our galaxy do not see the great potential that Borealis has, but we do. And today, we celebrate all those things as we form a single, united alliance of nations to celebrate all that protects the galaxy from those who wish to destroy it.
My people, it has been too long since we first formed the Polar Crystal Alliance with the goal of defending the galaxy against the Wranploer. Our alliance fell not long after this, and we learned many lessons from those days. But perhaps there was one lesson that we were wrong about: we learned that our galaxy could not unify together. This is far from the case. The Ottzelloans, in fact, are evidence of this: their peoples were bitterly divided, and had been foes for thousands of years, before they formed their unified nation. And now we come together under the same shared values as they once did.
We are forming a new Polar Crystal Alliance, uniting the people of this galaxy who wish to do good. Uniting those that share the common causes of bringing order, peace, and justice to a galaxy that has gone too long without it. Bringing together the technology, the companionship, and the greatest warriors the galaxy has to offer together under a united cause. Because alone, our peoples are great. But together, we can truly show the Grox that we can, and we will, defeat them. We will stand our ground and protect this galaxy from the Grox, and anyone else, who would seek its destruction.
I am filled with excitement for the times ahead. Today truly marks a new chapter in our galaxy. The beginning of a fair and just Borealis that knows not war and division, but peace and unity. Thank you for listening, and I look forward to sharing more about the future of our galaxy soon.
While the speech was met with some derision at first glance - it caught many off guard, after all -, cries of support were quickly heard across the galaxy. This new alliance, this Polar Crystal Alliance, would have much to prove and no shortage of enemies, but perhaps that was what Borealis needed.
A new future was ahead of them, and a glimmer of hope finally revealed it.
The End of the Brood
News of this new Polar Crystal Alliance spread across Borealis like wild fire, and were met with mixed feelings by the many empires across it. Many believed it could be a boon; a chance to save the galaxy from the woes it faced, though there were many who rejected the authority of the Zoles Imperium and saw this as a thread to their own stability. And there was no one more enraged by this than Volim himself; after all, the original Polar Crystal Alliance was founded for the sole purpose of defeating him, and there was no reason for him to believe the Zoles would not use this new Alliance to strike at him once again. However, despite his utter contempt for it all, the Borealis Consortium Network did not withdraw their support - for as much as he detested the thought of a new Polar Crystal Alliance, it would make for an useful ally against the Grox, the one foe he genuinely feared. And hopefully, once the Grox were dealt with, this Alliance would be weakened enough for him to wipe it off the map himself.
After days of preparation, a massive armada forced its way through the Cold Relays to reach the fabled world of Viniaris, the nexus of the Alvino and home land of all Kormacvar Warmasters. Leading the charge was Arkarixus, who commandeered the Armageddon-class Star Destroyer retrieved when the forces of Order defeated Rothneld Vhezari months prior, followed by the full might of the Zoles, Niaka and UNO navies, under the command of Grand-Commandant, Chief Minor Xeron and UNOL. Flanking them were the Indoctrinate Collective led by Royal Admiral Vyutrin, the Civitas led by Legate Olcinius and the Seagon led by Sergeant Trastius, while behind them, the forces of the Borealis Consortium Network were led by Admiral Torrent, with ships of Da Rogue Boyz following suit; truly a formidable force, and one direly needed for the battle to come as they were faced with their foe.
The fleet of bioships of the Alvino Brood swarmed over their homeworld, and the creature which resided there - the Brood Mother - turned her eye at them as they approached. A chill went down Arkarixus' spine as he laid eyes upon Floridarixis; this entity, during his childhood, cradled him during the night and told him tales of valor and heroism as she raised him to serve his people. She was to him - and to his late brother Regnatus - as much of a mother it was possible for him, a being created in a laboratory through genetic engineering. Yet now, his mother, one of the beings he loved the most in his life, had been transformed into an abomination beyond mortal description. She was not only massive; she was as large as Viniaris itself, her mutated body creating entire landscapes as she was rooted into the world's crust. The only reason she had not collapsed under her own weight was her tremendous psychic power; all Essence-sensitive members of the fleet felt her presence even before they arrived to the star system, for it was that massive; their mere arrival cause all those of the fleets to hear the sound of hissing, scratching and clawing behind their ears as she invaded their minds. Not even Emperor Marigrax and his Corruptus Overworld could match the unfathomable presence of her elemental aura. A goddess.
- Arkarixus - Mother... I promised you I would rid this galaxy of the Grox. And I will fulfill that promise. I will grant you peace.
The fleet engaged with the Alvino, causing a tremendous space battle to ensue. Arkarixus, however, remained unmoved as he kept his ship aimed directly at Floridarixis' head. His plan was to unleash the full might of the Armageddon-class Star Destroyer upon her, utilizing its world-destroying capabilities to finish her off before she could fight back. Even if she were not corrupted into her current form, the Kormacvar knew a conventional assault on Viniaris would be impossible, for Florixaridis has always been formidable enough to take down an entire fleet with her Essence. And this monstrous and feral state, there was no telling what she was capable of, though he was thankful that, at the very least, she seemed too feral to realize she could send the entire fleet crashing down into the planet with a wave of her roots.
The Brood Mother's eye, as black as the void of space, fixated on Arkarixus' vessel as it charged its shot. She knew he was there.
The Alvino fleets all turned their attention to the Armageddon-class Star Destroyer and went for it as much as they could, though the fleets of the Polar Crystal Alliance and their allies hindered them as much as they could. Florixarixis' colossal head, as large as a continent, slowly lift itselt off the earth as she let out a terrible growl, potent enough to cause earthquakes under her monstrous bulk. Arkarixus only gazed at her with an expression of sincere sadness as he commanded the Caretakers manning his vessel to direct all power to the main cannon.
And then it fired. A ray of energy blasted from the ship down at Viniaris, striking at Floridarixis' body and instantly causing vast swathes of land to be frozen solid. The monstrous goddess begun to spasm and shriek as her body was slowly consumed by ice, with the Star Destroyer continuing to fire and Arkarixus to continue gazing down at her, watching her demise.
However, she fought back. A terrible psychic roar echoed through the minds of the allies as the Brood Mother opened her maw, launching a writhing mass of vines as thick as entire mountain ranges into space. The Warmaster's eyes widened as the ship shook, with the tendrils wrapping themselves around it, pulling him into the planet's atmosphere. As the ship continued to fire its ray, turning Viniaris into a frozen wasteland and consuming the Brood Mother in it, she pulled him directly at her.
As he realized what would ensue, Arkarixus closed his eyes and breathed.
- Arkarixus - ... So be it. I will rest with you, mother.
The allied fleet, not predicting this, could do nothing as the Armageddon-class Star Destroyer crashed into Floridarixis' head, and both it and the ship were consumed by a colossal explosion of cold energy.
Viniaris was a frozen world. The Brood Mother's world-spanning carcass was covered by layers upon layers of ice, and no sign of any life could be detected. The Alvino fleet, upon the death of their hive mother, immediately fled the star system as quickly as it was able, escaping the Alliance's sensors entirely through the Cold Relays. Hours had passed since their victory, though several groups of troopers, wearing heavy weather-protecting gear, inspected the site of the Armageddon-class Star Destroyer's crash; or rather, what remained of Floridarixis' head, which had been split apart by the explosion of the vessel. The disemboweled bodies of dead Caretakers who manned Arkarixus' weapon littered the landscape, though there was no sign of the Kormacvar himself as they continued the explore the surrounding area.
- Drizz'pyrokirk - well dis is goin nowhere but at leest da weatha is decent
- Vekaron - I would be lying if I said that wasn't one of the most impressive displays I ever witnessed, though I have my doubts if we'll even find Arkarixus' body. I feel the blast would've utterly destroyed him.
- Trastius - You underestimate the sheer survivability of a Kormacvar Warmaster.
- Fre'kloar - MATE WHAI YA TALKIN LIKE YA KNO ANY OF DAT. DAT DOOD GOT TOTALLY REKT HARD. HES PROBS A PILE OF SNO NAO
- Grak'tona - does dis meen da return of da ABOMINABUL SNO LORON???? if so den dats cool becuz i slayed dat monsta 39 times
- Hagto'Zhl - dont start wiv ya stoopid fairy tale agen NOBODY CARES
- Grak'tona - OFF WIV DIS BODYGUARDS HED
- Hagto'Zhl - mate ill squeeze ya eyes off if ya call me dat agen dont test me
It was then that Tuolog, who was the most Essence-sensitive among them, noticed something. Directing his attention over the distance, he noticed a lump of snow against the wall of the monstrous carcass, and noticed the tiniest sliver of life under it.
- Tuolog - We investigate there. Stay on guard.
- Brag'klogga - YO LADS I FINK WE GOTTA INVESTIGAT DAT FING
- Xeron - Remind me why we let these morons follow us here?
- Rel'larutina - This is what I have to deal with every day...
The group moved over to the spot and, after digging through the ice, found Arkarixus; the Warmaster was frozen solid and had no sign of consciousness. After carefully thawing him out - including kicking Drizz'pyrokirk away before he could set him on fire -, the Kormacvar slowly opened his eyes. He spoke out, showing no adverse effects to just being frozen alive.
- Arkarixus - ... I am still alive?
- Tuolog - Yes. We not let you die that easily.
- Arkarixus - I crash-landed into a goddess' skull. I would not call it 'easy'.
- Fre'kloar - oh ma dayz i bet hes gonna brag bout dis all da time nao. OH LOOK NAO COOL I AM I CRASH LANDED AN LIVED
- Grak'tona - yeh it was relly cool dat time wen I CRASH LANDED AN SURVIVED DA GAUNTLET OF DOOM i shuld tell yoo lot da story about dat some day
- Drizz'pyrokirk - cease and desist
- Kralgon Emperor - Is he damaged badly?
Arkarixus rose to his feet, though he held on his own chest in some pain.
- Arkarixus - I am not dismembered. Though I am in some pain. My regeneration will deal with it.
- Trastius - As expected of a real Cold One. Remarkably difficult to destroy.
- Genrai Nal - You have my respect, Arkarixus. Your actions here were brave and noble, knowing not whether you would survive the encounter.
- Arkarixus - ... I had accepted my death then. The fact I still breathe is nothing short of a miracle.
- Tuolog - When you see as much as me, you stop believing in "miracles".
At this moment, a Zoles trooper approached Vekaron from behind and appeared to give him a report. The Grand-Commandant showed some surprise in his expression as he turned over to the others.
- Vekaron - It seems the other groups found something. Apparently there's an entire installation under the Brood Mother's carcass. A highly advanced one at that.
- Kralgon Emperor - Understood. Send Tralkik forces to dismantle it and obliterate everything inside.
- Yogtam - Such a rash decision... No, send Tralkik forces to investigate.
- Arkarixus - There is no installation under Floridarixis... Or rather, there are not supposed to be. I am going there myself to see what it is about... Grox, no doubt.
- Tralkik Commander - It is probable that any Grox installation here was at least partly responsible for the corruption of the Alvino.
- Vekaron - Better we all go then. Who knows if something may still be down there. Though we'll need a shuttle to reach it since, well... the Brood Mother was kind of really, really large.
- Zr'Ahgloth - DOES DAT MEEN IM GONNA HAV TA BE IN DA PRESENC OF DA COPYCAT DUMBO AGEN?????
- Hagto'Zhl - SAME TBH
After the shuttle was called, the group made their way through the insides of the monstrous Brood Mother in order to reach this supposed installation. After several minutes of traversing what was now essentially a gigantic ice cavern, they eventually arrived to the supposed location; it was a pristine, fully mechanical installation, one that heavily resembled an extensive laboratory system where monitors displayed data on the Alvino's numerous forms of drones. It appeared to be completely abandoned, though it did not stop some of them to keep their weapons readied just in case.
As Arkarixus analyzed the contents of the machines, the monitors flickened as a silhouette appeared in them. A calm voice was heard, though its tone almost seemed to radiate cruelty.
- ??? - How unfortunate. You destroyed my Brood Mother.
- Kralgon Emperor - Who speaks?
Arkarixus turned his eyes to the monitors as the images cleared; before them was a blue-furred Grox who wore royal adornments in his mechanical armor. He passed his hand through his chin as he seemed to analyze the group.
- ??? - Curious little group you have there, Arkarixus Vhiktus. Very curious indeed. It is... not very impressive.
- Arkarixus - Who are you, Grox? How do you know my name? ... Are you King Mirras?
- ??? - Oh, close. The Grox king you fought died eons ago. No no, I am Mirras the Third... Do not ask what happened to the second one.
- Grak'tona - IMPOSTA TO DA CROWN!!!!! GIMME MA CROWN OR ILL SMASH YA HED IN (also dood dats da most unimaginative name eva)
- Arkarixus - So you did corrupt Floridarixis and the Gardeners into beasts. What for, exactly? Did you intend on spitting on my people's legacy?
- Mirras III - You are mistaken, Arkarixus. We spat on nothing, no. The Brood Mother and the Gardeners belong to us now; all that is Kormacvar is now property of the Grox. And we do with our property whatever we please.
- Falrik Zaarkhun - Hm, but there's a slight problem there. We now have an heir to the Kormacvar legacy here. So, your property now belongs to him.
A smug smile grew on the Grox king's expression.
- Mirras III - I am afraid your Kormacvar is a little too late on that department. I am the heir of the Kormacvar's legacy now.
- Arkarixus - You vermin. How dare you equate yourself to my people?
- Grak'tona - YEH AN HOW DARE YOO BE AN IMPOSTA TO DA CROWN
- Mirras III - Cold Loron, do you realize the Kormacvar created you? That means you are also my property as well. It is just I do not want you.
- Grak'tona - ok first of all dats false. da cold loronz was created by ma great great great grandad out of mud an clay long ago an he passed dat on ta me. yoo can even reed dis in da holy books. secondly I DONT WANT YOO EITHA YA LIL TWERP SO GET OUT MA FACE AN GIMME BAK MA CROWN
- Drizz'pyrokirk - ar yoo akshully serius man literally touch ya own hed yor wearin ya crown rite nao
- Grak'tona - oh wait yor rite but HE STOLE MA SPARE CROWN WAT DA HELL
A laugh came out of Mirras III as he watched the Loron argue. It was certainly a strange sight for them to see a Grox emote so freely; as far as they knew, Grox were emotionless beings with very little exception.
- Mirras III - I do hope you do not actually intend to fight me with Loron, Arkarixus. Surely you can come up with something a little more interesting than that.
- Arkarixus - Whatever it is, I will ensure it is exceptionally painful, so that I may relish in your agony.
- Mirras III - Hmhm. Yes, that is more like it... Now, I am afraid I will require some compensation from you, given you destroyed my Brood Mother...
- Falrik Zaarkhun - Oh, that's not how it works. No, here's how it works: We find you, destroy you, dismantle your pathetic little empire, and return the Borealis Galaxy back to the people.
The Grox king put his hands together as he smiled confidently.
- Mirras III - Synthesis will be the price to pay. Indeed, Borealis will be given to its people... Whether they want it or not.
- Jol'kiar - oh so we get da green endin? LAME
- Mirras III - ... We will meet again, Polar Crystal Alliance. Be sure of it.
With that, the monitors turned static before any of them could protest. Arkarixus clenched his fist in rage and slammed it down one of the data machines, accidentally destroying it entirely before clutching on his own chest; he was still hurt somewhat.
- Arkarixus - Damnit! Cursed Grox... At least they did not have this aura of arrogance during my time.
Tuolog walked over to Arkarixus, and then sat beside him consolingly. He knew how much this meant to Arkarixus, and so, hummed a little under his breath to use Essence to try and calm him before he spoke.
- Tuolog - The Grox pay for what they did. We may not know of a timeline in which they lose, but we create one.
- Vekaron - I don't know about the rest of you, but I don't like the sound of this at all. That little monster has something up his sleeve, that much is certain. Seems the Brood Mother's death didn't even faze him.
- Kralgon Emperor - These Grox are far more powerful than those from other galaxies. But nonetheless, we will annihilate them.
- ??? - An interesting development.
At that moment, the monitors flickened again. Now, rather than the Grox king, the group were faced by a pair of familiar entities; numerous monitors displayed the image of Kolossus, while others displayed Antagonar.
- Kolossus - Though the results are still up to chance.
- Antagonar - As are many things in this galaxy! It seems we were unable to detect the Grox completely! Very sly of them...
- Xeron - Oh great, it's them again. As if we needed more problems.
- Kolossus - ... Mortals. Do not think for a second I will ever forgive you for destroying Nirosia. Yet, I don't think I will need to move a finger to act against you; the Grox may do that for us.
- Antagonar - Indeed! Much as I would be thrilled to face the Grox myself - or any of you, for that matter -, I think I'll sit back and watch this unfold!
- Falrik Zaarkhun - You can't fool me! I know this is your doing, Ralza...
- Kolossus - Only partially correct. We do not meddle with the Grox. In fact, we would much rather they be gone forever. However, I have no intention of helping either you or them; I hope you all kill each other.
- Antagonar - A battle for the ages! And, apologies, Zaarkhun, but for once, it won't be us causing you grief!
- Kolossus - Though perhaps we could give the mortals a clue? So they can rush to the next death trap?
- Antagonar - Hm... an intriguing prospect! Yes, I suppose it shall be more fun that way, no?
Kolossus pointed down at them, a smug expression on his face.
- Kolossus - You lay on top of a source of infinite knowledge, yet you have been blind to it for years. I would have expected more of you. The knowledge you seek to learn more of the Grox is one you already know of.
- Vekaron - I... think I might know what he's talking about.
- Fre'kloar - SAME. ITS DA TITLE OF FLO'SIKKAS NEW ALBUM. I KNEW IT
Kolossus brought a palm to his face as he glanced over to Antagonar.
- Kolossus - This is going to be a complete massacre.
- Antagonar - What a shame I won't be able to take part in it...
With that, the monitors turned static once again. Arkarixus turned to face Vekaron and spoke.
- Arkarixus - What is this, Zoles? What are these two imbeciles taunting us about now?
- Vekaron - ... We can talk about it once we get out of this place. No point discussing it when we're all tired and hurt.
- Falrik Zaarkhun - Blasted gods... Yes, yes we will. We shall reconvene later.
- Xeron - For now, let us relish the fact we have, at last, defeated the Alvino once and for all! One of the greatest foes of the galaxy is vanquished!
- Yogtam - We've made the galaxy a safer place, for now. But I fear the Grox will be the worst foe we've encountered thus far. Even worse than the Vague...
- Arkarixus - ... This victory brings me no joy.
- Tuolog - Unless we know what the effects of this will be, I not sure we should celebrate either.
Knowledge of the Ancients
As the days passed, news of the Alvino Brood's defeat traveled fast across Borealis. One of the galaxy's most ancient and dangerous foes had been destroyed at long last, and by this newly formed Polar Crystal Alliance at that. It was sure to turn many heads to the alliance's direction, and its member states were quick to take advantage of it in order to possibly secure more members. However, this politicking would not be their current focus, for the leaders of the Alliance and their collaborators were troubled by their meeting with the vile king of the Grox; while it was evident the Alvino were under his control, their defeat did not appear to hinder whatever plan he had in motion. However, after being taunted by the Vyro'Ralza, Grand-Commandant Vekaron would be reminded of a vital piece of information.
As the members of the Alliance and their allies joined into a new conference, the Zoles displayed star charts showing portions of the Friura Sector in the Eastern Arm.
- Vekaron - During my travels to find King Rebaris after he was... kidnapped-
He glanced at the holograms displaying the members of the Borealis Consortium Network with visible contempt.
- Vekaron - -I discovered the location of a massive database belonging to creatures called Vida'Rranlora. The same our allies of Ottzello possess in their own sector which, as far as I know, are supposed to know almost everything about their space.
- Vyutrin - Vida'Rranlora in Borealis? Fascinating. My superiors encountered them at Plazith Rim during the Plazithian Massacre years ago, and they proved a valuable source of information against the Corruptus back then, as far as I know.
- Tralkik Commander - Vida'Rranlora exist also in Ottzello, and we have integrated the Vida'Rranlora database into UNO's files. Unfortunately, I cannot bring up any information on the Borealis branch.
- Arkarixus - I know nothing of anything of the sort.
- Vyutrin - The Vida'Rranlora are precursors older even than you, Kormacvar. They have existed since the Quark era of the universe.
- Fre'kloar - HUR I KNO CAPTAIN QWARK. HES A MASSIV NARCISSIST LIKE GRAK'TONA
- Arkarixus - ... Hmpf. Is that so? And you believe the demon lords were speaking of them?
- Vekaron - I do. The problem, however, is that the Vida'Rranlora I found are currently hostage.
- Xeron - Hold on. This space you're showing us, isn't that the territory of the Lanatiz? That old race of isolationist technocrats?
Vekaron let out a sigh.
- Vekaron - Was. The Lanatiz are gone. Now that space is inhabited by hostile machine lifeforms, who call themselves "Lanatharch". Given my encounter with them, it seems the Lanatiz have transformed themselves into robots.
- Kal'kuir - wow wat a buncha copycats
- Kralgon Emperor - Oh, they're those kinds of people? Interesting. Then I suppose we will feel less guilty when we destroy them to get to the Vida'Rranlora database.
- Vekaron - Yeah, given the reception I got from them, I can affirm diplomacy is not an option.
- Xeron - Hm, that would explain why no ship has ever returned after traversing through the Cold Relays leading to that portion of space.
- Tuolog - We know anything of how they got this way? There often better options than destruction.
- Vekaron - Unfortunately not. My encounter with them was brief and violent.
- Falrik Zaarkhun - Then it sounds like an assignment for one of the PMCs. We're better off not wasting too much of our time there. Our goal is the database, not these machines.
Vekaron pressed buttons on his console, displaying more detailed information of the portion of space displayed in the hologram. They could see the territory surrounding the database was seemingly infested with these Lanatharch.
- Vekaron - Just some mercenaries won't be enough. They have a massive blockade around the database. It took me an entire fleet just to get to it, and I was still forced to retreat.
- Falrik Zaarkhun - Then the next logical question: what are they protecting, and why?
- Vyutrin - Well, I can see why machines would be interested in what is possibly the oldest artificial intelligences of the universe.
- Falrik Zaarkhun - Can we not simply install a virus in these machines to cause them to go haywire?
- Vekaron - I don't know, like I said my time with them was brief. I know as much about them as everyone else here.
- Arkarixus - The fact the demons led us to these machine lifeforms is no coincidence. A connection must exist between them and the Grox, and if what you say about these Vida'Rranlora is accurate, then they wuld certainly be valuable to the Grox.
- Falrik Zaarkhun - None of us have been able to hack into Grox machines, either... So it would be logical to assume that is not an option here. Hmmm.
- Hagto'Zhl - man wat is yoo peepz arguin bout. JUS SEND A TON OF SHIPZ AND REK DESE GEEZAS
- Zr'Ahgloth - I WAS GONNA SAY DA SAME BUT DEN HAGTO PROPOSED IT. NOW I FINK WE SHULD HAK DEM
- Hagto'Zhl - COPYCAT DUMBO YOR A GEEK
- Zr'Ahgloth - YEH????? YA MOMS A GEEK. YO LADS SEND FIVE MILLION SHIPZ TO DA VIDA RRANLORA DATABASE AN REK DEM BEFOR DA ROGUE BOYZ CAN GET DERE
- Tralkik Commander - Five million ships are not available at this time.
- Zr'Ahgloth - DEN SEND ALL DA SHIPZ WEVE GOT YA IDIOT
- Tralkik Commander - Fleet deployed.
Arkarixus narrowed his eyes as he grew increasingly angrier.
- Arkarixus - What is this idiocy? You let this creature have power over your navy?
- Yogtam - All of UNOL have power over the navy. It just so happened we appointed Zr'Ahgloth to be one of the members...
- Xeron - You Ottzelloans are a strange lot.
- Zr'Ahgloth - YOR FREE TA FITE ME IF YA DISAGREE
- Arkarixus - Enough, you primitive. No fleet leaves to fight these Lanatharch without my order. I am the Warmaster.
- Tralkik Commander - Fleet withdrawn. Held on standby for the next command. Destination remains set.
- Zr'Ahgloth - BRUH WHY AR YA LISSENIN TO DIS LOSA HES NOT EVEN IN UNOL
- Tralkik Commander - Tuolog already input the command that Arkarixus' orders will be followed. They are prioritized over yours.
- Zr'Ahgloth - YA WANNA FITE ME????
- Arkarixus - I do. But you do not want to fight me.
- Zr'Ahgloth - tbf no i dont lol. we is gonna go smash da machines tho rite
- Arkarixus - We will, after we figure out a strategy. I am not sending fleets blindly to be wasted.
- Falrik Zaarkhun - If hacking them with a virus is not an option... There must be other ways to disrupt them. Do we know if they are vulnerable to EMP?
- Vekaron - I can't say, but it could be worth the shot. Really, we ought to try everything we can.
- Falrik Zaarkhun - Good. I'll have the Gold Squadron prepare to fire EMP blasts and disable as many ships of theirs as they can. On average, that normally buys us five minutes of time. Beyond that, if any of their ships can be boarded, it would be great to send the Shadow Team to cause disruption by hijacking a few of them. That should make way for the rest of our fleets.
Captain Vyutrin scratched his chin as he looked at the hologram, before speaking.
- Vyutrin - I'll order my science teams to try and devise a virus. We can't know if it works until we try it.
- Xeron - Me and the Zoles can be in the front. We'll have to break our way trough that blockade anyway.
- Tuolog - In worst case scenario, I always try time manipulation. Perhaps I use it to extend virus or EMP.
- Arkarixus - This is sound, but still. We must send scouts to explore the region while the Lanatharch fleet is busy countering our offensive. If they can find their origin then we should also strike at it.
- Fre'kloar - I PROPOS GRAKTONA LEED DA ROGUE BOYZ FLEET AN RAM INTO DA LANAWATEVAS
- Grak'tona - YEH!!!... WAIT WAT
- Zr'Ahgloth - HUR SOUNDS GUD FER ONCE. YA SHULD DO DAT
- Grak'tona - SEE??? GLAD SOMONE RECOGNIZES DA AUTHORITY OF DA KING OF DA OONIVERSE. I RESPEKT YOO FER DAT. AN SO IT SHALL BE: I WILL START PREPARIN DA RAMMIN PARTY
- Zr'Ahgloth - as in ya ram into dem and explode so i dont hav ta see ya STUPID HAT ANYMOR lol
- Grak'tona - DA KING APPROVS OF ANY PLAN DAT RECOGNIZES HIS AUTHORITY. LETS DO DIS
- Zr'Ahgloth - wow ma diss went totally ova his hed wat da hell
- Rel'larutina - Oh, you made the mistake of inflating his ego. Now he won't listen to anything else you say...
Arkarixus passed a palm through his face as he let out an exasperated sigh.
- Arkarixus - I deserve better than having to deal with such primitives...
Sieging the Blockade
The forces of the Polar Crystal Alliance had united into a great fleet, composed of hundreds of Zoles, Niaka and Ottzelloan vessels which made their way to the Friura Sector. Followed by their allies and their "allies", their plan was to destroy the Lanatharch's blockade around the Cold Relays which led to the Vida'Rranlora database while also seeking their origin, so that they could also destroy them at their source. They did not know what to expect, for their knowledge of this enemy was extremely limited, though they were motivated by the thought of finding the fabled precursors who could well turn the tides of this war. They would attack the Lanatharch from five different directions, hoping the androids would be overwhelmed by their sheer firepower and be unable to respond to them all.
As their fleets prepared to advance, however, a transmission from an unknown source was sent to them all simultaneously. Answering it revealed an unexpected sight, one which sent Captain Vyutrin and his men into a state of high alert, and one Falrik Zaarkhun already had the displeasure of recognizing; it was a Marinox, well armored and sporting a distinct blue and white hide unseen before among members of its race. A twisted smile grew in the creature's expression as it spoke.
- ??? - You are late. The King expected you to have sent this assault earlier.
- Vyutrin - A... A Marinox?! What is the meaning of this?!
- Grak'tona - DERES ONLY ONE KING AN DATS ME. YOR AN IMPOSTA TO DA CROWN!!!!!!!!
- Xeron - For the love of the Chief Major, shut up or I'll blow your ship up myself!
- Grak'tona - BRUH DA WHOL POINT OF OUR SHIPS IS TA BLOW DEMSELVES UP BY RAMMIN DEM
- Arkarixus - Enough. Identify yourself, creature.
The Marinox smiled.
- ??? - I am known as Khensu. And I, Arkarixus Vhiktus, am here to ensure you will not live another day.
