Star Forgers #5: Boot Camp pt.2

Star Forgers 7.0

Previously on Star Forgers…

The Star Forgers are a group of individuals dedicated to the relighting and creation of stars throughout the multiverse. In the World of Data, a Lambda series anti-virus program has gained sentience as a result of merging with his Star Core. After being taken to meet their leader, Sorceress Udona, Lambda learns the full scope of a Star Forgers duties. After meeting another Star Forger named Ester, the pair is taken by Wú Wěi Yuán to the World of Snow so he can undergo training. But shortly after their arrival to this Earth, Wú seemingly shuts down Lambda’s Star Core and sends him plummeting out of the skies…

l “Lambda” A.V/Junsui Envore

Anti-Virus program given sentience. Radiant

Wú Wěi Yuán

Grieving Warrior. Trainer of Radiants

Ester Connors

Rookie Radiant

The wind blew gently in the skies of the World of Snow. Though the wind was gentle, it brought a cold deep enough to freeze Lambda’s wings and prevent him from flying. Without his Star Core or his wings, there was little he could do as he spiraled helplessly through the air. Fear overwhelming his young mind. The snow blinding him as he fell so he couldn’t even grasp how far from the ground he was. Lambda couldn’t help but wonder if he was going to die only weeks after gaining sentience and mere minutes after learning what it meant to be a Star Forger. For minutes like an eternity he fell. Until finally, he crashes through several trees like a meteorite. Hitting the ground and bouncing several times violently, crashing through more trees along the way before finally sliding to a stop. There he lay motionless as the snow continued to fall and slowly bury him as if he never crash landed. After several more minutes, Lambda slowly pulls himself from under the snow using just his right arm. Pain and cold coursing through every inch of his body all the while. His eyes flickering as he barely maintains consciousness before collapsing onto the snow face first. This doesn’t last long as he’s nudged over onto his back by Wú. His face as stoic as ever.

“Congratulations, you overexerted yourself and somehow survived crash landing onto a strange new World.” Wú says as he crouches before Lambda. Both forearms resting on his thighs as he looks down on the boy. “You have enough power for your multiversal translator but nothing else. When this happens, it takes most Radiant’s 24 hours to recover and get back to full strength. Some it can take 12 hours and real special ones just need 6 hours. Your first test is to survive until you get back to 100% then find Ester and myself. You come too soon, and I’ll just send you right back down here.” Wú stands and turns his back to Lambda. “Good luck rookie.” he says before disappearing in a flash of gold light leaving only behind a strand of hair that quickly disappears amidst the snow and trees.

Another minute passes before Lambda attempts to stand up. Falling face first once more as his left arm gives under his own weight. This time using only his right arm he manages to work himself to his feet. His left arm now entirely motionless “I wanna go home…” he whimpered to himself. He had never experienced pain before let alone the pain of a broken arm. He wanted to scream and cry but he was too exhausted to do either. His battered and bruised body seemingly moving on its own. “H-hello?” he asks hearing the sound of footsteps approaching. Lambda surveys his surroundings and finds himself being observed by a deer with crystalized antlers and silvery-blue fur. “Oh…um…hi…” Lambda looks hesitantly upon the strange deer who approaches him slowly. Sniffing him before it licks the injured part of his face. Lambda cautiously and gently pets it in response. Seeing he meant no harm, 8 other deer approach from nearby. “You’re staying with me?” he gazes into the Frost Deer’s big black eyes as it and the others begin to graze or rest nearby. “Thank you.” Lambda pets the Frost Deer once more. “Do you live here?” he asks to no response. “Oh…right…you can’t talk can you?” he sighed. “Is there a place where I can get help?”

