The White Beast – Chapter 24

Chapter 23 | Landing Page | Chapter 25

The White Beast

A Homeworld Fanfiction

by Crobato

Originally posted April 26, 2001

Chapter 24

Seejuk tapped slightly Zha’s cheek. Slowly her eyes opened. “What happened?” She cried out.

“The nodes got to your Beast form. You’re back in your real body now,” Seejuk explained. “The whole process is truly incredible.”

“Wow,” Zha exclaimed. “Being in the Beast form was a magical experience. Your senses were heightened and you can see through more of the spectrums. My head hurts.”

“Take it easy,” Seejuk warned. “We need to get the two of you back in the ship.” Just then, the moans and groans came from the waking Kuo’ran. Kuo’ran asked the same questions as Zha did, and Seejuk merely repeated the answer.

Zha looked to her side, where her Beast body lay. Nearby lay Kuo’ran’s Beast body. Further on, she saw Zerun, and cried out, “Father!”

“It is good to see that you are all right,” the Zerun self said. “Do not worry about the Self forms. They remain alive. While your true consciousness has returned to your original bodies, a facsimile of your personalities and memories remain copied inside these bodies, just as I am but a facsimile, a copy of your real father.”

Zha and Kuo’ran examined their fingers, arms and legs, noting they still wore the same tightly hugging silvery one piece Nemesis flight suit. The suit left them nearly naked, and they quickly began to feel cold, a sensation they never felt with the Beast bodies. As they shivered, they watched in amazement, but with a little horror, as their own Beast bodies—the Zha and Kuo’ran Selves—stood up. It was like watching a mirror, except the reflection was in 3d physical form and had a cool bluish white skin color. The duplicate Selves were like zombies, but as they stood, they let out a curious smile at Zha and Kuo’ran.

“Does she still look great, hihi!” Kuo’ran let out a rare joke as she pointed in self admiration to her Beast twin.

But the smile in Zha’s face was wiped out as she saw her father’s Beast clone suddenly grimaced in deep pain. So too did the two Beast twins, as if all the Beast selves were telephatically interlinked to feel the pain of each other.

“EMP attack through the nodes!” warned Maalasi, dutifully manning the scanners aboard the Corsair frigate. “Someone got to kill the nodes soon!”

“Working, working…” said Giirsa, eyes glued to the screen.

“I got another one down now…we will have all the nodes down soon!” proclaimed Zhura.

Zha weakly tried to get up. “You shouldn’t exert yourself, Zha,” Seejuk warned. “Your physical condition is still very weak. We need to bring you and Kuo’ran back to the ship.”

“No, please, let me talk to my father’s image,” Zha insisted. “Please I need your help.”

“All right, all right…” Seejuk said, lifting Zha’s body in both arms and carried them to where the Zerun self once stood, now on his knees as his body convulsed in seizures.

“Father!” Zha cried out.

“I am all right my child,” the Zerun self said. “Despite the pain the nodes are causing. The damage would have been greater if all the nodes are still activated.”

“The Mohilim star is near critical point!” Maalasi warned. “Annihilators are on course to this planetoid! I should have remembered to write my will with all this excitement!”

“We got one more down now! Only one left,” Giirsa announced.

“Down! It’s down, all nodes are down!” Zhura finally announced.

A tentative expression of relief appeared in Zerun’s eyes. The two Beast clones of Zha and Kuo’ran stood and walked over to the Zerun self, where they both helped him to stand.

“Our pains and tribulations are not over yet. With the release of the nodes, our final transmutation can begin,” Zerun announced.

“Transmutation?” Seejuk asked.

“The final stage of our evolution,” the Fly self said. “It is sad so many Selves have died before they reach this stage.” The Fly self flew over to Zerun’s shoulder where it perched.

All their bodies began to glow, first the Zerun self, then the Zha and Kuo’ran self. The Fly self settled on top of an unbroken crystal shard, where its body began to glow and grow.

