Soul of the Progenitors
A Homeworld Fanfiction
Originally posted September 1, 2004 – 5:35AM
Iisha watched the giant hologram of the gate hovered in midair. The hologram slowly rotated, so that everyone could see all its sides. By instinct and transfixed to the image, she stepped forward and tried to touch it.
“Ahem!” Karan said, her hand over her mouth. “Please let me continue my briefing.”
“Oh, I’m very sorry for my rudeness, Sajuuk-Khar.” Iisha quickly retracted her hand and stepped back with her head bowing down.
Karan continued the briefing. “We have tried every means to activate the Gate of Karnak, but all attempts have failed. Not even with the power of the three Cores.”
One engineer gave his suggestion. “Is it possible that the three Cores simply do not have enough power to activate the Gate?”
“Yes, we have thought of that.” Karan stared at the hologram of the Gate, and her eyes followed its circular shape. “But the Hyperspace Cores are the most powerful objects we have found throughout our known history, and through that of the other races we know. They are the most powerful objects in our known universe. If some Core had to activate this gate, it would have to be more powerful than even the three Cores in our possession. If the ship Sajuuk is used to unlock the Eye of Arran, then some ship may be the key to unlock the Gate of Karnak. It is surely bigger than any of the gates we have seen before, and the dimensions surely surpass that of the Eye itself. Our radioactive suggests that the Gate may be the oldest Progenitor artifact ever yet.”
“One wonder where this Gate leads,” Karan added. “Which is why we must open it.”
To the annoyed eyes of Rektu, Iisha stepped forward again to touch the hologram of the ring like structure. Karan did not seem to enjoy being interrupted for a second time.
Iisha quickly noticed her indiscretion, and withdrew her hand like reflex. Then by some irresistible opened wide, and she stretched her hand again, as if to touch the ring. Her hands followed the inscriptions carved around the ring. Her fingers began to trace each and every symbol.
“I’m sorry, Sajuuk-Khar and all of you, but I must do this,” she said.
Karan wanted to say something, then smiled. As Rektu stepped forward to call Iisha down, she interrupted him. “Let her be. I sense she knows something.” But that is not the only thing I feel from her..
“The symbols…the inscriptions…” Iisha staggered to build strength for her voice. “For they say…”
“…For the Keeper and Deliverer of souls…”
“…For where we come, and where we shall depart…”
“…For when our time will end, and for whom, the One who stands last…”
“Interesting,” Karan smiled. :”You can read Progenitor script just by looking? The Progenitor script has been difficult to understand, even with a team of scholars looking, and using computers to help decipher the script.”
“I have been studying…” Iisha replied in a weak voice. “A lot you may say.”
“And what is your name again, girl?” Karan bent towards her.
“Iiisha…Iisha of the Kiith Somtaaw/.”
Karan stepped back, her smile that of satisfaction. “Yes, the Kiith of the Miners, the Explorers, but most of all, the Beast Slayers. The Somtaaw has been to places where no other Hiigaran has ever dared to go before. But even then, the way you pick up the Progenitor script is uncanny.”
Rektu stepped forward. “Forgive me, Sajuuk-Khar. If I may interrupt, that is why we picked Iisha for the translation team, because of her talents.”
“And you choose well.” Karan smiled, then went into a short trance, typical of the way she would act if she was accessing the memory cores and databanks. “I have your file now, Iisha Somtaaw. You are from the Institute, but you have not gotten your Degree yet.”
“That I hope to change soon, Sajuuk-Khar.” Iisha bowed.
“Stop bowing with every sentence, Iisha Somtaaw. It annoys me to no end.” Karan motioned with her hand for Iisha to stand up straight.
“But you are the Sajuuk-Khar.” Iisha insisted.
“And yet, I am no god, or king.” Karan moved her gaze at everyone in the room. “I am once like you all, who by circumstance, came to be what I am now. I did things because I had to do them. That is all. But most of all, remember that I was a scientist once, and I am still a scientist most of all. I stand among you not as your ruler, but ass your peer as a scientist. So treat me like one, and talk to me like one. I want your honest opinions, speculations and thoughts—from one scientist to another. The last thing I need now is your worship.”
Iisha stood up straight. “By your wishes, Sajuuk-Khar.”
“I prefer to be called Karan. That is the name my father gave to me, and I honor that name most of all,” Karan added with emphasis. “You may refer to me as Doctor Karan S’jet. That too I will not mind. I remember working hard to get my Degree and title when I was in your age.”
