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...aboard the Batra

Ahrganot had been laying unconcious for the past hour. The GSSOC had just barely escaped Infra from Alk'charis.

"Infra," Sol I Dor uttered. "Who...or what is he?"

Tholker said, "By the way Sol and Pyro, if it hadn't been for your quick thinking, we'd probably be dead right now."

Pyro replied, "Well, we're just doing our jobs after all."

Sol I Dor replied, "I've never seen someone so unimaginably powerful. That power could be put to good use. It's a shame that Dhragolon has evil intentions."

The COM began ringing. It was a message from Admiral Cinder. Pyro pressed a button that executed it.

New Message. Status: Encrypted. Description: For GSSOC's eyes only...Decrypting...Done! Message playback.

"This is Admiral Cinder, and I have some urgent information to relay. We are aware of this Infra character that appeared during the ongoing battle of Asylum. He is who he says he is: a god. He plans to become more powerful during the next 30 days, and even you, GSSOC, will not be able to stop him. That is, unless, you agree to accept a highly classified mission. Whatever you find from completing this mission may be our only chance in averting the potential disaster that awaits us. Fleet Commander Pyro will know where to find us. Message over."

Pyro spun 180 degrees in his chair to face the other GSSOC members. "Guys, you heard the Admiral. We've got another mission."

Tholker replied, "Well, I hope Ahrganot will be awake by the time we get there. I'm sure he wants his revenge."

The BriefingEdit

...two hours later...Arckasium Drive Yards...

Admiral Cinder, accompanied by Fleet Commander Pyro walked into the briefing room where Ahrganot, Sol I Dor, Tholker, and Etah already sat, waiting; behind them followed two armed GHD guards who stayed at the door, and 3 other GHD personel, who each sat at the long table. Pyro hit a button on a console near a wall mounted screen, turning it on, and navigated to a presentation prepared in advance.

"Good evening," Cinder began, "I have called you all here to reveal to you a very very important piece of information that my supperiors have prior felt should be kept secret. What you are all about to see and hear is classified as the highest of secrets within our military; however we will explain that much of this knowledge is... hard to keep secret. I ask you to please wait patiently and listen before asking any questions, as there is a lot of information and... we'll likely be answering a lot of your questions before we're finished."

"As you all know, our federation arrived in this galaxy by means of an intergalactic transportation device; and the information on said device has been kept from you and your empires, as well as its origin. We have also made you aware of the chaos that has begun to ensue in our home galaxy, and I can inform you that this conflict has exploded into an all out civil war, which... is partly why you're here. What you did not know is that the transportation device was not built by us, but in fact, discovered. We are currently in control of the device and keeping instantaneous travel by our enemies from galaxy to galaxy impossible, but Tyrannis's forces are coming here anyways by convential means of space travel. While they are at a bit of a disadvantage, they have an undeniable foothold in this galaxy, and our intelligence reports that they have already established permanent military colonies on several systems at the edge of the galaxy.

"What's more, the origin of the device has been kept from you as well. Generations ago the device was discovered; at first, we thought it was simply an object of worship by a god fearing race that achieved space travel long ago, however... those theories were all shot down when our scientists managed to turn it on. It was then we discovered what the device was.

"You all know of our advanced "Core Matter Reactors" and that we have offered to share the workings of the technology after short negotiations, but what was most startling about further research into the transport device was the fact that it was powered by several of its own core matter reactors, many times more advanced than our own. In addition, the interior of the device, which appears to be a giant stone ring, is marked with an unfamiliar text, which has only ever been discovered on rare artifacts scattered throughout the universe with no reasonable explanation as to their origin. Further studies reveals many of these objects, and the transport device itself to date back literally billions of years. To make it relative... our greatest ancestors were swimming in primordial soup when these things were made; they are thousands of times older than any known race in the universe.

"This brought forth a number of questions: who were they, what other fascinating and highly advanced technologies did they leave behind, and most importantly, what happened to them? How could a civilization so far advanced left no more than a few statues behind? The answer was more simple than we thought: our assumption is simply not true. The earliest travels through the "ring" were explorations in search of whoever might have constructed it in the first place. We no longer believe that it is coincidence that Arckas, an impossibly large planet, larger than its own sun, is the planet that the transportation device exits near.

"After many years of research of all kinds, we have begun to uncover the mystery of who these beings were. Their identity baffled us more than anything else we had discovered yet. Some of the objects we found were referenced in ancient myths and legends among several races, dating back to before they even developped naval travel. The writings that we found confirmed what was only a hunch. This ancient race... is quite simply put, the race of the gods.

"We call them the Titans; and their history predates anything else we have ever discovered. We don't know much about them, in fact we hardly know anything about them; we have yet to even meet them and confirm what all of our research points to. At any rate, once our Federation split, the race began. For the past few years, both sides have been trying to secure Titan technology for themselves, particular anything that might be able to be used as a weapon. Luckily... both sides have managed to come up empty...

