1 Day Later
“Oi, oi! Kevérin!”
“Huh?” The Pyrotechnic stopped in his tracks momentarily to turn around, spotting Davídrius as the Velocitechnic briskly approached from down the hall. Kevérin then turned back around and resumed walking at his previous pace, allowing Davídrius to catch up and fall into place beside him. “What is it?”
“Have you looked at this place?” Davídrius scowled as he glanced around the dark hallway they were walking through. “Are we supposed to fight Morcii here?”
“That’s the plan.”
“Well it’s a terrible plan! Ain’t it fuckin’ basic battle tactics that mountains make terrible battlegrounds?!”
“We have Chaotics like Kaoné on our side, and there’s a couple of Geotechnics amongst Krydonin’s forces. We can use the terrain to our advantage, not to mention it’ll be difficult for any of the Nanocreature ships to land nearby before the base’s anti-air weapons blow them to bits.”
“You’re implyin’ that our tech can stand up to the Nanocreatures, or that we’ll even have time to react. What if Morcii pulls that planetfall bullshit he did back on Oriciid’kas and just obliterate half the base on impact? What then?”
“He can’t get the drop on us like that, though. The Genesis is keeping explicit look out for him, so we’ll have advance warning. He may be fast, but his movement speed is far from instantaneous.”
“Advance warnin’,” Davídrius scoffed as the two Chaotics rounded a corner into a far more spacious walkway. The wall to their left slanted inward and hosted several long windows, allowing a grand view of the mountainside, neighboring crevice, and the mountains beyond. “By ‘advance warnin’, do you mean we’ll have three seconds to react instead of just two?”
“Quit complaining,” Kevérin retorted, absentmindedly patting the pouch slung over his armor that held the Ayas Tanivas as he and Davídrius stopped at a window to take in their surroundings. “The Nanocreatures are in the system and they could approach this planet at any time. We’re already committed, so we have no choice but to stand our ground.”
“Famous last words…”
A bright dot suddenly appeared in the sky, cutting the Velocitechnic off and drawing his attention. It briefly outshone the sun itself before fading away as quickly as it had appeared.
“What the—?!” Davídrius exclaimed, “the fuck was that?!”
“That was the Drive bomb going off,” Kevérin responded, his attention adjusting from the sky outside to his glasses’ information feed. “Well, the bomb actually went off a while ago, but light doesn’t travel instantaneously, you know.”
“Drive bomb? You mean that Subspace Drive rig the Earthians were talkin’ about yesterday? I thought we were usin’ it against the Nanocreatures, but there’s no fleets around this planet…”
“It was used against the Nanocreature fleets. The ones fighting above Gu’Dan, in fact.”
“What?! And we saw it from here?!”
“Yep…” Kevérin responded warily. “And we’ll know just how effective it was right about… now.”
“The damage data is coming in now, is what I meant. It looks like the Drive bomb was surprisingly effective, actually; they wiped out nearly four thousand Nanocreature ships with that one bomb. That’s pretty damn impressive—!?”
The two Chaotics were interrupted again by another flash of light, this one significantly brighter and longer in duration than the one previous; Davídrius and Kevérin both reflexively winced and looked away due to the pure intensity alone.
“Was that another Drive bomb?” Davídrius scowled. “Shit, I feel sorry for any of the poor schmucks stuck in the space battle.”
“No… that can’t be right,” Kevérin responded slowly, “we… the CSA only had one Drive, so there was only one bomb. The Genesis only brought one prototype Drive for the CSA, there’s no way they had another. This one was…”
“…Was what?” Davídrius prompted uneasily after the Transfer Captain paused for several moments.
“…It was the Nanocreatures. They used their own Drive bomb in retaliation. Except they wiped out twenty thousand of our ships — one of which was the Siion Deathnought! — and also obliterated a fourth of Gu’Dan.”
