Soul of the Progenitors
A Homeworld Fanfiction
Originally posted February 21, 2005 – 8:34PM
Gate of Karnak, Habados System, Kalkuth Sector
Movers swam through the cloud of dark debris. Not long before the dark debris was two of the most powerful ships of the Galaxy, the Tartarus and the Sajuuk. Now, the Movers sift through the debris with their scanners, looking for useful material they could still salvage, pieces of technology that they would not want to share with undeserving races.
But besides those, there was something else they were looking for. One Mover signaled its discovery to the rest of its squadron. Not long after, another Mover found the other one. Both were capsules, made from a metal forged in the cores of dead stars, with a dark colored sheen that was reflected the sun and the stars about them. The Movers hoped that the two capsules would have survived the disintegration of the dreadnaught and the mothership. And inside the capsules lay something ancient, something that harks back to the beginnings of their race.
A few months later
It did not take long for the Pride of Hiigara to do the jumps from Hiigara to Habados, once the Hiigarans had managed to develop their very first Far Jump Hypespace Core, based on the analysis of the Cores used on the Sajuuk. It was not without help, perhaps the final act of the Progenitors to enlighten the races of this Galaxy. The Hiigarans have also heard that the Vaygr have also managed to reverse engineer the Far Jump Core; there were accusations that some Hiigarans may have leaked the secrets the Vaygr for a nice sum of credits. Or that the Progenitors themselves provided some aid to the Vaygr in reward for their assistance in the Battle of Habados. Despite that there was no proof, nonetheless the most common opinion especially among the Hiigaran right wing was that the Progenitors assisted the Vaygr in order to provide a balance of power for the Galaxy, to make sure that no side could become too predominant.
The sharing of the Far Jump Core was not without some conditions for both sides. Karan S’jet had just signed the Treaty of Noorshinan with the Khar of the Vaygr, Taklan. The peace treaty marked the demarcations of the Hiigaran Dominion and the Vaygr Reaches; the creation of a new Galactic Council; the launching of several trade treaties between the Vaygr and the Hiigarans, and access to all races, including the Vaygr to the network of Gates.
Contrary to popular fears, the Eye of Arran did not shutdown with the destruction of the three Far Jump Cores of the Sajuuk. Once opened by the three Cores, the Eye stayed open. There was however, some consternation about the power sources for the Gates, an issue that first arose when the gates were first opened. But now, based on the knowledge the Progenitors had provided, the Gates themselves only required minimal power and maintenance, that all they do was to act like a lens, that the main source of power was the jumper cores of the ships themselves. The Gate would use the hyperspace fields of the Core in the ship, focus them into a tight bubble around the ship, and then slingshot the ship to its intended destination, which can only be another gate in a far system. Since there was a launching Gate, there must also be a receiving Gate, and the bubble moved through the pathways between the Gates. The Eye of Arran was the largest Gate next after the Gate of Karnak, and so it required the energy and the combined fields of the three Far Jumper Cores of Sajuuk to activate it. At first the Hiigarans did not understand the principle, but the provided writings of the Progenitors later clarified the operating principle of the Gates. However, ships using the Gates cannot far jump to systems without a connecting gate.
The Gate network were termed as highways, but there was still so much of space that can only be reached by a true Far Jumper. These seldom explored regions of space, the backwaters, do not have frequent contact with the true light of the advanced star faring civilizations, and so remained both culturally and technologically backward. These regions were filled with civilizations in the birthing throes of being an interstellar civilization, powerful enough to develop these technologies, but not enlightened enough to use them wisely.
But the use of Far Jumpers could never be economical for the galactic backwaters. Only by extending the Gate network to those regions can the Light be shone to the places that had been under the darkness for so long. This was the reason why Karan S’jet must make this trip, before the Progenitors themselves depart from this Galaxy. What she needed was the knowledge to construct new Gates. The Progenitors had already bequeathed the Hiigarans as the Care Keepers of the Gates, but Karan thought that preservation wasn’t enough. They have to build new ones to reach all parts of the Galaxy.
The construction of the new Gates was to become the one of the most important achievements in the First Period of the Age of S’jet.
The Pride of Hiigara jumped three Gates. At the third Gate, she activated her new Far Jumper core for the first time, and achieved a distance not before seen in all her previous travels using the ancient Far Jumper of Sajuuk. At the end of this destination was the Gate of Karnak, where the Progenitor fleet had stayed for months.
