The Themien War: Book II
Posts: 1197
  • Posted On: Feb 6 2010 11:42pm
The Beginning





What was time to One who had already lived countless eons? What was time but merely a concept lesser creatures used to measure their insignificant actions against their short lives.

Oh, how the lesser creatures danced and hurried to the tune of time.





“Approach Control, this is the Hyfe on vector 429.”





Their small minds would lament about how there was never enough time to do all the things they wanted to do and they would lash out against their age like an addict needing that fix of just a few more years added to their span so they could… so they could…. What?




“Hyfe, this is Belkadan Approach Control. We have you verified on vector 429.
Reduce speed for outbound traffic in 5.”





Inevitably, even with their technology giving them those few years more, the lesser creatures would squander them only to cry out when that final day approached.


Yes, the lesser creatures were so full of contradictions.


They were creatures who hated to die. Oh, how they hate dying… and yet, while they lived, these lesser beings seem to derive no joy from their experiences. They would lament their life to the point that they welcome an end but as soon as their body realizes the few breaths left within it, oh, how it stirred to fight once again!





“Approach Control, acknowledged. Hyperdrive secured, will reduce speed in 3…”





Yes, they were full of contradictions.


They tell themselves stories of how better everything would be after they died, residing among the clouds with various deities and, yet, for all this wonderfulness envisioned in this afterlife, even the most faithful cling to their mortal existence. Their bodies instinctively fight against being a resident in this heaven as their last gasps are spent.


To be sure, the lesser creatures also had those among them who were long lived, cheating the natural aging process by one means or another. But even then, in both reality and their fiction, they manage to fool their minds into thinking that living for so long was a burden not worth bearing.

Their fiction was littered with lone wanderers who live extraordinary long lives amid others who don’t, silent martyrs having to watch those they loved turn to dust and yet, they themselves never willing to kill themselves. What lesson was there in that? That life was worth living even if it became boring? That the afterlife was full of such wonders even if these lesser beings could imagine nothing better for themselves than playing harps on clouds?





Hyfe, we are picking up an unusual energy signature projecting from Sector 183. Can you investigate?”





Unhappy in life, bored in death. If nothing else summed up these lesser creatures, that would be enough. It was almost tragic for these lesser beings were known to be self-aware. But such self-awareness only seemed to bring them pain for they lacked that one thing that would supply to their self-awareness fulfillment.




“Control, scanning…. Scanning….. My God! Control, the readings are off the scale!”





It was why these lesser creatures could throw off the auspices of civilization and destroy one another with fanatical glee. It was why they shackled themselves with complicated and contradictory rules, regulations and social correctness. It was why they rewarded even the smallest insignificant acts with achievement recognition.


For these lesser beings hungered as well...





Hyfe, we are getting a visual. It’s bright! Emperor’s Bones, is it…is it...a star?!”





...and it was time to feed them.




“Control, all readings are beyond our instrumentation ranges. It can’t be a star!... Wait! Wait! I see something!”





It was time to give them fulfillment.




“Control… Ships! There are ships coming out of the light!”





It was time to give these lesser beings lives meaning.




“No IFF recognition, no broadcasts…. Bringing defense systems online! Belkadan, alert...”





It was time to give their death meaning.




Hyfe? Hyfe, come in! Sir, I get no response! Going to emergency defense protocols now…!
Multiple contacts… Ten… Twenty…Mein Gott! We are dead!”





It was time to give them…Purpose.
Posts: 1197
  • Posted On: Aug 12 2011 7:31am
RSD Galactus


*


~I am Visyons of Dracconis. And I am here to kill you.

"You are from the future." Kaine took the news calmly though his mind began to race with the implications.

~ Your insight will serve you well. At least, it would have. But you must die for your empire to fall.


"And how do you know my death would cause it's fall?"


The creature's sharp teeth shined as it smiled.


~ I don't. But when I return, I shall see what I shall see and if further actions are needed, they will be made.


~ This is a divergence point.


The creature pointed to Kaine.


~ It is time for you to die.





Supreme Commander Simon Kaine's eyes snapped open in momentary panic quickly sitting up. A firm hand grasp at the edge of his bed to steady his momentary disorientation also gave his mind something firm to focus on.

