SPACE 8. Dark Star
He was dissatisfied.
Ark and Irina were now in a relationship. And this was his first mission with Irina since then! He didn’t want to hold hands while running through fields catching monsters but he imagined having a face to face conversation with her during the tedious voyage.
There was a communication function attached to his ship. But now he was accompanying the units. No, to be exact it was a problem because he was accompanying Hawk.
The expelled Ark was able to join up with the team on the planet Maseti due to the information Irina gave him. However Hawk was unaware of who gave him the information and if he learnt it was Irina then her position would become more difficult.
Therefore Ark and Irina decided to act like they didn’t know each other and there was no communication between them.
‘Well, this is a secret shared between 2 people but…..’
He couldn’t enjoy the situation when watching other units communicate. Thus he was in a gloomy mood. Then the door at the back of the bridge opened and Rapid entered.
“Have they connected? The other guys?”
“Not yet. After picking up Melina, Park, Berad and Cupa on Turan, the team drank until late on Maseti and haven’t recovered yet. The cabin is really no joke.”
“Rapid hyung-nim, did you just wake up?”
Hegel lifted his hand and greeted Rapid. Hegel was the one who welcomed it the most when Rapid joined Dark Eden. That’s because he gained quite an appreciation for Rapid during his stay on S-20.
Rapid was also kind to Hegel.
“Ah, yes. You must be having trouble under the vicious president.”
“Hey, who is a vicious president?”
“Then? Is a guy who sits behind his staff in the morning with a bitter expression a good president?”
“A good employee shouldn’t just grunt when greeting the president in the morning.”
“I have no intention of being a good employee.”
“Is this something you should tell the president?”
“It is possible. Anyway, the only reason to look good for the president is to collect a bonus. Besides, the employees will be the ones suffering after the mission starts. I heard that Hawk treats his staff quite well so should I move there instead? Hey! Hegel, how about it? Do you want to go together?”
“Huh? No, I…..”
“This bastard! Why are you trying to lure my staff to another job?’
“My words about leaving were just a joke…..”
Rapid rubbed Hegel’s smooth head. And he approached the seat next to Ark and asked.
“What relationship do you have with Hawk?”
“Relationship? What relationship?”
“What did you do to Hawk?”
“Why are you asking what I did? Didn’t you see? I didn’t do anything. I didn’t know him before entering the investigation team.”
“Then isn’t it weird?”
Rapid frowned and continued talking.
“Didn’t I tell you? Hawk met with us on Tatuine and offered to tell Valencia your location. If you’ve never met Hawk before then why did he use such a method to contain you?”
“I’m also curious. Why does he dislike me?”
“It isn’t a problem that we can overlook. Hawk passing on information to Marquis Jyubel is dangerous. Hawk took a risk trying to take care of you. That behaviour can’t be explained by Hawk simply disliking you. Obviously there is another reason. If you don’t understand then you might receive some damage. That guy’s presence is disruptive in itself.”
“His existence itself is disruptive? What type of bacteria is he? Whose side are you on?”
“Right now I’m on your side.”
Rapid laughed and replied.
“So I’m saying. There is no guarantee what will happen in the future. No, you threatened Hawk with the hidden GPS in the USB so there is no turning back. Hawk won’t find it necessary to hide his thoughts anymore. And right now your status is at a disadvantage. Then shouldn’t you at least know the reason why Hawk opposes you? If you know the cause then you can also find a solution.”
‘That makes sense but…..’
Ark was also tortured about this. No, Ark had been wondering about this since hearing that Hawk passed on his location to Valencia. However he couldn’t come up with anything.
‘I’ve clearly never met him in Galaxian. Then was it New World?’
He had such thoughts. But there was no way to verify that. Ark in his current state wasn’t the same Ark from New World. He had thoughts like Rapid but couldn’t think of anything.
‘Who on earth are you?’
“Hyung-nim, we will be exited warp space soon!”
While Ark was thinking, Tori who was flying the Silver Star with Milan shouted.
At the same time, the swirling light outside the window formed a vortex. Ark lifted his head at the vibration when they exited.
