Chapter 13 – Sunova’s Response

“Damn it!”

Davídrius immediately grabbed a nearby chair, sped over to the corner, and rammed one of the legs down the hole the metallic bugs had created. He then jumped back and tossed the Master Ayas to Siyuakén. “Catch!”

“What?!” She caught it haphazardly before gritting her teeth as continued contact with the Ayas caused a subdued stinging pain. “Wait, it—!”

“You’ve got more use for it than I do!” Davídrius insisted as he smashed another chair to pieces with a kick and grabbed two of its legs to use as clubs. “Now don’t just stand there!”

“You don’t need to tell me what to do,” Siyuakén responded quickly before stretching her right arm toward the hole and blasting it with electricity. The resultant heat almost immediately fused the chair to the hole.

“…Not bad,” Davídrius remarked with a smirk. “Now let’s get out of here before—!”

He was cut off as several of the bugs dropped down in front of the doorway and then charged at the two Chaotics. He scowled before dashing forward and bashing them out of the way, at which point he kicked open the door and waved Siyuakén over. She quickly jumped forward and leaped over the bugs, slamming the door shut behind her and applying a massive voltage to the entire shack.

The Velocitechnic whistled in admiration. “Just how many volts can you put out?”

“A lot,” the Electrotechnic replied, “though it usually takes more effort to generate that much power.”

“Is that ‘cause of the Master Ayas?”

“Maybe…” Siyuakén trailed off as her gaze shifted past Davídrius and to the open space behind him. “…Though we should save the speculation for another time. There’s more of the bugs coming.”

“Of course there are…” he scowled again before brandishing his two metal rods. “If only it weren’t dusk, then I could actually see where they are…”

“Let me take care of this.”

“Eh? How…?”

“Just… when I count down from three, make sure you’re in the air. …And probably far away from me.”

“Tch. You elemental Chaotics and your snazzy powers. Aight then, I’ll run ahead to the main building. Try not to get overwhelmed when you catch up.”

“Sure thing.” Siyuakén rolled her eyes as Davídrius dashed off into the darkness. She then turned her attention back to the approaching metallic bugs as she began charging electricity in her left arm, where she held the Master Ayas. Mere moments later, the stone began to glow due to the energy, and small arcs of electricity leaped from parts of her arm to the rest of her body — and a moment later she thrust the Ayas at the ground, immediately releasing all of the charged electricity on impact. A brilliant flash of light momentarily blinded Siyuakén as all the bugs within five meters were fused to the flash-crystallized ground and all of the bugs within another ten meters catastrophically overloaded. The Electrotechnic stood up and paused for a moment to admire her handiwork before sprinting off toward the main building, watching vigilantly for any more hordes of metallic bugs.


“Lead! You’re here!”

“Colonel?” The Captain glanced between Yamamoto and Shepherd warily. “What’s this about metallic bugs?”

“You’ll have to ask the Nimalians,” Shepherd retorted.

“What he means is that we don’t know.” Yamamoto passed Shepherd a reprimanding glance, prompting his posture to stiffen. “The two Nimalians from the caves returned with a horde of metallic bugs after them. Given their rate of progression, they’ll arrive within the hour. Now, what’s the status on the extra equipment?”

“The brass are wary about granting extra equipment to a Code Blue situation,” Lead responded, “not at this short of a notice.”

“Of course they are,” Shepherd grumbled.

“Our current stockpile won’t cut it…” Yamamoto remarked with a frown. “The Nimalians claimed that the bugs could easily burrow through solid rock. We have to assume that they can do the same to the cement foundation — and that means we need to reinforce all of the key hallways, namely the Gate Room access points.”

Lead glanced back at the active Interstellar Gate behind him before looking at the three Gate Room entrances. “What do you need me to do?”

“Command the armored vehicle squads and keep the lanes to the Frigate landing clearings open. Shepherd, I want you to command the gunships, as we discussed earlier.”

“Permission to speak freely?” Lead questioned.

“Granted.”

“How do you intend to defend against a horde of bugs with armored vehicles?”

“It’s really a delay tactic…” the Colonel admitted, “one of the Nimalians is a Materiatechnic — she can control matter. Once she’s returned from the Battlecruiser, she should be able to control the situation easily. So we just need to make sure that the base isn’t overrun and that, in a worst-case scenario, we can evacuate all of the personnel.”

“And every second we spend here is a second we’re not setting up defenses!” Shepherd bristled. “Say the word, Colonel, and I’m off.”

Yamamoto opened her mouth to respond, but a metallic spheroid suddenly dropped from the ceiling, directly in front of the Interstellar Gate. It then uncurled, standing up on its four legs and wiggling a wing-like appendage on its back before turning toward the Gate — and getting blown to pieces as Shepherd shot it with his pistol.