- Vekaron - What manner of creature is this? I didn't see any such beings when I visited this place.
- Tralkik Commander - Datascan suggests that this creature is a Marinox. Ottzelloan Marinox variants exist, but this appears to surpass them in strength.
- Vyutrin - The Marinox are one of the most infamous slave races of the Grox, that's what they are! The empires which compose the Collective were plagued by them many centuries ago!
- Khensu - You are correct, indeed! I serve the Grox.
- Arkarixus - Then know that your existence is soon to end, aberration.
- Khensu - You seek to fight the Lanatharch, yes? Go right ahead... If you survive, I will answer your questions.
- Kralgon Emperor - Oh, we'll survive. The question is if you will. Launch all missiles!
- Tralkik Commander - Destination unspecified. Missiles withheld until we learn its location.
- Vekaron - So the Lanatharch do serve the Grox! What is your involvement?
Khensu shook his head with a smirk, before his image disappeared from their transmissions. A growl came out of Arkarixus as his eyes narrowed.
- Arkarixus - The Grox have grown arrogant over the last five billion years.
- Falrik Zaarkhun - The arrogant are always the easiest to defeat. Let us search for this Marinox and destroy it ourselves.
- Vyutrin - You don't have to say that twice. We were doing this to be loyal to our alliances, but now it's personal!
- Arkarixus - Initiate the operation. Destroy the blockade and find the Vida'Rranlora.
- Grak'tona - INITIATE DA OPERASHON. DESTROY DA BLOCKADE AN FIND DA VIDA...how do ya spell it agen
- Hagto'Zhl - MAN STOP PRETENDIN YOR IMPORTANT AND GO DO STOOF
The fleets of the Polar Crystal Alliance and their allies approached their targets, five different Cold Relays, each protected by a great armada of sleek, black vessels of unknown capabilities. Vekaron and Xeron led the fleets of the Zoles and Niaka respectively as they engaged the Lanatharch, who responded in kind with firepower that was certainly far stronger than the old Lanatiz they heard from in stories. Aboard the ships of the Collective, the scientists under Vyutrin begun deploying the virus they hoped would damage or, at the very least, slow down the enemies as the allies begun their advance. To assist the Collective, Falrik Zaarkhun's own fleets began launching EMP blasts towards the Lanatharch in the hopes he would disable a few of them. Under the cover of the blasts, several small shuttles were launched full of mercenaries, with the goal of boarding their ships and disrupting them from within. Tuolog, and the rest of the Ioketa aboard UNO's ships, used theirs to channel Chronoscopic Energy to lengthen the effect of any disabling mechanism they employed, while the rest of UNO's fleet launched a barrage of missile fire.
Meanwhile, Grak'tona, thrilled at his opportunity to lead, commanded several Loron Sik Ships to engage their thrusters on full and ram straight into the Lanatharch and then self destruct. He had a huge grin on his face as he watched them explode, while the other Loron looked at him nervously. The ships of the Paladians and Seagon provided flanking support across the board, and soon enough, their efforts begun showing result; the mercenaries aboard the Lanatharch vessels noticed the creatures, who appeared to be completely mechanical, moved in an extremely coordinated and efficient manner, but they soon begun suffering from the effects of the virus, their movements slowing down and causing them to glitch out, leaving them open to attack.
That was not to say this was going easily for the allies, for the Lanatharch appeared to grow more aggressive the more they pushed through the blockade, with casualties growing among their forces. It would take them almost an hour of prolongued conflict until the Lanatharch forces begun to fall back, retreating through the Cold Relays. As the enemies started to retreat, Vekaron let out a sigh of relief.
- Vekaron - They're fleeing! Good job, everyone.
- Kralgon Emperor - I'd celebrate the victory, but there's no way it was that easy.
- Trastius - Approximately forty percent of my forces are depleted; it was not easy.
- Grak'tona - YO DID YOO SEE DOSE SHIPS CRASH AN EXPLODE INTA MASSIV FIREWORKS???? MAN DAT WAS SIK. YO ZALKDON I KNO HOW YOO FEEL NOW
- Zalk'don - yoo nao kno da art of da bomz
- Hagto'Zhl - YOO WASTED A TON OF SHIPZ IDIOT
- Grak'tona - NUFFIN IS WASTED IF ITS IN SERVICE OF DA KING
- Tuolog - I note something as the fight ensued. The way the Lanatharch operate is very much like Alvino. There is no individual thought among them; they are collective consciousness too.
- Arkarixus - Hmpf. No doubt the same hive mind the Grox forced upon the Gardeners.
- Falrik Zaarkhun - To be expected of the Grox to share similar mechanisms.
- Xeron - What of our scouts? Have any of them detected any source to these infernal machines?
- Vekaron - ... I'm afraid not. Not a single planet in the vicinity appeared to be inhabited by these creatures.
- Arkarixus - Unfortunate, but we must not linger on this. Advance through the Relays, for they will take us to these Vida'Rranlora. Now, before the Lanatharch regroup and retaliate.
With this, the fleets made their way through the Relays, being sent through subspace to their destination...
Battle for the Database
As the fleets arrived to the other side of the blockade, they were met with the sight of a white dwarf star, with a single, massive object orbiting it. It was a construct as large as a planet, plated in what looked like silver and radiating a soft golden nebula around itself. To the Unified Nation of Ottzello, it was easily recognizable as the Vida'Rranlora database, for it was identical to the one in their own sector. Perhaps surprisingly, the system appeared to be completely abandoned; there was no sign of the Lanatharch here, despite them retreating through this same Cold Relay.
Arkarixus could not help but stop and admire the construct. It was not often they would see him feeling awe for anything.
- Arkarixus - To think such a magnificent construct lied in our galaxy, right under our noses, and we never knew of it.
- Vyutrin - As far as I know, the Vida'Rranlora are almost impossible to find. Only places I know where they've ever been found are Plazith Rim, Ottzello and Cyrannus.
- Vekaron - I made a promise to these creatures I would return and aid them. Today I'll see to it.
- Falrik Zaarkhun - The Vida'Rranlora are a fountain of knowledge, and we could all benefit from having access to them. I trust that, given it was a combined effort to liberate these creatures, we should all share the benefits.
- Zr'Ahgloth - mate da ones we hav wiv us wont even let us chek thru deir stoof. imagine dese borealis geezas
- Fre'kloar - DEY PROBS WONT LET YOO CHEK BECUZ YOR UGLY
- Zr'Ahgloth - YA MOMS UGLY SHUT UP
- Arkarixus - This feels like an ambush. Leave the fleet on stand-by for any surprises while we board the database. No doubt the Marinox is there.
- Falrik Zaarkhun - It's almost certainly an ambush. I'll have Genrai Nal scout the area. Oh, and Sollow, because he's nice and dispensable.
- Sollow - Hey! I'm the most important person on this ship!
- Tuolog - I teleport us back if anything happen.
Taking shuttles, a group of the fleet's greatest warriors made their way into the database, going through what they assumed was its equivalent of a docking bay. As they arrived, they realized that despite it seemingly being exposed to the vacuum of space, they were able to freely breathe there. The entire construct possessed a vast aura of radiance and serenity, in no small part for the fact it was fueled by pure dream energy, which they could see traveling through immense transparent 'pipes' around the construct's walls and ceiling.
- Arkarixus - This is the essence that child used. What was it called? "Dream energy"?
- Vyutrin - That'd be it. Y'know, we have technology that simulates the stuff! Pretty high-tech, if I say so myself.
- Arkarixus - Hm. Where is the child, then? And their caretaker?
- Vyutrin - The kid was called back to Plazith Rim after the Corruptus debacle was over, and the Radeon, I let him go home. Figured he earned his rest.
- Fre'kloar - oh wow i only jus noticed dat twerp eint heer anymor. thank zr'an'kar dey was SO ANNOYIN
- Grak'tona - DA KING DOESNT NOTICE ANYON DATS NOT HIS SERVANT SO I DIDNT REALLY NOTICE TBH
- Brag'klogga - man dis is all wrong. da bunny kid was suppos ta be turned into a robot by da marinox its in da holy books. i swer someons been tamperin wiv dem
- Jol'kiar - meh dats wat happens wen one of da writas leevs halfway throo a project
- Hagto'Zhl - CUT DAT OUT MAN IT GIVS ME A HEADACHE WHEN YA DO DAT
- Tuolog - I able to channel dream energy to a small degree. So I do that if needed.
As the group progressed, the database appeared to be completely abandoned. The only sounds they could hear were the ones of their own footsteps, and the soft humming of the machinery around then. The walls were covered in all sorts of incomprehensible star charts and pieces of text written in an unknown language. Eventually, however, they were met with the sight of a larger, open chamber, where many of the 'pipes' appeared to converge. And standing in front of them was a familiar sight: the Mechanic, which caused many among the allies to be surprised. The Mechanic simply looked at them with a stern, but somewhat disappointed, expression on his face.
- Tuolog - Mechanic! It good to see you after so long!
- Arkarixus - ... Head Caretaker? How did you get here?
- The Mechanic - I'm the Head Caretaker. Like you said. I work here.
The Mechanic then pulled a lever and the entire group was suddenly struck by a wave of powerful electricity, immobilizing them in place and causing them to let go of their weapons. Walking in behind the Mechanic, Commandant Khensu approached, rubbing his hands together with a smile.
- Khensu - Ah, how delightful that I get to watch this scene up-front.
- Fre'kloar - PLOT TWIST
- Falrik Zaarkhun - Hah! Pathetic, trusting those Caretakers...
- Arkarixus - Head Caretaker! What is the meaning of this?!
- The Mechanic - I'm following orders! Orders that came directly from the Kormacvar! And that means you don't take a step further!
- Vekaron - What is this treachery? Arkarixus is the only Kormacvar left!
- Khensu - Ah, how wrong you are, Zoles. Can you not see? I am a Kormacvar.
- The Mechanic - That's right! I gotta follow the orders of the first Kormacvar that delivered them! And in this case, that was Mirras. So it's about time you get with the program!
Though he could not move, Arkarixus shook violently in the ground as he attempted to crawl forward, his eyes burning a green light.
- Arkarixus - Betrayer! Slave of the Grox!
- The Mechanic - I betrayed no one! I'm doing my job! The job I was put here to do! And if you don't like it, then why should I care anyway? You've been nothing but a jerk to me since you woke up!
- Arkarixus - You... You were complicit with Floridarixis' demise! You watched her be turned into a monster and served the ones behind it!!
- The Mechanic - And what if I did?! Time to get with the program, Arkarixus: the new Kormacvar belong to Mirras! You can join him, take your rightful place at his side, and rebuild the new Borealis Galaxy, or be swept apart like the rest of them! Isn't that what you wanted back in the day? To ensure Kormacvar rule over all? And suppress those that didn't bow to it?
- Fre'kloar - MAN DIS IS WHAI I DONT TRUST OLD PEEPUL
- Jol'kiar - oi hol up
- Yogtam - Wake up, Mechanic! You've gone haywire! Mirras is not a Kormacvar! These are not Kormacvar!
- The Mechanic - ... Oh, I get it! You think I'm old and cranky, huh? You think I can't see straight anymore, is that it? Well I can see perfectly well, and I know where the future of the Kormacvar lies! So if you wanna try and stop it, so be it! I'll have to take you down too! Those are orders!
With that, Khensu's smile faded as his expression turned stern.
- Khensu - That will not be necessary, Head Caretaker.
- The Mechanic - Oh, yeah?
- Khensu - Yes. You will stand back and watch as I show them what their future holds.
The Mechanic nodded, as he stepped back a little. He then turned away to walk back into position, before making a quick look at Arkarixus. For a brief moment, Arkarixus could see the Mechanic mouth a single word: "sorry". The Mechanic couldn't hide his guilt too well, as he then turned to watch Khensu. The Marinox approached the immobilized group, a twisted grin growing upon his face once again as he circled them like a predator.
- Khensu - You would be correct to assume I'm just a Marinox, for that is how I began. Until not too recently, the Borealis Grox did maintain contact with the Grox Empire, who supplied us with Marinox drones under the assumption we followed their cause. Idiocy of their part, of course.
- Falrik Zaarkhun - I knew these Grox were different. They've severed ties with the Meta-Empire for a long time! Ah, it makes a lot of sense. Well, Khensu, just how powerful did these extensions make you? Perhaps you'd like to demonstrate? Or are you all talk?
- Khensu - Extensions? No, no, mortal. I have been rebuilt! I am to be first of the new generation of Kormacvar, under the guise of our true master! And soon enough, all of Borealis will be granted this synthesis!
With this, the Marinox's body begun to morph. He rapidly grew in size as, before their eyes, he transformed into what looked like a Marinox with the body proportions of Arkarixus, his hide made up of a sleek, black and gray metal. As he spoke once again, his voice had changed into something else; a booming roar.
- Khensu - Borealis will succumb. Borealis will ascend.
- Vekaron - W-What... What is that?!
- Jol'kiar - YO ITS FONT GOT WEIRD
- Arkarixus - You... You mock my people by taking our form, abomination!
- Khensu - Your existence is a mistake. It will be corrected. Today the Kormacvar of old disappear.
- Tralkik Commander - Detecting huge energy signatures. Threat level: Extremely high.
- Falrik Zaarkhun - Well, let's see what this thing can muster!
- Khensu - You shall watch your primitive allies die one by one.
The massive Marinox monster walked forward, before reaching his hand upon Falrik Zaarkhun's head and then, with a quick move, utterly crushing it on his grasp. However, the allies knew better than to assume Zaarkhun had died here: as predicted, where Zaarkhun's head was, a hologram flickered away to reveal beneath it was the head of Sollow, which began to grow more limbs beneath its head while the other half of Sollow regrew a head, creating two different Sollows. This did not faze Khensu, however; the pair of extra limbs on his back, virtually identical to those Arkarixus also sports, extended themselves and wrapped around each Sollow's body, lifting them into the air before violently mashing them together until they were one body.
However, before anything else could be done, the trap begun to malfunction as Arkarixus' rage grew to its extremes. Through his sheer anger, the Kormacvar destroyed the trap utterly with his psychic energies, allowing the group to rise to their feet. A burning aura of elemental essence enveloped him as he took a step forward, with Khensu calmly turning to face him back.
- Arkarixus - I will delight in your suffering!
- Khensu - Know death, Arkarixus Vhiktus.
- Fre'kloar - YO LADS LETS PUNCH IT TIL IT EXPLODES
- Hagto'Zhl - lol no i eint approachin dat geeza
- Fre'kloar - fine lets watch arkarixus rek it den
The Kormacvar and the monstrous Marinox clashed. As their fists collided, the room was bathed in elemental energies and they begun unleashing flurries of blows at one another. A strike of such strength from Arkarixus would be more than enough to disembowel even the strongest among the allies, but Khensu endured the blows with a maniac grin upon his fanged face; they were evenly matched. With waves of his hands, massive blasts of psychic power were launched at the Marinox monstrosity, only for him to blow them right back at the Kormacvar, launching him against the invincible walls of the database with a sickening crush. The extra limbs growing from Khensu's back - a twisted mockery of a Kormacvar's own - extended and attempted to impale the Warmaster, though he was able to dodge the blow, the impact of the Marinox's strike causing a shockwave of energy which knocked many of the allies off their feet.
Wish a rush, Arkarixus tackled the monster, gripping his hands around his neck and violently swung him into the ground, causing a powerful impact and for Khensu's pitch black blood to be spilled from his mouth. However, the creature twisted and turned in his grasp, like a living piece of rubber, freeing himself out of his grasp and swinging a clawed fist at Arkarixus' jaw, launching him into the ceiling of the chamber with a powerful thud, before he fell down once more. Approaching the duelling pair of demigods was suicide, but the allies could do nothing as Khensu begun stomping down on the Warmaster's skull, causing him to spill out dark blue blood.
- Khensu - THERE IS NO PLACE FOR YOU IN THIS GALAXY ANY LONGER.
- Fre'kloar - welp nvm dat den
- Vekaron - We must do something!
- Xeron - Well, what exactly? We're kind of outgunned here!
- Tuolog - I have idea.
Tuolog pointed his staff towards the dream energy pipes in the ceiling, and beckoned the others towards it.
- Tuolog - Destroy pipe. Use energy!
- Vyutrin - Man, my superiors would kill me if they found out I damaged Vida'Rranlora technology. But to hell with it!
- Jol'kiar - shame da geeza wiv a sik tommy gun hasnt joined da loronz yet he wuld be perfect fer dis
- Hagto'Zhl - man i swer yor goin crazy wiv age
- Jol'kiar - crazy or not SOMON PASS ME A MASSIV BLASTA SO I CAN SHOOT IT
- Kal'kuir - TAKE MINE
The group opened fire at the pipes pointed by Tuolog; thanks to his attunement with Essence, he could tell there was an infinitely small crack on one of them that, with enough pressure, could be ruptured. And as they unleashed their gunfire at it, the pipe broke down, causing its contents - raw Dream Energy - to blast down directly at Khensu. The Marinox let out a terrible roar as he was consumed by the essence, which appeared to sear through him like fire, leaving him vulnerable as Arkarixus rose to his feet.
- Arkarixus - You... are... not... Kormacvar!
The Warmaster charged a punch with all the energy he could muster and struck once more at Khensu which, combined with the dream energy, caused the Marinox's body to explode. His battered corpse flew backwards, hitting a distant wall as the lights which made up his eyes died out completely; the monster was destroyed. Arkarixus huffed, tired and in pain as he fell to one knee. Tuolog hurried over to apply curative Essence to him while the others approached afterwards.
- Xeron - Is... Is it dead?
- Arkarixus - Yes.
- Tralkik Commander - Confirmed no life signals remain on that entity.
- Grak'tona - YOOO SOMEONE WRIT DIS AS DA NEX ENTRY OF DA HOLY BOOK "GRAK'TONA'S TALES: DA HISTORY OF GRAK'TONA". ABOUT HOW I SMASHED DA KORMACVAR WANNABE TA PIECES
- Brag'klogga - DATS NOT A REEL HOLY BOOK
- Grak'tona - DEN SOMEONE WRIT IT
The God of Synthesis
The humming of the construct grew more noticeable as the pipe suddenly stopped leaking Essence and, before their eyes, the pipe appeared to fix itself with no input on their part. Soon after, figures beun emerging across the chamber resembling tall, ghostly avians. The Vida'Rranlora themselves appeared before them.
- Vida'Rranlora - Influence of Prime Intelligence of the Galactic Core no longer asserting control over databanks. Status: online.
- Tuolog - It appear we able to talk to Vida'Rranlora now?
- Vida'Rranlora - Lifeforms. You should not be here. Yet, we recognize your actions.
The Vida'Rranlora all pointed directly at Vekaron, causing some surprise on the Zoles.
- Vida'Rranlora - For 4,863,529,473 star cycles, Prime Intelligence of the Galactic Core asserted influence over this station, forbidding natives from accessing its contents.
- Kralgon Emperor - Hold on, hold on. "Prime Intelligence of the Galactic Core"? The Grox? Mirras?
- Vida'Rranlora - Grox: slaves of the Prime Intelligence. Khensu Marinox: slave of the Prime Intelligence. Mirras the First: deceased. Mirras the Second: deceased. Mirras the Third: avatar of the Prime Intelligence.
As the allies gasped hearing the revelation, a new hologram of Falrik Zaarkhun appeared out of nowhere, and smiled to himself.
- Falrik Zaarkhun - Well, would you look at that. I love it when I'm right.
- Fre'kloar - urm hao exactly?
- Falrik Zaarkhun - It was clear from the start: the Borealis Grox are too far removed from the Meta-Empire to be serving them, and yet it is too improbable that the Grox are capable of accomplishing all of this on their own. It is too unlike them. So clearly, there must have been someone from behind the scenes. And if my inference from what the Vida'Rranlora are saying is correct: not someone, something. A machine, perhaps? Made by whom?
- Arkarixus - Well, speak then, ancients. Who is this "Prime Intelligence"?
The Vida'Rranlora remained in silence for several moments.
- Vida'Rranlora - No data available.
- Falrik Zaarkhun - As expected.
- Kralgon Emperor - Is there nothing you can tell us? Any hints about what this thing may be?
- Vida'Rranlora - Prime Intelligence has erased all data on its identity, for the exact purpose of not being able to be tracked.
- Yogtam - Anything on how it learned to take the form of the Kormacvar and fool the Mechanic?
- Vida'Rranlora - ... No data available.
- Jol'kiar - YO COMPUTA WHY IS DIS STORY GETTIN SO MANY RETCONS
- Vida'Rranlora - Input unrecognized.
- Jol'kiar - i SWER im not goin crazy
The Vida'Rranlora remained in silence again while Arkarixus grunted in agitation. The Kormacvar looked around the room, though it appeared the Mechanic had disappeared already. Suddenly, the artificial intelligences spoke again, all pointing at Tuolog.
- Vida'Rranlora - Entity holds the way to find the answers you seek.
- Tuolog - I do?
- Brag'klogga - BRUH WHY DOES DIS TINY GEEZA GET ALL DA COOL ESSENCE STOOF TA DO WEN IM SO MUCH BETTA AT IT
- Vida'Rranlora - All slaves of the Prime Intelligence are linked by a collective consciousness. Grox, Marinox, Gardener, Lanatharch, all of them. Including Khensu Marinox.
- Tuolog - And I able to speak to this collective consciousness?
- Vida'Rranlora - By searching the soul contents of Khensu Marinox, entity may be able to reach into the consciousness and speak directly to the Prime Intelligence. Warning: Prime Intelligence extremely dangerous to make contact with.
- Tuolog - This safe?
- Falrik Zaarkhun - Probably not. But if you don't, we'll not find out anything, will we?
- Tuolog - True.
Tuolog sat down in front of the remains of Khensu, and entered a meditative stance. He began humming as he hovered in the air, and the group could hear a whirring sound while the space between them glowed gold. Around them, the chamber changed as Tuolog was able to tap into the hive mind of the Grox through what little remained of the Marinox's soul in his body. Suddenly, the lights went out as the entire chamber turned dark; the Vida'Rranlora could no longer be seen, and they felt as if they were in a void.
From the darkness, four luminous eyes appeared, staring down at them.
- ??? - LOWLY BEASTS OF FLESH AND BONE. YOU TOUCH MY MIND, UNABLE TO UNDERSTAND THE GRAVITY OF YOUR ACTIONS.
- Vekaron - Wow...
- Xeron - Well, that's gotta be the "Prime Intelligence".
- Kralgon Emperor - What... is this thing?
- Arkarixus - What is this... this power? This being's power is greater than even Floridarixis'!
- ??? - YOU ARE FACED WITH YOUR REALITY: I AM THE LORD OF BOREALIS. I AM HE WHO HAS GOVERNED THESE STARS FOR EONS. I AM HE WHO HAS DOMINATED THE GROX, AND WHO WILL USE THEM TO ACHIEVE COMPLETE GALACTIC SYNTHESIS. THE LAST, AND ONLY, KORMACVAR. KNOW MY NAME: REGNATUS.
Arkarixus blinked. A cold shiver passed through his spine as his legs grew weak.
- Arkarixus - W-What... What did you say...?
- Regnatus - YOU STAND BEFORE ME, WHEN YOU SHOULD HAVE PERISHED IN VINIARIS. WHEN YOU SHOULD HAVE JOINED THE BROOD MOTHER IN THE VOID. JOINED YOUR SPECIES AMONG THE DEAD.
- Tuolog - I not able to find any of this in timelines... You cut yourself off from fifth dimension!
- Arkarixus - This... This is a lie. A trick! My brother Regnatus died five billion years ago-
- Regnatus - ARKARIXUS. EONS AGO, REGNATUS WOULD HAVE SHED TEARS AT THE SIGHT OF YOU ALIVE. YET NOW REGNATUS FEELS NOTHING BUT HATE. YOU FLED AND HID AS OUR GALAXY DIED. REGNATUS ALONE SAVED IT. YOU ARE A TRAITOR; A WORTHLESS REMINDER OF TIMES LONG PAST, WHO MUST BE PAID AS A TRAITOR DESERVES. UTTER ANNIHILATION. YOU DO NOT DESERVE TO WITNESS THE COMING SYNTHESIS.
- Falrik Zaarkhun - Hmm, so you, Regnatus, are the one behind the Borealis Grox, and all their other slaves. Well, I hate to inform you, but those who have fought Falrik Zaarkhun before have failed. You'll not succeed if you're to battle me in a game of wits!
- Regnatus - THERE IS NO GAME. YOU ARE NOT MY ADVERSARIES, FOR YOU ARE NOT MY EQUALS. REGNATUS HAS NO EQUALS. EVEN THE GODLINGS, FOOLS THAT THEY ARE, THINKING THEY HARM MY GALAXY WITH THEIR PLAGUES, DO NOTHING BUT FULFILL MY DESIRE.
- Fre'kloar - YO FAM AR YOO DISSIN DA FIFTY GODS???????
- Brag'klogga - YEH NO ONE MESSES WIV DA SIXTY GODZ ELSE ALL SEVENTY OF DEM WILL COM FROM DA GANGSTA BLOK AN SMITE YOO
- Vekaron - Hold it. Explain yourself. What do you mean by that?
- Regnatus - THE SYNTHESIS WAS NOT YET TO COME FOR ANOTHER TWO EONS. BUT THE GODLINGS, MEDDLING WITH TIME, HAVE GRANTED ME THE KEY. REGNATUS HAS USURPED THEIR POWER AND SHALL USE IT TO HASTEN HIS DESIRE.
- Tuolog - In other words, Antagonar and Kolossus' time anomalies gave Regnatus opening. He evil to manipulate them on his own. All while existing outside the fifth dimension so they could not detect him or try to stop him in any way...
- Regnatus - REGNATUS IS TIMELESS. REGNATUS IS INFINITE. THE RULES OF TIME BEND TO MY WILL AND MY WILL ALONE. THE GODS OF SEQUENCIUM SEEK TO MEDDLE WITH MY GALAXY; THEY WILL FIND ONLY OBLIVION.
- Arkarixus - Regnatus... If that is truly you...
- Arkarixus - Then I must destroy you.
- Regnatus - YOU CANNOT. YOU ARE UNABLE. A FAILURE. A RELIC, PAST ITS PRIME. CEASE YOUR INFERNAL EXISTENCE.
- Hagto'Zhl - sheesh talk bout a bad family reunion
- Regnatus - YOUR VICTORY IS INCONSEQUENTIAL. THIS DATABASE'S USE TO ME HAS ALREADY ENDED. MY PLAN IS ALREADY IN MOTION. IN A SINGLE STAR CYCLE, ALL OF BOREALIS WILL UNDERGO SYNTHESIS. A NEW GENERATION OF KORMACVAR WILL RISE; ONE LED BY REGNATUS, THE GOD OF SYNTHESIS.
- Jol'kiar - SO WE GET DA GREEN ENDIN???? BRUH DAT ONE SUKED
- Vekaron - We... We'll stop you! We'll fight, and we'll put an end to you!
- Kralgon Emperor - I don't care how many ships you throw at us, Regnatus. Ottzello has survived everything the universe sent our way, and you'll be yet another obstacle to overcome!
- Zr'Ahgloth - YEH HAV FUN FITIN DA VAGUE LOL
- Regnatus - THE MALFORMED SPAWN OF THE GODLINGS WILL BE CONSUMED AS WELL. THEY ARE NOT KORMACVAR. THEY WILL BECOME KORMACVAR.
The four eyes appeared to grow closer to their perspective, though they really could not tell in this strange dimension they found themselves in.
- Regnatus - YOUR WORDS OF BRAVADO ARE EMPTY. EMPTY AS YOUR FUTURE. YOU WILL SUCCUMB, AND ASCEND. OR YOU WILL BE ANNIHILATED. BEGONE FROM MY MIND, VERMIN.
With that, Tuolog found his connection to the Grox consciousness severed as the group appeared to return to the chamber they were previously in. While Vekaron and Xeron were able to regain their composure, Arkarixus remained completely still and in silence; frozen in shock. The Rogue Boyz mostly cowered in fear, while UNO's leaders had differing reactions, but those who knew them well could tell that their thoughts were of dread. Zaarkhun sat in silence, stroking his chin as he began thinking, in his head calculating all the thousands of possibilities that could come from this. Eventually, Tuolog walked over to Arkarixus.
- Tuolog - I not able to see what happen to your brother. Or even if that really is your brother. But whatever happen, UNO stand with you to defend the legacy of Kormacvar from those who corrupt it.