“Yes, Doctor Karan S’jet,.” Iisha muttered.
“That is much better, now continue what you’re trying to say, Miss Iisha.”
Iisha pointed to the inscription again. “This ring, this Gate, I believe it is meant for another vessel—the Keeper of Souls, the One who stands last. I believe both inscriptions refer to this same vessel.”
“And the other inscription?” Karan asked, her eyes in fire with curiosity.
“For when Our Time will end…” Iisha pointed to the inscriptions with her fingers. “This surely refers to the End times.”
“So surely, the Gate was meant to be opened by the End times, and yet, it is not the Key of Sajuuk that can open it,” Karan said.
“Yes, Doctor,” Iisha nodded.
“So far that seems to be clear, any more suggestions, Iisha?” Karan nodded back. “What do you think this vessel is, and where do you think this vessel can be found?”
“Well I—uh—“ Iisha was suddenly reminded about the drubbing Tobal gave on her presentation. She cannot afford to look like a fool again, not in front of dignitaries and certainly not in front of Karan S’jet herself. She opened her notes, then closed it back. Should I let them know about my theory on the Ark of Geddon?
“I think this one needs to be researched more,” came Iisha’s answer.
Another researcher came forward. “Forgive me, Doctor S’jet. Please let me introduce myself as Majel Soban. Would it be preposterous, even sacrilegious to propose that there may be One greater than Sajuuk himself?”
“But…” Iisha sighed.
“I do not think we should let our people know about this. In deference of your position as a scientist in Kharak, new generations of Hiigarans now think of you as a god. There is belief infrastructure in Hiigara that is built around you based on this. There are churches and temples built on this belief foundation. If we are to damage this belief, it will create social chaos, and people will challenge the authority of our existing institutions, including the Navy and the Diamid.”
“Why am I not told of this?” Karan frowned. “The last thing I need is to be worshiped like an idol. I must have spent too long in this ship not to notice what is happening on the surface.”
“It is the Way of our Fathers and their Fathers before them,” Majel said. “A Way that goes back to Kharak. We cannot have a loose thread that will unravel everything.” Majel stared coldly at Iisha. “We cannot hear of heresy and blasphemy.”
“But what I propose is only to seek the truth!” Iisha cried. She was being insulted again, and she wiped a tear from her eye.
Another man stepped forward. “I am Garn of the Kiithid Naabal. I too am a humble scholar of the sacred Progenitor Writings and our own Scriptures. I propose that in behalf of my colleague Majel Soban that he is correct. There cannot be anyone greater than Sajuuk, no god or Progenitor.”
Garn continued his speech. “Besides, I have studied the journeys of the Pride of Hiigara through the Karos Graveyard. Where we found the Dreadnaught, it is embedded in a giant Foundry ship, which in turn was a part of a much larger Progenitor Mothership. But as we can see from the remnants of the Graveyard, that Mothership has been destroyed and long gone. If this is the same ship as the one that can open the ring Gate of Karnak, then it is too late. The End Time has passed, and the Gate cannot be opened. We should all be grateful for what we have and what was left. We can build a new society upon these.”
“But…” Iisha sighed again. Her head down facing the floor, she appeared defeated.
An officer came and saluted to Karan. “Sajuuk-Khar, I am sorry for the interruption, but we have the latest news on the recovery of the Pride of Hiigara.”
Karan seemed relieved that she was interrupted this time. “What is it, Lieutenant?”
“The Pride of Hiigara has been found, and our engineers have determined that she can be towed back. She is still pretty intact.”
“Excellent, Lieutenant. Do we have a time table to when we can expect the Pride Of Hiigara back in the orbit of Hiigara?”
“No, ma’am,. But our engineers are working on the calculations. We are going to need many Tugs, a skeleton crew and a shipyard sized hyperspace module. It would take a lot more jumps than with a Far Jumper Core but we can make it.”
“Excellent again, Lieutenant, proceed at once!” Karan smiled, then turned her smile on her guests. “The Pride of Hiigara is a great ship. We will not let her linger in desolation. We will bring her back to the care she deserved. Her facilities can also be valuable in Hiigara’s reconstruction.”
The guests clapped at Karan’s decision.
“Well then, everything seems settled. As you can see, I have other duties to perform. You are all dismissed, and I am grateful for your help.” Karan waved her hand, and the Gate hologram disappeared, leaving only cold air, and the black walls of the room.
