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Venerable Joshua had mixed feelings about his mission.
He did not have much sympathy for the aliens. The Tower of Babel crushed Lord Pearian Yorul-Tavik's pioneering fleet a few months ago, thereby depriving lots of innocent humans of their lives.
After that, the alien battleship immediately opened fire on Otrus Magrin's pioneering fleet.
Even if no one working for the notorious vulture were exactly innocent themselves, the aliens could have chosen to turn around and flee without facing much resistance.
Instead, the alien commanders in charge of the Tower of Babel chose to perpetuate the cycle of violence and almost wiped out the forces of Cenatus Prospecting entirely!
Whether the aliens of the battleship deserved mercy or not was no longer a question that Joshua was willing to consider.
He was a human, and he needed to stand up for his own race. It would have been much easier for him to reject his current task if his adversaries were much more reasonable.
"Is this the actual state of the cosmos? Is there no other way to put a halt to this unending cycle of violence?"
"DON'T BE SUCH A PUSSY, JOSHUA." His living expert mech replied. "A BATTLEFIELD IS NO PLACE FOR YOU TO DAYDREAM OR CONTEMPLATE DEEP PHILOSOPHICAL QUESTIONS. IT'S TIME FOR YOU TO ADD ANOTHER PILE OF SKULLS TO YOUR LONG AND EXTENSIVE KILL LIST."
"Hey! Don't attribute all of the enemies killed by the battle formation attacks to my name! I am only helping Helena do her job. That is all. It isn't as if I have killed all of those people myself!"
Regardless of what Joshua thought about his matter, his expert mech was right. He needed to set aside his confusion and lead the Penitent Sister battle formation once again.
He truly wanted to be doing something else, such as fighting against the enemy phase lord alongside the rest of his colleagues.
Still, until the Penitent Sisters produced an expert pilot of their own who was able to pilot an expert mech variant of the Valkyrie line, the Larkinson Clan had no one else to turn to but Joshua and his Everchanger.
The young father found this responsibility to be increasingly more distasteful. The killing was far too… industrialized for his liking. It did not match the romance of mechs that drew many children to this profession in the first place.
"LOOK ON THE BRIGHT SIDE, JOSHUA. KILLING THESE ALIENS WILL EARN US A LOT OF CREDIT FROM THE MTA. STOPPING THESE HUMAN TRAITORS FROM SPREADING MORE SECRETS IS AN EVEN GREATER CONTRIBUTION TO HUMANITY. THIS WILL HELP US ADVANCE OUR POLITICAL GOALS."
"Ah. I you're right, I guess."
The Everchanger was no longer 'just' a third-order living mech. He had recently become the first grandmaster of the Anima Order.
Though the newly-established order did not have much time to get anything done, the Everchanger already formulated several long-term plans. Trying to get on the good side of the mechers would be helpful if they ever found out that living mechs had started to organize underneath everyone's noses!
The expert hero mech was even more eager to kill all of the occupants of the alien battleship than Joshua for that reason.
Just like a true hero, the Everchanger needed to step up and set an example for his fellow living mechs!
As the Valkyrie mechs of the Penitent Sisters and the Glory Seekers started to enter into formation without encountering any significant opposition from the aliens, possibly the only innocent individual on the enemy ship was wondering what was going on outside.
"Hello? Is there anyone there?" The human captive called out from his empty and isolated cell. "At least come and give me food! It's been days since I last saw a nutrient pack!"
Lord Pearian looked a lot more lethargic than before. His body laid limp next to the nunser watering pool because he would just waste a lot of energy if he made any unnecessary movements.
Though he periodically called out for food only to remind his captors that he still existed, no one had come in the past few days.
It all started when the hull of the Fractured House of the Collapsing Star shook so badly that Pearian thought that the ship was about to fall apart!
Though that hadn't happened, Pearian quickly deduced that the alien ship must have suffered a heavy blow because his captives no longer bothered to patrol this cell complex.
For a time, Lord Pearian thought that 'Helena' had taken action and that he needed to pray to this 'Daughter of Death' in order to save his life!
He felt ashamed at how eagerly he fell to knees and clasped his hands in order to beg for mercy and protection.
Hardly anything had happened. The ship still remained operational more or less and Pearian was still stuck in the same damn cell!
The only change was that the usual nunser guards had disappeared.
He first celebrated the departure of these intimidating guards, but that quickly changed a half day later when none of them returned to toss a nutrient pack in his cell.
By the time another half day passed, Pearian was willing to devour the nutrient pack without removing its slime-covered wrapping!
At this time, the scion of the Yorul-Tavik Clan had suffered so much neglect in captivity that he was practically traumatized by this experience!
Never in his entire life had he experienced a time where more than 8 hours had passed since he last filled his stomach.
Whether it was breakfast, lunch, dinner or snacks, he always possessed the confidence that his attendants and servants would provide him with an opportunity to fill his stomach and enjoy a varied gastronomic experience in the process.
Nowadays, Lord Pearian had become so hungry that he was even willing to eat the grass or whatever alien food the nunsers consumed!
"What is going on out there?!"
It wasn't until the starship started to shake once again that Lord Pearian felt a lot more hopeful.