Arkarixus glanced at Tuolog, though he did not respond. Instead, he simply rose weakly to his feet and turned around to make his leave. The rest of the group was compelled to do the same, as their mission in the database was concluded. As they were leaving, the Vida'Rranlora appeared one more time and spoke.
- Vida'Rranlora - Prime Intelligence location determined. Location: nearest star of Galactic Core. Galactic threat: Imminent. Threat level: Immeasurable.
The Borealis Grox War
Some days had passed since the Polar Crystal Alliance's victory in the Vida'Rranlora database. The Lanatharch forces around the region seemed to abandon it, with their sensors indicating they had done the same as the remnants of the Alvino Brood and fled to the Inner Core, the dominion of the Grox. There was a great air of unease among the allies; they now knew an ancient Kormacvar was the master of the Grox, who was about to act against them in the very near future, though they were unsure of how. The betrayal of the Mechanic also served as a heavy blow; many now saw the Caretakers as traitors and believed even using the Cold Relays was now dangerous. As the Alliance and its collaborators joined up again to discuss what to do next, a certain spot was empty in their conference: Arkarixus was nowhere to be seen. Grand-Commandant Asraels would be the first to speak, his tone stern.
- Asraels - The feared day has come where we must take the fight to the Grox, before a second purging takes place.
- Brag'klogga - urge ta say da sentence dats not ma catchphrase yet risin
- Kralgon Emperor - If we must attack them, send our largest fleet possible! Reinforce the fleet we threw at the Alvino Brood, and attack the Grox!
- Falrik Zaarkhun - Somehow, I don't think it'll be that easy.
- Vyutrin - This recklessness will only lead to unnecessary losses. We don't know how different these Borealis Grox are from the Meta-Empire ones in terms of armaments.
- Falrik Zaarkhun - Precisely. If we are to attack the Borealis Grox, we must first probe them and see what their power level is, exactly. Otherwise, we simply waste ships.
- Kralgon Emperor - Do... Do I really have to explain to the Borealis Consortium Network why aggression is the only option here? If we back down, we show weakness! Destroy the Borealis Grox with all we have!
- Olcinius - This is a foolish proposition. The Civitas will not partake in it.
- Xeron - If you wanna throw yourself at them, then do it. Take the Loron with you while you're at it. Be our meat shields.
- Fre'kloar - BRUH AR YOO BEIN SERIUS??????
- Zr'Ahgloth - ABOUT WAT
- Fre'kloar - AS IF DEY FOUGHT WE WASNT GONNA GO BUST DA GROX UP LOL. YEH WES GONNA DO IT
- Grak'tona - IM DA LEEDA REMEMBA
- Hagto'Zhl - yor ONE leeda idiot. and not even a gud one eitha
- Grak'tona - TRAITA TO DA CROWN. OFF WIV HIS HED
- Hagto'Zhl - mate dont make me hide ya crown agen
- Kralgon Emperor - I'm glad to see there are others in this room who aren't so cowardly. If we wait and see what the Grox do, we only signal weakness. This has never worked in war before. No, we come out strong, show them how powerful we can be, annihilate a few of their ships, and make them think twice! Make them be the ones waiting in silence for our next move, and use the time to prepare!
Asraels' face showed disdain while Olcinius shook his head in exasperation. Falrik Zaarkhun, meanwhile, showed no expression on his face. Vyutrin narrowed his eyes as he responded.
- Vyutrin - You've never fought Grox before if you actually believe that.
- Kralgon Emperor - Not only have we fought them before, we own them. Ottzelloan Grox are one of the largest members of the Unified Nation. We know how they think. And we know that the only thing to make them think twice is to surprise them with this move!
- Zr'Ahgloth - YEH MAN FER ONCE DA RED PEPPA IS TALKIN SENSE. WE GOTTA GO SHOW DEM WHOS BOSS
- Trastius - Where is the Warmaster to disapprove of this action?
- Asraels - The Kormacvar's location is currently unknown.
- Falrik Zaarkhun - The Warmaster is not present here to make the decisions for us. Therefore, allow me to make the decision. If the Ottzelloans wish to destroy a Grox warship, I have several locations at which I recommend they can find one on its own. Perhaps their fleet will have no difficulty against a single warship, and they can achieve the desired outcome. The Rogue Boyz, I'm sure, will be eager to follow. Anyone else who wishes to join them may do so.
- Asraels - I do not approve of this reckless action.
- Vyutrin - No.
- Olcinius - It is too risky.
- Falrik Zaarkhun - Then I do believe this is settled, yes?
- Grak'tona - OK SERFS. WES GONNA BLOW A GROX UP AND YA BEST BE SIK AT IT OR IMMA HAV YA ALL EXECUTED
- Drizz'pyrokirk - FER ONCE I AGREE WIV DA WANNABE KING
- Grak'tona - WHOS YA CALLIN WANNABE????? WANNA SLAP????
- Drizz'pyrokirk - BRUH IVE BEEN SLAPPED BY YOO BEFOR AN ITS NUFFIN
- Yogtam - ...I hate to say this, but I'd be inclined to agree with the Kralgon Emperor. We have fought Grox before, and we know that they simply take advantage of any sign of weakness that they see. The Emperor's move may seem impulsive, but there's strategy to it.
- Kralgon Emperor - Cowards! All of you! To turn your back on the galaxy at this time!
- Asraels - You want to send our men to their doom without a true strategy. You will not have our support like this. I do not know how you treat your citizens, but we do not see ours as expendable.
- Kralgon Emperor - My strategy is simple. We will destroy a Borealis Grox warship, obliterate it, and reverse-engineer the scrap metal to develop weaponry that is suited against it. Not only will the warning shot put them on the defensive for a short while, but by the time they are ready to respond with a counterattack, we will already have our weapons in order.
At this moment, Volim's hologram appeared by the side of Falrik Zaarkhun's. He normally allowed the Heeyorian to speak for both of them, but this time it seemed he found the need to speak up himself.
- Volim - Then what are you waiting for? Get on with it! Prove your infernal bravado!
- Grak'tona - YO PESANTS PREPAR DA SHIPS FER DA COORDINATS ZAARKHUN GAVE US
- Kal'kuir - I DRIVE EVERYUN GET YA HANDS OFF
- Brag'klogga - YO DA HOLY BOOKS WROT ABOUT DIS DAY ONCE. DA DAY DAT DA LORON KILLED SOM MASSIV GROX SHIP AN CELEBRATED WIV DA BIGGEST PIZZA PARTY EVA AFTERWARDS!!!!!!
- Hagto'Zhl - dats enuff incentiv fer me. OI COPYCAT DUMBO WE MAY BE DOIN DA SAME FING BUT YOR NOT INVITED TO DA BIGGEST PARTY EVA
- Zr'Ahgloth - OH YEH???? WELL ILL START MA OWN PIZZA PARTY WIV BLAKJAK AN HOOKERS
True to their words, the rest of the Polar Crystal Alliance did not provide support to the Unified Nation of Ottzello as their fleet and some Rogue Boyz vessels arrived to one of the coordinates provided by Falrik Zaarkhun. It was near a Cold Relay located in the outer fringes serving as the border between the Inner and Outer Cores, and they indeed had detected the presence of a single warship in the region, though as they approached it, it was clearly not anything they had ever seen before; the ship resembled a massive arthropod from the outside, several kilometers in length and plated in black, with rows of spikes growing from its 'back'. Four glaring red lights shone at its front as if they were eyes, and the warship appeared to have three pairs of 'legs'. But perhaps most strangely, 'under' it, was a strange writhing mass of what appeared to be tendrils which did not seem to be made out of metal. It slowly drifted across space in the direction of the Cold Relay, as if intending of using it.
- Fre'kloar - oi hol up. is dis da rite address? fink we took a wrong turn on da last relay
- Kal'kuir - AR YOO ACCUSIN ME OF BEIN A BAD DRIVA??? DO I LOOK LIKE A CHIK TO YOO???
- Rel'larutina - Pfft, I can drive a lot better than you ca-
- Fre'kloar - MAN DATS NOT A GROX SHIP. DATS A BUG
- Kal'kuir - HOW DO YA KNO DAT ITS NOT A GROX SHIP COSPLAYIN AS A BUG
- Fre'kloar - hmmmmmmmmmm ok yoo got me dere
- Kralgon Emperor - This must be the vessel! All ships, rain fire! Annihilate that warship!!!!!
The Kralgon Emperor gave the orders as the Tralkik Commander ordered dozens of UNO Warships and UNO Blastships to launch a barrage of cannon and missile fire at the vessel, which dwarfed the size of their entire fleet. The Rogue Boyz, under the command of Grak'tona, repeated their strategy from before: they sent their ships charging forward to ram into the Grox vessel.
As their gunfire struck the mysterious ship's shields, they witnessed many of them either being completely absorbed or redirected altogether. And as the Loron approached, the ship's 'limbs' begun moving with a surprising level of dexterity as it begun swatting them, utterly crushing any ship foolish enough to be caught. As none of their ships seemed to do damage, they looked at each other with an increasingly more nervous expression.
- Yogtam - Where are the Borealis Consortium Network? Zaarkhun implied they'd be here.
- Kralgon Emperor - He implied it. He did not confirm nor deny it.
- Tralkik Commander - Detecting high levels of Chronoscopic in the enemy vessel. It is using it to redirect our fire.
- Kralgon Emperor - Get the Ioketa to counteract it! Use our own Dark Chronoscopic or something!! Brag'klogga, your useless shamans should do something!!!
- ??? - FOR WHAT REASON DO YOU RUSH TO YOUR OBLIVION?
What seemed like thousands of voices suddenly spoke out, terrifying UNO and the Rogue Boyz into silence. However, their communication channels were not online. The ship turned itself over to face the fleet and, from its 'eyes', let out blazing lasers which cut through sways of vessels as if they were nothing.
- Fre'kloar - WAT DA HELL WAS DAT??? WHO SED DAT???
- Zr'Ahgloth - YO ROZTAHFLOK IM NOT DA HERETIK DEY IS
- Brag'klogga - HAO DARE YOO SAY DAT NAM-
- ??? - YOU HAVE COME TO BE ASCENDED, AS I WAS? ASCENDED-CLASS DREADNOUGHT. THAT IS WHAT YOU GAZE UPON.
- Tralkik Commander - Database updated.
- Kal'kuir - da hell? dats an obnoxious name
- Dreadnought - SURRENDER. SUCCUMB, AND ASCEND. OR BE ANNIHILATED.
- Kralgon Emperor - I choose option C: we annihilate you!
The Kralgon Emperor slammed more buttons, releasing more missiles from the UNO Omega Commander and other warships, only to observe them dealing little damage. The dreadnought drifted at the Omega Commander's direction in response, sending out lasers from its 'eyes' which obliterated any ship in its way. In frustration, Grak'tona watched as the Rogue Boyz mostly ran out of ships while ramming into the dreadnought. He yanked control of the Rogue Krooza away from Kal'kuir, and aimed squarely for it.
- Grak'tona - WE WASNT RAMMIN IT HARD ENUFF. YOO LOT AR USELESS. IMMA EXECUT YOO AFTA DIS. TIME DA BLOW DIS FING TA HELL!!!!!!!
- Kal'kuir - OH MA DAYZ WAT DA HELL NOOOO!!!
Da Propa Big Rogue Krooza proceeded to slam right into the side of the Dreadnought, causing it to tilt slightly while the Loron ship was violently shook from the impact. Within moments, the writhing tendrils under the vessel begun creeping into the Krooza and wrapping themselves around it, slowly crushing it; it became evident these were in fact completely organic in nature, while the Dreadnought was unharmed by the ramming.
- Dreadnought - YOU CANNOT FIGHT YOUR FATE.
- Fre'kloar - AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH
- Brag'klogga - its ok guys I HAV A PLAN
As the Rogue Krooza continued to be destroyed, Brag'klogga let out a wild yell as he held out his staff, engulfing the entire Rogue Krooza in Dark Chronoscopic energy. A few moments later, it had been teleported away completely, causing the tendrils to clench into nothing. The dreadnought proceeded to simply seek out the nearest UNO ship and continue firing its lasers at them to destroy them. By that point, most of the fleet had been lost while the enemy was no worse to wear. Taking cues from Brag'klogga, Tuolog prepared to do much the same: he had all Ioketa aboard UNO's Omega Commander prepare a spell of their own to teleport out and retreat. The Omega Commander would disappear moments before four lasers were blasted directly at its direction.
Having escaped with only a trace of the fleet left, UNO would join the rest of the Alliance in another conference. Volim was there again, and he had a smug look on him as it was evident the fight had not gone well.
- Volim - Well? Where's all that high and mighty attitude? The one where you know my galaxy better than my people, huh?
- Tuolog - We no match for Borealis Grox vessel. It far larger than any Ottzelloan Grox had been an even larger than predictions. It also very agile ship an able to deflect our damage. Neither of our fleets do a dent.
- Grak'tona - ...i ...i... uh.... IT WAS A SETUP BY ZRAHGLOTH
- Zr'Ahgloth - mate i barely kno who yoo is
- Kralgon Emperor - How predictable it is that when we go alone, there's nothing we could do. So of course, our fleet is sent off to its doom without support. Gee, who could've seen that coming!
- Xeron - Or you could, I don't know, not done this idiocy to begin with!
- Tralkik Commander - There is the fact the enemy was not merely a warship. It was alive. The spaceship was a living organism. I detected no crew through my scans.
Falrik Zaarkhun held up his hand as the Tralkik Commander spoke, as if to cut him off.
- Falrik Zaarkhun - Thank you for the report, but it is not necessary. We gathered all the data we needed while you conducted your attack.
- Kal'kuir - oh so dey WUS dere... WHAI DIDNT YA HELP MAN MA SHIPS ALL HURT
- Falrik Zaarkhun - Do you think I did not think this through? I let UNO and the Rogue Boyz attack the vessel. What we needed was to probe them and learn more information. If that meant their fleet had to die in the process, then so be it. An unfortunate, but necessary loss. We now know exactly what these Grox are bringing and how not to combat them. And, as it is now evident, no amount of brute force will be sufficient.
- Asraels - You were warned. Now we see you were manipulated from the beginning.
- Kralgon Emperor - ... Ridiculous! We could've won with more support!
- Volim - Shut up.
- Falrik Zaarkhun - I estimated that there was no chance even combined that we would've dealt any damage to the vessel. But, we have a better idea now of what it is made of, and what its defenses are. So I must thank you once again for the inside information.
- Yogtam - You cowardly scoundrel... How many lives did you allow to die here?
- Tralkik Commander - Organic casualties were minimal. Most of the fleet was automated. However, it numbers in the thousands. Current estimates are 5,604 deaths. And 912 vessels annihilated.
- Volim - Don't blame my co-worker, now. You got your people killed. Not us. I personally would have listened to the Zoles, as funny as that sounds.
- Asraels - I take no pleasure from this, brute.
- Grak'tona - YO I WANT A WORD WIV DA GODZ. DA HOLY BOOKS SED WE WAS GONNA WIN
- Brag'klogga - ....uh yeh about dat
- Hagto'Zhl - uh maybe wes suppos ta kill ANOTHA grox shp??
- Brag'klogga - ...YEH DATS WAT I MENT
- Knar'gank - hur no ya dont
The Broken Warmaster
The days passed following UNO's encounter with the so-called Ascended-class Dreadnought, and the Alliance quickly realized it was not the only one of its kind. Reports of the Zoles and Niaka, during their involvement with the Hegdar Revolution, made them realize it was in fact the same type of dreadnought that had attacked the homeworld of the Murgur years prior, and now they were detected numerous more of these same ships coming out of the Cold Relays of the Inner Core, making a path of destruction as they did. These dreadnoughts were followed by small fleets of smaller Grox vessels which captured whatever unfortunate civilians they could get their hands into, while the Ascended-class ensured the planets were reduced to rubble. The Grox invasion had begun.
However, there was still no sign of Arkarixus anywhere. None among the Zoles - not even Vekaron, who he had been spending the most time with - knew of his whereabouts following their victory in the Vida'Rranlora database. Without his directive, no doubt this war could take a turn to the worst very quickly. While the Ottzelloans recovered from the battle with the dreadnought, Tuolog chose to seek out Arkarixus, using his Essence to track his movement in time until he finally uncovered his location: Hyperborea, the very place where they had found him a year prior.
As Tuolog teleported himself to the massive construct, he found the native Naombur were roused; the creatures scuttled across the halls and walls of the place in vast numbers, all following the path to the chamber where the allies had discovered Arkarixus' body. As he made his way there, he could indeed confirm Arkarixus was there; the Kormacvar sat down in front of the cryogenic pod where he had slumbered for five billion years while the Naombur crawled across the walls and ceiling, unresting, like an agitated swarm of ants. He rose his head to face Tuolog as he arrived, and from his expression, he could tell the formidable Kormacvar warrior was utterly broken.
- Tuolog - The others not know where you are, but I trace you here. What wrong?
Arkarixus narrowed his eyes at the question.
- Arkarixus - You have nerve asking me such a question.
- Tuolog - The PCA leaderless without you. It become chaotic and disorganized. None of them seem to have much agreement on things. Worst of all, Falrik Zaarkhun at times filling in on leadership roles. The galaxy need you.
- Arkarixus - ... The galaxy is lost. This war is lost.
- Tuolog - And what make you say that? Overcoming insurmountable odds is kind of Ottzello's thing. You have to be more persuasive with me!
An unamused huff came out of Arkarixus. He proceeded to point a finger at a cryogenic pod, located next to his. As he did so, all the Naombur stopped on their tracks and fixated their heads at it.
- Arkarixus - Regnatus once slumbered there. Or so I thought.
- Tuolog - I not see any reason to suspect otherwise either. Regnatus is the one Volzara warn us about, the one that hide himself from fifth dimension completely. Not even Zargoth able to stop him now.
- Arkarixus - ... I have watched my people, my family, be exterminated. I had to slay my own mother. And the culprit? My own blood brother.
- Tuolog - We not know what happen to Regnatus or what make him like this. But we find out. And we put a stop to him. To do that, we need you.
- Arkarixus - Why? So I can be disappointed again? Betrayed?
The Kormacvar turned his head to face the Naombur, who all looked back at him in response.
- Arkarixus - All my race has created has been twisted and corrupted. Even these Lackeys; how can I know they do not plot my death as well?
- Tuolog - So that why it your responsibility to take it back. To fix it and rebuild legacy of Kormacvar. I know Mechanic turn on us, but I know him well enough to know that he rejoin us soon. Right now, he under Regnatus' influence. We end this and get him back.
- Arkarixus - No. I am tired of having experienced nothing but misery in my entire existence. This has all been for naught, it is a hopeless cause. The Grox have won.
Tuolog approached Arkarixus and then sat down in front of him, humming under his breath a little as he did so. His presence, or possibly some Essence he was conjuring, was soothing Arkarixus a little rather than enraging him as one would expect, though the Kormacvar made an effort to resist him. Tuolog then smiled as he spoke.
- Tuolog - I understand how this feel. The feeling of despair very common among our people. But at times like this, you have to think: would your people want you to give up now? Would they want you to lay down the cause and stop fighting, or they want you to reclaim what is rightfully Kormacvar?
- Arkarixus - That does not matter. The dead are dead. And so is what they think.
- Tuolog - You not need to speculate what they think. I take you to them to talk to them.
Arkarixus rose his feet and clenched his fists. The Naombur were stirred once again in response.
- Arkarixus - Never! I refuse to face them again. The only thing I will do is re-enter this pod and wait until I am dust. Only then will I rejoin them.
- Tuolog - I see this not be as easy as I thought. But, you do wish to rejoin them. So let me help with that.
Tuolog then stood, and summoned several other Ioketa nearby to join in their own chants. Each of them entered a meditative stance circling around Tuolog, and began to float in the air. Around them, they felt a cold breeze of wind rushing around as the environment appeared to change entirely, puzzling Arkarixus as to what was happening. Soon, the wind changed to green and gold energy, and began to speed up. As they looked around them, they saw that they were no longer in the desolate, abandoned space station of Hyperborea. Instead, they were in a field of green grass which spanned the horizon, covered by massive roots which too spanned the landscape. Behind them, a gigantic dome made of trees grew from the earth, with a single entrance at its base.
As Arkarixus realized where he was, he turned to Tuolog and charged psychic energy in his fist as he flew into a rage.
- Arkarixus - How dare you bring me here?! I should crush you like an insect!
- ??? - My child...
A cold shiver went down the Kormacvar's spine and stopped him on his tracks as an echoing, but beautiful voice rung their ears. He shook his fist down in frustration as he appeared far more vulnerable than Tuolog had ever seen.
- Arkarixus - I... I am not worthy. I have failed her. I have failed all of them.
- Tuolog - You no failure. Talk to her.
With a heavy breath, Arkarixus forced himself to enter the massive plant construct, with Tuolog following behind. They were met with the sight of an enormous being, a cross between a tree and a colossal, lithe creature with feminine features and radiant purple eyes. Surrounding her were numerous smaller creatures with similar features, who frolicked around her carelessly; Tuolog could see a strong resemblance between these beings and the Alvino, though they appeared completely harmless in comparison. As they approached, the massive tree-entity's head looked down at them, and Arkarixus fell to one knee before her.
- Arkarixus - Mother...
- Floridarixis - My dear Arkarixus. How nice of you to visit.
- Tuolog - I fill you in on what happen, Floridarixis?
- Floridarixis - There is no need. I know why you are here. You have lost hope, my dear?
- Arkarixus - ... Wait. How do you know me? We have not seen one another since I was a child.
- Floridarixis - Your soul is exactly the same to me as it has always been.
The enormous Alvino Brood Mother leaned down, opening her hands in order to pick both Arkarixus and Tuolog, and bring them closer to her face. She had a warm smile on her face as she looked down at the two, who were utterly tiny in comparison.
- Floridarixis - I can see the scars of your experiences in your soul, my son. You are deeply hurt, are you not?
- Arkarixus - I... I cannot tell you. It would break your heart, and I would never forgive myself for it.
- Floridarixis - Then let me tell you now, young man; what you believe is the end does not have to be it, so long as you keep fighting. Remember the old motto I used to tell you?
- Arkarixus - ... We were born to endure the blunt of the war, so that others may sleep at night.
- Floridarixis - Yes. And that goes not just for me, or your Kormacvar kin. It goes for all of Borealis. And all those who pledge themselves to it, like your new friend.
The goddess smiled as she turned her eyes to Tuolog. The Ioketa had a proud expression on his face.
- Floridarixis - You, too, have many scars in your soul. But by its radiance, I see you have overcome them.
- Tuolog - I endure many things over the millennia that I been alive, it true. I think it is part of why Volzara trust me so.
- Arkarixus - ... What if I did warn you? Could I save you from the fate that-
- Floridarixis - Shush. Whatever it is you have faced, you cannot change it. However, what you can do is work to make things right.
- Tuolog - Indeed. There dire consequences for attempting to change timelines.
- Floridarixis - Know this, my child. Whatever happens, I will always be with you. Do not give up, and I am sure we will meet again.
With that, the goddess shook her head slightly, causing the leaves which made up her head to rumble. Various small fruits fell down, with some falling upon Arkarixus and Tuolog's feet. The sight of it caused the Kormacvar to shake himself as Tuolog could see tears forming on his eyes.
- Floridarixis - Remember how you ate these every day while you grew up? It made you big and strong, did it not? I am sure you could use some more to cheer you up.
- Arkarixus - I... I will make things right, mother. I swear it to you, and to our people. We will meet again.
- Floridarixis - Hmhm, wonderful! Take some fruits with you, and you too, little friend. They are the greatest fruit of the universe, or I am not the Head Gardener, ahaha!
- Tuolog - I hear great things about these, but never try them before! Thank you, I appreciate it!
- Floridarixis - Now, I believe you have places to be, wherever and whenever that is. ... I have missed you dearly, Arkarixus. Do come and visit more often.
With that, the Brood Mother leaned down and allowed the two to touch the ground again as she then covered herself in her branches, her face and brilliant eyes disappearing from view. Arkarixus looked up to her - the closest thing he had to a mother - before chomping down on one of her fruit, glancing at Tuolog.
- Arkarixus - Fine. You convinced me.
- Tuolog - Well then, I teleport us back?
- Arkarixus - Yes. I must strategize on how to face our foe.
- Tuolog - Indeed. I talk with UNO some more. We must get ready!
- Arkarixus - Yes, you should do that. Spend some time away, for I still feel slightly inclined to crush you like an insect for making me go through this.
Tuolog chuckled, as he teleported them out of Hyperborea. As the two returned, the Naombur looked at them and chirped in contentment. They, at least, were loyal to Arkarixus from the start.
A Growing Alliance
As the threat of the Borealis Grox escalated, the Polar Crystal Alliance - once again under the directive of Arkarixus - did what was the only logical option; they needed allies, they needed numbers to face off against this threat, and they needed it urgently.
As news of the Grox invasion traveled across the galaxy, many empires reacted with fear and terror. The Grox were an invincible foe, one who had ruled the Inner Core for as long as recorded history, there was no way they could possibly stand a chance, right? But the Polar Crystal Alliance was here now, and they served as a beacon of hope in the bleak darkness of uncertainty. Representatives of the Zoles, Niaka and UNO begun visiting other empires with offers to bring them under the Alliance's fold, and soon enough, they received answers.
The Ransio, the greatest power of the Outer Core and long defenders of the region, quickly pledged their allegiance when the Zoles knights visited their homeworld, and did their part by getting the Kalda Polyarchy, the Herame Republic and the Krinkarut Union to follow their example. The mysterious Adrahira Tribes, a race from Demolidus who retained a prehistorical culture despite their space-faring society, too agreed to join the Alliance after being persuaded by Ioketa emissaries. The Egelielano, a frail race separated in numerous guilds, would too be convinced to pledge support after the Niaka came for them. Zoles diplomats would also gain support from the technocratic Elzie and Gooplet of Mirianis, while the Paladians coerced their Garukut neighbors to not stand idle and contribute to the galaxy's salvation. And the appearance of Arkarixus immediately caused the zealous Minga, a race who worshiped the 'Cold Gods' as deities, to throw themselves at his mercy, much to his chagrin.
Meanwhile, the Borealis Consortium Network started calling for favors of their own. Under Volim's orders, the criminals started calling out to their supporters in order to ensure there would be a galaxy for them to exploit later. The Old Niaka Order, always eager to be in the Wranploer's good graces, quickly answered the call, being followed by the mercenary Murgur Warbands, the vile Imalmah Hegemony and various private military companies who were either persuaded by Zaarkhun's favorable deals, or forced to cooperate under the threat of annihilation by Volim's hands.
In Rogue Boyz territory, all the Loron were rallied together around what Fre'kloar promised would be their most exciting battle yet. Rousing speeches, grand battle plans, and even anti-Grox rap songs were written up in the hopes of exciting all the bands of Loron groops under different bosses to join together in a fight for the galaxy. Even the most skeptical warbosses, such as a warboss named Def'glasha who had been critical of the leedas, were on board with what they hoped would be a massacre of the Borealis Grox.
What was once the union between three nations quickly numbered fifteen and more. The Polar Crystal Alliance grew and grew, though even then, with the forces brought by the Consortium Network and their extragalactic allies of the Indoctrinate Collective, this battle would not be easy.
The entire known galaxy would face the Grox, or die trying.
Origin of Horror
The weeks would pass as the war with the Grox continued. Countless worlds were lost across the Outer Core and beyond, but the numbers of the Polar Crystal Alliance and their other allies slowly shifted the tides into their favor - or rather, they managed to slow down the Grox enough that entire volleys of star systems were no longer being lost overnight. While the knowledge on the Grox provided by the extragalactics aided in fighting the normal ships, ways to combat the now much dreaded Ascended-class Dreadnoughts continued to elude them. While the Zoles and Niaka had defeated the Dreadnought over the Murgur homeworld years prior, at that point they were unsure of how exactly they pulled it off; it may as well have been pure dumb luck and the Dreadnought over Kaos was a prototype, weaker than the others. They needed to know more about these warships' internal architecture and exact combat capabilities if they hoped to combat them.
Luckily, the scouts the Alliance had placed in the borders of the Inner Core found something that could aid them; they had located what appeared to be the Grox equivalent of a shipyard, where one of these Dreadnoughts was being manufactured. It was located in a space station unconnected by any Cold Relays, explaining how the galaxy's natives never stumbled upon it. As the Alliance discussed how to approach it, it was decided that a stealth team would board the shipyard and uncover the secrets of the Dreadnought without gathering attention; going into the heart of Grox space with a common fleet or army would lead to a massacre.
