Welcome and thanks for clicking on this thread.
This is a HWC fanfiction that will be closely based on the actual events of the standalone game "Homeworld:Cataclysm" but features various original characters of a (somewhat-vassal) clan/kiith and plotlines based on installments of my other fanfiction "Tales of the Vjel-Amaj".
While this story will follow the path of the original Kiith Somtaaw vessel 'Kuun-Lan', it will still feature characters of the TOVJ fan fiction and there will be a lesser fan-created vessel that will join the Kuun-Lan's side as it ventures into, heh, equatorial hells.
The current working title is "The Purifying Flame" is likely to be changed in the future. This story is experimental in writing for me.
The initial idea of writing this story was inspired by Doberman211, who wrote a HW1 story based on the actual venture of the Kharakian Mothership to Hiigara.
Quick Notes about this fanfiction
As probably noticeable by now, I am shooting fics out of my head faster than a machine gun. While many are certainly brainfarts, I just like writing, plus it lets me take a break from other stories.
Unlike the other fictions of mine, this is one is focused on the HWC game. However, I do intend to add more that happened between than just following the game's plotline. I will alter it for sure to ensure it does not get boring .
- There will be errors in diction and grammar. English has not been my main language for some two decades now. Bear with me.
- This story is aimed for 18+ as it features violence. (And light-detail romance ;D)
- Aside to optional musical themes from youtube, there will also be certain links leading to the cutscenes of the game, as well as direct links to favorable mp3 themes from Robotech/Macross and various other of my taste. My taste is bad, but if you can read while listening to the music, it could enhance the feel.
- There will be several perspectives actually. One is that of the protagonist but also that of the military branch of the Kuun-Lan. It is intended that the protagonist's viewpoint is in " modern" speech. Nevertheless, the Kuun-Lan will remain in Homeworld-speech style. Despite the initial first person aspect in many occasions, the story is to be in omniscient narration. Full first person would have been too limiting and would work against my urge to learn how to write clean and thoroughly; yet an authentic first-person story is another challenge to take on in the future.
This fanfiction plunges into the lives that serve the struggling Kiith Somtaaw and not only shows the progress of the Kuun-Lan's fleet command but also those who serve onboard the single vessel of their minor kiith; a deep space auxiliary tender.
last note: First paragraphs are a slightly altered reference of the HWC introductory narration.
Table of Contents
Prologue (scroll down, bro!)
/o\ Homeworld: The Purifying Flame /o\
### Homeworld Cataclysm - Introduction ###
The war for Hiigara has left the galaxy in turmoil. The past fifteen years have seen the birth of new possibilities ... and the festering of old grudges. The once dominant Taiidan Empire has fractured under the strain of civil war.
The new Taiidani Republic tries to hold old territories together. Forces loyal to the old Emperor lurk in the new bandit kingdoms, waiting for their chance to strike back.
While the Taiidani struggle between past and future, the Kushan people have established themselves on Hiigara… Building new cities. Repairing the damage done by the final battle for their homeworld.
Even a fragile peace has its politics. The Kiith council has been reestablished, and the future of Hiigara is now debated amongst the gathered Kiith-Sa. Even amongst equals, there are power struggles.
The Mothership still orbits high above Hiigara. Pressed into the role of shipyard, she now builds new carriers to the specifications of each individual Kiith. The need for new ships and the crews to man them is a desperate one. Military and economic pressure on the new Hiigarans is intense.
Resources and technology are at the command of the council. Kiith with little or no political power have been forced to purchase technology from the Bentusi and other races. Hiigaran ships of exotic design now seek their future amongst the stars.
The war for Homeworld is over now. But the galaxy remains a dangerous place...
Of clan and kiith
Of clan and kiith
What can I say about how life was back then during that era? It was not easy, to be honest, not easy especially for those like me back then who were actually bloodless at that time… That was how they used to call us back then. Unlike you of today, there was a time where youngsters were kiithless.
Being no part of any kiith was something one has to understand as a factor that will never let you progress in life unless you dedicate yourself to something. Of course, one could live on somewhere, but almost any time in such life would one be walking around, stumbling upon various opportunities given by various kiith and clans. Sure, there were some that were just trying to bolster their numbers for lousy pay, but there was a lot more to it back then, you young bloods.
There was something about dedication back then regarding this brave new Homeworld we all know as Hiigara. It was roughly… in the year… I'm not sure… 9259 GSY - which should be some thirteen… or fifteen years into AHL. Bah, I'm sure it was thirteen… I think, but yes, about thirteen or fifteen years After Hiigaran Landfall.
The colonization program we were all part of actually became a desperate act of survival. When we were woken from our cryogenic sleep, we were shared the tragic truth of Kharak; the desert planet that was once thought to be our actual Homeworld and was now nothing but a scorched, barren sphere deprived of atmosphere and life. We learned that the Taiidan Imperialist under the rule of Emperor Riesstiu IV the Second had ordered the Genocide upon Kharak.
The Mothership that now slumbers at the very orbit above us had transported the only survivors left of Kharak. The journey to the Homeworld was a struggle to elude extinction! Nobody ever thought so much could happen what felt like only seconds of sleep. However. Life was not easy after the awakening. We were roughly 600,000 colonists who survived and the majority had to coup with the truth that the people of Kharak were no more.
