The Kadeshi Crusade
A Homeworld Fanfiction
Originally posted May 15, 2001
Chapter 2 – The Holocaust
More than 3000 years ago…
“Get those people in here, quickly!” Lt. Commander N’ua Helan shouted, as she grabbed a child fallen to her knees. They can’t do this, N’ua thought, oh gods of mercy, why are they doing this? Have they not enough of our blood? Since the defeat of the Empire, the Taiidans had unleashed a galaxy wide genocide against every living Hiigaran. The Galactic Council, revolted by the massacres, had issued a desist order and negotiated with the Taiidans to allow all Hiigarans to an exile instead. But on the eve of Exile, as thousands of ships of the once proud Hiigaran Navy prepare their departure, the treacherous Taiidans have decided to break the rule and unleashed a terrifying attack.
The once pristine blue skies of Hiigara burned red from horizon to horizon. The Firestorm will cleanse the planet, cleanse it all of the memory that was once Hiigara.
“Take this”, N’ua said, as she passed the child to a lieutenant. Tears streaked from her eyes as she ran to where she taught the child’s mother fell. The oxygen in the air has started to make her choke, but she peristed. Not there. She desperately looked around, and she saw a huddled choking figure in the ground, crying, screaming for her child.
She quickly grabbed and hugged the mother. “Don’t worry,” N’ua whispered. “Your daughter is safe with me. Just put your arm around my back”.
She ran, despite the weight of the mother whose legs have weakened from the lack of oxygen. In front of them lies an immense fleet of ships, all the last of the glory that was once Hiigara. Mobs of people are desperately trying to rush into the bay doors of many ships. On the ground and around her, many people have fallen, choking in their last breath.
Not like this! N’ua thought. We can’t die like animals!
She passed the mother to one of the helpers moving the refugees into the ships. She ran to help a few, but more were dying.
Then she tripped and fell on something soft. It was another child. This one is not breathing anymore.
She started to sob uncontrollably, hugging the dead child.
One by one, the ships began to leave in trails of flame into an uncertain future in the sky. N’ua looked up in the sky. For a brief moment, she wanted to die, wanted the last thing she would feel to be the soft soil of Hiigara.
“WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR!” Suddenly one of the helpers grabbed her. “Forget about him,” the helper shouted, “He’s gone. He’s at peace now with our god.”
The helper pulled her towards the ship. She watched the child lying in the ground, so peaceful from all the chaos happening around them. Ahead of her was the immense hulk of the Khar’nak, a Nova class carrier that was converted into a refugee transport in the last moment, a fate shared with many of the surviving ships of the Hiigaran navy. Every possible ship, both the civilian and the military, were drastically recruited.
Refugees filled the ship from beam to beam, but there are many more they had to refuse. They had to find another ship, or face certain death from the firestorm.
“Come on,” the helper shouted. He pulled her arm through the bay door and she fell into a dirty frightened human mass of crowded refugees. As she lifted herself from among them, she found herself looking at their blank stares, stares of people who have lost their home, their loved ones, and all hope. The bay doors closed as the last refugees were brought in.
If there was an abyss in the soul where one can find the last ounce of the will to live, N’ua pulled every one of it. She was a commander, and she needed to act like one now. Everyone of these people needs her to act like one now. She stood up to one of the ship’s crew. The crew man was shouting to everyone to lay low, as the ship is about to take off. “You too,” he shouted at her.
“Hmmm…” he exclaimed, as he saw the rank markings in her uniform. “Navy?” His face turned snide. “You people lost the war for us….maybe..maybe…I should throw you back outside…let you die…see what you have done…”
“Oh just shut the fuck up. Tell me where I can find the bridge,” she said. The crewman pointed to a direction. “Thank you,” she said.
“Lieutenant Commander N’ua Helan of the 57th Assault Frigate Wing at your service, SIR!” N’ua saluted to the captain in the bridge.
The captain looked pleased. “It’s good to have more military types here. We need to keep some semblance of control here and people who can run the ship. Get to the tactical console. We need to launch now!”
N’ua quickly ran to the console. The visual screens activated.
“Any experience in flying a big ship, Commander?” asked the captain. “What were you commanding anyway?”
“I used to command an assault Frigate. We call her the “Bushwacker”. We lost her in the war. I was one of the lucky ones, or maybe unlucky. They picked me up on a life pod.”
