Soul of the Progenitors – Act 20

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Soul of the Progenitors

A Homeworld Fanfiction

by Crobato

Originally posted December 22, 2004 – 8:34PM

Act. 20

Vaygr Shuttle, Gate of Karnak, Harados System, Kalkuth Sector

A wing of Assault Craft flew above the shuttle, while another wing flew below. In the flanks of the shuttle, escorted two wings of Lance Fighters, one to the left of the shuttle, the other on the right. Combined, the four wings created a cross formation with the shuttle in the center, and the entire formation made its way out of the Hiigaran fleet formation and towards the Vaygr formations.

The screens flickered. The face in the screen bowed. “Vaygr-Khar,” he uttered humbly.

“Yes, Captain Agripas. Did you receive my transmission with regards to the blueprint of the device.”

“Yes, Vaygr-Khar, we did. Our engineers have validated the device. The power requirement however, means it had to be fitted on ships larger than even our carriers.”

Taklan smiled. “That is good enough, Captain. Begin production of the device at once and I want all Battlecruisers, Shipyards and our Mothership installed with the device.”

“Yes, Vaygr-Khar. Also, our engineers have created a counter harmonic balancer that will prevent our own ships to be affected by the device.”

“Excellent, Captain, indeed.”

“If I may humbly ask, Vaygr-Khar, this secret weapon the Hiigarans gave you, they would not have parted with it so willingly to us, unless some heavy concessions were made.”

“Indeed Captain, I obtained this device not without some heavy negotiation and wordy speeches. But all in all this is worth it. I had to offer the schemata for our modified Siege Cannon.”

“What? Vaygr-Khar. That is our only secret weapon!”

“Which, if you remember, Captain, the Hiigarans, in the form of the Somtaaw , has already managed to counter our weapon. We need the Hiigaran device, Captain, to have a fighting chance against the enemy we will soon face. Karan, the Sajuuk-Khar taught that giving us the device, is only a small price to pay for the continued survival of both our races. And by giving the Hiigarans the schemata for our weapon, we helped them find a way to beat our new enemy.”

“We will work work at once with the device, Vaygr-Khar.”

“Good, Captain. Status on the fleet?”

“Siuce free passage has been declared, more of our reinforcements have arrived without further harassment from the Hiigarans. I must add that the bulk of the Hiigaran reinforcements have also arrived in the system. The opportunity—“

“To destroy the Sajuuk-Khar and her core fleet, that opportunity is gone, I know Captain. But put that behind us. I have made the decision. Our new alliance is now bonded with the technology exchange.”

“Yes, Vaygr-Khar. In other news, the link up between our fleets are also successful and we have begun joint training in simulators and in actual craft between our forces. Our production for strike craft and support ships are now in full rate, in the Mothership, the Shipyards and the Carriers. The Hiigarans have provided us access to the mining resources in the system.”

“Excellent. Prepare to receive my shuttle soon, Captain.” Taklan gazed out from the canopy to the ever looming silhouette of his Mothership, the Batu. Rows of frigates and destroyers surrounded the Mothership, like packs of its children. At that very moment, a new destroyer was born, its bow extending out from the Batu’s dock, floating out to clear space. Overhead, two patrols of Lance Fighters flew by. Further beyond the silver moon, the sunlight flickered, the edge of the solar disc eclipsed by the moon’s circular horizon.

The screens went out, but not before Agripas made a slight bowing gesture.

***

Aboard the Sajuuk

The screens were in one moment, peaceful, as the arrays scanned the empty spaces in the farther reaches of the Harados system, away from the large ship formations and patrols of fighters that concentrated around the ring like artifact known as the Gate.

It started with a single bleep in the black screen, and a purple circled radiated around it. The officer leaned forward to study some readings in order to determine if there was a system glitch.

Then there was a second bleep, and a radiating purple circle around it. Then another, this third time happening in a shorter time interval compared to the second bleep and the first. The fourth came rapidly, while the fifth, sixth and seventh were almost simultaneous.

“What’s happening?” The officer uttered to himself. Then he cried out loud. “Is anyone getting this?”

“Yes, we are.” Someone replied back.

The whole screen began to beep rapidly, as the bleeps began to flood the screen, filling the black pixels with purple circles.

“Call the Captain, call the Admiral!” The officer shouted. “We got hyperspace signatures, lots of them!”

