Might of the Verplaatsen is a sequel to Lentaa Assault. It continues to follow the Lentaa in their adventures, and is written by Toothless100. The prologue is a scene taken from the end of Lentaa Assault.
Prologue - A Big ProblemEdit
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.
The captain stared on in horror, as a voice blared out from the ship. He quickly flipped on his ship's translator.
"-give you one chance to leave, or you shall all die in a burning inferno."
The captain didn't fancy fighting the massive ship, so he was deeply disappointed when Lar's right hand man replied:
"You dare talk to us as such! We are not incompetents! We have just come back, alive, from the Daemoniverse."
"That is nothing. We have been there before. I give you one final chance. Are you leaving?"
Suddenly, a flaming missile streaked through the sky. It was at least twenty kilometres long, far larger than any Lentaa ship. It impacted against one ship's Flame Bubble; the bubble was torn apart, and the missile ploughed straight through the ship, smashing it to smithereens. A second flame bubble was also destroyed, and the ship sliced to ribbons. A third suffered the same fate, before the broken missile was halted, barely, on a fourth ship's flame bubble.
"That was your one and only warning. We do not fear the Daemons. We fear none. We do not fear you."
The single shot sent the fleet into panic. Ships scattered in all directions. Lar's right hand man called through the communicator desperately; "Stay together! Stay together!"
As if having a joke, four Verplaatsen fighter ships departed from the main one. All were larger than the Lentaa ships, and blazed away with their cannons. Some Lentaa ships fought back; the nanodiamond hull of the ships took every blow without a dent.
"Flee!" came the order. "Flee! But stick together! We must stick together!"
The Lentaa fleet gathered together hundreds of thousands of miles from the Verplaatsen ship.
"What. The hell. Was that?" asked one Lentaa, who was nearly out of breath from dashing round the controls.
"I have no idea. But we must stay away from it."
"Agreed," came the replies from millions of ships.
Suddenly a fighter appeared in the space behind the fleet. They turned quickly. Already, it was firing blazing missiles, tearing through flame bubbles and Lentaa ships alike.
All projectiles uselessly bounced of the nanodiamond hull. They tried using the plasma cannons, but the nanodiamond easily resisted it as well. More Lentaa ships were destroyed.
"It's no good! Flee. Rear ships, fire at it as a distraction. But beware you may lose your lives."
Leaving a few defenders, the Lentaa fleet raced onwards.
The Lentaa engines were working overtime to take them away from the Verplaatsen. The original plan had been to land on Skogland; instead they fled past it. The Verplaatsen spaceship was larger than Skogland; they would stand no chance there.
Suddenly, a group of Lentaa ships were blown from the sky. The Lentaa looked up; the Verplaatsen ship loomed overhead.
"What the hell! Where did it come from?"
The Lentaa fled madly. Thousands of fighters flew out, tearing down Lentaa. The main ship fired its enormous projectiles. The proud Lentaa fleet was depleted by half.
"Use the secret weapon," Lar's right hand man ordered.
"But it's not mandatory on the other ships!" another Lentaa cried. "We'll leave them behind!"
"The Lentaa must survive, rebuild. And this is one fight we cannot win."
As if to emphasize this, a small bullet zoomed past, tearing off one of the ship's wings.
"You can't; it's not tested!"
"It worked against the Kerarans."
"But we had co-ordinates then!"
"Activating five, four, three, two, one, zero."
Seconds after the ship vanished, a thirty kilometre projectile streaked through the space where it had once been.
Two ragged Lentaa spaceships ploughed slowly through space. Each was missing an engine; they also had dented bodwork, the front plasma cannon was broken, and some of their other cannons were blocked. Inside, papers and equipment were scattered in a mess all over the ships. In the control room, some of the panels were crushed. They barely had the means to continue flying.
Several other pairs, groups and single Lentaa ships in similar state to them had survived, all going in different directions in a desperate bid to escape from the Verplaatsen spaceship. None of them looked likely to survive long; if they encountered space pirates, or another hostile race, that group would be done for.
Far from all of them, the Verplaatsen spaceship spun idly round, not moving anywhere.
"That will teach them. The Daemons are nothing. Besides... we would like an... appointment with Hectocapitus, wouldn't we?"
"Master!" cried a Korgrath, entering Hectocapitus' throne room. "We have a problem!"
"Again?" Hectocapitus growled, "We have just fought off the last invasion!"
"This is worse, Master, much, much worse!"
"Another ship has come from the wormhole, and-"
"Ship! One ship! I am supposed to be threatened by one ship!"
"It is the size of a planet, Master."
Hectocapitus' face darkened.
"I want a communication link. Now," he said angrily.
"As you order."
A minute later, the Korgrath came back.
"We have a link, but no image."
"Never mind." Louder, he said, "Come on then, invaders! Speak to me!"
A low voice came across the link.
"Hectocapitus. So defiant, as if you are in control of everything. And you still will be, assuming you give us what we want."
"And what might that be."
"Oh, it's a very simple request. But first, I want to talk about army strength. To pass the time. Tell me; what is your best ship?"
"Describe it to me."
"I owe you no description!"
"Prototype hellfire shield, two hellbeams, and an assortment of Lucifer cannons and Rending Cannons. Captained by the Seven Bloodburn. The Bad Neighbour can be fitted on when you are on board. Anyway, onto the request."
There was silence. Hectocapitus waited.
"All we want, is the molecular code for a certain material you own."
"Stop evading the request. Tell me what this material is!"
Hectocapitus laughed. "Ha! You believe I would divulge such information! Well, I won't."
