The White Beast
A Homeworld Fanfiction
Originally posted April 26, 2001
The Council fleet slipped out of the hyperjump gates. Before them lay the dark matter clouds so often found in the Galactic Rims. Here in the Mohilim sector lay the boundary of the knownspace of the Galaxy. Beyond lay the darkspace of the Abyss, where there was little light and dark matter dominate.
The fleets of the Bentusi, the Tiamat, the Naga and the Sekmet began to discharge their cargo of Super Acolyte fighters, each race of the Unbound distinguished by its color—gold for the Bentusi, black for the Tiamat, blue for the Naga and red for the Sekmet. The Acolytes formed a magnificent formation, bristling in color against the background of darkspace.
It was the Tiamat that was first to speak, a voice projecting from the radial armed spidership.
“We are the Tiamat, the ones who speak in a thousand voices, the Wheel of Fate, the Destroyers of the Unbound.”
“We seek the Condemned, and we know where you are. It is useless hiding among the black clouds. We can hear the dark songs of your souls.”
Then another fleet emerged from the dark clouds. The head of a ship, followed by a long stalk, then a body with three massive arms radiating from its center. Among the clouds, more ships emerged, dark fighters with wings and a tail, the lights in their cockpits glistening, like eyes hunting for prey.
The Overlord X’on watched from the bridge of the Atonement, as the Penance, the Judgement, the Apocalypse, the Retribution, and the Forsaken emerged from the clouds. He can sense the songs of the Unbound, and their anger. But their feelings were not his concern.
“I can hear you, Tiamat, and I can hear the blackness of your Forbidden souls,” said X’on. “So why would you again interfere with the affairs of the Nemesis? We live peacefully in the Abyss for all the generations. Is the bloodshed you wrought among the Starfarers, among your Children, among us, not enough for you? The very bloodshed you instigated, and caused you to be Forbidden by members of your own Unbound.”
It was the Naga who spoke next.
“We are the Naga, we are the Ancient Ones, Keepers of the Unbound, who record all the Songs we hear.”
“We have a treaty that lasted for countless eras, Overlord of the Nemesis. This treaty ended the great War of the Heavens and brought great peace across the Galaxy for many, many generations. Now, now, I see, you have amassed a great fleet once again, and you have violated this sacred treaty. You have made excursions into the lightspace. You have experimented with new weapons technologies and built an armada for aggression. Do you desire to retake the lightspace and rebuilt your illegal Imperium once again? Remember the great War that nearly destroyed your race!”
“The Great War of your Atrocity, Unbound,” X’on answered back. “You remember the whole worlds you destroyed? The countless millions of souls whose songs you extinguished? Do you feel not their pain?”
It was the Bentusi who spoke next.
“We are the Bentusi, we are the Traders of the Unbound, sharing the songs and fruits to all life we see.
“We feel the loss of every soul whose song was destroyed. We grieve for them till this very day. Our loss was enormous; the Unbound has never suffered the lost of its own life to the extent the Great War of the Heavens did. The sadness and the weeping of the death of millions of our Children burned into our souls, the suffering of the Farers would fill the winds of the cosmos for ages, and the Unbound never sang a happy song once more. We the Bentusi, felt the great sadness that swept with the War. We wept, and the pain caused us to renounce war for all time till the day the Beast came. You are our Children. You felt our loss as much as we did with yours.”
“For generations we helped what was left of humanity that was spread among the stars. Civilizations collapsed from the war, technology regressed. It was our atonement, our penance for all the deaths we caused. But a new race of humanity would rise, free from your tyranny, to set their own empires and chart their own destinies.
It was the Sekmet who spoke next.
“We are the Sekmet, Guardians of the Unbound. We are the Feared ones. We are those who are called forth to preserve the peace for the Unbound.”
“Now your armada threatens the freedom and the progress that has been made since your tyranny was vanquished from the lightspace, and when you were all exiled into the Abyss. The tyranny and the enslavement your Imperium wreaked upon all the innocent life in the Galaxy.”
X’on replied. “If the Sekmet and the Tiamat were called together, then the Council is truly concerned. We are flattered.”
