Soul of the Progenitors – Act 21

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Soul of the Progenitors

A Homeworld Fanfiction

by Crobato

Originally posted January 1, 2005 – 9:46PM

Act 21

Aboard the Ark of Geddon, Harados System, Kalkuth Sector

Something stirred in the darkness.

Iisha opened her eyes.

Radal, who was monitoring the traffic of ships, asked. “What was it?”

”They’re here,” Iisha answered.

“Are you sure?” Radal asked again.

Iisha scanned the space of the room with her eyes, as if her eyes could see through the walls into the skies beyond. “Yes, they are here.”

Radal took a deep breath and walked to the chair. “Your people—the Awakened— have not finished moving to all the Progenitor ships.”

“We have no time now,” Iisha said. “We have to do what we can.”

“Then it’s battle stations,” Radal ordered. Gursal nodded.

***

Aboard the Sajuuk

The circles of purple and bleeps lighted across all the screens in the bridge. Startled eyes stared at the screens. Captain H’raal lifted the handset, swallowed a lump in his throat, and shouted the orders he had been rehearsing in his mind.

Admiral Serim ran to Karan’s private quarters, and bowed deeply to Karan’s sleeping form, two attendants at her side.

Karan’s eyes opened. “It is time,” she said. “Begin Operation Heaven’s Wrath.”

“At once, Sajuuk-Khar,” Serim replied.

***

Aboard the Hiigaran Carrier Suraak

“Wake up! Wake up!” Hands shook his body, as his pleasant dream of vacationing with his girl friend on a beach town in Hiigara was broken. Peace it turned out, was only fleeting. As his eyes opened, the red lights of the klaxons whirled and alarms sounded.

Had they came already? This too soon!

Others around him had already left the bunkers, and were zipping up their flight overalls. He grabbed his own overalls, which hasn’t been washed for a time and was all crumpy. He grabbed a picture of his girlfriend and slipped it into his pocket.

“Meet you all in the hanger!” He shouted to the other pilots.

There was plenty of people running along the corridors, and his shoulders bumped against so many, including his fellow pilots. In the main corridor, a mobile trolley came rushing by, and the people cleared away ahead of its path. On the back of the trolley were bench seats full of pilots and mechanics in overalls, and the driver waved him. “Come in, quickly!”

“What’s happening now?” He asked as he took his seat.

One pilot which he recognized from another squadron, answered. “We got P3 hyperspacing all over the system. Operation Heaven’s Wrath is on its way.” The pilot’s face, like all the others, were surprisingly calm and collected, thoughts deep between their passing life and their mission ahead. He himself took one look at the picture of his girlfriend in his pocket, and silently swore that he would survive and win this battle, for her.

The trolley stopped and the pilots disembarked, quickly joining the formations assembled in the main hanger. Rows for fighters, bombers and corvettes ready and shining clean for the ride. The scouts did not wait for them, already they’re being shot out of the launch rail. He threw a remote salute at them but he didn’t figure they would see him and wave back.

The commanding officer took the high walk as mechanics moved a large holographic projector. The officer made a short speech, then announced that the Sajuuk-Khar would have some final words.

The projector turned on, and she appeared there, like a beautiful angel in robes, without the interface cables that were sticking from her body. It was obviously a computer generated image, made for publicity purposes supposed to be her exact likeness before Karan S’jet was interfaced to the original Mothership over a century ago. The same image was being projected all over in every ship of the fleet. “It is time—“ she began with a short speech, “that we know face the darkness, but we shall face this together.“

It was a speech too brief, cut short by the urgency of time. In the end of her words, the Sajuuk-Khar gave her blessing to all the crew and the pilots. He wiped a tear in the corner of his eye, inspired by the moment. This was history again, and if there is no worthier time to face death than this one. But, as he tapped the pocket with the picture of his loved one inside, to remind himself he does not intend to die.

“Men—to your ships!” The officer commanded. The officer pointed to him. “Check your assignments. Major Talaes Soban, you will be Blue Leader.”

He nodded at the officer and ran to his craft, a blue Interceptor with red stripes and the mark of Kiith Soban on it, with unit numbers scrawled along its sides. His mechanic was there checking at the craft in the last moment, and the canopy was open for him. His helmet sat waiting where his seat was.

“Systems are A-Okay!” His mechanic waved, and raised his thumbs up. The pilot fell on the seat and quickly placed his helmet on. The mechanic slammed the canopy and locked it.

