SPACE 3. Unknown Planet?
Rough winds stirred. Grains of sand were mixed with blue glass.
A jolt of pain was felt directly on his skin. The visibility was limited but he could see through the faceguard of the helmet.
“Was it originally like this? Or….”
Ark lifted his head from the ground.
The sky was covered in a black curtain. But it wasn’t night. In fact, Ark’s current place wasn’t completely dark. It wasn’t bright but it was like a dreary, grey day. The sky might be dark but there were no stars. Ark could guess why.
“I think this is definitely….”
They had escaped the exploded Noblesse in the emergency pods.
The emergency pods were captured by a magnetic force and sucked into the sunspot. They tried to change the direction several times to no avail.
And….dozens of emergency pods were swallowed up in darkness. Ark naturally thought it was GAME OVER.
But in the next moment, the veiled window became brighter. Ark was now standing on a glassy blue surface covered with coarse sand and rocks.
“Considering the situation, the black curtain covering the sky of Ikyullos is the sunspot. In other words, we passed through the sunspot and arrived on Ikyullos.”
Of course, there were many unsolved doubts about this.
When the Noblesse was investigating, it couldn’t even touch Ikyullos. So why had their emergency pods landed on Ikyullos? No, why was Ikyullos in such a state? Was it the effect of the gas covering Ikyullos? Why had tentacles emerged from the sunspot in order to attack the Noblesse?
There was an endless procession of ‘?’.
“But no matter how hard I think, an answer won’t emerge. And that isn’t important right now. We need to survive here. That is the priority.”
Ark turned and headed down the hill. And while crossing the terrain, a pit appeared. A metal sphere was half buried in the ground. It was the emergency pod that Ark rode in.
The emergency hatch was open and one man was messing with a machine in front of it. It was Hoksullo who had been riding the same emergency pod.
“Can you do something?”
“No. There is nothing visible.”
Hoksullo sighed and asked again.
“By the way, is this place Ikyullos?”
“I’m not sure but probably.”
“What do you think? Will a rescue team be able to find us?”
Before the ship exploded, a request had been sent to the western border’s headquarters. The person who sent the request was none other than Marquis Martin, the head of the military faction. If the radio waves reached them then a large scale search operation would take place. However, Ark was sceptical.
Ark was on Ikyullos for unexplained reasons but the planet was still in a missing state.
The crew of the Noblesse couldn’t see the sunspot until the tentacles were revealed. But that was just a temporary phenomenon in order for the sunspot to damage the Noblesse. In fact, the black curtain covering the sky was drilled with many holes like it had been torn apart.
But that wasn’t visible now. The wounds seem to have been healed and re-sealed in the meantime. In other words, it had returned to the original state before the fight with the Noblesse.
It was hard to identify but Ikyullos was probably back in its invisible state. It meant the rescue team was unlikely to find Ikyullos unless they had someone like Ark with the Hajaska rune.
“It isn’t good.”
“But it is too early to give up.”
Ark said with a calm expression.
“Either way, we are still alive. And this is Ikyullos. We arrived here alive so there is a way to get out alive.”
“Ark-nim is strong.”
Hoksullo looked into his eyes with admiration. However, Ark had a reason to be sure. An information window had popped up before the emergency pod landed here.
You have crash landed on a planet that is in an invisible state for some reason. There is no information on why the planet is like this.
But you are a pioneer. There are numerous stars in the galaxy that are beyond human understanding. A pioneer exploring the galaxy needs to overcome these trials.
Do not lose courage. A true pioneer’s weapons aren’t swords, guns and spaceships. The indomitable courage that doesn’t give up will allow you to find a way to escape the crisis.
In this situation, an outside quest had been registered. It meant this incident wasn’t unexpected. A quest was registered in such a situation.
‘Indeed, this incident happened because the entire planet disappeared. And the Noblesse was sunk. It might’ve been different if I was piloting the Silver Star but there was no room for me to interfere in the battle between the Noblesse and the tentacles. Of course, the crew of the Noblesse and Marquis Martin are all NPCs. And this situation took place due to the initiative of the NPCs….’
When looking at it from the position of a user, this was an event! In other words, the situation right now was an event.
Of course, variables existed such a Ark arriving here on the Silver Star, not having the Hajaska rune or the Ikyullos planet not disappearing but this was one of several scenarios prepared in the galaxy.
