The White Beast – Chapter 18

Chapter 17 | Landing Page | Chapter 19

The White Beast

A Homeworld Fanfiction

by Crobato

Originally posted April 26, 2001

Chapter 18

From the large screen in the laboratory, Seejuk stared at the maw of the Annihilator, and through it, the Eye of Death watched him. The hungry embers in its mouth glowed, the fires rippled along the rim of the mouth. The eight arms of the monster bent forward to focus its ring array, and lights ran up and down the length of the long stalk that extended backward from the main sphere body. The Mule, like the Soran and the Marauder, were helpless inside the planetoid dock. If the planetoid was destroyed, so will the Mule.

“Nice working with you, Seejuk. I think you were born in the wrong race and should have been with us. Hahaha.” Zhoan laughed in the comlink, sitting inside the Soran.

His thoughts was the desert sands of Kharak, where the god Sajuuk sealed his immortality. The very grains of the desert sands where pilgrims spilled their blood and gave their lives, their act of sacrifice sanctifying the sands holy. In those sands, in his mind, he prayed to Sajuuk.

A massive explosion burned the darkness of space, its ring of fire extending outward, shockwaves destroying all the small ships in its path.

“What?” Seejuk wondered. He should have been dead. The explosion occurred too close to the Annihilator, which now appeared to be heavily damaged. Lightning ran throughout its surfaces, and fires burned throughout its hull. Could the Annihilator miss fired? Seejuk watched the trajectory study in another monitor. No, the explosion was another Nova shell, coming from somewhere else…

The Fly-Self in the quarantine chamber fluttered its long luminous wings excitedly.

“…in the nick of time…but it looks like more trouble ahead…” Zhoan shouted in the comlink. “Look here!”

The screens zoomed in to the real source of the Nova shell.

Emerging from the nebula clouds, where lightning the size of whole asteroids streaked, a dark body emerged. It too has the huge hungry maw of a Nova class cannon, five ugly arms, like legs of a dead arachnid, bending forward over the maw, like in eternal worship. Random splotches of crystal covered the body like a diseased flaking skin. With it was hundreds of ships, ships of all kinds—Hiigaran, Taiidan, Turanic, all ships assimilated into the collective memories that was the White Beast.

Aboard the heavy cruiser flagship, the Irkan, Zural let out a rare smile. The planetoid was spared, but only for the moment.

The eerie robed figure spoke. “Finally, the one true enemy has revealed itself.”

Another voice spoke. “As for the planetoid and the thousasnds of insignificant fleshy bound ones inside? What do we do with them?”

Another voice replied, “the planetoid is insignificant now. We must destroy the White Beast. The Nemesis must be close behind, along with their puppet, the For’lym. Sha Zural of the Harkk’hah, you must prepare to engage the Nemesis and the For’lym. We have given you the miniture ion beam technology in your fighters. Use them and burn those who oppose us!”

The Unbound minds in the Crabships summoned the fleets of Black Acolytes. Each ship was a Super Acolyte all dressed in black—the color of primordial chaos, the element the Tiamat worships—stripped in yellow markings. Each fighter was a drone, subordinate to the mind of the Unbound. The Black Acolytes formed into massive lines that stretched from the visible point of one eye to the other.

Nearby, with the Bentusi retreating from the galaxy once again, were the fleets of the Tiamat’s most notable ally. The Fire Acolytes of the Sekmet have begun assembling their equally huge formations, their red fiery color chosen for the elemental quality the Sekmet worshiped as one of the givers of life, the element of Fire. Like the Black Acolytes, the Fire Acolytes were drones, as all fighters of the Unbound were. They were much like the Somtaaw Hive frigate and Swarm Drones in principle, but instead of frigate, the control ship was a destroyer or cruiser type, and instead of a Swarm Drone, a Super Acolyte takes its place.

Crabships and smaller Battlespheres converged on the Annihilator, rushing to repair the monstrous planet destroyer.

Soon behind, the Deliverer of the White Beast, slim black shapes emerged. Another fleet, with dreadnaughts that had three long arms extending from their bodies, and a long stalk for the head. As the mists from remnants of nebula clouds receded, the murky forms take a sharper, more distinct shape, their blocky sinister designs announcing their purpose. It was the Atonement that first emerged, followed by the dreadnaughts the Retribution, the Penance, the Absolution, the Forsaken, the Apocalypse, and the Judgement.

X’on smiled as the throngs of his forces saluted him with their fists raised high. “Now is the moment the false gods will seat in judgement!”

