25 Oct, 2009
Joined: 08 Sep, 2007
Location: In an RTD!!!
This is the fourth story in Leython's Dygonn life. He is, obviously, the main character in the story, but another person is going to rise in the ranks of this book and reach the status of 'main character as well'.
I hope you will all enjoy this story as much as I will!
It is recommended that you'd read the other stories too, if you haven't done so. I don't think that it is an absolute necessity, but still...
Other stories are found here:Story 1: The UEF AcademyStory 2: The Harmony FightersStory 3: Phantom Sung
____________Story 5: War Comes HomeStory 6: The New SixStory 7: Purge
And for now, enjoy. (some of you might recognize this cover)Chapter 1
The Corsair and The Fortress
One and a half year had passed since Leython and Shilon had been to Sung Island and discovered the painful history of John Vedder's predecessors.
Since then, Leython had become known in the Cybran nation, especially amongst the nodes that required ACU protection from their allies. Luckily, the fact that he didn't have an AI implant and that he didn't want to have one, remained without any consequences.
All the assaults Leython had helped to repel, came from Seraphim Two. Not a single time until now had he waged war against the UEF. He didn't mind, because he still didn't know if he could betray his old comrades or not.
Apart from the fighting, Leython was busy training, teaching and learning. Within a week, he had completely familiarized himself with the Cybran ACU's handling and controls. In the very same time span, he had learned all the facts about the Cybran arsenal. The most incredible weapon he found was the ACU itself. The combination of a cloaking device and a microwave laser, giving someone the ability to cut through enemy lines like an invisible hot knife in butter.
He knew of this, thanks to the UEF pilots who could tell the story just after they managed to run away from the thread, or saw their comrades die trying to get away.
To test it, was a different story altogether. It was exhilarating to walk in an ACU that no one could see. Of course, when he tested it, everyone saw where he was, because his command unit transmitted its signal to the training centre where he was at that moment. He experienced the idea of being invisible for the enemy and that was incredibly exciting for the intelligence and strategy expert from Earth.
It was not the best thing for Leython though. It also was, by far, not the easiest thing for him to learn of. He was learning to fly.
Doctor Brackman was designing a special survival method, based on an unique air craft: a fighter that was to be piloted by a human. As far as one could tell by the design, the craft would be a tier two unit.
The unit had a cockpit that was best described as 'ancient', but the twenty-second century's handling was still the best for any pilot-in-training.
Leython was the one who assisted the doctor with the experiment. He was interested in this new idea and immediately asked if he could help. The plan to survive and perhaps being able to return by the use of just one plane seemed a perfect ruse to make the enemy think that he was dead. That would be even better than cloaking.
Learning to actually fly was a lot harder than Leython initially thought. The flurry of turns, twists and loops he saw in movies and games, back in the UEF, were almost impossible in reality, especially because he didn't have a special suit to fly in.
Because such suits couldn't be worn in an ACU, Brackman assumed that Leython had to do it without one anyway. As a result, he had to design a cockpit for the former UEF citizen, to reduce the G-forces inflicted upon him. It was still not yet as good as wearing a piloting suit, let alone a game.
Now, the doctor had equipped the fighter with a total of ten highly explosive missiles. That wouldn't be enough against an enemy air armada, but it was perfect if the a small enemy patrol group would stumble on the escaping pilot, then he would still survive. Leython wanted to have laser guns added to the plane as well, but Brackman had a better idea.
"If you escape, it may take time before we come to rescue you. What if we are busy protecting our nodes against a brutal Aeon assault?" The doctor asked, Leython was in his laboratory, discussing the progress of the experiment.
"You must realize something else too. If we come to rescue you, the enemy will know. Do you remember how fast Redain, John Vedder and Shilon were upon you when you wanted to rescue Josh Funky? If you can leave on your own, you're already out of enemy's reach when they finally detect the quantum signal."
"So you want to give the fighter the ability to travel by the quantum network?" Leython asked.
"Everything is able to use quantum travel, so the fighter won't have to be redesigned especially for that. It has to be designed to control some units, just enough so that, when you've got an engineer and the resources, you'll be able to build a quantum gateway and then you can simply leave."
"So you want to install some sort of a controlling compartment in the fighter? Is that possible?"
"I am sure it is possible. If we can install that piece of hardware and software in an ACU, we can also embed it in the fighter." Brackman answered.
"Ok, but I assume that we can't support as many units as usual. The ACU is a lot more powerful than such a fighter." Leython said.
"That is correct, oh yes. For escaping, we need to be able to control a mass extractor, a power generator, a factory, an engineer and, of course, a quantum gateway."
"That's what we need if we'd start with only a tier one factory, an extractor and a power plant. But what if the enemy destroys those buildings as soon as he realizes that those still stand, even after the ACU got blown up?" Leython asked the doctor.
"I don't have an answer to that yet. I've asked the smartest Cybrans to help and create a very cheap way to construct an engineer, an extractor and a power generator." Brackman answered.
"I fear that it'd be impossible to do if, for instance, I managed to escape with nothing but the fighter itself."
"We must try nonetheless, perhaps we've got to remove the missiles from the design, so that we can concentrate on this 'escape from scratch' plan first."
"I hope that it won't be necessary because such missiles are really valuable. With them, I could escape from an enemy plane. I'd rather survive to have to wait for my friends, than being able to leave the planet on my own, but dying in the process."
"A good point, my friend, a good point indeed. Okay then, we'll install a piece of software that can control five units and I'll have it control the units that we require most. It's no use to be stuck on planet with some Monkeylords."
"I wonder, if you've got Monkeylords, why would you have to flee? Then you are genuinely doing it wrong." Leython said and Brackman laughed.
"Yes, anyway, that'll be installed and we'll keep the missiles in the design. If it appears to be impossible to embed the special 'escape from scratch' design, so be it. We are still in the development and testing stage, so we still have the time to perfect the plane."
"Good day doctor, Dygonn." Dostya had just walked in. She just returned from her mission, in the UEF, Leython painfully remembered. Despite for the fact that he didn't assist in the assaults personally, he still felt responsible for what the Cybrans did.
Brackman had told him not to be, as he didn't support Dostya with information about UEF tactics, plans or a planet's geography, but Leython still couldn't help but feel guilty for the UEF lives lost to the Cybrans, whenever they attacked. If he didn't lose the Sung Island battle, he would have prevented the deaths at the Federation side.
On the other side, he stopped many Aeon assaults and saved perhaps millions of lives, dozens of times. He also didn't forget what he had learned while he was here, apart from the ACU handling, the Cybran arsenal, or the flying.
Two weeks after he and Shilon had been investigating what happened with the Sung family, Ivanna Dostya had arranged a meeting with some Symbionts that had been freed only some hours ago.
Leython had already heard what the Symbiont program really meant and believed that the Cybrans were telling the truth. However, what he saw, what those Symbionts had become, stunned him. They were nothing but mindless slaves.
Leython had realized more than ever, how he had fought for UEF slavery, how he fought for that as much as he fought for the UEF citizens' freedom to live how they pleased.
Because he knew he would fight against the UEF, or with it, he knew that he was sitting in between a rock and a hard place.
Fighting against the Aeon was therefore a lot simpler. If he fought, he would save lives, if not, hundreds of thousands would die. The only battle that was more complicated than that, was the battle at Sinivar, the test of strategy he and his opponent 'MZG' agreed to take together, without speaking to each other. Yet the other battles against the Aeon had a simple meaning.
Cybran versus UEF was a different matter altogether.
The question still remained. Fighting for life and freedom, but also for Slavery?
Or fighting for life and freedom, but turning in on his old friends?
Leython thought that he could answer the question by giving the case some more time, but he couldn't be further from the truth. He had met people here too, despite for his closed down personality. He found new friends here: Brackman, Shilon, Dostya.
Based on importance in the society, Shilon was much like Jeff or Josh, but Brackman and Dostya were by far more important for the Cybrans than Riley and Clarke were for the UEF. Now Leython and general Clarke knew each other fairly well, thanks to their regular training. He and Dostya were coming along nicely too.
He was a real friend of Brackman now. If the doctor had time, he would talk with Leython about things that seemed as unimportant as the weather on Seraphim Two.
This all had made the situation even more difficult than it already was. Whichever faction he would support, he would let friends on either side down.
However, he had to make a choice.
"Dygonn, are you listening?" Dostya said sharply and Leython woke up from his thougths.
"No, I wasn't, sorry. I was thinking." Leython answered honestly.
"Ok, I'll summarize what I've reported to the doctor." The elite-commander said.
"During my latest mission, we gained intel about a large settlement of enslaved Symbionts. The settlement is deep in UEF territory and because of that, their military leaders assumed that it is relatively safe from attacks and they left it pretty unprotected. We can attack and as soon as we make it there, the settlement is only one step away from freedom."
"Yes," Leython said, "the Cybran commanders will arrive and go to work immediately, but then the UEF has to find out what's going on and send in their pilots. I've got one question though. Since it’s so deep in UEF territory, how will you get there?"
"We will go via the Matar gateway. We'll build a quantum gate on Matar and make our way towards the settlement and back home trough that gate.
Matar. It brought back memories. The fortress he and his team members had designed. It was flawed without the life support structures that they failed to think of, but it was a very well equipped base nonetheless, with the energy support for six commanders to teleport. Now Leython thought of it, he and his team designed two separate bases, so that there would still be resistance if one base was taken out completely.
The commanders were equipped with tier three engineering suites and resource allocation systems. They could get anywhere on the planet at any time, thanks to the teleporting backapacs, and produce a tier three army that was many times more powerful than a recently gated commander could ever build in a tier one form.
The bases had Mavors to target any commander that came too close. Fatboys to build tier two tanks and tier three engineers at rapid succession, so that they could go anywhere within the ACU’s active range without trouble, thanks to transports. Atlantii were built for the construction and storage of planes.
The so called ‘expert team’ of officers, including his own strategy teacher, colonel Stirling, were not pleased by the design, telling them that building that amount of shield and stealth generators, omni sensors and outposts in the ACU’s active range from the main base was far too expensive.
Leython was staggered by ‘expert team’ and their lack of precautions. All they did was equipping ACUs with tech three engineering suites, teleporting backpacks and resource allocation systems. They didn’t think it would be necessary to protect the main base than with just those well-equipped ACUs
Since then, Leython couldn’t help but hope a little bit that a smart commander, either Dostya, Brackman, perhaps even the Avatar-of-War, or Clarke and Arnold, would bring the Matar Fortress down. His work was cast aside, as if it were ridiculous. But it was the UEF ‘expert team’ that was overconfident and thought they could suffice with a job that a teenager could do better.
A point easily proven, Leython concluded, remembering that he technically was a teenager, being nineteen years old when he designed his fortress.
“Mister Dygonn? Are you still awake, my friend?” Leython almost jumped when he heard Brackman. He was speaking louder than normally which meant that he missed the conversation he and Dostya were heaving.
“You seem to have trouble with concentration since I entered.” Dostya said, smiling and looking at Leython. “Am I that attractive?”
Leython chuckled: “It’s not that, it’s because you want to go via Matar in order to free the Symbionts. It brings back memories.” He answered.
“Memories of what I almost did there. Memories of what a stupid form of bureaucracy and the UEF ranking system have ruined.”
Dostya seemed puzzled, but she would soon know what Leython meant. Not knowing it yet though, she disregarded his words and continued:
“The fortress at Matar is impenetrable. We don’t know what exactly the UEF have built there, but we do know that any assault will fail. The Aeon have suffered heavy losses any time they attempted to break it.”
“Hmm, the Aeon Avatar-of-War, he’s supposed to be smart, isn’t he?” Leython asked rhetorically. “What was the last time they tried to crack the nut?”
It took QAI a fraction of a second to realize that Leython expected an answer on his second question, but the artificial intelligence checked its database now and immediately gave an answer.
“One year, six months and twenty four days ago, that is the twelfth of June, 3840. They haven’t tried since then.
“The Fortress’ construction was finished on the fourth of April in 3838 know that the first Aeon encounter, after the completion of that Fortress was on the ninth of January, one year before that. That means it took them seventeen months to find out that the Fortress couldn’t be taken in a conventional way. A different method has to be found.”
“A different method is impossible to find unless you have acquired intel, as you very well know, Dygonn.”
“I do know that, QAI, I also know that the UEF have managed to keep the exact location of the Fortress a perfect secret. They also hid the exact number of commanders on site. They slipped no intel to outsiders at all.”
Leython knew all of it. The ability to keep it all a perfect secret was the job of only one man. No, one woman: Michelle Aiko.
Leython knew that Aiko was so ambitious to leak as little information as possible, that she would check on everyone every now and then. She stepped forward after Stirling had shown his own plan, after they gave their verdicts on every teams’ plans. She said that they should all keep their mouths shut about the final design. As little people should know about it, for the best element of surprise for any enemy that set foot on Matar. It had worked.
The UEF finally secured information as they should have. For then. Yet, no one could ever have imagined that one pilot, the one who understood the effects of intel and the lack to gain it even better than Aiko herself, would join the extremely crafty Cybran Nation.
Leython had to decide right now. Cybran? UEF? Which faction would he join? If he gave the information he had, he would give the opportunity to free thousands of Symbionts.
If not, he would save about eight pilots in the UEF. He would ensure they lived on.
What would happen more, if he didn’t leak the intel Brackman, Dostya and QAI required? He was going to put several Cybran pilots in as much danger as he saved the UEF commanders from.
Dostya was persistent and wouldn’t let this opportunity go.
He made up his mind. One way or another, he would put human lives on the line. But one thing was clear: if he could help to save those enslaved Symbionts, he had to do it.
“Dygonn?” Dostya said, “that’s the third time already. Perhaps you do need a Symbiont implant, just to keep yourself concentrated.”
“No, I was concentrated, just not on how attractive
you are.” Leython joked and Brackman could not keep himself from grinning.
“I was just thinking. And about that implant, I prefer to live without it. Otherwise I’ll have the urge to calculate every strike with a sword, which is just not the way to fight. Definitely not if I already know how exactly what ‘enough’, ‘not enough’ and ‘too much’ mean in combat.”
“Ok.” Dostya simply said, seeming to have forgotten the matter already.
“Any way, we’ve got to find out how to get the intel from the UEF. We’d best try to seize a person who is closely involved, but how do we get one from a place we can’t get in, to ask him how to get in there?”
“Probably not everyone involved is at the Matar fortress itself. Some would be elsewhere.” Brackman offered.
“The most of those that are not on Matar, are on Earth. Only few are elsewhere, those are the easiest to take.” Leython said.
“Of course, you have no idea who they are and where they are,” Dostya said harshly, like you said, you’re an outsider after all. I have a question though: how do you know that
the UEF are hiding everything in this matter?”
“I said that most of those who aren’t on Matar, are on Earth. That means that not everyone
is at the UEF capital planet or the impenetrable Fortress. I, for example, am not even in UEF territory at all.”
“What?! You know about the Matar Fortress?” Dostya asked loudly, staggered to suddenly hear that Leython actually was an insider in the case.
“Why didn’t you tell me about this before.” Dostya asked furiously, confused by his behavior.
“Because I couldn’t betray my old friends or people I knew.” Leython answered as he stood up. “Now, it’s different. If we make this, we’ll have freed many Symbionts.
“Telling what the Matar Fortress is, means betraying the UEF, my old friends. Not telling about it, means betraying the thousands of Symbionts, means not helping my new friends and thus betraying them. It would also mean that I betray myself and what I stand for: freedom to live.
I can’t not betray no one, whatever I do.” Leython said.
“I will have to make a choice. I’ll help you to beat the impenetrable fortress.” He concluded.
Two days later. Leython was in Brackman’s airship again. He had travelled to several nodes and taken the best Cybran ACU pilots from there, so that they could participate in a brainstorm session. Others had come on their own account, including the most dangerous assassin in the Cybran Nation, Redfog.
“The fortress of Matar houses eight commanders. Seven of them can go anywhere at any time, the last one will stay at their home base to protect it.” Leython said, summarizing what the UEF design actually was.
“The command units,” he continued, “are probably the first ones to be equipped with the latest weaponry, the newest sensors and the best resource allocation systems that the UEF can offer.
The ACUs are upgraded with a tier three engineering suite, a resource allocation system and a personal teleporter, as a standard.
They can go where ever they want on the planet and a pilot who just gated in, can’t keep up with his enemy in terms of economy, not even if that enemy arrives five to ten minutes later than we do.”
“So the fortress is impenetrable, they’ll take ten seconds to arrive at our gating site. We’ll never stand a chance, not even if we gate in with three or four commanders at the same point.” Shilon said.
“He’s right.” Dostya agreed. “You, Dygonn, have just confirmed what we already know: the fortress can’t be taken. You have also explained why.
To make it worse, the enemy will know the best spots on planet. They know where to go for the best resources. If we are so unlucky to gate in on a bad spot, but within ACU’s range of such a strong mass field, we’re doomed upon arrival. ”
“So we’ve got to find out where exactly we have to go, don’t we?”A pilot Leython didn’t recognize said. It was hard to find out who he was in the first place, because he was wearing a helmet.
“More than that.” Leython replied. “If we arrive even in the very middle of such a good field, we can’t stand up against a resource system that will arrive ten to twenty seconds later. We simply need more time.”
“Perhaps we’ve got to attack at the time of night at their base. That’ll buy something.” Shilon offered.
“No,” Dostya said, “they’ll certainly have more than eight pilots at the base. Eight ACUs maybe, but they’ll have perhaps even twenty four commanders so that they can work in shifts of eight hours. So whatever the time is, they’ve got replacements ready for the real pilots so that they can have some rest.”
“We probably can’t tell if they’ve got the eight best commanders in their ACUs at a given time, or if it are the replacements that just came from the UEF Academy.” Leython filled in, knowing how little the UEF had relied on chance in this case.
“Simple concepts are often the best ones, oh yes.” Brackman said. “They have built that base to have time as an advantage. They designed it, with the question in mind of… ‘what makes us take no time to answer to an assault?’ This is their solution.”
“I assume that a sneak attack without ACU pilots will fail as well. We can’t just walk in that fortress by and kill the pilots?” Redfog asked.
“We’d better not try. I know that omni sensors are often overlooking humans that are not in an ACU, but we can’t take the risk here.” Leython answered. “Despite for the fact that they didn’t go for my base design, they have still taken a lot of precautions.”
“They’ve left little to chance to spoil their strategy.” The unknown pilot said. “The less they rely on chance, the more we will. Where will we drop, in a rich or a poor mass field? Will they have their best pilots in the ACUs at the time we arrive? That are just two questions and the latter is already one we can’t answer. For that, we’ve got to rely on luck completely.”
“But even if we have luck on our side, we can’t defeat them, because they are prepared much better,” Leython said, “so we’ve got to beat them at their own game. We’ve got to make them take time
to get to us. We’ve got to ensure that we have upgraded to tier three, and that we gain at least seventeen standard units of mass and three thousand megawatt of energy by the time that they finally arrive within ACU’s active range.”
“That would take us ten to fifteen minutes. That’s the time we need to delay them before the real battle, in order to keep them busy.” Redfog said. “Then we have to get to know as much about Matar as possible, to reduce the factor of luck. We also have to find a way to make them waste the valuable time.”
“Exactly,” Leython said, “Now I don’t know what the latest intel is you have about the mass fields’ lay-out on Matar, but it won’t be very recent, presuming the UEF managed to keep even that hidden as a secret.”
“The latest intel we have comes from many years ago, regrettably.” Dostya admitted. Leython knew why it was embarrassing for the Cybrans not to find out something that seemed as basic as the mass diversion on a planet. It was like the UEF with security or an Aeon pilot with the urge to keep UEF citizens alive.
But then he remembered that he shouldn’t think of such a stupid thing. Both friendly Aeon pilots as well as a tightly secured Federation base existed. He experienced the first of the two possibilities on Sinivar, two and a half years ago and now he was facing the impenetrable UEF fortress.
Or perhaps… Of course, it depended on how he had to look at the situation. The fortress was secured very well, but would now appear penetrated, infiltrated by a long time already.
“Mister Dygonn, I have to thank you.” Brackman said. They were still in the room, everyone else had left. “Because of your information, we have a chance to free the Symbionts.
Leython didn’t respond, Brackman knew why.
“It must be hard to turn in on your friends.”
“You have no idea.” Leython answered.
“I do, my friend. I do. I still remember how I was one of the most popular people in the Earth Empire. When I successfully joined the AI implant with a human brain, everyone honored me because I made the next step in human evolution. But the government feared that it could go wrong, spin out of control and that the people without an implant would be oppressed by those who had one. They forced me to create the loyalty program. The results was that the Symbionts were oppressed.
They naturally revolted for independence but the Empire’s government was one step ahead and they activated the Loyalist program. I escaped with some Symbionts that I freed. That day, I fought against the Earth Empire and since then, I was branded a pirate.”
“This is a sick world we’re living in. I’m glad that I can help making it a little bit better.”
“Your memorization of the best mass fields on Matar’s land surface was excellent. We stand a chance now.”
“Don’t forget that one of the three strongest fields is already occupied by the fortress, so the other two are the places where we have to go and be ignored for the oncoming fifteen minutes. It’s going to be hard.”Chapter 2
During the next three weeks, Leython, Brackman and Shilon worked constantly on the assault on Matar. What would happen afterwards, at the Cybran settlement, depended completely on the preparation of the assault on the fortress and the pilots’ performance when they executed their plans on Matar.
They had looked at the planet dozens of times, searching for more locations where they could send the ACUs at. However, the problem still remained: the enemy had seventeen times more the mass and three hundred times more the energy by the time they arrived. They had to be delayed were the assault to turn out even remotely successful.
Several options were thought of already. Sending the commanders into mountainous area. Large groups of units would be useless in passages, but the problem then would be that the UEF tier three bots would still be arriving in the scene too soon, decimating the Cybran units, that were probably not even from the tier two level.
A second plan was to send in so many Cybran ACUs in, at different locations, to force the UEF pilots to teleport to a new location every time that a Cybran had been defeated. Redfog said that he was prepared to sacrifice some of his men to give Leython, Shilon and Dostya the required time, but Leython objected to it. He didn’t want to send pilots to their doom and was certain that the attempt was based on chance too much. He or Dostya could be the first one to be targeted.
Eventually, after two weeks, Brackman came up with a very simple idea, making everyone feel stupid for not thinking of it.
“Why don’t we send in dummy ACUs? The quantum signal’s strength is only dependent on the energy that is being sent. In other words, it’s mass. The amount of panels and electronics won't change the quantum signal. We can just send in numerous ACUs but they’ll not know that those are dummies.”
“Of course,” Leython answered, “why didn’t I think of that before? It’s so easy to do. It’s the Trojan Horse idea, but the other way around. Instead of gift-wrapping a group of soldiers and putting them in front of the enemy’s gates, we’ll send a couple of fake threats to them and come along by ourselves shortly afterwards.”
“But how are we going to make that happen?” Shilon asked.
“It’s simple, we’ll send in seven fake ACUs at the first moment, wait for the required time for the enemy to teleport towards them and when they are there, we’ll send in the next group. This group will consist out of twenty one ACUs: seven dummies, fourteen real ones, that will operate in groups of two. The UEF ACUs will go to the seven new faked units by the time they realize that the first group is a ruse.”
“This will take them about five minutes, as a maximum.” Redfog filled in, who was attending at that time. He had calculated the total time it would take for an ACU pilot to find out the ruse and then teleport towards his new location, after reporting to their headquarters and receiving their next set of orders.
“After those five minutes, they’ll most definitely have noticed that the ACU is fake and then they’ll teleport to the new location, where they’ll stay for another five minutes, also as a maximum.”
“That means we’ve got a bit less than ten minutes. If we’re lucky to lure the UEF to our faked ACUs twice.” Shilon noted.
“That’s correct, to do so, we’ve got to send the second bait at the best mass fields, the Matar Fortress’ HQ will certainly send their men towards those points first.” Leython said and for that next week, they all searched for the strongest fields on Matar, based on old information.
Brackman told the others that, for as far as he knew, by following the news for more than thousand years, Matar had never suffered from shifting mass fields caused by sudden tectonic activity. Matar never was very active in that way and therefore the data that was some years old, was still accurate. Despite for that, it was still a lot of work to find out where to place a total of twenty-eight ACUs on, fake or real.
The only thing they were certain of, was that the eight best spots were reserved for the seven ruses that would arrive in the second wave and the Matar Fortress. They had to work hard to arrange the rest.
Despite for the fact that the fields didn’t change that much, making an accurate prediction on where the strongest positions were, was nigh on impossible. Leython knew that they still relied on luck if it came to which locations were the second to be attacked and which were the third to be visited by the UEF.
Dostya came with more bad news. She reckoned, with a proper reason, that the commanders at Matar might know where the three strongest fields were, but they’d never be able to tell the location of fields four, five, six, seven and eight, even though the engineering team, which Colonel Stirling was part of, had looked carefully at all of that information.
Leython knew already the location of these three strongest mass fields and was certain that the largest one was reserved for the Matar Fortress and that therefore at least two UEF commanders were going to be lured towards the second wave of faked commanders.
After the whole third week of discussing, they had not yet gotten themselves a single planet closer to winning the war. They still had only two points that the UEF would certainly go to, with five locations to go.
“Why don’t we send fake ACUs towards UEF settlements? They’ll have to go and attack them.” Leython asked.
“They’ll decide not to. When the UEF faces a total fourteen locations being attacked, thinking that all ACUs are real, they’ll go to the ones with the highest priority. Civilians are not the highest priority.”
“What happened in the UEF during my absence?” The ex-UEF pilot retorted. “When I had to thwart an Aeon assault, I was always sent to one large city or another, because I had to evacuate it, or bolster its defences so that the people wouldn’t die in the relentless assault.”
“That is at the Aeon front. You know what you’re up to when you’re facing Aeon enemies. They strike to cleanse. We however, have many different goals when we attack. It’s either liberating Symbionts, stealing technology or forcing the Aeon or the UEF to go back if the war falls out of balance. In the latter occasion, we give the faction that is compromised severely, the opportunity to restore their defensive line, by attacking the victorious faction.” Redfog said, while he still looked at the region around Matar’s Fortress.
“If we want the Aeon to go back where they came from, we can assault Aeon settlements, they’ll certainly try to stop us, just like the UEF wants to do against the Aeon at this moment.”
“Are you seriously going to raid and kill Aeon citizens? That’s dreadful.” Leython said directly, not knowing he was very close at crossing a line to Redfog.
“You’d be dead now if I was my predecessor.” He snarled, without looking up. “I am not going to kill you because you are valuable to us. If not, Brackman might have a hard time stopping me.”
Leython was stunned by the sudden change of tone. What was an emotionless person at first, turned out to be fury itself now.
“I am without sentimental feelings for people I do not know and for people I have met. If that person dies, so be it, no matter how agonizing his death is. That is what makes me the leader of my node.” Redfog explained, his voice seemingly calm again. “I do not share your sympathy for people who want to cleanse us, but I do understand that you don’t have the same opinion about how to deal with them. Be careful in the future, because my successor may be as relentless as my predecessor and he’d have you killed.”
“Ok.” Leython said, unable to say anything else.
“Anyway,” Redfog went on, “the Aeon respond to such a raid. The UEF do not. They’d sacrifice a planet for a victory at Seraphim Two and the destruction of the Aeon. What we need to do against the UEF is something else.”
Leython understood and realised why the UEF could sacrifice a planet for a chance of victory over the Aeon. It was horrible to think of it, but as a strategist, Leython was able to comprehend. If the Aeon were utterly destroyed, the UEF could concentrate on the Cybrans and certainly win, just like the Aeon should be able to cleanse the whole Cybran Nation if it weren’t for the UEF keeping them busy.
For the Aeon however, the lives of their citizens were a lot more important than a swift victory, unlike for Riley.
“To make the UEF respond to our raids,” Redfog went on, “we have to attack them at key points, such as a planet where they can get their resources for building ACUs from, or we attack their key gating points, giving them a hard time travelling through their own territory.”
“Ok, so we’ve got t find five locations on Matar, so that their commanders will go there. That should be easier than guessing five more locations for our fake ACUs to go to and hope the UEF commanders will teleport towards there.” Leython said, understanding that the plan could be brought down to planetary level.
“Which locations do you have in mind?” He asked and looked at Redfog, who still gazed at the Matar Fortress.
“Well, this is one and we can turn it in five.” He said, pointing at the fortress.
“How?” Shilon asked, who entered the room again just a minute ago.
“We will send in fake ACUs about a hundred and seventy kilometres away from the fortress. Then we will provoke the UEF to respond to us, because we still pose a threat. We could build up a huge air force and move in. If we rush it, we can easily attack the fortress in three hours. It is so far away for the primary commander that he must stay at home and can’t reach us. So he’s got to get in five colleagues to do the job.”
“Than that’s settled, finally.” Leython said and Brackman, who had been listening all the time, nodded in approval.
“Ok, then we’ve got to do three things before we can mount that assault. First, we’ve got to find nine commanders willing to join the battle on Matar, taking for granted that you, Shilon, Dostya, the Tip of the Spear and of course I will fight. Before you ask, yes I will.” Redfog said.
“Then,” Shilon filled in, assuming he knew what Redfog meant, “we’ll have to make fourteen cheap ACUs, with no impressive electronics, just a block of mass that has the same weight as an ACU and can be moved around.”
“Correct and the last thing we’ve got to do...” Redfog said, while he turned his eyes to Leython for the first time this day. “Dygonn, come here, I’m going to make a Cybran of you, we don’t want you to show the UEF your initial affiliation at the first moment you talk with them.”
“What? Excuse me? Are you going to put an AI chip in my head? I’d rather insult you than allow you to do that.”
“Don’t worry, the transformation is only aesthetically, I’ve got this red marker and I’m just going to put some lines on your face. You must repeat it every day so we’re sure it’ll suit for the day we attack, which may be only three days away. After that, it’ll go away eventually.”
“What do you exactly mean with ‘eventually’?”
“Having a shower every day, using a good bit of soap.” Redfog answered and he started painting Leython’s head. His method was crude and pained a bit, but Leython knew that the job would be done properly now. At the moment, he preferred Redfog above anyone else because he made sure the result would be satisfying.
Two days later, in Brackman’s Airship, above the Minerva Surface...
“Leython, my friend, we have managed to get a total of fourteen pilots to attack Matar. They all know the dangers and they’re ready to go.” Brackman said. They were both alone in Brackman’s airship. Yesterday, the Aeon decided to launch another full scale assault. It ended in a victory for the Cybrans, but only one enemy commander was eliminated. The Illuminate had wasted a whole day and it was time to make up for that.
“You are doing what Redfog told you do to, I see?” The doctor continued.
“Yes, of course. If I want to ensure that I remain unnoticed, I should do this. The UEF will certainly want to know how we managed to crack the nut and if they see an image of me without an implant, someone will immediately realise who I am. I’d rather be... ‘dead’.” Leython said, smiling.
The fact that he was deemed to have perished at Sung Island was very entertaining, to say the least. Because of him, the Cybrans now knew how to take care of the Matar Fortress and because the UEF thought he was dead, they had no clue about what was coming to them.
“There is a high chance that they still know who you are.” Brackman said. “I doubt that they fall for the ruse of a painted head.”
“That’s true, but it’s not the only thing that’ll be different. You know that I haven’t had a proper haircut since quite some time. My hair’s now the length it was during the final months of my sword mastery training. I’m going to change clothes as well so that no one will recognize me when I’m in my ACU, fighting on Matar.”
“But you don’t have any clothes that suit a Samurai, or a sword master from those role playing games you have in the UEF.” Brackman said, knowing how Leython wanted to look like.
“I’ve been working on that since we started planning the assault on Matar.”
“Then why did you accept Redfog to change your facial appearance?”
“Because he had a point and he is persistent, to say the least.” Leython answered. “I have been thinking of our fake ACUs. We should camouflage them as much as possible.”
“So the pilot who sees a forwarded image of an air scout takes a longer time to understand what is going on? It is a good idea, but I doubt that we could make an ACU that has got nothing but two legs and an engine, perfectly camouflaged just by a paint job.” Brackman said.
“That’s not exactly what I meant, doctor. I meant that we’ve got to make them look like a natural object. How much time is it going to take to find a gigantic stone that weighs as much as an ACU and looks like it’s been there for a long time?” Leython asked.
“That is a splendid idea. The only thing is that we’ve got to use quantum gates like the one in my airship to gate the objects in. They can’t just walk through our conventional gates.” The doctor said.
“That is true, but now I think of something else. We may be able to transfer a gigantic stone to make it look like the ACU has walked away from its gating point, but we still have the effects of a quantum wake. Those burning trees won’t be gone after five minutes. Our enemy will certainly know that our rock seems untouched by scorch marks or so and understand that this was a ruse.”
“That may be true, but the quantum wake will leave effects on the object that has travelled just like it leaves effects on the surroundings of the arrival site. If it is just that a metal object like our ACUs is left almost unscarred, but something made out of stone will have some marks on it. And even if we delay them for just one second, it’s worth the try.”
“Another thing, doctor. We must keep radio silence when we arrive at Matar. If we talk with each other, the UEF might pick that up and find out that we are real pilots. That’d ruin everything.” Leython said.
“Yes, we must tell the others not to talk until they are absolutely sure that the UEF commanders know where they have to go to. Anyone who remains unnoticed will have to keep it that way for as long as possible.”
Three days later, on Minerva...
Leython was glad with the way Cybrans were able to turn a design in a working prototype in a day. It appeared that the only ‘mobile’ quantum gate they had, was the one in Brackman’s airship. It wouldn’t suffice for seven huge rocks.
The prototypes they now used were basically some huge stones with an engine in it, and some wheels underneath. They looked incredibly stupid and seemed the work of a three year old kid who lived in his own fantasy, but they would get the job done.
When the ‘rock-on-wheels’ travelled through the quantum network, it was ordered to move another hundred metres and then automatically shut down.
Leython was worried about the tracks that were left behind, but Dostya told him that the time of planning and waiting was over. It had been a full month since she came with the news about the settlement and that was too long, she said.
Leython agreed, knowing that they could work another month on perfecting everything, but that wouldn’t have mattered much. He was already glad that the seemingly unimpressive weapons were able to move a bit around with their programming. No ACU was required whatsoever.
Leython agreed with the Elite-Commander that they would assemble all commanders by tomorrow noon and attack an hour later.
Dostya immediately left to inform every pilot involved while Leython and shilon constructed the required gates for the first seven rocks to be transferred.
Redfog was already working on the fourteen gates for the real ACUs, three hundred kilometres away, safe from any quantum wake. On the far side of the planet, the Tip of the Spear was working on the gates for the second group of faked ACUs, ready to be gated to Matar.
The next day...
“Ok guys,” Leython said, three minutes before they would all leave for a new battle at Matar, “it’s about time, QAI has got control over my gates for the first ruse and the required power generators. The rocks are moving in as scheduled. I’m teleporting towards Redfog’s base.”
Ten seconds later, he arrived in front of his own gate Redfog built for him and he immediately ejected the upgrades his ACU had and prepared for quantum travel. The gates were programmed to be activated all at the same time, so that no commander would be too late and couldn’t travel anymore because of the wake.
Another ten seconds later, the Tip of the Spear arrived and he joined with the other commanders, all standing in one line. They moved towards their gates, while Redfog entered the exact time they had to be activated.
“Ok, two minutes remaining before the first ruse goes to Matar, we arrive twenty seconds later.” The assassin said.
“Then I have the time to give you one extra thing to play with.” Brackman interrupted. “This is a new weapon designed for naval combat. I hope that you will be able to use it to the best. It is powerful and stealthily, a perfect weapon for many of you.” The doctor said and he glanced at Redfog and Leython.
“I do not yet have a name for it, any ideas are welcome.”
“Thanks, doc.” Shilon said, after taking a look at the weapon. He seemed impressed.
“Everyone’s ready?” Leython asked. Now the project was about to go to the second stage, the actual assault, he was eager to have it turn out useful.
The assault on the Matar Fortress was not the actual goal, he had to remember. The plan was to have every pilot build a quantum gate, so that other Symbionts would make it through to the settlement, free their enslaved brothers and could go back safely.
“Ok, one last thing to remind you all,” Leython said, “me may not open a single channel from now on. When we are on planet, the UEF are having trouble finding out which quantum wake eruption comes from a real ACU and which one not. As soon as they pick up a single signal, encrypted or not, they’ll go there first to investigate, assuming they find a Cybran pilot. When you are spotted, talk to no one else, but your teammate or to Brackman, who is overseeing the operation. He knows about everyone who’s been detected and will tell who it is safe to talk to, because they’re detected anyway.”
“Good luck everyone.” The Tip of the Spear said and everyone closed his or her channel. Some moments later, they were all gone from Minerva and arrived at Matar. Leython saw the molten snow around him, at Matar’s North pole and wanted to tell Shilon that he arrived safely and was going to start right away. Yet he knew that he had not to. He hoped that he could keep himself from hitting the communications panel. Radio Silence was as bad as having no radar.
“General Clarke, an emergency transmission from Matar.” An EarthCom officer had opened a channel to her desk and Clarke almost gasped in surprise.
“Patch the commanding officer through.”
“General, twenty eight Cybran commanders have come to Matar. We need reinforcements.” The colonel said, while he was building factories around the home base. He was alone while five enemy commanders were suddenly less than two hundred kilometres away from him.
“How are they grouped?” The general asked.
“Fourteen commanders work alone, fourteen in groups of two.”
“Give me the locations of the seven groups of two. I’ll send in three commanders per group to deal with them. Your men will target the pilots that work alone.”
“They have already teleported towards their first target and will be at the second one in about five minutes. Then they will join the battle with the commanders you send in.”
“Good, that issue has been taken care of, theoretically. I’ll send the word, the reinforcements should be there in about five minutes. I hope that it will all go as we just planned. Clarke out.” The general said and she closed the channel.
Last edited by Plasma_Wolf on 23 Oct, 2010, edited 26 times in total.
25 Oct, 2009
Joined: 08 Sep, 2007
Location: In an RTD!!!
The Battle of Matar
Brackman waited and waited, for what seemed like an eternity, but was only one minute yet. His heart rate would have tripled, were he to still have a beating heart. The longer it took, the more excruciating the silence was...
Four minutes had passed now, the UEF commanders were about to realize that the first place they went to, housed a distraction. They would move on now. The fact that no news meant good news calmed the doctor a bit, but he also knew that if a pilot contacted him, his enemy was on his field for about a minute already. He took a look at the scene again.
After ten minutes, a commander could have a higher mass income than a standard resource allocation system gave. The energy production was significantly, but not critically lower. They actually had an advantage if they could keep the Matar commanders busy for ten minutes, just by using some gigantic mobile rocks.
Yet as always, things never went according to plan. After about five minutes, Redfog contacted him.
“Quantum wake eruptions detected, not too far away. We’ve got three UEF commanders coming for us.”
“Now you have also revealed yourself, so you are bound to attract more enemies.”
“I personally doubt it, they have made a plan. Three commanders per group of two Cybrans come from Earth or some other core planet. Then, the Matar commanders have more time to deal with the distractions. After ten minutes however, I will be facing four enemies, of which one will build tier three units shortly.”
“Ok, I will not contact anyone else, we will just continue our plan like nothing happened. You should have done the same though, assassin, just to ensure that you’d not gain more attention and enemies coming for you.”
“That is why I did contact you. If anyone can take more enemies, it is me, Dostya or the Tip of the Spear. Not Dygonn, Shilon or someone else. What I have done is trying to get two Matar commanders to my area, despite for the fact that the UEF has got a plan not according to my ideas. Now, that ex-UEF pilot has got the time to build quantum gates for the connection to the Cybran settlement.”
“Your plan failed, Dygonn is hailing me now.” Brackman said and he opened the channel with Leython.
“Doctor, I’ve got three UEF pilots near my base. They managed to find some nice spots that aren’t affected by Shilon’s or my quantum wake. We’re under attack already. The Matar commander will probably follow shortly, so we’re in some sort of trouble. Tell the people that are supposed to go to the settlement, have to wait a little longer.”
“Damn it Dygonn, what are you doing. Now you’ve ensured that you’ll get a Matar commander will get to you anyway.”
“That’d happen even if I didn’t contact Brackman. They’ve spread the commanders over the locations where they’re being attacked, no matter what would happen otherwise. They sent in three more per group of Cybrans, so I’m sure that that the Matar commander will arrive as planned.”
More commanders contacted Brackman as well. This was going wrong. The enemy could decide to take care of the real assailants now, instead of moving on to the second ruse. There was nothing that could be done against it though.