“Sir,” one of the bridge officers yelled. “The Khar’ban has taken off, sir. The Khar’osa is now powering her engines.”
“Oxygen level in Hiigara is now under 30%,” yelled another officer. “They’re burning out all the breathable air, sir.”
“Damn the Taiidani,” said the captain. “They will never stop until all of us are killed.” All over the vid screens they could see corpses by the thousands. From the direction in the way they fell, they were all running towards the ships at the moment of death. “Concentrate on your duties, officers! I know all this sickens you, but we got thousands of people still alive in this ship and its our responsibility to see them through. We are their only hope now.”
“Engage engines.” Suddenly there was a rumble, and then a sense of lift.
“The Khar’nak has lifted,” one of the officers said. “The Khar’toba is hailing us sir, they have begun engaging their engines. We have word now that the the Khar’osa has also lifted. We are heading to the rendezvous point ordered by Fleet Command, Sir.”
“Good,” said the captain. He turned to N’ua. “I forgot to mind my manners, Commander Helan, as I have not formally introduced myself properly. I am Captain Sim Haas of the transport Khar’nak. I have been captaining merchant ships in all my life, and I have no way of knowing how to activate this ship’s defensive systems. This used to be a Nova class carrier which I have no experience about since I was recruited to command this ship in the last minute. So I have a question to ask you. Do you have any idea how to get them running? If the Taiidanis have this chip in the shoulder with us, by god, we’re going to need some protection.”
“I will try,” N’ua said, quickly punching buttons and keys in the tactical panel. “I only know assault frigates, not carrier weapon systems. I cannot assume we have 100% working weapons systems sir, so we may need to use manual override. I would need volunteers to man the turrets, sir.”
“Do what you need to do, Commander,” said Haas. “You have my full authority, and you better do it with some urgent haste.”
“Right, sir”, N’ua agreed, busily working on the panel. She couldn’t help see the screens though. An angry deep red fire encased the sphere of Hiigara. Her first thoughts were the revulsion of the millions now dying in her homeworld damned by its conquerors. Her thoughts soon shifted to a more encompassing reality, something only few would hope to ever see. Right before her eyes, lay the end of her own civilization.
There was a deep pain curling her gut. Focus, focus. She needed to these systems working. On the monitors, she saw rows and rows of ships, the last surviving ships of both the Hiigaran mercantile and military navies, in military parade formation, maybe the last show of power Hiigara will ever have. The Khar’osa went ahead faster and has already gone into position. The Khar’nak would be next. The Khar’toba made up the rear.
The last few days has been the most harrowing he had experienced in his long life, and perhaps that of Kadesh for the last millennia. What was she thinking off, to challenge all the Elders like that—to confront the forces of the Blessed Mother Superior with no fear and every confidence of victory.
Cardinal Cull was Khung of his Bloodkiith, the Father Superior of his great clan, who in turn dominates the greatest of the 12 Arkships of Kadesh. Each Arkship represents the the twelve Apostles of the Great Mother. As leader of his clan, it was his duty to offer the most beautiful and most intelligent girls of his clan to serve in the Motherhood, and hope that one of them would be candidate to the position of Supreme Motherhood. Whoever puts his puppet in the chair of the Blessed Mother Superior gets to pull the strings.
G’yela was a frail girl, but of incredible beauty and intelligence. The Arkships have been overpopulated and overcrowded, and everyone is on a sustenance level of poverty. Her mother may have some regrets giving her up for the clan’s cause, but to be the mother of a Candidate was a social privelege of the first rank, and she turned from poverty into comfortable living overnight. As a Candidate herself, G’yela was groomed and educated with the best teachers of Faith and Techs in all of Kadesh. All that was a much better fate than being a slum rat in the forgotten decks of an Arkship.
It was only a few years since G’yela passed her Candidancy. Her rise in the ranks of the Motherhood was the most meteoric in the whole history of Kadesh, and his hopes rose that there was finally a good chance that one of his clan’s Candidates may finally ascend to the most powerful position in all of Kadesh. G’yela had this thing that people follow her. Not only was she serenely beautiful, but she had an aura around her that attracted every man, woman and child. When she talks people listen. Multitudes appeared when she lectured, and many claim she can perform miracles. They said, she was a messiah, a messenger, a prophet sent by the Great Mother herself. Some even say she was the reincarnation of N’ua herself.
