New Nebulas #3: Siege Perilous

“As you enter the temple, you find nothing but darkness. Suddenly, the dreaded Hydra lowers it’s 8 heads from above and prepare to strike.” a girl says from behind her opaque cyan hard light screen. A mischievous expression plastered across her face as she gazes upon the holographic temple before her. The Hydra’s body sat at one end of the temple with its heads filling up a majority of the rest. Opposing it were three individuals. A flaming skeletal angel, a humanoid dragon monk, and a superhero wearing tight spandex with a flowing cape. Sitting across from her at the table were three boys. On the left was a somewhat heavyset lad with fair skin and straight wavy hair tied back in a ponytail that went down to his shoulders. Directly opposite of the girl was a thin boy with a slight tan, short black hair, and black-rimmed glasses. To the right sat a boy of Asian descent with a short fauxhawk that had the sides of his hair cut low like a fade. All were no older than 13 and wore the same school uniforms. Consisting of a navy blue jacket over a white shirt, boys having white pants while girls wore a matching navy blue skirts, both genders having to wear black shoes.

“Do I see it?” the boy on the right, Auron Savgna, asks. He played the Superhero Justiciar in their game.

“You do.”

“Can I intercept it?”

She pauses to think. “Roll…Agility.”

“Cool.” Auron presses a button on his side of the table that rolls a holographic die. When it stops it displays the number 1. “Crap…”

“So…you try to intercept the Hydras head. Flying to grab one of its heads. But you miss and fly straaaaaaight down its throat. You’re still alive but-” before she can finish an bell rings. “I’m gonna let you wonder what happened all week.” she snickers.

“For a hero, you’re the one who needs saving a lot.” the boy with glasses chuckles. Ross Ziggs was the smartest of their group. Though often times he hated it. After a point, you grow tired of helping others with homework.

“Maybe your dice are cursed.” Brant Jhin was Auron’s best friend since infancy. There was little they didn’t do together and at this point were barely indistinguishable from siblings.

“Or you’re a jinx. This never happened before I started playing with you guys.” Auron replies semi-jokingly.

“You just need to know how to roll better.” The girl snarks as she shuts down the hard light display. Tarna Sarvis was the newest member of the group, having joined them at the beginning of the school year. It didn’t take long for her to get along with the trio as if they were destined to be friends.

“Maybe I should just use an app…” Auron thought aloud.

“Stop worrying, it’s just a game. You’ll do better next time.” Brant tries to comfort him with a pat on the shoulder.

After returning to their lockers the group exits their school and begin the walk home through the peaceful streets of the Genix Colony. A peaceful colony established far from Earth by the moon of Jupiter, Callisto. It was the first and currently the only colony made beyond the lagranation points on Earth. Like the other colonies, it was a cylindrical design with an entire civilization along its walls. Artificial gravity created by its rotation keeping everyone grounded and creating the impression of a sky between the different hemispheres. For those who came from Earth, it was a far cry from what they were used to. No more blue skies or clouds. Just green and silver above them. No horizon in the distance but a massive wall of metal that made the colony itself. They had no means of seeing the outside and for Auron’s generation, never even contemplated it. The only reminder being the massive holographic screens floating in the air. Designed to display daily news or advertisements for all to see. Currently, there was a soldier with smooth black hair wearing a distinct silver domino mask and dressed in a long Azure Suit Jacket standing behind a podium displayed*. He spoke of something called the “Eyes of God” but Auron didn’t care. It was just politics for adults to worry about.

*Rising Stars Part 4

“Wait…” Auron stops working and reaches for his neck. “Oh man, I forgot my necklace back at school!” he stammers flustered. “I’ll see you guys later!” with a wave and a turn, he runs back to the school. Luckily for him, there were still after school programs and school staff still on the premises. Getting in was easy, retracing his steps not so much. He had a whole day worth of activities to recall. “Come on…where are you?” Auron continues searching frantically. Returning to the free room where his necklace lay on the floor below his seat. It was a silver chained necklace with the yin and yang symbol attached. The yin section being a dragon and the yang section being a tiger. The symbol itself was surrounded by the wings of an Eagle.

