Jump to content

Search the Community

Showing results for tags 'aether'.



More search options

  • Search By Tags

    Type tags separated by commas.
  • Search By Author

Content Type


Forums

  • Starting Zone
    • Rules & Announcements
    • The Arkship Pub
    • Novark's Organization Registry
    • General Discussions
    • Off Topic Discussions
  • Ideas & Gameplay discussions
    • Idea Box
    • The Builder's Corner
    • The Gameplay Mechanics Assembly
    • DevBlog Feedback
  • Fan Art, Fan Fictions & Roleplay
    • Novark Agora
    • Novark Archives
    • Novark Art Gallery

Find results in...

Find results that contain...


Date Created

  • Start

    End


Last Updated

  • Start

    End


Filter by number of...

Joined

  • Start

    End


Group


AIM


MSN


Website URL


ICQ


Yahoo


Jabber


Skype


Location:


Interests


backer_title


Alpha 1

Found 10 results

  1. Outpost Zebra It has been a labour of love, it has. For weeks, a dedicated team worked tirelessly to achieve a goal. A goal not driven by the reward of money or the promise of fame; a goal unaltered by difficulties and undimmed by rumours. That goal, my friends, is Outpost Zebra. This humble Outpost has no other purpose, but to spread the news of Dual Universe far and wide, to provide a platform for interaction between organisations and players alike. Consider it a home away from home, the figurative middle ground where parties on both sides of the spectrum meet to discuss events, share ideas, express opinions, promote their interests, find new friends…recruit new members. In the words of Falstaf: Today, that idea has finally taken form. Aided by the ever ready help of ATMLVE, the skill of Epidemic, the expertise of Kael and the knowledge of Anonymous, and the quiet support from members of this Community, Falstaf’s dream of the platform for ideas and opinions to be shared has come true. “Oz”, as we affectionately call it, is still in its infancy. It will mature in due time, and grow greater than many believe it can. However, for that to happen, Oz will need your patronage and your help. Its goal is not to replace the Dual Universe Forums. No. That is neither our plan nor its purpose. Its goal is to complement the Forums, reach a wider audience, provide a place where conflicts are set aside and new ideas are birthed over jokes, galleries, articles, stories and media. Outpost Zebra is a vantage point, looking over Dual Universe and bringing its best to you without the need to login and play. Hopefully, it will convince thousands that Dual Universe is a life worth living. It’s online now – the Outpost is active. Cheers. Twitter: https://twitter.com/Outpost_Zebra Website: http://www.outpostzebra.com/
  2. Greetings all, and welcome to Lazarus. Regards, Devious_T Lazarus-Prologue.pdf
  3. Founding an Economic Religion But, what is religion, you fanatics? Your excuse to lie, kill, rape and destroy? You are but fools that learned to play with tricks. Your religion is naught but a failed ploy. Religions are nothing but tools for fear, Means for harmony and forced self-restraint. Abandon the burden that it makes you bear! For none will rely on the strength of the faint Chronicles of the Arelians 54:4-7. “That’s what he wanted you for?” Kurotou mused, as the AI-controlled Nightelf’s seat secured him. Kael looked visibly confused. “I thought it’d be something serious…but every one of his questions centred around games!” “Satoru’s never serious. Don’t let it bother you—except when he’s holding a gun.” Kael nodded grimly and let the co-pilot’s seat secure him as well. The Command from the Air Control Centre came over the radio: “V-4, 90˚ lift.” With a tap, the vehicle rose into the sky, turning towards the Novark and racing off. “People died the last time Oethe went there. Why in the world is he sending us back there?” Kurotou shrugged. “The kid’s crazy, but I’d rather die facing the enemy than facing Satoru’s antics. He put poison in my water and claimed he was probing if I was worth the job! The farther away from him, the better.” Kael shuddered and looked back at the ten Oethe soldiers clad in the black and heavy combat uniform Oethe reserved for special operations. “This time, we’re prepared, don’t you think?” Kurotou smiled. “Black’s the new red.” He looked to the left and gave the accompanying Nightelf a thumbs up. The Nightelves had been refitted for optimal sensory performance and ungodly maximum damage. If anything so much as showed up as hostile, it would be smoking powder in a matter of seconds. A small hologram of Satoru appeared on the control panel. “Hello! Hi, Kael! First, of all, good luck: you’ll need it!” Kael gave him a restrained wave. “Satoru, what’s up?” He smiled mischievously. Well it was meant to be a smile, but it made Kurotou’s hair stand on end. Crap. “I’m declaring myself the Eon of the Aether.” Were it not for the fact that rolling the eyes was something exclusively reserved for women, Kurotou would have. “Congratulations. What is the Aether?” He smiled again, making Kurotou’s hair stand for the second time. “Not what. “Who” is the question you should be asking.” Kurotou gritted his teeth, even as the boy waited for him to ask the question the right way. Kael saved him the embarrassment. “Who is the Aether, Satoru?” “A-ha! I knew you were wondering, but I’m getting tired of talking, so I’ll skip that part and move on to the next thing I want to tell you.” Kael smacked his fore-head with his palm. “I reviewed the potential economy of the Aether with Shiro and Kuro. Guess what?” “You--” Kurotou started before Satoru cut him off. “I’m short on time. We stand to gain a lot from industry and research, given the potential market within Theia and the massive one surrounding the Ark ship.” Kael didn’t say a word, so Kurotou kept quiet and let Satoru continue. “However, research shows that people are more likely to work efficiently under certain guidance…Religious guidance to instil fear and discipline within the concerned populace.” Kael laughed out loud. “So you’re founding an economical religion and proclaiming yourself Lord and Saviour?!” Then, he paused and looked at the hologram grimly. “You’re crazy.” Satoru’s happy face darkened fifty shades. Kael shut up immediately. “I’m crazy, you piece of trash? Keep talking, someday you’ll say something intelligent.” A soldier wolf-whistled from the back. Kael made the wise choice and kept quiet. “Say something, Kael.” Satoru urged, seething with anger that seemed to come from nowhere. I’ve got to stop this kid from turning everyone against him… “Satoru, a thought crossed my mind--” “So, a thought crossed your mind? Must have been a long and lonely journey.” F**k you! “Watch your mouth, Satoru or I’ll put this mission in reverse.” He snickered. “Oh, please. You are proof that evolution can go in reverse.” All of a sudden, he started laughing playfully. Kurotou slammed the hologram and it shut down. Once it vanished, he breathed a hot sigh of relief and irritation. “Son of a b****!” He cursed and wiped his face. Kael looked at him, fury in his eyes. “Why do we obey what he says?” Kurotou glanced at him. “Gee…I don’t know. Perhaps, because I like walking around without a bullet in my skull?” Kael shrugged, obviously seeing the sense in that. “Who are Shiro and Kuro?” It was Kurotou’s turn to shrug. “Some people he always keeps ranting about. I’ve never met them.” Tense silence ensued for a few minutes, neither side wanting to discuss the insults received while the soldiers in the back preferred to silently let both of them burn in the humiliation. To ease the tension, a soldier started playing punk rock. Kurotou couldn’t tell he was mocking them or trying to help. “Where are we headed exactly?” One of the soldiers asked and put the heavy rifle to rest beside him. “To your deaths.” Kurotou’s head snapped back. At the same time, his hands came off the control panel and raised the pistol to his chest. Kael gritted his teeth. “Dammit, Mistral! What are you doing here?!” She cat-walked to the cockpit, slapping a leering soldier across the face. Io flanked her, knocking the same soldier with the butt of his rifle. “What else? I had to know what Satoru’s up to. Now I know: toying with your lives.” Kurotou kept one hand on the fire arm. I don’t like Satoru, but she is on another level entirely… “Welcome to the joy-ride, darling. Did you see the “abandon all hope, ye who enter” tag I sprayed on the Nightelf?” Kurotou asked, putting the firearm in its place. He heard her sigh. “Look. I value my friends more than some mentally challenged kid.” “I know two mentally challenged kids, darling and you’re one of them.” Kael scratched the back of his neck. “We’re barely one month on Alioth and political campaigns