Pariahs and Peacemakers

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Thirty Five

The control panel exploded, the Navigator screamed as pieces of metal and plastic embedded in his face. “Shields at two percent, Admiral, the Votheen capital ship has us locked!”

“Divert all remaining power to the forward rail guns, that two percent is useless now. We take this fucker out now.” The capital ship had been slowed by the numerous frigates guarding The Protector but now nothing nearby stood in its way. His ears popped all at once as every forward gun fired. The front of the capital ship was a mess but it kept on coming. “Again!”

“Weapons have overloaded and are offl…” The rest of the gut wrenching sentence didn’t come as the boarders they had so valiantly fought off until now breached the bridge. The Votheen poured through the door. The Admiral grabbed for his sidearm but something grabbed him by the throat and picked him up with one giant arm. The alien had come around his blind side and snarled as if in victory. That’s when a pulse of energy rocked the ship, the white light rushed across everyone and then it was gone. The alien dropped Victor as something under its skin seemed to bubble. The Admiral looked to Engevaal and saw another pulse emit from the northern hemisphere. This time the wave caused all the power in the Votheen capital ship to wink out. It began to lose orbit and was soon caught by the pull of the planet. It began to burn up in the atmosphere almost immediately. Victor lit a cigar and placed his boot on the stomach of the Votheen that had once been so sure in its victory, now it had dropped to its knees. Once the next pulse reached The Protector the Votheen screeched in a high pitched tone before bursting into flaming embers. Victor hobbled toward the pile of ash and spat on it in defiance. He had never understood the disgusting insult until then. The Votheen were an enemy that deserved as much contempt as they harboured for the rest of the galaxy. The people had spoken.

Shayara held a hand to her right ear, the reports were coming in thick and fast. The Void had decimated the Votheen in orbit and the signal was getting stronger. “The wars over.” She smiled to herself.

“Excellent.” The Administrator grinned as the taller of his honour guard disintegrated Jenny where she stood. Shayara panicked and acted on impulse, turned and took flight. The ground beneath her feet fell away from her as it turned to rubble, she spun as she fell and unloaded an entire clip on her attacker. The displeasing click signalled she was empty but thankfully the tall Atribulan lay dead, oozing blackened blood on the ground. “What the hell is this?” she demanded, her jubilation had quickly turned into fear once more. The last honour guard focussed his gauntlet on her to make it known she was under their control. The Administrator adopted a distorted smile on his face, as if he’d never seen one and only heard of them. “Does the Emperor know about this?” The head of the Administrator lulled and when it returned her heart dropped into a pit so dank and dark she feared it would never return. “Why?” Her voice small and shaky.

“The Votheen were a nuisance, too arrogant to pace its own evolution, and power hungry. So power hungry.” He sighed as if in disappointment at a wayward child, not the murderous race Shayara had known. “The Votheen were the first in this galaxy, you all share a part of their DNA. Humanity in particular. The Votheen’s past will be your future and we cannot allow this to pass. The cycle must be broken and the galaxy started anew.” It beamed. It truly believed in the words it spoke but they were like nails on a chalkboard to Shayara’s ears.

“Is that how you stay at the top of the food chain? Suppressing races that might threaten you in the near future?” Shayara snapped at the small honour guard who had taken one step too close.

“Stupid primitive,” it growled while it still could. The gauntlet glowed but the alien soon didn’t have an arm to use it as a high-pitched crack took it off. Then his head followed. As Shayara turned where she lay she saw Isaac holding a compact but high-powered sniper rifle at the summit of the stairs with Jarner at his side whose limp appeared to have gotten worse. Before either of them could react the Emperor fired his two gauntlets at their position which threw up a cloud of debris so thick that Shayara couldn’t tell if they’d survived it. Holding in tears she bolted up right and charged. Knocking the Emperor’s manifestation off of his feet and banging his head on the rim of the pit. She grappled on top of him and landed some decent blows but the alien was much stronger than he looked. He planted his feet and upended her into the pit. She threw out an arm instinctively and managed to get a grip on the edge stopping her falling into the blinding white light below. She hung by her fingertips, dangling in The Void that would kill her and her entire race. The energy lapping around her feet burned intensely. The bruised Administrator of the Atribulan got to his feet and looked upon victory with such a dark smile. Shayara never heard the bang but the hole in the Atribulan’s chest told her someone had survived and her heart pleaded for it to be only one person, for it to be Jarner. The alien swayed and staggered, attempting not to fall in the pit. Isaac was behind him. Shayara’s tears welled again. Was Jarner even alive? Isaac took a long interrupted swing using his rifle like a club. The sickening crack of the alien’s skull was enough to stir the sternest of stomachs and it sent the alien tumbling down into the pit lifelessly to be consumed by the energy growing within. Shayara swayed and she began to black out. Her fingers felt numb, her arm likely broken from the impact. Just as she let go, the sensation of falling didn’t come. When she opened her eyes it must have only been seconds later. Isaac was dragging her away from The Void, they hadn’t gotten far when it erupted again. This time it condemned all the double-crossing Atribulan in the Milky Way. “Jarner,” she said before she realised. Isaac’s look was pained to behold but he aided Shayara to her feet and walked her slowly toward the stairs. Jarner lay five steps down from the top, skin still smoking. One of the energy blasts had caught him in the chest but he still breathed although it was laboured and heavy. Shayara dropped to her knees next to him as he forced his eyes open. “It’s all over,” she whispered as a tear rolled down her cheek. “You’re going to be fine.” He coughed a painful laugh.

“You always were a terrible liar.” Jarner smiled through gritted bloody teeth. “The Emperor and his fleets are still out there…whether they are in the next…galaxy or ten galaxies over. This isn’t over by a long shot.”

“Forever the pessimist.”

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