Iisha fixed up her bag and was about to walk away with the rest of the group when Karan uttered.
“Except for you, Iisha Somtaaw. I want to have a word with you in private.”
The other guests looked at her and Karan, but continued to proceed through the door. The attendants shut the door behind them, and they too left. Only Karan and Iisha were left in the room. Iisha shuddered, as the air felt colder, and she had goose pimples all over her skin.
“Come my child.” Karan waved. There was light again in the center console and the hologram of the ring Gate of Karnak was up again, rotating.
“Magnificent isn’t it?” Karan said. “Unfortunately I am not satisfied with the answers of those theologians and would be clergy. That is why I have to let them go. You on the other hand, seems to know something more than what you are willing to tell. I can feel it.”
“I…I…” Iisha opened her bag and took out her notebooks. The thought of being alone in the presence of the Sajuuk-Khar made her quiver, but she tried to steel and calm herself, so she could make a small but coherent presentation.
“It is only the two of us, do not be afraid to speak your mind, child.” Karan smiled.
Iisha turned the pages of her notebook. “The passages we saw, the inscriptions on the Gate. They are nothing we have on our Scriptures. They on the other hand, appear on the Vaygr texts from their Book of the End Times. It all speaks about a god called Geddon, who on the End Times, will collect the souls of the worthy and the brave, and return them to Paradise, where the Progenitors—the Ancients, the Great Ones came. The texts spoke that Geddon, He who stands Last, He who is the Keeper and the Deliverer of Souls, will be granted power greater than any of the Ancient Ones, any of the gods, so that Geddon can perform his task.”
“And this Geddon, he may be greater than Sajuuk, yes?” Karan twitched an eye.
“Yes, I believe so.” Iisha answered. “Geddon may be the One who can open this Gate of Karnak. The moment I saw the Gate I thought something connected.”
“It is good that you opened your mind.” Karan gestured with her hand. “I have seen so many things that I do not know what to believe. I may be Sajuuk-Khar now, but I am a scientist for much longer and old habits do die hard. That is why I believe in an open mind so that we may know things that even defy what we believed before.”
“That is not all, Doctor Karan,” Iisha continued. “I think Geddon is a ship. A Progenitor ship that we may not have seen before. I call her the Ark based on the ancient texts.”
“Yes, a ship. Like the way our search for Sajuuk revealed this super dreadnaught.” Karan looked to the ceiling. “I know what you mean, Iisha. A ship more powerful than this one. You know what the implications are, do you?”
“Yes, Doctor Karan. A ship greater than Sajuuk in the hands of our enemies could upset this balance of power against our favor. It would lead to chaos.” Iisha closed her notebook and stared straight at Karan. “Maybe even in our defeat. Doctor. The Vaygr texts all say that the End Times are not over yet. The discovery of the three cores of Sajuuk was only part one. Part two involved the Resurrection of Geddon and the fulfillment of his destiny. When the souls of the Ancients ones are returned, then it is the End, and a new universe shall be reborn.”
Karan was silent in deep thought. “Everything here is myth and legend. Everything you told me about Geddon hangs on the most suggestive evidence.” Karan stared back at Iisha without emotion. “Not enough to act on. Mainly innuendo and the wildest speculation. And yet I feel that you strongly believed on this, and you seem to be a sincere person. If this is true, this can be a matter of the utmost importance and I am not willing to ignore that risk either.”
“So for this, Iisha, how would you like to come and work for me in this ship?” Karan smiled. “I will grant you access and research on this Geddon theory of yours. Find me direct evidence of this ship, and better yet, her location so that we may even retrieve her before others does. But you cannot tell this to anyone. As you can see, Hiigara is not ready to absorb such news. You have to keep this to yourself and only report the results to me, understand?”
“Yes, Doctor Karan.” Iisha tilted her head slightly and smiled. “I would be most willing to be at your service.”
“Excellent, Miss Iisha Somtaaw.” Karan shut down the hologram and called to her attendants. “We shall have a room just for you in this ship, and access to all the data you need, short of those of military importance. I will also provide you an encrypted channel so that we may communicate directly without interference or spies. That too is a matter I am concerned about, if the Vaygr or their allies have spies among our ranks.”
“Yes, Doctor Karan.” Iisha nodded and grabbed her notebook into her bag. She nodded again. “I will do soon it, right away, ma’am, yes, ma’am.”
