The Kadeshi Crusade
A Homeworld Fanfiction
Originally posted May 15, 2001
Chapter 7 – The Proposal
“What?…” Zha’s face was livd and turning red. She started to prance around the bridge deck, hunting for an explanation.
“Are you?…are you, a spy?…” Zha started to stutter with rage.
“To be exact to the term, no. Sooner or later, I did intend to tell you, but err, the busy events in the last few weeks have totally occupied my mind,” Seejuk replied. “I am, not by the exact definition, a spy. I have never compromised you and the security of your ship. I was an engineer and scientist working with the Black Star wing of Hiigaran Intelligence. Our mission was to salvage Beast technology in the Outer Rim. Our covert operations are not formally approved by the Daiamid, so we are working under great risk, but the urgency and importance of the task means we cannot for the politics.”
“You know what?” Zha uttered, her arms crossed and mouth in a pout. “For a Kushan you spin a lot! I wonder what you have betrayed about Raider technology to your Black Star group.”
“Believe me, Zha, not much. It’s not really an insult but Black Star kind of view you guys as low tech. Except for that holographic devices you have, they don’t see anything much of value from you.”
“What! ” Zha shouted. “Our fighters can beat your crappy Hiigaran sissy stuff! There are a lot of interesting technology you people want to spy from me! Hmmph!”
“Actually, we’re much more interested on Beast technology, as well as technology from ancient races, which is proving to be quite advanced,” Seejuk explained. “There are signs indeed that the Galaxy were once ruled by powerful alien races of advanced technology that may be superior to ours.”
“Zha! Believe me when I tell you this. When your battered carrier came limping into our base one day, it was never part of the original plan. I saw an opportunity and the Black Star saw it too. It was our engineers and resources that help put you and your ship back together again. I could not do it alone without them.”
“…and I thought you did it because somehow I thought you have a heart…” Zha sadly countered. “…and a bit of selfish greed as well. I thought we’re trusted business partners. With your confession, you’ve shown you lied to me, you disappoint me…”
“Now, that was not completely untrue…” Seejuk said. “Look, I need to retire someday. Many of the things we have discovered and lying around in the ship can provide great breakthroughs in future technology. Especially mastering that Beast nanotech technology. I don’t have to lecture you the potential it has for computer and ship building technology.”
“Believe me when I say I am truly sorry, Zha,” Seejuk continued. “I have grown fond of you, this ship and its crew and our adventures together. Maybe I should have told, but I do want to tell you that I do trust you with my life and that of my engineers.”
“…those engineers, they’re Black Star too?” Zha asked. Seejuk nodded. “They won’t have the training, the tools and the resource if they’re not. Like I said, we would never sabotage or compromise you and this ship. In fact, we put this ship together and enhanced it to make it the most powerful carrier in the entire Turanic fleet. The Mule is probably more powerful than the Kushan Imperator, Taiidan Saarkin-Cho, and the Somtaaw Shaman class carrier!”
“Don’t flatter yourself, Seejuk,” Zha curtly replied. “While you built my carrier up, you made me into an unwitting puppet. That makes me mad!”
“You know, Zha,” Seejuk said, “you are not completely honest with me either. Everyone of us has our own little secret, even you included.”
“What do you mean, Seejuk,” she replied.
“Something you have not told me,” Seejuk said. “Your senses of the stars. What you Turanics call for “Those Who can Find the Stars”, what your own legends call the Starfarers, an ancient people that once spanned and navigated the galaxy with an uncanny intuition and sensory perception. They help guide the ancestors of the Turans and other races to the edge of the Galaxy and finally intermingled with them. You don’t think I would find out, don’t you? I never believed the legend, but every legend started from a seed of truth, and I have seen you demonstrate an uncanny ability to perceive and navigate the deep stellar spaces.”
Zha exhaled with resignation. “But that’s none of your business, Seejuk!”
“Zha! It is our business when it helps save our lives! It is our business when because of the urge from these same senses, you boldly go out alone into a Kadeshi armada looking for the source.”
The communications officer rudely interrupted them with a message from the escorting Kushan task force.
“Commander Seejuk Liifra, this is Fleet Commander Admiral Gaas Paktu of the task force. Permission to come onboard the Lord class carrier.” The message was polite and friendly. “When I was a young crewman in the Mothership, we encountered the Rancor, the Lord Class carrier that attacked the Mothership. Since then I’m kind of interested to see how the Lord ships looked from the inside. Without imposing on you, I truly wish to satisfy my curiosity.”
“I would like to ask you to come on board, but the final approval has to come from the Princess,” Seejuk replied, looking at Zha. Zha waved her hand. “The Princess gives her approval,” said Seejuk to Gaas, “but only with the condition that you reciprocate with a guided tour on your base.” The last condition was something Seejuk made up.
“Very well,” the Fleet Commander smiled. “I will be meeting you soon.”
