The bridge of a starship functioned as the primary control nexus of a starship.
The captain held supreme authority over the vessel by virtue of his position and extensive experience.
Not even Lady Aisling Curver had the right to override the commands of the captain!
This was because the captain worked for the Coalition Reserve Force!
The captain appeared to be a middle-aged looking man with greying hair and steady eyes.
He seemed to have spent all of his time on ships due to his pale skin that bordered on unhealthy.
None of the other bridge crew looked as remarkable.
Ves, still invisible and undetectable, distanced himself from Aisling\'s blond assistant.
Though he retracted the field of his stealth augment in a very small radius, he didn\'t want to risk enveloping her in its range.
That would have given him away!
He swept his gaze through the rest of the bridge.
Frigate ship classes weren\'t as cramped as corvette ship classes.
The Scarlet Rose was also a lot larger and more complex, so the bridge had to be large enough to accommodate at least six bridge officers and operators at minimum and double this figure at maximum!
Right now, the bridge only housed ten people: one captain, six crew, one assistant and two armored guards.
The latter concerned Ves the most.
Both of them wore heavy combat armor that turned them into tall, metal beasts.
Ves did not dare to underestimate them.
Unlike the infantry armor in places like the Bright Republic, the guards wore very resilient second-class combat armor!
These suits of armor not only protected their wearer from damage, but incorporated a huge amount of functions! They were like mechs in miniature form in that regard!
Due to their extreme threat, Ves had to take them out first!
Fortunately, Ves already expected their presence.
Despite their intimidating gear, he just regarded them as obstacles to overcome.
His primary target remained the captain.
Taking him would deprive the Scarlet Rose of a crucial leader during a crisis!
He quietly materialized the Amastendira.
After spending so many days in peace, his Supreme-quality laser pistol felt a bit unfamiliar in his grip.
Each time he took the Amastendira from his Inventory, he marveled at its craftsmanship.
Now that he had built a masterwork mech, Ves possessed a much greater sensitivity towards masterwork objects.
He could tell that the Amastendira had touched this realm as well!
Too bad it was just a copy.
Ves often dreamt of the true Amastendira.
The original version should have been an awe-inspiring piece of gunsmithing!
The System-generated copy he owned still exhibited most of the power of the original.
He adjusted the settings of his weapon before holding it firmly in a two-handed grip.
If he wanted to forestall any unpleasant surprises, then he had to kill each and every person on the bridge within a second!
Ves had two ways to accomplish this goal.
First, he could fire a wide-angle scatter blast, diffusing the energy of his weapon over a large area!
Second, he could employ a powerful penetrating cutting beam and rake the muzzle of his weapon from one end to the other end of the compartment!
When Ves formed his plan, he was torn over which option he should choose.
The first one would definitely kill the captain and every other unarmored crew member in an instant!
However, depending on the energy and heat resistance of the terminals and control panels, Ves might render every interface useless, which would pose significant hindrances to his attempts to take over the ship!
The second option would certainly be deadly enough to cut through the armor of guards, but the brief amount of time needed to sweep over the rest of the crew might give them some time to activate some defense functions!
In addition, while the cutting beam wouldn\'t demolish the entire bridge at once, it would probably cut through a lot of delicate systems beneath the surface!
Between the two choices, Ves eventually settled on the first one.
He wanted his attack to encompass as many people as possible! In addition, so what if the scatter blast melted all of the surface equipment As long as the internal electronic systems remained intact, he could easily tap in to them with some replacement interfaces!
Therefore, Ves crept up to a good position right in front of the hatch he just passed through.
At this position, the angle of his attack would definitely encompass the bridge crew sitting at the periphery!
He raised his pistol and waited for the appropriate time.
In the meantime, he listened to the dialogue between the assistant and the captain.
Captain, please lock down the ship.
Larkinson is on the loose.
We are trying, but half of our signals aren\'t getting through. The captain gritted his teeth as he continually manipulated his projected interface.
There is something wrong with the primary and secondary command networks! According to the diagnostics, many systems aren\'t responding!
The assistant looked alarmed.
As the two exchanged their worries, the bridge suddenly shook a bit!
At the security department, a couple of off-duty guards approached the armory in order to don their combat gear.
The monitoring system detected both the comm calling for help and the active jamming field heading for the escape pods.
This immediately alerted the guards, prompting them to prepare for action!
As soon as the armored hatch slid open, the interior of the armory became exposed.
At this time, all kinds of equipment suddenly exploded! Their abrupt and simultaneous blasts damaged many other equipment such as grenades and explosive rounds, causing a portion of them to detonate almost instantly!
The entire armory became awash with fury! Not only that, but due to the opened hatch, the high energy explosions also poured into the main security compartment, causing many armored and unarmored guards to be swept up by a wave of white-hot heat and energy!
Back to the bridge, some of the consoles blared in alarm!
Sir, an explosion occurred within the armory of the security department! Preliminary analysis suggests that every energy cell and every explosive ordnance has blown up! We have lost contact with over half of our security officers!
Shortly after this, bad news came from another direction!
