The White Beast
A Homeworld Fanfiction
Originally posted April 26, 2001
After the great Crusade of the Kadeshi, Zha Khor, the arrogant young Raider princess and her business manager’ the brilliant engineer Seejuk Liirhra returned to the Turan Planetoid. It was for the great Raider festivities of the Oathtakin g, a cultural celeb ration that has united the different Houses of the Raiders for many millennia.
Aboard, two rival scion s of Hiigara’s greatest Kiiths are embarked on a journey to prove their theories about the origins of intelligent life on the Galaxy—the ProtoGenesis theory. It is a journey that begins in the great Planetoid in the search for the origins of the Raiders and a strange prophecy. It ends to the far side of the Galaxy, where the past still lives in the form of a malevolent alien race.
But here, also o n the edge of the Galaxy, a new Beast lives…and evolves.
Facing new threats, the Unbound have gathered their ultimate war machine s for a show down.
As two ancient powers collide, Zha and Seejuk are caught in a race of time to save the one thing that can stop them all, the creature called the White Beast.
Aboard the Kadeshi arkship Khar’Nua at The Oracle of Hannon…
“This is sacrilege,” demanded the Kadeshi priest. “No one can take the Dark Sword off from the Oracle!”
A fearsome statue of the goddess N’ua in warrior armor stood watch over the Oracle along with four other armored warrior gods. Incense smoke from worshipers filled the air, the aroma intended to wake the gods and keep them at peace. Female acolytes chanted in an ancient Hiigaran tongue, their melodies greeting the kneeling worshipers.
The young man in robes asked his companion. “Talk to him, or just give him the stuff.”
The companion walked to the priest, and placed his arm around the priest’s shoulder. He led the priest to a dark corner. “I am from the KMP, or the Kadeshi Military Provate. You can do a great service to your people and to your leaders.”
“Cardinal M’jor’s KMP is an abomination to the Faith of all Kadesh. He seeks to strip the gods of Kadesh and replace it with his own—himself,” answered the priest.
“Well that is your democratic opinion,” said the companion. “The Provate will be announcing the first ever referendum in Kadeshi history, and you can express your opinions there. But in the meantime, we have some offerings for you.” The companion gave the priest a bag.
The priest examined the contents of the bag. “Is this a bribe?”
“Consider it a token gift of your cooperation to the service of your people. You know, Father—what’s your name again?” said the companion.
“Hurgan. I am Father Hurgan.”
“Okay, Father Hurgan,” affirmed the companion. “I see better ways your temple can be more a service to your people. The temple seems to be old and decrepit. With some contributions and some help we can provide, the temple can be rebuilt new and clean. It will serve the Great Mother and her worshipers even better than before.”
“And if I refuse?” asked the priest.
“Well, the poor temple looks like it’s structurally unsafe. The Arkship civil inspectors are going to come soon, give an inspection and they will likely rule the place to be unsafe,” said the companion.
“And?” the priest asked.
“We will close the temple down,” the companion replied with a smirk.
The priest seemed to give it some thought. He uttered a short prayer. “Forgive me Great Mother, but this is all for Your service.” He took the bag and quickly hid it in his robes.
“Come with me please,” the priest advised to his guests. He opened a small room that led to the bottom of the Oracle.
“The Great Mother and the Four Warriors watch over this relic of great evil. The mere sight of it can be a curse. To release it to the Outside world would be great tribulation,” said the priest. “I pray to the Great Mother that you will be wise in your discretion with the handling of this evil artifact.”
Laying in the middle of the room was an ancient musty box with carvings of fearsome warriors intended to deter lookers. The priest placed a key into a lock and twisted it. He raised the lid.
Giirsa Kaalel knelt before the box, and with both hands, he lifted the blade off its rest.
“Magnificent,” he said. “Get my equipment, please.”
The companion took the bag and gave it to Giirsa. Giirsa took the apparatus and with a soft blue light, the device scanned the two-foot sword.
