The transport drills made their way through a pre-carved tunnel and ended their travel at a docking bay, where armed guards stood post. The guards directed the drills in an organized manner to empty their contents safely. The first transports opened with civilians escorted into the new UNCC base. The second wave of transports opened with soldiers exiting. The last transport opened with Nikida and Sardec exiting with their helmets in their arms. Sardec looked around at the new UNCC headquarters. The rocky walls were covered in plant vines and the ground was a soft dirt. The inconsistencies of the landscape seemed natural to him.
"Come on, Sardec. Let me show you where Kellogg is. He's going to be thrilled to see you." said Nikida.
The deeper they went into the cavern, Kellogg's voice could be heard talking to a guard.
"Show the civilians to their resting quarters. I'll be with them shortly."
"Kellogg!" Nikida interrupted.
Kellogg dismissed the guard and turned his attention to the woman approaching.
"Nikida, good to see you."
"Likewise sir. And I brought someone with me."
Nikida stepped aside, revealing Sardec in Kellogg's view. Sardec's teeth were gritted and he breathed angrily.
"My God. Julian Sardec!? You're alive!? How are you, son?"
Sardec did not respond.
"Are you alright? You sound like you're fuming."
"Last time I heard your voice, things didn't go so well."
"You mean at the portal? Look, I'm sorry that we couldn't catch up. We-"
"No, after that."
"Say what? What do you mean?"
Sardec's face relaxed and he let out a heavy sigh.
"Let's settle this at the mess hall."
Kellogg dismissed Nikida and directed Sardec to follow him.
The Chronicles of PT003
The two sat at a cafeteria table covered with half-finished food plates. Sardec came close to finishing his story.
"Their leader said he'd kill me if I ever came back. So I entered their portal and found myself back at a human farm. That's when the UNCC arrived."
Kellogg rested his left elbow on the table, stroking his chin.
"So their 'VOID' factories are gone? What happened to the ones you took?"
"Come on out, guys."
At that moment, five colorful VOIDs sprung out of Sardec's backpack, leaving Kellogg startled.
"Greetings. Collapsar ready for use."
"Hello, I am Hygeio."
"Nirvana, reporting for duty."
"Twilight, at the ready!"
"And I am Catalyst."
"If it weren't for these things, I would not be alive today."
"This is incredible. If we can figure out how to reverse engineer these, we could make our mission a whole lot easier. Julian Sardec, you are an inspiration. If we could get everyone else here to be as efficient as you, we'd have the Kartinava practically extinct."
"Thank you sir. I only wish I could help the Turauz in their effort."
"I am sorry as well, but we have our own fight to focus on."
"What is the next step for the UNCC?"
"Let's finish our plates, then I'll show you around."
Kellogg escorted Sardec to the computer room, where several small screens were operating.
"They may have tarnished our old base, but they didn't get the Archive data back. So much more has been deciphered since your departure."
"More trivial information?"
"Not quite. We have learned many of the contents of their supplies from the varying planets. UPB116 contains extraction for VOID material, which by you sabotaging the Turauz facilities, the parasite can no longer leech from their efforts."
"Except I gave them access to a large space station."
"Well, yes. There's that. We will have to go back for that."
Sardec held his forehead in his palm and groaned.
"You won't be alone this time. I promise. Moving on, we have learned that the majority of their weapon supplies come from planet Earth. They have combined their Mithril technology with the VOID supplies to create monstrosities. As for the third planet, named Hellus, they receive their mining supplies. Hellus is our next targeted planet. If we can end their mining production line and secure the bases, the'll have trouble getting resources, which means weaker defense on their end."
"I just got back from UBP116. Are we really about to embark on a journey to another planet?"
"The sacrifice may be great, but the reward will be even greater. We will not leave you hanging again. The civilians we have gathered since your disappearance have made for great soldiers. The human farm you were found in was our last objective. We have more support now. You are far from alone now, Sardec."
"If you say so."
"There is one more thing to note about Hellus. It is the homeworld of the Kartinava. Expect far greater horrors than simple brain parasites."
"I cannot say. We haven't deciphered enough data to get down to the specifics. When nightfall comes, we will strike their planetary terminal."
"I may need to have some scratches on my armor buffed out."
"I've got some guys in the engineering department working on some new armor. You saw Nikida's Harrier armor. Their next batch should be done by the time we get back. Just hold on, and we'll get you suited up. After that, I'd love to try out that suit of yours."
"You have yourself a deal!"
"Great! I'll let the mechanics know you're on your way. Nightfall is almost here, so you do not have much time. Go now!"
Sardec sat inside one of the transports as they drilled to their destination. He examined the golden paint job replacing the majority of the green accents of his Magma armor. He clenched the grips of the RABS-II Harbinger and rotated his shoulders. The intercom set off and Kellogg's voice was heard.
