Soul of the Progenitors
A Homeworld Fanfiction
Originally posted November 7, 2004 – 6:34AM
“When the End has come, all the souls of the Chosen, the Virtuous and the Worthy will be gathered in one mighty host, under the Great Opening. The Light will be shown upon them, and to the way that leads to Paradise.”
—ancient Taiidan proverb etched in the columns of the ruins of the Temple of Khemok, in the planet Isthys. It was etched in the classic Pre-Empire Taiidan hieroglyphic style. Age, source and author of the text is unknown.
Aboard the Khurak-Ak-Noor, Hiigaran Long Range Survey Ship, eight light minutes from the Karos Graveyard
That was all it took. Eight minutes, for the all the frequencies of the electromagnetic spectrumnals from the Karos Graveyard to touch upon the vast, receiving arrays of the Kurak-Ak-Noor, lying across half way of the solar system. Yet tachyon and gravitron emissions, all traveling in subspace, can be received almost instantaneously. Eight light minuetss was deemed the safe distance a science vessel like the Kurak-Ak-Noor can be deemed safe from the strange, automated denizens of the Graveyard, their Movers, Keepers, Dogs and Autoguns.
For millenia, those robots guarded the inscrutable secrets of the Graveyard. It was not until the Pride of Hiigara recovered the Dreadnaught did the Graveyard started to reveal its secrets. But reluctantly it gave them, as the automatons remained to guard zealously against all those who tried to grave rob or poach the site.
The Sajuuk-Khar, Karan-S’jet, declared the Graveyard, a Preserve under Hiigaran sovereignty. As so, by law, no ship will ever venture into the Shipyard, not just for its own safety and protection, but in fear that a technological discovery among the Progenitor wreckage could result in another weapon that could tip the balance of power in the Galaxy.
Instead, to continue to study and unlock the secrets of the Graveyard, a series of long range survey vessels were designed and built. They were based on the venerable and popular Science Ship class that dated back to the Clee-san nearly a hundred years ago, but with much larger scanning and receiving arrays. The equipment was of course, more sophisticated. The ship had the size of a large frigate, and it had no weapons. Every store and space on the ship was reserved for science, scanning, and survey equipment. Sporting like a large cannon, the ship also had a long range visual telescope.
Four ships were built under the auspices of the Kiithid S’jet, as most science vessels do. The four ships included the Khurak-Ak-Noor. Taking turns, they each orbited the Graveyard at a safe distance, keeping vigil over the Graveyard, watching and monitoring the place. Today, since last week, the Khurak-Ak-Noor was on station. Two ships were on dock for maintenance, and another sister ship was on recreational leave. The work of drudgery, for the time being, was the Kurak-Ak-Noor’s responsibility.
The drudgery ended that morning.
It all started happening in those eight minutes ago.
Heraal S’jet, the science officer on duty at that time, called up Captain Seraam S’jet from his deep slumber. Seran could still remember that annoying moment as he was forced to wake up what seemed to a most pleasurable dream, a dream that had been forgotten and would be impossible to continue.
“I am sorry, Captain, but you must see this.” Heraal pointed to the scanning information in the monitors. “We are seeing spikes in both tachyon and gravitron emissions beyond the normal gravitational and hyperspace inhibitor emissions used by the Keepers in the Graveyard.”
“The spikes are similar to hyperspace jump module signatures being powered up.”
Seraam stared at the data. “As of now, we have no knowledge whether the Keepers, Dogs and Movers have hyper space capability.”
“Sir, I think it’s not just the robots sir, but I think there maybe derelicts of Progenitor vessels that are in near operational condition that could hyperspace. Given the size of the spikes, I would say capital ship classes, sir, at least from the frigate size and up, including carrier, heavy cruiser and battle cruiser sizes.”
Seraam can’t help asked a stupid question. “No visual data?”
“Not until eight minutes later, sir.”
“Something is happening in the graveyard.” Seraam could only assume. “If Progenitor vessels are being resurrected, who could be piloting and crewing them? Do we have any vessels that entered the system in the last hour or so?”
