SPACE 2. Secret of the Relics
“W-why is the mark of the galactic federation……?”
Ark felt like he had been shot in the head. They came through a tunnel that Ark dug until he felt like dying so why was the mark of the federation on an android he defeated? But there was one thing that was clear. Tori definitely knew something! Ark turned his head. Tori noticed his gaze and flinched.
“What? Why? What have I done?”
“……Where are we?”
“I told you. The relics are hidden here.”
“Did you think I wouldn’t know?”
Ark held out the metal with the mark of the federation stamped on it.
“Why is an android from the federation in this place?”
Tori anxiously scratched his head. And awkwardly laughed before replying.
“This is the underground facilities of Nephalim’s galactic federation branch.”
“The underground facilities of the galactic federation?”
Tori smiled and nodded. Ark started at him with a blank expression before shouting.
“That’s not right! The federation’s underground facility? Weren’t we digging a tunnel to find the relics hidden in Nephalim? So why did we appear in the federation’s underground facility out of nowhere?”
“Because the relics are hidden in the federation’s building.”
“Our destination is the galactic federation building.”
Tori replied in a casual voice. Ark couldn’t understand what he was saying at first. He dug the tunnel for Tori to look for relics. Yet the galactic federation was the destination? Digging the tunnel to the federation’s underground facility to look for relics…..
Then this guy’s intention……
“Are you planning to rob the galactic federation?”
“To be precise, it is their museum.”
“Yes, the History Museum in the galactic federation building. The museum contains an exhibition about the battle between the federation and the Rama in the past. It occurred hundreds of years ago so the exhibition contains old fashioned equipment that mainly don’t work properly. But these items are popular among collectors. It is possible to sell them through the black market for a high price.”
Ark felt his spirit fly to Andromeda at Tori’s words. He knew Tori was a scamming hamster but he never expected this. Who would’ve expected that a NPC would steal from the federation? No, it didn’t matter if the hamster was caught by the federation and punished. The problem was that Ark was an accomplice! He had only played the game for a month and now he was robbing a government facility? It was no different from quitting the game.
‘My last week……’
He spent his last week digging? Anger welled in Ark’s chest as he shouted at Tori.
“I’ll kill this crazy hamster bastard!”
“Hik! W-why are you doing this?”
“Why? Why am I doing this? Do you even need to ask?”
“W-what did I do? I told you from the beginning. I’m looking for relics. Did I lie? The items displayed in the museum are clearly relics. Damn, you should think a little bit. The relics wouldn’t just be buried underneath the city. Isn’t it obvious?”
“T-talking like that…..”
Ark glared and pushed Tori away before turning around.
“That’s it! Dammit, I quit! I’m going to tell the federation right now!”
“Is that wise?”
Tori muttered with an mean smile.
“You haven’t grasped the atmosphere yet. You’re the one who dug the tunnel to this location. And you also smashed the android protecting the facility. Yet you want to turn me in? Ha, do it. But do you expect me to close my mouth and not betray you? I’m going to speak. I’ll speak even if I end up dying. I’ll tell them about you. So go ahead and accuse me.”
“There’s also the issue of your Nymphe. There is no evidence that I made you do it. Furthermore, your Nymphe has an illegal hacking program which is a felony comparable to theft. Anyway, you’re a criminal. Do you think the federation will believe your words?”
Ark felt like he had been hit in the back of the head after hearing Tori’s words. It had been questionable from the beginning. Ark had been wandering why the hamster offered a sudden proposal. It was because Ark was a ‘reliable’ partner. He was already a criminal because of the illegal hacking!
“This bastard, from the beginning……”
“Of course. I also need a safety device.”
Tori snorted and said.
“Cool off and think again. You’re already a criminal and if you help me rob the museum then you will also benefit. And I didn’t blindly think of this plan. I’ve been investigating the federation’s security system for a long time. 100%! I have confidence that I will 100% succeed. I can enter the galactic federation building unnoticed. If you help me.”
Ark looked shocked. Once again, the same rules in reality were applied to the virtual reality game. One of those rules regarded crime. If a user committed a crime then their criminal value would increase but that was only if they were discovered by a user or NPC. For example, Ark had illegally operated the paid hunting ground on R-14 but he wasn’t noticed by Cheksun so he didn’t become a criminal. That’s why skills like Stealth and Pickpocket existed in games. These skills wouldn’t exist if it was that easy to become a criminal. The only exception was in PK, but in that case the user being killed was the witness. Anyway, if the crime wasn’t discovered then he wouldn’t receive a penalty!
‘If it isn’t discovered…….’
