Soul of the Progenitors – Act 17

Act 16 | Landing Page | Act 18

Soul of the Progenitors

A Homeworld Fanfiction

by Crobato

Originally posted December 1, 2004 – 12:31AM

Act 17

Aboard the Celios, Atos System, Maranak Sector

They had all but discarded the trappings of their former past. Their elegant uniforms of bright color, gold and silver trimmings, medals of shining metal, badges of precious stones, now replaced with mere robes of flaxen linen and beige cloth. Their beliefs taught them that such trappings of boast and rank, now longer mean anything. For those under the Mission, there were only brother and sister, father and mother.

They had defied their race, their rank, their duties, left their family, friends and their comrades, all to answer a higher call, a call that came only from the deepest most primal urging of the Universe, of all Intelligence, and of all Life itself.

Father Hilaas as he was now called gazed upon the screens of the ship that used to be the Hiigaan Battlecruiser Uqaan. Father Hilaas himself, in another life, used to be Captain Hiraal Manaan. As Captain Hiraal Manaan, he was awarded the Star of Kharak in the heroic defense of Elo System against an overwhelming Vaygr force. When a Fleet Manaan task force recovered the Elo System, they found him alive trapped unconscious for days inside an air tight bubble inside the wreckage of his battlecruiser flagship. His survival was considered a miracle as none of his task force survived. Hiraal lost an eye, an arm and a leg, crushed between the beams of the wreckage. His valiant action delayed the Vaygr enough for the Hiigaran forces within the sector to recoup and strike back. When they did, it was obvious who sacrificed himself and his forces to bid the Hiigarans time.

His lost parts were cloned back, but Hiraal was a changed man afterwards. His talents were still much in demand for a Hiigaran Navy that had lost much of their best. But Hiraal had always wondered why he had to survive, when he was ready to commit his spirit, and when many of his friends and crew were lost in that fateful day in Elo.

That meaning, that reason came to him one day, not too long ago, when he woke up, the pains of his body and mind all gone, and there was, reigned complete reason and enlightenment. Something had awakened, and he was but a part of it, part of a script being played. And all that was awakened too, like the crew of the Uqaan, all assembled under odd circumstances to be together on this place, on this very moment, when the Calling came.

All that was himself, was all gone, all what he had valued, vanished, and all that was Hiigara and all her dominion, now seemed nothing more than a speck of dust, compared to the majesty and the mystery of the Mission itself. Hiraal was reborn, and he changed his name to Hilaas, which in the tongues of the old, meant “servant”. The Uqaan herself was renamed Celios, which in the tongues of the old, meant “to pray”.

Behind the former Uqaan now Celios, was a rag tag fleet of other Hiigaran vessels, joined by ships from other races and worlds, all of whom bound by the common thread to join the Awakening. He was sure there were many others of the Awakened, all in convoys, in separate journeys, headed to the place of their calling, the one Gate that beckoned.

The journey will not be without its dangers however. There were pirates, and the cold war between the dominion of Hiigara and the Vaygr Reaches. But the Celios was ready, and among their convoy was various frigates and destroyers, whose crews have seen the Light as they were. These ships help create a small task force to defend the Believers in their journey. To provide their logistical backbone for their journey, they had a number of Mobile Refineries and a Mining Carrier—a ship manufactured by the Somtaaw and sold commercially to others, it was a large mobile refinery based on an old Shaman class carrier design, that contains its own docking bay and a Resourcer assembly line. But that was all. it cannot maintain the warships, or build strike craft for patrol. What they do not have was a Carrier that can do all that.

“Father Hilaas.”

“Yes, Brother Sens.” Hilaas turned to his First Officer.

Brother Sens appeared perturbed as he studied the screens. “Father, we have jump signatures happening in the system. They appeared to be both Vaygr and Taiidan. What do we do now? Should we arm our weapons and prepare to protect ourselves? We have detected at least two Carriers and two Battlecruisers among them, with at least another two Heavy Cruisers and a small number of destroyers. We do not have the firepower for this. ”

Father Hilaas laid a hand on Brother Sens shoulder. He smiled. “No, my Brother. Do not be afraid. Have faith. For the Divine will guide and provide us. Keep us on course.”

“But Father—yes, Father.”

Hilaas watched the screens as the Vaygr-Taiidan task force headed closer to the convoy in an interception path. Hilaas turned to the crew. “Sing my brothers and sisters, sing praises to the heavens, for the Plan is at hand. Let them know who we are and what our spirit is made of.”

Hilaas smiled, and the crew smiled. He opened his voice, and his baritone notes were joined with those of the crew.

