Original -- Cosmic War and Intrigue
A struggle between new and old force for the control of a galactic empire, as prophecies of old begin to unfold and shake the very core and foundations of those who had held power across millennia.
Her eyes were violet/brown with a sheen of silver that masked the depth of her psychic self. This did not change who she would grow up to be. She was destined to hold chaos in one hand and unity in the other. The necromancers would call her queen, while vampires knew she was not one to be trifled with.
After all her mother was one of their own.
How she acquired the necromancer empire was written in the legends of the library. The traces erased by the library's guardians, and to stop it legions were called on. Now on the brink of a multi-dimensional galactic war the factions divided to fight over the last of the free willed races.
To shift the balances in favor before they themselves would have to succumb to the forces written and lost in the archives. A search of the libraries archive had failed and all sensed the time nearing to prophecy.
"Do you really know who I am, what keys slip from my hands into those of a child." a question asked as they forced a will not his own upon him. A last guardian of ages would slip into oblivion as he executed his last act of free will obliterating any hope of ever recovering the records, they so desperately sought to access. On learning of her friend's faith the child in confusion plunged the universe into chaos proving in that moment the prophecy of legend had not been wrong.
The necromancers would call her queen while the vampires unified what little remained out of the chaos. a short story of fictional mythology, of a child searching for her friend across all that is or ever was.
So it came to pass that in the rebellion they would free someone who would change the empire forever.
It is not a new truth in the machinations of gods: galactic empires rise and fall. That the foundations themselves shake as the old empire gives way to the new, essentially the empire continues on unchanged as it has for generations without fail.
However, the natural law has always carried more power than all the armies of the empire. When the strong become too strong to feel the limits of their power a new hope emerges. An ancient history rises up and renews hope where it is lost and almost forgotten.
Hidden in the recesses of history, a story lies dormant--and if proven, will reawaken the old ones. Tearing asunder the foundations again, and propelling the most unlikely to the centers of power. This is a final race where what was hidden must be found, each side running for their own purposes.
Whoever gets there first will write the future!
Chapter 1 - Escape From Luna
It was not by accident that he had made it out and found himself on-board a freighter bound for Orion’s Luna Prime System. His freedom had been paid for. The guards had stood aside as he was escorted to the lunar launch bay. A life sentence of hard labor in the mining camps, erased in a moment. With just a few keystrokes in the labor control system he was dead. Listed as killed in the rebellion that had engulfed the mining camp over the past weeks. The battle was still raging as the freighter lifted off the launch bay. His thoughts reached out to the rebels with a hope that it would be over soon. It would be years before he would ever learn the fate of those he was leaving behind.
The Delphinus Lunar Labor Colony (DLLC) had been established by the elder's council of the ruling families generations before. It was an out-of-the-way and inconspicuous set of moons with large bodies of fluid tritinium, a crystalline substance used for dimensional jumps--a valuable substance that continued to feed the growth of the empire, mined by the slave labor of those who openly contested the rule of law. It was the intolerable act of organized opposition to the empire that brought many to this desolate set of moons. Hardened by years of oppression, this was the final destination of freedom. It was a brutal example and reminder of what this hope would bring to those foolish enough to chase it.
Abidan was not Lyran by blood, but by birth. His parents had left their home world in the Aquila cluster as the advancing armies of the Pleiades had come taking worlds one after another. They had moved to Terlyr to get away and to raise their daughter far removed from the horrors of war, with a hope that the Elderan worlds of Lyra would provide the protection they needed. Abidan’s parents were not the only ones migrating, but part of the refugee movement escaping the war. This was a move into what was one of the last havens untouched by war. Abidan was born in one of the refugee camps created by the Lyran Refugee Services as they tried desperately to accommodate the influx of immigrants showing up on their worlds. Lyra had been unprepared for this and did what she could to help--providing shelter, food, and medicine--which stretched her own resources to the limits. So many had come from every corner of the galaxy in such a short period of time. There was not much more that could have been done given the circumstances. Eventually, these camps would become cities as the newcomers established themselves and settled into their new home worlds.
