TEN:SIGNAL Year 498 Three figures slowly climbed a path leading to the top of a small hill. Around them, stretching out all the way to the horizon, was a great plain completely filled by waste. A large part of it was metallic, but almost anything could be found here. Occasionally, one could run across the body of a dead unit of the Olmak Directive, discarded as a piece of malfunctioning equipment, for to the Directive, that was what they were.Even the hill the three beings were walking on was made solely of waste; other similar landmarks dotted the plain.Hovering above were five giant Olmak Portals, each connected to one of the other planets, excluding Clysmax and Enigma. Through these, waste was brought here, where it lay until its turn came to be processed by the giant machines assigned to this junkyard. From there, it would be sent it either to recycling, meltdown or conversion into energy.A small part of the waste, however, never made it to one of these three destinations. Occasionally, Resistance operatives infiltrated the junkyard and stole materials and damaged equipment to use them for their own ends. And that was what the three beings climbing the waste hill were doing.The leader, a leader-class Steltian, was carrying a scanning device, tuned to detect the kind of equipment they were looking for: communication devices, to replace malfunctioning ones at a Resistance base.The device suddenly beeped.“Found it,” whispered the Steltian, “It’s here, under two Bio of waste.”Another member of the group, a Bone Hunter, pulled out of his pack a long extendable pole with a mechanical claw at its end. He plunged it into the waste wall in front of them. A new beep from the scanner indicated it had reached its target. The Bone Hunter pulled it back out.The Steltian slightly smiled.“This was the last one. Let’s get back to the base.” Less than a day later the salvage team was at the base the communication devices were supposed to be supplied to, on Tanuuk.They were currently being analyzed by the base’s communication expert, a Vortixx called Halor, who was quite known in the Resistance for his ability to decipher Olmak Directive transmissions and to encrypt the Resistance’s own communications.He was equally known for having never participated in a battle or a mission on the field after his trial period: he seldom left the Tanuuk base at all. Many regarded him as a coward, but due to his usefulness, he had so far been allowed to remain in the Resistance.“Impressive,” he said, handling the last transmitter that had been recovered, “an old Promathus communication device. I didn’t think any still existed, but it will be far easier to integrate within our systems than the Directive’s devices. You said you found this in the Promathus junkyard?”“Yes,” said the Steltian who had lead the salvage team.“Well, congratulations. If we weren’t at war, this would surely be regarded as an important historical find. As it is, we need to find out if it still can work.”Halor grabbed a power cell and connected it to the transmitter. After a few seconds, its screen lit up as power flowed within its ancient circuits once more.Halor tapped a few commands. Immediately, a long list was displayed on the screen.“Incredible. There are still Promathus frequencies recorded on the transmitter. Unfortunately, I’ll have to remove them one by one.”He started tapping buttons again. A loud noise of static filled the room.“Nothing to worry about,” Halor muttered. “To remove each frequency, I need to activate it. As those frequencies haven’t been used for decades, this is all you can hear.”He started deleting the list. He had reached the thirteenth entry when, suddenly, the noise lessened. For a moment, all was quiet. Then an undistinguishable voice started coming from the transmitter:“If anyone can hear this…” He was alone. Around him, mountains rose. In the distance, he could see a desert. Above him, only the glowing Bluespace Ceiling.Energy was flowing across the landscape. Power sufficient to destroy cities, shatter mountains, obliterate planets. Yet he wasn’t harmed. No, the energy didn’t threaten him. It was flowing into him, strengthening him and healing him.He raised his head, and he saw them. Five huge masses of rock, floating in the sky just above the horizon. And at the center, an orb of impossibly bright light: a portal, with a place on the other side that he knew well…He woke suddenly. For a moment, he wondered what had just happened. Then the truth dawned upon him: he had been asleep, and he had been dreaming.Again.It was almost an year since he had begun having these strange dreams. Before, his few dreams had been filled with pain and confusion. But these were different. He felt they were important, that they contained information which could prove invaluable to his cause. But he had soon decided that he wouldn’t take action based solely on his dreams, even though they were getting more and more persuasive.Someone knocked at his door.“Come in,” he said.An Agori entered the small room.“Sir, there is a communication for you.”Shadow nodded.“Very well.” “If anyone can hear this, it means that Promathus has fallen to the unknown force that has attacked us today, the one hundred forty-seventh day of the Year 354. The information contained in this message may be vital if re-conquest is ever attempted.Shortly after the fall of the Aethion Empire, a secret program was embedded in all Promathus machines, which would enable someone with the correct access code to gain control over them should the planet be conquered. That program is still there, and I believe it may have escaped detection. It is too dangerous to transmit the codes or my identity should this message be intercepted. You must track it to my location. I’m probably a slave of the enemy by now, for the rest of the population has been enslaved, but I have ensured this knowledge is not accessed by them. However, I will still have to be freed for it to be used. I hope a method has been discovered to do so.”Shadow and a few others listened quietly to the message being transmitted from Halor’s base. When it was over, the leader of the Resistance spoke:“Why was this never detected before?”“Promathus frequencies haven’t been used for decades, sir. And besides, this one is quite unique, very difficult to pick up. We were lucky this transmitter was programmed to receive it.”“Do you believe the Olmak Directive could intercept it?”