Soul of the Progenitors – Act 7

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Soul of the Progenitors

A Homeworld Fanfiction

by Crobato

Originally posted September 18, 2004 – 12:20AM

Act 7

Aboard the Sajuuk…

They disturbed her again in her sleep. These annoyances have become a bad habit but she cannot do without them. The times were again troubled, and so too the Vaygr have moved.

“Status!” Karan commanded as her attendants helped her into a harness chair. The central hologram glowed to life, and a glowing ball full of tiny lights revolved around its pedestal. Luminous lines connected the points of light into constellations, and groups of constellations into sectors.

The admiral began tracing a route among the stars. “Yes, Sajuuk-Khar. We have managed to track more movement of the Vaygr Red Crusade. Less than an hour ago, hyperspace signatures indicated that a Red Crusade fleet with no less than the Batu in command has entered the Khopa sector on route to the Tarim sector.”

“A Hiigaran fleet is on its way to intercept the Vaygr fleet.”

Karan grimaced. “I made standing orders that no one will engage any Vaygr fleet without my authorization or provocation. Be reminded that despite the Vaygr fleet movement, we are in a temporary truce with the Vaygr Reaches, and until there is clear hostile action on part of the Vaygr, there is no justification for any action against the Vaygr. I need to know where the Vaygr are heading and what precisely are their plans before we can move.”

The admiral bowed. “I apologize, Sajuuk-Khar, but we have a situation in our hands.”

“Yes, indeed I can see we have a situation in our hands,” Karan retorted. “A fleet has disobeyed a direct order and a standing truce.”

“I take full responsibility, Sajuuk-Khar. Much of our personnel in all major Kiith Fleets all lost at least one loved one or family member to the Vaygr. The frustration and anger among our people is quite high and so is their desire for vengeance.”

“I do not need excuses for any disobedience against my orders. If my orders are not followed, there will be chaos. As Hiigara-Sa this is unacceptable.” Karan’s face was without emotion. “Who is the commander of the renegade fleet?”

“He is Admiral Sobakin of Kiith Nabaal. The fleet appears to consist of elements from Fleet Naabal, Soban, Manaan, and Paktu, all from our top warrior Kiiths. I wish to add that Admiral Sobakin lost his family when the Planet Destroyers rained nuclear weapons on Hiigara. He harbors great resentment against the Vaygr.”

“That much I can see, Admiral.” Karan frowned. “How many ships went with him?”

“A full accounting is still underway, Sajuuk-Khar.”

“As Fleet Command, I shall check it myself,” Karan uttered. She closed her eyes and let her neurocircuitry take her to the memory cores of Fleet Command. Satisfied she found her answer, she opened her eyes.

“We no longer have enough ships to defend our home sector,” Karan concluded. “And yet we must track the Vaygr fleets. We will leave more of Fleet S’jet and Somtaaw to cover defense of Hiigara and adjoining systems. I have ordered Fleet S’jet to cancel exploratory expeditions and Fleet Somtaaw to cancel all long range mining expeditions and return to Hiigara at once. At this moment, we have Shipyard S’jet now being redeployed to Hiigara to join Shipyard Liirhra. The Kun-laan II of the new second generation Explorer ship class has been given orders to return to Hiigara with maximum ranged jumps and stand sentry over Hiigara.”

“Under a different situation, I would have your resignation, Admiral, but today and tomorrow, I need you to help coordinate our Homeworld defenses. Now, we can only afford the Pride of Hiigara, the Sajuuk, the Dreadnaught Kharak-cor, plus two battle cruisers, a carrier and a support fleet in our journey. And yet we cannot stand idle to the threat of the new Vaygr movement.”

“Cancel all leave and prepare all assigned ships for hyperjump in two hours. Navigation, plot hyperjump course to the Tarim system.”

***

Aboard the Batu

Taklan entered the bridge and set his cape aside as he sat on the throne specially set for him in the bridge. All bowed on his entrance. “All at ease.” Taklan ordered. “Captain Azerkhan, what is the status.”

Azerkhan bowed and raised his head. “Vaygr-khar, reconnaissance patrols indicate a massive Hiigaran force on an interception route. Their actions have been concluded as hostile.”

“Since the death of Makaan, the Vaygr and the Hiigarans share an uneasy truce,” Taklan declared. “Now that truce is broken. It shows you indeed the value of the words of these Hiigaran filth.”

“Yes, I agree, Vaygr-Khar, the words of these Hiigarans have no honor. Truly a despicable race in need of conversion.” Azerkhan bowed as he spoke.

