Return to Part 1
Chapter 11: The Beginning
- "Hey," the thing said. "At least tell me what your place looks like!"
I stopped and turned around. "An archipelago that was ruined by a really big nuclear bomb," I said.
- "Hey, are you talking about the UNB?" the thing yelled.
- "What's that?" I asked.
- "UNB stands for Unidentified Nuclear Bomb," replied the thing. "It happened just under a month ago in the Aleutian Islands. The explosion was like no other the human race ever saw, and the entire archipelago was destroyed. There have been intense tensions between countries ever since. The only reason we're not in World War III yet is because every nation that could have bombed Alaska have denied all accusations of having launched the UNB."
- "The what islands again?" I asked.
- "Aleutian," the thing replied. "Do you think that's your archipelago?"
- "Well," I said. "as far as I know, the archipelago doesn't have a name. But it could be. Our nuclear explosion happened a few weeks ago too."
- "So, what do you want to do?" it asked.
- "Go there and find out," I replied.
- "WHAT?!" the thing yelled. "Whoa, whoa, you can't go there! It's still contaminated with deadly radiation!"
- "But I have to stop the Blackguard!" I yelled. "I have to free the innocent islanders!"
The thing looked sorry for me. It calmed down.
- "Listen, why don't you try out a new life here? You can forget about everything and just live normally."
- "No," I started to cry. "People, innocent people, are being enslaved and forced to work for evil. Don't you feel any sympathy for them? Anything at all?"
The thing seemed to feel my heart.
- "Okay," it said. "But it's getting dark, so let's get inside."
I thought about how to destroy the Blackguard that night. All till morning, I thought in my sleep.
- "Hey!" yelled the thing. "Wake up! This is urgent!"
My eyes snapped open. I jumped up from bed. It was 7 AM now.
- "What is it?" I asked.
- "Read this!" the thing said.
I was given a strange piece of grey paper with writing an pictures all over it. But the title was interesting:
- "Now what the heck is that?!" the thing yelled.
I gasped. "The Blackguard..."
- "That's the BLACKGUARD?!" gasped the thing.
- "Most probably." I said. "Do you know anything about this?"
- "No," the thing replied. "But we do now who's declared war on who. And as far as I know, no-one's declared war on Germany yet."
I groaned. Was the Blackguard really attacking the land of reality? And was reality not much of a higher dimension after all?
- "Oh by the way," the thing asked. "What's your name?"
- "Um..." I pondered. "I don't...have a name, I guess. I'm just a rebel leader."
- "I'm Oscar," the thing said. "You seem to think I'm some sort of hostile alien...I'm not. I'm human."
- "You ARE?!" I gasped.
- "Uh...yeah," he replied. "And so is everyone else.
He wasn't a higher being! He was a human! I groaned. This was going to be so much harder now. Without any special powers, the inhabitants of reality weren't much use. But this fact also gave me confidence; I now knew that he couldn't blast me away with a fireball at any moment.
- "Anyway," said Oscar. "Read the rest of it. It's terrifying."
I picked up the strange grey piece of paper and read.
UNKNOWN FORCE BOMBS GERMANY
On March 1st, the city of Berlin, Germany was bombed by fighter planes of unknown origin. Survivors report that "We literally didn't see it coming. All over the place, there were these tiny metal balls, the size of sunflower seeds, falling from the sky. We thought they were some kind of weird hail, but all of a sudden, they started exploding. Each metal ball exploded with the power of a house-sized stack of dynamite. People were dying left and right. I doubt there has ever been worse of an attack on German soil."
The whole city was nearly wiped off the planet. Hundreds of thousands of people were killed. The whole world is shocked by this event – who are the invaders and what do they want?
- "I know what they want," I said. "The Blackguard cares for one thing, and one thing only – and that is WORLD DOMINATION."
- "Wait, so they've been teleported here too?" asked Oscar.
- "Yes," I replied. "In fact, I'm pretty sure my base is in the Islands you mentioned. I have to go there."
- "I told you, it's contaminated with radiation," he replied. "You can't go there."
- "The last time I went, I was perfectly fine," I said. "So why not this time?"
- "You were inside a game last time," said Oscar. "Game physics are different to real world physics."
I groaned. Was there nothing I could do to stop the Blackguard?
- "But," he said. "if you're so sure about this being the Blackguard, maybe I could try using my phone. If it can teleport you from Boom Beach to here, then it must be able to teleport you from place to place."
- "Say what?" I asked.
- "What I mean," explained Oscar. "Is that this phone can probably teleport to whatever place is currently on the screen. So if I open an image here..."
He fiddled with his magic window for a second.
- "We should be able to utilise the phone as a portal. Let's test it out."
He put the window on the ground.
- "So I have an image of Hyde Park in here," he said. "If I'm correct, I should be teleported to there."
He jumped, and landed on the window. But he didn't go through. He slipped on his window and fell flat on his back, catapulting the window into my shin.
As I yelled in agony, Oscar immediately sat up and examined his window.
- "Oh my goodness, did my phone break?" he stammered, searching his window for any damage.
- "Yeah, your window's alright," I groaned. "What about me?"
- "What about you?" he replied.
- "I think you broke my leg," I muttered. "I can't feel it."
- "It's just numb," said Oscar. "It'll go away. Now, why did that now work?"
He examined the window for some time while I tried not to let my leg disconnect from my body.
- "Maybe," he declared after a long time. "If I have Google Maps open, I'll be able to teleport."
He put the window down on the ground again, ready to jump in. I stood a long way back. Oscar jumped, landed...and disappeared. For a second, I was alone. But he soon returned.
- "It worked!" he yelled. "So it must be that I can only use maps, not images. But...why?"
- "I don't know," I replied, completely unaware of what was going on. "The important question is, can we get to the archipelago?"
- "Yes," replied Oscar. "Yes we can. But there is nothing to land on, since the entire archipelago was destroyed. How are you going to visit there without being drowned by radioactive water?"
- "You must have a boat," I demanded.
After a few minutes of digging around, Oscar recovered a rowboat from his residence. It didn't fit, however, and he had to use a rubber raft instead.
- "Boat's in," he said. "Let's go."
We jumped into the window, and found ourselves on the raft. There was no water leaking in.
- "So, what now?" asked Oscar. "What do we do now that we're here?"
- "We must find my Headquarters." I said. "Its remains are somewhere around here. Hey! What's that?"
It was a pillar of smoke, rising from beneath the ocean!
- "Hey, let's get to that!" I yelled, using a paddle to get myself to the mysterious column of smoke.
- "Hey, is that your island?" asked Oscar.
- "Probably not," I replied. "It's one of Hammerman's volcano island's, I bet."
- "Oh," he said. "Those got destroyed too?"
- "The whole archipelago is in ruins," I said.
When we were only a few metres from the smoke, I saw clearly what it was. It was definitely the smoke from one of Hammerman's volcanoes.
- "All of the volcanoes in the icy areas are extinct," I said. "So this volcano can't be in the north."
But this didn't really help me on where the portal was. After all, half of Hammerman's bases were on the exact same type of island.
That was when I saw something strange. It was a bird, flying about in a rather aimless pattern. A bird in a nuclear contaminated area? I began to paddle towards it. That's when I saw it wasn't a bird, but a Minion!
The Minion looked rather tired, as if it had been out for days. It turned and saw the raft that I was in. It squawked, and tried to fly away – but I grabbed it and pulled it down.
- "What are you doing here?" I asked.
The Minion suddenly cheered up. It flew out, and signalled me to go left.
- "Okay, what is that?" asked Oscar.
- "It's a Minion," I replied. "It's telling me where my base is!"
I followed the Minion as he lead me somewhere – presumably to my base. We saw another pillar of smoke, presumably from another volcano. A few minutes later, the Minion signalled me to stop.
- "Apparently, this is my base." I said.
- "But this is an empty sea!" protested Oscar.
- "I have to jump in," I decided..
- "WHAT?!??!!" yelled Oscar. "Okay, going here is one thing, jumping into contaminated water is another thing entirely!"
- "I've told you, it's safe!" I said. "I've done it before!"
And with that I leapt overboard.
Then I saw it! My upside-down Headquarters! I quickly swam towards the underside and went through the hole in the bottom. The portal was still there. I walked in, and saw my village! The villagers of the interdimension turned their heads and gasped. They cheered and ran towards me! Some even carried me around in a sort of parade. A few minutes later, I was put down.
- "Where were you?" asked the head villager. "We were so worried! We sent out all our Minions to search for you, but we couldn't find anything."
- "It's nice to meet you, but I have to go fetch my friend," I told them. "Don't worry, I'll be back in a trifle."
I went back to the reality dimension and swam up to the surface. The raft was floating nearby.
- "Thank the lucky stars you're safe," said Oscar. "Where were you?"
- "In the interdimension," I said.
- "Oh, boy..." he groaned. "Here we go again."
- "No time to explain," I stammered. "Come, quickly."
- "Where?" he asked.
- "Here." I replied.
- "WHAT?!" he exclaimed. "I'm not jumping in there!"
- "Oh, for heaven's sake!" I yelled. "I'm fine, so there's no reason you shouldn't be!"
I grabbed him and threw him overboard. I dived back in.
- "AAAAAAAAAHHHH!" he yelled.
I pulled him underwater to get him to stop. It was a good thirty seconds before we were in my Headquarters because Oscar kept thrashing around so much. I dragged him into the interdimension.
And then it was a good hour and a half before I could get my villagers to stop running away from him.
- "So," said Oscar. "What are we going to do now?"
- "Defeat the Blackguard," I said. "Now I know where my island is, so I can lead you to the Blackguard Mainland.
We travelled back to the reality dimension, riding a dragon. I told him to head north-west. He did. 5 minutes later, we met a horrible sight.
We were not at the Blackguard Mainland yet. But there was something in the water. Something painted black and red. Something with a large skull logo. And something GINOURMOUS! It was literally as big as my entire island. In fact, it was bigger – twice as long and three times as tall. It moved slowly through the water in the general direction of Dead End. It looked like a giant gunboat, but a lot shorter and fatter. At the back there was a small outdoor deck (about the size of two basketball courts) with some metal containers and two men on it. The men seemed rather familiar.
Indeed! They were the engineers! Were these two indestructible?
- "Dragon!" I whispered. "Kidnap those two men over on that deck!"
The dragon flew down and I grabbed both of them by the collar.
- "AAAAAAAAAAH! yelled the first.
- "What's happening?!" yelled the second.
I pulled them on the back of the dragon. There was a minor struggle for a quarter hour as I tied them up.
- "What is that giant vessel?" I demanded.
- "Why should I tell you?"asked the second.
- "Yeah, why?" said the first.
- "Because I can throw you overboard at any time, and the water is contaminated with radiation from the STAR-Bomb."
- "Wait, it is?!" panicked Oscar. "But you said–"
- "Hush!" I whispered. "Spill the beans, you two."
The first engineer took one look at the water and started to cry. The second opened his mouth.
