Rising Titans – Chapter 48

+ 7 Minutes 38 Seconds

The Canada

“Captain, your message?” asked Arik as her Avatar superimposed itself over the main monitor.

“Surrender now, call off the fighters and we’ll let you live. Then we can begin to negotiate for an end to this pointless violence.”

“That’s it?” asked Arik after a moment.

“Unless anyone else can think of something, I feel like that’s about as nice as I can make it. Even if this Emperor is a kid I’m hoping he’s not idiotic enough to think he can survive a continued assault. We just took out more than half of their fleet, ten years ago we couldn’t even scratch them!”

“It is strange though, how quickly he adapted. Based on the strategy of the first attack, and the tactics being employed now it looks as if he might actually be able to put up a fight.”

“The ACE extension field might be failing, but our own device is still operational right? Jump in close, fire a kinetic with a nuke right after it and then execute another jump, rinse repeat,” said Stagg frowning, “What effective strategy could he have made?”

“That’s what I mean, the configuration the cruisers are moving into is an almost perfect tactical counter. They’re lining up in all three dimensions to be exactly in line with one another. If we jump in between two of them, both ships on either side can fire and simultaneously move in the x y or z direction along with the rest of the fleet to give other ships a firing solution. Attempting to pick off ships on the outside of the configuration allows all of the ships on the outer side of the fleet to fire at us.”

Stagg frowned and looked at the projection of the enemy fleet, it was a noticeably different doctrine compared to the earlier bluster. The ships were spread apart and were forming an almost perfect cube in space. Some of the ships were even at 90 degree angles to the other ships in the formation pointing in every direction. Their bellies were covered.

The entire formation wouldn’t be able to fire in any one direction effectively, but instead in every direction with what was more than a token amount of firepower.

“Huh,” said Stagg, “Any ideas?”

“A few, Anil may I borrow your planet’s communication hardware?”

Anil slowly removing her hands from the seat she had been clenching at turned to the AI. The absolute ferocity of the battle, the casual brutality the Humans had employed, decimated dozens of ships, killed thousands of aliens. They had been protecting her planet she knew, but even so the were moving forward without even the smallest pause.

Did they not care about the lives they had taken at all?

“Give her a moment,” grunted Pankin. He was military, he had seen battles before, despite the efficiency of humanity it was a disturbingly similar feeling to many of the fights he had been in.

“If you’re borrowing our communications don’t mess with the military stuff, those fighters…” he trailed off.

“I have limited data on them, they are an improved model as compared to what attacked Earth. Here.”

The screen in front of Pankin flashed and the man frowned as scores of sensor readings and specifications flashed across it. “I’m not an engineer!”

“You are aware of the capabilities of your own aircraft and defenses I have no data on them, your data networks are too primitive to have anything accurate. As much as you can communicate to your pilots on the ground would no doubt be beneficial.”

“Renfi open your ears!” snapped Pankin.

Anil’s head snapped to look at him, “Excuse me!”

“Later, yes or no we let the AI in?” asked Pankin as he scanned over the data his snakelike eyes darting back and forth in a frenzy.

“Renfi?” asked Stagg confused.

“An insult captain, a parable about a man who…”

Stagg raised her hand cutting Arik off, “later!”

Anil glanced down at the small display where the world leaders were.

“I have no time to negotiate, this is now an apology!” said Arik her voice filtering through the room they were in, startling them.

“Arik what are you doing?”

“Overloading the standard Imperial communication channels with junk data and chatter. I’ve left the news broadcasting on the planet, and I’ve not touched the military communication networks. Everything else on this side of the planet’s broadcasting though.”

“Is it going to jam their communications?”

“Doubt it, I’m hoping they will have to switch to backup channels though, judging on the formation they have taken up they are going to attempt to counter us by being able to respond instantly to an attack from any direction. Any delay in that ability is to our advantage, Human ship tactics have always been more independent then what the Empire is recorded as doing. They might be adapting but they are not evolving to counter our strategy. I have no doubt that if we are able to destroy the command ship, the Singer the formation will fall apart.”

Stagg nodded, “Good to know. That’ll be our main target.”

“Arik some of those communication channels cross over with our own!” shouted Derrick from the engineering section of the ship. An alarm could be heard in the background of his communication.

“I’m aware of that, and I’ve compensated.”

Anil opened her mouth to say something else but then snapped it closed slowly shaking her head.

“The fighters have entered the atmosphere,” reported Pankin.

“Derrick, when will we be able to make an antimatter jump?” demanded Stagg.

“You really want to rush me on the installation of antimatter? Another minute, and we’re good to go or we explode.”

“We don’t have time to explode you’ve got a minute.”

“By the regs this should take an hour!”

Stagg ignored him.

“Russia we’ll be able to jump in one minute. The ACE field is down, we’ll be reliant on our own emitters. Have you compensated for the heat issues? Our first emitter fried itself and we’re on backups as it is.”

The communication line crackled for a moment, and the familiar voice of Megan filtered through, “We’ve compensated. We apparently didn’t put big enough heat syncs on these ships. We’ll have to fix that at some point.”

“Roger that. James, are we jumping and attacking? We really need this Emperor to call off the fighters below. The loss of life is going to be enormous if we don’t.”

“I’m fine trying to talk, not that I think it’ll work.”


Sliding the antimatter into place Derrick looked at the readouts as the ship accepted the material and began to check it all of the control systems double checking them for any problems in the redundant magnetic bottles. Considering he wasn’t annihilated they were at least holding for the moment.

“Ready Arik?”