The speakers blared with the voice of the commanding officer. “All crew, prepare for hyperspace jump in ten seconds. All crew, prepare for hyperspace jump in ten seconds.”

He placed the picture of his loved one in the edge of the canopy, inserting the picture’s edge so it could stand up. The survival rate of an Interceptor pilot can be as low as thirty percent, but with the blessing of the Sajuuk-Khar, and in the sight of his loved one, he will prevail.

All around him, canopies were closing along the rows of bombers, interceptors and corvettes. The lights flickered and dimmed as all energy was concentrated to the jump drives. The huge ship shook as the engines vibrated, its structure twisting as the ship positioned itself for the jump.

***

Aboard a Vaygr Scout ship

The scout ship screamed out from the carrier’s docking bay, two other scouts right behind him. The pilot adjusted his bandana, the prayers of a Vaygr warrior inscribed on them for blessings from the gods. He stretched his hand to the buttons of the multi-function displays, then activated his long range scanners. The center tactical display turned into full search mode.

By the decree of the Vaygr-Khar and the holy orders, the Shiva-khan will no longer be called by their blessed names. They had turned their back against their loyal worshipers and even killed scores of many. They were no longer gods, just enemies. There was still many among the Vaygr who held reverence for the Shiva-khan, and this reverence can be an obstacle to battle. The first step to remove this reverence—a source of fear and faith—was to defrock the so called gods. By decree of the Vaygr-Khar, the Shiva-khan will only be called by a designation, the same designation used by the Hiigarans. The use of the common designation would allow better joint effort and coordination between Hiigaran and Vaygr forces.

Red markers appeared on the radar sweep of the tactical screen. He adjusted his face mask so his mouth can be closer to the microphone. “This is Alpha Scout Leader. We got readings at 12 o’clock. T-MAT ships sighted at four hundred klicks. I have six in the immediate vicinity.” He checked the other display, confirming that the datalink between the Scout and the capital ships was active.

Then his warning receivers went off, flashing red lights in his cockpit. The warning receivers indicated a huge burst of energy from one of the T-MAT ships, heading his way.

“Mayday, mayday, we have a massive energy burst. Evasive maneuvers!” The pilot watched his screens. The energy burst appeared collected into a single ball. Was this a Siege Cannon blast?

“We have a Siege Cannon burst here. This is Alpha Scout Leader to Command Zero Niner. I repeat, we have a Siege Cannon burst here.”

“This is Command Zero Niner, we have you and the cannon burst on the linkup. Evade, evade.”

The pilot pressed hard against his joystick, and heavy G-forces began to set against his body. He glimpsed quickly at the rear view mirrors, and the two other Scouts mirrored his maneuver.

The energy burst rushed closer according to the displays. He glanced above, and there was this blinding white ball, burning the dark sky into a blazing white. He pulled his ship’s nose away from the ball, and more G-forces set in against his body. He placed his thumb on the afterburner button on his joystick, and the burners lit up, the body of the Scout shaking with the speed and power. The two other pilots in his flight could read the body language of his Scout ship by instinct, as they have rehearsed and trained so many times together. They too pulled their ship’s noses up, lit their burners, and screamed to put as much distance away from the ball.

The burning ball passed them, and the sky became dark again with clear stars. The warning receiver has stopped blaring. Now there was another danger and he adjusted his face mask closer to his mouth again. “Command Zero Niner, this is Alpha Scout Leader. Energy ball heading your way.”

The reply came. “No problem, Alpha Scout Leader, we are tracking the ball. Continue your surveillance of the T-MAT ships.”

Immediately, Scout Leader pulled his nose up again, and the flight of Scouts streaked into the night towards the enemy fleet. His search scans, he could see other flights of Scouts heading their way. He will not be alone on this one.

***

Aboard the Mothership Batu

“Four siege cannon bursts heading our way!” the officer shouted.

Taklan smiled and then his smile turned tense. “Did the device installation went well as planned?”

“Yes, Vaygr-Khar,” Captain Agripas answered. “Installed on this ship and a number of our biggest ships. But it is not tested yet. We don’t know what will be the effects against our power grid and ship frame.”

“Now is as good as time to test it,” Taklan said. “We just have to trust the Hiigarans on this one. Prepare to activate the Repulsor Wave device.”

“Yes, Vaygr-Khar,” a bridge officer responded.

