Myth Galaxy Universe
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Operation Dragonslayer
Main author(s) User:Krayfish, User:Nra 'Vadumee, User:SupcommMonroee
Timeline 2142 AD
Story arcs Dark Prophecy story arc
Wordcount {{{words}}}

Operation Dragonslayer was a GSSOC mission involving the investigation towards the recent strange activities of the Genodraco Legion.

Chapter 1: The First Mission[edit | edit source]

"All GSSOC personnel. Report to room F3! All GSSOC personnel. Report to room F3!" said a computerized female voice. A Dhragolon Grandmaster named Ckeros Aldorus awaited them.

"Greetings, GSSOC. Operation Dragonslayer was recently chosen as a mission of primary interest for the Galactic Senate. We've discovered some legions of an unidentified alien species resembling Karnasaurs. We know little of them, but they contain augmented cybernetic enhancements. We call them Genodraco."

"Genodraco?" Galiana asked.

"Yes, for unknown reasons, they have been attacking minor KMF colonies. They are not taking the resources: They are just,” he paused looking for the right word. “Destroying them. As if they are backed by some twisted moral or philosophical cause. However, we've managed to predict where they will strike next based on their recent attack patterns over the course of the past few weeks: Eska - an old mock colony once used to prepare for future settlements in the Frontier Worlds."

"So they’re attacking a fake city for the heck of it? No civvies to evacuate?" Tholker asked. “Then, what are we doing there exactly?”

"We still don’t know why they are attacking it, but regardless, they will be there, and this is our best opportunity to capture their leadership to gain intel. We've identified two distinct variants: Betas are the grunts while the Alphas display some sort of leadership characteristics." As he spoke, images of the different classes appeared on a projector. "The Mech, the Dragonof, the Zands, the Diablo, and the Splinter. And here is the one in charge: the General Drakko. You'll easily recognize the Alpha variants as they are much bigger and stronger than their regular counterparts." All of them looked hideous, pale reflections of the far more aesthetically pleasing Karnasaurs. Each of them were warped, twisted, savage lizards differing only in size and shape. They hardly came across as sentient beings, more animalistic than civilized.

Ckeros continued, "The KMF will accompany you with orbital support. They will force the Genodraco to the ground, then you'll be able to get to them up close."

"So what you are saying is that these weird creatures are just causing havoc for the heck of it? Geez, as if the Kklxin aren't enough to deal with already,"Tholker ranted.

Ahrganot added, "No being acts without reason. They must have a motive."

Etah said, "I'm sure we can handle this. I'd like to see how well I hold up to one of these Genodraco."

The Grandmaster replied, "Whoever these Genodraco are, they should not be underestimated. You will depart to Eska in fifteen minutes. Your ride is waiting in the hangar."

"Ride?"

"Yes. The Galactic Senate invested a great deal to create the most technologically advanced ship in the galaxy: the Batra. Why don't you see it for yourself?"


Fifteen minutes later, Tholker, Etah, Galiana, Sol I Dor and Ahrganot made their way to the hangar and lay their eyes upon a small yet magnificent azure ship, the Batra. It had a sleek mix of Dhragolon and Karnasaur design. Galiana was still awed by the structure of the ship - very alien compared to the Delson ships she had seen her whole life.

"Who made this?" Galiana asked.

"The best engineers from the Galactic Senate," Etah said. They stepped inside with wonder and awe. The entirety of the crew consisted of automated, non-humanoid drones. Less people to worry about, so it would only be the five of them. Ahrganot made his way to the starboard side where he saw a vast array of missiles of Eteno design.

Tholker was marveled himself at them, how they even mixed his own people’s tech into the beautiful craft. A short turn into the engine room, he spotted a floating golden cube channeling energy to two pillars. He eyed it - almost inclined to touch it.

"So this is what a Dhragolon ship's Maj core looks like. I've never quite understood how Maj works. A different path of technology from our own," Tholker commented.

"Anyway, we'll be using wormhole devices to get down on the planet's surface," Etah said. "A shuttle to the planet's surface will bring too much attention to the Genodraco."

"Ah," Sol I Dor said. "I'm not really used to walking into portals floating in thin air."

"Neither am I," Galiana added. “Makes me nervous...What if it cuts out while I’m halfway through? Would I get sliced to pieces?”

"There's a first time for everything," Etah said. "You probably said the same thing the first time you walked on a different planet than your own. Trust me, it's convenient and there’s plenty of safety measures. Besides, we'll need them to capture the Alphas. Now, go gather your stuff so that we can leave."

"A ground force of three should be able to handle this mission well," Etah said. "Sol I Dor, can you provide air support with the Batra?'"

"Of course I can," Sol I Dor said. "I command my own ship after all."

"So the blind guy is flying this thing, then?" Tholker said. "Not what I expected, but as long as you know how to drive..."

“What should I do, then?” Galiana asked.

Etah turned to look at her. “The Batra could use a co-pilot.” Galiana couldn't help but smile a little.

After they collected their supplies, the GSSOC sat down in the plush passenger seats. The hangar's ceiling opened, and the Batra lifted up and took off, leaving the planet's atmosphere.

Chapter 2: A Taste of the Genodraco[edit | edit source]

Several hours later, the Batra was finally in orbit of Eska. GSSOC made their way to the airlock. Etah pressed a button which adjusted the airlock's pressure and gravity to that of the planet below. After tapping a few more buttons, Etah created a wormhole right in front of them. In view was a reddish, rocky terrain with a few lichenous stalks and sparse patches of moss. Etah jumped through first.

"What are you waiting for?" Etah called out from the other side. "Step through," Tholker reached out through the portal with his hand making sure it was safe. Then he immediately jumped through, and Ahrganot followed. Moments later, the portal closed behind them.