The Pride of Hiigara came out of hyperspace not far from the Gate itself. There was a new Hiigaran observation outpost built, which kept the rest of Hiigara in touch with the developments occuring in the Progenitor fleet.
In the time after the battle, the Movers did their best to salvage all that had been destroyed, recycling all the metals and minerals, and rebuilding them into new ships. Since the Reclamation of the Heretics, the vast motherships and fleet of the Heretics, the ones the Hiigarans code named the P3—the designation of which was now cemented in the Hiigaran history text books—had all been disassembled and recycled. The monstrous Assault Motherships were all but weapons of the most massive destruction, and was deemed not suitable for the new destination the Progenitors had planned.
Karan wondered what happened to all the sentient intelligence that resided in these ships, the ghosts, the Souls as the Progenitors called them. And she wondered about the fate of the Soul of Sajuuk.
Since the destruction of the Sajuuk, there was a religious upheaval in Hiigara and in all civilizations that had believed that Sajuuk was a god, a list that happened to include the Vaygr. Sajuuk himself, as a Progenitor, helped spread the light to the forerunners of these civilizations which lay a wide swath across the Galaxy. There was many who said that Sajuuk was indeed a god, but the atheists only contended that Sajuuk was just a mere ship. Still the destruction of the Sajuuk stirred a profound uprising to the faiths and religions that worshiped Sajuuk. Karan’s own proclamation herself since the destruction of Sajuuk, that she would no longer use the title of Sajuuk-Khar. This was another cultural shock that made matters even worst. From now on, Karan S’jet had decreed that she would only use the title of Hiigara-Sa, or simply Fleet Command.
To quell the religious uprising, Karan herself acknowledged that Sajuuk was indeed a sentient being, not one with godly powers, but as a faithful disciple of the Believers, that he was among many, and worshiped an even higher cause. To properly worship Sajuuk, was to serve the ends Sajuuk himself served.
She was already headed to the Gate of Karnak to obtain the technology for Gate building and to witness the departure of the Progenitors, when she heard the discovery of the Capsules. In all this time, when they had possession of the Sajuuk dreadnaught, they never discovered the existence of the Capsule, so deeply embedded in the giant ship.
“Remove all the interface cables,” Karan ordered to her assistants. She turned to the bridge. “Admiral, you have full command.”
“Yes, Hiigara-Sa,” Serim bowing as he replied.
Once the cables were removed, a cap that resembled a chrome helmet was placed in her head. At the moment the connections were removed, the thin stream of filtered data that entered her head every second stopped, and all she heard inside her mind was an eeriesilence. Or the word peace was a better description to that emptiness and calm.
She struggled to walk on her two legs. Without the cables she was free, and she felt normal, except for the metal cap on her head that protected and concealed all the connecting ports in her skull.
“Hiigara-Sa look,” Admiral Serim pointed to the screen. “I can’ believe they were able to make those ships in this short time, even if they recycled all the scrap from the battle.”
On screen was a fleet of Sajuuk class Dreadnaughts, not just one or two, or even five of them, like the fleet when the Progenitors first came into this system. There was—count—eleven of these immense ships and the twelveth dreadnaught still on the way, being built in the belly of the Ark. They had all replaced that was lost, and built even more.
“What’s going on? Are they planning to bring all these ships with them?” Admiral Serim asked. “Maybe they could leave us a spare.” He added jokingly.
“I think we will find out soon, Admiral. Have you prepared for my transportation?”
“Yes, Hiigara-Sa. We have a Marine frigate complete with your ceremonial guard and your party on board.”
“Thank you, Admiral.” She saluted him and he saluted back.
The trip to the Ark was short, and Karan had a bird’s eye view of the new fleet the Progenitors were building, all arrayed near the Ark itself.
This was the first, and most likely the final, time she would ever visit the Ark. It loomed at her, reminding her of the broken Progenitor mothership-shipyard back in Karos, where the first Dreadnaught was found. But this was bigger. That dead mothership in Karos was probably designed to build the earlier generation of Dreadnaughts, the Ark, on the other hand, was designed to build ships like the Sajuuk class. This was her first opportunity to see the ship up close with her own eyes, much less to step foot in it.
A party that looked like a group of monks waited them at the dock. She was warned that some of the revived Progenitors were Hiigarans, who were in the armed service, who just took off and left their posts. This may represent a potentially awkward situation since that was considered a criminality under Hiigaran Law. But these former Hiigarans, revived with the souls of the Progenitors, only live to the laws of their Progenitor race, and it was moot to do anything about it.
