Book 6: The New Six
Humanity had met her darkest time in history. Alien species obliterated one planet after another and since they had begun, they didn’t show mercy or remorse. Relentless as they were, they continued hunting down humans as fast as they could, easily murdering the millions that were abandoned in the UEF.
The Aeon community should’ve counted herself lucky, thought Leython, as he heard about the alliance from several loyalist pilots who made it to the coalition. He, like others, was sure it would be only a matter of time before the Seraphim would turn against the Order of the Illuminate as well.
The firepower the UEF knew in the Infinite War was incredible, or so had the colonels and generals thought. Brackman and his technical engineers were famous throughout the Cybran Nation if it were only for the superior stealth and cloak technology they maintained. The Aeon technological war machine met one achievement after another under the command of Avatar-of-War Marxon, so had Rhiza told.
But it was all nothing compared to the Seraphim arsenal. Experimental bombers dropped bombs almost as powerful as the UEF Mavor’s shells but harnessed a larger ground zero, their regenerative systems were ahead of all that either of the three factions knew and their experimental land weapon had greater firepower than the Aeon’s Galactic Colossus and the Cybran Monkeylord together, while the human’s experimental bots no match for a Seraphim ACU, their most powerful and terrifying weapon.
Leython knew that there was only one possible way to deal with the Aliens and that was by waiting, hoping for a counter against their arsenal to come one day and then trapping them as they were still confident that they had the upper hand. The only question was: when would they manage to get to the same technological level as their enemies?
Somehow, he had the feeling that it had to do something with the data chip he had in his hand right now, as he sat in his ACU’s cockpit, constantly checking his intelligence screen. He had gotten his hands on the chip after all Cybran decryption codes were unable to analyse the data. The UEF method was, as he expected, not any better.
He remembered both Eric and Josh questioning the use and importance of that chip. Eric would likely have thought about something like family holiday pictures that would be stored on it, even though the vast majority of the citizens didn’t use encryption tools for such data.
Jeff’s point about adult videos may have been more plausible, but Leython pointed out that the chip had no resemblance with the UEF at all. It was of Cybran design. He on the other hand, could not explain why no Cybran decryption algorithm could crack the codes, let alone why it turned up with a girl who lived on Earth.
What if this was a chip full with unimportant data? What if it didn’t have any useful technology that could help them win the war, or even help them survive? It was very plausible that that was the case yet Leython couldn’t help but to think about this and find out how he could access the information.
Eric had already asked Lucia about every name of every person she knew in her life before X-day. She had given them all, the names of her parents, her grandparents and the girls and boys she knew of kindergarten. Eric had personally overseen the attempts of all Cybran decryption algorithms again, submitting the names as passwords but even that didn’t give him a proper result.
Then, there was this other matter. For more than eighteen months, he had not heard anything about Marisa. Wondering what had happened, he sometimes got distracted from his daily duties. Like now.
Marisa had been wondering the same about her fiancé. She had not seen him for so long and for exactly the same time span, she had heard nothing about the UEF or the Cybran nation, except that more and more planets were cleansed and under control of the Seraphim. She and Selene knew they had to escape but contrary to Marisa’s thoughts, escaping was almost impossible.
She could only be grateful for the fact that she hadn’t been forced to murder. Yet.
During the time she was stationed at one planet or another, she and Selene trained as much as they could but Marisa concluded that it was not a fair fight. For every tactic she taught Selene, she devised a counter by herself and tested it immediately. Most of the time, that worked excellent and she saw a frustrated student in her eyes every time she had beaten her.
Selene explained she tried to stay calm all the time but that it was hard to as her morale dropped during each battle. Marisa understood it and she wished she could do something about it but she had no means to do so.
“The only way to have you win a battle is by training with another Aeon pilot, someone who does not know about the strategies and tactics I am teaching you. Someone who will be surprised and cannot devise a counter. However, she would immediately turn us in, informing Kael of how good we have become and then she will lock us up even better than she already has.”
One after another, the planets fell to the Seraphim war machine. Gialumeth was delighted to witness the destruction of the human race and the creation of a peaceful galaxy. However, he, like other Seraphim, saw how the humans hid from their superior enemy but still waged a fairly successful war against the Order of the Illuminate or QAI.
Everywhere where the Seraphim arrived, death followed, but the outcome of the battle was not so certain if only order commanders or drone ACUs were involved in the battle. Gialumeth and his warriors were still certain about the outcome of the war, but they also desired to have it ended quickly. Whilst it was still possible to drive the human race to extinction within a couple of years, the efficiency of the Seraphim’s arsenal had dwindled a bit.
