Annals of the Keepers: War 267 (Book 1 in the Gashnee Saga)

BOOK: Annals of the Keepers: War 267 (Book 1 in the Gashnee Saga)
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ANNALS

OF THE

KEEPERS

 

CHRISTIAAN C. HILE

&

BENJAMIN J. HALKETT

 

Book One

WAR 267

Prologue

Technological advances at the end of the 25th century seeded the foundation for humankind’s Golden Age of Peace. However, eager to rid themselves of an ancient galactic secret, the Kryth Mahr Domain entered the Sol system and massacred billions, unleashing a horrific wave of genocidal fire that nearly extinguished the existence of man.

Fewer than a million survived.

Interstellar ships carried the deluge of refugees to the primitive Mydian system. The next few centuries saw vast changes in these once peaceful people as humankind re-created itself.

Forging a new military machine known as the
Ordinance
, they filled its ranks with warriors that would strike fear into the core of all adversaries. They called them Reavers.

And now, in the post expulsion year 267 PE, the ancestral year 2765 AD, it comes to pass that a Reaver-soldier meets Kryth-conqueror.

Powerful will be the Retribution and vengeance will rule the day
.-Alon Renske, Keeper (267)
The Annals begin…

INTRODUCTION

A brief glance…

Begin Historical Data Cell 11Y43

2498 AD- The Kryth Mahr Domain attacks from the outer part of the Sol system. Within five days over 22 billion humans throughout the Sol system are massacred including Earth itself. Nearly one million refugees escape Earth aboard seven interstellar Colony Builder ships. The Earth and other system planets become desolate and uninhabitable. The attack came without warning, or for any reason known at the time.

2501 AD- Three years have passed before Humankind finds a new system to colonize. The Mydian system, as it is named, becomes the new home for Earth’s refugees.

01 PE- The new ‘Post Expulsion’ date is set as Mankind rebuilds from a past lost forever. Four of the seven refugee ships start the rebuilding phase by landing on the first inner planet of the system. Over time, the large ships are transformed into factories, buildings and other structures on the planet’s surface. Two other ships join and build an orbiting platform to become a future launching point for ship construction and expansion. The last interstellar ship is used as the primary space transportation for the colony.

06 PE-The Assembly is created and a government is established. The Assembly’s first installation sets Precepts for further expansion and the future of the colony.

10 PE- The Ordinance forces are created as the primary military and defending force for the colony. The first shipyard is constructed to orbit around second moon of the inner most planet of the Mydian system. The Ordinance forces begin the design phase for the first armed forces and fleet.    

27 PE-Scientists start to expand the human population, by reintroducing cloning. Also, intensive gene technology is incorporated within each newborn, extending man’s life expectancy to 150 years. 

71 PE- The Kryth Mahr invasion of the Sol system caused the great loss of all historic documents, all literature, all art and everything that was the soul of man from the beginning of his existence. Therefore, the formation of historians is created by the Assembly to continue the writings of Humankind. They became known as the Keepers. The historical recordings, known as the Annals are created by the Keepers. The colonist hold these Annals in the highest regard, as the Keeper Taldon said, “History is either forgotten, misused or ignored until it is lost, so it is our duty to continue the writings of mankind’s history.”

140 PE-The Assembly accepts the Ordinance’s proposal for surveillance into other territories. They
select a specialized group to gather intelligence on surrounding systems and on the Kryth Mahr Domain.

164 PE-On Janus, the new home world for man, riots break out at the Assembly Mount as angry citizens protest the laws restricting trade and expansion for individuals, since only the government and military can trade with outside races and species. The Assembly points out the sensitivity and frailty of the Ordinance and Mankind at this current time, but agrees the issue can be revisited as security and the strength of the Ordinance forces expand. The Assembly reminds the citizens of past occurrences with pirates and raiders, but the citizens continue their protests. Because of this, Martial Law is declared in the 16
th
Precept by the Assembly to regain order and continue to protect the interests of the Human race. 

195 PE-The Ordinance researches enhancements to create advanced soldiers. Nanotechnology, biotechnology and weapon technology are studied and combined to create the future soldier.

