SPACE 8. Amara
Music came from an old radio. The quaint bar had a somewhat uneasy atmosphere. The guests were all staring at one man. A bearded man was sitting in the centre of the bar with an arrogant expression like he was a king.
“Hey, what are you doing? More alcohol! Hat hat hat hat!”
The man laughed as he made a lot of noise. But there was no one who dared say anything. They just watched with anxious looks. Then some guests got up and approached the man’s side. The bearded man looked up with an angry expression.
“Hey! What are you guys doing? Where are you going?”
“No, we have sudden business……”
“Don’t make a sound and sit. Don’t make me say it in a method you’ll understand!”
Then the door of the bar opened and one man entered. The man silently dusted off the dirt on his body and crossed through the bar. He passed in front of the bearded man whose face contorted like a piece of toilet paper.
“Hey! You, over there!”
“Who told you to come in so selfishly? Huh?”
“Are you the bar owner?”
The man laughed at the bearded man’s answer. He turned around, causing the bearded man to stand up angrily.
“You asshole, do you want to die? Don’t you know who I am?”
“I don’t want to cause any problems. I just want to see to my business and leave.”
“What? A problem? You want to just leave? Ha! This fool. If you don’t know who I am then I’ll tell you directly. Listen well. I am the bloody slaughterer Mook-nim!”
The self-styled bloody slaughterer Mook lifted his pistol. At that moment, a flash crossed the bar.
Mook stuttered as a blue lightsaber was held to his neck. The man holding the lightsaber stared at him with cold eyes.
“Yes, does the bloody slaughterer Mook-nim want to continue?”
“The door is over there.”
“Huh? Ah, yes! Goodbye!”
Mook quickly put away his gun and bolted from the bar. The people watching anxiously breathed with relief.
“A-awesome! He got Mook with a sword……”
“Who is that man? Isn’t this the first time we’ve seen him? I don’t understand it but he is clearly a pioneer.”
The people gawked at the man and murmured noisily. However the man just sighed.
‘Damn, this planet……’
He had unintentionally directed a scene from a western movie. The man’s name was Ark.
“This is Amara?”
Ark looked around. He had arrived at the universal terminal after returning to Tatuine with Buldio. He took an astral ship that traversed the universe to reach Amara.
The galaxy contained countless number of stars. The name alone wasn’t enough to get a full sense of the vastness that transcended imagination. The distance between some planets were thousands of light years. It would take hundreds of thousands of years if the ships went at the speed of light. Therefore all long distance ships were capable of warp movement.
So 24 hours after leaving Tatuine. Ark crossed the galaxy and arrived on Amara.
“This feels like an entirely different world.”
A sandstorm raged on the red earth. Amara’s space terminal was situated in the centre of the city. The onion shaped roofs of the buildings made it look like a medieval Arab city. But this was a SF game. Androids wandered the streets while airships flew around.
“This is my first visit to the planet.”
He didn’t come here to sightsee.
|-You have connected to the federation’s special communication network.|
–This code is…..federation troops?
He entered the security code on his Nymphe and a distant voice was heard.
“I’m not from the federation. I’m the pioneer referred by Lieutenant Colonel Buldio.”
The voice said with disappointment.
“Are you Sergeant Hajin?”
-That’s right. You are?
“I am called Ark.”
–Ark? Ho, Beltana’s Hero?
There was no one in the federation who didn’t know Ark’s name. The disappointed tone quickly changed after hearing Ark’s name. Sometimes fame wasn’t necessarily a bad thing.
“I heard a summary of the situation from Buldio-nim. I would like to meet you and find out more about the local situation. Where should I go?”
–You must be contacting me from the space terminal. I’m approximately 200 km south of that place. I had to hide our ship. I’m sorry but can I send the coordinates to Ark-nim? We can talk more when we meet.
Ark registered the coordinates in his Nymphe and ran across the city. Amara wasn’t a prosperous planet. It wasn’t developed compared to other planets in the galaxy. But the shops that he passed displayed some unusual items. Of course, now wasn’t the time to look at such things. Soon the buildings decreased and a wide wilderness stretched out in front of him. The red earth was the characteristics of Amara’s appearance.
