Story:Operation Dark Secrets

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Operation Dark Secrets
Main author(s) User:Krayfish, User:Nra 'Vadumee
Genre {{{genre}}}
Timeframe 2142 AD
Era {{{era}}}
Story arcs Dark Prophecy story arc
Wordcount {{{words}}}

Operation Dark Secrets follows Operation Money Cushion.

Chapter 1: The Wild Frontier

"All GSSOC members, report to room F3. All GSSOC members, report to room F3."

They all quickly made their way to the briefing room where they saw Grandmaster Ckeros there. Ahrganot was not present as he had gone on leave, departing the team to resolve some family business. "GSSOC, this is utterly crucial. Using all the data you gathered from the Genodraco and the Dark Warrior Umbra Castra, we’ve managed to locate what we may believe to be a Hashaeon base. If our sources are correct, we may have found Renr Gron himself."

"Renr?" Etah said to himself. “Grandmaster, are you sure about this?”

"Certain," Ckeros replied. A holographic map of the galaxy appeared. A yellow square zoomed into a particular area of the Scutum-Centaurus Arm showing a collection of star systems. "He's here - the Sauren Frontier Worlds. On a currently unnamed planet at these coordinates."

"What else can we expect when we get there?" Tholker asked.

"Renr is more than likely to have fleets of Genodraco ships. This will be an invasion. GSSOC, your job is to get to the ground and disable any AA towers. After that, we can lead a proper airstrike giving you access to the base."

"Sounds good. And the invasion force?" Tholker asked.

"A fleet of Karnasaur ships will hold them off while you get the Batra within a few kilometers of the base. It will be a long trek to get there, but based on our recon scans, that's the closest your ship can get without being gunned down."

"And what is the planet like?" Galiana asked.

"We've gathered general data on it with our recon probes, but we haven't been able to get close enough without drawing attention. From what I hear, the wildlife is hostile so be careful. The atmosphere is your standard nitrogen-oxygen mixture at 1.1 atm so you won’t need pressure suits, but be advised of the sun’s UV blasts. If the sun begins to suddenly increase in luminosity, then take cover in some shade."

“Okay, I’d rather not get a tan under that type of star,” Galiana half-jokingly said.

After taking a short fifteen minute break, the GSSOC once again made their way to the Batra to leave Ilion and head for that sector on the galaxy map. A rather remote area within the borders of Karnasaur territory - mapped out but never explored. Large fleets followed them.

“ETA 10 minutes," Etah announced. "We need to be on our guard. This area is between Sauran space and the Frontier Worlds.”

“Frontier Worlds?” Galiana inquired.

“The ‘Saurs have population issues, I hear. So Emperor Clar issued a proclamation that whoever settles in the area between this arm and the next, which was pretty peppered with planets, would get tax deductions and eventually government grants. But since there’s not a military or peacekeeping force around, it’s kind of a hell hole for people. A godsend for criminals, but a hell hole for people.” Tholker explained.

After getting close, the radar begun picking up some readings relayed from the Universal Positioning System. After a few minutes, several different planets begun showing up on a computer monitor. There was one in particular that was orbiting a red dwarf star. Readings on the planet’s geography and atmosphere were relayed in.

“Look at that one,” Sol I Dor said pointing to one of the planets. “What a strange planet...”

Etah glanced at it closer, examining the basic data laid out on the side of the wireframe diagram. The planet had a ring system as well as four large asteroids in stable orbit.

“Odd...it seems the roles of flora and fauna on this world...are reversed,” Etah said.

“So we got giant carnivorous plants and photosynthetic animals?” Tholker asked.

“Correct, but we need to get closer to get some more accurate readings,” Etah said.

As the ship approached the peculiar planet, a small fleet of ships had approached them dropping out of warp, varying in design from Eteno to Dhragolon to Karnasaur. Each of those ships were equipped with a wide array of plasma cannons ready to fire. A small group of corvettes and a frigate.

“Those aren’t Genodraco ships...” Sol I Dor said.

“Pirates...A common sight in the Frontier Worlds,” Etah said. The Batra was heavily armed and built for maneuverability. The ship’s thrusters were equipped to be able to rotate in multiple directions, but even then, it was incredibly difficult to fly it like an aircraft could within an atmosphere. Shortly after, a transmission was sent to them.

"You are surrounded," a pirate said through the comm. "Give us all your stuff."

Tholker casually replied, "Silly pirates. You can't surround someone in space." That moment, Etah signaled Sol I Dor he activated the propulsion engines and took off, narrowly dodging several bolts of plasma. Spotting a large asteroid nearby, Sol I Dor quickly zipped the ship behind, then under it as the pirates begun chasing after them taking cover.

One of the corvettes flew within firing range. Sol I Dor pressed a button and from a large cannon the Batra's roof, a stream red hot Maj came bursting out at a fraction of the speed of light, incinerating the ship.

"Nice shot!" Galiana said.

Several more corvettes were surrounding the asteroids returning fire with bombardments of plasma. The Batra had to take cover once more. The next asteroid was too far away. Despite the Batra's firepower, it was not equipped to fight in wide open spaces. It relied on using other celestial objects to its advantage. Without the support of an entire fleet, the Batra would be nothing more than a sitting duck. The next maneuver was to maneuver into the ring system on the planet below. Sol I Dor tapped a few more buttons - the ship's engines spun around changing direction. Frantically, he kept his eye on the radar as well as enemy fire. Even so, the Batra was already being pelted with plasma bolts. The telekinetic shields created from the Maj core managed to absorb some of the projectiles.

"Shields at 60%," a computerized voice replied.

Seeking cover, the Batra quickly immersed itself into the dusty ring system. Dust and small rocks had surrounded them. Most of the pirates had left after that, but there was on in particular that was continuing its search. The dust from the ring system was obscuring the Batra’s signals. Inching out and rising above the ring, the Batra locked onto the ship and fired a particle beam, obliterating it.

“That’s the last of them,” Sol I Dor said.

“Ha ha,” Tholker chuckled. “I love it when the bad guys forget about the third dimension..”

After the pirates were destroyed, the radar started sounding off. Unusual activity was being detected below. The data matched that of Eska and Grjdonsk from both Operation Dragonslayer and Operation Raising Hell respectively.

“Genodraco...” Etah said. “We’re not done yet.”

“The ship is detecting some sort of encampment on a small peninsula just above the equator. A few AA towers there, so we need to land at least a few kilometers away,” Tholker said.

