The White Beast
A Homeworld Fanfiction
Originally posted April 26, 2001
There was no word from the recon frigate. Patrols with the Vagabond class scouts turned out nothing. His senses were telling Seejuk that something had gone terribly wrong, but there was no confirmation. His heart felt like it was in a grip of an iron vice. Zha’s great sense of confidence lulled him into thinking the trip was okay. What was he thinking? That was against his better judgement. If Giirsa and Kuo’ran was lost too, the Kaalel and Sjet Kiiths would have his head up as a trophy. He cannot eat, and he cannot sleep. The anxiety and worry were draining him and at this rate, he thought he would die of a heart attack.
No, stay here, he ordered. We must wait. They will come back. Or so he thought. The Mule, the Marauder and the frigates stayed cloaked or mimicing rocks in a far away asteroid belt. There were patrols of these strange fighters, and Maalasi were using long range scans on them from the Marauder. He didn’t seem to be in a hurry to leave or go anywhere.
He went to the laboratory for some relief. He wondered if the sample animals were being fed promptly and on schedule. He wondered if someone was properly maintaining the containment unit that had the Beast nanotech virus.
The rodents scurried free and the plants were blooming. Hmm. Where were the white patches that infected them? Visually he saw no signs of the infection in both the rodents and the plants. He distinctly remembered infecting them, and remembered they being infected with the crystalline patches. But now, they’re totally clean.
Did the virus die?
There was a glow inside in the containment vessel. Then he saw it.
It appeared like a white crystalline butterfly. The body was insect like, a shrimp like crustecean with transparent carapaces, its see through organs lighting up like diodes. It was like those luminscent creatures that live deep beneath the seas where it was so deep everything was perpetually black. As it slowly flapped its wings, the wings extended into a flame of multicolors, giving off a soothing light. For Seejuk he thought it looked like a fairy. It was the most amazing and most beautiful creature he has ever seen.
The fairy fluttered. The possibility of making a momentous discovery distracted him for the moment from the anxiety of Zha’s return. Beauty can deceptively hide greater dangers, and Seejuk ran scans to make sure about the safety and integrity of the containment vessel.
The cellular composition of the fairy butterfly was indeed Beast. Nanotech robots as big as viruses and made by silicon, germanium and carbon conductors constructed its very strands of life. Has the Beast evolved into a new creature? The dying Bentusi revealed that the new Beast was white, in contrast to the red and black of the original Naggarok beast. Is this samples much like the White Beast?
Analysis of the White Beast nanobots showed an exponential increase in processing speed and power per CPU, with increasing sophistication in the design of the manipulation limbs and appendages. There was an equally exponentially increase in the communication bandwidth between one nanobot to another. The rate of generation was incredible, at the rate of a new generation of nanobot evolution every few minutes. At this rate of evolution, he wondered what the White Beast will evolve into. A higher life form perhaps?
He set the computer into voice command mode and ordered it to record data minute by minute.
The Fairy fly fluttered again, it’s long lacelike wings illuminating the vessel. Where was the creature getting its power? The computer listed power consumption records of the containment vessel. They seemed ridiculously high and the creature must be draining off power from the vessel’s conduits.
The terminal started by itself. A message typed on the screen.
“I am Aware. I am the Fly-self.”
Seejuk nearly fell off his seat reading the messages.
“Do I sense others around me? I am Aware.”
Using the voice interface, Seejuk spoke to the creature.
“I am also Aware, ” said Seejuk. “My name is Seejuk.”
“I sense the Core Self close by. I am one of many Selves. Are you, the Seejuk-Flesh Entity, part of the matrix and harmony of the Core Self?”
Seejuk replied to the creature. “There are Selves that exist outside of the Core Self. I am one of them.”
“It is a comfort to know that there is Awareness beyond the Core Self. I fear the loneliness of being one. We appreciate the diversity of Awareness.” The words came about smoothly.
“Yet I sense there is fear in you. Fear of the Core Self.”
Seejuk answered. “The previous Core Selves have destroyed much life outside of itself.”
“Forgive us then,” said the answer. “We are not in control of the actions of our unevolved ancestors. But do not fear any longer. The diversity of life and awareness is wonderful. The Core Self seeks to experience the beauty of this diversity, the songs of a multitude of different awareness.” The fairy flapped its luminous wings.
“Please do not fear us. I sense your fear as you attempt to block the link between this Fly-Self and to the Core Self.” The light of the wings grew intensely, then weakened.
“It is a futile effort,” it said. “I have linked to the Core Self. It needs to tell you something, a message from the Zerun Self within the matrix.”