“This seems to be the right place.”
Ark nodded at Rapid’s words.
The Death Knight’s port.
Hawk pointed to a spot on the galaxy map. Confusion spread on the faces of the unit members.
“There is nothing at that place?”
It was no wonder that the unit members were ‘?’.
Hawk learnt from the captured transportation ship captain Esut where the rare minerals were being transported to. Esut unloaded the rare minerals in one place. The place was probably related to the Organization X that they were looking for.
That was the place Hawk was pointing to. However there was nothing there on the galaxy map.
“Did he just give you any coordinates?”
“That is impossible.”
Hawk answered without thinking about it.
“My interrogation isn’t that insignificant. He isn’t able to lie to a pioneer like me.”
He didn’t want to imagine it.
“And I’m convinced this is the place.”
“Are you sure? There isn’t anything here?”
“This is what convinced me even more. As you know, the 3 powers don’t have any information about Organization X. Their reach in the galaxy is huge so it isn’t easy for an organization with antimatter to hide. I guessed this before receiving the mission. Those guys are hiding in an invisible place.”
“Invisible place? There are places like that in the space frontier?”
Hawk smiled at the question from one of the unit members.
“How many planets do you think this galaxy has? So far pioneers have only visited 10% of all the planets in this galaxy. No, the planetary existences that have been confirmed by the astronomers only reached 60%. That means there are 40% of planets that are still unknown. There are a number of reasons. The observation through telescopes makes it difficult to confirm planets overlapped with others or concealed by nebula gas. Such planets are called invisible or unknown planets.”
“But this place isn’t that far from a developed Hive. Can there be an unconfirmed planet in such a place?”
Hawk ignored the words and continued talking.
“There is a 0% chance that it is an unidentified planet. It is more likely to be an artificially hidden planet.”
“A-artificial? You mean someone deliberately hid the planet?”
“If the conditions are met then it isn’t that hard. This world is like that.”
Not a ship but an entire planet had been hidden. He couldn’t easily imagine it but it wasn’t impossible.
Science was relative. If observation techniques were developed then techniques to hide from observation could also be created. The 3 powers have developed scientific civilization over thousands of years but they were still using swords and firearms in battle.
Science and technology reaching a similar standard could also be called a weapon. And Galaxian was a game. Imagination could freely occur in such a world.
“How do you know there is an unidentified planet there?”
“It is simple. We go look for ourselves.”
Hawk replied with a grin.
|<Dark Omen (Pioneer Quest)>
+ Sub Quest: Capture the Key Witness → Unidentified Planet
The investigation team has captured Esut, the captain of the transport ship Marsyosia who is suspected to be associated with Organization X. And after some questioning, Esut provided the coordinates of a specific place. However, a planet can’t be found at the coordinates Esut provided. Captain Hawk has decided to move directly to the coordinates to investigate. No one knows what will be at the coordinates. Therefore the danger is unknown.
The information window that popped up! The next destination of the team was set. And…..
“……Is that the unidentified planet?”
Ark looked out the window at the huge planet below him.
They had left Maseti and warped to the coordinates provided. However there was obviously a planet in front of the Silver Star. It was a planet slightly smaller than a moon. It was an unidentified planet like Hawk said.
Then sparks blew from around the Silver Star. The sparks turned into 13 giant vortexes.
In the next moment, there was a ringing sound and 13 ships emerged. A variety of ships gathered around a huge, black battleship. They were Hawk’s battleship the Death Knight, Irina’s spaceship and those of the other team units.
“The official investigation team channel is connected.”
A large face floated on a screen at Hegel’s words.
–We’ve come to the right place.
The man talking was Hawk. 15 hours had been spent on the warp voyage. Ark thought it was wonderful that there was a planet there but anger surged at Hawk’s smug expression.
Fortunately he didn’t need to watch the screen for a long time. The screen split and the other faces of the unit members and Irina appeared.
–Is there anything to report?
–We’ve all arrived without any problems.
