Curses emerged from Ark’s mouth. Four days ago Ark, Hawk and Ferguson were sucked into the black hole. They travelled back thousands of years to the planet Muratio Star and became tangled in a Murat quest, overcoming many crises before solving it! They were able to safely return to their original universe.
Around the same time, Ark heard that Irina was near the vicinity of the black hole. The 3 investigation teams were searching around the black hole. It wasn’t that strange when thinking about it but the Rama fleet had appeared straight after Ark, Hawk and Ferguson disappeared into the black hole. Irina’s fleet was in deadlock near the black hole when the Aschulat fleet appeared. The investigation teams from the 3 powers were gathered in one spot.
So he guessed there was no room to relax when he returned to the original universe.
‘But even so……’
“Hyung-nim, I’m picking up spaceship signals from nearby. It is coming from the 3 o’clock, 12 o’clock and 9 o’clock direction from Silver Star’s current location. Of those, the 9 o’clock signal is from our fleet. The 12 o’clock readings is coming from the Aschulat fleet! And 3 o’clock….the Rama fleet! The distance with each fleet is 3,000~ 4,000 kilometres!”
And Hegel’s voice penetrated his ear the moment they returned! There was no way to explain a black hole but it wasn’t a place that could be held in one hand. The enormous black hole was thousands of kilometres wide. Yet he had ended up in the middle of 3 fleets.
It was so absurd that he couldn’t feel any malice regarding it.
“Ha, I’m not even surprised anymore.”
“Damn! Another? Another? Does this makes sense? This is terrible! It is hard for something like this to occur on purpose. How are you possibly so unlucky? DNA? Ark, are the unlucky genes born in your body?”
“…..I also think this is a bit too much.”
“Me too! This time take responsibility!”
Slayer and Leon instantly blamed Ark the moment they heard Hegel’s report.
“The Rama, Aschulat and Galactic Federation fleets are simultaneously approaching us.”
“Dammit! Tori, move in the direction of our team’s fleet!”
“Yes! Silver Star engine operation!”
The Silver Star spouted flames as Tori moved towards the investigation team’s fleet. Almost at the same time, Hawk and Ferguson’s ships started to move in the same direction. Hegel who was busy moving his fingers around the dashboard shouted in a desperate voice.
“A high density energy reaction is being sensed from the Rama and Aschulat fleets! They seem to be charging the long range beam guns. Currently we are within the enemy’s range.”
Slayer and Kaya grasped their heads and screamed at Hegel’s words.
“What, what the? Then it is already too late?”
“No way! We barely managed to come back to this universe and now we’re going to die!”
“No, not yet!”
Ark shook his head and exclaimed.
The advancing Rama and Aschulat fleet still couldn’t be seen with the naked eye. No matter the range of weapons in outer space, the distance wasn’t something a cannon could reach. However, it didn’t matter even if the guns could reach.
The further the distance was, the easier it was to avoid the attack. But the Rama and Aschulat were charging 50 beam guns. There was no way he could avoid so many gun attacks from the enemy.
“But this area is near the black hole’s gravity field.”
When Ark, Hawk and Ferguson exited the black hole, they were barely straddling the edge of it. The engine of the spaceship was working but it was difficult to predict the gravitational field.
“It won’t work if it is a short distance bombardment but beams from 1,000 kilometres away will be affected by the weak gravity. Even if the angle is only changed by 0.1 kilometres due to the influence of the gravity, that could be enough to avoid a damaging impact. I knew for several days that there would be a confrontation here. So they can’t shoot the beams from that distance.”
Close combat would also be hard. If they battled blindly near the gravity field then they might be sucked in by the black hole. Once again, the 3 powers had been in deadlock for a few days.
‘So it won’t be immediately dangerous. But……’
Then a window popped up with Irina’s face on it.
–We are heading there now! We are moving towards Ark-nim!
His girlfriend had come to help. What man would feel good in his position? Ark shook his head before Irina’s words ended.
“No, don’t come!”
–Huh? Don’t come? Why….?