Chapter 2: Arrival on Krar

As Ahrganot got closer to Krar, he soon received a superluminal signal from an AI in orbit. Just a security checkpoint. Nothing unusual.

"Please state your name and business."

"I am Ahrganot Skizgo..." he said. “I am a member of GSSOC, and my business is classified”. He sat there for a second and awaited for a response.

He soon received another transmission. "Ahrganot Skizgo. I have an identity match. Welcome to Krar. You may pass. Docking Bay 726 in Krar'Yallvus is now open."

Ahrganot came closer to Krar and eventually arrived above the city and entered a force field, finding a small spot to land the pod. As he left the docking bay, he arrived inside a prestigious room with a dome glass ceiling. A fountain was at its center with several trees dotted around it. He could see all sorts of species going by: Dhragolon, Eteno, Karnasaur, Sarkakion, and even some he did not recognize. Past the glass dome he could see a green nebula in the starry sky along with a white sun. The subtle sounds of a crowded mall and the rushing water of the fountain accompanied the view along with some uplifting, yet soothing piano melody playing from hidden speakers. He had never been to Krar, and never thought he would be greeted with such a marvelous sight, and he never felt so relaxed and soothed in his life.

But despite this, he didn’t feel ready. Ready to face his brother and confront him. Could he defeat him? Could he prove his own ideals to be correct? He wasn’t sure. The soothing atmosphere of the Upperworld was not enough for him. Needing a refreshment, he decided he needed to satiate a craving for some alcohol. He made his way to a nearby glass elevator, which could transport him across the entire city. He happened to choose to go to a sector known as the Underworld. The place was notorious for its crime, but at this point, Ahrganot did not care where he was going.

After stepping outside the elevator, he was greeted by an unsettling red-tintend crowded metallic hallway, a sharp contrast the soothing Upperworld where he was once was. Not a far walk away, he quickly spotted a red neon sign which read "Red Octagon" and promptly stepped inside.


As Ahrganot entered the bar, every other alien taking a quick glance at him. He took a seat on a stool in front of a human bartender.

"What it'll be?" the bartender asked.

"Give me a moment...still deciding," Ahrganot said wanting to adjust to the atmosphere. Adjacent to the bar was a dance floor with a multitude of flashing lights, as well as a variety of dancing aliens from human to Karnasaur. The bass of steady heavy techno music could be heard. The sounds of glasses bumping into each other accompanied an ambience of a mumbling crowd.

Only moments later, an Eteno walked by and looked at him. “Wait, do I know you? I’ve seen your face on holovision somewhere."

Ahrganot lifted his head and leaned forward slightly to look at the Eteno. He paused for a moment trying to figure out what to say. "What makes you say that?"

"Wait, you’re in GSSOC! The Dhragolon guy. Ahrganot Skizgo? I bet you know Tholker Zhevhyit pretty well. He’s my personal hero.”

“Keep it down will you,” Ahrganot said shushing him. “I’m not in the mood for attention.”

”Apologies, the name's Stevan Dubravko. I'm part of the exchange program to learn your ways. One of my tasks here is to interview an experienced Dhragolon Master. I'm supposed to learn what sort of skills your kind has."

"And you look in some rundown place for a high ranking Dhragolon officer?"

"Oh c'mon. Don't brush me off so easily. Skilled Dhragolon fighters are really hard to come by. We were not allowed to interview our instructors. I literally spent days looking for someone like you, and I find you here in the Underworld of all places."

"I'm really not up for it."

"Something's bothering you. I'll buy you a drink. My treat."

"One beer, please," Stevan said.

"And him?" said the human bartender.

Ahrganot was spaced out. Stevan quickly nudged him, "Oh, uh...just an Arkorhan mead."

The two took a seat at a high table. Ahrganot took a sip of the mead. Way stronger than he thought it would be, and he was already feeling less tense and uptight.

Stevan said, "So tell me, Ahrganot. What's on your mind?"

Ahrganot then realized internally that Stevan had got Ahrganot to consume alcohol so that he would be more open. A tricky one he was. He could not resist the question. "I’m going to meet with my brother soon."

"Your brother? Why's that?"

"He's my archrival. And he’s challenged me to a fight."

Stevan began taking his notes so that he could get the information he needed to complete the task. "Ah, so you want to prove your skills over him? That's interesting. Tell me then. What kind of abilities do you have?"

"I'm no super Dhragolon. I don't have any special powers. No cybernetics or anything."

"What about that Maj stuff you got? Isn't that an awesome power to have? Controlling the forces of nature with only the wave of a hand?"

"Nearly all Dhragolon can control Maj. It's nothing special."

"There's got to be something unique about you, my friend," Stevan said.

"Well, I did graduate from the Malinian Combat Institution."

Stevan replied, "I've heard of that place. That's some kind of ninja school, isn't it? Pretty prestigious for you to come from there. Tell me more."

"I served as both an assassin and a spy before joining GSSOC."

"Wow, pretty awesome. You must have some impressive stealth skills then."

Ahrganot was not sure what to think. All he could do was reply, "Thank...you."

"Well, I don't mean to brag myself, but we Eteno are taught to have the utmost pride in yourself. We are patriots. We serve the empire and die honorably. If you ever hope to defeat your brother, you should probably do the same. Anyways, thanks for the quick interview."

"No problem," Ahrganot said.

Stevan got out of his chair, while Ahrganot remained sitting finishing off his Arkorha. As Stevan was leaving, he accidentally bumped into a Katrakhan with a gas mask sitting on a high stool. "Watch it, ya runt!" he said in a gruff accent.

"Excuse me?!" Stevan replied

"I said 'watch it'. Clear enough for ya?"

"Don't call me a runt."

"Ya think your tough, eh?" the thug Katrakhan said. He got off his chair grabbed Stevan's throat. Stevan could have easily broken free if another Eteno was doing this to him, but this was a Katrakhan. The thug's grip was much tighter. The Katrakhan lifted him above the ground, and Stevan struggled trying to get the Katrakhan's burly hands off, but couldn't. For a few moments, no one in the bar did anything. Ahrganot raising his head moved at a blinding speed and appeared behind the thug, drawing both of his daggers and putting them up the Katrakhan's neck. The band stopped playing and everyone else went silent to look at the commotion.

"Put him down!" Ahrganot said.

"Or what?" the thug replied.

Ahrganot said, "I said put him down!."

The thug let go, dropping Stevan to the ground. "Alright, put those knives away. Let's settle this with a fair fight." The Katrakhan swung his lumbering arm at Ahrganot who ducked his head and grabbed the thug's arm and pinched one of his nerve points paralyzing it almost effortlessly. "Argh! What ya do to my arm?!"