- "That's an Aquatic Transportation Vehicle, or ATV. Hammerman uses them to transport wood, stone, iron, and power stones to the mainland."
- "To the mainland, you say?" I said. "Is that why you've developed so rapidly?"
- "Partly, yes. Yesterday, there was this gigantic earthquake and we were all sucked into some big tunnel..."
- "The fusion of the dimensions," I murmured.
- "...and we were suddenly teleported into this world. We rapidly developed by taking advantage of the nearby cities. We bombed one particular city just today."
- "Berlin..." I murmured.
- "We looted their storages and managed to build up the entire Mainland in one day. There was also an enormous quantity of Power Stones in a nearby island. The power of the power stones fuelled our machines at superspeed. That particular ATV is one of 500 that we built in a few hours."
- "There's 500 of those things?!" I yelled in disbelief.
- "Yes. And that particular ATV also has the blueprints for the Emmanuel Überblimp."
- "The what?" I asked.
Chapter 12: Blackguard Technology
- "The Emmanuel Überblimp is just one of four vehicles in the 'Ultra Ballistic Energy Radiation Blaster Laser Innovation Machine Project'," said the engineer. "This shortens to UBERBLIMP."
- "That's the cheesiest acronym in the entire world," I thought.
"The Überblimps are basically giant aerial vessels that look like zeppelins," continued the engineer. "But Überblimps have three notable differences. One, they're much thinner. Two, their thrust thrust comes from a power booster."
- "Power Booster?" I asked.
- "Power Stone Rocket." he replied. "And three, it has a laser on the front. These lasers can be used in three different modes – cutting, blasting, and annihilation. The 'cutting' mode produces a high-energy laser beam that can burn through steel effortlessly. The 'blasting' mode produces a higher energy beam that can create Tank-sized explosions at the point of impact. And the 'annihilation' mode..."
- "Let me guess," I muttered. "It's a higher energy beam."
- "Correct," said the engineer. "The annihilation mode uses the entire energy capacity of the blimp in a single beam. This weapon is far deadlier than anything we have ever imagined. The laser of Emmanuel alone uses over 4 times more energy per shot than the entire world's electricity consumption combined. That's around 9 Petawatts of pure energy being blasted in a beam 1cm in diameter."
- "That's going to hurt," I said.
- "Indeed," said the engineer. "We've calculated that the resulting explosion will be in the region of 2.375 megatons, This is one of the most powerful weapons we've ever developed. We don't plan to use this laser very often for a simple reason – it utterly destroys the same land we're trying to conquer."
- "Uh huh," I said. "What's that crazy 5x5 defence you've got there in the mainland?"
- "The Hammerhead Launcher?" he said. "That's a new weapon that we've developed that harnesses the explosive energy of Power Stones. It fires missiles that explode like the bombs we dropped today."
- "That's just overkill," I said.
- "Now can you let me go?" asked the engineer. "I've got an ATV to drive."
- "Oh no!" I yelled. "I forgot! That ship has the plans for a ship! We can't let Hammerman get his hands on it! Dragon! Fly me to that vessel!"
But it was too late. The ATV was faster than I thought. It was nowhere in sight.
- "Hey!" I yelled. "Where'd it go?"
- "The same direction we're going," said Oscar. "While you were doing your thing, it just
swam over the horizon."
- "Chase it!" I yelled.
In ten minutes we saw the ship. But it wasn't what I liked to see. The vessel had its front end on the beach of Massive Attack's most heavily defended base. It was so big that it filled the entire shoreline. Not a mouse could squeeze beside it. The front had flipped open, and some people were unloading the containers.
The containers were being taken to an enormous quonset-shaped building. It was far, far larger than the earlier Blackguard Elite HQ. It was twice as tall as the ATV and as much longer and wider as the current Blackguard HQ was tall!
- "What on Earth are they doing in there?" I whispered. "Why is it so large?"
- "Oh, that–" the second engineer started.
- "Shush!" said the first engineer, head-butting the second. "Why should we tell you? You're in OUR territory now. We can fall off and raise the alarm whenever we want."
- "Hmmm..." I murmured. "In that case..."
In two minutes I was in the engineer's clothes. I jumped off the dragon and into the sea. Thankfully no-one noticed me. I swam behind the vessel and onto the base. Now, I would act as my own spy.
I crawled into the giant quonset, unseen by the people or the defences. The containers were being piled up in a corner. There, they were being opened and their contents were taken further inside. The vast majority of the containers contained a single giant, steel bar. Each one was 10 metres thick and 30 metres long.
- "Oof!" I yelled as I collided violently into someone.
We both fell down. I sat up, and I saw that I had collided with a woman in a suit. She was quite tall and she wore glasses. She sat up as well.
- "Oh!" she said. "The Lieutenant just sent me to find you. You're late for your meeting."
Late for my meeting with the Lieutenant? I was going to see Hammerman himself?
- "Er...thanks," I said. "Where is it again?"
- "In the meeting room of the North Tower," she said.
I assumed that by 'north tower' she meant one of the two towers of the Elite Blackguard Headquarters. I started to head there, but immediately I encountered a few problems.
One, the passageways of the Blackguard mainland were like a labyrinth. Sure, they were as wide as a highway, but with colossal factories on either side, I couldn't see anything other than the very path I was on. Two, I was literally the only unaided human being in this area. Everyone else had a crane or a hovercraft or a giant walker or something. Three, I didn't even know how to get to the Blackguard HQ, let alone one particular meeting room! There weren't any signs or directions anywhere. How did these people find their way?
I backed up onto the shore. I saw the two towers, way off in the distance behind the factories. So I headed there. But then I got lost again. I walked around for ten minutes before I saw some unaided human beings. Well, if you count humanoid robot drones with Power Guns as unaided human beings.
As soon as they saw me, their sight sensors glowed red and they grabbed me. I thought they had found out who I was – and they said, "Target Acquired. Proceeding to return to base."
A few minutes later I was in the elevator of the North Tower. It was as big as my HQ and faster than any vehicle I'd been in before. Within a quarter of a minute I was in the 149th floor of the north Tower. The robots dragged me across the floor and into a room with a meeting table and a desk. Behind the desk stood Lt. Hammerman! I was petrified! What was he going to do to me?
- "Mister Fish!" he yelled. The Robots dropped me on the floor and rolled away. "You're half an hour late for the meeting!"
Mister Fish? Did Hammerman not know that I was a spy? I wasn't sure what to say, so I just stayed quiet.
- "Where's Tim?" said Hammerman.
- "Who?" I said involuntarily.
- "Your friend, you fool!" screamed Hammerman.
I realised he was talking about the second engineer.
- "Uh, he fell overboard," I said. "The rescue team's still looking for him."
- "I always knew he was an idiot..." said Hammerman. "Anyway, I assume you've got the plans for the Überblimp?"
Did I? I searched my pockets but I found nothing.
- "Er, no..." I said.
- "NO?!??!!" screeched Hammerman. "DO YOU THINK THIS IS A JOKE?!"
Just then, the doors opened again and someone stepped in. It was that woman I ran into.
- "I found the blueprints on the deck, sir." she said.
- "Thank you," grunted Hammerman. "Does my secretary have to do chores for you, Mr. Fish?"
- "No..." I said.
- "Then do your job properly!" he snapped.
The secretary left the room, closing the door behind her. Hammerman unrolled the paper on his desk.
- "Explain all this to me," he said.
Oh, dear. I was in big trouble. If I didn't know about the blueprints, Hammerman would figure out I was a spy! So I quickly thought of something that would fish me out of trouble.
- "Uh, the second engineer knows about this," I said.
Hammerman flew into a rage. He tore his hat off and stomped on it. He looked like he was going to fire me.
Luckily, just then, the secretary stepped in again. Unluckily, she said, "Sir. We've found a mysterous passenger on an unidentified flying object. She clicked her fingers, and in came a robot drone, carrying the Oscar!
Luckily, Hammerman was so enraged that he told her to send them to the interrogation room. Unluckily, that's just what happened.
- "We also found Mr. Salmon," she said. "And Mr. Fish."
- "What?" said Hammerman. "Mr. Fish is right here."
- "But then who's this?"
In came a robot drone, carrying the stripped first engineer. The second engineer walked in too. He stopped. He stared. He screamed.
- "You're the one who kidnapped us!" he yelled.
- "What's going on?" yelled Hammerman.
- "Take his glasses off, and you'll see!"
He stepped forward and removed the spectacles of the first engineer that I had on.
- "See!" said the second engineer.
- "My lord..." said Hammerman. "It's the rebel leader!"
I was cornered! The secretary whipped out a pistol and the second engineer took hold of a spanner.
- "Take him to the interrogation room!" yelled Hammerman. And that's just what happened.
I was tied up and carried down by another robot drone. I was strapped into a different machine this time – one with the tesla coils. Oscar was tied into the spike one, and the poor dragon was nowhere to be seen.
- "What are you doing here?" yelled Hammerman in my face.
What should I do?
Chapter 13: Interrogation and the Überblimps
I had a backup plan. The spikes didn't work on me that last time, so I knew that Hammerman would tie me to the teslas.
- "You stay here," he grunted. "I'll be back while I negotiate with the others on what to do with you!"
While my base still stood I had mustered a lot of Power Stones. I had to use these Power Stones after all. Somehow lots of fragments, shards and crystals fitted into my pocket without spilling out to the Blackguard at any point.
I quickly recalled what one of our Villagers had said a long time ago, before the crossing of the dimensions, the fall of Berlin, whatsoever.
"We had recently discovered that Power Stones cannot conduct electricity at all, and that they can even deflect it in some occasions - no matter the element."
"That's how the electric discharges coming off the Power Cores don't damage the cores themselves," I presumed. "It all fits into place now."
I was practically safe from any electric attack now as long as I held Power Stones, for their poor conductivity would surely mean that the current would find another path down.
I couldn't coat my entire body with them, but as long as I had a sufficient number, it would divert electricity as well. The teslas would strike a nearby object, not me, just as they would strike metal if I had any on me. And the stones worked, for Hammerman must have chosen a deadly fate for me, activating the Teslas instead of letting me go!
The Power Stones diverted the electricity onto the floor, shocking everyone with it! But then I realised it backfired - the tesla I was strapped to was made of metal, so it would affect me too!
Thankfully, someone managed to switch the tesla off – but not before everyone, including me, got a nasty shock. Hammerman tried to figure out what had happened. The teslas were in a good shape, so he turned it on again. I wasn't harmed again, but neither was anyone else.
- "He must be doing something to shock us but not him," said the first engineer.
- "Yeah, he's redirecting it somehow," said the second.
- "I knew that," grunted Hammerman. "The only question is, how?"
He mumbled with his engineers for a while.
- "Bah, forget it!" he said. "Just drown him. We've got nothing to find out anyway."
Drown him?! I didn't like the sound of that...
The first engineer put me in a tank of water and put the lid on.
