Chapter 1 - ReturnEdit
Leaving the carnage of the Keraran battle behind him, Lar gave the fight some thought. The Lentaa had easily been the strongest of the Allied Forces, but against the Kerarans, their number and ship size had been small. Only their forcefields had helped win the day.
Now, as the fleet headed back to Skogland, Lar knew what would have to be done. First, of course, they would see if the foretold disaster really had happened, and if it had, what effect it had on the planet. Then, he had some changes in mind for the army.
"I want to see Perito," he said to one of his guards. "Fetch him and Auttaa."
The guard flapped off to obey, and Lar stood on his perch, wrapped in his own thoughts until the guard returned, with the two genetics experts he'd requested.
"You're dismissed," Lar said, gesturing to his guards with a wing. They filed out silently.
"Right," Lar said, "I've asked to see you two for a very important reason. As you well know, we number barely a million here. Yet other races can fit a million of their kind onto one spaceship. We must manage this too, if we are to continue to compete with them. However, producing so many would take an impractical amount of time. So I was wondering if you could help by using an alternate method."
"Which is?" Perito asked.
"Well," Perito stammered, taken aback, "It would, in theory, be possible. However, it may take a while."
"I am assuming we do not want Lentaa with identical minds, yes?"
"So I must learn how to tamper with the right genes to produce a Lentaa body and mind, but with different thoughts."
"The first few clones may be fails," Lar deduced.
"Yes. But the process won't harm the Lentaa I clone from."
"Then you are given permission to begin your experiments."
"On this ship?"
Lar nodded. "When, and if, we land on Skogland, you can perform your cloning on the planet's surface if it pleases you."
"Thank you," Perito said, lowering his head in a bow.
"Off you go, then. And call my guards back in on the way out."
The two scientists obeyed, and Lar's guards returned to their positions.
The fleet of spaceships sailed onwards, past familiar star systems and planets, until they reached the very solar system from which they came, the system which held their home planet, Skogland. The ships continued, until the very star it orbited came into view on the scanners.
"We're coming home," Lar breathed.
But home was not as he expected. As Lar stared out at the barren, lifeless wasteland, he thought at first they must have the wrong planet. No water, no plants, no volcanoes... but the machinery was right. He realised it soon enough. The stumps that had once been a volcano range were visible, and the size and shape was right. The Lentaa had returned home, but a disaster had befallen it. A disaster on such a scale, that all life, animal or plant, had been wiped from the planet. All the water gone, too; even the volcanoes had been destroyed.
"This... can't be," Lar muttered, his voice breaking with sadness.
Chapter 2 - The RisingEditFighting to keep the sadness from his voice, Lar said, "We must land anyway. It should still be habitable, despite what has happened."
As one, the fleet descended. They landed on the barren wasteland that would once have been a rich forest ecosystem, and walked out, stepping on once familiar soil.
"The plans must go ahead," Lar insisted to the council, and they would not oppose his wishes, in the bid for Lentaa greatness. Commands were spread through the community, and Lar's plan were put into action.
While this happened, Lar waddled over to where Perito and Auttaa were unloading their equipment. No word was needed, and Perito gave him an update of their progress.
"The first results have been discouraging. The Lentaa clones have had deformities, both physical and mentally. They are killed instantly before they can create trouble. But I am getting a better idea of which genes to tweak."
"Good. Then I'll leave you to continue your work."
As the Lentaa set to work, they began to forget that the barren desert they were standing on was Skogland, so absorbed in their tasks were they. Lar, for one, couldn't forget.
He spoke to his expert astronomers, saying, "What could have caused this?"
"We've considered this, examining it from various angles, and we think we have deduced what happened."
"All this," one said, gesturing at the landscape, "was done in minutes. The only thing that could cause such complete decimation is the supreme heat of a star's core. And the only way this could happen, is through a dimensional rift."
"So, a rift opened to the centre of a star, therefore destroying Skogland?"
"Yes. Based on the condition of the volcanoes, we believe it opened somewhere nearby."