"Attention. We will be arriving shortly to the Hellus Terminal. As you already know, Hellus is the homeworld of the Kartinava. You are all very brave to have volunteered to fight the enemy at their own home territory. It will not be easy, but we can handle anything as long as our minds are set to it. PT003 walks among us again. Let his courage serve as an example to all of us. Once the terminal is secure, we will all enter the portal. Let's show the Kartinava our superiority as a race!"
Sardec took a deep breath as the soldiers sitting with him cheered.
The Hellus teleport beacon reigned over the quiet transport yard. Twenty-five Possessed staff were monitoring the area. The ground shook, causing some of them to fall down. The ground split open as several transport drills surfaced, releasing a total of three hundred-fifty soldiers. The Possessed attempted to fall back, but were quickly overwhelmed and killed without a single casualty.
"Well, that was much easier than expected." said Nikida.
"Area is secure!" shouted Kellogg.
"Get the beacon tower running!"
Men hurried to the control console.
"Sir, the next charge is already beginning."
"Open the portal."
The light from the beacon tower intensified and created a portal below. They gathered around the portal and prepared to enter, only to see the portal grow wider and wider. Before their eyes, a green dragon stepped halfway out of the portal with Possessed soldiers holding chained restraints. The dragon noticed the humans and let out a loud roar. It thrashed around, swinging away its restraints and retreating back through the portal.
The Possessed escorts got back to their feet and let out war cries. Soon many more enemy units arrived through the portal, clad in a green armor and holding large machine guns. Their barrels rotated and they began firing.
The men in front were shot down while others behind spread out to tactical positions. They returned fire, but these Possessed soldiers were taking many hits. Sardec climbed up some scaffolding and examined their statuses with his HUD. Their infected bodies were identified as "Diathel", their armors "Knight", their weapons "M-Z7B2", and their backpacks "S.H.I.E.L.D."
Sardec charged the Harbinger and fired four consecutive shots at a single Knight, causing it to stumble. It got back up and directed its fire at Sardec. He dropped down to cover. The Knight's M-Z7B2 then fired a missile, destroying Sardec's point of cover. Sardec switched to the F-ADV HatredSpine and fired a volley down below. The Knight took the hit without seeming to flinch. It then squatted down and fired a dark red wind in Sardec's direction. Sardec counteracted by firing a green wave of thermal energy. The waves collided in an explosion.
Sardec leapt down the scaffolding and cushioned his landing with his backpack thrusters, falling next to Kellogg.
"Sardec! We need to shut down the portal, or they'll keep coming! Get Nikida to help you. The rest of us will suppress them as much as we can!"
Sardec leapt to various points of cover, coming out to return fire to the Knights. Reaching Nikida's position, Sardec called out to her.
"Nikida! I need your help shutting down that portal!"
"Provide me cover fire, and you got it!"
"Deal, now let's go!"
Sardec and Nikida backpedaled around the freight yard, searching for the beacon's console. The Possessed advanced forward and spread out, pushing the UNCC back with their superior firepower. The console was seen 30 meters away. Sardec and Nikida kept their heads low, staying behind the cover of the large crates. The sounds of heavy footsteps grew louder. Two Knights bashed the crates aside, confronting the Sardec and Nikida directly.
Nikida leapt to the side, firing her TII-3 Eternity pistols at them. Sardec deployed Twilight to dash through them. Their armors became scratched, making them angry. One charged after Sardec, only to be pushed away by his Catalyst shield. The other Knight rammed Nikida, damaging her Merge shield. She smacked its helmet with her pistol, causing the visor to crack.
"Nikida, duck!" Sardec shouted before firing a thermal energy wave.
Nikida dropped to the ground and the energy wave phased through the two Knights, causing them to flinch. Sardec deployed Collapsar at their position. They were drawn together and their armor was blasted apart. Lava bled from their bodies, dissolving their remains.
Sardec reached his hand to Nikida. She grabbed his hand and pulled herself up.
"What the hell are these things?"
"They're called Diathel. That's all I know so far. Now come on! The console awaits."
They finally made their way to the console. Nikida began her work to shut down the portal as Sardec provided cover fire with his Harbinger.
"Done! The portal should close now!"
The portal began to shrink, leaving the remaining Knights on their own.
"Portal closed!" shouted Kellogg. "Now finish them off!"
The UNCC intensified their efforts on the remaining Possessed, killing them one by one. Soon after, the area was clear.
The soldiers gathered near the tower as someone on the console was implementing different coordinates.
"Alright, Valcode sir. This next portal should not release any more of those things."
"Good. Open the portal."
The beacon tower intensified its light once again and a new portal opened. The soldiers held their weapons at the ready, only for nothing to crawl out of the portal.
"Clear!" they shouted.
"Everyone get ready!" ordered Kellogg.
"One, two, three... enter!"
The UNCC units marched in seven single file rows into the portal. Sardec stood at the back of one of the lines, taking slow deep breaths as he walked closer. He knew he was not alone this time and was able to defuse some of his anxiety before becoming the last unit to vanish from sight.