Chapter 1, Part 1 Edit
Work. Work. Work. That's all there is in the unnatural life of a skullkin. Working, working, and more working. Grab a pickax, and start digging for that Maelstrom Ore, you've got nothing else better to do as a skullkin. Everything that the skullkin of Crux Prime did was fueled by the desire to collect more Maelstrom Ore for powering their machines. The air was cold, and filled with dread. The skullkin did not care. They don't need the air. The skies were darkened by the purple haze of the Maelstrom. The skullkin did not care. It actually made the place more like their home, the Underworld. A human with a large backpack and a Cleaver Blade casually strolled into the Maelstrom Quarry. The skullkin did n- Wait...
"HUMAN!" screamed Nuckal, the skullkin General. "ANNIHILATE THAT FOOL!"
The man that had walked into the skullkin's new home did not budge. He simply took off his backpack, put away his enormous blade, and grabbed a pickax. Upon further examination, the skeletons found that the man was wearing a skull mask under his alarmingly familiar fedora. I say familiar because one of the Skullkin thought he had seen the same hat in a movie once, a movie about an explorer. But that was back when the skeleton was still alive. His memories do not matter at this point. The human in the skull mask began to dig into a rock face, just like what the skullkin were doing earlier. He worked as if this was what he had been doing his entire life. All of the skeleton miners were completely dumbfounded! Was this human really stupid enough to play a practical joke on one of the largest undead armies in the known Universe? They soon found that this was no joke. This man was actually HELPING the skullkin in their mining efforts! However, being human, the mysterious man got tired after working for too long. He tipped his hat to Nuckal, waved goodbye to the army, and began to walk away. As suddenly as he had appeared, he was gone. All of the skeletons were still completely confused.
Chapter 1, Part 2 Edit
Back to work. The mysterious man appeared at the Maelstrom Quarry again. He mined, and mined, and mined. Every day, he appeared, wearing his eerie, always-grinning skull mask. Weeks passed. He was still going to the Quarry. At this point the Skullkin were frightened- no, completely terrified. The man never spoke to anyone, not even the Nexus Force agents that would attempt to infiltrate the Quarry. In fact, the mysterious man actually attacked the other humans! He was completely ruthless in battle. Not once was he smashed by a human or an angry skullkin. But when he wasn't proving his power in combat, he always worked. It was as if fighting and mining were the only things he could even do. Nuckal didn't know what to do. This was a very unusual case. Why would a human ever want to help the skullkin? Humans and skullkin have always been at war with each other. Maybe this man just didn't pay attention to the outside world very much? The only thing he could do is let this man continue his work. Of course, they had absolutely no idea where he goes when he leaves the Maelstrom Quarry every night. It was time that they found out who this man was. Nuckal ordered a team of armed skeleton soldiers to pass through the mountains in the night to follow the man. The cold night time air chilled the man as he easily walked through Aura Mar without injury. Was this man completely INSANE? Aura Mar is possibly the deadliest location in all of Crux Prime, aside from Caldera Mar. The skeletons had to split up to cover more ground and keep the man from seeing them. A few of them got lost in the blazing trenches of Caldera Mar. One of them was mistakenly smashed by Aura Mar's Maelstrom Dragon. There were three skeletons left to pursue the strange human. He strode over to the launchpad at Sentinel Point Zeta, and flew away in a Morbid Orbit modular rocket ship. How were the skullkin supposed to follow him now? Of course, Nuckal was furious of his soldier's failure. Two of the skeletons that returned to him were completely scorched. These were clearly the only ones that survived Caldera Mar. The other three made it back safely.
"Your failure is unacceptable," roared Nuckal to the Skullkin, "so you must therefore be punished." With a single swing of his bone ax, he smashed all five of the skeletons. But the question still remained: Who is the skull mask man?
Chapter 1, Part 3 Edit
Enough was enough. The month of January was over, and the mysterious human in the skull mask continued to appear at the Maelstrom Quarry, digging, and digging, and digging some more, same time every day. It was February 7, 2249, and Nuckal was completely furious. It was time to put an end to this. Who was the man in the mask, and why did he want to help the skullkin? Nuckal knew that the Nexus Force was planning a full-scale assault on the skullkin and the stromlings, starting tomorrow. It "simply happened" that the skull mask man appeared exactly one month before February 8th. It couldn't have been a coincidence! Nuckal ordered a full strike team of powerful skeleton warriors to pin down the skull mask man when he wasn't paying attention.