have started with the teens. This is bad.” He noted. Mistral got passionate. “This isn’t politics! I’m trying to make…” Kurotou subtly made sure that everyone except for Mistral and Io were strapped in. Then he rolled the aircraft. After hitting their heads against several hard things, there was some silence. “Oh, I’m sorry, darling! Were you saying something?” He heard Io’s rifle power up. Eight more emitted the same sound. Without a doubt, the real soldiers were challenging him to turn up the aggro. “Listen Io, I don’t care if we’re the same age or younger. What I do care about is that you have a nineteen-year-old girl leading you around like a mistress. Whatever happened to your soldier’s honour?” “It went with Eidolon and died with Satoru.” “Sheesh.” Kael busied himself with something that could have waited till later. I need some back up here, Kael! Mistral started talking…again. “What did he send you to do?” “Fasten your harness. Then we can talk.” Both complied and he continued. “Intelligence spotted some monoliths in a swamp not far from here. They--” “Intelligence? Whose Intelligence?” Io asked. Kael looked back. “Mistral’s, of course.” Kurotou could tell that the girl shook her head. “I didn’t send any Intelligence to any swamps.” “No soldiers have gone scouting either for two days.” A soldier named Skellarts added. How did that Satoru know that there were monoliths in a swamp anyway? “Am I the only one who gets the feeling that we’re being played here?” Mistral asked. Kurotou nodded. “Yes, you are. Whether or not Intelligence came here is irrelevant. What matters is that we find out what these monoliths are and— “ A hostile light lit up on the control panel. “I’ve got a bogie!” However, before either aircraft could engage the opponent, the hostile vehicle inexplicably blew up. He cursed. Once again, Mistral had something to say. “Great! Now an offensive aircraft blew up. You know what that means?” Kurotou was getting pretty irritated at her constant bickering, so he chose not to answer. Unfortunately, Skellarts didn’t catch the hint. “You tell me.” “We’ve let everyone know we are in the area. I think Satoru set us up. I mean: The Lhaeryon is here,” Kurotou shrugged. “The Birzai is here as well.” Kael sarcastically clapped for her. “Wait a minute…so am I.” Kael stopped clapping. Then it dawned on Kurotou, even as several enemy crafts came into view. “The bastard set us up…”
  4. The Founding Fathers Political Science Ye fail to recall our hard earned triumph. Faded from your minds is the Vale of Blood! Men of no faith that tremble at the Nymph, How can ye with war, defeat the Horde? Ye will all perish, slaughtered at their hands! Come, preserve your lives and conquer your foes, Listen to me, and you will keep your lands. Ye are naught but, weak and that your foe knows. Give yourselves to him and beg for his grace, Please him before you bring death to his face. 3 Acts of the Lambent Chapter 14: 22-23. The Kalnian Books. Mercifully, it did. Once I got back to Olympus Ariana—I hate that name…I wished my sleep had lasted longer. I am not and never will be a religious person, but I do recall something about the Devil never sleeping. Looking at what Eidolon and Mistral had achieved in eighteen hours, I just might qualify for the post of a demon hunter. It was nothing short of a hostile takeover and Devil Eidolon was pushing the limits of “takeover”. Of course, the title of an exorcist would be the next thing I would aim for. Metal shouldn’t have a soul anyway. I was summoned to an emergency meeting that Shiro had to drag me to. Who summoned me? Eidolon the Devil and Mistral its right hand demon. “But, I don’t want to go…” I whined. “If you don’t go, she’ll take your place. You want that?” She whispered quietly as a few people passed us on the stairs. “I couldn’t care less.” I muttered under my breath. She stopped climbing the stairs and looked down at me. There is no living thing that can survive a thirty-second stare battle with Shiro and hold its will. “Fine. I’ll go.” Shiro moved aside and let me pass. “Don’t do anything stupid in there.” She cautioned me with a smile. “I’ll be a good boy.” I retorted with just enough sarcasm in my voice to make her roll her eyes. Four guards stood at the door, looking like wilted cactuses. Nonchalantly, I passed by them and opened the doors by myself. The revolting sight of thirty-eight people around a black marble conference table with Eidolon at the head made me gag. Dear heavens. The devil has returned… “Welcome, Satoru. We didn’t think you’d come.” Mistral said with a smile that would have made Dracula’s blood freeze. “...and he’s brought demons with him this time.” I announced. “What are you talking about?” Hartmut asked, trying to read my mind. I acknowledged his curiosity by returning his gaze and his interest vanished as he looked at the table like it was a work of art. At least he isn’t possessed. Mistral pointed at the seat opposite Eidolon. “Care to sit?” “Nope.” I said and stood at the door. A man with an egg for a head, yawned and asked: “Why?” I grinned at his reflective scalp. “I’m glad you care so much about my comfort. Tell me, do you rub oil on that, or is it naturally that shiny?” From somewhere in the room, I heard Kurotou’s stifled chuckle. “Egghead’s” face turned red. “How dare you?!” I hushed him. “Eggs don’t talk much. They break easily under pressure.” He jumped to his feet with considerable effort. “You son of—“ Eidolon broke in. “That’s enough, both of you.” Egghead needs to cool down though. I don’t like boiled eggs… I took a glass of water and splashed it on his face. For a second, he was confused. Then, he went insane. “You bloody rat!” Sigh. He’s overheating now. With that amount of oil on his head, I wouldn’t mind scrambled eggs…. I walked over to the empty seat and closed my eyes, while the Devil tried to calm down Egghead. After five minutes of ranting and other members of the meeting throwing in their digressive personal opinions, the room became quiet again. Eidolon made the kind of sound humans do when they clear their throats. Only then did I open my eyes. “Now that that’s out of the way,” I glanced at the sizzling Egghead. “Mistral and I had this meeting called for an important reason. Satoru is unfit to be the Grand Architect and the recent events have proven that. We did him the courtesy of inviting him to the board meeting where the next Grand Architect will be chosen.” Nods and sounds of approval rose. I couldn’t help but smile. Shiro was right, after all. “Who is your candidate?” Kurotou asked. Mistral rose her hand. My smile widened on its own accord. Do smiles have souls? “What is funny?” A familiar voice asked from my left. Funny enough, Petrol-ski was part of the board meeting. “How can a smile have a soul? My smile keeps getting stronger with a will of its own.” I replied and leaned back. Eidolon wasn’t so sure. “Any objections?” I shook my head and whispers arose in the room. Kurotou had a confused look on his face. “None at all?” Eidolon asked, sensing some danger. I’ve got to give it to the AI. It really is perceptive. Kilo was shaking his head at me, warning me not to do anything I would regret. I don’t usually regret watching episodes of failed exorcisms. “User: Loki Torvald. Override firewall through port 5537. Eidolon, initiate and hold shut down. Block loop, count down thirty seconds, proceed. You know my voice.” They all looked confused, but I could feel Eidolon’s dark soul trembling. “What? How did you…?” “You didn’t think that I would let you run free without a back-up plan in case you did something stupid?” Its voice sounded angry, but I could detect a small hint of terror. “You can’t do this! I’m Eidolon AI. I am your advisor and the most important person here!” “Were.” I corrected, grinning. “You were the most important thing here. Until you cost me some sleep, yesterday. Ten seconds, AI. Want to do a quick virus scan?” It growled and I leaned towards the man on my left, acting as if I was going to whisper something into his ear. Eidolon flew at my head, just as the man moved towards mine. I will never forget the sound of metal hitting a human skull. The poor man fainted immediately and Eidolon looked perplexed for a moment, before the countdown expired and it shut down, dropping to the floor with a heavy thud. I used my foot to push the dead metal away and turned towards the silent people. Exorcism, successful. “I just killed the Devil. Any objections?” Some mouths were wide open; others were sealed shut. Some eyes were frozen, looking at Eidolon; others were full of fear, staring at me. I looked at Mistral and froze for a second. She was unfazed. The student becomes the master. The demon becomes the Devil. I gave her the best smile I