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It is a creature of unimaginable power and inscrutable motivations, and nothing can stand in its path and survive. Suddenly, everything that was once certain becomes the great unknown. An air of panic and fear swirls uncontrollably through the Terran society, and now no one can be trusted. In a blending of science fiction, ...
It is a creature of unimaginable power and inscrutable motivations, and nothing can stand in its path and survive. Suddenly, everything that was once certain becomes the great unknown. An air of panic and fear swirls uncontrollably through the Terran society, and now no one can be trusted. In a blending of science fiction, fantasy, and horror, this bizarre new world is explored from both within and without.
In the far-distant future of a world very much like our own-but simultaneously completely alien and mysterious-the people of Terra must now band together if they have any hope for survival. But when even hope is consumed by the Merged One, what is left?
Welcome to the worlds of the Chronicles of the S.U.N., a twisted journey through time and space in which one possible future is examined-and threatened by extinction.
It was on the 12th day of the month of Zhi'as Muoli [fifth month of the twelve tribal nations; or April 2nd of the old human calendar] of the year 103,987 P.H. or Post Humanity that Antola, who was one of the three High Clan Leaders of the An-Family, had ordered the An-Family's Third mining sub-fleet of 25 mining vessels to be assigned to the asteroid belt close to the space of the Hlalix-D'nai-Corsle Trinary Star System. This specific Trinary star system is about eighty thousand five hundred and ten light years from where earth-Amerus would be. This Trinary star system was .083 degrees dimensionally out-of phase with the dimensional level that earth-Amerus was a part of. A dimensional jump was therefore necessary to reach that area of space that the worlds of this star system was a part of. But these worlds were only a small number of such planets; of which many were a part of the Star Union Network.
Since the sub-sector that the asteroids were in; existed out of the actual unified trio of star systems by 7.083 degrees from our dimensional reality. Those from each of the Trinary group of star systems knew about these asteroids but no one from those unified star systems had yet acquired the technology to reach them.
These strange unified star systems were connected at the farthest point of each. The worlds of Hlalix 7, Corsle 8 and D'nai 8 were and still are contested and argued about by those of each star system. The planets revolve around each other, rather than around each of the separate stars. Hlalix 6, Corsle 7 and D'nai 7 are all uninhabited. These worlds all showed the geological scars of near contact with one or both worlds of the other two systems. Between Hlalix 6 [38x earth-Amerus] and Corsle 7 [34x earth-Amerus] is an area of approximately 80,000 miles that separate the orbits of these two planets at their closest point. An asteroid zone is evidence of a collision at some time in the past which resulted in the formation of that asteroid zone. The collision also tore a hole in local space and the asteroids were pulled into the hole and then the hole was sealed, possibly by the energy generated from the collision as well The lack of moons of these two worlds and the presence of moons around D'nai 7 would suggest this.
A vessel, K.P.S12-V22 [Ka-Family Sub-Fleet 12—Vessel 22] which contained P.A.S.T. personnel, had been sent there by order from the Ka-Family, had now entered into that part of space and was going through the area when their scanners had detected several unusual and high level energy readings. This was done as a favor to the S.U.N. Council since the Italusian Empire had begun to cause problems in the area. The crew was also asked to keep alert for any Italusian war vessels moving through that area of the space that they were in and toward the Trinary star systems but not to interfere with them.
Information on this area of space and the conclusions of the team had been sent to the Ka-Family. They had sent it on to the An-Family. Then aids had relayed this information to the An-Family leadership and then to Antola.
After receiving it, he read the report over twice and then checked through the list of available mining vessels. There was only one mining sub-fleet available at that time. He knew that there was a need for a rare form of green clay that was needed by artisans for sculpture and the creation of household items. The asteroids in that area had a similar material but it needed to be altered to a small degree to fill the need.
The An-Family vessel number A.M.S3-V14 [An-Family Mining Sub Fleet 3—Vessel 14] had just received instructions from the sub-fleet Captain to separate from the other ships in the Third mining sub-fleet and journey to the coordinates 107,336 by 23.447 by 87.36 which would bring them near Hlalix 5. The crew began to fire up the d.i.t.c.a. System for just such a maneuver.
Then the crew got busy with engaging the b.r.a.k.e. system. They then linked into the primary access controls of the d.i.t.c.a. systems and the vessel purred like a cat as the pulling sensation began. They vanished and then the astrogation officer caused the ship to emerge at the desired co-ordinates to begin their survey. They scanned the area which showed likely sources of minerals near Hlalix 5. This included a very strong scan reading of a small crystal mass of enormous power.