When the strike team was ready to attack from atop a craggy hill, they were staying as quiet and concealed as possible. One stuck his head out from the side of the rock. The skull mask man was continuing his scheduled mining and digging. He clearly didn't see them at all.
But the odd part was... He waved at them.
Right at the skeletons.
He wasn't looking, and he didn't hear them.
Right when the skeleton stuck his head out. And they thought they heard him laugh. Then and there, the skull mask man dropped his pickax and immediately reached for his backpack. He unfastened the belt holding it closed, grabbed his Cleaver Blade, and... Started spinning. He jumped, and span, and span some more, until he appeared to be surrounded by a churning vortex of blue light and rocky debris. His head and body, which were still mostly visible, looked as if they were completely still. But they could still tell he was spinning. The man shredded his way across the jagged hills. The man skidded straight into the skeletons. Not a single member of the strike team survived.
Chapter 2, Part 1 Edit
"So, how's your infiltration been going?"
"Not too well. They're smarter then I thought they were."
"Paradox knows quite a bit about them now, including the fact that they can talk, and that their mining efforts are being coordinated with extreme precision. You can't underestimate these guys."
"There's a red energy that comes out of them when you smash them. You know, like when Maelstrom energy comes out of a stromling when you smash one. But red. Does Paradox know what that is?"
"Not yet. It might be something beyond Maelstrom energy. A couple Scientists theorized that Maelstrom energy might be the metaphorical bridge that crosses the gap between Imagination and whatever that stuff is inside the skeletons. But this is all speculation. Keep that in mind."
"I should probably get going back to Sergeant Jarls. He wants me to fight some more skeletons. That guy will never stop ordering troops around, will he?"
"Have this before you go."
The first man gave the second person a trident, surging with electricity.
"Heroic Trident of Lighting. Found it after I smashed one of those dang, dirty apes. Keep it, it'll make it easier to fight skeletons without Spinjitzu."
With that, the second person was off, firmly grasping the electrically charged weapon in his right hand. He pushed the exit door open, and left the site of Nexus Tower's construction. The landscape was just as craggy as ever, with just as many Invaders as it had the previous day. The sun was blotted out of the sky, just as it previously was. Crux Prime was just as dismal as it had ever been. It was what the man was used to, so he thought no further on the subject. But before he stepped foot on the battlefield, he remember to do one last thing...
He had to put on his skull mask.
Chapter 2, Part 2 Edit
Nuckal couldn't have been more pleased. The psychopathic skull mask man finally stopped visiting the Maelstrom Quarry. However, all of his joy was ruined when his precious mine was ransacked by Nexus Force agents. Day after day, soldiers clad in ninja costumes would desecrate the mining machines. Not even the strongest Pit Bosses could stop them. Were these men dressing as ninjas simply to make them mad? The only two who made it to Crux Prime from Ninjago were Wu and Sakura Moonstone, the latter not being at all important to the skeletons. Did Sensei Wu give these humans the stupid ninja outfits? How they got them does not matter. What does matter is that their outfits reduce damage from the skeleton's weaponry. There was only one clear choice: make new weapons. But with what?
With Maelstrom Ore.
Of course! Maelstrom is the bane of minifigures. With new weapons forged from the essence of The Darkitect himself, the Nexus Force would be easily destroyed! Nuckal was once again overjoyed with himself. He let a maniacal laugh escape from his nonexistent throat... just as a ninja sneaked behind him and beat him into submission with a staff.
"So you want me to join the Nexus Force? No way. Not after what happened at the outpost last year."
"It wasn't our fault that we couldn't save them. You were one of the only guards there anyway!"
"I was a VOLUNTEER for the Nexus Force. You shouldn't have expected me to be there all the time like an actual Sentinel Grunt."
"Like I said, we couldn't save them! The Maelstrom sent too many Invaders. Besides, that was almost a whole year ago. That's stuff from the past. Don't let it get in the way of your future."
"There's no way you can use excuses to make me a part of your system. I watched my best friends get smashed and corrupted before my OWN EYES. I've seen more terror than what you'll see in your entire LIFE."
"Every new minifigure in our ranks counts. We need you."
