“Morcii made Planetfall?!”
“Ye…yeah…” Kevérin replied slowly, staring dumbfoundedly at the information feed on his glasses. “…He obliterated the Siionkagh primary generator in one strike.”
“What?!” Kaoné exclaimed, “but, how did he—? How could he…?”
The Pyrotechnic scowled. “Hell if I know. He’s never— …there haven’t been any reports of Morcii breaking through shielding on any of the other planets. He didn’t— it’s not possible. He would have needed at least a teraton’s worth of force to make any kind of noticeable dent in those shields! That’s— if he hit the planet itself with that force, that’d be enough to cause an extinction event, I mean— …if Morcii can really output that much force, that’s, that’s, that’s insane!”
“Aren’t… aren’t Kevken, Vélunis, and Wilkas all stationed at the Siionkagh generator?” Kaoné questioned as she began to wring her hands in worry. “If they… are they okay?”
“I don’t know…” Kevérin furrowed his brow in frustration. “They aren’t important enough to post about on the info feed. The Genesis isn’t close enough to their location to get a focused sensor reading, either. So… there’s no way for us to know.”
“You know what this means for us, right?” Davídrius cut in impatiently, “Morcii attacked the generator ‘cause the Ayas was there, didn’t he? Well guess where he’d go next then, huh?!”
“There are many different reasons for him to attack the generator,” Kevérin countered, “…but all of them would have him hitting Oriciid’kas as a follow-up anyways. You’re right. But what can we possibly do against that? Nothing short of a Capital ship could stop that kind of force!”
“…I hate to say it…” Davídrius frowned. “But our best bet might be to grab the Ayas and run. If Morcii can really output as much force as you’re sayin’ he can, then none of us stand a chance against him.”
“Where would we run?” Kevérin questioned. “The Gate’s blocked; we can’t leave the planet. And even then… we can’t just abandon Oriciid’kas, not this quickly.”
“You say that, but stickin’ around won’t help much either, you know!”
“Weren’t you the one who wanted to fight Morcii?”
“Sure, before we learned that he single-handedly broke through the Ayas-reinforced planetary shields,” Davídrius retorted. “Fuck fightin’ him now — we can try that later when we have more Ayas with us!”
“I wonder if the Ayas actually mean anything, now,” Kevérin responded warily. “They sure as hell didn’t stop Morcii.”
“But…” Kaoné worriedly glanced between the other two Chaotics. “…What do we do?”
The three sat in uneasy silence before Kevérin sighed and spoke up again. “I’ll try to contact the Genesis through the system’s Relaynet, and just hope that the relays are still intact. Hopefully, Krick will have some more input…”
“Sounds like a plan, now get to it,” Davídrius urged.
“Right, right… Command: contact the E.S.C. Genesis. …Command: contact the E.S.C. Genesis…!”
“Uh oh…” Kaoné muttered as Kevérin’s frown deepened. “What’s wrong…?”
“Comms have cut out…” the Transfer Captain replied uneasily, “there’s nothing coming or leaving. We’ve gone dark.”
Morcii lunged forward, effortlessly knocking away the Chaos Energy projectile as he grabbed one of Vélunis’s many weapons out of the air and swung it toward Wilkas. The Forcetechnic blocked the blade with his palm, allowing his armor’s shielding to protect his hand as he thrust his other first forward, impacting Morcii’s chest and launching him across the grounds at Mach speeds. Vélunis immediately summoned dozens of railguns and fired them all simultaneously, obliterating the entire far wall and further exposing the outer tower of the polar base to the elements. Kievkenalis quickly cleared the resulting smoke and debris with Chaos Massive Impact, but was suddenly whacked in the face as Morcii burst through the invisible force with his fists forward. He grabbed the Chaostechnic by his arm and whirled him through the air before throwing him at Vélunis, just in time to leap into the air to avoid a metal beam thrown by Wilkas. Upon returning to the ground, the Nanocreature leader attempted to leap upwards again but was smashed back into the ground by a massive sword that simply dropped on top of his head, completely shearing his body in two.