It would be here that Abidan would grow up. The first four and a half years of his life were uneventful. He played with other children, oblivious to events transpiring that would shape his future. It was before he turned five that the world showed him a glimpse of what was to come. He had come home from playing in the fields outside the camp to find his mother crying and his older sister Glimna in a state of fear, eyes wide and unknowingly darting. The Aquila cluster had fallen; those left behind on those worlds would be slaughtered or sent off to be slaves of the Pleiadian Empire. There were, of course, pleas and petitions going out to The Delphinus Council. The camps were noticeably shaken by the news. Where were Orion’s and Draco’s armies? How could this be allowed to happen? Lyra would surely be next unless a stop to this madness was found. Already the nervous atmosphere was feeding the rumors of pending war approaching once again.
It was a seminal event in Abidan’s life, as he heard from across the camps that they would not flee again. Even his parents proclaimed they would stand their ground this time. It was a subtle realization that there was nowhere left to run and the only option left was to fight or die as slaves. The next six years of Abidan’s life were spent learning and preparing for the war that was closing in as each year passed. His sister Glimna was sent off to Tiamat for advanced studies in Terran Genetic Bioforming. Building new planets and fostering the diversity of life. Learning to balance the initial eco-systems for the future evolution of a newly terraformed planet. She had been dreaming of attending the Tiamat Advanced Studies Lab. So when she had been among the selected to receive the Royal Family Scholars Fund she had begged her parents to allow her to go, which they eventually--though reluctantly--agreed to. This was a sad day for Abidan, but he knew his sister had worked hard to achieve this milestone in her life. His parents had thrown the farewell party, proud of his sister. Everyone in the neighborhood seemed to have stopped by that day, wishing his sister good luck and congratulating her. It is the most unlikely events that place people in the right place at the right time. This was no exception and would place Glimna next to the Lyran Royal Princess, who was next in line to rule Lyra. They would be roommates for their eight years of studies on Tiamat, fostering a friendship that would last a lifetime. As Abidan’s best friend Serath would later tease him, he was just one step away from placing himself in the royal family life.
“Do something, you idiot. You are wasting the opportunity of a lifetime,” Serath would tell him. “You’re an idiot, I would take advantage.”
Abidan just shook his head, using the excuse that the princess was worlds away. “You want me to have a long-distance romance with someone I never met? Explain this to me, hey Serath.”
They both knew this was never going to happen, but it was nice dreaming about it.
Abidan shook himself awake, remembering where he was; it was cold and clammy in the freighter’s cargo bays. It had been a couple of weeks since he had escaped from the DLLC, and there was still a few months worth of dimensional jumping before reaching the Orion System. He would have plenty of time to reminisce over the events that brought him here. He grabbed the flask of water that he placed in the corner and splashed water on his face, then proceeded to pick up the tube containing the blueprints and plans for his upcoming assignment. He carefully placed the tube into the holocomputer and started scanning thru the information. These were extraordinary times that had propelled him into an unbelievable assignment.
Somehow, Abidan had found himself a very well-funded group, with connections throughout the empire. Where this resistance movement had come from and how it came about was nagging him; too many well-placed pieces. Yet, he wouldn’t question it--considering he was free--with the small exception of the job they wanted him to do. As he scanned the information he could not help but notice how impeccable and detailed it was. In front of him were full blueprints to the Royal Spring Palace on Luna Prime. They even showed the old passageways that new blueprints omitted for security reasons. The plans showed complete profiles on each of the palace staff and guards. Incredibly, it also included profiles on members of the Royal Family who were expected to be present at the palace, complete itineraries for the month the family would be staying on Luna Prime, and an analysis of best target times coupled to entry and exit points. It was all there, and he knew it would take him the better part of his journey to formulate the plan. He was free to develop his own contingency plans and set the operational parameters for the assignment, as long as the job was completed on Luna Prime. There was even a list of contacts he could use for various aspects of the job, where and when needed.
He would have guaranteed transport off-world to any destination of his choosing once the job was complete. How he would ever get off that rock was beyond him. However, if the DLLC was any indication of their power then he knew they had the capacity to follow thru. He was dead, a ghost according to the system. He could not have asked for a better cover. To guarantee their own survival, he knew this resistance group could not leave him behind as a sacrificial lamb. If they failed to extract him, this would leave a trail across their organization.
