Part 1: Born Into DarknessEdit
This story collection will be assumed to be rated T for Teen unless marked otherwise.
(Note from the author: this is the character i will primarily be writing about.)
Thoughts swirled through cold, black depths. Identity returned first, reminding him who he was. Synapses switched on, reminding him that he lived. Nerves burned in his skull, reminding him of the truth: existance is pain.
He opened his eyes, not for seeing but for testing his surroundings. Harsh white light glared at him from above, but it was intermittent; a part of his mind that was functioning a bit better than the rest noted that this was unusual, a memory informing him that the light had been much brighter at some point prior to this moment. Slowly, as feeling returned to his extremeties, he felt his muscles aching within his skin. The skin itself was reacting to the ambient temperature, which was low; much lower than he usually preferred, again trusting a memory for this information. Memories were notoriously unreliable if they were all you had to reference, but he felt he did not have much choice. Once he had managed to hoist himself off this blasted deck, perhaps the situation would improve.
As his vision focused, it became more and more clear that he was aboard a vehicle of some kind. Possibly a starship. Girders and bulkheads formed a mosaic of technological carnage above his head; the surface he lay on was cold metal, heated only by the residual warmth his body was producing. It thrummed with the sound of some restless, snoring beast, sending tingles of sonic energy into his bones. There was no obvious sense of motion, which would be true of a modern craft, unless it was hovering. Perhaps it would be best to find out for sure, yes? The thought was his, but it wasn't his. Another memory, floating up from the depths of his brain, informed him that voices in his head was common enough, and he shouldn't be alarmed. Again, no choice in the matter.
Morgon Gedo leaned upwards and stood, as smoothly as possible giving how cramped his muscles felt. He had been lying on the deck for some time, apparently. Not the most pleasant thought. He felt around his person, checking for damage. The clothing he wore was of an unfamiliar style, but the colors were right. All in black, a high collar, full sleeves and trousers, solidly built shoes with a tread that, while not perfect, was suitable for most foot travel. His eyes were uncovered, which troubled him. If the light were any greater abord the ship he would be distinctly uncomfortable without a pair of spectacles.
This led him back to his primary objective: the ship. From where he stood, it was a crude, ineligant design. Possibly a hauler, or a large shuttle of some kind. Or a prison ship. Wouldn't be the first time... He dismissed that line of thinking for the moment . There had been no restraints when he'd awoken, none of the familiar sounds easily associated with captivity. The crackling of energy protected bars, the footfall of guards walking pompously on the outside of a cage, the taunts and catcalls of fellow inmates. Nothing but the thrum of the engines. Morgon took a more studied look around him, and guessed that he was in a storage room. There were some magnetic crates scattered around, none of which he had the capacity to open at this time, and a door on one wall. The door was pneumatic, with a simple two-button control panel.
"Interesting," he said aloud, noting the tone of his voice. Although not prone to talking to himself, Morgon did occasionally test his local acoustics, and the only way of doing so was to speak. It had apparently been some time since he had spoken; his voice was harsh, deep, and had a sound like gravel rubbing against itself. Satisfied, he Morgon did the only thing that made sense in this situation. He walked forward and pressed the Open button.
Beyond the room was corridor, a rather unsurprising turn of events. This corridor seemd to have taken some damage, however, and this was far more out of the ordinary. Steam hissed from broken vents. The walls, deck, and ceiling all showed scoring, blackened and burnt. There were other dark patches on the deck as well that carried a reddish hue. Organic; human, possibly. There wasn't much of it; there never was, with energy weapons involved. No bodies though. Curious. Had it been a battle, or a slaughter? Unimportant, for the moment, but Morgon made a note to revisit this set of memories for review once the current situation was more clear. There were other doors along the corridor; some of them closed, some of them opened. The doors of the opened rooms had all taken fire from a beam weapon. Of the closed doors, Morgon tried two of them. Both opened, leading to rooms more or less identical to where he had emerged. Definitely cargo storage. One mystery solved; on to the next.
After passing through several corridors arranged symetrically with the one he had emerged from, Morgon eventually found his way to what seemed to be the command deck. There had been more and more evidence of violence and it was not missing here. In fact, most of not all of the instrument panels had been destroyed, or at least damaged beyond his ability to repair. He held no illusions about that; he remembered having a basic knowledge of small repairs, but nothing on the level of a starship. Not to mention that he had none of the available tools that his imagination told him he would need. The forward viewports were closed, denying him a view of wherever the ship was. The ship was still powered, as far as he could tell, but how much power it had and what it's capacity should be eluded him. He decided that the only course of action available to him was to open a hatch. If he was in deep space, his problems would be over relatively quickly, although not entirely to his satisfaction. If not, perhaps there would be additional information outside that would be more useful than what he had already discovered.
Finding a board hatch turned out to be a relatively simple procedure. Opening it, however, was not. It had been sealed shut from the outside. Intrigued, Morgon went on the hunt. An hour passed until he found what he was looking for: a set of simple mechanics tools, among them an aging plasma cutter. Returning to the hatch, he set to work. He did not remember ever being properly trained with a cutting unit, but it seemed simple enough. Whoever had sealed the hacth, however, had done a respectable job, and it took several hours of cutting, shutting down the overheating machine, and cutting again to weaken the hatch enough for him to move it with any sort of ease.
