Derean and the attack on Fraglior

By Anoushrayan Deysarkar

Prologue

10 billion years ago, in the galaxy ZMY3, a nebula condensed into a star. The rest of the dust and gases formed planets, and one of them was Fraglior.

Like all other planets, it was very hot at first, but then, after a few billion years, it cooled down. It was one of the few planets in the universe that had water. An alien civilization, the Manergitea, noticed this and sent out a ship carrying the basic seeds of life, along with all other components required for life. The ship was unmanned and dived right into one of the oceans on the planet and blew itself up.

The contents of the ship were protected in strong, airtight containers. The containers carrying life opened in the ocean, but the others opened in the air, or what was present like it at that time. The blast was necessary because it sent a shock wave which would eventually help in forming land. But, for the time being, life evolved in water. Several million years later, it emerged on land, and 300 million years later, the first intelligent life had formed. And that is where our story begins.

Fraglior: The planet of the Feredoctiles

 

Derean sluggishly walked, or rather, crawled towards his house on the cliff. He had just gone to the serambora to get his gerapod checked [1]. It had been looking sick for the past few days. The serambora told him it probably had feratitis[2]. Before that, he had gone to work at the demalor [3] mines.

Derean was a feredoctilis, a dragon-like intelligent creature that inhabited most of Fraglior. Feredoctiles can breathe fire and were resistant to fire.

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[1]A gerapod was a kind of living creature that looked like a giant rhinoceros with two large frills instead of the nose horn. They were also very colourful and lacked the several bony plates of a rhinoceros. Instead, they had a single piece of continuous body armour. The large frills usually lie flat, but if the gerapod wishes, it can inflate its frills. This is possibly a mating ritual. Feredoctiles use gerapods for transportation.

[2] Feratitis is a disease of gerapods in which their body armour starts flaking and finally falls off. A serambora is a kind of doctor

[3] Feredoctiles needed Demalor, a solid chemical at room temperature that melted at 50 degrees Celsius. They melt it and drink it. Demalor produced something like what we call Vitamin E in feredoctile bodies. They had lost the ability to produce it, just as we have lost the ability to produce Vitamin C.

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The Letter

 

Derean’s house was on a kind of wide space near the bottom of Mount Pheleros, the tallest mountain in Fraglior. The wide space ended sharply in a steep cliff that ended in a wide gorge. At the bottom of the gorge was a swift river. The road on which Derean was travelling ended in the gorge. This strange geological rock formation is thought to have originated about 78 million years ago, when a huge earthquake cracked open the land, forming the gorge. The earthquake also caused a huge part of the mountain to fall off, causing the creation of the wide space. The part of the mountain that fell off was broken down by the aftershocks. Mt. Pheleros, though the tallest mountain on Fraglior, could be and had been climbed by many people. Of course, that was because most people didn’t start from the bottom of the gorge, which is the actual bottom of the mountain. (In fact, The Geological Survey of Mountains in Drugnein West {GSMDW} reports that Mt. Pheleros is only the tallest mountain on Fraglior if its height is calculated from the bottom of the gorge to the top. Otherwise, if calculated from the end of the wide space where Derean’s house was, it ranked only 11th.) Most people climb the mountain starting from the end of the wide space (Which is, actually, Derean’s courtyard) and thus have to pay some money to Derean.

Derean stopped a little way from the edge. He then broke into a run, and just as he reached the edge, he jumped and flapped his great wings hard. In a moment, he was flying. A few minutes later, he landed on a little patch of grass in his courtyard. He crawled up to the door, raised himself on his hind legs, fumbled around a natural pouch on his leg, and took out a little key. He unlocked the door, opened it and entered. He then turned around and closed the door. He opened the windows and spotted a little letter addressed to him, and a package. He opened the envelope, took out the letter, and read it. This is what was written: –

 

 

The Mealdrow, Denkor Cliff,

Red Setar area, Cambola,

Drugnein West

81/17/4359

Dear Derean,

Are you still adventurous? If you are, then I have an adventure for you. Meet me at the top of Mt. Pheleros at 26:85 tomorrow. I am sending three bottles of Energiser for the broken portion. Hope you are well and good luck. You’ll need it.

