Previous: Chapter 6
One moment, Sardec was standing in a botanical garden. The next moment, he was mid air over water, next to a glacier. He fell down into the icy water, where he saw jellyfish-like creatures extracting blue minerals. His HUD lit up with danger alarms. Immediately the sub zero temperature began to burn his flesh and slow his cybernetic parts. He waved his arms upwards to break for the surface. He reached for the nearest ledge and pulled himself up to land. The water on his Eagle armor soon began to freeze.
"I'm afraid I cannot repair your hull at the same rate as the harsh cold. I advise you to find a shelter." said Hygeio.
Sardec examined the landscape of the large glacier. A cave stood 30 feet in front of him. From behind, he could hear several low humming sounds. He turned around and saw the jellyfish creatures slowly rising from the water, encased in personal water spheres. His HUD identified the creatures as "Myth371". They did not show hostility, but floated close to him. He took several steps back, and they followed. Sardec made his way for the cave, only for them to pull him away from it. He reached for his weapons, but they quickly absorbed them into their water spheres. The creatures grabbed Sardec and lifted him close to the edge of the glacier, where he saw a smaller iceberg float in his direction.
The iceberg began to shake around as its longest tip poked out of the water, revealing a rhino-like head. The large beast examined Sardec and let out a hostile growl before submerging itself back into the water.
The Myth371s released Sardec, floated up higher, and merged their water spheres into one. They then lobbed energized spheres towards him, exploding on contact. The power sent his defenses at critical levels. Sardec ran for the cave entrance, being smaller than the merged sphere.
Inside the cave, he found a generator producing strong heat. He stood close to it, warming himself. It was then that he received a transmission.
"Is anyone there?"
"Kellogg! This place is freezing cold. I can't do anything outside of this warm cave I found."
"That 'cave' is artificial. That heat source you are next to is the beacon. The heat wall is a security measure to keep trespassers out. Should you attempt to walk closer to the core, you will perish."
"That's just great. Sooner or later, those Myth371 things will separate and follow me in here."
"There is still a way through this. As you might assume, that large creature holds the security code, but you cannot hunt it down with your current defenses. Above the generator is a crashed excavation vessel that was later converted to conceal the beacon. There is a top floor of the glacier that should house some equipment more suitable for this environment."
"I have to go out in the cold again?"
"Yes, and be quick on your feet. If you linger, you will freeze to death. Return to the cave if necessary."
The transmission cut off.
Sardec took a peek outside the cave, examining the slope leading to the upper floor. The Myth371s outside lobbed a large energized water sphere at his position. He quickly retreated inside before the sphere struck the floor.
"Damn creatures have me pinned down. Unless... I am going to regret this."
He returned outside and made a dash for the creatures, jumped into the water sphere, grabbed his weapons, and swam out, leaving an activated Collapsar at the core. The sphere splattered and the Myth371s were no more. The water on his armor began to freeze and he retreated to the cave to warm up. The dramatic temperature changes irritated his skin and he promised himself to never pull off a stunt like that again.
With his weapons back in his hands, Sardec was now equipped to explore the upper half of the glacier.
"Hygeio, can you give me a stim shot? I'm going to have to do this as fast as possible."
"Yes I can. Are you ready?"
A green bubble appeared around Hygeio as it transferred its energy to Sardec. He readied the TRIP-9654 StormHerald and ran out of the cave at high speed, making his way up the slope, and to the abandoned yard of equipment. Among the yard he found a Fort-I, an offline vehicle, a charging station, and a crate. He examined the crate and his HUD identified the contents as containing "Despair armor" and "Gravity backpack.
"I can't change my clothes out here. I need to drag this thing into the cave."
Before he knew it, he could hear more humming sounds. He hurried over to the Fort-I and grabbed the two grips. The Myth371s suddenly teleported in front of him, lobbing energy spheres at him. He tilted the Fort-I's shield upward, absorbing the blasts. He clenched his hands and a barrage of bullets penetrated each and every one of the creatures, killing them instantly. He let go of the Fort-I and hurried over to the crate. The crate proved heavy, forcing him to push it along the snowy surface, down the slope, and into the cave.