Glory be the Light
to Spear the Darkness…

The Vaygr-Taiidan force continued on their interception path. Both sides have not powered up their weapons as they approached.

“Continue our song.” Father Hilaas insisted against the face of adversity. “Let the plans of the Heavens unfold before us.”

The distance between the two fleets closed, with no signs of weapons powering up. A few Vaygr Assault Craft buzzed through the convoy, but Hilaas waved his hand for the crew to continue their song.

Then the com channels were suddenly filled with song. The songs were coming from the Vaygr-Taiidan force.

The screens came alive with visual transmissions from the Vaygr and Taiidan screws. Hilaas smiled, not surprised at all, at the white and beige robes worn by the Vaygr and Taiidan crews.

“My brothers and sisters.” Hilaas called on to the com channels.

In the screens, a man stepped forward, no doubt the leader of the force. “Brothers and sisters,” he called out. “Praise to the Mission at hand. Glory be to the unfolding of the Plan before us.”

“Thank you, Father.” Hilaas responded. “I am Father Hilaas.”

“I am Father Sumin.” In the old tongue, his name meant “obedience”. He introduced his first officer. “This is Brother Calos.” His name meant “servant”.

“Welcome all, my brothers and sisters. Let us join our forces.” Hilaas proclaimed. “Wonders indeed have come to past. We lack Carriers to protect us and maintain our ships.”

“And we lack miners and refineries that we can use to maintain our large convoy. We have more ships hiding in the belts with families and even children. Our carriers cannot produce enough supplies to sustain them and their ships.”

“Praise be to the Plan that unfolds before us.” Hilaas proclaimed. “For we have the ships to sustain your people, and you have the ships to protect our journey. From this point on, what is ours is yours.”

“Indeed, praise to the Mission at hand for we will be provided.” Father Sumin said. “What is ours is yours as well.”

“You said you have more ships at hand, Father Sumin?”

“Yes indeed, Father Hilaas. Behold as I have now called them out from their hiding.”

Hyperspace signatures filled the screens, bleeps and bleeps sounding the speakers. They filled the space in front of them, and behind them. They filled the left and the right, all with long rows of ships. In another time and place, the crew of the former Hiigaran Battlecruiser would have been deeply alarmed.

“People from every corner of the Galaxy, from every reach of the Vaygr, the Taiidan and the Turanic.” Sumin waved his hand. “The legions of our souls in these ships.”

“And our ships.” Hilaas waved. “From every corner of the dominion that is Hiigara.”

“We are One as Brothers and Sisters.” Sumin said.

“We are One as Brothers and Sisters.” Hilaas affirmed.

The two convoys began merging together, as the two task forces began to form one solid line. “After you, Father Sumin,” Hilaas said. “We will leave you in command.” In another time and place, the whole idea of a Hiigaran relinquishing command of an entire fleet to a Vaygr was inconceivable.

But they were no longer Hiigaran or Taiidan or Vaygr. They were now only One as Believers.

“You leave me with great responsibility, Father Hilaas. I would rather have you take command.”

“I can sense the light in you, Father Sumin. You are meant to lead this group.”

“The Plan cannot be changed, Father Hilaas. I humbly accept this duty.” Father Sumin bowed. “Let your fleet fall behind my line, Father Hilaas, and prepare to hyperspace. We will leave as One.”

***

Aboard the Sajuuk, Saab system, Orbus sector, in transit

Admiral Serim called out to her. “Please Sajuuk-Khar, we can leave this vessel. The Pride of Hiigara has been restored and so is your former control position. We can interface you quickly into the Mothership as before. The Sajuuk no longer flies in our control, and we fear for your safety.”

“Fear not, Admiral.” Karan responded with a cool voice. She waved her hand at her helpers, telling them to move away. “This is all in the hands of Sajuuk now. Whatever Sajuuk wills, we must follow. We will not leave his ship. We will stay on course and see His Will through.”

Admiral Serim bowed deeply in front of her. “Yes, Sajuuk-Khar. Forgive if my comments offended you. I only wished for the best.”

“I take no offense for your concern about my well being, Admiral.” Karan responded. “Your plans will remain as a backup. But in the meantime, we still stay inside the Sajuuk and continue to monitor her progress.”

“I understand, Sajuuk-Khar.”

“Brief me with the situation on the fleet, Admiral.”

