SPACE 9. At the End of the March
The situation proceeded once the Dark Star was sunk.
The 14 ships entered the atmosphere of the grey plane and detected a secret base hidden under the ground with their optical scanners.
Kwa kwa kwa kwa! Kwa kwa kwa kwa!
Once the spaceships gathered in that area, shells immediately flew up. They were anti-aircraft guns. But there weren’t a lot of anti-aircraft guns around the base. The greatest defense weapon had been the Dark Star in orbit around the planet. They never imagined that the Dark Star would be sunk so they hadn’t installed many anti-aircraft guns.
And that carelessness caused trouble.
–Sweep them up.
Hawk ordered with short words.
Ku kwa kwa kwa kwa! Ku kwa kwa kwa kwa!
At that moment, 14 ships fired bright flashes towards the base.
It was like a war between a pea shooter and a cannon. Thanks to the Meteor Strike strategy, the spaceships had sunk the Dark Star with almost no damage. The anti-aircraft shells couldn’t penetrate the full-powered shields. However, the blasts from the sky destroyed the anti-aircraft guns!
Once the anti-aircraft guns were neutralized, the ships landed in front of the base. And soldiers flowed outside. It hadn’t been 1 hour since the Dark Star was sunk so 400 people had gathered at the square in front of the base.
“Put it in order. The goal of this mission isn’t to take care of the enemy but to gather information. I don’t think this is the home base of Organization X. However, it is one of their strongholds and will contain information about Organization X. Therefore all passages will be sealed to block the escape of key figures and we need to quickly subdue them. The optical scanners have identified 7 passages in the base. 7 balanced teams will be organized in order to capture the 7 passages at the same time.”
The member with the most subordinates was naturally Hawk. Hawk had brought extra subordinates from Turan for this mission and had 50 people. Irina and 40 people from the 1st investigation team also joined. That’s why Hawk and Irina respectively would take one passage each.
The remaining members were organized to form 5 sets of 50 people. However it wasn’t even. Ark was screwed over.
Ark was combined with Ferguson’s team who only had 12 people so theirs was the smallest team. Excluding Tori, Ark had 15 members. Hawk had tied the two teams with the least people together.
“Isn’t there something wrong about this?”
Irina was one of the people who objected.
“Ark-nim and Ferguson-nim only have 27 people in their group.”
“It was fairly put together.”
“How is this fair when they have half the amount of troops?”
“Irina-nim really doesn’t understand Ark that well. Ark has received the title of Hero in the Bellin constellation. Despite becoming lost on his first mission, he knew about Esut and single-handedly captured him on Maseti. Don’t you think it is fair that I treat him differently from the other members? And…..”
Hawk’s eyes turned to Ferguson. Ferguson’s expression showed that he was also unhappy with Hawk’s decision. Hawk reached out and lay a hand on Ferguson’s shoulder.
“Ferguson is an amazing member. I heard that he once ranked 18th in the list of top users. He might’ve only brought 10 people but they will be equivalent to the standard of 20~30 people. Ferguson has that type of ability. Isn’t that right, Ferguson?”
“Huh? Ah! Yes!”
Ferguson nodded quickly.
“In fact, our team alone will be sufficient. I’m Ferguson!”
He looked at Ark’s team standing near him and shouted.
…..Idiot! He is an idiot! Ark knew why Ferguson and Brothers A and B only brought 10 members.
According to the words of an informed Mario, Ferguson had once been rich. However he was attacked by space pirates not long along and lost his spaceship and riches. Fortunately, the insurance compensation meant he received back 80% of the ship’s price. His original 3rd grade spaceship like Ark’s was downgraded to a 2nd grade ship. All his employees died then so this time Ferguson brought mercenaries. The down payment of 3,000 gold meant he could only employ 10 people.
‘Well, he should have some skills if he managed to reach rank 18…..’
At the very least, Ferguson’s team should have some skills. Nevertheless, Ferguson’s mood had been uplifted by Hawk. But Hawk was clearly not interested in Ferguson’s skills.
“Those two are tied together. Shouldn’t their power be sufficient to overcome their numbers?”
Hawk said as he sent a provocative look to Ark.
“Ensign Irina-nim, it is fine.”
Ark restrained Irina and shook his head.
‘That Hawk bastard, he is surprisingly petty. Is he going to act like this?’
