The world of Ego Primus knew not of the horrors awaiting to be unleashed. And how would they, a population of innocent civilians going about their daily lives, having never experienced the ravages of war? To them military conflict was an alien thing, a distant distraction, in yet another galactic cluster not under the United Colonies fold.
Today was to be a day of peace as representatives of the United Colonies and Muloni Trade Confederation arrived to break bread in mutual harmony for the good of the Argon Galaxy. They knew not of the impending storm, of this being a day which would end in sundered skies blazed in fiery wreckage. No, they knew not… and pity be upon the innocent, conceited in a belief of their own false security, for today was a day of reckoning.
“This is Ego Primus Tower Com hailing inbound transport serial ID: UCS 75938779. Please respond,” the warp gate hailed the massive United Colonies battleship as it exited into system mere hours after the presidential entourage had made its rather dramatic entrance with much fanfare. Technically, the gate traffic controllers were still expected to maintain their professional uniforms for any lingering camera-men skulking about the port, but… their jobs needed to go on despite the need for appearances thus more than one on-duty officer had taken to stripping off their blue berets and wool jackets, before rolling up their sleeves. Together, the motely assembled crew watched the lumbering giant warship pass before the warp-gates overhanging control canopy before transitioning onto a standard military traffic lane reserved for arriving UC personal.
“This is the UCS Sky Furry hailing port authority,” replied the commanding officer of the battleship through the Traffic Control internal coms, “We are reporting in from our standard patrol after being diverted from New Utopia. You should be seeing us on the Mil-Com Logs for inbound traffic.”
The Gate Traffic Controller double checked the Mil-Com logs just to make sure that they hadn’t missed the arriving battleships ICG Friend or Foe tag upon the reports. Given the most recent chaos with in-systems traffic from the peace talks this wouldn’t be the first time that the United Colonies Mil-Com botched its arrival and departure reports. One would think that a presidential envoy would demand flawless security, but like all things involving the United Colonies, mediocrity tended to prove the rule rather than the exception.
As expected, the gate officers found the Mil-Com log with a recent alteration from Sector Command. The UCS Sky Furry was indeed due for rotation on a re-divert from New Utopia much to the annoyed chagrin of the gate-traffic controllers.
With a scornful glower the attending flight manager hailed the UCS battleship, “Roger that UCS Sky Furry. We have you listed under a Sector Command flight-plan alteration. You are free to proceed along an intercept course for Monroe Station. Port Authority Out.” The traffic control officer for the Ego Primus warp-gate watched the battleship pull out of the holding lane towards the nearby aquatic world down below… unaware of the horrors about to be unleashed from the United Colonies lax security.
“The idiots fell for it…” laughed Captain Shirogen as he paced the length of the stolen battleships main cargo hold. All around him loitered numerous soldiers dressed in unfamiliar combat fatigues, the camouflaged pattern red and orange of the Drekkon Imperium.
It was a well-known fact that in order for this plan to actually work… someone at Argon United Colonies Sector Command needed to be bought off to re-register the UCS Sky Furry on an inbound arrival transport log. Otherwise, the ship would be flagged and diverted away from Ego Primus upon warp exit into system. Luckily, some gullible UC lackey had indeed accepted his meager bribe and so the stolen warship was allowed to pass through to planetary orbit unmolested with its also borrowed ICG tags. Secretly Captain Shirogen wondered what the price for a dead president ran these days? Did the Sector Command officer even know his role in this assassination? Did he know exactly how much blood was upon those credits he had just pocketed? In all likelihood no… because he would have probably asked for way more than whatever meager pittance he had been paid.
“Sooo… we’re in?” asked a nearby soldier while pushing his sodding body up from a crate and shouldering his weapon. Captain Shirogen smiled fondly and activated a wrist mounted holographic ships-com, “Now hear this… we are clear for Stage 3. All squads report to your hoppers and prepare to abandon ship. Once we are clear of the blast range, the industrial anti-matter generator is set to activate with the ships fusion drive core… and trust me… we don’t want to be anywhere nearby when that happens.”
On his command, the assembled soldiers dressed in Drekkon Imperium military uniforms boarded several stolen United Colonies Troop Transport Hoppers. The skeleton bridge crew was the last to step on deck before the troop carriers hydraulic hatches closed, the cargo hold depressurized, and the soon to be war criminals abandoned the UCS Sky Furry to its inevitable fate.
By the time the United Colonies Orbital Defense garrison knew something was wrong with the encroaching warship, the UCS Sky Furry had already infiltrated far too close to Ego Primus, bypassing the numerous civilian and military transport routes reserved for communal shuttle traffic. All attempts to hail the battleship were meet with silence, and a world all to accustomed to peace found itself faced with a the very real possibility of shooting down a friendly military ship during a peace summit.
Whether it be by mocking grace or cruel irony… the decision to sink the UCS Sky Furry was regretfully made by another party secretly entering planetary orbit while hiding amongst the numerous civilian transit shuttles. The first real hint that something was terribly wrong was when the dozens of military officers still attempting to hail the battleship discovered a massive power surge emanating from within the craft itself on their short range scanners.