There wouldn’t be any problems. Tori quickly whispered to the shaken Ark.
“Didn’t I tell you? I started this because I have 100% confidence. The only thing to be concerned about is the guards but that won’t be a problem with the Ignition Bullet. And we’ll lock the door and collapse the tunnel after robbing the museum. There is no reason to be discovered. And we can earn relics worth thousands of gold. I assure you.”
‘Thousands of gold!’
In fact, Ark already had no choice. Ark had dug he tunnel from the junkyard. And he just turned the federation’s android in scrap iron.
‘Perhaps the message that appeared after I defeated the Guardian…..’
The message probably stated that his criminal value had increased. In other words, Ark had already become a criminal. Besides, he had already illegally hacked some data and his Nymphe was broken!
He had reluctantly became a criminal. If he went to the galactic federation then he would definitely be clapped in chains. If he helped Tori’s plan then he won’t be trapped in chains. If he joined then he would receive thousands of gold. One side would give profit so there was no need to think about it.
Ark thought for a moment before nodding.
“Okay. Instead we should change the terms and conditions.”
“Change the terms and conditions?”
“Of course. I accepted because I thought I was digging to find some relics hidden in the ground. So shouldn’t I receive a hazard pay now that there is the risk of becoming a criminal? No, we both have identical risks so isn’t it natural to split it 50-50?”
“W-what? No way! This was originally my plan!”
“If you don’t like it then fine. I’m just going to surrender to the federation.”
“Bah, what are you saying? I told you. The federation won’t believe your words!’
“Probably. But if I surrender then won’t they consider my extenuating circumstances? Unlike you I’m a pioneer. I don’t know what will happen in the future but if I willingly submit then my punishment will be lighter.”
Tori became worried by Ark’s decisive attitude. He rolled his eyes for a moment before replying.
“O-okay. Then 40%.”
“D-dammit! Then 45%! And there is still the recovery of your Nymphe!”
“Don’t you have any common sense involving deals? If I concede then you should also concede something!”
“No! Absolutely not!”
“Really? Then I’ll see you in jail. Bye. Hey, are there any android guards in the area? Hey!”
“W-wait a minute! W-wait! This bastard! O-okay! Okay! 50%! 50%! Is that enough? That’s enough?”
“Then it is a deal.”
Ark laughed as Tori glared at him. He felt like he had become slightly stupid after entering Galaxian but he was still a legendary gamer. Ark’s speciality was grabbing hold of weaknesses and shaking it.
Tori was the same. Ark might’ve already crossed the line but he wouldn’t surrender easily. Ark had no choice but there was something he hadn’t considered. Even if Ark became a prisoner, he was just a beginner pioneer so he didn’t have that much to lose. If he was stuck in prison then he would lose a lot of hours but that was it. However, Tori was different. Although it was a junkyard, Tori still had a company in Nephalim. If a crime was discovered then his property would be seized. In other words, the blow he would receive from being arrested was many times larger than Ark
‘I have to take advantage of this.’
That’s why Tori was forced to give 50% of the share!
‘Tori might think that we’ve grasped each other’s weak points……’
In fact, it might be the same weak point but Tori has a lot more to lose. The larger Tori’s weak point was, the more benefit Ark could get.
‘That damn hamster, he thinks he can keep on tricking me? Now you’re caught. I’ll show him how stupid he is to drag me into this.’
Ark smiled and placed his arm over Tori’s shoulder.
“We’re now riding the same boat so let’s make it good.”
“Sheesh, this guy. What happened to your politeness?”
“What’s wrong with it? Now we’re business partners. Isn’t that right?”
Ark was a business partner…..
It meant he could squeeze as much as possible.
The floor shook. An object like a periscope was tossed upwards and hit the ground. The periscope looked around restlessly.
“Okay. There are no guards here.”
There was a low voice and two shadows appeared. The two shadows quickly moved like squirrels.
They were the daring criminals trying to rob the federation building, Ark and Tori.
‘We really arrived here.’
Ark glanced at Tori. He was a cheating hamster. This was what Ark had thought about Tori so far. After discovering his robbery plan, ‘bold hamster’ was also added. But another idea was added as they came here and that was ‘capable hamster.’ The galactic federation’s underground building had several layers of security devices. That was the reason Tori had made the tunnel in a straight line.
He obtained information beforehand and dug the tunnel in a blind spot. Ark hadn’t seen that much of his capabilities while digging the tunnel. However, Tori started to demonstrate his true ability after entering the galactic federation building. Ark and Tori entered the underground drain. They headed towards the museum destination from there but there were a lot of androids and security. There were also various traps and CCTV installed that would sound an alarm. Tori was the one who handled all of that. Tori was able to discover the structure of the underground and used his advanced hacking skills to turn off the security devices.