Aboard the burning Atonement, the Sensors officer still faithfully manned his console. “Overlord, we have a sharp spike in Mega-psi readings!”

“Where is it coming from?” X’on ordered.

“It’s from the White Beast core vessel, your Holiness. 3 million megapsi! 4 million megapsi! It’s sharply escalating!”

“Why?” X’on asked.

“We don’t know. The White Beast selves have not communicated with us, and we have lost all contact with the nodes. The nodes had sensors that would have provided us with internal scans of the White Beast core. Now we got 8 million megapsi! 10 million!”

Suddenly dark hooded images appeared on the bridge of the Atonement. Holograms, images of the Forbidden ones of the Unbound, the Wheel of Fate.

“Now look at what you have done, Condemned one,” said the voice of the Tiamat. “You have tampered with the greatest force of the Universe—unbridled, accelerated, intelligently guided Evolution.”

“The creature that is the pale Plague, the one you call the White Beast, is evolving once more,” said another voice. “You have unleashed something greater than all of us! You have unleashed the key to the destruction of both our kinds, both Starfarer and the Unbound.”

“I do not understand, Forbidden ones,” said X’on.

“You are too consumed with our ancient feud, your people’s need for futile revenge against the Unbound and the Boundless,” said a voice. “You failed to see what is happening near you, and the ultimate current of the Universe around you.”

“We the Unbound, have become a static, dying race. Despite our power, we are no longer capable of the greatest force the Universe has ever known—to evolve to something greater. This is the reason for our ultimate demise,” said the voice.

Another voice continued. “It is partly for this reason, we the Unbound came into war with your kind, the Starfarers. The other reason of course, being your atrocities against all lesser species and your nature to consume and destroy every resource in your path like a plague in the Universe and its natural order, your nature and intention to function outside, to go beyond the great Cycle of Life, Creation, Death and Destruction. Yet by going beyond this cycle, you have also condemned yourselves of your proper evolutionary path.”

“But the Plague matrix has the internal wisdom to understand the power of this Cycle. It has condensed the Evolutionary Cycle of a thousand star revolutions into a single second. Now it is beyond us and it has become beyond your control and power.”

X’on watched the screens as the Annihilators battle the Deliverer. Despite the Deliverer being alone against a score of Annihilators, it demonstrated a prodigious repair rate and a faster recharge rate of its main Nova class cannon. The White Beast continued to pump out a relentless stream of anthropoid fighters that continue to swarm against the Unbound formations.

“20 million megapsi and rising,” the sensors officer said. “The Mohilim sun is also increasingly unstable.”

“At this moment, the Plague’s gravity wells are compressing the star into a super nova. Our Annihilators only destroy life, but not entire stars. This is the power of the Creature you have unleashed, Condemned One,” said the voice.

“The generators are too many in orbit, too well defended to be destroyed in time, too hidden among the dark clouds to be found. We must concentrate destroying the Plague core itself. This is why I come before you—for a moment we must combine our resources together to destroy the Core. This is our way to stop the Plague evolution and to stop the destruction of this star.”

X’on smiled. “I had never thought that the Unbound, the great Tiamat, the Wheel themselves, would grovel and beg. The White Beast has outsmarted you. It has lured you into a trap you cannot get out of. You know you cannot make your gigantic Annihilators to jump in time against the super nova. You only have the time and energy to save yourselves and what remains of your fleet.”

“As for the evolution of the White Beast, it is not my concern, nor my fear, unless it has decided to attack my race. But I sense that it is not of this nature. Its evolution threatens you, the Unbound, not us. You are wrong to say we do not evolve. We, the Starfarers, will learn and evolve at our own rate. That is the power of being bound to the Flesh, of still being able to be born, live and die, to consume food with our mouths, move with our legs, watch the worlds with our eyes. This is the power that you the Unbound no longer have. We are still a young race. It is you, the Unbound, the Tiamat, that fear the change in the natural order, that finally in the advent of a superior species, that you will finally become—nothing!”