After their meeting in Maseti, Hawk no longer bothered to hide his hostility towards Ark. Hawk was aiming a knife at the back of Ark’s head while Ark was aiming one behind Hawk. From now on Hawk would take every chance to tackle Ark. This tackle was nothing.
‘This is just the beginning. And Hawk doesn’t expect that I’ll have that much trouble. This is a type of notice. He will continue to spite me from now on.’
But he had already prepared for a hostile relationship with Hawk. Ark wouldn’t be able to avoid it as long as Hawk was the leader of the investigation team. It would be useless for him to question it. Anyway, he didn’t want Irina to raise questions by standing up for him.
‘Having the relationship between Irina-nim and I is useful right now. Irina-nim is directly related to the galactic federation so Hawk will need to keep close to her. I was expelled and returned so the other members might be dissatisfied. They might think that I took advantage of my position and status. But I don’t have to worry with Irina-nim close to Hawk!’
This was why he hid his relationship with Irina. It would be more difficult if Hawk knew that they were in a relationship. So she shouldn’t question Hawk about this.
When he thought about it, he also felt sorry for Ferguson. Ferguson got involved in the problem between Ark and Hawk. He was the smallest team so he got involved in Ark and Hawk’s war for no reason. However…..
“Hahahaha! How about it Ark? Ark. Yes, Ark. Huhuhu! I guess you’ve also heard of my fame. Yes, Ark! Believe in me. I will show you the skills of the 18th ranked user. So don’t worry and just follow me. I’ll protect you Ark!”
Ferguson continued making noise.
…..He didn’t feel any compassion.
‘Moreover, why does he keep on saying the name Ark like that?’
…..He was getting annoyed.
“That’s good, Ark. You’re going to be protected by your colleagues.”
Hawk smiled at Ark before turning around and shouting.
“There’s no time. The key to a surprise attack is speed! Don’t give them time to think! Each team will enter the passage and exterminate the enemy! If there is danger then use the communicator! Advance!”
“Let’s go! Advance!”
And hundreds of soldiers advanced towards the base.
“Wah! Wah! Wah!”
A man burst out screaming. The man was a Tunba called Jamal in charge of managing the secret base on the grey planet. Being responsible for a secret base was an important role in the organization. Jamal worked hard for the past few years and was promoted. But then a problem occurred.
The weapon defending the grey planet was sunk.
“Damn bastards! I told them many times not to relax! They made things horrible! Shoot them, shoot!”
But the captain of the Dark Star had already died. And the mystery forces that destroyed the Dark Star was now invading the base.
“Stop them! Use every method you have to stop them!”
Jamal shouted in an urgent voice. But most of the base’s troops were gathered in the Dark Star. The base wouldn’t be attacked unless the Dark Star collapsed so they concentrated all their firepower on the Dark Star. There were only workers and Kero clan warriors remaining at the base. Well, they still numbered in the thousands…..
“The 1st defense line has fallen!”
“The enemy has entered the facility!”
“The partition walls are being destroyed one by one by the enemy’s engineers!”
“The 14th unit of Kero clan soldiers have been wiped out in 3 minutes! The 3rd passage only has a few turrets left!”
“I can’t forgive those tadpoles!”
Jamal shouted angrily.
It was natural. The frogs defending the base didn’t have great abilities. Their intelligence was low and they just shot the guns wildly while rushing. It was useful when using a human wave tactic but not when enemy troops were entering the base. They were smashed every time they encountered the enemy.
Jamal could see dozens of dead frogs on his monitors. And the unidentified pioneers that sometimes approached the corpses!
“I have to find another way……!”
“I was one step too late.”
Then he heard someone’s voice near him. Jamal flinched and turned around. 5 people were drawing close to Jamal. They were black hoods that didn’t show their faces and the skin between the collar seemed to be tinged black.
However, the one who talked just then had white skin like a human. Jamal immediately shed tears as he saw him.
“A-Agent-nim, you came!”
“This is a difficult situation.”
“Huh? Yes! A-as you can see! That stupid captain! He blew the whole thing! I told him many times not to relax! Now I’m desperately trying to block them but….”
The man placed a finger to his lips and whispered before looking at the monitor. A small smile formed as he saw the investigation team slaughtering the frogs in each passage. It was the type of smile like a cat catching a mouse.
However the man erased his expression before turning back to Jamal.
