World Seed Chapter 174

 

[su_accordion]Chapter 174: Man On a Mission[/su_accordion]

After hanging up from talking with Thalia, I sat back in the chair, taking a moment to think for myself within the War Room. Things were progressing, and not in a direction that was good for any of us. Malthan, you around? Oh great god of chaos or whatever, pick up the phone!

The all-powerful being you are trying to reach cannot be found at this time, please leave your name and prayer after the tone.

I know that was you, bastard. I felt my temper nearing its limits. Just the fact that the New Human Empire obviously had a god passing down almost impossible technology was already pushing things too far.

Fine, fine. What is it? Wanting to know about the God of War, huh?

That’s right. You keep saying that you can’t get involved because of all these rules, and then he turns up and does this? That has to be breaking every rule in the book!

Sadly, it doesn’t. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ He’s just willing to pay a price that others aren’t.

And what’s that? What could make him so willing to interfere and start up this war, pay whatever price he had to, and nobody else is doing the same? Yes, I was back-talking a god. Did I really care? Not at the moment.

Can’t tell ya that, Johnny Boy. Rules are rules. Trust me, if it was that easy to break the rules around here, do you think the god of CHAOS and MADNESS would follow them?

As much as I hated to admit it, he had a point. Malthan’s domains practically emphasized rule-breaking. Even so, he was following along, which meant that the god of war had to be doing so, as well. I just didn’t understand the rules well enough to know what it meant he was doing. Can you at least tell me the rules, so that I can understand?

To reference an old Earth movie, it’s like fight club. First rule of being a god, don’t tell mortals about the rules to being a god. Except that one. Tricksy like that.

Grumbling, I got up and moved to the ship’s temple. The market proclaimed that it sold everything imaginable. That should include a list of these rules, or information about what the New Human Empire’s god was doing.

At least, that was the plan. True, it was listed as an item on the market. However, the price was… ridiculous, to say the least. Whether it was to learn about the actions of the God of War, or the rules that bind the gods, they had the same price. Become a god.

As if something like that was even possible! Isn’t that basically saying ‘Yes, it’s available, but no we won’t let you have it’? I had been prepared to spend an entire planet of gold for that information, and then I found out that the price was beyond what anyone would ever be able to pay.

[align=center]Tried to tell you. Can’t let the rules leak to non-gods. Mere mortals are not supposed to understand the basic laws of the universe, yada yada, blah blah blah.

I nodded my head, sitting down at one of the pews and starting to think. After a moment, Celeste’s voice began to transmit into my mind. “John, we might have a way to work with this, within the boundaries of the rules.”

What are you talking about, Celeste? Did she understand something that I didn’t? Also, wasn’t she working on getting reports from the Deus Ex fleet?

“It’s easy, really. Gods cannot pass down specific information like what you are wanting, or the Empire has been given, without certain requirements. I don’t know what all of those requirements are, but we know one, at least. Malthan already told us that much.”

He did?

I did?

I felt Celeste grinning in satisfaction within my mind. “He advanced the Qu’Lopti civilization by leaps and bounds, issuing quests to research specific types of technology, and granting blueprints as rewards. Now, the Empire likely isn’t using this method, but we can.”

Oooh, she’s a clever one.

Wait, you mean get a quest from the gods that will lead us to the information we need?

“That’s right! If there was a god who, for instance, wanted to save the Orik people. With that quest, we’d have the location for their homeworld, which is likely a location for an Empire base.”

Aaand she falls short. ಠ_ಠ

“Huh, what?” Celeste’s voice sounded out in surprise. “Don’t tell me… there’s not a single god interested in the fate of that species?” I suddenly felt like this was more a conversation between Celeste and Malthan, with me being an observer.

Oh, I’m sure there is, somewhere. But there aren’t any that owe me any favors, and I doubt there’s one invested enough in that race to cross Abzul.

Well, there goes the easy way. Any other quests you can think of that would help get us where we need to be, Celeste?

“Give me a second… What about one of the elven gods? One of their planets was rendered uninhabitable. Could one of them be wanting to hand out a revenge quest?”

Warmer, but no cigar. Care for round three?

I heard a mental growl of frustration from Celeste, which made me crack a small grin. He’s not the god of madness for nothing. Is there a god of peace that we could talk to? Maybe they’d be willing to put an end to Abzul’s antics.

Karnak? That hippie is too scared of anyone to offend them, let alone the god of war.

I shook my head, feeling that this was too much to worry about right now. Celeste, have you gotten anything back from the Deus Ex?

“The Striker Fleet reported that there is severe damage to multiple key systems on their ship. If not for quick thinking on their part to isolate damaged sections and reroute power, the ship would have likely exploded when it was struck. According to them, it’d be better to just salvage the valuable systems and leave the rest behind. As for the device plans, they estimate it will take a few weeks to get a finished prototype working if they devote the manpower of their homeworld to the calculations.”

Okay, so no use waiting around here. Have them start the research, and begin the salvaging operation. I wanted to add ‘find out how to kill a god’ to the list, but we didn’t even really know anything about the gods to begin with. They could be beings of unlimited power and resources, or just someone on a higher plane of existence, like me with my grove.

“Understood, I’ll get right on that.”

After that, I felt Celeste’s presence fade from my mind, likely meaning she made herself busy with other matters. In the meantime, I don’t suppose you have any quests for me, Malthan?

Wow, you’re really desperate if you are asking ME that. Hmm… Ooh, I have an idea. There is one thing you could do, that would cause a bit of chaos for me~ It’s even along the way.

 

Quest Accepted!

Close Encounters
Rank ★★★★☆ Assault and Investigation

The shadows are a terrible threat, but the greatest is the one that stands in the light without ever being known. Find the hidden truth behind Facility AB7.
Time Limit: Two weeks
Rewards: Knowledge about the New Human Empire plot.
Failure: The death of a trusted friend.

Suddenly, the map of the stars appeared in my mind, highlighting all of the locations we had suspected New Human Empire bases or spies. Gradually, the dots faded away one by one, until there was just a single one left. Letters slowly began to form from the light above that dot, spelling out the name ‘Facility AB7’.

Celeste, we have our quest marker. And a time limit.

“I’m on it!” Her voice suddenly came in urgently when I called for her, but the message that appeared on the screen next bothered me even more.

Just a note, this is a true death. If you fail this mission, one of your friends WILL die, and there is nothing either of us can do to save them or bring them back. Even if you beat it, you might still lose them if you don’t act fast enough.

Great, as if I didn’t have enough to worry about already. Celeste, how soon can we leave, and how long will it take us to get to that base?

It barely took her a moment before an answer came in. “If we leave one of the Strikers behind to catch up with us when they are done, we can leave immediately. As for how long it will take… It’s at least somewhat close, but that will take us a full ten days to get there at our maximum speed. That’s not leaving a lot of time to finish the mission.”

We’ll have to make do. Four days, we’ll be assaulting an enemy base. Even if this is an investigation, if it takes us four days to take that base, we’ll already be as good as dead.

Celeste seemed to agree with that point, because she did not try to correct me. Soon, I heard her give the order. “All available ships, prepare to jump to FTL, target is the following coordinates. Expected time of arrival is ten days, but be prepared for heavy resistance. We don’t know what we are getting ourselves into, but it’s not likely to be good.”

Great pep talk, really feeling the motivation there. I thought dryly, shaking my head. I had some suspicions about what we might find there, but I couldn’t verify anything. It was already a good thing that we managed to find a clue with Malthan, but it might have come at too heavy a cost.

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