Soul of the Progenitors
A Homeworld Fanfiction
Originally posted August 29, 2004 – 5:41AM
18 years have passed since Radal Somtaaw returned to the Homeworld. During the years came a time of turmoil, the End Times, the times when the Prophecies were fulfilled. The Vaygr threatened to destroy Hiigara, and all of Hiigara stood at the brink of the End.
And yet, we all fought against Fate.
We launched the Pride of Hiigara. We united the three Hyperspace cores. With our hands, we recovered the Dreadnaught of Sajuuk. We stopped Makaan’s crusade and Karan S’jet became the Sajuuk-Khar, the Wielder and the Rod of Sajuuk, He whose Hands Shapes what is.
With the three united Hyperspace cores, the Eye of Arran was opened by the Key that was the Dreadnaught of Sajuuk.
The Gates were opened, and Peace has come to us. The Age of S’jet has begun.
And yet, not all was it seemed…
Hiigara: Institute of Archeology
Department of Progenitor Studies, Year: AJ 2, the Second Year of the Age of S’jet
Iisha swallowed a lump in her throat. Then another. The panel stared at her with steely eyes, and she might as well stood there, naked in embarrassment.
“We do not have all day, Miss Iisha.” Tobar Paktu, the Coordinator, gazed nervously at his watch, and shook it. “You have a presentation for us, present it.”
The rest of the panel grimaced. One looked bored. The other wasn’t even paying attention. On the back of the study hall, other students came to listen to her presentation.
Iisha sneezed and fumbled with all her notes. Then she gathered every ounce of resolve in her soul, took a marker and scribbled symbols all over the blackboard. She began her explanation with a simple explanation and analysis of the Progenitor symbols, then recounted the Progenitor myths, connected them with the old Hiigaran, Taiidan, Turanic, and Vaygr legends.
Once the starting block was broken, the words flowed freely from her mouth, and she was animated with all her thoughts. She began to lose herself in the presentation. It seemed finally all was going well. But the panel was steely silent and the students just kept staring at her. One of the elder members of the panel, whom she forgot her name but only remembered she was Naabal, formed a steeple with her hands. What did that mean? Another older gentlemen sniffed. The whole student hall began to feel like its entire space and matrix were enclosing on her like she was a black hole.
“Iisha.” Tobal took out his notebook and scribbled something. Then he took his spectacles out and laid it on the table. His voice stopped Iisha cold.
“What is it, Coordinator?” She lowered her markers.
He had thin hands that he would flay around to express himself. To her the hand gestures seemed both annoying and condescending. “You know Iisha, all this showed you studied well. You seemed to have a linguist knack of absorbing new languages. You have shown you have studied the Progenitor script and languages well. You help decipher many of the Progenitor mythology that we have found inside Sajuuk and the other Progenitor Dreadnaught, as well as various derelicts in the Karos Graveyards, and even the inscriptions among the Gates like in Balcora.”
“But you have not shown anything that we do not already know. I thought you came here to us to present something new for your thesis to pass your graduate studies. Entertain us. Excite us. Bring us something new. Give us a reason to pass you, and put you into the Advanced Studies program.”
“Alright.” Iisha took her markers and scribbled again. She drew new symbols and a passage. Then another passage and another.
“The first passage was found in Sajuuk itself. The second passage was in the Balcora Gate, and the third one, was in the Eye of Arran itself.”
“Look at the similarity of the symbols, here, here and here. I matched that to similar symbols in ancient Hiigaran and cross referenced it with ancient Vaygr scripts. The word “Geddon” emerged. The whole phrase was found in an ancient text of the Vaygr Book of the Heavens, the Tala Ku-raan. The complete wording spoke like this.” She drew a set of symbols.
“The Ark of Geddon,”
“These are the three passages,”
“The first passage says, Geddon, He who stands Last.”
“The second passage says, Geddon, He who delivers our Souls.”
“The third passage says, Geddon, He who shall returns us to where we came.”
“I searched for references of Geddon, and found out that he is the great God of Death for the Vaygr. He had a mighty ship where he would carry the souls of the virtuous and that of noble warriors across a great sea, to a place where the gods were born a place called the Elaa.”
“The Vaygr lived among the Outer Rim, and it here where we believed there would be more Progenitor relics, maybe graveyards we have not seen before. Makaan acquired the third Core for that reason. Many of the stories of the Progenitor stayed with Vaygr and became part of their mythology and folklore. I do not find the appearance of the three Geddon passages inscribed in Sajuuk’s ship, the Balcora gate and in the Eye of Arran to be a coincidence.”
