SPACE 2. Disappearance
“Yes, it is obviously in front of us!”
Ark replied with eyes surrounded by a blue light.
Ark’s eyes were looking out the window of the spaceship. A huge sphere was floating in the space where nothing was present before. The brown and blue mixed sphere was the planet Ikyullos that he had seen in a previous 3D image.
The Ikyullos that vanished had appeared after he used the Hajaska rune. However, Marquis Martin and his crew just had ‘?’ in their eyes as they stared at the same place. It was invisible in their eyes.
Marquis Martin looked at Ark’s eyes that were emitting a blue light.
“This isn’t nonsense.”
And his lips rose in a smile as he spoke.
“Bringing you seems to be the right choice.”
Marquis Martin accepted the absurd situation with no resistance. Well, Martin was still a NPC that was part of the system. Rather, it was easy to accept the situation after seeing Ark’s eyes.
‘W-what the hell is this? Why is Ikyullos in front of me? So Ikyullos wasn’t missing but in some type of stealth state? No, that isn’t stealth. The exploration devices would pick up on the stealth devices. Furthermore, the probes had passed through the area where Ikyullos was several times. The probe should’ve showed some indication that it made contact with the atmosphere. But there have been no signs as time passed. It is like the ghost planet….’
The ghost planet hadn’t reacted to any exploration devices. The difference was that the ghost planet could be seen and Ikyullos couldn’t. And the whole planet seemed to be in the grip of a red gas.
‘What is going on here?’
A number of questions crossed through Ark’s mind.
But he could figure things out just looking with his eyes. The issue happening to Ikyullos at the moment probably had something to do with the red gas. It drifted like a ghost and might be the cause of the other disappearing planets.
But it was just there. The spaceship couldn’t even make contact with the gas. In addition, the exploration devices couldn’t detect anything so there was no way to obtain more information. No, Ark was feeling panicked as he saw a scene he couldn’t imagine.
Then Marquis Martin’s voice shook his ears.
“Ark, what are you doing?”
“Right now you can see Ikyullos. Then why are you just staring with a stupid expression? Report on the situation. If you can see a perfectly good planet then it must be in contact with something. Then shouldn’t you give a proper explanation about everything you see?”
Ark was lifted from his thoughts and explained what he saw.
“I don’t know what it is but Ikyullos is currently in the grip of a red gas. And a black space in the centre…it looks like a sunspot. It is faint but there are a bunch of lights tangled together in a mess.
“3 o’clock direction, 50 km away.”
“Hoksullo, move the ship to the place that Ark mentioned.”
Marquis Martin was practical and quickly took control of the situation. And….
“It is useless to think too hard if the exploration equipment can’t detect it. If we beat it then it will become visible. Fay, switch the Noblesse to battle mode. Maximum output, charge the energy and fire towards the place Ark specified!”
“Energy charge is complete! Waiting on your command!”
Kwa kwa kwa kwang!
…. It was more intense than he imagined. There was a large amount of heat as Noblesse’s gun were fired.
“The photon particles have disappeared into thin air!”
“The energy of the gun has been completely extinguished 300 kilometres ahead!”
The light extending into space reached a certain point and vanished. No, Marquis Martin and the crew had misconstrued the situation.
A different scene had occurred in Ark’s eyes.
The gun had reached the sunspot and caused lightning to start furiously pounding it. And the next moment, a giant tentacle stretched out from the centre and headed towards the Noblesse.
“There is a reaction! Ark, report on the situation!”
Kwa kwang! Kwa kwa kwa kwa! Chwajijijijijik!
There was a loud noise and the Noblesse started rattling.
“Marquis-nim, it is an emergency! Some unseen force has hit the ship! The tremendous pressure has damaged the shield! But I can’t determine the form of the power!”
“Tentacle! It is a tentacle! A tentacle emerged from the sunspot on Ikyullos after being hit by the gun and wounded the Noblesse!”
Marquis Martin murmured with a surprised expression. Then Hoksullo cried out again.
“Marquis-nim, the Noblesse is being pulled forward by an unknown force!”
“Dammit! Increase the maximum output of the engine!”