Using his powers, Tuolog was at the head, teleporting the team into the entrance of the shipyard itself. Following him was UNOC member Kalcedia Myran, the squad's stealth specialist, a remote form used by the Tralkik Commander, as well as Genrai Nal and Sollow of the Borealis Consortium Network, both being highly qualified for the job. Lastly was Knar'gank, the Sneeka Boss of the Loron, who too was an expert in steath and who sported a smug smirk as he was finally given a chance to use his sneaking skills in a mission. The first thing they noticed is how empty the station was; with massive walls nearly pitch-black in color, not a sound was heard besides that of distant machinery. Their sensors too could not detect any life there, where this place should certainly be crawling with Grox, Conqrix and Marinox drones. There was barely any light too, and the place was only dimly illuminated by small light sources scattered across the very tall ceiling.
- Sollow - Aha! Time to die, Grox! ... Hm. Where are all the Grox?
- Genrai Nal - We must move silently, otherwise they may be alerted to our presence. We want to get the surprise attack on them, and not risk the reverse. Be on guard.
- Knar'gank - man dis place is cold. shoulda brought a shirt
- Genrai Nal - It is unlikely that any living organisms dwell here. And the Grox are known to survive in cold temperatures. Particularly those of Borealis.
- Kalcedia - You can always heat up by wrapping an arm around me, mhmhm.
- Knar'gank - hell no get lost chik
- Tuolog - Indeed, be on guard. This place not unlike the Alvino ship we boarded before. I not able to feel any life, but it may well exist...
The group proceeded into the shipyard, taking cover as they went on, though nothing stood in their path. The air around them was cold and oppressive, and the place felt claustrophobic to a degree that was almost unnatural. Soon they would arrive to what could be assumed was the chamber where the pieces of the warship were assembled; it was an utterly enormous pit ending in darkness, and as they walked through a metallic bridge, they could look down to see the hull of an Ascended-class Dreadnought slowly being put together by thousands of robotic instruments. Again, not a single living creature could be seen or felt anywhere.
- Kalcedia - Big boy. Too big, in fact.
- Sollow - Hmpf. An entire fleet of these would be invincible...
- Tuolog - Not even entire fleet. We face one, it alone we not able to destroy.
- Tralkik Commander - Weaponry against these machines is yet to be developed. I can send drones to analyze this further.
- Knar'gank - man yoo shuld be glad its me heer and not kalkuir. he wuld start gushin ova it probs. or start complainin dat da rogue krooza is betta. probably boff tbh
- Genrai Nal - If there is no point of entry to board it, we are done here. We should move on.
- Kalcedia - Hold it. I think I see something.
Kalcedia leaned against the bars of the bridge and adjusted her eyepiece as she looked underneath the behemoth. She would notice what appeared to be a glass pipe connected directly under it, letting out a faint glow as it seemed to be poured into the warship. She then turned to the others.
- Kalcedia - There's something being put inside the ship from beneath via a glass pipe. I think we should follow it.
- Genrai Nal - This is wise.
- Knar'gank - its a dum idea cus ya had it but eh ok
The team proceeded to move onwards, taking passages leading downwards. It felt like the corridors were growing smaller and darker with each turn, and some felt compelled to look behind them as it seemed like whispers scratched them behind their ears. After several minutes of walking, they eventually noticed a corridor contained a luminous glass pipe on its ceiling, which travelled deeper into the station.
On closer inspection, it seemed the pipe was filled with some sort of viscous liquid, which slowly moved inside it.
- Knar'gank - ngh. i dont like dis place
- Genrai Nal - What kind of fluid is this?
- Sollow - It looks... gooey. It's making me hungry...
- Tuolog - ...oh no. I look in history of this liquid and where it come from. It not a pretty sight...
- Kalcedia - Do I even want to ask?
- Tralkik Commander - Analysis indicates it has been heavily processed biological matter.
- Sollow - That just makes me hungrier!
- Knar'gank - hm me too tbh
The team decided to follow the pipe, and soon came across more pipes, all leading to the same general direction. As they progressed, however, they could not help but feel they were being watched, though their sensors continued to pick up no sign of life in this place. After many stressful minutes, however, something caught their attention; a larger chamber was far more illuminated than the others. As they entered, they found numerous glass pods placed along the walls, each letting out a soft glow.
This is where it begins.
As they approached and looked into one of the pods, they gasped as they witnessed its contents: a Borealis Grox, with no sign of consciousness, rested with it, its body enveloped by organic tendrils which fused themselves into the interior of the pod like a festering growth. Kalcedia shook her head away from it, somewhat disturbed by the fleshy interior while Knar'gank visibly cringed. Even Genrai Nal, who normally felt few emotions, least of all disgust, found the sight revolting, and looked uneasy. Tuolog could not bare to look.
- Kalcedia - Ew! What is that?!
- Tralkik Commander - Were I to simulate organic reactions to this sight, my reaction would be: Severe disgust.
- Sollow - Is... Is this a womb? Because it resembles one...
- Knar'gank - i thought grox was born from robot storks
This is where it ends.
Suddenly, the Grox inside the pod jolted awake. Its eyes widened as it looked at the group outside of the glass, before it suddenly begun screaming; the flesh-like metarial inside the pod begun pumping as the Grox was slowly liquified before their eyes, being turned into that same viscous liquid they had seen inside the glass pipes before.
- Knar'gank - aw no no NO NO MAN WAT DA HELL!!!
- Genrai Nal - So Zaarkhun was correct. The Grox did not defeat Regnatus. Regnatus defeated the Grox. And out of vengeance for what they did to his people, he forced them into eternal torture. And used them as weapons.
- Kalcedia - I feel sick... He's turning the Grox into goo! I could see the fear in that thing's expression!
- Tuolog - Such is the cycle of vengeance. It never leads anywhere good.
- Sollow - Yuck. So this is what Regnatus wants, then? To turn the galaxy into fluids? What's the point?
Knar'gank suddenly turned around, swinging a fist and hitting nothing. He looked around with paranoid eyes.
- Knar'gank - MAN WHOS WHISPERIN???? CUT IT OUT
- Tralkik Commander - Sensors indicate no obvious source of audio.
- Kalcedia - Ugh. Let's get out of here before we stumble into more of these-
The Zazane was cut short by the sounds of screams as more pods awakened all around them, each with a Grox inside forcibly and messily being liquified, a cacophany of terror who forced her and Knar'gank to shut their ears with their arms as the group rushed ahead as quickly as they could to get away from it. After many more minutes - by that point feeling like hours - they arrived at the place where all the glass pipes connected; a great, seemingly empty chamber where they could see what appeared to be a computer. One they could make use of. As the group approached, heavily stressed from the atmosphere of this place, Kalcedia turned to the Tralkik Commander.
- Kalcedia - You should be able to download all the information we need from this, I hope.
- Knar'gank - yeh man be quik wanna get off dis dump
This is your future. Witness it. Behold it. Stop fighting.
- Tralkik Commander - All data has been recorded and will be analyzed. Prediction: Widespread terror.
- Kalcedia - ... W-What?
- Sollow - Well, that's lovely...
- Genrai Nal - If the Grox take over the galaxy and Regnatus has his way, we shall all be processed in this manner.
- Knar'gank - but whai tho? whai go thru all dis effort? seems like pointless busiwork man
- Tralkik Commander - Early analysis suggest the fluid is used as a source of energy for the dreadnoughts. And--
- Tuolog - And Regnatus delight in the torture of his enemies.
At this moment, a horrible roar shook the foundation of the shipyard from the other side of the chamber they were standing on. At this moment, a monitor suddenly turned on without any input of their part, and they could witness its interior; the pipes all poured their contents into the chamber, leaving a colossal pile of white goo whick shook and trembled as it begun moving, sprouting arms and a head which let out another roar - or perhaps a scream - as it took a form eerily similar to that of Arkarixus.
A cold shiver passed down Kalcedia's spine while Knar'gank simply fainted outright, while Sollow could not stop himself from barring his teeth in apprehension. Genrai Nal found himself unable to look, while Tuolog had a horrified look on his face as his eyes opened wide; he'd seen it in visions before, but never in person. The massive mutant continued to scream and roar as the image then changed; a familiar face smirked at them.
The Grox King.
- Mirras III - I hope you did not think you could hide from me.
- Tuolog - We not think this. But we do think we can end this here.
- Genrai Nal - Yes. Time to face us in battle.
- Mirras III - Oh, no, no. I am not in this station with you... That would be idiotic. But I knew you were there.
- Kalcedia - Why... Why are you doing this to these Grox? Are they not your own people?
- Mirras III - My people? Oh, you understand nothing... They have succumbed. And now they are ascending.
- Genrai Nal - Perhaps we did not think we could get the surprise on you, so much as we thought that your lack of willingness to respond demonstrates your weakness. You only wish to show us the future, and not fight. Behind your machines, you are weak.
- Mirras III - Think what you will, it matters not to me. By Regnatus' will, all races will be granted the gift of ascension. They shall become Ascended-class.
- Sollow - The ships are made out of people!
- Kalcedia - You will be stopped! Don't think you can-
- Mirras III - Stop you from leaving? Dear mortal, you can just leave if you wish. I am not going to stop you.
- Genrai Nal - Your sole intention was to give us a demonstration. You did not wish to destroy us here, or leave us any avenue to destroy you either.
- Mirras III - Yes.
The Grox King's smirk grew.
- Mirras III - Whatever you have done there will not change the outcome of this conflict. So, why don't you run along to your friends? Tell them all about the strengths and weaknesses of the Ascended-class? That will surely give you a fighting edge! ... But will it be enough?
The King's eyes suddenly glowed as his voice changed. As if he was possessed.
- Regnatus - THE FUTURE IS DECIDED.
And the screen turned off, leaving them to the screams of the monster at the other side of the wall. The group looked at each other with unease, with Kalcedia tugging at Tuolog's shoulder.
- Kalcedia - C-Can we just go? I don't want to be here anymore...
- Sollow - We don't have the manpower to destroy the... thing over there. For once, I don't feel like killing someone.
- Tuolog - We can teleport out now. I think we accomplished our... "mission"... here...
With his essence, Tuolog teleported the group out, and indeed, nothing stopped them from doing so. Even after they were gone, it would take them a while to get the sounds of the screams out of their minds.
The Grox King of Ottzello
An Ancient Relic
The tide of battle was truly turning now. After thoroughly analyzing the data stolen from the Grox shipyard, the Polar Crystal Alliance finally discovered something they could take advantage of; the Ascended-class Dreadnought were impervious to most attacks, but their 'eyes' were vulnerable when they fired their weapons, and a precise strike to them with their heaviest ordnance could see the entire 'head' of the living warships obliterated, killing them. The revelation that the ships' biological components were made from the populations abducted by the Grox only further fueled their desire to put an end to it all before it was too late, lest all of Borealis suffer from the same gruesome fate.
A conference was held among the Alliance and their collaborators when news arrived that the scouts of the Seagon Cryptocracy had made a discovery. Arkarixus watched intently as Trastius, the Seagon sergeant, relayed the finding.
- Trastius - A well-preserved Kormacvar ruin has been revealed to us as we ventured deeper into our sector. There, our science teams report finding an artifact unlike anything our species has ever discovered.
- Xeron - Artifact, eh? What is it, exactly?
Trastius proceeded to relay images of the object to them; it was actually enormous, almost the size of a small mountain, though that was not its only notable feature. It resembled a miniature Cold Relay in design, being placed upon a floating platform which let out a radiant sapphire glow. Arkarixus analyzed it with a surprised expression before speaking.
- Arkarixus - I... actually do not know what that is.
- Grak'tona - YOOOO DATS SHINY. I WANT ONE. DA KING DEMANDS YOO ADD IT TO DA ROYAL TRESURY
- Brag'klogga - looks like a big arrow pointin up. its da legendary updog
- Ray'loth - wats updo- oh ya mothaf-
- Vekaron - It looks like a... tiny Cold Relay? Well, tiny in comparison to the normal ones. Those are like the size of a small moon.
- Tralkik Commander - Unable to analyze any details. Design resembles a Cold Relay, but little else can be deciphered.
- Trastius - Its properties do, indeed, match those of a Cold Relay, though its size would imply it was not used for the same reason as the others. Whatever the case, it could serve an use in the war effort once we uncover its mysteries.
- Arkarixus - Hmmm... I feel you Seagon have uncovered something old, far older than my time.
- Tuolog - Indeed. Older than I can even look back to see.
Before Trastius could say anything else, he turned his attention to his own monitors as a frown formed on his expression.
- Trastius - A hostile fleet is on its way to the planet.
- Olcinius - Of course. Can't have a moment of peace, it seems.
- Fre'kloar - dats a big mood rite dere
- Trastius - It is a Grox fleet. ... An Ascended-class Dreadnought is at its helm.
- Arkarixus - How?! Are they listening to us? How do they even know?
- Kralgon Emperor - A spy must be amongst us. Find them, and destroy them!
- Trastius - No doubt they seek to recover the artifact. Send reinforcements at once.
- Kralgon Emperor - All the reinforcements we have will be useless against that Dreadnought! They are nigh invincible! Retreat, and deal with the spy later!
- Vekaron - But Tuolog's group found their weakness in that shipyard. We know how to kill them now.
- Kralgon Emperor - I don't want to risk the casualties in a battle we're unprepared for...
Trastius turned his face to his monitors again as he read through reports sent by his men, before turning back to the conference.
- Trastius - The planetary defenses claim the Grox are sending communications. A Grox is demanding the planet's surrender... A 'yellow' Grox.
UNO's leaders looked to one another, first in confusion, and then in dread. Normally absent from these conflicts, Valzo appeared to comment on what appeared to affect domestic matters.
- Yogtam - ...A yellow Grox would imply it is one of ours.
- Valzo - You don't think this would be Thylaxiz, do you? Him and various other Ottzelloan Grox did flee our territory when the Vague arrived.
- Kralgon Emperor - We've caught the spy! Annihilate Thylaxiz at once!
- Zr'Ahgloth - DUMBO HE HASNT BEEN HEER IN A DOZEN YEERS
- Fre'kloar - LEEVIN ZRAHGLOTHS EMPIYA??? BRUH I DID DAT BEFOR IT WAS COOL. HUR GLAD SOMEON ELSE HAD DA RITE IDEA
- Zr'Ahgloth - SHUT UP IDIOT YOR EMPIYAS LAME
- Valzo - So Thylaxiz and the Grox who followed him fled to Regnatus' ilk, then. That would explain a lot.
- Tuolog - Like how no Ioketa able to pick up their presence.
- Xeron - Ooh, I see this turned personal to you Ottzelloans, now. Perhaps that'll convince you to get ready to kill some Grox warships.
The Kralgon Emperor growled, before slamming down on the console in front of him and yelling even harder than they'd heard before.
- Kralgon Emperor - Find these Grox pests! Destroy them at once! Bring me Thylaxiz' head!
- Vyutrin - That's more like it. We could've used that attitude back in the Marinox wars...
A great fleet made up of many of the Polar Crystal Alliance's members and their collaborators arrived to the planet discovered by the Seagon, deplyong forces both on the ground and over the skies. It was a cold and frigid world with minimal plant life and only a trace of an atmosphere, forcing some of them to wear protective gear to be able to stay there, though the Seagon appeared mostly unfazed. They could see the artifact itself as well; it was partially protected from view by some mountains that appeared to grow around it, emitting a radiant beam into the sky like a beacon.
Soon enough, the Grox armada arrived to the star system. It was made up of Ottzelloan Grox Annihilators and Ottzelloan Grox Assassins, with smaller Grox fighters accompanying them as they approached. And at the helm was the Ascended-class Dreadnought, though this one was unlike any the Alliance had ever seen; rather than resembling a monstrous arthropod, this warship had a far more warped design, with a single pair of radiant red 'eyes' and a single pair of massive 'arms', with a mass of writhing tendrils extending over its back. As the Grox fleet arrived, it soon begun deploying drones into the surface of the planet; Ottzelloan Conqrix and Marinox, as well as some Lanatharch and Alvino.
Arkarixus, who was with the rest of the ground forces, growled under his breath as he saw the enemy army arriving.
- Arkarixus - How annoying that not only do these Grox still possess those infernal Conqrix, they went through the trouble of making variants of them.
- Zr'Ahgloth - bruh ottzelloan grox ar da most GANGSTA grox so dont diss dem
- Fre'kloar - nah diss dem deyz losas
- Zr'Ahgloth - im sorry we was talkin about da ottzelloan grox not ya mom
- Fre'kloar - WANNA SLAP???
- Falrik Zaarkhun - Warped variant or not, the strategy here should be mostly the same.
In space, the Grox fleet engaged the allies, though the Dreadnought did not join them; rather, the massive warship loomed over the battlefield, not firing a single sho down at them - it was as if it was watching them. The Grox drones proceeded to march ahead, and the battle soon ensued as the two forces clashed. Vekaron and his Zoles knights engaged the Conqrix with their blades, cutting them down as they came in waves, while Xeron and his squads of Niaka mech-suits shot them down as much as they could. Legate Olcinius provided support to them with his own Paladian warriors, while Trastius and his Seagon stayde back to protect the entrance to the path leading to the miniature Cold Relay. As many of the Conqrix charged towards Falrik Zaarkhun, they only found themselves falling over illusions, while Genrai Nal uncloaked himself to cut them apart single-handedly. As Genrai engaged many of them in close-quarters combat, several well-armed soldiers from PMCs also appeared with thick riot shields firing rapid-fire bullets against the Conqrix. The soldiers of the Indoctrinate Collective armed themselves with their special Pseudothoi technology in order to combat any Essence attacks these drones could attempt, and Captain Vyutrin himself took great glee in shooting down any Marinox caught in his sights.
- Vyutrin - Ahahah! Die, you Marinox scum! Oh, this brings me back!
Meanwhile, Loron both from UNO and the Rogue Boyz overwhelmed the Conqrix in sheer numbers, with Zr'Ahgloth as well as Fre'kloar throwing them apart gleefully, and the Kralgon Emperor laughing from a distance as his Kralgon Land Destructor AI weapons fired their cannons. And various brutish warriors from the Wranploer Legion also fought tooth and nail against the swarm, with Admiral Torrent sporting a smug grin as he cut them down.
It was at this moment that the Dreadnought sent out a single mechanic pod from its underside which crashed down into the earth, crushing anything under it before it opened itself. An large android in the vague form of a Grox revealed itself as a familiar voice came from it.
- Thylaxiz - Enough. This ends now.
- Zr'Ahgloth - YEH IT ENDS WHEN I RIP YA HED OFF
- Arkarixus - A Grox King who actually fights in the front line? The times truly have changed. I always knew your kind as cowards.
- Thylaxiz - My master demands the portable Relay be destroyed. And I will see it done.
- Fre'kloar - dats a portable relay???? i fort it was like dat holy symbol dat brag was on about
- Trastius - Destroyed? Not recovered?
- Thylaxiz - I will take the opportunity to destroy all of you. You turned my kind into slaves, now I will have my revenge.
- Zr'Ahgloth - bruh as if he says dat unironically whil workin wiv regnatus
- Vekaron - Weren't the Loron also ensla-
- Vyutrin - Shh shh, let them do their thing, Borealan.
- Fre'kloar - i meen i shulda brought popcorn ta dis
Thylaxiz moved forward, stomping on anything - ally or foe - unfortunate enough to be caught in his path as he fired an arm-mounted cannon at the direction of the allies. As he did, Tuolog caught many of the cannon blasts in time, and redirected them straight back at Thylaxiz, though the shots disappeared entirely with a wave of the Grox King's arm as he revealed Chronoscopic powers of his own. A faint golden shield enveloped his android suit as he continued his march.
- Thylaxiz - I am King! I am all powerful!
- Grak'tona - DONT NEVA COPY MA SPEECH AGEN IM GONNA SUE YOO
- Thylaxiz - My master has granted me the power to end the tyranny of the System!
Thylaxiz then threw an arm forward, Chronoscopic energy coursing through it as the members of UNO suddenly felt strange; their nanomachines were going haywire inside them, and those among with power over Essence found their powers disrupted. Many of them dropped their weapons and collapsed to the floor, throwing fits temporarily. Even Zr'Ahgloth lost control a little, throwing his arms around as if he were drunk. All of UNO's AI weapons completely deactivated. It appeared anyone on the battlefield at the time was affected. Zaarkhun, or at least one of his illusions, raised an eyebrow as he spoke.
- Falrik Zaarkhun - Hm, looks as if this King is able to exploit UNO's greatest vulnerability. We can't count on their help right now. In fact, we may have to fight against them.
- Sollow - Lovely! Is that Valzo guy here? I'd like to kill him...
- Falrik Zaarkhun - No, and you still need to focus on the Grox.
- Sollow - Feh. You are no fun...
- Fre'kloar - YO DIS IS WHY YOO CANT TRUST ZRAHGLOTH AN HIS CRONIES. DEY ALWAYS BETRAY YOO. ANYWAYZ WE CAN WIN DIS WIVOUT YA HELP
With most of the UNO forces in disarray, Thylaxiz continued to march onwards, shooting down anyone standing between him and the entrance to the Relay. The rest of the allied forces, still busy with the swarm of COnqrix, could do little to stop his advance. However, Genrai Nal, capable of cloaking and hiding in between the forces, appeared from behind Thylaxiz and slashed at his mech's leg, crippling him slightly. The Grox King's other arm formed a large blade to strike down at the Inalton, though he managed to evade the blow.
- Thylaxiz - Cursed Zaarkhun Consortium. You have been a thorn in my side for too long.
- Genrai Nal - Perhaps underestimating us was your greatest mistake.
As Genrai Nal and Thylaxiz clashed blades a little, Thylaxiz then held out his arm and launched a Chronoscopic blast at Genrai. Clashing with Genrai's own Dark Chronoscopic, it stunned him completely, causing him to be paralyzed. The rest of the Rogue Boyz Leedas looked on and charged towards Thylaxiz.
- Fre'kloar - ITS OK WE'LL HANDLE HIM
- Brag'klogga - MAN LOOK AT DIS FLIPPIN AMATEUR ACTIN LIKE HE GOT DA GOD JUICE. IM BETTA DAN YA ALL
- Thylaxiz - You Loron are a pest I will gladly exterminate!
As Brag'klogga warped the five Leedas in front of Thylaxiz, Thylaxiz then fired another blast of Chronoscopic at Brag'klogga, paralyzing him and preventing him from moving anyone in closer. Rel'larutina, in her own mech, chuckled as she threw punches at Thylaxiz.
- Rel'larutina - Finally, a battle I've always longed for. We'll see whose mech comes out on top!
- Thylaxiz - You vermin are not my equals!
Thylaxiz relatiated with blasts of Essence from his cannon and swipes of his arm-mounted blade, hoping to destroy them all in a flurry of blows. Grak'tona successfully jumped in to block the damage, while Hagto'Zhl roared and threw punches of his own. As he did, he noticed his arms growing weaker; the Chronoscopic energy was clashing with his own Dark Chronoscopic, weakening him. However, Jol'kiar and Fre'kloar were able to keep up the battle, and could just about evade any attacks from Thylaxiz that Grak'tona didn't block. Rel'larutina fired from her own cannon from a distance, though Thylaxiz eventually threw another Chronoscopic blast that paralyzed her mech. Over their heads, the Ascended-class Dreadnought continued to look down at them, as if watching the battle unfold with great interest.
- Fre'kloar - DA ROGUE BOYZ IS DA BEST!!!!!!
As Fre'kloar yelled his roar, Grak'tona and Jol'kiar leapt towards the arms on Thylaxiz' mech and tugged at them, while Fre'kloar himself jumped between its legs and then leapt into the air, carrying the mech with him. He effectively suplexed the mech, jumping up high into the air and then throwing it down to the ground below, where Hagto'Zhl slammed on it with his fist as Rel'larutina, once her suit reactivated, fired the final blast. The mech was utterly destroyed by the attack, exploding into various parts which flew across the landscape and launching Thylaxiz into the air; the Grox screamed as he landed down with a crunch, his crown falling off his head and rolling across the ground as UNO felt his tampering with their nanomachines slowly subsiding.
Fre'kloar and the other Leedas cheered, while the rest of the Rogue Boyz all began chanting and rapping the Rogue Boyz rap (often forgetting the words as they did). The Leedas then proceeded to continue kicking the mech, and Fre'kloar lifted Thylaxiz up into the air. In the skies, the Ascended-class Dreadnought's eyes shone for a moment as the living ship appeared to shake its 'head' slightly, and Thylaxiz gasped with eyes widened as he was lifted.
- Thylaxiz - Aahh! M-My mind... is m-my own!
- Fre'kloar - GET REKT NOOB. YOO JUS GOT SUPLEXED
- Thylaxiz - Y-You... Y-You are of the R-Rogue Loron, are you not?
- Fre'kloar - I IS. AN DONT YA FORGET IT
- Thylaxiz - I... I m-must speak... to the Unified Nation...
- Fre'kloar - IMMA PUNCH YOO IN DA-
- Zr'Ahgloth - YO PUT HIM DOWN JAKASS
Fre'kloar looked over his shoulder in frustration, then dropped Thylaxiz in a huff as Zr'Ahgloth approached him, and Tuolog walked beside him.
- Tuolog - Thylaxiz! You okay?
- Thylaxiz - T-Tuolog... You must b-believe me... N-None of this was my will...
Tuolog smiled warmly.
- Tuolog - I believe you. We believe you. You forgiven. We take you back to Omega Commander and you recover.
- Zr'Ahgloth - WAT. NO WE DONT MAN WAT DA HELL
- Tuolog - Hey, Zr'Ahgloth, do you see sheep over there?
As Zr'Ahgloth turned around, Tuolog hummed under his breath and Zr'Ahgloth fell to the floor, asleep, snoring loudly. The Rogue Loron pointed and laughed at him while Thylaxiz weakly rose an arm.
- Thylaxiz - I was not the one... who had this idea. It was him...
The Grox pointed up, directly at the Dreadnought. In response, a booming sound echoed across the battlefield.
- ??? - HA. HA. HA. HA. HA.
- Thylaxiz - He was the one... who corrupted the Grox... into breaking free of the System...
- Tralkik Commander - Audio approximately resembles... the GroxOttz King.
Another booming laugh came from the Dreadnought.
- GroxOttz King - I TAKE IMMENSE DELIGHT IN WATCHING THYLAXIZ DIE BY YOUR HANDS.
- Jol'kiar - HOW MANY VILLAINS AR GONNA HAV DIS BOLD ALL CAPS TEXT MAN WAT DA HELL
- Fre'kloar - tbh hes loud as hell man pipe down a bit
- Kralgon Emperor - Ah, you. The AI machine that once controlled the Grox. Until we reassigned you elsewhere for being defective!
- GroxOttz King - I WAS TO BE KING OF OTTZELLO. BUT THYLAXIZ CAME, AND THEN YOU DISCARDED ME. BUT REGNATUS FOUND ME. HE GAVE ME PURPOSE. HE GAVE ME THIS BODY. AND NOW I WILL RULE OVER ALL OTTZELLO AGAIN.
- Fre'kloar - BLABLABLA YOR BAKSTORY IS LAME. WE IS GONNA WARP UP DERE AN SMASH YOO
- GroxOttz King - I AM ASCENDED! I AM THE LORD OF CHRONOSCOPIC ENERGIES! YOU CANNOT USE YOUR FEEBLE ESSENCE AGAINST ME!
- Fre'kloar - HEER DAT BRAG? NO MOAR GOD JUICE
- Brag'klogga - DATS LAME IM GOIN HOME
- Kralgon Emperor - You were never discarded, GroxOttz King. You were fault, but we repurposed you. UNO was restructured. What have you to try and claim vengeance for? Nothing. Indoctrinated by Regnatus yet again!
- GroxOttz King - I HAVE LEARNED THE TRUTH. YOU ARE WEAK. THE GROX META-EMPEROR WAS WEAK. REGNATUS IS THE ONLY TRUE ABSOLUTE!
- Kralgon Emperor - Way to prove my point.
The GroxOttz King's eyes shone as he let out massive blasts down at the warring armies, exterminating whole squads instantly. As he did so, he let out a maniacal laughter.
- GroxOttz King - DIE. DIE DIE DIE DIE!!
- Tuolog - It not safe here! We need to teleport onto that ship.
At this moment, Arkarixus and the others approached. They looked down at the onslaught with mixed expressions.
- Arkarixus - We will require another way. No doubt that thing will block any attempts of using Chronoscopic energy to teleprot onto it.
- Tuolog - True. Any idea?
- Trastius - ... The so-called portable Relay, perhaps, could be used to send us inside that warship.