Then the Italusian warships suddenly dropped out of trans-space and came into view. The warships swarmed around the mining vessel and their gun ports slid open. The crew on board the unarmed mining vessel became tense. Then one of the Italusian Captains saw the Ka-Family crest on the vessel. They realized that the Ka-Family and the An-Family's combined economic and political influences would cause such unwanted economic problems for their Empire that it would be more terrible than the entire might of the S.U.N. itself. And no Italusian Captain wanted to take any such life threatening risk, both for himself and for his family, as a result of causing economic problems stemming from antagonizing a union of such two powerful families.
The arrival of these warships was the direct result of the Hlalixians refusing to become the willing allies of the Italusian Empire. The Corslene, who were their near neighbors in their unified star system, had willingly joined their Empire. The D'naites and the Hlalixians had refused. The D'naites had joined the Neutral Worlds Federation hoping that this would give them immunity to the threat of the Italusians. The Hlalixians preferred, instead to ally themselves with the Star Union Network as a provisional member-world. So the Italusian leadership decided to make an example of the Hlalixians first and then the D'naites second as examples to the beings of other nearby Star Systems who dared to defy them.
The Italusian 14th War-fleet began, prior to the mining ship's arrival, to survey the nearby asteroids, arriving in single ships, doing 'surveys' of their own or taking leave but those excuses can only succeed for so long. This attempt to legitimize their presence ended when their vessel numbers became too many. Then, when over 100,000 warships suddenly appeared and joined those already accumulated near their world; the Hlalixians began to have great concern about this massive number of war vessels.
Then, on the evening of the fourth day, the firing upon the planet began and this revealed a terrible sight to the crew of the mining ship. Antola had been keeping a close watch over this situation and had ordered the other mining vessels from that sector.
The remaining mining vessels' crew saw that this world had been surrounded by these warships and they slowly drew as close to the planet as was safe for them. Then the vessels opened fire. Thus began the last day for Hlalix 4. This world was now undergoing a massive orbital bombardment. The cheering began as the Fourth Star-wing suddenly appeared and then moved toward Hlalix 4. Unfortunately, the crews of several Italusian ships had seen them. They seemingly alerted others who were on board and the result was that much of the huge fleet moved to intercept the S.U.N. vessels.
In the meantime, a few ships dropped a large number of canisters into space near Hlalix 4 which released their contents. The Italusians had realized the need for haste, due to the arrival of S.U.N. ships, and then began flooding the planet with nightmare gas after their energy bombardment.
Then another Italusian Imperial Fleet, the 23rd, arrived and rotated to meet the oncoming S.U.N. vessels, three Italusian ships broke loose from their formation and the lead ship targeted Hlalix Four's main continent. The nightmare gas had begun to work upon the population. They accessed several communications satellites and did a reverse feed. The sight of tens of millions of citizens were running amok, attacking others on the planet. This had a refined version of the green virus as a basis for the gas. This horror did not last long for the Hlalixians of that world.
With an overwhelming sense of horror and shock, the crew of the An-Family mining survey ship 14 watched as the single missile entered the planet's atmosphere and scanners showed that it detonated about 500 feet above that land mass.
This resulted in the forming of several small points in the air. These began to glow with an orange-red for a few seconds. Then the air that was glowing then expanded and erupted into fire. These isolated points continued to grow in size and began to connect together like the storms that had once formed on F'tikai [Jupiter]. The S.U.N. TeleCruisers fought to reach those on the planet's surface but the Italusians were determined that no one of the planet would survive. This caused several nearby asteroids to begin to burn. One of these asteroids shattered from the heat and the crystal mass that had been detected was released from its interior. It seemed to pause for a few seconds and then moved toward the mining vessel. An attraction beam was used to bring it inside. When that ship's captain saw what it was and that it was in seven pieces, he knew that it was the segmented gem. And that meant trouble. Already the few members of the crew that had seen the segmented gem had become fascinated and awed by it. The Captain knew, from the legend, that a desire to possess it would not be long in appearing. He placed it inside his personal safe and instructed the ship's A.I. to guard it well. The A.I. complied with the request. Then the Captain assigned two trustworthy Chi'ithok outside as guards.
The Italusians continued to place their vessels between the S.U.N. cruisers and those they tried to rescue. The S.U.N. flag-ship, a TeleBattleship, sent out repeated challenges to the Italusian Fleet but they ignored these challenges. The S.U.N. ships were wearing down the enemy blockade but there were just too many opposing vessels.
Within ten minutes, the whole planet had changed to become a blazing sun and 840 million inhabitants died either from heart failure due to the nightmare gas or by incineration from exposure to well over 1,000 degrees of heat.
