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Enquanto se preparava para voltar ao seu posto à esquerda do jovem Fuller, Wigner notou o estranho status que havia contaminado o centro do campo de batalha, desde Bragg até Lidar. Seus olhos vagaram para o epicentro do fenômeno, onde ele facilmente reconheceu a impressionante silhueta de Dirac lutando com um gigantesco,se não monstruoso Kollok. É certo que, embora a estatura de Dirac se destacasse entre os Helíotes, era quase igual ao dos guerreiros Kollok. Vê-lo ofuscado deu a Wigner uma sensação de desconforto.

Ele avaliou a situação do lado de Fuller. O novato estava se defendendo bem e controlava a situação em um grande perímetro … mas à sua esquerda estava uma frente Kollok, reforçada por veículos blindados,que avançava rapidamente. Progrediram, desembarcando nos flancos desprotegidos do exército dos Heliote, mal coberto pelo resto dos dardanitas, que haviam recuados para trás.

O líder dos Ultras mal se esquivou do raio aquecido cuspido por um tanque inimigo.E enquanto Feyn voava para remediar o ataque dessa máquina indecorosa, Wigner se repreendia. Ele repetiu muitas vezes: "Fique concentrado!"

Em um banho de faíscas, ele subiu subitamente. Desta forma, ele pôde observar a progressão dos Ultras na ala direita da ofensiva sem tentar por o inimigo abaixo novamente.

Led e Lidar também estavam presos no meio da batalha dentro da arena improvisada. Mais adiante, Bose, Nim e Waals pareciam lutar com eficiência na linha com a qual tinham sido encarregados.

As ordens eram sempre evitar comunicações não-vitais durante o combate, mas em tais circunstâncias, ele não se arriscaria muito entrando em contato com os guerreiros imobilizados. Dirac tinha visivelmente se aproximado de Led. Foi, portanto, ele que Wigner escolheu para pedir informações, e também para recolocar no campo de batalha. A extremidade do flanco esquerdo não sofreria sua ausência por muito mais tempo.

O veterano entendeu de forma concisa e eficaz.

"A ferida de Led. Foi isso que fez Dirac se expor e aceitar um duelo desarmado no coração da briga", analisou.

Depois de um conselho final e palavras de encorajamento para a retomada da luta, que seria difícil para os quatro Heliotes presos dinamicamente em meio à horda - ainda mais para Dirac -, Wigner ativou o gás de seus propulsores de fótons para se lançar em direção ao surto de Kollok na extrema esquerda da linha de frente.

O som da voz de seu líder animou Dirac um pouco.

O aperto contra o monstruoso Kollok era uma tortura. Seus braços, seus ombros, sua parte traseira; Todo o caminho para suas pernas, todos os músculos do campeão Heliote estavam gritando misericórdia … e ele estava começando a duvidar. E a dúvida, nesse tipo de confronto, era sinônimo de derrota!

Teria um dia frio no inferno antes que ele desse a besta vermelha insolente essa satisfação!

Isso e sua capitulação teriam energizado ainda mais os espectadores já freneticamente atrás de seu campeão. No chão, o monstro certamente pressionaria sua vantagem. Enfraquecido, o pequeno segundo necessário para reconstituir seu equipamento de combate certamente seria fatal para o maior Ultra.

Pensando rapidamente, Dirac tentou encontrar uma forma honrosa de mudar as marés a seu favor. Uma aproximação traiçoeira para terminar o duelo inevitavelmente iluminaria o fusível. Ele precisava que o simplório Kollok acreditasse que sua superioridade é normal para ele ter a menor chance de voltar ao combate regular antes de ser despedaçado.

Para começar, ele escolheu dobrar para baixo. Seu oponente ficou surpreso ao vê-lo de repente cair um joelho no chão. Um ovacionamento explodiu do clã Kollok saudando o que parecia fortemente como uma admissão de derrota pelo lutador Heloïte.

Braag e Led ficaram tensos ostensivamente; Lidar franziu a testa. Todos viam Dirac em apuros se ele fosse espancado.

Um rumor espalhou-se pelo exército marrom atrás dos Ultras.

O exército de Heliote não tinha parado … e a batalha que as tropas azuis tinham trazido rastejava sobre os espectadores Kollok mais próximos.

Dirac sabia que tinha que terminar rapidamente.

Apesar de seu sofrimento, apesar da chama do fogo em suas veias, em cada fibra muscular empurrada para seu último nível , ele permitiu um sorriso afetado para adornar seu rosto de outra forma bloqueado no esforço.

Perplexidade de repente se mostrou nos olhos do predador, encorajando Dirac um pouco enquanto ele dava ainda mais terreno trazendo seus braços trêmulos para dentro. O contraste entre os sinais de derrota e o sorriso confiante do Heliote deve ter criado uma confusão condenatória dentro da lógica simplista do monstro. Um bônus adicional para o belo truque de Dirac, que estava se preparando para puxar o gigantesco Kollok.

O colossal Ultra forçou as mãos nodosas para a esquerda, e depois saltando-as de volta ao centro. Fez uma pausa. Levando um fôlego, mobilizando o que ele tinha deixado de energia, de força … de luta contra a raiva.