“The engine output is at the maximum! But we’re not moving! Hat! S-shield has been destroyed! An unidentified pressure is crushing the armour! It won’t last long in this condition!”
“Fools, don’t panic!”
Marquis Martin shouted in a harsh voice.
“Whatever it is, it sat tight until we attacked. It felt threatened by the Noblesse and attacked. In other words, the weapons of the Noblesse works against it. Then it is an opponent we can fight. And the best defense is attack! Fay, open all the guns of the Noblesse. Pour the photon guns towards the area where it disappeared!”
“Noblesse! Firearms are operating! The aim if fixed! Fire!”
Kwa kwa kwa kwang! Kwa kwa kwa kwang! Pepeng! Pepeng!
Hundreds of attacks flew forward at Marquis Martin’s command. The crew couldn’t see it but Ark’s eyes saw the violent turbulence of the tentacles every time it was hit. Like Marquis Martin said, it was receiving damage.
Then after a moment.
The area in front of the Noblesse started convulsing. A hazy image that occurred. Tentacles wrapped in flames were wound around the Noblesse. The bombardment had started to reveal the form of ‘it’ that was on Ikyullos.
They were confused when fighting with something invisible but they became shocked as it started to appear. The crew members stuttered with a stiff expression.
“W-what is going on?”
“W-why is such a thing….”
“Oh my god! That thing is wound around the Noblesse?”
“I’d rather it was just a ghost story.”
Those last words belonged to Marquis Martin. But even in such a situation, Marquis Martin didn’t feel embarrassment or fear His lips were distorted but it seemed to be from excitement rather than nervousness. Marquis Martin looked at the black spot with cold eyes.
“That…it is angry.”
“I can see it. It is angry and that is why the Noblesse is being attacked.”
Ark thought that Marquis Martin was sick.
……Mainly in the head.
No one in their right mind would feel excited when their ship was being surrounded by an unknown creature that hid a planet. However, Marquis Martin could calmly grasp the situation.
“Hoksullo, turn off the Noblesse’s automatic gas control device! And increase the nozzle of the right wing to the maximum angle! Switch the nozzle of the left wing to the maximum downward angle! The angle of the right player is 45 degrees! The angle of the left stern is 45 degrees! As soon as the adjustments are made, increase the maximum output to all engines!”
“Huh? B-but doing something like that in this state….”
“Shut up and do as I say!”
Hoksullo hurriedly moved his hands after Marquis Martin yelled.
Meanwhile, there were intermittent sounds as the armour of the Noblesse was twisted. The armour was unable to hold against the pressure of the tentacles and started breaking. Then Hoksullo who was manipulating the throttle paused and shouted.
“Marquis-nim, all the preparations are complete!”
“Maximum output to the engine!”
Then flames appeared from all directions from the Noblesse’s engines. The Noblesse then started shaking up, down, left and right like an angry buffalo. It was natural. The gas nozzles were aimed in different directions and all of them were firing.
If this had been done with a normal crew then they would be slamming into the floor and walls. But the Noblesse was currently being restrained by the tentacles. The tentacles acted as a safety belt for the Noblesse. Due to the Noblesse vibrating, the tentacles slightly loosened.
“How about it? This force is known as break force.”
Marquis Martin smiled and said.
“Now! Turn 30 degrees to the left!”
The Noblesse turned to the left at Martin’s words. And a giant tentacle appeared in the Noblesse’s front window.
And light exploded towards the tentacles! The rays that exploded from the Noblesse melted over half of the tentacles. And gunfire from the rear also broke the restraints.
This was what Marquis Martin had aimed for! Use the engines to change the angle and concentrate the heavy firepower on the tentacles.
“That’s it! Noblesse, reverse at full speed!”
And the operation was a great success! The tentacles were cut off and the Noblesse reversed.
More tentacles stretched out from the sunspot.
“Marquis-nim, the tentacles are coming again!”
“Dammit, those weren’t the only ones? Deploy the evasive action!”
And the battle between the tentacles and the space cruiser began. Martin and the crew couldn’t see the sunspot but several tentacles hundreds of kilometres in length were heading towards the Noblesse.