“Stop giving me your empty bowing gestures, Captain. It annoys me.” Taklan raised his hand and pointed to Azerkhan.

“As you wish, Vaygr-khar.”

“Is the Sajuuk with the Hiigaran fleet?” Taklan asked.

“Negative. Neither is the Dreadnaught.”

“That is interesting, Captain, don’t you think?” Taklan stood up and walked to the bridge’ largest monitor. “Display all recon data on screen!”

Azerkhan waved a gesture to the Tactical officer and Taklan’s command was fulfilled.

“Here we go, Captain.” Taklan uttered as he examined the screen. “Nice, we see a few Battlecruisers here, three Shipyards at least, a number of Carriers and Destroyers, and a whole load of frigates and fighters. I’m impressed. But where is the Sajuuk?”

“Our last intel shows the Sajuuk in Hiigara with the Dreadnaught. Our recons, confirmed by our spy network, has also indicated that the Hiigarans have salvaged the Pride of Hiigara and is transporting it back to their Homeworld. Other reports have indicated that other Hiigaran fleets are heading their way back to Hiigara.”

“Now that is unusual, Captain.” Taklan stroked his chin. “A major Hiigaran fleet headed our way but other Hiigaran fleets are returning to Hiigara. Karan S’jet and her flagship are still moored in orbit around Hiigara.”

“Currently our analysis of fleet disposition around Hiigara indicates numbers sufficiently low. We can attack and destroy them, Vaygr-Khar, both Karan and her filthy planet. We have an opportunity!” Azerkhan raised a clenched fist.

“No!” Taklan shouted sternly. “We are here to fulfill the mission passed to us by the Ancients. While the tactical opportunity is tempting, we must not stray from our sacred mission. That is why I am Vaygr-Khar. I am chosen by the Ancient Ones to fulfill the destiny given to us. We must thrust and heed the words of the Ancients!”

Azerkhan bowed. “Yes, Vaygr-Khar. But the enemy fleet. It lays across our path.”

“Our path is sacred and we will not turn from it,” Taklan proclaimed. “Not even the vermin Hiigarans that stand on our way. We have the improved Siege Cannon that the Ancients have blessed us with a purpose. We have a splendid opportunity to test this blessing. Where is the intersection path between our fleet and theirs?”

“Khorazon system, Khopa sector.” Azerkhan replied with snappiness. “It is the system ahead of us. We have the system fully mapped out by our scouts.”

“Excellent, Captain. Bring our resourcers, patrols and scouts in and prepare for hyperspace jump. We must exit at the outer edges of the system.”

“At once, Chosen One.” Azerkhan turned to the bridge crew to address them. In a loud voice he proclaimed, “All hail the Messenger of the Ancients. All hail the Chosen Bearer of the Word. All hail the Vaygr-Khar!”

“All hail the Vaygr-Khar!” The bridge crew proclaimed in unison.

Taklan raised his hand in majesty to acknowledge the cries. As the patrols and resourcers docked, he announced his next order. “Prepare for Hyperspace jump.” After a few seconds, he gave the final word. “Jump!”

***

The Vaygr fleet materialized in the outskirts of Khorazon. There was the Batu, the Red Crusade mothership, with two supporting shipyards, four carriers, three Battlecruisers, five Destroyers and two dozen frigates.

“Our sensors have picked up the Hiigaran fleet,” Azerkhan announced as he watched the fleet positions in his command console. “Their numbers appear as at least five Battlecruisers, four Shipyards, six Carriers, eight Destroyers and at least three dozen Frigates. We are outnumbered. They are deploying their strike craft formations. We must deploy our strike formations.”

“Excellent, the Vaygr always prefer a challenge,” Taklan said coldly. “But do not deploy our strike formations, not just yet. Drop Hyperspace Gates instead. I have a plan. First, let’s find out their true intentions. Hail the flagship.”

“Right away ,Vaygr-Khar. It appears that their flagship is from the Kiith Naabal carrier She-maan. Channel is now open.”

Taklan stood up. “This is Taklan, Khar of the Vaygr, Il-Khar of the Red Crusade. By what will of the Gods have you Hiigarans decided to bar our way. By the conditions of our tentative truce, I demand that I speak to your Hiigara-Sa, or to whoever is in charge of the fleet.” He turned to Azerkhan and spoke in a much quieter voice that no one could hear. “Charge the Siege cannon.”