“The Vaygr believed in the End times. Their Prophecies spoke of it. And yet we wonder why so many of their ancient myths were similar to ours, and to the Taiidan as well. All because the Progenitors passed these stories to their children–us, the living races of this Galaxy. But each race carries only a part of those myths, like a piece in a puzzle.”
“The Tala Ku-raan spoke of the Gods, as having a war. One side saw the new, young races of the Galaxy, and thought of themselves as Caretakers, to whom eventually, all knowledge will be passed on. The Progenitors never saw themselves as staying forever on top, and that eventually, their legacy would have to be passed on. But another side thought otherwise, that they must hold on to their power as long as they can. The new, younger races must be subdued, and enslaved before they will ever master hyperspace, and become star faring civilizations.”
“And so began a war that lasted for a millenia that would eventually destroy the Progenitor civilizations, and left countless derelicts and ruins through out the Galaxy. Sajuuk was among those Caretakers. He plotted and planned to make sure that the memories and technologies of the Progenitors would be passed on to the new race of the Galaxy. The three Cores were his legacy.”
“But there were others, the Dark Ones, the ones the Vaygr legends called the Destroyers. Those are the ones who opposed Sajuuk and the Caretakers. Makaan managed to revive some of the Destroyer derelicts and adapted them to his own use.”
“The War of the Progenitors was so great and terrible, that the Progenitors feared for their very existence. A faction of Progenitors began a massive project to save what was left of their civilization and people. This was to be their last stand, their final solution. And for that, they created a massive Ark—a mothership so vast that it may even dwarf Sajuuk itself, or the Foundry ship where the other Dreadnaught was found. This was to be their ultimate ship, a ship capable of hyper long range far jumping, a ship capable of leaving this Galaxy for another.”
“And so it says in the Fourth Passage of the End Times,
“Gema-Guhari-eh-tulan-en-Geddon. Our Souls carried by the God of Death, Geddon, We Shall Return to Where we came from.”
“The Progenitors came to this Galaxy fleeing theirs. For millenia they thrived, until they fell to the same sins that forced them to leave their old galaxy. Now they had to leave this.”
Tobal scratched his nose, and scribbled some notes. “Did they ever manage to leave the Galaxy?”
“That we don’t know. I guess looking at all they have left, maybe not.” Iisha lowered her markers.
“Do you have more evidence, this…” Tobal made circles with his hands. “…Ark of Geddon thing?”
“I have to admit, it’s all little that I have. If I can access the information in the Advanced Progenitor Studies program, maybe I could find more evidence.” Iisha closed her notebooks.
“You know, the data in the Advanced Studies program are often considered classified by the Hiigaran military. You need to qualify for it before you can obtain your Degree. And before you can qualify for a Degree, you need to present a passable thesis…” Tobal scratched his nose as he closed his notebook.
One member of the panel crossed her legs. Another tightened his collar.
Tobal tightened his posture. “Look, Iisha, you are a nice girl. I like you. People like you. You are here because you have a genius with languages, especially the Progenitor language. But instead of presenting us a more valued and technical thesis like the ‘Development of Verbal Tenses in Progenitor Language’, you come here with some wild theory about a possible super derelict ship we have not seen before. Do you know how much that goes against our system of beliefs here? We have not found, nor seen, any ship greater than Sajuuk, no god greater than Sajuuk, no Progenitor greater than Sajuuk.”
“Now suddenly you come barging in with a highly speculative pet theory, which not only needs more evidence—a lot more evidence—but also borders in heresy. How could you? You want to make us a laughing stock?”
Iisha sniffed and wiped a tear from her eye. “Look, sir, Coordinator. I know there is something here. I know it exists. I can feel it. Somewhere out there is the Ark of Geddon.”
Tobal sighed. “You should hear yourself. Almost every student when questioned about the lack of evidence of his or her work, would inevitable whine and refer to their gut instincts as the final basis for fact.”
“Fact of the matter is, you cannot use intuition, your base feeling, your gut feelings, as the basis for evidence. That is not scientific. This is an Institution of science. You stick to the methods of science. Understand.”
Iiisha wept. “Yes Coordinator. I am sorry.”