Captain, engineering has been attacked!
What is the status of the chief engineer!
He\'s dead, sir!
When Ves decided who should attack engineering, he quickly settled for Lucky.
With his stealth, intangibility and energy claws, he was highly suited for assassination!
The most important reason why he left engineering to Lucky was because his attacking means were too destructive!
Discharging his Amastendira across the entire engineering compartment was bound to destroy or disable many delicate machinery! Ves could not bear damaging the crucial power reactor and FTL drive!
In a situation where collateral damage was unacceptable, Lucky was the better choice!
Having phased just below the surface of the deck, the cat had been biding his time.
He wasn\'t staying static either.
Ever since he reached the engineering compartment, he sought out the chief engineer and positioned himself just underneath his feet!
Wherever the chief engineer moved, Lucky followed right along without anyone getting the wiser!
The meters-thick deck that was strong enough to contain most catastrophic explosions posed no hindrance at all!
At most, Lucky expended a lot more energy than usual due to the high-density matter he was phasing through.
The moment the armory exploded, Lucky moved into action as well!
He shot out from the deck and raked the chief engineer from belly to head with deadly energy claws!
The victim didn\'t even have the time to feel any pain before his head tore in half!
Just an instant after Lucky emerged, the cat rapidly shuttled over to a pair of junior engineers and clawed through their heads!
Not even a second had passed before Lucky killed some of the other crew members!
The pair of guards assigned to guard engineering only just became alerted and tried to lock on to the small but lethal attacker!
Yet before they could bring their weapons to bear, Lucky had already killed every engineer and spacer in sight!
Though one of the guards managed to discharge a spherical electrical blast, Lucky simply turned intangible and dove into the deck!
Moments later, Lucky shot out from underneath the feet of a guard and materialized his claw for an instant of a second when it was just passing through the head!
The guard instantly died without suffering any external wounds!
His partner quickly followed suit as he possessed no effective countermeasures against an intangible opponent!
Now that he cleared engineering, Lucky materialized while looking a bit winded.
His earlier actions consumed a lot of energy! If Gloriana hadn\'t constantly fed him with treats, he would have been a lot more exhausted by now!
As it was, Lucky still had enough energy left to take care of some of the remaining threats of the ship.
His eyes grew sharper as his hunting programming resumed operation.
He phased through the ceiling and headed straight towards the security department.
Ves tasked him with cleaning up the survivors of the armory explosion!
Back at the bridge, the bridge received a deluge of alerts! The captain and everyone else became unprecedentedly serious!
They had the impression that an entire team of saboteurs somehow infiltrated the Scarlet Rose without alerting anyone!
Was it the Hexers How many of them were wreaking havoc on the ship No one knew!
At this time, no one bothered to pay attention to Ves! Compared to a measly Brighter mech designer, Lady Curver was a lot more important!
Switch to red alert! Inform everyone that we have hostile boarders or saboteurs on the ship! Redirect the surviving guards to protect our VIPs and retake engineering! Be ready to escort them to the escape pods if the latter action fails!
Ves made his move without breaking stealth.
He fired his Amastendira while pressing his elbow against his eyes!
A powerful blast of light and heat swept throughout the bridge in an instant! A huge amount of heat elevated the temperature in the compartment to lethal degrees, causing Ves to feel scorching hot!
If not for his Jutland organ absorbing all of the excess heat sweeping over his body, he would have suffered severe burns!
Discharging a wide-area energy attack in a closed compartment was very dangerous!
While Ves merely suffered from a wash of heat and reflected light, his targets suffered the brunt of the energy discharge!
Many crew members didn\'t even have time to scream before their uniforms vaporized and their flesh followed suit!
Some of the luckier ones died with a portion of their flesh charred beyond recognition!
Shortly afterwards, a lot of air sucked out as the air management system of the bridge rapidly siphoned away the hot air! A fresh, cool breeze encompassed the bridge as various other measures cooled down the piping hot deck and bridge consoles!
Ves withdrew his arm from his face and moved his position.
He grimaced a bit as he found that the soles of his shoes had not entirely survived the heat exposure!
He ignored the damage he suffered and tried his best to move away from his earlier position!
This happened to be a wise decision as a particle beam just shot through the location where he just stood!
An instant later, a grenade exploded and encompassed a small radius with a powerful but contained explosions that rattled the ears!
Sweat poured down his brow as he gripped his Amastendira like a lifeline.
Though his offensive power was high, he was sorely lacking protection! Just one shot was enough to take him out!
As soon as he repositioned himself, he started to count the survivors.
His eyes widened as he saw that four of his targets survived!
The two guards who counterattacked just then had survived.
While their armor looked half-molten, the energy discharge failed to overcome its protection!
Ves already expected this.
Without focusing the power of his Amastendira, its full-powered scatter blast was not all that deadly to heavily-armored targets.
What he didn\'t expect was that the captain and Lady Curver\'s assistant both survived the sudden attack as well!
Even now, a shimmering sphere surrounded their forms, signifying that both of them wore shield generators!
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