- SolZen: Head Admin. Chapter Master of the Dragon Slayers
- Zombiejiger: Admin, Chapter Master of the Vanguards of Ammit
- Akreious: Admin, Chapter Master of the Joker Battalion
- Diana: Chapter Master of the Lunar Sentinels
- Amir: Chapter Master of the Bone Hunters
- C-6: Special Agent of the Editors
- The Sentinel: A sharpshooter/assassin for the Editors
- CBeard: A Captain Editor, close to Admin Status
- Grenburr: A Captain known for taking suicide missions
- Lunar: A female Sentinel
- Lam: Another Sentinel, who serves the role of a medic
- Jak: A Joker, with a nihilistic outlook.
- Ram: A Dragon Slayer, eager to prove himself.
The green flames burned, they burned across the void, burning stars, burning planets. Then he noticed, 'it' had noticed him. From the rubble and ruin it had created it called them, pieces of scrap metal, discarded robot parts, calling them together around the flame to create a metallic skeleton that screamed at him.
"Uh..." said the Editor. He awoke in his capsule, his head throbbing. He slammed his fist into the button on the side of the wall, vapors shot up and down, cleaning his body, before the capsule door opened. Then came the mechanical arms, some holding sprays, others hold parts or armor pieces. The grey metal liquid formed a body suit, and the other arms put on the parts and armor plating of his power armor. Lastly was his cape, to separate him as a captain, from all the others
He walked down the gothic and hallowed halls of the ship, until he made his way to the bridge. Several of his companions, all in the same blue power armor as him, were linking into their terminals. For some it was done via the metallic tubing now connected to their backs, for others it was their eyes as they were operating the turrets from a first person view. Before the captain, a holographic image appeared. It showed simplified images of the surrounding vessel. A blue rectangle representing his ship, surrounded by green, friendly rectangles, to signify the fleet. The asteroids around them were cubes, or clusters of cubes.
"Still no sign of the Vandal fleet...?" asked the captain.
"No sir..." said another soldier. His power armor was the same as everyone else's. "The Dragonlord ships in this sector have not been seen. The other fleets have made the same report."
"No doubt, they are hiding in one of the large asteroids, maybe several. I still don't know why we don't just obliterate this asteroid belt... Oh wait! I do... the 'Sons of Sol'..."
"Take care not to call them that to their faces."
"Oh please, where do you think we got it from? Honestly I don't know how they haven't all burned to death, consider how they brown nose Sol's fiery backside so much... Any orders while I was away...?"
"No sir, we..."
"Sir...!" said an operator "Incoming message from Ultara!"
"Put it on..." said the captain. The holographic map disappeared, in its place was the image of a man in similar knightly power armor sitting in massive chair. However it was different. It was all black, the optics burned a bright red, and an ominous red glow was about his person. Across his shoulders was a cape of fur, with the massive skull of its former canine owner, on his left shoulder, the eyes sockets glowing with the same red glow, his paws on the right, and the rest hanging of the back. He sat with one hand on his blade, a large incendiary blade that glowed a hellish red.
"Ah, you are with the Dragon Slayers I take it..." said the Captains' second-in-command. Without warning, the captain got up and slapped him in the back of the head, before forcing him to kneel before him.
"Oh great and powerful lord Sol..." said the captain "How can I help you today...?"
"Firstly..." said Sol in a deep, growling voice "you can cut the 'merry act', I have enough sycophants as it is..."
"My apologies my lord."
"Then, once you've collected your wits and your pair, you will make for Ultara. There is a task, a mission, for which you are most suited, Captain Grenburr."
"I understand, I will make ready, posthaste."
"See that you do, this mission is of the utmost importance."
"Though I must ask, my fleet...?"
"It will be left in the hands of whoever you chose, understand that the Dragonlords, are no longer your top priority." There was a flash of light from his eyes and the transmission ended. The two got up.
"That was him...?" said the second in command. "I didn't think that he would be so..."
"That is the man..." said Grenburr, falling into his seat "who shattered worlds, broke armies, and burned planets...It seems I have another suicide mission on my hands..."
Madness, he could feel it literally in the air, in the walls, madness. C-6 barely remembered how he got on this wreck. It was a twisted menagerie of scrap metal, held together in the basic shape of a space ship, by twisted infernal powers, seen in the green bolts of electricity and ribbons of energy that occasionally arced about the rust covered surfaces. There was no air tight room, no place to take of his helmet and smell the free air. His suit would only filter out his waste for so long before he had to worry about blood poisoning.
The others however, were not so lucky. The madness had seeped into their minds. It drove them made, twisted their perspectives. His brother-in-arms turned on each other, first slowly, and when the taint could no longer be ignored, a small civil war erupted. That was how he came to sit among his fallen comrades. He had been scavenging the needed replacements from their dead husks, spare ammunition from their holders and guns, and he kept to that area for long as he could, to protect them from desecration for however long he could.
He kept his mind busy forming the battle plans he used as he searched the unholy wreck. He always kept check of his mind, searching for thoughts that weren't his own, however small.
The biggest threat wasn't simply his former brothers, now traitors, it was also the natural inhabitants of the ship. Those, he snuck around, he decided it would be best to get as much info he could before he struck. They rarely spoke his tongue unless conversing with the traitors, who had taken to painting their armor with green stripes and attaching pieces of scrap metal, even their optics had turned green. He could only wonder how their suits still functioned after so long as he watched from the shadows.
Finally he thought himself ready. He had planted bombs, plasma mines he had set to a timer, all over the ship, in places he thought important. Then he pressed the button. To his surprise, the entire ship didn't explode. He was unsure if it was the energy field, the difference in technology, or simply if he had misunderstood things about the vessel. It didn't matter, the whole crew was up in arms.
He took this time to come out of hiding, opening fire on any, and whoever he could. He thought perhaps he had gone mad, but he decided he still had his honor. That was until something, someone struck him in the back of the head.
It was the sound of his own armor, scrapping against the floor that awoke him. His hands were bound and he was being carried by someone in power armor, carrying a sniper rifle. It was different from his, the curves lacked the bulk, and snugged much closer to the human form than his or any other Editor's. There were numbers and words all over his armor, and the helmet formed a slop forward into a small visor. The entire set up was blue with some purple added.