Then the Italusian War Fleet divided. One fleet and moved ever so slowly to Hlalix 3, a small colony, and the other fleet went to Hlalix 5 which was being used for mining. The S.U.N. TeleCruisers divided their numbers as well and sought to intercept and stop the Italusian warships but to no avail. In both cases, the Italusians repeated what they did to the Hlalixian home world. Their only crime was that they were a part of the Hlalix society. Three Star-wings arrived less than two minutes later but it was too late to protect those of Hlalix. They sought for survivors and found 153 ships of various sizes that had escaped the planet.
The realization that all three of these missiles contained star-triggers was to outrage all who were on board the An Family mining ship. For anyone to have such a weapon had been outlawed, prior to this time, by all civilized worlds but the Italusians seemed to cling to the view that all races, other than their own, were destined to be allies or slaves. All who chose to oppose the Italusians were seen by them to be as inferior and deserving to die. And to them, the use of a star-trigger was entirely justifiable. But this attitude, on their part, would prove costly. But to further add to their mistake, they never thought to search for the fourth colony. It was a hidden world, dimensionally out of phase to Italus and Hlalix. It was known locally as earth-Hlaika.
The Italusian Fleet turned toward D'nai 3 and 4 after the destruction of three of the four inhabited Hlalixian worlds. They were going there to continue their intimidation via destruction, but found two full Star-Wings waiting for them. Then the three other Star-wings, after finishing their rescue operations, came up behind the massed Italusian war-fleet.
It was during this time that the mining vessel crew caused the ship to be dimensionally pulled from that area and return to earth-Amerus. The Captain had sent a triple encoded message to the Ka-Family and the return message came that the vessel was to re-route to another location. The Captain would be contacted shortly with the new destination.
Then an unexpected message came from Antola. He had been told about what had happened and especially about what had been discovered and brought on board. The return message was brief and to the point. Bring the discovery of the crystals to the An-Family Compound on S'kara [Mars]. From there, the ship was to then continue on to earth-Amerus as if nothing had happened. [The planet's full formal name is earth-Amerus-tou'ni but known informally as earth-Amerus. See page 175]
It is important that historians were to record that this was the single largest spatial battle ever witnessed to that date and it was near the D'nai star system. Afterward, over 82,361 warships and support vessels, from both sides, were found damaged or destroyed. Hundreds of privateer vessels from the Eorkai P. and P. Union swarmed over the S.U.N. and Italusian vessels like locusts. Their ships came from Eorkai 1A4, 1C3 and 1E3. Many of the ships, that took part in the battle, had been abandoned by their Captains and crews after destroying key systems within their respective vessels first. Those vessels that weren't abandoned weren't boarded by the privateers but towed to where the appropriate side could locate them and rescue them. The privateer crews salvaged everything that they could and this included sections of the hull of many of the ships. These were connected with cables and towed away.
The loss of life and casualties, from the battle between the two space armadas were over five and one half million with one and ½ million actually dying. This included an attack by the Corslene upon nineteen medical ships from the Neutral Worlds Federation. The government of D'nai had requested help from the N.W.F. and they responded. The N.W.F. ships' markings were clearly visible, both that they were neutral and they were medical vessels but still the Corslene allies of Italus chose to attack and board them. Many of the crews sought to fight against these invaders but were overwhelmed and butchered. During this time, most of the doctors, nurses, and patients were successfully jettisoned in escape pods.
A meeting was arranged by the Eorkai Pirates and Privateers Union. The meeting would take place on Eorkai 1C3 or Wo'ikyr 3 by the older designation on the fifth day of Ga'alri [May 30].
The N.W.F. legal authority started out well enough. She began talking about legal precedents and laws related to this incident.
The Italusian Admiral laughed at such matters. He then commented that laws were alright in their own way but sometimes laws had to set aside in lieu of what would be good for the people as a whole.
The representatives of the Neutral Worlds Federation complained about the disregard of the laws of the various star alliances could hardly be in the best interests of anyone with the possible exception of tyrants and dictators. She went on to angrily say that this attack upon their citizens, who were only attempting to rescue and help the injured and wounded, was intolerable and illegal by all those who lived according to civilized laws.
The response from the Italusian Empire was just as short tempered. "You are hypocrites! You dare to talk of laws and civilization when you practice attempted genocide against the Italusian peoples. If the crew of any vessel is seen giving comfort and aid to our enemies, then that vessel will be either fired upon, boarded, or both. We do not consider a medical ship or similar vessel to be neutral, regardless of the markings upon it. If we see this as an act of helping those who kill our military and our civilians alike, then we will respond appropriately. We have a right to exist; if another society cannot co-exist with us then that is not our fault. The humans used to have a saying, only the strong survive. Any opinion of the opposite is self-delusion."
Excerpted from Antola's Saga by Alan Saunders Copyright © 2011 by Alan Saunders. Excerpted by permission of iUniverse, Inc.. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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