After stepping through, the stressful curiosity of the wormhole instantly left him as he was once again eager to be on solid ground. Tholker waltzed off, his mind on distant things. After a bit of practice on some mechs back at the Bunker, he had discovered he was quite adept at using blunt instruments to cause unprecedented amounts of pain. He had a heavy metal club strapped to his back, which was aptly named Hitstick von Headcrasher by one of the Bunker's security guards. He cradled his assault rifle as he walked around ready for targets to take down. They all looked up to see KMF ships in high orbit exchanging shots with some alien ships of foreign design. Only a short time after, several large pod-like structures were rained down, likely containing the Genodraco themselves.

"Alright, let's move to the ambush base." Etah said after having waited for the two of them to pass through. "Sol I Dor, give us some UPS readings here."

"UPS?" Galiana asked.

"Universal Positioning System," Sol I Dor explained. "That's the Senate term for the galactic grid system."

"Oh right," she replied. "Guess I missed out a little since that last Harvester mission..."

The trio checked the map that Sol I Dor sent. Already, they could see Genodraco in the atmosphere. They quickly advanced towards their base on the outskirts of town only to find a Genodraco advance scout loitering around the general location. However, it had not noticed the three yet.

Tholker signaled for the two to wait and the short soldier stealthily advanced on the back of the Dragonof. When he was close enough, he leapt onto the back of the much taller creature. Without hesitation, he sliced off its wings with his switchblade and then drew his club. Before the Dragonof could respond, Tholker wrapped his arms around its neck, choking it. Unfortunately for Zhevhyit, he had underestimated the strength of the Genodraco. It managed to throw him over its shoulder. However, Tholker rolled and stopped in a crouched position, ready to strike. Etah decided to help and shot close to the Dragonof. It turned for a quick second, and was promptly killed by a quick, hard bash to the skull with the metal club. Tholker grinned and picked up some teeth that had fallen out of the creature's mouth.

"Ha, I bet these teeth will make a great necklace," he said casually as Etah and Ahrganot walked towards him.

Etah couldn't help but laugh. In ancient Sauran culture, in the Pre-Yetu era before Yetu led the Elican tribes to civilization, warriors were encouraged to make necklaces out of their victim's body parts; teeth, claws, wingtips, etc. It was believed this bound the soul of the victim to the wearer of the necklace, giving the wearer a blessing of sorts; if the soul was intelligent, it was believed that the warrior will become more intelligent as long as he wore the necklace. The elites often began to implement this into their armor; they would have spikes jutting out of their armor which have a sense of lethality.

When Ahrganot asked why he was laughing so hard, he explained the whole thing, but tried to keep it short. He ended with, "Maybe it'll make you taller, Tholker" which was promptly responded to by a jeering pain in his shin.

"Ah, now then, enough of this nonsense. Let’s get into position. These Genodraco will regret their recent aggression." Etah said.

They gathered in the ambush base, waiting for more Genodraco to arrive. Sure enough, a large group landed near their hideaway, with a larger, well equipped Genodraco at their head.

"It's an Alpha Mech," Ahrganot stated.

"Hm. I have an idea. Tholker, get von Headsmasher ready. Ahrganot, lay down distracting fire." Etah said.

"Are you mad? You're going to charge them?" Ahrganot questioned, baffled at Etah's brashness.

"Of course not. I'm going to rush them." Etah responded.

The next thing that happened was debated by all three squadmates to this day. Ahgranot says Etah jumped out of cover, made a dash for the nearest Genodraco, easily snapped its head, and repeated the process with Tholker smashing Genodraco heads in until all that was left was the Alpha, with Tholker promptly knocking it out.

Etah says Tholker jumped out, smashed a few skulls, and then he jumped out and snapped several necks, until Ahrganot made a tranquilizing shot at the Alpha.

Tholker insists that Ahrganot did nothing, Etah jumped out, was shot at repeatedly, until Tholker jumped out and smashed a few skulls, which ended in Etah punching out the Alpha.

Whatever happened, the Alpha Mech was subdued and secured.

"That's one down. Five to go," Tholker said. He sent his current grid coordinates to Sol I Dor back in the Batra for lock-on. Within moments, a wormhole appeared above the fallen Alpha and a tractor beam pulled it in with a beam of light.

The three of them looked over the mountain dotted horizon just below three rocky, grey moons. A large tungsten rod slammed against the ground, sending rubble flying into the air and the skyscrapers crumbling away. Tholker exclaimed, "Crap...did that city just...?"

Ahrganot spoke through his radio to a ship in the upper atmosphere. "Ahrganot to Batra. Do you read me?"

"I read you Ahrganot," Sol I Dor replied.

"How is the fleet holding up? We just witnessed an orbital bombardment!"

"The Genodraco have destroyed a quarter of all structures on this planet," Sol I Dor said. "There's just too many of them. We can't hold them all off, so you guys need to move quickly, or we’ll have to wait for the Genodraco to attack another colony."

"Copy that. Over and out." Ahrganot replied.

Etah said, "Wow, I had never realized how quickly these Genodraco can move. We better split up if we are ever going to have a chance against these guys. And we better move fast."

Tholker said, "Are you kidding? It took the three of us to just capture the weakest one of these guys. Hell, we probably should have brought more people."

“I will admit,” Etah said. “The Galactic Senate was very tight on its entry requirements, but it’s quality over quantity. We’re the best of the best, remember?”

Ahrganot said, "True. Each of us equate to an army when it comes to skill and strength. Regardless, I think we should split up to cover more ground. Any suggestions?"