Moments later, Seejuk and Zha waited in the carrier bay for the Fleet Commander’s shuttle to dock. Seejuk, trim in his uniform, bent over to Zha, who was wearing a greasy engineers uniform with ragged shorts. “Where the hell are your princess robes?” Seejuk said. “Don’t tell me you’re greeting a Kushan Admiral looking like this.”
“What can you expect?” Zha replied. “I don’t have time to dress up and I left my robes with some children to use as a blanket.”
“So I noticed,” Seejuk said as the shuttle finished docking and opened its doors.
“Admiral,” Seejuk saluted. The Admiral saluted back.
“This is a great pleasure and honor to come aboard this ship,” Admiral Gaas said. “As I said before I had a fascination how the Rancor would look like from the inside. I also heard stories that this carrier and this task force had defeated the Kadeshi in two occasions. That is quite an achievement given that many other forces have not fared as well. That’s quite a collection of captured Multbeams out there and I see you got a few captured Swarmers in here too. I would like to see them closely if you don’t mind when I tour this ship. But first I must have the great honor of meeting the Turanic Princess, and I like to let you know we are in the verge of a historic breakthrough in relations between Hiigara and Turan.”
“She’s right here next to me, Sir,” Seejuk said, pointing to his protégé on the side. Zha made a friendly wave to the Admiral.
“Oh oh, my dear gods of Kharak. My apologies, Princess, I am most honored to meet you,” Gaas said, taken aback by the appearance of dirty teenage imp. He started sniffing, frowned slightly from the slightly offensive odours, but kept his graceful politeness in front of Zha, as he bowed to kiss her hand. Seejuk rolled his eyes, nervous from the embarrassment. “We have just been a terrible battle and we are not adequately prepared for your visit, Admiral.”
Not much of a problem. I like people who dirtied themselves in the flames of battle,” Gaas said. He turned his next address to Zha. “My dear Princess, ever since the deep space probes detected and recorded your victories against the Kadeshi, your fame has gotten far and wide, and most especially among your own peoples, who have suffered humiliating defeats against the Kadeshi. They are in need of a hero, or I should say, a heroine, and it is no small event for them that an Inner Lord such as you are able to defeat the Kadeshi in two occasions. “
“Thank you Admiral. My victories did no come without some good help from your own intelligence officer here,” Zha said, with a smirk directed to Seejuk. “However, he did withhold some important information from me, and that must not go unpunished according to my rules.” “What?—-” Seejuk exclaimed, but was badly interrupted as he crouched in deep pain as Zha suddenly smashed her knee into his crotch. “Just remember I still have my other knee if you’re not nice to me in the future.”
“With the sentencing and punishment now properly applied, the officer will now kindly tour the gracious Admiral around the ship. As you know, we have no secrets here, and as there are matters I must attend to immediately, I will meet you Admiral later in my bridge. Excuse me Admiral and I look forward to seeing you later.” Holding a fixed smile, Zha huffed and puffed her way back to the bridge.
* * *
The Mule and her frigates lay in a wary orbit around the Allied base, with the Kushan fleet in friendly but suspicious watch. The Admiral obviously enjoyed his tour of the Lord class carrier and a chance to finally meet the dreaded Thief and Brigand corvettes up close. He welcomed the opportunity to study the Swarmers and Multbeamers closely. Finally the Admiral got to see the Mule made a trial demonstration of her main ion beam cannon. Gaas admitted to being a proponent of the Assault Carrier class, a carrier that can not only deliver fighters but has enough firepower to stand up against enemy capital ships and not just for strike craft defense. The Mule was very much a materialization of the concepts he had in mind.
Then the fun part. With an officer in tow, Zha got her tour of the Allied base. The best part was the opportunity to see so many different fighters, both Kushan and Taiidan, For a ship groupie like Zha, she was close to heaven.
She saw lines of spanking new Acolyte fighters with the latest upgrades. She had seen Acolytes broken up, but not clean and new. She jumped and down at the very sight of the legendary Super Acolytes parked in the docking bay. She saw a Hive Frigate on repairs and got a little too close looking at a drone Swarmer. What is that? A Mimic with some Somtaaaw Recon scouts. The guide did mention that mimics were often used for covert reconnaissance. She went ooh and aah again at the sight of the latest Taiidan fighter developments. The latest Taiidan Interceptor, the Mark II Fireblade, featured the nose rail gun moved to the empty wing to balance the asymmetrically laid lateral rail gun on the other wing. This balanced the fighter’s handling at the expense of roll rate, making the fighter lovely for beginners to handle but a curse for veterans looking for additional maneuverability. The nose beak featured a new enclosure to fire a few missiles. The cumulative upgrades made the fighter a better match against large ships. However it does nothing to improve its dogfighting capability. The Taiidans also featured a new Sharpeye scout with an enhanced probing range based on the Fiirkan/Raptor chassis. Also featured was the new Kushan Blade Mk 6 Interceptor, which basically remains like the Mk 5 with modest performance improvements and a missile pack enhancement.
