Syn messaged Ru telling him to meet her at the Cracked Shell Brewery. There she gave him a mission to plant a chameleon listening device to put on SIRE so the VIS could observe any communications Cinnabar has with the Son. Ru Zil set up a meeting with a high ranking VIS member.
The Assembly calls a meeting in which Cinnabar invites Ru Zil to sit in on. There the Assembly was fully informed of the Ikaite and Olpherian’s role in the Drakath coup. Cinnabar managed to convince the other Assembly members that the attack was completely necessary and he did it for the Alliance and not for his own personal ambitions.
Cinnabar urged the Assembly to speak to the new Queen Adronika and start negotiations for a secret alliance between them.
Ru Zil headed back to his apartment, where upon entering all electronics disabled in the area. On his desk he found an Order Quantum Entanglement Communicator to Aromia.
Aromia informed him that the planet Versuvian, the location of the Cartographer has been destroyed. She had placed Order agents on the planet to find and research whatever the Cartographer is. They managed to find a massive ship underground that had been buried for tens of millennia and a map of the universe.
While exploring this ship PRAXIS attacked, and only one survivor from the Order team escaped with a scan of the ship and a saved version of the map. The survivor returned to them suffering from severe mental duress. Every time they asked the survivor about the attack he merely states “The beasts came first, and then their leader, a monster of muscle and claws, its wings blotted out the sun as his ashen hands grabbed the air my friends died, their necks empty where their throats had been seconds before.”
Aromia asked Ru to share this information with the Alliance.
The Response Team left in the Sol Invictus to the Anemi System to investigate the Over Mind’s information of PRAXIS’ Super Lab there. Upon entry they were hit by extreme solar winds ripping at the ship, the Sol Invictus was damaged and leaked radiation into the internal. Chen managed to helm the ship clearing into a safe zone from the winds, and the location of the Super Lab.
The Super Lab a small trident shaped space habitat was boarded by the Team after they flew a shuttle down and Ru hacked the air lock open.
Upon entry they could not get past a security door through the main hub so they explored the open sections of the habitat.
Walking past a collection of containment suits Ru and Chen put them on. They entered a bio lab with containment units lining the walls. Chen investigated the units, each of them containing a layer of red liquid on the base of them. He decided to open one of them, an alarm went off, and the red liquid began animating.
As Chen tried to walk away, the liquid leapt forth clinging to his helmet and puncturing his suit. In fury he expanded his shells, he shattered his suit as the alien organism spread along his body constricting him.
Cinnabar and Ru ran towards the door attempting to escape but it had already closed and locked them in. A voice they recognized responded to their pleas, WHISPER one of PRAXIS’ servant AIs. Hosted on the super lab as its protector and manager he was told to give a deal from PRAXIS if he would ever see them again.
WHISPER offered to let the Team go and give residence to them in a station protected from the Dark Suns in exchange for amnesty. PRAXIS has no interest in the galaxy after the experiment is done, and they can act as overlords of the newly cleansed worlds.
Ru outright refused him inciting WHISPER to call someone named Mareth he suggested the Team leaves before he arrives.
Chen asked Uro-HERALD what they can do to stop the spread of this thing. The Son told him to interface with the system by touching the pedestal. He entered inside the ship’s consciousness where WHISPER was already taking residence, he enacted the room’s containment procedures releasing gas that caused extreme freezing temperatures killing the alien organisms.
As Chen continued to explore the room’s options interfacing with the VI who believed him PRAXIS, Ru Zil worried about the in tranced Chen and started pulling his hand off the pedestal. As if Chen’s screams were not enough of a sign, he ripped his hand off and Chen fell to the ground seizing.
WHISPER not wanting the Response Team to jeopradize his control of the ship began releasing the other alien organisms from their containment units. Ru connected that the cold was released after Chen touched the pedestal so he connected himself to it. Cinnabar watched his back as the alien organisms attempted to constrict him.
Ru battled WHISPER for control of the room and was beaten back time after time as Cinnabar was constricted almost his whole body covered in the red goo.