“They obliterated the local Fortress World. Took a whole chunk out of it…”
Davídrius stared at the Pyrotechnic uneasily as he continued reading the data feed on his glasses. “…You’re kiddin’. Right? This is just a really, really bad joke. Right?”
“I wish it was…”
“So the Nanocreatures can destroy whole fuckin’ planets, then, huh? Well why the fuck don’t they just do that, then? Are they fuckin’ toyin’ with us? Is that it?”
“…Suddenly, this plan to lure Morcii to an isolated planet is making a lot less sense…”
“Oh, now you say that!”
“Well, there’s no time to change our minds now.” Kevérin pointed up at the sky again just as klaxons began blaring in the hallway and several anti-air batteries built into the mountainside began firing. “Looks like the Nanocreatures are here.”
“’Course they are.”
“C’mon.” Kevérin gestured for Davídrius to follow as he began walking down the hallway again at a brisk pace. “Let’s join the defense. It’s only a matter of time now before our help is needed.”
Kaoné and Krydonin burst out of one of the mountain base’s airlocks just after Kievkenalis leveled a nearby cliff, obliterating a Nanocreature landing ship. He immediately shouted “Chaos Assist” before diving out of the way as Kaoné raised several spikes high into the air, piercing several more Nanocreature ships. Many of the ships immediately broke apart into several pieces that quickly reformed themselves into four-legged monsters, but before any of them could reach the ground, Krydonin telekinetically slammed them with stones, knocking them down the mountainside.
“They’re breaking through the air defenses already?” Wilkas scowled, observing the fighting below as he stopped just short of the edge of the base’s roof.
“They sure can beat our tech easily enough,” Vélunis remarked, creating a sniper rifle and using it to watch the ongoing ground-side battle before quickly moving his sights to Nanocreature units and opening fire. “But against Chaotics they lose, huh? …What’re you still sittin’ on your ass for, Wilkas? Get out there!”
“Thanks for asking nicely!” Wilkas shot back, but nonetheless joined the battle by leaping off of the roof, spinning halfway around midair and slamming his fist into the ground, shattering the rock for meters around.
“Try not to get carried away!” Krydonin ordered over the comms, “cause the mountainside too much damage and we’ll bring the whole thing down on top of us—!?”
No sooner had the words left her mouth, the entire forward wing of the base gave a loud metallic groan, filling the valley with a deafening echo. Kaoné immediately jumped away from the Nanocreatures she was confronting and turned toward the base, using her Materiatechnism to fix the foundation and support the surrounding terrain. “…This takes a lot of effort!” she shouted as she looked back at a handful of approaching metallic monsters. “Someone… cover me!”
Immediately a burst of fire swept over the terrain, cleanly fusing the Nanocreatures to the ground before Davídrius appeared in front of them and punted them down the mountainside. He gave Kevérin a quick nod before sprinting off to assist a small group of Black Suns Chaotics farther away. Kevérin then glanced back to Kaoné, giving her an all clear signal before muttering “Overdrive: Unrelenting Flame,” and rushing off on his own.
“Chaos Charge,” Kievkenalis muttered, jumping back just as a Black Suns Electrotechnic fried the area in front of him with a single lightning strike. He then whipped around on his heel, firing several Chaos Strikes at approaching Nanocreatures before calling out “Chaos Armor,” thereby encasing his body in thick shields of Chaos Energy. Immediately afterward he fired a Chaos Cannon shot to his left just as Wilkas barged onto the scene with his fist out, impacting the Cannon projectile at just the right time to send it careening down the valley and into the crevice below, triggering a rock slide that crushed several Nanocreature bug swarms. The two Chaotics offered each other only a brief nod of acknowledgment before Wilkas charged forward again, smashing through the Nanocreatures in front of him just as Kevérin swept the ground behind him with flames, allowing Kievkenalis to disengage and run off to another area of the battlefield.