“Our plan seems awfully stupid now,” Dostya said, “we were focussed on the teleporting enemies so much that we didn’t think about extra-planeterial reinforcements. It puts us with our backs to the wall. Everyone will have to double their efforts. Let’s get to work!”
Dostya closed the channel immediately after she said her words and Leython knew that everyone was in trouble. The plan to distract all of the commanders had been his. With Brackman’s and Redfog’s help, he filled in the details, how to distract the enemy and now general Clarke jeopardized everything.
However, Leython had trained against Clarke before, this was a move he had to expect. Whenever Leython attacked her at several points, she would spread all of her forces over the different fronts. Units that were patrolling somewhere else, were withdrawn...
“Brackman, we’ve got to find out which planets are less protected now and make sure that we attack there. These new reinforcements are commanders that have been withdrawn from another post.”
“We can’t risk to send in another group of commanders.”
“Then leak intel to the Aeon, that the planets that are less protected now, would be left completely undefended. They might not realize that it’s a trap and relieve us a bit if they go.”
“I’ll do it and see if it makes any difference, but in the meanwhile, you’ve got three enemies, with a fourth on the way. Please do survive this, my friend.” The doctor said and he closed the channel, going to work immediately.
“So we’ve got company?” Shilon asked, while finishing the upgrade to a tier two air factory. He and Leython planned that one of them would build land units and the other would construct air. Five minutes before gating, they finally decided that Shilon could better build the air units, because he was best with unit management.
He had to bring in the tanks with air transports and was most likely to meet aerial resistance in the progress, so the micromanagement skills were a serious requirement.
Leython and Shilon were at the north pole. The vast land mass was covered with snow and had some valuable mass fields. They were lucky to arrive at exactly the right place.
“Three ACUs already, but they’re here for only a minute. Build five interceptors and then go for a couple of gunships. I will get some land scouts and find out which base is the easiest to attack, so we can go on to the second one as soon as possible. We’ve got a timely advantage but the fourth enemy will be here in three minutes, if we’re lucky.”
“So you want to get rid of them first, even if the fourth guy is probably here by the time we arrive at the first base?” The Symbiont asked.
“Yes, that fourth enemy needs time to build up a base as well.” Leython said, while building the land scouts he promised, before continuing to a small batch of Rhino heavy tanks. “He’s got as much energy as we have when he arrives, but less mass. The mass production is the bottleneck at first. If he knows how to arrange everything, he’ll be fine and kicking in a couple of minutes. If not, it’s going to take him longer.”
“But as we have already established weeks ago, we can’t rely on luck.” Shilon replied. The first three interceptors were built and he continued upgrading his mass extractors while his friend built another tier two power generator.
“That’s correct, Shilon. The thing is, that we’ve got to keep the enemy’s mass income as low as possible. They will work together and the problem is that’ll increase their effectiveness. We would have beaten you on Sung Island, if it weren’t for the fact that we argued all the time.”
“They will not argue, as soon as the teleporting commander arrives, he’ll take command and they’ll let him do everything, while constructing economical buildings.” Shilon said, while his first gunship took off now. “So now we’ll have attack them before their ally can get it all on track.”
“Don’t kill any of those UEF pilots, whatever you want to do else.” Leython said, sending his scouts towards the quantum wake eruptions’ locations now. He continued with the build of Rhino tanks. If they could just destroy two enemy bases.
“That’ll keep them very busy. If we can get rid of the enemy bases, but let the ACUs live, they’ll have no means of retreating and if we attack a lone commander, they’ll certainly send in units to save him. This will buy us some time and we can force them to spread themselves thin, making it easier to attack key points to destroy the next base. And so we go on to the next and the next. We could take out a hundred enemies this way, we just have to get it started now.”
“I’ve got three gunships, which base is the easiest one?”
“It’s simple to say when they’re here for five minutes. They’ve already got a land army rolling so we’ve got to hurry up. Get the base closest to yours, we’ll dub that the ‘first’ enemy to make it easier. The gunships are to take the mass extractors out, then the anti air mobiles that will certainly be built in the process and after that, the factories themselves.”
“Ok, I got that. I should send in my interceptors as well?”
“No, those are to go to the base the furthest away from us, that’s our ‘third’ enemy. That’s their air commander. Keep him busy with the interceptors and I’ll give you the tanks, so we can take that one out by land units.” Leython said, while he ordered his five Rhino tanks to move on. The sixth had to wait.
“Then I’m going to build a transport now and it’s time to load up the tanks.” The Cybran answered while the gunships started to fire at the first transport.”
“Commander Defack, tell us what to do.”
“I’m going to give you some resources at first, Lancet. You’re already losing the mass extractors you need. Build anti-air and you’ll be fine. These enemy commanders appear to be typical. They’re going for air solely or for land only. Your reaction can be typical as well then. Funky, you are building air units, so you’ve got to assist Lancet.”
“Understood commander.” The major answered and he closed his channel. Not even a minute later, he hailed his allies again:
“Guys, I’m in trouble.” He said, an air transport had dropped next to his air factory. A tactic he employed a lot of times, had been used against him! It wasn’t done as brilliantly as he could have, but it would be as effective. The tanks were already firing at two mass extractors, that were destroyed seconds later. The air factory followed soon, along with the power generators.
“That changes it, they’re using land and air combined, this means that they’re working very well together. That’s not usual with them. Those Symbionts are just idiots, they run and hide when they meet resistance.” Defack said.
“Then why are they here?” Commander Yrol, a fresh recruit asked.
“They want something and are desperate, otherwise they wouldn’t have sent their entire military to Matar. We’ll stop them though. Yrol, go with your commander and every tank you have, you’ll go to Funky’s base, help him recover. Then Funky can do his air magic. That’s what you’re good at, aren’t you?” Defack asked while he saw Lancet successfully dealing with his aerial threat.
“You appear to know the facts. Yes, just give me artillery and an air transport. Then the enemy base is down to a pile of ashes in an instant.” Josh replied happily.
“That second enemy is moving all of it out of his base. Shilon, take the two new transports, fill them up and go towards that base. We’ve got the chance to get it down now!”
“Aren’t you interested in where the fourth enemy is now?” The Cybran asked. He feared that the enemy who was last to arrive, would come by surprise and take them both out.
“Don’t you know who I am yet?” Leython asked, half stern, half amused: of course he was insterested. “I do the strategy and tactics. The unit management is all up to you.”
Leython had not said it or Shilon was already moving with the air transports. This was the best moment for them to get themselves an advantage and to make it to that as close as possible, the Symbiont knew that he had to thrust his friend blindly.
“If one of my former colleagues at the academy would’ve cooperated like you do, we’d be a perfect team. He had to disagree with me though every time that I made a plan.”
“Is that one of the comrades you lost at Sung Island?” Shilon asked.
“No, that guy is stationed at Pollux or Capella or somewhere else where the UEF have a nice day. I’m glad that there’s no chance that we would have to work together, but I might enjoy a reunion.”
“Be careful what you wish for.” Shilon said. Things could turn out so complicated. Leython’s adventure at Sung Island was a perfect example.
“Now please tell me how we’re going to find out what that fourth guy is up to, if he is already here.”
“I’ve got my Radar upgraded to omni sensor.” Leython said, realising how easy it was to get that done if he just had five minutes without any enemy present, and another five minutes in which he and Shilon seemed to have perfect control.”
“I can’t see a new enemy so far though.” He continued, looking at his intelligence screen. No gray dots had appeared in the new, increased range. This meant that the UEF commander was either far away from the sensor, or smart enough to use stealth generators in his base. At one moment or another, he had to come out of that protection nonetheless.
Shortly after the thoughts had formed in Leython’s mind, he realised that the UEF commander could never be smart enough to use stealth generators: the unknown pilot hailed him.
“You’re about to die, Symbionts.” He said, in a maniacal way Leython remembered from zealous Aeon Knights. He quickly looked at his intelligence screen again. Shilon’s artillery were pounding the second base and the mass extractors were about to be destroyed.
“Why, are we with our backs to the wall?” Shilon asked, who not exactly knew how the battle fared. All he did was managing the units he had, relying on Leython’s intelligence work.
He had an idea though and that idea was that they were winning, since he could remember damaging the first base with three gunships, taking out the air factory and some mass extractors of the third. He was now dealing damage against the second. By logic, only one base would remain and that was the unknown one, assuming Leython didn’t manage to gain more intel in the meantime.
“You have no idea.” The UEF commander said.
“No, we don’t.” Leython answered, telling the truth about the enemy base. “But we have an impression, you have given us at least eight minutes time to play a sandbox building game before you arrived. Those eight minutes were probably ten and with a bit of luck, they were twelve.”
“How do you know that?” The pilot sneered.
“Come on, do you really think that I don’t know where you’ve been? It was my idea to camouflage the stuff after all. What did you think of the rocks that were ACUs, according to the quantum wake?”
“What I thought of it isn’t important, why do you care, by the way?” The enemy commander answered.
“Just tell me.”
“To put it plainly, sorry that I can’t tell this out loud, we’ve got a child in our platoon today.”
“Hey, I’m twenty-one and I’m used to rough language.” An unknown voice sounded, the person in charge had apparently left the channel to his comrades open, so that they could join in the conversation. This was a flaw. They were all being distracted, at the side of the UEF. Only someone who was able to concentrate very much on both the battle and the small talk Leython and his enemy were having, could possibly listen and still command the army nicely.
Leython knew he could do that, as he was ordering his first tier three engineer to build a large Ion reactor and saw that Shilon was doing very well with the small armies he had to make it a hard day for the three UEF pilots who just gated in. He also knew that the recruit who was listening, wasn’t concentrating on the battle anymore. Possibly, although not probably, the other two commanders were no longer interested in the debate of guns and missiles either, but more in the debate of words.
“You’re a recruit and therefore your premature mind may not be poisoned by swearing or tough words.” The leading commander jeered.
“Anyway, what I wanted to say, since you wanted me to answer the question. I am angry about that...” the pilot pressed a button and a loud “beep” was heard, while commander said a word, “...prank and you sons of a...” the “beep” appeared again “...need to get away from our planet immediately.”
“That point is made clear, thanks for the information. Now I’ve got another question. That second beeping sound I heard, I know what word you wanted to conceal there, but that first beep: I just want to ask to be sure of it. Was that supposed to be an F-word?” Leython asked with a smile.
“What is the problem with you, you idiot?” The recruit said, he had connected to Leython directly now. “I’ve heard of only one other crazy Cybran but he’s fighting in an SCU. Have you been raised by that one?”
“No, but I do know who you mean. I got this kind of behaviour by an old friend though.” Leython answered, forgetting he was a Cybran for a single second.
Then, an all too familiar voice sounded from the channel that came via the commander in charge: “Don’t worry, Cybran, we’ve got crazy people too. My name is Josh Funky and several of yours have been trying to kill me before. I jumped on an air transport, just alone, without my ACU and that transport brought me to safety. It was a wild ride though. You probably never heard of something that crazy did you?”
“I did, but now I really have to go.” Leython answered, knowing that the conversation almost gave him away.
“That almost went wrong.” Leython said to Shilon, after closing all the channels that came from the UEF ACUs.
“That’s Funky, is that the one you learned from that you had to do something crazy sometimes?”
“Well, I know the rest of the history. He’s also very good with air drops, isn’t he?” Shilon asked.
“That’s correct. What I just told you to do, he can do better. He’s been slowed down though.” Leython said while he watched how the last Rhino tanks were destroyed by an overcharge shot: no matter how good Shilon was with micro management, destruction by such a shot was unavoidable.
“So, what do we do now?” The Cybran asked again.
“Find out where the last commander is. In the meanwhile, I’ll assist with your economy management and you will start producing more and more units. You’ll attack the three bases that are nearby while I search for the fourth enemy and then we’ll see what we can do about him.” Leython answered, while watching how the snow melted and vaporized in the artilleries’ constant shelling at the second base.
“Now, this fourth enemy, he is overconfident and everything he doesn’t expect, will come to a him as a complete surprise. If that happens, he’ll get frustrated and he’ll not understand how it could’ve happened, but he’ll not learn from it. That will make him perform worse. So all we have to do is to surprise him.” Leython summarised.
“And that turns out to be another useful conversation.” Shilon said, smiling, while he filled up a new transport.
“Send that one to the second base, even though you still have units there. It is the rookie’s one. He was letting his base to be damaged while we were talking, so he’s most easily distracted.”
“Sir, I’ve got a bad feeling about this.” Lieutenant Lancet said.
“What’s the big deal about it, one of them is an idiot, you can tell that by the way he talked just a few minutes ago. The other one only asked a question, perhaps something more, but he’s appears to be no problem either.” Defack said, apparently not interested in the battle.
“But sir, we have suffered several losses already and I’m under attack again.” Yrol said.
“Lancet, Funky, send everything you’ve got and help Yrol. What I was saying is that we’ve got nothing to worry about. One person who’s not special, one who’s an idiot, saying stupid things. This is easier than a daily job and not just because of the fact that I’m supporting you with my Resource Allocation System, I am now having a nice base already.”
“My base is mostly down, but the enemies are gone now. I’m going to recover.”
“Funky, Lancet, the units you have, send them to scout.” Defack said, while constructing a few bombers to attack whatever his allies’ units found. Realising that he was probably far away from the enemy, he cancelled his production orders and decided to tech up to tier three.
“May I speak sir?” Funky asked.
“Yes, what is it?”
“I recognized that Cybran voice, it’s one of my and Jeff’s friends. It’s Leython Dygonn.”
“That’s impossible, he’s dead.” Defack retorted coldly.
“I know sir and that’s why I’m so confused. However, his voice and behaviour are all too familiar. He’s talking nonsense to enemies, that’s for sure, but in fact, he’s gaining intel on who we are. If he knows how we respond to him in a conversation, he can tell who we are and how we fight. If it is really Dygonn, we’re in deep trouble.”
“I believe that both the Cybran and the UEF have an idiot fighting here. Don’t you think it’s a little bit ridiculous that a perfect UEF commander would have switched sides to those rebels’ side while he’s dead?” Defack asked sarcastically.
“Supposed to be dead, sir.” Funky responded.
“Enough, time to go to work.” The commander in charge said and he, Funky, Lancet and recruit Yrol concentrated on their actual work to the fullest again. Without realizing it, they had given Leython and Shilon a very big advantage. Not only they had wasted time by all of the conversations, but Defack had given himself away as well.
Three minutes later...
“Commander, I’m in serious trouble! They’re everywhere and coming with too much. Funky’s got to call off his air drop and send the units to me instead.” Yrol said. Their enemies hadn’t attacked for some moments now, apparent to be giving up. Therefore the sudden new attack, despite for having a few minutes of rest, came to them as a complete surprise.
“Don’t do that, Funky. We finally found one enemy’s base, so we’ve got to give that a full shot.” Defack said, knowing that the slight advantage they had in numbers, was nullified by the enemy’s lead in time. He also knew that the advantage was completely thanks to his Allocation System and tier three upgrade. This meant that his three allies, who arrived earlier than him, had the full weight of two Cybran commanders.
The Cybrans were a bunch of fools who ran away at the first sight of an enemy, but that didn’t mean they weren’t dangerous if they had a full tier two level base before UEF commanders arrived. They had to play this battle in a smart way, Defack knew that much.
The problem they faced was a simple one. How to get the upper hand? To do so, they had to be organized in the form of one or two powerful bases, so that they were capable of protecting everything, no matter how sneaky the Cybran assaults were. They had to sacrifice some ground, a base if necessary...
“No,” Defack said after some moments, “Yrol, retreat with your ACU to my base, I will assist you in upgrading the unit with an allocation system. That will pay off soon and then your ACU can assist me in building everything I need. Give your base away, just get out. We can’t get organized if we’re spread so thin across the battlefield.”
“Sir, can’t we –” Yrol started, but Funky cut him off:
“No, we can’t. The more time we are spread out like this, the more time we waste as an inefficient group of idiots. “We can’t work if we’re inefficient. That’s what I base my assaults on, forcing the enemy to an inefficient way of commanding his army, by spreading him thin.” The UEF pilot said.
Yrol couldn’t object to that. Inexperienced as he was, he didn’t see a lost battle when the enemy guns fired at his cockpit already. Yet Funky knew better, he had planned his escape at the moment that the Cybrans landed in his base, remembering the battle at the Zeta Canis red continent all to well.
“Ok, we’ve definitely got Funky on the other side of the battlefield.” Leython said. Eighteen Lobo mobile artillery had just slipped through his base defences. Leython had prepared for that, but Funky was able to find a weak spot after all.
“That guy is as good with tactics as you are, Leython.” Shilon replied.
“Well, I see a weak point at the first sight. He’s got to actively search for one.” Leython said, while firing an overcharge shot and destroying five units in an instant.
“He also knows less about the intelligence warfare or strategy employment than I do.” Leython continued. “However, he is faster because he works more on an impulse. Whenever he sees a weak point, he immediately sends an air transport with a couple of low-tech artillery, proving that those are very useful indeed.”
“It appears to be so,” Shilon spoke again, while he sent the units that Leython provided him with, directly back into the former UEF pilot’s base. The Lobo squad was about to be decimated, but not without doing significant damage upon Leython’s base. Three tier two mass extractors and a small Ion reactor were lost. The large reactor was damaged and had to be repaired to ensure that it’d survive another possible assault.
“So that’s what he does all the time.” Shilon said. It wasn’t a question. He heard the stories that other Cybrans told about Funky when they faced him in one battle or another.
Ten minutes later, Defack had a sizable base, thanks to Yrol’s and Lancet’s assistance. They had drastically changed the battle plan since Yrol lost his base. Defack decided to be assisted by Lancet, instead of assisting him and Funky. Funky would have to attack the enemy, with every unit he had. He usually didn’t come any further than thwarting the Cybrans in their assault, but that was still better than having to recover from every group of units that made it to their base.
Funky didn’t seem to be able to hold the line forever though. Enemy ranks moved in closer and closer by every minute, what sort of unit movement he employed. What was worse, the enemy moved in at Lancet. Soon, Defack would have lost his support.
“Lancet, spend all of your resources on stationary flak guns and point defences. The Cybrans are coming too close for comfort now.”
“I’m going to work on it, can you keep it up?”
“I have to and I will.” Defack answered the lieutenant. If Funky could hold the line with Lancet, Defack himself could make his plan in just the way he wanted and he had all the time he wanted to employ the strategy he liked to take out his enemies.
Yet no more than two extra minutes passed before Jeff had to make an emergency call. Defack had just watched the lieutenant’s progress on the defensive line and didn’t need Jeff to tell him what had happened.
“Strategic bombers! I have to get out of here or I’m dead.” Lancet said.
“I saw that, looks like you’ve got no other choice. Ok, I’ll need to get every single unit of mass you can provide me with. The construction of my base is progressing a little bit, but not fast enough. I’ll build SAM sites and shield generators. Then we’ll continue with building Point Defences and artillery guns in and around my base. We’ll make the base almost impenetrable then and if we succeed in that, nothing’s going to go wrong after all.”
“I assume I’ve got to hold them off on my own again?” Funky asked.
“Correct, so good luck and get cracking with your air drops.”
“Frankly, I’m running out of ideas. These two enemies are better than I am. One of them is good at using intel. I’m sure that’s Lethon, really sure.” The major started...
“He’s dead!” Defack answered. “How can we fight against someone who’s dead?”
“Not, but be happy if we’re fighting against a ghost, because that’s still better than fighting the best intelligence expert that has ever lived in human history.” Recruit Yrol said.
“The thing is,” major Funky pressed on, persistent on clarifying the problem he faced, “one of them is excellent with intel and the other person is very good at micro management. I’m fairly good at both, specialized in air drops, but I’m not so good at mirco management than that second Cybran commander and I’m also not so good with intel as the first one we’re fighting, whether he’s Dygonn or not.
Now, these two are working together and that gives the dangerous combination of air drops that can be done just as nicely as what I can do. It also means that my aerial assaults are completely useless.” The major concluded.
“Very well,” Defack answered, “destroy your factories, reclaim them and give me every unit of mass. Then I’ll be able to build faster. That means that I’ll catch up with our enemy and then we’ll eventually win the battle.”
“Roger that, sir.”
“Finally, I found the fourth enemy’s base.” Leython said.
“And I lost contact with that commander in the first base we’ve been attacking. He’s probably retreating.” Shilon replied. They had been passing on information all the time.
“I’m going to take a look at it, send the strategic bombers towards the third base, that’s the only one we’ve let to bloom for a while.”
“The second one is completely down I think. I can’t see any gray dots in that area anymore.” The Cybran said, after taking a quick look at his intelligence screen.
“Oh, did I forget to tell you? After your last units got destroyed, the enemy destroyed and reclaimed that base.” Leython asked while sending a new group of spy planes across the battlefield, hoping to find the lost ACU.
“Nevermind, it doesn’t matter that you forget such a minority.” Shilon said, underestimating the importance of Intel for Leython again.
“It does matter to me, Shilon, you should know that by now.” Leython corrected his friend.
“Oh, of course.” Was the answer. Shilon wanted to forget the matter as soon as possible. It was not a good way he thought now, but Leython knew that as long as the two were together, the intelligence war and the performance of the Cybran tanks and fighters would be perfect.
“I’m attacking the third enemy base. Should I plant a bomb or two on the enemy’s ACU? That should put them more on a defensive line, shouldn’t it?” The Symbiont asked.
“No more than two, pay attention. That base is probably Josh Funky’s,” Leython answered, remembering that the transports had the same color pattern as the buildings in the base that was now being bombed. “I don’t want to see an old friend die in here, especially not someone who knows so well how to fight.”
“Ok, how’s the radar build progressing now?”
“Fairly well. I’ve got four omni sensors now. One in my own base, two in the far fields, for possible secret strikes and to ensure the safety of our mass extractors that are far away. Additionally one in your base.”
“I knew about that last one, but how are you doing with building radars near the fourth base. I know that you’re sending transports out to surround a discovered enemy at the very moment you find out where he is with a spy plane.”
“Those are on the move. How many times have I actually said that those mobile stealth generators are incredible?” Leython asked.
He could now just send the transports inside enemy’s radar range, drastically increasing the speed in which you could build radars very close to the enemy’s base. When the omni sensor and the tier two stealth building were constructed, he could just go on with the engineers again. Back in the days of the UEF, it was a matter of building a whole path of stealth generators inside the enemy’s radar range. This was much easier.
“I’m under attack, two of those bombers have just targeted my ACU.” Funky said, his voice was still calm though. He knew the risk of his profession and even enjoyed it. The oncoming of a possible end was... enthralling.
“I’m going to send my air superiority fighters towards you, Funky.” Defack said, knowing that he had to do anything to save the lives of the men he had under his command. The bombers were no longer targeting the enemy command unit though. Defack had his thoughts about it. Was this just the Cybran’s stupidity, or a plan laid out by Leython Dygonn, assuming he had survived in one way or another.
“Simple, isn’t it?” the commander said. There was no resistance. Apparently, his thoughts were wrong as he assumed. The longer this battle took, the stranger it became, but only in someone’s mind. On the field, this was just a regular event.
Less than a second later, Defack was in for a surprise. Ten air superiority fighters appeared above Funky’s base. Before he could retreat his five tier three planes, they were taken down.
“What?! How is this possible?!”
Although Defack forgot what he thought about, the small aerial skirmish was a plan laid out by the dead UEF pilot.
“That’s what overconfidence leads to, Shilon.” Leython said.
“What, that they lose in a five versus ten battle? Isn’t that usual for an air battle?”
“Oh, that is, but he was expecting that we didn’t have any air units, apart from those bombers. So he just sent in all of his tier three fighters. We have just dealt with their air force and we can bomb the remains of these closest enemy bases at our leisure.”
“He must be angry by now.” Shilon said, now remembering how Leython described the enemy commander.
“Oh yes, he’ll be very angry, but he can’t do anything about it. I knew everything about his personality and now I also know it all about his base too. He’ll stand no chance.” Leython couldn’t conclude his statement before his enemy contacted him again:
“You’ll pay for that.” Were the first words Leython heard after he allowed the channel to be opened.
“I have yet to see how.” Leython answered.
“What kind of horrendously ugly sort of clothing is what you’re wearing there by the way?”
“That, if you find out, you are a better investigator than I am. You are not though, I can tell that by now already. You’ll be beaten here soon.”
“You’ll never kill me! Never, you hear!” The enemy pilot provoked him. Leython remained calm nonetheless.
“I never said that I’d kill you. Only that I’d beat you. Unless you can give me a very good reason for me to think that you’re better off dead, I’ll not kill you. I haven’t come here to eliminate a commander or two, just to do something else.”
“And what is that?”
“Wasting your time.” Leython said with a smile.
“Have fun wasting my time, you’ll pay dearly for it. I have now nearly completed my base. I can attack at my leisure.”
Leython wanted to say that he could find a weakness at any time, but kept himself from doing so. Any more words and he’d betray himself.
“I’m absolutely sure that that was Dygonn, sir. Just send an image of the pilot to EarthCom and ask general Clarke if she can take a look. I can’t be sure because of that long hair and the wardrobe he’s wearing” Funky said.
“Do you honestly think that Clarke’s got enough time for such nonsense? We just have to take care of them. Let’s think of a sound strategy now, Funky.” Defack replied.
“Yes, sir, of course, but there’s one thing: Clarke had enough time for training sessions with Dygonn. me Lancet and three others, who were known as ‘Stirling’s best six’ at the end of our Academy training. Regardless of what our enemy is, we’ve got to be organized, yes. That is why we retreated to your base and assisted in further building it.
However, if we don’t face Dygonn, we know we can go on like this, we’re probably winning. Otherwise...” Funky said, while taking a deep breath.
Lancet filled the pause in immediately:
“Otherwise we’ve got to assume that our enemy effectively has got an omni sensor in the middle of our own base.”
“Yeah ok, so you guys want to know if you’re up to him or not.” Defack said, finally realising what Lancet and Funky wanted.
“That’s correct sir.”
“Ok then, I’ll ask Clarke if she can identify our enemy we’ve been speaking to. That’ll take a minute. In the meanwhile, help me with the construction on this missile launcher, while we also build tier three siege assault bots.”
“I scouted the enemy base again.” Leython said, ten minutes after the latest time they had talked with their UEF enemy.
“Like you do in, what? Every fifteen seconds?” Shilon asked rhetorically.
“Yes,” Leython answered nonetheless, “but we have a problem. The base is impenetrable, they have almost constructed that nuke launcher and we don’t have an SMD yet. It looks like we underestimated the enemy in a certain way.”
“While we’ve got nothing of that stuff, have we?” Shilon asked, refering to heavy weapons. “Well, we’ve got a good group of tier three units, but that was because you thought the base can be penetrated by Loyalists, right?”
“Correct, but I’ve got to come to a different conclusion. Now I’ve been working on that already, just to be sure, if our primary plan might fail.”
“Damn, you never tell me anything. How is the enemy supposed to know what you’re up to if you don’t even inform your allies?” Shilon laughed.
“Not. They’re not supposed to know it. That’s what the intelligence war is all about.”
“You’re not going to tell me what you’re planning to do?”
“Well, it’s got to do with nukes.” Leython said.
“They’ve got an SMD.” Shilon said, after a small pause.
“And you’ll probably want to stop me from doing this.”
“As do I.” A female voice sounded suddenly in Leython’s cockpit.
“Hello general Clarke, what do you want to talk about?” Leython said. Knowing that he was discovered, he could as well just talk to her in the usual way.
“I want to talk about your betrayal.” The general said firmly.
“I don’t and I also don’t have to take orders from you anymore. Just know this, general: I would still protect the UEF from an Aeon assault, you just have to call me, even though you can’t know how, and I’ll be there fighting off those crazy zealots.
However, I can’t fight for the UEF if it comes down to Symbionts. How do you think about fighting for freedom to live how people please, when fighting off the Aeons at a certain moment, but fending off the Cybrans at another time?” Leython asked and he closed the channel.
He wanted to talk more, but this wasn’t the time. He had to kick her butt, or better: her troops’ butts.
Another few minutes later.
“Ok Shilon, now you know the full plan. Ensure that I’ve got everything I require, no matter what happens. Not that anything would happen.” Leython said, certain that they were safe apart from the oncoming strategic missile.
“What you’re going to do is just crazy.”
“Hey, someone’s got to show that Funky’s little trip on that air transport isn’t crazy enough.”
“Well, to be honest, I don’t think what’s worse. Sitting on top of something that flies at six hundred kilometres per hour or doing what you’re going to do.”
“What we planned initially isn’t the real plan. It’s to show the UEF that we are up to something, while we’re not planning to do it at all. Now, we can just let those spy planes fly over. The real threat isn’t in our base, but hidden elsewhere...”
“It’s still crazy, but let’s do this.” Shilon said.
“Enemy commander in our base!” Lancet yelled.
“They just teleported in here.” Funky said.
“That part of our base isn’t important. It’s got an SMD, that’s our only important building there.” Defak said, denying that the possible loss of several economy farms was a serious setback.
“I’ll send the Titans towards our enemy commander.” Yrol filled his allies in. He was about to become a good pilot if he found more of such ideas.
Defack opened another channel: “Well hallo Leython Dygonn. You finally decided that you’re going to die here on Matar, and now concluded that it’d be best to die in my base?” He furiously said to his enemy. It was a scandal that he was backstabbed in such a manner!
“No, I’m going to hurt you.” And Leython charged his microwave laser. As the air shrieked, the red beam hit the strategic missile defence. It exploded in an instant.
“So, that’s supposed to hurt?” Defack asked. “Well, it didn’t.”
“What hurts is that I destroyed your SMD.” Leython said, while his teleportation module prepared to take him away again.
“Get those Titans here.” Defack ordered the recruit.
“There on their way, but they’re too late.” Yrol replied.
“Whatever, you’ve got no nuke silo, your assault is useless. You’ve done nothing serious.” The arrogant commander said.
“No, I’ve got no Strategic Missile building.” Leython answered calmly. He stood in his own base again, hiding any trace of emotion.
Last edited by Plasma_Wolf on 15 Nov, 2009, edited 4 times in total.
25 Oct, 2009
Joined: 08 Sep, 2007
Location: In an RTD!!!
“Leython, that missile is not going as high as the normal ones.” Shilon said. Leython had closed the transmission with the UEF commanders again.
“That’s not good, that unprotected area is not at the base’s edge. Our nuke will be shot down when it passes the other SMDs. I’m going to tell Brackman that his nuclear sub design has got a flaw.” Leython replied and he contacted the Cybran doctor.
Brackman was not worried: “The missile flies at full speed when it passes the enemy base and that’s an advantage for us. The anti missiles have to gain their speed and your nuke will be out of their range by the time they are finally at top speed.”
“Ok, thanks doctor. Now, we must ensure that our anti missiles can stop nukes coming from enemy submarines. We can be sure that they’ve got nuclear submarines in a month or so.”
“I’m already working on that with a couple of scientists. I have a more important matter for you. Think of a name for our unit.”
“Plan B.” Leython answered and he closed his channel.
“The missile is sub-orbital. It will have to pass our missile defences at the sides of the base. That means we’ve got nothing to worry about. The nuke will be shot down far before –” Defack couldn’t finish. Interception missiles were launched, but by the time they arrived at the desired height, the nuclear missile had already passed.
“Move the Titans out of there!” Funky said in desperation. He had taken a look at the Cybran force. It comprised of more than twice the amount of Titans they had. Now the titans had moved towards the destroyed SMD, because a Cybran ACU stood there only moments ago.
Yrol, stunned by Funky’s sudden outburst, didn’t know what to and it took him the crucial few seconds to realize that he had to send the tier three siege assault bots away from the nuke’s destination. By the time the Titans were on the move, the missile’s warhead exploded.
“We lost all of our bots, damn it. All we’ve got left are some Point Defences!” Defack said furiously. He wanted to blame Yrol for sending all of the Titans towards the UEF commander, but he realized that he was the one who wanted every mobile unit moving towards the teleported commander.
“What should we do now sir?” Lancet asked.
“Complete our missile and let’s get rid of an enemy base. We still have a chance.” Defack answered.
“Sir, I suggest we target the enemy assault bots. Then we will be back in the battle.”
“Strategic launch detected.”
“I’m going to move away from my base.” Shilon said, the enemy still had a missile silo, that was clear. Leython’s backstab attack dealt only minor damage. They were still vulnerable to a nuke.
“I just activated my teleportation module, I’m going towards one of my stealthed omni sensors.” Leython replied. “Send the loyalists away.”
“Roger that, they’ll no longer be there when the nuke arrives.”
“Don’t forget that you’ve got to send them all to different locations. We don’t have a single clue on the nuke’s destination.” Leython said, while he was instantly brought to one of his small outposts.
“Talking about that nuke. We still have to take care of that missile launcher. Do you have any more tricks on your sleeve?”
“Attacking with the Loyalists. We can break through their defences now that they lost their assault bots.”
“When is that nuke finally going to arrive?” Shilon didn’t seem to be interested in the battle plan. He seemed to be interested in the weather.
“I guess that it’s going to take a little longer...” Leython answered and it took only a few seconds before he saw the missile on his strategic overview screen: “There it is, going for the spot where our Loyalists first stood.”
Another few seconds later, the missile exploded, snow instantly vaporized and the shockwave caused a minor snowstorm, covering some of Shilon’s power generators, factories and most of the loyalists that were scattered around.
“Shall I regroup and attack?” Shilon asked.
“General Clarke wants to speak to you, commander Defack.” An EarthCom officer had just contacted him with a priority message.
“Patch her through.” Defack replied.
“I’m going to need the three commanders. The Aeon are attacking Luthien with a small assault force. We had taken Yrol, Lancet and Funky away because we thought that –”
“– Luthien wouldn’t be attacked by the Aeon at this time.” Defack finished.
“Correct,” Clarke said, seeming to be a bit irritated. She didn’t like it to be cut off.
“I’ll build quantum gates then, are reinforcements available?”
“No, so you are to deal with the enemy as soon as possible.”
“Very well, expect the commanders to be on Luthien in five minutes. You probably want to talk to them?”
“Yes, patch them through.”
“Quantum wakes detected, Leython.” Shilon said. Three UEF commanders had left.
“Ok, how is the progress with the loyalists?” Leython asked.
“Very good, do you want this commander to die?” Shilon replied, knowing how Leython wanted to spare UEF commanders.
“Has he done something wrong? I don’t think so.”
“I do think so, my friend.” Brackman interrupted.
“Doctor? What is it?”
“This commander you are fighting, Defack, has destroyed an entire Three-Rivers node town. I will not force you to see him die or to give the order, but I want you to rethink what fighting for people’s lives means. You have probably killed several Aeon knights even though their vile acts had been done months before that. You may no longer want to kill pilots who don’t harm innocents, but I believe that you still show no mercy to those who do. Am I right?”
“Yes, you are, doctor. There is one other thing though.” Leython said.
“What is it, my friend?” Brackman asked.
“The Aeon are attacking a planet because of your distraction and I promised Clarke to assist when she wanted to ask me.” Leython answered, remembering what he had said. He asked Brackman to create a ruse, but put perhaps millions of UEF lives on the line because of that.
“You are so perceptive. I could never have guessed that the departure of three commanders was because of a ruse someone had made.”
“It’s not that hard, I asked for it. But tell me where it is, so I can go there.”
“We still have to think about our own goal. We plan to free Symbionts, do you remember?”
“Can’t the others do that? Or are they all killed by the UEF?”
“No, most fare better than you do. Redfog, Dostya and the Tip of the Spear are already done and now they attack the fortress itself.”
“Tell them that they must not make unnecessary kills.” Leython immediately said, forgetting about Brackman’s ruse for a moment.
“I will forward your request, but don’t expect Redfog to listen.” The doctor replied.
“I know, we’re some sort of opposite poles. But now I have at least made an attempt.”
“I stated Luthien as a target, the Aeon have sent a minor force, thinking that the planet is completely undefended and that it would take hours before the first commanders arrived.”
“Then I will go there and help the UEF. After I’ve taken care of this enemy.” Leython said.
Shilon joined in the conversation, he didn’t forget the original goal of the Matar battle: “I’ll construct the quantum gates we need to bring commanders to the Symbiont settlement.”
“Good, now that is settled, let’s get to work.” Brackman said and he closed the channel.
“We’re ten minutes late. We’re never going to make up for that.” Lancet said.
“We have to. Think, what could we do. They’re going to cleanse the small settlements we have here, but they’re on the other side of the river. I don’t know why they’re not going to use tier one weaponry, but –” Yrol started.
“We’re going to employ a simple strategy. I’m going to build air transports and bombers to stop the enemy as much as possible. Jeff, you will provide resources and Healon will build defences at the settlements.”
“Ok sir.” Yrol replied.
The commanders worked in silence for five minutes, then Josh spoke again, informing them of what they had all noticed: “Another quantum wake detected. It comes from isle in the river.”
“That’s no nice spot. Not so much mass there.” Yrol said.
“I don’t care how nice his spot is. I only care if he’s going to help us or not.” Jeff said.
Leython started to work immediately. He had to spend the first time on constructing economical structures only. The UEF were with three, he was alone and their common enemy had five knights available on the field, for some time now. Leython was in a troublesome situation, without many mass extractors available, being outnumbered by the enemy and having no allies, he now wondered whether he might have jumped in the wrong battle.
It was only a minute ago since the remaining UEF commander had been killed by Shilon’s sudden Loyalist assault. Leython had constructed his quantum gate only few seconds later and then left the planet, after transferring every unit and building he had.
“Josh, we still can’t contact the commander who gated in fifteen minutes ago.” Jeff said. In the time that passed, they had barely managed to deal with the enormous abundance of Aeon light tanks. Everyone realised that the enemies were inexperienced. Perhaps it was a trap, but there wasn’t time to think about it now. Because Josh, Jeff and Healon had to leave, the only commander that was still stationed at Luthien, was struck by a sudden illness.
It made them the only commanders to protect this planet. Yet Josh was able to take out many enemy units by his superior bomber management. Yrol was capable of halting any tank that came through, by building one point defence after another and Jeff managed to support them both while continuing expanding his own economy. It worked only barely.
“Spy plane detected.” Josh said.
“What, now already?!” Yrol asked in surprise.
“It’s been more than twenty five minutes since the Aeon arrived, they could have kept their real potential as a secret.” Jeff replied. “But it is Cybran. Defack is dead. Leython is here.”
“Why wouldn’t he want to speak to us, sir and why are you so sure that Defack is dead?” Yrol couldn’t stop asking questions, but Jeff couldn’t blame him. He and Simon Beck were the same during their academic training.
“I don’t know why he doesn’t open the bloody channel,” Josh answered, “but we can be sure that Defack’s dead because Leython wants to finish his job on Matar.”
“How do you know that?”
“If I remember him well, he is a thorough person. You can tell that by the way he builds up his intelligence network. He never misses a single spot. If he went here to do something, then he has done his job on Matar. That’s how he is.”
Ten minutes later...
Leython´s base had grown, he had constructed onmi sensors at almost every location he wanted and so he was close to a perfect infiltration of both the UEF and Aeon forces. What he saw was that the battle seemed at a balance between both armies. The Aeon were with more and arrived earlier. However, Josh Funky did an incredible job on decimating the enemy waves of units and hampering their resource income by his air force management. Jeff worked on his economy without a single pause. Then, this new commander did a nice job in taking orders and, with the necessary guidance, he constructed enough point defences and artillery structures to destroy any unit that came through Josh’s violence.
Ten minutes later, the first Galactic Colossus was taken out by the team of three. Still unable to cleanse a single UEF building, the Aeon assaults became more desperate. Seeing the first strategic missile silo under construction, Leython knew that he had to join the battle now.
His first plan, to attack with an enormous squad of loyalists, would be thwarted before he even attempted it. The Aeon commanders were dug in too carefully. However, there was little time. It wouldn’t take long before the first settlement would be nuked... And the UEF commanders didn’t scout the area...
It was time to step to plan B.
Another ten minutes later...
“Sir, it’s going to take too long.” Healon said. “We’ve got to prepare for a nuke.”
“I’ve already got a missile defence, kid.” Jeff replied. By a quick look at his overview screen, he noticed that Josh had one as well. “We’ve got to worry about those settlements. We still don’t have a chance of evacuation, so we’ll have to put SMDs there immediately.”
“What about my base? Sorry that I forgot, but –” Healon started, but Josh cut him off: “We’ve got to worry about the civilians now, don’t ask questions now but get to work!”
“Strategic Launch detected.” An automated voice stated.