“Activate the device once the bursts are within the 20 kilometer radius.” Captain Agripas ordered.

“Roger, Captain!”

Taklan kept his eyes on the screen, following the path of the white balls towards the screen legends representing his fleet.

“Firing waves now!” The officer shouted.

A white wave unleashed from the Batu, extending outwards. Ships in the Vaygr formation rolled with the wave, their gyro-stabilizers preprogrammed to compensate against the wave’s harmonics. Along the formation’s immense length, four other waves erupted from two Shipyards and two Battlecruisers, then rushed forward like a tidal wave against the space time fabric. The power of the wave was such that it could bend the fabric of space itself, creating a light refraction like water, and the light caught in the wave would create the illusion of an immense water wave.

The waves forced the siege cannon bursts out of their trajectory, sending them hurtling into the harmless dark space.

“Now we must draw their attention further,” Taklan said. “Forward capital ship formation, move to attack the T-MAT front line. Carrier and frigate formations, prepare to hyperspace behind T-MAT positions on my signal.” He wasn’t used to referring the Shiva-khan as T-MAT, but he will have to get used to following his own decree. To demystify an enemy that was once worshiped was the first step to overcome their fear and aura of the former gods.

“Sir, do you think it is wise that you and the Batu must head the frontal attack?” Agripas questioned. “This is with regards to your safety which we hold dear.”

Taklan raised one hand and pointed to the screens. “Victory is what I hold dearest, Captain Agripas. We are Vaygr. The thick of the battle is where we are born to be. Full speed ahead and charge the Siege Cannon!” Taklan grinned, and his hand clenched into a fist. On the screens, Vaygr Battlecruisers and Destroyers surged forward, flanked with the Taiidan Heavy Cruisers and Destroyers, all comprising the Vaygr forward formation.

The giant turbines churned inside the Batu’s hulls, sending vibrations that echoed through out the ship’s frame. “Engines on overdrive. Charging cannons now!” an officer shouted.

“Prepare to lock on the lead T-MAT ship,” Taklan ordered, his face flushed with excitement. “Have the Scouts located the T-MAT formation yet?”

“In a few seconds sir…” came the reply.

***

Aboard a Vaygr Scout

“This is Alpha Scout Leader to Command Zero-Niner. T-MAT visual contact in five seconds.” On his tactical display, five other three ship formations of Scouts, each maintaining a distance of two hundred kilometers from each other, were close to reaching their assigned formations.

“Four…three…two…one…”

The radar registered huge blips on the screen, mothership sized signatures. He cued the visual cameras to the radar. “On screen.”

The screen fizzled with static, and then a hazy, non focused image appeared. The image quickly focused, and the monster emerged with clarity. It was as fearsome as the pictures displayed in the briefing room, like a giant shelled sea creature with crusted five jointed arms. Arrays of lights glowed along the central main body and down the arms and he could almost sense the mood of the monster from those lights.

“Data transferring! Holding position.”

Suddenly the com speakers barked. “This is Alpha Scout One to Leader. We got multiple unidentified boogies closing in at twelve o’clock.”

“What? Cover me!” The pilot quickly flicked to search mode, while still maintaining lock on the motherships. Sure enough, there were multiple markers heading their way. “Enemy combat drones!” Yes, they were warned about the combat drones during the briefing, but now this will be the first time they were actually encountered.

“Command Zero Niner, this is Alpha Scout Leader. Hurry up. We have enemy drones our way. Existence of enemy combat drone type is confirmed.”

“Good job, Alpha Scout Leader, we have targeting coordinates. Do what you can to engage the enemy drones. We got Assault Craft and Lance Fighters headed your way to cover you.”

“Roger, Command Zero-Niner. Good luck to us.”

***

Aboard the Batu

The sight of the immense five armed monster filled the screens. Taklan cringed. In a way, part of him could not accept the fact that these derelict monsters, once temples to a holy order, have turned alive to become the menace they were now. How foolish he was. How foolish was the Vaygr. But this mistake will be fixed.

“We got lock on against the target.” The officer confirmed. “Trajectory computed. We got a firing solution.”

“Fire!” Taklan ordered with a sharp downward stroke of his hand. “Fire!”

There was a blinding light on the side of the Batu, and the ball blared forward, a small shockwave of burning gases behind it.

***

Aboard a Vaygr Scout

A blinding beam of light lanced through the darkness and shattered the burning ball headed to T-MAT formation. The beam came out from one of the T-MAT ships.