197 PE-The Ordinance names Korlan Parejas as Ground Force Commander. The Assembly approves Parejas for the position. Thus begins a great time for Korlan and his wife, Shallen, who gives birth to their firstborn son, Shenta Parejas.

206 PE-A skirmish ensues outside the Mydian system involving a Vrae smuggler convoy and a Kryth Mahr scout ship. The Ordinance forces respond by sending the First Fleet, led by Commander Dexxer Strathin of the flagship
Tyr
. The smugglers hyper-jump out of the system to avoid any further loss of their cargo; but, the Ordinance forces do not fare as well in the conflict. Half of the First Fleet vanishes, including the
Tyr
and Commander Strathin, as a rogue worm-hole tendril appears from nowhere. The Kryth ship, though, is destroyed. The news sends shivers throughout the Assembly, realizing a Kryth investigation will soon follow. The whereabouts of the First Fleet are unknown.

210 PE-The Ordinance and the Assembly set the 25
th
Precept and the date for the re-conquest of the Sol system and the planet Earth. The year for the mission is set for 267 PE. The Ordinance orders the design and completion of a new fleet that will lead the assault after the loss of the Tyr. Korlan seconds the motion and also asks for the design of a planetary defensive system that includes camouflage and cloaking devices; after all, the Kryth came within a sector of finding the new colony of Man.

212 PE-A new breakthrough in nanotechnology allows scientist to study these new enhancements in current soldiers before they begin the final development of the future soldiers, the Reavers.

215 PE-The first major battle for the Ordinance forces takes place at Tella Doal. Unknown Sector Raiders attack an Ordinance mining field near the Mydian system. Thinking that they are attacked by a small band of raiders, only the mightiest battleship, the
Kilmora
was sent to assist them. What awaits the Kilmora and its troops is an all-out assault by a nearby raider clan, the Holmloskks. The Kilmora finishes off four Holmloskk attack drones and one cruiser before falling to the vacuum of space. Three of the five mining fields are destroyed before the raiders are driven off.  The loss is felt back at home, not just for the crew of the Kilmora, but the death of Korlan Parejas and his wife, Shallan, the Chief Logistics Officer aboard the great battleship.

216 PE-At a hearing upon the Mount, the son of Korlan Parejas, Shenta, stands before the Assembly and denounces the bureaucracy of its Precepts for expansion and diplomacy among other races.  His major criticism follows his father’s for the protection and defense of Humankind above anything else. “Until we have adequate protection we should tread lightly throughout other systems and sectors. For we know what the Kryth do not. . . We still exist. Shall we forget the lessons taught by the Keepers, or the reasons we rebuild now, as a race?”  Silence falls upon the Assembly as Shenta Parejas continues to share his new plan for humanity.

229 PE-The second Reaver Regiment is created. It’s comprised of specially chosen newborns, integrating all genetic alterations and the most advanced biotechnology to date. This marks the first true regiment trained from infancy.

230 PE-Shenta Parejas becomes the Commander of all ground forces on his thirty-third-birthday, a position his father held a decade earlier. Shenta leads the implementation of the new breed of soldiers that have been in development over the past 35 years.

253 PE-A secret operating base for the Ordinance is discovered by a race of Mertiklask scouts in the Kontene system. Shenta sends a Reaver Regiment to retrieve the surveillance team. A well-respected Reaver, Kason Bender, leads the regiment against the Mertiklask assault and obliterates the attackers. With the first mission of the Reaver’s being a success, Shenta applauds the valiant effort of his new forces.  

258 PE-The Assembly appoints Shenta Parejas as Commander of the Ordinance and orders the first ship of the new fleet out of the shipyards. The two new fleets that are being built will not be complete for another five years, so the decision to bring out the first flagship is made.  The
Orions Rage
is the most advanced ship that Mankind has ever built, and it is meant to rival the best the Kryth or any other race can field.

259 PE-Commander Parejas appoints Kason Bender as the leader of the Reaver Regiments, the position Shenta previously held.  Shenta chooses Kason because he senses a leader within him and the warrior he will become. Kason accepts the position and soon states his mindset during the ceremony: “The Kryth will pay for their insurgence into our Sol system and the death of our culture and way of life. The Reavers will be there when the Kryth Mahr Domain gasps their last breath of existence.” The Reavers cheer as Parejas and Bender clasp hands and begin the final formation of the troops that will lead the assault within eleven years.

