Soul of the Progenitors
A Homeworld Fanfiction
Originally posted November 2, 2004 – 11:51PM
“When the fires ebb,”
“the Cosmic Winds scattered,”
“Legions of our Souls,”
“across the Great Disk,”
“across the Vast Divine,”
“to sleep and be forgotten”
“until the Deliverer will call us”
“then We shall awaken”
“in a mighty Host”
“to rejoin the Light”
“to sing the Song”
“to bring the Message”
“to stand in the mighty Doorway,”
“and lead us from,”
“this Great Disk to the next”
—Source Unknown, a fragment from a collection of poems called the Hymns of Harbala, collected by the Bentusi in all their travels.
Aboard the Sajuuk, Teritia System, Omud Sector
Each dream has become stronger, more vivid. For tonight, Karan slept, and there she dreamt of him. Again.
The grass rustled in the wind. The sky was blue, and the white clouds slowly moved across the sky. The warm sunlight fell against Karan’s face.
It was impossible. She was free. In her own body, without the wires, tube and all that bound her to the machine, clothed only in the whitest and most delicate of silks. This was her body, when she was but a teen, in the bridge of youth and adulthood. Her skin was light, faint and soft, like a child’s. And her hair, she has a full head of her long hair, flying in the breeze. Free once again.
There he stood, watching over her, a tall imposing figure in a monk’s robe. The hood over his head concealed his eyes, the shadows over half his face. Immediately she knew who he was, but not why he was here.
She knelt before him and kowtowed. “O, Holy Sajuuk,” she called his name.
“My child, Karan, please stand up, and walk with me. Call me by my simple name.” He extended his hand.
Over the green moist grass they walked. Past the many trees and their fruits, across the gardens with their fresh colorful flowers. From the distance lay the snow capped mountains, and not far, lay a fresh stream, its water so clear.
“You miss being one in a body of life,” Sajuuk said. “The body bound to a mortal.”
“Yes,” Karan answered. “Very much so.”
“When you are Bound, there is the freedom of life. When you are Unbound, there is the chains of immortality.” Sajuuk watched the winged creatures fly in the sky. “This is a hard choice. The choice between an eternal flame, and that of a momentary flicker.”
“It wasn’t a choice. It was a duty,” she answered. “The duty to save my people. It was my sacrifice.”
“And so you did, my child, and so you did.” Sajuuk stared at the sky. “Which is why you were bequeathed with my power.”
“But that is not what you call me for.” Karan stared at the blue sky with him.
He turned his gaze back to her. “No, that is not what I called you for. I called to warn you. To warn you that Awakening is nearly upon us.”
“The Awakening? What is the Awakening?” She bent her head down, to answer in humility.
Sajuuk laughed, and answered with a smile. “Something most wonderful, my child. Wonderful indeed.”
“So what brought forth this Awakening? Isn’t the End Times have come and past?” Karan asked.
“What happened is only a precursor. Who has the temerity to call it the “End”?” Sajuuk smiled. “It seemed most inappropriate, far too tragic for a most joyous event. The Beginning is more like it, a new Beginning for the both of us, for all of us.”
“The chain of events that would lead to this event had already started. It is part of destiny. It is unstoppable.” Sajuuk clasped his hands in prayer. “Soon we will all sing once again.”
“When you will see it, you will recognize it. You will not stop it. Do not fight it. Let it flow. Let it be. Be witness to all the forces that shapes what is.”
“Come, child,” He extended his arm out. “Let us enjoy the view while it lasts.”
Ardishapur Command Station, Arnar System, Tarim Sector
Taklan gazed at the space through the massive windows of the lounge section, his face fixed in an angered frown. In front of the station, the remnants of Mogaden’s fleet came to roost and among the huge but battered Vaygr Shipyard Ogadai. The Shipyard was close enough to the base for Taklan to see its numerous battle scars, the singe marks of ion beams that burned through the ablative armor arrays, and in parts of the ship, Taklan could observe the exposed bare structure underneath.
“How many casualties?” Taklan asked Captain Agripas of the Red Crusade Mothership Batu.
Agripas replied. “According to early reports, more than fourteen thousand souls from an armada of over three hundred ships were lost.”
“Three hundred ships!” Taklan’s face turned to agitation. “ That is more than half the full strength of the Crescent Crusade. That’s over one hundred ships more than our exploratory expeditionary force, and two hundred ships over the size of Makaan’s fleet when he recovered the third Hypespace Core in the Kharum sector in the Eastern Fringe from the Keepers.”
