|Season 2, Episode 10|
|Air date||November 6th, 2015|
Picking Up Steam
Forever To Say Goodbye: Part 1
The night sky above Earth was incredibly clear, almost unbelievably so. The stars lining the heaven shined brilliantly, creating a breathtaking view for anyone able to see past the light pollution. So brilliant were the stars, in fact, that nobody could notice the large warship hanging in low orbit around the planet.
Aboard the warship, the alien captain of the vessel stood solemnly on the bridge, observing the planet below. He wore a black, lightly-armored uniform with several golden stripes on the chestplate. Surrounding him were various lower-ranking members of the crew seated at several control stations.
“Captain!” One of the officers said. “The Chief Commander is coming to the bridge!”
“I see.” The captain replied. “Thank you, officer.”
The officer threw up a quick salute in response, then resumed work.
“...What is Prelude’s endgame?” The captain muttered to himself. “Why waste so many resources on such an insignificant planet?”
“I have my reasons.”
The captain bolted up, turning to see Prelude himself standing behind him. He threw up a hasty salute, which was quickly followed by the other bridge officers performing their own salutes, as they seemed to have been caught equally off-guard by Prelude’s sudden arrival.
“Sir!” The captain exclaimed. “My apologies! I did not hear you arrive!”
“That was the point.” Prelude replied. “I try to keep my movements concise.”
Prelude walked up to the bridge’s observation deck, looking down at Earth. He stood in silence for a few moments, creating a tense atmosphere in the room.
“By technicality, I have never been to this ‘Earth’ before.” He finally spoke, using an unsettlingly calm tone. “Yet, by all rights, this is the planet of my birth, in a sense.”
There was another tense silence. The captain nervously held a still position, while the officers of the bridge sat quietly, occasionally throwing a quick glance at each other.
“I hope you don’t mind me asking, sir.” The captain nervously broke the silence. “If that is the case, why do you wish to perform a cleansing of the planet’s lifeforms?”
“It’s nothing personal.” Prelude replied, turning away from the observation deck’s window and beginning to walk away. “To be frank, it’s hardly malicious in any way.”
“What do you mean?”
Prelude paused for a moment before answering the question.
“Considering the ultimate fate of this world,” He said. “I believe this to be a mercy killing.”
Tech sat in his office chair, spinning quietly while appearing to be deep in thought. Moranna and Napoleon, who were each leaning up against a wall, watched him with impatient expressions. Igneoux sat in the corner, seeming to perform some sort of meditation, with Alvono occupying the Ultimatrix frame. Aquadilus sat at his desk, reading the daily newspaper. After a few minutes of this, he looked up at Tech and raised an eyebrow.
“So, are you actually thinking, or are you just re-enacting your experience at the Disneyland teacups?” He snarked, putting down his newspaper.
“Why not both?” Tech replied.
“Be serious.” Moranna said. “We don’t have much room for procrastination.”
“If you can’t think of what we should be doing, why not do some more training with Igneoux?” Napoleon asked. “He could teach you some cool new alien moves or something!”
“I guess I could...” Tech said, scratching his chin. “I just feel like there’s something important that we’re missing.”
Before Tech could reply, the door to the shop was suddenly heard slamming open, swiftly followed by the door to the office itself being slammed open. On the other side of the door was an incredibly frazzled-looking Magister Blue.
“Kid, holy crap!” He shouted. “There is some serious stuff going down right now!”
“What’s going on?” Tech asked, bolting out of his chair. “Did Dethrouge escape or something?!”
“Yeah, I wish! Get outside, now!”
Tech was interrupted by Magister Blue bolting out of the building. Igneoux, having been jolted out of his meditative state, stood up and gestured at the door.
“Well, what are we waiting for?” He said. “Let’s go!”
Igneoux rushed out of the room, swiftly followed by the others. They exited the shop and immediately noticed that the area had suddenly become a whole lot darker. They looked up, spotting a swirling black mass that obscured the sun.
“That is one weird cloud.” Napoleon remarked.
“That’s no cloud!” Moranna exclaimed. “Look closer!”
Tech pulled up the SpecTrix and selected the Tech Specs from his inventory, placing them on and activating the zoom function. As his view of the mass was enhanced, he noticed that it was composed of millions upon millions of small, spider-like creatures.
“I feel like I might regret asking this, but what in the ever-loving hell are those?!” He asked.
“Icthymorti Arachzelu, or, in Earth terms, Flying Piranha Spiders.” Magister Blue explained. “If it weren’t for the static field I set up around me, you’d all be skeletons by now. Assuming they left that much of you, that is.”
Tech’s eyes widened in horror.
“What about the town?!” He exclaimed. “It’s right on top of the gorge!”
“If the Piranha Spiders came from the opposite direction, we have a few minutes to stop them. If they went through the town already, all I can say is that I’m sorry.”
“Hold on a second, look at their flight path!” Igneoux pointed out. “They’re moving towards the town, not away from it!”
“Then there’s still time!” Magister Blue said. “Unfortunately, I don’t think my energy blades are of much use in this situation.”
“Just leave this to me!” Tech said. “I’ll fry these things in no time!”
“Not alone, you aren’t!” Igneoux interjected. “I’m heading up there with you!”
“Fine, let’s just make this quick!”