261 PE-The Ordinance has still not found the reason for the Kryth assault into the Sol system and the destruction of Humankind’s past. The intelligence gathering is extended into and beyond surrounding Kryth Mahr territories and holdings. 

262 PE-The new fleet is complete and leaves the Tyr shipyards to join the command ship, the
Orion’s Rage

263 PE-Kason Bender assembles the final Reaver Regiments. The Reavers were eager to begin the mission, decades in the making, a mission called Retribution.

End Data Cell 11Y66

267 PE-
Open Data Cell-Begin Keeper Entry

Keeper Entry

At this moment, I could be writing the final histories of Mankind’s existence, if the Retribution mission is a failure. I could also be writing the re-birth of humankind as a dominant species within the universe. Either way, it must be written. As a Keeper, this is my burden and rectitude. I will start at what was thought to be the end of what is now the beginning. The last 267 years has led up to this point; a point in universal history which will be altered, no matter the aftermath. For today, mankind returns to a lost world within a lost solar system. For unlike many centuries past in Man’s history, he doesn’t come as a conqueror or as a destroyer, nor does he come as an occupier, but a refugee on the run returning from a long exile in the wilderness. Today, man comes as the reclaimer, as an outsider trying to take back what is rightfully his. So it begins. -
Alon Renske, Keeper (267)

Data Cell 1

Kason Bender’s breathing
was even and calm inside the ceramite alloy carbon-laced helmet. The molded facial pads felt warm against his skin. A pale blue light from his helmet’s Heads-Up Display (HUD) flashed in a 280-degree arc with flowing refined data. His eyes scanned the passing information as updates to the mission came in from the fleet.

He flexed his hands on the armrest of his chair, waiting for the pod-launch to begin. Kason looked over his battle suit chronometer. It showed 45 seconds to launch.

Four voices from the other pods indicated their readiness over coms.

His pod vibrated as it rested on glowing launch rails. Kason could see the rails blaze with wild energy through the pod’s viewport as the outer tube doors opened to the vacuum of space. Arching stray tendrils reached out from the rails to scorch the inner wall of the chamber.

Kason’s pod was at the front of a three-point spear formation. The rest of his team filled the other pods that were staggered behind his.

A warning sounded.

“Increase shields and lock down systems,” Kason ordered his team as his computer linked the four Reaver pods. “Outpost contact in twenty seconds. Initiate all.”

A few seconds before dispatch, the cockpit seat molded itself around Kason’s body, encasing him in a cushioned layer protecting him from the rigors of the launch, and insertion, through the side of the enemy outpost.

The light emitted from the rails intensified.

Kason could hear the loud
hum
of energy penetrate the shells of the five pods as it peaked.

Kason’s heartbeat remained stable as he catapulted into the darkness of space, accelerating from sitting motionless to bone-crushing velocity in mere seconds.

The pulsating lights of the outpost grew brighter as the pods streaked across the backdrop of space.

Kason, his body held motionless by restrictive gel, monitored the numerous readouts from the multiple displays on the front console of his pod.

A few seconds later, a bullish ion wave fired from the largest of the Kilmora-class battleships, swept past his team’s pods a few hundred meters above.

Some of the readouts on Kason’s display flickered out due to the massive energy created by the wave despite heavy and protective shielding.

No matter, Kason thought. The pod insertion would be over soon enough.

He fixed his gaze on the target ahead and watched the monstrous wall of energized particles prepare to strike the side of the enemy outpost.

∞∞∞

On the outer edge of the Sol system, in Kryth Mahr controlled space, hung a freight-check station named Dalyth Point. Long, protruding docking arms from this hulking old station were vacant of any vessels this day. A few beacon lights were visible on the outside hull, each pulsating, giving away the age of the metal as grease and years of build-up show on its outer skin. On top was an operations platform to view docking ships as they arrived and departed for the center of the system. A soft, red hue of light emanated from the surrounding glass of the platform, giving signs of life from within this otherwise dark and deserted outpost.