Oh yes… I was derailing there. Sorry. Heh… About me, you ask? It was not easy as I said before. The only good news was the fact that my mother was the only person left of what I could call family. She was deeply struck by the tragedy, but she dealt with it her way. It was a surprise that we were chosen as colonists. Even so, we were never really part of any kiith. And with me insisting to do my duty so she could establish a life without enduring labor for the greater good, I decided to enroll to a kiith or clan after all. And trust me; NOBODY wants to serve the greater good as a bloodless. With me joining such, this would ensure that she would receive a subsidiary salary as for being a relative to a kiith member. Yes, currency was not a serious matter, but let's say the general aspect of being part of something, so nobody would be pointing fingers.
Anyhow. Like many kiithid, all knew that Hiigara was still in the process of rebuilding cities… but also that in order to prosper that it would need to reach to the stars… and for me to ensure that the only person in my life would have a better life than on Kharak, I knew I had to take on the challenge. After all, it is somewhere obvious that we do have some bit of Kiith Gaalsien in us - something not everybody should know of. Well, being swarthy yet without Gaalsi tattoo made it easier for us to mix with the others. I was, well, not much older than you youngsters, yet old enough to enroll to anything.
Joining a kiith was not that easy, though. And having a mother who was deeply worried about everything regarding me made it difficult enough. In the end, she knew she needed to let me go. To keep it safe, she discovered a newly established kiith -- err, well, it wasn't really a kiith actually.
Politics were very rough as there were a few strong kiith and many, many smaller kiithid who had to fight for their seat and voice in the Daiamid Council of Hiigara. Some either chose to be annexed or fusioned with the major kiithid, while others endured their struggle on their own as separate clans.
But back to the kiith I was speaking of - It was actually a clan. A clan is a lot smaller than a kiith - pretty much a kiith without meaning. But this was actually good for our case. Commitment to a clan was something that was temporary. Of course, you had to be part of a full cycle of service - a tour of duty, you could say - but when that was over, you could always leave. Nevertheless, the pay and degree of gratitude was to be fortunate enough for my taste to cover the needs for my mother, allowing me peace of mind so I would not need to worry all day about her.
But where did we end up?
Our eyes fell upon the Asune clan, a small and meaningless kiith of that time. It was appealing for my mother as it was not a military but an industrial one. Their agenda was actually quite interesting. Establishing a future foothold in space as an enclave to allow the clan to prosper to an independent kiith sounded good in my ears and my talents were actually worth something after all.
I'd need to explain something regarding a specific matter. You see, the Mothership scaffold you can see now in the sky was refitted and established with a sophisticated shipyard that could build vessels for any kiith -- BIG vessels. The Daiamid Council and the kiithid parties of it were the ones who could decide about the future of Hiigara as well as the use of the Mothership's so-called PDA and the actual assembly. However, with powerful kiithid around, the lesser ones were unlikely to gain much time provided once they would manage to achieve a minor foothold in the council.
The first few years after Hiigaran Landfall went by and the Asune clan found itself in a troublesome situation. Standing alone against all proved to be difficult, and the leaders even considered joining the major kiithid. However, the Asune was then approached by another true yet small kiith that was growing in numbers. It was a former conglomerate of industrial clans back on Kharak that had united to a kiith prior to the journey to Hiigara.
This kiith was Somtaaw.
The Kiith Somtaaw revealed its dismay and that at the verge of being absorbed by Kiith Nabaal. Normally, no kiith or clan would reveal such detail as there was always intrigues going on. Of course, a kiith could refuse such and there were many other possibilities, but it was the fact that in order prosper, one would have to sacrifice something.
But now here's the thing: Even as a small kiith, they revealed an interesting plan on how to achieve a key foothold in the Daiamid - without being absorbed into greater kiithid. It was to form a pact of trust. The pact of trust, just like the word of any Hiigaran, is a serious matter. Something that can never be broken - and if you think a promise is the word, you are greatly mistaken. The pact of trust of course was part of a greater good agenda; and it would only succeed if the participating and initiating clans would do their part whilst maintaining silence.
The plan was genuine yet difficult; not only in its execution but also for various others. Success would lead to the agreement that the Kiith Somtaaw would have superior access to the Mothership's PDA. Regardless of how many days our secret alliance would bring, the Kiith Somtaaw would receive the superiority -- which was obvious as it was a kiith opposed to several clans that were meaningless alone yet worthy when, well, bunched-up. None of the clans wanted to become slave-clans either. There was no slavery, but you know well enough when a greater aristocrat looks down on its laborers.
Even so, the few clans that were part of the trust were to pledge themselves as subtle vassal clans of Somtaaw; Asune and others would become brothers and sisters of the small Kiith Somtaaw but would not only maintain their independency - They would also receive minor vessels as well. Regardless of how many days the Somtaaw could achieve, the rules would grant additional days solely for vassal clans - thankfully, as it was a rule that ensured that vassals also had their take. It was not much, but it was enough.
Now while that may not sound that great, the separate clans became intrigued with the idea. Some were very concerned as they thought of it to be a trap, a political gag or scheme of some sort, but the chance of receiving a vessel and other smaller units for each clan would very much bring the fortune they all sought for, as well as development for us all. For the first time, we all felt that the stars were in reach. Well, I could care less somewhere, since I was part of a clan that was not really going anywhere so far - but at least the minor pay was well enough for my mother and I.
But it all worked out and the Kiith Somtaaw succeeded - though with very questionable acts.
The Kiith Somtaaw received some 45 days of control over the Mothership's PDA. So… This Kiith of the Shimmering Path decided to name its christened vessels after temples of their lore. The Somtaaw developed two major vessels that you certainly know from the history classes:
The first Mothership was the Faal-Corum and the second - and likely renowned one - was the Kuun-Lan. It was amazing. The Somtaaw did it!
