Soul of the Progenitors – Act 18

Act 17 | Landing Page | Act 19

Soul of the Progenitors

A Homeworld Fanfiction

by Crobato

Originally posted December 6, 2004 – 10:26PM

Act 18

Aboard the Ark of Geddon, Nasaan System, Biraal Sector

Radal never truly contemplated the significance of the Ark’s first hyperspace jump in perhaps so many millennia. He was just in a hurry to get away from the Somtaaw Task Force and automatically assumed that the Ark would jump out as flawlessly as the Naasha did.

When the Ark broke out of hyperspace, it just hit him how rash his decisions were made. This was after all, an ancient hulk, as old as for many tens of thousands of years. The fact that the Keepers have maintained the ship in pristine operating condition does not excuse his rashness and overthrowing of safety procedures that were ingrained and drilled to him since his days in the Fleet Academy. That was truly unforgivable, yet made moot by the fact that the Ark and the entire Keeper fleet jumped without a hitch, a testimony to the Keeper automatons that maintained the fleet in all during this lengthy time.

Radal took a deep breath. He did it The Ark of Ages had begun its journey.

There was much clapping and shouting in the bridge. The crew were dancing, and more people from the Naasha have joined the bridge. He had assigned all the crew of the Naasha to other parts of the Ark, to assist in activating and crewing the ship. Some of the crew he assigned merely to explore the vast ship.

As he looked to the stars in the system, he wondered. What exactly did the Keepers used to maintain these ships? The Taal Shiia system was devoid of asteroids; all resources must have been stripped by the Movers long ago. What next? The Junkyard Dogs in Karos devoured ships by taking them away to parts unknown, never to come back. The Tarim sector was full of folk tales and reports of ships disappearing without a trace. He himself used the reports of disappearances to help locate the system where the Ark was hidden.

He had an ugly thought.

“Gursal, do we have anyone guarding the Naasha?”

“Sorry, Captain, we only had a skeleton crew and we practically assigned them all over the ship.”

“I want someone to check on the Naasha.”

“Right away, Captain.”

Radal turned to his daughter, strapped to the cubicle with all sorts of tubes and connectors hitched to her body. It was still a horrendous sight to him, much more to see this done to his only child. It reminded him of the Sajuuk-Khar, Karan S’jet, and it must have been mighty uncomfortable.

“Iisha?”

“Yes, father, I’m here.”

“How are you doing?”

“Other than finding out I was destined all the time to fly this ship, I am pretty okay, just uncomfortable with what the Keepers did to my body.”

“One way, we’ll find a way to get you out of this.”

“What if not, father? What if I am meant to be stuck here forever? What if I am meant to lead the Believers, this race of ancients, this Progenitors. They’re all inside me, inside my mind. I can see everything, from all their history, their success and their tribulations, towards their end. I don’t know if I can pull it off, father. I just don’t know, even just to stay together in one piece.”

“Don’t worry my child. Whatever happens, I will be beside you. We will see this through, with me and with friends.”

She touched the back of her father’s hand. “Sometimes I wish Mother is here too. I never got to see her face alive.”

“Don’t worry she’s always be with us too, watching us like an angel.”

“Talking about your mother—-“ Radal turned to Gursal. “Any word on checking up the Naasha yet?”

“I think we have a slight problem, Captain.”

“And what is that?”

“The ship is no longer there. Instead, we found a mountain of our personal belongings, equipment, food, water supplies and organic furniture in its place.”

“What?”

“The guard we sent back said there was plenty of these robots all over the place, and some of them were carrying bits and pieces of metal. I think, Captain, the Naasha may have been turned to scrap.”

So the Keepers consume ships to keep their own running…

“Iisha, do you know about this?”

“I’m sorry father. I know you have a big investment in that ship, but we need the parts and metals.”

“I invested a fortune in the Naasha, do you know that?”

Iisha turned to her father with sorry eyes. “I know, but I have to do this. We face a great enemy, an enemy that has resurrected. We need to build ships.”

“Build ships, Iisha? Is that why we stopped on this system, despite this ship’s obvious ability to make far reaching jumps?”

“Yes, father. This is a convenient system to resource.”

“Well you could have resourced without scrapping the Naasha.”

“We are pressed in time, and we may not have enough resources as well. The Nameless Ones have awakened as well. Their Calls have filled the space. They will gather their forces against us in one final battle.” Iisha activated the screens to show what she meant. “You will recognize them by another name.”

“The Planet Killers!” Radal said.