An angry glance was shot from underneath the brim of a red baseball cap. A katana was swiped from the table.
"You can't expect me to do anything. After all, I'm just an ordinary man."
Chapter 2, Part 3 Edit
A man by the name Henry stormed out of the meeting room in a bitter rush. He would not let go of his past. It did not matter what the Nexus Force wanted him to do. His life would be so much easier without involvement with the Nexus Force. The only problem with attempting to avoid contact with them is that it's impossible. Henry has no way to escape from Nimbus System. Why would the Nexus Force let him leave? It was his choice to enter the war zone, so there's no way he could get out.
Henry had let his anger towards the Nexus Force well up inside of him for much too long. He had to let it out somehow. What better way to let it out than start a one-man rampage through the torn battlefields of Aura Mar? No, no... smashing stromlings would not do for him. Henry had to do something else. Not smash skeletons... not stromlings...
An idea popped into Henry's hate-filled mind. Of course...
The only thing that could quench his thirst for violence was to smash Nexus Force soldiers.
"Doo do dooo, de de daaaa...." hummed the Skull Mask Man while happily marching through the magma chambers of Caldera Mar. His work at the Quarry was finally over, so it was time to unwind and relax! A Dark Ronin glanced at him, quite perplexed. Was this a skeleton? It sure looked like one, it has a skull face. Best leave the poor lost fellow be. The Ronin glided off towards the current commanding officer of the Caldera Mar stromling forces, Admiral Flogmore. The Dark Ronin let out some grunts and shrieks, and Flogmore nodded in understanding and agreement. Flogmore added something in the form of a "Yaarrrr" or "Aiieey". Flogmore blurted something incomprehensible to the other stromlings, and they stopped casting angry sights at the Skull Mask Man.
The Skull Mask Man took off his stylish brown fedora and decided to take a rest. A spiderling or two hissed and spat at him, and a single ape punched him. All that did for the ape was get itself smashed when the Skull Mask Man pulled out his lighting trident and butchered it into a pile of infected bricks and Maelstrom fumes. It was completely amazing what he did to that ape. What exactly DID he just do, thought some nearby stromlings. Leaped around in the air and span into a... blue... tornado?
Imagination! A stromling pointed its sharp blade hand to one of the Skull Mask Man's arms, and noted that it was exposed skin and not bone. It grunted to all the other nearby stromlings, signalling an attack... There were likely around ten mounted Ronin, a force of twenty Mechs, and countless stromlings, apes, and spiderlings. This was it: The Skull Mask Man was finally cornered, out of imagination, and ready for the end...
Chapter 3, Part 1 Edit
This was it. Henry had to make a life changing decision, or else things would get a little bit... messy. With Assembly-built fortified turrets, a strike team of Space Rangers, and a squadron of Marauders soaring overhead in Paradox Rockets, Henry was completely overwhelmed. His opposition to the ways of the Nexus Force would only bring him trouble, and this was the day that trouble finally decided to land a message through his thick skull. A message that said: "We will look for you. We will find you. And we will smash you."
Caldera Mar was only a few meters away. Either face a painful end at the hands of the stromling forces and risk getting his body infected, or face a painful end at the hands of the Nexus Force, who might not give his body as much mercy.
It was a simple choice.
With an ecstatic "Wooo-hooooo!" Henry leaped straight into the burning pit of Caldera Mar, ready for doom. Rather than finding his own demise, Henry found himself standing alone in a quiet, barren magma chamber, without a stromling in sight.
"That's odd.. shouldn't there be a large occupation of Maelstrom creatures in this zone?' muttered Henry to himself. Nobody was nearby, and he could hear his message echoing across the open-roofed chamber. Henry squinted his eyes and found that much farther down, there were indeed stromlings: a whole crowd of them, encircled around something. It must have been something interesting, since stromlings aren't known for having the best attention spans. Henry's words echoed to the stromling's location, and it was as if they had just sprung to life. They all jolted up, no longer paying attention to whatever it was that they were staring at, and glanced in Henry's general direction.