They cleverly managed to develop two authentic Mothership-class vessels. Uh, okay, if I remember correctly - it was nowhere the size of the true Kharakian Mothership, but the aspects were truly beyond that of a super carrier.
They were Explorer-Class Motherships - Deep Space Mining Vessels, capable of maintaining a massive four-figure crew as well as being capable of devout mining, harvesting and modular construction, allowing it to adapt to given situations in space. That also allowed them to be less dependent of shipyards. It also possessed a hyperspace module powerful enough for combined fleet jumps as well. The Somtaaw also conceived the Clee-San, a highly sophisticated science frigate in the last days of use.
Thanks to the legislative rules of the Daiamid Council, the vassal clans receive several days, allowing them to construct FTL-capable vessels as well. The Somtaaw kept to the pact of trust and not only shared decisive details regarding efficient construction but also gave us key suggestions that proved to be genuine as well. If we w
As for the Asune, the clan conceived the Kebren-Ito vessel- "The Guiding Light". The Kebren-Ito was a vessel that was vaguely the size of a carrier. It was classified as a deep space auxiliary tender that could support a decent number of crew, several corvettes and could conducting mining as well. Now while it was much smaller than the Somtaaw Kuun-Lan, it could provide a lot more in various other fields. I remember somebody saying it was something like a light carrier - but further supportive industrial aspects.
Thanks to the supporting funds of Kiith Somtaaw, its sensors were a lot more sophisticated and it could also engage vital repairs on crippled vessels that were sometimes even larger than the ship itself; most importantly, being capable of projecting a stable yet combined quantum wavefront - more or less a way of tugging crippled ships. I am not a quantum physicist, but people said the fields could be reinforced to protect the vessel during hyperspacial traval - effectively extending jump range. Something like that.
Oh - And it was much safer, unlike other kiithid attempting such and tearing ships apart - or even worse, which we also discovered.
The tender had minor defenses against raiders but we were usually able to either detect the threats early on or make sure we had the proper escort. The Kebren-Ito also possessed processors to refine ore and such that was worthy for any sentient space-faring faction.
It proved to be vital - and the Somtaaw were right. There were kiithid who rushed the constructions of vessels and fitted them with expensive modules as well as untested drives, and it was common to receive word of either lost or deadweight vessels in space. Thanks to the rare aspects of the tender, it could retrieve the precious vessels - of course at the price of decent deals and prestige in return. In the end, the Asune gained much in fortune as we endured our missions around the systems within reach of Hiigara.
I'll talk about the other clan vessels another time.
As for that time… The future was going to be neither easy for the Kiith Somtaaw nor for the three clans if they were to go their ways. The Asune as well as the other two clans were rather skeptical regarding the Somtaaw's suggestion to maintain this joint venture. Despite concern, the three clans agreed, but with stricter changes to the pact of trust ensuring that they were not vassals to the kiith and that the clan's decisions would be taken seriously despite the voice of the Somtaaw kiith'sa leader in the Daiamid.
Well, I said a lot… But where was I during that… era of terror…
It all started on a day that was actually going well. I was onboard the Kebren-Ito during a third cycle in service of the Asune clan. I'd almost say that the Asune clan and the ship was becoming my new home. My mother was safe on Hiigara and somewhere, life felt to be normal. Living in space was tedious and hard work, but the struggle was worth it. Once I achieved a decent status for the both of us, I could return to Hiigara and enjoy life there for years to come until I would have to serve again.
And all was going as planned…
The Kebren-Ito was part of the Kuun-Lan flotilla. Two other clan vessels were with us, supporting the mining operation at the orbit of a celestial moon. We were somewhere at the outskirts of the Homeworld system when the first hell broke loose. But… prior to that happening, things went as usual. No troubles with raiders. No technical problems. Nothing really.
During the course of that day, my shift was actually over, just like the rest of those who were part of my shift - and there were several friends coming back from a mining sortie with their Worker corvettes.
I was part of an industrial team, a so-called section consisting of some thirty men per unit. Although I was more involved as a technician, our teams maintained and manned Worker corvette #4 most of the time.
I can remember it as if happened yesterday… I waited for them at the airlock ports. Another friend joined me, who was actually nervous to meet up with a specific person again. As you know, it is obvious for colleagues to become close friends.
- Family business -
= Sector -1.0.0 - Outskirts of the Hiigaran Homeworld System. Orbit of 5th moon of the 13th planet. =
### Homeworld Cataclysm Soundtrack - #26 ###
The barren moon throws a shadowy blanket over the fields of minor asteroids captured in the well of the small yet frozen planetoid. Although utter darkness blinds the eye, one is soon to discover patches of periodically shimmering stars approaching the edge of the shadowy flank. Rows of light reveal the countless decks of a Hiigaran mothership, joined by three other vessel as well as several small units moving about the area.
Batches workers continued their duties. Energetic fields were hurled upon random asteroids. Each wave of these nimble industrial corvettes used their forward phased disassembler array to decompose various materials from the myriad of rock formations and absorb them into their bays. Once saturated, the units returned to the majestic vessel, transferring the gathered resources into its belly by the ports found across the lower sections. Hours of nonstop strip mining services had gone by and a selected few of the worker corvettes split from the operation in order to exchange the exhausted crewmen.