–Okay. We’re all rested from the warp voyage so we’ll embark on the next mission without any delay. As you can see, an unidentified planet is floating on our 12 o’clock. Esut delivered the rare minerals to this planet so it is likely to contain Organization X’s base. So prepare for emergency situations and enter orbit.
The unit members replied and started heading towards the greyish planet. A jet blue light emerged as 14 ships shot across the space. But 1 minute after starting their advance. Hegel shouted with an upset expression.
“Hyung-nim, there is an energy reaction!”
-A high mass energy reaction has been detected ahead of the fleet.
The voices of the members screaming overlapped with Hegel’s voice. And the next moment, the mouths of the members dropped simultaneously. When the fleet advanced towards the grey planet, a previously unseen huge object rose up.
It was a giant metal sphere dozens of kilometres in diameter. It was an artificial satellite covered in antennas and gun turrets.
–A Hive of that size was hiding with stealth?
–That’s not a hive!
The person who raised his voice at the end was Hawk. Hawk muttered with a groan as he had a disbelieving expression on his face.
–D-Dark Star? That is a Dark Star?
–Dark Star……the so called grim reaper of the universe…..
–Oh my god! Why is the Dark Star in a place like this?
The members’ faces paled after hearing Hawk’s words. Ark was also the same. He had heard of it before but this was the first time he saw a Dark Star on the battlefield!
The Dark Star orbited planets in the universe and was a satellite that intercepted any flying objects within a specific range. That’s why aircrafts couldn’t be used around planets with a Dark Star.
Once the Dark Star occupied an orbit around a planet, it would be difficult for even a fleet of battleships to destroy it. Therefore it was prohibited to launch spaceships or flying objects in the atmosphere of planets with a Dark Star.
It was literally the worst fortress with an arsenal of weapons! It was the most powerful weapon in the universe among the 3 powers. But now wasn’t the time to be surprised.
–The energy density of the Dark Star is rising!
–It is preparing to fire!
–No way! It is firing from this distance? The Dark Star is thousands of kilometres from the fleet!
-No, it is possible if it is the Dark Star. Distance doesn’t matter……
Kwa kwa kwa kwa! Kwa kwa kwa kwa!
Huge streams of light emerged from the Dark Star. The streams of lights exploded over hundreds of kilometres towards the fleet. The team members hurriedly screamed.
-Holy shit! A charged energy particle cannon!
–It is coming!
–If we get distracted then we’ll be destroyed! Mario, go in front and deploy a wide area shield! Harley, move the Death Knight next to Mario’s ship and make our anti-plasma shield overlap with his! Mario and I will stop the charged particle cannon. The remaining members will concentrate on countering the enemy’s missiles with the GEM system!
The shields of two spaceships were overlapped. There were shields that generated a complete defense shield as well as wrap around the hull. A shield like that protected the battleships but also consumed a lot of energy so only a minimum of 4 star battleships had them equipped.
The only people who had them on this mission were Hawk and Mario. That’s how Mario was able to return alive from the first mission.
-The wide field shield has been deployed!
As soon as Hawk and Mario shouted, two hexagonal shields flashed in front of the battleships.
–The turrets have changed to the GEM system!
While the shields were being deployed, the team members automatically changed to the GEM interceptor system. The GEM was an anti-missile interceptor that defended against the enemy’s attacks. The 14 ships switched to defense and formed a wall of defense.
–Even if it is an attack from a Dark Star…..
Kwa kwa kwa kwa! Kwa kwa kwa kwa!
The team members’ faces that had looked confident turned ashy at the ensuing explosion.
The light crossed the space in a blink of the eye and there were huge number of flashes as the light collided! There was a tremendous burst of light and Hawk and Mario’s shield turned into dust. And more than half of the ships were damaged.
–Kuack! The armour around the ship’s body has been 20% destroyed!
–We were hit as well!
The team members screamed as they were struck. The Silver Star behind Mario was no exception.
|-You have received enemy fire!
<The durability of Silver Star’s shield has decreased to 91%>
The light that just passed the shield decreased its durability to 91%. Most of the 12 ships in the back also intercepted the missiles with the GEM system. With the current state of the shields, it was impossible for the fleet to be in a battle state.
