SPACE 6. Never-ending Quest
Really…..it was outrageous. And…..it was fascinating. Just like Jay said, there were no Sufferers on the other side of the lab. There was only the control booth for the management system. The control room was the core facility for Charem so they were equipped with androids or turrets. Therefore a battle occurred between the security system and the Sufferers. When Ark exited the lab he saw the shattered bodies of the Sufferers and security system. Although there were one or two still surviving…..they already weren’t a match for Ark.
Rururala susak susak! Pepepeng!
Ark comfortably destroyed the Sufferers and ran towards the control room. But this was the main place of his quest so he couldn’t afford to relax. After a moment Ark flinched.
‘Wait? Whenever I think these types of thoughts……’
It always happened. It was too easy. He was lucky. He didn’t understand why but when that happened things would always twist in a strange way. This tradition went all the way back to when Ark was in New World.
‘This, perhaps…..it might be different. I came all the way up here…..’
But he was wrong. Ark used Jay’s security card and entered the control room. Then Ark saw it. A thick iron wall blocking the various control devices! In fact Ark wasn’t worried about it. There was terminal right in front of the iron wall and Ark possessed Jay’s A class security card. He got an unlucky feeling when he swiped the security card on the terminal.
|-Error! This security card isn’t authorized the open the current location!|
Jay immediately explained the situation through the Nymphe.
–Oh my god! This have become complicated.
“Complicated? What do you mean? What is this iron door? You didn’t say anything about this!”
–I didn’t think it would work like this. I’ve never saw it before but the management system will be surrounded by a wall when an enemy destroys the security device.
“Then is there a way to release it?”
–The only way to release it is to use the Lord of Charem, Java’s security card.
“Java’s security card……”
He had seen it. It was the top rated security card that could access all system in Charem. Kalbern was able to open the door of the control tower and proceed to the 5th floor because he had this security card. And Kalbern got on the direct elevator to the 39th floor with the security card. But they never arrived at the 39th floor. They were blindsided by a mysterious attack in the elevator. It was highly likely that Java’s security card was somewhere in the stomach of that creature. The Phoenix members were dangling from a vertical passage and weren’t able to fight properly. It had been a few hours since that happened so they might’ve been digested and emerged in the creature’s X. He didn’t want to fight the fearsome creature…..Did he have to search through 40 floors infested with Sufferers for the creature’s X?
‘In the end I have to search through all of the control tower? No way! How am I supposed to move around 40 floors by myself? There must be another way!’
Ark attempted to hack the terminal.
|-This device is protected by a security device.
Enter the security code or use Invaders to hack and release the lock.
This lock has a security rating of level 30. Your present hacking techniques can only release level 1~3 locks.
<If you don’t know the password then try against after raising the level of your hacking skill>
……It was impossible.
“Damn! Is there any other way?”
–I only know that you can disable it from the control room. If it can’t be released……it is made of a compressed metal land Orichalcum alloy so it can’t be scratched with a normal bomb. Only the special bombs created with the banned ‘TK technology’ can scratch it.
Bombs where TK technology was applied. Marquis Martin had handed him the STK-VII made with TK technology when he accepted the <Charem’s Infiltration> quest. But he had used it all while hunting in the northern lake.
‘The grenade was needed in a place like this!’
Once again Ark realized that Galaxian was a RPG game. This was why he received the item in conjunction with the quest. In RPG games, items that played a decisive role in the quest were given. Ark completely forget that common sense.
That wasn’t all. If he was more flexible and coped better during the surprise attack in the elevator then he might’ve been able to grab Java’s security card. Java’s security card and the STK-VII were items necessary for the quest progress and he lost both of them. While Ark was busy thinking…..
–Ah! There may be a way.
“W-what is it?”
–There is no way to release the lock or destroy the wall. But our purpose isn’t to recover the management system is it?
“Huh? It isn’t to recover the management system?”
–No, I mean you’re looking for the management system to turn off the shield around Charem. The system might not be recovered but it is simple to release the shield. Just turn of Charem’s power.
–Yes, the facilities for all of Charem’s power is in the basement. Charem’s shield also uses the power from these facilities. If we turn off the facility then the shield will be released. My security card will be able to release the basement door.
“Again…..now I have to go down to the basement?”
–That is the only way.