He suddenly took a step back, bringing his whole body with him. Using the effect of surprised and the sudden imbalance of the Kollok, he thrust himself forward, letting go with his left hand. In a liberating scream, he let all the packed brutality explode, twisting his opponents arm in a cantilever position and firmly grabbing the belt with his free hand. The manoeuvre placed him ideally below the Kollok's centre of gravity. In a singly movement, with a formidable push, he unravelled his arms, attempting to unearth the enormous body of his opponent, powerless to counter . For an instant, Dirac was sure his arms, too tired from the prolonged wrestle, would not be able to lift such a heavy mass above his head. With one last leap of pride, like a whip lashing out, a powerful will to live, he managed the exploit to brandish high his Kollok challenger. In his triumph, the Kollok's body had hardened from the anger at having been fooled. No matter his trembling arms, his protruding blood vessels, his reddened face or the sweat gleaming in ducts along his entire body… the exploit was there. It was saluted at its just value by loud acclamations by a public torn between admiration for the champion and the deception at the loss of their favourite.

The lap of honour that Dirac offered himself despite the immense difficulty of this new test of strength wasn't only dedicated to his moment of glory. All the meanwhile, he had all the luxry to gauge the position of his compatriots, as well as his own situation. Though he had known of the interest of the Kolloks in his fight, he was nevertheless surprised at the size of the improvised arena. Of course, he knew Led was implicated since it was mainly to buy him time that Dirac had renounced his combat gear… but seeing Braag and Lidar also stuck in the mix was bothersome. It wouldn't be two but four Ultras that were going to have to rip themselves out of this shithole! To top it off, on this part of the frontline, the Kollok tanks were free to roam to security at the back. This was not the time to sit back and enjoy the view!

As the Heloïte giant started to reconstitute his equipment, a shadow abruptly covered a large part of the battle field.

No time to try understand!

With a jerk, Dirac offloaded the meat sac that was perched above his auburn hair. For an instant, he contemplated skewering the beast before it landed. He chose not to finally, deciding the warrior had earned this short reprieve. It was not often an adversary other than an Ultra gave him such difficulty.

As Dirac threw one last look towards the titan getting up around his own, Wigner's alarm signal resonated within the implants soldered to his temples.

Steered by the orders of their leader, the Ultras were quick to react.

Braag, Dirac and Bose instantly soared vertically in a triple shower of sparks. They flew towards a sudden assault of drones that came crashing out of an unknown spaceship barely a hundred metres above the battlefield.

Amidst the mess of deathly light shots, Led and Lidar fought against the melee. They received aerial support from Nim, Feyn and Fuller who were despatched to help extricate them from the Gordian knot caused by Dirac's improvised duel.

The three Utlras that had left to go drone hunting were also very busy!

All had made the mistake of thinking they had to protect the main force against these deviously fast and small devices. The machines seemed in fact to be programmed to give priority to the Ultras themselves, and their lasers were no joke.

The three flying Heloïtes quickly found that criss-crossing each other was an effective tactic to obliterate the metal balls following them.

After a ferocious offensive, Wigner regained altitude to evaluate the new situation. Drones were not part of the usual Kollok arsenal, so where were they coming from?

A burst of light made him look upwards.

All the way up there, under the yellow veil of the Dardanite sky, one of the Heloïte cruisers had just materialised a canon.

By convention, large warships never attacked ground forces - soldiers gutted one another in battle, but in a civilised manner. In the past, star wars had caused immense damages, the nations had realised that employing such heavy artillery outside of aerial combat would inevitably only lead to the genocides of both engaged civilisations. No one wanted to win a war over a dead planet. As such, an informal accord was adopted. Of course, Helior had a game changer of possessing the highest war technology in the galaxy, one capable of erasing planets from the cosmos. Nonetheless, the Counsel of the Wise insisted on conserving the principles that were theirs. Helior would never budge from its first principle: always act as a defender… as much for its own interests as those of its allies, as much as a moral sense. This allowed them to play a key role in imposing themselves as judges of peace. Helior did not abuse its power, but whoever would be tempted to was exposing himself to the charms of total annihilation. Just what was needed to stir resentment, on top of the lust that their formidable scientific riches could spark.

However, against a big enough spaceship, an attack from the cruiser was perfectly regular. Hence why Galasir had quickly hidden away his fleet from Dardanite airspace before the arrival of the Heloïte backup.

The gigantic battleship commandeered by General Maserf entering the dance was not an event that went unnoticed. Just like Wigner, quite a few combatants had raised their gazes to follow the trajectory of his powerful attack, though barely visible from the ground. A martial clamour raised itself from the ranks of blue and orange, celebrating in advance the fall of the large enemy warship silhouette onto the brown waves.

A fraction of a second before hitting its mark, the powerful beam dissipated in a deafening crackle.

— "A force-field! These dastards have a force-field strong enough to stop a class V Ultra-waver!", blurted out loud the leader of the Ultras despite himself.

Combat drones, a last-generation corvette, who could possibly have provided such state of the art equipment to the sinister Galasir?


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