“If Mogaden was still alive, I would have arrested and executed him for treason! He should have waited for my orders. What was he trying to do, to grab the artifact himself?”
Agripas turned around and said. “Think of it, Vaygr-Khar, if you have gone with Mogaden, there is a possibility that it would be our fleet that would have been destroyed, and it would be you that would have his life. Whatever the Crescent Crusade encountered was a Keeper force far more powerful than we have anticipated, for that matter, Mogaden had anticipated. This twist of fate could only have been a message and a blessing from the Gods. Think of it the Gods have blessed you to live, and have arranged this strange turn of events. Mogaden paid for his pride and arrogance; his intransigence caused this unmitigated disaster. But all this meant he died in our place, and gave us vital time, and knowledge to prepare for the operation.”
Taklan grimly smiled from the corner of his mouth, satisfied with Agripas’ strange explanation. Indeed the Gods have favored him to have arranged this strange turn of events, and he will be prepared, unlike Mogaden, who through his arrogance, became fatally careless.
The commander of the Ardishapur station, Captain Merak, entered and knelt before Taklan. “Hail Vaygr-Khar!” He saluted with a crisp movement from his chest.
Taklan faced the kneeling Captain Merak. “What is the name of the Captain of the Ogadai?”
“Captain Zharim, born of the Urnal system. His forebears were of the nobel Jaran line.” Merak replied humbly with his head down on the floor, daring not to stare into the angry Vaygr-Khar’s face.
Taklan sniffed and took a deep breath. “Put him under house arrest and interrogate him thoroughly. I want every detail of the battle stripped and milked out of his mind.”
He then turned to Agripas. “Captain, have we obtained the coordinates of the Taal-Shia system from the survivors?”
“Good, Captain. I want a new battle fleet assembled. I want every ship within this sector assembled in this system. I want every survivor of that ill fated venture to be repaired and integrated into my battle fleet immediately, including the Ogadai.. Have her First Officer promoted to Captain on my orders.”
“Yes, sir. But sir on another matter,” Merak interjected. “Our Crusade lacks a leader. Our laws dictate that an Il-Khar must be chosen through the Trials of Succession.”
“Details…details,” Taklan said. “Your Crescent Crusade will have its Trials of Succession and a new Il-Khar in due time. But now, I, your Vaygr-Khar, will take direct command of your Crusade in the name of all Vaygr. When our objectives have been met, and the artifact recovered, your Crusade will have its trials and I will personally assure you of that. But in the meantime, we must prepare for battle. We have twenty four hours before we will depart.”
Agripas stared in surprise. “Twenty four hours? That is not enough time for reinforcements from the other Crusades to arrive, Vaygr-Khar. What gain do we have from haste? We need numbers and every possible ship before we can execute this thoroughly.”
Taklan hushed him. “Numbers? We are Vaygr. We do not need numbers. Courage, and tactics, that is all what we need. Haste? The great Ark is within our grasp. Greatness and fate awaits no one, and not the least, the timid. Hush and proceed with our work.”
“Hail the Vaygr-Khar!” said Merak and Agripas in unison.
Aboard the Ark of Geddon, Taal-Shiar System, Tarim Sector
Two large doors ahead of them, at the end of the passageway, and the opening to—Radal wondered what could lay ahead. Each door was framed by an enormous figure in robes, his or her hands clasped in prayer, heads pointed down in filial supplication. Radal wondered what and to whom they were praying for.
Behind them, the crowd of Keeper robots kept following them, but maintaining a respectful distance. The robots seemed both afraid of them, and yet quite curious, if not alarmed. For now, they appeared harmless, but Gursal kept his alertness for any signs of trouble. Not that Gursal could expect to fend them off with his guns.
Already Iisha was ahead, deciphering the inscriptions. “It all ends here.” With her fingertips, she followed every curve and notch of the wording. “Before they could implement their final program, they were attacked, and things ended in one final battle.”
Just like my dream… Iisha paused underneath the praying figure. The words now have a cryptic meaning, taking some time to digest their contents. Her hands probed the notches of the door. Then something responded to her touch…
The doors became alive with lights, and started to turn inward like inviting them to come in. Radal shouted to caution them, but Iisha went inside anyway.
There were inscriptions in the floor, and on the tall ceiling above them, which was probably at least five stories high. There was a long passage way ahead of them, leading to something. As they entered, Iisha was already several steps ahead of them, fearless of what lay ahead, overwhelmed with curiosity and the wonder of reading the inscriptions. Still behind them, the pack of Keeper robots followed, ever cautious but curious.