“I have never seen any metallurgy like this. Not Hiigaran, not Taiidan or anything I have seen from the Unbound. This comes from a new race we have not seen before,” said Giirsa.
The priest interrupted them and pointed to the walls. All around them, the walls were painted with fading murals that tell the story of an ancient legend.
“Two millennia ago, a race of demons called the Abomination came to the Gardens,” said the priest. “They were more terrifying than the Taiidan Defilers, with dark ships piloted by demons who could sense the winds of the stars. They seek to rape the Garden of its resources, destroy the Kadeshi and blaspheme all what Kadeshi believed. Our ancient heroes fought against the Abomination for years and years, and with the safety of the Gardens and the blessings of the Great Mother, the Abomination was fought to a stand still. Then all of a sudden, like they stopped existing, the Abomination disappeared from the face of the Gardens. All we have left of them after the past eras was this sword, captured by the hero, Hannon. For this it is called the Sword of Hannon.”
“This is truly a great find,” said Giirsa. “Look at these strange writings all over the blade and the handle. I have seen nothing like this. It’s not like any Hiigaran or Taiidan text. These scans will make a three-dimensional recording of the sword, its composition and its writings. Then we can make a complete replica of the sword for a further sword.”
Giirsa handed the sword back to the priest. “Is this all?” asked the priest.
“That is all,” Giirsa replied. The priest returned the sword to the ancient box.
“I feared that you will take the sword with you,” the priest expressed his great relief. “It is a priceless treasure of the Oracle.”
Giirsa replied. “It truly is a treasure but we respect your faith and your sacred relics. We only need to make a direct copy of the artifact for our study. We are looking for clues of this ancient race, these demons or abominations as you call it.”
“You temp the Gods,” the priest said. “You temp Fate itself. Do not call upon the names of what has been forbidden, for they may return, for it has been prophesied that they will return in the end of the ages.”
“Thank you, Father,” Giirsa politely remarked. “We will take your advice.”
The priest silently led them outside of the Oracle. Giirsa watched the crowds closely, so fascinated in their steadfast beliefs. They would come to the oracle, kneel on the hard ground for hours and chant. Even with the revelations that their gods were not gods at all, they continued to worship them. They’re no different from the Kharakian cults, which had been revived among the despondent Sleepers, even though most of the cynical Firstgen like him would consider them not gods at all, but like the Kadeshi idols, heroes and heroines of an earlier age.
At the Academy of Archeological Research, Hiigara…
She would be attractive for a petite young girl, but freckles marred her face, with large lens spectacles whose purpose seemed more to intimidate men than correct her bad eyesight. The spectacles themselves were silvery antiques from an old, steam age era of Kharak, and she had refused laser treatment to correct her eyesight, citing a terrible phobia on anything sharp or hot that would poke her eyes or anywhere in her body. Regardless of the hot and humid weather, she had insisted to wear the thick formal robes, whose skirts reach down to the ankles of her feet. Once in a while, she would trip on the ends of these robes, and the edges of the skirts reveal their wear. But like her stubborn spectacles, she insisted on the dainty robes, because they reflect the scholarly pride of a Sjet, and carried the Sjet shield of arms that every young, Firstgen member have in their uniforms as they study in its exclusive private schools.
“Welcome the new Library of Academy of Archeological Research,” said the librarian politely.
“My name is Kuo’ran Sjet. I am new in the Academy, and I have come here to research on the Khar’nakian artifacts,” said the dainty, petite girl with a high pitch and an insecure note.
“The artifacts from the Kadeshi Khar’nak derelict? Hmm, that’s something new,” the librarian said. “The real artifacts are still kept with the Kadeshi but we were allowed to have faithful, three-dimensional models of the artifacts. These simulated models are in hologram form and can be found stored in the core memory modules at shelf eight. But you do need some authorization to view them. Do you have authorization?”
“Err . . . yes? …” said the nervous girl.
“…yes . . . what? …” replied the librarian. “Do I know you somewhere? Your name sounds familiar.”