“I will now deliver some commands.”
Ark scratched his head.
–Now is the time to show our strength!
Ark had said that as he entered the grey planet. He thought about showing 120% of his ability in a hot battle. But the opponent he wanted to show his strength to wasn’t here.
Hawk. Ark had wanted to show his power to Hawk. Hawk had developed the Meteor Strike so Ark wasn’t to show that he wasn’t too daunted by Hawk.
Yet they had been divided into teams.
‘There is no reason for me to fight.’
So Ark thought about it. He entered a different passage but the members would all rendezvous in the centre. Naturally the enemy’s resistance would be the greatest there.
‘In this situation, the only way to resist is to concentrate the troops in the centre. The units are entering 7 different passages so their speed would depend on the enemy’s combat strength and resistance. There is just one problem. It will be difficult to penetrate such numbers with overwhelming power. The members’ stamina will also fall as we move towards the centre. It is highly likely that there will be a prolonged battle in the centre.’
So there was no reason to rush. Of course, the unit that captured the centre first would receive the highest achievements. But there was no guarantee he could occupy the centre if he arrived their first. No, if he arrived first then he would just receive the most damage.
‘Yes, now isn’t the time to hurry. The important thing is to maintain my power while advancing to the centre. It might be beneficial to reach the centre last. So I need to avoid as much fighting as possible to conserve my strength.’
That was the conclusion Ark reached. He won’t consume his power before arriving at the centre. Then Ark would take care of the hordes of frog the members who arrived first would be struggling with and gobble up all the achievements.
Of course it wasn’t as easy as it sounded. Ark’s passage also had frogs flooding it. They just fired machine guns and RPGS blindly but it was a narrow damage so he would receive damage. However…..
“That’s wonderful, Ferguson-nim!”
Ark raised his thumb and exclaimed. Then Ferguson who was wearing a thick armour burst out laughing.
“Hahahaha! Yes? Isn’t that right Ark? Huhuhuhu! Am I cool?”
“Yes! I can only believe in Ferguson-nim!”
“Yes! Trust me Ark! I will protect you! Let’s go!”
Ferguson moved in front of Ark and fired bullets down the passage. He moved with incredible speed for someone wearing such thick armour. Ferguson fired a revolver launcher that flew tens of metres in seconds.
Tung! Tung! Tung! Tung!
There was a ringing sound as a barricade fell. Fire surged from the barricade and a swarm of frogs rushed out to avoid dying. Brothers A and B holding shields and swords followed behind Ferguson.
“Now! Follow your Hyung-nim! Full force assault!”
An intense hand-to-hand combat followed!
‘User ranked 18th….he definitely has significant combat power but…..’
Ark laughed as he watched the scene from behind. Ferguson was a suitable figure to be ranked 18th. No, his skills were the same level as Ark but his equipment was really excellent. And Brothers A and B might be ordinary compared to Ferguson but their equipment was significant. They were indeed suitable to be chosen for the investigation team. But Ferguson had a fatal weakness.
‘……They are really simple guys.’
He has sensed it when Hawk quickly settled their complaints.
‘This guy has the intelligence of an ape. I just need to throw bananas at him. That Hawk bastard, he sensed their intelligence and sent monkeys to accompany me!’
Ark had already set up his own plan. He would minimize the damage while marching to the centre. Ark could set up such a plan thanks to Ferguson, A and B.
“That’s wonderful, Ferguson-nim!”
“Hahahaha! Yes, only believe in me Ark!”
“Wow! That great power! That great power! It is to the extent that I can’t imitate it!”
“Hihihihi! Really? Is that so? Okay Ark! Praise me more! More praise!”
He continued cheering as Ferguson fired bullets and threw grenades towards the frogs. Rapid scratched his head as he watched the scene.
“Ark, is this really okay?”
“Why? The party is still receiving experience.”
Ark answered with a smirk, causing Melina to sigh.
“No, it isn’t a complaint…..those people, they seem slightly pitiful for some reason…..”
“Oh, was that it? It is your imagination. It is like visitors to a zoo thinking that the monkeys are pitiful. Meanwhile the monkeys won’t care as long as you give them bananas. No, wouldn’t the monkeys be happier at the sight of the visitors? The same is true with these guys. Look Melina-nim. He has become dramatically happier.”
“Too pitiful! Those guys, they are really pitiful!”