"Don't worry. It'll stay like that for about an hour."

"Alright, alright, you win," pleaded the thug. I didn't mean to cause you guys trouble.

The rest of the people in the bar resumed their business. Stevan was stunned at how quickly Ahrganot dealt with the thug. He hardly had time to blink. He ran to Ahrganot. "Wow, you are truly an amazing warrior. I've never seen anything like that!"

"It was nothing I couldn't handle."

"Well, thanks anyway. I better be off now."

As Stevan left, Ahrganot stared down the Katrakhan. "Don’t cross with me again."

The Katrakhan, clenching his paralyzed arm, replied, "Oh believe me, I won’t. I know who you are. And I know about your brother, the shady. Those guys that can’t die. Able to vanish into thin air. They're like ghosts I tell ya!"

"That’s classified information."

“Oh don’t give me that. It’s the extra-net era. Word gets out fast when you can ring things up superluminally,” the Katrakhan said. “Since that whole fiasco on Herit, word spread like wildfire. They’re becoming bolder. Best keep your own head down before someone mistakes you for your brother.”

"I’m going to sort this out soon," Ahrganot said.

"You really think you can trust a shady? That's got the words 'trap' written all over them. But better you than me," the Katrakhan said. Ahrganot nodded his head. But now feeling refreshed and more confidence, he returned to his pod to leave Krar and enter FTL once more.

Chapter 3: The Planet of Light and Dark

The Batra prepared itself for atmosphere entry into the unexplored planet. After a few minutes, the ground itself became visible after the Batra emerged through the cloud layer. Through the viewscreens, they could see large fields of dark pink and red vegetation.

The Batra was finally close enough to create a wormhole. High enough off the ground to remain relatively unnoticed by the Genodraco - they might see it as a wandering explorer. Promptly, they proceeded to put on protective visors. Sol I Dor would stay aboard to provide aerial support.

“I’ll beam the rest of you one mile away. That should give us some good distance,” Sol I Dor said.

“Just a reminder, this planet should have a breathable atmosphere, but regularly, its star will triple in luminosity and output dangerous UV radiation. So...just stay out of the sun as best you can really,” Tholker said.

After the airlock pressurized to match Silva’s atmosphere, a wormhole opened up and the four them stepped through emerging onto a mud plain with strange plants. In the sky was a motionless red sun which glowed brightly. Short mandible-shaped shrubs sparsely dotted the ground. The sounds of heartbeats echoed across the landscape, a well as the moans of some unknown creatures. Soon enough, the plants began rustling - a large flower-like beast with roots for legs trudged itself along the mud, dragging itself along the ground. This flower creature stepped on one of the mandible shrubs which promptly pierced against it, severing it. Galiana jumped at the crackling sound it made.

“You know, did the Grandmaster say what this place was called?” Tholker said.

“Actually,” Etah said. “He didn’t. This is an unnamed world.”

“How about let’s call it Silva?” Galiana said. “It’s a forest planet after all.”

“A Sauren word?” Etah said. “Quite fitting.” “Don’t you mean Latin?” Galiana said. “I studied it on Timari.”

“Well, Latin is the human word for the Sauren language,” Etah said. “We...well..meddled around a lot with early primitive cultures especially those with a voice box similar to ours. Like humans and Eteno for example.”

“I guess that’s why our people never heard of the Sauren language before,” Sol I Dor jokingly remarked through the radio given that his species only communicated with clicking noises rather than voice.

Very soon, the group followed the map that the Batra had created. About one mile away was an encampment of sorts. Soon, they began making their way through the forest, carefully making sure not to step on those mandible shrubs. The forest was literally alive as the plants were constantly shifting around - moving like animals in search of good soil patches as well as spot to capture sunlight. A truly alien planet.

But then, the sun brightened more and more. Warning signals flickered on their wristbands. That was their cue to take cover behind a nearby rock. Much of the wildlife did the same. And from the shadow of the rock, they could see a small, grub-like creature cooking in the sun. Within moments, it was completely lifeless. A beautiful alien planet just as harsh to its native life.

After the sun dimmed, they continued on their way. As they walked a brisk pace through, the forest became more and more unclear as it kept shifting around. Very soon, they were more spaced apart from one another.

Galiana had gotten slightly off track losing sight of the rest of the team. She stopped for a moment trying to get her bearings. After a moment, she spotted one particular stationary landmark she had passed by earlier. A tree with tentacle-like branches. Galiana took a few steps closer to the tentacle tree, examining it. Unlike some of the other plant creatures, this one was completely stationary. The plant slightly leaned towards her and the tentacles raised upward. Sensing the danger, she took a few steps back, but the tentacles wrapped themselves around her ankle. Before they could pull her into its mouth, she slashed them off, and the plant let out a high-pitched shriek.

“That was too close, Galiana...” Tholker added.

“Well...should we get going?” Galiana casually replied.

“Are you sure you're okay?” Etah asked. “Do you need a break?”

“No, I’m fine,” Galiana said. “Let’s keep going.”


Chapter 4: The Traitor's Camp

After passing through the shifting forest, they arrived to some great metallic walls with a large gate. The top of the wall was aligned with turrets. A twin set of giant anti-space guns towered at the entrance to the encampment. Surrounding this fortress on the other three sides were expanses of ocean. In the distance, they could see a frigid wall of ice that made of the nightside of the planet. A serene, yet sinister place.

"So...how are we going to get past that?" Galiana asked.

"Good question," Tholker said. "Our infiltrator isn’t here."

"Tholker," Etah said. "Our only option is to disable those AA towers. Then, we can get the Batra close in."

"Sure, I just need to get closer," Tholker said casually replied.

"Sol I Dor, Galiana. We are going in once the Batra bombs open the gate."

Like a worm, Tholker began wriggling his way through the moving plants, being careful not to step on any of the carnivorous ones. But for a second, he thought he saw the ground shift around a little bit. Was there something buried underneath. Hopefully, nothing would come up from the ground and snatch him up. After all, Galiana almost got eaten already, and Tholker wasn’t looking forward to such a fate either.

He quickly approached one of the enormous anti-space guns to the left of where GSSOC was standing. He looked to the control panel and proceeded to hack it away.

