Chapter 70

         

“Gnossian?”

“Yes, we will be arriving in 30 minutes and 24 seconds.”

Unlike Lena, Gnossian was less likely to engage in small talk, but the information provided was very precise and detailed.

“How many enemies will we be encountering?”

“By analysing the distortion caused by their invisibility cloaks, we estimate around 100 ships.”

“Hmm… that’s only half the numbers we originally expected, do you know where the rest are?”

“We can’t locate them at this time.”

“Then Gnossian, where are they likely to be hiding?”

“This is an educated guess at best, but maybe in the shadow of a large asteroid or planet.”

“Is there any way to have a better idea and not just a simple guess?”

“At present we can only use the long range detection system of  the satellites orbiting Earth launched with the Gnostic project. The previously was a Solar Defense pilot project which would have been better in this case, but unfortunately it was shut down before it gained any traction.”

“Solar Defense?”

“Yes, it was designed as a network of satellites spread out across our solar system in the case of any external threats. However, due to Earth’s ongoing crisis, all resources were redirected to the Gamma project and it was left unfinished.

“Cancelled huh….”

‘Johra there may be few left a still operational.’

“Don’t you think there might be some left Gnossian?”

“Without the appropriate Admin password I have no way of verifying.”

‘Gnoss?’

‘Run the code QCH7749 Salt twilight, hash code from A to G and 1318’

“Run the code QCH7749 Salt twilight, hash code from A to G and 1318’

“How could you that Johra?”

“Just give it try.”

“Authorization has been granted, sending booting signal.”

“Did it work?”

“Yes, I should be receive a signal from our satellites within the hour. By the way, how is it possible to know that authorization code? Perhaps only the upper management members who are in cryosleep could know that.”

“That isn’t your concern, don’t you have a battle to prep for?”

“The drones are ready to launch, I’m just waiting on your go ahead.”

“Okay, give them hell.”

“Yes sir! Fire!”

Valen shook and we fired over a hundred drones. There was a certain beauty to watching an incredible fireshow while staring off into endless space.

“Gnossian?”

“….’

There wasn’t any answer.

“Gnossian?”

‘Sorry Johra, but he probably won’t be able to answer while he calculates the trajectories for the drones. Gnossian’s personality suffered from transient concentration disorder….’

‘Wasn’t it based off you?’

‘No, not at all.’

‘Still, he takes after you somewhat right?’

‘Never mind… anyway he will not be able to calculate anything until the battle has ended.’

‘How is that possible? What if there are urgent changes needed in the middle of battle?’

‘If it is urgent Gnossian notify you.’

‘It really sounds like you Gnoss, working at your own discretion and doing as you please.’

‘Not at all, that’s not me!’

‘ 크크크 (lol)’

The drones had finally impacted in the distance.

“Gnossian?”

“Ah yes, you called Johra me? I apologize for not responding earlier but I had diverted all my processing power to controlling the drones.”

“What’s the result?”

“51 were shot down while 54 took evasive action and dodged the drones.”

“Half?”

“The 51 ships that were successfully hit were those at the forefront and caught off guard. They had raised their shields but they didn’t expect the drones to teleport inside and hit the engine rooms. Unfortunately they instantly communicated the problem and the remaining 54 took evasive action allowing them to easily dodge the slower drones. Knowing that they couldn’t catch up with the ships, I redirected them to give the finishing blow to the 51 ships that had already been critically hit.”

“What an incredible result.”

The performance is 30% below expectation. In some cases the teleportation magic malfunctioned.”

“Malfunctioned?”

“Yes there were 20 drones which failed to penetrate their energy shield due to this unexpected error.”

“Just by how much were we off?”

“In the experiments the teleportation distance was about 2 km with and margin of error of 50 meters. In actual battle we didn’t have the perfect data like we had in experiments to be as precise.”

“It’s okay, the result is satisfactory.”

“Just that small deviation was enough to throw off all the calculations. In the future I will make sure to take this probability of error into account.”

‘Gnoss, it seems your Gnossian counterpart is a perfectionist.’

‘Probably?’

‘Yup, too picky.’

‘Right. Lena is a better support for most situations.’

‘That’s why you set her up with a split personality disorder? You know your personality is very tiring.’

‘For the last time that’s not my personality!’

‘크크크!’

“Gnossian, how about tracking them down?”