Tech swiftly pulled up the SpecTrix and transformed into Heatjet, which was quickly followed by Igneoux transforming into his own universe’s Heatjet. The pair took off into the air, flying between the town and the swarm of Piranha Spiders.
“Ready to light up the sky?” Igneoux asked.
“I was born ready!” Tech replied. “Seriously, my parents said I somehow managed to light a firecracker in the hospital room ten minutes after I was born. Still trying to figure out the logistics of that one.”
The two hovered side-by-side, aiming their hands directly at the approaching swarm and charging up their farthest-reaching flames.
“Fire!” Igneoux yelled.
They let the flames loose, causing the sky in front of them to explode into an unbelievably massive fireball. The swarm of Flying Piranha Spiders was completely engulfed, creating the rather unpleasant scent of scorched exoskeletons.
“Keep it up as long as you can!” Igneoux instructed. “We don’t want any of these things getting through!”
“Not sure what I would’ve been doing otherwise!” Tech replied snappily.
On the ground below, Moranna, Napoleon, Aquadilus, and Magister Blue watched with awe as the air above them turned into an incredible display of orange and yellow fire dancing and weaving across the sky. Heat slammed into them like waves at a beach, but they were too enraptured by the unmatched spectacle in front of their eyes to care.
“It’s...beautiful.” Napoleon said, reaching to wipe a tear from his eye. “Granted, Smokey the Bear would probably have an aneurysm, but still.”
After a few minutes of continuous flames, Tech and Igneoux finally ran out of generated fire to shoot. As the cloud of smoke they left dissipated in the wind, the spiders were revealed to have been entirely eradicated. The two hovered back to the ground and detransformed.
“I guess the old saying ‘kill it with fire’ holds true.” Napoleon remarked.
“Not that it was particularly beneficial to the whole ‘global warming’ issue.” Igneoux scratched his head. “I think we just melted five glaciers by proxy.”
“Was that it?” Tech asked. “I mean, that did freak me out a bit, but it seems like something the Plumbers could’ve handled.”
“Unfortunately, no.” Magister Blue replied. “That was just the swarm sent out to this area. The Plumbers stationed on Earth are spread out trying to contain other swarms. Of course, it’s not just the bugs, either.”
“What else is there?” Moranna asked.
“The people controlling them in the first place. It’s those Obsidian Death freaks again, that much we know, but we can’t get an affirmative read on how many of them there are or even where they are to begin with.”
“What is with those guys?!” Napoleon exclaimed. “What’s their big hang-up on Earth recently?!”
Before anyone could reply, the SpecTrix began buzzing and crackling, suddenly picking up an odd radio wave. The Ultimatrix did the same, and after a few seconds, a deep, gravelly voice came through their speakers.
“People of Earth.” The voice spoke. “This is Prelude, chief commander of the intergalactic organization known as the Obsidian Death. Changing your channels will not help, as we have taken over every communication signal sent and received on this planet.”
The sky far above them suddenly shimmered, revealing a mass of warship uncloaking above the Earth.
“Your planet is soon to become the focal point of our ultimate purpose, and as such, we will be performing a cleansing of all lifeforms. Make peace with yourselves, if it helps. Goodbye.”
The signal cut out. An atmosphere of tense silence fell over the area.
“Is...is he serious?” Napoleon asked worriedly. “The Obsidian Death is big, sure, but not that big...right?”
Napoleon’s question was swiftly answered by the warships above them firing their weapons systems, raining missiles and laser cannon beams upon the earth below. Explosions dotted the town above, followed quickly by the sounds of screaming and panic.
“Dead serious!” Tech yelled. “Move out!”
He quickly transformed into Rockoustic and used an explosion-assisted jump to carry him out of the gorge.
“You’ve got to be kidding me!” Aquadilus snapped. “He doesn’t even know how to use that form without destroying everything around him!”
“That might work to his advantage.” Igneoux remarked. “In any case, we need to help!”
Igneoux swiftly transformed into his universe’s Electrolite and flew after Tech as fast as possible. Napoleon and Moranna followed by transforming into Briiz and Zelusassin, respectively.
“I better get to the SpecTrix console.” Aquadilus said. “What are you going to do?”
“I need to head back to base.” Magister Blue replied. “If they really are attacking the whole planet, I’m going to need a lot more firepower than I have on my own.”
Up in the town, the barrage of missiles and lasers had continued, destroying roads and buildings and killing anyone unfortunate enough to get caught in their path. One poor soul had just stumbled out of his house, barely avoiding the attack that had destroyed it and still reeling from the shockwave.
Before he could recover, another missile shot towards him at breakneck speeds, far too fast to dodge. Just as it was about to hit him, a bulky humanoid made of rock raced in front of the missile, taking the blow. The resulting cloud of dust kicked up by the explosion was swiftly knocked away by a blast of sound from the thing.
“Do you have a car?” Tech asked.
“Uh, yeah.” The man replied, still processing what had just happening.
“Then get in it and take whatever roads are left to get out of town until this is all over!” Tech ordered. “Hopefully, it won’t be too long.”
The man simply stared at him in shock for a few moments.
“What are you waiting for?!” Tech roared. “GET OUT OF HERE!”
This shout seemed to snap the man back to his senses, as he quickly ran off towards a car parked on the side of the street. Tech sighed and turned his head upwards to face the warships above him.
“I’ll probably be breaking the ‘no killing’ thing here.” He muttered to himself. “But at this point, it’s kill or be killed!”
