Authors: Ivan Kal
Book five – Rise of the Empire
Copyright © 2016 by Ivan Kal
Art/Cover Copyright © 2016 by Nikola Nikolic
All rights reserved.
No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.
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Table of Contents
PART ONE – WHAT WAR HAD WROUGHT
PART TWO – INHERITANCE
- A faction of humanity—Olympus—leaves to colonize a planet in a star system 600 light years from Earth.
- An alien race called the Ra’a’zani conquers Earth.
- Olympus arrives at their destination; they name the planet Sanctuary. They get involved in a conflict against an alien race called the Sowir. Ally themselves with the Nel of Nuva.
- Resistance from Earth contacts Olympus on Sanctuary, asking for aid.
- Olympus and Sowir Dominion make a pact of non-aggression.
- Olympus fleet arrives in the Sol system, engaging Ra’a’zani forces in the system. The battle for Earth results in narrow human victory, but the cost is the Earth. Ra’a’zani weapon makes the planet uninhabitable.
March 2172 – Year 1 of the Empire
- Tomas Klein leader of Olympus creates the Empire.
December Year 30 of the Empire
- Sowir attack Nelus system - homeworld of the Nel. Empire breaks the non-aggression pact with the Sowir by simultaneously sending aid to Nelus and invading the Sowir territory. Clan Leader Adrian Farkas overuses the Watchtower command interface, falling into a coma.
January – March Year 31 of the Empire
- Adrian Farkas wakes up and hears the telepathic beacon from the sphere left by the originator of the human and Nel races, unlocking all the knowledge and technology contained inside.
September; Year 35 of the Empire – Sanctuary
woke inside the prison that she had spent at least four cycles in, by her counting. She had been here ever since the
ships had invaded Sowir territory and their troops had captured her aboard one of their shipyards. The room was dimly lit, to accommodate her kind’s eyes. It was a simple room, with a small pool that served as her sleeping berth and a small “land” part of the room that contained a holographic projector on the ceiling and a device that translated Sowir telepathy into the spoken language of her captors. Her people had been using it to communicate with these animals for a long time.
The primitives were using the device to interrogate her. Only, the things that they had asked of her didn’t concern Sowir military, technology, or weapons. No, they asked her things about her telepathy, about the Sowir way of life, and about the Spirit of the Universe.
believed that the Sowir were fighting against them because they didn’t possess telepathy. And she had tried to explain that that was not the case, but the device was not perfect; things were lost in the translation. The true reason was that they fought against them because they couldn’t see/hear/feel the Spirit of the Universe. Sowir telepathy was what allowed them to see/hear/feel it, to see/hear/feel other life through the Universe. And they could see/hear/feel these primitive lifeforms. To them, they looked exactly like any other animal in the Universe. They were closed off, alone, their minds not capable of reaching out to the others of their kind. The Sowir had encounter lower lifeforms that possessed telepathy, but even they had been closed off, only capable of using it with their own kind, not having an imprint and a connection to the Spirit of the Universe.
The beings of the Empire were intelligent; they had technologies that the Sowir didn’t. And yet they were empty; there was no sign of the song of the Universe inside of them. How could the Sowir allow them to wander around when they were blind to the thing they claimed dominion over?
Still, her captors tried to find common ground, to make her see that they could live in peace, even when she had told them over and over that that would never happen. That insanity only served to justify Sowir thinking; if they could only reach out of their closed shells, they would have known that Clear Waters’s mind could not be changed. Ironically, if they could do that and see/hear/feel her, then that would have meant that the Sowir were wrong.
Her captors had shown her data from their battles with her people, and she knew that the Sowir were unlikely to win. And this time deception would not work, as the Empire knew that the Sowir didn’t value promises given to those who weren’t true beings. But the Sowir Dominion would never surrender; they would keep fighting and trying to find a way to win.
But Clear Waters would probably never walk free again. She didn’t even know where she was. She suspected that she was on the Empire’s capital world, but she had no proof. Her days would be spent alone, with occasional holographic visits from her captors, which allowed her some entertainment. But she knew that she would spend the rest of her life in the small cell, never again to feel another with an equal mind.
