SPACE 9. To the Base…..!
Countless soft powders poured from the sky. The sky was black like a cosy bedroom while the wind sounded like a lullaby. If he closed his eyes then it seemed possible to be submerged in a happy dream. Such thoughts creeped into his head after closing his eyes. But Ark didn’t worry about that.
He opened his bag and saw piles of cupcakes and cookies. Ark took out a cupcake with whipped cream and raised it to his mouth. And as he took a bite…..pakak!
Ark screamed and jumped up. He grabbed his tingling mouth and looked around with a confused expression. His happy illusion broke at that moment. And he was returned to the gloomy reality. His hand was holding a Zaliman ore instead of a cupcake. The soft powder and cosy bedroom…..
The snow storm swirling on Beltana! He started trembling as soon as he noticed the chill.
“D-dammit! My destiny, why is my destiny also twisted like this?”
Ark painfully raised his body from the ice. Endorphins flowed through his head as he recalled his memories. He had wandered the pyramid for 10 days and had obtained a unique sword, information about an ancient alien civilizations and a 5 star skill. It was amazing! He had only suffered since starting Galaxian so it was good to receive some compensation. That feeling disappeared the moment he appeared outside and operated his Nymphe’s GPS.
|-Distance to the galactic federation’s base: 532 km|
His mood plummeted at the message that appeared on the GPS. Ark was released at a location 532 km from the base.
“I-I have to walk 532 km?”
Ark looked at the swirling snow storm with blank eyes. Beltana was a planet with a temperature of -50 degrees Celsius. Of course, Ark was able to survive the current temperature due to the Prisoner body coating. That’s how he managed to dig Iridium for hours as well as fighting on the battlefields.
‘532 km means that it will take more than 10 days if I walk 50 km in one day.’
He had to walk for 10 days in the freezing cold. Even if he received the body coating, his body wouldn’t be fine in such low temperatures for 10 days. His body temperature would start falling. His body became as stiff as stone and he experienced dizziness many times. Finally the cold was more than his body coating could handle.
|-Your body temperature has fallen below the limit and all abilities will decrease by 20%.|
That message appeared after one day passed. But there was an even bigger problem. The body coating allowed him to adapt to the harsh environment so he could restore his body temperature……and that was exactly the problem.
‘I only have 5 foods left.’
Ark sighed as he searched through his bag. He was responsible for the food supply of the Royal Guards so Ark always had food packed in his bag. The amount was enough for one or two months. If he had that much food then he didn’t have to worry about walking 1,000 km. But Ark only had 5 Space Foods remaining in his bag. The rest of the food……
|-<Zaliman Ore>, <Zaliman Ore>, <Zaliman Ore>……|
It had all changed to the Zaliman ore. So many Zaliman ores had dropped that he threw away food to pack it in his bag.
‘The crevasse that I fell in was only 50 km away from the B-3 base. So I thought 5 Space Foods would be enough but I appeared 532 km from the base……’
It was impossible to reach the base with 5 Space Foods. Especially once the storm started and the temperatures fell even more.
-You will be punished if you don’t think food is important.
His mother had said that. As expected, the words of an adult wasn’t wrong. He was being punished for dumping the food for ores. However, Ark didn’t give up. No, he couldn’t give up. He had gained 12 levels after spending 10 days in the pyramid. He couldn’t just give up the 12 levels he earned!
“There’s only one way! I have to return to the base before my food runs out!”
Ark marched through the storm. Fortunately he managed to march 70 km after 12 hours……
“I fell asleep in the unit!”
Ark was so tired he fell asleep while walking. His connection also wasn’t ended. While Ark was lost in dreams, his character was left in the -50 degrees weather as his body temperature and satiety fell. While he was wandering in the dream, he took out an ore and bit it.
“Dammit, my satiety has fallen to 20%.”
Ark took out a piece of food and recovered his satiety. Now he only had 4 Space Foods left. The situation was becoming even more hopeless.
“There’s no time to be doing this! I have to move in order to live! Armour armament!”
Ark immediately pulled out the battle suit. The thick battle suit meant his body temperature didn’t fall. The armour bolstered his physical ability including his movement speed. That’s how Ark was able to move 70 km in 12 hours!