"Why? Why did it have to be here?"
Understanding the question was rhetorical, and correctly interpreting it as to meaning Lar wished to be on his own, the astronomers flew off to their various posts.
The Lentaa spent a time of sixty years on the dead Skogland, preparing for Lar's 'Lentaa Greatness'. When the project was done, Lar surveyed the results.The Lentaa Spaceship had been redesigned. The engines were made more efficient, and the nose cap could swing open to reveal a plasma cannon. The original idea had come from the Lutrian spacecraft used when fighting off the Necrosaurs.
Extra chutes had been added on the underside of the spacecraft, to allow more stun-bombs to be dropped simultaneously. Most noticeably, a chute had been added in the front section. And the whole spaceship had been enlarged. Now, each one was about five or six kilometres long. The older spacecraft, which were merely a couple of hundred metres, were, however, still in use. A few were stored on each larger model, and could be used as fighter planes. Being an old model, they lacked the plasma cannon at the nose.
The cloning had also finally paid off. After learning which genes to modify, Perito and Auttaa had successfully created hundreds of millions of Lentaa clones, each with a slightly different personality. This meant they now had enough individuals to man the many thousnads of larger spacecraft that had been built.
"We are ready," Lar said.
Chapter 3 - A Sad FarewellEdit
With heavy hearts, the Lentaa boarded their spacecraft. Even the clones had been made with memories of Skogland, and were reluctant to leave. But with Skogland destroyed, it was no home for them anymore.
"Now we are ready to combat any threat we face, even without allies. Although I still believe it would have been simple to smite those Keraran fools," Lar said, as the new fleet left Skogland, in the opposite direction they came, to explore more of space. However, nothing could prepare them for what happened next.
Lar, feeling more confident, had placed his ship at the front of the fleet. However, he had not been expecting what happened next. His ship suddenly veered off course, ever so slightly, and so did the rest of the fleet, soon after. As time passed, Lar felt the angle getting greater.
"What's happening?" he asked.
"Something's gravitational pull is affecting our flight path!"
"What is it?"
"We're working on it."
The next few minutes were agonising, not knowing what they were being pulled towards.
"Not good," a Lentaa said to him, "We appear to have been caught in the gravitational field of a wormhole!"
"Wormhole? Put the engines on full power. We have to try and escape."
The order was passed to all the other ships, and as one, they tried to push onwards, escape the gravitational field, but it was no good.
"We're going to be pulled in!"
"Put the mass-adjustment systems on! We'll have to go through! The wormhole came into sight pretty soon after, and they were pulled towards it at even greater speed.
"Is everyone's mass-adjustment system on?" Lar asked.
"Yes. Everyone. We should all survive the journey."
"Good. Brace yourselves."
And they were pulled into the wormhole.
Chapter 4 - The DaemoniverseEdit
"Where are we?" Lar demanded, "Check the star charts, find our location!"
"We're off the charts, sir. No record of constellations like this anywhere."
"Then begin cataloging what we see."
"Sir," said another Lentaa, "There is a planet in the distance. From here it is snow-white, and we cannot see a star."
As a matter of fact, there were no stars shining in the sky.
"It must be far from its star. I heard a legend, once, about a place with no stars... they called it the Daemoniverse. Home to a nightmarish, sapient race called the Daemons. Apparently, they rule here. They're tyrants and bullies, and plenty of races are rebelling against them."
"Maybe we will find some on that planet."
"No. The legends say that planet is called Ymir. And there is no rebel life on Ymir. Regardless, we will head there to oppose the Daemons. Pass the order. In ten minutes, we head for the planet."
The Lentaa waddled back to the communication panels to pass the message.
"It's about time the Daemons got a walloping," Lar said under his breath, and then, to everyone,
"If the legends are true, then that is the planet Ymir. Ruled by a Gehennian called Darkshriek. Iceflame rules when he is absent. No rebel species are known to harbour there."
"Then so be it. We will go alone, and declare war on the Daemons!" one Lentaa cried.
