The Kadeshi Crusade – Chapter 19 – The Forsaken

Chapter 18 | Landing Page | Chapter 20

The Kadeshi Crusade

A Homeworld Fanfiction

by Crobato

Originally posted May 15, 2001

Chapter 19 – The Forsaken

It’s been days and Zha started to get restless. “I’m sure all these relics are interesting but, a girl like me has got to find a place to breath! It’s all stinky and musty here and I’m getting bored.” She made all sorts of whizzing founds trying to imitate the zoom of a star fighter. “I miss my custom fighters.”

Seejuk shook his head. “The fate of two worlds are about to collide, thousands of people about to kill each other, the secrets of the Universe staring right under your nose…and you miss your joyride? You never cease to amaze me.”

She was getting testy. “You know Seejuk, you are old. Old, old old. You like old things. I’m sure you like it here, but I will go crazy!” She pranced up and down the ancient hallways. “I need fresh air! I need space!”

“…and I got work to do, so shut your trap!” Seejuk shouted, heading right back to his analysis. “We would have been recycled into the Kadeshi nutritional processors if it weren’t for this work.”

Zha pouted and crossed her arms. “I am a prisoner here and you are too.”

“Yes we are, Zha, yes we are,” Seejuk replied. “By the way, I need to ask you something. When we first encountered the Kadeshi armada, we saw huge massive ships, ships so big they must be housing the main Kadeshi population.”

“Yes somewhat like your Kushan mothership, only bigger. Much bigger. Like small moons shaped like diamonds,” Zha said.

“Do you ever recall seeing them after that?” Seejuk asked.

“Come to think of it, no. Never after that,” Zha answered.

“The terminals refer to them openly, like it’s part of the Kadeshi way of life,” Seejuk observed. “Yet I never saw them after that encounter. This all means something, and it can be, the forces we have encountered so far, are only an extension of the main force. They are up to something, I know it. These ships, the Arkships, as they call it, are on a different course, from the advanced forces we have been encountering. These advanced forces, including this flagship, have been attacking not only to weaken allied forces, but to distract them away from the true course of the Arkships.”

“Why would the Kadeshi do that?” Zha asked.

“To protect their main population, industrial, research and ship building centers,” Seejuk replied. “Centers that are capable of building and unleashing the true main Kadeshi forces. I suspect they have been saving their forces for one decisive battle.”

“Over your planet, Hiigara, no doubt,” Zha added. “I won’t want to be there right now.”

***

Aboard the Mothership, in orbit around Hiigara….

“We got hyperspace anomalies, sir!”. The Sensors officer seemed unsually excited.

“Anomalies? What do you mean?” asked the main officer in charge.

“Big…huge…like hyperspace jumps but much bigger. I never seen anything like it. Ships coming out of the gates, and it’s bigger than this Mothership!”

“Go into red alert, notify all fleets,” the officer said. “Get an image lock on those ships, and try to get me the admiral!”

“We got images sir! There are 12 of them that hyperspaced around Hiigara!”

The screen view showed a massive ship, like two pyramids joined on the bottom to make a giant diamond. The screens flashed to show each of the 12 ships.

“What are they?” the officer asked.

“There is something coming out of them, sir!” the sensors officer remarked.

Small ships flowed out of the massive diamond ships. “Magnify on the small ships,” the bridge officer said.

“Swarmers, sir, lots and lots of swarmers!” As the sensors officer watched, more ships emerged from the sensor fog—Needleships, beam and pod frigates, swarmers in massed linear formations…

“Damn! Go into full battle alert, and what’s taking you so long in getting the Admiral!” the officer shouted.

“We have massive communications interference, sir! The Kadeshi are trying to jam us. Hold on….our sensors detected full hyperspace inhibitor fields on. They are all around Hiigara. Nothing can get out!”

Fleet Admiral G’aas Paktu had been conferencing with the other Fleet Admirals when the news came in. He had been promoted to Four Star Admiral, and because of his advanced views on ship concept design and planetary defense, the Daiamid had designated him in charge for the overall defense of Hiigara. This was a major privelege but heavy burden as well.

He thought to himself, why now? That Seejuk Liirhra, he would arrest him for disobeying orders and going off into his own personal crusade. With the Kadeshi at the gates of Hiigara, it looks like Seejuk Liirhra’s personal quest had failed miserably. The Kadeshi probably roasted him by the now.

“Gentlemen,” G’aas rose from his seat. “It looks like our guests have arrived, and we should properly welcome them to our party.” Each of the admirals—both Kushan and Taiidani—in the table would lead separate task forces.

