Read Star Force: Zealot (SF87) (Star Force Origin Series) Online

Authors: Aer-Ki Jyr

Tags: #Literature & Fiction, #Action & Adventure, #Science Fiction & Fantasy, #Science Fiction, #Colonization, #Galactic Empire, #Military, #Space Fleet, #Space Marine, #Space Opera, #Two Hours or More (65-100 Pages)

Star Force: Zealot (SF87) (Star Force Origin Series) (3 page)

BOOK: Star Force: Zealot (SF87) (Star Force Origin Series)
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How long?

At least another day.

I’ll make sure you get as much time as you need. Have any of them been in here lately?

No. They are afraid of another purge and do not want to lose more personnel. They only come with heavy guards and on rare occasions to converse with the Oracle. They want to know if we can do what we claim to, and it has instructed them that we can.

That should help…or maybe hurt us. I get the feeling some of them would prefer if we’d never shown up and the status quo remained.

They’ve grown addicted to the fear?

And the power that the cause gives them. They think this is the holiest cause ever invented, and the Trinx have been willing to screw everyone else over to accomplish their goals.

Are you going to make them pay for that?

Depends what they do here. The priority is to minimize the damage and stop any more tech from flowing to the lizards.

They will betray us if they get the chance
, Nefron warned.

I get that feeling too, from the Trinx at least.

Keep them away from me unless you want them broken.

Paul smiled.
Are you talking about them or their toys?

Both.

 

4 weeks later…

 

Riley stood onboard his command ship with another holographic conference summoned that included all nine representatives and Nefron, with Paul watching but not within view of the others.

“Preliminary examination of the Uriti here is complete. What we have learned suggests that we will still be able to stand down the rogue Uriti regardless of what damage it has incurred from its sedated period. We will temporarily leave you in custody of this world and take our fleet to the rogue’s location with as many ships as you deem necessary for escort and to order your fleets to make way for us at the destination. Once we are there, we need you to trust us.”

“What do you intend to do?” the Chamra asked.

“Take possession of it,” Riley said, hitting the nail on the head rather than beating around the bush.

“Unacceptable,” the Sety replied. “This must be a joint venture, and the control mechanism must be shared.”

“Only Nefron can use it,” Riley replied firmly. “And we’re not in the habit of sharing our technological secrets with those standing in wait to stab us in the back. We’ll collaborate with you when necessary, but we will not share control of the Uriti. You’ve been desperate to find a way to stop the rampage ever since the Li’vorkrachnika released it. Don’t be ungrateful now that we have brought you that option.”

“Well spoken,” the Yisv agreed.

“Unacceptable,” the Trinx echoed the Sety. “We are the guardians. We must remain the guardians. Star Force is unproven and cannot be fully trusted.”

“You have no choice,” Riley said sharply, trying to provoke a confrontation here and now if there was going to be one.

“There is always a choice.”

“If you wish to fight us, we will be happy to oblige,” Nefron said icily, beating Riley to it, and the Chixzon was easily more intimidating than the Human, despite their power levels being to the contrary. “There are trillions of individuals to avenge for the losses inflicted upon them by the enemy you upgraded to subsidize your ineptitude.”

The Trinx stared laser bolts back at Nefron and half the other members of The Nine gave him contentious looks, but several of them were staring at the Trinx instead with displeased gestures that both Nefron and Riley had begun to pick up on after numerous times dealing with these races in recent weeks.

“Star Force is only still alive because of what we did,” the Trinx replied. “It is you who are ungrateful.”

“Enough!” the tiny Dati said, though his hologram stood as big as the others. “We have no choice but to pursue this. Can any of you claim otherwise?”

“How we proceed is what is in question,” the Sety answered.

“Do you suggest we take this transmitter from them?” the little triped challenged. “That we capture this one and force him to do our bidding?”

“That will not happen,” Nefron said menacingly.

“They might not be entirely truthful about the technology,” the Bpret said evenly. “We might be able to use it, but I do not advocate waging a war to obtain it when Star Force is willing to voluntarily stop the Hamoriti. If they fail to do so or have an ulterior agenda we can consider other options. For now we must utilize their offered assistance.”

“And give them control of the power powerful weapon ever created?” the Trinx all but yelled. “Are you all fools?”

“Nefron,” Riley said almost casually. “If they won’t listen to reason, explain it to them in a way they will understand.”

“Gladly,” the Chixzon said from a different compartment onboard Riley’s ship.