"Now... here's where it gets good. Pyro," Cinder motioned to Pyro, and he got up from his chair and flipped to the next slide in the presentation. It displayed various scans and readings which he was going to explain. Before he began, Cinder sat at the end of the briefing table, watching.

"What you're seeing," Pyro began to explain, "Are thermal, sonic, radio, and seismic charts and scans of a particularly interesting cliff-face of Mt. Arterius, the largest mountain in the known universe. What these show is that there is a large, hallow cavern on the other side of a 3 foot thick wall of solid rock. Now, normally this would be no cause for alarm, however, it's the shape of the cavern that we found most interesting."

The next image was a wire frame graphic, which looked like a very large opening into a room of gargantuan size, lined with columns. "This," he continued, "Is a graphical representation of the shape of that cavern. In case you don't know, this does not happen in nature. The hollow area is what appears to be the opening to a very large structure. Our scans cannot even reveal where the end of this one massive room is, but it is more than 250 yards away from the cliff face. But that's not all."

The following slide showed an image of a thermal scan next to a radio scan matched up to the graphical wire frame model shown previously. The walls and columns appeared to have intricate paterns along them giving of huge amounts of energy. "The structure of this compound is practically alive. There seem to be... wires and structured pathways within the walls and columns, but the impressive part is that the contrast in the energy signature is so great, that there is barely any leaking of energy outside of these... lines you see. Such a feat is practically impossible with our technology."

"After finding these readings we began to examine the cliff face itself," Pyro continued on, flipping to the next slide which showed another chart, "What you're looking at here is very small energy patterns being emitted from the stone. We began to run tests to determine more about the energy level by introduce other types of energy, and as a result, the energy patter in the stone changed." Clicking a button, a separate line appeared on the graph, this one in some smoother, more recognizable pattern. "Once we turned off our own energy emissions, the pattern changed back to its previous state. What we think we have here is... in essense, a door, with some kind of combination lock."

"We believe that the key to opening the 'door' is the emission of some very specific energy pattern at a very specific range of the cliff face. After experimenting with various tests and several different wavelengths of light, sound, and all sorts of energy, we believe we have discovered the way to open it. By introducing an energy pattern than effectively cancels out the 'normal' pattern, the energy within the stone wall will vanish, and it was our hopes that it would open the 'door'

"Unfortunately, that's not what happened; something did happen though. The stone cliff face lit up and what was described as a beam of light shot from its center and wisked away one of our researchers. We haven't heard from him since. Now... since the incident has occured, all of our scans of the cavern have simply stopped working; we turn them on, and they tell us that it's solid rock for miles. We brought in and excavation team; they began blowing through the stone which no longer showed any energy signal of any kind, and after a day of blasting through the cliff face, all they aver found was solid rock.

Pyro sat back down at the table, and Cinder got back up, flipping the screening over to the next image, which showed a very large anomoly in space. "This," Cinder began, "Is some kind of dimensional portal, and it was discovered by one of our ships right outside of our atmoshpere. We can't know for sure but we matched up an unidentified energy signature that was recorded some time ago, estimated to have originated from the same spot this anomoly is located, with the time that the first energy readings were read from when the 'door' was discovered. We believe that they are related, and somehow when this anomoly, this... gateway was activated, it turned on this Titan technology on Mt. Arterius.

"We sent a recon drone through the gateway, and the images we got back were... difficult to understand, and difficult to explain, so we'll just show you," Cinder said before going on to the next slide, showing them all pictures of the other side of the gateway. "We have no idea what this place is supposed to be, but when the recon drone entered the portal, an energy signal pulsed from it just as it did when we believe the portal was first opened. When that happened, at the exact same moment, another 'door' popped up. Our scientists have a theory... that the anomaly is not supposed to be there; that whoever caused it tried to force open a gateway that they couldn't originally find, which has caused the real gateway to appear whenever anything travels through the anomoly."

"Which brings us to what we have in store for you. What we ask is that you travel through the real gateway, and take with you a special transmitter which will initialize a temporal signal that will travel through every location in any particular universe instantaneously, and our drone from within the other side of the anomoly will pick it up. From there, we can identify where exactly in this... other dimension you are, or if you're in there at all. Be warned... we may entirely wrong about this. The 'door' that you travel to may take you somewhere entirely different; and whatever you find on the other side may be a being so far advanced that you wouldn't be able to comprehend their technology as anything other than magic. Once we locate you, we will begin a search and rescue mission to extract you but, if you are not met with hostility, we have a side mission for you; search the place, see if you can find anything of interest, and report everything you see back to me.

"Now," Cinder said, wrapping up the long speech, "Any questions?" "A race of gods?" Ahrganot questioned. "I'm curious. Gods as in Kray?"

"Or Marana?" added Tholker.

