Revised WIP draft: Download here
What follows is an earlier version. I'm just too lazy to go through and re-edit every single one of my posts
The Taiidan Civil War
The Homeworld Universe was created by Relic Entertainment------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
In the old stories of Taiidan Mythology, ships had more than just names. It was widely believed then that they also carried spirits of their namesakes, invoking the power behind the name whenever the vessel made battle. This myth had slowly died out after the death of Taiidan at the hands of the Imperial Hiigarans. With the death of the Emperor, belief in the higher powers also began to wane. 'No help from these ancient traditions' was the atheist views of Grand Admiral Riesstiu, now Emperor eternal of the Taiidani.
Nevertheless, in some recessed pockets of Imperial society, beliefs in the old system continued even as the Emperor began actively pursuing their destruction in the latter years of his administration. Nameless, one great believer in these ancient ways made happen the construction of a special ship in the Imperial yards. Calling favors of great uncles, friends, and other relatives, he managed to evade the Imperial Eye of inquisition to make a small niche for a special ship he knew would go down in history.
As the keel was laid in the yards it was inscribed with an ancient saying in its hull, a phrase that had been decided as the vessel’s name was also chosen. ‘That you never know suffering, famine, or death.’ A small pictogram, hidden forever in the skeleton of the ship, mirrored the ancient illumination from one of Taiidan’s oldest myths. With the sealing of the ship, her name was cemented as the ship started to take place. She was called Sessazu, after the reed in Taiidan mythology that had empowered Ishanii-Kel the power and will to challenge the daemon Keletashii.
She was completed, deck by deck, by Imperial hands unaware of what had been done to their ship. His last act before discovery, the shipwright had seen to it that the ship fall into humble hands. He died escaping arrest- his files obliterated before discovery by the Imperial Eye.
She saw several captains over her years of service, building the ship’s soul as she plied through space under Imperial service. Her successive Captains- all of the Adaal line- discovered the secret of the ship shortly before their deaths. Twice had the ship come close to destruction both in combat and at the hands of the breakers- but in both times she evaded death.
One hundred and thirty five years after she was first constructed in the old yards over Taiidan, she would once again be the pivot on which the universe spun- even if the universe itself would not know it.
Ceade Adaal, for all circumstances now, was a man.
By standard reckoning on the old calendar (from Taiidan itself), he was of 24 years of age. Were these the old days, he would be in the midst of a warrior’s training on Taiidan, possibly outfitted with the ceremonial things fitting for a young man on Ancient Taiidan. In the modern world however, it meant chiefly that he would acquire handed down things from his family, blessed with a modest sum, and then dispatched to the Imperial Academy for training in whatever field he was best suited.
Perhaps it was a mark of the times that this did not happen. Instead, Ceade was given all things belonging to his father…and the Imperial Academy would not have him, since his name was not on the established list of admissible persons. His father died poor and penniless commanding an obsolete destroyer in the service of the Emperor. There was no honor in this, and given the current economic system of the Taiidan Empire, no money.
Ceade had set about the past months seeing to the affairs of his father’s last will before he was left with nothing… save the image of his father’s ship resting in space, ready to be scrapped. The home port high over Iyoto was the primary western shipyard for the “new Taiidan Empire” relocated here on the fringe of galactic space. Originally the world was named Cona, after the fertility goddess of the civilization that first colonized the planet centuries ago. Cona was not Taiidan however, and was thus renamed by decree of the Imperial council in the name of the Eternal Emperor Riesstiu IV.
It was all Ceade knew about the planet below. Now he would remember that this is the final resting place of his father’s command… of his intended command. The Destroyer hung among the sad titles of other spacecraft intended for scrapping.
Ceade stood at the glass view port overlooking the sad ships. The Sessazu appeared just as worn out and misplaced as the other ships in the yard. Her paint was faded, her hull distorted in some places, and rust had leaked through the exterior hull plating where water had long been kept. She was dying.