The dark hooded figures are quiet. “You will ultimately regret your actions, Condemned one,” a voice said. Then the hooded figures faded into the nothingness.

“Somehow suddenly I don’t think I regret it,” X’on said to himself. He turned to the bridge and made his announcement.

“We have lost this war, but it is not in vain. The Unbound has lost as well—we have both lost. This is now the time that we must preserve what we have. I am ordering a full retreat. Tactical! Engineering! Power up the jump drives as soon as possible and get us out of here!”

“Right away, your Holiness,” said an officer. “The ship is damaged, but we already in the process of repairing our critical systems.”

“Hurry as we do not have much time,” X’on ordered. “Tactical, give the screens. Track the White Beast and the Annihilators.”

The screeens appeared again in midair, and it showed the Deliverer in a final struggle against the Annihilators. The superior numbers of the Annihilators were finally overwhelming even the capabilities of the Deliverer. The White Beast super dreadnaught appears to be in flames as shockwaves from the nova cannon blasts continue to rend and ripped the very structure.

Not far away, Zuhal watched the battle aboard his Irkan flagship,, his Harkk’hah Raider formations never budged from their positions.

“Star will go super nova anymoment,” his sensors officer warned.

“Do we have any fighters still patrol?” Zuhal asked.

“No,” said the tactical officer. “All strike ships are docked in the carriers.”

“Then jump us out of this cursed system,” Zuhal ordered.

At the opposite end of the system, Mahar’s formations were ready to jump. “They are on their own now, the Nemesis and the White Beast,” Mahar said. “It is over for them.”

“I sense that this is far from over,” Salim said, standing next to Mahar on the bridge of the carrier flagship. “Just a new beginning of some sorts. It is time for us to go home. I need to see my daughter.”

“I gather we have learned enough of the Nemesis,” Mahar said. Watching the shockwaves of the multiple nova shell blasts, he was glad his forces were not in the middle of this. He has not seen a battle more destructive than this, not even during the height of the Taiidan rebellion or the Beast wars.

“I gather we have enough to fill a few good books,” Salim replied.

“Our feud with the Harkk’hah is not over, but we will resolve it in some other less destructive manner,” Mahar said. He ordered his formations to begin their tactical retreat and to jump out of the system.

Aboard the Atonement, X’on watched as his smaller vessels began jumping out. Survivors among his fighter formations were quickly docking into the carriers and dreadnaughts, and already a number of his dreadnaughts have begun the jump process. The Atonement has begun to move away from the system. He noticed that the Unbound were no longer attacking Nemesis forces. The Unbound have decided to concentrate against the Beast core vessel in a desperate attempt to stop the star from going nova and preventing the Core’s final transmutation, whatever that will be. By ignoring his forces, his fleet would be able to conduct repairs and finally make their escape.

“Mega-psi readings have gone beyond the scale,” the sensors officer said. “What is this immense power?”

“What?” X’on asked. He can feel that sheer power emanating from the Beast Core directly with his Starfarer sense. All of them could feel the obvious. Whatever was happening, he didn’t want to be there when it happened.

“Get the jump drives online and get us out of here as soon as you can!” X’on ordered.

“Right away, we’re still working on the repairs,” the engineering officer responded.

Deep in the caverns in the White Beast planetoid core, Seejuk watched the strange serene expression that came over Zerun’s face, the Zha and Kuo’ran Beast clones. He watched the walls and caverns, all lighting up.

“We got immense energy readings here all over,” Maalasi warned. “It’s the entire Core Matrix. The entire thing is raising its energy levels. I hope it’s not going to explode.”

On the farther side of the caverns lay huge honeycomb matrices, in it were hexagonal shaped cells. There was a sense of horror in Seejuk as he watched things moving inside the cells. Slowly arms broke the cell covers, and figures arose from them, figures like the Zerun, Zha and Kuo’ran clones. They were all human shaped, but with the pale bluish white crytalline bodies made of the White Beast matrix flesh. Each had distinct faces.