Henry unsheathed his katana from his waist, and charged forward. As he stared through the gaps in the crowd of stromlings, he could barely make our a figure behind them. Did it have... a skull mask? A smiling skull mask was what he could clearly see. And an amazingly stylish fedora. The man... or, whatever it was, looked extremely battered and wounded. He was lying on the ground, barely grasping a shined trident, which was covered in purple fluid. He had clearly done some damage to the stromlings, but not enough. He needed to be rescued. A Venture League bouncer was installed into the ground nearby. It was the way to escape from Caldera Mar. Henry didn't think it would be all that great of an idea to leave, since there likely was still a force of Nexus Force soldiers waiting on the floating rocks. However, Henry felt it was his duty to help this wounded, helpless man. Most minifigures on Crux, if smashed, would simply rebuild in a safe position, thanks to the mystical properties of the Imagination Nexus. But Henry wasn't a hero fighting for the Nexus anymore, so it would not revive him if smashed. He would still take the risk to keep another fellow human out of harm's way.
Chapter 3, Part 2 Edit
"So, what's your name?" Henry bluntly asked as he tugged on the mysterious man's arm to get him out of harm's way.
There was a long, almost awkward pause. Henry could hardly carry the load of an entire man and his katana at once, especially while he had to run away from an army of demonic soldiers in a land that had to be at least 150 degrees. The Venture League bouncer system was only a few feet away...
Until it began to flash. The bouncer had run out of energy, and exploded into a pile of bricks, ready for someone to rebuild it.
"You've got to be kidding!" Henry blurted out angrily. "Doesn't that just figure!"
The odd man with the skull mask retained his vacant expression. After all, the skull was not his face. His eyes were not even visible beneath the deep eyes of the mask. Looking into those dark holes was like staring into an abyss, looking into eternity. There was something off about this person... somehow, he didn't feel entirely human. Henry loosened his grasp on the man's arm, and shoved him aside, behind a column of rock. The quick build was completed with ease. The bouncer was back, ready for usage. "Hop on!" shouted Henry to the other man. The two of them bolted straight into the air with aid from the fan bouncer machine.
Henry landed on his knees with a powerful thud on top of a thick floating rock. The wounded man with the skull mask was not so lucky. He fell and skidded head first. His brown fedora went flying off of his head, and gently floated down into the burning depths of Caldera Mar. A hollow sound emerged from the mask's mouth... a sound of sorrow.
"Come on, it's just a hat. There's more important things in life." said Henry in his most emotionless voice. "Here, take this." Henry handed some sort of red and black box with a wind-up handle on its side. The front had a white cross symbol. "It's a Doc-in-a-Box. It'll heal you up."
The man with the mask glanced at the item with puzzlement, and then swiped it from Henry's open hands. The machine was activated and repaired the man's armor in an instant.
Not even a "thank you" was released from the man's mouth. Henry cast a look of disgust. "Do you know a way out of this horrific maze without being caught by anyone, or are you just some stupid brute who charges head first into a battle?"
A disgruntled sound was made by the man in the mask. He then sighed heavily. His hands reached up towards his head, and he carefully slipped off his frightening mask. The face beneath the mask had short blonde hair, sunken eyes and fairly well shaped cheek bones.
"I probably know only as much as you do. I'm not a genius, and I'm no dolt. I'm just-"
"An ordinary man," Henry interrupted.
"How did you know what I was going to say?"
Chapter 3, Part 3 Edit
"Say, did you hear that question that I asked you earlier?"
"My name? Yeah. I heard."
"Why didn't you answer?"
"I was kind of busy being wounded and helpless."
"Enough funny guy business. I want answers, and I want them now." Henry was getting incredibly impatient. He knew that there were soldiers just waiting for him to leave Caldera Mar. Once he took a step out... BAM! They'd be ready for him with as much artillery as they could carry. Henry needed to hurry, or else the soldiers might get impatient too... which could lead to them marching straight into Caldera Mar to get him. With stromling forces and Nexus Force soldiers ready to destroy him, he wasn't quite comfortable staying there.
"Don't be like that man. You're coming across as being kind of a jerk. Name's Jeremiah. What's yours?"
"Jeremiah? Sounds a little... outdated for this time period. Still sounds nice. My name's Henry. I suppose it's a pleasure to meet you."
"OK Henry, I'll do something for you, since you saved my skin down there in the magma chamber. I'll protect you while we escape from Caldera Mar. It's alright if I get smashed, but you need me to keep yourself from getting destroyed by Nexus Force soldiers."
