The Kadeshi Crusade
A Homeworld Fanfiction
Originally posted May 15, 2001
Chapter 10 – The Wheel of Fate
Zha was staring at her personal monitor. She smiled at the farewell messages the refugee children gave her as she left them in the Allied Base. The Black Star and the Sirak had made arrangements to transport them back to the nearest Raider Outpost.
“Captain, your attention is needed on the bridge,” said a message flashing in the screen. She had only her night clothes but she quickly donned a uniform and ran to the bridge.
As always, Seejuk was trim and ready. The patrol missions consisting of the new stealth and mimic fighters have been running all day and night. Seejuk had been triangulating all known appearances and contacts with the Kadeshi in the hopes of estimating where their next destination would be. The Mule and her task force had been under cloak mode too. The Multibeams keep themselves close enough to the tethered cloak generators while the Ion Array Frigates rely on their own cloak generators.
“This is like hunting a rodent in the desert,” Seejuk said. “So our next move is to guess where their next attack will be. The Kadeshi do not wait for the battle to come to them. They bring it direct to the enemy instead. They have hit one Turanic and Imperialist base after another, so my estimates they should be attacking this Imperialist base but nothing has happened.”
“Do you think they changed targets?” Zha asked.
Seejuk did not answer directly. “Sorry I woke you up.”
“Just preparing for my beauty sleep. Nothing important,” she said, noting that they are still in Imperialist space.
The Kushan fleets gathered near the new Taiidan Republican Nomad Moon. It had been developed to counter a Beast attack, but should serve conveniently against the Kadeshi should they come to the area. The moon and the fleets were not far from Imperialist space.
A debate raged among the Hiigaran and Taiidan commanders and politicians. Some members of different Kithid like the Sjet, Paktu, Somtaaw, and Liirhra favored a diplomatic negotiation with the Kadeshi to stop the Crusade and offer a compromise. Others like the Manaani, Naabal, Gaalsien, and Soban favored going to war. The Taiidans support attacking the Kadeshi, fearing Republican bases would be next in the Kadeshi agenda. While all fleets were ready to go to war, there was considerable dissent among the admirals as who will lead the overall fleet. Each wanted to strike out on their own, to prove their mettle to the other Kiithid. The Taiidani had their own divisions too, as their regional fiefdoms have their own self interests. The Nabaal had learned from Fleet Intelligence, that there is evidence that the Kadeshi had destroyed one of their task forces. Whether the Kadeshi had Hiigaran blood or not, the Naabal had sworn the blood oath of their god Sajuuk against them.
“Oh another Kushan fleet coming,” the sensors array operator remarked, looking at the new Kushan energy ship signatures on screen. “Another Kiithid going to add to the nonsense arguing.” Can they ever make up their minds? The new ships have submitted their proper FF codes but did not communicate with him directly yet.
“Roger, fleet, please idenitfy yourselves,” the officer said.
“Roger, ten four, this is commander of the Kiith Ferriil fleet. Requesting permission to join your party,” came the reply.
“Acknowledged, you are all clear.”
I never knew the Feriil had such a large fleet, the officer thought to himself. The fleet had begun to deploy fighters and more major capital ships have come into sensors range. He has heard the Kiith were fielding new major capital ship classes and these might be them. He zoomed in to take a look. The carriers and heavy cruisers do look Kushan alright but not recognizably that of existing classes. Something bigger lies in the distance. He zoomed the sensors further. “What in the name of Sajuuk is that?”
It was an incredibly large ship, like a mothership with an umbrella in one end followed by a long stalk.
He panicked and a few vital seconds passed before he regained his composure. He opened the comlinks but there was only static. Frequency bars indicated all out jamming. Then there was a ramming sound in the hull of the array. The computers were being over riden and lethal gas being injected as the Kadeshi Grapplers seized the array.
“Magnificent, my dear child M’jor,” G’yela watched. “If all the eggs are in one basket you can break them in a one blow.” Her eyes watched the energy meter bar of the siege cannon attain full strength.
