SPACE 7. Rajenka’s Inscriptions
“That stupid bastard…!”
Fay burst out with a frown. The idea of Ark taking 26 engineers to take care of the Nakuma around the crater was so ridiculous that Fay couldn’t ignore it.
“Do you have something to say?”
“Rather than rushing blindly…yes.”
“Then leave. Try it your way.”
Martin Marquis accepted his request with only a small amount of words. Fay couldn’t accept the idea. Was he saying that crew members would be entrusted to Fay? However, Marquis Martin’s command was absolute.
“I will use my authority as a Marquis to entrust 26 troops to you. But keep this in mind. I will never forgive you if they die in vain.”
Fay was harshly warned.
So far, Ark had only shown an appearance of picking up the remnants of the Nakuma so Fay didn’t have a lot of faith in him. But things finally burst today.
Ark had taken the crew members somewhere and disappeared. Fay watched the Nakuma around the crater with a frustrated expression.
“As an alternative to what Ark is doing….”
“Why are you so nervous?”
“It seems like a waste of time. Ark has stated that this isn’t an urgent situation. But we don’t have a lot of time. The remaining food can only last for two more days. Despite the toxicity of the insects being alleviated, not many crew members can eat them. Every minute and second is important in saving their lives. Yet our valuable time….”
“Are you saying he should return in a hurry? It would be best if the damage could be reduced.”
“I don’t believe that. The engineers….”
Tu tu tu tu! Tang! Tang! Tang!
Then the sound of gunshots were heard over the hills. Marquis Martin and Fay flinched and raised their heads.
They were hiding on the hill opposite the crater where Ark and the engineers were attacking the Nakuma.
The number had decreased by less than half and he could only see 10 people. The strength of 10 people couldn’t face 400~500 Nakuma.
“….Is his idea to kill them all?”
Fay muttered as he rose to his feet. Then Marquis Martin raised his hands and narrowed his eyes.
“Please wait. There is something strange. Ark brought less than half of the troops to attack the Nakuma. Furthermore, they are the engineers. Ark isn’t reckless enough to fight the Nakuma with that amount of people. He must have an idea.”
“What idea is he thinking of?”
Fay shouted angrily.
“I’m sick of seeing people like that on the battlefield. Maybe he was stupid enough to lose the engineers along the way. That guy is probably brazen enough not to return. It is so he can protect his pride. Isn’t that why he asked for help? Those engineers were just herded to their deaths.”
“No, such a thing….”
Marquis Martin said as he gazed at the battlefield.
“The crew members are in a proper formation. And they’re not blindly attacking. At first it seems rushed but they are maintaining a proper distance from the Nakuma and are focused on defending. In my eyes, they seem to be in control.”
Tu tu tu tu! Tang! Tang! Tang!
Fay spoke with a desperate expression as the gunfire continued.
“They are receiving the counterattack of the Nakuma! Now is not the time for this! If we hesitate any longer than the engineers will be wiped out!”
“No, watch a little more.”
“Ark doesn’t just have 10 troops. If we lose our rationality and attack with the special guards then it might ruin Ark’s plan. There is also a risk of losing the special guards. We don’t know the plan so we should just watch without moving.”
The battle changed shortly afterwards.
Ark’s unit on the edge of the crater started to retreat from the Nakuma. But the Nakuma had received bullets out of the blue and were quite upset. Ark and the troops withdrew from the crater and a chase commenced. The black crater was instantly emptied of Nakuma.
Fay stuttered with a puzzled expression.
“D-don’t tell me Ark was aiming for this….”
The situation was clear once he saw the results.
Ark had lured the Nakuma gathered at the crater.
However, Ark only used 10 people. There were 400~500 Nakuma chasing them. Even if the other members were hiding somewhere for an ambush, the numbers meant it was impossible to wipe them out. In addition, they couldn’t outrun the pursuit of the Nakuma and will probably soon….
“That Ark bastard, don’t tell me he meant to die from the beginning?”
Fay glanced back at Marquis Martin.