Jay replied in a firm voice like there was no room for negotiation. He really was going around all over the place. He climbed all the way to the 40th floor and now he had to go down to the basement? Of course, except for the 40th floor it wasn’t that difficult to navigate thanks to the pipes. But he had to go down to the 39th floor in order to use the pipes. And there were 20 Sufferers gathered outside the laboratory. But he had no other choice. Java’s security card! The STK-VII that Marquis Martin gave him!
Loud sirens rang out. The flashing red lights attached to the wall, the rough footsteps and the shouts all indicated an emergency situation. Sometimes the screams would mix with the gunshots. Inside a dark corridor.
‘Huhuhu, as expected. It was nicely accomplished!’
The black eyes shone as the guy smirked. Crouching in a corner was a hamster applying ash to his fur! It was Tori who was arrested for the museum break in and sent to the orbit prison Stael.
‘Those federation guys, did they think they could keep me locked up? What is this? I am Tori. Tori who used to run wild around the galaxy. If you thought this Tori would politely stay here for 2 years then you miscalculated. The plan took a bit longer than I expected but this is my expertise.’
Tori remembered the turbulent memories of the past few months.
–The defendant Tori is sentenced to 2 years of labour in the orbit prison Stael!
Everything started from that moment.
‘2 years? Don’t make me laugh! I just stole a few things and now I have to be stuck for 2 years? I am Jean Valjean? I can’t accept this! Those damn federation bastards! I definitely have to escape!’
Tori started to dream of a jailbreak after being imprisoned in Stael. But there was a weak point. He was forced to labour for 15 hours a day. Stael was a prison created on a satellite that used to be a battlefield between the federation and the Rama. The labour imposed on the inmates was to gather parts and equipment left behind by that war.
‘This is great!’
All the plans were completed in Tori’s head at that moment. Since then Tori slowly started to hide small metal parts. Of course he received a physical check from a guard after the labour finished but Tori was a hamster and could hide it in undetectable places. For example, in between his fur or his stomach…..he was thoroughly searched with a metal detector and X-ray machine but Tori had ways of cheating those equipment.
“Eh? That bastard, why is his X-rays turning up black?”
“Why is the metal detector responding?”
“Ah, that? It might be this.”
Tori shook his body and iron powder fell from it.
“Hihihihi, I have a lot of fur. The powder seems to have been caught in my fur while working.”
Of course he had intentionally stuck the iron powder to his body. It was natural for the metal detector to react when he was covered with iron powder. Even the X-rays turned out black. Tori’s greatest strength was his cunning.
‘A genius? Aren’t I a genius? Hihihihi!’
Anyway, Tori gradually gathered small metal parts. And after a few months of gathering metal parts and joining them together……
‘It is complete!’
Tori looked at a machine the size of a soccer ball. It was the machine Tori went without sleep for the past few months to create! It was a machine he named ‘Random hacking, sprinkle virus.’ The name was the same as the use. It was a machine that randomly hacked various systems and spread a virus.
‘Stael’s security is definitely no joke. This facility is completely isolated from the outside and there are hardly any gaps in security. But……’
The external security was perfect but that meant internal security was lax. Furthermore, Tori’s Random Hacking machine was something he had been working on for several months. Of course, he didn’t have the right equipment so he didn’t have fine control over it but it was simple to plant a virus in the connected system. Tori hid the machine on him while waiting for an opportunity when the guards weren’t looking.
‘Random hacking, sprinkle virus’!
‘The chances of success was fifty-fifty but it worked better than expected!’
Tori looked around with sparkling eyes and laughed. Once he started the machine, there was an error in the locking mechanism and all the doors in Stael opened at once. He didn’t need to use his imagination to know what happened next.
“Ohhhh! The prison doors opened!”
“Those bastard guards, shall we bother them? I will show you this time!”
“It is a riot, a riot! Seize the central control tower! If they escape then they will threaten the galactic federation!”
“Hahahaha! Kill everybody!”
People who committed atrocities in Galaxian were also placed in Stael prison. The proof was that the prisoners rioted at once. The guards who couldn’t react to the sudden situation had their weapons taken away and the riot got out of hand. However Tori had no interest in the riot.
‘Those stupid guys, they’re just ignorantly fighting. Do they really think they can seize Stael just because they got their hands on some weapons? The federation army fleet will come as soon as Stael’s situation is conveyed. They will fire the guns. Do they want to drop dead? Well it doesn’t really matter to me. No, I’m actually thankful. This makes my escape easier. Yes, escape! Now I can escape from this hellish place!’
