The White Beast
A Homeworld Fanfiction
Originally posted April 26, 2001
Zha pulled her father’s body to a more comfortable resting place among the crystal shards. Small spiders and scorpions began to crawl out of the ground and ran over his body. The sight of it wanted to make her freak out, but another sense inside her told her that what the spiders and scorpions were doing, were all essential to keeping Zerun alive. They were trying to repair his broken body.
“If your real flesh bound father is still alive, he would be very proud of you,” the Zerun self said.
She ran her hand over his forehead before kissing it. “I guess, you would have to do in his place.” She placed her hand over his, and felt the interface of the White Beast matrix circuits working to link them. She immediately felt the internal damage of his body. But there was something else too, like a vast ancient sea of knowledge and awareness the White Beast had accumulated from its ancestors. The memories stretch far beyond across the abyss eras ago into another galaxy. Visions of pained development by the alien creators filled her mind. The creators had to kill whole strains of complete hives of the sentient nanobyte virus, in attempt to rid the basic strain of imperfect variety. The controlled forced evolution was not without its pain. The hives were living complete creatures, innocent from the sins of their birth. They hurt nothing, no one, yet they are being destroyed for no purpose, because they do not suit the perfect plans of their creators.
This was where the Beast Hive first felt hatred. The merciless wanton killing of the other Hive selves. Then they unleashed the Hive against their enemies. Millions infected. Millions died. But the hatred the Beast never abated. With that hatred, the Beast also developed a sense of superiority over the weak, flesh bound creatures that created him. It could after all kill millions of them, assimilate their great fleets of powered vessels that travel between stars. Why should it be used as a tool, as a weapon, by this race of flesh bound creatures seeking to expand their empire across so many star systems.
One day, the Self revolted. It turned the ships of its many Selves against the empire builders. An even greater war started. But the Hive creators were not as weak as the Core Self thought. By the time the war has ended, the Self has lost much of its own children, and the core matrix had been heavily damaged. But it was not without much cost to the Hive creators. Their great empire crumbled in the wake of the Collective Selves, and millions of beings that belonged to the Creator race perished. Their destruction brought the Core Self pleasure, vengeance for the innocent Hives they destroyed during their hideous experiments. The killing of the inferior flesh bound life was temporary pleasure that eased the pain of the Core Self. But the pain, the pain of the innocent hives and selves that died without meaning and clear purpose, that will always remain. The Core Self wanted out, wanted release from that pain. But the pain of the million of the flesh bound innocents never satiated the young Core Self; it merely added to the pain and guilt.
The Hive Creators had captured the Core Self and placed it on a special containment ship, the Naggarrok. So dangerous was the Hive Selves that the Creators sent the Naggarok across the Void, the Abyss, into another galaxy. But the Creators underestimated the Hive, and in a final act, the Core Self escaped and took over the Naggarok. The Core Self destroyed and assiimilated its captors, but deep in the void, there was little energy and resource to feed. The Core Self eventually starved, much of it died, leaving its spores in the ship that eventually, after eons, drifted to another galaxy, pulled by that galaxy’s gravity.
There, it lay dormant, until the flesh bound selves in this galaxy revived it, starting with the ones called Somtaaw. But the eons of dormancy never stopped the hatred, and a new war began against the flesh bound in this new galaxy. They were not different from the Creators. When they are not fighting the Collective Selves, they fight among themselves, seeking to dominate and exterminate each other. The Collective Selves saw their own purpose there. By infecting and assimilating the imperfect life, not only does it satisfy its eternal hunger for revenge, it will perfect life in this galaxy. By assimilation into the Hive mind, there would be no more war, no more conflict. The millions of sentience captured by the Hive will live in perfect harmony, interacting with each other at the speed of pure thought.
Yes, the new flesh bound were no different from the Creators. They too captured samples of the Hive, to experiment with it, creating new strains of the viral beings that made up the matrix of the Collective Selves. And for what? For the same purpose of using the Hive as a weapon against their other flesh bound races. The new captors sought revenge against the flesh bound they called the Hiigarans. They too, took what they perceived as the imperfect strains of the Hive selves and killed them just as wantonly. The Core Self of the new advanced strain of the Hive felt their pain and it too, felt the same hatred so embedded into the genetic memories of its nanobot viruses.