“For the Eternal Life, We offer our Lives!” saluted the throngs, their fists rising and falling like a living wave.

“For the Eternal Righteousness of the Imperium!” X’on ordered.

The girl that was Demon Seven could not understand what war was all about. All she understood was a purpose, to ride the Demon Seven fighter and vanquish the enemy in their path. The same thought filled the empty mind of the girl that was Wraith One. The shouting and the saluting have an infectious effect, and soon, both Demon Seven and Wraith One joined shouting and the saluting, raising their fists.

The alarms sounded, and the pilots all ran to their fighters. The girl that was Demon Seven strapped on her helmet, the dark visor slipped down to cover their eyes. With only her thin metallic one piece set, she sank into the elastic body hugging chair of her fighter. The silvery membrane crawled out from under the seat, to cover all the exposed limbs of her body, then hardened into a flexible exoskeleton. The cockpit lowered, then sealed.

Her head threw itself backward as the fighter’s computers interfaced directly to her brain through the exoskeleton. The lights in the panels went on, reflecting their images across the dark visor. The engine bars went green, jumping as the slow whirling of the turbines picked up.

She could feel the thoughts of her kindred pilot, the one called Wraith One. Wraith One had already entered her fighter too, the Bat warming its engines for take off. They will be in seperate wings, but will see each other in combat.

“I shall see you, Demon Seven” said that thoughts from Wraith One.

“This is Demon Leader, let us get our butts in space. Are you ready, Demon Seven?”

“This is Demon Seven, acknowledge Demon Leader. Status is all green.”

“Demon Wing, let us go then!”

The auxilliary rails led the Skates to the main launching rail. Demon Leader was the first to be launched.

G-forces pushed Demon Seven’s body hard against her seat, as the rails accelerated her fighter. The tunnel rushed, then flashed right ahead of her eyes, or to better put it, the optical sensors of the fighter that she sees through. Suddenly the fighter was in deep space, hurtling forward only by its inertia. The engines fired and Demon Seven regained control, the Skate rocketing to join the ever increasing formation. Not far away, the Bats of Wraith wing assembled over the Mantas of Angel wing.

The holographic images of robbed figures appeared on the bridge hall of the Atonement, daring their presence right in front of the Overlord of the Nemesis.

“So this is the ship of the Condemned,” the voice hissed. “An incompetent design awaiting sure destruction.”

“Indeed,” another voice hissed. “And all the flesh bound entities….like the monkies they are, they never eradicated their greatest flaw, their arrogance to presume they can challenge the most powerful race of the Unbound.”

“Tiamat,” X’on shouted to the holographic figures. “It is not a presumption. It is a fact. You will soon find out when you mourn over the broken hulls of your dead ships. You will find the truth when our torpedoes breach your hulls, and massive volts of electricity fry your conduits right.”

“What arrogance this so called Overlord of the Condemned primates, displays,” said a voice. “You will humble yourself when the full might of the Annihilators exterminate every condemned soul of your race.”

“You will see who is humbled when I spit on your dead carcasses floating in space,” X’on threatened. “You are an old and ancient race. A race of mummies who call yourselves unbound, yet bound to their ships for life support. A great irony in your name. Like those who are old and ancient, you will be left in the past. You will be history. You will be buried.”

Not far away, the engines of the Black Acolytes ignited, a large swarm of drones in linear formation, their ionic plasma trails growing longer as they speeded up. Right behind were the Sekmet Fire Acolytes, their bright scarlet bodies marked with patches of black.

Zural jumped up and down the deck of his ship, like a boy trapped in a middle aged body. “Attack, attack, attack,” he shouted, as he shook his fist at his enemy. His specially modified Bandits, packing ion beams, moved forward, supported with Bandits of more conventional weaponry, Outlaw Attack Bombers, Buccanneer plasma bomb, corvettes, and the usual assortment of Brigands.

“This is Demon Leader, we have red, Demon Wing, I repeat, we have red.” Demon Leader’s engines ignited, and the ship gathered ever increasing momentum forward

“This is Demon Seven, we are right behind you.” Her engines lit up, simultaneously as so many others, a procession of ion trails heading to meet another procession of such trails coming from an opposite direction.

The Bats of Wraith wing loosened as each ship began their attack run on enemy formations. A thought ran out from the mind of Wraith One to Demon Seven. “We shall be together.”