“The same ships on murals,” Banaan said.

Iisha showed scenes of the five armed ships, images stored long ago in the ship’s memory. In one scene, the five armed ships rained fire upon a city on a planet, and in another, shoot beams and balls of lightning against a convoy of unarmed ships.

“In their bitterness, they have pledged to our destruction, and that of all work, in all the peoples and civilizations that have shared our light.”

“And yet somehow Makaan tapped into their power,” Mani said.

“Or it is more likely that Makaan was their tool instead,” Iisha remarked. “Their message has been different, for they considered themselves as gods, and made peoples worship them as such. That is not our Way. It leads people astray from the true Mission, that to seek the Truth, the Enlightenment and the Divine.”

She changed every time she talked that way, Radal thought. As if she had become a different person. The Iisha he knew would bubble out once in a while to reveal herself, but now she seems to be consumed more by the Geddon personality living inside her. He feared this change most of all for he may lose her ultimately to this Geddon personality. He didn’t like her speaking in these preaching terms. Radal was after all, a practical Hiigaran. The gods he believed in, only serve to underline his habitual exclamations and curses. Otherwise, he believed that daring, skill and resourcefulness are what every person need to raise themselves to a higher level, not prayer.

“We have little time,” Iisha said. She waved her hand across the scene before her. “I am deploying all the Movers from this ship and the carries to begin harvesting immediately. The Extractors will assist them in salvaging high value crystals and ore.”

“Extractors?” Radal raised his bow.

“I think she meant the ships we call the Junkyard Dogs,” Gursal explained. “I don’t think the Progenitors called them dogs. I am not surprised they would have the ability to harness crystals and other difficult to refine, but high concentration material.”

“Captain?” Mani uttered.

“Yes, Mani.”

“Sir, I have begun to inventory the Progenitor fleet. The largest ships appear to be that of the Carrier and Heavy Cruiser classes, with most of the fleet in the Destroyer, Frigate and Corvette level. It’s practically a derelict fleet, operating completely by remote control from this ship, and I have to say, from your daughter’s mind as well. The Ark is a command node for all the Progenitor ships.”

“A flagship if you will. That is easy to understand.” Radal added.

Iisha overheard their conversation. “There are other fleets of Keepers and Movers that will join us, from all the graveyards of this galaxy.”

“She’s right sir.” Mani added. He was fiddling with the communications. “I am picking transmissions from the Hiigaran command frequencies. There are reports of various Progenitor fleets on the move, including a large force from the Karos graveyard.”

“That is correct, Mani. We will rendezvous with the ships from the place called Karos. Unfortunately, we no longer have the Dreadnaughts to fight the Nameless.”

“Dreadnaughts?” Radal raised an eyebrow. “Are you referring to the big ship we found in Karos, and the Sajuuk ship?” He was beginning to get scared when Iisha referred to the Progenitors as “we”.

“They were the only Dreadnaughts left.” Iisha said. “We built the Dreadnaughts to fight the Mothership Destroyers of the Nameless. In battle, we have lost many. The Dreadnaughts that is in Hiigara’s possession, were perhaps the only ones left. For our Holy Purpose, I, as Geddon the Deliverer, has taken remote control of the last remaining Dreadnaught and the Super Dreadnaught which you call the Sajuuk.”

“You what?” Radal exclaimed. “In Sajuuk’s name, do you know that our Hiigara-Sa, the Sajuuk-Khar, Karan S’jet herself is in the Sajuuk.”

“And I am Geddon the Deliverer of All.” Iisha coldly reminded him. “The ships belongs to us, never to Hiigara. The soul of Sajuuk never left that ship, not like all the Souls who have chosen to be reborn again into mortal bodies. He resides there, and I have called for him. Sajuuk has regained command of his own ship, and there is nothing you, Karan, and anyone from Hiigara can do about this. I have also established control of the other Dreadnaught, and we have set a course for rendezvous in the Gate of Heaven itself, the Gate you call Karnak.”

“We need the ships, father.” Iisha uttered weakly from the booming voice before. “We need them. We cannot afford to lose the Tribulation that now await us.” For a moment her old personality came out, but only briefly.

Radal stepped closer to Iisha. “But what are your plans, O Mighty Geddon. You have only two Dreadnaughts. How many of these killer Motherships are out there?”

“There are many, and I do not know of their true number.” Iisha answered. “The Planet Killers you faced over the skies of Hiigara are not their most powerful ships either. They are only one of several types that we must face.” Iisha raised her hand, and the screens began to flash with images of what the enemy ships would look like, gathered from the ages old database within the Ark. There were many ships, big and small, almost symmetrical with a star shape. “Just among the Motherships alone, there exists several types.” She added.

