The Devil, The Witch, and The Wicked World of Delirith
Somewhere in the lost world of Delirith, somewhere in the bony lands of Boneyard Badlands, vrooms and bangs boomed the once silent plains as our protagonists were seen riding off their silver hoverbike, chased down ONCE AGAIN in this forsaken series. Three heavily modified technical trucks were hot on their trail raining down bullets and whatnots onto their target.
"YOU AIN'T GETTING AWAY KIDDOS! NOT UNTIL WE ROAST YA FOR DINAH!!"
[ CANNIBAL CLAUSE ]
And His Band of Cannibal Misfits
"ROAST EM UP BOYAH!!!" Clause commanded excitedly while hanging onto the technical's side.
Clause's driver flipped a switch activating a poorly-made mounted missile launcher, barely holding together with tape, screws, and prayers. The missile launcher fired its rockets as all went flying everywhere, exploding randomly regardless if it landed or still in mid air.
Still, the sheer amount of fiery explosions created were enough to send our protagonists in panic. One rocket managed to hit slightly behind the Silverbolt's thrusters and instantly they were thrown forward.
[ MAKO AND FYRA ]
Flying Onwards. Again.
Mako managed to land the Silverbolt smoothly after the throw much to their relief, but a new problem was immediately presented to them.
"[WARNING: BATTERY/FUEL CRITICALLY LOW]"
"Say what now!" Mako exclaimed.
There and then, the Silverbolt began to slow down a little and the fire blasted by its rocket thruster shrinked in size. Mako and Fyra were left in panic as their enemies grew closer and closer from behind.
"WARNING: BATTERY/FUEL CRITICALLY LOW, BATTERY/FUEL CRITICALLY LOW-" Silverbolt lost its speed further- "BATTERY/FUEL CRITICALLY LOW, BATTERY/FUEL EMPtyyy…."
"Not now! Not now!" Mako pleaded but the inevitable came, and Silverbolt stopped completely. The duo fell to the ground with the hoverbike as it no longer hovered mid air.
"HA! YA SEE THAT! OUR FOOD RAN OUT FUEL!! IT'S FREE DINAH FOR US!!!"
Clause and his band of cannibals cheered in delight, but it seemed they celebrated a bit too early as their technicals too began to slow down. Their vehicles abruptly stopped just a few feet behind Mako and Fyra. The reason for it was similar; they ran out of fuel.
"Well, ain't this awkward, " Fyra remarked.
Somewhere in Boneyard Badlands, there's a gas station somehow in the middle of nowhere owned by who-knows-who. Walking out of its convenience store was the other protagonist; Fyra, holding in her arms bags filled with snacks and food.
"Yo Mako, got some food here for brunch," Fyra greeted Mako, currently leaning on his bike while waiting for it to refuel completely on the electric-pump.
"Hehey! All that chasing got me real hungry y'know?" Mako replied. "So, whatcha got?"
"Let's see… The usual beef jerky, lizard jerky, some potato chips, dried fruits and veggies..- ooh, and the owner gave me some imitation human jerky too! For free."
"Imitation human- the hell!? We don't eat that kind of stuff! But I think they might enjoy it-" Mako pointed at the other fuel pump on his side.
The fuel pump was occupied by none other than Clause and cannibal friends, waving happily at the duo.
"Yo! Y'all want some imitation human meat!? You can have it if you want!" Mako called them out.
"Ain't as good as the real thing, but way better than an empty stomach. So sure!"
Fyra passed the remaining snacks to Clause and his friends. Right at that moment, a 'ting' sound rang from Mako's fuel pump spot.
"Ah! Bike's fully charged. We'll be going now if y'all don't mind," Mako declared to the cannibals.
"Sure, go on ahead. We'll catch up if we can," Clause replied on behalf of his band.
With that, the duo got onto Silverbolt and rode off ahead leaving the cannibal band. Clause's technical finally finished fueling but the remaining two were still queuing behind.
"So, where we heading now Mako?"
"To be honest, I'm not so sure."
Mako and Fyra had been wandering the badlands aimlessly for quite some time. Despite being "less dry" than the desert before, the duo couldn't help but feel a higher sense of desolation in this bonish plains. They encountered less communes and camps throughout their ride and passing convoys were rarer in sight. There's more vegetation though in this place compared to Kaandur, but animals were less active both day and night.
While the duo silently pondered their observational evaluation, Mako noticed something peculiar about the surroundings of their current whereabouts.
"Is it me or is this place more.. 'metallic' ?"