“Is that a warp core breach?!” yelled one man as the energy signature continued to spike off of the scale and deep into the red, “No, even a fusion core going critical shouldn’t generate this much power!!”
It was then that the assembled military personal went pale faced as they all came to the exact same possible conclusion. Someone had crammed an industrial anti-matter generator inside that battleship and were using the craft itself as a primitive battering ram against the planet.
“SHOOT IT DOWN NOW!!” yelled one man as the battleship continued to creep closer and closer to… “Oh god no!!” yelled another as everyone suddenly saw where the battleship was heading. This ship, the UCS Sky Furry wasn’t targeting an orbital habitat, or an orbital shipyard… it was targeting the orbital defense ring.
In a fit of desperation, the United Colonies Orbital Defense Garrison at Ego Primus attempted to activate the defense rings photon cannons, but… they were taking far too long to prime and gain a targeting solution. However, Ego Primus still had its planetary shield… and the mass reactive energy barrier was slowly starting to spread over the Northern hemisphere as… It was now that time froze for everyone watching the disaster occur moment by agonizing moment…
The UCS Sky Furry now at ramming speed slammed into Ego Primus’s defense ring while its warp drive activated with a still flaring anti-matter generator. The resulting exotic particles of the anti-matter generator making contact with the inter-dimensional reality of warp space bleed a massive amount energy into the material universe much like a manmade solar flare. However, what started off as an energy flare soon exploded with the force of fifty nuclear warheads. It was like a miniature super-nova igniting across the planet’s surface.
As luck may have it, the UC Defense Garrison was able to raise the planetary shield in time thus minimizing the ecological damage as a massive shockwave of white fire swept over two continents instantly knocking out all forms of non-hardened technology with a huge EMP blast. The planet went dark, and everyone craned their necks towards space as the orbital ring started to destabilize.
Some ran for their lives while others watched awe struck in the daily routines of their meaningless lives as massive chunks of steel disintegrated into a vast swirling debris cloud. It was now that the more stoic civilians simply accepted what was about to occur and sat down to watch… for the end was nigh.
The planetary shield which had defended Ego Primus against the initial anti-material detonation phased briefly from the stress of billions of pieces of metal making planetary reentry, and then… it simply stopped working from the shire force of the kinetic stresses involved, leaving the planet itself wide open for the planetary rings unfortunate crash landing.
The luckiest people died in the first few hours as huge kinetic flash-fire storms engulfed the entire planet, burning away the vast oceans, and devouring the entire aquatic world in a vast dark cloud of vaporized water. The unlucky lived through the initial bombardment. They lived long enough to watch the numerous floating cities of Ego Primus crumble and sink into salt water and molten sand alike. They watched their fellow humans die in horrible ways such as being boiled alive from the flash foaming water… But for all those who died... one person was guaranteed to still live….
For now, the United Colonies president remained hidden away in a fallout shelter at Shepherds Reef, Camp Tarsus. Cowering like a little child… as everything was laid to waste all around her…
Captain Shirogen watched with neither pity nor glee as fiery wreckage rained down upon Ego Primus. This was a dirty job. Mass murder was a dirty job, but if it hadn’t been him then surely his employer would have found another hatchet-man for the job. After all, the universe was filled with such shifty characters so in the end… it really didn’t matter who did the killing.
The blue world turned to night as the EMP burst took out all the non-hardened infrastructure. From his descending altitude the sight of the orbital ring starting to disintegrate and collapse down upon the planet was a magnificent thing to behold… as such ruins stood in stark contrast the numerous passenger shuttles burning up like comets upon reentry.
Secretly the Assassin Commander wondered how much those people knew about the situation as they cooked like canned meat before their ships tore apart incinerating everyone within. That was a bad way to go… and luckily the UC Hopper Troop Transports were hardened from localized EMP bursts so such a grizzly fate befalling him and his men was unlikely.
As they started to slow for atmospheric holding, all hell erupted around the planet as vast swaths of molten steel from the collapsing orbital ring slammed like godly fists into the oceans flash vaporizing and boiling massive amounts of water. Captain Shirogen had never seen an ocean burn, and sight of those bright red flames dancing across the black waters would haunt his dreams for years to come… of that he was sure.
While hugging the terrain the Hoppers approached the remains of Camp Tarsus where the peace summit was being held. Blue cinders danced around the troop transports as the craft landed gracefully onto an elevated tarmac. Upon exiting the troop holds one couldn’t ignore the thick oxygen rich scent of ozone as darkened clouds grasped around the planet blotting out the nearby sun. Darkness ruled this world though it be hard to imagine as the molten metal continued to eerily glow amongst the surrounding ruins. Blue ashes coated the military fatigued shoulders of the assassination squad as they breached the long abandoned main bunker complex.
Moving in teams of two, the assassins slowly descended deep into the Camp Tarsus Fallout Shelter until at last they reached a large metal blast door with a computer interface terminal.