“Meaning what?” the Sety demanded, but neither the Human nor the Chixzon said anything. They returned blank stares at The Nine even as others asked questions. It took several minutes before the Yisv felt the change on the planet below, but it was the Chamra who recognized the alteration in the data streams just before that.

“The Hamoriti is waking!” the cyborg yelled at the Chixzon, but then his attention quickly went to the Trinx. “Stop this insanity now. You have no power over them!”

“Do not risk this for a demonstration,” the Yisv implored. “Do not, please. We cannot remain here if it wakes.”

Riley said nothing. He simply looked towards the Sety, and then the Trinx, locking eyes with his holographic image as the data feeds from the planet continued to grow more erratic. It wasn’t until an image of Bahamut twitching in his slumber did the Sety relent.

“Stop this. We cannot risk this one releasing. If you can capture the rogue it will remain under your control so long as you do not misuse it.”

“Thank you,” Riley said, with only a little sarcasm slipping through as he kept his eyes on the Trinx.

“We still have personnel on the ground,” the Trinx stubbornly pointed out. “Would you kill them to make a point?”

“They have time to run if they get moving now,” Riley offered. “We’re not waking him up fast.”

“No. They will remain there. If you are truly intent on releasing this Hamoriti, you will have to kill them to do so…and if you do you will prove yourselves unworthy to be their custodian.”

“Are you mad?” the Chamra said before the Yisv could figure out which curse to utter. “By that logic
you
are unfit for custodianship.”

“Sacrifices must be made,” the Trinx said stubbornly. “And if we must oppose them we must learn of it now. The personnel will not be removed.”

“It’s not just your people down there.”

“Then get them out,” Riley interrupted. “You have time. Do not waste it arguing here.”

“Do not do this…please,” the Yisv said, then when no one appeared to balk it shook its head firmly. “We must leave orbit. See sanity, I beg you.”

The hologram of the Yisv cut out, and on the battlemap Riley saw every last one of their ships break formation and accelerate hard towards the stellar jump point to get out of telepathic range before the Uriti’s aura could intensify further.

 

3

 

 

“What do you seek to accomplish by this?” the Chamra asked.

“To get straight who is in command here,” Riley said icily. “We will end this threat you have been diligently countering, but we will do it our way.”

“You cannot do this,” the Bpret implored. “We cannot let another one loose.”

“We can control it.”

“You
think
. You do not know for sure. Test your theory on the rogue, not the sleeper below!”

“Save your words,” the Trinx said viciously. “It is our responsibility to safeguard the Hamoriti, and the Trinx will not let this one be awoken, no matter what the sacrifice necessary.”

“We have no control,” the Dati argued. “That is the point he is trying to make.”

“We have one other recourse, and I believe it is time we took it. Relinquish control of the Hamoriti to us, or we will take it from you.”

“Try it,” Riley dared.

The Trinx turned to the others. “They are implacable. If what they have told us is the truth, then they have only one who is able to wake the Hamoriti. Eliminate him and the threat is removed.”

“He is our only hope of a solution,” the Chamra angrily argued. “Have you gone mad?”

“We are wasting time. This Hamoriti cannot be allowed to rise. Do your duty,” the Trinx said, cutting his comm signal as their fleet suddenly began to reposition and head towards the Star Force formation.

“He does not speak for us,” the Chamra stated for the rest of them.

“I know,” Riley said evenly. “They’ve put their ego as a higher priority to containing the Uriti. I hope that’s clear now.”

“It is,” the Dati said quickly. “Please, there is no need to wake it further.”

Paul…

I got it, don’t worry.

“Stay out of this and we’ll not hold you accountable,” Riley warned/promised. “I suggest you keep your ships away entirely,” he said as the Star Force jumpships began spilling out drones to intercept the Trinx fleet that was rapidly accelerating towards his command ship.

“Do you require assistance?” the Chamra offered.

“Record what happens here as a neutral observer, but do not interfere. If the Trinx want a fight, we’re going to give it to them.”

“They are going for only one ship.”

“They won’t get it,” Riley promised. “Watch and learn.”

“Cease waking the Hamoriti, please,” the Dati implored.

“This will be over before that occurs.”

 

The Trinx’s 139 vessels were all of the same make, a combination of needle and wedge with a forward point offset from their center of mass. Looking lethal even before their weaponry opened up, the blood red ships formed into three elongated groupings that were all situated on attack lines that would bring them past the sides of the
Zeus
within a few minutes.