Ceade imagined himself standing on the ship’s observation deck, looking inward here. He could feel the ghosts of so many souls aboard that ship awaiting their final voyage… perhaps finding peace in the deconstruction of the legendary vessel. She was old, after all, nearly one hundred years of continuous service under the banner of the Emperor. She deserved rest…yet… she had been more of a home to him than anywhere else in the universe.
Darkened, saddened, and pathetic as she was… she was still the most beautiful ship he had ever had the privilege to serve upon. It pained him greatly to see the old ship there, and be completely helpless to do anything about it.
He couldn’t take his eyes off her for a long while, but then his stomach forced him to find food. He resigned himself to picking up the bag of his worldly possessions and moving on into the bright, glossy city lights of star station Cona.
Moving away from the view port of the old, he was immediately draped in the new. Loud posters proclaimed the glory of the Empire, all voicing the notion that all young men should rise up and enlist in the Emperor’s service to crush the vile Hiigarans and their wrongful theft of the universe. It was more or less the same poster in its 120-somethingth iteration. Ceade knew the real extent of the Taiidan Empire’s military strength, and also knew that the Taiidan empire had willingly sold themselves as whores for the patronage of the most powerful man in the eastern fringes of the galaxy.
Yet that man had seen potential in the Taiidan. Ceade had believed him then, but it frustrated him today that he still could not see what Makaan had. Were the Taiidani worth saving? Maybe, he thought as he approached a restaurant, the Taiidan’s time had passed and they deserved to die quietly on the eastern fringes with all their hopes unfulfilled.
His feelings of resignation were about to draw him in completely with the ordering of his food. The goddess of fate, however, did not have this in store for him. What happened next reopened the bag of potential Ceade himself almost missed.
The station came under attack.
Many in the Imperial fragment of Taiidan space had become disheartened by the failure of the Vaygr.
After the death of their warlord and the appearance of Sajuuk, the Vaygr had fled the inner core regions and retreated deeper into their space- some outright disowning themselves from the name Vaygr and setting themselves up as independent kingdoms on the border of present Vaygr territory.
For the Taiidan, it was a nightmare answer to their ambitions. The warlord had failed them, leaving them with nothing. While the Imperial Council tried to find a way out of this predicament through spinning the usual propaganda and lies, others decided to find other means in recapturing the past glory of the Empire.
This was the second attack made by the Republican Taiidani. Proudly proclaiming the colors of white and teal, the breakaway faction was the first symptom of the disease plaguing the Imperial fragment following their separation from the Vaygr.
It was only the beginning.
Iyoto was being attacked by three separate fleets- one of which was tasked solely to capture Iyoto station. Leading the attack was the Heavy Cruiser Sansaida, named after one of the prominent space-cities that existed long ago.
The Sansaida’s captain, Lokori Kuun, was pleased at the swiftness of his force’s attack. They had managed to break out of hyperspace under a hundred kilometers from the station and engage most of the feeble defenses without a serious warning. The planetary assault force and the theatre security force were late- Kuun’s strikeforce was the first fleet to arrive in-system.
Aside from the Sansaida, Kuun had arrived with a handful of spacecraft from three different generations. The Sansaida was perhaps the oldest ship in the Republican assault force- the newest being three type 60 assault frigates constructed to replace the type 48 “Kuudark” assault frigates in the early days of their exile. Modernized, the type 60s were devastating to the system police craft.
The Sansaida hadn’t fired a shot yet, and she wouldn’t if Kuun had his way. Their energy cannons were a mixed blessing- though they offered almost paranormal accuracy and reasonable firepower, earlier models had the tendency to explode, overheat, or melt their components if used continuously. Though this risk made the Sansaida more of a figurehead than an actual combat vessel, her combat capability was not disputed.