"Oh dear. I was rather hoping you wouldn't say that. But, as you did, this is necessary..."
A visual link snapped on; not of the alien, but of the enormous spaceship, hovering above Inferno. A fighter ship, tiny against the main one but which Hectocapitus estimated to be ten kilometres long, separated from the main ship. It flew towards Inferno, and stopped moving above Pandamonium.
"Give the information to us or we will destroy Pandamonium."
"I'd like to see you try."
A volley of comparatively small missiles were fired the the fighter. They tore through the buildings of Pandamonium, sowing chaos and carnage.
"That was merely a warning shot. We have projectiles larger than the Armageddon."
"And you would dare use them?"
"Yes. Give us the code."
In a tired voice, the alien said, "Ready the projectiles."
The visual link showed the spaceship moving closer to Inferno. Then, it zoomed in on a certain point of the ship. Massive cannons turned, pointing towards Inferno, and Pandamonium specifically.
The tired voice continued... "Firing in 5... 4... 3... 2..."
A torn, battered and ragged Lentaa ship chugged through the void of space at a steady but slow pace, which correctly suggested it was wounded. An entire wing of the ship had been brutally smashed off, by a Verplaatsen missile earlier that day.
After exiting FTL, the Lentaa had been rather surprised to find themselves still alive with all body parts intact. In the heat of battle, they had absolutely no time to set any co-ordinates, so could have ended up virtually anywhere; in the middle of a star, a supernova, a planet, or, if they were particularly unlikely, a void such as Mortum, or the space between multiverses.
However, they were in a galaxy, and possibly a habitable one. They did not recognise the constellations; they had no real idea where they were.
Ahead was a promising-looking solar system. The star at its centre seemed a similar size to the one Skogland orbited, and one of the three planets orbiting it was close, rocky and only slightly larger than Skogland. There was a strong chance it was habitable.
As the ship flew closer, the Lentaa captain took a note of the other two planets; a huge gas giant far, far out, and a much smaller planet far too close to the sun to be habitable. Chances were it was a Chthonian planet similar to Inferno.
The ship entered the rocky planet’s atmosphere. The scientists on board ran some tests, which revealed the atmosphere was indeed breathable and had a composition similar to Skogland’s. Temperature was lower on average, as the planet had a variety of biomes, such as forests, plains, deserts, and even a distant mountain range, unlike Skogland’s unchanging tropical climate. The planet also had oceans and separate continents.
Inside the craft, however, there was bad news circulating.
“We don’t have the capabilities to make a landing. When the missile tore of a wing, it took the landing structure with it. If we try to land, it’ll be lopsided and we’ll crash.”
The captain replied, “There’s only one option, then. Slow us down, and head for the ocean. We’ll have to crash-land there. Just try and make it close to shore.”
“Working on it right now.”
The ship entered a distinctive nose-dive, heading towards the shores of one continent, which seemed largely dominated by grassy plains and prairies. No doubt it contained many biological wonders, maybe even sapients that could become their allies. But that was last on the Lentaa’s minds.
“Brace yourselves,” went the order through the comms, as the five-kilometre ship plunged into the icy cold ocean. There was a large splash, but they had entered smoothly enough, and the ship managed to survive without taking more significant damage. The engines gave a last splutter before dying, turning the craft on its side. A door opened, and the Lentaa clambered out, one by one.
“Quickly,” said the leader, “We must fly. The ship will sink soon.”
The group took flight, heading for the shore. They landed after a few minutes on a shingly beach.
“Will our forcefields still work?” one Lentaa wondered aloud.
“The ship is in water. Most likely the generator will be broken, or go offline for safety. Without the generator, our forcefields will be non-functional.”
“So we are vulnerable.”
“Yes, I suspect so. Watch your backs.”
There was a crunching sound, as the Lentaa waddled off the shingle beach. The sound ceased as they padded onto the hardened mud surface of the grassy plain. Here, the grass only reached ten or so centimetres high, but they had seen it from the air at heights which they estimated averaged around one metre.
“Stick together. There will almost definitely be predators lurking around, and if there are sapients, there is no guarantee they’ll be friendly. We’ll have to keep an eye out.”
The group progressed slowly through the grassland, on the lookout for life. They saw and heard nothing but the swaying of grass in the gentle breeze.
“But,” a scientist objected, “The conditions here are perfect for life. The chances nature would neglect it are so minute.”
“Apparently it has, though. Unless something’s scared or killed the lot of them.”
Another scientist had an objection to that remark. “Nature creates perfectly balanced ecosystems, so life will never be extinct.”
“Why are we listening to them? The Supreme Creator governs all life,” a warrior said.
“This is no time to argue!” the captain shouted. “I believe that there must be life here. On the other hand, our scientists are right. Life is not created to go extinct. I believe this is the work of sapients.”
“Frightfully powerful or aggressive sapients, at any rate,” came another reply.
“True,” the captain admitted. “We may not have forcefields, but we still have our weapons. Keep looking for anything suspicious.”
It wasn’t long before they had their first encounter with life on the planet. Before long, they saw a rustling of taller grasses. The Lentaa approached cautiously. The creature revealed itself.
It was an Aian. The Aian waddled around, its body close to the ground, picking up grass and stuffing it into its trunk, apparently unaware of the Lentaa. One Lentaa coughed slightly, and the Aian snapped its head up. The Lentaa were shocked. There was no sign of intelligence, let alone sapience, in this Aian’s eyes. It made a loud bellowing sound, but no attempt at communication. The Lentaa then also noticed it was wearing no clothing, and had no technology about it.
The Lentaa captain tried, tentatively, to talk to it.