“Yes Sajuuk-Khar. Currently we have Task Forces from Fleet Soban, Manaan and Naabal headed for interception course with our fleet. They include the elite 1st Task Force from Naabal, the 2nd Task Force from Soban, the 3rd Task Force from Manaan, and the 4th Task Force from Paktu. They will provide backup when we reach the Gate of Karnak. Fleet Liirhra, Kaalel, and auxiliary Task Forces from Fleet S’jet will remain to garrison Hiigara and the Home Sector. However we have bad news.”

“What is that, Admiral?”

“The 33rd Task Force from Fleet Soban has gone missing. Surveillance forces and listening arrays have picked up possible evidence of their destruction.”

“The Vaygr, Admiral?”

“No, something else. We don’t know how to explain this, Sajuuk-Khar, but Hiigaran Intelligence now believes that the Planet Killers have returned.”

“The Planet Killers? Have we eradicated them over the skies of Hiigara, Admiral?”

“We may have eradicated only but a small force of them. Sajuuk-Khar, without ever considering there may be more.”

“Show me what you have, Admiral.” Karan began to walk towards the lighted conference table, the mechanical servos supporting the connections to her body slowly being guided to her spot in the table.

Admiral Serim turned on the holographic projector. “We have obtained video footage from the flagship Kharenin of the 33rd Task Force, as well as communique and other data. We no longer have contact with the 33rd and we are presuming the worst.”

“Is the Vaygr involved, Admiral? If this is so, this act of aggression would only mean the resumption of war between Hiigara and the Vaygr.”

“Negative, Sajuuk-Khar. This is what makes it interesting. The 33rd is responding to activities believed to be battle action within Vaygr borders. Our intelligence resources have indicated the destruction of at least one Vaygr battle group before the incident with the 33rd. We have also found out that the incident is not isolated, and a number of Vaygr squadrons and outposts have been destroyed internally.”

“What is the status of the Vaygr now, Admiral?”

“They are effectively in war footing with all Crusades mobilizing, Sajuuk-Khar. The mysterious defection of a number of ships, similar to defection cases with our fleets have only added to the tension.”

“But against who or what, that is the question, Admiral. Show me what data you obtained from the 33rd.”

Admiral Serim turned the projector and displayed the footage. Karan gasped at the monstrous sight of a mothership sized five armed ship consuming an entire Vaygr destroyer. This reminded her of the Naggarok, long ago, when the Beastslayer fought that ship far into the fringes of the known Galaxy, away from Hiigara’s borders. Other scenes show more of the five armed ships, firing Siege Cannons, ion beams and cruise missiles.

“Currently our experts at Hiigaran Intelligence have temporarily designated the ships as Tactical Mothership Assault Type. These Motherships differ from the standard Mothership class in the ability to bear weapons of mass destruction. The Kun-laan long ago, with a Siege Cannon, is nothing compared to these monsters, as an Assault Mothership is explicitly designed for this function. When we first encountered these monsters, we taught that the technology is similar to the Bentusi’s. Now we have concluded that rather, Bentusi technology itself appears to be highly derived from Progenitor technology, of which they inherited when they discovered derelict pieces of this and there, as well as from scattered fragments of Progenitor civilization that eventually died out. One of these artifacts was of course, the first Core.”

“We have corrected our assumptions, and concluded that these ships are in fact, Progenitor in origin, and preceded even the Unbound races that succeeded Progenitor dominance of this Galaxy. Rumor has it, that these ships are tied with the discovery by Makaan of the Third Core. We are also presuming, with great justification, that this ship we call the Sajuuk, was also designed to fight them, hence its capability to defeat the Planet Killers over Hiigara.”

“We have identified at least three classes of these tactical assault Motherships.”

Admiral Serim showed a familiar footage next. “This is the scene in the Battle of Hiigara. The first as we have encountered over the skies of Hiigara, is capable of firing large caliber cruise missiles that can container nuclear weapons, or even atmospheric deprivation or pyrotechnic designs, like the kind used to decimate Kharak.”

Serim showed the next footage where a five armed Mothership fired a Siege Cannon blast from its center maw. “The second type uses a weapon we have known before, the Siege Cannon. From this, we have concluded that such a technology were in fact, Progenitor in origin and use. Except that these ships can recharge such a cannon in a much shorter time, and use it much more frequently.”

“The third type is what you see here.” The Admiral showed a five armed Mothership firing a spread of ion beams from its center body. “Like the second type, the legs that you see around the ship are arrays used to gather zero point energy from space, and harness them into the beams or the cannon. We do not have technology that remote close in application and zero point energy is still theoretical even with our best physicists.”

