The Kadeshi Crusade
A Homeworld Fanfiction
Originally posted May 15, 2001
Chapter 21 – The Needleship
It was the eve of Unification. There were still so many social issues to be worked out, but the Kadeshi and the Kushans have agreed in principle that all issues will be resolved without military force. The Kadeshi wanted land to settle on Hiigara, but the Kiithid are unwilling to share the real estate. It was then the Galactic Council intervened. Seeing the potential for a long term political crisis, the Council decreed that a percentage of the Homeworld must be shared to the Kadeshi. The Somtaaw argued that if Hiigara is to be shared with the Kadeshi, the Somtaaw should have mining rights to the Gardens. The Kadeshi diehards were inflamed by the proposal, but moderates argued that if the Somtaaw scheme was accepted, a percentage of the mining profits and resources would go to the Kadeshi welfare fund. They still continue to argue.
The vastly underpopulated Kiithids saw an opportunity to recruit members of the disenfranchised Kadeshi population into their ranks. Purists denounced the move, claiming it would taint the Kharakian bloodline. Pragmatists saw, that after successive wars, the Kharakian bloodline threatens to be an endangered species. They saw an opportunity with the compatible Hiigaran bloodline of the Kadeshi. Most of the pragmatists were from the smaller Kiithid, which desperately needed to swell their ranks to improve their political stature, military and economic power. A scheme was hatched by the supposedly Liirhra vassal Hraal Kithid to bring promising Kadeshi engineers to their ranks, a proposal the Liirhra saw the potential and objected. For some of the Kiithid, they saw an opportunity in the large Kadeshi underclass as a source of cheap labor for the industries growing in Hiigara all over and the factory ships that began to teem in space. For the ever opportunistic Somtaaw, the Kadeshi seemed an excellent human resource for cheap mining labor.
The 12 Arkships orbit around Hiigara like 12 small moons. After the Ceasefire, riots in the Arkships broke out, and mobs desecrated the temples. As G’yela had predicted, the Orders were no more. Cardinal M’jor vanquished the religious orders and his own title. He led a power grabbing coup with the more moderate factions of the Kadeshi Holy Fleet, bringing the moderate faction into power. Instead of the religious symbols of the Orders, M’jor lifted the now powerful image of the old Hiigaran Imperial Banner, images of whom were preserved in the Hiigaran derelict warships. Along with the flag, the M’jor faction, which had completely seized the Kadeshi government apparatus, took upon themselves to redress their uniforms into the old Imperial Hiigaran uniforms once worn by their Great Mother.
The Taiidani Republicans were offended by the Imperial flag, claiming that long ago, it was the ancient atrocities perpetuated by the Hiigaran Emperor against the Taiidani kingdoms. It was the atrocities led to the Taiidani rebellion that destroyed the Hiigaran Empire and led to deadly retribution. The Taiidani argued that the Kadeshi—and as a warning to the Kushan Hiigarans as well—that no dreams of empire will be entertained or accommodated. Government must be council based or it must be a democracy, the model of government the Taiidani had been advocating. Impossible, the collective voices of the Kiith-sa said, we do not let the mob rule. The Taiidani countered, it is better that the people rule instead of tyrants. Liberals among the Kushan sided with the Taiidani, denouncing the old Kiithid system, their political hegemonies, and their economic monopolies, wrote a constitution for a new democratic government for Hiigara.
The Daiamid denounced the radicals and their Constitution as “insane”, but the radicals had quick support among the Kadeshi masses, the small weak Kiithid, and the Taiidani intellectuals who joined their ranks. The radicals were all adamant in the pursuit of the UDRA—United Democratic Republic of Hiigara—as well as workers and minority Kiith rights in the Manaani Enterprises, Kaalel Software, and the Liirhra Shipyards. They declared the abolition of the Kiithid system and the Daiamid, and there were injuries from the protests and riots. The Daiamid strained the Hiigaran-Taiidani Alliance by urging the Taiidani not to interfere with “internal matters”. The Republican government countered that the Taiidani intellectuals in Hiigara were there in their own accord and by invitation of the Hiigaran radical democracy movement.
Some of the disenfranchised among the Kadeshi wanted to return to the Gardens and go back to the old ways of life. They formed an organization with the task of getting one of the Arkships and return it to the Gardens. The M’jor faction denounced the new group, saying that their fate is with Hiigara now and to building a new progressive society. But the faction will have a new concern as to who will lead the “new progressive society” M’jor touted, as the infectious ideas of democracy from the Taiidani has filtered to the Kadeshi under classes, starting a new radical movement.