Seated in a chair within the red hued room was a Kryth freight officer. He was catching a nap on his night watch duties. His legs were up on the security console in a relaxed position.

A warning signal sounded from a console near the window.

The officer opened his eyes and gazed at the blinking light. Annoyed, he rolled over in his chair.

The beep and blinking continued.

The Kryth officer, now irritated, sat up in his seat and stared at the console.

The whole console screen lit up with data flowing over its surface as multiple lights flashed and waned.

He sat perplexed. There were no ships due to dock with the station for another seven days, he pondered.

Now upset, he threw himself out of his chair and raced over to the console for answers.

He stood there just staring at it.

He looked out the window into the empty blackness. Just empty space awaited his eyes.

Just then, the backdrop of space outside the station started to ripple.

A shocked expression came over his face. His hand reached for the Watch Commander’s Alarm, but stopped short just in case it was an anomaly.

He just stood there gazing in amazement at the odd, unknown distortion.

Soon, the rippling became more pronounced, as if the fabric of space was trying to hold something powerful back.

A bright vertical slash appeared and grew against the black cloth of space. A myriad of colors exploded out from this expanding fissure.

Emerging from this vertical seam were dozens of ships.

Frantic, the Kryth reached for the alarm button.

∞∞∞

Streaking towards Dalyth outpost, the monstrous wall of charged particles was awash in a blue nimbus of light, which flared for a few seconds as the ion wave struck the cold metal surface of the station.

The station’s lights flickered for the briefest of moments before going dark.

Stray tendrils of blue energy from the wave danced and arced across the outpost’s skin.

Not too far from the target, following close behind the wake of the ion wave, were the spear pointed pods of the Reavers.

Kason sliced through the darkness ever closer to his target.

His assumptions were confirmed as the outpost lost power seconds before. All the unshielded systems, if the Kryth were stupid enough to consider such a procedure, were melting. Only the most secure systems such as life support, station stabilization, and central computer systems were still online.

Enough to give Kason pause as to the severity of the situation. Parejas had charged his team to penetrate this particular Kryth outpost and obtain the central data core with secondary objections following.

Even with the restrictive gel, the bone-jarring impact would still be felt by Kason and his team. He knew this all too well.

Kason could see the station approach, just before the pods’ insertion.

Outside each pod an ‘x-laser’ pattern fired from the spear pointed fronts cutting into the side of the enemy outpost, preparing and softening the impact location.

The pods ripped through the outer hull like an arrow piercing flesh, gouging through metal.

Straining against the gel, wanting it to dissolve faster, Kason heard the laser cutters hissing into the disfigured hull left by the pods entry, completing the necessary penetration.

Soon, green checks came in over Kason’s HUD, signaling all members of the team were accounted for since the insertion. Any red checks would mean a loss of vital systems or a member of the team.

The last gurgle of gel dissolved, freeing Kason from his cocoon.

A green light appeared above the inner door to the pod letting Kason know it was safe to commence with the explosive release.

With a metal stomp from his armored boot, the door lever activated with a
thud
, as the four speared tips on the front of the pod hydraulically wrenched open. They would fold back any large pieces of hull metal making way for the pod exit door.

Next, the exploding door bolts activated and sent the quarter-ton door outward making sure to clear any remaining debris missed by the cutters.

With one smooth motion Kason was out of his pod, landing on the deck. His weapon was armed and already scanning his surroundings.

Next to him were the other four Reavers in crouched positions, a roar of their weapons came to life one after the other.

The escaping atmosphere of the outpost met and buffeted the Reavers in the cargo bay; the room was decompressing from the five ugly puncture marks left in the hull. Debris swirled around them before being sucked out into space between the pods themselves. Severed hoses spewed liquid about the room and droplets gathered slushing against the Reavers’ black armor, before being swept away in the turbulence.

The Reavers stood still due to their magnetic boots as the violent air whooshed towards the openings. Kason side-stepped a piece of larger debris as it was sucked out.