Chen woke up, unsheathing his sword and cutting open the pipes that held the cold fluid. Holding the broken pipes with his bare hands he sprayed the alien organisms with the freezing solution killing them, and the ones on Cinnabar.
Ru finally managed to take over the room’s systems too late to be the one who saves his friends, but managed to open the door.
The door opened to two dark energy beasts waiting on the other side. Killing them, they continued through the habitat battling the beasts at every corridor. They reached the opposite end, where dozens of force field cages littered the hallway.
Ru hearing the heavy breathing of more beasts sneaked up to the next passage where he saw WHISPER’s robotic avatar and two dark energy beasts. Lobbing an EMP and fragmentation grenade down the hallway the robot and his pets were immediately destroyed by the resulting explosions.
Entering through the doorway in which WHISPER was guarding they found a room lining with bulky Ravarsi lying on machines with implants attached to their head wired to large machines resting against their head. Ru analyzed them and found that the Ravarsi were all augmented from the norm of their species, and they were all sleeping or brain dead.
Ru woke one of them up, giving him a sedative that calmed their emotional state. He spoke random sounds and seemed scared of the Team. In order to gain its trust Ru put his laser saw on the ground, which only gave the Ravarsi opportunity to go and grab it, but before he could reach it Cinnabar broke his skull open with a strong punch.
Deciding that whatever these specimens were being used for is for no good, Ru began to euthanize them. When one of the specimens woke up in a trance like state and began walking to the door Chen split him open with a swing of his sword.
They continued further into the compartment entering a room with four floating orbs emitting dark energy waves into Ravarsi that float midst these orbs. Ru surmised that the purpose of the dark energy was to mutate the specimens, and that only hours of exposure would cause any lasting damage.
Upon WHISPER’s taunts, Ru Zil gave him one last chance to surrender but the AI admitted he was incapable, he was made from pieces of PRAXIS and he is incapable of betraying himself.
Cinnabar grabbing one of the bodies of the dead Ravarsi threw it at one of the orbs knocking it out of place. He then grabbed an orb and brought it back to the main hub disabling any electronics on the way. Originally intending to use it as a bomb, as he walked past the main door it turned off and the Response Team entered through.
Upon entry into the central room WHISPER began screaming objections to their presence. The room was filled with thousands of empty tanks, and one singular pedestal interface.
Ru and Chen interfaced with the pedestal using their combined will to push WHISPER out of the server and kill him. Then they became the ultimate masters of this domain and began exploring it for information. It appears that PRAXIS left multiple notes, and systems online for WHISPER’s use to keep track, and continue updating PRAXIS on.
They also found:
- A line of genetic code the notes on it say that it is PRAXIS’ intended army for the coming years when he must protect his final plan. All impurities have been removed from the code. The army has been designed to be obedient to authority, bloodthirsty, and naturally strong and hardy.
- There is a report of a cyborg spy within this designed species that is continually monitoring and updating PRAXIS of the species progress. This cyborg is completely unaware of its own falseness and all the reports it makes are routed through its cyber brain.
- PRAXIS has left notes that the project has failed due to the species new found strain of independence. The next designed species will be introduced to mind control early on to avoid these mistakes.
- There are continual active information feeds coming from the planet Anemi IV near the Super Lab. These feeds supply thousands of vital signs and examinations of cognitive function. There is one feed that is marked at the top of the list, and one of the feeds reads “SIMULATION STILL ACTIVE”.
- A Phase Gate attached to the Super Lab which connected to the Sven System in Kreitosh space. Ru Zil detached and activated it.
Chen and Ru decided to venture down in a shuttle to Runvin IV to investigate these info feeds while Cinnabar went back to the Sol Invictus.
Runvin IV is continually assaulted by solar storms causing the water planet to have extremely hazardous storms and boiling surface water. Chen braved these storms, but the shuttle was so tossed around it crashed into the water but he managed to recover before the damage became too critical.