"But the temperature on the planet will take some adapting to," another said.
"Work quickly. Gather some scientists and engineers. Modify our forcefields to shut out the cold temperatures," Lar said to his guards.
"Pass the messge - our approach is to be delayed. Advance only when I say."
Later, a Lentaa approached Lar.
"Yes?" he asked.
"Sir, we've used the technology on the ship to approximate a date for the time we have arrived in."
"We are in the year 4,000,002."
"The end of the battle against the Kerarans... Never mind. We can perhaps take our enemies by surprise. No-one will expect us to has grown so strong in a matter of days."
After merely hours, the Lentaa fleet advanced on the planet Ymir.
Chapter 5 - YmirEdit
General Wyllt was an Esumum, a type of Korgrath. He was out on the surface of Ymir, for reasons known only to himself, when a shadow fell over him. He looked up. An enormous space fleet hung in the sky. Suddenly, a voice boomed from somewhere in the fleet.
“Daemons! We are the Lentaa, a race from the Emenata universe. And we have heard of you, and your atrocious crimes. It is time you were destroyed. Hear me now! The Lentaa are declaring war on the Daemons!”
With that, plasma carnage razed the region, killing Wyllt, along with groups of Alma, and the native predators, Iceslayers. Some of the Daemon worshippers, the Jotun, were also killed.
In his spaceship, Lar said to his guards, “Give them no chance to gather and army. Destroy them now! Raze the planet!”
More plasma beams rained down on Ymir, accompanied now by massive projectiles, striking snow and sending up massive explosions. Still there was no retaliation - the Daemons had been caught completely off-guard.
“We have to move round the planet. Find the Daemon cities and destroy them!” Lar ordered.
However, finally the Daemons had got their act together. Spaceships flew up to greet them; dumptruck-sized ships, armed with small plasma guns and firearms.
“Let ‘em know our power,” Lar said, and the nose on his ship flipped open. The plasma cannon struck down the first ship, setting it aflame and spiralling down to Ymir’s surface. The other ships had met the same fate against other Lentaa spacecraft.
“City in sight!” a Lentaa cried.
“Burn it down.”
Plasma cannons aimed at the city rocketed across the sky, exploding various buildings in blasts of flame.
“So easy. Fly in close and drop the stun-bombs.”
The message was passed through the fleet, and thousands of spaceship dropped some of their stun bombs. The city was turned into a fireball; there could have been no survivors.
Groups of Alma or Jotun were seen often in the snowy regions away from cities; these were quickly destroyed in a hail of plasma. The next city went the same way as the first. More spaceships rose to oppose the Lentaa, but were destroyed before they could do any damage.
As the Lentaa continued, another city came into view. This one was much larger than any previously encountered. It was the main city; the capital. Undoubtedly where they would find Darkshriek.
Chapter 6 - The IcerayEdit
As they approached, Lar saw another group of spaceships rise from the city. Most were the same as those that had been blown down before, but one was different. Very different. For a start, it was twice as large as any Lentaa spaceship. Thankfully, that shouldn’t matter against such great numbers. It was also overarmed with larger weapons than the other ships. It must have been a legendary Daemon Deathship.
In a barrage of plasma, the escort was destroyed. Only the Deathship remained.
“All weapons to be fired on zero. Set countdown of ten seconds to broadcast on all Lentaa ships,” Lar commanded. He was obeyed.
10, 9, 8, 7, 6.
The Deathship, Iceray, was getting closer.
5, 4, 3, 2.
Its many guns turned to face the Lentaa fleet.
The Iceray was struck with the full might of Lentaa weaponry. Any normal ship would have been blasted down in seconds, but the Flame Bubble allowed the Iceray to take each blast. Of course, it could only keep the resistance up for a certain amount of time. The Rending Cannons were fired, their bullets incinerated by Lentaa plasma beams before they reached the mark. The results from the Lucifer Cannon and other light weaponry was the same.
However, as the Lucifer Cannon continued to fire, it finally struck a Lentaa ship, tearing it open but failing to completely destroy it. All the while the Flame Bubble was wearing away.