“Run! Hyper Drone!”
The battle suit clad Ark ran through the snow storm. After 30 minutes, the mana was consumed and the battle suit disappeared. But that didn’t stop Ark. If he stopped then his probability of survival would decrease. He moved painfully through the snow storm while starving. Ark flinched and stopped moving.
At first he thought it was a trick. But when he narrowed his eyes and concentrated, he realized it wasn’t a trick.
‘Light? There’s no doubt about it. That’s a light!’
Why was there a visible light on the other hill? It wasn’t a natural light. Artificial light! In other words, it meant someone was there.
‘Yes, my Nymphe only registers some defense bases around the federation’s main base. I don’t believe that is a base. Maybe that light belongs to a federation scouting unit! Then I can get some supplies!’
Ark concentrated all his willpower and ran up the hill. And he looked at the bottom with expectant eyes.
“Heok! T-this is…..?”
Ark’s face stiffened.
“What are you doing Ark?’
The blonde youth bit his lips until it became bloody. He was the young man who followed Ark to Nephalim. However, when he searched through the guidance system he discovered that Ark had been compulsorily sent to Beltana as punishment for a crime. But he didn’t worry about it.
‘He is Ark.’
The youth knew that Ark was more persevering than a cockroach. Ark wasn’t the type of user to break down because of a problem. He always returned with a presumptuous look.
‘I don’t really understand. I’m a novice who just left R-14. But Ark arrived at the frontier before me. Obviously there is a significant level difference between us. I don’t want to meet Ark like this. However, Ark had received a penalty so it will be difficult to raise his level. This is an opportunity for me to catch up with Ark!’
So he eagerly hunted. He had learnt Swamp Walking from the Charenjok so he went to the southern swamps and hunted the mechanical creatures called Nakuma. His level quickly grew and he received a body coating. The time taken was a fortnight. However…..
It had been 20 days since Ark went to Beltana but he hadn’t returned yet.
‘There is something strange. Ark wouldn’t be lost for 20 days……’
The blonde youth couldn’t wait anymore. So he made a resolution.
Tang-! Tang-! Tang-!
-A gunfight has occurred in Nephalim!
-Two guards and three battle androids have been injured! The suspect has been arrested at the scene of the crime!
The android association of the Space Union demanded strong punishment! The government investigated and determined it had something to do with the group against machines called ‘Tree of Life.’
It was a murder case that raised a fuss in Nephalim. A blonde man was arrested at the scene by the guards. However, the young man who was handcuffed was wearing a smile.
‘Just wait Ark. Here I come!’
Something moved in the darkness. It was a shadow that stuck close to the ground and moved like a cockroach! The shadow moved forward between sparsely separated rocks. Finally the shadow approached a place where thick beams of light lit up a fence. The shadow raised its head and quickly peeked over the fence.
‘Phew, it really is creepy.’
There were an absurd number of monsters swarming on the other side of the fence. With bent arms and long hair, they were the Carack. Thousands of the Rama’s biological weapons were swarming around the fence. And the person peeking at them was Ark.
‘I can’t believe I found a Rama base in a place like this!’
Ark recalled his memories.
“Heok! T-this is…..?”
He discovered a light and ran up a hill. Ark had witnessed a massive military base from the hill. However, it wasn’t the base of the federation like Ark expected. The soldiers wandering the barracks had dark skin and pointed ears, the alien species Rama! He had wandered around the ice field and unexpectedly found a Rama base.
‘Oh my god! This is a Rama camp? Judging by the size, it isn’t just a simple defense base. Perhaps it is the main base. The main base of the Rama clan!’
Ark’s heart started pounding.
‘This might be a huge opportunity.’
Once again, the most important thing about the war on Beltana was finding the rival’s main base.
Reinforcements and supplies were sent through the Star Gate then destroying the Fairy and the Star Gate could end the war. However, advanced equipment like satellites or radar were useless because the Rama and the federation had similar scientific knowledge. The magnetic field around Beltana was also several times higher so airships couldn’t be used. Therefore they had to use scouting troops to look for the enemy bases. Yet Ark had discovered the headquarters of the Rama.