As what was left of the hatch fell outward from the ship, and cold, frost-ridden air seeped into it, Morgon was pleased on a certain level that it had not been deep space after all. No; this was far worse. The landscape was barren, frozen and white, mountainous in the distance. The temperature was far below what his species generally preferred, and getting colder by the look of things. Morgon went back to the command deck, sat in the commander's chair, and pondered.
This was a serious, serious problem.
Part 2: Across the Frozen WastesEdit
As he pondered, his mind wandered. It tended to due so without certain forms of stimulation to keep it occupied. The mind is a funny thing, and Morgon's would latch onto certain nonsense ideas and run them continuously through his cortex like a holo-video endlessly looped in on itself. It was threatening to do at this exact moment, and this irritated Morgon. Resolve strengthened. He stood from the chair and performed a second, more thorough check of the command deck. In doing so he discovered something he missed; a console, still in working order, displaying a sensor sweep of the vessel. After some cursory glances and knob fiddling, Morgon decided that this was not as useful at had seemed. It did confirm, however, that he was alone on the ship. On a slightly more gratifying note, there were also no hazardous materials or other sort of chemical and industrial dangers lurking somewhere aboard for him to trip over. Resigned to resume his pondering until his brain looped itself intol madness, Morgon turned to sit once more. The console chose this exact moment to begin a quiet, chattering noise, punctuated with tones of various octaves. A glance at the sensor readout showed that the situation had changed; there were now life forms arriving on board, through the hatch he had cut through some time ago. Bio-metric scanners categorized the nature of his visitors for him, and his eyes narrowed.
"Humans," he muttered. "I supposed I should have expected it." Expecting an infestation of fleas, however, did not obligate one to suffer their nuisance. Plans formed in his mind. He sat back in the commander's chair and faced the door. The humans were evidently much more familiar with this style of ship than he was, and it only took them a few moments before they had arrived on the command deck. There were three of them; scruffy looking, unkempt, and judging by the smell, badly in need of a wash. How droll; the one on the left doesn't even have any teeth.
"Hmph," the one in the center grunted. Red hair peeked out of a thick hood, made of a heavy woolen material. "Thought it was funny when there was nobody to greet us at the hatch, but what do I find sitting all cozy in the captain's seat? An Engurrian."
"I'm not sure I understand the joke," Morgon said smoothly. "I will say that if you're here for the ship, it isn't mine. Take what you like."
Red seemed perplexed, for a moment, and then he chuckled. "Guess that's good luck all around, I suppose. We'll just take what we want and get out of your hair."
"I assume you have transport?" Morgon asked, standing with a stretch.
"Course we do," toothless replied. "How else are we supposed to get anything valuable across the ice fields?" Red grunted and elbowed toothless in the gut.
"I'll be needing it, if you don't mind," Morgon said evenly.
"Needin' wot?" This came from the third human, who wheezed slightly with each breath.
"He's talking about the truck, you idiot." Red scratched the side of his head. "You're not getting it though, stranger. Once we finish up here, you can stay behind until somebody more... official shows up. Course, without a working beacon, you may be here awhile." He chuckled again. An endless font of humor.
Morgon smiled slightly, and shook his head. "That's too bad," he said in the same even tone, and within the time it took for Red to register that he had made a mistake, Morgon's appropriated plasma cutter had made it impossible for either of the three humans to speak, eat, or breathe ever again. He left them behind. The "truck" they had brought with them was a boxy, hovering, sled-like contraption. It seemed in good shape, as far as he could tell, and it had a working beacon. It occurred to him that perhaps someone would want to take possession of the ship again at some point; it would be a shame to let it sit out here and become just another ice-covered part of the landscape. He took the beacon, conveniently portable, from the truck and placed it inside the ship, well away from the edge of the hatch. By this time it was much colder, and a numbness was beginning to take hold of his fingers and toes. He couldn't stay out here much longer. Activating the truck was a simple procedure, and it even had a working heater unit. Not much of one, just enough to keep off the hypothermia, but it would do. Not familiar with the landscape, Morgon did the best he could, and pointed the truck in the direction of the nearest mountain range. With luck, he would find some form of civilization by the next days light.
Part 3: Civilized SocietyEdit
Numb in all of his extremeties, Morgon Gedo entered the town operating on willpower alone. The sled truck had not been in as good condition as he had first thought. It was still out there, somewhere, where it had slid to a stop and frozen solid against an ice floe. Initially Morgon had kept the heater working as much as he could on the truck's reserve power system, thinking perhaps that this sort of thing was common, and that he was bound to be discovered by a passing patrol of... who, he didn't know. It became a moot point when the heater finally sputtered it's way out of power and the cold descended on him like a glacier, slowly crushing his musculature with it's insidious numbness. Determined not to become part of the landscape, he had set out on foot. The town was not far, but the bitter cold made even the shortest distance seem lightyears away. Eventually he entered the ramshackle gates. It was midday. He had lost track of how long he had been walking. Someone in a bulky outfit of thick hard weather materials approached him, and he seized the opportunity.