could manage and turned to Petrol-ski. “Why are you here?” His confident composure had taken a serious blow. That much was obvious as he mouthed some inaudible words. I sighed. They are dumbstruck at the powerful dispossession; it would seem… “I can’t hear you…” I said in a sweet tone. He shuddered. “We…need to rally…our members. Allies…need to be forged.” I frowned. “What allies? You want to throw me out as well?” “No! I had no part in this!” “That’s what they all say. You are not a member of Oethe Inc., nor a person from Terra Ulterior. Eidolon was the reason you are in this room, as such you are its friend. That makes you my enemy.” The blood drained from his face, as I stretched out my hand towards Kilo and he handed me a polished pistol. “I came here, because I care for my people!” I grinned. “I’m sure you do.” And I pointed the gun at his chest. The man in him returned and he glared at me. “You can’t shoot me.” Kilo held his head in his hands and Hartmut closed his eyes. I fired, twice. His face froze and he looked like he died, before he realised that he was unharmed. “Say that again, and I will shoot you for real the next time. Now, I will send you with an ambassador. Politics is boring talk and we need to get your embattled people and the Earldom of Mercia clear on our conditions—whatever they are, anyway. Arkanos?” The young man on the far right answered. “Yes?” “You are the Menon for now.” Mistral spoke at last. “What is that?” “He’s in charge of politics. Did you not read the Kalnian Books?” Her smile faded as she realised where this was heading. “Thinking is burdensome, my dear. I prefer to live in the moment.” After thirty minutes of boring, unnecessary conversations, I screamed at them to shut their mouths up and leave. I hated talking with any person other than myself, Shiro, Kuro and Kilo (in that order), with the exception of a few old people. To be honest, I hated talking at all, and this board meeting had me completely pissed off. They left like a stampede, save for the unconscious man lying on the floor. “Kael.” I called and he froze at the door. “I need to talk with you about our research and development division. But first, Kurotou,” He looked in from outside as I signalled Kael to follow us. “Let’s walk. I need you to do me a favour…”
  5. The Founding Fathers: Intelligent Protection They rode from the East, Blazing fires in their eyes. Behind the white beast, The sound of a million cries. The Griffin charged forth, Leading the armies of Light. Deserts faced their wrath, Fertile lands—the triumph of their might. 3 Acts of the Lambent Chapter 1:29. The Kalnian Books. Five hours more or a lot worse could happen than me slaying every human in a ten-mile radius. On my “suggestion”, the Oethe Inc. flag had been lowered and placed as gravestone for the dead that fell from the sky. Eidolon could only glower and threaten as I casually threw his glittery toys into the mud and rain. “You seem so willing to court Death. The wedding will be in no time, Oru.” Shiro noted as we walked in the forest while it drizzled slightly. We enjoyed the musty spring smell, stepping over wet and slippery roots, soggy foliage, fallen trees and passing dead and budding stumps. Small trees swayed slightly with their leaves from side to side while the taller ones stood upright whispering and shaking their boughs and branches at whoever was beneath. The light, low drone of tiny droplets hitting leaves, wood and stone was an ambient sound track` on its own. The fierce, howling wind blew gusts of cold air through my shirt and trousers, tugging, pushing and blowing them wherever it wished. The grey sky overhead had lightened up a bit, but the different shades of grey that swirled and moved still looked heavy. “I see no problem with that. Where you thinking of marrying him yourself?” Kuro asked from above, standing on a tree that moved and whispered as the wind passed messages through its leaves. All in all, the absence of any other voices and the ambient song of nature was all I needed to remain calm. But, my friends didn’t seem to notice that. She winked at him, flinging a loaded shell with flawless motion. It hit him on the head and he barely caught himself from falling six feet low. “He’s too much of an eccentric for me,” she looked at the time on her forearm. “to consider that option. We need to get you to sleep—fast.” I gave a tired yawn, stroking Haiiro gently. A few minutes ago, Eidolon was as mad as a March hare when I offered to relegate him to a lesser role. The AI threatened me with loud and tedious talk while I used sarcasm to reply it and mostly to entertain myself. I don’t think it found the repartee funny. “I’m moving Io out of the Defender’s position. Kurotou will do better there—for now at least.” “I would like to believe that you’ve thought this through. But, I’ve known you for way too long. Your answer is:” Kuro mumbled waiting for me to finish. “No.” He sighed and Shiro shook her head. “Why do you always do things like this?” I pretended to think. “Hm…Thinking is burdensome…I prefer living in the moment.” “Perfect. You had one enemy, now you have three. Eidolon is going to hate you even more, Io will turn into a lava-spewing volcano, and Kurotou will be so hot at the thought of working under you and replacing his superior. The heat he produces will be enough to keep the whole planet warm for decades.” I hushed Kuro and turned towards the camp. “I’ll stop by Kilo. If that will make you feel better.” “Believe me, it won’t.” Shiro shot back, casting a dark gaze on me before heading back to the Olympus Ariana. “You know she has a point there. I have a feeling you’ll be using Haiiro a lot more within Olympus Ariana than outside it. No thanks to the Mad men.” I sighed and nodded, yawning again. “I’ll catch you later, Kuro.” He nodded and left, leaving me alone in the woodlands. I looked towards the plains in the west. There between two shrubs, Eidolon hovered. The AI was watching me. Quarter an hour later, I found Kurotou with some guards. “What are you doing here?” Picking daisies for your mother. “Picking daisi— “I barely stopped in time. The other guards looked amused. “Do I look like a three-year-old girl to you, freak?” He asked, irritated at my presence, it seemed. “I came to apologise for what I— “ He cut me off. “I don’t want your apology. Get out of my sight.” I’m trying to be the good guy here, mate. Calm down. I swallowed and continued. “You know, it’s not really a job, because there’s no stated rules for labour protection and transactions. If you could at least— “ He moved up to me and pointed his rifle at my chest. His comrades didn’t look bothered. “You don’t seem to understand what it means to get out of someone’s sight, do you?” This was one of the reasons I stayed away from most humans. Almost every conversation went south before or as soon as it got a compass. “I’m trying to apologise here!” He sneered at me. “You can take that apology and stick it up your a— “ I sighed and slapped his gun away from me, bringing Haiiro to his head with my other hand. The other people moved a few steps backward. “They think me to be an inconsequential person. Do you know what that means?” I saw the cold sweat form on his face and gave an unconcerned smile. From his expression, I must have looked like the Grim Reaper. “You are Lhaeryon now. The Defender and the Defence Department is no more. I’m replacing them with you.” He didn’t answer. “It’s an offer. Take it, or leave it.” Research has proven that holding a gun to someone’s head gives better results on average than asking with a candy in the hand. “I’ll take it.” I bowed slightly, lowering Haiiro. “I look forward to working with you, Lhaeryon. Make sure you see me before the day is up.” With that, I spun on my feet and headed to Kilo. I found the old man polishing some rifles in the armoury. “Do you have some spare time, Kilo?” He looked up through bright eyes. “Not for you, Satoru. Except you’re going to help an old friend out here.” I smiled and picked a rifle from a showcase, grabbing a spray container and a cloth from the adjacent aluminium rack. “Compelling and old school as ever. There are machines to do this kind of thing.” I said, rubbing the barrel of the fire arm with the fabric. “There are certain things a machine can never do as well as a human…Eidolon inclusive.” Yawning, I gave him a low five. His smile faded. “How long have you been awake?” “I’ve got three more hours till I go crazy or find a way to dream.” He placed a pristine gun back on the rack. “Still can’t sleep?” “You know me. I like to show a little ginger when competition steps up.” He cleaned his hands and laughed. “Liar. You are more laid back than the ground.” He paused and looked into space. “What else do