However, the crew of the Noblesse weren’t easy opponents. Marquis Martin was head of the influential military faction so the pilot and crew weren’t ordinary. The capacity of the crew showed in the movements of the Noblesse. The 10,000 ton class cruiser moved swiftly and poured out gunfire! Many tentacles were avoided.
However, it didn’t stay like that.
“Ack, the ignition of the left engine is turning away!”
“There are intermittent errors in some of the secondary systems. Perhaps the damage received from the tentacles was larger than we thought.”
The Noblesse had been damaged before the fight properly started. There were a few minor problems as the fierce battle kicked off. This would build up and could become a critical problem. Especially if it became a distraction during the battle.
“A shock to the stern!”
In the end, the stern of the Noblesse was struck by the tentacles. At the same time, the situation rapidly deteriorated. Once the Noblesse lost its balance, it was it several more times by the tentacles.
Kwajik, kwajik! Pepepeng!
Explosions occurred in several places as there was the sound of the armour being crushed.
“Marquis-nim, the pressure of the tentacles on the armour isn’t decreasing! The gas control system has been destroyed! Error in the firearms control system! The Noblesse can’t be controlled! If this continues then the ether fusion engine won’t survive the pressure and will explode! The ether fusion engine….”
“Can the Noblesse only last up to here?”
Marquis Martin gritted his teeth together.
“I didn’t expect to encounter a dirty creature like this. But it is useless for my pride to dwell on this or I will just die a dog’s death. Hoksullo, send a SOS to the western border headquarters. Fay, open the emergency doors in the rear of the ship. All the crew on-board the Noblesse will escape in the emergency pods as soon as the doors are open!”
“Hey, what? What’s with that expression?”
Marquis Martin laughed as he looked at Hoksullo’s face.
“The captain of the battleship can’t just run away. I’d rather face the battleship’s destiny with it. Did you expect me to say something like that? Don’t be ridiculous. I am Martin. My life isn’t cheap enough to be swapped with a cruiser. But I a noble so I will wait until all of the crew members have escaped. So put aside useless thoughts and hurry!”
Marquis Martin then turned to Ark.
“Why aren’t you doing?”
“I will escape with Marquis-nim.”
Ark replied with resolute eyes as he faced Marquis Martin.
Marquis Martin’s presence was like a small guardian to Ark. If Marquis Martin died then Ark would lose one of his most important contacts. How could he leave Marquis Martin alone when he was planning to escape at the last moment?
Martin had a slight smile as he looked at Ark.
“Good posture. My appreciation has gone up a little bit.”
This wasn’t a joke.
|-Intimacy with Marquis Martin has increased by 150!|
Marquis Martin’s appreciation had risen.
-Emergency! Emergency! All of the crew to escape using the emergency pods!
Meanwhile, the lights flashed as the command to escape was given. The crew’s monitor changed to showing a scene in the hangar. Flames were rising in all directions as the crew moved methodically. And a few emergency sphere shaped pods were thrown out of the Noblesse.
“Hoksullo, not yet?”
“It is almost done. But some of the communication circuits have been overloaded so I can’t be sure the broadcast reached all areas. If I want to check then I’ll have to reboot the entire communications system. Marquis-nim, please escape first!”
“Stupid fool, haven’t you realized yet? There is no time left. A ringing sound if coming from the engine. The rest will have to find a chance to escape. Ark, get that bastard! Let’s go!”
Marquis Martin shouted and turned towards Fay.
Ark grabbed Hoksullo and ran across the deck with Marquis Martin as the ship shook ominously. And once Hoksullo was shoved into an emergency pod, Marquis Martin shouted from 10 metres away.
“Move towards the specified position after escaping from the Noblesse!”
And finally he boarded the emergency pod.
-Boarding okay! Eject!
The emergency pod that looked like a small sphere was thrown out of the Noblesse.
He looked out the small window at dozens of other emergency pods and the Noblesse. But he didn’t move as Marquis Martin commanded.
-Warning! Warning! The system of the emergency pod is out of control!
Dozens of emergency pods had escaped from the sinking Noblesse. They rushed towards the sunspot instead of the planned location.
Western area of the Galactic Federation.