"You may go..." said a deep and frightening voice. The figure dropped him, turned and left through the large doors that closed behind him. C-6 finally looked around. The room was massive, semicircular in shape but dark, except for the light of the white star that shined outside the tall windows. Setting atop a short flight of stairs, was Sol, his red glow making him stand out, even with the bright light behind him. "Do you know why you are here...?" C-6 stood up.
"Let me guess, you wanted to execute a traitor yourself for once...?" he said with a mocking tone. Sol's eyes glowed brighter, and C-6 found himself on his knee, then the ground as an unseen but great pressure was upon his body, until the glow of Sol's optics dimmed.
"I know you are no traitor, I can sense it, though there is some corruption, that can be fixed. It 'will' be fixed..."
"It won't be pleasant will it..."
"Do you know what we face...?"
"That is why you are here, all others of that system, they have died or turned traitor, you are the only one we know off, from behind enemy lines, who has returned, to however the degree...sane."
"It's the energy..." Sol was silent "That green energy that holds their ships together, holds 'them' together. It gets...it gets in your mind, turns you mad, especially when you aren't aware of it. It...it is madness given form."
"The enemy demands we all submit, or be labelled 'Xenos', their word for 'heretics'. These Vandals are not like the Dragonlords, striking and hiding, nor the other numerous warbands that plagued us over the ages. Somehow, it has corrupted the specium within you, turning it into their energy, causing...mutations."
"Send me back..." Sol was silent "You need eyes and ears among them, send me back and I will spy on them. In their madness they lost their intelligence, they are easily fooled, I could be a spy. Just give me enough Bleach to last an epoch and I will..."
"Why are you so keen to return...?"
"I could stay on this side, and shoot and shoot. I tried to destroy one of them, a plasma bomb to the engines, it didn't work. We don't know enough about them, and knowing your enemy is the first rule of war!" Sol was silent "Send me back, I have to finish this, them and you need to know. Call me crazy, but my gut tells me your...'Sentinel' back there doesn't make a good spy..."
It was the same room C-6 was in, but now the furniture had changed. Sol sat where he was, holding his great sword to his side. Now, however, he sat at a large table, he sat on a metal chair, with a large pointed back, and thick arms. He was one of several who sat there, all in their armor, with Sol in the middle.
Everyone there wore armor, but unlike normal Editor armor, it was customized to their preference, as was their rights as Admins, the heads of their order, their government. To Sol's left was Akreious and Amir. Akrieous was in purple and black. His shoulder armor sported the laughing faces of monsters, his helmet had twin horns and the symbol on his chest was a grinning mouth with a tongue pointing down. The most disturbing part of his appearance was the grin painted on his helmet, with some luminous substance, glowing the same color as his left optic, while the other seemed to be turned off. Amir, beside him was all white except for the black skulls on his chest and shoulders and his helmet resembled a human skull.
On the other side were Zombiejiger and Diana. Jiger, wore sand green and copper armor, with spikes on his shoulder armor and blade on the sides of his forearms. On his shoulders were two cannons, or least they were. Only Sol was allowed a weapon in here. On one side of his chest, were Egyptian Hieroglyphs and on the other, the symbol of a strange chimeric beast, called 'the devour of souls'.
Diana, she wore white with blue rims. The armor she wore was like the others, and gave no hints to her gender. There were spikes on her shoulders, and an eye symbol on her chest.
They were arguing, so much so that they didn't hear the sound of the doors opening and closing or CB walking towards them, a captain, given his cape. Still he knelt.
Sol had sat there, his optics off, and his glow absent, he seemed almost like a statue, for he did not move, not even when Zombie shot lightning into the air, when Diana slammed her fist in her chair, generating a pulse of energy, not even when Akreious pulled a scythe out of nowhere and they waited for a response, he did nothing but let them argue. Then his optics glowed again, his glow appeared and he spoke.
"Welcome CBeard..." The other admins stopped their bickering to turn and look at CBeard who was knelling on the floor.
"He..." said Diana "is powerful..."
"He had better..." said Amir "I have heard he is likely to join us at this table..."
"Can he do that...?" asked Zombie "With so meek a spirit...?"
"Do you know why you are here...?" asked Sol
"You called..." said CBeard "And I answered. I await your orders."
"There is another Captain, Grenburr. You will board his ship...and take your orders from him..."
"Sir...?" The other admins looked at him, clearly they did not agree with him, but still they went along with it.
"He will be your commanding officer for the mission, a mission with a high risk to it.You may go..." CBeard nodded and left.
"Is that wise...?" asked Akreious
"Yes..." said Amir "for once I agree with the scoundrel."
"Truly these are the end times..." said Diana in jest.
"CBeard..." said Zombie "He is more powerful than Grenburr..."
"This is not about power..." said Sol "Yes, CBeard is powerful...but he has never faced a suicide mission, few have...and lived."
"Still..." said Amir "I do not think it wise to use so valuable as asset like this..."
"How would you use him, keep him in the rear, let the pawns go first? We use his talents or he is useless, but for now his talents are best served under Grenburr's command."
"If this succeeds...?" asked Diana "will this mean the end of the scourge...?"
"No, no I do not think so, but it will be a start."
An Admin's Fist Class warship, was always a sight to behold. Few people outside of the Admins would ever command these behemoths as they rivaled even the most massive of the enemy's quasi-ships. Some said you could fit a small colony in these vessels. So CBeard could only ponder why someone like Grenburr had been put in charge of it. From the shuttle's cockpit, he could spy the vessel, blasting asteroids that got too close and mining the resources. These things were so big they had on board refineries.
The ship was shaped like an ancient trireme of Greece, but a space ship version, made massive to the point the fortress slapped on its back could fit. The engine pods on the side, sported small array of weapons and turrets lined the length of the front part, were dotted around the fortress and the tower underneath. The face of the ship, the front, designed for ramming, sported retractable cannons on its face. On the sides were massive cannons, designed as part of the walls, turrets with limits mobility that could fire bullets the side of fighter crafts or more, as a percentage that of the speed of light. On its back were massive engines, made to move a space colony's worth of metal in record speeds. How it stopped was something only the Admins or the tech specialists knew. What he did know, was that an anti-reactor ran along the inside of a good portion of the ship. Enough energy to power the weapons, the Nuclear Engines, the shields and then some.
