[NO LONGER UPDATING] Ceres's Chaos: A Tragic Space Opera
Goeras didn’t respond, immediately dashing forward while the squad of soldiers engaged the robot at the same time, splitting up. He didn’t bother saying his goodbyes to them, despite knowing that this would be the last time that they will meet.
The squad of soldiers solemnly did their duty, rushing right at the robot and pricking it like flies, fighting purely with what they had.
As the battle raged on behind him, he made it to the research complex, his mind solely focused on the mission. Walking into the research complex’s exterior donut ring, he remembered the party that celebrated the research just a few months ago.
Where were his colleagues and friends? Where was Sasha?
Instead, the interior was now a slaughterhouse, with piles and piles of soldiers and researchers of all species stacked on each other.
The shock on many of the researchers faces were apparent, their faces locked forever in the grasp of death.
Barely any surface of the research complex or its walls could be seen clearly, not with the soot and blood covering it. The lobby was in no shape, completely collapsed from the orbital drop pods that had smashed directly into the roof.
He navigated to the center of the donut ring where the main lab was, noticing that the body count around him was getting higher as he went deeper.
Goeras wasn’t shocked or frightened, as though he already knew what had happened in the research complex.
His black exoskeleton continuously crunched and clacked loudly, not caring if anyone heard him approaching. The claws on his feets cut deep into the floor with every step. Reaching the main lab, he took in a deep breath, clenching four of his fists as he opened the door.
The vat was still in a sphere, untouched and pristine as the rest of the place was in absolute ruins. Wires dangled from the ceiling and walls as sparks continuously fired, electrocuting the same dead bodies that were laid on top of each other, both alien and human.
Their faces were contorted in a multitude of emotions: anger, fear, fury. None of them showed a face of surprise or shock, as though this battle was expected to happen since ages ago.
Near one of the giant desks was a female human, wearing a blue military armour similar in color tone to that of the robot outside and holding her innards together with her left arm while she strained to type commands on a keyboard with her right hand.
Intestines were being held in place while blood continuously dripped out of the gaping wound on her stomach, but she pressed on regardless, soldiering on as she pressed each key without haste.
Goeras walked up to her, knocking aside any dead bodies that blocked his path with his clawed feet. Grabbing her shoulder, he pulled her aside, forcing her to face him. Her face was pale from the blood loss, and she could barely speak.
Her eyes glanced at Goeras, a tinge of love hidden between the dull lacklustre expression on her face contrasted with an unnerving smile, as though she was merely a puppet.
But he wasn’t interested in talking either, using two of his arms to stab deep into her eyes while ripping her head in half, as the other four arms tossed her body far away.
She didn’t have the strength to scream, her body limping to the floor as her face laid in two halves, still holding an eerie smile.
Goeras grunted as he cleared the keyboard of the innards, smashing in the final commands. The vat rumbled as two sleek curved metal plates rose from the floor around it, encasing it. Layer upon layer of metal plates covered the sphere, creating a curved dome similar to the top of a rocket.
Sitting down on the floor, he watched as the laboratory executed its final commands, forming both a physical and energy barrier around the sphere.
The vat within the sphere started to drain its liquid, leaving only the bones and black residue left behind that stank of decay. The bones were disintegrated, with the black residue starting to float in mid-air before being sucked off into an unknown air chamber vent.
Goeras headed to a pod that was situated in another part of the lab, laying in it as the pod gushed fluid out, choking him and filling his internals with it. The floor of the lab rumbled with greater and greater intensity, while the blood from the dead corpses continuously shivered around from the vibration.
Back outside, the battle was coming to an end. As the last black soldier of the squad died, with more than ten twenty-meter robots surrounding him, he saw the lab and entire research complex break apart as a hideous alien starship took off from within, sending debris and pieces into the sky like a volcano explosion.
The alien starship looked like an amalgamation of meat and machine, surging into the atmosphere in the shape of a lump, covered in veins that pulsated with purple lights that moved with purpose.
It smashed right through the giant starship that was hovering over the district, breaking it into half as thousands of crew members within it screamed as they fell, burned, disintegrated. The two halves were captured by gravity, slamming into the city and causing even more devastation.
As the alien starship continued its space ascent, countless spears and beams from beyond the clouds struck the alien starship, forming brilliant fireworks as an energy shield emerged to repel them, only visible when hit - glistening like a soap bubble with a purple hue as it soared.