“The Zerun-Self?” Seejuk asked.
“It seeks to tell you that its Zha-Daugher-Entity is in the hands of the Dark Selves that has control of the Core Self. She is not in danger now, but she will be. The Zerun-Self is a copy of the Zerun-flesh-prototype, who fathered the Zha-Daughter-Entity and has long ceased to exist. The Zerun-Self preserves all memories of the Zerun-flesh-prototype.”
“Then…” Seejuk said, “the White Beast itself used to be the Generation 7 Beast variant that attacked the Khor outpost. Just as you were a fragment that was retrieved from the remnants of a child fragment of this same Beast variant. I see you now how you have evolved. This variant was an experimental project by the Imperialists with their Raider allies in an attempt to domesticate the Beast. The project was a disaster, the Beast escaped, leaving much devastation in its path. But the genetic seeds that lead to advanced consciousness and benevolence was laid into the Beast nanobots. Millions of nanite generations later, with immense improvements of processing power, the Beast generation 7 variant has evolved to the form you are right now.”
“I could not preciesly remember that state what you describe as Generation 7, but we have racial memories from the selves you call the Imperialists. We regret the lives that were taken by our old ancestral selves. We now seek to preserve the diversity of Awareness around us. The Core Self is troubled by the events around its matrix. The Dark Selves have summoned many of the Selves to fight the other Selves that call themselves as the Unbound. Many Selves that were born from the Core have died following the summons of the Dark Selves, and many of the outside Selves that the Core Self does not desire to terminate has been wrongfully terminated by us. We are made to do things that is not the Will of our Awareness.”
Seejuk has become aware that the shrimplike creature has become linked to the Core Self of the White Beast as he stopped all quarantine jamming and allowed the fairy uninterrupted access to the consciousness of the White Beast.
Seejuk smiled and then laughed. There was a day he thought he could do the impossible. A domesticated Beast nanobot would amount to a breakthrough in robotics that would have revolutionized just about all aspects of known technology. It was the dream of the Imperialist and Raider scientists, and it could have led to a supreme weapon that could restore the Empire at the wrong hands. Seejuk had the dream too that by mastering the Beast technology, he too could make a mark on the universe. Now he is talking to one such construct of billions of Beast nanobots. Maybe he could not domesticate a Beast nanobot assembly, but to communicate with it represents another breakthrough.
“I hope the humor comforts you,” said the small Beast creature.
“So the one you call the Zha entity? She is all right?” Seejuk asked. “Do you know precisely where she is and how can we retrieve her?”
“She is safe now, but she is in grave danger by the Dark Selves. The Dark Selves have immense power that the Zerun Self asks that you do not attempt to retrieve the Zha Entity lest you and your entire vessel and all the Selves in it be destroyed. The Zerun Self will have the help of the Core Self and will find a way to retrieve the Zha Daughter Entity, and the other Flesh Entities that are her companions. In return the Core Self will ask the help of the Seejuk Flesh Entity and that of the Zha Daughter Entity to help set free the Core Self and its network matrix from the Dark Selves and stop the war between the Dark Selves and the Selves who integrate with their ships and call themselves the Unbound.”
“That is a tall order,” Seejuk said. “If I am incapable of rescuing Zha from the Nemesis, how I can rescue the White Beast from them as well?”
“The time will come when the Core Self will tell you how the Dark Selves control the network-matrix of the Core Self. Only a Flesh Entity outside of the Communal Selves can approach and disable the nodes the Dark Ones have placed upon the Core Self…”
The fairy shrimp that called itself the Fly-Self became silent, but Seejuk was aware that the White Beast would communicate with him later through that creature. For now he was relieved that Zha and all the others was safe, but for how long. Should he trust something like the Beast even though it has claimed to evolved?
For a “War Room” the hall was surprisingly empty, except for a bunch of robed people standing around a large circle. There was no terminals, no screens, no switches to indicate any form of computer equipment. Have they advanced beyond the need of such equipment? Zha thought.
X’on waved his hand, his long clawlike fingernails shaking, and a pillar rose from a floor otherwise empty. The small pillar—actually more like a stand—was the only structure in the room. On top of it was a blue glowing orb that Kuo’ran recognized as the one similar to one recovered from the Kadeshi and what she had analyzed in the Academy. This one, however, was much bigger.
X’on waved his hand again, and the whole air around projected into three dimensional holographic map of the Galaxy. There were writings in the strange script Kuo’ran remembered. There were colored marks that indicated something besides star systems. The flickering lights and words can only mean they are notations for fleets. Battle fleets.