Etah said, "Ahrganot, you go after the Alpha Dragonof and the Alpha Zands since they are much taller than most of the other ones. Tholker, you go after the Alpha Splinter and the Alpha Diablo. It seems that you are good at handling opponents with a body structure such as theirs. That leaves me with the big guy: the General Drakko."

Tholker looked at his map. "There's three of us and there's three nearby cities that haven't been destroyed: Cities 726, 119 and 417. We can start our searches in those cities."

"Alright then. Let's hurry before this whole planet gets turned to rubble," Ahrganot said. The three of them headed off in separate directions. Ahrganot went to City 726, Tholker to City 119, and Etah to City 417.

Chapter 3: Covering more Ground[edit | edit source]

Tholker quickly looked around for a way to get to his target location, and locked his eyes on a nearby fuel truck that sat unmoving and driverless, only placed for the purpose of making the city more realistic. Zhevhyit rushed towards it and leapt inside after smashing the window with Hitstick von Headcrasher. Finding the key in the ignition, Tholker turned it and then noticed with disdain that he was going to have trouble driving if he couldn't reach the pedal with his foot while being able to see out the window. Of course. This truck was designed for Karnasaurs, not the more dwarfish Eteno. He looked around frantically and grabbed a small, heavy box and placed it on the gas pedal. The truck jolted forward and then took off with unexpected, brisk speed.

Tholker looked to his UPS and then turned the truck so that it sped towards a large group of Alpha Zands. If these were his targets, he might have gone for a less lethal approach than the one he was planning. However, he was far shorter than these Genodraco, and he thought that it would be better if he caused a big distraction for him to sneak up on his actual targets. He neared his objective, and exclaimed a war cry out the window of the vehicle before kicking out the door and leaping out into a small plot of lichenous grass.

"The underworld has accepted your request for permanent residence!"

The truck plowed through dozens of Genodraco and then stopped and exploded as it hit an exposed power generator. The blast sent the body parts of many enemies towards Tholker. He smiled as the limbs piled around him. However, he had matters of great importance in mind. The short soldier dashed towards cover, and near a group of Diablos. Fortunately, they had not seen him. He produced a few knives from his belt and threw them in a flurry of sharp metal at the backs of all but one. They fell in pain, but were put out of their misery as Tholker promptly moved in and smashed their heads with his club. To Zhevhyit, this was a more than merciful act putting those hideous creatures out of their misery. He noticed his target running for cover from the knives he thought were still coming.

"Hey! Get back here you giant, fat, ugly-" he stopped mid-sentence unable to pick a noun on the spot from an endless list of Luuschtuntski slurs.

Silly Genodraco. It tried to run, but Tholker managed to hit it in the neck with a shock cord. The fleeing enemy collapsed and writhed in pain on the ground, electricity coursing through its body. Zhevhyit signaled for a wormhole, and a radiant blue column extended a few meters above the writhing body and soon disappeared with the soldier into a wormhole.

He continued on, only finding corpses from his stunt a few minutes prior. This really disappointed him. He ran around the ghost town, looking for any signs of an Alpha Splinter. The majority of the force in the town seemed to be Mechs and Zands. He tried to stay stealthy, and trick the soldiers into their death, but always kept a firm grip on his handgun for when he was seen without him allowing the Genodraco to. Finally, after much searching, the short-statured supersoldier spotted a Splinter on a rooftop. Tholker grinned, and slipped into the building the Splinter was perched on. He slithered past two Mech guards and walked slowly down a corridor that led to an emergency staircase.

Holy...

Zhevhyit pressed himself quickly but quietly to a wall as a Genodraco walked by, absorbed in some papers. Odd that the Genodraco were sent to destroy all the cities on the planet, yet here they were, setting up shop and settling down. Hilariously enough, the Genodraco did not notice him. An act of Marana’s blessing no doubt. However, an officer on his kill list would be rather flattering.

It was a quick, painless kill. The baton-like weapon smashed the officer's head in, and a quick-draw of his pistol ensured the deaths of two more Mechs guarding the room. When his quick business was done, Tholker started to run up the stairs.

Tholker dashed up the staircase, but immediately ran back to the officer he killed seconds ago to collect the papers he was so absorbed in. With his innate knowledge of linguistics, he skimmed over them quickly, and discovered why the Genodraco were here in the first place. Not to mindlessly destroy cities. That was just a ruse. No, the Genodraco were here to draw out GSSOC, specifically their field commander. And they had all sunk their teeth into the bait.

"Oh, wonderful. I better finish up here and catch up with Etah."

Zhevhyit sprinted up the stairs, smashing the heads of any Genodraco unfortunate enough to be in the building. Tholker reached the fire door at the very top of the staircase, and pulled out his assault rifle.

"Alright, here we go..."

The short Eteno slammed a curved explosive charge on the door, and turned his back to the door while covering his head. The charge annihilated the door and sent it flying off of the building, bringing a few Mechs with it. Tholker charged out onto the roof and fired at everything except the Splinter, which stood calmly by as his shocked comrades fell dead.

"Alright, fatty, get on the ground!"

The Splinter ripped out a laser pistol and fired at Tholker, prompting him to dive behind a useless, skeleton of a vent. The second it was shot, it fell over on Zhevhyit.

"Scohslung!" Tholker cursed aloud letting his native language slip out.

Fortunately, Tholker collected himself and fired at the Splinter's legs. The Genodraco collapsed, and screamed in pain.

"Alright, beam up mister tall fat." And it was gone with a column of light dragging it through a wormhole.

Chapter 4: I win[edit | edit source]

Etah was enjoying himself. He knew where the General Drakko would be, safely far behind Genodraco lines. He had managed to follow a squad of Genodraco and brought a straggler into the shadows. Pulling it away, he proceeded to pummel and claw at it. He only needed to know the absolute location of the General in order to capture him.