“So far the Rama and Aschulat had been in a standoff but they seem to be mistaken after we appeared. We disappeared with the grey planet that contained Organization X’s secret base so they misunderstood and think we have a clue related to the quest. That’s why the Rama and Aschulat are rushing towards us.”
A clue related to Organization X was the target for the investigation teams of the 3 powers! That is why the Aschulat risked having an all-out war with the Rama. The Galactic Federation fleet came here first but there was no evidence they possessed a decisive clue related to the quest.
But it was different once Ark, Hawk and Ferguson appeared out of nowhere. They were the key to bringing wealth and honour to an investigation team! It was worth the risk.
“They’re doing this became they believe we have a clue. In the worst case scenario, the Aschulat and Rama will join forces to attack us. If so, we won’t be able to resist even if we join up with you. Irina-nim heading towards us has no meaning. So please change directions and retreat. We will follow soon after!”
However, there was a part Ark hadn’t considered. The reason the Rama and Aschulat were so convinced that Ark, Hawk and Ferguson had a clue to this quest. Ark, Hawk and Ferguson had disappeared in the vicinity of the grey planet that contained Organization X’s secret facilities.
Of course, that was one reason. But there was a larger reason why the Rama and Aschulat were convinced.
–It is a misunderstanding that Ark-nim found a clue?
“Yes, I’ve been on a planet called Muratio Star…..”
–Then what was the antimatter reaction we sensed just now?
Ark was confused by Irina’s words. Then Hegel surveyed the dashboard and said to Ark with a shocked expression.
“Eh? T-this is? Hyung-nim, antimatter. The energy wavelength matches the one received from the Galactic Federation by 99%! There is no doubt that it is antimatter. The source of the wavelength is the black hole behind the Silver Star!”
“Antimatter? Black hole? What does that mean….?”
–Then it is unrelated to Ark-nim?
“Eek? What is that?”
Ark moved his gaze after hearing the confusion in Slayer’s voice. It wasn’t just Ark. Leon, Kaya, Sadain, Park and Rapid were all staring to one side with shock. The crew members of the Silver Star closed their mouths and looked at the screen.
The screen showed a video from the rear camera. It was the black hole behind the Silver Star. But it was the red light that caught their eyes first. A red light was whirling in the depths of the black hole. Ark gaped in dumb surprise at the scene.
“Irina-nim, what is that?”
–That’s what I want to ask. That phenomenon and antimatter reaction started just before Ark-nim and Ferguson appeared. So I believed it had something to do with Ark-nim…..
“Just before we returned here?”
Ark frowned at Irina’s answer. Then it was when the dimensional gate Kuhwen prepared was opened just before Ark’s party returned. Then the phenomenon happening in the black hole had something to do with the dimensional gate?
There were too many questions that didn’t make sense. Ark’s companions had gone through the black hole and exited on the edge of the black hole. However, the mysterious phenomenon was occurring in the centre of the black hole. The distance was far so it was too early to say it was due to the dimensional gate. But what was even more incomprehensible was the antimatter reaction detected from the red light.
The sentences Kuhwen left behind never mentioned that the dimensional gate had anything to do with antimatter. But Ark couldn’t think about it for long.
“Hyung-nim, the antimatter energy wavelength detected in the black hole is amplifying at a tremendous speed!”
Hegel reported as the red light expanded at a huge rate. There was a roaring sound and red lightning started to occur inside the black hole. At the same time, sparks started rising from the dashboard and the screen was covered with static noise.
“Hyung-nim, a magnetic storm! There are errors in various systems due to the influence of the magnetic storm!”
“Ark, this doesn’t feel good!”
Rapid said to Ark as the ship shook. Ark also felt the same. It felt like the red lightning was ripping into his skin despite it being hundreds of kilometres away!
He didn’t understand everything but it was dangerous!
“Dammit! Tori, leave our current location at top speed!”
“I’m already going at our maximum speed!”
Jjajjajjajjang! Kwa kwa kwa kwang!
While Tori was crying out in a large voice. A roaring sound deafened his eardrums. It was possible to check the source of the noise with the rear camera. The amplified red light at the centre of the black hole had exploded. It seemed to spread waves of an intangible aura.
Ark gaped with dumb surprised before shouting.
“Shockwave! Everybody prepare for impact!”
