The Devil, The Witch, and The Wicked World of Delirith
~Audio recording plays~
Audio Log #6, Executioner Warlord Ludleth, Apollyon Miners Faction
“You heard that right. Everything went to hell a year after we declared war with the Delimites. We thought it was going to be like every other planet we’ve colonized. We were right, at least for the first half of the story.
The Delimites, though able to hold their ground thanks to their advanced Delirnium tech, were no match against our army and firepower. Turns out, they’ve been hiding plenty of those Delirnium inside their own underground vaults. From what we gathered by torturous interrogation, they believed the Delirnium to be some sort of divine miracle by the world and it's their race’s duty to protect it from falling into the wrong hands.
The Delirnium, they claimed, though powerful and beneficial, could easily corrupt one’s hard with greed and power. It’s both a blessing and a curse, and I can’t say for sure if it’s true or not but to be honest, we sort of fit that description as we went on with massacre after massacre of the Delimites just to get our hands on those sweet glowing Delirnium.
We used those Delirniums to further advance our cities and tech, and while the Delimites suffered from our genocidal conquest, we were about to reach a golden age of technology- or at least that's what we hoped for.
Some time after our- I don’t know, the hundredth indigenous massacre, one of our mercenary groups went rogue thinking they could take us on and claim everything for themselves with their new Delirnium weaponry. Our corporate army made quick work out of them, but this merely spawned more and more rogue guns, some even forming alliances to claim the planet as their own. Things went for the worst when even some of our own turned their back against us, forming their own rogue army to seize the Delirnium supplies.
At this point, Delirith had become one huge civil war battleground. A war between the Delimites who fought to defend their homes, and several factions of us pointing guns at each other wanting to claim the most of the all-powerful mineral. Everyone was equipped with Delirnium infused weaponries, which I can assure you made nuclear arms look like a joke.
You can only imagine how much of a clusterfuck occured next. Delirith was no longer a prospector’s paradise but a war-torn wasteland shithole. Its inhabitants are but people fighting for some stupid glowing crystals. Our war even affected the planet’s nature, as constant release of Delirnium energy rapidly evolved both flora and fauna becoming far deadlier than ever before.
And let’s not talk about the moon. The space dock there was nuked to hell and everyone reduced to mere atoms.
We contacted our mother HQ to send reinforcements to help end this terror, but after a while, the soldiers stopped coming. Can’t blame them though, especially when they kept receiving news of their most expensive mercenaries and respected generals being crucified and cannibalized by their own people.
We’ve lost all connection with mother HQ at this point. The last message we received was a declaration of exile for Delirith, which meant there’ll be no one out there to help save us from this hellhome.
Insania spreaded across the lands. The Delimites had warned us about this, and we did not listen.
As for my wife… She left me. That’s all I have to say.
You know what’s the biggest irony out of all this? Up until now, we still haven’t figured out how to transport the Delirnium out of this planet without it evaporating instantly. We kept on stockpiling it or using it to fuel our cities, hoping that one day, we could sell it off outside and become the richest folks in the galaxy…”
~Audio recording ends~
Copperhead sat quietly, processing what he had just heard. They found the sixth cassette somewhere in the tunnel while on their way to the final cavern. The whole group stopped to listen to the audio recording together, and now, everyone stood silent, not sure how to react with this new revelation.
“Well, I guess we now know how all of us end up here-” Copper got up from his seat- “let’s carry on with our expedition shall we? We still have one more cavern to explore and I’m not leaving until every stone is flipped and turned!” The gentleman spoke in an energetic manner, raising his party’s spirit.
With that, they carried on to the final cavern, where awaiting them there was once more, a mere mining station- but with an extra flavour.
“What the hell…”
The mining station was filled with pillars after pillars of crystallized half-skeletal corpses. Sense of dread chilled down everyone’s spines as the corpses all showed great despair on their faces, reaching their arms out as if trying to escape their horrible end. Many other crystallized corpses scattered the floor at different positions; some standing, some lying in a fetal position, some hugging what could be assumed their loved ones, and many more. Many had despair look on their faces, and many more had theirs reduced to a skull.
The group explored the dreadful place to continue their work. While exploring, two corpses caught the attention of our steampunk historian; a man and an insect-like humanoid, embracing each other in arms. There’s a cassette on the ground in front of the two, thus Copperhead took it and played it on his player.
~Audio recording plays~
Audio Log #7, Ludleth
“I’ve lost count of the days, I’ve lost count of the years, all I’m counting now is how many days I had left living in this rotten world. And if all goes to plan, then I should have around two days top- three if it got delayed due to unforeseen consequences.
My wife, Aurora... She came back to me. I thought for sure she would’ve left me for good after all the atrocities I’ve done to her race, but she still came back, and she’s offering me redemption for my sins.
Us; the colonists and the natives- there’s no saving us that’s for sure. We’re already too torn apart by pointless bloodbath and war, but this planet; Delirith, it’s still salvageable.
We could still save it, turn it into a..- less shitty hellscape so future generations can come and fix whatever remained and reclaim this world as their home.
'How are we gonna do it?' you might be wondering. The answer lies at the very object that caused this war in the first place. That's right, I'm talking about Delirnium.
We're going to destroy every single Delirniun on this planet- or at least reduce it so the mineral would become so rare it would be deemed non-existent in the far future.
Aurora had been leading this movement since her disappearance from my life. An army consisting of both natives and colonists, working hand in hand to destroy any trace of Delirnium left on this planet.
Aurora offered me her hand to lead this movement by her side, and at this point I have no right to refuse. Since then, we've destroyed plenty of Delirnium deposits throughout our conquest. From vaults, mineshafts, bunkers, ships and so on, and all weaponry infused by it were also dismantled and destroyed. Those who absorb the mineral's powers were hunted and killed. We took in their slaves and any willing followers into our cause.