Captain H’raal S’jet came running by and bent over the officer’s shoulders. “Spectral analysis of the signatures?” H’raal had just replaced the previous Captain who had been reassigned to command a new Battlecruiser—thin as the Hiigaran Navy officer corp has become as they spread their officers out to man the newly built ships. He was still reviewing the ship’s diagnostic systems when all this happened.

“Sir, they aren’t Hiigaran or Vaygr, sir.” The screen has turned into a giant purple mass, and the bleeps were so many that they merged into a single constant high pitched tone.

“Get me the Admiral!” H’raal shouted. “We have an armada entering the system! Go into a full alert. Battle stations!”

A minute later, Admiral Serim ran to Karan S’jet’s private quarters. When he reached there, he found the Sajuuk-Khar fully awake, and already being tended by her personal assistants.

“I assume you are here due to the sudden appearance of a fleet here,”: Karan said. “I may have been resting, but I still connected to the ship’s sensors.”

“Yes, Sajuuk-Khar. We have hyperspace signatures occurring in the outer rim of our long range scans. The number of signatures indicated this to be a large fleet, with the intensity of the signatures indicates some major capital ships involved. They appear to be heading to our direction. Our fleets and the Vaygr are both in Code Red, and ready to engage. The signatures appear to have similar to the Sajuuk and the Dreadnaught. We believe them to be Progenitor. Given the negative experiences both we and the Vaygr have at the hands of Progenitor ships, our fleets are at full alert. The Command Staff believes that although the Progenitors may not be our predominant enemy this time, their genetic relationship with the P3, and the previous hostility of their drones towards manned ships, makes them an unpredictable danger. We believe that a significant portion of the fleet appears to be Keepers, Dogs, and Movers.”

“We are ready to attack if they attack, or if you the Sajuuk-Khar wishes it to be so.”

Karan stared at Serim glumly. She uttered to her assistants. “Help me down to the bridge.”

She turned her face back to the Admiral. “Tell our fleets and inform the Vaygr to be on alert but do not attack the Progenitor fleet. The Progenitor drone ships will automatically react defensively against any attack against them or their capital ships. I will inform the Vaygr-Khar himself.”

She paused as she was led down to the bridge, and the expression of her face changed as her eyes betrayed that something else has caught her attention far away.

“What is it?” Admiral Serim asked in concern.

Karan grinned. “The Ark, she is here. She is finally in the system. I can sense her. I can sense the presence of the one Progenitor controlling that ship. She is Unbound, like me. The one they called the Deliverer, Geddon.”

“Her thoughts fill the space,” Karan said. “Do you hear it?” She strangely asked as she looked around her, her eyes trying to focus objects in space that were not physically there, things that Serim and the assistant cannot see.

“Hear what?” Serim asked in puzzlement of her actions.

“The singing. Can’t you hear?” Karan said. “I can hear them sing.”

“I cannot hear anyone signing,” Serim replied, concerned if the Sajuuk-Khar has suddenly became insane.

“The Progenitors, in the fleet of Deserters,” she said. “They are signing. They know she is here, the Deliverer. They are singing louder now, in praise. Take me down quickly.” She leaned her weight on her assistants as both helped her down. Serim grabbed the connecting strands behind Karan and lifted them so they would not drag on the floor.

Captain H’raal was there with the officers in charge of sensors. The screens displayed images of dark forms arrayed in formations. The Captain saluted the Admiral, and then bowed to the Sajuuk-Khar.

“Sajuuk-Khar,” H’raal said to Karan, then turned his head back to Admiral Serim. “Sir, I think you all need to see this.” He punched a few buttons controlling the screen viewpoints.

The screen displayed four long spiked nosed ships protruding from the vast formations, emerging into view from the darkness. “Are those what I think it is?” Serim asked.

“Yes, Admiral. Four Sajuuk class dreadnaughts, much like this ship. Obviously we seem to be wrong in the conclusion there is only one Sajuuk class dreadnaught ever made, and this was it. Something else must have built them. These ships were not in the Taal-Shiia Progenitor fleet based on the information Captain Toulan sent. Nor were they in the Karos Progenitor fleet, or the other Progenitor fleets that we have tracked. It’s a good thing we didn’t engage the fleet so rashly, knowing what four of those ships along with a bunch of Keeper ships could do.”

“We have detected a large mass just behind these ships, corresponding to a previous spike in the hyperspace signature fields. Our camera drones cannot focus properly due to the large numbers of small ships ahead of this entity, and the small ships are confusing the autofocusing sensors. We are switching to manual zoom and focusing, and we hope we can now visual this creature.”