Your friend,

GFH

You might be a little shocked upon reading the date and time. There are 70 seconds in a minute, 100 minutes in an hour, 48 hours in a day, 90 days in a month and 20 months in a year on Fraglior. The current year is 4359. As for the broken part, it refers to a broken portion of the road up Mt. Pheleros. Feredoctiles can fly up it of course, but their energy level starts decreasing the higher they go. Energiser is a fluid which gives them energy. Thus, the mysterious letter-writer had sent three bottles of it.

The Meeting on Mount Pheleros

 

Derean read and reread the letter to make sure. He thought hard and decided to follow the instructions. He opened the package and found the three bottles. It was getting late, so he kept the bottles on his bedside table and went to sleep. The next morning, he woke up and did all his daily duties on a holiday, because if I have not mentioned it before, that day was a holiday. He whiled away his time till 26:00, and then packed the bottles and other necessary items into his natural pouches. Then, he started on his journey. He stopped a few times and drank a little of the first bottle of energiser. Now, to understand what happened next, you must understand that the road up Mt. Pheleros is made up of curves, like the thread of a screw.

 

Derean finished his first bottle and stopped one curve below the curve on which the broken portion was. He then drank, in one gulp, his second bottle, and started running. Just as he reached the end, he jumped and started flying. He landed one curve above the broken portion and stopped. There were only a few more curves left. He started crawling up the road. Derean had to stop only once to drink energiser. When he finally reached the top, he could see a feredoctile who turned his back to him. Derean said, “Um, Hello?” Instantly, the feredoctile turned around and Derean exclaimed, “Professor Gregory!” The feredoctile smiled and said, “Hello Derean. So, you received my letter.” Derean said, “So that was you. But about your sign, GFH?” The professor laughed and said,” Do you remember my full name?” “Of course, I do”, said Derean, “Gregory Feglin Herecor.”  “Wait a minute”, he said, “G for Gregory, F for Feglin, H for Herecor. GFH. Gregory Feglin Herecor. Oh!” Derean laughed. Then he said, “What about that adventure, eh?  The professor smiled and said, “Come, let me show you.” Then, he pressed a tiny button on the ground, and instantly a trapdoor opened.

 

Below it, a staircase went down. On the walls, there were glowing bulbs. The professor started going down the staircase. Derean followed. Soon, they came to the bottom of the staircase. They were in a large room, made of some sort of metal, and in the middle of the room there was a giant aeroplane that looked like a fighter plane, only it had far larger thrusters than a normal fighter plane, and it was made of the same strange metal. On its side was printed: Gerelon 2000. Its door was open.

 

The room seemed to be lit with a strange light given off by bulbs that were much brighter than any Derean could remember. “Welcome”, said the professor, smiling, “to the room of GFH. The plane you see here is my latest invention, the Gerelon 2000. It is a spaceship, and I want you to come with me on an adventure. An adventure to explore outer space!” Derean was surprised but was also a little curious. “Professor”, he asked, “how will it take off? Rockets usually use a huge amount of power, right? The professor laughed and said, “Ah, my dear boy. It’s a good question, and you are right. Rockets do use a lot of power. And my spaceship does the same. Do you want to know how? Well, do you see those thrusters? They channel all the power required.” Derean asked, “But how will it channel all of the power without melting the room? And how will it exit? I thought we were inside the mountain.” The professor laughed and said, “Well, you’re right again. We are inside the mountain. And any ordinary metal would melt under the heat. But rimonosterin, the material this room is made of, is not an ordinary metal. Come, I’ll show you.”

 

The professor walked across the room to a table at one end of the room. On it, a container was kept, that seemed to be holding some sort of metal. The professor asked, “Derean, I believe you are a mineral checker at the demalor mines?” Derean replied, “Um… well, yes.” The professor said, “Would you mind checking this metal for me?” Derean replied, “Of course! Um… do you have a magnifying glass?” The professor handed him a magnifying glass. Derean peered through it at the metal for a minute and exclaimed, “Amazing! This is Töp – Nötch steel! Where did you get it?” The professor replied, “I bought it from Zaxinom. Now, look. This is a flamethrower. I have set it at the lowest temperature. I am going to aim it at the steel and keep the trigger pressed for one minute. Let’s see what happens. Oh! I nearly forgot! Wear these protective glasses to protect your eyes.” He handed Derean a pair of glasses and put on one himself. After Derean had worn his glasses, the professor pressed the trigger. A minute later, he released the trigger.

