Previous: Chapter 4
One moment, Sardec stood on the surface of UBW-594244. A flash of light overtook his sight and he felt a slight stinging sensation amongst his skin. When his vision returned, he found himself in a new land entirely. Floors of sand, sun bleached metal structures, a tall mountain, and a large glowing tower in the distance. His H.U.D alerted him that his global positioning system was not receiving any signals and could not assist. He stepped forward and felt his feet lightly sink into the soft sand. His eyes were focused on the tall glowing tower in the distance and began to walk in its direction. Its slim architecture was remarkable to him and he couldn't break his gaze.
Suddenly, his trance was broken as he heard a soft crackling sound nearby. He readied his AUNC-2 Dawn and pointed to the source coming from behind. Before his eyes, stood a four-legged creature with a large set of pincers. He scanned the creature, and identified it as Digger. Yet, it had not seemed to notice him and walked forward, past him. The Digger stopped in its tracks stuck its jaws into the sand, pulling out a strange rock-like object with a colorful red pattern. Around Sardec, surfaced more Diggers, holding similar objects in their mouths, including some red crystal fragments, taking them to the sun bleached structure across from the mountain.
He followed the Diggers into the structure, where he saw bright lights and intricate patterns.
"These creatures couldn't have crafted this", he said aloud.
He explored the building to see the Diggers bringing their objects to a large pile, where scorpion-like creatures were organizing the materials. Sardec ran a second scan and identified these creatures as Tacorlion. Like the Diggers, these other creatures took no notice of the human.
From the second entrance, came several reptilian creatures delivering more of these crimson materials to the Tacorlions. Sardec's scans identified them as Stalker. Immediately, the Stalkers turned around and walked back outside, with Sardec following them. They stopped at the mountain across from the building, digging their sharp scythe-like claws into the rock. It was all so fascinating to Sardec. These three different creatures all were working for the same cause--a cause unknown to him.
Soon, Sardec could hear what started as faint, low frequency sounds, growing louder, sounding as heavy footsteps coming from the inside of the mountain. The Stalkers took several steps back and ducked for cover, which served as a clue to Sardec to do the same. Large fragments of the mountain's walls burst off, as a large crab-like creature emerged from the wreckage. From its two larger arms, the creature released large chunks of rock, placing them in front of the Stalkers. The creature hissed at the Stalkers, and the Stalkers hissed back.
Sardec was puzzled. "Are they... communicating?"
The Stalkers grabbed parts of the large rocks and carried them back to the large structure. As the large creature was about to leave, its antennas twitched. It reached over for Sardec's point of cover and removed the large object he was using to hide, exposing him one on one with the creature. He was struck with fear as the creature gazed into his eyes. The silence was broken as the creature slammed its larger arms on the ground and let out a massive roar. All of the Diggers, Tacorlions, and Stalkers ceased their tasks and directed their attention to the human. The large creature walked back into the mountain, leaving Sardec with all the creatures staring at him. One by one, the creatures let out a battle cry and charged towards him.
"Well, crap." he muttered.
Sardec equipped the FIW HolyStinger and blasted as the closest Diggers. The heated plasma from the shotgun bypassed their exoskeletons and burned their insides, causing them to fall back on their dorsals and curling up their legs. A Stalker pinned him down, covering the end of the shotgun's barrel. With one pull of the trigger, a large hole was blasted through the reptile's torso. He pushed it aside and saw incoming Tacorlion stingers. He rolled away from them and got back to his feet. Two Diggers approached, ready to swing their blunt heads forward. Sardec butted them away with his shotgun and blasted both of them with one shot, creating an escape path. Acting swiftly, he ran through the gap and turned around back to the remaining creatures.
"You asked for this." he said as he changed his weapon to the F-STD AnimusRipper. He clenched his hand and fired a plasma sphere, destroying all of the remaining hostiles. The area was clear for now.
Sardec took a moment to catch his breath, when his H.U.D alerted him of an incoming transmission.
"Come in! Do you read?"
"At last! I've been trying to reach you for quite some time."
"Where are you?"
