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The Olmak Directive


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#1 Offline Toa of Italy

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Posted Oct 14 2011 - 01:23 AM

Previous chapters here.

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.

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#2 Offline Toa of Italy

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Posted Oct 15 2011 - 08:09 AM

ELEVEN:ATTACK

One of the doors leading to the Mata Nui’s bridge opened. Limu emerged. The captain made his way to his chair, then ordered the Superstation on screen.“Are we ready?” he asked.“Yes,” said the chief engineer, standing next to a console. “We rerouted as much power as we could to weapons and shields. They should hold for about two minutes. By concentrating all BD weapons in the same point, the Superstation’s shields should be breached in about half that time. After that, our torpedoes should manage to penetrate the armor, though we’ll have to use all of them.”“How much power will be left?”“Not much. Enough to cloak and reach one of our bases, but it will be a close call.”“How long will it take to recharge?”“About an hour, though we’ll have to run several diagnostics afterwards.”“Very well. Anwrak,” he then said to the Avagori sitting next to him, “you’ve heard. Equip yourselves with what you need to hold out for an hour. We’ll be back as soon as we can.”“Understood, sir.”“Then go. And let’s do this.”Anwrak made his way to the shuttle bay. The weapons and other equipment they were going to need was being loaded on the shuttle as he was walking. The other members of the away team joined him on the way. The Avagori had picked out the best, experienced both in stealth and combat missions. They would be joined by Halor and another Resistance fighter, a peculiar yet very valuable one. He had no name, but went by the name of his species, since he was probably the only one of them left. When the Olmak Directive had conquered Aethion, his species hadn’t been deemed worthy of integration and had been exterminated. He had stayed in hiding for more than a century, finally emerging and contacting the Resistance six years before. He had little experience with authority and organizations, but he was a Krahka, and what he lacked he made up with sheer power. After six years, he was one of the best fighters in the Resistance, and for that reason Anwrak had recruited him for the away mission.The away team entered the shuttlebay and boarded their craft. Halor and the Krahka were already waiting for them. The former had a tense, nervous look on his face, and kept looking around as if trying to find a way to escape, the latter was displaying no emotion behind the mask of his current shape, that of a Toa of Sonics.“Everything ready?” asked Anwrak. Everyone nodded.The Avagori called the bridge.“We’re ready.”The Olmak Directive wasn’t taken by surprise. Or rather, it was, but it instantly reacted. The Mata Nui de-cloaked. Even as BD beams and bolts all impacted on the shields of the Superstation at the exact same point, Bluespace weapons were already bombarding the ship.“Shields are weakening!” reported an officer. “Damage reports are coming in from all decks!”A conduit behind a console suddenly exploded. Several officers were violently thrown across the bridge.“Continue firing! We have to make a hole in their shields,” said Limu.Half a minute passed. Nothing. A full minute. Still nothing. Then, suddenly, sensors registered a breach in the enemy’s shields.“Fire every single torpedo we have through that hole!” ordered Limu.Missiles started emerging from an opening in the Mata Nui’s front hull. They sailed through the breach in the Superstation’s shields and impacted onto its armor, but without any visible effect.“Shields are failing!” yelled an officer.“What is the status of the armor?”“It has been weakened. It may be enough for the shuttle to tear through it.”“It will have to do. Anwrak,” said the captain through the communications, “go!”The Avagori heard him. Even as the ship shook, the shuttle took off and flew out of the shuttlebay doors. It sailed through the breach in the wake of the Mata Nui’s last torpedo, even as the ship itself cloaked.The Superstation opened fire on the shuttle, but its shields held for the first few moments. The surface of the structure drew closer and closer.“Brace for impact!” yelled Anwrak.The collision was terrible. Everything went dark and everyone was hurled off their seats. Anwrak was sure he heard someone’s armor crack. When he finally managed to get up, what he saw wasn’t comforting. The shuttle’s propulsion was offline and the craft was in free fall inside the elevator shaft. Anwrak took the controls and re-activated the engines. He noticed several parts of the hull were cracked, but they would have to wait.The shuttlecraft’s descent was almost vertical, but the artificial gravity was making moving inside it a lot easier. Still, navigating inside a tube barely larger than the ship itself wasn’t easy. On several occasions, the hull brushed against the sides of the shaft, and only quick action by Anwrak saved them from collision.They encountered the elevator a few feet from their target. A few weapon blasts disposed of it. Then they were there. The shuttle opened fire and carved a hole in the shaft’s side. Then Anwrak piloted the craft into the opening. He smashed through a series of conveyor belts before finally landing the shuttle in the middle of a large cargo sorting hall.“Everyone out, quickly! Seal this hall!”The away team gathered their weapons and emerged from the shuttle. Several robotic snakes were already converging on the room. The away team shot and blasted each one as it appeared, but it rapidly became evident they were fighting a hopeless fight.Then, from inside the shuttle, Anwrak initiated a BD pulse, which knocked out every snake and security system in the room. The away team quickly sealed the openings leading into the hall, even as Anwrak maneuvered the shuttle into the hole they had made to get in, to prevent any machine from accessing the hall that way.Then the Avagori emerged from the craft and joined the rest of the team.“Good. Now, this is going to be base camp for the next hour. We’ll have to hold the Olmak Directive off until the Mata Nui is back for us. Meanwhile, Halor will follow the signal to its origin. Krahka and Makal will go with him. If the information we have is correct, the source of the signal is a unit that will have to be liberated. Take the necessary equipment. Call us only if it’s extremely urgent. We can’t have the Olmak Directive track you. Now go, we’ll cover you. Good luck.”Another member of the away mission unsealed one of the conduits leading into the room. She threw inside a sonic bomb, which instantly exploded, disabling every machine that was trying to get inside. In the resulting confusion, Halor, Krahka and Makal, equipped with Undetection devices, climbed into the tube, which was sealed behind them.“And now we wait,” said Anwrak.“Look out!” screamed someone.Anwrak turned and blasted a snake that had been creeping up behind him.The away team hadn’t been able to hold the hall for long. The machines had quickly forced their way inside. The battle had been going on for almost an hour. The Mata Nui would soon be back; so, Anwrak hoped, would the rest of the team.Right now half the hall had been taken by the Directive. The Resistance had set up a barricade, protected by a few portable shield generators, but while they deflected Bluespace fire, they weren’t strong enough to keep the machines from passing through them.“How many grenades do we still have?” yelled Anwrak.“Only three!”“Use one! Keep those snakes away from the shield generator!”A sonic explosion temporarily deafened the Avagori. That didn’t stop him from seeing the snakes around the generator collapse. But more were coming.“Where are they?” muttered Anwrak.Just then, a voice came from the communication.For a moment, Anwrak thought it was Shadow’s. Then he realized that Krahka must have shape-shifted into their leader’s more powerful form to fight the machines.“Anwrak, we succeeded. We freed the unit. But the machines have detected us. Halor is wounded. We are trying to make it back, but we may not be able…”An explosion covered the next few words. Then came the sound of metal being torn apart. Then Krahka spoke again:“We may not be able to make it on time. We need a few more minutes.”“Impossible,” said Anwrak. “We are besieged ourselves. We can’t last long.”“Get a message out to the Mata Nui. Tell them to wait. We are only a few minutes from your position.”“We can’t…”And then Anwrak heard the flashes of Bluespace weapons. A large sonic explosion followed and then a terrible sound: that of a Bluespace beam, the one the machines used to integrate people into the Olmak Directive. Anwrak thought he heard Makal scream. Then nothing.“All of you,” shouted the Avagori, “ back to the shuttle. We can’t do anything more here.”Everyone obeyed, even as the machines blew apart the last barricade.A few more minutes passed, with the away team desperately defending their last position. Then a message came through the communicators, but this one was from the Mata Nui.“We are right above the Superstation. We’re waiting for you. Hurry!”The shuttle started moving. Another member of the team was piloting it, even as Anwrak used his light powers to weld shut the cracks in the hull.The hole in the armor of the Superstation they had used to get in was already partially repaired. The shuttle’s weapons blazed in the effort to blast it open again. Then the craft rammed through, emerging into open space.“Hull breach!” cried someone. A vacuum instantly formed.“Hold on!” yelled Anwrak, even as he transferred the last power available to the propulsion systems…He opened his eyes.“Where am I?”“You’re in the medical bay, on the Mata Nui. You’re going to be fine,” said Limu.“Did everyone survive?”“Yes.”“Captain, we failed. Krahka, Makal and Halor… they’re dead, or integrated.”Limu nodded.“I will inform Shadow.”He was looking at the Bluespace Ceiling. Through its blue veils, he could see the other seven planets. Five were well visible; two were not. And as his gaze focused on one of the latter, a circle of azure light opened in front of him. He stepped inside and found himself engulfed by clouds of azure energy. For a moment, he felt lost. Then a path appeared in front of him, a path of light. He started walking along it, and as he moved forward he could see other things following him: huge ships, carrying many people. And he was leading them, leading them to an important place.And then, suddenly, he was there. Around him, six huge masses of rock orbited, as well as several smaller asteroids. The path of light didn’t end there, but became a staircase. He climbed it to one of the large masses, which was covered on the upper side with mountains, canyons and deserts. Then the staircase turned into a beam of power, which struck the surface of the rock mass. Huge waves of energy washed upon the landscape, converging on him. They struck, and started feeding him more and more strength. It was a familiar sensation, but he didn’t know why. Then he looked at himself, and he saw arms and legs of rock, with patches of Bluespace all over his body. He screamed in horror, and everything started going dark. Black shadows covered everything. The last thing to go was the azure portal through which he had come. And as it winked out, he heard a voice: “Come!”Shadow awoke suddenly. Another dream. But more intense than anything he had experienced before. And the voice, which he had never heard before. His recollection of the experience was also very vivid, something which had never happened before. Or had it? His mind was suddenly filled with the memories of his previous dreams. Shadow found himself piecing them together, filling the gaps with the faint memories of his time as a Leader.And then realization struck him. He suddenly knew what the dreams had been communicating him: a way to destroy, once and for all, the Olmak Directive. In his heart, he had always known this, he realized. But he had chosen to forsake the dreams, bury them deep within himself and forget about them. But now he couldn’t do so anymore.We had an opportunity, with that signal from Promathus, to damage the Olmak Directive, possibly beyond repair. But we failed. Now, only a few days later, a new opportunity presents itself. I can’t, I won’t allow this one to slip away.He marched to the base’s communication station.“Contact the entire fleet,” he ordered. “I want every captain here within two days.”The Olmak Directive: Review Topic

Edited by Toa of Italy, Oct 15 2011 - 08:10 AM.

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#3 Offline Toa of Italy

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Posted Oct 16 2011 - 12:33 PM

TWELVE:

DEPARTURE

“Welcome,” said Shadow to the assembled captains. “This summon may have seemed abrupt to some of you, but I can assure you it is of the outmost importance.”He paused.“As you all know, shortly after the rise to power of the Olmak Directive, the Bluespace Walls around Clysmax completely obscured that planet. We don’t know why, but we have always assumed it has a particular significance for the Olmak Directive. I now can confirm this. The planet of Clysmax is, in fact, the most important location of all for the Directive.”“Why?” asked someone.“I don’t know,” said Shadow. Then, as whispers started filling the hall, he raised his voice.“But it doesn’t matter. All my knowledge comes from my few memories as a Leader, and isn’t complete. But I can assure you, it’s authentic.”No one objected. On Izumal, Shadow’s information would have been questioned, analyzed and discussed. But here, in the Resistance, everyone remembered what his leadership had led them to, and if he was certain about something, no one would object.“There is more. Clysmax isn’t only important, it’s unique. Without it, the Olmak Directive won’t survive. If it were destroyed, we could, once and for all, achieve victory.”“How could we reach Clysmax?”“We can’t use an Olmak Portal, naturally. But there is another way. By traveling through Azurespace, we can eventually reach that planet. I have managed to plot a course which should take us to it.”“And what about Izumal?” asked Limu.“We have no time. You know better than anyone of us, Captain, that it would take some time before Izumal decided to act on my information. But I don’t know if, when that happens, it will still be possible to reach Clysmax through Azurespace. We have to act now, before this opportunity slips away.”“How will we proceed?” asked another captain.“The crossing of Azurespace is treacherous, and even more so on the road to Clysmax. The bulk of the fleet will have to go,” Shadow ignored the whispers of concern echoing around. “We will leave ten ships and a thousand Resistance members behind. While the rest of the fleet is away, they’ll have to limit themselves to minimal risk missions.”“How will we proceed once we’ve reached Clysmax?”“All ships will equip themselves with our highest-yield torpedoes. Once we reach Clysmax, they will be used to completely destroy the planet’s fragments and moons.”“Won’t such an important location be defended?”“Probably, but I doubt in a very significant way. We would know if a large amount of resources had been devoted to defending Clysmax. The Olmak Directive doesn’t act in secret. Any other questions?”No one spoke.“Then you’re dismissed. Prepare yourselves and your ships. We have a long and difficult journey ahead.”Fierce winds blew high over Barrawahi’s sea. Below, huge waves rose from the water. In the midst of all this, an Olmak Portal hovered, but one without a dimensional gate: a simple azure hole in space. Then, suddenly, a second opening appeared in the air, but this wasn’t blue, but rather the color of artificial light. Within a few moments, it vanished, with no obvious purpose achieved. For those beyond the opening, however, the purpose was evident.A message went from the shuttlebay to the bridge of the cloaked Mata Nui:“Shadow’s shuttle has just landed.”Within a few minutes, the leader of the Resistance was on the bridge.“Welcome, sir,” said Limu.Shadow didn’t reply. Instead, he ordered to be put through to the other ships.“This is Shadow to the fleet. De-cloak and follow the Mata Nui into the portal. You will receive our course in a few minutes. Stay together and run constant scans of the surrounding Azurespace. Shadow out.”In front of the Olmak Portal, the Mata Nui de-cloaked. Another Resistance ship followed, then another. The ships’ number went from one to forty, then to sixty, finally stopping at sixty-two. In comparison to the Olmak Directive’s forces, as well as Izumal’s, it was pitifully small. But it was enough to completely obliterate a planet, or at least, an un-defended one. Shadow knew that if Clysmax had more defenses than he had imagined, the plan would most likely fail. But his dreams had told him there was no danger, and he believed them.“Take us in,” he ordered. The Resistance fleet flew into the portal. Within a few minutes, no more ships were visible through the veils of Azurespace.The creature rushed through its blue realm. Though an ordinary eye wouldn’t have seen them, the creature knew it would soon reach the intruders. There were several of them, and so far they had managed to repel the assaults of the creature’s brethren. But not this time. This time there were too many of them. They wouldn’t be stopped.Suddenly the intruders were in front of them. There were several of them, and they were all traveling together. They were all larger than the creature, but it knew it had numbers on its side. It accelerated, and its brethren did so as well. For the creature knew that their size, number and the fact that they were traveling together didn’t matter. The only important thing was that their journey would be brought to an abrupt halt.“Sir, they’re coming. A swarm of Azurespace creatures, right from above!”“Shields up,” ordered Limu. “Prepare to return fire.”Ever since they had entered Azurespace, almost three weeks before, the creatures native to this dimension had been attacking them. But they had been small attacks, nothing they hadn’t been able to handle. But this different; Anwrak felt it. This time the full might of the Azurespace creatures would smash onto them.“Put me through to the fleet,” said Shadow. The communications’ officer obeyed.“This is Shadow to all ships. Combine your shields and stay together. Do not stop and do not hesitate to fire on the creatures. We must not let them surround us.”The Resistance fleet accelerated, but everyone knew it couldn’t stay ahead of the Azurespace creatures for long. The swarm gained on it, more and more. The Mata Nui, which had moved at the rear of the fleet to better protect it, opened fire. The other ships followed suit. But they only slowed the swarm down. Then the impact came. The creatures smashed into the shields and unleashed energy discharges in an attempt to break through.Then they started spreading along the shield rim.“Don’t let them do it,” said Shadow. “Keep them bottled up in a single spot.”The Mata Nui’s weapons roared. Even as the other ships used sonic waves to prevent the creatures from swarming all over the shields, the flagship attacked the swarm directly with its BD torpedoes.Then, suddenly, the ship shook.“Another swarm, ahead of us!”It happened all too fast. The fleet smashed right into the second swarm, which immediately attacked the Resistance ships. It surrounded the combined shielding, until the only thing that could be seen through the energy field was the glow of the creatures.Energy discharges started rocking the combined shields. The Resistance’s weapons fired, but every hole blasted in the swarm was filled by new creatures.Then a hole opened in the shields and the creatures quickly exploited it. In a few instants, they all broke through the field, cutting off the ships from each other.The Mata Nui activated its short range weapons, which held off the creatures trying to attach themselves to its hull long enough for its shields to be restored. But the other, less advanced ships weren’t so lucky. Most were able to get their shields back online, but the creatures started unleashing energy discharges, threatening to shatter the thin energy fields.Suddenly the Mata Nui received a report: one of the vessels had a hull breach, and the creatures were breaking in.Immediately Anwrak said:“They’ll need help. I can lead a team there.”Limu nodded, and Shadow didn’t object.“Activate connecting deck. I want fifteen armed crewmembers to meet me at the entrance,” said the Avagori, before leaving the bridge.A long, hollow tube flew from the Mata Nui’s lower section through the swarm of creatures, finally latching itself onto the damaged ship. Anwrak and his team made their way through it to the second vessel.The connecting deck had latched onto a hatch in the other ship’s hull. Anwrak opened it and crawled through. He found himself on the bridge, in the midst of a battle. Blue beings, beautiful and yet terrible, were flying all around the room, blasting everything in their way. The crew was mounting a defense, but the sheer speed and power of the creatures, along with their growing numbers, was making it difficult.Anwrak opened fire with his sonic rifle, even as the other members of the team did the same. In response, the creatures unleashed Blue Energy chain lightning, which struck two members of the Avagori’s team, incinerating them.The crossfire continued for a few minutes. Then a bulkhead of the bridge collapsed, creating another breach. More creatures swarmed in.It’s useless, thought Anwrak even as a creature enveloped a Toa and an Agori in its energy, instantly killing them.Then a memory suddenly came to him. A strategy that he had seen used by the crew of the first ship he had served on following the Leader’s destruction. He quickly located the console regulating the power distribution.“Cover me!” he yelled to his team. Then he made a run for the console. A creature flew into his path, but he fired savagely at it until it was gone. Once at the console, he transferred all power, except that of the propulsion systems, to the weapons, so rapidly he initiated an overload. Then he covered his ears.The weapons overloaded. The resulting explosion of sound vaporized most of the creatures on the ship. It also deafened the entire crew, at least temporarily, and it created a third hull breach. More creatures headed for it, but then an energy field hindered them. The Mata Nui had arrived, extending its shields around the other ship.“Report,” the Avagori heard Limu say through the communications’ system when his hearing returned.“We have nothing but propulsion, but most of us are still alive.”“Get back to the Mata Nui. You have to…”Then, suddenly, an explosion was heard, followed by two more.“Oh, my…” gasped Anwrak. His Avagori senses quickly detected the cause of the explosions: three ships had just been destroyed.He left most of his team on the damaged ship, while he himself returned to the Resistance’s flagship. He emerged from the connecting deck to find that other ships had also been connected to the Mata Nui.He contacted the bridge.“What’s happening?”“Anwrak,” answered Limu, “you must initiate a power transfer from the ship connected to us to the Mata Nui, then channel it to the shields.”“Understood.”Halfway through the process, he realized the plan. It would leave the Mata Nui shield-less, but it would provide the fleet a chance to escape.Then it was time. On the bridge, an overload of the shields was initiated. Then the energy field exploded, blowing the creatures surrounding the ship back, but most of all creating an intense flash of light. At that moment, each ship simultaneously powered its engines and flew clear of the swarm, which, blinded as it was by the explosion of light, wasn’t able to pursue. The Mata Nui fired six torpedoes to cover their escape.Then it was over. Cheers broke out all over the ship. After a few moments, Shadow ordered to all ships: “Damage report.”As the reports came in, Anwrak’s mood worsened. Twenty-two ships had lost weapons, others had multiple hull breaches.Most of all, three ships had been lost, and one would most likely need to be abandoned.This was only the first battle. How many will we still be when we get to Clysmax?Almost as if in answer to his question, Shadow spoke to the fleet again:“We will survive. We have lost many today, but their deaths will be avenged. We will continue, and when we get to Clysmax, we will destroy the Olmak Directive. We will prevail.”Cheers broke out again. But Anwrak didn’t join in. For the first time since he had joined theResistance, he doubted Shadow’s words.Anything can happen. We have a long journey ahead of us…The Olmak Directive: Review Topic