 

Once the flames and smoke had floated away, Derean took off his glasses and was amazed to see that the Töp – Nötch steel was completely molten. Professor Gregory told Derean to follow him. He walked up to a wall, set the temperature to the highest option, and pressed the trigger for five minutes. Once the smoke had cleared away, Derean couldn’t believe his eyes. The wall was completely solid! Professor Gregory turned to face Derean and said, “Well, now you know the strength of rimonosterin. As for being inside the mountain”, he pressed a button and then spoke again, “you can see for yourself how we will get out.” As soon as he had pressed the button, the wall in front of the nose of the ship had started opening up. Derean was amazed and said, “How can you control the mountain?” The professor replied, “This wall is not a part of the mountain. It is just a rimonosterin wall which I have covered with rocks on the outside, to make it look like a part of the mountain. Anyway, let’s get into the ship.”

 

 

The Journey – to Outer Space!

 

Derean followed him into the ship. Inside, there were four seats divided in two rows and a large, complicated control panel. The professor sat down in the left-hand side seat of the first row. He told Derean to sit beside him. Derean was supposed to control the coordinate system. Professor Gregory closed the door with a button. He then pressed another button. Instantly, seatbelts strapped them to their seats. Professor Gregory told Derean, “In five seconds, the thrusters will activate. When I shout ‘Now!’ you must press the yellow button. 5, 4, 3, 2, 1… Now!” Derean pressed the yellow button.

The metal straps holding the plane to the ground let go. The thrusters had activated, so the ship instantly shot forward. In a minute, they were speeding forward at 50,000 km/h (0.005 % the speed of light). A minute later, they had passed the atmosphere and were in space. They were not yet in orbital range but were expecting to be there in 8 seconds. The professor had already told him what to do when this happened. He pressed a red button and the ship changed direction. Nearly instantly, the primary thrusters stopped, and the secondary thrusters came into action. Derean hadn’t noticed these thrusters before. There were 4 primary thrusters. They were arranged in two rows, with a gap of a metre between the rows. The secondary thrusters were located in 2 rows of 3 in this gap. Till now, a white light, coming from the primary thrusters, could be seen near the back, as there was a window there. Now, the light became a softer, blue light. But Derean had hardly realised this, when he saw an amazing thing.

They were orbiting in a tilted way, and through the windshield, or rather, spaceshield, he could see Fraglior beside them. It looked glorious from that height. It was a mixture of reds, greens, yellows, and mostly, blues. They were orbiting above the dayside now. In a few minutes, they were orbiting over the last bit of the day side, now they were over the dusk side, and now… they were over the night side! As they orbited, Derean could see the lights of several major cities, shining like several tiny dots of light. Meanwhile the spaceship straightened up. Then, looking at the other side of the window, Derean saw Nenthutos and Gramitos, the twin moons of Fraglior, shining in the distance. Suddenly, the ship changed course.

He looked at the professor and saw that he was steering the ship using something that looked like a joystick. They were heading straight towards Nenthutos. Now they were getting attracted towards the moon. A moment later, with a tricky little movement, they were orbiting Nenthutos. In front of them, they could see the next 4 planets, Helmol, Egromil, Lamirma, and Frendiso in front of them. Suddenly, a dark shadow moved across Helmol. It covered the planet almost completely. The professor wrinkled his forehead. He said, “That’s strange. I don’t think it’s one of Helmol’s moons. They wouldn’t be so big.” They swerved out of orbit to get a better look. The shadow certainly wasn’t one of the moons, because it stayed there for more than a minute. That is, part of it stayed there for a minute. The shadow just became a little thinner. Then it became fat again, covering Helmol completely.