“Hmmm...let’s see here…” Tholker said scanning it. “Never seen this type of encryption before.” As he examined closer and closer, he found himself already stumped. True. He was linked to the supercomputer on Grjdonsk so that he could make these types of instant decryption calculations, but this was nothing like he had ever seen before. Where was this information being stored, he thought? It didn’t make sense. The exchange of heat on the circuitry was way off, as if the laws of physics were being cheated. Karnasaur tech? Well, Etah would have been bragging about that sort of thing in his face if that were true. This had to be something far more advanced than anything that currently exists.

But then, Tholker perked up slightly when he felt a gun pressed against his head. He could have probably taken the blast whatever it was thanks to his shields and cybernetics, but he paused.

“Step away from the control panel,” the voice said. A malformed Karnasaur. No doubt a Genodraco.

“Tell me how the hell this thing works. It violates the Bekenstein bound.”

The Genodraco pressed the gun harder against his head. “The Dark Prophet has brought us gifts from a time long past. You cannot possibly hope to understand. Now, you will come with me”

But the attempt to take Tholker hostage was interrupted as the ground nearby quakes as if something was rising from beneath the earth. A secret hidden device or turret? No, Tholker would have detected something like that. Whatever this was, it was organic.

“Tell me, how much extensive research did you do on this planet’s wildlife before you decided to put a base here,” Tholker mockingly asked. The Genodraco did not respond.

Emerging from it, a massive tortoise-like animal. The ground he once stood on was now atop its back as it held it up with two enormous, pillar-like legs. A majestic crest adorned its mouthless head, and it had a set of four tusks. It let out a tremor inducing humming call to signify its awakening. A Terradon. It was technically just a giant walking plant, and it didn’t look carnivorous. But it didn’t look happy.

The Terradon set its sights on the two of them sounding off with deep bone-rattling hums that clearly indicated aggression. After stomping on the ground several times, it charged. The Genodraco dropped his gun and took off running while Tholker remained. He got an idea. If he couldn’t hack the control panel...well, as the Terradon charged towards him, Tholker dived away at the last second as it bashed against the AA tower.

Tholker looked up and could see the tower leaning out of alignment. But that was not all. The Terradon’s bashing exposed some of the circuitry and pipes that linked to a heat sink below. The next time this thing were to fire, it would just explode at its base and topple over. Wait, actually, he was doing that sort of thing back on Eska. So why not?

Waiting for the Terradon to go back to its nesting spot, Tholker quickly planted a few explosives at the exposed path to the heat sink. And then, he took cover, plugged his ears and shouted “Timber” through the radio.

From outside the gate, Etah, Sol I Dor and Galiana could see the tower toppling over against the nearby adjacent AA tower. And in response, the siren alarm echoed across the encampment disturbing the wildlife.

“I thought you were going to hack them,” Etah said recalling the incident aboard the Oculus.

“Hey, whatever works,” Tholker replied.

“Alright, I’m signaling the invasion fleet now,” Sol I Dor said. “Get ready to storm the castle!” And from the ground they could see Karnasaur and Genodraco ships warping into orbit and exchanging fire. The Genodraco infantry all scrambled to get into their positions as tungsten rods rained down from the sky, blasting open the gates and destroying the turrets.

“Go, go, go!” Etah shouted as they made a run through the firefight. More Terradons rose from the disturbance and rampaged about knocking Genodraco left and right, flinging them into the air. Total chaos. For Etah, this was perfect harmony.

Dust kicked up into the air as debris flew across the sky, but they all kept running forward. Keep going and going. Tholker led the way, constantly mapping out the area as the Karnasaur ships from above fed him scans of the planet from orbit so that he could map out the encampment in greater detail.

“This way!” Tholker shouted, leading the group down an incline and at a great sliding door. Like a bunker. Whatever was on the other side, it had to be Renr.


Chapter 5: Noxuna

Ahrganot set a course for Noxuna. The planet was only a few lightyears away, but it had no parent star. Why would Wezga be there? The trip is very long, about a week. Eventually, he came into orbit of a rocky moon with a faintly glowing brown dwarf looming in the distance. After entering the atmosphere, he landed on some very rocky terrain.

Ahrganot stepped out into the desolate landscape. There were chills in the air. Ahrganot walked aimlessly for about a mile, looking for wherever Wezga might be. Then, at the horizon, he noticed a dark figure. It vanished. As he wandered around more, the dark figure appeared closer. The figure had reappeared once again, this time about several feet away. Ahrganot could see it clearly now. It was a Dhragolon in black robes and with white bandages about his neck about Ahrganot's height. Then, the shadowy took off his hood and revealed its face.

"Skizgo," the figure uttered.

"Wezga..."

"It's been a long time, brother," Wezga said.

Ahrganot readied his weapons, while his brother did the same. "Far too long. I've been waiting for this moment ever since Falan murdered Eiketsu. Only one of us will stand after this."

"Falan, hmm? Yes, I remember that day. But let's not waste any time reminiscing about the past. Let's get this over with shall we?"

"Yes...let's." Both of them charged at each other, then took a synchronized leap. Ahrganot swiped his daggers while Wezga blocked them. They both landed on the ground. Ahrganot was on the offensive while Wezga was desperately blocking.

"You've gotten better, brother. But I still have something you don't!" Wezga vanished into a cloud of darkness and reappeared behind him. Wezga tried to land a hit, but Ahrganot was quick to block. They both leaped backwards. Ahrganot lept forwards attempting to strike him. "Too slow!" Wezga shouted reappearing behind Ahrganot and kicking him to the ground. Ahrganot quickly got up and dodged a vertical slice. This duel was very similar to that with Umbra with the reappearing in different locations. However, Wezga was much more skilled and agile.

Ahrganot quickly dashed in a circle around Wezga and parried him. He landed a hit, but his daggers went through Wezga. "No!" Ahrganot exclaimed.

"Why should you be so surprised? I'm a Dark Warrior, remember?" Wezga taunted. Wezga was on the offensive now. As Ahrganot focused on blocking and even dodging a few of Wezga's short distance teleporting tricks, Ahrganot flashed back to the battle with Umbra. Sol I Dor had used some psychic techniques to deal damage to Umbra. Ahrganot had also recalled using the Malinian Ice Rage on Wezga the second time he battled him which stalled him. However, it would be too risky to use it in this situation. That would leave Ahrganot open for attack. Then he got an idea.

Ahrganot now decided to keep himself distant from Wezga. From the battle with Umbra, Ahrganot had learned how to configure the correct Maj type to combat Dark Warriors. He cloaked his dagger in the correct Maj type then, he made a dash for Wezga and managed to land a hit on Wezga, leaving a scratch on him. Both of them were just as surprised.