“Anything is possible, sir, but even for it this would be very hard.”“Have you attempted to track it?”“Yes, sir. It’s coming from Promathus, but scans will have to be performed there to have a more precise location.”Shadow nodded. Another listener spoke up:“Sir, do you believe this to be authentic? It seems unlikely the Olmak Directive hasn’t discovered a virus within its systems by now.”Shadow was silent for a moment.“No, it is authentic. If the Olmak Directive had discovered the virus, they would have probably learned who implanted it and eventually would have discovered the transmission. And the Directive is nothing but thorough. If they had found out about this signal, they would have instantly eliminated it. It is real, and it might be our best opportunity since the Leader’s destruction to inflict serious damage on our enemy.”Then he turned to Halor.“You will go to Promathus to perform the scans. The Mata Nui will pick you up as soon as possible.”Halor’s eyes widened.“Sir… you want me to do it?”“You’re the most qualified. And you will also participate in the mission to liberate whoever has sent the message.”“Sir. I’ve never been on a field mission since…”“Irrelevant,” Shadow cut him off. “You have your orders.”He ended the communication. Then he turned to the Agori at the communication station.“Get me Captain Limu.” Following the destruction of the Leader eight years before, the Resistance had been faced with several problems. The casualties in the battle had been severe: more than three quarters of its members had been killed, and, except for a two or three ships, its entire fleet had been destroyed.Most of its dead members had been quickly replaced, as the destruction of the Leader had freed thousands of living units. But the fleet had been a real loss. For several years afterwards, the Resistance had been able to conduct only minor operations. It had been during its reconstruction that it had acquired a new flagship: the Mata Nui.A flash of blue light over Promathus’s sea marked its arrival on the planet. A quick glance would have revealed it was much bigger than the typical Resistance ship. Its shape was also different: its forward section was disk-shaped; at its rear, an upside-down triangular pyramid with inward-curved sides connected it to the lower section, shaped as an elliptic cylinder.Two large support beams connected the lower section to two parallelepiped-shaped propellers, one per side.Its size, shape and white color immediately gave the impression of it being powerful and advanced. Impression that was correct, for the Mata Nui hadn’t been built by the Resistance. It was an Izumal cruiser, and as such employed BD technology, unlike the simple sonic weapons carried by Resistance ships, which made it a match for up to three Giant Hawks.Its systems also occupied a much smaller space, leaving room for up to a thousand crewmen. For the Resistance, this was the equivalent of a base, and for that reason the Mata Nui was considered a mobile base. It was probably the most important resource the Resistance had access to.“Re-activate the cloaking device. Get us in orbit,” ordered Captain Limu. Following the destruction of the Leader, the Izumal native had decided to remain in the Resistance. His abilities and familiarity with Izumal technology had quickly led him to gain command of the Mata Nui.As the flagship rose, the shape of the Promathus Superstation started occupying the screen. This had been the first Superstation, constructed shortly after the Olmak Directive had taken over Promathus. It had provided a template for the Izumal Superstation, which had been destroyed eight years before.“Has the Directive detected us?” asked Anwrak, second-in-command of the Mata Nui.“No, sir,” answered an officer. “They lost track of us as soon as we engaged the cloaking device.”“Maintain position. Anwrak, go assist Halor. Inform me immediately on any progress.”“Yes, sir.”Anwrak got up from his chair and left the bridge. He quickly made his way to the sensor array, which Halor was supposed to be using. He found the door that led inside the room locked.What is he doing?A command code quickly got the door opened. Inside, Halor was busy tapping several commands on the sensors’ console.“Why was the door locked?” asked Anwrak.The Vortixx raised his head and only then noticed the Avagori.“I’m sorry, sir,” he said. “I’m used to my privacy back on Tanuuk. If everything goes well, I’ll be back there soon and this won’t happen again.”Anwrak ignored this last remark. Then he asked for a status report.“I’ve already excluded most of the planet’s surface. It should only be a matter of minutes…”Just then the console beeped. Halor quickly turned his attention back to it.“Wait a moment. This is odd. The source of the transmission isn’t on the planet’s surface. Then where…?”“Only one other place,” said Anwrak. “The Superstation.”A few minutes later, Anwrak, Halor, Limu and a few other officers were in the Mata Nui’s briefing room.“Is there no doubt?” asked Limu.“None,” replied Halor. “The signal is coming from the Superstation’s southern hemisphere, 5 Kio from one of the main assembly facilities and 16 Kio below the surface.”“We have located a cargo lift shaft which leads to a location 1.5 Kio from our objective, but we still don’t know how to penetrate the Superstation,” said Anwrak.“How large is the shaft?” asked Limu.“About 2.5 Bio.”“So it’s large enough for a shuttlecraft.”“What do you mean, sir?”“Can a shuttlecraft be reinforced to penetrate the armor of the Superstation?”“No, sir,” said the chief engineer. “It is too thick. It would have to already have been weakened to be penetrated.”“Can the Mata Nui’s weapons do that?”“Yes, sir, but it would take large amounts of energy, and they would have to penetrate the shields first.”“Is it possible?”“Yes, but only for a few moments and in a small area.”“Make the opportune modifications. Once the shields and armor have been penetrated, a reinforced shuttlecraft will make its way to the bottom of the shaft. From there, the away team will proceed on foot.”“Sir,” said Anwrak, “piloting a shuttlecraft through a shaft where it barely fits is quite difficult.”“We don’t have much choice. We certainly can’t expect the away team to climb down a 16 Kio-long shaft on foot.”“Very well, sir. I’ll lead the away team.” The Olmak Directive: Review Topic
Edited by Toa of Italy, Oct 17 2011 - 09:17 AM.