These things were expensive to build, and expensive to field, and their job was simple, bring devastation, the likes of which were relegated to myth and legends long gone. 'So why was it in the hands of a man known for suicide runs', thought CBeard.
In the docking bay, his shuttle flew past the atmospheric shield into a hangar of white metal panels and numerous individuals. Rather quickly a servant came to him to show him the way.
The menagerie of Editors was...unique. There was Grenburr, an unaligned captain in blue commanding a force composed of members from different Chapters. Beside him were several 'Sons of Sol', the Dragon Slayers, with their incendiary blades and X-Pyr Flamethrowers, ready in purge the enemy in holy fire. A few members of the Vanguard of Ammit with heavy weapons stood ready to unleash unspoken devastation on their enemy. They bore the same colors as their leader Zombie. Diana's will was represented, they stood there was staffs, crackling with arcane power. One of them was clearly a girl, as announced by her skirt...which was strangely...colorful. One of Amir's Bone Hunters was there in white and black and flanked by several normal Editors in blue. Even one of Akreious' Joker Battalion was there with Scythes. He leaned on the wall bored.
"Glad you could make it..." said Grenburr. He was leaning on the holographic projector table in the chrome room. It was one of several projectors all around them, that created three dimensional images of various worlds, space sectors and star maps.
"Quite the gathering you have here..." he replied "I assume all of this is not for a get-together..."
"No..." Grenburr stood up "We have a mission of the utmost importance, a chance to deal a serious blow to the enemy."
"What does that mean...?"
"It means, we have a chance, if we succeed, to find the enemy's headquarters."
"Okay...that is important. How is this going down...?" Grenburr fiddled with the holograms and they changed to show a star map.
"Our target is on this Dao Star, now headed for an attack on one of our distant fortresses."
"When have they ever made sense...?"
"A fair point..."
"We are going to be attacked by them..."
"You heard me, we shall be lying in wait for them to attack us and recover the operative, and then destroy it..."
"Why not attack them first...?"
"We need to secure the operative. When that is done, backup will arrive and finish the target."
"Pray tell, who is that we're trying to find...?"
"...Excuse me...?" said Cbeard with an unhappy tone.
"The word from on high, any and all information is to be given only when needed, hence why all of you had to come here to get the briefing instead of a video call. This information is considered above top secret. It is so top secret that the revealing of the operative's identity at anytime that is not mission relevant...is punishable by death..."
"You can't be serious..."
"Sol is always serious...!" shouted one of the Dragon Slayers.
"I should've known..." said Cbeard.
"What does that mean...?"
"It means your boss treats everyone like board pieces!"
"You dare...!" Before they could act Grenburr slammed the Dragon Slayer's head onto the table.
"There will be NO in-fighting on my ship! If you wish to crack each other's skulls, do it when we get home!" Everyone was silent. "Good, now go and prepare, the operation begins in four hours...!"
"FOUR HOURS!" said CBeard.
"Did I stutter?" asked Grenburr annoyed.
"We just got here, and the operation is already..." Gren pointed at him, silencing him.
"This mission is of the utmost importance, for that reason the most secure form of communication was used...'being in person'. That does not change the fact that time is off the essence. I apologize if it's an inconvenience but those are our orders and I'm stuck with them, the same as you. Now get, all of you...!" Like that he left room.
"This is madness..." said CBeard "Why is an operation this important, a ship this expensive...given to a madman...!?"
"Because..." said the Dragon Slayer, now getting up "Grenburr is known for surviving suicide missions. The tactics needed for mission, to keep the secrecy... Most captains could not do it, would not think to do it in a way that doesn't raise suspicion in the enemy."
"They are unthinking drones...!"
"No..." said the Joker member "They scream like anyone else, they may have a hive-mind, but they think."
"They once routed one of our teams on Kimura..." said a Bone Hunter "We need to end this...and go back to slaughtering Dragon Lords."
"You sound like cowards..."
"We sound..." said the Lunar Sentinel "Like people who can see it..."
"The cost of attrition with this enemy. Sol sees it, as to the Admins, we cannot afford to let this continue any longer, we need to end this..."
"Take care to whom you speak, woman..."
"I know who I speak to, I also know what's at stake..." Like that, one by one, the left, following her. CBeard simply grunted.
Space warped, a green energy field bubbled out of the void, spreading and growing until, it burst opened, vomiting out the ship into the system. It was less a ship, and more an ungainly mass of parts of other ships, haphazardly welded together, bolted on, and forced to stay together by a green energy field, which arc in and out of parts.
It exited into the system, its target in the distance, a fairly large but rather secluded battle station, far from the core worlds. It resembled a pyramid with a four point star shaped harness placed upon on it, all large enough to hold several ships in docks.
However, a more tantalizing target was on the way. A ship, an Editor ship, larger than any they had seen before, was between them and the station, drifting on its side and its power out. There were not signs of battle damage, or anything to explain why it was there, but that was not something they would care about. All it saw was a target, a victim, a mass of metal to add to its own and it would never have let such an opportunity go.
Its engines fire up, entire frigates and corvettes converted into rocket engines to push it forward at high speed. It utterly failed to notice the signal sent out, or the reply which came from its own ship.
"Sir, we have a response...!" said one of the operators."
"Turn on the shields, fire up the engines, target their front and all weapon points away from the beacon and fire the boarding pods around the beacon." replied Grenburr
"Sir...!" shouted the crew. The ship did just that. A field of blue energy surrounded it, its engines turned on and its broad side faced the Dao Star, unleashing torpedoes, large, dense plasma bolts enhanced with charges of hyper matter and lasers. With that barrage done, and the ship properly damaged, it moved out of the way and fired a few bullet like vessels into Dao Star as it passed by.
These transports, surrounded by shields of their own, flew at high speeds and buried themselves into the top part of the Dao Star. The scourge, despite stealing the infrastructure of others, despite being a mechanical menace, was driven by an intelligence...not altogether that bright...and as such, did not have shields, it simple made thicker armor and tried to outgun everything. Now its weapons had been destroyed, and though they were trying to be regenerated from surrounding mass, they were now weak points in the hull for the boarding shuttles to puncture.