He had only been ten years old when the Pleiadian ships had phased into the Terlyr planetary system. The resistance fighting that followed over the next four years had been brutal. They had held on almost to the point of extinction when the Orion ships started arriving to push back the Pleiadians. Everyone had hailed them as saviors; little did they know that Orion troops would not leave as easily as they had arrived. The empire would push back the Pleiadians, decimating that empire and scattering it to pieces across the cosmos, but not without a claim to the worlds they had saved. Some would later look back and say it would have been better to have died at the hands of the Pleiadians than to live under the oppression of Orion. It was in the few years that followed the landing of Orion’s forces that Abidan would discover and learn his secret talent. In the continuous psychic sweeps to pick up rebels Abidan discovered he had a chimeran psychic ability. This would allow him to project split psychic personas that fooled the psychic sweepers, allowing him to blend in with the normal crowd.
Chapter 2 - Homecoming
The loud knock at the door shook her out of the semi-trance state she was in. She was baking coulsif cookies for the weekend, her daughter's favorite. A delicacy made from coulsif fruits that grew wild in the countryside. It had been so long since Glimna had been home--two years. No, almost three years. She had finally earned enough credits to pay for her voyage home. How wonderful it was going to be to see her again. Pride filled her as she thought of what her daughter had accomplished. Graduated with honors, from Tiamat Advanced Studies Lab, and serving with the Department of Advanced Terraforming Projects (DATP). There was so much she wanted to tell her daughter, and so many questions. Did she have anyone? When would she settle down? She could not keep living like that, jumping from world to world.
"May I help you?" she asked as she answered the door. A sense of apprehension was wrenching thru her gut as she stared at the uniformed officer.
"Are you Abidan Gosfurth's mother?"
"Please sign here."
"Is he okay?"
"Just sign here, ma'am."
"Is my son okay?"
"I cannot say, ma'am."
She scribbled quickly on the biometric tablet.
"Here you go, ma'am."
"Is my son okay? Tell me!"
"I do not know."
He handed her the telegram, making sure she had it. Their eyes met, and she knew it was bad.
"You have a nice day, ma'am."
Her hands trembled as she opened the security seal on the envelope.
To the parents of Abidan Gosfurth,
We are deeply saddened to inform you of your son's death on the moons of the DLLC...
Her knees buckled. Her hands grasped the telegram, almost shredding it.
"Oh god, nooo!" was barely discernible from the sound that escaped her.
The wall provided support as she slid to the ground, curling up to cry.
"My son, Abidan...why?"
She wiped the tears with resolve, not bothering to read the rest of the telegram, as she forced it into her apron's pocket. Her daughter was coming home this weekend, and they would have a good time.
"I have baking to do." She spoke the words out loud, as if to reinforce her own will to move on. The house had been quiet these last three years, ever since Abidan's father had passed away. Abidan's imprisonment had just been too much for him to bear, and within a year his heart finally gave out. The neighbors and friends who knew him said he died of a broken heart. She squared her shoulders again as a small sob escaped her. She would have none of this, forcing a smile.
Glimna watched out of the Voyager's window as the Terlyr System came into view. Home--she was home again! The beautiful light green and golden hues of Terlyr could be seen in the distance. Only a few more hours and she would be home. She thought of her mom, and reminisced a bit. Her last visit had not been a joyful one; it was family business that had brought her in. Her father had passed away and DATP had paid for her voyage home, giving her time off to be with her mother. This was different, though. She was on vacation, and she looked forward to spending it with her mother. They would explore their old haunts and go shopping for new clothes. She would buy her mother some new shoes, too. She giggled a little at the thought of her mother trying on new shoes. She could feel the excitement, and a nervous exuberance bubbled up in her as she watched her home world getting bigger in the port window.
She hailed down a shuttle to take her to the spaceport. Only a few more hours before her daughter would be arriving.
"Where to?" the driver asked her as she stepped into the shuttle.
"The Salid Port."
"You got it. Arrivals or departures?"
"Arrivals. My daughter's coming home."
"That's great, where is she coming from?"
