Chapter 156: Good News and Bad News
After giving some time to do the ceremony to honor the people that died in the battle, I got in my void elf form and flew out of the ship. My destination, the giant white dragon carcass still being disassembled several hundred miles away. Thankfully, there was no atmosphere to limit my acceleration, so I was able to use the Gravity Affinity and Plasma Affinity to make a makeshift personal engine that would quickly carry me over. All I had to do was wrap the plasma in a magnetic bubble, punch a small hole in it, and steer myself with gravity. Homemade ion drive!
Anyways, after about ten minutes of constantly speeding up, I was rapidly approaching the body, and began my deceleration. Once I was there, I landed on the dragon’s body and oriented my gravity so that I could calmly stand on it.Now… let’s get started.
I let out a smile as I spread my mana sense across as much of the body as I could. There was no hope of me covering it all at once, but I didn’t need to do that. I opened my mouth to speak, but naturally no voice could come out in space. Run partition program, highlight and assemble scan data.
This was one of the custom programs I had written for my augmented brain during my stay with the Qu’Lopti. Its purpose was to divide a part of my short-term memory enhancement to create a separate area in my mind to analyze and put together information. In this case, it was information I would receive by scanning with my mana sense. This information would then be compiled into a ‘file’ that contained a three dimensional representation of the stored data.
In other words, after activating the program, I simply walked along the dragon’s body while maintaining my scan. The further along I got, the more information I received. And since the Qu’Lopti mechs hadn’t had the chance to take the pieces they disassembled already back to the ship yet, I was able to scan those as well, adding them into the file like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. To be honest, I wrote this program one day when I was really bored and had a flash of inspiration, thinking it might come in handy for scanning monsters. Sadly, a dragon never appeared over the last five years!
Thankfully, I finally had my chance to study the aura of an actual dragon. Though this wasn’t exactly the type of dragon that I originally wanted, it still possessed extremely formidable defense. I’d have to go through the aura later and see if it was hiding any special abilities. But for the most part, what I was interested in was its defense, and its ability to enter and exist in subspace without any special shielding.
After scanning the body and assembling the aura in my mind, I began absorbing the pieces of the dragon that had already been removed. I’d probably have to come back out here again later to finish the job, but I might as well get what I can while I’m here. With that taken care of, I flew back towards the ship.
While waiting to re-enter the ship’s airlock, I partitioned my mind again. However, my goal this time was different than before. This time, I sent half of my consciousness into my grove, finding one of my testing ground planets. Afterwards, I quickly assembled a body there, one which looked identical to my own. Although this body has no soul, and cannot be considered alive, it was enough for me to use to experiment with creating a new form.
“Seriously… did you have to make so many programs while we were at Kithorun?” Celeste asked in my mind, and I could feel her rolling her eyes mentally. “If you had spent that time actively cultivating, you might have gotten one of your affinities to 100% by now, you know?”
I chuckled at that, shaking my head. “The affinities will get there on their own eventually. But those programs will help solve a few of my issues.”
“Uh-huh. And the program you wrote to make mental simulations? You only ever use that to reproduce video games!” She chided tiredly, but she wasn’t really wrong. While that program would be great for playing out battles and coming up with strategies, it was also good for stress relief.
“It’s fine. We’ll probably need that stuff sooner or later.”
“Fine, fine… Ackbar’s wanting to meet up with you, and I got a report from the Qu’Lopti piloting the Executioner.” When Celeste told me that, I paused, and changed my direction to walking towards the War Room. This was a new room we recently added to the ship, which was basically just a wide room with a large hologram projector in the center for planning missions.
“Well, tell him I’m heading over. And what did they want?”
I heard a chuckle over the mental link before Celeste explained. “Basically just to report the rewards they got from the fight. Out of the eleven flights, they all received benefits except two. Those were the two that were blasted away by the dragon’s breath. As for the others, the Judgement pilots each received between twenty and thirty levels. But each Executioner pilot was granted fifty levels for the kill. It seems that there is considerable experience to be gained from fighting space monsters in close quarters.”
I nodded my head slightly at that, before an idea came to me. “Celeste, can you head to the temple for a moment? I need you to get an answer to a question of mine from the market.”
“Hmm? Sure.” I would have gone myself, but I was on my way to meet Ackbar, and I could only be in so many places at once.
“Thanks. The question is whether or not groves are connected to subspace. If they aren’t, then there is no point trying to test that ability in my grove.”
I had managed to isolate the part of the aura that provides a resistance against subspace. Specifically, it was integrated into the scales of the beast, and gave off a faint aura of lightning and magnetism. I was still looking for the ability that would let the dragon cross between subspace and normal space, and was greatly anticipating that power. Depending on how it worked, it might allow me to dodge attacks by temporarily entering subspace.
Incoming call from Talia.
Huh? I stopped just outside the War Room as the call came in, and blinked. What could she be calling about right now? It hadn’t been very long since we spoke last. “What’s up?” I asked as I accepted the call.
