It was large enough to allow for the entry of mechs.
Ketis briefly frowned as she studied the scans of the gate.
The barrier was thick enough to withstand serious firepower.
Her squad of elite Swordmaidens didnt bring enough firepower to open up a breach.
Fortunately, she didnt have to wait and call for a demolitionist to blast the gates open.
Her sword arm became firm again as she and Sharpie embodied the Annihilator Sword Style.
Under the impressed gazes of her fellow Swordmaidens, Ketis strode forward and used her sword to slice through the material of the gate with ease.
She would have exerted herself a lot more if she through to cut through so much resilient material in the past, but the consumption was much more manageable to her this time.
Soon enough, she succeeded in cutting open a rectangular cavity that was large enough for her group to pass through.
They entered a massive hall with a high ceiling and contained lots of different metal trees.
The Larkinsons had already learned that the pakklatons were fond of recreating their traditional living environment.
”All of the important stuff is above.” Ketis said as she swept the area with her senses.
“We should head closer to the center.
Pay attention to ambushes.”
Ketis and the Swordmaidens activated their boosters and their antigrav modules to rise from the deck.
Most of them wore medium armor which provided them with a balanced mix of armor and maneuverability.
Their flight speeds werent low.
With the local gravity set at 0.76 g, the Swordmaidens were actually faster than usual!
Once they flew close to the top, they noticed that much of the central hall was devoid of pakklatons.
”Where are the voribugs I can see plenty of chew marks, but it is odd we havent been attacked by them for a while.”
The deck is littered with insect corpses.”
”Dont forget that we have exterminated a lot of voribugs since we entered.” Ketis pointed out.
“They should be a lot less active at this time.”
The chance of getting assaulted by a huge voribug swarm was low as long as there werent any elder voribugs in the vicinity.
After a short flight, they neared the center of the massive chamber.
The Swordmaidens spotted a large platform that contained numerous strange and colorful statues and structures.
Ketis was no stranger to this sight.
Her eyes twitched as she figured out the significance of this place.
This is a ceremonial or religious site.
The pakklatons must value it a lot.
This might even be their command center.”
The Swordmaidens slowed down and readied their weapons.
As long as the pakklatons launched a single attack, the soldiers would be ready to fight back as hard as possible!
The expected attack did not arrive, though.
The human soldiers smoothly landed on the high platform and looked around with a mix of vigilance and curiosity.
The avians possessed a simple aesthetic style.
Much of the civilian ships architecture looked cheap and utilitarian.
The aliens clearly did not value her before humans began to invade the Red Ocean.
Even so, they invested a lot of effort into turning this platform into some sort of shrine or ceremonial site.
The murals depicted alien letters that the Swordmaidesn didnt even attempt to read.
Dozens of statues of noble-looking pakklatons were placed in a circle around the middle.
Nobody knew whether they were gods or historical figures, but none of them cared about that detail at the moment.
They spotted a single pakklaton at the very center of the platform.
The alien was clearly older than any of the other avians the Swordmaidens had encountered.
”Caww…” The alien calmly gestured towards the approaching humans.
The pakklaton on the platform possessed a different demeanor that Ketis instantly recognized from those who wielded authority.
This was a leader.
Perhaps they might have encountered the alien individual in charge of the entire refugee fleet!
Compared to the other pakklatons they encountered, the leader birds feathers were faded and drooping.
A beautiful headdress made out of metal and the feathers of other avian species adorned the aliens head.
As Ketis stepped forward and stood in front of the larger and taller alien, she gazed into the pakklaton leaders eyes.
Despite their inability to interpret each others words, they were able to read each others gazes.
The aliens eyes were deep and conveyed a lot of sadness.
The tragedy that had befallen his race and the people he was charged with protecting had left an enormous burden on his mind.
This was an alien who cared for his fellow pakklatons.
Ketis could respect that sentiment.
”Im sorry that it has come to this.” She told the alien with her own words.
“I am not comfortable with what has happened, but humanity will not stop until they conquer the Red Ocean.”
The large alien looked down at the human soldiers that had conquered the evacuation ship and thumped the surface of the platform with his clawed foot.
”Caw caw caw caw…”
If Ves was here, he could probably figure out what this alien figure was saying.
It was too bad that she excelled in wielding swords.
She could cut down this pakklaton leader easily enough, but what would that accomplish
The figure had already taken the initiative to show that he didnt carry any weapons or suspicious equipment.
The alien anticipated that the humans would reach this key location and did not prepare an ambush.
Although Ketis appreciated the willingness of the alien leader to greet her without pointing any laser guns at her, their inability to talk with each other made her feel lost.
Fortunately, the pakklaton leader did not insist on his attempt to talk with Ketis.
The large sentient bird slowly turned around and reached out towards a cylindrical pillar with one of his limbs.