“None sir, the system is all secure and we’re pretty much alone.”
“Curse this in Sajuuk’s name. That rules out foreign intervention. Heraal, how many spikes we got?”
“I don’t know sir, I have not tabulated. But so far we can be seeing, at least hundreds.”
“Hundreds, Heraal? If each spike correlates to a ship signature, that is the equivalent of an armada.”
“We need more definite data, sir.”
“Heraal, put all arrays into maximum focus. I’m going to cancel all sleep and call everyone into duty to monitor all emissions.”
“Yes, sir. All arrays in optimum alignment.”
Someone interrupted them. It was Bashal, the lieutenant in charge of communications.
“What is it, Bashal?” Seraam registered his annoyance and discomfort with a frown in his face. “Don’t you see we are very busy here? This is urgent.”
“Sir.” Bashal saluted. “I am overhearing this and I know what you are doing is extremely important and is an emergency, but you got to hear this. It is transmissions from the S’jet subspace science network, going on right now. It is from the Torushan.”
“The Torushan? Seraam remembered the Captain of that ship, Mahid S’jet. They went to the Academy together and saw service in the Battle of Hiigara against Makaan’s forces. Mahid was commanding an Ion Beam Frigate at that time, and Seraam was in a Torpedo Frigate, both ships under the Fleet S’jet command. “Isn’t the Torushan in the Kalkuth sector?”
“Yes sir, quite a distance from our position. Captain, you need to hear this.”
“Switch the coms on, Bashal.”
There was hissing, but the coms manage to filter and amplify the transmission to audible clarity. No doubt it was Mahid’s voice amidst the static. “….something is happening here. The Gate…the Gate of Karnak…we are receiving power transmissions all over the Gate. The Gate mechanisms…they are moving…we do not know for what purpose…we are requesting backup…anyone…the Gate has come to life…”
Seraam knew Mahid well. The guy was usually calm and collected, even under fire. Now there was excitement, and genuine fear, in his voice.
“When did this start happening?” Seraam asked Bashal.
“Just now, sir, at about the same time we begun receiving those spikes from the Graveyard.”
Seraam thought. Could this be a coincidence? No impossible. Both events are related somehow. Something must have triggered both, but what? Something is happening and we do not know what is it exactly.
It was Heraal’s voice, and he was shouting. “Sir! Sir! We got a whole series of hyperspace jump signatures!”
Seraam ran to the monitor, where in the dot that represented the Graveyard, there was a whole series of loud bleeps followed by purple projecting circles. Beep…Beep…Beep…
“How many vessels?”
“I don’t know sir. A lot, probably as many jump signatures as we have spikes.”
The scanner screen filled with radiating purple circles, each the signal of a single hyperspace jump.
“Lieutenant Bashal, set the coms both to S’jet science network and get me Hiigaran Central Fleet Command.”
“Yes, sir.” Bashal quickly fiddled with his panel settings. “Sir…sir…it looks like Hiigaran Central Fleet Command is out. We are hearing sir of strange unaccounted defections in the fleet. The Sajuuk is unreachable.”
“Curses!” Seraam slammed his fist on the table. The whole universe has suddenly gone to hell. “Then get me Fleet Command S’jet or any of the Fleet Commands.”
There was only more static in the channel. “Nothing sir…”
Seraam placed his hands over his head. “What is happening?” More purple circles beeped in the scanner screen.
“We have some live feed in the S’jet com network, Captain…sir…”
Seraam grabbed the microphone. “Is anyone out there? Do you hear me…this is observation veseel Khurak-Ak-Noor in the Karos system. I repeat, we have multiple jump signatures emanating from the Karos Graveyard. I repeat, we have multiple jump signatures emanating from the Karos Gravyard….Destination unknown…”
As quickly as the beeps happened, they began to gradually die down. Then silence, an eerie silence.
“Have they left the Graveyard?” Bashal asked from his station.
“It could be.” Heraal moved his deft fingers on the array positional controls to adjust.
“How long before we have visual confirmation, Heraal.”
