Lux Locus: Blue Fings

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The first crumpin'

Crumpagump stood at the end of his bridge, staring at the stations orbiting the planet before him. Their mighty cannons were pummeling the smaller ships of his fleet, and the largest couldn't get through without taking heavy damage. The colossus frowned. The stations almost looked like mighty armored moons so much they were armed and their size impressive. The big 'un would have loved to have one of them as a personal ship, but they were stations, and outfitting them for travel always took too long.

They could have crumped three planets by the time it was done. Naturally, the puwandese's mind was wracked with wants and needs when looking at the sheer firepower the station displayed and how it was demolishing the ships getting too close with metal slugs. Smoothnshine stood next to the colossus, his face impassive until he heard a commotion behind. One of the puwandese couldn't make his station work and was getting frustrated.

"Stupid, peyce of jehnk!" He punched the keypad several times, and still the screen would only flicker and buzz. "Graa!"

Caught up in his rage, the beast punched clean through the screen and into the gap of the wall behind it. Another walked in on the scene, his brows furrowed and his mouth just barely open enough to hear the air passing through the fibery filters in his throat.

"What ehr you doin'?" he asked with barely contained rage.

"Teachin's this spizzy becks eh lesson!" the enraged puwandese screamed.

The eyes of the first bulged out of his head and, with a giant hand, grabbed the head of the frustrated puwandese and proceeded to lift and slam his face into the keypad multiple times. "Yeh! Den't! Break! Theh! Uh...Machines!" He finished with pushing the entire puwandese into the metal block, bringing a vast array of yellow and orange sparks into the air.

Smoothnshine heaved a silent sigh and returned to staring at the stations rotating around the planet. Crumpagump was holding his chin and nodding pensively, so the shiny metal 'un found the opportunity to give his advice.

"Oy reckon, jedgin' by theh guns on theh stations, theht we needz teh send smehll groups of puwandese teh get in 'n crump theh generators. Weh'll need teh get sehm smallehr ships teh distract theh guns. Once they're dehn, theht eh'll let us geht close and take theh stations fehr ehrselves, preventin' too heavy losses ehnd given ehss lots teh loot fehr yehr project."

The two looked at each other from the corner of their eyes, silent and serious. This lasted all of a second before they burst out laughing at the absurdity of such a 'plan'. Between two cachinnations, Crumpagump spoke.

"Send theh hehrdheads!"

The station commander sat in his chair comfily, enjoying that the dreadnought-like station could be neither damaged nor bypassed by the invaders. His command center, like many stations, was small and round, and while there were men and women working hard to relay damages to response teams, deploying various sensor nodes to ensure no trickery was being used against them, and ensuring various other vital tasks, the commander was sat at a round table. He too was working hard with six other sub-commanders, viewing screens and processing messages from both their station and those of their comrades further apart.

"I was worried for a moment," the commander sighed. He pulled a white handkerchief from his loose uniform and wiped his balding head and forehead with it. "I thought they were going to employ some kind of super weapon to get through."

One of his subcommanders, closest to his right, let out a nervous chuckle. "I have to be honest: I didn't think these stations were worth anything," she said. The woman relayed several messages before resuming. "I thought the scare of the xith'kai was unfounded." She looked up then rolled her eyes forward. "I still do, honestly." She waved her hand. "How can we not be able to deal with fragile walking corpses but push back massive hordes of warmongers with destructive technology?"

The commander shook his head, throwing some thin strands of his remaining hair left and right. "You would be a fool to not believe what happened." He readjusted himself and looked at his screen wedged between two protective beams of thick glass. "The largest ships are staying beyond our firing range." He frowned and instinctively bared his teeth. "What kind of puwandese warband doesn't throw themselves at massive firepower?" The station shook violently, throwing many out of their chair or those walking around onto the floor. "What was that?!"

The two puwandese calmed down momentarily as they watched small ships with giant metal noses twice the size of the ship itself rush towards the stations. The orange streaks left by the clustered engines crackled before dissipating, and a large number of the 'hardheads' were destroyed, but no more were coming. They grouped up against the closest station like bees against an invader, but rather than cause the threat to overheat, the engines grew brighter, and the station was pushed. Pushed by ships that would barely register in comparison to the size of their prey.

"Commander, the station is being pushed!" a sub-commander announced. Blaring sirens filled the air, seemingly growing in intensity with the tremors preventing anyone from standing with stability. "We're going to fall into the atmosphere!" she added.

"Use the engines to push back!" the commander ordered. "Keep us stable!"

"The engines were only made to adjust our position in orbit!" one of the screen workers shouted. "They can only keep us in orbit for a short amount of time before it's overwhelmed by--"

Another violent tremor shook the vessel, throwing everyone back. "Blasted blue...Order a complete evacuation!" the commander ordered. "Put out an sos message on all frequencies and have all hands reach the evacuation ships."

The two observers resumed their laughing, watching the station grow smaller and smaller and the hardheads leaving as their target became a bright orange speck in the atmosphere of the planet it was meant to protect. The other puwandese had gathered around to watch the 'show' and see the end results.

Crumpagump raised his hand up in an 'okay' sign. "Aaaand...aaaaaaaaaand!" he stretched.

A bright white dome illuminated the surface of the planet, eliciting cheers from the whole puwandese fleet.

"Now THEHT was eh propehr splodey!" Crumpagump cheered.

