BRICKS WINDOWS has returned to
its home city of Speranza in
an attempt to keep its
home from getting REKT by
clutches of the vile monsters
Little does Skip know that the
FREAKING DANGLY TITS WHALE has secretly
begun hatching a shit-ton of
void-blasting flies even
after getting its brain smashed
by a few megawatts of laser beam
When hatched, this ultimate
shitstorm bug swarm spells certain doom
for anything it fucking touches
sending Skip in a struggle to restore sanity
to this shithole wasteland...
Against my better judgment, I placed autocannons on the Hugging Momma dirigible. Then I rained metal from a mile and a half above, hoping it wouldn't fall on the city. I thought about raising walls and putting a glass dome above the city but it was more wasteful than the exploding trees. Now flies were popping from the front, from the side, and from above. The bullets from above scattered horribly but I didn't care. I could get a few hundred bullets for a single point of DM, after all discounts.
I had my operators back home check the video footage of the tree stunt to see if it was worth it. Then one of them suggested that if the flies were attracted to the Dungeon walls, all I had to do was to create honey pots for them to spread out. I thanked the guy and put myself to work. I dropped small panels of Dungeon Wall all around the ground, each of them costing 1 DM to infuse. The flies broke off from the swarm as predicted. Spreading out, the autocannons could hit more of them, and soon streams of void vortices spread in all directions like the chains of black pearls of doom.
Then I got creative. Using a Domain Beacon, I created the walls in the air, letting them fall. Above, behind, to the sides. I was pulling the swarm apart, stretching the cloud, and increasing the area they were occupying. The Vulcan cannons on the walls moved back and forth, sweeping the swarm at various altitudes. The rain of lead still fell from above, scoring several dozen kills on the lesser Infernali that still swarmed the land underneath the Beelzevoid swarm.
Even then, the swarm had advanced for several miles and I had thinned it to only half of its original size. I turned on the air raid sirens and told all citizens to evacuate the two outer rings and move to the other side of the park. Then I placed autocannons on the second set of walls from the outside. I also infused all trees in the unused area between these walls, ready to detonate them.
Then I added more tripod-mounted Vulcan autocannons on the ground. Four miles of guns between the outer and second walls.
It now looked like a cluster of frog eggs lying at the bottom of a river. Black spheres intersected and more appeared at the front. Even this close, I couldn't discern the individual flies, the void vortices disrupting my Domain. The swarm reached the outer wall. Lasers, autocannons, and the stone itself started to vanish in spherical holes as the flies blew up on their own. The swarm extended and spread all over the wall, descending upon it as if to feed on my Mana and destroy it. The swarming Infernali dashed underneath the swarm, some dumb beasts falling into the vortices and vanishing all the same.
The bullets from the dirigible weren't enough, by the time they reached the swarm they had scattered too much. I created a net of rope two miles wide by a mile long over the swarm and let it drop with some lead weights. The net fell on the flies and they exploded upon contact, creating a roof of vortices. The swarm ate the walls, then the remaining flies either went to the sides to eat more walls or forward to the next wall.
The tripod autocannons started shooting. Trees exploded. Infernali invaded the space in sections of the wall that were entirely cast into the void. Worse, without the wall to mark the boundaries of my Dungeon, I lost control of the slice that was opened up. I had to use Beacons to keep the Domain covering that area, otherwise, the guns would stop shooting.
I used the jump jets to make Bricks Windows fly over the wall and land on the other side. All this time, I had kept my distance. Perhaps I needed to do something more radical. Ejecting from Bricks Windows, I Replicated another new model of Mecha. The experiment with floating Dungeon Walls was so successful that I decided to do that with a variation of Blackjack Six.
This one was called Blackjack Wing for obvious reasons.
With pockets of vacuum-filled Dungeon Walls in the arms, legs, the entirety of the head (insert air-head joke here), and some sections of the torso, this version was lighter and more nimble. It also had a jet turbine and wings behind, allowing the humanoid Mecha to fly.
With autocannon bullets pinging against the armored exterior, I flew straight into the swarm. The Dungeon walls infused in the Mecha's chassis drew the attention of the swarm, who divested and went straight toward me. I zipped over the cloud and dragged it along with me. At least the ones that were closer to me than the rest of the walls.
On autopilot, Bricks Windows kept shooting at the swarm. The guns on the ground kept shooting at the swarm. I replicated ammo crates. Flying up, a ribbon of spheres behind me, I finally saw the flies up close, as the explosions were now behind the swarm. They were the size of a human's fist, with twelve legs and four giant eyes. The wings were insectile enough but not transparent. In fact, very little to no light reflected on the summoned monsters.