Even if the Frost Deer was unable to speak to him, his Multiversal Translator still allowed him to communicate with it. Understanding his plight, the Frost Deer prods him with its snout under the left arm. Eventually helping the Radiant onto its back. It then begins walking with its herd in tow. The sound of their hooves stepping through the snow, chilled breaths, and the birds singing permeated the air as they travel through the snowy forest. It reminded him of home albeit a frozen version of it. He almost forgot the pain and that he was stranded. They travel deeper into the forest and down a harsh slope. Continuing down past a frosty waterfall until it levels out and they find themselves at a lakeside. There the herd once more begin to graze and drink the water. But the Frost Deer carrying Lambda continues around the shore until it comes to a batch of deep blue flowers. There a hummingbird sat hovering over the flower drinking its nectar. On its back was a tiny Star Core surrounded by shimmering black feathers that extended to its head. The breast feathers a standard Radiant gold with the faint image of galaxies and stars shimmering throughout it. It hears the pair approaching and flies towards Lambda. Zipping around his head and examines the Star Core in his helmet.

“Hi, I’m Lambda.” he says to the curious Radiant. “What’s your name?” the hummingbird Radiant lands on the Frost Deer’s antlers and looks at him curiously. “Um…maybe I’ll give you a name. Hmm…” Lambda looks around the lake to think of a name. His eyes returning to the Radiant bird and scanning it. “Violet-capped Woodnymph, gender: female, species hummingbird, native to Brazil.” he says in a mechanical tone. “I’ll call you Violet.” he smiles as Violet hovers closer to his Star Core and begins pecking it. A faint glow beginning to flicker from within it. “No power.” Lambda smiles weakly at Violet. Seeing the Frost Deer become restless, he forces himself off of it. Falling to the floor the second he attempts to support himself with his legs. “Ow…” he rolls onto his back and looks at Violet who hovered above him. The Frost Deer now leaving to return to its herd. Lambda then deforms his helmet as the snow falls onto his bare skin. He couldn’t even feel any difference with how cold he already was. Nor could he feel anything in his left arm and his legs were weak. The urge to sleep growing ever stronger. “Ouch!” he blurts out as Violet begins pecking his cheek in a bid to keep him awake. “What was that for?” Violet tweets at his question before sitting on a nearby branch.

Hours pass as Lambda begins to slowly recover under the watchful eye of Violet. In the past, his self-diagnostic and repair function could fix any damage with the greatest of ease. But thanks to his Star Core and now treading the line between organic and digital, it was an immensely more difficult and time-consuming process. It was hardly meant for working on flesh let alone his own. The immense cold and the differences between Worlds only serving to make it more difficult. On the World of Data, he could easily use the ambient functions of the Nexus to examine himself in a sort of disconnected sense. His mind observing his body like an astral projection. But without the Nexus present, he was forced to do it internally with no outside assistance. There was no excess data he could pull from his surroundings to fill any gaps in his being. It was a slow and agonizing process akin to performing open-heart surgery on oneself without anesthesia or even a replacement heart. The smallest error having potential to lead him to critical system failure.

Something breaks Lambdas concentration causing him to end the self-diagnostic and repair prematurely. The sound of frantic bleating, running hooves, and unholy forced screeching. The scent of blood distinctly filling the once pristine air. When Lambda opens his eyes he’s horrified by what he saw. A swarm of birdlike creatures soaring throughout the lake and blotting out the sky. The had wings made of razor-sharp feathers that constantly shed and regrew. Beaks that were equally as sharp. Sickly glossy eyes hiding within their ebony skin. The eviscerated remains of several Frost Deer and even what seemed to be Frost Cougars littered the shore. And there amidst the black swarm was Violet, her Star Core shining brightly as she zipped through the skies. Beams of light being fired from her beak at the much larger targets that threatened her and her home. Her tiny frame both a blessing and a curse when dealing with the swarm.