"The portal shut down after you entered it. We can't get it to work again. Sorry to say, but you're on your own for the time being."
"I didn't know our frequencies could reach this far."
"Yes, amazing, isn't it? But enough chit chat. Those creatures will be back again soon. You must act quickly."
"What? How do you know about my situation?"
"Your H.U.D is hooked up to our system. I can see what you see right now."
"...All the time?"
"Let's please get back on topic. That large tower in the distance is very important. The data you extracted makes many mentions to a place called the "Planetary Fortress". That large tower is a security beacon. There are four beacons scattered across UBP116 that must be shut down in order for that station to be accessed."
"What is important about this 'Planetary Fortress'?"
"The extracted data shows evidence that it is very vital to winning this war. If you can access it, it can be used as a super weapon against our oppressors. This is the reason you're there. For humanity!"
"Alright, alright. How do I disable the beacon?"
"That large creature you encountered; it is the key. You must extract the security codes after you kill it."
"That creature is intelligent? Well, I did notice it communicating with some other species. That explains a lot."
"The data from The Archive indicates that the cargo stored in the large building across the mountain contains explosives. You must use these explosives to carve your way through the mountain and find that creature. But do take care, as supplies are limited. Do you understand your mission?"
"Yes... This is not going to be easy."
"Remain concentrated, and you will prevail."
The transmission ended and Sardec was now alone again. He took another look at the large tower in the distance, turned back to the sun bleached building, and began his move.
Returning to the intricate structure, Sardec studied the contents inside. Many of the strange patterned crimson stones and crystals were placed in a specific order. He dismissed this and moved on, spotting building materials.
"Are these explosive? No, of course not."
He moved on, noticing a few canisters with alien writing. The symbols and colors indicated they were dangerous materials.
"This looks like it says 'Nami Bomb'. But these clearly aren't roman letters."
He saw a button on each canister. He approached one and pressed it. Four small windows on the canister opened, revealing a small glass container containing a green substance. He examined the glass container closely and noticed a knob.
"Must be the detonator."
He grabbed four Nami Bombs, stored them in his UNCC-LTD, and set off for the mountain.
As Sardec approached the large mountain across the sun bleached structure, he took note of the large opening the large creature had left behind. Past the entrance, was a cave-in blocking the pathway. He set the first Nami Bomb at the base of the cave-in and turned the knob. The glass container began to make clicking sounds, slowly speeding up. Sardec made a sprint away from the bomb. The ground shook as the cave in was blasted to small bits. Sardec was puzzled by the ground continuing to shake even after the explosion. Soon he realized the source and hurried into the cave.
Inside, the cave seemed artificial. Sardec had no time to appreciate the architecture. Hostile fauna were fast approaching. He readied the Dawn assault rifle and sprinted toward more suspicious broken walls. He set the second Nami Bomb by the floor and turned around, firing at the Diggers. Soon a pile was created in front of him from all their corpses, the closest a couple of feet from his position. He turned the knob of the second bomb, climbed over the corpse pile, and made a mad dash away. The blast was ripped the corpses apart, covering Sardec's Eagle armor in their entrails. Only now, could he hear the sounds of the creature nearby.
"Only one more bomb should do the trick. Time to make a grand entrance."
Sardec set both remaining explosives next to each other and turned both knobs. The extra blast created a massive hole in the wall, revealing a large room with walls of gray pillars and yellow fungi. As he reached the center, he heard a massive roar, causing the walls to shake, creating a rock slide, sealing the massive hole shut.
The large creature revealed itself from behind two yellow fungi vines and let out a battle cry. Sardec scanned the creature and identified it as Metal Crawler. He readied the Dawn and had the iron sight pointed at the creature's mouth, waiting for its first move. It slammed its larger claws into the ground, creating a large energy shockwave. Sardec began firing at its mouth, but the bullets seemed to bounce off of its shell. Metal Crawler lowered its body and charged straight at Sardec. He leapt out of the way, causing Metal Crawler to slam into the wall, stunning it. Sardec aimed the Dawn at the exposed tissue at the joints of Metal Crawler's shell and fired, dealing great damage. Metal Crawler cried in pain, stood up, and swung its right larger arm, throwing Sardec across the room.