–Now’s not the time to hesitate! It is the end if we’re hit by a 2nd attack!
Irina’s desperate voice was heard through the network. Then Hawk nodded and exclaimed.
–Ensign Irina is correct. Turn and get out of range before the Dark Star begins its secondary attack. I repeat. Check the damage later. Retreat at top speed!
The ships spouting fire started to retreat at Hawk’s command. They ran away hundreds of thousands of kilometres so that the grey planet wasn’t even visible.
–Damn! What now?
–We can’t even approach the unidentified planet.
–I’ve heard a little bit about the Dark Star but I didn’t realize it was like this. It is a perfect monster. It is impossible to fight against the Dark Star with the few battleships we have.
–How about attacking from different directions? We managed to get away after one attack so its reload speed is slow.
-But the Dark Star’s range is double ours. We’ll only be halfway there when the Dark Star will attack. At best only 5~6 ships will be able to access it. Even if the reloading speed is slow, will the remaining ships be able to win with their firepower? And who will be assaulted by the Dark Star first?
–Then do we need to ask for help from the galactic federation?
–Idiot! Why do you think the federation hired us?
–Why are you so angry?
–Because it sounds ridiculous!
The members started fighting among themselves over the power of the Dark Star. Hawk who had been thinking with his eyes closed suddenly lifted his head.
–There is a way.
“What? –You have a way?
Ark flinched and raised his head.
There was no need to say but Ark was also worried. If they didn’t find a way to handle the Dark Star then Ark would also be stranded here. He had been thinking since they retreat but couldn’t come up with anything.
Yet Hawk confidently said that he found a way. Hawk laughed as he looked at Ark like Ark was his prey.
-Three days. The results will be shown in three days.
A man appeared on the flashing screen.
With a disgusting appearance and a few sizes larger than humans, he was an alien from the Tunba clan.
The man looking at the screen bowed his head and replied.
“Three days ago, more than 10 ships approached and ran away after being attacked by the Dark Star. They must’ve accidentally discovered our planet and ran away frightened. Please don’t worry about them.”
–This isn’t the time to relax.
–I sent some agents to find Esut.
“Is Esut the Wolf clan smuggler that carried the cargo to our planet?”
-That’s right. Now we no longer need any more cargo brought in. And the 3 powers have sensed the antimatter energy and have sent intelligence agents to the frontier to find information. That’s why I sent people to look for Esut. A useless tool should go missing.
Rats need to be cleaned up.
So there won’t be any surprises. That’s why I initially thought about entrusting it to a non-pioneer. He has a disposable life and won’t resurrect at the Fairy.
“Then I guess we don’t need to worry.”
-No, the agents couldn’t find him.
“Huh? Then did he run away?”
–I’ll be glad if it was like that but…..
The Tunba clan muttered in a low voice before shaking his head.
–That party that received an attack before disappearing. They might be intelligence agents sent from one of the 3 powers. If that’s true then those guys figuring out we’re here is only a matter of time. The fleet that emerged three days ago might be them. If they are the intelligence agents from one of the 3 powers then they won’t give up so easily. They might be preparing some countermeasures.
“Any measures against the Dark Star will be pointless. Even if they are from one of the 3 powers, they won’t be able to approach a planet protected by the Dark Star.”
-I know. But you never know what will happen in the universe. A representative is coming to check your performance. So you can’t relax.
“Don’t worry. The Great God willing!”
-The Great God willing.
The Tunba disappeared from the screen. The man watching the screen sighed before smiling lightly.
“Our Lord is worried for no reason. Checking just because of the snooping of a few pioneers.”
He didn’t understand the Lord’s concerns.
The source of his confidence was the anti-spaceship Dark Star that he commanded. The Dark Star was equivalent to 50~60 battleships and was the galaxy’s single strongest weapon.
The regular spaceships of pioneers from the 3 powers couldn’t be an enemy for it. In other words, it could be called an invincible weapon on the space frontier.
Invincible! What a sweet word!