"From Melenac. She's been working there as a 'Terraforming Bio-Geneticist' or something like that."
"Wow, great girl then."
"Yes, yes she is."
The ride to the spaceport was quiet after the initial exchange. Glimna's mother had a lot on her mind. She still had not decided if she would tell Glimna about her brother. She knew she should but it would ruin her daughter's vacation. She could write to her about it afterwards. They pulled up in front of the spaceport as she made up her mind.
"Here we are."
"That was quick." She had not noticed the road on this trip. She stepped out of the shuttle and paid the driver.
"You have a great time with your daughter."
"Thank you, I will."
She watched as the shuttle pulled away, then she walked into the spaceport. She started scanning thru the arrival screens to find her daughter's flight. Finding it, she started walking to the gate.
She spun around to find Glimna running to her with a huge smile on her face. "You are early!"
"Maybe you are late," Glimna teased her while hugging her. "It's so good to be home! How is everyone?"
"They are doing great. How have you been? Long trip?"
"Oh, it wasn't too bad. Are you okay, Mom? What's wrong?" A concerned look swept over Glimna as she noticed her mother's reddened eyes.
"Oh it’s nothing, sweetie. I have just been crying knowing you were coming home."
Chapter 3 - A Strange Hope
Serath shifted his thoughts to the mundane tasks he had performed in the factory a few years earlier--piling the sludge materials onto the conveyors feeding the mixers. He remembered how he had to clean the outside of the mixing tanks or take the machinery apart to clean it, then he let his thoughts shift to his earlier years of playing in the fields outside of the refugee camps. He casually returned his attention to the meeting he had coming up, as the drone flew out of the scanning distance. He sat waiting at the outside table, sipping slowly on his tea and smiling at the shop's owner as she refilled his glass. Serath then fell away, rolling into a ball as the blast hitting the table sent pieces flying like shrapnel. He watched as the woman flew back into the railing surrounding the small patio, and he could feel the heat from the pieces piercing into his arms and legs. Scrambling to his feet, he could feel the pain. The steel net missed him as the electricity from the tasers crackled against the ground where he had been a moment earlier.
He was then running as his mind raced to reach a path to safety. He could hear the whir of the drone turning into the alley as it flew in after him. The plaster was exploding around him as blasts from the drone were hitting the walls ahead of him. They would want him alive; the patrol units would be converging on the area, trapping him in the sector search. Serath entered the building about halfway up the alley, making his way to the basement. He knew the drone would station itself to cover the exits. Patrol units would soon be sweeping thru the building. The tunnel had been built to shield against tomography and light seismic detection. It was enough to allow him to get away. He knew they would find his escape route, making it unusable, but for now it was all he had. Serath climbed up to the street level apartment as he exited the tunnel. He made his way to the master suite where he took off the damaged clothing and applied first aid to his wounds--cleaning them and then stitching them up as best he could. Popping a handful of painkillers, he made his way to the closet, sliding the shoe panel aside and revealing his emergency escape provisions. There was a new identification card, loaded with credits, and a biometric suit to bypass the citywide biometric scans that had him in the database by now.
There was also a weapon but he left it behind; there was no way to take it with him. His father had given it to him on his 14th birthday. It had been passed down in the family thru the generations, father to son. It would belong to the state now; he had to let it go. He turned and walked out of the apartment and walked the few blocks to the spaceport. Standing in front of the entrance, he knew that if the suit didn't work, he would find himself in an interrogation chamber. He stepped thru the doors and made his way thru security, onward to the booking terminals. He knew to keep it simple and booked a flight off-world using the daily shuttle flights to mask his move. With an extra hour or so before his flight departure, he browsed thru the commercial shops, purchasing souvenirs. He hardly believed his eyes when he spotted Glimna and Abidan's mother across the concourse. He knew he had to let her know. Forgetting where he was and his own status, he approached her.
"Marla." He gently tapped her on the shoulder. "I know this hard but you need to believe me, Abidan is alive."
A strange rage-like hope raced thru her as she spun to confront this stranger.
"Who are you?" she shouted hysterically.
Serath suddenly realized she could not recognize him, and quickly pulled away to blend back into the crowd.