“You and I both have been going over the antimatter systems for the past five minutes in preparation, if we missed something then we are never going to spot it,” said Arik her Human avatar on the main engineering display.

Derrick glanced at her image and frowned, “So a yes?”


“Ma’am we’re ready to perform antimatter maneuvers, I’ve received modified protocols from the Russia and we’ll be using those. Our first jump might be rough as I tune them specifically to our ship.”

“Understood, the enemy fleet is not responding to hails, Arik once we’re closer can you force a conversation?”

“Perhaps, fifty to fifty.”

“No better odds?”

“It looks like the Vakurian’s have protocols that might be able to break in, they’re tuned to the Empire computer systems but I haven’t had time to fully analyze them. Parts of their databases are understandably locked down. Some of the computer virus’s I’ve found in public storage are amazing!”

“Got it, try after the jump.”

“Will do Ma’am!” Arik’s avatar flashed and the line to the bridge was muted, “So what do you think we’re going to see?”

“See?” asked Derrick.

“Inside the void. Everyone reports seeing different things, according to all flight data the jumps were near instantaneous events. That was the computers, ever single person reports seeing something.”

“Well you think you’re going to see anything? You’re a brain in a box.”

Arik huffed, “We’ll at least be able to determine if the phenomena takes place in the brain or the optic nerves, whatever it is. If I don’t see anything it’s something to do with the eyes. If I do see something, it’s got to originate in the brain.”

Derrick absentmindedly nodded in agreement.

“You set the intermix wrong, the Russia’s new calculations has the ratio tweaked slightly for more strange matter to eliminate some of the terminal shock.”

Derrick glanced at the screen as she brought it up and nodded, “Right didn’t see that. Fixed?”


“Derrick we’re jumping in sixty, The Russia’s jumping to be in front of the enemy fleet we’re going at their back.”

The line went to mute and Derrick frowned, “Why aren’t we attacking? We’ve got the advantage.”

“The fighters they were utilizing in their formation have moved to the planet below. We are not going to be able to fight them, and although it looks as if the Seninon’s will be able to defeat them it will be via numbers and an obscene loss of life in the tens of millions. Already the attacks have killed at least a hundred thousand.”

“So we’re trying to force a surrender up here for down there.”


“I’ll make sure we’re ready to continue firing.”

Arik’s avatar smiled, “A good idea I think.”

Turning to the display that served as the window, even in the center of engineering Derrick watched as the Russia’s power signature flared and the rather ugly looking ship spat out a small pellet of strange matter and antimatter. The tear in reality was visible for only a moment, and had the ship not dived into it Derrick would have thought it was nothing more than an artifact in the recording.

His eyes saw it, but his brain had no context to even try and match it to something.

“Interesting,” muttered Arik.

“What did you see?”


Derrick frowned, “You’re seeing through the same camera’s as me, and you saw nothing?”

“You saw something? Curious.”

Derrick absentmindedly nodded in agreement as he looked at his own ships engines.

“Here. Goes. Nothing!”

The system which had been built into the Canada and never activated sprang to life and replicating the Russia spat out a small pellet of the exotic substances tearing a hole in space-time.

The ship, the first of a new class that would be the extension of humanities will to the galaxy at large dove headlong into it. Fear inside every member of it’s crew, an emotion supplanted by loyalty, and vengeance.

Looking around Engineering Derrick frowned, the outside display was blank, nothing but a black screen.


The AI remained silent.

Looking around Derrick glanced at the tactical readouts, all of which were displaying null readouts. No data. In fact, even as he looked the darkness bled form the monitor, a creeping blackness that began to consume the hull around him.

Fascinated and horrified Derrick watched as the wave consumed the bulkheads around it, and he winced as the antimatter containment was plunged into darkness as well. Nothing exploded and he breathed a sigh of relief.

The Canada returned to normal space, directly behind the Enemy fleet.

A high pitched keen sounded over the speakers, alarms flashed and Derrick spun around.


The automated systems and controls that were present on the Canada and designed to run the ship came online within moments giving the crew full control of the ship. The controls which had never been brought online due to Arik supplanting them, the small adjustments the AI had made to every system, bring the lighting in the main hallway down a lumen, the adjustment to each crew members quarters, the custom communication network she maintained, along with a dozen other small and inconsequential things.

It all disappeared and the keening in the speakers only rose in volume.

“Derrick what’s that noise! Arik’s not responding! What happened!”

Spinning around in the air Derrick felt his heart plummet and his skin go cold in an instant. The AI’s diagnostic display was showing multiple master alarms, the surrounding computer buffers where parts of her conscious mind were held in a constant state of temporary memory were overloading from heat and data, most worryingly it looked as if all of the delicate neural pass-through that converted the signals from the mass of grey matter that was Arik’s core to the rest of her systems had burned out, only a hundred of what had been millions of connections remaining.

“Arik’s gone into complete overload, I need a medic in here now!”

“Medical team is responding!” shouted someone over the Comm.

“What happened?” demanded Stagg.

Derrick now at the diagnostic panel was trying to absorb all of the data in front of him in half a second, their were errors in her data storage systems, errors in her life support system, errors in heat dispersal, errors in basic responses. Horrified Derrick watched as the small EEG that monitored even basic brain function spiked. The last hundred neural connect burned out and the electrical readings from her brain died.

For a moment Derrick stared at the readout as ever single line went flat. Arik hadn’t had a heartbeat in nearly a decade, she didn’t breathe, by most definitions of human medicine she was dead. The only thing showing her to be alive was the electrical impulses of her brain. Those were now gone.