Maybe G’yela rose too fast. The idea of having a Mother Superior by someone so young freaked many of the Elders who waited for that position for far too long. The Orders of the Priesthood and Sisterhood began throwing obstacles against her. She can sense being pushed aside by the Orders, and she deeply resented that.
But in all this time she harbored an unusual vision to send an exploratory force outside of the Gardens to explore the outside universe. She called it the Great Mother’s wishes, her calling. Her rivals took that as an opportunity to decry that G’yela was mentally unstable for any position higher than a mere Priestess.
So he pulled a few strings for her, and got her a small fleet, starting with a Needleship. Her rivals thought they had nothing to lose. They were eager to hear what was beyond the Gardens and could not wait for unlucky ships to be trapped in the Gardens. If G’yela fails and gets killed in the process, they have one less rival to contend with.
But G’yela did not fail. She had been studying every encounter of outside forces, from the Oppressors to the Unclean. She studied the Kadeshi defeats by the hands of the Unclean when they ventured into the Gardens and vowed not to repeat the same mistakes. She went back to the Gospel of N’ua, and how N’ua defeated the Oppressors. She learned the Great Mother’s lessons well. In her first foray, G’yela pulled a stunning feat that led to the capture of a Taiidan Cloaking and Gravwell Generator.
Dogma prohibits the use of heathen technology unless it is examined, cleansed and finally sanctioned as worthy by the Orders. But that did not stop G’yela to use every technological advantage she could find. While other expeditions outside of the Gardens failed, she succeeded. G’yela’s prestige with the Fleet grew with every successful raid. Because of her fame and prestige, no one questioned her for using forbidden technology. She quickly made many followers, and there are others who began to follow her example.
The Orders became restless, filled with anxious rumors and concern about G’yela, but lacking the will and the courage to act on them.
G’yela’s stories of worlds beyond the Garden became a dream for the impoverished, overcrowded people in the Arkships. For so long, the Orders had controlled, rationed and determined which parts of the Gardens were fit to harvest. The Gardens themselves are full of clouds rich in resource and organic material, but it was the Orders who strictly rationed their use, deeming the over exploitation of the Gardens as sinful. As a result, the people in the Arkships remain poor and impoverished, and it was through their poverty that the Orders gain greater control.
When she spoke about the reality of the Great Mother’s Homeworld, she ignited a fire of hope for the people discontent with the stagnant traditions they have lived under the Orders for so long. Yes, they can live on an entire planet, not just the ghettos of an Arkship. They can build farms far larger than the hydroponic farms in the Arkships. They can mine whole mountains for resources, not just the bits and pieces of asteroids and dust clouds. All without the Orders’ rationing and dogmatic control.
For the disenchanted young, G’yela had become a legend. The worst thing about this was that she knew it and played it like a fine tune. The legend grew in her own mind as well. The fire she started has gone out of control. This was the part of the equation he did not hope for. He wanted a puppet, not a megalomaniac. He wanted the power, and she’s in the position to take it all for herself instead. He depended on the power structure that’s been built in Kadesh for millennia and she is about to overturn that entire system. What he had worked for his entire life, she was about to achieve it in less than a quarter of the time.
Before G’yela’s forces reached the Mother Superior’s Arkship for the inevitable showdown, her numerous minions had broadcasted a speech extolling her heresy and asking the people and the Fleet to join her. Demonstrations and unrest had broken out in the Arkships, fanned by her supporters, demanding the resignation of the Mother Superior, and the turnover of that position to G’yela. Then, G’yela managed to take control of the Khar’nak and the most essential symbols of Kadesh faith. Nothing can stop her now.
Her fleet arrived at the space where the twelve Arkships parked. On her arrival, some Needleships defected to join her side. The other Needleships protecting the Mother Superior’s Arkship, dared not to fire at the rebuilt and sacred Khar’nak, G’yela’s new flagship.