"...How did you know that I was a renegade?" asked Henry. He was indeed quite puzzled: this was supposedly a secret operation that the Nexus Force was launching. They wouldn't be able to tell the public that they were assassinating other minifigures. That would get them very bad publicity, then people would look down on them, then riots would start, then civil war...
"I have my ways," Jeremiah quickly responded. He glanced at the skies quizzically. There were no rockets overhead, or any other minifigures to be seen. No soldiers could be seen on the other floating rocks. It appeared that the operation had blown to a halt. Were they just going to let Henry go?
That was then Henry and Jeremiah began to hear the rumbling.
FLASHBACK 1 - Expansion, Part 1 Edit
6 months ago.
"Johnathan Freeman... Kenny Fredrickson. Greggory Fisher," Jared read the names off from the flashing screen. "All smashed."
The door creaked open slowly. Light emerged into the dim closet. A man strolled into the room, and looked over Jared's shoulder, fixing his gaze upon the names of the deceased. It was shocking to see how many men had been found lifeless, or had simply disappeared.
"I know it's hard for you to see these names. To tell you the truth, I choke up seeing it too. They need to pay for doing this," the mysterious man whispered.
"Kenny was my best bro. We did everything together. To see him gone... it kills me inside. That 'Captain' Storm guy will wish he never set foot on Crux when I get to him..."
"You don't know he ordered them to do it!"
"Why would they destroy him otherwise? This is a well-trained, well-organized military we're dealing with. They're very disciplined, and wouldn't go against orders..." Jared struggled to let the words escape from his aching throat. A sob was immediately released afterwards.
Jared swiftly rose from his padded chair, and stormed out of the dark room. His pace increased as he made his way towards the armory. Filled with rage, he kicked the reinforced door nearly off of its hinges, but in the process, he ended up jumping around grasping his foot and spouting out words that could not be deciphered. Despite the pain, he got back to his senses and sprinted right towards the armory's gun rack. Jared grasped a one-handed ray gun and a long barrel blaster to keep on his back.
The Nexus Force would pay for what they had done to the New Crux Republic.
FLASHBACK 1 - Ascension, Part 1 Edit
Time: 20,000 years ago.
"Ah, Grand Starlord, God of Solis Kryip, Great Majesty-"
"Cut to the chase, minion. I don't need to hear the same thing every single time you address me. What do you want, I'm sort of busy being a fantastic ruler, by the way," coldly replied the shrouded figure.
"My lord, enormous metal birds have descended from the heavens, carrying odd men- they look just like you!" screamed the messenger.
"Get out of my way, cretin. I must confront these invaders," the Grand Starlord rose from his shining, gem encrusted throne. A pure, smooth blue silk carpet extended to the gates at the very front of the enormous chamber. He, or it- whatever the being was- strode calmly down the narrow carpet, staring down the messenger servant with a menacing glare. A dark hood concealed the ruler's face, but all that was visible was a faint blue glow and blank white eyes. Normally eyes like his would look soulful and understanding... but these eyes were filled with hatred. A feeling that should not have been embedded into the being's soul.
The servant, a being that vaguely resembled a large black lobster with no front arms and a shorter tail, reared up on its hind legs and used its sideways mandibles to pry open the door for its master. Most of the natives of the planet Kryiptuun looked just like the servant- it was, after all, the working class of life forms. They are all mildly intelligent, usually speaking in their own simple language, but some could be taught complex language.
The "god" stepped outside of his glorious fortress walls to behold a shocking image. Gargantuan drop ships were landing on his kingdom grounds, dropping down squadrons of glowing blue men. Their bodies matched the ruler's body, but their minds and souls couldn't be any more different. The ruler pulled his inky black hood down, showing his face to the invaders.
"Just as I thought," said one of the Mythrans emerging from a drop ship, "he's one of us.
FLASHBACK 1 - Dissension, Part 1 Edit
Time: September 2148.
Place: Universal Stream B374-M4Y0510.
Gary couldn't believe what he had just heard.
The Nexus Force had lost the Battle of Avant Gardens.