- "Have a wonderful dive!" he taunted. "There's plenty to see in there – bubbles, glass, and your watery death."
But he didn't tie me up, for he thought I was locked in. But I still had my emergency laser cutter, which I used to cut a hole in the cage. When I splashed out, along with a flood of water, the first engineer turned around and yelled, "Boss!"
But I managed to clonk him on the head and knock him out before anymore words came out his mouth. But now Hammerman was running down the steps! I quickly switched clothes with the engineer once again so that it looked like I stopped the "rebel leader" from escaping.
- "What?" yelled Hammerman, bursting through the doorways.
- "He tried to escape!" I yelled. "What should I do?"
- "Put him on the tesla!" he grunted. "I'm sick and tired of trying to deal with him anyway. And the Rebels will find themselves fighting without a leader now."
So I strapped him to the Tesla machine which I was on just minutes ago. I left him snoozing there peacefully.
- "Hey Oscar!" I whispered. "Don't worry. I'll be back."
He tried to nod, but it was difficult when he was chained up head to toe in the spike machine. I quickly ran up the stairs and caught up with Hammerman. Now, I would act as my own spy.
Hammerman, the second engineer, and I were in the meeting room once it was all over. The blueprints were on the table.
- "So," said Hammerman. "Explain this to me."
- "This is the blueprint for the Emmanuel Überblimp," said the second engineer. I stood and tried to stay unnoticed. "Its structure is very similar to the old zeppelins that were in use before the Second War."
Old zeppelins? Did that mean the Blackguard already had lots of these monsters?
- "However, most cargo blimps our sister empire used manufacture were under 250 metres long. These Überblimps will be nearly 600 metres long, and 100 metres thick in every direction."
I nearly choked. They were building zeppelins 600 metres long?! How on Earth would I defend against that?!
- "We've got the basic kinks worked out, but we've got some problems."
- "Good," I thought. "That would delay production."
- "Anyway, the main superstructure will be made out of steel bars, which are being unloaded right now."
He pointed to the lines that were on the blueprint.
- "The outer covering will be made of solid carbon fibre plates, like the ones in the floor of the mainland. Instead of 30cm thick, however, these need to be 5m thick, minimum."
- "We can manage that," said Hammerman.
- "Carbon-fibre plating with thickness of 5m will be able to withstand enormous forces, more powerful than any blast ever before synthesised, without fracturing. This makes Überblimps the most heavily defended machines we've ever made."
- "The passenger space will be in this area."
He pointed to a small cabin near the bottom rear end of the blimp. It was small compared to the body, but the label said it was at least 100 metres long.
- "It will be able to hold 2 floors and 10,000 square metres of area. The control room will be in the very front. We need 15 crew members to operate the blimp, and innumerable others to control all the other functions."
15 crew members? That was a lot for one vehicle, but very little for an object of this size.
- "This area is where the Rocket Booster will be," he continued. He pointed at a large lump at the very end of the blimp. "It will be able to push the blimp at 3,333,000 Newtons of force, which is capable of accelerating it from 0 to 100kph in just 100 seconds."
100 kilometres per hour? That was seriously fast. Especially considering how much it weighed. How much did it weigh?
- "The total mass of the ship will be in the region of 12,000 metric tons," he said.
I nearly choked! 12,000 tonnes going at 100kph? That was easily capable of crushing my entire island, if it weren't destroyed already.
- "The Überblimp will be run on Power Cores," he continued. "But we will need lots of power. Running this monstrosity for one day uses about the same amount of power as the entire world does in the same amount of time
- "Hm..." said Hammerman. "I see why you said you had some problems."
- "Yes," said the engineer. "The good news is, we can fit hundreds of Power Cores in there. This is much more than the Mainland has. The reason for this is because the entire structure will not be filled with hydrogen, due to...incidents in the past. Instead, the entire bottom of the Überblimp will be lines with miniature Power Boosters that can make it seemingly levitate. This leaves plenty of room. However, this whole area cannot be used as there needs to be a 30 metre thick engine tube that goes down the entire length of the zeppelin to create the immense energy needed to fire the laser on the tip. Speaking of which, the single most important factor that makes the Überblimp a weapon is the laser that it has. The laser has three different settings – cutting, blasting, and annihilation. The 'cutting' setting makes a high-energy laser beam come out of the nozzle. This beam can cut through steel, concrete, and Power Stones without thought. The 'blasting' mode produces a higher energy beam that can create medium to large explosions at the impact zone. And the 'annihilation' mode uses all of the energy of all of the Power Cores and fires it all in a single concentrated beam. The laser of Emmanuel uses over 4 times more energy per shot than the entire world's electricity consumption combined. That's around 9 Petawatts."
Yes, that was really going to hurt.
- "But the thing that we find truly remarkable," said the engineer. "is that Emmanuel isn't even the most powerful Überblimp. 4 blimps will be produced in the project, each on a different level of power. The normal Power Cores run on Life Power Stones, the most common and most stable type. Emmanuel's, however, run on Magma stones. We are also planning the Orion Überblimp which will run on Ice stones, and the Trinity Überblimp which runs of Dark stones. Ice stones have twice the power of Life, Magma stones have three times the power of Ice, and Dark stones have four times the power of Magma. Each laser will have the same power potential as the Power Stone that powers it. So Emmanuel's laser will be three times as powerful as Orion's, and Trinity's laser four times more powerful than Emmanuel's."
- "That's three of the blimps," said Hammerman. "What about the fourth?"
- "Ah, the fourth blimp is special in its own way," said the engineer. "Whilst Orion, Emmanuel, and Trinity will follow this plan," he pointed at the blueprint. "Cyclone will not. The Cyclone Überblimp will also run on Dark stones, but Cyclone will be an amazing ten times more powerful than Trinity. It's difficult to explain, but it has to do with the energy compression of certain types of Dark Power Stones and the efficient design of new Power Cores. Cyclone is also more massive than any of the four, weighing in at 26,000 metric tons. Its laser is also more powerful than any other, using more energy per shot than every other Überblimp combined. Specifically, it uses an astounding 400 Petawatts per shot. This is manageable, however, as Cyclone produces all this energy in 48 hours. So technically speaking, Cyclone can fire every two days."
Hammerman nodded. There was a pause.
- "Cyclone is this powerful as it will be your private ship." the engineer said.
- "My own ship?" asked Hammerman.
- "Yes," said the engineer. "We believe you will be able to do great things with the single most powerful weapon we've ever developed."
- "Well, that was a good meeting," said Hammerman. "The Überblimps sound like a good investment. I shall halt all projects until all four blimps are complete. And with our current Power Stone factories, that will take just over three weeks."
This time I did choke. Just three weeks to build these four monstrosities?! No wonder the mainland came up in a few days!
- "You shall overseer the construction every day," he continued. "But I have one question. Where will you build them?"
- "In the same building they are unloading the cargo right now," said the engineer. "We built such a large building for a reason."
- "Planning ahead, eh?" said Hammerman. "Good man. See you tomorrow in the building site."
Hammerman walked along the corridor to his bedroom.
- "What now?" I said.
- "We sleep," said the second engineer.
- "Uh, I think I'll check on the guy that was captured," I said, and hurried 150 floors down to the interrogation room.
Oscar was still there, tied up in the spike machine. I freed him and we both dashed upstairs.
- "How do we get out?" asked Oscar.
- "I don't know," I replied. "Let's go up and see what we're dealing with. You stay here."
I wasn't sure I was making such a good decision leaving him in the lobby but I dashed to the elevator.
I was on the roof of the 150th floor in a quarter of a minute.
The view was breathtaking. The giant complex of factories was stretched out in front of me like an enormous labyrinth. To the south stood the ominous South Tower. It, too, was 150 floors tall. And to the north-west lay the ginormous Überblimp hangar. It was the most extensive building around. The shore bases were way off in the south-west, and far, far in the northeast, I could see just a tiny bit of forest.
- "We have to go south-west," I told Oscar.
So we did. In half an hour we were on a Power Base. We had to crawl the last few hundred metres to stay unnoticed by the defences or the guards. Then I realised we didn't have a boat.
- "Looks like we'll need a bit of portal action," I said. "Oscar, teleport us back home."
Soon, I was safe in the interdimension. However, I was crying.
- "Hey, what's wrong?" asked Oscar.
- "We can't beat them," I sniffled. "They've got ultra Rocket Launchers and giant lasers that can blow up entire islands. We can't beat them."
Oscar stood by my side and thought for a long time.
- "Maybe we can't," he said. "But I know someone who can."
- "Who?" I said.
- "It's this thing in my place. It's called the Army.
Chapter 14: A Meeting with an Important-Looking Person
Oscar showed me the Army he was talking about. It was in Reality.
He got up to a barbed fence, climbed it halfway while skilfully avoiding the barbed wire and the security. He then pointed at a platoon of soldiers marching back and forth.
- "That's the Army. Only a small part of it, though. There are probably 3,000 times more troops in the entire Army than what you see marching here. We can easily outnumber the Blackguard. The Army has a mind of their own, and they can actually think about how to attack anything."
I gasped. 3,000 times more troops in the entire Army than what you see marching here? I counted.
- "...35, 36, 37, 38..." I counted the soldiers that were marching, while staying hidden behind the fence.
I lost count quickly, so I asked Oscar to help me count.
- "...43, 44 and 45!" he then quietly counted with me.
According to him, the Army was approximately 135,000 strong. But I was not sure if 135,000 troops could take down four massive blimps, a massive 150-storey complex and an entire faction that had bombed Berlin. If the mythical Napoleon's army of 400,000 was defeated, this army of 135,000 could potentially go down in a few battles!
- "Don't forget that Napoleon didn't have the modern equipment that we have today," said Oscar. "I could say that if we pitted Napoleon's army against our army it would be a fair fight."
Now the problem was that I have to gather all 135,000 of these troops and convince them to fight in another dimension for my freedom. Only my freedom, because that's what mattered to me.
I had to use deceptive thinking to convince these people to fight for me. But how? I couldn't convince 135,000 people to fight for one! I thought. If deceptive thinking doesn't work, then you have to go back to brute force...but I really couldn't fight 135,000 people single-handed. I sighed.
- "I don't think we can get them to fight for us," I said.
- "Yes, we can," he replied.
- "Let's go back home and have a think about it," he said.
We thought for a long time. But I didn't come up with anything. Neither did he. Eventually we had to sleep, as we were tired from running around in the mainland all day long. I dreamed of destroying the blimps that night.
- "Hey! Wake up!"
I woke up instantly. I jumped out of bed and onto the floor. It was morning already.
- "What? What? What?" I stammered.
- "Look at this," said Oscar.
He handed me another one of those grey papers.
GERMANY STORMED BY UNKNOWN FORCE
Germany faced Doomsday on March 2nd. The entire country was invaded by tens of thousands of soldiers of unmatched strength. The army was no match against their immense firepower.
"It was horrible," survivors report. "They could destroy entire buildings with one shot. The explosions were terrible. They engulfed the entire city. Building after building fell down. And after it all ended, all the remaining people were taken to God-knows-where."