Then the lights came, as if switched on by their very presence. The walls came to life.
“Oh by Sajuuk’s name,” Radal gasped as he turned and stared around him.. Both Mani and Banaan watched with eyes in disbelief.
“Didn’t you say this was supposed to be a warship?” Gursal gazed spellbound at the lighted walls and took a step back. “This is not a warship. It is a giant flying crypt.”
Wall to wall, from the top the bottom, occupying every inch of the five stories height, lay what seemed like endless rows of transparent cubicles, each with a phosphorescent green light. Inside each cubicle, lay a body. Each corpse had long been dried, mummified in the ages.
“Dead?” Banaan asked a silly question, but there was no doubt from his shaking that he was absolutely terrified.
“Of course,” Mani replied, calm and rational, his mind already pondering for scientific explanations. “Calm down. They’re not going to rise up and bite you.”
Gursal turned around and stared at the rows of mummies in glass cases. “This is getting too creepy.”
“What is this about?” Radal asked Iisha, already several steps ahead of them, studying more of the inscriptions and at the mummies themselves.
“The Ark…this is the Ark. It is not a warship, or just a mothership or massive command carrier. It is the ship of the dead, to deliver all the bodies and souls of the Progenitors…somewhere…”
Iisha gazed at the symbols right at her feet. “These symbols, these are the same as in the Gate of Karnak. The Ark was meant to fly through the Gate. This is what it meant to be the Deliverer.”
She began reading from the inscriptions, which were laid like a verse, or a hymn to a song.
“When the fires end,”
“When our bodies found rest,.”
“When the Winds scattered our Souls
“across this great Disk…”
“To live and be reborn again…”
“Many times, among the many..”
“To be witness to the Mission,”
“To sing the Song once more,”
“When there was once darkness,”
“There will only be Light,”
“The Word eternal,”
“We will never die,”
“Our Mission will never end,”
“When the Eye has awakened,”
“When the Doors have opened,”
“When the Light has shown”
“Across the great Disk”
“From end to end,”
“Our Mission has passed,”
“The Deliverer will claim us,”
“Pass the Gate of Saints,”
“And bring us from one Disk,”
“onto the next.”
“And the Mission will once again,”
“a cycle eternal,”
Mani listened to the lyrics, which Iisha recited almost like a song. “Interesting. The verses, or as I should say, hymns, is that of a prophecy? Prophecies whose steps may already have been fulfilled.”
“The Eye in the hymn. That would be the Eye of Arran. It has been awakened. The Doorways—it means the giant network of gates that has been opened, and with it, the light of civilization across the Galaxy. The Disk—it can only mean the Galaxy. And the next Disk.”
“The Gate of Karnak is the gateway to another Galaxy. That is why it cannot be opened. It was never part of the local network. It is part of a giant network of Gates that connect through the Galaxies. It is through this Gate that the Progenitors came to this Galaxy.”
“And by the prophecy of these hymns, they plan to leave it.”
“To continue this Mission of theirs?” Radal replied.
“Yes,” Mani continued. “Their mission to spread civilization and order across the Universe. That is how They worship the Divine. A race of angels, as you might say—shaping things with Their Hand and so it says. To us and all the younger races of the Galaxy, they appeared like Gods, like Sajuuk.”
“When we have finally reached a supreme state of evolution, then it is time to leave. That state of evolution is heralded in the opening of the Eye and the Gates.”
“But we’re not completely evolved yet, not as an entire Galaxy,” Radal questioned. “There is still the Vaygr, and all the wars we had to fight.”
“Tell it to them.” Mani pointed to the mummies. “I don’t think they are in any state to listen.”
“Come back!” Radal shouted as he noticed that Iisha was getting carried away following the inscriptions.
“I’m all right.” Iisha shouted back. “Don’t worry. We got the ball rolling here.” She was fervently following the hymns when she struck something.
She looked up, and there was a giant opening, an arch, formed by two arms outstretched. In the center of the arch was a figure, with a beautiful serene face, the same face as the mural of the priestess in the passageway. She gazed at the figure. “This must be Geddon.”
She shouted back to those behind her. “Father, I think I have reached the control room or the bridge of the Ark. This is the cubicle of Geddon herself.”
“Great!” Radal shouted. “Be careful and wait for us! It looks like we can finally get this ship running in our control.” He was reminded of his original mission and plan, not of the strange mumbo jumbo he has seen across his path. The Ark will be recovered for Somtaaw, for Hiigara. He will be famous, very rich, and best of all, at peace with whatever driving him to come to this place.