Reaching the limit of my personal Domain, I cast a beacon from the ground toward me. That would give me two miles of leeway before I had to use another trick. And so I kited the swarm away from the city, exploding trees to kill void bugs and Infernali alike. The swarm was pouring down the disintegrated section of the wall, compromising the inner ring. I Replicated more jet fuel inside the wings, otherwise, I would plummet.
I had to fly in circles around the swarm to make sure I kept their attention. This went on for hours as the autocannons slowly whittled down the dumb void fly swarm. The flies on the ground were all dead but the Infernali running into the wall kept me from fixing the wide gap. It went for hundreds of yards. Inside the walls, it was chaos. I moved Bricks Windows to the gap to try and plug it. I also awakened Ranger Ork ß to help defend the gap. Slowly, I was retaking control of the situation.
The next day...
"So, this is what the Wobby Dicks do," I told Marshall. "They incubate the eggs, then create this swarm of flies. If one of these floating whales reaches our walls, we are fucked."
The cleanup was messy and costly. Also lengthy. After eradicating the last of these accursed Beelzevoid flies, I spent days rebuilding the walls. Now, we were going to place three more walls in the outer ring and another two walls thirteen and fourteen miles away from the Sacred Tree. That would give us defensive bulwarks at four, eight, and then every mile after that. Eight sets of walls. The construction was restrained to my DM generation. For that reason, I wanted to turn it all into a forest. I had obviously been lax in my Dungeon Mana generation. I needed floors of forest to give me the Mana needed to defend this shit.
"And if they send all the whales they have..."
"One of them will reach the walls. Hell, if they send the whales with a stronger escort, they don't even need to send all of them."
I was shaking. Literally. The fight with the flies was unnerving. One wrong move and that was it.
Fortunately, the Infernali seemed to be content sending only the swarms toward me. The whale I killed hadn't been replaced, though.
"I have a group of ten teenagers that wish to abandon their Classes and become Rangers like the first group," Marshall said, trying to change the subject.
No. They won't become Rangers. I have something different for them. Something that could be even better. We needed people with the ability to deal massive damage. Heavy firepower. I had just the thing for these ten teens.
"Give everyone who wants five days off," I told Marshall. And send these teens to the third wagon of the land train. They are to move in there during their training."
The rangers were the first step. They were lightly armored and mobile, a strike team that could be deployed fast. But these ten teenagers that volunteered needed to be the opposite. Heavy armored, with good staying power and extreme long range.
They arrived the next day along with their families. I boarded Blackjack Six and went to meet them. Camera drones buzzed around and above, ready to capture the scene for more propaganda. We needed every ounce of goodwill we could squeeze. The video of my fight against the demons and flies was going viral in our small community right now.
The families were not entirely human. No, I didn't say that to demean them. They had animal features. Two of the mothers even had tails and most of them had animal ears on top of their heads instead of the round human ears at the sides. Fox, wolf, cat, I didn't care. They were all meatbags, I mean, people to me.
"Greetings," I said in my robot voice. "Stay at ease. No need to salute or bow." It was hard to deal with the devotion some of the civilians had for me. "I thank you for entrusting your youth to me. They will be well-treated and given all the opportunities to grow strong I can offer them. It will be hard but I hope it is also rewarding."
The mothers and fathers seemed proud. It was like they'd enrolled their kids in an Ivy League college with a full scholarship. The reality wasn't that far away. But this was more like the military.
"Thank you, Mr. Babbage!" One mother exulted.
"No. It is I who has to thank you. The fight for our community, for our world, belongs to all of us. I alone can only do so much."
At my fake modesty, a few people turned their heads to stare at Jabberwock's preserved head and the giant crystal on top of the first wagon. I had the robot's head turn that way too.
"Yes, I can kill World Bosses. I can't kill all of them before they kill all of us. That's what matters. We need warriors but I won't force anyone to pick up a weapon and risk their lives."
I approached the group of bashful teens. "With great power, comes great responsibility. Earn power to protect the ones you love, not to subjugate and dominate the ones you don't."
"I also apologize for not letting you find your own path. Hear me. If at any point in your training, you feel the Class being offered to you is not the right one, don't pick it. We have a myriad of jobs needing dedicated people. Some of them are within the walls of the wagons behind me, safe. Do not feel pressured. Speak up. So long you remain polite and respectful, I will hear you out. That I swear."