“This is Alpha Scout Leader to Command Zero-Niner. We got a neg here. Repeat. We got a neg. Something hit the blast, some kind of point defense system we don’t know.”

“Roger, Alpha Scout Leader. And we also have reinforcements on your way.”

“Command Zero-Niner. We are heavily engaged with combat drones. We could surely use the help!”

***

Aboard the Batu

Taklan grit his teeth and banged his fist against the panel. “Cursed!” Then he stood and smiled. “How can we be so naive? They are the ones who gave us the Siege Cannon technology; no doubt they would have the means to defeat it when it is used against them.”

Captain Agripas nodded in agreement.

“I guess, Captain, we will have to do this the old fashioned way. Arm all defense batteries! Order strike wing carrier groups to hyperspace behind the enemy formation now!”

“Strike groups hyperspacing!” An officer confirmed.

“Order Destroyers for a Phalanx formation around the Batu and prepare to defend the Mothership at all costs.” Captain Agripas said.

Agripas looked at Taklan. “You are our commander and inspirational leader. If we lose you, and this ship, the backbone and the spirit of the Vaygr fleet will be broken, and when that happens, we will be on our way of losing this battle for all.”

Taklan nodded. “I would have preferred all my Destroyers rushing to engage the enemy in a massive alpha strike. But your position has wisdom. Your Phalanx and the Batu will be the spear which the Vaygr will drive a wedge against the enemy formation.”

Taklan unsheathed the gloves off his hands. “Prepare at once!”

***

Aboard the Hiigaran Carrier Suraak

“Hyperspace successful, we are now in normal space.” The voice announced fully blaring in the loudspeakers. “Scramble all fighters, scramble all fighters.”

The pilot gave his thumbs up and the mechanic replied with an equal gesture. The path was clear. He slipped down his visors, entered his activation key and punched the launched codes. The panel came to life with a colorful array of lights. “Systems check…check…check…one more time…check…” He raised his thumbs up one more time and his mechanic acknowledged. Another person waved signal flags, indicating all was clear for him to move his fighter into the rails.

Bombers and fighters were being moved to the launch rails. One by one, they were shot off from the electromagnetic rail catapults. The crane settled his interceptor into the launch rail, and the signals officer waved a green flag, waving his hand repeatedly towards the launch tunnel.

“Go, go, go.” The pilot announced into his comlink. He turned on his turbines and loosed his burners. The flame behind his fighter turned white, and the G forced immediately pressed his body hard against his seat. “Aarggh—“ he shouted as the rails and the tunnel swept pass and suddenly he was surrounded by the blackness and the stars.

He grabbed and pulled the stick, dropped the burners, setting the engine throttle to full dry thrust. “This is Blue Leader, this is Blue Leader.”

From space came the reply. “This is Blue One.” An Interceptor settled into the left of Blue Leader.

Then another reply. “This is Blue Two.” Another interceptor settled on the left of Blue Leader.

Soon, Blue Three and Blue Four settled their positions and the formation was formed.

From the channels, he heard that Vaygr strike forces have already attacked the enemy rear. Now it was the Hiigaran’s turn.

He barked out to the com channels. “Our mission is to cover the Bombers as long as possible. Corvettes and Flak frigs will join us in this task. We have confirmed the existence of enemy Anti-Strike Combat Drones. The ACDs will be our prime target.”

“Aye!” Blue One’s voice called out in confirmation.

Already Blue Leader could hear Red Leader—the commander of the primary bomber flight—requesting for help. A flight of ACDs were coming down hot after Red Leader’s ass.

Datalinks connected all four Interceptors to make them share information and move as one Flight unit. He lit his burners, and the entire flight lit in synch. He flipped his fighter, and the entire flight banked and rolled with him.

He set his scans on search mode. Red legends came blinking in the main tactical screen. “We got three ACDs coming down on Red Flight at three o’clock. Locking on to the rear drone.”

Doesn’t he wish to have missiles now? He could have struck the drones from a distance. Instead, an Interceptor comes with a high velocity Gatling gun that could tear through armor plate in shreds, and the Interceptor did not have room for anything else. It was a necessary evolution as targets developed harder armor over time, requiring larger missiles that was too heavy for a small fighter.