“…wish be a possibility for a greater future or just a curse destined to bring about another tragedy?” a holographic tv continues to play in a nearby room of the man’s speech. Several teachers and even a janitor were enamored by the footage.

“There you are…” Auron puts his necklace back on and looks down at it. “How did I lose you like that?” he wondered how he could be so careless. He’s normally so careful to not lose it. Regardless of how it happened, there was no reason to remain. Auron grabs his book bag once more and leaves the school. Stopping as he feels an unusual shaking in the ground. “What was that?” he pauses briefly while looking around. Paying it no mind, Auron continues outside as the shaking happens once more. “Maybe they’re testing a new weather setting?”

Auron exits the schoolyard when the ground shakes once more. Far off on the opposite side of the colony, the ground glows crimson and begins to boil as it’s pushed inward. A beam piercing through the colony and striking the school behind Auron. The wind of the explosion sending him flying and rolling on the ground. His body ached and his senses were disoriented. With heart racing, he tries to get to his feet. All that remained of his school was a flaming ruin. The sight horrified him yet he couldn’t avert his gaze.

“WARNING! ALL CITIZENS ARE ORDERED TO HEAD TO DESIGNATED SHELTERS! WARNING! ALL CITIZENS ARE ORDERED TO HEAD TO DESIGNATED SHELTERS!” An alarm blares throughout the colony for the first time since its completion.

None were prepared for the sudden attack on the Genix Colony. Even fewer were prepared for what came next. The laser that initially pierced the colony began to wide uncontrollably. Ballooning from the size of a building to the size of a small town. Buildings and people being pulled helplessly into the vacuum of space. As the whole widened it gave entry to an army of silvery humanoid mechs. Each armed with both handheld and built-in weapons. Ranging from shoulder mounted chain guns to beam rifles and back mounted rocket launchers. Hundreds begin to flood into the colony and destroy any government institute, factory, or warehouse in their path. A vast majority of the mechs all bore the same angular grey and silver forms. Yet leading the charge was a mech that appeared to be an emerald knight. Smooth heavy metal plating covering its body. Giving it a distinctly bulky yet rounded appearance as it hunched over slightly even while in flight. Pale white coloring covering it’s unarmored portions. A long cape flowing down to its feet and two massive turtle shell-like half shields covering both arms. It’s turtle-shaped head bearing the shape of a shield covering its snout to its brow. The hollow opening made housing green eyes. “Are those…GEAR Frames?!” Auron had never seen one in person before now. Part of him thought they looked amazing and he dreamed of piloting one. But seeing them fly overhead and destroy building after building crushed those dreams.

Auron ran as fast as his legs could carry him. His thoughts going only to his friends and family. With no GEAR Frames of their own, the Colonists had no means to defend themselves and were helpless against the massacre. Their cries falling on deaf ears as they awaited salvation that wouldn’t come.

“Mom…dad…please be safe…” Auron thought moments before tripping. His legs finally giving out from the strain. “Crap!” he blurts out. Struggling to try and stand but only falling to his knees once more. Whether he wanted to or not. He needed to rest.

At the same time, one of the GEAR Frames attacking the colony stops and lands in front of a factory. Destroying it with his Beam Rifle. “Commander, are you sure it’s here?” the pilot asks. His onboard camera zooming into the wreckage in search of something but only finding rubble and corpses.

“Of course, Galahad isn’t wrong.” The Commander, Killian Obron replies. He wore a uniform much like the man in the news broadcast, the only exception being his uniform was a pale green. He was a burly man with a full beard and grievous scar along the left side of his face and head. Leaving part of his normally short brown hair unable to grow. His eyes glance briefly at a replay of the speech from earlier. “Hmph…What are you playing at Rosewood?” he wondered while landing his green armored mech, the Galahad, in a reservoir. Its eye cameras scanning beneath the surface of the water that reached its calves. “Revealing one of our greatest advantages so carelessly. Do you want them to think you’re mad? Or are you leading them away from the Siege Perili?” he pauses and cracks a small smile. “You’re right Galahad. Let him play his games. We don’t need him or Lancelot.” With the area scanned, the Galahad leaves the reservoir.