The entire European Union has held a meeting and discussed the threats of this unknown force. They say that the entire world may be in grave danger if this type of raid continues.
The residents of France are hypothesising that the same force that destroyed Berlin took over Germany. The local people are beginning to think these are attacks from extremists, which, judging by the firepower of this force, is highly doubted. Only one thing is for sure: Whoever these people are, they are not done with us yet.
- "The Blackguard again..." I said.
- "How are you so certain?" asked Oscar.
- "Because I know only the Blackguard can engulf entire archipelagoes overnight," I replied. "Hey! I have an idea!"
- "What is it?" he asked.
- "The Blackguard is destroying these places," I said. "And these places are inhabited with people, right?"
- "Right," said Oscar, rolling his eyes.
- "And the Army or whatever, they are people too, right?" I asked again.
- "Right..." groaned Oscar.
- "Humans care for other humans. If they know how they can fight this force, they will. We just have to tell them where the mainland is, and they will mow the Blackguard down."
- "Hey! That's a good idea!" said Oscar.
- "Now, who's the leader of the Ar, Arma, Arm..."
- "Army," finished Oscar. "The leader of the Armed forces is the President of the United States."
- "The who and the what of the where?" I said.
- "Just come along," sighed Oscar.
He took me on another one of those giant bullets with wheels. The bullet went for 3 hours before stopping.
- "There, that's the White House," he said, pointing to a white house. "The president works there."
- "Yeah, yeah..." I mumbled.
Oscar walked over to a guy with a gun guarding the entrance.
- "Halt!" he yelled. "Who goes there?"
- "We have to meet the president," said Oscar.
- "Well, then you have to make a schedule," he replied.
- "It's really urgent," said Oscar. "The fate of the country is at stake. Here, read this."
He gave the grey paper to the guard.
- "Fine, then," said the guard, after reading the entire thing. "But we need diplomatic authentication, identity confirmation, legal information, foreign connections, and permission by the Head of State and –."
- "Look," said Oscar. "We can talk all day about what I need to get in, but it's not going to stop the Blackguard from dominating the world."
What happened next was just a bunch of drama. I heard a lot of arguing and shouting all over the place, and at once point, I saw the guard about to raise a weapon. But after several many minutes of yelling, Oscar beckoned me over. So I did. But I didn't get very far.
- "Halt!" yelled the guard, turning around. "Who are you?"
- "Me?" I said. "Er, the rebel leader."
- "Yeah, right," said the guard. "And I'm the emperor of Japan."
- "He's harmless," said Oscar. "He's got to come along too."
- "Diplomatic authentication, identity confirmation, legal info –"
- "Uh, he doesn't have anything," said Oscar.
- "Well, you're not coming in, then," said the guard.
He turned around and walked towards the building.
- "He has to come!" said Oscar. "He's the actual important one!"
- "Sorry," said the guard. "Nobody meets the president without authorised documents and a good reason, no matter how important he is."
- "Why won't you let him in?" asked Oscar.
- "Because he might want to harm the president," he replied.
- "Well, just put him through the scanner, we'll see if he wants to harm anybody."
I had to walk through a doorway with a lightbulb on top. As soon as I did, though, a door slammed shut in front of me and alarms started blaring.
- "Halt!" said the guard. "You have metal on you!"
They made me stand still while they rubbed me with some sort of metal thing. They took out all the contents of my pockets: an emergency laser cutter, a grappling hook, two pistols, a tank of air, a machete, a helmet, and seventeen hand grenades.
- "Well, you're not coming in, guv!" declared the guard.
After many hours of arguing, the guards finally let me in. We walked along a big red hallway until we reached a particularly big room. There was an important-looking person sitting behind a giant wooden table.
- "These people would like to talk to you, sir." said the guard.
- "Let them in," the important-looking person important-sounding said.
The guard let us in. He didn't move away, however. He had his gun ready to fire, for some reason.
- "Mr President," said Oscar. "Have you read the newspaper today?"
- "Yes," the important-looking person important-sounding said. "Why?"
- "He knows who this force is," said Oscar, pointing at me.
- "He does?" the important-looking person important-sounding asked. "Well, I'll be. I'm listening."
It was quiet for a while.
- "Oh, am I supposed to say something?" I asked.
- "Yes," hissed Oscar.
- "The force mentioned in this newspaper is the Blackguard. You have to defeat them."
The important-looking person looked confused. Was I going to have to explain everything all over again?
I thought hard on this. I needed to convince him that the Blackguard was real. I realised that the Blackguard was real for all those who knew the Blackguard.
All the Boom Beach players in Reality knew about it. This included Oscar.
I told Oscar that he needed to explain everything this person needed to know about the Blackguard. That it was a fictional faction attempting to enslave the world, that it had broken into the real world and it was making an impact here. Fiction turned reality.
Oscar duly did what I said.
The important-looking person looked at us for a long time. He finally turned his chair to face the guards.
- "Set all units to DEFCON 1. Nuclear war is looming right over our heads right this instant!" the important-looking person important-sounding ordered.
I didn't understand what he was saying, so Oscar explained for me. He told me that DEFCON 1 was a status meaning that nuclear war was imminent, and that all armed forces were ready for war. Reality was no longer safe. With nuclear warheads coming to play, I could see Reality fall in my eyes....
- "But whatever you do, don't trigger World War Three." the important-looking person important-sounding continued.
The important-looking person now turned to me.
- "Thank you for this information. You may leave." he important-sounding said.
And we left. We got into the giant bullet again and soon we were back in Oscar's house.
- "So, what do we do now?" he said.
- "I guess we wait for the Blackguard to be defeated," I said. "What can we do, now that we don't even have a base?"
We waited. We waited for a long time. Days passed. Days turned to weeks. All that time, I had a bad feeling that something bad was going to happen. That the reality dimension was truly as frightening as they had said, that there was a giant creature, lurking in the depths...
One month after our meeting with the important-looking person, we were sitting on the table when there was a sharp knock on the door. Oscar ran over and opened it.
- "Yes?" he said.
- "The President requires you to meet him immediately," said the person at the door.
Within an hour we were in a giant flying bullets. We were in the important-looking person's office in no time.
- "We have a few problems," the important-looking person important-sounding said. "What was the force called again?"
- "The Blackguard," I replied.
- "The Blackguard," the important-looking person important-sounding said. "They're too strong. We can't defeat them. We've held fifteen attacks since you told me about this. Each time, all our men were killed. What's going on?!"
- "Looks like you'll have to gather up the entire world," said Oscar.
- "But that will lead to World War Three. I'm not keen on that happening any time soon."
Just then, there was a loud bang. The earth shook profoundly for a few seconds.
Then another bang, and another shake. I fell over this time, and so did Oscar.
- "What's going on?!" the important-looking person important-sounding yelled.
- "The Blackguard..." I said. "They're attacking us! Right now!"
Chapter 15: The Fight Gets Real
- "We have no choice but to start WWIII for the time being," said Oscar, looking panicked. "It's not between each other but against a rather unknown force. I believe that we must, firstly, evacuate all the civilians, as this conflict will be extremely deadly. How are we going to do that?"
- "You're forgetting the portal," I said.
- "That's too small to transport billions of people," replied Oscar.
There was another giant bang and a shake.
- "Anyways, we must evacuate the building this instant!" yelled the important-looking person.
But it was too late. A massive explosion completely destroyed the building we were in. We all crash-landed onto piles of debris and saw lots of people running around, screaming in fright.
Before I could do anything, before I even moved, the Blackguard was already upon me. And with it, the unmistakable sight of a blimp, blocking out the sun.
It was far bigger than I could ever have imagined. It seemed more like 1,500 metres long, although I knew it was only 600. The size of the object was simply immense. I felt like we had accidentally wandered into another orbit, and that a planet was directly above us. It moved slowly across the sky, dropping little boxes that exploded with the power of asteroids.
- "What on earth is that?!" the important-looking person important-sounding screamed.
- "Save us!" yelled Oscar.
- "The Blackguard," I said. "They've completed the Ultra Ballistic Energy Radiation Blaster Laser Innovation Machine Project!"
- "What do we do?" screeched Oscar.
- "RUN!!!" I yelled.
Orion was coming. It flew five times faster than I could run. The bombs slowly approached me. They were going to catch up. I dashed to the side, but the blimp seemed to follow me.
When it was directly over me, I suddenly felt calm. I knew I was done for, which eliminated all reason to panic. But I wasn't ready to go. Not yet.
I was in the eye of the storm. Although it was calm here I knew that the storm would come and strike back at me.
The line of bombs approached me and instinctively I ran. Down the black rivers, past giant bullets evacuating the area, down an alleyway.
There was a dead end! There was no way out, and the line of bombs were headed right at me. I was cornered, there was no way I could outrun a blimp travelling 100 km/h and its deadly bombs! There was no place to escape. Even one explosion at even this close range of a few metres could kill me outright or cripple me permanently. No place to jump, no trash cans, no ledges. Then I did the only thing I could do without being a sitting duck: run in the direction of the bombs. It would be much harder to bomb a moving target than a static one. Even though my previous calculations contradicted what I was about to do, I knew this was my only chance.
I charged, going against the stream of bombs. If I could make it out the alleyway, I could at least know I'm breathing for another minute...
I ran for my life, because at that moment it really did matter. I didn't quite know what I was doing, for running in the direction of the bombs was normally considered as a suicidal action. Just then, I realised that this plan wasn't so potty after all. If only I could time things just right...
A massive explosion 10 metres in front of me blasted me backwards. I fell down, but remained my position. Thankfully the bomb hadn't harmed me. I had no time to rest. I looked up, and saw Orion, dropping a bomb right on me. This was my only chance. I stood up and used every last bit of my speed to dash in the opposite direction of where Orion was going. It was only one second later when the explosion took off directly behind me. This time the powerful blast did knock me forwards. So much, in fact, that I was propelled through the debris and into a small hole. It was covered in all sides except the front where I rolled in. The force of me hitting the walls of the hole loosened the metal plate which was the ceiling. It clanged down and shut the opening. I was hidden.
After about a quarter hour the deafening explosions stopped. Then came the ominous noise of a giant motor turning right above me. It got fader...and fader...and fader...until it was no longer audible. I chose this moment to lift the roof, ever so slowly, and peek out.
It was like a scene from apocalypse. There were fires everywhere, burning piles of dust and debris. Dead bodies lay littered along the ground, surrounded by shattered glass and broken bricks. Not a single identifiable object was in sight.
I had to find Oscar and the important person. Oscar was the only person who could persuade the Army to fight for me. I tried to climb out – but I couldn't. I yelled and collapsed. Something hurt. I looked down, and saw it. It was my foot. It had been dislocated.