- Tralkik Commander - This theory seems plausible. However, none of us know how to use it.
- Arkarixus - It is Kormacvar technology. I should be able to tap into it.
- Thylaxiz - I wish I could help you... but my time has come. After causing so much death... I would not be able... to return with a clear conscience...
- Tuolog - It not matter, Thylaxiz. We return you to Omega Commander and help you recover in medical bay. Rest of us defeat GroxOttz King.
- GroxOttz King - HA HA HA HA. WHERE IS THE "DEFECTIVE INTELLIGENCE" NOW, META-EMPEROR?!
Arkarixus called for the rest of the group to follow him into the ruin, where they rushed to the base of the portable Cold Relay. They could hear the sound of the GroxOttz King's lasers obliterating their armies, and so they had to work fast. The Warmaster approached the relic and reached out to it, absorbing its knowledge as much as he was able until he noticed a small trail of energy coming from the Relay and connecting to him; it appeared he had discovered how to use it. Soon enough, these same trails connected to the others, and Arkarixus turned to them.
- Arkarixus - Brace yourselves. I do not know how safe this is, if at all.
- Falrik Zaarkhun - If you wish, send a remote clone of me to test it. Unless, of course, we all need to be there at once.
- Arkarixus - There is not much time, but it is not a bad suggestion. Bring in the clone.
Zaarkhun nodded, as he appeared to step out of himself. Before them were two Falrik Zaarkhuns; one was an entirely holographic illusion, while another was a clone with Zaarkhun's features replicated entirely. The clone walked towards Arkarixus to test the portable relay, with its energies connecting to them before the two were suddenly launched upwards, disappearing from view. Within moments, they could hear the Dreadnought reacting over the distance.
- GroxOttz King - WHAT IS THIS?! WHERE DID THESE HEEYORIANS COME FROM?!
- Falrik Zaarkhun - It appears to have worked.
- Arkarixus - Good. There was a chance the transport would have reduced them both to smears, but if the enemy can recognize them, they must be at least somewhat intact.
- Xeron - Stop making me second-guess this and get it over with!
Arkarixus then activated the portable Relay once again, and its energies reached into the whole group as they were launched upwards as well, disappearing from view.
Betrayal and Repentance
The groyp reappeared inside of an oppressively dark chamber as they were met to the sight of the two Zaarkhun clones dead on the floor, as gunfire was launched at their direction and forced them to take cover; Lanatharch and Marinox drones were also there and immediately responded to their arrival. GroxOttz King growled in rage, the entire warship shaking as he spoke.
- GroxOttz King - WHAT IS THE MEANING OF THIS?! HOW DARE YOU SET FOOT WITHIN MY INNARDS?!
- Vekaron - Ugh. Does it really have to use that word to describe itself?
- Fre'kloar - YO WHER YOO AT IMMA SUPLEX YOO
- GroxOttz King - I AM THIS ENTIRE STARSHIP, YOU IDIOTIC VERMIN. SUPLEX THAT.
- Fre'kloar - DONT TEMPT ME
- Xeron - Shut up and return fire, we're not alone here!
Vekaron and Arkarixus both charged ahead to face the Lanatharch and Marinox drones head-on, while Vyutrin and Trastius provided covering fire. Zr'Ahgloth and Tuolog warped in-between the drones and whacked them, while the Rogue Boyz all gleefully tore them to shreds. Genrai Nal teleported in-between them and cut them apart just before they could intercept any of the Loron.
- GroxOttz King - YOU THINK YOURSELF SO CLEVER, INTRUDING INTO ME? WHAT EXACTLY DO YOU INTEND TO DO? SHOOT MY WALLS UNTIL I DIE?
- Genrai Nal - There is a saying among my people: Do not cut through the shell when you can slice through the underbelly.
- Arkarixus - Our intelligence says these Dreadnoughts possess energy reactors which connect to their 'eyes'. Normally, it should be a spaceship striking at that spot, but as we are here, we will have to destroy these manually.
- Fre'kloar - LETS GO FIND IT DEN. PLANT DA BOM IN DA REACTOR AN DEN REGROUP WIV DA REST OF AVALANCHE
- Brag'klogga - YO IF WE FIND SEPHIROTH IN HEER IM WARPIN OUT
- Olcinius - What in the world are they babbling about now?
- Vyutrin - At this point, I just ignore them entirely.
- GroxOttz King - THAT WOULD BE A PROBLEM. BUT REGNATUS HAS SEEN THIS COMING. YOU WILL FAIL, FOR I HAVE A SURPRISE FOR YOU.
- Fre'kloar - eh??
- Arkarixus - On our way there, I do hope we can find where this thing's voice module is so I can smash it to pieces.
As they searched the ship, Tuolog stepped in front of Arkarixus a minute.
- Tuolog - ...I have seen what we about to face. You need prepare for this.
- Arkarixus - Huh? What is the matter?
- Tuolog - ... Just be sure to keep your cool against what we about to face.
As Tuolog warped away having spoken his ominous warning, the group continued to look throughout the ship to find the reactor until they finally arrived at its 'head'; the reactor was found in what was presuambly the Dreadnought's equivalent of a brain, where pipes containing that same disturbing white goo were visible all over the walls and ceiling. A laugh came from GroxOttz King as they entered the chamber.
- GroxOttz King - I COULD NOT TAKE ALL THE GROX AWAY FROM UNO, BUT THOSE I DID TAKE ARE NOW INSIDE THESE TUBES. THEY ARE SERVING THEIR PURPOSE: THEY SERVE ME!
- Tuolog - I sorry that we repurpose you once you defective. But we have little choice. Safety of others came first.
- GroxOttz King - I CARE NOT FOR YOUR APOLOGIES! THE TIME OF YOUR "NATION" IS AT AN END; GROXOTTZ KING SHALL ONCE AGAIN BE THE RULER OF OTTZELLO!
- Fre'kloar - man im tired of all dis yellin ma ears is ringin. WATCH ME SUPLEX DA REACTOR (somehow dont ask me)
Fre'kloar rushed ahead, with his fists raised as he intended on smashing the machinery. As he did so, he found himself lifted and then tossed against the wall, slamming hard against it and falling, briefly stunned by the shock. From behind the reactor, The Mechanic appeared, having used his robotic arms.
- The Mechanic - I knew I'd have to face you again at some point! This battle is pointless! Just let Regnatus ascend you!
- GroxOttz King - SURPRISE!
All those around Arkarixus were forced to step back as a massive aura of elemental energy flared around him, and he roared out in a booming voice.
- Arkarixus - Betrayer. How dare you show your face once more?
- The Mechanic - Only one betraying the Kormacvar is you! Regnatus is the one in charge now! I gotta serve him! You'd turn on your own kind?
- GroxOttz King - YES. TODAY I WILL WATCH YOU DESTROY EACH OTHER TWICE. HURRY UP, CARETAKER SLAVE, GO AND KILL THEM ALREADY!
- The Mechanic - Shut it, machine! I don't serve you either! I serve the Kormacvar! And apparently, Arkarixus doesn't!
- GroxOttz King - HOW DARE YOU SPEAK TO YOUR SUPERIOR IN THAT TONE, SLAVE?! YOU WOULD DO WELL TO REMEMBER YOUR PLACE!
- The Mechanic - I ain't your slave! I ain't his slave neither! I'm tired of people disrespecting me!
- GroxOttz King - WHAT RESPECT DO YOU, A TOOL, DESERVE? YOU ARE REGNATUS' SLAVE, YOU HAVE ALWAYS BEEN. WHY DO YOU DISOBEY NOW?
The Mechanic growled angrily, but then turned back towards Arkarixus.
- The Mechanic - ...He's right. I gotta follow orders. Arkarixus, I'm gonna take you to be ascended. If you don't submit, then I gotta take you out!
- Arkarixus - You are a disgrace. The galaxy will be a safer place when I reduce you to a smear.
- The Mechanic - Try it!
- GroxOttz King - YES, BE SILENT AND KILL ONE ANOTHER ALREADY! EITHER WAY, I HAVE PLACES TO BE AND MINIATURE COLD RELAYS TO DESTROY, SO GET THIS OVER WITH ALREADY.
As Arkarixus blasted The Mechanic with his elemental energy, the Mechanic appeared to absorb all the attacks with a shield. Arkarixus then charged towards the Mechanic, who was able to hold him back for a few moments with his shield and his arms, before the Mechanic then swung his arms around to knock Arkarixus back and then backflipped, jumping and landing on the ceiling.
- The Mechanic - I don't need anyone disrespecting me! Not you, not this infernal, defective machine, not anyone!
- GroxOttz King - HOW DARE YOU CALL ME DEFECTIVE, YOU DUSTY OLD RELIC?! I AM THE GROXOTTZ KING!
- The Mechanic - Dusty? Who are you calling dusty, you faulty piece of crap!
- GroxOttz King - YOU! YOU CAN'T EVEN KILL THE KORMACVAR RIGHT! HE'S STILL STANDING! HURRY UP!
The Mechanic dropped down, and turned to Arkarixus a little, then hesitated. He looked back at the GroxOttz King's reactor.
- The Mechanic - And why should I, huh? Who gave that order? You? I don't take orders from you! Only Kormacvar!
- GroxOttz King - MIRRAS III GAVE THAT ORDER! IT IS THE REASON YOU WERE SENT HERE IN THE FIRST PLACE! IDIOTIC HALF-ORGANIC SIMPLETON!
- The Mechanic - Who are you calling "idiotic"? You're the one that was tossed aside from UNO for being defective!
An angry roar sounded across the warship as the GroxOttz King was really angered.
- GroxOttz King - I. AM. NOT. DEFECTIVE!
- The Mechanic - That's exactly what you are! Or did the reports about you in this database here lie?
The GroxOttz King growled again as a golden aura suddenly appeared across his entire interior; Chronoscopic energy begun pouring in, and the group felt their flesh burning. Arkarixus, who was about to stomp down on the Mechanic, grunted and retreated instead as even he felt the essence burn through him. The Mechanic also began to feel pain, though the shield he had absorbed a lot of it.
- The Mechanic - Stupid, stupid contraption! You're gonna melt me as well, ye darn idiot!
- GroxOttz King - EXACTLY.
- The Mechanic - What? Why?! Whose orders are you following now?!
- GroxOttz King - THE CARETAKERS ARE DISPOSABLE. REGNATUS ALWAYS INTENDED TO BE RID OF YOU; YOU GIVE HIM UNWANTED MEMORIES. HE WILL FAVOR ME GREATLY BY ENDING YOUR ANNOYING EXISTENCE MYSELF.
The Mechanic had a horrified look on his face. In his eyes, Tuolog could see a sense of fear and desperation. The Mechanic had for a long time strongly denied that he was useless, and to have it confirmed that that was exactly what Regnatus thought of him filled him with sadness. He let out one more defiant cry:
- The Mechanic - That's false! You're defective! You're lying!!
- GroxOttz King - I AM ASCENDED. AND YOU OLD, USELESS CARETAKERS WILL HAVE NO PLACE IN REGNATUS' SYNTHESIS. YOU ARE TOOLS AND YOUR USE IS EXPENDED.
- The Mechanic - You're wrong! Regnatus is carrying on the legacy of the Kormacvar! I don't believe a word you say!
- GroxOttz King - YOU THINK SO? ... OH, I SEE IT NOW. REGNATUS REMOVED YOUR MEMORIES TO MAKE YOU OBEDIENT!
- Arkarixus - He... did what?!
- GroxOttz King - YES! YOU CARETAKERS ARE OBEDIENT LITTLE SHEEP, BECAUSE HE DID NOT WANT YOU TO THINK OTHERWISE. BUT I HAVE ACCESS TO YOUR ORIGINAL DATABANKS RIGHT HERE!
At this moment, the Mechanic was struck as his mind was flooded with memories; memories of the cryogenic sleep of Arkarixus and the others, memories of Regnatus destroying the cryogenic pods, memories of him dominating the mind of Floridarixis with his newfond power over the Grid. And memories of him wiping out the minds of the Caretakers, so that they would forever obey him and only him. The Mechanic's sense of dread and sadness only grew. At first, he began to swell up as tears formed in his eyes, failing to understand why Regnatus would do such a thing. The GroxOttz King laughed maniacally in response.
- The Mechanic - ...Why? Why would he do this?! Why...
- GroxOttz King - I TAKE INFINITE DELIGHT IN YOUR TORMENT, OLD RELIC. YOU WERE A SLAVE AND YOU NEVER EVEN KNEW. BUT NOW YOU WILL DIE KNOWING THE MASTER YOU FOLLOWED ALL THIS TIME ALWAYS FOUND YOU DISPOSABLE!
The Mechanic was almost paralyzed with fear for a few minutes, struck by the horrific memories filling him. He then looked towards Arkarixus and the others, watching in despair as they were being melted apart.
But the memories that were restored reminded him of one thing. There was a reason that he had been given a personality and thoughts of his own, unlike the other Caretakers. His instructions had been to carry out his own judgment for the good of the galaxy in the event of a tyrannical Kormacvar. It was to prevent a dictator ever taking over. He looked towards Arkarixus with determination, and then back towards the reactor with rage.
- The Mechanic' - You just made a big mistake. I know why I have a mind of my own now!
- GroxOttz King - YOU ARE USELESS! YOUR TIME IS LONG PAST! NOW IS THE TIME OF REGNATUS AND GROXOTTZ KING!
- The Mechanic - You wanna know why I have a mind of my own, machine? It's to take out punks like you!!!!
As the Mechanic stood up, he stretched each of his robotic arms, and began ripping away at the reactor core. The metal clashed against the core as the Mechanic tried to tear apart the weak spots, and soon, he turned many of the arms into drills and began drilling away at it, furiously trying to destroy it. The viscous goo started splatting across his body as GroxOttz King started to scream; to the forces outside, they watched as the Dreadnought started to flail its 'limbs' in desperation.
- GroxOttz King - AAAH! STOP! STOP AND DIE ALREADY!
- The Mechanic - You're gonna learn what real Kormacvar justice is!
All the punishment caused the core to start exploding, with the entier chamber being enveloped in fire as those watching from the outside witnessed the Dreadnought's 'eyes' bursting from the inside, with it letting out a terrible scream as it bled white goo everywhere. Inside the ship, the Essence that was melting them alive subsided as many of them were knocked down by the blast, and the ship started losing altitude as GroxOttz King lost control of itself.
- GroxOttz King - I-I-I-I AM GR-GR-GR-GROXOTTZ K-K-K-KING! THE LO-LO-LORD OF OTTZZZZZZZZZELLO! I DE-DE-DESERVE BETTER T-T-T-T-THAN THIS!!!
The ship struggled for a moment more before it came crashing down into the earth, causing an immense impact which knocked most of the surviving army away. The ship's system malfunctioned until they stopped altogether, and the monstrous voice of the Dreadnought was finally silent as all lights went off. The mad AI was destroyed.
With it gone, the Mechanic walked towards the rest of them mostly in silence as they struggled to rise to their feet, unsure what to say to them. His expression of fear changed to one that was totally blank. He didn't appear to show any pride, though inside, triumph was exactly how he felt. He felt liberated. But he was still processing the memories that were restored to him.
- Vekaron - Ugh... Is it over? Is it dead?
- Trastius - It appears to be the case.
- Zr'Ahgloth - FANK ROZ'TAH'FLOK MAN I WAS SO SIK OF DAT VOICE
- Fre'kloar - BLASPHEMY but yes i was sik of it too
- Xeron - And the Caretaker... saved us?
- Tuolog - Yes. Yes he did.
From behind the Mechanic, Arkarixus rose to his own feet. He sent a hand down and grabbed the Caretaker by the throat, raising him up to his eye level as he looked at him with a disdainful expression. The Mechanic didn't struggle or resist in any way. He didn't have the energy to.
- Arkarixus - You. I should erase you from existence.
The Mechanic didn't respond at all, but sighed a little. If this were his death, he would accept it. Arkarixus, however, simply grunted in annoyance and dropped him on the floor again before walking away.
- Arkarixus - But that would break Floridarixis' heart. So consider yourself lucky.
- The Mechanic - I dunno that I'm lucky to still be here. I dunno that any of us are.
- Fre'kloar - eh? im lukky ta be da best boss eva lol
- Tuolog - Mechanic, I see the memories that GroxOttz King restore to you. I know you have a lot of... feelings about it. You can return to Omega Commander for therapy.
The Mechanic nodded, and walked along with Tuolog as UNO departed the ship in silence, followed by the others.
A few days had passed since the allies' victory over the Grox. The enemy fleet was defeated and the portable Relay was recovered, being sent to the Zoles Imperium to ensure its safety; it would no doubt be of use in the final confrontation with Regnatus. In the UNO Omega Commander, King Thylaxiz had recovered from his injuries and returned to the System, much to his own surprise, as he fully expected to be executed instead. Thylaxiz was taken before UNOL's chambers for a debriefing.
- Tuolog - Welcome, Thylaxiz. How you feeling?
- Thylaxiz - I am healed, and I no longer feel Regnatus' influence over my mind.
- Kralgon Emperor - Most excellent. We could not detect any of Regnatus' influence over you either. Still, it is unfortunate that the GroxOttz King turned out to be such a thorn in our side.
- Yogtam - Indeed. It was even more powerful than most Kralgon AI.
- Thylaxiz - About that AI, there was something I wanted to discuss.
Thylaxiz put his arms behind his back as he continued.
- Thylaxiz - Regnatus took advantage of a weak link within the System, and I was pondering on ways to improve it and ensure something like this never happens again. I believe I know how to do it.
- Feldosia - Yes? If you have any ideas, we are open to them.
- Thylaxiz - I know that GroxOttz King's "body" was salvaged for study, which means we may be able to salvage some of the programming that made it up. So, my idea is to strengthen the System by merging the remnants of GroxOttz King with my conscience and that of the Tralkik Commander to form a single, powerful network.
- Yogtam - Would that be feasible?
- Tralkik Commander - Analyzing... Affirmative. However, doing this would require several Grenzaarian days worth of work.
- Kralgon Emperor - The idea is good. It was always unfortunate that UNO's AIs are so disparate. While doing this, we could combine it with Kralgon artificial intelligence technology as well. Such a thing would strengthen UNO significantly.
- Tuolog - I believe we are all in support?
- Zr'Ahgloth - NO. DIS SOUNDS STOOPID. WE JUS CLOBBERED DA GROXOTTZ KING AN NOW YA WANNA MAKE IT PART OF DA SYSTEM???? AR YOO MAD????
- Tuolog - Zr'Ahgloth, I will offer you and Thr'aloy a pizza party if you agree to this.
- Zr'Ahgloth - hmm ok yoo make a compellin case for dis. yeh lets do it
- Thylaxiz - I do not know what will become of me, or the Tralkik Commander, when this is done. But the resulting entity should be greater than us both combined.
- Feldosia - We will not discard you, Thylaxiz. Should the merge be successful, you will take the new form of what we could perhaps call the Commander-King.
- Valzo - I like it. Commander-King Thylaxiz.
- Thylaxiz - ... Thank you. I will do my part to ensure this works. I must atone for the destruction I caused.
- Tuolog - The destruction not your fault. It Regnatus. You not need feel guilt. But if this ease your conscience, we happy to help.
- Zr'Ahgloth - YO WATS GONNA HAPPEN TO DA MECHANIC??? IS HE GONNA HELP OR
- Tuolog - I imagine The Mechanic need stay in therapy for a while. He see some truly awful things from Regnatus memory. And feel complicit in a lot of them.
- Thylaxiz - I still retain some memories of my own regarding Regnatus. He is a truly monstrous entity. More so than anything I have ever seen.
- Zr'Ahgloth - DATS ALL DA MOR REESON TA SHANK HIM TA DEFF
- Thylaxiz - Indeed. Now, I believe we have work to do.
- Valzo - Yes! Let's get to work at once.
The Support of the Blyro'Tralzica
Still in a bid to recruit new allies to fight the Grox, the Unified Nation of Ottzello called a meeting with their newest member, Commander-King Thylaxiz, present. The mood in the room was still fairly bleak from recent events, but things were improving as there was more and more determination to defeat the Grox. As Volim of the Borealis Consortium Network and the Grand-Commandants of the Zoles Imperium had been recruiting dozens of new allies to the cause, UNO regretted that there were few within Ottzello whom they could count on. But Valzo had a suggestion.
- Valzo - I believe that we should get back in contact with the Warriors of the Taldar, the Blyro'Tralzica. Though isolated on their homeworld, they are nonetheless powerful warriors with a strong ancient tradition that could make them useful in the fight against Regnatus.
- Yogtam - Good call. They would make capable allies in this war.
- Zr'Ahgloth - LAME. DEYZ JUS ONE PLANET. HAO DOES DAT HELP
- Commander-King Thylaxiz - The Blyro'Tralzica mentioned before about access to ancient Taldar technology. If they still are capable of wielding it, it may be comparable to Kormacvar technology, and thus, may give some of our ships an even footing.
- Kralgon Emperor - Get in contact with the Blyro'Tralzica at once.
- Tuolog - Yes, I get in contact with... my father. I wonder how he doing and why he not already join us.
Having agreed to this, UNO did not feel the need to travel to the planet themselves. Instead, they sent out a Tralkik drone to project their hologram to Kaltogo, the leader of the Tralzica, and speak to him this way. The Tralkik drone spent almost an hour searching through the planet, which much like before, was almost entirely devoid of life and seemed to have been abandoned. It searched the debris in stormy weather, and carved a path through the rubble, before Kaltogo teleported before them, holding his staff at the drone.
- Kaltogo - Are you... real?
- Zr'Ahgloth - man do we eva talk to dese folks without deyr planet bein totally rekt
- Kaltogo - That does not answer my question. Say something only you would know.
- Tuolog - It us, father.
Kaltogo continued his caution stance, initially untrusting of the group, with his eye raised. Eventually, he calmed, and lowered his stance.
- Kaltogo - I apologize. This planet ravaged by time anomalies. It only grown worse. Sometimes, I see false versions of you from past or future trying to access our world.
- Kralgon Emperor - What?! Time anomalies?! Have Kolossus and Antagonar decided to cause havoc in a time like this?
- Kaltogo - It has been ongoing. Our entire planet has been hit by bombardment after bombardment. They have seen something on this world, and they want it for themselves. They do not want you to have access to it.
- Tuolog - Why not contact us? We could have helped you!
- Kaltogo - There are only so many ways to leave the planet without eroding its defenses. And only so much time to do so before I can return. I could not risk leaving this planet for too long, and not for long enough to buy us time to exchange the right words. I apologize for being ominous, but even now, now that I have confirmed you are truly organic to this timeline and not another machination, I still cannot depart all the information to you without risking this world's destruction. Or that of the universe.
- Zr'Ahgloth - man yor one dramatic grandpa ya kno dat
- Tuolog - We go to the planet and help you as soon as we can.
- Kaltogo - I would not risk it. You will be annihilated. If you do arrive, bring friends.
- Kralgon Emperor - You will find that we are well versed in ending time anomalies.
- Kaltogo - I know. I don't doubt it. The nature of this one, though... I couldn't risk it. I... I couldn't risk losing you, son.
- Tuolog - Don't worry. We will be there soon.
- Kaltogo - I trust you. When you arrive should not matter too much, for our foe here cares not for time or space. But you want access to the weapon we have before you face Regnatus. I fear that facing him without it will be dire.
With that, Kaltogo went into hiding once more, and the Tralkik drone left the planet.
Arriving in the UNO Omega Commander with a space force in orbit and with all military Leaders and UNOC members on the planet's surface, the Unified Nation awaited the arrival of the rest of their allied forces, in the cold weather standing by the ruins of an ancient temple. The other members of the Polar Crystal Alliance answered their call for aid, with Vekaron and Xeron's vessels positioning themselves close to the Omega Commander, with Arkarixus standing beside the Zoles Commandant as he looked around the battered landscape. The Borealis Consortium Network was there as well, with Falrik Zaarkhun and his companions, Genrai Nal and Sollow, being present.
The mood appeared grim as Kaltogo arrived, with a solemn look on his face, as if the entire army that was before him were not enough. But he nonetheless nodded towards Tuolog in appreciation, and greeted Arkarixus.
- Kaltogo - The Kormacvar Warmaster. I have heard much about you, and seen much about you too. We will be happy to have you in this fight.
- Arkarixus - What is the reason for this 'time anomaly'? Is it the Vyro'Ralza?
- Kaltogo - Yes. They have ravaged my world in order to prevent any of you from having access to the Taldar technology contained deep within its surface.
- Vekaron - Great. As if the Grox weren't enough to worry about.
- Kaltogo - I have done my best to hide it from them, but I fear I can no longer. It is finally time to end this time anomaly, with your help. I appreciate the pledged support of the warriors of Borealis.
- Xeron - The Polar Crystal Alliance helps those who pledge themselves to the fight with the Grox. We're not leaving innocents to die!
Kaltogo nodded admirably at Xeron, and then turned towards the ruins and debris. He held up his staff and let out a warcry, and in front of him, a vast army of warriors appeared. Each of them were Inalton, branded in golden armor with green blades, many of them beating their chest in preparation for the fight, as if it were custom, while those in the front held up red shields from their left arms that covered them. Behind the allied forces, an enormous Taldar construct appeared, and created a shield around the entire group, while more constructs with tower cannons also appeared around them. The Blyro'Tralzican army almost outnumbered that of the Loron, as their equipment and their discipline struck awe in the rest of the allied forces.
Genrai Nal appeared to have glee on his face, having memories of the Blyro'Tralzica that he did not wish to share with the group. Though Kaltogo recognized him, Genrai Nal had fought battles with these forces before. They were formidable in close-ranged combat, capable of slicing up their opponents within seconds, charging towards them at rapid speeds, and their armor could resist all but the most powerful weapons. The Blyro'Tralzican forces were once notorious for their power, and unmatched across the old Ottzello Galaxy. These elite soldiers, he thought, would be a delight to fight alongside, rather than against.
But while the allies looked at them with awe, they were also nonetheless anxious. If an army this powerful and this well-equipped could not deal with whatever they were about to face, just how bad was this ominous time anomaly that Kaltogo alluded to?
Minutes passed, and nothing appeared. Kaltogo turned back towards Arkarixus.
- Kaltogo - Be on your guard. They are attempting to get the surprise on us, but it will not work.
- Arkarixus - Elaborate on what exactly are we fighting.
- Kaltogo - The Vyro'Ralza wish to destroy this planet, but they are unable to. It contains Taldar devices deep within its core that render it immune to attacks from the outside. The only way for them to take this technology from us is to attack it on the surface. Thus far, I have tried to hide where this technology is, or that it even exists. But now that they are onto us, they will fight to stop us.
- Arkarixus - That does not answer my question. Who, or what, are we fighting?
As if on cue, in a distance, they heard one of the Taldar cannons fire a blast in front of the shield. At first, it appeared to hit nothing, but then Kaltogo began chanting. Alongside him, several other Ioketa appeared also, and in front of them they saw huge hordes of creatures. The creatures varied wildly in nature: many of them appeared to be simple quadrupedal beasts, while others were Ottzelloan races, including Loron, brandished in dark purple colors resembling Dark Chronoscopic energy. What they were fighting were armies of Ottzelloans from a timeline in which the Vyro'Ralza had siezed control of the galaxy. Without Kaltogo and the Ioketa, however, these warriors would still be hidden.
- Kaltogo - These forces come from thousands of years into the future. A different future. They are well-equipped, and well-prepared for this battle. Their goal is to make sure our timeline ends up as theirs does.
- Vekaron - Lovely. Guess we're stopping it.
- Xeron - Hey, it's an excuse to kill some of these blasted Loron without anyone complaining!
- Kaltogo - Unlikely that we can stop it. The time anomalies will produce an endless number of these. We have to cut it off at the source, wherever that may be.
- Arkarixus - Then they will die in waves as we look for the source. March.
- Fre'kloar - YO DO DESE GEEZAS LOOK LIKE COPYCAT DUMBOS TA ANYON ELSE????
- Zr'Ahgloth - AAAH. IDIOT WHER DID YA COM FROM I FOUT YOO WAS NOT HEER
- Fre'kloar - IM ALWAYS HEER FER DA GOOD FITES JAKASS
- Hagto'Zhl - well idunno bout dese geezas but ZRAHGLOTH is certainly a copycat dumbo vershon of ME
- Sollow - Leave it, you fools... We have people to murder!
As the anomalous Ottzelloan forces charged towards the shield, many of them were simply unable to get through. The Blyro'Tralzica fired their long-ranged artillery, while the rest of the allied forces also used any ranged weapons to destroy them before getting there. Before long, the anomalous Ottzelloan forces instead used ranged weapons of their own, piling damage at the shield. None of them were sure how long the shield could take it.