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#4 Offline Toa of Italy

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Posted Oct 17 2011 - 09:06 AM

THIRTEEN:THE SEVENTH PLANET

Year 499 Azurespace was without end. No one had ever been able to discover borders of any kind, so a ship could in theory travel forever within this realm. However, the few ships that crossed this dimension remained on the currents crisscrossing it, so there were vast areas, where no currents existed, that were still completely unexplored.One such region, however, would not remain unexplored for long. A small fleet of ships had just entered it.If anyone had looked at them, he or she would have immediately thought of ghost ships. All of them were damaged in some way. Scorch marks dotted their hulls, which were breached in several places. The light from their propellers often winked out, and for a few moments, it would look like the ship would stop, never to move again. Then the system re-activated itself and the ship kept going.But it wasn’t just the damage that gave this impression. It was the feeling of hopelessness and resignation coming from the ships. They were flying on, but they seemed resigned to a journey without end. And it wasn’t just an impression.In his quarters, on the Mata Nui, Shadow sat, deep in thought. It was one year since their journey had begun. They had been under constant attack; between the Azurespace creatures, and the energy storms, they had lost thirty-three ships, and others were badly damaged.Recently, however, the attacks had stopped. Shadow believed the fleet had entered a region of Azurespace so remote even the native creatures didn’t live in it. But there were other problems. Their supplies were running out. The species that could be recharged by energy had already been forbidden to consume actual food, instead “feeding” off converted Azurespace energy. And morale was becoming dangerously low. In two cases, they had come close to a mutiny. Shadow had decided that, if within a month they didn’t reach their objective, they would turn backHe had made the decision reluctantly. He was still having his dreams, and thanks to them the course to Clysmax was as clear as it had been at the beginning of their journey, even though it was a course only he could see. But he also had to take into consideration the crews’ welfare, and he knew they couldn’t bear much more of this journey. At that moment, he was called over the communication system:“Shadow to the bridge.”“On my way,” he answered.As he walked through the corridors, he kept spotting reminders of how close they had come to annihilation. Scorched walls, collapsed bulkheads, even a few hull breaches. Occasionally, he met a crewmember who seemed in trance: a clear sign he or she was taking a drug of some kind. Drugs had already existed back when they had left, but until then Shadow and most of the captains had kept the situation under control. But now, drugs that took one’s mind off the struggle for survival their journey had become were very popular.Shadow reached the bridge.“What is it?”“We have picked up something strange on sensors, sir,” said Anwrak.Captain Limu didn’t speak. The Toa of Stone, nine months into the journey, had been struck by a huge energy discharge. He had survived, but most of his body had been crushed. He could still command the ship, but he had difficulties moving and even breathing, so he only spoke when necessary.“What is it?” asked Shadow.“We should be seeing it now.”Indeed, the outline of something had started appearing on the screen. As the fleet drew closer, the crew saw it was something massive. Then what it was became clear. What was looming in front of the fleet was a huge spherical structure.“Shields up,” ordered Limu. “Weapons ready.”Similar orders were conveyed to the rest of the fleet.“Have they detected us?” asked Shadow.“No,” answered an officer. “The Superstation appears to be completely inactive.”“Should we open fire?” asked someone.“No,” replied Limu. “The Superstation seems inactive, but we don’t know why. Any aggressive action we take could result in its reactivation, and we can’t risk that.”“However,” said Shadow, “this means we must be close. This Superstation must be protecting Clysmax.”Relief and excitement rippled through the crew. The end of their journey, at last!“Keep the shields up,” Shadow ordered to the entire fleet. “But apart from that, try to reduce your energy output to a minimum. Limit your communications and active scans. Proceed carefully.”The fleet started circumnavigating the Superstation. They quickly reached the other side and kept going for a few minutes. Then, suddenly, someone said:“I’m picking up an opening.”Now it could also be seen on the screen. And through it, a planet could be seen. A shattered planet. Clysmax. After the cheers on the bridge had subdued, Shadow and Limu began issuing orders.“What is the status of the high-yield torpedoes? Do we have enough to destroy the planet?” asked the Resistance leader.“Yes, but we’ll have to target specific spots on the Fragments and Shards.”“Very well. What about the cloaking devices?”“Ours is functioning, but the ones on ten ships are not.”“Begin repairs. Once we’re through, we will remain cloaked until we can find the right spots to target, but until every primary system on each ship is restored, we’re staying inside Azurespace.”After a few hours, it became obvious that complete repairs would take several days. It took two weeks for them to be completed and during that time the fleet stayed inside Azurespace, beyond scanning range for anything outside the portal.On the final day, tension was almost tangible. All checks were finally complete and a mission plan had been established. Shadow sat at his place on the bridge. For a moment, he was silent. Then he gave the order:“Take us out. Be prepared to cloak.”The fleet started moving. The ships advanced toward the portal. They approached it… and then they were through.Cloaking devices were immediately turned on. With that first protection activated, the crews could finally get a look at the mysterious seventh planet.The sight was wondrous. No one but Shadow had ever seen Clysmax before, and even he hadn’t for a very long time.The six Fragments, the various Shards and several smaller asteroids all orbited around a central spot, which was where the portal they had emerged from was located, just above a small asteroid. Beyond them, the Bluespace Walls, visibly thicker than usual.There was almost no trace of the civilization that had once inhabited the planet; nearly every Shard and Fragment returned, for some reason, to its natural state. The only thing that remained was the forcefield keeping Clysmax’s artificial atmosphere contained, though the satellites emitting it were gone.But when the screen visualized the portal they had come from, something even odder was seen. Three beams of energy were shooting from it, striking three Shard Moons. The fleet moved closer to one, even as the screen zoomed in. When the Mata Nui got close enough, Anwrak spotted a small figure on the surface.“That’s a Leader,” gasped the Avagori.“What?” asked someone.“Confirmed,” said an officer. “It is a Leader. The beam appears to be feeding Blue Energy, along with Elemental Energy which the Shard is somehow emitting, into it. I think it may, somehow, recharge it.”“Yes,” said Shadow. “And when Clysmax is destroyed, the Leaders will no longer be able to recharge. They will die, and take the Olmak Directive with them.”Anwrak was astonished, and he saw everyone on the bridge was as well. But Shadow called them back to their duty.“Start scanning for weak points in the Fragments and Shards. Do not let your guard down. There may be defenses we aren’t aware of here.”He had just finished speaking when a flash of blue light was seen on the screen.“What was that?”“A Blue Energy explosion.”“Source?”“Unknown.”The ship shook.“Another explosion, closer.”“I may have something, sir,” said Anwrak, who had gone over to the sensors console. “There is an energy web spanning the entire planet. I think they’re coming from there.”“An energy web? Where?”“I think it runs inside the Bluespace stratum “flattened” by the planet’s gravity. I don’t know how it’s possible.”Just then, the ship shook more violently.“The energy has just hit. No damage, but it’s rendering the cloaks useless.”“Shields!” ordered Shadow abruptly.Just in time. Suddenly, artificial weapons emerged from the surface of at least two hundred asteroids. Bluespace bolts started striking the Resistance fleet, rapidly weakening their shields.“Return fire!” shouted Shadow. But then, the enemy weapons stopped firing. A voice echoed in Shadow’s ears, the same voice he had been hearing in his dreams for the past year.“Come to the portal!” The shuttle took off from the Mata Nui’s main shuttlebay and flew toward the asteroid in front of the Olmak Portal. Above, the Resistance fleet hovered.“What should we expect, sir?” asked Anwrak.“I don’t know,” said Shadow. Even though his voice wasn’t showing it, he was afraid: afraid of having made a terrible mistake, of having doomed the Resistance to destruction. “But it may be our only hope of survival.”The craft landed. Immediately, Resistance fighters jumped out, weapons ready. But what they saw made them stop in astonishment.Blue Energy was emerging from the portal. At first, it was at random. Then it coalesced into a figure, still partially inside the portal.“You have come,” said the figure, with a voice that seemed full of wisdom. “After all this time, you have chosen to embrace us again and to help us reach the final goal.”“Who are you?” said Shadow.“Am I already forgotten?” asked the figure. “When we were created, when what you call the Olmak Directive was born, I was there. When, on that day, the realm you call Azurespace was created, I was the only one of the beings living inside to become part of this great consciousness. You gave me thought, and in return, I became the one who would moderate, who would bring order, who would find solutions when none could be found.”“You brought me here, didn’t you?” said Shadow.“It was time. You were separated from us to achieve our final goal, but it was time that you joined us again.”This time he wasn’t able to stop himself. Shadow’s eyes widened.“You freed me? But why?”“To achieve our goal. Have you forgotten that too? An existence beyond anything you can imagine. But to reach it, we needed to integrate into our consciousness as many minds as possible, minds belonging to individuals. When it became clear it was going to be difficult finding them on Izumal, we cast you out, so that you would detach more minds from our consciousness, allowing them to develop. Now it is finally time to bring those minds back into our own.”Suddenly an Olmak Portal opened. Through it, the away team could see the planet of Izumal.“You must convince them, and your Resistance as well, to join us. We know you can do it.”“What if I don’t?” whispered Shadow.“Nine years ago, you destroyed one the ones you call Leaders. You have become too disruptive. If you won’t join us, you’ll be destroyed.”For a few seconds, no one spoke. Anwrak and the rest of the away team were filled by dread. What would Shadow’s decision be? But in the heart of the Resistance’s leader, the decision had already been made.“No. I won’t condemn free people to a life of slavery.”“It isn’t slavery. When we reach our goal, they will all reach a new level of existence.”“I don’t believe you.”“Then this is what you’ve doomed them too.”Suddenly, lightning emerged from the Bluespace Walls around Izumal. It struck the planet, multiple times. Even from the Olmak Portal, so far from the surface, the visible damage was massive. Lightning continued to strike the surface, even as the Olmak Portal changed destination.“They’re gone,” said the entity. “This is your last chance. Will at least your Resistance join us?”Once again, Shadow was silent for a few moments.But his answer didn’t change: “No.”A bolt of Blue Energy shot from the entity and struck one of the ships above, shattering its shields as if they weren’t there. It enveloped the ship, then suddenly vanished. For a moment, no one understood. Then Anwrak said:“The computer. They couldn’t have had the time to wipe it…”The portal now showed thousands of machines descending onto the now uncovered Resistance bases.“Back to the shuttle!” roared Shadow.But even as they fled, the entity called once again, in his mind:“You were brought to Clysmax for a reason. Because from here, you won’t escape!” The Olmak Directive: Review Topic


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#5 Offline Toa of Italy

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Posted Oct 22 2011 - 06:23 AM

FOURTEEN:

ANNIHILATION

The Olmak Directive started firing again as Shadow’s shuttle docked.Limu grimaced.“Status?” he asked.“Combined shielding dropping, sir! It’s already fluctuating around the weaker ships.”Shadow arrived on the bridge.“Orders, sir?” asked Limu.“Yes. Is the portal the entity opened still stable?”“It is switching destinations, but it still has a gateway.”“Good. Set a course. We’re going back.”Just then several bolts fired from the artificial asteroids got through the shields. Two ships were struck, the Bluespace rapidly dissolving their hull.“Go!” exclaimed Shadow. The fleet approached the portal, not before another ship was taken out.Then, suddenly, a disturbance started appearing in the other portal, the one leading to Azurespace.“What’s that?” said Shadow.“Back!” yelled Anwrak. “Turn back!”The other was so sudden the pilot obeyed instantly. Then the Superstation emerged into Clysmax space.Two more ships were destroyed by the artificial asteroids.“Split up! Try to get past the Superstation,” ordered Shadow. “Anyone who makes it goes straight through that portal.”The fleet obeyed. The Superstation opened fire. Its weapons tore through several shields, sending eight ships to their destruction.The Mata Nui shook violently.“Shields down to 60%, sir, and falling!”“Get as far away from it as possible!” ordered Shadow.He had barely finished speaking when machines started swarming out of the giant sphere.“The Superstation alone could take us all out,” gasped Limu. “They just aren’t taking any chances.”The huge number of machines rapidly cornered the fleet, forming an impassable barrier. The Resistance ships drew closer again, combining their shields once more.Asteroids, machines and Superstation all opened fire. Two ships were instantly destroyed, then they became five, then seven.The nine ships left were drawing close to the Bluespace Ceiling.“Return fire!”BD beams and torpedoes struck the shields of the incoming machines, but they were completely ineffective, even against simple Rama.“What’s happening?”“The energy web! It’s restoring power to their shields as soon as we hit them. All our weapons are useless.”Shadow looked in horror as the fleet was forced to stop to avoid crashing into the Bluespace Wall.It’s over.Their number dropped to seven, then six.“Set a course toward those machines,” ordered Limu. “We might as well try to break through.”“No!” ordered Shadow.He tapped a few commands on a console, then left the bridge in a hurry.“What has he done?” asked the Mata Nui’s captain.“He has locked a tractor beam onto the Bluespace Ceiling. Sir, Blue Energy is starting to feed back through it.”There were only four ships left. More energy was feeding from the Bluespace Wall through the tractor beam, stressing the Mata Nui’s shields.“Two ships destroyed. Make that three. We’re alone!”Then, suddenly, from the point the tractor beam had locked on a huge surge of Bluespace emerged, completely enveloping the Mata Nui.“Shields down to 20% and falling!”“Captain,” said Anwrak. “The machines are retreating.”Even they can’t withstand so much Bluespace.“It’s our chance to get through their ranks. Set a course for the portal.”The Mata Nui flew through Bluespace, its shields on the verge of collapse. It emerged just past the machines.“Shields down. One hit and we’re dead.”“Sir, power is building up near the portal! It’s the entity.”The entity that had engineered all this was glowing with power, ready to unleash it and blast the Mata Nui into oblivion.Then, on the screen, the crew saw a small fighter, which had just emerged from its shuttlebay, speed past it, straight toward the entity.“Shadow…” said Limu.The fighter broke apart, becoming a growing asteroid of rock. It crashed into the entity, suffocating its power for an instant. Anwrak thought he saw Shadow, trying desperately to wrestle the entity to the ground. Then a blue explosion shattered the asteroid and sped toward the Mata Nui. The last ship of the Resistance passed through the portal the entity had opened minutes before. Then the energy tore the portal apart.“What’s happening?” asked Makuta Brimar.The console in front of her was displaying Olmak Directive activity in the region of Izumal still under its control. According to the data she had just received, nearly every machine in the region had entered free Izumal territory.The Admiral was on an Izumal submarine that, along with six others, was conducting a month-long surveillance mission off the coast of Olmak Directive territory.“We have no explanation, Admiral. There doesn’t seem to be any reason for this sudden attack.”“What targets are they hitting?”“That’s strange too. They are attacking our defensive systems, and leaving several gaps in their ranks. If we were to exploit them, we might be able to enter their territory.”Brimar was silent. The submarine was to maintain radio silence at all times, but this new unexpected development required consultation with the headquarters.“Open a channel to the City.”A channel was open.“This is Vice Admiral Brimar, conducting a surveillance mission of enemy territory. We have just detected an attack on our territory which is being carried out by all the machines on the planet. We require new orders.”Another Vice Admiral responded.“You are to proceed to the coast, in Olmak Directive territory. Establish a…”The communication abruptly ended.“What’s happening?” asked Brimar.“There is some kind of interference.”“Source?”“Admiral,” said another officer, “a lightning bolt has just struck the sea surface, 12 Kio from our position. I believe it may be the source of the interference.”“A lightning bolt? From where?”“It appears it came directly from the Bluespace Ceiling.”“Admiral,” said someone else,” that lightning bolt struck the seafloor. It has carved a huge hole in it. It extends deep into the planet’s mantle. The seabed is starting to crack around it. There is also a large wave, caused by the impact, heading in our direction.”“Let’s see it.”The screen activated, showing a view of the sea surface. A huge wave, more than 20 Bio high, was moving across it.“It should do little damage to us, but when it reaches the coast…”The submarine shook slightly as the wave passed, then more violently.“What was that?”“Another lightning bolt. Closer. The seafloor is breaking apart.”“On screen.”The surface was replaced by the sea level. Huge cracks were appearing, with red lava gushing out. Bubbles were shooting toward the surface at incredible speeds.“New shockwaves. These are coming from the sea floor. The cracks are continuing to expand, causing multiple quakes.”“Have you re-established communications?”“Yes.”“Put me through to HQ.”“Channel open.”“Vice Admiral,” said an officer at the HQ. “You must head straight back for Izumal territory. Your squadron will be waiting for you there. The machines have compromised several of our defense systems. We are putting you in command of the fleet that is to push them back, or we may be defenseless against this lightning.”“Understood.”Brimar emerged from the submarine. A new shockwave almost made her lose her balance.She made her way to the base’s landing pads. Her fighter was there, waiting for her.Multiple streaks of lightning struck the ground beyond the horizon. The following shockwave threw her to the ground. The entire base shook, but the Izumal buildings held.Brimar climbed into the fighter.“All right, Ghost Squadron. Follow me.”The fighter had barely taken off when the base began to shake again. Suddenly, cracks appeared in the ground around it. Brimar saw they extended to a single crack in the distance.Smoke gushed out of the cracks. Suddenly, Brimar knew what was going to happen.“Everyone! Get out of here!” Then lava forced its way through the earth, blasting the base apart.Brimar fired at the last machines. It hadn’t taken them long to dispose of them. They had seemed more concerned with destroying the defensive systems in the area than with strategy, but the Makuta had to admit, they had done a good job. The entire area was defenseless. The only question was what exactly was attacking them.Lightning struck the ground, again and again. One bolt was almost in the midst of the fleet.A cloud of silver and gold dust flew outwards from the point where the lightning had struck. The fleet was directly in front of it. At first, Brimar thought to simply raise shields. But then she realized the dust storm was going to hit the settlements nearby. A more radical solution was needed.“Brimar to the fleet. Open fire on that dust storm. I want it completely vaporized.”Beams and bolts of energy flew out of the ships’ weapons to hit the dust cloud. It didn’t work. Brimar watched in horror as the storm loomed over them. Then, suddenly, a gap opened. It grew larger, until the entire cloud had been dissolved.“Good job, people,” said the relieved Makuta. “Now let’s…”She stopped talking, for two things happened simultaneously. One: a giant energy shield flew over the fleet from beyond the horizon, and without any visible end. Two: her fighter received a call from an HQ Admiral.“Brimar, get your fleet to evacuate the region you’re in. Get everyone to the City.”“What do you mean, sir?”“The shield can’t cover an area this large for long. We need to get everyone in a smaller space. We are evacuating everyone to the City.”“All the inhabitants have boarded.”“Good. Take us to the City,” ordered Brimar.She looked up. Lightning was now constantly hitting the shield, surrounding it with flashes of blue light. A countdown to the moment it would have to be reduced to encroach the single City was being displayed on all ships.The three ships evacuating the settlements in part of one of Izumal’s mountain chains rose into the air.“Oh, my…” gasped Brimar as the vessels rose over the mountains’ tops and she had a view of the sea.Constant flashes of lightning made it difficult to see beyond the shield, but even so such a sight was impossible to miss.With Bluespace dissolving anything it came in contact with, the sea level had been dramatically reduced. What was left of the water was pouring inside the huge crevices which had opened in the crust. Steam was shooting from where the liquid made contact with the magma surrounding the core.It was a sight which announced the end of the world. Titanic forces were at work on Izumal, and only a thin layer of energy was protecting its inhabitants from them.Suddenly the earth shook. The shield was keeping the continent safe from the worst, but even so shocks were coming through. This, however, was worse. The settlements they had just evacuated collapsed. Brimar felt gravity shift abruptly.“Admiral,” said an officer. “We’ve just received word from the city. Bluespace has reached and destroyed the core. The planet is shattering.”Sure enough, Brimar could now see huge silver and gold fragments detaching from the continent, only to succumb to the Bluespace lightning. Soon, she knew, the mainland would be an island amidst a sea of Bluespace.The ships quickly made it to the City. The great capital of Izumal was in chaos. Forcefields were surrounding the outskirts, preventing people from leaving the area that would remain protected by the shield when it was lifted from the rest of the continent. Crowds of panicked refugees were penned inside, with law enforcement faced with the overwhelming task of keeping order.Suddenly, someone yelled:“What’s that?”Brimar looked up. Something of a slightly darker shade of blue than the lightning bolts was dropping toward the shield.The City shook. The shield flared brightly even as a uniform layer of Bluespace enveloped it. Lightning bolts started sailing through the protective field as if it wasn’t there.Brimar suddenly received a call from her immediate superior, an Admiral.“Brimar, evacuation is terminated. Report to the HQs immediately.”“What? There are still people out there!”A new voice spoke:“Vice Admiral, this must be done.”“General Virgra,” said Brimar.“Others have also raised objections, but the shield will soon fail. We have to protect the majority of the population. I’m… sorry, but the orders stand.”“You can’t simply abandon them.”“We don’t have any choice.”The communication ended.Brimar remained in shocked silence.Then a second energy shield rose over the City.Brimar raised her head.The first shield dropped, and a wave of Bluespace fell over the continent. Within a few instants, the City was alone, surrounded by a blue wall of unstable space-time. The planet of Izumal was no more. The Olmak Directive: Review Topic