“Damn it, damn it! We’re too late.” Healon panicked.
“Move it, with all of our forces. We’ve got to minimize the damage. Get it done!” Josh reacted abruptly.
“Did it take you that long before building a missile? I’ve got three armed subs already, and you don’t know about it.” Leython said, although he knew that no one could hear him.
Without a doubt, he could explain the situation. The Aeon pilots had spent most of their time and mass on building siege assault bots, air superiority fighters and experimental assault bots, while he could just spend all of his effort on nuclear subs, economy and basic protection he would not need anyway. He made up for his small amount of mass extractors by building tier three economy plants.
The Aeon were occupied by the UEF and the UEF were occupied by the Aeon. He was left alone, remained undetected, thanks to the abundance of deceiver mobile stealth generators.
He now had three missiles available, but no possibility of destroying the targets he found. Those were protected by strategic missile defences and although the nukes couldn’t be destroyed while they were still at top speed, they were surely taken down when they made the turn in order to hit their target.
Leython had to send vast groups of spy planes to find out how he could take out the missile defences most efficiently. He succeeded though and found out that he could use his teleporting trick again.
Just before he activated his module, he saw the Aeon’s nuke’s shocking effect. The purple radiance, coming from an Aeon ACU explosion or a strategic missile, joined with the bright yellow flames, typical of a UEF ACU’s core rupture.
“What a waste of talent, that was.”
“We lost Yrol, general.” Jeff said.
“How is the rest of the mission going?” Clarke asked indifferently.
“Fairly well. The thing is, we might have got Leython on this planet.”
“I received word of Defack’s defeat. He has been killed by Leython or his companion.”
“If Leython is really here –” Jeff started, but Clarke cut him off immediately:
“then you’ll not be in trouble. He said that he’d help protecting the civilians against an Aeon assault. I don’t know how he knows that those fanatics are attacking Luthien, but I don’t care either.” She said.
“Leython’s helping us. We’ll not slow him down before the Aeon are driven out.” Josh joined the conversation.
“Strategic Launch detected.” An automated voice interrupted the UEF officers.
“That’s the Aeon again! I hope that it’s got a target that’s protected by an SMD.” Jeff said.
Thirty seconds later, three crimson colour radiating blasts appeared in the Aeon territory.
“That’s impossible! I’ve checked those bases with spy planes,” Jeff said, “they’re protected all too well with missile defences. How can three nukes pass those, if they fly at sub-orbital altitude?”
“The same way as one nuke passed our defences at Matar.” Josh replied.
“I’m going to report this, the Cybran’s have got nukes that fly lower than ours, but at such a speed that they bypass the missile defences.” Clarke said.
“Then why did Leython teleport on Matar to kill our SMD.” Jeff asked.
“Simple.” Josh answered, while sending a new group of Titan assault bots towards the front. Despite for the fact that the Aeon had lost parts of their base, they still sent wave after wave of units. “The nuke has got to make a turn when it reaches its target. That turning makes the nuke slow down and allows a missile to catch up.”
“So, basically, we’ve got to protect all of our SMDs very well, just like with the normal missile launchers. A ring of defences protect the inner target against those fast sub-orbital nukes.” Clarke concluded. “I’ll send a note to every commander we have, to protect SMDs very well when facing a Cybran commander, until we can make our anti-missiles to fly faster.”
“Ma’am, I might have an idea of where those nukes actually come from.”
“Submarines?” Clarke asked.
“Yes, how do you know?”
“It’s an age old technology. For the first time designed in the twentieth century. We weren’t capable of doing it in the current theatre of war because we need to house the missile production in the submarine as well. Every scientist has forgotten about it, in Aeon, UEF or Cybran territory alike. That’s why we didn’t see nuclear subs until now, the Cybrans have apparently cracked the nut. They know how to do it.” The general said.
“I’m going back to my work, gentlemen. You’ll have to do your job now. Take those Aeon commanders out at the slightest opportunity. Clarke out.”
The missiles had reached their targets, but dealt only a minor blow. Three missiles versus five large bases didn’t mean anything compared to the fact that the Aeon realised that the Cybran, whose petty spy planes could had been seen scouting their bases several times, was dangerous after all. They would actively search for him, so Leython realised that it was time to build up as much defensive weapons as possible, to thwart any Aeon assault.
Suddenly, Leython was hailed from Earth. The message was unencrypted. It could just as well be a public announcement from the UEF president, but he already knew that it was his best servant who was trying to hail him.
“Once again, hello general Clarke.” Leython said, while he encoded the channel.
“What exactly are you doing here, traitor?” Clarke asked coldly.
“Assisting your forces. If you didn’t notice, I just slowed the Aeons down a little bit, just to tip the balance in our favour. Within an hour, they’re on the retreat, especially if my next series of nukes come through.”
“You switched sides. You turned your back on the UEF.”
“For the UEF, I indeed am a traitor. For myself, I am not. I fight for my ideals and since I realised what the words ‘Symbiont Program’ really mean, I now still fight for freedom, but no longer for slavery. Surely you know what I mean, don’t you?” Leython said harshly.
Clarke didn’t say anything, still looking directly at the one she used to teach how to fight, but now seemed an uncompromising killing machine.
After a minute, while Leython’s army, comprising of Loyalists and Trebuchet mobile artillery, grew at every moment, Leython spoke again.
“I have an idea, if you know what I mean. You can leak some intel. No one will notice. What do you fight for, general?” Leython asked, his harsh tone had disappeared almost immediately. He seemed concerned now.
“I am still thinking of Sinivar. Do you remember that I spoke to an Aeon pilot? I spoke to another pilot, the one who teleported into my base only minutes before I killed the second. She used my quantum gate that I quickly gave the Sethis moon as destination point at the moment I she told me what she was up to.”
“You spoke to the first one?” Clarke asked, stunned that didn’t EarthCom informed the general.
“Not literally, I spoke by the movement of units. I knew who she was and she knew who I was. We... communicated without speaking, you know?”
“What do you want?” Clarke demanded.
“I want to know where she went to.”
“Back to Seraphim Two, obviously. That’s where they go to.” The UEF general said matter-of-factly.
“No, not this one, she was replaced by another pilot and didn’t wait for the quantum wake to dissipate at her side of Sinivar Island. She went to my gate to go somewhere the Aeon don’t have control. You know that as well as I do.”
“Perhaps she realised that the line couldn’t be held.”
“And then she’d left the job to someone else, that she could get back to Seraphim Two safely, while the second commander had to die on the battlefield? But in the meanwhile she takes a route that isbest described as a good way to kill yourself?
No one would ever sacrifice a life if it can be spared, while risking one’s own life as well. You know that.”
“What makes you think that I know where –” The general started, but Leython cut her off violently.
“Don’t talk like that! I know that travelling through the network leaves a trace. Every quantum gate registers it and the information can go through the entire network.”
“I can’t help you.” Clarke said coldly. Yet Leython knew that she realized the information was in a database somewhere, with an hour of work, she could’ve found the location of most of the space gates in between Sethis and the mysterious Aeon commander’s destination.
“I know that you’ll not retrieve the exact location of this Aeon commander I’m looking for, just by following the trace from the Sethis space gate. The quantum engineers lost the tunnel’s signature somewhere in the quarantine zone, but the signature was available for the length of several gates. I never got my hands on it though.
So general, I’ll ask you again, what do you fight for? Do you fight for the UEF or do you fight to live in freedom, to meet people and to learn more about them? If you fight for the UEF, you’d better just end our conversation right now, so you don’t have to talk to a ‘traitor’. If not...” Leython said and he waited for several seconds to find if the general would close the channel abruptly.
“...If not, then you’ll give me the information I want.”
“And then what? You’re going to enter the quarantine zone and explore every planet to find this fanatic? That takes ages, not that I mind.” She said ferociously.
“The signature will only give a direction, with Sethis as the tunnel’s start. However, the Matar gate has probably located the signature as well It’s close enough to Sethis and it’s also so stable that it can pick up almost any quantum signature. So, I can find more information there. You don’t have to ask the people at the Matar Fortress for this intel, to give it to me. I’ll ask them by myself.”
“You’ll not be able to breach the fortress’ security. No one has ever done that.”
“The fortress is badly protected. You didn’t attend to the final meeting of our project, when Stirling spoke ill about our result. It was too expensive, half of it was redundant and it was all too complicated, he said.
The thing is, I am an excellent strategist and my plans prove that the current design is not good enough, that the base we as group of six trainees made, was a much better idea. Then, the fortress would have been impenetrable, even though the rest of the planet might not be in case of an assault I employed. But now... the fortress is easily dealt with.” Leython said.
Clarke was stunned. If it was true what Leython said, then the Matar Fortress could be taken within two hours. She had to assume it was true, because Leython’s strategy skills were excellent indeed.
“The whole assault... was planned by you?”
“Not only by me, but I had my share in it.”
A silence fell. Long enough for Leython to concentrate on his forces. He did manage to fortify his base while talking to Clarke but didn’t have time left for the nuclear subs.
After a few seconds, Leython spoke again: “General, think about what I have said, I don’t think you’ll regret it. I didn’t regret thinking on my own when I talked to several Symbionts or to doctor Brackman himself. I’m going to give the final shots to tip the balance in the UEF commanders’ favour. Expect them to be back in fifteen minutes. I do have two last words for you. If you’re still as good as in our trainings, you’ll understand.”
“What are those words?” Clarke asked, still with the coldest tone Leython heard.
“Symbiont settlement.” Leython answered. “And now, I’m closing the channel. Think about everything I have said. Goodbye.”
Alone again, Leython started his second and final strike on the Aeon commanders. He started building tactical missile launchers near the stealthed omni sensors, providing himself with a powerful and secret weapon. The Aeon didn’t attack him even though they knew he was a threat.
It meant that the Loyalists he had built, didn’t serve a purpose yet. It was time to give them one.
Leython built several air transports and extra mobile stealth generators. When those were completed, he loaded up all tier three bots he had, including one deceiver for every transport.
He saw that the Aeons were still desperately trying to break the UEF settlement’s defences, but because of Funky’s unit management, they didn’t come even close.
Having loaded up all transports, taking almost a minute, Leython sent them in. Along with some strategic bombers and air superiority fighters to distract the enemy’s anti-air weaponry, he ordered the transports to drop their units near six different strategic missile defences. This time, Leython was sure he had found the most important locations of three bases. The fourth and the fifth, were no targets for his nukes.
Only two minutes later, the armada of strategic bombers dropped their payload upon one of the commanders, who had just lost some of shields’s protection due to the combined strike of more than twenty tactical missiles. She didn’t stand a chance. The explosion lit up the sky brilliantly and Leython knew that his plan was working.
Three commanders had all lost two vital strategic missile defences. Leython launched the missiles, knowing that there were no means to stopping them. He attacked the fourth commander with a small batch of Loyalists he had left and those units turned out to be a good investment as well. He could see another bright explosion at the horizon, one that would be joined by six crimson colour radiating suns only moments later.
Half a minute after the nukes arrived, the last of Leython’s units were finally destroyed and the commander himself had launched the few tactical missiles he had, destroying another two power generators. Then, he left via his quantum gate, back to Matar and ready to take down the planet’s fortress.
“Ah, Dygonn, you’re late to join the party here.” Redfog greeted him.
“Better late than not at all. I’m going to destroy the fortress and show that it isn’t impenetrable.
“Good to have you at our side.” Dostya said. “I, Redfog and The Tip of The Spear are already working here. The rest of the commanders are either elsewhere on the planet, having dealt with the UEF commanders, or they’re assisting our brothers at the Cybran Settlement.”
“Good, when the Symbionts are free, I want them to tell if they heard anything from general Clarke.”
“Why do you want that, Dygonn?” Redfog asked.
“They will provide me with a key, just like this fortress will within two hours.”
Just one second later, a shell exploded close to Leython’s ACU.
“A Mavor, I’m being marked!”
“Move away, Dygonn!” Dostya yelled. The Mavor had been there for quite some time, but the three Cybrans already had a proper base. A base protected by stealth generators and air superiority fighters. Their bases remained undiscovered and therefore the Mavor had no targets.
However, Leython entered the warzone via the quantum network, unlike the others. The UEF commander was no fool. He located the quantum wake’s eruption and ordered his experimental artillery to fire.
“I’ve got a transport on the move,” Redfog said, “keep walking about!”
“I know, I’m moving to the point where the latest shell landed, there’s little chance that the artillery will hit me there, despite for its outstanding accuracy.”
“Air superiority fighters are on the move.” The Tip of The Spear said. “Those will protect you for the time being. You’re going towards Redfog’s base and we’ll think of a useful job for you when you arrive.”
Three minutes later, Leython landed safely in Redfog’s base. He came up with a new plan immediately.
“I’ll upgrade my ACU with a teleporting module, a microwave laser and the tier three upgrade. Then, I’ll go to the other side of the battlefield. That will be out of your ACU’s effective range, but just inside the enemy’s range.”
“That’s downright suicide.” Dostya said.
“I’ve carefully checked the field around the fortress when we were preparing the assault. I will teleport in a small lake. The only thing that the UEF will have near the water, are the available mass extractors and perhaps some engineers and to prevent that I might be detected by those units.”
“You plan ahead.” The Elite-Commander concluded.
“Of course I do. I never act without planning ahead.”
“A sound strategy, but what do you want to gain with it?” Redfog asked.
“Breaking the balance. In my ACU, I can assist you in keeping the base online while the Mavor pounds everything outside the stealth generators’ protection. At the other side of the warzone, I can make him divert his forces and then you can finally attack.”
Leython had left Redfog’s base while it was being pounded by the Mavor artillery, the enemy had finally found it. Dostya and The Tip of The Spear did their utmost best to stop the constant stream of UEF tanks, assault bots and air units. The units were all commanded by one pilot and Leython had seen that his allies were having a very hard time in standing their ground.
So this was what happened if the UEF had a maximum of two hours as an advantage: three of the best commanders around were kept in check. However, if one enemy initiated a backdoor attack, then the fortress would crumble.
If he, only he, could’ve designed the fortress on his own, without anyone interfering, then the advantage of two hours would be one of two years. In the end however...
In the end, it was for the better that his design was said to be too expensive. If that was built, then he wouldn’t be able to get his hands on the data he wanted.
Half an hour later...
No information from Redfog, Dostya or The Tip of the Spear. No word from Shilon. Not a single message from Brackman. Within twelve hours, complete radio silence for a second time. Working in secret was nice, what he actually liked most, but the problem was that everything that happened to his allies, was a secret to him.
It bugged him. Dostya could fire her last shots now, before her ACU exploded. She could just as well make the UEF commander fire his last shots. The problem was that Leython had no intel and therefore he had no control.
Omni sensors scattered around his own warzone. He did have intel here, he did have control. His enemy didn’t know anything about it. Leython had deliberately left the mass extractors intact, as well as the engineers that moved about. The enemy had built some omni sensors, but not enough to prevent the intelligence expert from sneaking through the net. It limited Leython to the extractors that were inside his ACU’s range, but too far away for the enemy’s. It gave him a disadvantage in resources that was no problem.
As long as he had the time to prepare, there was nothing to worry about. It’d take him some time though.
An hour later...
Three Plan B submarines moved slowly but steadily forward. By every minute, they came closer to the enemy’s base. Steadily moving and unseen, they prepared their nuclear missiles. The UEF commander still didn’t know that Leython was even around, to his east, while he was holding his frontline intact against Dostya, Redfog and The Tip of The Spear.
However, Leython’s secret appearance would be made public at anytime now.
To ensure the safety of his submarines, he had built a distraction fleet and sent it towards the enemy base as well, but on a different course altogether. The destroyers, cruisers and even a battleship would alarm the enemy.
The UEF pilot would probably switch his Mavor’s targets to take down Leython’s fleet, but the real threat, the Plan Bs, were able to move on unnoticed and ultimately launch their missiles. The fleet could be a redundant element in Leython’s strategy, as the submarines could only be detected by an omni sensor and a sonar system.
The intelligence expert did not scout, a move that was part of his plan. Nonetheless, he thought it’d be safe to assume that his enemy didn’t have either sonars nor tier three sensor system. Why would he, if he did not think about the possibility of an enemy teleporting in his back yard.
Five minutes later, the submarines arrived at their destination. Leython could hit his targets now. Three economy plants, tier three artillery systems and nuclear missile launchers. The Dukes, as Leython remembered their names, were cheaper than a Mavor, but had a negligible range compared to their experimental counterpart, especially in a warzone that grew as wide as this.
However, five tier three artillery could decimate an army when it was on the move and slipped through the Mavor’s nets. Those had to be destroyed for the Cybran’s advance to be successful.
The nuclear silos, for clear reasons, were going to be destroyed as well. The UEF commander had found Redfog’s base a minute before Leython teleported and the SMDs were easy targets for a Mavor. Then, some missiles were powerful enough to take down Redfog’s base.
The only problem was, taking out the enemy’s missile defences. All were protected with some point defences, as The Tip of The Spear pointed out just before Leython teleported. Brackman’s personal agent had provided Leython with the best example of waging the intelligence war. Now, the former UEF pilot envied him.
Leython’s presence was a secret, but he couldn’t scout his battlefield. His enemy may be blind, but the situation was just the same for him. The only information Leython had, was about the enemy base. Then again, that was all he needed at the moment.
“All Symbionts are safe.” Shilon said.
“Well done, Shilon, well done.” Brackman replied. “They will be treated as soon as possible. The progress will, as you know, take some days or several years.”
“I haven’t forgotten. It took me seventeen months.”
“Tell me Shilon, when are you ready to take up your family name again?” Brackman asked the twenty-three years old man.
“Do you remember what you said shortly after we... ‘seized’ Leython?” The doctor asked rhetorically. “You said that wounds will never heal if the matter hasn’t been dealt with.”
“When I said that, I meant that you’d need all information, so you can deal with the matter with a clear mind. I am driven by my past and I will not stop fighting until the work has been done, which is impossible if you do not know anything. However, how you resolve the issue, is entirely up to you. Or me, in my case.”
“What has this got to do with your family name? You never told me.”
“I still know everything about my past. What caused it. I had the means to resolve my issue at the moment I was freed and that’s what I did.”
“But that is no reason to sever your only tie with your family, is it Shilon?”
“It is, doctor. It is. My own parents signed me up for the Symbiont program when I was sixteen years old. I was to make some money for the family. They never saw me back.”
“They must be devastated to realize that they’d never hear anything from you again.”
“Good riddance, you may try to make me forgive, by letting me be named by my family name again, but I think of the ultimate revenge, when I object to it.”
Shilon’s words were cold as ice and Brackman knew that there was no retort left. He had expected Shilon to say this, but there was still a chance to try to make him forgive the events of the past. The Symbiont was clear though.
“Shilon, I have another thing for you to do, now that all Symbionts are safe and the remaining pilots at the settlement will go via the other Matar gates. I need you to go to Dygonn. He arrived at the fortress, to bring it down with our three best pilots.”
“I’m going to take control of his units again?”
“That’s correct. It appears that mister Dygonn has successfully nuked the enemy. Redfog told me that there were three nuclear explosions. You’ll have to teleport to his base first. Leython’s location is still unknown, even to me. Only Redfog knows where he went to. He and Leython designated the exact destination. You will have to ask him about Leython’s whereabouts.”
“Why is he the only one who knows?” Shilon asked.
“We want to prevent the UEF to find out where he exactly is. That’s why Redfog is the only one who knows.”
“Do you really think that the UEF has not found him by –” The Symbiont started, but Brackman cut him off:
“Quiet Shilon, anything you say will give compromise Leython’s position.” The doctor said hastily. “Just go to Redfog, he’ll explain the rest of it.”
“Roger that, doctor.” Shilon replied.
“Good that you’re here, Shilon. I nuked the base a few minutes ago. I’ll transfer my units to you and tell what’s going on.” Leython said and with a few clicks on his console, he transferred every combat unit he had. After another couple of clicks, Shilon had the required energy for the units’ stealth generators to run.
“If the UEF hear a single word about me being exactly here, they’ll send forces and kill me in no time. I managed to arrive in secret, because I teleported, but if the UEF would’ve picked up a transmission with Brackman in which anyone speaks of my backdoor assault, the commander will be searching for me. I also didn’t tell Dostya or The Tip of The Spear. Redfog was the closest to me and therefore we could set up a very weak but highly encrypted signal to still talk with each other. That makes him the only one who knows where I am.”
“But how did Brackman know that you’d need my help?” Shilon asked.
“He doesn’t, but he knows that the two of us work better than any other team does. Or we at least come close to the top of that list.” Leython answered, while he sent his Plan B submarines away from the place they launched their missiles.
“So he just contacted Redfog and told that I was coming to assist you and that he had to tell where exactly you are?”
“No, Redfog contacted Brackman and then he told you. Move the fleet to the north east.”
“Got it.” The Symbiont said and he gave the fleet its new orders. “But that means that your location is disclosed.” He said, wanting to know everything about Leython’s plan
“Only my presence is disclosed. Not my location. However, it was revealed at the moment that I launched the nukes. The UEF commander managed to send spy planes across our allies’ bases for numerous times and knows that they don’t have nuclear silos. He also knows about the Plan B subs and that our allies couldn’t have built one, because there’s no water anywhere near. That only leaves a fourth enemy for the UEF to fight. Me.”
“I get it.” Shilon said while he sent his fleet further. “Since your presence is known, Brackman can freely talk about that.”
“Exactly.” Leython said, building another group of nuclear submarines. “And then you went to Redfog and so the assassin could tell exactly where I was.”
“How much spy planes have flown around here already?” Shilon asked.
“I haven’t seen an air unit on radar yet, but I expect –” Leython started, but the facts were ahead of his expectations: “—there’s the first one! So he did send planes to every location within his ACU’s range.”
“That’d be the smartest option. If he’d only send some to his north, it’d take him hours before he finds us.”
“You’re right, but now he knows in some minutes, if we’re lucky. We’ve got to prepare for that Mavor. I’ll take the air units under control again. I can respond faster to whatever comes into the sensor’s range.”
Ten minutes later...
“Dostya, Dygonn managed to deal with the tier three artillery, but not with the Mavor. That is the one thing that keeps us busy and the enemy’s going to complete a second ne as well.” Redfog said.
“Do you want to contact him?” Dostya asked. “If the UEF still doesn’t know where he is, they might find out by our channel.”
“He’s had enough time without any UEF interference now. Whatever happens, the Mavor can’t choose between him or us, it can’t turn it’s barrel so quickly to keep all four of us busy. If the UEF commander chooses to attack Dygonn, we can finally move out. If he keeps concentrating on us, then Dygonn can apply pressure in just the way he pleases. Dygonn was a little too cautious in hiding his position.
Dostya couldn’t object to what the assassin said, but she didn’t have to. Leython had already tried to open a channel with Redfog: “I have been discovered.” He said when Redfog accepted Leython’s request.
“That means that the enemy’s got to choose now.” Redfog said.
“No.” The Tip of The Spear interrupted. He, like the others, saw a quantum wake eruption. “He retreated.”
“Clarke probably gave the order.” Leython said. “The UEF lost too many pilots on this battle. How many did we lose?”
“Two.” Dostya said. “The UEF lost at least seven.” In the far distance, all UEF structures exploded. The commander had been gone for too long.
“Ok, will the fortress be evacuated as well?” Shilon asked, who joined the conversation now.
“It probably already is, Shilon.” The Tip of The Spear answered. “The commander might have started the evacuation procedure at the moment that I killed the first enemy.”
“Ok, then we just have to go to the remains of their base and ensure everything gets destroyed.” Redfog concluded.
“No, I want something else to be done first too. Collect all the data that the Matar gate has picked up. I want to find out about every signature of a commander gating through the network of the last years.” Leython said.
“That’s thousands of registrations. What do you want to do with it?” Dostya asked, stunned by Leython’s sudden interest of useless information.
“I need it because of one particular date, but getting the whole disk with us is probably faster than finding it, trying to hack it with our limited knowledge and then extract the data I want. We’d better be taking it with us and let the QAI handle the job.”
“You’ve got a point there. Let’s go. However, if the fortress’ main buildings are completely destroyed too, we don’t have the UEF registration at hand we’ll have to access the quantum gate’s journal, which goes back by only one year.” The Tip of The Spear said.
“That won’t be enough, so I really hope that the UEF have still got this information here.”
“You know, it’s a bit of an anti-climax. We were finally going to push on, but then the UEF commander retreats. We could’ve had another two-hour battle.” Shilon said.
“I have seen enough battles for today Shilon.” Leython replied. It was tiring to fight in an ACU for so long.
The next day, after everyone who was involved had some proper rest , QAI gave the results of his hacking work to Leython.
“That’s a clear signature, for quite a lot of gates, but the destination isn’t detected, is it?” Leython asked.
“No, the enemy Aeon commander’s endpoint isn’t picked up by the Matar gate.” QAI responded.
“That means we need more information.”
“I got some information from the freed Symbionts.” Brackman interrupted.
“Tell me, where did the Aeon commander go to, according to the Sethis space gate?” Leython asked excitedly. Clarke listened to him and leaked the intel he wanted. He just hoped that she’d remember yesterday and not revert back to her usual stern way-of-doing. Leython gave her the first step to peace without bloodshed: listening to the opposition. Hopefully, Clarke would realize that.
“The signature goes into the quarantine zone, just like the Matar gate’s signature.” Brackman said.
“QAI, give me a map of both signatures. Then we might be able to find out where they cross.”
The artificial intelligence obeyed without a question: an image appeared immediately.
“Luckily, both signatures come close to each other in terms of gates. I will now send information via both paths and see how much possible gates there are at the point where the signature is lost. It shouldn’t be that much.”
While QAI tried to find the possible gates the Aeon commander might have travelled by, Leython and Brackman concentrated on the new escape plane: “The aircraft’s design has met its limit. I cannot add a very small resource system to it, so you can help yourself to build a personal quantum gate and leave.” The doctor said.
“So we’ve got to send a distress signal towards a Cybran node if we survive only with the plane?” Leython asked.
“Yes. The plane’s got a total of sixteen cluster missile pods though. That is a good amount, but there’s no laser gun attached to the design.”
“Sixteen. It might be nice, but it won’t be enough in certain situations. If you can find a way to build a small resource allocation system, attach a missile construction pod to it. That will allow us to fire an indefinite number of rockets.”
“That might indeed be a better idea. Survival first.” Brackman said. “I will update your ACU with the new plane’s design immediately.”
Some hours later...
“I have succeeded in the search for a gate. It is the only one that could be the enemy’s destination. If the Aeon pilot did not travel via that gate, either the Matar or the Sethis gate would have given a different path. That would also have happened if the enemy travelled further than the place I found. This has got to be the destination.” QAI said.
“Thank you, QAI.” Leython said. “Doctor, I will leave for that gate immediately. Don’t contact me. I will find you if I need something. I might be gone for several days, if not weeks or months. Perhaps forever.” He had made up his mind. It was time to use the keys he had and open the doors of his life.
Fifteen minutes later, Leython arrived at the gate’s planet. The first things he noticed, was that he stood near a small cliff, that he had a valuable mass field to his disposal and that he was going to need it, because of the public transmission his ACU picked up.
“This is my planet, Symbiont. I will cleanse you! You are late. If you’re lucky, abomination, you might escape, but I will give you no chance.” The Aeon commander snarled.
“Great. Another battle.” The intelligence expert said sarcastically. “I’m having enough of this. I didn’t go to three different planets in two days, just to fight people. Yet, I guess I have no choice.”
Last edited by Plasma_Wolf on 11 Dec, 2009, edited 7 times in total.
25 Oct, 2009
Joined: 08 Sep, 2007
Location: In an RTD!!!
Leython started with building his base immediately. He didn’t know anything about the warzone, as there were no maps of this forgotten planet. The enemy was on planet sooner than he was, but why? Or was this enemy pilot the one he was searching for?
“My name is Leython Dygonn, did you ever hear about me? Did you ever fight me?”
“Leython Dygonn?” The enemy answered and Leython thought he could hear a slight trace of suprise in her voice. “You’re supposed to be dead. You were killed in a battle between the UEF and the Cybrans. Now tell me who you really are!”
“I am Leython Dygonn. I survived the battle against the Cybrans and worked with them ever since.” Leython answered, while he started to construct an air factory.
“Then I will have the pleasure in killing you. I can still avenge my sister’s death.”
“What was your sister’s name?”
“Lisa Thazin.” The pilot snarled.
“I never heard of her.” Leython said immediately.
“Why do you people always lie?!” The commander said furiously. “You killed her at the planet called Sethis.”
“She didn’t introduce herself to me.” Leython answered calmly.
“I am Felicity Thazin,” finally, Leython had a name, “and I will avenge my older sister’s death.” She repeated.
“That isn’t the reason for you to be here. You didn’t even know I was still alive when you were sent to this planet. Why are you here.”
“That is none of you business. Farewell.” And commander Thazin closed the channel.
“Oh great, really awesome!” Leython said angrily. “I came to this planet to search for an exiled commander, not for a fanatic.”
Within some minutes, the first group of five hover tanks arrived at Leython’s base. The enemy didn’t use a scout. One well aimed overcharge bolt destroyed them all. Nonetheless, it was a disturbing thought. Such a move was either one out of inexperience or out of an abundance of units. The images his air scouts sent to him told Leython it was the latter. Hover tanks were everywhere.
They were located at mass extractors and at the many passage entrances around. Finally, Leython found the enemy base itself and sighed in relief. She didn’t upgrade any of her factories. Yet.
The fact that she too was still at the tier one stage didn’t give him a reason to take it easy though. The Aeon commander had surely seen the air scouts and was probably going to build anti-air units. This brought a problem in Leython’s plans. He had grown fond of the Cybran tier one bomber and it’s cluster bombs. Those had the same effect as the ACU’s overcharge function to hover tanks.
Several minutes later, the enemy lines grew solid, as Leython hadn’t mounted a single attack yet. He knew that he couldn’t delay that assault for an indefinite time. While he built tier one bombers and upgraded his very limited economy, the enemy could finally decide it was time to attack or to start a tech two production line. If it was the former, there was no problem, but in case of the latter, Leython knew that he was in for some trouble. Zeus bombers just didn’t do it quite well against a shielded army comprising heavy tanks and mobile flak vehicles.
Several minutes later...
Having finally upgraded his own land factory to the second tier, with the three mass extractors that were directly available for him, he built tier two engineers and started to produce tanks and stealth generators. Perhaps he could win this battle after all, Leython thought while he sent his bombers up in the air. He finally had an impressive armada and allowed the air units to attack.
Air scouts flew over the enemy lines, constantly revealing their targets. Leython had the time to target the enemy tanks and he needed it. Without Shilon’s support, giving all units their own target took him a long time.
Coming closer by the second, the bombers still encountered no problems. Leython knew that already, because his air scouts provided him with excellent intelligence. It was time to build some radar towers though.
Suddenly, several groups, consisting out of five interceptors appeared.
“I’m surprised.” Leyton said, opening a public channel. “You can become the most dangerous enemy I have ever faced. If you were just a bit more experienced.”
the most dangerous enemy you have ever faced. That’s because I will cleanse you.”
“I have no idea about how this battle will end, but I’m certain that I won’t die. You have surprised me but that is thanks to your advantage in time and the fact that I’m not really used to working alone. I’ve got a bad feeling about this. Yet, no ‘Oh my god I’m dying’-feeling.” Leython said.
“I will not disappoint you. You’ll see the end of your decadent life soon enough.” The Aeon pilot replied and she closed the channel.
The interceptors had taken out Leython’s bombers already, but not before most of the Zeus type air units had dropped their payload and decimated the enemy army. Nonetheless, it was not over yet.
The Aeon still outnumbered him.
Perhaps no longer on the ground, because the small groups of tanks that were left could easily be destroyed by the few heavy tanks Leython had. However, Leython made a critical mistake by not preparing for fighter squads and now he paid the price.
As if it weren’t enough, he had also lost half of his air scouts.
The drums of war had finally caught up with her. Marisa stood up and walked towards the cliff. This planet had been her home for two and a half years now. There could be only one logical reason: Leython Dygonn had found her, finally.
Marisa expected him to be here sooner, but apparently, that wasn’t the case. Why? The mysterious enemy she had faced only once, who came from the UEF but showed more of harmony than many of her Aeon friends, he had one more question to answer: what took him so long?
Not that his prolonged absence irritated Marisa, she was interested in all the adventures that mister Dygonn had faced since they left Sinivar Island. By the looks of it, this challenge was going to be a serious one, the ‘princess’ concluded while she looked at the scene with her binoculars.
She saw a couple of Aurora tanks hovering alongside the dozens of wrecks. Apparently, Leython had built massive groups of UEF bombers. The federation type of units could never take down nine or even ten in one pass, for as far as she knew. The only bomber could ever achieve such a thing, was the Cybran bomber.
The only possible conclusion Marisa could think of, was that mister Dygonn had an abundance of air units. He outnumbered his enemy and would surely win. She stopped looking, turned and wanted to take a bath in the small river three hundred meters further away when, alarmed by remembering it, she recognized the unknown wreck amongst the auroras.
The wreck was the result of a shot down Cybran
Building another group of three bombers seemed a waste, especially in the knowledge of the enemy’s air superiority, but it was an efficient sacrifice. When the interceptors attacked and took down his bomber armada, he also lost most of his intelligence capabilities. Now it was time to regain it.
Leython sent the bombers to the few tier one tank groups to destroy them. It took down the remainder of the Aeon’s land army and distracted the interceptors. It gave the opportunity to send the leftover air scouts on the scout vast area around the enemy’s base.
Less than twenty seconds later, the interceptors appeared on Leython’s screen: the bombers’ limited visual range gave them away for the little time they still flew. Those interceptors would be falling like leafs seconds later.
“His tactic repeated. At Sinivar, he sent the evacuees by air transports.” Marisa said to herself. She had to observe the battle for a tad longer. It was incredible to use these binoculars, with it, she could easily look at things that were ten kilometres away.
“I had to send my entire air force at those to make an impression at the Avatar-of-War and look like an Aeon fanatic. Naturally, that’s what I did but I knew it was too good to be true and yes, this situation is too good to be true for mister Dygonn’s enemy as well.”
Marisa saw how the Conservator fighters were destroyed instantaneously, while three flak guns were dropped by the Aeon’s enemy. Despite for the fact that these were Cybran units, it had to be Leython. Only he could create such a powerful trap.
Confident that it couldn’t end up wrong, Marisa turned around again and started to walk. This time, she wouldn’t peek again. There was a bath waiting for her.
“You trapped me?!” Felicity said angrily.
“And it gets worse. Right now, air scouts fly all over your base and the region around it.” Leython said, once again he revealed no emotion while he sent new air transports everywhere. These transports carried just one engineer, which were going to build radar towers. It was a tested strategy, an old one and a predictable one, but a successful one.
Three minutes later, Leython knew everything about his enemy. She had a tier two army comparable to his in size and firepower, but possessed a massive group of hover tanks once again. This time, she seemed to be fed up with the battle. She sent everything she had, giving Leython no chance to build enough bombers against the tier one tanks, especially because the Aeon pilot sent shield generators with them.
Leython was outnumbered on the ground, making air the only viable option. He had to retreat to a safer spot, although...
Some key words came into mind: retreat, air, tier two army, an enemy who was sending everything she had, towards him, in other words, away from her base.
While Leython planned to retreat with his ACU, using the tier two army slow the enemy down a little bit, his plans changed. The word ‘retreat’ was swapped with the word ‘attack’, while the rest of his key words remained what they were, but had a whole different meaning now.
The word air, which meant ‘Prowlers” at first, now stated the use of transports. Initially, the tier two army had to give Leython some time while he retreated, but the intelligence expert gave it the main role in attacking the enemy ACU. But it probably wasn’t enough.
“Escape craft? I can build it with my ACU? It’s got sixteen missiles?” Leython asked rhetorically. “Doctor Brackman, I’m going to use the corsair as an assault craft.” Leython said to himself.
On Earth, in general Clarke’s office...
“Are you sure about this, Lancet?”
“Yes general.” The lieutenant answered.
“Too much has happened in the last few years.” Jeff said, sadness engulfed his voice.
“Such as?” Clarke asked.
“You know what happened. You got my file on your desk.” Sadness immediately changed in fury. “I lost five colleagues in the past year and now Leython appears to be fighting against me...”
“Is it about that? Leave it and forget him.” The general answered simply.
“You may be without emotion, general,” snarled Jeff, “but I am not. The war takes its toll on people like me. You may be able to see your friends die or your comrades perish, but I can’t. I was able to leave it and concentrate on my missions again, but now I have seen that Leython is not dead but actually fighting alongside the Cybrans, it’s...”
“it’s too much for me.” Jeff said after a couple of seconds of silence.
“Very well.” Clarke concluded. “Your file will be processed today. By midnight exactly, you are no longer in the UEF army. Be aware that you’ll have to get all of your personal belongings as soon as possible.”
“I know general.”
“Then hereby, you have officially resigned.”
Jeff left Clarke’s office without a word.
“He just left?” Dostya asked, stunned by Leython’s sudden action. Brackman had informed her about it.
“Yes, he just left.” The doctor answered simply.
“How can he do such a thing?! We need him.”
“Ordering him to stay here would be against my principles, Dostya. In the Cybran Nation, it is an accepted norm to make oneself of use. Thanks to the Infinite War, Cybran’s only think of saving other Cybrans and fighting for their own freedom as the greatest good.
Freedom is the one thing that we have to work for, the one thing that we have to fight for. The thing is, you all sacrifice your own needs for the collective, for the community. It is hard work, day in, day out. However, sometimes it is better to have some rest, to have a vacation.” Brackman said.
“We can’t afford it. Not with the UEF on our tails and the Avatar-of-War wanting nothing but to exterminate us.” Dostya said harshly.
“Then why do we free the Cybrans if we are just going to get them to work again. The ideals are motivating, I know that and I can’t object to it. After all, I want all Symbionts to be free as much as you do. I work as hard for it as you do.”
“Then what is the problem? And what has this got to do with Dygonn?” The annoyed elite-commander asked.
“If someone makes himself of use, he deserves to be rewarded. We mustn’t liberate people to make them work for us without compensation. Then they might eventually feel that they’re not free at all. A person deserves a day off, something the vast majority of the Cybran Nation’s citizens never had. That is the answer to your fist question.” Brackman said.
“Ok, so you gave Dygonn his vacation?”
“No, he just took it and I doubt it will be like a real vacation. He’ll still have to work, but it’ll be more rewarding.”
“He took it?”
“And I just let him go.” Brackman replied calmly. “Don’t forget that I told him I’d allow him to leave if he wanted. If he wanted to go to the UEF, he could do so. If he wanted to join the Aeon, he could do so.” The doctor said, while looking at a data-matrix.
“Something I still think of as a very, very bad idea, doctor.” Dostya replied.
“Because he could leak information about us, to either the Federation president or the Avatar-of-War?”
“Do not forget this. He can be trusted with the most incriminating secrets. He didn’t say a single thing about the UEF technology.”
“But he did tell about the Matar Fortress, eventually. That allowed us to free thousands of Symbionts.” The elite-commander objected.
“And that was the reason for him to leak intel. Because of that, he could fight for freedom. You may not have noticed it, but he was having a hard time choosing between the UEF and the Cybran Nation. At first, he saw it as two opposite things, like good and evil.
However, when he gave the matter more thought, he could determine what the best thing was to do, he could fight for the Cybran while not damaging the UEF ideals. That’s what he did. He didn’t do anything that seriously endangered the UEF.” Brackman said, finally looking Dostya in her eyes.
“Had he returned to the Federation, then he’d never fight against us so ruthlessly as he would if he never met us. He would never leak intel and the only pilots he’d show no mercy would be the Assumpta, because they show no mercy either.
You can trust Leython Dygonn. He’d never do anything against his ideals.” Brackman concluded.
“I understand. I understand why you wouldn’t stop him from leaving, but I have a question: what would you do if I’d say I’d leave.”
“I’d ask you to find a new elite-commander for me. Someone who is as skilled as you are. I couldn’t force you to do so, but I know that I never even have to ask because you wouldn’t leave before ensuring the prolonged safety of all Symbionts.”
“You know me all too well, doctor.” Dostya said.
One transport carrying one engineer. It left Leython’s base to build a small outpost seven kilometres away. That engineer would build a land factory, a power generator and a mass extractor. If the Aeon commander destroyed his ACU before he took out hers, then Leython could still fly to this outpost and leave the planet alive when he wanted to.