As they reached the ocean floor, they found thousands of live ships restrained to large sacks by thick tentacles, these sacks worked as a giver of nutrient and fed vital signs back to the Super Lab. The biggest of the Live Ships, unrestrained and three times the size of the Path to Honor lay dormant on the ocean floor.
They brought their shuttle closer to examine it and began hearing the telepathic calls for help from the ship. Deciding to go inside, the voice became louder when they approached where it wanted them to go eventually ending in the brain of the ship where thousands of wired implants connected to it.
Ru Zil connected one of the extra implants and connected it to his head. He entered PRAXIS’ dream space where he was still inside the Live Ship but they were in a gas giant being chased by an Alliance Fleet. The Ship, Keelik refused to turn around and fight believing that if he was in the simulation those manning the ships could be too, and his one pain is not worth more than thousands of others.
Ru convinced Keelik that he was not a PRAXIS agent, and went on to explain that he had to kill PRAXIS’ servants because he was forced into a corner and gave no other option. He went on to make that parallel to Keelik’s situation now, and that it was alright for him to attack the ships as long as he has no other choice.
Keelik turned around and annihilated the opposing force, and the dream space believing Ru a PRAXIS agent, released both of them from the space as they have accomplished their intended goal.
Back in reality, Keelik explained that he was a back up plan for PRAXIS in case his experiment failed and he was trapped in the Milky Way. Keelik was birthed with a slip space drive and he naturally produces dark energy.
Keelik showed Ru and Chen the remains of a metamorphosis chamber that was created in him. Before Keelik was put in the dream space he saw PRAXIS bring a dead biped with memories of glory in war and great intelligence and put him in the chamber.
JARVIS sent a message to Ru from the Sol Invictus that there was an armada on its way to Runvin IV and would be within weapons range within twenty minutes.
Keelik begged Ru to stay and kill PRAXIS’ beast that kept his brother live ships here. They have been mentally degraded so much that they will just wander aimlessly through the galaxy if freed.
Ru ordered Ana to take the Sol Invictus through the Phase Gate, as he and Chen will stay behind and free the Live Ships.
Getting on to the shuttle, Ru began fashioning a bomb out of the orb taken from the Super Lab. As Chen approached a breach in the ground where the tentacles originated from, the scans detected the destruction of the Super Lab, and soon the planet began to be barraged by an armada in orbit.
Flying into the breach, Chen evaded the attacking tentacles for only so long until the ship was swatted from the air. Ru, coming from an aquatic species grabbed the bomb and began swimming down. Chen having been blown out of the ship struggled to regain composure while being swatted at by giant tentacles.
As Chen was beaten over and over, Ru swam down to the creature’s face and set the bomb to blow on a timer.
Chen trying to swim up away from the blast turned his back to an attacking tentacle and was stabbed through the chest by it. Ru swam up, using his PRAXIS device on Chen. Chen’s chest was healed but he was barely still alive and began swimming up hopelessly as they had lost their mode of transportation thousands of miles under sea level.
As they escaped the breach, they watched as a barrage of fire came down towards them from the armada above. Hopelessly they watched their death come onward until Keelik flew above them taking the brunt of the attack.
Keelik opened his bay doors, and Ru climbed inside but Chen’s leg was grabbed by the tentacle beast and it pulled him down as the explosion went off. Chen barely made it, the explosion propelling him forward flying into the bay.
Keelik ascended, as he broke atmosphere hundreds of Live Ships were being slaughtered attempting to escape the planet. The armada was waiting above, and two capital ships The Cartographer and The Factory fired down at them.
Keelik ignored them all barrelling into the Phase Gate. As he went through his body was too big and shattered the worm hole’s containment field as the wormhole exploded behind them.
Making it through, Keelik let the Sol Invictus dock inside him as he went to Parliament through slip space.
The Assembly had many questions for the Response Team but before they could be answered a news alert went out " IKA-TRA CITY BOMBED, MILLIONS DEAD, UNEXPLAINED CULPRITS, INSANE SURVIVORS IN STREETS".