“Please allow some time for the drones to pick up some useful parts from the enemy ship.”

“Okay, how long will that take?”

“It shouldn’t be more than 15 minutes. Also, any drones that we have lost contact with have been set to destroy themselves.”

“Self-destruct?”

“Yes, we can’t leave any information which might be useful for the enemy.”

“Ah, right.”

A short while later, the drones returned with the Rohim ship components. As they arrived, the dozens of incapacitated Rohim ship blew up in a violent explosion, creating a small sun.

“Was that your doing?”

“The enemy ships also have a self-destruct sequence. We were able to delay the explosion time by hacking the system with Lena support, but they installed a new redundancy system that we couldn’t stop.”

“What you’re saying is that we could only slow down the process and not hack them completely like last time?”

“That’s right, the Rohim’s AI appears to have improved and learned from its previous mistakes. It implemented a manual self-destruct after our hack last time around.”

“So the more we fight them the smarter they become?”

“That’s right.”

“Let’s try not to drag this war on for too long then.”

“In our next encounter we should be able to wipe out all remaining 54 ships out at once.”

“What if the hidden 100 vessels join in?”

“In theory we should have the advantage, but it is difficult to account for the enemy’s ability to learn and adapt.”

“Ok Gnossian, we will need to minimize that variable as much as possible because this is a war which humanity can’t afford to lose.”

“Yes, but even taking into account their ability to learn, they still have less than 1 in a billion chance of victory.

‘Johra don’t worry, I haven’t even revealed my secret weapon yet.’

‘Don’t you know by now how overly cautious I like to be? I’m just a but frustrated at the moment because I’m not contributing in any way.’

‘Don’t let that get to you. Let the AI take care of the planning and battle tactics because that is their forte. You are our trump card in case all else fails, so you are humanity’s last line of defence.’

‘Last defence? ”

‘Yes you need to decide if a ‘strategic retreat’ is required. Of course I don’t believe it will ever happen.”

‘Hmm retreat.’

‘Trust your subordinates. Believing in those working under you is also an important part of being a captain.’

“Okay good, but hurry up and pursue their remaining ships Gnossian.”

“Yes master! The drones have just finished being successfully stored and I am currently tracking the escaping enemy vessels. I’ve also received the signal from the Solar Defense satellites. Out of the 413 units that were sent out, only 109 are currently operational, however it was sufficient to locate 113 Rohim ships which were hidden in Jupiter’s shadow. We will also catch up the the fleeing enemy ships in 14 hours, 21 minutes and 19 seconds.”

“Good, full speed ahead!”

‘Johra, please give Gnossian access to use SLBT01C.’

‘What’s that?’

‘My specially designed weapon.’

‘Hmmm, is it something strange? Are there any side effects I should know about?’

‘Yes, but there currently aren’t any beings affected by radiation on this ship.’

‘Radiation? It emits radiation?’

‘Right, but Valens shields block most of it, so unless there is a living being on board it’s fine.’

‘What about me?’

‘You’re an undead so it should be fine.’

‘Should be?’

‘Ah… there probably isn’t any problem.’

‘That’s just a guess on your part.’

‘Don’t be such a coward! Ok fine, I give you my word you’ll be fine.’

‘Hmm’

“Gnossian, I allow you to use weapon SLBT01C”

“Are you sure you want to use it?”

“Yes”

“Okay, beginning the operation now.”

“Gnossian?”

“….”

‘Ah right, I forgot that he gets in his own little world, just like you do.’

‘I’m not that bad….’

‘So you admit that you’re similar to Gnossian?’

‘No. Never’

‘Lol. but this is same feeling of having to wait for a response. Actually you are  far worse because you intentionally hide things from me.’

‘I told you already that there are things which can’t tell you.’

‘That’s your business’

‘….’

“I have completed the calculations for the optimal firing time, 10 hours, 21 minutes and 12 seconds, if there are any changes I will inform you.”

“Oh, have you finally finished?”

“Yes, I have done most of the calculations. The rest will be simply adjusting for any unknown variables.”

“Ok, then what kind of weapon is it?”

“You ordered me to create it, so how could you not know what it is?”

“Uhm… it’s because the results are unpredictable.”

“In small experiments it has proven to amplify radiation energy.”

“Oh, just that?”

‘Yep, it can be used to amplify the power of Valen’s Tri-laser cannon, allowing it to penetrate the enemies’ energy shields.’