Tobal stood up. “Well don’t be. If you have not shown promise I won’t be giving you another chance. Yes, I will give you another chance to make a better presentation, a better thesis, and certainly a much more scientific one in a future time.” He then turned to another person in the panel. “Gera, are you ready for lunch? We are going to have another appointment after that.”
As the panel left, Iisha gathered her notes and books. In an hour, someone may use the hall so she better cleaned up and get some lunch too. She took the corner of her blouse and wiped the wetness from her eyes. “What a fool I am,” she told herself.
She noticed that one of the panel members was still sitting down. “So what do you want?” she asked. “Are you laughing? You want to make fun of me? I know, I know, I am such a screw up.”
The man placed his hand on his chin, a finger on the right cheek. He was looking at her, studying her, bobbed his head to the left, then the right. Then he stood up, and walked towards her as she completed pushing all her stuff into her bag. She was about to walk away, when he reached her.
“Hello, my name is Rektu Kaalel. Not only am I a Sub Coordinator for the Institute, but I am also with Hiigaran Military Intelligence.”
“Any ID?” she asked.
Rektu showed a card. “So what brings you here,” Iisha said, her stance betraying her eagerness to leave the room.”
“If you have just a minute, we have a matter of extreme importance of empire security to ask you. Can I walk with you?”
“Sure,” Iisha said, taking her bags. “So what does Military Intelligence want with a potential flunk out like me. You saw the presentation. If I don’t get some good work in soon, I could lose both my academic standing and my job in the Institute.”
“That is what I want to talk you about, Miss Iisha. I don’t think you should be worried at all. As you see, the Hiigaran Military is one of the main contributors of funds to the Institute. What ever we say, they do.”
“Thanks for the consolation, Rektu. Anyway, what are you saying?”
“I think you should go work with us. We need your talents, Iisha.”
“But why me, Rektu? Why not just anyone in the Institute. I’m sure there are many who are much brighter than I am. I can’t even pass my thesis.”
“Yes, but don’t you think we won’t have access to all the personnel here? You have an extremely high proficiency in Progenitor language. Like you have a natural born talent for it. That is what I read in your personnel file and evaluation reports. You have a gift, and we can use it.”
Iisha studied the eyes of her companion. He was tall, his muscles were sinewy, his eyes pale blue, clear but without an emotion. “It must be something important—I can sense it. If you’re willing to go through all this trouble. So what is it?”
“I’m sorry Iisha but I’m not in the liberty to discuss. Its kind of classified you know. But if you join us, you will get access to the information, and more others. All in the Advanced Program and beyond.”
“Did you say, the Advanced Program, Rektu?”
“Yes, you will be promoted and admitted to the program immediately, Iisha.”
Iisha looked at him and wondered. “Advanced Program, hey? What about the Coordinator and the other panel members?”
“Hiigaran Military Intelligence can easily convince them. That is not a problem, Iisha.”
“Wow, Mister Rektu, who would not have thought I can get into the program just like that. But I don’t have a Degree.”
“Your work experience can count in getting your Degree. Remember Miss Iisha, we are doing this for Hiigara and the Sajuuk-Cor.”
“So I’m convinced, Rektu. So when do I begin?”
“Why not right now, Iisha?”
“Right now? Are you crazy? I have not even prepared all my things yet.”
“We don’t really have much time. Where we’re going, you won’t need them. Besides I think you already have what you need—up here.” Rektu pointed to his skull. “Have you ever been to space?”
“Why do you ask, Rektu?”
“Because we’re going there, right now.”
Iisha stared out the windows off the shuttle. The acceleration had pushed her back against the seat, but the G forces lightened as they ascended up the atmosphere. As the air thinned, the sky got bluer and bluer. The clouds were white whiffs that whizzed by. Soon, the shuttle penetrated through the high thin cirrus clouds, and the blue sky turned black. Iisha watched how the mountains, valleys, cities and seas of Hiigara all turned very small.
“I’ve never been to space before,” she said to Rektu, who sat next to her. “I’ve lived in Hiigara throughout my life.”
“You missed a lot of fun then,” Rektu said, studying some papers.
“I didn’t miss the Planet Destroyers raining down nuclear bombs to the planet just two years ago,” she replied. “We were all hiding in the mountains then.”
“Yes, the Planet Destroyers. I quite recall.” Rektu straightened his chin and looked up to the ceiling. “I was in that battle. I was flying an Interceptor, and we had to shoot down the bombs while they rained on us. And we had to do all this while the Vaygr Assault Craft were all over our backs.”