“What is this, Father?” the real flesh bound Zha asked.

“My flesh bound child,” the Zerun self replied. “Each is like me and your clone. Each is a clone of the personalities, the people the Beast once infected and assimilated into its flesh long ago. The many millions it had killed in that great and terrible war.”

“This is our atonement, my child, our atonement to you all who are fleshbound. We can never bring back the lives we have taken, never bring them back to their original forms as we have did to you and Kuo’ran. But instead, we will give their personalities a chance to live a new life. It is through the assimilation of their personalities that we have evolved. We learned life and humanity from them. Because of them, the Core matrix learned to value life and individuality. The Collective Selves, which we have become a harmony of individuality and collectivity, is a result of them of all we have learned from the flesh bound humanity. We are a part of them as they are a part of us. It is only fitting that they are the focal point of the final transmutation.”

“This is all nice and cool to look at,” Maalasi warned, “but we better go quickly as the star will blow soon.”

“But there is one thing I do not understand,” Seejuk asked. “You are finally evolving to something I don’t know yet, and at the same, you are about to destroy yourselves with your supernova. What was the point of evolving when you are about to be destroyed?”

“What we are evolving into cannot be destroyed by the supernova,” the Zerun self said.

Seejuk then noticed something in the backs of the clones. Like tiny wings, outgrowths begun to bud from their backs.

“Our transmutation is final,” the Zerun self declared.

All of sudden, the buds in Zerun’s back blew forth into four giant shimmering wings, like rainbows in a raging fire. The wings grew as they shimmered, a spectrum of colors in four burning wings that stretch with no seeming boundary. As his wings flared, there were two outgrowths on the back of the Zha and Kuo’ran clones too. Then they too flared and raged, each with four immense shimmering wings, flickering rainbows in lace. They were like wings the Fly self and all the flying anthropod fighters have, wings not of matter but of pure psionic fields and energy that bend the space time fabric.

All the other clones too, sprouted their wings from the buds in the backs. Soon the cavern was full and bright from the light of the wings.

“Beautiful and spectacular,” Maalasi commented on the comlinks, “but I got all news for you. The Deliverer vessel has just been destroyed. The Annihilators have concentrated fire on the Core vessel itself. Man, I still got a wife and some kids, and I really appreciate it if we better hurry to get our asses out of here.”

Nova balls exploded outside of the Core planetoid. Shockwaves rend the surface, blowing away the hardy anthropods that tend to the surface of the Mother vessel. Massive crystal shards broke from the waves, smashing the ground. Anthropoids blew away helplessly, and some of the arachnids and scorpions smash into the walls of crystal, their bodies cracking as their legs flew with the gale.

Inside the caverns shook as the walls cracked. Zha could see from her father clone’s eyes what he was about to do. She stretched her hand, and he took it. “Father…”

“I am not your real father, but I am happy and honored that you called me such,” the Zerun self. “I am happy and I know your real father would feel the same way, to have seen you grown to be such a beautiful and brave person. I will always cherish the short time I have known you, my flesh bound child, and I will remember you in my memories and through your clone counterpart. Farewell, my Zha.”

Zerun’s burning wings of rainbow have spread farther and higher. Then Zha watched his body elevated a few feet from the ground. Zerun’s eyes have transfixed into the ceilings and the sky, and he rose then glided effortlessly towards the crevices and canyons that lead to the surface. As he flew, he accelerated then zoomed into the canyons heading upward.

Immediately, the wings of the other clones spread and flared. One after another, each clone rose, wings spreading, raging, flapping, figures rising, then gliding, then rocketing into the canyons and crevices that head to the surface, like a mighty host of angels.