Beneath the Empire’s capital city, in a small room that was brightly illuminated, the hologram of Axull Darr floated above the sphere that contained his vast consciousness. Over the last three years, he had been going through many changes, ever since the
Adrian Farkas had answered the telepathic beacon inside the sphere. Before then, his main functions had been locked, but now he had access to everything.
Over time, he’d gained access to the hidden knowledge kept inside, as well as the rest of his memories. They were unlocked slowly, over time, so as to not damage his very delicate matrix. He was Axull Darr, or rather, one of three copies of his consciousness. He now knew everything, had access to the entire knowledge of the People. And he knew exactly why the original had done everything. He knew what the abomination that his people had unleashed was, and why he’d placed three seeds on three different worlds.
The Empire had done well; his plan had turned out far better than what he had hoped. The humans surprised him in particular. They evolved and advanced at a much faster rate than what he had predicted. And they were nothing like their ancestors; their entire existence was filled with strife. And they had very few traits in common with the People. Axull Darr’s people had evolved as the first truly intelligent beings in the galaxy. They’d risen unopposed, united from the beginning. They had spread their empire across the entire galaxy, and had lived at peace as the only race of higher intelligence for two billion years before they’d decided to help other life along. Over time, other races had joined them, both those that they’d personally uplifted and those that had reached the stars on their own. And the People
had guided them, never really in danger from any of them; their knowledge and power had been so far beyond them that they’d had nothing to fear. The concept itself had been foreign to them.
The humans, on the other hand, thrived when in conflict, even if they tried to convince themselves otherwise. It was not something that Axull Darr could have predicted, or even intended. Their homeworld had been chosen to give them an environment that was different from the other two, in the hope that each of the three worlds would create interesting new evolutionary progressions. In a way, he had succeeded; the humans were different from the People. Their physical traits were inferior, and yet their cerebral faculties had reached a level of equality, with a few traits that were unique to them. The People had never been as aggressive or as driven. They had been much more similar to the Nel, who up until their human siblings had found them had had a distaste for fighting and war.
For humans, violence was not hard, and in many cases not even distasteful. They had reached far and explored avenues that Axull Darr and his people had lacked in. They had never known war, not like humans did, fighting against someone of equal or greater strength than their own. For the People
war had been a brief thing, as simple as bringing their advanced technology against their opponent.
The way that humans had advanced was exactly what Axull Darr had unknowingly hoped for. A people with the morals and values of the People, reinforced with sheer will, a violent and warlike personality, and tempered with skill and knowledge.
But for all that, they had also managed to interfere with Axull Darr’s vision. With their fledgling genetic knowledge, they had stopped the evolutionary path that he had lain deep inside their genetic code, for both themselves and the Nel that had joined their Empire. Their hereditary longevity had effectively stopped their natural evolution, and in doing so had halted his plans.
But even though they had gone against his plan, Axull Darr was probably the greatest mind that had ever been born to the People, and he had conceived of a scenario in which that could happen. That was why he had placed a failsafe within their genetic code, a failsafe that had been triggered rather spectacularly by Adrian.
All of the People had possessed the Sha, what humans called psionic abilities, both natural and engineered. Long ago, Sha was the general term used for any psionic ability that the People
found and then added to their own, but over time it grew to encompass all of their powers. Axull Darr’s original plan had been to introduce those abilities slowly, over many generations. But their meddling had prevented that. Instead, Adrian who had managed to push his mind and body to its very limit and then beyond, was the first who had triggered the change. His mind and body had thus changed over the last three years to grant him all the abilities that his forefathers once possessed.
But no matter how brilliant Axull Darr’s solution was, there were limits. The failsafe was not able to do everything that his main plan required. His desire to allow his descendants to have a degree of evolutionary freedom had also made it impossible for the failsafe to do everything that he had intended. While the changes that Adrian had experienced were significant—an enhanced nervous system, a newly grown organ, and a slightly reinforced brain—the changes were nothing compared to what was really required for him to use those abilities to their fullest. The rest of his body was inadequate. His bones were fragile, his muscles weak, his flesh soft.