Ark’s team unanimously sympathized with Ferguson after hearing Ark’s explanation. However Ark’s words were true.
Ferguson was crazy in the head!
‘Hahahaha! This feels good! It is exciting!’
Right now endorphins were rushing in Ferguson’s head. It was thanks to Ark passionately cheering from behind.
‘Right now it doesn’t matter if Ark from New World appears in front of me. Yes, Ark should always be cheering me from behind like A and B. I was exploited like a pig. But now my position has changed. Now I’m stronger than this guy! Of course, he isn’t the one from New World but Ark is still Ark! Huhuhu! That Ark bastard is surprised and praising my strength! This is great! This is what I’ve been dreaming of!’
It was the dream from his time in New World! However, it was an insurmountable reality and he had to give up on the dream! That dream was finally being made into a reality in this place.
|-You have been damaged by the enemy’s bullet!|
“Hahaha! Don’t worry about it!”
It wasn’t possible to stop the Ferguson hyped up on endorphins.
“H-Hyung-nim, I’m tired. There aren’t any places where I can penetrate a hole.”
“Doesn’t it seem like we’re the only ones suffering for some reason?”
“I don’t want to hear your weak voices! Do you think this opportunity will come easily? Now is the time to show our strength to Ark! Throw out your chest proudly! We are the heroes!”
Ferguson once again rushed forward. And when he turned around quickly…..
“Wow! That’s wonderful!”
“Cool person! Cool! Beep! Beep!”
Ferguson would hear Ark’s cheers! This gave Ferguson the energy to annihilate the enemy.
“It has been cleaned up. Shall we go?”
Ark’s team members followed slowly.
“Hey, the liquor sold on Maseti was unbelievably good. In addition, there is the rice wine for drinking games. It is a little expensive but it is the best for parties.
“Isn’t it? Isn’t it? If we drop in there again then we should fill the Silver Star’s warehouse with boxes of them.
“But the appetizers were a little lacking.”
“They are also unbelievably expensive. Space food is cheap so there is no need to worry about dying of starvation. We don’t need to go to a large hive or port.”
“Yes. Then we will find some dinner and drink.”
And they even gossiped together.
Tu tu tu tu! Tu tu tu tu! Pepeng! Kwa kwa kwa kwang!
Gunshots resounded through the passage.
|-Your level has risen.|
After a while, a wonderful message rose.
The thick iron door shattered and the pieces scattered all over the place. At the same time, dozens of guys poured out of the smoke. A man wearing a cloak with a blue skull and carrying a giant hammer and laser gun with scope walked forward.
Hawk also looked around with one eye.
In fact, Hawk entered the base with a similar plan to Ark. If he was the commander of the base then he would install roadblocks in order to gather troops at the centre for a decisive battle. He anticipated that the one who arrived first would receive the most damage. But Hawk didn’t have a reason to create a slow pace.
‘Only a loser would use that method!’
Hawk and his subordinates weren’t weak so they smashed the frogs. If he applied his standards to the frogs then they would be disqualified to become his subordinates. There was no way they could stop him.
And Hawk was the leader of the investigation team so he didn’t want to be later then any of the other members.
‘If they gather a lot then I’ll just have to destroy them!’
Thus he marched on without a hitch!
Hawk was the first one to arrive at the centre of the base. However Hawk’s expectation was off the mark. The passages in front of the centre weren’t swarming with frogs. Only the firmly closed doors were in front of him.
‘What is going on? Did they place all the Kero into the passages? No way. Even if it is to stop the enemy, how can they leave the centre unprotected? It is impossible. Then…..’
“Holy shit! Harley, blow up the door!”
Hawk shouted with a displeased expression. And the professional engineers blew up the door to the central control room! Hawk cursed as he looked around the room.
“Dammit, it was like I expected.”
The control room contained 10 people. The huge frame of the Tunba Commander could be seen. However, they were all dead. This was the reason why the frogs weren’t gathered at the centre. The commander gave an order before dying. The computers in the command room were shattered.
“Did they commit suicide once cornered?”
“We need to check the information first. There is no doubt that this is the secret base of Organization X. The ones in charge are all dead but we might be able to find some information about the organization from the computers. Erin, Sion, confirm whether any data can still be extracted from the computer!”
