Prologue | Chapter 1 | Chapter 2 | Chapter 3 | Chapter 4 | Chapter 5 | Chapter 6 | Chapter 7 | Chapter 8 | Chapter 9 | Chapter 10 | Chapter 11 | Chapter 12
Chapter 1: Vengeance Interrupted
When faced with the complete collapse of civilization, some people freeze, others refuse to believe, and even more break down completely.
Nessa was in the first category to start with; she just stared, frozen in horror, as her homeworld floated by as countless pieces of rock.
She was replaying everything she knew about science and weapons and coming up completely blank as to how this could happen, while her jailer kept repeating that it was an Aresian trick.
Nessa had a hard time controlling her tail in her current state. It insisted on puffing up as if there were some imminent threat.
“This is your captain speaking. All hands prepare for combat. Get to your posts, we’ll teach those Aresians what happens when they blow up our homeworld!”
The Camlann’s engines roared to life and the rubble faded into stars. Their stardrive was fast, but it would take them almost a week to reach Ares Prime at maximum thrust.
“I have to talk to the captain! This is a trick, we’re being tricked,” Alfred was pale as he left her alone.
No one came to check on her and no one came to feed her for a few days. She wondered if they’d forgotten her. “Maybe they just threw themselves out of an airlock?” she said aloud. Her voice sounded dull and dry. The lack of water was going to get her before anything else happened.
On the fourth day of travel she was jostled awake by the ship dropping out of lightspeed. Once again she was grateful for the porthole in her cell. It showed a star system she didn’t recognize. It had a white dwarf star and from what she could see, only two planets. She thought there were a lot of asteroids, but upon closer inspection, they weren’t asteroids, they were ships. The ships were so black they seemed to absorb light. Their darkness and the insignia on their hulls were the only things that made them visible. The insignia was a dark blue thirteen pointed star.
There had to be millions of those ships and she had no idea who they were. The Aresian ships were boldly coloured and garish, the Martian ships were silver and sleek, the Tyrite ships were green living things, the ancient Earth ships were grey eyesores, and the other new ship they’d met had been round, red, with three golden crowns as an insignia.
Who are they and how did they manage to amass such a massive fleet without anyone knowing? she wondered to herself.
The lights turned bright purple and the alarms went off. “This is a mauve alert. Battlestations.” The captain’s voice had lost some of its battle lust over the past few days.
The ship’s weapons powered up and they shot at something she couldn’t see. As she looked out the porthole she saw a wave of blueish energy erupt from several ships and fly towards them like an ominous curtain. When the energy hit, the ship lost all power, and she started to float. There was a blast and she heard screams. They’d been boarded.
Her lack of food and water meant she had a hard time not falling asleep. She woke up briefly as men in black robes entered her cell, but didn’t have the energy to argue.
They took the entire ship into their hangar and then took the surviving crew as prisoners. She didn’t understand their language and couldn’t answer any of their questions.
Her cell was plush compared to the brig. Her bed had a pillow and she was given food and water right away. The cells were two metres cubed with one wall that was completely made by an energy forcefield.
Most of them looked like typical Homosapien. They were bipedal, mostly hairless, and their skin varied in colour from pale pink and white to dark brown. There didn’t seem to be any Felisapiens or Canisapiens among them.
She could see cells just like hers across the hallway with various people in them. She recognized uniforms and people from all three empires. She couldn’t hear them and no matter how much she screamed, no one seemed to hear her.
After a day or two of being a captive, she started to feel better physically. Whatever they put in their food wasn’t very tasty, but it obviously had some healing properties. She was pacing her cell when they lowered the forcefield and a woman walked in. She was pretty with sharp features, pale skin, and short, bright red hair.
“Hello. I’m Sun Speaker Aria of Blue-Star fleet one. Whom am I addressing?” Her Martian was very good, if formal.
“I’m former Commander Nessa Hath of the United Martian Empire ship Camlann,” I tried to control my physical reactions to the woman, but there was something about her that didn’t smell right.
“You say former. Why is that?”
There was no harm in explaining. “I was stripped of my rank when I chose historical curiosity over duty to my captain.”
For a long time the woman said nothing as she looked through Nessa, then she said, “Yes. I see. You’ve made contact with the Myrddin. Do you know what it is and what it was searching for?”
Nessa shook her head, remembering that the ship had transmitted a message that said, Myrddin searches for Arthur. “It was searching for someone or something called Arthur.”
“Hm.” The redhead paused and then asked, “Do you know where to find Arthur?”
“A pity. Your crew mostly said the same thing. Those that didn’t die fighting.” She paused as if for dramatic effect. She must have thought it would shock Nessa to hear that some of her crewmates had died. She obviously didn’t understand Martians and their love of war.
“Okay. Is this the point where you kill me?”
“You have a choice, former Commander Nessa Hath. You can join us in our holy mission to rid the universe of the heretic stars, or you can die in a vain display of obduracy.
Read Chapter 2 (February)
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