It was frustrating to see that they were unable to kill the most important members of the Cybran Nation or the UEF, only because they couldn’t continuously pursue them. The more time the enemy had, the higher the odds for them to catch up with the Seraphim technology. The odds were very slim, but still...
“The planet of Swui Four.” Said General Hall, as he was briefing Leython, Shilon, Eric, Josh and Jeff. “It houses a very hostile environment, making it unable for us to live there. The atmosphere comprises five per cent oxygen and that is the best news I could give to someone who attempts to build a settlement there. However, the planet is very rich of elements we require to build our ACUs and it is far away from any civilisation, which means it is far away from the Seraphim as well.”
“And our mission is?” Asked Leython. “Presumably going there and extracting as much of the resources we need for our ACUs?”
“Exactly. We’re not going to create a diversion for the Seraphim because we think that they’ll not go for you immediately. For as far as we know, they prioritize cleansing planets over dealing with five pilots. They’ll send Order commanders and QAI on the job. That should be enough, or so is their reasoning.”
“I’m sorry general, but the problem is that we don’t know so much about the Seraphim.” Interrupted Josh. “They could know about Swui Four and be ready in case QAI reports that five commanders have arrived there. If they come for us, we’ll stand no chance. To add to that, if they can stop us from building more ACUs and training more people to become pilots, then they’ll not have to worry about an army protecting the last hopes of humanity.”
“That is correct. However, we are certain that QAI and the Order will try this on their own first. That means you’ll just have to ensure the Seraphim won’t be asked to get involved in it. Do not go for the full offensive as soon as an enemy arrives, but allow them to build a base. They’ll call for help if they think they can't deal with their enemies on their own.”
“You have a point there, sir.” Said Leython. “I assume we’ve got to keep a low profile for as long as we’re still going to extract the resources from the planet?”
“Correct, that will be two days. After that, we will contact you and you will send the supplies, then we’ll recall you. In the event that things do go wrong, send an emergency message throughout the galaxy and you will be recalled immediately, hopefully not before you have to forfeit all of the profit.
Any other questions?”
“When do we go there?” Asked Jeff immediately.
“You gate in thirty. Dismissed.”
“Templar Halley, report.”
“Yes, evaluator Kael?” Replied Halley immediately. She already suspected what was about to happen: another mission.
“You will go to the planet of Swui Four. Enemy commanders have arrived there, preparing to claim resources vital for ACU construction. You will attack and kill every commander on the planet. QAI is on-site and will assist.”
“I will go immediately.” Said Halley and she closed the transmission. She didn’t need more than the little information Kael gave, to know what to do. Halley immediately called for her knights.
“We will gate immediately. Prepare for battle. QAI has already arrived on Swui Four and we will have its full support to deal with our enemies. They hope to claim important resources for the construction of more Command Units but we will drive them to extinction.”
During the past months of hiding for QAI, the Order of the Illuminate and the Seraphim, Leython had built base after base after base, equipped with the most advanced stealth technology, but only to see it being abandoned as soon as one enemy command unit appeared on radar.
Leython understood why. As soon as either one of QAI’s drones or one of the Order commanders would find out he, she or it stumbled on the civilians, protected by the best human commanders in the universe, then the Seraphim would be alarmed immediately.
Seraphim. The name sounded beautiful in Leython’s ears and if he had to believe his fiancée, Marisa, their culture and philosophy was just like that. However, what he had seen and heard so far, didn’t even remotely resemble that.
Every time the aliens were mentioned, Leython saw the fear in the refugees’ eyes. Every time they arrived, he knew that his hidden base was useless. He couldn’t make a stand.
This time though, he could. While he constructed his base, he thought about general Hall’s reasoning. The Seraphim wouldn’t mind a couple of commanders leaving for a mission on an inhospitable planet. They assumed the Order and QAI were up to the task. A small group of anonymous, inexperienced pilots were no threat to warn the so-called Alien masters for.
“There is one problem.” Said Leython suddenly, the others looked at their communication screens immediately.
“What is it, Leython?”
“We’re supposed to make the Order and QAI think that we’re not important. I think that QAI still has me on the ‘priority’ list, despite for its masters’ reservations.”
“What does that mean?”
“It means that I’m not supposed to show my kind of warfare, my strategies. I must not show my expertise in intelligence warfare.” Answered Leython to Eric.
“You mean that as soon as the enemies arrive here, we must fight like we’re someone else?”
“Yes, I think that QAI has got enough information about me to know who I am if it only analyses the flight patterns of my spy planes. I could be wrong if I perform very, very badly but that’s a tougher challenge than when I’m going to have to do my best.”
“Then you’ll just do what I do and I’ll do what you do.” Said Eric. “I’ll build lots of radar towers and spy planes but you’ll not tell me where to build them and how to send them through the air. If you do that, QAI might notice it through my movement orders.”