Before that could happen hundreds, then thousands of drones began fanning out in front of the command ship in blockade formation as half a dozen jumpships also move into flanking positions and stared down the approaching Trinx ships, each of which was larger than any of the drones by a factor of 3, but they all massed considerably less than the jumpships. The wall of drones drifted forward and huge kinetic dampening shields were thrown up in front of the command ship by the
Zeus
and the jumpships surrounding it, should any of the Trinx ships want to live up to the example of their lizard allies and go kamikaze.

They didn’t have the mass to punch through them, nor the speed, and as the seconds ticked by more and more drones were released and flew to strengthen the blockade that was becoming so numerous the Trinx could barely see the command ship through them.

The Trinx kept coming through, firing with their long range weaponry in the form of tiny orange streaks that lit up drone shields in several select places. After a few seconds of concentrated fire the shields went down and the drones began to take hits as they likewise began returning fire with their long range Keema batteries, with it becoming clear that the Trinx intended to blow a hole through the Star Force lines and push through.

Riley didn’t take part in the battle, rather staying online with the other seven races and watching as Paul handled the defense of his own ship. Normally Riley wouldn’t have liked that, but he knew Paul had slightly better naval skills than he had, and as much as he wanted to kick the crap out of the Trinx, he needed to feel out and cement what ties he could to the other races…and to do that he had to keep them talking.

“I assume you all have a fairly decent idea of our combat capability?” he asked.

“Yes,” the Jonstar said, growling with agitation, but Riley had a feeling it was more directed at the Trinx than him, though it might have been to the idea of watching a battle and not being in it, for the bear-like race looked like it was spoiling for a fight even when they were passive.

“Then they should know they’re not getting through…and that we hold grudges.”

“If the Hamoriti wakes,” the Sety said neutrally, “and your Chixzon is killed, the galaxy will be for the worse.”

“We’re not waking it up fully, just enough to get your attention,” Riley said, glancing at the tree-like race. “And your heartfelt concern is noted.”

“Then you are intentionally provoking them?” he accused.

“We didn’t shoot first.”

“None the less you are using the threat of the waking Hamoriti to precipitate this attack.”

“Enough!” the Chamra demanded. “The Trinx have lost their sanity and are trying to destroy the very solution we have long sought, hoped, and pleaded for. I repeat, we are ready and able to intervene if you wish it.”

“We’ve got this covered,” Riley said as the Trinx ships came within short weapons range and all hell broke loose as they plunged into the now very thick drone blockade line. “Although you can stand by to pick up survivors if you want to help.”

“Pick up or finish off,” the Jonstar muttered.

“How dare you degrade our longtime allies,” the Sety all but cursed. “They have done more to forestall the Hamoriti than any of us.”

“That is no excuse for their actions now,” the Bpret weighed in as they all watched the carnage occurring with more and more Star Force drones flying in to add to the blockade force even as the Trinx tried to punch through it and now had two of their three prongs fully engulfed in the sea of blocky black ships.

“The Hamoriti is stabilizing,” the Chamra noted with relief, getting the updates directly through his implants and was therefore one step ahead of the others as usual.

“Thank you,” the Dati echoed as three of the Trinx ships broke through and into the empty gap between blockade and the command ship. They fired on it immediately, launching huge balls of energy that were a mix of orange and black and had little glow to them, more like a maelstrom of distorted space than an energy weapon, but when the pheeron converters hit the command ship’s shields their normal penetrating capacity was neutralized by the shield matrix
entirely
.

“So you can counter their weapons,” the Jonstar said with curiosity.

“Told you so,” Riley said calmly.

“Yes you did,” the Sety said with a mixture of disgust and respect as those three ships, already damaged, took the brunt of two bloon launchers and were covered in what looked like glowing purple goo. It soaked into the hull and disappeared, leaving all three ships inoperable as more Trinx vessels broke through behind them in various degrees of functionality.

“What did you hit them with?” the Dati ask humbly.

“Those crews are stunned and unable to operate their ships. You should be able to pull some survivors off afterwards…so long as their other ships don’t ram into them,” he said as several almost did that, but were caught firm by the dampening fields as other weaponry from the command ship tagged them, dropping shields and cutting off chunks of ships while a few more goo bloons flew in and disabled others.

“The Trinx are protecting a Uriti, correct?”