With that, he used another explosion-assisted jump to propel himself into the air, managing to smash through the hull of a warship and land in their cargo hold. The soldiers on the craft immediately began firing at him, their blasts seemingly not having any effect.
“You idiots just made the biggest mistake of your lives.” Tech growled. “Don’t worry, though. You won’t have time to reflect on it.”
On the ground below, Napoleon and Moranna had split up, each using their abilities to evacuate as many people as possible. Napoleon in particular was expending huge amounts of energy, creating a shield massive enough to protect the entire neighborhood he was evacuating from the attack, all while retaining his transformation. To say this was draining would be an understatement.
‘I don’t know how long I can keep this up!’ He thought to himself. ‘If only I could generate more energy!’
After a few moments, a thought suddenly popped into his head. A memory, to be precise, of something that had helped him a while back.
“Let’s hope this still works...” He managed to spit out, struggling to maintain the shield construct. “REINFORCE!”
As soon as Napoleon finished speaking, bolts of fire, ice, and electricity suddenly sparked into existence and swirled around his body, swiftly merging together and slamming into him, infusing his body with the powers of each element and strengthening his stamina overall. Energy flowed back into his body, allowing him to maintain the shield.
“Like a charm!” He said. “Only got about five minutes until this wears off, so I need to make it count!”
His self dialog was interrupted by an explosion in the sky, which was swiftly followed by a row of explosions. He looked up, finding that one of the warships had been crushed into a ball of scrap metal and punted into the fleet, taking out an impressive number of ships. Looking closely, he was able to make out Tech propelling himself towards the largest warship, which appeared to be the flagship of this division.
“Well, that was fast.”
Tech slammed through the hull of the ship, ripping through the reinforced metals like a wet paper bag. He quickly took in his surroundings, finding himself on the bridge. The captain of the fleet, standing at his station, swiftly pulled a gun and fired, the laser slamming into Rockoustic’s body with no apparent effect.
“Dammit men, what are you waiting for, an invitation?!” The captain snapped. “Kill him!”
“You come to my planet,” Tech spoke quietly. ”you attack my town, you plan to eradicate my species, and you expect me to just wither up and die after a few gunshots?”
He swiftly darted forwards and grabbed the captain’s gun, crushing it in his fist effortlessly.
“If you want to destroy this Earth so badly, then how about I show you what it can do?!” He snapped.
Tech reached for the SpecTrix dial and slammed down on it, causing four clamps to spring from it and attach to his chest. A green explosion sounded from the dial as Rockoustic’s body shattered, his shards suddenly turning a shimmering white. The shards clumped together and merged into several multicolored gemstones, from which a white energy flowed. The energy twisted and turned, merging together into a humanoid shape, and eventually fading to reveal a slim, crystalline form, surrounded by five translucent white crystals, each shimmering with a rainbow pattern.
On the outside, the earth and rock surrounding the town below began rumbling and shaking. Suddenly, massive pillars of rock and crystal exploded out of the ground, each one rising to pierce the warships above. Each warship was soon speared by a pillar, and after a few moments of silence, the pillars broke off from the ground and drove themselves further into the ships, securing their holds.
Immediately after, the pillars flew towards the fleet’s flagship, dragging the warships along with them. The resulting crash resulted in an impressive explosion of rock and metal, at the center of which was a barely visible green flash. Instead of falling to the earth, the metal and stone wreckage began orbiting and coalescing together, crushing together faster and faster until they eventually formed into a sphere no more than a meter wide.
In front of the sphere was Tech as Gravitar, straining his powers to the limit as he forced the molecular bonds of the materials closer than naturally possible, trapping them in the sphere form. After managing to stabilize the orb, he increased the gravity around it immensely, causing the already incredibly dense sphere to fall unbelievably quickly and slam into the earth below, smashing through the ground and continuing downwards into the depths.
Tech swiftly hovered down to one of the town’s roads and detransformed, stumbling over in exhaustion.
“Let’s see how you like the center of the Earth!” He snapped wearily, right before passing out on the broken asphalt.
Prelude sat in his private room on the Obsidian Death’s primary flagship, awaiting progress reports. His small assistant scampered into the room, holding a holoscreen tablet with large paragraphs of text.
“The first reports are in, Sir!” The assistant alien said shakily. “Most units are doing well, making the expected progress on eradication. The stationed Plumbers have been unable to effectively counterattack as of yet, though we’re still struggling to locate their base of operations.”
“What do you mean, ‘most’ units?” Prelude asked.
“Well, see, about that...” The alien shifted nervously. “Unit Q-103 was just wiped out.”
“The first warship to fall was apparently crushed, then used as a projectile to take out a row of the other warships. The rest were then pierced by massive pillars of rock and crystals, then dragged to some unknown point. After that, the blackbox transmissions of all ships cut out.”
“It must be the human I fought on our base planet.” Prelude concluded. “Either that, or this Earth has military technology far above any reasonable assumption.”
“What should we do about this, sir?”
“Neither you nor the troops will do anything other than your assigned tasks.” Prelude stood up and began walking towards the door. “I will take care of the child myself.”
Tech slowly forced open his eyes, still exhausted from the sheer firepower he had used. Grumbling in frustration, he stumbled to his feet and transformed into Terminano, who didn’t feel exhaustion.
