Soul of the Progenitors
A Homeworld Fanfiction
Originally posted October 11, 2004 – 4:03AM
Ardishapur Command Station, Arnar System, Tarim Sector
Taklan sipped on the glass of freshly provided imassi, while staring in the massive observation window that showed both the vast space, the fiery nebula, and the great fleets parked outside of the command base. The imassi itself was a milk said to be obtained from a breed of mammal called Belug originally found in the Planet Vey, and was carried along by the Vaygr to various worlds and stations through centuries of migration. The milk was more than just a drink and a liquor; it was often used in Vaygr religious and social rites, a living, drinking connection to their homeworld. The milk itself had a creamy vanilla taste, but it had a touch of bitterness from it due to the alcohol arising from fermentation. Done right, the alcohol could warm the skin of even the most hardened space living Vaygr. The imassi here was provided by a small, carefully well taken care stock of Belug cows living within a special farm inside the base, the personal livestock of Mogaden himself. This Il-Khar chooses well, Taklan thought.
One of his lieutenants, came walking in, his cape dragging on the floor. Taklan remembered this officer’s name vaguely, sounded something like Siklan. This Siklan genuflected in front of him, and stayed on his knees.
“Vaygr-khar, we have the news as requested,” said this Siklan. “Il-Khar Mogaden has left with his Command Carrier, the Ashkan.”
Taklan raised his fingers and shooed the officer away. “Yes, yes, I know, just as I expected.”
Across him sat the captain of the Batu, Agripas, sharing the imassi beverage that their hosts, Mogaden has kindly provided. “Vaygr-khar, you know that the Il-Khar Mogaden is up to no good.”
“Yes, yes, I know, Captain Agripas. I suspect that Mogaden actually knows the true location of the Ark, but refuses to disclose to us.”
“So what are we supposed to do? Vaygr-khar. This can be a delicate matter. We cannot openly accuse the Il-khar of treachery in front of the Great Council without proof.”
“Which is why I just executed another plan, Captain Agripas. I have many spies among the Crescent Crusade which I will generously reward for their services. There is nothing Mogaden can hide that I will eventually know.” Taklan gently sipped on his milky, slightly sour and bitter tasting beverage. “Keep your crews ready, Captain Agripas. We must be prepared to leave anytime to catch the prize and expose Mogaden for his treachery.”
Agripas sipped on his beverage and stared through the observation window at his ship being tended by robotic Resourcers for routine maintenance. If Mogaden should fall, he will claim Mogaden’s precious breed of Belug cow stock for himself.
Aboard the Naasha, Ogaab System, Tarim Sector
Radal had gathered the command crew to the small makeshift conference room in the ship. A converted Lord class Raider carrier was one ship without much amenities, so this conference room was converted from the dining hall. They had evaded Vaygr patrols from system to system, until they arrived to this system. Now Radal, explained, they were in a threshold.
Radal turned on the holographic projector as he spoke. “This is the path of the last voyage of the Khontala, as it traveled from star to star amidst the sector, pursued by Vaygr forces. That time we knew little about the Vaygr or what threat they will potentially become. They had assimilated many minor Taiidan factional kingdoms and Turanic fiefdoms along their path, forcing them to convert to the Vaygr faith, assimilating their ships, crews and technology.”
“We were jumping from one unexplored star system after another, trying to evade the Vaygr fleet with their Raider and Taiidan cohorts. At that time, we do not know the names of the star systems, but guided only by our long range sensors and study of captured star maps. Now, I have the coordinates restored, based on the logs of the Explorer class Khontala, and superimposed them against much more recent star maps captured from the Vaygr in our recent conflict. These star maps are much better in the detail of the documentation and precision of the coordinates. We have downloaded the maps into our computer and superimposed the last flight of the Khontala.”