Two packs of three small fighters continually swept through the area, patrolling and finding nothing but thousands of obstacles to dodge.
= Kebren-Ito. Corvette docking bay. Aft section =
Men and women in industrial suits moved along the area, minding their separate duties. Dark orange and yellow was common upon their industrial attires. Announcements were made every now and then. The bay area was flooded by the noise of voices and the clatter caused by the industrial units that was right above the deck. Every now and then, faint rumbles went through the entire area, obviously caused by worker corvettes that either dropped of ore material or docked with the vessel.
A young man with dark skin leaned against a fixed container. He yawned and crossed his arms again after wiping his face. He coughed a few times as he still had some of the fine asteroid residues on his suit. The recent shift at the industrial segment was strenuous. Just when he looked back to the floor, a sudden slap against his shoulder woke him from his drowsiness.
"What the --"
"Surprise", another familiar voice said, "Hey, Rojan. How's it going?"
Rojan stood up and turned around. Looking at the other young man, Rojan recognized his friend and colleague of the same industrial section, Lucius Rhys Asune. Lucius was a Hiigaran who had fair skin, short blond hair, blue eyes and just about the same average height as his darker counterpart. Although he did not have the iconic sharp eyes of an Asune, he already pledged himself fully to the Asune clan, thus receiving all privileges.
"Fine, actually. Just damn tired", Rojan replied and stretched his back, "*Ugh* That shift was quite a tough one."
"Agreed. But according to the industrial command, it was totally worth it. Looks like we're harvesting a gold mine. Did you hear the report? So far we found heavy elements as well as radioactives. Pretty much the stuff we have on us right now."
"Radio-- Wha-- don't tell me that we were --?!"
"Of course not, man. Just kidding - Well, they did find valuable radioactives - just only that they used the internal disassembler to decompose it."
The darker man took a deep breath and shook his head, "Knock it off, heh. I'm insisting to stay alive for a long while, you know."
"Same here. Hey, shouldn't the others be here now?"
"Actually, that should be the case by now", Rojan noted, "Guess they are the last Worker to dock… actually, they're always the last one… I'm sure the bunch is just as exhausted as we are."
"Late as usual. But hey. You know the drill as soon as I mention 'booze' to them. Easiest tool to enlighten spirits", the other Hiigaran shook his head, "Speaking of which. ' you coming with us to the dig? Enough to drink and new people around. Especially with the Somtaaw and other clan members of the flotilla onboard, it could get interesting for you too. After all, we're free of the next two duty shifts to come. Enough time to get drunk and sleep it out till duty again."
Rojan lifted an eyebrow, "Drunk? Since when are crewmen allowed to be that off duty --"
"Pssst. Nobody needs to know we got some real stuff", Lucius quietly said, waving his hands in a downwards motion.
"Uh, right. Well, I already have a headache. I'll skip the real stuff. But, I really could need a short nap. That last shift was a killer. Better off getting some rest. That was the last time I try to sleep while the flotilla is in hyperspace, Lucius. I almost fell asleep while operating that processor unit earlier today."
"Heh, yeah. Saw you dozing off. Lucky for you it was one of the subordinate staff who woke you up. "
"But thanks for dropping by. I'm sure the others will be happy to see you. After this, you better hit the bunk, man. You look like you want to hop right into the cryo-sleep shift, eh?"
Rojan nodded with a weary face. The two men turned around when they noticed the specific signal light flashing from yellow to green, revealing that the airlock port had been pressurized and locked. At the same time, an announcement was made.
""Worker #4, pressurization completed. Anchorage confirmed and locked. All green. Clear to disembark. Welcome back.""
It was clear that Lucius was slightly anxious about the people who were onboard the worker that had just docked. Likewise, Rojan was looking forward to it as well. Several friends were onboard Worker #4 that was also their designated corvette for space duty. Over the three cycles of service, Rojan became part of a small clique that served onboard the Asune vessel as the other two clan vessels of the flotilla. Working tightly together in space brought entire groups to learn each other closely.
However, the two men were Hiigarans of different heritages than the native asune people or those of the other clans onboard. Native asune were well known for their shorter appearances as well as their notable sharp eyes. Nevertheless, it was common to have various ethnic groups serving throughout the wild mix of kiithid and clans of Hiigara; and thus, all were Hiigarans.
The airlock was large for it size, offering much leeway not only for personnel but also for medium-sized vehicles to load cargo. Since the Worker corvette was to receive a replacement crew right after a maintenance run, a group of mechanics was standing by, reading to board as soon as the current crew departed.
After the mechanical seal at the center of the airlock rotated several times, the automated units went active, slowly opening the blast shields and the three parts pressure ducts.
A small group of men and women exited the airlock, all wearing specific industrial suits for space duty. A strong smell of oil stung their noses. Visible Fog continuously emitted from the rims of the airlock. All were happy to finally be onboard again. Various heavy steps clattered upon the grated floor. Many greeted the engineering teams as well as the two Hiigarans who wove back and shook hands.
But finally, familiar and friendly faces disembarked from the corvette's airlock. Many had their pressure helmets dangling on their back or in their hands. Aside to minor differences of colored stripes, their suits had sky blue and white schemes. Their suits were of space-hardened material and also possessed protective plastics that also were devices. Cables and straps dangled from the sides of a few people; obviously the universal tools for seat harness and linking one's suit-integrated PDA with a specific system. Likewise, many had thick black cylindrical antennas pointing outwards from their shoulders, leading to a small unit as well as an ear plug with a curly cable.