Tori raised his head with a hopeful expression. Hope dawned on Tori’s haggard face. He couldn’t eat his favourite sunflower seeds, his eyes were sunken in, he had bruises all over the place and he had lost some fur. This was a brutality committed by the Katz that shared his cell. Tori’s plan was also behind schedule because of the Katz. Those guys stepped on Tori and kicked him so he felt badly every night. So it was difficult to find time to make the machine.
‘But today is the end of this miserable life. Those guys are violent so they will run around violently and will be shot at. Hihihihi, that’s good.’
Tori laughed and shook his head.
‘No, that’s not it. Now’s not the time. There are also smart guys like me among the prisoners. I have to escape before it is too late!’
Tori ran along a passage. Tori was heading towards the space shutter hangar! The security there was strict but all the door mechanisms were currently jammed. And the guards were mobilized to stop the riot.
‘There are still a few guards remaining but…..’
Tori had applied some ash to his fur!
He would blend into the darkness to avoid catching the guard’s eyes and sneak away on a stolen shuttle! Tori’s hope swelled up and he quickly ran to the hangar.
“Huk! W-what is this?”
Tori stared around the hangar with confusion. There were 10 bodies scattered around the entrance of the hangar. They were the bodies of the guards.
“Don’t tell me? Some prisoners managed to reach the hangar in the meantime?”
Then there was a tremendous roaring sound. Tori turned his head and flinched. The roaring came from a space shuttle inside the hangar. There was no doubt about it. While Tori was hiding to avoid being mixed up in the riot, some prisoners had attacked the guards in the hangar and seized a space shuttle. Of course there was still a lot of space shuttles left…..
“The prisoners are running away! Shoot!”
Tu tu tu tu! Tu tu tu tu! Tu tu tu tu!
Guards ran inside the hanger firing machine guns.
‘No! The guards are starting to flock to the hangar. I don’t have time to seize another space shuttle! If I don’t get on that space shuttle then I’ll be caught!”
He would go back to working during the day and being beaten up by the Katz at night. Tori would rather die than go back to a hell like that.
“Stop! Stop! Take me along as well! Wait a minute!”
“A prisoner hasn’t got on yet!”
“Shoot! Stop him even if you have to kill him!”
Tu tu tu tu! Tu tu tu tu! Tu tu tu tu!
Bullets were fired but that didn’t stop the hamster. Escape from hell! Freedom! Sunflower seeds!
He threw his body towards the space shuttle that was rising.
“He is a colleague too! Grab him!”
The shuttle door opened and someone grabbed Tori’s hand. The light of deliverance! Light of freedom! Tori tightened his grip on the hand and crept into the shuttle. Then the door closed and the space shuttle flew out of the hangar’s doors into space. The sight of Stael receding brought Tori to tears then he turned his head.
“Pant pant pant, thanks! Thank you! I’ll never forget that you saved me from hell! I am Tori! My saviours…..heok! Y-you are……”
Tori suddenly screamed and retreated. The man smiled and nodded.
“You understand Tori. You are our friend.”
There were 10 people gathered in front of Tori. They were the Katz that he shared a cell with.
“We seem closely connected. Let’s see what happens in the future. Nyang∼.”
“……Should I just jump out into space?’
Tori was seriously worried.
“Damn, it was possible to do it this way!”
A curse naturally emerged. Ark had reached the management system on the 40th floor and now he had to go back down again. The thing he was most concerned about was the Sufferers outside his lab. But it was surprisingly easy to settle that problem. The doors of the laboratory!
|-The administrator has been authenticated and the door will be opened.|
The door opened.
|-The administrator has been authenticated and the door will be closed.|
The door would close as soon as three or four Sufferers ran through the door.
And susak susak! Pepepepeng!
By attacking a few Sufferers at a time with the sword and Fire Eagle, he could wipe out all the Sufferers in 30 minutes. The process meant he didn’t need to worry about dying. His worries were for nothing. Anyway, Ark took care of the Sufferers and exited the lab. He went down to the 39th floor and took the pipes ↓↓↓↓! He used Tori’s instructions and Jay over the Nymphe to climb down the pipes to the 20th floor to a door where a sign saying ‘Danger! Off limits except for administrators’ hung from it. It was a door that led to the outer wall of the control tower!
“……This is Charem!”
Ark muttered to himself. This was the place that Ark first saw using the Wire Camera when he entered the water facilities. It was crowded with aliens and was probably the safety zone that Kalbern mentioned. But the place Ark emerged in was the contaminated area. He immediately joined the Phoenix members and then he was stuck in the control tower. Therefore Ark completely forgot that Charem was a city floating in the air. However, he was again realized this once he emerged on the outer wall of the 20th floor. A 10 km city stretched underneath his foot. More than half of the buildings had turned into ruins with smoke pouring out from it while the downtown area remained perfect.