Radal displayed the star map of the Tarim sector in a holographic sphere projection. The flight path of the Khontala was marked in a phosphorescence yellow, snaking through one constellation of stars to another, ending in one star system, now marked, Ogaab. “This is the system where the Khontala fought its last battle with the Vaygr. Our scans of the system have confirmed traces of derelicts and debris of both Somtaaw, Taiidan and Vaygr ships in the system, indicating the presence of a battle years ago.” He smiled towards Iisha, congratulating the good work of her long range scans with his grin. Iisha replied back with a proud grin of her own.
Radal turned his attention back to the main audience. “The Daisan reappeared in space in the now named Haram System, Masuul Sector, which is almost sixty light years away. We can draw a direct line between the Ogaab system and Haram system. Here and here. We will interpose all the reported disappearances of ships in the last one hundred years compiled from Taiidan, Turanic and Vaygr records. And finally we will add the inclusion zone to the hologram.”
“There,” Radal pointed to the gap where the lines and bands crossed. “That is the intersection of all things.”
“But there is nothing there,” Banaan said.
“Exactly,” Radal said. “And yet all around it, there is a massive hyperspace black hole that literally stops all traffic through it through a long range hyperspace inhibitor field, the size and scale of which we have never seen before. There is a star system somewhere that remains uncharted. But where? This is where Mani comes in. Mani, if you please?”
Mani Liihra stood up. He had a slender but tight build, a Hiigaran who exercises constantly on his spare time. His Kiithid was renowned for its engineers and scientists, in the latter field, almost as renowned as the S’jet..
“To make it short, the hyperspace inhibitor field radiates gravitons that bend the space time continuum. This massive field therefore gradually spreads out from the center, weakening as it travels outward, strengthening as it travels inward. I have outfitted this ship with such an instrument and we have begun to take readings of this field. The field is so powerful that even in the Ogaab system we have begun to feel some effects of it, although it won’t stop a hyperspace jump. So yes, there is something out there.”
“Fortunately for us, the field is measurable, and so is the graviton density. Based on this, we are able to make another set of calculations to place the source of the field in the convergence you are seeing here, confirming that there is indeed something there that is not showing in the star maps, a previously undiscovered star system.”
“The plan is this. From Ogaab, we will attempt to hyperspace to this star system here, the Malkuth system. The path between Ogaab and Malkuth will take us right through the exclusion zone. If indeed there is a mega hyperspace inhibitor out there, we shall fall into it.”
Gursal raised his hand. “Question. If you fall into the trap, how do we get out?”
Radal smiled and stood up. “Good question. There is one way. We need to get out of it along with the Ark. Our experience with the Movers and with previous Progenitor derelicts is the Movers are robots automatically maintaining the ships through the eons. We can expect the ship to be in good if not in operating condition, just as we, the Hiigarans, are able to recover the Progenitor Dreadnaught and the ship of Sajuuk. We need to get into the Ark and get out of the system with the Ark.”
“And we expect that to work?” Gursal smiled with a smirk.
“The inhibitors can be disabled if we knew how. And the only way to know how is to get in there and find out ourselves.” Radal said with a firm voice. “It’s not much but—-“
“It’s hopeful, I know,” Gursal said, smiling, his mouth munching on some snack. “The uncertainty, that’s the fun of it.”
Radal laughed. “I guess you know the whole gist of it. But as usual, we do have a backup plan. We will set a probe inside this system. After seven days, the probe will send out an encrypted transmission to the Hiigaran fleet, telling them who we are, what we sent out to do, where we might be and what they must do. Kind of a distress signal if you wish. If you have any messages you will like to leave with your friends, family and loved ones back home, I suggest to prepare it and we will leave it inside the probe for someone to find it.”
“We got 12 hours. We will attempt the crossover jump to the Malkuth system in 0900. Any questions?”
It was around 0700 hours, two hours before the jump. Iisha stared out the window from the canteen of the Naasha, her eyes and mind lost to the stars and the nebulae.
Radal walked and sat next to her. “Anything wrong, my dear daughter?”
“Strangely enough, father, nothing,” she said smiling. “I’m not scared of the Movers, the Dogs, the Keepers or whatever you name it. I’m not scared of what is out there. It feels like, you know, that I was meant to come here. Call it an inner peace. Feels like coming to a home you never knew.”