Before any of the Chaotics could sigh of relief, however, the two body halves sprung forward, knocking Wilkas to the ground before reconnecting to reform Morcii’s full body and allow him to stomp the Forcetechnic’s back with enough force to instantly create a two-meter deep crater. Kievkenalis immediately replied by launching several Chaos Cannon attacks at Morcii, driving back the Nanocreature leader and allowing Wilkas to jump back to his feet and punch the crater wall, shattering the ground under Morcii and causing him to stumble. Vélunis quickly launched a hail of bladed weapons, darkening the sky just above Morcii as Kievkenalis dashed toward him from the side, gesturing for the two other Chaotics to stand back. Then, just before reaching Morcii, he shouted, “Chaos BLAST!”
A massive sphere of purple energy exploded from the Chaostechnic, obliterating everything within fifty meters and blowing back everything else within a hundred. Vélunis and Wilkas both quickly recovered and dashed up to the crater created by the blast before eying the results in surprise.
“You never told us you were an explosive type!” Wilkas shouted down at Kievkenalis.
“It never came up—?!” the Chaostechnic replied, but was interrupted as Morcii burst upwards from the ground beneath him, nailing Kievkenalis in the jaw with a hardened fist of steel. The Chaostechnic flew up and back, covering several meters of damaged terrain before painfully tumbling back to the ground.
“AS EXPECTED…” Morcii smirked, observing Kievkenalis as he quickly climbed back to his feet and massaged his jaw. “THE CHAOS STATE HAS RAISED YOUR DURABILITY SIGNIFICANTLY, BUT I CAN STILL OVERWHELM IT IF I DESIRE.”
“You tryin’ to say you’re not being serious?” Wilkas countered.
“OF COURSE,” the Nanocreature replied dismissively, “IF I WERE TRULY FIGHTING FOR VICTORY, THEN THE LOT OF YOU WOULD HAVE BEEN POUNDED TO DUST BEFORE YOU EVEN REALIZED THE BATTLE BEGAN.”
“…Right,” Vélunis drawled. “Those are some big words for a scrawny guy like you. Storm Blade!”
Wilkas and Kievkenalis immediately jumped back as nearly a hundred blades appeared several meters over Morcii’s head. Within a second of creation, Vélunis slammed them all into the ground, piercing Morcii’s body all over and littering the area around him with embedded metal rods — rods that Kievkenalis quickly charged with Chaos Charge, and then shouted, “Chaos Strike!” The strike of Chaos Energy hit the rods instantly, amplifying the electrical charge in the area enough to create actual lightning strikes that stunned Morcii and prevented him from moving as Wilkas leaped into the air and brought his fists down over the Nanocreature’s head. On impact, Morcii disappeared into the ground as the entire area inside the outer tower shattered and cratered, further destroying the outer tower and launching loose debris and dust clouds into the air.
“…I knew he was all words,” Wilkas remarked with a smirk, wiping his hands as the dust began to settle.
“No… this isn’t right…” Kievkenalis frowned uneasily. “This is nothing like our encounter back on Maasen. He might still be around—”
“HOW VERY ASTUTE.”
“What?!” Vélunis spun around to face the section of obliterated wall behind him. Standing on top of a loose metal beam hanging precariously several meters in the air was none other than Morcii himself, arms crossed as he stared down at the three Chaotics.
“How’d he get up there?!” Wilkas exclaimed incredulously.
“HA! THIS BATTLE HAS PROVEN MILDLY INTERESTING,” Morcii remarked, “THOUGH YOUR UNEARNED CONFIDENCE IS PAINFULLY TYPICAL OF ALDREDANOIDS, I FIND. LET US SEE IF YOU CAN KEEP ME FURTHER ENTERTAINED FOR THE TIME BEING, HMM?”
“…Guys?…” Vélunis muttered uneasily as he brandished two rifles.
“We can’t outrun him; we’re stuck until the Genesis can pick us up.” Kievkenalis scowled. “…We just have to last until then. Chaos Assist!”
“The Nanocreatures are beginning to transfer their fire to Siionkagh itself!”
“Tch, of course they are. Intercept the larger ships! How are Siionkagh’s shields holding?”
“…Not well. The destruction of the North Pole generator reduced the shield’s overall strength by over ninety-nine percent, and the increase in fire from the Nanocreatures is very quickly eating through what’s left. We don’t even have twelve hours at the current rate…”
“Damn…” Krick scowled as he impatiently glanced between bridge displays. “…We can’t wait any longer. Petition the Battle Group leader to move to the Polar Fleet — wait for a response, but we’ll be moving out regardless of what it is!” The Captain then sat back in his chair, rubbing his chin absentmindedly as he awaited the completion of his order. Morcii appeared out of nowhere… not even our sensors could pick him up. We have no way of knowing if he’s still on Siionkagh, or if he’s moved out again, and that means we have no idea if he has the Ayas that was plugged into the generator… damn. This does not bode well for Oriciid’kas.