“My name rhymes with Karan. You know Karan Sjet. She’s my auntie,” said Kuo’ran. Kuo’ran was eagerly ready to raise that secret weapon to impress her way out of any situation.
.” Auntie who? Karan Sjet?…” said the librarian.
“You know…Karan Sjet of the Mothership…the one whose head has all this wires hooked to ship…”
Kuo’ran used her dainty hands to make representation of wires coming out from her head.
“Oh, that Karan!” said the librarian. “I’m sorry I’m just this off world Taidanii girl they hired to fill this labor shortage and do all the boring tedious menial jobs you Kushans seemed spoiled to do on your own. By the way, I got news for you, girl, having a relative with a celebrity status is not considered an authorization by Academy rules.”
“Hold on for a second,” Kuo’ran said. “Do you have a comlink here?”
“Be my guess, use mine.” The librarian gave her a handset.
Kuo’ran punched a series of buttons on the handset and soon she was having a friendly conversation with someone the librarian perceived as important. “Here, this is for you.” Kuo’ran gave the librarian the handset.
“Yes..yes sir…right away sir.” She blinked as she answered the call. The librarian turned her attention to Kuo’ran. “Looks like you got your authorization. For young student like you, you seem to pull a lot of weight here. All I need for you now is to fill this form, and you’re on your way.” Kuo’ran happily and quickly filled the form, and the librarian gave her the core keys.
She found section 8, picked the cores and found a comfortable holographic terminal to settle in. She inserted the cores into the slots.
The holograms came to life. For Kuo’ran, they were astounding, almost real. It was as if she was actually viewing the precious relics in the Khar’nak derelict right in front of her. She pressed a few forward buttons, and one relic shifted to another relic. This will take a long time to search, so she began to punch a new search algorhythm. The object was to search for artifacts that had certain strange symbols on them.
The search narrowed to a series of artifacts. One of them was a metallic tablet with inscriptions on it and some drawings. One of them seems to be a helmet and another, a suit of armor. But the final one had her nearly jumping out of her chair.
“Magnify!” she shouted, almost disturbing the other students in the same hall.
The hologram expanded the crystalline model of a galaxy. The strange cryptic symbols flashed, trying to send a message that no one could barely understand but only for its users long returned to the dust. The model began to mark boundaries, and then began to flash a series of symbols—words—next to representations of stars. Not just stars—star systems with habitable planets.
The boundary covered and the database listed over 2,000 star systems from the center to the outer laying regions of the Galaxy. Kuo’ran sat back on her chair. This was a map of an empire that was more than 10 times larger than the Taidanii Empire was at its peak, or any projection of the ancient Hiigaran stellar empire. It stretched well into the unknown, unexplored frontiers, the Rim, the Galactic Arms, the Clusters at the outer edges.
She jumped up and down with glee. What started as a small but ambitious school project and term assignment could lead to one of the most remarkable archeological discoveries since the Daiamid formed the XenoGenesis theory during the Time of Reason. No, this would be bigger. The name Kuo’ran will shine among celebrities such as Mevath Sagald, her idol, the one that discovered the Guidestone. But who were these people? Their language was neither Hiigaran nor Taiidan. Nor did it match any language within the massive Taiidan Catalog of Races.
Kuo’ran had called her own pet theory as the ProtoGenesis theory. Here, she contends that races, including Hiigaran and Taiidan, came from an anatomically homonid life form, evolved from a Homeworld much distant from Hiigara eons ago. Sometime after that, the life form spread throughout the stars, and as they expanded, formed the first true galactic empire, but which itself died or split up, long ago, into different races that have evolved separately since then. Here she found, was perhaps the first such evidence of a super galactic empire.
Kuo’ran giggled as she illegally downloaded the model into a backup core bank she smuggled in her bag.