H’raal toyed with the zoom and focusing controls in the panel. “There!”

Karan took a deep breath. She had seen the ship before captured in video streams, but there was something different about seeing it alive. “The Ark,” she uttered.

Admiral Serim walked forward towards the screen. He pointed to the belly of the ship, where there appeared to be a large swelling. “It looks like it’s building a fifth Dreadnaught.”

“I guess I am corrected then,” Captain H’raal said.

“Sir!” One of the bridge officers manning the sensor array panels interrupted. “The Progenitor fleet is turning towards the deserters fleet.”

“And the deserters fleet is moving towards them for a rendezvous,” another officer said. Some of the screen displays had camera drones faithfully following the progress of the deserter ships whose engines have lighted and trails of glowing exhaust fuming behind. From one of the channels, the deserters sang like a heavenly choir, their voices reaching for high notes.

“Why are they headed to the Progenitor fleet?” Admiral Serim asked. “And turn the accursed channel off. I do not understand why they sing at a time and crisis like this.”

Karan stared at the screens, and uttered, her eyes never leaving the images. “That’s because no one is piloting the Progenitor ships, but a centralized intelligence inside the Ark itself. The deserters who have become one with the Progenitors, will be their crews. Leave the channel on, for I find a strange comfort in their hymns. They…uh…” She stumbled.

“Sajuuk-Khar!” Admiral Serim ran to help her, but already Karan was grabbed by two of her assistants before she hit the floor.

Her face grimaced in pain, and she placed one hand on her face. “Something inside the Ark, the presence of another Unbound, one that is controlling the ship and this fleet. I am all right. Maybe I need some rest.” The assistants laid her on a chair and carefully adjusted her neural interface cables to prevent anyone from snaring and tripping on them.

“The Vaygr-Khar is online,” said the communications officer.

“Tell him the Sajuuk-Khar is unavailable for now,” Admiral Serim said.

“No!” Karan contradicted. “I want to speak to him. Bring him to the screens.”

The screens sizzled and flickered. “Karan,” the image spoke.

Karan responded. “Vaygr-Khar. Do not attack the Progenitor fleet, or their drones will automatically defend themselves.”

“I have no intention of attacking that fleet of the Ancients if you do not have so, Karan. I am not foolhardy. We will be however, remain on our guard. You look ill, however, Karan.”

“A minor indigestion, Vaygr-Khar. One that I will overcome soon. Nothing to worry about. As for your fleet’s preparedness, I am confident that you will have the wisdom to show restraint when needed.”

“And to use force when needed, Karan. Do not worry about the Vaygr, Karan. Worry about yourself. I expect you to be in top shape when our true enemies get here. In the meantime I must bid farewell as there as much work I must do. Rest and be ready, Karan.” The image flickered and turned back into a black screen.

“Help me back to my room,” Karan cried out. “There is something I must do.” From the corner of her eye, she could see once again, the hooded figure no one could see. He was smiling as he stared out the windows, and his lips synched with the hymns of the choirs as their voices sang through the channels and all of space around them. She knew he had waited for this moment, waited for thousands of years.

Admiral Serim walked beside her. “Another Unbound? In that Ark ship?”

“Yes, in the Ark. She—she is calling me.” Karan uttered.

***

Aboard the Ark of Geddon

Radal proudly watched as the procession of defector ships headed out meet them. “This is it,” he called, watching the giant Gate loomed as the main Progenitor fleet approached it. “They have contacted us to come on board, and that of the other ships.”

“We need them,” Iisha said. “The Souls of the Believers. I have notified the ships to prepare to dock with the Ark. Others with dock with the Dreadnaughts, the Carriers, and the Cruisers.”

“How will they know which ship to go to? How will they operate them? How will they know what to do?” Gursal asked.

“That knowledge has been with them long before their souls were reborn in the bodies they have now,” Iisha said. “We will know what to do. This life is just a continuation of the life we had before.”

“As you wish, Iisha,” Gursal acknowledged. “We got four ships coming in to the Ark’s main dock, including one Hiigaran destroyer and one Taiidan Heavy Cruiser. What are we going to do with the ships once the people on board have moved in here? I can see lots of other ships too, of all kinds and of all races.”

“We can recycle them. Remember how fast the Keeper robots are able to make short work of the Naasha?” Mani suggested.