“Ha ha!” Davídrius whooped as he flipped through the air, slicing through several Nanocreatures below him with his outstretched blades. He landed on the ground with a roll before leaping back to his feet and dashing forward, weaving through hard light beams from a nearby Black Suns Solartechnic as he diced the smaller Nanocreature units with ease. After making some distance from the Solartechnic, he leaped into the air again, flipping once before driving his blades into two more Nanocreatures that were sitting on top of a large boulder. He immediately flipped away, but stumbled as his blades caught in the stone, sending him tumbling to the ground… just as the four-meter object began moving on its own.
“What the—?!” The Velocitechnic scowled, rolling backwards and jumping a short distance into the air just as a long appendage shot out from the stone’s base and swiped under his feet. Several more appendages began appearing as the stone spun around, forcing Davídrius to duck and roll away again to dodge — and subsequently get slammed over the cliff side from a third appendage that he had failed to spot. Before he had much time to fall, though, an invisible force grabbed his legs and threw him back on land.
“Don’t get carried away!” Krydonin barked as she alighted on the ground next to Davídrius. The Velocitechnic barely had time to acknowledge her before Vélunis appeared on the other side of him, haphazardly crafted two blades out of thin air, dumped them in Davídrius’s lap, and then gestured forward.
“The hell is that?” he questioned tensely, hastily creating a crude laser cannon as the large stone that had attacked Davídrius finally morphed into a fully autonomous six-legged creature. “…It was a Nano-whatsit too?”
The answer to Vélunis’s question came as the creature charged, firing several projectiles out of its insect-like mouth that all morphed into smaller metallic bugs midair. Davídrius immediately prepared to cut them all down but Vélunis responded faster, firing his laser cannon at the large creature before throwing it aside and creating three javelins in his hand — which Krydonin immediately snatched up with her telekinesis and used to spear the incoming Nanocreatures and then toss them aside. Davídrius dashed forward to catch the discarded weapons and then rammed them into the front legs of the large Nanocreature, but was immediately forced to dive to the side as the bug lunged forward. It quickly followed by developing two plasma cannons on its back and firing at Vélunis and Krydonin, hitting them both dead-on and flinging them backwards. Davídrius jumped back to his feet and back flipped onto the creature, slicing off its cannons in the process — but the moment his foot landed on the bug’s back, the creature transformed the entire surface into a giant springboard and flung the Velocitechnic high into the air. Krydonin quickly moved to catch him as Vélunis spun around, crafting two more laser cannons and firing repeatedly at the Nanocreature. The weapons fire blew off three of its legs, but all of the debris flung away from the Nanocreature suddenly froze midair and reversed direction, zooming through the air toward Vélunis as they transformed into a variety of sharp objects.
“Overdrive: Invisible Hand.”
Each of the flying knives was suddenly stopped by a similarly-sized stone leaping up from the ground below. Krydonin casually stepped forward, reaching out with her left hand and then clenching it, causing all of the frozen material — Nanocreature and stone alike — to quickly coalesce into a large sphere. The Manipulator Psychotechnic then flung the sphere at the creature as it charged forward; the sphere simply rebounded off of its metallic body, but Krydonin immediately followed by swiftly raising both of her arms, causing a large pillar of stone to suddenly rise and impale the creature from below. Without even pausing to check the status of the large bug, she pumped her right fist and then thrust it forward, manifesting in a large invisible force impacting the creature from the front and throwing it off of the cliff behind it, impaling spike and all. But before it disappeared from view, the Commander swept her left hand from below, causing a large hand of stone to catch the Nanocreature, slam it back onto land, and then clutch it tightly in a fist. With her right hand, Krydonin lifted the trapped creature higher into the air before cracking her knuckles and positioning her hands palms-out and fingers-forward, as if trying to separate two large objects. She paused for a moment, taking a deep breath… and then yanked her hands apart, causing the floating stone hand and creature to tear itself asunder. With a single final sweep of her arms, all of the debris was covered by a solid layer of stone, leaving little sign of any battle at all aside from a suspiciously smooth mountainside.