Ku ku ku ku! Ku ku ku ku! Kwa kwa kwa kwa! Kwa kwa kwa kwang!
A tsunami seemed to be surging. The roaring sound continued as Ark and the Silver Star was covered with the intangible aura. At the same time, the Silver Star spun and was blown away.
The Silver Star’s gravity control system was no help in this context. No, various systems had errors because of the magnetic storm so the gravity control system wasn’t working at all.
The crew on the Silver Star fell all over the place as it kept on spinning recklessly. Shake! Shake!
Up! Down! Left! Right!
They tumbled around and crashed into the walls and ceiling. That wasn’t all. Red lights were flashing from the system errors and sparks flew from the dashboard. It was a hectic situation as they flew hundreds of kilometres before stopping.
Slayer, Kaya and Ark moaned before lifting their heads.
In the meantime they had struck their heads many times on the walls and dashboard. There wasn’t a battle but their health had been decreased by 30%. Ellain had symptoms like carsickness and was already throwing up in a corner. But the status of the crew wasn’t the important thing right now.
The worst thing in outer space was damage to the spaceship!
“H-Hegel, the Silver Star’s status report!”
While Ark and Slayer had crashed into the walls, those sitting down with seatbelts on like Tori, Milan and Hegel was perfectly fine. They could gain control of the Silver Star in a matter of minutes thanks to that.
“I’ve reset the central control system and am checking if the engine is operating.”
Hegel’s fingers moved busily as he replied. At the same time, there was the sound of engines turning on again. And windows flashed one after another showing images from the rear, front, right and left cameras attached to the Silver Star.
The first thing that caught his eye was Hawk and Ferguson’s spaceships. The two spaceships were also involved in the shock wave and flew with the Silver Star. Next he confirmed the Rama, Aschulat and Galactic Federation fleets. They weren’t involved in the shock wave but had stopped advancing due to the unexpected situation.
Then the final screen caught his attention.
A moan emerged from Ark’s mouth. Slayer and Kaya’s faces also became flustered after they raised their body. The place where their gazes were focused was the screen showing the black hole just before.
However the black hole was now nowhere to be seen. In the space where the black hole used to exist, a huge pattern made of red light was formed. It was a pentagon connected at 5 points with a circle border. This was the same design as the magic circle that caused this quest.
“Why….. Why is this magic circle here?”
Pajijijik! Pajijijik! Pajijijik!
A high object started emerging from the pentagon as lightning flashed around it. The object was covered in sharp rocks like a blade. He reflexively remembered the huge meteorite. Sparks tirelessly flew from the object as cold light reflected between the rocks.
The huge object that surprisingly sprang out of the magic circle was a spaceship with the combined form of a meteorite and a machine. It was a carrier class spaceship several kilometres large!
“What on earth is that?”
“You fool, shouldn’t you know? A spaceship! A spaceship that is dreadfully large!”
“Damn! Who doesn’t know that? So why is a large spaceship showing up?”
“How should I know?”
“If you don’t know then why that attitude?”
Slayer and Kaya’s voice could be heard from a corner. It was a futile argument but a little useful. The black hole that antimatter had been sensed from suddenly disappeared. And a carrier class spaceship emerged from the magic circle that suddenly appeared there.
Big events had occurred one after another so Ark’s brain had been paralyzed. But he realized something while listening to Slayer and Kaya’s quarrel. It was stupid to be confused or try to understand the situation.
No matter how much he rolled his head, the answer wouldn’t come out now. There was only one important thing now. The biggest problem was whether the carrier spaceship that appeared was an ally or enemy. And Ark only knew one thing.
-Space magic circle →Organization X → Enemy!
It was as simple was ‘1+1=2.’
When he thought up to there, the countless lights floating on the screen caught his eye. The rock covered ship was reflecting light between it. At that moment, Ark realized the identity of the metal covering and cried out.
“Spread the shield!”
Kwa kwa kwa kwa! Kwa kwa kwa kwa! Kwa kwa kwa kwa!
A roaring sound shook the space. At the same time, countless rays shot out from the carrier! 1 shot hit the Silver Star and a red flashing message showed on the monitor.
|-You have received enemy fire!