His ragged breathing began to level as he looked around the darkened cabin taking comfort in the familiarity.

The dream would not let go.

Even as the weeks turned to months, it seemed the events aboard the ill-fated Serapis were as fresh in his mind as if they happened yesterday.

Even the Emperor was uncharacteristically quiet about the experience leaving a void of unfinished business between the two.

Daemon Hyfe had overreached himself by immersing himself with the spirit of the dead Palpatine thru his increasing fascination with the Sith's dark arts. Simon Kaine had also overreached by taking a traitor's leap by destroying the Sith's hold on the Empire by attempting to destroy Hyfe himself only to be stopped by a creature from the future.


Dracconis, he had called himself. He had said I destroyed his people..


The name was unfamiliar to Kaine but who knew what the future would bring?


And that was at the heart of the issue!


He was warned so, if he stumbled across these Dracconis in his future travels, what would he do?

Obliterate their world?

It was obvious to the creature that he had done something of the sort already and, yet, something had survived to the point where time travel was possible.


...you must die for your empire to fall.


Were the words still relevant in this 'altered' timeline? He was still alive and, yet, so was the Empire.


..so was the Emperor.


Perhaps Hyfe's arm would stretch out at some point to seize what was left of Simon Kaine's life? As the weeks turned into months, however, the opportunities for such an occurrence dwindled.


The Supreme Commander had made himself vulnerable but as time passed, his position solidified and he fell back into the old familiarity of directing the Imperial Armed Forces and keeping his eye on things of a more conventional nature.


And perhaps that was a danger in itself as well?


He could tell that even though his own commanders listened and wanted to believe his words, it was just too fantastic of a story to really be credible.


Time travel?


How do you fight against people who will not be alive until generations from now and who are armed with history's details of your exploits?


They would have times, dates and locations to pick their battlefield whereas Simon Kaine could remain vigilant for only so long before vigilance gave way to paranoia.


It was such thinking, he knew, that would lead to eventual inaction. He would second-guess every decision wondering when the creature would return to finish the job.


They had stripped him of his control and even though he carried on utilizing the machine called Empire, it was merely a facade.


*


"Supreme Commander?" intruded a voice. "Forgive the interruption but there seems to be a problem requiring your attention."


Kaine's hand hit the comm switch. "The nature of this problem?" he inquired irritated at the interruption.


"Sir... Sir, Belkaden seems to have gone dark."


The Supreme Commander's fatigue suddenly vanished.


A planet, especially an Imperial planet, that has 'gone dark' was code for a possible attack.


As he quickly dressed, he frowned.


"Who in the hell would attack Belkaden?" he whispered to himself.


For all he knew, the Coalition Prime Minister Regrad was probably cooking up some sort of mischief once again.


What is out that way? As he left his quarters he frowned as the current fleet status was called to mind.


Not a hell of a lot!
Posts: 1197
  • Posted On: Aug 20 2011 4:03pm
Lord Stannes watched the planet designated by the ruling culture as Belkadan spin under this watchful gaze.

His scouts had detected the web of watch stations arrayed to alert the local military defenders of any penetration which betrayed this culture as anything but peaceful. Else, such stations would be unnecessary.


That the new Vikar would order the great engines to be made; engines that his people had never conceived of before was to engage such a sense as faith rather than reason. It was such moves that bolstered several houses to rebel only to have them crushed utterly underfoot.


The reigning Vikar had emerged with a strength unmatched even if all the Houses were arrayed against him...something that did not rely on the balance of the blades.


So many secret meetings of would-be insurrectionists had been broken up by the Vikar's people that to speak out against the Vikar was to invite the destruction of your house. It was a debt that no one dared take on.


And so they built the engines and lived under the watchful, paranoid gaze of Vikar Reaver setting their minds to wonder as to the purpose of the engines and if all their efforts, materials and lives were being wasted on a fool's whim.


And then, with their construction completed, the engines were turned. And space bled, as if someone took a celestial knife and ripped open it's soft underbelly spilling its contents ...elsewhere.


Just exactly where was a cause of much debate with many Themien scientists, leaders and Lords. But it was a rip in space and it did lead somewhere.