“At this very moment, our forces are mobilized in most major rim sectors,” X’on said “We have also been tracking movement of the Unbound fleets, as indicated by these notations. Battlefleets have already begun engaging the forces of the Unbound in these…these…and these sectors.”
A man walked in to join them. Zha, Salim and Zhura recognized him as Mahar, Sha of the For’lym.
“Welcome, the Sha Mahar of the For’lym,” said X’on, “I presume that you know our new guests already.”
“Who among the Raiders do not know about the exploits of the young and beautiful Segura Zha of the Khor, the Killer of the Kadeshi, and the surprise winner of the last Gathering race?” Mahar said. “She probably wonders why I am here, given the look in her face.”
“Yes I sure want to know what business you have here,” Zha said.
“My business with the Nemesis has given me more power than all the Houses of the Raiders.” Mahar said. “For the first time, with the partnership of the Nemesis, a Raider House is going to be more than just a bandit kingdom. We are looking to build a small empire of our own.”
Salim interrupted. “But the Nemesis is the ancient enemy of the Raiders. They are the Enslavers whom our Ancestors—your ancestor as well—fought against to deliver us…”
“And when was that, may I ask? Nearly ten millenia ago? That’s way too long to hold any grudge,” Mahar said. “Just recently our Race has been fighting the Kushans not too long ago, like what, at least seventeen years ago? Now several of the Houses, including that of Khor here, have cuddled up with the Kushans. Back in our history, the Taiidans have also sought us for extermination and persecuted us, then in periods alternatively serving as our best patrons. Our loyalties shift with the star winds, moving to where who has the power. It was the Taiidan Empire yesterday, then today the Kushans and their Republican allies. Tommorrow it may be the Nemesis. This is just our Way, Salim.”
“But we are still a poor and technologically handicapped race,” said Zhura. “What does the Raiders have that the Nemesis can be so interested?”
“A weapon,” Mahar said. “The Greatest Weapon of all. A few years ago, a Kiith Somtaaw ship unleashed the greatest danger to the Galaxy. the thing we now known as the Beast. The Beast itself was an artificial construct by aliens outside of the Galaxy. The Imperialists, aided by the Raiders, hatched a secret project to tame the Beast and exploit it as a weapon on our own. We, the For’lym, are the main House that allied with the Imperialists on this project, and I with a select number of Raider and Taiidani scientists have personal participation on this project. If the Beast was once an artificial construct, it can be controlled as the aliens of the Naggarok designed it for a purpose. The key is finding out how.”
“WHY YOU…” Zha shouted, unrestrained once again. “That project went out of control, rampaged through several Raider controlled sectors, killed many including my father and the Outpost I call my home! Someday I swear the one who is responsible will pay for that.”
“I paid for it, too Zha, and I’m sorry your father died. He was a good man,” Mahar answered. “I too lost many good people when the Generation 7 Beast variant escaped. As the Imperialist vassals weakened, we assmiliated the Imperialist into our own forces, including their ships and many of their scientists. But our research did not stop there. We experimented with ways to bring back the G7 Beast to our control. And this is where the Nemesis came in.”
“Millenia ago, the Unbound defeated the First Imperium. You know the story. The Nemesis was exiled to the outer Rim and kept that way so long the Unbound collectively held power. Then this new power came in—the Beast. It run amok sector by sector. For the first time in many millenia, the Unbound was literally afraid, so afraid that Bentusi were fleeing the galaxy in droves. This was something the Nemesis never saw before. The Nemesis were technologically capable, but this–this Beast—was something new. For the first time in many millenia, they saw an opportunity to kick back the Unbound for what they did to the Imperium. So we agreed to an alliance. The means to control and domesticate the Beast, something that my scientists have finally developed, in exchange for technology and influence in the new Order, a partnership in the New Imperium.”
“There is one thing else we discovered. The Naggarok Beast as the Somtaaw fought it, was but an infant. It spoke incoherently like a young child, saw the universe and the life around it like an infant,as afraid of the things around it as they are with the Beast. It hungered like a child, copied everything around it like a child. Yet it destroyed nearly everything in its path, including the seemingly invulnerable Unbound. If this is but a child, can you imagine what its adult form can do? This is what the new Beast is all about, the White Beast.”