Radal laughed. “Probably cellular or fetal memory. You were born when that science ship, the Daisan, reached Hiigaran space. So you were probably concieved well before that, while me and your mother was still in the Tarim sector. Your unconsciousness could be linked to this sector just as my trauma is. You know this is not just finding the ship, this is about settling some old issues with me.”
“I know father, but I’m glad that I came along, and that you let me.” Iisha leaned against his arm.
“We did need a translator badly, and we are going to need one very soon if we find the Ark, and try to get it running,” Radal said, his arm around her shoulder. “Take it easy my dear, soon, we have a load of work ahead of us.”
Aboard the Naasha, Taal-Shiia System, Tarim Sector
The Naasha fell out of hyperspace and reappeared in normal space time. “We’re here,” Radal said. “I can feel it.”
“Our sensors show that our hyperspace jump was interrupted by the inhibitor field in precisely the spot we predicted,” Mani said.
“This is it,” Iisha announced as she tampered the keys on her panel. “We’re in the middle of a derelict field. Going to visuals, on screen.”
“By Sajuuk’s name!” Radal shouted, as the towering derelicts dwarfed the ship and blocked the view of the starfields and the sun shining through a reddish accretion disk full of gases, left over pre-solar system material and asteroids. Gursal, Banaan and Mani were equally as speechless, their eyes transfixed on the screen.
“I’ve never seen anything like this…” Gursal said. “It’s all junk…but glorious junk!” Pieces of ships, big and small, all around them. The scanners cannot identify the forms, from complete hulls to just fragments of hulls.
“I missed going to the Karos Graveyard. I wasn’t in the Pride of Hiigara when it happened,” Banaan said. “I guess this makes up for it.”
Iisha smiled, her mouth open, speechless for a long moment. This was all what she had dreamed of. What she has read and studied countless times before, were now real objects in front of her eyes. All that wealth of information, all the things one could learn, all the things from the past that can change what everyone knew, and may even change the future. One can stay here forever and study all the secrets the graveyard has to reveal. Her thoughts were interrupted by the flashing on the display of her console.
“That’s not the only things our sensors are showing,” Iisha said. “Look at the screens.”
“By Sajuuk’s name, Vaygr ships!” Gursal screamed, as the magnifications revealed Assault Craft in formation patrol. Larger blips in the screen revealed capital sized ships emerging from the dust clouds. Radar cross section determination scans indicated the ships were at least carriers, followed by an indeterminate number of destroyers, frigates, and at least two Battle Cruisers. “Looks like we got an entire fleet here, capital ships, with at least a few carriers and Battle Cruisers involved.”
“Looks like we’re not the only ones who found the derelicts. What are they doing here?” Radal shouted, running to his chair. “Cloak now!”
“Already,” Gursal affirmed.
“Passive scans mode,” Radal ordered.
“Already sir,” Iisha said. “And we got the Vaygr visually identified. The formations belong to the Crescent Crusade.”
“Same Vaygr faction we encountered from a few systems back,” Radal said. “Give us some distance away from them.”
“Already,” Gursal said. “Cloak on and full steam backward.
“We got something else coming out sir,” Iisha said. “Putting it on screen.”
“By all what is holy, it is the Vaygr Command Carrier,” Radal exclaimed. “Give us more distance, away from the scanners of that thing.”
The Command Carrier emerged slowly from the derelicts and the cloud belt. It’s flat shape and beige colors made it appear well camouflaged among the derelicts, much like a Tigris-Sha, a predator in Hiigara that takes the shape and color of fallen plants and leaves, only to ensnare unsuspecting prey with its huge jaw gaping mouth and lightning fast tongue. Around the Command Carrier, a beast as big as a Hiigaran Shipyard, were smaller ships—frigates and strike craft, that tended to the beast like children to its mother.
