Soul of the Progenitors – Act 24

Act 23 | Landing Page | Act 25

Soul of the Progenitors

A Homeworld Fanfiction

by Crobato

Originally posted February 3, 2005 – 8:51PM

Act 24

Aboard the Pride of Hiigara

A last minute short jump saved the Hiigaran mothership from further damage. Karan wondered about the ships they had to leave behind, which had gathered around the Sajuuk to protect it. Something distracted the P3 attack on the Sajuuk, which allowed the dreadnaught to survive. Yes, she could still sense the presence of Sajuuk. Karan had inquired the status of the Kun-Laan 2 through direct communications from her own newly added links to the Pride of Hiigara. She was relieved that the Somtaaw mining ship was safe. But the Kun-Laan 2 had lost almost all her escorts in sacrifice, and her captain was wounded. The ship was heavily damaged, with several critical modules destroyed. There was no word on her Kun-Laan 2’s strike craft, consisting mainly of the improvised Super Acolytes. But their numbers have dwindled, and the survivors have gone on to protect the straggling Sajuuk along with the Hiigaran regular strike craft. With the Kun-Laan 2 incapacitated, the Somtaaw squadrons would have to dock on Hiigaran carriers for repairs.

But before the Pride of Hiigara jumped out, she sensed the presence of the one Deliverer, jumping in to directly confront the ship called the Tartarus, which contained the strong presence of yet another being inside. This one had the aura of being dark, and yet so temptingly beautiful, a delicate charm that drew one to its grasp. The distraction caused by the attack of the Ark may have saved them all—the Pride of Hiigara, the Sajuuk and the Kun-Laan although it was too late for the Kharak-cor Dreadnaught. .

The Pride of Hiigara was aflame. Reports indicate less than 20% structural integrity has remained, and swarms of Collectors hang on her like limpets doing emergency repairs, welding structure and spraying ablative to cover hull breaches. Crewmen and repair drones were doing the same things inside. She could not afford to throw this Mothership into the fray any longer. But the fight will not stop here.

She had noted what the Vaygr had been doing. Survivors have regrouped, and their Collectors were frantically repairing ships and harvesting debris that can be used to construct new strike squads. With not enough pilots, many of the strike craft will have to be flown with AI means only, with a live pilot heading the flight. She had ordered the same with surviving Hiigaran Collectors in an attempt to rebuild enough Hiigaran strike craft to join with the Vaygr strike forces for a final assault.

Did Sajuuk make it out alive?

The Sajuuk had miraculously straggled out of the main fire. She sensed that the Sajuuk’s memory cores were still preserved. But the soul of Sajuuk? Yes she sensed him. He was still there. The battle was not over for him. But he too had felt the overwhelming psychic presence of the one Soul that is the Deliverer and the other Soul whose Name cannot never be spoken.

Sajuuk?

Yes, Karan.

Sajuuk, is the Deliverer in trouble?

Yes, she is, Karan. The one great Nameless has got her in his grasp. He could have chosen to destroy her, but he did not. He is after one thing, the thing that could consolidate his power all across the Universe.

What is that, Sajuuk?

Karan, it is the Key. The Key to all that we all was, is and ever will be. The Key to all our knowledge. The Key to our faith. It is inside her. The Deliverer was tasked to keep and preserve all the knowledge of our race, and to pass that to her successor in the end of our next journey.

What can we do, Sajuuk? We must help her.

If we can, Karan, if we can…

***

Aboard the Ark of Geddon

“Status!” Radal shouted as he eyed his unconscious daughter. “What the hell is happening?”

“The Tartarus, it is hacking on our systems!” Mani shouted.

Radal stared at Iisha. “Is that affecting her?”

“Yes,” Mani replied. “No doubt it would. She is tied to the Ark’s main intelligence, and that T-MAT thing is hacking at that intelligence.”

Gursal added. “That thing did not attempt to destroy us. It is obviously wanted to get something inside this ship. And when it does, it will find us dispensable, meaning bye-bye.”

“What can I do?” Radal desperately threw up his arms. “I have to do something. I can’t stand around and let that thing do whatever it is doing to her. Can you do something, Mani?”

“Neg, Captain. I still don’t know much about the ship’s neural net to begin with.” Mani replied.

Then Radal had a thought. “Then I must go in. Is there anyway you can jack me into the system?”

“Neural interfacing?” Mani appeared surprised.

“Yes, Mani. Neural interfacing.”