In this situation, Ark’s unit would be completely destroyed. If Ark intended this from the beginning then he meant to pave the way for Marquis Martin and the special guards. That’s why he took engineers who weren’t a big help in battle.
He thought about the need to preserve troops in the future and knew that losing engineers wouldn’t have a significant impact on their power.
“Stupid bastard…such a favour…did you think I would give you a compliment?”
Marquis Martin scratched his head.
“As far as I know, Ark isn’t the type of person to do something like this for a compliment….”
“Who would praise him? Sacrificing yourself for a compliment? I can’t accept something that irresponsible! Never! This…I can’t admit it!”
“You don’t have to go that far…..”
Marquis Martin laughed at Fay’s words. And Fay snapped back.
“Now isn’t the time to laugh!”
“Yes, I’m not laughing. I’m not sure that he is making a sacrifice but Ark will prepare a path like promised. We can’t just watch blankly. And now they are chasing Ark’s troops. Fay, gather the special guards. We will head towards the centre of the crater as planned.”
Fay spat out a curse before gathering the special guards. And they headed down the hill through the sand storm until they arrived at the crater. The moment they arrived at a large, flat land created by the sand storm.
It mixed with sand and formed a field of glass. Then a metal floor with a brick pattern appeared. In addition, there was a huge slab split in half at the centre.
“Marquis-nim, someone is approaching!”
Marquis Martin’s eyes had narrowed as he approached the slab. Then he heard the voices of the special guards from behind him.
“I can’t confirm it yet! There are dozens of them!”
“Everybody prepare for battle! Create a formation around Marquis-nim!”
Fay gave commands while grabbing his heavy artillery. And looked at the black shapes in the sandstorm.
“Ark, is this the best that dumb bastard can do? You should do it properly! Are you using this time to sleep? Damn Nakuma bastards! Come! I will smash your bodies!”
And just as he was about to pull the trigger with a serious expression.
“Hey Captain Fay-nim, it is us!”
“T-this voice is?”
“Captain-nim, the engineers! The engineers given to Ark have returned!”
“What? The engineers have come back?”
Fay lifted his head with incredulity. At the same time, the black shapes in the sandstorm turned into a group of people.
The person jumping up and waving was Hoksullo. There were over 20 engineers behind him. The 26 engineers he thought were dead had come back without one casualty. And the one leading them….
Fay stuttered with a stunned look.
“Y-you are alive?”
“Huh? Alive? When did I die?”
“Fay thought you sacrificed yourself in order to open the path for us.”
Marquis Martin laughed as he glanced between Fay and Ark. Ark had an incredulous expression on his face.
“Let’s see? Maybe he was worried?”
“Captain Fay-nim for me? Hrmm, that is unexpected.”
Ark blinked his eyes and Fay shouted indignantly with a red face.
“W-who was worried about you? Don’t talk nonsense! Marquis-nim, you are being misleading! I was just annoyed that he was selfish enough to put the engineers to death. Then……”
“I’ve returned alive. There isn’t one casualty.”
“Marquis-nim, did you know about this?”
Fay asked as he turned to Marquis Martin.
“No, I haven’t heard about it. But I knew that Ark isn’t the type of guy to choose death to open the path for me. Fay, you seem to have misunderstood something and have bad feelings towards Ark. Ark choosing to die for me? That is hard to imagine.”
“Of course. Marquis-nim’s life is many times more precious than mine.”
“Well, you are someone who would openly say things like that.”
Marquis Martin said with a wry smile.
“But I am curious. How did you draw away the Nakuma?”
“Listen to this! It is amazing!”
Hoksullo who had been waiting impatiently explained. Ark took 24 engineers and collected all the mechanical parts that dropped in the past day.
Ark’s bag space had run out so he had to leave some remnants of the Nakuma behind. Ark and the engineers piled up the metal debris approximately 10 kilometres away from the crater.
Marquis Martin nodded. He could roughly understand the situation from listening to the explanation.
“The Nakuma instinctively wants to absorb metal. Just before attacking, you stacked up the machine parts in order to lead them to a certain location? But wasn’t it difficult to change the attention of hundreds of Nakuma to the machine parts?”
