The White Beast
A Homeworld Fanfiction
Originally posted April 26, 2001
“We may have a problem,” Zha softly stated. “Enemy ships are coming to our position.”
“I thought we’re in cloak mode,” Zhura said.
“Yes we are, but somehow they still found us,” Zha said. “I can feel their presence, and they can feel mine. It’s my fault. I may have underestimated what a Starfarer can do.”
“Don’t take the blame,” Salim said. “It’s mine. Our legends say there are ways to counter those who can hear the song of the stars.”
“And how do you do that?” Kuo’ran asked.
“Think of it like ECM or electronic counter measures but on a different level,” Zhura explained. “Through meditation and chant, we can try to block out our thoughts and their abilities to scan and probe ours. Some say it will work against the Unbound too, but these strange esoteric practices have not been exercised for centuries except in ceremonial rituals.”
“Well it’s all too late now,” Zha said.
A wing of Bat and Skate fighters in delta formation headed to where the array frigate hid. Zha watched their ion trails as they pointed to her direction. “Seejuk and Maalasi would sure like to see these.”
Zhura ran some scans and zooms. “The fighter designs approaching us do match the ones involved in incidents at the Rim sectors. So are their badges and logos. We sure did find the Nemesis.”
“But the For’lym ships? What are they doing here?” Salim asked.
“We’re going to find out soon enough,” Zha answered. “My guess is they’re collaborating with the enemy.”
“Aren’t you going to fight back?” Kuo’ran asked.
“That would be suicidal,” Giirsa replied.
“Giirsa is right. We’re left with our charms and wits here,” Zha confirmed. “If they didn’t blow up the For’lym ships, they won’t blow us up either. Just my hunch.”
The fighters made sweeping passes over and under the frigate, then pulled into a loop for a mock attack run.
“Their presence are strong. I have never felt so many of them before. An entire fleet with people of this ability…” Zha observed as the fighters as they rolled past the frigates.
A message crackled in the comlink.
“You are requested to stand down and surrender. You will follow our directions and you will be escorted. Failure to abide our instructions will result in your immediate termination.”
“Well folks, the Nemesis have just given us their welcoming party and we’re about to meet them…” Zha said.
The frigate followed the coordinates given. Zha watched the fighters closely as they are joined by wings of Mantas and Skates. The fighters were dark, with very smooth lines, with wings extended and body ending with a short tail. They suggested to her a technological culture that was highly refined and focused in their designs and execution.
Then their screens began to filled with a majestic scene of an immense armada. Fighters arrayed in formations; ships of unidentified nature paraded. The scene was as striking and as vast as when Zha remembered seeing the Kadeshi armada emerged from the Nebula for the first time. The dark ships were lighted from the back, a rare glowing green nebula filling the background, their silhouettes breaking the forms of the flames that extended outward from the burning clouds that make the nebula’s interior. From the myriads of ships she could see huge ships that stood apart. They had long stalks that end in a head, and three other stalks that extend outward from their main body. She has never seen a ship architecture that was like this before. She would probably never understand the science behind these ships, but their majesty and construction left no doubt in her mind that this was a race whose technological level is beyond that of the Taiidans, the Kushans and of her own people. Perhaps only the Unbound could match them.
The frigate was being led to one such ship, a ship as big as the Kushan mothership or a Taiidan “God” class mothership carrier. She gulped and swallowed up a lump in her throat. She watched her companions and they were equally speechless, a rare unspeakable moment of awe, uncertainty, and fear put together.
“What’s going to happen now?” Kuo’ran broke the speechless slience, her figure shaking, her voice stuttering. “Are they going to kill us? I don’t want to die!”
Giirsa left his seat and hugged her tightly. “Got to keep quiet and be strong,” he said to her. “I thought you Sjet should be strong people. I’m certain they’re not going to kill us and if they wanted to, they would have blown us already. Keep calm and be cool. Just play along and swim with the waves.”
“Into the maw of the enemy we ride,” Salim sang in a note. “Into the eye of the enemy, we stare.”
Fields grabbed the frigate and tractored it into the docking bay. Somehow the large ship got hold of the frigate’s computers, opened the hatches and a company of armed men barged in, pointing something at them which Zha can only guess has to be a weapon.
“Well guys, this is it. The party is here. Don’t antagonize them, and don’t let them think we’re the enemy. So far they’re not treating us as such, so we’re safe for now.” Zha stood up with her arms in the air.
“Are you the captain?” One of the men asked in a demanding voice.
“I am,” Zha said.
“Then lead your party to face our leader, the Overlord,” the soldier ordered.
As they were led out of the hatch, Zha froze in awe at the immense bay of the giant ship they are in. She could hear the echoes hallowing through the walls, and it must take a very big ship for sound to echoe with a timing and low note like that. There was so much activity, and the docking bay was so big that it could hold several frigates simultaneously. The biggest docks she had ever seen before could only hold two or three frigates at one time.