As she stepped forward, one person stepped forward from the party.
Karan didn’t knew her that much, and that person’s stint on the Sajuuk didn’t last for long. But the face of Iisha Somtaaw had burned into her mind, from her data files, from what she did, and how she quickly became the crux of all this. She had expected someone else to be the greeting party. Since becoming Unbound as the Deliverer, she expected Iisha Somtaaw to be tied to the interface cables with the ship, similar to her neural-circuitry interfaces . But perhaps for this occasion, much like hers, Iisha Somtaaw was disconnected from the ship to allow herself a brief moment of freedom to attend to the visitors.
“Hiigara-Sa!” Iisha Somtaaw quickly kneeled.
Karan placed her hands on Iisha’s shoulder and motioned her to stand up. “You do not have to do this. You are no longer a Somtaaw and a Hiigaran. You have transcended to your rightful place in the ranks of the Progenitors.”
“Maybe, old habits die hard, I suppose.” Iisha responded. “Maybe there is a part of me who still wishes to be.”
“I suppose, a part of you doesn’t want to leave this Galaxy,” Karan asked.
“I suppose so,” Iisha answered.
“How shall I address you?” Karan asked.
“Just call me with the name my father gave me, which is Iisha.”
“Then Iisha, call me by the name my father gave me, Karan.”
“I don’t think I can get used to that, Miss Karan S’jet., M’am.”
“You only have a short time, but anyway, I have someone I want you to meet.” Karan motioned with her fingers, and four people quickly stepped off the frigate, all wearing the proud uniforms of the Hiigaran Navy Fleet..
“Father!” Iisha shouted, her arms outstretched. “Gursal! Mani! And Banaan too!”
Radal quickly hugged his daughter. “Yes and I bought the whole gang. I have not seen you since after the battle.”
“I suppose you’re here to wave me good bye, father.”
“I suppose so, I suppose so, my dear Iisha.”
Karan nodded her head to Iisha. “I believe we still have some business to do?”
“Yes,” Iisha said. “Walk with me to the bridge.”
So they walked to the corrigdors where the entire history of the Progenitor race was illustrated on the walls with vivid, colorful pictures, with scripts written on the walls and on the floors. Radal remembered the corrigdor which his daughter translated fervently when she first came to the Ark.
Karan and Iisha began to whisper their conversation. As they reached the end of the hallway, Iisha proclaimed. “We will provide you with all the necessary information you can use to maintain the Gates, even build new ones. I must add that our race has not built a new Gate since the first great War of Heresy. Perhaps I might say, our knowledge and skills might be rusty.”
“That is sufficient, Iisha,” Karan answered. “We will take all what you have, and we will work from there. Should our first attempts fail, then we shall try and try again. After all, we are Hiigaran, and failure is a mere inconvenience in our journey to the goal.”
“So shall it be.” Iisha said. “I will order the download of all pertinent data from the Ark to the Pride of Hiigara.”
Karan bowed. They stood now at the end of the doorway. Radal remembered what came next—a vast crypt of mummified bodies whose purpose defied him even up to now.
“I have a question to ask you,” Karan said to Iisha. “I saw Sajuuk died. His ship disintegrated. His presence disappeared for a while. And now I feel he is back. What is the fate of Sajuuk?”
The doorway opened to the vast crypt of capsuled mummies. The capsules stacked up from the floor to the ceilings, all in rows and rows. Karan stared up the wall of capsules.
“We found both Sajuuk’s and Jaz-rael’s capsules in the debris of their ships.” Iisha explained. The capsules are made from a mineral obtained only from the cores of dead stars. Thankfully, they helped preserve the corpses of Sajuuk and Jaz-rael. Inside the capsules are the mortal bodies of both. Within the capsules also, were preserved their original works, as well as the AI and programming of their ships. It was something I only learned from the Ark.”
“And to think, Karan, the original body of Sajuuk, for all that time, was buried deep within the Dreadnaught that bore his name.”
Iisha stopped at a row and turned to face a capsule. “Here it is, the body of Sajuuk himself.”
Karan gently laid her hand on the capsule. Inside this capsule, lay the most sacred tenet of the religions of many races in the Galaxy, including that of Kharak and Hiigara. Here lay Sajuuk, He whose Hand shapes what is.