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#6 Offline Toa of Italy

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Posted Oct 23 2011 - 01:14 PM

FIFTEEN:AWAKENING

Sounds. Explosions. Unconsciousness gradually gave way to awareness. His body started moving again, even though it felt incredibly heavy. He was tempted, so tempted, to go back to sleep. But at the same time, he felt he had to wake up, to be in control once again. The second urge was stronger. Halor opened his eyes.He was in a small, cramped space. It was very dark. Halor got to his feet tentatively. He tried to look around him, and saw the outline of a second, smaller shape, slumped on the ground. It started to move, as if it, too, were waking up.The room shook violently. Light, from an explosion perhaps, flashed in the room for a moment, then vanished once more.How did I get here?Memories were starting to fill his mind. He remembered the mission. They had crashed into the Superstation on a shuttle. Then he and two others had ventured deeper inside the complex, searching for the source of a signal they had received. They had tracked the transmission to a living unit of the Olmak Directive. They had freed it, but in the process, they had been discovered. They had taken the freed unit and run, but the machines had found them. He had been wounded. Makal had been almost integrated, and Krakha had had to kill her.He struggled to remember what had happened later. They had managed to escape the machines, but they had not been able to reach the rest of the away team. Halor had managed to find a partially-blind spot, where Olmak Directive sensors were weaker.Then Krakha had told him that if they wanted to survive, they had to use the same method he had used while hiding from the Olmak Directive: stasis. He had shape-shifted into a creature that could slow their life processes to the point where they would be undetectable by the Olmak Directive. Halor, desperate, had accepted. He remembered nothing else.Am I out of stasis? Krakha said we would remain in that state for at least five years. Is this Year 503?The other figure beside him had woken up. Now Halor recognized it: it was the unit they had freed, a Turaga. He, or she, for she appeared to be female, had still been unconscious when Krakha had plunged the three of them into stasis.She has no idea of what’s going on.“Who are you?” asked the Turaga. “Answer me!”“Don’t panic,” said Halor. “You’re only going to get us killed.”“Answer me!”“I’m Halor, okay? We freed you from the Olmak Directive.”“The Olmak Directive? The invaders?”For a moment, Halor couldn’t figure out what she was talking about. Then he remembered that this Turaga had witnessed Promathus’s conquest.“Yes.”“And who do you work for?”“I am in the Resistance. We’re on your side, all right? Now be quiet.”Suddenly there was another explosion. A figure entered the room: a Toa of Sonics.“Krakha!” explained Halor. “What’s happening?”“The Superstation is under attack. The weapons woke us. I believe we’ve been in stasis for a single year.”“What Superstation?” asked the Turaga.Krakha ignored her.“It’s either Izumal or us,” said the shape-shifter. “And if it’s us, only the entire fleet or the emergency planetary weapons could have produced such an explosion as to wake us.”“What do you mean, Izumal?” asked Jorna.“And if it’s the planetary weapons,” said Halor, “it means this is the worst case scenario. All our Promathus bases have been discovered.”Krakha nodded. Only then, the two turned to face the Turaga.“Who are you?” asked Krakha.“I’m… I’m Turaga Jorna. I was the president of Promathus when it fell.”Halor’s eyes widened slightly. He knew Turaga Jorna had been Promathus’s puppet ruler for the Aethion Empire. But when it had fallen, she had continued to be part of its new democratic government, perhaps because, in the last years of the Empire, she had secretly helped the Promathus resistance fight it.“The signal. Why did you send it?” asked Krakha.“What signal?”“The signal you were broadcasting.”“What are you talking about?”“We don’t have time for you to decide whether to trust us or not. Just tell us.”“I’ve no idea what you’re talking about,” insisted the Turaga.Krakha sighed.“Is the signal still being broadcasted?”For a moment, Halor didn’t answer. Then he remembered the equipment they still had with them. He looked around and found the sack in a corner. He rummaged inside it until he found the right instrument.“It appears so,” said the Vortixx. “It’s coming from her armor.”He looked at Jorna. Then he put his hand on her chest armor and removed a piece of it.“This device,” said Halor. “This is the source. It is designed to seem part of her armor.”“Anything else?”“It also appears to contain some complex data. It’s more complicated than anything I’ve ever seen.”“Do you have any idea what it is?” Krakha asked Jorna.“Why should I tell you?” whispered the Turaga. “As far as I know, you could be agents of the enemy.”“Listen,” said Krakha. “If we were the enemy, then we could very well learn what this is by taking the knowledge from you. You know that too. Doesn’t the fact that I’m asking you suggest otherwise?”Jorna was silent. She thought for about two minutes. Then she shrugged and said:“It could be a memory storage device.”“What?”“On Promathus, we used these devices to store important memories, which were extracted from our minds. This way, the information couldn’t be taken by torture.”“Could this device contain yours?”“Possibly. If that were true, only I could access them.”“Please do.”She took the device. Halor had found some circuitry hidden inside it. She did something with that circuitry, then put the device in contact with the rear of her head.She gasped. Then the device detached itself.“What happened?” asked Halor.“It… worked. I remember now. I remember everything.”She had marched into the room. Outside, weapons’ fire had been raging as the last forces of Promathus fell before the enemy.In front of her had been five other people. Five. The only ones who, apart from her, had known about the ultimate weapon hidden within all Promathus technology. The weapon created to ensure the Aethion Empire, or something like it, would never rise again.“Should we activate the virus? It may be our only hope of disabling all the machines they have taken over,” one of them had asked.“No,” had answered Jorna, “we can’t. As far as we’ve been able to tell, this enemy has digital warfare abilities which surpass ours. If we attempt to activate it now, when their programs are still actively trying to destroy ours, the virus may be useless.”“So what do we do with it? We must use it somehow.”“And we will. But not now. I suggest that we hide a transmitter somewhere, in a location no one will know about. A few years from now, that transmitter will begin broadcasting a message on an encrypted frequency, one that only the highest-ranking members of the other planetary governments have the ability to decipher. In that message we will explain the nature of our weapon, so that it may be used to bring down this enemy.”“Too dangerous. If we transmit our access codes, they may be intercepted.”“They will not. To acquire the access codes, whoever is going to receive the message will have to track us.”“Useless,” someone else had said. “All this discussion is useless. We have observed that the enemy has enslaved most of our population. All their knowledge probably belongs to them by now. When the enemy reaches this bunker and enslaves us as well, the knowledge of the weapon will be theirs Besides, we don’t know a way to free those under the enemy’s control.”“In the future someone may find a way,” Jorna had said. “As for the security issues, we will use memory storage devices to prevent the enemy from discovering about the virus.”“And where will those devices be hidden?”“In our armor. It is possible to mask such a device as part of it. The devices will also broadcast the message. Only those who are able to decipher and track it will be able to identify the device.”“Very well,” had said one of them. “Shall we proceed?”“Not all of us. I’m sorry.”Then she had done it. She had taken the weapon she had hidden behind her back and shot each one of them.“The less people who know about this, the better.”Then she had taken the memory storage device and fitted it into her armor. Connecting it to her mind, she had initiated the transfer.A short time later, with no memory of what had just happened, she had walked out of the room.The last defenses had been breached. The enemy had entered the bunker.At first it had been robots. Then a tall being, in part made of electricity and in part of Bluespace, had entered.“We surrender,” Jorna had whispered. Then she had seen only blue.Halor and Krakha listened to the Turaga’s tale. Halor was chilled. The Olmak Directive killed many people every day, and the Resistance had killed many living units during their raids against the enemy. But no one Halor had ever encountered was a cold-blooded murderer, even if it was for common good.Krakha’s face betrayed no emotion. When the Turaga was over, he asked:“Do you remember the access codes for the virus, now?”“Yes,” said Jorna. “But I won’t reveal them until I have some more proof.”“Very well. We have to get out of here.”“Can’t we just go back in stasis?” asked Halor.“No. If the Resistance is under attack, the virus might prove vital in repelling such an assault. We have to get the Turaga to Shadow.”“How do we escape?”“As soon as I awoke, I explored the surrounding area. There is a large hangar about half an hour from here. We can use it to fly out of the Superstation. I can shape-shift into a small craft to make the attempt.”“Then let’s go,” said Jorna.The small group carefully made their way to the hangar. They had to be more cautious than usual. They still had an Undetection device, which Halor was using, but because of the time that had passed, it was working erratically. Krakha had shape-shifted into a second one for Jorna.However, the Superstation’s systems were distracted in the battle going on outside. It seemed to be winning, because by the time the group got to the hangar, the weapon fire had died out.“Okay, the plan is simple,” said Krakha. “I shape-shift into a Kopen and jump into the hangar. For the first few minutes, they won’t notice the difference. I get to the hangar doors, open them and ensure they stay open. Then I come back here, shape-shift into a small fighter and carry you out. After we’ve landed on Promathus, we make our way to the nearest Resistance base.”“Okay,” Halor nodded nervously.Krakha shape-shifted. It was indeed difficult to distinguish him from a real Kopen. Then he jumped through an airlock into the hangar. Halor had amplified the range of the remaining Undetection device to extend to both him and Jorna, but it wouldn’t last for long.Two minutes later, Krakha contacted them to report the doors were open. Halor and Jorna were waiting for him when Halor felt something move behind him. He turned to face three snakes. He gave a yell and fired his sonic weapon, disabling two of them. The third advanced on him. Halor backed away, then suddenly felt himself fall into the airlock. Gravity suddenly disappeared, and he found himself floating in the air. Behind him, Jorna jumped as well.In the air above them, Rama and Kopen were swarming around something. It took a moment for Halor to realize it was Krakha. The shape-shifter had once again turned into Shadow, adding however a pair of wings to the form. He seemed invulnerable to the barrage of Bluespace bolts he was being hit with, and was striking back with ruthless efficiency, disabling Kopen twice his size.Then the Hawks activated. Four of them flew toward him, firing all their weapons. Krakha was engulfed in Bluespace, but again the weapons had no effect on him. But the Hawks were invulnerable to his power as well, stone shattering on their shields without doing any damage.They slammed into him, Bluespace shield flashing as it came into contact with Shadow’s form. Krakha was thrown against the hangar’s wall. Meanwhile, two Rama headed for Halor and Jorna. Halor fired his weapon, but it had no effect on their shields. Then Krakha dropped on the Rama, instantly destroying one with a single punch. The second fired Bluespace. The first bolt hit Krakha’s leg, doing no damage, but the second disintegrated his wings, which unlike the rest of the body did not have Shadow’s invulnerability to Bluespace.Krakha shape-shifted again, this time into a fighter, allowing Jorna and Halor to climb on board. But even as the craft flew toward the hangar doors, the Hawks opened fire. This time they scored several hits, damaging Krakha’s weapons and propellers. Inside, Halor and Jorna could only watch.The fighter flew out of the hangar, the Hawks in hot pursuit. More hits obliterated Krakha’s shields. Then the shape-shifter cloaked.“Yes!” said Halor when Krakha entered the planet’s atmosphere, without the Hawks able to find him.But the words died out. Krakha spoke:“I have been wounded… too severely. All the remaining power… has been… diverted… to the cloak and the inertial dampeners. They… should ensure you… land safely. Get to the Resistance. Destroy… the Olmak Directive.”Then he spoke no more. Halor was silent as the fighter plummeted towards Promathus’s sea.The Olmak Directive: Review Topic


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#7 Offline Toa of Italy

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Posted Oct 26 2011 - 07:28 AM

SIXTEEN:AFTERMATH

Less than an hour after Izumal’s destruction, the Council of Ministers assembled in an emergency meeting. At Virgra’s request, the members of the War Council were also allowed to participate.The Izumal Prime Minister spoke first:“I would like to begin this session by receiving a report on the status of our defenses. I therefore give word to General Noliki, who has overseen the deployment of the shield that is protecting the City.”“Thank you, sir,” said Noliki, a Troak. “As you well know, Bluespace continues to press on our defenses. I had the army’s scientists examine the strength of our shield the moment after the rest of the planet was annihilated. Results are not encouraging. It appears the shield will only last for two weeks.”“How is that possible?” said a minister. “We have an infinite power source at our disposal.”“That’s true, but even though the power source could go on producing energy for eternity, our shields can’t be fed too much power at once. Even our systems have a limit, past which the shield would overload. Because of the sheer power of the Bluespace surrounding us, the energy which we can feed to the shield isn’t enough to allow it to last forever.”“Alternatives?”“Our scientists are working on them now. They say they’ll have the first results before this session is over, but they don’t believe we’ll be able to make the shield last longer than a month.”“Then that leaves a single alternative,” said Virgra. “Evacuation.”For a moment, everyone was silent. Then the Prime Minister spoke:“General, you can’t be serious. In all these years, we could have evacuated any time we wanted. We chose not to. Surely you can’t expect us to give up now.”“I can. In the past, we were always able to fight back; the possibility of re-conquering our planet was, if not probable, at least possible. Now it is not. We have no choice. We have to evacuate.”“How?”“The only possibility is a dimensional gateway. We would migrate to a completely different dimension.”“Is it possible? The Olmak Directive has been able to prevent us from opening dimensional gateways in the past.”“That’s true, but the Olmak Directive has no longer a presence here. When the last Bluespace wave hit, all Olmak Portals near the City abruptly disappeared. We don’t believe they can be used with so much Bluespace around us, meaning the Directive won’t be able to come back here, or to stop us.”“Sir,” said Noliki, “I’m sorry to interrupt, but the results have arrived. I would like to allow my top scientist, Berke, to speak.”The Prime Minister nodded.Berke, a Bone Hunter, appeared on a screen on the wall.“Ministers,” he began. “We have been conducting simulations of every kind, experimented on every possible scenario. Our results aren’t encouraging. We could prolong the shield’s existence, but we would have to reconfigure the entire power distribution system. The City would have no power left, and in any case the shield would only last one more week.”The Prime Minister started speaking, but Berke continued.“We have also been told about your evacuation hypothesis. I’m afraid that isn’t possible. To open a gateway, our nanites would require a large amount of data, which due to the unique conditions around the City we can’t acquire. It would be almost impossible to open a gateway in these conditions.”“Any other possibilities?” asked Virgra.“A Kanohi Olmak could do it, General. A user could open a portal on a much more instinctive level, with no need for the data the nanites require. Unfortunately we have taken the liberty of inquiring on the presence of a Kanohi Olmak in the City, and there are none. And such a mask is very difficult to craft, impossible for a simple computer. We have no crafters who are talented enough here.”“The Resistance might,” said Brimar. “Since they haven’t access to our replication technology, they must craft their masks and disks for themselves. I’m not sure if they can craft a Kanohi Olmak, but there is a possibility.”“Even so, the gateway would have to be very large.”“No problem,” said Berke. “Even though we can’t open a portal ourselves, we can certainly widen one if necessary. But I’m afraid there is another issue. Communications with the Resistance are impossible due to the Bluespace’s thickness, and as you already know, there are no Olmak Portals left in the City, not even gateways to Azurespace. You can neither go nor come back. And a dimensional portal connecting Izumal to another place could only be opened from here, so, provided you managed to leave in the first place, you wouldn’t be able to come back even with an Olmak.”“I may have a few ideas to achieve all that. I will send you my plan as soon as this meeting is over. I assure you, I can succeed.”“I think we all approve, Vice Admiral,” said the Prime Minister.“But we can’t be sure you’ll get back in time,” said Virgra. “The energy saving policy must be immediately implemented to prolong the shield’s existence as long as possible.”“No, General,” said a minister. “There are thousands of refugees in the City, now. Many of them are wounded. We can’t cut power now.”“Stasis units,” said Berke.“Excuse me?” asked the Prime Minister.“If the entire population were put in stasis, none of this would be any problem. In fact, we could draw energy from the population itself, and prolong the shield’s existence for a few more days.”“What?” said a minister.“It is logical,” said Virgra.Brimar could see it was going to be a long debate, and she didn’t have time for it.“Excuse me,” she said. “I believe I should leave this decision into your hands. I prepare myself as quickly as possible.”“Then you’re excused, Vice Admiral,” said the Prime Minister.Brimar hadn’t lied when she had said she had a plan. Unfortunately, it all relied on new, experimental technologies, most of which hadn’t been fully tested yet.Her first stop was the weapon research facility. After Izumal had re-taken much of its territory nine years before, easing the pressure on its borders, it had once again been able to devote significant resources to weapon research. There had been minor results over the following years, but the real breakthrough, the weapon that had been predicted to free Izumal and take the battle to the other worlds, had happened two years before, at least as far as theory was concerned.Bluespace Compression, or BC: instead of dispersing Bluespace into space, BC compressed it. It was supposed much more effective, but also more risky: in theory, excessive usage of such technology in a single area could lead to Bluespace erupting into normal space in that spot. Not to mention the difficulty of creating such a weapon. So far, only nanites could accomplish BC, and there were only a few of them that had already been programmed for such a task. They hadn’t even been tested in battle, but Brimar didn’t care. For her plan to work, she needed something better than ordinary BD, and BC was all there was available.She entered the facility. The researcher in charge of the project was waiting for her.After introductions were made, she came down to business:“How many hand-held prototypes have you already created?”The researcher’s eyes widened.“Hand-held? Few, very few. So far, we’ve been thinking on a larger scale.”She then got him to admit there were only two prototypes.“They’re simple nanites, which morph to take the shape of a gun. We thought it would seem more familiar to ground fighters.”“How much power do they have?”“Alone, not much. Only thirty shots. They still need connection to the power source to achieve more.”“Impossible. I’m going off-world.”“Off-world? You mean you’re taking the prototypes away? They haven’t been tested yet.”“No time like the present.”Her next stop wasn’t far away. Another research facility, this one however for innovative transport systems. This time she didn’t take any equipment, just designs, for what she had in mind would have to be constructed by the Resistance itself.Finally, she contacted the four members of the Ghost Squadron she had decided would be part of her away team and ordered them to rendezvous with her at an army base, in the outskirts of the City.The base where the away team assembled was almost empty. Even though it still qualified as part of the City, there were almost no buildings in its proximity, and since there were no more enemies for the army to fight and the chaos caused by the refugees was occurring closer to the City’s center, it had been vacated. The rim of the protective shield was only a few Bio away. Bluespace could clearly be seen beyond it.The reason for this base’s existence was the same Brimar had chosen to assemble here. Close to it was an Olmak Totem Hovertower. The Olmak Directive had been trying to capture the Olmak Totems of Izumal since their arrival: bringing them closer together would have largely increased their strength on the planet, and for this reason Izumal considered it a priority to keep the artifacts from falling into their hands. Since it appeared there were no more Olmak Portals on the planet, and teleporting through this amount of Bluespace was, even with Izumal technology, extremely risky, Brimar had chosen to use one of the Totems to get to the other planets. Specifically, she was planning to use the Tanuuk Totem.“It won’t be easy,” she said. “The Olmak Directive controls the Olmak Effect, but since the Totems have all been brought close together very powerful Olmak Anomalies still occur in their immediate vicinity. Normally, anyone who teleported through a Totem would instantly get caught into one of them, probably never to return. But this is where our BC weapons come in. If we use them on the Anomalies, they should disappear and not occur again in the area for at least some time. I’ve decided that one of them will be used for the task, while the other will be saved for use against the Olmak Directive. Once we’re through, we will find ourselves in a heavily defended compound. There is no way an intruder could break in from outside, but the Olmak Directive won’t be expecting an attack from the inside. As soon as the Anomalies are dissolved, we download our most powerful viruses into the system and try to slip past the Directive’s systems. In addition to the two BC weapons, we’ll all be equipped with nanite suits. If the machines take one of us down, the others keep going. Once outside, we hide and contact the Resistance. As for getting back, we will use the new trans-Azurespace conduit. All of us will be equipped with the designs. Is everything clear?”Everyone nodded.“The Parliament has approved the energy saving plan. We will have three weeks to carry out our mission. Once we’re through that Totem, we’re on our own, since the rest of the population will be in stasis. I expect all of us to perform to the best of our capabilities. Good luck to everyone.”Brimar advanced toward the Olmak Totem. She extended her arm forward. She touched it.The next instant, she was surrounded by blue. She willed the nanites making up her BC weapon to activate. White bolts of light flew out, striking the blue color. For the first time, Brimar saw a BC weapon in action. The Anomalies in front of her rippled as the BC bolts struck. Then they shrunk, more and more, until they winked out.Brimar didn’t stop. She turned around, never ceasing fire. Giant Anomalies disappeared in an instant. Then, suddenly, the room was devoid of Olmak Anomalies. The members of her team began to appear next to the Totem.Brimar looked around. The room they were in was bare, with only six pedestals, one per Totem, all close to each other. Obviously, the Olmak Directive considered it a waste to put defense systems in a place filled by so many Olmak Anomalies.There wasn’t even an interface, and only a very small hatch leading outside.“All right,” said Brimar. “Let’s go.”They crawled through the hatch and found themselves in a corridor outside, with heavily reinforced walls, which even Izumal technology would find difficult to bring down.There was an interface here, thankfully. Brimar put her hand against it and then downloaded her Ghost-based virus into the system.Alarms immediately went off. Brimar and her away team activated their Undetection devices, but with no results.Dozens of snakes filled the corridor, as well as several Spiders, the bulk of the Directive’s land forces. There were also five robots Brimar didn’t recognize, but that looked very powerful.“All right,” said Brimar. “I only have one shot left and the other BC gun has only thirty, so use as little BC as possible. As long as we can, we use ordinary BD.”The machines opened fire. A BD shield went up around the away team, but the firepower at the machines’ disposal was incredible, and rapidly weakened the energy field.Brimar and the others blasted the machines with BD energy, but for each one they brought down, more came to replace them.Why isn’t the virus working? thought the Makuta.Then a Bluespace beam got through the shield, instantly dissolving a member of the away team. Brimar saw it had come from one of the five powerful robots. She ignored her own order and fired a BC bolt at it. The result astonished her. Ordinary BD simply disabled the machines by dissolving the Blue Energy powering them, but a single BC bolt compressed the shield into nothingness, then tore the robot apart. She hadn’t known BC could accomplish this as well, and suddenly an idea came to her.“Everyone,” she began, then stopped, as a Bluespace bolt incinerated another away team member.She spoke again.“Everyone, throw the strongest shield you can around yourselves. Prepare to fly out of here. Vuilca,” she then said to the other member of the away team carrying a BC weapon. “I want the strongest BC blast you can muster. I don’t care if it uses up your whole energy. Aim it at the machines.”Vuilca nodded. The machines brought the shield down. Snakes threw themselves at the away team. Vuilca and the other member of the team were killed by Bluespace bolts, but Brimar wasn’t going to let that stop her. She touched Vuilca’s nanite suit, fusing it with her own. Then she unleashed a BC explosion.White light filled the compound, tearing Bluespace and walls apart. The machines in front of Brimar were destroyed, as well as most of the Bluespace systems in that section, but the compound walls held.Brimar didn’t stop. She activated her Gravity power, boosting it with energy from the nanite suit. The structures, no longer protected by Bluespace fields, started buckling. The miniature black hole sucked everything inside itself. Finally Brimar saw the sky. She reduced her density to the point where the gravity didn’t affect her, then floated up. Below her, the compound finally came down.The Olmak Directive: Review Topic