The Genodraco, a Diablo, was borderline mincemeat before he broke.

"Please! Enough!" The Genodraco begged.

"Tell me where the General Drakko is, and I'll consider letting you live."

"I... I don't know where he is-"

Etah raised his claw.

"Wait! B-But I know where he'll be! A ship, entering orbit soon. He'll be beamed on board to speak to... to someone, I don't know who, but someone important! If you want him, you'll have to board that ship!"

"How will I know when it enters orbit?"

"Oh, you'll know. I've seen it, it’s huge! Larger than this planet's largest city!"

Etah thought over the Genodraco's account of the ship, and something sprang to mind. He immediately grabbed the Genodraco by the head and snapped its neck, discarding him to the ground. Such an unnatural perversion of Karnasaurs, he thought to himself. He did the pitiful creature a favor.

Etah then looked to the sky, knowing the ship would arrive soon. Sure enough, it exited warp over the planet, a black behemoth faded by distance and sky. Oculus. An enormous, whale-like ship entered the atmosphere, its command center on its massive underbelly. A great red eye staring down from the heavens, watching over the planet's surface.

A beam of light extending down to the surface announced the General Drakko's ascension, and Etah thought quick so as to not lose his quarry to warp. He tapped his wrist computer to contact the Batra.

"Sol I Dor, come in, Sol I Dor" Etah shouted through the communicator. "Are you seeing this?"

"What," he replied. "That giant ship? That was awfully reckless for such a large ship exiting warp so close to the planet’s surface."

"Give me a wormhole over here so that I can get aboard it," Etah said.

"You're kidding, right? Who knows what’s on that thing?"

"Beam me aboard! That's an order!"

"Right away, Colonel," Sol I Dor.

Sol I Dor's calculations were precise. A wormhole opened right in front of him, which would allow Etah to enter the Oculus quickly, and allowing him, hopefully, to see the being the General was conversing with.

As the wormhole opened, Etah activated his stealth, sending arcs of energy across his body concealing him in an illusion much like a wavy, desert mirage. He stepped through the portal into the ship's Oculus, fully stealthed, undetected.

He heard the General, and followed the sound to the Comm Room door, where the General was entering the room.

Quickly, and with the grace and agility of an assassin, he slipped through the door before it slid shut.

Etah was seeing the impossible.

The General Drakko was walking toward the center of the Oculus, the precise center of the ship itself. He stopped a few feet short of a holoprojector and kneeled.

“Who could a General possibly kneel to?” thought Etah.

The projector sprung to life as a cloaked figure came into view. Etah couldn't tell what species, just that it was bipedal. The General spoke first.

"My master," The General said in a strangely formal, even intimidated voice. "The empty cities crumble before us. But I am losing communication with some of my Alphas."

When the cloaked figure spoke, Etah couldn't believe his ears.

In a raspy, hoarse voice, the figure said, "It does not matter. They are expendable. The only thing we need is the GSSOC team. It is particularly their colonel that interests me."

But Etah wasn't in disbelief at the figure's sole interest in him, he understood that, or even his understanding GSSOC was even here. He knew this figure. His voice. His contacts. It was Renr Gron.

Thousands of standard years ago, Etah served with a Karnasaur ELICAN V.2, a product of the V.2 ELICAN Program, a failed attempt at making more, cheaper ELICANS. They were definitely supersoldiers, but they were incomparable to Etah's ELICANS. During a Hi-Risk mission in the Core to extract intel from a Harbinger|Harbinger mainframe, Renr was captured shortly after uploading the intel to Etah's wrist computer, which he used to save several lives. He was officially declared KIA. Renr was the finest Karnasaur Etah knew at the time, he would never betray the galaxy.

Since the last time Etah saw him, something happened to Renr. Something had corrupted his mind, his thoughts. A foreboding dark aura had shrouded him. This was not the same Karnasaur he knew all those years ago.

The General Drakko responds. "Yes my lord, but they are elusive. I have heard reports of the Eteno and Dhragolon. However, the Karnasaur is but a shadow in the black of night."

"Then use the Dark Warriors to find them. We did not come here to demolish some fake cities. We’re here to coax out the chosen ones, and I will not let them slip through our grasp. Do you understand, General?"

"Y-yes, my lord." The General manages to babble out.

"Good. You know the price of failure." The figure, Renr, faded out. Transmission ended.

Etah, always one for theatrics if it didn’t affect efficiency, sat down in a nearby chair.

The General sent a message on his radio, "All units, redouble your efforts. Tear this world asunder! Dark units...you know what to do."

So these cyborg abominations deliberately attacked Eska on purpose. To draw GSSOC towards them? What could an entire army want with a mere five individuals of the trillions of people in the galaxy? And these dark warriors? Were they another type of Genodraco? No, that didn’t sound right. No way the recon teams could have missed them. They had to be something else entirely. Etah decided this was a good time to decloak.

Sitting on a chair, one leg over the other, the whole scene look like the General was invading the elusive mastermind's lair.

"General Drakko. Nice to finally meet your acquaintance. A shame your little Sauran friend couldn’t join us in person, he would've been so much more helpful."

The General looked comically shocked.

"Karnasaur! How dare you invade this place! The master will surely rain praise on me when I bring him your corpse!" The General exclaimed as he whipped out his pistol.

Etah help up a finger and waved it back and forth.

"Ah, ah, ah. I'm wanted alive, remember. So are you. It seems we are at an impasse. What say we just throw our weapons aside and see which of us was designed better by nature... or rather, nature and a few scientists." Etah taunted.