“But who are you to determine the destinies of the Bound? Our Imperium brought a level of civilization and peace throughout the Galaxy that was never seen before and after. While we keep ourselves exiled in the Abyss, we have sent ships to explore the lightspace, to see what has happened since then. We see constant war, we see empires rise and fall. The ones you call Hiigaras and later the Taiidans. We see piracy, we see atrocities, we see misery. The Imperium would have put them all into check. Yes, many would have died, but that is the path of a true empire. No, you fear the Imperium, you fear the evolution of the Bound that they may one day be greater than your races. You feared us for all the power we possesed and the heights which we have risen. That was why the Great War of the Heavens started. You feared that the Children would be greater than those who had sired them.”
“Even now I see that the Great War has cost so much your number, the Council still persists about acting like the police of the Galaxy. What great pride you have to assume that you are invincible, that no one could challenge you.”
“Behold we have found something potentially greater than the Unbound. A freak of fate brought upon our galaxy from a race coming another galaxy, a life form originally conceived as a weapon, but now has evolved to something greater.”
Hyperspace signatures began to appear behind the Unbound fleet. Several ships turned around to face the new enemy.
A giant ship stood there, with a huge ugly maw, five arms stretching from its center, curved like tentacles waiting to ensnare its prey. It’s patched skin had splotches of a crystalline substance, like armor and to heal its wounds. Along with it, were an armada of its own—Turanic Lord carriers covered with the same white crystalline splotches, Taiidan and Hiigaran ships and fighters, all with the same white crystal patches, and even Super Acolytes, their mottled skin, white and crystalline.
The Bentusi spoke.
“What is this Creature? I can sense it. It sings from its soul like the Unbound, and it can hear the songs in the stellar winds.”
“This is a creature that you once feared, and whose Selves you and your Hiigaran and Taiidan minions have hunted down to near extinction,” said X’on.
“The Beast,” a voice from the Naga said.
“Not just the Beast,” said X’on. “A new evolution of the Beast, one that has acquired the senses of the Unbound. It is the White Beast.”
“I can hear the songs of the Selves,” said the Bentusi to the Beast. “There are much pain and hatred in your Selves, but there is none of the Darkness that afflicts the Condemned, the Nemesis.”
“I feel the pain. The pain of a million selves dying across the Galaxy. Their weeping…their sadness. There is bitter pain all over.”
“You are all singers? Why do you want to cause the Selves so much pain.”
“Your previous Selves have infected so much life, assimilated them against their will,” said the Bentusi. “They destroyed Life, and the life in so many, fought back against the Selves. I sense change in your Core Self, but not understanding.”
“I feel only the pain, the weeping of so, so many. Death, everywhere….”
“You do not understand,” said the Bentusi. “You only have the rage inside.”
The tips of the tentacles around the maw of the Beast ship began to energize like glowing embers. The maw began to glow by itself, and something turned inside it, like a turbine gathering speed.
“Do not fill yourself with darkness,” said the Bentusi.
Energy bolts connected the tips of the tentacles, then converged on the great hungry maw. A flash of light, and a brilliant ball, like a small sun, flashed out from the maw, hurtling towards the Bentusi ship, then enveloping it with sheer light. Shockwave emanated from the center of the Council fleet, a brilliant angry ring of fire, spreading out in all directions, rocking the formations of Acolytes, destroying many.
“Why?” The White Beast asked in supreme rage.
Beams fired out from the remaining Council ships, piercing the skin of the Beast. There was fire and steam where the beam made contact. The Beast raged and cried in pain, and everyone who had the senses to touch the stars can feel the scorching of its skin. The sound and the screams of rage cannot be heard through space, but telepathic voices transcend the space and inject themselves into the consciousness of those sensitive enough to have metaphysical senses. Aboard the Atonement, even X’on crumbled to his knees, his disciples gripping their heads in agony, as the wave of pain rushed out into space like an explosion, touching the soul of everyone.
The Acolytes engaged and boosted, heading towards the great ship, beams frying the wounded, pocked skin of the great Beast. The Beast carriers and cruisers advanced toward the line of Council ships. Beams blasted from the Council ships, vaporizing the shiny white armor of the Beast ships, which replied by shooting infection beams. The Unbound consciousness aboard the ships howled in agony as the infection swept over them, nanites corrupting their essence as the wave of plasma shoot through internal conduits.