Edited by Toa of Italy, Oct 26 2011 - 07:30 AM.

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#8 Offline Toa of Italy

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Posted Oct 29 2011 - 08:54 AM

SEVENTEEN:OLMAK

“Scan the region,” ordered Limu.It was more than one week since the Mata Nui had escaped from Clysmax. They had been looking for survivors ever since, but had found none.So far they had searched Alarist, and Barrawahi. Now it was Tanuuk’s turn.Anwrak didn’t have any real hopes. The Olmak Directive had obviously been thorough. Most bases had been bombarded from outside, giving those inside no chance to escape. Even those the Olmak Directive had broken in to integrate the Resistance fighters, destruction had been on a massive scale.“Sir,” said an officer, “I’m reading a signal.”“From where?”“A volcano, about half a Mio east of Blackstone City. No words, but it’s definitely a Resistance frequency.”“It could be a trap,” said someone else.The Olmak Directive doesn’t set traps, thought Anwrak automatically. Then he corrected himself.Or at least, so we thought.“Perhaps,” said Limu. His crushed chest was making it difficult for him to speak. “But if there are survivors, we have to find them. We’ll observe the area from orbit, then gradually make our way to the ground.” The Mata Nui came to a stop above the location from which the signal was coming.After a few minutes of scans, Anwrak noticed something odd.“Sir,” he said to Limu. “We’re close to the underground Olmak Totem compound. It appears to have been heavily damaged.”“By what?”“I don’t know, but whatever it was, it damaged especially the central section, the one where the Olmak Totems are supposed to be located.”Limu was silent for a moment, then said:“I think it’s obvious this has something to do with this signal we’re receiving. Begin to enter the atmosphere, but continue scans.”Almost an hour later, Limu finally decided to send a shuttle to search for the signal sender.Anwrak chose an away team of five and piloted the craft toward the ground. When they exited the shuttlebay, nothing gave them off. Limu had ordered the cloaking device’s power to be augmented to achieve that purpose, even at the expenses of other systems.“Where is the signal coming from exactly?” he asked.“Inside the volcano’s crater, I’m not sure exactly where. The temperature is making it difficult to get clear readings.”“No one could survive in there,” said Anwrak. “This must be a trick.”“No Olmak Directive activity in the area.”Anwrak thought for a moment, then said:“Let’s send an answer.”He tapped a few commands and the shuttle communication device sent out another wordless signal on the same frequency as the one they were receiving.Nothing happened for a few moments. Then another message came, but this time there was a single sentence inside:Where are you?Who are you? replied Anwrak.For a moment there was no answer. Then a code was sent through. A high-clearance Izumal security code.Anwrak thought for a moment. It was highly unlikely the Olmak Directive would possess such a code, especially if the planet of Izumal had been destroyed, as it seemed by its absence in the sky.He sent back their coordinates.A few minutes later a shape came through the floor.Anwrak turned in time to see it solidify once more.“Admiral Brimar,” he said.The Makuta was as startled as he was.“This is a Mata Nui shuttle. You’re back?”Anwrak nodded.“Then I have to speak with Shadow.”“I’m sorry, Admiral. Shadow is dead. The highest in rank is now Captain Limu. We’ll take you to him.” Brimar entered the Mata Nui’s briefing room. Limu was already there. The two shook hands.“It’s been a long time, Admiral,” said Limu.“I can see you’ve been through a lot.”“Yes. But, as I understand, so have you.”“Yes, but both our stories will have to wait. We don’t have much time. First of all, I must know if the Resistance has a Kanohi Olmak at its disposal, or a crafter that can forge one in less than three weeks.”Limu was mildly surprised at the request.“Admiral, I’m afraid you haven’t been briefed on our situation yet. The Olmak Directive has destroyed the Resistance. Our mask makers are probably all dead. There might be someone with some knowledge of the craft on this ship, but I don’t know if they’ll be able to craft a Kanohi Olmak.”“Please check. It’s our only hope. If we don’t find a Kanohi Olmak, then Izumal is lost.”“I will.”“You must also start constructing this array on the Mata Nui. It will create what we call a trans-Azurespace conduit. We will need it to get this ship back to Izumal.” Anwrak spent the entire day speaking with Mata Nui crew-members, in the hope of finding a good mask-maker, or a way to craft a Kanohi Olmak in such a short time. There were several crafters on board, but they could only craft simple masks, the kind the Resistance used every day. None possessed the skill necessary to create such a complex Kanohi.The evening found the Avagori in his quarters, trying with the help of computer simulations to find a way to create the Olmak, but without success. He thought, and thought, but found no answer. Eventually, he found himself thinking of Zirmak. The Turaga of Fire had been an exceptional mask-maker.If anyone could have crafted a Kanohi Olmak, it would have been him.Zirmak would have probably known what to do. After nine years, Anwrak still regarded his first captain as his mentor, the one who always knew the solution, even though he had been killed only a few months after Anwrak’s liberation. The Avagori still remembered his heroic death, and the last words he had said.‘Go. And if you are defeated, and everything is lost, go to my foundry on Atohune. You’ll find what you need to escape this place.’A riddle, and one Anwrak had never solved. Zirmak hadn’t been the kind of person that would have spoken in riddles, yet his last words had contained one. Anwrak had asked himself many times what was in Zirmak’s foundry, but had never searched for it. He had decided long before that he would do as Zirmak had said, and go there when everything would be lost.Now it would be a good time, he thought. And then, suddenly, he decided.Yes, a good time indeed. Without the Olmak, everything is lost, so why don’t I go to the foundry now?Avagori usually didn’t have hunches, but Anwrak was willing to bet there was something in Zirmak’s foundry that would help them.Besides, we’ve got nothing to lose. There was something to lose. After Anwrak had convinced Limu and Brimar to act on his idea, the Mata Nui had set a course for the nearest Olmak Portal. They had emerged above Atohune’s sea, and had made their way to the location of the main base. The security protocols in the ship’s computer preventing the crew from seeing the route to the base had been overridden, not an easy task as Brimar had had to perform a hack to remove them.When they had arrived, they had found, to Anwrak’s relief, that the Olmak Directive had chosen to fight its way in rather than bombard it from above, leaving most of the underground caves intact. However, there was another problem.“There are at least two hundred Rama and Kopen patrolling the area, thirty Hawks and three Giant Hawks,” reported an officer.“Why stay here?” wondered Brimar. “There is no one left within the base.”“They’re waiting for us,” said Limu. “From what we have seen, the entity on Clysmax doesn’t have the limitations the rest of the Olmak Directive possesses. It thinks creatively, and it has probably reasoned that we will try to get back to our bases.”“We’ll never get past them,” said Anwrak.Brimar looked at him.“This was your idea,” she said.“But with all these machines, we can’t act upon it.”“Well,” said the Makuta, “I still have a few viruses with me. If I hack their sensor grid, a cloaked shuttle might get through.”“We might as well try,” said Limu. “Anwrak, you go. We probably won’t be able to stay in contact, so you’ll be on your own. I hope your hunch proves correct.”“So do I, sir.” An Hawk passed right above them. Someone drew a sharp breath, but the machine moved on.The cloaked shuttle entered the tunnel leading to the base. For the first time, Anwrak saw it with his own eyes. The shuttle’s security protocols had also been removed. They occasionally passed machines patrolling the tunnel, but Brimar’s viruses apparently worked, and the robots ignored them.Finally, the shuttle entered the great cavern with the docks. The walls were crawling with snakes and Spiders.“Undetection devices ready?” asked Anwrak.Everyone nodded. The shuttle landed and the away team emerged. Anwrak braced himself for an attack, but none came. The machines ignored them.The away team made its way through the corridors, the same ones that Anwrak had found so confusing nine years before.Finally, they reached the long corridor leading to the foundry. The doors in front of it had disappeared.Anwrak stepped inside, followed by the rest of the away team. There were at the foundry when they heard several sounds behind them.“They’ve found us,” muttered Anwrak.The away team broke into a run. They made it inside the foundry just as the first snakes filled the corridor.“Force field emitter!” said Anwrak.The device was placed in front of the entrance. A forcefield came up, sealing it.Bluespace bolts flew toward the entrance. The forcefield absorbed them, but it wouldn’t do so forever. Meanwhile, some snakes started carving their way through solid rock to get around it.The away team readied their weapons, but Anwrak knew the machines wouldn’t take any chances this time. None of them would survive. Unless…Whatever Zirmak hid here, it may be useful.He looked around. After Zirmak’s death, the Resistance had kept using the foundry, although some had argued that it should be left untouched. There were several masks lying around, some broken, but several intact. Obviously, the Olmak Directive hadn’t regarded the foundry as a threat and had left it mostly as it was.Anwrak ran a scan, but it didn’t reveal anything. He wasn’t surprised. If something important had been this easy to detect, the Olmak Directive would have found it first.Behind it, sonic weapons boomed as the first snakes emerged from the rock into the foundry.Anwrak glanced back, but for now his away team seemed to be holding its ground.Where could he have hidden whatever he hid?He looked around even as more snakes came through. This time, two away team members were killed.Where? he thought in desperation.He glanced around, he saw tools, disks, masks… The last made him stop. Among the masks lying around were two Kanohi of Reality Shifting.The same Zirmak wore.Improbable as it was, a second hunch came to Anwrak.What if…?“I need someone who can use a Kanohi,” he said.A Troak came forward.“Okay,” said Anwrak. “Wear this and start causing Reality Shifts in the foundry. I don’t care what kind, just do it.”The Troak nodded. Walls started rippling and changing. Then, suddenly, Anwrak’s enhanced senses saw something.“Stop,” he said. “What’s that?”Now that particular section of the wall was changing almost constantly.“Yes!” said Anwrak.He looked around and saw the disk he was looking for. A Kanoka of Intangibility. He threw it at the shape that he was glimpsing inside the wall. It shifted again to allow the disk through.“Good,” said Anwrak. “Now free it from the wall.”The wall shrunk, becoming thinner. And in front of it was the unmistakable shape of a Kanohi Olmak. Anwrak caught it as it became tangible again and fell.Incredible. Zirmak made it intangible and then hid it inside a wall using Reality Shifting.As he looked at it, he understood why the Turaga had used a riddle to protect it.Our fight is difficult. If someone had known of a Kanohi Olmak, they might have been tempted to use it to escape Aethion.A yell brought him back to the current situation. The machines broke through the forcefield and swarmed inside the foundry. The away team’s weapons proved useless against so many machines. Three were killed. Anwrak himself killed one more as he was being integrated.“Quick!” he said to the Troak. “Use this and get us out of here!” On the Mata Nui’s screen, the bridge officers observed as the machines searched for their ship. The Olmak Directive had fought off Brimar’s hack. Now the only the crew could do was hope.In front of them, the air suddenly started crackling. A hole in space opened, with only blackness inside. Then several figures stepped out.“Admiral,” said Anwrak. “I believe we have our Kanohi Olmak.” The Olmak Directive: Review Topic

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#9 Offline Toa of Italy

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Posted Oct 30 2011 - 06:27 AM