“Now what?” He asked himself. “One the one hand, I should probably go and find the Obsidian Death’s main flagship. On the other hand, though, how am I supposed to make sure they don’t come back here?”
As if in response to Tech’s question, a large ripple in spacetime suddenly tore open in the sky, enveloping the town.
“Hey, me two-point oh!” He heard someone call from behind him.
He turned to see Igneoux walking towards him, having transformed into a strangely-shaped, overly-spiked red alien.
“What is that supposed to be?” Tech asked.
“SPAse.” Igneoux replied. “Well, my universe’s version of it, anyway.”
“And that?” Tech gestured to the tear.
“A barrier of sorts.” Igneoux explained. “People can get out, but nothing can get in until I take it down. Teleportation’s bust either way you’re headed.”
“And you can just throw these up willy-nilly?”
“Well, no.” Igneoux sat down on the asphalt. “It’s pretty draining, to be honest. You should probably figure out how to stop this whole ‘invasion’ thing fairly quick.”
“I would’ve figured you’d want to help, considering you have your roster of aliens back.”
“I grew up in this town, Tech.” Igneoux sighed. “Well, not this one in particular, but the one from my timeline. I don’t plan on abandoning it any time soon.”
“Fair enough. I’ll see what I can do.”
“Thanks. I owe ya one.”
“Let’s just hope I’m around after all this to collect.”
With that, Tech raced off towards the edge of town. Igneoux managed to put up a halfhearted wave.
“Good luck.” He muttered, knowing that Tech couldn’t hear him. “Hope you have better luck than I did...”
Up on the orbiting Plumber satellite, things had gone practically insane. Officers were running from place to place as fast as possible, preparing weapons, armor, and vehicles. Thanks to all the confusion, the three synthetic Magisters had barely been able to get to the cell block where they were holding Alpha until the court processing was over. Once they had met up, Magister Blue explained the situation.
“Another invasion of Earth?” Magister Red repeated, sounding almost annoyed. “Granted, having the Plumbers with us on this instead of against us this time around is nice, but most planets don’t even get invaded once, let alone three times.”
“Regardless of how many times this has happened before,” Alpha interjected. “I would suggest we move quickly if you wish to save the local lifeforms.”
“I’d like to, believe me, but we’d be rushing in without a plan.” Magister Blue explained. “Last time we tried that, we ended up in stasis for ten-thousand years.”
“As soon as we can get a lock-on of their main flagship, we should be able to launch a strike force and cut the head off the snake, metaphorically speaking.” Magister Red remarked.
“Since when do you use metaphors?” Magister Yellow asked.
“Since they’ve become convenient.”
“Well, if we’re stuck on the station for now, I suggest we create a backup plan.” Alpha said.
“What do you mean?” Magister Blue asked.
“Do you still have the ‘Great Sun’ armor you confiscated from this ‘Dethrouge’ you apprehended?”
“Yeah, in storage with all the other incredibly dangerous artifacts these people keep around for no discernible reason. Why?”
“And do you still have the Light Drive?”
“I also seem to recall you mentioning two Galvan scientists working aboard this station.”
“Just get to the point!” Magister Red snapped.
“The point is, humans are being eradicated as we speak, and we have a super-weapon of sorts specifically designed for humans sitting around in disrepair.” Alpha explained. “You should be able to figure out the rest.”
“It wouldn’t work.” A voice spoke from a nearby cell.
“Who is that?” Alpha questioned. “I don’t have their voice recorded in my databank.”
“That would be Dethrouge himself.” Magister Blue replied. “He doesn’t really talk most of the time. This is odd.”
Magister Red walked over to the cell Dethrouge inhabited, raising a questioning eyebrow.
“What do you mean, ‘it wouldn’t work’?”
“The Great Sun armor is genetically locked to a specific user.” Dethrouge explained. “That is, me. As far as I know, there’s no way of overriding it without destroying the generator that makes it so powerful in the first place.”
“That seems like an overly complex security system for something so old.”
“Last I checked, you’re about six-thousand years older than that.”
“In any case,” Dethrouge said, turning away from the cell’s entrance. “I have no wish to resume use of the suit, and I exceedingly doubt your organization would be particularly fond of the idea either.”
“I believe you underestimate the intelligence of the Galvan.” Alpha rebutted. “They could most likely override any sort of lock not created by their own species.”
“Try it then, if you believe it will help. I have no investment in the fate of the modern world.”
“Well, we don’t really have any other ideas.” Magister Blue shrugged. “Red, get the suit and the Light Drive up to Blukic and Driba.”
“Let’s just hope they don’t somehow screw the situation over even more.” Magister Red grumbled, walking towards the elevator.
“Aaand ya jinxed it.” Magister Yellow remarked.
In the atmosphere below, another fleet of Obsidian Death warships was descending across the coastline of the United States. On the bridge of the fleet’s flagship, the captain of the fleet stood at the observation deck, waiting for them to arrive at the designated location. After a few minutes, one of the bridge officers spoke up.
“Sir, we’ll be arriving at the assigned position in about five-”
The officer was interrupted by a series of explosions that rocked the ship’s hull, knocking the captain off-balance.
“What was that?!” The captain demanded. “Are we being attacked?!”
“Radar shows several Earth combat vehicles known as ‘fighter jets’ circling around for another attack.” One of the officers reported. “Their firepower is pitiful compared to ours, but it’s just enough to break through the hull armor.”
