1428 Gargantuan Wormhole

    Taking over Dirk Slone Fortress, 0541 read the spatial anomaly through the fortress' equipment.

    "Captain, I'm picking up stronger readings of the anomaly in the Alpha Sector! Based on these readings, it seems that the wormhole is going to open soon!" he said, reporting on his findings.

    The ships in the Violet Fleet had similar equipment, but they were not up to scale. Unlike a ship's detection equipment, the facilities on the planet itself were capable of measuring signals coming from distant galaxies!

    "Right, that settles it. Return to Hyur. I will examine the anomaly myself," Jiang Fei declared while Meteor was still in hyperspace.

    "Captain, I would advise against going," said 054.

    "One can never find victory in the face of familiarity. Such a wormhole poses either a great threat or a great opportunity. If the wormhole poses the threat of an intergalactic invader, there is nowhere we can hide from them. If it's something else, it would be a waste to not make the first contact," said Jiang Fei.

    Unbeknownst to him, the scar on his forehead darkened.

    0541 started, "Captain, I would cite safety precautions...", but Jiang Fei quickly interjected.

    "Enough. I have made my decision."

    He then called Bison and the others to the bridge.

    "Your orders, my lord?" asked Kaa'lna.

    "I will return to the Alpha Sector to examine the anomaly myself, and I want all of you to wait on Meteor while I am away. You are not to take orders from anyone else!" declared Jiang Fei.

    "Fei! I will go with you!"

    "My lord, please grant permission for me to come with you!"

    "Silence! I told you to stay put!" Jiang Fei bellowed angrily, frightening the two girls.


    Just then, Meteor came out of hyperspace and was now a safe distance away from the Alpha Sector.

    Before he headed to the ship's hanger, Jiang Fei said, "Stay on the ship. I'll take my leave now. I'll be back as soon as I can."

    The place was huge enough for Jiang Fei to deploy his personal shuttle. It was small, about the size of a four-wheel truck. Despite its size and the lack of weaponry, its travel capability exceeded even Meteor.

    "0541, secure the hangar and open the airlock," ordered Jiang Fei.

    When all hands cleared the launch pad, the airlock was opened and Jiang Fei shot into the deep, dark space in a jiffy.

    "Set a course for the Alpha Sector."

    "Course set, Captain. Engaging warp on your command," replied 0541.

    Seeing as how Jiang Fei was adamant on going back to the Alpha Sector, 0541 would not bother to advise him against it anymore. A minute later, Jiang Fei exited hyperspace and arrived at the edge of the Alpha Sector.

    0541 reported, "Captain, I am now connected to Dirk Slone Fortress. Readings of the anomaly are getting stronger."

    "Give me manual control. Keep reporting back about the readings," said Jiang Fei.

    Taking the helm, he flew closer to get a better look.


    "Sir! I've detected EM signals coming from the spacetime anomaly!" reported an operator in one of the Violet Fleet's ships.

    Even though their machines were not as good and accurate as the ones on Dirk Slone Fortress, the anomaly signal had gotten so strong that even they could get a reading.

    "Identify the source of the signal. Inform all ships of the fleet to engage in condition red!" ordered the commander of the fleet.

    Instead of waiting for a more accurate reading, he jumped to the conclusion that the signal was from the Valsalrian Army reinforcements. Then again, detecting signals out of the blue, especially from a spacetime anomaly, was a common sign of the arrival of an enemy's reinforcements.

    If Jiang Fei and 0541 had not been receiving data from the fortress, they too would not think twice about the matter.

    "Sir... something is wrong..." said the radar operator, after he had done multiple calculations.

    His voice shook and his hands trembled on the dials and buttons.

    "What's the matter? Is it a large fleet?" asked the fleet commander.

    Something must be horribly wrong for his radar operator to be so frightened.

    "No... it's something worse... I can't explain..."

    The commander yelled, "Then speak in simple words! What the hell is going on?"

    "Spacetime of the entire sector is... rippling! I cannot understand how... or what size of a fleet could cause such a ripple in spacetime..."

    "Not possible..."

    Something was off. Such a large scale warping could never be caused by Aino's armada. Put together the whole Valsalrian Army, including all the ships they had in all corners of the universe, and they still would never be able to cause such a ripple in spacetime.

    The truth was far more terrifying than what the commander thought. Put together all known civilizations and all ships that had ever been built, and even then it was impossible to cause such a massive ripple in spacetime that covered the entire sector.

    Everyone on the bridge of the same ship as the fleet commander asked the same question, "S-Sir? What should we do?"

    "Pull back. Tell everyone to retreat! We are leaving now!" said the fleet commander, finally conceding.

    He regretted not listening to Jiang Fei's previous warnings.

    "We can't warp out of here, sir! The disturbance in spacetime has prevented the warp core from functioning normally! If we try and warp, we will be destroyed by the uncertainty of spacetime contraction!" said the helmsman.

    The fleet commander ordered an immediate evacuation, "Drop shields and divert all power to impulse engines for maximum yield. Get us as far away as you can! Red alert!"

    "Sir, communications are down! The disturbance in spacetime is also affecting our coms system! There is no way we can signal the other ships!" reported the communications officer, piling on more bad news.

    The young commander bellowed disgruntledly, "Dammit! Do what we can to signal a full retreat to the other ships!"

    Right now, he was trying his best to not make things worse. Regret would have to be postponed until after this mess was over. He should have listened to Jiang Fei, but now was not the time to think about anything else. He had to focus on saving the fleet.


    Seconds after he had lost connection with the fortress, 0541 reported, "Captain, the signal has reached its maximum peak. The wormhole is opening!"

    "What the hell is that..." muttered Jiang Fei as he stared out into the dark void.

    Space was still the same as always-quiet, silent. Jiang Fei could not see any visible changes via the naked eye. That is, for only about 30 minutes or so. Just as the 30-minute mark passed, visible ripples of spacetime could be seen.

    The entire space in the Alpha Sector was shaking violently. The tremendous bending of spacetime energy was affecting even the stars and Jiang Fei's shuttle. Even with the external inertial dampener working at its best, it could not stop the ship from vibrating as if it was going to fall apart.

    "I can't risk this," said Jiang Fei.

    He retrieved the ship and deposited it back into the ring. Even without any life support, Jiang Fei could survive in space for a certain amount of time. That being said, if the shuttle was destroyed, he would lose his only means of travelling beyond light speed. He would be trapped there, and death would soon follow.
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