‘He didn’t lie when he said he had been preparing for this for a long time.’
Tori had a good reason for requesting 70% of the share. Anyway, Tori earnestly started working so the federation’s security system wasn’t a problem for Ark. With Ark taking care of the Guardians and Tori the security system, they managed to arrive at their destination after 30 minutes. That was the room where Ark and Tori climbed up into.
“Don’t move for a minute.”
Tori started fiddling with some tools from his pocket. And a cable lowered to the ground and started moving like a snake. The cable moved smoothly until it touched a red light on the opposite wall.
“That is a 3rd class firewall. The one in this room won’t activate.”
Tori laughed as he fiddled with his Nymphe.
Then the entire room started vibrating. It was the scene he had seen many times where the security was turned off. Tori spread both his arms wide as the security system was jammed
“Hihihihi, now the world is ours for 1 hour.”
The ceiling lights then turned on simultaneously. Ark looked around nervously at the sudden brightness and became astonished. Tori tapped his shoulder and giggled.
“Hihihihi, you don’t need to be tense. I was the one who turned on the lights. This place has been completely isolated form the other facilities so we don’t need to worry about being discovered if I turn on the lights. We won’t be found unless a bomb goes off. So relax and look around comfortably. Because all of this is ours.”
“This is all…..”
Ark turned around with a gaping mouth. He could see that the room was the size of a soccer stadium after all the lights were turned on. Lined up along the spacious walls were guns, swords, armour and even a rocket launcher. Hundreds of different types of weapons were displayed.
‘It is possible to gather all of this?’
It was amazing! The sight sent his endorphins surging. Ark was watching the exhibit with a blank expression when Tori said.
“Didn’t I say it before? I’ve turned off the security system but this place is different and the system will automatically change every hour. So hurry up. We have 1 hour to scrape everything into the bags and get out.”
Ark’s eyes flashed and he raised his body. He had to gather all the items. What could make him happier than this? Ark swallowed his saliva and ran around the museum scraping up the items. Guns, swords, armour…..all the items were grabbed by his hand. It felt like he was devouring an entire department store! Honestly, before entering the museum Ark hadn’t been able to shake off an uncomfortable feeling. It was impossible not to be worried about committing a crime. But he didn’t worry about that once he started picking up the items.
‘These are the equipment that the heroes of Istana used in the war hundreds of years ago!’
Like Tori said, most of the equipment in the museum didn’t work properly anymore. However, there should still be a few items that worked. Moreover, the equipment that the heroes used were a mixture of magic and rare items. Even if he only found one such equipment then it would be a jackpot! But there was even more. Even if they didn’t work, there were many buyers that would want equipment the war heroes used. Some were worth dozens or even hundreds of gold. There were hundreds of these items!
‘How much for all of this?’
Ark couldn’t even calculate it in his head.
“Hahaha, now I’m rich!”
“Hihihihi, I’ll become a CEO with this!”
Ark and Tori dreamed of their gold future as they gathered the items. After 20 minutes……
“Pant pant pant!”
“Pant pant pant pant pant pant!”
Ark and Tori faced each other and panted. They were breathing heavily from running around the museum for 20 minutes and gathering items. But there was a thought that hadn’t entered their minds at all. They swept up hundreds of items, causing their bags to bulge so it was impossible for them to hate it. However, a new problem floated into Ark’s head.
“Wait? How are we going to move this?”
Once again, the bags had swelled to an enormous size. That meant it became very heavy. Ark had packed so many items into the bag that he couldn’t fit even 1 more in. It became so heavy that 2 people lifting it would have trouble.
“Doesn’t the security system automatically change every hour? Don’t we have to gather the rest of the items in 40 minutes and get out of here? But moving all of that…..”
“Do you think I hadn’t considered that before coming here?”
Tori just laughed like Ark’s question was ludicrous. He got up with a moan and approached a sculpture in the centre of the room.
“We’re not going to take everything. There is something really expensive in this room. This is it.”
Tori tapped the sculpture as he spoke. It was a sculpture of two warriors defeating a Rama and dealing the final blow. Tori tinkered with the equipment the two warriors were wearing. It was a heavy armour that made it seem like a giant robot was protecting the humans. No, to be exact it wasn’t armour.
“Have you seen this before? Sometimes the senior guards would wear this. You might not know yet but this is different from armour. This is a battle suit, a type of hand operated robot…..the body will become several times stronger when supported by this battle suit. I don’t have to explain it. You’ll know when you use it directly.”