It was going to take a long time before he wanted to leave though. First, he wanted to meet that other Aeon commander. The one who was exiled. The one who like many others, according to the rumours Leython heard at the UEF, was about to be ordered to go to a planet with nothing but a survival kit. The one who left before the Aeon could exile her. The one who did have an ACU here. The one who didn’t come to his aid.
However, what made Leython think she was witnessing this battle in the first place? She could be anywhere on the planet.
Yet, that sensation he felt. He couldn’t explain it, but she was near. Maybe not so very near as he hoped to be, but within a range of one hundred kilometres perhaps?
He still had to search for this commander he knew only by the letters ‘MZG’, but that would come later.
First, he had to take out Felicity Thazin, too bad for her. She might have been able to retreat, if she had upgraded her land factory to tier three and would have built a quantum gateway. It was too late now.
While Leython saw the Aeon army march onward, coming closer to the base by the second and crushing one tree after another, he took a different approach. The enemy had lost all of her air units, thanks to his mobile flak guns.
With his Corsair, he flew through the sky, escorted by interceptors and followed by air the air transports that held every Rhino tank and Mantis heavy assault bot he had at the moment he took off.
He left the Aeon army behind, that would be able to fire in thirty seconds. Some quickly built point defences had to destroy enough units so that his ACU wouldn’t be destroyed before he killed the Aeon commander. Leython didn’t trust this plan though. It was likely to fail due to the enemy army’s size.
Using tier one bombers to decimate the enemy hover tanks was out of the question. The army had the shield generators’ protection. He didn’t dare to use a transport to leave. He hadn’t even built one and it was surely going to be so unlucky that it was destroyed at the moment it took off, seriously damaging, if not destroying the command unit.
Ordering the ACU to leave by foot was not possible either. The only way out was straight into the Aeon commander’s army.
Leython’s only conclusion was that he had no choice but to execute his plan. Something he knew already, but was confirmed now that the first point defence tower was destroyed.
His ACU was as standing near a cliff, as far away from the Aeon army as possible, which would give him another ten seconds. Every single second was crucial in order to save the command unit.
Thirteen seconds before his own army would land. The Aeon commander aimed her main cannon at the moment Leython flew past her. The ACU turned around and fired an overcharge bolt to take him down, but with a sudden manoeuvre, the shot missed and disappeared in the air.
Tanks and bots dropped on the ground, turning their guns. Leython flew higher and higher, still surrounded by his interceptors but he wasn’t interested in his own course. He switched his to the ACU’s control console in his fighter and ordered it to fire an overcharge shot by himself, destroying six enemy tanks. While it did so, Leython gave movement orders to each of his tier two units. They had to scatter around the enemy ACU. Another supercharged bolt was fired by her, this time it had more effect and it destroyed two Rhino tanks and two Mantii.
Both command units were being damaged rapidly, but both fought back well. Leython’s ACU didn’t move, but Leython did. He finally turned around and descended as quickly as possible, forcing the interceptors into a myriad of turns to follow. It had the look of an air show, but there was no one to show off to.
His ACU was about to be destroyed, while the one enemy tank after another dropped dead. His point defences were ignored while the Aeon army had moved on to deal with the power plants, mass extractors, factories and ultimately the ACU. Because the enemy shield generators stopped working for some reason, the Auto-gun and Cerberus destroyed one hover tank after another, reducing the army’s firepower. It slowed the enemy down in taking his heavily damaged command unit out, but the tanks would still succeed if Leython let her.
Luckily, the Aeon ACU was almost taken as well. Unfortunately, his small army was completely destroyed. Still, there was always an answer and this answer came in the form of sixteen missiles. Within two seconds, all of the small rockets were launched and went straight for the enemy. Leython fired his weapons from the maximum range possible, because he had to turn around and leave as soon as possible for him to survive the nuclear blast.
The light emerging from the explosion allowed Leython to see even with his eyes closed, but he calmed down. The enemy was gone and he was still flying. While the base and all of the enemy units were destroyed, Leython turned towards his ACU. Amazingly, it still stood, but barely.
The Armored Command Unit’s self-regeneration system was destroyed, it’s logic array was gone as well, making it impossible for him to give his orders properly. The armour was completely gone and, as if it weren’t enough, the core could breach at any moment. Leython knew what he had to do to prevent his unit from blowing up.
He immediately shut the unit down, allowing the core to cool down and thus saving his command unit from exploding. Having put the engineer he sent away under his fighter’s control, as well as the buildings his engineer had built, he knew he could get away if he wanted to.
But he didn’t want to leave. Now, he could finally do what he came for and another advantage of the Corsair escape craft design came in handy. The radars, omni sensors and spy planes were all equipped with the most advanced sensor systems, but they disregarded the smaller energy sources.
Spy planes didn’t bother with humans walking in the wilderness that was the ACU’s warzone, but the Corsair’s sensors did. It was stunning, how much live forms Leython saw. Most were small and thanks to QAI’s incredible database, they were recognized as birds, foxes or fish. One live form was significantly larger, just two kilometres away. This system was more advanced than Leython could ever dream of. The downside was that it couldn’t be used in a battle, but where would he face a battle now?
Marisa knew it when the blinding light emerged from behind the cliff. Just when she was about to get dressed again, after washing herself in the small river, the enemy commander was killed. Mister Dygonn had succeeded. Her hair still wet, she decided it was time for some tea.
Ironic. She was thinking about tea and calmly stepped through the large bushes that hid her small estate, but a live was destroyed. Every live was worth saving, but she knew that this commander was a fanatic who underestimated her enemy. Despite for the fact that death should have been avoided, Marisa didn’t despise herself for not joining the battle to save both pilots. She couldn’t help but think that it was better for the Avatar’s fanatic puppets to be destroyed, even not while she could’ve been the Illuminate princess.
Now, she sat in the forgotten region, the dark area of the universe, yet she still was a princess. She had the whole planet for herself, had the time to do whatever she wanted and she actually loved it. Not the best way to be the Aeon Illuminate’s leader, but it surely didn’t mean she had given in to decadency? Perhaps a little bit, Marisa thought, smiling.
While she sipped from her tea she could hear a plane coming. It was time to share her world with someone else. It was time to share her live with someone else...
Leython landed, the live form appeared to be sitting behind the bushes. Was she hiding? Was she waiting. The suspense of not knowing who this would be, who he would be meeting was excruciating, but why? He knew who this would be. He knew that the person who he was about to meet, was like his sword mastery teacher Lyndis, but of his age.
What was wrong with him? Was it the fear for the fact that he was emotionless? The fear for saying that he wasn’t interested in her daily issues, something that had turn many dates into a disaster? But he expected the Aeon to care less about an ideal weight or the perfect look nonetheless.
Lyndis said that those with a clear mind knew that the perfect look was the most comfortable one. The Aeon were said to be brainwashers with their crazy philosophy, but this one was different. She managed to make him think, really think. Her philosophy couldn’t differ so much from Lyndis.
All thoughts entered Leython’s mind at the same time. At a different moment, he didn’t know of anything to say at the beginning, except for ‘hello’, in the dumbest way ever. This moment was different and not because he was about to meet the most special girl he knew of. It was because of the pilot he killed. The ACU he destroyed. It forced him to warn her of the radiation a ruptured core caused.
Leython stood five metres away from the bushes. He took a deep breath and finally spoke:
“Madam, I am Leython Dygonn and I am sorry to interrupt and although it would be nice to meet a friendly face, I have got to warn you first. I destroyed an Armored Command Unit and as you probably know, that causes radiation. I suggest to move by about four kilometres.”
“Do not worry, mister Dygonn.” A soft female voice sounded from behind the bushes. Leython heard she was standing up now. “The Aeon command unit has got a so-called ‘clean core’. There is no radiation coming from it, not even in case of an explosion. I must say, you did a good job in taking out the enemy. She had a lead of several minutes.” The Aeon female said while she stepped though the bushes.
For the first time in his entire live, Leython was stunned.
“I am Marisa Zelda Gawain.” The most beautiful girl Leython had ever seen, said. She wore no piloting suit, but a orange shirt and jeans she apparently made by herself and would’ve been a popular choice of girls in a summer on Earth.
Feeling himself incredibly stupid, Leython saw Marisa walk towards him: “We already met at Sinivar, you are a brilliant commander.”
The calm voice comforted Leython, allowing him to get a hold of himself. He smiled friendly, but didn’t say anything, this time because he wanted Marisa to speak again. Apparently, she noticed it and immediately spoke again:
“Welcome on Tessalis.”
She knew she was as stunned as Leython was, but it took time to realise it. Marisa had already ‘officially’ welcomed him before she realised how magnificent he was to behold.
He apparently didn’t care to pilot an ACU or a plane in an appropriate suit. Wearing a set of robes that could represent an Evaluator, Marisa knew that he spent his live on more than the UEF military alone. So another question entered her mind, she wanted to ask Leython about his life, where he got his clothing from.
The seconds passed while neither Marisa nor Leython said anything but enjoyed the eternity of silence. Both bedazzled by the other one’s appearance, reluctant to do anything but to look and smile at one another.
Eventually, either of them had to speak. They couldn’t keep looking or smiling indefinitely.
“I wonder how Leython is doing now.” Shilon asked, drunk for the first time in his life.
“Don’t worry about it, boy.” Bagby said. “You’ll get used to it.”
“What? Not having him around here?”
“Nah, getting drunk and worrying about people who can fend for themselves.”
“What did you say Bagby? Does Shilon miss Dygonn?” Dostya said, who just entered the bar.
“Hey D, how’re you doing? Bagby said happily.
“Hello Dostya.” Shilon said, hardly audible.
“Funny. I don’t miss him. I’m happy he left for a moment, although I was cross with him for leaving so abruptly, without telling me a single word about it.”
“I’m still cross with him. I could’ve made fun of him. I’ve been able to make fun of him all the time and he still was honest.” The Cybran SCU pilot said.
“That’s because he’s always polite when he speaks to friends, Bagby. You also didn’t get very hard on him.” The Elite-Commander replied.
“I couldn’t get hard on him. I didn’t know how he would act. He’s some sort of a mystery.”
“Oh come on.” Shilon managed to say. “Is it that hard for you to find out who someone is?”
“Yeah, might be because I’m not drunk though.” Chuckled Bagby. “But you know him better, Shilon. Tell me how he is.”
“He thinks before he acts. He’s always got an answer to everything.”
“I bet he doesn’t have an answer to what’s happening to him now. Don’t ask me why, but I think he’ll be really surprised for the first time in his live.”
“And that’s why I’m worried about him.” Shilon said.
“No,” Bagby smiled, “you’re worried about him because you’re drunk. Anyway, D. Tell me why you’re not worried.”
“I’m not drunk.”
“Let’s get at it then. We’ve got to be worried about someone.” The SCU pilot laughed.
Leython had gotten used to silences, but not one like this. The excruciating moments he shared with Clarke sometimes, at a debriefing after a mission. The times he faced a standoff, which happened so many times during a battle. It even happened on Sinivar, but then it wasn’t excruciating, but it resembled the combination of war and peace. An argument and an agreement. Hatred and love.
A war coordinated by their superiors, an argument caused by their predecessors, hatred fed by their war. But peace thanks to the respect one person had for the thousands of lives that could then be saved. An agreement thanks to the cunningness of both commanders and love thanks to the slumbering feelings they had for each other, without having met.
Feelings that Leython thought he was unsure of at the beginning , but were confirmed soon enough. The opponent he faced at Sinivar, was the only one, apart from Lyndis, that could ever make him think and that opponent stood directly in front of him.
And suddenly, Leython remembered what Michelle Aiko said several years ago:
“Well, my conclusion is that such a girl is just not the one for you. There must be one somewhere on this world, or at least on the core worlds, that ‘suits’ you, that is just as emotionless as you are. To be honest however, I must agree that she was quite a whining girl.”
But this girl wasn’t from the core worlds. This girl was not as emotionless as he was, but she also wouldn’t whine about a minor imperfection.
The silence endured. Curious about him, Marisa thought what Leython would exactly be like. Marisa knew that her old enemy was smart and would have gotten an answer to everything. He was calm yet he was caught off guard so much by her, just one eternal minute ago, that he really didn’t have any words, for this was possibly, or probably, only the first time in his life.
She was caught off guard too, just that second later, when the boy regained his… conscience. Now they had both remembered how to speak for several eternal moments already, but they preferred to keep the blissful silence and think. Or not think at all.
Judging by his stance, Marisa thought that Leython was very calm and friendly to his friends, but only at the times that he was allowed to do so. On the battlefields, he was probably a master in self-control and swiftness and Marisa knew that the commander who could control himself, had a far greater chance of winning than a pilot who was all too eager to fight.
She could tell it from the most zealous, fanatic Aeon Knights. The ones that were anxious to cleanse, to commit genocide, were the ones who usually didn’t return from their mission.
The word other people would describe Leython with, was ‘emotionless’ and yes there could be something uncompromising in his expression, but unlike the Avatar-of-War, he would reserve that cold look for his enemies only. Now, it was nowhere to be found.
No shoes. No boots. It took Leython until now to notice how much Marisa had apparently spend on her appearance. So much time, but no time at all. Any other person would say that this girl, this lady looked good anyway, whatever she wore. Yet, Leython knew better. Everything Marisa had on, or not, was a choice she made without a second thought, a choice that was always the right one.
Simplicity. No makeup to make her look better or any cosmetic ‘magic’ to make her look different than she was. Who Marisa was, seemed a task easily done. She looked healthy, seemed to have taken care of herself perfectly, for all that time she was alone. How she looked like, right there where she stood, was how she was. Pure, natural.
Someone had to break the silence, Leython thought while he still couldn’t avert his gaze. He tried to think of some words, but he couldn’t find any. He wasn’t stunned by her beauty, but calmly acknowledged the fact that saying nothing was still the best option by far, but only for the moment. If he were to know her better, and he was, then he’d better speak.
But which words were the correct ones to start with? What was the best thing to say, apart from nothing at all? How should he introduce himself, if he already had?
Marisa had the same issue. What could she say? How should she speak? Within the Aeon community, there was a special etiquette for conversations, how to express oneself, but she knew that she had no use of that etiquette. She and Leython had to find their own way of talking, preferably before sunset, which was only seven hours away.
She saw Leython opening his mouth, but he didn’t speak, seemed to realize that and he closed his mouth again. One way or another, the silence had to be dealt with. Leython tried to speak again, this time hoping he could find his words:
“Would you like to stand there and look at me, smiling yet not speaking? Or is it a better idea to…” Leython was at a loss of words again and Marisa couldn’t blame him. He broke the beautiful moment they both wanted to cherish, but Marisa laughed. A calm, warm and welcoming grin.
“to talk about ourselves?” She finished what Leython wanted to say. “Since the silence is already broken, I would propose to come with me. Let’s get in—” Leython cut her off. The warm ice, the pleasant anxiety, had broken. Both knew that the only way they could come any further than the eternal silent bliss, was to get going with it, but what Marisa seemed to suggest, went too far for Leython right now:
“That’s inappropriate to say!” The intelligence expert said, although he didn’t know if the Aeon girl knew how suggestive the words ‘in the bushes’ were. Marisa laughed again, gentle and soft, but clear and loud. A Sympathetic laughter, it was and Leython calmed down again, realizing that Marisa wanted to talk first, for a long time.
“I’ve built a small house in and around this small cliff.” Marisa said in the most welcoming tone Leython ever heard. “The entrance is behind the bushes, please follow me and do your boots off. For one reason or another, I stopped wearing shoes outside the house two years ago and I dislike to have those inside.”
“Ok.” Leython said, remembering that he wasn’t talking to a UEF superior, he forced himself to speak again: “I take it that it’s just something you grew accustomed to?”
“Yes, it is.” Marisa said, clearing the bushes’ branches for Leython and letting him continue, like a man kept de door open for his girlfriend at a restaurant’s entrance. But the man was a woman, for sure to become the girlfriend soon enough though.
When Leython heard the word ‘house’, he thought of a furnished cave or a tent for Marisa to meet her primary needs, perhaps something better, but not what he saw. She had used the cliff and its rocks to build a real house, with real rooms, windows and doors. The living room was bright and comfortable, with sofas, plants and paintings of the planet’s environment.
Seeing this, while noticing the kitchen was joined with the living room, Leython assumed she had a bedroom and bathroom as well. The thought occurred, of how she could possibly do this by hand, but she answered it already, though Leython expected it at the same time: she didn’t do this by hand at all.
“I used my ACU to build this. We can design our own things with command units, you know? I have made the entire house with it. The only thing that it lacks, is a bath, but I use the calm river outside.”
Leython hardly listened, yet still the words penetrated his brains and he would never forget those.
Marisa had made something truly enthralling here, Leython felt at him instantly and every moment he looked somewhere, he found something new. Something special…
Time seemed to go even slower than before. More and more moments came to be cherished and he and Marisa hadn’t even talked yet, they didn’t share a single secret yet. They hadn’t lived together, they hadn’t laughed, only smiled. They hadn’t danced…
So many things to do, Marisa thought. There was so much to talk about, so much to share and all they needed to do it, was each other.
But where to start, Leython thought. Where to start? The love they had already shared, was more than he could contemplate. They could spend weeks on talking about Marisa’s living room alone. Where to start?
Finally, Leython’s mind returned to reality, as he grew hungry.
“I’m sorry that I’ve got to ask, but do you have something to eat?”
“Yes, I have.” Marisa answered friendly. “I was about to make lunch. I am afraid I have got no meat though.”
“That’s no problem, I can do without it for some days and what you’ve got is probably better than the Cybran’s recycled stuff.”
“Yes, it’s a gray goo with every nutrition you need, but it tastes awful. I lived at a node which grew real food, but sometimes we couldn’t grow enough crops, so we had to revert to that industrial awfulness.”
“Ok, I get it.” Marisa laughed, the thought of having to eat something that wasn’t natural, seemed ridiculous, not to mention the fact that it tasted horrible. “Anyway, I will get something you might like, compared to that gray goo.” She said and she walked to her kitchen.
“Shall I help?” Leython asked, following her steps closely. “I’ll gladly do.”
“If you like to, of course. I have got some plates in that cupboard.” She said, pointing at a cabinet. Cups are over there.”
“Ok.” Leython said, opening the cabinet’s door.
“Well, that tasted delicious. It’s excellent.” Leython said. They spent half an hour to eat, much longer than Leython usually needed for lunch.
“Thank you.” Marisa answered. “Now, there is something I have been meaning to ask, since…” She couldn’t continue. Once again, she fell silent. She wanted to ask if Leython felt the same for her as she did for him, but didn’t dare to. Although his answer would obviously be ‘yes’, she was too afraid to hear the opposite word.
“Since when?” Leython encouraged her. He already knew what Marisa wanted to explain and he thought he knew since when she sought to be with him.
“Since our battle at Sinivar.” She said and Leython’s idea was correct. “The battle we fought there… It was not really a battle, was it?”
“No, it wasn’t, it was more of a game between two opponents, who can fill each other in perfectly. Like we can now.”
“Then you must also know what I want to talk about.”
“Yes, I do.” Leython said, hiding every trace of emotion. He let her ask the question, before answering it.
“Are you up to another game?” She asked and for a moment, Leython was caught off guard. Another game?
“Ah, yes. I am.” He finally said, realizing she played with him just like he did with her. She had realised that he wanted her to ask the question literally, but for the tiniest moment, he didn’t understand that she joined him in the subtle art of rhetoric.
“Got you there, did I not?” Marisa laughed, still evading the crucial matter. Leython couldn’t deny it, was that a reason for him to confirm he shared the feelings for her she already suspected.
“All right, get it over with.” Leython said, although both persons knew very well what was going on here.
“I learned that you are a very special person, already on Sinivar. You let me live even though you could have killed me at the moment I teleported in your base. I realised that you were interested in me, something I could also tell from your moves, but do you still want to learn who I am?”
“More than ever, Marisa.” For the first time now, he called her by her name, it sounded as beautiful as the name’s rightful owner was.
“On the battlefield, you made me think, think like my sword mastery teacher did. You also didn’t give me any time to think, again just like my teacher Lyndis. Who I am, is thanks to her and who I want to live me, will be much like me.
You’re as intelligent and as smart as I am. The battle the two of us created, was much like one of the many times I duelled with Lyndis. Without speaking to each other, we could create a fight that was so well coordinated, it seemed surreal. Just like our battle on Sinivar. That’s what makes you so special. You are cunning like Lyndis, but spiritually you’re so close to me, that’s what I thought two and a half years ago.”
“And what do you think now?” Marisa aksed, Leython said that he was ‘more than ever’ interested in her, but why would that be?
“Now, I think you’re the same as my teacher in sword mastery, but better and I also think that you’re the most beautiful girl I’ve ever met. Although…” Leython said, pausing for a moment. Marisa felt that what he was going to say, would be another compliment to her, not a memory of a girl on Earth, that was possibly more attractive than she was.
“… Although I don’t think you are, I’m sure you are.”
Silenced again, Marisa couldn’t do anything but smile at Leython in appreciation.
“Now, since you shared your feelings with me, I am inclined to tell you about mine.”
“Oh dear, here it comes.” Leython said, sarcastically rolling his eyes.
“Don’t worry.” Marisa said, smiling.
At home, Jeff searched for a new job, perhaps one as a teacher in maths. He was good at maths, although he had educate himself first, to become qualified as teacher.
The door bell rang. Jeff went to open it and saw Harm Dygonn. He had returned to the USA seven months ago and he had tried to contact Jeff numerous times. Jeff had always managed to evade him, as he didn’t want to talk about his son. But now, he didn’t have a chance. When he opened the door, Harm already entered.
“I’m here to get the sword.” He said immediately.
“What?! No! Leython gave it to me.” Jeff answered ferociously.
“Leython was my son, so I am to get the sword.”
“You don’t understand much of what a will means, do you? Why do you want to have it? Is it that special to you? Do you know what it is all about?”
Harm couldn’t answer that. Instead, he searched for Jeff’s living room. A relic like a Samurai sword would probably be put on a shelf there.
“You’re going to give it to me.” He said.
“No way.” Jeff answered. Both could feel the tension between them. “You don’t get it, what the culture is about, that made this sword.”
“I do, in the Japanese culture, you are to work, work more and work even more than that.” Harm said angrily.
“There’s more about it, things you don’t understand.”
“Do you understand those things?” Harm demanded.
“Of all the persons Leython knew, I come the closest to understanding, except for his teacher in sword mastery. Since she’s nowhere to be found, I’m the next one in the line.”
Harm couldn’t answer that either, but he found the sword took it off the shelf and walked away. Jeff couldn’t do anything, since he didn’t have a weapon.
“I can find the exit by myself.” Harm said, sparking the tension, and he stepped in the entrance hallway, closing the door behind him.
When Jeff heard the front door slamming shut, he dropped in his sofa: “How am I going to tell Leython about this?”
A whole different sort of tension sparked elsewhere. Marisa and Leython had started to walk, they hadn’t pulled on their shoes, as Marisa told the ground was soft enough to walk on with bare feet. The princess of Tessalis decided to show the strategic expert the river she bathed in. In the meanwhile, she talked.
“When I arrived on the battlefield, I resented the work I had to do. Luckily, I never had to cleanse a settlement before, but due to my flawless record, which includes assisting other commanders to the best and almost succeeding to the Aeon throne, as the next princess, the Avatar-of-War thought that I was ready to become a mindless killing machine.
I did not want to cleanse the Sinivar settlement and I stalled a bit, hopefully long enough for the newly arrived commander to stand up against me.”
“That’s what I succeeded in. I saved every citizen.” Leython answered calmly, Marisa found a secure tone in his voice, making her feel everything was all right and nothing would ever go wrong.
“Yes, you have and I would gladly be expelled, just for the citizens and you to be safe. However, I hoped that you would be intelligent enough to stop me, so that I could act like I was having a hard time in just keeping up with you, then I might have had the chance to return to Seraphim Two and slow down the Avatar-of-War. The answer came soon.
You were more, you stopped every single move without a problem.” Marisa said, while they walked along the riverside. “But then you made a move that any other commander would have dubbed the most stupid one ever. You evacuated the civilians by air even though I had air superiority. I knew better though, as I realised that you were very cunning. It was a trap, laid there for me. I just had to try it out.”
“It took me three minutes to arrange all my units perfectly, I was glad that it paid off, but not much later, I found out that you knew it was a trap, that you attacked with that knowledge in the back of your mind.” Leython replied friendly.
“Yes, I realised it was a trap but I wanted to find out how smart you were. I found out that you used everything at your disposal to make it impossible for me to go beyond a certain point, but you also did not mean to kill me.” Marisa said. They were halfway on their route to the river, which would take twenty five minutes. It was hard to believe that they had talked so little, but considering the pauses which could take more than a minute, it was understandable.
“That’s correct, like I said, I soon found out that you’re as smart as I am, that people like you are very, very special and I’d not soon walk into another pilot like you. So I wanted to find out more, I wanted to see if you had built a trap as well and apparently, you did.”
“That is correct,” Marisa said softly, “so all in all, the battle was arranged between the two of us. Something I found out again, when you let me leave through your quantum gate.”
Leython did not speak. Yes, the battle had been arranged, both knew it. Walking amongst the trees, the river was still out of sight. After some minutes, Marisa continued:
“You are special. Not just smart, intelligent or cunning. You are more. You know the correct response to everything and your urge to know everything has made you to who you are now.”
Leython didn’t answer. Marisa was right about what she said, but by hearing it from her, meant more than just some reassuring words.
“Everything of you, your body language, your clothes, your tone…” Marisa said, while they finally arrived at the river. “All is imbued with confidence, strength, skill, awareness. You are exactly what I imagined. I already knew that when I left Sinivar, thanks to you. But just one hour ago, when I really saw you for the first time… I was sure of it.” Marisa said serenely and once again, Leython couldn’t answer, he just looked at the water, slowly streaming onward. For the first time in many, many years, he met someone who truly loved him.
For Marisa, it was not a different matter. Since the loss of her parents, she did not have a real family. Toth was kind and helped her with everything she needed, but Leython was different. Exiled by Marxon, she moved to a forgotten place in the universe, waiting for Leython’s arrival. It took him longer than she expected, but here he was at last.
Last edited by Plasma_Wolf on 13 Feb, 2010, edited 7 times in total.
25 Oct, 2009
Joined: 08 Sep, 2007
Location: In an RTD!!!
Leython and Marisa looked at the water for several minutes. Sitting at the riverbank, close to each other, their heads leaning on one another, both said no word. There wasn’t anything to say, yet. Soon, they’d spend weeks telling each other about their lives in the Federation and the Illuminate.
After half an hour, Marisa finally spoke again:
“I think we should go back. By the time we will finally arrive, it is time for tea.”
“Ok, let’s get up then.” Leython said and he jumped on his feet.
“Whoah, are you always that energetic?” Marisa asked, surprised by the sudden action.
“Usually I am, only for the last hours not, when I met you. You could’ve known it though.” Leython said happily. “You fought against me once.”
“That is true.” Marisa admitted, smiling, while Leython helped her to get up.
“So how’s the life here on this planet?” Leython asked.
“It is not much different from another green planet. There’s some nice wildlife, birds, foxes, squirrels and fish. Take a proper look around... Over there!” Marisa said and Leython saw a fox running away. Their talk had probably spooked it off.
Leython and Marisa walked in silence for some minutes, both listened to the forest’s sounds. On the walk to the river, neither minded those, for then they were the only ones that truly existed. Now, all they noticed everything around them, as the perfect surroundings for a young couple in love.
Eventually, Marisa spoke again:
“Because I live alone, I have to take care of my own food. That takes up most of my time. I cannot just go to a grocery store and buy something. However, the time I have got left, I spent on searching for the planet’s history. The animals originally came from Earth, so humans have to visited this place.”
“Yes, that has actually been a lot of time ago. Humanity had expanded since the beginning of the quantum network’s development, but that has stopped since the beginning of the war.”
“We have been too busy killing each other, instead of focussing on expanding. Not that my predecessors would need to do that, the Aeon Illuminate’s population was small.”
“The Earth Empire was crowded though, with Symbionts rioting, many people returned to the core worlds. The result was what it still is. Overcrowded planets. Because of the riots, the Cybrans were too busy to expand their borders properly.”
“Yes and then the UEF put up that quarantine zone. It allowed us to flourish, to bloom. Our golden age pushed the back the zone, closer to Earth. Eventually, this planet was in it as well. That probably made the people evacuate this area.”
“Have you found any evidence yet?” Leython asked.
“No, unfortunately not. I never learned anything about planet terra forming, or importing animals to it. I really hope that we will find something.”
“I’m sure of it, if humans have been here, they’ll have left traces.”
“That is true. I have just not taken enough time for it. My only means of real transport is my ACU, but leaving this place is not really what I like to do.”
“I can understand that. This place is beautiful.” Leython said. “Not unlike yourself.”
“Yes, we have established that.” Marisa answered, smiling again.
“Anyway. What you do here, is painting, enjoying the countryside and searching for human traces?”
“And I am of course eating, drinking and sleeping here. I also take that walk we just did, at least once every three days.”
“It must be lovely to have such a life. I’ve had a tight schedule all my life. You can do whatever you want.”
“I agree, but if I had the chance, I would like to go back to Seraphim Two. Not that that would be possible as long as Avatar-of-War Marxon is leading the army of the Aeon Illuminate.”
“What is he like?”
“He is smart, I must admit that. The problem is, is that he is using his experience in the Way to attack, to cleanse, to murder. Two opposite things. If he tried to defend his citizens only, not to commit genocide, I would have served him without a question. Now, I cannot.” Marisa said. The sounds in the forest were still there, but not so loud anymore. Their chatter seemed to draw every animal’s attention.
“We should understand each other, no matter how much your opinion differs from mine. We are taught to respect every living being, so why do we still kill? Marxon claims that the more the UEF is compromised, the more UEF citizens are killed, the sooner their reserve forces are exhausted and the sooner the war is over. That means that less Aeon people will be killed at a later time.” Marisa told Leython.
“Technically, there’s some truth in it, but there must be a much easier way to deal with this war.”
“There is.” The Illuminate pilot said. “The current princess of the Aeon Illuminate, Rhianne Burke, knows this and is possibly, if not probably working on a plan to keep the Avatar at bay, or even end the war. I thought I could do the same, but by joining the military and rising through the ranks, hoping to slow him down by slowly getting the military under my own control.”
“That would have been great. If you and Rhianne Burke share the same ideals, which you undoubtedly do, the Aeon could control its own borders for the time needed to come to peace with the UEF and the Cybran Nation.” Leython said.
They continued walking in silence now. Both were thinking about the same idea. What if, what if they could break into the Aeon territory and make a coup? The plan was ludicrous. Marisa was experienced in the Way, but so was Marxon. He could be incorrect about his ideals, but was a formidable foe on the battlefield. He did not make it to Avatar-of-War for nothing, the princess of Tessalis thought.
“We should abandon that plan” Marisa said.
“Yes, I don’t know of what reason you think that, but I think it’s a bad idea because two commanders will not make it against dozens, especially not on Seraphim Two.”
“If we go there, we will face the Avatar-of-War personally. That comes close to committing suicide. He may be wrong in his plans, but is an excellent commander nonetheless.”
“Ok, what will we do then?”
“Have our tea. We are almost back.” Marisa said and Leython could indeed see the cliff Marisa had built part of her house in.
“Erm... It may be stupid question, but... Do you have a second bed?”
“No.” Marisa laughed cheekily. “And I have no intent on sharing my only one just yet.”
“I thought you’d say that and I agree.” Leython said, unable to hide a cheeky smile. They both had fantasies that went further than the relationship either wanted now.
“We will have to think of something. I do have some extra blankets, so you might want to sleep on the couch?”
“I’d rather not do that. I would like to have a proper bed, but I don’t want to steal away yours.”
“Thank you for that.” Marisa answered. They arrived at her house again and Leython pushed away the bushes. He opened the door and let Marisa through.
The house was as welcoming as it was ninety minutes ago. The bright but soft colours surrounded and penetrated both Leython and Marisa at the moment they entered.
“How did you get everything of this? You surely made it all with your ACU, designing whatever you wanted, but did you really design everything? I mean, all electronics are hard to design if you’re no expert, and even though you could’ve become the princess, I doubt you can do everything.” Leython said carefully.
Marisa knew that it was no bad remark that her boyfriend made, he was interested in how she managed to accomplish such a feat.
“During my work as a Knight, I gathered as much data as possible. I got my hands on blueprints of washing machines, tumble dryers and many other things.”
“Why did you do that, and how?” Leython asked, stunned by what she did. That someone very experienced in her people’s philosophy, that was meant to lead to one’s enlightenment, was a ‘criminal’ at some moments.
“I did it because I thought I could be expelled. It was a precaution that might be unnecessary, but just in case...” Marisa started. It turned out to be a good idea, now she had a life as luxurious as on Seraphim Two.
“I was able to get my hands of those things, simply because I had my contacts at several companies. You can think of it as corruption, but I only did that for my own well-being, not to eliminate a company out of the market.”
“You’ve been busy arranging all sorts of things. You were very prepared. I don’t think I’d do it the same way in your case. Now I think of it, I haven’t even thought of it when I went here.”
“But you knew you would find me and you could go back to the Cybran territory to refill your rations. I could not. If I returned to Seraphim Two, I would leave without my ACU.”
“That’s true.” Leython said, while Marisa poured them the hot water for their tea.
“Now, we should get you a bed.” Marisa said and she sipped some tea, dropped down on a sofa and looked at Leython.
“Where’s your ACU? Then we can build another bed.” Leython said.
“Unfortunately, that is not an option just today. My ACU is a two hour walk from here and I have to get in my unit, turn it on, walk towards here again, make the bed and then turn around in my command unit, walk it to its place and then I have to make the trip back here, by foot. I reckon that I need five hours then.”
“Why have you put your ACU so far away?” Leython asked and he sipped his tea. There wasn’t any use to do it, it made no sense.
“I wanted to have it away from my house. I didn’t want to be thrown into the war every morning I woke up and stepped out of the bushes. This planet is calm and lovely, not a place for devastating war machines.”
“That is true, I can’t bring anything against it, but why put it at a two-hour’s walk from here? Why not one?”
“The words thinking and walking go along nicely.” Marisa said and a serene smile appeared on her face.
“I could fly you there.” Leython said after thinking for half a minute.
“Is your plane suitable for two people to carry?” Marisa asked him, sipping some more tea.
“Not exactly, but I’m sure we could find something on that.” He answered.
“I do not know if I would like that so much. I have got the feeling It will not go well.” Marisa laughed.
“Yeah, you’re right.” Leython admitted.
“Do you have another idea?” Marisa asked, still looking at Leython. It seemed impossible to peel her eyes of him. Judging by Leython’s serene look at her, it was the same case for him.
“And since you are not intending to sleep on the couch...” She started, her cheeky face turning back.
“You’re offering me to share the only bed you’ve got?” Leython didn’t even dare to ask.
“Not to, well... You know.” Marisa said, blushing a bit.
“I can’t accept that Marisa, I really can’t.” Leython answered, looking very serious now, despite for the urge to laugh. “I mean, we’ve just seen each other for how long? Three, four hours? When we’re going to sleep, we’ll still not have talked for a day. We agreed on it, so let’s keep to that agreement. I am also not going to steal away your proper place to sleep.”
“Then we have a problem.” Marisa said serenely. It was a simple fact.
“Perhaps we can take the couch apart?” Leython offered.
“That would be a good idea.” She answered and they both stood up, trying to find out how something worked, that Marisa should’ve known because she made it. It seemed a bit ridiculous, two young people apparently trying to tear some furniture apart, but because both wanted to respect each other’s privacy.
For reasons they already knew, they seemed to fit together perfectly, filling each other in nicely, agreeing with one another for most of the time. Although it could mean that their relationship would become boring, they knew better. They understood they could surprise each other, despite for the fact that they were able to tell a person’s character with a conversation of only ten minutes.
“Ok, that works.” Leython said when they finished. He picked his glass of tea from the table and drank the rest of. Marisa followed his example.
“Now, we just have to make dinner.” She said.
“Oh, we’ve got another problem.” Leython said while he looked at his girlfriend with a quasi-serious look. She recognized such a look and stepped very close to him. Being a bit taller, Leython tried to look as intimidating as he could, but she didn’t stop smiling, knowing it was all false.
“You destroyed the most beautiful roller coaster in the UEF. I don’t know if I’m going to forgive you that.” He said.
“You’ve got a plane now. You can fly your roller coaster’s track with it.”
“To be honest, I didn’t think of that at all.” Leython said, looking away, ashamed because he didn’t think of that while he was test-flying the corsair. He couldn’t fly according to the Black Hawk’s track perfectly, but the automatic pilot could and the data of his the roller coaster’s track was most certainly available on the quantum network, which was unavailable here.
“Do you want to play a game of chess?” Marisa asked, switching to a different subject.
“You’ve got a chessboard here?”
“No, but with some paper and a pencil, which I do have...” Marisa said and she winced at one of her paintings. “...I can draw a board and the chess pieces.”
“Strange, chess is a war game, but you put your ACU at a two-hour’s walk from here because you don’t want to think of war when you take a look outside, yet still you like to play chess.” Leython said, with a quasi-stern look at his girlfriend.
Marisa grinned and spoke again: “Do you like to make false impressions? Surely you know the difference between a war and a game two good friends or, in our case, a couple of lovers like to play?”
“The answer on both questions is ‘yes’, Marisa.” Leython answered calmly.
Marisa started to draw, she had clearly not lost the technique to do so. With seemingly just a couple of lines, the kings, queens and rooks appeared.
“I am not so very good at drawing horses though, as the icon for the knights. Perhaps I should think of something else that can make such adept moves.”
“ A gunship, you still know what that is, don’t you? I used the UEF heavy version of it numerous times, also on Sinivar.”
“I do not know very well to draw those either, you must not forget that I have not seen a single Aeon gunship in more than two years.”
“Ok, then I’ll try to draw horses, although...” Leython started. He didn’t use a pencil to draw something, he almost never did. Perhaps he should do that once. “No, that wouldn’t be a good idea, it’ll take me more than three hours and still look worse than what you can perform in just two minutes.”
Marisa started again and within a couple of minutes, Leython saw what he expected, Marisa drew a horse’s head that looked almost as good as a the schematic in a top-down view of a chessboard on a computer.
“You know, for some reason, when I used to play one or two games of chess against an artificial intelligence, I always liked such a top-down view more than anything else.”
“You are not the only one. I like that more too, as well as several friends I knew. It gives you a better view of the total field and allows you to see a pattern.” Marisa said and Leython nodded.
“Now, do you want to play with white, or with...” She started.
“Yeah, which other colour should we take?” Her boyfriend asked. She had thought of several colours, as black was a bad idea. It’d take away all of the lines in the piece itself, leaving nothing but the contours of it. While Leython thought which colour would look best, she drew the bishops and the pawns.
“Make them red.”
“Ok, red it is. Is that not a bit odd? Red is the colour of blind fury, or deep love. That is a paradox.”
“The most opposite emotions can go hand in hand. That’s strange, but true. Actually, one emotion cannot exist without its personal opposite, did you know that?”
“Yes, I know. How can you know what peace is, if there is no war? What is a calm sea, if you have never learned to know about a tempest?”
“Exactly, I’ll play with red.”
After several moves, Leython was already in deep trouble. He made various mistakes but couldn’t tell why. Was he not concentrating enough? Was it that Marisa’s moves bedazzled him?
But then Marisa made an awful error, literally sacrificing her queen and when she wanted to make up for that, hoping to re-establish the threat her queen posed with a rook, Leython suddenly saw an opportunity and pinned her rook with a bishop.
Now she was wondering the same thing. How could she have missed the knight that eliminated her queen and why did she allow Leython’s bishop to stand in one line with both her rook and king, forcing the rook to stand still in order to keep the king safe?
Both players were smart and excelled in the intelligence warfare. Both knew how to move their units in order to keep themselves safe and inflict as much damage upon their opponent as possible. Yet still...
Still neither of them seemed to perform well. They played as two kids who barely knew the rules. Leython couldn’t come up with a strategy, Marisa didn’t recognize the opportunities or threats.
“This is not going to work.” Marisa said, looking at Leython . Leython looked up from the sheet of paper, unable to plan his next moves. Marisa seemed to dream away and judging by a proper look at her eyes, Leython realised she was and also he felt that he lost his ability to concentrate, for as far as he still had it.
Marisa’s look was answered, she realised that. Their affection for each other seemed to become even better, or worse. While they had all the time for themselves on this planet, other people were dying because of the war around them.