“That’s not a good idea. No matter how fast, we don’t have enough time,” Iisha countered. “The ship would fill the hold for a while as it is recycled. It will hold up the other ships trying to dock. We need a real live crew into this ship, not just a skeleton crew from us, to obtain its maximum potential. We need them fast.”

“Then we will notify their original owners to pick them up. Especially the Hiigaran ones since their owners are already conveniently here. Looking at what’s ahead, they will certainly need every ship they can lay their hands on,” Radal said. “The Taiidan ship as well as every Vaygr and Taiidan ship in the hands of the Believers can be picked up by the Vaygr. . If you noticed, our dear old friends the Vaygr is here, probably led by the same guy who tried to take this ship in the first place.”

“I have ascertained without a doubt that the leader of the Vaygr formation back in the Taal-Shiia system is indeed the Vaygr-Khar himself, and his flagship, the Batu,” Mani explained. “In fact, this very same ship, the Batu, is in the same system now, along side the main Hiigaran fleet. Speaking of the main Hiigaran battlefleet, I spotted the Sajuuk, the Dreadnaught, the Pride of Hiigara and four other Shipyards within the system.”

“Ah yes, before coming into the system, we got word from the main Fleet Command channel that our side and the Vaygr has made up…for now,” Gursal said. “Funny that a common enemy has turned us all into the strangest bed fellows. Too bad, as I would want to have seen the Vaygr wilt under the combined fire from our five super Dreadnaughts.”

“Every Hiigaran here would want to see that,” Radal commented. “But shelve it to the fantasy section. For now at least. The Sajuuk-Khar herself is in the system—“

“Yes, I can feel her presence,” Iisha interrupted. “The link between one Unbound to another.”

“Well I’m pretty sure just about every Hiigaran Navy bigwig here too,” Radal added. “I’m pretty sure they must be pretty peeved with me not turning over this ship back there to the Somtaaw fleet.”

“I’m pretty sure they must have cracked up in their pants seeing this fleet, the dreadnaughts and all,” Mani said. “But then, this fleet was never ours to hand over, nor do I believe that our own Hiigaran people, have yet to deserve having this much power. As far as I know, you and I, and the rest of the crew of the Naasha now crewing the Ark, we are just hired help.”

“That’s a neat way to put it, Mani. I would anticipate they would try to commnicate with us. But I like to keep them guessing. By crewing this ship, we now have an obligation to this race of Believers and Missionaries, and we will take care of that first regardless what the Hiigaran brass would think. Keep listening to the com channels, but refuse any contact from the Hiigaran fleet until I say so. Understand?”

Mani raised his thumbs up.

“Gursal, now hat is the status of the new crews?” Radal asked.

“They certainly know where their places are without being told. They are already moving to their assigned positions,” Gursal said. “What’s going to happen to us and the rest of our Naasha’s crew?”

“You all have done well,” said Iisha. “There are no plans for your replacement. Rather I seek your continued stay on this ship.”

“Well that is comforting,” Gursal replied. “Otherwise if I and the rest of the crew is not needed, we would like a shuttle back to the Hiigaran fleet. If there is a fight, and I don’t have a place here, I would rather be with them.”

“You are greatly needed.” Iisha assured him. “Much more than you think.”

Radal stared at Iisha, as she closed her eyes. “I think you are capable of instructing your own kind by pure thought, Iisha. Call it telepathy, but I suspect your race had that ability all along.”

“Yes, father. We have psychic abilities. But this comes with its own pain.” At that moment, Iisha’s face grimaced, and she shut her eyes.

“What is wrong?” Radal asked his daughter.

“Just tired I guess. This is a lot of work, a lot of data to absorb from this ship, a lot of data to give out to the new crew. The stress can be overwhelming.” Iisha admitted. “I am still not used to this to be something like an Unbound Fleet Command.”

“I understand Iisha.” Radal said. “You were suddenly just tossed into this role by some divine intervention. This is a role that would have been better off if you had gone rigorous training in the Academy.”

“They should have picked you instead, father.” Iisha added. “I would probably be better off staying as a bookworm.”

“They may not have picked me for some reason, but they sure picked me to be with you,” Radal said. “That means there is still some wisdom in their judgement.”

Radal could see his daughter visibly stressed and tired out. The amount of data moving in and out of her system would have been tremendous. He wondered how Karan S’jet managed to master all this work, and wondered how the Bentusi managed to do the same for centuries.

“Rest now, my child. We will take care of this for you.”

With tired eyes, Iisha looked up to him before she fell into a short slumber.

