The Kadeshi Crusade
A Homeworld Fanfiction
Originally posted May 15, 2001
Chapter 12 – Siren’s Song
Zha watched as the cloak and the mimic reconnaissance fighters left the Mule, heading toward the Kadeshi fleet. A strong passion burned in her to join them, to share the danger and discover the unknown, but her duty in the ship has prevented her from that, but only for the moment.
Seejuk worked on the tactical panel. The screens for the probes and the recon fighters lit up. A new officer came on the bridge, a Kushan, Zha can guess, from his height and tannish skin color.
“Captain Zha, I would like you to meet Lieutenant Ta’haar of the Kiith Manaani. He is a complement of the Black Star Intelligence. His specialty is linguistics and code breaking. He has come here to break the language and code of the Kadeshi comlink transmissions. From here, we will know what they’re talking, and what they’re next plans are.” Ta’haar bowed at her.
Ever curious, Zha asked, “So how do you plan to do that?”
He replied, “Kadeshi tongue is not that much different from Kushan tongue. Just 3000 years removed. We identify key words from both languages, find out how the Kadeshi word differed from the Kushan word, and compare them with the language of the Guidestone, then apply them to the rest of the Kadeshi words. Its really a lot more complicated than my description, because we also have to consider the grammar…”
“Forget I asked,” Zha said, her hands waving in the air,”This is all beyond me. Carry on.”
She became silent for a while, as a strange presence overcame her. She walked to the ship’s windows, each pace seemingly like a struggle.
“Is something wrong, Zha?” Seejuk asked.
“Nothing, nothing,” she replied.
“You suddenly look sick,” Seejuk said.
“Nothing, I tell you,” she insisted. She bent on the transparency that separated her from deep space, staring at the tiny lights that was the Kadeshi fleet. The strange force beckons her, like nocturnal creatures drawn fatally to a flame of light. Then in moments, the strength of her senses vastly increased. She could sense the cosmic winds between the stars, winds that start as flares from the surface of the stars and blow into space. She could sense the gravity and magnetic fields of stars, planets and asteroids. Yet there was no chaos. Between the winds and the fields, there was a harmonic balance, a tune. A tone here, a tone there, and they all sing. The cosmos was at song, the universe was singing.
Since the dawn of her womanhood, these senses have grown stronger. Sometimes they were not there, but increasingly often enough, the sensations hit her like a deep wave that engulfs her with nothing but visions and songs. Her father once said to her, the stars sing and let their songs find you the way. Was this how the Starfarers find their way through the stars in a primerval time with only the most primitive of instruments? The Taiidans have their own legends, those of Sirens among the stars who can lead voyagers into safety or death just by their songs.
Her father thought her more than just the ceremonial songs of the Segura; he thought her the songs of the ancient sacred star culture of the Raiders.
“We were not just pirates and bandits,” he told her, “as the Taiidani made them look to be. Once they were a nomadic race that spanned the stars. But other races came to power, prosecuted their ancestors, who turned to rebellion, and then to piracy. We, the noble nomads feared as the Raiders, have survived, but we must still preserve whom we were. We have left little in letter and word, but we have preserved much in song. In those songs lay the secrets of how our long ancestors spanned the cosmos. ” So her father said.
“I think I want to go to bed,” Zha said, bending on the window.
“You don’t look all right, and I think you better go. We’ll take care of things here. Don’t worry,” said Seejuk, always rational, always analytical. His eyes never left the screens as the scanners displayed data poured in by the recon fighters. Ta’haar was on the other console, eavesdropping on the comlinks of the Kadeshi.
Zha found moving through the hallways to her small quarters an increasing struggle. She could not concentrate on her immediate senses, on her sight and her balance. The waves of visions and sensations continue to engulf her.
Like a cold dark wind, she could feel a breath, a presence. Since her father died, she could never feel another one like her. But for the first time again, yes, yes, is this true? Is this possible? She could feel someone else again, another Voyager, another Siren, another Farer of the cosmos. She could hear her sing through, her passions and dreams among the stars. A tone there and a note there. Her power was magnificent, far greater than Zha’s own, and the spells she spins enthralls the lesser minds around her.
Zha was falling, falling, spinning uncontrollably into a black vortex. But there was a strange peace around her, and she swam with the currents into the center of the vortex. Even the currents sang to her, and the songs were wonderful. She sung with them.
Zha, her eyes closed, her lips on a smile, collapsed on the hallway, never making it to her room. ***
G’yela was singing tunes in her head. Sometimes she hummed and even sang them to the people in the bridge, who voice the pleasure in hearing her songs. The Songs of Faith can also calm and heal their souls. At other times, the Songs can enlighten and illuminate the mind to find the right way among the stars.
She had ordered the number of patrols to increase, and all scanners to increase probing. Her officers never understood, but never questioned. She could feel the Other again, the other one like her, who knows and shares her secret as a Starfarer. She does not know who the other was, or what was she doing here. Her mind was young too, her powers not as fully realized as hers was. She could sense these things. Since the Angels who call themselves the Tiamat have ignited the power within her, she has become more than a girl, more than a priestess, more than a Kadeshi. For only the Farers can touch the face of the gods and ride the songs of the cosmos.
Her external senses have become weaker, her balance losing. Her staff held her gently and lay her on her throne. Others bent in great homage for the most profound moment that their Holiness will experience another vision from the gods. “O Holiest of Holies,” they all sang in unison. Her servants brought her a smoking incense to her feet. The incense carried a powerful hallucegenic drug and G’yela inhaled its sweet smelling smoke. Her mind fell into a pit of blackness and then through a tunnel of light.