A heart could be restarted, a brain, the brain was a system that did not tolerate faults. Like a piece of old style RAM it couldn’t tolerate even a second interruption without data loss.

“She’s dead.”

Derrick slowly turned his eyes away from the display to the small metal box, right next to the fusion reactor it was supposed to be the safest place on the ship. The amount of armor around it was insane. Even if that were breached and the ship exploded Arik should have been able to survive. The life support systems in her case could keep her going for a month without resupply.

She wasn’t supposed to grow old, or die. She was in a dozen different places at any one time, she wasn’t supposed to die.

Derrick grunted in pain as he went spiraling to the side, the medic’s fist hitting him in the jaw.

“Answer the Captain!” shouted the man.

Derrick blinked, noticing the shouts in his earpiece and over the speakers again.

“When can we jump again!”

Glancing back at the man and feeling his heart sink even lower Derrick glanced at the engine display.

“The system’s taking longer to recalibrate than anticipated, the algorithms haven’t optimized. One hundred twenty seconds.”

“Keep that running, I’m going to try and buy that 120.”

Feeling tears at the edges of his eyes Derrick turned back to the controls and engineering readouts for the ship. For the first time, having complete control.

The Singer

“Report.” Growled [Vann].

“The fighters have entered the atmosphere, and we’ve had to switch to the backup communication systems for fleet communications. The surface transmitters are pumping out a huge amount of chatter on our channels. I can’t cut it out, it’s all modulated differently,” said [Sam].

“We can still communicate?”


“That’s all that matters, the captains are falling into line?”

“So far.”

“Don’t expect that to last,” muttered [Syn] as she paged between three data pads.

[Vann] frowned “Why not?”

“[Meral] surrounded himself with like minded Captain’s I’ve been going over all of their profiles since I knew we were going to link up with the fleet. They’ve all done at least six class C exterminations, and most of them were involved in the las civil war. They’re all old fleet guys. Emperor you might be, but your unorthodox strategies and age? At lease one or two will try to take command, ostensibly to save you.”

[Vann] swore under his breath, “That’s the last thing we need.”

“Vocalizing your fears won’t prevent it.”

“I guessed that.”

Sitting back down in his chair [Vann] closed his eyes for a moment.

“Tachyon beacon lock?”

“Another ten minutes, assuming the Humans don’t make ny more blinks. They release tachyons as a byproduct and reset any attempt to try and get a lock.”

“What? They’re not traveling via tachyons streams!”

[Sam] glanced back from her station, “Whatever they travel through sucks them up like a sieve, we lose the signals whenever they make a jump.”

“Nothing affects tachyons!”

“Apparently this does,” said [Sam] her voice cool.

Looking back at the tactical hologram [Vann] watched the alien ships.

“Any chance we can intercept their communications?”

“The encryption codes they’re using are unknown, I can’t even decipher the discrete data blocks. I’d need to study how the C1764 computer systems are built.”

“What about the two commandeered ships?”

“They’re using some foreign code as well. All of the analysis suites I have here are designed to crack encryption schemes that still use the same packet structure! We’ve never had to hack into complex alien coding before!”

“[Syn]? Can you take a crack at it?”

The young woman glanced up from her displays, “I can do that or analyze and tell you which captain’s are most likely to try and ‘save you’. You want that or for me to try and break an alien code in [two minutes]?”

[Vann] slowly blinked.

[Syn] blinked back her face impassive.

“Keep working on the captains.”

“Another jump, look,” said [Reece].

Everyone turned to the main hologram, watching at the second C1764 ship disappeared the first one quickly followed. The two old commandeered vessels moved to take their place in front of the planet.

“Contacts!” said the weapons officer from his station.

“I see them. Don’t fire until they do.”

The man frowned, but nodded.

“we’re not attacking?” asked [Reece].

“The more time I can give the cruisers to get into position, the better off we’ll be. If we can hold long enough we’ll jump out of the system.”

“Retreat from class C’s? That won’t look good,” said the bodyguard.

[Vann] was silent for several minutes watching the alien ships.

“Publicly no it won’t look good, but I’m not a senator up for re-election. I don’t have to pander to dogma at the cost of the lives I’m in command of. They just decimated half of the fleet! We don’t have the advantage pressing forwards now will only risk more lives. If I can avoid that I will.”

[Sam] stood, “Sir someone’s hacking into our communication systems!”

[Vann] blinked and stood up as well as the main holographic display blinked to life.

The Canada

“What was that?” asked James.

“Something went wrong with Arik. Consider her as disabled for the time being.”

“So no more forcing data packets into the Empire’s systems. What about jamming?”

“The jamming has broken down. Systems are sporadically transmitting it now.” Reported Anil.

“The fighters have begun making runs at cities, they’re pulling maneuvers that should be killing their pilots! Diving down from [9,000 meters] and then shooting straight back up after dropping ordinance. We’ve only got a few second window to hit them. They’re not even [dogfighting]!”

“Doubt they would, are you able to target them with missiles?” asked James.

Pankin slowly nodded, “Sporadic reports of hits. Their shields aren’t working and they aren’t firing back.”

“If I recall the fighter we recovered from the moon had only two missiles and those were for ground targets. Their other weapons were all designed for space based combat. If they do get to the point of dogfights, they’ll have a much shorted effective range than kinetics.”

“They can pull deadly maneuvers though, it’ll be close. We’ll have to pair up two or three fighters to every one enemy craft to corner it,” muttered Pankin.

