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28 Departing the Vulpes Homeworld

 "I will take several hours until I am ready," Ivan spoke calmly to Major Harold and Captain Argentear, locking them up in the shielded rooms the Symbians used to reside in. "You two will stay under custody here until then."

Ivan, Mazur, Iris and Valeria, who would obviously be following Ivan, would be gone for a year. Ivan wasn't about to let progress in subspace stop though, so he began to assign everyone positions for everyone within the company.

The ten hunting groups were changed into security teams, the head security officer being assigned to Eoth. Iris was assigned the role of vice-president, while Valeria was the senior secretary to work directly under Ivan's commands.

The scientists were some of the most important people, they would hold dual roles of product researcher and senior executive. With neither Ivan nor Iris present, they would have to collaborate in order to decide the growth direction of the company according to a strict guideline towards expanding the company foundation.

Ivan only had time to organize some of the managing positions of the company, so other than a few more managers in charge of various smaller groups, most was left unfinished.

After everyone were aware of their tasks, Ivan released the Major and Captain, before heading off to the cruiser with Mazur, Iris and Valeria.

"My destroyer is serving as the temporary flagship of this ship, even though it might fall slightly short when compared to a standard flagship... I can't believe that this is Mazur Ral Vendick." Major Harold spoke strictly to Ivan, but trailed off when looking a Mazur. He had seen Mazur down on the planet during the massacre, but he hadn't identified the figure due to the massive changes in appearance.

"Don't worry about it too much. How long until we arrive at the frontline?" Ivan nonchalantly answered.

Despite his curiosity as to what can change a man's appearance so much, and the personal hatred from them killing his soldiers, his strict military training still caused him to be punctual with his responses.

"We depart within the hour. The journey through hyperspace will take approximately two weeks at maximum speed, during which time you will be able to rest in your rooms."

"That won't work for us," Ivan stared intently at the Major. "We have a special dietary requirement. You must plot your course to stop within the solar system every two or three days."

Major Harold didn't argue with this and nodded, relaying the orders to the military staff operating the ship to make adjustments to the course.

Soon enough, the entire fleet left the orbit of the Vulpes homeworld, the glow of impulse thrusters lighting up above the planet which could be seen from the surface, even including daytime. Their departure was a massive relief for King Margold, who seemed to age a dozen years from the constant distress that they would interfere with his conquest over the other countries, perhaps even force them back into a stalemate.

"Husband, are you okay?" Queen Sherell asked in a worried voice once they were alone, softly massaged his brows which had been cramped for a long time.

"We are indeed feeling relieved now. Based on what our soldiers overheard during their departure, the original two should return after a year, but they haven't caused us any damages, so that is of little consequence. What concerns me more is our former citizens, who have returned to their families."

"They are still our citizens though, why be concerned over them."

"You don't understand, our dearest queen. They are no longer our people, we have been hearing reports that they are referring to themselves as Celestials. They look down upon their former citizens, and have given absolute loyalty to their new identities."

Queen Sherell stopped massaging King Harold's brows at this moment as she widened her eyes in surprise. "But why? Why would our former citizens betray us like this?"

King Margold sighed a deep breath, closing his eyes wearily.

"We told you that Ivan alien was a terrifying person. His ability to capture the hearts of people and guide them far exceeds anything we have ever seen. In terms of being able to rule people, he has exceeded us by an unimaginable amount. If he was the king of an enemy empire, with our new weapons or not, he would easily become to most terrifying enemy."

"What can we do against someone like that?"

"Nothing. In order to maintain popular support, we must allow them to do nothing, only striking their public image should the opportunity present itself. As few losing a few thousand citizens, it is inconsequential. We have completely defeated the surrounding three countries and with the influx of new population, our gains far exceed the losses."

*****

On the foremost destroyer travelling through hyperspace, Ivan, Mazur, Iris and Valeria stood on the bridge like statues. Iris and Valeria hadn't experienced it before, but Ivan and Mazur truly hated travelling through hyperspace since becoming four-dimensional beings. This was mainly because they had to hold onto the ship as it moved, otherwise they would fall out of the spaceship and crash back into normal space, lost helplessly in some unknown region of the galaxy without any navigational equipment.

The crewmembers of Major Harold's destroyer had initially been terrified of the four, especially after hearing about the one-sidedly annihilated a small squadron of the Galactic Fleet's top special forces, along with a single combat group of mechanoids entering the junkyard.

The intimidation effect of the four rapidly plummeted though once they were seen stranded in the bridge and unable to move. Nobody knew the reason why they couldn't move, nor would Ivan explain, but it removed the mental image of them being invincible.

On another battleship, nearby Major Harold's destroyer, Captain Argentear was sitting with a deathly silence in the commander's chair on the bridge. Several of the ship's control officers looked at him in this state, but nobody dared raise their voice to avoid being the target of his anger.

"Captain, Sir," A screen appeared at the front of the ship as several scientists and medical personnel directly communicated with the captain. "We have finished analysing the modified stasis pod and power residue."

"Explain them," Argentear coldly commanded.

"Captain, the stasis pods have been modified to maintain the condition of the body while not putting them in stasis. It basically puts the body into a state of deep sleep, so whoever is inside of it is unresisting of anything done to them."

"The powder substance was organic tissue, waste from dead cells. It isn't a great concern, cells constantly reproduce, and while these old substances are reabsorbed back into the body as nutrients, the amount of this material is somewhat disturbing."

"What is more interesting is the trace amounts of a special compound and destroyed nanobots located at the base of the stasis pod in a small crack. We aren't sure on the exact purpose, as we would need to see notes on how the compound was made, or run some tests on lab mice, in order to determine."

Captain Argentear heard this and had a dark expression, obviously dissatisfied with the results.

"And you can't analyse the programming of these nanobots? I want to know exactly what they were doing on that ship. They've turned themselves into some kind of monstrosities, and our weapons no longer work on them. I need to know how to counter them."

One of the medical staff had a complicated expression on his face.

"Captain, Sir, we truly can't determine without running tests. The nanobots self-disposed themselves, so their original purpose is unknown. From what we can see, they forced the cells to replicate at an astonishing rate, in order to induce some form of genetic change, like altering the human specie. What we can't understand, is why all the waste materials from cells were removed from the bodies and not reabsorbed. It is illogical from a medical standpoint."

Captain Argentear was relentless, even after hearing the best guess the medical staff could come up with. "Continue examining it. I want answers by the time we arrive at the frontline. There is a personal combat video of these monsters recorded by my spacesuit. The Galactic Fleet would tarnish its name to reach an agreement with these monsters and the Prime Minister can't be trusted, so I can't upload it into the central database. I will have First Lieutenant Percy deliver the suit to you, so you can personally examine it. It should give you a reference point into figuring out what they did."