‘I shouldn’t have pessimistic thoughts in this situation. A quest was registered so this means there is a way to escape from Ikyullos.’
Ark was hopeful in a strange way.
“The tests are over?”
“Yes, it is as expected. Like I said before, the sand of this planet seems to contain quite a lot of metals. The sand storm has also worsened the interference blocking the radio waves. Therefore the portable communications equipment has been jammed.”
“That means it is hard to locate the other emergency pods.”
Ark and Hoksullo weren’t the only ones who landed here.
All of the emergency escape pods from the Noblesse had been sucked into the sunspot. And they were likely to be alive like Ark. Therefore, the first thing he needed to do was join them. Hoksullo was fortunate in that regard.
Hoksullo was the senior pilot and signaller of the Noblesse. He could check the communications. Ark knew there was a device that indicated the location of the emergency pods scattered all over the place. However, Hoksullo said that the equipment wasn’t working properly due to the sandstorm.
“But it will work at a short distance.”
Hoksullo opened up again at Ark’s distressed expression.
“I checked it just now. The wide range radar won’t work due to the sandstorm but the short wave radar is operating normally. However, the range is extremely narrow to 1 kilometre. But the emergency antenna and batteries will increase to 2~3 kilometres.”
Looking at the sunspot area, the range was hundreds of kilometres. Yet the radar would only work for 2~3 kilometres. It was lacking. But the sandstorm limited visibility so that area he could see was only a few hundred metres.
Furthermore, this quest had a time limit attached. What does that mean…..?
“Then let’s leave immediately.”
“Let’s check this out first.”
Hoksullo opened a white box.
|-Emergency Supplies Box
<Space Food x 15>, <9mm General Purpose Bullets x 10 Boxes>, <Recovery Ampoules x2>, <Flare x 5>, <Grenade x 2>…..
Emergency supplies were available. Finding supplies in a place like this was a lifeline! He didn’t know how long it would take to escape so the most precious supply was food.
“15 space food. This is enough to endure for a few days….”
Hoksullo sighed with relief.
It would be enough when waiting to be rescued. If they moved around then they would become hungry more easily.
When thinking about the situation, it would take more than a few days to find Marquis Martin and the other crew members. It was a situation that would cause unease.
“We have to withstand it somehow. First we need to divide the supplies. Here it is.”
Hoksullo handed him 8 space foods. This was larger than his share. But he needed to give it up.
“No, I am fine.”
“Huh? Ah, perhaps you already have food?”
He did. He had 5 space foods. Before going into space, he always brought 20~30 space foods with him. However, the ship was now gone. His backpack only had enough space for 5 emergency food supplies.
But that wasn’t the reason why Ark refused the food.
“I just found it.”
“Found it? What do you mean?”
Ark lifted his hand from his pocket. Then Hoksullo looked at what he was holding and screamed. A centipede like creature with 10 legs was held up.
“W-What is it? That?”
“I don’t know what it is called.”
“No way….are you planning to eat it? Is this the first time you’ve seen an insect? Are you insane? Space worms are the most toxic insect. Eating space worms in the universe is foolish. Those lucky enough will just get abdominal pain and diarrhoea. You can die from brain disease, heart disease and diabetic complications!”
Ark also knew that much. But brain disease, heart disease and diabetic complications had nothing to do with Ark. Even if the centipede caused these symptoms, Ark was the owner of the skill ‘Steel Stomach.’ And he had already tested it.
|-You have consumed unrefined foods.
A toxic sensation has hit your tongue. However, Steel Stomach is able to neutralize the toxin and absorb the nutrients.
<Satiety +40%, Strength has increased by 10 for 10 minutes>
The result was no problem! He didn’t need to worry about food with ‘Steel Stomach.’ It also reached Lv. 2 so the additional nutrients increased strength by 10.
The insect food had a better effect than general space food. The biggest disadvantage of this skill was swallowing the disgusting insect. However, he had already overcome such psychological damage on Beltana.
‘I had forgotten this skill over time. Space food isn’t expensive but it costs 10 copper for one. Now only can I eat for free but it also raises my stats more than space food. So why haven’t I been using it?’
This wasn’t the old days of New World. Even if it was an insect, he was willing to eat it if it would save 10 copper. He had been a little lazy.
