The Chronicles of Z’va’Xin - Story #2
The Chronicles of Z’va’Xin
The bigger they are…
Xin completed the last of a series of space folds to get back to her home world. A small swirling mass of black and dark grey formed in the emptiness of space, a few seconds later the black probe shot out of its centre with amazing speed. A split second later, Xin stopped completely, with no noticeable deceleration and more abruptly than any student of physics would believe possible. The Z’va probe remained motionless just outside her solar system as she began her scans. If viewed from within the system, the probe would have been invisible if it weren’t for the backdrop of a large burgundy nebula in the shape of some tentacled sea creature.
A short time later, Xin finished her scans and made her disheartening conclusions.
Most of the system was much the same as it had been 65 million years ago. There were noticeable changes but that would have been expected over the passage of that much time. However, the fourth planet, her home planet, the planet where she was created, was now dead. The planet that had once been a blue and green ball teaming with life, orbited by space docks, stations, and a multitude of various spacecraft was now a grey cinder marred by a few small craters. Fourth planet from the sun, Z’va Prime, a world dedicated to peace, knowledge and the arts. There was no sign whatsoever to even hint at what it once was. It was now a large, dead, grey ball.
The six other planets were much the same as they had been when last she was in this system - lifeless, like her home world was now. What had happened? Even Xin’s incredible scanning technology couldn’t come to any concrete conclusions, but it didn’t seem like a natural disaster. The planet’s tectonic plates are intact. There is no evidence of a large meteor strike. The smaller craters were made over millions of years, after the atmosphere was gone. The atmosphere? What happened to the atmosphere? This was the key. What ever happened here, happened at least 20 million years ago. Her scanners told her that much.
In the space of a few seconds, Xin went from stationary object to near the speed of light, heading toward the fourth planet for closer scans.
The Taelrok Battlecruiser that had been passing through Xin’s system had detected the space anomaly created by her space fold. Before Xin had come through the hole in space, the massive ship had moved behind the seventh planet. Shielded from scans by the small, cold world, the Taelroks now studied the small probe as it sped towards it’s home planet.
The dark blue Battlecruiser was roughly cone shaped and bristling with a multitude of gun ports. One look made it clear it was designed for only one thing.
The Taelrok commander laughed when he realized what had come out of the space anomaly. The energy spike detected had been high, so caution was advisable. Now all on the bridge crew were laughing along with their battle-hardened commander.
“Hah! It is nothing more than a fecal fly!” roared the commander. “We are in hiding from this?” he mocked at his second in command. “I expected at least a destroyer class ship to come through that hole based on the readings.”
“It’s no longer scanning and does not appear to detect us, Sir.” said the weapons officer. “Should we scan it, Sir?”
“No. Plot an intercept course helmsman. Let’s swat this fly quickly and move on.”
Had the Taelrok ship scanned Xin, she would have known about their existence instantly. However, scanning her would have given them nothing. A Z’va probe was designed to be virtually unscannable.
The Taelroks are a race of conquerors. They expand their empire through conquering other worlds - killing many, enslaving some and stealing the technologies from those unfortunate enough to be in their line of sight. The result was a brutal society with technology that was off balance with their “social graces”. This was their sector of space and almost a dozen races were under their metal boot.
Physically they were humanoid, taller, larger and stronger than a human, but brutish in appearance and posture. Physically, they were as fearsome as their ill-gotten weapons.
The Taelroks were now the most powerful race in the sector and as far as they were concerned (or conceited) - the whole galaxy. They had conquered all the neighbouring systems. A couple of the more technologically advance races had been a challenge, but their ruthlessness and willingness to do what their enemy would not or could not do, often paid off.
The weapon officer’s tiny black eyes peered out from low sloping brows as he viewed the probe on his monitor.
“Unidentified object is within weapon range, Sir.”
“Power up one of the anti-fighter cannons and fire when ready,” barked the commander confidantly.
Xin detected the massive ship only when the cannons had fired on her. “Stupid!” she scolded herself. She was in such a hurry to get to her home planet that she had stopped even her cursory scanning mode. She should have seen this ship the moment it appeared from behind the seventh planet.
The proton beam hit her directly mid-centre. A weapon designed to easily destroy most small fighter type spacecraft. Xin absorbed the energy the moment it made contact with her outer shell.
“The object appears undamaged, Sir,” the weapon’s officer remarked with surprise. “Scanning for confirmation... I'm getting no readings of any kind from the object, Sir! Scanners are ineffective!” his voice raising up half an octave.
The commander’s face changed from jovial to serious on hearing this report.
In the time it took their commander to learn that she was unharmed, Xin had downloaded the massive ship’s data storage and had learned their language. She now sent out a friendship message to the Taelrok Battlecruiser - “I mean you no harm. Please, cease hostilities. Let us communicate. Communication and understanding of one another will dispel any apprehension you may have.”
The communication’s officer relayed the message to the commander.