“You have a count?” asked Stagg.

“Looks like each ship carried two hundred fifty. We’ve got about 450 in the skies at the moment. Their weapons, are proving to be devastating. They don’t however seem to have any particular targets in mind. They’re simply attacking larger structures. Infrastructure and military installations remain operational. Countermeasures on the ground are proving somewhat unreliable given their massive acceleration abilities and unpredictable of their flight paths.”

“With Arik out of commission to make modifications, you might be better going to manual targeting.” Suggested James.

“Same recommendation I just made.”

Leaning back away from his chair slightly Pankin looked around the bridge, “Someone want to explain why I just felt like I was in the cockpit of my aircraft again?”

“Side effect of the antimatter FTL we’re not sure what causes it. Instruments don’t show it.”

The communication link to the two alien ships flashed up on the main display. Edie was out of her seat and talking to someone at one of the side stations of her bridge. She looked up at the connection after another second.

“With those protocols the AI built and some other things we had I believe we’ll be able to break into the Empire communication channel. Talk to this kid.”

“Do it.”

The woman glanced at Edie and she nodded.

“Yes Ma’am, Captain, sir!”

Stagg gave Edie a questioning looked through the communication channel, the other captain rolled her eyes but didn’t say anything.

“I think I’ve got it, got it!”

The image of the Vakurian ships, the Russia, and the world leaders below were quickly moved to the bottom of the screen. Static flashed for a moment, and the image resolution flickered in and out before finally resolving.

The Emperor stood, looking mildly surprised.

“You’ll understand if I don’t give you a friendly greeting.”

Stagg frowned but said nothing for a moment.


The alien frowned as well “Why what?”

“Why? Why do you do this? You killed my planet, destroyed my civilization. Now less then a decade later you’re trying to do it again. Why?”

The young man said nothing for a moment his eyes locked forwards, not avoiding the question, but not rushing to answer.

“It is our duty, as grim as it might seem to you. It is a duty that this Empire, and my family has held for generations. I don’t expect any praise for it, and the weight of the lives I take is something every Emperor has had to bear.”

_ _Bristling Stagg pushed off from the floor away from her chair, moving towards the camera, “Your duty to bear? The souls of Humanity or the other civilizations you’ve butchered are not something you have any claim to! No”

Putting her hand up Stagg stopped her forward momentum, and continued to glare.

The Emperor looked away for a split second before refocusing on her.

“Yes a duty, a grim one by all accounts but needed. If we did not cleanse space of species like yours the galaxy would have been overrun generations ago, mired in conflict as primitive species fight and jockey for power! Few species ever develop cultures that are peaceable enough to mesh with our own! Those which are too violent, they must be eliminated for the betterment of all! Those that can be helped, the class B’s. We take them under our care and ensure they remain peaceful. We bring them into our own society and even allow them to change their own genetics so they might one day be class A!”

The three human captains were for a moment stunned by the explanation, before anger once again overwhelmed the stupefaction.

“What give you the right to determine this, the right to sweep so man lives aside? You do this all on the principal their might be conflict?” shouted Stagg, her voice reverberating in the small compartment that was the bridge.

She spread her arms apart, “Well here is your conflict, and it is one of your own creation!”

The Emperor lowered his head slightly, “We were first. The first to make it to space. The first to travel between the stars. All other worlds developed after us. Look at your own genetics! You are our long lost children, your very form is our own twisted and marred by the harshness of space and evolution.”

The Emperor stepped forwards putting his hands out in a pleading gesture.

“The seed of life, created on the ancient moon of my home world is the lineage you can trace all life back to. The seed was destroyed, and the life it created spread throughout this local quadrant. We were it’s first children, and thus it is our responsibility to control all it made!”

“All life?” whispered a small voice. It was barely audible over the communication.

Stagg glanced at the other display to see the small alien that was apparently the Russia’s XO push off away from the seat and drift towards the camera, several of the other small aliens moved in perfect unison with it drifting through the air towards the camera on the Russia.

Landing on it the creature glared through it, small mandibles snapping in apparent fury.

“We are not of you, and it is the treachery of your species through which you gained the stars! We were the first! We explored the stars for thousands of years, and we were alone! The universe was so vast, and yet we never met others, we saw wonders of both nature and biology, we explored! Other life was rare, and precious. We watched and studied, nothing else was intelligent. We were alone, alone amongst the stars until we found you!”

The small creature was seething now, an inherently inhuman amount of anger flowing off of it in waves.

Even James seemed to be taken aback.

The creature let out a shriek, one that across the communication channel broke and fractured as it went higher than anything a human would hear.

“We met you, and in our joy of finding others in the void of space we gave you all we had, we shared our knowledge, our technology. You had only just discovered how to fly, and we gave you the stars! We did not understand your deception though, your lies. To late we saw you held us at arms length because we were not you! We were different, and because of that you hated us! We gave you everything and you turned it against us! The tyrant of your world betrayed us, destroyed us!”

The Humans, Vakurian’s, Senion’s, all stared as the small creatures turned and drifting away from the camera appeared to fly through the weightlessness of the Russia’s bridge. Grabbing at James’s shoulder the small aliens continued to glare.

“So we hid, and the Humans found us! They were afraid, already you had decimated billions of them, alien creatures that appeared form nowhere and tried to take what they had created. They could have destroyed what was left of us, and been justified perhaps! The only aliens they knew of were you!”

The small creature paused.