<The durability of Silver Star’s shield has decreased to 73%>
The shield fell by close to 30%! It wasn’t only the Silver Star that received damage. A few kilometres away, there was an explosion as Hawk and Ferguson’s shields were also hit.
It was the same for the investigation teams’ spaceships gathered hundreds of kilometres away. And in the other direction, countless flashes were also hitting the Rama and Aschulat fleets as smoke poured from several spaceships. All spaceships in the area had damage inflicted to it.
“A monster like spaceship like that…..”
Noise spread over the screen and Irina’s face showed up on it. The communication system that received errors due to the storm was now restored.
-Ark-nim! Ark-nim! Are you okay?
“Irina-nim, it is Ark! I’m fine. Irina-nim?”
-I am fine. The shield was damaged but the engines are fine. What’s going on? Does Ark-nim see that carrier coming through the magic circle? The magic circle we investigated was a warp gate. And if this is the technology of Organization X…..
–Think of their identity later!
Another face floated on a screen before Irina could finish. Hawk.
Then the screen divided and the members of the investigation team popped up one after another. And they hurled questions with panicked expressions.
–Captain, what is that ship?
–Is this related to how Ark, Ferguson and you returned?
The unidentified carrier had showed up as soon as Ark, Hawk and Ferguson came back. Therefore the team members automatically thought it had something to do with them. However Ferguson spluttered on behalf of the people who entered the black hole.
–I don’t know! I don’t know! I never met such guys!
–Shut up you pig! You guys, do you still not grasp the situation? Like I said, knowing the enemy’s identity isn’t important right now. The important thing is that they are our enemy. Didn’t they just shoot at us? Wake up! We have to be prepared for battle before the bombardment resumes!
–Combat power? C-can we fight against that?
A member called Mirinae asked with fear. Hawk frowned and stared at Mirinae.
–Should we fight?
–Didn’t you see it before? That ship only has a hundred guns attached. Our fleet exceeds their firepower. There is also the Rama and Aschulat fleets that aren’t far away. The Rama might be different but aren’t the Aschulat allies? –It is reckless to fight when we don’t understand the situation. Shouldn’t we run away before the damage becomes larger?
–Are your brains just decorative?
“I think we have no choice but to fight.”
“Hyung-nim, the second bombardment is coming!”
While Ark was interjecting between Hawk and Miranae.
Kwa kwa kwa kwa! Kwa kwa kwa kwa! Kwa kwa kwa kwa!
Hegel yelled while at the same time there was a deafening roar. Hundreds of runs continuously shot out!
–A bombardment! Avoid it!
–Concentrate the shield around the engines!
The situation was different from when they were ambushed while in a confused state. The ships either focused their shield energy or used evasive manoeuvres and most of the rays were avoided.
In the first bombardment, eight out of ten rays hit but only three or four hit in the second bombardment. It was the same for the Rama and Aschulat fleets. But it was different for Ark who was relatively near the carrier.
|-You have received enemy fire!
<The durability of Silver Star’s shield has decreased to 49%>
The warning message popped up again! This time the shield decreased by more than 20%. His spaceship wouldn’t be able to stand three or four direct hits. This was the reason Ark agree with Hawk’s insistence that they should fight.
Once again, not everyone had the same spaceships. There were multiple ships with different ratings depending on the size and output. The higher rated spaceships would be bigger and have stronger outputs. And the high output meant the weapon’s destructive power and range was likely to be stronger.
It could be seen with the naked eye. The rays from the carrier had crossed the distance without shrinking at all. It had a range that was several times that of a general spaceship! It was like committing suicide to turn around and run from such guns. Many spaceships would probably be destroyed before managing to reach freedom.
“Even if I run away…..”
Ark looked at the Rama and Aschulat fleets before talking.
“We can’t retreat before the Rama and Aschulat fleets.”
The carrier had attacked as soon as it arrived without any bargaining. Their behaviour was clearly sending a message. The carrier intended to wipe out the ships from the three powers. Then think about it. Who would the murderers kill first?
The answer was simple. The ones who ran away first.