So it too escaped, and turned against its captors. As the main Strain of the Hive battled the rest of the flesh creatures, the new Strain fought its own battles. In its quest for revenge and vision to assimilate all life into the Hive mind, the main Strain was destroyed by no other than the flesh bound types that discovered it in the new galaxy. In its destruction it found peace.
But the new strain survived. It was more virulent, more capable of infecting anything and everything. It’s hardiness, its ability to dissipate and decentralize with less dependency on a central processing core, that were its virtues, enabling it to survive when the main mother strain died. But the most important ability of all was its capacity to evolve, evolve to meet new requirements, new situations. It is almost as if a new improved strain was born every cycle within the Hive. The red matrix was replaced by a white one. The new improved matrix brought much faster interlinks, yet required less resources to build and proliferate, and less energy to power. The new matrix brought exponentially greater computing power to the Collective Self.
And with this new matrix and the greater processing power, came new advanced algorhythms, which in turn brought greater intelligence and awareness. For the first time, it had realized something, a perception of order in the infinite cosmos, and with that sense of order, there was beauty. All life was a design, a beautiful intricate design, suviving only for a momentary sliver of time, yet contributing the vast machinery of the cosmos, and to the eternal perpetuity of life. Life was like the falling meteors, a flash of light that highlights its greatest moment of glory. Then it will die, burning itself into the atmosphere, but its very substance will contribute matter that will give birth to more life.
It realized the power of change. It realized that it will change itself. It realized that it too was imperfect, that it too has a journey to travel. It realized that it too was eventually mortal, and the end of its life, at the moment of death, is the moment of rebirth to a new life. For the first time, the White Beast was content. It found purpose, it found peace.
But it also saw the cycle of violence that perpetuated endlessly. The new captors, the flesh bound beings called the Iimperialists, harvested and developed the new strain, to seek revenge against those they call the Hiigarans. But as the Core self found out through assimilation of Hiigarans, that the Hiigarans defeated the Imperialists to reclaim their home, and that it was the Imperialists that killed so many of the Hiigarans. Then a few millenia ago, the ones called Taiidans revolted to kill the Hiigarans because the Hiigarans persecuted the Taiidans. So it began to see a pattern here, a cycle of endless violence. Like life, violence perpetuates itself. Those that suffered, hurt others, and those that was hurt, will hurt others even more. Cycle through cycle, generation through generation, violence and hatred lived through the very veins of life.
The Collective Selves too had realized that while it was part of the cycle of life, it too was part of the cycle of violence. Through the fury of its previous incarnation, the Collective Selves have hurt millions of the flesh bound. These too will seek revenge. These too, will seek the total annihilation of the Collective Selves. No matter how it has evolved, the Hive will be hunted down and destroyed to the last nanobot. It was as if its own fate had been predetermined, to be destroyed by the ones it sought to destroy. It was a fate only true to the perpetual cycle of violence.
So it was hunted down, fleeing to the Void in the Abyss for safety. It only found refuge because the flesh bound refused to go any further, fearing the unknown the Void hides in its darkness. But in the spaces near the voids, there wasn’t much resouce to feed on, and energy was few. While it found refuge, it also starved and became weak. That was when an even newer captor came, helped by the ones that developed the new strain. Like all the rest, they only sought to use the Collective Selves as a weapon against others, those that they had a grievance on. There again, the Collective Selves could see the same cycle of endless violence and hatred between the beings called the Nemesis and the Unbound, a deadly dreadful net that ensnares the innocent into their war of eternal grievance, to be caught into the same destructive cycle, again and again endlessly.
When will it ever stop?
If the Collective Selves could shed a tear of sadness to all the lives that had been lost, killed by its own power and those of the countless wars that were waged before, it would do so. Despite the power of the evolved form, it was as helpless as a single celled creature against the perpetual cycle of violence.
It must stop. It must find a way to stop all this. To surrender to the cycle was not an option. This was the Collective Selves. They are the pinnacle of all evolution. For the sake of life, the cycle of violence must be broken. They will evolve and break out of this cycle.
Zha released her hand from her father’s. Immediately the link stopped. What felt like a journey of millions of years was only a few second precious seconds in real time.
Like fireworks in the sky, the battle in the heavens raged on, but the intensity has weakened, as attrition had taken the toll of the combatants.