“Wh y do you carry their bodies?” Karan asked. “I believe that the mothership should carry the living, at least in capsules, just like our original mothership from Kharak.”
“Look around you,” Iisha answered. “Here lay the bodies of 144,000 disciples. They were the original disciples who left their homeworld eons ago, in a galaxy that is now so far out of our reach. That was our home galaxy.” Iisha pointed to the mural on the ceiling. “In this capsules we preserve the best of us all, their DNA, their works, anything to remember this, the core and the essence of us all.”
“But the capsule of Sajuuk is special. He was both one of the great leaders of our Council and a guardian to us all. He deserves a resting place of his own.” Iisha raised her hand, and Keeper drones came to remove the capsule from its resting place. Karan watched as the capsule was moved.
“Where are you taking it?” Karan asked.
“I will answer you at the bridge,” Iisha said.
When they reached the bridge, Iisha waved, and all the shutters opened to reveal the diamantine transparencies that stared right into space. From the bridge, Karan could see the heart and might of the Progenitor fleet, including the row of super Dreadnaughts, followed by smaller capital ships, transports, and ships designed for logistical support. There were carriers, cruisers, destroyers, many of them familiar designs from the Karos graveyard, the Movers, the Salvagers, and the Keeper Destroyers. Once in a while, a four ship formation of Keeper drones would buzz by as part of their patrols.
“Prepare the launching of the 12th Dreadnaught,” Iisha ordered. “Is the capsule in place?”:
“Yes it is, Deliverer. The capsule has been installed on the 12th Dreadnaught.” said one of the crew dressed in monks robes, manning a console.
“And so shall it be, that the ship be named the new Sajuuk-Cor,” Iisha proclaimed.
There was a large thunking sound, and Karan watched from the camera views displayed on the screen. Massive jaws released themselves, and the new Dreadnaught fell out from the docking back underneath the Ark. She was new and she appeared to have some additions, but the very shape, its bladed leaf like form, this was undeniably much like all her sister ships that bear Sajuuk name as a class, and that of the original Sajuuk.
“Sajuuk designed this super Dreadnaught to battle the Heretics,” Iisha said. “And with it, he changed the course of history. It is only right, we preserve his memory in a living ship. She will be part of us again, in our journeys from one galaxy to the next.”
Karan nodded as the Sajuuk moved on its own power, finding its place in the row of Super Dreadnaughts.
“The 12 ships represent the 12 members of the Council, each leading a tribe of their own, from our home planet.” Iisha explained as she too watched from the windows of the bridge, to the rows of ships beyond, set against the star and nebula of Habados.
“There is one thing I forgot to tell you, Iisha,” Karan said, and she glanced over her shoulder to the direction of Radal Somtaaw and company.
Iisha followed Karan’s look and into her father. She didn’t notice it when he first came onboard the ship, but her father and his friends were carrying bags and luggage.
Radal scratched his head. “I forgot to tell you dear. I’m not here to watch you go. I’m here to go with you.”
Iisha stood there speechless.
“Oh, and they’re going with us too.” Radal waved to his gang who all waved back to Iisha.
“I don’t know what to say.” Iisha said. “There was never in the history of the Believers did we bring people from outside in our journey to another Galaxy.”
“But there was never in the history of your Progenitor race, that people from the outside helped save you.” Karan said. “I think by doing so, we have proven our worth as a people and as individuals. Besides, they have proven they can handle this ship pretty good. It is your choice, Iisha. You are the Deliverer of your people now.”
“Iisha, I don’t have anything of a future here in this galaxy anymore.” Radal said. “Besides, I don’t think I’m ready to let my daughter go all alone in some hostile galaxy without her father looking all over her, despite—well—having the most powerful battle fleet in the galaxy.” Radal looked at the rows of ships in formation in space. Then he looked back at Iisha. “I think you need us. I know you need us.”
“And what about them?” Iisha asked, referring to his friends.
“We’re here for the adventure. To finish what we started. To see things all the way through,” Gursal said. “Please do not deny us that right.”
The monks stood up from their bridge consoles. It was hard to see from their gestures whether they approved or not.
“There is always a first time for everything,” Iisha said. “Man your posts, Gursal, Mani, and Banaan. And father…Captain?”
“Aye aye,” Gursal saluted.