“To obtain material, these motherships would directly consume even capital ships, through a massive disintegration field that renders its victims down to their atoms like you see here with the poor Vaygr ship. I shudder to think that the 33rd may have shared the same fate.”

“Admiral, if these ships are destroying Vaygr ships, then we must assume that the Vaygr can no longer control them.” Karan stretched forward to take control of the presentation of her own. “Or never was in their control”.

With a wave of her hand, she marked a spot in the star map. “According to your data, Admiral, this is the spot where the destruction of the alleged Vaygr task force was supposed to be, right?”

“Yes, Sajuuk-Khar.”

“And this is where the 33rd is presumed lost, right?” She marked a glowing spot in the star map.

“Yes, Sajuuk-Khar.”

She drew a line between them. “These motherships are headed to Hiigaran space. But not just Hiigaran space, they are just passing through it.” She made the line longer, compensating for gravitational influences and hyperspace wells. She then marked an area in the map. “The Kalkuth sector, Admiral. They are headed there. To be more precise. The Harados system.”

“The Gate of Karnak!” The Admiral said.

“Indeed Admiral. Do we have any word of the Progenitor ghost fleet from Karos?”

“Yes, Sajuuk-Khar. Long range observation posts have detected their hyperspace signatures. It is confirmed that they are headed to the Harados system. As per your orders, no Hiigaran ship will engage the Progenitor fleet, but will continue to shadow them.”

“Excellent, Admiral.”

“Excuse me for asking this, Sajuuk-Khar. I have always wondered myself, what race would have the conscience to build such killing machines. According to our intelligence, the Vaygr referred to a race that destroyed worlds, called the Shivakan. Given the functionality of these machines, it is possible that this is what they have done, and maybe the same race as the Vaygr referred to.”

“Only the Progenitors themselves can answer that, Admiral. Perhaps a part of them that was evil just as a part of them was good. No matter, they have all awakened, Admiral, for the same reason and for the same goal.” Karan pointed to the star where the Gate was located.

An officer ran quickly to the table. “Do you see, Lieutenant, that we are extremely busy here?” Admiral Serim barked.

“Forgive me, Sire, but you need to see to this.” The officer quickly pressed a series of buttons in the table, activating screens along the walls.

“This is from the Malos system. We have an outpost there. The outpost and its defending fleet is now currently under attack.”

Admiral Serim dropped his jaw. “Go on, display it quickly!”

The screens sizzled but focused despite the turmoil. There was the picture of a Hiigaran commanding officer, his uniform all soiled, his face dirty, cut and bruised. There was all smoke behind him.”

“Mayday, mayday. This is Commander Ilaan S’jet of the Bagodos Outpost Station. We are currently under attack, by a—some things huge.” The picture quickly shifted to that of space, where in the contrast of the dark reddish background light of the nebula, the black silhouettes of five armed monsters stood in sharp contrast, with flashes of light coming from each of them. The camera quickly magnified to one of the creatures, to show its distinct form and identity. The flashes it turned out, were white balls of plasma.

“They look like the Planet Killers,” uttered the wounded officer. “We need help. I don’t think we can sustain the attack any longer—Ahhh!” The screen went black.

“We still have access from one of the camera drones.” The officer said, as he manipulated the buttons on the table. “There.”

The drone showed a massive brilliant blast, and a shock wave that engulfed and tore the station like a house of sticks against a storm. The wave came closer and closer to the camera drone, where behind the wave, one can make out the five armed, star shaped silhouettes that darkened the nebular sky. As the white wave loomed, image from the camera drone was cut.

“That’s that. The Type 2 Assault Mothership.” The Admiral added.

Karan leaned forward and marked a star. “The Bagodos Outpost is located here. As you can see with the line, the Outpost falls in its path.”

The Admiral stared at the line, and the continuos form from where the 33rd went missing, and the destruction of the Outpost.

“Admiral, I want everything evacuated along this line, along with a safety buffer within an axis of 4 light years.”

“Right away, Sajuuk-Khar.”

“And Admiral. Be prepared as always. Where the ship Sajuuk is taking us, along with the Dreadnaught, is also where these Planet Killers are also headed, along with the Keeper fleet from Karos.”

***

Karan ordered a recess from the meeting. Even a Sajuuk-Khar would feel the weight of her duties, and the moment her eyes closed, she fell into a quiet slumber.

There she was, in her pure body again, covered in a white dress, without the wires and tubes and all those ugly attachments. She was bound to the ground, and yet her body was free, free to run, to swim, pleasures that she will never relive to the rest of her long almost dreadfully eternal life from a body that will never age.