“That means we have to attack at the same time as the Rama and Aschulat. If anyone tries to escape then the firepower would concentrate on that fleet. If the three fleets retreat at the same time then we can escape the carrier but any fleet that moves first will be 100% wiped out.”
This was the reason why the Rama and Aschulat didn’t move yet despite being bombarded. But Ark had an ulterior motive for desperately resisting.
‘Dammit! Is Slayer right and I really have genetic bad luck genes lodged in my body?’
Ark bit his lips and stared at the monitor.
|-An error has been found in the central control system.
<ERROR CODE 0012 : The programs controlling the ether engine booster operation, engine balance in preparation for impact system has been corrupted.
<Please restore your systems quickly to resume a normal voyage.>
This had appeared shortly after the shockwave. It had shown up after Hegel reset and checked the programs. The error was due to the effect of the electromagnetic storms.
Of course, the engines weren’t damaged so repairing it wasn’t difficult. The problem was that the recovery program would take several minutes to repair it. Even with an expert like Tori, the recovery time would take 3~4 minutes. But this was a problem for 3~4 minutes.
‘It isn’t impossible to sail but the ship won’t be able to exert 50% of its maximum speed. If the other members run away then the Silver Star will have no choice but to fall behind. We will become the first target!’
This was the reason Ark decisively shouted against a retreat. Of course, it was difficult to assess the other members. He couldn’t embarrass himself in front of his girlfriend.
Anyway, his words were said to look cool in front of her!
“We have no choice but to fight!”
Ark decisively said towards the other members. Ark might be thinking about himself but his words were true that the first to retreat would receive the carrier’s intensive attacks. There was only one way remaining.
–But are the odds in our favour if we attack?
Miranae who was in favour of retreating spoke in a worried expression. Of course Ark was worried about that. And there was already an answer.
“If it is just our fleet then the odds aren’t in our favour but there is also the Rama and Aschulat fleets. And since they’re not moving yet, they also have no intention of running away. That antimatter wavelength is also what the 3 investigation teams have been looking for. If we escape then we won’t be able to get our hands on information about the antimatter. That might be a reason why the Rama and Aschulat fleets aren’t moving. If they both start to engage then we’ll have no choice but to enter the war.”
Kwa kwa kwa kwa! Kwa kwa kwa kwa! Kwa kwa kwa kwa!
Then they started to see the glow of a cannon. Hawk’s voice could be heard on the screen about the sound of it charging.
–Foolish bastards! Ark, you’re the same as well. How long are you going to chat? You already know the answer. What have we been doing for the last 20 days? Looking for a clue about antimatter. And now it is right in front of us. Then there is only one answer. Like Ark said, there is no reason for us not to fight. We have to get our hands on it. What other reason is necessary for a warrior? Harley, fire!
Hawk turned and shouted. The Death Knight rushed forward while firing.
Pepeng! Kwa kwa kwa kwa!
A deep blue flash flew over hundreds of kilometres and directly hit. But the main gun was unable to penetrate the shield. The flash scattered all over the place and disappeared before it could strike the body. However the situation had suddenly changed with this blow.
While Ark was sputtering over the Death Knight’s attack, the Rama and Aschulat fleets had also changed to battle mode. They accepted the Death Knight’s attacks as the opinion of the galactic federation.
–Ark’s words are accepted!
–The Rama and Aschulat fleets have switched to battle mode!
-The 3 fleets will do a pincer movement!
–Let’s go! Full acceleration! Attack the carrier!
The team members gained the courage to chase after Hawk. The fleets of the Galactic Federation, Rama and Aschulat advanced from three different directions.
Kwa kwa kwa kwang! Kwa kwa kwa kwang! Kwa kwa kwa kwang!
There were continuous flashes and resounding roars! The spaceship that approached the fastest was Hawk’s Death Knight. Ark could feel the Death Knight’s overwhelming presence but its rush.
‘Damn, he is smug but he has a reason for it.’
Ark was grumpy but he couldn’t complain.
Once he attacked ahead of everyone else, the remaining spaceships had no choice but to follow. Ark knew the Rama and Aschulat leaders were also aware of this. But even if they knew it, making the first move wasn’t that easy.