"Not bad, Ahrganot! You've improved! But so have I!" Wezga almost blinding move behind Ahrganot and put a scar on his arm.

The battle continued. Now that they landed hits on one another, more and more scars appearing all over their bodies. However, Ahrganot was in the lead. He noticed Wezga was panting harder. Then, Ahrganot went for the finishing blow. He crippled one of Wezga's legs and knocked him down. Wezga shrieked in pain as he lay on the dusty, hard ground. He was defeated.


Chapter 6: Apostle of the Dark Prophet

Tholker was about to hack his way through the big door, but oddly enough, it was unlocked already. That...was strange considering any sane man would put the whole place on lockdown. Etah signaled Sol I Dor, Galiana and Tholker to remain outside to secure the area while he went in alone. That way, whatever confrontation Etah would go through would remain uninterrupted. Upon walking inside, he spotted a menacing creature sitting on a chair, watching a series of monitors, holographic screens and galaxy maps.

“Renr. You left the door open. You should know better than to make such an amateurish mistake.”

The cybernetic Karnasaur remained still in his chair facing the monitors, but Etah swore he saw his frame tense slightly.

“I was waiting for this moment, Etah,” Renr said still gazing upon his maps. “Not to fight you, but to negotiate. I was going to open the gate for you, and make it easy to come inside. But no. You had to demolish my entire encampment, had you. Ever heard of knocking on the front door? It’s a common courtesy.”

“Then why all the resistance? To test me? I don’t have to tell that I’m not here to negotiate.”

“So you’ll kill me, then?” Renr replied spinning around in his chair, then standing up to face Etah. “Can you really do that so easily to someone with the face of an old friend?”

An awkward moment passed as the two former comrades stood, Renr’s back to Etah, with the latter’s gaze drilling into the former’s form.

“Renr...What did your boss offer you? Luxury? Power?” Etah interrogated.

“Freedom,” Renr stated bluntly.

“Freedom from what?” Etah countered snidely. “Sanity?”

Renr raised his head, but still refused to turn.

“You fail to understand the hard work the Dark Prophet does for us. His methods are questionable, yes, but he has shown me the true path to the continued existence of the universe. It is the likes of you that prevent his plans from being set into motion.”

Renr, in a flash of spite, turned around. Etah had not seen Renr’s face yet; he had been covered by a hood last time, and when the demonic red lights from his eyes reached Etah’s vision, a shiver of disturbance ran down his spine.

‘Renr... what have they done to you...’ Etah thought.

Etah looked over the abomination before him. His eyes glowed red, his neck lined by scarlet light patterns, his snarling mouth showing off an array of metal incisors, razor sharp and obviously made to reave and tear before killing. He was shirtless from the heat, and the crimson lines ran down his chest and lead into where his heart would be; A brightly glowing crimson circle gleamed over where his circulatory center should be, and his arms were lined like his neck. And from his back protruded mechanical gliders like wings.

“Yes, Etah, gaze upon me; Look upon that which has befallen me. Look upon the marks of my destiny.”

“Destiny?” Etah inquired.

Renr scoffed and gestured at the screen, which had strange information pouring across it.

“This? This here is the salvation of the universe.” Renr explained.

“Right, and I’m Angel of Forgiveness.”

“You meet salvation with sarcasm. Always so thickheaded, always...”

“Then pray do explain; How will it save us, and from what?”

“From the Destruction...from Vernietigen. Angels, Etah. You don’t even know what that is, do you?”

“Indulge me!”

Renr chuckled and reached for something, and brought up to Etah’s eye level a vial of clear fluid. “Synthesized from this data. It’s ingenious design, really. Quantum computing at its finest. I even have the blueprints for the cybernetics. They’ll be perfect for them when I’m done. Perfect for the Harbingers of Fate,” Renr explained. “Their very existence is the key to saving us from Vernietigen - end of all things.”

“And how do you know this?” Etah said. “Did the Dark Prophet tell you?”

“Indeed, he did. By the decree of the Creator, there must exist a race of beings to destroy and oppose the others. An adversary, an antagonist to the protagonist. First, organic life builds great civilizations much like ours. Then, the Harbingers reduce the civilizations to ashes. In time, the survivors of those civilizations will avenge their ancestors and destroy the Harbingers. And then, a new species must be chosen to replace them to continue the cycle again and again. A true catalyst for diversity.”

“Let’s assume for a moment what you said is true. What the hell kind of sense does that make?” Etah barked. “The Deus we all know would never create a universe with such backwards, abhorrent design!”

“Then the caring, loving, personal Deus you know does not exist,” Renr retorted. “However, the Dark Prophet whom I hold so dear is very real. He is the Lord of the Harbingers that chose the Genodraco are the prototypes for the next generation of Harbingers. We needed to test them out on something before we begin mass indoctrination.”

“And you think this Dark Prophet is Cain?” Etah sarcastically remarked. “That floating corpse exiled into the void so long ago? He is long dead. This Dark Prophet is likely nothing more than a con artist that manipulated you!”

“Fool,” Renr said. “It is Baba Yetu who is long dead! Cain is very real and alive. I have spoken to him personally. Cain was never bound by the physical tethers of the material universe. Many thousands of years later, he was reborn as the Dhragolon Altus Banya. All this is done to repel Vernietigen, the destruction that will consume the universe unless the design is preserved.”

"Renr...what the hell did they do to you?” Etah said. “What madness were you spoonfed to believe all this? Have you rejected the teachings of Deus? Of Baba Yetu? Do those mean anything to you?”

“I speak the truth, Etah, not some make believe ancient superstitions. I speak of a scientific law of the universe as real as thermodynamics and gravity. An unchangeable rule incorporated into the very fabric of existence. We must continue the cycle. Continue the diversity of organic life. Continue the chaos. Isn’t that what you want?”

“We’ve been at war with the Harbingers for thousands of years, and you want to bring them back? I’m all for the diversity of organic life, but this is not the way, Renr,” Etah pleaded. “These Harbingers aren’t promoting chaos. They are promoting oppression and tyranny!”

“Etah, you must join me. It is the only way you’ll be safe from the wrath of Cain. It is the only way to ensure that future species can learn from the mistakes we made. To be safe from Destruction, from Vernietigen. Open your mind. Embrace the wisdom of the Harbingers.”

“Renr,” Etah said drawing his gun. “You’ve left me with no choice. I’m going to remove those...those brain-scrambling parasites from you. It is the only way to get you to see reason!” WIthout hesitation, he fired directly at Renr’s skull but stopped the plasma bolt with a quick motion of his hands.