The man in the white linen robes stood before her. He dropped his hood, and his hair fluttered against the wind. His carefully chiseled face, with a long sharp nose, was framed by a short beard.

“You ask Karan, why would our race build such machines of destruction?”

“Yes, Sajuuk. Even from you, even from a god, I want my answers.”

“The answer is Karan, is that we were never the gods that you and your people sought to fill that certain need of your race, of all races. You can see Karan, that we too are built of flesh and blood. Though our souls are eternal and can travel through time, we still have our mortal passions, our pride, and our sins.”

“We are nothing more than servants of the Divine, Karan. But there are those among us who began to see things differently, that all the power we have, we should have been gods, gods to be worshiped like you and your race do to me. They chose to enslave rather then enlighten the children of this Galaxy. Thus the Heresy began, and with it, the Purging.”

“With their Names removed from the Citadel of Souls, the heretics were but Nameless. And so they built the vast ships that you see now and waged war against us. We built the Dreadnaughts to fight them. Billions died, whole civilizations and worlds destroyed. One cannot wish for a more terrible bloodshed than this.”

“Now we have returned, and so did they, Karan. The War of the Heavens will be relived again, Karan, and I feel sorry for your race, for all the races for this is the time we most feared. But you must stand with us, and stand strong.”

He turned his back and covered his head with his hood. Before he turned around, Karan saw the sadness and the burden in his face. She realized that Sajuuk had fought them before, and now he must face them again.

***

Something perturbed her to cause her to wake from a strange, but peaceful nap.

“I apologize deeply, Sajuuk-Khar.” Admiral Serim bowed a near perfect ninety degrees from where he stood. “But you must hear this. We just got word from Captain Toulan of the Kun-Laan 2.”

“From the 49th Task Force? The Beastslayer fleet?”

“Yes, Sajuuk-Khar.”

“Help me to the meeting table. What was Captain Toulan trying to say?”

“He found what you requested. He found the Ark of Geddon, and Senior Commander Radal Somtaaw, with his daughter and crew. An attempt to recover the Ark by the Vaygr has ended in failure.”

“And?” Karan asked, as her workers aid in setting her body to the table.

“Radal Somtaaw is control of the Ark. I do not know how he did it but he did it.”

“That is great news, Admiral. Radal Somtaaw is legendary for his resourcefulness.”

“That is just the good news, Sajuuk-Khar. However… The bad news is that he is refusing to obey orders, claiming orders from a higher order. We now have an entire Progenitor Keeper fleet that has hyper spaced from the Tarim Sector led by this immense mothership you call the Ark. I’m putting the video feed from Toulan’s communique.”

The holographic projectors turned on, and an image hovered over the table. A face appeared, with the background of a ship’s bridge.

There was static but the image focused and the sound stream became clear. “This is Senior Captain Toulan of the 49th Task Force of Fleet Somtaaw, broadcasting from the Kun-Laan 2. We have found the Ark.” Toulan waved, with motions that was apparent to any viewer that he was signaling his officers. “The Ark has left the Taal Shiia system along with a large Progenitor and Keeper fleet. We took this video feed before she left. Play it, Kolar.”

The image turned to a yellowish background, the light from the star shining through the nebula’s clouds. In sharp contrast to the light were dark jagged shapes of derelicts and bits of massive wreckage.

But she was unmistakable. The Ark, a vast monolith of a ship, surrounded by rows of smaller ships that appeared like destroyer class Keepers and resurrected derelict heavy capital ships.

“This is incredible,” Admiral Serim uttered as everyone in the room took notice and stood to watch the image. “To finally see the ship of the Ancients, the Deliverer of Souls.”

“You have any idea where it is going, Captain Toulan?” Karan said.

“No, Sajuuk-Khar.”

“I am ordering you directly to shadow the Ark and her fleet. Do not engage under any circumstances. Do not engage. My instincts tell me she would be headed to the Kalkuth sector, the Harados system.”

“Let me repeat that, Sajuuk-Khar, did you say the Harados system? Is that where that big Gate is?”

“Yes, Captain. When you have reached the Kalkuth sector, prepare to rejoin with the main Hiigaran fleet.”

“I presume, Sajuuk-Khar, that you and the Sajuuk will be there too?”

“Yes, Captain Toulan. Mine and husband your resources. Prepare for we will likely see battle at the end of the journey.

“Be aware, Sajuuk-Khar, that the Vaygr tried to take the Ark, and failed. I have a feeling they will try again.”

“That will not surprise me. Sajuuk-Khar out.”

Act 16 | Landing Page | Act 18

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