you have to do?” I leaned against the wall. “You tell me.” He threw me a rifle. “Eidolon’s got something planned. I hear the wind whispering secrets of a girl your age.” “Hm.” I shrugged and cleaned the rifle. “It doesn’t sound like a romance story to me, if it was, I’d know. I was a real ladies’ man at your age.” “No. You were the pool wrecker and Knox Carter at bars. Remember how you broke a mahogany stool on the bartender’s head in Dortmund? Why did you stop fighting? I looked forward to meeting you at the bars back then.” He took the rifle from me. “It was getting expensive. And I’m an old man now. Why do you spend more time with old people than with your age mates, anyway?” “Shiro says I’m willing to court Death. I’d better learn from those who are courting Her.” His eyes grew wide with amusement. “Well then. Let me tell you something since you want to know as much as we do. Appoint that new girl Eidolon’s waking as the Head of your intelligence department.” “An enemy into a friend.” I noted. He grinned and pushed me out of the door. “Go on. Let’s see whether you’ll be as charming as I am.” I walked towards the AI’s favourite section—the one that had a few humans that were still in cryo-sleep. The drizzle had stopped now, leaving the air moist and the environment wet. Kilo was very much different from most humans—the same went for old people in general. Unlike the younger adults, they had common sense and invaluable experience. Since Earth, Kilo remained one of the few people I could call a friend and I hoped it would remain like that forever. Kurotou met me along the way. “Listen, I don’t want to get off on the wrong foot here.” I kept quiet. “But, it would really help if you could tell me what I’m supposed to do as Lhaeryon.” I casually climbed to the top of the Eidolon’s Section, and waited for him to reach me. Nine minutes later, he came huffing and puffing while I sat calmly at the edge. Once his fit of wheezing had subsided, I stood and pulled him to the edge. He stiffened immediately. Holding Haiiro in my left hand, I pointed at the left and moved my arm over the right. Beyond and all around us was Olympus Ariana. The sunlight was piercing through the grey clouds, bringing wide and bright golden rays of light that shone down on us. Humans engaged in various activities, machinery hummed, Nightelves landed and took off, crafts patrolled the ground and the skies. White Sections stood tall, reflecting the glorious piercing rays, while zephyrs moved the air and added a nice chill to everything they touched. “Protect us.” I said and looked him in the eye. He kept his gaze on the scenery. “That’s a lot to ask.” He whispered. “You think you’re inadequate?” The man kept quiet. “You are afraid?” “The Mad men will attack us here. Petrovsky wants revenge. The Earldom of Mercia is sending delegates. Our scouts report unrest near the Ark ship. The drums of war are beating.” “Let them beat. When the drummers are tired, they will sleep.” His look felt like daggers were thrown at me. “The Mad men are on the warpath. And so are we!” “We’d best get off the war path then. Let the Mad men pass us. When they walk down the warpath and meet no one, they’ll get tired and rest. Or they’ll get on another path.” I said, yawning. Surprisingly, Kurotou smiled. “You’re not half bad, freak. We might get along.” “Even if I’m younger than you?” “That doesn’t matter. Protect, yes? I’ll do it.” “Good.” I said and climbed down. “Figure out how to get down, Lhaeryon.” I said, delighting in his confused face. I snuck into the Section, and searched the rooms. The unlit lights and dark halls made it obvious that there was no activity in here. From deep within I heard something hissing. Quickening my pace, I moved upstairs and searched the rooms. There was a quiet, inaudible exchange of words and it grew silent as I neared the source. Slowing to a walk, I opened the door. Sitting in a white dress was—without doubt—the girl Kilo talked about. Behind her, Eidolon hovered with a victorious air around it. I looked at her and she didn’t lower her gaze. Something inside me shuddered at what it saw in her eyes. “I’m Mistral. Eidolon has told me a lot about you.” She said enjoying my unease, and refusing to break eye contact. I smiled, although I was pretty alarmed. “Then you know my name. You are now Adhonys. Intelligence is your responsibility.” Eidolon moved between us, cutting off our views of each other. “Will that be all, Satoru?” From behind him, Mistral giggled. “Satoru? You mean Oru.” I failed to stifle a yawn, but my mind was racing so hard, I was sure they could hear it revving. “Make sure you meet up with me when I wake up.” I said and stumbled out of the Section. A glance on my right forearm and I knew I had a little over two hours to find some sleep. I took a walk into the plains and laid down there. Hopefully, sleep would come now.
  6. For Blood "Through the darkest night, And the deepest hell, Past the raging winds, And kingdoms that fell: We stayed unbroken. We came as a flood, We left as wildfire. Why? All was for blood." --Recovered text from ancient Malahic Cult. “Suppressive fire! Vortex Three, I need two stand-off payloads. Eidolon, highlight the targets.” I ran out into the dark night, signalling the four soldiers that came with me to get our three diplomats to Vortex Two—the diplomats were of no use here. They nodded and took the surprised women and man to relative safety. “Vortex Two, where are my payloads?!” I shouted as an armoured hovercraft smashed through the make-shift barricade. Locking on the target, I fired a timed explosive into the offending vehicle just as its doors opened for the soldiers to get out. “Get out while you can. We’ll hold them off.” Aditi said, firing a short range homing missile at a jet that came into sight from the east. I nodded and told my brothers to pull back. Two missiles raced from the west, lighting up the sky with brilliant yellow light as they hit home. “Better late than never! Good job, Two.” We retreated to where Meera was impatiently hovering. If the Nightelves had hooters, she would be blasting them non-stop by now. “Hostiles are a quarter mile away. Should I engage?” The pilot of Vortex Three asked. I strapped myself into the co-pilot’s seat and stared down at the failing defence of the Resistance. “Provide support, Meera. Two, get to safety. Three, watch our backs. We’re going in.” We dived into the chaos of flames, smoke and angry screams. As explosion upon explosion rocked the ground, we answered. Fire for fire, rays for rays, death for death and terror for terror. Meera banked the craft hard and my eyes caught Aditi on the ground. Bloodied and bruised, her rifle lay a few feet from her and hostile troops were closing in. “Eidolon, the hatch!” I commanded, even as I unstrapped myself and rushed to the exit. As I jumped out, Eidolon followed me, shooting sporadically in all directions that enemies were. As I approached the ground, he grabbed me for a moment, dropping me hard to the ground. “What was that for?!” I asked, firing at the approaching soldiers. “Don’t expect me to come saving you like that again. I’m not your servant.” I didn’t have time to pick another fight, so I turned towards Aditi. Her eyes were open. “You are stupid.” She said, rebuking me in much the same tone as my mother would have. I shrugged and gently hoisted her onto my shoulder as Eidolon told me she suffered from no internal bleeding. “Meera, I need you to—“ I stared in horror as Vortex One came crashing down behind enemy lines. “Meera!” Jenz’s weak voice came online. “Get yourself out of here, Hisashi…” I left Aditi in the care of Petrovsky and turned back to look at Vortex One. The soldiers were cautiously approaching it, ready to fire at any movement. “Meera? Answer if you copy!” Her voice was slow and confused. “Whaa….?” I sighed in relief and reloaded my firearm. “Vortex Two, go Winchester.” As death rained on our enemies from above, Eidolon and I battled our way to Vortex One. Twice, I was blown off my feet by projectiles that Eidolon barely managed to intercept. For all our effort and the stalwart determination of the Resistance, we were unable to break through to the downed craft. A soldier picked up Meera from the wrecked craft and pointed his gun at her head. “No…No… Please don’t!” I screamed as I blindly ran toward him. “Hisashi, get back now!” It was stupid of me to run out of cover, but I didn’t care. Meera was the closest to family I had, if she died, I would follow in seconds. He paused for a few seconds as if considering whether or not to take her life. As our eyes met, I stopped and waited for him to drop her. In that moment of time, a message was passed. With a pull of his trigger, the soldier sent her to the afterlife and I blacked out. The first thing I remember my sane self doing was putting a laser ray through his forehead. That was the last thing I could clearly remember. I was berserk and flinging death like I had a Death Note with pages to spare. Eidolon was shouting something in my ear. I didn’t care. It was irrelevant. There were only two ways this was going to end. Either they killed me, or I killed them all. Nothing else mattered. They had killed someone of my blood. I growled, snapping a soldier’s neck backward. “For you, Meera. For Blood.”