“They’re already here?” The Captain scowled as he glanced up — just in time to see the entire ceiling crack.

Colonel Yamamoto responded immediately. “Everyone OUT OF THE ROOM!” she bellowed while signaling toward the exits. She then held a hand to her ear to activate her headset as Shepherd and Lead ran past. “Lock down the Gate! Now! And send a message to Earth telling them to lock down theirs!” She glanced up at the ceiling as it audibly cracked before dashing toward the Gate Room exit that Shepherd and Lead were standing outside of. With a final, deafening crack the entire cement roof shattered, sending a rain of cement, metal, and metallic bugs down on top of the Gate and the Colonel — who dived to safety just in time. Shepherd immediately slammed the door shut behind her.

“You said we had an hour!” Lead exclaimed incredulously.

“Looks like I was wrong.” Yamamoto scowled. “And we just lost the Gate Room for it.” She turned on her heel and began jogging down the hallway. “Follow me. We need to get to the surface, and to any communicator capable of reaching the in-system Frigates…”


“Haaaah!!”

Davídrius impaled one of the metallic bugs with his metal rods before tossing them aside along with the now-defunct creature. He reached into his jacket pockets and whipped out two knives that he had found in an armory and began cutting into the approaching horde as fast as he could, leaving Siyuakén to watch on in irritation.

“I can’t do anything if you’re in the way!” she shouted after him, but received no response. She sighed and turned down another corridor, hoping that the Velocitechnic would be able to handle himself. Grasping the Master Ayas tightly, she began feeding enough electricity into it to make it glow, offering a light source amongst the dark complex — and electrically striking a bug just as it leaped through the air toward her. The Electrotechnic immediately swung around to face a group of metallic bugs before quickly shocking them all — only for them to continue rushing her. She quickly charged up more electricity for a more powerful blast and unleashed it on the bugs, this time causing their joints to fuse and freeze up just as Davídrius rushed up behind her.

“I broke the knives…” he lamented.

“Of course you did…” Siyuakén sighed. “Let’s get out of these narrow corridors. It’s too easy to get ambushed—!?”

She was interrupted as Davídrius scooped her up in his arms and leaped up onto the roof of the nearby building. He then leaped from roof to roof until reaching the edge of the clearing at the front of the base, where he dropped down to the ground and released the Electrotechnic.

She took a few moments to regain her bearings, startled by the sudden acceleration and deceleration. Scowling, she demanded, “warn me next time!”

“No time for warnin’ when you’re tryin’ to go fast,” Davídrius quipped.

Siyuakén sighed before glancing toward the base’s front gates. “Looks like the bugs haven’t raided here yet…”

“Or they’ve just gone underground,” Davídrius countered. “…Where are the Earthians?”

“Securing evac routes. I’m… actually not quite sure what their defense plan is at this point. Maybe they’re counting on Kaoné to save the day?”

Davídrius shrugged. “She is a Materiatechnic. Hopefully a horde of damned bugs won’t trigger her ‘don’t kill’ nonsense.” He glanced over at Siyuakén as she gave him a disapproving look. “What?”

“Don’t talk about her like that.”

“Tch.” He turned away just in time to watch a convoy of armored vehicles roll out of a garage as light flooded the entire complex. “Gah!” He clamped his eyes shut painfully.

“I’m surprised they didn’t turn on the lights sooner,” Siyuakén mused, “anyways, we should watch the vehicles. I think they’re going to secure the route to the Frigate clearing.”

Davídrius frowned with apprehension. “What about the Gate? That’s the easiest way off-planet—!”

“And I’m sure the Earthians are guarding it just fine. We should stay with the vehicles, out in the open — where we’ll be able to help the most.”

“…Ngh. You’re right. I’ll need new weapons though…”

The Electrotechnic glanced at him incredulously. “Do you always break your weapons?”

“It ain’t my fault none of the blades I’ve used were built to Velocitechnic standards,” he replied defensively. “Even considerin’ the fact that they should withstand as much force as I can… cheap blades just won’t cut it, you know?”

Siyuakén sighed impatiently. “Really? Really?”

“…Keheheh, that was totally intended.” Davídrius grinned, momentarily amused with himself, and then quickly reset to a serious expression. “But we should stop just standin’ around. The Earthians need our help. Ready?”

“Ready for—? Agh!?” the Electrotechnic yelped as Davídrius picked her up again and dashed off toward the vehicles. Just after he arrived by the side of the leading vehicle it pulled to a stop, prompting the two Chaotics to stop as well. A couple seconds later, Captain Lead emerged from a hatch on top and turned to address the Nimalians.

“I take it you’re here to help?” he questioned.

“Yes, we are,” Siyuakén responded, having caught her breath after the short dash.