The engineers Erin and Sion ran to the computers. Meanwhile Hawk and Harley started to search the corpses. He needed to confirm if there was any clues left behind. But he found something different. He figured out that their deaths weren’t suicides. Based on the similar wounds, they were clearly murdered by one person.
‘Who the hell did this? The 10 people possess the same wounds so a 3rd person must’ve killed them. Where on earth did they go? Haven’t all the passages been blocked by the team units?’
“Captain-nim, there is something here.”
Harley who was searching the Tunba spoke to Hawk. The Tunba had died in his chair. Harley pointed to where the Tunba was sitting in the chair. There were letters made of blood above the upper body of the Tunba!
“What? These letters are? What on earth…..?”
“Captain-nim, it is serious!”
At that time, Erin who was searching the computer cried out.
Ark looked around with a confused expression. Thanks to the monkey Ferguson wandering around on endorphins, Ark just needed to stay behind and sometimes shoot so it was a relaxing experience. And he was expecting to interrupt the other units in a fierce battle…..
“What? There is no one here?”
He couldn’t even see a shadow of the other team units. He thought they would come really quickly but he couldn’t find any traces of them. There also weren’t any frogs wandering around. And the pieces of the door were scattered around.
Rapid looked around with a frown before asking.
“Perhaps the other units have already gone somewhere else?”
“But there are no frog corpses. And look. Do you see any bullet marks in the vicinity? The only thing broken is the door. That means there wasn’t a battle here.”
“Then should we check with the other units?”
“No, let’s confirm inside first.”
The situation became even more mysterious as they entered the control room. The 10 bodies of the commander and workers were scattered around. Rapid went around checking the corpses with Ark.
“They have all suffered injuries from one person.”
“So somebody murdered them…..what on earth happened? The team units are gone? Or is there someone else? Have the other teams already confirmed the situation and gone back?”
Then the letters written above the Tunba’s body caught his eye. The letters written with blood!
-I shall by the wolf that swallows your god!
“What is this? What code is it?”
–Ark-nim, where are you now?
Then his Nymphe vibrated and Irina’s voice was heard. Irina normally refrained from individual communication so Ark didn’t know why she was doing this now.
“Irina-nim? Did something happen?”
–Did something happen? Stop talking! The members have already gathered in the central passage. But I didn’t see Ark-nim so I made contact.
“The members are gathered in the central passage? Why?”
-Why….surely you received the notification?
“Notification? What notification?”
–Oh my god! Really…..no, we’ll talk about it later. If you haven’t received the notification then return to your ship immediately. You’re running out of time. Hawk was the first one to arrive in the control room. When Hawk arrived he said that everyone in the control room had already been killed. There is nothing to obtain. And in a little while….
“Hyung-nim, it is serious!”
Hegel who was on the computed suddenly screamed.
“The base’s self-destruct mechanism has been activated! And according to the message, a detonation deice is also attached to the core of the planet. If we’re on this base when it explodes…..”
-…..The planet will explode!
Kwa kwang! Kwa kwang! Kwa kwang! Kwa kwang! Kwa kwang! Kwa kwang!
A roar was heard after Irina’s words. Ark’s face darkened as he turned his head. It wasn’t because the base was going to explode. A different situation had occurred.
The explosion had happened in the passage Ark crossed just now. There was a cascade of explosions as the walls and ceiling collapsed to completely seal off the control room.
One name and face popped into his head.
All his questions were answered in that moment.
Hawk was the first one to arrive in the control room. He didn’t know if Hawk killed the people here but he learnt that the base’s self-destruct mechanism has been activated like Hegel. He organized a rendezvous with the other members in the central passage. But he didn’t announce this fact to Ark and Ferguson. It wasn’t necessary to consider the reason. He decided to deal with Ark in the base. Therefore he installed a bomb in the passages.
Hawk, that damn bastard!
Perhaps he even started the self-destruct process on the computer in order to make a booby trap for Ark. However it was too late by the time he found out. The bombs already worked and Ark was trapped in the control room.
–Explosion? Ark-nim, are you still in a fight?
“I’ll contact you later!”
Ark broke the communication and ran over to Hegel at the computer.
|-The self-destruct process has been started at the atomic reactor in the planet’s core.
<Time remaining: 16 minutes 30 seconds…..>
That message floated on the monitor! Just one look made it obvious how serious the situation was. Even the font used seriously scared him!
