Chapter 154: A Recap of the Races, and a New Journey
The next few hours passed by without much suspense. I tried to convince Tessa’s mom to stay on the station with Tokemi and Tessa, but naturally nobody listened. We’re going to war, you know? Even with our clone technology, there is no guarantee of safety if our ship is destroyed in a fight.
“No, I’m going with you!” Tokemi declared as she gripped onto my shirt. “I’m able to help!”
Tessa nodded her head resolutely as she stood next to Tokemi. “Yeah! We can help! We’ve learned all kinds of cool tricks. Besides, if you just went off by yourself and something happened, wouldn’t everyone be sad anyways?”
Hearing her words, Tokemi started tearing up as she looked at me with wide eyes. Even after five years, I can’t resist the pouting loli eyes… They are incredibly dangerous weapons.
“Okay… fine. But you have to be sure to listen to me, okay? If we get into any dangerous situations, I don’t want you guys running off on your own.” Seeing me give in, the two girls grinned to each other in victory. Okay, so Tessa grew up a bit and isn’t really a loli anymore, but she still knows how to team up with Tokemi!
After that, my parents met with me. They had also tried to convince Tokemi to stay behind. However… she had a different answer for them than she did for me. Apparently, she insisted on a duel with the two of them, and if she lost then she would stay behind.
As for this duel, one thing we learned from the Qu’Lopti was actually how to use ‘duel tokens’. They could be purchased from the market for a relatively low price. When used, they recorded the participants auras and let them fight to the death. Afterwards, the auras would be reverted to their state from prior to the duel. This way, even if a soul-altering effect was used, there was no risk of permanent damage. Sometimes, it amazes me how many game-like systems are in place, and the items that go with them.
Anyways, for the result of the duel… it was an instant victory. I wasn’t there to see it personally, but my dad said that Tokemi did something to them that caused instant death. My best guess was that she used her time manipulation to stop the time around their vitals. As for my mom, who is a Deus Ex still, she would have simply needed to accelerate the time around her until her body was destroyed.
Thinking of how strong Tokemi was… I shivered a bit. It barely registered that I should be able to do something similar with my own abilities. Even with all the time I’ve had lately I’ve not practiced too much on the ‘laws’ behind the Time Affinity. As it was my slowest rising affinity, I was more concerned with understanding the others first.
The next day, all of us were aboard the Ariadne, ready to depart. Although over half of the crew were now evolved animals from Sharon’s grove, we were completely staffed. Celeste even assured me that the ones placed in important locations had the appropriate knowledge to work there.
By the way… our hangar was naturally not able to hold the eleven other ships, so we ended up forming our own fleet. This was done with another item bought from the gold market, a fleet identity plate. The only real benefits to being in a fleet were that we would have constant updates on ship positions, could more easily travel together in subspace, and the captains could communicate telepathically with each other.
As for the name of our fleet… I was outvoted eleven to one. Although technically they made me the boss of the entire fleet, each captain had a vote for the name. So… our name turned into the Sons of Chaos. “This is John Hulett, addressing the Sons of Chaos fleet.” I spoke with some reluctance as we prepared for our departure.
“Yesterday, people invaded the world of Kithorun, intent on assassinating myself and those I care about. Normally, I would not ask so many other people to get involved based on just that, but at the same time, those people declared war across the stars. The New Human Empire has challenged every race to a fight. This is no longer just my problem.”
“I do not know where they are hiding, or how long it will take to find them. But we will find them. We will show them that there are things you don’t do. People you don’t mess with.” I let out a long sigh mentally before I said the next part. However, it was kind of relevant, despite the awkwardness of it. “We will show them the meaning of chaos.”
From the eleven other ships, as well as the station, there were loud cheers transmitted over the call. “The main Qu’Lopti force will stay behind to defend Kithorun while we go to war. Do not let anyone through without proper authorization, and maintain surveillance on the subspace territory around the system.”
Giving one final look to the planet, I then turned towards the navigations officer, a black haired wolf-girl that still had canine ears. “Take us to subspace. Transmit the destination to the rest of the fleet so that we can move in formation. We’re heading for Gerin.”
Although the Qu’Lopti had a warp gate that could take us to Gerin in just an hour, there were various reasons why it was better to take the long way. First of all, there was a fifteen minute recharge between each activation of the gate, meaning that if we got in trouble on the other side somehow, we’d have to wait fifteen minutes for backup to arrive. Second, and more importantly, we do not know the staging ground for the New Human Empire. Rushing back would not help us significantly, since it is better to scan the systems as we pass them for any signs.
“Understood, sir!” The wolf-girl called out with a smile, then began repeating my instructions, followed by a list of coordinates from the computer. “Sons of Chaos, prepare to enter FTL in three, two, one, jump.”