Inside the the Dao Star, the innards of the vessel were various pipes, haphazardly covered in pieces of metal panels, all of them partially rusting, and connected by the sickly green energy of the scourge. This energy was so present, its green glow was what was used instead of normal lights.
Around the fronts of the boarding shuttles, they gathered, or more accurately for most of them, rose up. Some came, and some were haphazardly brought together from pieces of piping and metal panels, monstrous metallic marionettes animated by chaotic green energies, avatars of madness and rust.
As idiotic as they tended to be, even they knew when an enemy was plainly in front of them. However, they did not know, or remember, when not to get too close. From the shuttles came pulses of energy that ripped the animating spellwork out of their bodies, and left the area darkened and the creatures piles of scrap. This was when the bullet tip fronts of the shuttles split open in directions of four, and the teams boarded. Each of them was accompanied by a Lunar Sentinel holding a white staff in hand tipped with a crystal whose silvery glow, fought back the sickly green of their enemies.
Of the groups CBeard's was filled up with one Dragon Slayer, a Vanguard, a Bone Hunter, the female Lunar Sentinel and the Battalion member, whose scythes crackled with energy. The Vanguard was armed with a heavy repeater, while the Bone Hunter was clearly armed for demolitions and the Grenburr sported a pistol and a great sword, around which was wrapped silvery energy and power. With them were three unaligned editors. They exited their craft taking position for attacks in any direction.
"Where is he...?" barked CBeard over the com-system.
"His beacon is nearby." Said a normal editor holding a device clearly meant to track the signal. The team moved, more than likely converging on the same position as the other teams, and taking down enemies along the way. The numerous genericons would lunge at them, attacking like animals and one occasionally having the sense to use its gun arm to shoot back. Even so, the Dragon Slayer's Plasma Beam melted them to slag, their Vanguard's heavy guns shredded, the Bone Hunter blasted them with a disruptor bomb shooter and the Lunar Sentinel smote them at a distance with lightning bolts. CBeard simply swung his sword, releasing waves of purifying web energy that reduced them to parts and would also damage distant parts of the ship.
Little seemed capable of standing in their way, until they heard it over the com-system.
"Traitors, traitors are on board! MERCIFUL FOUNDER WHAT IS-" The message was cut off. Yet they knew to prepare for the worst now. The threat of the scourge was not simply invasion, it was corruption, especially for the Editors. Their implants used a special substance, considered mystical, holy in nature, yet while it could and would resist the foul energies of the scourge, it could still succumb to it. When an Editor fell, what remained was an Otaku Marine, a hybrid of Editor and Scourgling, growing closer and closer to the enemy as time progressed and sanity grew further and further away.
"We move...!" shouted CBeard, not wanting the feeling of fear to set in. Fear was how the whispers got in, and then the corruption the heresy. 'Keep them moving, keep them fighting', make sure they stayed focused on who their enemy was. In a torrent of sword swings, magical missiles, energy bombs, plasma beams and slug rounds, they fought their way to the beacon.
Unfortunately that lead them right to it. The room was filled with the bodies of their comrades and traitors alike. Only the Battalion member was left, the others were beaten, broken, bleeding, crushed and simply dead. The perpetrator of the attack was in the middle of the room, fighting the Joker member.
The upper body was a brick, its legs were short columns of metal, its arms were thick and monstrous. Its entire body was rusty armor plating, numerous makeshift servo mechanics serving as limbs, and flesh, intertwined and fused together as it stretched all from the distorted face that was in the middle of its chest, it was what they had feared, a Horror Block.
This thing dwarfed all of them, which was impressive since they were all taller than normal people, like basketball players with the builds of bodybuilders, and yet they felt...petite. One arm was purely mechanical, the other was robotic, with tendrils and tentacles of fleshed mixed in and wrapping around the servos and wiring. Its armor plating, was more uniform than the other scurglings, because it was all compressed together, and partially fused together with the flesh, it was dense. The man, or woman, who was once an Editor, simply screamed, their mouth and eyes glowed the sickly green of the scourge's unholy link.
Seeing them, the claws of its mechanical arm spun around, its hand remaining connected by a single joint. A circle of energy formed as the claws spun as the hand spun, condensing the unholy energy into a sacrilegious mass of cancerous energy. When it stopped it threw a sphere of scourge energy, which CBeard countered with a wave of energy via an upward swipe of his blade.
"Scatter...!" shouted CBeard. Everyone took his advise, and separated as to not be one large target for it. The confused abomination looked around confused, uncertain who to target, before fixing its sights on CBeard who was charging and swung his sword. The beast caught in its claws and punched him with his other hand, sending him flying into the wall.
CBeard was left dazed as the beast raised his sword and tried to crush it, only to be struck with pain from the purifying energies the sword commanded. It was now the Lunar Sentinel had finished her chanting/charging and with her staff, unleashed a wave of energy, energy meant to diffuse and banish the wicked energies of the scourge. This left it dazed, its armor brittle, and a perfect time for the Vanguard, the Son of Sol and the Bone Hunter, to unleash their heavy weapons upon it. The Bone Hunter's energy grenade blew off chunks of its thick armor, the Dragon Slayer aimed his plasma beam at the right hip and leg of the beast, causing its to loose balance, and the Vanguard's heavy rifle, shot slug, after slug into its face, reducing it to a menagerie of holes blown into flesh and an eyeball hanging from a stalk. Yet, this not enough, as its leg gave way and it fell, it was still alive. So the joker jumped, and flipped and buried the tips of his scythes into its face. Their energy effect caused what remained to explode...and yet it wasn't dead.
It arm came for him, but he flipped over and left two gashes in its bulky mechanical arm, before landing. It was now scourge energy began to arc into its body, its armor. Metal panels were ripped of the floor to replace its lost armor and its face began to reform. It began to get up only to be stopped by electrical bolts from the Sentinel.
"What does it take to kill this abomination...?!" shouted the Dragon Slayer.
"I suppose..." said CBeard He got up, shaking his head "We have to strike at the heart of the problem..." He outstretched his hand and the handle of his blade few into his grip. He stroked the dull side of the blade, and silvery blue energy wrapped around it, before he ran jumped and plunged it into the monster's face. Once buried it it gave of a pulse of cleansing energy that removed the glow of evil from within the beast. Immediately, the armor and servo turned to rust and scrap, and the fleshy components became ash.