G’yela? Wanted by all Authorities, including Taiidan and Hiigaran, they never found her, nor her body was ever recovered from the wreck of the Khar’nak. She had faded into an urban legend, and popularity cults grew around her. There was sightings that she was still alive, but the authorities dismissed them as popular hysteria surrounding a legend. That a young frail girl was able to lead a vast fleet that scarred half the galaxy and nearly toppled the best military forces gripped the imagination of even the Hiigaran and Taiidani youth, who saw in her, the rebellion of the young against the establishment. Her disappearance, the reported sightings, add to an atmosphere of myth and cult around the figure of G’yela, who remains disturbingly popular among the Kadeshi as well.
Equally contentious were the strange songs and hymns G’yela sung during the Crusade to stir up her troops. Recorded by Kadeshi soldiers during the war, they were preserved for safe keeping. But Hiigaran and Taiidan pilots who were exposed to the songs during the battle became mesmerized by it. The recordings of G’yela’s songs became a hot item in the black market, and they spread to the Hiigaran and Taiidani youth enamored by her cult. It was said that who ever heard her songs could hear the songs of the star themselves. Authorities remain distressed about the popularity of this war criminal, but the ban on the recordings only added to the stature and legend of G’yela.
It did not take long for the Turanic Raiders to see where the new winds were blowing. The Raiders as mercenaries, never had a long standing loyalty to any benefactor, even the Imperialists. As the Imperialists grew weaker, they shifted from an asset to a burden for the Raiders. Increased technological advances on part of the Kushans and Taiidanis have made piracy more difficult. As their fleets grow larger, their societies become more structured and sophisticated, and began to require new economic resources that piracy and mercenary activities cannot sufficiently provide. The Turanics needed new sources of incomes, new friends, and perhaps, new employers.
The first Turanic-Hiigaran cooperation treaty was signed during the Crusade, and the other Turanic houses followed suit. The treaties allowed safe passage of Hiigaran ships in Turanic space; mining of resources in Turanic sectors with percentage of the proceeds going to the Turanic House; purchase of surplus and obsolete Hiigaran warships; escort protection of Hiigaran trade, exploration and mining vessels at an agreed fee. The treaties would have a double edge effect on it, as elements of the new Hiigaran underworld would also take the opportunity to hire Turanic mercenaries for their dirty deeds. Some of these deeds, it turned out, included harassment against the new found democracy and worker union movements. The Turanic mercenaries welcomed their new employers as eagerly as they did with the last Taiidani Emperor, and did their dirty work just as well. All that matters was that they got paid. * * *
It was days after the Crusade Ceasefire, and the signing of a new Turanic-Hiigaran agreement. As part of a cultural sharing program, her Highness, the Princess Segura Zha of the feudal Inner House of Khor was asked to sing the Turanic ceremonial songs to honor the dead of the last war and send their souls to the heavenly warrior kingdom. The thick, glittering ceremonial robes and the ungainly head dress were a burden to her small petit body, and she struggled not to trip on the ends of the robes. She was tired, but she was stirred from the sight of the symbolic gravestones of the pilots who died, and among them, pilots from her carrier, the Mule. No effort will be spared to honor them.
The high notes of her voice filled the hall, her hands and gestures following a rhythmic graceful dance. Ceremonial dignitaries from both sides were lined behind her back, but she was the only one who can boast of conveniently having the bloodline of an Inner House. It was precisely that reason why she was requested—perhaps obligated—to perform the ceremony.
As she sang she saw a familiar face. He was in civilian clothes, all bandaged up, in a crutch. Despite his injuries, he kept his stance. Their eyes met, and he gave a thumbs up. Zha smiled as she continued her high note chant and the slow ceremonial rhythmic dance.
After the song, despite the robes that seemed to overwhelm her body, Zha ran to the stranger. She jumped and hugged him, and the combined weight of her robes against his weak injured legs, sent both of them crashing embarrassingly to the floor.
“I hope you’re not singing my funeral, Zha. This old husk is not ready to go yet,” he said. “I think you just broke the rest of my bones.”
“Seejuk!” she cried. “Thought you were dead!” She helped Seejuk to a chair and they both sat together.
“I got a promise to keep, remember?” Seejuk replied. “Not going to turn my back on a pretty lady, ha! I’m as tough as that old derelict ship.”
“And G’yela?” Zha asked.
“They never found her or her body. Do you think she’s alive?” Seejuk answered.
“I can still feel her. She’s still alive somewhere,” Zha said. “What will happen to the Khar’nak?”
Seejuk explained. “Scientists are examining the derelict, but the hardline Kadeshi are demanding the immediate return of all sacred artifacts. But the Academy wanted to study the relics more, as it can shed light to the origins of races, and perhaps even find something of decisive value to our futures. The M’jor regime leading the Kadeshi now seemed moderate and pragmatic. After the discovery of the true nature of their goddess Mother, they’re more opened minded about the significance of the artifacts and have as much to gain from the study of these things with the scientists. They will agree to a scientific cooperation.”