“Already, if you don’t know, the Nameless Ones have attacked various fleets and outposts belonging to Hiigara and the Vaygr.”

“Is this true?” Radal turned to Mani.

“Captain. The Hiigaran Fleet condition has just turned from Code Orange to Code Red. This means imminent war. This means that Hiigaran assets have been attacked.”

“I know what Code Red means, Mani, but do you have any confirmation of these attacks?”

Mani fiddled with his panel. “This panel takes a while in getting used to but I can access the coded subspace channels….here we got Hiigaran Fleet Command. Sir, we have already lost the Bagodas Outpost and the 33rd Task Force. We have reports of attacks against other outposts and fleets, awaiting confirmation. Reports are also indicating that the Vaygr had been attacked and has suffered significant losses. All leave had been canceled, all personnel had been ordered to report to stations. The Fleets are being mobilized. We also have word of Vaygr fleet mobilization.”

“I think that may be the reason why that Vaygr fleet left quickly and stopped trying to pursue us.” Gursal remarked. “It is unusual for them to give up a fight so quickly.”

“Sir,” Mani continued. “We also have confirmation that the Sajuuk and the Dreadnaught are no longer in control. The Pride of Hiigara and a supporting fleet continues to shadow the Sajuuk and the Dreadnaught. The Sajuuk-Khar has refused to leave her position on board the Sajuuk. Word also has it that the Gate of Karnak has now turned active. We also have confirmation that Fleets are in chaos due to a number of ships leaving their posts for unknown reasons.”

“Defections?” Radal asked.

“The Awakening of Souls I have told you about, father. Our Souls scattered among your kind and others, passed on to live from one generation to the next until this very day, when they are called.”

“Called by you?” Radal asked.

“Yes. I am the Deliverer and it is my duty to awaken them of their true nature. But do not worry. Your Hiigaran fleets and the Vaygr will adapt to the loss of these ships and crew.”

“And I’m sure you have something to do with activating the Gate as well, Iisha?”

“That was part of the Plan too, father.”

Radal took a deep breath and walked to the center of the bridge. “Did I start all this? Did everything started because we came to this ship and awakened this Geddon and entities that reside in this ship? If that is so, I wish I could turn it back. Spare all the lives that were lost. I never wished the entire universe upside down. My daughter would not be sitting around in that chair, with tubes in her head acting like she’s possessed.”

“Father, if I may speak.” Iisha struggled to find her voice. “This has all been planned from the very beginning. You are just a cog in the wheel. The script has been written and it has been played. There is nothing you can do.”

Radal stood erect and glared at his daughter. “Nothing that I can do? Iisha or Geddon or whoever you are? I was a willing cog in that wheel. I refused to believe that events must always be predestined. Things can be changed and altered. That is our will as living beings. We will correct this, we will fight this and we will see this through.”

Mani raised his hand up.

“What is it, Mani?”

“Well sir, if I may interrupt your sermon, I think you should see this. I think there is something in the hold of the ship. It’s there in the beginning, but now all the Keeper robots are pretty active all over it. I guess there is a reason why this ship is resourcing.”

“What exactly is that, Mani?”

“Well sir, I am sensing something in the ship’s main production hold. This ship is pregnant. I mean, this ship is building something. Something terribly big..”

Iisha smiled and the grin in her face turned to a smirk. “If you people can calm down, I will explain.

The videos began to flicker, and each screen began to show a particular viewpoint over the ship’s main hold on the bottom of its slab like structure.

“By the Gods of Kharak! Is that what I think it is?” Radal exclaimed.

Gursal stood up and walked to the screens closer. “Most certainly is.”

The view showed a large ship under construction. The Keeper automatons buzzed all over its hull like insects, carrying bit and pieces of panels and other equipment. Sparks flew as robots welded joints, while others slapped panels and connected boxes and wires. Even in its unfinished state, the outline of the ship was apparent. It looked like a long leafy blade, with a proboscis extending like a long sword. There were all sorts of openings used for gill like intakes, ports and vents, and while the patterns are not exact, they were similar enough.

“It’s a Super Dreadnaught, much like the Sajuuk except for a few details,” Banaan confirmed.