It was a great feeling for Rojan to be part of a group that enjoyed his company. There were at least eight different faces he knew well. Some were siblings; others were from the other clans of the flotilla. Familiar faces were greeted by lifting the chin to each other.
*Yawn* - The female of the trio before them stretched herself.
"Erentir, Mak'. Rilese -- Glad you all made it back, everybody", the dark Hiigaran greeted once more, "How was the shift? Heard there were a lot rocks to dodge."
The two Hiigaran brothers chuckled after looking at each other.
Rilese intervened before the others responded, "Hey, Roe -- It was quite… well… rocky."
Mak chuckled, "Yeah, Rilly rocky."
"Rilly wild", Erentir added.
The woman knocked her knuckles against his shoulder, "Very funny, brothers..."
"It was quite the way he said it actually", Erentir added as he rubbed his head, "Rill's conning run was quite interesting. Little sister took some interesting courses to dodge a few rocks. Oh, and she's the one who was responsible for that bump that went through the ship, if you noticed -- heh, the fourth time this week."
The young woman grumbled, "Hey. How about you boneheads take over the conn' next time we're in a class 7 asteroid field?! Not easy when you have some Somtaaw mining foreman blathering in your ear while having a full tummy of ore and a ship full of people. And for having controls that were sluggish -- You have no clue that it's a damn responsibility! Fortunate enough that the worker corvettes have a decent turn rate."
Erentir patted her shoulder, obviously not even taking her ramble seriously, "Now now, little sister - Was just a tease between siblings, eh. Calm down", he said with a gentle cheer, "We're still alive, after all. For what it's worth."
<<If one more happens this week, you owe me, Erentir>>, Mak whispered into his ear, only to receive an elbow nudge from his sister - and then from his brother.
The Galaheth trio
The dark-skinned man examined the trio as they teased each other.
The three siblings were of the Galaheth clan; an old kharakian and the second supporting clan of this mining flotilla, hailing from the clanship Caeth-Shtan, which was also known as the Caeth-Ito to hint its current allegiance to an official flotilla. The Galaheth clan never planned to seek fortunes in interstellar rocks like the Kiith Somtaaw, yet the urge to venture the stars and explore the galaxy with a free spirit was something that was intriguing for the rather politically-meaningless clan.
The Kiith Somtaaw however was certain that willing bright and creative minds on their side would prove their use if the secret plans of the allegiance would succeed. As of today, several teams serve onboard the Somtaaw deep space frigate Clee-San that was not part of the current flotilla. It was clear that for the Kiith Somtaaw and the clanships to prosper that the exchange of manpower and resources was imperative.
Regarding this, various people found new fields and tasks. Even though the Galaheth people served in industrial fields, the primary role of the Caeth-Ito was to offer various on-site solutions by their ways of scientific wisdom and creativity. It is true that various the initial blueprints of the modular vessel upgrades were developed by the Galaheth clanship. Combined with the Clee-San, the two science vessels could perceive traces of riches throughout the deeps of the Hiigaran region. And many bright minds were serving throughout the flotilla. The people of the Galaheth clan were well known for their humor and perception of life; often seen as a Kiith Manaan without the tribal warrior blood.
One of the many was Erentir Ontaria Galaheth, who was the tallest of the siblings and likewise taller than Rojan. Although the suit made him appear thicker, he was much slimmer than he seemed at this moment. Erentir's skin was the palest of the three, which was likewise the cause for not only being space-born but also for the lack of sensing the sun on his skin. Despite this, he was just as healthy as the others. The young man did have long dark hair that was hidden behind the thin hair cover. Like his brother, the two commonly maintained the operations station that dealt with the harvesting units of mining corvettes.
Makir Ontaria was the oldest, despite being the intermediately sized one of the three. He does not joke as much as his other brother as he tends to focus more on the given task. Nevertheless, he was of a kind nature like the rest of the group. Mak', as friends called him, was notably stronger regarding his stature - although heavy duty suits made him appear slightly thicker, much to the amusement of his brother. His complexion was slightly bronzer, which was probably the result of ingesting organic and healthy food.
Their "little" sister was in reality only a notable centimeter or two smaller than Makir. The young woman had a round face, dark brown eyes, and reddish hair that was currently hidden beneath the cover to hold them from floating around. Rilese Ontaria however was truly not as skinny as she tried to be; most notably by the size of the suit that was actually a number or two too small. This did not support her rather meaningless bust as well.
Even though it was against regulations, Rill always applied the tightest wear to emphasize an attractive silhouette, arguably stating that these Somtaaw-issue suits were made for men despite feeling discomfort in them all the time. Due to this stubbornness, it was common to see her twitch and fumble with her suit; always trying to put herself in place time and again. Unfortunately, it had become a habit and it was not rare to see her do the same in an off-duty attire.
Despite her quirkiness, Rilese was a friendly personality who enjoyed talking with Rojan and others and what became more of a band of close friends. However, Rill was quite clumsy and more or less accident-prone as her nature and appearance hinted. She was also the type that could be easily distracted.
Rilese main profession was corvette conning; maneuvering small ships to desired locations and back. The case of bad fortune always flawed her reputation due to the need of erratic flight patterns, bumping dockings and nervous complaints. Regardless of this, she did her job and knew that it was her prime responsibility to bring miners to their location and to bring them safely back home. Rojan never really understood why this friendly yet troubled nut hung around with him that much. Even so, he was nevertheless glad he met everybody.