“Um... hello? We have met your kind before; they aided us in a space battle. We mean you no harm.”
The speech had a frightening effect on the Aian. It groaned and snorted, as it was incapable is screaming, and charged at the Lentaa group. There was a madness in its eyes; it was deranged, feral. It sliced wildly with its scythe-hands, catching one Lentaa on the chest. This confirmed the forcefields were non-operational; blood poured from the gash and the Lentaa fell to the ground.
A stun-bomb went off on the Aian’s head, knocking it unconscious. In full body armour, it would likely have had no effect, but this one wore no clothing, another sign of non-sapience.
The Lentaa observed its still body.
“Is it dead?” one asked.
“No, just unconscious. It’s still breathing,” another replied.
The captain observed the Aian. “That’s not an Aian as we know it. They’re advanced sapients, not savages. Something’s been done to this one, by another sapient, a cruel one. We’re not going to kill it. Leave it here to recover. It didn’t do this intentionally; I’m sure if it was capable of rational thought, it would have acted differently.”
Rather disturbed, the Lentaa group trooped on, leaving the Aian to recover.
The Lentaa group trudged onwards. Soon they were in taller grasses, which swayed more noticeably and made detecting movement of other creatures harder. They had encountered no more creatures but their encounter with the Aian had still left them rattled.
After a while, they sighted a building on the horizon. It wasn’t an attractive sight; nothing more than a big block made of featureless, grey steel. They was nothing distinguishable about it that could be seen from this distance, so the Lentaa headed off roughly in the right direction towards it.
They were about halfway there, and the grasses began to thin. The breeze had dropped, and the Lentaa group relaxed. They were completely unprepared when the ambush came.
Two Kerarans burst from the sparse remaining grasses. They covered the distance between them and the Lentaa in seconds, snapping at them with their lethal jaws. A third one came from behind, and the Lentaa, in a panic, took to the air. Three of their kind already lay dead, yet the Kerarans continued to jump up and snap at the survivors. They jumped up alarmingly far, as their muscular system had evolved to cope with much higher gravity than that on the planet. However, the Lentaa could fly higher.
From this height, the Lentaa could safely make observations. And these observations discouraged them. There was, once again, no sign of intelligence in the Kerarans’ eyes. They wore no clothing or armour, carried no technology. They snapped and jumped like predators, but did not speak, or even attempt to communicate. The Lentaa would not expect a warm welcome from any Kerarans, but these had clearly suffered the same cruel fate as the Aian.
“There’s no sign of sapience on them,” the captain said. “Drop the stun bombs.”
Though the weapons would have little effect on fully-armoured Kerarans, these wore nothing, and like the Aian were knocked out.
“Should we kill them?” one asked.
“They would have behaved like this even if they were sapient,” agreed another.
“And they killed three of our kind,” added a third.
“No,” the captain objected. “Killing isn’t necessary. They’ve suffered cruelly enough already. We’re going to leave them be.”
The Lentaa flew on, only landing once they believed they were a safe distance from the Kerarans. The grass grew much lower around the area, and the building was visible to more detail.
There wasn’t much more detail to see. It was blank, featureless, grey steel, all the way round. The doors were blank, grey steel, the join with the wall and the gap between the two practically invisible. A black-and-white striped line had been painted round the door, almost as if they were a reminder as to where the doors actually were. Feeling apprehensive, the Lentaa pushed opened the doors. They weren’t locked, and creaked ominously on rusted hinges.
“I don’t like the look of this,” one Lentaa murmured nervously.
“Who does?” another shot back. “So far we’ve crash-landed on an unknown planet in an unknown galaxy possibly in an unknown universe, and met deranged, non-sapient versions of Aians and Kerarans.”
“No arguments,” the captain chided firmly.
They were in a featureless corridor made of blank, grey steel. There were only two ways out; the way they had just come, or a pair of blank, grey steel doors at the other end. The Lentaa proceeded.
They were in another blank, grey corridor, also featureless but for the many doors on either side.
“Are we going to go in?” one Lentaa asked.
“What a stupid question. We’re not just gonna come in to go out. Of course we’re having a look,” replied another.
“No arguments!” the captain said, exasperated. “Yes, we should take a look.”
The tried the first door. It was locked.
“Not for long,” one Lentaa muttered. He leaped at the door, slicing downwards on the lock with his electro-claws. There were sparks, and a clang as the lock hit the floor. The Lentaa pushed open the door. It gave surprisingly easily, making a loud bang as it hit the wall. It bounced back and nearly got another Lentaa in the face.
Inside the room was a tank. The roof and floor were made of aluminium, as were the supporting struts. The walls were made of heavily reinforced glass. The only decoration in the tank was a clump of mud with a small plant growing from it.
The strip lights on the ceiling of the room revealed the creature inside. There was a bang as it leapt at the glass. The glass didn’t shatter, and the Lentaa identified the creature; an Arbotile, a sapient from their homeworld. But this one was no longer sapient. It wore no clothes, had no technology, and did not attempt to speak, instead roaring and snapping at the glass, all to no avail. The Lentaa hurriedly waddled out, slamming the door shut behind them.
“No doubt the same sort of thing in the other tanks,” one Lentaa said, if just to break the silence.
“But how many more until there’s one of us,” another moaned ominously.
“So do we keep looking, or not?” the captain asked. A chorus of ‘yes’ and ‘no’ greeted him, so he silenced them and asked for a vote.
“Wings up if you do want to keep exploring.”
The captain counted, and just over half wanted to continue. “Next tank, then.”