According to the report sent by Commander Beck Strongheart (a report he didn't finish, due to his untimely demise) the Maelstrom Spider that called Paradox's abandoned mine "home" finally decided to rain down vengeance upon the Nexus Force. The attack began with Chainsaw Stromlings and Hammer Stromlings bursting out of the infected grounds, alongside the standard Stromling warriors. Powerful Mechs began to appear as well. These minions of the Maelstrom were, of course, no match for the Nexus Force soldiers stationed in Avant Gardens. The Sentinel Guards sent an enormous volley of bullets through the Stromlings, quickly depleting most of the weaker soldiers. Three Mechs lined up and began marching towards the Sentinel Checkpoint, firing off as many rounds as they could. Two Mechs were successfully destroyed and built into turrets by Sentinel Engineer Fitz Vanderbuilt, but the last Mech entered the base and beat the guards into submission with its own hands. Quickly springing to action, Melodie Foxtrot sprang forward, leaping into the air in front of the Mech. Using her laser daggers, she efficiently shredded apart the robot in seconds. Mech bricks were scattered across the base. With a few more bullets and lasers precisely placed into the Stromling army from Assembly Engineer turrets, it seemed that the battle had been won.
That was when the screams began.
A Rank Two Knight, who identified himself as Brannan Landers, came sprinting out of the Maelstrom Mine, waving his arms to catch the attention of Commander Beck. Upon entry into the base, he informed Beck that the Maelstrom Spider was exiting the cave.
And so it was.
All that was visible at first was purple haze emerging from the entrance of the dank cave. A silhouette of an enormous quadrupedal creature was soon visible through the clearing fog. Piercing red eyes glowed through the haze, and a bright purple lights appeared to be materializing next to the eyes. "It's charging its guns! Everybody, seek safer grounds to attack it from!" yelled out Commander Beck. The Sentinel soldiers in the Encampment saluted him, and darted off out of the base and through the desolate battlefield. Theo Balfour, tightly grasping his spear, positioned himself behind a tree just as Fitz Vanderbuilt began quick-building a comm beacon to call in an air strike. The sleek fighter jets came roaring across the cloudless skies, white trails of exhaust building up behind them. With a quick swerve, the formation of jets were straight above the Spider, which was advancing towards the ravaged Sentinel Encampment. One jet locked onto their target with an orange laser sight, and a flurry of bombs tumbled out of the jets, hurdling towards the Maelstrom Spider. Knowing of the impending strike, the Spider crouched slightly to the ground, and with an enormous leap, it crashed straight into the Sentinel Encampment, tearing its walls to scrap metal with its four legs.
Unfortunately for Beck Strongheart, he happened to be standing right where one of the Spider's legs landed. Beck's scattered parts began to fizzle and slightly dissolve, with purple gas emitting from them. With every step the Maelstrom Spider took, it infected the ground with a trail of infected sludge. Upon its landing into the base, this slime came in contact with Beck, infecting him. The Commander that the Sentinels knew was gone, replaced with a horrible Stromling.
Back in Nimbus Station, the evacuation began. Countless civilians dashed out of the Red Blocks Amphitheater, screaming that the end of the universe was upon them. Johnny Thunder had emerged from the mob of people, holding an electrified whip weapon. "I'm not going down without a fight!" he yelled out over the screams of the other minifigures.
Gary and his companions in the 41st Engineer Battlefield Support League were completely stunned. One of Gary's friends, a Rank One Sentinel Knight, was stationed in Avant Gardens and communicating with him just then, telling him of the battle. The last thing Gary heard from him was a scream. When Gary tried to talk to him, his built-in communicator system said "Your friend is not available now." The Engineers knew that Avant Gardens was out of the picture. A lost cause. Now they just had to wait for the legion of Stromlings and the Maelstrom Spider to come to them.
Gary Kryiptuun's Journal - Entry 1 Edit
"The Universe that we know and love is not alone. Many identical, or near-identical, universes flow with it through the vast, infinite ocean of the Multiverse. Our "universal stream," classified as Stream L1V3-0C70810, is just one of many streams in this universe that are classified as "L1V3." Upon further research, this stream that we exist in was the main branch of a stream that split apart, which we researchers have dubbed "4L9H4." Many hundreds, or maybe thousands, of universal streams branched off from it. One such stream was B374-M4Y0510, a stream that I have been investigating thoroughly. With extremely advanced technologies powered by the forces of Pure Imagination itself, Assembly, Venture League and Paradox have worked together to be able to "track" the creation and destruction of streams, both of which happen quite frequently. B374-M4Y0510 was slightly behind us timeline-wise. Before an event that we figured out happened in September in that stream, its composition was entirely identical to ours.