EIGHTEEN:RETURN

Brimar floated in space. Not open space, though given the fact that she didn’t need to breathe, it would have made little difference. No, she was actually inside a large asteroid.Now that the Kanohi Olmak was in their hands, they needed to find a way to get it to Izumal. Unfortunately, as Berke had said, opening a dimensional portal to Izumal was impossible due to the large amount of Bluespace surrounding it, and for the same reason it couldn’t be reached via an Olmak Portal.However, there was a technology that no one else had considered. For several years, Izumal had been trying to develop an alternative way to open dimensional portals, since the Olmak Directive could interfere with ordinary ones using Bluespace. Five years before, the scientists had created the first trans-Azurespace conduit.It was ultimately a version of an Olmak Portal that Izumal could use at will. Unfortunately, due to technical difficulties, it had only been tested a few times, all on-planet. It would be the first time a trans-Azurespace conduit would be used between planets. In theory it was possible, even with the thick Bluespace layer around Izumal, but trans-Azurespace conduits were filled with distortions and energy discharges, so an attempt would be perilous. But Brimar had decided that it was worth the risk.Since opening a trans-Azurespace conduit required a large array to be built on the ship that would use it, the Mata Nui had taken refuge inside an asteroid orbiting Tanuuk, which had been fitted with devices to deflect Olmak Directive scans. Now everyone was hard at work constructing the array.Brimar used her magnetic powers to pull herself to a hatch in the ship’s hull. Then she made her way to Limu’s office.“Admiral,” said the captain.“Bad news. We still aren’t working fast enough. At this rate, the array will be finished two days after Izumal’s destruction. And working in zero gravity doesn’t make it easier.”“Then we’ll have to cut some more corners.”Brimar nodded.“Admiral,” said Limu. “I understand what’s at stake here, and that’s why I’ll agree to this. But I don’t want to see this ship destroyed when we open that conduit, so cut only as much as you need.”“Of course.” The last members of the Resistance worked around the clock. The section where construction was taking place, the forward part of the cylindrical section, was quickly covered by concentric circles of dark metal, with a large metal spike protruding from the centre. Power conduits and computer relays were installed. The essential safety systems were created as well, though they were the first to succumb to Brimar’s decision to cut corners.Despite all their efforts, however, the construction went on and on, as Izumal’s time grew shorter.Until finally, three days before Izumal’s final destruction, there were good news to be heard. The array would be completed on time.“At this point, we’ll have a very narrow window of opportunity,” said Brimar. “We’ll have to leave the instant the array is ready.”“Of course,” said Limu. “I’ll tell the crew to prepare.”The last stages of construction began, and finally, on Izumal’s last day, the array was ready. The Mata Nui took off, carrying the last hope of that planet… and possibly the last hope of the entire Multiverse. “Begin scans,” ordered Limu.The officers on the bridge obeyed.Anwrak didn’t like the odds. The Mata Nui couldn’t simply conjure a trans-Azurespace conduit out of thin air. While they could decide where the conduit would end, they needed to use the array on an Olmak Portal to create it. Worse, the array’s use would render the cloak useless.Limu was thinking along the same lines.“They’ll be on us as soon as we de-cloak. Admiral, have you got any viruses left?”“A few,” said Brimar. “But I haven’t had much time to create them. They won’t be of much use.”“There is no way to speed up the procedure, is there?”“No.”Limu turned to Anwrak.“Are the power transfers ready?”“Yes, sir. As soon as we de-cloak, all power except that of the array will be transferred to the shields. We won’t even have weapons.”“We’ll be facing a large amount of machines. Weapons would be useless anyway.”“We have detected an Olmak Portal,” reported an officer. “It’s hovering near one of the volcanic islands.”“Then take us to it,” said Limu.The Mata Nui entered the atmosphere, undetected thanks to the cloaking device. It flew silently to the Olmak Portal they had detected. Then it hovered above, waiting.“Attention,” broadcasted Limu. “This is the captain to all hands. We are about to de-cloak. Report to your assigned stations and prepare to confront the enemy. Good luck to everyone.”A minute passed. Then two. Then Limu gave the order.“Drop cloak.” It all happened in a few instants. The Mata Nui de-cloaked. Immediately, a beam of energy sailed out of the array and struck the Olmak Portal. Powerful forces went at work, crafting the trans-Azurespace conduit to Izumal.At the same time, dozens of Olmak Portal opened around the last ship of the Resistance. Machines started emerging: Rama, Kopen, Hawks, Giant Hawks and more.Brimar’s eyes narrowed.“That must be a force almost equal to what was deployed on Izumal a few weeks ago. Against a single ship.”“The Olmak Directive isn’t taking any chances,” said Limu.Then the machines opened fire. The air around the Mata Nui was instantly dissolved by the Bluespace weapons. Then those same weapons hit the ship, surrounding its shields with blue light. Rama and Kopen swarmed around the enemy ship, Bluespace bolts raining down from them on the Mata Nui. Hawks shot toward it, bathing it in weapons fire before turning around for another pass. Torpedoes were constantly fired from the Giant Hawks, while the bigger machines employed cutting beams to tear the shield apart. Meanwhile, Olmak Portals kept opening as more and more machines came through.“How long?” shouted Limu as the ship shook violently.“A couple of minutes!” replied Brimar.“We don’t have a couple of minutes!” yelled Anwrak. “At this rate, the shields will collapse in exactly 31 seconds… 30… 29…28…27…”“Weapons!” cried Limu suddenly. “Give me weapons! That’s an order!”Anwrak didn’t object, despite the obvious futility of the action. He tapped a few commands into his console, re-activating the Mata Nui’s armaments.“17… 16… 15…”Limu manually aimed six torpedoes and fired. The warheads shot out of the torpedo launchers and flew… straight past the machines.The Olmak Directive had several installations spread throughout Tanuuk. They couldn’t allow unpredictable volcanic eruptions to damage them. Therefore, nearly all Tanuuk volcanoes were kept from erupting by a series of pressure compensators, which were shut down only when the pressure from the magma became unbearable and had to be released. But even before that, the devices had to deal with the extraordinary force coming from below.That force found itself unopposed when the Mata Nui’s torpedoes disintegrated the pressure compensators on the volcanic island below the battle. Magma instantly shot up, too much for the sole volcanic crater to eject. The volcanic island exploded and clouds of incandescent ash rose to envelop the Olmak Directive’s fleet.“6… 5… 4…”Suddenly, enemy fire ceased as the ash hid everything from view. The machines, protected by Bluespace shielding, suffered little damage, but they stopped firing as the massive eruption interfered with their sensors.“Drop shields and recharge them,” ordered Limu. “Admiral, I don’t want those machines opening fire again. Can you do something?”“Of course,” answered Brimar. Her Mask of Technopathy glowed as she took control of some systems and used them to create jamming signals, sensor ghosts and other things to delay the Olmak Directive as long as possible.Meanwhile, the ship was shaking violently. The rocks hurled up by the eruption were striking the hull, sometimes opening breaches. But Limu knew that if they didn’t recharge the shields, the rocks would be their last concern.“The trans-Azurespace conduit is forming,” reported Anwrak.Suddenly an Olmak Portal formed behind them. Four Giant Hawks emerged.“Shields!” said Limu.The Olmak Portal they were firing the beam from the array into imploded. Then a hole in space opened where it had been a moment before.“Go!” A flash of light. Then the screen showed greenish walls of energy surrounding the trans-Azurespace conduit.“We made it, sir,” said Anwrak. “We are inside.”“How long to Izumal?” asked Limu.“Approximately 15 minutes.”The Mata Nui shook.“What was that?”“An energy discharge from the energy walls,” said an officer. “There are more up ahead.”“Will the shields hold?”“We didn’t recharge them completely, but they should.”The ship shook again, then again. The lights flickered. The crew’s mood was tense.Then the Mata Nui shook more violently. An energy conduit exploded.“Another discharge?” asked Limu.“No,” said Anwrak. “This is coming from behind us.”He looked at a console.“Sir, it’s a Giant Hawk. It’s followed us inside.”Bluespace bolts started striking the Mata Nui’s shields. Meanwhile, energy discharges kept jumping out of the walls to strike them as well.“Return fire!” ordered Limu.Then it was a race. The Mata Nui was the more powerful ship, but it had been significantly weakened. The Giant Hawk, on the other hand, hadn’t even been among the fleet exposed to the eruption.BD beams and torpedoes struck the machine’s shields, but did little damage. Its Bluespace weapons, on the other hand, did.“Shields down to 30% and falling!”A console blew up in front of the pilot, severely wounding her. Anwrak ran to take her place.“We are not going to make it!” the Avagori said.“Modify the shields,” ordered Limu. “Program them to weaken the Hawk’s fire only, but to let it through, just so that the Mata Nui isn’t completely destroyed. It may buy us some time.”It was a desperate move. Though the weakened weapons’ fire didn’t destroy the ship, it opened multiple hull breaches. Pieces of the Mata Nui started flying off.The Giant Hawk showed no mercy. It kept targeting the vital sections of the ship, even as the energy distortions from the conduit weakened the overall structural integrity of the vessel.Then there was an explosion at stern. One of the rear propellers detached from the Mata Nui, disintegrating against the conduit walls. The ship, too, started falling toward them.Anwrak bypassed the lost propeller, but the Mata Nui scraped against the conduit wall before returning on course. Meanwhile, the Giant Hawk targeted the main reactor.“The reactor is destabilizing!” reported the chief engineer through the communication system. “We won’t last long.”“Limu,” said Brimar. “The strongest distortions are at the conduit’s end. In this state, we’ll never get past them.”“How long?”“Seven minutes.”For a moment, the Toa of Stone didn’t speak. Then he said:“All right. Put me through to the whole ship.”An officer obeyed.“This is the captain. We are about to initiate a separation sequence. All the crew must evacuate to the disk section immediately.”“Sir,” said Anwrak. “The disk section’s shields won’t withstand the distortions.”“I know. I have an idea.”He got up. Despite his crushed chest, he moved quickly toward the exit. His last words to his second-in-command were:“You have the ship.”For a moment, Anwrak didn’t say anything. Then:“All right. How long to complete evacuation?”“One minute, sir.”“Get ready for separation.” Limu made his way to the engineering section. He found it deserted. As that part of the ship exploded around him, he plotted a new course for the lower section. Fire erupted around him. He conjured a stone boulder and stood on it. Then he sent it upwards, smashing through the various decks toward his last destination. “Everyone is on the disk section, sir. Except Captain Limu.”“Anwrak to Limu. Captain, where are you?”There was no answer.“Communications must be down,” said an officer.Then Limu spoke.“Go! Separate the ship. I’ll be right behind you.”“Captain…”“That’s an order, Anwrak.”Then he spoke no more.“All right,” said the Avagori. “Begin separation sequence. Plot a course toward the end of the conduit. Re-route all available power to shields and propulsion.”The Giant Hawk fired, hitting the lower section. Then, slowly, the upper disk-shaped section detached from the pyramid linking it to the lower section. What was left of the latter part of the ship turned around, straight toward the Giant Hawk. The two collided, the thin BD energy layer surrounding the Mata Nui section allowing the hull itself to pass through the Bluespace shield of the Giant Hawk. An explosion vanquished the Olmak Directive threat. But the discharges were still there. Lightning was filling the conduit up ahead, covering the aperture leading to Izumal.Then a small fighter emerged from what was left of the lower section.“It’s the captain,” gasped Anwrak.The fighter reached the disk section, then moved ahead of it, straight into the energy discharges.“He’ll never survive!” exclaimed Brimar. Then, suddenly, a dark mass started filling the space ahead of them, blotting out the lightning.“It’s stone,” said Anwrak.Stone that was instantly destroyed by lightning, but just kept coming. Eventually, there was too much of it. The Nova Blast covered the walls of the conduit, preventing new discharges from coming out. The disk section flew through unharmed.“The captain…” said someone.Anwrak shook his head. In his mind, he remembered Shadow’s nearly identical sacrifice.Then a new flash of light filled the screen. When it dissipated, the crew found itself looking at the skyscrapers of Izumal.“Sir,” said an officer. “We have no more power! All systems are offline.”The disk section started angling toward the ground.“All hands, brace for impact!” said Anwrak.No one was left standing. Brimar lessened the gravity, but the disk section still came down hard. It crashed on the surface of what was left of the planet. Slowly, it shuddered to a halt.For some time, no one moved. Then Brimar rose from what was left of the bridge.“We made it.” The Olmak Directive: Review Topic

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#10 Offline Toa of Italy

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Posted Oct 31 2011 - 03:58 AM

NINETEEN:EVACUATION

Anwrak rose from the wreckage. He surveyed what was left of the Resistance’s last ship. The rest of the bridge crew was also starting to move.“Any casualties?” he asked.“Not so far, but we have several wounded, some seriously.”“Communications?”“Off line. We have no more power.”“All right. Everyone!” he called. “Split up and search for the rest of the crew. Get the seriously wounded to sickbay and the rest of the crew out of the ship. If sickbay is too damaged, take as many medical supplies as you can and get the wounded out as well. And try to re-establish communications. That’s an absolute priority.”Brimar advanced to the vault where the Kanohi Olmak had been stored. It had been built specifically to prevent the Olmak from being damaged and, Brimar was relieved to see, it had worked, despite all the pounding the ship had taken.“Captain,” she said to Anwrak.Anwrak turned.“There isn’t a ship left to be captain of, Admiral.”“I can’t stay. I have to get to headquarters and begin the evacuation. I’ll get back to you as soon as possible.”Anwrak nodded.Brimar donned the Kanohi Olmak and opened a portal. Then she was gone. The Makuta emerged inside the deserted headquarters. For a moment, the silence stunned her. Then she remembered everyone was in stasis.There were no lights on, nothing, but a Makuta usually had good night vision. She made to the room where control over most of the City’s systems had been re-routed to. All consoles were dark. She bent down and opened the panel behind which were the power conduits. None were working.She tried to use her Mask of Technopathy to interface with… something. Nothing worked.There is no more power, she realized. Everything is being used to keep the shield up. Even the stasis units must be using simple stasis gas. She sent an electricity surge through the system. Nothing happened.It must have been automatically re-routed to the shield emitters.That left attempting to isolate the console, allowing the power to remain there. But it would take time.She checked the count-down on her watch. There was about an hour and a half left to shield failure. She had no choice.She summoned her powers and created a dome of intangible Ghost energy around herself and the console. Then she sent surge after surge of electricity into the console. It took her almost half an hour to manipulate the Ghost energy walls so that no electricity could escape.The console lit up. Instantly, Brimar sent a program inside, which overrode the automatic re-routing of power to the shield emitters. With the program inside, she was able to use the console without needing the energy dome.She quickly ascertained the status of the energy reserves. The power source was still working, but all its energy was being sent to the shield. Even if she managed to access it, she couldn’t use it, risking otherwise the shield’s collapse. Unfortunately, to open a portal the size needed to accommodate the whole City, something that was necessary since there was no time to evacuate everyone through a standard-sized portal, she needed that power source.The console was starting to flicker. Brimar sent another energy surge into it, but it wouldn’t hold for long. She quickly realized what she had to do. The only way for her to route some power for the task was to shrink the shield perimeter.How much smaller does it have to be?It didn’t take her long to figure it out. She grimly got up and donned the Kanohi Olmak again. Anwrak walked among the makeshift beds that had been fashioned for the wounded. The disk section of the Mata Nui was too badly damaged to cure them, so the entire crew had had to evacuate. Several fires had also broken out inside. Toa of Fire and Water were at work keeping them confined to the wreckage.“How are they?” he asked the doctor.“We are doing everything we can for them, but for some, we can do nothing but hope.”Nineteen crew-members had died, either in the crash or immediately after. Several more were not going to survive. Seven were in a coma, and a large number had been crippled. Though Anwrak knew most of the casualties had been inevitable, guilt was nearly overwhelming him.A dimensional portal opened in front of him. Brimar emerged.“Captain, I need all the crew-members you can spare.”“Why?”“We have to get as many people as possible out of an area close by. By hand.”Anwrak nodded. He sent messengers to summon the crew, with the exception of the seriously wounded and the medical personnel. Led by Brimar, they reached the nearest warehouses where the stasis units were being kept.“How long do we have?” asked the Avagori.“Less than an hour.” The Resistance worked as quickly as possible, despite the exhaustion of its members. Since the stasis units were also draining energy from their hosts to feed the shield, they couldn’t be shut down, so the bulky capsules had to be carried out of the area, either by hand or through the use of powers. Brimar contributed, checking every few minutes the device with the countdown.But it wasn’t enough. There were always more stasis capsules to be transported, and not enough time for it. When seven minutes were missing to the shield’s collapse, Brimar ordered the evacuation efforts to be brought to a halt.“Captain, get your people out of here.”“I can’t, there are still at least two thousand people in those capsules.”“We don’t have time.”“You are sacrificing the lives of two thousand people. It can’t be right.”“A few weeks ago I said the same thing,” said Brimar in a tone which carried genuine grief and sorrow with it. “But now I understand. There are tens of thousands of people in this City, and there are just two thousand people here. It must be done.”“We can’t. They didn’t choose to sacrifice themselves.”“I won’t let the entire City die because of two thousand people. The decision is made. Get your people out of here, or leave them to die, for I will shrink the shield.”Anwrak was silent. Then he whispered:“Yes, Admiral.” Brimar stood once more in the control room. There were only three minutes left.She activated the console again. She couldn’t control the shield with it, but the important thing was that, when power came through, she would be able to direct it where she wanted.She opened a portal to the shield emitter for the area she had chosen to sacrifice. She sent disintegration and molecular disruption bolts into the hole in space. They struck the shield emitter. The Izumal structure held.“Come on!” muttered Brimar. She summoned all the destructive energy a Makuta possessed and sent it at the generator.Two minutes left.The generator started to crumble under her power.105 seconds.The shield emitter exploded. She closed the portal even the shield perimeter shrank. Bluespace invaded the area, wiping out buildings, roads and two thousand people.With a smaller shield to sustain, there was less power needed. Before the automatic systems could react, Brimar had already seized control of the excess energy and transferred it to her Kanohi.One minute left.Brimar thought about her destination. An area with no inhabitants, yet able to sustain life. She hadn’t been very interested in other dimensions, but she remembered one. A universe a Copy of hers had lived in, an alternate Spherus Magna where there were no sentient beings left.The Kanohi Olmak obeyed to her thoughts. It opened a portal to that location. Power surged through it, enlarging the portal so that the entire City could fit.15 seconds.The last piece of the planet of Izumal, carrying the City on it, floated inside the portal. The Resistance members gasped in wonder as they found themselves in the darkness of the space between dimensions. Then the earth shook as the City landed in the middle of a green and lush land, a place that had once been called a desert, the desert of Bara Magna. Behind them, Bluespace surged forward, but found nowhere to go. The portal closed. Virgra slowly opened her eyes. The first thing she saw was a Mask of Technopathy.“Vice Admiral,” she said.“Are you all right, General?”“I’m fine, thank you. Where are we?”“Inside the City, on the planet of Spherus Magna.”“Spherus Magna?”“Yes. We are in an alternate universe now. Izumal is no more.”“I see.”The Et-Matoran climbed out of her stasis capsule.“The population?”“They’re emerging from the capsules right now.”“The mission succeeded then.”“Yes,” Brimar answered, but with a pained voice. “But we paid a high price for it. More than two thousand lives were lost.”Virgra was silent for some time. Brimar’s voice revealed more than her words. It didn’t take much to realize the reason for those deaths. Then she spoke:“If it can be of any comfort, Admiral, anyone who is in command eventually has to make such a decision, and none feel any better than you now do. When I spoke to you, just before Izumal’s destruction, I was feeling exactly like you do now. But I don’t regret that decision, because it was necessary. So, I think, was the death of those two thousand. You’ll never fully get over this, but remember that, with your actions, you saved many more lives. That’s what’s really important.”Brimar nodded.“Yes, General.”“Now, are there any local inhabitants we should worry about?”“No. They all died a long time ago, in a terrible war. We are the only sentient beings here.”“Good. I’m going to ask the Prime Minister to call for the cabinet to assemble, with the members of the War Council present as well. I would like you to participate and tell us what occurred during your mission.”“Yes, General. I would also like to request that Captain Anwrak participate as well.”“Who?”“Captain Anwrak. He is the highest ranking member of the Resistance here. He also has important news.”“Very well.” “So the Resistance is gone?” asked the Prime Minister.“Yes, sir,” answered Anwrak. “There may be some survivors, but it’s a feeble hope at best. And I’m sure the Olmak Directive is hunting them down at this very moment.”“This is a great loss for all of us. On behalf of the people of Izumal, I express my deepest condolences, as well as gratitude for all the Resistance has done until now.”“Thank you, sir.”“And now, Admiral Brimar, would you please tell this Council how your mission proceeded?”Brimar made a full report. When she was finished, a minister asked:“Admiral, does time in this universe flow any differently from that of Aethion?”“No, it doesn’t. It flows exactly at the same rate.”“Thank you,” said the minister.“And now, let’s move to discussing the future.”“Now that they’re out of stasis, the refugees need housing. We must provide that,” said a minister.“Agreed.”“And the Olmak Directive, can it reach us here?” asked someone else.Everybody looked at Virgra.“I’ve been consulting the experts on the Directive, as well as some members of the Resistance. Most of us agree that, even if the Olmak Directive did find us, their power would be seriously weakened outside Aethion.”“And the war? Will it continue?”“Our forces will take at least a month to return to the strength we had before this catastrophe. After that, we should be ready, provided we managed to get back into Aethion.”“Why?” said a minister. “Why must we continue the war? We are safe here.”“Our home is Aethion, not here,” replied someone else. “We must free it.”“We would be putting lives at risk.”“We have come this far.”“But…”“Enough,” said the Prime Minister. “I agree with the fact that we can no longer take the war as something granted. The population needs to have its say on it. I will propose this referendum to the Parliament.” The Olmak Directive: Review Topic

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#11 Offline Toa of Italy

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Posted Nov 01 2011 - 05:33 AM