“Hey, you over there. Wait a minute.”
Ark was pulling out his air board. Then 3 people wearing rags emerged from the back of a building.
“Is this your first time on Amara?”
“Then who is in your group?”
“Ah, it is like that. Then……”
The men exchanged looks and pulled out their guns.
“Put down that air board quickly if you don’t want to be riddled with bullets!”
A pioneered planet was basically lawless like the Outlands. It was a place where the Rama, Aschulat and federation had no power. Some planets would have lords but their influence was only inside the cities. It was a complete lawless zone once outside the city. Even if murder was committed, there would be no punishment when moving to another city. Of course Ark had no intention of being robbed or killed. So he pulled out the lightsaber.
And that was just the beginning.
“Hey! That guy! Stop your air board!”
He was stopped by highwaymen three times while riding his air board!
Ku ku ku ku! Waaaahhhhh!
Strange monsters also interrupted four times! After 3 hours and fighting 7 times, Ark managed to arrive at the coordinates Hajin sent him which was a bar in the middle of a small town.
‘I came to an annoying place.’
After the self-styled bloody slaughterer Mook disappeared. Ark sighed and headed towards the bartender. Then a hooded man sitting in a corner walked over to Ark and whispered.
“……Are you Ark-nim?”
“Yes, please come over here.”
Hajin guided Ark to a corner.
“Thank you for coming here. I’ll say hello once again. I’m Hajin.”
Hajin took off his hood to reveal a young man in his 20s.
“I am Ark. I’m sorry but it seems urgent so please tell me more about the situation.”
“No it’s fine. I’m also thinking about the hardships that my colleagues must be going through.”
Hajin nodded his head and started to explain.
Irina and the other members of her team were given the task of capturing the prisoners who escaped from Stael. They found a clue on the space station called Kwai. The clue stated that they planned to go to the planet Amara. Irina landed the ship not far from this village and the crew started searching around.
“It wasn’t difficult to find their hiding place.”
“It is a cave approximately 5 km from the village. We were able to detect traces of the stolen federation aircraft in that cave.”
“You did well finding that place.”
“There was a traitor among the escaped prisoners.”
“Yes, a prisoner who was reluctantly picked up when they escaped from prison. He decided to cooperate to decrease the penalty if he was caught again.”
Of course Irina led the members and sneaked towards the hiding place. After a few hours he lost contact with them. That occurred a few days ago.
Hajin was the pilot who remained with the ship. He instantly sent an urgent communication to Buldio but Amara was thousands of light years away from Istana so the message took a few days. It was kind of funny that radio waves for communication was slower than a ship who moved using warp technology. But Hajin had to monitor the cave so he couldn’t move. In addition, the prisoners already knew the federation was pursuing them so he couldn’t recklessly leave his ship somewhere. That’s why Ark had to come here instead.
‘This situation isn’t immediately risky……’
Those guys wouldn’t kill Irina. Irina was a pioneer so she had an immortal body. If she was killed and revived with the Fairy then she would tell the federation their hiding spot. Therefore they needed to keep her inside the lair.
‘But how can I possibly feel relieved? They don’t know that Irina had contact the federation before sneaking in or that a soldier was stationed outside. They might take the risk of harming the crew and then running away to another place. How can I leave the captured Irina there?’
Ark looked around blankly while thinking. Then he noticed Hajin staring at him.
“Why are you staring like that?”
Hajin blushed and scratched his head.
“It is clear that you have some type of relationship with Irina-nim. Normally she is a strict believer in the rules.”
It was obvious that she strictly believed in the rules. She didn’t even blink when the prisoners on Beltana were dying of starvation.
“So you must have a type of relationship is she went to rescue Ark-nim when you were trapped on Beltana. Ensign-nim also only reveals emotion when she is talking about Ark-nim. So I was just wondering what type of relationship it is.”
“Irina-nim talked about me?”
Ark felt a strange feeling after hearing Hajin’s words. Ark was interested in Irina for some reason but she was a woman he couldn’t understand. When Irina helped him on Beltana, Ark thought that he had a good impression of him. However she didn’t show any signs of it when he ran into her afterwards. He also couldn’t say one word to her after seeing Irina at the hospital. Yet Irina had apparently talked about Ark. A man truly didn’t know the heart of a woman. Anyway…..his motivation shot through the roof!