Throwing his pistol aside, the Drakko dashed at Etah, roaring, just missing a blow. Etah moved aside and, with the grace of an angel, tripped the General over and turned to face him. As the General rose to his feet, Etah sped at him, only to be surprised at the General's speed and dexterity; in his position, it would be impossible to be able to land a backhand slap as powerful as it was. Crashing into a wall, Etah recovered quickly, but not quickly enough. The General was right there, landing several blows into Etah’s gut, followed by a painful uppercut to Etah's skull, right in a Sauran's weak spot: under the chin was a bundle of muscles and nerves that control a Karnasaurs general face movement.

Disoriented by being unable to breathe or refocus his eyes, the General threw him aside, hard, into the ground. Something happened then that hadn't happened for several thousand years: Etah's skull broke. He felt the bone shatter against the ground. Etah prayed it wasn't lethal, not yet any way. He had to stop the General's slaughter. Gathering his strength, he stood, weakly, and stared the General down. Then, another rare occurrence happened: Etah entered a blood haze, a rare frenzy experienced only by Karnasaurs. A small gland located in the Sauran brain produces a sort of hyper adrenaline, activating a killing frenzy not seen since Karnasaurs gained a frontal lobe. Only 10% of Karnasaurs still had a so-called "kill gland", and only 1% of them had an active one. 0.1% of them ever experienced a blood haze. It was an exciting thing, the kind of heart-stopping, mind-numbing, toe-curdling vigor experienced nowhere else.

The world turned red, and all that existed was the General Drakko. Etah forgot he had a body, he could feel the blood flowing to his eyes, turning them red and the world he was in. He let loose a bestial roar unheard of in modern Sauran society, not even the Brotherhood of Beastials (a Sauran cult dedicated to balancing animalistic and modern thought) could match it. He sped at the General with the speed of sound, instantly smashing him against the wall. He ripped him from the dent he made, jumped up, General's neck in hand, and threw the General upward, smashing him into the ceiling, Etah jumped and caught the General before he dropped too far, grabbed a dangling pipe, turned, and slinged the general into the red glass below. Tempered as it was, it cracked all across. Dropping down, landing on both feet with the grace of an angel once more, Etah felt his rage ending, the world losing its red haze, his eyes losing their blood. He walked over to the still breathing General, who moaned.

Etah stared him down and proclaimed, "I win."

Chapter 5: Collapsing City[edit | edit source]

Ahrganot had soon approached City 726. He climbed to the top of a four story building to try to search for the Alpha Dragonof and the Alpha Zands. Not long after, a Genodraco pod burst from the ground, releasing a whole army into the city. Then, he spotted one of the ones he was looking for.

He tried a rather reckless strategy. Ahrganot spotted four towers arranged in a square formation at each of the corners of the city. These were much taller compared to the rest of the other buildings, so he used his agility and blinding speed to lure them. Then he signaled Sol I Dor to destroy the building's foundations with a few precise laser blasts. As a result, the towers would topple over to cut off Genodraco routes.

"Let's see them get out of this one." In fact, such towers were designed for such purpose in lieu of a more readily obvious barricade. The lower parts of the tower were weak, but the upper areas were incredibly strong and were wide enough so that the Genodraco could not fly over it. Ahrganot estimated that any trapped Genodraco would break through the barriers in ten minutes.

The Alpha Zands had jet packs though. It activated them and attempted to fly over the knocked-over towers. However, this gave Ahrganot the opportunity to attack as the Alpha Zands isolated itself. Ahrganot climbed to the top of the fallen tower, and dived, tackling the Alpha Zands, cut its wings off and destroyed its jet packs. The Zands, however, picked up a nearby metal beam to use as a bludgeon. Ahrganot was much faster than the Zands, managing to avoid most of its attacks, but he couldn't quite penetrate its rough hide.

The fight rushed his blood through his veins. Ahrganot was much more agile than the average Dhragolon so he managed to put up quite a fight. Then with a quick slice with his energy dagger, he managed to cut off one of the Alpha Zands' legs, rendering it immobile. The ship Batra drew closer and took the Zands aboard with the tractor beam.

"That's another one down. Now, I need to find the Alpha Dragonof."

Ahrganot was amidst the crumbling City 726 as ruined buildings and skyscrapers surrounded him. Time was running out and the Genodraco were about to retreat to their sphere. Fortunately, with his sharp ears, he detected the louder footsteps of the Alpha Dragonof. Charging towards it, he drove the sword into the Dragonof's chest, but just missed its heart. The Dragonof jumped over his head and attempted to parry him, but Ahrganot swiftly avoided it. The Dragonof was fast as well and Ahrganot found himself dodging its attacks rather than hitting it.

The fight eventually took them to the top of a skyscraper, the only one still standing in the whole city. Ahrganot was getting exhausted and became rather reckless. He took a few slashes to his face leaving a scar across his left eye. Fortunately, the bleeding was not terrible, but the gash was still deep. Then, he took several more beatings, crippling his right arm. But Dhragolon were still naturally very resilient able to heal from debilitating wounds at remarkable speeds, but not during the heat of battle.

Being almost mortally wounded, Ahrganot decided to harness some Maj - using its power, he cooled some water vapor in the air to form ice crystals in his hand. His scales suddenly locked up and the air around him began to cool. Ahrganot lunged forward with his sword one last time, driving it in the Dragnof's shoulder, but this time, the Genodraco's blood was frozen solid. The unconscious, frozen creature was taken aboard the Batra with a tractor beam and a wormhole.

As Ahrganot collapsed, he spotted an enormous ship obscured in the distance by the deathly smoke. It had menacing, outer architecture: it was Oculus. The building he lay upon became unstable and was about to fall over. Ahrganot uttered a prayer as the skyscraper leaned over and became free from its foundation.