“I attacked the Nakuma with 10 engineers.”
“But there were 24 crew members. There must be a reason the remaining 14 people were separate.”
Ark smiled and nodded.
While the operation to attack the Nakuma was taking place, the 14 people were hiding in the pile of machine parts.
And Ark drove the Nakuma near them!
“I made a beacon.”
“Yes, the crew members that safely joined us had their emergency pods intact. There was approximately 30 emergency pods. Once I led the Nakuma near the pile of machine parts, the crew members turned the beacons of the emergency pods to the maximum output.”
The Nakuma have sensors that detected that signal. This was how they could find the exact location of the emergency pods despite the swirling sandstorm. Ark used that property of the Nakuma!
For a Nakuma, sensing an emergency signal was like a smelling a wounded prey. Furthermore, there were 30 such signals. It was like a pile of stacked food for the Nakuma.
A hard to resist temptation! They only had eyes for the food and didn’t care about the insolent humans attacking them. Ark had actually been worried when selecting the machine parts for the Nakuma. Their instinct won over rationality and they filled up their stomachs.
“But will that be able to hold them for a long time?”
“No, it should hold them for a few hours.”
“That is the great point of Ark-nim!”
Hoksullo used that chance to jump in again.
“Ark-nim joined all the mechanical parts together. He used screws to tighten the connection between the parts so there are no gaps at all.”
This was the reason Ark took the engineers. They could control the output of the emergency signals as well as tighten screws or weld pieces together. Thanks to that, hundreds of mechanical parts in the pile were attached together.
“No matter how much they want to absorb it, the Nakuma would take at least a few hours.”
Marquis Martin burst into laughter after the explanation.
“A masterpiece. The Nakuma will be hard pressed to eat hundreds of parts welded together. And the operation to lure them. The Nakuma are classified as a monster but you stimulated their thinking like they are real lifeforms. It is a clever idea. What do you think Fay? Was it a great idea like Hoksullo said?”
“I-I can’t properly recognize this mission!”
Fay shouted and turned his head. Then Marquis Martin smiled and nodded.
“Fay is glad to see that you have all come back unharmed.”
“That….what does that mean?”
Anyway, he couldn’t look Ark in the eyes!
He cuffed the feet of the Nakuma but there was no telling how long that would last. They needed to investigate the centre of the crater before the Nakuma devoured the pile of disassembled parts.
Ark’s eyes narrowed as he looked at the centre. Ark gazed towards the enormous slab that Marquis Martin had been approaching.
“Rajenka’s Inscriptions….it seems like it.”
“Rajenka’s Inscriptions? Rajenka….?”
He once heard those words from Marquis Martin.
Just before leaving Tatuine to investigate the magic circle, Marquis Martin had described an incident involving antimatter that took place on Rajenka.
The Aschulat were studying antimatter on that planet when it exploded and disappeared. This was referred to as the tragedy of Rajenka and caused the 3 powers to sign a treaty prohibiting the study of antimatter.
Marquis Martin said while nodding.
“It wasn’t known externally but this is an artefact called Ooparts that was found on Rajenka.”
“It was left behind by an ancient civilization. It was difficult to guess the age of the artefact even with modern equipment. Ooparts was classified as an artefact from one of the 4 races.”
“It was related to one of the 4 races?”
“That information isn’t confirmed yet. The characters inscribed on it was estimated to be the language of one of the 4 races.”
Those characters were inscribed on the surface of the broken slab. However, it was the first time Ark had seen such symbols.
Anyway, the slab was in such a place. It was hard to see it as a coincidence. There was a high possibility it was related to the situation occurring on Ikyullos.
“Have the characters been deciphered?”
“It can’t be deciphered. It was impossible to decipher the characters on the Ooparts. The problem is the slab itself.”
“What does that mean…..?”
“At that time, no currently, the Aschulat is the most advanced power in science and technology. But even the technology of the Aschulat couldn’t destroy the slab. Of course, it was a precious research material so they didn’t use full-fledge weapons. However, the Aschulat researchers couldn’t cause even one scratch on the slab. And not long after that, the incident happened.”