“You are correct, Banaan.” Iisha said, flickering the videos in the screens from one viewpoint to another. In another screen, the diagrams of the ship began flashing. “Sajuuk designed the ship, and flew what was the only prototype. He fought with that ship, and led away a fleet of the Nameless Ones from our colonies, lending us time to escape and finish the project. At the time, this Ark was lost and deactivated, she was in the process of building another ship, a final model. And the Ark was prepared to build more.”

“I guess that explained what happened to the Naasha.” Radal remarked. “Recycled to help build that thing.”

“The ship named after my mother, her existence will not be in vain, father.” Iisha smiled.

“Yes, but it still hurts in the pocket.” Radal smiled and walked closer to the screens. ”This brings me to another question. Who will fly this thing? Don’t tell me it will all be robots?”

“The Souls of our kind have been awakened from all over the Galaxy. They will help crew the ship.”

“The Souls… the Souls…Can you talk of anything else, Iisha?”

“Father, that was what I was meant to do.”

“Well done, Iiisha, can you be something else that you want to be instead of something wanting you to be this?”

“That was something that occurs in my mind, but we are in this situation now, father.”

Radal paced back and forth, taking a deep breath as he studied his options. “Well now, let’s see. We got a race of ancient people awakening to turn everything upside down, another race of evil ancient people breathing down on their necks, fleets of ancient robot ships moving across the Galaxy right now, and the fate of every civilization in this Galaxy at risk. On top of that, I’m in the bridge of this very big ancient ship full of insect like robots and millennia old mummies, that’s building some kind of super battleship in its belly and surrounded by lots of robot ships, while my daughter became possessed by an ancient entity and got a strange new hairdo done.”

“What a fine day to suddenly wake up one morning.”

“Well sir,” Gursal interrupted with a big grin on his face. “That’s why you’re Senior Commander Radal Somtaaw of the Beastslayer Fleet. You were picked to solve problems, that’s why.”

“That’s why, Gursal, that’s why. Because somehow, I kick ass, and this, this Progenitors, know it. Well done, Iisha, Geddon, whatever you are, give me an ETA when this Super Dreadnaught is done so we can build another. Also give me provide a schedule when we can encounter the other Progenitor fleets and all these Souls you are talking about. We will need a battle plan to take care of these Planet Killers.”

“Aye, sir, but father, I fear we cannot build enough Super Dreadnaughts in time. The Keepers and these old vessels from our fleet before—the ones you call derelicts—even when restored, would not be a match against the Mothership Destroyers of the Nameless. We still need help, father.”

“The Hiigaran fleets, and by a shot, the Vaygr?” Radal said. “I truly wonder if they both can stand up to these Mothership Destroyers, these Planet Killers. The last time we were pretty useless against them, and only the Sajuuk could destroy them. But then we may be approaching this on the wrong way.”

“What is that father?”

“Your people, let’s call them the Progs, have approached this thing by brute force. They build one ship, you build a stronger ship. And this goes on and on. While you build the Super Dreadnaught, we don’t know if they had built a ship even stronger than these. And this cycle keeps going on and on till you cannot build enough bigger ships in time and you run out of resources. You people may be godly but you certainly don’t know how to fight a war.”

“How is that, father? We are not peoples of war. We are that of peace.”

“Because you Progs insist in fighting this by strength of technology, instead of playing their weakness. While you keep building those Super Dreadnaughts, I want you to furnish me every bit of information about these Nameless and their Planet Killers. Especially about their ships.”

“I will provide them to your console, father.”

“Thank you, Iisha. I also want you to provide Gursal, Mani and Banaan with equal sets of data for their analysis as well.”

***

Hours later…

“Sir, we got hyperspace signatures happening in the system.”

“What is it, Gursal?”

“Well sir, it’s our friends from the Somtaaw Fleet. It’s the Kunlun II and company, sir.”

“Screens please.”

“Yes sir.” Gursal gazed at the screens while the visuals focused on the hyperspaced fleet. There was the long shape of the Explorer Series VI class, something that Radal was strongly familiar with. It brought back briefly old memories of his old ship, the Khontala. Part warship, part factory, the Kun-laan II appeared like several modules attached to a central spine, with a shipyard in the front and engines on the back. It wasn’t the most attractive ship in the Galaxy, but every square inch of the ship worshiped the god of Function. Like three giant pies, the Arch Seraphims were with her. From the looks of the Kunlun’s hanger, she was building yet another Arch Seraphim.

“Sir, the Kun-laan’s weapons are not activated. Only her miners are being deployed. No strike ship or fighters.”

“Yes, and keep our weapons on stand down position. I don’t believe they’re hostile. Nonetheless, keep formations ready and be alert.”