In a beachfront at a sea in Hiigara…
Wearing only a swimsuit, Zha splashed the Hiigaran turquoise blue waters. Despite the increased gravity, this was so much fun to be on a planet’s sea body. The nearby star was so bright, the light must be burning through her skull. The salty waters, hmm, they had a briny taste in them and when she peeped down, all sorts of weird creatures crawled and swam. She tried to catch the creatures with her hand, but could not catch the ones who swam so fast. She saw the creatures that crawled beneath the sand, and they reminded her of the most treasured Raider delicacies.
She reached down and grabbed the wormlike creature. She lifted it up and then eagerly bit into it. It’s briny flesh squirmed in her mouth. Mmmm…the feeling of something alive and juicy in her mouth with its subtle and complicated tastes excited her senses.
“What are you doing? Seejuk looked at her sternly. Zha raised her watery eyes to meet his, her mouth too full to say anything.
“You just don’t go around eating the wildlife like that,” Seejuk lectured. “We have not studied every biological species in this planet, so we don’t know what the effects are to different sentient biologies—Hiigaran, Taiidan, Kadeshi or Turanic. Back in Kharak, in the Majiiran Sea, we used to catch a molluscoid creature called the Urok-kasa. We kind of stake it through its body while its still alive then roast it over a makeshift fire. Ummm that was delicious. I bet the Kharakian firestorm would not affect the sealife over there.”
His advice was unheeded as Zha searched the shallow waters for more edible sea life. “Zha, don’t forget that you don’t know how to swim. Do not go into deep water because I’m not going into deep water just to fetch your drowned carcass!”
Zha raised her hand in acknowledgment, another unfortunate sea creature squirming in her mouth.
Seejuk smiled. He has not been this relaxed for a long time. Along the beach, some members of the Mule and her task forces were also taking a needed break. For all, this was the first time to set foot on Hiigara, and for many, like Zha, the first time to set foot on a habitable planet. There was so much curiosity and talking about the experience.
A hover vehicle suddenly came and parked near the Mule’s shuttles. A tall young man stepped out, with robed servants carrying his bags and boxes that seemed to be ungainly and complicated equipment. He studied the Raider shuttle for a moment then stepped towards the beach.
He announced loudly, “I am looking for former Black Star Lt. Commander Seejuk Liirhra and his protege, Her Royal Highness Segura Zha Khor, Princess of Turan.”
That caught Seejuk’s attention and he quickly ran to meet the new man. “Coming, coming!” Zha shouted as her arms carried a load of unsavory watery creatures.
“Who would you be? Mr.—” asked Seejuk.
“My name is Giirsa Kaalel. I am sent here in behalf of the Academy,” the young man said, standing so straight, like a military cadet.
“Kaalel, eh?” Seejuk wondered. “So you must be the one the Academy has notified me about. Welcome Giirsa. We have been expecting you. By any chance you would know anyone working in Kaalel Software?”
“My father is chairman and chief executive officer,” Giirsa admitted.
Seejuk was taken aback. Zha, munching on a live snack, was puzzled about Seejuk’s response. “What’s the big thing?” she asked.
“Nothing much, except that his father is perhaps the richest man in Hiigara now, building an immense fortune in developing control software for ship computers,” Seejuk replied.
“That is fantastic,” Zha observed, her mouth swallowing another live creature. “I like rich people that has a lot of resource units. We certainly could use them.”
“I prefer not to talk about my father,” Giirsa said.
“I see,” Seejuk said. “One of those young ones trying to prove themselves and emerge from the shadows of their father. Just great.”
“Is there anything wrong?” Giirsa asked.
Seejuk turned to Zha. “His father, his family is also Kiithsa of Kaalel. They rule that rich, influential Kiithid.”
“That’s double fantastic,” Zha replied. “More strings in high places. We can use that.”
“Forgive me, for I am rude, may I ask you who you are?” Giirsa turned to Zha.
“You called my name, did you?” Zha said.
“You..you…you are the Highness, the Princess Zha?” Giirsa asked.
“The one and only. I want to add, I hate being called “princess”…it is so antiquated…. you know what I mean…” Zha replied.
