The hum of the omnipresent power generator which fed numerous appliances within the hidden war room, was all that kept the three dejected alien figures company. They sat with bated breath around an ovular conference table, deep in the bowels of The Keep. The eerily dim white tube lighting neatly followed the contours of the interior architecture. The inactive surface of the holographic coated table top reflected the depressed mood. At the head of the table was the Caliterrian representative for the High Senate, Soulin Lee’Nur, who had begun to drum his fingers with impatience. His thick grey hide and canine-like features were all blazon evidence of his race’s evolution from pack animals in the freezing wastes of their home world. The Caliterrian had been in existence, at some level for roughly ten million years. Soulin hailed from Sirran, Caliterria’s capital city, which was situated on the largest continent across the planet’s equator. His birth place was depicted with uniquely designed tribal tattoos all across his body. The body art was a very common practice in Caliterrian society and varied in both style and colour with the settlement or clan origin at its design core.
Perched to his right was Thaim-Paav Acil, a member of the Sarcurian Royal Family and their elected member of the High Senate. He lulled his head into his chest as he took a sharp breath inward. The Sarcurian were the most technologically advanced race and were vastly influential, despite the fact they were the newest edition to intergalactic society. In many respects their similarities to Homo sapiens were astounding which led many historical researchers to believe that the pair shared a common ancestor. Although evidence to support such a claim was scarce at best. The Sarcurian had a deeper red skin pigmentation, pointed ear lobes and tips which also allowed for a wider audible range and a flat ribbed nose which somehow allowed a stronger sense of smell. This made Sarcurians expert trackers and hunters in comparison to mankind. Thaim had been born, much to his modest pleasure, into the nobility caste of Sarcurian hierarchy under the colossal energy dome of Rethera, the species’ ancestral home. City-wide protection was employed throughout numerous population centres across the planet’s surface and was necessary to protect citizens from meteor strikes, an unfortunate result of the close proximity Rethera shared to a huge asteroid belt.
The final figure sat opposite was the most bizarre of the collective. The Selin, 19217-JB, was a part of the asexual telepathic race from the idyllic garden world Tearsin. They physically appeared stretched in comparison to other bipedal species. Its head was devoid of many features and housed only two sets of eyes, one placed like that of a predator and the other higher and wider like that of prey. The fact they looked so peculiar and communicated through telepathy, a technique they could also employ with members outside their own race, was why many were unsure and uncomfortable around them. This gained further weight as they were also naturally reclusive which in turn degraded what little social skills they had. The oddly assorted group sat content to allow the silence to persevere. Time melded into itself, completely indistinguishable between seconds and minutes. After what seemed like an age, an orb which pulsed with emerald conviction materialised from the ether. It bobbed over them as its flashes intensified “Relaying priority message from Guardian Sha’Ni,” it announced in a sexless synthesised voice. He’d had long enough to prepare but the news sent a shiver down Soulin’s vertebrae before he stiffly nodded in approval for the AI construct to continue. The orb morphed into a miniature representation of another Caliterrian, this one had the presence of a battle hardened warrior. He seemed calm; his hands clasped behind his back, yet it looked as though he was fresh from a conflict. His golden ceremonial armour was charred and dirty. A fresh wound occupied the right side of his face which appeared to have the signature of explosive shrapnel. “Guardian, I am pleased to see you standing before us,” opened Soulin in an exhausted but as friendly a tone as he could muster given the circumstances.
Soulin knew much of Talsek Sha’Ni and had bestowed the rank of Guardian upon him not three months previous. It was an honorary title in part, but was something every warrior aspired to and was always handed out by the ruling Forerunner, the political leader of the Caliterrian Empire. Opportunity for the accolade only came around every half a century, two warriors were agreed upon to fill one available position. As tradition demanded, Talsek was forced into a gladiatorial style fight to the death. He emerged victor and spent several weeks under medical supervision recuperating from the injuries he had sustained. Even if he had required longer out of action the possibility would have been out of the question as the very fibre of galactic stability had shattered not long thereafter.
“I doubt you contacted the Senate for a heartfelt catch up, Caliterrian. We had been rather concerned when you stopped broadcasting communications,” snubbed Thaim sharply. This was much to the displeasure of Soulin who shot the Sarcurian a look of contempt. He understood the elderly monarch’s impatience, what with the pressure and impending doom weighing down on them, but he had no taste for snide remarks. “Apologies your excellency,” Talsek returned with an unnecessary courtesy due to the fact that the Sarcurian Monarchy had no relevance to Caliterrian social or political interests. It appeared to settle the mood and kept the brooding alien on side. From the back of their minds another presence was felt, the effects of the Selin’s telepathy.
“Continue warrior caste, what news do you carry from your campaign?” Without the context of emotion or connotation any conversation with the Selin often felt disingenuous.
“Dark Aurora has been a success, their fleet is increasingly disorganised and their situation is deteriorating rapidly. I stopped broadcasting as they were monitoring our communications. I make no apologies for my results.” Talsek let a subdued smile occupy his face but only for a moment and then it was gone.
Soulin took heart in Talsek’s news that proclaimed Caliterria was secure, yet shame still reverberated around the entire room. At what cost had success come? “We must escalate our initial efforts,” Soulin managed solemnly.
“You suggest genocide? Would that make us any better than them?” Thaim spat, completely repulsed by the very idea of the plan.
“Have they left us much choice?!” Soulin roared, fuelled by the pride and fury at the suffering of past generations. The contemplative pause allowed tempers to simmer down ever so slightly before 19217-JB interjected once more.
“We once discussed that option and dismissed it just as quickly as it had surfaced.” It was an answer the Sarcurian rapidly agreed with leaving the Forerunner downcast and furious. “We shall draw up proposals for Senate congress in the next cycle,” concluded 19217-JB as Soulin forced back his chair and moved toward the arched doorframe. Soulin looked back more in disappointment than anger, much to the other Senator’s surprise as the door unknotted behind him.
He met their eyes with renewed passion; “I only hope I do not live long enough to see the consequences of your mistake.” He dismissed their objections as swiftly as his proposal and slumped into the shadowy depths of the hallway beyond.