‘What if I told the federation the location of this base?’
Discovering the headquarters of the enemy was crucial to winning the war. It would clearly give huge achievement points.
That would only apply if he returned alive. The user’s route was automatically recorded on the Nymphe’s GPS. But it wasn’t complete. It had to be registered with the Fairy for the record to be permanent. In other words, all the information about the surrounding area would disappear if it wasn’t registered with the Fairy.
‘If I die before returning to the base then this location won’t be saved on the GPS!’
He had one more reason to return alive. At the same time, the probability of returning alive had decreased.
‘Dammit, there is only a 10% probability that I can return to the base…..I have to get past this base to reach the federation base. If I move then I will be spotted by the Rama. At least there are no scouts. But beyond that base is the battlefield between the Rama and the federation. There is a high chance there will be a lot of scouts.’
Of course, there was a chance Ark could avoid the scouting troops. However, Ark had to move in a straight line to guarantee his survival. There was no time for him to avoid them.
‘It can’t be helped. Thankfully the view is limited due to the snow storm.’
Ark came to that conclusion and tried to sneak past the Rama base. Suddenly an unexpected object caught Ark’s eye.
The object was reflected in Ark’s eye! At that moment, Ark’s head started spinning fiercely.
‘There’s no doubt about it. If I get my hands on that then my probability of survival will increase!’
But there was a problem. The object Ark wanted was deep inside the Rama’s camp. It was impossible to reach ‘that’ without the guards noticing.
‘I have to somehow get my hands on it. Is there a way to attract the attention of the Rama for a short moment.
Then the kennels of the Carack caught Ark’s eyes.
‘Let’s give it a shot!’
Ark made various plans as his eyes shone. Of course, approaching the Carack’s kennels wasn’t easy. The Carack were the enemy. Naturally approaching the tent of an enemy was dangerous! But Ark had an invaluable skill……
|-Withdrawal has been used.
<Probability of being detected by an enemy: 15%>
It was the Withdrawal skill that he learnt from a pardoned prisoner. It was a skill where hiding among the topography decreased the chances of being detected by an enemy.
‘The probability never exceeded 10% when I was hiding among the rocks. But a 15% chance is nothing to worry about.’
Ark checked the kennels while flat on the ground. Thousands of Carack were inside the barracks.
He only found out now but the Carack was a herbivore. Hay was strewn on the ground in order to feed the Carack. Some of the Carack were eating the hay now. It was unexpected but fortunate for Ark.
‘Now, let’s get started!’
Ark crawled like a cockroach along the ground and followed the fence. And he finally managed to approach the kennels. Ark built up a bunch of hay and finally pulled the trigger of Fading Steel. There was no sound because the hay acted like a silencer.
Tung-! Tung-! Tung-!
There was a dull ringing sound. Flames started among the hay. The bullet loaded in the Fading Steel was the Fire Bullet! The hay instantly caught fire. Once the dry hay caught fire, it instantly spread to the rest of the food.
‘That’s it! It was successful!’
This was what Ark had aimed for. Using the Fire Bullets to light the Carack’s food on fire! The trapped Carack instantly panicked as the hay caught on fire. The Carack were important troops to the Rama so it was natural for the chaos to spread! It wasn’t surprising for turmoil to spread through the base.
-What is going on? Fire! The Carack’s kennel has caught on fire!
-Dammit, why? Ring the alarm before the flames spread even more!
‘But there is still something lacking.’
Ark laughed after escaping from the flames.
Tang-! Tang-! Tang-! Tang-!
Subsequent shots were heard around other kennels.
–S-shots! The enemy! The enemy troops are attacking the Carack’s kennels!
–Ack! I-is it the federation? Everybody gather! Shoot all of them!
–Captain-nim, the infrared scopes hasn’t detected them!
-It doesn’t matter! Those guys are hiding near the kennels! Just shoot!
Tu tu tu tu! Tu tu tu tu! Tu tu tu tu!
The Rama warriors ran to the kennels and started firing their machine guns blindly.……It was useless.
‘Heh! I didn’t think I would fool them so well.’