Radal’s heart raced. He didn’t expect encountering the Vaygr in the graveyard, not with a force like this. The entire plan goes awry at this point, if the Vaygr can recover the Ark first, and by all under the hands of Sajuuk, the Vaygr could acquire a ship, a weapon that would open up the power balance between them and the Hiigarans, and give them a major power and technology advantage. And what chance did the Naasha have? One antiquated and converted former Raider ship against the might of an entire Vaygr Crusade, one considered to be among the most blood thirstiest and with a major attitude problem.
“Multiple inbound!” Iisha warned.
“The Vaygr?” Radal asked.
“No, something else,” Iisha said, her eyes staring in the bleeps of her screen. “On screen, magnification on.”
Amidst the Derelicts, something moved. It moved much like the tiny desert reptiles in Hiigara’s deserts, popping its head to check the air and environment, popping back to its lair, then coming out again with more of its brethren. Then one came out, followed by another, in cautious, quick movements. Radal have seen them before, and he didn’t like what he saw.
“Movers!” he shouted.
Iisha’s screens began to light up. The scans quickly took the camera to another part of the debris field where behind the Movers, something else stirred. Like the Movers, one of them popped up, hid back, then popped out again with more of their number. These ones were larger, frigate class compared to the Mover’s corvette like sizes. They had two large gaping jaws, like clamps ready to grab their prey.
“Dogs. Junkyard Dogs,” Radal said.
“We got more hyperspace signatures coming in around the flanks of the Vaygr fleet, destroyer sized ships at least!” Gursal shouted with excitement. It had a long shape, with a head, and a wing on each side, a slight resemblance to a predatory water creature living in Hiigaran seas. As quickly as the larger ships emerged, they began spewing out drones.
“The Keepers don’t look too happy with a major Vagyr Crusade in their laps, I suppose,” Radal added.
Aboard the Command Carrier Ashkan, Taal-Shiia System, Tarim Sector
Mogaden shuffed his cape aside. This operation was several months in preparation, with all ships radiation shielded against derelict radioactivity. He had studied Makaan’s recovery operation before, when a Vaygr fleet under his command managed to defeat the ancient guardian ships to recover the Third Core. Makaan went on with another similar operation that recovered three Planet Killers and the discovery eventually led to an even bigger discovery, the derelict field that held the Tartarus and the World or Planet Destroyers, variants of ships similar but possessing weapons different from the Planet Killers. Collectively the Vaygr called the five armed ships, the Shivakan, the Destroyers of Worlds. There, the Nameless One made Makaan, Khar of all Vaygr, revealing technologies that greatly advanced the cause of the Vaygr.
An operation like this would no doubt give Mogaden power as great as Makaan, give better favor with the Nameless Ones, and make him the new Khar of Vaygr once Taklan’s incompetence was demonstrated. With the Ark recovered and under his command, once all of the Vagyr reaches were consolidated, the next phase would be to complete Makaan’s dream of conquest of the Inner Rim.
But for now, a growing derelict fleet stands between him and his dream.
“Call all Assault and Heavy Missile Frigates to surround the Command Carrier,” Mogaden ordered. “All Transport Frigates to repair any damage. Launch all Lance Fighters, Command, Missile and Laser Corvettes.” Mogaden expected that the main brunt of the opposition would be in the corvette level. “Battle Cruisers and Destroyers advance in Delta formation to protect the Carriers. Get the Shipyard Ogadai to fall behind the defensive line. ”
The Carriers began dropping Gun and Missile Platforms, as well as old style Gravwell generators. Minelayer Corvettes began making mine screens around the platforms and carriers. A defensive line formed around the basis of the platforms, gravwells and mines.
The Movers rushed towards the line. Mogaden grit his teeth as the Gun and Missile Platforms fired. White trails of missiles laced towards the Mover formations, detonating in the midst. The Gun platforms raked the first wave of Movers with the fury of their automatic kinetic cannons. Mines rushed towards the Movers, and exploded against their formations, taking out sometimes not just one but two of the Movers in one grand fireball.