“Instead they took us in. Held us away form themselves, but tried to learn, tried to understand us! We did the same, looking for betrayal. It would mean our certain doom in any case but we looked. We found acceptance from Humans, and naked hostility from others. Yet we did not have to defend ourselves, the humans fought one another, killed one another, for us!”

The small alien seemed to calm for a moment, regret somehow recognizable in it’s voice as it continued.

“We are not like them, but some Humans died for us. My first friend amongst humanity, died to ensure my species survived. We will never be like them; they will never be like us. Together though it is my hope that we will become more something better, we cannot do that until we destroy you!”

Settling down the small creatures looked at James and then at the other cameras, before shrinking slightly as if embarrassed by the outburst.

“Well, I suppose we are not the only ones looking for vengeance,” said Stagg after a moment.

“You are not.” Echoed the alien captain, Jun whose single ear was back against his head a feral glint in his eyes matching what had been in the Tanuin’s voice.

The Emperor’s gaze was still locked on the alien creature, a mixture of horror and fascination crossing his features.

“Those creatures, they’re pests of the highest order. Even you must see what they do, they consume food, multiply, and take over any space they have access to! It took nearly two billion soldiers to eliminate them! If you allow them to live, they will not only destroy you they’ll destroy every single form of life in this galaxy!”

Stagg watched as the Emperor turned away from the communication, and paced for a moment in front of his chair. He looked as if he were weighing options, trying to decide what to do.

“Give me the creatures, all of the ones you have and I’ll promise this system will remain untouched. I won’t allow them to retain any form of FTL, but promise me that and I’ll leave with my forces!”

The three human captains looked at one another surprised by the plea.

“Anil, if we could be looped in?” asked Bitus his voice issuing forth from the tablet she was holding.

Anil blinked and looked down, “uh.”

Stagg raised her hand and Anil quickly tossed it to her, grabbing the poorly thrown object Stagg turned it over to look at the world leaders.

“Bitus,” said Stagg her voice neutral.

He said nothing and shrugging Stagg looped them into the transmission so the Emperor could view them.

“Alien. You trusted Humanity and they defended you, correct?” asked Bitus, not addressing the Emperor but turning to face the Russia’s transmission.

Multiple heads bobbed up and down on James’s shoulder.


“We have down the same, they came to our world and warned us, chose to defend us even though they were likely to die. They could have remained far away, never even contacted us and today my entire race would be dead or dying.”

Bitus turned to look at King Henswick, “I’ll not demand another race dies to save my own, not if the Humans trust them.”

King Henswick stared at the mediator for a moment and let out a small laugh, “You want to kill this empire little alien?”

Alpha leaned forwards, “Very mush so.”

“Then I hope we have the opportunity to prove we can be trusted as much as Humanity.”

Both men on the ground turned to look at Renil, the President shook her head, “I suppose men are the same across every species. Always ready to kill something. You aided humanity in the defense of my world. I can’t demand you be turned over to the very people who sought to destroy me.”

The attention of the leaders once again shifted as the Vakurian on the bridge of the Valiant, who had managed to open the communication line stood.

She glanced back at Edie, her ears going down slightly.

“You’ve already stood up,” said Edie a small smiled on her lips.

“Eh, Humanity!”

She blinked and took a breath her ears went straight out to the sides now, “Humanity’s willingness to accept is not something born of desperation, or a need for allies. Nearly 300 years ago, a member of my species escaping the devastation you wrought on our world landed on Earth.”

Stagg raised her eyebrows at that as did many of the other humans on the bridge.

“She had grown up in the remnants of our civilization, we had already destroyed ourselves when your ancestors attacked us. She watched and learned about humanity from orbit, learned that they were no different then us. Divided, violent, racist and cruel. At the same time though, they’re accepting, forgiving, and steadfast. Humanity might be divided, but they accept it. They adapt to the changes of others, even while at the same time changing everything around them.”

The alien stepped forwards her ears going up, “She fell in love on the planet, and died in the arms of a human who gave up his life on a comfortable world to follow her to the stars. They died when the very ship you’re commanding fired on their shuttle. For nearly three hundred years they drifted through space, until we found them, and discovered the ally we never knew we had.”

Stagg and James looked at one another through the communication line and James stood, his feet underneath the bar holding him in place.

“There is your answer Emperor. Now, will you leave peacefully, or die here?”

The red skinned alien put a three fingered hand up to his bald head, and closing his eyes for a moment appeared to lost in thought.

“I have my own duties, and I cannot allow you to spread. It would mean the death and destruction of all I hold dear. Yulsam, open fire. Pattern one.”

The Empire ships in line with both human vessels fired.

“Jump!” shouted both C1764 captains.

9 Years, 6 Months, 14 Days After Eridani Landing


“We were going to take it back! We were going to have a home again!” shouted the woman as she struck, her knife passing through the air Diana’s head had been occupying only a second ago.

Swinging her arm around Diana hit the woman’s elbow, and she grunted in pain but managed to keep her knife. Recovering the woman kicked at Diana, sending her stumbling backwards into the undergrowth.

Diana rolled and back on her feet looked around. The woman was gone, another flash of red light from the city illuminated the forest and out of the corner of her eye Diana saw the incoming knife. Raising her forearm Diana blocked the woman’s attack at the wrist and lashing out punched the woman in the stomach.

She whimpered and stepped back, her knife still raised as she tried to breathe.

“What’s going on?” asked Diana even as she readied to attack again.

The woman coughed, “Empire’s attacking. They’re evacuating the class A’s. Killing everyone else, destroying our last city! All because of you!”