She hung off the station’s side as her frigates and fighters engaged the enemy. The garrison forces, though feeble, consisted of a mixed bag of Taiidan craft from the past century. He was surprised to see a squadron of Ukeh strike fighters- type 28s- present at the station. The 28s were only recent fighters, famed among the Taiidan navy for their heavy gun and missile capability. He turned his attention to dealing with these ships first, since they could pick at and destroy the vulnerable marine frigates he had in his formation.
It was this redirection of attention that made him pass over the junkyard, where there were at least half a dozen combat vessels.
Ceade had never before disobeyed orders.
His superior for the longest time was his father. As his son, he was granted the same privileges and commanded the same respect in any father-son relationship. Ceade had been gunnery Captain of the Sessazu for a long time… long enough that his position as an effective leader of men was more or less assured among the officers of the Sessazu. Though he never wielded the power as the ‘captain’s son’, his ability to command in times of stress was a noted trait for him.
So it was extraordinary that he used this ability to disobey orders. His first action was to punch out the guard overseeing harbor launches. Rubbing his hand, he looked over the guard and liberated the black-suited man of his security pass and overrode the lock.
“Same idea I had.” Said a voice, making Ceade turn. Kaiid Danaai was standing in the hallway with a smirk on his face.
With a slightly annoyed expression, Ceade asked, “Are you coming, then?”
“Of course. If you’re planning a mutiny to save the ship, we’re all in with you.”
“We?” asked Ceade as he entered the command capsule.
“Yeah. Amaan is trying to find Asai, and Jael is getting the engineering staff together.” Kaiid replied.
Ceade smirked, then asked, “Has anyone actually left the station?”
“Some,” Kaiid replied as he closed the door of the travel pod. Ceade was already at the controls. Kaiid belted himself in and continued, “The gunnery staff is under investigation. Only Mahael escaped- he’s already onboard looking at the situation.”
“What were they arrested for?” Ceade asked.
“What else? Sedition and an attempt to undermine the government.” Replied Kaiid.
Ceade took a breath and sighed before saying, “I wish at least old man Toah could have made it out of that.”
“Better him and his staff than the whole crew,” Said Kaiid as he looked out the windows, then winced, “Republicans.”
“Are you sure?”
“What else flies white and teal?”
Ceade just nodded as he moved the travel capsule into position.
The Sessazu had been more or less abandoned when it was decided to be scrapped. Everything had been left in place- the crew weren’t even allowed to evacuate the personal effects they had accumulated over the years. The Imperial command had told Kaiid that there shouldn’t have been anything of that nature onboard Taiidan ships anyway- especially ones that had been in the service directly of the Emperor.
Now Kaiid, Ceade, and the Sessazu’s crew were having the last laugh as they headed through the dusty interior of their ship to their familiar stations. Ceade was on the bridge in less than ten minutes. He had been here to guide the ship home after his father passed away. He never imagined after that day that he would have the ship to command again.
There was an old saying about not looking a gift horse in the mouth, however. They were still far from getting the ship spaceworthy.
Kaiid moved to the engineering station in the darkened bridge, while Ceade tested the ship communications. The yellow-painted calling box was still operable, and he tried engineering. “Engineering, anyone there?” After no response, he tried the general comm. “All hands report in.”
“Oy,” Said Kaiid with a wave before he continued working.
Ceade gave him a look, then turned back to the call box as it buzzed. He plucked the phone off the hook and answered the call from port side Ion control. “Ceade here.”
“It’s Mahael, I’ve just gone over the weapons and things. Looks like they didn’t offload anything.”
“Everything’s still here?”
“Yessir. Nothing’s been touched save a few things to seal her up. I can’t say without Jael’s touch, but the engine still looks good. You’re going to have to ask him though.”
“I see. Get to gunnery control- Toah and his staff won’t be making it.”
“Understood.” Finished Mahael and Ceade closed the comm. He turned to Kaiid and asked, “What can you tell me?”
“I can tell you the batteries are running. Do you want lights?”