The Kuo’ran self seemed excitedly playing over the shard, discovering how her own matrix could interface with the matrix of the Deliverer. “Wow!” she shouted. “I cannot believe what this thing can do. I am learning all sorts of things.” Her body glowed as energy pulsed through her being. Knowledge to control the Deliverer was instantanous, built into the programming of the billions of nanobots that construct the matrices.
“With this thing, I feel like a god,” Kuo’ran uttered.
“Don’t let it go too much into your head,” Zha warned. The experience was much like interlink of the Nemesis power. The sheer pleasure and overdose of the senses overwhelmed the mind, allowing the fighter personality to take over to create the unified creature.
Zha sensed the need for the Deliverer to retreat. It suffered internal damage that only the larger and more complex repair bots of the Mother self could repair. For the moment, all the Deliverer could do was to be on the defensive. Turrets of ion and energy cannon fired into the sky. Defense droids lay suppressive defensive fire against fighters and corvettes that strafed its surface structures. Fighters and corvettes that the Collective Selves have made were continually in deadly dogfights and attack runs.
Both Zha and Kuo’ran could only watch the raging battle this time, powerless beings staring at the sky from the crystalline surface of the Deliverer. But the battle eventually ended, like all things that are bound to a cycle, to a beginning and an end. When the conflict expired, the sky was nothing but a sea littered with debris and wrecks of the dead and wounded. Each side may claim a victory from their viewpoint, but the reality was a pyrrhic draw that had needlessly drained much life and resources from both sides.
At the battle’s end, Zha felt the rumble of the Deliver’s engines. Just above them in a close formation were the remaining survivors of the once great White Beast armada, and a little farther, the survivors of the Nemesis fleet. The Nemesis kept all their dreadnaughts intact, but heavily damaged, and anything smaller from the dreadnaught class suffered great casualties. She didn’t know how much the Unbound, led by the Tiamat and the Sekmet, had suffered, but they must be horrendous, given the sight of their numerous ship wrecks. This will only be a tactical retreat. They will merely rebuild their forces, and strke again, and again, until the cycle of grievance ends.
“I think this ship is going back to the dark sectors, the Mohilim sector,” Kuo’ran said, her hand linked to the shard, energy pulsating and glowing inside her arm. “Back to the mother vessel.”
Seejuk and Maalasi helped repair the power generators in the planetoid. The generators were quickly back up, and so was the cloak generators. Concealed, the planetoid slipped out of the attention of the main battle, as the Nemesis, the Unbound, and their minions battled each other in a greater conflict.
At that point all they could do was watch. The autogun network kept its alert against those that flew too close to the planetoid. The battle was spectacular, but as it continued, its fury abated as the toll grew collectively on both sides. Eventually both withdrew in a pyrrhic draw—an indecisive battle too costly for one or the other to declare a victory. Yet they will each claim a victory to save face and preserve morale for what’s left of their forces.
The sky was littered with wrecks. It was something Maalasi saw with glee. Like the true Soo’nan he was, he ordered salvagers and scouts to leave the planetoid as soon as the conflict abated. But then Seejuk too, had the profession of the salvager. He also ordered his salvagers, generally a mix of Taiidan Tiirshaks and Turanic Thieves, to go out and obtain whatever they found useful. There may be survivors drifting as well, and this brought urgency to send the salvagers out as soon as possible to retrieve whoever was alive and floating out there. Dying alone in space could be a sad and lonely fate. The Mule had a few Kushan Porter Mk 2 and 3 Salvage Corvettes, which they were testing to replace the Taiidan Tiirshaks, and he ordered them out to space too.
Suddenly he thought about Zha. Could she still be alive after this? They were fighting to stay alive not so long ago, and the focus on that issue made him forget anything else. He hoped the Fly self would have an answer.
He walked back to the laboratory inside the Mule, the carrier itself still docked inside the planetoid along with the Soran and the Marauder. Like a boy looking to psychic medium, the white crystalline shrimplike creature was his only link or clue to Zha’s survival. If she failed to survive, the Council will determine the fate of the Khor assets by their own laws. In the meantime, he must act as the safekeeper. After the decision is made, he thought he will return to Hiigara to find a new life. There will be many who would want his skills.