“You mean Rajenka’s Tragedy?”
“Yes, the planet was destroyed due to the antimatter explosion. And the Aschulat were silent in regards to the cause of the incident. Therefore, the Rajenka’s Inscriptions called Ooparts was buried in the darkness forever.”
Ark’s brain was all muddled up. It was full of ‘???’ as he wondered about what happened on the planet and the identity of the mysterious slab.
He couldn’t confirm anything. The slab on the destroyed Rajenka was found here. The slab that was on the planet destroyed by the antimatter research was suddenly found on Ark’s planet. It was at this point that the situation was incomprehensible.
Thanks to that, Ark’s uncomfortable feeling increased by x1000! However, the slab in front of him had a crucial difference from when it was on Rajenka.
“But isn’t there something weird about Rajenka’s Inscriptions?”
“It is weird.”
Marquis Martin nodded.
Every possible method was used to destroy the slab on Rajenka. But now the slab in front of Ark was split in half. In addition, it had an oddly broken form. It might be a coincidence but the huge crack across the slab looked like….
It seemed like that in Ark’s eyes. A giant wolf crossing the centre of the slab. But Marquis Martin and Fay didn’t pay any attention to the specific form of the crack.
“Is this situation really related to Rajenka’s Inscriptions?”
“I don’t know what to say but….nothing is definite yet. And the situation doesn’t change even if it has to do with Rajenka’s Inscriptions.”
“We should examine it.”
Marquis Martin walked up to the cracked slab. He approached within several hundred metres of it and said.
“Fay, have the special guards be in a circular formation as we enter the slab. There is no guarantee what is on the inside. In addition, have the engineers on standby to keep watch for the Nakuma. Prepare to enter.”
“Marquis-nim, isn’t it better for you to wait on the side?”
“Don’t joke around.”
Marquis Martin looked at Fay and laughed.
“I was once an extraordinary warrior. I wasn’t afraid of danger a long time ago. I can’t just stand to the side and let you go alone!”
“….You should be aware of your status.”
Fay said with a sigh.
Fay was truly having a difficult time. Fay felt Ark’s gaze on him and turned his head towards the special guards.
“Report on the situation!”
“We have searched from quadrants 40 to 376 and have failed to find the wreckage of the Noblesse. We also haven’t received the emergency signal.”
Weston cursed harshly and struck the dashboard.
As of today, 376 speedboats had expanded the range of the search but couldn’t find any traces of Marquis Martin or the Noblesse.
Weston’s heart felt agonized whenever he heard such reports.
‘How can the search find no traces? What happened to the Noblesse? Marquis Martin-nim? Is he really alive? No, even if he survived…..’
It was the most anxious time.
Even if Marquis Martin escaped unharmed from the Noblesse and was waiting somewhere, there should at least by an emergency signal. But the emergency food supply was only enough to last 3 days. In other words, Marquis Martin could hold on for 3 days.
And now Marquis Martin was missing for 3 days. In outer space, it was hard to find more food. After a few days, Marquis Martin’s body would be dead.
The unknown death of the highest ranking official in the Galactic Federation’s military. The upheaval caused by this incident couldn’t even be imagined.
‘If Marquis Martin-nim is what I think….what about his position? A war might occur! It would be a war of a different dimension! If we’re lucky, the Rama and Aschulat might not get involved and it would just be a civil war between factions!’
This was the worst situation for Weston. There was only one way to prevent this situation!
“Spread the word to each squadron leader. Expand the search range by 0.5 light years.”
“But 0.5 light years is the boundary of the space frontier.”
“It doesn’t matter!”
Weston shouted in a harsh voice.
“Now isn’t the time to be a coward! If Marquis Martin can’t be found then there is no guarantee what will happen. There is no time for a break. Pass the instructions onto the squadrons!”
A communications soldier turned his head and shouted.
“There is a communication signal not far from here. It wants direct contact.”
“Who is responsible for sending the communications?”