“You young ones are so enthusiastic. I envy that. Go…:” Karan gestured as Iisha quickly turned around and headed out. Karan breathed deeply. It was going to be long day, with more meetings and dignitaries coming to the ship. Being a figurehead can be exhausting. She called to her attendants. “Next please…”
The Vaygr Mothership, the Batu, slowly approached the great Progenitor derelict. Around the multi-armed derelict were scaffolding where resourcers and repair bots were busy welding back the great ship into shape. Around the derelict lay other derelicts, all with long spindly arms and in various states of reconstruction and restoration. The star shaped monsters were the World Destroyers, whom the Ancients call the Shivakan. The place, normally a solemn and sacred site, now buzzed with the activity of a major construction project.
A Vaygr Infiltrator frigate launched from the Mothership, and headed towards the main derelict. Taklan watched the derelict as it loomed like an old sick beast being groomed. So this is the great Progenitor Mothership, the Tartarus—the most holy of all Vaygr derelicts and holy places. For here inside the ship, lay the Nameless One.
It was here, they said, that Makaan first came in contact with the Nameless One, and the Nameless One revealed to Makaan, the fate and destiny of the Vaygr and the nomads of the Outer Rim. The Vaygr were blessed. The Vaygr were chosen. The Vaygr were to the tools of whom the One with No Name shall impose His Will. And here the Vaygr, through Makaan, was given the power.
But Makaan, in his attempt to be the Sajuuk-Khar, failed. Even then he still left a massive empire in his wake. Without Makaan, the new empire will crumble. No Vaygr fleet can withstand against the new Sajuuk-Khar and her newly resurrected Sajuuk-Cor dreadnaught. For the first time, the Vaygr now trembled, their Faith shakened. The Faith must be restored. A new Vaygr-Khar must be chosen.
The frigate slipped into the maw of the Tartarus. Taklan shivered as the frigate entered and passed through the tunnel that led to the dock. This must be one immense ship during her heyday, truly the greatest ship of the Ancient Ones. Construction lights now lined the tunnel, whose walls were drawn with the inscriptions and symbols of the ages. They all had a story to tell, the stories of the Ancient Ones. The Vaygr must be blessed to come to its possession, and the Nameless One has blessed the Vaygr with revelations of their destiny.
The Surams, also known as the Messengers of Whom There is No Name awaited them at the receiving dock. The Surams was an order of Believers who had been responsible for the upkeep of the sacred Derelicts, and for the translation of their Writings, whom they compiled into the Scripture of the unified Vagyr.
“We await you, Taklan, Khar of the Red Crusade,” said the first Messenger. Taklan noted that the Messengers bow to no one. This was something he was not accustomed but he must respect the Messengers.
“May the Prophets be with you.” Taklan greeted the Messengers.
The first Messenger held a scepter and pointed it to the hallway. “Come this way, Khar of the Red Crusade. The Nameless One seeks this presence. Please leave your armed guard in the dock. Armed soldiers in the presence of the Nameless One is blasphemy.”
“Heed the Suram.” Taklan gestured and the guards moved back to the frigate.
“To the Hall of Revelation.” The Messengers turned around and headed down the main passageway. Like the tunnel heading to the dock, symbols, sculptures and ideograms filled the walls of the passageways. But Taklan has no time to appreciate the artwork, or read the script, for even he could not understand the writings of the Ancients.
The passageway led to a large hall, but unlike the passageway, the walls were bare. No word or symbol can express the terror of He Who Has No Name, and thus the walls must be empty. Yet there was a throne in the end of the hall, and steps leading to it. A long runaway pointed to the throne, and the Messengers gestured that he must walk the entire length of it.
When they reached the end, the Messengers gestured that Taklan must kneel and bow this head down. “We cannot face the Nameless One. Keep our eyes to the ground or face his wrath.”
Taklan knelt and bowed his head down to the floor. He could sense from the reflections on the floor, the flickering of the lights. Then a sudden coldness in the room, and he shivered. From the reflections on the floor, he swore he could have seen a dark, shapeless form glided in the air without feet touching the floor. For a moment fear gripped him, for this was like the presence of one that was dead, a ghost, an aimless soul. He was tempted to raise his head, but fear kept his head down. The voice was like a chilling wind that blew through him. Yet there was no sound, only that he could hear thoughts.
“Taklan, Khar of the Red Vaygr Crusade,” the voice spoke with a shrilling emptiness.
“I await your orders, O Nameless One,” Taklan uttered. “We are nothing but your servants.”