 

The professor directed the ship towards the shadow. He pressed a button, and six pairs of cameras and projectors activated. The camera on one side captured an image of what was in front of it, and the projector on the opposite side projected the captured image on that side. This made the ship kind of invisible. Then the professor slowly steered the ship round the front end of the shadow. He steered very far to the side and saw the beginning of the shadow. And then, they both let out a gasp, because the ‘shadow’ was actually a ship. A giant ship. And they were staring at its front.

Captured!

 

The professor slowly directed the Gerelon 2000 towards the larger ship. They tried to get a better look, but it was at that moment that the made their fatal mistake. The did not realise, that the ship might have enemy sensors. They had steered right into the heat sensor’s sensing field. Thus, though they were invisible, they were caught, as the sensors sensed their thruster heat. Instantly, a bright red light started beeping. There must have been some signal as well, because, in a moment, a hundred smaller ships had come out of the giant ship. They quickly surrounded the Gerelon 2000 and immobilised it by using some sort of electric field. The ships moved towards the larger ship, moving the electric field along with them. At least, Derean and the professor thought so, because they, too, moved along with the ships. In a few minutes, they were inside the ship. The ships moved farther apart and made a strange beeping light. The door closed, and one of the ships took their fuel compartment out. This shut off the invisibility mode.

 The ships then directed their ship towards the bottom. Once they were on the ground, the ship carrying the fuel compartment put the fuel box on a sort of conveyer belt, which carried it out of sight. Then, it opened their door using an electric bolt. The ship landed and opened its own door. A two-legged creature walked out. It had a white jacket, made out of some flexible metal, a pair of white trousers made of the same metal, and a strong helmet that was – well, you guessed it. It was made of the same metal and was, well, white. It had a black gun-like thing. It could see them through the front of its helmet, which was made of glass. The creature must have spoken, but the helmet had converted the voice into a robotic voice. It said, “Come with me, unless you wish to be blown to bits.” The creature moved behind Derean and the professor and activated another electric field. This one made their arms and legs stiff, and they found that they couldn’t move by themselves. The creature seemed to have pressed a button, or something similar, because at that moment their hands and legs began to move. They were being forced to walk down a white metal corridor.

They were made to stop in front of a large room. Its door was open. They walked inside, or rather, were forced to walk inside. There, they were made to stand against two metal poles, and tied with two metal chains. The chains were too thick to break. The creature shut off the electric field, and they could move their hands and legs freely again. The creature left the room, and Derean and the professor were left alone. The professor said, “How will we escape from this place? These metal chains are so strong!” Derean replied, “I’m getting the feeling that I know this metal. Wait, let me examine it closely.” Derean examined the metal closely for a moment, and exclaimed, “Why, this is Ionium! Now I know how to escape from here!” “How?”, asked the professor. Derean impatiently replied, “Don’t you remember the properties of Ionium? It becomes extremely malleable when heated. And feredoctiles can breathe fire and are resistant to fire! All we need to do is breathe fire on the chains and then push on them, and we can create a space wide enough to jump out of!” They did what Derean had suggested.

As he had expected, the Ionium became so malleable that they could create a space wide enough to jump out of by pushing the chains. After jumping out, they quickly went to the doorway and looked down both sides of the corridor. There was no one around. They quickly ran out and turned left. They thought that it would be safer to go that way, because they had come from the right corridor. The corridor joined another corridor after some distance. They turned right along this new corridor and started discussing where to go. “Look”, said the professor, “we need a ship to escape from here. I would suggest going to the dockyard and stealing a ship.” Derean said, “But to steal a ship, we need a disguise. Where will we get one?” “Hmmm… Why don’t we knock one of those creatures out and steal its armour? You can wear the armour and pretend that you were ordered to take me somewhere”, said the professor. Derean said, “But… they can track the ship, can’t they?” Both thought for a while, and then the professor exclaimed, “I’ve got it! You can say that you received orders telling them not to track the ship! Then you can board a ship and we can escape!”