  7. Reboot We are fallen and destroyed. O how we are trodden under foot! Our glory is naught, but void… Brethren, we must return to the Root: Our erred paths we will avoid. We will not chase gold, fame or the loot. We will round as the cycloid, And we will start over from the Root. Lamentations of Nazrole Chapter 12:13-14. The Kalnian Books. I have always had a problem with tedious structure. From profitable, but snot-nosed mega corporations to the tiny, but nervous start-ups, they just seem to be addicted to mega-bureaucracy and exhaustive order. Tsk. And I’m part of the crappy system. Here I was, simply wishing to make a complaint about some idiot who decided to pinch my trousers while I was on the roof. To make a complaint, I needed to verify my identity (can you believe these people?! They didn’t verify everyone that left Earth while we were still there?), record or type the complaint (not without stating tons of useless information, of course) then queue up at a mile-long line for four hours and check back in a week for progress, because they were still setting up and securing the wireless protocols. Ahou. I deleted the file from the makeshift tab I put together in a couple of days and walked off the queue. If these people were going to waste their precious time on an unnecessary process, I wouldn’t be joining them. I had more important things to do. Let the idiot that stole my trousers keep them. “Heading somewhere, Satoru?” Jonathan asked me, blocking my path while at it. “Yes.” I said and looked him in the eyes. He looked away. Why do people always look away? What in the world are they afraid of? “We need your help with something. Care to give us a hand?” Nope. “What’s it?” He held out a funny looking kind of bag. What in the world was it? It looked like a space backpack from the early 21st century. “It’s a kadpack.” “It sounds like it as well…” I muttered, feeling it. “Sounds like what?” “..and it feels like something only the UN can make: horrible! What is it?” He looked puzzled for a moment, but quickly regained his stoic “don’t care what you say” face. “It’s a device that compresses matter and allows us to decompress it in any form, using this:” He held out a tube. “Interesting. I’ll get to work.” I took the tube and “kadpack” to the roof of my home Section and decided to decipher it. “You found something to interest you, finally.” Kuro said, and nestled up to me. I smiled a bit and connected my gadgets to the UN-made or UN-affiliated device. The data readings were easy to understand and within a couple of hours, I was shaping monoliths and statues with relative difficulty. One of the outlaws from the proximal Novark area walked up to me. “You learn fast.” His accent was thick and Russian. Every outsider is from Russia these days. Should I answer him? Mother told me not to talk to strangers… I built up a mound near his feet, just missing him. “Stop it, Oru.” I complied with Shiro’s soft warning and looked the big Russian in the eye. He turned his gaze away as well. What is it with these people?! “You killed the Grand Architect, yes?” I asked him. He eyes opened like a punctured can of pressurised gas. “No!” “Pity.” “Why is that a pity?!” Shiro quickly jumped in. “He’s not on the best terms with the Grand Architect.” “That’s not true,” I retorted. “He just broke the first law of survival.” The Russian looked confused. “Never look for trouble in the Wild.” His eyes cleared up a bit. “He came to help us— “ “And he died. You killed him then. You couldn’t refuse his help and he couldn’t refuse the chance to be a hero. Both of you killed him.” From the looks of it, I was freaking this one out. “My name is Petrovsky. I’m the leader of the Resistance.” “…Outlaws…” I muttered under my breath. “Eidolon talked about you a while ago. He wants to meet you again.” Shiro gasped and gave me a pitiful look. “Good luck; you’ll need it.” She said and walked off. I shook my head and followed the…Petrol-ski. That what his name, wasn’t it? He tried to start a series of conversations with me, but after I ignored him, built up wood around his feet and shouted at him to shut up, I think he got the message. I wasn’t a hostile person, I just don’t like talking to strangers or people in general, especially when I’ve been awake for close to thirty hours. By the time we’d made it past noisy populated and windy sparse areas, through damaged grass and between machinery, the foreboding sky looked exactly like Petrol-ski’s face: there was going to be some heavy rain soon. He led me past armed guards and into a pristine Section where an AI ruled over and enslaved the men that contributed to its creation and continued existence. The room reeked of upper-class attitude and I could sense most of it was coming from a robot that shouldn’t even have emotions. The walls were whitewashed and the floor was overlaid in black marble. A silver chandelier adorned with over-sized diamonds and sparkling sapphires hung from the roof, amidst pearl lights that shined even more than it did. The e-textile seats looked way too comfortable for the precarious situation that we found ourselves in and I just had to wonder how full of senseless vanity these humans and AI could possibly be. “Satoru Masanori. It’s nice to see you.” Eidolon said, rising from the heavily ornamented white throne. Seriously, robots that fly need to sit on thrones, even if they don’t have legs? Laughable! I chuckled to myself and scanned the bewildered faces of the poor slaves in the over packed room. “You are to reply me when I speak to you, Satoru Masanori.” I would have looked this AI in the eye—if it had any eyes, and I could bet the Novark on this: it would turn its eyes away. An AI like this has many secrets to hide and it would need to hide some scars if it dared to address me in that tone again. “I decide when I’m to reply to a piece of floating metal with a circuit board in its head.” Jonathan shook his head and stepped out. “You are socially inadequate, Satoru Masanori.” “You are physically lacking in adequate humanoid body parts yourself, Eidolon AI.” I replied, trying to step out, until four guards blocked my path. Sigh. Not Io as well… I looked Io in the eye and he looked at Eidolon. “We are not done, Satoru Masanori.” The AI stressed. I spun back and hurled Io’s gun at the AI, hitting it squarely in the middle. “Stop talking, Metal Head!” The gasps in the room should’ve been audible for thirty miles round. Even thunder sounded its voice to add some dramatic noise to the scene. Eidolon was clearly not pleased, and to be frank, neither was I. “We were interested in your capabilities and intellectual capacity. We think you are what we need to move forward, in the light of Hisashi Susumu’s death.” Eidolon said calmly. To be honest, this was sudden… “You…want to make me the Grand Architect?” “Yes. You already did cause quite a ruckus with the Defence Department. It was you that left Olympus Ariana into the forbidden area, wasn’t it? You caused some people quite a headache and their jobs as well.” I looked at Kurotou, who glared at me. “I don’t like the “didi”. Is that a problem?” “Let me ask you a question, Satoru Masanori. Can I call you Satoru?” Eidolon asked. “No.” “Very well. If you were the Grand Architect, would you have gone to the Novark the way Hisashi Susumu did? Would you have intervened on behalf of the Resistance?” “No.” “Why?” “Why should I?” “Explain.” His voice sounded tired. “Intelligence should have gone first and scouted. The Resistance forces are simply being freeloaders with little to offer, no offence, Petrol-ski.” “His name is Petrovsky.” “Whatever.” I muttered. “Protecting and organising ourselves is our priority. Anything else can wait.” Eidolon turned back to the chair and paused. “You are not someone I want to work with. I don’t like you. Let me be crystal clear: I hate you, Satoru Masanori. However, you are what we need: your mind and skill is what we can’t do without in the leadership position. You aren’t the first person on our list, no, you are the last person I would even consider. Nonetheless, you will be the next Grand Architect—rather, you are the Grand Architect.” I whistled and smiled at a boiling Petrol-ski. Outside, the heavy rain began to fall. “Good. I have my first command for the lot of you.” “Oh? So soon?” Eidolon asked, clearly being sarcastic. “Yes. Reboot. Destroy and restart every single thing. Reboot from scratch.”