With delight, she said, “Fire.”
The massive ball of energy and fury headed to the Nomad Moon. They watched through the scanners as the shock wave took out fighters and ships in military formation. The blast destroyed a line of gravwell generators.
“Sensors indicate the enemy’s repulsion technology is no longer operable,” an officer said.
G’yela watched in interest as she prepared for a bite of her favorite snack. A lizard like creature was impaled on a small stick, and it squirmed and struggled in pain for its dear life. G’yela’s attention was hypnotized on the screen as she bit off the head of the creature.
As she chewed, she said, “Good! You must cut off the head of the enemy.” The officers could not tell if the remark was about the progress of the battle or the delicacy of the creature’s flesh.
“The Holiness Mother Superior,” M’jor said. “The Great Mother of the Gardens once again favors us with her blessings.”
“Indeed,” she said. “It’s about time we bless our Unclean heathen with the wisdom of the Mother. Engage second wave.”
Rows and rows of probe bombs headed to the Moon and the surviving fleets that parked near the Nomad Moon. Their explosions rocked the Kushan and Taiidani fleets, destroying strike craft and damaging capital ships. But the Kushans and Taiidans continued to show their indomitable spirit, as their heavy cruisers, destroyers, carrier and frigates head out in rag formation towards the Needleships. The bombs and the siege cannon failed to take out the enemy strike forces completely as many were docked in their protective carriers. Waves and waves of Acolytes, Blade Mk 6 and Triikor Mk. 2 fighters rushed to intercept the Kadeshi fleets.
“Blessed Holiness, we may have underestimated the enemy,” M’jor said. “We did not expect this many to survive our initial attacks.”
“A small detail,” G’yela replied, as she bit off the tale of the creature. The tale squirmed in her mouth but its blood had a sweet taste as she chewed off the flesh. “Order our new cruisers and carriers to engage the enemy. It’s time to see what they’re made of. It’s time to see how our resurrection of the old Hiigaran power and might will fare against the so called New Hiigarans, the Unclean.”
The Interceptors rushed head on against waves of Swarmers. Many of them collided; others turned as they prepared to dogfight. Waves of Assault and Beam Swarmers rushed to the enemy ships and were met with defensive fire from Dervishes, Kudaarks and Vengeance assault frigates. Many Swarmers exploded from the intense cross fire but Beam Swarmers managed to cut a Vengeance in half. Ion beam frigates were in flames as Assault Swarmers peppered them with their powerful single cannon.
Beams, energy cannons and plasma bombs exchanged between the Kadeshi and the Kushan/Taiidan cruiser formations. Multibeamers appeared, raking the Kushan destroyers and frigates. One Deacon managed to destroy a Multibeam frigate but four other Multibeams rushed to savage the Deacon.
“It is now up to the Great Mother of the Gardens. We will sing the song to inspire our forces to fight for heavenly glory,” G’yela ordered, standing from her command throne in white lace like robes. A choir joined her as she sang the Songs of Liberation and Martyrdom. The music was broadcast in all channels. The Kushans were taken aback by the bizarre but haunting melodies. “What is this?” a pilot exclaimed.
But for the Kadeshi, they shouted united through a thousand comlinks, the reaffirmation of their Great Faith. “Holiest of Holies,” they sang, “deliver the souls of our enemies to the Righteous Sword of the Mother. The Unclean must be cleansed, the Defilers must be punished. We are unworthy but in death for the Mother, we become united with her, in the Great Gardens of Paradise.”
“Victories cannot easy,” G’yela said, pausing from her song. “Or they weaken the blood of the Kadeshi. Even with the cannon and the bombs, our battles must be hard fought. Our martyrs must taste the blood of the enemy. They must strike the sword through their hearts and feel their life drain.”
Then she shouted for all the comlinks to hear. “Fight on, mighty Kadesh. Fight for the glory of the Mother. Fight for the cleansing of Souls. Your Fire will burn brightest…” G’yela burst into song.