They pushed the next door open. It was harder to open, and made a terrible screeching sound as it moved on its ancient, rusted hinges. Inside, was another tank. There was no plant in this tank. A couple of scattered fishbones littered the floor, nothing else. The tank was constructed of the same materials, at the same size.
However, inside was an alien none of the Lentaa recognised. The alien was about five feet tall, with long, thin limbs, and a pointed head resembling an elongated teardrop. Its skin was black and wrinkled. Its eyes were visible, but it apparently had no mouth. The alien then opened its mouth at them, revealing a completely black inside, hence why the Lentaa had been unable to see it.
However, other than that it made no display of strength, instead backing away into a far corner and trying to shrivel itself up as small as possible.
“Scientist,” the captain asked, “Do you still carry you handheld computer?”
“Yes. Always have it with me.”
“Make a log of this creature’s appearance and behaviour. If we ever get off of this planet, we can perhaps get into communication with the Salsenes, Aians or Lutrians, and see if they recognise it.”
“OK. Logging it now.”
Throughout all this time, the creature had stayed in its corner. Though it had no clothes, technology nor the ability to speak, the captain reckoned it had once been sapient, like all the others.
“Make a note it’s probably sapient,” the captain added, muttering under his breath, “Even if this one isn’t.”
“It has all been logged.”
“Shall we move on then?”
There was a general nodding of Lentaa heads, and the entered the main corridor again, leaving the door open behind them to spare their ears the horrible sound it made.
The other cells were similarly depressing. There were many species, some of which they recognised, some they didn’t.
The next cell contained a Salsene. Again, there was no sign of sapience. Its tank was distinguishing by only one feature. Half was covered in a layer of mud a few centimetres thick, allowing a paltry amount of water to fill the other half. This was because of the Salsenes’ amphibious past. The miserable Salsene inside did not react to the Lentaa outside its cage.
The opposite door contained a creature that the Lentaa judged similar in appearance to the Salsenes. However, it had a larger head that extended forwards from the body, and a sort of fin at the back. As well as this, it had a bony covering on its back, and comparatively long fingers and toes.
“Log it,” the captain ordered.
In response to them entering, the creature bent down and curled up, meaning the majority of its showing body was the bony covering.
“It’s scared,” a Lentaa observed.
“Who wouldn’t be? I guess it was once sapient, and has been ‘downgraded’ like all the others. If we ever find who did this, I will personally kill them,” another replied.
The next contained a species well familiar to them; a Lutrian. Its tank was filled with about two and a half metres of water. The only other decoration was a small rock stuck just above water level; presumably for it to gnaw on.
The Lutrian also showed no sapience. It completely ignored them, too intent on paddling to keep itself above water. Occasionally it would stop, and grab hold of the rock with its arms and gnaw on it. The Lutrian looked thin, tired and soaked through. The Lentaa had no idea how long it had been in there.
They entered the next cell. Inside was another creature they didn’t recognise. It had small, black eyes, and eight legs, each ending in a two wide-fingered hand. As the Lentaa entered, it slunk away to the far corner of the tank. The captain ordered it to be catalogued.
The cage itself had absolutely nothing in it, unlike the other cages. The only sign of anything was a scrap of grey material. The Lentaa speculated it may once have been part of a garment.
“Only two cages left,” the captain consoled the group. “Then we can leave.” There were audible sighs of relief at the second comment.
However, the next cage proved to be hugely dispiriting. Inside was one of their own kind; a Lentaa. There were absolutely no traces of sapience. It waddled around amiably, until it noticed them. They weren’t even sure it recognised them as its own kind. It shrieked, and threw itself at the glass in a primitive way, slicing with its claws and beak. It rammed its head against the glass, but it didn’t even crack.
Observing the cave, the sapient Lentaa saw one small shrub; perhaps a representation of a tree, as most over tanks had some sort of object relating to their homeworld. Some of the sapients left the room quickly; others stood, transfixed by its actions.
“Alright,” one muttered. “Now it’s personal. Whoever did this is really going to pay.”
“You talk big,” the captain said, “but whoever did this must have fearsome technology. How do you know we can do anything about it?”
“I don’t. But I can try.”
No longer able to bear the sorrowful sight, the rest of the Lentaa exited. The final door was at the end of the corridor, not the sides.
“I’m expecting big with this one,” one Lentaa said.
“I’m expecting another corridor,” another tried to joke, but received no laughter.
More than a little apprehensive, the Lentaa moved towards the last door. It was locked.
“Strange,” one said.
“It’s strange the only other locked one was the Arbotile.”
“Strength estimates? Lock the one that’s most likely to escape the tank?”
“Maybe. Just break the lock.”
A Lentaa sliced down with its shock claws, and as they connected, there was a spark. Then, a blue light surged through the Lentaa’s body, illuminating its skeleton. Its body writhed and twisted, but the weapon had been somehow melded to the door. The electric shock continued to pulse through the Lentaa’s body, and it uttered a long, spine-chilling shriek. Smoke rose from the fabric of its wings, and eventually from the rest of its furry body. Sparks leapt from its claws, sizzling away on the floor.
Finally, after a horrifying couple of minutes, the shock stopped. The Lentaa’s fried body dropped soundlessly to the floor, but the shock claws did not fall with it. The claws themselves had indeed been melded into the metal of the lock, preventing the Lentaa from escape.
The other Lentaa looked on silently, completely shocked and unsure of how to proceed.
“Stun bomb it,” the captain ordered.
The bomb dropped and the resulting explosion should have blown the door apart. But it was clearly reinforced, and the lock used the bomb’s energy to throw bolts of electricity across the corridor, frying two more Lentaa, and creating dark burn marks on the metal wall. The explosion, however, had got them somewhere. The lock lay broken on the floor, still sparking.