True to his words, their current surrounding was filled with towering scraps of metal bodies and abandoned land oil rigs. Half buried trucks and carts scattered the plains, remains of what might be a transport plane stacked to the sands here and there, and hundreds of rusty robots half buried throughout the ashen sands.
Finally, the duo stopped as they caught sight of a magnificent spectacle.
Up ahead was an abandoned complex, nearly half buried in its entirety for perhaps centuries long judging from its rusty state. Despite that, the general figure of the complex was well reserved like a historical heritage landmark. Crashed monorail lines, abandoned residential homes, ruined towers and other whatnots scattered the plains up ahead. A group of people were seen loitering around the area as well as several dozen camps.
"I can't believe it. After weeks of wandering this desolate land, we finally discovered a sign of civilization-" Mako got down from his bike- "IT'S A ROAD!" He pointed to the asphalt road right below them.
"Hell yeah! Let's get going!" Fyra exclaimed as Mako got back on the bike.
Right when they were about to leave though, a familiar voice greeted the duo out of nowhere. Turning around, a recognizable half-cyborg faced steampunk gentleman appeared within Mako and Fyra’s sight.
“Greetings Mako and Fyra! It’s been awhile since we crossed paths with each other!”
[ SIR COPPERHEAD ]
Collector, Innkeeper, Entrepreneur, Burger-flipper, Hatmaker, Tailor, Armorer, Optician, Gunsmith, Shoemaker, Doctor, Prosthetist, Scholar, Gentleman.
“Mr Copper!” they both exclaimed. “What are you doing here?” Mako asked.
“Hoho! I should be asking the same about you two. But judging from our previous occurrence together, I could easily conclude that you both simply stumbled upon this place by sheer coincidence,” Copper replied. “As for me, I am leading a group of smart men and women in an archeological excavation of this important historical site!”
“Ah, so that’s why those people are camping here,” Fyra replied. “Wait, an excavation? What for?”
“Well Fyra, the answer’s simple really. It’s because I’m a-
[ SIR COPPERHEAD ]
Archeologist, Collector, Innkeeper, Entrepreneur, Burger-flipper, Hatmaker, Tailor, Armorer, Optician, Gunsmith, Shoemaker, Doctor, Prosthetist, Scholar, Gentleman.
“I am here to conduct research of this important historical site for I am also a-
[ SIR COPPERHEAD ]
Historian, Archeologist, Collector, Innkeeper, Entrepreneur, Burger-flipper, Hatmaker, Tailor, Armorer, Optician, Gunsmith, Shoemaker, Doctor, Prosthetist, Scholar, Gentleman.
“So, would you two like to join me in exploring this place?”
Mako and Fyra looked at each other after hearing the gentleman’s offer. They’re not really busy that day and after hearing Copper’s statement about this weird place being a historical site, it intrigued the duo’s interest.
“Sure! We’d love to,” Mako answered for him and Fyra’s stead.
“Great! Then come with me to our base camp. I’ve got something particularly interesting to show you two.”
With that, the three of them went down to the abandoned complex where Copperhead’s men had set up a huge camp as their base. Walking down across the ruined place, Mako and Fyra witnessed dozens of people working on the excavation site bringing out many artifacts; loot, weapons and whatnot from the site they’ve dug below.
“So, what’s so interesting about this place?” Fyra asked the gentleman.
“Good question, Fyra. As for now, we’ve identified this place to be some sort of refinery or a mining town. Not just any mining town though, but the ones that belonged to our forefathers…”
“You heard me right. The people of Delirith as we know today aren’t exactly natives of this planet you see. Our history is merely 10 generations long, with you two possibly being the 11th of course, because 10 generations ago, a corporation colonized this planet to mine out its resources. I suspect this mining city is one of the early settlements for the first generation of colonists, hence I am eager to unearth any history they’ve buried within these mines!”
The trio arrived inside the base camp where a group of people of various races awaited their boss. There’s a huge table on the center of the camp, and on it were various research instruments and radio devices- and a single cassette bagged inside a zip lock labeled as Casette #1.
“About time you arrive, boss. The boys found something interesting you might wanna hear,” one of Copper’s henchmen spoke, referring to the bagged cassette.
“Yes, I can see that from here. Nevertheless-” Copper pulled out a cassette player from his vest pockets- “we ought not to fiddle around any longer. Let’s give it a listen.”
Copper took out the cassette from the zip log and inserted it into his player.
~Audio recording plays~
Audio Log #1, by Executive Director Ludleth, Apollyon Mining and Estate Corporation.
“It’s been three years now since we left our mother planet back at Hyperion-IV, and we’re already closing in to star system Neula-V. That means we’ve travelled 55000 light years for the past three years for those wondering, so hurray for Hyperjump am I right?