"A friend," he whispered, so only she could hear.
"Mom, what does he mean?"
Marla ignored her daughter as she raced after the stranger; hysterical, she searched in vain in the crowd to get a glimpse of where he went.
"Mom, what does he mean Abidan is alive?"
"Not now, Glimna!"
People were starting to notice, and were staring in their direction. A few more minutes and security would be stopping her to ask if there was a problem. Marla did not care; someone knew something about her son. She was plying thru the crowd, knowing it was her one hope to know her son was okay. Glimna chased after her mother, trying to grasp what it was that had just occurred.
"Mother, slow down!"
"Wait for me there." She pointed to some benches.
Glimna looked on after her mother as she ran on into the crowd. It was a worried look--she knew something had happened. Walking over to the benches, she sat down and waited for her mother to return. Serath slipped in quietly next to her. "I do not have much time--just listen."
She turned to him, shocked. "Who are you?"
"It is me Serath, but not as you know me."
She thought of calling security to have this madman arrested.
"Your brother is alive." The words stopped her.
"Why would he not be alive?"
"We got him out of the DLLC but we had to kill him in the system so he could be free."
She was in shock.
"Please, let your mother know. This is all I can tell you."
Serath left as quickly as he had appeared.
Glimna sat waiting in shock, going over what she had just been told. This was insane. Her mind was unable to grasp why this was happening to her.
Twenty minutes of what felt like a lifetime passed before she finally saw her mother coming back out of the crowd, walking towards her with a defeated and confused demeanor.
"Let's go." She waved to Glimna.
"Mom, he talked to me."
"The stranger..." She looked at her mother with a puzzled look.
A panicked, almost pleading, look crossed her mother's face. The words were an unspeakable dread.
"What did he say?"
A realization swept over Glimna as she looked at her mother. Her eyes widened and then quickly narrowed as she whispered, "We need to get home." The spaceport was no place to talk. She started for the exit as quickly as possible as Marla followed, barely keeping up. At the curbside she hailed a shuttle, threw her bags in, and waved her mother into the cab.
The ride home was strained, neither of them were talking. Glimna put her hand on her mother's forearm to reassure her. Just a gesture that everything was going to be alright.
Chapter 4 - Guessing at Final Purposes
Serath excused himself as he took his seat on the shuttle craft. He couldn't help but notice how stunningly beautiful she was. Her blondish-red hair in ringlets enhanced her high cheek bones and full-dagger red lips. Steel-grey eyes twinkled back at him as if to say "I know". He flushed slightly at his own thoughts. She would go back to reading her tablet as he looked out the window, waiting--watchful for any unusual activity. He worried too much as the shuttle craft lifted and quickly made its way to the jump gate. Then the familiar multicolored fire clouds morphed and filled the craft's window, telling him they had just jumped. Serath allowed the tension in his body to release, sitting back in the seat in a more comfortable position. He was off Terlyr; at least for now the danger had passed. The shuttle made its way to Casperia, a busy trading post in the Orion System. It was just a two-day's flight but enough distance to give him time to maneuver away from those chasing him.
"So Serath." She was speaking to him.
His eyes widened as he tensed and shrank back into the shuttle wall behind him.
"Relax." She smiled at him, imagining the confusion running thru his mind.
She held out her hand, motioning him to settle down.
"Who are you?" His look was menacing as he weighed the odds of who she might be.
"We are many in the shadows." Her response had the desired effect as Serath let out a small sigh of relief.
"Why?" he asked, struggling for a reason they would be contacting him.
"We need you to meet Abidan on Luna Prime."
"Is there something wrong?"
"No, but the extraction will go better with you there to coordinate it."
He knew better than to ask too many questions. He accepted the assignment as she handed him a package. He would review it later; for now he closed his eyes, contemplating the reasons behind such a drastic change in plans. Was Abidan safe? Why would they want them together on Luna Prime with such a heavy risk? Something did not feel right...