Leython and Marisa were both prepared to work as much as possible to accomplish something in this war, saving people they didn’t know and haven’t met, or by trying to become a powerful coordinator in the faction they fought for, hoping to make the warring parties talk together, to end the war.
Yet now here they were, looking at each other, bedazzled by each other. It happened some hours ago, but then they could still think and liked not to speak for a while. Now, it had gotten worse. They both seemed to have left the world they stood on, they both had forgotten what they were doing and they both liked it.
After some minutes which were, again, eternal, Marisa finally spoke again:
“Shall we forget this game and make ourselves dinner?” She asked.
“So soon already, it’s just... What time is it? I don’t know how long a day takes here.” Leython replied.
“Exactly twenty four hours. Just like on your home planet and now it is four o’clock in the afternoon. I want to make a dish that takes an hour to prepare.”
Leython could hardly believe all the things he did in the past forty eight hours. He had attacked Matar with Shilon, teleported in the middle of the enemy base, so a submarine could launch a devastating missile. He made a quick jump to Luthien to help his old comrades Josh Funky and Jeff Lancet in protecting the civilians that were under attack by the Aeon forces, using more Plan B submarines.
Then, after a night of bad sleep, he and Brackman discussed the progress on their Corsair escape craft, while QAI searched for where the mysterious Aeon commander went to, finding the destination on a planet named ‘Tessalis’. Immediately after that, Leython jumped in his ACU, gated to the planet QAI found for him, directly into an Aeon pilot’s hands, whose fury raised more than Leython could imagine, when she learned that the enemy she faced, had killed her sister before.
After taking her out, barely saving his own ACU, Leython flew in search for the Aeon commander he didn’t kill, falling in love when he saw her and contemplating the very unavoidable fact that she fell in love with him as much as he with her.
They lunched together, walked to a river Marisa turned into her personal bath, sat at the river’s bank for some time, to walk back, drink tea, solve the bed problem, make a weak attempt to play chess, prepare dinner and eat it and then talk for some hours, before they finally decided it was time to sleep.
“It is almost midnight now, Leython.” Marisa said and she realised that it was the first time she called her boyfriend by his name. “I am tired and we have more than enough time to talk tomorrow. We should go to sleep now.”
“I agree.” Leython said and he yawned. The past two days had been some of the most intensive in his life.
When Marisa stepped in her bed ten minutes later, she too, couldn’t believe what had happened. What she took for granted, that Leython would eventually search for her, find her and that they would spend the rest of their lives together, was very possible, but unbelievable that it happened so fast.
She knew that there was a chance that Leython had died on the battlefield and it was even very realistic, as he was piloting a Cybran ACU, which, as he explained in the last hour they spoke, was because he switched sides after he was defeated on Sung Island. Yet he still survived, as was to be expected though, despite for the dangers in his daily life.
He worked non-stop for the Cybrans’ safety and freedom for eighteen months, but it could’ve been even more and it was a miracle that he showed up so soon, that he even found her on the planet within half an hour seemed an impossible feat.
All in all, the chance that they met at the best moment, the perfect hour, was negligible, but it happened.
Marisa closed her eyes. The last thoughts she had, was the conclusion that, like during the battle of Sinivar, all would go according to plan if both she and Leython were involved.
“Good morning Leython, have you slept well?” Marisa asked the next day.
“Very well, thank you. What about you though?”
“Probably better than you. I have had a proper bed. After we have had breakfast...” Marisa said and she looked politely away as Leython stood up to pull his clothes on “...we will walk to my ACU to make a second bed for you.”
“Ah, that’s great. For sleeping, nothing’s better than a proper bed. Especially after an exhausting week like I’ve had.” Leython said.
They had breakfast in silence but when they finished Marisa spoke again:
“Let us go immediately. It is a two hour’s walk.”
“Ok, I’m with you.”
“Then I’m sure we have nothing to worry about.” Marisa laughed.
While they walked, they talked about everything that they could think of. Yet again, there was not enough time. Marisa talked about her years with Toth and the other girls that could have become princess, she had spent a lot of time with Rhianne Burke in particular.
“I must say, Rhianne is a better princess than I would ever be. She realizes more about The Way and its purpose in the Aeon community than I do and my opinion about war is much more violent than hers. Not in a bad way though. If you were to meet her on the battlefield, she had tried to persuade to stop fighting with words, while not protecting herself with devastating weapons.” She said.
“You use those weapons though. That does make sense, fight if you’re going to die otherwise.”
“Exactly. It does not mean, though, that I cannot talk on the battlefield. If my enemy understands me, I will talk, as you have found out on Sinivar.”
“Not talking with words, but with guns. Know how the enemy fights and you know how he is, how he talks, how he walks. In your case, gentle, welcoming.”
“And in your case, uncompromising, rigid, cold, but only if your enemy is like that.”
“Yes, when an enemy fights against me, this enemy fights against himself or herself, but I’m better, for most of the time. If you can’t beat yourself in a mirrored battle, you can’t beat me.”
“Can you defeat yourself when you look in a mirror?”
“No. When I fought against you, I saw myself in that mirror. What you did was what I would do. How I fought then, was how I want to fight. Perfectly according to plan, but I didn’t finish you.”
“Neither did I finish you.”
“Exactly. When you are in such a dual against your worst enemy, or best friend, then you’ll enter a stage of learning the game you play, in the best way ever. You will never stop learning, always discover new things...” Leython didn’t know what to say more to explain it.
“Where did you get that wisdom from?”
“My sword mastery teacher. I never managed to beat her. Also in those days, I fought against myself, I saw myself in a mirror and I tried to beat myself, but the mirror was faster. I found out new styles of fighting, time after time, when I became really good at it. Lyndis though, learned the new style as she saw me performing it and while we duelled, she was ahead of me every time again.”
“She seems to be a smart person.” Marisa said.
“I have heard about people who are excellent martial arts fighters. Some of them are violent and have a thirst to kill for pleasure. One of the most violent people was close to killing us all when we were on Luthien once.”
“That would be Redfog.”
“Have you heard of him?”
“I have worked with him, when we attacked Matar three days ago. He indeed is very violent. His wish is law, but he can control himself very well. He’s not so much unlike us. He knows what he wants, what is necessary to do and what is useless and will therefore not be done.
When I worked with him, Brackman probably kept him in check even more though.”
“I see.” Marisa answered. It took her time to realize that the violent assassin she saw when she was nine years old, was not as relentless and unforgiving as she had always thought. Leython recognized her look and spoke again:
“Don’t worry, what you thought about him, is not incorrect. He is ruthless, but only when he has to be. Unlike us, he finds it much more often necessary to be ruthless.”
“Why did he turn up that day, do you know? I have never found an answer to that question.” Marisa asked.
“He wanted to stop the Illuminate’s progress, I reckon. He failed though.”
“Rhianne did something there, something that gave her an extra boost of experience and more admiration from Toth. That was one of the things that made her princess. I am sure that if I had to do it, I would have become the princess of the Illuminate.”
“Don’t be too sure of that, you know that you’re more of a military mind.” Leython said “Your tutor, Toth, could have seen that as the potential danger of you becoming the Avatar-of-War’s personal assistant.”
“Marxon already had a personal assistant under tutelage, but yes, he could have had use of a second one, especially as a princess. I do not know what Toth thought when she heard I joined the military, but I am sure that she was not happy with it.”
“After all, it’s better that you ended up here and didn’t stay on Seraphim Two. For obvious reasons.” Leython told her.
“That is true, but I was asking about this... Lyndis, is she called?” The Twilight princess returned to the actual matter.
“Well, ask whatever you want.”
“Is she like that assassin? Or is she respecting all forms of life? Because you also know that smart people can be brute murders, like that Cybran man named Redfog.”
“I know and all I can say is that she made most of who I am now.”
“Then she is friendly and kind, she respects life and sees the sword mastery as an art instead of as a fighting style. She also only kills when there is no other option.”
“Then she would fit right in our community, as would you for instance. Well, you do not know all the details, but that will not be necessary.”
“Details such as?” Leython asked, while they walked towards a lake.
“We usually only wear robes, no clothes such as the jeans and the top I wear now. More like what you have got.”
“Well, this has become usual in sword mastery.”
“And there are more things, like that we do not eat meat.”
“You told me that before and I don’t know if I’d like that.”
“Well, here I would not object to see you eat a fish or a fox.”
“A fox? That’s ridiculous, I never ate foxes. But I have eaten salmon and that tastes perfect.”
“I do not know if I want to try, but I will see eventually. My own interpretation of The Way is that you must respect all different forms of life, but also that you find your own Way, instead of blindly following the leader. The latter is something our people have done and are still doing now. You can think of how Marxon has control over the military.” Marisa explained while they still walked alongside the river. A cliff, that was several metres high, prevented them from stepping in the water right there, but it wasn’t their plan to do so, they still had Marisa’s ACU as destination.
“Follow your own way. Of course, completely making your own life, from the beginning, is impossible. We though, have succeeded very well to make our own way under the guidance of our tutors.” Leython said.
“Yes, we have.”
Two hours after they left for Marisa’s ACU, they finally arrived.
“I am always stunned by the sheer size.” Leython said. “But this one’s looking more natural with respect to its environment. Of course, the UEF ACU would look good in cities on Earth and the Cybran always fits nicely anywhere, if it’s cloaked.”
“I will lead the way, you just have to follow.” Marisa said and she walked towards one of the ACU’s legs, pressed several buttons and a ladder appeared.
“Normally, we can just step in the cockpit right away, but I do not have a hangar here, so that will not work.” She said and she climbed up the forty metres tall unit.
“I understand that. How’s the maintenance going on here?”
“Not, but it is not really necessary, I have not had a hard battle, nor a problematic arrival since the last maintenance check, which was before I left for Sinivar.”
“Ok, so this thing’s actually in perfect shape, isn’t it?”
“Absolutely, unlike your Armored Command Unit.”
“Yes,” Leython said as they climbed higher and higher. “I’m surprised it hasn’t blown up. I turned all of its components off. It looked like it was going to explode on the slightest touch or spark. Even a basic repair job by an engineer might do that.”
“I am sure we can think of a way. Let us take a look at that while we are in my command unit. If we could repair it, we would be able to play chess with this.”
“You mean, using light assault bots as pawns, gunships as knights, etcetera?”
“Yes, why not? We distract ourselves too much if we can look at each other and a game of chess has to be done seriously, so I think it is a good idea. I know it scars the environment a bit, but if we clean everything up nicely, then it would all be fine.”
“Ok, but even if we manage to do some basic repairs on my ACU, we’ll have to get it back to the Cybran nation first, because it misses several key components we cannot replace.”
“You are absolutely right. All we can do here is repair its gun, armour and basic electronics.” Marisa said while she climbed up the ACU’s head. She finally made it again and several seconds later, Leython did as well.
“Now that I have a look from here, wasn’t it very dangerous to climb up here? What if either of us slipped and fell?” Leython asked. He couldn’t hide a smile because they did something they didn’t think through.
“We have got a precaution for that, so that we don’t have to climb up here with a safety belt. I never had to try it out, luckily, but do not worry, you will be fine even if you fall. Now, hop in, but let me sit behind the controls ok?” Marisa answered.
“Ok.” Leython said and he jumped in the cockpit. The room was as small as the other ACUs’ cockpits he saw, but that wasn’t a problem. Two people fit right in, albeit with a little bit of fiddling about.
“So, what are we going to do now?” Leython asked.
“Have you forgotten? We are going to make you a bed.” Marisa said while she jumped in the cockpit as well and began with the ACU’s starting sequence.
“Yes, of course, but I wondered if we’d do that, or try to repair my ACU first.”
“Well, I was planning to make that bed, and then build some shield generators around the house. If your ACU explodes, the generators can block most of the radiance. Then we would not get a nasty form of cancer.”
“I really hope that the ACU doesn’t explode. We’d ruin the countryside with it.”
“Yes, but we have to take the bet, otherwise you will not be able to do anything anytime soon. I also trust your command unit. If it is in a really bad shape, it would have exploded already and if not, I doubt it ever would.”
“You’ve got a point there and I hope that, by shutting it down, I averted a disaster.”
The walk from Marisa’s, no, their house, took two hours, remembered Leython. Within a couple of minutes, they were back, but it was a bit of a shame to knock several trees over and spook dozens of animals.
Marisa’s database comprised all kinds of things, such as furniture and electronic devices like washing machines and that meant that the ACU spent only ten seconds in making the bed, most of that time was to configure the construction arm in the right position so that the construction laser, whose intensity could be turned lower for special jobs, wouldn’t direct the materials to the wrong place. It would be no use if the laser dropped a bed at the outside of the house’s wall.
When they were finished, Marisa walked away and constructed several power generators, built a mass extractor and upgraded it, so she could make the upgrade for a resource allocation system a lot faster than with her basic ACU’s income. It still took more than half an hour though, because the Aeon pilot didn’t want to build any other buildings that’d ruin the beautiful look of the countryside as long as it wasn’t absolutely necessary.
“I agree with you on that.” Leython said. “Now we’ve got the time, we can just take an hour for some ACU upgrades. In a battlefield, it’s an eternity, but here it means nothing.”
“Exactly. But I still have to build that land factory. It looks like I cannot get around that fact, where would it stand nicely.”
“Find a piece of land that is as flat as possible. Reclaim as few trees as possible and then build the factory there. Reclaim the factory when you’ve built your mobile shield generators and you’re done.”
“That is a very good idea Leython, but I already searched for that nice spot.”
Two hours later, more than fifty shield generators stood in the area Marisa spent most of her time and where Leython would spend most of his. It included the house, the bath and the road in between. Another thirty shields stood near the ACU. The total was so much that Marisa was forced to build two tier three power generators but she rather did that than risking the nuclear radiance that emitted from an ACU explosion.
Her Aeon ACU didn’t pose such an environmental problem in case of a meltdown and even the Cybran was a lot cleaner than the nuclear plants humanity knew during the twentieth and twenty first centuries, but the radiation could still cause health issues to either of them at a later age and the planet would also suffer.
With the vast abundance of Asylums in place, the possible explosion itself would barely damage anything and the radiance could be contained as well.
“Now we will see.” Leython said. He had left the ACU at the house and then stepped into his fighter, which still stood nearby. Picking up the controls again, he sent his engineer back towards his badly damaged ACU.
The plane stood underneath some shields at their house, far away from his command unit, so no matter what happened, he was safe. Marisa provided him with very little resources per second, so the engineer could not apply too much pressure in patching the core. Leython added another precaution to it, forcing the engineer to use even less resources than it received.
It went excruciatingly slow, but it seemed to work. Metal returned, one bolt after another, the core, that had cooled down in the past day, had a proper casing again.
“The core’s cooling elements seem to have been damaged as well, Leython.” Marisa said. Half an hour after they started, most of the casing was completed and the damaged core didn’t seem to breach.
“Yes and those can’t be replaced by the mechanical engineers, just like the logic array and other things. But if we get all armour back on and repair the basic things, we can send this ACU back to Minerva and they’ll be able to repair it there.”
“We will just let this engineer go on then. It will take more than a full day at this rate though.” Marisa replied.
“I know, but it appears that the core can take the sparks the engineer gives it, that would mean that it is stable, wouldn’t it?”
“Probably, I do not think that there is a danger of meltdown.”
“In that case, I’ll let my engineer work on its full power, with the resources it gets.” Leython said and he let the engineer use all available resources, making it work twice as fast.
After an hour, the ACU became recognizable again, albeit very slowly. Some of the most elementary armoured plates returned so that the unit could travel through the quantum network without stretching the vital components to its limit. However, Leython didn’t take the time to restore the ornamental spikes. At a moment such as this, it was useless and the less weight the ACU had, the easier and the safer it was to transport.
“It looks like it doesn’t need our watchful eyes anymore, Marisa. You were right about what you said, it would go well.” Leython said.
“Yes, I am going back home but I will leave the shield generators online though. Just in case.” Marisa answered softly and she walked her ACU back home.
That night, Leython had one of the best nights of sleep ever. His bed was perfect for him and he had fallen asleep within five minutes.
“I am glad that you were not snoring.” Marisa said that morning, as they ate breakfast.
“Good, I can never tell such things of myself.”
“I believe no one can. Let us go and take a look at your armoured command unit when we have finished breakfast.”
Thirty minutes later, they watched how the engineer reconstructed the last vital components of the ACU’s armour.
“Now we just have to send it towards Minerva, or another planet where they can repair it.” Leython said. They both sat in Marisa’s ACU.
Marisa immediately searched for a clear spot to build a quantum gateway. When she had built that, a second problem emerged.
“How are we going to get the ACU in? Starting it up will not work. Then the core may overheat in minutes.” She said.
“We’ll just drop it inside the gateway.” Leython replied.
“A good idea, how do you want to do that? With an air transport?” Marisa asked.
“Yes, the air transport will grab it very gently, put it inside the gateway, we will activate it, enter the coordinates and let the gate do its work. Is there any way to send a message with it, a message that will not broadcast until it arrived?”
“There is, I will make it now. What has got to be in it?”
“Something like ‘repair this and return it please.’ Signed by my name.” Leython said.
“Then they will know? Marisa asked. “Have you told them were you would go?”
“Yes I have. I worked with doctor Brackman a lot and he will for sure be notified about this message. Also, the most famous people on Minerva will probably learn about this when it is broadcast.”
“Ok, we will do that.”
Four weeks later...
Marisa had learned Leython how to use her ACU. It was, like the Cybran and the UEF version, easy for him to get familiar with it. The controls were different though and more than once, he made mistakes, causing the ACU to almost lose its balance for a tiny moment, but luckily, Marisa had programmed it so that that would never happen.
It meant that Leython walked around in an unit that was more limited in its moves, but he didn’t mind. For several hours, he would carefully walk around, hoping not to knock over any trees.
Since the Cybran counterpart, Leython’s ACU, had left, they kept watch in turns, for several hours during the day. They didn’t let their schedule of eating, sleeping and bathing get in the way. Marisa returned from the river, her hair still wet.
Leython contemplated the thought he could’ve taken a look and admire her body while she bathed, but such a move was inappropriate to say the least. They had talked about their lives a lot, sat at the river’s bank for hours now, kissed...
But they weren’t up for more, yet. Neither of them minded the state of their current relationship. No reason to rush things on a planet where they seemed to have more than enough time.
The Cybran’s did move on though, so it appeared. Leython saw a quantum wake eruption on his sensors and immediately thought that his ACU had returned. The spy planes he sent towards it confirmed that, as did the message that was broadcast upon arrival. Leython checked it:
“Hey there Dygonn, thanks for the package, would you next time not put it in the middle of my bar?” Bagby’s happy voice sounded. “Just kidding, but it was quite close to us, frankly. I don’t know if you wanted that, but D was pretty alarmed until we decrypted your message. Shilon’s still worried about you, but I told him you got a girlfriend now, who’s got a nice and cosy warm house to share with you and I got him drunk again, so he’s all right now.” Leython heard someone vomiting and Bagby quickly corrected himself: “He’s more than all right!
But what else would she do if she’s got that ACU? Yes I know she’s got an ACU, otherwise you would never be able to do basic repairs on your command unit and build a gateway to send it home. The quantum wake we found had a partial Aeon signature as well, so that was another clue.
Now have fun with her, if you know what I mean, but don’t fall in love too much. You’d be the first commander to be beaten by an Aeon chick because of real love and we’d really like to have you back eventually. Now, see ya, I’m going to get some more booze.”
“Who in the world was that?” Marisa thought and Leython remembered that they always left the transmission open, with all possible vocal notifications from the ACU available, so they could monitor their surroundings the best way, in case of another possible Aeon investigation. Now, she heard the most crazy guy in the universe asking if they had shared a bed yet.
“That? That was an idiot.” Leython simply answered.
It took Leython a full day to explain most of Bagby’s traits, but eventually, Marisa understood who or what Bagby was. Still, no Aeon commander had arrived and Marisa thought that they were either too busy or that the Avatar-of-War wasn’t interested anymore, even though a command unit had left from and returned to Tessalis.
Now, they were doing what they initially wanted, they played chess with their ACUs. Using the Aurora’s and Mantii as pawns, the mobile missile launchers as bishops, the Obsidian and Rhino tanks as rooks, their gunships as knights and the Loyalist and Harbinger as queen, while their own ACUs represented the kings. With real units on a real area of land, but a virtual chessboard that they placed over their intelligence screens, they had more fun than they could imagine.
It was a bit odd. Several weeks ago, they didn’t want to ruin Tessalis’ beautiful nature. But now, an Aeon base stood ten kilometres away from their house, they left their ACUs at a five minute’s walk from home and played chess with actual units. Now, they had turned the planet in their personal playground.
Leython didn’t seem to have improved since their first game though. He lost a lot, Marisa thought when she sent her Harbinger forward.
“Hey, did you know they have updated my ACU completely? I just found that out. My schematics have been updated as well, the Trebuchet artillery is stronger.” Leython said to his girlfriend.
“That is useful, now you can go back in the battle if you want to.” Marisa replied.
“Nah, I’d rather stay on our playground.”
“I think that I will need an update as well. This ACU has not been in the warzone for thirty one months. I am quite sure that several units can be constructed cheaper now. Do you have any idea how we can retrieve the new schematics and updates for my ACU?” Marisa asked.
“Without getting noticed you mean? Well, if we make it to Seraphim Two, it’d be a miracle, so perhaps we should go somewhere more quiet.” Her boyfriend answered.
“You are correct about that, but how can we ever hope to enter an enemy base while we are only with two?”
“With the right timing, our signature may be relatively weak, as opposed to a full fledged army of pilots that leave Seraphim Two for some crazy cleansing to do. That buys us time because they might not recognize it as an ACU or two arriving on planet. By the time they realise it, they might need to get some pilots from far away, because those are all fighting on the front line. That takes long, because they don’t have any return gates yet.”
“And how would we know when they’re not on Seraphim Two and when they are, if they even leave all at the same time?” Marisa asked Leython. It would be an attack based on luck completely.
“I have some ideas of how to distract them.” Leython said while he moved a mantis forward, threatening to shoot a mobile missile launcher. Marisa pulled her Evensong back immediately.
“The assault on the Matar Fortress was successful because we managed to send a lot of... ‘noise’ through the network, which distracted and confused them.”
“Yes, but where are we going to get enough faked ACUs from to distract everyone in the Aeon territory.”
“Not, but we don’t necessarily need the noise to arrive at Seraphim Two, it can leave from there as well. That will already hide our signatures, relatively and so it will buy us enough time. Don’t forget that all we have to do, is arrive, build a base while we use my fighter to enter the actual data centre, download the data, get out, in our ACUs and be gone again by the quantum gate that we’ll have built.”
“Would that work? I doubt it, the Aeon facilities are very well protected.”
“With a bit of help from my Cybran and UEF friends, we could distract them enough in order to pierce their defence and get what we want.”
“That would be an idea. Would you think that we could pierce their defences all the way towards Seraphim Two?” Marisa aksed.
“Yes, possibly. Why?”
“I was thinking. You know, people that love each other usually marry.” Marisa said, blushing while she informed Leython of this crazy idea.
“Are you suggesting to search for a priest on Seraphim Two to get us married? That’s crazy. Also, don’t you think it’s a bit soon to talk about that while we’ve met only four weeks ago?”
“Two and a half years ago, that’s closer to the truth.” Marisa answered with a smile.
“Yeah ok, but we’ve known each other for only four weeks now. We’ve been in really in love for just four weeks now. So why would you think about that already? Perhaps wait half a year or...”
Leython was lost. Why would she not mention it. There was no reason not to prepare for the future.
“Anyway. Why not a priest in a community on a planet that is close to the Aeon’s borders. That will not be quite as dangerous as going to Seraphim Two.”
“Priest are allowed to marry two people, but so is the princess of the Illuminate.” Marisa said carefully, blushing even more.
Leython was stunned. This was a crazy idea, crazier than Josh Funky who once used an air transport as a personal escape craft, by sitting on it, not hanging underneath it with his ACU. Crazier than attacking the impenetrable fortress of Matar.
“Think about it at a later time. Let us complete the game of chess and then have dinner. You have almost been defeated and I think I would try the salmon.”
“You’re sure of that?”
“Sure of trying the salmon, even though The Way states that I should not eat animals?”
“No, I don’t really care about that, as long as you’re healthy, I don’t mind what you eat. I was asking if you’re sure of the fact that I’m almost defeated.” Leython said.
“Well, you can see it by yourself. It seems like the first victory between the two of us is mine.” Marisa said.
“Not really. Like I said, with distractions, you can win a lot of time and thus win the battle, or the game. This is much like it. I distracted you by all of the losses and now...” Leython said while he ordered his tier three siege assault bot to move. His Loyalist, or queen, moved from the lower-left corner toward the upper right. It stopped in front of Marisa’s ACU, which she had castled with her Obsidian tank somewhere at the start of the game.
The ACU had nowhere to go as the Loyalist reached there from where it stood. Taking the Loyalist out could only be done with Marisa’s command unit itself but that was not an option because it was protected by Leython’s black bishop, the only mobile missile launcher he had left.
Last edited by Plasma_Wolf on 20 Dec, 2009, edited 2 times in total.
25 Oct, 2009
Joined: 08 Sep, 2007
Location: In an RTD!!!
Era of Evil
The Earth’s quantum network’s official broadcast, twenty-second of Febuary, 2956...
“While more and more people are openly siding with the criminals of Tessalis, Earth has decided to boycott any trade from or to the planet. This will likely hit Tessalis’ economy very badly, critics claim that the unemployment rate will increase to twenty five per cent and that the criminals will gain an even better hold over the planet.”
“This is very, very bad news.” Zhan Grinal said. He and his wife had watched the news about their planet carefully. What was colonized to be a beacon of freedom and peace, two centuries ago, turned into a pirate’s nest within the last twenty years. The decline in the Earth Empire’s control was to blame. Corruption spread everywhere while criminals could do whatever they wanted. Without the control of the weakening government, Tessalis became one of the worst victims.
Eight years ago, the gangs had made it to the capital city, Rendas. They were not really apparent at first, but during the next few years, the city’s government and so also the planet’s government became infested. Police control slowly disappeared.
“What do we have to do now?” Zhan’s wife, Hanna asked.
“We have to get out of here as soon as possible. We’ll return to one of the core planets. Earth, if possible, but otherwise we’re going to Matar or Capella. That would be the best.”
“But we don’t have a single chance of escaping. The criminal organisations only let merchants leave , on the condition that one of their henchmen can go with them, to ensure they go back. They also know which person is a merchant and which one isn’t. So we can’t just pretend.”
“I know, we’ll have to think of a way to deal with that but there is a worse problem. Trade is going to be boycotted now those gangs have literally taken over half of the planet, you heard it on the news. The government can’t do a single thing about it. I’ll take a look at the city’s quantum gate and see if we can’t just sneak through their nets.” Zhan said.
“Be careful Zhan, if I lose you, I’m done for and that’s not only because I can’t live without you.”
“I know and I won’t let you down.”
Zhan searched for options every day. It meant that, more than once, he left early in the morning and he was lucky if he returned before midnight. Days turned into weeks and weeks turned into months while he contacted all sorts of people, from the government’s officials he knew because of his job at the largest trade centre of the planet, to beggars on the street who lost their jobs due to the crisis on Tessalis.
How much those unemployed knew was staggering. It quickly became apparent that they had been contacted by the low-life criminals that seemed to control Rendas to join one gang or another. They knew about every missing person, every murder case and even who controlled the drugs smuggling from the core planets.
Zhan realized that he had to be careful with his search for a way out. His company’s superior watched him closely now he was using the afternoon breaks to talk with people on the street. He had been warned to keep his contacts with criminals to a minimum, in order to ensure the company’s safety.
“I know sir, I know, but isn’t it useful to know what they’re up to. We are a dominating company and even though we may not like it, we’ll have to cooperate with them when they really take over. It isn’t that bad yet, but I fear that worse is to come.” Zhan said as an excuse. He didn’t want anyone else to know that he was planning to flee the planet, otherwise he might be fired.
For his company, things were going from bad to worse, so he might be fired anyway. Because of the boycott, the commerce had gone down by seventy five per cent. However, that was only via the official routes. The black market seemed to flourish but his company didn’t want to have to do anything with that, seemingly exactly like the competition.
But it couldn’t go on endlessly. The newsreader who reported that about a quarter of the employees across the planet would lose their job, was right. At this moment, the unemployment rate had increased up to twenty per cent but it was still rising. Yet again, this didn’t seem to be much of a problem as many people collaborated with the criminals and made their living that way.
The official trade companies were the worst victims. Zhan counted himself lucky that he was in a fairly high position but he was so unfortunate that he had to cut in his staff. More than eighty per cent of his men had to leave and when he told them about it, they looked like they were about to kill him.
He survived without any issues though, but still felt bad for what he had to do. A crisis like this was unheard of. The Earth Empire’s golden age had ended some centuries ago, because it grew so big that it couldn’t manage its own colonies anymore, but since the rebellion of those accursed Symbionts and brainwashed Aeons had turned into a real war, things had gone downwards very quickly.
At home, Hanna told him more bad news. It became evident how much grip the criminal scum had gained on the city and even the planet: a large part of the police force had been dissolved and even though almost the entire police force was a fake, this meant that the criminals could go rampant. Not only the gangs, but also the people who did some petty crimes, like a break-in.
“Time is running out. It will take no longer than a year before the whole of Tessalis turns into a nest infested with these criminals. I’m certain that the different gangs will fight a war on their own. This is going to get nasty.”
“Have you found a way to get out of here yet?”
“No, I haven’t, Hanna. I think that I should contact some low-life thugs and see if we can go with them.”
“That won’t help us, those people would never make it to a core planet. Perhaps to a Cybran planet, but then what?”
“I don’t know, but as long as we get out of here, we’ll be fine.”
But no matter what Zhan tried, he couldn’t make contact with the crucial person to leave the planet. Years ago, the criminal gangs realized how useful the gateways were. Living mostly on the commerce with the core planets, Tessalis couldn’t bloom without the quantum gates. The pirates controlled those and so they controlled the entire planet.
Now, two years after the boycott by the Earth Empire had begun, the final blow for his company arrived.
The trade company had already shrunk to ten per cent of the size it was at its best years, but now it ended completely.
Unaware of the oncoming news, Zhan went to his weekly meeting with all the other top managers of the company. The CFO, Jonas Quinn, notified them of the bad news immediately and said that there wasn’t much to do. Even though he saw the company’s worth at the stock exchange dwindle almost every day, Zhan didn’t expect this. Now he was unemployed too. In times like these, he wouldn’t have a chance to get another job, not through the official channels.
“Filing for bankruptcy today means that we’ll not have to come back within a week. All we can do is grab as much money as we can, right now, and find a way to survive on Tessalis for the time being.” The CFO said.
“What about our staff? Can we do something for them?” Zhan said.
“Zhan, you’re all nice and friendly,” the CFO answered, “but we can’t help everyone. Let’s just help ourselves.”
The words were infuriating. It had been like this all the time, thanks to capitalism. If it came down to this, Zhan couldn’t tell the difference between the top managers’ theft from a dead company and the criminal activities that were going on here on Tessalis.
He couldn’t say anything about it though. All he wanted was to get out of here with Hanna, he didn’t care about anything else. “Ok, is there something though. Does anyone have an idea of how to get out of here and make a living on one of the core planets?”
“Why didn’t you ask us before, we could’ve managed to get out if we worked together. We had the company back then.” One of Zhan’s colleagues said.
“If anyone would know, I was going to get myself fired.” He answered.
“Exactly. We have no use of someone who can be gone all of a sudden.” Zhan’s superior said. “So that’s what you’ve been doing all the time. Haven’t you succeeded yet?”
“No, I can’t contact the people I need. Everyone I speak, tells me something useful about what’s happening all the time, but no one appears to know about how to leave.”
“You just don’t dare to get involved and therefore you only speak to outsiders.” The CFO said. “I’ll see if I can find a way. Perhaps we should try to keep this company alive just a little longer. At our next meeting, I’ll tell you when we’re going to file for bankruptcy.”
When he came back home, Zhan told Hanna of their problems immediately.
“Then time has ran out.” She simply said. “We’ll need all of our money to see if we can buy ourselves a way out.”
“Yes, we don’t have a choice. Jonas will try to contact a gang or so, to get us smuggled out.”
“But how? The gang that controls the city’s gates, will never let us go. All they do is using it to control the trade from and to the planet. They don’t care about us.”
“There’s more than one gang, I’m sure of that.”
“But what would they have to gain with smuggling us away?” Hanna asked.
“Money, they’ll let us pay for it. A lot.” Zhan answered.
“Do you think we have enough?”
“I earned quite a lot and we’ve never spent too much, but if it isn’t enough, we could sell the house.”
“To who? No one wants a house in these days and those criminals won’t be interested at all.”
“I’ll think of a way.” Zhan said. “But I really hope that Jonas finds a way of leaving, I’ve tried all I could.”
The next day, Jonas told Zhan some good news. He had contacted a ‘guy’ who could smuggle them, but he had only place for three men and it had to be done quickly.
“He said that he was going to Sethis tomorrow. I was careful enough not to ask why, but I asked him about the price instead. He said that, if we arrive on Sethis, he wants us to pay for the trip to Capella, his final destination.” Jonas said, he spoke with Zhan at his office, alone and secure that no one was eavesdropping.
“Can’t he go to Capella immediately?” Zhan asked.
“No, he can’t. His gang’s got connections with another gang on Sethis and that’s as far as he may go. Why he wants to get to Capella, I don’t know because I didn’t ask him.”
“Very well, is it hard to get to Capella, from Sethis?”
“Only if we go via New Venice, Tharod or London Sethii, because that’s where that other gang is. The problem we have though, is that we are going there for the business that this ‘guy’ has to do. Now, all you have to do is get as much money as you can and pack for a day’s work. Instead of taking all of your notes with you, get one set of clothes and some food. If those thugs see us packed for a holiday, we’re bust.”
“It sounds risky. I hope we can afford it too. We have no idea how much it will costs us to get from Sethis to Capella with two others.” Hanna said when Zhan told her of the plan.
“That’s true, but we have to take the risk. If we don’t go now, we might be stuck in this city for our entire lives and in two weeks, I’m unemployed for sure.”
“Let’s do it.” Hanna replied and the next day, in the afternoon, they left for their journey. First, they went to meet Jonas and to their surprise, the ‘guy’ was already there.
“You’ve got all of your money and stuff for one day’s work?” The stranger asked.
“Yes, we have.” Hanna answered.
“Ok. Now, if you have questions, ask them now because as soon as we’re going out there, you must make the impression of that you’re sure of what you’re going to do and that means you can’t ask me a single thing.”
“Ok,” Zhan replied, “who are you?”
“You can call me Jet. That’s how I’m known with my gang and I can’t be called differently. I don’t have any family and they know it, so you must look like you’re part of my group.”
“Will they fall for that ruse?” Hanna asked.
“I think they will. I take groups of two or three others with me to do my business on Sethis. So we’ll get to there with ease, my friends at the gate never know what I’m going to do and how much people I’m taking with me. An example of bad communication there, but that’s because my boss wants to keep my job a secret. The question is, what will happen if we’ve arrived? I’m going to have to talk with my contacts on Sethis, but we all have to get out of there. So I say that you’re going to some hotel while you wait for me. That will take two or three days. If it takes longer, you’re going to have to go on your own.”
“If you come back, how are we going to Capella?” Jonas asked Jet.
“We’re going to make our way to Little Berlin. That city is under control by the Sethis government. They are actually doing a fine job on keeping gangs at bay, ensuring they don’t get the upper hand and become the government instead. There, we will get ourselves to Capella. Quantum travel is not dirt cheap anymore, in case you didn’t notice. This has been done to fund the fledging Earth Empire and that works pretty well, the core planets are still under control.” Jet answered.
“Ok, no questions anymore?” He asked after a few seconds of silence. He allowed them to ask more questions, if anything was unclear, but they didn’t seem to have any.
“Ok then, we can go, but I’ll give you a blaster gun first.” He said and reached in his bag. “Everyone of us has got one of these and so will you. If we’re discovered, fire away. They’ll kill us anyway so we might just as well take a few of them with us and if we’re close to the gate some of us would make it.”
“What’s on the other side?” Zhan asked. If they were detected on one end, what would wait for them at the other.
“People with more guns, but if we’re standing in front of the gate and we’re detected, we’ll blast everyone before they can tell the gang at Sethis.”
“I hope that that works.” Zhan said. “Or that we’ll never have to use these.”
“Yep, anyway, you’ll turn the safety lock off by pressing this button.” Jet replied and he showed them how to get rid of the safety lock.
“I never used a gun.” Hanna said.
“Don’t worry, just aim at someone else and fire. These guns are pretty accurate.”
“Ok.” Hanna said, hoping that aiming in the real world went the same way as it happened in movies.
“Keep looking forward, don’t look aside and just follow me.” Jet said as they walked into the terminal. “I’ve got a VIP status, so I can just go on and you too because you’re with me.
And indeed, people looked at Jet and his three companions but they didn’t approach them. Zhan thought that Jet must’ve risen to a high rank in his gang, but he stopped thinking immediately, as he remembered that he must look like he knew what he was doing. Dreaming away would not help.
By the time they arrived at the personal gate itself, Jet was finally approached.
“Sethis?” An unknown man asked. Jet answered with a simple ‘yes’.
“Those three are with you?” The other man asked and again, Jet answered with the same word again.
“Ok, which town?”
“You all can sit in the gate’s transport chamber now. We’ll be preparing it for four men.”
When they stepped inside and closed the door, Hanna wanted to speak, but Jet silenced her with an almost inaudible ‘sssshh’.
Ten minutes later, they stepped out of the gate at Tharod. Jonas’ first impression of the place was that the city looked nice. It was clean and well maintained. However, there were lots of people who seemed to be watching them, as if they were unwanted strangers.
Jet knew where he had to go to, so the other three just followed and after another ten minutes, they arrived at a hotel.
“This is where I’m going to every time I’ve got business to attend to in Tharod. I’ve already reserved two rooms for two. So Jonas, you’ll have to share a room with me, if I’m here by the evening already.” Jet said while they walked into the hall.
They were approached by the hotel manager immediately and apparently he and Jet were friends:
“Good morning Jet. The rooms are prepared for you and your friends. If there’s anything you need...”
“...Then I’ll let you know.” Jet finished. “But I don’t think that I’ll need anything you haven’t prepared already.”
As they walked up the stairs, the two lowered their voice as much as they could.
“I’ve got enough information for you to do your things, but you might want to go to Sparaza’s tomorrow, the second and third bakery are closer from there.”
“Ok, then I’ll go there by tomorrow. I’ll take my friends with me for that job. I’ll not need them for my first meeting.”
“Are they new guys? I haven’t seen them before.” The hotel manager whispered.
“Yes, don’t ask them any questions though. You know how it goes.” Jet answered.
“No questions, no trouble. I’m happy that the only thing I’ll ever have to do, is providing you with the desired information.”
“Exactly. As for Sparaza, he mustn’t know anything about the fact that I’m going to take my men on the second and third job. Tell him that when we arrive, they will stay at their rooms for the oncoming two days. If he asks why, tell him that I’ve had them for the first job, but want them at my call at a moment’s notice.” Jet said, barely audible, but very clear.
“Understood. I’ll inform him right away.” The hotel manager answered. He raised his voice again and spoke to Jonas, Zhan and Hanna: “Lady, gentlemen. Here are your rooms. These are the keys and as I have told your companion, if you need anything, don’t hesitate to make a call to my employees.”
“Thanks.” Zhan answered and he took the keys, gave one to Jet and the hotel manager left immediately.
“It’s not very much, but enough for today. They’ll bring dinner for us soon, as they know it is almost evening in Rendas. After we’ve had diner, it’s best for you to get some sleep but I’m going to leave immediately and do my job. By the time it is tomorrow on this planet, here in Tharod, we will leave this hotel and go to Sparaza’s. We’ll repeat the procedure, sleep in the afternoon and wait for the next morning and we’ll do that twice. Then, we’ll leave for Little Berlin, which is a two days journey from here.”
“Two days?” Hanna asked, stunned by this new information.
“Yes, we can’t just travel there by quantum gate because they’ll capture us and lock us up when we arrive. They’re doing that with anyone coming from either of the criminals-infested cities. Going by either of the major roads is impossible too because of this issue. They’d know where we came from. This means that the only way to get to Little Berlin, is by the mountain passages, of which most are unfit for cars.”
Zhan feared that everything would go wrong while they stayed at either of their hotels, but luckily, Jet returned without a hitch in the plan, at least for the first two days. They were less fortunate on the third.