“Maybe only a few minutes more, Captain. I wasn’t counting. Setting the telescope now.”
“Then we wait. In the meantime, Lieutenant Bashal, continue to broadcast our message in all fleet channels. We need to get a response.”
“Yes, sir!” Bashal quickly turned around. “Calling anyone in these channels. We have multiple hyperspace jump signatures emanating from the Karos Graveyard. I repeat , we have multiple jump signatures…”
All that happened eight minutes ago…
As Bashal continued to broadcast, Seraam gazed at the screens now set in visual mode.
“Just how much longer, Heraal, before we have visual confirmation?”
“Just about now, sir!”
Seraam quickly switched back his gaze to the screens as the light from the event finally and belatedly fell upon the lens and the retinal array of the telescope.
“There!” Heraal shouted. “Something is moving amidst the clouds.”
The Movers began to sneak out, followed by the Dogs. The Keepers emerged from the mists in formation, followed by even larger capital ships, some of whom Seraam recognized tagged and labeled as derelicts. There may be carriers, heavy cruisers and battleships. The Keepers and Movers must have kept the ships repaired, for all the millenia, for one purpose and for one event. Now something has awakened them and called them out.
“There goes Derelict number 314.” Heraal pointed to a heavy cruiser. “And that is Derelict Number 465.” Heraal pointed to a carrier. “See that frigate there? That has to be Derelict 287.”
“A whole cursed armada! By Sajuuk’s name, what are they doing?”
“Captain, I sincerely don’t know.”
He turned to Bashal. “Broadcast that we have visual confirmation. Progenitor fleet has hyperspaced out of the Karos system. And keep repeating that.”
“Aye, aye, sir!”
The fleet of derelicts assumed a long line formation, and more formed behind the first. Seraam counted at least five lines of unknown depth.
“Look, Captain, the Movers are docking into the carriers.”
“Yes, I can see that, Heraal, like they’re preparing for the jump.”
As the last of the Movers entered the carriers, the ships became covered with a purple glow, and a square hyperspace door appeared for every capital ship. Each door went past each ship.
“They’re hyperspacing.” Seraam reminded himself that what he was seeing now, happened already minutes ago, thanks to the enormous distances light must travel. He took one deep breath, as the entire fleet disappeared, and the Graveyard was empty and quiet once more, emptier than it has ever been.
Aboard the Sajuuk, Teritia System, Omud Sector
There was panic around her. Technicians run pass all over the bridge, checking all the equipment and the computers. For a moment there, Karan was transparent to everyone in the midst of the panic and all the emergency procedures happening.
It all came suddenly and without warning. The Sajuuk—at least the bridge—lost all control of her steering and navigation systems. Life support systems seem okay, and so are the weapons systems, at least for the moment. It all happened at the same instance the Kharak-cor—-the former Progenitor Dreadnaught renamed—lost all of hers, in the same way, in the same fashion. Like a strange force coming out of the blackness, something gripped the two Progenitor ships, and wrestled control from them.
“Status!” Karan shouted.
Admiral Serim of the Kiithid Soban bowed to her. “Sajuuk-Khar. We have failed to recover control of the ship. Likewise, the same situation exists on the Kharak-cor. Worst yet both ships now appear to be moving on their own power, like something have taken control of the ships and have imposed its will. Navigational computers—-“
“Yes, I know,” Karan interrupted him. “Something has taken control of the two ships. This is not some cosmic fluke, a solar wind or a star burst or any natural phenomenon that has totally taken our control system out of sync. We no longer have command of the two vessels.”
Karan quickly cut Admiral Serim off. “I know what you wanted to ask. Why despite that I am interfaced with the ship, we could no longer control it. There are many things we still do not know about this ship, and the Dreadnaught. My presence here, our presence here, are like tiny parasites clinging to the skin of a large animal, which has a larger will, or a larger design of its own destiny.”
“For what I know, we could still gather data what is happening around us, and data about all our systems. The ship, and the Dreadnaught apparently have programmed themselves automatically to a course to the Kalkuth system.”