“This is it sir,” stating the obvious spoke one nearby soldier. Captain Shirogen grinned wolfishly before replying, “You want to hear something funny?” His men eyed him silently without moving or speaking. Indeed, their training held firm in the face of his grim humor as they collectively kept their guns pointed towards the large blast door as if it were a looming troll.
“Under normal circumstances we wouldn’t be able to enter this bunker even if we attempted to hack this door, but… security is only as good as the secrets you can actually keep. And we… were invited,” He mocked with a gracious bow.
Captain Shirogen now activated the keypad and typed in the activation code which had been supplied to the Muloni Trade Confederation Diplomatic Corp just for this sort of situation. The code… proved valid and the supposedly secure UC Fallout Shelter opened its loving grace with a hydraulic whoosh.
“What happens next…” said Captain Shirogen to his men, “Is all theatre, but do me a favor and stay in character.”
The presidential address was being broadcast in twenty-six galaxies with Madam President Sarah de Nico standing before the UC seal in a blue wool suit urging the panicking masses to maintain a civil calm in the face of this terrorist act.
By this point everyone knew that someone had created an anti-matter flare upon Ego Primus resulting in a humanitarian crisis of epic proportions. Early death estimates were currently placed at one hundred and fifty million… minimum, with that number only expected to rise as the situation further deteriorated.
Still… the sight of the president addressing the people of the United Colonies was supposed to create a sense of stern resistance in the face of cringe worthy commentary of suspected factions responsible for the attack. Indeed, many news stations were already pointing their fingers at, ‘Free Drakvas,’ as the perpetrators supposedly responsible for the disaster.
However, this message was being broadcast live and unedited. Thus… when a squad of Drekkon soldiers breached the studio and engaged the UC Secret Service in a very one sided fire-fight, the entire universe couldn’t help but sense something monumental about to occur. A flash moment if you would… as the Secret Service agents were gunned down one by one in the face of such devastating Drekkon weaponry.
To her credit, President Sarah de Nico stood her ground and didn’t hide behind her podium, even as several secret service guards lay dead at her feet. She held her chin high… as a Drekkon Imperium Officer pointed his gun at her head and shouted, “For the Empire!” before blowing her brain out across the United Colonies seal.
And that… was the last image broadcast from Ego Primus before the broadcast station went to ‘standby’ mode. The image of a Drekkon officer blowing the UC Presidents brain out the back of her skull. In that instant, the entire universe held its collective breath… because Ego Primus would mostly only be the first world to burn in the fires of war.
The mood in the Emergency Command Bunker at UC Central Command on Earth was bleak indeed as the assembled council of high ranking military and civil officials sat at their respective seats around the properly anointed ‘round table.’ They had all seen the death of Madam President Sarah de Nico as it streamed live across twenty-six galaxies, and now… they found themselves desperately struggling to find a way of avoiding all-out war with the Drekkon Imperium.
“This is insanity!” yelled 3rd Fleet Admiral Jones Hopesteader while banging his fists against the table with fuming rage, “We all saw the bastards do it! We need to retaliate!”
The round table continued to debate the events with a mixture of roaring voices and muttering whispers as a single individual remained stoic in the face of such confusion. Unlike the other men in this room, Director Sabastian Rubek of the United Colonies Intelligence Department had the benefit of wisdom and experience with counter espionage to know when something was clearly wrong.
He knew that only a handful of people had access to that supposedly secure fallout shelter, and then there was the question of how exactly the Drekkon soldiers managed to infiltrate the system undetected. There were a lot of unanswered questions, and such questions cast doubts upon the legitimacy of the assassination by the Drekkon crown. Nevertheless, the other assembled chairmen didn’t see things with such clarity and the discussion of should they react was soon replaced with how they should react.
“We need to move the 34th Rapid Response Fleet from Torid to assist with the emergency situation! In the face of this disaster we can’t afford to be seen as complacent! Besides, the 34th Rapid Response Fleet isn’t engaged in any important operations right now…”
Director Rubek knew that wasn’t exactly true. The Torid naval instillation actually defended a hidden prison complex… and just like that Rubek ground his teeth in anger, ‘those bastards,’ he muttered to himself, ‘that was well played.’
Unfortunately for Rubek, the door to the emergency chamber slid open, and a short man dressed in a white silk dining suit with two UC soldiers at either soldier entered with a deep frown upon his face, “Gentlemen!” he greeted them while disgruntled, “I suppose you have good reason to drag me away from the Handerval Charity Dinner?”
The room went eerily quiet thus causing this carrier politician to whiten with unusual surprise at such a grim group of people, until at last Admiral Jones Hopesteader spoke, “You weren’t made aware of the situation upon arrival I take it?” he asked with a gilt ridden voice.
Vice President Oliver Ziegman glowered and rolled his shoulders. In response, Admiral Hopesteader stood from his chair while slothingly scooping up a small brown book resting upon the table. He approached the Vice President and stopped before the young man while holding back an emotional crackle in his voice.
“Mr. Vice President…” he said flatly, “please raise your right hand and repeat after me.”
This story was submitted by JCDenton2012 for the AE Stories Event. Find Details on sending your own Story here.