“Harm to us? Apprehensive? We are not afraid of this fecal fly!” the commander shouted as his big meaty fist slammed down on his console. “Power up the main gun. Shoot it out of my space!”
A bright light briefly blinded the Taelrok crew as the big gun hit with enough force to cleave a Destroyer class ship in two.
Xin’s thick neutronium outer shell easily withstood the wide particle blast. She quickly absorbed the great amount of energy and came to the conclusion they really didn’t want to communicate with her. The surface of the outer shell had been slightly marred by the concentrated blast, but was already repairing itself and seconds later it looked as featureless as before.
“The unidentified object is still in one piece, Sir!” there was now panic in the weapon officer’s voice.
“Hit it with everything we have!” yelled the commander in frustration. “I want that thing dead, dead, dead!” Each time he yelled “dead,” he hit his fist on the console punctuating the word.
A massive amount of energy bore down on Xin. Everything from dozens of anti-fighter cannons to several large proton guns were fired. The heavy main gun was used again and even several antimatter torpedos were in the mix.
Xin scanned the torpedos and decided to phase herself out of this space and time. Visually it looked like she had turned invisible.
A series of blinding flashes and silent explosions concentrated on her location and continued for 15 seconds. When the firework display was finally over, a large cloud of multi-coloured smoked remained and expanded slowly.
The sixteen members of the battle bridge waited and peered into their monitors, scanners, and various other devices for a sign of the object’s destruction. The large cloud now made it impossible to get a visual confirmation of its demise. Seconds passed and the bridge was silent.
“Something is happening inside the cloud!” the science officer shouted with both fear and excitement. “I’m getting energy readings off the scale!”
More seconds past as 32 tiny black eyes were now focused on the bridge’s main monitor. The large cloud illuminated by whatever was happening inside.
The Z’va probe shot out of the cloud and quickly came to an immediate stop. It was no longer black but as a white and bright as a small star. Xin hit the massive ship with all the energy she had absorbed from the attacks upon her. The metre thick white beam shot out from her neutronium shell, hit the Battlecruiser lengthwise from the bow to the stern and went completely through the entire ship as if coring an apple. At the stern, the beam hit the ship’s fuel reserves as was the intention. The massive ship instantly exploded into millions of pieces with a blinding flash that outshone even the Taelrok’s own hubris.
Xin had intended to ignore the Traelrok Battlecruiser. She could have outrun them or just phased out. Acts of violence were very distasteful to her indeed, but while hidden inside the cloud, she studied the Taelrok’s files she had downloaded from their library computer. The Traelroks were responsible for unimaginable cruelty, violence and genocide. She had also learned that this ship was heading toward another planetary system to do much of the same. She could not allow that. She had also learned that although they were masters of this sector of space, they themselves were just pawns for a greater master in this part of the galaxy, a race known only as the Veiled. There was very little written about them in the Traelrok history files, making it obvious that they were as mysterious to the Traeloks as their name implied. Traeloks knew very little about them except that they were a very old and powerful race. Even the Traeloks were wise enough to know not to go up against them. It was obvious from the history files these Veiled let the Traeloks rule this sector. The Traeloks were their dog, but they held the leash.
Xin continued on toward the fourth planet. Upon her arrival she didn’t bother to establish an orbit but immediately went down to the surface. Five kilometers above the surface and at five thousand kilometers per hour, she skimmed over it’s deathly silent landscape. For hours Xin traveled, scanned and visually recorded everything along her path. The landscape was mostly colourless, creating almost black and white imagery. Flat greyish ground met with low greyish hills and punctuated with an occasional crater. What was once an almost cyan coloured sky was now dark with the blackness of space. There was no water, no air, no sign of life, not even a microbe. There was no hint that a sprawling, advanced civilization had once been here. Her scans could not reveal what had happened and there was nothing in her data files to compare this to. Somehow the atmosphere and some of the surface had been destroyed or removed. The passage of time had eliminated any residual evidence that may have lingered. She concluded that it probably was not a natural disaster. Someone or something had come along 20 million years ago, wiped out all life on Z’va Prime and left without a trace. There was nothing in the Traelok’s files to shed light on what happened here. It predated the Traelok race and according to their files, this had always been a dead world. This was one world the Traeloks were not responsible for destroying.
Xin was receiving a transponder signal! It was a signal both familiar and yet strange. It sounded like a transponder from another Z’va probe or spacecraft but unlike what she had heard in the past. It was coming from within the system, from a satellite orbiting the fifth planet. Had it sensed her presence and activated its signal?
Xin shot up and away from Z’va Prime’s gravitational influence and seconds later was travelling at near light speed toward the small, icy world. She had to investigate this. Perhaps there were answers to what had happened here. The grey, dead world shrank quickly behind her as Xin let the cold blackness of space embrace her once again.
(To be continued.)
Note: This is the first of a possible series of short stories.
The stories will be written in a serial type sequence of installments.
Other stories to come based on popularity and interest from you the reader.
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© 2011 Robert G. Moons
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