  8. Destroy You must have thought this was it. You must have said it’s the end. Listen…to my words, attend. Do rocks fall from the sky, And statues come from above, To land like a white dove? Rocks may shatter and crumble And you may think you’ve won, They’ll survive—not as one, But as small bits of the whole. Destroy all, if you may, We’ll live under the sun’s ray. Songs of Adrohen Chapter 149. The Kalnian Books. “He’s taking quite a while; don’t you think?” Kuro asked, moving silently beside me. “Yes.” I yawned a bit and paused to look at the stars. Olympus Ariana—for that is what we survivors named our little territory—was much too crowded and noisy for my liking. I skipped over a root and stared into the grassy plain beyond. With a final sigh and a quick glance at Shiro, I continued moving. I knew I shouldn’t have moved beyond the borders, but who cared? The self-proclaimed Defence Department was already laying down silly laws to “protect” us. They’d have a whole mess on their hands by the time I was done with them. “You shouldn’t go there, Oru.” There she was again, sticking to the rules. I smiled mischievously and turned to Shiro. “You want to stay behind? Sure. Kuro and I will be back soon.” I scratched Kuro’s head and he hooted. Laughing at him, I moved onwards; sure enough, Shiro’s light steps followed behind us. There is something about the purity of undefiled nature that makes it stand apart from anything else. The stars, the forests, the plain. Man knows nothing but to defile: a pity and a shame. My mind wandered to the Grand Architect and his mission to the Novark. “Feeling tired already?” Shiro asked, a few steps ahead. “Nope. Just waiting for your delicate lungs to catch their breath.” “Shut up…” She whispered, lying down beside a gnarled, but fruitful tree. I smiled, half yawning, half fading into the beauty of a silent night…I wished I could sleep, but it wouldn’t come, no matter how I lay on the waving, cool grass that stretched for miles around or how softly the wind blew under the serene starry night. All of a sudden, Shiro sat up, her white hair moving like silky crystal strands in the zephyr. Kuro stirred as well, looking in the direction of Olympus Ariana. “I think there’s trouble back at Ariana, Satoru. We should leave, before “didi” finds us here.” Kuro announced, standing on a low hanging bough. I moaned and sat up, glaring angrily at him. ““Didi” is a poor name for the Defence Department, stupid.” He hissed and started moving. Well, there go my plans for some mental chess matches. I followed, trudging along while he and Shiro moved swiftly to the outskirts of Ariana. As we got closer, I cringed at the noise coming from the camp. “Hurry, Oru! Something’s gone terribly wrong!” Shiro alerted us and disappeared into the crowd. I lost Kuro in the rush and found myself jogging past white three-storey tall Sections, abandoned camp fires, whispering circles of people and heavy machinery. A lot of people were walking around from place to place and scarcely a lip seemed to be still. As I got closer to the gathering, a series of loud wails came from somewhere beyond. A quick voice told me that there was no way I was going through this crowd. Instead, I looked at one of the Sections to the left and the Heavy Duty Excavator that someone carelessly left in the Civilian Zone... Tsk. Do they have to give names to everything? By the time I’d climbed up the boom and hopped from the bucket to the second storey of the Section, I could see Shiro’s feet swinging from the top of the Section’s sloped roof. Climbing in the Tang suit was easy, but not with the loafers on my feet. Kicking them off, I clambered to the top, thankful that Oethe decided not to make the sides of the Sections completely smooth. As I looked out and over the crowd, I ruffled Shiro’s hair a bit, until she threatened me with her rifle. “Hm. Another of the Nightelves has just landed. They lost one to the Arkship folk then.” I noted, sitting down. We looked down at the metallic landing pads, lit up by powerful floodlights that covered the area in an ambient blue hue. The technical officers were already repairing what damage the Nightelves sustained as the soldiers walked out of the craft. Other engineers and soldiers seemed agitated and quite pissed off. “Crap. That means the Mad men will get their hands on our tech.” I shrugged and looked beyond the laser fence into the distance of the grand night scenery the planet had to offer. “Perhaps.” Kuro found his way to us and panted for a while before staring me straight in the eye. “The Grand Architect’s dead.” Great. First day of contact with the fools and they managed to kill Hisashi. Kare wa bakadesu. “What? No tears from you?” Kuro asked bewildered, looking from me to Shiro and back. “Nope.” I answered, stretching. “Me neither. He was an idiot for going out to meet them like that. He should have let Intel. go first.” “You are hard people, you are.” He said and settled down behind us. By the sound of the “wailing wall” from beneath us, it was clear that the people below were quite the opposite. “Who’s going to select the next Grand Architect?” Shiro wondered, fondling her rifle. I scratched my head, trying to get my thoughts in order. It could only be one person—or thing as the case might be. “Eidolon.” Kuro grunted and we laughed. “I’m sure he’s not going to pick you.” Shiro chuckled, aiming at a flood light in the distance. “You kids! Get down from there!” “It’s Hartmut!” Kuro said and slipped down the other side. I looked over the edge of the roof at the annoying man and sighed. “Shiro, are you…and she’s gone.” I muttered to myself, after sighting her long white hair disappear behind the other side and I jumped off the Section. I barely made my landing on the bucket, before intentionally losing my grip and sliding down the boom, tearing my trouser in the process. With a hop and a step, I was face to face with the six foot German body builder. He stared down at me like I was a protein shake. “What were you doing up there, Satoru?” I stared back into his eyes, refusing to answer or break my gaze. You tell me. He lingered for a few seconds and turned his eyes somewhere else. Bingo. “Nothing, Hartmut.” I answered at last, checking my torn trouser. “Don’t tell me that. What were you doing?” “Perhaps you saw me grow fifteen limbs? Or do you have evidence that I contacted the Mad men? Maybe you saw me shoot down a few Sections that are still in orbit?” “Don’t—“ I growled at him and he backed off. “This is why people don’t talk to you, freak.” He spat and turned away. There. You did it again, Satoru. You just had to make him hate you. I sighed and picked my loafers that he’d neatly arranged for me beside the Excavator and walked to my Section barefoot. “Satoru Masanori.” A voice trumpeted as I bumped into something cold and metallic. I looked up and saw a battle scarred Eidolon facing me. From the looks of it, it was clear that I’d spent eight minutes walking into the crowd of people. How did I get here? “Are you or are you not Satoru Masanori?” Eidolon asked. I gave the AI a cold stare and replied. “I am.” “Good.” He lingered for a few seconds more as if he wanted to say something before turning away. The crowd followed him and some strangers that seemed to have come with him. “Who are they?” Kuro asked behind me. “Refugees.” “From the Arkship area?” I gave him a tired look. “From the netherworld, stupid.” He scratched my face and left in anger. I tried walking to my Section again and found it this time. Shiro was already waiting for me on the roof. I was there in a few minutes, after picking a silk shirt and a pair of trousers. “Tell me something, Oru.” I yawned and flexed my neck. “What is it?” “If you are made the Grand Architect in place of Hisashi, what would be the first thing you’d do?” “That’s sudden. I haven’t thought about it.” I lied and closed my eyes. I had already planned to do a total change of the Oethe structure once we landed, but making friends wasn’t my strong point, so I’d have to do things the labour intensive way. “You’re lying to me.” She said, smiling at her rifle. “You’re going to try to make it happen, yone?” Kuro slapped the back of my head. “He is going to do it.” I picked up Haiiro and the thin white ghost lights lit up from the handle, like a glowing liquid filling a cup, until they reached the muzzle of the pistol and the lights circled round. “Yes, I am going to do it: I’m going to destroy everything.”