Anyways, I could see the planet from my cabin here. Seems pretty big if you ask me, like, Jovian planet big. Even had rings on it too. But unlike other giant planets, the Scouting Sector confirmed it to be solid surfaced as opposed to a big ball of gas.
It’s gravity is normal, weather is manageable, completely habitable and filled with resources- don’t ask me how that works though cuz I ain’t a scientist. A management guy like me only cares about whether we could exploit a planet’s resources or not- and this planet is exactly what a greedy mining company like us needs!”
~Audio recording ends~
“This… This is amazing!” Copperhead remarked. Mako and Fyra were confused by his reaction.
“Not only is this audio log from a first generation colonist, but this Ludleth person is directly involved in the discovery of Delirith in the first place! Where did you guys find this?”
“From tunnel #7, sir. The boys found the cassette buried near the entrance. We haven’t even explored inside the tunnel cuz we think it’s better if we wait for you.”
“And that is a better decision indeed-” Copper placed the cassette back on the table- “We ought to explore the tunnel further. If we could find more audio logs like this then we might be able to uncover more priceless information about our history!”
The steampunk gentleman turned to Mako and Fyra, “I believe you two ought to join us in our venture. Of course I’m not forcing but-”
“Oh hell yeah we’re joining!” Mako interrupted Copper’s sentence. “We might not be experts in this history and archeology thing, but that doesn’t mean we can’t make ourselves useful for all of ya, right Fyra?”
The devil simply nodded as a response.
“Well, what are we waiting for? Let’s get going!”
And so, everyone in the base camp packed their stuff and supplies and brought it with them before joining with the rest of the excavation group at tunnel #7. They entered the tunnel together to explore whatever secrets of the past it might hold.
~Audio recording plays~
Audio Log #2, Executive Director Ludleth, Apollyon Mining and Estate Corporation.
“Day one of Project Neula-V-, and boy did everything went shit real quick!
We already knew about the hostile nature and wildlife of this planet as reported by the Scouting Sector, but it seems this world has more to offer. Right after our landing we immediately got ambushed by hordes of gigantic ape-like monsters and oversized wolf-dog-things..- I don’t know! It’s like a warzone the moment we exit our ships! I knew we should’ve carried more firepower with us, hence I ordered an emergency supply drop of military-grade weapons to help us in our stay here, but that thing won’t arrive in like, six months!
Thankfully though, a group of natives saved us from demise. These natives are strange exoskeleton-plated people, which made them look like humanoid insects. They fought off the pesky monsters with staff-like weapons that had a strange glowing crystal on its tip, which shoots out plasma/laser beams of some sort.
We expressed our gratitude to these natives and strangely enough, they seemed to understand our language perfectly. On the other hand, we didn’t understand their speech at all. The natives sent forward their representative to greet us which to our surprise- spoke English perfectly.
The representative was very welcoming to our presence as opposed to most native species we’ve invaded- I mean, colonized- I mean-
POINT IS he’s friendly to us unlike most we’ve encountered before. He invited us to their homes to learn more about this planet and them; the Delimites.
We decided to call this planet Delirith, named after you guessed it- the Delimites themselves, which as it turns out, didn’t put an official name for this planet other than simply calling it as ‘World’ in their language.”
~Audio recording ends~
Copperhead, Mako, Fyra, and the rest of the exploration party had so far travelled several hundred meters or so inside the tunnel. They had yet to discover any interesting remains aside from the second audio log. All there was to greet their sights were the things you’d expect to see in an abandoned mineshaft; lost tracks, random carts, unusable lamps, wooden and metal structures and so on.
“Boss! I found something here!” one of Copper’s workers called out, waving at them some distance ahead. The rest of the group quickly attended to the worker and was surprised to see his discovery.
In front of them was a cavern, but inside the cavern was a whole city complex. The underground city was complete with hundreds of buildings and a systematic roadway. It also had these strange tree-like towers whose branches grew and scattered across the ceiling above, connected to each other by bridges, platforms, and even elevators that connected with the ground below.
Despite its astonishing beauty, a sense of eeriness filled the atmosphere as the wondrous city was completely abandoned, devoid of life.
The group went down and explored the city, and taking a closer look to its technology, it seemed pretty advanced compared to the current Delirithian tech, which sort of contradicted it’s supposed ‘ancient’ origin. Despite that though, most of it was no longer functionable as expected from a long abandoned site.