"Not that I'm complaining, but where's Arison and Hidoro? Seen Joris and Gija back there, but where are the other two", Rojan asked, wondering why there were no other familiar faces disembarking.
Rilese giggled lightheartedly, "Joris and Gija are comparing internal diagnostics with external readings, making sure that #4 is ready for the next run. As usual, the two are all craving for the report of the materials we harvested. Somtaaw Kuun-Lan stated that there were some valuable resources in the material we harvested.
Dorothy is taking care of some last logistics, uh, things. Last time the bay command got on his tail because he forgot to charge battery units before we started our duty shift this cycle. He also had a bit of an argument with somebody of command and, well, bad idea."
"Indeed, especially when it’s the whole section that gets punished", Makir sighed, "Was the reason we were forced to roll on two very long shifts."
Rojan looked to the ceiling, "But of course. That is why we had to do another ton of hours… No wonder."
"Aye", the other brother concluded, "Collective punishment to ensure no individual does it again. I thought we were engineers, not convicts."
"Want to switch to the Kuun-Lan? I'm sure they're looking for workers."
"Oh, hell no. Heh. Anyways. Glad you guys are back. Class 7 rock fields are not easy, but at least all went well..."
"And we should celebrate that, and I know just the thing, guys", Lucius added, gaining their attention, "Our clan mates have another stash of liquid gold. And you know what that means…"
Despite being dirty and weary, several faces suddenly became euphoric. It was probably the best news since they boarded they returned from the strenuous shift.
"Hey, Luuucy…", a female voice said with calmness.
Rojan and the others moved aside when he noticed the taller Hiigaran woman moving out of the airlock, heading straight the specific person.
<Now comes the best part>, Mak said.
<Heh. The greeting ritual, you mean>, his brother added, <Shheeeee-it… Here we go again.>
Like many of the worker corvette, she wore the thick duty suit that had many gadgets and components across its sophisticated attire. The actual colors however were different and emitted a warrior's presence. Predominately, one would notice the distinct dark green schemes and the iconic symbols of the third clan of the flotilla. The fabric of the suit was of a thick material that was extremely sturdy, resistant yet flexible; no doubt that it could withstand the harsh realm of vacuum space and more.
Tubes went from the left shoulder across torso to the bulky pouch on the side of the right thigh. A heavy and bulky pistol was slung over her back. Although it appeared to be of a considerably large caliber, it was obvious that the weapon was specifically made for zero-G environments.
Lucius petrified the moment he spotted the taller woman coming straight for him. She removed the piece of fabric that covered her hair. The tall woman had bright green eyes and beige hair that shimmered as the light of the deck fell upon it. The green pearls focused on nothing else but the young man she approached.
Once she was in range, the tall woman immediately wrapped her arms around Lucius' sides, embracing and lifting him almost off his feet as she pressed her lips against his surprised face. She held him almost in the air for at least six long seconds of a passionate kiss. Lucius landed upon weary feet for a split second when she lowered him again.
<That lucky little bastard… >, Makir slowly raised his fist to the height his shoulder, followed by a pat of Erentir on the other side.
<I know just how you feel.>
The Galahethian sister made a subtle frown.
"Ah... I was looking forward to that", she added with a smile, "Best part of my day."
Rojan wrapped his arms and greeted her with a nod.
"Arison", he replied with a subtle cautious respect.
Arison Vasinduur Shaiid
Arison Vasinduur Shaiid was of the enigmatic Shaiid clan; the third clan of the flotilla. In particular, the Shaiid was a small clan of warrior tribes who had split from other warrior kiithid. The true intent remains a mystery for many outsiders. Ever since Hiigaran Landfall, warrior kiithid such as the renowned Kiith Sobaan had had a slight reduction of members. Although the Shaiid clan was established only a few years after Landfall, the warrior tribe forged a unity willing to join other clans to prove their honor. Proving honor and other rituals was common in such clans.
While various outsiders consider the Shaiid as soldiers, it was common to find them supporting other vessels as industrial and technical crewmen. Regardless of where they served, they always followed a specific warrior code. It is not entirely clear to the other clans what the Shaiid's true intentions were, but it was clear that the allegiance was going to need warriors; should it be pilots of strikecrafts or seasoned marines.
All Shaiid of the flotilla hailed from the Injera-Ito; a light carrier with the unusual aspects of a fleet defender, featuring a broad number of weaponry commonly found on naval destroyers. The Injera-Ito was much smaller than the other carriers, yet it was provided with high mobility and means to neutralize any fast-moving threats that would encroach upon the mining flotilla.
Just as her clan itself, little was known about the Shaiidi woman. Arison was most certainly of the warrior brood yet she was something different than the ordinary marine. Although being the only Shaiidi in their engineering section but there were several more operating throughout the Kebren-Ito.
Many throughout the flotilla held a respectful distance to their fellow Shaiidi. It remains a mystery if it is the simple uncertainty against the secluded warrior clan as well as its members who do in fact appear shady as their name may hint. Even so, it is a surprise to other crewmembers to see this engineering team not only having close contact with Arison as co-workers but also respecting her as a close friend.
Yet nothing was more astonishing than her focus upon Lucius, whom she frequently referred to as Lucy. They were a couple and nobody ever figured how the love between them emerged. Even for being a close friend, Rojan never really understood how but assumed that it was as simple as one already said - simply love. This was an odd couple nonetheless and it was always humorous to see the nervous Lucius be embraced by the tough woman.