I guess I was lucky. I had seen worse before. Once, a Rifleman had an entire leg blown clean off. I could consider myself extremely fortunate that a limb dislocation was the only injury after a giant explosion the size of a small asteroid. But the problem was, I couldn't even walk now. I had to get a third leg. I saw a little metal bar sticking out of the wall of the hole I was in. I tried to pull it out – but I couldn't. I had to dig around it for some time before I loosened it enough to pull out. I used the stick as my leg as I slowly, painfully, climbed out the hole. I limped through the wreckage, trying to find Oscar. I figured he would be in the big white house. Well, what remained of the big white house, anyway.
I trekked along for half an hour before I saw something I recognised. It was a gun. The gun of the guard that stopped me from seeing the important-looking person. How had that not been blown to pieces?
I didn't care at that moment. I picked it up and used it as my new walking-stick. It was easier to hold – and less painful. I limped my way into the general direction of the important person's desk – and found it.
I had told Oscar to run – but for some reason he hadn't. Instead I found him sprawled on smashed planks of wood. Next to him were more smashed planks of wood – probably from the important person's desk – and further on was the important person himself. He was slumped over a big chunk of white concrete.
I slowly bent down and put my ear to Oscar's chest. He was still alive. I had to get him up now. But I couldn't. So I sat down and waited. I waited for an hour and a half before he came to his senses. He started moaning and sat up after a while.
- "You're alive!" he gasped. He leapt forward and threw his arms around me.
- "Oi! Gerrof me!" I panicked.
He did. He sat down again.
- "What was that?" he asked.
- "Orion," I replied. "One of four massive blimps that the Blackguard is building."
- "One of four?!" yelled Oscar. "They've got more of those things?!"
- "Yes," I replied. "And that's also the least powerful of the bunch."
There was a long silence as we both took in what had just happened.
- "So, what now?" asked Oscar.
- "We have to get the Army to fight for us," I replied.
- "How are you going to do that?" he asked again.
- "You said the Army protects this land," I said.
- "The US army does, yes." he said.
- "If a giant blimp just came in and destroyed your land," I said. "you're bound to try and fight the person who sent the blimp. The Blackguard have already convinced the Army to fight for us."
Chapter 16: General Zhao
Wait, did that make sense at all, whatever I had just said? The Blackguard, helping... us, by conscripting the Army to fight them? Or was it a plan to genocide the Army because they stood no chance?
Alas, it hopefully would be a fair fight. At best.
- "The Blackguard are putting themselves at risk by making the Army fight against them as if they are challenging its strength," I said. "We must expose this risk if we want to defeat them!"
With that we shrugged off the attack and decided to seek shelter. As night fell, we were safe. For the moment.
Meanwhile, in an unknown location...
- "Hasn't it been a boring day, eh? Nothing to look at, we only have the stories."
Screens like what you'd see in a television that is changing the channel filled the surveillance room. Suddenly it changed to an animated picture for the first time in a few days! Perhaps weeks or months, but alas it was something. Something that could potentially call for action.
- "General Zhao, Lt. Hammerman is on our screens!" reported a commander.
General Zhao let no time go to waste as he rushed to the screens. There, true to the commander's words, was the face of Lt. Hammerman! The guy that had conquered his base in the Archipelago!
- "Didn't you hear the news? We had completely obliterated Washington! First Berlin, then Germany, then Washington! MUAHAHAHAHAHAH..."
The evil laughing was cut short by the insignia of the Blackguard appearing on the screen, then it went back to flicking TV screens.
General Zhao was shocked. He knew that one of his best rebels was in Washington!
- "No one stands between me and the rebel leader! If he falls in battle, we shall too! Mobilise all our forces, we have to fight!"
With that the Zhao army took to the airfields and they were headed for the Blackguard's last known location: Washington D.C.
It was midnight. Oscar and I had a rough night so far. Our temporary resting place was uncomfortable and unstable; under rubble that might collapse at any time! Night settled early today; I shivered even in the alcove we made.
I then heard the noise of planes. Planes. It was the last noise I wanted to hear.
The planes were impossible to make out in the dark, still night, but all I could hope for was that these planes were not red. Not Blackguard planes.
- "Don't. Move. A. Muscle." I whispered.
- "Uh – What?" said Oscar.
- "The Blackguard are coming right this instant!" I replied.
He froze. We waited. There was no sound for a while. All of a sudden, a pair of boots walked past our hiding place. And another. And another!
- "We must find him!" a voice yelled. "Otherwise, the Blackguard will defeat us!"
The Blackguard will defeat us? Was this not the Blackguard?
- "Do not leave a single rock unturned!" yelled the voice. "We'll find the Rebel Leader, dead or alive!"
They were looking for me? This was getting strange. But I recognised that voice from somewhere...
- "For the good of the Archipelago, we need to get him!"
I suddenly realised it was the voice of General Zhao, my old ally!
- "Hey, we're safe," I whispered to Oscar. "Let's get out of here."
- "But the Blackguard –"
- "They aren't the Blackguard," I said. I used the gun to lift myself to the opening of the hole. I peeked in the direction of the voice.
Yes, it was definitely Zhao. His posture was unmistakable. But before I could climb out, a flashlight shined on my face!
- "Here he is!" yelled a different voice. "Boss! I've found him!"
Zhao and ten Heavies came running towards me.
- "My lord..." said Zhao. "You're alive! Come on! Let's go to the secret base!"
- "Er, what?" I asked.
- "Don't you remember?" he said. "Our secret base, far from the Archipelago!"
I thought a bit.
- "You mean the Zhao Base?" I asked.
- "Yes!" exclaimed Zhao. "Come on! Let's go! Men! Help him out!"
Some heavies grabbed my arms and began to pull me up.
- "Ow, OW OWOWOWOW!" I yelled. "My leg!"
The Heavies paused. They slowly put me down.
- "What's wrong?" said Zhao.
- "I've dislocated my ankle or something," I said in agony.
- "Hmm..." said Zhao. "Alright, I'll help you out."
He jumped into the hole to lift me out. He landed...on a person curled up in a ball. Oscar yelped.
- "What the?" said Zhao. "What's this?"
He grabbed Oscar by the collar and threw him up. He landed with a thump on his back. Five machine guns were pointed at him instantly.
- "Wait!" I said. "That's an ally! Don't hurt him!"
There was silence.
- "Who's that?" said Zhao.
- "Oscar from Reality," I said. But then I realised that didn't make much sense.
- "I'll explain later," I said. "Just get me out of this hole."
They did. It took about ten minutes but they finally managed to drag me out without me yelling my head off.
- "Our plane's that way," said Zhao. "Let's go."
I began limping towards the plane. One of the Heavies had Oscar in front of him with a machine gun barrel on his back.
I was about ten metres from the plane when there was a click. We stopped. It was followed by a soft hissing sound.
- "What's this?" I said.
We waited a bit.
- "My lord!" yelled Zhao. "IT'S A BOMB! RUN!"
They all strategically abandoned me and ran away. Less than half a second later, there was a tremendous explosion – the same as the one that rolled me into the hole, except this time I was practically inside it.
I was blasted away and knocked over into a puddle of muddy water. Interestingly, while the rest of my body was in terrible agony, my leg felt alright. In fact, it felt like it wasn't there at all. Wait, WHAT?!
I stared down in horror. My leg was still there. But then why did it feel like it wasn't? I couldn't think at that moment, for I was knocked unconscious.
I found myself stretched out across three seats on an A-class plane. Zhao and Oscar were looking down at me.
- "He woke up!" said Oscar.
- "What happened? I asked.
- "Well," said Zhao. "There was a bomb, and you were knocked unconscious. When we settled down, we carried you to our plane. We're halfway to our base now."
I tried to sit up, but I couldn't. Suddenly, there was a sharp pain in my arm. I fell back down.
- "Don't move!" said Zhao. "You've broken your arm and your leg. You need to be treated by our Medics."
I remembered the Medics. They could heal anything. As long as it was possible...
I was lying down in a surgical bed half an hour later. The Chief Medic had a look at my arm and grabbed a giant Medkit.
- "This is one of the industrial-class Medkits we use on the gunboat," he said.
He chucked it onto the floor and it turned into a giant ring that healed my injuries. Sort of. My broken bones and scorched skin were restored to normal. I sat up without any pain.
- "I feel fine!" I exclaimed.
- "Excellent!" said Zhao.
I turned around and stepped onto the floor. I stood up. I took one step...and collapsed.
- "Aaaah!" yelled Oscar.
- "What happened?" said Zhao.
- "I, I can't feel my leg..." I said.
- "What?" exclaimed Zhao. "The Medkit should have done it! The only thing that the Medkit can't heal is..."
- "No, it can't be..."
- "What can't be?" I asked.
- "Bring the X-Ray scanner!"
Within one minute I had a big pulse ray pointed at my right leg. Snap, snap, snap.
- "Oh dear..." sighed Zhao.
- "What?" I said, beginning to worry.
- "Remember how you said you dislocated your leg?" he said.
- "It was more than a dislocation," he said. "It was a nerve disconnection. The explosion must have made it worse."
A nerve disconnection? What did that even mean?
Chapter 17: Medical Problems
- "A nerve disconnection meant that the nerves in your leg have been broken," said the Chief Medic. "That means your leg won't be able to feel anything. It's still there, but it's as if it were never there - we might have to cut off this leg and amputate your leg."
I couldn't say anything. Perhaps I would have lost my leg permanently, and that meant I might never fight again. In resignation I lay motionless on the bed, still breathing but dreading the truth that I might never fight again even if I was an amputee.
The Chief Medic recalled something though, just when I was about to go to sleep, pass out and get my leg cut off.
- "I remember we had a master doctor, his name was Dr. Terry. He could fix anything, and he taught me how to use Medkits properly, in any situation."
Immediately my eyes opened and so did my ears. I was ready to listen.
- "A long time ago, before the days of your zenith, Dr. Terry ran a clinic somewhere. The exact location is now trashed, but it was somewhere."
"It would make sense for a master doctor to run a clinic," I thought. "After all that's what they're paid for.
- "When the Blackguard started invading the Archipelago, many political parties were against the move. A rebellion was formed from these political parties to stop the invasions, that's us right here right now, overwhelmed but still fighting. Dr. Terry hated the actions of the Blackguard and he decided to join the medical staff of the Rebellion."
- "The war was going nowhere as rebels and Blackguard were caught in a stalemate situation. Dr. Terry was a more specialised healer than anyone in the rebellion. With his exceptional healing skills, he managed to completely heal countless wounded soldiers. He managed to heal almost anything, from the most deadly diseases caught in combat, to the most severe and deep wounds. Nerve disconnections were included in his repertoire of things he could heal."
At this point I breathed a sigh of relief. Although the Medkit couldn't deal with my injured leg Dr. Terry could.
- "His healing skills meant that soldiers quickly recovered from bad wounds. This allowed the rebellion to overwhelm the Blackguard and until then, your help there in the Archipelago wasn't needed. However the Blackguard assassinated Dr. Terry in a Rebellion meeting, and ironically that meeting was the meeting where we almost declared victory over the Blackguard. This was when the Blackguard could gain more ground on us rebels, and it returned to the stalemate until you arrived."