‘I hate to admit it.’
His move showed confidence in his judgement and determination. He saw it on Muratio Star but Hawk’s decisiveness was his largest strength. Hawk was different from other users and that was how he could become one of the Seven Swords.
Hawk’s presence had clearly been sharpened in the minds of the 3 investigation teams. On the other hand Ark…..
–Hey! Ark, what are you doing?
–We’re you lying when you said we should be fighting instead of running away.
–That lousy bastard was secretly planning this.
The eyes of the team members steamed with anger. While the 3 fleets had advanced with their offensive after Hawk, Ark was still in a similar location.
But Ark couldn’t help it. The Silver Star couldn’t increase its speed due to the central control system error. However he couldn’t say ‘my spaceship has broken down!’ to the members.
Ark had no choice but to silently bear the blame as the captain of the Silver Star. Fortunately that time didn’t last that long.
“Hyung-nim, the error correction is over!”
|-The central control system error correction has been completed!
* Ether engine booster operation program check-OK!
* Engine balance systems that prepare for impact- OK!
The message popped up on the monitor along with Tori’s voice.
Ark jumped up and shouted.
“System operation! Full acceleration!”
Exhaust flames finally roared out. The Silver Star shot forward like a jet boat. Meanwhile Ark confirmed the spaceship arrangements of the members and gave orders.
“Now the real battle will begin!’ Tori, adjust the direction towards Irina. Proceed into battle with Irina. Milan, charge the battery for the main gun. Hegel, grasp the location of the enemy’s guns and register the data in the Silver Star’s evasion system. Kalliben and Leon, go to the gun turrets for close combat shooting…..”
Ark was giving orders when he suddenly closed his mouth. Rapid frowned and asked him.
“Why, what’s wrong?”
“Ah, no, that….I suddenly lost my breath…..”
Ark grabbed his neck and stuttered with a pale face. Rapid who was monitoring in front of Ark turned his head.
“Out of breath? What are you doing that would cause you to lose your breath? There is no problem with the air supply system.”
“No, that is….this….”
Ark couldn’t grasp what was going on. All of a sudden, it felt like an invisible hand was grasping his neck while giving orders. No, it wasn’t a feeling. Obviously something was choking him.
He clearly felt hands around his neck. But he couldn’t see anything. It was useless trying to pull it off because the hands were like steel.
Ark flopped down onto the ground.
Then the scene around him disappeared like the power had been switched off.
“Ha, this really….”
Gwon Hwa-rang lowered his cell phone and clicked his tongue. Park So-mi who was knitting tilted her neck to one side and asked.
“Why? Who was on the phone?”
“That guy Myung-ryong.”
“Myung-ryong ssi? Didn’t you say it had been a while since he contacted you?”
“I did. I heard that he had received orders from higher up for a secret mission when I asked the juniors in his department. He just called all of a sudden asking me for the password to Hyun-woo’s house.”
“Password for Hyun-woo’s house? Why?”
“I don’t know. He said he wanted to do a surprise…..”
“Surprise? That is a word used for a surprise birthday party or something. But isn’t Hyun-woo’s birthday still far away? Perhaps it is Myung-ryong ssi’s birthday?”
“No, his birthday has already passed.”
“Then I guess they are celebrating someone else’s birthday.”
“Sheesh, I feel slightly hurt for some reason. Shouldn’t he ask about his Hyung-nim first? It has been such a long time since he called yet he hung up after asking for Hyun-woo’s password? He is a young guy so shouldn’t he be polite to someone older than him? I’ll let Myung-ryong know the age difference between us.”
Gwon Hwa-rang snapped out childishly.
“Why do you seem sulky?”
“I’m not sulking. I just think it is rude.”
“Don’t say that. I don’t meet him often but I know that Myung-ryong ssi is something that Hyun-woo really regards as a hyung-nim. It is fortunately that he can take time out of his busy police work to go visit Hyun-woo. I haven’t had a chance to say it but I’m really thankful that person is at Hyun-woo’s side.”
Park So-mi said with a smile. While she was thanking Lee Myung-ryong…..
A person with a bloodthirsty smile was standing in front of her son.