The woman jumped forwards, lashing out again. Diana casually deflected her attack, consumed by anger the woman was predictable she muttered something and quickly stood again, the gun Diana had knocked away earlier in her hand.


Diana dove to the side as the woman fired, and the tree trunk behind her disintegrated in a flash of light and wood chips.

“Monit nel seri fil!”

“You shouting at me or giving orders?” asked Diana as she rose.

The woman fired again.

Diana dove behind another tree.

“You know why I did it? Stole your stuff?”

“Because you’re greedy!” shouted the woman.

“You made it to damn easy! You had this image in your head, that you were going to bomb the Emperor’s home by ramming some antimatter into it! How the hell was that going to help you get your planet back?”

Diana continued to move through the underbrush as she spoke, the woman ears twitching in her direction fired again, blowing up a row of vines behind Diana.

“It would have made them listen! The damn Admirals didn’t believe we could even do it! But we got the antimatter! We had it all planned, and then you come here and take it from us! The Empire would have had to listen to us once we killed the Emperor! They would have fallen apart when he died!”

Diana frowned and paused for a half moment, “A government spanning a few thousand solar systems, was going to fail because you killed the guy at the top?”

The woman fired again and didn’t respond.

“I get it, this was your world, don’t pretend you had loftier motives than revenge! It insults those of us who are actually fighting the Empire!”

“Like you? You’re worse than us!”

Diana paused and balancing her knife in her hand for a moment looked at the woman’s armor.

“I have no intention of staying here for long, you want this planet? It’s yours. I’m not aiming to control a few old warehouses and crumbling city districts. I’m going to control entire planets right under the nose of the Empire!” shouted Diana, making more noise then was needed.

“And you’re calling me an idiot?” shouted the woman as she aimed at Diana, getting an unerringly accurate position.

Diana threw her knife, it didn’t even rotate as it flew the five or so meters trough the air, hitting the woman’s head. It was a glancing blow cutting at her ear.

The woman pulled the trigger on her weapon and Diana winced as the bolt of energy went whizzing past her head. She smelled burned hair and grimaced.

Dazed from the impact of the small metal object a hand going up to her injured ear the woman took a small step back.

Diana rushed forwards, tackling the woman and once again forcing her to drop her gun. On top of her now Diana quickly slammed her fist down on the woman’s face. The cat eared alien squealed in pain and fear.

“Ga!” shouted a familiar voice.

Diana glanced up just in time to see Sek barreling through the underbrush, another flash or red light illuminating him for a split second. In the same flash Diana spotted her Knife and rolled towards it, grabbing it she stood and sprinted towards the man even as he raised his own gun up.

He fired and Diana threw the knife, the bolt of energy hit and the weapon dissolved. The rest of the energy from the shot dissipating in a flash of light.

Diana winced at the flash and trying to anticipate Sek moved to the wrong side to try and avoid him. The but of his gun came up to her jaw, and sent her sprawling. Blood and a tooth went flying.

“Falu!” shouted Sek.

Stooping down his hands flew to the woman’s face and the injuries on her ear and the rest of her face.

The woman groaned and went limp.

Shaking her head Diana groaned and sat up.

“You, you!”

“Spit it out Sek,” growled Diana as she spat out the blood in her mouth.

“You bitch! You steal my antimatter, destroy my city, and now, now!” he trailed off his arms still around the woman.

“I didn’t destroy your city. Blame the Empire for that. Everything else? Yeah.”

Sek slowly set the woman down on the ground.


“You’re a criminal, or you played at being one. You seem to think that beating up a bunch of gangs means you’re a syndicate. You’re only another thug.”

Diana smiled and pattered her own chest, “Same as me. You had things I wanted, so I took them. Sure you were being stupid with them, but that hardly matters. I wanted it, so I took it.”

“You’ve doomed me! Doomed Falu!” he gestured at the woman on the ground.

“Don’t care.”

Sek bristled at that.

“Don’t care! You’ve just doomed all of those people in my city!”

“Sek that hasn’t been your city in nearly 400 years. Your species was dumb enough to blow itself up. As for the others?” Diana grinned her once perfect face now marred by a missing canine and a patch of burned hair.

“You seem to think we’re playing a game Sek, like I’m going to play fair and not kill you just to make sure I don’t have enemies. Your species nuked itself, you can’t think that was fair? If you want to win you don’t play by the rules. You just kill everything in the way of what you want.”

With that Diana threw a fistful of dirt at the alien hitting him full in the face.

Sek roared in anger and brining his gun up fired blindly into the darkness. Barely avoiding his shots and again rolling through the mess of vines ignoring where tree limbs and branches pulled at her clothes, and ignoring the blood spilling from her smaller wounds and the one in her stomach Diana found a decent sized rock. Ripping it free from the undergrowth, she hurled it at him.

Hearing the impact and the air leaving his lungs Diana leapt after it. Gasping to try and collect himself Sek looked up to see her as another burst of red light filtered through the canopy of the forest. In that brief flash of light, he saw a single still image.

It was a creature of myth, and horror. Covered in alien blood, filth, and with rage in it’s eyes a predator.

Diana hit him in the chest and forced him to the ground.


Grabbing the rock Diana raised it into the air and brought it down on his face. With a sickening crunch his nose broke, Sek whimpered in pain and confusion at the brutality.

Raising the rock again Diana slammed it down on his head again, again, again.

Raising the rock, she paused. He was dead.

Looking at what was left of him Diana slowly lowered the rock, tapping her finger on it several times as she did so. In control she slowly turned to the woman, she was still unconscious, one of Sek’s hands lay near hers.