Outside, Beast fighters of every type—Acolyte, Bandit, Triikor, Blade, Scouts, Kaarks— rushed to desperately intercept the Council Acolytes in a huge chaotic swarm. Beast carriers continued to launch heavy and multigun corvettes, designs cloned from Taiidani, Turanic and Kushan fleets. Beast Hive frigates launched swarmers that plagued the Council ships. A Black Acolyte tumbled out of control, smoking as a White Acolyte slashed its beam into it. A White Heavy Corvette vaporized from a direct hit of a Sekmet Red Acolyte, which in turn was slammed then pot holed by a White Triikor behind it. Beams from the Tiamat ships toasted a White Bandit into a fiery ball, then continued to pick on the rest of the formation. The consciousness aboard a Naga ship screamed as a hail of plasma bombs pounded on its side from a wing of White Kaarks.
The voice of the Tiamat ringed out into the darkspace. “We shall not be defeated easily!” The spidership ejected a pod, which bolted into an area of clear space, then slipped out through a hyperspace gate. As Beast ships swarmed over it, it laid a massive repulsor field that sent the enemy fighters careening off away from it. But the relief ws only temporary as the Beast swarms continued their relentless attack.
The disciples helped the Overlord to his feet. X’on looked out into the flashes in the darkspace. “Our people should not be denied of the pleasure of retribution. Order all ships to attack!”
The formations of Mantas, Skates and Bats, once silent, started to spew increasingly hot ion trails as they quickly accelerated, then boomed into the Council fleets. A Bat locked on to a Naga Red Acolyte, fired a missile, which exploded into a swarm of smaller missiles. The Red Acolyte tried vainly to escape, but each small warhead consecutively hit the Acolyte, wearing away its armor before it exploded. A Manta unleashed more swarmer missiles against a Sekmet sphereship, pock marking its surface with a hundred of explosions before the ion beam defenses skewed the Manta in half.
Slowly, the Atonement, the Judgement, the Penance, the Apocalypse, and the Retribution advanced on the helpless struggling Council fleet. X’on could hear the echoes of the howls and screams of the wounded, dying Unbound. While their pain struck their hearts, X’on, and like all the rest of the Starfarers, relished in the pain of their demise and their futile struggle for any chance of life. X’on smiled and laughed, as the Purgatory class Dreadnaughts settled into firing position.
The infection beams and the Nova Cannon of the White Beast had destroyed more than half of the Council fleet. But the Nemesis must not be denied partaking in the pleasure of destroying those who had exiled and condemned the Nemesis to the Abyss.
Through telephaty, X’on warned the Beast to withdraw its strike craft and ordered his own to disengage from the main Council fleet. He signaled to the fleet to open fire. The modules on the tips of the three radial arms of the Atonement lighted, and then the energies fused togther with the main body. A massive white ball of light boomed out from the main center module of the ship, headed to a smaller Bentusi ringship. The ball went off like a small nova, fragments and gases of what was formerly the Bentusi ship flew in all directions, the debris leaving trails of smoke. The ring of shockwaves tore the nearby Acolytes, obliterating them. A small Tiamat crabship was engulfed by the waves, breaking into multiple black debris.
A wave of nova balls from the Retribution, the Penance, the Apocalypse, and the Judgement headed out to the Council fleet, trapped from both sides, immobilized and paralyzed from the massive exploding balls of compressed stellar matter. Then as X’on watched, a whole series of massive white explosions rocked the fleet of the Unbound, thought waves of pain, screams and howls radiating from the thousands of voices of the Unbound. X’on, and for his people, they could feel them all, and they relished on it.
But the pain the Unbound will receive soon will even be greater. X’on made his orders throughout the fleet with the speed of thought.
On a lower deck, the Weapons Officer shouted, “launch EMP torpedoes!”
From the main body of the Purgatory class Dreadnaughts, the torpedoes dropped from the launch bay. Then each of their engines ignited, long ion trails heading quickly for their prey.
A torpedo smashed against the skin of a Tiamat spidership. Massive EMP pulses radiated from the ship’s center to its arms, and the thousands of voices screamed in agony, electromagnetic waves of emotion radiating all over space.
…and X’on relished on the pain, even as tears streamed down his cheeks…
“…Die…” he thought, “…die… For you are all now condemned by the Children you have judged against.”
Unable to withstand the pain, the Tiamat ship self destructed, pieces of its great arms spinning wildly, leaving trails of fire and debris.
A voice came from the Naga. “This is a great crime you committed against the Unbound and the Council. It will surely be responded in force, with the destruction of you and your fleet.”
