Operation: MORDOR (sequel to 'Between a Lion and a Woodchipper')
(A bit of a long one, this time!)
Honorable Kirta shifted in his seat uncomfortably. Only [3 months] had passed since the Thanatari had begun their siege on the border of his Empire’s space, and only [two weeks] since his friend, Thiru, had stared down the barrel of a human magpulser… and lived. And now, here he was, on the border of the [Perseid-VII Beta] system, commanding a fleet of his fellow Iri'jiij.
And he was floating, shields and weapons unpowered, staring down the barrel of a Thanatari capital ship.
His antenna flared backward and folded down as his helmsman broke the silence of the bridge.
“Honorable Kirta, sir. They hail us.”
“Respond, on an open channel. Broadcast their transmission to our guests… quietly.”
“Private channel open. Encryption runtimes are active. Patching them through.”
The screen went black, save for two pinpricks of reflected light. Were they stars?
No. He was staring into the coal-dark eyes of a Thanatar. His chitinous cranium split down the middle, revealing a horrific maw of fourteen fingerlike mandibles, each with rows of black, serrated teeth along the inside and tips, receding into an ash-gray glistening throat-hole lined with teeth.
It croaked and gurgled, cracked and chuffled, as it gulped and clucked out its guttural language in frightening baritone. As the screen compensated for the darkness of the other ship, it revealed the addressing Thanatar in all of its horror in sickening resolution.
“Translation software working.”
The image faded to gray momentarily, as white text scrawled across the screen, translating the morbid gibberish into comprehension.
Those were the co-ordinates of his homeworld.
‘You and your kind will pay the flesh-penance. Your pain and suffering will be as unfathomable and be as endless as the Black of All. So shall it be, by glory of the Dead-King. I shall be the vanguard of your oblivion, and shall bathe and please myself with your flesh. So it shall be, by the Living Death of the God-Queen.’
Kirta stared blankly at the screen, as the message sunk in.
Boots thudded behind him, announcing the presence of his guest on the ship.
General Haverson crossed her arms in her pressure suit, scowling at the Thanatar on the widescreen through her visor.
“Well, aren’t you a fugly bitch,” she snorted.
The Thanatar drew its head back, surprised at the human’s appearance, unsure whether to take her remark as an insult or a complement.
Haverson pressed a button on her neck.
“Giles, what did you get?”
A gruff, almost sadistic voice came over the comm, a deeper human voice.
“Everything we need, General. Thank you.”
Haverson craned her sinewy neck over to Kirta, her eyes boring into his head.
“Pull back your ships.”
“Aye,” Kirta squeaked.
He ordered for the retreat of his ships, just as the Thanatari ship charged its weapons and fired.
Kirta braced for death. But [ten seconds] passed. He opened his eyes and looked out the window. The Thanatar ship and fleet was gone, replaced by a slate-gray wall, with hot blue suns staring back at him.
He didn’t take the time to wonder. He brought his ship about and around, and watched as brilliant blue flashes, hundreds, exploded into life and faded as quickly as they came, replaced by hulking human destroyers, cruisers, carriers, and three Dreadnoughts. He watched in split awe and horror as the fleet kept spilling in, as if some wrathful deity had uncorked a gigantic bottle of swarming insects, poised in anger and spite, aching for the kill.
The aft camera captured the horror of human combat; the black spindly Thanatar ships broke off the battlecluster and spread out as human ferroplaser beams cut through them like a blade through flesh. Their dark hulls welted and bloomed as they boiled away in white-hot fury. Metal vapours and sections of ship clouded space and plunged the battle into the fog of war.
Kirta was awestruck, glued to the screens. He watched as a diamond ship launched missiles in batteries and droves at the nearest Thanatar capital ship. But they never exploded.
He looked up to the General. “Are your missiles defective?”
“No. Boarding parties.”
“You–you’re boarding that vessel??”
Kirta was awestruck. He continued watching, dumbfounded by the humans’ reckless bravado.
After [ten minutes] of combat, he watched in awe as the Thanatar capital ship began firing at its allied vessels. Between the human Dreadnoughts igniting the other capital vessels into miniature stars with their muon lasers, and the now-captured Thanatar vessel mopping up the remaining supplicant vessels, the fleet of ten-thousand ships was cinders in minutes.