The alien starship suddenly sent out an invisible high-energy pulse which swept through the city, passing through the countless twenty-meter robots that now prowled the city. The robots turned around and looked at each other, running scans and diagnostics on themselves.
Yet the pulse wasn’t intended for them. Ants of the same race of Goeras heard the call, regardless of whether they were a civilian or a scientist.
Every member of the same race turned their exoskeleton into the same black colour, becoming warriors that fought back desperately and without fear against the planetary invasion.
The ants who could afford the time bowed towards the alien starship as it left into space.
“Why isn’t the vat here?! It’s been four hours - how hard is it to crush some insect-lovers?! We need to wipe all evidence of the research immediately! We can only remain here for a day at most, FIND IT!” A sturdy human general slammed his holster as he sat on the captain’s chair, overseeing the bridge of the largest warship in orbit.
Covered in navy blue, the warship was hundreds of kilometers long in the shape of a sword, sharp and sleek.
Resting in orbit, it oversaw the other smaller warships that were dropping both personnel and ordinance onto the surface of the planet, indiscriminately bombing anything that reeked of habitation.
“Sir, report! One of the starships leaving the planet is suspected to have the vat!” Upon hearing this, the general grinned as he stood up, his navy blue officer uniform prim and proper as he walked forward to the radar section of the bridge.
A million celestial objects appeared on a 3D map with the rogue planet at its center, where each of the objects represented a cluster of starships that were fleeing. A single starship was highlighted on the map, suffering the orbital attacks from every ship in the area that could fire.
“I don’t want suspicions; I want confirmation and the VAT! Fire everything at everything, from EVERY SHIP!” The general barked with veins popping on his face as he turned around, heading back to his seat. “Don’t you know how important this mission is?”
A moment of silence passed through the bridge before he swivelled back, staring daggers into the man sitting at the weapons section, who had not yet executed the order. “Any questions?” The general asked in a nice, elderly tone.
“Well sir, we haven’t formerly declared war on the planet, and while I understand...” Before he could finish his sentence, a sizzling hole appeared straight through his head, his body still rigid in the same motion, not even having the chance to die with grace.
He sat still, frozen in time with his eyes widened, while the general kept his hybrid handgun back into its holster. The entire bridge of crew members stared in shock at the general, who stared back at them.
“Seems like nobody has any questions. WHAT ARE YOU ALL WAITING FOR? FIRE!”
Within the soaring alien starship, its internal warning klaxon blared as Goeras still piloted the ship from the pod, with hundreds of weapon-lock warnings filling up the monitors around the lab.
Despite being a scientist and knowing what he had to do and the chances of it succeeding, he still prayed. A habit he had learnt from Sasha, though he no longer felt any love for her after what she had done to cause all of this.
“To any gods watching, please save us from this betrayal!” Activating all the emergency pods, more than three thousand of them ejected in sequence out of the starship, drifting away in various directions as Goeras turned the ship around, heading towards the fleet that was firing indiscriminately at his starship.
The barrage of missile and energy weapons sliced easily into the starship, a particle beam almost cutting right into the captain’s pod where Goeras laid. Despite all this, he remained calm, steadily increasing the acceleration as he aimed for the largest warship. He was planning to ram the general’s starship to buy time!
As he neared and the final impact was approaching, Goeras relaxed his muscles, the exoskeleton colour changed from black to blue, finally putting him at peace while the starship crumpled from the front to the back in a split second.
It tossed him in cleanly sliced pieces, out into the cold dark vacuum space as his frozen upper body was flung outwards, flying over the planet along with the mountain of corpses that were previously scattered on the floor.
The female soldier’s body was flung out too, smashed against the various pieces of debris and burnt by the explosions, yet that eerie smile still held despite her head having been torn in half.
His last view was of the planet’s oceans boiling, with no part of the planet-wide city spared. The atmosphere was being sheared apart by the combined gravity of the warships that were more numerous than the stars, resulting in drastic temperature drops across the planet.
Chemical weapons and plasma payloads blanketed sections of the planet as they flooded even the underground tunnels and bunkers.
His people were dying in the millions down there, and any semblance of his home was now lost. Yet all that didn’t matter to him, who’s final thought, frozen in space, was that he did what he could.
The collision had no effect, the starship smashing in vain against the dense energy shield projected by the fleet onto the capital warship.
The general sneered as the countless bodies of aliens and humans, including his own soldiers floated across the surface of the warship, unable to touch the surface hull without being disintegrated by the violent shield that protected against debris.