The dark skinned Hiigaran smiled back at her, "You know, Lucius here had the idea of heading to The Dig to moist dry throats. I know that Shaiidi --"
"I will join", she said with a firm voice at first but then appeared to correct her tone, "- I mean, I would enjoy t-tagging among."
"It's along *oow, hey*", Rilese corrected before receiving a gentle knock against the backside of her head.
"You coming along, Rojan? Thought you wanted to sleep."
Rojan looked to the floor before answering, "Oh, what the hell. It's not like we all ever get to have a break on the same off duty cycle. I'll be drowsy but I think there's nothing wrong with hanging with the crew for a while. Let's go."
Makir and Erentir suddenly approached his side, wrapped their arms around his and began dragging him away as they sung a jolly theme.
"Heh, I'll tell Gija, Joris and Hidoro quickly. We'll come right after you", Rilese added as she walked back through the corvette's airlock.
<You sure about this, Ari? I mean, we don't want to force you -->, Lucius stopped when he read nothing but certainty in her bright eyes.
<Do not worry about me. I enjoy the company. Let us enjoy the day.>
He paused at first, then smiled, <You're right. Nothing can screw our day now. Let's go.>
= Kiith Somtaaw Mothership - Kuun-Lan - Command Citadel =
Almost half an hour later…
### Homeworld: Cataclysm - OST - #26 ###
The bridge citadel of the Somtaaw mothership was very spacious, with various sections devoted to countless departments and operations of the vessel and beyond. From shoulder to shoulder, one would immediately discover the horizontal row of large screens representing the outer view of space featuring asteroids, the planetoid and countless symbols tagged upon everything.
The entire area itself was not considerably bright. Every patch of crewmen featured light glowing from their consoles as well as a calm blue flood that soothed the eyes. One major source of the flood was the impressive and massive projection of a holographic sphere revealing astronomical and sensorial data of the vicinity.
It was clear that one why one called this area the Citadel as it was not only full with hundreds of people but also vast in height and depth. Some would even sense the nature of a cathedral, as the structure and designs of the area did reveal devout features that was common in the cultural heritage of Somtaaw. Even drapes with iconic sigil of Somtaaw could be found upon the walls - one being old and burnt; one that was possibly an old piece of history itself.
Minor announcements to pools echoed lightly throughout the spacious region. All operators focused on their individual tasks; speaking with officers throughout the flotilla and the vessel itself. Voices overlapped, almost sounding like the chants of various monks. The power grid hummed its songs as it continuously fused power and life to every single corner of the mothership.
Every operator pool, every section had their individual designation. About two third of the frontal region of the citadel was primarily upon the same plane, with various minor pools just slightly. A selected few of officers moved along the upper areas, diverting orders through their headsets or directly by earshot range from above. Almost everybody possessed a shoulder-mounted radio unit with a cylindrical antenna pointing outwards as well as a headset unit or a cabled transmitter.
The rear third of the citadel featured several levels of distanced pools that dealt with primary functions of the entire mothership. Even though the entire bridge citadel was the brain, the rear section was the superior command of the entire Kuun-Lan.
Only the seat of the commander-in-chief rested between the two sections; heightened upon a wide platform with single operators manning lower stations. Every single part of the Kuun-Lan citadel was sophisticated with cables, consoles, interfaces and massive hardware. Guard patrols moved about the area, saluting as they moved past officers and sentry units maintaining vigil.
The subordinate officer gazed below upon the operator whose face was just as shocked as he was. Pure astonishment was written upon the face of operator. The officer placed his hand once more upon his ear as the garbled mess repeated itself into his left ear. What was thought to be a meaningless mess of distorted intergalactic radio noise proved to be something else… something far greater than one could imagine. The noises repeated once more.
"S-Sir… Sir…", the operator repeated as others of the pool turned around with faces likewise concerned, "Your… O-Orders?"
The grip of the man tightened upon the railing. The nightmare was unfolding just before his spiritual eyes.
"Sir?! Sh-Shall I inform the --"
At least, he awoke from his inner dismay and uncertainty. Once again, the myriads noises in his ear repeated in his ear. No - he needed to reacted… at once!
"No. I shall take care of this task. It is my duty. I want you all to do your best to filter the best out of this… this… transmission."
After a hesitant pause, the operators below saluted and conducted his order.
The officer turned around, gazing over to the distant man who sat upon the sophisticated throne of the citadel.
The man who sat upon the prominent captain's chair was possibly in his early 50s and was of an average size for a Hiigaran. His dark hair was combed towards the back and his face was free of facial hair. His fair complexion revealed faint wrinkles. The man proudly wore the uniform of a Somtaaw Fleet Commander; serving as the highest ranking military officer of the flotilla. The epaulette upon his right shoulder was connected with a golden braid and other military decorations that went across his chest and broad shoulders. Even though he was a military naval officer, his appearance also emitted not only superior order but also faint presence of a pious figure.
A specific recognizable tone suddenly sounded in his ear.
""Communications to Fleet Commander Cortaur Somaaw… Ur-Urgent.""
"Hmm?", he hummed and pressed a specific button upon his small wrist pad, "Go ahead, officer."
""Excuse my interference, commander, but our arrays have captured what was first thought to be signal echoes from subspace… until we ran signal filters by protocol. By all due respect to the kiith -- Sir, you must heed this.""
"Very well, patch it through."