Ark laughed as he saw the flashes of light in the darkness. This was the reason Ark set fire to the hay. Ark had ran around the kennels and placed a handful of Fire Bullets. Once the fire spread through the hay and reached the Fire Bullets…..Tang! Tang! Tang! The bullets exploded in every direction. The Rama thought it was a surprise attack by enemy troops…..
Tu tu tu tu! Tu tu tu tu! Tang! Tang! Tang! Tu tu tu tu! Tu tu tu tu!
There was an intense gunfight between the flying bullets and the Rama warriors. A gunfight occurred. His mind wanted to watch the ending to the fascinating battle but…….
‘There’s no time! I must escape before they notice!’
Ark ran like a cockroach through the base. It wasn’t necessary to explain but he hadn’t done this for fun. He had discovered if from above the hill! The attention of the Rama guards were now focused on the side of the kennel.
‘It’s a success! There’s no one here!’
Ark looked at the object……
‘Bike! It is a federation bike!’
Ark had discovered it when looking from the hilltop. Like he said before, there were many collisions between the scouting units on Beltana. However, the overall length of the battlefields in Galaxian wasn’t only several kilometres. Sometimes there were dozens of hundreds of kilometres between the base and the strategy area. When moving to a strategy area, the federation used the Memeod tank for transportation. However, that wasn’t the only way to move troops. There were also motorbikes for personal transport of individuals in scouting units. It was different from movement in the medieval ages. Ark had discovered the federation’s bike that the Rama warriors had probably taken as loot after killing the scouting unit. The reason he hid in the base and lit the hay on fire was to obtain the bike.
‘The OS is different so a user affiliated with the federation can’t use a Rama bike.’
However, this was a bike from the federation. Of course, the federation didn’t allow just anyone to ride the bike. A key was needed to start the bikes in Galaxian. However, a key wasn’t the only way to start the bike. The Nymphe was a multipurpose device where all the user’s information was registered! A registered owner could just connect their Nymphes to move the bike……
|-This memory chip is protected with a security device.
Enter the security code or use Invaders to hack and release the lock.
Attempt to hack? Y/N
The message flashed as soon as his Nymphe connected to the bike. Ark had learnt the hacking skill from Tori.
‘The remaining problem is if I can finish hacking before the Rama notice……’
|-The current lock accessed is ‘Galloway: Level 3.’
The airship located on the bottom is your hacking program ‘Invader.’ You have to move Invader and wipe out numerous hostile programs to protect the lock. If Invader is destroyed then the hacking attempt will fail and you will have to start again.
Now, display your newly learned hacking capabilities and try to destroy the protection program!
A smile formed around Ark’s mouth. It was the small airship game Galloway! This was one of the classic games that Ark was the best at.
‘I don’t have a lot of time. I don’t know what will happen if I don’t release the lock on time!’
Ark focused all his concentration on hacking.
Byong! Byong! Byong! Byong!
He was playing Galloway in the middle of a hostile area! Anyway…..he felt tension but this was Ark’s life. No, he was more concerned with the game. If he managed to seize the bike then he could return to the base alive! If discovered by the Rama then he would be a beggar! It was a risk that would either be a jackpot or turn him into a beggar!
Byong! Byong! Byong! Byong!
So Ark was busy while the shooting was continuing.
The voice of a Rama was heard from behind him.
–What are you doing by yourself? Haven’t you noticed the uproar on the base?
When he flinched and turned, he saw 2 Rama warriors approaching him. Ark was surprised but he sharpened his mind.
‘I can’t let them know I’m from the federation!’
Ark had worn the battle suit before entering the base. Ark’s battle suit belonged to the Rama so it would decrease the likelihood of being caught. Even if Ark was spotted, the Rama wouldn’t know he was an enemy straight away. But if they used the infrared scope then his identity would be discovered. If he also replied in a different language then he would be discovered.
‘I have to release his lock before that!’
Byong! Byong! Byong! Byong!
Ark focused on the Galloway game on his Nymphe again.
-What? This bastard, why aren’t you saying anything? Do you want to be shot?
–Besides, why are you wearing a battle suit in a place like this?