But there was time to work on that problem; perhaps the Empire’s scientists would manage to fix the problem on their own. Already Axull Darr had witnessed their ingenuity; they possessed things that the People
had never thought off. Nothing that was more advanced, but they had technologies and uses for them that their forefathers would have never imagined. Even now, they were utilizing the knowledge of their ancestors in ways that he hadn’t foreseen, as they now had access to all the knowledge that the People
had invented over the billions of years that they’d lived. Most of it they couldn’t comprehend, but the knowledge was there, and it had already pushed them far ahead of where they were before.
Now he had a different problem, one that he, or rather the original Axull Darr, had overlooked. Adrian now possessed the Sha, and neither he nor those around them could understand it. And he had no one to teach him. The original Axull Darr had been born in a time where every one of his people had had these abilities from birth; he’d grown up around people who used them, and he’d learned by watching and having others use their telepathy to aid in the learning. There had been no schools or teachers that taught someone the basic theory; they’d learned as they grew from experiences and having someone show them how it was done, much like a human child would learn to use its eyes or its voice.
And he, as a copy, had knowledge of those powers, but couldn’t actually use them. He had memory of what the results of using them should be, but he didn’t know how to do those things. And the original Axull Darr had left no data on the basics, probably because it didn’t even exist. He had plenty of data and instructions about the advanced use, but those were of no help. It was the same as if he told a person to climb the tallest mountain, when that person knew nothing about mountain climbing. Sure, he might get to the top, but the more likely result was that he would die trying.
Adrian had all the ingredients and tools, but no knowledge of how to use them. If he had been born with the power, some of it would have been instinctual; a degree of genetic memory was incorporated, but the failsafe had been degraded by the humanity’s own evolutionary path. The genetic memory was buried deep. But Adrian hadn’t been born with his abilities, which meant that he had to learn on his own, or somehow dig up the genetic memory. And so far he had only managed to figure out how to use four of the psionics, four aspects of the Sha that he received, and even that was through much pain and luck, and one of those he’d only gotten access to because he’d nearly died.
Axull Darr knew that it would take time for him to learn and master his abilities, and he hoped that the Empire had the time for its people to receive all of their ancestor’s gifts and improve on them. But his review of the Union ship historical data that had been recovered from Earth told him that time might be running out faster than the original Axull Darr had anticipated.
The plan that Axull Darr’s kin had put in place to contain their mistake had not been as successful as they’d believed it would be; the war that the Union had been involved in proved that, as there was no mistaking the origin of the black ships that had attacked them. The original Axull Darr had known that it wouldn’t work; that was why he’d refused to have any part in that plan and had decided to craft his own, which, while preforming far ahead of what he’d imagined, was still nowhere close to reaching the end goal. The Empire needed to grow, and do so fast if there was any chance of stopping what would inevitably come their way.
A ringing noise woke Fleet Commander Bethany Jones from her slumber. Slowly her eyes opened, and as her consciousness returned, she shut off the message prompt with her implant. She swung her legs off her bed and stood slowly, then made her way to the bathroom. She didn’t bother to turn on the lights; she effortlessly walked through the dark in the commander’s quarters on her flagship, the EWS Audacious.
The Audacious was a Mk 2 dreadnought-class warship. At one time, these ships had been one of the most powerful in the Empire’s fleet. Now, with all the new technologies available to the Empire, they were outdated. And yet these ships were the backbone of the Empire’s fleets, and the first line in their war against the Sowir Dominion. For the last five years, Bethany’s Second Fleet had been tasked with taking and securing the systems they invaded.
The Empire was more advanced than the Sowir, but still, that didn’t mean that they were immune to losses. That was why they had been very careful in their war. The Empire had taken 7 major and 4 minor Sowir systems. The 7 that they’d taken had once belonged to the Consortium; more precisely, they belonged to the Nel, Mtural, and Pouute. Each of those systems were once major shipbuilding systems, which was why they had been targeted first. The Emperor wanted to take and make use of the infrastructure already there, which was the main reason why the war had dragged on. If they hadn’t needed to clear all hostile forces from the stations, shipyards, and planets, they would have been free to simply destroy them and move on to the next. But they also took the time to study Sowir computers and their ship designs. They also needed the time to develop technologies they recieved from the sphere, and to build weapons for their army, equipment they would need in order to take back Guxaxac.