“I studied courses about doing this, but I have never done this live. That was only with a Hiigaran Navy proposal to use neural interfaces with strike craft. But the project was canned for cost reasons. And I don’t know enough of this ship’s systems to do such an interface. I’m sorry Captain, but I may only zap your brain instead and turn you into a hopeless vegetable.”

Severe disappointment wore on Radal’s face. “Very well then. I will have to take matters into my own hands. He grabbed a blaster rifle and a comlink. “Direct me to where the nearest cable coming from that ship. I’m going to cut it.”

“Very well then,” Mani said. “On Deck 2, Hall 44, we have a cable from the Tartarus attempting to access a network hub there. It appears to have hastily joined to the cables of this ship.”

“Okay then, I’m headed there. I’m going to cut that thing off. In the meantime, inform the rest of the crew, ours and Progenitor, to start hacking at all the intruding cables. Then I want you to tell these Keeper robots to do the same.” Radal locked his rifle.

He then bent forward down towards a small Keeper robot, one of the many scurrying the floor doing odds bits of maintenance. “Do you hear me, robot?” Radal addressed the mechanical creature. “Don’t pretend you don’t understand us by now. You have the knowledge of our language stored in your data banks. We need your help. You understand what have to be done, don’t you?”

The optical stalk of the Keeper robot twirled, and diodes flashed along its body. “See you truly understand us?” Radal smiled. “Let’s get to work, boys.”

“I’m going with you, Captain,” Gursal said, picking up a rifle.

“Me too,” Banaan said, raising his side arm.

“Let’s get moving. Mani, you stay in the bridge and keep us informed where the cables are.”

“Aye, Captain. I’m also informing the rest of the crew.”

***

Radal quickly ran down the halls. In his excitement and tension, he forgot where the exact number of the deck where the offending cable was, but a quick communication with Mani resolved the location.

There it was, a pale tentacle about as thick as a Hiigaran’s torso, twirling like a worm, a larvae, devouring through metal like decaying flesh, till it found what it was looking for, a nerve fiber of the ship. At the end of it, of what one may call a head, a mouth had fastened on the ship’s cable, and perhaps something inside the head may be joined to the cable itself.

What a hideous thing. Radal thought.

“Got it.” Radal affirmed to Mani through the comlink. “I’m blowing it right away.” Radal unloaded his rifle at the head point blank, while Mani and Gursal fired at the torso. The head pulled out in pain, it’s jaws threatening to devour the offending Radal. But all three of them kept firing at the head, blasting holes and pieces through the torso. The tentacle quickly withdrew, smoking, the head in fragments. Keeper robots jumped to the hole, trying to quickly seal it off.

“Smoke one!”

The next tentacle in Deck 3, already had Keeper drones crawling, biting, and drilling at it. There was a large gash where a Keeper had incessantly cut through the skin using a metal cutting device similar to a hydraulic scissor. Gursal took the butt of his rifle and smashed at the innards. Then Banaan fired point blank through the gut in rapid succession, leaving the gut opening smoking. The worm like tentacle quickly withdrew, and immediately, the Keepers tried to seal off the tunnel like hole the tentacle left.

“That will take care of that!” Banann said proudly.

“We got more to destroy,” Radal reminded him.

On Hall 18, a tentacle was being attacked by a mob of crewmen. Some of it were from the Naasha’s, others were the Progenitor reborn. They had taken odd instruments like lengths of piping and the odd bars, and were smashing them at the skin of the tentacle like sledge hammers. They only managed to dent the skin when Radal arrived. Radal opened up his gun at the skin, tearing a hole, which the crew poked inside with the edge of their pipes and twisted them like crowbars. Radal was faintly surprised that the skin was not that tough after all and the tentacle can be damaged in such a crude fashion, as the mob continue to disembowel the tentacle with lengths of pipes and bars. “What ever works,” Radal added.

“We got another problem,” Mani said through the comlink.

“What is it?” Radal asked. Mani’s tone of voice was worrying.

“Because of your actions and the actions of the crew and Keepers, the Tartarus are sending in its own drones to board the Ark. Expect some heavy hand to hand battle, Captain.”

“Roger, Mani. We’re going to fight this tooth and nail.” Radal turned to his friends, the crew and to the drones. “Did you hear that all of you?”

The twin antenna of a Keeper robot stood up, and its optical stalk turned to Radal. A red diode blinked.

“The enemy are sending drones here, and they want to kill all of you. Understood?” Radal shouted. “So I don’t have much to say, but we better start fighting, or we are all going to die.” This was not one of his better speeches, but it would have to do.