“How did that happen?” the captain questioned the scientist.
“Well, I suppose that upon being touched, the lock was programmed to generate an electric shock, and the extreme original heat caused the shock claws to meld with the lock. When the bomb hit it, the same happened; the electricity pulsed through the bomb, which meant when it exploded, milliseconds after touching the lock, it threw electric bolts out with the explosion.”
“I think I followed that,” the captain said, in a way that suggested he didn’t. “Regardless, it’s time to look inside.”
With that comment, he put his shock claws against the door and pushed. It swung open soundlessly, and even bounced back without making a noise. Closer examination would reveal the walls around the door were padded.
A massive tank occupied the room, but in this room, the lights were off, and the cage was too dim to see inside. One Lentaa waddled over to the light switch, and reached up with a wing. Before touching it, he paused.
“Do you suppose the light switch has an electric shock thing programmed into it?” he asked.
“I highly doubt it,” the scientist replied.
The Lentaa hit the switch, and sure enough, there was no shock. A second later, the lights flickered on, revealing the occupant of the cage.
There was no mistaking the distinctive shape, especially after their recent adventures. Inside the enormous cage was a dark blue-black Gehennian. Its most stunning feature was the startlingly bright silver eyes, which glowed in the light. Its massive wings were fanned out, revealing their full size and making the Gehennian look larger than it was. Upon spotting the Lentaa, the Gehennian pounced.
It slammed into the glass with an unexpected ferocity, and there was a resounding crack as it bounced off. The mark did not match up with the sound; the crack was barely a centimetre in length. It sliced wildly with its claws, making more cracks, but only minor. The feral, animalistic ferocity of the attack caused the Lentaa to realise that it too, wasn’t sapient. It had no apparent weapons or armour, and was attacking in a wild fashion, in no way similar to the methodical attack a true Gehennian would give.
Though the Lentaa had never imagined they would feel sorrow for a Gehennian, it was truly saddening to watch such a pitiful sight. No-one had any idea what sort of glass had been used, as it was barely taking damage under the onslaught.
There was a mechanical sound, and the Lentaa looked up, for the first time noticing a half-dome mounted on the ceiling of the cell. There was a single hole in the structure, which swivelled to face the Gehennian. Then, it fired a single laser.
The Gehennian screamed horribly as it bit into her flesh, burning it to a crisp and relentlessly continuing. She turned to stare at the dome, and the laser swivelled to touch her head. Though she was clearly in unbearable pain, she still managed to swipe at the dome. The blow glanced off without doing a scratch.
Then, under the intense pain, the Gehennian collapsed to the ground, and the laser ceased.
“Subject 008; species: Gehennian; name: Silvereye; gender: Female; has been engaging in violent behaviour. Strength 14 laser has been used to temporarily subdue her,” a robotic voice called out, apparently to no-one in particular.
Suddenly, there was a click-clack sound of feet on the metal floor. The Lentaa turned round as one.
Standing in front of them was another alien they had never seen before. Many of its features were obscured by the nanodiamond armour that it wore, but some features were still identifiable.
The creature’s body was supported on four legs that ended in a single point. It also had two pairs of arms; one pair each ending in a single point, but the other pair each ending in a three-fingered hand. It had a curving body that started horizontally and then became vertical. The face had twelve eyes and a weird mouth that expanded in four directions. However, it still had the standard upper and lower jaw, lined with teeth. Overall, it had an arachnid-y appearance to it.
“Who are you?” one Lentaa asked. “You’re not another downgraded sapient are you? We mean you no harm.”
The creature replied. “Oh yes, of course. You don’t recognise me. No, I am not a downgraded sapient. I imagine you have examined the cells. And I found your handiwork on the Aians and Kerarans too.”
“Why would we recognise you?”
“Oh, for reasons. But I forgot.”
“We’ve talked. But without the visual link. Anyway, you are on a planet in the Ora Galaxy, a galaxy on the fringes of the Viperius Galaxy System. The planet itself is Obruza, playground of the Verplaatsen!”
The last word had a shocking effect on the Lentaa. They stared at the creature, horrified, and took a simultaneous step backwards.
The Verplaatsen seemed to enjoy the reaction. “Yes. We destroyed your fleet! Only a few miserable survivors remain!”
“That isn’t true,” the captain argued feebly, fighting his fear, “There are colonies.”
“Yes, yes, perhaps so, but your main fleet has been destroyed. I am Custos le’Diras, ‘the terrible guardian’. I am the guard of this particular building on the continent, but I am only one of many. And you are in a lot of trouble. Now, follow me, or I shoot you,” he said, gesturing with a bulky rifle he was carrying.
Custos shepherded the Lentaa from the building, and made them line up outside. While Custos was apparently facing them other way, a Lentaa leapt at him, but Custos spun round instantly and fired his rifle. His aim was well and true, and the Lentaa disintegrated into a shower of atoms while still in mid-leap.
As if the incident had never happened, Custos walked down the line of Lentaa, examining each one in minute detail. They were all too terrified to move.
Absent-mindedly, Custos picked up one Lentaa. It was under average size; some of the larger, arrogant soldiers viewed him as a runt. Custos held the Lentaa a couple of metres of the ground, watching in amusement as it struggled in vain.
“There are many ways I can kill you,” Custos said. “This is my favourite.”
He now had a small disk in his other hand, and pressed down on it.
An electric shock surged through the Lentaa. It screamed in agony, and writhed and twisted, trying to escape, all to no avail. Blue light illuminated his skeleton, as the screaming continued. Custos dropped the limp body after half a minute. By that time, the Lentaa was completely dead.