“Hegel, can you stop it?”
“I checked but it is impossible! Once it starts then the program can’t be stopped!”
“How about smashing the computer?”
“The program has already entered into the atomic reactor!”
“So do we have no choice but to penetrate that passage?”
Ark glanced at the shattered passage.
“Hahahaha! My power is required at times like this. Get out of the way! Get out of the way! I will penetrate through that passage with my body! Now Ark, praise me! I am the person who will save you! Armour armament!”
Ferguson suddenly pushed to the front! Ferguson shouted like a hero as a metal cube sprung out of his bag. It twisted in complicated ways and armour was fitted onto Ferguson’s body. But Ferguson’s transformation didn’t end there.
Ferguson shouted once again after the battle suit was equipped.
Then another metal cube shot out and covered Ferguson. Solid Armour was a special form that overlapped over a battle suit. But it added to a person’s abilities in the same way a battle suit did! However it was difficult to control and balance so it couldn’t be utilized that much.
Most people would rather upgrade the traditional battle suit than buy Solid Armour. A person couldn’t be shot in the head when wearing Solid Armour so quite a few people liked it!
Ferguson had Solid Armour! He just stupidly spent money…..
“Ohhh! How wonderful! Please show me your power!”
“I’ll show you! Open Solid Armour, open warheads! Target set! Launch!”
Ferguson launched warheads from his Solid Armour! Dozens of small missiles exploded from his armour. There was a tremendous shake as the warheads hit. And…..
More cracks spread through the walls and ceilings of the surrounding passages. That is to say…..
The Solid Armour was too strong.
Ferguson stuttered as he sat down.
The battle suit and Solid Armour peeled off him like a balloon popping. Slayer, Leon, Kaya etc. looked at Ferguson with cold eyes after seeing the pathetic results. And then they all started crying out.
“You’re dumber than a monkey!”
“Stupid child who can’t control their power!”
“Is this a joke? Aren’t we even more blocked in now?”
But Ark had no time to curse Ferguson.
Thanks to Ferguson, the whole ceiling was crumbling. And there was only 12 minutes remaining until the explosion. It would be impossible for the Royal Guards and other members to punch through the blocked passage in 12 minutes. It was impossible to escape from the base.
Only those two words floated in Ark’s mind.
‘No, no! I can’t die! If I die here then Hawk will use it as an excuse to expel me from the investigation team. He didn’t start a fight just to be expelled in this way. No, I have to use whatever it takes to escape! Using every possible method!’
Ark shook his head forcefully. Then something came to his head.
“Has everybody escaped?”
Hawk turned and shouted.
“Yes, we’ve all escaped! It is really great. If Hawk-nim hadn’t told us about the self-destruct mechanism then we would still be on the base!”
“It is still too early to be assured. An atomic reactor is connected to the core of the planet. If the atomic reactor explodes then a planet of this size will collapse from the inside. We have to escape from the planet before that happens!”
“We already know. Let’s go!”
The team members rushed back to their ship. Then Irina who had been looking at the base shouted in a desperate voice.
“W-wait a minute! Ark-nim hasn’t come out yet! He might be in a situation where he needs help!”
“I said it when the members previously gathered on Turan. Every person is responsible for themselves. If someone disturbs the success of the mission then I will mercilessly throw them away. I have no intention of withdrawing those words. I’m only responsible for informing you about the base’s self-destruct mechanism. I don’t know if Ark didn’t hear properly or there were other problems with his communication but I can’t let him hold us back.”
Irina suddenly flinched and closed her mouth. She swallowed violently before starting to talk again.
“Are you going to desert a colleague?”
“Then do you want to die together?”
Hawk laughed as he gazed at Irina with keen eyes.
“Isn’t Ensign Irina-nim the same? I understood that Ensign-nim thinks of your colleagues as important. But isn’t Ark just a fellow colleague? Aren’t the subordinates following Ensign-nim also colleagues? Ensign-nim’s stubbornness might cause your subordinates to be in trouble. I’m the same. I also have subordinates.”
Hawk led his people and entered the Death Knight. He sat in the captain’s chair and said in a cold voice.
Someone had told Ark information about Esut. Hawk didn’t believe that Ark had found it out by himself. Obviously someone had given the information to Ark. That person needed to have a close relationship with Ark. That was the reason Hawk announced about the self-destruct device after gathering everyone in the central passage.