Suddenly, they heard footsteps coming down yet another corridor that was joined by this one. Derean quickly pulled the professor into a kind of small room whose doorway was open. The room was completely dark. Derean quietly peeped out to see what was going on outside. What he saw was amazing. One of the creatures had removed his helmet. Around his head, there were 7 tentacles that were pink coloured, just like his head. They were hanging down to his shoulders. There must have been another one of the creatures who was hidden by the corner, because they started talking at once. “Largis”, said the one he could see, “go to the prisoners’ room and see that they are secure. Report to me later.” “Yes, sir”, said the other.

He started walking down the corridor. The one who had given the order walked down the other corridor. Derean quickly pulled himself into the room and waited till the other creature, Largis, had come close enough. Then, he jumped on him, wrestled with him, and managed to knock him out. Then, he pulled the creature into the room and removed its armour. Along with the armour, there were a few ropes and gags. There was a hook on the ceiling of the room. They tied the creature up and tied it in such a way that it hung two feet from the ground. Then, they found the creature’s tablet, and discovered what their plan was.

Escape – and Foiling the Plan

 

They wanted to capture Fraglior!

They had assembled a larger fleet of the giant ships and were holding it ready beyond the solar system. This ship would gather all the information they needed and finally, when they were ready, they would send a message to the larger ships to attack and conquer Fraglior.

 

After they had got all the information they needed, the professor hacked the computer and made it appear as if their bosses had ordered them to bring Gregory to the main ship, which was beyond the solar system. Derean dressed up like a soldier and got all the weapons ready. Gregory also ‘ordered’ the ship not to track their ship they would escape on. The professor then made an escape plan. The plan was: –

Derean would go to the docks, along with an immobilised Gregory and show the guards his ID and orders. Then, he would get into a ship, close the doors, put the highest security option and shift seats with Gregory, who would be able to move by himself, because the electric field would have been deactivated by Derean. He would get the ship out of the dock, and then would try to escape to Fraglior. Then they would try to work out a plan to protect the feredoctiles.

Derean agreed. Soon, he had activated the electrical field to immobilize Gregory. They walked down the corridor to the docks. There were two guards at the entrance. As Derean tried to walk past them, they said, “ID”. Derean showed his ID. Then, “Orders.” Derean complied. Once they were satisfied, they said, “You may proceed. All hail Hymanra [4].”

Derean entered the docks. There were loads of the aliens loading, unloading, taking off and landing. Derean headed towards an empty spaceship. He did exactly as they had planned, and soon, they were flying off. That was when disaster struck. An alert dock regulator noticed Derean’s ship flying in the opposite direction. He raised an alarm, and soon the entire fleet was after them. Derean, who had given the controls to Gregory and was sitting in the gunner seat, said, “Oh brother. Now how do we survive?”. Gregory spoke through his headphones, “Derean, try to take out how many of the ships as you can before that message labelled ‘Not Enough Power’ comes up. Then, you must set that detachment option to ‘Timer’ and set the timer to 10 seconds.

Before starting the timer, set the movement-after-detachment option to ‘Forward and Crash’. Then, start the timer and use the elevator to come up into the main ship. I’ll keep in touch.” Derean began firing. With one hand he held the gun joystick, used for moving the gun around. One of his fingers was on the fire button. To his amazement, the Heirabolan fleet did not seem to have their shields up. Every time his lasers hit the fleet ships, they blasted or half blasted. At the same time, their lasers were continuously missing Derean’s ship. Whenever a laser came too close, Gregory spun the ship around, dodging the lasers. But their luck didn’t hold for long. Suddenly, a laser came and hit the gunner area. It hit the bottom, so not much damage was done. Still, the gunner’s computer told Derean that target marking was not possible any more. Derean was busier shooting the enemy ships.

Suddenly, a laser came right towards him. But, instead of making him feredoctile toast, it was repelled by some mysterious field. Derean was taken aback for a moment, but then realised that the shield was up. He cried out, “Yoohoo! We’re saved.” But at that very moment, the message ‘Not Enough Power’ came up. He remembered what Gregory had told him and did exactly as he was told. Very soon, he was up in the main ship. He was going to greet Gregory, but instead of him, he found a white spacesuit-wearing figure. He stammered, “Wh..whh…whh…what are you?” The figure turned and spoke with a mechanical voice, “Derean, don’t you recognise me? I am Gregory. I put on this suit for a special purpose. Wear the other one, and I’ll tell you why.” Derean quickly put on the other suit.