As Ahrganot fell with the collapsing skyscraper, he saw visions of a familiar, frozen arctic plain. Home. But in a few moments, the image suddenly turned to darkness. As he awoke lying on the ground he saw a dark cloaked figure.

"Wow, Dhragolon can sure take a fall," the figure said slowly clapping his hands. “Hell, if you were human, you would probably just be a pile of mangled crap on the ground.”

Ahrganot's eyes barely opened. He managed to stand up and say, "Who...who are you?"

The figure was about as tall as him. "Let's cut to the chase: Where’s the commander of this team?"

"You’re not a Genodraco obviously. What do you care?"

The figure sighed, then quickly went up to him holding a dagger up to his throat. "I’m the one asking the questions here, bro. I have my reasons."

Ahrganot was still weak and could not fight back. "Fine. He’s went aboard the Oculus."

"To turn himself in? Wow, didn’t know it would be that easy.”

Ahrganot smirked. “You don’t know how good ELICANs are at combat. Trust me. He went up there to bring the General to ‘’us’’.”

”Why you son of a-"

Ahrganot, sensing danger, managed to re-energize himself by absorbing heat from the sun and quickly dodged the figures stab. As the brief fight continued, Ahrganot knocked the figure in the face, unveiling its hood revealing it to be a Dhragolon.

“One of my own kind working with these monsters?!” Ahrganot exclaimed. “Who are you?!”

"Errr...it’s complicated” the Dhragolon muttered. “Sorry, but I gotta run." The moment Ahrganot blinked, the figure was gone having seemingly vanished into thin air. With his strength back, he went to check on Etah. He had already subdued his share of Alphas. He requested Sol I Dor to beam Ahrganot aboard so that he could catch up.

Ahrganot had quickly appeared behind Etah, seeing an unconscious General Drakko. Etah quickly turned to him with a monstrous visage, but after immediately recognizing him, he cooled down.

"Remind me to never get you angry," Ahrganot said.

“Most fun I’ve had in a long time,” Etah slyly replied.

Chapter 6: One Last Obstacle[edit | edit source]

While Etah and Ahrganot stood there, they heard some bumping noises from the ceiling above. Prepared for an ambush, the two readied their weapons. Only moments later, a ceiling grate burst open, and Tholker plummeted to the ground crashing with a large thud.

"Jamzeze!" Ahrganot exclaimed, "What were you doing?"

Slowly climbing to his feet and collecting everything that went astray from the long fall, Tholker looked up and replied to the Dhragolon's query.

"About an hour ago, I asked for Sol I Dor to give me a wormhole into the ventilation systems."

"You're a bit late..." Etah said.

"Well, I had to take care of a few things before I got here," Tholker said.

Etah and Ahrganot sighed. Etah walked back to Drakko and radioed the Batra.

"Beam up Drakko, and let's get outta here,” Etah said. But there was no immediate response. “Sol I Dor, you there?”

Galiana was the one that answered the radio instead. “Sorry, dad’s a little busy. We took damage, and we’ve had to take the wormhole generator offline to keep the engine from exploding."

“Wait, say again?” Etah asked, slightly raising his voice.

“We can’t beam you!” she shouted. “You’re gonna have to find another way off that ship!”

"What about that fleet?" Etah said. "Can't one of the ships take us up?"

"We are about to be overwhelmed by the enemy! None of the KMF ships can break formation. I’ll have to patch you through to someone outside the system to come get you."

"Agh. How wonderful."

Etah turned off his radio and picked up Drakko, hoisting him over his shoulder. Tholker recalled the presence of a few Eteno warships in nearby interstellar space. Two cruisers, a battleship, and a light carrier. Perhaps the Batra will try to reach out to those guys.

A series of violent explosions had violently shook the ship taking all but Tholker by surprise. Ahrganot had bonked his knee into a wall.

"Tholker...What did you say you were doing before you got here?" Etah asked frustratingly.

"Well, I uh... I didn't expect us not being able to be teleported off of the ship, so I set a few explosive charges in the magazine and engine bay when I was teleported aboard. The ship’s going to crash down on the planet's surface in less than a minute. Please don't go berserk, Etah."

"Then we gotta mo-"

Again, the mighty Oculus shook and shuddered. One of the circuits in the wall blew and sent shards of metal flying everywhere. One of these shards flew through Zhevhyit's arm, prompting him to clutch the entry and exit wounds on his right arm with his left hand.

"Motherra... are you’re gonna need medevac?" Etah yelled.

"Nah, I'll be fine."

"You sure? Lemme check."

"No, I'm-"

Ahrganot walked up to Tholker and removed his hand. He discovered black ooze seeping from the wounds and the Eteno's hand pervaded with the liquid.

"What is that!?"

"Ahh... motor... oil. Listen, we don't have time for this! I'll explain later!" Tholker said.

"Right then. Let's get off this ship. There has to be some escape pods somewhere around," the Karnasaur commanded.

The ship rapidly descended as the engines had blown up. Soon, the three of them stumbled upon an escape pod. However, it was only large enough for two people.

"Well that's just great. Are you sure there's not another escape pod on this ship," Tholker said.

Etah replied, "The rest of them are taken."

Ahrganot replied, "I don't need an escape pod. I can slow my fall with some Maj telekinesis. I'll be fine."

"You're kidding, right? We're 20,000 feet in the air and you are injured. It's suicide!" said Etah.

"Trust me, Etah. I can do it."

"Then don’t die. Or else I’ll kill you."

The escape pod detached, leaving Ahrganot behind. He crawled through the tunnel which was unblocked by the escape pod and jumped from the ship. Not long, the Oculus violently exploded sending debris raining upon the surface and whisking Ahrganot away like an insect in a hurricane. Ahrganot closed his eyes and let himself fall.