He had indeed lured Ark to the control room. At this stage he still didn’t know who had a close relationship with Ark. But now it had become clear. The other members failed to even notice Ark hadn’t joined them once the situation became urgent. The only person who noticed this fact was Irina!
Now all the members had boarded their spaceships.
Kwa kwa kwa kwa kwa!
There was a roaring sound and a pillar of flames gushed out from the base. The pillar of flames emerged one after another from the ground like worms. The explosion was occurred in the underground passages of the base. Once the whole area became a sea of fire, the land vibrated and was sucked inwards.
“A huge gravitational field is forming under the planet’s crust! The gravitational field is continuing to increase! In this state the planet will be extinct in a few minutes and will form a black hole! If we don’t get more than 100,000 kilometres away then we’ll be caught in the black hole!”
The destruction of the planet had started.
“……It is over.”
Hawk smiled and muttered. Irina was still staring at the base.
However her subordinates pulled her so she turned and ran towards her ship. She also judged that Ark was already dead. Hawk smiled warmly as he made the Death Knight take off. Then Harley who was watching the monitor shouted.
“C-Captain-nim, look over there!”
Hawk turned with a deep frown. Harley was pointing to the opposite direction of the base’s collapse where people were running. And the person in the lead…..
‘I wasn’t too late!’
Ark sighed with relief as he looked behind him. The land had collapsed immediately afterwards! And a reckless amount of energy was swirling! The sight was enough to cause sweat to drip down his spine.
‘If I hadn’t thought about that….!’
He desperately came up with something when trapped in the control room! The bodies of the 10 corpses in the control room floated to Ark’s head.
‘Irina said that they were already dead when Hawk arrived. And the bodies were all slain. Someone entered the control room and killed them. But all the passages had been occupied by the team. In such a situation, there is only one way to escape the control room without being caught!’
A secret passage. He could only think that a secret passage was hidden somewhere. Ark had the crazy idea and immediately rallied everyone to search the control room. And…..bingo!
There was an iron griddle on the floor. Originally the iron was tightly meshed together. Ark probably wouldn’t have been able to find it easily if it was still in that state. However Ferguson’s tremendous firepower caused the room to shake and reveal it. He might question it but Ferguson was useful sometimes.
“There’s no time left!”
Ark ran straight out the secret passage. Thanks to that, they were barely able to escape the explosion. The secret passage led in the opposite direction of the ships so there was quite a distance to run. Ark ran towards the airfield until he felt like he was going to collapse. And the members finally started to board the Silver Star.
“Tori, quickly make the Silver Star take off!”
Tori grabbed the joystick quickly.
There was an explosion at the base so Tori had already prepared the Silver Star to take off. Fortunately they didn’t have to go through the preparation process. The Silver Star launched into the air at his command. It ascended vertically after the other ships. And there was a violent vibration just as they were about to exit the atmosphere.
Ku ku ku ku! Kwa kwa kwa kwa!
It was an explosion from behind that transcended imagination!
Cracks were spreading on the surface of the grey planet. At the same time, a huge energy storm shook the Silver Star. But the more fearful situation occurred after that.
A hold was forming in the centre of the planet and sucking everything into it. And it became a huge black hole!
At that moment, the spaceship stopped like it was caught by an invisible hand. The black hole was producing a tremendous pulling force.
Hegel who was manipulating the dashboard screamed.
“H-Hyung-nim, we’re being sucked in!”
“Damn! Tori, raise the engine to its maximum output!”
“Yes! Yes! Engine output is increasing!”
Ku ku ku ku! Ku ku ku ku!
Flashes occurred at the rear of the Silver Star at the same time as Tori’s reply. The Silver Star that was stopped started to move forward again. Once the Silver Star entered space, Irina immediately popped up on a screen.
-Ark-nim, you’re alive!
“I’m not that easy to kill.”
Ark finally began to relax as he smiled and answered. Then Hegel who had been looking at the dashboard started shouting again.
“A ship is approaching!”
“This identification signal is Death Knight! It is Hawk’s battleship! The Death Knight is approaching the bottom of the Silver Star! The distance is just 50 metres! If it keeps approaching then we will collide with it!”
“Is that bastard crazy? Why all of a sudden…..?”