“You saw the Planet Destroyers?” Iisha smiled.
Rektu smiled. “Yes I did. Horrendously huge things as big as a Mothership with giant legs like spindles. Only the Rod of Sajuuk could take them down. We pledged that such a thing can never happen to our Homeworld again.”
Iisha nodded. “I can imagine. So you said, we have to go somewhere? Why don’t you tell us now where we’re going?”
“Take a look at the monitor in the front.” Rektu pointed to the screen.’
A huge ship loomed. Iisha’s mouth gape. The long proboscis, club like shape of the ship was mistakable. It was the most famous ship in Hiigara’s sky since the original Mothership.
“The Sajuuk!” Iisha exclaimed.
“Yes, my dear Iisha.”
“I’ve never been in a space ship before. I’ve heard stories from my father. Many stories, but I’ve never been one.” Iisha clutched her bag tightly, her eyes wide open with excitement.
“Looks to me, Miss Iisha, that this day is the first time for a lot of things for you. And where you will be going inside the ship, there will be another first time for you.”
Small shuttles buzzed the Sajuuk, a daily traffic of ships going in and out. There was scaffolding around the ship, what appears to be a giant shipyard being constructed just for the service of the Progenitor super dreadnaught. Around the huge ship, were Battlecruisers, Destroyers, various frigates, and Carriers, all like children hovering around their mother.
“You said there is another first time awaiting for me? I can’t wait.” Iisha smiled, her gaze transfixed at the busy, buzzing community of ships outside her window. Then her eyes moved to the ever growing shape of Sajuuk, as the shuttle headed to the hanger at the side of the ship. Immediately she smiled, for a reason she could not understand, for there was a strange feeling that swept over her, like a feeling of coming home.
The shuttle hovered and landed despite the minor inconvenience of heavy traffic. Iisha and Rektu stepped out. Immediately, the lights flickered, several times, and some of the lights sparked. It frightened Iisha, but Rektu stood in front of her, his stance instinctively set to protect her. Iisha blushed at the thought that someone would bother to protect a person as unimportant as her. But Rektu was a soldier after all; the things he do, he did out of instinct and training.
Some officials came to greet them and gave Rektu a salute. “Good afternoon, Major,” the officer said.
“What just suddenly happened?” Rektu looked around the shuttle hanger as emergency crews quickly returned things to normal.
“We don’t know. Suddenly the power levels of the ship went up, and overwhelmed our power lines. We never had this problem before but there are so many things we don’t know about this ship, Progenitor technology and all. But it’s all under control now.”
Iisha didn’t seem to mind the small trouble after all. Her eyes was transfixed around the hanger, she slapped her feet against the floor.
“What are you doing?” Rektu asked.
Iisha giggled and swung around. “I can’t believe it. This is the very ship where Sajuuk lived, traveled through the stars, and commanded. This is the very ship where the history of civilizations were made. It is truly the Hand that Shapes what is. And I am in it.”
“Hehe.” Rektu smiled. “Enjoy it. It was like that for me the first time, though the novelty wears off after a while. Now, it’s also a second home for me.”
Iisha stopped smiling when the officer approached her and ordered her to stop. “We need to see your security clearance before you stay on this ship.”
“It is alright, Captain, she’s with me.” Rektu pointed to her and then to his chest. “She has been security cleared. You can check her name. Say it, Iisha.”
“Iisha Somtaaw,” she pronounced to the captain.
The captain ran the name on his digital pad. There was a flashing green light, and the captain smiled. He saluted. “Miss Iisha Somtaaw, you have been cleared. You are being awaited at the bridge.”
Karan stirred as the tubes from her head flayed to one side then another. She shook her head violently then woke from her slumber.
An attendant quickly ran to her. “Sajuuk-Khar, is there anything wrong?”
“What happened?” Karan asked to the attendant.
“We had an unexpected power fluctuation,” said the attendant.
Karan was silent, as her mind sent commands through the neurocircuits, through the cables, and into the bowels of the ship Sajuuk. This was so unlike the first Mothership, or the Pride of Hiigara, where everything was clear and knowing. Both motherships were designed by Hiigarans and their design had her neurocircuitry in mind.