Azerkhan gestured to the Tactical officer, who quickly keyed commands on his panel. The charge bar turned green and began to rise.

“I am afraid that Karan S’jet is not here,” replied a voice in the channel. “I am Admiral Sobakin Naabal, commander of this Fleet.”

“By what business are you barring our way?” Taklan demanded, his eyes on the green charge bar. “I demand that I speak to Karan S’jet, or are you Hiigarans so dishonorable to break the terms of your truce?

“This is not Karan’s doing,” Sobakin replied. “The truce is between you and Karan, but the rest of the Kiithid do not recognize such truce. Not after you killed our families when you bombarded our planets with those Planet Destroyers. We here in this Fleet have pledged a Blood Oath against your kind, and we will not rest until the Blood Oath is satisfied.”

So Karan is not in full control of her own people. Taklan smiled. This could easily explain why her flagship was still in Hiigara.

“Our only regret is that we did not cleanse your planet of the sand vermin you are,” Taklan answered. He smiled in amazement how quickly the charge bar has gone to full capacity in so little time. The Vaygr have stories about encountering the Kiith Somtaaw mothership—what was its name? They all spoke of its terrifying power but also the long recharge times that was its weakness.

The weapon they have now, have no such weakness.

“Remember my name, Vaygr-Khar. Remember the name of Sobakin, and in the name of the ancient Kiiths of Naabal, the Soban, the Paktu, and the Manaan, I will have your decapitated head decorating my mantlepiece.”

The voice cut off into static.

Taklan smiled and waved his hand down.

“Targets locked. Firing the Siege Cannon,” announced the Tactical Officer.

“I will remember the names of your kinsmen, Hiigaran, only as the dust that orbits this old sun,” Taklan added.

The white fiery ball surged out of the cannon from the Batu, and headed towards the Hiigaran fleet.

***

The alarms went off.

“Sir! We are reporting a massive energy burst from the Vaygr flagship! It is headed our way!”

“What!” Sobakin bent forward from his chair. “What is it? What kind of weapon is that?”

The Tactical officer stared at Sobakin with an apprehensive face. “It’s something we have not seen before, at least not in my lifetime, Sir. It fits the profile of a Siege Cannon.”

“A Siege Cannon!” Sobakin shouted. “How did they get one? The one with the Kiith Somtaaw had been decommissioned decades ago!”

“By Sajuuk!” Sobakin exclaimed. Any answer now was pointless, as the glowing white ball loomed in his screen. “Prepare for emergency hyperspace jump. Get us out of here!”

“But our Strike formations, Admiral!”

“Too late to help them now.” By the grace of Sajuuk, what have I done? “Emergency Hyperspace Jump, now!”

“Aack!” The Tactical officer screamed and the bridge crew threw their arms against the blinding light that filled the primary monitor screen.

Sobakin gasped as the looming ball that was like a nova thrown at them. In Sajuuk’s Name

***

Taklan smiled as the ball exploded in the midst of the Hiigaran formations. This to be an image that would etch in his memory forever, and one that he would savor even when he has gone to the gods in the Afterworld. The ball tore at the formations, and the wretched ring like blast wave cleared out the Hiigaran strike ships and frigates.

“Wonderful! Perfect! Charge weapon again!” Taklan ordered, his eyes intently gazed on the screen as sensors analyzed and displayed what was left of the Hiigaran fleet. The larger ships were still intact, but in a state of shock. The Communication officer reported no sign of communications between the ship, which meant the wave must have damaged their equipment. The Hiigaran ships drifted out of formation. Some appear to be burning heavily, while lightning bolts sparked out from their broken hulls.

Seconds past, and there was no response from the Hiigaran formation. They must be in a state of chaos and confusion. It would be a perfect time to attack but Taklan wants to be sure first. The charge bar was green again. Incredible, the information the Ancients gave to make the cannon charge up so fast and so reliably must surpass whatever knowledge the Bentusi gave to the Somtaaw to make their weapon work nearly a hundred years ago. Now he must dearly punish the Hiigaran desert vermin for crossing his path before sending them to the Afterworld.

He gestured his hand down. “Fire!”

The cannon burst again, the blinding ball sizzling towards the wrecked Hiigaran formations.

“Vaygr-Khar! Two of the shipyards are hyperspacing. Shipyard Soban and Naabal.”

“Let them run like the desert rodents they are,” Taklan said.

“The third and fourth ones from Paktu and Manaan are also hyperspacing.” Azerkhan said. “The shipyards were in the back of the formation and did not take the brunt of damage.”