Then Gregory said, “Derean, we have to think of a plan to save ourselves, and Fraglior, from these aliens.” Derean thoughtfully replied, “Well, if we could shut off their ‘Defence and Attack’ system, then we could shut off the entire ship’s guns.” Gregory exclaimed, “What a great idea Derean! Now, I know exactly what to do.” Derean thought to himself whether Gregory had gone mad when the professor turned the ship around and headed for the opposing spaceships. Suddenly the professor set the ship to automatic coordinate – based motion. The coordinates were set for – the Defence and Attack system area! Suddenly, Gregory spoke, “Derean, I am now going to set the steering to ‘Always-Above-Ship-Following’. We are now following an alien spaceship.

I am going to open the escape hatch on the floor. When I say ‘Now!’ we must jump onto the other ship. Then, using their top escape hatch, we can go in and take over that ship.” Derean agreed. The professor opened the escape hatch. Immediately, they were being sucked towards the hatch. Gregory shouted, “Now!” and both of them jumped. They were immediately sucked towards the end of the other ship but managed to hold on to something. It was the hatch. They managed to get the hatch open but were immediately pushed back again. Somehow, they managed to get inside and closed the hatch. Then, they repressurised the cabin and filled it with oxygen. Finally, the took off their helmets and prepared their guns. Then, after opening the door, they immediately shot the two Heirabolans sitting inside. As soon as they were dead, the two feredoctiles took over the ship.

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[4] Hymanra was their great lord, the mastermind, the person who controlled everything from their home planet, Jugastanis 123. It was not actually their home planet, as they had already destroyed their home planet while mining. Since then, they had changed planets 123 times.

This was the last and most stable one. Now it is time to disclose some facts about their civilisation. They were called the “Heirabola”. This civilisation is notorious among other alien civilisations for destroying planets and turning their inhabitants into slaves. They are amazingly advanced. Now to start on their history.

A long time ago, 300 years ago to be precise, the most cunning chieftain they had ever known, Hymanra, arose. He took over the entire world over time. He managed to convince the people that they were destined for greater things and that if they united themselves, they could achieve things that they didn’t even dream of. The people accepted. Within the span of a century, the Heirabolans had conquered half the planets in their solar system. Meanwhile, Hymanra had employed his scientists to make an elixir of life. They finally succeeded in making the elixir and gave it to Hymanra. So that no other civilisation could make this elixir, he had all the scientists who made the elixir killed. He even destroyed all of their research papers.

Due to this elixir, he could live forever. 300 years later, they have a huge system of planets under their control. Hymanra controls this system with the help of his several commanders. His most prized possession is the Imperial Beam. All of the major Heirabolan warships had laser beams, which could destroy an area of about 17.1 million square kilometres with a single shot. The Imperial Beam was about 10,000 times more powerful than that. It could destroy the largest planet in the Fraglioran solar system, Lamirma, with a single shot.

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 The Great Escape

 

After taking over the ship, they quickly switched off the tracking device so that their previously stolen ship did not continue to follow them. Then, they quickly steered the ship downwards so that they could go below the giant ship. Once they had gone below the giant ship, they quickly went across the giant ship and up the other side. Then, they went to the holding docks, where prisoner’s ships were kept. Meanwhile, another thing had happened.

While they were still below the ship, they heard a huge explosion and the entire ship shook from the vibration. At the same time, the fire option deactivated. This meant that the defence sector was destroyed. Once the ship reached the holding docks, they got out of the ship and entered the Gerelon 2000. They found that it had been adapted to run on the aliens’ fuel source. They also found that the ship had been re – fuelled. This made their escape easier. They quickly turned on the invisibility mode and started flying back to Fraglior.

Due to the defence sector being destroyed, the heat sensors were not active. Once they were away from the ship, they both breathed a sigh of relief. But at that very moment, a huge bit of destroyed ship parts collided with them. Both the Gerelon 2000 and the ship parts fell down thousands of miles, through the atmosphere of Fraglior, and crashed onto the surface. What happens next? Read on in the next book!

 

 

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