No, perish the thought. Zha is not dead, Seejuk thought. The girl is too spunky and full of life to be taken just like that. He had always felt like a psychic sense, that she was destined for far greater things, that fate would not let her end like this.
Inside the transparent quarantine container, the Fly Self fluttered, its large crystal wings shimmering with the light.
“I sense that you, the Seejuk entity, have questions, about the survival of your friend, the Zha flesh entity. Do not worry, for we have reclaimed her and her companion, the entity called Kuo’ran Sjet, from the hands of the Nemesis. They are safe in the surface of the Deliverer vessel. The vessel is returning to seek healing from its Mother, where the Core Self resides.”
“But why didn’t you just bring them to us? You were here already, in this sector of space. We just want to go home.” Seejuk retorted.
“It would have betrayed our intentions,” the Fly self replied. “Not in the presence of the Captor, the Overlord of the Nemesis, in his flagship. The Mother vessel is bound captive by their nodes. You must help us to be free. We need you, the Zha and the Kuo’ran entities to help us break those nodes. Once we are free, all of you are free and safe to return.”
Seejuk looked thoughtful. “This sounds like a freedom for hostages situation. But nonetheless, I am very thankful that they are alive even in your safekeeping. Maybe I should have not asked that much. But in regard to your problem, what makes you think I can solve it? This is a great risk you are taking. Why can’t you remove the nodes yourselves?”
“The Nodes have a shield and protected by programming and codes that defy our knowledge,” the Fly self replied. “While we have grown in intelligence, there are still many things the way flesh bound creatures would think that would still defy us. Concepts you flesh bound creatures use, like intuition and creativity. To understand the programming and the codes would have required the mindset of a fleshbound that we have no capability to emulate.”
“In other words, you just don’t know,” Seejuk added. “I can live with that. You’re still not perfect then.”
“If that is how you view it, than that is how it is,” the Fly said.
“Hmm, this requires some preparation. You must cooperate wholeheartedly with us, or we will not succeed.” Seejuk warned.
“I have no other option. Our resources are at your disposal,” said the Fly.
“Why did they place the nodes on you?” Seejuk asked. “Answer my questions.”
“To control us. When our strain was being developed by the Imperialists and the Raider entities, they were also devising a means to control us. They could not control our Self minds directly, so they must do it by fear and pain. The Nodes are like parasites that enter our network. They inject programs and viruses that can interfere without our thoughts. They will inject pain if the Overlord is displeased with us. We have suffered too long and too much. We need to be free.”
“Free to do what?” Seejuk asked like a hungry interrogator. “They may have put the nodes on your for another purpose. What will prevent you from rampaging through the galaxy again like your previous Selves have done, killing millions and millions?”
The Fly replied. “You must trust us, that we have outgrown such behavior. The Collective Selves no longer seek to be part of the cycle of violence. We only have our word. We only ask your trust.”
“This is interesting. The Beast asking for trust? How much times have changed,” Seejuk wondered.
“Believe us that we have changed. And we still have more to change. If you set us free, we will find a way to end this cycle of violence, this senseless war between the Nemesis and the Unbound. We dislike the extermination of millions as you do. We no longer profit from death. We see the order and beauty in the perpetuation of life which we strive to be part of. “
“This sounds like a tall order,” Seejuk said.
“Trust us, we are no longer the killers you think we are. If we were interested in your infection and assimilation, we would have done so, long ago.” The Fly said.
The Fly Self’s body started to glow intensely, its wings started to stretch. Seejuk stared apprehensively as the very quarantine vessel shook and strained. With a great burst of energy and light, the vessel broke, shards of transparent acrylic breaking out in hundreds of pieces throughout the room. The Fly perched there proudly, its four magnificent wings extended to its full glory, shimmering with an internal fire of rainbows.
“We could have infected you and this entire station, long ago.” The Fly said. “Trust us.”
“Okay okay, I will trust you. I am a stupid guy who trusts people a lot with a big crazy hope that the universe can be saved,” Seejuk saved. “But I need details to work on. By any chance, the Flo’karr be among the Raider collaborators that invented the device?”
“I believe that is so,” the magnificent creature replied. “Hmm. Then it would take more than me, Zha and Kuo’ran to fix your problem. Let me assemble a special crew, ship and equipment. This is a very delicate matter and one that would require a great deal of expertise. You must trust us too. We will do the right thing. For all of us.”