And beyond the boundaries were clouds! Clouds swept over Charem’s shield like a wave. He had crawled through narrow pipes for a few hours so the sudden panoramic view really made him feel good. But that only lasted for a moment. The control tower was located on one end of Charem. In other words, the front looked towards the city while the back was like a cliff. The power facilities was like a lump attached to the back of Charem’s control tower. He had to go down the ladder on the outer wall to reach the facilities. By the way…..
Weng weng weng! Weng weng weng! Weng weng weng!
Ark walked along the outer wall until he heard a sound that he could identify. At the bottom of the ladder was a large 20 metre hole. That hole led to the facility that supplied Charem’s power! However a huge propeller was spinning at the entrance at a tremendous speed. It was a ventilator designed to clear the toxic fumes created inside the facility. This was the reason that Ark was dangling from the ladder. There was a 20 metre large ventilator covering the entrance. If he got caught in the propeller then he would be cut to pieces.
–Oh! I didn’t think about the ventilator.
“So there’s no way for me to enter? Is there a way?”
–All the facilities are managed by the central control system! You have to manually operate the control system to stop the ventilator!
“If I could touch the control system then I wouldn’t need to come here!
He really wanted to beat Jay up.
“Dammit, why can’t this be easily resolved?”
In fact, that wasn’t the case. He might’ve become the strongest in New World but he went through a lot of hardships to get to that point. Ark had a long history of being unlucky. He had been in situations like this many times…..
That experience wasn’t a bad thing. It meant he became accustomed to handling things like this. He drew on his experience of being a gamer for several years. And he soon discovered a solution to the problem.
“I have to do it.”
Ark sighed and pulled out the Wire Camera.
“Dammit, the thing that cost me 70 gold…..I have to leave it in a place like this. I have to squeeze as much compensation as possible from Marquis Martin and Lord Java when the quest finishes!”
Ark threw the Wire Camera towards the centre of the propeller. It wrapped around the centre for a while before intertwining with a propeller blade. The next moment…..clang! Clang! Kararara! Ku ku ku kung!
There was a loud sound and the propeller stared slowing until it eventually stopped. The Wire Camera wrapped around the centre and acted like a brake. In fact, he knew about this method to stop the propeller as soon as he saw it. But he had to give up 70 gold in exchange. Therefore he wanted to think of another way. However he was tired of wandering the control tower. The fastest way was to give up the 70 gold. The value of the camera would be nothing compared to the compensation.
“Of course, that only applies if it is completed successfully.”
Ark immediately started descending the ladder. It was an underground facility but it wasn’t that deep. No, it was a city in the air so the facilities wouldn’t be underground anyway…..anyway, he passed the propeller and a wide area appeared after continuing for another 5 metres.
“This is Charem’s power generating facility?”
Ark muttered to himself and looked around. 1 minute had passed since the propeller stopped. He didn’t know what fuel the propeller used but a smoky gas covered the area underneath it. The area was approximately 40 meters. He couldn’t see the details because of the gas but there was the roar of hundreds of engines working at the same time.
“I’m in the power facility. Now what do I do?”
-I don’t understand how but it is good that you managed to enter the facility. Charem’s power facility uses a synthetic ether as fuel so there should be a superluminal particle converter somewhere. It is a cylindrical machine 10 metres in size so it shouldn’t be hard to find. If you disconnect the particle converter then the power facility will stop working.
He didn’t know what a superluminal particle converter was but he could find a cylindrical machine immediately. It was a machine that vibrated and emitted a red light!
☞ (Power Supply Switch) ☜
It was even kind enough to indicate the switch for him.
Woong woong woong woong, woong woong woong woong……
He pressed the button and the vibrating sound of the machines in the facility gradually stopped.
“That’s it! I can soon finish this damn quest!”
It took a fortnight to reach this point of the quest. When considering all the suffering that he went through, he felt like collapsing at the thought of it ending.
‘The power is cut so now the shield is also gone? That means I can send a radio wave to Marquis Martin without needing to connect to the communication antenna!’
Ark took out the special communication device that Marquis Martin gave him.
“Federation! Galactic Federation, over! This is Ark!”
A soldier shouted in a desperate voice.
“A signal is coming in over a closed frequency! It is Ark!”