“Use it directly?”
“Yes, this is the method of grabbing the bags.”
Tori said with a smile.
“This might be a sculpture but the battle suit the heroes are wearing are real. These are the actual battle suits that the two heroes of Nephalim used to defeat the Rama. It was created 100 years ago so the functions are limited but they are extremely coveted by collectors. It is possible to get at least 1000 gold from this. If I change the batteries then we can use it to move the bags.”
“W-we can move the bags with this?”
Ark approached the battle suit when Tori interrupted.
“You idiot! Wait. I told you. This battle suit is the most expensive item in the museum. If you just peel it off the sculpture then you might get injured. I need to change the battery and dismantle it. So leave this to me.”
Tori pushed Ark back and started working on the battle suit. He took out a tool and started to carefully take it apart.
‘That guy, he had a surprisingly delicate side.”
Ark made an awkward expression as he looked at Tori working. At first he thought it was unlucky that he encountered such a hamster but the hamster had many unexpected sides. His ability to neutralize the federation’s security system was remarkable. Tori mentioned it the first time they met but he was once a hamster that explored the galaxy. The problem was his greed…..
‘Now I’ve caught that guy’s weakness.’
So far he had been one-sidedly exploited.
‘I’ll rather be exploited by this guy then by the federation.’
Ark hadn’t neglected to gather information about sponsors while in Nephalim. He had planned to break the contract with Tori so it was natural to check on other sponsors. Among those, the sponsor Ark was most interested in was the galactic federation since he had a letter of recommendation.
‘But I don’t fit the galactic federation.’
Ark came to that conclusion. A lot of users wanted to sponsor with the federation so there was a lot of information on different forums. It had benefits and disadvantages. The federation was a sponsorship with an air tight binding so it was most like becoming a government servant rather than being supported. The other thing was they gave so many quests it was difficult to do other work.
‘Well, having a lot of quests isn’t exactly a drawback……’
The problem was that most of them required parties or raids. So associates would gather together to do the quest. It meant he couldn’t monopolize items. The quests could be refused but the federation would impose a penalty. The support would become restricted and if the penalties built up then the contract would be cancelled. In the end, it wasn’t possible to receive substantial support from the federation without doing the quests. They would just be a nominal sponsor.
‘A sponsor like that is the same as Tori……’
At least Tori didn’t force quests on him as a sponsor. Ark didn’t have to join parties and could go around by himself. By the main point was that Tori was brave enough to rob the federation.
Ark had been terrified when he first heard about it but he didn’t have a law abiding character.
If it gave him benefits then his mind thought it was okay! In that sense, Ark fit rather well with Tori.
‘Yes, this type of sponsor might be better for me. I have to spend 200 gold to break the contract and find another sponsor so maybe I should just sign a formal contract with this guy?’
Ark thought that as he stared at Tori.
‘Eh? What’s that?’
Suddenly a strange object caught Ark’s eye. Tori had just taken off the foot piece of the battle suit that was pressed against the Rama’s chest. And a 20 cm octagonal object was lodged in the chest.
Unlike the warriors, the Rama was entirely a sculpture except for the octagonal object.
‘This seems to be real…..is it an item the Rama uses?’
Ark quickly looked at Tori after finding an unexpected object. In fact, Ark had placed the museum items in an external bag for a reason. There was a formal 50-50 split agreement so Tori had monitored the bag. That’s because the items in the bag would be distributed after returning to the junkyard. But now Tori was busy replacing the battery of the battle suit.
‘This is an opportunity to pack some items!’
Ark studied Tori’s face and approached the Rama. And he quickly grabbed the octagonal object. At the same time an information window appeared.
‘What? An item information window?’
Ark ignored the information window and pulled the item out. Suddenly the octagonal object vibrating violently and a light exploded from the centre of it. Ark glanced at Tori and quickly covered the object with both hands. Then the octagonal object disappeared with the light?
‘Eek? What, what the? Where did it suddenly go?’
|-!#$!#$!%$#!@@E%! Q!! #$!!
$%@$#%%$#% : #$!#$!#%!#$!#$!#$!#@$!#$!$…….
A message window appeared in front of Ark. It was unnecessary to say that the information window contained relevant information about the octagonal object. However, he couldn’t read it so he couldn’t understand what had happened.
‘W-what just happened?”
Ark’s eyes blinked stupidly.
“What, what the? What’s going on? Did you see something shiny just now?”
Tori said as he turned his head.
“Huh? Shiny? I don’t know. I didn’t see anything.”
Ark quickly replied and shook his head. Tori looked at him doubtfully before turning back around.
“There’s no time so just stay still!”