"A doctor," he managed to whisper. "I need a doctor." Morgon collapsed without hearing the figure's answer, if there was one. Sleep came upon him quickly, and deeply.
Time passes. Oblivion is a place he is familiar with, and he slips into easily. In his mind he is still travelling, still wandering the icy wastes. Part of him knows that this is not true, that it is a manifestation of the nerves in his body as they float the tides of hypothermia. Another part reminds him that, really, it does not matter if it's true; this will be his reality until, or perhaps unless, he is revived. Not the most optomistic of thoughts; but Morgon Gedo has never been known for his optomism.
In this half-dream state he encounters others, though not like himself. Strangely twisted beings speaking in languages that are unintelligible here. Morgon knows that if he were hearing this while awake he would be able to understand, but again he has no choice but to cooperate with his dream state. As events unfold he abruptly finds himself at the top of a tall building; a tower. No, a sky scraper. This place is damaged, held together not by the metals and stones it was crafted from but by a black, creeping substance, almost crystalline. He has been here before. This is a bit of memory, a memory from a very distant past. He is himself, but he is not himself. The black crystal coils around and through the sky scraper and culminates in the body of a creature at once lovely and terribly skewed; she is her, but also not herself, here in his dream state. She speaks without speaking into the hollows of his mind.
"You have interrupted me in my home once again, path-walker." Her voice is the metal; her voice is the stone. "You are less welcome this time."
"You are dead," Morgon states clearly, his own voice barely a whisper. "This place is no more."
"We are both of us dead." The creature grinds out the words. "We have adapted to it differently, as is our nature." You will forgive me if I disagree," is his near silent reply. Her laughter shakes the realm of his dreaming.
"You will see; you will see. Prepare, path-walker. We are coming."
Pain flared throughout every nerve in Morgon's body. His eyes forced themselves open, and he gasped, breathing deeply of slightly processes air. The chill had faded enough for his numbness to end, flooding him with sensation. Someone was in the room with him, asking him to be calm, speaking words caution. He could not focus, not yet. He closed his eyes again, focusing on his breathing. After some minutes he felt well enough process information to a limited extent.
"What... is this... place?" Morgon wheezed out of angry lungs. He was answered, not surprisingly, by a human voice.
"A Medical facility in Halinstad, on Stryrrin. I'm trying to revive you, you're suffering from hypothermia. What were you doing out on the plains?"
Morgon inhaled deeply, and exhaled slowly, gathering his thoughts. What had he been doing? Beyond the struglle for survival in a hostile environment, of course. Why was he here, on this planet? Stryrrin was far from the galactic center, almost as far as Engur, and in the opposite direction. Mysteries within mysteries. Morgon was not fond of puzzles; he preferred the direct, least subtle path to the solution of a problem.
"A good question," he said, as much to himself as to the doctor. "There are some things I will not be able to explain, partly by choice, and partly due to a lack of information on my part." Strength was returning to him slowly as he spoke, and he sat up, noting with some distaste that he was almost naked. No, this would not do at all. "I will say however that, depending on your relationship with the local authorities of this planet, you may wish to inform them that there is a ship in the wastes; a cargo vessel, I would guess. It had an active beacon when I left it. You will also find three bodies; thieves and scavengers. I will have to keep my own involvement to myself for the moment, however."
“Thank you for the information, ‘authorities’ in this city have little or no funding or interest in salvage. However, I know some good honest folk who’d love to take a look at it. A share of whatever profit made could be sent in your direction should you feel the need for it. What's your name?" This human seemed friendly enough; not that it mattered, really, but Morgon had found that it was easier dealing with the friendly ones than it was the less than civilized.
"There are those who have met me in the past who call me Morgon," he said slowly, eyeing the human. Average height and weight, healthy, fit enough to have done some more active work at some point prior to this assignment. This one seemed a bit distracted, as well. Minor mental affliction, perhaps? No matter. "You may call me by that name if you wish. As for profit, I have no need. For the moment, my clothes would be sufficiant if they aren't damaged. After that, perhaps you could indulge me with some tea, if you have it." He sighed. "I am aware of the difficulty in finding actual organic tea, however. That being said, I will settle for synthetic if it is my only option."
“I have your clothes here,” said the human, motioning towards the garments that were layed over a table in the corner, mostly dry and thawed from the warmth of a small heating unit. “I’m afraid I don’t keep any tea, synthetic or otherwise. Would imported organic coffee do for now?”
"It will have to do." Morgon was in no mood to point out the inferiority of human grown coffee. "If you'll excuse me, some privacy to dress would be appreciated." He also needed time to think, and to plan his next move. Judging by the "dream" that he could still remember in all it's clarity, someone knew he was here. Given his history, that someone was unlikely to be friendly. How much time he had was anyone's guess, but with a little luck, perhaps he could escape this planet before it was melted into a puddle of steaming space slag.