-Eh? What? This jerk, why are you playing a game by yourself?
–Ha, it really is outrageous. Hey, you! Who are you?
The Rama warrior grabbed Ark’s shoulder.
|-You have finally surpassed all the firewalls and the lock on the bike has been released!|
‘That’s it! The bike’s lock is released!’
The enormous ship that was the boss exploded and the message appeared. Ark took out his Fading Steel and smiled pleasantly.
“Set Bullets Shooting!”
Cheolkeok, cheolkeok, cheolkeok! Pepepeng!
Set Bullets Shooting shot out three bullets in one blow! The Rama warrior was hit by the bullets and stumbled back. Meanwhile, Ark quickly got on the bike and turned the handles. There was the sound of an engine and the bike flew forward at a tremendous speed. Yes, he flew away! The bikes in Galaxian weren’t normal and were actually a hover bike! It was a futuristic flying bike with a comfortable riding position and a maximum speed of 300 km/hr.
Kwa kwa kwa kwa kwa kwa!
The bike instantly left the Rama base.
–Kuak! That guy!
–That bastard, he isn’t a Rama! Sound the alarm…..!
–There’s no time! Besides, the base is already being attacked so the perimeter alert is useless. There is no time to let the other soldiers know so we have to chase him ourselves!
The two Rama warriors grabbed their bikes and pursued him. Three bikes rushed through the raging snow storm. Ark departed first but the Rama warriors still caught up. Ark was new to the bike while the Rama warriors were experienced.
“Damn! I have to lose them somehow…..heok!”
Ark cried out as he saw the Rama warriors that caught up with him. One of them was carrying a RPG on his shoulder and aiming at Ark.
–Lock on! Now take this!
Smoke blew out as a small warhead was fired.
‘If that hits me directly then I’m dead!’
Ark screamed and turned the handle sharply. There was a strange sound as the bike turned perpendicularly. The Rama’s artillery had a tracking function so the trajectory stayed with the bike. And the moment it was about to hit! Ark quickly turned the handle in the opposite direction. The homing feature couldn’t follow such sharp movements.
Kwa kwa kwa kwang!
The shell that missed its target hit something else and exploded. However, he didn’t have time to sigh with relief as the other Rama warrior fired.
Tu tu tu tu! Tu tu tu tu! Pepepepeng!
There was an explosion to the rear of the bike as it turned and a red warning message appeared.
-The engine has been hit and the output is rapidly decreasing.
If the engine is hit again, there is a risk that it will explode.
This was why it was difficult to use a bike on the battlefield. The benefits was that it was quick and easy to handle but the fatal weakness is its weak defense!
‘Dammit, it is impossible to lose them like this! If so…..’
He grabbed the bike’s handle firmly and looked at them with the infrared scope. The chasing Rama warriors were level 41 and 42. And Ark was now level 43 thanks to the pyramid!
‘It is worth a try!’
There was no gap to hesitate. Ark rotated the bike 180 degrees and pulled the accelerator. The bike made a roaring sound like a scream and rushed towards the bikes of the chasing Rama warriors.
–That guy! Is he trying to die with us?
–Smash the bike!
The two Rama warriors lifted their guns to stop the bike.
Tu tu tu tu! Tu tu tu tu! Tung! Tung! Tung! Tung!
The warriors relentlessly attacked with their machine guns. Sparks flew from Ark’s bike and smoke started to spread. And when it was a few metres away from the warriors’ bikes!
Kwa kwa kwa kwa kwa kwa!
It exploded and smoke and fire spread in the sky.
–Sheesh, I wanted to capture him if possible…..
-We still don’t know. That guy might be breathing still.
–We should check it…..
The two Rama warriors got off their bike and took out their hammers. And they approached the vortex of smoke and fire.
“Come out, Shire!”
They suddenly heard shouting in the midst of the smoke.
At the same time, the swirling smoke was split in half. A hand surrounded by blue light moved through the air and drew a complicated pattern. It was the Rune Carving skill that he learn from the ancient Murat alien civilization
“Rune Carving! Ikram rune invoked!”
The pattern of light was completed.
TO BE CONTINUED