Delirith is still a war-torn shithole no doubt, but at least we could make it a Delirnium-less shithole. This might throw whatever civilization we had here a few centuries back, but a hard reset is just what we exactly needed.
As I'm recording this audio log, tomorrow would be the biggest conflict our army shall face. Aurora pointed out a place called 'Serpent's Throat' in her language somewhere in Boneyard Badlands, which turned out to be the biggest Delirnium deposit on this planet. If we could destroy the deposit there, then we might as well have eradicated 60% of it across the whole planet.
Unfortunately, the place has now been turned into a mining base of some sort, thus we expect a lot of resistance there. It won't be easy, and many of us would die. Hell, I'm sure all of us would tomorrow, but it won't bother me anymore knowing that I ended my story fighting for a greater cause…
...and by my beloved's side…."
~Audio recording ends~
"So that's how it is…" Copperhead remarked. A little smile beamed from the gentleman's face, much to Mako and Fyra's confusion who stood by his side this whole time, listening along to the audio recording.
"Though not exactly how I envision, it's more or less the same as I've predicted; our origin that is."
"So basically, all of this mess started because of Delirnium?" Fyra questioned.
"You certainly are correct, young lady. I've always despised this accursed mineral since my first day on this planet, and with all these recordings, my hatred is now justified-" Copper turned to the duo- "and I hope you two learned some lessons from this. The greed for wealth and power will never end well regardless of race and creed."
"We've learned our lessons alright-" Mako took off his hat as he approached the two corpses- "do you think these two are Ludleth and Aurora, Mr Copper?"
"There's no coincidence we found the final cassette right below them. Hence I'm most certainly sure it's them."
Mako turned back to the corpses. Seeing them both in this state after learning of their backstory, the witch can't help but be reminded of a certain Delirnium hunter that shaped him who he is today. And just like Ludleth and Aurora, the 'hunter' too died for the future generation's sake.
"Well, once you two are done sightseeing we shall meet up back at our agreed meeting point. There's not much else for us to explore in here and if there's anything we missed, we'll just leave that for the next exploration group," Copperhead commented before leaving the duo to their own devices.
Right after, Mako noticed a slight glow on one of the crystals. Tempted, he tried to give it a little tap.
"Wait Mako- DON'T-"
The Sun was about to set at the ashen plains of Boneyard Badlands. The excavation site of the mining city ceased all of its activity as workers began to pack up their stuff and retreat to their camps for the night.
From tunnel #7, the exploration party led by Sir Copperhead emerged, covered in purple and green goo.
"Well, nothing like battling a good ol' giant worm-crystal-monster thing to end our exploration," Copperhead remarked, wiping off the goo from his hat. "It's a good thing we're well equipped with heavy weaponry and explosives, and it seems you two made full use of the items we've purchased back in the auction fest."
"Gotta maintain this story's continuity somehow," Fyra replied, wiping off goo from her helmet as well. "So, what are you gonna do with all those infos you've obtained?"
"Like every historian, Fyra. Compile it in a proper paper, and publish it for the general public to study," the gentleman answered. "We learn plenty from our past, for history was meant to be learned, and not repeated."
After cleaning themselves from goo with towels and bottles of water, Mako and Fyra decided to excuse themselves from the place.
"I suppose you two also have your own affairs to attend to. Needless to say, it's a pleasure having you both-" Copper tossed a small object to Mako- "take it. I believe you two could benefit from this more than myself."
Mako and Fyra observed the object gifted to them curiously. It seemed to be a small marble-sized metal sphere with a lens on its centre. The object sat neatly on the witch's palm before suddenly turning its lens to him.
The sphere quickly scanned Mako before turning its back to him. It proceeded to digistruct something and to the duo's surprise- it's another Mako.
"Woah! It's- me?" Mako waved his arm as the other 'Mako' did the same. The clone Mako seemed to mimic every move made by the witch, much to his amusement.
"It's a doppelgänger device. One of my men found it back inside the tunnel. Not sure if it's the colonists or the Delimite's tech, but I take it you both could benefit from it more than I do."
Mako paid no attention to Copper's dialogue just now as he's too distracted fooling around with his clone. Out of nowhere, a fist punched right through the clone's chest from behind. Its body shattered like glass before disappearing from sight.
"The hell- Fyra!!"
"Well, that's one way to tell the difference between both of ya."
And with that, Mako and Fyra packed up their stuff and hit the road once more, waving goodbye to Copperhead and his excavation party.
Riding across the setting Sun, Mako couldn't help but ponder about the stuff they had learned- the history and origin of their existence on this planet.
"Say Fyra, y'know when Copper said something about 'history should not be repeated' or something like that? You think the Skull Clan hunting Delirnium is, well, like those people back then?"
"Pretty much, I guess,” Fyra replied simply.
"If that's the case, I wonder if we're going to face another big war like our forefathers…"
The two grew quiet for a while.
"Well, if a big war happens, can you promise me one thing, Fyra."
"Depends on the promise, and I'll see what I can do."
"Heh. Promise me you won't leave me alone, no matter what happens."
Fyra giggled upon hearing Mako's request. "Sure, but provided you vow the same to me as well. That better be a two-way promise man, or I'd just bail the moment things went south."
"Hah! If you do that then I'll just run the same direction as ya! No matter what happens-"
"-the Devil and Witch never leave each other's side!" They both spoke at the same time. "Literally!" Mako added.
And so, the Devil and the Witch rode off to the horizon heading to who-knows-where for who-knows-what, hoping that the next chapter involves them more compared to this dull backstory exposition crap!