‘Yes, now my sprit has woken up. Despite being a sector manager, I am still nothing compared to Hawk and the Seven Swords. And I don’t know what the situation is on the planet. I need to be prepared. Even if there is food, I need to raise my Steel Stomach to Lv. 3.’
Ark was determined. But this was the result of his self-reflection.
“So Hoksullo-nim can keep all the food. The total sum is 20. This should be enough to last Hoksullo-nim a week.”
Hoksullo burst out with confusion as he was handed the food. And he looked at Ark with a tearful expression.
“Even in the toughest situations, food is the difference between life and death! But to give me the food and eat insects that can poison you….to be honest, I was displeased when Marquis Martin-nim brought you along. I didn’t understand why. But now I know why Marquis-nim cares about Ark-nim. I am ashamed that I judged Ark-nim so early. I might serve Marquis-nim but now Ark-nim is like my hyung-nim!”
He said emotionally.
|-Intimacy with Hoksullo has increased by 200!|
His appreciation had risen vertically! The reason Ark ate the insects had nothing to do with Hoksullo’s imagination. Ark wasn’t the type of person to pour cold water on someone’s mood.
“I am ashamed to hear you talk like that. This is an unforeseen situation but is it at the level of life or death? If we join forces then we can overcome this. And being called Hyung-nim is too burdensome.”
“No! Isn’t this like handing over your life? Please accept me as your brother! If you don’t then I won’t take the food!”
“If you say so….”
Ark sighed and replied.
“Okay, I understand. Hoksullo, from now on I will think of you as a younger brother.”
“Thank you, Hyung-nim!”
Hoksullo said with a thrilled look.
Once the ranking was set, their relationship became positive. Hoksullo ripped up parts that could be added to the emergency communications equipment.
|Character Information Window|
|Health||3,600 (+575)||Mental Power||825 (+490)|
|Strength||385 (+80)||Agility||415 (+128)|
|Stamina||605 (+115)||Wisdom||40 (+23)|
|Intelligence||395 (+98)||Luck||45 (+18)|
Ignorant Destroyer (Wisdom -10, Strength +7, Stamina +7)
Spatial Breakthrough (Strength, Agility, Stamina, Wisdom, Intelligence, Luck +10)
Beltana’s Hero (Strength, Agility, Stamina, Wisdom, Intelligence, Luck +3)
Athamas’ Hero (Strength, Agility, Stamina, Wisdom, Intelligence, Luck +5)
Mediator (Wisdom, Intelligence +15)
|* Set Item Effect (Strength, Agility, Stamina +10. Defense +20)
* Contribution: Galactic Federation 27,520, Aschulat 500
* Affiliation: Dark Eden (CEO)
|*Body Coating: Survivor
+ Environmental adaptation increases by 50% due to the Survivor coating.
+ The Survivor coating reduces the drop rate of Satiety by 30%.
+ The Survivor coating will reduce fall damage by 50%.
+The ‘Clairvoyance’ effect of the Survivor coating is applied.
|-Equipment Information Window-
Weapons:<Equalizer (Strength +15, Agility +10, Attack Speed +18%)>
Armour: <Hide Helmet (Camouflage function)>, <Baius Shield (Stamina +20, Resistance to energy weapons +50%, Golem summoning)>, <Harkenion Armour (Agility +30, 20% melee damage mitigation)>, <Belphegor’s Pants (Stamina +20, Agility +20, King’s Wrath>, <Phantom Boots (Agility +30, Intelligence +20, Movement Speed +20%, Soul Sprint)>
Jewellery: <Sheraton’s Twilight (Intelligence +45)>, <Hot Wind Ring (Fire resistance +30%, Agility +10)>
Accessories: <Charenjok’s Token: Lv 3>, <Cheksun’s Toolbox>, <Recovery Ampoule>, <Battle Suit-Hyper Drone: Lv2>
His check was complete!
“Hyung-nim, everything is ready!”
“Okay, then let’s depart!”
Ark and his new brother stepped into the sandstorm.
The beginner zone R-14 was still bustling with crowds.
The users didn’t know it properly but Burum was the elder of the Charenjok cleaning R-14’s air circulation pipes. Burum who was holding a rag flinched as Cheksun approached him. He squinted at the activity log in Cheksun’s hands and asked.
–What’s wrong? Is there a problem?
