Chapter 5649 Shattered Expectations
Chapter 5649 Shattered Expectations
5649 Shattered Expectations
It was undeniable that the insectile aliens were powerful. They did not appear to possess great physical might, but as natives to a galaxy that was saturated with E energy, their species had emerged and evolved alongside this powerful force for an innumerable amount of generations!
Ves felt that the alien insects may share a greater resemblance to the Alshyr race than a tool-based race like humanity.
These were amazingly powerful creatures that probably relied on their natural gifts to achieve supremacy as opposed to relying on highly sophisticated external tools.
It was difficult to determine the exact power of the individual aliens in the image. Most of them did not appear to be too strong as they primarily served as decoration in this instance.
It was the leading alien that generated the greatest amount of concern. Ves was somehow able to integrate a small part of her extraordinary charm in the Insects of Light. This heavily implied that she was at least as powerful as a True God!
However, the prophetic vision ultimately generated far more questions than answers. A single snapshot of the future could only convey a limited amount of information.
Though Ves found it incredibly interesting that he was able to get a glimpse of a powerful alien race native to Messier 87 far in advance, it did not actually change his life all that much.
So what if there was a powerful race of intelligent insects in the supermassive galaxy? Ves was not able to interact with them in any way so long as he was separated from them by an enormous distance!
The image showed far too little about the nature and the properties of these alien insects. Ves had no idea how powerful they were and what abilities they might possess. There was no way for him to develop any specific counters towards their species as their fighting methods were unknown.
"Let's move on." Ves suggested.
The tenth image was one of the least clarifying images that they had seen so far. Ves had made a lot of hasty brush strokes that vaguely looked like a hundred or so upright swords.
Each of these swords were in the process of getting cut in half by an extraordinarily powerful sword strike!
While the sight looked vaguely impressive, there were no humans or aliens in the scene that could provide any additional context.
Gloriana crossed her arms. "This is clearly a prophecy centered around Ketis. Can you offer any further clarification, Ves?"
"Not much, honey. All I know is that it is supposed to be called the Culling of the Sword Forest. It is a significant act, but why that is the case, I can't say. I do think that the individual who is doing the culling is likely Ketis, but it may just be a high-ranking swordsman mech."
This image was one of the worst as it failed to convey any coherent early warning or message.
There was not much for the group of mech designers to say as the prophetic vision simply did not go out of its way to explain itself to its viewers.
Jovy offered his own insight at this time.
"Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Perhaps we are not the target audience of this prophecy. If Ketis is able to see this illustration in person, there is a reasonable probability that she will be able to derive much greater meaning from this simplistic image."
That was a plausible theory. Ves intended to wait until the Zeal finally got shipped back to the expeditionary fleet. Once the living masterwork mech returned to his battle partner, Ketis could easily stop by and take a look before sharing her findings.
There were only 3 images left after this one.
The next prophetic vision at least had the courtesy of depicting a clear scene.
It showed another greater beyonder gate. This one was different from the one in Maryun Ultima.
The enormous metallic ring had gone through an extensive reconstruction process that significantly altered its functionality and turned it into a tool that was meant to serve red humanity alone!
This should have been an inspiring sight if not for the fact that it was very clearly broken!
"This artwork is called Shattered Expectations. I can see why it has earned this title."
"The gate… has shattered into pieces." Gloriana stated the obvious. "And not gently either. Look at all of the scarring. Look at all of the traces of battle damage. A great battle has ensued that finally breached through all of the defensive layers that kept it protected."
"The enemies who targeted the gate had to defeat a lot of mechs and warships along the way. Look at all of the debris that is floating in the background. Those are very clearly wrecked mecher and fleeter assets" Ves pointed out. "I've experienced my fair share of battles. I've learned how to derive a lot of clues by examining the patterns of a debris field. Right now, the sheer quantity of wreckage suggests the enemy targeted the greater beyonder gate in a frontal attack. It is a pity that I can't identify any debris belonging to the attacking force. There are no obvious remains from alien phasefighters and warships."
Jovy had remained quiet at this time as the subject matter of this prophetic vision was highly disturbing.
The Deep Strike Plan originally advocated by the Fist of Defiance hinged on the capacity for red humanity to strike at their alien foes where they were weak!
Only by wreaking havoc behind enemy lines and forcing the numerically superior major alien races to redeploy much of their warfleets back to defending their hinterland would red humanity be able to gain a lot more breathing room!
The shattering of the greater beyonder gate might not put it out of commission on a permanent basis. Perhaps enough of it remained intact for the Red Two to put the pieces back together and replace all of the broken parts with fresh ones.
However, the delay would be devastating for red humanity as it would probably take years if not decades before it could function again!
"You have done us a great service, Ves." Jovy eventually spoke up again. "This is the most useful and actionable early warning message that we have received. Look at the designs of the warships and mechs. They are too far away from this perspective for us to make out any details, but their color schemes look completely identical to the units currently garrisoned in Bridgehead One. Look at the intact surface modules of the broken greater beyonder gate. The one in this image is at a much more advanced stage of transformation than the one that exists in the present. However, I have received word from a reliable source that the gate that you have painted has not yet completed its final phase of reconstruction. It has only reached as far as the penultimate phase."