“The Kalkuth system?” Admiral Serim appeared puzzled. “Isn’t that where the Gate of Karnak is?”
“Yes. Admiral. There is a sure connection between what is happening to our vessels and the Gate.”
Then something caught her eye. Someone who wasn’t supposed to be there, who looked different from the rest of the familiar bridge crew. He was tall and lanky, and wore the robes of a monk, gliding effortlessly amidst the commotion. No one appeared to notice him.
Adnuiral Serim’s words quickly brought her back to attention. “Sajuuk-Khar, now that you have mentioned the Gate, we also have other developments. We have picked up a transmission from the Torushan, the science vessel assigned in keeping watch over the Gate of Karnak. The transmission has indicated that the Gate has powered up.”
Karan smiled. “We are being drawn to the Gate.” Then she was distracted at the corner of her eye, as the strange hooded figure continued to glide effortlessly among the commotion of the bridge crew.
“Admiral, is there a clergyman amidst the bridge crew? I don’t think at this time, the clergy should be in the bridge.”
Admiral Serim appeared puzzled at Karan’s seemingly irrelevant distraction. He turned around and scanned the bridge with his eyes. “I don’t see any clergy amidst the crew here.”
“I mean like a tall person, wearing robes like a monk.” Karan addressed the Admiral again.
The Admiral glanced back at the crew and turned back again. “All I see are our regular personnel. I don’t see any monk in the bridge right now.”
Karan turned to address her helpers. Her helpers also nodded negatively, not seeing anyone dressed like the way she described.
An officer came running, then bowed under Karan’s gaze and the Admiral’s.
“Sajuuk-Khar, Admiral. We have just received word from the channels. Apparently this time it is from the Khurak-Ak-Noor, an observation vessel based in the Karos system. They claimed to have both visual and emission based confirmation that a large Progenitor fleet has hyperspaced out of the Karos Graveyard.”
Karan was silent, then spoke back. “No need for further confirmation. Something has activated the derelicts. That must have affected both the Sajuuk and the Dreadnaught. I have a feeling that the Progenitor fleet would be headed to the Gate of Karnak as well.”
Another officer came and bowed. “Sajuuk-Khar. Admiral Serim. We have reports about interceptions of Vaygr subspace com frequencies. Our Listening Posts have caught transmission that the Vaygr fleet is now in full alert, following the discovery of two or three Progenitor type fleets hyperspacing from undisclosed locations, most possibly other graveyards.”
“That is not all, a number of Vaygr ships have left their formations, and are seen heading in a direction that corresponds to the Kalkuth system.”
“The Gate system,” Admiral Serim said. “We also have a number of defections from our fleets, with projected course headings to the Kalkuth system as well.”
“Why was I not told of this sooner, Admiral?” Karan snapped back.
“I thought you should not be distracted from our more pressing problem of trying to regain control of this ship and the Dreadnaught. For that I apologize, Sajuuk-Khar.”
“This piece of information that you just withheld could be vital in telling us what is happening to our current situation. Do you have any information about the defecting ships?”
“All have outstanding combat records. All are highly trusted and of the highest moral character. They include Captain Ahmed Naabal of the Destroyer Saktol, Captain Isaad S’jet of the Battlecruiser Surinaan, Captain Nahaim Manaan of the Carrier Khoroam.”
“All have been good Captains in the service of the combined Hiigaran Navy,” Karan added.
“I don’t see any reason, trace or clue as to why they would suddenly leave their posts,” the Admiral continued.
“Perhaps a clue can be found in the Vaygr ships that also defected, Admiral. Any information about them?”
“Yes, Sajuuk-Khar. Not much, but we have ascertained that one of them is the Battlecruiser Bator, captained by Captain Taljik of the Faith Crusade. Taljik is known for defying orders to shoot at an unarmed passenger convoy, but his disobedience of orders was overlooked by his outstanding combat record and ability to lead a ship. Intelligence has also determined that the highly decorated Captain Songai of the Shining Crusade has also left his post. He is in command of the Carrier Kharim of the 58th Task Force. The Kharim saw heroic service for risking life and limb evacuating the civilians of a Vaygr outpost under heavy pirate attack recently.”