They nodded vehemently.
"We will start with physical conditioning. Many adventurers and warriors rely on the System Attributes to keep them competitive and after you earn a few hundred physical Attributes, exerting your bodies becomes almost impossible. You will receive good rations and a training regimen to make you bulk up. That might increase the effect of your physical Attributes by twenty to forty percent. Though not on the Status screen."
A six-four man with a hundred points of Strength would beat a five-foot man with the same score every day of the week.
"I cannot guarantee you a position with the Guardians. But you will get several opportunities to gain levels. Don't worry. Now, say goodbye to your parents."
They had some minutes to hug and shed tears of joy. When I had their attention again, I spoke to the parents.
"Every Sunday morning, you may come here to spend the day with your children. They will have time to send emails and make video calls during the night. I thank you, once more."
They thanked me profusely and I led the ten youths into the wagon. I had a gym for them with specialized equipment and two instructors that agreed to follow NASA's astronaut training program.
Now, I had some power armor to design.
I started with Blackjack Six's chassis and enlarged it by twenty percent. Bulk up and keep the mobility, remember I had to fit a human being inside. A buff human being. I also needed to keep the squishy flesh from being harmed either by enemy attacks or by sudden accelerations.
I needed a body suit with adequate cushioning. This time, it would be body-fitting spandex. Hideaki Anno-approved spandex suits. I had a person who unlocked the Product Designer Class and assigned the uniforms to her.
The computers were hidden in the lumbar support, right above the kidneys. I had to change limb proportions to fit human appendages inside, which broke the humanoid proportions. The lower legs and the forearms of the power armor were longer than they should. Two handles hidden before the robotic wrists allowed the pilot to use finger dexterity to press buttons and issue commands. They would basically need to learn how to walk again.
But the extra leg armor allowed me to put jump jets that wouldn't cook the pilot's feet. Oh, that's true. I needed good heat insulation. Air tanks, life support. They would need to use diapers inside the suit. Better warn the Product Designer now.
Increase the sensor suite. Optic fiber periscopes or full electronic sights? I added both. A mechanism in front of the eyes would switch between systems. Responsive servos and motion sensors in independent circuits allow comfortable motion. Damn. Having meaty pilots inside the suits was such a bother! More than half the power armor's systems had to be dedicated to making sure they wouldn't die inside. And that's because I wasn't counting the armor in that calculation.
I added hard points for heavy weapons underneath the forearms. These would connect to either Gatling autocannons or heavy lasers. Then another two, one on each shoulder, that could have, as well as yet more autocannons or lasers, either a multi-rocket launcher, a Gauss cannon, or even auto mortars for long-range ballistic bombardment. Thinking again, perhaps I should put a flamethrower as one of the options for the arm hard points. Handheld Swords? Axes? Spears? Why not. These external weapons didn't even need to be mounted on the power armor.
But not chainsaw swords. These existed in fiction just for the cool factor. Gore and bone bits would jam the chain and it took too long to saw through an enemy. And if we were designing hand-held weapons – they needed to be adapted to be used on power armor hands and some considerations needed to be taken into account. It was not just scaling them up and hoping they would work. Why not give them the ability to control guns or recon drones? These drones could fill any number of purposes. Also, the drone control antenna array would allow me to expand the range of their communications. Good.
Oh. What? Why humans need this much room to get in and out of power armor? The whole thing needs to basically split open! Best I can do is open the top and then hoist the person and then close around the shoulders. Add some sturdy bolts to keep the lid from popping and we're good. I also needed to make sure the life support system would engage automatically if it detected a hostile environment, then air and water filters, and the tanks needed to keep the pilot breathing for at least 24 hours. Oh, Heating and air-conditioning too. Don't want to cook my humans.
I finished the design and Replicated some prototypes using the teenagers' measurements. I named the power armor "Gilgamesh".
> For creating level 140 Power Armor "Grilled Tex-Mex" you earned 4 Experience Points.
Damn deaf Aliens. Were they doing that on purpose? Why do I feel hungry now?
Bio: The author would like to reinforce for the umpteenth time that the characters' opinions are their own, may be intentionally wrong, do not reflect my (MDW's) personal viewpoints neither are included in this work to further any political agenda (I don't even live in the same hemisphere or country as you, whichever those are. I'm writing from the Earth-Sun L3 point for all I care). My works serve no purpose other than to tell stories with conflicting viewpoints. Use of the reader's critical sense is highly advised.