She could hear the songs of the stars once again, the same songs that beckoned her when she was a child, the songs that became clearer when she first left the Gardens. She could fly through its winds, wade among its currents, watch the starry orbs themselves. She could hear the Other, not fully awakened yet, but already capable of singing. The Other was singing too.
Among the cosmic winds, there were no rank, no flesh and no bone. No Kadeshi, Kushan or Taiidan. Only the soul lives.
She swam close to the Other to hear her song, and then sang her own. The Other heard her song and joined her. Who was she? She can sing so well. Will she be an enemy or will she be a friend? That was not her concern now. Only the harmony between themselves was all that matter.
Among the winds, there was no sense of time. The songs can be like a moment, or they can be forever. ***
Someone was slapping her face and that odor burnt through her nose. “Hey, wake up! Wake up!” Seejuk said, lightly slapping her cheeks.
Zha could see that she was in the infirmary of the ship. Seejuk and two others were standing above her.
“They found in you in the hallway,” Seejuk said. “What happened?”
“I don’t know,” Zha said. “It was all like a dream.”
“What was like a dream?” Seejuk asked.
“It’s kind of hard to explain, all the swirling, all the songs running in my head,” Zha said.
“Try,” Seejuk requested.
Zha sighed, but the chief medical officer interrupted. “I don’t think the captain is fit for anything right now. She needs some rest.”
“I don’t need to break this to you,” Seejuk said. “But we are in dangerous times. We can’t afford for you to be sick, hazy or be in any way incapable of performing your duties.”
“I will be fine, Seejuk. I don’t weaken that easy. I know my duties,” Zha said.
“When you’re ready, maybe you like to hear what we found,” Seejuk said.
“I’m always ready,” Zha said.
“Well maybe you like to hear this,” Seejuk said as he brought out an audio device. “We have been getting this from the Kadeshi comlinks and has been recording. We have been trying to make heads and tails out of it.” Seejuk played the device.
Zha could hear the immediate chatter of the Kadeshi pilots talking. But it was the background that struck her. It was like the music she heard in her visions.
Seejuk observed Zha’s expressions as she heard the audio. “The communications was just plain chit chat among the Kadeshi pilots. Nothing unusual or valuable. But that music behind has been prevalent. We have started analyzing the notes and lyrics. The music seemed religious in nature. But you seem bothered by it. Anything wrong?”
“I think I heard that music before,” Zha admitted. “But I still don’t understand everything.”
“You heard that music before?” Seejuk seemed surprised. “Explain, I need to know.”
“Like I said, I seemed to know it but I don’t understand,” Zha insisted. “Must you be so persistant and nosy about everything?”
“It’s my job to be nosy and persistent,” Seejuk said. “And our victory and survival depend on it.” Seejuk smiled.
“I’m going to try,” Zha said. “Things are not all clear to me and it’s all hazy in many areas, but I’m going to try. Our race, the Raiders, have legends of an ancient race of Starfarers. They were the first to venture into the unknown outer boundaries of the Galaxy, and the first to came to the areas around Turan…”
“Yes, I’ve learned about them,” Seejuk said. “All legends have a seed of truth in them. The legends you speak of are shared by many races. The Taiidans called them Sirens. They have the ability to navigate through the stars intuitively. What you describe is not impossibility. Animals in different planets, including those we observed in Kharak and Hiigara, are able to migrate enormous distances across their respective globes to breed or hibernate, with nothing but the stars and their senses to guide them. Scientists speculated that life is capable of developing a new sense, one of intuitive navigation. There is no reason why intelligent life is not capable of this. This is what we believe the Unbound, Bentusi was capable of. This is where I think the Starfarer legend came about. There were rumors that your father had this capability. I now suspect you yourself had that too. You seem unusually good in guiding this ship. “
“You almost could read my mind through analysis,” Zha said. “But this is not cold logic or sudden intuition. Sometimes it seems like I could sense the stars themselves, the cosmic winds between them. There is a harmony in the universe that is like a song, like the stars themselves singing. Each has a different voice, a different note or tune. It is beautiful to ever experience them sing. You guide yourself through the harmonies. This background music in the Kadeshi interlinks, its much like that. I think it’s guiding them. I think a Starfarer is guiding them.”
“I know your instincts, Zha,” Seejuk said. “I know I can trust them. If you think or felt something, there is truly something about it. If a Starfarer is leading the Kadeshi, it could explain their amazing progress across the galaxy, and the tactical ability to sense our forces first, then ambush them. But how did a Starfarer got into the Great Nebula? Maybe it was trapped by one of those hyperspace inhibitors. We don’t know. How it got into power? We don’t know. What we know is this,” Seejuk played a new part in the audio device.
“We know they are being led by an individual named G’yela,” Seejuk said. “There is always constant reference to her as the leader, both militarily and religious, of this entire crusade from Kadesh.”
G’yela…G’yela, Zha sounded the name in her head. That name too sounded familiar, but she could not pinpoint it. No..no…it was more of her presence.
The all too familiar red alarms sounded again. “Red Alert, Red Alert, Battle Stations!” the intercoms sounded.
“I guess back to work again,” Seejuk said.
“I guess I better hurry to the bridge, too,” Zha said, showing effort getting out of the bed.
On the bridge, Zha watched the screens as she assumed the captain’s chair. Seejuk sat on tactical. “Report, report,” she urgently asked.
“We are not being attacked, Captain,” the ensign said. “So far we are not being detected yet. Not even close. But we have detected many new hyperspace signatures, all showing energy weapons and charging.”
“Identify,” Zha asked. “Kushan-Republican fleet, led by an Explorer class vessel, the Kuun-Laan. It’s headed to the center of the Kadeshi fleet,” Seejuk said, watching the lights in his console.