The red diode flashed, and the optical stalks vibrated. The drone quickly turned around and other fellow drones of different shapes and designs followed it down the hall. Radal could hear the surge of their motors as they ran, with all their diodes flashing in an urgent, somewhat angry manner.

“I think you got them all fired up,” Gursal said.

Radal turned to the rest of the crew. “What are you all waiting for?”

“I don’t think we got enough guns,” said one.

“Never mind,” said another, lifting a long section of tempered pipe. “This will have to do.”

Gursal stared at Radal. “This will be very messy,” he said, as he checked his gun one more time. “Let’s go folks.”

***

She finally woke up. But where was she. The long robes were gone, and she—the one who was called Geddon, the priestess, was no more.

Instead, she was nothing more than Iisha Somtaaw. Her old clothes, her own body, the pimples on her face. There was no interface behind her head to the mighty ark-ship. She was free, but she was also mortal. She was back to herself.

Where am I?

She could hear fighting, and she ran to where she sensed the sound and the light. When she reached there, the light came from those portholes, and she approached them. There she saw her father, shooting at what must have been enemy drones, while other drones fought the intruding drones with whatever they had. She recognized them as the Keeper drones of the ship. The defender drones are capable of shooting with lasers and short range EMP fire. The other drones, tasked with menial work, were also doing their part in defense, using their arms or whatever they could brandish, to strike back at the enemy. Then she could see the crew, also fighting back, some with guns, others with whatever makeshift weapon they could muster. She had heard the phrase “hand to hand combat” before, and this can only be it.

There was another presence she felt. One that was dark and unseen.

“The battles are all over the ship. Sooner or later, they will all be subjugated by my drones. Your ship will be mine and all the secrets inside it.”

“Who are you?” Iisha asked.

“I am the one whose name cannot be spoken. I am the one whose existence everyone tried to deny.”

“By this I am assuming that you are the head intelligence of that ship, the Tartarus.”

“That is correct, my dear Iisha.”

“So where am I exactly. I think I am still aboard the Ark, am I?”

“You are correct, Iisha Somtaaw. You are still aboard the Ark, but not where you might think you are. You are inside the neural net of this ship, where I had planted my grasp.”

“Your grasp?” Iisha gasped. “I am inside the ship’s computers? Where is my real body then?”

The images on the portholes changed, and she could see the bridge this time from an upper view. She saw her own body, still in the cubicle, almost lifeless, still tied with the interfaces behind her body and back.

“My father….?” She pounded at the portholes in a sort of mindless reflex action to call for help or attention, and yet she understood such actions may be in vain. “Father….!”

The voice spoke in a mocking tone. “Trying to save you my dear. As any parent would do. It is kind of sad, but touching. He will die eventually, like all the rest…”

Iisha gasped as the images changed to the battle outside. There lay the Hiigaran and Vaygr fleets in shambles, wreckage floating in space, the detonating flashes abruptly interrupting the peaceful darkness between the stars, each flash announcing the hapless fate of a ship. Only the Keeper ships and Movers remained to provide significant resistance.

“We will win eventually, you know…” said the voice.

“Why do you want me for?” Iisha scowled as she turned to the direction of the voice. “You had a chance to destroy me, now you seem to want me alive and my ship.”

“Because I need you alive more than dead. At least for the time being. As Deliverer, you now bear the Keys to our race, the Keys from which your predecessors have brought from one galaxy to another, as they migrate to each new galaxy bringing the Missionary work. The Keys that hold all the knowledge, all the technical advancement of our race, all the knowledge of the stars and the galaxies. In it, through this knowledge, may lie the key to unlocking the very nature of the Divine itself. This I must have from you to complete my new legacy.”

“Your new legacy? And what is that?” Iisha asked.

“My child…my child…” The voice said in disappointment. “It is not obvious to you? We have lived for eons. While our bodies can die, our souls are immortal, transmuting from one body to another in cycles of reincarnation. Or our souls can be preserved in vessels or nets. I too am once a Missionary like all the rest. In all this time, I have yet to hear the voice of the Divine speak to me. I have yet to hear Him talk me. Does the Divine Intelligence ever did exist? Are we all working for all this time, just for something that would turn out only to be empty in the end?”

“A lie…?

“And so I began to question to question the very existence of this Divine we all are supposed to worship. I used to have a name you know. It meant “brother to all” but it was no longer allowed to be spoken. Isn’t that the greatest loneliness in this universe, that your very name is now allowed to be spoken, to even deny your very existence in this plane of existence?”