"Think you could have done that earlier...?" the Joker said with sass.
"Now let's find this target..."
"Up here..." said a voice. The group turned to see a stranger in strange armor. It was Ultra Editor armor, but...much of the bulk had been removed, making its more form fitting. His face was a mask, which connected to some manner of jacket/cape, and two sword on his back and a belt with numerous pouches and pockets. In one hand was a device, clearly the beacon they were looking for. The stranger sat upon the top of a furnace of some sort.
"Do not sass me, I have the Joker for that..."
"Gee, thanks..." said the Joker. It was hard to say if he was being sarcastic, but everyone gave him a look.
"Riiight..." said the stranger "Let me make this short. I am C-6, I am your target, and you just killed, not only a Horror Block, but the main control unit for the engine. Which means, every scrapling and genericon this mass of heresy can must will be coming in our direction. Still I'm impressed you took it down so quickly. The Joker and his buddy over their had hell to pay."
"What, you couldn't help...?"
"No..too valuable..." the Joker growled. The Lunar Sentinel went into the center of the room, and began chanting, gathering and tooling web energy. C-6 got down and approached the group in time for the scourgling to arrive, through the door, the floor and even the roof. However, the shield kept them back. "So then...time to go...?"
"I'm not going to like you am I...?" said CBeard
"Oh yes..." said the Sentinel annoyed, "please do keep talking, not like this whole thing is difficult to keep up..." CBeard took out a remote and pressed a button. Suddenly the boarding shuttle that brought them here, they exploded, releasing more of the silvery blue energy they kept using. A large chunk of the Dao Star, immediately turned to rust, and the Editor ship opened fire in mass on it. CBeard placed his sword against the Sentinel's staff, causing the sphere to become stronger, but also larger, pushing back the scourge energy and enveloping the bodies of their fallen and defeated as explosion went of around them.
"Let us not do that again...." CBeard said with his arms crossed. He and the group were glowing from the 'Bleach' Bath, they just came from, meant to purge their armor of any scourge taint, that may have lingered.
Grenburr sat on a chair in front of a hologram projector table. He sat, clearly not bothered by their problems.
"I assume you got the package..."
"They did..." said C-6 walking out of the group.
"Ah C-6, I take it..."
"You knew who he was...?" said CBeard annoyed.
"Yes, I have to verify who or what you bring back is the right thing." CBeard grumbled.
"So..." said the Joker member "what is all of this about...?"
"As your captain..." said C-6.
"He is not our captain."
"As CBeard said, 'to strike at the heart of the matter'...?" Everyone titled their heads or simply stared at him. "Sigh, no imagination..."
"Get to the point...!" shouted the Dragon Slayer.
"Fine...I know how to find the big honcho of the Dead Army, Lord Dao..."
"Who...?" said everyone. C-6 sighed.
"Okay, the enemy called itself the 'Dao Scourge', encase you lot didn't know."
"Encase, you didn't realize..." said the Vanguard "we do less talking with them and more shooting each other..."
"A fair point, but, this guy, if we take him out...this is all over..." everyone was suddenly interested. "You see, you have your regular scourglings, the generic trash heaps on two legs, the spider junk bots and the hulking mech beasts, and the occasional Otaku Marines and once in a while a Horror Block, like what you saw earlier, but all that...energy, that substance, that concentrated heresy, it doesn't come from the Shining Convoy, it comes from the one they call 'Lord Dao'."
"So..." said the Bone Hunter "If we kill him, we kill the Scourge."
"Without a source of Anathium to sustain them, they cannot spread or grow their numbers. Which why they came after us, Horror Blocks, they are rare, since that transformation, normally turns them into engines, reactors, our specium corrupted and made to generate anathium."
"Question..." said the Joker "How do you know this...?"
"The scourge, its members are not smart, so long as you don't look like one of their programmed targets...sneaking around them is rather easy, especially in their ships. It why I didn't help you, I may need to go back undercover..."
"Undercover...?" C-6 pressed a button, and his cloak wrapped around his power armor, warping and shifting to become the image of a scourge possessed Editor, an Otaku Marine. Clearly seeing the discomfort it brought, he canceled the disguise. "Well that's not...yeah it is discomforting..." the Joker suddenly realized something. "Our minds...our minds are going to be wiped after this..." Everyone looked at him.
"That's presuming we fail, but survive..."
"I have heard the good news..." said Grenburr "now tell me the bad news..." C-6 was silent for a moment. "Come now, I'm the captain known for coming back from suicide missions...and this...and 'difficult' as it was...it was not the sort of thing they would have chosen me for..." C-6 sighed.
"We are going to have to set up a jump point..." The other Editors looked about confused.
"It means...we are going to have to go deep into enemy territory...alone..."
Across the vast sector that was the section of the web called the Wiki, there were pathways, and traffic, using Web energy to warp space-time to abuse relativistic physics to traverse the great dark beyond. However, one cannot blindly jump across the expanse without some idea of where they are going. In the early days of the Founding, probes were sent out to map uncharted regions, with waypoint stations/fortresses serving to update navigation systems of where they were going. Without this, one could jump directly into an asteroid, crash into a planet, or into a star or black hole. The enemy constantly did this, making rough guesses when going deep into enemy territory.
Modern advancements had brought more options however. Ships could now 'cruise' to their destinations. While warping could be a continuous process that could be dealt with, by long range sensors, for Far Jumps, such as what was needed, still required this information before jumping.
"This sounds like madness." said Crazybeard "Are we sure he's not tainted?"
"It sounds like our orders..." said Grenburr "A movement like that could allow us to end this war, once and for all, a strike at the enemies' heart crippling them. All that would be left would be to mop their stragglers."
"I disagree..." said Crazybeard.
"That is irrelevant..." said C-6 "The admins have spoken. This was the purpose of my mission."
"So be it..." said Crazybeard.
"You say that like it's your choice..." said Grenburr "The lot of you, get to the cleansing pods, and afterwards prepare for training, C-6 here will be giving you pointers based on his experience with these things. As for you CB, we have planning to get to."
"Also, I'll go see your navigation team on plotting their course."