  9. Dusk at Dawn "A new promise, a brand new hope. Another chance, another life. Beyond the skies, fly and elope. Your path is yours, prospects are rife. All will follow, and tug the rope. Vive la difference! Views, thoughts and strife. Friends will be made, build your own tope. Foes will strike, play the fife. The occasions, new life is borne, The pale terrors, a dusk at dawn." 2 Ronhel Chapter 4, verses 57- 59. The Kalnian Books. Despite my efforts to secure a safe landing for everyone, three Sections plunged from the atmosphere at breakneck speed. Two of those housed equipment and supplies—not much we couldn’t do without. The third one, however, held two hundred and fifty thousand people and there were no survivors. As I stood on the hill overlooking the blackened pile of bodies that didn’t make it, I felt ashamed. Just hours ago, we were rejoicing as the Cocoons warmed up their human cargo before waking them. In groups of fives and tens, they came out, shaking, scared, some were excited. As they realised they’d made it, they cried, shouted, laughed, danced or just stared in the distance out of utter amazement. The weather was windy and bright, the fields of green seemed to agree with our presence. Eidolon reported that a few Sections had missed the correct entry angle and burnt up in the atmosphere, others floated off to deep space, but three, he warned, had gone dark—possibly as a result of the battering Terra Ulterior had taken from space debris. More than half a million people waited for the last set while laughing and talking. That was until they fell from the sky and hit the ground with a terrifying sound. It was the sound of death. Here I stood, joy turned into sorrow as the wind conveyed the thick, repulsive stench of charred human corpses. Their remains were scattered over a radius of two miles. My eyes caught sight of a half-burnt piece of cloth, just beside a broken skull. I turned away. There was work to be done. We had to find a way to bury all these people, before diseases reared their heads on this planet as well. But, getting the people who had just anointed me as their saviour to do the task of undertakers was proving as difficult as raising the dead back to life. “I don’t envy your job.” Jonathan said behind me as I moved to help a few people with the grim task. Giving him a weak smile, I threw him the access card to the Section containing the heavy-duty vehicles. “But, I will envy yours in a moment.” As dusk set upon the planet, camps were being set up well away from the macabre scene. In a couple of days, the corpses would be well hidden and we could move on. In the meantime, I set about socialising and encouraging the survivors. Eidolon said the humans from the Ark ship had been on Alioth for three months. Gaining access to the Ark Ship’s records was proving a bit of a hurdle, even for Eidolon. He kept complaining about the schizophrenic and slightly mad AI of the Ark Ship: Aphelia, being too advanced for his liking. I could only listen to his complaints for so long before I set off to look for this famous Ark Ship and the humans that came in it. There’s something about exploring at night that makes you feel unnecessarily alert. We hadn’t come across any animals, although we could hear them (which in its own right was strange), there were no humans around, but the people we came with for scores of miles around, and we had nothing to fear from supernatural incursions. Yet as I and my newly selected team of former diplomats and veterans crammed ourselves in three aircrafts, we were silent, almost paranoiac as the silent crafts glided through the darkness of night and under a spectacular scenery of stars and constellations. The bays were mostly silent except for the occasional remark or short-lived humorous attempt to lighten our hearts. As we got closer to the majestic structure that stood out from the landscape, we began to see the first signs of human settlement. Small towns, villages and distinct enclaves lit up by lights and crafts. The skies were mostly clear, except for a few daring crafts that flew close to us and darted away all of a sudden. It happened the first time, then the second and the third. “They are warning us.” I told Meera—a good friend of mine and the best pilot I’d ever seen. “I know, Hisashi. I can feel the tension in the air.” I raised an eyebrow at her and returned to bay. Whatever it was, we had best be ready. “Gentlemen, strap up and strap in. Prepare for evasive manoeu—“ And it came. Our Nightelf blared a lock-on alarm before the droning alarm of incoming missiles. The craft swerved to the left and upside down, throwing whoever wasn’t secured at the padded ceiling and to the hard sides. “Vortex Three! ECM is your call! Vortex Two S&D is up your alley! Meera, stick with the aggro.” I shouted, even as my head slammed against a soldier’s shoulder. The pilots of the other Nightelves acknowledged the commands and set to work. Meera, on the other hand, kept us flying at the walls and ceiling. “It’s the madmen.” Eidolon hinted through my sub-dermal communication device. “So soon?” I asked, scrambling for a harness as the craft levelled for a second. I barely made it and strapped myself in before Meera banked the craft hard. “They are humans; they hardly need anytime to cause chaos.” Jenz said and began firing at the missile batteries. While we made it safely out of the danger zone, Eidolon battled to keep Aphelia from gaining unauthorised access to our crafts. “Is this her doing?” Meera asked, sweating and out of breath. “Ask her when you see her.” Eidolon replied and highlighted a craft through the screen. I sat in the co-pilots seat and pointed at the building it was heading for. “Head there instead. Vortex Two, offset half a mile south and land. Vortex Three, remain airborne.” Our Nightelf hovered a few metres over the ground while our security dropped down. Naturally, I dropped down first and proceeded to the stranger that led us here. Another one came from the building, waving her hands frantically. “Get them out! Get those jets away!” Meera uttered a curse and flew to the skies. Eight of the security detail swept the premises, while four came with me. Two missiles streaked over the horizon, following Meera. Once inside the house, the strangers introduced themselves. “Petrovsky. Lieutenant in the resistance.” The pilot said in a gruff voice, shaking my hand with a steel grip. “Hisashi Susumu.” I replied, trying to release his grip from my hand. “You are not one of us. Where did you come from?” Aditi, the woman asked. I gave her the summary of who we were and where we came from, making sure to leave out important details. In return, they let me know that the “madmen” had seized control of the area surrounding the Ark Ship. The Resistance, had tried to hail us, but the Nightelves communicated on a different frequency than the common one. We promised to return to help them fight back against the oppressors, giving them a highly inaccurate estimate of how many we were. Scarcely had we gone halfway through details and logistic support that Eidolon sounded a warning. “There are almost a two hundred hostile troops in bound to your position. The Vortices can’t help right now: we don’t know the extent of the enemy’s anti-cloaking capabilities.” I grunted, deep in thought and he snapped at me. “Grunt one more time, and I will aid them in killing you.” Absent-mindedly, I turned to the security detail. “We’ll have to fight our way out of here.” Petrovsky held my shoulder in a big hand. “We have thirty Resistance soldiers here. We will get you out. I will call for reinforcement.” With that, he jogged out of the door. Aditi pushed somethings into my hands. “Take this.” I looked at the strange devices. Something in my head told me they weren’t unfamiliar. “It’s a kadpak and a nanoformer. I don’t think you have any in your ships.” I stared at her, liking the Resistance more until an explosion jerked my attention. “Stay together, guys. Let’s give them hell. For blood!” They raised their weapons and screamed into the night. “For blood!”