“Again, people of good character,” Karan pointed out.
“My apologies. What do you mean, Sajuuk Khar?”
“Don’t you see, Admiral. All those who have left their positions are people of the highest character. I am not saying that not all good people, but all those who are selected for this are among the very best of our people. They are not chosen at random, Admiral.”
“Chosen? I do not know what you mean, Sajuuk-Khar.”
“Yes, chosen. As if like the Progenitor ships, they too were called to reach the Gate.”
“But who is calling them, Sajuuk-Khar? And why the Gate?”
“There are still many questions, Admiral, that I do not know. But something has awakened and it has gripped us all.”
She was distracted once more as she caught sight of the strange hooded figure walking in the bridge, this time staring at the screens.
“Do you see that person over there,” Karan addressed the two officers. “The one wearing the robes of a monk?”
The two officers turned around and then faced her again. “We do not see anyone by your description, Sajuuk-Khar.”
Am I becoming crazy? Is my consciousness and perception also affected with the operations of this ship?
The last she needed was to make it appear to her staff that she was losing control of her senses. With a firm voice, she set her orders.
“Whatever this ship and the Dreadnaught is heading, we will soon find out, along with why the Gate has opened, why the people have defected, and why the Progenitor fleets have awakened.”
“Admiral, I want all nonessential personnel to be evacuated from the Sajuuk and the Dreadnaught. Move them to the Pride of Hiigara. I want the Pride of Hiigara, the 48th Task Force of the Fleet Somtaaw and the 27th Task Force of Fleet S’jet currently escorting us to continue escorting the Sajuuk and the Dreadnaught all the way to the Kalkuth system. With two Battlecruisers, two Carriers and one Shipyard, we should have sufficient protection.”
“At the same time, I want task forces from Fleet Naabal and Fleet Soban to head to the Gate of Karnak. Something is going to happen and we must be prepared. Fleet Manaan would be stationed in defense of the Home Sector.”
“Do you have any word of the Somtaaw deep space task force, Admiral?”
“Yes, the 49th fleet with the Kun-laan 2, the new Explorer class design. We have diverted her course. Instead of a rendezvous with us, she is headed to the Tarim sector with at least two Arch-Seraphim Dreadnaughts, a small support fleet with some science and mining vessels. This is all according to your orders. We have not received any word that she has encountered or determined the whereabouts of the Naasha. At least not yet. Though she lacks the long jump ability of the Sajuuk, the new Deep Explorer could still jump farther than any Hiigaran vessel without a Progenitor core. I am sure she will reach the Tarim sector in time. The new class Arch-Seraphims, based on the old Arch-Angel class, would provide sufficient protection for her from the Vaygr.”
“Relay an encrypted message to her Captain, stressing the priority of finding the Naasha and the Ark of Geddon. Whatever is happening now, I feel it is connected to events surrounding that ship.”
“Then work fervently. I wish to be alone now, for some rest.”
“Yes, Sajuuk-Khar.” The Admiral bowed and rushed quickly to attend to the bridge crew, and the two officers left with him as well.
Karan smiled as she relaxed, trying to keep her own spirits up. The strange figure, the one she could only see, was still in the bridge, looking as if he was monitoring everything happening in the bridge. The crew could not see him as they acted totally unaware of his presence. Yet she could see him like the light of day.
He turned around, and light fell upon his face.
It was the same face that she saw in her dreams.
The face of Sajuuk himself.
He smiled, strange and serene, a face totally at peace with himself and the universe.
Why? She thought. Why does she see him? Why does he manifest before her and only to her? Was it the link between her body and mind to this ship? Was he revealing to her about the things happening? If she could ask him. If she could talk to him.
Then a strange voice, whispering in her ear, like a note or a hymn…
Do not fear
my dear child,
Glide with the winds,
Not against it.
There is nothing to fear.
For the wonders
about to happen.
He smiled under his hood..
When she glanced at him again, the place where he stood was empty.