Standing and hefting the rock, Diana held it above the woman’s head.


Letting the rock fall Diana winced at the impact and closing her eyes took a deep breath.


Previous Chapter

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Sweetness – Love and Kiing (NSFW)

CopRit Empire, Halfil Sol 14 Of Race 4 Year 4958 Frostal Secondary, New Baltimore Sitting down in the chair across from the Principal’s desk I nervously swallowed and tried to calm my heart. The Principal could probably hear it, and smell my perspiration. Which was only making me more nervous. “Thoomaas,” squeaked the principal from

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 52: Autoimmune Part 3

Date Point: 16y2m AV The Thinghall, Folctha, Cimbrean, the Far Reaches Gabriel Arés Every civilization needed its icon of executive power. The UK had the black door of Number Ten Downing Street and, somewhere behind it, the Cabinet Room; the USA had the White House, and the Oval Office; Folctha had the Alien Palace. The

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Good Training – Survival Part 1

You may also want to read Pyrophytes in The Deathworlders series. Same story, different angles. Date point: 14y 7d AV Planet Akyawentuo, The Ten’Gewek Protectorate, Near 3Kpc Arm Professor Daniel Hurt “You want me to read it by next week?” Julian mopped the sweat from his face and bounced loosely in place. “What was it

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Rising Titans – Chapter 45

-7 Hours CHRONT THE CANADA “More contacts!” said Arik as she flashed every monitor on the bridge a bright red. Stagg glanced up at the monitor, “How many more?” “I’m counting!” “You’re counting!?” A grainy image of the approaching Empire patrol vessel was quickly displayed, a small box around it. Additional boxes quickly filled the

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 52: Autoimmune Part 2

Date Point: 16y2m AV Alien Quarter, Folctha, Cimbrean, the Far Reaches Nofl Leemu had become unresponsive. Nofl’s quarantine facility had alerted him after the patient had been anomalously still for twenty minutes, and the reason why became obvious upon a quick inspection of the cell: Leemu was sprawled on his back, staring blissfully up at

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Good Training – April Fool’s

13y 3m 29d AV One-Fang workhouse, Alien Quarter, Folctha, Cimbrean, the Far Reaches Sergeant Regaari (Dexter) of Clan SOR One of the best things about the humans was that they had a springtime holiday dedicated to mischief. Before them, only the Gao could claim to celebrate such a thing and it was one of the

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 52: Autoimmune Part 1

Date Point: 16y2m AV Alien Quarter, Folctha, Cimbrean, the Far Reaches Nofl Nofl’s lab was spacious, but inevitably finite. When it contained an alarming number of alarmed Humans, not to mention one particularly sculpted canine and a Gaoian brownie who was doing his best not to loom at everyone… well, there were times when Nofl

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 51: Anticlimax Part 5

Date Point: 16y2m AV Folctha, Cimbrean, the Far Reaches Allison Buehler After a lifetime of helicopter parenting, Tristan and Ramsey seemed addicted to every opportunity they could find to do something their mother would have scooted them away from. And who could blame them? Amanda had never managed to get her head around the idea

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Rising Titans – Chapter 44

9 Years, 6 Months, 28 Days After Eridani Landing Deep Space The Russia shuddered again as the engines slowly powered down and the ship slid out of the red blue haze that was the tachyon FTL corridor. James blinked several times trying to clear the haze from his eyes as the regular black background of

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 51: Anticlimax Part 4

Date Point: 16y1m AV Dataspace adjacent to Mrwrki Station Entity The Entity understood the concept of boredom in an academic, abstract way. It could even vaguely summon up Ava’s memories of being bored. But understanding the idea and actually feeling the emotion were two different things. The closest it could get was the sensation of

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 51: Anticlimax Part 3

Date Point: 16y2w AV Air Force One, somewhere over Asia, Earth President Arthur Sartori “…You want to give us a Farthrow generator.” Daar’s image was janky and low-resolution thanks to the vagaries of current wormhole comms, but the audio was a lot clearer now. Technology marched onwards. “It’s loaded up on a train and ready

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Good Training – Pecking Order

13y, 8m AV Operator’s Barracks, HMS Sharman, Folctha, Cimbrean Officer Regaari (Dexter) of Clan Whitecrest “I got an idea, Regaari.” Regaari flicked his ears forward in annoyance. “This again?” “Well, yeah. I gotta win that bet, Cousin!” Regaari duck-nodded wearily. Not long after Daar had received the SACRED STRANGER briefing, he’d sulked off to think

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Good Training – The Champions – Tidying Up

Messier 24 Mission day: 3 Sergeant Daar (Tigger) The third day was always when things settled into routine. Daar didn’t really know why, ‘cuz that was prol’ly some complicated psychology stuff (maybe he should read up?) but he did know how it worked, practically speaking. Daar always pondered morning thoughts like that when he was

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 51: Anticlimax Part 2

Date Point: 16y2w AV Weaver dropship, Gaoian space Sergeant Ian “Hillfoot” Wilde “So in all the excitement, we clean forgot about these things. That’s what you’re telling me.” Champion Meereo made a sound that was half a sigh and half a chitter. “…That’s more-or-less exactly right, yes. We had… well, bigger priorities.” Wilde had to

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Rising Titans – Chapter 43

9 Years, 6 Months, 28 Days After Eridani Landing Bellona “Ready?” asked Alpha from where he sat on top of the Captain’s chair. “I’m good!” said Red from where he sat at the controls for the ship. It hadn’t taken much to convince him to pilot the vessel. James glanced down at his own console