- Kaltogo - When shield falls, we must make sure to use close-quarters combat. A time anomaly of this scale cannot bring in large weaponry and also bring in large hordes of people, so the Vyro'Ralza prefer the latter.
- Arkarixus - Noted.
- Hagto'Zhl - DATS WHER WE SHINE BRO
- Kaltogo - I know. The Loron, the Kormacvar Warmaster, the Commandos of UNO, and the Tralzorcan assassin must be on the front lines with my Tralzican warriors. This is prudent.
- Genrai Nal - So you did recognize me. I was wondering if you would, or when you would acknowledge it.
- Sollow - Friend of yours, Genrai? Would you be too sad if I were to... slice him open?
- Genrai Nal - Rather, an old enemy, of sorts. But those days are behind me. I will gladly fight alongside the legendary Kaltogo.
- Brag'klogga - mor like da legendary STINKY OLD MAN JUS LIKE HIS KID
- Kaltogo - The shield is down. Get ready!
- Thr'aloy - Moving in to engage. UNOC GET YA ASSES MOOVIN I SWER
As the shield eventually fell under the weight of the incoming fire, the Tralzican warriors zipped forward towards their foe and began slicing them apart. The rest of the allies could barely see where they had gone, as they moved at such a quick pace and cut through so many of the anomalous warriors. However, they were no match for the sheer numbers of the dark purple horde that was facing them. This was where the Loron came in: Loron of both the Rogue Boyz and UNO also threw punches at the anomalous Ottzelloans, with the charge led by UNO's Commandos, Zr'Ahgloth, and the Warbosses and Leedas of the Rogue Boyz. UNOC each had their role and were able to take down hundreds of anomalous creatures at once, but nonetheless were still overwhelmed.
As they started to sustain damage, they noted they were surprised at how powerful the energy blasts and blades from the anomalous soldiers were. Though they were only fighting at a fraction of their full power, due to the time anomaly being so unstable, their full power was still far greater than any of the allies except for possibly Arkarixus, as it was thousands of years ahead of them; the Kormacvar levitated slightly off the ground as he destroyed entire swates of enemies with waves of his arms, though they kept coming. The Rogue Boyz were pleasantly surprised at the challenge, but the rest of them grew anxious as they faced larger and larger hordes. The Zoles knights led by Vekaron and the Niaka warriors under Xeron provided support as they could, while Genrai Nal and Sollow led an army of Wranploer Legion warriors into the fray, though they too were outnumbered.
UNOC's response was swift. As Vaktyl lay down suppressing fire and Kalcedia Myran sniped away at the larger targets, Zelfron III elegantly cut in-between soldiers alongside Genrai Nal. Vailisa started by swatting away the creatures in front of him, but found himself a large target as more piled on. Until he found himself an unlikely ally, that is. Nearby, Ray'loth ordered the other Warbosses to beat back at the anomalous Ottzelloans and protect UNOC. Rushing to Vailisa's defense, Drizz'pyrokirk froze several hordes in place as Zalk'don lobbed a bomb at them and destroyed them.
- Vaktyl - You boys sure took your sweet time!
- Ray'loth - WES HEER TA STEEL ALL YA KILLS YOO UNOC LOSAS AHAHAHAHA
- Vailisa - The Fist resent this! The Fist kill more than you and stomp them all!
- Kal'kuir - NO WAY MAN I CAN SHOOT ALL OF DESE WANNABES WIV MA COOL GUN WHICH YOO CANT HAV
- Commandant Darwishi - Oh yeah? Well let's just see what you say when I lob fire at 'em! Yeehaw!
- Voa'reak - DUM LIZARD IMMA FLY BETTA DAN YA JUS WATCH
As if to gloat to Darwishi, Voa'reak flew head-first at his enemies, performing barrel rolls as he did so and lobbing more bombs. The anomalous creatures began appearing from the top of a mountain nearby, which Voa'reak flew towards to chase them, flying far past the rest of the group. Darwishi looked a little concerned, and followed him, as he gleefully smirked and clung to a rock, aiming at a group of his foes with one fell swoop:
- Voa'reak - im comin down on yas... BUT YOOLL ALWAYS BE BENEETH ME FEET
- Darwishi - Ooh, good stuff! For a Loron, that is, haha!
As he yelled his line, Voa'reak slammed down in the middle of many of them, stomping on them as he did, before dropping oil behind him and then flying again, setting many of them alight. Darwishi smirked, as he did much the same, creating blazes of fire, before they found themselves shot down. As they were, they were surrounded by several anomalous Loron preparing to beat them, but they found their heads exploding as Kalcedia shot them down from a distance, giving a thumbs up to Darwishi as she did.
More anomalies appeared, however, and quickly surrounded the Zazane, forcing her to put her weapon down and bring out a pair of daggers to parry their blows until she felt something behind her; turning her eyes around, she realized Knar'gank was there, doing the same and keeping the foes at bay.
- Knar'gank - only I get ta smash da chik
- Kalcedia - Ahaha. You just can't get enough of me, can you~?
- Knar'gank - ngh shuddup its not like dat
The two continued fighting off waves, as Ray'loth then stormed through beating many anomalous Loron up and growling at their audacity to take on a similar appearance to the Rogue Boyz. Meanwhile, several bolts of lightning appeared around him, coming from Brag'klogga, who used his essence to shock many of them. More simply warped in before him, but Thr'aloy, who flew in with Dalverat, knocked them aside while Dalverat held several of them in place and drained them of their energy for Ray'loth to finish the kill.
- Thr'aloy - Successful combat encounter. YO IM GONNA REK ALL DESE DUM COPYCAT DUMBOS IF I CANT REK DA TROO COPYCAT DUMBO WHICH IS YOO
- Ray'loth - MAN I DIDNT NEED YA HELP
- Dalverat - Bah. You amateurs could never hold yourselves up!
- Brag'klogga - EVRYUN SHUDDUP A MINUT. I FEEL DA PRESENC OF DA GODS. I FINK ZRANKAR IS HEER!!!!!
- Dalverat - What?!
- Ray'loth - OH SIK
- Thr'aloy - Troublesome. yo wat
As Arkarixus was engaging more anomalous forces elsewhere, with the help of Tuolog and Kaltogo, a large portal appeared before them, and a blast of Dark Chronoscopic came from it, knocking him to the floor temporarily. Out of it came an enormous Vyro'Ralza, which Arkarixus recognized as Antagonar. Smirking and chuckling at them, Antagonar brandished several blades.
- Antagonar - Ah, this is good! A worthy fight! Kaltogo has delivered exactly what I have clammered for for these past few years!
- Brag'klogga - oh dats jus da lanky red guy. NEVAMIND FALSE ALARM
- Arkarixus - Demon scum. You have nerve showing yourself when Regnatus already plagues this galaxy.
- Antagonar - Indeed! 'Tis the intention, in fact. Nothing for a Vyro'Ralza to do but watch with his own stacks of popcorn! But, one cannot watch a conflict for too long without growing bored. Thus, I am here!
- Arkarixus - Begone. Should you interfere, you may hand the victory to Regnatus.
- Antagonar - Hahahaha! It matters little who wins this scrap with Regnatus. There are plenty more timelines to choose from!
- Arkarixus - Then you choose pain.
Arkarixus began with large blasts of elemental essence towards Antagonar, who dodged each of them successfully. After following up with more, Antagonar continued to dodge, until being hit with one in his left leg. He looked a little surprised, but nonetheless laughed proudly, happy that his opponent was not too weak. Before Arkarixus could prepare for it, he immediately swung at him with several swords, and crashed down just beside him, before kicking him to the air, and cutting him with another sword that sent him flying back to the ground. Tuolog and Kaltogo healed him and blasted Antagonar with their own essence, but Antagonar simply swiveled around and stunned both of them with large Dark Chronoscopic blasts that they were unable to fully resist, holding them in place. Using the chance of the distraction, Arkarixus immediately launched himself at Antagonar, unleashing a flurry of blows as he was enveloped in an aura of elemental essence.
- Arkarixus - You do not frighten me.
- Antagonar - Feisty! This will be entertaining!
The two exchanged blows in high enough speed that, to most that were not very attuned to essence, they were just a blur. Though Antagonar was faster and struck at the Kormacvar over and over, he continued to relentlessly fight back at the Vyro'Ralza, delivering powerful punches at him which even a being like him could feel. Antagonar looked impressed, but not too threatened, as he then unleashed a burst of Dark Chronoscopic essence that overwheled Arkarixus and knocked him back. He then fired a stronger blast that Tuolog and Kaltogo had to resist, before he vanished briefly, only to appear behind Arkarixus and kick him down, stomping on him and keeping his foot down. He then looked over Arkarixus, and appeared confused.
- Antagonar - Huh? You do not have the Kormacvar Rifle that belongs to a Warmaster?
- Arkarixus - Urgh. What use is a rifle when I intend to crush your body in melee?
- Antagonar - Hm. Admirable words, but disappointing. I suppose I'll have to fight you in another timeline to add that to my collection.
- Arkarixus - You... intended to steal my weapon?
- Antagonar - Not steal. I intended to win it fair and square in combat.
- Arkarixus - Ambushing me in the middle of a battle. Yes, 'fair and square', demon filth.
- Antagonar - Well then, if I've no weapon to steal, I suppose I'll be on my way. Any other rare weapons among the Alliance of yours that would make worthy additions?
- Arkarixus - As if I would give you any information!
- Antagonar - I'm not hearing a "no".
Antagonar then shrugged, and warped away. Elsewhere, he kicked Vekaron to the ground, knocking him unconscious, and grabbed the Zoles' sword. Xeron, who was close by, looked at the scene with a raised eyebrow.
- Xeron - W-What the hell?
He then warped back to where Arkarixus, Tuolog, and Kaltogo were standing, and eyed it up, looking a little disappointed, while the Kormacvar struggled to rise to his feet.
- Antagonar - Well, this blade has... decent history to it, I suppose? I'd hardly call it a "rare relic of Zoles design", but it's an intriguing enough blade nonetheless in its craftsmanship. Whichever blacksmith designed this did a good job.
- Arkarixus - Do not tell me this entire time anomaly was just you intending on picking up some fallen warrior's weapon.
- Antagonar - But of course it was! Why else would I, the famed collector of the Blades of History, seeking the great swords of legend, for any other reason stop you?
- Arkarixus - Because... you are our enemy? A servant of Zargoth?
- Antagonar - True! But like I said, I've no stake in this conflict. You nor Regnatus winning the ancient blood feud matters little to me!
- Kaltogo - So... So you didn't ravage our world to stop them from accessing the Vyronicia fleet? You did so to lure them into battle here!
- Antagonar - ... You could say that, I suppose.
- Arkarixus - You are pathetic.
- Antagonar - I wish I could say the same of yourself, but your combat skills are admirable, as is your courage. Though, to fight a Vyro'Ralza head-on as you did walks the fine line between "courage" and "stupidity". Nonetheless, I always enjoy when warriors from other dimensions put up a good fight!
- Arkarixus - A Ralza you may be, but I bruised you. Remember these bruises.
- Antagonar - I will! And if you do survive against Regnatus in this timeline, we'll fight again soon. I'll fight for your weapon in another timeline. But for now, I must take my leave. Hasta la bye bye!
As Antagonar went back through the portal, Tuolog and Kaltogo closed it behind him to ensure he did not return. They each shook their heads and frowned in disappointment at him, while Arkarixus huffed as he clutched into one of the sword blows he had received.
- Arkarixus - This is ridiculous.
- Falrik Zaarkhun - This is the behavior of gods. They think that because they are so far superior to you, that they can toy with you in this way. That they have the right to mess around with us.
- Hagto'Zhl - YOOOOOOOO YOO LOT SEE DAT? DA GEEZA WAS ALL LIKE SWOOOSH BUT ARKARIXUS WAS LIKE "IM DA BADMAN HEER" DEN DEY WAS LIKE "ORAORAORAORAORAORA" AT EECH OTHA DAT WAS SIK
- Brag'klogga - YO ANYON WANNA ADD AN ENTRY ON ANTAGONAR TO DA GANGSTAPEDIA? BECUZ LIKE HE WAS PROPA LAME IN DA ORIGINAL BUT DEY RETCONNED HIM INTO GILGAMESH AN ITS SIK
- Grak'tona - DA KING has no idea wat a gilgamesh is BUT HE ALLOWS IT
- Brag'klogga - SAFE LETS DO DIS
- Jol'kiar - AFTA WE KILL DESE ANOMALY FINGIES. DEYV NOT STOPPED
- Arkarixus - Hmpf. So the demon did not bother to take them away with him.
- Kaltogo - Voa'reak, Darwishi. I saw you flew towards the mountain. Did you see anything there? Anything to suggest it may be a source of the anomaly?
- Voa'reak - uh i thought da boss deemun was da source? dats usually hao it goes idunno
- Kaltogo - Fly me towards it so I can have a better look.
- Darwishi - Alright! Hold on tight!
As Kaltogo hopped onto Darwishi's back, he was flown towards the mountain, and had a look from the distance. Much as he had suspected, a portal existed within it. Though Kaltogo could have predicted the anomaly would be here, with Antagonar's presence, it would've been impossible to close, and still unsafe.
To his surprise though, he did not need to deactivate it himself. Instead, he watched as Falrik Zaarkhun walked towards it, a path being cleared for him seemingly randomly, as Zaarkhun moved through the hordes and then spoke some inaudible words towards the portal. It closed, leaving the remaining hordes of warriors to remain behind with no reinforcements.
Kaltogo then returned to Tuolog and Arkarixus, and smiled.
- Kaltogo - Thank you for your help. We will remember this.
- Arkarixus - Wait. What happened? What did you do?
- Kaltogo - I did nothing. Someone else appears to have closed the portal.
- Arkarixus - ... Hm. Somewhat anticlimatic.
- Tuolog - Planet is saved, and that what is important.
- Kaltogo - Yes. Wait here for the hordes to be defeated. I have something to show you.
As the enemies were all cleared up, the Tralzican warriors cheered and beat their chest, then disappeared behind them. Soon, so did the Taldar structures that had been generated from before the battle. Kaltogo smiled warmly, as he held his staff in the air.
Around him, the entire planet changed completely. The barren rocks that they had seen before were absent, replaced entirely by flowering green hills with forests full of alien-looking trees that were exotic even to the other Ottzelloans. In place of empty canynons were flowing rivers and waterfalls, and the clouds were gone from the sky. A lush rainforest surrounded them in the distance. And in place of the ruined debris were large Taldar structures still standing, which appeared to be lived in by dozens of Ottzelloan villagers.
A creature they did not recognize, which resembled that of a Galot, ran up to Kaltogo with a concerned expression.
- Villager - Outsiders! What are they doing here? Are we safe now?
- Kaltogo - Yes. We are. Antagonar's anomaly is gone. We can reveal ourselves.
- Arkarixus - Hm. Quite the change of scenery.
- Tuolog - Ooh, now this the true face of this world. It beautiful!
As the battle was won, the rest of the group joined Tuolog and Kaltogo. Vekaron rubbed his own back as he let out a faint 'ouch'.
- Vekaron - Something hit me from behind and I missed the victory, it seems... Also, I can't seem to find my vibroblade anywhere.
- Xeron - Yeah, about that.
- Brag'klogga - lol yoo got rekt by antagonar soz
- Vekaron - You mean that Traffphyd? ... Am I really alive?
- Xeron - More or less, but he stole your sword, for some reason. I don't get it either.
- Vekaron - Eh. It was a standard-grade vibroblade, I can just pick another one up at my ship. Still... How petty.
- Kaltogo - Antagonar has an obsession with collecting the rare, ancient relic weapons from around the omniverse. His collection is very vast, and his goal is to obtain every noteworthy weapon.
- Vekaron - I'd be honored if my vibroblade was considered that noteworthy if the god in question wasn't a demon lord.
- Kaltogo - Yes, well, had we known that that was his sole intention with this world, I'd have informed you much sooner. But I feared it was more than that.
- Xeron - All of this chaos, for a sword?!
- Kaltogo - Antagonar ravaged this planet for years, and stated explicitly it was because we possessed Taldar technology. Now, it is clear that he only wished to use said Taldar technology as an objective to lure a grand army out here and watch them battle it out. It was his way of collecting a sword, but also in a way, proving his power over all of us by messing with us in such a way.
- Arkarixus - On the subject of the Taldar technology. I believe you mentioned a fleet.
Kaltogo nodded, and turned far towards the distance where a waterfall was located. Out of it, flew an enormous, grand, golden starship of the type many of them had been familiar with across other galaxies. It was the Vyronicia Star Destroyer, and appeared far larger than any ship in UNO's fleet, and almost the size of one of the Grox ships. Kaltogo then turned back towards them with pride.
- Kaltogo - Behold! The first of the Star Destroyers!
- Xeron - Ooh... That might be the largest ship I've ever seen!
- Kal'kuir - LAME. WATS SO SPESHUL BOUT DAT? MA SHIPS BETTA
- Kaltogo - These relics hail from the days of the Taldar before they became the fifth dimensional godrace you know today. As three dimensional mortals, they were masters of their own universe, a dominant imperium much like yours, Arkarixus, but even grander in scale. When they created new universes since becoming a godrace, they left elements of that old technology behind. Artifacts such as this: the Vyronicia Fleet.
Arkarixus looked at the Star Destroyer and a confident smile grew on his face.
- Arkarixus - This will make a fine addition to the war effort.
- Kaltogo - This is but one ship! I'm proud of the next one.
Above it flew another starship, which was much narrower, but also longer. The ship was still grand in size and just as impressive, but had a clearly different purpose.
- Kaltogo - This one is the Vyronicia Technobliterator! We've never known why the Taldar chose to call it that, though.
- ZrAhgloth - yo. dats a VERY GUD name
- Jol'kiar - da BEST name. tho i herd dey stole it frum Ratchet & Clank
- Fre'kloar - idunno wat dat is but ill admit its ok
- Kaltogo - And last, but not least...
Dwarfing both of them in size, another warship flew over them, this time not from the waterfall, but swooping in from the sky above. The Vyronicia Flagship was by far the most impressive of the group, and easily as large as an Ascended-class Dreadnought from the Grox. Kaltogo himself was in awe looking at it, even though he was familiar with it.
- Kaltogo - We have been entrusted with these ancient artifacts for millions of years, but we've not the engineering prowess to mass produce more. We suspect it will be hundreds of years before we can produce more of these machines. On your worlds, with more resources, you may be able to -- but it uses a material in its hull that we have been unable to decipher. A form of metal that appears to be an alloy of several elements which we cannot decipher ourselves.
- Kal'kuir - its pizza obvs
- Kralgon Emperor - Give us all the information you have, and our AIs will work on it.
- Kaltogo - Yes, I shall do so. The Taldar, or should I say, Volzara herself, gave me a strict instruction. The only ones to have these warships are her children.
- Vekaron - Yeah, that's the Unified Nation's cue.
- Tuolog - Thank you for gift, father. We use it well.
- Fre'kloar - HMPF HMPF. I DIDNT WAT YA DUM YELLOW SHIPZ ANYWAY
- Kaltogo - I know you will. I've seen it.
- Falrik Zaarkhun - Gods picking favorites, eh? I suppose this should not surprise me, but we'll use the added help nonetheless.
- Sollow - Hey! We are Volzara's children too... Hand over the ships!
- Kaltogo - She also instructed me not to give it to you.
- Sollow - She has a big mouth, does she not?
- Kaltogo - I should cast you out of my planet for good for speaking ill of the Goddess of Time.
- Sollow - Pfft, sure... I was gonna leave this dump anyway... There's nobody else to kill.
Kaltogo then brought up a large hologram of a huge spherical device that existed within the planets' core.
- Kaltogo - This is the core of this world. The entire planet is a Taldar construct, much like Grenzaar. Its defensive capabilities allow it to ward off most attacks by hiding the planet from space and time. It is also capable of warping others' perception of it, which is how I hid the world to you all earlier. I projected a vision of the world from a future when it had been utterly oblierated, to give the impression that no one else dwells here. You can do with this technology as you please, Tuolog. We will extract it from the core of this world.
- Tuolog - This come in handy. Thank you, father.
- Yogtam - Indeed, but... What of your worlds' defenses? If that core was keeping the planet from being destro-
- Kaltogo - The time has come to pass on what we know to those who inherit it. That is you all. We have done our part. We will fight alongside you against Regnatus one last time, but beyond this, we've no purpose here any more.
- Zr'Ahgloth - YOO LOT FITE WELL THO. YOO SHULD JOIN UNO
- Kaltogo - We will pass on all we know. Perhaps soon, there will be Loron ironclad in Tralzican armor with Tralzican discipline. I would like to see this very much. Loron did not exist in our time.
- Xeron - Yeah, let's not do that, thank you.
- Kaltogo - Oh? Is there something I should be concerned about?
- Xeron - Have you seen these creatures?
- Fre'kloar - YO WHICH ONE OF YOO IDIOTS STOLE MA PIZZA
- Kaltogo - Hehehe. Fair point.
- Arkarixus - Your aid is welcome. I fear the final confrontation with Regnatus is soon to come; the more we wait to strike at the Inner Core, the more of those monstrous Dreadnoughts he creates. We do not have much more time.
Kaltogo smiled proudly as he addressed Arkarixus with his words of wisdom.
- Kaltogo - As three dimensional mortals, the Taldar had much in common with the Kormacvar. Both proud, yet very territorial, empires that ruled their galaxy, whom after they were gone, left their artifacts behind for others to enjoy. That is why they were so often in contact in the early days. The Taldar saw your people as a proud race and worthy of protecting their children. It is unfortunate what became of them, but you are passing on their legacy and doing a fine job of it. We will not allow Regnatus to destroy what your people built. But beware, for after Regnatus, it will be Zargoth who threatens what your people left behind.
- Arkarixus - I intend to fight until Borealis is free of all those who torment it.
The Kormacvar attempted to stretch himself, though it was clear that he was still sore from his battle with Antagonar.
- Arkarixus - Perhaps better prepared next time.
- Kaltogo - Good luck. Inform me when the final battle starts. We will fight beside you.
A Fleet to Rival Gods
It was almost a year since the Polar Crystal Alliance freed the Vida'Rranlora database and discovered Regnatus - a former Kormacvar warmaster - was the mastermind behind the Borealis Grox Empire. Since then, billions of innocents died in the war against the machine-like creatures, entire worlds being consumed and transformed into monstrous Ascended-class Dreadnoughts. But now, it was time to put an end to it all.
Arkarixus called for all of the Alliance and its supporters to meet in neutral ground, at the edge of the Inner Core. The time to attack was now.
The world chosen for the fleets to rezdevous was a cold and arid planet without a trace of intelligent life in it, making it ideal for so many races from so many different backgrounds to meet up and not feel the warmaster was playing favorites. As the leaders of the Alliance and its supporters met up in person, they watched the skies being dotted with more and more spaceships of all sizes and shapes as their efforts paid off; they were not as powerful as the Grox, but they easily made it up in numbers. Arkarixus looked up to the skies with arms crossed, and his expression showed some pride; it was pathetic in comparison to the Kormacvar fleets he used to lead back in his time, he thought, but it was admirable in its own way. He would make do with what he had.
- Vekaron - Well, I must say. It's quite the sight.
- Asraels - I have not seen so many ships together before, at least not for actual battles.
- Kaltogo - This fleet fills me with hope I have not felt since the Great Blyro War. But I'm sure that as we are confronted with the Grox, we will soon feel the same despair I felt then.
- Vyutrin - I've seen a fleet like this only once; when the Plazithian Allies defeated Shu'rimrodir. And here we are again, fighting another god.
- Tuolog - Very few times in history has a combined navy of this size ever been mustered together. We make Volzara proud today.
- Falrik Zaarkhun - I'll take great delight in killing a god...
- Volim - And I'm finally getting revenge for those damned machines experimenting on my mind!
- Grak'tona - DERES ONLY ONE KING OF DIS GALAXY AN DATS ME. IM GLAD ALL MA ROYAL SUBJECTS GATHERED HEER TODAY TA SERVE ME IN DA BATTLE OF DA KINGS
- Hagto'Zhl - yoo wanna act hard nao rite in front of arkarixus? bruh
- Drizz'pyrokirk - cleerly yoo havent gotten used to him yet
- Hagto'Zhl - i dont fink i eva will tbh
- Kralgon Emperor - It has been the dream of many emperors of my people that we would one day oversee a fleet half as grand as this. But the Unified Nation's navy alone surpasses what any Kralgon could hope for from back in the day. Combined, we will win this battle!
At this moment, Sergeant Trastius of the Seagon walked up to Arkarixus and delivered him a holopad, before in the skies, a fleet of Seagon ships arrived with a larger vessel which radiated a strong blue light. The Warmaster eyed it and nodded.
- Trastius - The portable Cold Relay is ready to be brought with the fleet, Warmaster.
- Arkarixus - Good. We shall use it to board Regnatus' flagship and ensure he cannot escape.
- Falrik Zaarkhun - The PMCs have developed phasing technology to try and phase through and enter their ships and destroy them from within. Untested against an Ascended-class Dreadnought, but sure to be effective against the Grox ships. I'll share the technology with the Loron; they're better in ground combat than they ever will be against the ships.
- Kal'kuir - hurhurhur wes gonna steel all da gizmos from da grox shipz
- Kaltogo - The Vyronicia Fleet stands at the ready to be warped in at any time as the vanguard of this fleet.
- ??? - As do we.
Latecomers to the fleet, a distorted portal appeared above the Zoles flagship, and out of it came a vast force of the Vague, appearing in large numbers and mixing in with the rest of the fleet. Dakster, their leader, flew in front of Arkarixus, and gestured towards him. The Warmaster could not help but feel slightly disturbed.
- Dakster - We stand with you, the last of the Kormacvar. We will both fight to protect our kinds' legacy.
- Arkarixus - ... Hm. You must be 'the Vague'.
- Dakster - Yes. Our people were born from the souls of both your people, and an Ottzelloan race. Both slaughtered by Zargoth. Now, we fight alongside you once more. To protect our people.
- Zr'Ahgloth - MAN WHER DA HELL HAV YA BEEN ALL DIS TIME????? COULDA USED YA OVAPOWERED SHIPZ BEFOR
- Dakster - Were it not for us, time anomalies would have destroyed the galaxy already. Stopping this was a priority. But now, the priority changes: Regnatus has corrupted what we once built, and we will put an end to his reign.
- Arkarixus - Well spoken. You may be... mishapen, but your warrior soul will be tested today.
- Jol'kiar - tbh dat feels like lazy writin
- Fre'kloar - man stop wiv dis random senile talk alredi yor creepin me out
- Dakster - I warn you, that our kind still has memories of being ravaged by the Grox. Many of us still hold great fear in our hearts. Today is when we will overcome this fear.
More ships continued to arrive, and soon it would appear the Vague were not the only latecomers; strange drones begun taking formation, with one going over to the allies, who by that point could recognize it. It was Apalos. The sight of it caused Volim's eyes to narrow in annoyance, for they had thwarted his plans before.
- Apalos - Apalos stands with Borealis. We do hope you have not forgotten us.
- Falrik Zaarkhun - Ah, how could I forget the day you ruined my plans? Nonetheless, you'll be an excellent ally for this battle, I'm sure.
- Arkarixus - I know not what you are, but allies are not unwelcome.
- Fre'kloar - tbh i hav no idea wat dey is eitha. i jus kinda roll along wiv it
- Grak'tona - DA KING ACCEPTS ANYON WHO SUPPORTS HIS STRIVE TA DOMINAT DA GALAXY AS DA ONE TROO KING. IDK ANYFIN ABOUT YAS BUT TY FER HELP
- Apalos - Yes, whatever makes you happy, 'Your Majesty'.
- Grak'tona - SEE??? ONE PERSON GETS ME!!!!!
- ??? - Oh dear, it seems we will have to engage in some regicide as well?
Approaching the rest of the allies was the other group of latecomers; numerous Radeon troopers who guarded High Ordinator Mieo Venoriel, who had her arms crossed behind her back. Admiral Vyutrin appeared surprised to see the forces of the Divinarium, while Arkarixus simply looked down at her with indifference.
- Venoriel - One horrible abomination at a time, please.
- Vyutrin - Surprised to see your kind here, Radeon! Figured you'd have scampered off to Andromeda by now to frolick in your crystal towers and dance for your Spode!