“I’ve just been told by a friend that we’re being watched.” He said after returning from the third ‘bakery’. “All we can do now is leave as soon as we can.”
“Isn’t that suspicious?” Jonas asked. “And why are we being watched?”
“Whatever job I normally do, the companions I take with me always work with me on at least one of the three days. I fear that Julian, our host on the first day, has seen through my lies. I told him that Sparaza had to think that you’ve worked with my one day one, while it should be day two, as I lied to him. He probably told that to the guys of the gang and they don’t know anything about hiring more than one person.”
“Is it that bad?” Hanna asked.
“Yes it is, in this criminal circuit, all has to go perfectly according to plan and now it didn’t. That means that we’re either spies for the government, or we’ve turned on them. They don’t care and want us dead if we can’t come up with a very good excuse. The problem is, the excuse of a two-day camping event in the mountains is good at all so we’d better leave right now and hope we make it to Little Berlin. That means we’re not going to stop during the night. Let’s go.”
Terrified, Hanna, Zhan and Jonas followed Jet. He had told them not to look nervous as things might go wrong sooner. Miraculously, nothing special happened when they ordered a taxi. Perhaps this gang in Tharod had decided to leave them alone for a while or thought that they’d take the gate back to Tessalis, from this city.
“I’ve got a new destination for you, sir.” Jet said when they had driven for a couple of minutes.
“You name it, sir. No longer the Beckerstreet twenty nine?”
“No, you’re going to drive us trough the Silva mountains as far as you can.”
“Why would you want to go there?” The taxi driver asked.
“No questions, just drive.” Jet said. “I hope that I don’t have to persuade you any more than just this.”
“No sir, but I must say that it’s a little bit suspicious and you know it, everyone’s watching everyone here.”
“No questions, no trouble.” Zhan said in a mildly threatening tone. Apparently, the taxi driver expected that to be said because he focussed on the road ahead of him without another word. Jet didn’t say a word either but from the back, Zhan could tell he was nodding in appreciation.
“This is as far as I can get you to go.” The taxi driver said, three hours later. The road had been bumpy at best during the most of the trip, but it was really impassable for cars here.”
“Hanna, Jonas, Zhan, you can go out now. I’ve got a new destination for you sir.”
“Where would you like to go to now.”
“Beckerstreet twenty nine.”
“Of course sir. Just wanted to make sure your companions made it here safely?” The taxi driver asked kindly, but carefully.
“You know it.” Jet answered while the three others stepped out of the taxi, confused by Jet’s sudden change in plans.
“Just continue, you can’t miss it. Don’t walk too fast or you’ll be exhausted in no time. One of my friends will wait for you.”
Barely comforted, they walked and the taxi drove away.
“What have we done? We’d better meet that friend or get to Little Berlin by ourselves, or we’ll die.” Jonas said. “We don’t know if there’s anything eatable in this remote region.”
“What? You don’t know what you want, do you? Where do you want to go now?” The driver asked, irritated.
“Just stop.” Jet said and the taxi driver finally understood and stopped.
“Good.” Jet said and he took his gun. The taxi driver only had the time to look shocked by what Jet was going to do before he was killed.
Jet stepped out, and placed an incendiary grenade in the taxi before he ran away. The grenade exploded and turned the car aflame. By the time anyone would be here, it’d be completely unrecognizable.
Jet ran for the next ten minutes before he arrived at the place where Hanna, Zhan and Jonas stepped out. Another couple of minutes later, he finally saw them.
“Wait!” Hanna turned around immediately, closely followed by Zhan and Jonas. They stopped and let Jet join them and catch some breath.
“Why did you do that?” Jonas asked.
“I let him drive back to the first junction which was luckily only about three or four minutes driving from where we stepped out. If he’d die there, whoever is going to follow us, has got two options. One goes to Little Berlin, the other deeper into the mountains, before that path splits and brings you to any of the cities nearby.”
“You killed him?” Zhan asked.
“Yes, I didn’t really have a choice. He’d give our deceit away when he arrived back in Tharod. When someone else arrives here and comes for us immediately, he’s with four others at most but we’d still have a six hour head start I think. We can deal with that. If that taxi driver would’ve arrived at Tharod, we’d be followed by ten, at least.”
“They want us dead pretty much, don’t they?” Jonas said.
“Yes they do. Let’s move on.”
And they moved on and on. Zhan didn’t know what to expect but he reckoned that they wouldn’t stop for the night.
“When will we arrive in Little Berlin?” He asked after an hour of walking in silence.
“Tomorrow evening I think. We should be happy with the time lag. When it’s evening here, it’s just morning in Rendas on Tessalis so then we’re fully awake.”
“Aren’t you tired?” Hanna asked. “I mean, we’ve had a couple of hours of sleep in the hotel and I think I’ve had a nap in the taxi, but what about you?”
“I’ve slept for two hours in the taxi, but that’s not a problem. I can manage.”
Jonas expected bad things to happen while they crossed the mountainous region, but there was nothing special. They even walked alongside a river with clean water so they could drink whenever they wanted. He started to get a bit hungry eventually and ended up very hungry as they had taken almost no food with them and there were little fruits in the bushes they dared to try.
However, they arrived in Little Berlin without any issues and they found a restaurant where they could eat a proper meal.
“Now the hardest part comes. How much money do we have?” Jet asked.
“I’ve taken one hundred and ten thousand credits with me. My entire bank account.” Zhan answered immediately.
“I’ve got sixty five thousand.” Jonas said.
“That should work for getting us to Capella, but we’ve got to buy a house there too. I have no idea what the costs are there.”
“If necessary, we can buy something small for four persons, get ourselves a living and work hard so we can live on our own within a couple of years.” Zhan said.
“That’s what I’ve been thinking of too. I’ve got twenty thousand so we’ve got to work together now.” Jet said as they walked into the Little Berlin’s gate terminal.
“How much for a ticket to Capella?” He asked one of the employees.
“Fifteen thousand for one person.” The employee answered nicely. “That will bring you to one of the more remote cities in Capella. Going to a capital city will cost you up to thirty or fifty thousand.”
“Ok, what about Matar?”
“That would be the same price. If you’re wondering for the price of going to Earth: that’s going to run you up to the double.”
“Ok then, sound’s like we’re going to Capella.” Jet said to the other three.
“Which city would you prefer to go to?” The employee asked.
“I have no idea of where to go to. Do you have a list, so we can take a look at the options?” We’re going there for the rest of our lives, so a city with good options for a job is a priority.”
“We’ve got Quantum Network consoles over there.” The employee replied and she pointed at the other end of the terminal. “You’re free to take a look.”
“Ok, thanks.” Zhan answered and they left to do some searching.
“By the way. You won’t be allowed to travel while armed. Actually I should be informing the police now but if you report yourselves and hand your guns over to them, you’ll only be fined and I’ll give you that chance now.”
“How much will that run us?” Jet asked. He had to think about this, the government didn’t manage to keep the Sethis gang at bay in three cities without any form of legislation.
Shooting the employee right here would get them in big trouble, so that was no option at all, but it irritated him that they weren’t able to hide their guns. Then again, he should be happy with the fact that illegal gun ownership was only fined if they turned themselves in.
“It depends on what sort of guns you’ve got. The one I think I saw will not be find by more than fifteen hundred credits.”
An hour later, with six thousand credits less and four formal warnings more, they returned to the terminal, after eating some more.
“Let’s go and take a look at those cities.” Jet said and they started to search for remote cities that with a good potential to find a job and a house that wouldn’t cost them too much.
For half an hour, they searched and found some nice and inexpensive places to live. Finding a job was harder though. As successful men in the trade company, that missed the CFO now, they searched for something that had to do with commerce and trade. However, such companies were nowhere to be found in cities with twenty to sixty thousand citizens and even if they found one, it didn’t need a new employee.
“A school here still needs a teacher in economics. That’s a problem solved for me at least. I’ve got a degree on economics and I’m allowed to teach.” Zhan said.
“That solves it for us. I’ll work at a grocery store or something.” Jonas replied while he saw Jet looking at the local gun owners club. “You’ve got anything interesting for yourself?”
“Yes.” Replied Jet. “They’re searching for someone who’s got experience in security. Well, I’ve got experience in sneaking through it, but I think they’ll take me. They let me pass or fail on a test, not my background or curriculum vitae.”
“Then we’ve made up our mind. You’re happy with it Hanna?”
“I would’ve preferred a bigger house.” She joked. “But that problem will be resolved eventually.”
“Exactly.” Jet said and they approached the employee they talked with earlier.
“Three months later, all was going nicely. Without a single word from either the Sethis or Tessalis gangs, Jet, who was actually named John Edward Turing, finally told them what his real life was and how he became a criminal.
He told them all about his criminal life, how the word ‘bakery’ meant assassination and that he had killed more than hundred men in two years. The most dangerous thing he had to do the last months, was approaching people in the club house who were drunk.
John took found his place in the classroom and the last thing he heard about his company was that Jonas told him it went bankrupt three days after they left Rendas. Jonas was a bakery’s courier. This bakery was genuine though, and not some sort of murderer’s guild.” Leython said and he closed the journal.
So he and Marisa stood in Rendas, the former capital city of Tessalis. A place of inexplicable evil. A pit of corruption, murder and theft.
“Quite different from the lives we’re having here, isn’t it?” Marisa said.
“Yes. There’s more about it, we’re only halfway, but let’s have some sleep first. I’m tired.”
“You know, would this be the bed Zhan and Hanna shared?” Marisa asked and she looked at the bed, obviously unused for years but well contained for some reason.
“Don’t know, but it’s ours now.” Leython said.
Happy new year
“I am the writer of this journal, Erik Grinal. I descend directly from Zhan, who fled Tessalis, due to the criminals...” Marisa said. She was reading Leython and, of course, herself the second half of the journal. “...but I returned. Today, I see nothing but a sun in the clear sky, as opposed to the rain that kept me in my command unit yesterday. It is the second of August, 3416. I oversee the removal of the last pirates that live on this planet. They have finally been captured, being the last of the gang that took control over the whole planet about four hundred years ago.”
For sixty years since the boycott, various gangs had waged a brutal war on Tessalis, before one finally emerged victorious. One could think of these gangs as governments of Earth in the twentieth century, fighting the second world war, but without the genocide of unarmed people.
The war did cost millions of lives though. Tessalis had grown much in its first two centuries of peace, but when the government of Earth failed, the government of the planet was taken over by gangsters and pirates, for which Zhan, Hanna, Jonas and John fled.
The Earth Empire wouldn’t even think about saving the planet, rescuing the innocents; they were too busy. Or perhaps they did think about it, but concluded that the people had sided too much with the criminals that took over and no longer cared. Either way, the result was that Tessalis had been ignored for sixty years to begin with. Then eventually, one gang had won that war and turned into some sort of government on its own.
By smuggling, it kept the economy of Tessalis alive, albeit barely. It happened many times. Rebels find support from the majority of the people, overthrow the government but ignore their people’s needs afterwards. Exactly that happened here.
In the four hundred years that passed, it went from bad to worse. At first, the only problem the citizens faced, was neglect. The money made by taxes and smuggling, made the pirate clan rich, but nothing was spent on the maintenance of infrastructure, education or health. In this period, the only place where the government was apparent, was its military and police power. The prospect of violent actions from both army and police kept the people under control easily.
At first, they were too frightened to try anything against the pirate scum. As always however, this seemingly stable government would face such problems eventually.
It didn’t take too long before the first people thought of overthrowing the gang, despite for their fears. Finally after twenty years of control, the first assassination was finally a fact. The tyrants hit back by executing every man, woman and child in the village the assassin came from.
It was meant as a deterrent, so it was announced in the public all across the planet, but instead of frightening the people enough so that they’d calmly do what the gang wanted, they enraged everyone.
Gone were the days of relative peace on a planet ruled by tyrants. Many families managed to escape as soon as some quantum gates fell in the civilians’ hands, but not for long. With brutal tactics employed, the cities that fell worst victims to the riots were burned down, including large parts of Rendas. It, again, killed millions but that finally restored order in favour of the tyrants.
The Earth Empire descended into chaos but my predecessors on Capella felt almost nothing. Perhaps a criminal or two that showed up in their city, but nothing big happened on that planet. They heard about criminals, pirates and even the Tessalis riots every day though.
“There’s a quotation of the news in his journal,” Marisa said, “but it doesn’t make any sense. It’s of the date of 3389.”
“I know you’d expect something closer to the beginning of the fourth millennium but this doesn’t have to mean that it makes no sense. Perhaps he’ll explain what happened before that broadcast, after writing it down.”
“The UEF will attempt to make contact with the planet of Tessalis again.” Marisa said, reading the newscast’s quotation. “As the longest war in human history is causing more casualties on all fronts, the Federation decided to investigate the so-called forgotten planets, which are found mostly on the Aeon front.
A successful mission on Tessalis, which is under control of a tyranny due to criminal gangs that took control in the thirtieth century, will create a tight border allowing a quarantine zone, that was lost in the war, to re-establish.”
That newscast is the reason for me being here. There was no need for attempting to contact Tessalis as we all knew that we had contact with the tyrants anyway, the only problem was taking back control. However, the UEF had made a very sound strategy. Back in those days, war was by far not as violent as it is at the time of my writing. With a couple of ACUs, the Symbionts fled.
The Aeon were harder to contain and so the UEF needed a large portion of its army to support the war on its other front. However, the Illuminate fanatics shared the same goal as the UEF. They too wanted to claim the forgotten planets, especially since converting every human soul on every planet could lead to a fifty per cent increase of the Aeon population at that time.
That they wanted the same as we, was both an advantage as well as a setback. We didn’t have to concentrate on holding the front lines so much as when they would’ve attacked us constantly. On the other hand. Every planet we didn’t get to immediately, was another opportunity for them to be ahead of us.
When Tessalis heard of this, its people sought for a new way to overthrow their government. For more than three hundred and fifty years, they did nothing, probably out of fear for a new massacre that had cost them so many lives.
But this time, new clans were formed. Gangs that trained themselves in particular jobs. Several clans concentrated on smuggling goods for their own cities, so that finally, the citizens could live a fairly normal life. Other clans tried to blackmail or assassinate important officers in the military force, slowing the tyrannical government down in their retribution.
The tyrants tried to hide the news about all of the assassinations but it of course didn’t work. Slowly, the military force crumbled, the police departments became uncontrollable while the citizens became safer and finally left the days of poverty behind them.
But the hardest blow came when one clan managed to break through a quantum gate and made a journey to the core planets. Until that moment, the tyrants had managed to keep the UEF out, but no longer.
The Federation responded to the citizens’ plea for help immediately, sending in several ACUs to deal with their enemies. The first few days were the most successful ones. In the first week, most of the major cities were liberated, but then came the issues of the guerrilla war and the ACU’s limited active range.
Of course, not every UEF commander could be sent to Tessalis, the fronts would crumble if that were to happen, so only a small team was dispatched. The major cities were liberated, but the commanders couldn’t move on to pursue the fleeing pirates. They went into the mountains or hid as honest civilians in the city. Searching for criminals in the mountains was hard, but not impossible as the command unit was virtually indestructible against the small arms that these rebels had.
But a commander could not just blow an entire city to pieces if just a few criminals were hiding there and not a single pirate was stupid enough to publicly stand up against any of those, so the ACUs were rendered useless.
The new UEF’s plan of action was to build a command centre on Tessalis. The command centre would control dozens, if not hundreds of squads that patrolled the city and searched for any criminal still on the loose.
However, it didn’t go very well. The ACUs had everything perfectly under control, or so it seemed, but in fact the UEF force on the planet was infiltrated very soon. The ACU’s warfare was over in several months, but the bombings and assassinations against the UEF continued for years. The result was the twenty-seven years of fighting a guerrilla war.
During the first decade, the UEF didn’t make any progress and if it wasn’t for the citizen’s support to the Federation, we’d never be able to do what we’ve achieved now. It is where I came in, fifteen years ago, with the plan that, at first, no one thought would work.
Not even I thought it’d become reality as I reckoned that the citizens, despite for their hatred to the planet’s rulers over the past four centuries, would resist against my plan.
However, they were all to happy to leave Tessalis. When I proposed it to the commanding officer at that time, colonel Ivarov, he said that he deemed it very unlikely that the civilians would leave this place, but he was ready to give it a try nonetheless.
And so we started our operation. Every family was allowed to leave if it wanted to. Within a day, we had more families on the list than our personnel could handle. Entire Rendas had turned into a ghost town within three weeks. To find out which person was a criminal, we let the people do a simple test with a high tech lie detector. These sorts of polygraphs had improved over the last millennium, especially on the part where paper had been replaced by a computer screen and where the sensors had been improved in their effectiveness.
We can now be sure of one hundred per cent that the subject is speaking the truth when he or she tells us about her life and plans for the future. Its successfulness has been proven in the fifteen years that we had to use it. The number of criminals that we picked out of the population of Tessalis, is not much different from what we had expected.
Rendas was cleared within a month, after ten years of meagre results, but then we had to do the same with every other city. Each major city we tried to clear took more time, as it was infested with more and more pirates.
Eventually though, the job was finally done. It took us twenty-seven years but Tessalis is cleared.
The new problem we face, is increased Aeon activity. The UEF council has opted against colonizing the planet again. The planet lies close to the new quarantine zone, but might get in it because the Aeon slowly push us back.
A new war strategy is coming, but it might be too late for Tessalis, because the Aeons are getting very close. To ensure the safety of our people, the UEF will decide, probably already this year, not to send colonists to this beautiful planet.
I hope that this journal will be read someday, not just because it tells the story of me and my predecessors, but also because it tells the story of a part of this war that might endure for an infinitely. Those who read it, please think carefully about what is more important. Waging war here or infesting this place with pirates and criminals, or establishing a good society so its people can enjoy life on Tessalis, a planet more beautiful than I have ever seen.
“That is the end of this chapter.” Marisa said and she turned the page. Erik Grinal’s story was over, but the journal was not. “The last part goes on about the environment here. A couple of statistics, such as that the seasons are not as noticeable as on Earth or Seraphim Two, a day and a year take as long as on Earth... Etcetera.”
“Nothing we don’t know about.” Leython said. “Let’s go back home.”
“Yes,” Marisa replied. Leython got used to the softness in her voice, but it never bored him. The gentle answers sounded... perfect.
Minutes later, they stepped in Leython’s Cybran ACU and he teleported away from Rendas. The sun was already setting and that meant it was dark at their home.
“It is new year’s eve.” Marisa said, remembering that fact all of a sudden. “Tomorrow will be the first of 3843.”
“You’re right,” Leython replied at the moment they appeared at home, “and I’ve got a surprise for you.”
“What is it?”
“You know the definition of a surprise, don’t you?” Leython asked.
“Yes I know, if you answer my question it is no surprise anymore, but everyone would ask you that question.”
“True, but I’m not answering it.”
Marisa was eager to find out what this surprise was, but she had to wait until midnight and so they played a couple of games of chess. Leython had returned to the Cybran nation twice, for updates on his ACU. He asked for the implementation of a chess game in the ACU’s system and the engineers told him that it was very easy to do by hand, even though it was not intentionally made possible.
When he returned, they searched for the method to do so, in both of the ACUs. After little more than ten minutes of searching, they were ready to play chess on a virtual board. It was easier and faster done than having to build up the whole army in reality.
After just a couple of hours of playing games and talking about everyday subjects, Leython noticed that it was almost midnight.
“Let’s go.” He said and they both stepped out of their ACUs.
“You will surely tell me where you have got this surprise?”
“In my new Corsair plane.”
“Then it cannot be too big, I assume, you cannot fit something very large in that.”
“It is too big, actually, but if you’ve been in the UEF army and used Mavor artilleries, then you know that everything else can’t ever be too big or too much.”
When Leython showed it to Marisa, the first thing that she noticed was that it had an extra seat.
“You want me to step in?” She asked when Leython looked at her, revealing nothing with his sinister smile.
“Of course, otherwise I wouldn’t have asked doctor Brackman to make a plane with an extra seat and some very special missiles.” With those last words, Leython knew he said to much and Marisa’s reaction confirmed that.
“You have got fireworks?” She asked happily.
“Yes I have.” Leython answered and he too stepped in the plane.
Marisa took the most comfortable position possible after Leython had stepped in.
“Looks like Brackman really spent little effort in making a spacious place for a second person.” Leython said as he saw his girlfriends lower legs and bare feet at the sides of his chair.
“It is no problem, although it must seem idiotic for anyone who walks by.” Marisa said.
“Do you expect anyone to pass by right now?” Leython asked sarcastically, turning his head around with a big smile on his face.
The plane was ready to take flight and Leython took off. Marisa never experienced flight before and was amazed by the smoothness of it.
“Incredible. It’s awesome.” She said.
“That’s what I thought when I first really flew this thing, but Brackman has given me something better than just a plane for a couple to use.” Her boyfriend replied.
They waited some minutes, flew smoothly through the air while they watched the seconds tick away. Both knew about the tradition of counting down at the last ten seconds, that even the long time of Aeon influence couldn’t make Marisa’s generation forget.
“Happy new year!” They both said when the clock displayed the midnight time of zero hours. At exactly that moment, Leython fired all missiles away, as Brackman told him that that would give the best result.
“Happy new year, both of you.” Brackman’s recorded voice said.
The missiles made a turn and flew higher and higher.
“How much fuel do those things have?” Marisa asked.
“I have no idea, but I don’t care as long as they give a nice show.” Leython answered as he too turned to ascend.
And they did. The entire sky was illuminated for almost half a minute by the missiles that exploded, one after another.
“Happy new year Marisa.” Leython said, when they stepped in their beds, only ten minutes later.
“Yes, happy new year, Leython.”
Last edited by Plasma_Wolf on 03 Jan, 2010, edited 3 times in total.
25 Oct, 2009
Joined: 08 Sep, 2007
Location: In an RTD!!!
On Earth, it would be the hours for the youth. The seventeen year olds, told to be home at a certain time, not showing up until two hours later. The twenty year old students, who didn’t return before five in the morning, waking up with a hangover at eleven and so having missed their first class, deciding to skip the whole day.
On Seraphim Two, the home planet of the only sentient alien species humans ever encountered, night-time was a time of total silence. The few people that were on the streets, had their night shifts in either a hospital or the Aeon military force.
Selene Elenes was one of them. She was on her way to her job, as member of the Choir. Her piloting privileges had been stripped off after her mission, destroying a Cybran node’s capital city, failed.
Her mission was easy, she was with two others, both who had experience with previous cleansing missions.
However, two Cybran pilots had appeared and blocked their land path. Her superior didn’t order to build any air transports and she didn’t think of it by herself, so that didn’t help them in their job either. By the time they sent tier three units in, the enemy had dug in too much. Their shields were breakable and even one of the Cybran ACUs seemed to be hit sporadically, but it wasn’t of any use.
She realised that, even though they were told to be abominations, the Cybrans smart and cunning. How else could they have survived for so long? The Aeon Illuminate had tried, more than once, to cleanse them completely, but their assault was always stopped quickly.
How smart the Symbionts were, became apparent when they sent their Colossi in.
Three in total, all stopped, all destroyed. She had launched a nuke, but the crafty enemy had taken that out with a bunch of planes that collided with it.
These actions and the following assault that killed her two colleagues and would’ve killed her if she didn’t leave. To her allies, she showed her interest in the Cybrans and wondered if they were more in harmony with themselves and their surroundings, to the disappointment of the Avatar-of-War.
When she openly discussed the matter, Marxon decided to revoke her piloting privileges. Having showed no emotion whatsoever, the Avatar explained why, but Selene sensed that he was furious. His words and stress he put on the matter, clarifying that she’d not return before all of her doubts had left, made apparent that he was very disappointed.
She still had doubts though and therefore she consulted several people. Marisa Gawain would be the first, but she had disappeared. Marxon didn’t tell her explicitly, but she was sure that the Avatar had banished her from the Aeon territory. How she had disappeared, no one told. Of other exiles, she had been able to find their last journey via the quantum network, to a planet in the quarantine zone.
Marisa had just... disappeared. The last official trip away from Seraphim Two was to the planet of her last mission: Sethis. What happened afterwards, remained unknown. The result was, that she missed her best friend now. Well, Marisa was her closest friend, but of course, the would-be princess had closer ones from her time with evaluator Toth.
There were others though, apart from the officials at the military force, where she was advised to go to. The others were candidate-princesses too, as told by Marisa. They weren’t as understanding in The Way as Selene’s closest friend, never mind Rhianne Burke, but nonetheless had a better knowledge than she had and she knew that.
What she also realized, was that the candidate-princesses she spoke to gave her better advice than the officials at the army. She understood that Marxon had the entire army under control, while Toth did everything to keep her power over those she knew.
This subtle competition of control couldn’t be noticed by an outsider, but seeing what both parties had become, Selene was certain that something brew in the Aeon community.
The result of all of her conversations was that she returned to the army, half a year later, with even greater doubts. She returned to Marxon, asking what to do now. She couldn’t, despite for all she tried, understand the reality that she faced.
It was harmony. The Aeon community lacked it.
She fell victim to the contradicting advices she got and now really didn’t know what to do next. She wanted to be helpful to the Aeon Illuminate, no, to humanity, but couldn’t get rid of her doubts.
Marxon therefore decided what to do best with her. That decision brought her this new job.
As a night-time member of the Choir, she was to assist commanders in protecting the Aeon territory.
Lately though, due to Marxon aggressive assaults on both UEF and Cybran zones, protection of the home planets was rarely required. The enemies had their hands full at their own sides of the front.
Yet, so agreed Selene, it was a good idea to defend the home planets, just in case. Still, it would become a quiet night once again.
What to do? What options were left?
Todd almost said out loud as he looked at the enemy forces that slowly but surely took control of the field. He had contacted EarthCom, but it was going to take time before he received reinforcements. The problem was that the more time that passed, the more reinforcements he was going to need.
Of course, he was confident that his superiors would be in time to save the civilians Todd had to protect, but perhaps he had to sacrifice his own life. A plan he’d rather not think of.
All of a sudden, he saw two wake eruptions in the middle of the enemy bases.
“EarthCom? This is captain Todd, what happened in those Aeon bases, did your reinforcements appear in the middle of their forces?”
“No captain.” The EarthCm officer answered. “Two enemy pilots have left the warzone. They transferred their weaponry to their allies though, so there’s nothing useful in it for you. Reinforcements will arrive in two minutes.”
“Those will be the longest minutes in my life. Do me a favour and send me someone good.”
“Commanders Temera and Funky are going to join you. EarthCom out.”
“Well, that’s one positive thing of today.”
The past two hours on Seraphim Two had shown Selene how naive it was not to think about the defences on the Aeon home planets. Two enemy commanders, yet unknown, had been able to arrive on Seraphim Two, close to the capital city. Selene had warned the Avatar-of-War immediately but he was not alarmed.
“We will learn from this, but I do not think that they are here to kill.” Marxon said. “I will have the technicians find out how they managed to break through. At the moment, I unfortunately have more pressing matters, so commander Rhiza will return to our planet, with the assistance of knight Halley.”
Whatever the reason was, Selene had the important job of assisting crusader Rhiza and her knight. They had to stop the two intruders before any civilians were hurt. Selene sighed. This night was not going to be smooth. If Marxon had decided not to attack the UEF just now, hoping to cleanse as many people as possible, then he’d have several ACUs combat-ready on Seraphim Two, at this moment.
“How’s it going Marisa? We’re on schedule and I haven’t seen a single enemy just yet.” Leython said.
“I did not detect a quantum wake eruption, yet. It should be soon though. This is the right time to go for it but still, time will be limited.” Marisa replied.
They had been working for two hours now and it was incredible how lucky they were. Leython knew that whenever the UEF had tried an assault, it always ended in a failure, no matter how hard they had tried. Whenever they attacked, the Aeon commanders were on their heels within fifteen seconds.
This time though, they weren’t. Leython and Marisa had used the best moment that was available. At the moment that a vast group of Aeon commanders left the Illuminate territory, they went to Seraphim Two. In the sudden spikes of energy transfer through the network, due to the ACUs that left the planet for an attack on the UEF, their signatures were barely readable, allowing Marisa and Leython to arrive near the capital city some minutes after noon.
Arriving on planet still gave a wake though, but so did the knights that had just left. Before the Aeon analysts finally realised that two pilots did
make their way to Seraphim Two, about five minutes would have passed. Before an Aeon commander had arrived, five more minutes. Before they found out where Marisa’s and her UEF boyfriend’s bases were, their ACUs had left already, under protection of Stealth.
They had two hours though. Something went wrong on the Illuminate’s side, but neither Leython nor Marisa knew what it was. Not that they’d care. If it was a trap, it’d be too late as they were already on planet. If not, they’d have all of their time to devise a strategy in order to get what they wanted.
Of course, two persons who planned ahead, made a concept of their plans, but that was all they could do as the only information they had, was what Marisa knew of three years ago.
The military headquarters was their goal. Marisa thought she knew a way in, but only to a certain level and that might not be enough. The whole military headquarters could’ve been redesigned as well.
“I found a quantum wake Leython!” Marisa suddenly said. She almost missed it on her screens, but was just in time.
“Time to put our plan to action then. Send all of the forces anywhere.”
Moments later, dozens of transports, hundreds of units moved towards the city.
“How is it possible, how can it be that we have come this far? Why are allowed to go here? Has the avatar trapped us? Are we working exactly as he plans?” Leython asked. The army was capable of devastating the entire city, but...
“Where’s the city, Leython?” Marisa asked him as an answer. The first units had made visual contact with empty shells that had to represent the buildings. They were
doing what Marxon wanted.
“Oh yes, we have been trapped.” Leython said fiercely.
“Are we going back?” The next question sounded.
“No, then he can find out on which planet we live. We’re going to fight against our enemy. That’ll at least slow them down.”
“Perhaps...” Marisa said. “No, that would not work at all.”
“What is it?”
“I thought for a moment about updating my ACU by using our enemy’s ones, but that is not possible. Our ACUs are updated by the use of a general database. No ACU can send such data to another. We can receive weapon blueprints while we are fighting, but only from the Choir members.”
“So since they took your ACU identification out of the database, we still have to continue here and download the data manually.”
“Yes, they remove an identification code as soon as the command unit is lost in combat. I have heard that.”
“If your unit would fall in the wrong hands, it’s already a disaster, having it updated at your enemy’s wishes is even worse.”
Marisa and Leython had been talking about this for months, all possibilities, all options, all scenarios, preparing for everything.
Yet, they didn’t prepare for this one. Being left alone for two hours, then finding out that they weren’t close to their goal at all. However, it was too good to be true, they couldn’t just be allowed to do what they wanted, only fifty kilometres from the capital city.
“Time to retreat, to somewhere. I don’t know exactly how good we can go to a remote place on Seraphim Two and try to sneak in via a better way.” Leython said.
“We simply do not know what Marxon is expecting from us. How long ago did he plan this?” Marisa asked. “We’ve got two good minds versus one good mind that is as experienced as the other two.”
“I know Marisa, but we can’t do much about that. You’re right though when you say we’ve got to anticipate on Marxon’s brilliance. There’s one ‘but’...
“He doesn’t know a single thing about me. He thinks that you failed on Sinivar because of your unwillingness to cleanse people, but –” Leython started, but Marisa cut him off.
“That does not mean he knows nothing about you. You have fought in more battles. He probably analysed all of them and knows what you planned.”
“Ok, good point. There’s something else. You said that we don’t know about Marxon’s plans for us, what he is expecting from us. But we don’t have to know. We will fight our own war. We’ll not listen to his rules, to his laws. His laws don’t make physics. They only make the outcome of the battlefield if he has enough intel about it.”
“Which he has Leython.” Marisa retorted, a bit irritated. “He knows everything about me because I have been in his army. He knows all about you because he has seen you fight. What can we do against that?”
“Play a game of chess.”
“In our battles against each other, we fought against ourselves. Why? Because we know each other almost perfectly and we are much alike, we then deduct our knowledge about one another by analysing every single move. Every single step. Literally.”
Marisa understood now and while they both scrambled all of their units to move away, she spoke once again: “Of course. He did the same thing and based his strategy on that. Every time we base our strategy on each other...” She said.
“We go one step further and device a whole new idea. We come up with a new element in the game.”
“Marxon will do that too though.” Marisa said, realising their adventure might still end right here and now.”
“So we will go two steps further. We will come up with something ancient in our tactics. Something he saw at the beginning of our strategies’ evolution and therefore won’t expect it to happen again.”
“That would not work. He will still prepare for that.”
“Doesn’t mean he can counter it. That’s the difference. You can prepare for everything, but not counter all strategies beforehand. Just like we couldn’t counter the possibility of this scenario, although we have prepared for traps.”
“You are right. Let us see how we can beat Marxon.”
“Well, of course, we can’t do exactly that, but we can show him that we’ll not be beaten by him either.”
Knight Halley and crusader Rhiza had both arrived. Near the capital city that didn’t really exist there, they were briefed by Selene.
“We are searching for two commanders who have slipped through our nets. They are on planet and we expect them to be Leython Dygonn and Marisa Zelda Gawain. They are to be destroyed or forced out of the Aeon territory.”
“Where are they now?” Rhiza asked.
“We lost them from our sensors several minutes ago, when they left by air transport. They have mobile stealth generators and use them in their transports. This means that you will have to find them first. As you know, crusader, you have the full access to our arsenal. I will grant knight Halley full access as well. Good luck. Choir member Elenes out.”
Selene knew that she could be contacted at any time again, if Rhiza and Halley needed assistance, but instead, she decided to contact Marxon again.
“I am sorry to bother you, Avatar-of-War. I know that you need your night of rest as well, but –”
“Do not worry about my rest, Elenes.” Marxon cut her off. “I have anticipated to this and had some sleep in the evening. You must have hailed me for information or assistance. Please come up with it immediately, as I still have my other work to attend to.”
“We lost both of the enemy commanders. They left our fake city’s sensor range and we possibly cannot find them with two commanders.”
“I have not expected them to find out so soon, even though they had two hours.” The Avatar-of-War replied. “I will get several reserves to work. Two will link up with crusader Rhiza and knight Halley. Five more will protect the capital. That still is Dygonn’s and Gawain’s ultimate goal.”
“Understood, Avatar. I will be ready to advice them. Selene out.” The Choir member answered.
The Avatar-of-War gave her one bit of information after another. Why was he doing that? Was he testing her, his military force and himself at the same time? Did he not thrust her, giving away only that what was urgent.
He had not immediately given away that the two enemies were Leython Dygonn and Marisa Gawain, of whom she knew. He had also told her only an hour ago that the city the enemy forces were about to attack, was a fake. It was just now that he informed her about the available resources.
Yet he didn’t lie, nor contradict. He just didn’t show the complete and absolute truth. So that’s how Marxon was able to hide secrets. Selene thought highly of him at first, but not so much longer. Why didn’t he inform her of this situation immediately? Couldn’t he just trust her?
No, of course not. She had contact with people outside. People that he couldn’t trust and therefore he couldn’t trust her either. To gain his trust, for as far as that was possible, Selene thought it was best to do her job as good as possible.
She contacted Rhiza again: “Crusader, how are you faring?”
“I am fine, but there is no sign of the enemy. As you said, they are not nearby anymore.”
“I suspect that they are fleeing from us but still plan to go to Seraphim Two’s capital city. Five knights will be in that area but we would of course like it more if our enemies will not make it there at all. Ever.”
“That is very clear, Choir member.” Rhiza said. She knew what he’d expect from her. With ‘he’ being the Avatar-of-War, obviously. Rhiza doubted if the Choir member herself cared so much. She had heard about Marxon’s reservations of Selene Elenes.
Elenes had not only failed to cleanse a city, but also seemed to admire the abominations that were the Cybrans. Yet she didn’t seem to have learned from the Avatar’s lessons. It didn’t matter though. The only thing that mattered, was how soon the enemies could be vanquished.
“Crusader Rhiza. Crusader?” Rhiza woke up from her thoughts, she realized that it was the Choir member who still spoke to her.
“I will repeat myself, crusader. The Avatar-of-War is certain that the two commanders are Leyton Dygonn and Marisa Gawain. As you know, Gawain is from the Illuminate and it is quite certain that she pilots an Aeon command unit. Marxon wishes to retrieve this ACU, so that means that you must not destroy it if possible. However, we cannot allow either of them to leave the planet. They must be stopped.”
“I understand... Knight Halley, do you copy? We will stop both of them and, preferably, we will not destroy the Aeon command unit.”
“I copy, crusader.” Halley answered.
Three hours later, Marisa and Leython were still undetected. Both of them were still trying to find out where they actually were.
Marisa knew the location of the capital city and they had programmed their gateways to get exactly there, but something prevented them from doing that.
What exactly prevented them from gating exactly where they wanted, was not important. The only thing that mattered was finding out where on the planet they were, so they could make it to the city.
“I know of a way to get in.” Marisa suddenly said. Leython gasped in surprise and of course his girlfriend noticed that.
“Sorry, but I just thought of it. We can use your plane. Both of us get in and then we fly to the capital city, land just outside the military headquarters so we can download the data to update my ACU.”
“Marisa, we still didn’t solve our first problem.” Leython said, mentioning an issue that they had to get rid of since they started working on this crazy plan.
“Oh yes, if we can download the updates now, we will never be able to come even close at a second time and who knows what incredibly powerful weapon the Aeon pilots will receive tomorrow.”
Despite for this problem, that would make them unable to update a second time, Marisa was not worried. She had, in her visions, understood that the war was about to end.
How? She couldn’t answer.
Where? She didn’t know.
Who would be victorious? Again, no answer.
The only thing she knew, was that at the moments where she needed her ACU the most, it would still be fairly up to date and afterwards the war would be over.
“Can you think of a way Marisa? I know that you’re not worried, but it would still be better if your ACU can be assisted even more.”
“Yes. Well, for that we would have to enter my ACU’s identification code in the general database.”
“That means we still have to get to the headquarters and force some administrator there to do it, right?”
“No, Choir members can do that too. They are the staff and not everyone is at the headquarters. I just do not know if we can ensure that they’d not remove the identification code from the database as soon as we have left.”
“Is there anyone we can trust?”
“In there? I know of no one who works there, so I doubt that we would meet anyone friendly.”
“But we can at least let a member enter your ACU’s ID-code so we can have it updated to the software and blueprints of today, right?”
“Yes, a good idea Leython. Infiltrating the Choir would by far not be as hard as infiltrating the headquarters.”
A gray dot appeared on their radar screen, immediately followed by more.
“They found us. I’m going to send in spy planes, Marisa, you’d better prepare every unit for evacuation.”
“Those enemy units are going fast. I think it are all spy planes as well.”
“In that case. I’m preparing the fighters. Consider them destroyed in a minute.”
“You found them, knight Halley?” Rhiza asked.
“Yes, I have. They are probably leaving again. We took three hours to find them after they left, so I would not be surprised if they are moving again.”
“Then we continue hunting them down. We cannot allow them to go near a village.”
“Understood. We are lucky that this is such a remote region on the planet.”
“You should know that you cannot rely on luck, Halley.”
“Leython, we have to land here.” Marisa said.
“I’ve seen it, water, we’re reaching a shoreline.” Leython answered. Their approach to go somewhere blindly in the hope to find a calm place so they could find out where they were, had proven to be a bad idea. They had no choice though, because despite for the three hour advantage they couldn’t scout the vast planet at their leisure. The ACU’s limitations made that the spy planes they had built, couldn’t reach further away than eighty kilometres.
As they landed, Marisa spoke again: “I think I can tell you where we are, but I am not certain.”
“Go ahead and tell me.”
“I think we should go to the south now. If I am right, we should find a small town in two hours. There we can access a console to connect with satellites and then I can show you the exact route to the capital.”
“Good, we should really get to work now, it’s getting dark and that is the perfect moment to get in, upload the ID-code and leave.”
“There is one problem. If I am right, it is about the time of sunrise at the capital now.” Marisa said.
“We are on the wrong side of the planet?” Leython asked, stunned by this new information.
“Marxon has tricked us well. Very well.”Chapter 13
Back home, Selene decided to go to bed immediately after she had her meal. Another member of the Choir had taken over, while Rhiza, Halley and the other knights would be replaced soon as well.
The two enemies were nowhere to be found though, how could this be?
Why did Marxon not call back all pilots to find them? The enemies were a threat to the society on the planet. The longer they ran loose, the more dangerous the situation became. The civilians were bound to know what was happening, especially on the most important planet in the Illuminate territory.