Then he stopped, his mouth open, for a moment there, staring at the face of his daughter, and the face of the figure on top of the arch.
There was an uncanny resemblance between the two of them. It can’t be, he thought. Then his mind remembered long ago, before Iisha was born, when he was alone in the Daisan, along with his wife Naasha. There for the first time, he saw this derelict monolith that was to be the Ark, the sudden pain Naasha felt, and the words of the Keeper that left them free to return. “When the time comes, you must return the Key to us.”
When the time comes, you must return the Key to us.
Who was the Key? Was it Iisha herself? Was that what the Keeper meant? Nine months later, Iisha was born. Was that a coincidence? Did the Keeper plant something in the womb of his wife that would turn out to be his daughter?
Then Iisha, she had that uncanny ability to learn the Progenitor language and scripture. And he himself, Radal Somtaaw, was driven mentally and subconsciously, to return back to this place, to the Ark.
These were all meant to be… It wasn’t him being driven to recover the Ark, but the thread of destiny around the Ark that led him and Iisha back to this place. It was all destined to be, part of an irrevocable plan, of which they were all but pawns
He looked at the face of the figure once more. …the face that looked so much like my Iisha’s…
“Iisha,” he shouted, his voice changed from joy to utmost fear. “Get back! Get back! I tell you.”
She smiled happily, like she was never this happy in all her life. “Look it is okay, this is all wonderful. We did it, father!” Then she turned around and entered the room.
“No!!!” Radal screamed, tears running out of his eyes, his arms outstretched to want her back. I cannot lose her…I will not lose her.
Then he heard Iisha’s horrifying scream, and the entire room, the walls, the passageways, exploded with the brightest light.
Aboard the Torushan science ship, The Gate of Karnak, Harados System, Kalkuth Sector
Mahid S’jet ordered the Torushan science ship maintained an orbit around forty klicks of the humongous Gate, by far the biggest in the now active gate network. The origins of the Gate was unknown. It’s purpose was unknown. It’s composition was unknown. So was the way it worked, how it could be activated, who built it, who was behind it, and what cause.
There were inscriptions around the Gate which they could barely decipher. Most of the results were photographed and video recorded, then relayed back to Hiigara to be studied by the Institute. Only some vague and general data was replied. The Gate’s age and composition could not be penetrated and refused to be analyzed using all current scientific techniques. They only can hypothesize that the Gate was perhaps at least many millennia old, or even in the millions of years, preluding most early known star faring civilizations, and most probably connected with the Progenitor race. As far as they know, the Gate was an entrance to somewhere. Something may have come out of it, but what.
The Gate, like a huge golden ring, had lay dormant without a detectable energy signature. Which made his Science officer’s comment a big surprise.
“Captain Mahid, I think we have detected an energy spike in the gate.”
“That is impossible, Lieutenant Tulan. That thing has no energy recordings since we discovered it.”
“I assure you Captain, I am not kidding.” Tulan appeared anxious, if not excited or troubled. “The gate is now showing an energy signature.”
Mahid glanced over Tulan’s shoulder to scan the monitors and study the readings. Indeed, there were wave spikes suggestive of energy active. Then Mahid watched the curves go up the scale.
“This can’t be. This thing is long dead. Where is it getting its energy from? What ignited this? What triggered this?”
Tulan only had a puzzled look to reply. “I don’t know.”
“Then record everything. Contact the Institute! Contact the flagship!” Mahid watched agape at the screens, as the Gate began slowly turning, its inscriptions lighted by an inner fire, and like an ancient giant watch, the elaborate mechanisms began moving in ways and reasons they could not understand.
Aboard the Kariknan, Tanaam system, Otomid sector
As an old ship, the Kariknan was over one hundred twenty years old. When the keel of this Qwaar-Jet was new in the orbiting shipyard over the planet Saracen, Emperor Riesstiu IV still reigned over what was the glorious Taiidan empire. She was spared from destruction in the battle over Hiigara simply because she was too far to participate in it. Then she became a heavy cruiser in the service of left over Taiidan Imperialist factions, and then was captured by marines of a Taiidan Republican corp. There she served for the Republicans for the longest time, till her worlds she defended was run over by the Vaygr. Battered, she was captured by a Vaygr Infiltrator Frigate, and pressed into service with a combined crew from the Vaygr Shining Crusade and Taiidani converted to the Vaygr faith. In all her long, centennial career, her armaments and systems were upgraded constantly. The burn marks of a hundred battles and the paint labels of different owners in all her history, all layered over her aging but robust hull.