Davídrius whistled in admiration. “Well that was an impressive show.”
“I’m not a Commander for nothing,” Krydonin replied casually as she slowly scanned the battlefield beyond their immediately vicinity.
“Was all that hand-waving really necessary, though?” Vélunis questioned, “sure, I’m grateful for the save, but it seemed like you were just showing off.”
“As… grandiose as it may appear, it does help visualize the movement of force,” she responded as she turned back to face the two Nimalian Chaotics. “Ask any Psychotechnic and they’d say the same. Even then, though, it’s a function of my Overdrive.”
“WHICH IS QUITE LAUGHABLE, I MUST SAY. REQUIRING EXTRA STIMULI JUST TO MANAGE YOUR POWERS? PATHETIC!”
“What?!” Davídrius and Vélunis immediately backed into defensive stances and then jumped away as Morcii alighted on the ground not even a meter behind them.
“You’re… Morcii?” Krydonin glared at the Nanocreature leader, but cautiously backed away all the same as she noticed the tense expressions on the Nimalians’ faces.
“HMM, IT WOULD SEEM AS THOUGH THE ENTIRE GALAXY TRULY DOES RECOGNIZE MY FACE.” Morcii chuckled, and then slipped into a musing tone. “I SUPPOSE I SHOULDN’T BE SURPRISED, GIVEN THAT I ADDRESSED THE ENTIRE GALAXY WITH A VIDEO MESSAGE NOT LONG AFTER MY INITIAL ASSAULT…”
“Chaos State: First Tier!”
Kevérin and Kievkenalis both lunged forward, each using their Ayas to enter the Chaos State before attacking with flames and Chaos Energy from clear across the battlefield in an attempt to land a preemptive strike on Morcii. In the same instant, Davídrius and Vélunis lunged forward, hands occupied with blades as they moved to stab the Nanocreature leader while his attention was directed elsewhere — but before they could get within even half a meter of Morcii, the atmosphere all around them suddenly charged with immense amounts of energy, followed immediately by lightning strikes littering the battlefield, striking every Black Suns and Nimalian Chaotic and completely overloading their Armors.
“The hell—?!” Vélunis grunted, the weight of his now-powerless armor bringing him to his knees. Every other Chaotic on the battlefield moved similarly, save for Wilkas, who resisted the weight through pure strength; Kevérin and Kievkenalis, who resisted through the Chaos State; and Kaoné, who had nigh-immediately repaired her armor with but a thought and quickly moved to repair everyone else’s.
“…So we learn of new powers every day, huh?” Davídrius smirked tensely as he slowly climbed back to his feet. “You’re an Electrotechnic, too?”
“NO…” Morcii shook his head. “I AM INCAPABLE OF INTERFACING WITH CHAOS ENERGY IN THE SAME MANNER AS YOU ALDREDANOIDS. IF I WISH TO POSSESS A CERTAIN POWER, THEN I MUST… ENLIST AN INDIVIDUAL WHO POSSESSES IT.”
“…So, those lightning strikes…” Kaoné responded warily, “…those weren’t… you?”
“Ahahaha! No… no, they weren’t.” Morcii smiled viciously. “Perhaps you’d like to meet your attacker, though, hmm?”
As soon as the words left his mouth, the ground beside him exploded from an impact from above, flinging stone and debris everywhere and obscuring the shape of the new object. As the dust began to clear, its shape and attributes became more apparent: Aldredanoid, pale skin, maroon waist-cloak, gray pants, navy blue fitted chest plate, shoulder-length black hair, metallic rash-like marks alongside the left side of her face and down her left arm…
“Allow me to introduce my new lieutenant.” Morcii chuckled as he placed a hand on the woman’s shoulder. “I’m sure you all know her very well.”
“You’re shittin’ me…” Davídrius’s smirk contorted into a scowl of confusion and anger. “You’re… no. You can’t be… Siyuakén?”