The first wave of Movers were decimated against defensive line. Mogaden eyed the formations from the bridge of the Ashkan. A second wave of Movers approached the defensive line.
“We have a third wave of Movers approaching the rear, with a fourth wave of Dogs on our left flank,” Jinggai warned.
The captain of the Ashkan, Ugadan, commanded that Lance Fighters be launched to engage flanking forces. Mogaden nodded in approval. “Launch 4th, 5th and 8th Lance Fighter Squadrons,” Ugadan commanded.
“Defensive line being breached!” Jinggai suddenly shouted. “The second wave of Movers are penetrating the defense line.”
Mogaden suddenly looked worried and cast his eyes on the screen. “How can it be? How can the platforms be breached so fast?” The Movers tore through the Platforms with astonishing speed, their kinetic autocannons blazing as they zipped through the line.”
“Launch everything that flies!” Mogaden ordered in desperation, his hands slamming down at the panel. “Assault Craft, Bombers, Scouts, everything and defend this ship! Defend your Crusade. Defend your Il-Khar!”
A Gun Platform raked a Mover in half with a stream of cannon fire, and in turn, another Mover blew it with its kinetic autocannons. A flight of five Lance Fighters descended on a hapless Mover. The flight leader had the Mover on its sights. “Fire” he shouted as he squeezed the trigger. Altogether, the Lance Fightes shot their short laser beams at the Mover, vaporizing its shell armor, cutting and burning into the structure beneath. Smoke, then flames erupted inside the Mover and in a split second later, the Mover exploded.
But even as the second wave of Movers took casualties, a third wave approached, supported with Dogs. As the Movers breeched the Platform line, the Assault and Missile frigs loosed their cannons and missiles taking numbers of the Movers out. But quickly behind the Movers were Junkyard Dogs that grabbed the frigates, towing them helplessly into space.
The guns of an Assault Frigate blew one Mover, then a missile launch struck another. But it was too late to stop the approaching Dog who rammed the frigate across its flanks with its twin gaping jaws. The jaws bit into the armor as the frigate tried to escape from its grasp. The crews screamed as the frigate shook like a helpless toy, its power systems disabled, as the Dog hauled it away.
“Turn it off!” Mogaden shouted at the comlinks, full of screaming cries of Vaygr crew helpless against the tow of the Dogs.
As the Mover waves merged, the battle became a free for fall. The Lance Fighters and Laser Corvettes took their toll off the Movers, and so did the Missile Corvettes and Assault Craft. Bombers tried to bomb the Dogs in a vain attempt to rescue their frigate hostages. The Vaygr has long before figured out a flaw in the Dog’s armor and shielding, and knowledge of this flaw helped Makaan in the recovery of the Third Core. A flight of Bombers dived toward a Dog holding an Assault Frigate with its jaws. The Bombers fired their Plasma Bombs, broke to the dive, and turned six. The Dog erupted in an explosion.
And yet they kept on coming, the Mover automatons answering only to a Hive mind. A flight of Laser Corvettes burned a Mover as it approached their twelve, only to fall against a flight of Movers diving at their six. Small explosions marked the demise of one…two…three Assault Craft as two Movers dived head on, guns blazing. A Transport Frigate exploded as two flights of Movers concentrated their fire on it before breaking away in opposite directions.
“We’re being surrounded!” Ugadan shouted. “Keeper formations have hyper spaced both in the top and below us. They are launching drones against us!”
“All Battlecruisers, Destroyers, open fire against the Keepers,” Mogaden ordered, drawing his ceremonial sword from its sheath and waved it at the image of his enemy. “We will not be stopped in our quest! For the glory of all Vaygr!” The communication officer affirmed the order and transmitted it right away.
“Glory be for the Il-Khar, for the Crescent, for all Vaygr,” the crew shouted in unison, as the ship rocked with explosions and death all around them.
