Chapter 153: Judge, Jury, and Executioner
We sat in the medbay, watching over Yin and Yang for a little over an hour. In that time, Tokemi had been sitting on my lap, looking with worry at the two sleeping girls until she finally fell asleep where she was sitting. In the end, I wound up holding her in my arms to make sure she didn’t fall off to the side.
The first to wake up was Yang, unsurprisingly. When she woke, her eyes slowly started to open, before she suddenly sat up abruptly and looked around. “What happened? Where’s Yin?” She asked in a fearful voice, before she saw her sister lying in the bed next to her.
“Shh… It’s alright. She’s just sleeping.” I spoke in a soft voice, trying not to disturb the loli in my lap. When she heard me, Yang slowly got up and walked over to Yin, putting a hand on the other woman’s head as if to confirm my words. Then, she seemed to slowly remember what had happened, and her shoulders began trembling.
“I… I killed them… didn’t I?” She turned around to regard me, her eyes watering.
Shaking my head, I answered honestly. “No, you didn’t. They were still alive. I finished it before we left.” I was in a rush to get back here, so I just lit the bodies on fire before we teleported out.
“But… that… that’s even worse, then…” She thought about the implication of what that meant. For them to live through how she twisted their bodies, would be an unending agony as they waited to slowly die.
I could see in her eyes that she was starting to feel fear as she looked down at her own hands. “They killed Yin. If you hadn’t done what you did, they would have killed me, you, and Tokemi as well. Thankfully, they didn’t know we could bring people back, or else we might have really lost her.” As I spoke, Sharon got up from her spot beside me and walked over to Yang, wrapping her in a soft embrace.
“It’ll be alright, Yang. We won’t make you do that again, and we’ll take care of the bastards that tried to kill our people.” She did her best to comfort Yang, just as Yin began to show signs of awakening. This was one of our first times actually using this ability, so I wanted to make sure there weren’t any unforeseen side-effects. Especially since the soul used to bring her back was the soul of an NPC bought from the gold market.
Don’t worry about it. That soul was just as good as any other. We won’t make you pay a monthly fee to keep her alive or anything like that.
Been a while… I mentally responded to Malthan. Although for the first year or so he had regularly kept in touch to help me with the Qu’Lopti, after the completion of the quest, he stopped talking as much.
Yeah, well, your life got boring there for a while. Had to skip past a few years until you were actually going to do something. Didn’t expect the god of Madness and Chaos to just sit around and chat with a random diplomat, did you?
And now? Are you here to actually help, or just more snarky comments?
Heh. I’ve already helped all I can. Rules are rules, after all.
What’s that supposed to mean?
You’ll find out soon enough.
Sometimes, I really hated how people refused to properly answer a question. I mean, would it be too much trouble to just explain? It’s not like he has anything important going on. From what I can understand, he spends half his time ogling goddesses, and the other half bored out of his wits.
Looking over, I saw Yin slowly sitting up. “What… what happened?” As she asked, she reached down to her chest, where the blade had previously stabbed her through the heart. Although the wound had healed, there was still a hole in her shirt where the attack had pierced.
Softly, again so as not to wake Tokemi, I summarized what took place down on the Qu’Lopti world. When I was done, she looked in surprise at Yang, and joined Sharon in comforting her. Afterwards, Celeste, who had been mostly quiet the entire time, spoke up. “We just got a call, from Tordaedron.”
“Is it important?” I glanced over to her, and she nodded. With a sigh, I carefully stood up, carefully holding Tokemi so as not to disturb her. Beckoning Sharon over, I had her take the fox girl to her room. Yes, that’s right, Tokemi has her own room now. Although she still likes sleeping with us sometimes, she is no longer scared to sleep alone. Though I imagine the next few days she’ll want to be near Yin.
Together with Celeste, I made my way to the bridge. Along the way, I could tell that the remaining crew had gotten my message. Objects were being hastily moved around to make room in previously cluttered halls. People were running back and forth to inspect all of the systems. There were even several beast-kin from Sharon’s grove that were filling in positions that had been vacated. Perhaps the only crew members of note I didn’t see were my parents, who should have been on the station. Most likely, they too were on their way over.
When we arrived at the bridge, I made sure to signal for everyone to stand down before a certain elf announced my presence. “Put him through.” I spoke simply, sitting in my chair. While it was comfortable, it felt a bit odd sitting in it again. Being a diplomat meant that I spent most of my time on the station, and I hadn’t actually sat in my captain’s chair for nearly a year.
Tordaedron’s holographic figure appeared in the center of the bridge, looking straight towards me. “Greetings, chosen of Malthan. I hear you have made plans to go to war against those that tried to harm you within my realm.”
I nodded my head at that. “That’s correct. You’ll have to be in charge of your own defenses for a while, until this is settled.”
Tordaedron let off a small grin before he spoke again. “Yes, we certainly will. However, that is not why I called today. As the chosen of Malthan, nominated liason to the Qu’Lopti people, I have been authorized to place a fleet at your disposal. I have already assigned a group of ten Judgement Flights as well as an Executioner Flight to you. They should be arriving at any moment.”
I lifted my brow in confusion. Granted, I hadn’t kept that close of an eye on their space development, but I did not think they had gone far enough to have so many combat ships prepared. And even if they did, it’s not even been an hour and a half since the attack. Even if each of these flights had only one ship, that’s still eleven combat ships to get prepared and launched within that time, likely more. So, how could they have gotten ready so soon?
“Is something the matter?” Tordaedron asked, crossing his arms in front of himself in a satisfied manner.