“Return fire immediately!” The captain snapped. “Why didn’t we see them coming?!”
“We didn’t think they’d be able to deploy craft like this to such an insignificant area so quickly.” One of the officers explained. “As it turns out, computer analysis states that the navy of the ‘United States’ we’re attacking have their planet’s second largest air force.”
“What’s the largest air force?”
“...Their air force.”
Before the captain could reply, the roar of jet engines suddenly sounded from outside the ship. Swiftly looking out the observation deck, the captain spotted two missiles being launched directly towards the bridge.
“You have got to be kidding me.”
Back on the ground, Tech had made his way out of the town and teleported to the nearest large city, finding that a fleet of the Obsidian Death’s warships were approaching the area. He quickly transformed into Electrolite and zapped upwards, trying to think of a plan before the ships arrived.
“I can’t just do the fleet-crushing thing again.” He muttered to himself. “Takes too much energy, both for me and the SpecTrix. I could use the evolutionary function on Electrolite, but he doesn’t really have city-wide range. Maybe I should-”
His monologue was interrupted by a laser beam slamming into his gut and throwing him back to the ground, causing him to skid across the ground a bit. Before he could get back up, the sound of a rift opening nearby drew his attention. He woozily turned his head to see Napoleon and Moranna stepping through a rift, which promptly closed behind them.
“Hey man, you can’t just run out on us like that!” Napoleon chided.
“Oh, right.” Tech replied, picking himself up. “Gonna be honest, I think I probably have a concussion. Not thinking too far ahead here.”
“Good for you, but we have a bigger problem.” Moranna interjected.
“Yeah, I just got shot down by that ‘bigger problem’.” Tech grumbled. “Either of you have any ideas for fleet-destroying forms that can span the entire planet?”
“That would probably require omnipotence, or something close to it. I don’t think we have anything like that.”
“Hey, what about TyMR and SPAse?” Napoleon asked. “I dunno about omnipotence, but if you work together, TyMR could stop time long enough for SPAse to move the Obsidian Death’s fleet somewhere else!”
“That sounds like a good idea on paper, but we don’t know how to access those forms, remember?” Tech pointed out. “Besides, stopping time long enough to take out every fleet on the planet sounds like a pretty tall order.”
“Humanity is being wiped out as we speak!” Moranna snapped. “You don’t worry about the height of an order at times like these, you worry about ensuring the survival of a planet!”
“Yeah, but my first point still stands!”
Before Moranna could reply, the SpecTrix beeped, signaling an incoming call.
“Yo, Aquadilus here.” Aquadilus said from the other end of the line. “Normally, seeing you two get along like a house on fire is amusing, but it’s wholly inappropriate for the current situation.”
“Okay then, smart guy, what do you suggest?” Tech asked.
“Ever since you mentioned those two aliens, I’ve been looking into how the unlocking sequence works for them. Turns out that unless a weirdly specific set of conditions are present, they’re kept under an adaptive series of firewalls and what not.”
“Meaning what, exactly?”
“Meaning that I can hack into the SpecTrix to get you the forms, but they’ll time out and be locked again after about a minute.”
“Only a minute?! What the hell are we supposed to do with just a minute?!”
“Gee, if only you had an alien that could stop time.”
“...Just unlock the damn aliens.”
“That’s what I thought.”
After a few moments of clicking and beeping from the other end of the line, the call suddenly cut off, quickly followed by the SpecTrix and AemuTrix dials raising up and glowing.
“Let’s do this!” Tech exclaimed.
He and Moranna slammed down on their dials in unison, simultaneously transforming into TyMR and SPAse, respectively. Tech swiftly threw out his arms and stopped time, which grayed out the world around him and Moranna, and was accompanied by an odd noise similar to that of a clock’s gears grinding to a halt. The two flew into the air and faced the fleet of ships.
“Your turn, Moranna!” Tech said.
Moranna raised her arms into the air, ripping apart a rift in the space the fleet was occupying, sending them to parts unknown.
“Well, that was...easy.” She remarked.
“Yeah, no kidding!” Tech said. “If we keep this up, we’ll be able to save the world in no time!”
Before Moranna could reply, a sudden shimmer exploded into existence behind them. They turned to look, only to each be hit by a beam of mana.
“No time, hm?” Prelude remarked. “What an interesting choice of words.”
Tech and Moranna quickly recovered and reconvened from the attack. Prelude hung a few meters on front of them, hovering in the air and surrounded by a glowing field of red mana.
“What the hell?!” Tech snapped. “How are you moving in stopped time?!”
“Mana is an amazing force, able to do things you would never imagine possible.” Prelude explained, holding up his left fist and clenching it. There was a sound similar to crunching gravel as Prelude’s fingers broke through his own hand, causing mana to flow up out of the ‘wound’. “Having it as your literal lifeblood can give you a few perks.”
Before he could continue speaking, Tech rushed forward and rammed into his body with a punch. Prelude simply shrugged off the blow and grabbed Tech by the throat, hurling him into Moranna and sending them both tumbling to the ground.
“Oh, please.” Prelude sighed. “The Kronis are legendary for their mastery over time and space, but if you take that away from them...”
The eyes on Prelude’s chest flashed, then sent out a shockwave of mana that destroyed TyMR’s world of stopped time, returning the time flow to normal.
“And they might as well be human!”