“Yes,” the Chamra said evenly. That hadn’t been officially revealed, but it had been stated earlier.

“They will not be allowed to maintain guardianship of it. They are irresponsible and dangerous. Do you conquer?”

“They won’t relinquish it to you,” the Sety warned.

“I didn’t imagine they would,” Riley scoffed.

“You plan to conquer them as you have done the Li’vorkrachnika?”

“Doing,” the Archon corrected. “We’re only through half of half of their empire, no thanks to you.”

“Is it worth killing Trinx to recover?” the Chamra asked.

“They chose to attack us.”

“I mean civilians. Would you awake a Hamoriti if it were on a populated world?”

“The civilians can be moved first.”

“The one the Trinx guard is beneath their capitol,” the Chamra said, drawing annoyed looks from the others. “They have devoted everything to protecting it. Will you destroy them to free it?”

“No.”

“So you agree that they will retain possession?” the Sety asked.

“Also no,” Riley pointed out as an extra large explosion blipped on the battlemap as a Trinx ship detonated, taking several drones with it while also damaging another of its sister ships. “They have suicide devices on their ships?”

“They are committed to the cause,” the Sety answered.

The Chamra glared at him with his one natural eye. “They are dying needlessly.”

“Shared control is the only solution.”

“One we cannot force! And after seeing this, I do not wish to put the fate of the galaxy in the hands of the Trinx.”

“Nor do we,” the Dati said. “Their paranoia had transitioned into zealotry.”

“Far beyond that,” the Jonstar said sadly. “They once had honor, but this is…something else entirely.”

“Not to mention a waste of ships,” Riley added as another of their vessels exploded in a bluish plume that shredded more drones along with it. Meanwhile a handful of Trinx ships shot out of the drones and into sight, running as hard as they could and curving around to head to the stellar jump point.

“They are fleeing,” the Bpret noted.

“No,” the Chamra said, seeing the tactical data through mind’s eye and everything happening within that mess of ships. “They are sending couriers back to report what has happened here. The rest are fighting to the death.”

“Offer them a surrender,” the Dati implored. “Do not destroy them all. You are no longer in jeopardy.”

“I never was,” Riley said, opening up a comm signal to the Trinx and letting the others listen in. “This is Archon Riley, onboard the ship you are futilely trying to destroy. Stand down and surrender before all of your ships are destroyed.”

They all waited, but there was no reply. Just a continuation of the slugging match that the Trinx were losing badly.

“Perhaps if you stopped firing first,” the Dati suggested.

Riley firmly shook his head. “No. They started this, they can decide to stop anytime they want. I’m not going to lose extra ships hoping that they’re suddenly going to wise up.”

“But if they are irrational, then you must be the sane one!”

“If they are irrational, then they cannot be negotiated with. They must be stopped via force.”

“They have a much larger fleet not far from here. They will return with more.”

“And we will be here to oppose them,” the Chamra said firmly.

“You see to break our allegiance?” the Sety asked.

The cyborg pointed to the holographic display of the ongoing battle. “They are trying to destroy the key to stopping the Hamoriti, the very thing this alliance was formed on the hope of one day discovering. Tell me, who has broken that allegiance?”

“They have not fired on us,” the Dati pointed out.

“No, they only seek to destroy that which will protect us if and when the Hamoriti arrives in one of our systems. The Trinx will doom us all if they succeed. And why? Because they will not share power.”

“Neither will Star Force,” the Sety pointed out.

“Thus far they have not misused it. The Hamoriti is returning to slumber and they are safeguarding the key, with a promise to subdue the rogue Hamoriti. They are the allies we have long sought, and I do not care who holds the leash to the Hamoriti so long as someone does. It must be contained and the Trinx are trying to prevent that. They have betrayed us.”

“I am forced to agree,” the Yisv said, returning to holographic view after following events via delay as they raced across the system towards the star, only now having returned to realtime comm range since the Hamoriti’s aura had diminished. “If Star Force proves untrustworthy then we must oppose them, but they have given us nothing but what we’ve all long hoped for. The Trinx have descended into madness regardless of Star Force’s true intentions, for they have done nothing to warrant this attack.”

“It is only right that we share control,” the Sety said stubbornly.

“Stopping the Hamoriti is what matters,” the Yisv said simply. “Other concerns are immaterial so long as that is accomplished.”

BOOK: Star Force: Zealot (SF87) (Star Force Origin Series)
4.43Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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