After this "event," which lasted for more than a week, the universal stream vanished. Normally that would be considered a common occurrence, but the terrifying part of this was that after this annihilation of the stream, what stood in its place was identified as Maelstrom energy. Paradox is continuing to look into the subject, but only with researchers that have nothing else better to do with their time, as the main scientists are still analyzing this universe's Maelstrom.
And of course, it gets worse... all other universes that we have labeled with the stream prefix "B374" have been replaced with Maelstrom energies. I would have mentioned this earlier in this report if Paradox hadn't just found out about it while I was writing.
None of these universes ever got past the month of September. That means that there were no combat operations on Crux Prime, no data recovery on the Venture Explorer, no exploration of the comet Frostburgh, and no construction of the Time Twister that allowed the future's soldiers to win the Battle of Nimbus Station. This means... that they never went to the battle in the first place... but the battle was won... and the composition of these universes are identical to ours...
This is the kind of thing that we need to communicate with Mythrans about.
"W-w-what is that horrible r-rumbling?" blurted out Henry as his body shook violently. Fractures began to suddenly form on the thick hunks of rock floating above the crater of Caldera Mar. The warm, humid air continued beating down on their skin, which only made the body-shaking rumbling worse.
"Henry... there are a few things that I should probably tell you about before we get execu-" Jeremiah was cut off as boulders of jagged rock crumbled down from Caldera Mar's mountain walls. Jeremiah and Henry leaped back and forth, weaving across shards of stone raining down like shrapnel from a fiery explosion. As a matter of fact...
That's exactly was it was.
Henry and Jeremiah were too busy taking multiple leaps of fate to notice the explosions. Multiple cries and screams of pain, and the occasional "Fall back, there's too many!" could be heard. Henry was the first to notice. Of course, it should have been rather easy, since multiple Nexus Force soldiers were soaring down from the craggy rocks, either landing into the blazing crater or heavily impacting on the fractured rocks. A majority of them were Sentinels, mostly Space Rangers. This was currently one of the best, if not the best, groups of Sentinel warriors. The Space Ranger armor was not publicly available to Sentinel soldiers: only specific people chosen by the Duke would be able to bear the armor. To see these highly skilled soldiers easily going down was not a pleasant sight.
"Seriously, what's going on? What was that rumbling?"
"Trust me, you'll see..."
Emerging victoriously from the presumably violent clash atop of the rocks, soldiers clad in stone gray silently marched forward. Darkened visors hid all facial features, and each man had a set of binoculars, a rifle, and a knife, on the chest, back, and leg respectively. All of them looked down at Henry and Jeremiah in unison. Their precision felt robotic. It was an absolutely terrifying sight.
"We are the soldiers of the New Crux Republic, and you're coming with us."
"Bu-" Henry stammered.
"No. Do not protest. You are an enemy of freedom. Surrender, or we will be forced to destroy you."
"We aren't even members of the Nexus Force! Go ahead and search us. We won't have any faction badges. Check our passports. We have gone on no quests on behalf of the Nexus Force, and we have been given no commendations by them," yelled out Jeremiah furiously.
"Wait, look, it's Unit 342! What's he doing there, and why is he holding a skull helmet?"
Henry's eyes widened with curiosity.
"What do you have to do with these men?" shouted Henry.
"It's a long story. A very, very long story. I'll start with this... I'm trying to destroy the Nexus Force."
Chapter 4, Part 2 Edit
"Yeah, bringing wrath, despair and ruin upon the pathetic soldiers of the Nexus Force is kinda what I do," flatly responded Jeremiah.
"OK, sure, I may smash a few Nexus Force soldiers in my spare time, but it's not like I actually want them all dead!" said Henry.
Three of the soldiers silently jumped down from their perch atop the jagged rocks. Henry wondered if they were even human. Were they robots? Were they even alive? Despite having no features exposed, Henry could feel their ghastly glare penetrating through his flesh and straight into his soul. A chill ran straight down his spine.
"Uni - er, Jeremiah, I think you would be able to explain the situation best," said one of the soldiers. His stance remained very stiff.