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 51: Anticlimax Part 1

Date Point: 16y AV Yukon–Koyukuk, Alaska, USA, Earth Zane Reid The cold didn’t hurt anymore. At first, it had been like forcing his way through a wall made of knives that cut through his clothes. Zane’s every breath had blinded him as it billowed and steamed in the air, and when he’d experimentally licked his

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 50: Counterattack – Trigger Part 5

Date Point: 16y AV Camp Tebbutt Biodrone Internment Facility, Yukon–Koyukuk, Alaska, USA, Earth Hugh Johnson Snow. Of course, snow in January in Alaska was hardly surprising, and this one threatened to be heavy. At first, Hugh had thought it was probably just an seasonable dusting that’d add a couple of inches to the foot or

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I had made my way through the tournament, but most of my matches had been won by the skin of my teeth, and I had only the advantage of being evolved from a pursuit predator to thank for it. Our great endurance had been the one boon that had kept me going, and I was

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 50: Counterattack – Trigger Part 4

Date Point: 15y 10m 1w AV HMS Violent, Rvzrk System, Domain Space The ground battle churned on for days. That was the problem with Hunters. There was no surrender involved, it was a kill-or-be-killed fight where smashing their will to engage in war simply didn’t achieve enough. Any Hunter left alive would just keep murdering

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Good Training – The Champions – Doom and Gloom Part 4

He awoke to a pleasant smell. “…Eggs?” Hoeff detangled himself from Natalie and the sheets and stumbled towards the kitchen. Daar was busy in front of the comparatively little stove and fridge, humming some terrible Gaoian tune to himself. Seriously, their music was like Chinese opera with extra pain. Some Humans liked it, though…but “atonal”

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Rising Titans – Chapter 42

9 Years, 6 Months, 15 Days After Eridani Landing The [Singer] The explosion hit and [Vann] watched at the lights on the main hologram and different panels flashed a blinding white light, before dying and plunging the entire bridge of the [Singer] into darkness. “What were we supposed to do?” asked someone near the weapons

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Day 1. I’ve made it on board the human trading vessel! They didn’t detect my presence, and I’ve managed to smuggle myself into their engineering bay, and disguised myself within a cluster of cables! My small, serpentine body makes me indistinguishable from a thin, grayish cable, and the Humans won’t notice my existence until it

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 50: Counterattack – Trigger Part 1

Date Point: 15y 10m AV Camp Tebbutt Biodrone Internment Facility, Yukon–Koyukuk, Alaska, USA, Earth Hugh Johnson Camp Tebbutt wasn’t actually a bad place to live, if you didn’t count the fact that it was essentially a prison for innocent victims. Hugh understood why he was there, and why he couldn’t leave… but after eleven years,

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Good Training – The Champions – Doom and Gloom Part 3

Firth Regaari chittered, “It is difficult to imagine you ‘humbled,’ Righteous.” “Heh,” Firth chuckled. “You do know most of my attitude is straight fuckin’ bullshit, right? Adam and John know why.” Regaari looked over at John, who shrugged massively. “He’s a scary dude. Being ridiculous kinda takes the edge off, y’know?” Regaari duck-nodded. He was

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Rising Titans – Chapter 41

9 Years, 6 Months, 13 Days After Eridani Landing Jikse Moving down the hallway Diana paused at the double doors, carefully she moved forwards into it’s threshold and they slid open. A woman in an orange smock looked up from her Comm for a moment, and then going back to look at it did a

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The Good Samaritan

I felt a white-hot pain in my back as I was stabbed. Once, twice and then three times. I fell to the ground clutching my new openings, and for a moment I couldn’t grasp what had just happened. I had walked through an alley as a shortcut back home, and then suddenly someone had grabbed

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 50: Counterattack – Homefront Part 6

Date Point: 15y9m3w AV Mrwrki Station, Erebor System, Unexplored Space Darcy “Does it seem… different to you lately?” “What?” “The Entity. It’s actin’ different, dude, I swear it is.” Darcy sighed and set aside her work as Lewis sat down. She was sitting drinking a Moroccan Mint tea in the station’s rec lounge, with its

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Rising Titans – Chapter 40

9 Years, 6 Months, 13 Days After Eridani Landing Jikse Popping the restraints off of her legs Diana swung herself off of the table, the two class A’s still in their isolation suits were pounding at the door of the room the three of them were in. “It’s out! Open the door!” shouted the man

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Good Training – The Champions – Doom and Gloom Part 2

Master Sergeant Christian (Righteous) Firth The end of the movie came and the ladies were fast asleep and prolly too tired to head home with any comfort. The other bros were asleep, too, and Firth was tangled up with them pretty good. Oh well, both ‘Base and ‘Horse were heavy-ass sleepers and only danger or

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Hell. It’s a completely Human concept. The concept of a realm of eternal torture, to which you are sent depending on the whims of one deity or another, is something only found in Human fiction. And it’s not an isolated occurrence. Almost every human culture since the dawn of humanity itself has had it in

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 50: Counterattack – Homefront Part 4

Date Point: 15y9m2w AV HMS Sharman (HMNB Folctha), Cimbrean, The Far Reaches Senior Master Sergeant Christian (“Righteous”) Firth “Hey, fuckers! Guess what hit the newsstand today!” Adam looked up from his needlework for a second and raised an eyebrow. “Imma guess Coombes’ centerfold spread with Ava?” Firth deflated, somewhat flummoxed that ‘Horse had stolen his

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