The Zha clone looked at Zha herself with an impish smile. Then she raised her hand and made an OK symbol with her fingers. Her wings flared and raged in a spectrum of colors as they lifted her body and she too zoomed upward to join the great flying multitude.

It was the Kuo’ran clone that finally spoke. She watched the real Kuo’ran’s eyes. “You have wanted to be free and to fly, at least a deep part of you. Now I will be that part of you that will live this dream. Remember me as I will remember you as we will always be one.” She waved at Kuo’ran who waved back. Then her wings flared and raged just like the Zha and the Zerun clones’, and she lifted and rocketed to join the mighty host.

“Touching, touching, I am going to weep all day…” Maalasi whined from the Corsair ship. “But if you all don’t get back soon, I will be leaving you. The Soonani Transport Services is about to depart, calling all passengers RIGHT NOW!”

They all ran back to the Corsair, Seejuk carrying the weak Zha and Giirsa carrying Kuo’ran. “Finally! All of you. Strap your seatbelts all passengers and get ready for a wild ride,” shouted Maalasi. “Engines green light! Retros on! Turbos go!”

More spatial tsunamis rocked the dying Core, its walls cracking, the caverns collapsing. Boulders made of broken crystal shards smash against the thick armor of the Corsair frigate but the ship held on course. “I wish this thing could fly faster like a fighter. We might not have enough time to to escape the supernova.”

Aboard the Atonement, the Sensors officer reported. “We have a massive burst of psionic energy from the core vessel! We got numerous targets heading out.”

“On screens!” X’on ordered. The screens were filled with ghostlike figures with immense shimmering rainbow wings that were like raging fires on their backs, flying out in a great multitude from the core vessel. As they flew, collective ripples from each and every wing cutting through the space time fabric created an immense spatial tidal wave that spread before them. The immense tsunami tore at the attacking Tiamat and Sekmet fighters and ships like fragile structures made of sticks, and larger ships crumbled at its wake. The ghostly throng of millions spread far into space.

It was satisfying for X’on to watch the Unbound crumble before his eyes, even if he wasn’t the one to do it. The very least he could leave knowing of his contribution to this.

“Jump engines are operational,” the engineering officer declared.

“Jump now!” X’on ordered. An immense slipgate appeared before them, and the Atonement was the last of the surviving dreadnaughts to escape in what history will record as the cataclysmic Battle of Mohilim.

Even the word of the imminent supernova explosion got to the Unbound, and surviving ships—the Tiamat Spiderships, Crabships, Sekmet Battlespheres and Tactical Spheroids—formed their own slipgates, and each quickly disappearing before them.

But the Annihilators remained. Too big to escape too soon, they required far too great a power to form a slipgate of suitable size and far too much time to charge that power. Their only hope was the timely destruction of the Core, but even that may be too late. Their fate sealed, they focused their anger at the Beast Core, the mother planetoid.

With the Corsair at top speed, Zha watched from the windows as multiple nova shell explosions rocked the White Beast planetoid with one tidal shockwave after another.

She would never thought the time would come she would shed a tear as the spatial tsunamis tore the Beast mother vessel from one pole to the other, until finally the entire beseiged planetoid crumbled with a final explosion from the core.

“Supernova explosion is imminent,” Maalasi warned from the pilot console.

“I don’t think we can get into a jump mode in time…” The aging red Mohilim star gave its last breath, its burning, raging surface collapsing into its heavily gravity compressed core, collapsing into a near brown hole state, before the sheer accumulative energy from the nuclear fusion of larger nuclei—in one sudden moment—surpassed even the immense crushing gravitational forces.

Then as suddenly as the star imploded, it swelled, then exploded, rings of nuclear matter raged outward, walls of plasma disintegrating everything in their path.

First to go against the irresistible winds of plasma and fusion matter were the orbiting gravity wells and energy collectors that the White Beast had deployed in close orbit around the star, the very ships that through their focused fields, caused the supernova explosion in the first place. The last surviving Unbound and Nemesis capital ships had quickly jumped out of harm’s way, but it was too late for the Annihilators. Not even ships of their immense moon sizes could resist the sheer power of the waves and they were quickly reduced to atoms.