And so, thru the great Blades of Themos went and a sight greeted Lord Stannes that he despaired of ever seeing again.


The blackness of space against which the flickering lights of stars danced.


The space around Themos had turned from black to purple to a pinkish hue...so bright that there was no longer any night to the days of Themos but perpetual daylight as if every location on the world were the same as the northern pole facing the primary. Even then, it was difficult to see the bright sun of Themos through the brightness of space that now surrounded them.


This was a distant shore the trip cut short by the Vikar's rip through space. Or so the current thinking was as Lord Stannes' thoughts were drawn back to the world below.


However, they were not explorers like his son had been. No, they were conquerors but why the Vikar wanted to strike at these distant shores was unknown. Still, it did allow one a measure of freedom to be so far from Themos. Perhaps an opportunity could be found?


Perhaps another option opened that would allow the balance to be tilted towards their favor and away from Vikar Reaver?


It was a heady thought but even as his Blades crossed weapons with these new peoples, he could see that they were extremely weak. Their weapons hardly registered against the armor of the Blades while the Themien weapons cut the defenders to ribbons.


The planetary batteries that hurled great volleys at their Blades also crashed against their skin only to be absorbed and washed away with minimal damage. What was strange about this people was not, though, the weakness of their firepower so much as their tactics. Tactics that included the sending of single or two-man ships out against their Blades. It was a thinking that was alien to the Themiens for if the enemy's larger weapons on their larger ships had no effect, how could they ever think that their smaller ships, whose power generation could not match that of larger ships, would make any difference?


And so, while these smaller ships flew around uselessly hurling their thin lights at the Blades, Lord Stannes ordered the targeting of the planetary surface targets. He was surprised the world below refused to simply surrender after having seen the power of Stannes' Blades. An officer suggested that perhaps they communicate with the planet ordering them to surrender but Stannes waved the remark away. One did not bark an order to a child telling him to remove his hand from the fire. The child would withdraw it himself or be burned.


It seemed this world of Belkadan wanted to be burned. Such stupidity dashed much of the thoughts Stannes had entertained earlier but such was life.
Posts: 1197
  • Posted On: Nov 15 2013 5:57pm
*



The Galactus exited hyperspace from an odd elliptical plane that saw the dagger end of the warship pointed towards what would have been the northern pole of Belkadan had the ship been in orbit. As it was, the planet was barely visible giving the warship's scanning systems time to take in the situation of the entire solar system rather than just the one planet.


"The sensors cannot seem to penetrate the system beyond Belkadan. Something is causing interference." reported the Captain of the Sensor Pit.


Kaine nodded, seeing as much on his tactical display as the holographic projection seemed to blur and wink out the farther one went from the planet opposite their position.


"Maybe the task force will have better reception since they will be closer," the Supreme Commander commented as Gordon Sveli, the warship's master, ordered fighter screens launched.


The tactical display changed, showing the arrival of Task Force Group One, Three Imperators and a Reign Class Star Destroyer arranged in what looked like, from their vantage, a diamond formation. However, the rear vessel was not directly behind the front vessel but elevated to ensure clear fields of fire.


The display of the Galactus showed each capital warship spawning their individual fighter corps to be used as a screening force as well as advance scouts. The number of Imperial warships more than doubled as groups of three Contrainer pickets each flickered into range of the command ship's sensors from vectors used by both civilian and military traffic. Kaine did not need to see the confirmation to know the Constrainers had their gravity well projectors on. The Constrainers had dropped out of hyperspace just shy of the system to place signal buoys to warn ships away from the system.


It was curious that upon their arrival, there did not seem to be any communication signal jamming going on so why did the Imperial World not call for help if it was attacked nor warn away merchantile and military traffic?


The sensor sweeps from the Task Force approaching the planet had started to pick up up large amounts of scattered debris from vessels arriving into the system unwary and caught by surprise. It was then that the dark objects of the enemy came into view as their orbits took them out and away from the far side of the planet.


From their distance, the Imperials could not really tell anything from their enemies except the size and look of their vessels.


"Small things," murmured Sveli as Kaine's eyes narrowed in contemplation.


"About half the length of an ISD," the Admiral continued, "Twenty warships."


