1246 The Path to Reversal
To nobody's surprise, 0541 completed the ship repairs after ten minutes or so.
"Ohohohoho… My beloved master, now we can continue our little game without any more interruptions!" Akatziris returned to the holding cell. And with a wave of her hand, white lights cocooned and trapped Jiang Fei's mother once more.
"Akatziris! I swear, as long as I still have breath left in me, I will do all that I can to make you die a horrible death!" At this point, Jiang Fei was all out of breath from screaming. But the death stare he gave Akatziris was sharp and could send chills down someone's spine like that of a grim reaper.
"Oh silly master, your threats are worth nothing to me. Now, let the show begin!" With another wave of her hand, the brightness of the light encasing Mrs. Jiang started increasing in intensity, telling all that were watching that in a few moments, the person inside would be reduced to nothing but a pile of fundamental particles.
"No!" Jiang Fei screamed out in despair as he charged toward his mother's luminous prison again. But his body was still being repelled by the bright energies.
But just as all this happened, something hit Braveheart and sent the entire ship spinning violently out of control. Everyone inside the holding cell was being tossed around from the impact, and even the energies that were entrapping Mrs. Jiang were forcefully dispersed.
Jiang Fei found himself flying and crashing shoulder first into the cell wall before sliding off and rolling to the floor.
"Could this be it? Is this the 0.03% chance that 0541 told me about? What am I supposed to hold on to? And how?" Jiang Fei thought. His shoulder was badly bruised from the unexpected crash, but he was too mindful of 0541's words to pay it any attention.
Before they could regain their bearings, Braveheart was violently hit again.
"0541! Report!" Jiang Fei and the others were not the only ones affected by the sudden impact. Even Akatziris was being thrashed around by it. But unlike her prisoners who had their powers sealed off by the holding cell's power suppressing system, the android still managed to retain her balance within the spinning ship.
"Captain! There was another massive explosion from the sun's black spot. The ship's gravitational systems have been damaged!" 0541 replied.
"Damage report, now!" Akatziris was wearing a very serious look on her face. The android might have been happily toying around with Jiang Fei just moments ago, but even she knew that sudden energy bursts from a star was no trifling matter. Now that the black spot on the sun had exploded again, time for games was over and she needed to take the situation more seriously.
"Interstellar navigation systems are down and will not be up for a while. The main engine is damaged, estimated repair time is about fifteen hours. Communication stations are all fried beyond repair but new parts are being fabricated already in the engineering bay. Total time needed for the ship to be fully repaired is seventy two hours." 0541 detailed the extent of the ship's damage without withholding anything to Akatziris.
"What is happening out there? Why is the black spot being so reactive?" Akatziris asked the ship assistant.
"Captain, based on the data gathered and my calculations, the most plausible explanation is that these are the signs of the birth of a new energy core," 0541 replied.
"Energy core?" Akatziris' eyes lit up upon hearing those words. Energy cores were rare and mysterious elements of the galaxy, and were highly valued and sought after even by technologically advanced space faring races like the Namekians.
Energy cores were so rare and so far in between that even Braveheart, which had been wandering light years through deep space for an uncountable amount of time, had managed to collect only three energy cores so far. So nobody would have thought that they would instead be witnessing the birth of a new energy core right here, right now! Especially when the sun found on this solar system was but a young star among the billions of others within the vast galaxy. The chances of an energy core being created from a young star like this one was close to zero!
"Prepare the tractor beam, have the radar and scanners at full power, and mark onto the energy core's coordinates!" Akatziris ordered the AI. As a Namekian, she knew just how valuable energy cores were and would do everything in her power to secure any that she came across.
"Yes, captain!" 0541 hastily carried out his captain's demands.
"The birth of an energy core?" Jiang Fei's heart skipped when he heard their conversation. This event must be the chance that 0541 had meant! But the question he had right now was, how was he supposed to make use of this situation?
Although the sudden explosions and solar flares from the sun's black spot had damaged part of the ship's operations, it did not affect the holding cell's functions in any way. Jiang Fei and the girls were still powerless and trapped inside, and still have no chance of taking advantage of this situation!
"Captain! Our scanners have picked up what seems to be an energy reading from an energy core!" 0541's report resounded throughout the holding cell.
"I want a thorough scan now!" Akatziris ordered. Her attention had shifted completely from torturing Jiang Fei to the acquisition of the new energy core. After all, there was nothing the prisoners could do to stop her or make her release them from captivity, and acquiring a new energy core was a bigger priority than them.
"Captain, the scan has confirmed that the target is indeed a new energy core!" 0541 soon confirmed the scanner results of the target.
"What core is it?" Akatziris asked.
"Analyzing…" 0541 began analyzing the energy readings from the scanners.
"Never mind that. Lock the tractor beam onto the core first. We'll analyze it once it's in our hands." Akatziris changed her order.
As a Namekian herself, Akatziris was familiar with the properties and behavior of energy cores. Although these mysterious elements were not living objects, they did not sit idly in one place. Each core contained immense amounts of energy and were very active kinetically and would fire themselves off in random directions at blinding speeds, erratically traversing space immediately upon creation. One second it could be right there right in front of their very eyes and the next, already light years away at the edge of the universe!
The ship's tractor beam which was already locked onto its target then fired a beam of light and began the process of pulling the energy core toward the ship. More and more power was being supplied to the tractor beam, pushing it to the limit as it slowly pulled the core toward the main laboratory storage.
"Well? How is it going?" Akatziris was impatient. She was very concerned about the operation and did not want anything to go wrong.
"Everything seems to be in order. The core has just been created and is still in its dormant state. Extraction is going smoothly," 0541 reported.
"Good! Very good!" Akatziris nodded. She was pleased with the reply.
A few seconds into the extraction, 0541 suddenly gave them an alarming report!
"Captain! Something's wrong! The core is emitting strong energy waves!"
"What's happening? Answer me!" Akatziris shouted.
"The core seems to have detected another existing core of the same properties within this solar system! The two cores are repelling each other, forcing this one to jump off into another solar system!" 0541 replied.
"Increase the tractor beam's power! We can not allow this core to leave!" Akatziris barked her order. Coming across an energy core was not an everyday event, and she was not about to let this one slip away!
"Tractor beam power output set to overdrive. Captain, we have successfully neutralized the repelling effects and stopped the core from jumping away. Estimated twelve seconds to core acquisition," 0541 announced.
Seconds ticked by as Akatziris anxiously waited for the core to be pulled into the ship. If not for the fact that she was a machine, there would already be beads of sweat on her brow right now.
As the countdown timer closed in on zero, the core passed Braveheart's storage bay doors and was now inside the ship. And once it was secured inside the lab's containment unit, any attempt to jump off and escape would be futile!
But just as the new core was brought to the entrance of the laboratory, 0541 suddenly changed the tractor beam's direction, causing it to shoot toward the holding cell where Jiang Fei and the others were at twice warp speed!
"This is the last thing I can do for you, brother. The rest is up to you now!" 0541 thought as he felt his core program codes crumbling. He had went against his core directives as the ship's virtual assistant and was now being forcefully deleted!