A man in plain dark robes, surrounded by an equally dark robbed party, walked to meet them.
“Kneel! Kneel!” the soldier shouted as he hit Zha’s knees with the butt of his weapon, forcing her to buckle, her face frowning with pain. “Kneel before the presence of the Overlord, the Light that illuminates the Darkness.” The rest of the party quickly knelt, afraid being hit by the same butt.
The Overlord X’on raised his hand. Zha could feel the sheer power of his presence, like the presence of an idol in front of an altar.
“There is one among you, I can feel has a presence and a power. Interesting. A Starfarer,” X’on said. He pointed to Zha. “That young Raider girl here, bring her to me.”
The soldier shoved Zha and forced her to kneel in front of the Overlord. Zha hissed, her fists clenched, wanting to strike back, although she was much lighter and thinner than the soldier, and without his body armor.
“The Farer has spirit and a lot of anger,” X’on said. “Forgive me for being rude. We are the Guardians of the Imperium, but your kind has given us a more entertaining and somewhat more catchy name as the Nemesis. I prefer that name to what the Unbound have given we, the Condemned. Don’t you think Nemesis sounded better?” X’on revealed his long fingered effeminate hand, and let it twaddle the air, long colored fingernails clawing like a hungry arachnid.
“..and I am X’on, the Overlord of the Guardians, Preservers of the Imperium, the Great Light of Civilization…”.
“I wish that you would cut the crap,” Zha said.
X’on smiled. “So young, so pretty, so full of attitude. Who might you be?”
Salim proudly spoke in behalf of Zha. “She is Segura Zha Khor of the House of Khor, a noble Princess of Raiders.”
“Hmmm,” X’on toned. “The Inner House of Khor….Would that make you a descendant of the traitor Mazath Khor?”
“Yes,” Zha shouted. “And what is that to you? Why is my ancestor a concern of yours? Why do you call him a traitor? If I recall, according to what has been said, it was your kind enslaving everybody.”
“Mazath Khor was the leader of the Imperial Guard Wing. Along with others, he broke ranks to join the rebellion. A plucky fellow. A Starfarer among the Farers. Even the Unbound would envy his ability to listen to the songs of the stars. Long ago, he flew fighters similar to the ones that escorted you. But after the Fall of the Imperium, so much technology was lost as civilizations revert to barbarism. Now you Raiders have to fly such barbarically designed craft.”
X’on stared at Zha. “I know what you are thinking, Descendant of Khor. You are thinking that this is more than several thousands of years ago. What are you so concerned about the past?”
“We, the Inner Ones among the Guardians, we do not pass our history through books, songs, poems and writings, all of whom turning to vague and incorrect myths and legends. We, the Inner Caste, pass the memory of history directly from one generation after another. The wholesale destruction of our worlds, the cry of the millions dying as they are engulfed by the flames, those are memories that are thousands of years old, and yet alive with us as it happened just yesterday. And this is so how we remember of the treachery of those that were trusted like Mazath Khor.”
He stopped and looked at the party again. “I feel another presence. Much more dormant but indeed it is the power of a Starfarer that has yet to be discovered and blossom.. She does not even realize it herself.” He pointed to someone in the party.
“Me?” Kuo’ran look startled. “Are you talking about me? You can’t be serious.”
“Bring that girl over here,” X’on ordered. The guard grabbed Kuo’ran’s arm and dragged her in front to X’on, where she was forced to kneel under gunpoint.
“And who may you be?” X’on asked.
“I am Kuo’ran Sjet of the Kiith Sjet of Kharak and Hiigara,” she answered politely.
“Hiigara???” X’on looked to the ceiling in thought, his long fingernail biting his chin. ” Oh you mean that Imperium wanna be. Shame shame. The Hiigaran Empire tried to be, but ended up as a pale shadow of the power and glory of the Imperium. It is a story of sheer incompetence in a galactic scale to have let themselves be defeated by people even more barbaric and technologically incompetent as the Taiidani. So you must be one of those things they call Kushans. Congratulations I have heard that your race has come back from Exile, moving from the barren Kharak to an equally barren Hiigara. If the effort weren’t so comedically tragic I would laugh. And to think there are so many more fertile and resource rich planets out there that can support a higher quality of life than the overused, overexploited former capital planet of the Hiigaran Empire.”
He shook his head. “Now I remember, where that name Sjet come from. It’s that Karan lady hooked to the Kushan mothership. Are you that lady or somehow related to her?”
“I am flattered that your Exalted One would know details about our humble journey and planet considering you have matters of an even bigger has-been empire in your mind,” Kuo’ran asnwered sarcastically. “What is that all to you?”
“We the Nemesis, know all about you all. Our fifth columns have infiltrated every corner and cubic space of the galaxy. No news escape us, even as we prepare ourselves in the refuge in the corner of the Abyss, preparing once more to do battle against the Unbound.”
“I am not her, but only related by blood,” Kuo’ran explained.