“The Kadeshi wins by always changing the rules to their favor. It looks like they have done so just a while ago. The mysterious motherships that Black Star Intelligence have theorized to be their main population ships have materialized outside of Hiigara and are now deploying a massive fleet. But they have not attacked yet. We will wait as well. Our defense plans must continually face improvisation. We cannot be headstrong and overconfident as we were before. We had been drunk from our victories against the Imperialists and the Beast, but our enemy now is more cunning. We will watch their move closely and we will counter their moves.”

“Why don’t we attack them right now?” asked one of the admirals. “They are still preparing. They are still in a vulnerable position. We don’t have time to waste.”

“Patience is a virtue thought by the teachings of Sajuuk,” G’aas lectured. “We do not know fully what the Kadeshi is up to. Before they hyperspaced to Hiigara, Kadeshi forces were spotted in the Karos Graveyard. Our analysis shows that the Kadeshi have built ships copying from ancient Hiigaran derelicts, like their assault carrier or their heavy cruiser. I expect that they were researching in the Graveyard. So we do not know exactly what surprise they will pull up this time. Every battle we have fought with them, they came up with small little surprises that they take us off balance! It’s all because of our vast underestimation of the Kadeshi. We knocked their Fuel Pods in their Nebula during the Homeworld Wars, they keeled over, and now we think we can consistently beat the crap out of them? What we saw, Gentlemen, was merely the tip of a huge hidden asteroid in terms of what they can do. Just because they are fanatics and psychotics does not mean they can think! For Sajuuk’s sakes, they are Hiigarans too by nature, and thereby they are cunning, resourceful and ingenious. They would have the same values and initiatives which we Kushans have exploited to defeat the last Taiidan Emperor and return to this planet. But this time, our roles are reversed. We are in the seat of the Taiidan Emperor and they are the ones coming to kick our butts off this planet! We will not end up in all irony like Riesstiu IV.”

“Your haste, gentlemen, has been what the Kadeshi needed to kick our butts!”

“See the deficiency in our tactics. In previous battles, we got our frigates in walls going head to head against their Multibeam frigates. Result, our ion beam frigates are massacred, never having enough firepower to stand against their Multibeam ships. So let’s throw away the wall formations. Our Ion Beam frigates don’t play well against their Multibeam frigates, but this time, let’s use our Assault frigates and Dervish Multibeam frigates. They cannot match the firepower of the Kadeshi Multibeam ship, but they have a superior coverage rate. So our frigates must try to turn around to the Kadeshi ship’s rear, avoiding the limited range of fire of the Kadeshi ship, and allowing the superior coverage of our ships to bear!.”

“Generally, their ships are weak in strike craft defenses. They do not use gravwells because it affects their own Swarmers. So we will send strike craft to take out their capital ships. Expect massive swarms of Swarmers as their main defenses, so our strike forces will have a tough time out of it. But that will pin down their Swarmers, and let our large ships take care of their battle fleet. Our Archangels, Deacons, Qwaar jets and Avatars, should be superior to what their derelict capital ship fleet can handle, and then we’ll take care of the Needleships. The siege cannon onboard the Kuun-laan and the Faal-Corum are operational. They will provide long range support.”

“Speaking of siege cannon, what about their flagship? The one with the siege cannon? Has that been detected yet?” asked one of the admirals.

“I expect it to hyperspace shortly. We need recon patrols and wide area sensor reconnaissance to find it. When the order is given, we will strike the head of this creature and cut it off,” G’aas proclaimed, echoing the strategy the Mule used before.

***

“Regarding about not wanting to be above Hiigara, I think I spoke too soon,” Zha said. “I can sense it. We just entered hyperspace and we’re coming out of it now.”

“Just now?” Seejuk asked. “Amazing, you can feel the space beyond the walls of this ship.”

“It’s not just that. We’re near a planet…Fleets surround this planet…mothership?” Zha sensed.

“Damn, by Sajuuk’s name. This can only mean we’re outside of Hiigara,” Seejuk exclaimed.

“That’s not all, I can sense, the ships you were referring to, the Arkships. The inhibitor fields have been activated and all around us now,” Zha said.

“We don’t have much time to lose, Zha, we got to stop this insanity!” Seejuk said.

They ran to the hallways towards the new section of the Khar’nak. Guards stopped them. “We need to see the Mother Superior, ” Seejuk demanded. “It is urgent that we see her now.”

