The skies above Planet Cray appeared blue as a result of the shorter wavelengths of light being scattered in the atmosphere.
The ocean rose and fell with the tides caused by the influence of the gravity of the two moons.
And the stars that fell to the earth?
They fell at my command.
“Fall, mighty stars, and bring chaos to this land! Falling Hellhazard!”
The meteorites I drew in from outer space broke through the clouds and turned the skies blood red. As they impacted the ground they released a huge amount of heat, light, and an enormous shockwave that obliterated everything natural and man-made, leaving the area completely unrecognizable.
Behold, you who still live.
What we do to those who invade our territory.
I, Gravidia Nordlinger, king of the Gravidians, shall bring hell to the surface.
“The 4th Armored Division has been defeated.”
“We’ve lost communication with the 6th and 22nd Southern Air Divisions.”
“No response from the 2nd Snow Division.”
“Reports of extensive damage to the ice sheet and bedrock. Awaiting more details.”
“Th-They’re all gone?! In one fell swoop…”
The Minister of Defense fell into his chair in the Joint Command Center in Brandt Gate’s Central Dome.
“Hmm. It seems they’ve even taken out our surveillance satellites. It may be difficult to regain communications,” the petrified Space Force Chief muttered as he stared at the blank screens.
He had a resigned tone to his voice, as though it were someone else’s problem. Everyone was dead.
It had been five months since they first made contact.
They had been planning ever since the incident that the residents of Brandt Gate called the “Neatness Meteor Shower”, and were finally ready to make their move.
“Well, gentlemen, at least we now know some more things.”
The Space Force Chief began speaking to the crestfallen senior staff assembled in the room.
“First, the Gravidians, as we now know they are called thanks to Professor Given’s team, are establishing a circular territory approximately 1,500km northeast of the South Pole.”
An image of the domes of Brandt Gate and the Gravidian colonies appeared on the main monitor.
“Second, the Gravidians will repel and attack any invaders without mercy. The words that the Neatness Meteor Shower left burned into the snow made this much clear.”
Professor Given’s translation of the alien text appeared as subtitles under the image of the scarred snowfield.
“This land belongs to us. Death awaits any who dare venture beyond this point.”
“A clear warning.”
The Space Force Chief coughed as he said this. It was almost as if he was stifling a laugh. Indeed, one could almost see the humor in the situation. The way they marked out their territory like a toddler playing in a sandbox.
“We’re getting a report of the damage. All advanced forces have been lost.”
The Space Force Chief received a report from a messenger.
As they suspected the Gravidians were intercepting their communications, it was decided that all wireless communication had to stop during the war.
“There has been zero loss of life.”
The military staff in attendance knew what this meant, but the others seemed surprised.
“This piece of intel was top secret, so some of you may not have been aware until now. For the past six months or so all forces sent into battle have been unmanned. The only concern we had was whether the commander on-site would be able to evacuate in time.”
“The fact that the forces are unmanned is to remain top secret.”
The Space Force Chief started up again.
“And finally, there are two more things that we have learned. As you can see, we have no realistic defense against an enemy who can rain down a deadly meteor shower at will. It is also clear that these aliens are not invaders. To each of these points, patience is key.”
The Minister of Defense let out a dejected sigh as the Space Force Chief sat down.
“Leave that to me.”
Holding back the warmongers, reforming the armies, procuring the funds for the unmanned forces, and of course, the total defeats in the war so far, was all the responsibility of the Minister of Defense.
He had been working incredibly hard since the war began.
“This is our true target. I must thank you for approving the budget for our latest project, the ‘Anti-Gravidian Stealth Surveillance System’ designed to intercept the enemy the moment they make a move.”
The Space Force Chief made a salute by touching the rim of his hat.
Thoughts of admiration for their ruler spread throughout the icy kingdom.
Nordlinger descended, followed by Dellen.
They were greeted by Wells, Barringer, Stanner, the standard bearer, and the citizens of Gravidia who had over time evolved into all sorts of forms. They were all there to catch a glimpse of their king.
Nordlinger sat upon its icy throne and then contorted itself as it let out a mighty roar.
“My people, gathered here in the promised land!”
Its thought echoed throughout the southern oceans.
“Another victory on the surface. I have destroyed the enemy in a single blow.”
Cheers. Again, its words rang out throughout the kingdom.
“I have written our message in flames, and I will repeat them here. Only destruction awaits any who violate our sacred lands!”
“Long live our kingdom!”
At this time, amidst Nordlinger’s victorious thoughts, there were other thoughts that it did not send out to anyone.
“I hate these theatrics.”
Nordlinger knew that the forces it had wiped out were unmanned. That’s why, instead of intercepting the communications of the surface dwellers (the residents of Brandt Gate) and invading, it had instead destroyed the forces with a meteor. The Gravidians had an overwhelming advantage in destructive power and were much longer-lived than the people above.
“However, do we depend on the individual or the collective? There is wisdom even among the youth. We shall play our game on the snowfields of the South Pole like a game of chess.”
The Gravidians were at a turning point; their kingdom was approaching the peak of its power.
The politicians needed to find a way to rally the people behind a single cause.
They had found it in this promise of a safe haven, and in demonstrating their superiority of the other races.
The young Dellen swam around the perimeter, looking around nervously.
It seemed lost in its own thoughts.
“You seem tired. You can go, Dellen. You’ve done very well today.”
Dellen looked relieved as it descended into the depths. The adults would be glad to see Dellen.
The lights dimmed, and Nordlinger fell silent as it sat on its throne.
Fine bubbles floated around its throne, mirroring the thoughts swirling around its head.
It had more enemies than just the ones on the surface. They surrounded itself in the sea, and in space. As long as the war was going, it was uneasy. As far-reaching as the Gravidians’ senses extended, they were not omniscient. They had to remain vigilant for any incoming threats.
Such was the burden of anyone who dared lead such a great nation.
Gravidia Nordlinger leaned back a little and fell into a short sleep, a form of resting unique to their species.
<<Notes about Terminology>>
The Stars and Gravity Surrounding Planet Cray
Planet Cray was situated within a galaxy filled with countless stars. This meant that, unlike our own planet, the skies above Planet Cray were filled with stars even during the day. It was also surrounded by many smaller objects, the most famous being the South Pole Asteroid Belt, which the Gravidians used as ammunition in their meteorite strikes.
As a result of the planet’s constituent materials Planet Cray had much stronger gravity than Earth’s. As unlikely as it sounds, if an Earth human were to land on Planet Cray, they probably would not be able to stand.
Supervising Editor: 中村聡