Any change was good in his eyes!
At least, that was what he thought before a major explosion shook the hull and rattled the cell block to the point where Pearian thought that the ceiling would collapse on his head!
"Is it time now?!"
Lord Pearian had a feeling that this second attack was more serious. Even though he felt humiliated for praying to 'Helena' without anything serious happening, he did not dare to neglect the warning he received almost a week ago. The mistake of getting it wrong was too great!
He reluctantly moved his body out of its energy-saving mode and pulled up his body just enough for him to enter his praying position once again.
"Helena… if you exist, please spare me. I have already gone through enough suffering to last me a lifetime. Please spare this humble soul from your impending wrath. If you save me from dying in this awful cell on this awful alien ship, I will promise you that I will convert to your faith! No, I will do even better than that. I will build an enormous temple in your honor and make sure that other people in this dwarf galaxy will learn of your splendor! Please, oh merciful Daughter of Death, save me from this torment and deprivation so that I can go back to civilization and never have to face a stinking alien again in my lifetime!"
He was never going to go back to this stupid and ill-thought venture again! The frontier was too dangerous for the likes of himself!
As Lord Pearian prayed to Helena as sincerely as possible, another human on the ship was feeling a lot less secure.
Jugal Meren experienced a turbulent time in the last few days. Whereas Lord Pearian had been completely forgotten by everyone, the aliens did not forget about their human collaborator at all. They even accused him of enabling the attack that crippled the Fractured House of the Collapsing Star to occur!
"I am not in the same group as the humans that attacked your fine and magnificent homeship!" The representative of the Cosmopolitan Movement had to plea in native nunser language while utterly prostrating himself before the Trampler of Stars. "As we have explained many times in the past, the human race is divided into many factions and groups. I am completely opposed to the pioneers that this fleet belonged to. I will arrange a greater transfer of technology and resources if you wish to obtain proof of my sincerity!"
It took a lot of begging and convincing to maintain their current cooperation. Though Mr. Meren had to make a lot more concessions than he was willing to make, it was not that difficult for the Cosmopolitan Movement to increase the amount of assistance it provided to the aliens.
In fact, this turn of events worked out quite well for Meren, as the goal of the Cosmopolitans was to bolster the strength of the native aliens to begin with! The more tech and resources the Red Cabal received, the greater its chances of stopping the Big Two's relentless invasion in its tracks!
Everything changed for the better until a second human force arrived in the star system!
It became evident that these newcomers were much more prepared to fight against the Fractured House of the Collapsing Star.
The disturbing effectiveness of the second force even caused Jugal Meren to become suspicious.
When he recalled what happened in the past week, he managed to tie all of the clues together and deduce that the Fractured House of the Collapsing Star was caught in a conspiracy!
The problem was that he wasn't the only one on the ship who could figure this out. The smartest and more thoughtful aliens made the same connections!
"HUUHHYYAY!" A nunser high officer roared as he bent down his head and snatched Jugal Meren by his volumnous purple robes!
The alien officer lifted up the human's body and flung it towards the bulkhead of the alien bridge.
"The Cosmopolitans are not at fault!" He repeated in native nunser language once again. "This is not the time to indulge in your unfounded suspicions. I have just accessed my archive stored in my implant and identified the human threat that we are fighting against. We are in great danger! Do not underestimate these adversaries. Those second-class mechs that are rapidly advancing towards our ship are far more dangerous than you can imagine! You need to warp away from this star system as best you can before it is too late!"
The furious nunser officer did not listen to him! Instead, the quadruped alien stomped over to Meren's fallen position and picked him up by his robe yet again so that he could fling the puny human against another bulkhead!
"Ah! I am being serious! Contact your housemaster! Allow me to speak to him and impress the importance of evading the attack that I know is coming."
"There is no time for that! Look, those mechs have come a lot closer while we have been wasting our time. Activate whatever warp drives if any of them are still functional! If not, command everyone to abandon your homeship so that we still have a chance to survive the impending slaughter!"
The aliens didn't believe him! For all of his notable communication skills, the nunsers and the other species crewing the starship had completely lost all of their trust of humans.
"No! You fools! It is too late! The mechs… are right on top of us! Look! One of humanity's gods has already appeared!"
The aliens on the bridge initially dismissed the threat of the weak standard mechs, thinking that the starfighter-like machines were no different from the ones fielded by Cenatus Prospecting.
That quickly changed when not just one, but several manifestations of a young woman in gray appeared over the rapidly approaching formations of mechs!
As the three near-identical manifestations came closer, the alien officers just started to panic and issue emergency orders to the crew, but by that time the infamous battle formations of the Golden Skull Alliance had already sent out three different waves of death at rapid speed!
Though the aliens didn't know it, Jugal Meren knew without a doubt that there was no time to respond!
The only action he could do was fall to his knees and prostrate in front of the rapidly-advancing waves of death.
The Cosmopolitan did what he was always good at. He pleaded and begged the incoming threat to spare his life!
"Human goddess… forgive this humble human soul… spare my life… and I shall become your eternal slave and devotee!"
Before he could continue his prayer, three waves of deaths successively coursed through the length of the crippled alien battleship!