“The identification signal of a member of the Galactic….”
Marquis Martin said as he looked around.
It felt like his ears were continuously being battered by the sound of the sandstorm. However, the noise was cut off as soon as they entered the slab. And there was a heavy static.
Marquis Martin wasn’t calling the team members noisy. He didn’t know what sound he was hearing. It was an unknown feeling that pricked his skin!
Fay was unable to hide his tension and swallowed.
“This is clearly something below.”
However, Marquis Martin’s face was filled with vigour.
“Special guards, continue paying attention. Firearms shooting mode. Organize into 5 teams of 2 on the left, right, front and back sides. Be ready to respond to attacks from any direction. Releasing your tension is the most dangerous act.”
“Marquis-nim, it is impossible for a person to relax under these circumstances.”
“You don’t seem to be showing any tension.”
Marquis Martin was smiling happily. Although this planet showed Marquis Martin’s abilities, it was still better to station guards on the boundaries. He was a VVIP. It would be difficult if he died in a place like this.
“I will take the lead.”
“I will yield the position.”
Marquis Martin stepped back without any hesitation. Ark was the only one with the power to see invisible things in the party. Therefore it would be best for Ark to take the lead. Marquis Martin understood the situation and acted appropriately.
And Fay was next to Ark.
“I can’t leave you alone. This was my original position. I don’t know what power you have to see invisible things but I can’t just blindly trust you.”
He said it in a brusque tone but he was still willing to help. Anyway, Ark and the 40 individuals headed down after entering the slab.
The footholds formed a spiral shape. At first, it was a relatively small circular motion but eventually the rotation became hundreds of metres. They travelled a few laps before starting to narrow again. It was a huge underground space that had a sphere shape. And after 30 minutes.
“Is this the bottom?”
Finally their feet landed on a flat space. Ark activated the Hajaska rune but there was nothing in the space. But he felt an eerie sensation the moment he stepped foot inside the slab. Once he stepped foot on the flat ground, it felt like he was being bogged down.
Energy was spurting from the centre of the space. There was a hole hundreds of metres wide.
“Now, shall we see if there are any monsters hiding?”
Pajik, syu syu syu!
Marquis Martin lit up a flare.
And he threw the blue light into the hole. The flare then seemed to be stopped by something. Marquis Martin frowned and muttered.
“There seems to be something there.”
“……What is it?”
Ark asked with a confused voice.
Marquis Martin, Fay and the crew members saw the flare stop halfway but Ark was different. A red slime was wriggling in the darkness. And the flare was split from side to side by the slime.
The thing that was revealed….
“Did you spot something?”
“….Eye! An eye! An eye of an immense size!”
Ark shouted with a stiff expression.
That’s right. A huge eye had surfaced from the hole. Thick threads covered the hole like spider webs while the eye looked up at Ark’s companions. Ark stared blankly at the shocking sight.
Suddenly someone yanked his collar.
There was a roar as something was thrown up from the hole and hit the ceiling. Ark turned around with a confused expression to see Fay shouting.
“Stupid bastard! What are you doing? Didn’t I tell you? You shouldn’t be careless even if you are the only one who can see it!”
“W-what was that?”
“I don’t know! But……”
Ku ku ku ku! Ku ku ku ku! Ku ku ku ku!
The whole underground unit started shaking. And the next moment, something huge popped up from the hole. Mechanical part dozens of metres in size were thrown up like a volcano exploded.
But those were merely debris. A huge object started rising from the hold behind it. It was a spaceship emitting light with an image of a blue planet on it. Marquis Martin’s face stiffened as he saw it rising.
“G-Galactic Federation mark?”
“Oh my god! That….ship?”
“Noblesse! There’s no doubt about it! That ship is the Noblesse!”
The ship that rose from the hole was unexpectedly Marquis Martin’s cruiser, the Noblesse! A portion of it was torn so the Noblesse seemed like a ghost ship.
|-The titan class monster ‘Eisyeon Nakuma’ has emerged!|
At the same time, a red warning message flashed in front of them.