With tears in her eyes, G’yela said, “My children, you are all so wonderful…” A Taiidan Qwaar-Jet heavy cruiser broke in half; the destiny of an Avatar Heavy Cruiser sealed in a ball of fire.
“Fight on…fight on….the Blood of Martyrs shall burn the Unclean…”
A Kushan Imperator carrier died as Beam Swarmers and Multibeamers raped the carrier from beam to aft.
“…Let the blood of the Unclean flow…
A Taiidan Saarkin Cho carrier gave up its ghost as Kadeshi cruisers ripped its belly.
“…the cup of the Mother will overflow from the sacrifice…”
Even an Archangel dreadnought, with all its power, cannot stop from the unending torrent of attacks from Multibeams, Assault Pods and Assault Swarmers. Early it held back its enemies using repulsors, but it was damage from the relentless attacks. Burning, the Dreadnought died in honor with all hands on board.
“…the blood of heroes and the slain will till the soil of the Gardens…”
The Nomad Moon itself, defenseless since the initial onslaught, shook and shook as beam after beam connected from the Needleships and cruisers. Its core bursted, and its short existence ended with a brilliant flash of light.
“…there will be no escape for the Unclean from the Dark Pit of Souls….”
Surviving Allied ships tried to jump into hyperspace, only to face the feared Hyperspace Inhibitor. The realization of inevitable death froze in the faces of their crews, as they gallantly faced their end in the face of hordes of Swarmers filling their monitor screens.
“…Fire shall consume and cleanse them all…” * * *
The great divine has been crossed. It was now the blood of Hiigaran against Hiigaran.
Would the Mother have wanted this?
G’yela thought, as Fleet celebrated their greatest victory yet. In a drunken, mad stupor, surviving Kushans and Taiidans were brought to the altars of the Mother Goddess N’ua, where they were executed or sacrificed in front of large crowds. The hurrahs from the crowds drowned the desperate screams of the sacrificed. Blood stained the altars.
“G’yela! G’yela! G’yela!” The crowds chanted, and the executioner pierced his sword into the body of another bound Kushan, his cries unheard.
It will not be this way if the Wheel of Fate has not turned in their first journey outside of the Gardens.
She can remember that day…
The Needleship broke through the last of the clouds of the Garden. The colored expenses in its blue and brilliant orange colors gave way to darkness. The stars…she has never seen so many stars. They broke up and littered the very darkness like glittering jewels. A band of nebulas, all great gardens, themselves, lit to show the center of the galaxy.
There was a sense of freedom and exhilaration she has never felt before. She was a young ranking priestess, given the command of her own Needleship to accomplish a sacred mission of discovery and revelation. News from trapped ships told of great events that changed the Galaxy. News such as the fall of the Defiler’s empire were greeted with suspicion and fascination. The Defilers hunted the Mother Goddess and the Seed of Kadesh across the stars to seek refuge in the Gardens. The final Sword of Righteousness had finally come to judge the Defilers. It is the fulfillment of the Great Mother’s prophecy.
If that is true, will the other great prophecies be fulfilled. The day will come that the Seed of Kadesh will leave the Gardens, to the First Garden, the Garden where the Goddess N’ua was born. She has prophesied through the Great Stone. But the prophecies were twisted by the old Orders. They see that their power is based on keeping Kadesh in the Gardens, subservient to their needs. They had twisted the original gospels, removing the context of the First Gardens, the one where the Mother is born, and instead made the new Gardens which the Mother took refuge as the one great Garden. She pledged that one day, she will reveal this fallacy to the people of Kadesh, but the Orders will be against her. She is but a young girl, how will she find the courage and strength?
The stars made her feel at home. Like she was all a part of it somehow in a way she never knew.
“We have detected forces of the Defiler coming our way,” the officer said. “Holy Priestess, what is your orders?”
This is the first time G’yela encountered battle. A sickening feeling formed in her stomach. For the first time, she felt the closeness of death and how it will engulf all the souls around her. But the Orders taught that one must face death in the eye. One must focus and channel your spirit into the task. Form your thoughts into the unbreakable, righteous sword of the Mother.