TWENTY:VOTE

It didn’t take long for the Parliament to convene. After all, the war issue was very important. In less than an hour the Parliament members voted. The decision to hold a referendum was nearly unanimous.The War Council watched the session from its conference room. When it was over, and the council members started leaving, Brimar approached Anwrak outside the conference room.“Captain,” she said. “Congratulations.”“Thank you, Admiral. Congratulations to you as well.”Before the end of the council, Anwrak and the rest of the Resistance members had been awarded honorary Izumal citizenship. Virgra had also offered the Avagori the captaincy of an Izumal warship. Brimar had also had a significant career advancement: she had been promoted to full Admiral, effectively making her just one rank below the Fleet Admiral himself.“As Admiral, I have the prerogative to decide which ship you’ll be captain of. I’ll be sure that it’s one of the best.”“Thank you, Admiral,” said the Avagori. “Though if I’m going to command it depends on the referendum’s result.”“Yes, but I believe our side will be victorious. We’ve come too far to stop the war efforts, made too many sacrifices.”“Our side, Admiral?”“Yes, the pro-war side.”“I won’t be voting for the war. I’ll be voting for peace.”Brimar stopped. She turned.“You can’t be serious.”“But I am.”“I thought you of all people were going to support the war. You of the Resistance have fought perhaps more than any of us. You’ve suffered the greatest losses. You can’t turn back now.”“I can’t speak for my fellow Resistance fighters. But as for me, I’ll vote for peace.”“But… but why?”“Nine years ago, I was asked a question. Would I join the Resistance, or would I go to Izumal, to live in peace, at least relatively? I chose the former. Despite my terrible ordeal, and my wish to have peace, I chose to fight. I do not regret that decision. But now we are safe. The war will no longer continue unless we want it to. And I want peace, for me and for everyone.”“You would waste Shadow’s sacrifice, Limu’s sacrifice?”“They haven’t been wasted, Admiral. We are here. We’re alive. But if we go into war again, many of us will die. Why?”Brimar was awestruck. The Avagori was very young, but he spoke with confidence and wisdom. Yet she could not forget what she herself had been forced to do. She couldn’t forget the two thousand people she had condemned to die.“I see,” she said.“If the decision is to continue the war, I will take my place in the fleet,” said Anwrak. “But I won’t contribute to that decision.” “Fire!”The warship flew silently between two ice-covered mountains. It fired a beam of white light at a third mountain in front of it, a mountain surrounded by a blue layer of energy. There was an explosion. When Brimar could see again, the mountain’s height had been halved. There was no trace of the concentrated Blue Energy they had used to simulate Bluespace.“‘Flattened’ layer status?” she asked.“Bluespace is building up, but there is no risk of an explosion for some time.”“Very well.”In preparation for a possible restart of the war the fleet’s ships were being fitted with BC weapons, successfully tested by Brimar in battle. This area of the White Quartz Mountains had become the testing range. By manipulating the fabric of space in multiple ways, including the creation of a pocket dimension filled with concentrated Blue Energy to simulate the ‘flattened’ layer of Bluespace present all over Aethion, conditions similar to the Multiverse’s had been created, allowing the weapons to perform as realistically as possible.Brimar and another Admiral were overseeing the tests. At first, Brimar had welcomed the assignment. Now she was no longer so sure.As soon as word about the tests had gotten out, hundreds of peace supporters had taken Hoverplatforms and flown to the range. Now there were daily demonstrations, and more than one politician had paid a visit to the protesters, sometimes openly sympathizing for their cause.Things were no better in the City. Demonstrations both in favor and against the war were taking place. There had even been a few riots. Brimar was shocked that people that had been united for more than a century would so quickly start fighting among themselves.The Makuta had been part of the War Council for a long time, but she had always been a liaison, a link between the higher ranks, the fleet and the Resistance. Now, though, she finally appreciated the politics involved.Like the people, Izumal politicians had never been very divided. The greatest political conflict in a century had been nine years before, when, with most of the planet’s territory retaken, there had been divergences over which strategy to adopt. Now though, both cabinet and parliament were split over this issue. On one side, the peace supporters didn’t want the population to blame them for the inevitable casualties the war would bring, and were also determined to reduce the military’s power and importance in their own favor. On the other side, most of the military itself, which was still quite popular among the citizens, had no intention of losing power, and Brimar suspected that some would also try to prolong the war as much as possible should it restart. As soon as the referendum was over, new elections would no doubt be needed to re-establish a real majority.She herself was still in favor of the war, but was beginning to wonder how many had her same reasons. Though the notion that the sacrifices of so many people couldn’t be wasted was on every politician’s mouth, she doubted many really thought it, and several citizens too seemed to regard the whole issue as an opportunity to show their strength. It was difficult to ignore how the BC tests themselves seemed to have been arranged for the same reason.At least everyone agrees on the referendum.It was true. Polls showed that almost the entire population would vote, though a few important figures, including General Virgra, had publicly stated they would abstain themselves.The warship charged weapons. Brimar banished her thoughts and gave the order again.“Fire!” And finally the day of the referendum came. On that day, almost no one remained at home. Every polling station was flooded with citizens. Everyone wanted to have his or her say on the war. Several times, the law enforcers were forced to step in to contain the chaos – not an easy thing since they, too, wanted to vote.When night started descending on Spherus Magna, things calmed down. The polling stations were closed and everyone returned to their homes. Now the counting started. In ordinary elections, it was done very quickly by Izumal’s computers. However, since the protests on both sides had been quite heated, it had been decided that, to avoid hackers altering the results, living people would count the votes in a more old-fashioned manner.Of course, this meant the wait was longer. Many citizens waited all night in their homes to learn first hand the result, but it turned out to be a useless effort, for the counting went on until morning. No official information was released, though both factions claimed to have won during the night. Then, a few hours before noon, nanites broadcasted an announcement all over the City. The Izumal President himself spoke. His speech went on for about half an hour, but after a few minutes most citizens turned it off. They had learned all they needed to know. A 53% majority had decided that Izumal would once again go to war. The next few weeks were a busy period. Three days after the referendum, the President accepted the Prime Minister’s resignation and dissolved the current Parliament. The preparations for the war went forward nonetheless. BC tests were intensified, new ships were re-built and the old ones reinforced. Nanites were mass-produced. Drills were carried out constantly. It didn’t take one, but two months to make sure everything was ready. Two weeks before that deadline, the War Council assembled to discuss the new strategy.Virgra spoke:“We have four possible strategies we can adopt. The first is long-term. Guerilla fighters would be sent on each planet and weaken the Olmak Directive from within, followed later on by an invasion. However, this strategy means basically forming a new Resistance. While we can’t underestimate the Resistance’s importance in the past, we have to admit they didn’t do any lasting damage to the Olmak Directive, with the exception of the Leader’s destruction nine years ago. Even by using BC, the Directive could re-build very quickly, as it has done in the past.Strategy two are raids through dimensional portals. This would be the safest strategy, but for the same reasons as the first, wouldn’t have much effect.Strategy three is the creation of a new front. However, this is the strategy we have adopted for more than a century, and it has never granted us a real success. Besides, BC weapons can’t be used too much in the same area due to Bluespace explosion risk.Which leaves us with strategy number four; an all out assault on a planet. This strategy enables us to use our full arsenal, which at least for now is superior to the Olmak Directive. The speed of the attack would also prevent the Olmak Directive from finding a defense against BC technology. Unfortunately, this strategy would most likely result in the most casualties.”“General, there’s another problem,” said another General. “We would have to conduct this assault on all five planets. I don’t think we would be able to.”“Actually, there is no need to attack five planets. We only need to attack one, for the Olmak Directive would never recover from its loss. I’m talking about Clysmax.”Brimar was awestruck, as was the rest of the War Council. Virgra was definitely a good strategist, and there was no one better suited to lead the war. But she had always been somewhat conservative.I make the unconventional suggestions, not her! thought the Makuta.Nevertheless, it was a perfect strategy. Except that…“The Clysmax machines are stronger than the ordinary ones.”“I know,” said Virgra. “But from what the Resistance brought to us, they gain that strength thanks to a energy web running through a Bluespace layer “flattened” by matter. But our scientists assure me BC weapons can destroy that web. We would be on equal terms. And may I remind that the Leaders need to “recharge” on that planet to survive. It appears to be the only one where this is possible.”“Very well, General. But how are we going to invade? The Olmak Directive can disrupt dimensional portals,” said someone.“We are getting to that.” And then the day came. Approximately a thousand ships, along with several thousand fighters, rose from the surface of Spherus Magna. They flew through the atmosphere, finally reaching the planet’s orbit. Then they assumed battle formation, ready to fly through the dimensional portal that would form within minutes before them.Virgra spoke, broadcasting her speech to the entire fleet:“More than a century ago, the Olmak Directive invaded our planet. It killed hundreds, enslaved thousands and forced us into a war we didn’t want. We lost many, far too many. But today that stops. Today we fight for our universe, today we take it back. I don’t know who among you voted for the war, and who voted against it. I don’t care, because I know that you will all fight as much as you can. Many of us will not live to see our victory, but our sacrifices won’t be in vain, for we will win! We won’t live in fear anymore, our lives will no longer be in constant danger. The Olmak Directive will be vanquished. Let’s do this! Let’s fight, and let’s win!”On every ship, every crewmember cheered. After a few minutes, Virgra gave the order:“Open the portal.”This time there was no need of a Kanohi Olmak. The nanites did the job. A giant hole in space opened. And then the final battle began. The Olmak Directive: Review Topic

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#12 Offline Toa of Italy

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Posted Nov 02 2011 - 10:21 AM

TWENTY-ONE:THE BATTLE OF CLYSMAX

The giant consciousness of the Olmak Directive watched Aethion. Through the eyes of its machines, it watched as its living units and its robots labored to sustain it, as its will directed them. Every minute it opened and closed Olmak Portals throughout Aethion, allowing equipment and machines to travel between planets. Inevitably, some portals escaped its notice and became unaffected by its will, but ever since the Resistance had been eradicated, this problem had become secondary.The Olmak Directive was now far beyond what it had been at its beginning. The minds of the beings it had integrated into itself had added themselves to it, bringing the Olmak Directive one step closer to a new level of existence. Soon it would transcend, leaving Aethion and all its physical issues behind.The secondary consciousness which allowed the Olmak Directive to take actions outside its ordinary parameters was quiescent again. After the annihilation of the Resistance on Clysmax and the destruction of Izumal, it had remained active for some time, directing the entire fleet to attack the last Resistance ship when it had appeared above Tanuuk. After that ship and a Giant Hawk had disappeared, it had expressed the need to search for them. But when that search had yielded no result, it had once again withdrawn into Azurespace, until a time when it would once again be needed.The Olmak Directive detected a disturbance in Clysmax space, outside the Shard Moons ring. A dimensional portal was opening. This wasn’t wished by the Olmak Directive, so it had to have a hostile motivation and had to be stopped. The Olmak Directive started creating Olmak Portals around it in an effort to destabilize it. Before the portal could be fully closed, however, several missiles flew out. It activated its artificial asteroids and fired upon the missiles, but too late. They detonated.A new dimensional gate opened where the rockets had exploded moments before. The Olmak Directive acted faster this time, but it wasn’t able to sense Bluespace in the area anymore. It couldn’t open Olmak Portals. It fired on the gate with its asteroids, but more missiles flew out. It scanned them and sent Bluespace-based programs into their controlling systems. Before it could analyze what kind of weapon they were, the missiles exploded again.The explosion “blinded” the Olmak Directive’s sensors. When the energy unleashed dissipated, the Olmak Directive became aware of ships coming through the portal. Izumal ships. It activated all its asteroids and opened fire.“Return fire,” ordered Anwrak.The Olmak Directive’s asteroids were moving into position. Their weapons had already destroyed three warships.White bolts of energy flew out of the fleet’s weapons. The asteroids’ shield were stronger than the usual machines, reinforced by the energy web. But the BC weapons were tearing apart that web, preventing the asteroids from being re-charged. Overwhelming firepower bore on them. One exploded, then two, then four.The entire fleet had now emerged from the dimensional gate. While a few repair vessels and hospital ships stayed at the rear, the Izumal warships flew toward the asteroids, engaging them as Virgra had ordered.Anwrak’s warship had been one of the first to emerge from the portal. Now it was exchanging fire with an asteroid below it.“Damage?”“Shields at 70% and falling. An emitter has overloaded.”Anwrak cursed in his mind. While the warship’s weapons were significantly more advanced than before, the shields still employed BD technology and would take as much damage as before.“Dispatch a repair team. Try to take out that asteroid’s weapons.”“Yes, sir.”“Sir, the second gate will open in one minute,” reported another officer.Virgra’s plan wasn’t to simply engage the asteroids. The sooner Clysmax was destroyed, the better. The fleet was only a diversion.“Fire three torpedoes at the site.”BC explosions lit the area where the second gate would open. Once again, they hindered the Olmak Directive’s ability to open Olmak Portals there. Then the dimensional portal opened.First, a swarm of fighters flew out. These split into two groups, one engaging the asteroids, their speed and agility allowing them to dodge fire from the big weapon platforms. The other flew toward the Shard Moons ring. Then Izumal’s strongest ships emerged. Over seventy silver Titanmorphs shot out of the portal. Twenty joined the fleet. The rest followed the second fighter group, nanites already preparing to blast the Shards and Fragments into oblivion.Then an Olmak Portal opened in front of them, one with no dimensional gate, leading into Azurespace. A moon-sized sphere of metal flew out, Bluespace weapons blazing. The first two Titanmorphs exploded, their nanites either vaporized or deactivated. The rest kept going, their shields withstanding, at least for now, the power of the Superstation.“This is Virgra to all ships,” broadcasted the Izumal flagship. “First four warship lines, continue to engage the asteroids. The rest, fly to the Superstation. Fighters, surround the Superstation. The machines inside it can’t be allowed to fly out. Titanmorphs, continue toward the planet.”Anwrak’s ship held position, even as several other ships passed over it on their way to the Superstation. The fighters and some Titanmorphs surrounded the artificial moon, swarming over it and constantly firing. The remaining nanite ships tried to speed past the giant structure.The Superstation returned fire, seeking to prevent the Titanmorphs from getting past it, but there were too many. For a moment, it seemed they would succeed. Then the area around the Shard Moons glowed brightly. Bluespace flowed through the energy web, emerging into normal space. A sphere of Bluespace formed around Clysmax, preventing any ships from getting through. The Izumal forces found themselves unable to blast through it or to open dimensional gates inside it.“What’s that?” asked Virgra.“It is a Bluespace Wall, exactly like the ones surrounding each planet.”“How thick?”“Not much.”“Then why are we unable to use BC against it?”“The energy web is reinforcing it. The part inside the wall, so we can’t use BC to destroy it. And the Superstation is also feeding energy into it.”“The Superstation? What would happen if it were destroyed?”“The Wall would lose cohesion. The energy web emits Bluespace, but it’s the Superstation that’s holding it together. If we destroyed it, we should be able to blast through.”“General,” said another officer. “Machines are emerging from the Superstation. Rama, Kopen, Hawks, Giant Hawks… it’s a fleet.”“On screen.”Hundreds of machines were swarming out of various points of the Superstation. They were being bombarded by weapons’ fire from the Izumal fighters, but there were so many it was having little effect. The robots were deploying in front of the Superstation, effectively protecting it from the Izumal warships. Meanwhile, the Superstation itself was ruthlessly bombarding the Titanmorphs.“General, I’m receiving a message from Spherus Magna. They are unable to open a dimensional gate beyond the enemy fleet. The Directive must be blocking them.“Put me through to our ships.”“Done.”“This is Virgra. Warships and fighters must immediately confront the machine fleet. If possible, they must break through their ranks and reach the Superstation. That is our top priority. Titanmorphs, engage the Superstation. Your goal is to destroy it.”Virgra cut the transmission.“Take us into battle,” she ordered the pilot.Brimar had so far been watching the pilot from her own warship, overseeing the efforts to destroy the artificial asteroids. They had taken heavy casualties, but eventually they had succeeded. The last of the great weapon platforms were heavily damaged, explosions rocking their structure as their shields were breached in more and more places.“Fire five torpedoes,” ordered the Admiral.The weapons’ officer obeyed. The five warheads struck the asteroid the ship had been engaging. It exploded.“Set a course for the machines. Try to find a spot where their lines are thinner. We must try to break through.”The warship moved forward. At least thirty Rama moved to attack it. Despite the ship’s advanced targeting system, their agility still made it difficult to hit them.“Take command,” ordered Brimar to the second-in-command. She ran to the ship’s hangar and boarded her fighter.She called the Fleet Admiral.“Sir, I’ll take command of the fighters. We’ll try to ease some of the pressure on the warships.”“Very well, Admiral.”“This is Admiral Brimar,” the Makuta broadcasted. “I’m taking command of the fighters. Engage the Rama, Kopen and Hawks attacking our warships. Try to give them some breathing room.”The fighter pilots obeyed. With the fighters attacking the smaller machines, the warships could concentrate on the bigger ones. Giant Hawks moved into position to face the incoming Izumal vessels. White energy battled against blue. Several enemy crafts were dispatched, but Izumal was unable to break through.Without the main fleet’s support, the Titanmorphs were left to battle with the Superstation on their own. They had by now merged into a single nanite swarm, which had enveloped the Superstation like a huge silver cloud. The great Olmak Directive structure was barely visible beneath it.The nanites bathed the Superstation’s shields in BC energy, but the Bluespace fired in retaliation blasted several holes in the silver swarm. It was a stalemate, and one not favorable for Izumal.Brimar received a communication.“Admiral,” said a Vice Admiral, “we may have found a weak point in their lines, but there is a Dragon guarding it. We could use some electronic attacks.”“On my way.”Her fighter destroyed a couple of Kopen and then flew to the transmitted coordinates. Other Ghost Squadron members were already there.The Dragon was huge, easily ten times a Giant Hawk. Like most Olmak Directive, it was shaped roughly like the animal from which it took the name (for a reason no one knew). Its entire surface bristled with weapons, especially the head. The greatest danger, however, came from its movements. It was one of the few machines to use its Bluespace shields offensively. When it moved its tail and legs, it manipulated the energy field surrounding them so to strike as many ships as possible. While dodging the solid limb was fairly easy, there was often no escape from the Bluespace shield.“Ghost Squadron, this is Ghost Leader,” said Brimar. “Do not attempt to engage the Dragon. We must try to isolate it from the Olmak Directive. Broadcast jamming signals.”“Yes, Ghost Leader.”Far from the battle, on another planet entirely, a lone fighter flew just above the superstructures dotting the continent’s landscape.The Olmak Directive didn’t detect it, for the fighter was cloaked. If it had, the fight would have been brief, since the craft could not have withstood combat even with a single Kopen.After crash-landing on Promathus two months before, Halor and Jorna had made their way to the nearest Resistance base. They hadn’t found much: a lone crater, blasted into the earth by Bluespace explosions.During the following weeks, they had wandered through Promathus, always in danger due to the particularly strong Olmak Directive presence on the planet. Then, three weeks after finding the destroyed base, they had ran across a damaged Resistance fighter. The pilot, who had probably been trying to escape the machines, was long dead, but the craft was salvageable, cloaking device included. With it, the two had been able to leave the planet and search for survivors. They had found none.One week before, the fighter’s power had failed. They had been forced to take shelter in a Tanuuk cave close to a lava pocket, where heat could be harvested by a power converter most Resistance ships were equipped with and used to recharge the craft. The process had been long and Jorna had finally spoken her mind to Halor. The Vortixx remembered the conversation very well.“We’re not going to find anyone, you know,” Jorna had said.“You don’t know that. We haven’t searched everywhere yet.”“Oh, come on!” Jorna had replied angrily. “We may have not searched everywhere, but we’ve already looked for survivors on Promathus and Barrawahi. There were none. Why should it be any different?”“There has to be someone. There has to be.”Jorna had looked at him. It had felt like she had been watching into his soul.“You’re just clinging to that hope because you are afraid.”“Perhaps,” he had replied. “Is that a crime?”“We can’t just succumb to our fear. We have to fight back.”“How?” he had said in desperation. “The Resistance is gone, Izumal has disappeared. What can the two of us do?”“We can form a new Resistance,” she had said. When he had looked at her, he had seen determination in the eyes of the five-hundred-year-old Turaga.“We have the codes for the virus,” she had continued. “We can strike at the Olmak Directive and, while it’s weak, free people, like you told me happened nine years ago. I haven’t endured the Aethion Empire’s rule, reformed Promathus despite all the opposition and been a Directive slave for more than a century to see everything destroyed. I won’t surrender now.”He hadn’t spoken for a long time. Only the following day, he had told her he would join her.So now, they were flying over Promathus. Though Tanuuk and Atohune were the planets with the greatest numbers of living units, Promathus computers with the hidden virus within them were more widespread on their planet of origin.Halor was piloting the fighter. Their target was a complex near the southern shores of the continent, the largest nutrition center of the planet. Though theoretically the virus could seize control of every Promathus system simultaneously, they had concluded that such an occurrence would be improbable, and therefore had decided to deploy it where they would most need it.They were starting to land when several Olmak Portals opened in the sky above them. Hundreds of machines flew into them, and more took off from the planet’s surface.“What’s happening?”Brimar abruptly turned the fighter left. The Dragon’s tail swept past her, Bluespace shield striking two warships. She sent a last jamming signal and was rewarded by a beep from the console. The Dragon was isolated from the Olmak Directive. Even without instructions, it would keep fighting, but now it was much easier to hack into its systems.Brimar sent a few Ghost energy-based viruses into its systems. Several weapons on the machine’s surface abruptly failed.Warships surged forward, seeking to exploit the gap in the Directive lines before the machines could react. Two made it through. Then Bluespace bolts rained upon them, straining their shields until they collapsed.“What…” said Brimar. Then she looked at her sensors.“No,” she gasped as multiple Olmak Portals opened above her, beyond which the landscapes of five different planets could be seen. Machines started flying through.The Olmak Directive: Review Topic

Edited by Toa of Italy, Nov 02 2011 - 10:24 AM.