“What’s the situation with the rest of the base?” Davídrius questioned, just as two gunships flew by overhead.

“…We lost the Gate Room,” Lead replied, “we were able to lock down the Gate before any of the damn bugs got through, but we can’t use it to escape. For now we’re defending the path to the Frigate landing clearings until the Frigates can pick us up or until your friend arrives to clean up this whole mess.”

“How long will that be?” Siyuakén asked.

“Hopefully, not for long…” Lead’s focus shifted from the two Nimalians to the dark, open area behind them. “Lights full!!” he barked, “ready for action!” He glanced at the two Chaotics as he began retreating back into the vehicle. “Here they come. Do your best against the damned things. Good luck!”

“Wait!” Davídrius exclaimed, causing Lead to pause just before he had fully retracted into the armored vehicle. “I need weapons. Anything you got, I can use!”

The sound of a tank firing suddenly filled the air, followed by sporadic machine gun fire. Amongst the cacophony, Lead ducked into the vehicle and emerged shortly afterward with two pistols and a knife. Davídrius immediately leaped up and grabbed all three, stuffing the knife into his jacket pocket as he thanked the Captain and dashed off into the horde in the opposite direction of the tank fire. Siyuakén quickly followed suit as Lead climbed back into the vehicle and closed the hatch.

The Velocitechnic knocked away two bugs that had leaped at him before grasping the pistols in a dual-wield stance and blasting away at bugs point-blank. After twenty shots from each pistol, however, he found that he could shoot no more. “What?!” he exclaimed with a scowl as he dived backwards from the bug he had just attempted to shoot. “Limited ammo…?! Damn projectile weapons!” He chucked the empty pistols at two bugs, smashing them both to smithereens before grabbing his single knife and taking off to stab more of the hostile creatures. As soon as he left the area, Siyuakén blasted the bugs with a wave of electricity, stunning them long enough for her to charge up a more powerful blast and decommission them entirely. She then turned toward the Earthian vehicles and shocked the front lines of the approaching horde, giving the gunners enough time to wipe out the front line.

But the defense only lasted for so long. The Earthian vehicles could only turn their weapons so quickly, and against a horde of bugs they could only be so effective. On top of that, the metallic creatures seemed to be developing a tolerance for Siyuakén’s electrical powers, and were being stunned for lesser and lesser periods of time, and required more and more power to completely disable. And when Davídrius finally broke his lone knife, he was left to impatiently and nervously watch the battle from atop one of the tanks.

“Move forward!” Captain Lead ordered over the radio, “take detour three-B at forty kilometers an hour. Try to lose the bugs before we reach the Frigate clearing!”

“What?” Siyuakén scowled as she climbed up onto the tank Davídrius was standing on just as it began moving. “They can’t lose the bugs! They’re too fast for that!”

“I know,” Davídrius replied, his lips pursed. “…It must be a last resort. Things clearly won’t go too well if we stay here—”

He was cut off as one of the vehicles in the middle of the column spontaneously exploded, sending hot debris — as well as several metallic bugs — flying in every direction. One of the bugs landed in between the two Nimalians, and Davídrius immediately punted it into the darkness of the night. He glared back at the large mass of metallic bugs chasing after the vehicles. “Looks like things won’t be going too well anyways.”

“…I can slow them down.”

“What?” The Velocitechnic whipped around to stare at Siyuakén. “Hey, you ain’t seriously—?”

“And how else are we getting out of this damn mess?”

“…Tch. Fine. If you wanna throw your life away for no damn reason, see if I’ll stop you.”

“I should’ve expected such a response from you.”

“Hn.”

“I’m not throwing my life away, anyways.” Siyuakén slowly stumbled to the end of the vehicle. “I’ll be fine.” She stared at the mass of bugs for a couple seconds before taking a deep breath and moving to jump —

— only for Kaoné to suddenly dive into the ground next to the vehicle, manipulating the dirt to absorb her falling speed before jumping out and up to the tank the other two Chaotics were standing on.

“You’re here!” Siyuakén exclaimed.

“The hell was with that entrance?!” Davídrius balked.

“The shuttle is still up in the air…” Kaoné replied, “when I saw what was going on down here, I decided to just jump. And since I’m a Materiatechnic—”

“Bah, fuckin’ show-off,” Davídrius grumbled, “just hurry up and save the day already.”

“Of course!” She responded with a smile, and turned toward the horde of metallic bugs. She closed her eyes and remained silent for several moments.

“…Uh, Kaoné?” Siyuakén eventually spoke up, “…What’re you—?”

“It’s not working!”

“Huh?” Davídrius cocked his head in confusion.

“My powers…” Kaoné turned to stare at the other two Chaotics, her eyes wide with panic. “Against those bugs — my powers won’t work!”

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