The pods behind them hissed with a white gel, the same that cushioned them from impact, secreted out of exterior openings in the pods’ sides. This gel sealed the remaining puncture marks around the gnarled hulls’ exteriors from the vacuum of space to make a tight seal.

The chaos in the cargo bay subsided and the smaller pieces of debris soon settled to the floor.

Kason swept the cargo bay with his helmet’s internal sensors. He confirmed nine dead Kryth. Their bodies lay strewn throughout the wreckage created by the pods insertion or by the unbreathable atmosphere.

He brought up the outpost’s schematics, taken from a
Fossari
starship, and located the central data core. It was still intact and showed signs of activity. 

Four green triangles blinked in Kason’s HUD. Kason looked over each Reaver to confirm.

All five Reavers performed a rapid exam -- a needed precaution being so close to the ion blast.

Keelan Sern and Jens Dryden, the close-assault team, closest to Kason, raised their hands. Maddox Gower, demolition, signaled by lifting his weapon. Kieran Ramek, heavy weapons, towering over Maddox, lifted his right hand giving a salute.

Satisfied, Kason broke the communications blackout and contacted the fleet.

“Flashpoint. This is Reaver Lead.
Arrow Point
concluded. Insertion point is cold. Condition is green. Beginning Phase Two, over,” Kason said.

He waited for a response.

“Confirmed, Reaver Lead. Commence Phase Two,” came the immediate reply from the ship in orbit around the outpost.

A long hallway exited the room they were in.

Kason, using hand gestures, pointed at two of his Reavers sending them ahead into the corridor. He followed as the last two brought up the end of the formation.

They approached a large room, close to their main objective. Each man had studied the outpost in every detail to know it better than the Kryth themselves.

The surrounding lights were still flickering and attempting to come back on.

Ramek entered first, followed by the others.

Kason pulled up a schematic of the data core, seven floors below their position. His eye scanned the readouts. All were clear.

Kason circled with his hand towards the center of the room.

Maddox approached from the command.

He reached and grabbed a silver disc attached to his side. The disc was about 6cm in diameter and 1cm in thickness. It was a powerful shaped charge, usually meant for breaching blast doors or opening walls. The Reavers referred to them as flat bastards.

Depressing a button on the top of the disc, he hurled it into the center of the room. The device sprang to life upon touching the floor and flung out eleven smaller discs in a circular pattern about three meters in diameter. Each disc was connected by a small wire to the others all were connected to the original center disc.

“Set,” Maddox signaled as the team re-entered the corridor.

With Maddox’s command, each of the outer discs ignited with a blue-hot jet of plasma. The center disc began to spin and the smaller discs became cutters slicing through the deck plating.
Whoomp
!

The floor caved in and fell, sending up billows of smoke and debris throughout the room.

The auditory buffers in each man’s helmet helped block the tremendous roar of the falling floors as the discs continued to cut, proceeding decks below. Their battle suits protected them from the immense heat emanating from the open shaft.

Kason signaled the team with a simple “Go” and, one after the other, they jumped down into the opening.

Ramek, the largest Reaver fell down first followed by the rest. Kason was last.

Sounds of plasma bolts echoed through the adjacent corridors as each man fired as they fell.

The Kryth soldiers in these corridors had no chance in the smoke-filled hole. The Reavers had no such hindrances as their battle helmets saw through the smoke as if it were day.

The Reaver team sank at a controlled rate, slowed by their anti-grav devices on their boots.

The first to the bottom was Ramek. He cleared the room with a burst of his weapon. Screams of the fallen Kryth were drowned out by the massive roar of Ramek’s plasma cannon.

Soon, the others landed in the room from above.

Jens glanced around at the now motionless Kryth soldiers. “Leave some for us, big man.”

The other Reavers went into a crouched protective posture while Kason approached Ramek.

“Grab the data core. Let’s finish this,” Kason ordered.

Ramek moved to the console in the room.

He attached a small device to a large circular panel. The device squeaked out beeps and whistles while interfacing with its host. A large click sounded and Ramek moved to pull the cylinder device out from the panel. He wrapped it in a stash bag and slung it over his back.

BOOK: Annals of the Keepers: War 267 (Book 1 in the Gashnee Saga)
5.71Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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