As the flight swooped in, he got the rear enemy drone on his sights now, lasers tracking and ranging. He pressed on the trigger button light enough without jerking the joystick, and streams of armor piercing shells streaked out and tore the drone apart. As the flight of Interceptors bore through the smoke, the other drones quickly banked, and the brawl was on.

Aboard a Hiigaran Bomber

With the drones off their tails, Red Leader set his radar modes to search and scan. A large red legend off his tactical display told him he has found his target, a T-MAT. He swallowed a lump in his throat to throw away the awe and fear he witnessed at the sight of the monstrous mothership displayed through the scanners, and as the trained professional he was, he must keep his focus. That monster was nothing but a target that must be destroyed.

“Target at bearing six zero.”

“Copy that, Red Leader,” said Red One.

Red Leader ran his target scans and isolated his target; conduits and junctions at the joints of the legs of the giant ship. The Bombers do not have enough firepower to take down a Mothership sized class ship on their own, but by critically damaging them, they would be easier to mop up using friendly capital ships.

“Sending target info to Red Flight. Set Attack formation to Alpha.”

“Roger, Red Leader,” Red One replied.

The T-MAT began opening fire from the array of defense turrets all along the side of the ship. Red Leader expected flak resistance; that was made clear in the briefings, based on information that the T-MATs have some kind of point defense. No surprise.

“Let’s go! Tallyho!” Red Leader shouted, as he lowered his helmet visors and the targeting displays switched from the panels to the visor display. The target was clearly marked in his heads up display in front of his cockpit, with his velocity and target distances in luminescent green legends along the side. The flak began to singe like bright streaks across the darkness. One hit can take down his entire bomber in a snap of a finger.

He lit his burners, and trails of white ionized gas spewed from the backside of his bomber. Red One, Two and Three were just behind him, all set in a triangular formation. His warning receivers blared as enemy radars locked on to his ship, sending a hail of glowing fire. “Evasive pattern Alpha Three!” he ordered. The Bomber began to dance unpredictably side to side, up to down, with sudden barrel rolls.

Then a giant fireball shook his ship, and as he glanced to his side, Red Three was gone. “Keep your course, Red Flight!” he shouted. He knew everyone in his flight personally but he had no time to contemplate their demise.

“Slammers heading our way!” Red Two shouted.

True enough, Red Leader could see the red pulsating legends of four missiles headed their way.

“Firing decoys,” Red Leader shouted. Four fireballs shot out of his craft, and the missiles headed to them instead, exploding harmlessly behind them.

30 klicks…20….10…

The plasma cells were fully charged. He pressed his thumb against the trigger button, and six plasma bursts shot out. Red One and Red Two shot their load of plasma, and all three in a flash, zoomed through the legs of the T-MAT ship.

The firing computers were right on with their firing solution. Red Leader glanced back at his rear view mirrors. A brilliant fireball exploded out from the joint of the T-MAT leg. The leg did not break, but it looked limp and disjointed.

Red Flight turned around to begin another pass…

***

Aboard the Ark of Geddon

“Vaygr and Hiigaran fleets have engaged the Heretics fleet,” Gursal announced.

“Nice play they have,” Radal commented, his eyes following the tactical overlay screens where the markers and legends of ships of all sides were displayed in a panorama. “The Hiigarans and the Vaygr are using their main capital ships to distract and draw away the main Heretic fleet in a frontal attack here and here.” Radal pointed to two positions in the screen. “You could see a two pronged attack occurring simultaneously on the flanks of the Heretic fleet. You can see Karan’s fleet with the Sajuuk and the Dreadnaught already engaging in a spearhead against Heretic positions here, while the Vaygr are in a south prong attack. At the same time, they are hyperspacing their carriers and frigates right behind the main line of enemy fleet, for a rear attack right where they are most vulnerable. By using strike craft, they can rely on their speed to neutralize the main advantage of the Heretics, their superior firepower. The enemy motherships are too slow to respond against the fast attackers.”

“I say we should hyperspace the main Progenitor fleet with the Ark and the Dreadnaughts right in the middle of the Heretic fleet and start seriously blowing things up. Iisha, can we do that?” Gursal said, cracking his knuckles.

“Iisha?” Radal asked, troubled by his daughter’s silence.

She grimaced, and Radal could quickly see she was displeased.

“Iisha?” Radal asked again.

She opened her eyes. “That is not the main fleet of the Nameless Ones. Their main force, and the leader, the ship called the Tartarus, is still no where to be found.”

Act 20 | Landing Page | Act 22

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