Gursal breathed a sigh of relief hearing Radal’s orders. “Captain Toulan is hailing you.”

“Bring them in.”

The video sizzled with static, but the image overcome the interference. Captain Toulan’s smile beamed across the display.

“Hello there, fellow Somtaaw captain, how are you?”

“How are you, Captain Toulan. Thing can be better, of course. What brings you here?”

“On the orders of the Sajuuk-Khar, I am ordered to shadow your fleet without any engagement. In other words, I’m just following you where you go and see what you are up to.”

“Seems harmless enough. How is the Home Fleet by the way?”

“Well Senior Commander Radal, if you have not been clocking on the channels, things are not looking good lately. We seem to be in a mess here, but then again, I suggest you can access the channels for more information.”

“I’ve heard, Captain Toulan, I’ve heard. I just want your impression of the whole situation.”

“If you want to know my opinion, the Kun-Laan II and this Task Force is gearing up to a possible battle but it’s not with your fleet. It’s the Planet Killers that have already entered Hiigaran dominion space and spreading chaos. I’m sure you know where they’re eventually headed.”

“The Gate of Karnak.”

“Yes, Senior Commander Radal, the Gate of Karnak. Like everything is being played for a showdown. From what I heard, I’m not entirely optimistic. Our hope lies on the Sajuuk herself, but it may not be enough from the data we have collected. If we lose this battle, I do not have to remind you what is at stake here. That’s why we need you and this Ark of yours. It can change the tide of battle.”

“Captain Toulan, the Ark is not the super weapon you and the Sajuuk-Khar may think. It is meant for something else. But it has its perks and various surprises. I’m sure you can do with what I am about to give you.”

Radal turned to Iisha. “Ready, girl?”

“I’m ready, father.”

“I want you to seize control of the Kun-Laan’s computer system just like you did on the Sajuuk and the Dreadnaught, and then begin uploading the information.”

“Aye sir. The Kun-Laan’s system configuration is quite different from the Dreadnaughts, but much more primitive. It would be easy to gain access.”

“Then do it.”

***

Aboard the Kun-laan II,

The screens turned black, while others became garbled. Static buzzed in the sound channels.

“What’s happening?” Captain Toulan shouted.

“We have lost control of our computer systems,” Kolar shouted. “We’re being hacked.”

“Commander Radal! What is the meaning of this betrayal? I come in peace.”

“Just a moment, Captain Toulan, you will see.” Radal grinned from the communications display.

As suddenly as the screens turned black, they started again, but this time something was flashing in front of their eyes.

“Looks like something is being downloaded into the system,” First Officer Kolar said.

Hagur stood up. “Sir, it looks like diagrams, ship information. Looks like the Planet Killers, sir.”

“Yes,” Radal called out from the display. “Information about the Planet Killers from the people who first fought them and who may have been a part of them as well. You will find plenty of information there, how they sleep, how they breathe, what they eat. The information I have given you will help us fight those monsters. And here is a gift.”

The flashing of the screens changed from one image to another. This time, the ship outlines and diagrams were familiar. They were for a much smaller ship, a fighter, with wings and a long tail, familiar to all Somtaaw folk legend, and one they had always tried to imitate but never fully managed to succeed. Captain Toulan, a history buff on the Beast Wars, recognized it for what it truly was.

A Super Acolyte.

“It’s not the ersatz version we have been trying to build since then, Captain, but the real thing. Not something with just a Pulsar for a gun either. If the Bentusi managed to get it working, the techs from the Ark would make it better. We have taken our existing designs, redesigned it to the Super Acolyte with Progenitor technologies. It’s a rush job but it will do. I gather you people will just have to work on the finishing touches.”

“But this—this gift—Won’t it affect the balance of power in the Galaxy after we deal with the Planet Killers, Commander Radal? Isn’t that the reason why the Bentusi erased the building schemata for the original Super Acolytes once we had destroyed the Beast?”

“Our capacity for responsibility is not something for the Bentusi to decide for us in the first place. We are no longer children who are only allowed to use toys only for a short while. The Bentusi held all the technology cards in their prime, and by doing so, kept all other civilizations below them. But they are gone now. Once we are given this power, I trust we as Hiigarans will make the right decisions to use it responsibly. Sooner or later, all races will gain this capability anyway. We just need it now, to turn the course of events.”

“And I trust, we will indeed use such power responsibly. We have grown up.”

Act 17 | Landing Page | Act 19

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