It slammed its larger arms into the ground, creating another energy shockwave, pushing Sardec off his feet. Metal Crawler took this opportunity to charge a second time. Sardec quickly got to his feet and dove out of the way, causing the creature to slam into the wall a second time. He pointed the Dawn at one of the smaller, weaker arms and blasted it off. Metal Crawler screamed in agony and grabbed Sardec, bringing him closer to his massive pincers.
Sardec struggled, but managed to free his right arm and pull out the HolyStinger, directing a plasma buckshot blast into its mouth. Metal Crawler flinched, dropping Sardec, who was able to blast the second smaller arm off. Metal Crawler let out a second battle cry in anger.
The creature swooped its massive claw low, knocking Sardec off his feet. It made a third charge, but away from him. Reaching the outer area of the room, Metal Crawler pulled a large gray pillar off. It turned around and swept the pillar across the floor, sending three sharp energy winds at Sardec's location. He attempted to dodge, but to no avail. One of the energy winds cut through his armor, dealing minor internal damage. Sardec switched to the Dawn and fired at one of Metal Crawler's eyes. The creature cried in pain, covering its eye, now stunned. He took this opportunity to fire at its massive left arm, causing the creature to drop the pillar.
Metal Crawler became furious and spit several of its own teeth Sardec, exploding on contact like firecrackers. Several scratches now covered the Eagle armor. Metal Crawler grabbed the pillar with its right arm and tossed it straight at Sardec, pinning him against the wall. The creature walked slowly at the pinned human, now making sounds that simulated laughter. With one free arm, Sardec grabbed the Ripper out of his backpack. Metal Crawler raised its right claw, about to crush Sardec's skull in. Sardec clenched his hand, firing one energy sphere at Metal Crawler's right elbow. The creature flinched, and he fired a couple of more, knocking it back several times. It let out a death cry and collapsed to the ground.
Sardec was relieved that the battle was over and slowly pushed the pillar out of the way. He took a close look at Metal Crawler's corpse.
"How is this thing carrying security codes?"
It was then that the corpse began to rumble. Sardec took a few steps back as the corpse was now shaking. He ducked as the corpse had burst open, leaving an area of splatter. As Sardec looked back at the mess, what he saw shocked him. A creature his size emerged from the corpse, outfitted in Black Hole armor. It growled at him angrily and tackled, striking his helmet. Unable to reach for a weapon, he was forced to use his fists. He grabbed the humanoid by its wrists and directed them away from his torso, sliding it off of him. He quickly got back to his feet and reached for the Dawn. The humanoid held a small red sphere in its hand and uttered words in a harsh, growling, tone.
"You. Will not. Hinder. Our freedom!"
Sardec fired a burst of rounds into its head, killing it. The small red sphere folded three panels open and began to float around Sardec.
"New user detected. Greetings, user Sardec. Collapsar is ready for use."
Collapsar folded into a smaller form and fell into Sardec's hand. He tossed the sphere forward, where it froze after a distance and it created a purple singularity, followed by an explosion.
"Interesting", he said. "Now to check for that security code."
He scanned the humanoid's corpse, and found a unique sequence of symbols.
"This must be the code. Collapsar, can you help me blast my way out of here?"
"If operations include explosive needs, Collapsar use is advised."
Stepping outside of the mountain, Sardec walked back onto the sand and clambered over the metal fence. He approached the large metal structure, where he found a console at the base. He checked the symbolic sequence and copied it into the console. The neon blue glow ceased and the tower shut down. Sardec then received a transmission.
"Excellent work. Now that the tower is shut down, your services in this area are complete. Head back into the mountain. My readings show that there is a tunnel network that leads to the next security beacon."
"Understood, Kellogg. I will get right on it."
The transmission cut off.
"Collapsar, have any stories to tell me while we travel?"
"If purpose is outside explosive need, Collapsar use is not advised."
"Some storyteller." Sardec sighed and headed back into the cave, fixated on his next location.