Part 4: Complications/Out of the Fire...Edit
Once the human had gone, Morgon sat and journeyed back into his own mind. Memories of his time immediately prior to waking on the cargo vessel here on Stryrrin had not returned. This was troublesome. Without having a solid framework to base his recent curcumstances on, he would be hard-pressed to decide on another course of action. He found this to be irritating on a scale that could not be measured. Morgon had a purpose at all times, and he worked towards that purpose to the best of his ability. Anything less was a waste, and he abhorred waste.
As he thought, random chance intervened, and it occurred to him to look out the nearest window. Realizing that this was a strange burst of curiousity, Morgon at first thought to resist the impulse. Upon further reflection, however, he had to admit that he really had nothing better to do. With a sigh that was too human for his tastes he stood at the window and looked out, not particularly interested in what he was seeing.
There was nothing to see, at first. Local humans busied themselves at whatever tasks they felt necessary, sometimes stopping to chat politely with a neighbor or colleague. Some vehicles trundled and fussed about, and a single, weather-worn robotic servitor limped along on four partially damaged legs.
The view did not last.
A flash appeared on the horizon, in the distance. Bright, billowing clouds of flame, in steady rhythm, reached up from the panet's surface as if it's own solid matter were trying to escape itself. More plumes of fire blossomed, and Morgon could see now that there were objects falling from the sky. Stryrrin, or at least a portion of it, was under heavy attack.
This would not do. This would not do at all.
"Doctor," he called out, doing what he could to add some urgency to his normally dry voice. "You may want to have a look at this." "See something interesting?" the doctor asked, before glancing out himself. "Shit." He sprinted to the opposite wall and started opening cupboards, grabbing several black bags and slinging them over his shoulder."I have a small transport on the roof, it will get us to atmo where I'm expecting a 'friend' who can pick us up. I should have expected this, the entire planet is an Insurrectionist hive, I knew the Alliance would come eventually.""Of course," Morgon nodded. "The Alliance. Lead on, then."The human seemed troubled, though trying not to show it. Morgon had spent enough time with humans to identify their emotions well. "My name's Xavier, by the way," the doctor added, before rushing off to gather more supplies.At the door the doctor turned the handle and rammed his shoulder into it, breaking the thin layer of ice on the outside, then pulled it gratingly open. They exited, not bothering to shut the door, and the human led around the corner to a ladder leading to the roof."Here, you'll need these." The doctor tossed his gloves to Morgon and started climbing the frozen metal ladder. Morgon put them on, and was starting up the ladder after him when the sounds of the cold wind were pierced by a keen, high-pitched shriek filled with both hatred and delight. Only one sort of creature could make such a cry."We have a serious problem, doctor," Morgon shouted. "I hope you have a backup plan."The doctor said nothing, only extending his hand once he had reached the roof. Morgon took it., allowing himself to be pulled up to the roof level. This was no time to be prejudiced.The doctor's ship was enough of a surprise to raise Morgon's eyebrows, though it had seen better days. Combat damage was obvious."Rather sophisticated for a world this far from the galactic hubs," Morgon commented. "For the moment it isn't an issue, considering the circumstances. I'm assuming you still remember how to fly this thing?""I was never very good at it, but yes," replied the doctor. "I picked it up shortly after the conclusion of the sixth human rebellion against the Alliance. It was a gift from a dying freelancer pilot." He jogged to the side of the ship and opened the hatch. "You're in first. The only other seat is a rear-facing gunner position which we may have to make use of very shortly."Another scream echoed across the skies, although it did not seem to be getting closer. Curious."Now would be an excellent time to leave," Morgon stated, climbing in to the gunner's seat. "I'll do what I can, you just focus on getting us as far away from this secotr of space as possible. We don't want to be nearby when they figure out they've lost us."Morgon could hear the doctor using the communications system behind him, but he paid it little attention for the time being. His eyes scanned what little cloud cover there was, but their persuer refused to show itself. He had never had an encounter with a vorg that didn't end with somebody losing a few limbs. The fact that the beast had gone silent and had apparently disappeared was troubling, but there was nothing to be done about it.As they began to break atmosphere, the bombadiers' vessel came sliding into view. It was a knobby, ellipsoid shape with bits of junk and debris seemingly attatched at random to it's hull. Flashes of energy raced across its surface with no apparent pattern or intent. The simple act of viewing the craft hurt his eyes, but Morgon forced himself to continue watching. It was making no moves to intercept them, which, again, was troubling. The little fighter continued its climb into space, and Morgon did what he could to fight off the nagging fingers of dread. The fighter ship docked without incident, but Morgon kept his eyes outwards towards space. Plans were formulating.
"Come on, we have to get out of here and into there before we freeze to death," said the doctor, making ready to open the hatch. "You go first, I'll follow." Morgon said nothing. He undid the gunnery harness and climbed out of the fighter and into the waiting vessel they had docked with. Another convenient escape route for a backwater doctor. Morgon was tempted to confront the man, but humans tended to have a two-edged view of these sorts of situations, and he was in no mood to delve into the particulars of his own background. All in due time.
The ship they had rendezvoused with was very clean, and very new. It was also very bright, causing Morgon to wince and squint like a being twice his age.