"Wheht about theh hume ships theht ehr flyin' away?" one of the lesser puwandese asked.

"Oy think wey should let 'em rehn awey. Feyt anothehr day." He looked to Smoothnshine with a brow raised and lips pursed, then placed a massive hand on his broad chest. "It's only sportehn." There was a pause and the two started laughing loudly. "Send theh hehrdheads aftehr them. Crump the gumps!" he shouted in a warcry. "Get teh theh surface 'n crump as many gumps as yeh kehn, then get behck with their mehtehl."

The blue aliens rushed out of the bridge, trampling over their kin that tripped or were pushed over, leaving Crumpagump and Smoothnshine alone, briefly.

"Keep mey ship intehct," the blue colossus ordered his shiny metal 'un.

"Mey metal 'uns eh'll keep it seyf," Smooth assured.

Crumpagump nodded and followed his warband to the rickety lumps of rusted metal meant to fly them down to the planet. Smooth saw the other vessels in their fleet doing the same, with various different sizes of orange flashes leaving the warships. He pondered on the drop ships coming from one of the battleships. They all had the same shape and aspect to them: A flatter shape with a rounded cockpit, and the metal had been sanded down to give the impression that they were polished and made with the best techniques.

"Weht keynda insides do they hehv," Smoothnshine wondered aloud.

He was briefly startled by the corvette-sized drop ship of Crumpagump flying in front of the bridge, spewing noxious liquids all over the hull on its way down. Unlike the uniform dropships of the smaller puwandese, Crumpagump's was as much a hulking behemoth as its passenger. It was inflated, almost like a rotting beast filled with gases or a puwandese that ate too much. In its rear were a large number of smaller thrusters haphazardly slapped next to each other, and the tall and wide silhouette of the random colors of the metal bent and creaked in pain at the extreme temperatures coming from the fires. And, much like the usual vessels, Crumpagump's ship had no real shape. It was just a random assembly of angles and curves of metal with cannons and missiles launchers slapped on for goo measure of his 'splodey' obsession.

Smoothnshine rubbed his chin. "Maybey ey should meyk him eh propehr ship fehr his splosions."

Deep deep under the ground, members of the Imperator Craeft worked diligently with a pillar scieldan: a super soldier whose designs took decades to perfect, and their improvements never ended. The humans of the craeft wore robes of faded black with green trims, meant to keep them comfortable and allow them to fall asleep just about anywhere thanks to the padding within. The chamber they stood in was cramped. It had barely enough room to house ten humans, let alone that and a pillar included. They were going over piles of books and blueprints taken from the various factories and pillar foundations across the Terran Expanse: The reach of humanity.

The pillar looked upon the various blueprints laid before her and took a book in her armored hand to read its contents. The humans were bickering among themselves like rats over bits of grain, but she was past such annoyances. One thing perplexed her, however: Why exactly did the Imperator Craeft -those meant to be the leading group of development both technological and magitech- have an irrational fear of electric lighting? Even magitech crystals holding spells maintained by technology were not used. They preferred the dim, flickering light of a candle to that of the technology the pillar so adored.

"The density of this titan gave it defensive capabilities, yes, but the costs were astronomical!" one of the humans explained.

"Don't forget the maintenance costs was three times that of an eight kilometer sized vessel," another added.

The group nodded in joint agreement.

"What about the titan of the fourth Earth Flottila? It has an acceptable amount of firepower," a craeft suggested whilst pointing to an entry in the book she was holding.

The others leaned in to get a better look, but most of them shook their heads.

"Its firepower was based around support of nearby craft. It's meant to destroy missiles, take out fighter craft and corvettes, and regenerate the mana shielding of nearby ships."

"What do you think, Pillar Craeft?" one asked.

The super soldier lowered her book enough to see the craefts through the visor of her helmet. "I am only concerned in finding a method of lowering maintenance costs. To keep my foundation's titan up near indefinitely."

"We know, but--"

"If you cannot find one, do not bother me." She tapped the side of her helmet multiple times, causing several icons of various colors and shapes to appear in her field of vision. "I'm not interested in the design goals of other titans."

"But Eriee, the project you and your bregu are acting upon is the most massive of all titan designs to date. Trying to make it the max size of fifteen kilometers is a gigantic task!" they shouted.

Before Eriee could resume talking, those in the chamber felt a slight tremor, then everything went dark.

Crumpagump's ship landed on the outskirts of the impact site, when the doors of his shop fell open, he covered his face. "Thehs place is feylled with scratchy deyrt! Feyls leyk eh sandstehrm!" He peeked through his large fingers and marveled at the sight before him. "Propehr splodey for sure!"

Vast swaths of puwandese were combing through the debris while others were cutting as much metal as they could. What used to be a city, Crumpagump thought, was little more than a crater with some sticks surrounding it. The station had broken apart in the atmosphere and was scattered about the landscape, but its main body rest deep in the crater.

"Can't hear anything with thehs wind," the big 'un complained. He hopped out of his ship and watched the orange flashes of his supply ships slowly moved about the wreckage across the sandstorm created by the impact. He kicked a piece of building directly in front of him, turning it to dust to mix with the brown-orange sand. "Pffff. Would've prefeyrd teh kill theh humes meyself." He crossed his arms and grumbled loudly. "Probably all teyrned teh dust with the splosion. No fair."

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