G’yela and her armed party entered the Mother Superior’s throne chamber. The Elder lay slumped on her own throne, her body riddled a hundred times from the guns of her own guards. “G’yela, G’yela, G’yela!” the guards shouted her name, as they opened fire on all the other senior members of the Motherhood. The Sisters screamed and ran in panic, as each one was cut down in a blaze of fire. The Sentinel regiment that was the home guard of the arkship joined in the chant, and soon, the hundreds of thousands within the arkship. The chant spread to the other arkships, and then to the entire Fleet.
“G’yela is N’ua’s Chosen One,” all of Kadesh shouted. “Deliver us to the Promised Gardens, our Homeworld!”
G’yela raised her arms in triumph, saluting the crowd, waving them her blown kisses. She approached the throne of the Mother Superior, careful not to trip on the slippery blood on the floor. She ripped the head dress that was the symbol of the most highest rank of all Kadesh, ripped it off the bloody corpse that was once the Mother Superior. As the body slipped limply across the elevated steps in the throne, G’yela placed the mighty symbol in her own head, and the guards roared, shooting their guns at the ceiling.
“I am your Deliverer! I shall bring you to the Promised Gardens! I am the Messenger sent by the Great Mother!” G’yela shouted at the top of her voice.
G’yela decreed that the Motherhood, the Sisterhood and the Priesthood be abolished. All members of the Ruling Orders must declare loyalties to her or be executed. Within an hour of her decree, members of the Ruling Orders were dragged to the streets in front of the mobs. Those who refuse to swear loyalty to G’yela, were kicked and beaten to death. A soldier, taking pity on a whimpering priestess who was beaten to a pulp by a mob, shot her in the head.
To the loud approval of the crowd, the bleeding bodies of the dead Elders were displayed hanging in the center hall of the Motherhood’s Arkship.
The Cardinal knew what he had to do. He was responsible in creating this monster. He would be the one who must end it.
He can still hear the crowds shouting her name, like she was their prophesied savior. It sickened him to hear all that. If they only knew what she really was. The blade he held was thin, very sharp, and very cold.
Her attendants knew the prominent figure he was, and they let him rather stupidly, bowing their heads. Inside her private chambers, he can smell that thick pungent fragrance and it made him sick. In the soft light of burning embers and incense, he can sense a silhouette in the delicate curtains.
She came out with only a towel around her. “Oh it’s you, Teacher,” she said in a cute childish voice. “I am happy to see you. I miss you. I have not see you for a while. Ever seen I’ve entered the Motherhood, I don’t see enough of you.” She came to him, wrap her arms around his neck, placed her lips on his, and let the towel fall. Her figure with its soft mellow curves was one he had so often touched and enjoyed before. His breathing hastened and so did hers, and his loins hardened with heat, as he sensed her moistness. The blade fell to the ground, forgotten as his hands gripped her soft smooth body firmly, wantingly. He had desired her for a long time, desired her since the first time he saw her, desired her even now.
“Teacher, why don’t we enjoy being in the pool together once again,” she sweetly asked. He dropped his priestly robes as she led him into the pool of healing waters, where they wade in its soothing warmth. The glowing waters only made him want her even more, and his breathing become rough. It was the gravest of sin to inject one’s seed into a virgin consecrated for the Great Mother, but there was nothing about touching her most private parts for his and her pleasure and release his seed upon her skin.
Before he will do away with her, he wanted to feel and hug her soft but firm body against his for one more time.
“Teacher, are you proud of me? I am now the Mother Superior. I…I…did it for everyone, for you especially.”
“Yes, I am so so proud of you, G’yela, so so proud…”
He hugged her for what may be the last time. He smelled her feminine scent, her supple and firm body against his own, his hands reaching to caress the soft curves of her body. He never expected the sharp pain that ripped under lungs. He quickly clutched his hand on the wound, as his dear life blood stained the healing waters.
“I hope so, Teacher, I learned so much from you…,” Gyela said in a childish, teasing voice, then holding up a silvery blade in her hand.
The blue waters turned red as his life flame poured out like a fire on the water.
He was speechless in a moment, then screamed from the burning pain, screamed at the reality of dying, as G’yela plunged and plunged the blade in his body. The blood spurted out from every cut she made, and she plunged and plunged. She must have cut him al dozen times before his strong body became limp and purple as it floated in the stained, red waters.
As his body drifted, she opened up the drain and increased the flow of water. The expression frozen in the lifeless face was that of surprise, and she drank from a goblet.