Elsewhere, Auron continues his journey. He now stood one block away from the hospital where his parents worked, albeit in different fields. His father was a surgeon and his mother a Pharmacist. Conveniently one of the designated shelters was located in the basement of the hospital. Giving Auron hope that he’d be able to find them and his friends once more. But his hope turns to despair when one of the GEAR Frames armed with twin shoulder cannons lands between him and the hospital. “NO! GET AWAY FROM THERE!” Auron shouts pointlessly.

“Commander Obron, I’m getting a structure below the hospital.”

“Good, you already know what to do.” Commander Obron responds.

“Yes sir.” The pilot lowers his shoulder cannons so they’re aiming at the hospital.

“STOP IT!” Auron shouts pointlessly once more. After a few moments of charge up, the soldier opens fire and blows a massive hole into the eastern wall of the hospital. The explosion destroying a vast majority of the building. What remained crumbling to the ground shortly after. The shockwave of the incident sends Auron flying back through a store window and rolling to the floor.

Having decimated the hospital, the pilot scans the ruins and finds the entrance to the shelter. He pushes away some rubble so he can get a clearer view. The shelter itself was covered with a massive reinforced metallic door enough to withstand a GEAR Frames attack. “Commander! It’s here!”

“Good work Ensign. Defend the area until I arrive.” Commander Obron orders.

As the pilot awaited his commander, Auron lies motionless on the floor. “Mom…dad…” Auron stumbles to his feet. Pain coursing through every fiber of his being. “Gotta find them…” Willpower alone kept him walking towards the remains of the hospital. His eyes hollow and listless. Denial of his reality pushing him to go on while his heart and soul screamed to give up. Auron passed by the GEAR Frame unnoticed and climbs atop the debris. Passing charred and ravaged bodies at every turn. The tears that flowed from his eyes never stopped for a moment as he searched for an entrance to the shelter. He had come too far to care about the danger of entering such unstable ruins. “Please…someone be alive…I don’t want to be alone…” he prayed with all his might. After several minutes, he finally finds a barely stable path downstairs. “Yes! Just a few more minutes and we’ll be back together again!” his heart lightens at the hope of finding his family. The staircase leads him to a door blown off the hinges deeper into the building. The bodies of several scientists lay dead nearby. “H-hello?” Fear begins to well up inside him as he ventured deeper into the shelter. The building shakes enough to cause Auron to lose his footing and make the lights to flicker. But this doesn’t stop Auron. He continues down the only path available until he comes to a door which he opens. There inside was a colossal metallic cocoon large enough to fill a stadium below him. “What is that?” he thought aloud. A strange hum coming from the cocoon. The building shakes violently once more and sends him tumbling over the edge of the banister. “AHHHH!” he cries as the cocoon rapidly approached. His arms instinctively raised to protect his face as he makes contact with it. He closes his eyes and awaits death…but death doesn’t come. “Huh?” Auron opens his eyes and finds himself sitting inside a cockpit. “Where am I? Where’s the shelter! Where’s my mom and dad?!” he looks frantically at the console and presses any button he can find in hopes of triggering something. But before Auron can achieve anything, the ceiling collapses. The Galahad has arrived.

“So you were here all along.” Commander Obron hovers overhead scanning the cocoon. “It’s our lucky day. They found it but couldn’t even wake it up.”

“Crap!” Auron grabs the controls and tries to move but they remain locked. “Come on! Come on! Move already!” he continues desperately to move the GEAR Frame he found himself in but continues to fail.

“Lock onto target men.” Commander Obron orders as 5 more GEAR Frames fly to his side. “Fire!” Upon giving the order, he watches them bombard the cocoon with bullets, energy beams, and rockets.