“Woah, that was weird.” Napoleon remarked, shaking his head. “So, did you two save the-”
Napoleon cut himself off as he noticed Prelude hovering above the area, while Tech and Moranna had been smashed into the ground nearby.
“I’ll take that as a ‘no’.” He said.
“And just who are you?” Prelude asked.
“...Normally I’d shout my name to the high heavens at the moment, but I have a bad feeling about this whole situation.”
“A fair assessment.”
Prelude raised his right arms and fired abeam of mana near Napoleon, catching him off guard and creating an explosion that sent him flying.
“Do you three even know what you’re doing?” Prelude asked, softly landing on the ground. “Not just in general, I mean in this specific situation.”
“What the hell are you talking about?” Tech replied, pulling himself off the ground and quickly followed by Moranna. “We’re saving humanity!”
“That’s not a possibility anymore.” Prelude remarked. “You’re just condemning them to an even worse death.”
“Is that so? And what kind of ‘death’ is humanity going to have that would make what you’re doing look so much better?!”
“For clarification, it’s not just humanity that’s going to die. It’s everything. Humans will simply receive the most prolonged view of the demise of everything they know.”
“I think I get it now.” Tech said in an accusatory manner. “You’re another crazed lunatic who thinks they can stop the Anti-Life Entity by killing everyone, is that it?”
“Stop the Anti-Life Entity?” Prelude gave a hearty chuckle. “Child, you seem to be seriously misguided as to my intentions.”
Prelude’s eyes flashed momentarily, taking on a dangerous edge.
“I’m going to summon the Anti-Life Entity.”
Tech, Moranna, and Napoleon stared at Prelude in stunned silence for a few seconds.
“You’re what?” Tech finally stammered out.
“I’m going to summon the Anti-Life Entity.” Prelude repeated matter-of-factly.
“Hold on a second, the Anti-Life Entity needs someone to summon it?” Napoleon asked.
“Of course. It’s omnipotent, not omnipresent. Leaving out the existence of a middle man in the records has proven rather beneficial, considering that timelines with knowledge of the Entity tend to hold themselves back as much as possible. Eventually, however, they all fall victim to their own tendency towards progress, and I have to begin the cycle anew.”
“So you’re the one who’s been in charge of the Entity the whole time?”
Prelude chuckled a bit at that question.
“Hardly. I, and my brethren, were created by the Entity before it even became known as such, and served to gather information on the various universes destroyed. Most of the Animam Creari are absorbed back into Veritum when the Entity arrives, and the planet is warped to the next timeline targeted for destruction. There, they are reborn, gathering all information possible and storing it in an archive, which is eventually absorbed into the planet as well and processed into virtual data. Repeat ad infinitum until all of reality is cleansed.”
Prelude paused for a moment, as if thinking about something.
“Of course, I’m a unique case.” He said after a few moments. “Instead of being absorbed back into Veritum, I am simply teleported directly once I have summoned the Entity. Unfortunately, since every universe has slightly different rules, I’m rarely able to keep whatever abilities I’ve obtained, but since I’m transported to the beginning of time on each occasion, I have plenty of time to learn some new tricks.”
“Why are you telling us all this?” Moranna asked. “This seems like somewhat vital information.”
“If I just told you some boring, pointless monologue, I wouldn’t be able to stall you very well, now would I?”
“What are you-”
Moranna was interrupted by the SpecTrix and AemuTrix suddenly timing out, detransforming her and Tech.
“Not that you’d be able to do anything with that information anyways.” Prelude remarked. “Knowing the specifics of your death doesn’t exactly prevent it from happening.”
Tech and Moranna quickly reached for their transformation matrixes, but were stopped by Prelude firing a man beam at each of them, knocking them over and back a few feet. He began charging up more potent energy beams in his fists.
“Not on my watch!” Napoleon yelled.
He swiftly summoned his arm cannon construct and fired it towards Prelude, who it simply bounced off of. Prelude fired another quick mana beam at him using the eyes on his chest, knocking him over as well.
“I have to say, out of all the idiots that have tried to stop me in each universe that I’ve summoned the Entity, you three have been some of the most entertaining.” Prelude commented, raising his arms in preparation to fire. “Take some solace in the fact that you won’t have to feel yourselves being ripped out of existence.”
Prelude thrust his arms forward, but as the glowing mana was about to leave his fists, he was hit from the side by a massive beam of light, which sent him flying into a nearby tree trunk and forced his attack up into the sky, harmlessly traveling through the atmosphere.
Tech groaned and shook his head, trying to recover from the beam’s impact. Trying to see what had just happened, he caught sight of a figure clad in gold and blue armor walking angrily towards Prelude. Prelude, not being vulnerable to pain or exhaustion, easily pulled himself back up and confronted the armored figure directly.
“And just who are you?” Prelude questioned. “Some new human trying to delay the inevitable?”
“Not exactly.” The armored figure replied, his voice having a dangerous edge to it.
“Hang on a second, I know that voice...” Tech muttered to himself, trying to remember where he had heard it before.
“Well then, what are you?” Prelude asked further.
“I was once this planet’s greatest defender.” The figure replied. “But that was millennia ago. Nowadays, I am simply a man fallen from grace, given the opportunity to strike down someone with even greater sin than I.”
The figure suddenly drew back his right arm and smashed it forward with a light-charged punch directly into Prelude’s head, smashing its physical form to dust.