He watched as the upper body of a blue ant soared past the cameras of the bridge, trying to hold back his laughter.
“What a stupid insect. Scan the escape pods, one of them must have the vat. Continue the assault.”
The orbital bombardment continued, with countless weapons slamming into the planet, turning parts of the surface into glass.
Small destroyers continued to chase refugees into the dark space, blowing them up before they could even reach beyond the gravity well of the planet.
The bridge worked at full capacity to try to identify which ship was carrying it, whilst blowing up every target that wasn’t theirs. Smaller ships were sent to scan for the vat amongst the debris field that now surrounded the planet, while any refugees or lifeforms were to be exterminated – human or not.
A small corvette from the fleet sailed in the midst of the three thousand escape pods, scanning the area for any life signs in formation. Suddenly, it turned sharply and bolted towards one of the pods, bringing it into its launch bay. “Captain, we’ve found it!”
The crew of the ship gathered at the hanger where the pod was tugged into, landing next to their starfighters.
The escape pod looked like a cyborg lump, with clumps of meat merged with metal and wires.
The captain stood near the pods with her security guards, wearing a full military combat armour colored in blue, representing the fleet. “Cut it open!”
As the guards got to work, the heavy-duty laser cutters of the hanger as well as the energy swords of the soldiers made quick work of the escape pod that was designed for survival in space. Slicing away layer by layer, they finally reached an inner location which had a rectangular white box.
They would’ve mistaken it for a luxurious shoebox if it wasn’t for the immaculate inscriptions and runic inscriptions that covered the entirety of the box, the patterns swaying as though they were being blown by a gentle wind.
A slight pulsation could be felt from the box, as though the box was alive.
The captain took off her helmet - her face being an exact duplicate of the female soldier who died to Goeras in the alien starship. The same eerie smile was plastered on her face, as though she was possessed by the same entity.
Her gait, posture and voice made her feel like a complete clone. She looked at the box in awe. “So, this is the final result of the two hundred year research! This cannot be allowed to exist in the galaxy! Me and my security team will handle it.” She ordered the crew to back off, her security team moving forward.
However, the crew were stunned, including the vice-captain of the ship, staring at the captain in silence. “Captain, our orders were to hand over the vat to the general, why are we holding on to it?”
“Are you questioning me? On my ship?” The captain turned
“This was originally my ship, before you and your goons were assigned to this ship! I have no idea where you all came from, but I am bound by code to follow the mission, and this isn’t it!”
Before the captain even bothered to give a reply, the security guards immediately shot the vice-captain, riddling his body with holes and throwing the hanger into a sudden fire-fight! The vice-captain laid on the floor, choking on his own blood that started to slowly filled his lungs through the numerous punctures. He desperately tried to activate his communications device, speaking rapidly “We… have...infiltrators, Captain Sasha has… been compromised!”
Many crew members were completely clueless as to why they were getting shot at! They started shooting randomly at wherever the bullets and beams were flying from, not even sure of why the security guards started firing at them!
Death filled the chamber as the fighting spread through the ship, with the captain being protected by the security guards near the pod.
The captain laughed as bullets and energy beams whizzed overhead, turning to grab the box from the escape pod.
However, the box was broken into pieces by a bullet!
“The box is making all of us mad! Smash it!” A young officer hollered over the din of the gunfire, causing a few ‘enlightened’ crew members to turn their gunfire to the box instead!
The box became riddled with holes as the security guards dragged the screaming captain away to safety. “Don’t hurt it, you idiots!” Sasha screamed in anger.
Black residual goo flowed out from the box, multiplying as it surged in volume, consuming the escape pod itself as the pod slowly dissolved.
The gunfire stopped at the mysterious scene, where the black goo started to spread across the floor, coating it while flowing non-stop from the box, which couldn’t have held more than its size.
The crew members and even the security guards were all mesmerized by the mystical sight. What exactly was in that box?!
The gunfire resumed when one of the security guard's feet was touched by the black goo, which immediately lunged up at him, completely covering him as he tried to struggle against the crushing force of the goo that became as hard as metal.
This time, the gunfire was directed at the black goo!
Despite the impressive firepower brought to bear on the black goo, the volume seemed to multiply, with each second doubling it!
“It’s a nano-machine plague, purge the hangar bay!”
The crew desperately tried to stave off the absorption rate of the black goo, which began to consume almost everything within range that was organic. Even the opening of airlock was not good enough to distract the black goo and make it leave the ship!