That said, the group went to work immediately such as taking photographs, collecting soil samples, finding and storing books, cassettes and artifacts that might hold important information, and other archeological work. As for Mako and Fyra, they simply hang around with the armed guards keeping watch of any danger that might lurk the place.
Inside one of the city’s residential quarters, Copperhead discovered a cassette labeled as Log #3-
~Audio recording plays~
Audio Log #3, Executive Director Ludleth, Apollyon Mining and Estate Corporation.
“Day 399 of Project Delirith, previously known as Project Neula-V. Yes, I’m aware of the huge time gap between audio log #2 and this one but in my defence, I’m not exactly the “dear diary…” kind of guy.
Anyways, tomorrow marks the first year of our colonization of this planet and so far, things are going smoothly. The Delimites were very cooperative with our stay. They didn’t even mind us mining off their resources and even helped us from time to time!
Usually we’d be waging war with them at this point to take control of their resources, but I guess it’s a nice change of pace once in a while right? Perhaps they're not really into material wealth and the survival of their species didn’t rely much on this planet’s resources.
Despite that, they seem to value information and knowledge much more. Whenever we need to find a new mining spot or a helping hand to get rid of some pesky wildlife, we’d trade some education for them in return, which mostly consists of astrology and whatever’s out there beyond the stars.
The Delimites are- how shall I describe this- ADVANCED middle age species. Their tech is superb without a doubt. They got laser guns, laser fields, flying and hovering transports, teleportation devices, telekinetic and psychic devices and whatnot, and all of this was made possible by the strange glowing purple crystals they’ve been using on their tech this whole time. They had no interest in leaving their planet and colonizing the stars- mostly because they’re unaware of what’s out there in the first place!
Surprisingly, they still had the planet=universe mindset like other primitive species which strangely contradict their seemingly high-tech civilization. Maybe that’s why they saved us that day- they were bamboozled when they realized they're not the only sentient people in the universe.
Maybe one day, they too will conquer the stars like the rest of us. Maybe they’ll even wage war with us once they gain enough knowledge and power, overthrowing us from this galaxy…
But that’s tomorrow’s problem! As for now, we’ve established a proper mining colony here in Delirith. We’ve gathered plenty of resources ready to be traded across the galaxy in three months' time, and soon enough more will come and inhabit this planet once this world has earned a reputation as a resourceful mining planet.
There’s plenty of opportunity waiting ahead of us, and you betcha we'll seize every single one!
Oh, and P.S. It seems one of the female Delimite’s starting to show strange interest in me? I wonder what that means...”
~Audio recording ends~
"Well, looks like my theory of us originating from some corporation colonists was true after all!" Copperhead remarked proudly. "Bag this cassette Mr. Rowan. This one's hard evidence of our origin story."
"Will do, sir."
Copper left the building and met up with the rest of his group. They had set up markers, ladders, ziplines, and lightings to help the next party entering this city.
“Well folks, our exploration won’t be ending here just yet,” Copperhead announced, “Mr Rowan here found a map for this whole tunnel and it seemed we have barely scratched the surface of this place. This city is merely the first out of six or so caverns throughout the underground system, most of it being refineries and mining spots and so on-”
“Therefore, I propose we should explore further these six caverns. At the very least we should set up some markings and lighting for the next group that will explore this place.”
And so, Copperhead and the rest of his crew went on with their exploration mission. They found the entrance of a tunnel that will lead them to the next cavern at the end of the underground city.
Hours passed and Copperhead’s exploration group had discovered more and more historical findings throughout their expedition. They had explored four out of the six caverns (including the city before) that supposedly interconnected with each other according to the map they’ve found.
So far, all of it had been shown to be some sort of refinery and mining station with its ruined machines, abandoned cabins and offices, dark unlit transport rail, and other obvious clues pointing towards its past function. The crew did not do much work for each cavern other than setting up markings and proper lighting to ease the next exploration of this place,and collected one or two artifacts along the way.
The party entered the fifth cavern and just like before, the place was merely a mining station. Henceforth, they proceeded with their standard modus operandi, but somewhere in the dark offices Copperhead found another two cassettes labeled #4 and #5.
~Audio recording plays~
Audio Log #4, Executive Director Ludleth, Apollyon Mining and Estate Corporation.
“I am now happily married to a Delimite lady. Her name’s Aurora and she’s such a loving woman to me- and BOY IS SHE GOOD ON THE BED!!
Yeah you heard me! I’m fucking an insect lady babyyyy! WHOOOO!
Ahem! Anyways, my marital status aside, Aurora’s a wonderful woman that’s for sure. She’s always there for me through hardship and ease, and as funny as it sounds, I can’t picture myself having any other special one by my side but her.