The human boarding craft, after a moment’s respite, swarmed away from the capital ship, much like flies sated from a fresh corpse. Soon after, the ship bloated and blew apart in a brilliant blooming flash, and joined the other ships in a silent glowing graveyard, floating aimlessly in the cold vacuum of space.
“General Haverson, we have the ship’s NAV data. Uploading to Fleet-net now,” croaked out a dark voice.
“Very good. Your commandos, as per the norm, performed flawlessly. My compliments, Commander Fawkes,” Haverson returned, beaming with pride.
“You flatter me, ma'am. Fawkes out,” the voice replied.
Haverson clicked off her comm and turned to Kirta.
“That’ll be all from you, for now. You will report to Epsilon Eridanus for your next batch of orders at 2350.”
“O-orders? But I’m–”
“Not anymore, you’re not,” she snipped, cutting him off. “Your buddy talked us into a deal, but with a catch. You work for us, now. Welcome to the Ecumene, buggy, and the Third ring of Hell.”
“Oh,” Kirta chirped.
Sukin tapped down the hall of the human battlecruiser Sathanna, his helmet chafing his palps. He hated wearing suits, but he had little choice in the matter, as humans kept their warships unpressurized and vented of any atmosphere. ‘For safety’, they told him, amused at their answer. The only gravity and pressure offered to anyone onboard was the maglocks of their boots and the seals of their suits, or their resting chambers, which doubled as a cryo-pod. As crazy, and 'orcish’ as he found apt to describe them in their tongue, they definitely thought things through.
He began unlocking the door before him, just as it opened of its own accord. On the other side of the door hulked a Q'iri in a human-made powersuit. Blue viewports and bulky, reinforced respiratory tubes snaked down its long, thick neck where its eyes and spiracles were located, respectfully. At the top of its neck was a small bulb where its mouth was.
“My apologies,” it grunted, as it shuffled out of the way for Sukin.
“My thanks,” he replied, as he bowed politely and tiptoed through and out of the way, allowing the nine-foot-tall gracile giant to pass through, walking on back-bent legs and powerful arms and knuckles through the door before it slammed shut.
He walked down the labyrinthine halls until he arrived at the habitat block he had been assigned; V-7, barracks and home among the stars of Gamma Team.
The door opened to reveal three humans shouting amongst themselves in raucous laughter and vulgar jokes. They all stopped and looked at him. One scowled and went back to staring at the cards in his hand. The other two began walking towards him, hands on their hips, strutting towards him in an awkward, drawling gait.
“Another jiij. Great,” the female one muttered.
“Yo jiij, what’s your name?” The card-player crowed.
“Jiij? I am sorry, it is Iri'jiij, what you are calling me is not appro–”
“I don’t give a fuck. Don’t correct him,” the darker human barked.
Sukin straightened up and crossed his smaller arms
As he saluted with one larger arm, straight and diagonally up. “I am Sukin-of-Starlit-Sand. I have been assigned to your unit, and I am reporting for duty,” he replied.
The pale one playing cards with himself laughed. “Watch out, Slimjim. The jiij is a Nazi,” he chuckled.
“So, Sukin-a-Dick, you thought it’d be funny to throw up a Nazi Salute to a black man?” he said, as he cracked his knuckles.
“What? Nat-si? I-I-I did not mean offense! I swear by my brood-mother!” Sukin bumbled, raising his hands in surrender.
“Look, now he’s French,” the female chuckled, “Poor little jack can’t figure out what the Hell he is.”
The dark one, 'Slimjim’, relaxed and began laughing. He slapped Sukin on the back. “Relax, jiij. We’re givin’ you shit. I’m James Downey, the hot chica over here is Taretha Ho, and short-pale-and-mysterious over there is Red Wilson. Call me Slimjim,” he finished.
“I’m Scrub,” replied Taretha.
“And, you guessed it, I’m Red,” Wilson replied.
Suddenly the door behind Sukin opened, and a human officer stepped through, followed by two fellow Iri'jiij and the Q'iri from earlier.
“You must be Sukin,” he said, reaching out with a hand to shake his. “I am Sergeant Hartford. This is Gurik-of-Moonlit-Splendor and Ferti-of-Droning-Song. The Q'iri is Khaam. Callsigns are Gizmo, Echo, and Bulk respectively. You can call me Sarge.
Welcome to Gamma Team.
End… for now.Submission by @bartwelchii