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Helior the Magnificent.

Helior, jewel of the cosmos.

Helior, pride of a nation, and object of fierce desire for many others. A planet with a perfect climate from one pole to the other; a prodigy born from the extraordinary ring whose powerful emitters replaced on command the illumination and heat of a sun that was not there. Its power source, particle accelerators, were integrated within the enormous structure. Helior the Prosperous was disfigured by massive plumes of smoke which were visible from miles around.

The ruins spread across an expanse where, just moments ago, beat the mighty heart of one of the most beautiful Heloïte cities. Swarms of aerial transport units convergent towards the open wound. In some places, the materials within the destroyed walls where rebuilding themselves, only to fall again, lacking the structural support needed.

All over the place, field hospitals were deployed, assistance buildings planted to reception the survivors. Those few were abashed, shocked, stunned and bore wounds that were sometimes gut wrenching. Mothers ran in all directions, children squealed, distraught men searched for those close to them. The destructive force had been such that the damage included civil communication relays as well as the energy grid. The city looked like an anthill that had been devastated by a cruel giant's foot. A burning foot.

To the north, the anti-combustion brigades were fighting against the flames that were raging within what used to be the industrial park. The protections of the chemical and composite product reserves had not been able to withstand the strength of the attack. The monumental dark spire growing towards the sky was as sinister omen: Heloïte grounds had been desecrated.

From the west, as if following the trajectory of the light from the planetary ring, came the emergency teams hard at work gathering wounded and the bodies of the defeated assaulted troops. Everywhere, cadavers in blue uniforms littered the ground punctured by gigantic charred trenches, gemmed with craters of sometimes impressive dimensions and peppered with debris of broken planes and service robots. Further away, in the Brennos Plain, the losses were in the thousands. The elite regiments of the Guard, gem of the Heloïte army after the Ultras, were soundly defeated despite their heavy weaponry and indisputable bravery. The enormous carcasses of two destroyers called for back-up filled the horizon with clouds of smoke. Fires burnt within, consuming the photon generators, while squadrons of robots were employed trying to drown the melted motors beneath torrents of energy-absorbing foams in an attempt to contain the risk of radioactive contamination.

A very large perimeter of more than a hundred kilometres wide, composed of ground troops, fighter jets in stationary flight, encircled the vast orchards of the Tregor Hills.

Beneath the shade from fruit trees impeccably maintained by robots busy in their unending work, were three figures sprawled out.

A man with opulent hair, his body and armour constellated with battle marks, was returning to the small group carrying a piece of an automaton equipped with a net. Raditz was eagerly devouring a fruit that have a turquoise skin with orange spots similar to the ones his baggage contained.

— You should try these, they taste like roast meat, perfect!

— Not bad, but I prefer the ones that remind me of the ham of Testis. Although the row to the other side, it's a sweet variety with a fruity perfume not half bad either, answered Nappa as he lay down with his head firmly set in his large hands. He spat a seed with precision straight into the face of his hairy friend.

Kiwi, seated further apart got up; he did not seem in as good a humour as the two gourmets. A mean cut ran across his left cheek and he was missing a large portion of his shoulder armour on the same side.

— We've waited long enough! There's no reason to go easy on these weaklings! We go out and destroy the other big cities and finish off their army! Get up you bunch of losers!

Vegeta, also laying with his arms behind his head under the dancing shadows of a fruit tree, stopped swinging his foot over his other knee.

Raditz and Nappa acted as if they hadn't heard. The gigantic one got up to grab another fruit. Both accomplices, awaiting a good banter, simply observed their prince rise while ostensibly taking his time.

Vegeta, less marked by combat than his companions, started walking in a circle around Kiwi, like a superior officer inspecting a new recruit. This had the effect of annoying the latter to no end.

— It seems you didn't understand Lord Frieza; you are under my orders, Vegeta! voiced the lackey of the tyrant.

Vegeta stopped just in front of the alien with the oversized head. Even though he was shorter, it was just like the Saiyan who seemed to dominate the scene.

— I wonder what Lord Frieza could possibly find interesting in you… said Vegeta slyly.

— No doubt the fact that I can reduce you to a pulp of sore wounds should the urge take me! answered Kiwi.

A short grin loaded with irony adorned Vegeta's cruel face.

— Just as I said, you are of a particular stupid race poor Kiwi, he continued in his loaded sarcasm.

He suddenly turned his back to the one who had just threatened him. Pushing further still, he allowed himself to join his hands behind his back while strolling away like a retired man.

— Let's entertain the idea you tried to kill me, why not… he started. Note that I did say "try", because even if you were stronger than me, you wouldn't survive against all three of us. I'll admit that this small detail probably escaped our powerful leader. Assuming you were to kill all three of us, do you truly think you'd be able to face off on your own the elite troops who're soon to arrive? How the hell do you intend on getting out of this mess you'd be in without us, as useless as we seem to be?

As he turned around to offer his mocking grin to the alien, he was amused to see the spectacle of Kiwi seaming with barely contained rage.

— I'm warning… teethed the alien, abruptly cut-off by Vegeta.