"Indeed, two of my guards will escort you there." The message was clear, and it made Crazybeard be silent. C-6 just gave an indifferent shrug.
It was some time later while Grenburr was alone with Crazybeard. Grenburr had his helmet off, and was looking at the star charts and system charts, clearly planning an angle of attack.
"Do you believe this...?" asked CB
"It is not a matter of believing..." said Grenburr as he stared at the large diamond shaped representation of the enemy base. Grenburr had a strong defined jaw, short blonde hair and intense grey eyes. "I have contacted headquarters, their response was to 'follow the direction on the package'. The code words have been confirmed and all."
"Even so, assaulting the enemy headquarters with a single ship, even one as grand as this, seems foolhardy."
"A large fleet is going to gather their attention, even they are not blind to such a massive shadow moving across the web. This ship wasn't chosen just to stand up against them, it was chosen to give us the best chance, the most time, to do what needs to be done."
"And if we fail...?"
"This war of attrition continues, they send horrors at us and exterminate them, until we are too tired."
"What, you do not think we can win?" Grenburr looked at him and Crazybeard took of his helmet. He sported dark locks with piercing green eyes and slightly tan skin.
"I think, we should leave propaganda for the rabble, and focus on making sure we can back up our claims." Crazybeard smirked. He turned to walk away, putting back on his helmet. "A moment..."
"Your name is 'Crazybeard', yet you are clean shaven?" Crazybeard plopped back on his helmet. Though his face was hidden, the look of discomfort was still felt.
"I...don't like to talk about that..." With that he left, with Grenburr having the feeling he touched upon something hilarious.
"Stop that..." said C-6 highly annoyed. He was most annoyed by the medic's attempt to take sample from him, and his two unaligned guards did not help deal with him. The Lunar Sentinel medic, sported several tools on his enlarged left arm, and a utility belt with more devices. They were all medical devices of some sort, or meant for quick and cheap repairs to their power armor.
The female Lunar Sentinel entered into the hall, where the group was, several ports on the long hallway, were there for cleansing out their suit's life support and 'bio functions'.
"You don't understand...." said the Medic "I've been studying the effects of the scourge's energy on organic beings. You've been among them for an extended period of time, studying your samples could help us with a vaccine or simple resistance to the bloody stuff!"
"Yeah I've been among them for years, and do you know why I often come back...?"
"To give reports...?"
"No to clean out my suit's systems, because I'm not using any of the junk on their ships! Now, stop bothering me...!"
"NO!" He turned around and his suit partially opened. From the dent in the wall came to tubes which connected to his suit. One black, the other transparent. As they began to work a paste flowed down the transparent tube and into the suit, replenish its bio systems. The other sentinel was also doing this.
"What was it like...?" she asked, catching the attention of the others.
"What do you think it was like...?"
"I don't know, I can't imagine, that's why I'm asking..."
"It was madness, and idiocy, the only reason they are so dangerous is their unbridled savagery. Sneaking past them wasn't really that hard all things considered."
"No one else has done what you've done..." Her procedure was finished and she stepped away from the wall.
"No one else hates them as much as I do...well, that's probably not true, but no one else hates them as much as I do, and survived as long. In truth, the greatest threat comes from inside. It's the whispers, you start listening to them and before long the energy will corrupt you."
"Fascinating..." said the male Sentinel "So their web energy directly targets consciousness."
"Yes..." said C-6 with an annoyed tone. He was finished and stepped back. "As for your means of resistance, I have Bleach."
"A liquid made from spacium and condensed web energies to purge the Daorium energies from my system should I fail to fight it off."
"Why have we never heard of it...?" asked the female Sentinel.
"You probably have under another name. 'Soul Purge', or 'cleansing'. Besides, it's only useful after contamination not before."
"What about you lot, how long have you been fighting these things?"
"Just a few decades for me..." said the Male Sentinel
"I'm..." said the female "a bit new at this..."
"Well then..." said C-6 "I would advise you aim for the spark."
"It's what they call their...'hearts'. It's center point of the energy animating that mass of rusted metal. Even the ships have them, but they're not that obvious. With the foot soldiers, its easier to find them, it's always the part with the most mass."
"Thanks..." C-6 walked away with his two guards.
"Training starts in fifteen in auditorium three."
"What do you think Lunar...?" asked the male Sentinel
"I think..." she replied "I think he is pure...but not as 'untouched' as he thinks."
"Do not aim for the spark..." said C-6 to the group of Editors before him in the training area "Not unless you're a web caster, or you're confident in the destructive power of your weapon. The spark is surrounded by the most metal, and you can denote its location by locating the densest part of the enemy's body. However, there is something to take advantage of." He walked up and down the line "The emphasis around the spark means that other parts of the body will be lacking in proper armor. Limbs further away from the spark are easier to destroy, tear off and destroy. Also, the surest way to the spark is directly above or be via the spine. Another thing. If you ever see a scourgling, that doesn't look like a haphazard mash of scrap metal, that actually resembles proficient engineering...unless you're an admin run."
"Why...?" asked Lam.
"Because that's a convoy."
"A what...?" asked the Dragon Slayer.
"You lot really are newbies... They are rare, and they are powerful, they may be the enemy's answer to Admins. They are leaders within the scourge, and they command all the Daorium energy around them even in other scourglings.".
"Is he joking...?" said the Joker "A thinking spawn of the scourge?"
"He is not..." said Lam "I've heard rumors about them, powerful scourgling commanding the others..."
"Many of my missions involved taking out Convoys, or simply setting them up for a fall, with such things as tracking beacons. It is how I learned the location of their home base. In that place, anything you see, even an Otaku Marine, don't bother trying to bring them in alive, they are already damned. That place is not only a nest for their foul substance, it is where it is produced." The crowd was clearly surprised. "Yes, you all know that stuff spread, our armor, blessed by the Light, can resist its corruptive taint, for a time, but make no mistake, in there is no room for mistakes."
"What is our mission...?" asked the Dragon Slayer.
"Your mission will be to set up a bleach bomb, while reinforcements arrive."