Thinking back at her Bandit interceptors, and the obsolete Taiidan fighters the Mule was licensed to make, they felt old and outdated compared to the sleek state of the art fighters that lay in front of her. The thought made her even more determined to customize her own fighters and she hoped she didn’t kick Seejuk too hard the last time.
Where was the guy by the way, she thought to herself.
Seejuk himself was in the Admiral’s office, where there were engaged on some confidential conversation.
“We had suspicions that the Kadeshi were exploring the spaces outside of the Great Nebula but never had any clear evidence,” the Admiral said. “There were several attacks against fleets and convoys around here and here,” Admiral Gaas said as he displayed a holographic three dimensional map of the area near the Great Nebula. “However, many in the Fleet Intelligence dismissed the idea and blamed the attacks on Turanic Raiders instead. They believed that the Kadeshi were finished in the last Homeworld war.”
“Well it’s about time, they should see my data,” Seejuk said.
“I concur,” Gaas Paktu said. “I am very grateful for the data you collected on the Kadeshi. You have done well and the data’s value is immeasurable. The data you have brought shown that the Kadeshi has evolved a well rounded fleet capable of undertaking a major interstellar campaign. Of particular interest are the ships you displayed here…”
The first model was an Arkship. “I might have to go with your suspicions”, said Gaas. The Kadeshi has been hiding the bulk of their population in those ships. If these ships are leaving the Nebula, the whole Kadeshi race is leaving with them. But where? I dread to think the thought that it would be Hiigara where this armada is heading. After the Beast War, Hiigara cannot afford another war that will strain her economic and meager population resources even further.”
Gaas Paktu made a second holographic model appear. “This was is even more interesting. That huge Needleship has a massive foreign structure in its stalk, and our analysis has confirmed with your studies once again. That structure is very similar to the remnant ship structure found in the ancient city of Khar-toba. This could be the ancient Hiigaran transport ship we have detected in the Great Nebula with the Mothership during the Homeworld Wars but never found. So why is the Kadeshi moving this? I do not know. But take a look at another structure here…”
Gaas pointed to a tube like structure projecting from the foreign ship structure and ending with an output port in the very end of the Needleship’s “umbrella”. “You know what that is?”
“No,” Seejuk said.
“Gods of Kharak help us if this thing is true and functional. This is something I have only recently seen with the Somtaaw Kuun-Laan and recently fitted on the Faal-Corum as well. It’s a derelict siege cannon.”
“So how the gods the Kadeshi are able to gain that technology?” Seejuk asked.
“Good question. But then, how are they able to gain hyperspace inhibitors, developed the micro Ion beam cannon ahead of us and the Taiidan? How are they able to develop the Swarmer chassis which none of our metallurgical and structural fighter technology are still able to fully match in providing its combination of lightness and strength? So many questions are unanswered.”
“After the attack against the Turanic Merak Outpost, our Kadeshi friends made a full blunt assault against a major stronghold of the Taiidan Imperalist forces, backed by Turanic task forces looking for some revenge against the onslaught at Merak. Guess what was the outcome?”
“When our deep space recons came to the area, guess what we found,” Gaas said, pointing to a display with with plenty of ship wreckage, most of them recognizably Taiidan and Turanic. “In one decisive battle, the Kadeshi has wiped out the backbone of the Imperalist and Turanic fleet. Who in Kharak’s sands is leading this armada? That is why the news that you, your carrier and your princess is able to survive and score victories against their peripheral forces is so remarkable, and has made both of you instant celebrities.”
“Seejuk, if we accept your conclusion that this Kadeshi armada is headed for Hiigara, we will be in a big heap of trouble. That is why we have this favor to ask from you. Our populations is low after the Homeworld journey. The Daiamid has executed a program that will mass produce millions of test babies formed from frozen DNA preserved and carried with the Mothership, as well as sperm and ova donations from among the living. That program will produce an enormous amount of children in the next few years, but there is nothing we can use here to stop the Kadeshi.”
Admiral Gaas Paktu proudly showed the new model.
“A new carrier class. The first of its kind, the Kushan assault carrier, the Baal-Hasim. The best engineers of Kiith Liirhra designed the ship as a political counter against the Somtaaw Shaman carrier class. I ‘m proud of this ship as it embodies my philosophical beliefs of an Assault Carrier. Running along its length, here and here, are two Ion beam cannons complemented by mini ion cannon turrets for strike craft defense. The small cannons combined with the main ones will toast any enemy destroyer or cruiser that comes into range of such ship. It is supported by the latest innovations such as Support Module technology and Crystal Resource processing. ” “I am looking for the best, and that is why I am asking you to be the captain of this new carrier. We do not have a large reservoir of experienced resourceful officers. Please consider this.”