The second ball blew amidst what was left of the Hiigaran formations. Those that were already stricken from the first blast did not survive the second.

“Three of the Carriers have been completely destroyed, and half of the Destroyers. The Battlecruisers appear heavily damaged and the survivors are drifting. It looks like we got their flagship, Vaygr-Khar.” Azerkhan bowed.

“All hail the Messenger! All hail the Vaygr-Khar.” The bridge crew threw their arms in unison.

With his hand, Taklah motioned the crew to silence. “Our work is not yet done. Send the Hyperspace gates to the back of their formations. Now! Prepare our fleet to hyperspace through the gates once they are in place.”

From a line in front of the Vaygr fleet, half of the Hyperspace gates flew out. Taklan watched the progress of the gates carefully as they passed through the Hiigaran fleet without any opposition. The gates settled in their assigned places. Through the screens, Taklan observed as the starting and ending gates were linked.

“Jump!” Taklan ordered.

The fleet began to converge towards the fields of the gates, and one by one quickly disappeared. One by one they appeared through the repositioned gates behind the Hiigaran formations.

“Deploy all strike craft and have them escort the Infiltrator frigates. Infiltrator frigates, engage and capture at will. Try to capture as many ships as you can. Toss the survivors out into deep space to join their kin.” With those orders, Taklan settled at his chair. He didn’t expect that this part would be so eventful.

The Infiltrator frigates headed out to the drifting Hiigaran capital ships, with formations of Scouts, Interceptors, Laser and Missile Corvettes. Like the sand worms that feasted on carrion, they were eager and hungry at the sight of the weak and wounded. Pod after pod ejected from their hulls and clung to the Hiigaran ships like parasites burrowing through skin of the carcass of an animal.

The next reports came from the Tactical Officer. “We captured one Carrier but two of the Carriers have decided to scuttle rather than to allow their ships to be captured. Three Battlecruisers captured. Three Destroyers captured but a fourth scuttled. All prisoners executed.”

“Excellent, truly excellent. We have done wonders in the name of our Gods, the Ancients.” Taklan stood and clapped. “This is the first great Vaygr victory since the we invaded the Inner Rim from the Eastern Fringes. I want captured ships to be quickly repaired to join our fleet, and do not spare the lives of their survivors. By breaking a truce and declaring a Blood Oath against the Vaygr race, their lives are forfeit.”

“Let the surviving ships who ran away tell stories of fear about the renewed might of the Vaygr. With this new Siege Cannon and the Ancients in our side, we fear not the Dreadnaught or the Sajuuk of the Hiigarans.”

“All hail the Messenger. All hail the Vaygr-Khar.” The crew proclaimed.

***

The Noor-Shakh system…

The Naasha have done three jumps deep into the No-Man’s zone. It’s been uneventful so far. A few more jumps and they can reach the Tarim sector.

Noor-Shakh was a system not well known for the Hiigarans but for the peoples in three regions, it was vital historical crossroads. It was littered with derelicts from ageless wars, orbiting a yellow sun with a few gas giants and uninhabitable moons. The gravitational forces between the gas giants kept other planets from forming, creating rich asteroid belts that was suitable for large scale mining.

Here the Turanic Raiders fought as the Taiidan Empire as the Imperium expanded to these reaches. That was long before the Raiders became mercenaries for the Imperials. Here, the rising Vaygr forces battled the Taiidan Empire, as the Empire expanded and first met the warriors of the Far Reaches. When the Empire fell, the Vaygr benefitted from the power vacuum in the region but continued their battles against the Taiidan Imperialists and their Raider allies.

Here, under the command of Admiral Noor Shakh, the Taiidan Imperial 8th Fleet came to the system to teach the Vaygr a lesson courtesy of the Taiidan Emperor as to who was masters of the region. The Raider fleets supported the Taiidan Imperials as auxiliaries. Here they met the full force of a major Vaygr Tribe, the Crescent Crusade. Earlier the Crescent Crusade struck against a Taiidan colony who refused to convert to their faith and massacred every living soul, hence the need to demonstrate punitive retaliatory action.

While toughened warriors, the Vaygr was not the advanced forces they were now. With few capital ships and heavily reliant on strike ships, the Crescent Crusade fought relentlessly but were no matched to the Taiidan technological might.

Once the Vaygr warriors were dispatched, Admiral Noor Shakh ordered the Qwaar Jets to open fire against the transport and support frigates of the Crescent Crusade. Then after that, every miner, transport, convoy and refinery ship were to be targeted and destroyed—including every man, woman and child in those ships.