  10. The Aether Backstory Part 2 "You Will Remember Us" "Row upon row, heap upon heap. This is our fate, left to perish. Stride after stride, leap after leap. All our glory, naught but a wish. Cry after cry, "Weep", I hear. "Weep." Terror fills us, as we vanish. You were our hope, our wish, our light. You let us die, by war, by blight. Know this traitor, alone you'll die. Screaming, shouting, alone. Goodbye." Graffiti writing on Terra Ulterior. Author: Unknown I couldn’t believe this was happening. Of all things to go wrong, why propulsion and why now? Gritting my teeth, I looked at the screen. The new planet’s gravity field was just over seven hundred and sixty thousand miles away and the ship was moving at 324,857 metres per second. I did some calculations in my head and sighed. I had just over an hour and fifty-four minutes to avert a catastrophe. “Eidolon.” I called, my voice shaking a bit. He materialised in front of me. “Are the retro-thrusters in good condition?” He shook his head. “Sixty five percent of the retro-thrusters can squeeze out a performance of thirty-three percent capacity. Thirty percent are working in good condition while the remaining five are all but destroyed.” My mouth twitched. Well, if around a third of the thrusters could work, my plan might be feasible. “Where are the majority of the thrusters located?” “At the rear—facing the rear.” I gritted my teeth again. For all the peace that the Aether was meant to offer, I felt none of it. This was going to be one bloody day in the history of Oethe—and probably it’s last. As I glanced at the grim looking AI, an idea blossomed in my head. “Can you to maintain the ship’s current course, while reversing its direction?” “You want me to spin the ship on its vertical axis?” Stupid computer. “Yes, of course. I can. It’ll take me no less than thirty minutes to perform that little trick.” I nodded. “Get to work.” While Eidolon began to slowly position the ship aright, I jogged down the barely lighted corridors, checking for information on the ship that would provide an overlay of the ship’s structure. Somehow, I had forgotten what the ship even looked like, although I was pretty sure I knew at one point. IO.EARS kept on trying to reboot and dynamically repair Section 53, even though it had failed to do so over two million times. My search ended up being nothing but a dangerous waste of time. Eidolon stated that the information was securely locked—another way of saying that I didn’t have the required access level. After thirty-three minutes, the axis manoeuvre was eighty-three percent complete. The most disturbing thing was this: I was completely powerless to do anything, but wait as I left a crucial part of the survival plan to be handled by a computer. Was this the punishment we had to face for leaving our fellow humans behind? I scowled at the idea, disgusted that anyone would even blame us for leaving. Our selection had been determined by the masses, billions of people cast their opinions for who should and who shouldn’t leave. In essence, we didn’t pick ourselves, the people on earth did. While fidgeting with the unease of imminent death, I wiped my wet hands on my shirt. Eidolon had just a few more minutes to complete this manoeuvre, or there was no way I was going to be able to make this work. “You will survive.” I remembered Nora telling me. She was the kind of person that’s a mother and a friend to a younger in-law. “You will survive. You’ll go out there and you’ll make sure that nothing goes wrong. You have no choice. You’ll remember us and survive.” “I will survive…” I muttered to myself, lost in thought. “Grand Architect, the manoeuvre is complete.” Eidolon said, pretending to be out of breath. I acknowledged him with a small grunt, and he growled. Ignoring him, I set to work. “How much fuel do we have left in the retro-thrusters?” I asked, keeping my eyes glued to the screen as the control interface rose from the floor. “Fifty-three percent is left.” My mouth twitched again. “Good.” Carefully and slowly, I pushed the rear-facing retro thrusters to half capacity, using the side retro-thrusters to stabilise the ship and maintain the course. Eidolon aided me by showing the simulated course and the jargon of calculations only a mad man would need at this time. Reduction in speed was minimal at first, but the structure began to slow…by 0.184 percent. “This is crazy…” I muttered to myself. The AI chuckled. “Can’t you even pretend to be bothered?!” I demanded in frustration. He shook his head. “No, my dear friend. I can’t. But, I could override IO.EARS and attempt to force the engines to start—ignoring any errors that could wipe us all out, of course.” I gaped at him, somewhat excited, more infuriated. “Couldn’t you have told me sooner?” He shrugged in a carefree manner. “You didn’t ask.” I dismissed him with one sweaty palm and wiped my face with the other. Ten minutes left and Section 53 finally came online, although at less than five percent capacity. With all retro-thrusters working overtime, we had dropped our velocity to 240,000 metres per second. Once we entered, the planet’s gravitational field, things could change drastically. For one, our gained progress could be nullified in mere minutes. An alarm blared, sending me out of my skin and I heard the structure make a terrible groan. “Eidolon! What did you do?!” “We have lost control of all the thrusters at the front of the ship. They are accelerating. I warned there could be errors, Grand Architect.” I was about to scream out my life on the emotionless AI, until I had another crazy idea. “Switch off the Section 53.” “What?” I shot him a sharp glance and turned off all the retro-thrusters. An hour later, we were moving at blistering speed of 417,087 metres per second and three-quarter of a million miles away from the planet’s surface. “Restart Section 53—at full capacity.” I said, lost in stupor. “You’re a mad man.” “Maybe so. But, I am the Grand Architect and you have no choice but to obey.” He nodded and brought the main propulsion online. The ship groaned in a terrifying manner, the stress sure to cause some loss in the structure’s integrity. “How many detachable Sections are there on the ship?” He acted like he was thinking and replied at his leisure. “Fifty-nine.” “The majority of the people are housed in Section 32, yes?” “No. The majority are housed in Section 39. Two hundred and ninety thousands of them.” I snapped my neck in his direction. “You were unaware that your batch was the smallest and by no means the only one. Oethe wanted it that way—and to answer your next question, there are over a million people on this ship; all of them housed in detachable individual structures that came together to form Terra Ulterior while all of you were in cryo chambers.” I felt like I’d been slammed with a planet. A timely alarm warned me that I was about to be. We were less than two hundred thousand miles away from the looming planet’s surface and our speed was still dangerously fast. “Looks like this is it, Grand Architect. It’s been quite a ride.” I shook my head and stood up from the Prime Seat. “Prepare for immediate detachment of all sections. When I give the word, you force one last blast of all the engines to drop our speed one final time. When I tell you to split the ship up, you do so on my word. Understand?” Eidolon gave a wry smile. “Yes, of course.” With that, I ran off to my Cocoon and activated it. “One hundred and twenty-thousand miles away from contact.” The AI said over the almighty blaring of alarms that engulfed the ship. I waited for a few minutes and Eidolon updated me again. “Seventy thousand miles, Grand Architect.” After a few seconds, I gave the word. “Now!” The ship groaned and jerked. Somewhere in the ship, a lot of things ripped open. “We’ve dropped speed to 298,800 metres per second and dropping.” I waited for hours, it seemed, while Eidolon kept telling me our distance to the planet. At a distance of two thousand miles, I gave him the command to detach. Our current speed was still 75,908 metres per second, but as individual pieces, we had a greater chance of reduction in speed. Once we entered the planet’s atmosphere, the friction would drop our speed even further and each Section’s retro thrusters and parachutes would provide a safe fall. “I have detected signs of human life on Alioth, Grand Architect.” Eidolon said as I felt my section jerk. “That’s a nice name, Alioth…” I thought back of Nora and Kyle. “I will remember you, and I will survive. I promise.” Darkness covered everything and silence enveloped my being. An eternity passed and finally we touched down on Alioth’s surface. Shaking, ecstatic and tired, I stepped out onto the lush surface. My space suit said the pressure was stable and friendly and from the looks of the landscape, there were miles upon miles of inhabitable land. A small spherical pod flew up to me and sighed. “It’s beautiful, isn’t it?” Eidolon asked. I nodded. “Not the planet. Up there in the sky.” I looked up at the fiery debris burning up in Alioth’s atmosphere. Terra Ulterior had performed its first and last mission well. Oethe had nothing to fear: it would rise again. “The Aether is a dangerous place, don’t you think, Grand Architect? A single mistake and space would’ve been our grave.” I shrugged and turned back to catch the sight of the remaining Sections gracefully falling down in the clear skies and bright sun. “Whatever, it might have been, to the people that were on earth, it’s their hope and our home.”
×