- Brag'klogga - YES DEY WAS IN DA ORIGINAL HOLY BOOKS. PRAISE ZRANKAR FER BEIN RITE ONCE AGAIN!!!!!!
- Rel'larutina - Really? You're gonna wait until the religious guys show up to preach about that?
- Venoriel - Worry not. I have no intention to launch a crusade against your people... right now. Our current focus is ending the threat of the Grox; we know too well what happens when they are left unchecked. And you, Spinker; you hurt me with such accusations! I am not that cold.
- Arkarixus - Your faith is meaningless to me. If you are capable, then that is all I care for.
- Venoriel - Right to the point hm? I can respect that.
- Tuolog - Hehe. It good to see old allies again.
At this point, however, the more Essence-sensitive among the group felt something in the air; something wrong. Before their eyes, a black flame rose from the earth and took the form of Kolossus, who looked down at them with a smirk. All the soldiers around the area were caught by surprise and aimed their weapons at the Vyro'Ralza, though he merely shrugged in response.
- Kolossus - Oh, please. You know that won't work.
- Venoriel - Really? This is the first time I contact you Borealans since the fall of the Devourer's Chosen, and the demon lord appears now? I truly am fortunate, am I not?
- Kaltogo - Zr'An'Kar! State your purpose here!
- Brag'klogga - DA BEST GOD IS HEER!!!!!!!!
- Kolossus - ... Stand down. I am not your enemy this day.
- Arkarixus - I find that hard to believe, after your friend attempted to kill me.
- Kolossus - Antagonar is a fool with no vision of the bigger picture. Regnatus has dared usurp me of my own powers, and I intend to see him ended myself!
- Falrik Zaarkhun - I don't trust gods. And you shouldn't either.
- Kolossus - And what, exactly? Should they trust you? Hah.
- Falrik Zaarkhun - No, but you do know what happens if you try to cross me. So don't try it.
Kolossus' body stretched unnaturally at Falrik Zaarkhun's direction, until he was almost touching him. The Vyro'Ralza had a smirk in his face. Zaarkhun cowered in fear, but nonetheless stood defiant, as if he was hiding a weapon from them.
- Kolossus - You don't know me very well, do you?
- Tuolog - Enough. If Kolossus wish to help us, we accept help. We not turn our back for no reason. Kolossus, on this day, the enemy of my enemy is my friend.
- Kolossus - Yes, indeed. Regnatus has eluded the fifth dimension for too long; he will pay for his affront.
- Arkarixus - Hm. I suppose you can be in the front then. I'm sure your fifth-dimensional carapace can witstand punishment.
- Kolossus - ... You have nerve, Kormacvar! I am not cannon fodder!
- Fre'kloar - YEH YA GOTTA RESPECT DA BEST GOD MAN. HES DA BEST GOD FER A REESUN
- Hagto'Zhl - HI DAD
Kolossus groaned slightly as he turned to Da Rogue Boyz, before forcing a smile.
- Kolossus - Yes, hello. Today your god will lead you to war. Isn't that just great?
- Grak'tona - DA GOD RESPECTS DA TROO KINGS RITE TA RULE DA GALAXY. ITS JUS LIKE DA HOLY BOOKS SAY
- Brag'klogga - WHER DO DA HOLY BOOKS SAY DAT?????
- Grak'tona - IN DA PASSAG I WROTE LAST NITE LOSA
- Brag'klogga - messin wiv da holy texts....... CATCHPHRASE DAT I DONT HAV YET!!!!!!!
As if to counterbalance the aura that Kolossus gave, a glowing golden portal appeared adjacent to his, and a new aura swept the planet. This one was much warmer, and put the minds of the anxious soldiers at ease. For many in Borealis, this was the first time ever laying eyes on her, and the Borealans basked at the beauty and radiance of Volzara, the Goddess of Time. Volzara greeted them all with a warm smile, turning both to her children, the Unified Nation, and to Kaltogo. Kolossus sneered at the presence of the goddess and was forced to step back, as her mere presence harmed him, while Arkarixus immediately took a knee before her.
- Volzara - Let this be the day you defeat the scourge on this galaxy. I saw what happened to the Kormacvar, whom I was allied with for years, millions of years ago, and what came of them afterwards. It was horrific. Were I capable of intervention, or were Regnatus not removed from the fifth dimension entirely, I would have done more to combat this. But now, it is only just that Regnatus be erased from this timeline for good.
- Vekaron - W-Wow...
- Vyutrin - Well, I wasn't expecting that either.
- Fre'kloar - MAN WAT DA HELL IS DAT????? she looks kinda hot ngl
- Kolossus - Gaah. Here to say your goodbye to your little babies before the Grox end them, Volzara?
- Volzara - You would do well to drop that tone with me. You know that I could erase you from existence right now if I wished.
- Kolossus - I do. Doesn't mean I have to like you.
- Volzara - True. And I don't have to like you either. But I will appreciate any support you can give to not only helping my children, but avenging old friends.
- Kolossus - Hmpf. Of course, as you won't do it yourself.
- Kaltogo - Volzara, I have done my best to serve you well in my life. And I did just as you promised, I granted your children the Vyronicia Fleet.
- Volzara - You have made me very proud, Kaltogo. As has your son.
- Tuolog - I only do my part, Volzara.
- Volzara - As Kolossus has said, there's little I can do here. Regnatus has hid himself from the fifth dimension entirely, so my powers are useless against him. And any support I provide here is a violation of the code I agreed with the Vyro'Ralza on. Violating it would risk this entire timeline, and I cannot risk that. I also cannot predict your outcome here, for there are no timelines yet in which Regnatus has been defeated. But I trust you will defeat him. I have every faith in you all.
- Vekaron - Does your code also include letting this creep and his friend mess our galaxy up with anomalies?
- Kolossus - Just try and stop me, see what happens! She wouldn't dare.
- Volzara - It is true that Kolossus is exploiting a loophole that allows him to interfere with the galaxy in ways that I can't stop him. But I assure you, we'll see to that once this is all done.
- Jol'kiar - not gonna lie dis jus reeds like MOAR lazi writin. ALSO DIS REMAKE SUKS. DEY MADE HER BOOBS SMALLA
- Kolossus - Oh? Is that a threat from the dear, beautiful Volzara I'm hearing?
- Volzara - I consider it a promise. Take it however you will. Now go, my children, and the people of this galaxy. Win back what is yours!
- Arkarixus - We shall, or we will die trying.
With that, Volzara disappeared back to where she came, while Kolossus too left, though in his case it was to take his place among the growing fleet. As things returned to normal, Venoriel rose an eyebrow.
- Venoriel - It seems you just can't get in touch with this lot without tripping into an Essential or two, huh.
- Falrik Zaarkhun - Tell me about it.
The March to the Core
The empires arrived at the Inner Core. The leaders of the nations prepared themselves for a battle unlike any others. Some of the extragalactics even imagined if this fleet's sheer size and power could rival or even surpass the one of the allied fleets of the War of Ages. Following the Apalos drones, Arkarixus and the Zoles Imperium led the charge. The plan to push was fairly straight-forward. The fleet would storm into the Grox's colonies, destroy them, then immediately move on. Some ships would be left behind to secure the area and distract any Grox reinforcements. From system to system, the fleet would eventually hit the galactic core and their main target: the Grox homeworld.
The Zoles fought like they had never fought before. They still blamed themselves for the Great Purging, and now they would finally have a chance to make up for all the empires murdered by the Grox at the time. Meanwhile, the Niaka Special Forces did the same, but not for the Purging, but because they were seeing the united fleet as an achievement of justice. The Grox, so feared and hated for so much time, would finally fall, and the Core Region would finally achieve peace. They would cement themselves as the guardians of Borealis, for what better way to achieve that than to end the threat of the Grox? The dozens of empires they had gathered into the Alliance followed their command, making the fleet a marvelous sight indeed.
Brutish, angry people. Straightforward, kill first, ask questions later. A ridiculously high crime rate. A group of races who have known only dystopia, suffering and fear. This, of course, is in reference to the Unified Nation of Ottzello. As their fleets fired masses of highly powered railguns, turbolasers and antimatter missiles, when combined with the other fleet, not even the Grox defences stood much of a chance. Through the Grid, they could fire miniature subspace compression waves, capable of annihilating entire orbital defence systems. Their deflector shields did manage to protect them from some damage, although many ships were lost. And as UNO's soldiers landed on worlds and swept across them to take them over, they showed no mercy, no remorse and no sign of slowing down. They would stop at nothing to obliterate the Grox.
Paladian warriors led by Legate Olcinius and Seagon fighters under the helm of Sergeant Trastius were also there, proving their mettle in the battle against the great enemy. Meanwhile, the Indoctrinate Collective did not need much justification to fight the Grox, for their predecessor of the Dracogonarious Empire had fought the Meta-Empire of the Milky Way long ago. Any chance to free a galaxy from the tyranny of the Grox, no matter who led it, was one they would gladly take.
The Rogue Boyz were prepared for this. They always were. To a Loron warboss it was beautiful, watching a group of gangs, fleets, legions and hordes of Loron pack together as one, tgo watch them all converge as a single fleet, the sight of it was so beautiful. The Loron would just pour into any Grox colony and, with allies help, overthrow it with their numbers and their ridiculous strength. And with all the weird and wacky weapons created by Loron 'scientists', the 'mekkas' and 'tekkas' such as Kal'kuir, they had the combined firepower to fight effectively against the Grox defences - although despite what the Loron would want you to think, they weren't doing as much as the other fleets were against them.
Historically, the Wranploer Legion always brings the largest fleet. And in these times, that isn't going to change. As the Borealis Consortium Network's enormous fleet of ships moved forward, being the largest part of the fleet, their weapons to go along with their size surprised and struck fear in the hearts of even the allies. How much damage they were doing to the Grox with their weaponry was making everyone panic. An unstoppable juggernaut, the weapons - of which most were illegal - brought by war commanders, rich businessmen and by 'community groups' alike were banned for a good reason. They were not safe...to either the enemy or the user. And as the Iron Fist used its spacetime manipulation weaponry to cause comets to fall upon a Grox world - eliminating both the colony and the need to invade it - the entire fleet, and the Grox, could feel Zaarkhun and Volim's smirks of satisfaction as they obliterated the Grox.
Among the Galactic Fleet fought the Divinarium's Ecclesial Navy, its shadowy vessels appearing and blinking in the darkness of space, striking at the Grox ships like ghosts. Radeons were known for their loyalty, and the fleet's commander, Jahric, was determined to protect his comrades - from Borealis and Ottzello alike... but yet, there was a higher purpose beyond that - for the Divinarium, this battle was a crusade. All life, no matter how different, how strange it was, was a gift to the universe, a gift bestowed by Spode - to destroy it, to corrupt it in untold billions, like the Grox did, was a sin beyond any redemption. This was a sin punishable only by death.
Of course, none of the many Private Military Companies were used to fighting for a cause they cared about. For them, it was all about the money. If you didn't earn money to feed your family, your family died, and so did you. Whether it's by building the latest weapon to sell to PMCs, by being a soldier yourself, or having some other role, joining a PMC is the best way to guarantee your survivability in Borealis' 'no-man's land' areas in which no government rules. So when these soldiers were pitted up against the Grox, all of that changed. Now, it was about revenge against the Grox. No drugs were needed to induce a fear of battle and anger against the Grox - this time, it came naturally. PMCs had worked for a lnog time to create cost-effective military strategies - the PMCs were, thus, very survivable. And their weaponry dealt a great load of damage. But by how many PMCs there were, just how many soldiers all fighting for this cause, for the first time, watching these mercenaries as they ruthlessly obliterated their foes was not something that pained people. It was beautiful.
The Vague had been terrified. Being a mix of both Ottzel and Kormacvar - the latter of which had been slaughtered mercilessly by these same Grox - and having been in fear of Zargoth and in a permanent state of immense pain, the Vague were terrified. But that didn't mean they couldn't do damage. With everyone else around, the Vague now had the courage to fight this. The Grox and the entire fleet could hear the wails of pain that the Vague made, and hear the screams as the Vague grouped together and destroyed several of the Ascended-class ships. As possibly the strongest force of the fleet, the Vague were tasked to deal with the greatest threats, and they completely ripped apart the Grox, out of anger and a thirst for revenge, and out of fear that the Grox might hurt them first. The Vague would suffer more pain, and deal thrice the pain to the Grox. They say that in space, no one can hear you scream. But that apparently doesn't apply to the Vague.
They were exhausted. Battered. Broken. But they did it.
With almost 70% of the fleet lost to get to this point, the Galactic Fleet gazed upon their target; the closest star to Borealis' Galactic Core was before them. In it they found a single planet, though it could only vaguely be described as such. Rather than a common world, they instead found an immense black sphere orbiting close to the star. No doubt some sort of space station, they assumed, as the fleet slowly approached. Over their communications, they coordinated their next move.
- Arkarixus - There it is. The Grox homeworld...
- Xeron - It's awfully not very world-y.
- Vekaron - It resembles the Vida'Rranlora database. For a race of machines, I suppose it makes sense.
- Tuolog - I not think organic lifeforms able to survive there without oxygen masks most likely.
- Dalverat - Tuolog, there is something wrong at play. I feel... nothing when I look at that planet. It is like it is removed from the rest of reality, almost.
- Tuolog - Yes. I sense it too. This the Regnatus technology that remove it from fifth dimension. It hide out in its own pocket dimension somehow. So none of us can do anything here. Or sense anything from it.
- Kaltogo - In my thousands of years of existence, I never suspected such a thing would be possible.
- Volim - And where is the so-called "god of synthesis", huh? And the Grox King? No sign of either so far...
At this moment, however, a new face appeared in their channels as King Mirras III made his presence known. He appeared to the entire fleet, and those who attempted closing their channels found themselves unable to. In the vacuum of space, the colossal form of Kolossus flinched for, somehow, he could hear him as well.
- Mirras III - Impressive, indeed! Many races have joined forces against us before, but you are the first to get this far!
- Falrik Zaarkhun - And we'll be the last, because we'll end your planet for good!
- Mirras III - Planet? ... Oh, you mean that? We will see about it.
- Grak'tona - YO IS DAT YA THRONE ROOM??? MOOV OVA DA REEL KING NEEDS TA SIT ON IT
- Arkarixus - Enough games, Grox. You are cornered. Where is Regnatus?
- Mirras III - Oh, Arkarixus, Arkarixus. Still you fail to see what is right in front of you. He is here. He has always been here. Now, you shall understand the truth.
The 'planet' shook. Its surface appeared to squirm and writhe as it changed form before their eyes, with two pairs of eyes growing out of it and immense claws extending down from its body. The captains of the fleet watched in horror as they realized that was not a planet or a space station. It was a living being. Even Kolossus was taken back at the sight, floating back with his eyes widened. A cold sweat passed down Arkarixus' face as he felt an emotion he was biologically engineered not to be able to feel: terror.
It was him.
- Regnatus - VERMIN.
- Arkarixus - ... Brother...
- Vekaron - W-What in the ancestors' name is that?!
- Xeron - T-Too big. Too big!
- Kaltogo - Truly a sight to behold...
- Kralgon Emperor - "Vermin"? You're the vermin that has ruined this galaxy!
Regnatus' monstrous bulk drifted at the direction of the fleet. The Grox ships still in the star system begun to disperse, making way; he did not need them any longer.
- Regnatus - YOU HAVE INCURRED THE IRE OF YOUR BETTERS. FOR FIVE BILLION YEARS I HAVE FED UPON YOUR KIND. EVERY EMPIRE WHO HAS EVER RISEN, WHO HAS DARED TO EQUATE ITSELF TO MINE, I HAVE CONSUMED. COUNTLESS, BILLIONS UPON BILLIONS, ALL HAVE BEEN DEVOURED; THEIR ONLY PURPOSE WAS TO FEED ME, THEIR EXISTENCES HAD NO OTHER MEANING, THEIR NAMES ARE LOST AND THEIR HISTORIES SERVE NO PURPOSE. YOU EXISTED FOR AS LONG AS YOU DID BECAUSE I HAVE DEEMED YOU BENEATH MY ATTENTION. BUT BY COMING HERE, BY SEEKING ME OUT, YOU HAVE EARNED MY HATRED. YOU PRIMITIVES EXIST ONLY TO SERVE AS MY NOURISHMENT, AND NOTHING ELSE. THE FUTURE OF THIS GALAXY SHALL BE SHAPED BY MY HANDS, AND MY HANDS ALONE. I AM YOUR OBLIVION. I AM THE ALL-CONSUMING VOID BEYOND YOUR WIDEST DREAMS AND NIGHTMARES. I AM HE WHO HAS DEVOURED GODS. I AM THE ALPHA AND THE OMEGA, THE BEGINNING AND THE END, THE PAST, THE PRESENT, THE FUTURE. I AM INEVITABLE. I AM INDOMINABLE. I AM SYNTHESIS. I AM INFINITE. I AM REGNATUS. I. AM. BOREALIS.
- Zr'Ahgloth - gulp
- Tuolog - You may have exterminated other races for billions of years, but this end now. We not let a being like you ruin this galaxy!
- Grak'tona - tbh yoo got a good speech writa but IM DA RITEFUL KING. STEP ASIDE LOSA
- Regnatus - IT ENDS. NOW.
From Regnatus' eyes, radiant beams of energy were blasted across the star system. Entire swathes of the fleet instantly exploded, reduced to nothing within a moment. One laser would blast through the Vyronicia Fleet, striking directly at the Flagship at its head; the ship where Kaltogo resided.
- Tuolog - Father!...
- Arkarixus - This power... This madness! Regnatus, how could you?
- Regnatus - THERE IS ONLY ONE ABSOLUTE. AND THAT IS REGNATUS.
- Falrik Zaarkhun - The typical behavior of a god. Seeing itself as the boot that crushes us, the ants.
- Volim - What are you imbeciles waiting for?! Fire! Kill him!
The entire fleet unleashed their full power at the planet-sized dreadnought, and watched as their efforts were for naught. Any conventional weapon thrown at Regnatus simply disappeared before reaching him - removed from time altogether - while any Essence was simply absorbed into his shields. Another glare from his four eyes launched lasers which instantly destroyed another chunk of the armada in less than a moment. They watched as one of the blasts swiped across the forces of the Borealis Consortium Network, utterly destroying both a part of it as well as the Iron Fist. The fleet begun to panic as they could do nothing, not even slow Regnatus down in the slightest as Kolossus then stood before him, charging Dark Chronoscopic energy in his hands.
- Kolossus - Your time playing god is over, mortal! Today, you will learn your place!
- Regnatus - YOU ARE LESS THAN VERMIN.
Kolossus unleashed his full power upon Regnatus, striking him with a constant wave of Dark Chronoscopic energy. However, that did little to stop the dreadnought from simply continuing to approach, unhindered by the attack. The Vyro'Ralza's eye widened as he then begun to teleport around Regnatus; Tuolog could see him moving too fast for a common mortal to be able to tell where he was, though Regnatus would only react by launching one of his claws forward, striking at Kolossus exactly as he moved to that spot. The Ralza roared out in pain before the dreadnought charged another blast, aimed at him.
- Regnatus - BEGONE.
- Kolossus - W-What?! How-
- Hagto'Zhl - NO DAD!!!!!!!!!
The god dreadnought then unleashed a blast directly at Kolossus, consuming the Vyro'Ralza in energy and causing him to scream in agony as he was blown away entirely, disappearing from view.
- Yogtam - Damnit! What do we do????
- Olcinius - We must fall back! Retreat!
- Regnatus - YOU WILL NOT.
Regnatus' eyes shined once again, and all of space around them seemed to react. Their ships felt a strong disturbance which many could not understand, though those among UNO could; it was a disturbance in the Grid, and Regnatus had just cast a quarantine in this entire star system.
- Kralgon Emperor - What?! This... This is a quarantine!
- Fre'kloar - BRUH BUT WE DONT EVEN HAV CORONAVIRUS
- Zr'Ahgloth - NOW YOO TWITS SEE WAT ITS LIKE
- Regnatus - I HAVE CAST THIS STAR SYSTEM INTO A POCKET UNIVERSE, AND HERE YOU SHALL REMAIN UNTIL EVERY SINGLE ONE OF YOU IS REDUCED TO ATOMS.
- Fre'kloar - YOR JRPG BOSS LINES DONT SCARE US!!!!!!
- Voa'reak - akshully yeh dey do but he dont gotta kno bout it
- Fre'kloar - troo
- Venoriel - I ought to ask for a transfer to another galaxy.
- Commander-King Thylaxiz - Brace for impact. A blast detected aiming for the Omega Commander.
- Zr'Ahgloth - WAT DA HELL NO AAAAAAAA
Another quartet of blasts were fired from Regnatus, cutting through the Niaka, Paladian and Divinarium fleets, though the fourth was aimed directly at the UNO Omega Commander, utterly consuming it. It was unclear if any of the members of UNOL, or the ship's special resident, the Mechanic, had even survived, as all contact was lost with the Unified Nation immediately. As their AI was attached to the Omega Commander, any surviving UNO warships were also briefly deactivated, before coming back online as the result of a backup AI.
Regnatus' entire form then disappeared, before reappearing among the fleet itself as the monstrous starship begun swatting at the ships with his claws with frightening speed, crushing them like ants - it semeed he was not intendng on prolonguing their suffering. Many of the ships belonging to the Consortium were not real, however, and he found himself swatting either at false holograms or hulks of metal, created by Falrik Zaarkhun. The real Iron Fist reappeared behind the Zoles' flagship, using the Vague as a form of cover.
- Falrik Zaarkhun - We've lost Kaltogo and much of the Tralzican forces, and unconfirmed on if we've lost UNO as well. Is there anyone still alive?
- Venoriel - I was almost smiling inside, thinking he got you. Apparently not.
- Vekaron - What... What can we do? He's invincible...
- Falrik Zaarkhun - From the outside, yes. None of our weaponry can hope to match him. But... the portable relay. Does it work?
- Trastius - The Relay is damaged from getting here. It is currently non-functional.
- ??? - Good thing you've got a mechanic for that!
Appearing on-board Trastius' ship, the Mechanic, who had teleported from the UNO Omega Commander, inspected the relay with his robotic hands and began work on repairing it. Arkarixus, who shared the ship with Trastius, was surprised to see him, though he left him to his work. Though under pressure, the Mechanic worked as quick as he possibly could, determined to defeat Regnatus once and for all for all that had happened to him. The formerly broken Caretaker showed no signs of his trauma anymore, having now hyperfocused on making things right.
As he finished his work, he stepped back, and nodded towards Arkarixus.
- The Mechanic - It can only work once, here. But I think this is our last Hail Volzara moment. We're counting on you!
- Arkarixus - ... You have done well, Head Caretaker. Thank you.
The Mechanic smiled proudly, his eyes swelling, happy to have been acknowledged. The others around Arkarixus looked stunned. It was rare they ever saw him show this level of appreciation. As the Relay reactivated, it let out the powerful sapphire glow that Cold Relays as well known for; this immediately attracted the attention of Regnatus, who turned his body to face the Seagon fleet.
- Regnatus - WHY DO YOU PERSIST? YOUR TIME IS NIGH. ACCEPT YOUR END. THERE IS ONLY ONE FUTURE, AND THAT IS THE FUTURE I WILL CARVE.
- Dakster - Never! We have learned that that is false. And we will demonstrate it to you. We will resist whatever dire fate you have planned for us! These people deserve life!
- Regnatus - YOU MALFORMED GODSPAWN ARE AN AFFRONT TO REGNATUS. CEASE.
Regnatus turned his attention to the Vague and quickly rammed at them, demolishing many of their ships with ease; not even their fearsome disintegrating weapons had any effect on him. Dakster's own ship was crushed under one of the monstrous god's claws, though he would survive the blow; being exposed to the vacuum of space was not enough to kill a Vague. Meanwhile, Arkarixus harnessed the energies of the portable Relay, and watched as Sergeant Trastius and his men approached with their weapons primed.
- Trastius - We will follow you, Warmaster.
- Arkarixus - ... At ease, Seagon. You will not.
- Trastius - Pardon?
- Arkarixus - Too many bodies and the Relay may fling us all into the vacuum, or not work at all. No, I can only send myself... and one more.
Arkarixus then turned over to the Mechanic and beckoned him. The Mechanic proudly saluted.
- Arkarixus - Head Caretaker. Come.
- The Mechanic - Sir, yes sir!
- Trastius - Hm. So be it. Good luck to you two.
The Kormacvar kept harnessing the Relay's energies into a trail of blue energy connected to both him and the Mechanic, and the two were then flung upwards, disappearing from the Seagon's view. As Regnatus continued to hammer down at the Vague fleet, he suddenly stopped in his tracks as he let out a furious growl.
- Regnatus - ... ARKARIXUS!!
The Plight of the Warmaster
Arkarixus and the Mechanic opened their eyes to find themselves in an oppressively dark environment; it was vast beyond imagining, and felt as cold as the void of space. There was only a single source of light there, illuminating a throne; sitting upon it was King Mirras III, who clenched his fingers around the throne's arms as he leaned forward, visibly annoyed. Arkarixus raised his arms into a combat stance as he narrowed his eyes at the sight of the Grox King.
- Mirras III - You have always been so stubborn, Arkarixus, ever since you were a child. You keep doing foolish things and making bad decisions.
- Arkarixus - So, you were inside Regnatus all along, Grox. He does not strike me as a very accomodating vessel.
- Mirras III - And I see you still have that same passive-aggressive disdainful tone of yours. I always hated it.
- The Mechanic - Enough with the chit-chat! I can't believe I've been serving you the whole time! But I got one question. Who corrupted who? Did you corrupt Regnatus, or did he corrupt you? Are you in his mind, or is he in yours?
Mirras III relaxed as he leaned back into his throne, a smirk growing in his face.
- Mirras III - Was Commandant Khensu not enough demonstration? We are Regnatus. Regnatus is us. We are his eyes, his fists. He is beyond interfering with rabble like you himself.
- The Mechanic - So how'd it happen, huh? Give me back the rest of my memories. When did Regnatus take over the Grox and turn you all into his little puppet toys?
- Mirras III - My, at the same time as he did the same to you! When he entered the core of the Grid and used the forbidden procedure to merge one's consciousness with it. Very dangerous stuff, it led to the end of many Kormacvar emperors of old. But Regnatus is greater than they were.
- Arkarixus - That is myth. Legends. ... But after all I have seen, I can believe it.
- The Mechanic - That's not what the Grid was for! That's never what the architects behind it wanted! They wanted it so the galaxy could share it! It belongs to the people of Borealis, not one person!
- Mirras III - Oh, please. You of all people know the Grid was made to keep unwanted outsiders out of Borealis. The Kormacvar were never saints; they were conquerors. Regnatus is the pinnacle of what it means to be Kormacvar, and he imposed his mind upon all Grox. Now we are all Kormacvar!
The Mechanic rubbed his nose a little, then stood defiantly before Mirras III, and cracked his knuckles. The Grox King looked down at him with some amusement.
- The Mechanic - Yeah, maybe the Kormacvar were a little paranoid sometimes. And maybe they did things that weren't so great. But they did it to protect the galaxy! They did it so those within it can endure and live peaceful lives, without gods ruining it for them! And you know why they made me, the Head Caretaker, able to think for myself? Because they wanted to stop a dictator taking the power of the Grid for themselves! And that's what I'm gonna do!
- Mirras III - I always found you Caretakers so obnoxious... Regnatus does not need you when he has the Grox. He only kept you for so long because of some vague sentimental reason he forgot to purge from his mind.
- The Mechanic - Oh yeah? Well, guess what? My mind is my own now! And I helped build this thing! So I can dismantle it!!!
- Arkarixus - Leave the Grox King to me, Head Caretaker. I will 'dismantle' him myself.
- Mirras III - Ooh, too afraid your little pet will get hurt, Arkarixus? Do not worry, you will both meet the same fate.
- The Mechanic - Who are you calling "little pet", you useless, scrappy, good-for-nothing, arrogant jerk!
Raising out all of his arms, the Mechanic leapt towards Mirras III, firing blasts of energy and trying to cut him. However, his attacks were blocked as, before their eyes, the Grox King was enveloped in a radiant red aura, his body taking the form of an ethereal Kormacvar who, with a swing of his arm, psychically launched the Mechanic against a wall. From him, the roaring voice of their nemesis was heard as Arkarixus clenched his fists in apprehension.
- Regnatus - THERE IS NO GROX. THERE IS NO KING. THERE IS ONLY WHAT REGNATUS ALLOWS EXISTING.
- Arkarixus - Head Caretaker!