Tens of thousands of asteroids were scattered around a safe place. Five asteroids were connected with thick pipes to form a pentagon. And in the centre was a huge metal object with a honeycomb like structure.
This structure was the western border headquarters. It was also known as the Pentagon.
And right now, there was an urgent mood inside the Pentagon. The Pentagon’s central control room had 10 people gathered while looking at a large screen.
Stars were attached to their shoulders! The commanders, generals and nobles on the western border were gathered in one place in the Pentagon. The reason was something that flew towards the Pentagon a short time ago.
“Commander, is that true?”
A young commander replied to the question of an elderly nobleman in a calm tone. And he nodded towards a man’s face on the screen. The voice was hard to hear but some parts were audible.
–This is the Noblesse….Marquis Martin….currently….engaged in battle….serious hull damage….won’t survive long….attempted evacuation….as soon as you receive this…..send help…..
“Oh my god!”
Confusion spread on the faces of the nobles gathered.
Marquis Martin was the head of the military faction and a military advisor. Yet Marquis Martin was engaged in hostilities with someone and was trying to escape. This event occurred inside the area of the Galactic Federation. In any case, there would be a tremendous upheaval after this event.
The nobles began buzzing as soon as the video ended.
“What is going on?”
“The current status? Did Marquis Martin survive?”
“Everyone please calm down!”
Then a voice was heard from among the nobles.
They split apart and the owner of the voice, a man in his 50’s walked through. He had a small body for a human in the 24th century but an overwhelming atmosphere was around him.
The commander bowed slightly as the man approached.
Weston clicked his tongue as he looked at the nobles.
“Should active duty soldiers be getting confused like this?”
“But Earl-nim, the person who sent the request is none other than Marquis Martin-nim.”
“Then shouldn’t you respond more calmly?”
“We should check the facts.”
Earl Weston turned back to the commander.
“Commander, I never heard that Marquis Martin was heading towards that area. Are you sure it was really sent by the Noblesse?”
“The communications security code is correct. And it was confirmed from Istana that Marquis Martin-nim left Sidellin on the Noblesse.”
“Was it a business matter?”
“I couldn’t confirm it.”
“Not informing the military when going on a voyage…..”
Weston rubbed his white sideburns with his fingertips and muttered. And he thought for a moment before raising his eyes.
“Have you sent any professionals”
“It was already an emergency when they sent the request. Perhaps because it has already been sunk but the coordinates of the Noblesse couldn’t be obtained. I’ve mobilized several ways to track the source and determined that they are approximately near the 30 degrees latitude on the western border…..”
“Isn’t that a wide area that needs to be searched?”
Weston sighed with frustration.
It was an asteroid belt but the actual size was many light years large. Of course, a spaceship could move 1000~1500 light years in an hour but this was a rescue mission. They needed to look for emergency pods that had escaped from the sinking spaceship. A warp sail couldn’t be used when searching a large area.
“Well, that’s if we can find it.”
“What does that mean?”
“You still don’t understand?”
Weston frowned at the question from a young nobleman.
“The cruiser with the best specifications belonging to the highest ranking official in the military was sunk in a surprise attack near the border of the Galactic Federation. . Do you think this is something space monsters or pirates are capable of?”
“Then Lieutenant General….?”
“You can’t come to a conclusion yet. But the only thing I can think of is that someone aimed at him. Depending on the result….”
The nobles held their breaths at Weston’s words.
They didn’t dare say it but everyone knew what he meant.
“We can only hope that such a situation doesn’t happen. The first thing we need to do is mobilize people to find Marquis Martin. Commander, prepare all speedboats available right now. I will personally conduct the search operation.”
A space not far from the Pentagon.
An unusual long, cylindrical spaceship was floating.
Sorin, the owner of the ship was a popular game scoop reporter. The exclusive game scoops news had placed facilities in each of the 3 powers and space frontier in order to deliver news to the audience faster. And Sorin was one of these reporters. It was also due to the unusual spaceship. The ship itself was a giant telescope.
And the telescope had just picked up on an amazing scene. A swarm of spaceships suddenly came pouring out of the Galactic Federation’s western headquarters. The ship that was in the front. It was the size of a carrier spaceship.