“My name, if that’s what you were asking for, is Dethrouge.” He said. “You should be more specific with your inquiries.”
Prelude’s head quickly reformed using earth from the ground, allowing him to smack Dethrouge away with a punch to the gut. Dethrouge stumbled back a few feet, but recovered quickly, using a light beam to carve off Prelude’s arm. While he was busy reforming the arm, Dethrouge charged up a large beam of light, then teleported behind him and unleashed the attack, destroying Prelude’s entire body.
Prelude’s mana form began trying to reconstruct his body, but was interrupted by Dethrouge, who used a light-infused hand to snatch the energy being and hurl it into the atmosphere, charging up and shooting another light beam at it just for good measure. By the time the light beam had faded, Prelude’s mana form had disappeared.
“...What the hell is going on?!” Tech snapped after a few seconds of bewilderment.
“Your assistant managed to transmit a stream of Prelude’s conversation to the Plumber HQ.” Dethrouge explained, turning to face him. “The Galvans stationed there had been tinkering with my armor as a pet project, and they decided that this was the fastest thing to deploy.”
“And they just trusted you with that?”
“Not exactly. They can shut it down whenever they want.”
Tech stood up, followed quickly by Moranna and Napoleon.
“Not that it isn’t great speaking to you again...” Tech said. “Well, actually, it one hundred percent isn’t, but that’s besides the point. My team’s got a planet to save, so we’re going to go do that.”
“You haven’t heard?” Dethrouge asked. “The invasion’s over. Earth won about fifteen minutes ago.”
“...Say what now?”
“Apparently there was a separate invasion while I was in stasis, so humans teamed up with the Plumbers to create anti-warship weaponry. As soon as each invaded country had their military up and running, the invasion force was wiped out fairly quickly, with the exception of a few pockets here and there.”
“...You know, it’s never really occurred to me how easily these situations can be solved by using common sense.”
“That’s probably not all of it. Early reports apparently show signs of the ships being sabotaged from the inside.”
“Prelude must’ve had the same ‘mercy kill’ plan in place for his own troops.” Moranna speculated.
“I see you’ve assembled a team.” Dethrouge commented.
“Yeah, you’re probably lucky they weren’t around when I was fighting you.” Tech replied. “You’d probably be dead.”
“Wait, that’s Dethrouge?” Napoleon asked. “Your description of him sounded a lot more intimidating.”
“The armor was more intimidating when I fought him.” Tech explained. “I’m guessing this is a ‘populace-friendly’ rebuild.”
“As far as I can tell, that about sums it up.” Dethrouge said.
“Well, if the invasion’s over, I’m going home. I need to make sure my family’s okay.”
Dethrouge simply gave a slight nod of acknowledgment. Tech pulled up the SpecTrix and pulled up the teleportation screen, punching in the coordinates. As he was about to press the ‘Confirm’ button, Dethrouge cleared his throat.
Tech looked at Dethrouge, raising a questioning eyebrow.
“...Cherish your family while you still have them.” Dethrouge said.
With that, Tech pressed down on the SpecTrix touchscreen, teleporting himself, Moranna, and Napoleon back to his hometown. Dethrouge stood in place for a few moments, staring off into the distance.
“...It was all pointless.” He muttered to himself.
After another few moments, he called up to Plumber HQ to teleport him back up. As he disappeared from the area, he wore a grim, defeated look underneath his helmet.
After informing Igneoux about the situation via comlink, the field around Tech’s hometown was lowered as Igneoux detransformed. The group spent around half an hour looking for Tech’s parents, who had evacuated to the opposite side of town. After a while of trying to convince his mother to let go of him, the group finally made their way back to base in the EarthCo. Gift Shop, where Aquadilus was impatiently waiting for their return.
“Well, that certainly took you long enough.” He remarked as the group walked into the room.
“Don’t blame me!” Tech said defensively. “It took a lot of convincing for my parents to let me leave their sights! Besides, what exactly has you in a hurry?”
“It’s not me that’s in the hurry.” Aquadilus snapped, gesturing to the computer console.
Standing on top of the console was a quite familiar Galvan with a very grim look on his face.
“Azmuth?!” Tech exclaimed. “What are you doing here?!”
“Trust me, this wasn’t exactly my first choice.” Azmuth replied. “Unfortunately, Tennyson isn’t picking up, and depending on where in the galaxy he is, he might not even be able to. You’re the only one left with a fully-developed transformation matrix.”
“What’s going on?”
“At the moment? Nothing. However, we’re simply at the eye of the storm at the moment, and the next part is going to be much worse than the first.”
“Could you stop being vague and just elaborate?”
“I was getting to the point. I’ve been informed as to what’s been happening on Earth. Prelude isn’t dead. With his unique composition, it’s debatable as to how ‘alive’ he is in the first place. He can create a new body whenever he needs to, and I suspect the only reason he hasn’t as of yet is that he’s traveling to a specific location to summon the Anti-Life Entity.”
“That doesn’t exactly sound good.” Napoleon remarked.
“No, strange-haired child, it isn’t.” Azmuth said. “We don’t have a specific idea of where he’s going, either.”
“Hey, quick question.” Tech interjected. “Why Earth? What does Earth have to do with the Anti-Life Entity?”
“That question is linked to a few other mysteries.” Azmuth said. “Fortunately, I believe I’ve uncovered enough of that particular backstory to make sense of them.”