- "Although Dr. Terry certainly is dead, being childless, there is no one with his legendary skill anymore. However he did have some paperwork that is in our secret base on how to heal a disconnected nerve. He didn't teach me how, however I guess I can teach myself. Somehow."
That was my only chance of being able-bodied again. I had to take it.
- "So where are Dr. Terry's notes?" I asked.
- "I told you, no-one knows his exact location," the Chief Medic replied. "But I do know one place where they may be."
- "Where's that?" I asked again.
- "The old Medical School."
In a few minutes I was in Zhao's plane again. Oscar had fallen asleep in the sick bay so I left him where he belonged. I sort of dozed off in the plane too.
It was noon when I woke up. That meant that Zhao and the Chief Medic had stayed up the whole night for me.
- "How long have we been flying?" I asked.
- "Maybe 10 hours?" said Zhao. "Don't worry. We'll get there soon."
- "We're here!" exclaimed the Chief Medic, who was the pilot.
We landed on a island covered with snow. It was like one of those in the Archipelago, except it was quite a bit bigger. Even bigger than Hammerman's islands.
- "Where's the school?" I asked.
- "There," said the Chief Medic, pointing to a small metal hut in the far back. It was painted white to camouflage with the snow.
- "That's it?" I asked again. "How can he teach in that little building?"
- "Well," said the Chief Medic. "I must confess, I lied a bit. Dr. Terry was indeed a master doctor, but when the Blackguard invaded, he left behind his doctor duty to develop elite medical devices. He taught hundreds of medics – like me – the skill to heal. He didn't teach us everything though, he knew too much and he didn't have time. He occasionally came to the battlefield on big battles. But otherwise, he was an inventor."
There was a pause as I took this in.
- "He developed invention after invention. First it was the auto-heal Medkit which is still in use today. We don't need tools, we just need to throw them. Then it was the Industrial-Class Medkit that could heal an entire army in one go. Next was the Health Warhammer. The Warriors use this, and it allows them to get healed while attacking. Like I said, he was simply brilliant."
There was another pause.
- "Then one day, he came up with a revolutionary invention. It was called the Hyperheal. No-one knows how it works, but it basically applies a continues stream of instant heal to every single troop in the entire armada. It was so powerful that it could make our men invincible. The meeting in which Dr. Terry was assassinated was when he showed it to us. But before he could explain how it worked, he was shot – and killed. His notes, which were in his pocket, were burnt when the Blackguard opened fire at the meeting hall. The only copy of the machine was destroyed too – the one that Dr. Terry had that day. That little hut–"
The Chief Medic pointed to the little hut.
- "is all that's left of his lab."
There was a long silence.
- "Let's go in and see if he kept his notes in the lab," he said.
We did. I was carried in by Zhao. When we entered, there wasn't a single thing in the entire room.
- "What's this?" said the Medic. "Why is there nothing here? Did the Blackguard trash the lab?"
He walked around, looking for the notes. Zhao joined him, after dumping me on the dusty metal floor.
- "Ouch!" I yelled. "I think I landed on something pointy!"
I scooted to the left, and there it was. Half a nail, sticking from the floor. It was one of the nails that bolted the metal pieces to the floor. Thankfully it was the head that was exposed – not the point. After all, one serious injury was enough for one day.
- "What's this?" I said. "Someone's left a nail unscrewed."
I tried to pull it out. When I gave it a huge tug, it popped out. Along with the metal tile that it was holding! Well, sort of. It opened like a trapdoor. The unscrewed screw seemed to act like a handle.
- "Hey!" I said. "I think I've found something!"
Zhao and the Medic came rushing towards me.
- "I think this is it!" said the Chief Medic. "There's a ladder too."
He climbed down it. After twenty seconds a voice came ringing up.
- "There's nothing here!" said the Chief Medic. "It's a dead end."
I sighed. Was I ever going to walk again?
- "Hold on, why is there an extra rung to the ladder?" asked the Medic.
The ladder rungs were not attacked to a long piece of rope or wood. They were bolted into the wall itself, like the ladder on the secondary tower of our gunboat.
- "This step is literally on the floor!" said the Medic. "Who needs a step that practically lifts them up two centimetres?"
There was a pause.
- "What the–" started the Medic. "Hey guys! Come down! I've found something!"
Zhao carried me down with one hand while grabbing the rungs with the other. He was very strong.
- "Look!" said the Medic. "I pulled the bottom rung, and here's a drawer!"
- "My lord!" said Zhao. "That's an ingenious way of hiding documents! I think I'll try that!"
- "Are his notes in there?" I asked. Because frankly, that was all I cared about right then.
- "Yes, they are!" said the Medic as he pulled out the notes. "I'll try to decipher these notes while I can. Terry's notes are a bit challenging to read, just like you'd expect from any other doctor."
Oh dear! Even though we had found the notes we still needed time to understand them! It's gonna take a long while to understand his notes, perhaps days, who knows. Every day, with my agony, lasted like a century.
- "We must copy these notes down somewhere, in my handwriting so I can understand. At least for the time being. Also, we don't want these yellowed out notes to be stolen by the Blackguard. If the Blackguard finds these notes they'll be immortal in no time!"
I could only agree that the one faction that shouldn't obtain these notes was the Blackguard. It would be overkill if they did.
- "Then what's the purpose of copying it down if we can't lose these notes?" I asked.
- "The Chief will have a much easier time reading the message in the future," replied the Medic. "In case we need to make another one of these medical devices."
The conversation was immediately interrupted by General Zhao.
- "I have spotted red Landing Craft not far from where we stand. We have to move! Back to the plane!"
The Landing Craft approached with superb speed, that it could easily reach our island within a minute or two.
General Zhao continued the evacuation. "I spotted loads of Zookas in the Landing Craft - they might easily take down our plane even if we fly off. If that happens we may be marooned, with lots of Zookas holding us at gunpoint to destroy all of us!"
The Chief Medic stowed the notes in his pocket, and quickly closed the drawer containing them.
How were we supposed to escape this time around? Even if we flew off now the Zookas could shoot us down! I had to hope that the plane was armoured well-enough to survive even a couple of shots...
- "Quick!" said the Chief Medic. "Someone shut the trapdoor!"
Zhao climbed up and clanged it shut. Just in time, too! No more than 2 seconds after we were plunged into darkness, there was a bang as one of the Zookas kicked open the door. This was followed by the sound of boots stamping on the metal.
- "Hey, where are they?" said a voice. "Hammerman told us that the secretary told him that the engineer told her that there was a rebel plane flying towards this island."
- "Maybe they escaped?" said a different voice.
- "Rubbish," said the original voice. "The plane is still there. How else would they escape? Swim? I don't think so."
This commotion carried on for half an hour before the Zookas seemed to retreat. This was after they had spied on every inch of the island. We waited for two minutes after there was silence. Then, just in case, we waited two minutes more. Finally the Chief Medic climbed up the ladder and raised the trapdoor by half a centimetre to peek out.
- "There's no-one here!" he said.
He climbed out. "Yep! No-one!"
Zhao carried me upwards again. We exited the hut to find the Landing Craft no longer on the beach. The plane, for some reason, remained unharmed. The Zookas should have tried to take it or sabotage it or something, but there was no damage at all.
- "Let's get back to our base," said Zhao.
We boarded the plane and flew another ten hours to the secret base. It was nighttime again when I was in the Sick Bay again.
- "You're back!" said Oscar. He rushed over and gave me a hug until I shoved him away. "Where were you?"
- "In Dr. Terry's lab," I said.
- "Move over, guv!" said Zhao, shoving him to the side. Oscar didn't seem to mind.
- "I'll try to decipher these notes," said the Chief Medic. "But we really need some sleep. We've stayed awake for one night, two nights may actually be fatal."
So we went to the Rest Room and rested.
When I woke up there was no sign of the Chief Medic. Nor Zhao. Oscar, on the other hand, was snoring on the floor in the corner. I noticed a set of crutches parked on the wall, along with a note.
Use these to walk. I'll be in the Sick Bay. -Chief Medic
I grabbed the crutches and sort of flopped my way to the door. It was open. I entered the lift and went into the lobby. Zhao was there, along with two other Commanders.
- "Ah!" he said when he saw me. "Did you get the note?"
- "Yes," I said.
- "The Chief Medic's just told me that he's nearly finished. He should be here any moment now."
Just then, the doors burst open and in flew a very sweaty and puffing Chief Medic.
- "I'm done!" he puffed. "And it's quite a cure! Come on!"
We all rushed to the Sick Bay. Well, we did until Zhao got frustrated by how slow I was moving and picked me up and carried me all the way.
- "Here's the cure," said the Chief Medic. "Step 1: acquire a high-voltage hyperbolic gauss overdrive field. That's a posh way of saying Power Crystal."
- "What's a power crystal?" I asked.
- "It's a thing a lot like anIce crystal, just 10 times more powerful," replied the Medic. "Anyway, step 2: Attach the high-voltage hyperbolic gauss overdrive field to the twin-turbine anti-neutron ray gun."
- "What's that?" I asked again.
- "This think you use to rewire organs," replied the Medic. "Step 3: Reveal the organ containing the disconnected nerve. That's your leg, so we don't need to do anything for that. If it was your liver or something you would need surgery to take it out but that isn't necessary."
I began to feel worried. What did an anti-neutron ray gun actually do to you?
- "Step 4," continued the Medic. "Fire the ray gun at the disconnected nerve at full power. The ray should last exactly 9.8 seconds before disappearing. If the ray disappears before or after 9.8 seconds, the reconnection has failed. If not, the organ will be back and running as soon as the ray ends."
There was a pause.
- "Should we try that?" he said.
Chapter 18: Very Dangerous Looking Medical Devices
There were two problems right here. I needed someone to steal a Power Crystal somewhere, or at least 4 Power Rods, 8 Complex Gears and 12 Field Capacitors somehow. Also, if I wanted to walk again, I needed to take the risk of being fired at by the anti-neutron gun.
The easy decision was whether to steal one Power Crystal or 24 Prototype Modules. It was definitely much quicker to steal a whole Power Crystal.
So we found ourselves taking on Colonel Gearheart's War Factory, to destroy a Damage Amplifier Mark III in order to retrieve its Power Crystal.
- "But that thing would be so strong it would have the health of a small HQ!" exclaimed General Zhao.
I knew what I was doing. 24 Prototype Modules would be hundreds and hundreds of bases of work. And, there's the worst-case scenario where we won't find what modules we need...
Luckily this time Gearheart decided to set one Damage Amplifier on the beach of her War Factory, but it was surrounded by multiple Rocket Launchers, Boom Cannons and Doom Cannons.
- "We'll send Warriors to deal with the nearby Rocket Launchers, and the rest we will settle using only Zookas," General Zhao declared.
We only had three attacks to do this, or we would have to wait another six days for our next chance. And who knows, the next time around Gearheart may not be kind enough to set a Damage Amplifier on the beach.