"I am at a disadvantage here, doctor. Perhaps after we've been introduced to the captain we could inquire after some darkened lenses, otherwise you won't find me in the best of moods on this voyage."
"We'll get you something, soon as we're out of here," the doctor replied, sounding sympathetic. "Miss Dietiri, we're on board. Can we get out of here?" "Coordinates?" came a woman's voice over the ship's comm system. Clipped, efficient. Someone used to being in charge."Anywhere but here," he told them both. "In the meantime, i'm going to try and find a dark, warm place to gather my thoughts. Perhaps near the engines. I will meet with the both of you in a few hours." He turned away and, once out of the landing area, struck a meandering path through the ship. He could have asked for directions to the engineering section, he supposed, but he needed the time to think. He had not lied when he had told them he meant to gather his thoughts. They flew and bounded and scattered throughout his skull like buzzing insects, flitting to and fro on their own trajectories. Yes, the droning of the engines would be perfect.
He had been right about the ship. It was definitely clean. There was not a trace of dust, no bootprint paths worn into the decking, everything spotless and surgically sterile. It was also definitely new. The lines of the corridors echoed the current fashionable practices in vogue among the humans. All curves, like a work of art, intended to be enjoyed for its aesthethics rather than it's function.It did not take him long to find his way to the engine room. He almost cringed. Even the engines were clean. Supressing a sigh, Morgon adjusted the environmental controls and turned down the lighting to a more comfortable dimness. He sat down and leaned against the engine compartment, letting it hum and thrum through his body. Calm, relaxed, and detatched from the moment, he let his mind begin to drift, deep down inside his own self. It was rare for Morgon to travel the pathways of his own memory. Memory was unreliable; it was changeable by the illusions of time and space and the opinions of sentient beings. Morgon was very much an entity of the now. The past was in constant danger of being rewritten. The future was not set, and could not be predicted. All these things being said, however, did not change the power that memory could have on a sentient being. Morgon indulged rarely. Unfortunately, he had found that his own mind had a severe tendency to play such tricks on him. It had chosen this moment to do so.
Part 5: The Deep EndEdit
Somewhere, something is burning. As in all of these flashes of memory, his senses are keen. He crouches in a wooded area, dense with foliage. His combat suit is non-reflective, absorbing what little ambient light filters through the forest canopy. Officially, he is here to scout the position of a local band of "insurrectionists". Unofficially, and fully encompassed in "black", easily deniable territory, he is a terrorist, and he is gathering intel to use against a legitimate political body. Even more unofficially, so far off the scale that it would need an extra color beyond black, is what his true, more personal mission is.
He raises the viewfinder to his left eye, scanning the area. The brush fire will be a minor inconvenience to this branch of the Alliance Expeditionary Youth Discovery program, but it will draw enough attention away from his objective to make the distraction worthwhile. Fire is cheap; cheap to produce, cheaper to spread. His actions here will light a blaze that will burn across this sector of space for decades, perhaps centuries. He does not consider the cosequences. He takes responsibility for what he has done, and he is at peace with the deeds he has committed. This instance will be like the others, the effects far reaching, and if he is discovered, he will be labeled one of the worst villains the galaxy has ever seen.
Morgon Gedo is at peace with himself, and when the atrmospheric controls have malfunctioned and killed each and every member of this planet's AEYD program, he will not shed a single tear.
Morgon opened his eyes, half expecting the smell of smoke to linger. It did not. Memory was funny that way. He had not moved from where he sat. Fortunately, he had never been known to sleepwalk, or to be overcome by fugue. Others he had known had not been so lucky. He remembered, distinctly, the way that the AEYD compound had started to flourish with activity, followed by an intense burst of ever increasing silence. At least sixty-three members of the AEYD program had been confirmed dead, victims of a "reprehensible terrorist attack". There were arrests, appeals, scandals, settlements, and two suicides, but no formal charges were ever filed. The members of Morgon's team were never found, and his own involvement was never discovered. In the ensuing years, several members of the team had tracked him down and made some very creative attempts at assassinating him. Clearly none of them had been successful thus far. His former commanding officer had been the last, his career destroyed, his own life ended in the fiery blast of a premature suicide bomb intended for Morgon. The AEYD program itself never recovered, and all of the exceptional, youthful humans enrolled in the program, the grand architects of the so-called New Alliance, were either dead or relocated to other, safer worlds for their own protection. The program ground itself to a sudden halt, and Morgon had never heard of a new iteration taking its place.
Just as well. The program, as well as the whole idea behind the New Alliance, would have sterilized the combat abilities of numerous cultures. When the attack came...