“What the hell is going on? Training? No, this is too weird to be a training fleet. Aren’t there hundreds of high speed patrol ships? I’ve never heard of this during training. Moreover, this number seems to indicate that all of the speedboats in the Pentagon have been mobilized. Speedboats will be occasionally used during training but not to this degree.”
Like most men in South Korea, Sorin had been in the army. Sorin had a military post so he understood something the moment he saw the fleet that left the Pentagon. He didn’t know what it was but something big had happened. And he was a journalist.
Sorin laughed as he knocked on the dashboard. And his ship started chasing after the fleet.
“It doesn’t look that serious. Fortunately there was no major damage to the armour and main systems. The durability of the armour has strengthened after the upgrade the other day. But the flying wings on both sides are damaged. It is possible to recover with the automated recovery system but it will take at least 5~6 hours.”
Hegel replied while wiping his grease stained hands.
Rapid frowned as he looked at the Silver Star. The Silver Star that had landed among hundreds of trees had changed into a rag.
Immediately after entering the cave found in Vesta, they had received a surprise attack from flying monsters. But like Hegel reported, the condition wasn’t that severe.
In fact, it was an almost one-sided battle. The Silver Star’s armour was a mess due to the flesh and blood of the monsters slain. However, the number of monsters was so large that the Silver Star had no choice but to receive some damage and eventually crash landed. The damage to the wings on both sides occurred at that time.
Well, he honestly didn’t care about the Silver Star but….
“Sheesh, if that Ark finds out about this then he will nag me again.”
“Will Hyung-nim come in 5~6 hours?”
“I don’t want him to come. It will be better if we die together.”
Hegel scratched his head at Rapid’s brusque tone.
Hegel had joined Ark’s Royal Guards on Beltana. Moreover, he was one of the members who had a reason for his incredible loyalty to Ark. If any other person talked like that about Ark then he would be furious. However, Hegel was aware of it after Rapid joined the investigation team quest.
Ark and Rapid had a relationship that could be called ‘original.’
“If Milan and I work on it then the repair time can be reduced by half.”
“I don’t know what will happen if the flying mob comes again so we need to repair it as quickly as possible. We also need to use a base camp.”
The Silver Star had crash landed in a place with dense fog. Of course, there was no way to tell what type of place this was. Rapid knew that they were deep underneath Vesta but it was hard to believe.
‘For this space to be underground….’
It was like a dense jungle with greenery and fog. Furthermore, it was a place where communication waves couldn’t be caught.
‘It has become troublesome. Searching a place like this will take longer than expected. I don’t care about the Silver Hand and Royal Guards but I don’t want to see that Ark bastard’s face.’
Rapid wasn’t stupid. No, he was a fairly smart user.
He knew that Ark’s words had been meant to scratch his ego. And thinking about Ark made he want to deliberately fail the quest.
Unfortunately, Rapid’s pride was too strong. His pride wouldn’t tolerate a failure. No, it was simple and easy if he wanted to deliberately fail. He didn’t want to see the look on that person’s face.
But now the situation seemed to be harder than expected. And he would aim for success in difficult situations. If he said he ‘deliberately failed’ then the other person would just take it as an excuse. That was unacceptable!
‘I will do whatever it takes to end this before Ark comes!’
And he would say indifferently when Ark arrived. A look that said ‘heh, you are too late.’
‘Yes! This! I will go with this route!’
Rapid used a strange method to motivate himself.
Anyway, Rapid looked at the crew gathered in front of the Silver Star.
“As you are already aware, communication isn’t possible in this place. We can’t sit back and wait for the people needing help to contact us. So we will use the Silver Star as a base camp and slowly investigate the scope of the search as we navigate the terrain. There is a thick fog but you don’t have to worry about getting lost if you move in a straight line. There is no time so I will divide you into teams.”
“Hey, wait a minute.”
Then one of the monkeys spoke up. That monkey was called Ferguson.
“Why are you naturally giving commands? The situation is like this. If the original leader of the team isn’t here, shouldn’t it be natural for the strongest person after Ark to give commands?”