But Sajuuk had so many unknowns. The ship was acquired through haste. They did not had time to exhaustively study her, know all her hidden quirks. All they knew was to stop Makaan’s Planet Destroyers from destroying Hiigara. After that was done, then all the quirks of a many millennia old alien ship began to surface. There was so many technology they did not understand, so much knowledge they could not digest. Many of Hiigara’s best engineers, scientists, linguists and archeologists have come to Sajuuk to decipher her secrets. But yet she has refused to yield so many of them.
This was a new event, a sudden rise in power levels that reverberated through out the massive ship. In combat conditions, this would not be acceptable. It may even be fatal.
She requested diagnostics to the control core of the ship. The results returned and it was positive sign of health.
But there was something else. New systems within the ship appeared activated for no reason. They could explain the rise in power levels. But what caused those systems to arise? What made Sajuuk act like she did? Being connected to Sajuuk gave Karan the “feel”, a perception of what a Progenitor was, or should be. There was that feeling again, like a ghost hidden within the system. Given Sajuuk’s age and complexity, there should be many ghosts.
“Sajuuk-khar, your guests has arrived.”
Karan checked through all the cameras inside the ship. Each camera was like an eye of her own. Good. She had called a new group of archeologists, engineers, technologists and linguists to decipher the latest mystery.
The crane lowered her to the circle of awaiting guests. Some she had met before, the best people from the Institute. But there was some new faces here, fresh talent. There was some problems that can only be dealt by thinking outside of the box. She needed that.
The guests quickly genuflected at her sight. “Hail to the Sajuuk-Khar!” They all said. She was not used to this reverence, not in one hundred or two hundred years. They looked at her like a god, but she looked upon herself as nothing but a cog in a machine, and that of an infinitely more complex universe. She had seen too many things—the vastness of everything—that deeply humbled her, made her feel insignificant. But all these, the chain of events that led to Return of the Exiles, and then later, to her being the Sajuuk-khar, all were events that she did not choose, but she had to do. She was at the right time and at the right place, the right person to be chosen to be the cog of the machine.
For all that, she had to sacrifice her humanity. She watched others grow up to love and be loved, to have children, then die gracefully as their time was called. Like sparks of life that ignited, flamed and die later. While all life passed her by, she remained chained, a cog in the machine. The Bentusi called her Unbound, because she was no longer mortal, bound to a mere physical body. She could call an entire ship into being part of her own body. What irony, for she has only traded one form of “Boundness” to another—a dependency on the machine.
Not too long ago—no, it was too long ago—she was one of them too, a scientist. But since her transformation to the Unbound, her mind had a clarity that could remember everything with distinct detail, even events over a hundred years ago.
“Please everyone, please rise,” she called upon her guests. There was a new presence in the room, something she has not felt before. She looked upon each of their faces, and then raised her hand towards one of them.
“You? Who are you? What is your name?” Karan called.
The girl panicked and her voice quivered. “I’m sorry. My name is Iisha, of the Kiithid Somtaaw. I’m new here. Uh-er, I’m pleased to meet you…pleased to meet all of you. Actually I’m very honored, very flattered actually…”
The Major came forward and defended her. “Iisha Somtaaw was from the Institute. We selected her due to her uncanny proficiency with Progenitor language translation even when she has not received her Degree yet. We taught she can be of value to the team.”
Karan smiled. The girl was fresh out of her schooling. Karan could remember how she was much like this girl before—a long time ago—uncertain about herself and her future, but willing to face it all. “She can stay. You don’t have to apologize, Major Rektu Kaalel.”
The young girl smiled. “Thank you, thank you, Sajuuk-Cor.” She genuflected again. Karan smiled back at her.
“Please rise, and keep your attention to the center console.” Karan pointed to the console. “I have much things to do so I will make it short. I called all of you for one important task.”
“Let me refresh all your memories. When the Three Cores united, we have Sajuuk, and with Sajuuk, we opened the Eye of Arran. A network of hyperspace gates have availed us, and with this network, we can travel much faster across the Galaxy, and with all the potential for new trade routes with all our neighbors and with every race across the Galaxy.”
“But there was something that eluded us. Not all the Gates opened. One Gate did not. This is the Gate.”
A hologram appeared over the center console. It showed a massive golden colored Gate and it must be so big that two Pride of Hiigaras could fit across the Gate opening end to end. The mechanisms around the Gate were far more elaborate. “We have never seen a Gate of this size and of this design. Every attempt to activate this Gate has come to failure, even with Sajuuk and the three Cores.”
“This is the Gate of Karnak.”