"Do...do you not understand where we are going...? This is not some Dao Star, this is the place where those vessels tears themselves off, where the enemies power is densest, we are going to possibly take out as many of them as we can, while we can. The enemy's head quarter can move, the only reason it doesn't is because of its gargantuan. We're not going to be just delivering warheads, the bombs we will be using, will the kind used to cleanse planets!" Now they were alarmed. While was useful against their enemies, even an explosion of that magnitude could kill 'them'. "Right now, we are on our way to what may the last mission of the war, and maybe even our lives. I'm not telling these things because I expect you all to come back, I'm telling you so you all get as good a chance as any, of coming back."
"Well...?" asked Grenburr. He stood over looking the technicians, men in robes bearing heavy cybertization to handle construction. The 'tech-boys', as they were so often called, were busy working on a large device, that resembled two cones pointing to each other and with various pipes emerging out and entering the roof or the floor.
"Apologies sir..." said one of them "The device was never meant to cover a vessel this gargantuan."
"Get it done."
"This ship is heading deep into enemy territory, this mission has a schedule to keep!"
"Get it done!" He turned around only to stopped in front of C-6. "When last I checked you were supposed to have escorts."
"Yeah, but I'm very good at escaping simple thugs."
"Huh..." Gren walked past him.
"A problem in the engine room...?"
"It will be fixed." said Gren stopping.
"It will be fixed, I was chosen for this mission because I have a knack for coming back from impossible situations."
"So I've heard, but not most of your crew." Gren glared at him.
"Did I touch a button...?"
"Oh, you're a bigger man than I though."
"And you let to make yourself feel smarter than you actually are by annoying people and calling out fairly obvious things. Perhaps you've been around idiots for too long to know how to outsmart someone with actual intelligence." Gren could sense C-6's annoyance "Now do you have a reason for being here, which I doubt..."
"I'm just wondering...what assurance to you have that we will make it out of this...?"
"You're an Editor, and you're afraid of death...?"
"My task involves me being alive. If this fails, what backup do we have, how will we counter if the initial plan fails?"
"It is battle, we have no certainties that we will make it out alive. That has never stopped me. If you want backup planes, then start thinking of some ideas, but do not stand there and make snide remarks and implications, those are fighting words 'C-6'."
"You really think you can take me?"
"Child you fought fools, and brutes, as have we all. You just know how to hide from them, and perhaps you have been hiding for a bit too long. Go and prepare yourself."
"What do you think?" asked the Joker, he was with the Dragon Slayer, the two of them in a training room, testing their skills against holographic dummies, via training weapons.
"About what...?" asked the Slayer he cut down two photon mannequins.
"About that C-6 fellow..."
"I do not like him..." The Joker giggled.
"I thought you Slayers did what Sol asked of you?"
"Sol asked of us to be good soldiers and protect the Wiki, when last I checked I was never asked to like anyone I had to work with."
"Present company included...?"
"I'm not answering obvious questions."
"Ouch, but tell me, do you trust him...?"
"End simulation..." the holograms disappeared
"I trust his intel, I trust his mission, I trust the judgement of my admin, I trust that you will perhaps find someone else to annoy for your amusement Joker, I also trust my aim."
"Heh...but what about your reaction time?" The slayer turned around.
"Is that a threat...?"
"No, just a question. A 'threat' could get me in trouble..." The joker could feel the slayer sneering at him.
"Tell me Joker, why did you come here, on a suicide mission like this, I expected more of your mad brotherhood to jump at the chance to die pointless stupid deaths..."
"Just because we're so...'intimate' with death, does not mean we don't respect it."
"Yet you seem to have come here to court death..."
"Is that a threat...?"
"No, an observation..."
"And they say you 'Sons of Sol' have no sense of humor..." Outside the training room C-6 stopped leaning against the wall and began to walk away, running into the two guards that had been assigned him, who had been searching for him.
"You, stop doing that before I put a cap in your head!" shouted one of them.
"Adorable..." said C-6 unconcerned with their growling. Then it began, the alarm went off and blue lights flashed along the hallway. "Oh, it's time to jump already...I hope that device is ready..."
The Imperial Fist moved through the void, slowly, as a strange phenomemon began to occur. Ribbon of energy appeared around, oscillating with it in the center. These deep blue ribbons of energy joined together in front of the mighty void craft condensing and expanding into swirling whirlpool of energy where the space around it was pushed back to open a place for the portal to reside. Whether by the pull of the ribbons, or the push of its engines, the ship found itself entering the portal and disappearing completely, before it was all gone and the portal closed shut, leaving behind an empty space that seemed indifferent to what had just happened.
"Activate the device..." said Grenburr from his captain's chair. His crew worked the terminal sending the message. The device down in engineering was turned on, emitting a field of energy the traveled out from its immediate presence and covered the whole ship, via white ribbons of energy the arced through the metal plating and even the crew. More than a few unfortunate souls, found themselves the nodes for this esoteric energy as it shot through them and left their armor bleached and their mood mellowed out as if tranquilized.
"We have gone incognito..." said one of the operators on the bridge.
"There are few things that we Editors fear, few things more than jumping through the web so far from home, running the risk of encountering a web beast. However, now we are jumping into the part of the web controlled by 'them'. This is a place strong, no, tainted by the linkage between constructs of the scourge. Expeditions have gone out here, only to return raving mad Otaku Marines, traitors. This was why they Incognito Field was developed" said Gren to CB who stood beside him.
"I see Bleach Based technology has gone far..." he replied "With this field, what, they won't notice us...?"
"They can't connect to us, they cannot worm their foul energy into our minds and notice our souls, and if they cannot do that, then by their instinct, they will not be able to stop us...in theory...?"
"In theory...?" said CB concerned
"In theory by the time they notice our presence, we would have long since passed them, a wind on the web, a minor abnormality that is barely worth notice, assuming these creatures have the sophistication to do such a thing."
"And when we are in realspace...?"
"When we arrive in realspace, we must be sure to sure to not draw attention to ourselves...and be sure to avoid any convoy controlled ships."
"You are correct, they are 'just' bombs, they are field generators. While this field makes us Incognito to them, it is like a blazing light to our systems."
"If we have this then why is there such a concern to accomplish this mission?! A thousand ships with one of these..."
"The technology is new, the field is not perfect and it requires a significant power source like ours to use. We have a time limit when we arrive to get the job done."
"So the council doesn't think we have the time to master this technology, let alone implement it."