“Not if the Republicans are out there.” Said Ceade and leaned on one of the support pillars in the bridge, “Just see what you can do about housekeeping systems until Jael get’s back here. Comms are up, how long?”
“One of the backup generators is operating,” Kaiid said, “Looks like Mahael did some homework. Batteries are charged… we can run comms.” He turned his head, “If you want to power external communications, the Reps are going to know we’re active.”
Ceade looked around the bridge and found it. He moved to the corner of the bridge, stepped into the booth there, and removed the blinker from it’s housing. He check-flashed it once to make sure it was operable, then asked, “How good on you with signaling?”
“Decent, why-?” Kaiid began to ask, then saw Ceade with the equipment. He looked to his friend and said, “Trade ya.”
“Sure.” Said Ceade and the two met midway in the bridge, allowing Ceade to hand Kaiid the controller and continue to engineering.
“Y’know,” Said Kaiid, “Never thought we’d be back here. Not after death came to the ship."
Kaiid was referring to the black suited Imperial Naval Commodore who delivered the order personally to retire. “Neither did I.” Said Ceade and ran a hand on the engineering panel with a smile. He then returned to the task of reviving his maiden.
“Jael’s coming,” Said Kaiid.
Jael was quick to work. Though an older man, Jael was a magician with engines. He didn’t even visit the bridge, but set to work in the engineering spaces. He had a report for Ceade within ten minutes.
“Asai said she was on her way- Amaan’s gone looking for Jocheim.” He began, then said, “Looks like the engine is just the way I left it. From all the extra paint in here I’d say we were either meant for scrapping or target practice. In any case, I can have the engines fired up for you inside five minutes.”
“Can you do it less?”
“If I still had my hands on her last week I’d say so, but there’s no telling without constant maintenance. I’m going outside the book on this one captain, I’ll keep you informed.”
Ceade left it at that. If anyone, Jael was in the know about the Sessazu’s engines. It had been joked once that the man had married the engine and fussed with it like the husband of an old couple. Ceade almost believed it true, given some of Jael’s bouts early in his tenure on-ship, until he learned that Jael had escaped one of the most prestigious lifestyles in the imperial fragment… all just to run away from the most vile woman in the empire. It was said his sons were still looking for him and seeking arrest for the funds he stole from the family upon departure.
More shuttles arrived, docking at the Sessazu’s port dock before casting off empty. Each load brought more of the crew back to the ship- and at the speed which this transpired, it seemed to Ceade that they were waiting for something like this to happen. He understood- nobody wanted to leave the Sessazu that had spent most of their lives here.
He also had the feeling another adventure was about to begin- but for good or ill, he had yet to decipher.
When Amaan arrived with Asai, most of the crew had resumed stations. They were just over a skeleton crew and Ceade had ordered the lights turned on. The bridge stations were mostly empty still.
When Amaan arrived, he came with an apology. “I couldn’t find Jocheim. I’m guessing they got him.”
Ceade nodded, then said, “We can do without a navigator for now. Take helm, and prepare to get us out of here. Jael has the engines ready to go.”
“Aye,” Said Amaan and returned to his seat at the helm.
Ceade then turned to Asai and asked, “And you?”
“Ready as I’ll ever be.” She said with a smile. Ceade nodded back, remembering the first time she came aboard some years ago- the captain’s daughter of a freighter they had attempted to rescue from the Vaygr, in the days before the alliance. Now she was one of the best medical officers Ceade had the pleasure to work with- and one of the few females to carry an Imperial commission in the navy. That is, until recently.
Kaiid sat at the engineering station while Amaan powered up the navigation console. Beneath him, the Sessazu sighed to life. Sensors, navigation, and the space control posts were empty. They’d have to make due.
Ceade activated the comm. System and dialed engineering. Jael responded, “Engine’s hot, we’re ready to go when you are.”
“Good, we’re about to head out. Keep me posted.” He ordered and slapped the phone back on it’s mounting. He turned and ordered, “Helm, about face.”