Fleets of Mantas, Bats and Skates spout greed rapid fire pulse ions. Their sounds cannot be heard in space, but they reverberate through the hulls of the ships they fire from, and through the ships they hit, a smooth dull repetitive sound like a whirring autocannon. They were met by equally ferocious enemy fire—ion beams from the ports of the Black and Fire Acolytes. Quickly a number of ships from both sides were obliterated, hulks tossing endlessly, smoke and fire coming out from their dying hulls. As their formations melt into pure chaos, the fighters engaged in a ballet of death that see no order, no end.

Larger ships approached the frey and opened fire. A Nemesis Nuriya class battle frigate was helplessly caught in an array of ion beams, disintegrating into a ball of fire, large pieces tumbling and rolling into space. Torpedos from Mantas smashed against the hull of a Tiamat Crabship, breaching the armor, and detonating inside sending massive electromagnetic pulses that fried the internal conduits and wires.

“—-AAARRRGGGHHH—-“

The mummy inside the Crabship let out his final scream, as his body was fried by the massive electromagnetic charges that ran amok through his ship. He could never smell his own putrid, cooked body. But his death will not stop the drones that was under his control to stop fighting. Their automatic AI’s kick in, and they will continue to hunt and destroy whoever was programmed as their enemies, until the drones were finally destroyed.

Aboard his flagship, a Lord class carrier called the Sinna, Mahar placed his hands on his hips, enjoying at what he saw. “This is going to be so exciting…” He giggled like a young girl. “The Sha of the Harkk’hah will get his rightful due. Order all ships now! Move in and attack, now now now…”

Engines of the For’lym Bandits lit up, followed by equal numbers of Outlaws, Buccaneers and Brigands, heading towards their Harkk’hah equivalents. The pilots of both sides shouted their war cry, their primal rage, across the comlinks, taunting each other, boasting, as the fleets crossed each other and began a massive dogfight and a dance of death. Quick explosions mark those who were instantly destroyed in the headlong firing passes.

The capital ships of both sides cautiously approach each other into range. From the Nemesis, pods at the end of the three arms aboard their dreadnaughts lighted, then massive balls of white fire came out from each of the three pods in the arms, and the center pod that was the head. Each ball was between the energy shell from a siege cannon to a shell from an energy cannon. Not as strong as a siege cannon, but has a much higher firing rate. The massive plasma energy balls headed across enormous ranges to the Unbound fleet. But they were equally replied by the same weapon. The Battlespheres, the Crabships, the Spiderships, all fired the same rapid balls of white death. Eons ago, the Unbound and the Nemesis were often joined in technological cooperation that developed many of the same weapons. That was before they succumbed to the hatreds turned to war, and the same weapons they created in partnership, were turned against each other.

Long ion trails mark strike craft armada of the White Beast as they headed towards the Annihilator’s position. The Collective Selves within the Deliverer has one predominant target—the Annihilator that has taken millions. But it is not lightly defended. Sekmet Battlespheres have taken up a protective position near the Annihilator, some actively defending it, others trying to heal the monster. Wings of Fire Acolytes headed out to engage the Beast’s strike wings and many others, joined with Black Acolyte wings, headed towards the Deliverer. If the Annihilator was repaired, it can turn its Nova cannon against the Deliverer, but it needs to be repaired first. The Deliverer was more likely to fire its Nova cannon first, so the Acolytes must damage it and force it into a distracting and protracted battle.

Small Beast scouts crashed against the Annihilator and its escorting fleet. Beast Defenders peppered the sky, hunting those who chose to pursue the scouts. On the other side, the skin of the Deliverer burned as ion beams cut through it like a hot knife against live skin. Patches of white crystalline matrice broke out and floated into space. The Collective Selves of the White Beast moaned in pain, but its call was drowned out by the many thoughts and pain of the moment of death of the many Starfarers and Unbound.

Inside the planetoid, Seejuk ran to the control room, where he met Zhoan, Malaasi, and a heavily bandaged and wounded Mushak. Zhura and the volunteers, undaunted by the quakes, resumed their prayers and their chants.

“It is total insanity out there. Two huge fleets trying to kill each other,” Seejuk said.

“All to our advantage so long as we stay out of their way, and use the chaos to our advantage. We do not have much time. Looks like all of our enemies are here in one point, ready to blow each other up. We do not have much time,” Zhoan explained. “We need to get full power back up to run the cloak generators. Right now, we need to divert all energy to the autoguns.”

“I am an engineer. I think I can help in the power problem,” Seejuk offered.

“I was an engineer before I became a salesman. Let me help too,” Maalasi offered.

“Then you two have no time to waste,” said Mushak in his feeble voice. “Run now and get working.” Seejuk and Maalasi quickly left.