The Lucifer Cannon managed to strike the Lentaa ship again, this time knocking it from the sky. Then, it turned its focus to Lar’s ship, somehow locating it.
However, at this moment, the magazine ran out. While they were reloading, Lar said,
The order was obeyed.
“What is the meaning of this?” asked one of his guards.
“The Flame Bubble is practically destroyed. But we cannot risk this ship being destroyed by Lucifer Cannon. It is the only ship with linked communication to all others.”
“So what do you plan to do?”
“Get in the way of the cannon. You can move sideways and destroy the Deathship.”
“But you will die!”
“I know. Do not try to fool me. We may have travelled back in time, but I am still old. My years are numbered regardless. I can serve you better this way.”
The guards didn’t argue, instead fitting Lar with an oxygen tank.
“Lucifer Cannon preparing to fire!”
“Remember what I said. Move quickly. Make my sacrifice worth it.”
With that, Lar left the ship.
“When the cannon fires, the fleet is to move sideways and destroy the Deathship,” one of Lar’s guards said through the connection. “No questions asked.”
The Lucifer Cannon fired.
Chapter 7 - IceflameEdit
Lar flew straight into the oncoming flame trail, determined to block it from his ship. However, all of a sudden, the light disappeared.
A Lentaa ship had come in front at the last moment, torn down fairly quickly. However, the rest of Lentaa fleet was firing the plasma cannons, and the Flame Bubble could take no more. The shots struck the Iceflame, causing it to wobble. The continued fire tore open the ship’s flank, and it could not turn to face the onslaught in time. It tumbled from the sky, smashing into the capital city on Ymir, and being engulfed by a fireball. No-one could have survived the crash. But the entire crew hadn’t been on the ship.
Meanwhile, a second Lentaa ship picked up Lar.
Fuming, he stormed into its control room.
“I told you not to do that!” he fumed. One of his guards tried to speak, but so great was Lar’s anger, he lashed out with his Electro-claws, tearing the guard’s wing and shocking him. After he calmed down, Lar realised who he was staring at.
“You used a different ship?”
“Yes. It was the obvious solution, if you hadn’t been filled with stuck-up pride.”
“Watch your beak, while you’ve still got it. Is the Deathship destroyed?”
“Incoming!” came another cry. “A smaller ship, but different in design to the others we’ve found here.”
“Try and open a communication link,” Lar said.
The communication link was sent, and surprisingly, accepted. The main monitor in the control room was filled with a massive, white dragon. It snorted, as if displeased by the Lentaa’s presence.
“You have destroyed my Deathship! My Iceray! You will pay for this! You all will!” it ranted, shutting off the link.
Suddenly, the Rending Cannons on the Harvenger, for that was what the ship was, opened fire, denting the metal of several Lentaa ships. Slowly, almost casually, Lar told his guards to counterattack with a few shots from the main plasma cannon.
The ship’s armour was torn open but, in front of Lar’s shocked eyes, began to repair itself.
“Open fire!” he cried. “Don’t let it regenerate!”
But out of the shadows, a group of Harvengers streaked towards them, Rending Cannons working overtime. Alarms from other ships told Lar the same thing was happening from the rear.
“Fire continuously. If they are not destroyed with speed, the armour will regenerate itself!”
Though the Harvengers had damaged a considerable number of ships, all but one had been shot down before they could fell an entire Lentaa ship.
Iceflame appeared on the monitor.
“I am not beaten yet! Far from it!”
As the link disconnected, Lar said, “He’s bluffing. Destroy his ship.”
Under concentrated projectile fire, the last Harvenger was sent plummeting to the ground.
“Pathetic. These Daemons aren’t as strong as the legends make out,” Lar said, finding Iceflame’s effort at destroying his fleet almost humorous.
“What is our next action, sir?” one of Lar’s guards asked him.
“We destroy the rest of the Daemons on this planet. Then officially put it under Lentaa control.”