“You cannot, Acolyte,” said the guard. “We are in the eve of battle. Her Holiness is in the midst of last minute preparations for the final conflict. We shall prevail; the Unclean will be destroyed. But the Mother Superior will be here in the most sacred of altars shortly. Then you can speak to her.”

Seejuk raised his arms up in frustration. “This is crazy; it can’t end this way. Zha, let’s go back to the terminals and find someway to end this madness.”

***

The Mother Superior wore only a simple pale dress that showed her figure, exposed her long limbs and legs. Her expression was troubled, her face wore the marks of days of fasting and intense prayer.

“It is the time of Judgement now, to see if we, after all the generations, we the Kadeshi, are fit to enter the First Garden and set foot upon the Homeworld of the Mother,” G’yela said.

“I am ready to offer my spirit for this final test.” G’yela lowered her head, both hands clasped in prayer.

“But Mother Superior,” M’jor said. “You will not die in this, for us and for Kadesh. We will triumph over the enemy, over the greatest battle that we, formerly the Protectors and now the Crusaders will fight.”

“Cardinal M’jor, you know what to do,” G’yela said. “We will go through the battle plan once more. You will take command of the Khar’kusha and the other three Warrior dreadnaughts. This flagship, the Khar’nak, will draw the enemy like scavengers to a dead carcass. They will focus their efforts and attack me here. That is when you will drive the Four Warriors and stake the main battle fleet at their heart.”

“This is my tactical preparations, your Holiness,” M’jor said. “The enemy has ringed the planet with a combination of gravwell generators, Repulsor Moons and defense field frigates, with Supply Frigates and Repair Corvettes repairing them. They present a formidable barrier to overcome. But we have solutions to meet their defenses. You were correct in your interpretation of the Gospels of N’ua. The Swords of Righteousness carried by the Four Warriors were siege cannons. We have restored the siege cannon in the Khar’kusha by removing the one in this flagship Khar’nak, which was taken from the Khar’kusha long ago. Khar’kusha has been returned to her former glory. The siege cannons in the Khar’seth, Khar’osis and Khar’ramsis are also all operational. We have greater total firepower from these four cannons than the Kushans which only have the Faal-Corum and the Kuun-Laan.”

“We will use siege cannon bombardment, then followed by waves of Sacrifice class Probe and Pod bombs to take out the Gravewells, then the Templar Missile and Annointed Beam Swarmers against the Defense field frigates, and finally the Crusader Assault Swarmers against the Repulsor Moons. They will be supported with synchronous attacks from Devoted class Multibeam Frigates, Blessed class Assault and Missile Pods. I will expect that they will counter with massive strike forces, which we must counter with the vast majority of our Swarmers. As our Swarmers finish engaging their strike forces, they will turn to support all capital ships that will be engaged with their capital ships.”

“Your plans are simiple, but everything hinges on coordination,” G’yela said. “The greatest weapon is confusion. With the 12 Arkships around the planet, the enemy will not know where to defend and where to strike. They never expected the Arkships, nor the Four Warriors. But our task will not be easy. I can sense they have amassed their greatest fleets, both the Kushan and the Taiidani Unclean. They have brought their very best, their newest fighters, their most powerful battleships. They will be a great loss in Kadeshi life. You cannot be overconfident, M’jor. Do not let our past victories blind you. You will fight like you never won a battle before.”

“I will be careful, your Holiness,” M’jor replied. “Our forces are currently in deployment and we have not attacked yet. We are in a positional stalemate as we survey their forces. Our scans show they are equally as diligent surveying our forces. They probably have a capable commander in their hands. We will study them carefully before we make our move. I realize that we cannot make any room for error now. But we will win because of the Blessing of the Great Mother and the power of your Song.”

G’yela turned her pained eyes to M’jor. In a surprise move, she kissed him in the cheek, then hugged him. “Thank you,” she said, “for your loyalty and caring. Your heart has been true for me and the Kadeshi people. I will sing and pray for you when you battle, my most noble warrior. Now you must go. You will take everyone aboard this ship, including my Handmaidens, and leave only the barest crew. The course of this ship has been set. It cannot turn back.”

M’jor stared at her with a teary eye. There were so many things in his heart that he could not tell her then and even now. His duty was calling, and so was hers.

“I know the Great Mother will protect you, your Holiness,” M’jor said. “She will not forsake you.”

“From this moment, I am not your Mother Superior anymore,” G’yela said. “My name is G’yela, a humble servant of the Mother.”