And he started working again for a while.
“That’s it. It’s released!”
Tori exclaimed as the battle suit made a mechanical sound. And the arms, legs and chest area were released from the sculpture. The battle suit kneeled down with its parts open like it was waiting for a new owner to board!
“This is the battle suits that the senior guards wear…..”
The battle suit was basically like a large body armour. But like its name Battle Suit, it was a state of the art battle suit that increased strength, stamina and defense once worn. Of course, the battle suit on display was old so they performance would fall but it would still improve some stats!
‘One of these will be mine?’
Ark completely forgot about what just happened and stared at the 2 battle suits. Sometimes he saw people wearing battle suits around Nephalim. When he checked the price, the cheapest one cost 1,000 gold. Even if it was an antique, he never imagined that he would get a battle suit for free. This was also possible with the help of his sponsor contract with Tori!
‘As expected, it’s better not to break the contract!’
Just as Ark was thinking this. Tori confirmed the time and spoke in an impatient voice.
“There’s 30 minutes left but that isn’t long if we factor in the time it takes to return. I’ll test the operation so you should ready yourself as well.”
Tori entered the battle suit and it covered him with a mechanical hum. The battle suit felt completely different from when it was placed on the sculpture. It gave an overwhelming sense of a huge metal body! It made even a hamster look like a powerful warrior.
“Hihihihi. That’s it. That’s it!”
Tori cheered as he moved the battle suit. He placed a huge arm on Ark’s shoulder.
“Ark, that’s it. You should quickly put on the battle suit. Hurry!”
Ark nodded and quickly applied the battle suit to his body. And he tried to move it.
|-#!$#$!^%$!! #$!@!@#$!$!#$!! %$%!! #$!|
A warning message suddenly flashed before his eyes. The ensuing scene was like a nightmare.
Smoke started to rise from different areas of the battle suit. Tori burst out screaming.
“Heok! T-the thousands of gold battle suit…..A-Ark, you! W-what did you do?”
“W-what did I do? I didn’t touch anything!”
“If you didn’t do anything then why did the battle suit explode?”
“Damn, how should I know?”
A sharp siren sound rang out.
“What, what the? Didn’t you say there was 30 minutes left before the system changes?”
“T-this isn’t the system siren. It is the fire alarm!”
Tori screamed with a sickly pale expression. The smoke emitted from Ark’s battle suit had triggered the fire alarm. Water started pouring down from sprinklers in the ceiling. However, the fire alarm was like a security system to Ark and Tori.
“We’re finished! The guards will soon arrive!”
“B-but the battle suit…..”
“You idiot! Do you expect the exploded battle suit to move? Take it off right now!”
“No, that’s not it…..”
Ark stuttered with a desperate look.
“It won’t open. The battle suit won’t move or open!”
Once again, the battle suit was an equipment that broke into separate parts before being applied.
In order to take it off and on, the panels of the arms, legs and chest had to be opened. However, the panel wouldn’t budge no matter how much he manipulate the device to open it.
“D-did the Nymphe break the battle suit……?”
Ark raised his head and asked. Tori rushed back and forth and shouted.
“I don’t know! I do not know! I’m sorry but I’m going to run away before the guards get here!”
“W-wait a minute! Y-you have to help me……”
“No! There’s no more time!”
“This bastard, if I’m caught do you think you will be safe?”
“Damn, who cares if you report me? I can’t die here like this!”
Tori grabbed the bag and jumped through the hole in the floor. And after he quickly jumped in the hold….teok!
The bulging bag got stuck in the hole. In the end, Tori couldn’t even grab the items. While Tori was running away through the hole, Ark was trapped in the battle suit. It was a large metal battle suit that didn’t move. It wouldn’t move no matter what Ark did. And……
“Confirm the situation!”
10 guards finally arrived.
“Huk! Intruder! Catch him!”
They had discovered Ark inside the smoking battle suit. The 10 guards aimed their guns towards Ark’s head. In the end, a person was arrested for trying to rob the museum.
“Captain-nim, items from the exhibit are missing!”
“A thief has entered the museum! These are all historical items. Check it carefully to confirm if anything is missing. Hey, check that bag over there!”
The guards lifted the bag stuck in the hold that Tori left behind. And a strange expression appeared on the guards’ faces. A ridiculous hamster wearing a battle suit was lifted up as well. The battle suit clad hamster was Tori.
“Why is he clenching the bag?”
The guards murmured with an amazed expression.
“Sob sob sob.”
Tori hung from the bag he was holding and tears dripped down his face as he looked at Ark.
“It can’t be helped. Absolutely…..I couldn’t give it up……”