“What are you saying? Hyung-nim said before leaving….”
“It doesn’t matter. I will listen.”
Rapid stopped Kurakan before speaking to Ferguson.
“So? Is that person supposed to be you?”
“Well, I can’t say that for certain. But I was once a person who reached the 18th rank among users in the game scoop rankings.”
“Really? Amazing. So why has such a person been digging in the meantime?”
Ferguson rolled his eyes with a slightly confused expression. And he replied with a nod.
“Hobby! Yes, it is a hobby!”
A and B gazed at Ferguson with embarrassed eyes.
Rapid looked at Ferguson, A and B with a fascinated expression.
“Yes, it was a hobby. I didn’t know. Okay, I am willing to give you a chance to become the leader. I don’t know about this user rankings but you seem confident in your skills. I will see if you are capable of being the leader. So, what do you think we should do?”
His pride was moving as Ark intended but he disliked Ark. However, Ferguson had come out and offered to be the leader. There was no reason for Rapid to take charge. He would have a good excuse even if they failed.
Ferguson didn’t know the reason for Rapid’s cavalier attitude and said with an arrogant expression.
“I think there is no need to move. Like you said, communication in this place is jammed and the visibility is limited so there are too many uncertain factors. We made an emergency landing here due to an unexpected attack from flying monsters. So it is better to wait by the Silver Star until Ark arrives.”
Ferguson thought about it.
He didn’t want to go back to that hell that was the gallstone dungeon. But they had to follow Ark due to personal circumstances. It was due to their sin in New World. Now that Ferguson and his brothers were in such a poor condition, they could only show off their usefulness to Ark.
This quest was the change that Ferguson had been waiting for! Ferguson, A and B were prepared to use all their strength to give a great performance.
But Ark had been diverted by something else. In this situation, Ark wouldn’t know what had happened. If the mission succeeded then Rapid would be the leader. And Ferguson, A and B had a high chance of returning to digging in that hell.
That’s why Ferguson wanted to become the leader and wait for Ark to come. Then Ark wouldn’t be able to overlook him.
Rapid made an unpleasant expression and said.
“The situation is the same but you won’t be worried if Ark was the leader instead of me?”
“I recognize Ark’s skill.”
Milan, Hegel and Ellain all followed Ark. It was necessary to make the NPCs notice had much he admired Ark so they could mention it to him.
But Ferguson didn’t know one thing. He had been digging the entire time in S-20 so it was natural that he didn’t realize the relationship between Ark and Rapid.
So it was over.
“Ah, of course I know your heart. You aren’t one of Ark’s original subordinates. So I understand that you want to receive praise from Ark. But excessive loyalty can also be upsetting. With….”
The nozzle of a gun was then pushed under Ferguson’s nose. Ferguson withdrew at the sudden situation. No, Rapid had grabbed Ferguson’s thick neck and stuffed in the gun in his nostrils the moment he tried to retreat.
“Say one more word. I will drill another hole for you to breathe with.
“Cough! W-why? Y-you might not like my words. But we are both Ark’s subordinates….”
“….I’m going to do it.”
“Ugh! Rapid hyung, stop!”
Hegel who had been staying out of it finally spoke. Rapid wasn’t someone who would listen to Hegel. So the monkey just had one of his nostrils stretched even further. A and B shouted as Ferguson got his nostrils pulled even further due to Hegel.
“T-this is crazy! What are you doing?”
“Rapid-nim’s actions are a little excessive but….”
Then Ellain started talking.
“Ark-nim entrusted the team to Rapid-nim. Ark-nim’s decision is absolute. This isn’t subject to individual circumstances. And waiting for Ark is contrary to his opinion. Ark entrusted us to his mission because he believed that we are capable. We can’t just sit here polishing our swords.”
“Ohh! I agree.”
Kurakan nodded as he lifted a piece of iron.
“We finally came to a place like this so I want to make my neo M-620 cry!”
Ellain grinned while grabbing the hilt of his sword. And he pulled out his sword and spun his body around.
“The ones that are already here won’t wait for Ark to arrive.”
Kung! Kung! Kung! Kung!
Roars could be heard from the jungle wrapped in fog.