"More or less, though I suspect this is mostly Lord Sol's paranoia than anything else."
"Didn't he choose you specifically?"
"The truth does not remove the truth about him. But this is a moot point. CB, I want you to promise me something."
"The battle ahead, will have casualties, there is no denying that, nor trying to pretend we can avoid it. Even we do succeed here... we may still end up dead."
"You're a sour one, 'he of nine lives'."
"Yes, and I don't have enough lives to go around. Come I must show you something." CB followed Gren out of the bridge.
They had gathered in their groups, The two Sentinels, the Joker, the Dragon Slayer, two normal Editors, C-6 and Crazybeard. They were one of several groups arranged in a circle, sitting attached to harnesses. Some were on their backs, others were aside from them hanging and being held by their harnesses. Between them was a cylinder shaped object.
"Blessed is the light..." said the voice on the com system, echoing through the ship "For it showed us the way out of the dark. Blessed is the light for it gifted us with blessed bloodstock, to make giants of mortals. Blessed is the light, for it is the light of civilization. Blessed is the light, for it is what we fight, bleed and die for. Blessed are those of the light, for they carry it within them, wherever they go. Go forth with the light and with it purge the unclean, strike down the heretic and pierce the darkness!"
The very void itself seemed tainted, painted by ribbons of the green scourge energy, blocking out the stars, or warping their light into a sickly green. At the seeming center of this, was a roughly diamond shaped mass of scrap metal and metallic growths, all around it where Dao Stars either merging with the mass or being spawned from it.
It was in front of this that it formed, light, a pool of shining water, hanging in space, there it appeared. Said waters churned, ribbons of energy swirling as space around it warped and the phenomenon expanded until it was big enough, large enough, for the Imperial Fist to shoot out of the 'water' and return to realspace.
"Commence the operation!" shouted Grenburr. The Imperial Fist, opened fire on everything around it. It bolts of plasma, burned with white hot bleaching power, exploding against he hulls of the enemy ships and the station, with bursts of white energy that made the blighted metal, shrivel and rust apart at the touch of purity. The Dao Stars fired their weapons but the shields and the Incognito field, held back their nasally plasma ordinance as they made their way towards their destination. The ship even rammed straight through a Dao Star with impunity.
"They are coming..." said the mechanoid. It was almost symmetrical, with a face of liquid metal, and red armor plating, with a pair of golden wings, and a golden V on its forehead. It eyes were the color of scourge energy and its left arm and right leg were bare clusters of servos while rust resided on the tips of its wings.
The one it spoke to sat in a chair, in the center of a room of biomechanical architecture. It was a mass of cable, tubing and metallic muscle fibers, held together in the rough shape of a person by rings, bands of armor plating and a red cloak. Its face was mishmash cluster of optics and cameras while its chest and back were several control pannels and monitors slapped together and called body armor, along with pulsating metallic growths and boils, all while a red cape was draped down on it.
Its lower half was in the ground, in the floor as its metallic tentacles seemed to flow out under the floor panels, into the walls and beyond, while Scourge energy seemed to be pumped out, each time its growths and boils pulsated.
Before it was a group circular computer screens showing graphs and information in green fonts.
"So they have..." said the creature in the floor. A group of mandible arose out of the next of wires that was its face and clicked and scratch in such way as to make that sound. It would be irritating for anyone not of the Scourge to hear that noise. "We must prepare them a welcome. They have done well to come this far. My beloved wonderful Shiny, go and prepare a welcome party."
"You seem to not notice father, their field...corrupts out energy."
"It matters not, they are here, in the heart of our crusade, they cannot last long."
The g-forces came like a shot, they could hear the engine beneath/behind them roaring, feel the vibrations it sent out across the craft as they were shot at high speed out of the ship and towards the target. They could feel the collision with the hull of the base, they could hear the scream of metal grinding metal, even if it was muffled by the void of space.
The drill head popped open and they moved, as quickly and with as much focus as they were trained to do. The Dragon Slayer and two plain Editors were first, aiming for anything that would come their way. The Joker was with them, and C-6, then the two Sentinels and finally Crazybeard came out, blaster in one hand, his blade in another, and the bomb strapped to his back.
They came, they always would've come. The blinding light of bleach was no longer there to confuse their senses, they sensed the untouched, the untainted, and they would not abide by that. Their forcing their way into this place, made them aware of their presence. Spiders made of scrap metal, misshapen soldiers, of junk, and hulking behemoths of refuse all from the halls made of rusting metal and foul energies.
The Dragon Slayer and the unaligned editors set up a wall of fire aimed down the hallway and blasting the apart with their blaster rifles and heavy blaster. The Joker leaped to join the fray but Crazybeard grabbed him by the leg and pulled him back, dropping him on the floor.
"We have no time for your games, Joker!" He turned to C-6 "Where is our target?"
"Set your sensors for the largest cluster of energy nearby, they nexus nodes." He replied "Set them off there, and this whole area will light up." The two sentinel put their staffs together and sent out a pulse of white energy that reduced the scourglings to scrap metal and inert junk.
"You make it sound like we cold blow this whole place apart...." said the Joker.
"You have no idea how big this place is..." he replied. Already they could hear the metal scraping against the floor as the foul energies worked to reanimate them. "We need to move, now."
"You heard him, this way, this bleach coating won't last forever!" shouted CB. C-6 ran and the rest followed, with the three holding down suppressive fire being the last to follow. They made their way through the hallways past rooms filled with more monsters, until they were being chased by a large mob. CB, stopped and charged his sword as the others moved behind him and he swung, releasing a large wave of energy that devastated the hallway and everything in it, leaving warped metal, where it hadn't been rusted to slag.
They continued running until they noticed that C-6 was gone.
"Where did that bastard go?" shouted the Joker
"For once I agree..." said the Dragon Slayer. Everyone had stopped. CB, opened a panel on his forearm and began working on his arm mounted computer.
"Set your sensors to filter out any ambient scourge energy, focus on currents and energy masses." said CB "We are not far from the node."
"Well there be stuff to kill?" asked the Joker
"There will be plenty of stuff to kill after we set this off, and leave..."
"Dude..." said Lam "Did you hear nothing from the briefing, these bombs are here to turn this place into a beacon, strong enough to bypass the cringe that infests this corner of the web!"