In the cargo hold, Abidan was putting on the final touches to his plan. Rotating the holographic display, he could see hill seven offered him almost complete command over the Royal Palace grounds. Elevated, wooded, and with ocean cliffs to his back side, his only remaining concern was the ravine running perpendicular to the command post position. With the help of sonic and motion sensors a flanking maneuver by the guards could be anticipated and handled rather quickly; however, if done right such a maneuver could pose a threat to his plan. With little more than six months on the ground to put his plan into action, he would have the time to survey the Durnamond valley area. Hill four was a second choice but it would do as well if the terrain around seven was unsuitable. There was a little less coverage of the grounds, but a much more defensible position, with the additional advantage of an old tunnel running under the hill out to sea.
Abidan checked over the area's geology, looking for deposits and trace markers, which would help establish a need for mining equipment, and also his presence. There was not much to work from, but a claim could be placed from a foolish speculator's perspective. Trace markers had been found in the area, but these had long been proven as nonproductive. Just a crazy speculator, hoping to hit it rich, would be his cover. Many would whisper about him--town gossip and all--but at the end of the day they would dismiss him as a fool. This close to the palace grounds he would need to be seen and yet dismissed as someone of little consequence, blending into the town's fabric as an obnoxious foreigner who thought too much of himself. Maybe even a few drunken nights on the town, would help solidify this image.
Going down the checklist again looking for any missing pieces or anything which may seem out of place, his eyes blurred. He knew he had been at it for too long. A small knock at the door, gave him the excuse to tear himself away from the plans. He shut down the holographic projector, and pulled the tarp over the work area before proceeding toward the door. Captain Farnai stood in the doorway. “We will be arriving in approximately a week, sir. Is there anything we can do to ensure your arrival goes as planned?" The captain had been paid handsomely for his stowaway, but knew nothing about his passenger's purpose. His vessel was part of the regular long-haul trade routes between the outer regions and inner Orion systems. His cargo was mostly ore from the mining camps being delivered to the refineries within the secure areas of the empire. The trade routes were fairly new as they had been implemented by those ruling to stop resistance fighters from stealing refined material at facilities closer to the mining camps.
Abidan contemplated the possibility of the captain having made his fortune as part of the transport and smuggling arm for these stolen shipments. Either way, the captain was now running a legitimate enterprise--purely on the books now--with a small trade and shipping empire at his disposal.
"Did they find some ore on Luna prime?" the captain inquired.
Abidan smiled, he knew the captain was aware of the mining equipment shipments, and was trying to put the puzzle pieces together. "It is possible. Cannot really say."
As long as the captain was guessing in this direction his final purpose was safe.
Abidan watched as the crew quietly unloaded his equipment and transferred it to the smaller craft that would shuttle him to Luna Prime. Captain Farnai handed him his paperwork and the necessary permits to offload his equipment.
"You have a room reserved at the Galderi, Mr. Santera," the captain bellowed for those who would listen. "Best of luck in your endeavors."
They quickly shook hands, bidding each other farewell, and the newly minted Mr. Candus Santera made his way to the boarding platform. Luna Prime was two days away. “The Galderi,” he said with a whistle. No expense had been spared. He would have preferred a much lower profile. This would work, however, as it established a persona of someone foolishly spending credits. He could blend away later as his luck changed in his prospecting, and speculations failed.
Casperia. Serath breathed in the air as he stood outside. So many wild memories of this place. It was a port moon city where rogues--business and the ruling class--mingled in deals that would never make any respectable accounting books. The underbelly of the Orion system, where no one existed and could disappear just as quickly. Everyone was looking out for themselves and did not care about anyone other than those who were involved in the immediate deals being hatched. Irrelevance was a perfect cloak to blend away into, for those on the wanted lists of the Orion Empire.
Serath would spend a week here before making his way to Luna Prime. With so many stops along the way, he needed to ensure his path would be clear.
"Bandoui, how have you been, my old friend?" Serath took in the huge grin that greeted him. The man himself, one who knew the moon city inside out and could get anything done.
"Tell me, what hotel do you have for me?"
"We have a private home for you this time, away from the prying eyes of hotel managers. It is nice and nestled away in the Black Desert region, near the cliffs. The views will be amazing, Serath." Bandoui grinned, white teeth showing.
“What a happy fellow...” Serath thought to himself.
to be continued...
not at this time
"Do you really know who I am, what keys slip from my hands into those of a child."