“As if I care,” X’on responded. “As if I care… That is the main idea, for all of you to come and face your ultimate destruction. The Nemesis shall write the final chapter of the long, almost eternal history of the Unbound, and you, the Naga, will witness it in your last breath.”
Torpedoes smashed against the hull of the Naga needleship, and waves of pain radiated from the Naga consciousness, as the EMP pulses fried every conduit and structure in the needleship. Instead of exploding, the Naga consciousness extinguished itself, leaving a black burning hulk drifting in the darkspace.
Only the main Sekmet Sphereship was left. Somehow, it knew that the White Beast had also emphatically felt the pain of the dying Unbound consciousness. It turned to the White Beast.
A voice from the Sekmet pleaded to the White Beast. “You felt our pain, and your heart is stricken with it. While you are our enemy, even this saddens you. I only ask to spare me from the pain of the missiles of the Condemned ones. Make my death quick and painless.”
“…I feel your pain…”
The five tentacle tips of the Beast Deliverer ship lit up, their energies joining into the great hungry maw at the center of the ship. The Beast gathered its energy until it could not take it no longer, and the white ball of fire ejected from its maw, heading to the Sekmet Sphereship. From another direction, EMP torpedoes raced to the Sphereship.
“..Make my death quick and painless…I plead of you…” said the voice of the Sekmet.
Before the EMP torpedoes hit the Sphereship, the white nova ball got to it first. In a brilliant flash, the Sphereship atomized, a massive shockwave ring bursting out from its center, detonating the torpedoes. It’s death was so quick, there was only nanoseconds for the Sekmet consciousness to even feel its own death.
Then it was all quiet. The Council Acolytes that were still flying, suddenly cut their engines and drifted, the primary consciousness that controlled them all gone and have joined the primordial cosmic dust. The White Beast felt all their pain and was now relieved the voices were all gone. The voices—from the Tiamat, to the Bentusi, to the Naga and the Sekmet—all quiet, all silent, all gone.
Only debris was left of the great Council police force. The White Beast hungered. The battle depleted it of its energy and material resources. Beast Workers and Resourcers, the last copied from Taiidan and Kushan designs, departed from the Deliverer to scavenge on the gases, while Beast Salvagers, an odd mix of Taiidan Tiirshak, Kushan Porter and Turanic Thief designs, began to salvage the drifting, dead Super Acolytes, the black ones from the Tiamat, the gold ones from the Bentusi, the red ones from the Sekmet and the blue ones from the Naga. They will be infected, each added their own Self, and joined with the fleet of the Beast, their colored skins turned white with the armor and regeneration skin of the white crystal nanobyte secretion of the White Beast.
“..I…I could have ended this withless pain. Is this much pain needed?”
X’on answered, his thoughts telephatically linked with the White Beast. “If you have understood the atrocities and sins the Unbounded committed against us, they deserve pain and death a magnitude several times greater. Eons ago, millions of lives were lost as whole worlds and moonships were torn apart from the planet destroyers the Unbound created. So the survivors of our people gathered in the last remaining of our great Moonships, and journeyed to the Abyss to seek refuge from the wrath and atrocities of the Unbound. Here in the Abyss, our fleet of Moonships grew, housing our once great civilization, until we have the power to strike back with our new Dreadnaughts and this armada. You saw the Abyss. Mostly the loneliness of dark matter, with only a few stars and even fewer life. Where are the winds and the songs that make up the beauty of the lightspace? Here in the darkspace, here is the insanity of a lonely prison and exile. This is what our people suffered for many generations.”
“…those weapons, they cause so much pain…”
“Yes and I am sorry that we had used them earlier on you,” X’on said. “It was necessary, for you had resisted us. The EMP torpedoes are among our most powerful weapons, in addition to the Nova cannon we have bequeathed you.”
“…weapons of great destruction. Is this what I am meant to be?”
“I see,” X’on said. “You have evolved a conscience. Don’t let it get in the way of your survival and our alliance. The Unbound and all their Council minions will seek your destruction now and ours. I ask that you must be ready for the greater battles ahead. Take the chance to feed now in peace.” The Beast was silent, as its resourcers and salvagers gathered from the corpses and debris of its enemy. It watched from its mournful maw, as the fleet of the Nemesis withdraw back to the dark clouds to return to their hidden Moonships, to leave the White Beast to feed in its solitude.