“Then let’s leave immediately.”
Ark got up with an expression full of motivation. Then the door of the bar opened and a middle aged man wearing armour entered.
“I heard that Mook came here again.”
“Ah, Sheriff! It is okay now. A pioneer chased him away.”
The bar owner pointed towards Ark. The Sheriff looked at Ark and asked with a surprised expression.
“A pioneer? Well, you must be quite good if you could chase away the villainous Mook. What is your name?
“It is Ark.”
“I never heard of that name. How long are you going to be here?”
“I won’t be staying long.”
“So there will be no problems. Anyway, I’m thankful that you chased Mook away.”
“It was something I had to do. Don’t think anything of it.”
Ark answered and turned to leave. Then the bar owner hurriedly called to Ark.
“H-Hey! Wait a moment!”
Was he trying to give a compensation or something? Ark smiled at the thought and turned back around.
“You can’t go without paying for the drinks!”
“Huh? Drinks? I didn’t drink anything.”
“It is the alcohol that Mook drank. You chased him away so shouldn’t you pay for it?”
He was smacked on the back of his head! Ark looked at the Sheriff with a stunned expression. The Sheriff nodded his head. It meant Ark had to pay for the drinks. Ark looked towards Hajin. Hajin turned out his pockets and only dust blew out.
“I’m sorry. Our funds were managed by Ensign-nim…..”
Amara, this damn planet. Nevertheless, he had to continue the quest!
Ark kicked a stone with a furious expression. He was Ark. So far he never had money stolen from him in the game. However he ended up having to pay for Mook in the bar. The drinks cost 7 gold!
‘7 gold is what I could earn from selling a few lifetime passed to S-20…..’
1 pass was 10 silver. 7 gold÷10 silver =70 people! Resentment formed as he calculated it. Of course, rescuing Irina was important. But that was that, this was this.
‘I’m going to charge them! I’m going to charge the expenses to Buldio once I rescue Irina and the other members!’
Since becoming the CEO of Dark Eden, he became even more careful with his money. And he crossed the wilderness with Hajin for 1 hour.
Ark was expecting a rather plain cave. However Hajin was pointing towards a hole that looked like a giant crater. The structure gradually narrowed as it went down and a railway tracks spiralled downwards along the inner wall.
“According to the survey data, this used to be a mine. It was abandoned once it stopped producing anything.”
“Those fellows are hiding in the tunnels?”
Hajin looked at Ark anxiously.
“Will you be okay by yourself?”
“My mission isn’t to take out the prisoners but to rescue Irina’s crew. It is better if I move alone for a mission like that. And are there any other troops?”
Like Ark said, there weren’t any other soldiers to help him. If the numbers increased then those guys would probably kill Irina’s crew and escape on the transport ships. Of course it was different if the federation could completely surround them. But planets like this were designated as special zones in the treaty. Federation troops coming here would violate the treaty. And it would be bad if the media got a hold of the information. Ark could see why Buldio entrusted the mission to him. Ark hadn’t accepted the mission without thinking.
‘The number of escaped prisoners was 10 people!’
They were thugs but their long imprisonment meant their levels wouldn’t be high. So he could deal with them even if their numbers were high. Moreover, Ark had just graduated from the training centre yesterday. If he hadn’t completed that then he wouldn’t have accepted the quest.
“Hajin-nim should wait in the ship until I contact you.”
Hajin replied as Ark stepped foot in the mine. Then Hajin who had been tinkering with his Nymphe screamed with surprise.
“Ark-nim, wait a minute! That is…..!”
Kikikiki! Kikikiki! Kikikiki!
The soil around Ark’s foot started shaking and a long object emerged. 10 monsters that looked like snakes appeared at his feet! Saliva dripped from their sharp fangs as the snakes rushed at him. The snakes flew through the air like a shower of arrows!