Radal went over to the Captain’s seat, and lightly brushed over it. Then he sat. Unlike the cushioned Hiigaran seats, the seats of the Progenitors ships were all made of metal and not quite comfortable. “Much like old times.’
Iisha smiled. “Welcome aboard.”
“Then it is settled,” Karan said. “And Radal Somtaaw, it is not necessarily true that you and your partners here don’t have a future with the Hiigaran Fleet. We would welcome always men of your talents and character. But it is up to you to decide where you want your future to be.”
“I know my future is here now,” Radal said.
“It is said that the Fates guide us. If it is your destiny, father, to be with us, then you shall be with us.” Iisha said. She walked to him and they both hugged.
“I suppose the drones can help bring our stuff to our room?” Banaan asked.
“Yes,” Iisha smiled.
Aboard the Pride of Hiigara
Karan S’jet watched the Progenitor fleet from the screems of the bridge. They were set in large rows, this time, the smaller ships first, then the larger ones behind them, then even larger ones further behind. Then came the capital ships, the Destroyers, Carriers, Heavy and Battle Cruisers, then the Dreadnaughts themselves, and the Ark last. Auxiliary ships followed the wake of the ark.
“They’re powering up!” One officer said.
“Power levels in the Gate rising,” said another officer.
“We got increased hyperspace field curvature.”
“Power levels in the Gate still rising. We are seeing movement in the Gate itself. It’s beginning to turn.”
Every ship in the fleet began to be surrounded by a purple shimmering bubble. Karan watched the center of the Gate itself, where the fabric of space within the ring has turned into a shimmering whirlpool.
The dialog among the officers began to sound excited and anxious. “Holy Sajuuk, power is still rising. I’ve never such power levels before. Most of the power is coming from the Ark. The power is being transmitted from its hyperspace Cores to the Gate itself.”
“We got a major bent in the Hyperspace curvature field. The fleet, they’re headed to the center of the Gate!”
Karan walked closer to the screens. As each ship entered the gate, there was a brilliant white flash, and the ship was gone. The flashes became stronger as the bigger ships started to entering.
“By the grace of Sajuuk!” One officer cried.
Admiral Serim walked over to Karan. “Hiigara-Sa. I cannot imagine this sight. The gods has crossed into the great Gate of Heaven. This is a great honor bestowed upon a mortal being such as I.”
Karan smiled. “We are all honored.”
One by one, it was the turn of the Dreadnaughts. As the last Dreadnaught entered the Gate, the auxiliary ships docked into the Ark, and the great bulk of the Ark moved into the center of the Gate, itself a shimmering ring slowly turning around the vortex of bent hyperspace. As the Ark entered, rays of light shone out from the Gate, which for a moment, was brighter than the sun of Harados in the background. Then a flash of light like a small nova, and the Ark itself was gone.
“It is done,” Karan said.
There was only empty and quiet space now where a great fleet had mobilized.
Sparks and fires began to alight around the Gate. “Hiigara-Sa, it looks the Gate is burning out.” Pieces began to fall apart from the Gate, but the Gate remained whole, burnt and black. The movement stopped.
“Power is all gone. From my sensors, it looks like several parts are fused together. I think the Gate is dead.” One officer said.
“The Gate was only meant to be used once,” Karan observed.
Aboard the Ark of Geddon, Galaxy 6Y-948
The sight of the spiral form of a new Galaxy awaited them from the screens and windows of their ships. It was a luminous whirlpool set in the midst of the night. Small pockets of lights indicated globular star clusters, the faint feathery wisps of white, galactic clouds and nebula illuminated by the nuclear excitement of the stars within.
Iisha stood up, resisting the drag of the cables from her head, her father at her side. She walked over to the hardened diamantine windows to see the new Galaxy with her own eyes, not through the sensors of the ship.
“I can’t imagine, what are we going to do? This is an entire Galaxy. Millions of stars, worlds, billions of sentient beings, living on their own. How will our presence affect their destinies, and the destiny of yet another Galaxy?” Iisha watched over to her father for answers.
“Maybe we need to do things one thing at a time, and let fate unravel what she has for our destiny.” Radal said. “But in the meantime, as Captain, we got a lot of other things to do, like ensure our own survival first, and then find a base. Perhaps we should start scans of the nearby stars for habitable planets, or places with water.”
“Aye, Captain.” Iisha said as she walked back to her seat.
Radal stayed in the window, and held his own hands together at his back. ‘Tis a long