To be honest, he was secretly hoping that those guys from three days ago would reappear.
The Dark Star had been nestled in the planet’s orbit for 1 year and had only been used 5 times. Yet those guys three days ago had fled as soon as the bombardment begun. It was an invincible force but it couldn’t be used. Unlike his Lord, the soldier wasn’t stressed about it.
“I want to see it fight properly at least once before leaving here……”
The man clicked his tongue and murmured.
“Captain-nim, a large object is approaching at a speed of 90,000 kilometres per hour!”
“What? A ship? The ones from the other day?”
“I will show it on the screen!”
A massive object then appeared on the screen. The man’s face turned confused as he looked at the screen.
A meteorite had come up on the screen. A meteorite 3~4 times the size of the Dark Star was flying at a tremendous speed. Of course, seeing a meteorite in outer space wasn’t uncommon. The problem was that the meteorite was aiming directly at the Dark Star.
“What the, this is?” All of a sudden…..”
“The position of the meteorite’s orbit exactly matches the Dark Star! At this pace it will collide with the Dark Star in exactly 10 minutes and 47 seconds! If we want to avoid it then we’ll need to start right now!”
“Avoid it? Is that a joke?”
A captain snapped in a cold voice.
“Behind the Dark Star is the planet that contains the base of our organization. Do you know what will happen if a meteorite of that size hits the planet? The Dark Star is a shield to defend the base! Even if we need to collide with the meteorite! And there is no reason to give up. That is just a lump of rock. And we are on-board the Dark Star, the galaxy’s ultimate weapon! Open all the guns on the Dark Star! Fire when the meteorite enters range and turn it into dust!”
“Prepare the guns to fire!”
The crew started moving busily. Dozens of barrels emerged from the outer wall of the Dark Star. There were 30 cannons that were the main gun of a general spaceship, 15 powerful warheads and 120 missiles. This was the firepower that would pour out of the Dark Star. The meteorite that was composed of rocks would turn to dust instantly after being fired upon by the Dark Star!
“The meteorite is entering our range!”
“Okay! All guns, fire!”
Ku kwa kwa kwa kwa! Ku kwa kwa kwa kwa!
Dozens of lights gushed out from the Dark Star. The Dark Star’s precision computer calculated the angle and speed of the meteorite and launched the missiles! The guns and missiles hit the meteorite without any errors. And it exploded!
The captain smirked with satisfaction as smoke and flames blew out into outer space. But that smirk didn’t last for even 10 seconds.
Smoke rose from the meteorite! Despite being hit by all the guns and missiles, it only had a few scratches.
“What, what the? Why? The lump of stone withstood the attacks from the Dark Star?”
“Captain-nim, an energy reaction has been detected from the meteorite!”
“A shield has spread in front of the meteorite!”
The captain realized that something was wrong. But it was already too late.
The range of the Dark Star’s guns was approximately 5,000 kilometres. Due to the overwhelming amount of energy required, it would take 2 minutes to reload. That’s the reason why the ships from three days ago escaped. They ran away during the reload time. On the other hand, the meteorite was flying towards the Dark Star at 90,000 kilometres per hour!
‘Even if we recharge immediately, there is a high chance of a collision!’
Fortunately the last attack had destroyed 90% of the meteorite’s shield. If they managed to attack one more time then the meteorite would surely shatter.
‘But if the meteorite doesn’t smash then the Dark Star will be the one destroyed! The most powerful weapon in the universe will be shattered by something like a conflict with a meteorite? Not a chance! I have to smash it when the meteorite is close!’
“All guns and missiles of the Dark Star have been reloaded!”
“Wait! Not yet, not yet!”
The captain clenched his fist firmly as he stared at the approaching meteorite.
“The meteorite is 300 kilometres away! 250….200…..150…..Captain-nim!”
Ku kwa kwa kwa kwa! Ku kwa kwa kwa kwa!
Once again dozens of lights shot out! It was necessary to confirm on the screen as the meteorite was 100 kilometres away.
The sight of the guns and missiles hitting the meteorite could be seen on the other side of the window. And thick cracks spread on the meteorite’s tattered shield before it shattered!