Morgon blinked, in a rare instance of surprise. An attack... from where? By whom? He felt, very strongly, that he should know this information, but within his mind he encountered only blank space. No memories, no echoes of memories, only dead air and noiseless static. Something very, very vital to not only his own continued existance but perhaps the existance of many others could hinge on this information. He found this to be troubling. Extremely troubling. He retreated back into his mind, searching those memories he could definitively categorize. There was some... thing? Some... one? who was attacking... the galaxy? A planet? Himself, personally? His mind resisted him. He recalled that he had been a sabetour of galactic peace, and that much of what he had done (at least, much of what he could remember having done) in his life had been focused on preventing the disarmament of a number of planetary armadas. If some outside force were attacking a given sector of space, would it not be better to have a united force rather than a series of smaller, paranoid ones? Of course, if the galaxy had declared peace, there would be a united force of...what, peaceful protesters? So many questions. The motives that drove him were indecipherable, even to himself. It would take him some time to unravel this mystery. In the meantime, there was still one problem that lingered the the most in his foreward consciousness: the assault on Stryrrin. Another equally ominous topic loomed nearby, one he had been hesitant to broach: the Vorg. Anyone able to transport and then subsequently release a Vorg with impunity in civilized space was someone Morgon was not entirely eager to meet on uneven footing.
He sighed, finally, a gesture he found to be all too human. It was time to meet the captain of this ship, and to see what his sudden companions had planned. If they had a plan. If not... well, there was something to be said about spontenaity. Morgon did not remember what that something was, but it could certainly be said by someone.
Part 6: Lite RevelationsEdit
He took his time on his way to the bridge. The gathering of stray thoughts could often be a futile pastime, but old habits died hard. On the way he stopped at an alcove that served as an observation port. Distant stars flickered. Space was deceiving. So much empty space was peaceful at a distance, but the closer you were, the more violent it became. An involuntary slip into memory flashed through Morgon's brain.
~ ~ ~
The bridge of the ship was quietly active. Low hums, buzzes, clicks, and tones signified the work that was being performed here, high above the blue planet the vessel orbited. The Operations Commander was calm, radiating a sense of pride, of misplaced confidence.
"Your objections have been noted, Servitor. I, however, have made my decision, and so has the Assembly. We will continue to keep your caution in mind, but the operation will continue." His voice carried the barest trace of arrogance.
"I must stress once more, Commander, that you are making a mistake," the Servitor stated. He spoke evenly, flat, cold. "The repercussions of this event will resonate far beyond your own legacy."
"Once again, duly noted," the Commander answered, perhaps a bit too harshly. He turned his eye away from the viewports. "Science team, all is in place. You may plant the seed, gentlemen." A hush, an almost unnoticeable flash of activity, and then...
~ ~ ~
Morgon shook his head. There had been no chance of deterring the course of history in that moment, not without sabotaging the ship itself. If he had known the path his existance would take from that moment, he may have done it anyway, and awaited Reconstitution in the next Phase. Hindsight. Always hindsight.
He left the observation port and went directly to the bridge. This moment had been held off long enough.
Morgon arrived at the bridge in the middle of a conversation between the two humans. He seemed to have interrupted something meaningful, judging by the looks he was no recieving. No matter.
"Doctor," he said, nodding to the human who had perhaps, he mused, saved his life. "Captain," he said to the other human, nodding again. "I'm sure you both have questions for me, some of which I have answers for."
The human female nodded curtly and extended a hand, "Valerie Deitiri, a pleasure to make your acquaintance."
Morgon shook the hand in what he thought was a respectfully tactful grip. "I appreciate being welcome aboard your vessel. It's a bit... bright, for my tastes, but that is, unfortunately, an idiosyncrasy of my people. I don't expect you to alter the ship's lighting just for me." He turned back to the doctor. "As I said, I have some answers for you. Not many, but those I can provide may be useful to you." The bridge was laid out much as he expected it to be, and he made himself comfortable at what seemed to be a science and navigation station. "I cannot say for sure, but I suspect that your planet was targeted entirely due to my presence, Doctor. There is always the possibility that my ego is making more of the situation than there really is, I am inclined to disagree with that assessment." He looked at his hands, flexed them into fists, unflexed them again. "If I had to make what you humans would call an 'educated guess', I would say your planet was attacked by the forces of a Builder."
The doctor folded his arms and leaned back against another console, "A builder..."
"A... difficult concept," Morgon answered slowly, choosing his words carefully. "I don't expect you to have heard of them. Most humans have not, which is something extraordinarily lucky for your species." He glanced around the bridge, noting the consoles, the bulkheads, the empty chairs waiting to be filled by a faithful crew. Difficult was going to be an understatement. "Imagine, Doctor, a black hole. As most species know, a black hole tends to warp reality around itself. Fundamental laws of a scientific nature break down and begin to fail. Energy is released and absorbed. The forces of creation and destruction are locked in a constant battle for control. In theory, anything would be possible. Now, imagine a being, an individual, capable of of this... distortion, this range of possibilities. Take away the black hole's attractive forces, it's tendency to devour everything in it's vicinity. This is a very short, very scant description of what a Builder is, and what a Builder can do."
"A being that possesses the ability to simulate black hole distortion in a controlled fashion?" questioned the Captain. "That sounds borderline fantastical! How many are there?"
"I would agree that it was fantasy, if I had never encountered one," Morgon said to her. "And I wouldn't call the distortion controlled; some of it may be, but the worst part about a Builder is the damage they do simply by being. A Builder can cause unimaginable space-time damage simply by inhabiting a region of space. As for their numbers... that I have no answer for. There are not many of them, but the forces they are able to command can seem uncountable."