No Vaygr survived the massacre, and the Emperor rewarded Admiral Noor Shakh by decree that the system be given his name as a lesson to those who will oppose the Taiidan Empire. There that name remained even today as a ghastly reminder. Massacres like the one on this system and on Kharak appeared to be a routine activity in the latter years of the Taiidan Emperor Riesstiu IV.

Iisha shut off the notes from the historical database. System after system, region after region had histories of deep blood. She wondered when will the cycle of violence ever end.

“Iisha, any status on the scans?” Radal ordered.

“Negative, just lots of debris. Dead ships from past battles,” Iisha declared, her eyes tuned sharply to the scanners.

“Keep your eyes open. This is pirate territory here. That’s the downside of this system. The upside is why they’re here. The Noor-Shakh is full of mining resources and cheap easy derelict junk.” Radal explained. “Our resourcers are busy but they have to be drawn in quickly in the first sight of trouble.”

“Roger, Captain.” Iisha bit her lip to control her temptation to call him father, but here as part of the crew, she does not want to appear that there was any form of nepotism. Everything must be clean and professional.

Suddenly blips in the scanner.

“What is it?” Radal asked.

Iisha quickly focused the scans. As part of her drill, she only used low frequency scans but even that, she would turn it off for a complete passive scan mode in order to keep the Naasha undetected and hidden among the asteroids and derelicts.

“We got someone scanning the belts. Going passive in all communication bands and try to identify them from their communications.” Iisha flicked on some switches. “Scanning and communication frequencies identified as a Raider ship, possibly a carrier.”

“Gursal, get our Resourcers here in now,” Radal ordered. “Iisha, keep a close watch. Yellow alert. Let’s go tactical. Arm cruise missiles, no energy signature. We’re going into low power mode.” The lights dimmed.

A few minutes passed.

“All Resourcers are docked.” Gursal reported.

“Good.” Radal looked at the monitors. “Have you identified the ship, Iisha?”

“Yes we have, a Lord class carrier like this one.”

“On screens,” Radal ordered. “Looks like a typical Raider hunting group to me. A carrier surrounded by Ion Array Frigates, Boarding Frigates, Boarding and Missile Corvettes and Bandit class interceptors.” As pirates, technology progress among the Raiders have been slow and dependent on cannibalization of their victims. Much of the same ship designs has been in use for well over a century, but refined and upgraded throughout the years so they remained as potent as ever.

“I suggest we go into mimic mode now,” Gursal noted.

“Proceed.” Radal replied.

The displays indicated that a derelict mode was chosen, so the ship would appear like a dead carrier sized vessel.

“Looks like it is sending out patrols,” Iisha added. “Look at that particular ship, I’ve never seen a Raider ship like that.”

“That’s a Heavy Missile Frigate, Raider style,” Radal explained. “It uses the same hull as the Ion Array frigate, but the main cannon has been replaced by a torpedo launcher, and the arrays replaced by large multiple missile launchers.”

Suddenly Iisha paused as another blip appeared on the screen. “Wait, something else is coming on screen.”

Radal bent over Iisha’s console. “What is it now, Iisha?”

“One large ship signature along with smaller ones. Carrier sized and frigate sized. Their frequencies appear to be Vaygr.”

“On screen, Iisha.”

Radal stood straight up from the sight. “Vaygr carrier with Missile, Assault and Transport frigates.”

“Not just any Vaygr carrier, sir, a really big one,” Gursal added. “Not like what we have seen before. Look at that it’s got a long flat deck.”

“Well I never thought I would see one.” Radal added. “I never thought they would build one, but then the Vaygr all have separate tribes of their own.”

“What is it?” Iisha asked.

Gursal explained. “It’s a Vaygr Command Carrier. Basically a carrier about the size of a mothership. They never got to use it in the last conflict though, as they already have Shipyards and Motherships of their own. But unlike the other carriers the Vaygr is using, this one could build frigate, corvette, fighter and capital ship sizes. It functions like a mothership with a built in command post and hyperspace module. Hiigaran intel discovered the project during the last war, but we never saw it being implemented. Until now of course.”

“From the emblems of this ship, I guess it belongs to the Crescent Crusade tribe of the Vaygr.”

“The Command Carrier is deploying strike craft,” Gursal reported. “It appears to have detected the Raider vessel and is headed for a fight.”

Act 6 | Landing Page | Act 8

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