“No I don’t know what you mean, your highness,” Giirsa said. “Forgive me once again, your highness, I have seen your pictures in the journals and telenews, but I did not recognize you without your cultural costume.”
“Oh you mean those silly robes…” Zha interrupted herself to take a bite out of living sea creature. Then she shoved the creature to Giirsa’s face. “You want one too?”
Giirsa frowned and moved his head back. “Thank you, your highness, but I will pass.” He turned to Seejuk. “You seemed concerned, and I sensed its about me.”
“You look seventeen or eighteen,” Seejuk said. “Firstgen, or as we say, First Generation born in Hiigara. I requested—and expected—someone much older, like someone who travelled with the Mothership and was born in Kharak.”
“Why is my age an issue? Age does not seem like an issue to Miss Zha here,” Giirsa asked.
“Age is not the issue, but being a First Gen heir of a Kiithsa running one of the most influential Kiithid around, that is an issue,” Seejuk explained. “That is a big issue and I’m not a baby sitter. You know what happens if something happens to you, what your Kiithid is going to do to me? What’s going to happen between the Kaalel and the Liirhra? I am not ready to take that responsibility.”
“Will you take that responsibility if I show you this?” Giirsa reached to his bag and pulled a document. “This is a Hiigara Interstellar Bank note for 100,000 resource units. This is recognized by all leading Taiidani Republican banks.”
Seejuk stared at him with steely eyes. “You are going to bribe me?”
“Not bribe you,” said Giirsa. He turned to Zha. “I want to hire. I want to hire your highness Zha here and her ship.”
Zha’s mouth was agape, her eyes dwelling on the bank note. “100,000 RUs?”
“100,000 RUs, yes,” Giirsa said. “More than enough to buy that Outpost you sorely wanted. As you see, I checked up on you and your finances. We understand clearly the cost of maintaining a fleet, and you’re desire to rebuild the Outpost you lost. If we succeed on this mission, we can pay more to compensate, and I can even arrange with the Liirhra to build it for you. Imagine, the best engineering resources the Kushans can offer, all at your feet, Miss Zha. I bet these resources are superior to what you may find with your Raiders.”
“…compensate…more?” Zha thought. Zha turned to Seejuk. “Seejuk, we got to take this job or I’m not speaking to you. I need this job. We Raiders have worked for far less, for worst people, doing far more dangerous jobs.” She turned to Giirsa. “What is our mission in particular?”
“You will know when the time comes,” Giirsa said. “I believe an issue has risen that requires you to return to the Turan sector? Yes we found out that too. Kaalel Soft has its own private intelligence branch and we know everything. We need to hitch a ride with you to the Turan sector. Then you will know more about our mission.”
Seejuk laughed. “We are bringing the scion of the Kaalel Kiithsa to the heart of Raider territory? You are absolutely insane, Giirsa Kaalel. And you are crazy too, Zha Khor, if you are going to agree to take Mr. Kaalel here to your homespace.”
“But that is exactly what I am counting on,” Giirsa said. “Miss Zha’s position as a Segura Princess of an Inner House shall protect me in front of the Council of Inner Houses. Will you, Miss Zha?”
“Well I…” Zha wondered.
“You sure like living dangerously, Zha Khor,” Seejuk warned.
“I guess I do…” Zha concluded.
“Why are you going to such enormous risks?” Seejuk said to Giirsa. “What is all this for you?”
“When you defected to the Kadeshi flagship the Khar’nak, you know you had an opportunity to change history. This is the opportunity I face now. This is my chance to put my mark in history…” Giirsa replied.
“..and that is?” Zha asked.
“You will only know when I am ready to tell you,” Giirsa said.
The sudden arrival of another hover vehicle interrupted their conversation. The door opened and bags slammed at the ground. She lifted her long dainty skirt as she planted both her feet at the ground.
“You!” Giirsa pointed accusingly at the girl. “You…You….what in hell’s name are you doing here!”
“You! You!” Kuo’ran pointed accusingly at Giirsa. “What’s your explanation in being here!”