The scene of the meteorite shattering right in front of them was like it came from a 3D movie.
This was the captain’s first mistake.
“The meteorite has been destroyed!”
“Meteorite debris is heading towards the Dark Star!”
Once again, the Dark Star had smashed the meteorite. However it hadn’t turned to dust as the captain expected. The meteorite split into chunks of stone ranging from several kilometres to 100 kilometres in diameter.
This wouldn’t have been a big problem if it had been smashed at the 5,000 kilometre range of the Dark Star. But the meteorite had exploded only 100 kilometres away from the Dark Star!
“I-it is colliding!”
Kwa kwa kwa kwa! Kwa kwa kwa kwa! Kwa kwa kwa kwa!
Hundreds of meteorite fragments struck the Dark Star. At the same time, lights flashed and the crew members cried out.
“More than 70% of the Dark Star’s body armour has been damaged!”
“8 barrels and 9 missiles launches have been destroyed!”
“There is a fire in B, C, F and G blocks! The exterior walls of A block have been directly hit and many crew members sucked out through the hole into outer space! A partition to seal off the relevant block has been put up!”
The invincible Dark Star had become a wreck. This was the result of the captain’s choice to shatter the meteorite as closely as possible. But that wasn’t the captain’s crucial mistake.
“A large number of energy has been detected from behind the meteorite!”
Blood drained from the captain’s face as he looked. 14 ships could be seen through the dense smoke. The ships lined up facing the Dark Star and blue light started condensing.
Kwa kwa kwa kwa! Kwa kwa kwa kwa! Kwa kwa kwa kwa!
At the same time, 14 streams of light were fired.
Ku ku ku ku! Pepeng! Ku ku ku kung!
14 ships floated in the orbit of the grey planet.
Dozens of kilometres away from them, the Dark Star emitted flames from a chain explosion.
|-Your level has risen!
-Your level has risen……
The messages subsequently rose. It was a welcome message that indicated the character’s growth.
However Ark’s face was stiff as he stared at the windows. Once again, Hawk was the reason why it took three days to process the Dark Star.
Over the past three days, Hawk had sailed around searching for an asteroid of the appropriate size and placed a jet device on it. The members would hide behind the meteorite while a shield was expanded in front of it.
‘The method itself is simple. Simple but……”
The idea of moving an entire asteroid wasn’t something that anyone could do. It might seem simple but it actually wasn’t that easy.
Even if the appropriate jet devices were equipped, it wasn’t easy to move it on the correct orbit. He precisely calculated the reload speed of the Dark Star, the asteroid’s movement speed and the psychology of the captain.
The strategy was called the Great Meteor Strike!
Rapid looked at the flaming Dark Star and whistled.
“The Dark Star is a monster but Hawk is also a monster. I guess he isn’t one of the Seven Swords for nothing? Hey, are you okay? Your enemy is someone powerful like that.”
“It’s not like I wanted it.”
Ark replied in a curt voice.
“And I’m not surprised because Hawk sunk the Dark Star.”
“No? Then what is it?”
“Do you have to ask? How much do you think the jet device to move the asteroid costs? A large ship’s engine! It would be worth thousands of gold! I can’t believe it! Even if it is the Dark Star, I can’t believe he poured thousands of gold into winning one battle! He is a crazy bastard! Damn, now I know! Why that guy is blindly hostile towards me. That guy is just crazy! How could he do such a thing?”
“…..Are you really saying that?”
Rapid asked with an astounded voice. But Ark was 90% serious. Ark disliked someone like Hawk who would spend thousands of gold so easily. That was because they won’t be easily smashed when he stepped on them.
However Ark was also persistent.
‘If I shrunk back from money then I wouldn’t have started the game! I’ll show them that I don’t need money to climb up! Now it is a fight!’
-The Dark Star has sunk! Fleet, enter the planet.
Then Hawk’s voice was heard.
“Okay, Tori! Enter the atmosphere. Now is the time to show our strength!”
Ark shouted as he turned his head towards the grey planet.