***

Karan walked along the meadow. It was much like one of the greener portions of Kharak, where she spent her life as a child, in a place where she liked to play, sometimes with friends, sometimes alone.

But here she was free. With only a dress of white, her limbs were light and nimble, her legs strong and fleeting. The breeze would lift her hair, and her locks would fly with the wind. The soft moist grass gave a cool soft padding on her feet, but once in a while, as she ran, the stem of a week would crack beneath her bare feet. How long has she seen a blue sky, and clouds of white?

The man in the flaxen robes once again awaited her. “Karan,” he called to her. “Follow me.”

She ran to him as he turned, and both of them walked the same stoned path across the trees of fruit and the vast meadows of flowers. “Is there a reason now why you called me, Sajuuk? In this time of great need, in this time of trouble?” She asked him.

The man smiled under his hood, and lifted his hand. With a shaking finger he pointed. Karan watched where he pointed at. Far into the meadow stood a large statue of a woman. An idol perhaps, that of a goddess? Underneath the statue, Karan heard weeping, and she ran towards it.

There was someone else under the statue, a young girl, also dressed in white. The girl wiped her eyes with her small hands as she cried.

Karan looked at Sajuuk’s deep eyes. Sajuuk motioned his head towards the young girl, telling Karan to go to the child.

“I thought we are alone?’ Karan asked.

“We are never alone.” Sajuuk answered.

“Who is she?” Karan asked.

“Someone like you, Karan, someone both with a gift and a burden to follow the same road,” Sajuuk said. “Go to her.”

Karan walked to the child. She bent over the weeping young girl, who seemed searching for something amidst the grass and the weeds.

“What’s wrong?” Karan asked her.

“I am lost,” the child answered. “And I have lost something too.”

“What did you lose? I can help you find it.” Karan offered and opened her hand.

“I don’t know,” the girl answered. “I just know I will never get it back.” Then she began to cry.

Karan knelt and hugged the girl. It had been a long time she ever hugged someone, and the last time she did, was in a world across a galaxy away. She could feel the young girl’s warmth, and the tears in her shoulder. Then she knew who the girl was, all along.

“I don’t know where to go,” the child cried. “I’m scared. I’m not ready.”

Sajuuk had walked over to them, and his shadow had cast over Karan and the girl. “She needs your help, Karan.”

“Sajuuk, why did you thrust her into this role so unwillingly?” Karan asked. “I choose to be what I am, to sacrifice my body to become Unbound. I developed the neural interface myself. But she—she never knew anything. She was just thrown into this role…”

“She was guided by it,” Sajuuk said. “For reasons no one can understand, but only in the great wisdom of the Divine. We are not meant to question that, or answer that. We only know it was this way. That it had to be this way.”

“But there is something we can do. Our hands is not as much as to shape things, but to hold the people struggling along the way.” Sajuuk extended his long hand out as he bent over the young girl. With his hand, he stroked the child’s head to comfort her. Then he stood, and the young girl stood with him, as her hand took his right hand. Sajuuk extended his remaining hand to Karan, and Karan gently laid her hand on his. As the three of them all held hands, Sajuuk stared at the stony path ahead of them.

“Follow me,” he said. “All she needed, was to know she is not alone in her path. Just as you Karan, need to know you are not alone in your path.”

***

Somewhere in the Kalkuth Sector

A probe sat lonely in orbit near an asteroid belt. The white dwarf of the sun lit the nebula gases around the dwarf itself, creating a glowing shell. The gases themselves were part of the sun once, ejected long ago when the sun flared into a temporary state of nova. The probe bore the winged angelic emblem of Hiigara, and four long antenna arrays would listen for any signals. Upon hearing anything, it would broadcast a message that will travel much faster than light, almost instantaneously through subspace.

A darkness fell over the probe. For a moment, the probe sensed there was no light from the weak sun. Curiously, a camera drone probe emerged from its trap door, small motors, actuators and servos whirring, its neck turning around a single cyclops eye. The iris adjusted the aperture, thin carbon fiber blades busily sliding across each other, as the eye’s zoom lenses extended and retracted, trying to gain focus, switching from close up to panoramic views and back all to gain a better view.

There was something in the system, something that blocked the light, something that drew the probe’s curious attention. No, it wasn’t something, it was many. The eye caught a silhouette of something large, with five arms extended from a central body. And in that center, something like a giant eye itself. It was the last thing the probe saw, before a long bluish white beam evaporated it.

Act 19 | Landing Page | Act 21

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