A small circular port opened up to reveal a transparent container that was shaped like an egg.
The alien carefully grasped the egg with his articulating wing arm and slowly drew it out before displaying it to his human guests.
A Swordmaiden that was performing scans gasped when she learned what the transparent egg-like container held.
”Phasewater! The egg is a container for phasewater!”
Everyone else grew a lot more excited all of a sudden.
Seeking out phasewater was one of their main purposes for boarding the evacuation ship!
However, the pakklatons were just as aware of the importance of this critical substance.
They had already transferred all of the phasewater in their fleet to the original five evacuation ships.
Though it was a pity that four of them had already warped away, this final ship should definitely hold an unknown quantity of phasewater.
A part of the phasewater must undoubtedly be used to make the warp drive functional, but the aliens aboard the ship must definitely be holding onto a surplus.
Right now, Ketis suspected that the surplus was contained in the basketball-sized egg.
The container was made out of an odd material that completely isolated the spatial disturbances generated by this powerful exotic.
Not only that, it also contained alien technological components whose functions were unknown.
Ketis guessed that they helped with stabilizing the phasewater, but could easily ruin it if someone tampered with the container!
She didnt need to translate the alien leaders speech in order to figure out that he could erase the phasewater if this meeting did not go to his liking.
”How much phasewater have you detected” She asked.
”According to our scans, that container must be holding around 2.375 kilograms of phasewater!”
Over 2 kg of phasewater!
From what Ketis had heard, 50 grams of phasewater was enough to form a minidrive.
Larger quantities were needed to form a starship-grade warp drive or superdrive, though she wasnt sure about the exact numbers.
Different designs and specifications required different amounts of phasewater in order to work.
First-class drives were especially hungry in this regard!
Even so, 2 kilograms of phasewater ought to be enough to provide basic warp capabilities to numerous modest-sized capital ships!
If the Larkinsons utilized all of the phasewater obtained from this evacuation ship to build warp drives or superdrives, then ships like the Spirit of Bentheim could become a safer and more mobile!
These were just the most obvious uses for phasewater.
Humanity had already come up with other applications and the substance could certainly be used for more purposes.
For a moment, Ketis mech designer side welled up.
She became incredibly interested in experimenting on phasewater.
Though she had no clue how she could apply this strange material to her mechs, her intuition told her that such a versatile material could definitely be used to develop a stronger swordsman mech!
She forcibly calmed down her excitement and returned her attention to the large alien bird.
She slowly pointed her armored finger towards the transparent egg.
“Are… you willing to surrender your phasewater”
From the moment Ketis conveyed her intentions, the old alien leader became agitated!
The pakklatons grip on the egg grew tighter! This action caused the eggs internal components to flash in a concerning manner!
”Careful, Ketis! Our scans have detected rising activity from the egg.
It might blow if this continues!”
Ketis saw fatalistic determination in the eyes of the old alien.
She thought quickly.
How could she guarantee that the aliens would hand over the phasewater intact
Cut the avian leader down with her sword She could have done that from the beginning, but she didnt because she became more reluctant to kill without reason.
She also figured that the alien leader had made precautions and rigged the egg container to blow if anything happened.
If she wanted to resolve this incident, she needed to employ other means.
Ketis slowly let go of her Bloodsinger, causing her sword to fly in mid-air.
She subsequently activated her suit projector and displayed footage of the last few encounters she had with the pakklatons.
Each of them clearly showed that Ketis had tried her best to subdue the pakklatons without killing them.
There was no point where she and her Swordmaidens attacked any pakklaton that did not resist!
”We do not intend to wipe out your race.” She held her armored hand against her chestplate and slightly opened up her will to the alien leader.
“You have my promise that I shall do my best to keep them alive.”
Her force of will, which was ordinary sharp, had grown a lot more restrained as she conveyed her words.
The alien was able to sense the sincerity in her words.
An individual who managed to grow accumulated a lot of wisdom, so the pakklaton leader easily figured out the gist of her meaning.
After a dozen seconds had passed, the alien made a judgment about Ketis.
The alien leader slowly loosened his grip on the egg container.
When Ketis reached out to grasp the object, the intelligent bird did not exhibit any negative reactions this time.
Once she firmly took hold of the container that stored 2.375 kilograms of pure phasewater, she felt a lot more vindicated!
She would have never been able to negotiate such an easy handover if she hadnt been able to show the footage of her treating the pakklatons with mercy.
Just as she was about to convey her gratitude, the pakklaton leader abruptly spread his wings and uttered a loud and majestic bird cry!
All of the aliens feathers spontaneously burst into flames!
The Swordmaidens hastily boosted backwards! The soldiers even took the initiative to surround Ketis.
She had become a lot more important now that she had gotten her hands on a phasewater container!
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