“Let the Light of the Mother guide you all,” she said.

G’yela watched M’jor’s back as he turned around, departing the bridge with the majority of the crew. “You too,” she said to the Guards. “Your purpose aboard this ship is over. You will not be needed here anymore.”

With only a few crew left, and much of the ship in automation, G’yela walked alone to the derelict section of the ship, staggering in the hallway, her legs weak.

In front of the ancient giant image of the Mother, G’yela lit incense and some candles, and then knelt and prayed. She sensed a presence in her back.

“I am sorry that your work will be cut short,” G’yela said. “But you can save some of the data and bring them with you. I have ordered that a special Swarmer will be prepared for both of you to escape this ship, with some of the important relics and knowledge. I suggest you need to get ready, Kushan. This ship and I will be on its final path.”

“What do you mean, your Holiness, G’yela?” Zha asked. “Are you just letting us go now?”

“Yes, I am letting you all go. I want you Zha to save whatever you learned about this heritage of the Starfarers and bring them with you. You still have your destiny to fulfill. Mine has ran the end of its course. I no longer deserve to be called Holiness,” G’yela said. “I have sinned the greatest of all sins. I have lied to my people, and they will die because of the secret I kept.”

“And what is that one?” Seejuk confronted the kneeling pale girl. He noticed the robes she wore. It was the pale white robes from the Purfication rite, the plain pale colors which she said symbolized death. She was preparing to die.

“Is that the secret, G’yela, that your Mother is not really a God, but a blood and flesh Hiigaran, a Hiigaran like the Kushans you killed?” Seejuk told her.

“Sooner or later, my people will know,” G’yela wept. “They are begining to understand now that the Stories of our Gospels is that of a war long past, that our gods and demons were starships, captains, and emperors. The Forbidden Gospel held most sacred by our Orders for generations, is nothing but an ancient logbook of a ship officer. Our religion was a fake, concieved by the Orders to force our people to live with the greatest of discipline and unity to survive in the Gardens. Our Gardens, just a massive cloud of gas that has become a prison. With this greatest revelation, my people will be destroyed, the Faithful that were called Kadeshi will be no more.”

“…and it is I who is to blame for…” G’yela sobbed, streams running from her eyes.

“…we have been the greatest of fools…”

Then a voice spoke from the darkness. The voice hissed.

“I applaud you Priestess,” said one voice of many. “You have turned the Wheel of Fate in its irrevocable path. You have served our purpose. The Kadeshi has served our purpose. Our intervention is complete.”

Seejuk looked around, but could not see who was speaking. “Who?…”

Zha remained stern, for she knew who it was. Turning to Seejuk, she answered, “Projection. This is one of the great powers of the Unbound, to be able to let their consciousness travel well beyond their bodies.” Zha turned to the voice. “Tiamat! Tiamat! What have you done? Is that what you desired?”

Another voice answered. “It’s you, the little Starfarer. So little you know, so little is the appreciation of your capabilities and birthright as a child of the Unbound. What we have desired, little child, is to set Hiigaran against Hiigaran.”

“For what, may I ask,” Zha shouted to the darkness. “What do you desire from the sight of death? From the sadness of the living?” Then Zha knelt to put her arms around the kneeling, groveling figure of G’yela.

A voice in the blacknes replied. “We live as the Unbound. We care no more for the Bound beings of flesh, bone, and blood. Our passion for life is long gone. If you have lived as one of us, our very being, our own immortality and seperation from life itself, is but a curse we bear forever. We live in a state of what you might say, little child, of eternal boredom. The universe becomes a theatre which we entertain ourselves. You are all mere players in the stage, for the amusement of the legion of voices of the Tiamat. “

“But the death of thousands and millions…” Seejuk interjected. “Are you not satisfied?”

A voice from the darkness hissed. “A Kushan! Like all Hiigarans, your presence reeks. Your sight is an abomination to all Tiamat.”

“Our presence reeks?” Seejuk asked, facing the darkness. “Doesn’t the Kadeshi reek too? Why do you hate us so much? If you hate us so much, why help the Kadeshi, who shares our common Hiigaran bond?”

A different voice answered, “All Hiigarans are an abomination to the eyes of the Tiamat. You are like all humans—a plague to the natural order. You expand throughout the galaxy, consume its resources till its dry, then move on to another fertile patch, then consume again. Every asteroid rock eaten, every organic molecule consumed, affects the destiny of life in the stars. All these, because some of the Unbound have broken the Directive and let your kind get a head start to the stars. Of all the galactic empires, the hypocrisy of the Hiigaran and the pretentious of the Taiidan reeks the greatest abomination to the sight of the Tiamat. Every ship lost, every life killed, returns the elements to the cosmos, and restores piece by piece, the universal balance that allows for recreation.”