“AGH!” Auron gets shaken violently within the cockpit. “Please move!” he cries tearfully. His body shaking with fear.

“Hold!” The Galahad holds up its right arm. Waiting for the smoke to clear. The cocoon clearly cracked from the assault. “Good work.” he flies the Galahad down to the cocoon, pulls back both shields, and thrusts them into it. Widening the cracks in the cocoon enough for him to grab and tear a portion of it off. Revealing his prize within. A dark orange hued GEAR Frame with a balanced smooth design. It’s back lined with four rows of massive metal plates reminiscent of a stegosaurus’ bone plates. Even going so far as to lead down into a spiked tail. Its head also emulated a stegosaurus’ with the symbol of an X over the bridge of its snout. Allowing both of its green eyes to lay on opposite sides of the indentation. Two noticeable dark orange cloths extending down from both shoulders with the metal plates laying between them. “Percival huh?” Galahad grabs the Percival by the neck and pulls it out of the cocoon. An odd pinkish ooze dripping from its body as if it was a newborn. “We’re done here. Proceed with Phase 2.”

“Why?! Why won’t you move?” Auron continues to fight with the controls. Frustration overwhelming him. “Please…” he whimpers. His sadness turning into agony as his head surges with pain. “HNGH…” The pain intensifies. Auron’s eyes transforming into something…different…His pupils transforming into a thin black ring around its edges. The iris fading at 4 diagonal points, appearing to create the points of an X in the whites of Auron’s eyes. What was once normal brown eyes now appeared to be an unusual crosshair.

Pain continues to overwhelm Auron as he’s bombarded by visions. Visions of every single possible future that lay before him simultaneously…And all pointed towards his death. Each second that passed was maddening. But the future is a tale not written in stone. A new path appeared before him as a star-shaped gemstone pierces the cockpit of the Percival and embeds itself in the center of his chest. The pain of this was nothing compared to what he was experiencing in his mind. In fact, he felt better as his body gained a golden aura. His school uniform turning black. His white shirt and pants turning golden and rippling with the faint image of galaxies. Energy coursing through his body and into the Percival.

“This sensation…” Commander Obron feels something amiss. Galahad releases Percival without his command. “What do you mean Galahad? Wait…What?” At long last, the Percival begins to move. Its body creaking with each movement of its body. The lumbering attempt to climb out of the hole it spawned from seeming like a great effort. “Damnit…open fire! Do not let it escape!” he orders before his soldiers bombard the Percival once more. Each shot shaking the cockpit within. Blood splattering across the walls as each blast strikes the Percival.

“You…You did this…” Auron says across his intercoms to the enemy soldiers.

“A child? We lost the Siege Perilous to a child?!” Commander Obron couldn’t stand the indignation of such a loss. Not a member of the X.S.F, another soldier from Maxim, or even lucky mercenaries. But a schoolboy who had no business being inside of it.

“You…You killed everyone. If you never came…My parents…my friends…” his eyes darken with grief as Percival’s eyes glow green. It’s injuries beginning to self-repair. “IT’S ALL YOUR FAULT!” he shouts at the top of his lungs. The Percival simultaneously opening its mouth wide and roaring.

“Fall back!” Commander Obron orders several seconds too slow. The Percival shifts from a lumbering climb to one that seemed more like a Panther racing up a tall tree after its prey. “He’s gone Berserk already?!” Galahad holds up its shields as the Percival leaps high into the air and swings its tail into them. The force of the impact sending it flying backward into a skyscraper.

The Percival lands on all fours within the colony surface and stands up straight. Leaning back with arms held outward. “GRAH!” It raises its head skyward and roars.

“I know Galahad. He may be a child but with Percival he’s dangerous.” Commander Obron steels himself. His eyes transforming into the same crosshair as Auron. “To think we’d need the Eyes of God…”

“BWWWWWWOH!” Galahad roars back at Percival.