Chapter 8 - Anger Edit
Hectocapitus stared down at the Esumum with barely contained raw fury.
“The Lentaa... they... they somehow caught us by... by surprise... and... and...”
“What!” Hectocapitus roared, causing the Esumum to cringe.
“Everyone... Everyone on the planet... dead. Natives, daemons... even... even Iceflame.”
“Iceflame as well! You incompetent, feeble excuses for fighters!”
He sliced the Korgrath in half with little effort, before calling on Bloodburn.
“Forget the council. I need you on Ymir.”
Chapter 9 - ArethusaEdit
Lar watched with savage delight as the group of Alma disappeared in an inferno.
“That appears to be the last of them, sir,” a Lentaa said to him.
“I want a small group of ships, maybe about ten, on the surface. Spread out amongst the cities. Kill any Daemons you find. This planet is under Lentaa control.”
A small group of ships descended and spread out, landing amidst the various cities on the planet.
“What of the rest of us?” a Lentaa asked.
“We will move on. To Unda.”
The rest of the fleet accelerated, heading past Ymir and onwards, closer to the Hellstar and to Unda. Soon it came into sight - a massive planet, but mostly ocean. A small speck of green lay in the centre.
“Head for the islands,” Lar commanded. “There we will meet the Gehennian Arethusa. She and all her minions on Unda shall die!”
The island range soon became larger and clearer. The spaceships continued, weapons at the ready. But this time, the Daemons had detected them before arrival. A fleet of ships rose to greet them, though none as powerful as the Lentaa. There was a quick fight, where it became evident the Lentaa had another advantage. Lar’s best engineers had managed to steal Flame Bubble technology, and use it to protect the Lentaa ships. The ships from Unda did not have the time to wear down the flame shields before they were shot down by the large projectiles fired by the Lentaa.
On the monitor in Lar’s ship, the image of another Gehennian appeared. This one was night black, and smaller than Iceflame.
“You have dared attack my planet. Now, you will feel the true might of the Daemons, as you have clearly not felt it before.”
“No, but you’ve felt our might,” Lar retorted. “Every single Daemon on Ymir is dead!”
“I would not count on it,” came Arethusa’s reply. Then the screen went black.
“Forget her. We must concentrate on destroying what little land there is on this planet,” Lar said. “It won’t take long.”
“Arrogant, stuck-up lizard,” Arethusa snorted. “Call Bloodburn. We know he’s on his way to Ymir. Ask him to stop off here for us.”
A Korgrath rushed off to obey.
Chapter 10 - Confrontation on UndaEdit
The Lentaa fleet blew more spaceships from the sky as they advanced, before a Deathship emerged from the waters around the main island.
“Must be Arethusa’s Deathship,” Lar said. “Open fire.”
The Flame Bubble took the first rounds of fire, and the Scylla, Arethusa’s Deathship, returned fire with its Lucifer Cannons. A bay opened in its underside, and a fleet of Harvengers emerged. Some spaceships diverted their fire towards then, but some of the Harvengers evaded damage and counterattacked with Rending Cannons.
Furious, Lar ordered the wings on his ship to be opened, allowing him to fire simultaneously at the Harvengers and the Scylla. More Harvengers fell, but still the Scylla’s Flame Bubble took all the damage. Lentaa spaceships, however, were also being shielded from the Lucifer Cannon fire by their own Flame Bubbles, so the fight was getting nowhere.
From the Scylla, Arethusa said to one of her Marids, “We must keep up the stalemate. When Bloodburn arrives, he can tip the balance with his hellbeams.”
The ships continued exchanging fire. By now, the last Harvengers, the only vulnerable ship, had been shot down. Now, no shots hit home, destroyed by the Flame Bubbles before they could reach the target. Long minutes passed, and under repeated fire, the Scylla’s flame bubble was wearing away.
“Come on, Bloodburn,” Arethusa murmured. “We’re counting on you.”
Lentaa flame bubbles were being weakened too, but Arethusa could see she was currently at a disadvantage. Her flame bubble would not hold much longer.