It’s been five years- 2675 days to be exact, of our colonization of Delirith. Business and production are at an all time high as of now. The resources here- minerals, fossil fuel, gemstone and all, are plentiful as ever. They seemed to never run out as the planet keeps on giving, making Delirith every space prospector’s paradise.
And speaking of prospector’s, many more had come to this planet now that Delirith’s properly established as a mining planet with plenty of opportunities. Plenty of cities had been built everywhere in this planet- on the surface, underground, and even the moon which became a stop by for any migrants coming to this place thanks to its city-like space dock.
As for the Delimites, their reaction towards the migrants did not change at all. They're as welcoming as ever towards anyone coming to this planet and exchange a lot of knowledge with them. Because of this, the Delimites had advanced just as rapidly as the planet’s colonization, which is good for them I guess.
In the end, everything went well, and I hope it stays like this for years to come…”
*footsteps heard from the background
“Honey… Are you done with your work? I’m feeling lonely here on the bed~”
“Well, looks like my wife’s calling. You know what that means... hehe~”
~Audio recording ends~
Copper wasted no time and immediately played the next audio recording.
~Audio recording plays~
Audio Log #5, Executive Director Ludleth, Apollyon Mining and Estate Corporation.
“Year six, day 3000. Remember those glowing purple crystals I’ve mentioned before used by the Delimites in their tech? Well, for years we’re not even bothered to find out what those things are as we’re pretty much too distracted mining other precious resources- but it did gain some attention among our scientists.
Strangely enough, the crystals are the only things the Delimites seemed to be very secretive about. They refuse to give us any information about those crystals- its origins, powers, and all, and even my wife would dodge this topic whenever I decide to bring it up.
Well, things changed now cuz last week, one of our miners found the crystals during their mine work. Around 10 kilos worth- nothing big really, but we decided to keep our discovery a secret from the Delimites and study it under their noses, and boy did we end up with a hell lot of breakthroughs from those crystals.
First off, the crystal supplied a hell lot of energy. Like, we only tested a hundred gram sample and its energy output is so high we accidentally sent the entire city we’re in to a temporary blackout. More tests were conducted and we discovered it could be used to warp space-time which allowed for simple teleportation. We also decided to feed a very small sample of it to live lab rats (don’t ask why) and recorded great physical improvement for the rats, which unfortunately, had to be put down cuz their strength went a bit out of control at one point.
Many more tests were done with the crystal in which I sadly couldn’t take part in for most of it due to f***ing board meetings and shit. But needless to say, all of it proved the crystals to be invaluable and possess great powers. We decided to name the crystals ‘Delirnium’, and we believe we could make great profit if we manage to get this into the market, but it was then we encountered a new problem.
Strangely enough, the Delirnium crystals would evaporate immediately right after leaving this planet’s atmosphere. Last we checked, there’s nothing special about Delirith’s air compared to any habitable planets so this greatly bamboozled us. We devised many methods to try and transport it out of the planet, but all resulted the same. We’re not about to give up yet though since we’ve reached this far.
Unfortunately though, the Delimites had caught us in possession of the Delirnium at this point. They seized the Delirnium from us and boy did the Upper Directors not like their action. Everything’s back to normal so far, but I’m inclined to believe that something’s gonna go wrong any time now.
I’ve seen this reaction before from the higher-ups and let me just say, it’s not gonna end well for the Delimites. As for now, our company’s been stockpiling weapons and mercenaries from all over the galaxy. There’s going to be war I tell ya, a war long due for a colonized planet.
Doesn’t matter if the Delimites refuse to cooperate. We’re going to take the Delirnium for ourselves!”
~Audio recording ends~
“Sir! We’ve found the entrance for the next cavern!” one of Copperhead’s crew called.
The gentleman bagged the two cassettes and attended to his worker. They got out of the office and headed straight to the next entrance’s location where a huge vault door greeted their sight.
“There must be a reason why they secure this next entrance like this,” Copperhead remarked. “Did any of you gentlemen find out why?”
They all shrugged their shoulders and shook their heads.
“I suppose we must not continue if this is the case. Vault doors are created for two purposes; either to protect whatever’s inside from the outside, or to protect those outside from whatever that’s stored in there…”
“Meh! We’ll just assume it’s the first one. Let’s open this thing and go on with our journey!” Copperhead commanded.
Together, the crew worked at opening the eight meter tall five meter wide iron door. Using rope and pure manpower, they pulled the door’s wheel lever together, unlocking it and opening the door wide open. There’s nothing but darkness and eeriness behind the door, but the group went on with their journey and entered the final tunnel.