- "Since you can't fight, Rebel Leader, you can help us man the Gunboat. You do not need legs to press the buttons that shoot Artillery, Smoke and all those stuff," continued General Zhao.
"Sure, because my hands are still working somehow," I thought. "All the pressure's on me now. If I screw up then General Zhao's three attempts on the War Factory will go down along with me."
- "To summarise our plan," said Zhao. "on our first attack we will concentrate on destroying the three Rocket Launchers that are not far away from the Damage Amplifier. If these don't go down then our Zookas will not stand a chance. Our number two will be Zookas to take down the remaining defenses surrounding the Damage Amplifier. Then number three, I will be sending out troops to remove the Power Crystal from the Damage Amplifier, and we will have a full Power Crystal to power the anti-neutron ray gun.
Soon enough we sailed to an Ice Island that I quickly identified as Colonel Gearheart's War Factory. General Zhao and I stayed in the Gunboat as 64 Warriors headed onto the beach. I instinctively threw down a Flare on the Rocket Launcher, then some Smoke Screens to cover the route. Without fail the Warriors made it, and eventually they successfully blasted down the three Rockets, clearing the path for the Zookas.
Second attack. The Zookas could not fail here, easily overwhelming the single-target defenses. However getting them away from the Damage Amplifier was harder than I thought; I had to use a lot of Flares, to stop them from destroying the Damage Amplifier.
The last attack we could make, and Heavies went off the Landing Crafts to disarm the Damage Amplifier themselves. I set smoke onto them to stop them from firing, and again and again. I told them to disarm the Damage Amplifier to retrieve the Power Crystal, while they were still under smoke. It was a long while and I had to use a dozen or so Smokes to keep them covered and disarming but it eventually worked out. I promptly retreated the Heavies and all of them returned safe and sound to the Landing Craft and back to us.
We had succeeded.
But when I wanted them to show the Power Crystal it was a Power Crystal from a Mark II Damage Amplifier! Surely we got the wrong Damage Amplifier; and when we ran out of attacks I realized that the Mark III Damage Amplifier was next to the HQ on the War Factory, far from the beach! Would our plan still work or would we have to resort to attacking countless bases for the necessary Prototype Modules?
- "We have a problem," I declared.
- "WHAT?!" yelled Zhao.
- "This crystal is from a Mark II Damage Amplifier, not a Mark III." I replied.
There was a pause.
- "Let's go back and try first," said Zhao. "Who knows, Dr. Terry may have made a mistake in his notes."
Soon we were in the Sick Bay again. The Chief Medic examined the Crystal.
- "Dr. Terry's notes do state that the Crystal must be a high voltage hyperbolic gauss overdrive one," said the Medic. "but let's hope a Mark II Power Crystal also works.
He walked into a room labeled 'Storage'. About one minute later, the door opened and the Chief Medic walked in, towing an enormous laser on wheels.
- "This is an anti-neutron ray gun," announced the Medic. "It always works...almost always..."
- "Say what?" I asked.
- "Nothing, nothing..." stammered the Medic.
He took the crystal and inserted it into a large box at the rear of the gun.
- "Okay," he said, pointing the thing at my leg. "This won't hurt a bit, but it will be bright. The anti-neutron ray gun fuses protons and electrons together in nuclear fusion to trigger the weak nuclear force and reconnect wires. That creates a tremendous amount of friction, and therefore a blinding flash of light. You ready?"
- "As ready as I'll ever be," I replied uncertainly. That thing looked dangerous! I couldn't decide whether it belonged in a clinic or a War Factory.
- "Close your eyes," said the Medic. "I'm activating fusion in three...two...one..."
There was a noise like a tractor engine dying, and then a laser beam shot out the tip. It was so bright that it shined through my eyelids and nearly blinded me. I could feel nothing in my leg.
Nine point eight seconds later, it was over.
- "Nine point eight seconds!" said the Medic. "I think it's worked."
- "You think?" I said, hysterically.
- "It's worked! It's worked!" stammered the Medic.
I flung my legs to the side. I put my feet on the floor. I stood up.
- "It's working!" said Zhao.
I took one step forward. Slowly, carefully. I put the foot down. I lifted my left foot...and fell forward.
- "No!" yelled the Medic.
- "It didn't!" moaned Zhao.
It didn't work. At that point I lost all hope. If the mythical Dr. Terry's treatment didn't work, what would?
- "Now there's only one thing left to do," said the Chief Medic.
- "What?" I asked, panicking.
- "We need to perform an amputation," he replied.
I didn't want to fight as a disabled. I moaned, in a sense of defeat.
Then a thought hit me. We would retry this procedure, this time with a Power Crystal from a Damage Amplifier III, with Prototype Modules from my Task Force mates. Since I had none at all.
I made the order, and many members of my TF complied to my order. In a single package I found the necessary Modules to build the Damage Amplifier III.
Unfortunately I completely forgot that my Weapon Lab was a measly level 1; it could not build this powerful Damage Amplifier III.
- "Don't worry Rebel Leader, I have a state-of-the-art painstakingly-constructed maxed out one," General Zhao then said as I expressed my problem.
And with that we headed onto General Zhao's base deep in the mainland, yet far from the Blackguard version of it.
- "Just take the parts," I told General Zhao, "and let the Lab handle the rest. We can get a good night's sleep while the Damage Amplifier stays under construction. Then when it's done, we simply disarm it for the Power Crystal."
It nightfall soon. There was only quiet; it filled the night sky. The moon served as our only light source; discounting the Gunboat and Weapon Lab, of course. I dreamt that Lt. Hammerman attacked our base and that we would be waking up in ashes. Horrified, I abruptly woke up from my sleep. It was 2 am, the Damage Amplifier was supposed to be completed at 8 am today.
Just when I was about to drift back into sleep, I heard the noise of Landing Craft touching our sands. From what the moon told me, they were not blue. Our base was being attacked!
Chapter 19: A Good Medicine is Always Bitter
I tried to wake Zhao, but he didn't budge. He was like a bear – really strong but really sleepy. So I threw one of my crutches at the emergency button.
At once an alarm started blaring and Zhao jumped out of bed. He ran out in his pyjamas and surveyed the scene. He ran back in, opened a wardrobe, grabbed a rifle, and carried me out.
- "Let loose the Scorchers!" yelled Zhao.
A giant pair of doors opened and from the depths of the hangar came Scorchers. At least 50 of them!
- "Type 3 defences ready!" continued Zhao.
The Rocket and Shock launchers lit up and aimed at the Heavies and Zookas unloading on the beach. Zhao began running towards the Headquarters.
- "Overshoot!" he yelled.
The Rocket and Shock launchers aimed upwards and fired. Their projectiles overshot the Heavies and hit the fragile Zookas. Vast numbers of them died – but two seconds later, an array of Shock Bombs flew out and immobilised the defences!
- "Reboot!" yelled Zhao after seeing this.
From the Rocket Launcher came a massive volt of energy, and it was operational again. The other defences followed.
- "Attack!" screamed Zhao.
The Scorchers began flaming up the Heavies and running over the Zookas. The hangar doors opened again and an armada of Riflemen came out. Zhao put me down and began firing.
The Blackguard Gunboat saw what was happening and made a signal like a giant alphorn blowing. Fifteen seconds later, there was an army of Landing Craft heading towards the Beach!
- "Medics ready!" yelled Zhao, clobbering a Heavy with the back of his rifle.
At once the Medics came and healed up the Scorchers and Riflemen. Then the Blackguard Landing Craft landed, filled to the brim with Tanks and Medics!
- "Type 2 Defences ready!" yelled Zhao.
The Boom Cannons and Cannons turned around and unloaded on the Tanks. One by one, they were shot down and soon they were all gone. But a third wave of Landing Craft came upon our beach, this time filled with Warriors. Hundreds of them! They ran towards the HQ, and the defences began to aim. But then came a Smoke Screen, blocking the defences' view!
- "Manual Control!" yelled Zhao. "Set all defences to that path of Smoke!"
The defences turned and began firing at the warriors, hidden beneath the Smoke. One by one they went down, but then came a series of Medkits and Shock Bombs to support the Rushing Warriors.
- "Brace for impact!" yelled Zhao. "Warrior Rush incoming!"
The Headquarters was immediately surrounded by a giant wall of metal sheets. The Warriors ran right into it and began to break it down.
- "Type 1 Defences!" yelled Zhao.
The Machine Guns reacted. They fired upon the Warriors, decimating them almost instantaneously. Within ten seconds the Warriors were gone.
All the Riflemen were tired and injured, and the Scorchers were running out of gas. But then came a forth wave of Landing Craft – this time filled with Scorchers. They immediately unloaded and let loose on our troops. The infantry units were killed on the spot. Our Scorchers tried to fight back, but the enemy cleverly shocked them and let the Blackguard Scorchers light their gas tanks on fire. Our last troops exploded into bits of metal.
- "All defences on autopilot!" yelled Zhao.
The defences reacted at once. They swivelled around let all hell lose on the Scorchers. But then came an armada of Medkits and Barrages. The Scorchers took out all the Single Shot defences, leaving the Medkits to heal up any Splash damage. The Scorchers roamed around the base and began to light our resource storages and support buildings on fire – including our Weapons Lab! The half-completed Damage Amplifier was burnt on the spot.
Eventually my Task Force came and barraged the Scorchers to death – but not before literally the whole base was destroyed. Zhao carried me out of the bomb shelter and we headed to the remains of the Weapons Lab. He put me down and began sifting through the debris. He picked up a shiny piece of rock – the Power Crystal. Powerless, lifeless, destroyed.
Without saying a word, Zhao carried me to the Headquarters. He carried me to the sick bay.
- "The Power Crystal," said Zhao. "It's gone."
- "What?" said the Chief Medic. "But that means..."
- "It's time for the amputation," finished Zhao.
- "NO!" I yelled. "No, no, no, no, no!"
- "We have to replace your leg with a bionic limb," said the Medic. "It won't be perfect, but you'll be able to run."
- "No..." I said.
- "It's for your own good," said the Medic "And you won't be immobilised."
I thought about it for a while. I had to take this, or I would never move again. Sure, it was risky, but dying was better than not being able to do anything in a battle.
- "Okay then..." I said reluctantly.
Soon I was stretched out on a Medical bed. The Medic was surrounded by nurses. He had a syringe in his hand.
- "This is painkiller," said the Medic. "You won't feel any pain once you've got this in your body."
He injected a whole syringe full of the stuff into my leg.
- "Now we need to put you to sleep," he continued.
He grabbed a spray containing some green liquid. He took the cap off and carefully sprayed some around my head.
- "Breathe in now," said the Medic.
I did as he said. That breath was the last thing I remember before I fell asleep.
I woke up with a metal pole-like thing substituting what was my broken leg. At the end, was something equally grey as the pole. My bionic foot. Between my torso and the bionic foot, was all the complex wiring coated with insulation, as I would recognise.