“I was once the greatest of all the Missionaries, and I doubted. We have gone from galaxy to galaxy, civilizing every society and sentient race we encountered, carefully manipulating both their genetic and social development. I won’t deny that we have our many successes, but we have many failures as well.”

The images turned from the battle outside, into a hyperspace jump what seemed to be pass through a pool of galaxies, a conquest of time and space occurring in mere seconds.

“Galaxy 43-B48. We civilized a species known as the Kolkat. A promising species. They learned jump drive from us, among other things. We taught them to unite their society and we stopped their interracial wars that was killing millions across the surface of their homeworld. A thousand years later, the Kolkat Galactic Empire was established, and in its wake, they wiped out four competing sentient species through genocide, bombing a total of twelve homeworlds.”

“In Galaxy B5-148. Same thing, another species we taught we had enlightened, the Sarandar, ended up fighting a three thousand year war against another species we taught we had enlightened, the Garandians. Both species evolved separately. But once they mastered interstellar travel, thanks to us, sooner or later both species encountered each other eventually. Four hundred years, both species lived in peace. Until racial tensions broke that, and war came. Suffice to say, both species also wiped themselves out in the end. But not before destroying the billions of lives across two thousand worlds. In addition, two promising sentient species were caught in the crossfire, and their industrial societies destroyed, plunging their homeworlds into barbarism.”

“Oh we got so many case studies of obvious failures. We could have studied those mistakes. But no, the Grand Council, the Elders, our entire race, persisted in doing this massive social engineering across the Universe. For the Divine they said.”

“What they think they’re doing good, this civilization engineering in the universal scale, but you know what I think? Iisha Somtaaw?”

“I think it is the ultimate evil in the universe.”

“Why can’t you let things be, Iisha? I told this to the face of Sajuuk himself as we debated the very nature of our Mission in the Council.” The images changed, this time to what appeared like a court. There were persons in robes, some sat in chairs arranged like a tribunal, others were down in the stand, lecturing and delivering speeches.

“I told to Sajuuk and the Council, why are we even trying to manipulate the evolution of races, from one galaxy to another? We can’t we just let them be? Let the natural process of evolution take its course. Let them realize the full potential of their race by themselves. Let the strongest survive, and the weak die. We are not gods. We claim we pray to one God, but in the end, we act like gods ourselves. The Divine is only an excuse to pursue this grand social engineering.”

“And if we are already acting like gods, then we don’t we just admit. We are gods! Our race has powers greater than any race we have encountered. And I, am the greatest of all in my race, for realizing the truth first before any other.”

Iisha interrupted. “If you are so great already, then why do you need the Key?”

“Perhaps, there is still some doubt in me if or not the Divine really ever existed. To see the Divine is to know He would actually exist. And then, why waste all that knowledge. The Key is the greatest repository of knowledge the Universe has ever known. To obtain this key, I would have completed my own evolution. If there is no God, then I will be One, and to be One, I will need the Key.”

“Look at yourself, Iisha. Look at how this race has taken you from the life of your family, from your own happiness. Remember this—“

The images flashed again, like the scenes of stage play. “Remember how you are conceived? Aboard that little science ship? The Keepers implanted the genetic coding of the Deliverer into a zygote deep within the womb of your mother. Nine months later, you were born, but the irradiation effects of the transmutation took the best of your mother, and she died. Your father was devastated, and he was never the same ever since. He loved her, and they took her away from him.”

They were responsible for the death of your mother. Playing gods with your lives.”

A figure appeared in the darkness, and it walked forth. “Don’t you want to ever see her for the first time, Iisha? You dreamt this in your entire life, even now to see your mother, Naasha.”

The figure walked towards the light, until the light fell on her face. Iisha remembered the face of her own mother from the many pictures her father had shown her. The face in the figure was the same, so loving and yet so sad in its expression.

“Iisha….” the figure stretched her arms forward. “Iisha?” She cried out again.

“Mother…mother…” The tears and the emotions began to overwhelm Iisha, and she ran towards the figure, falling into its arms.

She hugged and pressed against the figure that looked like Naasha. “Mother…is that really you?” Tears ran down her eyes.

Naasha pressed against Iisha with both her arms. “Yes, it is I… my dear Iisha…my dear child…”

The voice interrupted them. “As I said, souls are immortal, and I have the power to call them forth.”