“That is good enough. The Karan Sjet would have made a good starfarer. A Starfarer has a calling and a destiny to lead through the stars. She did not recognize that ability, as the Kushans in Kharak lost much memory of your stellar culture when you reverted back to barbarians in Kharak. But that ability was there. That desire—to taste the stars like they were one with your body—was there. That desire must have unintentionally guided her, just as her hidden ability unconsciously helped guide the Mothership through its journey. Why it brought the Unbound to her, and even helped her and the Mothership. Such sentimental wimps the Bentusi turned out to be.”
X’on stared his deep eyes at Kuo’ran. “Don’t you have the urge to explore the stars? To go beyond the measly existence from you now?”
Kuo’ran nodded affirmatively.
“Your thoughts betray that you have another Kushan in your party,” X’on observed.
“I am the other Kushan,” Giirsa announced. “I like to introduce myself as Giirsa Kaalel of the Kiith Kaalel, formerly of Kharak and now of Hiigara.”
X’on smiled, his long manicured fingernails shaking as he pointed to Giirsa. “I like the boy’s attitude. Positive and uplifting. With no fear and a belief that negotiation can solve everything, like a true man of wisdom and vision. Mind if I ask, why the Kushans, with your Hiigara so close to the center of the Galaxy, would want any business across to the borders of the Galaxy. I sense in you, Giirsa of the Kiith Kaalel, that you are the best person to answer this.”
“Indeed I am, your Exalted One, your highness, your greatness, or whatever they title you, ” Giirsa charmed and beamed. “I and my Sjet colleague here are in search of the mystery about the origins of all humanity in this galaxy.”
“And you think you may find it here, Giirsa of Kaalel, in the edges of the Galaxy?’
“I am led to believe that it is,” said Giirsa.
“Well done then, Giirsa of Kaalel. You have stopped closer and farther into the past than what you have known about Hiigaran imperial history. You have found the keepers, the Guardians of the one true Empire of the Galaxy, preserving its ideals, its way of life, its technology and culture throughout the millenia. Did you expect to find ruins of a dead civilization?”
“I honestly thought so, sir, your Overlord.”
“But you find instead, a living civilization, one that still has the power to change the course of destiny of this galaxy.”
“What I discovered here, and wish to learn and see more, is truly amazing,” Giirsa admitted.
“And who are your other friends here?” X’on asked.
“They are scribes of the Turanic House of Flo’karr, Salim and his daughter Zhura,” Giirsa answered.
X’on statedly walked to them.
“I wondered what you scribes wrote in your history about us,” X’on asked. “I think it may go like this. We are the Nemesis, we are a Great Evil and Plague of the galaxy, we enslaved your ancestors so we have to be pretty B-aaa-d, right? It is so amazing the simplistic things you scribes write. You hardly even know the complete story and reality. You have no inkling of what happened then, the barbarism that ran rampant throughout the galaxy. The Imperium civilized a galaxy left untamed by an unwilling Unbound, who were the only other civilized force then. Sure the taming and campaigns of conquest, of imposing discipline and order, acting as the police of the galaxy, that’s going to take a few lives. But for every life taken, a hundred fold was saved by the peace and order. After the First Imperium fell, the Galaxy, the knownspace, entered a period of war and chaos called the Dark Ages. Entire civilizations were destroyed, more memories forgotten, as much as the period of war that brought the Imperium down. Until Hiigara rose as a weak empire, there was no semblence of order.”
“But the prophecies—-” Salim tried to speak and got a strong elbow from Zhura. “I suggest, father,” she whispered to his ear, “that you play along with their good graces and not get us killed.”
Salim swallowed his saliva. “If you want to change the way history looks at you, if you want it changed so that your race may be viewed in a more fair way, we can be happy to oblige. Just let us know more about what really happened and more about yourselves. We are just scribes passing legends, ballads, and myths from one generation and another, recording the songs and tales of the heroism of our people.”
“But the pen can be mightier than the sword,” X’on observed. “I see the use in you two.” X’on paced up and down. “I see that you must write about us. Rewrite your history. Tell the real truth, show to the rest of Knownspace what we really are and what we have done. Reveal the evils and atrocities of the Unbound, especially that of the Tiamat and the Sekmet, and we, those who are Bound, must band together and fight the Unbound, remove them from their vile existence. We, the Guardians of the Imperium, are the spearhead of humanity and all Bound life against the forces of the Unbound. We need to gather in a massive alliance all who are Bound and bring the Unbound to their knees. Only then, will the Bentusi, the Tiamat stop interfering and manipulating our fates and histories. Only then, will all Bound life, be free to find their fates as they will it to be.”
X’on turned around again. “Well, forgive my manners. I am so bored to be in the darkspace near the Abyss. It is rare that we have visitors here, and I take them with delight. You should meet your compatriot, the ruler and Sha of the For’lym. I am glad he sees my point of view.”