The first challenge was simply getting up. Lying in my bed and not fighting against the Blackguard was not something I want to do. Not while the Blackguard was so dominant over us.
I moved my bionic foot around. Faint whizzes sounded, indicating that there was a machine controlling my leg. I bent the bionic leg, or more like the knees, something I couldn't remember doing for days. It worked perfectly fine. I had the mechanics of my broken leg back again, however the physical leg was now gone.
Hobbling slightly, I got up, and walked a few paces somewhat normally. The feel of my physical foot touching the ground was no longer there, and I never felt the same in that sense anymore.
On the desk next to the door that marked the line between the sick bay and the rest of the HQ, I found a note.
Rebel Leader, if you're reading this then our operation was a great success; you can walk again! Meet me at the Training Room. I'll perform medical tests to see if you are still fit to fight. -Chief Medic
I casually walked there as per his instructions. In the Training Room instead of the dummy target I was accustomed to seeing having trained so many troops in the past, I found a treadmill.
- "Welcome, Rebel Leader!" said the Chief Medic. "This medical test I was talking about comes in two stages: the mental stage and the physical stage. Obviously since you can still think, I guess I'd consider you've already passed the mental stage. It's time to go to the physical stage. Step on the treadmill, please."
I was only walking a couple of minutes ago! Clearly I was far from ready to do more walking and running in front of the Chief Medic.
- "So the physical stage comes in a few parts: running is the first one. I'll set this treadmill at walking pace initially, then I'll gradually increase the speed up to sprinting pace, which, for your information, should be around 7 metres per second. Good luck."
7 metres per second? Was he kidding? I paused for a while, but then I remembered, when I was able-bodied and signed up for the Rebellion, 7 m/s was a speed that is easily achievable for someone of my calibre.
The Chief Medic started the treadmill using the press of a button on his remote. I then saw a figure on the treadmill's display. 1.2 m/s.
Quickly I realized my task: to keep up with the treadmill. I duly did so, and as I lasted longer the number on the display increased. I had no trouble staying on as it increased to 2 m/s, then 3, then 4, then 5.
"Only 2 m/s faster," I told myself.
My stamina wasn't helping me at all as the number increased to 5.5 m/s, then 6 m/s. I was being worn down.
- "Remember, if you fail to keep up you fail the medical test!" reminded the Chief Medic. That didn't help me at all.
I was almost ready to collapse. I must have been running a few kilometres at nearly sprinting pace. Time seemed to stop.
I was at the threshold. Would I fall here and never fight for the Rebellion again or would I run on to fight another day? I didn't know.
The number display slowly increased. 6.6 m/s, 6.7 m/s, 6.8 m/s, 6.9 m/s, 7 m/s. 7 metres per second. This was just about it. I couldn't fail here.
My mind flashed back to the siege of Orion. I was running for my life. Right now, there wasn't a giant blimp behind me – but I was still running for my life. If I failed, the Blackguard would take over the world and kill me. I was running for my life, I was running for my life, I was running for my life...and suddenly, I realised that I was still running. Still running at 7 m/s!
- "Well done!" said the Chief Medic, turning the treadmill off. "If you can sprint 5 kilometres without stopping, you're definitely fit for battle. Oi! Where are you going?!"
That last bit was a remark to me rushing out the door for a glass of water. After running that much, I was definitely ready for a drink.
- "Oof!" I yelled as I collided violently into someone.
I fell down and I stayed there for five seconds. I sat up. Oscar was sitting in front of me.
- "Ugh..." he groaned. "What happened?"
He looked at me.
- "You're back!" he yelled again. He leapt towards me – but this had happened enough times before for me to know what was going to happen. I ducked to the right and he went sprawling on the floor.
- "Mister Rollings!" exclaimed the Chief Medic. "What news do you bring?"
These past few days had been so hectic that I'd nearly forgotten about Oscar.
- "I think you'll find this interesting," said Oscar, picking himself up. He took another one of those grey pieces of paper out of his jacket.
The Chief Medic took it and read it.
- "Oh dear..." he said.
- "What is it?" I said, taking the paper from him.
Chapter 20: It Had to Happen
WORLD WAR III INCOMING
The Unknown Force has been revealed to be called the Blackguard. They have destroyed the whole of Germany, and now have conquered nearly the whole of the continent of Europe. Only the United Kingdom, the Nordic Countries, Spain, and Portugal are free from this monster force. Sieges in Western Asia have also been reported. Their superior attack strategy is unknown, but they have been rumoured to sent nuclear bombs down in the city and run through whatever is left.
"I was told about the Blackguard by a person who claims to be the rebel leader," says President Obama. "The day we met the second time was when Washington D.C was crushed by the giant blimp." President Obama has officially declared that the Unknown Force has started World War III. "But this time," he says. "it's them against the rest of the world."
Already there are nuclear shelters being constructed all over the world out of fear that the Unknown Force will invade. The goal of the Force in also unknown, but English locals report seeing large green fumes and sense a terrible stench.
- "All the armies in the world are ready to fight against the Blackguard," said Oscar. "This is breaking news after all."
I re-read the news. The Nordic countries were safe, which meant that Supercell HQ was safe. Maybe we could ask them to shut down this imaginary faction...
But they were in Reality now. The Blackguard could not return home if Supercell shut down Boom Beach... but neither could I. I wanted to be safe, and this was not the time. Far from the time, I'd say. If the previous World Wars lasted a couple of years then this one should too. Except that this one was a Blitzkrieg, as the Germans would've said.
General Zhao told us that many of us rebels were constructing Doom Cannons to shoot the blimps out of the sky. Sure they'd take thousands and thousands of shots, perhaps millions, however many Doom Cannons were already under construction. Together, he estimated, that all of the Doom Cannons combined would be able to down a blimp in 10 or so minutes, provided we'd all survive.
We stood a chance now. But I had a better idea. Instead of using countless Doom Cannons to take them out I would innovate a variant of the Shock Blaster. Something that could fit in my hand yet shoot as deadly as a Shock Blaster. One alone might be a little jolt on the blimp, but I knew many of these could pack a shocking punch, perhaps stunning the engines and causing the blimp to collapse!
I decided to use my able hands to draw up a blueprint for the prototype handheld Shock Blaster. The only problem was that we needed a lot of resources to construct these. But right now I didn't even have a base, let alone lots of resources. But did Zhao have enough resources?
- "General," I said to Zhao. "Do you have enough resources to construct 135,000 Shock Blasters?"
He seemed flabbergasted,
- "Why do you need so many?" he asked.
- "I'm planning on using lots of Shock Blasters to take down the Überblimps," I replied. "Or maybe just to disable the engines so I can take over."
- "Hmm..." murmured Zhao. "Do you think it'll work? I mean, those blimps don't look like they can be shocked..."
I was thinking about this too. The blimps didn't seem to have any moving parts. And I knew for one that Shock Bombs couldn't stop Power Stones – something that I found out years ago when I threw a shock on the BH Masterpiece of Dead End. And the entire gizmo ran on Power Stones – which made the Shock Blasters look rather pointless.
I was stumped now. But I still wasn't giving up on the Doom Cannons. If I could get then to fire at the Power Booster, we could immobilise the blimp and take it over. Or I could sabotage it...
...but had I learnt my lesson on going to the Blackguard Mainland. I sighed.
- "How are we going to take down the Blackguard?" I asked.
I had too many problems in my hands right now. I had to invent Dr. Terry's crazy contraptions, when the Chief Medic actually deciphered the notes. I had to pair up with the Army and convince them that I was their leader. I had to take down 4 massive, seemingly indestructible blimps. And on top of that, I had a feeling that there was something lurking in the depths of the reality dimension...something huge...something that is not quite from this world...
I pondered over this problem for a few days. I could get the blimp to fly into the Blackguard Elite Headquarters – but I figured I would need a ship myself to do that. I could sabotage it – but I didn't want Lt. Hammerman catching me again.
In the end I decided that there must have been something that helped the Blackguard advance so rapidly. I tried to remember what the engineers had said. "We rapidly developed by taking advantage of the nearby cities. We looted their storages and managed to build up the entire Mainland in one day. There was also an enormous quantity of power stones in a nearby island. The power of the power stones fuelled our machines at superspeed."
So was it the Power Stones?
- "Mr. Salmon, are the Überblimps ready?" asked Hammerman.
- "Yes, we are launching Emmanuel now," said the second engineer on the conference TV. "We're sorry the project was delayed due to the 15 attacks on the Blackguard Mainland, but the blimps are all finished now."
A loud whooshing noise paused the conversation for a while.
- "Good..." said Hammerman. "Are we on schedule?"
- "Yes," replied the second engineer. "Trinity is having pre-flight tests, and is scheduled for launch tomorrow. Cyclone is undergoing final fittings and decorations for the command centres. She will be ready by the day after tomorrow."
- "Good, good..." said Hammerman.
He shut off the TV.
- "Yes, we are ready for the final domination," said Hammerman to a female shadow in the corner of his room."
- "Good," she said.
- "We shall rule the world. TOGETHER! MWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHHAHH..."
Hammerman and Gearheart laughed as one in that room.
- "The Blackguard," I said to Zhao. "They must have some special thing that helped them advance so rapidly. If only we could use it..."
- "What do you think it is?" asked Zhao.
- "I think it's the Power Stones..." I replied. "The engineer said..."
- "So what are you going to do with it?" asked Zhao.
- "Steal the Power Stones," I said, "and advance ourselves."
Zhao looked flabbergasted.
- "Steal the Power Stones?!" yelled Zhao. "How are you going to steal a few tonnes of Power Stones when it's physically impossible to even steal a gram of Blackguard Metal? We can't do that!"
- "But we have to try!" I insisted.
I stood up and looked straight into his eyes.
- "We have to try," I repeated. "If we don't, we never know if we can do it or not–"
I was interrupted by a blond figure stepping through the door.
- "Hey guys," said Oscar. "The President just called."
- "The who?" we both asked.
Oscar rolled his eyes. "The person who you talked to in the big white building," he said. "And he wants to talk to you."
- "Let's go, then!" I said. I began rushing to the door when Oscar stopped me.
- "Just talk him through the phone," he said.
- "The wha–" I started.
- "This magic little box that can teleport sound!" he stammered. "Just put this next to your ear."
I took the phone and held it to my ear. There was a little noise like a voice talking.
- "Hello?" I said.
- "Ah, there you are," said the important-sounding-voice. "I've gathered up the armies of all countries who have a free compact association with the United States–"
Oscar suddenly took the phone from me.
- "Sorry to interrupt," he stammered. "But our rebel leader doesn't understand anything to do with politics, so please talk with simple vocabulary..."
He handed the phone back to me.
- "Okay..." the important-sounding-voice said. "Anyway, I've gathered up every man who's on our side..."
- "Good!" I said.
- "And I've explained the situation to them..."
- "Perfect!" I said again.
- "Now we just need you to command us into battle."
Continued in Part 3