Well, it was not her problem right now, she had done her best and even Marxon had no reservations. Selene was glad she could finally serve the Aeon community with her full conscience, she noticed that she could put more effort in this than the battle she had fought against the Cybrans. Perhaps it was because she was now protecting people, instead of trying to kill them.
The Way, perhaps she was understanding its meaning after all. Cherishing all life, respecting all that lived. She finally understood that relentless killing could not bring one in harmony with anything. That was why they lost the battle about three years ago.
She now knew the reason for her failure, but still didn’t understand the problem that Marxon had. Surely he would understand? And that other question was still left unanswered. Why did the Avatar-of-War allow Dygonn and Gawain to be on the loose for so long?
____________A black night, danger lurked near, but the visitors paid no heed. It was too dangerous. It had to be called off. The risks were too high and the danger could not be averted, as it was lurking in the shadows. The visitors had to leave.
“What is it? We have to go to that town, remember?”
“Yes, but if we enter that place with our ACUs, no matter how gently we do it, we’ll have the Aeon knights on our heels in ten seconds.”
“What do you propose then? The Corsair? I do not know if you noticed, but the people will be alarmed by a Cybran plane’s appearance just like they will be by the ACUs.”
“My plane can come closer while remaining unnoticed. We have to walk for at least a little bit, but since it is getting dark already, we have a good chance of making it into town with the fighter.”
Several minutes later, they surged through the sky. The greatest gambit they ever faced: they had no proper idea where they were, let alone where their enemies were. Leython constantly watched his intelligence screen, which his ACU forwarded for him. For now, nothing went wrong, but they needed some time to find out where they were and which way they had to go.
____________She couldn’t call out for them. They continued down the wrong path. It was a good way to try to make life better, easier, but a trap at the end blocked it. It was to end their existence, end their life so all they worked for was for naught but she couldn’t reach out to them.
Jerod was late. The party had already started, but he was lucky to go at all. His parents were strict and that had almost ruined his plans to go out. It was late in the evening, which was a reason for his parents to tell him to be back in two hours.
It was infuriating to know that all of his friends could stay until the end, but his parents didn’t allow it because they were in such an important position in Aldor’s community, they had to give an even better example than normal adults.
Jerod could live with it though. The two hours he had were going to be good after all. He was not worried.
Until he crossed the road.
Two persons, out of the ten were still outside too, looked directly at him. He immediately knew they wanted to know something. Of course, he would answer politely, as he and anyone else in the Aeon society was taught to do, but he also knew that such conversations could take half an hour and he really didn’t have time for that.
“Good evening, sir, madam.” Jerod said, hoping he could end this matter as soon as possible. The female seemed to understand that, perhaps she heard his pressing tone. It was not important how she knew it, Jerod was just glad with the fact that
she cut to the case immediately:
“Good evening, we are travellers and we are completely lost. We want to go to the capital of Serphim Two, but we do not even have an idea where we are now.”
A bit sidetracked, as he was now more interested in hearing the strangers’ story than he was in dancing with the girls from his class, he spoke again: “It is a bit strange that you would not even know where you are, is it not? Would you not wish find out how to travel before you go?”
This time, the man answered. Jerod could not help but notice that red robes weren’t common in the Aeon community. This was a strange couple to say the least.
“I would not.” He said politely. “I would love to be in for a surprise and that is why we asked, at our home planet, to send us to any gate on Seraphim Two they liked.”
“But the gate is that way.” Jerod said while he pointed somewhere behind him. “You just came from the other side of the town. Surely you would know where you were by now?”
This time, neither of the two answered, revealing no emotion. Not a problem, Jerod thought, he might just as well tell him the name of this town: “This city here is named Aldor.”
“Thank you, can you also give us the direction to the capital? We would like to go without quantum travel.”
“Then you will be in for a long trip. It is exactly to the west, almost on the other side of the planet. How do you plan on going there actually? Surely you cannot go there all by yourself?”
“Even if it takes several years. That is what we have come for. We will make it to the capital by any means.” The man said.
“Ok, good luck then. I hope you have enough information for your journey.”
“We have,” The lady replied kindly, “I hope we have not taken too much of your time.”
“It is no problem. Good luck, be in harmony with nature and then you will make it there without too much trouble.”
“Thank you.” The man said and the two continued along their journey.
So did Jerod, he was almost there. This conversation was more interesting than any other he had before. That couple was strange to say the least but they seemed to be honest in their goal.
____________The darkness clouded their vision and told them of the uncertainty that lay ahead of them. They deemed themselves secure nonetheless, as they thought they had already devised a countermeasure. They were wrong. She had to call for them!
Honest? Not really. Leython and Marisa had something more important on their mind, something that kept them from a honeymoon that could last for more than a year. Nonetheless, they spoke the truth when they said that they’d not travel by a quantum gate. They had a slower method in mind, although not as slow as walking.
“I think that he is out of sight, Leython.” Marisa said after a minute of walking.
“He will be, you noticed that he was in a hurry, didn’t you?”
“Yes, he actually was, whatever the reason is does not matter.”
“I have no idea why, but it was obvious, you could hear it.” Leython said.
“Good, I see that my lessons pay off well.” Marisa replied truthfully. While Leython had shown her his fighting style, she had shared her knowledge about The Way. Leython understood all of it pretty well, while she talked about it, but Marisa didn’t expect otherwise from him as his sword mastery lessons represented part of it.
“Let’s not turn around right here. We’d better take a whole different road back. People might be watching and notice our odd behaviour.” Leython said.
“Yes, the fact that you are wearing crimson coloured robes is not helping much either. It is still better than a piloting suit, but this will still make people look at us.”
“We should have thought about it before.”
“There is nothing we can do about it now, let us just move on.” Marisa concluded.
Continuing down the street, both Marisa and Leython got lost in their own thoughts. They didn’t speak until they returned at the plane. Leython had managed to land it in an alley’s dead end.
“Nothing’s better than vertical landing. It works.”
“It is even darker now. We managed to get in without being noticed. If we are lucky, we will make it to the capital without any other trouble.”
____________Their plan seemed to be working, the dreaded night faded away. Light had returned and allowed them to see how their plan would work. They kept moving but in the shadows, the danger was still present. How could they make such a mistake like this?
Jerod’s evening was brilliant. The party was going along smoothly and the two hours here would be the best that he spent this week. Lost in his thoughts, he didn’t notice that the dance had almost ended. It was only a few seconds later, when his partner woke him up:
“The music has ended. You may let go now.” Lilia said.
“Oh, I am sorry, I am a bit distracted.” Jerod replied kindly. He walked to the nearest window to take a look at the city. He always found the streets’ and houses’ lights look beautiful, as they seemed to be etched in the darkness around it.
“What is that?” Lilia had followed him and seen the same disturbing thing as he did. A plane flew over the city. Barely audible because of the music, although not loud, in the room. However, they both clearly saw the plane’s thrusters.
“It is probably nothing, is it?” Lilia asked, sounding reassured. Surely nothing dangerous, such as Cybrans or UEF commanders, would ever make it here? The thought alone was ridiculous.
Jerod was not so sure though: “Those thrusters are not of Illuminate design. That is no Aeon ship! I will alarm my parents. Even if it is not worth it, it would be careless not to do something.”
Five minutes later, commanders Rhiza and Halley teleported just five kilometres away from Aldor.
“They have been spotted here. The city’s high priestess’ son has seen a plane of Cybran design fly over the town.” Rhiza said, repeating the Avatar’s words. It was a miracle that they were on their enemies’ tails again, so all of a sudden. The last hour had brought nothing, so this worked well on their morale.
So well, that Halley even took the disadvantage of five minutes, which made an eternity in ACU terms, as nothing. “Five minutes is no problem.” She said. “With a couple of spy planes and frequent teleporting, we can find them, I am sure of that.”
“Be careful with that assumption, we have to rebuild our entire economy to make it for a teleportation. We also need something to build our spy planes.” Rhiza answered, hoping that she’d not kill the mood too much. “These five minutes will quickly be more than fifteen.”
“Crusader Rhiza? This is Choir member Liandri. I have more information for you. The person who saw the plane flying, remembers two strangers who asked for directions. We think that they are Dygonn and Gawain. They behaved odd, as they wanted to know which way the capital was.”
“Good,” Rhiza answered. “Ensure that the knights at the capital protect the eastern zone extra well, as our enemies have now left for the west. They are bound to arrive in eighty hours if they go by air transports. We will teleport to locations of which we think they might pass there. They can just as well attempt to teleport, so tell the other knights to be careful.”
____________The person who devised the trap had followed them closely. His first plan did not work but his second certainly would. His victims were not going to notice and by the time they realised the trap they fell for, it was too late. Was there no way of informing them?
“Tell me again, Leython, why are we doing this?” Marisa asked.
“I could just answer you that we’ve got to update your ACU, but you’re asking me why we won’t just teleport towards there, isn’t it?”
“Yes, since Seraphim Two has got an equatorial radius that is five times as large as Earth, we will take five times longer to cross the planet’s surface. I just calculated it and we will take about seventy-five to eighty hours.”
“Ok, let’s find a nice city again, this time we’ll take a proper map of the planet’s surface and search for a proper spot to teleport to, so we only have to travel the last hour by air transports.”
“Good idea.” Leython said, but... “Do you have any idea for where another city is? I mean, we still have to start somewhere.”
“No, I don’t.” Marisa replied. “That means we will have to search for one, which can take as much time as just flying towards the capital just now. We have no choice but to fly.”
“Oh damn.” Leython groaned. “Let’s use spy planes to cover a large area around our ACUs, we might be lucky and find a town where we can get a detailed chart of the planet.”
“No, let us use the final option. Since we consider teleporting, we will already have nothing when we arrive, but they will have lost us completely after they had initially traced us.”
“What are you planning? Connecting to the quantum network?” Leython asked, interested by the new method.
“Yes, I will attempt to contact an Aeon satellite with my ACU. Then we will find the coordinates of our ACUs and of the capital. We will also know where in the city the Choir is situated, so we can fly as soon as we are ready for that.”
“Good idea, we’ll drop here, this spot looks good enough for it. Transfer all of the units to me, I’ll start reclaiming them. Our enemy may not have the slightest clue of us having been here.”
“We cannot remove every trace. As soon as I contact the satellite, we are traced. The Avatar-of-War is bound to know and then they will come for us.” Marisa said.
“Yes, I know, but that’s not a problem if we can remove every physical trace of our presence here.”
“Ok, we can reclaim all of our units, but if we want to teleport out of here, we need some energy.”
“If we place those power generators at a secluded place, we might have several more minutes. Let’s get started right away. We’ll not contact the quantum network before we can teleport to our destination. As soon as we have it, we activate our module right away. Ten seconds later, we’re gone.”
____________They had taken another route but that couldn’t stop the oncoming danger. It was hunting them as the master who set it had expected. Nothing could be done to stop him, it was no use. Was there really no way out?
“Crusader Rhiza, we will be relieved soon.” Knight Halley said. “Shall we make one final attempt to find them?”
“I would like to, but I think that it will be of no use. They can have teleported towards a region close to the capital, but still away from our sensors. This time we are slowed down by our own wish to preserve nature. Of course, I do not regret that, but I would like to find them already.” Rhiza replied, a bit frustrated.
“Perhaps they stopped somewhere.” Halley suggested, unable to think of anything better and not sure of the idea itself.
“For what? They have had a break so that would—oh! I understand.”
“You understand what, Crusader?” Halley asked.
“One of them is piloting an Aeon command unit. Despite for the fact that it’s identification code has been removed from the Choir’s database, it can still access the quantum network by contacting one satellite or another. As soon as contact has been made, the command unit is traceable.” Rhiza answered.
“Are our engineers able to keep contact even if the pilot wants to break? If that is the case then we can find out where they are going and finally defeat them in combat. We have five knights protecting the capital, if not more by now.”
“They are very capable of doing that, I presume. I will contact the Choir and tell them. Continue with the last power generator’s construction, we will have to teleport at a moment’s notice so we can assist our fellow pilots on the field.”
“Are we not going to be relieved soon?”
“I do not worry about our time in the ACU. I can continue for a while and it will not take more than just ‘a while’ to stop our enemies with seven commanders.”
“Crusader Rhiza, you will
be relieved.” The Avatar-of-War interrupted. “Your time on this theatre has ended. We will need you soon for a renewed assault on the UEF. Our last assault failed after you left, also due to the arrival of two veteran UEF commanders. You and knight Halley will have your rest so that you can both fight soon again.”
“Yes, Avatar, I would like to suggest to monitor the satellites well. They will link up with the quantum network to get a definite location of the planet’s capital. If you can ensure that the satellite system will maintain contact even after they have teleported, then we can attack them as soon as possible.”
“It will not be necessary. They will fall into my trap nonetheless.” Marxon disregarded the crusader’s advice, not without being questioned.
“I am sorry Avatar, but how can we be certain that that will work definitively, I suggest to take as many precautions as possible.” Halley said. Rhiza kept her mouth shut though, revealing no approval nor disproval of Halley’s words.
“Knight Halley, thrust me on this one.” The avatar replied, in a mildly pressing tone. “I have it under control. Do not worry about the lives of our citizens, nor about the pilots. I know all about Dygonn and Gawain, they will fall into my trap, no matter how easily discovered.”
Before Halley could say another word, Rhiza replied: “We understand, Avatar, thank you. We will return to the hangar and then we will rest.”
“Your teams are ready for the maintenance of your command units. Rest assured, I will not allow Dygonn and Gawain to come far.”
___________His own force didn’t know what he was up to, how he was going to stop them. It did not matter, he did not need his army. His army would be a ruse, a distraction. They would think they were safe after they had defeated that army but they were wrong.
Marisa and Leython had arrived. More than a hundred kilometres away from their destination, yet they could make the rest of it with their special designed fighter.
“Let’s build a proper base immediately, including the best defences such as SMDs and tier three artillery.”
“That will take three hours at least. Are you sure that will be effective? Perhaps they will be protecting the Choir as well by now.” Marisa said.
“That protection is nothing compared to the danger our ACUs are in when we leave them. We can control mine in the corsair but not yours. This means that we have only one command unit compared to the three they will have to attack us and that is the best scenario. We can also not do as much at the same time in the plane as in an ACU. So we need the proper protection to make it back before either of the units is destroyed, then we can flee, even if we cannot make it to the Choir and enter your ACU’s ID-code.”
“I assume that you are right about that. We will have to reclaim everything though, I mean after we have made it here.”
“You want to preserve the nature, don’t you? We might have little time for that.”
“I don’t think we have a choice. We took our time of building the structures on Tessalis so we would not damage the environment so much, but here we are in a rush. The difference is that we will not return here. We should remove as much of our pollution as possible before we go.”
“Very well, but we must just be sure we can leave through the two quantum gates at a moment’s notice, we need power supply for that and our ACUs will have to stand very near to it.”
“That is no problem. I assume you will build the necessary stealth generators to protect our bases?”
“I can do that, but I think that it is better to have your base build your own stealth generators. If the Aeon knights are going to place their sensors close, they might detect the trouble my buildings are having with your power supply. That will be a bad mark on our records: not hiding the base well because the Cybran stealth generators could not cope with the Aeon power grid.”
“In that case, it is best if you build your own shield generators as well, even though they are not so powerful as mine.”
“I’ll do that.”
Two minutes passed before Marisa spoke again: “A bad mark on our records? What do we need that for?”
“Well I can’t boast on this to my general in the UEF army. She’ll kill me if I make it to Seraphim Two, but get detected because of wrong placement of structures.” Leython answered simply, but unable to hide a smile.
It eventually took them more than three hours but then they were ready to go. Having spotted no enemy forces so far, Marisa grew more suspicious about their mission and Leython couldn’t disagree. It was odd, to say the least, to have encountered no enemy commanders yet. The only moment they saw them, was two hours after they arrived.
“Surely they will be hunting on us?” Marisa asked.
“I’m not sure if they’re even doing their best. As soon as you contacted the satellite, you are traceable, if the satellite network then continues to keep contact with you, you are even detected after you teleported, at least you would be if the satellite network around this planet is designed well.”
“What do you mean?”
“I mean that as soon as the first satellite loses connection because you’ve teleported away, other satellites will search for you. With the current technology, finding a lost ACU back with some signals is easier than eating a pie.”
“I guess you are right, especially since eating a pie can be quite difficult.”
____________They suspected the trap, but moved on as they couldn’t reveal it. Then again, it was a genius plan. Inexplicably evil, but genius nonetheless. Yet still, she couldn’t reach out to them. A clear sky allowed them to see but they were blind to the fact that Death was hidden amongst their tools.
Marisa and Dygonn flew, for the second time now. They couldn’t tell whether they were on their second day of this mission now, but it felt like that since they had waited until far after sunset.
“I hope that this works.” Leython said. They had arrived close to the capital of the planet, but still had to make it in. They were bound to be detected by the city’s sensors, if not by a sensor of one of the enemy knights.
“Fly as low as possible, the vegetation might block their sensors, albeit not much.” Marisa replied. “The feat we have to accomplish here is almost impossible, how can we expect this to work?”
“Well, Marxon doesn’t know about this, that’s how. Are the units about to arrive near their sensors too?” Leython asked.
“Yes, they will surely respond to that threat, but will it be enough? If they see a small gray dot, somewhere, then they will immediately respond to that.”
“We can always turn around. Don’t forget that this plane is mainly built for speed. The missiles aren’t replaced as soon as I fire them and we have little use of our shields but our speed is incredibly high. We may not make it to the Choir, but we have a good chance of getting out of here alive.”
____________They were about to arrive in the heart of the enemy’s citadel .They expected a trap, the trap she had seen all along. Its jaws could close any moment, the more time that passed... But even she, who couldn’t call out to them, did not know how exactly the trap would spring.
Selene’s new shift had started. She was contacted by the Avatar-of-War immediately: “The pilots are currently destroying the enemy forces, but they are now completely occupied by doing so. Crusader Rhiza will return to the battlefield shortly, with knight Halley. Instead of fighting on the UEF front again, they will together search for the enemy bases, destroy them and capture the two ACUs.”
“Ok, have you been monitoring this all along Avatar? I took over from member Shilia but she did not inform me about this strategy.”
“I decided that you should be the first one to hear about this, because you are going to be closely involved with my plans too.”
“How so, Avatar?” Selene asked. Marxon had surely come up with an incredible plan, but Selene immediately realised that her friendship with Marisa could put that in danger. This meant that Marxon would probably not tell the entire story.
“Dygonn and Gawain will come to the Choir’s headquarters, not the military headquarters, to re-enter the Aeon ACU’s identification code. They think that that will let the command unit automatically update as time progresses. You must allow them to do so, but delay them as much as possible so that crusader Rhiza and Knight Halley will be able to find the ACUs and secure them.”
“Letting them in here so they can do what they want, I assume that that is the best way of delaying them?” Selene asked.
“Yes, your job is to find out when they will arrive, so gather all data of the Capital’s sensors and watch the eastern side closely, our knights that are to protect that region have already engaged the enemy forces but Dygonn and Marisa are obviously not with those war machines. No, they seek a backdoor attack.”
“When have they engaged the enemy? How long ago was that?”
“That is a long time, I suspect that they are in the city already? Have our knights not yet been able to deal with the threat?”
“No, they are progressing slowly since I ordered them not to hurry up.” Marxon simply answered.
____________Their target was in sight, but the enemy was gone. The trap was no longer in the vicinity, but the two expected it to happen any moment now. Well prepared, they continued, but they would not have to be worried... Yet. However, when they made it safely out of here, they would fail to notice that the thread was still present. When they thought they had made it, then they would die, as a surprise to both of them.
“Why did you want to wait for so long Marisa?” Asked Leython as they both entered the Choir’s headquarters. They had been in a hotel for more than four hours, after miraculously making it into the capital city without being noticed. They had, again, landed the plane in a secluded spot, without a single streetlight to reveal it.
“Something tells me that I will meet an old friend now, who can help us.” Marisa simply replied.
“That ‘something’ didn’t tell me to be honest.”
“Do not worry, it came from my ability as seer, to unravel the secrets that help me in battle. I also used that to...”
“To do what?”
“Various other things that helped me achieve my goals. I learned to prepare myself for the possible exile. If I had not done that, I would not be as fortunate as I am now.” Said Marisa as they walked into the Choir’s building.
“Good night. I am sorry to have to inform you that the Choir’s headquarter is off limits for civilians, especially during the night.” A choir member said as she approached the two. Leython remembered how Marisa said that she’d find a way to get deeper in the headquarters, but he was not so sure about it. The Choir member was very clear about the regulations.
“My name is Marisa Gawain.” The exiled Illuminate pilot said.
“Something is brewing in the Aeon military. Not noticed by outsiders, but clearly apparent to those who take a closer look. I fell victim to it and instead of a knight, this is what I am nowadays, Marisa.” Replied the unknown Choir member, her voice darkening with every word.
“I have noticed the troubles a long time before you have. What we are doing now, the game we are playing, the odd behaviour of Marxon and his troops, represent it, seemingly as an opposite. In the Illuminate, we may think that he has got everything under control, but he has not. Today, fighting us, he seems to have no control at all, but I know that we are here because he has let us to come.”
“You already know that Marxon is planning all of this, that it is not because of incompetence of our troops or so?”
“Of course I do, this is why you have such a hard time understanding what the way shows you. You are not in harmony because you do not understand the Avatar’s motives, or the Princess’, or mine. You are as much in harmony with everything that happens, as Marxon is with Rhianne Burke.”
Leython got lost completely there. What Marisa didn’t reveal, was that she already knew what was going on. He should have realised all of that nonetheless. Marxon had not allowed them to be here if it was not part of some plan. Leython would have done the same thing, he would have ensured that all went according to his plan too.
What he didn’t understand, was that Marisa took her time to talk with a Choir member about the harmony of them and the Aeon society. Surely that didn’t matter now? All that mattered now, was how soon they could be out of here. Their units were most definitely destroyed after five hours, the knights were about to find their ACUs and then all would be for nothing.
“Then please tell me how I can improve, Marisa. I am desperate, having talked to both priests and military assistants. I have talked to candidate-princesses and crusaders, even to the Avatar-of-War but no one has been able to take my doubts away.”
“That is because you are speaking with two different parties, two opposites who cannot agree. What you should understand, is that to end this war and save humanity from its own downfall, the Aeon have to work as one, not as these two opposites. You need advice from someone who still understands both the military needs as well as the philosophical.
Years ago, Marxon could have made it to the perfect person to consult, but now I am because I understand the connection between The Way and The Infinite War. I will tell you as much as possible in the oncoming ten minutes, while you must allow my ACU to be registered in the Illuminate’s military again. Then not only you, but also I can do good in this war again.”
“You know that I violate Avatar-of-War’s wishes and that he is bound to realise that, do you not?”
“What is better, acting by Marxon’s command, or helping to save humanity from its doom? You know the answer, Selene Elenes.”
Last edited by Plasma_Wolf on 18 Aug, 2010, edited 6 times in total.
25 Oct, 2009
Joined: 08 Sep, 2007
Location: In an RTD!!!
One Step ahead
Thankfully, thought Leython, Marisa rushed on with her explanation while Choir member Elenes accessed the main database.
“As you have found out, the situation is a lot more complicated than anyone could originally think.” Marisa said. “It already goes wrong with the first goal the Illuminate has set out for itself, spreading The Way and cleansing every nonbeliever. Since spreading The Way will not allow us to take over the entire galaxy, Marxon had decided to cleanse everyone. He claims that it will, eventually, save lifes.”
“But he is right about that, is he not?” Selene asked. “If this war continues like this, it will take another thousand years, possibly ten thousand before it is finally over. That will kill more people than currently live in the UEF and Cybran territory. I know it is not right, but...”
“Then why do we not all urge Marxon to seek another way? I ask you, how can we call ourselves follower of The Way if we kill our brothers and sisters? We stray from the path and refuse the alternative.”
“The alternative? Being what?” Selene asked. “The Way is the ultimate goal for all of us.”
“No, that is the worst thing you could think.” Marisa answered. “Have I taught you nothing before I left?”
“Apparently not.” Selene admitted.
“We should respect and cherish every life form in the universe, that means that we must be able to live with people who disagree with us, no matter what is stated otherwise. If people do not agree with The Way, so be it. They will eventually learn, or live without it.”
“But that means those others will never reach enlightenment, we have to help them, do we not?”
“Help them, yes. Force them to follow a path we set out for them? No, absolutely not. If we do not respect their opinion, we do not respect their way of life and therefore we do not respect their life in the first place.”
“You said that our philosophy of The Way and the war must be seen as one, not as two opposing factors. Why?” Selene asked.
“That is to keep the Aeon society united. It is unnoticeable for most of the people, but the spiritual and military wings of our community are not on good terms at the moment and that is to say the least.” Marisa answered, while she looked at Leython.
“I have indeed noticed that the society lacks harmony but most people, including me, cannot tell exactly why. It is why I am so confused.” Selene said. She was almost done with her job.
“I noticed it from the beginning, you must be able to see how Marxon and Toth cannot get along with each other anymore. If Marxon would understand Toth’s and the princess’s goal to achieve peace, while they understand the military needs to accomplish that mission, then the war would have ended a year ago. Then I would still be living in the Aeon community.”
“Then somehow, I am glad that the Illuminate’s politics are not working very well nowadays.” Leython interrupted. “We’ve been able to meet thanks to that.”
“We would have met eventually, Leython. I am sure of it. Just like few people understand the unity that the Aeon need now, very few understand your characteristics. That would eventually lead you to me.” Marisa replied truthfully.
“I can’t disagree with that, but now we have little time to talk about it. Selene, have you completed the registration?”
“Yes I have, but Marisa, I need more help. Do you expect me to be able to fight now? The reason why I am no pilot anymore is because I admired the Cybrans’ tactics when I was ordered to cleanse a city. I wondered if they could be in harmony too and Marxon did not take that lightly. Your explanation does not help me with that.”
“If that is true, you have again not learned anything.” Marisa answered in a disappointed tone. “I cannot help you any further if you forget to respect others by Marxon’s bidding. If you ask me how you must fight, I will tell you that you must not fight for as long as he is the Avatar-of-War.”
“Marisa, we must go now, we’re not done yet.” Leython interrupted, hoping to get her with him.
“I know Leython.”
The dream she had was disturbing, to say the least. Two promising persons were obliterated, two who had a great deal in the future. That nightmare should not become reality.
Rhianne stood up. They were here, on Seraphim Two, she knew it. She felt that she was paralyzed in that all to realistic dream, but now she could walk again. Knowing that she now was able to prevent a disaster from happening, Rhianne pulled on her robes and left her bedroom.
The question was, where would the two be. Unless they would both enter her palace, here in the capital, she stood no chance of contacting them. Or perhaps...
Five minutes later, Rhianne stood in her communications room. It was a dangerous plan, contacting Marxon and asking about the two intruders. Perhaps that would sign their death warrant...
No, of course not, Marxon would no doubt know about them. A careful approach would immediately tell if he was working on that ‘problem’ or not.
Rhianne decided that it would be best if she used her direct line with the Avatar-of-War. The sooner she knew all about the situation, the more she could do.
“Avatar, I have received a rumour about certain... issues. Initially, I thought that your military could handle it, but the rumours are becoming quite strong. I would like to know more about it.”
“Two commanders have slipped through our sensors while we initiated an assault on the UEF front.” Marxon immediately answered her directly, Rhianne found it most disturbing. “At first, I wanted them to be destroyed on this planet, but I quickly learned that one of the commanders uses an Aeon ACU. I suspect that it is Gawain, who suddenly left the Illuminate community, not before taking one of my command units away.”
“What do you plan now?” The princess asked, having noticed the two critical words.
“Because of their behaviour, I soon understood that they meant no harm to the citizens. Therefore I thought of a plan to retrieve my command unit and if possible, take the other ACU as well.”
“What if you do not succeed in claiming both of the units?” Rhianne asked, doing her best in hiding any trace of emotion. She already feared Marxon would go after them and destroy them, which could not be allowed.”
“If that happens, I have my backup plan. They may not be allowed to survive their mission, otherwise they might inform our enemies about the weakness in the quantum network that allows our planet to be attacked without immediate notice.” Marxon answered.
“A backup plan? Inform me about this, Avatar.”
“I have a strategy that does not fail, they do not have a chance of surviving my secondary approach, princess. Do not worry about it, sleep well.” Marxon said and he wanted to close the channel, but Rhianne had another question: “Where are they now? I ask you directly, Avatar, please give me a direct answer.”
“At the moment, they are lost in the capital, but they are not in their ACUs, so rest assured that we will find their units before they return, so we can find them too, but even if they get away, I will be able to stop them.”
“You know my opinion about your usual approaches, Avatar, so I assume that you need no further explanation. Good night.” Rhianne replied, not knowing what was left to ask.
“Good night, princess.” Marxon said, cold as ever. Rhianne realized, again, that he had no intention to show compassion with the two lives that would soon cease to exist. He did not listen to the princess’ objections to his ‘usual approach’.
“Ok, this is it. This is the princess’ palace.” Marisa said. Leython had been flying on her directions, luckily she remembered where the palace was.
“This palace is more than just the princess’ residence. It has been our home for the time Toth searched for a successor to Miranda Burke. I have lived there for a great part of my life.”
“So it’s been your home, right?”
“As much as Tessalis, with you, is now.”
“Ok, so can you now tell me how we are going to find the princess and whether we can disturb her in her sleep?” Leython asked while he searched for a place to land.
“Rhianne and I are good friends, she might not be all to happy with the fact that we disturb her, but she will not hate us for it. In fact, I believe she sees this as an opportunity to show that we can live in harmony with people who do not live in the Aeon community.”
“But I understand The Way and I even live by its rules.”
“Not completely, you eat meat. Then again, I have strayed from the correct path as well because I sometimes join you in eating salmon or something like that, but there are more things that you do not know about yet. Perhaps you will never fully live according to The Way, because of your training on Earth. I teach you The Way, but will never allow you to let your own philosophy be taken over by it, whether you want to know more or not.”
“I wouldn’t want to have to forget Lyndis’ teachings either. She taught me more than just how to handle a sword. On the whole, it may seem familiar with The Way but I cannot help but notice the differences when you explain it to me.” Leython said. He found a place to land in the garden.
“And those differences should be cherished.” Marisa replied.
“Anyway, we’ve got to find the princess. Why did you manage to get me with you on this utterly stupid plan?” Leython asked while they stepped out.
“Well, we do have a habit of doing insane things. My escape from Sinivar Island, your way of taking out our experimental assault bots and then there is this. I do not see how stupid it is, if you take our behaviour as the norm.” Marisa simply answered.
“But why would I want to take our behaviour as the norm? We are not the average people.” Leython said while they walked to the palace.
“That is true.” Marisa said. “It is great to be back here, it brings back good memories.”
“Are there no guards here? I imagine that such an important member of your society should be guarded well.”
“There are and they will be upon us shortly.”
“No. They will not.” A distant voice said. In the darkness, Leython noticed someone walking to them.
Marisa recognized that voice though: “Rhianne, it is good to see you again.”
“I would hope that I could say the same, Marisa. It is not good that you are still here. You should leave immediately. You are in grave danger.” The princess replied.
“We are? Oh, I didn’t know that.” Leython interrupted. “Since when is a portion of the Aeon military hunting me known as a grave danger?”
“The danger does not come from Marxon’s commanders. I have seen a series of visions, telling me that you will survive the battle, but when you think you are safe...” Rhianne couldn’t continue, looking away. Leython therefore finished her sentence: “then the Avatar backstabs us?”
“Yes, it comes down to that.” The princess answered, looking directly at Leython again. “You should leave while you still can. Perhaps you can still be ahead of the trap he sets out for you.”
“I am certain that we are already too late for that, but do not worry Rhianne. I am also certain that we can prevent your visions from becoming reality. I have had my own share of dreams too, princess, none of them involved my or Leython’s death.”
“I am not so sure about it, as I am still afraid that time is very short, we cannot talk about this indefinitely, Marisa.” Rhianne said, turning to the Illuminate pilot.
“You’re right about that, princess, but I’ve got a question though. How did you know we were coming?”
“The Avatar-of-War told me you were ‘lost’ in the city. Marisa, “the princess said, “you know the city all too well and it has not changed much since you have left. You are still here because you have a goal. A goal that I assumed it would involve me or Toth. Who else do you want to visit if you are here? I mean no offence to your history.”
“None taken, but we indeed came for you.” Marisa said. “Could you help us with a small ceremony?”
“At this time? And do you still not think that you should get out of here while you still can. Marxon wishes to take your ACUs from both of you. It would be very bad if he succeeds in taking an UEF ACU, would it not?” Rhianne asked.
“You’ve got a point there, princess. The ACU is Cybran, but your point still stands.” Leython said. “Marisa, we should indeed get out of here as soon as we can. If he takes both command units, we can still make our way out somehow, but all of Brackman’s military inventions will no longer be secret.”
“I do not like to admit it, but you are right. It looks like we have to postpone our marriage then.” Marisa said, unable to hide the trace of disappointment.
“So that is what your ceremony is about?” Rhianne said. “You can wait for that. Wait until you can reach an Aeon settlement somewhere at the borders with the quarantine zone. A priest will be more than happy to help you. As would I, but why did you not go somewhere else first?”
“Oh, we were here already.” Leython said.
“If you could marry Leython and me, then I would have had at least one friend at my marriage.”
“We will find another opportunity Marisa, I am sure of that. The war cannot prevent us. Leython, you would of course have to inform your family and friends in time, do not forget that.”
“If my friends of the academy are still alive. I think they are though.” Leython said and he walked back to his plane. However, Marisa didn’t.
“Marisa, go. Time is of the essence now. What I have seen is not nice. Prevent it so you can at least marry eventually.”
“Yes.” Marisa said, still disappointed by the sudden change of events. “I will go. Be in harmony, Rhianne.”
“You too, Marisa, you too.”
As they, one minute later, took off and flew into the dark, the princess noticed that someone else walking in the garden.
“Good night, princess, I was woken by a guard. He told me that you ordered them to ‘allow so-called intruders’ in.”
“They have left again. I hope they survive Marxon’s plans.”
“If Marxon is hunting them, I fear for their lives. Who were they?”
“I fear for their lives as well. You remember Marisa Gawain? She is one of them.”
“She can become what the Avatar is now. She is as talented in The Way as I am, as you are and as Marxon is. However, she is a danger to us all, again like Marxon. She could have brought us the troubles the Avatar-of-War is bringing with him now. Her ideas about the military is what made me decide against her. She is too violent, what if she had joined forces with the Avatar? Then all of the Aeon community would be committing genocide against the UEF and Cybran Nation now.”
“She had been exiled, Toth, there is –” Rhianne started, but the evaluator cut her off.
“A reason for that, I know that, princess. Perhaps it had been a better choice to give her the powerful position of princess of the Illuminate, but I did not know well how she could handle that power. Apparently, she only seeks to use the military force as a police force, only to support the people, not to oppress the UEF or Cybrans. Otherwise, she would still have been in Marxon’s army.”
“The other intruder was a man, named Leython.” The princess said.
“Did he say where he came from?”
“ The only clues I have are that he has no AI implant, suggesting that he comes from the UEF, but he pilots a Cybran ACU.”
“That is very strange. I will see if I can find something in the public records. Let us go to sleep first.”
Marxon had ordered his forces to take their time destroying the enemy units, as well as he ordered Rhiza and Halley not to rush to their target, when they returned to the field. Gawain and Dygonn were smart pilots, they sent their army somewhere to distract the Aeon military, expecting to lose it soon, but hiding their ACU’s true location.
If he played along, Marxon was certain that the two enemies wouldn’t grow suspicious and return before they had completed their objective at the Choir’s headquarters. That opened the path for his secondary approach. It was all too easy, it only required some attention to his enemies’ characteristics, which he took from the military files that the Aeon intelligence had made.
It meant that this whole operation took more than a day and eight hours of it took place near the capital, but then, Marisa Gawain and Leython Dygonn would not pose a threat to his plans anymore and they were capable of ruining it, despite for the fact that they were only with two and didn’t have a vast army at their command.
“Avatar, crusader Rhiza and knight Halley have found the enemy base, but they have also noticed a plane returning to that base.” Selene Elenes said.
“Can they shoot the plane down? Will their fighters arrive in time to do that?”
“No, I think they will be too late.” Selene said, shocked by Marxon’s plan. “Avatar, do you wish to have them destroyed?”
“Naturally. I care only for their ACUs’ welfare, the pilots are the real threat to our ultimate goal. I thought that you could hold them here for longer, so Rhiza and Halley would be able to take control over the command units. Now that has not happened, so they have to be taken care of in another way. Their lives have come at an end.”
“Gawain has said things to me when she was here. I do not know if—” The Choir member started, but Marxon had expected this and cut her off.
“Gawain is wrong, she is blind. I know that she believes that we can make it to peace without cleansing the UEF and the abominations that the Symbionts are.” Marxon said coldly. “I can assure you, it is not possible.”
“Excuse me for questioning you, Avatar, but Marisa also wondered if we can still live by The Way if it comes down to the cleansing of the other people. She said it is genocide.”
“Allowing the war to continue is genocide as well. The UEF and Cybran Nation will keep fighting us, ultimately destroying more lives, valuable lives of the Illuminate, than we can cleanse now. Do not forget, our cleansing quest affects no one but those who do not recognize The Way, their relentless and careless way of life alone will eventually destroy everything. Cleansing them is closer to a mere sacrifice for a better future, than it is genocide.”
“I hoped that your explanation could take away my doubts, but I am still uncertain.”
“That is why you were not in harmony when you fought against the abominations. That is also why I cannot allow you to fight in an Armored Command Unit anymore. Now, I also see that I am mistaken by thrusting this matter to you, but I am to blame partially in it as well. I allowed such a slow approach, which now means that Gawain and Dygonn will leave the planet.”
Selene did not know what to say. It was proof however, that Marxon wanted nothing but the destruction of everything that stood in between him and his ultimate victory over humanity.
After a short pause, Marxon spoke again: “You will still be a Choir member though, do not fear. I will keep you here, so you can continue to coordinate the planet’s protection. Order Rhiza and Halley to attack the enemy base, destroy everything, but leave the ACUs intact. The quantum gates are a priority. If they press on now, we might be able to keep the enemy command units here and seize them after all. Report to me if Rhiza and Halley have succeeded, but also report if the enemies have managed to get away.”
And on those words, Marxon closed the channel. Selene wanted to feel lucky about the fact that she still was allowed in the Choir, but she couldn’t. Marisa’s and Marxon’s words were complete opposites. She could not disagree with Marisa in any way, but for as far as she knew, Marxon was right. The war had already lasted for over a thousand years, a subtle approach that Marisa wanted was probably impossible.
The princess shared Marisa’s opinion, which was not surprising because they had both lived under the tutelage of the same evaluator. What Marisa had told Selene, was the same as what the princess tried to tell the Aeon community. Yet Marxon had one advantage, the commoners did not understand The Way as well as the high spiritual members, so the rigid and ruthless approach of cleansing the UEF and Cybran Nation found its support easily.
One thing was clear though. The Aeon society was torn in two parts, one that supported the princess, one that supported Marxon. Now Selene had to choose which side she’d join...
“Leython, give me fifteen minutes to sort something out.” Marisa said while she walked to her ACU. Before they left Seraphim Two, she still had some arrangements to make.
“What? We don’t have time for that. Remember that we’ve left this place far too early. Our units are destroyed a long time ago and the spy planes are already flying over our heads.” Leython said. “We’ve got to get out of here now. Before we can even flinch, we can have a Galactic Colossus in our base.”
“You know that that is not true,” Marisa replied while she started climbing up her command unit, “we still have our sensors and your ACU forwarded the images to the Corsair. I must get to work first. You will have all of my resources to rebuild an army that can protect us.”
“Ok, but you’d better hurry up.” Leython said while also he started climbing.
While Leython took place in his seat, Marisa already spoke to him: “My resources will automatically be transferred to you. Do not waste any time and pump out as many units as you can.”
“And you’re saying that I mustn’t waste any time?” Leython asked in an irritated tone. “More spy planes are flying over and you still want to sit here.”
“I will work as hard as I can, but I cannot take this lightly.”
“The first enemy units are entering the radars’ range, my artillery are going to target them, but it won’t be enough. I’m doing my best but I really hope it is enough.”
“Are the outside sensors still online?” Marisa asked without looking up.
“They are, the stealth generators have done their job well and I reckon that those spy planes didn’t get close enough to reveal them.”
“Good, I still think that I do not need more than fifteen minutes, so that still is the time you have to protect me.”