Ves and Gloriana both widened their eyes as they instantly figured out the implications of this piece of information.
"You mean that you can accurately estimate when this attack is supposed to take place based on the schedule and planning of this enormous makeover project?!"
"Yes." Jovy responded with a genuine smile. "However, this is only the case if your prophetic vision is accurate and if the reconstruction process has not encountered any unexpected setbacks and delays. It is not 100 percent certain that anything will happen during the calculated time interval of this surprise attack. Any measures we take to bolster our defenses and transfer additional troops to Bridgehead One may produce a butterfly effect where the original attacking force has chosen not to go through with this assault."
"In that case, we will not be able to gain any definitive proof that this prophetic vision has any basis in reality." Gloriana glumly said.
Ves was not as upset about this. "No news is good news in this case. No matter whether the reinforcement of Bridgehead One turns out to be a wasted action or not, at least the gate will remain intact no matter the outcome. That is what matters the most."
"Well said. We will speak about this later. Let us view the remaining two images."
The twelfth prophetic vision resonated with Ves a lot more. This was because he saw the interior of a church.
This was not an ordinary church, however. The tall structure was replete with golden statues and other gilded icons.
A huge mass of worshipers attended service at this time. Most of the figures did not attract any attention, but it was the priests and other church personnel that disturbed Ves.
Each of them had dressed themselves up in white and golden robes that were topped off with golden cat heads or cat ears!
This caused the entire scene to look a lot more absurd. If this was not a clue that a certain ancestral spirit was involved, then the huge statues that clearly depicted the Golden Cat in a stately manner was definite proof that the Larkinsons were involved one way or another!
However, that was not the disturbing part of this image.
What truly set Ves off was the fact that there were actual aliens among the crowd!
"Is that… a nunser?" Gloriana asked in disbelief.
"Yeah. You can't mistake that large quadruped body shape. That really tall guy over there is probably an orven, though I am not entirely sure."
"Look at that ball shape at the front! If I am not mistaken, that should be a puelmer. This is impossible. The puelmer race is perpetually angry and far too arrogant to believe in any gods. They do not even respect the phase whales!"
Ves had no idea how to make sense of this prophetic vision. It was just too absurd for him to take seriously. Humans not only lived in harmony alongside the members of the major alien races of the Red Ocean, but they also shared the same faith!
"The title of this piece is called In the Service of the Golden Cat. It looks pretty normal, but how the hell are aliens mixed inside the crowd? I can't explain it. I really can't. How many years have passed for this to become a normal sight?"
"There is no way for us to discern how far in the future this scene takes place." Jovy commented in a neutral tone. "It may be hundreds or thousands of years in the future. We can be more open-minded in those cases. Our society will look completely different from today. It is not… unacceptable for us to imagine that at least a few alien groups have successfully integrated into human society."
"This is probably another dream come true for the cosmopolitans." Ves grumbled.
He hated the cosmopolitans with a passion. He could not imagine what happened in the years to come that eventually led to this possible result. How could Ves support any outcome that was favorable to an enemy that attempted to take his own life?
This was a lie!
Ves refused to spend any more attention to this artwork and quickly moved on to the final piece.
The style of this image was familiar to him. He had painted a dark and depressing scene once again.
Whether it was a coincidence or not, it showed a single male figure that was literally wrapped up in remarkably powerful chains in the center of a dark chamber. The abundant shadows and the absence of strong light sources made it difficult to get a clear view of the imprisoned individual, but Ves did not need to look at the few identifying markers to infer his identity.
He could instinctively feel that the subject of this prophetic vision… was himself.
With a beard.
"That's me." Ves admitted. "For whatever reason, people have shackled me and wrapped me up in chains to the point where I have become powerless and immobile. They then placed me in a secure chamber that seems as if it is expressly designed to contain me. These guys must be really afraid of what I will do if I am able to break free."
Gloriana developed a strong interest in Ves' visible face. "This is clearly taking place in the far future. You look much older and more majestic in every way. It is a pity that I cannot feel a trace of power from your depiction. I have to say that you look much more mature with this beard of yours. What is this work called?"
"The Sentencing of a War Criminal."
Gloriana actually chuckled at this time. "Why am I not surprised? Your pattern of behavior is… anything but exemplary. Perhaps one day, you have finally violated a taboo that you should not have tested."
Ves could not help but take this warning seriously.
No matter what, he did not want to lose his freedom and get locked away in a dark and lonely cage for who knew how many years!
"I guess… I will pay more attention to my actions. I am NOT going to let this happen."
Ves probably did not have to worry about getting caught and put into chains anytime soon, but there might come a time in the far future where he may actually be treated as a war criminal.
Though he had no idea how he could warrant such a label, Ves vowed to himself that he would never let himself end up in this sorry position!