The old Qwaar-Jet was such a proven and tough design that the Vaygr allowed their Taidaini subjects to continue making it. These however, do not serve with the front lines and in the spearhead of the Vaygr Crusades but only serve with police and occupational forces that watch over the worlds and the systems the Vaygr has conquered. They were often crewed with older crews, Taiidani and other subjugated, converted or conquered subjects of the Vaygr, skilled enough to be useful, but not trustworthy to be put in the leading edge of a Vaygr Crusade. And at the same time, many elder Vaygr, subjects still loyal and worthy, but no longer having the youth to serve in a front line unit, were reassigned to these occupational police ships. As such, police ships, like old Taiidani Qwaar-Jets, hardly ever saw front line combat against the Hiigaran forces like their compatriots did decades ago.
And so, the Kariknan will serve its last days in uneventful patrol duty, quite a contrast to her young days, and crewed by subject races and elder, deemed nearly useless old Vaygr warriors, content to see the sunset of their days in a ship fit more for the museum than front line service.
The Kariknan was patroling the Tanaam system, a peaceful but backwaters system, when It happened.
Her captain, Maraat Elsoum, woke up from a disturbed sleep. There was a strange serenity over him, and it seemed like a heavy cloud was lifted. He, like many of the crew, was a Taiidan converted to the Vaygr Faith. As a Converted, he was eligible to serve in military service, but lacking the True Blood of a Vaygr, he could not be used in the front lines of a Vaygr Crusade. Most of the action he had with Kariknan was far and between, mostly against pirate forces and insurrections from heretics and disbelievers. He was content with his position, content that he would be at least alive, although far from heroic or glorious.
This day, was special. He looked over to the mirror and began donning his ceremonial uniform. He rarely wore this uniform, only in occasions, but today, it deserved to be worn. As he tightened his buttons, he glanced at the serene smile of his face in the mirror.
He was elated, for now he has seen his place in this universe. He had awaken from a long sleep, from an unfortunate dream. This was the day, the first day he would truly live.
He was humming a hymn when he reached the bridge. When he reached there, everyone was there awaiting him, all in their best uniforms. Not just in the dress of the Taiidan, but also in the dress of the Vaygr, and the subject races of their dominion. His First Officer was there, Talas, and he too was in full regalia. Talas was an elderly Vaygr commander of the Shining Crusade, now assigned to this ship to live out the rest of his days. He was a great but noble warrior, the commander of a Vaygr missile destroyer, fighting only when necessary to fight, and never would he kill unnecessarily. Talas would have been a worthy captain of a Vaygr Battlecruiser, but his superiors taught he was a bit too merciful at t imes, too willing to pick up the survivors of both sides floating in space. Despite his record, he was passed over for promotion, his command taken over by a younger commander, and he was moved to this ship. Talas, strangely enough, was never bitter over being passed over; he took it philosophically, that his happiness was only to do his duty, to do what was right to his faith and conscience.
“Yes I felt it too. Everyone onboard this ship felt it.” Then Talas smiled, smiled in a way, Maraat has never seen a Vaygr smiled. It was a smile of serenity and ultimate peace, like one being settled in his place of destiny in this universe.
“Then all of us have been chosen. All of us have seen the Light,” Maraat said. He walked slowly to the front of the bridge to address his crew, whose eyes were transfixed on him.
Then he addressed him with a loud and booming voice, with an energy of belief and conviction he never felt for years.
“Today, we are no longer Taiidan. Today, we are no longer Vaygr, We are only one with the Universe, one with the Light, one with the Mission. The Word is eternal and it is with us all.”.
“Today, we have all awakened. The legions of souls across the galaxy hidden in every race, system and ship. We are all brought together into this ship by the fabric of destiny. We will meet others, in many ships, all of whom whose fates are intertwined and shared with us, reaching for the same goal. I come here to you as no accident. Talas came here into this ship, was no accident. Your coming into this ship was no accident. All this was long ago shaped by the hands of fate, written in the Word.”
“We will now embark in a great journey to the one Gate, the Gate that will open us from this life, from this galaxy, to the next. There we will meet many others, all whom have awakened just like us. It is our fate to meet the Deliverer of our souls, to open this Gate, to bring us beyond that we must continue our Mission.”
All of them smiled. Maraat stood in front of the bridge, the cosmos, the stars, the worlds and the nebulae in front of his eyes, and begun to sing in praise of wonder, something he never truly did in his entire life, and in a language he never understood or heard. Soon his hymns of prayer was joined by all the rest of his crew, and together they all sang, as the Kariknan, defying her patrol orders, hyper spaced to the next system.