Board (offline)



The Gathering Storm

Part Nine

A squad of harvesters slithered down the street and turned left at the first intersection. When they had rounded the corner, three pieces of debris from a shattered building began to wave and expand, coalescing into three Darlok commandos.

They had landed in the night – five groups of three commandos each. Their stealth ships had gone undetected and were now cloaked a few kilometers outside the city in a lush forest. The commandos had a vast array of technological wonders at their disposal, from bio-nullifiers that shielded their life signs from sensor to silent weapons that would vaporize victims in a few milliseconds, but their main tool had remained unchanged for thousands of cycles: their natural shape-shifting ability made them naturals at this sort of thing. Not even the mighty Evon Security Institude could match the prowess of the Darloks in any sort of intelligence operation, which is why many of the changelings had found jobs in many different spying services throughout the sector. The humans paid especially well, thought Conscience.

His commando teams were fanning out through the city. Each had an assigned target. Missile bases and ground batteries needed to be destroyed. Conscience had taken responsibility for destroying the stellar converter himself. Like shadows, they passed Ithkul patrols and security checkpoints without incident, finally reaching the massive weapon. The complex covered almost a square kilometer and towered over everything left standing on the Regulla colony.

With a signal only a Darlok would see, Conscience and Blackjack molded themselves to the wall, while Lugge reached out and attached himself to a computer terminal. Lugge was the Haxor, or computer expert, of the group. Using his Cyber-Security Link, he was able to hack into the central processor of the complex with his mind. Given enough time, he could probably disable the entire system just from his hacking, but time was not a luxury the team had. Within a few minutes, Lugge had managed to open the door. Conscience and Blackjack shifted off the wall, and all three glided into the building.

Three Darloks could not carry enough explosives to destroy the installation. Therefore, something more creative was planned. The changelings glided through the complex, meeting surprisingly little resistance. Two guards disappeared at the “hands” of Conscience, leaving no trace that they were ever there. The commandos glided down another hallway, approaching their target – the main control room. Two more guards were stationed outside the control room. Both were vaporized without a sound. Again, Lugge attached himself to a computer terminal as Blackjack and Conscience hid. In a few minutes, the door opened to the main control room. A few technicians looked up, not expecting anyone for quite a while, and quickly died as the Darloks opened fire. Conscience and Blackjack moved into the room, firing carefully as they did. They had to kill the Ithkul quickly while leaving the equipment in pristine order.

In less than a minute, it was all over. A single Harvester had managed to return fire, missing the commandos and only managing to destroy a single light. The air smelled slightly of burnt flesh as Blackjack and Lugge went to work on the equipment. Conscience shifted to become a chair – a chair with a weapon trained on the now-closed door, in case anyone decided to come in. It appeared that none of the Ithkul had managed to sound any alarms, but one could never be too sure.

The plan was simple in concept, but difficult in execution. In order to supply power such a massive weapon, more than half of the complex was made up of giant banks of capacitors. In order to destroy the station, the commandos had to initiate a firing sequence while simultaneously disconnecting the firing chamber from the capacitors. The incredible amounts of power in the capacitors had to go somewhere. At the very least, it would fuse circuits throughout the complex, rendering it little more than a collection of molten metal. At the most –

Lugge and Blackjack continued their work, disconnecting the firing chamber and disrupting safety systems that were designed to stop exactly what they were attempting to do. It was slow work. They were working with unfamiliar computers using an unknown language attempting to break a weapon that they didn’t entirely understand.

They worked for a half-hour without incident. As they were getting close to finishing, the door opened. An Ithkul technician came through the door, expecting to take over at the change of shift. Instead, he was vaporized by Conscience. As Conscience watched, another Harvester paused in the hallway, shocked at the sudden death of his colleague. Conscience fired again, but the technician was faster. He began running down the hallway, sounding the alarm.

Intruder alert.

Blackjack and Lugge redoubled their sabotage efforts. Red lights flashed and alarms sounded. Finally, they were finished and Blackjack began the firing sequence. The three changelings fired their weapons, destroying the control panels so that the Ithkul could not reverse what they had started.

When the Harvester guards reached the control room, they found nothing. None of their scanners registered any life forms. They left two of their number to protect the ruined control room, and left to look for the intruders.

A few minutes after they had rounded the corner, two quick energy bolts killed the sentries. The Darloks emerged from the rubble of the room, and ran out of the door.

Like ghosts, they glided down corridor after corridor, occasionally ducking into a room and shifting into a piece of equipment to avoid their hunters. After a few minutes, they reached the door to the outside. Lugge quickly opened it, and the three ran outside…

…and were faced with a dozen Ithkul, all pointing weapons at them.




Pardus - Free Massive Multiplayer Online Browser Game

Copyright ©2001-2009 All rights reserved. Disclaimer.
Add The Master of Orion 3 Guardian to your favorites