Ravens of Eternity -
Chapter 440 - 440 Ragnarök, Pt 5
440 Ragnar?k, Pt The fighting above the Typhon Planetary Weapons Platform was incredibly harried and vicious. Beams and rockets and slugs and plasma and missiles and mortars flew in every direction. They slammed into all sorts of armor and ripped out huge chunks in their wake.
Countless crew from every nation were torn apart or burned or eviscerated or disintegrated. Hundreds of thousands of them lost their lives as their fleets fought for absolute supremacy.
Ships of the line on every side exploded and shattered and broke apart as they were chewed up by relentless weapons fire. It didn’t matter if they belonged to the de Jardins or the Discordians or the Empire or the Federation.
All suffered tremendous amounts of damage.
And all but the Discordian fleet saw more of their devastators torn apart and destroyed. Their massive bodies burst open in multiple waves, across a chain reaction of explosions. Some were torn apart so completely that nothing was left but large slabs of scrap.
The swirling battlefield itself became filled with countless carcasses. Hundreds of dead capital ships hung limply in space, surrounded by thousands of dead skirmishers. Many spun slowly in place while those who were still alive did their best to maneuver around.
The Matriarch studied the casualty numbers with intensity. She watched as the numbers shifted and fell with each passing moment. Every ship counted in this fight, so every loss they suffered felt heavy. At the same time, every loss they inflicted seemed significant.
She couldn’t help but feel the most relief at seeing the Imperials’ numbers decline rapidly. They were by far the larger threat on the battlefield, and with their numbers so low Typhon’s defense was all but assured.
The fact that they killed their commanding officer rather early certainly helped accelerate their decline.
But that by itself didn’t mean that the de Jardin had already won. The Matriarch knew that the battle was far from over.
Typhon Defense Fleet
Temple of Discord:
“Keep it up!” said High Admiral Pavir. “We’re wearing them down! We’re gonna make it through this!”
He and his officers adjusted their fleet further even as he shouted out words of encouragement. The fight had been going on for so long now that he finally felt confident in their victory. He knew his people were weary, but he needed to keep fighting to the end.
The invaders’ numbers had dwindled greatly and were becoming less and less of a threat as each moment passed.
It was all the solace he could give them, and he hoped it was enough.
Just as his hopes were highest, a devastating alert flashed on the tacmap.
ALERT: Friendly Fire Received
Ships of the line crippled.
Pavir pulled the tacmap back to the wide view of the battle and found that the Discordian fleet was firing wildly into the cyclone below. Their beams and lances fell down on every ship below, and scarred their plating and chitin deeply.
And it didn’t seem to matter that they were also hitting de Jardin ships. In fact, they were even striking the devastator in the very center.
“Temple of Discord!” he cried out. “Watch your fire! You’re hitting friendly targets!”
Eris came back on their comms as a holographic projection. There was a wide smile etched on her face. The Grand Parliamentarian felt that her demeanor seemed a bit predatory. The sight of it shook him deep.
“I know,” Eris replied cheerfully. “Everyone here’s just about ready to pop. I’m just helping speed things along.”
“You hag!” the Parliamentarian screamed. “I knew this was going to happen! I knew you were going to do something!”
The Pirate Queen merely laughed at him in response. She was truly amused by his anger.
“No you didn’t,” she said. “Or you would’ve told me to slag my own fleet the moment I spoke. No no no, you invited me in, like a desperate little sycophant.”
“This is about the station, isn’t it?” said the Matriarch. She too should have known better. But then again, this was her own suggestion. “You want control of it.”
“Of course I do!” Eris exclaimed. “It’s obvious everyone in the galaxy wants control of it. You can’t just make something like this and expect people not to want it themselves. Just look at it! It’s the ultimate power in this galaxy. Anyone wielding it becomes unstoppable!”
The Matriarch grimaced as Eris spoke plainly. Now that the woman’s desires were out in the open, she couldn’t help but show her derision.
As they spoke, Eris’ barrage only intensified.
And she moved most of her fire from the Federation fleet and instead focused it on the de Jardins’ defensive fleet. Thermal beams and plasma lances alike burned and bore into their plating and tore through the various layers with vicious determination.
Half of the Discordian devastators focused their fire on the de Jardin devastator in the center. It had been mostly ignored and undamaged all throughout the fight, and so needed the most attention. More than that, it was the location of their teleport beacon, and so it had to go.
Their weapons came down hard on its top side. The thermal beams easily slagged the missile emplacements atop it while their plasma lances cut deep into the armor plating beneath.
It only took a few moments for their concentrated fire to completely soften the armor – it glowed a dull orange from the combined heat and energy.
Three of the Discordian devastators angled their bottom side turrets as the armor softened. The massive battleship-sized weapons angled their barrels down at the de Jardin ship below.
Each of them hummed and glowed as they charged up to the maximum.
And once they hit their peak, they fired tungsten impact pillars straight into their target. In the blink of an eye, the pillars smashed onto the weakened topside armor of the devastator and caused entire sections to collapse from the force.
Each left such massive craters that entire decks were completely flattened and compressed. Countless crew and systems were utterly crushed by the numerous blows.
