Rek'narash Part 1 : Arrival

Written by Ory on . Posted in AE Stories

37 arrival_01The familiar humming sound of a space vessel's reactor core was barely audible inside the large, round, darkened room, at the center of which a large holographic image of a familiar planet was slowly revolving, standing nearly 5 meters tall. On its orange tainted surface, signs of a heavily industrialized planet, several red crosshairs marked the locations of, clear at this scale, large cities and military installations. Some of those markers were aimed at space, most likely at defense installations as well. All of those markers had a small link on them, with incoherent symbols, probably in the language of the people that made the hologram. The sound of slow moving, metal-on-marble sounding footsteps echoed throughout the room, giving the impression that the room was, indeed, incredibly large.

Making said stepping sounds was a single person, humanoid in form, female by the shape her torso had, her arms crossed, walking around the hologram, staring at the markers. She was wearing a rather strange attire for someone whose race seemed devoted to space: metal plated armor, golden, crimson and purple colored armor. Her armor had what appeared to be blades imbued on her shoulder plates, wrist plating and on the underside of the forearms. Another oddity about the armor was that it apparently gave no protection to her upper thighs, her pink skin visible there. A plated "skirt", if it could be called that, kept that area rather protected, thus giving her an apparent high mobility around her waist and hip areas.

The armor also had a pair of long plates dropping from her waist all the way down to her ankles, attached only on the waist, but not impeding her walk in any way, acting as tails of sorts. Finally, the armor had no head piece, giving a clear view to her head. Indeed human in shape, her braided brown hair was tied at the back of her head in a ball shape, her purple colored eyes staring at each passing marker on the hologram attentively, her face, albeit striking several small scars, remained in a strict, serious manner as a second person walked towards the light-bathed hologram. He was wearing a plated armor similar to that of hers; the only difference seemed to be the lack of blades on the shoulder plates and the lack of the plated skirt, which was replaced by larger side plates covering the outer thigh areas.

Stopping just on the light's edge, the figure, clearly that of a male compared to the woman circling the hologram, spoke in a deep tone:
"Deva. Preparations from the House of Gods are complete. They're ready to start."

The woman answered in a soft, yet strict sounding voice:
"Good. Make sure the warfleet exits within range. I want no mistakes like last time."

The man waved his hand and the orbiting markers in the holographic planet disappeared, each being replaced by three green colored, "V" shaped objects.
"Orbital defenses should be subdued within a dakni of exiting jump. Ground defenses might take up to an additional stazi, depending on h-..."

He was quickly interrupted by the woman, this time speaking in a much harsher tone:
"I want no excuses. One stazi is too long to direct forces on the ground. I want it done within two dakni, Conqueror Ganesh. Otherwise, I will have your head served on a gold platter to Indra."

The man bangs his right fist on his chest plate, speaking in a nervous tone before turning to leave the room:
"By your will, Deva."
"One more thing."

The man stops moving and turns his head sideways to glance at the Deva and questions her: "Yes?"
"What do the natives call the planet?"
"Grilja, if I am not mistaken, Deva."

The Deva stopped moving around the hologram, uncrossed her arms and waved the man away. As she did so, another aspect of this race stood visible: the two foremost phalanges of each finger had a bone-like cover, resembling straight claws, as if their fingernails had expanded throughout the fingers.
"Grilja. At least the cities will provide an acceptable amount of offerings for Indra."

Twenty four human-sized holograms appeared around the Deva. This promptly made her kneel, her eyes closed, bowing to the figures. They were all wearing the same type of black gown, covering every inch of their body from head to toes, and they all had their arms crossed to cover their hands from sight. One young female voice stood out, echoing throughout the entire room with a reverberating tone:
"Rise, Deva."

Keeping her eyes closed, the Deva stood up, eyes still closed as she answered:
"You wish something of me?"
"A heeding, Deva. This is your final chance. More than anyone else has had while leading a warfleet."
"And you think I d-..."

The Deva got interrupted by the same voice, now much louder, which made her drop to her knees again.
"Nor do we care. Gehenna Vasus, should you fail to subdue the planet named Grilja by its inhabitants by the time the Trayastrimsa arrives there, in two stazi, you will have your position of Sudassa Deva striped of your possession. Any objections, Deva?"