"You've seen one?" the Doctor responded skeptically. "Actually, wait; go back to the part where one of these 'Builders' mounted an attack on my planet. Because of you?"
"Yes, well, I did kill one of them, once." Morgon raised his hands in a defensive posture. "Once. Whether I could do it again, I don't know. The methods for fighting a Builder are as varied as the Builders themselves, and there are never any guaruntees. I barely remember the event in any case. Doctor, the only evidence I have that the Builders were targeting me on Stryrrin is entirely conjecture, but I don't like to believe in coincidences. The attack began in the sector where I had been recieving your medical care, and in my history, these sorts of situations have been known to happen to me more often than I'd like." He stood and walked carefulyl and slowly to one of the viewing ports. He placed his hands behind his back. "I understand you have secrets, Doctor. So do I. I have never been what your kind would consider a 'good' man. I have done things that would be considered reprehensible by many species. That being said, those things needed to be done at the time, or at least they seemed to have needed doing, and that was the only direction I had at those times." He turned back to the pair, his eyes hard. "There is nothing we can do for Stryrrin or her people at present. We are only three beings against an unknown force. It would be my suggestion that we run fast, and run far. I don't consider myself a coward, by any means, but there are some battles that simply cannot be won by a group as small as ours. In that capacity, I offer my services. I have some limited ability in combat, and I am familiar enough with a starship's sensor equipment to perform a passable job as a science officer." He looked at the Captain. "Should you need one, of course."
The Captain nodded. "The AI core is handling it right now, but I'd prefer actual flesh and blood controlling my ship if you have the inclination. I'll transfer full access of that terminal to you."
The Doctor sighed, "I'm deciding to trust you for now, but this is over my head. I'm still considering the notion that you're suffering from delirium after hypothermia. That attack though, was very real and definitely not like anything I've seen before, and I agree that running is a good idea right now."
"You are the expert on medical health, Doctor." Morgon shrugged. "Now that we've gotten this far, are there any suggestions for a course? A mid-rim world may suit us best. If I may say so, we still need more crewmembers. A mid-rim world would give us a slightly better pool of individuals to choose from, while still being far enough away from the Alliance for you to be comfortable, Doctor."
"We're on course to Ehrial as we speak, but I can set a new destination if you wish," replied the Captain. "Speaking of which, Doctor Frost, why are you so hesitant to enter Alliance space? You don't have a criminal history as far as my research shows. The Alliance Core Network doesn't have much on you at all, actually."
"I fought in the sixth rebellion," replied the Doctor, hesitantly. "If I were identified in Alliance space, law enforcement is authorized to forcefully detain me on sight." Ahhhh, Morgon thought to himself. There it was.
"Oh; I see," replied the Captain, biting her lip.
"Is this going to be a problem, Miss Deitiri?" the human male asked, looking her in the eye.
"No, we can discuss it later," she replied, meeting his gaze for a moment before turning to Morgon. "I have no practical knowledge of galactic space outside of the Core worlds, but both of you have free access to the star map. Choose a destination and I will plot a course."
"You suggested hiring more crew? I know of a few locations where rebel war vets like me and common mercs tend to gather, what kind of people are you looking for?" the Doctor inquired of Morgon.
"That depends in large part on the Captain, and what sort of people she would be... comfortable with," Morgon said, raising an eyebrow towards her. "My own personal suggestions would be two-fold. First, I would prefer a stable team of experts, a command crew, if you will, from various fields. Mind you, I have no plans at the moment regarding the Builders, and I think it would be best if we kept them on our peripheral vision for now. Second, we need muscle; people who won't mind getting their hands dirty. I don't want to sound as if I'm suggesting we go pirate, but the Alliance is in a constant state of disarray. We may have to operate outside of the rules on more than one occasion. If that is acceptable, of course. I understand humans still believe in democracy; since there are two of you, and one of me, it seems fair of me to concede if, and when, you disagree with any of my proposed courses of action." An alert rang out from one of the nearby consoles, the timing of which seeming to be less than fortuitous to Morgon. He checked the readout ligthing up on his science station. "We may have our first candidate. There's a shuttle approaching. It seems damaged, but space-worthy."
"Got a read on any lifeforms?" the Doctor asked, moving to observe the readout over Morgon's shoulder.
"They don't appear to be on an intercept trajectory," noted the Captain, "But I can hail them." She started typing out a message on a small holographic keypad. "We will discuss a course of action after we've dealt with this."
"No time," Morgon said, becoming more interested. "They've initiated emergency docking. We could override it on our end, but i'm a bit more intrigued as to who this entity may be. An emergency docking procedure with no obvious emergency and no hailing beacon is something worth noting. Either the pilot is inexperienced, or extremely confident." He turned to the Captain. "Perhaps we'd all like to take a trip down to the docking tubes and meet our new 'guest'."
The Doctor made a face, and crouched down. from a bag on the floor he pulled out a leather holster containing a large military grade lead firing handgun. Pulling it out of the holster and sliding the clip out he checked the copper plated rounds. Morgon took note of this, reminding himself that it was likely no one in this room was entirely who they seemed.