“You are a worthless people,” said the voice. “The gifts I gave to your people and Makaan, and yet you all lost to the vermin of the Inner Rim.”
“That is the failure of Makaan. I, Taklan, will not fail you.”
“Now, Sajuuk has awakened, and his spirit now flows through the one called Karan S’jet,” said the voice. “Three of my Shivakan were destroyed over the skies of this Hiigara.”
“You will not fail me now, Taklan. I will make you Khar of all Vaygr.”
“Yes, my lord.” Taklan replied. “Give me the power and blessing and I shall serve you well.”
“But without Sajuuk, you are bound to fail, Taklan.”
“Your power would be enough, my lord. For even now, the resources of the Vagyr are being spent to restore the Tartarus and the Shivakan.”
“Excellent, Taklan. I have not chosen wrongly. But do not underestimate the power of Sajuuk. But Sajuuk and the Hiigarans are not the reason why I called you, Taklan. The End Times are still upon us and one more chapter is yet to be played.”
“For Geddon has awakened, Taklan.”
Taklan gasped. “The God of Death. The Last One, the Keeper of Souls.”
“It is a moment I have been waiting for many millennia, Taklan. For millenia, Geddon sleeps. Only when the End Times come will Geddon awaken, to collect all our souls, to deliver us all when we come from, where final judgement will be passed.”
“You must find Geddon, Taklan. And bring us to our side. Even now, the Key to Geddon is out there. Find it, and you will find Geddon. To help you in your quest I shall give you a special weapon should Sajuuk and the Hiigarans stand in your way.”
“In the Tartarus, you will find plans for a Siege Cannon, Taklan.”
“With all due respect, my lord, a Siege Cannon can be a very inefficient weapon, one that our Hiigaran opponents have used before. The recharge rate is far too long.”
“Only because of the incompetence of Hiigaran technology and their Bentusi allies. You will not have this problem with the knowledge the Tartarus will provide. You will fit the cannon on your flagship, the Batu.”
Taklan smiled. Yes, the power of the Nameless One has manifested. “Now how will I find Geddon and the Key? O my great lord…”
“In the Bowels of Hell…” With that, the voice faded.
“My lord, my lord,” Taklan cried out. But no longer was there any answer.
“You must rise, Vaygr-Khar,” said the Messenger.
“Now we must all bow to the new Vaygr-Khar, the Chosen of the Nameless One, the One whose Name is so terrible it cannot be spoken.” The Messengers bowed and knelt before him.
“Yes, I am the new Vaygr-Khar.” Taklan laughed. “Now that Makaan is out of the way, it is my turn to lead the Crusades to glory! Now we must find Geddon, the God of Death, and bring us to our control. But how? The Nameless One is also testing us with riddles, but we will not fail.”
“Find me every script, every text, every symbol, every little last word in the Tartarus and in the other Derelicts. Gather the best scholars and Surams to study the Scriptures that the Ancients have provided, and decipher all the hidden meanings. We must find the resting place of Geddon. We must find the Key.”
It’s been days. The wealth of information inside Sajuuk was amazing, and Iisha poured her heart and attention to the analysis. There was also more data recorded from the Karos Graveyards. But there was so much junk in it, literally junk. Not every information one can obtain from the Derelicts and the Progenitors were useful. So many were trivial—the record of a people living their day to day tasks. Others were simply useless. She was no better than she started that sometimes she began to wonder about herself and her own theories.
But at least, she got her Degree. Someone “up there” helped pull the strings. But that only added the pressure for her to perform.
With the pressure and her frustrations mounting, she wanted a rest too. Then word came her father wanted to see her. What an opportune time. She wanted tell him more about her new degree, title and job on board the Sajuuk.
The shuttle flew towards the snow capped Lusan mountains. Her father had a hide away there. He was wealthy from his mining expeditions and was a notable commander in the Somtaaw fleets during the Dusk Wars. When he retired, he bought this log cabin in the mountains where he raised Iisha all by himself. Something caused him to retire—the loss of his fleet, and her mother with it. He never told Iisha what truly happened, and he always avoided that question when Iisha asked him.
As the shuttle began to land, Iisha could see him chopping wood with an axe. It can be cold in the mountains, but he loved to chop trees down for fire wood as it kept him strong and healthy with the exercise.
Iisha ran to him, arms flailing, her feet biting into the snow in big strides. “Father!”
“Hello, Iisha!” Radal grinned, his arms outstretched to hug her.