While the coast was clear, he opened the crate and examined the contents before looking down at his own body.
"I don't suppose you can help keep me extra warm while I change, Hygeio?"
"I'm afraid not."
"Damn. Well, better make this quick."
He removed his helmet and was stung by the harsh cold air. Not even the hot core could ease the pain. He removed his backpack, followed by the gloves, then the chest, and finally the boots. Right after his released his boots, he reached for the Despair chest, followed by the boots, then the gloves, and finally the helmet. He took a closer step to the energy core as his new systems booted up. He let out a sigh of relief as his internal temperature had finally become stable. He reached for the Gravity backpack and attached it to his back. He checked crate, which showed instructions to activate it. As he followed the steps, his feet left the ground and his body was suspended in the air. Sardec was now fully prepared to carry on his mission.
Sardec floated outside, now unaffected by the temperature. He went back up the slope and to the ship yard. He examined the charge station. He accessed his radio and called for Kellogg.
"Kellogg! What does the data say about this charging thing?"
"Hello. It shows here that it is capable of disabling portals. There are portals scattered across the eastern side of the glacier, which I see you have not yet explored. Many of the reinforcements you see are coming from those portals. Destroy them, but leave the one at the opposite slope unharmed. That will take you to the final security beacon."
"How can I find the large creature?"
"Do what you did last time. Cause enough damage to get its attention."
"Roger that. Thanks."
Sardec stepped into the charging station. The two prongs glowed orange, transferring energy to his StormHerald. More Myth371s were on approach. Sardec examined the offline vehicle, identified as "Mighty Bulldozer". He tapped the disc, causing it to begin spinning. Two large turrets extended upwards, revealing a seat on the disc. He stepped up onto the plate and struggled to balance himself. He leaned forward, causing the vehicle to mimic him. He brought the vehicle to the eastern entrance of the yard, finding himself hovering over an ice bridge, where he saw the first portal. He proceeded, blasting away at the Myth371s attacking. He dismounted, pointed the StormHerald to the portal, and fired at its base, destroying it.
The orange glow of his assault rifle vanished. Sardec got back onto the Mighty Bulldozer. He retuned into the ship yard, and stood for a second charge. He mounted up and traveled back to the ice bridge, where he saw the second portal standing beneath it. As he returned to the eastern slope, he saw Elite Myth371s lobbing energy spheres from a longer range. He carefully maneuvered his vehicle to evade their attacks, steadied his aim, and fired at each of them. Sardec proceeded beneath the ice bridge, where he fired another magazine at the portal, destroying it.
With the two portals destroyed, only one one-way portal was left. Reinforcements were gone, and the glacier was clear of hostile activity. A thunderous roar echoed throughout the region. Sardec discerned the sound coming from another glacier nearby. He approached the ledge he started at and floated above the cold water, proceeding to the nearby glacier.
He reached the second glacier, which appeared to consist mainly of large hills. He found the only distinct landmark--a flat open area among the hills. As Sardec entered, he observed the hills, noticing one that seemed suspiciously out of place. He fired a couple of bullets at it, causing it to flinch. Four limbs protruded from the hill as it revealed the lower half. A large rhino-like creature stood before Sardec, identified as "Frost Stone".
Frost Stone shoved its arms into the ground and lobbed a large snowball at him. Sardec used the thrusters of his Gravity backpack to evade. The creature stood back on its legs and let out a battle cry, followed by a powerful jump into the air, aimed at Sardec's position. The Gravity exerted higher power to evade faster as Frost Stone slammed into the ground. Sardec equipped the LT6630 Eclipse and fired a rocket at Frost Stone's back, chipping off some of the ice. The blast only seemed to annoy the creature, for it responded by slowly approaching him and thrusting its arm forward, slapping Sardec and sending him across the flat arena.
As Sardec tried to get back to his feet, Frost Stone leaned back before forming a ball and rolling forward. Sardec used the Gravity thruster, narrowly evading. Frost Stone rolled back and forth, in a pinball motion. He scampered to dodge the creature's body. He deployed Collapsar in the middle of the arena, timing the explosion to strike Frost Stone as he was crossing. The attack worked and Frost Stone was stunned. Sardec switched to the CPPS-I BloodMoon and fired several shells into Frost Stone's exposed underbelly.