“No, it isn’t a problem but….”
Cheksun scratched his bald head and said.
“I’ve examined the activity log several times and it seems like the maintenance rate of the pipes are rising. This is a good thing but I’m confused. I was just wondering if you could explain the circumstances?”
Burum sighed before answering.
–We need to survive.
“This is too much.”
“I’ve worked here for over 10 years. You’ve been living in the pipes that entire time. Do you really think that I’m unaware of what you have been doing? Aren’t you operating a space bug hunting ground?”
Burum stuttered with an upset expression. Then Cheksun smiled and tapped Burum’s head.
“It is okay. I told you, I already knew. Wasn’t the person who started the hunting Ark? In fact, I knew it from the beginning. In other words, I’ve been turning a blind eye. The reason why? I’ve been mourning your plight. I am an official of the Galactic Federation but I honestly think it is too much. I’ve been trying to find information about how to help you. So I turned a blind eye when Ark helped create the illegal hunting ground.”
The words reminded Burum of his old memories. Cheksun nodded and continued talking.
“Yes, that nostalgic expression. Indeed, I sometimes recall those times. I’ve worked here for 10 years but I’ve never seen someone with that type of spirit. Sometimes I hear things so apparently he is doing well.”
Cheksun look nostalgic for a moment before shaking his head.
“No, weren’t we talking about the activity log? I was wondering because of it. Haven’t you been making quite a lot since the paid hunting operation started? It should be enough to pay for the civil rights of the Charenjok so why are you still cleaning the pipes? No, that isn’t wrong. If you are going to do that then I will pretend not to notice.”
Tears dripped down from Burum’s eyes. Cheksun was embarrassed by Burum’s reaction.
“Oh, this…why are you crying? Well, you must be impressed knowing that I’ve been pretended this whole time….aha, this is true….”
–That’s not it!
“What? It’s not?”
-We have a network! Sob! We are screwed!
Burum suddenly flopped down and shouted.
“A network? What do you mean? What network?”
–It is all due to Ark! Ark!
Cheksun’s eyes widened.
Tears dripped down his face as Burum explained the situation.
The origin of the incident occurred when he met two pioneers at the job market. Burum attracted these pioneers to the paid hunting ground. Yet the two of them had just started so they didn’t even had 1 copper.
However, Burum accepted both men. After a short conversation with the two men, he learnt that they knew Ark. Ark was the person who created the paid hunting grounds on R-14.
The Charenjok were doomed until he stepped in. Since then, pioneers rushed to the paid hunting grounds on R-14 and they prospered. He decided the two men could pay the entry fee after hunting the space bugs.
“So? Why would that relationship ruin the hunting ground?”
-….They caught everything.
–Those two guys caught all the space worms!
Burum’s face was streaked with tears and ink.
The space bugs didn’t grow infinitely in space. This was originally a space bug farm. However, the Charenjok stole the eggs and raised the bugs for the paid hunting ground. Of course, the space bugs on R-14 were genetically modified to multiply faster but….
“Ohh, there are so many space bugs here? Good! This is the right place to loosen my body!”
A skinny man said.
“Well, isn’t this the facility to circulate the air of the space station? If the bugs are here then it can cause serious hygiene problems. For the health of the people who live here, I need to use all my strength to eradicate the bugs.”
These were the words of a muscular man. Burum didn’t realize the seriousness at this point.
–Yes. Unlimited hunting. This is a place where you can do that.
He even encouraged them. Now he wanted to rip out his lips that said that. But he really couldn’t imagine it.
At that time, the space worms were growing rapidly and needed to be reduced by quite a lot. But even so! Burum and the Charenjok woke up only to find them all gone! Two people had hunted overnight but all the space bugs had been wiped out!
They were pioneers who just entered the universe!
“There should be quite a few space bugs so how many could they catch overnight?”
-At least 300 space bugs were caught!
“3-300? Two people caught 300 space bugs in one night? Oh my god! Is that possible?”
-It is possible and they did it! Those bastards! The guys called Isyuram and Justiceman. And the both of them only paid 1 gold each.
Burum shouted while coughing up blood.
–We worked hard to clean the pipes in order to live!
‘Damn, why is this…..?’
Ark looked around with annoyed eyes.