“I guess my Teacher, you won’t be coming with us in our great, great journey…,” she said as she toasted him.
She stood up from the blood soaked waters and toweled herself dry. Then she placed on her white silk roads, white being the holy color of Kadesh and the Great Mother. Then she walked to balcony, where crowds have surrounded the palace complex and eagerly await her appearance. Above her in the skies above the palace, beyond the transparent ceilings of the majestic Arkship, lay the beige glowing clouds of the Gardens of Kadesh.
With a booming voice that belies her frail beauty, she called forth. “My Children. My Faithful…”
“The old Orders have been vanquished. Those that had betrayed the Will of the Great Mother had been punished. Those that hid the Truth had been destroyed. The Holy Warriors of Kadesh have triumphed once more. The Prophecies had called that we must rise, rise to regain the world, the Gardens where our Great Mother was born.”
“I have a dream, a vision that the Great Mother N’ua appeared to me. She wants us-the people of Kadesh, her faithful children-to return to the world where she came from. This is where she will meet us and shower us with her Blessings.”
“It is in the Prophecies. It is written in the Sacred Relic that is the Guidestone. The Guidestone left by the Great Mother as a legacy for all her children.”
“It is our Destiny.”
“But the Heathen, the Unworthy, the Unclean, and the Unholy stand against us. Their sinful legions stand between the Gardens and the Home of the Great Mother. They must be destroyed.”
“O Holy Warriors of Kadesh, be brave for us! O Holy Great Mother, grant us the courage and the will.”
“…Grant us the Courage and the Faith to begin our Holy Journey, our Crusade…”
Lt. Commander N’ua Helan was lucky to find some Navy veterans inside the Khar’nak who knows how to handle energy cannons. She quickly recruited them to the turrets. She wished that the Khar’nak’s fighter production line would work. The turrets can only do so much under a sustained strike craft attack. She also found some engineers, and without asking permission from the captain, she ordered the engineers to attempt to make the production line operational.
The ragtag remnants of the once proud Hiigaran military and civilian navies set their formation above Hiigara, awaiting orders from Fleet Command. Beneath them, Hiigara burned and burned. N’ua watched the empty stares in ashen faces of those who have lost their homes, their loved ones and all hope, before she continued to work.
Haas checked the new coordinates from Fleet Command. In the screens are faces of the other captains, including those of the Khar’osa and the Khar’toba. “This is literally suicide, if we are not dead already. We are being scattered, our fleet split into several convoys destined to take us in all the opposite directions of the galaxy, right to the farthest edge of the galaxy, almost beyond known space. We are supposed to set landfall on a few habitable planets over there. The orders are not to be questioned, but most executed with all resources in your disposal.”
Resources at my disposal, Haas thought. This is laughable. “We do not have a shred of resources, not enough food to feed, not enough weapons to defend, and not enough fuel to make this journey. We might as well crash this ship back into Hiigara and die in our homes instead being lost somewhere in a part of the galaxy no one knows. But…”
“…we still have our orders, and we will execute them until the last life energy in our fibers are spent…”
The captains nodded. Five ships are given similar destinations to the same sector of space—the Khar’osa, Khar’ban, Khar’nak, Khar’desh, and the Khar’toba. They will form one convoy. The five ships have begun to set a new separate formation, as the entire fleet have begun to split into separate groups heading for different destinations.
Admiral Riesstiu viewed the Hiigaran formations in the holoscreen of his flagship. “Sir, the Galactic Council has forbidden us to attack the Exiles,” one of his advisers objected.
“Who cares what they say. They do not have the teeth to enforce what they decreed. If you let the Exiles live, someday, they will return and claim revenge against Taiidan. Order all forces to attack. I want them completely wiped out, every last man, woman and child. Destroyed, you hear? Utterly and completely exterminate their vile presence from this universe.”
Riesstiu swung his fist downward, and the signal was passed on to the rest of the Taiidan armada.
The screens in the Khar’nak lit up and so did those in the rest of the fleet. “We got fighters coming in all vectors, headed our way…hyperspace signals, all over…” Taiidan frigates filled their screens heading for them.
“Battle stations!” The same words echoed throughout the Hiigaran fleet. “Commander Helan!” Haas shouted. “Are defense systems operational?” His fists tightened.