Gehenna answered through clenched teeth, in audible anger, this time:
"None, Suddhavasas."
"Then go, Deva. Strike at our enemies with our blessing."

The holograms disappear and Gehenna stands, fists clenched, her face now displayed anger and her eyes glowed red.
"To Hells with the planet." she spoke in a low tone. As she walked, she continued in a more arrogant tone: "I'll make sure to let them know just who in the Goddess' name they are messing with. This low-life, pitiful planet will make the perfect hunting ground."

She waved her hand and all red markers on the hologram's surface turned into large, deep craters, causing Gehenna to smile widely as the glow on her eyes subsided. Tapping her neck, she speaks aloud:
“Conqueror Kumari.”

A female voice answered her, audible only to Gehenna. It sounded childish, as if she was watching something amusing:
“Yes, Deva?”
“Cease your dallying. We’re jumping now. Warn the other Conquerors and rally your troops.”

A hearty giggling sound was heard from the other side of the comm. The giggling sound was barely audible where Kumari was standing, amidst the cries of pain of a man being tortured. The room was much smaller than the room Gehenna was in, but had the same layout of a large room with a central spotlight, bar the hologram, which had been replaced by a human man, unlike the figures around him, almost making him the alien, strapped to a metallic structure with hundreds of inexplicable torturing devices surrounding him. Kumari approached the shackled man and the visible difference in height was shown between the two. Even between the surrounding figures, Kumari was visibly shorter, with a near childish figure. Her armor was a full purple and crimson, but somewhat similar to Gehenna’s in shape, save the two “tails”, which were replaced by a longer plated skirt. Her white hair was tucked in a long braid down her back and her green eyes stared at the shackled figure eagerly and excitedly, showing an overall face of enjoyment at the man’s predicament.
“Excellent.” She answers “I’ll have my troops ready within the kazyi, Deva.”

Releasing the pressure on her neck, she aimed her right arm at the strapped man’s head, flicked her wrist making a pair of short blades eject off the plating in her forearm, straight through the man’s head, killing him. Waving her hand, she speaks to the surrounding figures before leaving:
“Do clean up this mess. I have a battle group to attend to.”



37 arrival_02 
A once beautiful, green planet, brimming with life in every corner, a major core colony of the Aynrin Unity, its hubs with lined up trade ships as far as the eye could see, its cities filled to the brink with activity; all but a long, lost and forgotten scene to many. Eight hundred years separate the first founding of Grilja to today. Seven hundred years have passed since the Unity and the Empire had first faced each other in war; Grilja to have been the only real loss in what was later known as the Recognition War, creating human losses in the billions during its short span of fifteen years. After the fall of Grilja, the planet was deemed uninhabitable by the Unity, and only re-colonized as an act of defiance against the brutal devastation from the Empire.

Grilja was now a heavily industrialized planet, its atmosphere still barely scrapping the borderline “breathable”, still heavily polluted from the factories all over the planet’s surface. The majority of the population now lived on stations orbiting the planet, along with “space farms”, that fed both the populace above and below the planet. What was left of the population lived underground, in titanic caverns built specifically for the civilian populace. Connecting every city, vacuum trains would cross the vast emptiness between the cities in hermetically sealed tunnels, reaching unimaginable speeds due to the loss of friction.

All over the planet, the events of the fall of Grilja was burned in everyone’s minds as, in every city, stood a memorial square for the lost souls, a large, round area of green fields. At the center of these fields, a statue of twisted metal holding a spherical shaped object resembling a planet. A plaque with the inscriptions: “For the loss of the many, the Unity stays united.” was nailed to the bottom to each statue for every visitor to read.

Although the Empire and the Unity are on high standards with each other, the Unity still forbids the entry of any Imperial ship, whether civilian or military, in the entire system Grilja resides. Trading between the two factions bypasses this planet entirely, albeit it being one of the few bridges fast enough for trading into Unity core systems.