Not only that, but the impacts themselves resounded and vibrated all across the ship itself. Any nearby survivors who weren’t killed outright were instead thrown off their feet down to the floor or into the walls. Their eardrums ruptured from the intense pressure and all their internal organs felt as though they had been rearranged from the inside.
Some vomited from the overwhelming and dizzying sensations that racked their bodies.
The energy of each of the impacts were so large that the devastator itself was pushed further and further down. Its own thrusters couldn’t keep up against that much kinetic energy.
But even the impact pillars were far from the final blow.
A half dozen of the Discordian battleships let loose with their torpedoes and peppered the harangued devastator from above. Each of them erupted up and down its length, particularly as close to the pillar impact zones as possible.
There, the torpedoes blasted open with overwhelming amounts of energy. The devastator was once again thrown around as its topside armor was torn apart.
Worse, each of the torpedoes’ inner cores burst open. They splashed exceedingly hot thermal compounds right on the armor plating itself. Each of the blobs glowed a bright orange as they slagged the armor beneath.
It was so intense that the plating was practically defenseless – it softened and fused and joined the slag in further melting down the ship’s topside.
The devastator’s heavily damaged top armor plating slagged further and further as it melted deeper in. The heat was strong enough to soften the metal half a dozen decks below the armor itself, especially where the tungsten pillars had compressed them greatly.
Countless crew were cooked alive deep inside.
“What in the nine hells are you doing?!” shouted Freya.
She flickered into being on all their comms displays and holoprojectors. Particularly on Eris’ flagship.
Down below the heavily beaten de Jardin devastator, Freya’s Thanatos flashed into space. A massive swath of darkness suddenly came into being once space warped back into position. The sight caused a wave of fear to sweep through the Pirate Queen.
“How in the hell did you even get through?!” Eris cried out. “I had the route completely blockaded!”
But Freya had no time for Eris’ games. She instead restated her own question. This time with more authority.
“I said, what are you doing?” Freya uttered.
“Hmph. I’m doing what I was born to do,” Eris replied. “What you and I were always born to do.”
“What, attack our own allies? I don’t think you understand me as much as you think you do. I’m certainly not that shortsighted!”
Eris was immediately taken aback. Her eyes were filled with shock, as though Freya was literally speaking gibberish.
“Me? Shortsighted?” she exclaimed. “I’m the only one here with actual foresight! Ever since I saw your little ragtag flock of birds I knew… I just knew something like this would happen. You and me and all the powers of the galaxy in one place.
“All the numbers pointed towards it. Every bit of data I collected and consumed and analyzed. This, right here. The reckoning at the end times.”
“Reckoning? What, you really think this is the end of the galaxy or something?” Freya said. “Are you really that deranged to believe that?”
“See, you’re only proving which of us is actually the shortsighted one. Look around you. The most powerful people in the entire galaxy are all here, fighting over the most powerful weapon in existence. It’s obvious that the future is gonna get decided in this fight right here.
“Like I said, the data doesn’t lie. Whoever wins here, controls the galaxy. The only reason why any of us are here is because of that!”
Freya furrowed her brow as Eris spoke.
It was as she had feared after all. Her intuition hinted that something like this was bound to happen. That Eris’ power hungry nature was bound to try to take control of it all. She just didn’t expect it would happen so soon.
Thousands of years in the future, maybe.
This felt a bit… premature. Perhaps Eris got impatient. Or impulsive.
Freya supposed it no longer mattered. Whatever Eris’ desires had finally come to the forefront, and she brought absolutely everything she had with her in order to get them.
“I’m not here to control the galaxy,” Freya replied after a short silence. “I just wanted to help my friends defend themselves.”
“You’re a fool,” Eris said. “I had bet that you would’ve been here by my side. My data showed that you and me – we could’ve owned the galaxy together! The two of us!”
“Is that some kind of joke? Neither of us are qualified to run the galaxy! Just because you’ve led some billion-dollar corporation in your past life doesn’t mean you’re fit to lord over every living being.”
“You’re still so goddamned naive. Don’t you get it? We’re both immortal. Powerful. Over time, we’d become invincible. You know that, right? Nothing could possibly stop us, and in fact, us being at the top of the food chain is practically our birthright.
“All this eventually will belong to us anyway! We’ll outlive everyone else no matter what! We’ll eventually own everything!
“That’s the role of the truly powerful, of the truly rich, of the truly brilliant. We’re the only ones with the will and the capability to move the galaxy, to bend it to our will. We exist specifically to do this. We were brought here to this galaxy to do exactly this! To rule over it!”
Freya could only sigh deeply at Eris.
Ruling over the galaxy? Only psychopaths thought that way. Whatever wealth Eris had accumulated had gone to her head and made her believe it was her destiny to have it all.
“I’ve just recently discovered a person who thought just like you,” she said. “He certainly had his way for thousands of years. Maybe more. But even he died, as did his machinations. That’s what’s inevitable. Everything ends.
“We of the Einherjar are more than happy to introduce the two of you to each other.”
As she spoke, the rest of her fleet flashed into space around her.
They ported through her own beacon and filled the space beneath the swirling cyclone of destruction. Their black ships easily blotted out large swaths of the station below as they materialized. Then, they wordlessly turned their noses upwards and began to advance on their enemy.
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