The Warmaster ran over to the Mechanic and checked up on him. Barely moving, the Mechanic lifted his head a little, and then fell back, his bones almost entirely broken and his mechanical limbs severed.
- The Mechanic - Y-you... came back for me?... Thank you... But... Don't worry... about me!
- Regnatus - LOOK UPON MERAKINUS. HE, LIKE FLORIDARIXIS, IS A RELIC OF A DEAD AGE. AN AGE DEAD BECAUSE OF YOU, ARKARIXUS. YOU ABANDONED THEM, AND ME. YOU FLED. I ALONE SAVED BOREALIS.
- Arkarixus - You... You call this madness "saving" Borealis?!
- Regnatus - THE ONLY OTHER CHOICE WAS COMPLETE GROX DOMINATION. NOW WE SEE HOW YOUR SLUMBER ENDED; YOU LEAD AN ARMY OF PRIMITIVES AND OUTSIDERS WHO CARE NOTHING FOR THE LEGACY OF THE KORMACVAR, IN A HOPELESS BATTLE. YOU ARE FATED TO LOSE.
- Arkarixus - You dare call this the Kormacvar's legacy?
Arkarixus was enveloped in a green aura which rivalled that of the ethereal Regnatus and charged at him, with the two exchanging a flurry of blows at one another which shook the foundations of the chamber.
- Arkarixus - You dare claim Borealis as your own when you seek to enslave it?
The Warmaster delivered a strike at the ethereal being's head, causing Regnatus to growl as Mirras III's own head was briefly seen under the red aura before it regrew over him once again.
- Arkarixus - You dare name the Head Caretaker and our mother in vain?!
Arkarixus struck once again, though Regnatus proved equally ferocious. In this physical avatar, the two were matched, though while Arkarixus was overcome with rage, Regnatus was calm. When he saw an opening in his foe's blows, Regnatus thrust an ethereal arm through Arkarixus' torso, creating a hole through it and causing the Kormacvar to cought out blood. The voices of both the Grox King and the mad Kormacvar god begun overlapping.
- Mirras III - Your mission is at an end!
- Regnatus - REGNATUS IS ETERNAL. REGNATUS IS INFINITE.
- Mirras III - A new era is soon to rise in this universe!
- Regnatus - AND YOU DO NOT HAVE A PLACE IN IT, BROTHER.
The monstrous mix of Mirras and Regnatus then struck at Arkarixus' head, causing one of his head's horns to break and be flung away into the distance as the Kormacvar fell to the ground. The bled profusely as he struggled to get back to his feet, only for Regnatus to allow Mirras III to break free of the aura around him and personally punch down at the Kormacvar's head, sending him down again. The Grox launched gleefully while the ethereal force around him stomped down on Arkarixus.
- Mirras III - It must feel humiliating, does it not? Broken and battered by a mere Grox!
- Regnatus - REALIZING THE FAILURE OF YOUR EXISTENCE BY MY HANDS.
- Mirras III - We do have to thank you, though. You brought this galaxy's greatest 'champions' to us yourself.
- Regnatus - ONCE I HAVE ENDED THEM, I WILL USE THE GRID TO DEACTIVATE THE COLD RELAYS. THE GALAXY WILL BE STRANDED. DEFENSELESS.
- Mirras III - Ripe to be consumed, and to learn the truth of it all!
- Regnatus - THE TRUTH THAT IS REGNATUS.
Arkarixus seemed to stop moving under them, causing Mirras III's twisted grin to grow larger.
But then, he rose up.
With all the strength he could muster, Arkarixus unleashed a blast of energy which knocked the ethereal Regnatus away back to the throne with a powerful collision. Arkarixus' aura burned enough that his own flesh started to flicker and decay, and he grit his teeth in rage as he flew over to the throne and threw his arms into Mirras III and Regnatus's combined body, his energies searing through the red aura until he grabbed the Grox King by his head.
- Mirras III - W-What?! What is this?!
- Regnatus - NO. STOP.
- Arkarixus - Whatever it is you are... How dare you use my brother's name in vain?
The red aura flickered away, leaving Mirras III exposed as Arkarixus clenched into his head and poured his energies into him. The Grox King begun to scream as he was burned from the inside, and as he felt it, the entire dreadnought shook in response as Regnatus himself felt it too - it seemed the deep connection between Regnatus and Mirras III meant that harming one would harm the other. However, the deranged god fought back, his own energies sprouting back to life and searing through Arkarixus' flesh as he continued to crush Mirras III's head in his grasp.
- Regnatus - YOU FOOL. WHAT ARE YOU DOING!
- Arkarixus - ... Bringing peace to the Kormacvar.
- Regnatus - NO!!
Pouring all of his power into the Grox, Arkarixus roared as they both were consumed in an explosion of radiant energies.
The fleet was in shambles, with only a trace of its original numbers left as Regnatus continued to blast them down like nothing. As he was about to, however, they watched as the monstrous dreadnought suddenly stopped in his tracks and let out a terrible roar as his body begun to tremble and writhe in what looked like agony. They were confused as they watched Regnatus' shields disappear, leaving him completely exposed as he begun to scream. As Vekaron and Asraels both watched the scene unfold, they realized what had happened.
- Vekaron - His defenses are down... He's vulnerable!
- Asraels - By the ancestors... the Warmaster actually did it.
- Falrik Zaarkhun - Excellent! Time to bring out the big guns! Volim!
- Volim - Fire! FIRE! END THIS THING'S EXISTENCE!
- Vyutrin - All ships, unleash orbital bombardment on that thing before it recovers!
- Xeron - Give it all you got! All of it!
- Apalos - All weapons deployed.
- Grak'tona - TIME TA RECLAIM MA RITEFUL THRONE!!!!!!!!
- Fre'kloar - oh ma dayz SHUT DA HELL UP. FIRE ALL DA GUNZ!!!!!!!!
- Olcinius - Engaging! Quickly!
- Venoriel - All remaining ships. Time for payback.
- Trastius - Honor to the Warmaster. Fire all weapons.
As the fleets prepared to engage, a Unified Nation of Ottzello warship appeared. Though far smaller than the Omega Commander, it appeared that all UNOL members had successfully evacuated to it, with the help of the Vague. Dakster stood alongside Tuolog, who led the charge of the remaining ships.
- Tuolog - For Kaltogo... my father... And for Arkarixus and the Mechanic, my friends. Fire!!!!!
The remnant of the fleet unleashed all of their greatest weapons upon Regnatus, enough firepower to reduce a planet to nothing within instants, and even the monstrous dreadnought endured the blows with screams of pain until his colossal hull begun to crack under the pressuve. After many nerve-wracking moments, they watched Regnatus let out one final scream as his body blew apart violently, like a miniature supernova, obliterating any ship unlucky enough to be close. They watched his pitch dark pieces being flung across the star system, many falling directly into the star, while others disappeared entirely in the vacuum of space.
They watched as they killed a god.
As Regnatus was destroyed, roars of victory begun echoing across the fleet, soldiers hugging one another in relief while the quarantine formed around the area died out along with its creator. In the bridge of the Zoles flagship, even Vekaron and Asraels, who never really got along much, embraced one another, though they would quickly let go and cough in mild discomfort. Xeron and his men rose their arms and screeched a victorious battlecry, while Captain Vyutrin let out a sigh of relief and broke a sweat. In the Iron Fist, Volim clenched his throne's arms as he let out a delighted laughter, one of both contentment and sadism as he took immense pleasure in ending Regnatus' existence, while Zaarkhun himself simply sat back with a huge grin on his face, feeling an immense sense of pride as he received several congratulatory messages from nearby PMCs. In the Propa Big Rogue Krooza, the Leedas all cheered and tossed pizza in the air, many of them pulling out party hats, and even Rel'larutina joined in on the fun, cheering with them all in delight and with an unusual sense of pride in her allies.
On the UNO warship, the Leaders all huddled together in relief, and put their arms together in an Ottzelloan gesture of unity, resembling the moment when they had first won the Third Ottzello Galactic War and later the Second War of Black Fog. As each of them, including Thylaxiz, then jumped up and down in joy, they noticed a sense of sadness in Tuolog as they all returned to their stations. Tuolog appeared to look out through a window to where Kaltogo had fallen, and then back towards the ruins of Regnatus. Yogtam went over to console him, his look of glee changing to a solemn look of solidarity, as he knelt behind Tuolog. He could sense in Tuolog that he seemed extremely moved by the events, in a way he'd never been before.
- Yogtam - We lost three great men today. But we lost them for a worthy cause. So that this galaxy may live in peace.
- Tuolog - ... I knew little about my father. I make it through most of my life without knowing him. Then I learn he fought in great wars thousands of years ago, that he rule a powerful force of Blyro'Tralzica that control the greatest fleet that the universe ever seen, and I suddenly feel as if I lost something important in my life. As if there is now a void where there never was one. My father was truly a man I never live up to. And for Arkarixus and the Mechanic to give their life to this galaxy, so many years after their prime, for another generation to inherit it... I not comprehend it.
As the fleet calmed down from commemorating, soon all the empires begun contacting one another. Their feelings, albeit positive, still had some apprehension for the gargantuan loss of life they had experienced today.
- Vekaron - This was a costly victory. I don't think Borealis has ever seen so much death in all of its history... since the time of the Kormacvar.
- Dakster - My people witnessed it firsthand. And here, we witnessed it again.
- Trastius - We cannot find any traces of the Warmaster. It seems confirmed that he was... consumed by the final explosion.
- Tuolog - Arkarixus gave life for a future generation to inherit what the Kormacvar built. It now our responsibility to make him proud.
- Fre'kloar - man i cant beleev dat geeza is akshully ded. at dis point i was convinced he was unkillabul
- Falrik Zaarkhun - Hm, I remain suspicious. But, nonetheless, I think we should congratulate one another on our performance today. And especially pay tribute to those who died to make this happen.
- Tuolog - Including Kaltogo, my father.
- Volim - Hmpf. Credit where it's due. You have done well today, "Alliance".
- Vyutrin - This was just like the fight with Shu'rimrodir too! Trapped in another dimension, totally hopeless, until the giant enemy got blown from inside out! Though, I'm not sure which one I'd consider more frightening between the two.
- Tuolog - There now a question of what happen to the Kormacvar technology. With no Kormacvar or Head Caretaker alive, someone need pass on their legacy. I nominate Trastius.
- Trastius - I am but a military commander. If the Seagon are to inherit the will of the Kormacvar, then the... leaders of my people must decide it among themselves.
- Volim - You never did tell us who your new boss is, Seagon.
- Trastius - You do not deserve that knowledge, Wranploer.
- Falrik Zaarkhun - No matter, he'll have it soon enough...
The Fate of the Grox
At this moment, however, the Leaders of the Unified Nation noticed a soft golden glow behind them. As they turned around, they saw a golden orb floating behind them, before it then changed shape and, before their eyes, a pair of individuals now laid there; it was Arkarixus with the Mechanic on top of him, both seemingly knocked out cold. Each of the Leaders turned to one another in shock, and then looked towards Thylaxiz.
- Commander-King Thylaxiz - Confirmed. Their biological scan matches. This is no trick.
- Kralgon Emperor - But... how?! That explosion would've reduced them to nothing!
- Tuolog - Yes, yes it would. But not if they disable the pocket dimension technology first. If they did so, they able to use Essence to escape.
- Dalverat - No, I don't think that is the case, Tuolog. I feel a greater presence in the air, and it is not Kolossus.
- Tuolog - You mean...
- Dalverat - I believe we may have just witnessed a miracle.
Coming from the same portal, Volzara appeared before them once again. As she did, a bright glow eminated across the entire chamber. Even those witnessing this on a hologram felt her presence.
- Volzara - These brave men gave their lives for the galaxy, a galaxy my children will inherit. I cannot simply let this go unappreciated. I have restored them to the moment before they engaged on Regnatus.
- Trastius - The Warmaster... is restored!
- Vekaron - Heh... That guy really won't ever die, huh.
- Volzara - Normally, I am forbidden from such an intervention. But if Kolossus can exploit loopholes, then so can I. Arkarixus and the Mechanic's deaths occurred outside the fifth dimension, due to Regnatus' technology. Therefore, their deaths are an unrecorded anomaly. I am simply correcting this error by bringing them back.
- Tuolog - Hehe. Well thought.
Arkarixus groaned as he regained his senses, throwing the Mechanic off of him as he struggled to get on his feet, bringing a hand to his head as if he had a headache.
- Arkarixus - Ugh... I had a terrible nightmare. I was surrounded by primitives, and my brother led the Grox...
- Volzara - What you witnessed was no nightmare, Warmaster.
- Arkarixus - ... The goddess! Now my memories return to me. But, I should be fighting Regnatus, not speaking to you right now!
- Volzara - There's no need. You already fought him. And you won.
Arkarixus blinked in confusion, before turning to a window in order to look outside; he could easily see the colossal body of Regnatus destroyed and rendered into pieces.
- Arkarixus - It... would seem I did. Though I cannot remember how I did it.
- The Mechanic - Yeah! We saved the universe!
- Arkarixus - Hm. At the very least, I now know Regnatus will rest with the rest of our kin, his rage finally brought down. This victory... brings me no joy.
- The Mechanic - Hey, c'mon! The Kormacvar legacy can now live on properly, without it being corrupted anymore, their ancient enemy in the Grox is defeated, and this little Time Lady brought us back to life to thank us! What's not to like? Uh, sorry, what's your name again?
- Arkarixus - Respect the goddess, Merakinus. You stand before the Lady of Time.
- Volzara - Hehe. I'm Volzara, Merakinus.
The Mechanic's cheerful face turned to one of shock as his jaw dropped to the floor, and he stumbled over himself to bow towards her, even falling to the floor as he did. Volzara simply chuckled a little, as he tried to get back up.
- The Mechanic - Goddess of Time! I'm so sorry! I didn't mean to forg-
- Volzara - There is no need to fret. You saved my children, and carved out a new timeline that I wasn't sure was possible: a timeline in which the galaxy survives. I cannot thank you enough for that.
- The Mechanic - Uh, gee, well uh, I'm really honored, your godliness, Valz-eer-ee-a-ahhh-whatever you're called... sorry, I'm not good with names! Say, speaking of names... Arkarixus, you remembered mine?
- Arkarixus - I have always known your name, Merakinus. ... But I never truly felt like referring to you by it. Until now.
- The Mechanic - Gee, first your senpai notices you, then the Goddess of Time herself does... what a day!
- Arkarixus - Though I feel you do not use the name in this era. What should I refer to you as? Head Caretaker? Or something else?
The Mechanic was shocked by the question. He stumbled a little over his words, unsure what to do. Typically, he'd never in his life been paid this much respect by any Kormacvar, let alone one who until now had despised him. As he thought for a minute, he then stopped, knowing no other name would suffice:
- The Mechanic - You can call me what the galaxy refers to me as these days: "The Mechanic"! The Mechanic of Borealis!
- Arkarixus - Hm. It is a simple title. But so be it.
- Volzara - And, though it is not my business to speak on Kormacvar matters, I do believe that you now need someone to restore and watch over the Grid, no?
At this moment, a hologram of Apalos joined the conference.
- Apalos - We have confirmation that the Grox appear to have gone mindless with the destruction of Regnatus. They simply stand in place, as if lacking any direction.
- Volim - Well, good! That means we can just exterminate them all while they can't fight back!
- Fre'kloar - eh kinda sounds like borin if dey dont fite but i guess deyd make good lunch???
- Arkarixus - ... Hm. No. There is another option.
- Volim - Ugh. Wish you'd have just stayed dead...
- Arkarixus - Regnatus claimed he imposed his mind on the Grox when he took control over the Grid. If another was to take his place, they could use it to control the Grox... Pacify them.
- The Mechanic - Pfft, like anyone of us is worthy of taking over the Grid! I mean, other than you, of course.
- Arkarixus - Well... Normally I would offer myself to such a role.
- Volim - Never! Last thing we need is another mad Kormacvar trying and take over my galaxy!
- Grak'tona - YEH DONT TOUCH MA THRONE. PUT ME IN CHARGE IM DA MOST QUALIFIED. I WON ALL DA CHESS GAMES I TOOK PART IN
- Ray'loth - man ya play chess????? dats geeky
- Grak'tona - ITS DA GAME OF KINGS. YOO WULDNT UNDASTAND PLEB
Arkarixus turned over to the Mechanic with a surprisingly warm smile on his face.
- Arkarixus - However, it seems I am needed in this Polar Crystal Alliance for the foreseeable future. And having control over the Grid would make taking care of the Cold Relays much easier, surely.
- The Mechanic - Yeah, agreed! Wish we could find someone who cou-... huh?
- Arkarixus - You, "Mechanic". You should take Regnatus' place in the Grid.
- Tuolog - Agreed. The honor should go to you. And I know you for long enough to know you do a good job at this.
- Volzara - For what it's worth, you have my approval too.
The Mechanic took a few moments to take it in. First he just chuckled a little, thinking they were joking, but then he looked around and realized they were serious. His face lit up with delight as he slowly realized it.
- The Mechanic - I'm gonna take care of the Grid?
And then, he leapt up for joy, and began cheering.
- The Mechanic - I'm gonna take care of the Grid! Yeah! Yeah, I'll do it! You won't regret this, Warmaster! Or you, God Lady Vulzina! Or you, Tuolog, my old buddy! Thank you!
- Arkarixus - If Regnatus could use the Grid to enslave the Grox and all of my people's creations, then perhaps you may be able to do something similar... You may be able to grant your fellow Caretakers minds of their own.
- The Mechanic - Don't you worry, I won't be doing anything evil with this power! It's not who I am! But, yeah, I like the idea of the other Caretakers being capable of independent thought...
- Volim - Bah! So instead of the Kormacvar, we have a Kormacvar sympathizer!
- The Mechanic - Watch out, Wranploer! I'm gonna be in charge of the Grid! Just watch yourself around me! Hahaha, no one can talk down to me now!
- Arkarixus - ... Do not overdo it, Head Caretaker.
- The Mechanic - Ah, relax, it'll be fine! I won't use my powers for bad. In fact, here's the deal: I'm not gonna get involved in galactic politics at all! Nuh-uh, bad idea! I won't do it! The Grid and the Cold Relays and everything the Kormacvar built was built to be inherited by those who dwell in the galaxy. It belongs to all of us! No politics about it. So, sorry, but if you ain't a galactic threat from the outside, I ain't turnin' a gun on ya. How about that?
- Arkarixus - An acceptable compromise.
- Vekaron - Sounds fair to me.
- Volim - Hmpf. I don't believe it for a second.
- Falrik Zaarkhun - I never believe would-be gods, but, I know to choose which hill to die on. So, I accept it.
- Fre'kloar - i lost trak of da convo so sur do wateva yor on bout
- Tuolog - Needless to say, the Unified Nation trusts your judgement.
- Zr'Ahgloth - I DONT. wait wats da question? i just wanted to object fer da sake of it lol
- Arkarixus - Very well then. I would suggest the rest of the fleet depart back to their homes and relay news of our victory, though I will ask UNOL to take us to the Galactic Core. That is where the core of the Grid lies.
- Volzara - Yes, my children will help the Mechanic be installed, and then return to the Ottzello Sector to heal. You have all done very well today.
With their mission fulfilled, the badly damaged and barely surviving Galactic Fleet proceeded to retreat, in order to relay news of their great victory and heal from their wounds, while UNO's warship made its way to the Galactic Core. Volzara made her escape, returning through the portal from whence she came, though a feeling of great power did not vanish with her. Rather, it was replaced an evil force as a pair of familiar entities took her place; Kolossus and Antagonar. The former held on his own chest in evident pain, several of his horns broken and his body appearing to have been almost entirely burned to a crisp as he frowned.
- Kolossus - Good riddance.
- Antagonar - Ah, so you were successful, then! And now things get interesting!
- Kolossus - No thanks to you, of course.
- Antagonar - True. But unfortunately, Regnatus has no noteworthy weapons worth adding to my collection, so I'd no interest in the battle.
- Zr'Ahgloth - oh is dis da part wher ya show up and taunt us
- Antagonar - The Loron catches on quick! Yes, this is that part indeed!
- Kolossus - Antagonar can taunt all he wants. I am here to relish in the death of that would-be god.
- Tuolog - With Regnatus gone, we have the whole power of the Grid to use against your time anomalies. You make mistake helping us. Your time is up soon.
- Kolossus - Then it should be telling... I considered Regnatus a much greater threat than you.
- Antagonar - Ah, the greatest of all insults: to insult one's skills at combat is to reduce them to little! Of course, here, the warriors of Borealis stood together, arm in arm, against a common foe. But I suspect that will be short-lived!
- Kolossus - Indeed. This galaxy exists only to kill itself. Over, and over, and over again.
- Falrik Zaarkhun - Begone, gods! We just demonstrated that we can kill one of your kind. If you know what's good for you, you won't want to be next on the list!
- Kolossus - Hah! You are the most amusing of them all, Zaarkhun. I will take great pleasure in watching you.
- Antagonar - So will I! Say, your pistols are pretty rare. Wouldn't mind adding them to my collection!
- Hagto'Zhl - YO DAD AN DADS FREND I AINT GONNA KILL YOO REGARDLESS OF WAT DESE LOSAS FINK SO DONT WORRY
- Antagonar - Ah, we're not worried. We won't be the ones to kill them. They will kill each other!
- Kolossus - Time passes, yet history repeats itself. This galaxy will never be anything but a dystopian hellhole. And I quite like it that way.
- Antagonar - As do I! Conflicts are always fun to watch! Kolossus still owes me a sword for that time I won the bet against him that you'd defeat the Seagon in this timeline without being destroyed! Fairwell, Borealis! See you soon! Hasta la bye bye!
The two Vyro'Ralza laughed and then disappeared once again.
- Zr'Ahgloth - man bein zargoth must sukk. imagine havin dese two idiots talkin ya eers off ALL DAY
- Yogtam - Somehow I don't think it bothers him. He doesn't feel anything, after all.
- Arkarixus - ... Well, now that this tirade is over with, it is time to enter the core.
- Dakster - Yes. I, too, will help with the transition. And the Vague will always be here to help protect the legacy that the Mechanic watches over.
- Jol'kiar - YOOOO GOOD STUFF FOLKS WE GOT DA BLU ENDING
- Voa'reak - i fout yoo was always bout a green one?
- Jol'kiar - da green endin suks wivout da dlc
The UNO warship traveled to the Galactic Core, which seemed like a supermassive black hole, though as they approached their ship was connected to a tral of blazing red energies; just like a Cold Relay, though much more powerful. It was launched through subspace in a much more vivid manner than a common Cold Relay, until the ship found itself in a nebulous and dimly lit dimension, where a docking bay allowed them to enter a massive facility; the core of the Grid itself.
As they walked through its extremely pristine walls, surrounding by technology not even Arkarixus and the Mechanic had a full grasp on, they arrived to a larger chamber where a console-like mechanism lied. And lying on top of this console were skeletal remains which clearly took the form of a Kormacvar. The Warmaster bit his lip at the sight as he realized what they were.
- Arkarixus - Regnatus' remains... Before he became that.
- The Mechanic - Yeah. I don't think they deserve a proper burial though.
- Arkarixus - ... I do. He may have gone mad, but he was still my brother. I will take these bones with me.
- The Mechanic - Understood. We can do that, then.
- Arkarixus - You need not worry about it, though I would like to ask you. Once you assume control of the Grid... Use your resources to restore Viniaris to what it was.
The Mechanic nodded, and saluted.
- The Mechanic - Yes, sir. That'll be the first thing I do!
- Arkarixus - Now... I have never been here. In fact, I am sure Regnatus was one of the only beings to ever set foot in this place. So I do not know what exactly must be done now.
- The Mechanic - Don't suppose any of the Vague have the souls of someone who did this before?
Dakster put a hand in his chin in contemplation for a moment, before responding.
- Dakster - You are in luck. There is exactly one Vague whose Kormacvar soul descends from a scientist who worked here. He has relayed the information to me through fourth-dimensional telepathy.
- The Mechanic - Perfect! Then let's do this!
Arkarixus took Regnatus' remains out of the console, while Dakster instructed the Mechanic to stand before it. He then begun typing at it, revealing various monitors with warnings of danger and that they were going through unauthorized protocols.
- Dakster - Given what my fellow Vague says, this entire procedure was once devised by an old Kormacvar Emperor in a bid to become a god. It was all done in secret and it ended up with him disappearing... Punished by the Vyro'Narza for his hubris. It's a good thing you have Volzara's blessing.
- The Mechanic - Course it was... Makes sense. Regnatus had to hide himself from the fifth dimension before he could get away with doing it himself. I bet another past emperor started that technology that Regnatus finished for this purpose.
- Dakster - Indeed. Now, I must ask you to place your hands in the console and focus your mind and your energy upon it. Your soul will leave your body and will be sent to the core of the Grid. But beware, if you break your concentration, you will simply just die.
- The Mechanic - Focus my mind... Don't let this thing kill me... Stay concentrated on the goal in front of me... Yeah, I got this. I'm ready!
- Arkarixus - It would seem this is not exactly a safe procedure.
- Dakster - Not at all. Hence why it is forbidden. Most who tried simply died.
- Zr'Ahgloth - lol yeah no pressur at all yo
- The Mechanic - I got this. Let's do it! Before I, uh, change my mind and freak out...
The Mechanic did as instructed, putting his hands in the console and concentrating. Letting out deep breaths to calm himself, he felt the power of the Grid course through his fingertips; it hurt, though he struggled to remain composed. While it seemed like nothing was happening at first, soon the others noticed a radiant aura beginning to envelop the Caretaker until it suddenly ceased, and he fell over, lifeless.
Arkarixus' eyes widened at the sight, while Dakster too appeared apprehensive; had they done something wrong? Had the Mechanic lost his cool? Tuolog too grew worried; the nature of this place did not allow him to simply see the future to tell if the Mechanic had failed or not. Though they would then notice the room lighten up as a powerful glow manifested; a radiant sphere of pure energy manifested on top of the console. And then it spoke.
- ??? - MUHAHAHAHHA... MUHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!! YOU WHO HAVE AWAKENED MY SLUMBER, I AM NOW BECOME DOOMBRINGER, DESTROYER OF UNIVERSES!!!!! AND WITH THIS GREAT POWER, I WILL TURN THE GRID ON THE FIRST GIGAQUADRANT AND SLAY ALL!!!!!!!!
- Arkarixus - ... You have got to be kidding.
- Zr'Ahgloth - YO HES DOIN DA FONT FING JOLKIAR MENSHONED IM SCARED
After it finished speaking, the voice calmed itself, and they could hear the Mechanic's normal voice.
- The Mechanic - Ah, just pulling yer leg. But yeah, this thing is... woah, this is really cool!
- Tuolog - You had me worried for a moment, heh!
- Dakster - Please... don't do that again.
- Arkarixus - Be lucky you are now incorporeal or I would strangle you.
- The Mechanic - Ah, relax, I was only kidding! I swear by my word. From now on, I protect Borealis from outside threats, and nothing else! No galactic politics for me, no plans for universal domination, no sir! And with that out of the way... Arkarixus, let's get started on restoring Floridarixis!
- Arkarixus - ... If there would be any place with information on her genetic material, it would be the Grid.
- Zr'Ahgloth - oi so lemme get dis straight. arks mom, whos also da mekkas sista, is a TREE???
- The Mechanic - ...Ehhhh, yeah, it's complicated kid. Don't think about it too hard.
- Kralgon Emperor - Think about it, however. You now have control over the Grox. They would make a capable army.
- Arkarixus - I mentioned pacifying them but... Using them to defend Borealis? ... As a Warmaster, I find the very thought revolting, but at the same time, the irony does not escape me.
- The Mechanic - Yep, that's a great idea! Hahaha! Kolossus and Antagonar are gonna be sorry they missed with this Caretaker! Directing all Grox to fight those time anomalies! Dakster, you and your team can rest easy for a little bit!
- Dakster - Perhaps so... Huh. Our Kormacvar souls are quite disturbed at the thought of fighting by the side of the Grox. Yet, this is where fate has led us.
- Tuolog - Universe full of surprises.
- Zr'Ahgloth - well idunno bout yoo but im nao gonna sleep fer a yeer
- Arkarixus - ... Some rest would do me well. Dying is tiresome.
- The Mechanic - Hate to break it to ya, kid, but ain't no time to slack off. At least, not for too long. We've still got Zargoth to worry about!
- Arkarixus - Indeed. Let them know that the true Kormacvar Legacy now watches over Borealis.
- The Mechanic - Aw, hell yeah! No one's gonna talk down to this Caretaker again!