“Do you know I’m forced to resign from Fleet Intelligence and Black Star now?” Seejuk revealed. “They cited disobedience in regulations despite showing outstanding courage in crisis. But don’t worry, the pay and the benefits sucked anyway. I got a new employer now.”
“Who?” Zha asked.
“The Academy of Archeological Research—a joint venture between the S’jet and Kaalel Kithids—hired me to continue the work for deciphering and studying the artifacts. They thought they may have some leads to new archeological discoveries,” Seejuk said.
“This is good,” Zha said.
“Actually, Zha, its more like a “we”. We got a new employer now. The AAR wants to hire you too. They need a well protected vessel that they can use a mobile base for research on the outlying Frontiers. “
“Adventure and treasure hunting,” Zha sounded with excitement. “Fees good? When can we sign up?”
“As soon as possible I guess,” Seejuk said.
“But before we go, Seejuk, I got a business problem that requires the assistance of you, my Business Adviser, can help resolve.”
“Shoot,” said Seejuk.
Zha explained. “The Somtaaw has approached me for mining and travel rights in the Khor sector, my father’s House sector. They wanted escort rights, a base of operations, and I get a percentage. But there is something about them I don’t trust, and I’m not good with contracts. I want them to provide me an outpost, since I don’t have one.”
“Sounds like its up my category,” Seejuk smiled. “I want to give the Somtaaw a hard time on the bargaining table. They’re business animals—the Beast in the business world. If you’re not careful, they will ‘infect’ you and drain you dry. Let me read the contract and we will make necessary adjustments to slay this Beast.” * * *
3,000 years ago…
N’ahil Henan watched his aging mother, who stared intently into the bright pinkish and yellowish glowing clouds of the Nebula. Her body has become weak and feeble, but her spirit and her eyes remained as strong and determined as ever.
For a generation, his mother had fought back the Taiidani incursions in the Nebula intend on stamping them out. With resourceful management, she brought back the Exiles from the brink of extermination to the verge of building a new modern fleet. They judiciously exploited the resources of the Nebula, captured Taiidani ships and resourcers, recycled the scrap from destroyed ships. They have already begun the construction of a new home, a larger ship to move the survivors and children of the Khar’nak and Kha’desh. The carrier Kha’desh itself has suffered the scars of a hundred battles, and they are finishing a grand worthy replacement for the old heroic warship that will protect them from more Taiidani incursions. Maybe one day, in fulfillment of his aging mother’s dream, the new warships will be the main weapon and sword that will lead a new race of Hiigarans to return to Hiigara and bring down the Taiidani regime.
N’ahil watched the massive scaffolds,. partly obscured by the mists of the Nebula. He could see the silhouette of the new ship. Day by day, he watched every section of the ship put together, and he marveled about its ingenious construction. Now the new ship was ready to launch.
“Are you proud, Mother?” N’ahil asked.
N’ua replied. “Yes son, I’m very proud.” She had tears in her eyes.
A new generation of young officers joined them. Born aboard the ships, they never set foot on Hiigara or any planet at all. N’ua wondered and worried if this new generation would have the same fervent desire to retake their Homeworld as her aging generation would.
In deep respect for her, this new generation also called her ‘Mother’. It was as if the entire new generation were like her own offspring and family. She felt proud and warmed in her heart that they have all grown to be such fine, heroic beings. She felt the light of hope.
The officers toasted the launch of this new ship. “What do you think, Mother?” asked one of the officers. “Isn’t she beautiful?”
N’ua watched the masterpiece of a ship. The main sections were cylindrical and circular, like a cap, followed by a very long stalk.
“She looks like a giant needle,” said another of the young officers.
“Attention, attention please,” N’ahil said, ringing a glass. “We will make a toast to my mother, our mother, for it wasn’t for her, this great day would not be possible.”
“Yay..yay…” the audience shouted and clapped. N’ua raised her hand to acknowledge their cheers.
N’ahil made a new announcement. “The new Khar’desh is about to launch now!” He then walked to his mother’s side.
They watched as the scaffolds one by one disengaged from the huge needlelike ship. When the last scaffold was disengaged, there was an uproar and much clapping.
“The Khar’desh is now on her own power,” N’ahil announced and the roar of the clapping increased. N’ua ignored him, her attention remain riveted on the giant ship, as it began its first powered maneuvers. She remained that way, transfixed on the ship, as the party went on.
When the party was all over, N’ua was still there in the window, watching the first ever giant Needleship continuing her first trials.
“Mother, it’s late already,” N’ahil said. “It’s time to go home now, time to get some rest.”
N’ua smiled at him, then turned to watch the Needleship as it began to make its first journey. “Yes, time to go home,” she said.
* * * THE END * * *