“I have come here on the request of the Academy as a representative of Kiith Sjet. We heard that you Kaalels are planning some sort of discovery expedition and we Sjets do not plan to be left out of any expedition the Academy will undertake,” Kuo’ran explained.
“You know her?” Zha asked, munching on another sea creature.
“Kuo’ran Sjet. My rival in the Academy, a desperate struggling student who vainly strives to surpass my superior academic record but ultimately failed,” Giirsa said.
“You bribed the teachers, Mr. Giirsa,” Kuo’ran said. “That’s the only way you got those grades. You will never pass anything relying on your own brainpower, Mr. Giirsa.”
“Allegations, all unfounded allegations, Miss Kuo’ran,” Giirsa countered.
Zha walked to Kuo’ran in her bathing suit and an armful of slimy creatures. She took one of the creatures and offered it to Kuo’ran. “You hungry? Want a snack?”
“EEK!” Kuo’ran shouted. “Who is this girl? What is she doing here?” Kuo’ran brushed her shoulders.
“Miss Kuo’ran. She’s the Raider ship captain,” Giirsa explained. “The one and only legendary princess of the Raiders…”
“You are pulling my leg again, Mr. Giirsa,” Kuo’ran said. “You won’t fool me this time. I am an expert in alien cultures and races, with top grades in class, and this girl here is not the Raider Princess Zha. No sir she is not!”
“I’ll wager you’re ready to make a bet, Miss Kuo’ran,” Giirsa offered.
“I would if I have money right now, Mr. Giirsa,” Kuo’ran said.
Zha stared at Kuo’ran intensely, examining her. “You don’t have any money? Mr. Giirsa here has offered 100,000 RUs for our services. I am indeed the Zha Khor you speak about. If we were to take you along, what sort of compensation can we expect?” Zha expressed the sentence in her best business voice, a lesson Seejuk had been gradually teaching her.
“As I expect, Giirsa must bribe his way once again. As for payment I do not know, but expect this, while the Kiith Sjet doe not bribe like the Kaalel, we will always pay gratefully for any service honorably rendered to them,” Kuo’ran replied. “I will talk to my family after this.”
“Hah,” Giirsa leered. “Compared to the media empires the Kaalel owns, the Sjet is a bankrupt Kiithid.”
“The Kiithid Sjet is honorable, but the Kiithid Kaalel is corrupt and rotten,” Kuo’ran retorted.
Seejuk smiled. “You know you remind me of someone, Miss Kuo’ran Sjet. I have seen pictures of Karan Sjet in the Academy in Kharak and you look like a very young Karan Sjet. Same spunk too.”
Kuo’ran was ready to pounce upon that fact. “That is because Karan is my dear aunt.”
“That’s quite interesting. That makes you and your family, Sjet-sa,” Seejuk observed. “That means I must be doubly insane if I’m going to carry both the spoiled firstgen scions of the Kiithsa of Sjet and Kaalel into Raider homespace.”
In response to Seejuk’s resistance, Kuo’ran took a portable comlink and pushed a series of buttons.
“I see again your need to push your famous family weight around,” Giirsa grinned.
“Here, this is for you,” Kuo’ran handed the portable comlink to Seejuk.
Seejuk stiffened, his eyes fully alert and in awe as he heard the voice in the comlink.
“Yes..yes…Kiithsa Matron Karan…yes…. I understand…but the Raider homespace…that will be most dangerous….no…yes…I understand that you fully trust me…no…yes…I understand that the mission is urgent…the future prestige of the Sjet will depend on this…yes..no…of course not…I will not refuse Kiithsa Matron Karan…you can count on me, Kiithsa Matron Karan…” At the end of the conversation, Seejuk handed the comlink back to Kuo’ran.
Seejuk appeared bewildered, shaking his head. He told Zha, “I just talked to Karan Sjet directly on the com, imagine that. The Mothership brain herself. I can’t believe this.”
“I can’t believe I’m going to do something extremely stupid.” Seejuk said. “Again.”