Two more Verplaatsen converged on the group.
“Unnecessary torture, Custos?” one questioned.
“It was a runt,” Custos replied as way of excuse. Then, to the Lentaa, “These are my fellow guardians, Quaesitor le’Immitem,”
“’The ruthless scientist’” Quaesitor said.
“And Grex le’Interritus.”
“’The fearless herder,” Grex said.
“Some of you will be taken by them; others by me,” Custos continued. “Grex manages the loose downgraded sapients, I manage the caged ones, and Quaesitor manages a different subject entirely. If you’re unlucky enough to be grouped with him, you’ll find out soon enough. If not, you’ll forever wonder.”
The three Verplaatsen examined each Lentaa in turn. Then, they had a heated discussion, before Custos finally strode away to address the Lentaa.
“You have been split evenly between us. Quaesitor and Grex will collect their specimens now.”
“We are not specimens!” one Lentaa argued. Custos blasted him to atoms with his Obliterator Rifle, and said, “You are to us.”
Grex and Quaesitor picked their specimens. Custos took the remainder. He then had another heated discussion with Quaesitor, and handed over one if his Lentaa.
As the three groups were led off in different directions, the captain with Quaesitor, Custos murmured to his group: “I disintegrated one of his.”
“5... 4... 3... 2... 1...”
“Alright, alright,” Hectocapitus snarled. “There’s something I should tell you. And that is how foolish you have been. Neutronium-metal has no code; it is made of sub-atomic particles, so I therefore have nothing to give you.”
“Then your use is expended. We shall now blow Inferno to pieces.”
“Is Bloodburn available?” Hectocapitus questioned one of his Korgrath.
“He is on his way back from Ymir.”
“How far is he?”
“He has just passed by Unda.”
Hectocapitus growled. Bloodburn would not arrive on time.
“We only have one option. Ready the Bad Neighbour.”
There was a colossal bang as the Bad Neighbour fired. Projectiles weighing almost a ton were launched, wreathed in molten plasma, at the Verplaatsen spaceship.
The explosion impact was tremendous. Shrapnel flew through the air, and flames were everywhere. The explosion was enormous, even against the spaceship. Even the incredible forcefield gave, and the explosion struck the ship's nanodiamond hull. But before fatal damage could be done, a fragment of the forcefield managed to regenerate, a comparatively feeble barrier holding back the explosion. Nonetheless, it worked, though barely. Already, a hatch opened and Verplaatsen began to swarm over the ship, repairing the nanodiamond where it was damaged.
The Verplaatsen spoke again.
“That is all you have got? Now, we shall counter with our best weaponry.”
Fighters poured out from the ship, hovering in position above Inferno, all around it. All their cannons were primed. The main spaceship, too, was ready.
Inferno’s destruction was set.
“Go on ahead,” Hectocapitus laughed, knowing full well what would happen.
He heard the alien count down to 0, and this time, the weapons came. Enormous flaming projectiles larger than the Armageddon streaked through space. Fighters unleashed their mini-arsenal, and virtually every cannon on the spaceship was firing at a rapid rate. However, they all exploded in the atmosphere. The assault was such an incredible one, the Veiled One defences had kicked in.
Even the intense fire from massive projectiles was held back, but the fire continued for several long minutes. Hectocapitus began to feel worried that the defences would give, but then the firing ceased.
“Ha! Not so powerful now, are you?!” he cried to the Verplaatsen.
“Quite to the contrary. It is time to take this assault to the next level.”
The cold satisfaction in the Verplaatsen’s voice was like a cold dagger driven into even Hectocapitus’ heart. And that was before the greatest threat even revealed itself.
“Witness, Hectocapitus, the fall of your empire!” came the cry, followed by an insane laugh. Another visual link switched on, this time showing not the alien, not the spaceship, not Inferno, but something else. Something truly terrifying.
There was no longer one earth-sized spaceship hovering around Inferno. There were billions. From each ship came tens of thousands of fighters. The ships covered the skies all across the Hellstar’s system, and beyond. All of these ships primed their weapons.
“Now, you can see truly how pathetic the Daemons are. And you can see how much more powerful we are. On board these ships are 20,000,000,000,000,000,000 individuals! Now, bear witness to the might of the Verplaatsen!”
They passed by miles and miles of boring, featureless grassland. Once, they saw a Keraran stalking them through the long grass. Quaesitor had fired an explosive bullet from his gun at the Keraran’s feet, and it had fled. Another time, one Lentaa had tried to fly away, but Quaesitor had shot him right in the chest, the explosion from the bullet tearing him apart.
Ahead of them was another building. Like the one they had been in previously, it was a featureless building of blank, grey steel, and completely windowless.
“Here is where I experiment with my specimens,” Quaesitor explained. The captain had to force himself to keep quiet at the statement.
They entered. The room they were in was semi-circular. There were no windows and it was all blank, featureless steel. The curving wall had four different doors in it, placed at regular intervals. A hard, wooden chair, too small to be used by a Verplaatsen, stood against the straight wall. Quaesitor led them through the second door on the left.
They were in a blank steel corridor. The only exit other than the way they’d came was a door at the other end of the corridor. Quaesitor herded them through it.
Now they were in a large, circular room. The outer walls were lined with glass cages reinforced with aluminium, so only a small amount of the room remained for the Lentaa to stand in.
“Behold my experiments,” Quaesitor said, with a hint of pride.
The Lentaa felt only disgust. In the first cage was hideous contortion of a creature with the body of a Lutrian, but the head of a Keraran. The join wasn’t even that good, and the stitches were painfully obvious. The creature made only quiet growling sounds, which sounded more like a purr.