— Tell me, your scouter is sending our conversations to the home base… ushered the Saiyan, a devilish look about him.

Taken off-guard, Kiwi had a moment of absence. He didn't understand where the bastard was getting at. The fact that the conversation would reach Frieza was damning the insolent brat, both knew this, so why?

— What would our lord think if he understood you were ready to go against his orders? swiftly added Vegeta.

He allowed the silence to install itself, very content observing the colour of the purple-skinned alien redden in anger.

— Remember our commands: "Preserve as best as possible the planet and the scientists". Where do they live, the scientists, you imbecile ?

Kiwi tried to regain some composure, he had to regain the upper hand if he was to keep his credibility in front of the tyrant.

— Exactly, I don't understand why… he tried.

Vegeta cut him off once more, drier still.

— That's precisely the problem! You don't understand anything… and when you finally will, it will already be too late! scathed the Saiyan.

The scouters emitted a beep in unison, and all heads turned to the direction designated by their ocular apparatus.

— Looks like our guests have finally arrived, smirked Vegeta.

Wigner, Fuller and Lidar were flying full photons ahead, their combat gear deployed, in the direction of the Tregor Hills. The landscapes of Helior carried the names of the previous planet of the Heloïtes, their destroyed original lands, entirely devoured by carbonite. A land that the current generation had never known. Not all were able to leave… many had died. The survivors had still suffered more before the artificial ring of light was operational and the new planet rendered hospitable. Their new paradise, the Heloïtes hadn't stolen it, they had built it, earned it. They had made it with sweat and blood, thanks to the ingenuity of the inventors, the audacity of the builders, the bravery of those who fought to defend and provide for the colony that had difficulty surviving the conditions of several decades in space.

Helior was coveted, but Helior would never be ruled, never!

The three Ultras were silent since their arrival on their natal planet. During the two days necessary for the voyage on the fastest jets of their fleet, they had followed hour by hour the video footage of the ravages caused by the invaders.

They were enraged at not having been there earlier to avoid the death toll on natal grounds; but also having had to leave a battle in which their presence had never been so needed. Between the troops manhandled by the tanks, the menace of the drones, the necessity to fill in the blanks of those gone and above all… above all else, their two comrades whom it was impossible to let be taken alive. With no contact, without any quick solution, Waals and Nim would surely be lost. Maybe they already were.

Wigner, ordinarily master of himself, was boiling inside impatient to kill off the intruders and regain as quickly as possible Dardan.

Radom in person, Great Master of the Council of Sages, had ordered him to attempt to find out if the intruders were in league with Galasir. He also wanted to know their origins and the source of their power. In short, he had asked Wigner not to kill them before subtracting information out of them. Bothersome orders. Constraining orders. For the first time in his career, Wigner was tempted to ignore an order.

They passed above the military cordon surrounding the zone where the invaders had inexplicably hidden after the troops had taken a safe distance. They flew over so quickly they didn't hear the ovations under their sparkling wake.

Problem: the strange aggressors apparently weren't wearing any equipment susceptible to be detected by their radars, and contrary to Kolloks, their body thermal signatures didn't differ greatly from a Heloïte citizen. The Ultras' gear was still configured for the battle of Dardan.

They would have to rely on the images from cameras held by certain agricultural robots meant to keep track of the work. Reconnaissance drones had been dispatched to the zone, but they had quickly been found and obliterated.

No weaponry. How had these phenomena routed the army with only bare-hands? And not just any army, the Guard with the support of two destroyers, nonetheless!

A form of magic no doubt. It would have been wiser to be able to kill on sight. With magicians, it was going to be back-handed dealings. No need for that, not right now! Bloody Sages! Helior didn't have need for secrets from tricksters!

Greatly slowing down their pace, the three Ultras started visually searching the hillsides.

The quartet was waiting atop one of the higher points. Vegeta had chosen the area as it sported a large clearing amidst hundreds of acres of fruit tree plantations. At the end of the zone, that the architect had planned flowered, were immense hangars destined to receive the incessant ballet of robots in charge of the harvest. The area normally served for flying cargos shuttling products to the consumers. At the moment, the traffic had been interrupted in the whole sector. Only the automatons, perfectly autonomous, continued their program relentlessly.

— It seems they're looking for us, noted Nappa.

— They're like the other troops, no scouters, laughed Kiwi.

— Well then, let's be civilized and show ourselves. Nappa… ordered Vegeta quietly, without preoccupying himself with the dark looks thrown by the added member of his team.

The big Saiyan simply raised his right hand, lazily as if he was doing something rather boring, and dropped a large ball of energy that rose an instant to the sky. The luminous manifestation barely gained any altitude before dropping in a curbed trajectory towards the hangars shaped as transparent half-clouds. The frightened screams of several employees, no doubt having failed to evacuate beforehand, escaped before the explosion which devastated the building with such force that it blew aside the hair of Raditz and Vegeta despite the distance.

Objective reached. Two minutes later, Wigner, Fuller and Lidar landed in a cloud of sparks and dust a few metres away in front of the four defilers.

— We almost had to wait! boasted Vegeta, his smirk stuck on his face.


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