“There’s a problem, John.” Talia’s voice was shaking slightly as she spoke. “The New Human Empire just launched their first attack…”
My brows furrowed, and I clenched my fists. “What happened?”
“Gerin 3… was destroyed.” Her voice broke at that point, and I could tell she was crying on the other end. “We found one of their spies, but he used some kind of device to open a rift around him. It looked just like a ship jumping to subspace. Then… there was a giant explosion, and the entire planet burned…”
My eyes went wide as I considered the implications of that. In many aspects, subspace reacted similar to antimatter, and I had even considered the possibility that subspace was made of antimatter, or a very similar substance. With this, they basically released a human-sized bubble of antimatter on the surface of a planet… Is this how far they are willing to go for this war?
“Was anyone able to make it out in time?” My voice shook as I asked. If this was the case, they only needed a single person to wipe out an entire planet. It wouldn’t matter if their numbers were small. With less than a hundred people, they could destroy practically every allied world.
“Aunt Melris was visiting Gerin Prime for a war council at the time, but the explosion just happened too fast… nobody that was on the planet could have escaped.”
I clenched my teeth as she said that, barely able to imagine the level of destruction caused by a single fanatic. “I need you to ask around, anyone that has unlocked their psychic ability. See if there is anyone on your end with the Toybox power. If there is, I can send a few people to help out ahead of us.”
There wasn’t much I could do to stop suicide bombers from taking out entire planets, but if I sent a few dozen of Sharon’s evolved animals over, at least they’d have more people helping to look. She paused a bit after my question before responding. “I’ll ask around… Thanks.”
I could tell how shaken she was, since she was not even trying to maintain her royal speech. “No problem. We’ll be running a bit late, since we ran into some trouble. We’ll keep looking for their hideout along the way. Maybe we’ll get lucky.”
“I hope so… There’s not much we can do to defend against these kinds of attacks.”
“Right… you could use clones for daily business, and have your main body in a safe bunker, but that wouldn’t help the general population. It would at least make it harder to assassinate key figures.”
“Yeah… I’ll tell Aunt Maeve about it… We’ll check to see if there is any way to stop attacks like that from happening.” She spoke in a quiet tone, and soon ended the call. With a bitter smile, I walked into the War Room at last, to find Ackbar waiting for me. When he turned to look at me, and was preparing to open his mouth, he suddenly stopped. His eyebrows went up slightly, as if reading something from my expression.
“Did something happen, sir?”
I nodded my head at that. “Gerin 3 was just destroyed by the New Human Empire.” I spoke softly, but his eyes went wide at my words. His body visibly shook, and he gripped the chair he was standing next to hard enough for the steel to bend under his fingers.
“How?” He forced the one word out, the impact from this much higher for him, as he was originally from Gerin.
“From what Talia said, an antimatter suicide bomb.”
His head nodded at that, and he struggled to keep his breathing under control. “Sir… I have something to report.” He did his best to keep his voice calm, but I could tell that was not an easy task for him.
“What is it?”
“I’ve been working on a new Divination spell to help locate the base of the New Human Empire.” His words immediately grabbed my attention, however he soon shook his head. “It only gives me a very vague direction right now. I don’t know the distance, or the degree of accuracy. I need more information about them to refine the spell.”
That sounded reasonable enough. Even just having a spell to tell their direction would be a huge help. All we’d have to do is fly in that direction until it got us closer. “If I can give any help, let me know.” He gave a nod at that, and didn’t seem to want to say anything else. As I was turning to leave, I saw his eyes unfocus, as if he was checking an information window. Immediately afterwards, his eyes started watering up and he left through the opposite door.
He must have had family on Gerin 3… I shook my head and headed back to my own room. In my grove, my partitioned mind had finished sculpting the new white dragon body, the strongest I would currently be able to transform into.
Its height was a full ten meters, with over three times that in length, from its head to tail. With just over thirty meters of wingspan, it incorporated the space dragon’s powerful scales. Spines went down along its back and tail, and it had sharp claws on its four feet. For its attacks, I included my most advanced fire breath weapon, while the defense was even more powerful.
Naturally, it still had the instant regeneration ability that I obtained years ago from the giant wolf monster. Combined with its thick scales, strong muscles, and hard bones, it would be hard to break through its body with physical attacks. Also, I couldn’t be sure, but I felt like the scales also carried a slight resistance to magic as well.
Thankfully, I’d still be able to use all of my regular magic when I shapeshift. The only thing I’d lose access to would be my sword, since the dragon form does not have the ability to grasp it. Likewise, if I sacrifice a bit of size, I could reproduce the dragon with my elemental mana, similar to what I did in the previous space battle. I would need to test how much mana that would take to sustain, though.
As I got back to my room, I laid back on my bed and began thinking about all the things that would be happening soon. One of the elven worlds had been suddenly destroyed, and the enemy was revealed to have the ability to basically destroy any world they want easily. The only way to really prevent it was to make sure that there were no humans on a planet at all. Even then, if they managed to get someone of a different race to do it, they could bypass those defenses…
Just how are we going to deal with this?