The sandstorm on Ikyullos was still continuing. He didn’t know whether this was the original weather or caused by the emergency pods of Marquis Martin and the other crew members landing.
The face guard protected his face from being hit by sand but his vision wasn’t perfectly secured. It also wasn’t easy to move. He was swept by strong winds so simple walking was a tough action. Therefore he was bound to consume more stamina and satiety.
Of course, Ark was the owner of Steel Stomach. He could put any creature into his mouth and endure for several months. However, Hoksullo’s durability was no match for Ark.
Immediately after Ark became his hyung-nim, he tried to eat a centipede and vomited.
“Ohh! I can’t even pretend to eat such a thing.”
|-Hoksullo has looked at you with eyes of respect.
His respect for Ark rose again but….
‘He unnecessarily wasted food!’
Hoksullo’s satiety went down and he was also coughing blood. He needed to eat a few space foods to recover. In fact, right now Ark was most worried about the space food.
Of course, there were other emergency supplies. But that would increase when finding other emergency pods. It was the reason he was trying to find the emergency pods but the amount of emergency food wouldn’t increase.
Just walking in the sandstorm would reduce satiety. Hoksullo became anxious whenever he heard a sound.
‘In this environment, it will be hard to resist for a few days to a week. It is difficult even with Hoksullo eating the emergency food. It is meaningless if the other crew members join. It will only be good for the first three days. I need to find a way to escape that planet in the first few days or we will die of starvation.’
Three days wasn’t a short period of time. But it wasn’t a lot of time to find a way to escape the planet. And if he didn’t find the crew members then they would starve.
Ark wouldn’t starve due to the centipedes but he couldn’t just wander around in the middle of nowhere. If he didn’t find a way to escape from the planet then he would eventually starve to death.
A sigh flowed again at the thought. Ikyullos was Ark’s planet. Yet the lord was going to starve on his planet!
‘Dammit, this is so embarrassing that I can’t even complain about it. And it will be useless if Marquis Martin died. I need to find Marquis Martin and his crew and then an escape method.’
So Ark deliberately chose a mountain.
There would be broader visibility and the range of the radar would increase. Instead, his stamina consumption would worsen. And it consisted of huge rocks that one misstep could cause serious injuries.
‘…..Is it useless?’
Ark had that idea as the terrain became increasingly steeper. After messing around with the detector, Hoksullo exclaimed.
“Hyung-nim, a signal is being picked up!”
“Yes, it is clearly a signal for an emergency pod!”
Hoksullo finally detected an emergency signal. Ark jumped back and asked.
“It is 2 kilometres away. In the direction of that ridge!”
“Okay. There is no time. Let’s go!”
Ark and Hoksullo’s pace was quick due to being filled with hope. And after several large rocks, they finally went down a gentle slope. The signal became stronger as they neared their destination.
Hoksullo burst out with confusion.
The two clearly arrived at a Noblesse emergency pod. And there were the crew members. But the two crew members aboard the emergency pod were turned into gory corpses.
“T-the firemen of the Noblesse. Why are they…..?”
“They’ve been assaulted.”
Ark looked around and said.
The dead bodies were torn to pieces so they hadn’t died of starvation. In other words, something had slain them. So far it wasn’t that strange.
Ark had already caught dozens of centipedes. It was an habitable environment so it was natural for monsters to be present. The problem was that the wounds on the bodies didn’t appear to be from monsters.
‘It is too clean to be from a monster’s claws or fangs. This is definitely a sword cut. And there are also gunshot wounds. Obviously the attackers used weapons.’
However, Ikyullos was in a vanished state. It was an empty planet which is why Ark had been given ownership. Of course, Ark and the crew of the Noblesse would be present. But some crew members had been found with sword and gun wounds.
‘Are there other people here in addition to us? Then it is highly likely they entered before the planet became invisible….’
While Ark was busy thinking. Suddenly a red dot on Hoksullo’s neck caught his eyes.
Tu tu tu tu! Tu tu tu tu!
Ark slammed into Hoksullo’s body as a gunshot was heard. The projectile slammed into a rock 10 feet away! If Ark’s response had been a little late then Hoksullo would be riddled with holes. Hoksullo and Ark were surprised by the sudden situation.
“Withdraw to the rear!”
Ark said as he pulled out his Equalizer. And he looked in the direction of the bullets before flinching.
“T-those guys are?”