Captain Sasha continued laughing, the black goo avoiding her like a plague, forming a clean circle around her feet while consuming everything else in reach. The black goo was under her control!
It was continuously hunting for the crew members, seeping into the ventilation shafts of the ship and crevices through the walls, while the frightened crew members desperately tried to activate the lockdown emergency protocol, others trying to reach for the escape pod.
What they didn’t realize was that the captain still had the highest permission on the corvette, forcing them to be unable to activate the protocols while the captain was still alive.
“Silly boys, you’re the first test subject of the finalized project!” The captain sneered as she stood still in the middle of the hangar that was now covered in black goo that seeped through the entire ship.
She laughed as the black goo surged through the hallways and interiors of the ship. Even those that tried to hide in the vents could not escape it, eventually being absorbed by the black goo. Soon the black goo coated the walls and ceiling of the ship, though it did not absorb the metal.
As the last crew member finally succumbed to the black goo, the captain clenched her fist in victory, as though her senses were linked to the black goo.
“Now I’m the only one in control of you! Handing it over to the UHC? Hah! I can annihilate humanity myself! The First Mother will reward me. You have created the weapon of your own demise!”
Heading towards the bridge, she spoke to the AI. “And the first step will be to wipe out this human fleet! Set a course for the human fleet, especially that large capital ship! Let the callous general be the food for this new god!”
However, as soon as she said that the black goo that was previously docile around her instead lunged at her, forcing itself into every pore and hole of her skin as her eyes widened in shock, bulging out in shock.
She choked and gurgled, while trying to fling the black goo off of her. “I made you! You’re mine! Don’t think you can get away with this! You won’t survive without me guiding you!”
Captain Sasha tried to scream, but the black goo flooded her entire being, bloating her body to the breaking point before it disintegrated into the black goo.
The black goo was the only thing left in the ship. No traces of any humans remained. It reached out to the corvette, infiltrating the internals of the complicated systems. As the AI asked for identification on the captain seat, a pool of black goo formed the eyeball of the captain it just consumed – granting it the highest access.
Back on the general’s starship, the sensors started to blare out large warning sounds. The bridge went into frenzy mode, trying to detect which ship was causing it.
“General, unauthorized space FTL detected! Our dimensional stabilization field isn’t working on it!”
The general stormed to the person who said it, glaring at him. “What do you mean?! The whole point of the field is to prevent SPACE FTL! We brought more than enough dimensional stabilizers to hold an entire planet in place, how can a single small ship get through it?!”
“Sir the readings of this warp jump, the energy usage is off the charts - it’s beyond any known engine in our records!” Before they could say anything else, a massive light expanded from the debris field before suddenly vanishing, indicating that something managed to warp away. The general’s starship shook as several sections within it exploded, the dimensional stabilizers suffering from the recoil!
“All dimensional stabilizers heavily damaged! Our main warp engine has been damaged as well, it will take time to fix it.”
The general’s face paled as he contemplated the possible consequences. Not a lot of starships could enter FTL within a star’s gravity field and even less could do so in a planet’s gravity field! It was certainly none of his warships.
As the screen in front of him showed the small corvette that was responsible for it, he was even more confounded. How could a small corvette warp, and with that much force? The general eyes lit up as he realized what could possibly cause it.
“The vat, the vat must be on that ship! Find out where is it going - we have to catch it before it's too late, send our fastest ships!”
“General, the AI has finished running possible warp locations. Based on the maximum energy of the space warp, it should have melted the reactor and caused the ship to be in disrepair. It must have travelled about 50 times more than the average five light-years, assuming the best-case scenario. It could’ve jumped to at least 20568 different star systems, or be stranded in between them if it ran out of juice halfway! Orders, General?”
The general didn’t even flinch at the large amount of star systems it could’ve jumped to, but he slumped back into his captain chair, still reeling from the failure of his mission. His chair’s inbuilt terminal started to ring, indicating a call.
The general knew that picking up this call would be the end of his military career, and potentially his life too. He stared at the name of the caller for a good moment before finally picking it up with a deep breath. The bridge officers and crewman stared in silence as they watched the general’s face, knowing that they had just failed the main mission.
“UHC Command Center. High energy warp jump was detected far beyond the capabilities of your fleet. Report.”
“Sir....SA-X-1 has been lost. A Category 1 weapon is now missing.”
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