“Rock snakes! Ark-nim, it is dangerous……”
Hajin burse out screaming. Ark’s body became a flash of light. The flash of light vanished before explosively appearing again. The snakes diving towards Ark stopped moving. The afterimage of light disappeared and black blood spouted from the severed snakes. Ark held his lightsaber and stared at Hajin.
Hajin replied while gaping like a goldfish.
“The abandoned mine is full of rock snakes so be careful.”
“That is helpful advice, thank you.”
Ark laughed and nodded his head. But unlike his calm expression, his heart rate had actually doubled.
‘Pant pant, damn! I thought I was going to have a heart attack.’
Ark had been shocked by the rock snakes that suddenly popped out from the ground. If he was the previous Ark then he probably would’ve been bitten by the snakes. However Ark had changed. After his battle with the Red Slaughterer, he had trained in martial arts and passed the training centre. His reaction rate had increased a few times from what it was before. Ark’s heart might’ve been shocked but he could handle the situation.
‘Yes, I’ve become stronger!’
However the situation wasn’t good for his heart. Since then Ark carefully moved along the railroad tracks.
“Amazing. He is capable and careful! He is truly Beltana’s Hero!”
Hajin stared at Ark with amazement after witnessing his sword skills.
Ark sighed and lifted his head. The mine was in the form of a huge hole. But it had a deep depth and he had to move quite a large distance along the railways tracks spiralling down. The problem wasn’t the distance. It was the rock snakes! They popped up whenever he took a step. It was bad because they acted as an alarm. If the rock snakes kept on charging him then he might be detected by the escaped prisoners. It was the same even if he used Stealth.
Category: Space Monster Danger: B+
Combat Power: F
The rock snakes are creatures that can be occasionally seen on the outskirts of planets. Their combat power isn’t that different from ordinary snakes but the characteristic is that thousands of them live in one area. In addition, they hide in the ground and are very sensitive to vibrations. They attack whenever they sense a vibration in the ground, making them very dangerous creatures. Many pioneers have been killed by it so it was labelled as a B-risk monster.
* You can gain additional information if you face the same type of monster many times.
This was the information of the rock snakes. They responded to vibration so stealth wouldn’t work. However no matter how careful he was, he couldn’t walk without causing vibration…..he came up with two methods. One method was using the air board. If he floated in the air then he wouldn’t cause vibrations in the ground. But there was a risk of being discovered if he used the air board. Therefore he had to use the second method.
It was the method of distributing his weight while walking to avoid falling into a swamp! He managed to upgrade it one step further and could move without leaving a trace. It was perfect for an infiltration operation!
It was his survivor skill Stealth! Ark hid his body using Stealth and walked down using Swamp Walking. Ark had optimized his infiltration techniques during this mission. Anyway!
Ark managed to descend to the bottom without making a sound. The bottom of the mine was a wide basin. A transport ship was laid out in a dark corner. It was probably the transport ships the prisoners had seized from Stael when they escaped. Thus far it was what he expected. By the way…..
”It’s not just one airship?’
There were 2 other airships landed in the huge basin.
‘Did those guys steal some more airships after escaping from Stael?’
Buldio and Hajin never said anything about that. But he wasn’t bothered about that…..the thing that caught his attention was the large disk in the centre of the basin. It was 10 metres in diameter. The dish seemed to be an antenna.
‘The size means that it couldn’t have been transported here using the airships. That means it was originally here…..however it doesn’t look old like the railroad tracks. What is the identity of this disk? Does it have anything to do with those guys hiding here?’
Ark looked at the disk for another moment before shaking his head.
‘No, now isn’t the time to look at that. I need to find Irina.’
Ark turned and looked at the cave across from him. There were tunnels in this mine.
‘I don’t see the escaped prisoners or captured federation crew anywhere. They must’ve locked up Irina somewhere in this cave.’
Ark crept towards the cave. And just as he was about to step foot in the cave.
“What are you doing?”
Some voices suddenly came from the cave. Ark gulped and quickly hid behind a rock. He licked his lips and grabbed his beam sword.
‘What, what the? Did I get caught?’
“Didn’t I tell you to stay and guard the antenna?”
Then another voice was heard from inside the cave. It came from where Ark was just about to step.
“Why should I? If someone comes then we will see them easily. And we’ve captured the federation soldiers so who will come? I’m tired of doing nothing.”