“To compare the Naggarok Beast to the White Beast would be like comparing an infant to a fully grown adult. We’re talking in terms of power, resource efficiency, reproduction ability and processing intelligence. The Unbound truly has reason to fear the creature”
The orb began to make zooms of images of the White Beast planetoid, its fleets and the Deliverer dreadnaught in seperate three dimensional model images. The White Beast bore only little resemblence to the Naggarok Beast. An entire asteroid was covered with white crystalline structures, some of them massive spikes and shards that rise from the surface and extend to space by miles. The star it orbited was surrounded by giant flower shaped collectors. The collectors gathered the solar winds, light and heat for energy. The Deliverer appeared like a monster, a giant anemone like creature dominated by a huge gaping mouth, with five tentacles like structures extending outward from the mouth. The mouth itself glowed as it hungered. The armadas being spewed by the White Beast were everything the Taiidanis, the Kushans, the Somtaaw, and the Turanics ever made with a dashing of Super Acolytes.
What the Bentusi pilot described was right, Zha thought. If this creature was able to assimilate Super Acolytes, then the best weapons of the Unbound were no match to it.
“How did you capture this creature if it’s so high and mighty?” asked Zha.
“That’s because we captured the creature when it wasn’t,” Mahar explained. “During its immature state, it fled to the Outer Rim after countless attacks by the Taiidani and the Kushans against it and its fragment children. It had been greatly weakened by these attacks, then literally starved by the few resources that could be found in the Rim sectors. But that wasn’t enough. We had to fight it to submission. We had to keep it starved by continuous attacks against its resourcers and controllers. After a year of campaign it was sufficiently weakened for a direct attack. EMP torpedoes striking deep under its surface paralyzed its network matrix, and it surrendered, then accepted an alliance. But to make sure it stayed that way, after its paralysis, we implanted its control nodes as insurance.”
“Control nodes?” Zha asked.
“It’s not in my liberty to discuss the technology used in those nodes. Suffice to say, it was sufficient to keep the Beast under our control. Now, we have the most fearsome weapon in the Galaxy,” Mahar said. “Since then we have led the Beast to resource rich areas where it can feed and grow. Its evolution accelerated since then, and it was able to give birth to the Deliverer dreadnaughts and more to come. It had assimilated technologies fed to it, such as the Nova cannon. With its massive building capacity, it was able to breed armadas faster than whole fleets of factory ships, and we would be able to overwhelm the fleets of the Unbound.”
“We are starting to strike all sectors simultaneously.”
One of the hologram images shifted to a recent battle event. A fleet of Beast carriers based on the Lord class converged on a police force of huge Sekmet Battlespehere escorted by Tiamat Crabships and Bentusi Ringships. Waves of White Acolytes, Bandits, and Triikors from the Beast engaged equally determined waves of Black Tiamat, Gold Bentusi and the Scarlet Sekmet Acolytes. Massive ion beams from the Battlesphere cut a Beast carrier in half, then quickly ripped three Beast frigates in rapid succession. Ion beams converged from the Crabships and Ringships against Beast Heavy Cruisers, which appeared to be cloned Qwaar Jets and Avatar class ships. A Beast destroyer of a Taiidan design vaporized as a wing of Super Acolytes raked it. Infection beams burned through fleets of Unbound fighters and auxiliary frigates, infecting them, but they could not penetrate the hulls of the Crabships and Ringships.
Then a wing of Mantas emerged from behind the Beast battlefleet line, covered by Skate and Bat fighters. The indepth defense by the Acolytes were ferocious, decimating the Mantas as they head for near suicidal attack runs.
Zha watched as the torpedoes launched from under the sleek menacing Mantas, their long ion trails like daggers heading to the hearts of the Crabships and the Ringships. The torps punched through the hulls, then gave a massive electrical plasma discharge that must have fried every conduit in its victims. Zha saw in her own eyes what it took to kill that Bentusi pilot.
“Dozens of battles like these are now being fought simultaneously in Rim sectors, as we have simultaneously launched attacks on all fronts,” X’on said. “We have also reports that the Unbound are trying to recruit allies against our restoration of the Imperium.”
“Their most recent effort is trying to recruit the House of Harrk’hah led by puppet Zural and its crony Houses by the Tiamat,” Mahar said. “They will no doubt attempt to supply Acolyte ion beam technology in direct violation of Council directives of non interference. But the For’lym will be equipping its ships with the Pulse Ion Beam technology licensed from the Nemesis. While Unbound Acolytes are basically droids controlled by the larger ships, we have reports that manned version of Super Acolytes such as those used by the Somtaaw are being produced, and the Unbound are recruiting pilots from all over the Galaxy to fly them along side droid Acolytes in an attempt to create a combined mass fleet that will numerically overwhelm Nemesis-Beast forces.”
A voice rang out from the Orb. “Battlefleet Alpha One, Beta Three and Gamma two reported victories. But Beta One and Kappa Three fleets have been decimated.”