“Always too slow,” Renr said as he briskly walked towards him. Etah fired several more shots, but now he was too close to him. He was going to melee him. So he used the butt of his pistol to deflect his oncoming attacks.

The two ELICANs gracefully dodged one another, pounding away, but they were evenly matched. Until Etah took a direct blow to the jaw from Renr, finding that his strength was nearly tenfold. Of course, the cybernetic enhancements.

And then, a short time later. Etah found himself cornered with a gun pointed to his face. He could smell the necronis in the barrel. This bullet would kill him. The click of the trigger echoed as time slowed down for him. Was this it?

But Etah had one last trick up his sleeve. An unrelenting desire to wreck havoc. A blood haze. With that, everything around him crawled to a halt and he could see Renr’s movements and his weakpoints. With a few carefully placed blows, Etah forced the cyborg to the ground.

Renr quickly got back up, leaped into the air and dove towards him, crashing through the front door and outside. Tholker and Galiana stood aside, letting the two dragons have at each other. But then, the warning rang. The sun. It was brightening. Etah held Renr still just outside the shadows as the cyborg’s exposed skin peeled and deteriorated. And with one final blow, Etah knocked him to the ground as Renr roasted in the sun while simultaneously regenerating in pain and agony.

“I win.”


Chapter 7: No Rest for the Wicked

When Renr’s movement slowed, Etah dragged him back into the shadows again away from the sunlight. The cyborg could barely move now.

"You fight well," Renr said. "You certainly have the strength to bring order to the galaxy, but not without Cain."

"I'm not interested in order," Etah said. "Order is only temporary."

"Temporary?" Renr laughed. "I show you a design of perfect, permanent order! My way ensures Vernietigen will never awaken to destroy the universe again. And what of your way? You deviate from the design which the Creator established!" Renr lectured.

"Of course! Chaos and destruction are not one and the same! Vernietigen relies on order: If the Creator allows this Vernietigen exist by his own law, then it’s only by the chaos of breaking those laws can he be stopped! Your prophet may be seizing control of the universe, but what happens when a new generation of heroes rises up and casts him down? Chaos will reign again! Why? Because the nature of life, knowledge, and even the omniverse itself is based on chaos! One can constrain chaos, but never snuff it out!"

"You fool! That is the very idea which the Dark Prophet wishes to enforce! It is a guarantee of stable order and a peace billions of years after you are long gone!"

"No, you are the fool! Peace is that which should be embraced freely, not forced upon others! Face it, Renr. You’ve been manipulated. You’ve been nothing but a pawn this whole time, blindly following a false god with a twisted agenda!” Etah's face clenched with anger; he raised his sword, readying it to stab Renr through the heart, though he hesitated.

"What are you waiting for?" Renr said, his face wreathed in wrathful humility. He knew Etah was right. He knew that he was wrong. His patron had used him. Manipulated him. How ironic, Renr thought, that the mastermind was ultimately just another pawn. But despite this, Etah hesitated more. His fists were shaking. This was still Renr Gron, his old comrade.

"Forgive me, Renr Gron," Etah said, "This is going to hurt a little." Etah finished, unsheathing his knife and plunging into Renr’s chest. And with that, his cybernetics broke. But the stab did not kill him. Instead, the cold, inhuman look in Renr’s eyes warmed up to one of earthly emotion.

“Etah…” Renr muttered.

“Renr?” Etah said, taking a knee. “Is it really you? The real Renr?”

“I’m sorry for betraying you. I...I failed to resist the implants. I didn’t have a strong enough will...”

“You can save the apologies once we get you to a medical facility,” Etah remarked. “We’ll get you up and walking about within a few weeks.”

“No, Etah...it’s too late. The cybernetics...they were wired into my vital systems, and as we speak, it’s sending a series of nanobots to consume me from the inside. I will be dead within minutes.”

“What are you talking about?” Etah said, remaining puzzled. “You’re immortal just like I am. A true ELICAN! There’s no trace of necronis on you!”

“The cybernetics...the Harbingers. They consumed me. With your removal of them, they took away my enhancements.” Renr coughed. “My immortality. My strength. It’s all gone.”

“Tholker!” Etah shouted towards the door. “Get your medipak out, asap!”

“Forget it,” Renr said. “There’s nothing you can do. The cybernetics were designed to kill me if they were ever removed. Nothing in that little medipak of yours will work.”

“Dammit, Renr. You could have been redeemed! We could have worked together one last time! If we just explained to the Galactic Senate that you were being mind-controlled-”

“Enough!” Renr shouted back. “I have sinned against Deus by denying him, and I deserve punishment. I await the Angel Mortalitates to guide me to the afterlife.”

Etah leaned closer towards Renr. “No, not yet, Renr! Not yet! You have to tell me! Is there a way to stop this Vernietigen? Without the Harbingers?” Renr coughed up blood. The nanobots were at work. “Tell me, Renr! I have to know!”

“Novarckas…” Renr muttered as coughed and coughed. “Novarckas…”

“Renr, no!” Etah pleaded. But the last bit of life from Renr slipped away as the nanobots devoured his remaining his vital organs, turning his insides to goop. He was dead. He solemnly nodded his head and quietly whispered a prayer to the Angels in his native language. He brushed Renr’s eyelids shut. “Farewell, Renr Gron. Always a friend and a comrade. May the Angels sing thee to rest.”

Etah stood up, and the rest of his team were cued to come inside. All curious to see what happened.

“Wow, Etah, I heard that whole ending monologue. Did you major in philosophy?” Sol I Dor asked over the comms.

“In my 5,000 years, I’ve had enough time to study that kind of thing.” Etah said slightly drifting off. “It...helps with my memory…”

“Can’t say I totally agree with it though. I don’t follow chaos philosophy,” Sol I Dor said. Etah’s final rantings to Renr didn’t quite mesh with the Delson Code. Different culture. Different species. “But as long we share a common goal to better ourselves, it doesn’t matter.”

“Not to cut this whole thing short,” Tholker said.. “But can we get off this rock before one of us gets deep-fried with a UV blast?”

“Yeah, I ran out of sunscreen…” Galiana added.

Chapter 8: Journey's End

Wezga barely tried to get up standing on one knee from the heated battle. Both of them had scars all over their bodies.