"Look at the sleekness of their ships," Simon pointed out.


Admiral Sveli instantly saw the implications, "They cannot have much carrying capacity for ground troop deployment."


"They will be hardpressed to expand which is why they may not have moved on after the defeat of the local defence forces," Kaine also added.


"So, do we stop the fleet from coming?" the Admiral asked and Kaine pondered for a minute before shaking his head.


"No. We are on the fringes of the Empire here and the enemy craft does not seem to be a known player. If they represent a faction as yet undiscovered, we may need the fleet's strength to take the fight to them."


"And conquer them," Gordon added with a feral grin.


"And show them the error of their ways," Kaine agreed.




*



Lord Stannes looked at the approaching four ships knowing their intent. They were the same type of ships that had attacked them earlier and had posed no trouble.


"Four ships to engage twenty," his Commander of the Blades interjected. While the Blades themselves belonged to separate Houses, this campaign of the Vikar put all Blades under Stannes' command which immediately caused the other houses to feel enmity towards him. Which was the Vikar's purpoase all along, it seemed.


"Dispatch House Hark vessels to meet them," he ordered knowing the command would be immediately obeyed. No matter his personal feelings of disgust for their current Vikar, the authority belonging to House Reaver as Vikar would be obeyed until a House discovered an advantage in disobeying. But that was a situation that seemed remote now and so House Hark would obey.


That foul, disgusting man, Lord Reaver, had launched an attack on Varriathorn with eight blades, one of which had belonged to House Barrador, the turncoat, who was a minor house under House Hark until he suddenly, and quite unexpectedly entered Reaver territority never returning to Hark or even communicating with him.


Stannes' own negotiations with Hark were hampered by the turncoat but still they persisted knowing together they could still pose a threat to old Reaver even as Stannes daughters courted the Reaver son. His good relationship with House Reaver (if one could call it a relationship), despite whatever personal feelings he might have had, caused Hark to move at a slow pace until Barrador acted. But even as their conspiracy started to take shape, House Reaver's forces surprised everyone by boldly attacking Varriathorn and, even more surprisingly, winning.


The tale his daughters told from the Reaver Son's Blade was enough to chill his heart. It was as if half of Varriathorn's Blades had turned rebel like Barrador and fired on their own people and in one swift move, the balance of power shifted into the Reaver's favor. That alone assured the assension of House Reaver and the descent of House Varriathorn but Old Man Reaver was not satisfied with that.


The Vikar had died upon hearing of the attack and his son, who had been immediately sworn in as leader of House Varriathorn and as Vikar, could only preside over the destruction of his House. The young man had tried to honorably surrender to the Reaver but the Old Man would have none of it and ordered his newly augmented fleet to open fire leaving Varriathorn's moon and holdings a virtual wasteland. Varriathorn was destroyed leaving only six Major Houses remaining.


The other Houses were shocked at the Reaver's display but found themselves powerless to do anything about it for House Reaver claimed sixteen blades and the others were as suspicious of each other as they were of the Reaver. No one contested Vikar Reaver's claim and so Varriathorn space was turned into a Dead Zone. Any ships entering were sentenced to death and oddly enough, every scout that Stannes tried to sneak into the ruins of Varriathorn never came back.


It might have been a mystery that the other Houses would have considered and acted upon given enough time but the Reaver was not one to sit and wait but ordered the lathes of the major Houses to begin contruction of the great cosmic engines that opened the gate to the blackness of space once more and to this world, wherever this world was...


His cartographers mapping the stars could find nothing familiar and he wondered how the Vikar had come to know of this place.


"Belkadan," he rolled the word around on his tongue.


"House Hark is engaging the enemy," his Retainer remarked drawing Stannes attention back to the present.


The enemy warships were much bulkier and larger than their Themien counterparts. This probably afforded these ships a greater reach for their weapons which they tried to use to their advantage the moment the Themien blades entered range.


The experience from the earlier conflict had shown the blade commanders just how strong their armour was against the weaponry of these people and so the commander from House Hark held his fire as he closed. Stannes approved for by doing so, he denied the enemy knowledge of how far the Themien weapons ranged.