Another mutant had the body of a Keraran, but the head of an Arbotile. The join and stitches were again painfully obvious, and the front pair of arms had been not-so-surgically removed. This creature also made the piteous mewing sounds the previous one had.
The third creature was an abomination. It had the body of a Salsene, but its arms had been replaced with dinosaurian ones tipped with three claws. The Lentaa captain wondered miserably what type of sapient they had once belonged to. The head was black and shaped like a teardrop; clearly the same species as the sapient-turned-non-sapient they had encountered earlier. This creature made no sound other than a very quiet whimpering.
The other cages contained similar abominations of nature. One Lentaa finally lost it.
“You’re insane, you are! This is unnatural, it’s cruel, it just isn’t right!”
He jumped forth, shock claws extended, but Quaesitor knocked him aside casually with his gun before they even connected.
“Hostility will not be tolerated,” he said, before shooting him with an explosive bullet. The other Lentaa cowered away from the shower of body parts.
“I’ve never had Lentaa to play with before,” Quaesitor said. “I wonder what it would be like if I merged one of you with an Aian; pity I don’t have an Aian to try it on. But maybe an Arbotile, since you used to co-exist with them.”
“What do you mean, used to?” the captain questioned accusingly.
“Until you left to travel the stars,” Quaesitor responded quickly and defensively.
“Now, who shall I start with? First, I need to divide you into two again.”
He quickly counted the group, and split them in what the Lentaa assumed was the middle.
“Oh,” he said. “There’s an odd number of you, and the group on the left have one more than the group on the right.”
Without warning, he fired at one of the Lentaa in the left group, blowing them into pieces.
“Why have we been halved?” one Lentaa asked.
“Elit le’Saevus requires some specimens too.”
“He mixes sapients with non-sapients. I mix sapients with sapients. Well, we downgrade them first, of course.”
“So we’ll all become like those things in Custos’ lab?”
Suddenly, Quaesitor’s communications device crackled into life. A frantic voice, speaking too fast for the Lentaa to comprehend, came through, and Quaesitor listened intently. After a few minutes, he put the device down.
“You’ve antagonised Silvereye. We’ve been so busy with you, we forgot to recharge the laser that keeps her under control. She’s loose. Such a pity our only Gehennian will have to die.”
“You think you can kill a Gehennian?” one Lentaa scoffed.
“I know I can kill a Gehennian,” Quaesitor replied, “Especially as its non-sapient and therefore won’t attack in a co-ordinated manner, or use weapons or armour.”
He ambled out of the room. The Lentaa heard the door click shut behind him; they assumed it was locked.
“What we gonna do?” one asked.
“We can’t just sit here waiting to be slaughtered.”
“Actually...” the captain said, a smile creeping onto his face, “Maybe that’s exactly what we’re going to do.”
Quaesitor quickly found the rampaging Gehennian. On his way out, he’d replaced his explosive machine-gun with an Obliterator Rifle. Silvereye spotted him, and came bounding over towards him, jaws opened wide. Quaesitor took aim at a leisurely pace, and fired.
The shot caught Silvereye right in the mouth, and she disintegrated there and then, the tip of her tail being the last to go.
“Crisis dealt with,” Quaesitor reported, “But we no longer have a Gehennian specimen.”
“If all goes to plan,” Custos replied, “We shall soon have Hectocapitus himself sitting downgraded in our cells.”
Quaesitor turned off the comms, and headed back to his lab.
Custos also ambled back to his lab. Just before entering, he noticed something on the horizon. A massive, domed shape. And another behind it. And another.
“Oh dear,” he commented. “Apparently, something has gone wrong. And we have reason not to be happy about it.”
The Verplaatsen fleet was on the move.
Quaesitor returned to his lab, to find all the Lentaa still there.
“Not even trying to escape? We really have broken your spirit, haven’t we?” he said, smiling.
“No,” the captain said flatly, launching himself at Quaesitor. Quaesitor grabbed him round the neck, but the others were leaping at him too. In fury, Quaesitor threw the captain the length of the room, and brought his explosive machine-gun round. Without aiming, he fired a volley of shells all over the room. Lentaa and test subjects were blown apart, but more Lentaa pushed through. A stun bomb hit the gun, and it exploded in Quaesitor’s hands.
In an uncontrollable rage, Quaesitor raised his arms, with machine-guns mounted on the armour, and fired away. With his other two arms, he stabbed out at Lentaa, skewering them with the bony points.
Lentaa bodies covered the floor, but one managed to sneak round Quaesitor, and escape, as Quaesitor had not yet locked the door. Quaesitor did not notice, as he was too busy slaughtering the Lentaa.
Occasionally, a stun bomb struck his armour, or he was slashed at by a pair of shock claws. His armour took the blows, and he fought on regardless. He was afraid of no race in the multiverse, and wouldn’t be stopped by some mob of Lentaa.
Soon, they were all dead. Blood coated the floor, and the volume of Lentaa body parts made it hard from Quaesitor to find somewhere to stand. He did a count as best as he could, and judged that at least one had escaped. It was hard to be sure when a lot of bodies were in many different pieces.
Sighing, Quaesitor picked up his spare explosive machine-gun, and readied it to fire. He then set out in search of the escaped Lentaa.
It didn’t take him long to locate; he saw it flying north as soon as he exited the building. He wouldn’t be able to keep up on foot, though, so he went to take one of the land vehicles they kept here.