"You win," Wezga said. "You finally beat me. You are the better of the two of us. Now, finish me off." Ahrganot walked up behind him drawing an energy sword and stood. He lifted the sword, blade pointed downwards, aimed Wezga's upper back. Ahrganot's hands were trembling. Wezga turned his head to look at Ahrganot. However, Wezga's expression was a huge contrast to menacing stare he always gave. Ahrganot could now see his inner thoughts. A single tear trickled from Wezga's left eye. It was as if Ahrganot were looking in a mirror. A reflection of his own self and past. Wezga, trying not to burst into tears, frustratingly said, "Just make it quick." Ahrganot immediately sensed something different. He lowered his sword.

"No."

"You...don't want to kill me? Then, why did you come here at all? You shouldn't hesitate to kill when your enemy is wounded."

"The dark teachings of Falan have been taking advantage of you all along, hasn't it? The look on your eyes tells me you are your true self now." Wezga tried to stand up. He was gripping his side after a sharp pain. However, he quickly fell back to his knees.

"Skizgo. There was something that I always wanted to tell you. But the dark thoughts clouded me."

"Is it about..."

"Yes. The Kaden family. Your real family. When I was young, I overheard my parents about you. They never wanted to get rid of you. Not at all. They loved you. Mother had always wished that she would see you again one day. That was her will."

"Will? You mean..."

"Yes. It was right before we both took the final exam and dueled with each other. Remember when I had used the power of darkness against you? Well, before that, something happened to mother. She...she was...murdered. The killer was never caught." Ahrganot's face turned to shock, but he let Wezga continue. "I couldn't stop crying over the grief. I thought I could save her using what I learned from the academy. I never felt so...so powerless. I felt like I wasn't strong enough. I failed to protect her. I went on for days, until I was approached by Master Falan. He told me of the ways of darkness. Those taboo rituals used by the Dark Warriors of the Second Era. He said that using my own grief, I could become stronger. I could turn my own negative emotions into power itself. That was the last day I recall I was my true self for once. I never realized what he had been doing to me. The darkness. It just...consumed me. I was never the same again."

Ahrganot said, "So it was Falan all along that did this to you? I want to find where he is. But Wezga, without you, I probably would have never strived to become the Dhragolon I am today. I always enjoyed competing with you at the academy."

Wezga said, "Guess you're right. But, look what I've done. I've killed so many innocents. I've escalated galactic instabilities. I’m league with some Karnasaur fanatic. But Skizgo, you've given me hope. Maybe I can redeem myself."

The next instant, a dark figure emerged into existence. It was a tall Dhragolon with some spiky Dragonrock armor, a polearm taller than himself, and long white hair. He had two menacing red eyes. The figure clapped several times and spoke, "What a fascinating display of emotions. I never knew Dhragolon were so capable of such...expression."

Ahrganot looked at the figure. "YOU! You did this to him!"

The figure responded, "I did?”

“Don’t play games with me, Falan!”

“Please jog my memory a bit. Forgive me, for I cannot remember. I may have been there for you in a pivotal moment of your life, but I’ve done so in the lives of countless others across millions of years. After doing it for a while, you tend to forget faces.” Ahrganot could not tell whether this figure was being sarcastic or utterly serious.

“You know who I am! I am Ahrganot Skizgo! You were the one that murdered my mentor, and led my brother down a dark path! Falan Rusit! Or Cain as those Hashaeon freaks like to call you!”

“Hmph, ah yes. I remember now. I was disguising myself as Falan Rusit at the time. In truth, I am not a Dhragolon, nor am I Karnasaur as the Hashaeons believe me to be. I am a Titan taking a form of flesh and conductor of the hive that is the Harbingers. My purpose is to be your enemy. I am the adversary and opposition to the core beliefs and ideals you hold so true. I am the growing shadow of the light of your civilization. I am Infra the architect of the Dark Prophecy."

A Titan. As in a god? Just who was this figure? Ahrganot said, "What does a god care about me? Or about us?!"

"My care towards you is your usefulness as tools," Infra said. "In my eyes, you are hardly any different from microorganisms. Since the beginning of time, I’ve fostered the cycle of rebirth of the Harbingers. My existence preserves the fabric of the universe, and you are among my tools in doing so."

"I wouldn't do anything you say!" Ahrganot shouted back. "What makes you think I am your tool?!"

"Because I am fate itself. I foster the hatred of others to build and temper those I need. Hate and vengeance are common driving motivations for mortals, and they are needed to incite change and continue the cycle."

"You won’t manipulate me any longer!" Ahrganot shouted.

"Care for a simple demonstration?" Infra said. He twirled his polearm once and stabbed it through Wezga's back and through his chest, then quickly pulled the staff back out. Wezga didn't scream. He just collapsed to the ground and promptly vanished into dust. "Do you feel that burning fire within you? Do you feel the sudden need to take my life? I’ve instilled emotions upon you. And thus, given you purpose and motivation."

Ahrganot could not say anything for at least ten seconds. He was so overcome with shock, he couldn't move.

"What in Brunikor? He was my brother!" Ahrganot shouted breathing much harder with anger. “You monster!”

Then, his eyes tensed and his face clenched. He could spout many curse words, but that would not even be enough to describe his hatred. At that moment, he could no longer contain his anger. Ice crystal jutted out from all over his body as he entered another Maj frenzy. He shouted and charged towards Infra with two daggers ready. However, Infra merely swatted him away with his staff like a fly knocking Ahrganot to the ground. He quickly got back up and planned his attacks more careful, but this time to no avail. He could not even land a single hit on Infra who swung his staff effortlessly. Once more, Ahrganot was knocked to the ground.

"There it is. Release that anger. Tear down those mental barriers you put up on yourself.”

Ahrganot staggered to get back up. "If you are so powerful and unstoppable, why don’t you kill me now?"

"Because I’ve designated you to be important. My Harbingers being killed off when they were not supposed to made me reevaluate my actions. So, I’m trying a different approach."

Ahrganot took a sudden deep breath, his anger turning to puzzlement as his Maj frenzy faded away. “What do you mean?”

Infra paused for a moment, staring him down coldly with a straight face. “I’ve begun to wonder if my purpose to control and stir civilization has become obsolete. I’ve decided to give you mortals a test of strength to see if you can survive without my intervention. I challenge you to try to kill me. You are free to use any means you like, but let’s have this an honorable duel, shall we?”

“What, do you think this is some kind of game?!” Ahrganot said raising his voice.

“Yes,” Infra replied. “As a matter of fact, it is. The universe is my plaything, and I’ve had my way for millions of years, but I’m getting bored. I’m offering you a chance to change things up. Now what will it be? Will you fight me to the death?”

Ahrganot shivered firmly grasping his dagger. Then, he threw it to the ground and turned his back. “I will not.”