*


Supreme Commander Kaine and Admiral Sveli watched as the concentrated firepower of the Task Force washed harmlessly over the skin of the approaching enemy. The Imperial fighter screen tried to harrass the enemy but found their weapons even less effective as the sleek ships simply ignored them. The turbolasers of the Imperial Star Destroyers soon gave way to torpedos and missile weapons and, as they were launching, the lead enemy ship fired a beam weapon that seemed to penetrate the lead Imperial warship's shields as if it were a vibroblade to meat slicing open its hull.


Kaine's eyes widened at the display in surprise instantly realizing what was going to happen to the rest of the vessels. But he could not recall the Star Destroyers. Not now.


The enemy ships were rather agile and quick and the Imperial warships were slow. The enemy would simply cut them to pieces if they tried to retreat and so the four vessels were committed.


"Launch all projectile weapons at our disposal," he ordered.


"We will not catch the attacking ships at this range," warned the Admiral and Kaine merely nodded.


"But we do know where these ships will be," he pointed to the rest of the enemy fleet that had remained in orbit. Intercept them and let's see what happens..."
Posts: 1197
  • Posted On: Nov 7 2021 12:43am

The Reign Class SD was the  last to bedestroyed as the unique armour composition seemed to delay its final moments by a few minutes.  Instead of the gouging that the  typcial ISD's experienced from the enemy fire, the Reign seemed to hold together a bit better.  In the few moments of the  Reign's return fire, Kaine saw that turbo lasers and other such-like weapons, no matter the scale, were useless as if the sleek enemy ship's hull simply absorbed the energy, dissipating it.

What was surprising was that the only weapon that  seemed  to have any effect  were  the ion cannons and while they were not as effective as the Supreme Commander had hoped, it was the only weapon in the Imperial arsenal that seemed to cause the enemy any trouble. 

For a minute, those on the  bridge of  the Galactus staring at the sensor readings felt the stsirrings of hope  and Admiral Sveli almost ordered the flagship to go full  speed ahead to close the range and add their ion weaponry to the beleagured Imperial vessel.  Unfortunately,the Imperial's  success was short-lived.  Even as the enemy blade ship's weapons seemed to fall dormant amid the ion strikes, the blade's engines were unaffected and the black ship suddenly accelerated towrads the RSD.

"They are not going to..." Sveli gasped as the enemy answered his question a second later as enemy ship plunged into the hull of the Reign.

The violent  decompression and explosions ripppled across the Reign as the hull plating, cabling and decks split apart spilling debris and shocked crewmen and women out into hard vacuum. 

While the Imperial warship disintegrated on their sensors, the enemy bladeship remained.

But not without cost.

"They're hurt," Kaine whispered, still in shock at the display of strength from the smaller enemy vessels. 

The sensors aimed at the enemy picked up some secondary signals as the black ship's hull seemed to have been ripped ina variety of sections.

"All stop!" Gordon ordered.  "Reverse course.  We need to stay out of range of those things!"

"I think they have us.." murmured Kaine as there was nothing left between the enemy ships and the Galactus.  He thought about ordering the remaining fighters from the ill-fated Task Force to intercept the enemy but quickly dismissed the idea as simply killing the pilots for no purpose.

Everyone seemed to tense as the enemy ships continued to close expecting to sell their lives dearly.

"Prepare the emergency buoy," Kaine quietly whispered to the Admiral and the master of the ship nodded. 

However, just as the enemy was gong to  enter the flagship's weapons range, they began to slow and turn around.  The shock and relief at the unexpected move caused some murmuring on the bridge as discipline broke down for a second.

Kaine did not begrudge the exhales of his crew and he threw a cheeky grin to his Admiral to hide his own relief.

"They have a flight range?" the Admiral asked confused.

"I'll take it," Kaine stated flatly.

As the enemy rurned back towards Belkadan, the Galactus officers remembered the projectile torpedos they had fired earlier and turned their attention back to them to witness their  effects on the  rest of the enemy ships in Belkadan orbit.

Jnfortunately, the enemy fleet's weapons fired on the approaching torpedos causing them to prematurely detonate leaving the officers dismayed and dejected as the Imperial flagship backed away from the planet that was once theirs.

This isn't going to be easy.  Kaine mused.  Who are they?