Cinder replied, "Oh your gods? Well, the most powerful are the most worshipped. Weaker ones are far more common."

"What about Uszaroth?"

Cinder said, "Well, we're still familiarizing ourselves with your culture, but yes. Uszaroth is a Titan, most likely one of the weakest."

"So, you are saying that Uszaroth, that thing that wrecked Malisk a wimp? Good Marana, this is going to be fun," Tholker sarcastically replied.

Etah replied, "But a good challenge."

"Yes," Cinder replied, "These Titans are unimaginably powerful. This is the reason why you, and no one else, were picked for this mission. You're the best of the best. Whatever you find down there could be our only hope in stopping Infra and potentially changing the course of all existence."

Ahrganot asked, "And Arckas. This planet is supposedly larger than its own star, correct? How exactly are we going to survive there?"

Etah answered the question for him. "Anti-gravity suits, of course. A well-crafted Sauran piece of technology."

Cinder said, "Ah, but you shouldn't underestimate Arckas's gravity. It tooks years to create the colonies we have on Arckas to create pockets of gravity adjusted to something we can deal with. We still live predominantely in the Drive Yards, though we have a few colonies in the moutainous areas. It would be too risky to build another low gravity bubble around this region of interest. It could damage whatever you find down there."

Etah answered, "Well, how long would you expect Sauran anti-gravity suits to last?"

Cinder replied, "The settlements on Arckas can adjust gravity to be more comfortable, though a personell with an anti-gravity suit can survive for two hours outside a colony."

The look in the entire GSSOC team's eyes was obvious nervousness. They all knew that this mission could result in death. They were dealing with beings capable of destroying cities without effort, a physics defying dimension, and a planet that could crush them with sheer force. However, none of them backed down. No one else could do this mission.

Admiral Cinder said, "So to sum it up. The mission: Enter the portal, so that we can turn on the Titan technology. Then, you go down to Mt. Arterius and tell us what you find."

Pyro calmly answered, "Whenever you are ready, Let's go through the Gateway so that we can get down there."

Through the GatewayEdit

Pyro guided the Batra steadily cruising towards the gateway. Nearly everyone on the team had some sort of look of apprehension. Another dimension. A universe with physics greatly differing from the regular world. They could clearly see the distortion in space through the front windshield as it continuously twisted and warped.

"Alright, guys," Pyro said. "Here goes nothing." He pulled a lever that activated the wormhole key to protect the ship from being destroyed from the distortion. Then, they went through. Everything outside the ship turned to white momentarily before warping to a completely different landscape unlike any they had ever seen. It could be described as a junk yard of floating pieces of planets. Deserts sharply transitioned to snowy ice capped mountains. Nothing made sense geographically.

"Computer, is this area habitable?" asked Pyro.

"Error message 726: Failed to calculate atmospheric pressure and temperature."

Ahrganot then spotted something strange among the landscape. "What is that?" He pointed out the window. "That structure over there. That looks exactly like my old combat institution."

"What? How's that impossible?" Tholker interjected. "Wait, what's that over there? Is that...the hotel on Herit? Just what the heck is this place?"

Etah thought for a moment. "It's just as I thought. This must be the actual dimension of warpspace. You see, the Omni warp drive distorts the time-space fabric so that it can cover vast distances in a short time. Essentially, it compresses it into a smaller area that can be travelled. What we're in now is most likely that actual compressed space that has collated over millions of years of many other species using warp drives. Essentially, this place is a miniature version of the entire universe - and by miniature, that's a huge overstatement."

"So finding Arckas in this place will be easy then. We just have to locate Mt. Arterius or some other landmark unique to the planet," Tholker said.

"Hopefully. There's billions of planets that are massed together in this junkyard, but that GHD device should be a great help."

The alarms began wailing. "We have to land. The ship can't handle the anomalies in the air pressure," Pyro replied.

"Great. I was hoping we didn't have to walk..." Tholker replied.

Moments later, the Batra made an uneasy crash landing in a desert several miles away from a replica of the Castle Hall on Ucharpli. They each equipped their life suits and stepped outside onto the sand. In the sky were chunks of what seemed to be Amaselva and Pelietta. Beyond was what seemed to be dark clouds with occasional sounds of thunder.

"The gravity here. It seems the same as back home," Tholker said.

Pyro replied, "Same here."

Etah concluded, "Well, it seems gravity doesn't matter so much in this dimension. We better keep an eye out for any more strange anomalies."

"According to this device," Pyro said, "Arckas should be...that way." The rest of the team looked upon floating chunks of volcanic rock. There were even some miniature planets floating around.

Sol I Dor's psychic senses went active. "Something's wrong. I sense...darkness. And terrible, terrible evil. I can't tell where it's coming from, but all I can say is someone got here first. We're not alone."

-more to come

GSSOC/Operation: Titanic Discoveries
Kklxin series, story 8
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