Ugadan glimpsed at the multiple dots on the screen, indicating numerous incoming bogies. “We got a swarm of Keeper Drones heading to this carrier! Point Defense cannons, concentrate on the Drones,” Ugadan ordered, his hands shaking in desperation as the shells began to detonate against the armor of the Command Carrier.
A Vaygr Battle Cruiser aimed its bow at a Keeper, its Trinity cannons slugging away, tearing huge gaping holes in the ancient ship. Another Keeper succumbed into a ball of white fire under the focused fire of a line of Destroyers and a Battle Cruiser. As automatons, the Progenitor robots were not keen in tactics, but appeared content to overwhelm their enemy in waves of sheer numbers. But the price on the Vaygr was heavy. Two Keepers fired ion beams vaporizing the middle part of a Vaygr Destroyer in half. Missile launched off the ports of the Destroyers slammed against an onrushing Dog, and then another Dog. A Heavy Missile Frigate was sliced in half by a Keeper’s beams, while slugs from another Keeper smashed against the hull of a Vaygr Carrier, tearing great holes through its armor. Pieces of metal and bodies were sucked out into the vacuum as fire raged inside the hull.
Aboard the Naasha, Taal-Shiia System, Tarim Sector
Radal watched the battle scene from afar, as all eyes in the bridge crew gazed on the screens, transfixed at the epic battle. The Vaygr fought valiantly, holding their ground, but the Progenitor automatons just kept coming in an endless horde.
“They certainly have the guts,” Gursal wondered. “But not the smarts. Do they honestly think they can better the power and might of the Progenitors, even it was just their ghosts?”
A strong white flash, stronger than most indicated a large capital ship has met its doom. It has to be at least a Destroyer sized ship, but no way to tell if it was a Keeper or a Vaygr ship. An even stronger white flash indicated the end for a bigger capital ship.
“That has to be one of the Vaygr Battle Cruisers,” Gursal said.
“They’re all going to die, I know it, I can feel it,” Iisha said. “Thousands of people dying, just like that. Even if they’re Vaygr, they’re still people.” She broke out in tears.
Radal placed his hand on her shoulder. Iisha looked at him and his sorrowful eyes, and she knew, he had felt like this many times before throughout his life. But it was only the first time for her to see a battle in such a massive scale. The small skirmish involving the other Raider carrier was nothing compared to the death and destruction in this.
“There is nothing we can do but stay alive, Iisha. Don’t lose your attention, and stay focused.”
“Magnify view on the Command Carrier,” Radal ordered.
“Right away,” Iisha complied.
Radal dropped his jaw as the image on the screen sharpened. The giant Command Carrier was aflame in its entire length, its hull pocked with large holes. Smaller explosions dotted the space around the Command Carrier, signaling the death of a Vaygr Strike Craft, Mover or Drone.
“It’s not going to last long,” Gursal diagnosed. “Two of the Vaygr Carriers have already succumbed to the attack.”
Before Gursal can utter another word, the screen went totally blinding white. Radal shook from the surprise flash, but Gursal quickly regained his composure and studied his scans. “The Command Carrier—it just went…”
“Confirming destruction of the Command Carrier…” Iisha uttered, hands pressing a few buttons for scanning adjustment.
“That ship must have at least over ten thousand souls!” Radal uttered in horror. Then he recalled the destruction of his own ship, the Khontala, an Explorer class deep space mining ship the size and equal of the Kun-Laan, that had at least a few thousand souls inside. Half of the people have perished against fighting the Vaygr-Taiidan alliance at that time, the rest when the Khontala blew up in this same place.
“The Khontala….” Radal shouted, his eyes tearing, as the memories of his own ship’s destruction flooded his mind, made so vivid, so alive now, fresh as it happened just seconds ago.
Gursal placed his hand on Radal’s shoulder with a firm grip. “Are you okay, Captain?”
The calm and coolness in Gursal’s voice, and the word “Captain” broke Radal out of the trance of his own memories. He squeezed the bridge of his nose and uttered. “Yes, I’m alright now. Just remembering all of a sudden, how my own ship was lost…so many souls in that one…just like this Vaygr ship.”