She kept her cool and barked the orders.
“Battle stations! Activate Hyperspace Inhibitors. Launch all Swarmers. Multibeam frigates form formation A. Concentrate fire on the largest ship in the enemy formation. Fuel Pods, form formation B. Support Swarmer wing. Turn the Needleship around and head for the largest enemy ship. Activate all Ion beam cannons!”
“Yes, Holiness,” the officer affirmed. In the screens, the Martyrs and Disciples were launching, setting up a claw formation. Packs of three Devoted frigates create a large loose formation and headed to the enemy fleet.
The enemy formation wheeled towards them. The Saarkin Cho began launching fighters. A walled formation of ion beam frigates headed their way.
The Disciples engaged the interceptors in a wild wild dogfight. Martyrs heading the main fleet were suddenly frozen in their tracks by an unseen force. They began to be helplessly picked off by assault frigates.
“Our fighters are encountering a strange field. They are being immobilized by it,” said the sensors officer.
Without the Swarmers, their fleet would be destroyed. G’yela did not know what to do. The iron composure taught by the Orders begun to melt under the heat of battle.
Then a strange voice spoke in her mind. It told her to do this.
“Attack the field generators with the Fuel Pods and Multibeam frigates and do it soon!” G’yela ordered. “What?” an officer objected. “Just do it,” she affirmed.
The Blessed class Pods were first to reach the Gravwell generators. They are armed only with a single cannon, but that single cannon is deadly. They punch large holes and two of the generators exploded in a starburst. A Devoted Multibeamer breached the third generator in time.
G’yela shook her fist at the screen with truimph. The Assault Frigates had attacked the Pods, which had turned to go toe to toe to deal with the Devoted and Blesseds. The Swarmers now freed, attacked the Assault Frigates with vengeance, then run to the pods for refueling to attack again.
The battle between the Ion Frigates of the Unclean heathen and the great Kadeshi multibeam frigates went to the Kadeshi’s favor. The packs trapped the Ion frigates and hit them from all directions.
The Needleship was able to deploy more Swarmers than the enemy has with fighters and corvettes. Sheer numbers, speed and firepower overwhelmed the enemy strike wing. Salvagers released from the Needleship preyed on the surviving Assault and Ion frigates.
The enemy carrier tried to vainly escape, but the Needleship has caught up to it. The carrier desperately fired its plasma weapons, but beam after beam from the Needleship raked the carrier.
“Fire,” G’yela shouted as the energy bars of the beam cannon goes green. “Fire.”
As suddenly as it started, the enemy carrier ended in a brilliant flash of light.
G’yela threw herself back into the chair, disbelieving that she had won her first victory. The officers in the bridge were jubilent, and shouts were heard from the comlinks in the Swarmers.
“Hyperspace signature appearing…” an officer warned.
What the? G’yela thought as she stared into the black starry screens.
An immense large spider ship in black and silver appeared, eight giant arms radiating from its center.
“Do not be afraid,” said a voice. “We are not your enemies. We are your Gods of Old. The God of your Mother, N’ua. The Gods that gave you the Thunderbolt of Justice. The Gods that gave you the Orb that will twist Space. The Gods that gave you the Chariot that holds the Orb. We are whom your prophecies calls the Dark Ones. But for you, we shall be known as the Wheel of Fate.”
“The hyperspace inhibitor is not working,” said one of the officers.
“See our power. Only the Gods that gave you the Orb will have the power to control it,” said the voice.
The voice was familiar. It was the same voice that spoke in her head.
“It is indeed the Dark Ones of the Abyss,” G’yela said. “The ones who helped the Great Mother escape the claws of the Defilers as listed in the Gospels.”
She bent to her knees, and bowed. Every officer quickly followed her example. “O Holy Ones, O Dark Ones, we are your servants,” they all prayed in unison. To the cries in awe and wonder, G’yela disappeared from the bridge of the Needleship and into the great maw of the Wheel of Fate.