Approximately five minutes later, Ahrganot awoke about 500 feet above the ground. He spread his arms like wings and cloaked himself in telekinetic energy to float down like a feather, but he got caught in a few tree branches. Although his great fall was broken by a little, his next fall brought him to the ground. After getting up and quickly scanning his surroundings, he spotted a shadowy Dhragolon in a cloak like the one from before, but he couldn't see his face.

“Damn, you again,” Ahrganot said. “Who the hell are you?”

“You have me mistaken for someone else. I wear the same garb as my comrades. Anyway, I wanted to pass on a message to you specifically. Old fashioned paper. No tracking devices or anything to bug you.” The cloaked Dhragolon set down his weapons and slowly pulled an envelope from his pocket although Ahrganot held his pistol ready in case he tried anything. This was definitely a different individual from before. A lot more intelligent and precise with his words, but not particularly demeaning or rude.

“Give me an explanation why I shouldn’t kill you right now,” Ahrganot barked.

“You’re in no condition to fight after using up so much of your Maj to break a 20,000 foot fall. Besides, we got the order to retreat after all the damage you guys did so I best be off.” The figure vanished into a cloud of shadowy smoke.

“Wait!” Ahrganot called out. He reached for his communicator and found that he lost the signal with the UPS. He fiddled around with it more, but he got nothing. Something from the Oculus’ ruins was interfering. With no means of communication, he was stuck.

“They’re gone…” Ahrganot muttered. They would all have to hold out and wait for the rescue fleet to arrive. Before he wondered about it further, he hesitantly opened the envelope and skimmed the message inside. He scanned them with his eyes. “Noxuna, Telossia Brown Dwarf, Greenwater Nebula,” he read aloud. “Meet at this grid two galactic standard months from now. This is just between, you and me, and no one else. From: your old rival.” Ahrganot immediately knew who this was. “He’s...he’s still out there?”

Stuck on a torn apart, backwater world with not civilization and little resources, he spent the whole day looking for shelter and an opportunity to recover from his injuries. And the other priority would be getting a signal.

Chapter 7: Stranded[edit | edit source]

First order of business was to find some shelter. Eska’s atmosphere was thick with oxygen, and with all the destruction caused by the Genodraco, the fields of moss and lichen were already catching aflame. Tholker and Etah were likely having better chances given that they could hide out in the escape pod, so Ahrganot was on his own.

Within moments, he could become chased by encroaching, devouring firestorms. As the stench of charred plants grew stronger, he put on a breath mask to make his way to a nearby cave. Ahrganot couldn’t get a clear signal on the UPS, but from the archived maps Sol I Dor sent him during the mission, he determined that the nearest mine was only a mile away across the rocky terrain. Perhaps he could get lucky and find a signal tower over there. As he briskly walked in its direction, the sound of his own breathing overtook all other noises.

Soon, he came to a large quarry and immediately read a danger sign. "CONDEMNED!" His radar detected some machine parts within the mine. Hopefully some comm equipment. He had little choice as the next closest mine would be take days to travel to. With all the levelled cities, the planet had very little resources and it was not feasible to survive here since everything was basically dead. He descended a set of spiral metal stairs.

Once he reached the bottom, the stench of death clouded the air. He could see a few skeletal husks of Karnasaurs. Whoever these miners were died a very long time ago. His radar began pointing to a mine shaft that was infested by some plant with tentacle like appendages that moved around.

As he got closer, he scanned it identifying it as a Sarlenian, a plant-like creature that overtakes tunnels and cave systems. Not native to Eska, but introduced elsewhere from the distant gas giant moon Vitam II. While the creature had no vision, it sensed potential prey by touch. Touching the tentacles would mean almost instant death. They would wrap around its prey and suffocate it, and would soon devour it later. The radar detected an old quantum entanglement radio rather deep inside the mine shafts, so this would not be an easy task.

He entered the mine shaft. He could see in it as clearly as day thanks to his Dhragolon eyesight. The ground was nearly covered in tentacles. With every step he took great care making sure that no part of him touched the plant. For the most part, this was an easy task. He even ducked his head a few times to make sure he didn't touch any on the ceiling.

After about five minutes, he finally found a radio resting atop a table. Tentacles were covering it so getting it would be no easy task. Before grabbing it, he suddenly realized that making a mistake would cost him his life. The rest of the GSSOC would never be able to find him. He began shivering with hesitation, fear and doubt. He didn't feel as reckless as he usually was. Then, he took a deep breathe. He analyzed the situation.

The Sarlenian was sensitive to touch. However, he wasn't sure if it could tell the difference between organic and non-organic things. The radio was not organic, but he was. He did not want to risk chopping away some of the tentacles. He recalled that when a Sarlenian detected danger, it waved around all its tentacles at once in hopes of subduing any potential threats. That would be suicide. Instead, he wanted to test his theory on something else.

He looked around for a small plank with some slug-like creatures on it. Then he looked for a rock. He positioned himself at one relatively tentacle-free corner and tossed the plank of wood and the rock. As soon as the plank touched one of the tentacles, they began wrapping around it trying to crush it. With the rock, it wasn't exactly the case. They wrapped around a few times, but quickly let go after realizing it wasn't something organic.

Ahrganot then decided to take his chances. He grabbed the radio and slowly dragged it from the tentacles. After detecting the movement, the tentacles suddenly squeezed for a second then loosened their grip. After Ahrganot slid the radio a little more. The tentacles gripped then loosened again. After dragging it out for the third time, he managed to free of it of the tentacles, but soon after, the Sarlenian went into a search mode. It's tentacles began waving slowly trying to find Ahrganot. He backed himself to the wall avoiding them, restraining his own breath to keep himself against the wall.