“Were you expecting those troops to be needed?” My tone may have sounded colder than I intended, but if he saw this coming and didn’t warn me, then we might have a problem.
The Qu’Lopti only chuckled slightly. “The Chaos Lord sent me a message saying that you would have need of troops. He did not say when, or why you would need them, only that when it happened, the need would be great. So these ships were prepared as your escorts. Thankfully, the preparations for them only recently finished.”
You’re welcome. ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)
Fine… you did good. I sighed, nodding my head to Tordaedron. “Thank you. Can you send us the specs for these ships so that I know what I’m working with?”
“Absolutely.” His grin grew a couple sizes, and he pointed to someone in the distance. “Transmit the specifications of the Judgement and Executioner models! The chosen of chaos must soon depart on his new quest!”
It was only a moment later that the screens behind the hologram began flashing with images. With Celeste’s help, I downloaded the information directly to my mind. And… I have to say, I really shouldn’t have been as surprised as I was about the two kinds of ships they were lending me.
Each ‘flight’ was composed of eleven different ships. The first is the carrier ship. It houses the other ten, as well as provides living quarters for the pilots, and repair facilities. Each carrier ship has roughly thirty people on staff.
Now, the other ten ships are separated into groups. While they each have combat abilities on their own, their greatest power comes when… when they combine. The ten ships form the head, torso, arms, legs, feet, and hands of giant robots. When the ships are combined, the pilots enter a mental link state, so that they can fluidly control the robot without lagging response times. Furthermore, aside from the main weapon of the Executioner, the arsenal of the two models are kept in a pseudo-inventory, so that they can be pulled out of thin air without taking up extra space.
There are two main differences between the Judgement and Executioner models. For one, the Executioner is over three times the size, making its carrier only slightly smaller than the Ariadne. The second, is their arsenal. Judgement models focus on speed and melee fighting, wielding large photon sword. For ranged attacks, they have a single railgun.
Executioners, on the other hand, are far more heavily armed, and focused on siege warfare. They have mana circuits installed through the arms and hands to let them use a few gravity and light spells, but their greatest weapon is a positron cannon. From what I could understand, getting hit by that thing would probably destroy the Ariadne. Their other weapons include missiles imbued with fire magic to enhance their explosive effects, and a giant laser axe. The downside of this was that the Executioner was slow to move and use any of its abilities. Furthermore, the weapons were all powered by a mana core, a large mana stone placed in the chest of the machine.
Celeste… how… I was simple dumbfounded as I reviewed the information on these two machines. Before, when we first arrived, the Qu’Lopti barely had any real weapons technology. Most of it was holographic, meant to look cool for their play wars. There should be no way that they could naturally advance this far in five short years. I mean, they were using antimatter weapons, for crying out loud! Even Earth had barely managed to achieve that before Genesis hit.
“Uhm…” She tried to come up with an answer, and when she couldn’t, she closed her eyes. Likely, she was going through their network again. “Wow…” Her voice sounded out in my mind. “There are reports of discrepancies in their orders for the last few years. Whenever the rulers used the system to assign research fields, there would be something extra added on. Then, some scientists were given very focused quests to understand certain subjects, the rewards of which were greater understanding in that area.”
… You’re saying that Malthan has been guiding the Qu’Lopti people for several years to help them develop these machines? He taught them about antimatter, space combat, and who knows what else? I shivered somewhat in fear at the possible implications of that.
You’re welcome. ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)
Not now! I mentally grumbled as the message appeared again. He was talking about rules, but wasn’t this going a bit too far? Was there some sort of loophole he used to let him get away with this or something?
Either way, the previously doomed Qu’Lopti now had massive war potential. Just one of their Executioner Flights had the firepower of a capital ship. The Ariadne, even after repeated upgrades, couldn’t compare.
I’m going to need to get a new ship again, aren’t I? I thought to myself, and communicated that thought to Celeste.
“I can set up a factory in your grove to work on it, but I don’t know if it would be ready by the time we would need it. Your best bet would be to try and get one another way if you need it. Maybe you can get one as a quest reward or something.” Again, her voice sounded out inside my mind.
“Captain, we’re picking up eleven ships leaving the Qu’Lopti atmosphere.” As Ackbar spoke, the hologram of Tordaedron suddenly disappeared, and was instead replaced by a scene of eleven large ships flying towards us. They seemed to be flying in formation. With the largest, red ship at its center, the smaller blue ones were arranged with two in front and behind, above and below, and three on either side.
The Judgement Flight looked like a long blade, thin at the bottom and wide at the top. There were protrusions along its sides, likely the various other ships that would detach to form the Judgement Warrior. There did not appear to be many visible weapons on the carrier, aside from two turrets positioned at the top front of the ship.
The Executioner Flight was far larger, and more imposing. Its shape was more rectangular, with multiple turrets at every corner. In the back, it used several engines to help propel it, while at the front was a wide hole inside what seemed to be one of the detachable pieces. No doubt, this was the positron cannon, our new most powerful weapon.
As a side note, I immediately began assigning new shield upgrades for the Ariadne. My policy was to never have a weapon you couldn’t defend against. Just in case, you know?
“By orders of the Qu’Lopti High Command, these honorable soldiers are reporting for duty!” Said a voice that was sent to us by the Executioner.
Suddenly, a thought occurred to me. Knowing Malthan, he’d never willingly make things easy for me. So what could the New Human Empire have that would warrant the use of such forces? And am I going to need to grab more backup from other allies along the way? I was thinking that the answer to that last question was probably a resounding yes.