‘Oh, was that possible?’

‘Yes because it consumes 30 magic stones per use.’

‘What! 30? That’s a full day of work for me!’

‘Well it’s fine if the result is good right?’

‘…My jewelry….’

‘It’s not that expensive if you think that you’re using it to blast away your enemies.’

‘Sure, but what if it misses?’

‘Blame Gnossian, I’m not the one controlling it.’

‘Well since you created the AI and even the personality was modelled after you, you will be responsible.’

‘Why is that? I don’t remember getting any credit when either Lena or Zaira performed well.’

‘They are women and you’re a man so it’s different.’

‘Why!?’

‘Shut up, it is what it is. If it misses you’ll be 40% closer to being tossed away.’

‘Oh then nevermind let’s not fire it.’

‘That’s only my call to make.’

‘What? That’s so unfair.’

‘Suck it up, the world is unfair.’

‘Are you confident you won’t later regret this? I hope it comes back to bite you.’

‘In that case you’ll definitely get tossed to the side.’

‘No way!’

While I was arguing with Gnoss I received a call from Zaira.

“Johra, we’ve got new activity below the surface. I sent the excavation drones but they were unable to prevent the volcanic activity. I’ll send you a report with the results afterwards.”

“So what happened, is Gamma alright? What about the domes?”

“This message was sent 21 minutes ago, the earliest time you can expect an answer is in 42 minutes.”

Gnossian’s emotionless voice rang out.

‘Don’t worry too much about it Johra, Gamma was designed to withstand those kinds of changes below the surface and at worst the domes can be rebuilt.’

‘Damn, all that time I spent going around and creating them….’

‘Let Zaira worry about Earth, our problems are here.’

‘Right, that’s good advice.’

42 minutes later I received an answer from Earth.

“The volcanic activity was so large that all surface dwellings were lost. So to were the excavator drones sent out below the surface. Due to the severity of the attack, Gamma will be focusing on self-defense and therefore isolated from any outside contact for the next 90 days.”

“What…completely cut off?”

“Yes, it is part of the safety protocols in place to protect Gamma from any natural disasters.”

“Okay, understood and take care.”

“This time around the shields have been strengthened due to the new technology so we should be fine here. Don’t worry about Gamma and focus on the enemy fleet.”

“Yes, I understand. Now time to kill ourselves some Rohim.”

“We will fire for the first time in 3 hours, 21 minutes and 14 seconds. I have already begun the warm up sequence 13 minutes and 56 seconds ago.”

“Good, just alert me before you fire.”

“Understood”

I was lost in my own thoughts as I stared out at the stars and the emptiness of the dark universe. I wondered why the Rohim were attacking Earth and what were the beings influencing our Planet’s core. My mind was swirling from all these big questions.

“I’ll just have to take it one step at a time.”

“The countdown for firing Extinction will soon begin.”

Beep! Beep!

All the lights, including those in the bridge turned off.

“Why do you have to turn off the lights to fire?”

“I’ve rerouted all power to charge the weapon. Requesting approval to initiate the sequence for Extinction.”

“Aim it properly Gnossian.”

“Yes Master, target is locked on.”

Peeiiic

The projected trajectory of the Extinction gun appeared on the bridge’s display window before me.

“Charging, currently 98%”

On the Display window there was also a nearly full bar indicating the weapons charging.

“Amplification control enabled.”

“Releasing the safeguards in place.”

5 locking mechanisms around the weapon were then lifted.

“Why is the process so complicated?”

‘It’s because the performance is that good.’

“Charging is complete and the weapon is ready. Last minute course correction have been made to account for the enemies’ latest movements. 10 second warning before firing, please brace for any aftershocks.”

“Aftershocks? Hey… Gnossian? Just what are you firing here?”

“5, 4 ,3 ,2, 1 Fire!”

KooKung

Valen shook violently as a large purple beam shot out.

“Hey what’s that, wasn’t it supposed to just be an amplified version of the Tri-laser?”

The Purple beam disappeared from sight as quickly as it had come. About 2 minutes later a gigantic explosion was detected. Unfortunately since firing the gun, Valen had remained unpowered and there was still no response from Gnossian.

“Just what the hell did we shoot them with?”

‘This is my trump card Johra, I told you to have high expectations right?’

         

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