“Mother…mother…” Iisha hugged and cried. “I dreamed, dreamed of you all the time…”

The voice continued. “Remember the time, you were bullied in your school. You cried, all the other kids made fun of you. You were after all, an unusual person, even in your childhood. Something that all Hiigaran children didn’t like, to see an odd one among them, nearsighted, a little too smart for your own good. So they teased you and bullied you. You got nowhere to go, no place to run. Your father is away on duty, a mission so far, you won’t see him for months. You cried under a tree, wishing you have a mother. Someone who can love you, take care of you, make your lunch or your dinner, tuck you in bed and read you your stories. You don’t have to prepare all the food yourself, or cry yourself to sleep in all those lonely nights. Sing to yourself, read to yourself. Nobody to speak to, no one to hear your problems. No one who can share your life as you grow up. Isn’t loneliness grand?”

Iisha hugged Naasha harder, and Naasha hugged even closer, kindly stroking Iisha’s head. “Yes…yes…” Iisha cried, tears down her cheeks, her knees on the floor. “I want my mother.”

The voice continued. “So what has the Keepers done to you? What has this race, our so called Progenitors in this Hiigaran language, done to you? I will answer this. They caused you a life time of misery and loneliness. Because they decided that your destiny for you. Why would they do that? Because they—through their actions—viewed themselves as godly. They viewed their actions above consequence, without consideration what they will do to others. And the suffering they caused.”

“The suffering they all caused…” The voice shouted itself in pain.

Suddenly, Naasha was pulled by a strong force, swept away from Iisha’s arms. Naasha screamed. “Iisha…Iisha…” Iisha stretched out and tried to grab her, but she could not. The force was too strong too fast.

Naasha called out her last words just before she was swept into a dark vortex. “Iisha, I love you…” Her hand sticking out from the darkness in one final moment before it disappeared—it was the last Iisha saw of her.

Iisha fell to her knees, crying. She slammed her hands against the floor. “Why would you do this? Why? Why?”

“I did not do this, Iisha,” the voice said, as a dark figure emerged. “The Keepers have already done that for you. I did not separate you from your mother. They did. I gave you your mother back, even for a fleeting moment. I did you a favor, and challenged all natural order just for you to see her one last time. Do not blame me for your troubles. You should even see me as a friend.”

The figure work the robes of a monk. Iisha could not see his face, but the line fell on the silhouette of his nose. He extended his long thin hands at her.

“I can help you. You can live the life you ever dreamed about. You can have your mother. Just give me the Key, surrender to me. Renounce what you had believed falsely. Submit to what is right. Acknowledge me as your god and your friend. Believe in yourself. Together, we can reach our full potential as the mightiest of all sentient beings. We can reshape the universal order so there will no longer be any suffering, loneliness and sadness.”

Iisha watched him with her wet eyes. His words have its reasons. She stretched her hand towards his. Then at the last moment she pulled back.

No, she was not alone. She could remember how own father, still grieving the loss of his wife all over the years, and she, no one but a child then, stretching her own hand towards his. When he touched her hand, he smiled, and all his sorrows at that moment went away. He smiled and she smiled as he hugged her.

In those dark nights, when everything seemed lonely, her father was there. At least in those times when he was not in the missions, he was there to tuck her in bed to go to sleep, to bring her to school, made her meals. In those days, he taught her the things he knew, how to make things like simple houses, toys and dolls, how to cut wood for fire, how to cook meals.

He was there, and he was alive. He flew with her across a galaxy in this journey. They shared the same triumphs and trials along the way. He is alive now, fighting, trying to save her….

“No…no…” Iisha cried, as she pulled back from the robed figure, who reeled back in surprise.

Then she remembered. The deaths that the war of Heresy had caused, hundreds of civilizations destroyed along the way, the entire galaxy thrown into dark ages, the Hiigarans and the Vaygr killed now by the resurgence of this species, the outposts and ships they have destroyed, and all their crews. They had no chance, and they had no choice. They were there to save their families, their home worlds. The legacy of Hiigara, the bombs the fell to her surface, launched from the T-MAT ships. They killed millions, including mothers…and children.

“No, no…” Iisha cried again. It will not happen again. Father… Mother… I know what Mother would have wanted me to do…For Hiigara, for the Mission, for the Galaxy…

“What are you doing?” the voice called.

Iisha searched deep within her for an answer, deep into the Key, and to all knowledge the Progenitors bore.

She answered him. “Galaxy G5-634. Case file. The Boronaii. They were civilized and taught the jump drive. Within centuries they built a civilization that spanned hundreds of stars. We civilized other races as well. Combined, in two thousand years, a Galactic Empire was formed, where billions lived in harmony and peace. That was the last we recalled from them, before we left that galaxy.”

“We may have had some failures, but many more succeeded. And we want this Galaxy to succeed as well.”

Act 23 | Landing Page | Act 25

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