Ark jumped up and shouted. A battleship loomed in the front window. Hawk’s Death Knight was approaching the Silver Star. And when the Death Knight was dozens of metres away!
A flash came from the rear of the Death Knight! The Silver Star vibrated as it was engulfed with flames. The Death Knight that had come close blew the Silver Star back with a tremendous air current. Of course, the attack itself didn’t do any apparent damage. However, the ship was pushed back by the turbulence and was caught in the pull.
“We’re caught by the gravity of the black hole!”
“Hawk, he is like this until the end!”
Ark shouted angrily at Tori’s words.
They were once again caught by the black hole that they barely escaped. And the Silver Star’s engine was already at its maximum output. That meant there was no way to escape now. Then a new window was created and Hawk’s face popped up.
–Hrmm, I’m sorry. I lost control thanks to the gravitational field of the black hole and accidentally damaged you. I apologize. But a person can’t be blamed for things they unintentionally did in an emergency situation. It is my fault for not searching the area and seeing your ship.
“Then I’ll apologize in advance.”
“Tori, it is time to test it! Target is the Death Knight! Launch!”
Ark smiled and shouted. The armour of the Silver Star split to the sides and chains shot out.
This was what Ark meant! It was something that came with Tori’s container box.
Ark had an idea after being caught by the Red Slaughterer’s ship on Impeltus.
-This is money!
It wasn’t uncommon for ships to fight amongst themselves on the frontier. But if they fought with bombardment then the chances of the ship being damaged was high. The crew and cargo would be lost if the ship exploded. Even if they won the battle, the cost of repairing the spaceship would be tremendous.
Therefore most people preferred hand-to-hand combat. They would capture the enemy ships with stingers and paralyze the electronics with radio waves. Then soldiers would board the enemy ship to make them surrender.
This was the way to minimize damage to the ship and increase profit. Of course, that was the worst situation for merchants like Mario but pioneers with confidence in fighting preferred that method.
So Ark had requested an anchor launcher for the Silver Star along with Tori. Good quality equipment was bought from Tatuine and home delivered with Tori’s container box. It was then mounted when the Silver Star was on E-2036.
Kwa kwak! Kwa kwak! Kwa kwak! Kwa kwak!
The anchor fired at the Death Knight that was only hundreds of metres from them. Now Hawk started to grasp the situation.
–You bastard! What are you doing?
“I’m grasping at straws to survive. That’s what you did. Didn’t you say a person couldn’t be blamed for things they unintentionally do in an emergency situation? Then wouldn’t that apply to me as well? Now choose. Die with me? Or live with me? The radio wave propagation is starting now.”
Hawk glared at Ark. But he already had no choice now that the anchor was lodged. There was a black hole so it was impossible for soldiers to go out and cut the anchor. If they didn’t want to die then they needed to pull the Silver Star out of the gravitational field
–Increase the Death Knight’s engine to its maximum output!
The Silver Star and Death Knight started moving forward again.
Kwa kwak! Kwa kwak! Kwa kwak! Kwa kwak!
The ship shook and an anchor was driven into the Silver Star. At the same time, a new screen emerged next to Hawk’s face.
–Ark! You bastard, you relaxed all day at the base only to strand me here? I have a 2nd grade ship so my engine output is weak! Look! I won’t be able to live if another ship is destroyed! Save me!
–Please save us! I will even call you Ark-nim from now on!
The faces of three men crying appeared on the small screen. They were Ferguson and his brothers A and B. No, it didn’t matter who they were.
The problem was that Ferguson’s anchor was lodged in the Silver Star! The Death Knight was a higher rated battleship than the Silver Star but even it couldn’t pull 2 ships caught by a black hole’s gravity.
Of course the three spaceships retreated! Retreat! Retreat!
–Damn! Let go Ark! I’m telling you!”
“Didn’t you hear me? F-Ferguson!”
–You’re the one who did this! You bastard!
“Look! You made Hawk made! So please let go, Ferguson!”
-I don’t want to! I don’t want to! I don’t want to die! I won’t die! So pull me out as well.
“Didn’t you hear? Hawk! I’m being pulled inside! Just the spare fuel to thrust your engine! Go! Go! Go!”
–This bastard! Do you think I can escape from the black hold with two ships handing from me.
So Hawk, Ark and Ferguson and their three spaceships were swallowed by the black hole together. And…..
TO BE CONTINUED