However, at last, the ominous silhouette of the Armageddon appeared on the horizon. The ship became larger and clearer as it approached.
“Turn your fire to the approaching ship!” Lar ordered. The fleet swung round, but all forms of weaponry were scattered by the Armageddon’s prototype Hellfire Shield.
Suddenly, the Armageddon fired its hellbeams. The flame bubbles resisted for just under a second, and then the target spaceship was destroyed in a ball of flame. The ship worked systematically, destroying the left flank first. In addition, the Scylla finally broke through a Lentaa flame bubble, destroying another ship.
“Full retreat!” Lar ordered. “Focus fire on Arethusa’s ship! It’s our only hope of damaging them!”
The fleet retreated and changed fire at the same time, while the Armageddon approached, continuing to fire its hellbeams. Lar became aware that their projectiles were hitting home on the Scylla.
“Full fire on Arethusa’s Deathship! We can take it down! Then full retreat!”
The blackmetal hull took intense fire, and the ship was losing height. But, as the Armageddon advanced, the Lentaa were forced to retreat before finishing the job.
“We’ll stay,” Lar said. “Our ship alone. Take down Arethusa.”
Their fire continued, now focused on the engines. Finally, they spluttered and died, just as Lar’s ship was destroyed by a hellbeam. With the rest of the fleet retreating, it had been an obvious target.
However, Lar’s work had not been wasted. The Scylla tumbled into the ocean with a massive splash, damaging it further.
But, after all the Lentaa had fled, a single Harvenger, adapted for use as a submarine, emerged from the broken ship. It surfaced, and Arethusa climbed out, with her personal escort of Marids.
And beneath the waves, the Scylla’s blackmetal began to repair itself.
Chapter 11 - Retreat Through the WormholeEdit
The Lentaa ships that remained glided over Ymir. Lar's second-in-command called out,
"Dispatch a few ships to the surface. Round up the others, and then follow us through the wormhole!"
The main fleet moved on, leaving a small group to gather the Lentaa on Ymir. Soon they all left the planet. However, at that moment, the Armageddon appeared, getting closer all the time. It fired its hellbeams, destroying two of the Lentaa ships.
"Hurry! We might be able to get out of range!"
The Armageddon fired again. Another Lentaa ship was destroyed; the other beam missed. Soon, the familiar sight of the wormhole loomed ahead of them.
The captain of the lead ship smiled.
"Slow down a bit," he ordered.
"If we can lure that ship closer, we might be able to get it caught up in the wormhole's gravitational pull. And its obviously one of the lead Daemon ships. Their leader will be really annoyed."
"Is that wise? What if we are all destroyed?"
"I think it's worth the risk."
Another ship exploded in flames, and the captain ordered them faster. The Deathship could probably see the wormhole; it might try to get closer to take out as many as possible.
"Accelerate. Just a little faster."
Already, they could feel the gravitational pull of the wormhole; they hoped the Armageddon could too.
Chapter 12 - A Big ProblemEdit
The last Lentaa ship vanished through the wormhole.
"Turn around!" Bloodburn roared. "The Master will be displeased if we are pulled through!"
"We could easily come back."
"What if there is an ambush waiting on the other side?"
"We have the Hellfire Shield."
"The risk is pointless. Turn around."
And so the Armageddon turned around, its massive engines breaking free of the wormhole's gravitational pull.
The last Lentaa ship passed through the wormhole. And its captain got a shock. In front of him was the entire Lentaa fleet. And in front of them was a massive spaceship. Literally, massive. It filled the viewing screen; the captain could see nothing beyond it. It must have been the size of a planet. And it was slowly turning to face them.
"Master, the invaders have been cleared from the Daemoniverse."
"All of them?"
"No. Most fled."
"They could be back."
"I want the rift under 24-hour surveillance."
Bloodburn turned of the communicator.
"Master wants the wormhole under 24 hour surveillance!" he cried, and they set course for Unda, to find ships to do just that.
For the continuation of the Lentaa story, see Story: Might of the Verplaatsen.