The mess of noises was played into his ear. Cortaur remained silent and did not react until he listened to the entire transmission once more. During all this time, the distant officer did not say a word but way for his commander to respond. Cortaur said nothing at first but maintained a frozen pose until he lifted his head, looking straight at the distant man. Before the superior officer said a word, he gazed beyond his shoulder, looking at the specific heightened platform - as if he were looking for a specific person.
"My First Officer?"
""Off duty, sir.""
"Of course… I want you to summon her and all senior officers to duty at once. Establish a flotilla-wide broadcast and transmit this signal to all ships. I wish this to be heard before I give my command to the ship. Attempt to verify the timecode of the broadcast so we can estimate the time dilation."
""Yes, sir… Yes, sir!""
"One more order."
"Dispatch to the flotilla: Initiate hyperdrive spooling."
= Asune clanship, carrier Kebren-Ito - Recreation sector, The Dig =
### Total Recall (original) - Mars Bar Music ###
Music continuously played in the background as people enjoyed their time off duty. Although the ceiling was not far above their heads, there was enough room for single people to be fooling around on the fixed tables, dancing around and doing other silly moves. Makeshift light beams struck colorful light across the area as another small batch of people carried their drinks over to vacant spots.
It was always this jolly as these crewmen never had to worry about the next two cycles thanks to the regulations of off duty. Laughter and overlapping voices filled the place with life. Mixed crewmen enjoyed their time. But as everybody was having a great time, the music stopped abruptly and as the seconds passed by, groups seized their talks.
As others hushed, Makir stood in front of table and continued his blathering, "- so then this other guy showed up, and we were, like, 'holy sand-cursed Iifrit!' - then just as this guy started talking stuff and insulted Rill, she immediately turned around and kicked him right in the -- Hey, why aren't you guys listening *hicks*?!"
The others turned away from him, "Who -- no, WHY did something kill the music. Th-That *hicks* was one of my favorites from that - that… I forgot. Can't recall it… Uh - It"
"Shh! Shhh!", Rilese said again and again and wove her hand.
"Don't shh me, missy. This is an important --"
Makir then felt a hand upon his shoulder. It was Arison, who looked beyond to the same spot where the entire mess hall was looking at. She seemed serious of something. After a while, the area finally calmed so that all could hear the noise coming from the public announcement speakers. It appeared to be a transmission broadcasted from the flotilla.
A selected few stood up when they heard the first run of the transmission. They were shocked - and the majority had no clue why at first until it went through another time. It was a voice that was accompanied by loud disturbing sounds, ringing, irregular codec filtering and other interruptions that disrupted the comprehensible quality of the transmission. Electronic sounds and chimes frequently sounded in the background. Even though the transmission was extremely garbled, all soon managed to understand the same…
""This is Kiith Nabaal carrier VEER-RAK to all ships in range of Hiigara… Multiple Imperial Taiidani forces are attacking the Homeworld and are attempting to break through and raid. Our forces are spread and we cannot hold them! Requesting immediate assistance! Multiple deep space clan fleets have been ambushed as well and are compromised. I repeat… This is Kiith Nabaal carrier…""
The garbled voice continued its speech, yet left the entire area full of concerned faces. Before anybody dared to say a word, a voice spoke.
""Attention flotilla. Standby for an urgent broadcast from Fleet Commander Cortaur Somtaaw…""
Once a specific sound played, the firm voice of the Somtaaw fleet commander spoke from the P.A. speakers:
""This is Somtaaw Fleet Command to all ships. We have received this transmission only a few minutes. According to our current findings, we have discovered that this is an authentic message and that this was apparently dispatched seven hours ago. We must assume that we were not able to receive this earlier due to our low orbit, solar disruptions and of course our recent emergence from the shadow of the celestial planetoid. According to the transmission, various clan fleets were assaulted as well. We… must assume that our temporary inability of receiving the transmission earlier must have also been our salvation from remaining undetected - avoiding a deep orbit ambush all together.
Somtaaw… Asune… Galaheth… Shaiid… Brethren -- Hiigarans… Our Homeworld is under attack by remnants of the fallen Imperial Taiidan. This must be a desperate incursion to strike at the very weak heart of Hiigara. Even if we are miners who seek the galaxy by our own spirit, we are still Hiigarans, and it is the blood of our brothers and sisters that is being spilled at this very moment. We cannot let this go unheard… We will… We must respond to the distress of our Homeworld.""
Many mouths fell open.
""As of this moment, the flotilla is to seize all mining operations at once… All ships are to dock at once. This is Somtaaw Fleet Command to all ships: Condition: Red. Navigational guidance linked and in progress to break orbit from the planetoid by thrusters. Prepare for a combined emergency hyperjump. Set course for the Homeworld. Spool hyperdrive for a Constellation Jump. Coordinates to be transmitted as soon as kushanly possible. Standby for my mark.""
Within a few seconds, the distressful sound of 'condition:red' swept across the area, followed by the announcement and alarm of the upcoming hyperjump. As of this moment, it was clear that the off duty cycle was over. Men and women immediately scrambled. Although hectic suddenly swept across the area, everybody rushed towards the exits in a steady stream.
"We… We better report to the section leader!", Rilese shouted as she tried to speak louder than the surrounding noise.
"Agreed", Arison said, dragging Lucius along, "Come!"
Rojan kept his hands upon his head, not believing what was going on, ultimately deciding to move on with the rushing crewmen.
The drunk Hethian still stood in front of the table, "Ey… Does that mean we don't get our well deserved off-duty cy-- ?!"
But Erentir immediately dragged him along, "Exactly. Now - Come on! Party is over!"
To be continued…