Frost Stone cried out in pain before spinning his body, kicking Sardec far from it. It got back to its hands and feet, digging through the snow, charging up its back with a blue aura. Frost Stone slammed its arms into the ground, causing several stalagmite icicles to protrude from the ground, knocking Sardec onto his back. Sardec got back up, equipped the StormHerald, and fired away at the icicles to break them away. However Frost Stone made this task difficult as he swiped his arms across the snow, sending several smaller snowballs at his direction. It stood on its legs again and let out a battle cry, before hurling itself high into the air. Sardec narrowly evaded, only to be struck by surrounding snowballs surfacing after the impact.
Sardec switched to the BloodMoon and fired more shells at the creature's body. It placed its arms forward, shielding its face from the blasts. It then put its arms down and thrusted forward, striking Sardec with its horn, sending him several feet back.
"This bastard is crafty." Sardec said as Frost Stone taunted him from across the arena. He readied the Eclipse and fired a single rocket. Frost Stone formed a snowball and lobbed it at the rocket, causing it to explode mid-air. Sardec grunted in frustration and switched back to the StormHerald. He fired a storm of bullets, proving to overwhelm Frost Stone. The creature leaned back again and rolled forward. Sardec deployed Collapsar at his feet, thrusting out of the way as the giant slammed against the wall. Collapsar exploded, injuring Frost Stone. Sardec fired in several spots at the brown under area, causing the blue energy aura to break away. He accessed his HUD and set the Despair armor in overdrive, causing him to move faster away from the creature as he equipped the Eclipse and fired a rocket at higher velocity. The impact caused the several bullet wounds to rupture, tearing a large hole in Frost Stone's underbelly. Frost Stone let out one final cry in terror before it dropped dead.
Sardec kept his distance as he knew what was going to happen next. As he expected, a humanoid figure crawled out of Frost Stone's breach. What he did not expect was for the figure to be wearing the same armor and backpack as him. The figure activated the overdrive and overcharged the thrusters, making a mad dash at Sardec, knocking him over. A diamond-shaped object floated by the figure's shoulder and fired a laser at Sardec, stunning him.
"Those VOIDs do not belong to you. That armor does not belong to you. Your life does not belong to you." The figure said before raising its arms in the air. Sardec's stun wore off, allowing him to roll over before the figure could smash him into the ground. He grabbed the BloodMoon and fired at the figure's chest, sending a few feet back. Sardec got back to his feet and pointed the barrel of the shotgun to the figure's face.
"UBP116 is our p-p-planet." the figure sputtered.
"Tell that to my shotty." Sardec clenched the trigger, blowing a hole into its Despair helmet.
"Now where is that security code? Ah, here it is."
Sardec prepared to leave, suddenly remembering the diamond-shaped object. It revealed itself from a point of cover, to which it hid after its owner's death.
"New user detected. Memory files erased. Hello, you may call me Nirvana."
"Another female VOID, I see. You shoot lasers, right?"
"Correct, user. Shall I demonstrate?"
"No, don't. Only fire when there is hostile activity."
Hygeio floated around Nirvana. "More company! I am Hygeio. I repair the user's defenses."
"Hello, Hygeio. What is the red one's name?
"Greetings, Nirvana. Collapsar is ready for use at user Sardec's discretion."
Sardec enjoyed watching the VOIDs' chatter. "Alright guys, please keep the conversations to a minimum. I am on a mission and prefer to keeps things quiet unless there is danger."
Sardec hovered over the icy water, returning to the first glacier he found, entering the cave once again. He approached the console nearby the heat source and entered the security code, causing the heat gate to shut down. He entered the energy core and inputed the same code, causing the beacon to shut down. It was then that he received another transmission from Kellogg.
"Outstanding! Now head to the portal I mentioned earlier. That will bring you to the next area. Only one beacon remains."
"I'm on it. Signing off."
Sardec exited the cave and to the eastern slope, where the one-way portal stood. The three VOIDs retreated into his backpack and he took one large step into the portal, sent off to his next destination.