“3,000 years ago, when the First Taiidan emperor defied the ban order of the Council to exterminate the Hiigaran, the Unbound were given the directive to assist the Exiles, knowing the one day, they will rise again and restore the balance against the Taiidan. The Bentusi gave the Exiles nothing but a token gift of a small fighter chassis intended for the self defense of the Exiles. It was not enough to ensure the survival of the Exiles, only enough for the cowardly Bentusi to maintain their earlier directive not to share not to pass weapons technology to the Bound. But we, the Tiamat, the Thousand Voices of the Wheel of Fate, saw that this token gift is not enough, and we also saw an opportunity to keep the conflict between the Taiidan and the Hiigaran alive. We gave the Exiles weapons, such as the one that can bend space, that will not only help them survive their journey, but would one day, be used against the Taiidan, kill their millions and bring an end to their Empire. These weapons while ensuring for the survival of the Kadeshi for eras, will ultimately lead to their downfall.”

“But even the Wheel of Fate is not infallible. We could not forsee the accident and the events that separated the Khar’toba from the Khar’nak and the Khar’desh, and that a separate race of Hiigaran would rise from it. That you Kushans would undertake the journey to your Homeworld first and bring about the end of their Empire.”

“The Taiidanis consider you as evil,” Seejuk said, ‘the Messengers from the Darkness, the Void.”

The voice from the darkness replied. “Indeed they do fear us. They feared what our intervention with the ancestors of the Kadeshi would bring in the generations to come. For generations after the first Kadeshi were born in the Great Nebula, the Taiidan sent fleets into the Great Nebula to exterminate all Kadeshi. But every one of the fleets failed, and every defeat heightened the fear about the Exiles that hide in the Nebula, waiting for the opportunity of revenge. Then the day came the Taiidan could not send any more fleets, for the fear has become so great. They know when the Exiles in the Great Nebula would leave their Gardens, is when the Empire will fall.”

“That prophecy—” Seejuk grasped. “That prophecy wasn’t really meant about the Kushans in Kharak—it was meant for the Kadeshi in the Gardens!”

“Now your dim mind has seen the light, Kushan,” said the voice.

“But the firestorm,. the holocaust in Kharak—” Seejuk’s voice staggered.

“All because the energy signature of a Hiigaran ship with a hyperspace jump would have been the sign that the Exiles—mainly from Kadesh—would have begun their Homeworld odyssey. Taiidans came to investigate the signature, but did not find the Kadesh exiles nor its fleet. Instead they chanced upon your world, a secret hidden by the Bentusi for generations from the Taiidan. So not to take chances, they burned it. If the Taiidans truly known about your planet earlier, they would have destroyed you without hesitation.”

“Hiraa, Hiraa—” Seejuk cried, clutching the black gemstone at the end of his necklace.

“I feel your rage, Kushan,” said the voice. “And it is a delight. The anger, the passion for another of your species, for another of the Bound so insignificant, so mortal. The part we most enjoy is the futility of such an anger against the Unbound. There can be no greater futility than anger against Fate itself.”

The voice turned its hate to the girl in pale robes and in her knees. “You and your Kadeshi race are ultimately an abomination in the eyes of the Tiamat. And you, especially Priestess, for you not only have the flesh of the Hiigaran, but the blood of the bastard Children of the Unbound. You, the Priestess G’yela, you are but the greatest abomination of them all.”

G’yela staggered in her knees, sobbing. Zha protectly wrapped her arms around G’yela, her robes wet from the tears of the once proud priestess.

“I cannot believe this,” Zha shouted to the voices. “You demons! I hate you, I hate you, I hate you…”

Another voice replied. “The little bastard speaks. She dared raise her voice against the Tiamat, who are gods. The road ahead of you, little one, your fate, it will be of great pain. We, the Tiamat, we will take satisfaction in watching you. Remember us in the depths of your pain, little child. It is in the Wheel of Fate that you too, like the Priestess and your kin as a Siren, will suffer.”

Zha frowned defiantly at the voice. “I am not scared of you. I am not scared of any of you. I don’t care how powerful you are.”