As he climbed in the search-and-destroy army truck, Quaesitor mused over the fact that north led to the mountains. He wondered if he had chosen that direction deliberately, or if he was unaware where he was going and it was pot luck. Regardless, he would have to be stopped.
Search-and-destroy army trucks were relatively small and lightly armed. It was about five metres high and ten metres long, with room for three to four Verplaatsen. The roof was mounted with a small cannon, and on each side of the truck was one mounted machine-gun. It was designed to be driven by one, with other Verplaatsen operating the guns. Quaesitor would have to do it all himself.
He set off at full speed after the Lentaa, who was a barely visible speck in the sky. As time passed, the speck got larger; Quaesitor was gaining. He smiled.
However, they were now approached the mountains. The truck would be no good for the mountains, and he couldn’t go back and get another, better vehicle. He sighed. Ensuring the steering wheel was steady, he moved towards the back of the truck, and took control of the small, mounted cannon. The Lentaa was barely in range, but as he gained even more, that problem would solve itself. However, the bouncing of the vehicle on the uneven ground, and the fact the Lentaa was flying, would make it almost impossible to hit.
Not expecting a hit, Quaesitor fired anyway. He watched the projectile miss the Lentaa by a disappointing few metres. However, it got the Lentaa’s attention, and it stopped moving, and turned to look.
Seizing the opportunity, Quaesitor ran to the front of the truck, and stopped it. He then went back to the cannon, and got the Lentaa in his sights. Realising the danger, it was just beginning to turn again, when Quaesitor fired.
The projectile connected with the Lentaa’s left wing. The bone snapped, and the leather was torn. The wound began to bleed profusely, and the Lentaa was forced to land. Eager with anticipation, Quaesitor dismounted from the vehicle, and ran, gun in hand, towards where the Lentaa had landed.
The Lentaa was doing its best to run, but it was simply incapable of travelling at speed with a damaged wing. Hearing Quaesitor approach, it turned, and spat on the ground.
“You’re nothing,” it spat. “A worthless nothing. A-“
A shell exploded upon impact with the Lentaa’s throat, cutting of its speech and killing it. Quaesitor chuckled with mirth at its efforts. No matter who it was, how they tried, when they were against the Verplaatsen, they always lost.
Quaesitor returned to the search-and-destroy army truck, dropped his gun onto the floor, turned round and drove back towards his lab. On the way, he reported the incidents since disintegrating Silvereye to Custos, who listened but did not comment.
The Verplaatsen fleet primed their weapons, all aimed at Inferno.
“See how long you shields hold against this, Hectocapitus!” the Verplaatsen yelled through the communication link, before cutting it off.
Suddenly, an entire Verplaatsen ship was shredded to pieces. This was followed by another and another. With each destruction, something with the appearance of a giant frazzly thing appeared in the sky.
“Free Minds!” a Verplaatsen cried. “Concentrate your fire around them; it will weaken their attacks!”
More ships were torn to pieces. More frazzly things appeared in the sky; Free Minds. Cannons fired at them, but did no damage to their apparent ‘bodies’, though it did, as the Verplaatsen had predicted, weaken the individual’s attacks.
Some of these cannons ended up soaring towards Inferno, but the Veiled One defences were enough to hold back the odd stray cannonball.
Even so, with two billion Verplaatsen ships, the destruction was painfully slow. However, Hectocapitus, now a bit more confident about winning, sent up a fleet of deathships to engage the fighter ships in combat. They fell in equal numbers, until one main Verplaatsen ship turned its cannons to the deathships and blew several from the sky. This gave the Verplaatsen the edge, and Hectocapitus brought the remaining deathships back down to Inferno’s surface.
However, after not too long, few Verplaatsen ships still remained in the Daemoniverse. Then there was only one, and before it was destroyed, a communication link was switched back on.
“You have been lucky, Hectocapitus,” it said, enraged. “But next time, it will not be so. You will meet and fulfil your destiny; that your shattered body will lay on the rubble of your Tower in Pandaemonium, a destroyed city on a dead planet in a lifeless universe! Next time, there shall be no mercy!”
The link was cut off abruptly as the last Verplaatsen ship was destroyed.
“Oh, dear,” Custos observed. “This doesn’t look promising. For the rest of Obeidon, anyway.”
A voice blared out from the nearest spaceship.
“Custos le’Diras; the assault force in the Daemoniverse was foiled in two respects. Neutronium-metal is made of sub-atomic particles, and has no molecular code, and then, before Inferno could be destroyed, a host of Free Minds showed up and destroyed the fleet. We shall hide our power no longer. This galaxy shall be slaughtered, followed by the galaxy system, the universe, and then all of Obeidon! This is the reserve force; five billion main ships, meaning fifty trillion fighters, and fifty million trillion Verplaatsen. None shall stand before us.”
“Yes, that is true. Have fun while you’re slaughtering Obeidon, and try to think off me, stuck here mutating captured sapients!”
The fleet passed over the planet. All five billion. At the current time, only about one hundred fighters were flying around each ship, but there were thousands more inside. Custos smiled. The Verplaatsen would rise and conquer. The entire multiverse would learn.
It would learn the Might of the Verplaatsen.
| Verplaatsen • Ladino • Sagax • Scarabian • Verplaatsen Mothership • Verplaatsen Fighter • Verplaatsen Fighter Jet • Verplaatsen Tank • Verplaatsen Weaponry • Verplaatsen Armour • Verplaatslave |
Stories: Story: Creation of the Verplaatsen • Story: The Slaughter • Story: The Invasion • Story: The Great Sagax War • Story: Might of the Verplaatsen • Story: The Dragovian War • Story: War at Nevermore • Story: Defeat of the Cephalids