Mushak turned to Zhoan. “I think you have war experience I don’t have, Captain Zhoan, I ask that you take command of the autogun defenses.”

“But sir!” one of the Flo’karr officers objected.

“No buts,” Mushak countered. “We never had a war brought in front of our faces. Listen to Captain Zhoan. He is a war veteran and his experience can mean the difference between our survival and annihilation.”

Zhoan rubbed his hands and smiled. “Okay now, let’s see what this baby got.” Outside, the autogun cannons turned to face the enemy fleets. The guns efficiently blasted at the occasional fighter who came into range. For this battle, the autoguns have no friend except those who were already within. Anything else that flew was a target the guns were eager to pop into complete destruction.

A Skate rolled, ion beams from a Black Acolyte behind it, running too close near its belly. Demon Seven banked again and rolled but the Black Acolyte hanged on. Like an ancient instinct, she suddenly threw the the fighter 180 degrees at its end. The Black Acolyte overshot, and Demon Seven saw her opportunity. She looped and dived where she expected the Black Acolyte to be. Quadruple pulse ion beam cannons finished the menacing enemy fighter.

“Demon Leader, come in please, Demon Leader. This is Demon Seven.”

“This is Demon Two. Demon Leader is dead. We are on our own. Engage all enemies in sight. Terminate with prejudice.”

“Roger, Demon Two.”

Suddenly a strange image came into her head. She saw a young child carrying a stuffed animal, staring out the window. There a large ship, a carrier, in a death struggle against a monstrous creature, another ship, ugly and menacing, as big as a mothership. The carrier ship was in flames, sparks and smoke coming out from its mortal wounds, as the monster fired a beam that burned it, burned every inch of it.

“Father!” the girl shouted at the top of her voice. “Father..father…” she screamed. When she saw her father’s fate decided, she fell on her knees, tears streaming out of her face, the toy animal falling into the floor.

What was this? Demon Seven thought. An ancient memory released by the trauma of battle? How could she has any other memories? She was Demon Seven, a pilot of the Imperium, a member of the dreaded Nemesis race, a Starfarer bound with her fighter, unbound to face the stars.

She saw Wraith One, a Fire Acolyte right on her tail. Wraith Leader had been destroyed too, a sign of the immense casualties that the battle was taking from both sides. A Fire Acolyte started firing upon Wraith Five. Wraith One came to the scene to save her wingmate, but it was too late for Wraith Five as the Fire Acolyte blew his ship with penetrating ion beam. There was only revenge as Wraith One fired her four quad pulse ion cannons, green pulses ripping the red enemy fighter into fire and debris. But she only had moments to evade the Fire Acolyte’s wingman, which latched on to her tail. She tried to shake it off, but the second Fire Acolyte held closely.

Demon Seven fired her engines at maximum speed, then bled the engines when she was close enough. The Skate skidded into firing position, pulse cannons blazing, the second Fire Acolyte erupting into a brilliant white ball.

“Thank you, Demon Seven.”

“No problem, Wraith One.”

Demon Seven sensed that Wraith One was bothered. “Do you feel it too? Demon Seven? Strange thoughts like something from another time, another place.”

“I feel it too, Wraith One.”

“We must stay together, Demon Seven.”

There was something about Wraith One, Demon Seven thought, like they shared an unspeakable bond. Maybe their fates were interwined somewhere, somehow. Regardless of the mystery, that was good advice from Wraith One. With the attack wings dissolved, it was everyone for themselves, and they both each needed wingmen to cover each other.

“Do you feel that too? Demon Seven?”

“Yes, Wraith One. Thoughts requesting for help. I believe that the White Beast creature is under attack by enemy formations.”

“Let us help it, Demon Seven. The Deliverer ship is vital to our war effort.”

“Roger, Wraith One.”

The Bat light fighter and the Skate heavy interceptor headed out to where the thoughts of distress originated. There they saw, the Deliverer ship, the weapon of the White Beast, under attack by Black and Fire Acolyte wings.

“Prepare attack run, Wraith One!”

“Roger, Demon Seven.”

Their engines lit up, the two fighters diving in search of prey among the Acolytes. But suddenly, something obstructed their path. A White Beast carrier, based on the Lord class design. It’s hull and guns pointed at them, menacingly, but it could be a mistake. They were after all, allies.

“What the—-” Demon Seven thought.

But there was no second fast enough to react against the two infection beams that fired, and hit both the fighters of Wraith One and Demon Seven.

Chapter 17 | Landing Page | Chapter 19

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