“Operational, Captain,” N’ua replied, “…but we only have manual systems.” Haas let out a sigh of relief, but only temporary. “That will be enough. All guns open fire in your own discretion.”
Energy and plasma cannons filled the space with tracers. A Taiidan fighter rolled, burning, then exploded. Behind it a Hiigaran fighter. But the Hiigaran itself was caught by tracers from another Taiidan, ending its life in a ball of fire.
This is the real end now, Haas thought. N’ua shed all thoughts of fear and doubt as she mounted the seat of an energy cannon turret. With the press of a trigger, another Taiidan fighter disintegrated in her reticles. If all of Hiigara are to die here, they will take as many as they can. A Taiidan fighter was cut in half, but it was too late as a Hiigaran freighter blew in a large ball of plasma. The sight of the freighter’s death sickened her, and just as she reeled from it, another Hiigaran ship exploded. She could not tell who it was.
The screens in Riesstiu’s flagship flickered, and in them appeared the false holographic faces of the Galactic Council, members from the Koraii, the the Bentusi, the Baal, and other Unbound races. The faces bore an expression of dissatisfaction.
“Admiral Riesstiu of the great Taiidani. You have violated our agreement to let the Hiigarans be. If you do not desist, the blood you spilled will not only be on your hands, but on the fate of the Taiidani forever.”
Riesstiu gave an innocent reckless smile, like a spoiled child caught by his parents.
“Oh my mistake…. my apologies, your High Council. But…but…if you do not take care of the disease now, it may lay dormant for a while, but it will come back to infect the rest of the body. If it comes back to haunt the Taiidani, will I hold the members of the Council responsible? I certainly know about the agreement, but let’s say,…”
“that I changed my mind?”
“You talk to the Council with an insolent voice, Riesstiu. Are you suggesting you can challenge the will of the Council?”
“Why should I follow the will of people who hide their faces in a mask like cowards?” Riesstiu turned his back on the screens and addressed his assistant. “Shut it off, these old guys are beginning to bother me.”
A Hiigaran frigate broke in half, and bodies fell from it before they exploded in the vacuum. For a moment, N’ua saw her ship in that frigate, her precious command long lost in this war. The turret swung around, and the energy cannons pumped their cargo into the belly of a luckless Taiidani corvette, sending it spiraling before it exploded. Heavy sweat broke out in N’ua’s brow, her mind deeply mesmerized in sheer hate, as she fired and fired, oh please, merciful gods of Hiigara, let me kill more of them before you take me into your arms.
“Fire the fucking engines,” shouted Haas, with his comm opened to the other ships. “If we stay here and fight, and we don’t get out here now, we are all fucking toast.”
There was a loud boom, as the engines turned on the boost. The sudden acceleration snapped N’ua against her chair, knocking off her aim. A wing of Taiidani corvettes raked the back of the Khar’nak, and there were shouts and screams within. The corvettes began to ring the Khar’nak in a circle of death, peppering its hide with devastating fire. The turrets fired back, killing two of the corvettes, but more corvettes and some fightes joined in, smelling the kill. Fire appeared in several decks of the Khar’nak, and mothers held their children tightly to protect them.
She fired and fired, as crewmen tried to stop the fires. She took out one corvette, but something else took down the other. A wing of fighters came down sweeping, its beams cutting the remaining corvettes. The Taiidani interceptors quickly turned tail. Who are the new fighters, N’ua wondered. She has not seen them before, but she has heard of them. Bentusi fighters from the Galactic Council, finally, they have come to help us. Gods of Hiigara, thank you for answering our prayers.
The Bentusi fighters escorted them for a short distance, before boosting to engage Taiidan ships in an attempt to save another Hiigaran freighter.
“Everyone brace!” Haas ordered. His voice was heard throughout the speakers in the ship. “Prepare for hyperspace jump!”
The blue gates appeared, and they swallowed the entire length of Khar’nak. The ship reappeared again. This space is so peaceful compared to the one they left. They are so alone now, except for the multitude of stars. A second, then third, then a fourth gate appeared, and three other Hiigaran transports appeared.
They were the Khar’osa, the Khar’desh, and the Khar’toba.
“What happened to the Khar’ban?” Haas asked to the captain of the Khar’osa.
“It didn’t make it. Four thousand souls lost,” came the reply.