Leython didn’t respond, he was now too busy managing the first units that walked out of his factories. A group of four Loyalists meant nothing if the enemies had taken their time to build a fully fledged tier three army, so he kept his units at bay. He sent his spy planes, of which he also had four, to scout the forces marching towards them.
The enemy thought they had found a weak spot in their base. They indeed attacked at the side with the fewest point defences, which were of Cybran design as well, but it was a trap Marisa and Leython had set up together.
“Marisa, order your engineers to execute their program!”
“I will, one second...” She answered. “...There you are.”
More than thirty Aeon tier three engineers moved forward, towards Leython’s line of turrets. He had ordered his own engineers to assist Marisa’s at all time and so another sixty of Leython’s tier three engineers followed their Aeon counterparts to build Oblivion cannons.
Not much longer, the first thirty cannons stood, followed by four static shield generators. The engineers moved away, colliding with each other as they did so. Their enemy had a choice now: continue the assault and risk losing the majority of their army, or back off and attack via another entrance.
For a large group of Harbingers that was supported by Asylums, thirty Oblivion cannons weren’t that much though and Leython had closely followed the enemy’s force’s footsteps. A new batch of spy planes confirmed what he thought he had seen before. Although the Harbingers were supported by shields and mobile flak, but no experimental assault bot was in sight. This meant that he could use his cloak upgrade.
Having expected the possibility of this enemy move already, sending no Galactic Colossus with the Harbingers, he already walked to his defence line while the new defences were still going to be built. The range upgrade allowed his Microwave Laser to fire at a greater range as well, so if a spy plane suddenly scouted his location, he was closer to Oblivion’s protection.
As usual though, reality didn’t work as he planned. The assault force was sent mindlessly to its doom, with a constantly shrieking air, a couple of overcharged bolts and lots of the Oblivions’ and Cerebus’ fire, the shields went off and the Harbingers were destroyed.
It was a distraction, Leython knew it immediately. No one would allow such a thing to happen and he appeared to be right.
“Yes, what is it now? I am busy for just three minutes, you will have to keep them at bay for some longer.” The Illuminate pilot couldn’t hide her irritated tone.
“Do you know what that is?” Leython asked and he forwarded an image of the thing he saw coming very close to his base. The distraction had allowed that to go unnoticed. “It’s huge, it flies and... It’s huge!”
“I have never seen it before,” Marisa answered, “it is experimental for sure, but it is also very slow. Find out how strong it is and take it down as soon as you can.”
A couple of spy planes flew by and Leython was immediately certain that this thing would not come far: “It’s not so strong, a couple of SAM sites will take it down and we’ve got enough of those. I’ll build air superiority fighters now though, I guess that the first strategic bombers will be here soon.”
“Be careful for that flying saucer too, if it goes down, it will take a lot with it.”
As soon as the enemy experimental weapon came in range, the SAM sites commenced firing. Each missile tore a big hole in its armour, but the unit kept on moving for as long as it could.
“It doesn’t slow down while it’s being damaged, that’s interesting, but it goes down now.”
The unknown and fragile unit dropped like a leaf when the last vital components were destroyed, causing a massive explosion and instantly burning the nearby grass and trees.
“Not worth notifying the Cybrans or the UEF?” Marisa asked.
“Not really, for now, it’s not so strong. It’ll probably take Marxon years to perfect it. Brackman and Clarke are bound to know about this sooner, so we don’t have to worry.”
“I am still busy for the next ten minutes, do not forget.”
“I’m already working on it. My new group of spy planes suggests that I my next job is another group of Harbingers. I’m already moving towards them but our defences give some proper protection too.”
A few minutes later, also this group of units was destroyed. This time, Leython continuously monitored the intelligence screen and he saw that these Harbingers were a distraction as well: two Galactic Colossi slowly walked to purge his base.
“Can’t they send something better?” Leython asked rhetorically. The Colossi were slow and already a target for his three Disruptor Heavy Artillery and Marisa’s Serenities assisted as well. The artilleries’ shelling was accurate enough to soften the enemy armour a bit up.
Three minutes later, they were coming close to the range of several tactical missile launchers he had constructed, but after almost four years, the eye’s weak spot would surely be taken care of. Either way, he could launch several missiles to give it a try and that is what he did.
“The eye’s bug has been dealt with, Marisa, I can’t make the weapon’s core explode by sending several missiles at it. I’ll be all right though. My Loyalists will deal with it.”
The Colossi charged their weapons now, sounding like they wanted to tear the air apart. Their tractor beams pulled the first siege assault bots, causing them to trigger their EMP. Unable to pull any other bots for some seconds, the units used their phason beam instead.
One after another, the Loyalists died. This was about to go wrong, Leython didn’t have enough to take down both weapons. Instead of letting them just stand there and do a frail attempt of shooting the Colossi down, he sent the bots straight towards their doom. When the first bot reached the Colossus’ legs, it self-destructed, causing the enemy units to stop in their tracks.
Now, he could turn the tide again. The Disruptor artillery fired a direct hit, tearing away some more armour, while the missile launchers fired some more of their ammunition and the Loyalists moved around the Colossi, safe from the eyes devastating beams.
The enemy units moved on, coming dangerously close to the base now. The point defences that stood there, assisting in the experimentals’ destruction, were fried in mere seconds. It was no use though. The first enemy unit took three consecutive hits from their respective tier three artilleries and fell to the ground. Ten seconds later, while taking down only some economical buildings, the other was destroyed too.
“It looks like that is all for now.” Leython said. “You’re still working on it?”
“Yes, I am progressing nicely though, I do not expect that it will take longer than fifteen minutes.”
“Avatar, they have escaped.” Selene informed Marxon as soon as possible, just like he wanted.
“Ok, I have asked the knights and crusader Rhiza to work too slow, but your assistance has not gone unnoticed, Elenes. Now that Gawain’s ACU is in the register again, my secondary approach cannot fail.”
Ten minutes later, Marisa and Leython were almost ready for their jump from Sethis to Tessalis. They had taken a detour so that Marxon would hardly see them arrive on their new home planet. The UEF would also be virtually unable to detect something. As they had arrived on Sinivar Island, while they were detectable, no extra pilot could soon arrive close enough to them in order to fight another battle here.
It allowed them to go to Tessalis unnoticed. Only from Sethis itself, from Matar and somewhere in the Cybran regions, they could be traced to their destination. Marxon couldn’t do a thing and Clarke wasn’t interested.
As they, another five minutes later, had arrived on Tessalis, turned their ACUs in the stand-by mode and stepped out of the tall weapons, Marisa spoke again: “I am sorry that I took so long, but I had to work thoroughly, otherwise we could not be sure of our safety.”
“What did you do then? And are we absolutely safe now?” Leython asked while he climbed down.
“Yes, we are completely safe from any sort of trick. What I did? How do I phrase that correctly? I ensured that we were one step ahead of Marxon.” Marisa replied with a smile on her face, also climbing down.
Neither of them could possibly hear the message that the automated voice in the Aeon ACU gave: “Self-destruct sequence initiated.”
Two steps ahead
“Self-destruct sequence completed.”
The result was most satisfying. He had already expected this to happen, as he had planned it all along. It was unfortunate that he could not retrieve his ACU from Marisa Gawain, but now she and her companion were neutralized.
It all started almost four years ago, when Gawain deserted from the Illuminate’s military. He realised how dangerous she was. She had the knowledge about The Way and the military mind to thwart his plans. He immediately sought to destroy her ACU by entering its self-destruction codes.
The only message he got back, was that the sequence had failed. It could only mean one thing. Marisa Gawian had used her technical brilliance in combination with her talents of The Way to alter her command unit’s most elementary preferences, including the self-destruction codes. Having tried all sequences that were remotely connected with the Illuminate pilot’s life, such as the birth dates of her and her parents, the ACU still stood.
Unable to do anything, because he didn’t know where Gawain fled to and he didn’t have the men to find out, Marxon waited. Gawain knew that she had the ability and the wish to return to the battlefield and fight the war in her own way. For her, the problem was that the longer it took, the more outdated her ACU was, because he had succeeded in removing her ACU from the registry and she knew that.
It was not hard to conclude that she would return to the Aeon to try and update her command unit’s software and protocols. When that happened, he would have his trap set.
Three months after Gawain’s desertion, Marxon had finished his plan. Then, it was time to complete the physical needs of it. The city, or more aptly said, the city’s radar signature, had to be developed first. Never before had one wanted to build a fake that only existed on the radar, but wasn’t there when human eyes looked at it.
He could have built a real city, but Gawain had to find out it was a trap when her first plane flew by. If she found out that she was trapped when she walked in the streets, noting the lack of other people, she was bound to return to her ACU, fearing for its safety.
Now, in his actual plan, she realised that she fell into a trap before she even left her command unit. It was to make her think that the real threat came in the form of raw firepower, capable of vaporizing a human being in a single shot. It was imperative that she never contemplated the possibility of someone stealing her unit, she was only allowed to fear its destruction.
Only thinking of that, Gawain would be certain that she was able to evade the commanders hunting for her for the time that she was in her command unit. Determined to succeed, she’d go for the real capital and there she’d leave her ACU, going to the Choir’s headquarters, or the military headquarters, where his own office was situated, search for the means to update her weapons and then leave the planet.
Marxon allowed her to do so, while he would ensure that his Knights didn’t interfere. They were to stay alert and find out when she left her ACU to walk to the city alone. When she did, it was time to come into action:
“Search for her ACU, it is probably in her base she had equipped with stealth generators. When you have found it, seize it.”
[i]That was what he would’ve said, three years ago, he had thought of exactly that line to say to Rhiza. It all went a little bit different, she had a companion. This companion was none other than Leython Dygonn. Supposedly, he perished at Sung Island, the place of the so-called phantom and his devilish work.
But Dygonn survived. He had joined the Cybrans. Marxon recognized his work during the abominations’ defence at the Three-Rivers node. Nothing about the UEF that the Avatar-of-War knew, connected the people of the Federation with The Way, but still, he recognized Dygonn’s behaviour as... ‘familiar’. It was coincidence but became very handy now. It made the commander unique, very unique.
When he sent Felicity Thazin to Tessalis, he did so to kill Dygonn. With the Cybrans’ Artificial Intelligence’s help, although QAI did not know it, Marxon had found out that Gawain went to that planet and it was not hard to realise that Dygonn wanted to go there as well.
If Thazin could defeat Dygonn, Gawain would be alone in her quest, as Marxon initially assumed. Thazin could perhaps seize Gawain’s ACU while she was there, so that this whole trap was unnecessary.
Unfortunately, Thazin perished and now Marxon had to cope with two enemy commanders, one exiled, one turned into a Cybran abomination and if it weren’t enough, he faced a new weapon as well. Tier two stage, by the looks of Thazin’s last images.[i]
It all mattered not, his plan was secure. Two commanders or one, it didn’t make any difference in the effectiveness of his trap. The two of them would certainly come to the capital together, people like Dygonn and Gawain worked together under all circumstances.
The one thing he had to consider though, was their ability to check in on their command units at all time. If the Aeon pilots turned to their targets too fast, the enemies would return to their ACUs and leave, evading the trap. Additionally, they already fell into a trap and knew it, they would surely expect another one and watch their intelligence screen at all times.
Luckily, he could rely on Gawain’s knowledge about The Way. She would realise what was going to happen, but not before she was near her target. It offered him the slow approach that was required to make Dygonn and Gawain think they didn’t have to rush back to their ACUs. When they finally realised their mistake, it was too late.
It was all planned well, except for one thing. The confidence in Choir member Elenes was too much to ask for. She had to delay them more than a few minutes. Before his knights could make up for that mistake, the two enemies returned to their ACUs, although it took them slightly longer than Elenes had expected.
The small delay couldn’t make up for Elenes’ failure though. Gawain and Dygonn returned before Rhiza and her assistant, knight Halley, could adapt and make a proper assault on the enemy base they had finally found.
Still, there was his second plan that couldn’t fail. The reason why he was all too eager to let Gawain reach the Choir’s headquarters and update her ACU again. It had reset all of the elementary preferences she had wisely altered, almost four years ago.
Marxon waited, until he was certain that both Dygonn and Gawain had stepped out of their ACUs, then the Aeon command unit would start its self-destruction sequence. It immediately gave him the advantage that there were no ACU explosions on Seraphim Two, preserving the nature and, more importantly, avoiding any questions entailed to the matter.
The possibility that they had escaped this certain death, was less than zero. It was time to contact the princess. She had been interested in the issue, now it was time to let her know that he, Avatar-of-War Marxon, had managed to end it for the best of the Aeon Illuminate.
“Avatar-of-War, what news do you bring?” Toth asked. She had come for the message that the Illuminate’s military supreme leader had reserved for princess Burke, as she was meditating now.
“Princess Burke informed me last night, she was woken by visions concerning certain intruders.”
“The princess has spoken with me about that. She said that they would be taken care of by your forces and she needed not to worry about her or anyone else’s safety.”
“I am here to report that I have succeeded in my work, both pilots are destroyed.”
“Are you certain?” Toth asked, unable to hide every last trace of shock for Marxon. He noticed it: “Why are you so worried, evaluator Toth? I thought that I brought good news by reporting the death of Gawain and Dygonn?”
“Gawain was one of my students, I am saddened by the fact that it came to this.”
“Will you relay the information to the princess?” Marxon asked. “She contacted me in the night to ask me.”
“I shall do that. Good evening.” Toth said.
“Good night.” The Avatar-of-War said and he closed the channel.
Toth immediately left to inform Rhianne of this tragedy. While she questioned Marisa’s rigid behaviour at first, fearing the possibility that she’d be consumed by the military powers like Jaran Marxon, she was now certain that the girl she had found years and years ago wished nothing but peace in a non-violent way.
“Princess,” The evaluator said, as she walked into her meditation room, “I bring ill news from Marxon.”
“Has he succeeded in his work?” Rhianne asked.
“He claims to have succeeded, yes. This is a tragic event. Marisa Gawain lost. I cannot help but think about the day I chose you as princess instead of her. I still feel like I have insulted her.”
“But how is this possible? They were one step ahead of Marxon, they left the planet, did they not? I have got information from one of the Choir’s members, although indirectly, but it cannot be denied that Leython and Marisa managed to get away alive and that no Aeon knights followed them. We can only conclude that they were one step ahead.”
“Then we also have to conclude that the Avatar-of-War was two steps ahead, princess.”
“This is very sad news,” Rhianne said, her eyes cast down, “ but do not feel guilty of your decision, evaluator Toth. It was based on your best judgement of then, I am certain of that. I will also promise that I will honour Marisa Gawain in my actions that have yet to come.”
“Don’t you find it strange that those Aeon commanders suddenly left and didn’t return?” Josh Funky asked. He and Eric Temera both had, thankfully, a off, therefore Josh had come to visit his old friend he hadn’t seen in several years, until the long battle that started two days ago.
“I don’t know what was going on there, but it’s never happened before.”
“It has happened before, when either we or the Aeon make a breakthrough in the war, the Cybrans hit that party with a swift assault, to break the momentum and re-stabilise the front, although that usually results in the whole Aeon or UEF army hastily retreating and turning back to their own territory, hoping to safe what’s not yet destroyed by the Symbionts.”
“What does that mean, you think? Would those Cybran rebels have made it through with a small force, doing only half of the job they usually do? That’d only take a few experienced commanders with their trainees and then they’ll deal with the threat.” Eric said.
“Possibly, but why didn’t they return a few hours later?” Josh asked. “What took them so long? We’ve been fighting for a day before that battle was finally over, a sudden strike by Cybrans never takes that long for as far as I know.”
“You’ve got a point there. If it took them so long, they didn’t have enough men out there but surely you’d do something about that problem, being their general. If you’ve got enough commanders at the front and you’re suddenly attacked in the middle of your own territory, you’d get there first.”
“Perhaps that Aeon leader in their war council or whatever it is made a mistake.”
“I don’t believe that, all of the Aeon assaults have been successful lately, even though Riley states otherwise, I know better. We’re going to need a proper plan.”
“I can’t help but wonder, if Leython was still here –” Josh started and Eric immediately opened his mouth, but his friend raised his hand to silence him. “— I know how you think about him, but try to get along with those ‘slow’ people for once. You’re going to have to work together with others, whether you like it or not. Did you still not get over it?”
“I guess you’re right, I should work with people who don’t like my way of fighting and believe it or not, but I’ve gotten better at that.” Eric suddenly said, happy that he could bring some good news about his behaviour, even though it wasn’t all that bad in the first place.
“Oh yeah? How? Have you let them do the planning while you do the fighting? Or have you been adapting, trying to properly learn about the intelligence war?”
“Well, you’ve seen me on battle, I’ve done what you wanted me to do and it worked well, I suppose.”
“That’s because I’m the one who mostly thinks of sudden strikes in an enemy base, not of the strategy as a whole. I take a look at the enemy base and then take out the most important stuff moving on to the matter immediately, but people like Leython take some more time to work things out. You know that and you don’t like the latter and prefer the first stile of waging war.”
“So you’re saying that I was willing to listen to your advice because you’re faster but a bit less cautious than Leython or his sort of commanders? The answer to that is no. I don’t have any issues with the slow-paced work of others, as long as we can get the job done together, which we can. The thing I hate about Dygonn is how he always acts like he’s always right.”
“Well, the problem with you is that he always is right, just not fast enough for you.”
“No, my problem with him was that I didn’t respect his way of working, but he also didn’t respect me. I guess I learned from it, I just hope he has as well.”
“Yes, me too. I can understand both of you, it’s just for the best if both of you can understand each other.” Josh said. “I don’t think we’ll ever know though. He left. The last time I saw him was on my battle at Matar, I fought against him, but later on, I think I fought with him on Luthien.”
“Last thing I heard was that he got killed on Sung Island, until you came up with some news.”
“He’s never seen again. I just hope we’ll be able to talk with him again, without guns blazing.”
“I’ll not talk with him until he’s apologized for his behaviour though. But then I’ll apologize for mine.”
“How sweet.” Josh joked.
“Don’t say that!”
They were one step ahead, thanks to a new gadget that Dygonn and Gawain had. It was too bad, for them, that they did not take the Avatar’s brilliance into mind. Marisa was one step ahead of him, but somehow he expected nothing but that from the girl. All he had to do was taking the right countermeasure and that is what he did. He was two steps ahead of himself, which Gawain and Dygonn had paid for.
With their lives.
Last edited by Plasma_Wolf on 30 Jan, 2010, edited 3 times in total.
25 Oct, 2009
Joined: 08 Sep, 2007
Location: In an RTD!!!
Three steps ahead
“So, you said you were one step ahead of him?”
“There is more than just that, we were one step ahead of him, two ahead of ourselves, which means that we were three steps ahead of him.”
“Ok, explain it to me, I love it if it all goes according to plan, but I have to know about it first. That’s what made me so irritated when you urged me to wait for fifteen minutes.”
“When we arrived on Seraphim Two, we quickly learned how this was all a trap, then I realised that Marxon wanted us dead, or our ACUs taken. Possibly both.”
“And yet you still wanted to continue our mission in the same way. It meant we played along with him.”
“No matter what we would do, we would be playing along with his plans. He is smarter than we are.”
“Then why do we still live?”
“As you have already told, you have to outwit yourself sometimes to win, or make it out of there alive. Marxon based his strategy on what he knew about us, so we only had to come up with something he does not know about us, while just not showing that element.”
“I get it, I think. You hid your final action, that had probably saved us, even from me. Then I’d be fighting as I always do, hiding nothing from Marxon. I’d like to know though, how can you explain the fact that your ACU was not moving?”
“Marxon knows that I’d rather use my ACU to assist my economy and my engineering efforts. I do not use it on the battlefield, especially not at such a late moment. Not using the ACU at all meant that I would have to use five tier three engineers to make up for it, or a lot of tier two engineers.”
“Marxon probably didn’t expect us to have any trouble with assault like our enemy put at us just before we left.”
“No, he did not, that is why my lack of any help, except for the Oblivion cannons, was not strange at all.”
“Ok, that’s why he didn’t put more effort into it. Now, he must’ve had a backup plan if we were gone, so all of a sudden.”
“Yes, I think he has, I will take a look at my ACU tomorrow, to see if he did exactly what I, like him, would have done if I ran away from my trap.”
That next morning, Marisa took a look at her ACU even before they had breakfast. When she came back, Leyton waited for her before he started eating.
“Yes, the Avatar-of-War did exactly what I expected from him. He entered my ACU’s self-destruct code, or at least what it was before I altered it again.”
“You lost me there, what did you do.”
“When I first arrived here, I expected that the Avatar-of-War would enter my self-destruct codes so that I would be destroyed, with my ACU. I changed the codes and when I first checked my command unit again, to build this house, then I saw the message that Marxon certainly received as well.”
“What message was that? That the self-destruction sequence had failed?”
“Exactly, I saw it on one of my screens, Marxon should have seen it as well, because any order he gives to my ACU, can be seen, with the result, on his consoles.”
“So he prepared for your return, knowing that you’d not be sitting here just to be exiled.”
“You understand the matter completely. I expected a trap, we found our counter to it but there was just this one backup we had to take care of.”
“How did you do it?”
“The solution is simple, altered the codes, but I also wrote a small script, which would send a message to Marxon, that he thought he was successful.”
“Would he not search the Choir’s database for your ID-code? If he’d find it, he can still remove it manually from the system. And here’s another thing, how can you be certain that the message ‘successful’ doesn’t remove the code from the database again?”
“I will answer the hardest question first.” Marisa said. “The Choir’s database checks in with the ACU at any moment that a remote order is given. This was done to monitor a possible hijack. It stays in touch with the ACU for some minutes after the latest command has been issued. If the database does not register an explosion, then the unit identification code is not removed.”
“Ok and now the easy question. What about Marxon? Surely a genius like him would double-check the result of his actions? Or would he fall victim to his own experience?”
“Yes, he knows that he is so smart and cunning, he knows that his plans cannot fail and as soon as it goes all perfect, he is only more convinced about his own work.”
“But it didn’t go well. He didn’t get a hold on our ACUs.” Leython said.
“He expected that that could happen. He and we all know how smart he is, but he also does not underestimate our smart minds. He knows that we want to be a step ahead of him, that is why he might think that capturing the ACUs does not work, so he comes with his second plan. Two steps ahead, we would never think of it.”
“Ok, that clarifies it, he thinks that his second plan will succeed anyway, so that’s why he wouldn’t be worried.”
“Exactly. His own confidence is his weakness, he is so sure about our death now, that he would never think about double-checking it. For him, it still went well, there still is no one who has beaten him.”
“We should also not think that we have beaten him, to be honest.” Leython suggested. The idea alone was at least dangerous. It would made them overconfident.
“No, we should not be so arrogant. We may have won one game, but it certainly is too dangerous for us to show up near him, he will then triple-check everything and make sure we are done for. We now have won the round because I knew the terrain, which is my own ACU. Next time, he will be in control, that is certain.”
Later, at Seton’s clutch, two commanders fought a more intense one versus one battle than either of them had seen before...
Three Harbingers moved across the field, followed by twenty more. They were too close to each other. One of them could be hit by an overcharge bolt and then those three would be destroyed.
Barely had the thought formed in the Illuminate commander’s mind and the overcharged shot hit the central siege assault bot and instantly destroyed the other two.
Half a second later, a group of thirty spy planes surged over the Harbinger force, that moved towards the place where the bolt had appeared out of nowhere. It instantly detected a signature, carefully protected by a cloaking generator.
The harbingers moved on and the first ones charged their cannons already, but they would be too late as the enemy unit would surely be submerged in the lake by the time that the siege assault bots could deal some proper damage, but the Aeon knight was ahead of that reality already.
Twenty torpedo bombers had followed the spy planes and were ready to drop their payload as soon as the enemy hit the water. With the tier two and tier three aircraft circling over it, the ACU had nowhere to go.
Out of nowhere, a group of enemy strategic bombers suddenly appeared, escorted by a squad of air superiority fighters. The torpedo bombers stood no chance and were shot down in a matter of ten seconds, at best. It took longer before the Harbingers were destroyed, but those bots had become a waste of mass nonetheless.
She had not expected this, not that this air force had come to destroy her assault force. The bombers continued their flight towards the Illuminate knight’s main base, where she did
expect the assault. The enemy had not seen her pre-emptive countermeasure though and moved on anyway.
The bombers came closer and prepared to bomb their payload, but this time they were the ones to be trapped as more than fifty air superiority fighters suddenly appeared in front of them and fired.
The enemy bombing force was decimated before they could do anything. The enemy superiority fighters fought back, but stood no chance either. The Cybran had just wasted as much mass with his assault as she had done with her assassination attempt.
While she had blunted the enemy spearhead, she continued with her standard strategy, before she noticed the cloaked ACU standing behind her own lines. Her navy moved closer to her enemy’s cliffs, destroying his fleet on the way.
The problem was, half of her fleet was gone. While she was distracted by the tier three Cybran air force and gave the single order for her air superiority fighters to attack, another air force made it to her fleet and took fifty per cent of it out of commission, including all of her cruisers. Now, because those torpedo and strategic bombers still lived and was quickly supported by a secret fleet he held back, the Cybran commander was back in the race at the western front!
With the land battle stuck at the battlefield’s bottleneck, the loss of her western fleet and a Cybran ACU behind enemy lines, there was only one positive thing left: her eastern fleet.
The plan had worked. Sending his ACU behind enemy lines had distracted the enemy commander enough to make her send fifty per cent of her torpedo bombers in the hope of destroying his command unit. Even though he didn’t know that the ACU would be useful in that way at first, it was an excellent idea now.
Sending his own air force further allowed him to sneak by with his second group of bombers. It decimated the enemy’s anti-air capabilities in the western sea and now the entire fleet was destroyed.
It all came with a price though. The Illuminate pilot now knew where his ACU was and would certainly send new spy planes soon and find the exact location of the command unit little moments later.
He had to move on again and that left him with two options. He could go back, but the enemy fleet of submarines had spread out over the whole eastern sea. With the spy planes coming soon, it was a bad idea.
The Aeon commander also knew the alternative route by now. With her fleet lost at the western sea, the Cybran ACU would be safe there. The problem via that path was that he had to walk across the land. He needed another distraction, preferably the destruction of all enemy omni sensors, so he could walk in a straight line. It still dangerous, but he had to do it.
While the Cybran moved on, he thought about the good news of the current situation. The land bridge was blocked, he had the western sea under control and was about to destroy the enemy shore’s base. Additionally, the only important enemy zone for now, was occupied by submarines, which could do no harm, while the front was protected by experimental spiderbots.
And there, he was wrong. Two massive plasma bolts suddenly destroyed a Monkeylord’s legs, causing the experimental unit to crash in the grass. She had submersible battleships! Her air superiority fighters had moved towards the shore, blocking the only possible way to destroy those experimental units.
She would have lost her shoreline while he evacuated his ACU, but the Aeon pilot made very clear that she was one step ahead and not planning to let anything go without a price.
Instead of sending all of his remaining air superiority fighters to the place where he needed them, the Cybran commander had spread them out behind enemy lines. It took the Aeon knight a couple of seconds before she understood. They were to take down any spy plane so that the ACU could escape via the western shore.
She already admitted that she had lost that place and her assault on her enemy’s counterpart could not come at a better time. The battle was balanced and would definitely be for the next minutes.
It could be that the Cybran commander used his Air superiority fighters to take down any air transport with engineers, that hoped to reach the enemy shore. It was not necessary though. The Tempest battleships had their own factory and they could not only build the cruisers and destroyers to support themselves, but engineers were an option too.
Now she did not only destroy the enemy base, she could also build one on her own.
But so could the Cybran commander. He had the ability to send engineers in air transports and according to the Aeon tier three omni sensor at the frontline, he was doing that right now.
Both bases were neatly being crushed like a light assault bot under a Colossus’ leg. The battle was balanced very well, but it could all be over soon.
Thinking about a Colossus’ leg, she noticed how her Sacred Assault Bot stood in the enemy’s ACU direct path from the lake to her shore. It was bound to go wrong, because he did not have intel about that unit.
He knew it, a Galactic Colossus blocked his path, so he saw with that single air unit that was left. He had to go around its omni sensor’s range in order to survive. It was doable, but took some precious time he could better spend on a useful action.
Which is what he did. On the other side of the field, he had built tactical missile launchers in the hills so that they could reach the shoreline he just lost. As soon as an engineer would build only one single factory, it would go down.
Additionally, he had his first strategic missile launcher built, which was working on a nuke.
The wreckages at the middle of the battlefield were still intact. All engineers that either the Cybran or the Aeon commander had send towards it, were destroyed. At first, they were taken out of commission by a light assault bot or a tank, but now, some powerful tier two artillery from both parties were covering the land bridge’s valuables. If either of them would win that battle and destroy that front line, it would be over for the other one, since recovering would be hard.
He could have used the mass of that missile silo to strengthen the front line, or an assault, but that was risky as well. What if that assault failed or if the defensive lines were destroyed? No, a nuke would be a much better way to defend that zone.
Meanwhile, the Aeon commander moved her experimental bot forward, apparently she knew that his ACU had circumvented the Colossus’ sensor range. The Cybran command unit was ready to assist the engineers in building a base at the enemy shoreline, but there were no engineers left.
While he had worked on all counter measures that he could think of, to protect his own base and his command unit, the enemy had used tactical missiles and artillery fire to deal with his engineers. Staying here with his ACU was too dangerous, so he had to retreat with that unit and move ahead with his destroyers instead. Their ability of walking shouldn’t be wasted.
While the destroyers hit the shore, it seemed trivial for the Cybran that the Aeon commander would use more tactical missiles. Destroyers were slow as they moved over land and that made them an easy target.
He sent a couple of spy planes, backed up with strategic bombers, to deal with the threat. It didn’t take long before he found the missile launchers and destroyed them, only to see that his enemy had done exactly the same at his side.
The best they could do, was exchanging land to each other. A better result could not be made yet, but it would be over soon. The Galactic Colossus moved towards the front line and it would soon be backed up with a decent force of torpedo bombers to deal with any enemy ships. It could not be stopped and when it had broken the enemy defensive positions, the Colossus would be able to move on.
Even if it were to be destroyed, the reclaimables in the middle of the field would be hers. She had her strategic missile ready to destroy the Colossus’ wreckage if she could not reach that at the location where the behemoth went down. The balance would be broken in her favour. Or perhaps not...
Out of nowhere, a group of strategic bombers appeared and dropped their payload on the giant assault bot. It did not do all too much damage compared to the unit’s massive hull integrity, but if she allowed this to happen, the unit would barely be able to destroy the enemy front line.
The Aeon knight was also notified of a strategic launch, but that did not worry her. All of her bases were protected.
She sent most of her air superiority fighters away from the Tempests, to assist the Colossus. Barely had they left, or the enemy’s complete torpedo bomber armada appeared to take the experimental battleships out. It was a simple manoeuvre, but it was effective. The first battleship’s hull was compromised by more than seventy per cent on the first run.
She now would have had to make the choice between sacrificing the Colossus or the Tempests, if it were not for the cruisers and tier one Shard boats she had built. She expected that her enemy would force her tier three fighters away from the fleet and then attack with his air force, but the pre-emptive countermeasure was ready once again.
One after another, the torpedo bombers fell down like leafs. It was not good enough for the first battleship, which sank on the second run, but the second battleship was completely safe from the enemy threat. She still had the covering fire to keep the opposing shore under control.
The Colossus had, with the subsequent bombing runs and the added firepower of several artilleries, lost fifty per cent of its integrity before the Corona fighters had taken out all of the bombers. Nevertheless, fifty per cent left was enough to destroy the enemy firebase and take control of the land bridge.
Suddenly, the strategic missile arrived at its destination. It exploded directly in front of the Colossus, blasting away another section of armour, instantly setting the land bridge aflame and also destroying all of the wreckages that stood there. A crude method, but effective nonetheless.
She was about to win the battle for the land bridge, that lasted for three hours now, but the enemy commander not only taken her chance of victory but also blown away the reward. Not that he had a chance of winning that area either, but the fact that he kept the battle in balance was annoying to say the very least.
While the Colossus continued, having only a fraction of its armour left, armour that would most certainly be blown away by the artillery, the Illuminate commander saw how the colossus’ very appearance had cast a shadow over the battlefield.
The blinding light of the nuke’s explosion had instantly burned the grass around the ground zero, but the Sacred Assault bot stood in the way in one direction. The grass that did not directly see the explosion, had burned slower and at a lower temperature. It had created a colossus-shaped shadow over the battlefield.
This was not the time to look at shadows though. She needed a new plan of action, a new strategy.
It was another three hours later and the battlefield was completely different. Whereas he was controlling the south first, his ACU now stood in the middle of his main base at the upper north. They had exchanged their positions completely. The last original outposts that were destroyed, were the ones at the front.
It took them both a long time before they finally made it across the entire enemy zone, since they only could advance via the shores. It was their only possible approach back then. Eventually though, they made it through and they could attack the frontline firebases from the back.
It all went with one brilliant tactical manoeuvre after another, several times, they both fought at one side of the battlefield only to make it through at the other side.
The result of this was that they didn’t come any closer to victory. If it was going like this for six hours already, how long would it be before one had won?
Neither of them could call for reinforcements though. The other Cybrans were probably too busy with their own business and didn’t have time to come to such a remote and forgotten place.
As for the Aeon commander, she couldn’t do anything at all. If she contacted the Avatar-of-War, he would immediately know that she wasn’t dead and then he’d come for her personally.
This was no use. Neither of them could finish the battle, they could better call it a draw and quit, before they were continuing this single campaign for weeks. However, friendly asking for a draw was no fun. It had to end with some fireworks.
Hundreds of spy planes suddenly moved in on her newly acquired land. There were too much to be shot down and within a minute, all of her secrets were known facts, including the location of her ACU.
Thanks to her abilities of The Way, she knew that this was wrong, very wrong. She knew it was wrong before the spy planes had even spotted her. There was nothing she could even do about it to survive, but she knew that she could at least take down the Cybran commander.
She ordered the launch of the new strategic missile she had built. By the time that the launcher managed to send the nuke into the air, the Cybran ACU had teleported towards in her own base. His old one.
In an instant, the strategic missile silo exploded on her orders, the explosion rupturing the missile’s shell while it was launched. Half a second later, the payload exploded and took both the Aeon and the Cybran commander out.
“That was a sudden end, were you out of ideas, Leython?” Marisa asked, smiling because she knew what this was about. She had to agree with him. It was already past dinner time.
“I’m hungry.” Leython said, confirming Marisa’s thoughts. “And instead of just asking to stop with this simulation, I decided I wanted to do some final trick.”
“We seem to be quite even if it comes to strategy, something we already knew of course. We both plan ahead quite a lot. You a bit more than me, but I can back the latest developments up, thanks to my talents with The Way. Certain disturbances in my confidence tell me that I should be careful for walking into a trap. With you though, it is too late most of the time.”
“I guess we stand a chance against Marxon after all, if we want to bring him down. We just have to face him when he doesn’t join after his knights have done all of the hard work for him. We must get him when he starts on the battlefield with nothing but his ACU.”
“If I look at our six hour battle, I cannot help but think about that. If the war would come at an uncertain end, an end that all factions can still claim in their advantage, then we must be there and play our part in it. Whatever the end will be, it cannot be good if it is Marxon’s.”
“I am quite certain that we will be able to do something good in the war, soon enough. We’ll surprise everyone. What strategy is better than appearing on the battlefield when everyone thinks you’re dead?” Leython said happily.
“Let us go and eat. I am hungry too.” Marisa said and they climbed out of their ACUs that stood without any damage on the Tessalis soil. Marisa and Leython even took the time to make them stand close to each other, as if they were hugging.
“Awww.” Leython said when he stood on the ground and Marisa walked towards him. “They’re in love.”
“So are their owners.” Marisa said and she kissed Leython.
Last edited by Plasma_Wolf on 04 Feb, 2010, edited 1 time in total.
25 Oct, 2009
Joined: 08 Sep, 2007
Location: In an RTD!!!
I hope that I can fill it up to exactly 20 chapters (last reserve)
BTW, the forum has almost got 40.000 topics now!
25 Oct, 2009
Joined: 03 Nov, 2008
Location: The edge. Of Sydney that is. But the question is, which one?
A fine start.
Keep it up.
My fanfic Brothers In Arms. clicky
If more people read it, I will update it.
25 Oct, 2009
Joined: 04 Jun, 2007
Location: N 29° 24' 53.04" W 90° 17' 50.74"
Excellent start. I'm noticing a few differences in your writing as you get more experience. I'm going to wait a couple of chapters before saying anything about those changes. I want to see if they're becoming a permanent fixture in your writing. I will say this: I'm liking what I'm reading.
OK, nuts & bolts...
“The fortress of Matar houses eight commanders. Seven of them can go anywhere at any time, the other two will stay at their home base to protect it.”
Might want to check your math. Last I checked, seven plus two doesn't equal eight.
Keep up the good work,
In the night, when the wind dies and silence rules, I remember. And they all live again.
26 Oct, 2009
Joined: 08 Sep, 2007
Location: In an RTD!!!
“The fortress of Matar houses eight commanders. Seven of them can go anywhere at any time, the other two will stay at their home base to protect it.”
Might want to check your math. Last I checked, seven plus two doesn't equal eight.
"I reject your reality and substitute my own!"
In all seriousness though. Seven was six before, but I forgot to change the other number
It's fixed now
26 Oct, 2009
Joined: 03 Nov, 2008
Location: The edge. Of Sydney that is. But the question is, which one?
PW, please answer this question honestly. Did you get the idea for the escape plane from the Cybran intro or from my fanfic?
My fanfic Brothers In Arms. clicky
If more people read it, I will update it.
26 Oct, 2009
Joined: 08 Sep, 2007
Location: In an RTD!!!
PW, please answer this question honestly. Did you get the idea for the escape plane from the Cybran intro or from my fanfic?
Neither actually. The cybran intro is what made me think of Brackman's airship. I haven't read your fanfic. Sorry if I'm treading on your road.
BTW: the link in your signature seems broken, it's referring to a non-existent topic.
27 Oct, 2009
Joined: 03 Nov, 2008
Location: The edge. Of Sydney that is. But the question is, which one?
PW, please answer this question honestly. Did you get the idea for the escape plane from the Cybran intro or from my fanfic?
Neither actually. The cybran intro is what made me think of Brackman's airship. I haven't read your fanfic. Sorry if I'm treading on your road.
BTW: the link in your signature seems broken, it's referring to a non-existent topic.
In that case don't worry. But thanks for the head-up about the sig. Should work now.
My fanfic Brothers In Arms. clicky
If more people read it, I will update it.
31 Oct, 2009
Joined: 08 Sep, 2007
Location: In an RTD!!!
Ok, chapter 2 is up, enjoy
31 Oct, 2009
Joined: 03 Nov, 2008
Location: The edge. Of Sydney that is. But the question is, which one?
A very good chapter.
Can't wait for the battle.
My fanfic Brothers In Arms. clicky
If more people read it, I will update it.
31 Oct, 2009
Joined: 04 Jun, 2007
Location: N 29° 24' 53.04" W 90° 17' 50.74"
Good chapter. Looks like it's time to dance.
In the night, when the wind dies and silence rules, I remember. And they all live again.
01 Nov, 2009
Joined: 07 Oct, 2008
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio, USA, North America, Earth, Milky Way Galaxy
This is already interesting, but it looks like it's going to get more so really fast.
£5 says Splatted could beat you in 5 minutes. :p
03 Nov, 2009
Joined: 23 Aug, 2009
Location: Check your ceiling. I may or may not be there.
04 Nov, 2009
Joined: 08 Sep, 2007
Location: In an RTD!!!
Calm down ok?
One chapter per week, that should be fast enough, shouldn't it?
04 Nov, 2009
Joined: 10 Apr, 2007
i must admit that i looooved way too much your stories... in fact i regret what i have done....now that i read all book straight, not to speak fior the delay that has added for delivering my work, but now... i am starving both for dots' and for yours
Dot's your the best!
04 Nov, 2009
Joined: 03 Nov, 2008
Location: The edge. Of Sydney that is. But the question is, which one?
You must of course have patience. Us story writers must take the time to write these stories.
My fanfic Brothers In Arms. clicky
If more people read it, I will update it.
06 Nov, 2009
Joined: 08 Sep, 2007
Location: In an RTD!!!
Chapter 3 is up.
I really have to put a limit to my chapters, if it comes down to the number of words... I dislike two hours of proofreading.
Anyway, enjoy it
BTW, is there a limit to the number of characters you can put in a single post?