“But we haven’t found the federation soldier’s aircraft yet. Maybe there are still some people on the ship.”
“What can those guys do? The federation won’t be able to come here in huge numbers.”
“Shut up! How dare a lowly Katz answer back to me like that!”
“What? A lowly Katz? What did you say?”
“Don’t you know that you’re not that important for this task? If you miss this opportunity then I’ll go find some dogs. So stop spouting drivel and follow my orders. Disobedience won’t be permitted!”
“Understood! I understand! That absolutely won’t happen!”
‘Phew, I didn’t get caught.’
Ark sighed with relief.
‘By the way, what are those guys saying? Huh?’
Ark moved his body and looked inside the cave. There were 2 people inside the cave. One of them had an alien appearance. The body covered with fur had pointy ears, a snout and a tail swaying from the hips. He looked like……
‘C-cat? Is he similar to the Meow?’
Ark was familiar with species resembling cats. An alien resembling the Meow who helped Ark a lot in New World was standing right in front of him. The game was different but he felt good seeing the Meow again. But unlike the Meow in New World, the Katz were criminals who had broken out of jail. They looked the same but the feeling was completely different. However that wasn’t the reason for Ark’s surprise.
‘That guy is…..?’
A man was rebuking the Katz. The man was wearing the same robe as the group who controlled Valencia and blew up the Laius’ shield energy panel? That wasn’t all. The face was almost identical.
‘The man wearing the robe self-destructed. So NPCs in Galaxian are able to revive using the Fairy. It could be the same person. But why would he be here? According to Buldio, the prisoners had broken out of Stael before the raid on Mt. Fargo occurred. If he was the same person then he couldn’t be the one who broke them out of jail. They must’ve joined after breaking out of prison…..why?’
Numerous questions popped into his head. However there was a problem even more urgent than that. There was a saying that hundreds of cockroaches would become visible after seeing one. There was no guarantee that the man in the robe was the only extra person here. Ark had been thinking that there were only 10 escaped prisoners. Yet the man who might’ve been with Valencia was here.
‘Yes, come to think of it. Irina formed a unit to chased after the prisoners. There were 15 people assigned. It was strange that they managed to be captured by only 10 enemies. But it could be explained if people other than the prisoners were hiding here. It is also the reason for the 3 airships. One belongs to the escaped prisoners while the remaining two belongs to the others present in the cave. Considering the size of the airships, the numbers would be a lot…..damn, things have become more complicated!’
Things always become twisted every time Ark had a mission. It was a tradition that continued from New World. But he couldn’t just shrink away after coming all the way here.
‘I have no choice but to save Irina and escape quickly!’
“Sheesh! These Katz!”
Just as Ark was thinking this. The robed man snapped at the Katz and walked back inside the cave. Ark was going to use this chance to enter the cave behind him.
“Dammit, that bastard…..huh? What?”
The Katz who had been moving suddenly flinched and stopped. Then his nose started twitching and he approached Ark’s hiding spot.
“There is a strange smell in here?”
Ark felt his jaw drop after hearing the Katz’s words. It wasn’t necessary to say so but the alien appearance wasn’t just for looks. Cupa’s huge size gave him more stamina than humans while Kalliben’s third eye increased his hit rate with guns. In that case, the Katz had the sense of smell like a cat! Their sense of smell was more developed than other species. Ark hid using Stealth but he couldn’t conceal his smell.
Sniff sniff sniff! Sniff sniff sniff! Sniff sniff sniff!
|-Stealth has been used.
<Probability of being detected by an enemy: 30%, 35%, 40%……>
As expected, the probability of being detected quickly rose as the Katz neared.
‘Damn, should I attack before I’m detected?’
Stealth would be maintained until Force was consumed. However, if he cancelled it to use a skill then it would take some time before he could use it again. If he released Stealth then the cave infiltration would become even more difficult. Even if he took the Katz by surprise, there was no guarantee he could defeat him without being detected.
‘If I’m found then I won’t get any rice. I have to find another way……’
Then an ‘!’ popped into Ark’s head.
‘Yes, this is great!’