Lambda had no idea what these creatures were or where they came from. But he knew they felt…wrong…That they needed to be stopped. “Get away from here!” he called out and summoned his helmet once more. His body still racked with pain from everything he had to endure. Even the agonizing self-repair process only gave him enough strength to get to his feet. A feat that did nothing to deter the swarms battle with Violet. Even though she was a Radiant, she was still vastly outnumbered. “Ungh…” Lambda winces in pain as he tries to use his Star Core. He knew it had no power but he couldn’t leave her to die. “Come on…Please…” he digs deeper within himself. The pain growing as his power returns. His Cosmic Aura returning and defrosting his wings. With them, he flies into the fray. Summoning two Wasp Stingers from beneath his forearm padding. Each extending two feet past his arms and possessing a poison capable of paralyzing a grown man. Lambda swings at the first beast but their razor wings simply knocks it aside. Seeing Violet fight, Lambda pushes down the pain and switches tactics. Concentrating energy in his hands as he fires beams of golden cosmic energy. Obliterating over a dozen in the process. Now, he had their attention.

“HRAWH!” the beasts caw like a sickening choir that never halted. Their attention now split between dive bombing haphazardly through the environment and towards the Star Forgers. Their bodies acting like torpedoes. Lambda braces himself for their attack and is bombarded relentlessly. His body being carried haphazardly through the swarm. The Cosmic Barrier that protected him just barely managing to keep him alive. Each of their hundred blades cutting him from head to toe. Even his helmet did little to stop their assault.

“AGH!” Lambda cries as he tries to strengthen his Cosmic Barrier. Protecting him from being eviscerated but adding to the mounting pain he was already feeling. “Can’t give up…Gotta keep…” he tried to think of a way out of the situation when beams of light rain down from above. Ester and Wú had come to his rescue.

“Did you know Angels were going to be here Wú?!” Ester asks as she fires cosmic energy into the swarm.

“No, but I’ll deal with it. Go help the bird, I’ll get the rookie.” Wú orders firmly as he flies like a snipers bullet through the swarm. Grabbing Lambda on his way through and landing hard on the snow on the opposite end.

“Wú?” Lambda asks exhausted.

“We’re going to have a talk when this is done.” Wú sets down Lambda on the floor. He then puts his hand on Lambda’s Star Core. It’s glow returning to half its former strength. Wú grabs a small stick from the back of his head beneath his hair. He clinches his right fist as it grows and forms a jet black Bo Staff with the ends colored golden.

Wú twirls his staff overhead and enters his battle stance. Flying into the swarm and blazing through it as if it was nothing. His speed was blinding and his strength immeasurable. Each swing met its target, smashing through the Angels bodies like paper. Each thrust of his palms, kick, and tail whip being just as strong as his staff. Never once did he even fire a beam of cosmic energy. He was like a deadly miniaturized sun whose light burned away the Angels after killing them. Within minutes, the several hundred angels are no more and his fellow Star Forgers can only watch in awe as he gracefully lands before them. His staff shrinking and returning to his place beneath his hair.

“Everyone okay?” Wú asks. Violet tweeting happily in response.

“I…yeah. We’re okay.” Ester replies still stunned. She nudges Lambda with her elbow to get him to nod that he was okay as well.

“Good…Lambda.” Wú says as he walks over to Lambda.

“Yes?” he asks before getting flicked and sent flying into a tree. At half power, his Cosmic Barrier was able to greatly reduce the pain. But the impact was something that agitated his already mounting injuries.

“That was me being nice. But given the circumstances, I guess you pass.” he sighs.

“What did I do wrong?” Lambda asks as he floats to his feet. His Star Core now returned to full power.

“Before the Angels came I wanted you to learn how to manage how much power you use. Normal Star Forgers would sleep and recharge over time but you’re not normal. You’re a program, so do you know what would’ve happened if we didn’t come to save you?”

“No…” Lambda replies lowly as he lands next to Ester. Returning to his submissive meek stance.

“You’d die. The only thing keeping your body together outside of your home universe is the Star Core. It’s why I purged most of your power. But it looks like you were able to just willpower through.”

“I-I’m sorry.” Lambda bows apologetically. “Um…are all Angels like that?” Having barely survived his first encounter with Angels, he was hardly interested in doing so again anytime soon.

Wú turns to Ester who looks away anxiously. “Kid…it’s all downhill from here.”

Next Issue

COMING SOON

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