“Permission to move to the Polar Fleet granted, sir!”
“Set a course immediately!” Krick barked, “full thrust! Be prepared to beam up as many survivors on the ground as possible, particularly the Nimalians, and especially the Ayas!”
“Yes sir! Setting course for Polar Fleet! …Some of the Nanocreature ships have broken off, they’re following us! Twenty-five ships, all Cruiser class!”
“Engage the cloak! Begin acquiring targets immediately — account for weapon power, spread, and accuracy, and begin firing periodically with all weapons in sync. I want each blast wave to wipe out at least five ships!”
“Yes sir! Engaging cloak!”
“Twenty-five Cruisers, huh…” Krick muttered to himself, “they must really not want us to reach the Pole. Or maybe they’re catching on to how dangerous we are to them…”
“Weapons primed! Targets acquired — firing! …Twenty targets remaining!”
“Keep it up, keep it up!” The Captain nodded approvingly. We’re losing the battle for the system, but on a local level, we’re doing perfectly fine. I can’t help but feel wary about this… but there’s no time to worry. The Ayas comes first.
“Will someone please tell me what’s goin’ on here?!”
“If I knew, I’d be more than happy to explain,” Kevérin retorted as he led Kaoné and Davídrius away from the communications center. “No one knows why comms are jammed. If we did, we’d be doing something about it.”
“I can tell you what we can be doin’ about it,” Davídrius insisted, “gettin’ the fuck outta here!”
“We can’t do that, either,” the Transfer Captain countered. “Even if the base commander had issued an evac command, we need to stay with the Ayas and protect it. We can’t let the Nanocreatures have it!”
“Then just take it with us!”
“Take it where?”
“Take it, uh…” Davídrius paused for a moment to think, falling behind Kevérin and Kaoné before dashing back up to the Pyrotechnic. “…I dunno, somewhere not here, maybe?”
“And make it easier for the Nanocreatures to breach Oriciid’kas’s shields and surround us?” Kevérin snorted. “Morcii might be able to puncture the shields with ease, but none of the other Nanocreatures have shown the same ability. The shield is still important.”
“It’d be pretty bad if we lost Oriciid’kas faster than even Bouy’Xis, too,” Kaoné commented.
“…Hn,” Davídrius grunted. “…I don’t like this one bit.”
“No one does,” Kevérin responded, stopping at a small observation deck to stare out at the arctic tundra surrounding the base’s outer tower. “…But the thing is, there’s really nothing we can do, aside from hunkering down. This is a military installation, so at the end of the day, this is the best place for the Ayas to be.”
“Are you sure? Maybe there’s a more secure base on the planet somewhere?” Kaoné suggested.
“Not on Oriciid’kas. This is primarily a civilian world; the largest bases are at the poles, where the primary shield generators are.” The Pyrotechnic sighed wearily. “If we were on Siionkagh, then there would be alternatives. But this base is literally the most fortified it gets.”
“Question: how much of that ‘fortification’ is ‘cause of the climate?” Davídrius retorted, “’cause if that’s what it is, then it won’t do much against the Nanocreatures ‘cause they’re, well, you know. Machines.”
“Relax,” Kevérin replied. “We’ll still have plenty of warning time before the base itself is attacked. The Nanocreatures still have to break through the shield, after all—”
The entire building shuddered violently, interrupting the Transfer Captain’s statement as the three Chaotics were thrown to the ground. Alarms promptly began to sound as all of the base personnel began scrambling in every direction in an urgent yet surprisingly calm manner.
Davídrius scowled. “The fuck’s goin’ on?”
“…Oh no…” Kevérin’s face fell as he turned his attention to his glasses’ information feed.
“…No.” The Velocitechnic stared at the Pyrotechnic incredulously. “No. Do not say Nanocreatures. It is not the Nanocreatures.”
“…But it is.” Kevérin looked up at Davídrius warily. “…The Nanocreatures just attacked this base. Directly.”