Ark’s hands moved like lightning!
“Heok! T-this scent! There!”
The Katz narrowed his eyes and crossed towards a rock. His sharp claws swung out as he grabbed something.
“Ohh! This smell! Why? Why does this smell like that? Where….hat! As expected, the taste is fish! Ohh, to be able to taste fish in a place like this! Hehehehe! Why did I only find it now? Ah, no! If I make too much noise then the others might notice. Huhuhuhu, this is mine! I’m going to eat it!”
He ran into a corner and crouched down. The object the Katz was ravenously shoving into his mouth was space food. Of course it wasn’t plain space food. It was the fish paste bar that he obtained from Jay and the octopuses after the incident in Charem! Ark had come up with the fish paste bar in his moment of crisis. A cat loved fish! The Katz would also be the same. Fortunately Ark could safely enter the cave thanks to the Katz munching on the fish paste bar.
‘Phew, it is a success. I’m glad I remember the tendencies of the Meow. I was able to use the fish paste bar in this way.’
However there wasn’t just 1 Katz. Katz posted as sentries caught his eye after entering the cave. But the nature of a cat was all the same. The sentries were stretched out and sleeping. He could understand why the robed man was frustrated. However it was fortunate for Ark. He only had to kill his footsteps and walk past. Of course some were awake but they were taken care of when he threw the fish paste bar. There were some people in the cave impervious to the fish paste bars. Aliens with small physiques were gathered in groups around the cave. Wearing tattered rags and resembling frogs, they were the Kero clan who attacked Mt. Fargo.
‘As expected, the one who destroyed Mt. Fargo’s shield energy generator belongs to the same group as the person I just saw.’
However the Kero’s sense of smell wasn’t as developed as the Katz. Furthermore, they were mostly grouped in one place so he could easily avoid them. After crossing through the cats and frogs without a hitch, Ark was able to find a door at the end of the cave. It was crude like it was made in a rush but a large lock was attacked to the handle. It was impossible for this door to originally belong to the mine. This meant the door was placed there. Then there could only be one reason why!
‘Here! Irina and the other members of the pursuing team are in here!’
Ark immediately used a wire to connect his Nymphe to the lock.
|-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 8. Your hacking skill is currently only Lv. 2 and you can only release level 4~6 locks.
<If you don’t know the password then try against after raising the level of your hacking skill>
‘Dammit, when I need hacking…..!’
He cursed as he saw the message. He had needed at least Hacking Lv. 6 in order to release the lock of Marquis Martin’s bag that he gave for a secret order. However his hacking was only at Lv. 2 and the lock was level 8. He had no intention of just leaving. However he couldn’t stay here to raise his skill.
Ark struggled while hiding his body in a suitable place. Stealth lasted until his Force ran out. Ark hid his body and released Stealth. He mediated for a while to recover his Force. How much time had passed? He suddenly heard footsteps crossing the cave.
Ark’s eyes flashed and he raised his head. He then glanced at the password being entered into the iron doors. This was the moment Ark had been waiting for. Irina had been intentionally captured alive. This meant they would be fed unless the captor wanted them to die of starvation.
‘And it is the Kero clan! This is it!’
The door opened and Ark who had used Stealth flew in like a bullet. Then the Kero entered the cell and closed the door. Ark rolled before getting to his feet and the Kero shouted as it noticed him.
–Keeck! A person!
No questions asked!
Wiing! Buong! Buong!
The trajectory of light spread across the space like crazy. The frightened Kero pulled out a sword but the battle on Mt. Fargo already demonstrated that it wasn’t a match for him. It had low combat power like a regular NPC. It was no use against a level 95 user! The Kero died in less than 30 seconds after pulling out his lightsaber. Ark turned around after slicing the frog to jelly and noticed some people. The first person he saw was a woman with long, straight hair! They locked eyes.
“You….Ark-nim? How did Ark-nim……?”
Irina stuttered as she looked at Ark with surprised eyes.
“Ark? Did you say Ark? Oh my god! Ark?”
Someone suddenly got up violently from the corner. They shrieked and ran up to Ark.
“Dammit! This bastard! This is all because of you! It is because of you that I look like this!”