Only for a moment their giant silhouettes were visible but in a fraction of a second, the very atoms of their composition disintegrated and joined the gale like waves as they roared further outward.

“We’re goners! We’re goners!” Maalasi whined.

The speed of the Corsair frigate could not escape the incoming waves. The slipgate started to appear but the space-time fabric was so unstable it could not fully form. Suddenly the ship rocked and shooked. Maalasi thought this was it, this was the end. The shock wave caught up with them. But as he looked through the ship’s windows, the ship began to move at immense speeds, like some powerful stardrives were powering it. The ship’s frame began to shake from the stress of the speed, but like all Raider crafts, the chassis was built super sturdy above all considerations.

Zha and Seejuk looked outside through the port holes and windows of the frigate. Something—or someone had attached themselves to the frigate and was pushing it under immense speeds. There were three figures that had clutched the craft, and Zha knew through her senses who they were. On one end it was the Zerun self, then the Zha clone on the port side and the finally the Kuo’ran clone on the starboard side. As she peeped through, the Zha clone waved back at her.

Their psionic wings extended to immense spans, several times the length of the frigate itself. As the supernova shockwave rolled, the angels spread their wing spans further, and accelerated to near light speeds, as they stayed ahead of the wave’s crest, going faster and finally breaking relativistic space barriers into hyperspace. A few more angels approached and clutched the Corsair to help the three clones moving the ship. The frigate began to fly as fast as the great host of angels that soared ahead of the supernova wave crest, then broke the relativity barrier into hyperspace. The stars in the background suddenly turned into bands of spectrum; time had a strange sensation of being slow. It was like they were being plunged deep into a dark tunnel, hurtling out of control by forces they cannot control or understand. At the end of the tunnel there was a light, and the ship plunged through it.

As suddenly as they plunged through hyperspace, they emerged into normal space. The ship was smoking, and the seams of its skin may have melted and welded into a solid carapace. The antennae and any protusion have been torn off. Zha looked around the ports and watched the sensors. The winged clones, the flying Selves, the mighty host of angels, they were all gone, like they never existed. Space was tranquil. It was quiet. There was only the Raider frigate, and the people onboard was the only life they could see for millions of miles. It was like a long dream they have awakened from. At a distance there was a brilliant flash of light, and white rings of burning gases spread quickly out from the epicenter. The outer shell and rings of the supernova ignited the nebula and the black clouds of dark matter. This caused an even greater conflagration, a nuclear fire burning out of control, consuming the clouds of dark matter like a hungry monster. The Mohilim system, an obscure star system with an aging red star, was a lonely beacon of light surrounded by black nebulas of dark matter, the wastelands of the universe.

Now the Mohilim supernova was the spark that ignited a nuclear wildfire that consumed the dark matter, converting it through nuclear reaction into ordinary matter. Where there was darkness once, there was now light. Out of the flames came brilliant nebulas of hydrogen and helium, the primordial matter that would give birth to new stars. From the core of the Mohilim star came heavier elements, the matter that would form planets and worlds, water and rock, and with them the organic compounds that would eventually give life. The nuclear reactions from the shockwaves and the burning dark matter formed more of the heavier elements. Eventually the gaseous matter would settle into a giant nebula, a rich garden of resources where potential baby stars would grow. Millions of years from now, the baby stars would further settle into a star cluster rich in planetary systems, and with each system, planets that could harbor life. It was the beginning of a new life-giving oasis, at the edge of the galactic spiral, at the horizon of the Abyss. Seejuk remembered what the Zerun clone had said. Death begets life. The White Beast was dead, and from it, came new life. That was the final transmutation, the last evolution, the end of one cycle and the beginning of a new one.

Chapter 23 | Landing Page | Chapter 25

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