"Could be a trap, pirates maybe, I'm not taking any chances." The Doctor explained, pushing the clip back in and strapping the holster to his hip.
The Captain frowned, but didn't comment. "This way," she said, heading for the starboard docking tubes, on the opposite wing of the one they had landed on. Anti-violence, perhaps? Morgon thought. Hard to tell. So many details to keep track of. Had he been human, he may have sighed theatrically.
"Well, then; let's be off," he said, taking the lead. Confidence was key to any tense situation.
Part 7: DestroyerEdit
Morgon and the two humans arrived at the docking port as it was finishing it's pressurization cycle. The Engurrian turned to the Doctor.
"Keep that weapon handy, just in case," he said with a nod. "Everyone ready?"
The Doctor nodded back, flicking the safety off of his hand weapon but keeping it lowered so as not to appear immediately threatening and provoke a defensive response. Good.
"They're locked in; breaking the seal in 3..." The Captain waved a holopad to life and typed in an access code. "2..." she looked back at the two of them. "1." and she tapped a control on the holographic interface, backing away to stand level with the other two as the doors slid open. Morgon's mood shifted.
Morgon's mind instantly flew into a combat readiness state, and he mentally cursed himself for not thinking to grab something, ANYTHING to use as a weapon. To say he was surprised was an understatement, but what happened next would become one of the most suprising moment's of Morgon's life.
The alien reacted within moments, eyeing each of them in turn, but it's attention focused on Morgon. The alien then took a single step forward and knelt in front of him, staring down at the deck.
"It is the will of my Lords that I serve as your weapon, Destroyer." The alien's voice was low and grating, like a blade being sharpened against a stone. "I am your sword, your dagger, your blood-soaked claws. I await your favor."
Morgon's eyebrows lifted.
"How interesting..." he said, trailing off. This was not at all what he'd been expecting upon seeing the alien.
There was a pause, and Morgon heard the two humans take a hasty pair of steps away from him. Great.
"You know each other?" asked the Captain.
"No," Morgon said, his surprise giving way to curiousity. "I've never actually met a Vierversteckt before, not on any sort of speaking terms. They are a violent, murderous race. The very fact that we are here, undamaged, in the presence of this one... very peculiar." He stayed where he was. If the alien had intended to kill them, things would have already progressed very differently. "Not that you need my permission, but you can stand up if you like," he said to the still kneeling figure. "You may want to help me put my associates at ease, as well, and explain what this is all about."
"Of course, Destroyer," the Vierversteckt said, standing to it's full height once more. It looked at the Captain. "I am called Sourek. What the Engurrian tells you about my species is vague, but true. I give you this promise: while I am in service to the Destroyer, not a one of you will suffer pain or death at my hands." It looked back at Morgon, eyes narrowing into long slits. "I have been placed in your service, until such time as I have fullfilled my destiny, as appointed to me by the Lords of the Void. This I swear upon the blood of all those who have come before."
"I see." Morgon placed a hand on his jaw, one arm across his chest resting on the elbow of the other. "What's this... Destroyer business? I've had many titles in my time, some of them not complimentary. This one does not seem familiar to me, and i'm not sure I care for it's connotations."
The creature's eyes narrowed further. "The Lords of the Void have chosen you, as they have chosen me," it said, showing a toothsome, ugly smile. "They are not always known for their sense of humor, but this seems to be one of those times when they are making a joke at our expense. What matters is that you, my reluctant master, are destined for great things, and I am duty-bound to see those great things in person." It turned towards the humans. "Perhaps your friends would care to introduce themselves? I enjoy meeting new people; oh, yes."
Morgon retreated into his own thoughts while the beast introduced itself to the others. He almost chastised himself for giving Sourek that appelation, but Morgon knew better than to call a Vierversteckt by anything else. Civilization was all well and good, but Vierversteckt society was little better than a pack of savage animals to most of the galaxy. They killed their own people almost as much as they killed those of other races, but their hyperactive procreation rate kept them alive, and in vast numbers. They would be even more of a threat, if only...
A memory, old and dark, takes shape. A flash. Lightning? No; particle disruption weaponry. He is on a planet's surface, surrounded by the dead. The warrior people of this planet have killed another ship's company of peacekeepers, as they have done with the last six attempts to include them in galactic society. He knows that this will be the last time. The Alliance has been more than generous. The next visit will be one of demiliterization, of sterlization. The weapons they love will be dsetroyed, and the warrior people will burn as their world burns beneath them.
It did not work out that way. Morgon rememebers how stunned the Alliance was upon meeting the survivors, years after they had thought the planet cleansed of life. The universe had curious ways of keeping score.
Morgon came back to reality, so to speak, as the alien finished a statement to the Doctor. "This has been... enlightening, but it's all a bit melodramatic for me. I'm going down to the galley to replenish some nutrients." He nodded to the others, and left without another word. Yes, it had been enlightening, but it left him with even more questions. First: how did he get aboard the landed ship on Stryrrin? Second, why had the planet been attacked? Third... what did it mean to be some savage, bestial alien tribe's 'Destroyer'?