“You have no comprehension of your Power. We are the Wheel of Fate,” said the voice. “We are Tiamat. The forces of your irrevocable fates await you all.”

And the voices were no more. There was only Zha’s voice, her eyes wet in rage and sadness, screaming, “I hate you…I hate you…” Seejuk clutched Hiraa’s gemstone, the metallic edges biting painfully against his palm.

The face of the Great Mother in the giant icon looked sad and forbidding. G’yela struggled to creep up to Her feet.

“O Great Mother, why have you forsaken us?” G’yela cried, arms outstretched.

“She’s not your Goddess, G’yela,” Seejuk said. “You have the power to end this insanity.”

“No…no..no! I have no power and it is the end ,” G’yela shouted. “This is what it must come to be, my punishment…my death. Kushan and my friend Zha, leave this ship, for I am condemned and the ship is with it too. Save whatever you can save from the relics and the findings. The escape Swarmer awaits you.”

Zha looked around the hall, sensing something. “What have you done, G’yela? What have you done with this ship?”

G’yela answered as she stood in front of the Mother’s image with the last bits of pride she had left. “The Kushan fleet will target this ship as a bait. They will try to destroy it as any commander needs to destroy the enemy command center, try to destroy the siege cannon which is no longer on this ship, but is returned to its original owner, the ancient battleship Khar’kusha. If the Kushans failed to destroy this ship, then the Khar’nak will head on its automated course…”

“A course that will collide with the Kushan mothership.”

Seejuk’s face was one of shock. “You want to destroy everything….why?”

“To the last breath of my life, I will strike at the heart of my enemy, Kushan,” G’yela said. “I will destroy this ship along with it. Look at this ship, Kushan. This ship is the very center of our Faith, a Faith that is a lie. If I destroy it, I can save my people from discovering this lie or they can end this Faith for a new one. Either way, it ends right here.”

“The two of you, leave me now, save what you can, but leave me now,” G’yela shouted. She turned the comlinks intended to magnify the voice and be heard throughout the fleet.

Seejuk and Zha watched as G’yela began to sing, her voice amplified by the comlinks, joined by a choir of thousands across the Arkships.

“What in Sajuuk’s name is doing? She is completely out of her mind,” Seejuk said.

“No, she’s not,” Zha replied. “This is the Song of a Siren, the greatest power a Starfarer can ever have. She is channeling the senses of the Unbound, the ability to hear the melodies of the cosmic winds, into the song she sings. When the senses are carried in the song, and when it heard by others, they too can hear and feel the winds. She is sharing, transmitting, sending that power across her fleet, to all her pilots and crew. It is the song that empowers them, not just their spirit and courage, but heightens their senses, their reflexes, their awareness. With the song, they become one with the ship and the cosmos.”

“…and driving them crazy like drugged pilots at two hundred percent,” Seejuk added. “I get the picture. I have been hearing this strange music whenever the Kadeshi fleets are in battle. I thought it was some kind of inspirational battle music. Zha, I think she’s determined to end this the worst way. We must try to save as many of our findings as we can and escape in that Swarmer.” Seejuk pulled Zha’s arm and they headed to the room they were using in their studies.

G’yela has begun to sing, and the notes reverberated across Zha’s body. The music a Siren sings touches the very core of every Starfarer. For a moment, Zha wanted to stop and join in G’yela’s singing. But this was not her time yet. “Come on,” Seejuk urged. “We don’t have much time to waste.”

G’yela’s notes filled the hall. Across the space around Hiigara, huge formations of Swarmers await in linear formation, waiting for the signal. A pilot on a Martyr twiddled his joystick nervously. Then the song came and filled his comlink. He began to drift with the wonderfully hypnotic song. His heart was touched and he felt more alive in that second than he ever felt in his entire life. The world ahead of him, the First Gardens, was a beautiful exquisite glove. It was the Homeworld of the Mother, the Homeworld they have come to reclaim for her. He began to sing too, joining his voice to the multitude of hosts across the great Kadeshi fleet, singing for the glory of the Mother, for the glory of Kadesh. It was time, it was the second they have awaited. The probe bombs have begun moving ahead. For the greater glory, he turned on the boosters, all of them, the Swarmers, at the same moment like a wave. The formation began to move, ion trails behind the the great multitude of Swarmers, going faster and faster, then into full speed. Their voices joined in a mighty host, the skies streaked with the lines of the great legions of the Faithful in their Swarmers, sending their lives, hopes and dreams into the maw of their enemy.

Chapter 18 | Landing Page | Chapter 20

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