“I’LL KILL YOU!” Auron shouts in a blind fury. Percival lunging at Galahad in response.

“Don’t get cocky!” Commander Obron turns Galahad around and uses the massive turtle shell hidden beneath its cape to stop Percival. “We won’t lose to a mindless pilot!” He activates one of Galahad’s hidden weapons, a volley of two dozen missiles stored within its shell. At such range, the Percival is unable to avoid even a single attack. “Such a waste…now we’re going to have to start from-” The Galahad strains as Percival remains with a tight grip on its shell. Auron’s golden aura now covering Percival’s body. It’s orange coloration slowly turning black. Gold veins coursing throughout its body and a star symbol replacing the X on its face. “Shit! He’s just like that bastard Rosewood!” With a quick twist of his controls, Galahad spins and throws Percival from its back.

“Kill you. Kill you. Kill you. Kill you. Kill you.” Auron recites repeatedly. His mind broken from his grief, rage, and the visions that now plagued him. Percival leans forward so it’s on all fours as its back plates begin to glow gold. Each plate releasing a sentry, totaling at sixteen. It’s mouth slowly opening and glowing.

“Galahad!” Commander Trusdale calls out. Galahad holds both shields forward, forming a single massive shield.

“GRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!” Percival exhales and releases cosmic beams from its mouth, sentries, back plates, and even the spikes on its tail. The beams tearing through the air and colony around them. It’s mouth beam striking the Galahad in a hellish concentrated stream. The sentries zig-zagging through the sky and striking down any and all enemy GEAR Frames present. It’s back plates firing wildly into the colony above. But its attack doesn’t stop. It continues firing indiscriminately. Causing a cataclysmic chain of events that ends with its destruction. Thousands of lives ending in an instance.

“What was that power?!” Commander Obron wonders having narrowly survived. The Galahad sparked with electricity. It’s armor singed and bloody. The two mighty shields just barely withstood Percival’s attack. They wouldn’t likely survive another…Which was unfortunate as the Percival hovered towards them slowly. It’s monstrous visage unmistakable amidst the remains of the colony as it drifted lifelessly in space. “What type of monster is this?” he tries to contemplate a plan.

“I’ll make you pay for killing them!” Auron remained blindly focused on Commander Obron and the Galahad.

“You must be as crazy as your S.P Frame. We didn’t just destroy an entire colony.” he scoffs.

“Wha…” Auron’s eyes return to normal when he realizes the magnitude of what he’s just done. “Wait…I didn’t mean to…I was just…”

“You win this round kid. But we will be back for your S.P Frame.” Commander Obron flies off into space without looking back. As much as he hated it, Galahad was in no condition to even attempt to fight the Percival.

“I…but I didn’t want this…” Auron stammers. His hand shaking on the console.

“I did what you asked.” A voice replies back to him.

“Huh?” Auron looks around for the source of the voice but finds no incoming audio display.

“You wanted revenge. You wanted them to die. To suffer. So I gave it to you.” The voice continues.

“Who are you!?”

“I am Percival and your heart guided me. Everything I did was something you wanted.”

“B-but…No! I’m not a killer! I was just…Mom…dad…”

“Do not worry. I made their deaths painless.” Percival’s words cut through Auron like a sword.

“…What?”

“I was sleeping beneath a decoy hospital. Your family and friends were elsewhere when we destroyed the colony.”

“T-that means I…”

Percival smiles grimly. “We took their lives.”

As the Percival drifted through space, it was content knowing that only it could enjoy the heartwrenching cries of its pilot. The sorrowful wail that destroyed a colony of innocents in pursuit of false vengeance. A wail that could’ve been heard even in the vacuum of space had there been any left alive to hear it. While the soldiers took hundreds of lives…he took thousands…including the friends and family he tried so desperately to save. The weight of his actions broke the young boy’s spirit and mind. Leaving only a hollow shell with no will to go on in its place. A living battery for the Siege Perilous known as Percival…A living battery with the power of a Star Forger that would make it nigh-unstoppable…

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