“To start off with, I assume you’ve heard about the ancient Galvan-Human war from the synthetic Magisters?”
“They’ve mentioned it occasionally, but not with much detail.”
“I see. Well, ten thousand years ago, humanity was a much different species. More powerful. As it turned out, too powerful. The Galvan of that time predicted that if they were to ever achieve intergalactic travel, it would be an absolute bloodbath before long. As such, they decided to take care of the problem before it began.”
“With a war?”
“Not so much a ‘war’ as an absolute massacre. They didn’t stand a chance.”
“The Galvans. I don’t know the specifics, but the human species appear to have initially had some sort of ‘adaptive’ ability that allowed them to survive whatever the Galvans threw at them, then retaliate with twice the power. Eventually, the Galvans hit upon the idea of creating a genophage to end the war.”
“A genophage.” Moranna spoke up. “A virus designed to attack the overall genetic code of an organism.”
“Correct.” Azmuth said. “The genophage the Galvans engineered transformed the human species into what it is today. After that, evidence was altered, buried, and outright falsified to throw off archeological teams of the future. That’s basically where humans are now. Given the circumstances, however, I find it pertinent to do this.”
Azmuth pulled out a small capsule with a button on it. He pressed the button down, causing it to beep momentarily. The SpecTrix responded with a similar beep, the touchscreen indicating the uploading of a new DNA sample.
“That is a digitized version of the last remaining DNA sample of the original human race.” Azmuth explained. “Those involved with the war kept one around for the sake of record-keeping.”
“That’s nice and all, but what does this have to do with the Anti-Life Entity?” Tech asked.
“Given all the evidence, it’s highly likely that said Entity is the end result of what humans, or at least a human-like species, would evolve into if the species was left to its own devices, disregarding morality or the like.”
“You say that like evolution isn’t completely random.” Tech pointed out. “Thing is, it is.”
“To be frank, this isn’t something I wouldn’t even think of revealing under normal circumstances.” Azmuth sighed. “Unfortunately, these are very much the opposite of ‘normal circumstances’. To be clear, yes, evolution is mostly random, but once a species hits sentience, something I’ve dubbed ‘Kunenga Energy’ kicks in, forcing further changes to the species into a humanoid structure. Aside from that peculiar effect, Kunenga Energy is what gives each species its physics-defying abilities.”
“What do you mean?”
“Well, by all rights, a Pyronite shouldn’t be able to create massive explosions of fire, nor should a Gourmand be able to comfortably eat something ten times its own height and weight. Unless you take Kunenga Energy into account, things such as that should be physical impossibilities.”
“Where does all this stuff come from, anyways?” Napoleon asked.
“Sentient beings themselves. The closer to sentience an animal is, the more energy it produces, creating something of a feedback cycle until it achieves full sentience. One thing I haven’t figured out is why the cycle appears to either stop or slow significantly once sentience is reached, though I suppose that might be for the best. If a species had too much of it, they could potentially gain control over the energy itself.”
“Which would mean...?”
“Which would mean that reality itself could come crashing down at the hands of a single living organism.” Azmuth’s expression darkened. “I suspect that to be a key element in the Anti-Life Entity’s powers.”
“So basically you’re saying we’re screwed?” Tech grumbled. “Not very encouraging.”
“I did not come here to give you a ‘pep talk’, Logical.” Azmuth chided. “Besides, there still may be one last hope.”
“And what would that be?”
Azmuth gestured to the SpecTrix.
“The various transformation matrixes I’ve created.” He explained. “Their cores run on Kunenga Energy, which gives them their more outlandish properties.”
“Huh.” Tech glanced at the SpecTrix. “So, what do I do with this thing?”
“You need to-”
Azmuth was interrupted by a massive, unholy roaring sound coming from outside. The group rushed out of the shop and looked to the sky, finding it covered in a strange black energy. The roar slowly turned into a rumbling drone, ending in a massive explosion that rocked every part of the Earth. Sickly green energy suddenly began piercing the sky, ripping open tears in time and space.
“It’s too late!” Azmuth yelled. “Tech, you have to-”
Before Azmuth could finish his sentence, a green tear ripped open below Tech, dragging him through it. Moranna’s heightened reaction time kicked in, allowing her to reach for Tech before anyone else there. Unfortunately, even this was not fast enough, as the tear dragged Tech through it and promptly closed, causing Moranna’s hand to impact the ground.
“What the hell?!” She exclaimed.
“That...does not bode well.” Napoleon remarked worriedly.
“What now?” Igneoux asked.
Azmuth’s only reply was a look that said it all.
The Anti-Life Entity had been summoned.
Tech was gone.
There was nothing they could do.
Nothing but wait.
- Moranna Ceres
- Napoleon Eldridge
- Magister Blue
- Magister Red
- Magister Yellow
- Heatjet (Tech 10: Rebooted)
- Ultimate Rockoustic
- Electrolite (Tech 10: Rebooted)
Swarm 1 Aliens
- The Obsidian Death invades Earth, but is defeated by prepared military forces.
- Prelude reveals his true nature.
- Dethrouge regains his suit in an upgraded form.
- Azmuth reveals the history of the Human/Galvan war and the existence of Kunenga Energy.
- Tech gains access to Tech Δ.
- The Anti-Life Entity is summoned.
- Tech is dragged out of the universe to parts unknown.