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#13 Offline Toa of Italy

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Posted Nov 03 2011 - 02:35 PM

TWENTY-TWO:INTERVENTIONS

Halor brought the fighter closer to the ground. Olmak Portals were opening rapidly, several quite close to them. He had to maneuver quickly to prevent the machines from slamming into their craft.“What’s happening?” repeated Jorna. “Where are those Olmak Portals leading?”“I don’t know. It certainly can’t be for us. Do you think it’s important?”“Don’t you? Whatever is happening, it’s important for the Olmak Directive, and those are all combat machines. Someone must be attacking it.”“There must be survivors, after all!” exclaimed Halor. “What do we do?”“We should try to find out where those portals are going. Try to get close to one.”The cloaked fighter lifted in the air again. Several Rama were flying into a portal close to them. Halor followed them to the edge of the Portal. Beyond, the two could see the machines joining a large space battle. Then the portal closed.“Those were Izumal ships!” said Halor.“Then they’re still alive,” remarked Jorna. “And if the Olmak Directive is using so many resources, it’s obviously an important engagement.”“We have to help them. If we manage to reach them, we can then use the virus against the machines.”“Not so fast. While most of the Directive’s installations on this planet use Promathus computers, the majority of the combat machines doesn’t.”“So what? As you said, it’s an important battle.”“The virus is an great resource. We can’t waste it.”“But…”A console beeped. Halor looked at it.“Unless I’m mistaken, the Superstation is activating all its weapon systems.”“It’s going to fly into battle as well,” said Jorna.“Well, what are we waiting for?” said Halor. “You can’t tell me the Superstation doesn’t use Promathus computers, it was almost completely built out of Promathus machinery.”“You may be right. But we’d have to get inside it first. How do we do that?”An Olmak Portal opened in orbit. It was big enough to see with the naked eye, even from such a distance.“Let’s talk about that when we get to the battle, shall we?” said Halor. The fighter sped toward the nearest Olmak Portal. A dozen Kopen went through. It followed.Anwrak watched on his ship’s screen as swarms of machines came through the Olmak Portals. It wasn’t a completely unconsidered eventuality. Their plan had included the possibility of reinforcements right from the start. But it had been thought that by that time the original Clysmax machines would be clustered around the single Fragments and Shards to protect them, and that therefore the new machines would have to confront Izumal on their own, effectively preventing them from gaining a true advantage. The Bluespace barrier had completely upset their calculations.“Warships,” ordered Virgra. “Attack the original machine fleet. Try to get in its midst and make it difficult for the reinforcements to reach you. Fighters, your job is to get to those Olmak Portals and try to close them as they open.”Attack the first fleet. What have we been doing so far? thought the Avagori. Nevertheless, he gave the order to engage the two Giant Hawks in front of them.Meanwhile, the fighters were dispersing themselves, flying to each Olmak Portal as it opened in an attempt to close them before machines could get through. It helped, but not much. There were simply too many portals.Ten Giant Hawks flew toward the weaker repair and hospital ships at the fleet’s rear, closest to the portal leading back to Spherus Magna. Virgra dispatched a few warships to protect them, but after destroying two Izumal vessels the wing of Directive machines headed for the dimensional gate itself. Virgra knew that if its opening was moved out of the area where the BC weapons had been used at the beginning of the battle, the Directive would once again be able to interfere with it. Instead, she ordered missiles to be fired through to destroy the incoming machines. Two Giant Hawks exploded, then three, then six. Two more were crippled. But the last two made it to the gate. Even as they broke apart, they fired everything they had at it. It destabilized and completely collapsed. Communications with HQs were abruptly cut off.A new dimensional gate opened, but this time Izumal didn’t have time to send missiles through. The Olmak Directive instantly destabilized it. After a few more attempts, the City gave up. The fleet was left isolated.Then yet another portal opened. It was big, so big even BC weapons had no immediate effect on it.It’s over, thought Anwrak as the Promathus Superstation flew through.Halor and Jorna’s fighter flew through the Olmak Portal. For a moment, the cloak faltered, but as soon as they were through Halor reset it. They were invisible.Below them, the Superstation flew through its own portal. Machines started pouring out of it.“So, what’s the plan?” asked Jorna.“I don’t know,” answered Halor.“We need to get into that Superstation. That means having Izumal open a hole in its shields, however small.”“I think they’re a bit busy right now.”“Then let’s hope they can spare a few warships. Put me through to the flagship. It’ll be the one sending the most transmissions.”“Channel open.”“Who are you?” asked someone on the other end.“It’s a long story. Put me through to General Virgra.”“She’s busy. Who are you?”“Listen. We’re not with you, and we’re obviously not with the Directive. Isn’t that interesting enough to let me speak with Virgra?”Silence for an instant. Then:“Putting you through.”“Who is this?” asked Virgra.“This is former-President Turaga Jorna. I believe we spoke a few times when you served in the Hand of Faith.”“President Jorna? How can you be here? What do you want?”“I want to defeat the Directive. And for that, I need to get into the Promathus Superstation. I need your warships to open a hole in its shields. Not much, just big enough for a fighter. And it’s got to be over those hangar the machines are exiting from.”“I can’t just order those ships there without a strategy, without anything.”“Virgra, you’ve lost. It’s obvious. You have one hope, and that’s us. Now contact those ships.”“They’re on their way.”The warships Virgra had dispatched approached the Superstation. The giant Olmak Directive installation was rapidly approaching the main Izumal fleet.A warship didn’t even make it to the Superstation, torn apart by its weapons as it reached it. The others congregated around a hangar door. The machines flying out opened fire and destroyed another warship. Only four remained.BC weapons struck the Bluespace shield. Watching them, Halor was reminded of the Mata Nui, which had done the same thing over one year before.Another warship was destroyed, then another. A BC beam carved a hole through the Bluespace shield.“Now!” exclaimed Halor. He flew through the hole, straight for the hangar below them. From above, BC torpedoes flew into the machines rising to meet them.A Bluespace bolt shot toward them. Halor dodged.They were in the hangar. There was an access tunnel on the wall. Halor turned toward it.A Bluespace torpedo was behind them now. The fighter was almost at the wall.“Jump!” yelled the Vortixx, opening the fighter’s prow.The craft exploded.“Status?” asked Virgra to the captain of one of the two surviving warships.“We don’t know, General. The fighter has exploded, but it was close to the hangar wall. They might have managed to jump.”“All right, return to the fleet and follow the previous orders.”“Yes, General.”The two warships turned around and headed toward the rest of the Izumal fleet. The ships were now completely surrounded. The Promathus Superstation crashed into them, firing all its weapons and spreading chaos.“What’s the Titanmorphs’ status?” asked Virgra.“They’re still engaging the Clysmax Superstation. It’s still a stalemate, though the Olmak Directive is sending a few machines to the Superstation’s aid.”“Order ten Titanmorphs to disengage from the Superstation and attack the machines from the rear. They must open a path for the warships to the Clysmax Superstation.”“Yes, General.”The Titanmorphs attacked the machines, but the latter held out against the assault. Virgra could do nothing but watch and hope.Jorna screamed. Her back and legs had been badly burned by the explosion. Halor didn’t have time to feel sorry for her.“Can you walk?”“I… I don’t think so,” gasped Jorna.The Vortixx picked her up and ran along the corridor.“Will any console do?”“Yes,” said Jorna. “But I will need a few minutes.”Halor cursed. They didn’t have a weapon, they had nothing.How are we supposed to hold the snakes back?Finally, a console. Halor set Jorna down. Snakes started crawling toward them from every direction.“Grant me access to this console, now! I don’t care about the rest, just do this.”Jorna entered a code into the console. It switched off its security protocols, at least the minor ones.I have one chance to make this work, thought the Vortixx.Years working with Olmak Directive communications had made him an expert in how they worked. He called upon those memories now, trying to fashion a fake transmission. He wasn’t an expert hacker, he couldn’t expect much. But the only thing he wanted was for a snake to fire in the right place.The snakes reared up and Bluespace bolts started flashing out of their eyes. Halor dove down. Then he sent the transmission.A snake looked at the ceiling. It fired. Metal rained down, separating Jorna and Halor from the Olmak Directive.“Ok, that’s thirty seconds we have, tops. Do what you have to do.”Jorna started working on the console. Her codes were transmitted all the way to the computer core which operated the Superstation, a computer core which had been salvaged from Promathus machinery and wiped of all previous programs; or at least, so the Olmak Directive thought. A lone program activated, a program which had remained hidden for so long. It sent its subroutines into every system it came in contact with, assuming control over it. The Olmak Directive safeguards didn’t detect it until it was too late. The great mind of the Directive no longer controlled its Superstation.The small metal barricade dissolved. Halor charged and grabbed a snake, trying to wrestle it to the ground, but the machine effortlessly shrugged him off. Its eyes flashed. A force field came into being in front of Halor, absorbing the Bluespace bolt.The Superstation abruptly stopped firing. It stopped in the midst of the Izumal fleet, all its systems inoperative.Halor turned to look at Jorna. She was standing, though with some effort. Forcefields surrounded them, separating them from the snakes all around them.“I have control,” she announced.“I can see that,” said Halor, breathless. “So, now what?”“I’ll call Virgra. I’ll ask her what she wants us to do.”She tapped a command into the console. Virgra’s face appeared.“General,” said Jorna to the Et-Matoran, “I have assumed control of the entire Superstation. What should I do with it?”“The full Superstation? You control it completely?”“Yes. Shields, weapons, propulsion… everything.”“Can you give us control?”“Maybe, but it would take some time. It won’t be long before the Olmak Directive decides to fire on its own installation.”“Very well. Try to ease some of the pressure on our fleet, it’s not important where. Then, when we give the order, attack the fleet in front of the other Superstation. Open a gap. Then attack the other Superstation. We need it destroyed.”“Yes, General.”The Superstation powered up. Its weapons blazed, but this time they struck Olmak Directive machines. Though both the Superstation’s weapons and the robots’ shields were Bluespace, the latter were overloaded and fed back into the machine they protected, dissolving it as ordinary Bluespace would have done. No longer besieged by the machines, the Izumal warships were able to fight back effectively, driving the Olmak Directive back.The Superstation moved forward, creating a path to its twin through the machines. The Titanmorphs parted to allow it to fire on the other Superstation. Space between them turned blue as the two exchanged fire. Anything caught between them was instantly destroyed.It wasn’t as easy as it had been with the machines. Both Superstations were unable to overload the other’s shields, which just kept absorbing Bluespace. The Titanmorphs attacked too, but the Clysmax Superstation withstood the assault, helped by machines the Olmak Directive transported in the area with Olmak Portals.Behind them, the warships were having more success, effectively re-establishing a stalemate. But the battle was far from over.“Oh, no,” said Jorna.“What?” said Halor.“The Olmak Directive is trying to regain control.”“Can you block it?”“Yes, but not for long. I’m not an expert, and this program is still three hundred years old. ######, I’m starting to lose weapon control.”“We can’t let this Superstation fall back into its hands.”“We won’t. I’m setting a collision course. We will crash into the other Superstation, and destroy both.”“We have to get out of here!” said Halor. “Can you clear us a path back to the hangar?”“Yes.”Energy conduits overloaded in the entire corridor. The resulting energy discharges disabled every machine between their position and the hangar. New forcefields prevented anything from getting between them and their destination.“Let’s go,” said Halor.“Wait, the Olmak Directive is trying to disrupt propulsion. If that happens, we won’t be able to crash into the other Superstation. I can block it, but I have to stay here.”“Then what do we do?”“You go. I can walk a bit now. I’ll try to escape once we crash, if I have time.”“What if you don’t?” cried Halor.“I’m not the first one to die for the cause, and I won’t be the last. Now go!”“I’ll wait for you at the hangar.”Halor got up and broke into a run. He jumped into the zero-gravity hangar, now almost completely empty of machines. He looked back at Jorna. She was still working.The Promathus Superstation moved toward its copy. It accelerated. Bluespace shields collided, merging together and leaving nothing between the two Superstation. Then they collided. For a moment, the two spheres seemed to merge. Then the explosions began.“Jorna!” cried Halor. The Turaga got up and started walking toward the exit. Slowly, so slowly. The walls started exploding around them.She is almost here!Then the corridor exploded. Halor had to move to avoid the giant fireball which flashed out of the door. He didn’t look back, there was no time. The entire Superstation would be destroyed in a few seconds.He propelled himself along the wall up to the permeable forcefield on the hangar door. Beyond, there was nothing but airless space.A Titanmorph passed close, undoubtedly getting as far as possible from the two Superstation.“Here goes nothing,” muttered Halor.He jumped out, landing in the sea of nanites that made up the great Izumal vessel. The Superstations exploded.The Olmak Directive: Review Topic

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#14 Offline Toa of Italy

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Posted Nov 06 2011 - 05:46 AM

TWENTY-THREE:STALEMATE

The explosion was magnificent. A giant sphere of white light expanded from where the two Superstations had been a moment before. Anything caught in it was vaporized, including an unfortunate Titanmorph and dozens of Olmak Directive machines. The gap already open in Olmak Directive lines widened. Warships surged through.Titanmorphs unleashed BC energy, which cut through the Bluespace barrier around Clysmax. The Fragments and Shards were vulnerable again.Dozens of Olmak Portals opened, machines gushing through in a desperate attempt to protect what was for the Olmak Directive the most important location in Aethion. The Titanmorphs opened fire again, sealing several portals and repelling the machines. The warships were not so fortunate. Several were destroyed by the barrage of Bluespace. The machines flew to close the gap in their lines. Finally, three warships managed to blast their way through and join the Titanmorphs; one of them was Anwrak’s ship. Then the gap closed.“Contact the Titanmorphs’ pilots,” ordered the Avagori. “Inform them we’ll be heading for the outer Shard Moons.”The Izumal crafts charged weapons. The end of the Olmak Directive was as close as it would ever be.The entity which was the secondary consciousness of the Olmak Directive looked around itself. The barrier had worked, as it had known it would, and so had the idea to bring reinforcements from the other planets, something the Olmak Directive itself would have never thought of, for Clysmax was supposed to be isolated from the rest of the Multiverse. Soon, Izumal would be defeated. The survivors would be integrated, and their consciousnesses would finally allow the Olmak Directive to transcend, reaching the ultimate level of existence.Something happened. The Olmak Directive lost control of the Promathus Superstation, which started firing on its own machines. The entity suddenly became worried. Then that worry increased as the two Superstations faced each other. At first, it seemed a stalemate. Then the Olmak Directive started regaining control. The entity began to relax.The two Superstations collided. Suddenly, the barrier, and subsequently Clysmax, was again at risk. The Izumal ships blasted the barrier open and surged through.This won’t happen, thought the entity. They won’t stop us. We will transcend.It opened an Olmak Portal right in front of the incoming ships. It unleashed its power.“Sir, there is an Olmak Portal opening in front of us.”“Fire at it!” ordered Anwrak.“Sir, energy is building in front of it. I don’t…”A blue explosion. Then Anwrak was looking through a hull breach into open space.The ship kept shaking. Anwrak saw the whole Titanmorph fleet, their nanites inert. The pilots, still outside Clysmax’s atmosphere, would be suffocating.“Sir,” yelled an officer, “the whole ship is destabilizing. We will be destroyed.”“Are communications online?”“No, sir.”“Abandon ship, everyone. Try to get this message to the whole crew, but abandon ship. That’s an order.”They made their way to the escape pods. Walls were exploding, everything was shaking. Anwrak activated the ejection mechanism for his pod, and then saw the ship from outside as it started disintegrating. Then it was gone, as were the two other ships that were with them.He turned around and saw a wall of Bluespace bearing on them. It took him a moment to realize what had happened.The barrier. It’s been re-established. How?He didn’t know. But if it had something to do with the blast they had received, the cause would be inside it.Which means getting in it. How?His Avagori mind quickly calculated the possibilities. Olmak Portals probably wouldn’t work, as they hadn’t worked on Izumal after the Bluespace cataclysm. Dimensional gates had already been tried. Converting matter to energy and sending it through the barrier would most likely fail due to interference. And they didn’t have the array necessary for a trans-Azurespace conduit.Or do we?He looked through his escape pod’s window. Nanites from the Titanmorphs were floating around.Using nanites, we might be able to open a conduit. The Olmak Directive still isn’t aware of the technology, so it should work. But it will soon realize how it works, and develop some counter-measure.They would be able to send only one thing through. Anwrak knew then he would pilot it. He didn’t have the time to clear it with his superiors, for who knew what the Olmak Directive would do now? He simply called someone he could trust. Brimar answered immediately.“Yes, Anwrak?”“Admiral, have you seen what’s happened?”“Yes. What do you want me to do? We can’t reach you.”“You don’t need to. Can you simply re-activate the Titanmorphs?”“Yes, it should be a simple matter, if I send the correct program. But why?”“Please trust me and do it. I know what to do, but if I tell you, you’ll have to report it and we risk losing this chance.”“I can’t simply re-activate the Titanmorphs. They can’t be piloted automatically, there is an interference risk. We need a living being.”“Yes, I know. I’m that being.”“You? I doubt you know how to pilot a Titanmorph.”“I’ll learn. Besides, my Avagori heritage will give me an advantage.”“I hope you know what you’re doing.”A program flashed into the Titanmorphs’ systems, deactivated by the Bluespace blast. The nanites started powering up.Anwrak steered his escape pod in their midst. He sent a few instructions to the nanites. In response, a few enveloped the pod.Anwrak opened the hatch and found himself immersed in a silver sea. Nanites interfaced with his mind and activated their probing programs. Once they had ascertained he was a living being and not an Olmak Directive attempt to gain control, they granted him access. After all, it was generally accepted that everyone not on the Olmak Directive’s side was on Izumal’s side.Anwrak commanded the nanites he controlled to link with all the others. The Titanmorphs merged into a single titanic silver sphere. Anwrak was at its core. His perception of the universe changed, the nanites acting as extensions of his own mind, showing him aspects of reality he had never before considered, or even known that existed. For a moment, he was overwhelmed by it, but his Avagori mind helped him make sense of what was being fed to his brain. Then he acted. He recalled with his already excellent memory, and now almost perfect thanks to the nanites, the concepts behind the trans-Azurespace conduit. He exerted his control over the silver sphere and told it to move toward the nearest Olmak Portal. It obeyed instantly. Anwrak accelerated, ignoring the machines that tried, and failed, to attack him. He also received several messages from the Izumal fleet, most of them telling him to turn back. He ignored them all.A beam of energy emitted from the nanites struck the Olmak Portal. What the Mata Nui had done in minutes, Anwrak achieved now in a second. The trans-Azurespace conduit yawned open. He threw himself inside. This time, the distortions were minimal. Anwrak didn’t even need to devote his attention to them, the nanites deflected them on their own. Instead, his enhanced mind began to draw up scenarios, trying to plan for every eventuality.A flash of light, though he perceived it as a much more complex phenomenon, and then he was inside the barrier. The Shards and Fragments of Clysmax lay before him.As did a figure, an azure figure that floated in space. Anwrak perceived it as pure Blue Energy, but in strange patterns, patterns that allowed what was before him to be sentient. He didn’t really need all that information, for he recognized this entity perfectly.“Our purpose is to achieve transcendence, to reach a new level of existence,” it spoke. “Why do you keep interfering? You could join us, we would take you with us. I know you understand.”And he did. He saw the way the entity interacted with reality around it, he knew it was just one step away from being something much greater. He was tempted, and he knew the knowledge of this possibility would haunt him forever. But despite all he had become in these last few minutes, he remained Anwrak, and he remained determined to destroy the Olmak Directive once and for all.“You would do this to thousands of people, people who have no choice, people who don’t even know what could happen. You can’t be allowed to do this.”“Why not? It all becomes irrelevant if we can achieve what we want.”“You haven’t, yet. You never will, unless you decide to do it in another way. We are stopping you.”“You can’t stop us. You can’t stop the inevitable.”“This isn’t inevitable.”The two Kopen fired simultaneously. Brimar cursed as half her inertial dampeners were taken out.When Anwrak had disappeared, Virgra had immediately ordered the few remaining Titanmorphs to create a new trans-Azurespace conduit to the other side of the barrier, but without success. The Olmak Directive had clearly adapted. Meanwhile the machines, no longer having something to protect, had gone on the offensive. The battle was at a stalemate.Brimar was being pursued by two Kopens, possibly due to the number of viruses she was deploying against the Olmak Directive. They had forced her deep into the enemy lines. Everywhere she turned, she only saw Olmak Directive machines.She was flying under a Giant Hawk. She sent a last virus to the Kopen, but unsuccessfully. A Bluespace bolt sailed from the Giant Hawk to strike her fighter. Brimar jumped out the instant before it exploded.Being a Makuta, she didn’t need to breathe, but that was the least of her problems. Sound had no effect whatsoever on the Kopen, which instantly regenerated their shields. She summoned her Ghost powers and created a very long tube of Ghost energy, extending back to her allies. The Kopen fired. Antidermis flew out of her armor and dove into the tube, where an energy current pushed it forward. Behind her, her armor was destroyed.What was left of Brimar reached a hospital ship. After startling a few people, she managed to speak telepathically with a doctor, who revealed there were no suits of armor she could occupy.Cursing in her head, she slipped into a repair ship, where a few damaged fighters were being taken care of. After communicating with the officer in charge, she obtained a fighter that had just been repaired. Her Antidermis slipped into it, taking control of the craft that essentially became her body. Brimar flew back into battle. Immediately, she noticed something alarming. In several areas, BC weapons had been used far too often. If the battle didn’t end soon, Bluespace explosions would start occurring. Then it would be over.Anwrak had known it wouldn’t be easy, but he hadn’t expected it to be so difficult. The entity hadn’t waited for him to attack it, it had immediately gone on the offensive. The first Bluespace blast badly strained the shield protecting the giant Titanmorph surrounding him. In response, Anwrak had detached several groups of nanites from the main mass and sent them to attack Clysmax. The entity simply unleashed a huge Bluespace wave which blew them back.When simply bathing the entity in BC energy had no effect, Anwrak went for a subtler attack. He sensed the energy web permeating Clysmax space. He fed BC energy into it, using its structure but changing its composition from Bluespace to BC energy. Then he used that same energy to attack both the entity and the Bluespace barrier around Clysmax. Huge BC explosions came out of nowhere, and for a moment the barrier wavered. But the entity adapted. It sent Bluespace energy back through his connections to the energy web, causing a feedback. Anwrak had to withdraw from it to avoid serious damage.The entity unleashed a beam of Bluespace with struck his shield. It started sending Bluespace-based programs through the shield into his systems. Anwrak knocked out the first three, but the programs simply kept coming. Systems started failing. Anwrak detached another group of nanites from his main structure and threw them at the entity. They enveloped it, cutting it off from outside. By the time it broke free, Anwrak had restored the systems.Two more blasts created a small hole in his shields. Anwrak regenerated them, but suddenly an Olmak Portal opened inside their perimeter. The entity flew out and dove inside the nanites, trying to reach him.Anwrak surrounded it and the nanites around it with forcefields, then expelled the entire section. Before the entity could react, the nanites surrounding it had linked back with Anwrak and were attacking it, trying to disrupt its Blue Energy structure. It shifted to an alarming degree, compromising its mental functions, which was Anwrak’s intention. If the entity couldn’t think anymore, it would no longer be a danger.A signal was sent by the entity’s dying mind. The next instant, Anwrak felt something. A mind, incredibly powerful. The primary consciousness of the Olmak Directive. For a moment, the Avagori was transfixed by the same presence which had commanded him up to nine years before. Then he reacted, but found himself unable to do anything. The Olmak Directive didn’t have a physical presence, it had nothing he could attack. The great consciousness did something, then it withdrew. Then the entity, mind restored by the Olmak Directive, broke free. The following blast disintegrated half of Anwrak’s nanites. The entity pressed its attack further.The Olmak Directive: Review Topic