"Alright Henry, you see, shortly after humans began to colonize the fragments of Crux when the Nexus Force was formed, towns and cities began to sprout up. Most of these settlements were protected by the Nexus Force from the Maelstrom. Where I lived, the people were protected by the soldiers of the New Crux Republic, a small nation that was being formed by recently arrived colonists, most of which were skilled in politics. This new nation was settled, and life was good. Any and all Maelstrom infection on the fragments they colonized was easily cleared by their highly trained military. Those in the military of the New Crux Republic had been previously trained in the ways of combat, unlike the masses of the Nexus Force. Their military force was composed of civilians - just volunteers..."
"Just like what I was?" asked Henry.
"Yes, just like you. You were from the earlier days of the Nexus Force. Now, as I was explaining, the New Crux Republic continued to expand across the fragments of Crux, bringing salvation to those lost and forgotten by the Nexus Force... just like your research facility. I know a lot about you, Henry. I know almost everything you did in your time working with them. The facility that you worked at was out of our territory, so we didn't know about it. We aren't exactly... permitted... to enter Nexus Force territory. After some dumb incident last summer... poor kid should have known what he was getting himself into. Oh, Jared... he'll be missed, that's for sure.
"So anyway, the Nexus Force thinks we're getting in 'their way'. We're a complication to them. You'll learn more when we bring you to our Starbase later. But I have some work to do... Henry, have you ever heard of Crater Town?"
"No, I haven't, actually," replied Henry.
"Wow, why did I ask that? It's in NCR territory. I have some business to take care of there, and I'll need your help! When we're heading there I'll show you an important document that I borrowed from someone-" Jeremiah stated.
"Cough coughSTOLEcough cough," rudely interrupted one of the New Crux Republic soldiers.
Jeremiah cast an angry glance at him.
Chapter 4, Part 3 Edit
"Alright boys, our targets are in Caldera Mar, a couple meters away from the left-side Dragon Invader. Wow, that thing looks MAD! Are those boulders crushing its wings?"
"Shut it Gary, that doesn't matter. We need to take these guys out quickly and cleanly. Make sure there's no evidence, so others don't get suspicious of us," yelled the soldier nicknamed T-Rex. He wore a T-Rex shirt, Crux Prime-type armor and a MKII dragon helm. A scar ran down across the bridge of his nose. An Engineer that was strangely wearing a Rank 2 helmet, despite the fact he was in the third tier, shifted somewhat nervously. He reached up to his helmet and clicked a small button underneath its radio antennae. The blue glowing light on the front of the helmet began to project a transparent blue frame, almost like a three-dimensional blueprint, in the shape of a turret mounted on four legs. A glow of imagination surrounded the engineer's head as bricks materialized out of thin air, building into the exact shape of the turret that was projected.
The turret used its optic sensors to attempt to lock onto any nearby targets that were deemed as enemies by its central processor. None were in its range.
"Hey Indy, I heard you wanted some excitement, so here you go. Our targets are already fleeing from Caldera Mar. Time to go chase after them!" blurted out Gary Kryiptuun. "They'll escape if we don't hurry! Get ready to run!"
The soldier named Indy immediately darted across the floating rocks with ease, almost as if there was solid ground. He seemed to be a natural-born adventurer. Gary, on the other hand, may have been strong but he wasn't the most graceful, so he needed to take a bit more time across the rocks.
The squad's leader was Luke Hurricane, an incredibly skilled Rank 3 daredevil. He activated his suit's ability to light itself on fire and make himself run at extraordinary speeds. Like a flash of light, he was easily in and out of Caldera Mar, heading through the canyon pass into Aura Mar, where their targets were located. They had taken a stop at the completely innocent and not-at-all-suspicious-or-armed chef that wanders through the pass, about to buy some freshly cooked barbecue chicken legs.
Henry could hear the crackling of flames and the beat of footsteps against the stone ground. He immediately reached down for his katana, and turned around exactly when Luke was about to blast him in the head with his flare guns. Henry's reflexes were, unfortunately for the Nexus Force, slightly faster, and his swords pierced straight through Luke. He collapsed on the ground with a blade sticking straight out of his back, and his body smashed, only to get rebuilt feet away. Henry's sword was laying down on the cold ground, but just as he was about to reach for it, the next thing that he saw was a laser rifle pointed at his face.
"Don't you dare make another move..." coldly stated T-Rex, "...or I shoot, and things won't end well."