“It’s all right now,” Gursal said. “The Khontala is all gone long ago, and all its souls have rested in peace.”
“Yes…except this one,” Radal said, as he fell to his chair.
Suddenly Iisha interrupted, her eyes on the screen. “We got hyperspace signatures…the survivors of the Vaygr fleet are leaving, hyper spacing out of the system.”
Gursal ran back to his console, and focused his scans. “From the size and shape of the signatures, it appears that one Shipyard, two Carriers, one Battle Cruiser and two Destroyers made it out alive, plus a few Transport Frigates. The Vaygr strike craft fleet is still fighting, and without carriers and logistics, they will go down to the bitter end.”
Radal sighed. The odds were against them. An entire Vaygr Crusade fleet was stopped dead on its tracks, and they have only one old beat up carrier to do the impossible—to recover the Ark.
Iisha walked to her father and stood beside him. “You can’t blame the Progenitor Hive mind. They were there to protect the derelicts. We–and the Vaygr—were but the intruders to their peaceful domain.” She held out her hand and his father held her left with his right.
“I know,” he answered. “But now we have a more pressing problem.”
Adrift, Radal and the bridge crew carefully observed the Movers and the Dogs mop up the battle and started to retrieve the pieces of broken and destroyed ships.
“The Movers are resourcing, gathering all the remnants to recycle them, and build more Movers,” Iisha said. “The remnants of the large ships will probably be left there, like a warning to those who enter this domain, or a trophy if you will…”
“…Oh no…something is happening…” Iisha said. “I think we’re being scanned.”
Gursal rushed to his console and affirmed what Iisha observed. “We are being scanned by scouts.”
“Impossible, we got our cloak generators on!” Radal said.
“Apparently, the Keepers have found a way to scan through our current cloaking technology,” Mani said, checking the status of the ship’s cloaking systems. “We’re in maximum and we’re still being detected.
“Movers and Dogs incoming!” Gursal shouted. “Battle stations! Cruise Missiles, Swarmer Drones, ready for launch. Flak Cannons, ready!”
“No wait!” Radal said, staring at the screens with its images of the Dogs and Movers heading their way. “I sense something. Useless to fight. Our improvised weapons would all be but pitiful for them.”
Gursal answered. “Then what are we going to do? Wait here and get eaten up by their Dogs? They probably recycle the Vaygr corpses for their use, like in some kind of nutritional vat or something. If we’re going to go down, let us all go down in glory and fighting, like the Vaygr!”
Iisha ran up to Gursal, and placed her hand. “No, please! They will not harm us!”
“What makes you think you’re so sure?” Gursal snapped back.
“No they won’t—I can feel it…” Iisha responded.
“Like father, like daughter…I can feel this… What is happening to all of you?” Gursal asked.
“Please believe us, do not shoot at them. They will mean us no harm…” Iisha said. “I know, I can sense this…”
Gursal pushed Iisha aside. “I have enough of this nonsense. Mani, Banaan, are you both with me, maybe we should all go down fighting… You saw what they did to the Vaygr out there, and to the Khontala years before. We know what happened when the Pride of Hiigara entered the Karos Graveyard, and the original Mothership a hundred years before? These machines will give no quarter.”
Radal placed a firm hand of Gursal’s back. “My friend, we have been through this for a long time. Just listen to me and trust me. This will be different. Do not fire, do not give any sign or intent to the Keepers that we are hostile. They will not attack us. It’s like something is telling me…”
Iisha nodded. “I can sense it too…Something wonderful is about to happen…” On the screen, came the sight of a Dog with its twin gaping jaws ever coming to the Naasha..
Gursal backed down, his shoulders and arms relaxed. “You’re all nuts. It’s hopeless anyway, I guess we have to try it your way. Nothing to lose here but except what is already lost. Hang on…” Gursal closed one eye.
The ship shuddered as the Junkyard Dog grasped at the hull, the jaws sending aching echoes across the Naasha’s old frame.