High above the civilian structures orbiting the planet, hundreds of defensive structures from small missile turrets to the high-end military shipyards, ammunition depots and hangars overhead it, an average of three hundred military ships defending the planet at all times, with a direct link to the Aynrin capital system, a few hours away from thousands more combat ready vessels, despite the fact that the entire system was always on a lockdown from anything other than civilian vessels from other factions.

A new day was dawning over the planet’s capital city and, although the cities were underground, the lighting on the ceiling was slowly gaining strength, mimicking the sunrises and sunsets’ strength nigh flawlessly. People starting to rise from their sleep and preparing for their work day, every person had a function to accomplish in keeping these underground cities running at their top conditions. People in the night shifts start being relieved as the morning passes and the streets become busy with movement at every turn. One would almost think there was no difference between these caverns and the cities above ground, were it not for the fact that the planet’s surface was nigh uninhabitable, the ceiling was covered in lights and every few hundred meters, thick, giant pillars rose from the ground to the ceiling of these caverns, preventing it from crashing down on its inhabitants.

Today was no different from any other work day for the civilian populace within the city, busy as it always is. For the military, however, it had been a tense month. For weeks now, the scanners placed within deep space around Grilja had picked up a fleet of unmeasured size and strength. At first they believed it to be an Asterion Empire Grand Fleet, but it would take twenty fleets of equal size and strength to match anything close to it, and a single Grand Fleet was already a force to be reckoned with, as it was demonstrated in recent events, spied upon by the Unity. They had not figured out who or what this mass belonged to, nor have they been able to detect any major movement from it, only that they seemed to, very slowly, inching their way towards Grilja. Scouts sent to investigate had not returned and acting against such force would likely mean death, hence the military had decided to wait and keep a close watch.

Inside one of the military station’s command center, a slowly revolving holographic image of the blob was at the center of the well lit room, surrounded by walkways and consoles of every shape and size. Although Human in origin, adapting to their surrounding environment had been something the Unity have always specialized in, and instead of letting their bodies adapting to said environment, they decided to adapt themselves to their surroundings, resulting in a large portion of the entire population to have taken some sort of genetic engineering treatment to modify their bodies. This resulted in said populace to resemble alien life forms instead of the typical Human physiology. This fitted perfectly with their expansion methods, their military tactics and deployment, as well as most positions in which light machinery would be the likely choice. Ethics was never a major issue in the Unity regarding these modifications, rather being accepted instead of being frowned upon. Around the consoles in the command room were such people, whether effecting maintenance in consoles or utilizing them, nearly half the present people were modified to fit their job. The commander, a baseline Human, had been staring at the hologram for the past hour intently, likely trying to search for some indication that the blob had peaceful motives.

“I just don’t understand it. They’re just… there. They’re not moving, not doing anything, yet they shoot down any attempts of communication from us. This is maddening.”
“Maybe they don’t want friends?” questioned one of the subordinates at a console.
“With a force that size, I wouldn’t want to be its enemy. At this point, we’d have expected anything, if it was, indeed, Asterion.” Retorted the commander with a smug tone.

Not half an hour later, a large vessel, seemingly organic looking from its sleek hull shape, simply appeared right behind one of Grilja’s defense platforms, as if shimmering into existence, nearly dwarfing the platform in size, accompanied by two smaller ships. This spread out for a large number of said platforms, until the ships neared the hundreds in numbers. Near instantly after appearing, the ships opened fire in a variety of weaponry, between high energy, blinding white beams that cut through the platforms with ease and something resembling black colored projectiles, slow moving, but instead of punching through armor or breaking shields of any kind, it merely seemed to trigger a small, temporary singularity that sucked every ounce of material near it for a short duration.

As Aynrin shields are generally weak, these projectiles made it through them with relative ease, shredding the platforms one by one, and as one fell, the trio of ships made their way onto the next platform. And the next. And the next. And so on, until they met resistance. Missiles coming from every direction started hitting the attacking ships. Slowly, one by one, they fell to the many hundreds of thousands of incoming missiles they were unable to counter. But as one fell, another immediately took its place from the outer edge of the system, a nigh endless stream of ships, hopefully causing a sense of despair on the defending forces.

Story sent by Ory for the AE Stories event.