“Oh?” Infra questioned. “You don’t accept my challenge?”

“This is a battle that I cannot win. You may have wronged me. You may have made yourself the top of my kill list. But I don’t have the strength. I am not ready.”

“Very interesting,” Infra said. “You’ve made a wise choice. And for that, I will let you live.” Infra turned around. “Go. Return to your GSSOC friends and tell them to seek out Na’zrah. He’s an old friend of mine.”

“Na’zrah?” Ahrganot asked.

“You’ll know him when you see him. I shall look forward to our next encounter. I am eager to see just how capable you are of changing your fate.” And with that, Infra vanished in a cloud of smoke.

Ahrganot turned to his brother’s corpse and dropped to his knees to feel his pulse, hoping that he might have one last breath. But no. Wezga was lifeless. No last words. No last minute requests for forgiveness. Just nothing. Ahrganot bowed his head muttering a prayer to Krayhan. Rather than going back to his ship right away, he stayed where he was for at least another hour. He gathered some stones nearby and built a tomb around Wezga. On a nearby boulder, he etched into the rock with his dagger and short epitaph using the letters of his native language. An old, ancient Malinian poem, one that his foster mother would always sing to him.

“Goodbye...brother…” Ahrganot said after shedding a single tear.


Chapter 9: Reflections

“Okay, seriously,” Tholker said getting frustrated. “I’m gonna need the Cliffsnotes version of all this. Cult of Cain. Altus Banya. Infra. Vernietigen. Too many freaking names to keep track of!”

“Yeah, I’m a little confused, too,” Galiana said.

“Etah, what do you know about this?” Sol I Dor asked.

“I’ll just explain what we need to know,” Etah said recalling ancient Karnasaur lore. “When Cain killed Baba Yetu, he claimed to do it because he was the adversary. He said that the day he would fall, he would exact revenge and summon an army of Harbingers of Fate to bring an end to civilization. Those Harbingers are the same ones the Senate destroyed only a few years ago.”

“Okay…” Tholker said. “So what’s that got to do with this Dark Prophet guy that Renr mentioned?”

“If what Renr says is true, then we can confirm that the Dark Prophet and Cain are one and the same. But now, he has been reborn as a new entity that calls himself Falan Rusit.”

“Falan Rusit…” Sol I Dor muttered. “The guy that Umbra mentioned?”

“Ahrganot knows this guy?!” Galiana exclaimed.

“Could be a coincidence,” Tholker said. “After all, people tend to run out of ways to look like. No offense to the Dhragolon, of course.”

“It’s no coincidence,” Etah said. “I’m sure of it. Especially if the info the far less zealous Umbra told us checks out. For now, the best lead we got is this Dark Prophet figure. We have to go back and get Ahrganot. He’s likely the only one of us that got a firsthand look.”

“Well, so what’s next?” Galiana asked.

“Aside from preventing this eerie sounding Vernietigen fellow from coming back.”

“The blind guy’s right,” Tholker said. “This Vernietigen thingy doesn’t sound too pleasant. Time dilation and general relativity was hard enough for me to understand at the Naval Academy, but all this real-life mythology doesn’t mesh well with me.”

“Hey, Etah, does the word Novarckas mean anything to you?” Galiana asked.

“That creepy cyborg dragon was probably blabbering gibberish,” Tholker said.

“No,” Etah said. “It’s a top secret KMF research facility only known to Emperor Clar, the scientists that work there, and people like me. Not even the non-Karnasaur Senators are aware.”

“Hate to say, Etah,” Tholker said. “If GSSOC is still going to be a thing, you’re gonna have to spill the beans. What’s Novarckas?”

Etah sighed. About to give out the KMF’s biggest kept secret. But these were his comrades. He could trust them. He was sure of it. ”Novarckas is an ancient, artificial world created by a long extinct civilization, housing untold technologies that jumped our kind ahead thousands of years of everyone else. It is said to be the place where the Omni got their technology from. But I don’t understand what that has to do with Vernietigen...unless they found something there…”

A pause filled the room. Whatever this was just got a lot more complicated, and a lot more grand in scale. First, a fanatic cult. And now, an ancient civilization that predated the Omni? The previous inhabitants of the Milky Way?

Epilogue

Not too long later, Ahrganot’s ship docked with the Batra, and he stepped through the airlock, immediately greeted by GSSOC.

"Well, I'm glad you're back," Tholker said.

Ahrganot began, "Look, I'm sorry-"

Sol I Dor interrupted, "No need to apologize. You did the right thing. Welcome back, Ahrganot."

“This guy that the Hashaeons worship,” Ahrganot began to explain. “His name is Infra, the controller of the Harbingers. He’s challenged us to face him in an honorable duel, but he’s more than a match for me. I can’t fight him alone.”

“I think I get it now,” Galiana said. “This Dark Prophet is definitely real. But how has he been alive for so long? I don’t think even Etah’s ELICAN tech can keep someone going since Baba Yetu times.”

“Perhaps he’s some sort of multi-dimensional being,” Sol I Dor wondered. “Perhaps like the ancient Tokarthi? Still doesn’t seem right though.”

“Infra. Falan. Cain, or whatever we call him,” Etah said. “He’s our enemy. He’s an enemy of the galaxy, and if we don’t stop him, then the Harbingers will return and the peace we worked so hard to achieve will be for naught. If we’re going to take him down, we do it as a team. We’re in this together.”

“That was very cheesy, Etah,” Tholker remarked.

“Dammit, Tholker. Don’t ruin the moment!” Etah said. “We have to find a way to defeat him. Ergo, we pretty much have to find out how to kill a god.”

“So if we destroy Infra, we stop the Harbingers for good?” Galiana asked. “They won’t come back ever again?”

“That is true,” Etah explained. “But for now, we need to rest on this bittersweet victory. There’s not much we can do until the intel teams finish their work. As we speak, they’re combing every myth, legend, lorebook, everywhere in every single known alien culture along with the latest studies on string theory across the entire Senate. For some kind of clue. Any clue on how to stop this guy.”

Ahrganot stood up. “By the time they’re done, I’ll be...no...we’ll be ready.”

Tholker twirled his pistol. “Anyone up for some shore leave?”

“Somewhere calm and relaxing,” Galiana said. “Herit, maybe?”

“After that whole conspiracy with the Dark Warrior you still want to go back there?” Tholker asked.

“Well, Herit is a whole planet after all. There’s plenty of other spots besides that hotel to choose from. Let’s explore and have fun for once”