The tentacles settled once more. Ahrganot holding the radio with both hands crept his way back out. He was able to make his way back the way he came. After reaching almost the end, his foot bumped into one of the tentacles. It was not long until they began wrapping around his arms. He immediately tossed the radio further out of the mine shaft so that it just landed outside out of the Sarlenian's reach. Using his free arm, he drew a dagger and cut himself loose. He then made a mad dash to escape from the mine shaft, then promptly picked up the radio.

Getting a safe distance in between the cave entrance and the flammable fields of moss, Ahrganot tinkered with the radio. He pressed his palm against it and used his Maj powers to give it a jump of electricity. He had to do it a few times, but it worked. The old radio was working again. Now to just tune in to the quantum entanglement frequencies. And within a few minutes, he got a signal from Etah’s and Tholker’s escape pod.

“Hey guys, did you miss me?” Ahrganot called out.

“Ahrganot?” Etah asked. “Where the hell are you? And how are you getting such a clear signal?”

“Had to do a bit of spelunking in an old mine. How are you doing?”

“We’re nice and cozy in this escape pod,” Tholker said. “We managed to get interstellar comms on our end.”

“Roger, that,” Ahrganot said. “I’m not terribly far away.” I’ll meet up with you guys once the firestorm passes.

And a few hours later, the Batra accompanied by some Eteno warships arrived and beamed them all aboard via wormhole.

Chapter 8: A Game of Chess[edit | edit source]

Etah dealt a punch which knocked him back at least twelve feet, "Don't you ever do that again! You could have gotten yourself killed making a jump like that!"

"Easy there, Etah. I don't want you to tear up the ship now, right?" Tholker said.

Ahrganot sarcastically glared at Tholker, "Oh you’re one to talk."

"Enough!" Etah said. "What matters now is that we're all here and alive with another mission completed. And besides, Tholker got his share of scolding from me already. No sense in bringing it up again."

Galiana said, "While the rescue crews were after you guys, Dad and I worked ourselves to death interrogating all these Genodraco you were dumping in the brig. I’m...I’m not sure I even believe half the stuff they are saying."

“What did you learn?” Etah asked.

Sol I Dor turned his head to the side in despair. “I fear we’ve stumbled upon a hidden conspiracy. I’ll upload all of the recordings up to the extra-net for you. I think it’s best that you see for yourself.”

On the way back to Ilion, Etah sifted through the recorded footage of the Batra’s brig, analyzing the footage very carefully. Sol I Dor and Galiana had edited out the long gaps of nothing only including the spoken dialogue between them, the Alphas and the Generals.

"This is bad. Very bad actually,” Etah said. “The Genodraco aren’t alone in their fanatic little crusade. We’ve got all sorts of species working with them including a Dhragolon group called the Dark Warriors."

“Dark Warriors?” Ahrganot exclaimed in surprise. “Could it have really been them? I met two shady individuals like them during the mission.”

“Yeah,” Sol I Dor replied. “They’re working as mercenaries. Agents collaborating with the Genodraco under the leadership of a Karnasaur named Renr Gron.”

That moment, Etah’s eyes widened for a moment, then he collected himself. He walked over to a nearby chair with a small box containing his family heirloom: a gunpowder weapon dated to the Yetun era. He began cleaning it out. He found this distanced him from bad memories when he had to surface them.

“Etah, do you know this guy?” Tholker asked.

"He is...or was...an associate rather, of mine captured a long time ago by the Harbingers. Since then, something had transformed him into a warped, twisted, reversed version of himself. The General Drakko was reporting directly to him. In that footage you showed me, Sol I Dor, the General revealed that..." Etah paused, looking for a word to use to describe the shell that remained of his squadmate.

"This... husk, this... this... aberration, had some form of assignment to stop the expansion of KMF colonies. I fear the worst: the Harbingers have returned."

"The Harbingers are doing this?!" Tholker exclaimed. "But that's impossible! We beat them!"

Etah thought for a moment. "No, there is something more to this. Renr is implanted, but even he has some bit of sanity left. He knows what he's doing. This... monstrosity, this... aberration, has taken a particular and sole interest in me. The General, however, honestly does not know why. He was but a Knight in the game to run a few pawns while the King prepares his final strategy. The rest of the Genodraco are clearly under his control, but at the same time, there are usually two Knights in a game. We have extinguished the threat of the General Drakko and his rook, the Oculus, but now, we aim for the other side of the-"

"Etah, I don't really play chess. You lost me when the General became a knight." Tholker rang out. Etah, unfortunately, had finished cleaning the gun until the point he would just pollute the barrel with more cleaner. He sighed, and something about it troubled his teammates.

“Point being,” Etah replied. “Renr conducted this raid simply to get intel on us. Knowing our faces and our capabilities was his goal.”

"There's something else that I’m worried about," Sol I Dor said. “What motivation do the Dark Warriors have to work with a Karnasaur?"

"From what I know, the Dark Warriors are a Dhragolon-based sect of a Karnasaur cult that worships the infamous betrayer known as Cain," Etah paused. “The difference is that they worship what they claim to be a spiritual reincarnation, rather than the actual historical figure himself. Renr must have influence over some kind of religious object or something similar to get the Dark Warriors to follow him.”

"His connections and influence run deeper than we originally thought," Ahrganot said. “We could have an entire terrorist paramilitary organization hiding under our noses...or snouts.”

"I still get the feeling that Renr is not working alone. He’s a master tactician, but there is no way he could have orchestrated all of this by himself. It might not be too far of a stretch to say that Renr himself is either working with or for someone else. But let's not worry about that right now. We’ve got plenty more missions ahead of us." Etah concluded.

So much was on Etah's mind. Scoring checkmate against Renr would not be easy.




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