“Ark? Are you sure?”
Marquis Martin got up suddenly and asked.
“Yes, it is the frequency of the special communication device. The person also said that he was Ark!”
“Connect the signal right now!”
The soldier quickly manipulated the panel.
-Hey, can you hear me? I’m Ark! Galactic Federation, over!
‘That voice clearly belongs to Ark!’
“It is me. Ark. It is Marquis Martin!”
–Eh? Marquis-nim? I didn’t think that Marquis-nim would receive this directly. How are you?
“Let’s skip the small talk. Where are you now? Charem? Are you in Charem?”
–Huhuhuhu, that is correct.
“You’re now in Charem? You’re really contacting us from Charem?”
-That’s right. Who am I? Somehow I completed it. By the way, there seems to be a misunderstanding. When I entered I discovered that the situation is more tangled than I thought. Do you know how much I’ve suffered because of it? No, that doesn’t matter. I need to tell Marquis Martin the detailed information…..
-Yes, the reason that Charem broke off contact with the federation…..heok! Waaaah!
“Ark! What’s going on? Ark, answer me!”
Marquis Martin screamed through the communication device with a desperate voice. Then the communication soldier shook his head and said.
“…… The connection has been lost.”
“It suddenly disconnected? What on earth…..and he talked about a misunderstanding?”
Marquis Martin stared at the communication device before raising his head and asked.
“Communication soldier, did you manage to get the GPS information from the signal?”
“Yes, the location is X0588, Y-489, the sky above the northern lake!”
Marquis Martin grabbed a uniform on a hangar and shouted.
“Deputy, send an emergency signal to the galactic federation’s special operation centre. Inform the governor of Nabe. Make him gather all cruisers with a photon movement function loaded at the port. Once all the cruisers are gathered, make them warp to X-599, Y489. The primary goal is to take control of Charem. If that isn’t possible……”
Marquis Martin paused before continuing.
“Then we will destroy Charem.”
“Pant pant pant! Pant pant pant!”
Ark gasped as he touched the particle converter.
“Oh my god! Why didn’t I think of that?”
When Ark was communicating with Marquis Martin. Ark suddenly felt a sensation in his body. This wasn’t the first time he felt that feeling. It was the same as when the Phoenix members were in the elevator and it fell from the surprise attack! A lightning bolt then flashed through Ark’s head.
‘W-wait? Isn’t Charem a city in the air? I don’t know what the structure is but it is obviously operated through some mechanisms. If the power was cut off all of a sudden……’
It was obvious what would happen.
Charem was falling at an absurd speed.
‘I didn’t think about the consequences of disconnecting the power! Did spending several days dealing with the Sufferers rot my head?’
Ark’s head wasn’t the only one that rotted. It was clear that the head of research Jay’s head also melted away. But now wasn’t the time to curse. Charem was a huge 10 km wide city with a large mass. That city was falling several thousand metres in the sky. It would be a terrible collision even if it hit the lake. Everybody in Charem would be injured or dead. Especially if they were in one of the lower facilities like Ark. He would be crushed by the weight on top of him!
That’s when he screamed through the communication device.
Ark belatedly realized the situation and yanked at his head. Then a small button caught his eye and gave him some hope……
☞ (Power Supply Switch) ☜
‘Y-yes! The particle converter! I might be able to stop it if I turn on the power!’
And he pressed the ON switch! He stopped getting that sinking feeling.
“I-it stopped! I’m alive!”
He didn’t see it but he could feel it directly with his body. That’s why the communication with Marquis Martin stopped in the middle. The power was restored which meant that Charem was wrapped in the shield again and the radio waves were cut off. So Charem was back in its original sealed state……
“The original quest I received was to send Charem’s GPS information to the federation. The communication might’ve been disconnected in the middle but the GPS information was still passed on. If the federation army arrives then all the problems will be solved. I no longer have to disconnect the power.”
And there was some time before the federation would arrive. Just as Ark was relaxing.
Ku ku ku ku! Kukung!
A loud ringing sound was heard from behind him. He was still tense from the fall so his heart jumped.
“Heok! T-this sound is? It sounds like something falling into the hole……”
Ark turned his head and stiffened. A huge object had appeared in the facility filled with smoke. And the sloppy flesh slapped against the ground. The huge shadow dragged its body and headed towards Ark.
Ark stuttered with shock and retreated.
|-The destruction ranked monster ‘Mumu’ has emerged!|
The warning message flashed before his eyes. The huge flesh fell towards him.