The Sekmet Battlesphere destroyed a Beast Heavy Cruiser and a Carrier, but Beast Cruise missiles smashed beneath its surface. Instead of an infection, the missiles vented out streams of plasma, burning out conduits and compartments—a clever execution of the Naar directive in reverse. Torpedoes and cruise missiles continued their relentless assault against the huge Battlesphere, their plasma explosions and electrical discharges sending huge chunks of protective armor into space. That left huge areas of the Battlesphere exposed as infection and ion beams connected from the Beast ships. The Battlesphere blew like a small nova, its shockwaves destroying everything near its vicinity.
In another Orb scene, beams from another Sekmet Battlesphere, combined from escorting Naga Needleships, torched an entire Beast battleline. A Beast destroyer cracked in half, while another beam simultaneously lit three Beast Hive frigates, like a hot sword across flesh. Another beam cut through an armada of strike craft, and as the beam blew through the formations, Beast fighters popped in fiery explosions. A Naga Needleship broke in half as a Cruise missile blew in the middle of its stalk.
X’on smiled. “”Not all engagements are victories,” X’or said “Sad to say. This will be a long and difficult war.”
A voice from the orb spoke. “We have reports of transgalatic scale slipgates. Magnifying…”
The scene showed a row of Bentusi Tradeships slipping through a jump gate.
“This is worth a laugh,” X’on said. “When the first Beast came, the Bentusi ran away. Now they’re running away again to another galaxy. You know what that means if most of the Bentusi leaves? That will leave the Council mostly in the hands of the most aggressive members, the Tiamat and those sickos the Sekmet. The Naga and its cronies are ineffectual.”
“It’s only a matter of time when the Tiamat and its Sekmet crony reveal their true hand,” X’on said.
The orb showed a new image, one that was drawn thousands of years ago in the Great War.
From the nebula clouds, a massive armada loomed. Zha could see that the ships faintly resembled the Unbound vessels shown in the other images but different in the sense they didn’t seemed as refined. Zha could only guess they were old old Unbound ships of a generation many millenia ago. A battle raged as the armada engaged an opposing fleet, which Zha could only faintly recognize must be the Nemesis fleet, although again accounting for the variation brought by many millenia.
From the chaos of the chaos of the dogfights emerged a much larger ship, a sphere with a stalk behind it. On the sphere was a large maw with eight arms that extended from it,and the eight arms joined by a ring.
“The Imperium nearly won the war against the Unbound, but the Unbound had to resort with weapons such as this—” X’on said. “It was a rare effort, the combined work of the Unbound and the culimination of all their technologies at one time. It’s very conception and the very destruction it brought, should be accountable to all the consciences of the Unbound.”
The maw glowed, and bolts from the eight arms converged on the mouth. A massive white burning ball was released, headed to a planet whose surface was lighted with what must have been hundreds of cities, town and villages.
“When a Nova class cannon shell hits the surface of a Class M type habitable planet, it is like the equivalent of a ten mile asteroid,” X’on explained. “A massive tidal wave would have wiped out all coastal cities; the earthquakes would have taken care of the places that escaped the tidal wave. The firestorm would have covered the entire globe and blacked the sky, blocking the sunlight. Ecosystems would vanish, agriculture is impossible. If there were people who survived the firestorm, they would have to face the starvation next. 3 billion souls died in that planet you just saw, and that incident was repeated across a few hundred other planets across the Galaxy.”
“It was a campaign of genocide. The Unbound feared that through the evolution of the Starfarers, the Bound has evolved to a point that we could now challenge the Unbound for preeminence of the Galaxy. Among the races of the Unbound, it was the Tiamat, supported by the Sekmet and the Naga, that proposed the genocidal annihilation of our race.”
“Yes they felt our cries. They felt the billions of voices dying in pain, their songs snuffed out by the weapon they made. It seemed odd isn’t that the Council forbid the Taiidan to massacre the Hiigarans and looked down an all attempts of genocide by one race to another. What streak of conscience they finally have, after thousands of years of forgotten massacre.”
“By the voices of the dead, the Tiamat and the Sekmet were both driven to madness. The Tiamat was censured by the Council. They became the Forbidden. The Sekmet became the Insane. The Bentusi renounced all war, and sought eternal atonement for their participation by helping all underdog races they find and trading technology with them. The Naga, like the Bentusi, renounced war, and found their atonement by recording and preserving all the records of races they found for posterity.”
“As for the Planet Destroyers themselves, they were hidden, perhaps in graveyards guarded by autogun sentinels and salvage craft. Perhaps in the interiors deep inside nebulas. Perhaps in sheer darkness of the utter emptiness in space. We do not know where they are, but they are still there, hidden.”
“But they will come out soon.”