“That’s settled then.” Interrupted Josh as he saw that Leython was about to agree with Eric’s plan of action. “We’ve got another issue. My hydrocarbon plant has blown to pieces three times already. Does someone know what’s wrong with it?”
“Do you read anything else? Volcanic activity or some sort of underground explosion?” Asked Leython. “That could explain it, although Hall didn’t say anything about it.”
“The last viable entry was of more than hundred years ago. Something could have changed and considering that the planet had some volcanic activity, it’s not surprising.” Said Shilon.
“Increased volcanic activity isn’t a matter of centuries, it’s more like a millions of years.” Replied Jeff. “However, we may have gated near an active volcano. It can also be that we’re near an unstable gas field. Remember that the planet’s full of elements used for ACU construction. That means we’re facing some issues with this place as well.”
Eric wanted to ask Jeff where he got his information from but Jeff was ahead of him: “Yes, I have read some books and articles about planets, volcanoes and more of that stuff.”
As soon as templar Halley arrived and began the mission, she felt something was wrong. The Seraphim, QAI and the Order were putting more and more effort in the cleansing of the UEF and the search for the Cybrans, but she was suddenly ordered to work here.
If this mission was so hard that Kael wanted an experienced team, then Halley assumed she’d face cunning commanders as her enemies, pilots that would not be impressed if only QAI made its appearance.
However, her expectations didn’t match the truth. The enemies she had to destroy didn’t show any form of experience. The only advantage preventing their death was formed by their numbers. Arriving late, she knew that the UEF and Cybran commanders outnumbered her but she found out it was easy to deflect every assault they came up with.
Advancing to tier three and experimental weaponry, Halley knew that she only had to gain superiority in numbers and then it would all be over. It was odd that she had to eliminate an inexperienced bunch of enemies. However, not a single unit she sent to the enemy, made it even close to the base.
UEF Fatboys, billy missiles, Cybran stealth bombers and even strategic missiles were all used to eliminate the advancement she and her knights made. It seemed that the inexperienced commanders did a wonderful job as soon as they had to defend.
“What is wrong with these pilots?” Said Halley, forgetting she still had several channels open to her subordinates and QAI.
The artificial intelligence answered immediately: “The result of my calculations points out that there is a ninety-three per cent chance that they are taunting us. They will stop us if we attack but they let any of their own attempts to finish the battle be wasted.”
“That means they can charge with a superior strike force at any time?”
“No, the chance that that happens is less than zero point five per cent. They have their own orders. Do their excavating job here and leave at a certain moment. They know that we would attack and they just want to hold us off.”
“If that is so...” Said Halley, thinking about a proper strategy “...then we will just build up a superior force of strategic missiles, air superiority fighters, bombers, experimental assault bots and experimental aircraft. We will strike when we can be certain about our own victory.”
“The chance that they will leave before we can build up such a powerful force is negligible.” Replied QAI. “My ACUs will start immediately. We will not attack before we are all ready.”
“I will inform my knights.” Said Halley. “We will end this.”
The sun set over Swui Four’s horizon. Leython knew that the enemy would soon send units over that same horizon to meet him. It would not be long before the Order commanders and QAI realised that the Cybran and UEF pilots were merely playing with them.
Leython ordered his teammates to fake several assaults on the enemy and see their armies fail, hoping to deal some kind of damage, but in the meantime, they also did their very best to keep their own lines. It was a ruse that would not hold for long.
“It’s time to send a stream of spy planes.” Said Leython suddenly. “We’ve got to find out what we’re up to by now. Build air transports and be ready to leave at a moment’s notice. We’ll retreat to our secondary base. You can already guess that we’ll take all of our supplies with us, using the transports.”
“We’ll abandon our main bases?” Asked Jeff. “That seems to be a bad idea.”
“We’ll use our own engineers to reclaim it, the non-critical components first. We’ll leave the radar towers and missile silos standing. That’ll allow us to deal a powerful blow to their army, which they undoubtedly have.”
“Then why do you want the spy planes? Do you want to know how much time you still have?”
“Yes, but I also want to know what we’re up against.” Replied Leython to Eric. “We’ll have to get to work. The enemy’s been silent for far too long.”
“Got it, Leython. We’ll get to work then.”
Deze zin voelt een beetje vreemd aan:
"She and Selene knew they had to do escape but contrary to Marisa’s thoughts, escaping was almost impossible."
"Had to do escape" moet of "Had to escape"of "do had to escape" zijn (als nadruk op het moeten vluchten).
[Reactie gewijzigd op maandag 11 oktober 2010 15:03]
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