Thrusters fired on the Destroyer of one hundred and twenty seven years. The Sessazu was returning to battle.
The Sansaida’s sensor officer suddenly announced, “Captain! I’m detecting capital ship emissions nearby!”
Captain Kuun turned his head. “Impossible! No hyperspace signatures were detected-“
“Nevertheless,” said the sensors officer, “I’m reading power emissions from within the boneyard. Looks like one of the old derelicts has powered up and is underway.”
Kuun arched an eyebrow, then leaned forward and said, “Bring us within firing range. That destroyer won’t leave alive.”
The Sansaida turned on her axis and then applied power through her six engine bells. Gunnery command had been informed and the huge frigate-sized energy turrets rotated int heir mounts to prepare to pummel the enemy capital ship into submission. With a derelict, it should be easy.
“Target confirmed,” Said the sensor officer, “It’s a Type 54, looks like…” He checked his figures, “Mod 4 or Mod 5. Can’t say without a line of sight contact.”
“Con aye.” Said Kuun, and looked out the windows as the heavy cruiser rounded the station.
Ceade, standing next to the sensors panel, saw the alert. The Sessazu was still receiving tactical broadcasts from the station, since the Republicans didn’t think there was anyone left to receive it. He pointed out the window, “Wait for them to clear the station for a good shot. They’ll be passing us on the port side… you know what that means.”
“Aye,” Replied Mahael from gunnery command.
The port ion cannon was charged and ready to fire as the Sessazu hid behind the remains of a water-damaged boiler.
The white-and-teal ship began to pass by, apparently oblivious to the fact that a trap had been laid.
Ceade gave a simple command, “Now!”
The top thrusters on the Sessazu fired and the ship descended- clearing her ion cannons…
“Firing.” Mahael announced.
The ion gunner triggered the ion cannons remotely from Ceade’s former station. Blue-white fire erupted form the port ion mount and slammed into the Heavy cruiser’s bridge- shattering the glass and incinerating the command crew there in one shot.
The Sessazu continued to clear, where Mahael asked the forward turrets to train on their new target. Both guns eagerly fired, announcing their willingness to fight after nearly thirty years of being silent in anger.
The shells impacted close to the bridge, but were not enough to penetrate the thick armor. Still, the enemy cruiser continued to coast forward as Ceade guessed the crew was trying to figure out what happened. He leaned forward and commanded, “Amaan, Now, while we have the chance.”
Amaan needed no further commands as he activated the Sessazu’s primary engine bells. The three drives fired in unison and the destroyer cleared the debris field, then turned to face her rear at the cruiser and flee at best speed.
“Bridge! BRIDGE!!!” Demanded Commander Itoda. Frustrated, he stabbed his finger on the communications button and turned, saying, “Contact fleet command and ask them for instructions.”
“But, sir!” One of the operators in the navigational bridge began.
“I SAID DO IT!” Shouted Itoda, then watched the operator go to work. He stared out ahead through the round view ports just over Ion turret number one. He had felt the destruction of the bridge, but didn’t get clarification until just now.
They were still trying to get control of everything aboard ship. Since the energy cannon’s control nexus had been placed in the bridge as an emergency measure, it’s destruction meant the turrets were offline- unless Itoda wanted to risk using them without computer control and perhaps destroy his ship. As fantastic as the weapons were, they weren’t entirely reliable, and the enemy destroyer was already too far away for the ion cannons to engage. For now, he would do his best to keep the rest of the ship intact while the invasion was complete.
“Jael,” Ceade said through the inter-ship comm. , “Fire the hyperdrive.”
The Sessazu’s spherical hyperspace module hummed to life and the Sessazu managed to escape the Iyoto system- bound for the inner territories of the Imperial fragment.
Two hours later they learned of the Republican uprising… and two hours after that… they learned the entire Imperial fragment had descended into civil war.