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#15 Offline Toa of Italy

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Posted Nov 19 2011 - 11:04 AM

TWENTY-FOUR:A NEW LEVEL OF EXISTENCE

The whole Izumal fleet was now conscious of their pending doom. With the energy web present, they could not hope to damage the machines without recurring to BC weaponry. But space around them was reaching saturation point: soon, Bluespace would start intruding in normal space-time again, in a very explosive way.Virgra had been the first to know. Now she was trying to find a solution.Attacking another planet, one with no energy web, where the BC weapons would prove a decisive advantage, had certainly crossed her mind. But how to get to it was another matter, since dimensional gates didn’t work, most Olmak Portals had been sealed and the remaining ones had decayed so rapidly they now all led into Azurespace, and they had just seen that the Directive could adapt to prevent trans-Azurespace conduits from going through Bluespace walls.Staying meant finding a way to end this stalemate. But how?She called the Fleet Admiral.“How is the situation on the front line?”“Not very good, General. Some areas have already been saturated by Bluespace. We’ve had to draw back to prevent explosions.”“What can be done to strengthen our position in a short time?”“We need to strike in areas that Bluespace hasn’t saturated. I’ve just consulted my science officer. We believe we can use trans-Azurespace conduits in the same way the Directive uses Olmak Portals. We’ll have to use the remaining Titanmorphs to generate them, but it can be done. We also have another idea to prevent the Directive from doing the same with Olmak Portals.”“Let’s hear it.”Brimar, in her fighter body, listened to the Fleet Admiral’s plan. It was based on the element of surprise, something that had never worked against the Olmak Directive for long, but it might be enough. The four Titanmorphs left maneuvered into position. They opened trans-Azurespace conduits, leading behind the machines’ lines.The Olmak Directive responded instantly. Olmak Portals materialized around the openings to try to destabilize them, while machines prepared to fire on any incoming ship.That was when the ships the Fleet Admiral had sent into Azurespace acted. Though once inside that dimension it was fairly easy to get lost, it was generally true that nearby Olmak Portals would have nearby entrances within Azurespace as well. BC torpedoes flew out and struck the machines. With that cover, warships poured out of the conduit and smashed into the enemy lines.The Olmak Directive could easily have done the same thing with Olmak Portals before. But, unlike Izumal, they weren’t ready for it, and it was one thing to interfere with a conduit when there was a Bluespace Wall between its entrance and its exit, quite another when there was none.The conduits switched destination, again and again. For a few moments, the Olmak Directive was thrown into disarray, but the machines re-grouped, ready to defend themselves from every direction. At the same time, Giant Hawks headed into Azurespace to flush out the Izumal ships.Brimar cursed in her mind and threw herself into battle, firing all her weapons, unleashing as many computer viruses as she could. But the Olmak Directive, though weakened, still held.What else can we do?Virgra was wondering the same thing. The Fleet Admiral’s idea had been a good one, but it was only a short-term solution. They needed to tip the balance in their favor permanently.A new conduit opened. An attack wing of warships flew out, wrecking the Kopen stationed in that area with BC weapons. Suddenly Virgra spoke.“Get a Titanmorph to that area!”The nanite craft flew through the conduit it had just created.“Open a dimensional gate!”The Directive attempted to destabilize it with Olmak Portals, too many for the Titanmorph to close, but when it did, the other three nanite crafts used the trans-Azurespace conduits to destabilize them from Azurespace itself.“This is Virgra to the entire fleet. Retreat into the gate.”“General, what are you doing?” asked the Fleet Admiral.“We have feared the Bluespace explosions caused by BC weapons because they were uncontrolled, because they could destroy our fleet too. But with few ships, we no longer risk that. I want twenty warships and the Titanmorphs to remain in the area. As soon as the rest of the fleet is through, they are to fire concentrated BC energy at them. They won’t be able to control so much Bluespace.”“That’s a bet, General,” said the Fleet Admiral.“One I’m willing to make.”The fleet obeyed and flew back through the dimensional gate. When they were through, the remaining ships opened fire. For a moment, space around the machines turned white. Then it turned blue. Bluespace erupted into the normal fabric of reality, wiping out hundreds of robots. The rest found themselves surrounded by giant Olmak Anomalies they couldn’t control, and these were constant matter shredders. Several tried to maneuver out. Then the more agile Titanmorphs slipped inside their lines and destroyed several before slipping out again. The fleet, evacuated moments before, returned, surrounding the area occupied by the matter shredders. Brimar joined them as well. As soon as a few machines tried to make their escape, the fleet destroyed them.“They won’t be able to open Olmak Portals in there, too much Bluespace around them,” said Virgra. “Continue to surround them while the Titanmorphs make their attacks. Don’t cease to do so until they are all destroyed.”The Fleet Admiral called the Et-Matoran again.“General, the barrier is still in place. Clysmax is still intact.”“At this point, I’m putting my hopes in Captain Anwrak.”Those hopes didn’t seem to be realistic. Anwrak was nowhere close to opening up the barrier. In fact, he was close to dying.The entity attacked savagely, trying to reach the heart of the giant Titanmorph, trying to reach him. Anwrak managed to fling it away, but it came again.The Avagori tried to destabilize the entity again, but it was useless. The Olmak Directive’s main consciousness was protecting the entity, undoing whatever damage he did.Anwrak fired a quantum energy burst, but the entity used a Bluespace shield to deflect it. Anwrak acted again, this time on a wider scale, stopping time around the entity, therefore immobilizing it as well.Anwrak summoned a disintegrating bolt of enormous power and fired it at the closest Shard Moon. Suddenly Bluespace lightning struck him from the barrier behind him.Impossible. The entity can do nothing.He trained his sensors on it. Its outer layer was frozen. But the inner layers were still active.The outermost layer protected the inner ones! It’s still in control of Bluespace.Lightning struck him, again and again. Eventually, he had to reroute power to his shield. The entity was freed instantly.Anwrak was trying to find a way to isolate the entity from the Bluespace around it, but he couldn’t find one. No one had ever figured out exactly why the Olmak Directive controlled Bluespace, at least in moderate amounts.He sent out a jamming signal, similar to Brimar’s viruses but much more complex, to try to cut off the entity from the Olmak Directive. The entity simply interfered with his interference signal. Next, he tried to Reality Shift the entity multiple times, remembering Zirmak’s attack on the Leader nine years before. For a moment it worked, but the entity soon managed to throw up a Bluespace shield, through which Anwrak could not act.The nanite structure protecting the Avagori started to change. Small spheres of nanites detached themselves and shot toward the entity, who responded with Bluespace lightning. The nanites disappeared behind a blue curtain of energy.Multiple tractor beams cut through the lightning and seized the entity, dragging it toward Anwrak. It responded by striking its enemy with Bluespace emerging straight from the energy web. The shields surrounding the giant Titanmorph were subjected to intense strain and sometimes even failure, but this time the Avagori didn’t reroute any power to them.The entity was puzzled, but it couldn’t see any purpose behind this. It increased the Bluespace fire, putting Anwrak’s defenses close to annihilation.Suddenly nanites appeared around the point were the tractor beams were holding the entity, the same that had been destroyed moments before. The entity didn’t understand. Then another cluster appeared… inside the entity itself.Anwrak smiled.Time Jump.The nanite bombs detonated.Brimar flew close to the Bluespace barrier. Though the giant Olmak Anomalies in Clysmax space prevented approach to it in several places, it could still be reached close to the natural Bluespace Walls.The ships with her were carrying advanced sensor equipment and were trying to detect what was happening beyond it, but with little success.“Any progress, Brimar?” asked the Fleet Admiral.“No, sir. This barrier is completely impervious to our scans. As far as we know, Captain Anwrak might have destroyed Clysmax, or have been destroyed himself.”“Keep trying.”Brimar obeyed, but as minutes passed, it became obvious their attempts were going to fail.Think, she said to herself. What can cross a Bluespace barrier?Light could cross it, but the barrier was scrambling every signal they were sending.What about bringing it down?BD would be completely useless against a barrier of such magnitude, and even BC would not be able to do it.What else is there?Sound would work even less than BD. She tried to think if they had ever managed to use another kind of weapon against Bluespace. There was none.Wait a moment. There is another weapon. We used it in this very fight. Bluespace itself. If in great amounts, it can disrupt a machine’s control over its own shields and destroy it.They just needed a Bluespace weapon.The entity was gone. There was nothing between Anwrak and Clysmax. Yet the barrier hadn’t come down.It’s still here, thought the Avagori, performing every kind of scan he could but finding nothing. But where?The energy web started changing, shifting in ways even Anwrak couldn’t fully comprehend. Suddenly, a blue distortion appeared in the midst of his nanites.Impossible! My shields are preventing Olmak Portals from opening inside the nanites.Yet one was. Anwrak scanned his shields, but he couldn’t find any problem. Somehow, the entity had circumvented them.Anwrak fired BC energy, trying to wreck the energy web around him. It didn’t work. He tried to seal the distortion, but something was keeping it open, and it was stronger than him.Now more distortions appeared around him. He couldn’t do anything to prevent it. He tried to move, but they followed him.Only one possibility.He separated the core of the giant Titanmorph, which contained him, from the rest of the nanites, but created a sensor ghost to make it seem like he was still there. Then he cloaked and sped away. A moment later, an explosion annihilated the remaining nanites.Anwrak flew toward Clysmax. Suddenly, the energy web started emitting Blue Energy which rendered him visible again. Then the entity materialized out of nowhere.It was inside the energy web itself! realized Anwrak.The being was wounded. The bombs had worked, creating what looked like holes in its structure. But it still lived, and Anwrak’s own power was halved due to the destruction of most of his nanites.The entity attacked anew. Anwrak met it with his own power. This time there were no sophisticated attacks, no unique solutions. It was just a contest of power.Two walls of energy, one blue, the other white, collided. Neither was able to prevail.“Are you certain?” asked Virgra.“Not completely, General,” answered Brimar. “But I think it’s our best option.”“Then fifty warships are at your command.”“Thank you.”The mentioned ships approached the barrier. By concentrating their BC weapons in the area immediately in front of it, they would create a new explosion, which would penetrate the barrier and push Bluespace toward Clysmax. With luck, it would be enough to destroy it. Brimar began to fashion a type of transmission which the explosion would carry with it, in the hopes of establishing a communication link with Anwrak.Anwrak knew it would only end with his destruction. For now, the entity and he were even, but eventually it would heal, while he would never be able to make up for his missing nanites. But he kept fighting, hoping in a miracle.And the miracle came. Suddenly, there was a disturbance in the barrier around Clysmax. For a moment, the Avagori hoped it would come down. Instead, the barrier became brighter in one spot. Light kept increasing. Then a plume of Bluespace rose from the barrier, heading straight for Clysmax.The entity’s response was instantaneous. It withdrew and opened an Olmak Portal in front of the plume, which started slowing down.Anwrak’s nanites suddenly received a transmission.“Captain? It’s Brimar speaking. Do you read me?”“Yes,” said Anwrak. “I’m reading you.”“Has the Bluespace explosion worked?”“It worked, but you need to do it again, and in multiple spots. The first attack has been stopped.”Another plume emerged from the barrier, then another. The entity had stopped the first one and started modifying the energy web to channel its power against the others.Then Anwrak struck. All his remaining power was unleashed against the entity. Concentrated on stopping the plumes, it was unable to protect itself. White light tore enveloped it, disrupting its form and its power. It was hurled away from the plume, then slowly floated to a halt.Behind Anwrak, the Bluespace barrier faltered, then disappeared altogether to reveal giant Olmak Anomalies floating outside.One suddenly began shrinking. Anwrak’s exhausted mind recognized the weapons used against it as BD. Several warships and fighters flew through the gap.Brimar’s fighter body approached the Avagori. He had just enough power left to supply himself new air. She opened the hatch leading to the cockpit.“Come in, Captain.”Anwrak crawled inside.“Admiral, is that you?”“Yes, it’s me. You did a great job, Captain.”“The entity. Is it still alive?”“So it seems.”“Take me to it, please.”The entity was floating in space. The holes in its structure were bigger now. It didn’t seem to pose any further threat.“Why?” it muttered. “We were going to transcend. We were going to take you with us. Why did you deny yourselves that?”“We have to make our own choices,” answered Brimar. “You can’t make them for us.”“Now what you call the Olmak Directive will never transcend. Without the units, it won’t be able to. But I will. I’ve waited too long for all this.”Power surged from the entity once more. Brimar raised shields, but this time it wasn’t an attack. The entity started glowing, more and more brightly, even as its body started fading. Brimar detected incomprehensible shifts in reality around it. At the same time, her mind, as well as all those in the vicinity, felt emotions coming from the glowing entity. There was happiness, satisfaction, but also pity for those it left behind, knowing they would never reach the new level of existence it was now approaching. In that moment, they all knew no malevolence had ever animated the Directive. In that moment, they really understood it.Light filled Clysmax, enveloping Brimar, Anwrak and the warships in their vicinity. And in that light, they saw a glimpse of that existence now beyond their reach. A glimpse, that was all. Then the entity transcended.The Olmak Directive: Review Topic

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#16 Offline Toa of Italy

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Posted Nov 23 2011 - 07:14 AM

EPILOGUE

Year 502A figure slowly advanced through a great grey desert. Around it, there was only a cold void. The figure was tall and lean, enveloped by a web of blue energy. Through the holes in the web, nothing could be seen, though the sensors trained on the figure revealed the presence of concentrated Kinetic energy.The most striking thing about it were its facial traits, barely made out by the blue energy enveloping it. They conveyed an impression of pure beauty, increased by the fact that the being seemed to be strangely aloof, as if it were seeing something that wasn’t the world around it.Yet, though its expression barely showed it, the entity was in pain. It was staggering, even as the energy web surrounding it seemed to grow, occupying the space that had been filled by the invisible kinetic energy.“It’s about to go critical,” announced one of the people watching it through the sensors.The last Leader of the Olmak Directive suddenly fell to its knees. It gave out a long wail of suffering, which gradually increased in volume. The energy web surrounding it kept growing, devouring the kinetic energy inside it.The Leader landed on all fours, then slumped to the ground. Its wail gave way to a scream. Several people in the room covered their ears with their hands. Some even left the room altogether.Then the scream quieted down. The Leader wasn’t moving at all. The blue energy now occupied almost its entire form. With nothing to sustain it, it started dissipating. Ten minutes passed, then thirty, then an hour. The very last Kinetic energy vanished, even as the blue energy did the same. Then, for a moment, all the screens in the room were filled by intense light. When it, too, dissipated, there was nothing to see anymore.The room was filled by cheers. Cheers that were echoed by the people outside, even as the giant nanite screens filling the City showed the Leader vanishing and the last machines in orbit of Alarist, Promathus and Tanuuk shutting down. The process was echoed on the ground, as snakes, Spiders and Moles slumped to the ground, never to move again.Virgra smiled as he saw through the screens the populations of Atohune and Barrawahi, as well as the forces fighting on Tanuuk and Promathus, join in one great celebration. In the three years after the Second Battle of Clysmax, as it was now called, the Olmak Directive’s defeat had been inevitable. Without a place to recharge, the Leaders had fallen one after another. The conquest of Atohune, Barrawahi and a part of Tanuuk had been easy, with minimal casualties. Yet to know that the one hundred and twenty year-long efforts hadn’t been in vain, that the Olmak Directive was finally vanquished, brought joy to everyone. Smiling, Virgra joined the cheers.That afternoon found the Et-Matoran on Atohune. It was raining, but inside the building there was almost no sign of the violent downpour affecting this region of the planet. Its peace and tranquility were essential to allow its hosts to be slowly cured from their condition.There was much to do. The last living units that had been freed after the death of the last Leader had to be found and helped. Promathus and Tanuuk had to be opened for settlement. The infrastructures of the Olmak Directive had to be dismantled or recycled. The upgrading of the Izumal technology, that had for so long been limited in its automation due to fears of Olmak Directive infiltration, had to be brought to conclusion. In face of the end of the Directive’s threat, political decisions had to be made, and Virgra knew she was going to be expected to take part in those decisions. There were already several people suggesting she run for President at the next elections. But everything could wait.An Agori escorted her to the waiting room. There, she saw another visitor waiting.“Captain Halor. I didn’t expect to find you here.”“I felt that this day required it, Supreme General.”“Yes, so did I.”She still remembered when Halor had been found inside one of the four Titanmorphs that Anwrak hadn’t commandeered. She had immediately seen him as a proven and brave individual, completely different from the coward she had later heard him described as. The last three years had proven her correct.“You’re seeing Anwrak, aren’t you?”“Yes. I barely knew him, but he was a Resistance comrade, and after his actions, he deserves my help and respect.”“I understand.”Just then, a Dendrokan entered the room and addressed Virgra.“General, she can see you now.”Virgra nodded. She rose from her seat and walked to the room where the person she wanted to see was.She opened the door gently and saw her looking out of the window. The Et-Matoran approached her, but she didn’t turn.“It’s finally over, Admiral Brimar. The Olmak Directive has been destroyed. Your efforts haven’t been in vain.”Brimar didn’t act. As soon as an armor suit had become available, her Antidermis had been transferred once again to it. It hadn’t changed anything.Her eyes had a look Virgra knew only too well, for it was the look on the Leaders’ face. The look of those people who watched a level of reality so great they no longer had any eyes for the world where the others lived. Of that reality, Brimar, Anwrak and all the crewmembers on the first warships to reach Clysmax had only had a glance, when the secondary consciousness of the Olmak Directive had transcended. But it had been enough to transfix them, enough to make them turn away from the real world. Though the clinic where they had been transferred had the best psychologists of Aethion, Virgra knew they would never recover.“Your job has been done, Admiral. I thank you.”Then she walked away.

THE END


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