As she finished speaking, the dozen ships making up our fleet disappeared, instead moving to the dark void of subspace. Nodding my head lightly, I sent one last order to the group. “This trip will be a long one. The Ariadne is the only ship in the fleet with advanced scanning capabilities, we will be constantly scanning nearby systems as we pass to investigate for signs of the New Human Empire. Each ship should stand by and be ready for an order to drop out of subspace should something be discovered.”
“As you command, envoy!” The eleven flight captains responded unanimously.
Cutting off the communication, I instead opened up my friends list to call Talia again. I wanted to get an overview on how the other races were handling things so far. If I knew what to expect, I might be able to find more allies, or prevent misunderstandings.
So far, there were a total of ten races, aside from humans, forming a somewhat stable alliance, though that number had the potential to grow quickly, as there were still more races being negotiated with. First, naturally were the elves. Not counting the humans, they had possibly the best start with setting up an empire after Genesis. Their people were flourishing, and they would take part in many diplomatic meetings.
Next were the halflings. They were likewise rescued by an adventuring human that set out early from Earth, and were given significant help in advancing their culture to the point of reaching space. Although they were a hyperactive race that had trouble focusing for long periods of time, they could be quite ingenious when the situation called for it. According to Talia, they had already begun mobilizing their own fortifications against the New Human Empire as well.
After the halflings came the Ha’vosh. While they were still uninterested in journeying to space, they would welcome others to their world whenever they arrived. The devices we gave them to allow them to safely communicate with their psychic powers have begun spreading out more and more.
Next on the list… actually, two races that surprisingly came from the same system. Although they did not originate from the same planet, their two planets shared very close orbits with each other. These races were the demons and fairies. You thought I was going to say angels, didn’t you? No, the demons and fairies actually get along well, despite their cultural differences. Demons had advanced their culture along the same lines as humans, though with slightly more focus on war potential. Meanwhile, the fairies were guardians of nature, preferring to live in their trees and tend their forests than develop technology. Their level of civilization was probably the lowest out of any of the allied races.
Obviously, there are the Qu’Lopti as well, but I already know all of their affairs, as I am often the one to represent them. The Qu’Lopti influence is considerable, since a few of the races know about my efforts to help them. Combine that with the technology that the race is distributing freely, and they are much better off than they had been fated originally.
Hmm, what’s left? There were also three new races recently discovered and added to the alliance. The first was a species known as the Kleptids. They are a three-armed yellow race with a heavy focus on medicine. Unlike the elves who researched genetics to alter their bodies, the Kleptids did so because of their hostile planet. Apparently during one of their early wars, the atmosphere was poisoned, so dozens of new diseases would appear. As such, their research was focused on finding cures for those and other diseases.
The next new race was the Drakes, a group of lizard people. Strangely, their technology went a completely different direction from most other races. Rather than mechanical engineering, they did genetic engineering. Their vehicles are large reptilian mounts, and their spaceships are actually grown in orbit. I can’t imagine it would be fun to fight against a ship that had a giant row of teeth.
The final new race to be discovered was the dwarves. Now, people had actually gone to look for them originally, but their homeworld was not at the location NeoLife’s records indicated. This wasn’t a fault in the records, but rather… the dwarves move their planet. Don’t ask me to explain how they managed to accomplish it, but somehow, they turned their entire planet into a giant spaceship. They were the first race to visit another star system, because they had been flying towards it for over a hundred years.
All of these races so far have been making their own preparations for countering the New Human Empire, but only one has spoken up about going on the offensive. This was the Deus Ex race. After we left them some years ago, it seemed that an internal war broke out over whether or not to convert to Deus Ex. In the end, after their planet was shattered, only a few thousand Deus Ex remained intact. Though, they have been regularly repopulating their numbers over the last couple years. Even if their race dies out completely, as long as Celeste and I remain alive, we could even create more.
Anyways, this was the current state of affairs with the other races. In terms of gathering information, I could rely on any of them, but only the Qu’Lopti and the Deus Ex had the forces to launch attacks of their own. The demons probably could, if they didn’t have to divide their forces to protect both their own and the fairy’s homeworld.
Of course, there was another problem that Talia told me about, which made me just as worried as the New Human Empire. “It seems that monsters have begun appearing more frequently in empty space. Abstract attacks have increased by tenfold in the last year, and several trade ships have reported giant creatures attempting to attack their ships while they jumped in and out of subspace.”
This one was really only a matter of time. Even on Earth, large monsters took a while to appear, and that was at the center of mana in the galaxy. This is actually a bit ahead of when I expected them to spawn in great enough numbers to be a threat. Originally, I thought that we had another ten years before they were noticed. After all, space is unbelievably huge. Out of our galaxy, we have only explored one tiny speck of one corner.
When I received that last bit of news, I made another call to the fleet. “All Qu’Lopti flights, scan the subspace area for monsters during our travel. We’ll probably have quite a bit to deal with.”
I had barely finished saying that, when a dull roar shook the Ariadne. My first thought, before even knowing what had caused it? But there’s no sound in space?